Posts Tagged ‘down by the sea’

Got My Cable Car On

January 5, 2015

“We want to do the trolley.”

My friend from college is visiting with his company on business.

“And the Painted Ladies, you know that place where they filmed Full House.”

Ugh, yes I do know.

“And the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Oh sweet jesus.

I just thought we were going to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on the past few years that we haven’t seen each other.

And how the fuck did he turn 40? Or for that matter, how am I 42?

I also don’t remember him being taller than me, but that could be because the guy I am dating is shorter than I am and I am automatically thinking that all men are shorter than me.

My friend is also losing his hair.

Mortality.

I gave him a little grief about the hair, I had to poke some fun, but I get it, he’s got a 13 month old baby boy, I’m sure the hair loss happened shortly after realizing that he wasn’t going to get any sleep for the first 8 months of his child’s life.

He always hollers “hola” at me because of my name and despite many years of persuading him that I do not, in fact, speak spanish, despite my spanish sounding name, the “hola” has continued.

It is like my family calling me Bubba.

Which is not a bad nickname when I acknowledge it, and I may have inadvertently gotten a new nickname from my boyfriend.

“Hey lip gloss,” he said to me the other night as I re-applied some lip balm.

“I just brushed my teeth,” I warded him off, “I need to re-up.”

Poor man.

He got more than he bargained for with this sparkle pony.

I joke that I am not going to prank him by mowing off an eyebrow while he sleeps or shaving some silly design on the side of his head; no, I’ll just dump loose glitter on his motorcycle jacket.

Or spray him down with aerosol adhesive and then dump loose glitter on him.

I have red, purple, and sky blue.

I bought them years ago for Burning Man and then never used them.

But he’s right, I do have a fondness for the lip gloss.

I like my mouth to feel a certain way and I hate dry lips.

I digress.

I basically played tourist today.

I took my friend and his boss on a little sightseeing of San Francisco.

I didn’t mind, although, truth be told, I was surprised at the number of things we crammed into a short amount of time.

They picked me up around 2:45 p.m. and dropped me off just before 6 p.m. having to give themselves enough time to get the rental car back to the airport and pick up another person from SFO for the rest of the business trip.

In that time we drove Great Highway, went up to Lands End, parked, walked around Seal Rock, Lands End, and took photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Then we hopped back into the car and I navigate us to the NOPA neighborhood so that we could do a quick spin around Alamo Square Park and see the Painted Ladies.

Which actually looked really lovely in the late afternoon light.

Plus the scaffolding that has been up on one of the girls finally has been pulled down.

I’m not always the biggest fan of the Painted Ladies, I think there are far prettier houses, but the view is gorgeous and my friend and his co-hort got to snap some photographs.

Before heading to the cable car.

At least I know my cable car lines.

I did not direct us to either the downtown turn around on Powell or the one at the end of Fisherman’s Wharf.

Nope.

We hopped on the California Van Ness line at California and Polk Street.

I pointed out things like a good host guide–“there’s the Masonic Temple, in case you wanted to see any Mason’s,” I chuckled when we passed the venue.

“On the left side of the car is Grace Cathedral, there’s Huntington Square Park, here’s the Fairmont Hotel with the Tonga Room, and on the other side is the Top of The Mark, where Vertigo was filmed.”

I told them about how the cable cars run and the difference between a cable car and a trolley.

I got to see some San Francisco I don’t normally see.

Then we hopped off at the end of the line in the Financial District and walked over to the Ferry Building.

They joked about hipsters and gluten-free diets and hippies and vegan donuts and I used the bathroom.

We grabbed a Boccalone sampler of salted pig parts and walked back to the Financial District and for the first time in so long I can’t remember when this actually happened, we went to a bar and watched the end of the Dallas Detroit Game.

My friend was determined to find a place to watch the last few minutes, and his compatriot seemed just as eager, I think they were on the spread (what does that mean anyway?).

So, that’s how it happened to be that at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon I find myself in the hotel bar of the Hyatt Regency downtown sipping a Pellegrino and sending texts to my boyfriend who is away on business in Santa Clara while my friend drinks a pint and watches the football game.

I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

Twice in one weekend I find myself in social settings with bars.

I’m not interested in drinking, if anything it really grosses me out, the smell of it especially, I find myself more and more sensitive to it, but I did not like that I had ended up in a bar on my day off.

I was glad to see my friend.

But I was ready to go home.

We took an Uber from the hotel bar to the rental car after the game finished and I thought, my life, it really is so different from the everyday hustle bustle of the rest of the world.

Not just because I live and work in San Francisco, but also because I practice an actively spiritual way of life that does not include drinking.

I have been reminded at New Years and again today, how the rest of the world works and plays, oh, yeah, this is what “normal” people do.

I have to say.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I don’t mind playing tourist once in a while.

But that’s not a part of town I need to revisit again.

Literally and figuratively.

That being said, it was a gift to see my friend, it is nice to see people from Madison, from UW, from that part of my life.

If only to smash home how radically different a person I have become.

“Your place looks entirely Carmen,” my friend said as he used the bathroom and I gave him the “grand tour” of my in-law.

Although not exactly the person I was when I went to school back at UW Madison, I am apparently not too different either.

Just a bit more clear-eyed.

And present.

And now back to my regular programming.

My “normal.”

Living my own little slice of San Francisco.

Away, way, way, down by the sea.

In my little bungalow that looks like me.

