Posts Tagged ‘Decompression’

Congratulations

April 6, 2017

 

Congratulations Burner!

Hello Carmen,

You’ve been awarded a Low Income Ticket to Burning Man 2017: Radical Ritual. 

Here’s what you need to know about your Low Income Ticket:

Holy toledo

The best news ever.

Well, maybe not ever, but.

LOOK MA!  I’M GOING TO BURNING MAN!

Woot.

Heh.

Not excited.

Not even a little bit.

Not even.

Fuck.

Who the hell am I kidding.

Over the motherfucking moon.

I’m going.

11th year in a row.

It’s a special year for me too.

It’s Shadrach’s tenth anniversary of his passing.

He’s the reason why I went to my first burn.

“You really should go to Burning Man, you are such a burner,” he told me at my first Decompression party.

He had a loft in the Dog Patch neighborhood, close to Esprit Park where the Decompression Party is held annually, the after Burning Man party, which until I went to Burning Man was super exciting until I went to Burning Man and then it’s a little anti-climatic.

One of the best San Francisco street parties.

But.

It cannot hold a candle to the actual event.

I mean.

What the hell can?

There is nothing like it on Earth and every year that I get to go I am excited and nervous and I don’t know if I’m going to e able to swing it this year and then.

Well.

Heh.

I do.

Even when I was only able to go for four days last year.

I still went.

I have been out as long as 23 days.

That’s when it starts to get weird, FYI.

My burn this year will be the standard event.

When I was there for long stints of time, 14 days, 18 days, 19 days, two years in a row of 21 days, the infamous year of 23 days that was one of the worst dust storm years ever and long, slow, painful hours stuck in a trailer, I was working.

This year.

Well.

This year, this lady is not working.

No “Working Man” for me.

I mean.

It’s always a lot of work, no matter how you slice it, I spend a lot of time getting prepared, but I won’t be tied to any job this year, I won’t be nannying, I won’t be doing a thing but enjoying the event.

I even pulled a few shifts last year, though they felt pretty negligible, I helped where I could and I’m not the person who shirks from work, I’ll help out where I can when I go this year too, but I won’t be working scheduled shifts.

I’m going to Burning Man.

Pinch me.

I need supplies!

I need a new bike.

Sigh.

Although resigned to the loss of my playa bike, I am still sad to be without her and I will be sourcing a new bicycle.

Fuck.

I will also be sourcing a ride there and back.

I do have a parking pass.

So.

That’s a nice thing, I can exchange that or give that to anyone who can give me a ride.

The ride will come together.

My gear will come together.

I really have the majority of it anyway.

I have my own tent, I have an air mattress, a cooler, clothes, boots, bandanas, hats, camp chair, flowers for my hair.

I will need to get a bicycle.

A new air pump for my air mattress.

And possibly a second cooler.

I did well with one cooler last year, but I was just up there four days, I may need a second one, nothing to be super concerned about.

The bicycle will be the first acquired thing, the rest will follow.

I already have a coffee date with a lovely Siren from Siren’s Cove, the camp that flew me home last year, that was one hell of a gift let me tell you, when I posted up on social media that I had scored a low-income ticket she immediately requested girl time coffee date at Center Camp Cafe.

I was like.

Yes.

Yes, please.

Oh my God.

This is going to be some kind of crazy new experience for me.

Not having to be tied to anything, being able to hang out, not having responsibilities, I mean, other than keeping myself alive and hydrated.

Heh.

I am going to have all the adventures.

ALL.

Of them.

Yes.

A friend of mine laughed when I posted the announcement as well, gently giving me shit about how I am always surprised that I am going.

But.

I always am!

It seems like such a big deal, how will I make it work, how will it happen when I’m in Paris, when I’m between jobs, when I don’t have money, or it’s conflicting with school.

Or.

All the crazy stuff that my brain manufactures.

And I don’t have that so much this go around, once I found out that school didn’t conflict and that I got the balls to ask off from work, well it only seemed to follow that I was going to have to go.

It would just be a matter of getting the ticket and the ride.

I always say, if you want to go, you’ll go, and once you have the ticket, it’s pretty much guaranteed.

At least for me.

And granted, like I’ve said, I’ve gone and I’ve gotten rides and tickets and I have worked my ass off out there.

Some years more so than others.

But, really, every year, even my first year, when I was “just” going to take my best friend’s ashes to the Temple, I ended up working.

That was 2007 and the Man was vandalized and burnt early and the organization rebuilt it for the burn night.

I ended up being in the cafe when a worker for the Man Crew came in and told the cafe manager I had just spoken to about signing up to volunteer and they didn’t have any shifts, I was literally walking away, and she grabbed me, “you’ve got shifts now!”

Boy did I ever.

I ended up pulling three or four ten-hour cafe shifts.

And that started something for me, being a part of, being involved, and though I am a little scared, let me be honest, to be untethered, I am also excited, I am so excited to get to go and just be a participant.

No.

I won’t roll in the fucking dust when the Greeters greet me, there’s enough dust in my bins in the garage to carry me through that experience, I will be seeing the event with a new set of eyes.

Fuck.

I need to celebrate.

I’m going to Burning Man!

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

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Take It Easy

October 8, 2016

My mom said to me on the phone today, “relax this weekend.”

Bwahahahahahahaha.

What?

I mean I don’t plan on doing anything this weekend.

No socializing.

No dates, I haven’t been asked out by a soul.

No going to Decompression.

I had plans to go with a friend, but she’s under the weather and I’m anxious.

AH, grad school anxiety how do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.

Psychopathology reading.

Family Therapy reading.

Child Therapy reading.

Gestalt paper.

Family Therapy paper and polishing up my genogram–although I think I’m pretty done with it.

Child Therapy paper.

Now.

Within each of those subsets there is more than one book I have to read.

I have eleven different books I need to do reading from.

Two papers.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Oops.

Ha.

Oh fuck my life.

What life?

This weekend the life is all about the basics, sticking close to the homestead and powering through as much as I possibly can.

