Posts Tagged ‘Judah’

I Had A Day Off

April 11, 2017

And it was good.

I slept in.

I did not set my alarm.

I woke up a little before 10 a.m. and had a lovely, leisurely morning, couple cups of coffee, four pages of writing long hand, some quiet to connect with the day.

I had a few ideas of what I might do, but no specific agenda.

I really wanted to be open to whatever came up.

I knew I had to go grocery shopping and I had a little bit of an urge to go and get my nails done.

Groceries were gotten.

Nails were not done.

When I got back from grocery shopping I just decided to stay put, I wanted to be in the neighborhood, I wanted to chill out.

I also.

I realized.

Wanted to go for a bicycle ride.

The weather was perfect, 61 degrees, not too breezy, nice sunshine, scattering of clouds, no fog.

I pulled out my camera, my messenger bag, a bottle of water and pumped up the tires on my bike.

It had been a while.

I rode down 46th Avenue to Sloat Avenue, then on down to Great Highway.

I crossed Great Highway and pulled into the parking area at Sloat.

I haven’t been there in over a year.

There’s not much reason for me to get down to Sloat, I can just walk to the beach access point on Judah, but it was the perfect bicycle ride destination.

I was so glad to be on my bicycle again, so happy to be in the fresh sea air, in the sunshine, to see the stretch of the coast line.

How lucky am I to get to live here?

So lucky.

After hanging out at Sloat for a while on a big rock I hopped back on my bicycle and turned down Great Highway.

I realized after biking about a half mile or so that the other side of Great Highway was still closed off for sand removal.

But.

It looked really clear and clean.

And.

There where bicycles and skateboarders and joggers just cruising down the middle of the highway.

I crossed over at Lawton and rode my bike back down to Sloat again and then turned around once more for the thrill of riding in the middle of the highway, the wrong way, on my bicycle.

I stopped and took a few pictures with my camera and just was super happy to be out, to have a day off, to not be at work, to not be thinking about school.

I promised myself I would take today and not do homework, not stress about the internship, not get myself worked up.

I wanted to be relaxed and not rushed.

And I was.

And it was divine.

I rode down Great Highway towards Lincoln Ave and then on a whim, I passed my turn at 46th and headed up to 41st.

I wanted to check out Swell, the bicycle shop on Irving at 41st.

I had an idea about seeing if maybe they had beach cruisers, you know, since I’m going to Burning Man, I wanted to look for a playa bike.

They do not have cruisers, but they had some beautiful bikes.

And.

“Carmen?” I heard my name being said out loud as I ogled a Brooks cut out saddle in Navy Blue leather.

“Hey, it’s Yuri! From Pedal Revolution? Do you remember me, I’ve got long hair now,” he said with a laugh.

No shit.

His hair was super long.

“Oh my God, Yuri!” I said and we hugged.

Yuri sold me my first bicycle in San Francisco.

And saw me go through a lot of bicycle commuting, upgrades, and challenges.

Pedal Revolution is a non-profit bicycle shop in the Mission that teaches and trains underprivileged kids how to work on bicycles.

They also sell bikes and parts.

Swell is a swankier version of that shop.

We shot the shit, caught up, showed him my whip, I talked to him about thinking that I might actually get a new bike, not that I don’t love my one speed, but it’s a one speed and working in Glen Park (yes I know, I scooter there) but that I might want to at some point invest in a road bike again.

We also talked about the Pogliaghi I used to have.

And he showed me a gorgeous Bianchi touring bike that has a three-ring shifter on it, perfect for hill climbing, that was really super reasonable.

$1500.

I am seriously considering it.

Well.

I’m putting it on the back burner, but I have been thinking that I miss my bicycle commute.

And that was a big part of getting out today,  I also wanted and needed the exercise after spending three days of sitting on my ass at school.

Anyway.

It was nice to be recognized and to talk bicycles and get a little geeked out about a possible new ride.

I love my whip, but the knees get older and I am not as up to doing the hills on it that I used to.

The flats, no problem, but hills are hurt and I don’t want my knees to hurt.

I was also thinking that it would be nice to do rides again over the bridge.

I do miss those long rides to Marin when I was training for the Aids LifeCycle ride.

After my chat at Swell I rode home and signed up for a yoga class.

I had some time to kill before the class so I walked over to Trouble and treated myself to a cafe au lait and some neighborhood people watching.

I haven’t done that in a while either.

45 minutes of sitting in the sunshine and watching the world go by.

Then off to yoga.

A great class.

And when I got home I had a message on my phone about joining some friends for dinner in the Haight to celebrate an anniversary.

I said yes, I didn’t even shower, I jumped out of my yoga clothes, into my bib overalls, and hopped on my scooter.

Dinner and hang out with friends at the Citrus Club in the Haight with one of my all time favorite bowls of hot and sour soup that the city has.

Making this a fantastic day off.

Really.

So good.

Grateful beyond words for my sweet, full, happy life.

Seriously.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

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Swim Suits

April 3, 2017

And sun hats.

I pretty much lived in those two things all day.

And my sundress.

And some flip-flops.

Pretty nice weather.

Beach weather.

Building sand castle weather.

Wading in the waves with bright yellow plastic buckets to scoop cold salty water for building more sand castles.

I worked today and it did feel a little strange, but I rolled with it, to have my family come out to me.

The mom wanted a day at the beach and was super kind to suggest that we just meet in my neighborhood instead of having me commute in and then we could all head to Ocean Beach together.

Again my start today was later than the noon start we had talked about.

And that was fine.

I got some more homework done.

I couldn’t go to yoga.

I tried.

I signed up online.

I set my alarm.

But.

When it went off there was just no way, I was exhausted.

Exhausted.

I gave myself another hour of sleep on my alarm and rolled back over, I was out, there was no brain activity, no rumbling early morning ruminating, I was dead to the world.

Even an hour later I could have slept more.

I figured I was just tired from the long week, even though my days weren’t full days this weekend, it’s still work on the weekend and not much rest for the wicked.

Not that I’ve been wicked.

Maybe a tiny bit naughty.

In my thoughts, people, not in my actions.

I wouldn’t mind being a little naughty in my actions it just wasn’t on the menu today.

