Posts Tagged ‘Folsom Street’

No Charge

September 25, 2017

When you, I mean, I.

Let me use “I” statements, I am in graduate school for a psychology degree after all, I need to remember to only speak for myself.

When I have no charge.


No feeling of regret.

No longing.

No nothing.

When nothing comes up.


God damn.

That’s when I know I made the right choice for me.

I saw an ex today.

I, in fact, had a feeling I was going to run into an ex, but I ran into a different one that I had suspected I’d run into.

A few years ago, three, I think I was dating a man, and it was brief, who was very, very, very, VERY, much into the kink and fetish scene in San Francisco.

Folsom Street Fair was today.

A kink and leather and sex and fringe San Francisco festival and street fair.

And I went.

I wasn’t planning on going and I definitely looked like a tourist–I was wearing a bright yellow sundress and my hair in braids.  I looked like I should have been traispsing through a meadow.

I haven’t gone there “dressed” in attire in about a decade.

I think the last time I wnet I wore high heels, platforms and a corset I had gotten from Dark Garden over in Hayes Valley.

It was a beautiful piece and I needed a lot of help getting into it.

I had a friend who had talked me into the piece, which I tried to return a few days later to only be told flat-out that I couldn’t.

I was pretty devastated as I spent a lot more money on it than I should have considering that my rent was around the corner.


That I only wore it once.


I looked lovely.


I soon thereafter lost a lot of weight and it was too big.

I gifted it to a woman at the Burning Man offices who was an intern there at the time.

She’s now a major player there and I remember fondly how excited she was when I gave her the corset.

Anyway, Folsom Street Fair.

My friend had talked me into it and a mutual friend of ours picked me up on his Vespa, in tennis whites, I will never forget that, the audacity of wearing tennis whites to Folsom, right down to the wrist bands and the visor.

We all met at Glide, a church in the Tenderloin, went to services there, then, yes, we did.

We went to The Armani Exchange store and had lunch at the counter.

The server fawned all over us.

It was super fun.

Then off to Folsom.

And that was ten years ago.

How the time flies.

I wouldn’t have gone today.

In fact, I had very definitive ideas about what I was doing, I was going to class, then go hit a spot up in the Mission and do the deal and then errands and a mani/pedi, and groceries, and cooking.




All the things.

l was going to do all the things.



School happened.

I had a big moment in class, I handled some conflict within class and it was a very powerful moment for me.

A woman in class later reflected to me that I was the embodiment of “fierce grace.”

I don’t remember what I said, only the flavor of it, and I know I was a channel for what was being spoken.

I didn’t feel possessed, so to speak, but when I am in that place, I open my mouth and out comes something, I am a channel, a conduit, a mouthpiece for the Divine.

Or God if you will.

I will.

But you don’t have to.

Sometimes when I talk about God I think folks get a particular idea and feel like folks don’t quite get it.  I am a bit of a spiritual rebel and a bit of throwback all at the same time.

I love me some Lord’s Prayer.

Most folks can’t stand it.

I love the prayer of St. Francis.

I say that one every day.

Every day.

I say a lot of other prayers too, suffice to say, I have a deep and effective spiritual life that I am very grounded in and supremely grateful for.

I spoke to that a bit, but really, I don’t recall what I said.

But I will say this.

I was powerful.

I felt powerful.

I spoke with great articulation, emotion, and care.

I know that much, I know how it felt and I had a lot of power flowing through me.

I felt like I was on fire.

I teared up.

I know that tears drifted down my face at one moment, but I couldn’t tell you the words that evoked them.

I know that it was a kind of spiritual honesty that just rolled out of me.

After I had finished and the class processed what I had said, and my professor, and I remember very well the look on his face, he knew what I was talking about and resonated with it, he looked lit up as he listened to me, I realized that I could not leave right after class.

I owed it to the people in my class that I had spoken up for to connect with me and I with them and I knew that I had to be present and stay with what was brought up.


I did.

I talked with a lot of the folks in my class and one of my classmates said she’d never been to Folsom Street Fair and wanted to go see it.

She flies in from Miami and has offered me her guest room so often that I know it’s not just a polite offer, but a “please use the room whenever you want it” sort of offer.

She even told me I didn’t need to ask, book a ticket and just let her and her husband know and I’ll have access.

That’s always nice to hear.


