Posts Tagged ‘Challenges’

Straight A’s

June 2, 2019

I got my grades back.

It’s official.

Straight A’s for the second semester.

Which means that I have a 4.0 for my first year of my PhD program.

I am pretty damn pleased.

Even if, in the grand scheme of things, nobody really gives a damn about my grades in a PhD program.

I don’t believe I have ever heard someone ask another person what their GPA was for a PhD.  Most folks just stop at, holy fuck, you got a PhD.

Holy fuck are my words.

I mean.

I certainly wouldn’t care what someone’s GPA is if they got a PhD, they got a PhD!

That’s some big work.

And.

Nevertheless.

I am quite pleased.

Really pleased.

It was a hard semester.

I really thought life was going to fucking end when I got shingles.

On top of the wicked bad break up and just feeling overwhelmed with being in a PhD program, trying to grow my private practice and working full time as a nanny.

It was a big deal for me to get straight A’s.

I’m one of the few people in my cohort working full time.

My cohort also is getting smaller.

Two more people dropped out and another two decided to do the three year course track versus the two year.

I am not doing that.

I am staying put with the two year run on getting the required course work out of the way and I hope to do the rest of the work in two years.

I think I could even do it in a year and a half if I follow the example of one of my TA’s who really busted ass.

I’m not going to push myself too hard, it’s a lot of work no matter what.

I’m not so focused on it at the moment anyhow.

I’m studying for something else.

My Law & Ethics exam for the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences) here in California.

An Associate MFT has to take the Law & Ethics exam to renew their license.

My license expires on June 30th.

I am set to take the test on Tuesday, June 18th at 9a.m.

I have to get 70% to pass the test.

It’s a tricky little thing and there’s a lot of picky details that have to be addressed.

I am using the Therapist Development Center’s test prep to study.

So far I’m about half way through the material, maybe a bit more.

I’ve studied a good bit so far, but haven’t hit the 70% yet on the test.

Today I took a practice exam and got 61%.

Ugh.

This is not to beat myself up.

The first time I took one of the practice tests I think I got 48%.

I didn’t study, you just take it and see where you are at then start studying.

So I have gotten better, but still need to improve.

I really am fairly confident though.

I have two more weeks of studying and the material builds on itself.

I also have taken the tests really fast.

You’re given 75 minutes to do the test.

My first prep test I did in 15 minutes.

The next I might have taken 18 minutes.

Today I took one and forced myself to slow down a bit.

I still finished it in 30 minutes, maybe 35.

I will be able to have more than ample time to go back and recheck questions that don’t make sense.

Some of them I just made stupid mistakes from reading a little too fast, some of it is just remembering to sort out all the weird numbers that you have to know.

When to report to Child Protective Services versus Adult Protective Services for instance, when there’s an abuse you make an immediate report but each service requires you to also turn in a written report and they’re different times.

Or.

What is the smallest font that you can use on a release form?

Or.

All the different ages around when a therapist has to report child abuse if a minor is having sex.

It makes sense once it’s digested, but it took me a few rounds of listening to the lectures to get it all sussed out in my head.

I really am not worried though.

I take tests well and I have plenty of time to make it through all the study materials and actually go through the lecture series a second time.

I’m really ready to give the studying a break though.

I am really ready for some time off from hitting the books.

I basically one weekend of “down time” between my last paper and having to start the studying for the exam.

Two more weeks.

Take the test.

Pass it.

And then get ready for my Havana, Cuba trip.

The family I nanny for will also leave for a summer trip and I will have some down time too.

I’ll have to stay local for the most part, but I think I might be able to sneak in a little road trip or maybe a couple of nights out of town, drive up the coast.

I see my clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

So a little road trip on a Sunday or a Monday seems like a thing.

Santa Cruz or maybe Monterey.

I haven’t been to Stinson in a long time either or Muir Beach.

I could go to Point Reyes and get oysters or do a drive up Mt. Tam.

Lots of options.

Just some more studying to do before I can.

And a moment.

A sweet little moment to acknowledge that I showed the fuck up for this semester despite life challenges.

And I got all motherfucking A’s.

I’ll take it.

Seriously.

 

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So Very Pleased

September 23, 2018

I got a lot done today.

I hung all my artwork in my new home.

