Posts Tagged ‘Nob Hill’

When Was I Happiest

January 6, 2018

Today?

I just asked myself that.

In a prompting kind of way, hey you, you need to write your blog, get your fingers moving on that keyboard, make some fucking magic happen.

Because all of the seven people who read my blog really want to know what I did today.

Meh.

I recently got an update from WordPress that I have once again celebrated an anniversary.

Eight years of blogging.

Eight.

What the fuck did I write about?

So many things, so many thoughts.

I have published over 2,400 blogs.

My average blog is somewhere between 1100-1300 words.

But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say 1,000.

That means that I have written over 2,4000,000 words.

Over two million words!

Who the hell knew there were so many words in my head?

I never suspected that I would be where I am in now in my life when I started writing this blog.

I was living on Taylor and Washington in a large studio that was on a cable car line.

I was working as a nanny in China Basin.

I made really good money.

More than I actually make now, if you can believe that, because it was all under the table.

I had a very nice Felt 35 racing bike that I did my commute on.

I was horribly lonely.

I felt like all I did was grind at work, I worked at least 50 hours a week.

Which is funny, as I put in about fifty hours a week now and go to graduate school full-time.

But at that time I was going through a lot of weird stuff.

I was desperately trying to get abstinent with my food, which I did do in that apartment, but it took a hot ass second.

I was trying, oh so very hard, to get some head way on my book, said head way has come to naught in many ways, but you know, I started this blog by publishing each of the chapters one by one in the pages.

If you should want to read some really bad writing, well it’s there.

For sure.

I had a friend read the book in manuscript form about four years ago and he told me with no mincing of words that if he didn’t know better he would have never believed that the person who wrote this blog was the same person who had written that book.

My writing, suffice to say, has gotten much better.

That’s what happens when you practice.

You get better.

I have had eight years of practicing this blog.

Some days I am so inordinately pleased with what I have written that I may actually go back and re-read a blog.

But not very often.

I generally throw it down on the page, I”m just transcribing my thoughts, and really, thank god I have some fast typing skills, I’m just writing what I am thinking.

It’s a little like having a one-sided conversation with me.

Hey how was your day?

Let me tell you about mine, and then I’m unleashed upon you.

Or something like that.

I am reflecting as I did my Morning Pages this morning in the place where Morning Pages originated for me, about ten years ago.

Yeah.

If you thought writing a blog eight years in a row was something, check out my history with writing my Morning Pages.

Ten years, going on eleven.

I realized that this morning as I sat in Muddy Waters on Valencia and 24th.

I had a chiropractor appointment this morning and some time to kill before I had to be into work.

So instead of getting up stupid early, I let myself sleep in, packed my breakfast and brought it with me, planning to eat it at the cafe while having a cafe au lait before going into work.

The cafe is much the same as when I first started hanging out at it.

I had moved to a shared apartment in a rent controlled Victorian on Capp Street and 23rd and Muddy’s was the closest cafe to me and the one where I did a lot, and I do mean a lot, of sitting with another woman and reading out of a big blue book.

So many women in that cafe, before my regular Wednesday haunt, as well as my regular Saturday gig and many other times in between.

And it was also the scene of The Artist Way group that I was a part of for a year and a half.

It was an awesome group.

We met for an hour before rolling up the hill to a spot in Noe Valley on Wednesday nights.

We would grab the big round table towards the back of the cafe and anywhere from 6 to 10 of us would sit down for about an hour and share about the assignments we had done from the book.

We did one chapter a week, followed the instructions regarding the assignments, and talked about our experiences working the projects and doing the morning pages.

The book suggests that every morning you take time to write three pages long hand.

Emphasis on long hand.

No typewrite, keyboard, tablet, computer.

My blog does not count as morning pages and never has.

There is something so captivating about writing on paper with a good pen.

I was writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks that I brought back from Paris this morning and I reflected on how it was in that group that I came to the realization that I wanted to go to Paris.

That I actually wanted to move to Paris.

It would take some years before I moved, but by participating in that group I realized how much I wanted to go to Paris and I took myself on a solo trip for ten days after doing the work in the book.

I took myself on artists dates, I went to museums, I bought myself nice paper, I sat and daydreamed in cafes and watched clouds roll by.

I looked out those same windows today and marveled.

Look how far I have come.

Look where I am now.

My best friend in Paris messaged me today about when I’ll be going back.

I have been to Paris five times since I made that decision, and yes, one of those times was to live there for six months.

I have re-written that book.

Although I still don’t think it’s at a publishable place.

I have written poems.

I have performed with djs in nightclubs reciting my poems.

One of them became a recording.

I have lectured on stage.

I have traveled.

I went to Burning Man, a lot.

I traveled to New York by myself as well as New Orleans to go see art.

I have taken 1,000s and 1,000s of photographs.

I have written millions of words.

I think I have a few million more.

I have done morning pages in Paris, London, Rome, New York, L.A., New Orleans, Madison, Wisconsin, Anchorage, Alaska, Burning Man, Reno, San Diego, Las Vegas, and probably a bunch of other places I can’t remember now.

But they all started one night in a Muddy Waters coffee shop on Valencia and 24th.

Opening a door that has led me down this meandering path of creation and love.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

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You Get Around

May 5, 2015

I do.

“I follow you on Facebook and read your blogs, it’s good to see you in person, you really cram a lot of stuff into your day,” he told me as we were filing out of the room tonight.

I smiled.

I believe I thanked him for reading.

It’s nice to know that folks read these things I put out into the Universe, so often without much thought or effort, it would seem.

Although there is always much thought.

The effort really has to do with sitting down at the keyboard and figuring out a title.

Once I have a title, I don’t need anything.

I knew I was going to be writing “Inbound to Richmond District” the minute I saw it on the NextBus app.

There was something really musical about it to my ears.

And I do get around, but I suspect, many of us do, I just happen to document the getting around.

This brought to mind all the places I have lived in San Francisco as I enter my second year of residing in one spot.

