Posts Tagged ‘organic’

How Did I Do All That?

April 17, 2017

I mean.

I am not really sure, but man, it flowed, lovely and smooth from one experience to the next.

Until now.

Sitting here at my table doing my little evening routine, listening to some old school-house music, Tortured Soul, in my bunny slippers, it is Easter after all, with my belly full of warm homemade soup, I am rather astounded.

I am.

I got a lot done.

There is still so much more to do, I have so much paper writing yet to attack, but I know how I am going to handle two of my papers, which is a relief, sometimes just knowing what I am going to write about makes the process so much less stressful.

It’s still anxiety making.

I mean.

I have three papers due.


I took a huge leap forward today.

It started slow and it started with not wanting to get out of my bed when the alarm went off, but I knew that danger, and I knew I wanted to go to the earlier yoga class this morning, I had to be up in the Castro to do some homework by a certain point and going to a later class wouldn’t have worked.


I just knew I needed up and out.

The class was hard, but really good and I’m grateful I went.

I had a lovely breakfast here at the house (organic oatmeal with banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, raw cocoa, sea salt, and blueberries; a soft-boiled egg,  and an amazing toasted coconut/almond milk latte) and did some morning page writing.

I checked my syllabus, packed my books, got my notebook, my class folder, and put on some makeup, pulled my hair up in a bun, hopped into my rain boots and headed to the MUNI.

I caught the N-Judah to the J-Church.

I read the entire time.

I finished two chapters in my Trauma reading.

As well as getting into a third on my ride back from the Castro.

I got off the train at the Castro Street Station and marveled with glee at the little rainbow lights lining the escalator.

How I do love you San Francisco.

I do so much.

I strolled through the main drag with my umbrella and my rain boots and smiled at all the fellas in their Easter finery.

I ran a couple of errands then went up to Firewood Cafe.

I met with my person and another friend for lunch then we adjourned to another friends apartment up on Noe and 19th.


Rent control.

How I envy folks who have it.

The apartment is a huge one bedroom with front room, dining room, big bathroom, hard woods, fireplace, huge kitchen.

I was definitely having some apartment envy.

It was the perfect place though, the big couch in the front room, the table, the chair I put in front of the couch.

We all got settled and I started the recording on my phone.

And this time I got it!

I got a half hour session of a Couples Therapy dyad.

“You’re good!” They both exclaimed after we finished the session.

Thank you guys!

It felt really good.

I had a few moments when I was unsure which way to go or what to say, but I didn’t think to hard about it and I noticed my counter transference and actually noted to myself in the session, “hey!  That’s countertransference! Remember that!”

Of course, now, in this moment, I have no solid clue what it was or what it was in regards too, but I knew I had it and I used it in the session and I know that when I go back and listen to the recording again I’ll be able to hear it in the recording.

So happy I got that out-of-the-way.

And while I was on the train riding to the Castro to meet with my friends who were going to help with the project, I had an idea about what to write for my Trauma paper.

Very happy about that.

Part of my “stress” if you want to call it that, is that I need to listen to things again before I write the paper, I can’t just pick up a book or a class reader or an article or my notebook and get the information there.

I have to take an extra step for each paper and listen to a recording, break down what is happening in the recording and use it for the papers.

It is a lot more work than a normal paper for me.

That being said, I feel so much more competent about what I will be writing about and I feel a lot better about the state of my papers.


I did not do any paper writing today.

Although I did write a lot.

I thought about it, but I also didn’t want to stress myself out about it.

If I got to it, great, but that I did so much footwork for the material that will go into the writing, for two different papers, is huge.

I actually accomplished a lot.


I got to see two wonderful men in my life who mean so much to me and have a nice Sunday lunch and walk underneath the cherry trees in the Castro and be seen and be helped.

It was truly lovely.

I hopped back on the train and was heading back to the house and my smart feet actually hopped up when I hit Church Street Station.

It was ten of four.


I could go check out a spot I used to go to way back in the day.

And I did.

And it was good.

I got to see some folks I haven’t seen in a long time and get grounded and then hop back on the train and come home.


Home to cook my soup.

I made homemade hot and sour soup today.

I took a large Mason jar of my chicken stock (made from last weeks roasting chicken), 1 bag of large wild caught shrimp, a container of organic tofu that was cubed, a small box of Hen of the Wood mushrooms, a small box of crimini mushrooms and tossed them in my soup pot.

I added a good heavy splash or five of Bragg’s Amino Acids, instead of soy sauce, loads of fresh ground white pepper, some rice vinegar, ground ginger, garlic and sliced in a fat organic carrot and some chopped Swiss Chard (I would have used bok choy, but the store was out and the chard actually worked really well).

I put it on the stove, set it to simmer and then realized it was going to be at least an hour before it was ready.

I could do more reading.


I could sneak in another yoga class.

Yoga won.

I slipped into the studio three minutes before it started.

It was not Vinyasa yoga, like I did this morning, but restorative.

I could not have done another Vinyasa class.

But restorative, lots of slow, soft, warm stretching, yes ma’am.

It was perfect.

I got back, tasted the soup, oooh, added a little more white ground pepper, lit some candles, put on my bunny slippers and had myself an amazing dinner.

The soup was so good.

Umami bomb.

I am astounded and I have a new favorite.

I am very happy how my Sunday went.

Not upset that I didn’t get the writing done I was thinking I might, but I got the things done that I needed to do and I did exquisite self-care.

Happy day.

I saw friends, chosen family, ate delicious food, did yoga, not once, but twice! Made tons of progress on my homework and walked underneath blooming cherry trees in one of the prettiest cities in the world.

Where I live does not suck.


I am the luckiest girl.

I really am.

And now I’m ready for Monday.

Night all.





March 10, 2017

I was blown away by a conversation I had with my boss today.

It started out as a bit of a joke around how I didn’t strike yesterday for International Hooha day yesterday.

That’s Women’s Day for you.

But you know what I mean.

I told her it just didn’t feel right to strike on my job when I work for a mom who runs her own business and has three children.

We joked a bit and the conversation turned to family and I found myself sharing things with her that I have not shared with previous employers.

I found myself sharing as though she were my friend.



I mean I needn’t go into gory details.


I did tell her a bit more about my family.

Specifically my dad.

Which I found myself quietly feeling out the words to explain the relationship and also, and here I was really surprised by my openness, that I was thinking about going and seeing him this July when the family is traveling in Europe.

