Posts Tagged ‘Flax’

Faith Is The Wheelbarrow

January 31, 2016

That carries hope across the high wire.

This is how I see it, I explained to her over coffee at Tart to Tart.

It was good to see her, it’s been a few weeks.

Plenty of check ins, but no face to face meetings and it was nice to be held accountable, to show up, to be an adult.

I’m adult’ing all over the place.

Who’s done with her reading?

Me.

That’s who.

Well, almost done.

I still have my Ethics and Family Law class to finish, but in the last week, culminating in today, I have read ALL of my readings for my next set of classes for Psychodynamics, Multi-Cultural Counseling and the Family, and The Clinical Relationship.

I just finished a little while ago and to celebrate turned on some music–I can’t read with music in the background, even pleasure reading (unless I’m in a cafe, then somehow I am able to drown out the noise, and interestingly, I am doing it right now, I like to listen to music when I am blogging–never when I writing my morning pages, but almost always when I do my blog.  The brain is a fascinating thing.) becomes too much with music playing.

I also opened up my Fantastic Cities coloring book that a dear friend and ladybug gave me a few weeks ago.

I did some coloring and it felt good; I’m exploring it as a meditative spiritual practice.

Some preparation for my Applied Spirituality class proposal.

The proposal is due the 5th of this upcoming month.

Which sounds like all the time in the world, but is actually next Friday and since the weekends is when I do my writing for school (weekdays I read before work, which is how i am done with the majority of my reading, a consistent effort to read a half hour to an hour before work every day, plus the morning pages and my morning routine, you could say I have a job to do before I do my job.) I want to have it done tomorrow.

The proposal is something I can work on when I meet up to study with my friend.

I am excited to see her and also give a little tour of the neighborhood, despite living in San Francisco for a little bit now, she has not see the Outer Sunset.

We’re going to meet up after lunch.

I figure she’s got to have a tour of the house, it feels vulnerable and scary and wonderful all at the same time to show someone my home.

I feel it’s quite a reflection of myself and a look into my secret, well, not so secret, I do so often wear it on my sleeve, heart.

It’s the epicenter of my personality that’s for sure.

My room always has been.

My sister told me once that she used to sneak into my room when we were in high school and she would lay on my bed and look at my stuff.

I wonder what she saw.

I feel like my home is warm and inviting, like me, and sweet, like me.

Ha.

I know how that sounds.

But that is what my person called me today.

Sweet and warm.

I don’t believe I have ever heard her use those words to describe me and I felt tears pooling in my eyes when she said it.

I had just finished reading her my list of what God is.

(EVERYTHING)

Here is the list, with a few things edited for the sake of anonymity, that divine spiritual principal that is at the center of everything I am and do:

-Love

-Light, sunshine, warmth

-Apples

-Restful sleep

-The Ocean

-The smell of jasmine at night

-Daisies

-Summer time, sundresses, wearing my hair down long

-Poetry

-Burning Man

-Shadrach

-Being held, holding someone’s hand

-Plum trees blooming in spring

-Art, museums, getting art high

-Paris, travel, gardens, cafes

-Recovery, service

-Coffee, friends, tea, tattoos

-Having curly hair, beauty

-Fun, pinball, coloring

-Self-care, hot showers, walks on the beach

-Kissing, romantic love, good sex

-The smell of sweat

-Salt on my food

-My scooter, my bicycle

-Perspective

-Stickers, collage, art magazines

-Photography

-Blue skies

-Surrender, letting go, forgiveness

-School, reading, flexibility

-Serendipity, getting out of the way, being taken care of

-Family, school friends, children I have nannied

-Bunny rabbits

-Writing, blogging, morning pages

-Music and dancing

-More and more and more love

-Good pens and Claire Fontaine notebooks

It was a good list to make and reminds me of others I have done.

“What a sweet, warm, beautiful list, there are so many women I work with who wouldn’t be able to see what you see, how freeing it is, there’s that too, that sense of freedom, joy, you have it,” she leaned toward me, “the feel of paper under your hand, is that what you said?”

Yes, it is indeed what I said and she knew the notebooks I was talking about and how I wish I had gotten a couple more while I was in Paris.

“They sell them at Flax!” She exclaimed.

They do, although not the same kind that I like, they also have an online shop and that may be where I indulge myself a little when I get my tax return.

But, I digress.

Warm and sweet.

I’m now describing my tea.

Haha.

Perhaps that is why, I’m full of hot tea, spicy, sweet tea.

Or.