I got my new couch delivered and my new chair and they were quickly assembled and they got here ahead of schedule, which was so awesome as it made it possible for me to not only attend a Zoom session for school, but also get to my group supervision on time.

Effectively making it possible for me to even take enough time to do some much-needed personal grooming and pampering, I went and got a mani/pedi and my eyebrows waxed.

And no, I didn’t glaze out with some trash magazines but actually did homework reading.

My books go where ever I go.

That has become mandatory.

Even if I don’t think I will have time, I’m bringing them along.

One at a time I will get through the reading.

There is so very much.

And though a part of me really wanted to do more homework tonight when I got home from doing the deal, I realized that I needed to finish as much of my unpacking as I could.

I just needed to feel settled completely in my home.

I am pretty damn close.

Hanging all my artwork really felt good.

So too blasting some French House music.

My place is sound proofed, plus the landlord is away camping this weekend.

So I didn’t have any compunctions about using a hammer at 9p.m. at night and hanging up my art.

It feels so nice to look at my space.

My couch is freaking perfect, so to the chair and the pillows I got really work nicely, I almost didn’t get them when I was at the store and I even had a moment when I packed them up and I was going to return them, but something made me stop and I am so glad I did, they work really well and look hella cool.

I’m very happy with my couch.

And tomorrow I will get my coffee table, end tables, and bedside tables set up.

I actually hired a woman from Task Rabbit to do it.

I figured it was worth it to not frustrate myself for hours.

I will instead spend a great deal of time tomorrow studying and doing homework.

I have to.

My work week will be full on again as the mom is back from her work travels and I will have the baby full-time again, I may have some time to do readings, but I won’t have time to do writing, which is what I was doing a lot of in the early afternoons before I headed out to pick up the big kids from school.

So tomorrow is definitely a full day of study.

I have one ladybug coming over to do work for an hour and I’ll get out and do the deal, but other than that, I can’t do anything but the work.

Well.

Probably some laundry.

I will want to do that, but I’ll bring homework with me for sure.

It will be my first time going to a laundry mat in years and though I am not excited about that, I am quite happy with how my home has come together and it feels very good to be here.

There are still some things that need to happen for me to entirely settle in, I haven’t gotten a dresser yet and I still have some clothes in a big garment box, but for the most part the space is nicely curated and it feels like me and it feels fun and polished and warm and sweet.

Once it’s all set up I’ll post a few photos.

I really do love the fact that I got myself a pink velvet couch.

Pink is not my favorite color, but I do like it and the couch is just so very me.

A sort of vintage 1970s Paris couch.

It’s the best.

Yeah.

I am very happy in my new home.

It’s also quite a space of reflection for me, to see how far I have come in the last few years.

When I think about how I moved back from Paris with $10 and what I have now, it’s really astounding how much can change in five years.

I got my Master’s degree, I’m working on my PhD,  I went through a buyout (a San Francisco rite of passage now it seems), I found a wonderful new place to live, I have had the most intense romantic love of my life happen, I have traveled back to Paris three times since I moved back, as well as going to New York three times, New Orleans, Burning Man five times, D.C., Atlanta, and L.A.  I bought a scooter, sold the scooter, bought a new car.

I never thought I would actually buy a new car, and holy shit, I did.

I’m starting a private practice internship.

I am fucking living life.

And yeah.

It does get overwhelming at times, but I have a primary purpose and I’m sticking to that.

The PhD is an amazing gift to get to do, but ultimately, it is not the endpoint for my life, although I know it’s going to consume a good bit of my life for a while, it is not my omega point.

Love is.

Deep love.

Loving myself to the best of my abilities and spreading that love as far out into the world as I can.

And now that my home base is almost secure and safe and settled.

I feel that I will be able to do so with even more veracity and courage.

I am in a good place.

It is a challenge.

There are challenges.

No lie.

But I am in a good place.

And I vow to love as hard as I can from this place as I can.

I promise.

Really.

I do.

It’s Been A Day

July 4, 2018

It really has.

It was preceded by a night with little sleep.

I had a really hard time falling asleep and I couldn’t stay asleep when I finally did.

I rarely have insomnia, but last night there was a kiss of it.

So much to think about.

And my wild thoughts got me up so early.

Really too early.

