Posts Tagged ‘Oakland’

Hello Again

August 2, 2020

It feels like forever.

And it has been awhile.

But I am still here.

Still writing, though not so much on this platform

I have missed it, but I have also been too tired most days to log in and write.

I write in the mornings still, long hand, my three page a day habit, thank you The Artists Way, thirteen years and still going strong.

I have thought about this though, my blog, the thing that I would do religiously come rain or shine, good day, bad day, nothing really happened today day.

I sort of had a nothing happened today day, with highlights of, this is surreal, though I’m used to it.

Sort of.

We’re still deep in the pandemic and although it’s been five plus months now, there are times I’m still caught off guard with the strangeness of it.

Or that I am estranged from my friends, fellows, family, colleauges.

Oh the desire to hang out with friends at a coffee shop.

Although, truth, I did sort of last weekend.

I drove up to the Russian River area with a friend, one of the few people allowed in my bubble, and we did get coffee at a cafe in Guerneville.  There was no sitting inside, though, grab and go.

So many things are shut down, but when I get the chance to go to a cafe or a restaurant I have done so.

It happens quite infrequently.

I do better weathering things on my own.

I have been very safe and very cautious and kept pretty to myself since this has all been unfolding.

But yeah, a trip to the Russian River and being out in the sun felt extraordinary.

It’s not a big deal typically, but a bunch of months of quarantine and I felt like I was playing hooky, albeit wearing a mask, from the pandemic.

Also.

Just getting out into the sunshine was so good.

San Francisco, got to love her, has been having her typical “summer weather” which is cold, foggy, overcast and quite dreary.

Add that to the general malaise of the pandemic and it’s a bit depressing.

So when my friend suggested we head out of town and get some sun I hesitated, I have things to do (homework, prep for teaching, zoom meetings), but folded as soon as I googled the Russian River and saw the trees and sun and water.

I’m glad I did.

I am also grateful for getting out of the city.

I haven’t been outside of the Bay Area since before shelter in place.

I realized the last time I had gotten out it was Christmas when I went to Paris.

Now, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but it also meant that I hadn’t left the city in over six months.

I don’t, fyi count Oakland, Berkeley, or Alameda, all places I have gone to, as getting outside the city…they just feel like continuations of it.

Though, San Francisco is definitely in transition, it is still the city, and once in a while to appreciate the city, I need to leave it.

I will go up one more time to the Russian River before summer ends.

Just a quick day trip to work on some teaching prep the weekend before I start teaching Psychodynamic’s.

I’m not exactly excited, truth be told, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of a summer–my private practice therapy business has been full (and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have work to do) and I have been doing so much psychoanalytic theory reading, my brain feels about shot.

But.

I have finished, as of today all the books that are required reading for class.

I also, I haven’t shared much about this, turned down the core faculty position I was interviewing for.

I found out how much work was expected and how little money was being paid for it and I changed my mind about wanting to work for the school–I was making more money as a private professional nanny then what they were offering for a full time core faculty professor in a master’s program.

No thank you.

I kept thinking to myself that I did not work this hard to keep working harder for less money.

I felt bad, for a moment, when I told my individual supervisor who really wanted me to take on the teaching position, but I realized if I had taken it I would have been terribly resentful with myself for taking on so much work.

Especially since I am still working on my PhD.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been here, so I cannot recall if I have written about that the last time I was blogging.  But.  I have made some progress there.  I have my external third committee chair member and she has my dissertation proposal as does my internal second.

So.

I await their critiques and get to start working on a Power Point (ugh) to defend my proposal.

Once I defend the proposal I will move into PhD candidacy.

I am ready for that.

I am hoping that I will get to defend by the end of this month and then turn around and start doing the study part of my dissertation.

My hope is to do the study this fall and then do the writing for the dissertation in the spring.

I want to put in one more year and be done.

In fact.

That is my goal.

One more year at the school working on my PhD and teaching one master’s class, then I’m done.

I’ve been on this track for five years now.

I’m ready to finish it.

I have it in my sights and I am hopeful that I can put down my head and push through this last year.

I suspect things are going to be challenging with the pandemic continuing to rage and whatever weirdness is up and coming with the pending elections, but I shall keep busy, keep pushing and get through.

And.

When it’s all said and done and I have my doctorate.

I am going on a big fucking trip.

I’m thinking fly from San Francisco to London, train to Paris, then train to the South of France, rent a car there and tool around and then reverse the trip back.

Two, maybe three weeks.

That’s a carrot to work towards.

Seriously.

Separation of Church and State

December 16, 2018

And it finally happened.

I am so grateful to report that after much time, many failed attempts, yelling at my computer, yelling at the WordPress chat help, not literally, although I do think I told one of the people on the chat that I was as computer conversant as a tired four-year old.

I really felt like throwing a tantrum with that chat and I excused myself from it quickly when I realized I might, probably not, but might throw my computer on the floor and stomp on it.

So it is with much happiness and relief that I can report my website, my professional website, and my personal blog are no longer connected.

Oh.

They still are, but not really, not in a way that anyone could figure out and my friend who helped me even made the suggestion to change my face on the profile picture so I couldn’t be recognized that way.

Hence the new icon which is a graffiti photo I took many years ago in Paris.

Six years ago it feels like.

Paris was much on my mind today.

And in many of my conversations.

I went and saw my dear friend Barnaby at his new shop in Oakland, East Bay Tattoo, and he touched up the color on my pink jackalope bunny tattoo that he gave me for my 40th birthday when we were living as room mates in Paris.

We both marveled at how far we’d come since that time in Paris.

We were both trying to figure things out and neither one of us thought that we’d actually be moving back here.

Barnaby landed in Oakland and I in the Outer Sunset.

Six years later he’s the father of two boys and he and his partner own a house in Oakland and he just opened a new shop.

Six years later I’m a psychotherapist, not going to tell you my name though, oh no, I don’t want you finding my website from my personal blog (this baby is dark, no social media, no LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, nada), I’m also a PhD student and I own a car!

I mean.

I remember how I felt leaving Paris when we did, my heart-felt bruised, I felt defeated, broken, I had tried so damn hard to make it work and Paris was not having it.