Maybe, I’ve just kept showing up and doing the work and letting myself be seen more and more, even when I resist, even when I thought, but did not act, about canceling on my school friend.  Instead, I shared my crazy and told my person.

“Oh, she said that to you?” My person said, “well, she sees you–the real you, that’s what you’re afraid of.”

Yup.

As desperately as I want to be seen, and believe me, I do, I do, I do.

I also get scared by the thought of intimacy, of being seen into, of being vulnerable, I don’t want to be hurt.

But if I sequester myself I won’t get to continue to enjoy the benefits that being open hearted and vulnerable have brought me.

And I like those benefits.

They are so good.

Freedom from the bondage of self being just one of many.

So tomorrow.

I show up, which should not really be all that hard since my friend is coming to me, and I show myself for who I am and I let another person in.

I am grateful for this ever widening circle of friends.

Love.

And.

Life.

It is all so damn good.

I mean.

Really.

REALLY.

Good.

You Are A Gem

May 10, 2015

“I just wanted to let you know that,” she said to me at the Crepevine as I was sitting and waiting for my meal to arrive.

“I mean, really, such a gem,” she came back to pat my hand and then added, “and so beautiful, you just look stunning.”

That’s so nice to hear.

Especially when I felt a bit blown out and tender and had been crying and well, of course I was wearing eyeliner, duh.

I didn’t have a bad day.

No.

It was challenging.

Lots happened.

Lots didn’t happen too.

When I reflect on the day, it was successful in its own way.

I did sleep in, a teeny, tiny bit.

I did slow down a bit.

I wrote a lot.

I rode my bike a bit.

Not my scooter at all.

Although I addressed it.

And for a moment, felt like I was getting slapped around by the Universe.

But really.

I saw it.

So clear.

It’s all God’s.

It’s God’s money, its God’s Vespa.

Apparently it’s God’s Vespa from Vietnam.

Oops.

“This, this, this,” he rattled them off at me, “Asia, Vietnam, yes, the engine is new, but it’s not Italian, it’s Indian, as in, from India.”

I teared up.

I couldn’t help it.

The side panel on the ground, the whipsaw denigration of my sweet, cute, sassy little ride.

Then being told to go dump it in the bay because it’s not worth anything and they didn’t want to touch it.

Well.

You could say that wasn’t the news I wanted to hear.

The owner of the shop saw my distress and took me back inside and offered me a soda or a cup of water and had me sit down on the bench in the store and his big English bulldog came over and leaned on me and let me scratch his ears, while listening to the various scenarios being played out for my scooter’s life.

None of which sounded all that great.

At one point I stopped him, touched his shoulder and said, “I need you to slow down, I don’t understand anything you are saying.”

Aside from the fact that my scooter was  piece of crap.

His words.

Poor little scooter.

Don’t take it personally.

I kept telling myself, there maybe something to be done, but it’s not happening now, I’m too upset, the owner’s mechanic refused to do anything to it, “nope, it’s a “Nammer, I’m not touching it.”

I am not my scooter.

Nor am I hurt, dead, owing of money to anyone.

I felt momentarily bowled over.

Oh, that’s for sure.

But.

The owner of the shop said, listen you know a lot of people, a lot of the same people he too knows, talk to your guys, ask for help, see what they say.  He agreed to keep it at the shop and see if there was anything they could do and I should “sleep on it” and call back on Wednesday or Thursday.

He even called the mechanic who had worked on it for my friend who sold it to me and got the story of the scooter.

I was at the shop for a good long while and pretty blasted by the end of the afternoon.

I text a friend in the neighborhood and walked over and had tea in the Mission.

On the way I saw a party happening at Public Works and an old acquaintance an old friend, a guy I had not seen in years, on the side-walk outside Public Works, making a phone call, smoking a cigarette.

I thought, oh my God, that’s ______________.

I almost waved to him.

Then I looked closer.

He did not look well.

Heavy.

Smoking.

Dissolute.

He looked like the bottom of a shoe that has been scraped on the side-walk outside the End Up and the all black wardrobe did not hide the beer gut and double chin.

Oh honey.

Problems?

Luxury problems.

I got no problems.

All is good in my hood.

I opted to not cross over or say hello, I breathed deep and sent him a big mental hug and instead continued up the street and went to my friend’s place for a hot cup of tea and a quick catch up.

Then over to the Inner Sunset to 7th and Irving to catch a brilliant stage adaptation of “The Hellgrammite Method” The New Twilight Zone, Season 3 (1988) written by William Selby and “Passage for a Trumpet” The Twilight Zone, Season 1 (1960) written by Rod Sterling.