It’s about a year and three-quarters, Labor Day weekend, just after Burning Man, will mark two years here in my little studio by the sea.

I can’t remember the last time I lived in one spot for two years.

It must have been when I was up in Nob Hill and technically I did move, albeit across the hall, but that was a move and challenging in its own ways.

I also may have resided at 23rd and Capp for two years, but I’m not certain I did, it feels like it was two years.

But as I explained to my charge today, “feelings are not facts,” I said with a smile and also relayed the message that “this too shall pass, the good news is you will have feelings, the bad news is you will have feelings.”

Then I tickled the grumpy out of him.

He is just such a sweet pie.

“Carmen! Carmen! Carmen! You have a star in your hair!” He excitedly reported to me.

“I do!” I replied, “what color is it?”

“Glittery!”

Heh.

Close enough kid.

“Silver,” I said, “you like stars, don’t you.”

“Yes!” He said and picked up his stuffed cat, “Meow Meow really likes stars too,” then he began to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, replacing the twinkle twinkle part with meows.”

Oh my god.

The cute.

Stop.

Wait, don’t stop.

“Stars are beautiful, you are beautiful,” he continued, “you must be a star.”

I just about fell out of the bed.

I was waking him up from his afternoon nap.

“You must be a star too,” I said and squeezed his little paw in mine, “Meow Meow is definitely a star as well.”

“Meow!” He said and kissed me.

My job might tire me the fuck out, but it is surely satisfying, yes, yes it is.

We had adventures to the park, both Dolores Park–in the morning, and Mission Playground in the afternoon, plus a trip to BiRite and to the market on the corner.

It made me remember when I discovered all these places when I first moved to San Francisco.

All the sites, the personal treasure map of love that San Francisco has imprinted on my heart.

The first time I went to Dolores Park was before I lived in the city, so that must have been in 2000 or possibly 2001.

Or The Elbow Room.

Blondie’s.

Casanova’s.

Kilo Watt.

Dalva.

The Roxie Theater.

When the New College was still the New College and I could still go to Osento and take a hot tub.

I still say I need to go to Osento sometime soon and then realize once again that it is gone.

It actually, or where it used to be, abuts the property of the people I work for.

I might have been naked on the roof of the spa soaking in the steam on a wood bench catching twinkling stars in between the clots of fog moving over the courtyard, the two wood barrel saunas, the outdoor shower, and the cold plunge–my current boss in her backyard hanging out on the other side of the fence.

I remember times when I was the only person there.

It was lovely.

You may have gathered that I lived a good portion of my time in the Mission.

My first residence in San Francisco–Labor Day weekend–it’s like my personal version of New Years, was a two month sublet at 20th and York.

I stayed past my two months and when another woman moved out of the room downstairs, I took it over.

I think I was paying $650 with everything included.

Granted there were five ladies living there, but we each had our own space carved out, technically the house was a three bedroom–all three upstairs–but one of the girls had carved out a weird little bedroom out of the kitchen pantry and then there was the studio/inlaw in the basement that I had.

It was great.

Until the house was sold and there was an owner move in and in less than two months we had to all get out.

I think it was actually 45 days, it happened so fast.

I found a room on craisglist, for less than I was actually paying at the house with all the girls, on 22nd and Alabama with a wild woman from Northern Italy who had been living in the house so long that she basically paid her rent by collecting from the two room mates and turning around and paying the landlord.

I could have cared less.

I was paying $500 a month for a huge room and access to the kitchen, bathroom, the gigantic glassed in back porch, where I spent three agonizing weeks drifting in a hammock, sleeping like the dead, out sick from work with Mono when I was 31.

MONO.

At freaking 31.

And it was my second time having it.

I had it the first time when I was 17.

Good times.

While I was living at 22nd and Alabama I had a friend turn me on to cocaine and his dealers number.

After some months of battling a rapidly growing habit, I decided, like a truly rational addict, that I should move out because I had the opportunity to move into a big beautiful house on 25th and Potrero (you would have never guessed how lovely the house was from the facade on Potrero–wood floors, Italian marble, skylights, pocket doors, fireplaces in two rooms, an office, two bedrooms, one and a half baths, laundry in the basement and the prettiest garden in the back) for $1100 a month.

That’s what my problem was!

My rent was too cheap!

If I just moved somewhere that was more than double my rent then I wouldn’t spend as much money on blow.

That didn’t work out so well.

But I did subsequently hit my bottom.

And the rest.

Well is his (her) story.

And I got around a lot after that as well.

Living at the following places:

Kingston and 30th.

Potrero and 26th.

Palou and 3rd.

Capp and 23rd Street.

Washington and Taylor.

Not once, but twice–the infamous move across the hall.

Homeless for three months couch surfing when I quit my high paying nanny job and went to work at bike shop in the Mission (crashed in the attic of a former family I nannied for on 25th and New Hampshire, “housesat” for a month at a friend of friend’s house that I met only once at a wedding, where I did her make up for the ceremony on a tiny side street at the bottom of Bernal Hill, and then on the couch of my friend who lives in Nob Hill on Clay Street) making half the salary I had been used to.

Then a teeny tiny box of an in-law in the Mission on 22nd and Folsom.

My bathroom was my kitchen was my garage (I hung my bicycle on a rack above the toilet).

After that.

Graceland in East Oakland for two months.

Then Paris–Rue Bellefond–in the bobo (bohemian bourgeoise) arrondissement, the 9th, just between Square D’Anvers and Cadet Metro Station for six months.

Then back to East Oakland for two, maybe three (?) months.

Can you say culture shock?

And finally.

Here.

46th Avenue between Judah and Irving Street.

And yes.

I moved in right after Labor Day weekend.

Where the hipsters meet the sea and the surfers rule the coffee shops.

And one wild woman with curly hair (pink!) rides out each day (well five out of seven anyway) six and a half miles, right back to the Mission, on her sparkle-pony whip of a bicycle.

I may be living in the same spot for a little while.

But.

I still get around.

Color Me Happy

April 26, 2015

I got the best hugs today.

