Posts Tagged ‘East Oakland’

Three Day Weekend!

June 14, 2016

Hello there sexy.

I had no idea.

I mean.

I sort of forgot what with all the excitement of getting my ticket to New Orleans and my special spot via Air BnB, I still feel like pinching myself a good one when I look at the pictures of it, that I have this Friday off!

In fact.

I will probably get out of work early on Thursday too.

I doubt very much that I will have a full day at work.

The family is flying out at 4:10 p.m. from SFO.

Granted.

I will have work to do.

I always do when they travel.

I’ll straighten out the house and clean out the fridge and make sure that everything is closed down and organized and set up for their return.

I will also go in early on Monday to open the house up for the housecleaner, but I will get out by 2p.m., so even though I’m working that day, the family doesn’t get back until Tuesday, I will have an easier work week then normal.

Of course.

I may still get called in for jury duty.

So far so good.

I don’t have to go in tomorrow and I did not get called in for today.

I’ll be checking again tomorrow after 4:30 p.m. for Wednesday.

Fingers crossed I don’t have to go in on Wednesday.

Yeah.

I know.

Civic duty and all that.

But.

Yes, I am hoping that my number doesn’t get called.

And if that happens.

I have a totally wide open Friday.

I will do the deal with my lady at 6:30p.m. and head over to the place to do that thing I do on Friday nights, but open during the day.

Maybe I get my butt over to the MOMA and see the new space.

A Friday afternoon when everybody is working would certainly be a good way to see the space versus trying to battle it out with the weekend crowds.

I should see if anyone is around to do a museum afternoon with me.

Especially since I plan on just getting the membership.

Hoping that I’ll get a student discount, but even if I don’t, the membership is worth it.

The cost is $100, but it’s $25 for a solo ticket into the museum and with the membership I get to take a friend with me.

Right there that’s $50.

Do that twice and I’ve paid for the membership and I can foreseeably see going to the MOMA more than twice in a year.

I’ve always had a membership, except through the last three years or so when I was in Paris and they had closed down the museum for the renovation.

It’s been re-opened long enough now that although it’s still special, I don’t think it will be packed.

Anyway.

That’s a thought.

I could do some yoga in the morning and then spend the afternoon there.

Or.

I don’t know.

But I do know.

I am grateful for the time off.

Sleeping in always sounds yummy and then I never do it.

Doubtful I will do that.

I could go on a date.

I had one on Saturday, not bad, someone I know from doing the deal and it was nice to catch up, but I think it felt like just hanging out with a friend.  It was good to catch up though and have coffee at Java Beach and sit out in the sun.

I haven’t had much success over the last few weeks with the Tinder.

I don’t really care either.

Life is good and rich and full and I don’t feel like I’m lacking anything.

I have been doing fun stuff for me and that feels really good.

Like.

I have a hair appointment for Saturday.

Yeah.

Like that.

It’s time for pink again.

“Why?!” My friend exclaimed at Philz yesterday as we were sitting up in the Castro waiting for loved ones to arrive and go to dinner with.

“You have such great hair right now,” she said.

“I have to, it’s either dye it pink or cut it the fuck off,” I said.

“NO!” She exclaimed.

It’s hard to explain but sometimes I just need a change and my hair is the easiest thing to change, like it gives me some modicum of control over the uncontrollable nature of living and being a live.

I know that I have no control.

And I’m pretty at chill with that.

But.

Once in a while.

Yeah.

I have to do a hair geographic.

It’s better than doing the other geographic, which is indicative of moving for me.

Not necessarily out of San Francisco, although I have, hello Paris, but to another neighborhood.

You know.

Rattle my box a little, get myself up-rooted.

Create some unnecessary drama.

“But you love living by the ocean,” he said to me, with a raised eyebrow.

Yup.

And I have lived here coming up on three years.

The longest I have lived anywhere in San Francisco.

Seriously.

I have moved a lot.

I landed a sublet in the Mission at 20th and York for a few months when I first moved here.

2002.

I was there about eight months?

If that.

Then the house sold and I found a room in a place at 22nd and Alabama.

I lived there for about a year and a half.

Then 25th and Potrero.

There about a year?

Not sure.

The end of that time was in 2005 and it was a bad, bad, bad, bad, REALLY bad, time.

Like.

BAD.

I remember being on the back steps smoking a cigarette, really chain smoking a box of Marlboro Light 100s and talking to my best friend back in Wisconsin about how it was so beautiful where I was living and I was so miserable.

So unhappy.

It hurts to even contemplate it.

Horrendous.

And then three months into 2005.

I moved.

Again.

30th and Kingston.

Then 26th and Kansas.

Then Palou and 3rd.

After that I was at 23rd and Capp Street.

Then Taylor and Washington.

Then I couched surfed for three months in 2008.

After that a tiny in-law in the Mission at 22nd and Folsom.

So tiny.

After that.

Paris by way of a housesitting gig in East Oakland.

Paris six months.

Back to East Oakland.

Fucking talk about culture shock.

Then.

Finally.

Here.

46th and Judah.

The Outer Sunset.

The ends of the earth.

Just about as far West as one can go, give or take three blocks.

Three years ago September.

Of course I want to move.

A moving target is harder to hit.

No wonder I’ve been single so long.

Actually.

I have never dated more then since I moved here.

Ha!

Fuck moving!

What was I thinking?

Yes.

Fuck moving.

I’ll dye my hair instead.

Bwahahaha.

Anyway.

I have some time this weekend.

Want to hang out?

Hit me the fuck up.

Seriously.

Coffee?

Museum?

Making out.

Heh.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

 

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Are You There God?

November 4, 2015

It’s me Margaret.

I mean Carmen.

I mean.

Where the fuck is my passport?!

Ugh.

l can’t find it and um, bwhahahahahahaha.

I uh, kind of need it.

Because this lady is going to Paris for Christmas!

Oh.

My.

God.

Oh.

My.

Fucking.

God.

I can’t believe this is happening.

My ticket cost $500, the prices jumped between yesterday and today and my friend asked me to contribute to offset the miles and what was I going to say, no?

Please.

A round trip ticket from SFO to Charles de Gaulle for $500.