They will be gone for three weeks.


I was just told tonight as I was leaving that they have the dates for their trip and also the dates for a work trip the dad will be taking at the end of this month.

I am going to help out while he is away for a week.

I’m not sure exactly what that will look like, but I will be helping out more.

I also suspect that I won’t mind at all.

She, the mom, is really becoming my friend and it’s a different relationship with a boss than I have had.


I have had some amazing.


Parents that I have gotten to work with.

Let me repeat that.


I am really lucky to call the majority of them my friends.

But I would also say that it was more after the fact than during the beginning of the work relationship.

I just find myself so at ease with her and I feel like I am a different person than the nanny I was when I first started.

I am also much more sure of myself and I am very aware of how good I am.

Which is not ego, but humility.

It would be false pride to belittle what I do or to downplay it.

“I could not do what you do,” my person told me last Saturday, “you really do astound me with how good you are, I still remember how you just pulled out a bag of snacks that one time I ran into you with the boys.”

She recounted a time years back when I was first began doing recovery work with her and I had a nanny gig at the time in Cole Valley.

I ran into her and some fellows and I had one of my charges with me and I had snacks and diapers and back up clothes and milk and wet wipes and god only knows what else, probably a teething ring or three and bags to put wet clothes in and hand disinfectant and the kitchen sink and…

She remembers, though and recounted it, not for the first time, with awe, and I don’t think anything of it, that’s just how I roll, prepared.

There used to be a time though when I was a lot more uncertain of myself and my worth.

I don’t think I was ever uncertain of my abilities, just not of my worth.

I  remember fondly an “intervention” some friends of mine did at Samovar Tea Lounge after I had just moved back from Paris.

It was a combination welcome home and you’re amazing and should be making more money at your job and we want to help you do that.

Eventually all that peer support sunk in and I got the picture.

I started to advocate more for myself and I started to get better jobs.

And now.


It may really be the best nanny gig I have.

Health insurance.

Paid vacation.

Sick leave.

Invitations to imbibe of their food, nice food, organic food, really nice procured stuff.

I drink nice tea and have all the coffee I could possibly want.

I get to be out and about with my charges.

I have a credit card in my name.

Of course, I can’t get cash with it and they are fully aware of what I use it for, but it’s so handy, I pick up dry cleaning, I use the card, I run to Whole Foods or Rainbow, ditto, I have it to put extra money on the Clipper card (the MUNI pass for the trains), or to take my charges to Dolores Park Cafe for mini pizza.

I have the dream nanny job.


I LOVE my boss.

I feel appreciated, understood, and we talk.

Like we have conversations about the world, the state of the nation under the current administration, art, Paris, Burning Man, San Francisco, homelessness, the mayor, rent and rent control, health insurance, school stuff.

I mean.

I have shared a lot.

So today it was not new exactly, it was just sharing on a slightly deeper level and twice I found myself tearing up in empathy for her kindness and good heartedness and how she just looked at me with her big blue/green eyes and it seemed as though she got it.

She got me.

In fact.

I felt like I was in the field with her.

The field is a psychology term that I liken to be in a therapy session.

There is intuition there and connection and things are seen from both sides, the therapist and the client.

There is often a kind of subconscious connection and things pop up and out and it happened today.

I thought something as she handed me the baby and then she said exactly what I was thinking.

I have found things like that happen to me when I am in tune with another, but I don’t know that it has ever happened with an employer, although as soon as I write that I have curiosity about that statement.


It happened.

We connected.

It was a moment of awe that I got to take in and I was just super grateful for her.

And for the little lady bug who tonight when I was making dinner stopped me, looked up, and said, “Carmen I love you, and Carmen,” she said and paused almost shyly, “Carmen, you’re beautiful.”

I stopped stirring the pot and looked at her, this little fairy elven woods creature with big saucer blue eyes and the fey downy blonde eyebrows on her face rose as her eyes widened, and she looked up at me, “you want to hug me now don’t you?”

“Yes,” I do, F__________.”


I put the wooden spoon down and gathered her up and hugged her.

“I love you too.”

And I do.



Very much.

I am such a lucky girl.

Luckiest girl in the world.


I’m also a school girl.

Tomorrow is my first day back to school.


Off to bed I go.

See you on the flip.

Sweet dreams my loves.

Sweet dreams.

And Then it was Fall

October 4, 2012

I could feel it in the breath of air as I rode my bicycle to BART this morning.



There was a cold wind blowing.

And I felt it all the way in Oakland, all the way down International Avenue, all the way across the Bay, I could feel that slight change heralding the end of summer and the fall soon to come.

I knew it was going to be a short-lived hot spell, but my it was grand the whole three days it lasted.

I suppose there will be a few more warm days before we head into the dark and the drear.  October in San Francisco really is spectacular.  And as I rode my bike from the shop tonight on a mad dash to Rainbow before it closed, I was at work late for a staff meeting, I was glad for the chilling off.

It is not cold, yet, but the chill was on the air.

I love fall.

It is my favorite season.

First, it is apple season and they are coming in spectacularly.  I just ate the most delectable Honey Crisp–fine crisp, juicy white flesh, with a sweetness almost bordering on vulgarity.  It was so pungent and ripe in my nose it was blasphemous.

I must say I vacillate between the ripe dark sweet fall apple and the high summer yellow nectarine as my two favorite fruits.

The apple may win by default as I consistently buy them.  I eat a lot of apples.  They are my go to snack.  But I am picky to the point of being pissy about them.

They have to be organic.

They cannot be Red Delicious.  Red Delicious are the Kool Aid of the apple kingdom.

I will eat a Red Delicious if it is the only piece of fruit I am able to source, ie at Burning Man or on the road.  But even then, I do not deign to eat them.  Too mealy, too plain, to blah.

I am also a size queen.

I like the big ones.

But not the mushy, soft flesh ones.

Big, strong, firm.

I am talking about apples here, ahem, get your mind out of the gutter, er the apple barrel.

I also like a little snap to them, a little bite, a touch of wildness, a tang, a tartness.

I do not like them too sweet, robust, yes, fleshy yes, but not syrupy, and some apples have been bred to that.

I will pass on your Golden Delicious, or any other yellow apple, unless again, that is all there is around.  I do not care for the Galas, the Golden’s, or the Delicious, not big on the Braeburns either, little too mealy.