I caught up with some friends that I have not seen in a long time.

And.

I got my hair did.

So good.

Roller

Blow Out

Rollers

Rollers

Pink

Pink

Happy

Happy

Damn

Damn

Color me happy, joyous, and pink.

I was just going to go blonde.

But well, one thing, er, lead to another.

And I’m in the pink.

And I love it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, my dear friends at Solid Gold Salon, Sutter Street at Jones (shameless plug, they are just awesome and amazing, I mean, come on) in the Tender Nob of San Francisco.

Check them out.

I mean they have been doing my hair for a long, long, long time.

Calvin did my cut and his partner Diane did my color.

I could not have been in better hands.

It was not always this way.

“You look like a space hooker!” Calvin hooted in the living room of his apartment in Nob Hill proper.

“Dude.” I said, as I looked in something like horrified awe at what he had done to me.

Note to former self, never let anyone dye your eyebrows.

Ever.

Especially not someone who is still in beauty school.

“You are not allowed to post those photos up,” I said, “and excuse me while I go scrub my face off.”

Calvin was not just in school for hair (Aveda and Vidal Sassoon), he also did the program at Blush School of Makeup down on Market Street.

I too was living in Nob Hill, Taylor at Washington, and I would often make the two block, very uphill walk, to his place and we would shoot the shit, drink too many lattes, and he would cut my hair, color it, razor blade it off, once, oh God, once, he gave me a faux hawk and a tail.

How do you know when you love someone?

You let them give you a tail.

I saw a little boy at the park the other day with a tail and all I could think was, that is so not cool, cut it off.

Off man.

I made him cut that off pretty quick.

I never really gave a damn about the color or the weird cuts, he always figured it out, and it was fun to be his hair model and let him go to town on my head.

“I remember when you were rocking all those crazy colors and cuts, you were doing wild color before any one else,” she said to me last night when I told my friend I was going in to the salon today and I was going to do blonde, pretty blonde highlights, beachy, you know, sexy.

Well.

There was some blonde involved.

And the pink will fade, eventually to blonde.

Which is perfect.

That’s actually what I want.

I also left with a container of Manic Panic Cleo Rose.

When it fades too much.

Or.

When it’s just about time for Burning Man.

I will use the Manic Panic and bring back the pink.

I love the way it fades out though, I may wait a while to douse it with more color.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and they gave me a blow out, using the great big curlers, and I just love the being fussed over.

Perchance we are to date, and you are a man, identifying as heterosexual, not gay, not homeless, and not in a poly possible relationship, you will win me over by 1. Kissing my neck and 2. Washing my hair.

Oh goodness.

It is the best thing to have a person wash your hair.

I could just lie in that wash station all day and let that happen.

It still amazes me that I go to the salon and get my hair done.

Or that I go to the nail salon and get my nails done.

Or that I wear makeup.

All the things.

All the things I never used to do.

It’s like having the adolescence that I never had.

“My dad says I should be careful, you’re high maintenance, he says,” my boyfriend in my twenties told me.

I’m high maintenance?

What?

What the fuck do you know about high maintenance old man?

He was right.

Perhaps why I reacted so strongly to it.

If you spot it, you got it.

I love this part of myself though and I am doing my best to allow myself to embrace it, within reason, I’m not so high maintenance as you might think.

“I’m going to shame you when I tell you when the last time you came in for a cut was,” Calvin said as he looked it up in the computer.

“I know, I know,” I said, cringing.

I knew it had been almost a year.

“Almost a year,” he said, giving me the look.

They say every six weeks.

I say every twelve months.

“I wish you would teach me how you do that cat’s eye,” she said to me, “I just can’t do it.”

It takes me five minutes to do my make up in the morning.

Maybe six if I don’t have a steady hand, but it’s just doing the same thing every day since Calvin taught me how to do my makeup.

I got to be his model a few times for make up and when I went to Blush one of his head instructors also used me to do a demonstration and I learned a lot.

I could learn a lot more.

I don’t know contouring or really how to use blush properly or apply false eyelashes.

But you know.

I’m willing to learn.

I may be high maintenance, but I’m not time-consuming high maintenance.

And I know how happy I feel when I have pretty hair and makeup.

And how sexy I feel.

“Don’t hide your sexy under a barrel,” she told me, “God did not give you all that to waste it hiding in a corner.”

Yes ma’am.

“Where are you going tonight,” Diane asked as she finished the hair and smoothed down the last pieces, coaxing the full soft curl forward in a long sashay of bang framing my face.

“I don’t have plans,” I said.

“You look great! Are you going on a date?” My housemates friend asked as she popped over to check the mail and feed the cat.

Nope.

I do not.

But you know.

Every time Calvin has done my hair.

I do end up getting asked out on a date.

Here I am.

Let’s do it.

My hair looks amaze balls.

And.

I’ll put my make up on quick.

Real quick.

Promise.

Leap Of Faith

April 25, 2015

He leaned forward.

And jumped.

I was two steps below what I would have like to have been to make sure that it was not such a leap, but the boy was ready to not be napping and to get down stairs and be in the world.

His arms wrapped around me.

I caught him.

I always do.

His leaping lizard ways do cause my heart to lurch into my mouth at times, but the sweet and absolute trust in me he has, makes me feel always at the ready to catch him.

“I love you,” he said and buried his face in my shoulder.

“I love you too, bug,” I said and squished him close to my heart.

It never fails to amaze me.

This thing called love.

I felt love of all sorts tonight.

I met with a dear friend after work tonight and we hung out and had tea and talk all things girlfriend and life and the stuff of it.

I went where I always go on a Friday night, that bastion of crazy good and weird and wonky, Our Lady of Safeway.

I texted with a darling friend who just had a baby last week to check in on her and see how I could be of some service.

I’ll be heading over to her side of the bay next Saturday to spend time with her and the new little guy.

I rode home, slowly, in the thick of the night through shrouds of fog and wind and mist that slowly materialized into rain.

I did my stretches and strengthening exercise and though I did not want to do them, I did them anyway.