I would be insane to not do that.

I cut him a check on the spot and I’m off to Paris.

Flying out December 20th and returning the 27th.

Six nights in the City of Lights at Christmas.

Dreamy.

I have goosebumps thinking of it.

My friend only asked that I be flexible, I like planning and figuring things out and having an agenda and doing all the things and well, he’s a little more spontaneous.

And I am so cool with that.

I do not care.

Yes.

There are places I want to go and people I want to see, but I don’t have to have an agenda.

I have been to Paris three times, this will mark my fourth time going.

Four.

How lucky am I?

Plus, my dear friend, my dear Parisian friend, from my masters program at CIIS, will also be in Paris visiting her family the 19th through the 29th.

She joked about doing papers in a cafe.

I think not.

I am not doing homework in Paris.

Oh.

I will write.

That’s a part of what I do.

No matter what the writing will happen.

And the buying of notebooks will happen too.

I am excited to visit the Papetrie’s, I need new Marie Clare notebooks.

I flipped through them all this morning before going to work.

I have looked for my passport one other time, I don’t even recall why, I haven’t had cause to do any traveling outside the United States since I moved to Paris three years ago the first of November 2012.

Three years ago I was in Paris, probably lost and hungry, cold and wet, and trying to figure out which way to go on a map.

I got lost a lot, but I always did find my way home.

Home, fingers crossed, I haven’t confirmed it yet with my host, will be a studio in the 7eme.  Which is near the Eiffel Tower.

A place my friend insists on seeing and going to the top of.

Something I have never actually done.

I have taken a horse-drawn carriage around it once.

And once, my first time there, I got lost and separated from the family I was traveling with and climbed the stairs to the second level trying to find them, but I never got to the top.

I will this time.

And I will make sure to walk around it at night when it lights up.

Especially since the studio is so close to the tower.

I know the woman from my time in Paris and she made me a really nice deal.

50 Euro a night.

My friend and I will split the cost of the studio and for about $650 I will have flight and accommodations.

Thank you very much.

Now.

Where the hell is my passport?

I went through every notebook, especially all the ones from my last time in Paris and looked for it, I scouted out all the obvious spots.

I live in a studio, there’s not a lot of places to look.

And I have looked once before.

I ransacked my place, neatly, I didn’t make a mess, and I did discover some sweet photos that I had forgotten I had, but I did not find my passport.

I wrote a little note and I dropped it into my God box.

Yes.

That’s right.

I have one of those.

I like using it, it always works and it clears my head and you know, I’m a little eclectic and my God box is actually a magenta pink rabbit that I bought in the Marais district of Paris from a store that was near to the tattoo shop my friend worked out of–Abraxasis.

I dropped the note then e-mailed my friend in Oakland who was letting me stay at his place until I was settled here in my in-law.

Because that is the last place I can remember having my hands on it.

I spent sometime trying to see where it was in my mind.

I had it in my wallet when I first got back from Paris and remember stumbling across it at some point when I was digging out a card from the divider and realized it probably wasn’t the best idea to carry my passport on my person in East Oakland.

I can recall sitting on the bed in the room at Graceland and pulling the passport out of my wallet and then putting it in something, a book, a notebook, a file and stacking it with some other bits and pieces of paperwork on the secretariat in the room.

That’s the last time I can remember having it.

I also remember thinking to myself that I might be squirreling it away too well.

That I might forget where I put it.

And voila.

I fucking did.

I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

Instead, I sent my friend a message and hopefully it’s there in the room, maybe in the drawer of the little desk.

If it’s not.

Well.

Thank God there’s an embassy here and I will go down to it with all the pertinent documents and pay the expedited fee to get one in five days.

I don’t want to, I would rather the money to spend in cafes on postcards, notebooks, dinners out–nothing fancy, my friend, too cute, “I don’t want to go anywhere fancy for food.”

Neither do I.

Although I do want to go to Odette and Aime for dinner one night, it’s not fancy, and it’s the cafe I spent the most amount of time in, since it was on the same block where I lived, it’s just good home-made food and it will be nice to see my old stomping grounds.

I’m going, going.

Back, back.

To Paris.

Over the moon.

I am over the fucking moon.

Best Christmas present ever.

I might just have to pinch myself.

It doesn’t seem real.

But I’m going.

I’ll send you postcards.

Promise.

Sealed with a bisous

Or.

Two.

You Get Around

May 5, 2015

I do.

“I follow you on Facebook and read your blogs, it’s good to see you in person, you really cram a lot of stuff into your day,” he told me as we were filing out of the room tonight.

I smiled.

I believe I thanked him for reading.

It’s nice to know that folks read these things I put out into the Universe, so often without much thought or effort, it would seem.

Although there is always much thought.

The effort really has to do with sitting down at the keyboard and figuring out a title.

Once I have a title, I don’t need anything.

I knew I was going to be writing “Inbound to Richmond District” the minute I saw it on the NextBus app.

There was something really musical about it to my ears.

And I do get around, but I suspect, many of us do, I just happen to document the getting around.

This brought to mind all the places I have lived in San Francisco as I enter my second year of residing in one spot.

It’s about a year and three-quarters, Labor Day weekend, just after Burning Man, will mark two years here in my little studio by the sea.

I can’t remember the last time I lived in one spot for two years.

It must have been when I was up in Nob Hill and technically I did move, albeit across the hall, but that was a move and challenging in its own ways.

I also may have resided at 23rd and Capp for two years, but I’m not certain I did, it feels like it was two years.

But as I explained to my charge today, “feelings are not facts,” I said with a smile and also relayed the message that “this too shall pass, the good news is you will have feelings, the bad news is you will have feelings.”

Then I tickled the grumpy out of him.

He is just such a sweet pie.

“Carmen! Carmen! Carmen! You have a star in your hair!” He excitedly reported to me.

“I do!” I replied, “what color is it?”

“Glittery!”

Heh.

Close enough kid.

“Silver,” I said, “you like stars, don’t you.”

“Yes!” He said and picked up his stuffed cat, “Meow Meow really likes stars too,” then he began to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, replacing the twinkle twinkle part with meows.”

Oh my god.

