Posts Tagged ‘perfection’

And That’s A Wrap

February 5, 2017

Holy shit.

I have had a full day.

But.

It all got done.

I mean, it just flowed, it was smooth as silk, one thing to the next to the next.

Yoga in the morning.

Hot shower.

Hot breakfast.

Hot coffee.

Writing.

Having a lady over to do some reading and some work.

Taxes.

Yes.

I did my taxes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

I am getting a refund.

I am happy for that, travel money!

Oh the places you’ll go.

Burning Man.

Portland.

Anchorage.

Puerto Rico.

Paris.

Barcelona.

Mallorca.

Venice.

Well.

Maybe not all those places on my tax refund, I’m getting a few thousand back though, thank you education credit, almost makes up for taking out $20,000 in student loans this year.

Almost.

I’ve no complaints though, I am super grateful that I can take out loans, that I get to go to grad school, that I have what I have.

And I have a tax return coming.

Taxes got done.

Then I did some cooking and made a nice hot homemade lunch and I made a big batch of chicken and vegetable stew with brown rice and garlic and stuck a bunch in the freezer for the work week and for the upcoming weekend of classes.

Then.

I sat and I wrote my first paper for the semester.

5 pages.

1,653 words.

Not too long, took about an hour and a half.

It was a reflection paper for my Trauma class and it wasn’t too hard a stretch to come up with things to write about, it was harder to keep it contained to the brevity of the paper requirements which was 3-5 pages long.

Mine was the full five pages and I could have written much more, extrapolated much more, gone quite a bit further.

But there wasn’t a need for that and I was happy to proof it and get it printed off and into my school folder.

I made some tea then sat and kicked through 3/4s of a 40 page paper for my Community Mental Health Class.

I took a small break and wrote out some Valentines Day cards.

I love giving out Valentines Day cards.

Probably because I haven’t had much success with Valentines in my life, and I so enjoy bringing a little touch of sweetness and love and silliness and humor to the holiday.

Last year in class I gave every single person in my cohort a Valentine.

It felt wonderful.

Yes.

I am a dork.

And I don’t care.

When the clock struck 6:30p.m. I headed out the door and hit the MUNI to the BART to the Oakland.

My friend came and picked me up at the 19th Street stop and we went and grabbed dinner at a taqueria in the hood where I was not shamed by the counter guy when I ordered a steak burrito without the wrap.

Yeah, it’s a thing.

After Mexican food, we went for coffee, I got a decaf thank you very much, at Gaylord’s where I ran into friends I hadn’t seen in a while and we all got caught up.

Finally arriving at the spot a little while later and doing the deal and saying the stuff and getting up and sharing and not really remembering what I said, which is good, that means I was honest and didn’t have an agenda.

Although I always have an agenda.

I want to look cool and hip and sexy and smart and oh, so available for dating.

Usually I am just honest and speak from the heart and yeah, I don’t remember what I said and that makes for the best kind of sharing for me.

I can’t fuck it up.

My friend was a total sweetheart and didn’t just drop me off at the nearest BART, but actually drove me all the way home here to the Sunset.

I wouldn’t actually be blogging right now, I’d be on a train, if he hadn’t driven over the bridge.

Such a gift.

A ride home.

And we talked loads of Burning Man.

He was at my first Burning Man camp and is one of the few people on playa who actually knows my first playa name and still calls me by it.

He encouraged me to come and camp with his camp again.

I haven’t actually camped with them, he started an off shoot of the one that I went to my first year, but I have spent lots of time hanging out around their camp fire on playa and I know many of the people who are a part of the crew.

They are definitely my fellows.

And yes.

I know.

It’s February and I’m already talking about Burning Man.

It’s in my fucking blood.

Of course I want to go.

And I will.

Not sure how.

But I will.

Not sure how I’ll get the time off from work.

But.

I will.

It always works out.

Just like today, smooth and sweet and falling into place, showing up for each moment as they come and living in that moment.

It’s a grand way of life, being present, not living in fantasy, just being in the here and the now.

A gift, the present.

All my life, so many presents, and so often I was too far inside my head to realize what was in front of me, I missed life because I was focused on what I didn’t have and what I wanted and thought I needed.

I was always provided for.

I have always been taken care of.

I have such faith that this vein of love and care will continue.

As long as I show up.

Do the next indicated action.

And.

Let go of the results.

Simple.

Not easy.

But really.

Quiet simple.

It is an elegant design for living.

Beyond grateful that I have been gifted with it.

Just for today.

I have it all.

Right here.

Right now.

Perfect.

Love.

And.

Grace.

 

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Dry Run

August 4, 2016

Well.

The good news is I did a dry run.

The bad news is that I need another tent.

Fuck.

I bought a tipi off Amazon and did not read all the fine print, the super fine print hidden way below all the glowing reviews.

The ones that said, the floor is not attached!

Not a good tent.

Super unhappy I bought this tent.

Want my money back.

Those comments.

Ack.

Ah.

Sucker you blew $120 on a tent that you can’t use on playa.

Because the side walls are not attached to the floor.

I might as well string a tarp and sleep under that.

There would be absolutely nothing between me and the dust.

For one moment, one, I thought, I could make this work.

Then.

I laughed maniacally at myself.

Yeah, right.

There is no amount of duct tape that will make this work.

None.

And.

At least I found out, I am super glad I took it out of it’s bag and went to set it up, I wanted to see how many stakes of rebar I should buy to reinforce the tent stakes and I was going to put it off for another week, because you know, facecrack was so exciting to troll.

Gah.

But I had a nice productive early afternoon, I went grocery shopping and cooked food and finished completely my food prep for playa.  All my food for the days I will be up is in the freezer happily chilling, literally, just waiting for me to throw it in my cooler with a few bags of ice.

