Posts Tagged ‘chopper’

On The Road Again

October 19, 2014

Honey, I just can’t wait to get on the road again.

Baby.

Ooh.

Yeah.

That’s right.

I got back in the saddle, I hopped back on the horse and I rode her all over town.

My Vespa that is.

Yes, my Vespa, not his Vespa, my Vespa.

Because a lady can change her mind and that’s ok.

There was a time, and not too long ago where I would have said ok, I said I’m going to sell it, I’m selling it, or whatever it was I was doing or thinking about doing, even though I had some doubts, because I said I would, I would.

I wasn’t allowed to change my mind.

Which meant I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes.

Which means I have to be perfect.

And man.

I tell ya, perfect is a hard state to achieve and maintain.

Having neither achieved or maintained said state ever, I should know.

Having tried to maintain that state of perfection all my life, I should really know.

I was unsettled this morning about the scooter when I woke up.  I prayed.  Yeah, I do that, weird huh, but it works and I’m not about to change the efficacy of something when it works, do it.  So I asked for some direction and did some writing and then I did a sitting meditation on top of it.

What did I need to do to get the scooter ready?

I should put air in the tires, I should dust her off, she’s basically been at a stand still since June 4th when I sprained my ankle trying to kick-start it, I should maybe, if I can get it started, top of the gas in the tank.

Then I sat.

There were two things bothering me at the edge of my brain.

One of them had to do with a piece of mail I had gotten the day before yesterday.

The other was that I sort of wanted to ride my scooter.

I mean, I was sort of jealous of the dude that was coming to buy it.

I was also concerned that the whole plan to sell the scooter, turn around, put a down payment on another and then transfer the title, get new insurance for the new scooter, pay extra taxes for a new scooter, and the getting my scooter dealt with, felt all too complicated.

That knowledge coupled with the piece of mail I received, which was an offer for a credit card, sat with me.

Now.

I haven’t gotten an offer for a credit card in a long time.

Like, oh, seven years to be exact.

I picked up the VISA pre-approved credit card application and smiled, I had forgotten, though not truly forgotten, about my bankruptcy filing that I did, yes, you guessed it, seven years ago this month.

October 15th, to be exact.

I filed for and was granted a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

I did some stupid things, drinking a lot and doing a lot of cocaine fueled those stupid things, and I had to pay for them when I first got into recovery.

But I did not.

I did not for about a year.

I was really destitute my first year of recovery, I am still uncertain how the hell I got through, but I did, I was graced and I got through and after that first year I had to start cleaning up the wreckage of my financial history.

“We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them,” she quoted to me as we sat and drank coffee in the kitchen of her house.

Fuck me.

I owe a lot.

I was scared.

It was hard.

I made a lot of phone calls with a script I had help writing, I made amends and repaid what I could when I could where I could.  I repaid my best friend $1100 for rent.  I paid off the IRS.  I paid of Victoria Secrets (the pair of jeans and the bra that I had bought on my credit card for $128 eventually cost me $785 after not paying on the Victoria Secrets card I had taken out right before I got sober, but I paid it off–said pair of jeans, fyi, I sold to Buffalo Exchange for a whopping $15 store credit, or $8 cash, I took the cash and bought some groceries).

I made payments to VISA and MasterCard and another card I had, maybe another separate VISA account?  Not even sure, but I made payments.

Sometimes five dollars a month.

Sometimes twenty.

I finally, after a year of doing this, maybe a year and a half, took the advice of a room-mate, saw the free lawyer at the San Francisco Public Library, who told me to file bankruptcy, and I set the wheels in motion.

It cost me $1500.

It cleared me of over $68,000 in debt.

Most of it interest.

The original debt might have been around $12,000 or $13,000, I’m hazy on the numbers.

Anyway.

The only thing I owed on was my student loans, which they won’t absolve, and I have spent the last 9 1/2 years paying my way in cash with very few exceptions.

The plane ticket back from Paris.

And this scooter.

That’s what got me.

When I saw that piece of mail saying I was pre-approved, my first thought was, now I can buy a new scooter and get on this thing.

Then I thought.

Wait.

What?

Why go into debt when I am almost completely done paying off the Vespa?

I have two payments left, I could probably pay it off right now if I wanted to, why go into debt buying a new one?

And then.

It’s so cute, my Vespa, that is.

I sat.

I meditated.

I got quiet.