Not having me.

Although she has welcomed me back with open arms and love every time that I have gone back since.

I feel like I have learned so much about myself from my time spent in Paris.

So my friend and I reminisced and talked about all the things we did there and the conversations and all the things that we have done in the time between and how life is.

You know.

Life is pretty damn good.

Even though.

Fuck my life.

I just found out that my paper is due at 5p.m. instead of midnight.

And!!!

Hahhahahahahahahaha.

God.

I must be a little on edge about getting my shit done by all the deadlines.

I forgot, tomorrow is Sunday, not Monday.

The paper is due Monday.

Of course I’ll be working and not really have time to address the paper, so I’ve been planning all along to have the work done by Sunday night and turn it in Sunday night after I get back from doing the deal up in the Castro.

Whew.

What a goofy little moment of panic.

I was all sorts of mad.

Heh.

Ah.

Breathing deeply again.

So.

I will hopefully be posting on a much more regular basis on my blog now that I don’t have any worry about potential clients finding out about it.

I mean.

Ahem.

My most “popular” blog is about cocaine and vodka enemas, not something I want any perspective client to be reading about.

I know how that sounds.

I never have and never will administer or be given a cocaine vodka enema, but I had a friend tell me a story once and I was so horrified by the idea, I’d never heard of it and I guess it’s actually a thing, that I wrote a blog about it many moons ago and what do you know.

It’s the most searched for tag that leads people to my blog.

I have actually thought about deleting it, but you know, it’s actually well written and it does in fact allude to recovery, so maybe someone out there who happens to stumble upon it might get the idea that they actually have a better shot at life without shooting cocaine up their bum mixed with vodka.

Anyway.

There are lots of other things in my blog I’d rather not have my therapy clients find out.

Like I’ve been to Burning Man eleven times.

(Dirty hippy)

(Sex addict)

(addict in general)

(weirdo)

I won’t say that any of those things don’t apply, but ahem, you know, I’m happy with who I am and not really shy about sharing.

God forbid a client read any of the blogs I wrote about my brief and tumultuous jaunt on Tinder.

God was that a heap of crap.

With one or two shining moments, but mostly a lot of yuck.

And now.

Well.

THANK YOU FRIEND!

I don’t have to worry about it.

I can write happily and freely about everything.

Well.

heh.

I don’t actually write about everything either, you know a girl has to have a few things kept back.

At least for right now.

There may well be a time and place when that changes, but right now, yeah, there are a few things that don’t wind up in these posts and that’s alright too.

I’m just so happy to have my little blog space back.

I don’t mind that it’s gone so dark, it’s like my own little private universe with a few select friends that like to hang out and have a cup of coffee with me and catch up.

I’ve got some followers who know me in my personal life as a real bona fide person, and I’m cool with that, but the rest of the world can keep right on thinking of me as Auntie Bubba.

I’m very.

Very.

Very.

Cool with that.

Trolling Craigslist

July 31, 2018

It has begun in earnest.

Me looking for a new place to live, that is.

I dropped off the signed paperwork to the law office today that my landlady is employing to navigate the buyout.

I have officially been bought out.

I turned over the paperwork and in return I got 1/2 of the payment we agreed upon.

I will receive the other half when I turn in my keys.

I will have until October 31st to find a new place to live.

I actually looked at a place last night, but it wasn’t a good fit.

It was also a room-mate situation and although the price was great and on paper it really looked good, I realized that I was going to have to be really conscientious about what I am able to accept or not accept in a room mate.

I mean.

I have lived alone for the last five years.

I am really used to going to the bathroom naked.

For starters.

And two.

I am clean.

I am not a neat freak or obsessive, in fact, I could stand to sweep the floor a little more often, but I am tidy, my place is nice and I keep my things well.

I make my bed every morning, I wash my dishes after every meal, I like things a certain way.

I realized well I was looking at the place that while I liked the master tenant I noticed that the standards were different and for me to be comfortable I would end up cleaning a lot more and also that I suspected I would spend a lot of time in my room.

So.

I passed.

In the past that would have freaked me out a little bit.

A perfectly decent place, less rent than I pay now, good size room, laundry on site, parking.

On paper, it looks fabulous.

Not so much in person.

And I don’t want to denigrate the place I saw, it just wasn’t a good fit.

I do suspect I will end up with being on my own wherever I move to next.

I’m just so used to it and well, I have a PhD program starting soon, I am going to want and need quiet.

So I have been searching craigslist.

I don’t have to be super on top of it right yet, I do have time.

Part of the buy out was to get myself a little more time to move out, originally I was asked to move out by September 1st, which would have been over the five-day intensive in Pacifica that I have to attend to start my PhD.

Now I have until October 31st.

Which is nice and thus not too much pressure to begin the hunt, but it is there.

I know that there will be a time when I see the place and I am going to want to make a big move on it.

Grateful that I have the first half of the buyout payment to put down a deposit and first months.

And I decided to leave it in my checking account rather than put all the money in my savings.

If I need to I will be able to plop the money down immediately if something comes up.

I am also hoping, really so much so, that I will find my new place by word of mouth or referral from a friend, from my network, which is usually how I have found places.

I haven’t had a ton of luck with craigslist in the past, although I have found a couple of places.

My first being the two month sublet I had in the Mission at 22nd and York when I first moved to San Francisco nearly 16 years ago.

$650 a month for a big room in a big four bedroom house with a back yard and laundry and three levels and a big kitchen and lots of bathrooms.

Even then, I remember being told I was getting a great price for a room.

Rents in SF have never really been low, not after I lived in Madison, Wisconsin (though truth be told rents in Madison are always higher than elsewhere because of the high student population attending the UW), god I remember this one house I lived in, a house, the bottom of it at least, and how much space there was.

Oh.

God.

So much space.

Big bedroom with a walk in closet that had a window.

The closet had a window, in SF that closet would have been someone’s bedroom.

The bedroom had six windows.

Six!

I don’t have one where I live now.

Then the dining room with three big windows, the living room with a huge bay window and a screened in front porch that I alternatively rented or let friends crash on after I had broken up with my boyfriend, I needed help covering rent.

