Posts Tagged ‘house sitting’

Above And Beyond

December 27, 2013

That was the message, or part of, the message that I received earlier this evening.

Once again, doing my best to leave it better than I found it.

The house sitting gig done I plane on staying home for a while.

Yeah, I got an overnight gig to do for New Years Eve, but tell you what, as my stalwart little computer could tell you, I am going to make some money this month so I can get a new laptop.

This little guy has not got much left.

I am going to make an appointment at the Genius Bar, but as the Apple guy that I met at Burning Man said to me, the guy that works for Apple, not some dude handing out fruit, “time to throw it out and buy a new one.”

And my little gal has lasted four months longer then he was predicting, but she seems to be fading fast, and so, though I am not particularly looking forward to working an over night, I am looking forward to the extra cash.

I just wrote the last of my bills for the month, rent for January, and walked it upstairs to my landlord, so nice to be home, let me just say that one more time, and paid January rent a few days early.

Everything I make from here on out, with the exception of grocery money, is cake.

Not cake to eat, but perhaps cake to blog about.

Because, God forbid, I don’t blog.

I think I have a habit, but not one I am interested in kicking anytime soon.

I am busy though, doing some extra service this month, which is always good for me at this time of year, and being asked to go a few places I haven’t been to or parts of town I haven’t been around in a while.

I ate dinner after work on Clement Street.

Cannot remember the last time I did that, of course I cannot remember the last time I was on Clement street on my bicycle.

I’ll be in the Mission tomorrow night after work and then in the Inner Sunset on Sunday, I am definitely on the circuit.

But it keeps the mind off what the mind likes to masticate on.

“You haven’t been in a relationship in how long?” She asked me startled last night as we were getting ready to sit down to Christmas dinner and she was telling me of her and her husbands plans on having another child.

Well, yeah, I guess it has been awhile, but I am not on a schedule, a timeline, and I certainly don’t have an expiration date, so what ever.

I was also told by a friend who I happened to ride my bicycle past yesterday afternoon on my way to do the deal, that I looked 25.

I smiled and said thank you.

I didn’t argue.

I don’t believe that I look 25, but I know I don’t look my age and I am not worried about it, I don’t know what exactly has shifted over the last week or so, perhaps that constant writing about forgiveness.

Perhaps that inventory I finished writing today.

Yes, got some writing cranked out during my charges three-hour nap.

Oh, thank heaven for little girls that nap three hours, because despite my only having one charge I was a bit worn out from making sure the house was ship-shape before I left and I wasn’t feeling at the top of my game.

Santa brought me my period, thanks big guy.

Nothing says funny like a frantic women scurrying around a gay male couple’s pristine home trying to find sanitary products.

Maybe they had a female Air B-N-B guests, maybe one of the guys has a sister, there’s got to be something, I kept thinking as I opened every cupboard, closet, and drawer.

Jesus.

All I could think about was not ruining their eggshell sheets.

God damn.

There’s a premise for a comedy sitcom in that somewhere, I am sure.

I took care of things, but yeah, so tired a bit today, and though I pondered just taking a nap on the couch I knew I had some writing that needed to be finished by Saturday 12:15p.m.

I cranked it out.

How refreshing.

Used to be a time that this kind of work took a lot longer, but the more you do the easier it gets and the fewer things I have to write about.

I had one really big aha revelation and I am so grateful for that.

Really grateful.

Anyway, life feels a bit above and beyond for me, not sure what’s going to happen next, what new thing I am going to get myself into, I know I have a trip to make to Florida soon, but that feels very far away right now, even though I bet it’s just three weeks.

Now I have to look at the calendar.

Just over three weeks.

So much can happen in three weeks.

So much can happen in three days.

Sometimes in three hours.

Tomorrow I just have a four-hour day, and I am sure things will happen in that time.  One of which is to get some more massage work scheduled, I am ready for it after hauling a weeks worth of stuff in my messenger bag back to the house.

Glad to unpack that bag.

Knowing that I can go one week with what I have in that bag is pretty awesome, but since I don’t have to live that way, I prefer not to.

“I house sat once,” the husband of a friend of a friend said to me at dinner last night, “I hated it, never did it again.”

Haha.

That is such a normal person’s reaction.

I did not like it, so I did not do it again.

Well, the first time I tried crack it didn’t work, so I tried again.

Funny, how I have to repeatedly do things that I don’t like, as though I am trying to prove something.

Not sure exactly what that is, but I am done proving it with the house sitting, which is awesome, as I am home, and the only place I want to be is here.

In my little blue room by the sea.

I’m leaving up my Christmas tree a few more days just to get the full feel of it.

Now to stop repeating other things that don’t work for me.

Chronically single.

Diagnosed.

Now, excuse me while I go take my forgiveness pill.

And make a cup of tea to relax in my own sweet space.

 

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Pay Day

December 21, 2013

And like that.

Finally.

I have all the money for Barnaby.

I just made a deposit to my online savings account and without even realizing that I had, I pushed over the amount I owe him.

$1350.

No more.

I am done.

I hate having debt to someone, hate it.

Appalled that I had to take out that loan but there was no way, no fucking way I was going to be able to get back home without it.

Home, where I am supposed to be, though, currently not writing this from my home, rather my house sitting gig in the Mission.

Where there is a cozy kitty and a plush bed and yes, thank you very much, internet.