I thought, felt, asked, listened.

It seemed to be that it was not the prudent thing to do.

I sought further instruction.

I rode my bicycle to 7th and Irving and sat at Tart to Tart and did some reading and spent some time talking about where I am in my life and what’s happening and dating and work and then I rode home on my bicycle.

I was beginning to feel, honest, in my gut, that I was not supposed to sell the Vespa.

I made lunch.

I sat on the back patio and flipped through a Vogue and watched the sky and then I went and got the keys to the scooter.

Act as if.

I pulled it out.

I dusted her off.

I wiped her down, put air in the tires, and decided I would try to start her up and take her to the gas station down the street.

I used my right foot, not my left.

Guess what happened?

No, really guess.

Ha.

She started on the second kick.

The engine-turned over, I gave her some gas and then I let her sit and warm up.

I went inside, put on a jacket, grabbed my helmet, my messenger bag and my wallet.

I hopped on my scooter.

I had not forgotten how to ride it.

I knew within a minute, less probably, of being on the scooter, I knew by the first stop sign I reached at 46th and Irving, that I was keeping her.

I was grinning ear to ear.

I took her to the gas station, topped off the tank, for a whopping $3, and rode her back to the house.

I parked in front of the garage and called the man who wanted to buy her and said, I apologize for the late notice, but I have decided to not sell my Vespa.  I hope you understand and I am sorry if I have inconvenienced your schedule in any way.

He was super sweet about it and that was that.

I rode her to the grocery store, just to get a little more comfortable on her, through the park, and then back to the house to unload my bag.

I rode her up Lincoln to Cole Valley, then to 17th Street, up and over the hill, god damn the view, then up and over Diamond Street to St. Phillips in Noe Valley.

And like that.

I’m back in the saddle again.

It was a bit rocky at points.

I killed it twice.

But I restarted her without a hitch and breathed through the entire thing and whooped with joy more than once.

Grateful that I am allowed to not be perfect, to make mistakes, to learn from them, and to literally get my butt back in the saddle.

I have to say.

I am more than a little proud of myself for doing it.

Walking through some fear.

It does a girl good.

Note to self.

Remember that tomorrow on your date!

Which I will enjoy, no matter what, because I will know that I have a gorgeous little scooter waiting to take me for a ride when it’s done.

Vroom!

Vroom!

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Hug And A Squish

September 17, 2014

A kiss on the cheek.

A tear in my eye.

Don’t cry, don’t ruin your eyeliner.

A hug for the mom.

A thank you.

And off into the sunset.

Literally.

On my chopper playa bike with my purse in the front basket and a 1/2 gallon of unsweetened vanilla almond milk that I had left at the house in their fridge.  Right on down the road, well, not really, I rode the sidewalk all the way back until about 41st Avenue, then I turned in and onto Irving to take it all the way down to 46th Avenue.

And home.

I parked my playa steed in the garage and brushed the dust off my hands.

All done.

I said goodbye to my little chap in Cole Valley and gear up to start a new position in the Mission in less than a week.

Today I had scant plans, except the goodbye and the bicycle pick up.

I had a friend get a hold of me and we zoomed around the city and caught lunch, pun intended, at Catch, up on 9th and Lincoln.

The last time I had been there was with this friend and I rather enjoyed the continuity of it and that there are friends of mine that I can go months without seeing (even if we live in the same city my friends are hard people to keep up with, we all have such full lives) and it’s like we are instantly comfortable and relaxed and down for hanging out and shooting the shit.

I must have had five glasses of ice tea refills and we took forever to even look at the menu because we were too busy catching up and getting back into the swing of our lives, dramas, comedies, and situations.

I caught him up on all things work, Burning Man, New York, dating, lack there of, and plans to attend graduate school in the fall.

“What didn’t you write about in your blogs,” also came up as a topic.

There is some stuff that doesn’t make it here, fyi, should you think I lay it all out on the line.

I do, occasionally, keep some things to myself.

That’s when I know I have a friend who is absolutely interested in spending time with me, when they know that I edit and they want to hear about the edits and the intrigues and the life and times.

OH.

Don’t worry.

I still put an awful lot, if not most of it here, you’re not missing much I promise.

We also talked all things scooter, he’s the friend who sold me the Vespa, and I told him about my desire to sell the Vespa and trade it in for something automatic.