Today I made garlic, ginger, chicken and shrimp fried rice with bacon, corn, onions, brown mushrooms and peas.  I have three options to take with me.  This yummy bite, or the pork, chicken, bacon fried rice I made last week, or the Italian vegetable and tomato stew with herbed ground chicken and brown rice.

I have three different menu options.

All set.

So after I had my yummy lunch and had some tea and rubbed one out.

Hey, a girl’s got to have priorities, and since there was time and um, quiet, the housemate’s out of town, why not have a little afternoon delight?

Anyway.

After I finished the business at hand, heh, ha, ah, I amuse myself, sorry, I grabbed the tent and made my discovery.

Of course.

Then I spent the next couple of hours being annoyed with myself, ruing my decision making abilities and beating myself up for not getting it right.

Like that helps.

But it was what was happening.

So.

I rolled the tent up, no I can’t return it, I tossed the stuff, receipt, packaging, etc. before realizing I had a dud, and put it away in the garage and took a walk and made a phone call and got some much needed perspective.

“Didn’t you just get gifted a ticket?” My person asked.

Yes, yes I did.

And I sold the one that I had previously bought, so I have money.

In cash, in my wallet.

And I also have the humility to share when I am obsessing about something and use it that as a way to reach for a spiritual answer.

Which I did and then had a friend approach me and say, hey after I get back from the Water Front camping trip, you can borrow mine.  We’ll just set it up in my drive way and make sure it’s what you need.

Fuck yeah.

Thanks man.

And if it’s not the right fit.

Fine.

I will still have the time to go and buy one before the event.

And instead of trying to figure it out online, maybe go to an actual store and see actual tents and get what will work for me.

It was also suggested to me that I keep trying to find a ride, to save the money of renting a car and have faith that I can get up there.

Which of course scares me.

But.

It’s true.

I bet a ride could come through and it would be nice to not worry about getting a rental and all the cost of leaving a deposit that I won’t have access to for 30 days, that’s like school book money and readers that I would be able to buy instead.

Remember Carmen.

You’re a grad school student footing all your own bills.

If you can get help.

Fucking let people help you.

I just don’t want to be a parasite or a whiner or not self-supporting.

There is a balance and I want to find it.

I am going to keep the car rental reservation, but I will update my ride board post and just be open.

Open to the possibility that I don’t really know what’s best for me, that perhaps I need to ask for help, and take suggestions and show up and help where I can.

Tomorrow I get to go in and help out at BMHQ (Burning Man Head Quarters) and I’m super stoked on that.

So let me be super stoked that I am going, that it doesn’t matter if my tent snafu was a fuck up, maybe I can give that tent to someone or keep it for something else, might be fun for Lighting in a Bottle or something.

Or I can try to sell on Craiglist.

It’s not used.

Just unpackaged.

There’s plenty to be happy about, I get to go to the event, I got a free ticket, I got early arrival approval.

I’m totally taken care of and I get to help, in my own teeny tiny way, host one of the best, biggest, most amazing experiences in the world.

Like literally.

There is nothing else like Burning Man.

I get to do this thing.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Regardless of my crappy tent purchase.

It’s going to lead me to the experience I am supposed to have and that will be wonderful.

I am absolutely positive of that.

Everything is exactly how it should be.

It.

Always.

Is.

 

Almost

September 23, 2015

But.

Not quite.

Bah.

I could not get it together to ask for my raise today.

The balking is fucking killing me.

I know it.

All my friends know it.

Fuck.

FUCK.

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

There.

Now that’s out of my system.

It doesn’t even matter at this point if I get the raise, I just need to ask.

That’s it.

ASK.

Martines.

Get it.

It’s not that big a deal and the relief I will get from just doing the foot work, opening up my mouth and saying the words, is going to be worth more than the monetary gains.

Then again.

I could also practice some compassion for myself, I don’t like asking for things I need, never have, probably never will.

But.

If I don’t ask I won’t get what I need and I do need to bring in some more money and I am worth the ask.

Hell.

I’m worth more than I am going to ask for, but that’s another story.

I did, however, ask for a review, a yearly review to be arranged between myself and the parents by the end of the week.

I should get a review.

I also need to get something in writing and that has to be discussed.

My contract expired and I am just going a long on a wing and a verbal agreement, a vague one at that.

No good.

I know better.

To give myself a little credit the parents were not readily available to my yesterday or today.

I wanted to talk with both of them and typically both of them are at home in the office working everyday, but that has not been the case either day and it has just felt way too much to just address one parent without the other.

So.

I opened my mouth, just like I did last night, right as I was leaving and said I would like the review for the year to be worked out for the end of the week.

I need to sit down with them and do the ask, I can’t just spring it on the mom in line at Trader Joes.

I can’t.

I did a little foot work and for that I am grateful.

Little bites.

Just a little bit at a time.

Not enough to leave a bruise, but a sharp little nip of teeth to remind me that I am better when I am focused on what is in front of me and distracted by the money.

I have been distracted by my finances for too long.

I just don’t want to think about it anymore.

I suspect that won’t ever be the case.

But.

I don’t have to fret.

I don’t have to be in anxiety.

I suppose it’s just old habit, old hat, old ways of being, the pretending that by worrying about something I am manifesting some sort of control over it.

I don’t have control over anything.

I don’t have control over what you think of me.

(I hope you like me!)

Nope.

No control.

I wish you would make me feel better.

Oh.

You can’t do that either.

Well.

Fuck.

I guess I’m here again, same old song, another day.

I was almost there, almost to self-forgiveness land, but I got a little waylaid and realized after a quick check in with a friend, that I am still actually quite mad at myself.

Would I leave if I don’t get the raise?

I could.

Not that I wouldn’t make it.

