Posts Tagged ‘Downtown San Francisco’

Long, Strange Day

October 13, 2017

But I am finally feeling better.

I just ate some dinner.

Roasted chicken with a baked Japanese sweet potato.

I needed some homey comfort food.

The air today had me down.

Granted.

I do not like to complain.

I know people who have lost their homes to the fires, lost everything.

I have friends who have evacuated and are waiting to see if they are going to be able to go back to a home or a charred piece of land.

So much has been destroyed.

It’s utter devastation.

I can’t comprehend it.

Therefor to complain about the air quality in the city seems weak and pansy ass, but, fuck, it’s been bad and I’ve had trouble today.

At first when the fires were just beginning, Sunday night, I thought, wow, there must be some folks having a big old bonfire on the beach, and it smelled good, and the weather that night was warm and I felt really soothed by it.

I have a favorite childhood memory of a bonfire at the beach from when I was four years old.

The next day was odd though, finding out about the fires, and then finding ash residue on my scooter and in my basket.

And each day, it’s been the same, although I think I’m used to the smell and the smell, well, it’s changed, it doesn’t smell like bonfire anymore.

It smells tainted and bad and oily and plastic and chemical.

It smells like bad drugs and sickness and I’ve began to feel off today, I suspect I’ve been a little off all week, but today it really hit home.

Last night when I was riding my scooter home I thought for a moment it was snowing and thought, wow, it’s cold, but not that cold.

Then I realized what I was seeing was ash falling from the sky.

Ash like snow.

Ash on my shoes, ash in my hair, ash on my jacket, ash stuck to my scooter.

Spooky.

Every day riding my scooter up and over Diamond Heights I have looked downtown to gauge how bad the air is.

And it’s bad.

Downtown swathed in smoke.

The haze so thick I can’t see the Bay Bridge, even the top of the new gigantic Sales Force tower is smudged out by the smoke.

Supposedly it’s supposed to get worse tomorrow and Saturday.

The kids I nanny for had their school cancel tomorrow and every day this week they’ve been forced to stay inside and not been allowed out for recess.

My little lady charge has had croup on top of it.

She’s been inside all week.

I can feel it in my chest.

And today I started to sneeze.

Not because I think I’m coming down with a cold, no, it’s just breathing the air.

I’ve not been outside much, but I’ve inhaled some yuck, riding on my scooter for sure, walking to the market this evening.

By the time I got home from grocery shopping and running a couple of errands I felt really out of it.

My clients cancelled tonight so I was free to go home after work and I planned on doing homework and getting the rest of my reading wrapped up, tomorrow I’m in school again.

Aside.

Tomorrow marks the half way point of the semester!

Half way!

I am very happy about that.

But I could barely concentrate on my work and reading felt challenging.

I’ve had a head ache all day.

I’m a pussy.

I admit it.

Can you believe I used to be a smoker!

Anyway.

I just reeled it back in and got right with myself and stopped having gigantic expectations about what I could do and just settled for what’s the best thing for me to do instead.

I roasted the chicken up.

I made some spiced brown rice for meals the rest of the week.

I did some laundry, it’s in the dryer now, fresh warm towels.

I drank lots of water.

I cut myself some slack.

I look over my syllabi and packed my school bags and I’ll probably roll up on class tomorrow and just be ok with what I have not done.

One class I’m completely caught up with, no need to worry about that one at all, it has the biggest brunt of reading and I’ve completed that.

I’ve nearly every thing else done for another class, just have to whip out a little paper tomorrow.

I was going to do it tonight.

But.

Um.

Nope.

I’ll get out of class tomorrow and have a few hours before I see my clients.

I was tempted to get ahold of them and say stay the fuck put, don’t come out, but I’ll go to my office and see them.

And before I see them I’ll do what ever reading I need to do and I’ll write-up the small paper I have to turn in Saturday.

I’m not beating myself up for not being 100% ready.

I had a hard week with the family, not that they were bad, they are super, super sweet, but when a four-year old and a seven-year old are cooped up all week-long it’s hard to keep things balanced.

Add the sick little monkey into the mix and it was a long week.

I’m grateful that I was able to keep myself pretty on keel with them, but I was feeling it today, the worrisome smoke, the quality of the air, seeing little kids in face masks, it reminded me of Burning Man in a rather sinister way.

Sigh.