We chatted about that quite a bit, on and off with the general catch up that friends need to have.

Then we swung through the Haight and went sneaker shopping and window shopping and cool art book shopping, him, I was just along for the stroll.

After.

A car ride, it is fun to cruise about town in a car, I have to say, it really is.

We rolled over to Hayes Valley, did more window shopping, then enjoyed an Americano from Blue Bottle’s shop on Linden Street.  We sat in the open parkway area and soaked up the autumnal kissed sunshine until I had to make my way to Cole Valley.

I love San Francisco.

It was a treat to be a little tourist gal with my friend today.

We may even hang out again tomorrow if he has a clear schedule at work and go walk through China Town and eat cheap Chinese food with the rest of the tourists.

If he’s not available I may wend my way down to the Embarcadero and actually go out on a ferry-boat.  I didn’t end up going last Wednesday, I got a late start on the day and just didn’t feel like I had it in me to do a late crossing.

I may tomorrow.

I may not as well.

I may just sit in the back yard with a Edward St. Aubyn novel and enjoy the sunshine and the distant shush of the waves on the beach.

I do like the shush sound right about now.

There’s little traffic and the sun has set, and the roll of the waves can be heard in between the slide of the MUNI train rumbling down Judah Avenue.

I like this time of year out here.

It feels all summery and yet, there are few tourists and it feels like the sneaky summer that nobody knows about is happening.

I can leave the back door open to the sound and it’s not chilly inside, the heat of the day still dissipating into the air from the back patio where it’s been warmly collecting itself all day.

Maybe I will take my bicycle out for another ride.

Not too long.

Perhaps a swing through Golden Gate Park, go to the Japanese Tea Garden, hit the DeYoung, go to the Conservatory of Flowers, do a day at the park.

I am sure it will be quiet.

Then swing over to the Inner Sunset for an early evening meet up with some folks and back to my little bungalow by the beach.

I was even proactive today, which means tomorrow is really, truly wide open to anything, and I made soup and brown rice for the rest of the week.

In fact, it’s simmering on the stove right now.

White bean stew with organic chicken, carmelized onions and garlic, zucchini, corn, carrots, a little celery, a little kale, and some slow cooking on the back burner.

It’ll be done and ready for putting away by the time I am done blogging.

Not bad if I do say so myself.

Even my days off I like to get something done.

My goodbye is done.

My bicycle is back.

My staycation hits hump day.

More stories to come.

My Love Tank Filled Up

August 24, 2014

Full to overflowing.

I mean wow.

I wasn’t expecting it to happen and it just did.

I had a nice day with my little guy, some bumps here and there, it’s hard for a little boy to adjust to the heat and the things and the excitement and all the people.

It becomes overwhelming really fast.

And pop.

He will have to reset and refuel and nap and ease back.

Otherwise tantrums.

And that’s cool.

It’s just an expression of feelings that he cannot articulate, and there’s nothing wrong with having feelings, good or bad.

They pass.

Sometimes I feel like they never will, my feelings, but they do and just as I can have a challenging day out here on the playa, I can also have a number of random encounters that blow wide the doors of my heart.

And things are getting to be a challenge—but not in the way of the heat or the dust or the work—just the number of people here at Burning Man.

I mean.

It’s the Saturday night BEFORE the event happens and there’s a wait at the gate hours long, there’s more than 25,000 people already here.

That estimate was given to me by my boss late afternoon today and I bet there’s more than that now.

The gate for regular attendees will open tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.

The Bureau of Land Management has allowed the event to open its gates early to help with the egress of vehicles on the road heading in.

FYI.

The event doesn’t even start until Monday–but it feels like it’s happening all around me.

Right now, it’s all theme camps and workers coming in, artists, musicians, builders, art cars, volunteers, EMS, rangers, fire performers, the folks that do the work to delight all the senses and stop the heart.

Then there’s just the things that are heart stopping for me in particular.

I ran into my first bunny rabbit at the Artery on the Esplanade.

I was heading into town to hit a meet up with some folks at 8p.m. and there she was—Action Girl!

I saw the beautiful read hair and just about rolled over her on my bicycle.

I knew that the Junebug could not be far behind and I was correct.

Oh good gravy.

My heart is just booming now, remembering.

She tackled me with love and I just swept her up in my arms and carried her across the road way and sat down on a bicycle rack and I don’t know what I said, I mean it was just a babble of hugs and love and so good to see you’s and incoherent mumbles into her hair and neck and she still smells like Junebug and she’s still my Bug and oh.