On the way, I swung into Flax and let myself have an artist date, because retail therapy and art supplies go hand in hand.

I caught the N-Judah (bus, since the train line was being repaired) and reached out to some friends and asked for help, suggestions, ideas, I confirmed my coffee date with my friend who sold me the Vespa and I’ll get to see him tomorrow and see what he thinks too.

Ultimately.

I know that there is nothing wrong.

It’s just another experience to be had.

And if God doesn’t want me to have a Vespa, well, I have a bicycle.

And a wonderful cozy home.

A healthy, body.

Good friends who love me.

Sobriety.

Abstinence.

Love.

I really have all that I need.

And the sound track of some Chet Baker on the stereo.

Tomorrow is another day of adventures and what ever happens.

Really.

Truly.

I am absolutely ok with.

I’m not on the side-walk in the middle of the afternoon trying to score.

I’m not a homeless kid in the park with a stray dog and a skateboard.

I’m a beautiful, sober woman with a full amazing life, living in one of the most beautiful places on earth with friends and recovery and art and theater, with new French notebooks on my table, and wild, wonderful, pink hair.

Problems?

Not a one.

Perspective?

Galore.

Hello Monday

April 14, 2015

Let’s be friends.

I wrote that this morning as I was sitting and thinking about what my day would look like, how it would go, where I would go, what I would do, and then further, how I was going to be.

Happy.

That was my choice.

Happy is a choice.

Sometimes happy happens all on its own and that is lovely and surprising and I am always grateful for it.

Then there are other times, Monday’s, when I have to put myself in that mode and get happy.

I put my hair in pony tails.

I wore some electric blue and some purple.

I stuck a couple of big purple and teal flowers in my hair.

And I did my make up to match–shimmery purple glitter on the whole lid complimented with some teal eyeliner set off by a black winged cats eye and two layers of black water proof mascara.

Waterproofing.

I should have known.

I think I was subconsciously telling myself, but i didn’t hear it.

I was busy getting happy and doing my writing in my pink glitter notebook and thinking I should make a run on Flax and pick up a notebook and that I needed some new stickers, I’m almost out and what could I do to guarantee I would continue bright and upbeat and not let Monday have its way with me.

“Swimming, swimming, we’re going swimming,” the mom was singing to the boys when I walked in this morning.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” I whispered under my breath.

Of course.

It was a family swim day.

Spring Break you’re going to kill me.

But, I put myself in the happy place, breathe and pray, and got into it.

“Carmen? Carmen! Carmen!”  The oldest came hustling down the stairs and ran into the kitchen where I was putting together stacks of snacks for the trip to the pool and back.

Swimming makes for hungry little boys.

“You’re here!” He hugged me, “it’s so good to see you, I missed you!”

I missed you too, my sweet guy.

I picked him up and gave him a big squeeze.

“Sometimes you hug so hard I think it’s going to hurt,” he told me, “but it never does.”

I felt a small hand reach inside my heart and squeeze it.

These kids get me.

I have thought before when transitioning to a new family from another that I wouldn’t love the kids as much or there would be differences and I wouldn’t be accepted or, whatever it was, that there wasn’t enough love in me to go out to another child.

And yet.

There always is.

There are times when I have a moment with the little guy and he’s my favorite and the best and wouldn’t trade him in for millions.

Then the oldest does something like hug me and kiss my face and ask me to sit by him and write out “a very secret story that only you and I share,” and he snuggles into me while dictating the words to the secret story, so secret that I can’t even look, and then, yes, he is my favorite.

The best.

The most awesome.

Then I see my little Junebug and Charlie Reno squished up on the top bunk of Charlie’s bed–my screen saver on my phone, Junie’s eyes wide, saucer like, glowing like love lamps and my heart squishes and she is it, oh goodness, so much it breaks me in half and then in half and in half again, times infinity and beyond.

“My favorite number is 20 hundred plus infinity,” the older one informed me out of the blue.

Yeah.

Like that.

Love it doesn’t wear out or go away or get smaller, it just grows, and like a flower forever blooming it only grows sweeter and better even when the person is not close to me or gone another way.

I have this note that a dear friend, who is currently not talking to me, but that’s another story, wrote me this past year about how much I inspire him and that I will never understand how much and that I have loved him more than he deserves and that for that he will always love me more than I will know.

And another note, on two yellow stickies about me on my playa bike and how she thinks of me with love, and it accompanied a necklace sent from my best friend in Wisconsin.