The cute.

Stop.

Wait, don’t stop.

“Stars are beautiful, you are beautiful,” he continued, “you must be a star.”

I just about fell out of the bed.

I was waking him up from his afternoon nap.

“You must be a star too,” I said and squeezed his little paw in mine, “Meow Meow is definitely a star as well.”

“Meow!” He said and kissed me.

My job might tire me the fuck out, but it is surely satisfying, yes, yes it is.

We had adventures to the park, both Dolores Park–in the morning, and Mission Playground in the afternoon, plus a trip to BiRite and to the market on the corner.

It made me remember when I discovered all these places when I first moved to San Francisco.

All the sites, the personal treasure map of love that San Francisco has imprinted on my heart.

The first time I went to Dolores Park was before I lived in the city, so that must have been in 2000 or possibly 2001.

Or The Elbow Room.

Blondie’s.

Casanova’s.

Kilo Watt.

Dalva.

The Roxie Theater.

When the New College was still the New College and I could still go to Osento and take a hot tub.

I still say I need to go to Osento sometime soon and then realize once again that it is gone.

It actually, or where it used to be, abuts the property of the people I work for.

I might have been naked on the roof of the spa soaking in the steam on a wood bench catching twinkling stars in between the clots of fog moving over the courtyard, the two wood barrel saunas, the outdoor shower, and the cold plunge–my current boss in her backyard hanging out on the other side of the fence.

I remember times when I was the only person there.

It was lovely.

You may have gathered that I lived a good portion of my time in the Mission.

My first residence in San Francisco–Labor Day weekend–it’s like my personal version of New Years, was a two month sublet at 20th and York.

I stayed past my two months and when another woman moved out of the room downstairs, I took it over.

I think I was paying $650 with everything included.

Granted there were five ladies living there, but we each had our own space carved out, technically the house was a three bedroom–all three upstairs–but one of the girls had carved out a weird little bedroom out of the kitchen pantry and then there was the studio/inlaw in the basement that I had.

It was great.

Until the house was sold and there was an owner move in and in less than two months we had to all get out.

I think it was actually 45 days, it happened so fast.

I found a room on craisglist, for less than I was actually paying at the house with all the girls, on 22nd and Alabama with a wild woman from Northern Italy who had been living in the house so long that she basically paid her rent by collecting from the two room mates and turning around and paying the landlord.

I could have cared less.

I was paying $500 a month for a huge room and access to the kitchen, bathroom, the gigantic glassed in back porch, where I spent three agonizing weeks drifting in a hammock, sleeping like the dead, out sick from work with Mono when I was 31.

MONO.

At freaking 31.

And it was my second time having it.

I had it the first time when I was 17.

Good times.

While I was living at 22nd and Alabama I had a friend turn me on to cocaine and his dealers number.

After some months of battling a rapidly growing habit, I decided, like a truly rational addict, that I should move out because I had the opportunity to move into a big beautiful house on 25th and Potrero (you would have never guessed how lovely the house was from the facade on Potrero–wood floors, Italian marble, skylights, pocket doors, fireplaces in two rooms, an office, two bedrooms, one and a half baths, laundry in the basement and the prettiest garden in the back) for $1100 a month.

That’s what my problem was!

My rent was too cheap!

If I just moved somewhere that was more than double my rent then I wouldn’t spend as much money on blow.

That didn’t work out so well.

But I did subsequently hit my bottom.

And the rest.

Well is his (her) story.

And I got around a lot after that as well.

Living at the following places:

Kingston and 30th.

Potrero and 26th.

Palou and 3rd.

Capp and 23rd Street.

Washington and Taylor.

Not once, but twice–the infamous move across the hall.

Homeless for three months couch surfing when I quit my high paying nanny job and went to work at bike shop in the Mission (crashed in the attic of a former family I nannied for on 25th and New Hampshire, “housesat” for a month at a friend of friend’s house that I met only once at a wedding, where I did her make up for the ceremony on a tiny side street at the bottom of Bernal Hill, and then on the couch of my friend who lives in Nob Hill on Clay Street) making half the salary I had been used to.

Then a teeny tiny box of an in-law in the Mission on 22nd and Folsom.

My bathroom was my kitchen was my garage (I hung my bicycle on a rack above the toilet).

After that.

Graceland in East Oakland for two months.

Then Paris–Rue Bellefond–in the bobo (bohemian bourgeoise) arrondissement, the 9th, just between Square D’Anvers and Cadet Metro Station for six months.

Then back to East Oakland for two, maybe three (?) months.

Can you say culture shock?

And finally.

Here.

46th Avenue between Judah and Irving Street.

And yes.

I moved in right after Labor Day weekend.

Where the hipsters meet the sea and the surfers rule the coffee shops.

And one wild woman with curly hair (pink!) rides out each day (well five out of seven anyway) six and a half miles, right back to the Mission, on her sparkle-pony whip of a bicycle.

I may be living in the same spot for a little while.

But.

I still get around.

One Year Ago Today

May 2, 2014

I arrived in SFO and was picked up curbside by a family from my nanny past with their daughter and a good friend.

Burners all.

It was my welcome back to San Francisco.

Or to East Oakland as the case was for the next few months.

I realized today that it’s been a year since I returned from Paris and it’s taken nearly all that time to get myself settled in.

Funny how that happens.

John Ater told me it takes about two years to feel at home anywhere.

I was still a bit of an outsider in Paris, though rapidly gaining a foothold, despite my worst self, and had I made it a little longer, who knows, maybe I would still be there.

But that it neither here or there.

Or anywhere.

I know I will go back, whether for a visit or for something else, I don’t know.

I don’t have to know.

What I do know is that I have been in my current residence eight months now and it too is feeling like my home and my home for a while.

I hope.

I don’t feel the need to move anywhere and despite having lived in San Francisco all sorts of time, I haven’t made it two years in any one particular home.

I would like to be settled for a little while.

I think two years is a good run.

What got me thinking about it all is the May Spending Plan I did today.

I keep track of my expenditures, to the penny, and I add up the previous month and compare it to the spending plan I made the month prior to see where my expenses lay and if I need to set aside any money for something in particular.

