Posts Tagged ‘homeless’

Offer Accepted!

August 7, 2018

It’s official.

I just now, literally just seconds ago, replied with my acceptance for the Grateful Heart Therapy internship.

I am now part of their 2018 Fall cohort.

I will begin October 1st!

I can hardly believe it.

I will get to see clients and get paid.

I will get to have one office, instead of four different offices.

And!

Oh the nicest thing!

I found out that the Thursday morning group supervision meets in San Francisco not Alameda!

This is huge.

Especially since the group also meets a little earlier than I thought, 8:15 a.m.

But it’s done by 10:30 a.m. and I’ll be at work by 11 a.m.

I won’t lose any hours at work, I won’t have to finagle more money from somewhere else, in fact, once I start accruing a few more clients I will actually make some money.

I won’t for the first few months, it will take some time to accrue the prudent reserve the non-profit needs me to have to make sure that I can pay rent and supervision fees.

But that’s fine.

I have time to do that.

I have time and I will get paid, I suspect that I will start getting paychecks from them in or around January of next year.

I think it will take about three months to accrue the prudent reserve.

I am over the moon.

This is happening.

I will have an office.

Yes, it’s an office I will be sharing with my former professor, so it’s not mine, I haven’t decorated it, the couch isn’t mine, but I will get to rent from her and I will get to be in the space and it’s much nicer than the majority of my offices that I have currently with Liberation Institute.

One office.

God that just sounds so damn nice.

One key instead of four.

I am a very happy lady.

I almost told my boss today, but it was a hectic day with my charges, summer camps, doctors appointments, etc, and there was never really a moment that felt right.

And I’m glad that I didn’t, because I would have jumped the gun regarding the Thursday supervision.

My god I am so grateful that it’s in San Francisco and not Alameda.

Sure, I’m still going to have to deal with commuter traffic on Thursdays, but not having to go over the bridge is huge.

Such a relief.

It feels really nice to move forward.

I told one client today that I had gotten the internship and gave a soft notice for October 1st.

Now I will have to tell the rest of my clients.

Some I know will come with me.

Some will not.

For the ones who will not I will need to do a little footwork with my current internship to make sure that they are transitioned well to their next therapists.

For the ones that will go with me I will just have to tell them what office to start meeting me in when October rolls around.

Which shouldn’t be any kind of big deal as my new office is going to be in the same building as my current internship.

That is the best part of this new internship, I get to decide where I want to rent an office, and Grateful Heart takes care of the lease.

At some point I will transition completely into my own office, and I want to stay in the same building.

There is nice community there and I like the location, Activ Space (sic) in the Mission at Treat and 18th.

There’s a Gus’s Market just a block away, Stable Cafe, the new park on Folsom street at 17th, there’s Rainbow Grocery just a few blocks away, there’s plenty of parking.

And if I should want the building also has parking if I want to rent a spot.

I probably won’t at this point, but in the future when I have a sustainable income and my bills are being met well I will.

I really like the idea of having covered parking, the street parking isn’t horrible, but there are homeless folks around and there’s a bit of drug trafficking that happens in the neighborhood.

Tonight I came out and some guy was smoking crack on the sidewalk.

No thanks.

I don’t get bothered, but I know at some point it would be nice to come out of my therapy office and just get into my car without interacting with that sort of scene.

Anyway, that’s in the future.

Right now I am just going to take a moment to bask in the glow of having accepted the offer.

I really am proud of myself and the work I have done to get here.

Not just the Master’s degree and the traineeship and the internship at Liberation Institute.

But also that when it looked like my former professor and I were going to work together and then I found out we couldn’t that I didn’t sit on my ass and mope.

I went out and discovered that there were things I could do.

I heard about Grateful Heart from my therapist and remembered I knew someone who was there and met with that person and got my shit together and did the big application and got it in to the organization before I left for Paris.

I turned it all around in three weeks.

Then I got a asked to interview, which I did this past Saturday and today I got the offer.

That’s basically a month from finding out that the original plan wasn’t going to work to finding and solidifying a totally new internship.

One that is actually better for me than the original.

One door shuts.

Another door opens.

Seriously!

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Foiled

January 31, 2018

But god damn it.

I tried.

I got up early, I did my morning routine, I got into my yoga clothes and I walked to the studio in the early grey blue light.

Only to be greeted by a closed up shop.

Nobody was there.

One other woman with a rolled up mat sauntered over and we both woefully looked at the locked door and sighed and each of us turned and went our separate ways.

No class this morning.

I was annoyed.

To say the least.

But.

Well.

That’s life.

And as I sat and enjoyed a really leisurely breakfast, sitting with my notebook and my cup of coffee, and my full warm belly, I reflected, it wasn’t so bad getting up early.

Sure.

I had expected to be going willy nilly full tilt boogie, yoga, therapy, work, clients, doing the deal, get it done, go, go, go.

Turns out my day was not going to be like that.

Granted.

It was still full.

I just didn’t start it out rushing about.

I slowed down.

Which is generally a good thing for me, slowing down, that is.

It felt good to sit and write and check my emails, to deal with my bills, paid my rent, popped a little money in savings, note to self, car payment is coming up, remember to do that please.

Maybe I’ll do that in the morning.

Fuck.

I could probably just do it right now.

And there.

Done.

That feels good.

I made a double payment again.

Technically I don’t have a car payment until March, since I did a double payment last month, but I figure as long as it feels comfortable to do so I’m going to pay more on the car loan than I need to.

I like to be proactive around my money.

I also received my financial aid disbursement for school today.

Which was really nice as I was getting fairly low in my account what with the unexpected dental work I had to do this past month.

Super grateful for that landing and not making me feel über tight with paying rent and making a car payment.

I knocked some into my savings, paid my rent, just made my car payment, and I may reach out to my car insurance and just pay another six months of insurance while I have the money and it’s not ear marked towards anything else.

I will also have some spending money for going to D.C.

I’m headed out in a little over two weeks.

I’ll be visiting my best friend and spending time in Georgetown.

I’m excited.

I’ve never really been to D.C.