Then there’s the photograph of me and my darling girl friend, who takes a lot of random ass, I’m freaking out, need to talk me down from the ledge moments, of her and I doing the tourist photograph from Alcatraz.

I have postcards and note cards and “love letters” all over my fridge.

I have the most amazing print from a friend who signs it “Love you Carmen.”

And I know she does.

And I love her.

Love.

It’s so nice.

And it’s a good thing to remember when the two and 3/4 year old boy, half-naked, then completely naked, launches into the longest temper tantrum I have ever experienced.

Second only in severity to the one he threw in the bathroom at Mission Playground.

This one happened at La Petite Bailene, in the locker room, that space that is the echo chamber to end all echo chambers, a locker room.

The screams.

It was horror.

He lost it.

Lost it.

Lost it.

The tantrum was prefaced by him not wanting to get out of the pool, which is so amazing, a few weeks ago he was adamantly against the pool and I remember telling the mom that it would change, patience and practice and gentle repetition and before you know it, he will love the pool.

He loves it so much that when the family swim was over, and my eye makeup had been dashed and sprayed and doused in water and he was swimming with nanny the raccoon, he wouldn’t get out.

And he didn’t have a choice.

Open swim was over.

Try telling that to a stubborn child who has his heart set on swimming and all the wonder of it.

Poor baby.

The mom and I managed, the older brother managed, the snickering of the German mom changing her small children out of their co-ordinated racer back swimsuits in the corner, I could have done without, but you know, what ever, tantrums happen and one day you’ll get yours lady.

The mom got him out of his swim suit and wet trunks, but getting him into clothes was impossible.

Executive decision time, out to the car naked, but he pulled the one trick out of the bag to get back into the swimming pool facility.

He stopped wailing and in the calmest voice ever, said, “I have to pee.”

Oh good gravy.

Kid.

You are killing me.

I looked at the mom, “I’ll do it, give me his clothes,” I ran him back inside, got him in a stall, he tried to escape, I knew he wanted back to the pool and the tantrum exploded again.

Mad little naked monkey.

I did eventually get him changed and dressed and out the door and into the car seat and back home and he napped and then the world became a much quieter place, but for a moment, I had the Monday blues.

Oh yes I did.

Then the day ended and he sat in my lap and snuggled and said, “please, oh please, eat your food,” he likes my beans and rice dishes.

He curled up with his stuffed cat in my chair and ate beans and rice and I fed his brother and we did bath time and it was all good.

Love.

It doesn’t go away when things get hard or screaming happens, all the emotions, all the big feels, they are just a part of the journey.

And even though Monday was not quite as happy as I had planned it to be.

It was still full and wonderful even when it was tough and heartrending.

That might be the best definition for love I have.

And I can always use a little more.

Or a lot more.

Like.

20 hundred plus infinity.

Sometimes It Takes All Day

August 3, 2014

But I got there.

To my happy place.

Or at least my place of serenity.

Peace with myself, with the world, with the fog and the whistle of it pushing in through the open window of my friend’s car as we drove deeper into the incoming thick of it down Lincoln, headed to the ocean.

I felt my mood elevate, finally after it had been pretty glum all day.

It was just a mix of glum, grey, moody, cranky, can’t quite get my head on straight.

But it got there.

It did.

I just had to keep taking action and then more action and suggestions and inventory and write that down and let go of that person with kindness and go have some fun.

Fun.

What?

Ugh.

The f word again?

Really?

I made my way to the Inner Sunset and got right with the world for an hour over coffee and made a plan of attack for the rest of the day and the week and my life, not really, I exaggerate a little, but I did get some pretty basic instructions on what to do.

One thing, continue to take a little action every day around finding work and we discussed what that would look like and I have a plan of attack for tomorrow and how to begin that.

And also, to not limit myself, I was arguing against Craigslist and she said, why limited yourself, look at it all, look at Craigslist, look at nanny agencies, look at referrals, check in with your people, hell, look into everything, maybe your next job is not being a nanny.

Although that certainly feels like the next obvious thing.

“Maybe you need to do some inventory about why you chose a career that you have to say good-bye to people, children you love, every couple of years.” She said with some deep wisdom that I immediately combatted.

“I did not choose this career!”

Vehement denial.

“It choose me.”