I decided to not run off, I stayed and connected, I blew off all my “obligations” my “plans and designs” and let the day decide for me what I was going to experience instead of imposing my will on it.

We walked around Folsom.

There was much to see, but not much that excited or intrigued me, I have eyes for other things.

And chatting with my friend in front of someone doing suspended rope bondage I had a sudden feeling that I would run into my ex.

Whom I haven’t seen in years, but, well, Folsom is his bailiwick for sure.

But nope.

In fact.

I didn’t run into anyone but a few other friends from school–campus is three blocks away–in all the hundreds of scantily dressed folks I saw.

Then we came out to my place, I showed her where I live and we went and caught a late lunch at Sea Breeze Cafe in my neighborhood and talked and talked and talked.

She left around 4 p.m. and I took a nice long walk on the beach in my sundress.


I said sundress!

It was summer in San Francisco today.

It was so nice I didn’t even wear leggings.

I had a good check in phone call with my person as I walked the beach and then just after I got off the phone, literally seconds later, I look up to my right for no particular reason.

And there he is.

An ex, not the one who I thought I would run into a Folsom, but another more recent relationship (not that recent either, now that I think about it, two years ago now) and a woman.

They were holding hands.

I didn’t stare, but at first I couldn’t understand, consciously, what had caught my eye.

I didn’t understand what I was seeing or why I was even looking.

A nice couple walking on the beach holding hands.

Then I realized it was an ex.

I think I waved?

Not sure.

I remember thinking, “oh, that’s nice, he’s seeing someone,” and that was it.

That was it!


No charge.

No heat.

No energy.

My energy, my love, my attention is so elsewhere, is so taken and captured.

I had absolutely nothing.

Except that little bit of “how nice for him” moment.

He said my name, “Hi _______________,” dropped the hand of the woman, “you look great!”

I was startled that he said anything at all to me and a  “thanks,” popped out of my mouth and then I just walked away.

I didn’t turn back.

There’s nothing there.

I just walked the beach.

Happy and content in my skin.

In my pretty yellow sundress, fluttering in the wind.

I went home and I cooked and I read some homework.

I took a good hot shower.

I ate my dinner.

And then I started my blog.

That’s it.

My day.

It was good.

I’m loved.

I’m happy.

I got sunshine on my face.

It was a damn fine day.

Wonderful in fact.



Flip A Bitch

July 23, 2017

I found myself doing a surprising and sudden u-turn on Folsom Street today.

Oh please.

Don’t worry.

My person arched his eyebrow at me when I said that to him tonight over some sumptuous red beans and rice with spicy Andouille sausage at Brenda’s.

“I was careful!” I exclaimed, “I looked both ways and there was no traffic anywhere, and there was a really good reason why I did it.”

And there was.

Tub Tim Siam Massage.

Oh yes.

I got a fucking massage.

I am so proud of myself.

It’s been on my mind for weeks if not months.

I have had on again off again pain in my left arm for a long time, its soft tissue pain and sometimes I get wheedle it out with a Lacrosse ball, those small hard rubber balls massage therapists and rehab therapists use for working through muscle knots.

But most of the time it comes back and harasses the shit out of me at some point and it was really bothering me yesterday.

I don’t know if it was the yoga class I took yesterday or what, I mean, I carry most of my stress in my shoulders anyway, so could be just a big build up, but it has been pretty discomforting now for, well, months.

It’s not so bad that I can’t deal and I do.

I carry the baby at work, I do my blogging and my writing and I show up for yoga.

But I could really feel it yesterday, I could feel it flaring up when I was riding my scooter, I could feel it when I went to bed, it was up and down my arm and into my neck and at one point I swear I felt it in the left side of my face.

I have been to a massage therapist years ago who specialized in pain management through massage and I have thought about going and seeing her, but she was expensive and I had been given a gift certificate from my employers, otherwise I would have never seen her at all.


I had been to Tub Tim one other time when it first opened and that was back in December.

And I hadn’t a massage prior to that in years.

So when I zipped by on my scooter heading out to grab a late lunch after going to my group supervision at my internship, I flipped a bitch and decided it was time to get that massage.

I grabbed a light lunch at Rainbow and went to Tub Tim Siam.

It’s a small spot and I wasn’t sure if they would have time for a walk in, but I was going to check and if they didn’t at least make myself an appointment to be seen and seen soon.



They had an opening.

