Posts Tagged ‘Mission Bicycle Company’

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.

 

You Needed A New

January 27, 2016

Cog.

Huh.

I never would have guessed that.

And in my own perverse little way.

I am a little proud of that.

I have ridden my bicycle so often and for so long that I basically had worn down the teeth of the rear cog and that was why my chain was slipping and my crank wasn’t turning.

Brava!

I mean.

I have had the bicycle for three and a half years.

But the last two years, living in the Outer Sunset, bicycle commuting to the Mission five days a week, putting in over thirteen miles a day, usually 14, sometimes 15, why, of course I had worn out my cog.

Damn Gina.

The shop also fixed the flat and actually replaced the tube for free considering that there was no evidence on my tire that I had punctured it, fault lay with the shop and they took care of it promptly.

It was nice to have my wheels back under me.

Especially after the shared Uber ride into work.

My God.

I don’t mind the sharing the resource, I don’t mind going out of my way a little bit to get from here to there–I like to think of it as taking the scenic route.

However.

I am scent sensitive.

No shut up.

I’m not being a fucking pussy about this.

There are two smells that really make me feel like I am going to vomit and I got both of them today.

The first was from an middle age woman with a bad bed head do and an obvious hangover.

The smell of alcohol was not so bad, yeah, I gagged a bit from it when she turned and asked if she could recline the front seat, um, ok?

But it was the smell of cigarettes.

Deep, dirty, skin yellow, brown in the wrinkles of the fingers, nicotine stained.

It was like driving with a sack of formaldehyde.

She reclined her seat, put in ear buds, popped on her sunglasses and fell asleep in the front seat.

The second passenger, though much more dapper and clean, was not a bouquet or roses either.

Nope.

He was a big smelly sack of raw onions.

I mean.

Fuck.

It was like he’d just eaten a raw onion sandwich and then shoved a few shallots under his arm pits.

I was like.

Dude.

The window went down and I got some fresh air, but it was a tasty ride.

So different to be on my bicycle, in the dark night, whistling through the Pan Handle, the rich smell of just turned dirt and the bark of eucalyptus trees.

The smell of evergreens in Golden Gate Park.

And the spot, the one spot, close to the De Young Museum, where Fenugreek must grow–the delicious smell of maple syrup always wafts out at me from the bushes, I invariably think about bacon, the skillet breakfast at a O’Malley’s in Waunakee where the family would go every once in a while for a Sunday breakfast, and waffles.

I could ride back and forth that little bridge a 100 times just to get to smell that again.

But I am too concerned with getting home, the whisk of my pedals beating the air and the sound of the waterfall splashing over Storybrook Crossing keeps me company.

A few critters, who though did not smell as bad as my companions from this afternoons ride, nonetheless, were not to be messed with.

A big rambling raccoon, that startled me in the grass as I turned onto Chain of Lakes and my front light hit his masked face.

And the dog, wait, what the hell, that dog is going to get schmucked crossing Lincoln, I should stop and scoop it up and.

Oh no.

That’s not a dog.

That’s a skunk.

I whipped past and watched the little critter scurry into the underbrush.

Lots of critters out and about.

I thought, as I rode, about how long I’ve been riding my bicycle, riding bicycles in general, in San Francisco.

I have bicycle commuted from the Mission to jobs in the Mission.

I remember, with much fondness the five minute commute I had for a year and a half when I worked at Mission Bicycle Company on Valencia and 18th.

I lived at Folsom and 23rd.

It was such a sweet commute.

I have commuted from the Bayview to the Mission–Palou and Third to 18th and Alabama.

I have commuted from Nob Hill to China Basin and Noe Valley.

I have commuted from Nob Hill to the Mission.

You may see a pattern here.

I do a lot of work in the Mission.

I have commuted from the Outer Sunset to Cole Valley, NOPA, and the Castro.

But the commute I have now, is the longest.

I also, briefly, for a few months when I was in transition and staying out in East Oakland (EAST not West, thank you very much) commuted from 51st and International to North Berkeley.

Yeah.

Like that.

I had some interesting rides.

The prominent scent was not Fenugreek however.

Although it did have a sweet, sickly smell to it, it was not a natural smell.

Nothing says good times like rolling through the valley of crack and prostitution on your way to nanny.

I have ridden a bike up to Twin Peaks.

I have ridden more than one century–that’s a 100 miles–though not for a while now.

I have ridden through parts of the Bay View that I don’t even think people now exist.

I have seen things.

I have been seen as well.

I whistled at a pedestrian about to walk into the street against the light as I was crossing Divisadero on Fell Street.

“Whoa!” He said, “thanks!”

Then, without much thought, he said rather loudly, “holy shit! You’re beautiful!”

Thanks man.

That’s always nice to hear.

Can’t say my ego minds.

Most of the time, though, it’s just me and the bicycle and my thoughts, which fortunately are usually not too loud, I’m in my body when I am on my bicycle, even when the knees hurt and the hips are a little tight and my bag was heavy with stuff tonight, I am in my body and alive.

It really is a gift.

I love my bicycle.

I really do.

Magic Monday

November 24, 2015

Mondays are not usually magic.

I certainly did not feel magical getting out of bed this morning.

Sleep in another half hour, hell another hour, my brain whispered to me.

I had awoken a few minutes before my alarm went off and when I reached for my phone to see what time it was I winced.

The alarm was going to go off in ten minutes.

I was hoping I still had hours to go before I had to get up–the gloomy, fogging morning, foiled me into thinking it was far earlier than it was.

Ten minutes.

I want to sleep for ten more hours.

However, I swung my legs out and flipped back the covers and got up and got going.

