Posts Tagged ‘North Oakland’

All My Important Things

August 16, 2013

Are exactly where they are supposed to be.

They are in bins and boxes, plastic bags, stacked, packed, and ready for the dust.

I got it all here.

Including myself.

I am in San Francisco.

The bike, the bag, the computer, the playa bike, the boxes, bins, and tins, all in the back of my employers garage to be loaded into their vehicle sometime tomorrow.

I am done.

I am still a little astounded that it all, including me, got here before 11 p.m. tonight.

After I dropped the man at the BART I dashed back to Graceland, finished the coffee, finished the one small load of laundry, brought down the rest of the clothes and small electronics that I always bring (my IHome cube music player, which I adore, and goes every year, the rechargeable battery thing–I will take loads of photos–my camera is ready, and all the little cords to recharge the laptop and the phone.), stacked them all in the back of the employers car, drove to Emeryville, got lost, but still managed to be five minutes early to work, put down the monkey pie for her nap, wrote last nights blog, and ate my lunch.


After my little pumpkin woke up and she had her lunch and some time to adjust to being awake, I packed her up and we drove her papa’s car into the city to drop my stuff at the Cole Valley house.

I actually backed into the driveway as the mom and her little boy were strolling around the corner.

I hollered out, got shown were to put my stuffs, confirmed my arrival time this evening, and my start time for tomorrow morning–9:30 a.m.

Then I drove back, sans stuff, to Emeryville, made a trip to the bank, to let them know I was changing address, not Black Rock City, but the Sunset, and got a new check register.

Then one last trip to the park with my ladybug.

Who today.


Said my name.

And I love you.

I just died.

Kid you’re killing me.

Of course unless you speak her language you may not recognize my name, but her dad did later, and I totally got what she was saying and then she clearly said I love you.

More than once.

More the twice.

It was so nice.

My heart just got a little bigger thinking about it.

She was just such a peach today.

I am enamored.

It is true.

I did not say good-bye to her in any kind of formal way, I will still likely have her in the city once a week and I am, fingers crossed, hoping for more than that, but I won’t be going out to her house any more.

I will miss rocking her in her room, the sound of the noise machine set low to ocean surf, reading her books and snuggling before nap time.

I will miss putting Pandora on to the Scissor Sister’s channel and dancing around the kitchen like a maniac with her giggling in my arms as we spin across the floor.

I will miss putting her hair up in little pony tail poofs.

“Who did your baby hair?” A little girl with the most audacious set of braids I have seen in sometime, asked me today at the park.

I have to say, I rather proudly responded, “I did,” and smiled.

“They look good!” She exclaimed.

“Thank you,” I said and scooped up the little ladybug to go head back to the house.

“Home!” She said.

Then, “my turn, push,” she meant the stroller.

She leaned forward, grasped the push bar with her two little wee paws and I held her, Superman style, straight and flat, arms around her little waist, with her legs sticking out behind and we pushed her stroller down the sidewalk to her house giggling at our silliness.

The child has an outrageous sense of humor and some of the best comedic timing in a kid I have ever seen.

And she’s not even two!

After her pops got back we settled up and I grabbed my bicycle, headed to BART and hit it to the city.

I had a moment when I almost turned to ride toward Graceland and not the BART, then shook it off, and went to MacArthur Station.

Off at 16th, deposit the check to the bank, head to Whole Foods, where I practiced amazing restraint and only got a small salad, a bottle of water, and apple, a banana for the oatmeal tomorrow and a small container of yogurt.

Up the hill and over to Vermont and Mariposa where I saw some folks, ate my salad and made plans to see some friends who are also headed up tomorrow.

I already have plans to be somewhere 8p.m. on Saturday night.

Thank God for friends.

A few more hugs, then back on the bicycle and off into the fog.

I marvelled at the fog, I won’t be seeing any for a few weeks, and thought how it’s all happening, it’s all falling right smack into place, pedaled from Potrero Hill through the Mission, cutting up to the Castro to hit the Wiggle, on to the Pan Handle, through the park, which at night always reminds me of a scene out of CS Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, all the lamp posts, tall trees, curlicues of fog, and then over Haight Street, crossing to Cole and up to Frederick.

And voila!

Here I am in Cole Valley, typing away.

My last blog from San Francisco for three weeks.

I don’t know what my internet connection is going to be like where I am camping this year, fingers crossed I will get me some access.

But I do know I will do what I do, and that is write every night and if I can’t get a blog posted, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t written.

I’ll be posting when I can, but writing every day, just like I do anyway.

Most of the time.

One more cup of tea, a little light snack, and off to bed I go.

Tomorrow is suddenly here.

Less than an hour away.

You’ll hear from me next in Reno.

Blog postcards from the playa soon to come.



Oops I Lost My Blog

August 15, 2013

Er, um, I sort of misplaced it.

I was busy getting busy.

“Complete anonymity please,” he said to me last night in between kissing.

“Oh, I don’t think I am going to be blogging tonight,” I said in between grinning and catching my breath.

And your secret is safe with me.


Who cares if I get laid at Burning Man?

Not when the cookies already been had.

If only I could sneak him in with me, but I think my employers might notice a rogue in the mix of my bins, and I don’t think he would fit, I packed them pretty tight.