Pacific Rose.

Pink Ladies




Arkansas Blacks.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Secondly, fall brings that aforementioned chill, the crisp edge to the air, the spiciness of summer fading into winter, and the divinity of the good layering.

It is the season of snuggling.

I like a good snuggle.

A good apple, a good snuggle.

A good fuck.


How did that get in there?

Where was I?

Oh yes, chill.  But not a damp chill, it is a bright coldness that autumn brings, and then there are the pumpkins starting to pile up in the stores and the small gourds, and the sudden prevalence of nutmeg and clove, ginger and cinnamon, all spice, and wood  burning.

The dry edge of a large maple leaf crumbling in my hand as bent to catch the leaf escaping as I swept the floor of the shop today.


And then it was fall.

It reminds me of Wisconsin.

Just briefly, momentarily, and the sing of the apple press at my grandparents house as we pushed in the windfall apples from the orchard, the wasps that would gather from the sweetness plunging into the air.

Nothing, absolutely nothing tastes as good as cold cider frozen topped from a deep freeze in the basement of the house in Windsor.

The orchard on a bad year put out about 60 bushels of apples–we had fourteen tree, four Red Delicious, one Golden Delicious (so wild and so sweet the skin was translucent with juice and the birds almost always ate the fruit before it could ripen), six Courtland, three pear trees (Red Bartlett’s)–and in a good year over 85 bushels.

The Red Delicious always ended up in the cider press, and almost never in my mouth, the jams, the jellies, or the countless pies I baked over the years.

I learned how to bake a true hand scratch pie at the age of twelve.  Roll out crusts, hand done, all of it.  I still to this day make an awful good pie, despite not having made one in some time.

I can still see my mom’s pie crust recipe written out on a notecard that she kept in the junk drawer next to the silver ware drawer along the long yellow formica counter top under the back kitchen window.  It was a white card.  It was a simple recipe.  I could tell it to you now.

But then I would have to kill you.

My mom forgot the recipe and once called me from Wisconsin after I had moved to San Francisco asking for it.

I almost did not give it to her.

But, then again, the woman did birth me, after all.

We also made apple sauce and apple butter.

Anything apple, I knew how, still know how, to make.

Apple treacle?

Apple coffee cake?

Apple jam, jelly, butter, cider, sauce, pie, cake, brown betty, cobbler, pancakes, pan dowdy, and then there was just the best thing going–a fresh picked apple with a sprinkle of salt.

Might take the prize for my favorite fruit of all time.

A nectarine does not blossom under a pinch of salt, whereas an apple becomes something wanton and gregarious and slightly sinful in your mouth.

I see why Eve ate it.

The snake sprinkled it with salt.

Adam was not aware of the spice cabinet yet.

Mores the pity.

Fall, a season briefer, perhaps than summer in San Francisco, and therefor to be relished and revelled in as I am here in the prettiest month of the year before I go.

I should head up to the Redwoods and get in a hike before I go.

And maybe a bag of apples from a road side stand.


I Am So Granola

October 1, 2011

I don’t even eat granola.  Seriously, it’s chock full of sugar.  Or “evaporated cane juice”  aka crack.  I just finished off a bowl of chopped apple, organic, w/pumpkin pie spice and ginger, and cinnamon, and nutmeg (also all organic, bought in bulk at Rainbow stored in reusable spice containers that have been recycled, see where I’m going with the granola reference?), topped with plain, nonfat yogurt (Nancy’s Organic) and sprinkled with (no, not with fairy dust) raw organic flax seeds.

I chuckle at the face you make.  It is too tasty.

I also bike commute.  I haven’t had a car in nine years.  I donated it to the GoodWill on Van Ness when I first moved to the city nine years ago.  I had a job down town waiting tables at Hawthorne Lane and realized really quickly that looking for parking in that neighborhood was nuts and so was paying for it when the entire process was five times as expensive, if not ten times, than taking the 27 Bryant to work, plus factoring in the looking for parking time process was way long, and I kept getting parking tickets where I was parking when I got home from work.  UGH.

So, off went the car and then started my bus love/hate affair–sometimes so on time, yet, sometimes so stinky.  Then I moved to the Bayview, I was desperate people, don’t ask (I had a friend who used to joke that dropping me off at my house was like taking a portal into Watts, I did not think it was that bad, but it was not very good either) when they, the city, stopped sending a bus along Third Street and the T-Line was so slow I thought I would kill myself.  I got a bike.

Thus, began my bicycling saga in the city.  I started with a hybrid, fucked my way up to a fixed gear (you think I joke, but an ex-boyfriend gave it to me, so yeah, I had sex for a bike), which was a beautiful Italian race bike.  It was so gorgeous that my room-mate told me I did not deserve it as I could not appreciate it.

When I looked at him, I think what he said had accidently slipped past a few filters as he looked rather ashamed of himself for saying it, quizzically and said, what exactly do you mean?  He replied that it was as though some one had given me an antique Porsche and I had said, “what’s a Porsche”.  Upon some researching, I discovered he was right.  It was a 1981 Pogliagi.  I’m probably spelling that wrong as I haven’t had the bike in years.  But man, was she a beauty.

The first time I rode it was like the first time I had good sex.  I had had no idea what the fuss was about, if you know what I mean, until then.

Unfortunately, I got side swiped on Valencia and 16th in the bike lane when a motorist suddenly made a right turn without signaling.  Oops.  There goes that bike.  Fortunately I was not hurt, but my bike frame was so bent that the boys at Pedal Revolution said, it’s no good anymore and I donated it to them for parts.

On to my next bike which was back to my old bike, the hybrid.  Which sucked after having such sweet wheels.  And I was doubly screwed as I had signed up to do the AIDS LifeCycle and now had nothing worth riding.  Entire friend Robb, ex-lover, good lord I fucked my way to two bikes!  Who loaned me his (old) touring bike to commute around town and I began my training on it.  It was a monster.  The gear shifters were on the stem of the bike and I had to get used to that, plus it wasn’t a good fit, the frame was too big.

Finally, I got my Felt, courtesy of Andrew Sweeney, who hooked me up with a fellow LifeCycle rider who was trading up and agreed to sell me his “old” Felt.  Last years model, so to speak.  I hugged my way to this bike, thank you very much.