I would love to be fancy free this weekend, foot lose in the Dogpatch enjoying some Indian Summer and catching up with my Burning Man community, but I don’t even know if I’m going to take the time to go get a manicure and pedicure.

Well.

Hmm.

Actually I may go do that, I could use an eyebrow waxing too.

And then I can go grocery shopping.

And then do the cooking and the laundry and the cleaning and the reading.

Oh.

All the reading.

I have had such a full week this past week, I barely cracked in books before heading into work.

Most weeks I do get anywhere from a twenty-minute stint to an hour, sometimes longer.

I find that if I can break it up it becomes a bit more manageable.

Not that I can manage for shit, but I try.

I also need to go pick up my newly framed Mike Doughty signed Living Room Tour poster from Cheap Petes, I haven’t gotten a call that it’s ready, but I realized it’s been a week past the time when it was supposed to be ready and I wondered if perhaps they actually did call, but my phone was in the loo at the time.

So I do want to make a quick outing on my scooter to grab that.

I do figure that I will need to take care of my self-care stuff and cooking and grocery shopping and what have you, I just don’t figure I have any other time to do social stuff.

I need to make a big inroads in my reading and just knuckle down.

I can do it.

I met with my advisor for the first time today and it was great.

I had my concerns about practicum assuaged, I really don’t need to worry about it being the main message, at least not quite yet, that the process of doing it is already built into the curriculum and I’m well on my way.

I also was pretty much told that I was ready.

That my advisor, who happens to be the head of the department told me that felt affirming.

Not that I’m ready at all to apply.

I’m not.

Just that I’m on the right track and the school doesn’t have any concerns about my abilities to be a therapist.

“You’re a bit out there, but you are so empathetic in the field, it’s great,” he said.

“Me?” I laughed, “I’m a bit out there?”

Hahahaha.

Duh.

But.

I think that’s a good thing.

I think that I’m going to be really accessible to a lot of people.

I keep joking to myself that with all my tattoos and pink hair that I should be a rock star’s therapist.

There probably is a market for it.

Heh.

That being said, hearing that I was really empathetic was the big score for me, that is the most important piece, I feel, having empathy for the person who is in the room with me and what is happening and showing up for it.

We talked about my experiences in the school and also how I really do throw myself into the mix, in group therapy, T-Group, I really got in there and tried and got messy and made an ass of myself.

Oh.

And I learned.

I learned so much.

I also relayed that I have learned to see myself in a different way, that I am important to the cohort, that my fellows see me as intelligent and capable and good.

It was a good check in and I felt positive leaving and taken care of.

I was able to squeak out a few extra minutes before work and zoom over to Mission Flores and pick up a bouquet of flowers and drop them off to a friend in the neighborhood celebrating a big anniversary.

It was super fun to surprise her.

I just dashed in and out and gave her a hug.

Made my day.

Then work.

Which was long.

And good and challenging and I suspect that it will continue to be a bit of navigating as the family and I proceed toward our final weeks together.

We haven’t set an end day.

I’m giving them the weekend to contemplate what works best for them and also what would work best for me.

That I want to give myself a week off between gigs.

A little vacation.

It will also be the end of my fall semester and I’m sure there’s going to be a great deal of work that needs to be done before the semester draws to a close.

Hopefully I will get a day nailed down.

I am wavering between a couple of dates.

But I’m thinking Friday December 23rd will be the last day for me.

That gives me nine days off before starting the new gig.

I’ve been pretty much thinking it will be a Monday, January 2nd start to the new job.

The mom is due on December 30th.

Anyway.

Not that I have to get to involved with thinking about that, although I am curious to see how my days shift, I’m assuming I’ll be doing a much earlier start with this family, especially as the mom was talking about me dropping off the kids at school.

That means morning starts.

It will be a change in timing for me, and I think it will be good.

Aside from that.

All I need to do for the rest of tonight is relax.

Tomorrow.

All the reading.

All the things.

All the time.

Get it girl.

Grad school life.

It’s for real.

Seriously.

Soothing Sounds

October 3, 2016

For this Sunday.

I have felt off kilter all weekend.

Could be that it was my first weekend “off” in some time and the need to get out there and do something was in fierce competition with the need to get the fuck caught up on my reading for class.

I did actually get out of the house today but it was not a success.

And.

It was a total success.

I met friends in Cole Valley and we went to Free Gold Watch and played Street Fighter and Addams Family pinball.

It was fantastic.

Then we walked to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

Which I shall now proceed to call Hardly Strictly douchebag.

I just can’t handle the crowds.

I want to.

But.

I can’t deal with the jostling, the open containers, the copious pot smoking.

I didn’t even make it into one of the proper stages having started to get freaked out by the closeness of the people and the fact that we didn’t really go at the festival with a strategic entry point and I had left my scooter parked at 7th and Irving.

By the time we had crossed Crossover Drive and were still a way to go I thought I was going to start hyperventilating.

It didn’t help that I had not navigated my timing with meeting up with my friends and lunch and there was a tiny bit of miscommunication and the next thing I know I’m miles away from my scooter, in a big crowd of people, hungry and anxious.

Yuck.

I got my friends to the festival and turned around and started walking back to my scooter.

I tried.

I really did.

I also tried to now beat myself up too much as I got on the phone and called my person and sobbed a little about being overwhelmed.

I have just been tender and I know a lot of it has to do with further changes with my job and negotiating that and feeling unbalanced.

I like structure and my job has become, well, weird.

I’m now helping out the other family twice a week and interviewing this week with a referral from the mom of my original family and it feels a little enmeshed and strange and I am frankly over it.

I just want a clear-cut job.

I also know that my boundaries around job stuff are pretty rigid, I think it gives me some sense of self-control and control over the situation and lends to a false feeling of security.

The change that is happening.

Is.

Well.

Happening.

I can’t actually change that, I can roll with it or get rolled over by it.

I can also get out of it.

And I’m aware that I need to broaden my perspective and see that what is happening, this change-up, is not necessarily a bad thing.