I’m done complaining.

I am.

I just want my head ache to go away.

And my heart breaks for all the loss in the North Bay, it’s unfathomable.

Just going to be sweet to myself for the rest of the night, take it easy, drink some tea, get some rest.

Wishing for all those near and dear that this passes soon and we will all draw a collective deep breath of fresh, sweet air.

Good night.

Sweet dreams.

 

 

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Almost There

September 19, 2017

And it was a full day.

But almost there.

Almost done.

Full of work and writing and reading and clients and my supervisor.

Who never fails to astound me with his breadth of knowledge and insight.

I was flummoxed by a new client and he sketched it out in three sentences.

Blew my mind.

Of course he’s got years of being a therapist on me, but still, he’s so damn good and also it’s refreshing to be under the tutelage of someone who is so in tune with his work and knows really deeply how to talk about clients.

I bring a lot to him.

I am very observant and there are things that I know he’s surprised that I catch.

But man, he takes them and runs with them and sees the things that aren’t so obvious to me.

Of course.

They’re obvious as soon as they come out of his mouth and his explanations make so much sense.

Again and again I am so pleased to be allowed to work with him.

I got very lucky.

One of my friends in my cohort argues that my supervisor got lucky with me.

That was nice to hear, but I do feel that I’m the lucky one in the deal.

I do think he finds me interesting to work with though, and for that I am grateful and I’m an intelligent woman, I think that helps a lot, I get where he’s going with things and I am able more and more, to articulate what I am seeing in the sessions and relaying it well enough to him that I am getting a lot of help with my cases.

More so, by far, than I get in group supervision.

Sometimes I feel like my group supervision is just there to help me see how good I have it, not just with my supervisor, who is not affiliated with my group or my internship, but also with my school.

I have gotten a much better education, it feels, than many of the other interns that I see in my group.

I could be wrong, but it feels like I’m getting more from my school program than I am seeing with the other interns that I have worked with.

And though my group supervisor is a nice woman, she’s not as intuitive as my solo supervisor not as academically rigorous.

Not complaining, just observing.

So.

Yeah.

I saw my solo supervisor before work today.

The hour always flies by, then I usually pop over to Rainbow Grocery and pick up a few things, things that I can only get there, it’s sort of like my treat.

Go to supervision, get Rau Chocolate drink.

Ok!

Then I scootered to work.

Where it was quiet and I was able to take care of the household business and then take some time to do some homework and have a nice lunch.

I don’t normally sit at the dining room table, but there was no one home, and the view, oh, my God the view is crazy good.

A gigantic sweep from floor to ceiling of glass and the sprawl of the city, the Bay Bridge, downtown, it’s amazing.

And there are plum trees in the back yard.

With blossoms on them!

I was so startled to see that.

Not a lot, not heavy like in spring, but there were blossoms and the beauty of them caught me so off guard.

I was inspired and wrote some poetry.

I like to write a poem now and again.

Makes me happy.

Makes me happy too when the work resonates with the reader.

Very happy.

I write poetry because I can’t help myself.

I really can’t.

It’s a part of me.

And a part of me that takes precedent over homework.

I still did homework though.

I still read.

I took my reader with me on the train to pick up my charges from school.

I took my reader with me to my internship.

I read when there is down time.

The only issue I have at the moment that I’m a little put off by is that my reader for my class that I need to wrap up for the upcoming weekend got fucked up at the printer.

So all sorts of my reading is not available to me.

Except.

Online.

Thankfully the professor was alerted and posted the readings up, but I dislike reading online when I am studying, I like to outline and write notes and underline passages.

I also like having a reader or a book that I can throw in my bag and read when I have a spare minute.

It looks like I will have time the next few days at work to attend to my readings as my work load is slightly lighter with the mom away on business with the baby.

So.

I guess I’m bringing my laptop to work tomorrow so I can do some of the reading I wasn’t able to yet get to.

Luxury problems.

I flipped through a bit of it already when I got home from seeing my clients and having a bite of dinner.

I may even be able to finish up the reading tomorrow at work.

Thereby leaving the rest of the week for just work and clients.

And.

Yes.

School.

I’ll be in classes again Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Friday: 9a.m. to 4 p.m.

Client at 6:30p.m.

Home by 8p.m.

Saturday: 9a.m. to 8 p.m.

And.

Sunday: 9a.m. to noon.