I have love of self too.

It doesn’t always manifest itself in the most logical of ways and that is why I also have a big community and fellowship that helps me discern when my feelings are having their way with me.

But love.

Well, love can have its way with me.

I may get hurt.

However, I will still have the experience.

I want to experience it all.

I have taken some leaps and leapt into some uncomfortable situations, painful, life affirming, and experiential all.

I don’t see myself sitting on the side lines with anything at the moment.

I am committed.

I sound like I am talking in circles and I am, but I know what I am talking about and as it winds itself out of my head and down into my heart I see where the wound is and how that it might sting, like, a lot.

Or not.

I don’t know.

So I took some action, reached out, and now, well, the results are not mine, the words, with a little help from my friend, thank god for friends, the timing so not mine, but the feelings, succinct and sure, are all mine.

I look forward to what ever happens next knowing that I have asked for what I need given the information I have been given.

And then life, well, it continues forward.

Through the rain and the gentle mist and the days and the nights, through the music and the poetry.

To the hair salon!

Yes.

Tomorrow I go in for a much-needed hair cut and color.

“I’m thinking of _____________,” I told a friend tonight as we were comparing schedules in regards to going out to Berkeley next Saturday.  “I don’t know that I want to do color, everybody is doing color now (meaning blue and green and purple and what have you), I was doing color before color was a thing, I think I’m going in a different direction.”

I will take photos.

Don’t worry.

It will be fun to have a ladies day at the salon too.

I’m going to do the deal and then meet with my person at Tart to Tart and do some reading and checking in and then some lunch and the salon.

I’ll be heading up to Solid Gold in the venerable Tender Nob.

That nice narrow strip of town nestled between the bourgeois in Nob Hill and the hoi poi in the Tenderloin.

It’s not quite the same as the tech smash-up of gentrification and the homeless drug addicts strolling around Mission Street, but it is a clash of worlds and I am grateful that I get to navigate it the way I do now instead of the way I used to.

I have come a long way, baby.

There’s a coffee shop that I used to score at just around the corner from where I get my hair done and it’s always a fond trip down memory lane for me to go past it and occasionally even go in for a fix before getting my hair done.

Caffeine, that is.

That’s a leap of faith too.

All the things I have done that I can forget about.

All the ways that love as aligned to get me where I am now and where I will go next.

As I sit and look around my home and everything that has happened here in the last year and a half and how much I have done and seen and grown since moving back from Paris with $10 in my pocket, I am truly amazed.

Awed really.

Look ma!

No hands.

I’m doing this life thing.

It’s not just fantasy in my head.

And I have been in some fantasy in my head over the last week.

I took some action and, well, I get to let go of those results too.

Surrender is an act of faith too.

“Shh, sweet darling,” I said as I gathered him up from the stroller, “Meow is right here.”

He hung his head down onto my chest, clutching his stuffed cat to his body and clung to me as we climbed the stairs into the house heading straight up into his room, where I tucked him in and turned on the sound machine and a little fan.

I brushed the hair of his face, tucked him in, and bent down to kiss his forehead.

“I love you,” I said and my heart grew a little more full.

“I love you too, Carmen Cat,” he said, finishing with a sleepy, “meow,” has he turned over onto his pillow and burrowed under the covers.

I almost fell over and tumbled down the stairs myself.

Love.

It will catch you unaware and bash into your heart.

And I find.

There is not protecting myself from it.

I am open to it all.

To know that.

Is to know.

Grace.

And.

I am graced.

Terrifying

June 1, 2014

Thrilling.

Scary.

Fog.

Welcome to summer.

It is foggy.

And it was a dark, intense ride home in the fog, so thick that in spots the moisture slid off overhanging trees and splat on my helmet like heavy rain.

I could barely see where I was going and to top it off I was taking a way home that I had not ever taken on my own before.

Coming home this evening from Noe Valley on my scooter I decided to avoid the traffic in the Mission and the Castro and instead head up and over Clipper to Portola and then down and around to the Inner Sunset.

I don’t know that I have ever been so glad as when I reached 7th and Irving.

Familiar territory.

A sigh of relief to know where I was and to recognize the lay of the land.

Granted I have ridden this way before on the back of some one’s cycle, as the passenger in a car, in the back seat of a taxi cab.

But on my own.

At night.

On my scooter.

In fog so dense that I was grateful to be behind a large slow-moving bus to guide me through it, never before tonight.

I actually pulled over and caught my breath, pulled the windshield up on my helmet and yes, I admit it, I took off my glasses and rode the rest of the way back without a face shield.

I know, it’s illegal.

I took the damn test.

However.

The fog was too thick.

I could not see a damn thing, it was collecting and condensing on the face shield and my glasses too much.

Once I pocket my glasses and lifted the shield I could see and I was a far less dangerous person on a vehicle on this lovely opening night of the fog season.

AKA

Summer in San Francisco.

I don’t mind the fog.

I like how it glides in over Twin Peaks, shrouding the sides of the Castro Hills and draping Noe Valley in a blanket of hush.

It’s just not particularly awesome to ride in.

That being said.

I rode my scooter all about town today!

I had an appointment to complete the color on my hair today at Solid Gold Salon.

It looks amazing.

I did not do the Brazilian blow out, however, we decided to just do the color, a dark violet/indigo that blends into a glaze of hot pink.

The color is quite a bit darker than I wanted, but with good reason, it’s going to fade to the color I want and I won’t have to worry about the color fading, we went intentionally darker.

It’s going to fade to the perfect shade in a wash or two.

And for the moment, it’s a fun shade to have that I don’t recall anyone I know currently having.

The indigo will fade to a frost lilac and the hot pink to a soft, dusky, pastel pink.

I get to have my cake and eat it too.

Because then, under all that, I still have the blonde highlights–which were necessary to pull in the rich, exuberant color–win, win, win.

I wasn’t thinking much about the hair color when I got up, my brain was rather pre-occupied with getting to the salon on my scooter and seeing if I could get it started without having to call in the Calvary.