Laundry, bed making, kneeling, praying, staying connected to my primary purpose, doing the deal, saying the words, asking for direction and to be of service.

Breakfast, clothes on, laundry getting folded and put away, coffee, morning pages, scooter securing–I parked it the garage last night, my housemate was away and I just felt like having it in the garage and not have to hassle with locking it up last night, but I had to have it back outside this morning.

Then the hair and makeup.

In case you ever need some cheering up on a Monday, stick some flowers in your head and be the sunshine that you need to carry you through the day.

Works for me anyhow.

Then the reading.

A full hour before I left for work.

Hopped on my bicycle.

And then magic started happening.

Really, when I acknowledge it, the magic happened when I got up the hour earlier than I wanted to to do the reading for school, but that’s not the kind of magic that’s sexy to write about, that’s only magic to me.

However.

I had the unicorn bicycle commute.

I have only had it one other time in the history of riding my bicycle to this job.

The unicorn looks like this–no full stops, not foot off my pedals, always in motion.

I didn’t do a full stop the entire way, I never put down a foot, it was smooth sailing all the way from start to finish.

46th and Judah to 20th and Lexington.

In 34 minutes.

That’s 6.5 miles in traffic, lights, stop signs, intersections, cars, bicycles, pedestrians, garbage trucks, police horses, nannies out pushing double strollers, Uber drivers, cabs, buses, and me.

I had the pricking in my thumbs early on in the ride that it was happening.

I can’t say when, but it was about when I coasted through the double stop traffic light at 18th and 19th.  Normally I catch one or the other, it’s pretty inevitable, but I coasted right through.

I had the feeling way before that though and thought I was nuts to think it and I should not at that early stage of the ride, must have been around 33rd or 34th and Lincoln that I felt it happening.

And.

It did.

I really am astounded at how it happened.

I got to work with so much time that I did a full set of stretches and I took some sexy bike porn pix of my whip and posted them up to Instagram.

My girl’s still got it.

Then I bounced into work.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

Ready for Monday.

I checked in with the mom about the boys and the holiday week school schedule–they’re out for the holiday at noon tomorrow, plus the grandparents are visiting–and asked what I could do to help out and be of service.

And.

Did they get my spring semester school schedule?

They had requested my school dates as soon as I had them and I sent them off last night before I could forget.

Yes.

The mom said, we got them and we wanted to extend your contract out from January through the end of May, we’ll need to check in at that point, as our summer plans are up in the air, but we also wanted to let you know we’re giving you a raise on January first.

A raise!

What?!

$1.50 more an hour.

I was floored.

It was a totally unexpected conversation and such a gift to be acknowledged.

So grateful.

I also conferred with the dad that I would help out extra on December 4th–the mom’s birthday, and I would work a night shift for them as well so they could go out for a birthday dinner.

I happily said yes.

I don’t mind working the extra hours, a few extra dollars for France.

A few more Euro in the pot.

Which I can use.

Since.

Heh.

I’m buying tickets to the ballet.

!

My friend from my cohort texted me this afternoon at work and asked if I would be interested in either going to an opera or the ballet at the Garnier Opera House.

It houses the Opera National de Paris and the ballet.

I shall be seeing La Bayadere, the last ballet by Rudolf Nureyev.

I am over the moon.

And I’m going to be broke, because I said, fuck it, you only live once and when I chatted with my friend about booking the tickets she said you want the decent ones or the really good seats?

I said give me the good ones.

So depending on what she books I’ll be reimbursing her around 300 Euro, or whatever that translates to in American dollars.

But fuck it.

I don’t care.

I’m going to the ballet.

In Paris.

At the opera house.

At Christmas.

I will be there with people I adore.

And.

“And you will get to dress up like a princess!” My darling Parisian friend texted me back.

Oh my God.

What the hell am I going to wear.

As though.

Oh my God.

I need me a dress for the ballet.

Actually.

I have a dress.

I have a really pretty black dress that I ordered on ModCloth a while ago coming.  I had to return it for a different size, but it should be here in time for the trip.

I may need new heels if I choose that one.

Or.

I will wear the holiday dress I bought last year for my ex’s holiday party.

Who relayed to me tonight in a text that he was sorry he had not said good bye to me, he needed to bounce out.

“Seeing you was kind of weird.”

Then.

“The only discomfort I felt was still being attracted to you.”

“You looked great.”

Why thank you sir.

That was nice to hear, after the fact.

It had been a little awkward to see him.

But.

We said hello.

We hugged.

I hadn’t expected to see him tonight, but there he was and it was good.

No drama.

No fuss.

That tiny bit of awkwardness and then, gone.

Magic Monday indeed.

What a way to start the week.

I wonder what is going to happen next.

I don’t doubt that it will be spectacular.

I still have a pricking in my thumbs.

And tickets to the ballet.

In Paris.

 

The Man Burns In 60 Days!

July 8, 2015

Shut up.

Oh my fucking god.

I got the Jack Rabbit Speaks in my e-mail today and just about threw up in my mouth when I read that.

I mean, it caused a visceral gut reaction that I was just not prepared for.

Despite actually being pretty well prepared.

I have a cache of goodies that I have been stockpiling over the last two months including the top contenders: sunblock, baby wipes, bottled sparkling water, lotion of various sorts, my favorite coconut hand salve for gifting hand massage–that’s right, I gift massage, come check it out, I’ll be camped in the boonies, but I guarantee it’s worth the bike ride for a visit.

I also have tea, natural soda, green vitamin mix for making sure I have enough greens in the mix, greens are too hard to keep out there, especially the way I will be working and traveling this year.