But.

I have to say I am surprised that I didn’t feel tired today.

I also had a bit more to do than I thought I was going to.

In between my therapy session and dropping off paperwork to a former supervisor in Hayes Valley, I got a text from my boss asking for a huge favor and could I go help out at the house for a few hours.

I said sure, I went, I let in the cleaners, I hung out and listened to French House music, I did some spending plan for July and I added up my expenses for June.

I got a bit walloped yesterday.

Truth be told.

Unexpected conflict.

Lots of fear.

High amounts of anxiety.

And lots of having faith and leaning in.

I spent most of yesterday outside the house, I didn’t feel safe here and I didn’t want to have more conflict escalate.

Fortunately nothing further happened.

You want details you contact me directly I am being circumspect about what goes on my blog for a little while.

When the dust settles I may elaborate more, but tonight as I write, suffice to say it’s been unpleasant and I have been taking actions around my housing situation to the best of my abilities.

I also have to say thank God for my external support and for the people who I could call and talk to and get suggestions from.

So much lovely help.

I needed every bit.

And so, it was of no surprise, not really, when I got home after a long stressful day yesterday and found a bill from my health insurance for $867.23.

Fuck.

Really?

I knew it.

I had a feeling I was going to get a sucker punch from the endoscopy.

I looked over the bill and though yes, I was a touch upset, in the end my insurance did cover $3200 of the procedure.

Grateful for that.

I sat down and wrote out a check.

Then I balanced my checkbook.

Then.

Well.

I have therapy and need groceries.

I am sitting with money in my account, but it’s earmarked toward rent, my rent check has not been cashed yet.

I double checked my addition and subtraction and I thought about a few things I wanted to do today.

Car wash.

And decided to pull money from my savings account.

Did I have to?

No.

I would have been ok until payday.

I mean.

I would have bought nada.

But I would have been ok.

Then I thought, why feel pinched when I have money there that can be used?

I transferred the money that I had earmarked for Paris into my account and decided to make sure I looked over my budget and spending for the month.

It’s a big month for travel.

I have no regrets about what I spent in New York.

I am very happy for the trip, the memories, the mementos.

Absolutely no thoughts that I should have done it any different.

It was a wonderful trip.

Paris will be too.

I may not have the $867 that had to go to the hospital bill, but I have enough.

I’m o.k.

That became sort of the theme today.

I am o.k.

I am going to be o.k.

Everything is o.k.

Yes.

Things are hard.

Things are challenging.

Life is showing up and doing what life does, giving me opportunities to learn and grow and expand my capacity for love.

Yes.

There were tears today too.

Therapy.

I talked for the first half about my living situation and what happened yesterday.

My therapist really applauded how I handled the situation.

I was not expecting that, to be told that what I did under pressure was admirable.

That felt good to have reflected back to me.

I still had few moments of feeling overwhelmed when I talked about what had happened, but hey I didn’t die and though it was intense and unpleasant, I got through it.

I had lunch with a friend today after therapy and he reflected some of the same things back to me.

It was super fun to see him.

He works in a cool tech company and they have lunch delivered and so yay, free lunch and an hour with a good friend.

He also helped me figure out my bottom line around my situation and gave me some brilliant language should I need, when I suspect, it’s not going to be a should, it will be a when, to stand up to the situation and what is happening.

It was calming and I appreciated hearing it and that he also acknowledged I do have a lot of power in the situation.

Ultimately.

Faith.

Faith.

And more faith.

It shall prevail.

The rest of the day was nice, like I mentioned, helping out the family, getting to do the work on my spending plan, taking time to eat a nice dinner, just a salad and sparkling water, but it felt good to nourish myself on the earlier side of dinner as I had a client cancel and I wanted to do the deal tonight at 8p.m.  I was able to leave after my first client and get across town right on time.

Where again I got to be aware of fear and faith and that they are similar, belief in something that cannot be proven.

So I chose faith.

I will continue to choose faith.

Knowing that I am loved and carried and I just have to show up and take the next actions in front of me.

It will all work out.

It really will.

Dot An “i”

April 9, 2018

Cross a “t.”

One more small bit of paperwork in the works.

I have had this gnawing feeling for weeks now that I was missing some paperwork for my school.

My God.