The guys I am house sitting for got the password to me after a few failed attempts last night, I now am home free and while I am not exactly at home, I do feel a lot better being here and also, I have to say, it is kind of nice to be in the Mission.

To get to see a few folks that I don’t typically see, not since moving out to the beach, and to re-connect with people who I used to see on a weekly basis.

“Oh!” She said to me over tea at Sugar Lump, a cafe on 24th between Florida and Bryant, “you should come over to my house for Christmas!”

We were discussing holidays, family, plans, New Years.

And as soon as she said it, I knew that was where I wanted to be.

There will be two sweet dear ladies there that I know and love, a three-year old who I got to hold in my arms in her first week of life and friends who I haven’t seen for a while, since they moved over to the East Bay, and their son, who is I believe also three.

Rock on.

Really relaxed, really sweet, intimate, in a cozy, cheerful home with dogs and little girls and boys running around, good, good people and good food too.

“Oh, I will be doing all the cooking,” she said adamantly, “I am making all the food I like!”

She’s a vegetarian and her family has just never quite gotten what that means.

“And I know what to make for you!”  She added, smiling brightly.

I don’t eat sugar or flour and she is well aware of it.

Oh my god, to not have to tell someone who I won’t be having the stuffing or that cookie, or no thanks, no pie for me.

Just to sit and have a nice meal and not worry about it and be amongst dear friends.

Sounds exactly like what I am supposed to be doing.

And when the checks for all the families and the money from the house sitting gig hit my account I was excited to see that I am doing exactly what I should be doing.

Paying off my debt and enjoying the little extras that I don’t always get for myself.

Nice toiletries, because it’s nice to have good smelling stuff of your own when you houses sit, some new hair clips, and I was even able to make a quick dash over to Nordstrom’s after my evening duties were finished.

I did not find a thing and I left quite happy to be, well, leaving, empty-handed, but with plenty of money still in my wallet.

I just got the things that I really can use today and decided to put the money in the savings and then see what was left over.

And there is left over.

Yay!

I am not planning on going crazy, but maybe I will get myself a little something for Christmas, I did give myself an experience–the horseback riding–for my birthday, so maybe something along those lines.

I was thinking as my friend spoke of Christmas plans, that I still do want to do a little small something for me, and as I was listening, a sudden thought popped into my head.

I could go on a ferry-boat ride on Christmas Eve out to Tiburon!

Or Sausalito.

Or Angel Island.

How fun would that be?

I am working on Christmas Eve, but just a half day in the Castro, and when I finish I could take myself down to the Embarcadero and catch a ferry out across the bay.

I could wander around the little towns, walk Sausalito, which I normally ride my bicycle through, oh, hey there, that’s a sexy idea, I could take my bike on the ferry!

And then ride the boat back at sunset with the lights of the city, all Christmas decked out, sparkling on the bay.

Maybe a little special dinner at the Ferry Building?

Oysters.

Mmmmm.

Or Slanted Door.

I could go to a movie at the Embarcadero Center, which has some of my favorite art house movies, and call it a night.

I am liking this idea.

I am also liking that I am making a run down to Ocean Beach tomorrow afternoon to drop off a few things at the house and grab some more clothes.

I can get my camera, which I did not bring with me.

If I am going to go out on a ferry-boat, I want my camera with me.

Ooh.

I am excited.

This is exactly what I want to be doing!

Christmas Eve ferry-boat ride in San Francisco followed by dinner and a movie.

Christmas Day dinner with dear sweet friends and their families at a warm cozy house with good food, I can eat!  And a tree and kids and Christmas movies.

Perfect.

Merry Christmas indeed.

 

 

Working Girl Holiday

December 17, 2013

Which means I am working the holidaze.

Sort of thought that might happen what with all my families staying in town and that the two big days, Christmas and New Years Day, fall mid-week.

I ran down my schedule with my two main families before I left this evening to head over to the Inner Sunset for a little of that doing the deal.

Full week this week, with additional hours on Friday to make up for taking off Wednesday.

Full week next week with the exception of Christmas day.

Yes, I will be working Christmas eve and the day after Christmas.

Christmas Eve will be a half day however, although I shall be house sitting, but that shouldn’t be too much work.

A hassle, yeah, a bit, but making hay while the sun shines and also helping out a friend who’s going home for the holidays.  So, I don’t mind too much.

Though I find it really interesting how everyone makes it out to be this big deal–oh bring your laundry, and it’s a vacation for you.

No, frankly, it ain’t a vacation.

It’s work.

It’s work to get myself and my things over to your place via bicycle or train or what ever vehicle I take.  It’s work to rearrange my schedule for a week to be in a different part of town, figuring out a different commute, because I am working regular, real regular during the time of the house sitting gig.

Plus, there’s only so much shit I can get in my messenger bag.

I’m there seven nights.

I must have my laptop, nach, ain’t gonna not write this blog, I need clothes for the week, and toiletries.  I can usually get three to four days of clothes in my bag, but it’s hard to stretch a whole week.  I will probably have to do a bomb run up and over and down to the beach at some point mid-way through.

In fact, had I known how much work I would have with the nannying, I probably would have said no to the house sitting gig.

Now, I will just look at it as the last extra bit of money to pay of the ticket to Barnaby, who, what!  Happens to be heading into town this week.

Just got the message today asking me if I wanted the stuff in storage, uh yeah, if you’re coming, I’ll take it.