When I was in Paris it was this week to week, day-to-day grind, whether I had money in my account, was going to eat, was going to buy a new pair of socks or have a cafe creme with my fellows.

It was tight, tight, tight.

Not so much now.

Of course, I am legal to work here, so that gives me a huge advantage over my Paris self.

Plus, I speak the language here fluently.

Small things.

Heh.

When I got back from Paris I had $10 in my wallet.

The last of my Euro’s that I had exchanged at the Bureau de Change in the Berlin airport.

That’s it.

Nothing else.

My carry on suitcase, my bicycle, which could be considered an asset, although not a liquid one.

In a year I have, not without help, oh good heavens, not without a lot of help, managed to save up enough money to put myself in my own in-law studio–deposit and first months rent–furnish it, go travel down to Florida to see my sister and my mom, buy a scooter, and get a ticket to Wisconsin to see my best friend.  I also went to Burning Man, albeit, I was paid to go, but there are still costs, get a new tattoo, small, but still, pay my phone bill, my student loans, eat well, maintain my bicycle, ride MUNI, drink expensive coffee nearly every day, put money in the basket when it gets passed my way, buy new notebooks, books, magazines, eat out, got to music–Mike Doughty, the highlight of my music experience this past year, Outside Lands, go to movies, go dancing, bought a wetsuit and have gone surfing, go to museums, pay off the return ticket from Paris, and manage to sneak a few dollars into my savings account.

Plus buy some clothes and the toiletries that I really like to have for myself.

Get manicures, pedicures, and have my eyebrows waxed.

I mention these last two things because I wasn’t doing that in Paris, it was too expensive, I was literally living hand to mouth.

There were more than one occasion when I took the money I made and went immediately to buy groceries.  I was only spending my money on the barest of bare essentials.  I was buying the cheapest toothpaste and shampoo I could afford, same with laundry detergent.

The only extra that I spent money on was the Navigo pass.

Rent, groceries, the Metro pass, cheap toiletries, and there you go.

Today, I allow myself better and I am grateful for it.

I would like to continue to thrive, I don’t need to martyr myself for an experience.

The next time I go I am going first class.

I am allowed that.

I allow myself that, I rephrase.

I am grateful for the experience and the shame and guilt for not making it over there has dissipated as I have done a lot of work and inventory and forgiveness of myself and also got some perspective and humility around it.

And a sense of humor.

What the fuck was I complaining about?

I got to spend six months in Paris.

Who says that’s a failure.

That’s like someone’s dream.

Hell, I am sure that spending six days in Paris is someone’s life long dream, probably more than one persons dream, and I got to have six months.

By the time I was forty.

I have so many more dreams I get to live out.

I mean, I really live a charmed life.

I live in San Francisco, the Paris of the West, ahem, and I live in a beautiful space with access to a back yard and sun deck, I eat organic food, I drink nice tea, I have awesome toiletries, I get my nails done, I get to ride a vintage Vespa, I live by the beach, I have an amazing life.

And friends.

And yeah.

So.

One year later.

I could not have predicted any of this, I did not know what was up, down, or around.

But I showed up, put one foot in front of the other, sometimes walking, sometimes pushing the pedals on my bicycle, and I got here.

I can’t wait to see what this next year brings.

It feels flat-out amazing where I am going to go from here.

My base has been built.

I am ready.

All The Things

September 20, 2013

I have all my stuffs.

Tonight was the night to get the last things in storage.

Three boxes of which I did not unpack.

They were full of notebooks.

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick.

I have a lot of fucking notebooks and journals and manuscripts.

I had not remembered having so many.

I also did not remember all the art work that I had in storage.  One pen and ink drawing I did about 19 years ago, a print from a friend dedicated to me when I briefly edited an art magazine he was putting out in Madison, a photograph of a Flaming Lotus Girls piece that Jess Hobbs took, a print of a heart sign in Oakland on a decrepit building, a collage I did early on in my recovery, a painting of two wee animals smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in a diner (two hamsters I believe) which is quite kitschy and super cute.

I found photographs of me from when I was a child.

My grandparents original wedding photograph that I need to have restored.

I think my mom was using it as a book marker and I happened to stumble upon the book and freed the photo.

Fully intending to restore the photo and never getting around to it.

My diploma from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a certificate of scholastic achievement for outstanding work for independent study under Professor Ronald Wallace.

Some bunnies.

Yay!

I finally found my jack-a-lope velveteen bank.

I had thought it was lost and there it was peeping up at me from the bottom of a box of odds and ends.

Photos, stacks and heaps, some framed, most not.

Postcards.

Oh.

My clock that I bought at a flea market in Paris four and a half years ago.

My collection of magnets.

Two from the Musee D’Orsay, one from the Tuileries, one from the Pompidou,three that I got at a book seller along the Seine, including Le Chat Noir and the Eiffel Tower being struck by lightning–all from my trip four and a half years ago when I vowed I would live in Paris someday.

I was not sure how or when.

I certainly could not have predicted I would four years later for a grand total of six months.

Other magnets from when I did the Aids LifeCycle ride and a couple from the MOMA, one from a visit I made to Madison, WI when I went back for my 20th high school class reunion, and a couple from a store in Noe Valley called The Urban Nest that went out of business a couple of years ago.

I also un-earthed a few maps from Paris, two different Metro maps, a ceramic sculpture of bunnies kissing that I found at a flea market outside of Pierre LaChaise cemetery and some hanging paper cut-outs from my favorite book store in Paris–Le Merle Moquer.

It was with fond memories that I hung up my photos and placed the paintings and pictures and organized the few other little tchotkes I have in my space.

A small red Radio Flyer wagon that my grandfather gave my grandmother.

A stained glass lamp that my best friend gave me over fourteen years ago.

Paper doll cut-outs of Alice in Wonderland with the white rabbit.

Photographs of Shadrach.

A couple of photographs that Zefrey Throwell took of me when we were early in our friendship.

Both of which I put out to remind myself how far I have come.

I have really come far.

FYI.

Photographs of me nannying at Burning Man.

Note to self, get a copy of the photo of me and Juni from Action Girl, with the message “Property of Media Mecca” scrawled on her back in my hand with black sharpie marker.