What else?  Oh yeah, I grocery shop at Rainbow, worker owned and operated.  I am a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (predominately to get the 10% discount at Rainbow, shhhhh).  I re-use my bags, recycling not only my paper bags but using them to compost as well.

Yeah, that’s right I compost too.

I buy second-hand clothes and furniture.

I feed my cats organic food.  Although not vegetarian food.  Cats be carnivores, people, don’t go feeding them vegan food, they get sick.  I know, I used to work in a high-end vet office and yes, I know you just want what’s best for Fifi and the environment, but she’s losing her fur, lady.

Stop trying to out granola me, you can’t.

I lie.  You could in a heart beat.  Because–

I don’t do yoga.  Although, I admit, I aspire to it.  That feels like the next frontier for me, yoga.  Sigh. I am not going to live in an Ashram though, ever.  And I have not been to a silent retreat; although, gah, I have thought about doing it, because I also–




I have a spiritual practice.

Run, run, run, California has eaten her brain!

My lap top is refurbished.

That’s only because it’s cheaper.  Truth be told, I will happily buy a new Mac when I have the money to do so.  Although, this baby is doing me quite well.

I don’t smoke and tonight I told a very cute man I don’t date smokers.  He stopped mid-flirt, really?  Yup, sorry.  First time I have said that out loud, to a man, I told a girlfriend just tonight, it was sort of like the Universe saying, are you sure?  Yes, yes I am.  I don’t date smokers.  I could smell it all over him and that’s not how I want to smell.  Thanks for feeling me out, however, dude, I was totally flattered.

I re-use my toiletries.

Ok, now that sounds weird.  I recycle and re-use the bottles.  I re-fill them with bulk products at Rainbow.

My foot-print is pretty damn small when you get down to it.  Not my literal foot print.  I wish.  I would be like Imelda Marcos if I had a shoe size that was even slightly smaller.

I embrace the granola, even if I won’t eat it.

Things I Did This Weekend

September 19, 2011

I Finally Get The Nightstand

Calling In The One

Ah, like, went to bed last night/this morning at 5 a.m.  Holy crow, batman, I don’t remember the last time I stayed up until 5 am on the weekend.  It has surely been a long time.

I had a crazy, cool, out of fucking hand day yesterday, that just kept morphing into the next cool thing.  Did it all happen?


The morning was my usual Saturday morning m.o.  Get up do my morning practice, make a little breakfast (hot oatmeal with an organic banana, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, nutmeg, sea salt, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  Oh my god who is this masked woman and what the fuck is she eating?) and a pot of organic Italian Roast french press coffee.  Then I did me some writing.

I did my morning pages, three, and I did the exercises out of Calling in the One.

PS.  If you are sick of hearing about this book, tough, this blog is going to be screaming with it, so get over it now or go read something else.  Like my book.


So, yesterday’s reading was around the ‘boogeymen’, you know those things that we allow ourselves to tremble before, despair of, and be in fear (F.alse E.vidence A.ppearing R.eal) of.  Like the this one: what the hell am I doing even thinking about applying to school for something I may really enjoy doing as a career, don’t you know that there’s not enough money and you are a fool and you are going to wind up getting evicted out of your apartment and you will be pushing a shopping cart in front of the Aveda institute with too much rouge on your withered cheeks.

Yeah, that’s where my head goes.  Uh, thanks for that.  That was really pleasant.

The exercise for this reading was to write yourself a letter specifically addressed from this fear.  Let the fear have its say.  Now, I thought, here is the stupid exercise that is not going to work.  I have contempt.  I know this fear, blah, blah, blah.

Hmmm, seems like some one is balking doesn’t it?

I write the letter addressed to myself from the fear of financial insecurity (ie the ain’t-never-gonna-be-enough fear) and boy howdy, did I get pissed.  By the time I was done with it, I had said “fuck you” out loud really loudly.  Poor cats, they thought I was hollering at them.

Here’s the “letter” from my fear-

Dear Carmen-

You’re never going to make it, you’re going to be poor forever, you’re going to get evicted, you going to wander the streets homeless and abandoned with a shopping card.  You will be unloved and always abandoned, you don’t deserve love, you’re unlovable and you don’t deserve financial success either, because you’re a piece of shit.

Baha- Your Fears Committee

I really did say “fuck you” quite loudly, then adding, “who the hell are you and what are you doing in my head?”

Flipping the page to the book, which is designed just so that you don’t see that next part of the exercise until you are about to do it.  The directions following said, I read to now write back to the fear and address it the way you would a young child.

Bingo.  I have the memory.

I was five, four, probably.  It was the middle of the night, somewhere in some city in the Bay Area or San Jose area.  Mom was flinging stuff into her boyfriend Chucks car and my sister is sleeping next to me in the back of the Volkswagen Beetle.  I am terrified, but keeping it pretty stifled.  We are moving again.  We are fleeing before they evict us.  I am woken out of a hard sleep to be shoved in the car with a bunch of boxes and garbage sacks of clothes.  My mom is sneaking around the car trying to be as quiet as possible so the neighbors don’t wake up.  The porch light is off and I watch from just below the door jamb on the Bug, I am crying and sniffling.  I had liked it here.  There was a tangerine tree in the back that I liked to eat from and I liked the kids in the neighborhood.  I don’t want to go.

Hence, with some new perspective, I write back my fear–

Dear Fear of Financial Insecurity

Thanks for the insight, but I am really being taken care of quite well, I’m not a little girl running away in the middle of the night skipping out of the rent like my mother and her abusive boyfriend.  I am loved and I am allowed to succeed.  And I am never alone.  I have an amazing God that loves and provides for me (yeah, I said GOD, get over it bitches).  Further I get to be happy and successful, they are my dues after all the hard work I have done.  I know that you are scared for me, that you are just trying to protect me so that I won’t get hurt.  But it’s time I flew without you, I promise God won’t let me crash.  You can let me go now.

Thanks for your concern, in loving kindness–Carmen

Then I left the house.  Saying as I left, if I lose this apartment because I am going to go to “beauty school” so be it.  I accept the consequences.

Now remember, the consequences don’t have to be bad!  What if, as John Ater suggested, the consequences are that I get a better place?  Am I ready to accept that?


I got a message from Beth on the phone about meeting up, so we hooked up in the Mission and then had us a great girls lunch at SunFlower.  Man, I love me some tofu salad.  It is just screamin’.  And nothing accompanies it better than a good bouquet of girlfriend.