And I did.

And it was awesome.

I still killed it at one point on a hill going to make a right turn as I was heading from the Tenderloin into Nob Hill.  I got nervous, I couldn’t remember the exact cross streets for the salon and I was on a one way.

But, I just calmly pulled it over, and started her right back up.

Then I remembered how to get to the salon and rode a few more blocks, pulling up to the salon as my friend was running a quick errand down the street.

That was satisfactory!

Seeing my friend as I arrived on the scooter he sold me.

I felt this great sense of accomplishment as I backed into the motorcycle parking at Sutter and Jones.

Said sense of accomplishment then further embellished by the joy of paying for the parking meter.

$1.25 for three hours of parking.

I was happy to pay.

I believe the cost of metered parking in downtown San Francisco for a car is $1.25 per fifteen minutes.  I may be exaggerating a little, but I know that metered parking for a car is really quite expensive.

After I got my awesome color at Solid Gold Salon I headed to that food mecca called Rainbow Grocery and got some staples that I am hard pressed to find elsewhere and revelled in the joy of bulk bin shopping.

I didn’t do as much shopping as I had thought I would do, I was too hungry to really be able to concentrate, so I took myself over to Herbivore on Valencia and 21st.

It’s a vegan restaurant that has one of my favorite dishes, I have simple tastes and it hits every thing for me, it’s a Mexican beans and rice dish with fake chicken.

I can’t tell you why I find it so tasty, but I do and I never order anything else.

I am not a vegan.

But I will play one on tv.

I have also been known to have sex with one.

Shh.

Speaking of, I didn’t get asked out on a date with my fabulous hair, but I wasn’t even thinking about it.

I was too busy being concerned with getting home tonight.

The fog was heaving in over Twin Peaks into Noe Valley hours before I was to be heading home and I knew that would be taking up all the head space I had to focus on getting home.

I had one tiny moment when I thought I might ask some one out, then it fled my mind and I returned to keeping my attention on the night, the scooter, the fog, the getting her started and running.

Which all happened.

And I got home safe and sound.

The neighbors across the street huddled on their front steps enjoying foggy summer time beers wrapped up in beach blankets and smoking joints; the bell of the fog horn blowing out over the ocean, the smell of salt and sea, the beat of my heart that for a moment I took to be the thrum of surf on the sand, but was coming from inside me.

Then, the scooter parked, secured, and I home.

Home with my sexy awesome hair.

Safe and secure in my little bungalow by the beach.

A successful day for sure.

Color me content.

 

Retainer

October 9, 2013

I may be going on a retainer for my Cole Valley family.

The mom’s contract with work is closing and seasonal, but she still wants me.

However, her time needs are going to be different.

She asked me what I thought if my hours were smaller but I still was paid the same.

I would say, yes, thanks, because otherwise I am looking for another job.

I don’t want to and I don’t think she wants me to, scratch that, she absolutely does not want me to look for another family to be with full-time.

I cannot make less money.

No.

I am amenable to the idea.

I have worked flat rates for families before.

Although in the past it was pretty much a I start at 8 or 9 a.m. and work until 5:30 or 6p.m. and if I get done a little early I get paid the same amount.  I was basically working 40-50 hours at a set rate, a salary basically.

To not have full-time work and then try to figure out how much is fair, I’m not sure how that will all suss out.  But yeah, I am fine with working less and making the same amount.

I still have to supplement.

It has not been full-time work ever with this family and sometimes that is frustrating, but mostly, it has worked out.  Especially when I am not worried about it.  I keep showing up and the money accrues.

That being said next week is going to be busy.

I am working Saturday through Thursday.

I could say I am working Friday through Thursday, now that I am thinking about it.

I basically have a six-day run.

One day, though, is not really at work nannying, Friday is my re-certification class at the American Red Cross.

Saturday is the overnight.

Sunday is Decompression.

I will be in the Castro for the overnight, then maybe pop over to Decompression for a while, or not, who knows.  Then go back to the Castro at 7p.m. and work a few hours.

Monday will be back to my “normal” work week.

With the addition of the new family in NOPA a half day in the afternoon on Wednesday and a full day on Thursday.

Long board and a wet suit.

I just repeated that to myself when I was writing it down.

Long board and a wet suit.

Every extra bit counts toward that goal.

I will need to get back into the water before I get my own gear, so I will be getting ahold of my friend and seeing if I can catch some more time in the water with him soon.

I could go Thursday afternoon.

Trying to figure it out is not going to help me write this blog.

I was also trying to figure out the yoga as I came home from my day and there was a spare yoga mat leaned up against my door.

My housemate is a fairy godmother.

She just knows.

I hopped on the studio website for Ocean Beach Yoga and I think I can pull off a class this weekend.  Possibly Thursday or Friday.

The weekend is pretty much out.

But I do so want to start doing this and stop talking about it.

Especially when the Universe drops a yoga mat off at my door.

I can take hint you know.

I have plans tomorrow, that hopefully includes some make out, otherwise I would tomorrow after work.

Dinner and discussion with the Mister.

I just got to ask the guy what he wants and say what I want.

We may have different agendas

I can’t read his mind and he can’t read mine and I have just been going on the assumption that he is super busy with work all the time, and you know, when you can’t remember your last day off and you work 12-15 hour days, I feel it is safe to assume that, but maybe there is something else that I am not aware of.

He’s going to pick me up after work and we’ll probably head over to Nob Hill and then grab some dinner afterward.  I have Thursday off with no commitment until noon and I don’t know if that will actually happen as the lady has not called to check in with me once since I met with her last week.

Doesn’t bode to well for that coffee date.

Which is why I made the date for Trouble Coffee, it’s in my neighborhood, if she fails to show up I still am nearby.  And maybe I can go to the yoga studio before my commitment in the evening, or even surf, if my friend’s around.

I will have to touch base.

I know that if I don’t go this weekend the ocean is not going to go away and my chances won’t have evaporated, I just want to commit to going once a week at least in the beginning.

Making new habits can be hard.