This will be my first year in many, many, many, where I am doing all my own food.

I actually haven’t had to think about food or food prep since my first year.

I am not bummed out by this at all.

I will likely eat better than what I have experienced at the commissary for the last few years, not that the commissary is bad food, it’s just that with my diet being what it is, I miss out on a lot of the food options that the commissary provided and I had to be really careful about what I was putting on my plate.

What ended up happening a lot was mostly salad bar.

I don’t have to do that since I’ll be bringing my own food.

I have a few things, and if worst comes to worst, I’ll rely on apples, nuts, and oatmeal.

I can get it dialed in real simple.

But, I’ll make some tasty things happen and I’m not too worried about it.

I mean, it will come together.

There’s just a lot of small logistical stuff that I have to attend to.

I need a cooler too.

I have one tagged in Amazon that I will probably get for myself, but if anyone out there has a spare, I may hit you up for it.

I always feel bad though, asking for supplies, unless said person has been to Burning Man with their things, the unsuspecting regular camper is not going to be to up on the dusty condition of whatever I borrow coming back.

Ah!

The Burning Man Gods have heard me!

I’m square.

Tent, air mattress, blow up cot, and a cooler.

I reached out to my people that I am camping with, and nanny’ing a few shifts for out on playa and got the thumbs way up on being able to dial in the things I need.

Hells yes.

It is such a help that I am camping with long time, hard-core, have done the deal, know what to do and have the equipment type folks.

Sigh.

That’s a huge relief.

Ok.

Now.

That leaves some bicycle prep, which is not too bad–my bike is still in pretty good condition after last year, I do need a new pennant, but I can get that off Amazon for like $2.50 and some more bicycle lights, and zip ties, I need to zip tie my basket to my handle bars, it’s not really a bicycle basket, but it has done the trick so well over the last three burns, I’m just going to continue to use it.

I have hella socks.

I have plenty of tights and stuff and my make up kit is actually above par at the moment.

I’m looking at really just making sure I have foods supplies.

There it is.

I just got excited.

Whoot!

I’m going to Burning Man!

I have been so busy with the traveling, Atlanta, LA, the week working in Sonoma–and then the stuff with graduate school, the scholarships, the syllabus, the week-long retreat that is coming up–before I go to Burning Man, a possible road trip with a friend, which I am thinking may be off the table, but I will know more about that tomorrow.

This summer is indeed a full and busy summer, pretty much as I suspected, rolling right along, gathering speed and herding me into a completely new chapter of my life.

Graduate school.

“Just get ready to hunker down and tell people you’ll see them in a few years,” she said to me on the phone as I relayed some fears I have about the things and the stuff and getting the reading, I keep telling myself it’s just not going to be as bad as I think (in fact, I plan on bringing all my reading with me to Sonoma when I go the next time the family vacations there), I’ll always have something on me person to read and I probably won’t be watching any videos or down loads for a while.

Good thing I finished Orange is the New Black last night.

Damn that was a good season.

Oh.

And I need a god damn parasol.

I fucking left the umbrella I bought in Atlanta on the plane.

Grr.

Never even opened the darn thing.

Oh well.

It’s all coming together and I don’t have to fret.

I work hard and continue to gather the things one small thing at a time.

There really is no other way when I’m commuting via bicycle all the time.

Today, for instance, I bought some electrolytes that will fit my food plan.

One more small thing taken care of.

And now that my bicycle is working like it should again, oh my god I needed a tune up so bad (new chain, paraffin dipped so I don’t have to think about keeping it lubed up for a year, new bar tape, new brake pads and the cable tightened up, everything tightened, tuned, and clean, she looked so pretty when I picked her up, like new, I’m not kidding you–thank you Dan at Mission Bicycle Company!), not even funny, I’ll be on the preparation tip.

I’ve been also freezing some stuff–fruit, ice, and yes, mwhahahaha, cold brewed coffee that is either Four Barrel, Stumptown, or Ritual, I’m going to have some nice ass iced coffee on playa, you can believe that.

The next few weeks are going to be busy, but I’m in it and I can feel that it is all coming together and instead of wanting to throw up.

Well.

I’m hella excited.

And I now want to buy some sparkly tights.

I mean.

Really.

I can always use an extra pair of tights.

I am a sparkle pony after all.

I have to live up to my name.

Heh.

When I Put It Out There

June 4, 2015

I get results.

I wasn’t expecting results.

To be honest, I was being a little flippant with my blog last night.

But.

Ha.

What do you know.

I got asked out on a date.

A friend of a friend on Facebook.

Which is not my first Facebook date, I’ve been asked out one other time, and hooked up via messenger with another guy for a few months a few years ago.

But I will say it was my first time being asked out by someone who can’t figure out how he knows me.

I figured it out fairly quick and as of yet, have not said anything about the probably correlation.

I’ll wait until we meet up for coffee on Sunday and see if I’m correct.

And it was also pretty cute how he did it and he did read the blog and it was the first post of mine he ever had read, never followed me before, so that was surreptitious.

I got a few interesting suggestions from the blog as well and despite being a little loathe to go there, I have had Match.com recommended to me enough times that I believe I will also give it a whirl.

I did, about a week ago, start a profile, but I got annoyed with the questions and hopped off it before really completing anything.

Perhaps it is now time to go back and finish.

What I realized last night, after I was blogging and I was messaging back and forth with Mister Facebook, is that I either want to go on a date a week, like I have tried before, or I take myself out on a date.

That way I am getting out and enjoying San Francisco, and it’s environs, and not feeling like I’m just living to work.

Despite loving my job and the boys so very much.