Then I head downtown on BART to the institute.

It is perfect.

Can I just say it again, perfect.  Yeah, I got nerves, yeah, I had me some doubts, again, what am I doing?

Yet, every time I turned around something else was declaring hey, Carmen, this is it.  First, it smelled delicious.  I am such a fan of all things that smell nice.  I always have Pacifica candles burning in the house, maybe it’s vertiver,or blood orange, or my favorite Mexican cocoa.  I drench myself in coconut body lotion and make it a habit to always have my signature perfume, Egoiste, by Chanel, on my body.  I am a scent person.  And the school smelled good, so good.

So much better than poopy diapers, let me tell you.

The woman who I interviewed with, Jocelyn, and I got along smashingly.  Ridiculously. I thought, why we could be best friends her in about three days.  And how Paris came up (thought I’d forgotten Paris had you, think again!), how, not sure, but she’s going there soon for a vacation and the next thing you know I am asking, is there an Aveda in Paris?




Why, yes, Carmen, there is.


Then we are talking about the CIDESCO program and how it would mean not only California licensing to practice esthiology, but also throughout the United States and 30 other countries.  France being one of them.  Paris being where the Aveda institute is located.

Why, how handy is that?  I had been keeping it in my heart, but now, I share.  I don’t want to be a nanny in Paris either.  I want to do skin care work and I want to do make up art and I want to work the fashion shows.  I want to go to London on the tube.  I want to go to Milan.  I want to be booked to work the shows in Paris.

Hey fear of financial insecurity do you hear me knocking down your door?

I pay the deposit.  We go over the financials.  I breathe and say I don’t have to know where the money is coming from.  It’s just coming.  The tuition will get paid.  I will get to do this.  I also run into an old friend whom I had not seen in years, turns out she’s their new director.  Well, fuck me, how cool is this?

And I will be starting November 8th.  The very week after K. starts pre-school.

Handy, no?  Could the timing possibly be better?

I leave Aveda on wings.  I drift home up the hill.  Have I mentioned the school is located down the hill from my house.  I can walk there in fifteen minutes.

I meet with Jackie.  She picks me up and we head over to Oakland to see Thievery Corporation at the Fox theater.

More fantasticness.

We catch up in the car and bang, Kismet.

Guess who else has been doing Calling in the One?

Guess who has called in the one?

She did the web seminar.  And met the one.  I got to meet him too.  Spontaneity took hold of me while we were having dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant on Telegraph and I said, sure, I’ll go to this work party function in some crazy fancy high-rise condo in San Jose after the show to meet your guy.

And I did.  And it was awesome.  It was so affirming to see how it was working for her.  We shared a lot, we talked a lot, we compared our experiences.  She bolstered me up and assured me that I was on the right track.

It was though the Universe, was saying “hey, kid, I swear it’s happening, just hang in there, here’s a little proof to show you”.

As Joan likes to say, “Amazeballs”.

Amaze balls indeed.

I came home this morning too wired from the night and the party and meeting Jackie’s beau and drinking a lot of coffee, to go right to bed.  I got online, filled out the FAFSA, financial aid paper work for student loans, and made a promise.  Today I would get my nightstand for the other side of the bed, as I was directed to do weeks ago.  No more balking.

And guess what?

I did.

Guess who is calling in the ONE now?

Yeah, that’s right I am.  Here he comes, walking right straight for me.  I think he’s going to like the nightstand.  I got him a kick ass lamp to read by as well.  He likes to read.

Before you know it, there’s going to be an extra toothbrush in the bathroom as well.

Now excuse me while I go kick some more fears out into the hallway, I ain’t got room for them no more.

Quick & Dirty Chicken Soup*

July 6, 2011

I got home at 7:45 p.m.  By 8:30 p.m. I had a pot of home-made chicken soup simmering on the stove and I was cutting up an apple for my evening snack and had just put the kettle on to boil.  I had even washed the dishes from making the soup and taken out the compost pail.

Not bad for 45 minutes.

Sunday’s baked chicken dinner is the gift that keeps on giving.  Which is one of the reasons I love roasting a chicken.  I can get a lot of meals out of one little bird. I have had roast chicken for every lunch and dinner for the last two and a half days and now I have a large pot of chicken soup, which will easily last me through the week and well into next week.  Even with giving a way a few jars of the soup, which I usually do.

Speaking of which, if you want more soup you need to return the Mason jar.  I will happily refill.

I also have a pot of brown rice on the stove.  So that will be the menu for the next couple of days.  Home made chicken soup with carrots, potatoes, celery, cauliflower, onion, garlic, and bay leaf with brown rice.  I will pair this delicious coupling with organic fruit from the UCSF Farmer’s Market, which is, ta da! Tomorrow!

I love my new kitchen.  Just the additional foot of space in width makes it feel so big and spacious.  Plus I have more counter space and this is super helpful in getting out a fast dinner.

I am the queen of fast meals.  I don’t have a lot of time to dick around during the week.  In fact, I almost skipped making the soup completely.  But I knew I would not be happy with myself if I did so and there is the possibility that I may be banned to the house again tomorrow.

K. is sick.  She has a cold.  Just a cold.  But I was told upon returning to work from my lovely three-day weekend, that mom and dad did not want her leaving the house.

Oh my god.  Are you kidding me?

She has a runny nose and some congestion.  No fever.  No other symptoms.  In fact, from the way it sounded she was already through the worst of it and she was running around the house kicking a ball while I chased her down and tickled her when I got into work and mom was telling me the horror story of her weekend illness.

You are right, mom, dad, she is on death’s bed.

I did wrangle permission to go over to campus and hit up the Peasant Pie for a cup of coffee.  I probably did not ‘need’ it, but I did need to get the fuck outside.

How often does San Francisco have the kind of weather we have had for the last five days in JULY!?

And I was kicking myself a little because I had not brought a full complement of lunch and dinner with me or tea.  I had been planning on making a run to Whole Foods with K.

My bad.  I know better, you know?

So, tonight when I got home, I knew I had better cook that soup up.  I may be grounded again tomorrow.  My fingers are crossed that this does not happen.  I can already hear the conversation about being out of public places.

Geez darn, I was planning on taking her to a leper colony this week.  I guess that will have to wait.