It’s in fact.

A good thing.

But it is change and I’m not always, like never, comfortable with that.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this line of thought, just got lost in the cello music I’ve got on –Yo Yo Ma playing Bach sonatas.

Soothing Sunday sounds.

Other soothing things today.

I made chicken soup.

I made a fresh bed with clean sheets.

Two loads of laundry washed, dried, folded, put away.

And despite my consternation in regards to going to the park for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, I did get a nice walk in the park, the sky was blue-the brief rain fell early in the afternoon and passed quickly–the sun was out, I saw two red tail hawks and loads of flowers.

When I got home I took my Family Therapy reading and sat on the back porch in the late afternoon sunlight and read for an hour until my friend called to let me know they were at Java Beach.

I went down and sat outside in the last waning minutes of golden sunset and talked about Paris with them and going to Decompression next Sunday.

Decompression is a lot of people too, but not 100s of thousands, more like 10-15,000 and the venue is comfortable to me and I know people there and I know where I can go to chill out and the space is also smaller.

Anyway.

I shouldn’t get overwhelmed with the crowds and I will see folks that I haven’t seen since the event.

It will be a nice way to wrap up the summer for me.

This week will be lots of work, work interview for more work, and a meeting with my school advisor that I was supposed to have this past Friday but had to reschedule after I dropped my phone in the toilet and had to get a new one Friday before work.

I will, fingers crossed, do a lot of reading.

I have a paper to write on Saturday.

Then Decompression with my friends.

I think that’s how it’s going to be, show up, work my ass off, meet up with friends at least once a week and do something, even if it’s small.

I don’t have to go see a huge festival to feel a part of, if anything I usually feel more isolated in a crowd than I do out of one.

I have felt unaccountably sad in spots this weekend and I’m not sure what to attribute that too, but I’m grateful as well for those feelings, ah feelings.

The good news is I get to have them.

The bad news is I get to have them.

At least I’m alive to feel.

And there is so much goodness in the small, sweet, simple acts of self-care that I have done that I’m ok with the sads, they happen, then the happy will happen and all the others in between too.

The sound of the cello soothes me and I soften towards this place, this being, this quietness of self that is fine just exactly how it is.

I don’t need to fix me.

Just accept me.

That’s all.

That’s it.

Pretty fucking simple when I look at it like that.

And.

Easy.

If I let it be.

Easy like Sunday morning.

 

Unboxing

July 22, 2016

I hear it’s this thing.

This weird little things, where people post videos of themselves unboxing packages, iphones, laptops, Disney tchotchkes, etc.

Although, I think it’s meant specifically for technology gadgets.

I had an official unboxing moment just now.

Except.

Perhaps I should call it an “unenveloping.”

I GOT MY BURNING MAN TICKET!

I AM NOT EXCITED AT ALL.

AT ALL!

OH MY FUCKING GOD!

I’M GOING TO BURNING MAN!

Heh.

Sorry.

Couldn’t help myself.

I knew that the ticket had arrived as I got a message via e-mail that it had been delivered earlier this afternoon while I was at work.

That put a big old smile on my face.

Great big smile.

And there it was, just outside my door, sitting patiently waiting for me, in a brown envelope from UPS in the shared hallway of my spot.

I got it.

I put it on my table.

I hung up my coat.

I returned a few texts.

I lit some candles.

I mean.

Hello.

Ambiance.

Burning Man is sexy, no?

Then.

I delayed gratification.

I ate a sweet, ripe, black plum.

Which, though you may not know is very apropos.

“My favorite fruit is a black plum,” Shadrach told me, biting into a luscious black plum he’d gotten at the Civic Center Farmer’s Market.

Then he told me a story about this little girl in kindergarten who had a very sad lunch and he shared what he had all the while thinking, she can have anything she wants, just not the plum, plums are my favorite.

“Oh!  I just love plums,” she said and smiled.

I can see it.

I can see the sweet inner turmoil of six year old Shadrach.

Then.

He smiles and hands it to her.

I love plums.

Mostly because of that story.

And though it was not meant to be a serendipitous thing, it was, I now realize, the absolutely right thing to do, to stop and eat a plum before I opened my Burning Man tickets.

Shadrach died years ago.

His death is the reason I went to Burning Man in the first place.

He used to host Decompression parties at his loft in the Dogpatch.

“You are so Burning Man!” He would tell me. “You so need to go!”

He was right, he usually was.

But I never quite got it together.

I always was a little behind the ball.

Shadrach was in a coma for a week in the ICU at General Hospital, the details don’t bear repeating, suffice to say, it was an excruciating week and also one filled with so much love and tenderness and family and fellowship and community.

I still feel the ripple affects of that week in my life and in my heart.

He officially died the 30th of July.

One month later I was at Burning Man with a packet of his ashes.

“Do you think it’s too late to go?” I asked a friend at the hospital, “Burning Man, that is, I should go, I should take his ashes there, do you think that would be appropriate?”

The response was a resounding yes, a quiet yes, but a yes nonetheless that allowed the seed that Shadrach had planted years before in my heart to finally crack open.

“Sometimes God breaks your heart open so that you can know more love,” she said to me, quietly in passing as I bawled in a church somewhere in the Mission.

And out of that broken wide open heart grew this wilding wilderness of flowers and fire and magic and danger and excitement and glory and friends and more friends and extraordinary, beyond belief experiences.

This year marks number 10 for me.

Ten burns.

In a row.

Not bad.

Not bad at all.

Each its own challenge.

Each its own experience.

Each having its own heartbreaks, awakenings, striped raw emotional catharsis.

Always the same.

And yet.

Always different.

Dusty.

Hot.

Cold.

Windy.

Extreme fluctuations in weather, rainbows, rain storms, fucking hail one year, double rainbows, warm nights, freezing cold oh my god I’m going to die of exposure nights.

The year that I had a severe allergic reaction to wood smoke from a forest fire that was so big the smoke was drifting in from hundreds of miles away and I ended up in the med tents getting my nasal cavity washed out and crying like a helpless baby.