And the kitchen, which was huge, the bathroom was good-sized and yes, had a window.

There was a full basement I didn’t ever really use, except to wash laundry.

A back yard.

And a garage.

A fucking garage.

I paid $750 for this palace and that included utilities.

And I thought that was expensive.

I can’t find a studio in-law in the city right now for under $1600.

And the ones that are that price are shady, nasty, basement dwelling things.

I know that I need light and air and space after living in my little studio for the last five years.

I want a bathtub.

My god it would be nice to have a bathtub again.

I want laundry on site, wood floors, high ceilings, light, lots and lots and lots of light, windows, and yes, I know I’m crazy, a place to park.

I don’t necessarily need a garage or a driveway, I just need to live somewhere that it is relatively safe to park my car and I can park it close to where I live.

Which means.

The Tenderloin is out and that is where most of the “affordable” studios are, $1700-$2000 a month, and I am not, repeat, am not, living in the Tenderloin.

My car would get broke into every other day.

I would be dealing with rampant drug use and homelessness and crazy.

I like being out in the Outer Sunset at this point because it is quiet and though there are homeless folk, there’s not rampant drug use.

I need serenity where I live.

So yeah, not Tenderloin for me.

And before you ask.

No East Bay either or Pacifica or Sausalito.

I need to stay in the city proper.

My schedule is just too tight to navigate anything further out.

So.

The search has begun.

If you hear of anything.

Let me know.

Seriously.

Not Excited Yet

July 13, 2018

But I’m hopeful I will get there.

I realized tonight when I wrapped up with my last client that I only have one client left to see before I go to Paris.

Paris seems far away and a touch surreal at the moment.

I have been so busy walking through this housing situation that I have spent little to no time thinking about Paris.

Cue standing in the dental aisle at Walgreens this afternoon when I went in to fill a prescription.

Why am I standing in front of the toothpaste?

I have toothpaste at home.

I don’t need toothpaste.

But I kept coming back.

Until I remembered.

Oh snap!

I need travel size toothpaste!

I’m traveling soon.

I leave in three days!

It just has not really landed at all.

I am, of course, very much looking forward to seeing my dear friend.

I miss her so much and it was hard to finish my last semester of school without her.

Friends are so damn important.

It will be good to reconnect, to have lots of time with her, and of course, to have the best and most brilliant of insider guides to the city that I love only second to San Francisco.

I am always so happy that I get to live here.

Yesterday I went and visited a friend who used to live in the city but has done what so many of my friends have done, moved out of the city across the Bay.

She lives high up in the Berkeley Hills and it was a beautiful home and a lovely, stunning really, view of the city, the bay, the fog pushing over Twin Peaks, but I could not imagine living there.

I love San Francisco.

Sure.

It’s changed, but everything changes.

And it’s still, to me, one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially to live.

I also ran an errand and took back a bicycle rack that a friend had loaned me last year for Burning Man.

That took me to Alameda.

Where I did see a few cute houses, but it felt so suburban and removed and I also could not see myself there.

Or in Oakland.

Or in Berkeley.

I see myself in San Francisco.

My focus on finding a place is focused on the city proper.

And let me tell you.

I have been looking.

I have seen a few things, but not much.

I have responded to a few things, but gotten no response.

I do feel like when the dust is settled here and all the paperwork signed and taken care of that I will be throwing all my might behind finding a new place.

I will also officially throw it up on social media and I’m quite hopeful that I will find a good place.

I have been quietly telling a few friends and starting to put the word out.

The fact is though, at this point, it’s so close to me leaving for Paris that I really should skip even looking, I don’t know that I could do anything or get anything together before I leave.

I think it’s time I get excited!

I think it’s time to contemplate what I am going to be doing, walking around in the best city to walk, seeing art, street art and art, art.

Getting to spend time shopping in the Marais at all the little paper shops for notebooks to smuggle home with me.

Gah.

I bought a book today to read on the plane and I couldn’t help myself, I bought a new notebook too.

It was too cool to pass up and I knew I must have it.

There was a little voice in my head saying don’t accrue any more stuff!  I need to get ready to move and the less to pack, the better.

But.

Well.

I couldn’t help it, I bought the notebook.

And I did some writing siting in a cafe waiting for my friend and her new baby to come and join me.

I don’t often sit in cafes in San Francisco and write anymore.

I do the majority of my writing here where I am sitting right now, at a tiny table in my tiny kitchen, heaped high with notebooks and folders and books.

God.

I love paper.

I love writing.

I wrote a love letter in the new notebook.

I think that’s why I decided I had to buy it.

It is perfect for writing love letters.

And it was.

After my friend left I had some down time to sit for a while before I headed into my internship.

To sit outside, in the warm late afternoon sun, with a bottle of sparkling water, at a park in the Mission on Valencia Street that I used to bring former charges too and write a love letter while looking up at the bright blue sky, well, it was something else.

So no regrets about buying the notebook.

It will be used.

I will also buy more when I am in Paris.

Along with my standard pair of earrings, lipstick/lip gloss or eyeshadow, postcards, museum magnets and whatever else small momento I feel I should need.

I am so looking forward to seeing Paris through my friends eyes that I will have to buy something outside of my normal repertoire of souvenirs.

I thought about perhaps buying a market basket, I do love how they look.

And.

Yes.

I have contemplated a new tattoo.

I have one in mind, I will see if it stands the test of time when I arrive.

There’s a shop in the Marais that I get my work done at and I’ll see if they have an opening when my friend is off to a wedding out-of-town one of the weekends I am there, get myself a souvenir that I can wear always.

I like that quite a bit.

Of course.

I will take lots and lots and lots of photos too.

I promise.

Psst.

Here are a few from my recent trip to New York.

IMG_E3788

Back yard patio at a lovely little restaurant in Williamsburg, The Rabbit Hole, where I had the most amazing soup and salad–broccoli cheese consume and the salad was like a deconstructed BLT with avocado and fried leeks.

So good.

IMG_E3777

Bunny rabbit lamps!

From Le Grand Strip, on Grand Ave in Williamsburg.