Fortunately I had enough time this morning to wake up slow, to enjoy my breakfast, to have a big creamy unsweetened vanilla almond milk latte and take some time to write my morning pages and sort out my day.

I did some homework, some grocery shopping, and a little food organization and prep before the family got to me.

We met at my house and I suggested where they could park, down on La Playa and Judah, and I walked down to Java Beach Cafe to meet with them and help them carry all the goodies to the beach.

It was very sweet to be with them.

We had a picnic in the dunes.

We dug holes, collected shells and sticks, and dashed in and out of the water.

I was super grateful for the straw fedora I had grabbed at Other Avenues when I had grabbed some groceries earlier in the day.

And the sunblock.

It was a sunblock kind of day at the beach.

It isn’t often that the weather at the beach cooperates.

There was a moment when a bit of fog and mist rolled in, but it didn’t stick and it was really a nice day for being at the beach, sunny, but not too hot.

I was with the family until about 5 p.m.

Then I came back here, roasted a chicken, made some soup, and decided I needed to get right with God.

Hopped on my scooter and took a ride up to Quintara and 20th and got some recovery on.

Back home, hot tea, my fedora hung up in the closet, grateful for the day and the service and yes, grateful that tomorrow is Monday, I made it through the work weekend.

My schedule will go back to its regular hours tomorrow and I’m good with that, I want to get back into my routine before school gets going next weekend.

Four days of work, three days of school.

Then two days off.

I’m going to hang out with a friend on Monday and I have a therapy session on Tuesday, but other than that, nothing.

I’ll get to yoga, make up for this weekend.

I just couldn’t do it, my body was really sore from yesterday’s class and I have a stress injury in my left shoulder that flared up, I’m going to not beat myself up for not getting in today, the fact that I went and did the deal is enough.

Fuck.

The fact that I worked is enough.

I did enough today.

The days are a bit of a blur, I will admit that, they keep rolling along into each other.

The sunrise.

The sunset.

The routine of my days measured out in cups of tea, words scrawled into notebooks with black ink pens, the shift of my heart as I hear the birds sing in the morning and the spill of golden sunlight through the back door of my studio.

I felt like I was moving through honey soften time this afternoon when I got back.

Just to sit outside, shaded up under my fedora, the sun freckling through the straw brim when I tilted my head back, still in sun warmed air, ravens perched on chimney tops, silhouetted against the bluer than blue California sky, my feet up on the wrought iron chair, to be still, I got my break, I got my refresh and though I worked today I was able to have a measure of quiet in my own skin time too.

I need these breaks.

I need to sit still and watch the sky.

To feel the big heavy imprint of azure press itself into my heart, to be glossed in sun, it is glorious beyond my reckoning.

I’ll change out of my swim suit and sundress soon.

My fedora has been hung up for another day.

But.

I may give myself a few more moments in my garb to appreciate the beautiful place that I live, Outer Sunset, Ocean Beach, San Francisco, California.

My home sweet home.

Luckiest girl in the world.

So.

Damn.

Lucky.

I Saw Your Car

September 6, 2016

In the parking lot at the 7-Eleven on the corner.

It sounds like the start to a really bad country western song, doesn’t it?

I kept right on right on, moving on.

I did stop.

I did pause.

I did have a wave of something come over me.

I suspect that you were thinking of me, I had you sudden and random in my head as I switched out my glasses and put on the frames you liked to see me in before leaving my house this evening to walk up and do the deal at the place up the road.

I am tan and my hair is in braids.

Like you like.

Like that.

I conjured you to the parking lot, heir to Slurpees and candy bars, to hot dogs on a rolling tray, glistening under the heat lamps, oily and delicious, the crisp coated chicken wings, baking under another set of lights, waiting to be scooped up into thin white paper bags, that spot with grease upon contact.

God only knows the years people have lost consuming such junk.

Devious in it’s siren song.

Though not so delicious as the memory of the first time we kissed.

And then.

I realized.

What the fuck am I doing standing on this sidewalk?

Do I really need to replay that mess?

No.

I have had these odd moments.

Moments when I feel like I’m being given a chance to go back and repeat old behaviors.

Or.

Move forward.

I fished in my purse for my phone, as though I suddenly had some momentous phone call coming in and I had to answer it.

Why was I there, on the sidewalk, stopped in my tracks?

Skin a glow.

Warm.

Soft, skirt billowing about my knees.

Then.

I put the phone resolutely back in my bag, there was no incoming message, there was no sign from God.

Although, there was.

There it was.

Make the decision.

Stay and talk and get wrapped up in a man who is not available for me to get wrapped up in, fantasize about a nothingness that is there, scuttling like a Kit Kat wrapper discarded in the parking lot.

Or.

Jump the other direction.

I was reminded that I was not to chase.

Not to pursue.

To know what I want.

And to sit and wait for that.

That the desire to chase was going to come up and I could let it pass through me and let it go out the other way, run down to the beach, sink into the sand, softly paddle down to the waves lapping at the moon.

And disappear underneath that yellow buttercream frosted moon, a dusted crescent sugar cookie, a soft bitten kind of love sailing over the black velvet waves.

Buh bye.

Bye, my baby, good bye.

I walked up the sidewalk.

I thought about all ways that I took care of myself today.

From sleeping in, to washing my bed sheets and making a fresh bed.

The good food I cooked for myself.

The writing I did.

The quiet time I took.

The phone calls I made and the conversations I had.

The gift I gave myself of not leaving the neighborhood, not seeking to have an agenda, to do something, to make something happen.

No need.

There was no need.

No.

The need was to go slow.

To languish in the sun.

Languid, liquid, warm, soft, sluiced with the sunshine.

It was not foggy today.

It’s Indian Summer in San Francisco.

And thank God.

It finally came.

Granted I spent much of “Fogust” out of town, but the few days that I was here in August, it was surprisingly grey and foggy and cold.

To come back, to be out of the first weekend of my second year of grad school and to have a day where it was sunny, warm, and without fog, was a huge gift.

One that my brain was eager to sabotage by running around and “getting stuff done.”

I have no real idea what this stuff was that needed to get done.

I went grocery shopping yesterday and I really didn’t need to do anything.

I was directed to get my “mind of me” and to go outside, go to coffee, go walk on the beach, get out of myself.

So.

I did.