But there’s got to be something there, I do make decisions every day–pay for MUNI, or sneak on the back door; pay your rent early so you don’t have to think about it, or stress while at Burning Man about how to pay your rent; write your blog every night and be accountable to your art, or putz away your life glut watching videos on Netflix; ask a man on a date, or bemoan being single; take a trip to New York when some one invites you to crash at their place, or regret not ever having been to the city that never sleeps, never gone to the Met or eaten at Peter Luger’s (which is on the menu, bring me the steak, bitches) or walked over the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk with a darling friend–so in some way, I made the decision to be a nanny.

I didn’t choose writing code.

I didn’t choose marketing.

I didn’t choose doctoring or nursing or law school.

I didn’t choose retail or waiting tables or dentistry.

I choose being a nanny.

But as the child studied me in line today at the cafe and I looked at his deep brown eyes, this level of communication and honest curiosity and love passed and I know that I have chosen well.

Life, the Universe, God if you will, may choose different for me at any moment.

I get to keep working on that, seeing where I am best of service and going with it, how can I help best, where are my talents utilized best, how am I being my best person, what am I putting out into the world.

What place of love and creativity can I come from?

How to access that and pass it along and inspire?

Being a writer, even in this small capacity is so important to me.

I was trying and doing a poor job of explaining to my friend who drove me home, that I was not attempting to break a plateau with my blog, to burst to the next level of things, to make money from my blog.

It is here to serve me, or I to serve it.

I don’t have that many followers, but I feel like every single one of them is a brightness in my being, a little flame of love that I have gathered to me by showing up and being my honest, heart on my sleeve person.

I am more myself because I do this.

And that is service.

Doing what I love allows other people to do what they love and I know that being a nanny has helped with doing that.  I get to be surrounded by loads of love and it’s not often that I take my work home with me.

Yes, it does affect me in other ways, there are a lot of times when I think it might do me good to interact with adults, but there is a kind of core communication that is enacted between me and a child that I don’t always get with the grown up world.

The filters that I place before myself before I engage with the world in general are not up so much with the children I take care of and I laugh with them in ways that blow open the doors on my heart in a way that I cannot full explain without sounding like a complete goon.

“You are such a nanny!” My friend said tonight as we were catching up in the cafe.

I had suggested that if he thought naps were fun he could organize a nap party, get together with a bunch of friends and some sleeping pads and boxes of carton milk and a couple of cookies and soft fuzzy blankets and have a snooze party.

I giggled.

Yup.

I also gleefully opened up my messenger bag, which in my head I had called a book bag, harking back to my days at elementary school and not buying the things I wanted to for school supplies because the family funds were so short, to show off my day of taking action to get my joy on.

I left the Inner Sunset on a mission to have fun and that meant going to Flax before heading up to Noe Valley.

I got stickers and a Claire Fontaine notebook and a new pencil sharpener and pencil bag (I already have a pen bag, but I got one specifically for pencils), a set of twenty-four colored pencils, and yes, friends, I bought a coloring book.

Granted, it’s the Tattoo Coloring Book by Megamunden, so not like I got some Disney Princess bullshit, but yes, it is a coloring book.

Because sometimes that’s how I have fun.

I color.

I also collage.

I also do sticker art.

Shut it.

It makes me happy and so, when I opened up my book bag, er, my messenger bag tonight when I got home, I was happy to pull out my little treasures and know that in between kicking nanny butt and taking action to find new families to work with and new babies to love, I get to have some fun for me.

It took all day.

But I got my fun on.

In twenty four different colors of joy.

 

Dust

November 2, 2013

This is all just dust, he said to me emphatically, waving at the bicyclists and skateboarders, the dog walkers, and the Friday afternoon revellers in the Mission.

He was pretty damn on point with me today, cut straight through all the bullshit and said, do whatever you’re going to do or hide away in a closet.

It’s all dust.

So get busy living.

Well, I added that part.

“What about Rome?” He also asked.

Now how the fuck did he know about Rome?

I don’t recall talking about it at all to him, although I have had Rome on the brain a little of late, especially this afternoon as I stood taking in the panorama of San Francisco from the top of 19th between Noe and Sanchez.

It is a spectacular view from my employers back window.

It reminds me of how the houses in Rome were stacked up against one another and there was something of the light this afternoon that reminded me of Rome as well.

Rome is one of those places I wouldn’t mind living in for a little while.

“Research” another book.

I started writing a new piece today.

I went to Flax after work and I bought a new Claire Fontaine notebook and a bunch of stickers, I did not find the birthday card for my mom, although I hunted through, that remains on the list and I need to take care of that on the morrow, her birthday is November 7th and I want to make sure the card gets to her by that day.