Sort of.

I mean.

I was there once, when I was nineteen, homeless, catching a Greyhound bus from North Carolina heading back to Madison, Wisconsin.

I don’t remember much of the city.

I remember more the Hardees in the bus station and making friends with a girl who was probably my age and both of us were basically returning from having run away from home.

She and I became fast friends and sat in the Hardees in the station and smoked cigarettes and ate cinnamon rolls sticks and talked smack about our experiences.

We had a long wait for the next bus so we went for a walk around D.C.

I got really nervous about getting lost and not making the bus connection on time so we didn’t go too far.

We ended up sitting on a fountain smoking cigarettes and getting to know each other’s life stories.

Not much to tell at 19.

Except.

Well.

I had already been through a lot of shit.

Having just left a violent boyfriend who had threatened to kill me in Kill Devil Hills North Carolina, and before that having been homeless with same said boyfriend outside of Miami, in Homestead Florida.

Billy Ray.

Oh my God.

I haven’t thought of that man’s name in some time.

I was my old man, he self-titled himself that, I would never have called a boyfriend my old man, but then again, he was ten years older than me.

And he, bless his generous heart, had introduced me to smoking crack cocaine.

I have written about him before, but it’s been awhile.

I told my new-found friend all the gory details about Billy and what had happened in Florida and what had then transpired in North Carolina, and how I found myself on a Greyhound bus heading back to Wisconsin.

Thank God for that girl.

We talked and gabbed at each other for hours and hours through the long night, all the way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was headed.

I remember hugging her very hard in the terminal.

I remember also that the terminal was really old and rather pretty, I remember the sun coming in through the high windows in thick honied shafts dancing with dust motes.

I remember, too, that the bathrooms were pay to pee and that I was indignant and crawled under the door to one of the stalls.

I wasn’t going to pay a fucking quarter to pee, fuck that.

And I recall coming back out, washing my hands in the old marble sink, looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself to “go home, Baby Girl, just get home.”

So.

Yeah.

This trip to D.C. is going to be much different.

I am going to stay at a nice hotel.

I am going to go to a museum that is close to the hotel.

I am going to eat nice food.

I am going to spend every moment I can with my best friend and really cherish our time together and just smash myself with love.

I feel like it’s a sort of living amends to the city of D.C.

I will not be eating in a Hardees and I most definitely will not be smoking.

I will be letting in all the love and reflecting it back at my friend and enjoying the hell out of getting to see a city I only once passed briefly through on my way from running away from home to running back.

My life has taken me many places and I’m so, so grateful that today I don’t have to run away.

Or take a Greyhound bus anywhere.

Jesus.

Thank god for that.

May I never have to take a Greyhound bus again.

Seriously.

Unfortunately

January 7, 2018

That’s not covered by your insurance.

My dentist told me this morning.

Ugh.

I sat in the chair and thought to myself, maybe I misheard him, maybe I didn’t hear that right, I mean, he speaks mostly Chinese, which I find oddly comforting, I don’t need to know what he is talking about to his assistant, but I’m pretty sure I had heard what I had heard.

Fingers crossed, please, tell me I didn’t hear what I heard.

Sigh.

But.

I had.

“Crack,” he’d said to the assistant in between poking and prodding and checking my teeth.

I was just in for a routine cleaning this morning.

I had all intents on going to the 10:30 a.m. yoga at the studio on my block and then meandering into my group supervision at 2p.m.

The supervision happened.

Yoga, well, yoga did not.

Nope.

Instead I was under the drill all morning.

My dentist took a picture of my tooth and showed me the crack.

I was surprised by how big it was and also that I hadn’t had any pain to indicate that there was a crack in my tooth.

Which was a really good thing.

No pain meant that it was probably fairly recent.

It had to have happened within the last three months, it wasn’t there the last time I went to the dentist, and it probably had occurred more recently than that.

Certainly nothing came to mind.

Nothing that I remember eating and doing any damage to my teeth.

“It’s not grinding your teeth while you sleep,” he said, answering a question I was just about to pose, “there’s not indication from any of your other teeth that you grind them while you sleep.”

Well, that’s good news.

“You eat anything crunchy?” He asked.

“Nuts?” I said, I do like raw almonds with my apple as a snack.

“Nuts, no good, nuts bad for teeth, you no more eat nuts unless you want to pay me big bucks and keep me in my mortgage,” he chuckled.

“Um no, I do not want to come back for another cracked tooth, I’ll lay off the nuts,” I replied.

Irony.

I kept thinking about my night-time snack, a couple of end of season super ripe and delicious persimmons and some raw walnuts.

Sigh.

No snack tonight.

I’ll still have my tea though.

I was really surprised by the photo and super glad that my dentist had caught it and he explained that I was lucky if there was no pain it meant the damage was manageable and that I would not have to have a root canal.

Fuck yes.

But.

I would have to get a crown.

And thus ensued the “your insurance doesn’t cover this,” discussion I had with my dentist.

Like I said, not really the conversation anyone wants to have on a Saturday morning, but I also knew when he started telling me about the differences between what my insurance would cover, it wasn’t going to cover the full amount, it would have still be $825 out-of-pocket, versus the better quality crown that the dentist was recommending, at $1200, I just sucked it up, made the decision to take good care of myself and signed the paperwork for the better product.

I was asked if I could start the work today and of course I said yes, bye, bye yoga class, and I went out and plugged the meter for parking another two hours and went back into the office, used the bathroom, prayed a bunch, came out signed off the paperwork and got ready to get injected with Novocaine.

He gave me a local, but I still felt the prick of the needle.

Ugh.

I hate needles.

I hate shots, hate, hate, hate.

The second injection was horrible, the local anesthesia hadn’t quite numbed me out in the second location, that one just plain good and hurt.

I sucked it up though, what was I going to do?

And then the dentist went to fucking town.

My god.

I will just say that smell of my tooth being ground down was overwhelming.

Not a pleasant smell, the drill, not a pleasant sound.

The taste of blood in mouth, horrifying.

I just breathed and prayed and breathed and prayed.