 

The Week In Review

November 3, 2014

“Oh my gosh, I so relate to that,” she said, “I self-sabotage all the time.”

Hmm.

And then.

“Oh, I won’t date a woman who blogs,” said a friend today that I ended up hanging out on the beach with this afternoon, “too many people seeing my foibles, all one-sided, nope, I couldn’t do it.”

“You need to stop writing about dating.”

And I wonder.

Maybe I do.

It may be time to stop the self-sabotage, to not air the laundry, clean, dirty, or otherwise.

“You can write about me all you want,” my friend told me last night as we sipped lemon ginger tea and got caught up on each other’s lives–he’s back from the radical sabbatical and it was good, very good, to see him.

It’s hard to watch friends through struggles and he has been there for me through a lot of them.

There is a lot I don’t blog about, I think, I do keep some things, lots of things, to myself, for myself, by myself.

I could write all about my friend, but it is not my place, so perhaps, yes, I should not be writing about the dating too.

Not that I had a date today to write about.

I spent the day having Sunday service down by the sea.

It was so beautiful out today and I had a new white dress to wear.

I woke up earlier than I should have, all things considered, even with it being Daylight Savings time, I still was up late last night.

However, the sun was up and it was all blue skies and the brain started up and I just decided to get up and brave the day.

Even without having a thing planned, which can at times cause a kind of frantic feeling in me, I have a hard time sitting still and I have spent much of this past year trying to find that balance of not working too much and getting in some fun and some relaxation time to, because, ultimately, it does make me such a better worker and person in the end if I do.

Breakfast, coffee, hair in braids, new dress, flip-flops (which made me smile a bit, it’s November 2nd and I am in flip-flops), write for a while, sit for a while.

I went out into the back yard and sat in the big white Adirondack chair and the sun beamed benevolent and warm and the birds rustled over head, ravens, and songbirds chattered, gulls squawked, the ocean surf rumbled, and once in a while the N-Judah would grumble past.

I sat soaking in the warmth and the love and I got quiet.

The frazzle and dazzle of the week siphoned through me and I was still.

I realized I did a few things this week that I could regroup around and rethink, especially in regards to self-care, late nights, some really late nights for me, both Friday and Saturday, with early wake ups and no naps, a few nights when I did not get to my blog, which is like its own version of sunshine for me, I need to do it, it feeds the art monster in me, drinking an energy drink on Friday.

Oooh.

I know, I am so subversive, drinking a caffeine bomb.

However, it’s true, I don’t really drink them, I don’t do artificial sweeteners, I don’t chew gum, I don’t drink diet sodas, so what was I doing drinking a sugar-free Rockstar on Friday?

I knew, even as I said yes, I should have been saying no, or at least, yes, I’ll have a water, thank you.

But I did it anyway.  I want to keep up with the cool kids you know.

Then again.

I also did some spectacular self-care for me–went and got the mammogram done, which I was dreading and it wasn’t so bad, did grocery shopping, sent my mom a birthday card and got her birthday present, I need to drop it in the mail tomorrow.  Called mom, I try to call my mom on Sundays, it still amazes me that we have re-established a relationship, I feel ridiculously blessed by it.

I bought myself a new dress, I don’t clothes shop well, so this was really big self-care and as I took it out of my bag last night to hang in the closet my friend made a comment and I said, “I don’t even know why I bought it, I have no idea where I am going to wear it.”

“You’ll figure it out.”

And of course.

I did.

To the beach, to the beach, to the beachy, peachy keen, lovely beach, that place wild and wooly right out my back yard, just blocks away.

I packed a lunch up for myself–large kale salad with 1/2 an heirloom tomato, broccoli, carrots, 1/2 an organic Hass avocado, kalamata olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Bragg’s amino’s, 1/2 a tart apple, two hard-boiled eggs, and of course the ubiquitous persimmon (they won’t be in season much longer so I have stacks of them in my kitchen), a bottle of water, a blanket from the housemate, my camera, and off to the beach I went.

I climbed up and over the dune at the edge of Great Highway and Judah and walked down toward the sea.

I found my spot.

Spread out the blanket.

Sat down and breathed deeply all things good and salty and sea.

I felt it all loosen in me, the sun warmed me, I felt doused in love and light and I unpacked my lunch and ate it under bright cerulean skies, laughing at the confused sea-gull who was watching close by and was none to happy when after much patience he finally scavenged something from my lunch–the persimmon top, and disgusted with his findings, flapped off  in a huff to better pickings.

Beach Picnic

Picnic

 

 

Kite

Kite

I took some photos and called a friend.

Who, as luck would have it, is it odd or is it God?

Was right down the beach at Noriega and Great Highway.

He made his way to me and we sat and talked about shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings, dating, family, recovery, Ocean Beach, life, travel, work.

It was so good.

He gave me some lovely perspective and I felt unburdened and lucky and blessed to again, come back to this simple, sweet, serene life I lead.

My Sunday sabbatical complete I was able to come back to the house, write some more, meet with a lady, do some reading, eat a wonderful dinner, sit in the last of the sun and drink copious amounts of cinnamon tea.

I downloaded my photographs and felt that despite a rather tumultuous week–all in my head, mind you–I had gotten what I needed and relaxed here, finally, at the end of the week, the edge of the world, down by the sea.

Sunshine

Sunshine Day Dream

Right exactly where I am supposed to be.


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