I swear to God I almost bought them, but not knowing where I am going to live stopped me.  Once I’m settled I may actually buy them, the owner said she could ship them for me.

Bunny lamps!

IMG_E3749

A triptych of feminist Latina women at the Brooklyn Museum.

Why, yes.

That is me in the middle.

IMG_3694

Mural in Fort Greene Brooklyn.

More to come.

Paris soon.

T-minus three days and counting.

But who’s counting?

 

Out and About

June 17, 2018

Just got home.

Long day.

But a good one.

I did lots of writing this morning, which is always good, especially since I had a lot of mornings this past week where I was up early doing things before work or at work early, so I didn’t write many morning pages, or even some days get to them.

Thursday night I was out late at a speaking engagement in Oakland after having worked a full day and then after seeing clients at my internship I drove over to Oakland and checked in there and didn’t get home until after midnight.

And of course Friday I had to be in to work early.

Little sleep and very little time to write.

So today I took some time and it was good.

I got my brain emptied out and let go of fears and anxieties and things that weren’t helping and focused on seeing what I could do today and how to change.

I’m in a lot of transition and change, even good change, can be challenging.

But.

Well.

Nothing changes if nothing changes and I can’t control life and it keeps moving and I either get flexible and rethink my perspective or I get mowed over by my feelings.

Ah feelings.

Yes.

I did have some of those today too.

And I get to be grateful for them, they show me where I need to grow.

And.

They tell me I’m alive.

And.

Well.

Frankly, I quite like being alive.

I mean, its cherry season and I love cherries, and I like that I have a car and that I have nice things in my home and that I have people who love me and whom I love.

I am lucky to still get to live in San Francisco.

I have my health, I’m not lacking for anything.

Alive is pretty damn good.

After my coffee and loads of writing I got myself out the door and over to the Inner Richmond.

Cheap Pete’s had sent me an e-mail yesterday, my new print was framed and I wanted to pick it up.

And!

I took my diploma with me and yes, I did, I got the big fancy pants frame for it.

I worked my ass off to get my Master’s degree, that bitch is getting framed.

I almost went for the super fancy one, but then I thought, hmm, no, I’ll wait for my PhD to get that one.

Heh.

The frame I got is definitely a nice frame and it’s a touch bigger than the frame I got for my undergraduate degree, I’m very much looking forward to putting my diploma in the frame.

I have no idea where I’m going to hang it, I have a lot of pictures and prints and photos and art on my walls.

I may not have a window, but everywhere I look is something pretty to look at.

I suspect I will put it up next to my undergraduate diploma and just rearrange some of the photographs that are around it to make room for the Master’s degree.

I figured out where I’ll put the small framed print I brought back today, I’d do all this now, but it’s late and I’m not going to start hammering into the walls at 10:30 p.m.

Not really interested in antagonizing my landlady.

Speaking of.

I got some amazing advice tonight from  a dear friend.

We went out to sushi for dinner and we talked and talked and talked.

It was great.

I feel a lot better about her perspective on things and she offered to lend me a hand.

That was super cool and unexpected and I hadn’t even thought about asking her for help.

Although I had approached her last week to hang out.

I have realized, recently more so I think as I’ve come up for air from school, that many of my best girlfriends no longer live in the city.

My best friend from school moved back to Paris.

My best friend from SF moved over to the East Bay years ago, first to Berkeley and now even further away in the Berkeley Hills, it’s not that much further, but over the bridge seems so freaking far away.

It’s another world I swear.

Sometimes it feels like another world just living in the Outer Sunset.

Anyway.

I have been making efforts to reach out and to connect and today was really good for that.

After I went to Cheap Pete’s I did supervision, solo then group, which was great and I really liked the people in my group today, my favorite two were there and the two that annoy the fuck out of me had both gone to different supervision groups, so it felt really chill and relaxed and good to be in my group today.

Then.

Yes.

Finally.

I got a car wash.

Poor dirty little marshmallow.

Got it was nice to get into a clean car.

Filled her up with gas and then popped over to the bank to deposit a check and I ran into another friend, who had just opened a brick and mortar flower shop.

We literally talked shop for an hour.

It was so sweet to be in his shop and smell the flowers and talk about him and the changes we’ve seen in the city and how we are sticking it out and then his boyfriend popped in and I love him and it was a party.

An unexpected friend pop up shop of love.

Lots of hugs and then off to the salon.

I got weird parking, good but not where I would normally, so on a whim I tried a new shop on Divisadero and it cracked me the fuck up.

The whole thing painted pink and it was like being inside a Japanese toy store.

I shit you not.

Sequins and sparkles and white and pink.

Stuffed animals.

Huge, oversized teddy bears, unicorns, pandas.

One of the manicurist’s was wearing a head band with bunny ears.

They had a cartoon movie playing on huge television screen.

It tickled me quite a bit.

Then off to do the deal and that’s when I ran into my friend I had dinner with and it was good and I got some great perspective on my situation and really another opportunity to find growth and learning.

It appears said opportunities are everywhere.

I’ve had a good run here in my little home by the sea and though I don’t know exactly what will happen next I do know that it won’t be the crappy scenario my head tells me.

It will be something amazing.

I am absolutely sure of it.

And I’m grateful for all of it.

Even when it’s uncomfortable.

Even then.

 

 

90 Days

May 28, 2018

A lot can happen in 90 days.

This is what I tell myself.

A lot can actually happen in a few hours, in a few minutes, in an unexpected conversation with ones landlady.

Oh my God.

I have been asked to move.

I don’t know exactly what to do yet, or whom to share this information with.

I will admit I had an impulse to post up all over social media, but I restrained myself.

I think I was in shock.

I still am a bit, truth be told.

Yesterday though, I was definitely in shock, disbelief, horror, I was freaked out, I cried in supervision when I had to do my check in, I probably should not have been riding my scooter, but in a way it might have been the best thing since I had to focus fiercely on the road for a half hour.

I rode my scooter into supervision yesterday because of the huge Carnival festival that happens in the Mission every year Memorial Day weekend.

It’s a gigantic party and it’s a huge, huge, huge parade.