I got a ten minute hot sauna to warm up my muscles and then I got an hour-long traditional Thai massage.

Which means that they manipulate you muscles using hands, feet, elbows, and knees.

It was amazing.

It also hurt like a bitch at times.

Inside my head the conversation went like this: “ow, ow, ow, Oh My God, OW! Oooh, oh that feels so nice, OW, ow ow, ow, ouch, shit, fuck what is that, OMG that feels so good don’t stop, ouch, ow, ow, OWOWWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW, i”m going to die.”

And then I would remind myself to breathe into the pain and to relax and to let it go.

She found spots that I knew where really bothering me, I had circled them on the sheet they asked me to fill out, and then some that I was expecting that were excruciating when they were being worked on, but after, amazing how much better I felt.

I mean, I felt lighter walking out of the shop.

I need to do that more often.

It’s not something I can do weekly, it’s a little too pricey for me, but maybe once a month, alternate between doing a Thai massage and then going and hitting the Imperial Day Spa, the Korean women’s only bath house on Geary.

The spa is only $25 a session.

I think that’s the kind of self-care I really need to let myself have as I continue moving forward with taking on clients and doing the psychotherapy work.

I’ll be back to school soon too.


In about a month.

Shit will get really real.


I’m not there yet and I’m not going  to live in the future.

Just today.

All I have to do is today.

I can get lost in the “there won’t be enough time” bullshit story my brain likes to spin me out with.

But the fact is, there is enough time, and all the things I need to do get done and I’m going to be ok.

Because I already am.

I had a beautiful day today.

I did some great self-care.

I went to yoga in the morning, had a super hot shower, washed my hair, I had a yummy breakfast and a big latte, I did laundry, I wrote a bunch, I did some e-mails for my internship and I took care of little household stuff that needed attending.

I dressed becomingly.

I wore a pretty dress and shoes.

I took my time on my scooter and didn’t get crazy trying to speed to my internship.

I had a great group supervision meeting and I got a massage.

Then I went and did the deal and it was fantastic.

Afterwards me and my person went to Brenda’s and had a good catch up.

It was perfect.

The scooter ride home was even perfect.

Not too cold, there was still a kiss of warmth left in the night and I could smell a bonfire down at Ocean Beach.

Note to self time to get in a fire at the beach, that too has been too long.

And now.

I’m home.

Cozy and relaxed.

I even signed up for a yoga class in the morning.

I am held and cared for and I deserve to have these nice things.



My scooter.

My home.

I work so damn hard.

It’s nice to take a moment and appreciate my efforts once in a while.

So, yes, I may have made an illegal U-turn in the middle of Folsom Street today.

But it was for a really good reason.

I promise.


Will You Visit Me?

October 12, 2016

Will you come to my birthday parties?

I’m going to buy you something very special.

Carmen, when is your birthday?

“December 18th, the week before Christmas, darling,” I ruffled his soft brown hair as we walked home from dropping his brother off at Rock Band Land.

“Carmen, I’m going to get you something amazing for your birthday, I’m going to get you brussels sprouts, five boxes,” he said and squeezed my hand hard (sometimes we get brussel sprouts at the Mission Farmer’s Market on Thursday afternoons over on Bartlet and 22nd Streets.  There is a food truck that does rotisserie chicken and every once in a while we stop there and get a roast chicken and boxes of brussels sprouts).

Oh sugar.

I kept a straight face, “thank you honey, that would be amazing.”

And so it begins.

The parents of my current charges have obviously begun prepping the boys for my departure.

Which explains why the littlest guy for the last couple of weeks has been hitting me and calling me stupid when he sees me and being very aggressive.

Classic splitting and projecting.

He can’t handle the emotions inside his little four-year old body and they are coming out in words and actions that I’m not very fond of.


Being a psychology masters student.

Theoretically I understand quite well.

At one point in the day today I engaged with the four-year old one on one at dinner and asked him what he needed when I sat down next to him and he called me stupid and hit my knee.

“Are you trying to tell me something,” I said softly.  “Is there something you need from me?”  I continued, “I don’t like being hit my sweet friend, can you tell me what’s wrong?”

He hit me again, but this time softer.

“Are you mad at me?” I asked quietly.

He nodded his head affirmatively.

“Can I help you with anything?”  I asked and rubbed his hand softly, “it’s ok to be mad at me.”

“Hold me,” he said in a soft, plaintive voice that just about broke my heart.