I took a few phones calls in the back yard, checked in with my people, then walked up to Trouble Coffee And Coconut Club and had a very hot, very wet, very expensive latte.

I sat out in the front parklet and watched the ocean from the wooden top beam of the fenced in space.

I let the sun splash down on me.

I tasted the espresso and milk and let it envelop me.

I went to The General Store and actually found a dress I just adored and even though it was much more expensive than I wanted to spend, I liked it too much to not get it.

I spent the majority of my clothing allowance on it and smiled with sweet happiness that I allowed myself the gift of getting it.

I’ll wear it tomorrow.

I thought about relationships and myself and friendships and remembered the admonishment to spend time with either myself or with girlfriends.

Guy friends I can get too wrapped up in and the fantasy of maybe they’re the guy I should be dating gets in the way of it.

I remembered what my friend said, let it happen, sit still, allow the work to take and don’t push it.

I walked down to the ocean and walked along the beach.

I watched dogs jump in and out of the surf.

I watched surfers drift in and out of the waves.

The sun shone.

The sand stuck to my toes and then washed off as the water lapped over my feet, surprising, cold, crisp, alerting my whole body to how alive I am.

I found a large drift wood log and sat.

I watched a game of frisbee.

I checked some messages and saw a man I had dated a few months back commented on something I posted on social media, I texted him, answered the question, but did not pursue it further.  I didn’t ask, hey, what are you doing?  Want to hang out?

That’s the hard part.

The not pursuing.

Yet.

As I sit with myself, leaning more and more into the strength there.

I know that I am worthy of love.

Of pursuit.

And I’m not too concerned about it.

The feelings come and go.

But I don’t have to treat them as though they are real or permanent.

Just a fleeting kiss of ghosted memory.

And gone.

Like my footsteps past the parking lot.

The neon glow of the sign behind me casting a shadow ahead of me.

Glimmers come shining off the dance floor that I chose to exit from.

Asphalt sparkles in the night.

And the caress of wood smoke hovering in the saline air.

Love.

Love.

Here.

There.

Everywhere.

God, in the details.

The swish of my skirt around my ankles.

The curl of hair, tucked behind my ear.

And.

The soothing whisper.

Soon.

Here.

At the still point of this Universe.

Love.

Will find me.

On the corner of 46th and Judah.

A whimpering croon, oh baby girl.

Just.

Come.

And.

Hold my hand.

And together.

We will walk.

Towards that unknown land.

Love.

Just there, over the dunes.

Under the cusp of the moon.

I am here.

I await.

Still.

And.

Strong.

For.

You.

The Art Of Being

April 13, 2015

Still.

Staying put.

Not going anywhere.

Well, maybe for a walk on the beach.

But not with a blind date, I cancelled the date.

Just me.

The sea.

My white dress blowing in the wind, my red-painted toenails awash in the tide flowing up onto the beach.

“You look like an angel,” she said, giving me a hug.

I ran into a lady from the Outer Mission who had done the long, hour-long, probably longer, commute via MUNI to come out to the beach today.

I recognized her from a way off, standing facing out to the sea, the sunlight playing over the planes of her proud face.

Beautiful.

We chatted for a moment, then she went her way and I went mine, walking further down the beach toward Sloat.

I reflected on the day, the weekend, the dating over the weekend and the decision to delete my OkCupid account.

“You’re gorgeous! I’m sure you’re going to be drowning in dates, you’re totally going to be taken care of!”  She exclaimed in my little kitchenette as I was plying her with experiences I have had recently over the past few months of online dating and the like, while she was sharing some inventory.

“It’s not about being gorgeous,” he said, “it’s not about that, you and I know that, that’s an ego feeding proposition and it does nothing for you.”

“I agree,” I replied.

It’s, cliché, but it’s what’s inside that counts.

I realize that I get a distorted idea of who a person is online, just as I assume, they do of me.

I want to be seen.

“Oh you’re noticed,” my ex-boyfriend said, “I feel like I need to constantly mark my territory.”

Interesting.

Not that I notice.

I only seem to notice when it’s not appropriate to what I want.

Which is also telling.

“It’s about acceptance,” my friend said as the date from yesterday disappeared down Judah toward the Starbucks on the corner.

“You know you can always reach out to me,” she continued, “now that I am retired, I really like seeing women in the fellowship and talking recovery, you know I’m on Facebook, just reach out.”

We hugged and I got on the N-Judah.

Sometimes I tend toward creating drama when there is no need for drama.

I don’t need to be dating.

“Oh, I get it,” he said today on the phone as I was walking up the dune at the end of Judah and Great Highway, “you want to be coupled up.”

“Yes,” I said, sheepish, embarrassed, “but,” I added, “I don’t need to be, I get that, I’m not looking for something to complete me or someone to fix me, or…”  I drifted off, the view of the ocean taking my breath once again.

“I know you understand that, it’s natural, we’re experience junkies, being in a relationship, being a couple, is an experience and you want to have as many experiences as possible in your life time.”

He paused as I caught my breath, I almost started to cry with relief, “every relationship is God’s, every one of them, what ever one you are in, friend, sister, daughter, employee, it’s God’s.”

Of course.

I know this.

Yet I needed to be reminded.

And.

Good gravy man.

It was a comfort to hear that it’s natural to want to be in a relationship with a lover, to be a couple, to be dating someone, committed to a person.

I have this idea, which I realized only while talking to my person, that I have shame around this desire.

That I somehow don’t deserve this very basic human experience.

Well.

Damn it.

Let’s change that right now.

What action can I take?

Let me fucking do it.

Oh.

Wait.

Pause.

Breathe.

Be still.

Know that there is a God.

And I am not it and be quiet.

Let the moment seep into your skin.

Let the smell of the ocean wash over you and carry your salty tears off onto the wind.

Turn your face to the sun like a flower, float down the beach like an angel, gorgeous in forgiveness.

For therein lies the true beauty.

Forgive myself.

Grieve and let go.

That of course, is the hardest thing for me, the letting go, the soft, yielding surrender.

I don’t have to be forced to it.

I don’t have to be beaten into it.

I can accept, kind and gracious the gift of not being ashamed of my life, my experiences, my heart, the way it beats when a Jim Croce song comes on the stereo and I am transported to a soft summer night rife with the smell of chicken on the grill, the barbecue searing the air with smoke and charcoal, the smell of cut grass, being a little girl in a sundress and running around the yard.