I had my mouth wedged open with some sort of device, that also sucks, frankly, it hurt my jaw keeping it open so long and my face felt tender for hours.

As of right now, I am happy to report, that the pain is really ok.

It’s there, sensitive now and again, a dull throb, but it’s doable.

And I have been able to eat.

They did a bunch of molds to get the fit right and then they did the temporary crown.

The permanent one takes two weeks to be ready.

I have to be cautious with the temporary one, nothing crunchy, and no gum.

I can handle that.

And two weeks from today I’ll go in and my dentist will give me the permanent crown.

I am assuming it will mean more Novocaine, but I’ve got two weeks until it happens.

I’m a baby around dental stuff, but at least I showed up and I did do the work and I paid for it all in full at the end of the session, I could have put it off until the permanent crown gets put in, but I figured I had the money in my account, just pay the damn thing.

And for that I am grateful.

I had the money.

I didn’t always have the money.

A little while ago a dental bill for $1285 would have floored me.  It was not pleasant, I will say that, and I did go through a spurt of brief financial anxiety, but I’m ok, I really am.

And so grateful I chose well and chose to take care of myself and my mouth.

There was a homeless man on the sidewalk sleeping when I came out to climb into my new car and go home and make myself a fancy espresso drink with expensive organic coffee beans.

I have it really fucking good.

I have no money problems.

Fuck.

I don’t have problems.

I just have opportunities to learn.

And.

To be stupid grateful at how good my life is.

It really is.

Eleven

January 18, 2016

For eleven.

I got my eleventh star this eveningIMG_8287

I think she’s pretty.

IMG_8293

Courtesy of Danny Boy Smith @ Let it Bleed.

Deep in the heart of the Tenderloin.

Wow.

Not much has changed and so much has changed.

I am beyond grateful that the reason I was in the Tenderloin was to score a new tattoo.

Not to score.

I haven’t been over to Polk Street in quite sometime.

I used to live up at Washington and Taylor and would frequently ride my bicycle up Polk and then up further, up, up, up California Street, then onto Washington, ending at Taylor.

High.

Up above the crack smoke filled streets and the dirty self-medicating junkies and the cross dressing prostitutes.

I was surprised to see a couple of girls working the streets.

I mean.

I should not have been.

It is the Tenderloin.

Maybe it was just that I haven’t seen a working girl where I live in some time.

Not much action going on in the Outer Sunset.

Although I’m sure things are shaking and moving in and out of the 7-11 parking lot just down the street from my house.

I was glad to walk the streets and not be a street walker, to be coming from my last hour of classes at my first weekend back to my second semester of my graduate school program, to be heading to get a tattoo to celebrate my eleventh anniversary without picking up.

Rather than picking through the garbage strewn gutters or standing under an awning smoking a cigarette and wondering how the hell it all went wrong.

Instead.

I find myself wondering how the hell it all went so wonderfully right.

Graduate school reinforces that premise every time I walk the halls of the university.

Every time I sit in class and raise my hand.

Every time I have a positive interaction with a professor, a student, a fellow in my cohort.

I am full, constantly, of wonder and awe.

Not withstanding I am also a little tired, it was a big weekend, but I did it, I’m through, and I don’t know if it’s an actual lighter reading load then last semester or that I am used to doing the work, but it feels easier.

Perhaps I am just easing into it.

Gratefully so with much surrender.

And.

Really.

Just a stunning amount of perpetual incredulousness that I have made it this far.

I really should not be here.

If life were fair.

I would be dead.

I also have been recognizing, noticing, and in great awareness around the myriad of strikes that have just been against me for so long.

Poverty.

Drug abuse.

Alcohol abuse.

Sexual abuse.

Neglect.

Trauma, trauma, trauma.

I don’t think about it often, I don’t need to ponder the mysterious ways of the Universe, it was just brought home today in my first class of the morning.

I shared about not having real health insurance.

I have Healthy SF, in case you were wondering, but though it provides a lot of the things that having health insurance covers, it’s not the real deal.

And as I explained to my class over a discussion about what it is like to live with the constant, chronic, high level of poverty and what it was like to grow up–though I did not see it at the time–in that dire place of not enough, I realized it was a miracle, a fucking huge ass miracle, that I got out.

The cycle got broken.

I emerged.

A phoenix from the ashes of a crack pipe.

I mean.

Let me not put to fine a point on it.

But the affects still linger and I don’t always realize them.

The shame that comes from being poor, the hot lunch program at school, the American cheese in a box, being the scholarship kid, the kid in need, or the homeless teenager, who despite having a full ride to her first year at university, couldn’t keep it together to keep food in her dorm fridge.

The constant stress of not having the money to afford health insurance, with a few exceptions here and there, worrying about if I would get sick or hurt.

I related how when I did get hurt, my ankle injury, and how I was out of work for six weeks I was blessed with amazing friends who came out of the woodwork to help me.

The GoFund me that someone started so I could pay my rent that month.

The anonymous twenty dollar bill I found in my messenger bag one night.

The rides to and from places.

The gift card for the grocery store.

I have a community of love and friendship that I leaned into really hard.

But the affects of being raised with the absence of so much, I never really contemplated until, irony, no?

I got into graduate school.

Which is a privileged place to be.

Granted.

I am.

Again.

A scholarship kid.

No shame in that.

Although, yes, I admit,  I am loathe to share it with my cohort, I somehow, still think that I don’t quite deserve it and somebody will take it away from me.

In class today the lecture covered what happens to people who live under that kind of stress, who live with PTSD, poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism, for those that self-medicate in the streets, for the homelessness and the racism that we inflict on each other.

And I just felt like gasping for air.

My palms got hot, I got hot, my flight or fight or freeze got activated.

I was alive and charged up and saddened to hear what was being said and then reacting too, to some pretty naive comments made by some well meaning, but hyper privileged classmates.

So.

I shared.

I shared what it was like, what it is still like–do you know that I will get penalized by the government when I go to file my taxes for not having “real” health insurance–to be a person without.

The thing is.