“I need a hug and a cuddle,” he continued and crawled from his chair at the dinner table into my lap with his little stuffed cat, a blanket, and a pillow from the couch.

I arranged him in my lap and gave him a warm hug and tucked the blanket around him and let him eat the rest of his dinner swaddled with his stuffed cat on my lap.

I told him I loved him and that he was very important to me.

I told his brother the same thing as we walked.

“Carmen,” he said, and kissed my hand, “you will always be in my heart, make sure that you are coming to all my birthday parties and that I will get to see you all the time.”

Well, kiddo, I don’t know about all the time, but I could probably swing a birthday party or two and considering that the family I got hired to work with next and the family I currently work with are friends, I suspect that there will be more of you in my life than previous charges.

We had a sweet day today.

I had a lot of unexpected time with the boys and I was very grateful for that, and unsupervised, which is also a really nice thing.

We went to Mission Thrift and rummaged through the bins of silverware and kitchen cook ware and spent all of $1.39 for a good half hour of fun and getting to get some exciting “new” utensils for their tiny play kitchen.

We went to Paxton Gate for Kids and played with the toys and annoyed the hell out of the staff, but fuck it, they’ve got to be used to it by this point, it’s a kids store and I did buy stickers there and the parents have probably spent thousands of dollars in the store, easy.

We went to Mission Playground and rode the merry-go-round and I had a gaggle of kids spinning and whooping and screaming on it off and on for a good 45 minutes.

It was pretty hilarious and a lot of fun.

“Carmen!  You got your exercise!”  The six-year-old exclaimed as we left the park.

Boy howdy, did I ever.

My left shoulder is still a little sore from it.

So it goes.

Then a big lunch, running around had worked up an appetite for them and then an hour of quiet time.

Which was not really an hour as I got a text from the mom saying they were running behind and would I take the four-year old to Rock Band Land?

Hell yes I will.

We had an awesome walk over.

We dropped off the youngest boy.

Then we ran into friends and went for a cookie, well, he had a cookie, and I had a cafe au lait, cafe play date at Stable Cafe on Folsom and 17th.

It really was just a sweet and sunny day.

And although I didn’t get a chance to engage with the mom and dad around the end date of the job I am very grateful that they are taking on the actions of letting the boys know that I will be transitioning to a new job.

There are challenging days ahead, I am sure of it, but I know if I stay true to my feelings of warmth and love for the boys the waters will be navigated just fine.

And it is something to be leaving a family after two and a half years and the children being so advanced with their communication skills.

Most of the time I’m leaving a family with toddlers.

These boys have feelings and they are letting me know.

It is hard.


It is exquisite.

It really is a gift to have such love reflected back to me.

I suspect that I have always known that I have an impact on the children I have gotten to work with, but I have never had it articulated to me in the way that it was today.

It is an extraordinary thing to let myself be seen and loved.

So very grateful.

Beyond words.

Just beyond.

And ready to move on too.

Nice to be able to hold both emotions.


It’s nice to hold all the feelings.

All the feels.

All the time.




Good times.


I Am Seeing A Pattern Here

December 23, 2013

My friend said to me as we sat on the bench outside of Philz Coffee at Folsom and 24th.

I had deliberately not planned anything except one thing, meet a lady, have some tea, and go do that thing were I sit in a room for an hour and listen to other people’s crazy.

Other than that, I wanted, as I have been trying to do, to have a free Sunday.

So, when I received the text asking me what I was up to I was able to say, nothing really, chilling, hanging out, maybe a wander through the Mission.

Let’s meet!

She was on call and had to stay in her neighborhood, the Mission, and I for once, was back in the Mission.

Rearing its busy, confused head with tourists, locals annoyed with the tourists, hipsters staying in for the holiday, people complaining about the Air B-N-B situation at their TIC that was trying to get bought out and not for an owner move in, but so that the land lord could rent out the place to tourists.

I will say the Mission is a long way from being full on Disney, but it’s happening.

Truth be told, I don’t have much of an opinion about it all, I find it interesting for sure, the neighborhood changing, the increase in traffic, the people looking at maps, the number of younger and younger people.

Or maybe, I am just getting older, I remember when Philz was actually manned by Phil.

When the coffee shop was a quiet local secret.

Before they had the mugs and the hats and it was cash only and Phil would hand feed me spoonfuls of some coffee blend he was making up.