Or I can struggle some more.

I choose not to struggle.

The yielding to the better life, the actual goodness that I know and have in my life is so abundant and prosperous with love and sunshine and oh, god, glory.

I live a glorious life.

I do not need to create drama.

I do not have to do anything.

I can be still.

Thus I sat when I got back from the Ocean Beach walk.

I meditated.

I sat in the sun in the Adirondack chair in the back yard.

Then I ate some dinner on the back porch sitting at my housemates wrought iron table and chairs, curled up basking in the sunshine falling from the sky and lighting every crooked passage of my heart.

Sear out the shame in sunshine.

It’s ok to be human, child, girl, woman, this is how you get to live.

Not how you have to live.

But get.

This graced gift, my life.

Listen to some music that fills your heart, sit in some sunshine, sip some spicy ginger tea, read a book, watch the raven’s fly over the back yard, delete the things in your life that don’t work and surrender to the breath that draws your beating heart forward into the golden land of the sunset.

Or

At least the Outer Sunset.

Connection

March 23, 2015

That is what I crave.

I was thinking about that today as I walked along the beach.

I had just gotten off the phone with my little sister.

She may be 40, but she’s still my little sister.

I had been thinking about her and I realized, you know, why not give a call?

We had a half hour conversation and without me even realizing it I had walked from the Judah entrance on Ocean Beach to Sloat.

It was a nice walk back.

One in which I ran into a couple other people I knew.

We exchanged hugs and pleasantries, then parted.

Father and daughter walking the beach at low tide.

Before I had even made it down to the beach I ran into a fellow walking up Judah to Trouble.  He and his friend had just been down at the beach as well.

“Neighbor!” He smiled and we hugged.

It’s nice to be known.

It’s nice to be seen.

And with these thoughts in my mind I signed out of OKCupid tonight.

I have not eradicated my profile, but I am offline with it for a while.

“I realized,” I said to her while explaining my experience, strength, and hope, hopefully, “that I long for someone to travel with, to have adventures with, to go to Burning Man with.”

Which for me, means traveling, having adventures, and going to Burning Man.

I love to travel and I love adventures and I am down for camping in the heat and dust, as long as there’s loads of love and light and art, please, oh pretty please, give me some art.

I want to live as full and rich a life as possible.

And though a good part of that life is documented here, not all of it is and when I find myself not connecting on OkCupid, or Tinder, or Hinge, when the emoticon becomes the template for my communication with another human being, it’s time to scale back.

I don’t care for texting.

It’s emotional shorthand.

It’s cave man communication.

And it’s too easy to read all sorts of things into it.

I want to actually talk on the phone, I know that’s even becoming outmoded in the land of looking at our phone screens.

Sometimes I wonder if folks are going to actually stop using their phones and just text and facetime and spout emoji’s on one another.

I need contact.

I need touch.

I need to hear the emotions in a person’s voice.

I am not saying I am lonely.

Far from it.

I am fabulous company.

I spent my afternoon after doing the deal with a lady at the kitchen table, cooking homemade chili, and hanging in the back yard, watching the ravens swoop and the cats lazy, prowl the roof tops for the warmest patch of sun.

I looked at the yellow flowers in the weeds and marveled at the wild geranium, soft lilac with splotches of deep red and violet on its petals, careen toward the sun.

I closed my eyes and turned my face toward the sun as well.

Don’t worry I had my 45 sunblock slathered on.

I, like a cat, love the warmth of the sun though.

I drank sparkling water and ate large kale salads.

I read a Vanity Fair.

I read my book.

I made some phone calls and left some messages.

I thought about connection and how I want to connect with the world.

I thought about dating and realized that the action is to not pursue.

Rather to be pursued.

I like being courted.

I need to let that happen.

I reflected on the best parts of my time with my ex boyfriend and realized that it was all before we had sex.

The feeling of holding hands, sitting next to one another, the building up of emotions.

That I want to have more of.

I am not saying sex is off the table.

I am saying, though, that when I am at my absolute rock bottom honest, I want more and that more has to do with emotional intimacy.

I’m not trying to figure anything out.

I’m not sick of dating.

I am, however, sick of trying to figure it out.

Thus.

I say I stop.

I signed out of OkCupid and I don’t know when or if I will sign back in.

I want to be signed into my life.

“I’m really glad you’re getting your knees checked out,” my dear friend told me yesterday as we wandered around Alcatraz.

Holding hands, at that!

I think about some of the nicest hand holding and it’s been with her and my best friend back in Wisconsin.

Whom I am contemplating going to see and when that might fit into my busy life.

Christmas?

I know, it’s March.

But after having just sent my employers my official time off requests for going to Chula Vista to see my grandmother, then the time for my graduate school retreat, and the week of Burning Man, I realized I may not have time to do any other travel until late fall/winter.

And I’m not even including when I go to Atlanta in July–I don’t have to ask off for that time, it’s 4th of July weekend, so I’m off already.

My friend continued, holding my hand as the crowds pushed ahead of us, “you should do couples dancing, I think you would have fun and meet people.”

That sounds nice.

Meeting people in person.

Engaging face to face.

Human being to human being.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned and I should really re-think staying on all the sites and things and doings.

But.

Despite wanting All The Things.

I don’t believe that I will find them there.

I am more than a sound bite.

Hell, I am more than this blog.

How could I expect anyone to get a grasp of me via a text or a tweet or a post?

I want to get to know you.

Face to face.

Not facebook to facebook.

I know you’re out there.

I am ready when you are.

Let’s go explore this great big amazing world together.

Hand in hand.

 

The Rock

March 22, 2015

Not the wrestler.

The island.

Alcatraz

The view from Alcatraz

I went out to Alcatraz today with my dear friend whose birthday celebration happens to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the penitentiary closing.

The last inmates were shipped off 65 years ago and they shut the prison down.

Thank God.

I cannot think of a worst place to be, and I am sure there are worse, but to be stuck on a rock in the middle of the bay and see the beguiling San Francisco just across the way is a kind of torture I just don’t think I could bear.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be back in San Francisco soon,” my friend patted my arm as we waited for the ferry, the line was long, so many of us, though not many of us from San Francisco itself, were waiting that I did have a moment of panic.