All my Burning Man things are in the back of my employers car, my employer in North Oakland, I still need to get it to San Francisco, but it is out of Graceland and that is the big move, feels like anyway.

I was going to pack up the car last night.

But,well, you know, I was occupied.

Occupy this motherfuckers.


I am a little giddy.


Wait, why am I apologizing?

I am not.

That was needed and fun and man, was it nice to spend the night with someone.

REALLY nice.

I was happily surprised at how well we slept together.

I have had lovers who just rolled over and went to the other side of the bed, this one, not so much, in the best way, all snuggles, and cuddles, and pull me in closer and brush his fingers through my hair.

“Ack, I have too much hair,” I said, flipping it out of my face as I straddled him.

“I like it,” he said and ran his hands through it again.


I am at work with bed head.

“Look at you, all jeuged up, you look great!” The mom said.

(Its adjectival meaning has something to do with glamour; as a noun, it describes glittery publicity galas and schmoozy champagne toasts. “It’s a kind of term for a bit of fancy stuff,” Emily Watson explains, basking — appropriately enough for a rising star of her order — on the lush garden patio of the Chateau Marmont. “I think I’ll wear a bit of jeuge tonight, get jeuged up. Thanks google!)

I smiled really big and almost spilled the beans.

But I kept it too myself.

I mean, I could credit the glow to the make up, I am wearing glitter eyeshadow (subtle glitter, thank you) and glossy lips.

But my hair, though in pony tails, is officially bed head hair.

I had to get up, move the car out of the gated yard at Graceland to the street to let the room mate out and my lover needed to be back in the city, by “eightish” and I came back, rumpled and frisky from the car park to find him still snuggled into the bed sheets.

“Mmmm, come here,” he said and rolled me back up into the sheets.

“Don’t you have to go into the city?” I said sliding onto the mattress.

“It’s just so nice and snuggly in here,” he said.

“Ok, pajamas, or,” I smiled, slipped back out of the yoga pants and Hello Kitty nightshirt (now freshly washed and folded and tucked into appropriate bin to take to Burning Man.  It’s not just for night-time any more, it’s office wear on playa, Hello Kitty pjs, that is) and back into his warm embrace.


And held.

There are not many times when I can be held and fall asleep in a man’s arms.

Last night, this morning, I had nary a problem.

That is something.

And when you turn, you turn together or shift together and it is good.

Bright and the alarm off.

I fell right back out.

His oatmeal (the special superb awesome over the top oatmeal that I made for him after moving the car–banana, fresh ripe dark Queen’s Anne cherries, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, Earth Balance, a slip of sugar, and topped with chopped raw almonds) went cold.

As did the coffee.

Neither of us seemed to care.

Back to sleep.

Back to the pillow.

Back to the dreams.

Which for once were not about getting packed and moving and working and nannying and where am I going to live and how will I get out to the studio after I get back from Burning Man, and holy shit I am out there until the 6th or 7th!

Just sweet dreams, the slip, shuffle, and drowsy roll of bodies, the soft breath on my neck, hands entwined, warm leg over mine.


Probably the best sleep I am going to have for the next few weeks.

I am packed up people.

I will be taking the car into the city, dropping off the playa stuffs, returning the car, getting my bike, riding it to BART and then staying over night at the Cole Valley gig to nanny the boy while his folks pack up the last of the stuffs and we head out to Reno.

That’s it.

I am almost there.

I may have one more interlude, although doubtful I will get to sleep with the gentleman again, I won’t be having a guest over at my employers, but I may get to see him again this evening before I turn into a playa pumpkin.

As I am going to be staying over in the city tonight and if I don’t get to my employers house it’s not because I out late trying to find one last pair of pink fish net tights for playa.

It will be sneaking one last kiss from my paramour.

“Bye lover, ” he said to me as I dropped him off at the BART.

“I’ll call you later, we’ll go get a bite when you get into the city,” he smiled.

No, that’s not right.

He grinned.

Just like I am grinning now.


Which equals.


That’s right.

I haven’t gotten to Burning Man yet.

I am already winning.

And I smiling to beat the band.


Where Did All the Money Go?

August 13, 2013

That was my first thought today when I looked at m checkbook.

What the hell?

That is not correct.

Then I remembered.

Oh yeah, I got myself an in-law in the Sunset, I’m moving on up.

Although I think the Jefferson’s were moving up to a high-rise and my little space is a studio on the first floor of the house.

Then, after calming down a little, sort of, about the money, I thought, oh, shoot, I need to pay off the student loan payment too before I leave for that big party in the desert–ACS sweetly reminded me the end of my forebearance is at hand.

So, I hopped on-line today and did that as well.

The funds be a dwindling.

However, I know that they are also coming in as well.

I have work all this week, then I am working on playa.

And there is always the regular work to be done, the writing, the blogging, the wondering about writing some more, like it’s time to sit the screws to another short story.

Seeing my name in print yesterday, seeing those words out there in that magazine, really blew some wind on a what feels like dying flame.

I spoke with my mom today, caught her up with me, which took all of three seconds, then I listened to all about her for the next twenty.  And that’s ok, it’s good to hear your mom’s voice before taking off for a long trip.