I also, regrettably, it always makes me feel like I am loosing my mind, found myself talking to the nanny cam.  It does not matter if there is one there or not.  It is not a healthy thing for me to do.  I had gotten a bunch of texts from both parents regarding K.  She was napping and I was napping and I did not apparently get back to them in a timely manner.

If was as if they both decided that we had enough sleep and it was time to get the fuck up.  I deliberately did not respond for some minutes.  In fact, I did not even look at the texts.  I knew that the chiming bell on my phone indicated parental micro-managing and I decided to take care of myself and my needs, going to the bathroom, and K’s needs, letting her sleep undisturbed, before answering the texts.

K.  woke up a few minutes after this decision had been made and I got her ready for the rest of the day, which was confined to the condo, but at least we got out to the courtyard.  I don’t understand how this is somehow a cleaner space than the rest of the out doors, but mom wanted me to stay put, so I did.  And it’s got surveillance cameras, the whole building does, inside, outside, in the hallways, in the elevators, so I follow directions.

I wonder what security thinks of me when they see me every day standing outside the door to the condo drawing big deep breaths and holding out my hand to God to come to work with me.  Some times I even say it out loud, “hey, God, wanna come to work with me today, I think I’m going to need your help.”

This is quite helpful, even if it makes me seem like some religious nut.  Rather that, using spiritual tools, than sassing the nanny cam, which of course, I resorted to anyway by the end of the day.  I also did manage to call John Ater at one point and just leave a message on his voice mail which alleviated a lot of the chatter I had in my head.

Suffice to say I had to make myself make the soup.  And it was so quick and smells so delicious right now, I am very glad I did.

Here’s the “recipe” (recipe is in quotes because I don’t measure anything)

One roast chicken carcass popped in a pot of water with two bay leaves and some sea salt.  Cover and simmer until boiling.  In the mean time take out the little jar of chicken fat and juice and meat scrapings from the roast chicken pan that I collected from Sunday’s roast chicken dinner.  Sautee up one onion and four thinly sliced garlic cloves in the fat.  Add in one head of celery chopped, include the nice little crisp leaves and the heart in the mix, then add, two russet potatoes that have been washed down and chopped into pieces.  I don’t peel my potatoes as I like the taste of the peel and that’s where all the good nutrients are anyways.  Add four carrots, peeled and sliced to mix.  Add in a little more fat, because it sounded like a good idea.  Continue sauteeing.  Then chop up half a head of cauliflower (last of the veggies from the Farmer’s Market from last week and it fit right nice in the pot) and add to vegetable mix.

Remove chicken carcass from stove.  Strain the soup stock from the pan into the sauteed vegetables.  Let the carcass cool off a bit then pick all the remaining meat off the bones.  Add to soup.  Then add in some more sea salt, black pepper to taste, onion salt, garlic salt, a couple more bay leaves, and some organic all-purpose seasoning (I got it on sale at the grocery store and it smelled like it was a good fit, so I tossed some in–I cook a lot through my sense of smell).

Then wash your dishes, put your tea kettle on, eat your snack and write your blog.

And voila!  Lunch and dinner for a week and a half.

Pat yourself on the back for breaking in the kitchen and showing self good self-care and love.

Let simmer until you finish writing and then take a Mason jar, put some brown rice in it and laddle soup over it and seal.

That’s it!

Now I can watch my Weeds down load and not feel one might guilty.


*No resentments were manufactured in the making of this soup*


April 28, 2011

Like a mother fucker!  Damn, Gina, I got it happening tonight.  I do not know where the surge of energy came from, but I have done so much in the last hour and a half it’s kind of crazy.

Actually, I think the relief of being done with all the ambiguosness around my health has been really great, that flat grey feeling has left the building.  Plus today was almost story book as far as work went.  Both the girls were absolute angels, only a couple of slight altercations, mostly just one getting jealous of the other, but really a supremely nice day with the two.  And it was the farmer’s market at the UCSF Mission Bay campus.  So I got to get fresh vegetables and fruit.

I picked up the most gorgeous bunch of radishes–$1.00, thank you very much!  I ate them raw with my lunch and dinner, with just a little bit of sea salt, so good.  And I also got at some of the prettiest tangelos ever.  I normally would just go for an apple, but the apple lady was missing in action.  So I switched it up and got the citrus, and wow, so glad I did.  Absolutely divine.  It’s also a  good time to take the girls over to the market.  It is very kid friendly, live music–today was a steel drum player–and lots of samples.

The girls tried tangerines, humus, baba ghanoush, fresh pita bread, and oranges.  I was tempted, but I leave the samples alone or I’d buy the whole market out.  I was also passingly intrigued by the fresh asparagus, but knew better.  I have to be in the exact mood for asparagus, otherwise it sits in my fridge and goes bad.  It looked lovely, but it wasn’t the right day for it.  I like buying locally and it’s a nice diversion for the girls, so the farmers market is a distinct win win situation.

Then, tonight, upon getting home I had two different text conversations, made soup, did a load of laundry, washed the sink, scrubbed the toilet, cleaned the cat box, took out the recycling, and the compost, had my evening snack, and sorted out the mail.  All before 9:15 p.m.  Not bad!

I don’t always have this level of energy, so I like to take advantage of it when it comes.  I also have been listening to my favorite self-made compilation of music on my Ipod player–my “dance your pants off” mix.  Which means I have gotten a little dance party in too.  It’s been a little while since I’ve gotten my groove on.  I should let that happen soon.  I really wanted to go to the Wicked reunion party at Mighty this past weekend, but it just did not come together for me.

I didn’t buy tickets in advance and the show sold out.  I briefly considered going to the club and standing in line, but I knew it would just be craziness.  And I don’t mind craziness sometimes, but I had other more important things to attend to.  None the less, I am feeling the distinct desire to do more than just dance around my studio.  It’s time to break out the sneakers and do some serious grooving.

And look, it’s already Thursday!  Well, not really, but only two days of work left before the weekend.  I get to see good friends this weekend, go to the MOMA with a handsome gentleman, and see a double feature at the Castro theater on Saturday.  Can anyone say Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind?  I am all freaking over it!

And that wraps up my multi-tasking for tonight.  I’ve got a Glee episode downloading and it should be just about ready for watching.

Nighty night.