I have lots of willingness, but sometimes not enough action behind it.

“Willingness without action is fantasy,” a good friend of mine has said and I completely agree.

I can fantasize about a wet suit and a long board and hopping up on the waves, but the longer I wait to get back in the water the longer it’s going to take to get up on the board.

I have not fantasies about that.

I don’t expect that I will get on my feet for a while yet, but I am going to try.

I can also not obsess about my schedule.

I am going to follow through on the surfing and the yoga.

It is time.

I am going to also not wig out about this week and what my timing is like.

I remember once asking someone how they balanced all the people in their life.

He said he just focused on the one in front of him.

That’s all I need to do.

My intent is to surf and do yoga this week.

However that happens.

And get kissed.

Yes.

Let me give some time to that as well.

Crawling Out of My

July 20, 2013

Fucking skin.

I felt it prickle up and wondered if I was perhaps actually coming down with some sickness.

I felt feverish and unsettled and so far down the road in the future that no wonder I was uncomfortable in my body.  Future tripping is not a good trip for me.

Never was, never is.

I did have a little stroll down memory lane tonight though, faces and places of San Francisco  that I had not thought of in some time.  I am coming up on my 11th year of living in San Francisco.

Give or take six months in Paris.

And two and a half in East Oakland.

Oh, fyi, stay the hell out of Fruitvale tonight if you can, there’s an Occupy protest going on that looked like it was getting brisk and uncomfortable.  There was that tingle of uncertain electricity in the air, a balance that could be tipped either way, and I could see the riot gear and the batons dangling and I wondered, how many of the protestors actually live in or around Fruitvale.

I think if you do, live in the neighborhood, you were busying getting your Friday night El Gordo Loco taco truck on.

That place is booming.

Aside from constant vigilance while riding my bicycle down International Avenue, I have to pay extra attention to this corner, loads of people whipping in and out for some toothsome carnitas or al pastor.

It does smell divine.

But I never have stopped.

Even when I was in my I am gonna get crazy with my food mode.

I had that thought today, Enteman’s Chocolate Cake donuts with glazed sugar icing.

One box please.

Followed by crazy.

I deigned to go there.

But I did not.

I stumbled through the uneasy on my skin and said, hey you know, yeah that extra time I have, it’s not a bad thing, it’s gonna be a good thing, there will be loads of things to occupy you and your time.

Tomorrow I will go see a friend whom I have not seen in years, not since, I just realized I left my place up in Nob Hill.  She still lives on Taylor Street.  I am looking forward to seeing her and I also realized that I am nervous too.  She’s successful, does well, travels, has a great job, has money, I am assuming, and I am comparing and despairing.

Which may have accounted for some of the discomfort today.

When I run into people that I knew from my “former” life, I feel almost compelled to prove that I have done something big and bold and daring with my life.

Then I think, oh please, you have done plenty.

If not just in the success of living in one of the most expensive places on earth for over a decade, that has got to count for something.

I don’t have to prove myself, I don’t have to fix myself, and most of the time I just have to sit, drink a cup of coffee and listen to someone else for a little while, listen to their experience and share mine.

My experience is valuable.

Really the one thing that I have that is all mine and I have a wealth of it.

I do.

I sat in the falling gold spiked light at Atlas Cafe on 20th and Florida with a friend this evening, sharing our experiences, relating our solutions, laughing at ourselves.

I sat there in the warm sun getting more and more comfortable in myself, my body, my skin, I don’t have to check out and I can walk through this (whatever this is) some made up story of failure and loss and it’s not going to work out because I can’t see it coming.

Damn it, girl, don’t you know that’s when the most exciting stuff happens?

Some of the exciting stuff can be scary, the unknown, but usually what happens when I ride out the discomfort is that whatever it is ends up being better on the other side, I emerge enriched with another set of experiences.

Sometimes it is just to compare the two places in my minds eye, one full decade apart, the cafe, Atlas, was the first cafe I went to in San Francisco, it is located at 20th and Florida, my first place in the city was a sublet at York and 20th.

It was for two months.

It morphed into a longer time, then the house got put on the market, sold, and owner occupied in a matter of weeks.

Literally.

We had 30 days to get out and there was no paying our way.

I found another spot, not too far down the road at 22nd and Alabama.

Atlas was still my go to cafe.

I liked the patio where I could smoke and drink my lattes.

I liked the out door tables I would sit at and wait for my dealer to roll by on his way to drop me a few grams of blow.

I drank beer there, ate pizza there, did blow in the bathroom, although it was so close to my house that I preferred to go back to my place and do it privately, had blind dates that I met through craigslist.  It was my go to cafe.

It was my entree into San Francisco.

A decade later it is still there, a stalwart in a sea of ever burgeoning upscale neighborhood joints and eateries, still serving the smoked trout salad, still serving coffee in pint glass mugs.

I felt connected and known.

If only to myself.

I felt back in my skin.

And despite hopping on my bike to hit Rainbow, grab some groceries, and haul them back to the East Bay, I did not feel that I was marking time anymore.

I was just in the moment.

Just me, in San Francisco with my bag full of organic produce, my rolled jean pant leg revealing purple and teal striped socks, my one speed whip and my knowledge of the city.

I wore a hoodie today and a jean jacket; I know what July in San Francisco is like.

The fog flooded through the streets and I rolled right along with its chill breath into the night.

Life in the Fast Lane

October 22, 2012

Or at least the lane that has FASTtrack.

Oh, I have my hands on a car.

Living the American Dream for a few days.  I have wheels.  My friend loaned me his car today so that I could get a few of the last-minute errands done I needed to do without having to haul around on my bike or use BART.

Such a relief.

I have a suitcase.

I have travel sized toiletries.

I have groceries to last me the next ten days.

TEN!

I leave in ten days.

Holy cats.

I winnowed out my closet today, taking one last good look through.  Tomorrow, with the assistance of said vehicle I will take my last few things to Buffalo Exchange and sell them off for cash.