Not that I am entirely out of contact when I am at Burning Man, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there that know where I am.

Fortunately, all my employers know where  I will be.

Most of them will be there too.

Probably not my North Oakland mama, she’ll be staying I believe here in the bay and hanging out with her little girl, whom I have had the distinct pleasure of hanging out with today.

My gosh.

It was super good to see her.

She just makes me feel special.



And funny.

It tickles my funny bone that I know how to make a kid laugh.

No small talent.

“Did you see what you just did there,” my friend said to me yesterday as we were walking up to the gates of Outside Lands.

I did, sort of, I had automatically, without thought, justified the reason why I had VIP passes.

“You went and made yourself less than,” she concluded.

“You deserve this, you get to be here, you don’t have to justify it with how much or how little you work for it, honey, we’re all the same, you deserve this, and a lot more too.” She added in as I blushed.

I having been seeing some thing clearer and my friend is entirely right.

It’s like I have been trained to not be good enough.

“Oh what do you need?” My mom asked me about household stuff.  “There’s so much great stuff down here that people just toss and the thrift stores, oh.  I could pick you up stuff and ship it out…”

I interrupted.


I was not nice about it, I realized not much longer after getting off the phone.

How about you save the money on shipping the second-hand pots and pans set and send it to me in a card instead.


Five bucks and I’ll happily get a coffee.

Then I thought about how my mom had asked me one thing and one thing only when I offered amends to her, she wanted me to ask her for help.

Now, I know the reality of the situation is such that the help is not forthcoming, but did I still pop a resentment when she back tracked and said in a later conversation, “well, I am just so broke right now.”


I wonder where I get it.

This attitude of poverty.


Not enough.

There is enough!

I don’t need to look to my mom to give it to me and the next time she offers to do something I will just say yes and let her do what ever she wants to with her money, lack there of, or thrift store treasure finds.

Sometimes other people’s trash really does contain some gold.

It makes her happy.

I can give her that.

That is doable.

And for the rest of it, the studio will come together with all the things I am supposed to have for it when I get back.

I have hopped around on craigslist and there is nothing that I can do at the moment.

I am still negotiating my time frame for getting my things into the city to leave on Friday while also juggling working every day and working extra tonight.


I am, still working, as I write this.

I don’t normally like to post up my blog before I get home.

You never know what kind of excitement I might encounter on the ride home through crack infested waters.

But I am still working, mom has got a late client and dad is doing late work for the burning thingamabob, so I am here.

Which means I am also trying to balance my time, because I have a 45 minute bicycle commute, probably 40 minutes, the traffic will be lighter than when I came in this morning, albeit it more colorful, when the mom gets back.

Her arrival time is 9:15p.m.

Which puts me at Graceland at 10 p.m.

The alarm is set for tomorrow morning at 6:30 a.m.


Long back to back days.

But that will refill the coffers and I am sure I will sneak in some sleep tomorrow night, I have a later start time on Wednesday.



I’ll need to have it figured out by then too.

How to get from here to there.

And a talk with the mom about post-burning nanny.

Gotta suck it up and do it, maybe tonight.

Probably tonight.

Just need to not let it be a long conversation or it will be less sleep for me and I have three charges tomorrow, plus a meeting after at a coffee shop and then over to the Women’s Building for some of that good good shit.

So, breaking my blog rules, but whatever.

I gots to do what I gots to do.

Besides I don’t want to risk not being able to get online again, that was a frustrating hour that I spent extra last night trying to post.



Do it now.

Do it with love.

Do it now.


August 10, 2013

I got my first look at my three-week residency today–the Bambi Airstream!  Beneath whose roof I shall shelter for the duration of Burning Man.

Oh my she is cute.

Or he, I guess, Bambi was a boy wasn’t he?

And the licence plate on the Bambi says, “And Bean.”

Which also sounds like a boy, the mom and dad have a cute sense of humour and their car is called Franks.

Franks and Bean.


Oh my god she is cute.


Back to that.




Bambi Airstream












The interior was quite delightful too.

However, I did not really get any good snapshots of it.

I will say this much, it is perfect.

There’s a little tiny kitchenette with a fridge!  My goodness, I had not even thought about that, having a fridge.  I will be able to stock it with some sparkly bubble water.

That is my luxury.

That and glitter and tights.

And hair flowers.

Ok, I digress.

I got a fridge!

And despite there not being an A/C, who needs A/C when I have walls? There is what is called a “swamp cooler” which will circulate moist air throughout the cabin.


I remember my step-father setting one up in the house in Windsor when I was fifteen or sixteen, it was a really bad hot summer and the man was too cheap to get air conditioning for the house.

It worked, though, if I recall correctly.

Having that will be a boon in the trailer.

There’s a tiny water closet, which I will not use, I don’t want to pay for truck service to the trailer, there’s no need for it, I can be quite content to use the port-a-potties at the event, I already have a stash of toilet paper in my bins.

Speaking of bins, I believe I have my stuffs issues worked out.

I texted my mom in Tahoe, the family comes back this weekend, to see what hours she needs for next week and I got a full week!  And she iterated that I may use their car to “schlepp” my stuff.