Photographs of me between the ages of twenty-two months and four years old.

And the first piece of artwork I ever bought for myself in San Francisco.

A framed blue swallowtail butterfly that I bought at Paxton Gate the first week I moved to San Francisco.

As I placed things here and there and thought, hmm, I still need to get a better lighting solution to the room, I felt myself opening up and reliving the small victories of moving to San Francisco, all the places I have lived since I moved here in 2002:

805 York Street–20th & York.

2225 22nd Street–22nd Street at Alabama.

30th & Kingston.

25th & Kansas.

Capp Street & 23rd Street.

1170 Taylor Street # 12.

1170 Taylor Street #19.

The couches and beds and spare rooms throughout the city in Nob Hill, Potrero Hill, and Bernal Hill.

Folsom Street at 22nd.

Then Graceland in East Oakland.

36 Rue Bellefond, Paris, France.

Then back to Graceland in East Oakland.

And now, finally, 46th Avenue between Judah Street and Irving.

My things are unpacked.

My photographs on the wall, the bunny banks (3) and bunny ceramics (2) all placed about just so.

I am home.

It may take me another minute or two to tweak the last few things.

I could use a rug in the entry way and some better lamps–the overhead lighting is one setting–bright, but otherwise, that’s it.

That’s all she wrote.

I am moved in.

I am here.

I am putting down my roots.

All my things are now all in one place again.

There is nothing left in storage, there is nothing left to more to get.

I am in and all the things are too.

Lovely.

Really, so nice.

To be home.

Surrounded by memories.

Ready to make more.

 

Maybe It’s the Sexy

August 9, 2013

Hair.

That is.

Calvin leaned in as he was pulling through another strand of hair and shaping it around my face, and said, “this is the ‘I’m gonna get laid’ hair cut, just so you know.”

Good.

It’s about time.

I have not photos for you of the new sexy hair cut.

It’s adult, sleek, and there are no sparkles.

There is also no more green.

Not that anyone has commented on that, but the blue from last year did leave just the greenish tint under the right light that though faded, has stuck it the fuck out.

Now my hair is dark, lustrous, and has just a spot of red in it, which counteracts the green and looks dark chestnut-brown.

I am as close to my natural color as I have been in years.

I also got a nice flattering cut, one that does look mature and refined, although cut in such a way that I don’t have to do maintenance.

Because although I am a girly girl, I don’t really spend that much time on my hair, I just let it go.  I don’t have the patience to muddle with it, I never have.  I will get jealous of a girl who has taken the time to figure out how to flat-iron their bangs, or how to do a blow out; but I have never had the wherewithal to do it.

If I had gotten a blow out today, there would have been photos.

But as it stands there was not the time and I don’t mind that.

I like a nice blow job, who doesn’t?

But, oh, I meant blow out, which had completely different connotations in my day job.

As a nanny.

Ahem.

Enough about the hair.

I just want to focus on the sex bit, the boyfriend bit, the romance me bit, and what does a girl got to do to get a date bit.

I suppose once I am back in the city proper it will be a little easier.

The pickin’s here in East Oakland are not really my flavor.

Not to say that Oakland is devoid of men, it’s not, I just have not found a platform upon which to meet them, unless it is the platform to the Fruitvale BART station.

Of course I will laugh if I meet some awesome person at Burning Man and they are from Oakland and then I will be in the Sunset.

But that is neither here nor there.

Just like me.

Sort of stuck in the in between.

Treading water, so to speak, until I land ashore in the Sunset, a land of fog, quiet, soft cat paws of mist, and the slap and bang of the ocean surf pounding the beach head.

It will be good for me to be muffled and swaddled and caught in the softness of the landscape.  Maybe a place for me that is not so tough, not so edgy, just a crash pad of comfort.

Ah.

Nesting.

Can’t really do it yet, can’t tell where the money to do it is going to come from.

Can’t tell if I am going to get back from the burn and have full-time nanny hours with the three families.  I know I’ll get three days, outside of that I don’t know.  I do know that I don’t want to commute to North Oakland/Emeryville to nanny although I am in love with my little girl charge there.

That sucks.

And does not all at the same time.

I mean, how many of us can say unequivocably that we love our employers?

Technically the mom and the dad pay me, but the little girl is my boss.

I love my boss.

But will I take an hour and a half to get there to work.

I don’t think I can do it.

It thought about asking them to pay for the commute.

But who is going to do that?

That’s like paying me for three hours a day that I am not working, I mean it will feel like work, but it’s just getting back and forth.

Fuck.

I am exhausted thinking about it.

Maybe a temp agency is the place to go to next.

Keep doing what I can with my friend at the design agency and then look into getting my chops at a few other places around town.

My crystal ball is clouded, foggy, you could say.

I cannot see into the future.

I just have the faith that it all works out.

Today what I have left, aside from trying to get a nice photograph of my new hair, yes I am vain, I have just a few nice little things of self-care to do.

I took care of the hair, I got the phone paid, went to a late lunch with my friend, got a little time in for the design firm, rode my bike over to the Castro for a little of that taking care of business, business, and got back over to Graceland to feed the out-door kitties they dinner.

I am going to miss my some kittens when I leave Graceland.

I will.

Standing on the precipice of a new decade of time in San Francisco with Burning Man to usher me in.

It is the sexy.

The hair.

The age.

The softening instead of toughening.

I am a cream puff and I am getting more and more ok with that.

“You are so hard on yourself, so tough, you need to ease back a little,” my friend said to me today as we caught up and I think I don’t even realize that, I feel so directionless and untethered and don’t know what I am doing most of the time that to even say I surrender to this idea that I am is surreal.

But if I hear it from one friend I hear it from ten.

So like the new hair, which is really just the old hair, I’m going to show that softer side and ease back a little.

Soft is the new sexy.

Is, you could say, the new black.

Congratulations!

July 25, 2013

You have won crackhead bingo!

Yippee!

I saw my midget prostitute today.

I win.

I don’t know why seeing this woman puts a smile on my face, is it the cliché of it all?

She was dressed up more so than the last time I saw her, she looked like a miniature Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman.