Today we had a little adventure at the Eco Center on 17th between Valencia and Hoff.  We visited the painted turtles and said hello to the Crested Gecko and played with recycled instruments and made noise and had a little parade and when we went to leave the woman at the desk asked the boys if they wanted to hold the gecko.

Oh my god.

Such cuteness.

“THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!” My five-year old charge said as he stroked the soft tummy of the little yellow gecko.

Nanny for the win.

My job is something I am super grateful for, but so too is my life, and I do want to make sure I am having fun.

I am focused on enjoying this time before graduate school wreaks havoc with my schedule and my time.

I still can’t quite imagine how it’s all going to go, but I don’t need to figure it out right now.

Right now is about staying in the moment.

Living, playing, dating.

Riding my bicycle.

Then walking it.

I blew out my rear tire on the Pan Handle.

I had just crossed Masonic and all the sudden it went.

I started walking and trying to figure out what to do.

Too far from the Mission to turn around and go back to Mission Bicycle and have taken care of.

Too far from home to walk there and change it myself.

Close to 7p.m.

Is there anything open?

I started running a mental map through my head and immediately came up with American Cyclery, fingers crossed they would still be open.

If not I was going to hop on to the 71 Noriega and get it home that way.

But they were open and the piece of glass that the mechanic pulled out was epic.

In fact, I realized as I watched him pull it out with a needle nose pliers, that I probably ran over that piece of glass yesterday riding.

My wheel felt funny last night coming home.

I inflated my tires this morning and I think what happened was when I bumped up over the curb crossing Masonic that the pressure from the wheel finally hit the tube and the glass popped it–I have Gatorskins on my bicycle, nothing is 100% puncture proof, but they are damn close–normally rolling through glass is not a hazard.

But this piece was huge.

Grateful to have it taken care of.

And still make it back to the hood in time to sit down and work on my spending plan for June and add up my expenses from May.

Pretty much right on track.

Even without having yet received my federal income tax return.

I await it eagerly.

I have had visions of many things in my head to spend it on.

I’m leaning towards a new mattress really hard.

Like a nice one.

Who knows if this dating thing works out I may well want a nicer bed.

Ahem.

I am not going to go there as fast as I did with the last guy.

Take it slow is going to be the method to stave off the madness.

I’m going to go on dates and meet more than one guy and when that doesn’t happen, I’ll take myself on dates and make sure that I meet someone new or talk to someone.

I can explore my neighborhood some more.

Find new coffee shops to hang out in.

Hike around the Sutro baths, which I have never actually done and they’re pretty damn close to where I live.

That could be a nice little bicycle jaunt for me, especially now that the tire is fixed.

The guy I’m meeting with on Sunday is a bicyclist too.

“How have we not met?” He questioned me after I shared some of the things I like to do for fun, many of them a pretty close match to his own lifestyle.

And yes.

I did the Facebook lurk and checked out all the photos, he’s attractive.

“Your hot” [sic]

One of the last texts I received before heading off to be last night.

Even if the date bombs that was nice to hear, as well as the fun of chatting with a new person.

I think I’m ready for this dating thing again.

Who’s next?

Cozy

April 6, 2015

You know you’re a San Franciscan when you buy your fourth hoodie and it feels  like a necessary purchase.

Well and its stupid cute.

And cozy.

Oh my god, the coziness right now is off the hook.

I may never take it off.

I may get naked and do censorship worthy things in it.

Just me and my new hoodie.

It’s like I’m on a non stop date with myself today.

All wrapped out in my own person.

It helped that I had a really lovely and engaging morning, with yes, myself.

I had a lady cancel on me and an extra hour to spare before my second gal of the day made her way over to my place for tea, conversation, reading, experience, strength, hope, etc.

I decided to make a quick run to the grocery store, in my malaise yesterday I did not get all the things that I wanted.  Sometimes, though I am loath to admit it, grocery shopping is too much for me, too much information, too much interaction, too many choices (or not enough of what I really need and I have to hunt and peck) and I just need to get out.  That happened yesterday, so I thought, after doing my writing this morning, I’ll spend that extra unexpected hour doing some extra errands.

However, the weather, that fickle thing, had its say and I had no desire to hop on my bicycle to ride down to the SafeWay in the rain.

Nope.

New sponges can just wait until next week.

Yeah, I know, exciting.

I was going to go off and buy some sponges, a few other things too, mainly, looking back at the decision, it was to get out of my house so that I would not be in my head.

I love having my little Sundays by the sea, but sometimes, if I don’t catch myself, I can get maudlin about being alone.

Not lonely, I am great company.

Fabulous really.

But I can get a little sad in my pants and I really wasn’t feeling like being sad.

I wrote an extra long list of all the things that I am grateful for in my morning pages and felt like today, no matter what was happening, was a great day, a day of prospect, of treasure, of new adventure.

Perhaps those weren’t my exact thoughts as the day was unwinding, but the undertow of it was there, stated or not, I felt adventurous in my being, even if it just meant adventuring in my own neighborhood.

When I opened the garage door and stepped out with my trusty steed to find it raining, I gamely parked her back in her spot, went inside, grabbed a cloth sack (my favorite one from my favorite book store in Paris, which is not Shakespeare and Company, should you be wondering, but Le Merle Moqueur in the 20th arrondissement) for my groceries, and my umbrella and headed up towards Other Avenues.

I decided to walk about the hood instead of directly go to the co-op for my organic oatmeal and soy based kona coffee candle (shaddup you dirty hippy) and walked a little further up Judah to discover that Aqua was open and I poked my head inside.

I’m not sure how long the outpost has been open, I had heard about them losing their spot on Sloat and wondered where they would be going and as it turns out, just a couple blocks from me.