 

Oh.

My heart.

Such damn fine goodness.

Winning.

I am winning.

She remembers me.

That, I cannot say how important that is to me or why exactly that the thought plagues me once in a while, they will forget, the charges, the babies grown, the children off to school, pre-school, other adventures, and though I know I did not lavish the love on the in vain, should they forget I would still have loved just has hard just as much, just as fierce.

But.

To have her know and remember and hug me back and tell me how much she loved me and how she giggled and wrapped her arms and legs and whole self around me, gracious, I felt so verklempt.

Ugh.

The words they do fail.

It’s love and it’s love and it’s more love and I just had my cup so filled and then overfilled and I have to say I may have gotten a little leaky, but I was able to contain myself enough to say hi to mama and papa and let them know EXACTLY where I am camped.

8:45 & C

Camp Equilibrium.

Look for the red and yellow flags.

The Bambi Airstream.

The blue chopper bicycle with the vanity plate “Carmen” on it and the purple pennant, that’s where I will be.

And there’s a dome with couches and hammocks and another little girl here—Sassafrass—and well, me, I’m here.

Let’s hang out and do makeup and talk silly talk and bounce on the jumping balls and travel to the Campoline Camp down the road.

And let’s hug.

A LOT.

Because what I have discovered, again, always more this learning, is that my heart can continue to be broke open to hold more love.

You broke me open little girl.

You made my heart bigger and now I have more capacity for love.

And the love has to be given away, because it’s best shared.

That’s the thing about sharing—there’s more for everyone.

I was not able to stay as long as I wanted.

I had places to go and people to check in with and I rode off on my bicycle into the twilight dusk of Black Rock City so glad, so grateful, so blown open, I must have glowed in the dark with the love.

I was also hoping to run into my friend who were coming into the city tonight, but I suspect that they must have had one hell of a wait at the gate and I did not want to spend my entire evening twiddling my thumbs.

I asked the woman in charge of placement at the Village they are staying at to show me where they would be located in the camp and I will pop in tomorrow.

That’s what a Poppins does.

She pops into places.

Or nanny’s, you, know, semantics.

Then the cherry, really I might be in love and I sure hope I get to meet you again, Johnny from Robot Heart, on my nanny Sundae.

I rolled up to the DMV (Department of Mutant Vehicles–all art cars that venture out on playa have to be registered and checked to make sure they are not a danger to anyone out at the event) thinking that I was seeing Heart Deco, where a friend of mine is camped.

I asked after her to the group of gentleman standing by their vehicle waiting for inspection.

One of them came up to me and asked if he hadn’t just seen me at a meeting.

“Weren’t you just with Feed The Artists?”

Nope.

“I was at a meeting elsewhere,” I said and smiled.

“What’s your name?”

“Johnny.”

“Poppins, as in Mary Fucking Poppins, Not Your Nanny, at your services,” I curtseyed over my bicycle handles, if one could be said to curtsey astride a bicycle.

“Mary Poppins?”

“Or the Poppins, I am a nanny on playa.”

Then.

The most amazing thing.

I mean, I still have goosebumps thinking about it.

He sang me “A Tuppence” from Mary Poppins.

The kissed my hand.

Swoon.

Full.

Full and then some.

I like lot’s of things.

Love, love, and love.

So good.

So blessed.

So, well, loved.

Thank you Burning Man.

So very pleased to be here.

 

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul’s
The little old bird woman comes.
In her own special way to the people she calls,
“Come, buy my bags full of crumbs.

Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you’ll be glad if you do.
Their young ones are hungry,
Their nests are so bare;
All it takes is tuppence from you.”

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
“Feed the birds,” that’s what she cries,
While overhead, her birds fill the skies.

All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares.
Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares.

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she’s calling to you:
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.”

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she’s calling to you:
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.”

 

You Are The Poppins

August 5, 2014

So it was spoken.

So it is.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Today my charge looked at me and said that, “you are the Poppins.”

My eldest charge knows what my playa name is–Poppins.

That’s the G rated version.

My playa name is actually Mary Fucking Poppins, thanks to PQ’s wife who named me that last year about this time as I was planning the return to playa nanny land.

He also knows his playa name, his papa’s and his mama’s and many of the participants that are going or working or camping there.