Which fyi, was NOT filmed in East Oakland.

In case you were wondering.

She was dolled up in a platinum blonde wig, a very tight leopard print mini dress, and black boots.

Like you know, a three-year old might wear.

If she were a hooker.

I totally smiled, and I shit you not, I almost found myself waving.

“Hi!”

Just your friendly neighborhood crazy girl bicycle commuting through East Oakland in the late morning, oh yeah, it was morning.

I was not smiling or laughing or waving to anybody tonight on my ride home.

I just missed the magic hour of dusk and the end of the work day commute and got caught in the let’s get it on of after dark Oakland.

It was getting on.

I was just pedaling as fast as I could and doing my best to slow down and breathe, to not stay standing at any intersection, to always be in motion, to be seen, to not get hit, to not get harassed.

I made it back alive and not too scared to tell the tale.

The girls during the day are not the same girls that work the nights, from what I can tell.

I still would like to take my camera out and catch a few of them.

Not working, but you know, working.

I did take some surreptitious photographs at the park today.

I took out the camera to capture a man sitting nodding off on a park bench with ropes of drool coming out of his mouth.

Every once in a while he would come to, sit up, regal, raise a hand and softly point, almost wave, in a direction.  Like was directing slow motion traffic in his mind.

Then he would lean forward and nod back out.

I was busy watching my charge, but being on hyper nanny alert I was also, I always do, making sure he was not a threat.

He was harmless in a sad, old man, down on his luck sort of day.

I thought later, what if my perspective is skewed?

He was sitting on a park bench, nodding out, so he got his fix, in warm sunshine, children laughing and playing t-ball in the lot.  He was probably happy as a fucking clam.

Unlike the little girl whose mother pushed her down the big kid slide after getting impatient with her not having the immediate courage to do it (it is a steep ass slide, fuck, I went down it once and got nervous).

Pushed her the fuck down.

Congratulations bitch cakes, you just gave your child fear of heights in one stupid move.

I saw a beautiful three-year old, I know because she was introduced to me as such, go from being happy and joyful to scared, screaming, frightened.

Then it became hysterical crying.

And it was bordering on the tantrum crying that cannot be stopped.

I got up and left.

It was so uncomfortable.

I would rather watch a fucking junkie homeless man nod off on a bench then listen to the little girl wailing and I knew the crying was going to stop and it was going to stop when she got hit.

It was pretty obvious that was the route it was taking.

And the kid knew it too, which I think was adding to the hysterical crying.

“Home,” my charge said.

“I couldn’t agree more,” I said and picked her up and tucked her into my side and got the fuck out of there.

“Leaving before it catches,” a dad said with a wry chuckle.

“Something like that,” I said.

PTSD alarm bells ringing in my head.

GET OUT.

The crying broke with a desperate, abrupt wail about a half block out.

I am just glad my charge was not there to see it.

You can explain away the nodding out junkie, “he’s taking a nap in the sun,” you can’t explain away the parent that pushes their own child down a slide and then hits them later when the child does not respond well to your action.

No thank you.

“I have decided what your playa name should be,” my employer said to me this afternoon when I showed up for the gig, my charge already down for her nap.

The mom’s eyes gleamed with pleasure.

“Mary-Fucking-Poppins!”  She said, gleefully.

Oh my god.

Yes.

Please.

I am Mary Fucking Poppins, or MFP, for shorts, you know.

That will be my street name.

“No, sir, I am not working, I am just getting done with work, no sir I am in child care, no, not childish care, I am a nanny, yes you heard me, ass hole, my name is MARY FUCKING POPPINS.”

Then I would bean him with my umbrella and fly away on my magical bike.

Which might be a little E.T. but the image rather works for me.

And I did get a new parasol for the playa, yes I did.

Bright red.

In the shape, of a, wait for it.

Heart.

BAhahahahahahahahaha.

I love myself.

I crack myself the fuck up.

In other news, I will be house sitting this fine upcoming weekend, in San Francisco, in Cole Valley, in the Upper Haight, yo.

So, let’s do some hanging out and some coffee and or tea having.

And since I will be staying at my Burning Man families place, I will be bringing my playa bike over from my friend’s house on 19th and Valencia.

After a short pit stop at the bike shop to get my Fat Banana saddle.

Fingers crossed my bicycle basket with the daisies comes in this week as well.

Heh.

I am Mary Fucking Poppins.

Good lord.

Sight Seeing

July 11, 2013

As I do my bicycle commute from East Oakland, through West Oakland, and then onto my final destination of North Oakland, I see some interesting things.

I see beauty all over the place.

Sometimes selling itself on the corner for a quick fix from reality.

Sometimes just in the pattern of the clouds against the sky.

The sky that can sometimes thrust me back into my four-year old body as it stared up from the back window of a Volkswagen bug and I am lost in sense memory until the next light changes and I realize I better stop rather than fly through the intersection.

The commute is getting quicker, I know where I need to go, which street to hit, what intersections to be wary of, which ones I can blow through without much thought, but it is still interesting.

Especially to the writer in me.

The things that caught my eye today:

The beautiful curvaceous body of a young girl, perhaps sixteen, perhaps seventeen, in a body hugging crimson short dress with new sandals.  The sway of her heart-shaped earrings broke my reverie and I realized she was a hooker working the corner, but for just a moment she was a gorgeous gazelle floating down the street.

I wonder how long she will get to stay that pretty.

The rims on the Honda Accord, a weird off-color pink that looked matte, were perhaps plastic?  Such strange rims that I almost wanted to stop a take a photograph of them, but I had places to be, babies to nanny.

The manicured lawn on Market at 41st.

It is so manicured, so pristine, and so tiny that I often think that it is astro turf and I frequently want to stop and touch it.

But then who’s crazy now?

Excuse, me sir, I am just touching your lawn to ascertain its reality, don’t mind me.

The block  between 19th and 20th streets on San Pablo.

The one that is anchored by two different liquor stores and some sort of grocery mart/ store that has a poorly written sign that I know is meant to be indicative of WIC being accepted at the Bodega, but the grammar is such that it looks like “vouchers for women and children good here”.