The amount of paperwork that is required to prove I have been doing the deal for the last three semesters is horrendous.

I have had four supervisors.

Two that I primarily work with.

Two that I accrued a couple of hours with.

Hours that no matter how small, matter quite a lot, little by little those hours are going to add up to me being licenced and every single fucking one of them is important.

So I have four separate pieces of paper with all their relevant information on them for the BBS.

And then I must have another set of papers, not the original signed ones, but facsimiles or copies thereof to show my school.

Plus.

Every hour.

EVERY SINGLE HOUR.

Has to be signed off by a supervisor.

I have had one main supervisor.

I will, in fact, be seeing him tomorrow.

And he’s the one that will be doing the majority of the signing.

I have had another, my group supervisor, who will also be needing to sign a fair amount of paperwork.

What I did not know is that there needed to be a Letter Of Agreement between my site supervisor and my school, CIIS, supervisor.

I had no clue.

No one ever told me.

It just slipped through the cracks.

So that nagging feeling of there’s something missing was not wrong, I just didn’t know what it was that I needed.

I found out yesterday and today when I got done with school I zoomed over to my internship and left the paperwork on my internship supervisor’s desk with a big fat note saying please sign this ASAP, and oh yeah, pre-date it.

Thankfully he got my email and I just now received a response and all is good.

I will still have to pick up the paperwork and take it to my other supervisor who is not affiliated with my organization, and have him sign it, then return all that paperwork to the school.

That will all happen next Monday.

Tomorrow I will just go meet with my supervisor and we will start my review.

I received it today while I was in class and it was something else to read while I was on my lunch break.

Carmen continues to demonstrate an amazing work ethic.

Aw.  Thanks man!

Carmen has done extremely well at Liberation Institute and is currently seeing about eight regular patients. She is on track to complete her hours for graduation.

I have completed them!!

I needed 225 to graduate and as of the last time I checked I have 244.

I actually have more hours than that, 385.75, but some of those hours while counting for the BBS requirements, do not count for CIIS’s graduation requirements.

The school’s requirements though, have been met!  I have enough hours, I will graduate.

Pending signing of a fuck load of paperwork, but my hours have been met!

Regarding supervision, Carmen attends every session on time, is eager and prepared to
speak about many patients, and appreciates the time together. She is a quick learner and
leans on her supervisor to help interpret difficult situations and seems increasingly
comfortable with handling her treatments.  Carmen is demonstrating an aptitude to manage the amount of psychic space and time that she allows her patients to consume and is making mature decisions.
Carmen is ending her last semester of practicum and seems ready for the next challenge.

You bet your ass I’m ready for the next challenge, bring on graduation.

I am also ready for a break, truth be told, but that will have to wait for a little while yet.

Carmen’s treatments have been diverse. She sees both men and women. She sees both
straight and gay patients. She has a culturally diverse practice. Carmen is able to manage
cultural diversity well.

That was nice to hear, I do see a great range of people and I am quite grateful that I can hold more than one type of client.

Carmen has met her goals for practicum. She shown that she can do intakes (consults),
get patients interested in a treatment, and retain them. She can build alliances. Her
patients come regularly and seem to enjoy their relationship with her. Carmen is able to
be herself in session, manage her anxiety, negotiate boundaries and the frame, and deal
with the rudiments of transference (i.e., idealization / devaluation).
Carmen enjoys her case work and is progressing beyond what is expected.

I am enjoying my work!

I really like my clients, and I feel like I am a good therapist.

Carmen shows an aptitude for intuiting transference and countertransference issues.

I am very proud of this.

It may not mean much to a lay person reading that, but I remember how confused I was just defining those terms when I first started my program.  I still need a lot of work around theory, but as my supervisor writes I will have years to work on theory and that my beginnings have aptitude.

That makes me happy to hear.

And then there was this:

Carmen has done extremely well in her practicum. She establishes a solid frame, sets
good boundaries, builds trusted alliances and is increasingly comfortable conducting
treatments with her patients. Carmen is an extremely hardworking and reliable therapist for her patients, listens well, empathizes and provides support. By listening to her countertransference, Carmen intuits patients’ motives and conflicts. She has the capacity to progress her treatments in deep and generative ways. Carmen’s patients are extremely lucky to have such a gifted and committed therapist.