I laughed out loud.

I am that obvious.

Take me out of the city and I am itching to get right back to it.

Although my friend and I agree, I seemed to have out grown the Mission, and though I don’t look my age, 42 (and thank you Uber driver for the flabbergasted look on your face when I told you my age), I do feel it quite often, and I am a grown up living in a grown up place.

The Outer Sunset.

Oh.

There’s some kids out here, surfers and guys and gals, and some hipsters and the like, but it does seem a community less focused on the hip, slick, cool, and of the moment.

I am not a tech girl, but as I realized, again on the Uber drive to the Ferry Building (when the bus rolled over the hill on Judah I remembered that there was construction on the Sunset Tunnel between Duboce Park and Cole Valley and I was about to embark on a journey that would put me way behind schedule, I called for a lift), just from living in San Francisco I am often a head of the curve with tech and its uses.

I’m still not savvy enough to use my google map or to know how to delete apps of my phone.

Thank God a friend noticed me struggling with my Iphone and showed me how to get Tinder off it.

Complete and total side bar.

I got rid of Tinder, Hinge, and OkCupid on my phone.

I kept OkCupid online though.

A girl has got to have a few balls in the air.

Or a cute tour guide to flirt with.

Dude.

The cute guy at Alcatraz knew my girl friend and I were there for the @Large exhibit by Ai Weiwei.

“Anyone from San Francisco,” he hollered as we joined a small group clustered below the penitentiary sign.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

 

My girlfriend and I nodded.

“Here for the art exhibit?” He asked.

We nodded our heads, it was pretty obvious, yes, we’re locals and yes we came out to see the art, not so much the cell blocks–we were the only folks in the group to acknowledge we were there for the art.

Though it was pretty impressive to see the prison.

And spooky at times.

Especially when the fog started to roll in.

Fog

Alcatraz

The guide gave us directions and we went to the exhibit.

It was truly amazing.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Wei Wei–Blossom

The light was one of the things that would have saved me if I was an inmate at Alcatraz, little else.

The artist, Ai Weiwei, though confined to China, seemed cognizant of the light, spectral, haunting, smashed by the sea and melting through the wired panes of windows.

It was dreamy and dangerous and affecting.

The first piece was a large floating Chinese dragon kite.

Dragon

Dragon

It was astounding and wound through a large holding cell space.

Dragon Body

Dragon Scales

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon head

Color and light

Then the portraits of various activists and artists laid out on the floor with Lego’s.

Legos

Edward Snowden in Lego’s

Lego Art

Lego Activists

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, I do encourage you to take the trip out.

I don’t know that I would have gone out otherwise and I am glad to say that I did.

The art was exquisite and the juxtaposition of it in the prison was superb.

Haunting.

Depressing.

There was a room, “Hydro Therapy” that gave me the goosebumps.

It was like someone had stepped on my grave.

Bathtub

Hydro Therapy Room Alcatraz Psych Ward

I had a flash of an inmate disrobing and being hosed off with high pressure water, the light refracted around the enamel bathtub and I took the shot and shivered.

I had no desire to walk through the cell blocks are take a photograph in one of the tiny cells.

Although, I laughed and acknowledge that a few of the cells were actually larger than my studio.

The light better too.

But I would not trade what I have for a prison cell.

Even if the square footage was impressive.

I counted a lot of my blessings today talking with my dear friend as we traversed the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building (a bit over priced–$7.00 for two Aztec Fuji apples, albeit delicious and gigantic) and picked up lunch and snacks for the afternoon adventure.

I had divine boxed salmon sushi from Delica and two of the most amazing rolls I have ever had that I bought ala carte, sushi rice with rare roast beef (sushi doesn’t have to be fish, fyi, “sushi” means food on rice, it is often vegetables and fish though, the beef was exquisite and I couldn’t even bring myself to share it with my friend, who thankfully had brought her own lovely lunch) draped over the top of it topped with fresh wasabi.

Oh my goodness.

I get to live in San Francisco being very near the top of that list.

I get to go out on ferry boats and travel the bay and see amazing national park areas, Alcatraz is part of  The Golden Gate National Park System, I mean, basically right in my back yard there are all these incredible parks and land marks.

Plus.

You know, the Burning Man community started here, Bakers Beach, baby, and all that Burning Man is to me.

My friend and I discussed that a lot today as well.

I have started my list of the stuffs that need to be gathered.

Another reason to love the event, it brings out the inherent hunter/gatherer in me.

And of course, there was much talk of the graduate school program and just how far I have come in a short time.

I mean.

Really, it was not quite two years ago, I was coming home from Paris and when I got to Berlin to change in my Euro (the only money to my name) I got back $10 American.

I came from that to where I am now.

I work my ass off.

I took a moment or two to bask in my glory, to reflect on my gratitude for this city, for my dear, darling friend, and when we saw our photograph taken by the tour guide on the trip,  we didn’t have any problem shelling out the $30 bucks for two copies of it.

I’m lucky.

Or graced.

Or lucky.

I got to open up the cell door of my own imposed prison and walk out of it.

Free.

Clear.

And moving forward.

Becoming even more myself and more in love with my city by the bay.

It was with much gratitude and love that I stepped off the gangplank of the ferry and hopped the F-Market back downtown.

It was truly an experience to see the city from Alcatraz.

But I prefer to see Alcatraz from the city.

My home sweet home.

San Francisco.

While I’m Blogging

March 19, 2015

There’s an egg cooling off in a pan on the stove.

The new late night snack for me.

Protein.

Delicious.

Although I will miss my little apple and yogurt duo, it’s time to try something new.

It helped that I had it one last time last night and it was like saying goodbye to an old lover that just wasn’t treating me right any longer.

And I was checked out when I ate it.

So tonight I committed to try something different.

It will be what it will be.

I promise I won’t blog this entire post about a hard-boiled egg either, though it will be lovely, warm, creamy yolk, Judy’s Jumbo organic brown egg, with a sprinkle of pepper and sea salt.

Every time I eat a properly, for me boiled egg, I am always reminded of that movie about the woman who blogs all the Julia Child recipes after having made them and then eaten the results.

She, the character, grouses about eating a poached egg and then when she finally does eat it, all the richness and complexity of it, if it’s done right, a poached egg is heavenly, almost cheesy in its flavor and texture and really delicious.