I was not there to buy anything, just to look.

But.

It was raining and cool and my light wind breaker was too light.

This is what I tell myself, this is how I justify, but really, it was just too cute and cozy to pass up.

I tried on a cream hoodie with a big fuzzy sherpa hood and fell in love.

Oh my the deliciousness of this hoodie.

I have three others.

A black one from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition that they gave me for selling the most memberships when I worked at Mission Bicycle Company.

A grey one that I found, lucky for me, it really saved my ass a few times when it was cold, on my way to Paris in the airport.

I scooped it up and kept it.

I wasn’t sure why I didn’t turn it into lost and found, maybe because it was an Old Navy sweatshirt and not worth that much, or maybe because I was boarding and didn’t have time, but I took it.  I suppose I owe someone an amends, now that I think about it, but I still have that sweatshirt and I still wear it.

Then there’s the black one that is all sleek and sexy and trim and I love, it hugs every curve, but it’s not actually all that warm, it’s great to pair with my jean jacket though.

This new hoodie, dear darling thing, though,  feels like my ‘officially a local’ Outer Sunset sweatshirt.

I live here, I’m supporting a local business, it’s a surf shop, and it was needed, I really did need a cozy walk about the neighborhood hoodie.

I may never take it off.

Oh.

I suppose I won’t sleep in it.

Sleeping is naked time and will always be naked time.

No pjs for me.

But in between the waking hours, I shall be lounging in said article of clothing until it falls off my back.

Yes.

I did just write my entire blog about my hoodie.

What should I have done instead?

Written about the hour-long conversation I had with a guy I met on OkCupid.

I suppose.

But then, a girl likes to keep somethings to herself.

I’ll keep you posted however.

We have a date for next Saturday.

Picnic in the park.

It’s been years since someone has asked me to go on a picnic in the park.

Suffice to say I’m excited.

And we talked for an hour on the phone, we could have talked longer, smart man, cut the conversation off before it got out of hand.

Discretion is the better part of valor.

Or so they say.

At least I know what I’ll be wearing.

My new hoodie.

Please.

You think I’m going on a date in the Inner Sunset without one?

You obviously don’t live in San Francisco.

But that’s ok.

I do.

I’m officially a local.

Going Back In

May 27, 2013

Moving forward-looking backward.

This is what I don’t want to be doing.

I need to turn around and face forward, walk towards.

Towards San Francisco, let’s be honest.

See, every time I say, ok I am here in the East Bay, all I have to do is a little commute and every thing is cool, man, then I get on the BART train.

It’s not horrible, sometimes.

Then it is, like today, heading into the fray, literally, I had forgotten it was Carnival, I was on a car that was more crowded than a normal Sunday, and stinky, and loud, and I soon discovered why.

And I got to get off at 16th and Mission, which was a cluster fuck of crazy.

After having ridden too long on a car that stank of weed and beer and a long weekend.

I thought, I would live just about anywhere in San Francisco happy and without a care if I don’t have to do this commuting in and out so much any more.

When I am at Graceland, in the compound, I joke, but you catch my drift, I am happy, warm, cozy, on an island of loveliness.

The sun scatters down through the high palm trees and the cats run amok, inside and outside and the flowers bloom, the fig tree is pushing out gigantic globes of luxuriousness to be harvested later this season, the bed is comfortable, the bathtub, the claw foot mind you, is alluring, the sun smoothed out from the red and blue and yellow blocks of church stain glass windows spreading rainbows on the wood floors, beckons me to nap on the bench in the back room.

Then, I get on my bike and pedal out into the world and shall I say, my perspective is altered.  I cannot live on an island forever, I must foray out into the world.

What sucks, again, just a matter of perspective, but a hassle to deal with, is that I did no grocery shopping tonight.

I could not get out of the Mission in time to bust a move on Rainbow and once I was off the train in Fruitvale I just wanted to get back to the house.

Especially since I had the stank of vomit in my nose.

Some knuckle head from Hayward with an A’s cap askew on his tow head spewed chunks all over the last car.

Thank you jeebus that we had come up from under the Bay.

The entire car off loaded to move onto another train.

I could not believe how much vomit this kid had in his system.

Like, dude how many super burritos did you eat at El Farolito today?

Sad.

Such a waste.

I scrambled onto another car and was able to enjoy the rest of the ride and I had a fun conversation with a kid who had a beat up fixed gear who had all sorts of questions about my bicycle.

We bantered, flirted a little, not too seriously, albeit a bright, attractive, young man, his eyes were so red I could have gotten high if I stared at them too long, and I rode the rest of the way to the station chatting about riding fixed gear.

I am a little more comfortable on my bike then I was yesterday.

Reminded me of when I started riding bicycles in the first place.

I had moved out to Bay View and lived off Third Street at Palou.

The T-line had just gone in and the commute to work in the Mission was just too long.  I decided I was going to get a bicycle.  I could bring it in to my job and have a way to and from work that did not include the slow, still working out the kinks, new train line.

I walked into Pedal Revolution and told them I did not want “hip, slick, and cool, just something comfy I can get from point A to point B.”

They sold me a hybrid.

Which makes perfect sense, I would have done the same to me too.

Man, how far I have come.

I am still grateful for that bike though, it taught me that I am teachable.  It brought me too and from the Bay View and helped me haul groceries all over the city until I gave it up and switched to a one speed Pogliaghi steel frame an old lover left with me when he moved out of the city.

My room-mate at 23rd and Capp Street said, “you do not deserve this bike.”

He grunted, flipped it over, spun the back crank and shook his head.