Though I only recall a few things being in storage.

Obviously nothing I have missed horribly, since I can’t remember what I left there.

So, it will be nice to have the money for him when he’s here.  He’ll be around until January 15th and then off to Hawaii.

That’ll be a change after Paris.

The week after, the week of New Years, will be my really big money week though.

Regular hours on Monday and Tuesday, i.e. 8:45 a.m. until 5:30/6p.m.  Then Tuesday, which is New Years Eve, I will be doing an over night from 7p.m. until noon the next day.

I’ll have half the day off on New Years and be right back into my Thursday and Friday gigs.

What holidays?

Good thing I took off my birthday.

And I don’t believe I will pick up anything on the weekends, I have enough on my plate, trying to still keep room open for things to happen, loosely scheduling Saturdays and keeping Sunday wide open.

I don’t have a plan yet for Christmas day.

I was invited to a Christmas night dinner.

I will keep that on the shelf, I may just stay in the Mission, the invite was for the Bayview neighborhood.  I know I have some friends that will be staying in the city and I believe that there are a number of people who will be popping in and around the Mission.

All this working and this planning on how to get from one gig to the other makes me really grateful that I went out and got a Christmas tree and wrote cards, which is partially selfish.

I love getting mail.

I mean, love it.

I guess I am just old-fashioned.

And when I send out Christmas cards I usually get a few back and it’s fun to get them in the mailbox.

Today I got one from my sister.

That was sweet.

I actually cannot recall the last time I received a card from her.

For a moment I was nervous to open it.

Not sure what I thought was going to jump out at me.

But it was perfect, simple, sweet.

And I realized how I am looking forward to going down to see her, it’s been, well, awhile is a good start, um, nine years?  Almost nine years, since I saw her last.

That time was incredibly brief as well.

I think I had dinner and cocktails with her and my mother at the Weary Traveller in Madison on Willy Street.

She left early and then I went to the bar to meet with my friends.

It was my 32nd birthday.

So, yeah, considering I will be 41 on Wednesday, it has been nine years since I saw her.

There’s going to be some catching up I am certain.

The time it sure does fly, especially when my life is so full.

These last, almost nine years, have been so full I wonder sometimes how it is that I have done and gotten to do as much as I have.

Because my head, trusty little brain always sowing the seeds of doom, tells me I don’t get a whole lot done.

That’s a kind of resistance to the true nature of my life that allows my ego to beat me up and shame me into thinking I don’t have a great life or I haven’t accomplished enough.

When I list it out, though, I see someone who consistently shows up, for my writing–twice a day–for my charges, for my blog, for my friends, not always for the dating, but I am at least aware of that and putting in the work to change, for new adventures–Paris, surfing, horseback riding, trampolining, learning how to ride clipped into a bike, learning how to ride fixed gear, for the women in my life that I am honored to work with, I show the fuck up.

I can acknowledge that.

I am a working girl.

Working hard at living my life as to its fullest potential.

One small sweet day at a time.

 

Tuesday, It’s a Good Day

July 3, 2013

For a panic attack.

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

Man that was not fun.

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

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

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

Not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy mother of God.

No wonder I was freaking out.

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

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

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

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

I mean I suppose I could take the bus?

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

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

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

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

Either the pet sit.

Or the nanny in Oakland.

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

The back and forth was just not an option.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I got a live person.

Honey.

Oof.

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

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

Just that.

Oh, yes, and take care of the baby.

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

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

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

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

Mom said yes, just clear it with dad.

I text dad.

Dad said it’s a go.

I have a place to stay.

Check.

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

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

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

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

Thank fucking God.

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

Figure it out ain’t a god damn slogan.

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

Doing the Work

July 1, 2013

Getting the rewards.

I woke up this morning from a fantastic dream.

I haven’t woken up in the middle of a REM session in some time.

It was a disturbing dream as well as it was quite realistic and for a moment I had thought it had actually happened.  I dreamed that I sleep walked to the neighbor’s house and made out with a boy.

MMMMmmm yummy.

I know it did not happen but it was a delight to wake up to.

I also woke up to a renewed resolve to take care of myself and really do the work that is necessary to get myself back on track.

I did my morning routine, made bed, said some words, asked for some guidance.

But instead of going right into the make breakfast and do some writing, I got fully dressed, tossed the bedding through the wash and went grocery shopping, for real sustainable food.

Not ice cream.

Not cookies.

Not popcorn.

Nope.

I got oatmeal and apples, bananas, low-fat cottage cheese, wild tuna, organic brown eggs, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, organic sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, home-made humus, good food, real food, nothing processed or dipped in sugar.

Then I came back and made oatmeal with banana and Frog Hollow apricots.

I made a pot of French press.

I said thank you for this food and I sat and ate it with mindful intention.

I savored it.

Then I wrote.

I felt cleaned out and hollowed from the pain of willful check out and ready to start over fresh.

Then I meditated and what do you know!

I got some direction that was unexpected and wonderful and I took the directions.

I went on an Artist Date!

I have not done one in some time.

One could argue that my six months in Paris was one long extended artist date, but it was also hard, heart breaking, heart wrenching work.

An Artist Date is light and easy and fun and just for the little girl in me.

I took myself out a walking on Haight Street, I was headed to Mendel’s.