I bicycled away from Flax with the sun beaming down benevolently on my head and the entire way there I thought, “what is the opening line?  How will I start, where am I going with the story, what am I doing,” etc, etc, etc.

God, sometimes I dislike that part of my brain so much.

I counseled myself and said, just show up, just sit down.

Open the notebook and see what comes.

I wasn’t expecting to write what I wrote.

I wasn’t expecting to have a name for the heroine, and it just popped out onto the page.

I started writing and continued to do so until John Ater showed up at the cafe and he motioned for me to come out and talk with him on the benches outside.

The blue sky, the green flashing leaves on the trees, all the stories I tell myself.

“Have you written about what you learned in Paris yet?” He asked bluntly at one point in the conversation.

“Sort of, in my morning pages,” I said.

“No, have you written about it, not artistically, just for yourself, just to see what is there,” he concluded.

“No.”  I said.

No, I have not.

Maybe I don’t want to learn exactly what it is that I learned there.

Let’s see, there is that I made a lot of connections, I met a lot of people, I was in a lot of fear, most of which was completely unnecessary, and most of which I was able to walk through.

There were days though, when the terror was so strong upon me that I don’t know how I made it through.

I learned that I don’t want to live in  Paris, at least not right now, but that I do want to live in San Francisco, and be also a woman of the world.

Not just Rome.

But what about Africa?

How about that for a six month stretch?

How about being based in San Francisco, anchored here, and then once every few years, going off and travelling, taking pictures and writing.

Or Hawaii.

Or Iceland.

Or, well, who knows.

What if I just nanny for a little while here, build up another nest egg and then travel and write some more.

What if I was not “Auntie Bubba Girl on the Go, but Auntie Bubba, Woman of the World?”

What would that look like?

“Just do it, don’t talk about it, how long did you talk about Paris,” John asked me briskly.

I don’t know.

I didn’t realize that I had talked about it that much.

However, if an ex that I dated six years ago recalls me wanting to move to Paris, well, I guess I have been talking about it for a while.

What did I learn?

That my home is San Francisco and that the people I love live here, Steve and Joan and Beth, Matt, and Radha, Calvin, Tami, Arin, Megan, Sarah, Alex and Shannon, John Ater, Joanne, Mace, Tanya, Stephanie, Taylor, oh, there’s a list.

“I just wanted to tell you how much I love you,” I told a friend of mine today over the phone.

“You were one of my rocks when I was in Paris, I couldn’t have done it without you in my corner,” I had tears streaking down my face and turned into the atm at the bank to deposit my work check for the week before heading off to adventures in nannying.

I felt compelled to reach out and tell some folks today that I love them.

And to also check the balance on my bank account, because I am buying a ticket to Florida to visit some family soon.

When the blog is finished writing itself, it does that, I don’t anymore, this is just a conduit, I am just a channel.

“What else?” He asked, crossing his arms in front of himself.

“I have already broken up with him before we got started,” I said.

“Which one?” He laughed.

“How about you just sequester yourself in your room, nail wood slats on the door and hide for the rest of your life, you are going to get hurt either way, there is no safe way through,” he ended.

“Why don’t you give it a chance, see what happens,” he coughed, “or have you already figured it out?”

“Fuck you,” I said, and turned back to the trees, the light, the sky, the coffee cup with melted ice in it.  I ran my finger around the froth of milk rimming the cup and sucked it off.

“I learned that I don’t have to know what I am doing, I just have to do it.”

This is what I have realized since leaving that bench in front of Philz on 24th and Folsom Street.

I don’t have to know where I am going.

I don’t have to know why.

I don’t have to figure it out.

I just need to let you know how much I love you.

Because that is, in the end, the only thing that really matters.

And with that, you’ll have to excuse me, I have a ticket to purchase, there is someone I need to tell that to face to face.

 

 

Morbid Reflection

November 1, 2013

Must be careful to not drift that way.

Just a reminder.

I was supposing that as this day drew near that I might be tempted to do just that.

However, without even realizing it I am excited to be here, one year later, ready to take some of what I experienced and move forward with it.

“The first time I moved to Paris,” he said to me with his rakish British accent, “I fell in love and married her and within a year we were divorcing, she took everything I had, and I had to move back home to live with my dad.”

He shook his head, “I was sixty thousand dollars in debt and living on the fucking pull out at my fathers flat.  I was 45.”

“Nobody makes it their first time in Paris, it takes time, but I wouldn’t give up that experience for the world.”  He paused, ran his hand through his hair, “I was in an awful place, but I was there for a reason, and I took a lot of photographs.”

