Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Flashback City

October 25, 2014

I was sitting in the audience tonight at the Hypnodrome for the Grand Guignal spectacular of The Bloody Debutante and I kept having these moments of deja vu.

What the hell is going on?

I mean.

I know I am ass out tired.

Sorry date.

Not you, I swear.

Just running amok after two little boys today, end of the week, running errands, twice to the market, once to the dry cleaners, over to the park, make the lunch, prep breakfast for the weekend, make the dinner, gather the snacks, and all other various sundry nanny and household duties.

You know.

Typical day at work.

At least I am getting used to it.

And the days, they do go by quick.

I was not even able to worry about the date, although on the occasion when I had a spare moment to think, I was concerned with what the traffic was going to be like, you know, first home game, third game into the World Series, San Francisco Giants.


As it turned out.

I got done with work right after the Royals scored their first run of the evening.

The streets of the Mission were eerily quiet.

The normal Friday night melee was all inside cozied up in front of televisions and big screen monitors in various bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and laundry mats (I kid you not, if it was a place of business, it probably had a huddle of folks around some screen watching the game).

I had a pretty easy commute over to Wicked Grounds for the first leg of the date.

Which made me laugh.


I haven’t been to Wicked Grounds in years and years.

And it’s a damn funny place to take a girl for a cup of coffee on a first date.

It’s a sex positive coffee shop that was opened, I think, but am not certain, by the same folks that run the Citadel, an underground dungeon up the road off of Market Street.

Butt plug with your Americano?

Ball gag on the Halloween pumpkin at the register.

Pictures of naked women in Japanese rope bondage scenarios.

I had a giggle or thirteen as I waited for my Americano to be made.


As luck would have it, two dear and darling friends happened to walk in while I was paying for my coffee.

They were at the art gallery show next door and had popped in for coffees.

“You are everywhere!” My friend exclaimed.

“Carmen sandwich!” Her husband declared.


Ah, friends, love my friends, so good to get squeezes and squishes and hugs when in slightly uncomfortable dating scenario.

First dates are awkward, that’s the nature of a first date, I think, but it didn’t help that every time I looked up from my coffee I was looking at the vaginal canal of a woman prostrate in rope bonds.

I didn’t know where the fuck to look.

It certainly encouraged me to make direct eye contact with my date.

I will give my date some credit, I don’t believe he was trying to drop hints (or was he?) about future possible dates, I think it may have been the only coffee shop in the neighborhood of the theater.

Besides, I don’t think Mister Leather had a coffee bar service.


The show was at 8 p.m. and despite my Americano, I was lagging.

But intrigued by the theater and the host who greeted us at the door to the theater and allowed us to sit front row in the handicapped reserved seating (as there were no handicap patrons at the show) which was really quite sweet.

I sat stifling yawns through the first half of the show and trying to appreciate the theatrics.

The first half of the show was good, but a little slow and I kept having odd thoughts and memories needle at me.

I could not figure it out and when the intermission happened I hoped that I would be able to make it through the rest of the show and not fall asleep on my date.

As it turned out, the second half was much more energetic and engaging and I got quite caught up in the theater and it was good, really good.

In fact, go see it.

If you want to take your Halloween honey somewhere fun and unusual next week, or even this weekend, this would be a great date.  The theater really is a great space and if you can afford it, buy a “Shock Box” which is basically a grand theater box that are rather tricked out and cozy and sexy.

Definitely a place to have a little canoodle or knee grabbing during the show.

The show is called the Bloody Debutante and it really is quite a bloody show.

At times it’s quite campy and I kept being reminded of something and then it hit me.

The Cockettes!

I first moved to San Francisco in 2002.

The same year the Cockettes documentary film came out.

I worked at Hawthorne Lane and one of the waiters took a shine to me, he was older, but I couldn’t tell you how old, fabulous, gay, and as it turned out a master seamstress and costume designer.

In fact, he designed a lot of the costumes for the original Cockettes shows.

To celebrate the documentary and because it was Halloween and no other city on earth quite does Halloween like San Francisco, there was a party for the movie and a fashion show and my friend from Hawthorne Lane needed an extra model for the show.

“He bailed at the last moment!” He hustled me in the dressing room at work as we were finishing our lunch shift, “you have to help, I need someone fabulous to rock it out.”

Well, nothing says stroking a girls ego, especially a fresh transplant to San Francisco from Wisconsin, like telling her you want her to model some fashion on a runway at the opening of a film.

I wore a hot pink rabbit fur coat with the most fabulous pockets and buttons and swag and geegaws sewn all over it.

I had on fishnet stockings and one of my garters snapped when I was walking.

I stopped mid catwalk, bent over, wiggle my bottom in the air, pulled it up and sashay’ed to the end to many a hoot and holler.