I don’t believe I am a person without anymore.

I have so much.

Love.

Abundance.

Joy.

Stars–like eleven!

I have a good job, I am in graduate school, I live in San Francisco (still, haven’t gotten priced out yet!), I eat organic food and drink expensive coffee.

What I found fascinating, though, in class, from a very astute and experienced PhD professor, is that the affects of poverty don’t dissipate for about three generations.

A lot of the stress that I carry with me, even when I am flush, may well continue to be with me, to be in my body, to just be there.

I have felt it.

I have put name to it.

I have done inventory.

I remember once writing the fear a letter, saying, “dear fear, I hear you, you may be right, but I promise, I will take care of paying rent, you wont’ be homeless this month.”

I had it taped up to my wall by my writing desk for months.

It was when I was living up in Nob Hill.

I don’t know if those affects will always be there, as so much as been lifted, so much space has been made in my heart, in my body, so much psychic change has happened for me, that I believe these intergenerational traumas will end with me.

That is my belief.

And not only that.

The experiences, the wealth of knowledge, the how I got through, the how it works, the passing it on, they are the true measure of my abundance and ability.

These things mark me, but they are not me.

I am more than the sum of my parts.

I am the light that shines around the edges of those black stars.

I go forth.

Into this furthering light.

Into this ever expanding place of being held.

Always.

Further.

Into.

This deepening love.

 

 

Just Got The Message

September 30, 2015

My new mattress arrives tomorrow!

Last night on this cruddy one I have had for the last two years.

I am not complaining, it’s done it’s job and I have slept on worse.

The fold out futon shenanigans that I slept on in Paris for six months was by far the worst thing I have slept on.

Well.

Not true!

I just realized.

I have slept on worse, and really, when I compare and contrast, even on a shitty mattress, it was a shitty mattress in Paris.

I had a friend once who said it didn’t matter how bad things were, if you just tacked on the end of the sentence, “in Paris.”

I was caught in a sudden rainstorm, “in Paris.”

I got lost, “in Paris.”

I overslept, “in Paris.”

I have to do my laundry, “in Paris.”

So.

Yeah.

That futon mattress, in Paris, sucked, but it was in Paris.

I have slept on far worse in Homestead, Florida.

Yes.

There.

On a piece of cardboard box that was slid underneath the thin tent floor of the two-man tent I was sharing with a friend, the cardboard scant protection from the sharp coral rock that our tent was set up on.

Even with the cardboard and a sleeping bag, I could still feel that rock underneath my back.

Imagine, I am imagining now, that for months I slept on cardboard boxes.

I have slept on plywood set up on top of milk crates.

I have slept in cars.

I have slept in the back of Grey Hound buses.

I have slept, on the ground.

I have slept on other people’s lumpy couches.

I have slept on the thin, worn out cushions in my ex-brother in-laws fathers’ camper truck bed.

That sucked.

I have slept in far worse places and on many a baggy couch with broken springs.

I have slept in dangerous neighborhoods were gunshots woke me up in the middle of the night.

I have slept on beaches.

I have slept in the woods, “camping” aka “homeless” in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I have slept in the moldering basement of a duplex on a mattress on the floor.

I have slept cramped against my sister’s small body on a mattress on a floor.

I have slept in the bottom well of an old beater Dodge with a thin pillow braced against the door.

I have slept in far worse places on far worse beds, some which really had no right to be called a bed at all.

I am so grateful.

I have so much.

Do you see how much I have?

I have a full plate.

I have a job.

I have a bicycle.

I have this laptop.

I have graduate school.

(I have a lot to still read, but I’m getting caught up!)

I have stories.

(“Writers would kill to have some of the life material you have, Carmen,” Alan Kauffman said to me with an incredulous shake of his head, “you have had so many experiences!”)

I have love.

My God.

Do I have love.

I found myself pulled up 18th street tonight after work, my feet just knew the way and despite my brain saying, “go home, go read, go study,” I knew that I needed to be somewhere else tonight before I could do just that, go home, go read, go study.

And I found myself at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro.

And I found myself at home.

I shared my piece.

I don’t remember what I said.

I got my God on.

I got on my bicycle and I got on the way back to the Outer Sunset.

And mysterious coincidence?

Is it odd?

Or.

Is it God?

I ran into a very dear, most welcome, super amazing and loving person on my way home.

“That’s H____________!”

I almost shouted his name.

I could see he was working with someone.

I almost kept riding.

But when you see your person, or I should say, when I see my person, I had to stop, flip a bitch on my whip, and pedal back to where he was sitting with one of my mates.

Oh.

Was it good to see him!

I got the best damn hug.

From him and from my contemporary and we just had us a great big love fest right there on the corner of Sanchez and Noe.

Thank you God for always knowing when I need to see my people.

We made plans to see each other soon and I got a brief, intense, full of love check in.

Then.

Merrily on my way.

Through the autumn turning Pan Handle, through the quiet dark of the park lit only with speculative sodium lamps and the bright white flare of tents being erected in the meadows.

There must be a concert happening this weekend.

I am out of touch.

I have been so busy in my own little world of school and work that I am not paying a lot of attention to other things.

Outside Lands has already happened, so it must be Hardly, Strictly, Bluegrass.

Translation.

Hardly, strictly, ain’t gonna be anywhere near it.

I’ll be in school this weekend.

I made good for the family already, getting them prepped by making not one but two homemade chicken pot pies for them–one to freeze and one to eat Friday when I am not there to make dinner.  Plus I made ginger chicken with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, onions, and water chestnuts to wrap up in lettuce for dinner this evening.

I’ll do more prep for them too.

And.

A little for me too.

Although, I am pretty set as far as groceries go since my dear friend helped me out with the pick up and lift back to my place last weekend from SafeWay when I was having my near panic attack.

I do have to do a little more reading.

(A lot, but who’s counting)

But I’m kicking through it.

Every morning before I leave for work I have been reading.

Every evening when I get home I have been reading.

Add to that I have managed, don’t ask me how, to continue with my morning writing routine and my evening blog.