Then he apologized, “sorry, I know that’s not very nice of me to say that, but it’s sort of like someone gave you a vintage Porsche and you asked, ‘what’s a Porsche?'”.

“This is that kind of good,” he shook his head again and, “enjoy the riding.”

Oh.

Man.

Did.

I.

Ever.

That bike was like when I realized I was not having orgasms when I was having sex.

I used to think, what is all the fuss about?

Then I found out.

That Pogliaghi was like that.

I felt like I was flying on silken wings, I had never ridden steel before, I had never ridden a one speed before, it was like someone handed me a Hitachi Magic Wand and said, “have fun kid.”

I smiled for days.

I could not wait to get on that bike.

Then I got hit by a car that turned right on 16th from Valencia without using a turn signal and bye-bye bike.

“You might be able to salvage it,” Clancy at Pedal Rev said, shaking his head sadly, “but, the frame is bent and it’s not safe, it could break at any point, you are going to take a huge risk anytime you sit in the saddle.”

I sighed.

“Take it, have it, I donate it to the shop, strip what you can use, and thanks for being honest with me,” I said.

“No.  Are you sure?”  Clancy pushed back his messenger hat and rubbed a hand through his red hair, “it’s still a really beautiful bike.”

“Yeah, but I can’t ride it, it’s yours.”  I walked out, borrowed a bike, walked, took the bus, and got around.  I managed until I got the Felt 35 road bike that I used for the Aidslifecycle, which I eventually sold to my co-worker at Mission Bicycle after I designed my current whip.

“How much did you pay,” he asked me admiring the rims.

“I did not pay retail, I used to work at the shop, I don’t even know what price to put on it, I was a kid in a candy store, I got to pick whatever I wanted, I mean, I have glitter paint, and an Italian saddle, hard to price that,” I said, but leaned in and whispered under my breath what I paid at cost.

“Holy shit, lucky you.” He smiled.

Then I was at Fruitvale and, disembarking, getting ready to ride down the three-day weekend busy streets with side shows happening here, and hookers hanging here, and crack a lack a lack happening there.

“I might have a room,” he said on the message.

“It’s in the Bayview.”

I live in East Oakland, that’s a step up.

I’m down.

When can I move in?

I already know how to get to Rainbow from your house.

We Need to Sit Down

September 14, 2012

I was told this by a co-worker today.

We need to sit down and compile all the information in your brain.

Ah, ok.

Y’all planning on paying me for that?

Or are you all planning on suddenly becoming workaholic perfectionists?

As that is just about how I work.

I explained to Thomas last night, I go in, I am in a dither, I don’t know what I am doing, then I slowly (in my brain) figure it out, then I get better and better and better at the job.

Then, I do more.

And more.

And more.

Then I am suddenly doing the job of three people instead of one.

I am not sure how to not do this.  In an attempt to wean myself away from the constant mode of production, today, I slacked off.

Oh, I totally did everything that needed to be done.

Everything.

Including a few things that some of my co-workers had not gotten around to take care of.  I did all my own work, and then some.  And then I had down time.

I Facecracked.

I texted.

I made an appointment to get my hair colored next week.  I had hoped to sneak it in before I go to the Florida blue hair convention next week, but no go.  Calvin got back to me and said, hey we’ll just add in a little more blue and you’ll be set and it won’t be as expensive as last time.

Not that it was horribly expensive, I am still on a fairly steep friends and family discount.

However, I am not going to stay with it blue.  It was fun playing Katy Perry for a hot second, but the blue fades out and as the hair underneath was bleached it fades to green.

Not so sexy.

At least not in my mind.

I am going blonde.

Not platinum blonde or bleach blonde or Madonna blonde.

Although that is tempting.

I figure I will just get some blonde highlights, rather like what I have already had in the past.  They certainly do not look natural, but neither does it look green.

I do not want green hair anymore.

I also do not want hair that when it is in its natural state, curly, looks like a clown car explosion on my head.  And last, but not least, I am not a person who styles their hair.

After many, many, many years of wishing I was, I still am not and I just cannot be bothered.  Pull it up, get it off my face, wash it dry it, let it go.  It looks pretty good mussed up and curly and wild and free, but not with loads of rainbow color.

Brown, gold, blonde, caramel.

Sexy, sun swept, maybe just a touch Californian.

I may be going to Paris, but I will certainly take some Nor-Cal with me.

It was challenging.  The sitting at work and not doing everyone else’s job.

How do people do it?

I am efficient, I am an efficiency machine.  I have a schedule, I stick to it, I do such and such and such at such and such time and then it is done.  Then I go hunt up some work.

Which is probably why my newest co-worker said what he said.

I had another co-worker who said, “you should write-up an employee manual.”

Sure.

Where’s the money?

I mean honestly.

Writing an employee manual and shop girl do not go hand in hand.  I am either your manager, which I am so not, or I am your co-worker.

I am your co-worker.

Although, I would be happy to be your Parisian liaison.

I already envision people coming up to me and asking me where I got my bike.  There are a few Mission Bicycles in Paris, but not that many.  Whenever a French person walks into the store they are immediately enamored and ask all sorts of questions.

There is a distinct niche there for the bike we build.

I am thinking too, constantly, of what I will want to take to Paris in regards to bike gear.  I need a stand up pump with gauge, a rear fender, some tubes, a track stand, and  tire lever to change out flats.

I also should source a standardized list of vocabulary words for bicycle parts.

Another thought, somewhat out of left field, somewhat.

I do rather think I still want to attempt to get into the Sorbonne.

Yesterday in talking with my old friend over coffee I had mentioned that some thing I could do with a secondary degree is go after a PhD in Literature at Berkeley.  They do not have a Masters program in English Lit.