That last sentence.

Oh wow.

That was so nice to read.

To be told by someone who I respect, and perhaps revere a touch, the man is a fucking genius, that I am a gifted therapist, that my clients are lucky to have me, my God, that just amazed me.

I am so, so, so grateful for this opportunity to get to be of service and to get to use what I know to help others, it means so much.

And it doesn’t hurt that I have a real career that I am investing myself in, a chance to become more and do more than I have done before.

To help others and also, truly, myself.

I am so blessed.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Don’t Mind Me

February 2, 2017

Singing French music slightly off-key at the top of my lungs.

I felt like singing and well.

There you go.

And French music makes me happy, especially when I am listening to a play list that my best French friend made for my on my Spotify.

It’s pretty awesome, a. a friend who makes a play list for you and b. that it’s mostly French music.

Although there’s some English music in there, it feels very apropos as I have been thinking a lot about travel today.

Paris in May.

Ten days.

Ten days.

Oh, let me say it again, ten days in Paris in May.

Paris in Spring.

My heart sings.

My feet tap dance a little, I just did a twirl about my room to the guitars and the vocals of Je t’aime Paris before I sat down to type.

I’m also making some other travel plans.

Puerto Rico.

In, wait for it.

July.

I know.

That sounds nuts.

And it’s actually funny, the only other time I have been to Puerto Rico was actually in July, a friend that I worked with at the Angelic Brewing Company got married there, she and her husband were both from Puerto Rico, what the hell they were doing in Wisconsin, I’m still not sure about.

But.

They wanted to get married in the oldest cathedral in Old San Juan.

Where, apparently, everyone who is Puerto Rican wants to get married.

The wait list was years long.

Unless you got married in the off-season.

Like, um, ha, July.

I think they still had to wait a damn long time for the date they did get, but yeah, it was hot.

But you know where it’s not hot in July?

Yeah.

San Francisco.

The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.

Mark Twain had it pretty spot on.

Last July was colder than last February.

In fact, I remember making out with a guy last February on the beach, barefoot and it was warm, surprisingly warm, one of the few nights where it was warm enough to be down at the beach and bare foot.

I remember him kissing me and the moon was sinking slow behind me, it was the day after Valentines Day and for whatever reason, I think it might have been ski week for the private school kids I was nannying, I had off that week.

I had school that weekend and then I had gotten dressed up on Valentines Day, passed out Valentines Day cards to my classmates and after class let out, I went up to the Castro and did the deal and spoke a big gay men’s gathering.

I met my Puerto Rican fairy godfather at dinner that night before the meeting.

We hit it the fuck off.

Fast forward to my birthday this past year, he brings me a bag of coffee from Puerto Rico, a jar of Adobo spice, and a guidebook to the 100 best places to go to in Puerto Rico.

He had just gotten back from a business trip there and it turns out is there currently and will be back mid-February.

He will be making a few more trips back for business and one of those trips, yes, in July, I will be going with him.

I wasn’t originally planning July, but July just happened to happen for me.

I found out from my family that they will be going on a big family vacation for three weeks.

I will have three weeks off in July.

THREE.

So.

Definitely Puerto Rico.

I have the airline ticket voucher from when I cancelled my trip to Wisconsin at Christmas.

The airline happens to fly to Puerto Rico.

I am thinking a week there.

Then fly back.

And.

Then.

Alaska.

Yeah.

I know.

Big fucking mood swing travel.

But.

I have always wanted to go up to Alaska during the summer and I have friends that live there and the fellowship is great.

And.

Um.

My dad is there.

I haven’t spoken to him since I left him in a coma in Anchorage two years ago.

I do not know where or why the thought popped into my head, but pop it did and it felt so right it gave me shivers.

“Go see your dad.”

That was not my thought.

It was planted there.

And I realized as soon as I had it that yes, I need to do that.

I’ve got his phone number and I figure I’ll contact the recovery center he’s been staying in and just feel it out.

I certainly don’t want to make a huge deal out of it.

Although, it is a huge deal.

I just felt very compelled to go and see him and do it soon, I don’t need to question it and though I had some trepidation about it, it feels very much like what I need to be doing.

It’s more for me than it is for my dad, I think, I need to heal a bit more around the relationship and I feel that a face to face, eye to eye, would do me some good.