I don’t have to know how it works.

I just know that it does.

And it’s going to work even better.

Even sooner.

I’ll be sleeping on a brand new bed as of tomorrow night.

My life.

It rocks.

And it’s not because I’m sleeping on any.

Rocks that is.

Too Much

August 8, 2015

It’s just too much.

Fuck.

I just opened another attachment for school.

Who do these people think they are?

At 4:45p.m. on a Friday I receive an e-mail from one of the professor’s for the retreat saying how he expects everyone will have read all the materials for the first day of class on Monday and oh yeah, by the way, he’s updated the syllabus with additional readings and another book.

Which needs to be read by the start of class.

Fuck you man.

I mean.

It’s Friday, the retreat starts in two days, you want me to go out and get another book and have that read in addition to the reader and the book I already have for the class.

Are you smoking crack?

And then.

A breath.

Some perspective.

I’m not going to have the reading finished.

I’m just not.

I will have a lot of it done.

I will have more done than some of the folks in my cohort, who apparently have been having a challenging time getting the course readers.

Yo.

Walk, drive, MUNI your ass down to Copy Central at Mission and 2nd and get a nice fat, heavy surprise.

It’ll cost about $208 and weigh in around 32 lbs.

Happy retreat!

Who’s idea is it to call this a retreat?

Fuck.

I opened another attachment that was sent around 5 p.m.

Apparently all bases better get covered since it starts in less 48 hours, this one with more pertinent information about arriving and protocol for the facility and the likes.

Oh.

And hey, there’s the schedule for the week.

Oh my God.

Oh my God.

Fuck.

(This blog should not be further read by any one easily offended by profanity)

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

The check in for the retreat is between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday.

Then there’s 4 hours, no wait, I just checked, 5 hours of meetings.

Ack.

So much for relaxing into the environment or doing any last-minute reading for the week.

I will squeak it in somewhere I promise.

Then the real deal starts Monday, as I said, retreat my ass, this is not a retreat, its graduate school boot camp.

I feel like I’ll be doing mental push ups until I puke up my hastily eaten organic locally sourced breakfast.

Classes start every day of the retreat at 9:15 a.m. and they end?

When.

What?

Did I see that, let me check again.

Oh.

FUCK ME.

At 9:15 p.m.

Every day.

EVERY DAY.

I know, I’m hollering at you, I’m sorry, I’m fucking freaking out.

“They do this to you,” my person said to me last night as we sat and talked about what graduate school first semester was going to be like, “they do it to everyone, they don’t actually expect that you are going to be able to read all the assigned readings, you’ll learn what’s important, you’ll learn to skim, you’ll pick it up.”

I guess.

All I’m picking up right now is my heart off the floor.

I was excited this morning.

Then the excitement faded.

Then, and this may be the first time I have said it, I said out loud, “what was I thinking?”

Meaning.

Really?

Graduate school, what was I thinking.

Hey listen I heard Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are expecting their first baby and um, I’m a hella good nanny, and I live in San Francisco and hey, want to hire a fabulous nanny?

I come with great references.

I really wanted to crawl into my shell today, retreat back into the world of nannying and just be a person amongst little people.

Le sigh.

I know that’s not the solution.

I know it’s not.

I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

I know it.

But man, I have to say it, I’m scared.

I’m not out of my league, I know I can do this, it’s just, well, it’s a lot and I knew it was going to be a lot, but wow, it’s a lot.

Then.

I ran into two pivotal people in my life tonight.

Two people who meant so much to me about 10 1/2 years ago.

One a woman who approached me in the basement of a church on 18th and Dolores (now intriguingly enough the new Children’s Day School middle school annex, where my little guys will eventually end up as they are both currently enrolled in pre-school and kindergarten) and asked me how I was doing and when I said I was fine and burst into tears she took me out to coffee at Dolores Park Cafe and changed my life forever.

She looked amazing.

It’s been almost eight years since I have seen her.

It was a total surprise and I whipped off the sweatshirt that was on the chair next to me and offered it to her.

My heart just over full with gratitude and joy to see her, hug her, smile into her eyes.

Then.

A man came in, homeless, after the cup of coffee, the sweeties on the counter, but he stayed and he spoke up and holy shit.

I knew him too.

He did not look good.

He looked like rough trade.

And my heart broke open listening to him.

I had met him that my second day going back to that same church basement, scared to walk through the door, he welcomed me, showed me a place at the table, showed me the ropes, became my friend.

And was in utter awe of the man.

And.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I had a flaming hard crush on him.

“Whatever gets you to go,” she would tell me, “one day you’ll look back and be amazed at who you used to find attractive.”

Oh man, was she right.

Without wanting to, I spoke up, I had to.

I shared.

I shared my solution and my gratitude and about starting graduate school on Monday, even if I don’t have all the stuff read and I feel utterly unprepared for this next step, I know I can and I will show up.

The man cam up to me after and said congratulations.

I said, “it’s really good to see you, I’m glad you stayed.”

“You don’t remember me do you?” I asked, trying to not let the tears well up in front of him, oh my poor sweet friend.

“I do, I do remember you, you look amazing, you’ve changed so much, I well, you know, Sarah and I we got kind of crazy, then got it back together and moved to Seattle and things were really good (SARAH!  Fuck I forgot about you too, my friend, I hope you are better off love, wherever you are, however you are, you have my love) and then, well, people started dying and I started using again, and now, well, five days.”

I leaned up and hugged his gaunt frame, “stay, just stay.”

He crushed me in a hug then ran out the door.

He was gone by the time I hit the sidewalk.

It’s not too much what I have.

I am so fortunate and so fucking lucky.

Oops.

More of that profanity.

I may be overwhelmed sometimes, but I have been told and I completely believe it, that God does not give me more than I can handle.

It would appear that I can handle this then.

Grateful for the opportunity to feel overwhelmed.

Grateful for graduate school and a stranger who took me out to coffee ten and half years ago and changed the course of my life.

Forever.

So grateful.

I can’t even breathe.

Oh wait.

Yes.

There.

I can.

I will.

I am.