Mendel’s is an awesome arts, crafts, paper, fabric, costume, DIY store.

They have a little bit of everything for everyone.

They also have the best sticker collections I have seen in a long time.  I am a whore for stickers.  I have said it before and I say it again.  I am also a picky whore.  I don’t like all stickers and I often will go into a shop that has them and leave disappointed.

Not today.

I got decorative butterfly stickers, classic movie poster stickers, Tiffany stained glass art stickers, Redoute rose stickers, and collage art mermaid stickers.

Divine.

The little girl in me clapped with glee.

I also got supplies to make myself a hair clip.

Oh, not just any hair clip, but a HAIR CLIP.

Ok, if you’re a dude, you can stop reading for the moment as I girl gush.

I got fabric glue, recommended by the clerk, three kinds of ribbon, an oversized vintage wooden bicycle button, a bare clip to glue everything too, pink ostrich feathers, burlap fabric (to give it a sort of rustic steam-punk edge), sea-foam netting, and a fabric bird clip.

Put a bird on it!

I am making an oversized, over the top, over done just enough, hair fascinator for the playa.

Why?

Because the ones I see in the store are a lot of money and I haven’t found one yet that combines all the elements of whimsy that I want them to have.

Plus, I have thought for years of doing it and after trolling Etsy the other day for some ideas I just decided I would make one for myself.

I got a lot of ideas.

I saw a lot of fun material.

The clerk that was helping me out and making suggestions like the direction I was taking it and said, “when you’re done send us a photograph and we’ll put it up on our site.”

Will do.

I also scored a black straw hat at the Good Will and I have some plans for that as well.

I got glue baby.

After my delightful artist date I confirmed that I will be house sitting for friends in the city this weekend.

Not the friends who had reached out to me either.

Turns out they could not afford my ask.

Turns out I was fine with that and I made not judgements and had no qualms and felt really good for asking for what I needed without first saying yes to the commitment.

I would have said yes, gotten there, realized they thought they were helping me out and when I wanted to get paid there would not have been recompense.

Or perhaps there would have been, but it would not have been worth my while.

I officially ask for what will actually cover my costs to house sit.

If I am going to do it I need to make a certain amount.

I had another set of friends hop on the house sitting gig train minutes thereafter, literally, they ask me what I needed, I responded, they said GREAT we can do that, that’s normal rates, you’re in kid.

I have sat for them before, so it’s a nice gig and I will get to be in the Castro, fortunately after the melee of Pride weekend and out of the melee of Fourth of July in East  Oakland.

This is also good as I picked up a commitment to be somewhere on Sundays and to take care of being humble enough to ask for help with my food issues.

The relief I got asking for help was huge.

I don’t want to do the work, I just want the reward.

But it does not work like that and I realize if I just got the reward it wouldn’t mean as much, it would be trivial.

I did not trivialize myself or my experience today and I had a really good day.

Basic and service oriented.

With a few stickers and feathers thrown in for fun.

Just Two Blocks Over

June 29, 2013

Maybe three.

And it’s a completely different neighborhood.

I suppose many places are like that, especially places where a lot of tourist go.

I don’t hang out much in the Haight, I don’t like tourists, and tonight was not much different.

I got to the house sitting gig after spending the day semi-checked out at Graceland.

There were small things I needed to attend to, laundry, a little shopping, taking care of the kittens, doing some writing, then I realized that I did not need to be in the city until 5pm and I wouldn’t need to be on a BART until 3:45/4pm and I had a lot of time to kill.

So I shot a few brain cells and watched some Netflix.

It is surreal to watch television during the day when you are not sick.

Although, technically, I am sick.

I have one of a few diseases that are self-diagnosible and I diagnosed one today.

I got the symptoms I do.

But I also have the cure and I reached out and checked in and did some crying and said yes I would be gentle with myself and that I did realize this, whatever this was, was only temporary.

I am not a big tough chick.

In case you were wondering, I am a fucking cream puff.

I get scared.

I just don’t show it.

And the strain of being scared has definitely been wearing me down.

The strain of not showing I am afraid is wearing me down just as quick.

I have been comfort eating, previously discussed ad nauseam so I am not going to go into it, comfort checking out, NetFlix you evil whore you, like I did not already have check out go to, but my room-mate has an astounding big wide-screen television with surround sound and a deep leather couch to stretch out on.

Check out central.

The road narrows they say.

“I can see it, I can see what is happening and I am getting spun out of it faster and faster and I can see how it does not work and I can’t stand that it does not work and that pisses me off, and, well, fuck.”

Yes, well fuck.

The things that once brought me fast acting relief stopped working–cocaine, beer, vodka, esctacy, mindless sex with strangers, speed, mushrooms, LSD, sugar, cigarettes, crack–and I can’t really go back to any of them.

“Look, I’d even let you stay on my couch for a week if you relapsed on crack,” one of my best friends told me last week, “I love you.”

That’s how we say I love you, I would let you stay on my couch a week.

“Then, well, I’d tell you to get the fuck out and get better,” he finished.

That is how we really say I love you and more than you know, I love you enough to support you until you can do it on your own, no free rides here sugar.

None of my check outs comes with a free ride, just to hell, just to a place of terror or confusion or disorientation, drama, adrenaline.