Well, that was depressing

April 25, 2011

I just went grocery shopping at Rainbow.  Normally an event I actually rather enjoy.  Which is amazing growth for me.  I used to hate grocery shopping, or anything else that smacked of self-care.  Now, I get into it.  I like to browse the aisles and see what there is to be seen.  I make little lists and get new ideas about cooking.

But today I was on the quest for the clear liquid diet.

Contrary to what you may have heard, this diet is quite illusive. Ha. Clear.  Illusive.  Get it?


It’s just not that funny.  In the basket–bottled water, coconut juice (without the pulp which is what makes drinking coconut juice so much fun), white grape juice, and drumroll please, UNFLAVORED Jel dessert (also unsweetened and vegan, not about to put horse hooves in my body even if the nurse said jello could be included in our clear liquid diet).  There’s a pictures of clear “jel dessert” on the package.  And surprise, surprise when I whipped it up, it was clear.

Yum, can’t wait for breakfast.

I left Rainbow hungry and dejected.  Having just had dinner (organic baked potato with steamed organic broccoli and earth balance, sprinkled with sea salt, and a fruit salad of pink lady apple, banana, and fresh strawberries, dusted with ginger, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice, then topped with a little container of coconut pudding–so tasty!) I don’t feel hungry or dejected.  However, I am not looking forward to fasting.

I was just thinking about the crazy fast that was popular a few years back, the cayenne pepper, water, lemon juice and maple syrup “cleanse” and I don’t know how people did that.  I have to fast for 24 hours.  I think most people did like a five-day cleanse. Or some insane thing like that.  Yuck.  To think there are people voluntarily doing a fast is kind of crazy.  Or caffeine colonics.  Or all liquid diets.  I rather like food.  Solid food.  You know, food that can be chewed and has color to it.

Although I do recall a room-mate that would fast periodically as it helped her with her allergies.  And it appeared to work quite well for her; the allergy symptoms subsided almost immediately.  She drank aloe juice mixed with something else.  Something that made her grimace and plug her nose while she drank it down.  I always expected her to vomit after she finished it.  And though I occasionally suffer from allergies, I was not tempted to try her fast.

Fortunately I can have coffee and tea tomorrow.  And clear broth. Let’s not forget the clear broth.  But I didn’t pick up any  broth at Rainbow.  The thought of just having clear broth is depressing and by the time I had sourced my unflavored jel dessert and my pulp less coconut water I was dejected by just looking at the soup stock aisle and I left, wheeling my sad little basket of odds and ends to the register.

I really was tempted to let myself have some sort of splurge, but that doesn’t work for my either.  So, I just got my purchases and hopped on the 12 Folsom and came home.

I am not feeling sorry for myself, just to the other side of it, truth be told.  But I’m not feeling giddy either.  Oh well.

Such is the way the gelatin sets.

Where Do I Even Start?

April 18, 2011

This weekend has been crazy good.  Full of friends and travel, little sleep, much coffee, walking, bicycling, swimming, thrift store looting, brisket eating, trampolining.  Good lord, how do I even begin to write it all up?

Yesterday I got up to a clear sunny Austin brimming over with bird song and possibility around 8:30 a.m.  I put on my new sundress that I had bought on South Congress the afternoon before at some store next to Jo’s Coffee.  I can’t remember the name, there’s a lot of little stores down there.  But I can tell you, it is super cute–red ruffled and white polka-dotted, topped off with a white belt I got at the Good Will.  I will be wearing it as often as I can, or as often as San Francisco weather permits–I might get lucky and get two wears out of it in the next year.  Chuckle.

And may I just inject that it was just a bit surreal to go from 95 F yesterday with bright sunny skies to 54 F overcast, grey, and foggy today.  But I adjusted pretty quick to the change.  Especially after Joanie and I hiked the Presidio this afternoon through Crissy Field out to the Warming House for late afternoon coffees, but I am getting ahead of myself.  Back to Austin, which was yesterday, although it sort of feels all of a piece as I did not, for as I predicted, I did not get a lot of sleep.  I have been basically up since 4:15 a.m. this morning, and that’s Austin time, which means, I have been up since 2:15 a.m. San Francisco time.

My how that time does fly.

So, back to Austin.  After putting on my sassy new sundress Ell dropped me and Liz pants off at Lizzy’s old place where her bike has been stored.  I met her old room-mate, her cat Dodge, and her chicken, yes I said chicken, Lady Bug.  We did some quick bike maintenance then headed into down town Austin.  We stopped at the Farmer’s Market to grab breakfast before heading over to meet some ladies at the Little Pink House to do the deal.

Breakfast was mighty, mighty, mighty delicious.  Two corn tortilla soft tacos, one with shredded bison, one with scrambled eggs and peppers, both topped with some sort of spicy avocado dreaminess.  Accompanied by a big tall iced organic coffee.  We sat in the park nibbling, ahem, I mean, inhaling, our tacos and enjoying the weather and the dogs and the little kids running around.  Then back on the bikes and over to the pink house.

Afterward we headed to Thom’s Market to pick up a bottle of water and a picnic lunch to take with us to Barton Springs.

Now, I have to say, in all honesty that there are very few places that I have had the moment of being completely and totally at home as soon as I was in the city.  Where I knew in my heart that I was home, in my bones, in my soul–Austin was not one of those places.  San Francisco, Paris, Black Rock City, yup.  Austin is really cool, but I knew pretty much from the plane touching down that I would enjoy my visit, but I would not be tempted into moving there.

Then Lizz took me to Barton Springs, and I had some serious reconsidering to do.  It is the most beautiful outdoor swimming hole I have ever seen.  It is a natural spring fed reservoir, surrounded by grassy hills, clover, oak trees, ranging anywhere from two feet deep to ten feet.  It is not man-made, although there are man made touches that enhance the pools–lifeguard stands, ladders and steps leading into the springs, a dammed area with a walkway over it to allow you to cross from one set of gently sloping banks to the other, sidewalks, picnic tables, a concession stand, locker rooms and shower areas.

I was blown away.

I love to swim and I had not been swimming in some time.  On top of which, I had not been swimming outdoors in over ten years. Actually, probably longer, I may have to ponder this.  There is nothing quite like getting into the water, even though it was really cold at first, really cold! And paddling around.  Swimming to me is like flying, there is this beautiful weightlessness that I imagine birds feel while they swoop through the air.  I pretend I am a mermaid and stay under as long as I can.