This is fantastic.

REALLY fantastic.

I mean, yeah, I will be busy, but I have so much done (don’t have a lot to take!) that I don’t mind working a full week.  I will have one charge on Monday, three on Tuesday, one on Wednesday and Thursday, and then off to the city to take care of the playa monkey Friday so his folks can pack it all up and off we go.

Yeah, that’s one week from today.

Seeing that trailer sitting out in front of the house, I nanny’ed in Cole Valley today so the family could do some prep work, really brought it home that I was going.  And it really accentuated how well I am being taken care of.

I feel totes spoiled.

I will bust my ass, no doubt, and being able to pop in and out of the Bambi will make it so much easier.

Mom and dad and baby will stay in a work trailer and we will all be camped out next to each other.  What with being able to shut the door, pull the shades, and pop out the awning, I should be fine for privacy.

The Bambi also has a little kitchen nook with a table and two blue and white striped upholstery benches and then in the back there is a little sleeping nook, not big, but cozy and perfect for me, and maybe a very quiet guest.


I will probably keep shenanigans out of camp.

If there be shenanigans to be had.

It is just so perfect I wanted to pinch myself.

Is this really happening?

A small insider thought for you.

Last year I said I would be back, I did not know how, I mean I was planning on staying the rest of my life in Paris, or something like that, but I said to myself, have been saying to myself, next year I really want to go to Burning Man and stay in a Bambi Airstream.

And voila!

The Universe heard.

Of course, the answer was not quite what I expected, I did not know the parents had a Bambi, I also had hoped when I had the thought that I would be the owner of said Bambi and not just its occupant.

But who cares!?


I mean, I get to go.

I get to go and be of service.

I get to go and have a bike and a Bambi to sleep in and write in, a table to pen my morning pages at, a place to write my blog in the evening, a place to hang my clothes.

The Bambi has a closet too!

I feel so lucky.

To have work today, tomorrow.

A day off on Sunday to gird my loins, then off into the fray.

Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday in North Oakland.

Tuesday and Friday in Cole Valley.

Friday night in Reno.

Saturday in Black Rock City.



Gave myself goosebumps.

“Do you even like it?” She said when I told her about the event and how I got to be a nanny out there what that entails, the work needed, the prep, the balancing act of self-care to nanny duties.

“Oh yeah, I totally do, I mean, yes, it’s hard, and difficult, and fucking dusty and (oh holy hell, it might be raining, there have been rainstorms up there and standing water–my boss today asked if I had rubber rain boots. Nope) and sometimes I wonder what am I doing here and why did I come….”

She raises an eyebrow.

“Then the magic hour happens, the golden hour at sunset, or the moon rises over the Calicoes, and the art, oh the art!  And the fire, jesus, the fire art is beyond belief. Or some drift of music snags at your heart and you find yourself dancing with no one to watch you but the high sky and the clouds and you are so in the moment it hurts in that awful way that you don’t want to ever stop.”

“Yeah, I like it,” I said and smiled.

I lied.

I love it.

But you already knew that, didn’t you?


Easing In

July 23, 2013

The week starts out with a three hour nap.

Thank you Jeebus.

That was amazing.

Now, I expect the other shoe to drop, no napping for the rest of the week, explosive diapers, teething atrocity, baby bedlam.

Not really.

There is no other shoe that is about to drop.

I have quietly, slowly, even at times, painfully, discovered this.

The anxiety about what may or may not happen in the future, anytime near or far, is just not worth holding onto.

Although John Ater has mentioned to me that perhaps I should worry more, because none of the things that I worry about actually happen.

I usually spend a few minutes after getting back from a Rockridge adventure after work, trying to force myself to wind down.

Must go to bed.

Must go to bed.

Must write.

Must write short, pithy blog that readers will appreciate reading and I will feel sense of accomplishment for having typed so fast my fingers are sore.

Speaking of sore fingers I may find myself reverting back to a bicycle riding prop that I have not used in years–gloves.

My hands and wrists are getting sore from the long commute.

I don’t mind the commute, although today, shocker, like every day, I did observe a few things.

“Queens not Hoes” was white washed over on the wall of the building it was splashed across.

Queens not garden rakes.

So sweet.

Instead of the sweet, albeit grammatically incorrect graffiti, the new artist had put up a splashy “Everyone is Trayvon” graffiti.

But it was not well done and it was not worth the stop in my bicycle commute to document with my camera.

I almost did not take out my camera on my way home either, although I expressly brought it with me after last nights spectacular moon rise.  I did not want to miss another opportunity to take that kind of photograph.

However, the banks of clouds were not parting to show off the rising moon, it stays hidden behind heavy purple clouds that look as though they might drop an unexpected summer torrent of rain.

Instead, when in the moment, I looked back to gauge my timing to turn left, I have to cross two lanes and then pop into the turn lane right after 50th, I saw the sky behind me on fire.

I swung over to the gutter, took my feet out of my Hold Fast straps (pedal retention like cages) and managed to pull out my camera and catch a few shots before seeing a perfect gap in the traffic to shoot over.

I took a few shot, bundled up the camera, and pedaled quick and fast across the road way before the next onslaught of trucks jacked up on huge rims, flashing silver and white.