I realized last night riding my bike through the neighborhoods, good, bad, indifferent, really fucking bad (ok, what is up with this particular corner, just two blocks away is a fire department, which means, you know like people who are serious and have connection to the cops and such, just two blocks away from fire station and it is going off.  Off I say.  Yesterday on my way to work I saw a dwarf prostitute.

REALLY.

A fucking midget hooker.

Oakland, we got all your crazy crack needs right here.

Last night, it was just as wild, I got blown by an Escalade near off the road, blingety blinged out, and watched a pregnant hooker, that was not a distended belly from malnutrition, I think, work a corner, totter across the street to her john.

I also saw two cars lined up right in the middle of the intersection doing hand offs through the windows.

Just two blocks over.)  that maybe it was time to stop riding through the neighborhoods.

Maybe if I was that tense about it that it would just be a better idea to ride BART through Oakland, at least at night.  I am going to debate it.

Maybe that will relieve the scared little girl I forget I carry inside my brain who is clutching a very worn down stuffed bunny rabbit, poor thing as seen more than any child needs to see.

“You seem like a nice nanny,” she said to me at the park yesterday, “I like you, you got a lot of tattoos though, my uncle D, he got a lot of tattoos and he in prison.”

“NO he ain’t,” her little friend shot back, “D’Angelo just in jail, he aint’ in prison, he do got a lot of tattoos though, all up his back.”

“Oh, well, I don’t have any back pieces,” I smiled at the girls.

“Don’t get any more, you don’t want to wind up in prison,” the little girl concluded and scratched at her wrist where is disappeared under the dirty grey plaster cast that was up to her elbow.

“Ok,” I said, no need to tell her I always want more tattoos, I do want a back piece, but I don’t see a correlation to doing time, aside from the time it takes to lie still.

“How did you break your arm?” I asked.

“I fell,” she said, no more explanation.

“I broke my foot when I was your age, right during summer vacation, it sucks,” I said.

“You did?”

“Yup, I think I was about your age, you in second or third grade?” I asked.

“Gonna be in third!” She proudly exclaimed.

“I broke my foot summer between second and third grade, same timing,” I smiled, “it’s hard, but you don’t have to use crutches, so that’s good.”

“Yeah, I broke my other arm last year,” she said out of the blue.

I drew in a breath, oh baby, “how did you do that?”

“I fell.” Her eyes left mine and looked flat at the sky over my head.

I picked up my little girl a few things she likes today and said, listen this is it for the comfort, the adult me has got to get us back on track.  We can watch a few more shows then it’s back to reality time.

I walked back from Haight Street after going to the market and the temperature was dropping, the cool air from the ocean blowing in.

Just two and a half blocks from the tourist and the homeless kids trying to make the tourists, quiet, serene, peaceful, painted lady Victorians resplendent in their finery graciously curtsied up the street to where I am staying for the weekend.

I let myself in, turned on the television, said hello to the cats and settled in.

“I got a place,” I told my mom, “back in San Francisco I can’t wait, just two blocks from the beach and two blocks from Golden Gate Park.”

Just a few weeks left to go.

Hang on kiddo we can do this.

 

Itchy Scratchy

June 28, 2013

I am feeling like I could just crawl right out of my skin.

Part of it is the weather, which I am not used to, it’s cool, I mean, it’s not cool, it’s hot and muggy and sweaty and sticky and although I did not think I was overdressed, I was a little.

I am debating taking a cool shower tonight before settling in.

I can’t remember the last time I took a shower to cool off.

San Francisco is usually cool this time of year.

I wonder if the Bay will actually have a warm and sunny Pride weekend?

It certainly deserves one.

I recall, out of all the Prides I have been a witness to, at some point the pink triangle that gets spray painted on Twin Peaks for the event always blurred out by the fog.

Always.

I sort of think that it won’t this year.

Apropos.

I am feeling itchy and scratchy too as I am about to embark on a house sit and although I did ask for everything I need I do know that it can easily become a way for me to isolate.

“I feel really uncomfortable I said to my friend tonight,” as I unlocked my bike, “I feel neither here nor there.  Like what’s the point of getting known here when I’m just going back to San Francisco.”

“I know,” she said, “and it’s too funny that we just bought a house here.”

It is.

But wonderful too, especially when there was a moment when I thought she and her husband would be moving out of the Bay area completely.

She works in the City too, so I will still get to see lots of her.

Lots might be an exaggeration, she’s a doctor, a very, very, very busy doctor.

I don’t get to see a lot of her in general, but when I do, it is good.

My tongue felt stuck tonight though and I felt teary, and hot, and I declined an invitation to go out to dinner, I wanted to get back to my side of the crazy before it got really crazy.

Next thing I am uncomfortable with and I know it’s just going to get worse before it gets better is the fireworks are starting to go off.

Firecrackers, M-80s, little guys, big guys.

It makes an already uncomfortable ride home even more so.

I am debating not doing the commute for a few days.

And I just realized that I will be in the city for the weekend starting tomorrow night, so that will help.  Although I come back to Graceland Tuesday evening.  And the Fourth is Thursday night.

I have an odd work schedule due to the holiday and I don’t know exactly what is going to be happening with next week, but I will work Monday and Tuesday, possibly, although not 100% Wednesday, have Thursday off, and possibly work Friday.

Oh!

And my uncle Boy is coming to town!

I am super excited to see him, generally I just see him at Burning Man.

Yes, that’s right, my uncle goes to Burning Man, you thought the crazy was just with me?