Try It You’ll Like It

May 13, 2014

That’s the problem, I thought to myself as I walked past the man in the doorway at 19th and Valencia, I know I will like it.

That’s why I got to say no.

I was pushing the stroller anyway.

Not the best time to take a hit from a proffered crack pipe.

Ah.

The Mission.

You can gentrify it the fuck up.

You can take stupid photos with a stuffed gorilla at Beta Brand.

You can get your Marina eyebrows down at The Balm.

You can eat your overpriced, albeit, I hear quite tasty tacos, from Tacolicious.

I still will always prefer El Farolito.

I remember, all too fondly as I don’t eat them anymore, the taste of a super quesadilla suiza with carne asada and salsa and hot marinated carrots and jalapenos and corn tortilla chips, fifty cents extra, shit, I remember when the chips were free.

But, you can’t quite get rid  of the crack heads in the door ways.

I was actually surprised to be offered a pipe.

A. I was pushing a stroller

Then again, I know there are some crack mamas out there, I am well aware from my own personal experience, that yes mom’s can smoke up some crack.

But.

Still.

B. That anyone offered it to me.

When I hit the pipe, and I hit it only a handful of times, but more than enough to know that stuff is cray cray, I was not interested in sharing it with anyone once I got going.

I was interested in hiding the fuck out in my room.

Or plywood shack, as the case may be, which it was when I was 19.

C. Because I have never been offered a crack pipe hit before.

Yes, even in the Mission.

I have scored crack.

Good old 16th and Mission BART station.

Where would all the heroin mules work if they didn’t have that little crossroads of hell?

Actually, crack is the only drug I have scored on the street.

I never did heroin–although it was offered to me on Market Street once.

I never bought a bag of pot from some one on Haight Street offering, “kind nugs”.

I don’t even like pot any way, but when I did smoke it, really quite allergic to it, so the only time I ever did was to convince some guy I was dating that I could rip a bong hit too.

I had a cocaine habit, though, yes, yes, yes, ma’am I did.

But I was all bougie about it.

I had my drug of choice delivered.

And he got it to me damn quick.

I can only recall a handful of times that I did not have bag, or bags, in hand before I could have gotten a pizza delivered to me.

The best thing about it, the being offered the crack pipe, is that I didn’t want it, I wasn’t interested, I was so neutral, “no thanks,” I said, and walked past.

I remember once, about oh, 9 years ago, fresh sober as a new souffle wobbling from the oven, walking down Valencia Street and smelling crack.

I freaked out.

I got so spooked.

It was like I went from 0 to homeless in 60 seconds.

I got on my phone, made a ton of phone calls, prayed, tried to not pee my pants, tried to get the whiff of it out of my nose.

I have since smelled plenty of crack in the city and I will say, it can be disconcerting and I don’t enjoy it and I recognize it like a bomb sniffing canine int he airport, but it doesn’t make me freak out.

I just would rather not be around it.

For those reasons, and perhaps a few more, I don’t say, hang in the Tenderloin.

Not really my scene.

What struck me too, today, as I walked about the Mission in search of a park that had some shade for my little bunny to play in, is that the veneer of high-tech and gloss and art is a thinning patina of slap together condominiums that actually look trashy and tacky and dumb down the reason why the Mission became gentrified in the first place.

It had some character.

The character is still there, but it is caked over by tourist and junk.

I hate it when the neighborhood starts selling junk and trinkets.

I don’t want the neighborhood that I birthed my San Francisco self into to become a tourist destination, even though it already has.

I am not a grouchy displaced Missionite either, don’t get me wrong, I will still hang in the Mission and I still belong, but I don’t want to live there anymore.

I couldn’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t have wanted to live there.

And I still do kick myself, a teeny tiny, bit for turning down the large studio with huge corner window on the second floor of a building at Valencia and 22nd above Herbivore that I could have gotten into for $850.

The window looked out over to Jay’s Cheesesteak and the studio, well, it wasn’t just big, it was huge.

But the floors were carpet and I was smitten with the studio I had found in Nob Hill, which had crown molding and pressed tin panels and Victorian details and polished wood floors.

I took the smaller, more expensive, studio in Nob Hill.

And that’s ok.

It is what it is.

The Mission is different.

The city of San Francisco is different.

And frankly, I am different.

All of the above is ok.

I get to live here and I am lucky to have gotten to live here for as long as I have.

Being crack free probably has a lot to do with that.

You know, probably.

I think, anyway.

So, yeah, dude in doorway was right.

I would like it.

But I got a taste of something even better.

And I like that so much more.

So much more I can’t even express it.

It is the bees knees.

The cat’s pajamas.

And all that jazz.

I really like it.

I really do.

 

Someone Stole My House

April 2, 2014

She cried plaintive and sudden in the silence.

I shuddered.

How bad is it when you are stealing the umbrella of a homeless woman?

Bad.

I shivered some more on my bicycle ride home from 7th and Irving, after having made a short, drenched trek from Cole Valley to the Inner Sunset just a brief hour previous.

I was wet.

Cold.

Not miserable though.

A little wary.

A bit scared.

The good kind of fear, the cautious kind, the let the cars go ahead, squeeze that front brake slowly, slow, slow, slow, pause, and take the glasses off.

They ain’t gonna do you no good bleary with rain.

It was a wet ride home, let me tell you.

But no one had stolen my umbrella–it’s in the hallway, and when I got home, I have a home to come home to, another grateful thing, rent was paid this past Friday–no one had appropriated my house.

I peeled the we clothes off, me, literally peeled, cranked up the heater (I think I may actually pause here in a moment, it’s almost as warm as I want it, too warm is not great either), lit some candles up, for the cheeriness of it, and dragged a brush through my wet tangled hair.

That, my friends, is a work out, I tell ya.

Then, into the shower.

The very hot shower.

Ah.

So freaking good.

Really.

Good.

And now the clothes are in the washer and soon to be in the dryer, I had to wash off my messenger bag too, it was pretty road grimy, not too bad considering I do have my rain fender on over my rear wheel, but it still got a bit gross.