I was thinking about pulling over by Talk of the Town and taking some photographs of the neon signage outside the bar, but there were too many gentlemen of the drunken variety and a posse of young men across the street obviously holding.

I did not stop.

Although, given the chance I will.

I did like the shots I got though.

Kelley Moore Paints

Kelley Moore Paints


International Avenue

Sunset Reflections




I had another moment today when I wanted to take some photographs, but only because I planned on being the nanny police and turning in a little riot of teenager drinkers and smokers in the park that I took my charge to.


Must you roll and light up that blunt right there?


And then smoke it too?

Come on.

The entire playground was rife with pot smoke.

Then I heard the smashing of a bottle on the ground, a flask had been passed around and dumped into the bottles of Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail in the quartet’s busy paws.

I am not surprised by underage drinking or drugging.

Not really.

I am not normally so nosy, either.

But I was pissed.

They were babies with babies.

The stroller was a trashed out single mom ghetto stroller that you might see a homeless man pushing.

However, I was quite aware that the fifth person in the group was napping and his/her legs were dangling out the bottom of the carriage while the two girls and two guys drank and passed around the blunt.

I just had to let it go.

What was I going to do?

Call CPS.

At least they weren’t smoking crack in the park.

At least the kid was napping.

I mean, who am I to judge?

I think I know better, but it’s not my kid and I can’t rescue them, I can hardly rescue me.

I just turned my attention to where it needed to be, on the tow-headed joy of a little girl I had right in front of me demanding to go down the swirly slide.

“Up, up, up, up,” she said, raising her arms and pleading with me with bright shiny eyes.

“All rewards, but none of the work, eh?” I asked her.


Ok, I am a sucker for a kid who uses please.

I lifted her up and tipped her over the side at the top of the swirly slide and watched her happy and content twirl down the green plastic slide.

She told me when it was time to go.


And walked me to the gate when it was time.

We walked back, picked jasmine, smelled the flowers, talked to a puppy, talked to a drive way, pointed out dad’s car, and showed up at home for “Na, nas”.


She ate half my apple today, half of an avocado, black beans, turkey, cheese, blueberries until the cows came home, and a few yogurt Puffs.

Baby crack.

But good for keeping the hands busy when you need to attend to something.

We played stickers, read about poop, and sang songs.

Not a bad way to start the week.

And I managed to get my camera out too.

Week has officially begun.

What’s next?

I am ready.


I Was Wondering When

July 16, 2013

That was going to happen.

The mom said to me today when I went over to start the week with my little ladybug in North Oakland.

I told her my rates were going up.

She was so not surprised I almost kicked myself for not asking earlier.

But I did and I also said my rates would stay the same for the rest of the month.

Again, kicking myself, but that was what felt right in my heart when I asked and when I wrote about it.

I did not raise the roof on the rates.

The mom was surprised again when I told her what I wanted.

I apparently could have asked for more.

Again, hindsight is 20/20 and I am just grateful I asked at all.

This is all a learning experience anyhow and this will not be the last job I have.

Tomorrow I will tell the other families, it’s my long day in Cole Valley.

I think they will be fine with it as well.  Rates will change August 1st.

Although I will stick to the contract I set, verbal, with the family for Burning Man coverage.  That deal will stay the same.

The mom and I also talked about what will happen after Burning Man.

When I am moving to the Sunset.

“That’s not going to work for you, is it?” She said, “coming in from the Sunset to nanny over here?”

No, no, it’s not.

And I am glad she brought it up.

Of course, I do not know what my schedule will look like for the families in San Francisco.  I want to help everyone out, but I don’t want to commute from the outer sunset to North Oakland.

That just seems like way too much.

I do not have to future trip about it either.

Right now I am wondering, spacey, my apologies, if I am coming down with a little bug or if I just need more sleep; having gotten up so early yesterday and despite the having the time, I did not nap, nor did I go to bed early yesterday.

My circadian clock is pretty hard set.

I feel a bit whipped though.

I would normally go to bed early on a Monday anyhow, I have to leave for the BART to catch it in to the city to ride my bicycle to Cole Valley, by 7:40 a.m.

Door to door it takes a little less than one hour.

I get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and sometimes I do my morning pages, but for the most part, the notebook usually ends up coming along for the commute and I write my morning pages at the nanny gig, sometime during the first naps of the morning.

Tomorrow I’ll have three monkeys, but the last monkey won’t get there until 2pm, so I may have the time to do a spot of writing.

It’s always a crap shoot though, I prefer to have written before heading out, but I am not sure I feel like getting up at 6 a.m. to do the work, I have already done that once this week and I do feel out of it.

Spacey for sure.

Marking time as well.

I don’t have any projects I am working on and that bothers me a bit.

I feel like I need to get something started, or do some work with the writing, get another short story working.

Especially as the short story I submitted to The Bastille is going to be published on the 22nd of this month–one week from today.

I feel a little lost at the moment.

Again, I am going to chalk that up to being tired.

In fact, this whole tired blog is tiring.

I may just put this puppy to bed now.

Same my energy for the onslaught of Baby Apocalypse tomorrow.