A soft-boiled egg is the same for me.

And I should be able to eat it and not check out and it should be enough to tide me over until the morning breakfast comes.

I had lots of nice food today too, it was a busy day with the boys and the parents have friends visiting in town, so take out was ordered.

I had the burrito bowl from Papalote for dinner.

A burrito bowl, for those of you not in the know, is a burrito sans skin, meaning, no wrap.

“Will you get sick if you eat bread,” my five-year old charge asked me on the way back from the park, “can you touch it?”

“Of course I can touch it, I made you a sandwich yesterday with bread, I just can’t eat it, it makes me feel bad,” I said.

Which is far closer to the truth than most people can comprehend.

I am not a celiac, I am not gluten intolerant, I have an allergy to processed sugar and flour.

I break out into more.

And I want to eat it all.

It is no fun and I don’t like hiding pastry in my bag, so I don’t do it.

And I have a solution around it and active recovery.

Enough said.

Was it not a lovely sunset tonight?

It was glorious.

On Wednesdays I get done with work and instead of doing the deal in the Mission or the Castro, I rock my bike home and hang out in the Outer Sunset.

“You live out here?” He asked me as the lights came up in the candle light room.

“Yup, about a year and a half now,” I said, “right down the street, 46th and Judah.”

“Man, I want to live out here, it’s great,” he said, “I’m jealous.”

It’s not bad.

It’s pretty fucking good, who the hell am I kidding.

I love the ocean being so close and the sunset on my bike ride home through the park, then cresting down Lincoln Ave from Chain of Lakes, the air was bedazzled with burnt umber and gold and glowing with the sun floating into the sea.

I was blown away and smiled as I drifted down the last few blocks to the home front.

The only drawback is that I am riding my bicycle directly into the sun and it’s hard to see.

I don’t like riding without my glasses though and I don’t have prescription sunglasses.  Which I am starting to think I better get.

Especially for Burning Man this year.

I’m going to have to prepare myself for a lot more time outside.

A lot.

This means extra sunblock and some sunglasses.

Last year I went to the eye doctor and found out that my eyes have developed an astigmatism and I can’t wear contacts.

Which would have been perfect for the playa, but nope.

In the past few years, especially the last two, I have not done a lot of out and about during the day, I ended up being in the trailer of the family I worked for.  The little guy was super heat sensitive, so we spent a lot of time in the a/c.

I don’t foresee a/c in my next Burning Man adventure.

Although, who knows what’s going to happen.

I still don’t.

“You were a nanny at Burning Man?” The visiting mom and dad said with incredulity.  “Really?  Did you have any fun, did you have any time off to go and play?”

“No.” I said pretty succinctly.

“Oh tell them your playa name,” the mom I work for said, “it’s just awesome.”

I laughed.

“Mary F’ing Poppins,” I smiled.  “One of the mom’s I used to work for said I was like Mary Fucking Poppins with tattoos, and thus, my playa name was born.”

“Wow, I had no idea people do that,” the mom said, poking at the dad, maybe we could go…..”

I smiled and left the room to attend to the monkeys at the table, two visiting girls and my two guys.

And my burrito bowl.

I am going to be having a bit more of a conversation about Burning Man with the family come this Friday.

I realized that Friday is our six months anniversary working together and we should have done a performance evaluation at 90 days, which never happened.

Suffice to say I know that the family loves me and I love working for them and it’s a great fit, but I did think to myself it would be good to touch base about moving forward, especially since I know what my graduate school dates are for the retreat and the first weekend of classes.

And since I want to go to that thing in the desert where they burn the man, dude.

Both the mom and dad said we don’t have any criticism of what you’re doing, when I brought it up today, we don’t need to do an evaluation.

That was nice to hear.

But I made it clear that it was also about defining our goals moving forward and what they want from me and I from them and starting the communication process now instead of waiting until a month before the event and saying, uh, yeah, and I want to go to Burning Man too.

Mostly it’s because I want to take my vacation time separate from when the family does theirs.

Meaning I want to be paid for my time off.

And that may take some navigating, but I know that I can.

I feel really lucky right now.

Graced might be a better word for it.

I have a good job.

I have a good home.

I have a good life.

I am going to graduate school.

I am going to Atlanta.

I am going to San Diego.

I think I will be putting “I’m going to Burning Man,” onto that list soon.

And now.

It’s time for my egg.

I almost didn’t write my entire blog about my snack.

Almost.

Heh.

Perfection

April 14, 2014

You are not my friend.

“I just realized, I mean, truly, deeply, madly, how insane my need for perfection is,” I said to my friend on the phone today.

I mean I am off my rocker with needing it.

It could just be that I am über aware of it.

I see it’s roots so deep in my psyche and I wonder will I ever extract it.

“Gratitude, you get be grateful about this, and laugh, have fun with it,” she said to me yesterday as I was letting it go and surrendering again.

Surrendering this old, old as the hills, old as the age spots on the back of a bent old man pate, old as the sun, old as the rain, old, old, old, idea that I am unlovable unless I am perfect.

And in the pursuit of that perfection I isolate myself, not the perfect body, not the perfect job, not the perfect outfit, certainly, not the perfect hair, no matter how many different filters I use on Instagram, it’s still just hair, it could use a trim too, and I will continue to be on my own until I let myself get vulnerable enough to not be perfect.

To let go my pride, my vanity, which is ultimately some warped kind of self-loathing, that too, does not serve me.

Whew.

Where did all this come from?

I am not a great scooter rider yet.

Bwahahahahaha.

That’s my brain.

I can’t get it down, I am not smooth off the start,  I am still awkward with the brake, I had to re-start it twice, I had to let people pass me at intersections, I am just so not good enough, why did I ever bother?

Oh.

Good fucking times.

Ha.

I had gone out and practiced today, and it’s a practice, let me remind myself.

Practice, not perfection.

A slow, gradual, sustainable learning.

I don’t need to be whipping across town on my scooter, yet.

I can take it slow.

I have options.

There wasn’t even anywhere for me to go.

I had an idea I might, might try to head over to Stonestown.

I wanted to see how close the YMCA was to me and I am interested in getting a membership there.

They have a pool.

I like to swim.

I made it to Kirkham and knew that I was not going to go to Stonestown.