Oh.

I’m sure it will be painful too.

But through that, growth, and I long for growth.

I want to heal those spaces and holes in my heart and be fully capable of saying I did everything I could to rectify my relationships with my parents while I can.

I also, really have wanted to go to Alaska during the summer and I have a couple of friends up there who just got married and it would be great to see them and maybe get out into the wilderness a little and take my camera and explore.

Then.

I had another thought.

Well heck.

Why don’t I go to Portland too?

My sister just moved there with my youngest niece and it’s been a couple of years since I have seen them.

I could fly back from Anchorage to Portland, hang out for a long weekend, then fly to San Francisco.

I looked up flights with the estimated dates of travel and I could do one way tickets, SFO->Anchorage->Portland->SFO.

Total cost.

$361.

I can freaking swing that.

I’m not planning anything yet, I have yet to get confirmed dates from my employers, but I did agree to take some of those days as paid vacation time and they agreed to pay me for my time for the other two weeks.

I had already bought my ticket to Paris when I had interviewed for the job, that vacation and those days off are part of my vacation pay.

Which means, that I will actually get another three weeks paid off.

Mind blowing.

And the right thing to do.

I’m contracted to work for them and I get paid a minimum of 35 hours per week.

They don’t use me for those hours, they pay me regardless.

When I find out dates I will go from there.

I know Puerto Rico is happening.

I will sit on Anchorage and Portland, talk to my people, make sure I’m making a spiritual decision and not an ego centric driven one, but rather be coming from a place of humility.

It’s family and I have challenges navigating family.

I’m doing better than I have ever in my life.

There is that.

But it is still vulnerable for me.

And who knows.

I may be in practicum and be tied to the city, so who knows.

No plans yet.

Just slow cooking some travel on the back burner.

And hopefully.

In the back woods, the G.reat O.ut D.oors, sounds damn good.

And a coffee shop or three in Portland.

I could get behind that.

I like coffee

Just a little bit.

Heh.

 

 

 

Things Change

December 18, 2016

Unexpected.

But for the better.

I won’t be going to Wisconsin for Christmas.

I will be staying here in San Francisco.

Although my person was very pro me going to Hawaii.

Who the hell isn’t interested in going to Hawaii.

As it turns out circumstances were just not a good fit for me to travel where I was going and after much heart-felt thinking I realized I needed to cancel.

I booked the ticket through an online site, Kayak, that lead to Priceline, that led to SunCountry and I was afraid I was going to have to bite the cost of the ticket.

$480 down the toilet.

According to Priceline’s little disclaimer about tickets being non-refundable, etc.

However.

Upon the urging of my person I called the airline and explained my situation and the person I talked to was super sweet and accommodating and they cancelled my ticket and gave me a voucher that I can use anytime in the next year.

I can choose to go to Wisconsin if the opportunity is right or I can travel to any of the other destinations the airline flies.

I looked at a few places, I mean, I have a week off, but it’s Christmas and the majority of the places that I was interested in going to were booked full.

So.

I have a year to re-book and that’s cool.

I am super happy that I didn’t lose the money and I am happy that I have a year, well, not quite, I booked the ticket in October, so I need to re-book by next October, but I can still use it.

I don’t know where I’ll go and I don’t have to decide right now.

I do know I will be here in the city and who knows what mischief I may get up to.

I figure I will do lots of yoga, buy a book for pleasure reading and go to the MOMA a few times.

Pleasure reading.

Drool.

Because, that shit is happening.

I mean for real.

Because I finished my Psychopathology paper!

My God.

That was a grind.

17 pages.

I thought it was supposed to be 18-20 pages but then I went back into the syllabus and saw that I had made an error, thank God I found that, and the paper “only” needed to be 15-17 pages.

So 17 pages were written.

4,912 words.

I had a friend who was like, what are you going to do to celebrate?

I responded.

Write my blog.

hahahahahahaha.

But really.

This is a celebration right here, right now.

I finished.

I made it.

I am officially half-way through the three-year program and that feels really good.

Despite my sadness at having to change my plans, I know it’s for the best, and plans change, things change, I get to be flexible and I am damn curious to see what is going to happen next.

I do believe that something awesome and fun is going to happen.