I would make it.

Just.

The thing is I don’t want to just make it.

Can you save me?

Come on and save me.

If you could save me.

From.

The rest of the freaks.

That suspect they could never love anyone.

I am sick of just making it.

I am tired of working hard to work harder.

I am being melancholic.

Yes.

Guess who got her period this morning.

Relief.

I knew that lady was about to visit and i know that I am just a touch sensitive, emotionally, and physically, out damn spot, and tired too, of the self-imposed misery of the anxiety.

I don’t want to think about finding other work either.

But.

There are other options.

Hell.

I was offered a place a substantial rent drop of where I am living now.

I turned it down.

I had my reasons.

Ask me in person if you really want to know.

There are 100 and 1 choices to be made.

There are many paths to wander down.

Come on and save me.

Why don’t you save me.

If you could save me.

From ranks of the freaks.

That suspect they could never love anyone.

Except the freaks who could never love anyone.

Let your hair down.

Shake it out.

Let the day go.

She is not all that.

She is just a day.

It is alright little lady, you do the best you can and sometimes sitting in a dim room with the heat and flash of the Castro strobing it’s lights outside the second story window is exactly where you’re supposed to be.

If I have done nothing other than sit for an hour in an uncomfortable chair and resonate with what the person in front of me is saying then it is a good day.

A god damn good day.

I remind myself.

As I look around at what I have.

I have so much.

Do you see me?

I have so much.

So much.

Love.

Kindness.

Joy.

Light.

I don’t have to be maudlin, I’m just human.

I’m just a little spiritual being having a very human experience.

Bless you little heart for being a tender thing.

I am afraid of rejection.

I am afraid that at the end of the day.

(At the end of the bar at the end of the night, another night at the end of the bar)

I am not enough.

That I am not lovable.

That I am not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough.

Not a good enough nanny, student, lover, human.

Not a good enough woman.

(Still such a little girl)

Forgive yourself sweet heart.

You’re doing just fine.

You are perfect.

Imperfectly.

Perfectly.

Perfect.

Let It Go

June 22, 2015

Let it all go.

Revel in the sunshine, thick, golden, syrupy sunshine, splayed down the mountains.

The song on the radio.

The blue sky above.

My foot on the pedal and I’m off to Glen Ellen for a week for work.

I was anxious this morning, I find traveling extraordinarily exciting and fulfilling, but there’s always a touch of anxiety around it, what to pack, how to pack, am I taking too much, too little, do I have my toothbrush?

It was also a day of coordination, clean up the house, make sure my ducks were in a row, tidy up the back yard from the bonfire the other night, make the bed, water the plants, do a little grocery shopping so that I was able to eat for the day, but not my typical three market shopping.

Just a run up to Other Avenues–a pint of strawberries, a 1/2 dozen eggs, a travel size box of toothpaste.

I may or may not, the verdict is still out, being going to LA at the end of the week.

I have let go any expectations, I don’t want to force things, I am liking the idea of a friendship and going slow so LA might be off the table.  I haven’t heard either way, but I know, I know without a doubt, that there is nothing wrong.

I mean.

I am working in sunshine all week.

I may get to go to LA at the end of it.

And next week?

Atlanta.

I am going to get to wear summer clothes, no scarves thank you very much, for the next two weeks.

That is such a huge gift.

I love San Francisco, but I love sunshine too.

Having been previously diagnosed with seasonal depression when I was younger (not to mention the clinical anxiety, and depression I was diagnosed with as an adult) sunshine is like medicine to me.

I love Wisconsin, but I don’t think I can ever live there again.

Not enough sunshine.

And I love the Outer Sunset and the beach and I know without any doubt in my mind that I will always live by the ocean, how can I not, it soothes me, it cradles me to sleep, “you can hear the ocean from here!” He said opening up the back door to my studio.

But.

I could really do without the cold summers and fogginess.

I know it’s the tradeoff for having rent I can afford in the city, although the rents in the neighborhood have gone up and if you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be living in the Outer Sunset I would have told you to go fire up your crack pipe.

I yearn for sunshine.

So.

This work trip, a gift.

All travel, really a gift.

I watched the ocean sparkle and glimmer with light this afternoon on the way out to the airport, my employers had me rent a car and Uber out to SFO to pick it up, and was stunned again by the beauty that is just there, right there for me to access.

I enjoyed the ride.

I love car trips.

I like driving.

But I like being a passenger even more.

The watching out the windows, the light moving past, the glamour of road travel.

Yes.

I am a weirdo.

I think road travel has a certain kind of glamour to it.

It also has a certain sound track and I spent a lot of time flipping through the radio stations on the car before I found what I liked.

It should be classic rock and maybe some blues and ballads to sing to.

A little folk is lovely, but classic rock does it for me.

It’s how I grew up, it’s what was playing on the radio when my mom and sister and mom’s boyfriend took the first big road trip of my life from California out to Wisconsin.

I was four and a half?

Five tops.

Riding in the back of the Volkswagen Bug, listening to music, watching the clouds scroll by, and the light, the light always capturing me, doing something magical and alchemic to my soul.

My heart burnished with 70s rock melodies and high bright blue skies and sunshine.

No wonder I wanted to move back out West as soon as I graduated from college.

Once I had made the first initial foray I knew I would never come back.

My mom told me she knew that when I got to San Francisco there was no turning back for me, she had not wanted to buy me the plane ticket, it was a gift, one of the few my mom got right on the nose (I asked for it specifically, it may have been the only time in my life I really asked for what I wanted from my mom and she gave it to me.  Thanks mom.) and I knew she regretted it on some levels, her baby flying the coop at the ripe age of 29.