You mean I can give you a voucher and you’ll give me a woman?

Awesome.

Because that’s happening just a scant few steps down and I don’t think they know they can get the hook up at your store instead of soliciting it on the sidewalk or the gutter between parked cars.

The other signs on the street that amuse me/horrify me are these: Serenity Place, A Friendly Manor, and Victory House.

Ain’t no serenity happening here folks, keep on moving.

Today I saw a white man, probably in his mid-twenties wearing a full length camel-hair coat and aviator sunglasses circa 1978.

He was crashed into the side of the bus stop and was having a rapid conversation with, well, with whom I am not sure, there was no one else there, but the conversation looked brisk and intense.

There is Giant Burger, which is now Giant Burger and burritos?

I am not sure what is happening but slowly as the weeks have gone by in my travels through this neck of the woods, it appears to have a more and more Mexican slant to the menu.

There is ShugaHill, which seems to be a soul food restaurant that never is open.

And “Brother” which actually looks pretty damn good, and smells pretty fine.

I also like their sign which says, “We will deliver anywhere!”

I almost want to test that out.

There is the bridge I go under, either side amuck with garbage and depending on the day of the week, there are two pan handlers working it, either a young white woman, cannot be more than 22/23 years old, who seems to be wearing some sort of brown sack dress, and either dirty brown flip-flops or shredded black Vans, who panhandle’s on the off ramp from the highway on the tiniest meridian possible.

Her hair is also brown and lank and she does not yet have the coat of tan that indicates you have been homeless in the elements for a while.

Should she get cleaned up I bet she would look normal, just another girl on the side of the road begging for money to get her fix.

The other is the scrawniest black man, old, but I cannot tell how old, who works the other off-ramp and stands with a hand held out, no sign, next to a red painted metal shopping cart.  He is so still I often don’t realize there is a person there until I am past him and my mind registers what my eyes just saw.

Tonight I was late at the nanny job and I got to see the same strip from a vantage point that I don’t often get, dusky night ride.

I normally would head over to Rockridge and see some folks there about getting some medicine for what ails me, but tonight I was in between times and just needed to get back to Gracelandia before it was too late.

Thus I skipped straight to the commute and saw the same strip of land as night was falling and the crazy was calling.

The same strip where I want to paint a shazam sign on the side of a building saying, “SERENITY NOW!” was going off.

I mean off.

“Nigger get the fuck off me, bitch.”

There was a throw down happening between two women, indiscriminate age, fighting over what, I don’t know, but it was hot and on and people where coming from out of the proverbial wood work to see it go down, I nearly hit one old shuffling man with no shoes on, just some frayed socks, as he hustled from across the street to get a better look at the action.

One woman had grabbed the other woman’s hair and was whaling on her.

Whaling.

I was tempted to call the cops, but I just hustled through, there was enough ruckus happening that one of the stores would make the call, I am sure.

Especially since it was interrupting the brisk trade of beers in a bag sales that were happening.

Two blocks away.

Two white women, preening, yoga-fied, slick pony tails pulled back sleek and high, sat at an outdoor cafe eating salads.

Looked like arugula and figs.

Hard to tell.

Whipped by them, crossed through Frank Ogawa plaza up onto 14th then hit the Lake headed back to East Oakland.

Tonight I was not smacked on the ass, thank god, it would have freaked me out tonight, being as it was nightfall by the time I got back, but I was followed a couple of blocks rather too closely by a large truck.

I just ignored it and focused on riding.

I counted down the blocks as they went by and realized I was making extraordinary time.

36 minutes from door to door.

Not bad.

Especially as how it was such a colorful ride home.

Cheeky Bastards

July 9, 2013

You know you are in a good place emotionally, spiritually, and mentally when a car load of little thugs rolls up on you and you get your ass slapped while bicycling down International Avenue.

I was pedaling my ass off, but not in that kind of way.

I had gotten a roll by, and I do believe it was from the same car with a voice extolling my beauty and sexiness and blah, blah, blah, just get me through the next light and I am cool, ignore it, it will go away.

They usually do.

These little fuckers though, they must have went around the block and circled back, right past where El Gordo Taco truck plies its trade-off of High Street and International.

I was deep in thought, just a few blocks from the turn off to Graceland, messenger bag full of groceries from a quick pit stop to the Whole Foods in Oakland by Lake Merrit, planning out my strategy of attack for tomorrow’s nanny gig.

I have three babies tomorrow.

Three.

And every one of them is going to need a place to nap.

Normally one of the babies, my little elf girl, is brought over after nap time, but not tomorrow, nope, she’s getting a drop off two hours earlier than I normally have her.

If you don’t hear from me until after tomorrow night at 6 pm assume I am drowning in babies.

Juggling two is challenging, having three is a total body work out.

And my body must be looking good, despite my brain trying to tell me the opposite.

In no particular order I was whistled at, hollered at, barked at (yes, I mean does that even count as a cat call?) I was called beautiful from the side walks, street corners, bus stops, and out of car windows.

And yes, my ass was slapped.

I mean I cannot even be mad about it.

Fact is, I have pondered doing the same thing to other people before.

When Calvin and I were in a hanging out a lot phase of our friendship before he opened the salon up, we went through a huge spate of scooter riding.

He was crazy on that scooter, he probably still is, weaving in and out, ducking into the bike lane, squeezing between cars, I was always praying not to fall off or pee my pants.

I was also high on the exhilaration of speed and adrenalin.

I had often joked about smacking somebody on the ass, some hipster with a kryptonite hanging off his skinny ass, I never did, but man it was tempting.

And I have an ass, I have a bicycle bum, I ride my bike a lot and when I am not riding it I am walking.

Not having a car helps develop leg muscles, dontcha know.

The little hellions at least beeped at me.

I heard the car coming and it honked and I thought I was getting honked at for taking up too much of the lane.  In hindsight, I think they were giving me a warning, “here we come lady, watch your back.”

I could feel the car getting close, a lot closer than I felt comfortable with, then…

SMACK!

“Fuck you!”

I shouted, and flipped them off, but I had a smile on my face, I could not help it, the rear window full of grinning faces all watching me and smiling and waving at me and whistling.