And despite a longing to be with my friend and her family I need to do what is best for the situation and that has been done.

It feels rather adult.

I guess one could say I’m growing up.

Which is good since in two hours I’ll be 44.

Heh.

“44!  No!  34!” My yoga teacher was so cute today, we’ve become friends and I invited him and his daughter and his partner to my pinball party in the Haight.

You too.

Come if you’re around.

4p.m.-7p.m. Free Gold Watch in the Haight–Waller at Stanyan.

Bring your quarters!

I’m going to be a Zazie’s for brunch and figure I’ll be signing up there around 12:30p.m. and I just got a text from my person who happens to know the manager, that she gave them the heads up that I was coming in (they don’t take reservations) and she also left me a birthday present!

I’m so lucky.

I’m so grateful.

I get to go to graduate school.

I get to go to play pinball tomorrow with my friends.

I got a voucher for my plane ticket and time to figure out where and when I am going to use it.

So many gifts.

So many.

I’m going to do yoga in the morning too.

It may be my birthday, but I can’t think of a better way to start my year than by taking care of my health and well-being.

God damn.

I really am lucky.

When I think of all the challenges and the things I have gone through to get where I am at, sitting here in this lovely home with my Christmas tree lit up and my school work done for the semester, I am absolutely amazed.

The gift of perspective might be the greatest thing I have in my life.

It is stunning to see how I have changed.

I mean.

Others have seen it and noted it, but I felt it, deep and true these last few days and I am moved by how much I have seemingly grown in such a short time.

Granted I think the seeds had been planted and watered and there was much sunlight of the spirit happening.

But I wasn’t expecting it.

I hadn’t looked for it.

I let go of a defect and found joy in its place and a lightning in my heart.

Love for myself, of myself, directed inward, and there.

A bloom.

A blossom.

A wild, fragrant flowering of brightness inside.

I feel lit up and a glow.

Warm and safe and taken care of.

I have no problems.

I really don’t.

Oh.

Yes.

Challenges, there will always be challenges, and room to grow, I don’t doubt that, there’s always room to grow, but problems, no I don’t have them.

Not now.

Not right here in this glorious moment of freedom.

School’s out for winter!

Ok.

That doesn’t sound as good as school’s out for summer.

But believe you me, after the semester I had.

It is hella sexy.

Hella.

LETS GO HARDER!

February 17, 2014

He shouted in my ear.

I smiled and danced away.

Twirled away, closed my eyes and watched the music smash against my eyelids.

The gentleman, it was his birthday, then approached my darling friend Bonne, “let’s go harder!”

“Let’s just pace ourselves,” said Bonne and smiled.

Bahahahahaha.

This from a lady who had a bowl of chicken soup before the dance-a-thon and the previous response not a response from the little old lady with bad knees who had a cup of herbal tea at a cafe before meeting up with my friend to go to the End Up.

Oh yes, that bastion of drugs, house music, and late night parties all San Franciscan.

The End Up serving San Francisco’s after hour scene since 1973.

The End Up

The End Up

Where I have ended up frequently in the past, but not so much in the last few years.

The idea to go was Bonne’s a few weeks back she texted me and another lady friend who had cut a rug, literally, at a house party back in December and we had all vowed that we would find time to do this thing called dancing once again.

And we did.

I still cannot believe that we did.

We got there at 9p.m.

“You ladies are the first ones here.”

The bouncer said checking out ids and bags, no drugs here sir, promise.

Not even any caffeine.

Well, not for me anyway, my friend had gone over to the Shell Station across the street and scored a Red Bull.

Oh, back in the day.

I have bought cigarettes there, gum, Red Bull, and most importantly, sunglasses.

Yup.

Nothing better than rolling, literally and figuratively out of the End Up into the bright morning sun.

Our birthday friend was sporting his sunglasses inside.

At 10 o’clock at night.

I had almost talked myself out of going out tonight.

But I didn’t want to disappoint my friend and in an effort to get out and do things, I had said to a number of folks, that yes, I will take your suggestion and have some fun.

I had fun today.

I did.

I slept until 9:30 a.m.

That is fun and quite unusual for me.

I took the morning easy, mellow, slow.

Wrote.

Ate breakfast.

Meditated.

Then took a bike ride along the ocean.