The little guy has been saying, “we’re going to Burning Man,” quite a bit lately.

He’s again, entirely correct.

We are going to Burning Man.

In 11 days.

Eek.

He was dressed, partially for it today, showing off a pair of grey furry monster slippers with three toes and orange claws.  Way too cute.  He has a bear hat and a raccoon hat, a dragon suit, I saw some face paint at Flax on Saturday, and I am thinking I might have to go get some of that for dressing up on playa–little fox face, little bunny rabbit, or a cat–oh the cute.

He’s also got goggles, a back pack, his own camelbak, and plenty of other gear I haven’t seen yet, but I know is accumulating in neat, tidy piles in the garage.

Which makes me realize, Jesus God, that I am going to unearth my Burning Man boxes this weekend, because, um, when else am I going to pack.  I will have just this last weekend to organize, though I know it’s all going to come together quickly as it usually does.

The trick of it will be working the full week, saying goodbye to my little guy, I am holding off on saying goodbye to my little girl Thursday for a few more days, I got a message from the mom that they could use a little help the week following my return, so I will be seeing her two more times before our end is up, and then getting all my gear over to my family’s home next Thursday.

Or possibly next Wednesday.

I’m not quite sure how I am going to work it.

The mom did offer me use of her vehicle, so I could probably do it all on Wednesday night and live out of my messenger bag for a day or two until we get settled on playa the afternoon of the 16th.

It seems like a lot.

But it will just unfold and unroll and next thing you know I will be taking photographs and watching the sunset kiss the Calico Mountains.

And I got two more things out-of-the-way today, not having planned for either.

First, I got my ticket and early arrival pass.

“Don’t lose it,” the mom said as she handed over the envelope.

Nope.

That would suck.

To get all the way there and suddenly be like, oh, snap, I left my ticket on my table at home in San Francisco.

I did hear of an acquaintance who had to have a friend break into her place in New York and FedEx her ticket to Reno where she drove back to pick it up after having landed at the event and realized just that, she’d left the ticket on her desk at home.

Ack.

No thank you.

I put my ticket, after taking a photograph of it of course, and early arrival pass in the same safe place I put them in last year.  I did not to have taken them out once after they were put into their secret special sauce spot last year and I did not even bother to look until we got to the gate and then I took them out, having just a moment of panic that I had not looked in said secret spot until that moment.

It’s a safe place.

The second thing I got.

My bike!

My playa chopper is ready to roll once again thanks to Tyson at American Cyclery, thanks man, you freaking rock!

He fixed it and it works and hopefully my ankle will work and I will have ready wheels when I arrive.

I had some trepidation to even get on the bike when I picked it up from the shop, I couldn’t bring myself to get on it or even put myself in the saddle.

I had started to limp again about mid afternoon.

The time is getting a little longer, imperceptibly, every day, the time of day when I notice my ankle start to ache is getting just a tiny bit further out into the day.

Tomorrow marks two months from the injury.

Two months not on my bicycle.

Two freaking months.

It’s hard to believe that.

That first month was horror, and I don’t even know how I got through it, well, yes I do, all my amazing friends and family who took care of me, but looking back, it’s a dark blotch on the calendar.

“Are you ready to dance yet?” My friend asked me tonight as I settled into my spot at 7th and Irving.

“Nope,” I sighed, “and I got invited to go dancing twice this past week!”

I am ready to dance, but I am cautious to do much more than tap a foot.

I was listening to some Paul Simon and I wanted to dance around with my boys and I could muster it for a moment or two, but eventually I just sat down and held them alternatively in my lap and bounced a bit to the music.

I miss dancing and exercise, and walking without pain, and my bicycle, but I know I will be back on the dance floor, back out into the world, back in the saddle soon.

The saddle I get on first will most likely be the gigantic white sparkling banana seat on my chopper.  I don’t think I am going to pull out my one speed until after Burning Man.

I don’t want to risk irritating the ankle, I want to be there for my family and on top of my game.  My little guy is more active and it’s going to be an entirely new experience out there with him being so mobile and engaged.

There will be lots of playing and cavorting and hanging out and rides in the red Radio Flyer wagon, and perhaps some bicycle rides, I wouldn’t mind rigging something up so that my bike had a carrier and maybe an umbrella.

Or a parasol.

I am “the POPPINS” after all.

I have a name to uphold.

 


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