All the dancing.

Every year.

On top of cars, art cars, ships broke down in the sea of playa, on my bicycle, in the dust, at the trash fence, at the burn, riding around in sailing sloops, getting a hold of golf carts and riding out into deep playa on art tours.

Going out and taking photographs.

Sunsets.

Sunrises.

Home.

Oh, it’s home.

And I know I sound like a kid, a happy, crazy, woo-woo kid, but I sort of don’t care.

Especially since I went through the heart break of thinking I wasn’t going to get to go.

And now.

Well.

Over the moon might actually be a bit of an understatement.

I was thinking about things today as well, prep and all the stuff and things.

And I realized that I am going to have to really just let it all happen exactly how it’s suppose to happen, to not force things, manipulate things, to go light and bright, easy breezy carefree.

Maybe I don’t co-ordinate with my OG playa family and get my bike back up and running.

Maybe I walk like I did my first event.

Maybe I stop worrying about a tent and just go with the two man that was offered to me.

It’s not like I’m going to be there very long.

The ride, again, will happen, there and back.

I know it.

Things just work out the way they are supposed to.

My heart is wide open and the flower planted there so long ago continues to bloom and unfurl.

The love has not faded.

Only grown deeper, stronger, more entrenched in me.

Grateful beyond words for this experience.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

I’ll see you in the dust.

 

 

Trop Contente Ma Poule

October 10, 2015

Translation please.

“So happy my girl.”

I loved getting this text.

Even though I put myself in a place to make myself a tiny bit more hectic when I really didn’t think I could squeeze another thing into my over full schedule.

But.

When a dear, darling, yes, French, girl friend of mine texted me this evening when I had the boys in the bath asking if I would like to go see Franz Ferdinand next Thursday, “I have an extra ticket,” well, I had to say yes.

Mais, oui!

But of course.

I so want to.

I am going to have a full day that Thursday.

I had to double-check, than triple check, that the date was not a school weekend, no way I can go out to Oakland on a school weekend.

Hell.

I got invited to a dance party tonight in Oakland and I won’t say that I didn’t contemplate it, I did, but I have too much on my plate for tomorrow.

If it all goes as planned, haha, I will be meeting my person at noon, speaking at a thing at 1 p.m., taking myself out to lunch by 2:30 p.m., getting my nails done by three p.m. and fingers fucking crossed back to my place by 4p.m. so I can work on my Human Development paper before my date, which I am assuming is happening at 7:15p.m. as we have dinner reservations in the Mission at 8 p.m.

Whew.

So.

Sure.

Throw another thing in my schedule.

Oh.

Wait.

Hahahaha.

I already did do that today.

Next Thursday I also have an appointment downtown before work to renew my Healthy San Francisco health care.

I did some research last night, in between looking at dresses on ModCloth, because god only knows when I will actually have the time to go into a proper clothing store and actually buy new clothes, into my available health insurance options.

I readily discovered that it would be better fiscally for me to continue with Healthy SF.

I made the appointment for next Thursday, two days before my plan expires.

Yeah.

I know.

But it’s getting done and I don’t have to take a sick day from work.

My only other option was to go in at 9 a.m. on Monday morning and since the boys have off for the holiday, Columbus Day in case you need to make some big plans, I will be going into work at 10 a.m.

It felt like I was trying to make it work too hard.

And.

Tuesday I work even earlier, 9:30a.m.

But.

It’s ok.

I’m flexible like that.

Most of the time.

And I wanted to be flexible when my friend texted me.

I have turned down hanging out with some of my fellows in my cohort and I don’t want to continue to do that, even though it means squashing another thing into my life, so grateful I have such a full life, that I had to say yes.

Besides I really quite like the quartet from Glasgow, the Franz Ferdinand boys, and it should be a really good show.

I haven’t been to a show in a long time.

Unless you count Burning Man.

Which certainly is a circus of a show if there ever was one.

Speaking of which.

I realized yesterday, I won’t be going to Decompression.

Which is a new one for me.

I always go to Decompression.

Even though I always feel a bit let down by it.

It just is not the same, though it tries real hard.

It should be called, “Depression.”

Although I do like running into friends there and usually there’s some good dancing, some photographs and some hanging out that does me good, I do feel a little sad to be missing it, but I have plans to be working on school work.

I don’t know that I am going to get my paper written tomorrow, but I did go through all my notes this morning as well as pulling out a stack of post-it notes and marking all the places in the reader and in the gigantic text-book that I want to address in my paper.

In a sense, the knowing what I am going to write on makes the actually writing really not too bad.

If the paper goes like the last one did, and truth be told, I am better prepared with this one, I have done all the readings–finished them yesterday, and I have a good grasp on the material, it should not take longer than two, three hours tops to write.

“How’s grad school going?” My friend asked me tonight after doing the deal over at Our Lady of SafeWay.

I wasn’t expecting to be there tonight, I had a cancellation after work and I snuck in a little get right with God.

So exceptional, how I get what I need when I need it.

“It’s good, hard, full, some of it is super easy, the reading and the writing isn’t that hard, I’m used to writing, it’s more time management, that’s the hardest.” I told my friend and he gave me a big hug.

“You got this.”

I do.

He’s right.

I just also get a little caught up in the busy of it all.

But grateful, so much so, that I am finding the balance.

I also am finding myself inspired.

I wrote another sonnet out for the Burning Man collaboration with the photographer/architect/artist I met at Burning Man standing in line for the Mike Garlington chapel.

I have now written six.

I am going to write ten.

I have the frame-work done for all ten.

I have the six written in full and they make me happy.

Oh so happy.

Trop contente.

Indeed.

I figure I will write another tomorrow, and by Tuesday, I will have all ten written.

Then.

I will transcribe them into my laptop, they are all in my notebook, my Human Development notebook at that–it was the notebook I grabbed from my bag when I got inspired and started writing, although there are no Human Development references, I did find myself working some Freudian dream analysis into the last poem.