I had completely forgotten about my first Halloween in San Francisco until the second act of the show started and I realized that there were members from the Cockettes in the show and then it all suddenly flashed upon me.

Holy shit.

My life.

I may be just another nanny on the block.

But once in a while, when no one is looking, I’m on the run way in hot pink furs.

Because that’s just how I roll.

Fabulous as fuck.



Sunday Slow Down

September 23, 2013

I might as well call it “Sunday Full on Stop.”

What the hell has happened to me?

Where has all my get up and go gone to?

I think it took a nap.

Well, I took a nap anyhow.

Sunday in the Sunset.

A walk on the beach as the fog was clearing.

Clearing Fog

Fog Clearing

fog filter

Fog Filter






I will say that the walks have been lovely and a great excuse to get my camera out and for me to get out and see what there is to be seen in my new neighborhood.

The beach was quite pretty with the lifting fog pushing up and inland.  I walked a path toward the middle where the sunshine was beaming through and the water sparkled with it.



I could not restrain myself and I walked again in the tide.

The water is cold but for whatever reason when I am down there I am drawn toward the surf and I want to have my feet in it.

I am not sure I can imagine the rest of my body in it, it is startlingly cold.

When I was on swim team in high school we kept it, the temperature of the pool, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Occasionally it was warmer around 72 degrees.

And never less than 68 degrees.

You could, or I could anyhow, really tell the difference in the temperature.

To this day I do not enjoy swimming in pools that are warmer than 72 degrees.

It feels off-putting and sweaty.

Yes, you do sweat when you swim hard.

And if the pool is warm, its gross.

Yet, I have not done cold water swimming and I would guess that the water I was wading through this afternoon was around 55 degrees.

That is considerably colder than I have swum in before.

I could do it with a wet suit, I think.

All to come I am sure.

I don’t see living down by the beach without getting into the waves at some point.

I have heard a lot of disparaging things about surfing at Ocean Beach.

That water is too cold.

There are sharks.

The undertow is fierce.

But I see people doing it.

Not a lot of people, granted, but they are out there doing it.

I am sure I will want to find out how to do it as well.

For the time being I am, however, more than happy to just get my toes wet in the surf and inhale sharply with exquisite surprise when the cold water slaps at my feet and the suck of the tide going out pools at my ankles.

It is an intense moment.

One smack dab in the present and no escaping it.

I walked the shore line for a while, then popped up to Lincoln Avenue and Great Highway and took in the windmill from the beach.

It, the windmill, is an institution.

A landmark.

A distinct way to mark the city parameters and a tool that I have used for direction on more than one occasion.

Yet, I have never seen it up close.


I moved to San Francisco in 2002, Labor Day weekend, and there are still things and places that I have not seen in this lovely city.

I was not going to go.

I thought, whatever, I live here now, I will surely see it at some point.

But then I thought, wait, I am here, I have nothing else planned for the day and why not, it’s just across the road.


Go I did.

It was not an overwhelming piece of architecture.

But it was cool to see it up close and to walk around it and to wonder what was it there for and was it ever open to be explored inside.  The grounds led me to no distinct conclusions, no signs, except the cement stencilled with Samuel Murphy Windmill est. 1905 over the door leading into the base of the mill.



You can check out more photographs of the windmill on my other blog devoted to photography:

I thought, as I was taking the photographs there are lots of places that I have not been to or seen in San Francisco.

Perhaps I should treat this great city like I treated going to Paris, going to as many of the sights and museums and parks as I can.

I am close to Sutro Baths, never checked them out, certainly something I could do in the next weekend or two.

I think I will be doing lots of exploring of the beach.

I am sinking into the relaxed way of being out here.

The afternoon lazed away after my walk into a late lunch on the patio in the sunshine with my library book.

Day two of sitting and reading a book!

In fact, I was so relaxed and warm and zoned out from sitting in the sun I actually came into the studio, and like a cat, curled up in the sunny spot at the base of my bed and fell into a light nap in the late afternoon sunshine.

One of my favorite things to do, sleep in a patch of sunshine.

Not something I have done in a while.

I fell asleep with his kiss on my mouth in memory and a smile on my face and a wish for a quick week, he’s busy working and I have a full nanny schedule, until I will get to see him again.

Waking up after a quick snooze I had another luscious meal on the patio.

Then a bike ride through the neighborhood at dusk and some time to get more invested in the community of my fellows out here in the Sunset.

I am quite liking this slow down, despite my protestations to the different, this new way of moving quietly through the world.

I like that I wore flip-flops almost all day long and got sand in my toes and sun on my face.

Sundays are supposed to be a day for rest anyhow.

Grateful to be in a place where I will allow myself to do just that.




The Rainbow Connection

August 22, 2013

I should just start calling these the day after blogs.