Doctor Martines.

My mom always did want me to be a doctor.

Granted, I think she meant medical doctor, but I would take a doctorate in English Literature.  I would, I would.

I would also be 85 by the time I do it, but then again, why the hell not.

Or I could see what is going on at the Sorbonne when I get there.

Lots to think about.

Thinking, though, is not always the best route for me.  Going where my heart is, that tends to work better.

I am going where I need to be.

I am going to where I want to be.

I do not know how long.  I do not know what I will do.

I will write.  I will walk.  I will go to market.  I will go to meet my fellows.  I will wander around museums.  I will get lost.

God, how I will get lost.

I swear I have getting lost down to an art.

You ever want to get lost, look me up, if you can find me.

I will be in some cafe writing the employee manual for Mission Bicycle.

Ah, probably not.

I will be wandering feckless down some cobble stone alleyway in Paris smelling the rain as it sluices through the gutters, looking at the chimney’s pressed into the iron-grey sky, seeing the bare tree branches silhouetted here, there, wire cut out patterns on the slate clouds.

We do not need to sit down.

We need to wander,

You and I.

Like Prufrock.

With our rolled pants fraying around the edges and our hearts in our throats.

Wandering along the Seine,

you and I,

to kiss under a bridge sheltered from the rain and laugh at each other caught with no umbrella and no map and no desire to be found.

When Things Fall Into Place

August 12, 2012

They really fall into place.

Holy cats.

I do not even know exactly where to start.

A brief summation:

Told the boss man I was moving–out of the country, blank stare on his part, repeat, I am moving out of the country, to France.  Paris to be exact.

Got word that a friend is going to go be of enormous service in Chicago and was officially tapped to watch his place for the two months that he will be there.  Which means I will be in Oakland for the last two months before I leave for Paris.

Rent free.

I do not even know how to say  what an amazing relief has been lifted.  I do not have to worry about the time I am missing out of work to go to Burning Man.  I can just go.  I can go and have space to breathe.  I can go and help the person who is driving with gas money.  I can go and not feel like every second I am not working is a tiny bit of money I won’t have when I get back.

Plus, I get to house sit a gorgeous house with, drum roll please, a claw foot tub!  Wood floors, sunshine, and cats, and a garden.  Granted I will have to commute to work.  But I will be able to do that for no rent, for the money I will get to save on not having to pay rent, again, the relief is palpable.

Plus, I will be able to squirrel away a little more for Paris.  I have a little more breathing space.  And I will be paying rent in Paris and I already know it will be more than what I pay here.  So, I will just parlay that money toward my Paris rent.

Just because I have a place to stay in Paris does not mean that I will not be paying my way.  I also saw Barnaby tonight and may very well again tomorrow or in the next few days.  He just got back into town from another jaunt of tattooing and will be leaving for France in the next nine days.

Enough time to co-ordinate anything that needs yet to be coordinated.  Really, not a whole heck of a lot.  I will get some more things here tied up and just continue the preparations for the Burn and for the Paris.

For the Paris.

I told Jefferson today.

It was end of day.  It was end of day on a crazy busy day.  We all really rocked it out.  We all worked really hard.  I sold two crazy gorgeous over the top bikes.  Jefferson juggle double bike fittings and designs and sold a super sexy steed, and Felipe whipped out two bikes as well.  Five bikes, plus one online sale that I coordinated with two e-mails and two phone calls.  Six bikes on the day.  And so many tourists.

I think the tourists have officially landed.

They have landed and they have been informed of the Mission.

I shudder to think how busy we would have been if half the city wasn’t at Outside Lands.  Superlatively grateful to not be working the next two days.  I need a breaky break I do.

I asked Jefferson fifteen minutes before close if I could distract him from the computer or if he was deep in it.  He’s been deep in it all week.  We sold out of two of our frame sizes weeks earlier than we expected, we are being outpaced by the demand and it’s stressful to co-ordinate another frame order with what is happening.

He nodded whilst typing away on the MAC Book.

“I am moving,” I said.

I paused, he sort of gave me a wink of attention.

I took a breath, “I am moving out of the country, Jefferson.”

He looked up at me, hands poised over the key board.

Got your attention.

“France.”

He cocked his head at me.

“I am moving to Paris, in November, I bought the ticket on Tuesday,” I said and waited for his response.

“You are what?”

I smiled, “I am moving to Paris, I am going, I fly out November 1st at 10:20 a.m.”

He was taking it better than I thought.  I came around the desk and I hugged him, “I am moving to Paris, Papa, don’t kill me.” I squeezed him tight.

He swiveled around in the chair and looked at me wise, and solemn, and all-knowing, “you know, I told Emory that you were moving to France over a year ago, and he said, really?  And I said, yup, she’s going to do it, I just know it.  Then you dropped it, it seemed to fall off the radar, but it was always there, wasn’t it?”

I nodded, I smiled, I grinned, my heart blew up in my chest and my eyes teared up, “yes, I have always had it in my heart, and it fell into my lap and I said yes to the Universe and I bought my ticket Tuesday after I got out of the meeting.”

He stood up and hugged me really hard, “and clocking out, you are no longer an employee,” and he hugged me really, really hard, “I am so proud of you.”

“I love you, Jefferson, I could not have done it without you,” I said.

And it’s true, from the time I met him on stilts at Shadrach’s Decompression party, to the one year party he hosted with Shadrach to celebrate my anniversary, to being my right hand man when Shad died, to asking me to help him and Emo do the restaurant launch, to Burning Man, to the Mission Bicycle Festival, to working at Mission Bicycle, and let me not forget he was the person who told me I should do the AIDS ride and he would do it with me (ok, little poke here, we never trained together not once!), Jefferson has been an amazing presence in my San Francisco life.