I don’t know that the poems are going to make sense to any one but me.

But.

I am very happy with the language.

It is lush and yes.

Poetic.

God.

I am lucky.

Music on my stereo.

Art on my walls.

Words at my fingertips.

And she shall make music wherever she goes.

Love in my life.

Friends who want to take me to Franz Ferdinand.

French in my vocabulary.

Burning Man in my heart.

Graduate school on my brain.

And a two-day reprieve from work.

Life.

It’s pretty fucking good.

No?

Any Boys Lately?

October 16, 2014

My friend texted me this evening as we were checking in about life, travels, speeding tickets, bumps on the head, and the Giants getting closer to that wild card slot.

“I haven’t been reading your blog, so I’m not in the loop.”

Well.

Funny you should ask.

I am taking action.

In addition to the date I have for this Sunday I returned, just a few minutes ago, a phone call from the gentleman I met at Decompression on Sunday.

Of course, I am presuming that he, like the rest of San Francisco (can I just say that was the best bike commute home!  Everybody inside the bars and taverns along Irving watching  the game, not a soul in the street, I flew home on my bike) was watching the Giants game when I rang him up.

I hadn’t even realized that I had missed a call yesterday evening, being preoccupied with other matters and it wasn’t until I had finished my blog last night that I realized there was a voicemail from a number I didn’t recognize.

I had recently given out my phone number for other purposes and supposed that the number was from a woman I had just met with and exchanged numbers with.

Wrong.

It was from J.

From Decompression.

Well.

Hello.

I thought I would return his call earlier today, but the day got a way from me at work, lots to do, little down time, much running of errands and cooking (homemade from scratch baked macaroni with three cheeses and pan sautéed garlic mushrooms, thank you very much), and going to the doctor’s office for flu shots, and the playground, and the usual dinner, bath, helter skelter time at the end of the day.

I have to say, just an aside really I don’t want to write my whole blog about nannying, that I am always a bit stunned when it is time to go, I am that busy.

I usually walk out the door, down the steps, open up the garage door and grab my bicycle and wonder, did that really just happen?

Did I just work a full day?

It goes by super quick.

Anyway.

I didn’t get a chance to return the call all day and I will say I almost talked myself out of it.

“He kissed like a dead fish,” kept running around my head.

Let’s be nice, I say.

First, the kiss was a little unfortunate since I was reserved in the kissing department as it tasted of beer.

I wasn’t really into delving into that.

Second.

I need to take action and actually, since I made the vow publicly in my blogging forum that I was going to attempt one date a week, I pretty much felt like this would qualify.

“Go where there’s interest.”

My friend’s follow-up text.

J. is definitely interested.

So, return the call.

Done.

I’ll line up a date with him and fulfill the commitment to myself to try to change and take actions asserting said change.

I left him a message and then turned on the lap top.

And wouldn’t you know.

Another message.

This time from someone I met at Burning Man.

Apologizing for not getting a hold of me sooner, and would I be interested in getting together now that he has some free time in his schedule.

Ah.

Yes.

You happened upon me at a good time.

And holy shit.

It looks like I am dating.

Not dating exclusively, not dating with any expectations around it, just dating.

It reminds me a lot of all the foot work that I did to get the job that I am currently in.

I started looking for a more viable option to my situation in January, I interviewed with families in Cow Hollow, the Marina, the Haight, and entertained queries from families in the Mission and Noe Valley.  As well as being head hunted by an agency out of Marin.

I did lots of work on my resume and collected letters of reference and investigated contracts and wrote out what I wanted and how I wanted to be treated.

In essence, I did an ideal, a work ideal, and then I took action.

I said yes to jobs that turned out to not work for me.

I got hired, not once, but twice, for families that after some consideration, decided they couldn’t afford me.

I kept the faith and kept trying and when I wasn’t looking, the right fit came at the right time, but it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t done the work.

Same with dating.

I figure anyhow.

And J. just called back.

You didn’t know since the blog appears seamlessly written, patting self on back, but just had a seven minute phone call wherein I had to turn down the offer to go out-of-town for the weekend.

Too fast friend.

And I am already booked in for this weekend.

And he’s booked in next weekend with family stuff.

But I said, call me when you’re free and we’ll go from there.

I am just putting it out there and trying.

Just having returned a call, and having a slightly awkward conversation on the phone is already feeling good, action generally does.

It’s when I sit and think that it fucks me up.

Here’s to not thinking.

Just more action.

I amused myself as well earlier.

I figure I am going to have fodder for the blog for a good while with the one date a week thing–whether it is in the finding, the making myself available, handing out my phone number, responding to profiles on-line that I normally wouldn’t, or just the misadventures thereof–it should make for some good reading.

I had a moment when I was riding my bike to work, pondering when I would return J.’s call and I laughed out loud.

It’s a bad romantic comedy, but the gist was, my dating goal sounds like a movie script: Boyfriend by Christmas.

I see Drew Barrymore starring.

I’ll just start with a date this weekend and trying to take another action tomorrow when it feels right and applicable to do so towards making myself available where the interest is.

You interested?

Now’s a great time to get in on this.

I’m not turning anyone away.

Come on in.

The dating waters are fine.

 

Call A Girl

October 13, 2014

Hottie enough and you might get her attention.

I may have just asked a guy out that I know on OKStupid.

We were bantering back and forth about the dismal dating world online and also about Tinder and whether or not I would have any success on it and I sort of said, why don’t we go on a date?

I mean.

Why not.

I am giving all things a new try.

If it’s getting suggested to me that I need to go on dates and that I should date a bunch of guys, this was suggested to me as well a while back by John Ater too, then, perhaps I should start going on some dates.

I probably back assward asked this guy out and honestly, I have no idea whether or not we’re compatible.  We run in the same circles, although haven’t really done any socializing outside of them.

So.

Again.

Why not.

I got to jump-start this thing some how.

And I also gave my number to a guy that I met at  Decompression today.

He also kissed me.

I saw it coming and was ok with it, then the taste of beer in my mouth like a cold dead aluminum can made me pull back.