The weather was big time again yesterday.

Dust storm white out.



Three different systems that moved in and out and flew across the playa, kicking up high winds, hail, rain, and yes, of course, dust.

The squalls blew in quickly, winds up to 42 miles an hour and then blew back out.

I was fortunate to have gotten in a quick shower before the last of the storms blew in.

Just as I was leaving the shower area another started.

I tell you, it’s nice to work for people who have a direct line on what the weather is going to be like.  It is unpredictable, but there are, oops!

Interject, someone’s shade structure just blew over and smacked into the trailer.

Damn, Gina, stake that shit down.

This wind is not fucking around.

Thursday is supposedly the last of the “bad” weather.

Although, again, it can turn on a dime and I have seen it do just that.

I was able to duck out from the trailer in between the storm systems and grab a few shots of the double rainbow that appeared right at sunset as the setting red-gold orb sank below the mountains, a few God rays peeped through and sprayed a beautiful rainbow across the desert.

The hooting was heard all across the playa.



The photograph does no justice to the beauty of the sky, but it was the best one I was able to cull from the bunch I took.

I have been taking on average about 75-100 photos a day.

I have been editing them down and I get about 10-15 that I like and of all the photographs I have taken, I have gotten about five really good shots.

That is not bad.

I used to think those were horrid odds.

However, I feel grateful to get any.

And grateful that my camera still works.

One trip to Paris five years ago for ten days sparked buying the camera and it was the best purchase.  Thank God, too, for digital photography.  I don’t think I could afford the film I would be going through if I didn’t have the camera I have now.

I have not had much of a chance to get out and about during the day, morning or afternoons, I have been with the baby.

He’s doing fairly well, but there are times when the melt down happens, and he’s cutting molars.



NO fun at all.

Again, grateful that the parents work for the Borg (Burning Man Organization).

They have a trailer with air conditioning and a fridge with a freezer that actually works.

I have been cutting up fruit for the peanut every day and sticking it in the freezer for him to gnaw on when the molars get bad, he’s had his little paws in his mouth a lot the last few days.

Working on keeping those clean too.

Lots of baby spa time.


He’s the envy of the playa, is what I think.

A buxom woman taking care of his every need, hauling him around in a snugly or in the covered wagon, standing in front the swamp cooler at the commissary (it is the largest one I have ever seen, the fan is easily five foot by six-foot), drinking cold bubbly water from fancy sippy cups, eating frozen fruit, getting foot rubs with vitamin e oil, and lots and lots and lots of cooling cream on the bum.

Not a bad way to spend your Burning Man.

Plus, everyone wants to say hi to him and pinch his little cheeks and coo at him.

The family has taken to eating on the less populated side of the commissary, away from the entrance and the main aisle that leads to the food line, as the constant attention–male and female–is distracting to the bunny at meal times.

We go “en famille” every day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It is nice to feel part of a unit and I really like the parents more and more and more.

Not only for the unstinting way they take care of their child, but also in the way that have accommodated me into their family.

I do feel like I am family.

That is how I like to roll.

Plus, I get to see more of my extended family every day.

Mostly in the commissary, where the meals are sit down and every one chatters about their day and what they are doing, where they are camped, what art project they are working on, what jackassery is in the making, and who is batting eyes at whom.

Speaking of art, I got the Where/What/When map today and I am excited for a day to go out and start seeing more of it.

Not Thursday, though.

It is mom and dad’s ten-year anniversary!

They met ten years ago on a Ranger shift.

So romantic.

I think there may be a moon lit golf cart ride out to deep playa with a bottle of champagne.

I am going to be staying back at the camp to keep an eye on the baby.

I will make a cup of tea and write down what I did during the day and fingers crossed, there won’t be anymore storm systems.

The weather clears after Thursday.

It should be hot and clear for the event.

I am sure there will even be a moment when I miss the rain.

The sound of it on the roof of the trailer and the feel of it on my face, the cool ozone smell that drifts across the playa is delicious.

Tonigh the storm brought the first chilly evening I have experienced out here.

And the smells of the first burn barrels being lit up.

Wood smoke.

My favorite smell.

So good.

So happy to be here.

Home is where the heart is.

And mine, albeit normally on my sleeve, is right here.

Right now.


There’s Nothing Wrong!

July 15, 2013

I will stop trying to fix myself.

I almost screamed this into his voicemail.

Sorry, John, I was a little giddy from lack of sleep, meditating for a half hour at 6 am and having a spiritual conversation with someone before bicycling 8 miles at 8 am around Lake Merritt to go to Alta Summit Bates Hospital.

To get lost.

To get found.

To go, what the fuck am I doing here, and say thank you, I see that it’s working for you, but I gotta go.