Photographs that were about to be the main attraction in a big show at the Tate in London.  Photographs that had already done the Biennial at Venice and shows in Paris.

I knew he was an artist and I knew that he was annoyed by me.

Sometimes we are annoyed by that which reminds us the most of ourselves.

By the end of my time in Paris he would bear me grudging respect, and he hugged me when I was saying my good byes the last time I was on George V heading away from the American Cathedral to the Metro.

“Everyone comes to Paris to write a book, you’re not special, or unique, if I had a fucking dollar for every person who dreams about coming to Paris and making it as a writer, I would be a filthy rich man.”

He was not always the nicest with his opinions, but he had a point.

A point that I have been reflecting on as I sit here not at all sad to be in the place that I am.

Happy indeed, “I love my life,” popped into my head a lot today, walking through the park with my charge dressed as a bunny on our way to Music Together to do some Halloween themed singing and dancing; on my bicycle as I crested Lincoln Ave at 19th and the smell of singed pumpkin tops greeted my nose; again when I was walking out of a store on 9th and Irving.

I bought myself a pretty dress.

It had been too long.

I paid my rent yesterday, leaving me flush today, anything I earned was to be my special treat.  I dropped $21 at Bi-Rite on Divasedero getting myself some brown rice, avocado, cucumber, and crab sushi for lunch, some artisanal apples and persimmons, organic pears, and yes, some carrots for the bunny and me.

The dress cost $95.

I made $128.

I still came out ahead.

And I have a new dress to wear tomorrow.

Tomorrow it will fly out behind me as I wing down Valencia Street after work to make an artist’s date run on Flax.

Why Flax?

They have my Claire Fontaine notebooks.

I am doing the writing challenge.

I had an idea and I am going to run with it.

Because even if I don’t succeed at doing the novel, which I will, it’s there, I can feel it itching to come out of my head, in fact I can’t shake the story even if I am not sure of the middle and the ending, I have a beginning, an antagonist, a heroine, a character, and she, like Athena, longs to spring forth from my brain.

I am going to buy my favorite notebook, a bunch of stickers, and a birthday card for my mom.

Then I am going to go to Philz on 24th and write until I meet with John Ater.

Every day I have time in between this and that which I can fill with the writing.

The implementation to my laptop can happen on the weekends and in its own way become a second draft.  It will be a project, but a project I am happy to attend to.

My time in Paris was amazing.

Hard.

Challenging in ways that I never expected.

And when I look at the experience with a little perspective, where I was six months ago moving back from the experiment, to where I was a year ago, I can see that I took a fucking research trip.

I gave myself up to the city.

I walked as much as my feet could handle, and probably past the point they could handle.  I took so many photographs, I wrote, endlessly in my journals, in my blog, in notebooks, in a moleskin that I jotted down my financial spending.

I can tell you what I spent where on what day when in this neighborhood, pair it with the blog I wrote, see the photographs I took and recount in detail things that happened.

I gave myself a huge experience to draw from.

I gave myself the best artist date ever.

And to not use that would be sacrilege.

I suspect that what will happen is that I will sit down and start writing long hand and just see what comes.  Showing up for the page is two-thirds the battle.

Then when I take the words to the second draft from my notebook to my laptop I can flush out ideas, images, sensory happenings, I can write in detail what it was like to be in Sacre Couer on Christmas Eve pressed in to the masses of people singing with the choir, the smell of roasting chestnuts in the Metro stops, the way snow flakes looked falling in the light of the sodium lamps on Pont d’Alma next to the Eiffel Tower.

I can flush it all out and bump the word count significantly, I believe without too much of a stretch.

My first short story to get published was a science fiction piece inspired by something I observed on the Metro heading to French class.

It was published in The Bastille.

Which, fyi, small aside, has contacted me to submit to the December issue.

I shall be sending them some things, as well as some photographs.

How fitting, then to write my first real fiction novel set in Paris, a future Paris, one I get to make up, that’s the fiction, and a Paris that I will allude to in flashback, to the time when I was there, utilizing the astounding amount of data I collected.

That’s what I did.

I made a leap of faith and I went.

I did something brave.

I shall not let down the experience.

I shall continue to do something brave.

I will show up for the page and see where the story takes me.

I will write.

Wasting nothing.

My experience, my greatest gift.

Unexpected Artist Date

August 4, 2013

With my friend Katie.

So nice to run into people on the street who are going the same way you are, but hey, would you mind, I have to make a detour to Flax?