“Uh, sorry, I don’t drink, and you’ve got a beer on you,” I said stepping back, and sure as shit, Tecate.

Yuck.

“Excuse me a second,” I said and dug into my messenger bag and got my water bottle.

I took a pull of water, swished it around my mouth and spat.

It wasn’t that bad, but the last thing I want with 9 1/2 years sober is even the faint taste of beer in my mouth.  Bad enough when I have to walk through a cloud of pot smoke or worse, a haze of crack smoke, but beer taste in my mouth, no, no, no thank you.

“Oh shit, I’m so sorry, you told me you don’t drink earlier,” he said apologizing profusely.

I had met him earlier in the afternoon and I am not even sure how, we were standing in the same general area?  I just looked up and there was this very tall man staring at me with a big smile on his face.

“Do I know you?” I asked smiling.

“You certainly look familiar, your smile is gorgeous, I don’t think I would forget having met you,” he smiled and stepped a little closer.

He offered me a sip of his beer.

“No thanks, I don’t drink,” I said.

We chatted for a few minutes, then I meandered on down the street.

I ran into all sorts of lovely folks.

And I saw my little guy from the previous nanny share I did before my current job.

He was so adorable and cute and delicious.

We danced to a marching band drum corp and had a splendid reunion.

I missed seeing all the folks I thought I was going to see, there were a lot of folks there and eventually people sort of blur together and its hard to find folks, but I figured, just like at Burning Man, I would see the people I was supposed to see.

Juno and her aunt.

Photographer Sidney Erthel, who bestowed upon me the magical words, “I have some great shots of you and Juni from the event, I’ll be sending them too you.”

Oh yay!

Bettie June and Zack.

Frog.

Big Daddy.

Odwally.

Kat and Kepi and Pnut.

PQ and Playa Martha who I used to nanny for, I missed their daughter and the new baby, they had gone home with grandma for naps, but I got to catch up with the folks and get hugs and photos and that was super sweet.

I walked around a bit more trying to locate people and just kind of gave up on it.

I was slowly turning into a pumpkin.

“There she is!”

I turned and there was the tall gentleman from earlier in the day beaming at me.

“Hello again,” I said and smiled.

“I really feel like I know you,” he said, “there’s just something about you, are you in recovery?”

“I am,” I said and wondered where this line of conversation was going since he had a can of beer in his hand.

“Do you ever go to ecstatic dance?” He asked.

I told him I had gone once to the one in the Mission and he told me about Wednesdays and Sundays in Oakland.

I told him, I have been invited there many times, but that it’s just a haul for me to get to, especially living out at Ocean Beach.

“Wait!” I said, “you must know my friend B____.”

I described me friend.

“I do!” He said.

I smiled.

He smiled.

He leaned in towards me, “I can’t help myself, I really want to kiss you, may I kiss you?”

“Sure,” I smiled again, it certainly is nice to be asked.

And yuck.

Beer kiss.

Oh well.

“I am really sorry,” he said again, “I know this is probably awkward, but I would like to see you again, may I have your phone number?”

I said yes and gave him my number.

“Let’s just make it a coffee date, though, ok,” I said.

We hugged.

I wandered off in search of more friends.

I did not run into anyone else, and as the sun was setting and thoughts of my early start at work tomorrow looming, I hopped on my bicycle and rode off into the Sunset.

The Outer Sunset, that is.

I got home and had a little dinner.

I did not cook today, I went to Decompression and had some fun.

But I did go to the grocery store, so there were plenty of fresh veggies and humus awaiting me when I got home.

I had forgotten about asking my acquaintance friend on OKStupid on a date.

But then I got his message.

“Did you just ask me on a date?”

Maybe.

Heh.

I’m trying new things.

I am.

I’m up for it.

Nothing changes unless I change.

I asked someone out and I got asked out all in the same day.

I guess I am changing.

Awesome.

 

 

Will There Be Naked People?

October 8, 2014

He asked as we cruised up Chain of Lakes hitting the pavement one bicycle after the other.

I laughed.

“Maybe, yes, probably,” I chuckled to myself, “maybe not the kind of naked people who you want to see.”

The last time I saw a naked person at Decompression was about three years ago and she wasn’t exactly naked, but she was shirt cocking (what does one call it when it’s a female doing it?  Shirt cunting?) and it was disturbing.

I don’t know why, I didn’t stop to analyze it.

I don’t like shirt cocking in either male or female of the human species.

If you don’t know the reference it means a person, usually male, usually gay, usually a little older, who is sporting a white (I suppose it could be another color, but they always seem white, like the person is compensating for not wearing tidy whities thus they wear a white shirt) t-shirt with no pants underneath.

No underpants, that is.

The line of questioning was brought up by my companion riding through the park this evening.

“Carmen!”

“Hey, Blake!”

Glad I remembered your name, always a touch awkward when you meet someone and then can’t recall their name, although they never seem to fail to nail yours down at the moment of reconnection.

I met Blake last week, Thursday or Friday evening riding through the Pan Handle.

“Nice rim,” he said to me as we were waiting for the light to change on Masonic.

“Thanks,” I smiled, “you’ve got a nice ride too.”

He started peppering me with questions about my bicycle, have I always ridden in fixed, how is it riding in San Francisco with only one speed, where did I get my bicycle, how did I navigate the hills, etc.

Turns out he had just moved here two months ago.

I departed my twelve years living in San Francisco wisdom, “The Wiggle is essential,” I said.   And it really is, especially for anyone who lives on the Western edge of the city, it’s the only way to avoid the big hills.

I also diverted from the path a slight bit as the bike route will take a bicyclists slightly off course and I thought I had lost my riding companion to a different course, when he popped up again on Martin Luther King Jr.

“How did you get past me?” He asked.

“Oh just a little short cut, you’ll catch it sooner rather than later if you keep riding this way, where are you headed?”

“46th and Kirkham.”

“Neighbor!  I’m at 46th and Judah.”