I normally would not put up with it, but the fucking pure audacity made me smile, and yes, I do think it’s funny.

I can’t even get up a good head of steam over it.

I guess that means I am in a pretty good mood.

And I am.

I have been abstinent in my food, I have been working, I got a mani/pedi yesterday as my treat after the long week of being in San Francisco, I am absolutely loving my hair, it’s not been this long in years, and yeah, it’s a simple thing, but I do feel that there have been times when I was mistaken for being a little light in the loafers with the faux hawks and short shaved hair styles.

I am all woman and ready to be dating some men.

Not, perhaps the Buick full of boys that blew past me on International, but hey, you know, today I will take it as a compliment, I looked good, I look good.

I don’t feel like the kids were being malicious, just, well kids, out cruising.

If they had been older I might have gotten freaked out.

Then again, I don’t believe an older set of men, would have done that.

I am not, however, condoning getting slapped on the ass again in my commute.

Once was enough.

Good enough for a story, I don’t need to build a chapter around it.

In other things bicycle, I got the log in information to order through the bike shops distributor, I am aching to get my paws in there and get the few things I want to get for my playa bike ordered and taken care of.

Hmm, Burning Man, may be the only other place I would accept a spanking on my bicycle while riding it.

Be that as it may, I am itchy to go flit through the website.

I have a budget and I should be able to adhere nicely to it since I am ordering at cost and not retail.

Yay.

Aside from that not much else to report.

Lots of nannying this week and just taking the next steps in front of me.

And doing it while looking hella sassy.

It has been confirmed.

Amply.

Tuesday, It’s a Good Day

July 3, 2013

For a panic attack.

I shit you not, I had my first panic attack in about oh, six years.

Man that was not fun.

In tears, on the floor, trying to desperately regulate my breathing.

All because I am powerless over BART and my life is fucking unmanageable.

Fortunately it was a baby panic attack, probably more of an anxiety attack than anything, but the lead up to it was hella sexy.

Not.

I was trying to juggle too many people and too many schedules.

Attempting to figure out how I was going to make it back to East Oakland tonight so that I could bicycle commute to North Oakland in the morning for a nanny gig.

Throw in I had a 6pm meet up at Dolores Park Cafe, followed by a 7:30pm commitment at the Women’s Building.

Add to the crazy I was leaving the house sitting gig, so like a good hermit crab I was going to have to pack up all my belongings and trundle them along with me to the East Bay.

Oh, yeah, and I was attempting to figure out how to pick up the keys to the house sitting gig I am doing starting Thursday, here in SF.

Then, the final cherry on the top, I am nannying on Thursday and Friday here in SF.

Holy mother of God.

No wonder I was freaking out.

All I could do was make a cup of tea and sit down and be grateful that the baby was sleeping.

I posted something to facecrack, then got a few responses but nothing that quite seemed to make the proper connection, in fact, it all seemed to get bigger and more blown out and more complicated the more I looked at it.

Then the mom in North Oakland shoots me a text saying, we’re still on for tomorrow, right?  And I’m in the city until 8pm if you need a ride back to the East Bay.

I do, but I have a bicycle that won’t fit into your car along with the timing on picking up the keys and I suppose I could leave the bike here, but then how do I get from Graceland to North Oakland–it’s seven miles and um, yeah, the BART is not going that away either.

I mean I suppose I could take the bus?

Cue the unset of panic, the baby is waking up, the texts are whistling in, and I just about blew a gasket.

I stopped, turned off the phone, well, I turned it to silent.

Then I realized I could probably ask for some help and guidance and I didn’t need to figure it out on my own, even though I was still trying to figure it out on my own.

I knew in my heart I was going to have to cancel one thing.

Either the pet sit.

Or the nanny in Oakland.

I was going to have to be on one side of the bay or the other.

The back and forth was just not an option.

I wanted to crawl into a five gallon bucket of mint chocolate chip ice cream and cry.

Instead I ate half a bag of baby carrots and some organic humus and I started making the phone calls.

The first three I was in such a panic explaining what was happening that I think I actually did not leave a cohesive message.

I called John Ater first and said the breathing is not working, I can’t catch my breath, but I could hear him in my head, “just breathe, just breathe, take another deep breath.”

I left my inchoate message on his voice mail, tears rolling down my face, talking to myself out loud to breathe and called the next person on the list.

I called four people, left four messages, and on the fifth hit the jackpot.

I got a live person.

Honey.

Oof.

She just listened and made some suggestions and asked me what I could do and next thing you know I am telling her all I really care about is meeting this person at 6pm at Dolores Park Cafe and then going to the Women’s Building, that I know everything else will fall into place, the keys, the transportation, where I am going to stay, how it will work.

I don’t know how, but just focusing on that, just getting from 5 o’clock to the baby is getting picked up and then get on bike and go to the cafe.

Just that.

Oh, yes, and take care of the baby.

Which I managed to do and was most likely the reason why I did not go into full-blown attack, I had a responsibility, a little life, a person completely reliant on me.

I knew that he was my only true concern at the moment and that it all was going to suss its way out.

I listened to my friend’s suggestions, made eyes with the baby, flirting with a boy always helps, then took the next action in front of me.

I called the people I nanny for and was house sitting for in Cole Valley and asked if I could stay two more evenings (I work as a nanny here Thursday and Friday).  Dad is back and there is no need for me to be here.

Mom said yes, just clear it with dad.

I text dad.

Dad said it’s a go.

I have a place to stay.

Check.

I called the person who had offered to give me a lift if I needed it and said thank you, but I am going to pass, I’m staying put.

Which meant calling the family in the East Bay and saying those words I so dread, “I have to cancel, I am sorry, but I am staying in the city.”

Of course the mom was entirely sympathetic and we worked it out that she is actually going to bring her daughter here.

So I won’t lose a gig, I won’t lose my mind, I won’t be hurting myself trying to shuttle all my stuff to the East Bay and then back to the city and I won’t be having any more panic attacks today.

Thank fucking God.

Just like that, just ask for help, just stop figuring it out.

Figure it out ain’t a god damn slogan.

The show’s officially in town all week, pull up a chair.


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