Where my internship is located at was a designated area of the Mission that was to be part of the route and there was no parking anywhere to be had, I knew this ahead of time and planned on taking my scooter.

I had no idea I would be riding to my group supervision with the information I had just gotten.

I had been actually excited to go to supervision, see the therapists who have watched me over this past year as I have grown comfortable with becoming a therapist and seeing clients there, and share with them the achievement of having graduated.

All that, however, was eclipsed by the bombshell my landlady dropped on me.

She told me she wanted me to move out.

That she had been planning on talking to me about it for a few weeks, but didn’t want to “spoil” my graduation weekend and stress me out.

Thanks.

You stressed me out anyway.

I find it really interesting that I had decided to pay my rent a week and a half early for next month too, I usually do pay early, by at least a few days, but something compelled me to do it earlier than usual and I believe I may have sensed something in the air.

A few weeks ago my landlady had the property inspected as she was planning on doing a re-financing of the house, “I’ll finally get that window in the studio,” is what I thought.

That, apparently was not what she thought.

Oh, there’s going to be a window, but it’s not for me.

She told me that she was originally going to give me thirty days, then I had paid rent for this upcoming month, like I said, I like to pay it in advance, and since it might take me a little while to find a place that she thought she’d give me 60, no, 90 days to move out.

That now that I was done with school, I got into a PhD program you rotten whore, oops, did I say that? She was happy to have “helped” support me through the Masters program by letting me live here.

Helped?

I have helped you lady pants, like, I pay the rent.

I pay utilities.

I am a model tenant.

I pay rent in advance.

I have ever since I moved in.

I take the trash out, I keep my studio clean, clean, clean.

I am sober, no partying down in my little den.

I don’t smoke.

I am a fucking full-time nanny who has a part-time internship and I, until recently, also attended grad school full time.

Meaning.

I’m not around all that fucking much.

Who could ask for a better fucking tenant?

Oh.

And I don’t have any pets and I don’t complain about the dog that you got a year ago that barks and whines and cries and then gets yelled at for barking and whining and crying.

I don’t know what is worse.

The barking or the yelling at the dog to stop barking.

Considering the year of great noise I should get a goddamn discount of the rent.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I took in what she was saying and let her do the talking, I was in shock and also trying really hard to smile and nod and not say anything to just listen, to absorb information.

I was also in my scooter jacket about to get on my scooter and go ride across town to my internship, I couldn’t process what was happening.

Which was probably a good thing, I didn’t get argumentative, I didn’t freak out on her.

I did find a silent, hot core of anger later, but more about that at another time.

She explained that she’d gotten her re-financement and was going to be doing a major remodel on her house, ripping out the kitchen and the bathroom in her unit, putting in a deck, building another in-law in the back yard, pulling out the kitchen in my unit and making it a one bedroom with a bath (and maybe a hot plate), and that she needed me to move out so that she could move into my unit while the remodel was being done on her unit.

I quietly congratulated her on the refinance and asked again about the move out date, September 1st, the 15th at the latest, she needed to know as soon as possible when I was going to move out so that she could get all of her contractors lined up and ready to go.

Oh.

Ok.

Glad to hear that you need me to hustle.

Good information.

I’m only deep diving into the most expensive city to live in for rentals in the United States with a dearth of options, where closets get rented as studios, and people curtain off living rooms for extra bedrooms, where adults live in dorms with shared bathrooms and communal spaces that are marketed towards tech kids in the FiDi and Mission districts.

Sure.

No problem.

Let me get right on that.

I decided to cry instead when I got to supervision.

Oh!

And hey, she also noted, you can pay your last months rent from your deposit if that helps you consolidate your cash to get into a new place.

Hmmm.

Thanks.

I think.

Don’t you owe me the deposit back with interest, isn’t that what you told me when I moved in, “I’ll be putting this in an account that will gather interest and I’ll give you the deposit plus the interest when you move out, just make sure you give me a 30 day notice.”

See.

This is where it gets tricky for me.

I never signed a lease.

I live in an illegal in-law unit.

It has a kitchen with a full size working gas range and a full size refrigerator, but no window and no ventilation.

I cook and open up the back door to ventilate.

I am also pretty damn certain that she didn’t pull permits to do the work on the in-law when it was remodeled, but I’m not 100% certain.

What I am certain of, however, is that in her nice, sweet, off-handed way she was manipulating me into thinking I was getting a deal and that she was being kind to me.

Oh, and you don’t have to pay for July’s rent either.

And while that’s a lovely offer, I think that you, madam, are not within your rights to push me out, at least not without a written notice, or some sort of compensation.

So.

I got myself onto the San Francisco Tenants Union webpage.

They have open drop in hours and I will be going to get myself some counseling to see what my rights are.

I may not have a signed contract, I may not have a lease, but I had a verbal agreement and over four and a half years of cashed checks with “June rent and utilities” written into the memo.

I have a paper trail.

And I know I have rights.

I just don’t know exactly what they are.

But I will.

And when I do.

Watch out.

I am mad and I am not going to be manipulated into rolling over.

I am going to move.

That is going to happen.

But I am going to do it in a way that advocates for my rights.

I am not going to get pushed out.

So.

Yeah.

If you hear of anything for rent in San Francisco.

Not Berkeley or Oakland or in the East Bay or over in Marin.

IN SAN FRANCISCO.

Do me a favor and let me know.

Thanks!

 

 

I Got Asked

March 13, 2018

I answered a phone call today, a phone call with a number that I did not recognize.

I knew immediately it was a number I should answer, it was not an odd ball number from Indiana or Wisconsin asking me if I wanted to renew my health care or a telemarketing scheme from some small town in Florida.

No.

It was an Oakland number.

Therefor local.

Therefore, necessary to answer.

I am a well-trained monkey, as part of my recovery I stay connected to people in my community by phone.

I often give out my phone number to complete strangers.

Women!

Only the ladies, thank you.

So that’s what I thought the number was.

A support call from someone, someone who I gave out my number to, some one who I may have recently met.

Happens quite frequently and when I am able, I answer those numbers.

It was not who I was expecting.

It was, in fact a woman, and it was also a stranger, but not from my fellowship.