When I drive in California, those songs come back to me, the sunshine comes back to me, I am overwhelmed with sense memory and the smell of the air, the slight oceanic tinge, the dry grass, the time of day even will envelop me with memory.

Some concrete and tangible.

Some vague, yet, so strong, so filled with meaning and emotion I could feel my tender heart, well, growing more tender.

I teared up driving into the sun under a canopy of spreading oak trees as I turned up Sonoma Mountain Road heading to the house the family has rented for the next week.

There was something about the sun dappling through those branches, the Steve Miller Band on the radio, and the smell of it all that made me so aware of how amazing my life is and how much work and effort it has taken to get back here, having circled back and completed this revolution of change and growth in my life.

To be exactly where I am at.

The still point.

Of.

Perfection.

Submit A Story!

April 29, 2015

So I did.

And then I forgot that I had.

Then I got a nice little note saying, hey, we got your story and we’re interested, but so many projects!

But we like it.

We’ll keep in touch.

And what do you know.

He kept in touch.

I received the following missive this morning after I hopped off my bike and stretched out my legs before starting my very busy shift today at work (swimming lessons, t-ball practice, potty training, cooking–wild Alaskan Salmon anyone?) and let out a little whoop when I read it.

Hi Carmen. Your post is scheduled to go up a week from today on Tales From The Playa. Thanks again for writing.

)'(

Jon Mitchell | @ablaze

managing editor, Burning Man

So cool.

I’m going to be published on the Burning Man blog!

I’m excited.

I had sent the story in last June.

I was thinking about that and wondered, what the hell was I doing last June that out of nowhere I decided to send the Burning Man blog a story.

Oh.

Yeah.

Damn.

I had just had my severe ankle sprain.

The one that way laid me for weeks and still, yes still, hurts on the occasion.

Small aside.

I feel like I am rehabbing my entire body.

My knees hurt, my ankle hurts, my shoulder hurts, all injuries sustained while working or getting to and from work.

Even the spraining my ankle was in conjunction with work–I was anxious about having enough time to commute to work in the morning and I had a double scheduled that day and wanted to take my scooter in rather than ride my bicycle.

I decided to gas it up, feeling like since I was tight on time, might as well do it now before I need to worry about it in the morning and I got frustrated kick starting it, it was cold and didn’t want to start, and I went too fast (story of my life) and bam!

Sprained my ankle so severely that ten almost eleven months later, it’s still not completely healed.

I’ve been doing stretches, ankle strengthening exercises, hip strengthening exercises (damn they hurt), and rolling out my back and shoulder every night on the yoga roller when I get home from work.

My creaky old body needs a hot tub soak.

End aside.

I was laid up.

I was trying to keep busy.

I got a Jack Rabbit Speaks e-mail–the official newsletter of the Burning Man Organization–and I must have read one of the Tales from the Playa and I got a wild hair up my ass and decided to submit.

I think my exact thought was something like, I can write better than that!

And maybe I will.

And I put my money where my mouth was and submitted.

And then didn’t hear back until after the event sometime, mid-September of last year.

I had completely forgotten I had submitted.

Jon had sent me a very sweet message about how the story mattered to him and he wanted me to know that it was still in his bailiwick and forgive the tardiness in regards to it.

Sure thing!

Thanks for keeping me posted.

Then I forgot about it again.

I am sure the process of getting pieces in is far more arduous than I can imagine.

I am sure everyone has a great Burning Man story they just have to tell and then they decide to and well, maybe the story is great!

But.

Maybe, the writing, not so much.

I cannot imagine how many bad blog pieces the staff on the editorial team has to read.

I suspect it’s the same with every one who has anything to do with publishing.

There are few of them and many, many, many of us, with our stories and words and art and ideas, and hey, what about me?

Don’t you want to know about my story?

This one time at Burning Man.

I coasted a good bit of the day on the steam from the e-mail message.

It was really nice to think about.

I’m going to be published on a blog independent of mine.

I have a few other times and now I get to have another piece out there.

Then just as I got close to the end of my day at work, I did what I had been telling myself all day long not to do.

I started to read the submission.

“Oh shit!”

I thought.

This is ass.

Do I really swear that much?

Fuck.

Maybe I do.

Oh God.

I wrote what?

No.

That’s horrible.

ARGH.

Insert ego here.

Then smash it all to smithereens.

I put it out there and I let go of the results and when I actually got the results I wanted, to have a story on the website, I might have changed my tune.

Like.

Let me fine tune the sucker some more.

I had the same reaction when I got my first short story published in the Paris Journal of Spoken Word–The Bastille.

I was really happy about my submission.

Happier still when I found out they wanted it and they were going to publish it.

Not so happy when I finally read it in print.

Oh God.

I wrote that?

It sucks.

It is not good.

It could be so much better.

I am my own worst critic.

And yes, I stopped reading my story.

I just said, no.

I have better things to do than mentally masturbate about what I could have changed in the piece before submitting it.

I am not perfect.

Nor are my blogs or my stories or my poems or the books that I have written but not published.

Not a one of them holds up to my inner, fiercest, critic.

They all suck.

But.

I keep writing anyway.

I have to.

That’s just the way it goes.

“I’ve been an artist for the last 41 years,” he said to me last night as the cake was being passed around, small slivers of chocolate cake from Sweet Inspirations, I could smell how rich it was and had been a tiny bit nauseated when the cake was unveiled for the anniversary celebration.

He patted me arm.

“Good for you for doing what you’re doing with graduate school, you’re going to be a great therapist, but don’t forget your art, and don’t give up on it, it’ll happen when it’s suppose to happen.”

He smiled, gave me a hug, and walked out the door.

Who the hell was that?

I had never met him before and it was like God just sent a little angel to give me a hug.

Thanks man.

And then the e-mail today.

It was nice.

Affirming.