I spent the rest of the day in a haze of gratitude, no way, no how, am I going to give up doing my daily writing to put myself through that experience again, instead I spent it gorging myself in an absolute blur of…


Lush, descriptive, well crafted, words.

Words so definitive and enticing that I read 423 pages of them.

In fact, I just put the book down.

Partially to draw out the pleasure, like a good little addict, there’s one really nice fat bump left on the plate before I split the bag with fingernail and dump the crumbs, thrusting the tip of my tongue into the small ziplock bag and then ceremoniously placing the crumbled bit of dead plastic in a tissue to ball up and push down into a public garbage can.

It has been a good, greedy, fat word day for me.

I have been reading The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach.

I first read of him when I was going to Paris.

There was an interesting article in the issue of Vanity Fair I had on the plane with me.  It was about getting agency and the odds of getting paid and published, and it spoke of how often he had to go back and re-work the story, all the bad jobs he worked while he continually wrote and crafted, excised and plucked the words perfumed with story from the heavens over Northern Wisconsin.

There is that too, it’s set in Wisconsin, Northern Wisconsin, but still a Wisconsin that I am familiar with.

One with humidity laced summers so wet with moisture in the air that just sitting still the back of my knees would break out in a rolling sweat.

The swollen sun setting in the thick tall grass, the corn, knee-high (by July) thrust impudent from the black loamy earth in the back corner of my grandfather’s garden in Lodi, Wisconsin.

I know the lure of nostalgia, and that lure is there whispering in the chop of waves breaking against the prow of the ferry-boat ushering picnickers from Devil’s Lake State Park across the Wisconsin River and back to all points Madison, Waunakee (the only Waunakee in the world), Sun Prairie, DeForest, Windsor, and the like.

It spoke to me rash and thick, like the breath on Lake Monona on a day when the high summer heat and the algae bloom have finally banished all thought of there ever having been a snow day on campus, the foetid wash of rot buttering the air like corn at the fair.

I don’t know if it was the book, the blurb, or the first few chapters that sprang up all the Wisconsin imagery, because at times I would get the feeling that I was not reading Harbach, but I was reading A Prayer for Owen Meany or The World According to Garp, it felt almost East Coast in style and feel.

Then like some one wrought homesick for lightning storms and the powdery smell of grass that was cut  wet in the morning to dry all day in the sun, a kind of high summer smell more romantic to me with possibility than perhaps any other smell.

Not that much did ever happen, occasionally a tumble in the orchard or a flirtation at the baseball diamond.

Mostly just me, walking the train tracks, balanced on one rail, feeling the heat bake-off the silca stone gravel heaped along the rails; sensing that there was something being whispered in amongst the snap dragon flowers and if only I could discern the language, break the spell, and tumble forward, I would somehow make it to the far off island, the hillock supporting one spare spreading Oak in the field, that I would cross over into fairy land.

Not that I knew what I wanted, I just had the ache, yearning and tight, that I can still feel– the hand print of it on my person and the wealth of sense knowledge, the pangs of being restless and too smart and not smart enough, wondering how it was that I could discern the shape of pepper and pink in the white clover that studded the field, next to the rich purple heads that seemed more grassy, less floral, and somehow, false.

Or the heavy nodding heads of peonies in the grass.

Florid pinks, fuchsias, punch drunk cream heavy whites with carnations of blood blooms, veins of red that splashed the rumbled edges of petals.

I never like the peonies as much as the other flowers, too much showiness.

Not enough scent.

And that was what caught me.

The scent of story and the bildungsroman of it all, the coming of age, it was Infinite Jest,  the break down of the young tennis pro, without the footnotes, The World According to Garp with its full on love of the coach (wrestling still has not been so wrought with words than that story), it was Updikean and despite wanting to be all things Melville (in scope and lust of detail) where it shone, is still shining, I haven’t finished, leaving those last bits of cake to languish in the frosting where I will lick it off surreptitiously in the dark light of my room while the rest of the house falls asleep, is in the narrative.

It also felt like it was often about to veer off into being overwrought, too many plot twists and turns and overstylization and there were times I thought, nope, no one talks like this, but then something would pop and I would be drawn back in.

I found myself rooting for the story, for the characters.

And though I did see the craft of it and I do believe it a tiny bit overworked, it is a good book.  Perhaps not a great book, but a really good one, one which propels me to do for myself and encourages my own literary dreams.

A book is a book worth its weight when it encourages the vocabulary in my own heart and paints me a picture.

I watched a long movie today, in a book, sequestered at times in the stained glass afternoon light of sun, with a demanding Maine Coon cat on my lap, it will be made movie (I bet the book is optioned already), but I won’t see it, the film so strong in my head.

I love words.

I love to read.

I got my book on today.

It was good.

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