It’s nice having shorter class days, last two years I was in class until 8p.m. on Fridays and 4 p.m. on Sundays.

My internship, or practicum as it’s referred to while I am still in school, is considered a class.

Of course I spend a far greater amount of time and effort on my internship, it’s a different kind of learning too, and I’m actively doing therapy.

Whew.

It is a lot.

But I suspect.

I will have some nice times in there too.

I don’t suspect it.

I know it.

That’s the kind of life I live.

Work hard.

Play harder.

 

 

 

The Last Family

March 4, 2017

My friend said this to me tonight.

And he’s right.

My current family is probably going to be my last family.

It is with some disbelief that I said it, but really, I knew it when I started, that they could very well be the last family I nanny for.

They want me for four years.

That will get me all the way through grad school.

Masters and Doctorate.

Doctor Carmen.

I like how that sounds.

Actually.

I fucking love how that sounds.

And I love that this is my last family.

I also love this family.

I really do.

They are fierce, funny, smart, good-hearted and generous, and that’s just the kids.

I got my first baby smile today from the new-born, who, I suppose is not quite so new, being three months today, but still, such a smile.

Made my heart melt.

Plus.

I had just a total scrumptuous day with the little lady.

We went down town, which I might have nixed had I known that there was a conference happening at the Moscone Center, and had a day at the Children’s Creativity Museum that is just behind Yerba Buena Gardens.

We took the J-Church train downtown and got to stroll around and enjoy the weather.

Sunny today.

Rain tomorrow.

Focused on the sun.

So nice to be out in the day and have a fun time at the museum.

And the carousel.

The LeRoy King carousel.

Such a treat.

In fact.

We rode it five times.

The joy on that child’s face was and is indescribable.

I took so many pictures.

None of which I will post here, no pictures of my charges, but safe to say, it was joy, unadulterated sunshiny joy.

We had so much fun.

We ran around the museum.

We went to the Play Circle Park, where the giant slides are.

If you have not been to the Play Circle Park you definitely need to check it out, giant slides, need I say more?

We actually left the museum and park for lunch, normally we would have just eaten at the museum cafe, but because of the conference, it was packed.

Thankfully I know the downtown a little bit and steered us just a tiny bit off the beaten path of the Moscone Center and we hit a nice little cafe for a big grilled cheese for her and a chopped salad for me.

Then.

Yes.

My charge convinced me, and hey, it is Friday, so, fuck it, one more spin on the carousel.

We negotiated one more trip through the museum, mostly to use the bathrooms and she wanted more entry/exit stamps, but skipped the giant slides at the park to take the carousel one last time before heading back.

It was the best time to catch the carousel too.

There was a group of people from the conference on the carousel and they had bought so many rides that we got to take a double long ride.

She was over the moon.

“This is so much fun!” She exclaimed.

She rode three different horses.

A camel.

A giraffe.

And was just a tiny bit disappointed that there were no unicorns.

I mean.

I can understand that.

Or dogs.

“Why no dogs, Carmen?” She asked me, searching through the ranks of animals on the poles ready to have a leg swung over and hopped onto.

“Good question love, I don’t know, but there’s a lion, want to try that?”

And she did.

And it was good.

God.

It was good.

It was good to ride the train back to her house, to push the stroller up the hill, exercise, yah, and to punch in the code to the garage, to fold down the stroller (now that I finally know the trick to collapsing it) and put on a kettle to boil for tea.

I took in the view from the back, it’s an entire wall of glass with a view of the downtown and to smile at my happiness at my job.

I really feel pretty fucking lucky.

I do.

So when my friend mentioned that tonight, “the last family,” it really hit me how far I have come and all the work I have done to be where I am.

Ten years or so ago a friend reached to me and said, “hey you need some extra cash?  I need help at the Burning Man offices on Wednesday nights, there’s a board meeting and I have class, can you come down and take care of J_________ for an hour and a half, two hours tops?”

I said yes.

And though I did not realize it then.

I never looked back.

I relieved my friend her nanny shift every Wednesday for months, occasionally helping the mom and dad she worked for too with a date night.

Then.

I nannied the regional event at the office and then the Christmas party.

And that’s where I met her.

My first love.

She was just six weeks old and I remember how my heart was smote and the thought came where there certainly had not been thought before, “I want to be her nanny.”