Lovely really.

And my defect of character–perfection–can just take a time out tonight.

The story is not the best, but it’s sweet and endearing, and true and I am grateful I get to share it.

Grateful it will be published.

Flaws and all.

Imperfectly.

Perfect.

Just like me.

We’re Ecstatic To Have You

October 3, 2014

That’s good.

Because today kicked my ass.

I realized when I was riding my bicycle home that the difference was that I did the pick up from school today of the older boy while the younger accompanied the mom to a doctor’s appointment.

The hour to 45 minutes of time that I have had the last couple of days with the little guy while the mom picks up the big brother are super vital minutes in my daily schedule of staying on top of all the things.

Man.

All the things is a freaking lot.

“We are afraid we are pushing you too hard,” the mom said tonight as I was leaving.

Oh shit.

I can’t keep up.

I am not a 29-year-old.

They are going to let me go.

“We don’t want to push you into leaving,” the mom continued.

Oh.

Well.

Fantastic.

“What can we do, I know the double stroller is horrible and we can get a new one to make your life easier,” the mom continued.

Yeah.

That.

The stroller does suck balls.

The family probably paid a pretty penny for it too, strollers are not cheap, especially double strollers.  Even the crappy ones are expensive, unless you are shopping for a double doll stroller at the dollar store on Mission Street.

But their’s is terrible.

I joked with the outgoing nanny that I now knew her secret to top fitness, it’s pushing that stroller around town.

It’s problem is lack of maneuverability, plus the bar is a little too low for a taller gal like me, I can push it in a straight line, but turn a corner, it’s heavy and cumbersome.

So yeah.

New stroller is definitely in the future.

Thank you!

I am also trying to be so on top of everything that I probably look a wee bit frazzled.

When I acknowledge what I did today I have to say, I did a lot, even though I did not get it all done, there were dishes that needed to be put away and laundry that did not get folded, but.

I went to the corner market and picked up food staples for the house, made a big salad for the parents, made sautéed garlic mushrooms for dinner, prepped after school snacks–sunbutter on crackers, strawberries, and peeled clementines, prepped milk, ran the dishwasher, steamed a head of cauliflower, went to pick up the eldest from school while mom ran the youngest to the doctor’s appointment, took him to BiRite for a treat ice cream cone the mom had sanctioned, went to Dolores park to watch the construction while he ate the cone, then to Mission Pool and Playground, a trip to the Pirate Store to look at the aquarium and to dig through the hidden treasures in the store, then back to the house, played in the garage, washed out the stroller, put away half the dishes from the dishwasher, did a load of boy laundry, then took both the boys to the Farmers Market and came back with loads of food–including a roasted chicken for dinner, fed them dinner, washed fruit for the week, ran the baths, played pirates, administered meds, transferred in to pajamas, built a blanket fort, and tried to catch my breath in between it all.

Let me not forget adventures in brushing teeth, potty training, tantrum negotiating (really your toes are super cute, but not on the table please while eating dinner), reading of many, many, many stories, and changing of diapers.

It is a job.

It is a job I like.

It is a job that is kicking my butt.

But.

“We know this is a lot and we’re ecstatic to have you and want to do whatever we can to make this easier,” said the mom, “really, let us know if we need to pull back on certain things.”

And yeah, there is probably a need for that.

But I think it also has to come from me.

I cannot rush myself trying to get it all done.

I do a poor job then and I am frantic, which is not how I want to be at work.

So, I just have to acknowledge, I can do as much as I can do and if it doesn’t all get done, that’s ok.

It is not indicative of me being a bad nanny, in fact, quite the opposite, it’s indicative of me being proactive with the boys and putting their needs first while I am working there.

I want to keep things as tidy as I can, but sometimes the mess is just going to get ahead of me.

I will keep up on the laundry and garbage and diaper pail, the loading and unloading of the dishwasher, and the breakfast, lunch, dinner food prep,  the compost and the recycling to the best of my abilities.

But first and foremost I am a nanny, so the boys come first.

I want to do it all.

And maybe.

Some days I can do it all.

But I can’t expect myself to always be able to nail it.

I can see that I am doing the best I can and the parents are aware of it.  I was afraid that the mom would be upset with me not being quite as on top of things, despite the many things I did do today, like holding a little boy for over an hour in my lap and reading him stories before nap time because he’s been under the weather.

Just that.

I am worth my pay.

And I am grateful that it is noticed.

I really do want to be the best nanny ever, ever, ever.

And the desire for perfection can bite me in the butt.

I am allowed to ask for a little down time, for a break, for a minute to sit, eat lunch, catch my breath.  I am aware that the parents know this too.

I just need to communicate and not be afraid to talk.

They want to engage with me and help me do the best I can too.

I really get that this is a team effort for them and I am already considered a valuable part of the team.

I am also super glad that tomorrow is Friday.

Whew.

And I get my first paycheck!

Yay.

I also get solid, almost drunk with it sleep, the deep kind of sleep, wherein you have worked your butt the hell off and you fall out like nothing doing when your head hits the pillow.

Like that.

 

Respond, Damn It

February 28, 2014

Not react.

Oh, lord.

The price of perfection.

I responded to a work request this afternoon, ignoring the faint alarm bells of doom going off in my head, with an affirmative, I can do that and awesome, how great.

Except.

Well, uh.

I can’t actually do it.

When I realized, quickly, oh so quickly after I had sent off the text that I could not do what had been requested, in fact, I had to put in a request to be done early on the day in question, I was horrified.

I mean, horrified.

Then I saw it.

Perfection, rearing its ugly head.

It had a great hair day, but it was still perfection.

Followed closely on the heels of that cock tease, people pleasing.

God damn.

How long does this go on for?

The wiring in my brain is so off.