Sight Seeing

July 11, 2013

As I do my bicycle commute from East Oakland, through West Oakland, and then onto my final destination of North Oakland, I see some interesting things.

I see beauty all over the place.

Sometimes selling itself on the corner for a quick fix from reality.

Sometimes just in the pattern of the clouds against the sky.

The sky that can sometimes thrust me back into my four-year old body as it stared up from the back window of a Volkswagen bug and I am lost in sense memory until the next light changes and I realize I better stop rather than fly through the intersection.

The commute is getting quicker, I know where I need to go, which street to hit, what intersections to be wary of, which ones I can blow through without much thought, but it is still interesting.

Especially to the writer in me.

The things that caught my eye today:

The beautiful curvaceous body of a young girl, perhaps sixteen, perhaps seventeen, in a body hugging crimson short dress with new sandals.  The sway of her heart-shaped earrings broke my reverie and I realized she was a hooker working the corner, but for just a moment she was a gorgeous gazelle floating down the street.

I wonder how long she will get to stay that pretty.

The rims on the Honda Accord, a weird off-color pink that looked matte, were perhaps plastic?  Such strange rims that I almost wanted to stop a take a photograph of them, but I had places to be, babies to nanny.

The manicured lawn on Market at 41st.

It is so manicured, so pristine, and so tiny that I often think that it is astro turf and I frequently want to stop and touch it.

But then who’s crazy now?

Excuse, me sir, I am just touching your lawn to ascertain its reality, don’t mind me.

The block  between 19th and 20th streets on San Pablo.

The one that is anchored by two different liquor stores and some sort of grocery mart/ store that has a poorly written sign that I know is meant to be indicative of WIC being accepted at the Bodega, but the grammar is such that it looks like “vouchers for women and children good here”.

You mean I can give you a voucher and you’ll give me a woman?


Because that’s happening just a scant few steps down and I don’t think they know they can get the hook up at your store instead of soliciting it on the sidewalk or the gutter between parked cars.

The other signs on the street that amuse me/horrify me are these: Serenity Place, A Friendly Manor, and Victory House.

Ain’t no serenity happening here folks, keep on moving.

Today I saw a white man, probably in his mid-twenties wearing a full length camel-hair coat and aviator sunglasses circa 1978.

He was crashed into the side of the bus stop and was having a rapid conversation with, well, with whom I am not sure, there was no one else there, but the conversation looked brisk and intense.

There is Giant Burger, which is now Giant Burger and burritos?

I am not sure what is happening but slowly as the weeks have gone by in my travels through this neck of the woods, it appears to have a more and more Mexican slant to the menu.

There is ShugaHill, which seems to be a soul food restaurant that never is open.

And “Brother” which actually looks pretty damn good, and smells pretty fine.

I also like their sign which says, “We will deliver anywhere!”

I almost want to test that out.

There is the bridge I go under, either side amuck with garbage and depending on the day of the week, there are two pan handlers working it, either a young white woman, cannot be more than 22/23 years old, who seems to be wearing some sort of brown sack dress, and either dirty brown flip-flops or shredded black Vans, who panhandle’s on the off ramp from the highway on the tiniest meridian possible.

Her hair is also brown and lank and she does not yet have the coat of tan that indicates you have been homeless in the elements for a while.

Should she get cleaned up I bet she would look normal, just another girl on the side of the road begging for money to get her fix.

The other is the scrawniest black man, old, but I cannot tell how old, who works the other off-ramp and stands with a hand held out, no sign, next to a red painted metal shopping cart.  He is so still I often don’t realize there is a person there until I am past him and my mind registers what my eyes just saw.

Tonight I was late at the nanny job and I got to see the same strip from a vantage point that I don’t often get, dusky night ride.

I normally would head over to Rockridge and see some folks there about getting some medicine for what ails me, but tonight I was in between times and just needed to get back to Gracelandia before it was too late.

Thus I skipped straight to the commute and saw the same strip of land as night was falling and the crazy was calling.

The same strip where I want to paint a shazam sign on the side of a building saying, “SERENITY NOW!” was going off.

I mean off.

“Nigger get the fuck off me, bitch.”

There was a throw down happening between two women, indiscriminate age, fighting over what, I don’t know, but it was hot and on and people where coming from out of the proverbial wood work to see it go down, I nearly hit one old shuffling man with no shoes on, just some frayed socks, as he hustled from across the street to get a better look at the action.

One woman had grabbed the other woman’s hair and was whaling on her.


I was tempted to call the cops, but I just hustled through, there was enough ruckus happening that one of the stores would make the call, I am sure.

Especially since it was interrupting the brisk trade of beers in a bag sales that were happening.

Two blocks away.

Two white women, preening, yoga-fied, slick pony tails pulled back sleek and high, sat at an outdoor cafe eating salads.

Looked like arugula and figs.

Hard to tell.

Whipped by them, crossed through Frank Ogawa plaza up onto 14th then hit the Lake headed back to East Oakland.

Tonight I was not smacked on the ass, thank god, it would have freaked me out tonight, being as it was nightfall by the time I got back, but I was followed a couple of blocks rather too closely by a large truck.

I just ignored it and focused on riding.