I live between Irving and Judah.

If you’re not familiar with this part of San Francisco, the streets run alphabetical.

So, ugh, yeah, not even a couple of blocks and that goal shattered.

However, I did get it into gear and I did ride and though I did kill it, I also was out on my longest solo ride to date.

And remember, I have only taken out the scooter, including today, five times.

I was out on my own for an hour.

I did swing back by the house and grab a quick snack and throw a Japanese sweet potato in the oven to roast for lunch while I was out making the neighborhood rounds.

I rode up Lincoln to 41st, turned left, rode past Chain of Lakes in the Golden Gate Park, so pretty, so pretty, so pretty, and then wound my way through to the other side, the Richmond side of the park, then dropped down and rode to La Playa and down and back a few more times.

I went around my block a bunch, up the hills a bit on Irving, down to the beach and just around and about.

I got pretty good at the shifting between second and third and a few times dropped into fourth as well.

But, like when I was learning as a kid, the lowest gear, 1st, is my nemesis.

And not an evil bad nemesis, but a kind I don’t quiet understand yet.

That’s all.

I wasn’t sure if I was not letting out the clutch well, or if it was sticky, a couple of times it seemed that I was struggling turning the clutch to 1st gear.

I am actually going to ask my friend to come out and do another ride with me this week.

And I found out I won’t be working this Friday again, so I am going to practice that day as well.

“Before you know it, you will be zooming around town and it will be old hat, and you’ll be a natural,” my friend gave me a little pep talk as I down loaded my experience as well as my insight around my crazy pursuit of perfection.

Which, thankfully, is not so bad that I didn’t go for it, ie, didn’t try to learn how, didn’t bother to get my motorcycle license or try to learn something new because, unless I can do it perfect, why try at all?

This attitude used to stop me.

I wouldn’t even get out the gate.

The old idea is still there, but I can see it.

I am aware of it.

I have to accept it.

Ah, acceptance, there you are again.

Because it’s not about self-improvement, it’s about self-acceptance.

And allowing myself to fail at stuff, get up, try again.

Roll the scooter through the intersection, pull it up on the kickstand and kick-start it again, wait for the old lady to cross the street, roll the throttle, squeeze, slowly let out the clutch, let off the foot brake and scooter on.

I spent an hour practicing.

Then I took a walk to, well, walk it off.

Walk off the attitude, the adrenalin, and to laugh at myself a little.

I came home, had a great lunch, then made some homemade soup.

This weeks flavor?

Split pea soup with brown rice and organic chicken, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, celery, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, Spike, and onion.

It is sooo tasty.

I had some for dinner when I got back from my later afternoon adventures, which included a successful trip to buy a few new things for my wardrobe and going to see a friend who was celebrating a big anniversary in the Mission.

I rode my bike there.

But I can see riding my Vespa there soon.

With a little more practice and a lot less perfection than I might want.

But with the perfect spice.

Humility.

With a dash of acceptance.

And a big pinch of self-love.

Recipe for a successful day, month, year.

Hell, probably my whole life.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

April 7, 2014

Well, maybe not perfect.

But a whole lot better.

I took my Vespa out for her first solo ride.

Sans friends.

Just me and a scooter.

ME

Me

Scooter

And A Scooter

I am just a little excited in this photo, if you can’t tell.

Nervous too.

I was.

Unmindful?

A little bit.

I got so excited about my virgin voyage on my own that I forgot to lock up the house.

Oops.

I did all the checks that my friend told me to do, I made sure that the handle bars weren’t locked.

I put it in neutral and double checked that it was in neutral before I kickstarted it.

She was a little cold and did not want to start-up right away, so I pulled out the choke and then vroom!

It was on.

I walked around the scooter, stepped through, and rolled her down of the kickstand.

Then I just sat for a moment with my foot on the brake and let the breath come to me.

I wasn’t going to go far.

I figured I would just go up 46th from my house to Sloat and back.

Which is exactly what I did.

As I eased off the clutch I gave it a little too much throttle and it did a quick jump out.

But then I steadied myself, laughed a little, and tried again.

This time much better.

I rolled up to the stop sign at Judah.

I let everybody go, I mean everybody, just waved folks through, waited for the pedestrians, swiveled my head around to make sure no one was behind me, prayed, smiled, grinned, and breathed, eased off the clutch, rolled the throttle and I was off.

I got it to second gear.

I felt what my friend meant when he said that it would give a “ka-thunk” when it was in gear and I would know it.  Also that when I was putting it into gear to roll of the throttle and not give it gas and smoothly release the clutch.

Within four blocks I had it in third and was cruising right along.

I know enough about the neighborhood to know that despite it being quiet and residential, folks still do all sorts of wonky maneuvering to find parking and I kept my eyes out to watch for this and also intersections where cars are rolling through the stop not paying too much attention.

I gave myself plenty of space.

I grinned a lot.

I thought, I got this.

Then I killed it at a stop sign.

I tried to start it while straddling it and could not quite get the gumption to give it the strong kick it needed.

So, I settled into neutral, stepped out and pulled her up onto the kickstand.

“Need help?” A taxi driver leaned out the window of a Yellow Cab.

“Nope,” I said, “thanks!  Just practicing.”

I smiled.

He smiled.

The world smiled.

Or that’s what it felt like.

The cab moved off, I came around, kicked it started right off the bat and stepped back through, pulled it up off the stand and proceeded forward.

I got to Rivera and decided to not tackle going all the way to Sloat.

The street was right there, but so too is the MUNI turn around for the Taraval train and I did not want to navigate over and around the MUNI tracks.

I turned right and slipped down to 47th then headed back toward the house.

At Noriega I turned right and then left back onto 46th ave and headed to my house.

I felt really good and decided I would keep riding for a little bit.

I turned on Irving and headed up toward 43rd, then around the block, back to Judah, and back home.

The neighbors across the way hollered out to me as I got off the Vespa, “lookin’ good!”

I might have blushed.

There’s a bunch of guys and gals in their twenties across the way with surf boards galore and motorcycles and stuff and it felt kind of nice to be cheered on.

I secured the Vespa, locked the handlebars, locked my helmet on the seat, tucked my gloves into the little fender box built into the rear hub and went inside to celebrate.