I am so good at taking care of everybody else.

Me, not so much.

Although, I can and do recognize, when I am not hyperventilating into a plate of salad and scrambled eggs at Crepevine, that I have made strides, tremendous strides really in my self-care.

But sometimes, well, I back slide.

I don’t listen to that quiet inner voice, the one that says, uh you have something else going on, perhaps a pause here is called for.

I ignore it, because I really want to be helpful and accommodating and I want to please my employers.

As though the awesome care I provide is not enough.

It’s not even that I wouldn’t have done what was asked for, I am happy to be of service in the way the mom requested, I just forgot about the court date for my bicycle ticket.

March 7th.

Which is next Friday.

How the hell is that possible?

It’s the 27th of February.

February.

You cold whore you.

You short month of doom.

Already filled with unexpected bills and now short notice on my time too.

Add Valentines Day to the mix and just combust the entire month.

Ah.

It’s not the bad, I just got caught short.  I had intended to tell my employer about the date as well too, but had not.  I am human.

I forgot.

I hate that I did.

I hate that I am human and not perfect and not on top of it all.

I mean, I could cut myself some slack here, I am on top of a lot of other things.

But sometimes the stress of juggling three different nanny gigs per week really gets to me.  The continuity that I develop in one home is completely tossed out the window after mid-week and I have to think of my schedule, their schedule, what home am I in, do I need to bring lunch, dinner, snacks, etc.

It gets overwhelming.

My solution?

I was going to get up early tomorrow and ride my bicycle in the forecasted rain to 850 Bryant and stand in line at Room 145 and beg for a forbearance on the case–to push it forward instead of having to attend court next Friday.

I was until I found out that it being so close to the day of the case I may not be able to do so unless it’s an emergency in nature.

I can miss two hours of work on a Friday.

It’s not an emergency, except in my head.

I mean, the thought of getting up early to ride 30-35 minutes downtown during rush hour traffic on my bicycle in the rain so that I would be able to cover two hours of work next week is idiotic.

I would be breaking traffic laws to get there on time.

Now, wouldn’t that be ironic?

Getting a another ticket on my way to arrange a postponement on my ticket.

No thanks.

Then I thought, I will take MUNI.

Oh, like, that’s a good guarantee I will get there and then to work on time.

Then I thought, well, I will just suck it up and take a cab.

That is even sillier.

The cost of taking a cab from my house in the Outer Sunset to 850 Bryant would be astronomical and would cancel out whatever small revenue I would bring in next Friday with the 2 and a half hours I need to leave early.

So the pain of people pleasing and perfection had to be negated and fast.

I sat and talked it out with someone and asked her for suggestions and how to let go of it and what to do and I got some suggestions.

None of which I wanted to hear.

But all of which rang true.

The difference between feeling good, hiding in bed watching 7 hours of Netflix House of Cards, and taking care of myself, are two entirely different things.

I really want to do the thing that feels good, not the thing that is good self-care.

Perfection, but at what cost?

Not a cost I am willing to pay anymore.

I have to admit it.

I am human, I make mistakes, I am allowed, further, to do so.

Despite what I tell myself, contrary to all the “training” I received when I was younger and did not know better than to question the sacrifices I was giving to take care of everybody other than myself.

I got home tonight, after talking it over with another and vowing to write the e-mail and say that I could not work more than a half day next Friday, and I wrote the e-mail.

I did not want to.

It did not feel good.

But I did it anyway.

Because I am allowed to care for myself.

No one else has this job but me.

And according to the memo I got from the big boss, I am ok to be human and fall down once in awhile.

Humanity is endearing.

Perfection is debilitiating.

Imperfectly, perfectly human.

Sigh.

Back to Work

February 21, 2014

Of course, back to work, early rising, after a late night getting in from the Motorcycle Safety Course.

Of course a 7 a.m. wake up.

That’s how it goes.

But it was good to be back to work and good to feel a little grounded and good to see my girl Thursday.

We had an awesome day and she threw herself at me when I showed up this morning.

Who doesn’t want to be greeted with an all out body hug on their way into the start of a long day at work?

I also picked up a half day tomorrow.

I had checked in earlier this week and it did not look like one of the families was going to be back in time to need me Friday, but they had a change of plans and asked if I could help out with a half day tomorrow.

Just 12:30p.m.-3:30p.m.

Perfect timing.

Not too early, so I can sleep in, I shall get back on my sleep schedule, I shall, but until then a little extra tomorrow will feel lovely.  I have had a low-grade head ache all day long and want to kill it before the skills portion of the motorcycle class this weekend.

I suspect it is a stress headache, and I really want to nip it before it becomes anything else.

I have a history of stress aggravated migraines.

I am pretty good with managing it, but not always, and the amount of information I had down loaded into my brain sort of hurt, like my brain was stretching.

Stress.

Learning new things can be stressful.

However, I realized today, in a brief moment of absolute clarity, that it does not matter if I fail the course.  As long as I show up for it there is no failing.  The whole point of taking the course is to learn.

I show up, I am going to learn.

Even if I fail I would be learning.

And if I fail it does not mean that I won’t be able to get my license.

Hell, there were two guys at the table last night who already had their permits and neither of them had even been on a scooter yet (nor I, truth be told, except for on the back of one riding around with various friends).  There was also a guy there who’s been riding for over 8 years without a licence, he just keeps renewing his permit.

I will be riding.

I will be learning.

And I don’t need to get stressed out about it.

I feel like I have also been a little stressed about the financials, the big utility bill i wasn’t expecting, taking on a new bill–$200 a month may not seem like much but it is an additional outlay of funds–for the scooter, as well as realizing that basically my rent went up about $100 for the month.

I am taking an average of what the bill’s supposed to look like over the course of the year.