I remember the first time that I saw him at the event, it sort of blew me away, mostly because I was flummoxed as to what my boss was trying to express.

“Your Uncle Marty came to see you,” she said, “he left a note on your tent.”

I stared at her.

“Uh, I don’t have an uncle Marty,” I said, “is that somebody’s weird playa name?”

“Are you sure?” My boss said, “he really looks like you.”

Then he came around the corner of the trailer and I saw him, “Uncle Boy!”  I shouted, “what are you doing here?”

What he was doing was the same thing I was doing, having our second burns on playa.  It turns out he had come the year before to grieve, as too did I.  He became so enamored with the event that he’s been coming back every year.

He has an art car he made, he started volunteering at Gate and with DPW (now this is my father’s older brother, Boy is the name the family moniker for the oldest son, I believe it is a Polynesian tradition, which means my father who just turned 64, would make Uncle Boy 66 or 67.  Yeah, that’s how my family rolls.) and a couple of years ago he bought an old 33 foot Blue Bird school bus and renovated it out to be his trailer.

This year he added a deck to the top.

He is a retired welder, so he knows what he is doing.

One day, I dream a little dream, I will get a Bambi Airstream and I want him to weld some things to it, make it into a flaming heart, and fingers crossed keep it stored at his place, of course I get way a head of myself.

Burning Man has a way of doing that to me.

Sidebar!  I finally, after six burns, invested in a utility belt and I ordered a new pair of boots on-line today, my two “splurges”.  I got a great deal on the belt, significantly cheaper than the majority of the ones I see being sold to the public–it’s made out of recycled bicycle tires!  And the boots, on sale too!  So, not a huge investment, but one that will make my life that much easier to deal with on playa.

Uncle Boy is also a Vietnam Veteran.

I just realized I have been proud of the fact for a long time, he did three tours, and he was a helicopter pilot.

Don’t mess with me, I’ll sic my uncle on you!

I should tell him that, he’s coming into San Francisco next week for a helicopter veteran convention and we are going to have lunch.

The last time we had lunch together it was at Burning Man in the commissary the day of the Man burn.

Funny, I don’t feel so itchy and scratchy anymore.

Looking forward to a nice weekend, a proud weekend, a Pride weekend, and the opportunity to tell one of my family members how much I love them.

All good things.

Wait a Second!

June 27, 2013

I am a professional.

As such, my time is valuable.

I don’t have to sit and hold time for you if you can’t confirm for me whether or not you’ll need me until you “suss” things out.

You want me, you pay me to hold that spot.

Well, for Pete’s sake.

It took my fucking long enough to figure this out.

I am learning, it does take some time, but I am learning.

Part of the learning curve for me was seeing a recognizable pattern and doing a quick mental inventory, a spot check inventory, if you will.

What was I resentful about?

What was I in fear of?

What was holding me back from saying what I need?

Oh yeah, and they cannot read your mind, so unless you tell them, they are going to continue to ask you last-minute to cover shifts.

I have a family, not my primary one(s) who change their plans around a lot and it drives me a little bonkers.  They have sent me some texts recently about possibly working some hours and they changed their minds a lot, we need you, we don’t need you, we’re coming, we’re not coming, wait, we are, and are you also available….

People.

Fuck.

I am a professional.

I am self-employed.

If you don’t have the hours to give, fine, I will find them somewhere else, but stop being wishy-washy.

Fuck.

Then, I heard a little voice, “if you’re a professional, start acting like one.”

Oh.

Well, what does that look like?

Number one, my time is valuable (god how many of my friends need to point this out to me before I see it for myself?) and I am worth my pay.

If you are a therapist or a hair dresser or a tattoo artist, a masseuse, or any number of folk who happens to provide a service (um, nanny anyone?) and your client cancels on you, they get charged for the cancellation if it happens to be too late for you to re-book that time.

Most folks have a 24 hour cancellation policy.

I can have one too!

I mean, this is a revelation, I just realized it today on my bike ride home as I was having an internal discussion with the family that sent me a text late in the day about not being sure how the evening was gong to go and they were needing to figure out the details and could they just get back to me in the morning?

“Xo”

What?

Xo my ass, you’re trying to manipulate me by being nice, keep me in limbo and, and, and, my brain was ramping up to get angry.

Wait a second.

I have to communicate my needs.

Jesus fuck, who is this person?

And can I keep her around?

So, I got back to the house after having a few more epiphanies on the ride (it’s seven miles, there’s time) and sent the mom a text saying I had to have 24 hours advance notice to have my time booked.  I was not going to be available.

I breathed in deep and let it fly into the air, carried through the wires by small electronic birds, and let go of the results.

“What if they get upset?” My brain was all curious.

“Who cares,” I replied.  They are not the last nanny gig on the block and I am assured, through faith, experience, and well, the fact that I am constantly being asked if I am available, that there will be others should they get upset about it.

The next thing I realized about being a professional, thing number two, if you will, is that I don’t have to justify my time, how I spend it and what I am working on.

I may just have some spiritual work to do.

I don’t get paid for it in dollars, but the pay off is extraordinary and I have to do it on a daily basis.

This is not to say that I don’t need the dollars, I do, but I don’t have to explain my outside commitments and the work is just as valid.

Or the work may might be writing my blog.

I had one of my room mates ask for a favor I was not comfortable with doing and I did not know how to respond.