This too, a blessing.

I have lived in places before where the laundry was not on site, not in the building, not on the same block, and had to dry out the coat and scarf and hope that the shoes would all be dry in the morning when I had to get up and go do it all over again.

But tomorrow, it doesn’t look like rain.

In fact, when I was coming home in the worst of it, I could still see ahead of me, a bright clearing, a gloaming silver and streaky blue where the last light of the day was leaking through the cloud banks.

It will all blow off and tomorrow and Thursday look clear.

Friday, again, probably rain, but Friday I will probably take the MUNI to work.

“I could loan you an umbrella,” my boss said to me sweetly concerned about my riding off into the wet.  “You could take MUNI in the morning.”

She was entirely correct.

I could take MUNI in the morning, but I don’t care for the unreliable N-Judah to get me to work on time.  It will get me to work, but I am either quite a bit early or just a little bit late.

Neither scenario am I a fan of.

Nope.

Friday, I have a slightly later start and the 45 minutes of leeway I get do allow me to get up at my normal 7 a.m. time and hit the train to the bus to the job without too much anxiety about my timing.

I did not regret that I took my bike home.

I still got home faster than had I taken the train.

Albeit quiet a bit wetter.

As I mentioned earlier, I am grateful to have a home to come home to and get myself cozy in.  It really is a miracle that I am where I am considering all the crazy in my life.

I forget that sometimes when I get in fear about not having enough or getting what I want or being afraid of losing what I have.

I had some rant going in my head this afternoon when I managed to sneak out to the park with the boys in between a cloud burst.

I mean, really, it was amazing.

We made it to Golden Gate park and back without getting drenched.

We did get a little wet, it started up again two and a half blocks away from the house, but my instincts had sussed out that we would have the time to go and maybe get in a carousel ride.

The carousel itself was closed, but the swings were happening and I got to have a minute outside the house to which I have spent a lot of time in the last few days with the super wet weather.

Change of scenery.

Change of pace.

Stretch the legs.

Dash through the wet park to shake out the ya yas in my head.

“Did you drink today,” a booming though imploded in my brain when the fear of not getting what I want went galloping through my head as I walked the path of the park pushing the double stroller ahead of me.

No.

I have not.

And I don’t plan on doing so.

I instantly relaxed.

I let go.

I just surrendered.

So things aren’t on my time line.

When the fuck have they ever been?

I am completely fine.

Taken care of.

Loved.

Whew.

The worry, the anxiety, free-floating and useless, drained away and yes, the ride home was not the most pleasant thing I have ever experienced, but it was an experience.

And as a writer, first and foremost, whether published to great acclaim or not, I write, I need experiences.

I can tell you exactly what it feel like to ride through the rain in San Francisco when the wind is cold and the rain falls hard.

When the tops of your thighs are wet, but not the bottom side, the cold stick of blue jeans and the sodden squish of water in a cloth Converse shoe, the part of my back that suddenly, involuntarily shivered, when my jacket rode up and my bare skin got a heavy splash of cold water on it.

Or the way that sky looked, ranging out over the heavy gray sea.

The curls of clouds pushing forward on the ocean wind and the milk cream of light, skinned blue along the edges where the lingering light of day shed its last kiss on my wet face.

Nothing is wasted.

There are no mistakes in God’s world.

And when I surrender to that.

Then everything really is alright.

Dry.

Or.

Wet.

I am home.

Safe.

Completely taken care of.

Future Tripping

March 6, 2014

Does not suit me.

I can’t figure it out and I am going to just have to let it go.

I got asked to work early on Friday, which is apropos, as I will be leaving early to go to 850 Bryant and contest my bicycle ticket.

Plea?

Not guilty.

I did not run the red sir, I just slowly meandered through the intersection after looking both ways.

I swear.

Gah.

Tonight on my ride home I had the privilege of going slow, I mean I don’t need a ticket right before I go contest the other, and got to see a drive, without signalling, whip a bitch in the middle of the intersection on Irving at 22nd while also on the phone.

And why am I going to court?

Ugh.

So, nope I won’t also be going to the DMV before work on Friday.  I don’t believe there will be enough time.

I mean, there’s the off-chance that there might, but it will be tight and I don’t then want to rush off to work, again, avoiding rushing until I get through the court date.

So, no motorcycle written test this Friday.

I am bummed.

But it will happen and it just means that not this weekend shall I be scooter’ing off into the sunset.

I actually dreamt that I was riding my scooter through the Presidio this morning.

That was the dream that I was having when I woke up.

It was very clear and I could smell the Eucalyptus trees and the sharp sweet smell of the bark peeling down from the trunks.

I guess you could say I am focused on the scooter, at least my sub-conscious is.

One of the mom’s asked me today if I had gotten my license yet and I told her I had not, the conundrum being that I am always working during the time the DMV is open.

She said that I should make an appointment and that they would cover the time.

Duh.

I have vacation days still.

Ask for a morning off.

I can’t for next Monday, mom’s got a dentist appointment, but I am going to see if  perhaps I can for the week following, that should be enough heads up for everyone.  I also wouldn’t have to take the whole day off.

Or, maybe I would.

I could see my friend who I am getting the scooter from, give him another payment, and pick up the scooter, after, of course, successfully finishing the written test.

I may just do that.

Trying to figure it out.

Even though I know that I am not the best at that.

It is not doing me any bad waiting a little longer either.

I have a bicycle.

It works great.

And it didn’t rain, much, on me today while I did my commute.

A little sprinkle right  at 5:30 p.m. as I was navigating my way from Cole Valley to the Inner Sunset, but by the time I was heading home, it was cleared up.

Yeah, I think I am going to do that, I will see if I can make an appointment for the Monday of the 24th or the 17th.  I can just take the morning off and go back to the Cole Valley gig and do it that way.

Good gravy.

I just tried to go into the website and do just that, set up an appointment, but the damn site is down on “March 5th for repairs to the system”.

Oh.

I see.

Future tripping.

Bring it back to today.

What is going on right now and what has happened and what can I do here with the rest of my evening.