From my school!

I got the call!

I got the call!

I got the call back to go in to interview for the PhD program.

I have made it through to the next round.

I mean.

I am going to sound a little cocky, but I am fairly certain I’m getting in.

Nonetheless.

It was thrilling to talk to her on the phone and to set up a time to go in and interview.

I will be interviewing with the department on Wednesday, March 28th at 10 a.m.

I have already cleared it with the mom to go into work late that day.

And.

Yes.

Yes, I just did.

I finished it before I started to write this blog.

I sent in the Diversity Scholarship application.

I got my financials together to show proof of need.

Hello.

I could just say I’m a nanny and I live in San Francisco, doesn’t that prove need?

But I sent in my tax forms to be transparent.

And the application itself as well as the personal essay explaining a little bit about me and what I am going to do to further diversity in my community.

I think I wrote a pretty good essay and I just let it flow.

Here’s what I wrote:

Diversity Scholarship Application

My name alone should alert one to the applicable nature of the scholarship, Carmen Regina Martines. I am Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Polynesian as well as Caucasian. I am a melting pot, I am a mix, I am the person who straddles the line between. And in that space I have an important role to play. I have dealt with the internal racism of my family, the white part as well as the non-white part, apparently neither side of my family wanted a “half-breed” a moniker one set of grandparents gave, while the other referred to me under their breath as Hapa Haole, a prettier way to say half-breed.

I am neither and I am both. I have found myself often wondering to which side I truly fall, not realizing that all along I fell along with the Puerto Rican and Polynesian parts of me—at least physically, if not spiritually (your  great, great-grandmother was a witch, my mother told me, on the islands she was well-known and revered). My great, great-grandmother was a midwife and a medicine woman, in other words, a witch. I have brown skin, brown eyes, curly brown hair, wide flat Polynesian feet, a wide Puerto Rican nose, full lips, I have been called a “wet back” I have been told I should go back to Mexico (I am neither Mexican, nor have I ever been to Mexico). I have had my name constantly and continuously mispronounced and misspelled. An Aunt, my favorite aunt on my mother’s side of the family recently spelled it wrong on social media, an aunt who lived with my immediate family for years.

If my own family cannot spell my name, then who can? I can. I lead by my example, I lead by strength and resilience, and I spell my name out to the world and I keep correcting the world until it sits up and listens, I am not here to be quiet any more. I am here to meet the two worlds halfway and instead of being somehow lessened by who I am, I become more. I have advocated for myself to get into the ICPW program at CIIS despite extreme financial hardship when I applied, I won the Diversity in Leadership award and that helped greatly, and then I won something else, I won self-advocacy, I won my voice, the full strength of it and I have every intention on using it, growing it and advocating for others, especially women, especially now, to step into their power and find their voice.

I began that journey by getting sober and abstinent from drugs and alcohol, and though I never felt different __________________, I will say I have felt different in school where I found myself to be the “only” quite often in my cohort. I grew strong first in _____ and then in school and I believe that between the two I have created a kind of crucible for change that I do not believe many have the capacity to manifest. I plan on carrying forth this deep identity and passion, my voice, my person, my experience, forward in my studies to help others embody their own power and story, and also to create new narratives, while not letting the old stories die, but rather to have them inform the new. I do not wish to stare at my past, but rather to acknowledge where I have come from—extreme poverty, neglect, violence, abuse, racism, classism, and sexism, and show how those defects, thrust upon me by others to create the worlds they needed to move through, are in actuality, assets by which I have grown, and grown through.

I have a roster of multi-cultural clients at my practicum (soon to be internship!), some full; some half, some mixed ethnicities, all with their own traumas around diversity. I am so situated to hold those stories and help reframe them in meaningful strength based ways. I believe that the continued furthering of my education will only help me to continue as a strong voice in my community, in recovery, in San Francisco, in California, and yes, I do believe, that it does ripple out, one person to the next, throughout the world, landing where it is most needed and welcomed. That is what I believe.

 

Ta da.

Hopefully that works.

And though, it’s not the essay I was planning on writing, it was what came out and I am happy with it.

And now.

I am happy to wrap this up.

I have done enough work for today.

Supervision, before work, work with a screaming baby (poor little guy has a UTI!), two clients, and all the work on the application.

I am done.

I am good.

I am so happy it’s all in.

And.

I go the interview!

Yes.

Made It

December 26, 2017

I had a sweet day.

It helped that I got out of my house, and yes, out of my head.

My head is not the nicest place to hang out.

I woke up to the screams of a young child, my upstairs neighbor’s kid, opening Christmas presents and the ferocious shredding of paper package wrapping.

Just before 8a.m.

Ah, so much for sleeping in.

I had a hard time going to sleep last night, I was pretty sad and lonesome and a wee bit on the morbid side of things.

I hadn’t gone that far into the dark side in a while.

I cried myself to sleep.

Which, you should know, I’m loathe to share, but I’m also not a very good liar, and I have no desire to become a better one, now that I think of it, it was just what happened, that’s all.

I did lots of praying and lots of just letting the sadness come.

Sadness happens, I had tried to put it off most of the day yesterday, the lonely and the sad, but it snuck in, as it will sometimes at the end of the day when I haven’t the energy to marshal it away any longer.

So I let it out.

It wasn’t a wallowing and it wasn’t weeping, it was just slow, slippery tears and a very tender heart, some lonesome thoughts and some tenderness.

Even though I woke up before I was planning on getting up, I woke up quite serene.

Sure, some residual sadness at the corners of my day, in the pockets of my room, but mostly just a soft melancholic slick sheen to the day, a sort of soft focus sad that was like mist and it lifted itself away the more I got into being a wake and getting myself dressed and fed and caffeinated.

A good writing session and a fast realization that I needed out of my house.

I got my package and card, last Christmas gift to give, for my friend whom I was going to see in the East Bay and I headed out the door.

It wasn’t as cold as it’s been the last few days and that felt nice.

I wished Merry Christmas to a neighbor and got into my car.

I drove up to the Inner Sunset and grabbed a nice parking spot on 7th and Irving and went and did the deal.

It was so good and I felt a lot better.