I still need to sit down with my land lord and see how she came to the figures, I need to do so calmly and rationally, like an adult, but basically, in the brief interaction we have had since the utility bomb, it was pointed out that an average would be $102 for each month.

So, yeah, just more bills, more living, more expensive San Francisco.

Which also made me happy to be back at work.

If I am working I am not spending as much money and the income is coming in rather than flowing out.

That is not to say that it doesn’t need to flow out.

I had to put the down payment on the scooter.  My friend had other people interested and I would be a fool to not hook it up.  He cut me a way fair price and to be able to make monthly payments is really awesome.

If I was getting a scooter elsewhere I don’t know that it would have happened as fortuitously with my work and income.

I don’t want to be grasping onto the money I have coming in, I don’t want to be tight-fisted.

Smart yes.

Wise about my decisions.

But not penny-pinching.

I don’t want to deny myself a nice standard of living because I am in some sort of financial stress.

Good thing I have another back rub tomorrow.

I just booked it up immediately.

I did not want to wait another two months to get in.

Tomorrow’s session was the Christmas gift from my employers and it’s for an hour and a half long massage.

Yes please.

I might fall asleep on the table.

She’s that good.

Tough, hard-core pressure, deep tissue manipulation, I was sore in my shoulder for a couple of days, but also really good, and she promised to help with the tightness I experience in my hips from the constant bicycle riding and life in general.

She believes that it is part of the problem with the rhomboid strain.

The strain that is not yet fully healed.

It’s not a constant thought in my brain like it was when the injury occurred, but it’s still there, humming a long at a low vibration of pain and annoyance.

Maybe my shoulder is having a growth spurt.

Ha.

Easing back into the routine.

Knowing it will be ok.

Since there is nothing wrong, there is no perfection that I must seek, and I have a roof over my head,  a place to lay my head, and food to eat in the morning.  A job to go to, a lady to have coffee with and share my experience, strength, and hope, and yes, a lovely massage to end the day with.

I really can’t ask for better preparation then that for this weekends skills course.

It’s all going to be fine.

Because it already is.

Get Messy

January 5, 2014

She told me today.

Stop trying to be perfect.

Work on acceptance, read this one story here.

Write about what I want other people to think of me.

What?

No.

I don’t want to write about that.

Then write about what I want to get from them, what I want them to do, how do I want to look and what is my idea of who I am.

I tell you what, none of these are my idea of fun.

Fuck me.

However, I am ever willing to do the work.

Even when it means re-applying the eye make up and getting vulnerable.

Even when it means showing up to get hurt.

I am going to fail, you are going to fail me, no one is perfect, which means I don’t have to be perfect and if I want to be in an intimate relationship there’s going to be pain.

“I am willing to get hurt,” I said, and something shifted.

Holy shit.

I am willing to get hurt.

I mean I get hurt all the time, I go through pain, things happen, life shows up, people are not who I think they should be, I get expectations, and then something completely weird happens.

I just don’t know that I have been in a place before in my life or my recovery where I was able to vocalize that, I am willing to get hurt.

Most of the time I am working pretty hard to not get hurt, to not connect, to stay safe by playing it safe.

I say I want intimacy, then I run the other way, I get a little, A LOT, scared, then I don’t want to deal with it.

Today, for whatever reason I was able to say it and mean it and it went from head to heart to gut.

Now to get messy.

Not quite certain how that looks, but I feel like it means living and trying and making mistakes and yup doing things differently.

Maybe it’s time to try a new direction with my writing.

For instance.

Get me out of my shell a little.

Writing on one hand connects me with myself, a creative force, and with others, especially when I blog.

Yet, I am completely by myself when I am doing it.

I am alone.

Aside–pet peeve–“Yeah, I know, I read your blog.”

I am not my blog.

It has my voice and there is loads of me here, but I am more than the sum of these words and there are some things I don’t write about, or can’t write about, or frankly don’t care to write about.

I am more than this summation of ideas and images.

Oh, it’s all me, but it’s not all of me.

Social media creates a false idea of connectedness wherein we are all in our rooms peering into the well crafted lives of others on facebook and okcupid and tumbler and twitter and linkedin and whatever else that we do tweeting and poking and posting and liking and commenting.

However, despite knowing what you posted last night on your facebook feed, nice pix of your cat, FYI, I haven’t actually seen you since before I left for Paris, which was over a year ago, and you don’t actually know what’s going on in my life.

Nor I in yours.

Oh, I get a little peek, but I don’t get you and you don’t get me.

What was suggested to me was to check out The Moth, a storytelling event that arose out of New York and is now happening here in San Francisco, where basically you tell true stories out of your life.

I like the idea.

The next event is going to be held at the Rickshaw Stop on January 13th.

Which has some special meaning to me as an important anniversary in my life.

However, I will be in Florida celebrating with family, not in San Francisco.

The events are slams.

I have done slams and I like them.

True, they are nerve-wracking, but I seemed to do well and I believe I am a decent performer and maybe that I could try a little something outside my comfort zone.

Ie my blog.

Which I am not about to give up.

It was also suggested a writers group and or a class on performing.

Had not thought of doing that last one, but why not?

Things that I can do and be a part of a creative community, not just where I am sitting by myself in my room writing.

I am pretty good at sitting by myself in my room writing.

Things to do to get me out there, rather than in here.

Here being my head, my ideas about where, who, what, when, the list of all my shortcomings and I am not enough.

Because I am enough and I am willing to do the work.

I am shocked sometimes at those who are not and devastated to watch what happens when people drift away.

I cannot afford to drift.

I know where I will drift to and it is not a pretty place.

Softening to this way of life, easing into it, allowing myself to be hurt, risking the mess to get to be beautiful, accepting that I am exactly where I am, that I don’t have a good idea of what’s best for me and that it really is ok to accept that people love me and care for me and respect me and what I do.