I will also return Jennifer’s tent that I used at Burning Man.  Note to self get up and air that puppy out one more time and shake as much dust off as possible.  Despite telling Jennifer a number of times what the playa does to your possessions, I do not believe she quite understands.

I feel a little remiss returning the tent.  I do not know that it will be good for regular camping at this point.  However, I will do my best to shake out the lingering bits.  I am super grateful I do not have to haul that into the city on my bicycle.  That would not make for a pleasant commute.

I am actually not sure how long I will have the car for but as I drove home tonight after a very successful pillaging of Nordestrom’s Rack, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and Rainbow, I got some ideas of how long I would like to have it.

Like forever.

It is a sweet little ride.  Black Audie two door convertible.

Ah yeah.

I am over the moon that I was able to get all the things on my list today off my list today.

Over the moon.

I got the suitcase, a sweater, a scarf, a pair of black cordoroy slacks, socks, underware, bras, all the miniature travel crap you need to travel.  Not that I really need toiletries, I will just buy them when I get to Paris–Monoprix anyone?

But it will be nice to not have to shop for a few days and technically I will be en route for 24 hours.

I leave the morning of November 1st at 10:20 a.m.

I arrive the morning of November 2nd at 8:40 a.m.

I had a mini-stress out over how I was going to get through customs with my suitcase and my bicycle yesterday while still in the throes of my illness.

I don’t have to know, now do I?

It will happen.

I will take the train and then I will take the Metro.  And if the box is to unwieldy I can just get a cab.  I will make it to Barnaby’s place just fine.

I mean my place.

Holy cats, I say it again!

My place.

My mom reminded me to send her my Paris address as soon as I have it.  I need to shoot an e-mail off to Barnaby requesting just that.  I know it is Rue Crespin du Gast and I know that it is in the 11th Arrondisement, but aside from that I do not know specifics.  I believe it is in the 700s, and I need a little more information if my mom is going to send me a birthday card this year to my house.

To my house!

In Paris!

I am moving to Paris.

Wow.

Buying the little travel size toiletries then buying the suitcase, really nailed it down.  I am going and I am going soon.

Two days left at work.

Two.

Then off to new endeavors.

But before I go, some saying good byes.

When my friend picked me up from BART this early afternoon I got nostalgic as we were driving up and over Nob Hill to where his other car was parked.  The view from the top of Sacramento Street.  The lanterns swinging in China Town.  The view toward the Golden Gate Bridge–Angel Island and Alcatraz gleaming in the blue of the bay–I got misty eyed.

I told my friend I would get it all done today and return his car tomorrow.

He said, no worries, and we’ll figure it out.  Use it as long as you need it.

I may need it to say good-bye to a few spots.

I may.

I almost pulled over tonight on the way back across the Bay Bridge to make that stop I talked about in my Bucket List blog, Treasure Island.

The night is clear, the view would be spectacular, but I also was running a little later than I had originally planned.  I ran into Matt tonight and we hung out and then fellowshipped and had great big huge salads with friends and since I had a vehicle we popped over to Rainbow and did some grocery shopping–he lives in the neighborhood, but it was really nice to extend a ride to him–considering just how many times he has helped me move!

So I skipped the turn off, but I will go see it soon.  Whether in this vehicle or another, it is not so important, I know it will happen.

It is lovely getting to have this perspective before I go.

Sad yes, painful, a little, lovely, yes, golden and sumptuous, and sad and divine.

Love finding me when I finally let myself have it.

Matt played me a song tonight in the car that a friend of his played for him–it was about true love and how it will always find you in the end.

Because we forget that it is searching for us as well, it is when we stop hunting, stop living life in the fast lane, slow down, embrace what is front of you, and leap knowing you don’t know what is on the other side, love will find you.

Love will catch you.

And together you will fly.

With brand new carry on luggage.

Third Date

September 29, 2012

Oh God, do you have a sense of humor or what.

Really.

WHY NOW.

I am leaving in five weeks.

Five.

Ah, fuck it.  Go with the flow, enjoy the time, let whatever is going to happen happen.

Right.

Like holding hands.

I cannot believe that, I just blushed sitting here at the long dining room table at Graceland writing my blog and I just blushed over holding hands.

But what nice hands.

I like it when the other paw is bigger than mine, and warm and it was unexpected and lovely and taken so naturally and easily and ah, blushing again.

Yeesh.

You may get the impression I like this gentleman.

Damn.

You may be right.

I have always liked him.  No question about that, although, I never saw this coming.  And I certainly have no idea where it is going.  He chuckled tonight as he said, “and here we are becoming friends right before you leave for Paris and I am in the busiest month of the year at work.”

Funny.

And I am house sitting in Oakland and he lives in Russian Hill.

For Pete’s sake.

I used to live within a five-minute bike ride of him.  We were actually within the same half mile radius before I moved out of Nob Hill.

We went to the movies tonight.

I had a movie date.

I wore the heels.

I was almost as tall as him.  He is 6’3″.

I like a tall man.

God, that is nice to be shorter than the person you are on a date with.  I have been with plenty of men that were my height, no problem, but something does light up in my endocrine system when with a man taller than me.

I just feel more feminine.  And being a strong natured, strong bodied woman, it is a genuinely unique experience to be feminized by the presence of a man.

Blushing.

Blushing.

My god, blushing some more.

I do not even know if I can continue writing this blog.

Frogs.

And it is almost midnight.

Not that I will be easily falling asleep as I giggle my way along here in the house with the cats.

Note to self, send the Master of the house pictures of his cats tomorrow, he misses the kids.  They were all over me this evening when I got back.  I think they are used to my comings and goings by this point and know my schedule pretty darn well.

They got up in my face, “hey where you been?”

Getting lost on the way home from the movie.

Two adults, two smart phones, one brand new navigation system and still got lost.

Oakland you naughty city you.

A secret–I did not mind so much this getting lost part.

I am comfortable with him.  He is sweet to me.  He took my hand in the theater and I just about swooned.  It was natural and easy and not awkward at all.