As luck would have it.

Fate.

God.

What have you.

I was asked to be that little baby girl’s temporary nanny.

Then.

Eventually I got to nanny for her and another family.

I had a key to the office and would often be there first before any one else got there.

I would lock up my bike in the bottom of the building, climb the stairs, turn on the lights in the kitchen and make a pot of coffee.

I would wander around and look at the art on the walls and the sculptures.

I would tidy up.

I would receive my charges and my day would start.

I could not fathom then the ten years that would follow.

I could not express to myself how amazing the job, and hard, so horrendously hard (when I made it so), but so fulfilling too, yes, to get paid for loving a child is such a gift.

Oh.

Sure.

Teething, tantrums, poopy diapers, potty training, running out of milk, late parents with car trouble, not getting paid enough, being treated like the help (most of my families did not do this, but I had a few that did, grateful I learned how to leave jobs that weren’t a good fit for ones that were), long ass hours.

And then.

The hugs.

The snuggles.

The dance parties.

Oh.

My.

The dance parties.

So many.

The warm soft, sweet bread baked smell of sleeping children.

I remember being in the nursery at the Burning Man offices and I was sitting in the dark with the door open.

I had two babies sleeping on me, one on my right shoulder, one in the lap against my right side, and the office dog, a little three-legged guy, Ralph, that would occasionally herd the toddlers around the office zocalo, nestled next to me, all curled up and asleep.

One of the office managers walked by and did a double take.

“Do you just ooze maternal?” He asked incredulous.

Maybe.

I don’t know what it is, but I am grateful for it and all the tender, sweet moments that I have had.

They are not done yet, but I see a change coming and it is with much gratitude that I reflected on my career, the unexpected career, never ever said to myself I want to be a nanny when I grow up, and all the joy it has brought me.

I am a very, very lucky girl.

I mean.

Really.

Who gets paid to ride carousels?

I do.

That’s who.

I do.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

A Little “Light” Reading

July 26, 2015

Oh.

Bwhahahahahaaha.

Fuck me.

Aside from the hefty price tag of the readers–$208 and change, the weight of what I have to read for my first semester at grad school also nearly pulled my shoulder out of my socket when I lifted the bag off the counter.

Jesus on a flaming raft.

The bag was heavy, nearly as heavy as the three-year old I look after during the week.

He’s about 35 or 36 lbs, he’s a solid kid, stocky, strong, wily, he can throw a tantrum with the best of them or snuggle in your lap like the largest, cutest, kitten on the “Meow Meow train,” all aboard.

At least when I carry him he’s resting on a hip or holding on to me, “pick me,” he will say.

“Why does he always get to ride in the stroller?” The five-year old demands to know.

“Physics, kiddo,” I say, using the apt answer that my best friends husband gave me as a pat answer to the question, “why.”

And at least with this, it’s partly, if not completely so.

it really is a law of physics, less weight for me to haul around, easier to push, much easier to wrangle, although the smart guy knows how to get his brother to unbuckle him when he gets that glint of monkey pants going in him.

Ugh.

Slight sidebar.

Just that feeling.

That one there.

When you are listening to an album that you, I, I, used to listen to when writing in Paris, but now it’s on your Iphone and sometimes when I get a text, the song will pause and I will know that I am being reached out to.

I haven’t had any one reach out to me and I miss someone and don’t know when I will hear from him again.

The heart aches.

It was not a text.

It was just the song ending.

End aside.

I made my way downtown, resolute to get the readers for school.

I ignored the fact that the universe had conspired to not actually have me be in a great big SUV with my friend heading towards the Grand Canyon on a wild and wooly road trip, rather I was to be traversing the canyons of down town San Francisco.

Wending my way through the towers and condos and banks and business high rise windows.

The streets empty.

There really is not a reason to be a Mission and 2nd on a Saturday.

I got off the New Montgomery MUNI station and rode the escalator up into the blue sky, the leaves of the trees lining Market Street pressing into the frame of light coming from the square above me, the street lamp, old-fashioned and burnished with the seeing of too many tourists and the discarded cups from Starbucks stuck into the hands of beggars and street performers.

I suddenly remember the first time I came up on escalator onto Market Street, that first time it was Powell Street, and how I felt seeing a similar street lamp and tree branches–the sky not blue that day, but a mottled March grey one with low hanging clouds and cool breezes.