Who I am.

That I can acknowledge and accept that as well.

Let in the love, so to speak.

So much to keep learning.

And re-learning.

Not even judging that this blog is drifting into self-affirmation, Stuart Smalley land.

So what?

I can be alright with that as well.

Tomorrow I get messy.

I make mistakes.

And I allow the light in.

I will write a story to tell the Moth and go to the website and record my bit.

I will try to do something new and let myself not be good at it.

And be perfect and happy in my silly self willing to get hurt to get love.

The love is the better for the pain.

Richer, deeper, fuller, sweeter.

All things I wish for in my life.

So get ready for messy.

Head Ache

September 11, 2013

I have had a head ache since right before I left work.

I keep telling myself I did the best I could, I am doing the best I can.

But despite my best efforts one of the babies bit the other baby and it broke my heart telling the mom.

I also felt like I did not respond in the way that was comforting.

I was also wiped out.

Not one of the three took a real solid nap today.

Nappus Interruptus.

When wee monkeys don’t have enough sleep and don’t feel like they are getting the kind of attention they deserve, shit can crumble fast.

I was on top of it, I really was, I was running up and down the stairs like a fucking sprinter, changing diapers, warming bottles, feeding this one and that one.

I had just gotten a re-settled down group when I smelled the offending smell.

Albeit a rather pleasant one as far a baby shit goes, let’s be frank here folks, some kids eat better than others, and this group of babies is super healthy, but yes, it still smelt and it was time to run upstairs to change this one.

Two of the babies use the compostable diapers and their parents have a service they use.

The other baby uses cloth diapers.

The other baby has to be changed upstairs, but now that I am writing this, I wonder, I could set something up, not that I can change anything that happened today.

I cannot.

The best I can do is forgive myself for not being super human and having 18 sets of hands.

At least I saw what happened and I responded immediately.

Thank god, I had just finished with the changing of the cloth pants.

Yeah, get over it, I am writing a blog about poo and if you can’t handle it, go read something else (the poo will finish in a moment), occupational hazard, you could say.

I was setting the fresh diapered child down on the mat on the floor, one of those awesome cushion ones that have interlocking puzzle pieces, when one baby leaned into the other and bit down on the little baby mouth.

I saw it happen like it was in slow motion.

I almost screamed at the child.

I held my breath, dropped to me knees, pulled them gently apart and scooped the smaller baby into my arms, who for just a moment I wondered, did the bite happen, there was pure silence.

Then the wail of terror and hurt.

It was horrendous.

I calmed the child down and it happened so fast that I did not think that the bite was a bad as it later appeared to be.

I took the other child and popped the baby into the crib, immediate time out.

I did not yell.

I did not scream.

I breathed deeply, soothing the other baby, and spoke in an even, saddened voice, expressing my thoughts on how we don’t bite the people we care about, how it hurts, that we are loving and kind and gentle.

The child understood and was so abashed I wanted to hold them both and soothe both at the same time.

While the third looked on in wonder, what the hell is happening?

And that makes me wonder, am I not cut out for three?

Is it just too much?

I felt rotten, but not as bad as when the second mom picked up her child.

I had examined the bite and did not see broken skin or bleeding.

The baby fed really well afterward, another bottle and a half and a pouch of pureed food, and had a third nap, waking happy and bouncy and wanting to interact with the other children.

But when examined the bite had swollen up, there was a red demarcation on his upper lip and it was obvious how hard the bite had been.

I was horrified and cue the instantaneous head ache which has throbbed in my brain since the mom took her child.

Worst nanny ever.

Just quit.

Then I thought, they are never going to want me to nanny again.

Then, the thought that saved my ass, if that happens, you will still be taken care of.

You are not being dropped.

You are not perfect and you cannot expect yourself to be.

I felt some relief at this, but the head ache had settled in for the duration.

It is also, come on, admit it, Martines, the stress of moving.

I moved yesterday.

I have been on the move for a really long time.

I am not settled yet, I am not in my sweet spot yet, I don’t have a bed yet.

Yes, there’s a blow up mattress, with a slow leak, ack, but fortunately, it is slow, that I have to sleep on.  And my friend has said we can make a run to Ikea on Thursday.

I will just get a bed there and assemble it and be done with it.

I am tired of looking on craigslist.

I just want a bed.

And a few other things to make the space more of a home.

Things will come together, the head ache will pass, I will forgive myself.

Really, I already have.

I did the best I could.

I was not putting the baby in a room with a rabid dog.

It was another sweet child.

Things happen.

I cannot protect them every second of every day.

Neither can their parents.

Sigh.

Sometimes I wish I could, I wish that there was no pain, no sorrow, no suffering.

I wish that teething didn’t hurt and that there was always cuddly nap time and good story telling, that poking and pinching and pushing and biting didn’t happen.

But they do.

I don’t believe that it is ever done, especially at this age, with malice, no child bites like that maliciously.  It is a call for attention.  It gets a reaction.

I have been bitten by every single child I have taken care of.

EVERY one.

I knew a nanny that got so fed up with a child she was taking care of that she bit the child back.

I have not and never will do that.

Never hit, never bite, never slap, or shake.

Just doing the best I can in the only way I know how.

I think it is more heart ache than head ache.

But the pain remains the same.

Funny, how, both children have probably forgotten, but it sits here on my chest like a weight of doom.

Gotta let it go, it does not serve.

Besides I have another day tomorrow to work and be present and that starts by taking care of myself, and that means, the hot shower, the cup of tea, the apple, and the wind down.

Grateful for the experience.

Grateful more for knowing that forgiveness of self is how to move past this.

There is no other way through.

But through.

 


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