I counted down the blocks as they went by and realized I was making extraordinary time.

36 minutes from door to door.

Not bad.

Especially as how it was such a colorful ride home.

Tuesday, It’s a Good Day

July 3, 2013

For a panic attack.

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

Man that was not fun.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy mother of God.

No wonder I was freaking out.

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

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

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

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

I mean I suppose I could take the bus?

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

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

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

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

Either the pet sit.

Or the nanny in Oakland.

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

The back and forth was just not an option.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I got a live person.



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

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

Just that.

Oh, yes, and take care of the baby.

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

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

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

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

Mom said yes, just clear it with dad.

I text dad.

Dad said it’s a go.

I have a place to stay.


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

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

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

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

Thank fucking God.

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

Figure it out ain’t a god damn slogan.

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

A “Relaxing Day”

May 30, 2013

At work.

Although it did not start out that way.

I got out of bed late.

Not way late, not so late that I would have to call a cab or jump BART.

Not that getting on BART is actually a time saver from here to North Oakland, it is about the same amount of commute time.

I still checked, just to make sure, just in case, maybe it would save me a few minutes of hurrying around this morning.


I would get there faster on my bicycle.

So scurry it was.

Again, not a horrible scurry, just no time to do my morning writing.

I still got up, made the bed, did my other normal routines, got dressed, had breakfast, fed the cats inside and out and threw lunch and coffee fixings in my messenger bag.

That was the other thing, no time to make a pot of coffee.

Which is sad, but was necessary.

I dashed out the door with my bag full of food–lunch, dinner, and snack, notebook, extra almond milk for the eventual coffee, phone, two bike locks, keys.

I wheeled onto International Ave, blew one red light and then, no I did not slow down, but I slowed down.  I realized that getting there timely was not as important as getting there in one piece.

The world would not end if I was a few minutes late, but if I sped through too many intersections in my journey to be a perfect nanny, always on time, if not just a few minutes early, then my world may well come to an end.

I have too much to live for and have not come even close to doing it all yet for that.

I slowed my roll.

Not during the riding, but at every intersection, even putting my foot down to signal a stop at a few places.  Some intersections, yes, I rolled through, but I looked both ways and did it cautiously.  Some intersections I did not want to stop and settle waiting for the light, not as I was needing to be speedy, I was needing to keep my eye contact discreet.

There was some heavy dealing and prostituting going on this morning.

I thought maybe it was some residual left over from the long weekend, but damn Gina, it’s now Wednesday.  Time to slow your roll.

These are decisions, however, that have nothing to do with me and as I will continue to commute through these neighborhoods I don’t need to be casting a judging eye on what the populace is doing for work.

None of my business.

I am an observer though, and sometimes I cannot help but observe and sometimes my brain provides me with a funny soundtrack to go along with said observations.

“Not my choice of clothes for a morning stroll,” tight cheetah leggings and red broke down flip-flops.

“Welcome to the Friendly Manor,” read the sign, “a scary place to live,” my brain added as I rode past the number of drug deals going down, it was hopping at 10:30 a.m. around the shopping cart full of glass bottles.

It was cracking for sure.

“Not need to worry about being late,” my brain added as I arrived, four minutes early, tucked in my bike and went into the house.  Mom was taking care of business, dad was still in bathrobe and slippers and the little monkey was wearing, yes, monkey pajamas and eating scrambled “eggies”.

God I love this kid.

I have a thing for super smart little girls.

They make me happy to be a nanny.

Oh, I love my boys too, don’t get me wrong.

But I feel I have gotten to work with a couple of extraordinarily bright little ladies and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their little girl lives.

Today mom was working from home for part of the day and suggested we take the car and go up to Little Farm.

Little Farm!


I was stoked at the idea, it had been awhile since I had gone and it would be a fun little field trip and a chance to be outside with one little monkey instead of three.  Plus, I felt a remiss for not having as much interaction with the little lady as I normally do, juggling three babies is not the most optimal for quality time.

It was just maintaining time yesterday.

So, we took the car and headed up in the Berkeley Hills to Tilden Park.

Little Farm really is just that, a miniature farm in the middle of the park.

Cows, goats, chickens, a couple of geese, a hutch of bunnies, a children’s garden, rams, pigs.  You are allowed to feed the animals, only celery and lettuce, but you get to interact and it is designed to let children get close to the animals.

My girl even got close enough to pet a cow.

Which peed instantaneously, I saw it coming before it hit the ground and was able to avoid the splatter, but man that was close.

The pitfalls of nannydom are that often times you will find yourself doused with urine or poo or mashed carrots on your tights or smashed Cheerios in your bra, or sand!  I have had sand in the bra a few times.

But I was not ready to have cow urine added to the list.

I danced nimbly away and we finished our visit by feeding the last of the celery to the long-tongued brown cows in a nearby pen.

It was a great field trip and she fell asleep promptly in the car.

I got lucky, she still went down for a nap and I also got a late message from the mom of the little boy they do a nanny share with, who said, no coverage needed today, see you tomorrow.

I wasn’t even miffed at the loss of pay, I was relieved actually, to have a nap time that was actually a restful time for me.