Which looked like pulling up the e-mail from the insurance agent that a fellow scooter rider suggested and filling out the rest of the paperwork to get my insurance all in a row.

Then I wrote a check for this month’s scooter payment, a week early, but hey, that’s how I like to roll, and walked it to the mail box and dropped it in.

The day was gorgeous and I was drawn to the back yard.

But not before I made a coffee date with an old friend I haven’t seen in over a decade.

He is going to come out next Friday on his cycle and we’re going to meet at Trouble and have coffee and catch up and then go for a ride.

I told him I have only been out for three rides and he told me he could still kick my ass.

We used to study Shaolin together.

I am not sure how relevant it was to the conversation, but it made me laugh and I am looking forward to more practice on the Vespa and catching up with a friend from back home, Madison, Wisconsin.

He gave me props for still having my 608 area code too.

After our conversation I retired to the back yard, sat in the sun and read for a while, made some lunch, sat outside some more, took a nap, yes, I did, then yes, sat outside a little more, finished my book and had an early dinner.

Then off to Church and Market for an early evening commitment.

I rode my bicycle.

I am not ready to scoot that far.

Yet.

But I will be.

Soon.

Just a little more practice.

And it’s on.

 

Slow and Easy

September 16, 2013

Sunday in the Sunset.

I could, um, I hesitate to admit this, but, yeah, I could get used to this.

It is almost too mellow for my tastes.

I like to be all get up and go and do and run and jump and bike and move out the way bitch.

But today, with nothing on my plate, nothing, I just showed up and discovered more of my new neighborhood.

I did the typical morning routine, with the exception of getting back into bed for 15 more minutes, why, because why not?  It’s Sunday and the day was a slow start, with a long, lovely burn.

Breakfast, some coffee, some writing, some meditating, and then, a walk.

Right along the Great Highway, right next to the sea.

I watched surfers catch waves, smelled the great salt breeze and shambled slowly from Judah to Quintara.  I had put a Japanese sweet potato in the oven and given myself an hour and a half to walk as far and as leisurely as I wanted.

I figured I would be back to the house by 1:15/1:30 p.m. and I would have my lunch on the back patio, a nice little routine I am enjoying the hell out of.

I called my mom and caught up with her.

I did my best to just look out at the sea and the sky and not think about work, or lack of or what I was going to do with the rest of the day.

Lunch, as I expected, was done when I returned, all stretched out and warm from my walk, and ready for a little mid-afternoon nibble.

Which I took in the back yard nestled into an Adirondack wood chair dressed in faded white paint.

I love how washed out and beachy everything looks.

I like how many people I saw barefoot.

Surfers in wet suits walking with their boards down the sidewalk.

Nothing but their boards, the wet suit, and sunblock on their faces.

It was a gorgeous day out, no fog, all sun.

My phone kept telling me it was chillier than it felt and I wonder how accurate the weather rumours I hear about the Sunset are true.

Then again, I believe, September and October are the prettiest months in San Francisco.  The Indian Summer days are blushed warm and exuberant and sunny.

Don’t tell the tourists.

I love these next few months in the city.

It usually dies off by Halloween, it’s almost like a switch is thrown, but I shall see what will come out here.  I do predict I will be here awhile.

After my lunch I got on the bike and headed up LIncoln toward 9th Avenue.

I wandered around the neighborhood a little, running into a random friend who as it turns out, was at Burning Man and we never saw each other.

Even though I was in her camp on at least four occasions.

Too funny to run into her at a restaurant sitting outside in the sun in the Inner Sunset.

After my tiny nibble of exploration I hopped back on the bicycle and rode a few more minutes to the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park.

I had gotten turned onto to them yesterday and out of curiosity,  I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

It was fuss worthy.

The vast scope of plants and the flowers, the geese in the Great Meadow, the purple Japanese Higo Iris I saw by a small pond, all painted such a beautiful picture I was remiss to think that in all the years I have been in San Francisco, I never explored this part of the park.

I had an inkling it was there, but I never went into it.

I will be going again soon.

In fact, I believe there are all sorts of places out here I will be discovering.

In a slow and leisurely manner.

That seems to be the pace of things out here.

Slowed down.

Except right at Sunset.

Then I saw people actually running toward the beach to catch the last rays of the sun before it dipped into the ocean.

“Tonight the sun goes down at 7:17 p.m.” my friend told me as she pattered about the kitchen putting away dishes and folding laundry, getting things ready for the start of a new week.

“You are more than welcome to join us” she continued, “movie night, dinner, hanging out, the door’s open.”  She concluded and put away another stack of folded kitchen towels.

But the words, the sun sets at, kept ringing in the ears.

I wound my way back downstairs to my spot and had a quick bite of dinner, then I grabbed a bottle of sparkling water from the fridge and my camera and headed out the door just a few minutes after 7 o’clock.

I watched a door pop open and a girl in bare feet and bikini bottoms and a white tank top, fleet as a golden hart in the woods, ran laughing ahead of her boyfriend who was slow running after in his black worn down Converse and low slung jeans behind her toward the beach.

They dashed over the Great Highway and climbed the dunes to see the view.

The tops of the dunes were daubed with people faces turned out toward the horizon waiting for the last dip of sunshine before ending their days, packing their blankets, and heading back home.

The girl shivered as the sun bent low and her boyfriend wrapped his arms around her and they both faced out.

I dropped my flip-flops in sand and shuffled up the side of another dune, stopping to catch a photograph of the grass topped dunes to my right.

Dunes and grass

Dunes and grass

Then I turned toward the red line on the horizon.

The sunset was not as spectacular as I had hoped, yet, it filled me with a kind of warm wonder as the crimson cream color spread along the edge of the ocean separating the water from the gray cloud bank overhead.

Horizon

Horizon

I stayed for a few more minutes, but it appeared that was all the fireworks that were to happen this sunset.

I suspect I may catch a few more before my time here is done.

I suspect my time here is going to be a long one.

I can feel myself getting rooted in the sand like the grass on top of the dunes.

I walked to the beach twice today, rode my bicycle through the park, went to the Botanical Gardens in Gold Gate Park and ate my meals under the blue sky with the sharp tang of the sea to whet my appetite.

I may get used to this slowing down a lot faster than I think.

I might just become a beach bum.

Sooner rather than later.

 


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