So I did not and she came up with an alternative to her dilemma.

Not my problem to fix or solve.

But I had to have a conversation about it and I had to justify, all in my head of course, why I was not available and how I did not want to do that errand for her that late at night in West Oakland.

No thank you.

Especially after doing a 7 mile bike ride home after a full day of work.

Albeit glorious work, my little girl charge is back from vacation and it was such a love fest I am a little embarrassed by it, not really.

What I realized is that I could have just sent a text saying “let me get back to you,” or “no, I am not available.”

But I was too worried about what she would think and needing to justify myself, and wait a minute, my fucking time is important.

I do have a job to do, I have a blog to write and I have photographs to post and I have a life and it does not, tonight anyway, have extraneous time in it.

I don’t have to explain any of it.

Three!

Freedom–“willingness without action is fantasy”.

Fuck, I am finally getting it, if I don’t ask for it, it’s all in my head, ie, fantasy.

It takes some time and work and I still have loads of practice and repetition to get comfortable doing it.

But I still need to ask for what I need.

Which reminds me I have to touch base about the house sitting/cat sitting I am going to do in Cole Valley this weekend and get squared away on what I need to be paid–they can’t read my mind–and unless I tell them they will assume that it’s a vacation for me to stay in their lovely home and I will get mad at myself and eat their cookies.

Not going to do it.

My time is valuable.

I am allowed to be compensated well for it.

It only took me 40 years to figure that out.

Flattened, I Mean

June 26, 2013

Flattered.

I ran into an old friend of mine tonight down at the Women’s Building in the Mission of San Francisco, he had just gotten back from celebrating his 75th birthday.

In Paris.

He showed my his photographs and I knew where they all were taken, literally, all of them.

It was a day to be reminded of Paris, in lovely ways.

“I know you are probably not that happy about it,” a friend said to me this evening as I was preparing to head over to the 16th Street BART station, “but frankly, I am so fucking happy you are back.”

Me too, love, me too.

But I actually am happy about it, happy to be back, happy to be making some work and personal progress, happy to be just a little lighter and easier in my skin.

Also happy to be connecting and staying accountable to my life, my choices, and my actions.

“I just wanted to call and leave you a message about this upcoming weekend,” I told a friend’s voice mail, “despite my protestations to the opposite, I am going to house sit again.”

I promised to take care of myself, I promised to not isolate, and I promised to stay away from the sugar and their cupboards and from all things tempting.

I am ok with this house sitting gig, as well, as it feels really safe, it’s in Cole Valley in a gorgeous house and it happens to be the place where I do my nanny gig on Tuesdays, and it will be the spot I also get to pick up an extra gig for Monday.

I don’t have to commute anywhere, I get to just wake up and be in the spot.

This morning the commute was not bad, but getting back was a headache.

The rain pouring down was discouraging to me, the thought of showing up wet, as well as the need to leave early so that I could take extra precautions on the road–when it rains people do not drive as well, and I always have to be a defensive bicyclists.

I packed my messenger bag with my lunch and dinner, I had plans to meet up with a lady at the Dolores Park Cafe after work and knew I wouldn’t get home til late, and as it turns out, way late.

My room-mate offered me a ride to BART and I made the executive decision to leave the bike at the house, I would take the bus, or a cab.

Or the MUNI!

Totally forgot about that.

I had to leave the house faster than I was prepared for, breakfast left on the counter, half my lunch left on the counter, 1/2 a cup of coffee quickly ingested, but it was worth it to not be wet at work (although I am sure I could have tossed the wet items in the dryer) and once the BART pulled into Civic Center I realized I could take the NJudah to work.

I got there so fast I actually had 45 minutes to spare.

I went to Crepes on Cole and had an omelet and some fruit and a couple of cups of coffee, did some writing and prepared to meet the day.

The kids were great, but I am sore, yes I am.

Mostly just achy, not as flattened as normal.

Although every time I tried to do any sort of work remotely, I was unable to.  I kept checking in my e-mail and there were little things here and there to address and I could just keep on top of the babies.

Which is just how it’s going to go some time.

I was also intrigued by an e-mail I received from an organization that I had submitted some work to.  They had chosen one of my photographs to be in a gallery show in New York.

I got all excited, I clicked on the photo they had pulled from the portfolio.

Sidebar-fuck me!  I forgot to down load my photos, grrr.  It’s almost eleven pm.  I had made the decision to get my photography back up and going and said I would at least post a daily photo.  Where’s my camera, I took some shots today.

Yes!

The photograph they chose was one I was quite fond of and I was thrilled they wanted to use it.

Then something struck me as fishy, I read the fine print and sure as shit, I had to upgrade to a different platform with in the artist site to be eligible.

No thank you.

I will however use the money that I would have spent on printing off some of my photos, I would love to print off a couple of larger ones for my new in-law.

But it was nice for a moment to feel special.

What it reminded me to, was to my commitment to continue taking photographs, even if they’re just for me.

I love pictures.

I do.

So, as my friend was scrolling through his shots of Pont Neuf and Notre Dame and Hotel de Ville, the Seine, and one magic shot he got at sunset from Pont Alexandre of the Eiffel Tower, I was thrilled to see that my memories of the city were still firm in place.

“I asked about the magazine, you know,” he said to me, as the last picture floated by on his I-pad.  “Mo said it had not come out yet, and that you should be very pleased to have gotten them to publish you.”