We rode through the park together and chatted about the differences in bicycling in San Francisco versus Austin, where he’d just moved from.

I have ridden in Austin and the predominant flatness is quite appealing.

But there is something to the briskness of riding a cool October evening through Golden Gate Park that fills a space inside me with lightness and an expansive sense of gratitude to be alive.

It’s nice to make a bicycle friend.

It was nice to reunite on the ride home tonight.

I like knowing the people in my neighborhood.

“You live in the best part of town,” he said to me, shaking his head with envy, “the beach, all those cafes, the beach, surfing, the beach, do you surf?”

“I’ve gone out a whopping three times,” I said, “but I do love listening to the rumble of the surf as I write in the morning or blog it out at night.

In fact, I can here that roar right now, in between the spaces of the words I am typing, it’s a nice counterpoint and rather meditative.

Especially at the speed I type at.

I am lucky to live here.

I did contemplate what it would be like to be back in the Mission though, today as I whipped onto Valencia Street from 17th as I headed into work this morning.

Man the commute would be so much easier if I was in the Mission.

I would move back to the Mission if something became available that is comparable or better than what I have now.

I would.

I love my spot though, and it is home and I doubt that what I have here can be replicated there.

It will make a long commute to Decompression this Sunday, however.

I did it last year and I rode my bicycle.

I met a friend for coffee at Four Barrel then we rode our bicycles over to the Dogpatch for the party.

I actually wasn’t on the list to get into the event, but I ran into my, at the time, employer, who was going in with her husband and the little boy I was taking care of.

I danced and roamed and hung out with friends and had a mini family reunion, mostly of little people, all my little Burning Man charges, and I am hoping for some more of that this weekend.

“What’s Decompression?” Blake asked.

He and I were talking about weekend plans and I had mentioned that I was going and since he was new to the city he had to go, it really is such a San Francisco party.

“It’s the official San Francisco after party for Burning Man,” I replied.

Which led to the naked people comment.

I think that there is a contingent of people who look at Burning Man as one big beautiful naked person festival.

And granted, there are some gorgeous naked people who get groovy out there in their birthday suits, I mean, they are certainly the ones getting their pretty selves photographed and in Rolling Stone.

But just like when you go to a nudist colony, there’s more than one Uncle Bob shirt cocking his wrinkly bits to put me off the idea that the majority of naked people are attractive.

The opposite is true is what I find.

But who am I to break someone’s fantasy.

“There’s naked people,” I said again, “and dancing, and music, and art, and fire, and it’s of course, loads of people in costume.  You should definitely check it out.”

“See you later!”  I called as I spun down Lincoln off of Chain of Lakes for my last leg of the journey home.

Blake crossed over Lincoln with visions of naked girls dancing in his head.

“Yeah!  At Decompression.”

“I’ll be there,” I said.

Fully clothed.

“Night!”

“Night, neighbor, safe riding.”

I smiled and whipped the rest of the way down the road.

See you at a Dogpatch near you soon!

Saying Goodbye

September 13, 2014

To turn around and say hello.

In the span of an hour I said goodbye to my little girl Thursday, who for today, was my little girl Friday, and then hello to my newest set of monkeys.

I headed over to the new gig with tears in my eyes from saying goodbye.

A goodbye that they never quite get, and a goodbye that I never am able to say without some tears.

I know it’s good-bye and there’s always a treat.

A splurge, a little sugar kiss to say I love you and you may not know how much, but I do.

Sometimes it’s that one bakery in the Mission on 24th street by the park with the ceramic tile snake hidden deep down on 24th behind a gate with the original water park action (before they redid Mission Park and Pool on Valencia and 19th), where there’s a shelf full of white flour Mexican cookies with thick crusted white frosting topped crazy and donut colored sprinkles.

Two of those please.

This is me saying goodbye, let me give you a treat I would never, ever give you, since I don’t eat sugar it’s not in my tool kit to feed it to a child I take care of.

I don’t mind it, really, it’s just that I don’t often get into the practice of buying cookies, more for my own mental health than anything else.

It’s sort of like buying someone a beer when you don’t drink.

Or an ice cream when you don’t cone.

I took my little lady bug to BiRIte and she got a cup, child serving, of vanilla malted and was gloriously and mind melding happy in her little universe.

I treated myself to an Americano at The Mill, probably the last one I will have there in some time.

I won’t be nannying in the NOPA any longer.

Or Cole Valley.

Nope.

I will be in the Mission.

After my Americano was drank and my little charge scooped the last dregs of melted ice cream soup from her little compostable BiRite cup I said my official goodbye, with an admonishment from the parent that it would not be our last time.

I know, but it always does feel like the last time.

I headed out.

I went out the door and managed not to sob until I hit the second flight of stairs and then when I got outside she was pressed to the window, three stories up, waving her little heart out.

I blew her kisses and crossed the street to catch the 24 bus down Divisadero.

I couldn’t wait at the bus stop.

It was too close to the house.

I didn’t want to be seen teary eyed and mopey waiting for the bus.

I walked down a few blocks and waited there.

I composed myself and made sure that I was not a smeary teary mess and got on the next bus.

I hopped off at 18th and Castro and took the 33 down into the Mission.

Friday happy hour bars overflowing.

Friday rush hour traffic.

Friday in the Mission.

The sunset warmer already than it was in the NOPA, the fog hadn’t yet reached its chilly paws into the Mission, I pulled off my jacket and texted the next mom that I was on my way and see them soon.

I got there as dinner was being served and took a moment to collect my things and get my stuff and not interrupt the eating.

Very important that.

Keeping to a schedule, not interrupting an important routine, I tried to make myself small.

But the smallest one crawled into my arms and I was welcomed to the dinner table and I signed the contract and the paperwork and cancelled a check and handed it to the mom and voila.

Like that.

New job.

New family.

New movement forward.

New love planted in my heart and sowed and watered, with a few tears from the job just left and a few tears of gratitude for the new job to come and the new experience and getting to be working back in the Mission (not excited about the commute, but hey, at least I still am living in San Francisco), getting to be in a neighborhood I know so well.