Uh, yeah, count me in.

Although it is really easy for me to drop a batshit amount of money in there and I already feel like I spent the money that I made this weekend in the city, but yes, I want to go.

I was walking back from the Upper Haight is a really leisurely manner, debating what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and who I wanted to see.

I was done with the nanny gigs and had gone down into the Mission to the office to get my bicycle and bring it back to the people I will be working for at Burning Man.

I rode it through the Mission, through the Castro, over the hills and through the woods, to Burning Man we go, along the Wiggle, through the Pan Handle, across at Clayton, left at Stanyan, right on Cole and over to the house.

Whew.

That was a work out.

And if you think writing that paragraph took me a minute, imagine riding a slow, low slung chopper bike through the hills and valleys of San Francisco.

But I made it and I supremely enjoyed the ride there.

The wind was cool, the fog was coming in, but the sun was still peeking out from the banks of fog and it felt delicious on my skin as I pedaled through the city, waving at a few people, smiling for the sheer fun of it, imagining that I would soon be making my inaugural ride on playa with the new saddle.

Which is comfy, but there are still issues.

Sigh.

Cruiser

Cruiser

My legs are too long.

The saddle does not sit back far enough for me to get good leg extension on the frame.

That being said, it is still a serviceable bike and it will be great on playa, it’s flat, the wheels are nice and fat and I have a snappy purple pennant and a new silver bell.

Ding ding.

You should have heard me whistle as I rolled through the Panhandle, I amused the shit out of myself.

I got it to the house, tucked it away in the garage and bid my bicycle adieu.

Next time I see her to ride her it will be at Burning Man.

Yippee!

After I dropped the bike off to my employers I decided despite not knowing exactly where I was going or what I was doing  I wanted to walk.

The slowing down on the cruiser made me realize what a lovely city I bicycle through on a pretty regular basis and don’t pay attention to.

I walked and looked and smelled.

Granted I also ducked and dodged and crossed the street a few times when I was in the thick of the throngs of Haight Street shopper/tourist/homeless/’kind bud’ madness.

Slight aside: how is it that there are homeless guys and gals hanging out at the top of the park spare changing for medical marijuana, er McDonald’s, and they have gorgeous tattoos?

That shit cost some money.

Believe me,  I know.

Granted I see a lot of shittastic tattoos and homemade gun tattoos and prison tattoos and I let my room-mate practise on me tattoos, but some of them are really good and the really good usually means, really big money.

Anyway, the amount of homeless dreck and dogs that happens right at the mouth of the park is always a little weird to navigate through but I do notice things as I push the pram to the Golden Gate Children’s Area.

God I am lucky to have such close access to that park.

Aside over.

I did some window shopping, tried on some clothes, but there’s not really anything I need and I don’t want to spend money on more stuff right now.

I realized as I was putting away my weekend bag I really have prepared myself better for this Burning Man than I have for any other.

Of course, with it being my 7th I sort of know what works the best for me and what makes me the happiest to have with me.

I let myself get those things this year.

But I don’t need to go over board and when I was assaulted by all things neon, sparkling, and bedazzled at the Piedmont store on Haight, I knew it was time to get the fuck out of Dodge.

I walked back out of the store to see I had a message and I got a hold of my friend who was already up in Noe Valley.

That decided me.

I would go up to Noe Valley and hang out and then go do the deal up at St. Phillips and see my people.

Like I said before, I need my fellows more than I have ever realized and I need my friends and that’s where they were going to be.

So I decide that is where I would go.

As I was walking from the Upper Haight down to the Lower Haight I saw the 24 bus go by and thought, well, shoot, I could just keep walking down to the bike shop, grab my one speed and head up the hill or…

I could bump into a friend going my way, by way of Flax.

Yes.

I got glitter glue.

And stickers.

Heh.

And one post card to send myself from the event.

I always do.

It’s nice to come back and have a post card from your most authentic sparkle pony self to remind you of the time you spent out there.

I like to send myself postcards where ever I go.

I had a nice meander through Flax while my friend got her art supplies for a class she’s teaching and then we went up to the Valley.

It was perfect.

I saw friends.

I laughed.

I poked fun at myself for having bunny stickers in my bag and glitter nail polish on, but really I love it, and I feel happier, sillier too, sometimes, for it, and tomorrow I will whip out the glitter glue and go to town.

But for now, the day is done and I am going to fix myself a little more tea and watch a little Orange is the New Black before I punk out.

More glitter tomorrow.


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