Afterward I called my friend and said hey, I’m out and about now, would it be ok if I came over early?

I didn’t want to be alone any more.

She was happy to have me over sooner, so I grabbed a cafe au lait from Tart to Tart and hit the road.

The traffic was light and I made quick time.

I was going 70 mph over the Bay Bridge and getting passed left and right.

It felt good to be on the road and going someplace, getting out-of-town, getting out of my head.

I listened to music, no more Christmas carols thank you, a mixed tape play list I really love and sang at the top of my lungs.

I reflected on all the lovely things I have in my life and all the gifts I have been given, the amazing relationships, the love, the passion I have in my life, and how grateful I am for this life I get to live.

I got to my friend’s place in San Leandro, and got the grand tour.

She’s really liking living there.

I couldn’t do it, but we all get to make the best choices we can for ourselves and though I miss my friend not living in San Francisco something awful bad, I understand why she’s where she is.

And I am super grateful I still get to make it here in this city.

We hung out at her house a bit, got caught up, exchanged presents, then went to the Piedmont theater in Oakland.

We saw Ladybird.

It was a sweet movie and the theater was pretty full.

It was nice to be surrounded by folks and sitting next to my friend.

It was nice to be in a movie theater, I don’t go out to the movies often.

We walked around the Piedmont neighborhood for a little while and found a Thai restaurant that was open and had a lovely late lunch.

By the time we left the sun was setting and I drove her home, we’d taken my car, it was fun to have a passenger, and then I turned around and got back on the freeway and headed home.

It was a quick drive back, a bit of traffic at the toll bridge, but for the most part, really quick.  I need to get myself a FasTrak for the car, although I don’t have plans to go over the bridge, I know I will and it’s so much faster to use the FasTrak lanes than have to wait to pay to get through.

And like that.

Done.

I just hopped over to the website and did the deal.

I will get the toll pass in the mail in the next week and I can just pop it in my glove box.

I don’t know when I’ll go over the bridge again but I will, I do know that.

Maybe not to San Leandro anytime soon, but I’ll be going over to Oakland for my sobriety anniversary on January 13th for a dance party I’m throwing with a friend.

I won’t be going before that, I think, despite having an invite to a New Years Eve party in the East Bay, I’m not feeling going over the bridge on New Years Eve, it’s just not my thing.

I will probably keep that weekend really low-key and not go out carousing.

Maybe a little road trip up the coast, but that’s all.

I am glad to be done driving for the day, I was out a lot.

I’m going to have a little dinner here in a minute and just chill out, maybe go to bed early and just call Christmas over.

I made it through, like I always do, and life will go on without pressures and holiday expectations, just life, just doing the next thing in front of me and being grateful to keep putting that next foot down on my little journey, despite not knowing where it’s going exactly.

I just know that I am going somewhere and I can trust that everything is happening just exactly as it is supposed to happen.

I have faith.

Everything is perfect.

In my imperfect world.

 

A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

Especially since I am a therapist in training, although, let me tell you, I felt like a therapist today, seeing clients, filing paperwork, checking all the boxes, circling all the things that needed to be circled and doing the work.

I can get super caught up in how much longer this road is and how the hell am I ever, I mean, ever, going to get 3,000 hours, but I can’t, I just can’t focus on that.

One hour at a time.

Fortunately I have some practice living a day at a time and when I reflect on how those days add up and all my accomplishments have come in small increments, but come they have, then I don’t have to get too caught up in the numbers.

It’s just a numbers game and I’m doing it the best I can as fast as I can without killing myself in the process.

I mean.

I still have to process all my own stuff, plus carrying around my clients in my head.

I do that now.

I have them in my head and sometimes I will think about them and once in a while I have a momentary flash, a connection, a thought or feeling and a little aha moment, that feels pretty special.

But.

Yes.

I do have to process my own stuff too, I have to look at my own emotional life sift through the chafe and dander and see what is needing to seen and what is needing to be let go.

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

On and off all day, with one really big cry in the evening when I was talking with my person on the phone and going over the shock of what had happened and how the death of my friend had not just hit me, but many others, the numbers of people who showed up to be present for each other and for the family of the deceased was extraordinary.

Not to mention all the people in so many other places he had affected, who’s lives he had touched–Portland, Seattle, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Oakland.

Gah.

I can hear him saying “West Oakland” in my head and such joy at his goofiness suffuses me.

For he was joyful.

Oh sure, sad and fucked up and scared and young and insecure, who hasn’t been those things, but also bright and kind and funny and so there for you and warm and sweet and musically talented.

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

Seeing all the pictures, all the photographs, all the expressions of heartbreak, my social media feed was just awash in tears and sadness.

I really had to not look after a while.

And I knew when I woke up having felt puffy eyed and sluggish and a bit off kilter that I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in the emotionalism of social media.

I needed coffee, some ibuprofen, and a good breakfast.

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

And as I expressed to my therapist today after plopping down on her couch and telling her I was going to cry and then immediately doing so, I also realized that some, a lot of the emotion I had in my body, on my heart, in my head, was not mine.

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

So I talked it out, processed it, linked it to other things, made traverses, expressed emotions, cried a lot in the beginning, but by the middle of my session I was going other places.

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

I am a work in progress, people, don’t expect perfection, I am far, far, far from perfect.

But.

I am loving and kind and sweet, I would hazard.

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

Sometimes too much and I get overextended and I give too much, I have been trained well in that way of life, being my mom’s caretaker, taking care of my sister, my oldest niece, an ex-boyfriend of five years who might as well have been my mother for all the caretaking he required, but I have grown a lot.

Oh, so fucking much.

And I know when I need to caretake and when the other person needs to do the job their own damn self.

And there’s no irony that I am in the care taking profession.

A. I am a nanny, I care take all day long.

B. I am a psychotherapist.

But it’s not my job to care take as a therapist and that’s a really intriguing thing for me.

I am also not there to make my client feel better, to sugar coat, or to shoo away uncomfortable feelings.

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

I like to look at them as signposts, directions, “hey this thing you do, it doesn’t work for you.”

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

They are signs that the way things are going, the tools being used for living, well they might not be working so well.