When I came back for lunch the back yard was calling my name, so I ate lunch al fresco, ensconced in an Adirondack chair facing into the sun and read my book.

Then I drank some tea and sat outside for almost an hour reading.

When I finished my book I did the unthinkable.

I had a nap.

Craziness!

I napped on a Sunday.

I am surprised the word did not come crashing to an end.

After the luxurious 45 minutes of snoozing I had in the middle of the afternoon, I rode my bicycle up to Cole Valley and dealt with my playa bike that has been needing attention since, well, since I was at Burning Man in, uh, September.

I got it over to American Cyclery and the owner happily took her in.

He even tagged it for his own private project.

I was actually quite flattered.

It was sweet.

I had a bit of time on my hands and ducked into Free Gold Watch.

Pinball!

Free Gold Watch

Free Gold Watch

The Machine

Bride of Pin Bot

Play Boy

Play Boy Pinball

I have walked past Free Gold Watch a number of times on Waller Street, but never actually went in.

I had been under the impression that they were just a t-shirt printing shop, not really an arcade.  But arcade they are.

They even had a Ms. Pacman.

I played The Machine for a while, getting back into my groove from so long ago when I used to play pinball down at Challenges on State Street in Madison.

I dated a manager there and knew loads of the guys running the place.

In fact, I believe I dated two guys that used to work there.

Yeah, I just admitted that I dated arcade dorks.

Fuck off.

They were both cute though, in their little brown polyester pants and striped referee shirts.

Sigh.

Oh, memories.

The Ms. Pacman cracked me up too, I noticed as I was dropping a quarter into the slot, the sticker that says, “she swallows!”

Holy crow, batman, what the hell.

I have never seen that before, but it was original signage on the game.

Ha.

She swallows indeed.

I spent about an hour playing games then headed off to Church and Market for my commitment, after that, a cup of tea at Church Street Cafe.

Because, yeah, that’s what I do before going out dancing, I have some herbal tea.

Bonne laughed at me when she came to the cafe and saw me all curled up in a big leather chair with my tea and the newspaper.

“You look so cozy.”

Indeed, I felt cozy and I did not feel much like getting up, but I did, I did and I rallied and we went.

She caught a cab and I rode my trusty steed down to 6th and Harrison.

I thought it would be amusing to take some shots of my bike while I was there.

The Whip

The whip

I was given lighting instruction by a man with a very large parrot on his shoulder who was bouncing along to the music seeping through the door and smoking a cigarette at the curb.

We had a fun little chat and then it was time to go in.

The music was great, but much to both our chagrin, the coat check was closed down for the night.

Fortunately it was not as busy as either one of us had suspected it would be and we were able to keep an eye on our things.

Feck.

I had my messenger bag with me, I was not about to let that out of my sight.

All our things stayed on the dance floor, occasionally nudged out-of-the-way of the birthday boy or the two Asian couples that were so obviously on E it was adorable to watch.

I mean, at one point the four of them were all in a circle holding hands and swaying to the music.

It was really too cute.

Addled, absolutely, but sweetly so.

Bonne and I also had us a little photo shoot, because, come on, why not?

We’re at the End Up and we are not drinking or going HARD, we are just dancing and smiling and hugging and having an awesome time getting down to some old school House music.

We played tourist at the End Up.

It was hysterical.

Bon Bon

Bon Bon

41 at the End Up

Three Day Weekend Work it Out

Water Fall/End UP

The Famous Water Fall

I remember once meeting a woman who was 40 and she went dancing every weekend at the End Up and it was her life and her exercise and her all.

“Shoot me dead,” I told a friend, “if I am ever 40 and still dancing at the End Up.”

Well, lucky for me, tonight I was 41.

Ha.

Never say never.

And as the morning winds its way into the wee hours just before dawn, I think, I am really lucky to have such a good girlfriend and such an awesome experience.

Really lucky.

And to then hop on my bike and cut through the crisp night air, plunge through pockets of cold magnolia blooms scenting the air in the Upper Haight, to the spice of eucalyptus in the Pan Handle, and the fresh pine evergreens as I flew, really, there was no traffic, down the center of Lincoln Avenue, and turn my steed faithfully home.

Because, yes Virginia.

Fun was officially had.


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