I walk down 2nd Street past the closed doors of the American Red Cross where I have taken so many classes in adult/children CPR and first aid, all the re-certification and tests, the small rubber babies with molded faces that pull off so that the next bored student nurse can be certain its been sanitized before she puts her small mouth to the fake child to push air into it and thump it’s chest with the first two fingers of her dominant hand.

Then, I glance to the right, I have no idea why, and there she is, The Palace, where I have had so many drinks, one was never enough and more was always on the menu, after many a shift at Hawthorne Lane, most times extra dirty vodka martinis with three olives and pints of Sierra Nevada.

Occasionally the glass of champagne before a shift to celebrate a friend’s success or bolster another friends hair of the dog before going into work.

I turn on my travels, down Mission Street, longing to walk further, the Van Heusen sign reminds me of all the starched cream shirts I bought there for my shifts at the fine dining restaurant and how annoyed I always was to spend my hard-earned money on them or laundering them.

I think about the MOMA and wish it were open.

I would go in a hot second and sit in front of a Rothko or wander through the photography exhibit on the second floor, or climb to the top and cross over the suspension bridge, or find the secret doorway to the miniature courtyard that faces out towards the Yerba Buena Center and the park.

I think of all time terrible and awful.

How, even in the utter depths of my using I was never able to bring myself to use in the MOMA.

Although, damn it, I tried.

The best I could do was use the bathrooms to wash up and brush the tears from my eyes that only seemed to surface when I was surrounded by the house full of art, art that I could no longer access because it hurt my heart too much to admit that I was down for the count.

Then I would wash my hands, pat dry the wet circles under my face and go to the cafe and order a non-fat latte and sit out front on a metal back chair and put my feet up on the balustrade that separated the down trodden masses looking for scraps from the tourists like small black starlings with bright eyes hopping under the table legs, except held back by that small barrier of wealth and privilege that I pretended to belong to.

I mean I did wait on them didn’t I?

I would smoke my cigarette, then another, not chain-smoking, but so close as it became a game of semantics, drink my coffee, then head back to the restaurant to make more money that I would later spend, no matter how cleverly I would ration it out–the twenties in my left pocket only to go towards rent, not coke, ok?

Do you hear me self?

Don’t dip into the left pocket.

Or the bra cup, or the left sock.

Never mattered.

Once I got going, it was going to.

Didn’t much matter that brave lecture I gave my “sober” self (sober only in the sense of having abstained while working, which soon wasn’t really happening either), the money always flew, like pigeons circling in weary circles above the sunset lit buildings at the BART station.

I sat and waited at the front counter of the Copy Central store while the one attendant finished a job for a woman wearing navy blue and white polka dot slides and a pony tail that was just a touch too high up on the back of her head.

The stroll down memory lane exiting itself back outside, perhaps over to Dave’s Sports Bar on Third between Mission and Market, where we often ended up after a posh cocktail or two at the Palace, to really get it on.

Didn’t hurt that Marilyn the bartender knew all the words to Chicago, the musical, not the band, and if you sang along with her she would gladly sell you a case or bottle after hours, shhh don’t tell.

The memories were abruptly supplanted with reality, as first one, then the next, and the next, and the next reader was plunked down with a thud that was not satisfying so much as it was terrifying.

“Double check the readers to your syllabi,” the woman said.

I did.

Everything was there.

I pulled out my debit card.

I paid.

I left and walked back to the MUNI train station and as I did the days and ways of old were smoothed over, a soft hand blotting back the memories, a supplanting of this person with that person.

Eleven years ago when I was walking that same route there was no way I could have foreseen the purchase of graduate school readers.

I was too busy cursing that woman who had once again trembled on the lip of indulgence and instead of withstanding, fell over and promised herself, yet again, well since I already have started, I might as well do it up good.

I marveled at the weight in the bag as the readers thumped against my leg.

My graduate school student leg.

It was much less than the weight I used to carry on my back.

I can deal with this so much better than that.

That stack of reading sits on my table, just on the other side of this computer, and as I look around the sweet, safe, room I have nested for myself, I am grateful.

I am so very grateful to have walked down one side of the street and been able to reverse the wreckage to where I am today.

Scared.

Yes.

But free?

Even more so.

Well, I might be tied up with some reading for a bit.

But.

I think you catch my drift.


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