I do so love him.

Even when he drives me bats at work, I love him to pieces and bits and back again.  He is my hero.

One of many, don’tcha know.

I also told him that I want to help out the company and I don’t know what it is going to look like when I go and I may fall flat on my face and it might not work, but I have to do it.

He did the same thing once and told me it was the best thing he ever did.

I believe him.

When we leap, when we go forward and follow our dreams, things happen, unexpected miraculous, amazing things happen.

And the story continues to unfold and unwind and it just keeps getting weirder and more wonderful with each unfolding.

God only know what tomorrow will bring.

A day off, that much I do know, and maybe, I might even sleep in.

Treading Water

November 8, 2011

Things still feel crazy and out of control, but the facts seem to be that I am doing just fine.

I have a reprieve right now on the house search, which is a vast relief.  I’ll be house sitting/couch surfing for three weeks in December, confirmed, with the cats.  Thank God.

This gives me until January to find a place.  Or even December 15th.  I know some folks like to start mid-month.  Basically I will have a place to stay to lay my head and rest my weary soul.

Although it won’t be available until the evening of December 8th.  I need to be out of my apartment, with the cats by December 1st.  I know something will happen regarding that.  What?  Who the hell knows.

This will mark the second time in my recovery that I have been “homeless”.  But as I rode my bike past a truly homeless man on the outskirts of the Tenderloin with no shoes on, and I said out loud, almost against my will, it was so startled out of me, “Thank you god for not having me be without shoes today”.

Good Lord.  I have shoes.  I mean, I don’t have as many shoes as I’d like, who does?  But I have shoes.  I have a pair that stays at work.  I have a pair of Converse.  I have a pair of slippers–currently residing on my feet.  I have three pairs of heels and one pair of flip-flops.  I have shoes.

I could not shake the image of that man’s feet from my head.  And I was complaining about being cold?

Shut the front door.

Nothing says humility like perspective.  I got a hefty dose of it.

I am totally keeping my head above water.  And like the good girl I am, I am also keeping myself au courant with my bills.  I refuse to let myself be a slave to my fears of there ain’t never going to be enough, and I am just paying them as they come in.

I just wrote the check for this month’s student loan payments and I paid my phone bill online.  That does not leave me with a whole hell of a lot, but I have lots of food–my soup turned out fabulous, in fact it may be the best batch of this recipe I have ever made.  Either that or I was just really hungry today.  I have plenty of toiletries, I have rent paid for this month.

Oh yeah, and I have shoes.

Work is getting “easier”  or I’m being nicer to myself.  One or the other, not sure yet which, but I got a title today!

Operations Liason Mission Bicycle Company 

Pretty sexy.  I’ll have business cards soon.  I haven’t had a job with a business card in ages, almost a decade.  Well, nine years, since I worked at the Angelic Brewing Company.  It feels quite nice.  I like the handle better than nanny too.

Although, I need to remember that I am not my job or my job title.  I am me and I am perfect just the way I am right now.

Who let Stuart Smiley out of the closet?  Get back in there!

The learning curve does not feel quite as steep.  I am getting in there and doing things and that feels like an accomplishment.  I still get stuck on something and end up staring at the computer screen like it’s going to magically light up and tell me what to do next.  I used an Ipad for the first time today.  The new technology keeps coming at me.

I also got my own e-mail: Carmen@Missionbicyclecompany.com  So now you can send your complaints and inquiries directly to me.

I could not figure out how to access it however.

Oops.

It was also given to me during the last hour of the day and I had started to fade.  I was moving and shaking all day long and I feel like I was pretty on top of everything that was being handed to me.  Then I could feel the brain freeze starting to happen.  It began while I was trying to word an e-mail to a client and I would get distracted by something, oh look, pretty bike, and get entirely lost.

At one point I was trying to find a password to get me into a program so that I could hunt something up and by the time I found the password to the program I had forgotten what I was looking for and closed out the program.  Only to come back to it five minutes later realizing what I needed to search for and I had forgotten the password again.  I repeated this three times, three, before I realized that I was going to have to shelf the task until tomorrow.  I had no brain capacity left to delegate to the e-mail.

I got as far as signing my name at the bottom and I put it in the draft box.

But overall, I’m pretty excited by the fact that I did not hit my brain full capacity until nearly end of day.

I also felt like I was fleeing the scene of the crime before I could be found out when the General Manager, one of the owners, and the marketing team were sitting down with all their laptops, Macbooks, Ipads, and Iphones discussing the Tumbl’r account, the catalog, the online this and the interface that.  I was in the corner of the office struggling with an e-mail and they were interacting with each other and five or six other forms of media and I just wanted to crawl under the desk.

I know it will get better.  Fact is, it already has, but I do feel a brain suck.  I am learning.  I am learning a lot.  Oh lordy, am I learning.  I had a conversation with some one about Machine Side Wall tires versus non-Machine Side Wall tires and I don’t know what I said, but the information came a tumbling out of my mouth.  So, the brain is absorbing, it just still feels like a mish mash in there.

At least one thing can be taken out of the brain pan, what am I going to do about a deposit for  a new place when I don’t have income coming in yet?  I will likely have my deposit back from my rental agency by the time that happens.

That is a relief.  I am not even thinking about where I will be for that week in December.  I don’t have the capacity to process it yet.

Fuck, I’m amazed I even wrote a blog.  I’m sort of sleep walking it right now.

Holding steady.  That’s about all I have to report.  I am holding steady.


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