The springs also had a diving platform over the deeper end of it.  I actually did some diving.  And I know that I haven’t been on a diving board in, well, I think thirteen, fourteen years.  My goodness.  But the body is an amazing mechanism and mine remembered how to do it.  I don’t know what I looked like, but it felt so good to dive.  I never really learned any true diving tricks, but I had a great time trying to mimic the approach and bounce that divers do.  I think the kind of dive I do is called a swan dive.

And that’s what I felt like, a swan.

Then after I was good and tuckered out from the swim, Lizz and I just laid out on the banks and let the sun dry us off and I contemplated what it would be like to live in Austin just so that I could go for a swim every morning.  Then it got pretty hot, and the bees got a little enamoured with me.  I don’t know what it is, but I attract them.  We cut the sunbathing short and headed into town to do a little vintage shopping before Ell came to pick us up and haul us back to the house to get ready for the wedding.

Uh, yup, I also went to a wedding yesterday.  In Texas Hill Country, at the Barr Mansion.  It was a gorgeous ceremony, small, romantic, everything you see in a magazine layout for perfect weddings.  It was like being on a movie set.  I kept expecting Sandra Bullock or Reese Witherspoon to come waltzing out of the mansion.

And since I’m a curious monkey, I did a little investigating on my own after the wedding and went wandering around the mansion, which was not technically open to the wedding guests, but they were all busy with the free bar and the wedding party were busy getting their photos taken.  So Lizz and I and Ell, took the liberty of exploring the mansion.  The parlors and the library, and dining room, and the upstairs with the wrap around veranda, and the fancy pants bathroom with the most beautiful old clawfoot tub, and the library, with its zebra skin, a real zebra skin, rug and antler chandelier.  Oh my.

The reception was in a gorgeous new building built back behind the mansion and gardens.  Glossy cement floors with oak leaves embedded into it, fresh cedar everywhere, flowers cascading all over, candles, lanterns on the grounds leading you into the dining area and hanging from the rafters, the ceiling was over twenty feet.  It was astounding.

Actually, what was astounding was the food.  I was blown away.  I have never had such amazing wedding food.  All organic as well.  The mansion prides itself on providing a very eco-friendly event space.  There where mini bbq chicken sliders with dill pickles and roast beef, glorious fresh steamed vegetables, artisanal breads and whipped butter, gnocchi dripping in butter and cheese, a mashed potato bar.  It was astoundingly good.

But the best part was the hibiscus iced tea.  Mostly because it was not sweet tea.  I had to send back my tea a few times this weekend.  No sweet tea for me, please!

And the topper, the moon, full, rising golden and benevolent over the oak trees.  It was like a fairy garden.  Well, until the dj started spinning 90s pop tunes.  Lizz and Ell and I fled.

We headed back into Austin, stopping momentarily at the house to grab Velvet, Lizzy’s sweet baby blue pit bull, then on to Halcyon in the Warehouse District downtown.  It is a combined coffee bar, lounge, humidor, people watching palace of iniquity.  We scored an awesome table right on the main drag and watched Saturday night happen right in front of us.  And Velvet ate a lot of cookies and charmed all who passed by.

Even with a large latte at 11 pm at night, I could not manage the energy up to go on longer, so we mustered up after our coffee was finished and hit the sack.  I got a little shut-eye and then got up to catch my 6 a.m. flight back to SFO.

And since this entry is getting long and I’m tired, no way!  I’m going to summarize today in one paragraph, here goes–

Arrive in San Francisco at 7:45 am (time change), grab a coffee and a croissant at Petes, catch the BART back into the city, then a bus from downtown to Nob Hill.  Unpack, feed the cats, sort the mail, pay a bill, fix a to go lunch, smack a little make up on my face, down load pictures onto computer, tidy up, do the dishes, sweep the floor, head back out the door, catch a cable car down town, back onto BART, over to 16th and Mission to take care of a commitment, meet up at Four Barrel after that to do the deal for an hour, get picked up by Joan at 2:40 p.m. drive over to the Presidio, hike through Crissy Field, go to the Warming Hut for coffees, walk past the House of Air, get a crazy wild hair up my ass and make reservations to go back and bounce during their next session, head back to Joan’s car, grab a light dinner in the Marina, hit the Dry Dock to see some friends real quick, then back to the House of Air where we jumped around on trampolines for an hour.

Whew!  Did I really do all that in 24 hours?  I have one hell of a cruise director.  And I still have one day of my five-day weekend left.

Maybe I’ll take it easy tomorrow.  Sleep in, take a long bath, nap, relax….



April 1, 2011

I am the Californian your mother warned you about.  I have Omega-3 Fish oils on my shelf, they were recommended to me as I come off the Prozac; which in combination with exercise is supposed to naturally treat my depression.  I think working 50 hours a week as a nanny for two toddlers and bike commuting counts as exercise.  Then I have the Women’s mulit-vitamin from Rainbow, for you know, lady stuff and parts and such.

Then there’s the organic protein powder I mix up with a glass of water in the morning whilst I make my oatmeal and apple breakfast.  No sugar, no milk, just water.

And now, ta da!  Let us to add ye olde iron supplement to the list, to treat the anemia.  Either that or someone throw me some extra money so I can eat out steak every night.  And if one more person tells me to eat more spinach I’m going to knock them down.  I do eat spinach, and kale, and chard, and dandelion greens, and watercress, and broccoli.  As it turns out, my level of physical activity, see above paragraph or any of the blogs on bicycle training, thank you very much, and I need more iron than the average bear.

Now I don’t have royal jelly, queen bee secreted yumminess, or cod liver oil, or milk thistle extract, or any tinctures or herbal flower essences.  I don’t do acupuncture, tried it once, was lovely, too freaking expensive; or foot reflexology.  I don’t do yoga, although I aspire to it.  I just don’t have the time.  But I’m starting to think that had I the money or the time I would certainly check them out.  Well, maybe not the cod liver oil, blech.

I guess grown ups do this sort of thing.  Who knew?  Again, the lesson, don’t make fun of what others do or you too shall do them (see blog on bicycle shorts).  I hereby pass no judgements on macrame plant holders, almond milk, raw food, kefir, tahini, colon cleanses, calcium supplements, baby aspirin, wheat grass shots, wheat germ, or netty pots.

Somebody pass me the flax seeds please.

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