“Here, now, try this,” he said with deep sensual pleasure, skimming the foam off the coffee roast after having poured piping hot water over the fresh grounds. That same concoction a few weeks later was to become Canopy of Heaven, a very special light roast coffee blend.

Light in roast, high in caffeine–which also may explain why it, Canopy of Heaven and his other light roast, Greater Alarm (blended up for the firefighters who worked the overnight shifts in the Mission) became my favorites.

I learned from Phil that just because those beans are darker roasted does not mean they have more caffeine, nope, it is the exact opposite–the lighter the roast, the higher the caffeine, and the more tender, I believe, you have to be with the bean, to coax out the flavors–lemon, currant, butterscotch in Canopy of Heaven–as opposed to letting it get too bitter.



Then the heavy cream.

I do mean heavy.

It’s not half and half.

It’s not milk.

It’s not regular cream.


Jesus on a pogo stick, when Phil told me that, well, no wonder.

Manufacturing cream is whipping cream, you know the stuff you put on top of pumpkin pie or a Belgian waffle.


I remember when there was no counter, no line, no tables, a battered store front with weird art and odd posters, no restroom, coffee sacks in heaps on the floor, the cooler had six packs and the odd bottle of Champagne in it, eggs, sad-looking bananas by the front, and a couple of old battered metal shelves with the strangest array of grocery store items ever.

It was a down and dirty Bodega with a guy in a fedora hat winking at you while he made you a pour over coffee.

Now it’s being served on Virgin Airlines.

Um, yeah.

And that is what the Mission is.

It’s now in all the tour books and that’s cool, you know, that means money into the local economy, but sometimes when I am waiting ten minutes to order a coffee from a person who is ironically being condescending to the people in line–do you want to get a tip dude–I do miss the old Mission.

However, the coffee, as always, was really good, and the company amazing.

We sat outside, watched the world go by, talked about an upcoming trip she is planning, one in which there is a Paris leg to it, and I down loaded, probably way too much information into her brain, and then, as well, about the house sitting gig I am at and the person who was staying at the house.

They Air B-N-B the front room.

I felt a little bit too much like a concierge.

On one hand I don’t mind sharing tips and tricks to San Francisco.

The guest wanted to ride the Golden Gate Bridge and I told him where to go, whom to rent from, how to get there, what to avoid, when to go, how to get back–take the ferry–and a few other details.

I had no problem with that.

But I did take a little issue to having to show him a few other things and having someone rely on me for information when I was trying to get out into my own day.

And I was not about to clean up the mess he was making.

I recounted some things and told my friend how I was thinking, acting, and learning.

She told me my pattern.

Actually she and a few other folks recently have.

And I am listening.

Truly I am.

I don’t want to isolate anymore by being too busy to see my friends because I am house sitting, cat sitting, being tour guide to strangers I don’t know, dog walking, or baby sitting on nights when I am not working as a nanny.

I isolate myself by making busy.

I get busy.

I don’t have to feel.

We walked.

The sun shone down.

We went down Balmy Alley and I took photographs.



It made me chuckle.

I was a tourist in my own city, in my old neighborhood, I was a tourist, no longer quite a local, I live in the Outer Sunset, you know that place way over on the other side of the mountain, Twin Peaks, in the land of Nod.

It’s so much more mellow and quiet where I am, although, truth be told, there’s a bit of the gentrification happening there as well.

In the end, though, I don’t mind, I don’t care, let them eat cake, or hand crafted artisan chocolates with crushed sea salt harvested on the Solstice by young women with owl tattoos and labia piercings under the new moon, in the end, ultimately, I love living here.

Getting to live here.

Getting to be here.

I parted with my sweet friend to get lunch and ride my bicycle down Folsom Street to Rainbow.

I stocked up on the rest of the things I will need as I continue to do my house sitting gig and I vowed to let myself be not quite so busy, not quite so isolated, to get out into the world and see it.

Even if it means I look like a tourist in my own town.

And, speaking of tourists, I returned home this evening to find the Air B-N-B guest had left, cleaned most of his mess, and I now have the house to me, myself, and I, plus one very cute orange tabby cat.

Getting again to get grateful for the fact that I still get to be in the Mission, if just for a few more days, before I return to the beach.

Either way you slice it, I am in San Francisco.

And though I may play a tourist on tv.

This is my home.

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