Grateful for this experience.

Blown away how it all falls into place.

How the solution and the problem have nothing to do with each other.

How I get to be in the solution.

And then.

Back out the door with the hugs of a new set of charges infusing my heart and off to a special dinner celebration, by myself, yes, but so.

I am awesome good company.

A little splurging, not really has anyone ever said that going to dinner at Herbivore is a splurge?

A nice quiet early dinner by myself.

Which is good, I needed to practice my pieces, the talent show is tomorrow night.

Then a walk through the neighborhood.

I got reaquainted on my walk back to the 33 line.

I had places to be this evening, a little speaking engagement in the Castro.

Then.

Met with a friend after and had tea at Samovar.

I love my life.

I am so lucky.

We talked shoes and ships and sailing wax, cabbages and kings.

And Burning Man.

Lots of that.

It was my friend’s first time this year and we compared notes and talked Decompression, which is not nearly as much fun as the event, but it’s a place I still go to as I will get to see all the people I love and cherish out in the dust, back in the city in the Dogpatch neighborhood.

And even sometimes I see people who were at Burning Man that I never got a chance to see because I was busy doing “Workingman” and not going to Burning Man.

All the things.

I wish for you all the things.

My friend said that to me.

I think I am finally getting to see what that means.

I wish for you all the things too.

The hellos.

The goodbyes.

The “family” reunions.

All the love.

Most of all.

All the love.

Whether it find you in the bottom of a tea cup.

Or in the last sweet vanilla malted kiss of ice cream licked from a small wooden spoon.

May you have all the things.

The Shower of Madness

September 3, 2014

While it was not the best shower I have ever had.

It was certainly not a bad shower.

On the scale of one to ten I give it a six.

It did the job.

But I have to say I was a little too frantic to really enjoy it.

In fact, I feel rather full adrenaline, even now.

The desire to unload, unpack, and de-playafy myself was in full on force when I got dropped off at the house tonight around 9:15 p.m.

In fact, if I pause, in this moment to reflect, the last hour and a half have been a whirl wind of activity.

Perhaps to not let myself have the decompression feelings that threatened to engulf me when I walked into my sweet little studio and nearly burst into tears.

I missed my space so bad and I had no idea.

I mean.

Really bad.

I was only gone 19 days, but it felt like an eternity and it even now, feels like a dream.

I mean, this morning I woke up early, 6:30 a.m. and watched the sunrise for the second time since I had been on playa.  Apropos, it was my last day and the first sunrise I caught was my first morning.

It’s hard to believe I am actually here and that I actually went.

I am clean.

My clothes are unpacked and I have already done one and a half loads of laundry.

I unpacked my four bins.

One of which is going to the trash pile as it broke in the exodus of the event.

Which, by the by, was the best and easiest exodus I have ever had.

It was like a dream of exiting goodness.

As I mentioned, I was up at 6:30 a.m.

I finished the little packing I hadn’t done yesterday, got dressed, made the bed, baby wipe bathed, lotion’ed, sunblock’ed, and twisted my very playa’d hair up into two big pouf buns.

I can barely stop touching my hair, it’s so soft and sweet and smells lovely and good–so unlike the scary dread like mess it was when I first got into the shower.

The shower that I will probably appreciate a lot more tomorrow when I take another.

Then another on Thursday.

Just because I can.

Just because I won’t have to ask to borrow a vehicle to drive three miles across town to use a co-ed shower stall with janky plastic curtains and tepid water and slimy floors.

Anywho.

More showering, yes.

Besides, I travel soon to New York and I don’t want to carry any dusty with me.

I am thrilled to bits that we got back today and I have the time to sort my things, wash my clothes, go tomorrow over to Cole Valley, pick up my paycheck for the event and go have a long, leisurely manicure and pedicure and a great big old iced coffee.

Then probably another shower.

Because I can.

I just took another gander around my home and it is so lovely to be here.

I also realized that this is the first time in two burns that I have a home to come home to.

Last year I came home to Graceland, which was my dear spot and a lucky landing pad for me to have, it was also my landing pad the previous burn, before I left for Paris.

So, for two years I have been in a kind of limbo after returning from the anxiousness of the desert life.

Not so this year.

This year I came home to a clean home, a made bed, a warm and sweet welcome from my housemate who said, “I’ll hug you tomorrow, now strip.”

I didn’t even walk into my house until I had taken off my boots and pulled off all my clothes.  I put my dusty bits in the wash machine and then I took my toiletries inside and got myself right under the hot water.

While, as I said, it was not the best shower, I felt a little maniacal scrubbing at myself and trying to loosen the playa dreadlocks in my hair, it was with great gratitude that I came home.  That I made it home.

That I did not break out there.

I was tempted last night to go out after I got back from a sunset bicycle ride, there was a great big party happening down the block, some folks had apparently not heard that Burning Man had ended, and it was going off.

But I kept myself in the little trailer and made myself stay put.

So glad I did.

I would have been a wreck driving today.

We left the playa in two rental vehicles that the Placement Team had used to help place the 1250 theme camps that were registered this year for the event.

One had to be returned to Reno and the other would be our ride back to San Francisco.

In fact, I still have  a little dustiness to deal with.

The rental goes back tomorrow and when I go to pick up my paycheck from the family, I am going to help the mom by following her to the rental place so she can drop off the mini van and then ride back to Cole Valley and head to the nail salon.

I am just going to repeat, nail salon, foot bath, another shower, wash, rinse, repeat, and then maybe a small trip to the grocery store to get nibbles for the next day or two until I fly out for my whirlwind tour of New York.

Then back to SF.

Where!

I have discovered I will have a couple of days off from work, unexpected and though I was a bit concerned about not having income coming in, I would rather have the down time to gather my wits, perhaps, I don’t know, get grounded, walk around my neighborhood, go down to the beach.

And ride my bicycle.

I’ll ease back into my San Francisco life.

And yes.

Have another shower.

Or fifteen.


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