I reviewed some e-mails for my friend’s business, made some phone calls, and yes, even took a call from a friend over a very late in the day cup of coffee on the back porch in the sunshine.

It was a long day for me, worked a few extra hours to help out the mom who is busy with work, but it felt like a breeze after yesterday.

So much so, I actually still took her to the park after her nap.

The sun was out and I wanted to be outside in it.

I feel like my body is still recovering from the three baby fest of yesterday, but it was helped along by an “easy day” and I am grateful to be done with my blog, showered (I did not get cow urine on me, but the ladybug did douse me anyhow), and laundry ready to swap over to the dryer.

Heck, I might even watch an episode of So You Think You Can Dance.

Hold the commentary, my brain has already provided it.



That Blows

May 24, 2013


I got a text this early eve as I was finishing up with the nanny’ing asking if I would be making an appearance at the Grand Ave thingamabob.


Blew a flat tire this morning on my bike heading into work.

Thanking all the bicycle gods above that it was just a three block walk from the BART station and the gig I was heading to was also just five blocks from BART.

Had it been any other way I would have been royally screwed.

I couldn’t even get upset.

I had an inkling this was going to happen.

I have not even done any investigation with it yet, I don’t know if it’s because I ate some glass or hit a big divot and blew a pinch flat (what happens when your inner tube is “pinched” against the rim of the tire–mostly happens with the tire is under inflated).  Doubtful that it was the latter as I had filled up my tires right before heading out for the commute.

I took it as a sign from the Universe.

Take it easy today.

Slow down.


There would have been a time that I would have freaked out about this.  Today was not the day.  I did not feel stressed, again, fortunate to be as close to the BART station as I was, and I knew that whatever happened I was going to be just fine.

I texted my employer and let her know I had blown a flat tire and would be possibly five to ten minutes late.

Of course today was the day when she was on a tight schedule.

But, again, there was nothing for me to do but pay for the train ride and climb the steps to the platform with my bicycle over my shoulder.

Good thing it only weighs about 20 lbs.

As it turns out I made it to work three minutes early.

That is something I learned to do a long time ago–over compensate for the time it will take to get you there.  Also, under promise.

If you say to a table waiting to be sat in a restaurant, “that will be fifteen minutes,” and then it is “twenty-five,” you have automatically got your hands full with pissed off customers.

Nobody wants to wait longer than they are quoted.

I remember when I worked in restaurants and always pushed this home with the hosting staff, over-estimate the table time.

In the reverse, if you quote 25 minutes and the wait is 15 minutes you have saved yourself a lot of hassle and the customers are always happy to get seated in less time.

I had hopes of repairing to Manifesto Bike shop in Oakland at 40th and Telegraph today, but the monkey took a super long nap and the day was too tight to relegate that time to pushing the stroller, one-handed, and either carrying my bicycle or rolling it along on the rim.

I know the rim is super strong, Velocity B43, but I was not inclined to push my time.

I decided one of two things will happen.

I will either fix it myself tomorrow or I will take it in to the shop in San Francisco on Saturday.  There is the possibility that the tire is done, especially if I hit a good chunk of glass and if that is so I want to get a new tire.

I’ll pick up a Randonneur puncture resistant tire.

If the tire is not punctured I can fix it myself.

It will be a little messy, it’s the back tire, so I will need to take off the chain.

However, this too is a good thing.

I have been contemplating since I have been doing a longer bike commute flipping the rear wheel over to put it into a free rolling gear instead of having it in fixed.

I prefer to ride fixed, but it will be easier on my knees.

I have had a bit of knee tenderness since I have been riding so much more and for much more extended periods of time.  I don’t want to blow my knees out.  If I can save them a little trouble I will do so.

Even if riding fixed gear is “cooler”.

Having knees that work, in my book, is much hipper.

This too rolled through my mind as I waited for the BART train, I realized I was not upset that I had blown out the back and that it was the perfect excuse for me to take off the wheel and flip the hub.

God doing for me what I could not do for myself.

I also had the scheduling stuff get worked out.

I will show up where I need to show up, on time, since I will be able to have my bike on BART during morning rush hour, I just need to not exit at the Embarcadero (or get on at Oakland 12th or 19th–look at that!  ‘Fortunate’ to be at a less desirable BART station) and ride in the back cars and I should not have any problems.

Yeah, I don’t want to get up at 6:30 a.m. to get there on time, but it is just going to be for one day a week.  At least for the time being.

When their nanny is done in August that will change.

Who knows where I will be at that point.

I really do adore the hell out of Graceland, kittens, and roomies and sunshine, oh my; but holy shit, it is a commute and a half with where it is.

The part-time gig for my friend is in the city, although I should be able to do a lot of it remotely, and eventually, the majority of my nanny gigs will be in city.  I would be working three days a week in SF and two days a week in North Oakland.

It may make better sense for me to be located in the city.

I do not know how or where or if that will work.

I am just leaving it up to the Universe.

I am always taken care of, even when things don’t go the way I planned.

Who knows what holy terror I missed not being on a bicycle today?

Like the poor guy that died after he got hit and then dragged by a garbage truck on his bicycle today in San Francisco.

No thank you.

Happy to slow down.

Slowing down is where it’s at.

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