I uncrossed and crossed my legs, short dress, high heels, stockings, and suddenly, easily, no thought to it, he took my hand and held it, warm, solid, strong.

Strong.

There was a lot of strength there, but not overwhelming or overpowering, safe.

Blushing.

Ack.

Done with this.

Well, actually, maybe not.  Maybe it is ok to be so affected, so touched.

That was what he said when he picked me up from the airport, that I was more touchable, more approachable.

This changed woman I am becoming.

The change is happening, of course it is, allowing myself this kind of intimacy is not something I do really well.

Not something I do at all.

Truth be told.

I can give away my body, it is not that hard, I can have sex with someone, slightly challenging, getting naked, but letting someone see me just for me.

Lost, directionless, giddy, silly, goofy, and gangly, this is new territory.

I have to say though, he makes me feel beautiful.

I see myself, just for a moment, now both this time and the last time he dropped me off, and there, just for a fleeting moment, I see what he sees.

And I am beautiful.

There is something gone, some filter that I normally have up, some screen, and it is gone and there I am.  And I am amazing.

Is this what they mean to see oneself truly?

I do not think that I see myself very well.

But I like looking into his eyes, green, topaz, gold, and I like the connection.

He took my hand again when we finally made it to Graceland and for the first time since I have been here there was not a single car in front of the house, in fact, it was so isolated that we both thought that it was street cleaning–but I know better.

We sat in the car and talked silly talk, that talk that you talk when it is not really talk, it is to fill the space between the beating heart in your throat and what is going to happen next.

He took my hand and it was warm and strong and I shivered and he kissed me.

My glasses pressed against my cheeks and I wanted to take them off, but his mouth, there on mine, so rich ad soft and firm and just insistent enough.

Neither too much, nor too little.

Ardent.

I am going to blush all the way to bed now.

Happily in the moment, no thought of what comes next other than seeing him on Sunday.

And maybe getting another kiss.

Bang!

July 4, 2012

Don’t worry, nervous system it’s just 4th of July eve here in the Mission, I’m sure it’s just a firecracker.

Or a gunshot.

Or a firecracker.

Or a gun shot.

The Mission gets crazy with fireworks this time of year.  Everyone lights them off, there are illegal bottle rockets and M16s going off on every corner and the streets are lashed in smoke.

It used to really freak me out.  I remember my first fourth of July in the Mission.  I was living at 22nd and Alabama.  Deep down in the Mission, just straddling a sort of neutral land between the Reds and the Blues and I was afraid to go out side.

It was cold, foggy, smokey, and every other second it seemed like there was artillery fire happening.  I wanted to get a six-pack from the corner store and I felt like I had to get psyched up to get myself out the door and to the Bodega.

The streets were smokey and at first I thought the fog was just really heavy coming in from over Twin Peaks.  But no, it was smoke.

And where there’s smoke there’s definitely fireworks.

The fact is I will probably be deep in Mission territory again this 4th of July.  I am working at the shop my normal hours then heading over to 2900 24th Street to meet with my fellows at 8p.m.

I suspect that by the time I get done there, 9 p.m. the melee will be beginning to get some action.  It will be dusk.  I am already contemplating getting done with work, riding the bike home, and just walking over to 2900.

I don’t know that I want to be riding home as the fireworks get going.

I have actually never gone down to the waterfront and watched the fireworks.  Last year was probably the best viewing I have ever had and that was something else.

I was still living in Nob Hill.  I took the stairs up to the roof.  I had a clear, unobstructed view of the Bay, stunning.  The night was clear and cold, but clear, which is not always the case, was a huge deal, it was my first 4th of July without fog.

I was just as fascinated by the fireworks as I was by the parties of people  (Jesus, that’s a load of fireworks that just went off, that sounded really too close and really too loud, fuck, I am already jumpy like a cat) if not more so, who were scattered all over the roof tops and balconies of the houses studding Nob Hill.

Truly some of the best seats in the house.

Side bar–favorite child hood fireworks–Snakes–something very oddly compelling about them and the smell of sulphur.

I am a bit of a firebug, but I have not lit up a firecracker or a sparkler in quite some time.  I loved sparklers when I was a kid.

Ok, dude, that one made me jump.

Eek.  It might be tough sleeping tonight.

I loved how they smelled, the sizzle they made when they were burning, the trails of colors left on the back of my eyelids.  I have this very fond memory of tall grass in the back yard of the house in Windsor, my feet buried in thick lush, soft grass, the smell of the summer night, the sparklers, a whole box just for myself, the falling indigo dusk and the fire flies wicking in and out of the deeper grass in the back orchard.

If I could be anywhere for 4th of July, it would be in Madison, at Warner park, camped out all day on a blanket in the park, waiting for the light to fail and it to get dark enough to watch the fireworks as they set them off from the lagoon.

There are probably better fire works displays.

There are probably.

But I can remember every Fourth of July that I lived on the North East side of Madison, going over to Warner Park for the fireworks, even going when I did not live on that side of town.

The time I sat so close that I got firework ash in my hair and had to be careful that the embers that fell down around me powdery and hot did not land on my head.

The boom and the sizzle of a loud cannon blast and the resulting blooms and showers of light.

Fireworks, I feel, and this is only my opinion, are the best in the Midwest on a warm July night, the smoke keeps the mosquito’s at bay, the air is lush, electric, and soft.  You wear a sun dress all day long and the heat bakes off your skin as the cooling breeze from the night falls around you.

A band plays a rendition of the star spangled banner and the whole crowd roars together in one loud momentous movement of patriotism.

The fourth of July happens to be one of the few days I do feel oddly patriotic.

Ironic as I prepare to become an ex-pat.

I won’t be watching the fireworks tomorrow and I am ok with that, I’ll still get plenty of experience with the noise and the smoke, the boom and the bang.

I loved the bright clear stunning display last year in Nob Hill.

But the dirty, gritty, pop of cheap, illegal fireworks booming between the alleyways in the Mission, is really the more authentic celebration for me at this time in my life.

Happy Fourth of July!

Now, go blow something up.


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