“Really? That’s sweet,” I replied, “I was asked to read from the magazine as one of the contributors at the launch party, but well, I don’t plan on being in Paris on July 22nd, unless something crazy happens.”

“That’s when it comes out, July 22nd, I will be sent a copy,” I finished and gave him another hug, “it’s really good to see you.”

“You should know, Mo says you should be very flattered, they got 1,000s of submissions,” he said, “you should be very proud of yourself.”

I am.

Mostly for just getting through the day and not dropping any babies on their heads, but I am also flattered, I am.  It’s awesome to have a publishing credit.

Even an unpaid one.

I will take it.

A Kinder, Gentler, Carmen

June 17, 2013

I am done with the beating up of myself.

So what if I did not find a pair of jeans today?

Who the fuck cares?

I am clothed just fine.

And I have some Basement Jaxx blasting in the background and a very large cup of Chocolate Coconut tea steeping on the counter as I type.

I am a happy girl.

Plus I got to see my ladies Joan and Molly tonight.

Fuck yes.

And I have been dancing around since I got back to the house sitting.

If I got to house sit I am going to make some sunshine happen for myself.  I am not isolating, I got my ass out there today and did shit.  I have access to the car and I used it.

I also have filled the tank up and I am being a responsible egg about it.  Hyper aware of traffic and parking, thank you to my dear friend again, Stephi, for having taught me how to parallel park years and years ago in Madison, WI.

She would have been so proud of me as I tucked into a space today.

I did thank her out loud as I cut the tires and with two smooth turns of the steering wheel I had navigated right into the spot, slick and clean as a whistle.

I decided to do all the things I would not get to do if I had just my bicycle and my BART pass.

I went to the Berkeley Flea Market, the San Pablo Flea Market (which should just be called a junk yard, seriously, do people actually find stuff to take home from there?), the Resource Depot (I think that’s what it’s called), the Pallet Store, Berkeley Bowl, and Bay Street for some clothes shopping, oh shit, yes, I also went to Target.

I am a little blown out with the commerce.

I don’t have plans to do that again any time soon.

It was a lot.

I found nothing at any of the flea market or re-purposed stores.

I found very little at Target, some leggings and a cheap pair of silver hoops–got to represent.

I found almost nada at Bay Street and was happy to get out of there with my life, that is an experience I will pass on doing ever again.  I felt that it was good information to have gotten, but I don’t believe I need to down load more of it.

Bay Street is sort of like an outdoor mall.

I blew past Ikea.

I don’t like Ikea, no I do not.

The only time I have liked Ikea is when I have gone with my friend Calvin in the middle of the week when there is no one, well, for Ikea, no one, and we went to the cafeteria and got the Swedish meatball children’s meal with diet Cokes then went and “played” house in the stage set ups of the furniture.

I got into a bunk bed at one point and pulled the comforter up over my head and laid my head down on a pillow and waited to scare the shit out of Cal, but instead was mistaken for a sleeping mannequin by some shopping mom, who commented on how restful the bed was.

I had an idea today that I might find a few things for the place I am going to move into when I get back from Burning Man.

Yes, that’s right, I am already nesting.

Just the thought of having my own space to settle myself into sent me off into a tizzy of decorating in me head that I could not fall asleep right away last night despite being tired and ready for bed.  My head buzzed with ideas for the space and I thought I might find a thing or two at the flea markets.

I know I need to wait until I am actually in the space before I decorate, but it’s an old habit from years past when I would mentally re-decorate the house I grew up in, in Windsor, Wisconsin.

It never failed to put me to sleep.

I also will admit that I was trolling the internet for a new bed.

I got rid of all my stuff when I went to Paris.

I have nary a thing.

I know the stuff will all come together, not too worried about that, and I was surprised that the frames that called out my name were more affordable than I would have thought.  It’s still going to be a little investment.  I have not also bought a new mattress and box spring ever.

I mean, ever.

I believe at the ripe age of 40 that it may be time to get a nice mattress.

Sleep is important and being well rested is not something that I can shirk any longer.

I do get a head of myself though, I don’t have to think about that stuff for a while yet.

Though I did realize that two months from today I leave for playa.

That’s eight weeks!

Which of course influenced one of the few purchases clothing wise that I did make today, and what is even more funny about it is that I bought it at Berkeley Bowl, not really where you think about buying clothing.

I did not need to do a hit at Berkeley Bowl for groceries, I had a very successful trip at Rainbow earlier this weekend, I went to get supplies for Graceland–laundry detergent and a jumbo sized pack of toilet paper.

Stuff that is near impossible to get into my messenger bag and on my bike back through the hood.

I also stocked up on some extra tea and some bottled water, because I was being nice to myself and there was a sale.

Then I saw it–the sparkle scarf!

And I had to have it.

It was twelve bucks and well worth it.

I will wear it to Burning Man, I will wear it tomorrow.

It sparkles, of course I will wear it.

Today what my life looks like is nice healthy salads with organic fruit for dessert, pushing the pause button when I was overwhelmed at the stores and getting out without buying stupid shit (here’s where my head goes, oh if it doesn’t work, you can just swap it out at the clothing swap you’re going to next week.  Uh, no, if it don’t fit, don’t buy it.), and making plans to see my girl friends.

Now, pardon me, while I go hit my snack and some True Blood.


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