I set up a photo blog post tonight, look here, with some photographs I took earlier on a walk about with the charges.   I had fun with the boys and the eldest is practising his jumping.

Very adorable.

The little boy reunion was a lot of shoving and pushing and hugging and waving and taking food from the other and sliding and demands for being picked up, and snuggles and more hugs and kisses and walks and Golden Gate kids playground.

And creepy, spooky, super meth’ed out bozo bag lady getting off the bus at the stop on Haight Street right next to the Whole Foods.

We were trying to pass, and the double stroller can be a big thing to manuever, but it doesn’t help when crazy meth lady is doing her jitterbug dance of tweak.

One of the things I love about the double stroller is that the boys each have their own separate seat area and cover awning, so if one is asleep, like the smallest one was, I can recline his seat and drop the awning down over his head for undisturbed rest.

Unless there is gross homeless party in the park meth happening, dread headed nasty piece actually reached into the stroller to push up the hood and coo over the baby.

Back the fuck up bitch.

I almost hit her.

I pushed her hand off the stroller hood and jammed by, I was actually a little shocked, I have had a lot of homeless kids and bums try to interact with the boys, but it was the first time one of them had gotten that close to either of them.

There’s a lot of homeless kids around the park and I mostly ignore them and say, “thank you God for not having me be a homeless kid in the park today with a dog,” under my breath.

You think I kid?

I do not.

I have been a homeless kid with a dog.

I don’t ever want to go back there again.

Although I loved the hell out of Layla, the border collie I had with Elliot down in Florida when we were exploring what homelessness looks like at age 17 and 19, outside of Miami, in Homestead.

I am not about to go there again.

No thank you.

So, if all I have to complain about today is that I don’t have an appointment made yet to get my motorcycle license, I can safely say, that today was a good day.

And it was.

Four Prostitutes

May 22, 2013

Three homeless people.

Two drug dealers.

And a pimp on a BMX bike.

Really?

You’re marketing tricks from a BMX bike.

That’s actually kind of impressive.

Are you like Jr. pimp?

I made a little travel on down the road to the In Between Fellowship on International Ave.

In Between crazy and crack addled.

Damn.

But I got what I needed and I got back safe and sound, not harassed, not bothered, pretty much left alone.  Oh, there was a truck that slowed down and a van that did two circles around the block I was walking down, but that could have been for me or the heavy-set woman walking ahead of me with three-inch roots above the bottled blonde weave.

Or whatever it was, but it was not natural hair.

Nope.

I don’t think so.

I got home and walked into the wafting smells of warm popcorn and melted butter.

Good times.

I opened up my laptop, made a cup of tea and settled down to write.

I keep telling myself to take each day as it comes.

I don’t know exactly what is going to happen, how long things will take, and where I am going to go.  I know this much, I am going to get my bicycle legs back and in spades.

I was pretty punked today and I realized it had something to do with the 6.5 mile long bicycle ride I took to work.  And then back.

13 miles round trip.

“You know you could take BART,” my room-mate said to me as I lay on the floor yawning and rubbing the ears of a fluff monster.

“Yup, except that it’s probably faster on my bicycle,” I replied and stretched my arms up over my arms.

I will get my “sea legs” back in about a week.

I have been riding every day since the bike came out of the box.

Literally.

However, today was the first day I did the full round trip bicycle ride.  I will be doing it at least three times a week.  I don’t mind, I like the sun on my face and the wind at my back.

Or in my face as the case was this afternoon.

But the ride is flat and quick.

40 minutes there.

40 minutes back.

That is an hour and twenty on my bike.

There’s your gym work out.

I’ll be fit and in shape, not that I am terribly out of it, in no time.

My schedule got busy today as I fielded a few phone calls and texts and some messages on Facecrack attack.

I will work and do the deal tomorrow, with a new addition, a year old who will for 1.5 days a week be a part of the nanny situation in North Oakland.

Where, small aside, I was told by man today on the way to the park with my charge, “I am not afraid of your tattoos!”

He gamboled across the street, crossing San Pablo against traffic, muttering under his breath, carrying what I believe was a relic of a radio transistor, I wanted to shout at him, “just wrap that shit with some aluminum, you’ll get better reception!”

But I held my breath, held the stroller handle bar tight in my hand and kept walking.

My calendar is looking interesting all over the place.

I found out that the family in North Oakland will be on vacation for a week and a half in June.

The day after I was approached by a family from Austin, friends from Burning Man, who wanted to secure my services mid-June to take care of their little boy for the weekend as they  were to be going outside of the city to a wedding.

They will be able to leave him with me at the house and I will be able to take care of one wee visiting monkey and the two cats at the house.

Graceland, though lovely, and alluring with popcorn scented air, is not child friendly.

Serendipitous that I will be house sitting and be able to provide care for the friends and provide care for the family I work for.

I was not even allowed to get into fear about the eleven days the family was to be out-of-town and I was to not have work with them.

That, the disadvantage to not being full-time, is the thing with having part-time hours every which way with four different families, I don’t have paid vacation, or health insurance, or benefits.

In my previous incarnations of nanny I had paid time off and sick days built into my pay rate.  I don’t this time around.  However, I don’t feel too concerned.  I feel like everything is working out exactly as it is supposed to.

I was also making enough that I was able to pay my own health insurance out-of-pocket.

What I would like is to not worry about that.

But if I am going to be riding my bicycle from East Oakland to North Oakland three days a week at 13 miles per day round trip, it may be in my best interest to secure medical care.

Or a job that will provide me with such.

Or freelance work.

Or, well, I don’t know.

I do know that I am not homeless digging through trash cans on International Avenue, and I am not pushing a stroller at night with garbage bags hanging off it, nor am I turning tricks to purchase drugs.

I am alright.

I am in the correct place at the right time.

Doing what is in front of me and saying yes to nannying and house sitting and preparing myself for what happens next.

Life is exciting.

A little exhausting at times, but I have a lovely bed to climb into just above the endearing scent of warm popcorn to buoy me up the stairs on my weary legs.


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