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

I remember the first time I did a line of good blow.

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

And I was fine with the way those answers were conveyed and I rather scoffed at a friends warning that perhaps I like that drug a little more than was perhaps healthy.

Um.

Yeah.

But when those solutions failed I had to find a better way, a different way and there was depression there and there was anxiety and all sorts of other juicy psychological terms and conditions.

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

I won’t tell that to a client, they have to find their own way, I think that I am a mirror, an attachment figure, a person who can and will have to withstand the disappointments and anger and discomfort of others so that they can learn how to use that information and devise their own solution.

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

Just like alcohol, ultimately, and every other drug I took, weren’t for symptom relief.

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

And today when I walked out of my therapist office I felt a lightness and a joy.

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

I have so much joy and passion in my life, such happiness, I felt light and though there is still sadness for the loss of this beautiful person, I have also a deeper connection to how alive I want to be and how alive I am allowed to be.

To be alive, in this moment, sober, and free.

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

Moved beyond words for my experiences and this amazing place I have been lead to.

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

Unexpected Dance Party

January 8, 2017

I really had not thought that was in the plans for tonight.

I just got back from dancing a good solid two hours at Mighty.

God damn I love House music.

It was so good.

I am going to be stupid sore tomorrow.

I did yoga this morning, ran around all day long and then danced, pretty damn hard, for a good two hours.

I might skip yoga tomorrow and just let myself sleep in.

It’s raining furiously at the moment and I’m thinking I got a good damn work out in, I could be ok with not going to the studio in the morning.

And I’m up late, it’s almost one a.m. and by the time I finish the blog and get to bed it will probably be 2 a.m.

Not that late.

But late for me.

Late for a school girl, a working girl, a busy girl, like me.

I might have been the only person at the club with school books on them.

That’s how I roll up on the club now, bag of text books instead of a bag of blow.

Heh.

I had a pretty good idea that I would be out all day long when I left the house early this afternoon, and I knew I would be taking the BART over to Oakland in the early evening, I figured I might have time to do some reading for school on the train.

I wasn’t expecting to be going clubbing, or I might have left them at the house.

Be that as it may, I did do a little reading, but mostly it was just funny to be out at a club dancing and have all the stuff and things that I carry around with me in my day-to-day life.

But it was worth it.

I got in on a guest list.

Unexpected.

I got free waters all night.

Lovely and unexpected.

I got a ride back from the East Bay to the club.

Totally unexpected.

And.

I got a ride home from the club.

Super grateful.

I mean.

Seriously.

And it was such a turn around from my early experiences in the city with the trains and with Uber.

I have an app on my phone that basically tells me when the trains are running, but this afternoon it was constantly telling me that the train was either stopped or stalled or delayed.

So I took a car to go up to Tart to Tart.

Only to see a train pulling in as my car was pulling up.

Too late to cancel and well, fuck it.

It was a horrible ride and I arrived quite cranky, bad, bad, bad navigation, bad driving, the driver took a speed bump at full speed in Golden Gate Park and I got tossed up in the seat and hit on my head on the roof of the car.

The best part was that the driver shouldn’t have routed through Golden Gate Park, but his navigation directed him there and despite a friendly suggestion that he avoid the park, he did a circle anyway.

Coming out exactly where he had gone in, a nice loop through, a scenic detour, I told myself, be grateful, you’re in a car, it’s a gift, you aren’t wet, you are being carried somewhere, you don’t have to drive, the park is pretty.

Restart your day.

Oh yeah.

That’s a great idea.

So I did.

I just said my morning routine in my head and I started over.

Then I met my friend for a lovely afternoon at the cafe.

We sat and chatted and caught up, she was in Paris over the break from school, and then a walk through the Inner Sunset and lunch.

We parted ways.

I got a manicure.

Then.

The trains, again, running off, I really think that the weather may have had something to do with it.

I got another car.

I needed to make it to the BART to get over to the speaking gig in Oakland.

The driver was not from the city and did not believe me when I suggested he take the left hand lane on Oak instead of the right.

The right feeds to the freeway and always jams up tight.

He argued with me, told me the navigation was right and proceeded to get trapped in the turn lane onto the freeway.

I suggested that he really would have a better time if he got into the left hand lane, he basically told me I was wrong, the navigation knew better, and he was going to stick with the navigation.

I was flabbergasted.

I responded that I have lived in San Francisco for fourteen years.

“I can tell you want to be right,” the driver responded.

“No,” I said, “I want to get to the BART station and not get stuck on the freeway.”

The passenger in the front intervened, “she is right, you are in the wrong lane, and you are going to get stuck going onto the freeway.”

The driver finally acquiesced to changing lanes after the man up front explained it to him.

I was stunned, did I just get a scolding and a talking to because I was a woman telling a man that Google maps didn’t always know the best way to go.

I think I was.

I haven’t had that kind of out-and-out blatant sexism in a while.

And for the first time ever I gave a driver a bad rating.

I had no compunction about it at all.

He didn’t apologize for being rude to me or arguing with me, and even though he was correct, I wanted to be right versus being happy, it was really a jarring experience.

I got out of the car and got to the BART and made it just on time to get to where I needed to be in Rockridge.

The speaking gig went well, I don’t remember anything I said.

Well, I swore a lot, but I tend towards profanity, and I was told it was good.

So that was nice.

Then.

I got talked into the dancing and I just said, fuck it, yes, I’ll go.

Then the ride to the club, the free pass in, the awesome music, the dancing until my knees wanted to buckle and the ride home, all more than made up for a few goofy transportation snags.

It was a really nice way to end a day that had been a bit on the wonky side.

Grateful I got to get right with God and be of service and then to go hang out in the church, the club, and dance and raise my arms and raise my voice and sing and shout and stomp.

God loves music.

Dontcha know?

Seriously.

Music and dancing are spiritual to me and I got right with God.

I got my groove on.

Hella on.

I may also have to get my ibuprofen on before I crawl into bed.

But it was worth it.

Very much so.

Thank you God for House music.

Thank you so very much.

And for always getting me to the church on time.

Always.

Regardless of the navigation.

 

 


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