Posts Tagged ‘photography’

When Was I Happiest

January 6, 2018

Today?

I just asked myself that.

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

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

Meh.

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

Eight years of blogging.

Eight.

What the fuck did I write about?

So many things, so many thoughts.

I have published over 2,400 blogs.

My average blog is somewhere between 1100-1300 words.

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

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

Over two million words!

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

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

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

I was working as a nanny in China Basin.

I made really good money.

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

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

I was horribly lonely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For sure.

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

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

That’s what happens when you practice.

You get better.

I have had eight years of practicing this blog.

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

But not very often.

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

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

Hey how was your day?

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

Or something like that.

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

Yeah.

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

Ten years, going on eleven.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was an awesome group.

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

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

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

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

Emphasis on long hand.

No typewrite, keyboard, tablet, computer.

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

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

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

That I actually wanted to move to Paris.

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

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

I looked out those same windows today and marveled.

Look how far I have come.

Look where I am now.

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

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

I have re-written that book.

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

I have written poems.

I have performed with djs in nightclubs reciting my poems.

One of them became a recording.

I have lectured on stage.

I have traveled.

I went to Burning Man, a lot.

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

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

I have written millions of words.

I think I have a few million more.

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

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

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

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

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Well, I Almost Did It

December 25, 2017

Not cry that is.

But, sucker for nostalgia, lonely hearts, and Elvis Christmas carols.

I caved and cried a bit.

Christmas Eve alone.

Which is ok.

Really it is.

I’ve had plenty of special this Christmas season.

And I won’t be alone tomorrow.

I’ll be going to the East Bay to meet a friend and see her new place and go out to a movie matinée and a meal.

It will be sweet and the traffic will be easy.

I wasn’t completely lonesome today.

Sometimes being alone is just perfect and needed.

Lonely and alone are two very different things.

I was alone most of the day, although I did get out and do things.

I went to yoga, and it was a great class.

I left feeling so good and literally said out loud, “I have to figure out how to do this more often.”

The yoga studio is super close to me, but my schedule, shocker, conflicts with many of the classes.

I wish that had some early morning week day classes, but so far there’s just one, a 7 a.m. on Tuesdays that just recently started.

I haven’t gone yet as my therapy appointment is a 9:30 a.m. cross town in Noe Valley on Tuesdays.

I figure I could actually do the class if I set myself up right the night before, bring breakfast with me and coffee and have it at work, skip doing the majority of my morning routine, and cram in a yoga class before therapy.

I just haven’t tried it yet.

This Tuesday, however, I don’t have therapy, my therapist is away for the holiday, and I have been thinking that I will go to the 7 a.m. class and see what the timing is like.

A sort of dry run.

I’m not expected into work until 11a.m. so I’ll have plenty of time to do the class and do my morning routine.

I may even get a Friday morning yoga class in this week too, my family will be out-of-town for a long weekend and I have all day Friday off.  I haven’t booked in anything yet though, holding out to see what will arise.

Something will I am sure.

So, yes, yoga today and hot shower and hot latte and hot breakfast and lots of writing.

The lady bug I was supposed to meet with cancelled so I took myself to the Inner Sunset, got a cafe au lait and went to the nail salon.

Manicure.

Pedicure.

Eyebrows.

Lovely.

I wanted to go to Marnee Thai for a late lunch and was surprised to find them closed.

So I headed back home and had a really nice bowl of soup.

I noodled around a little here at the house and knew I should get out otherwise I might catch a case of the sads.

So I stuck a chicken in the oven to roast for dinner and some Japanese sweet potatoes and set off for Ocean Beach.

I saw a few Christmas tragedies happening, a drunken Santa Claus that I had seen stumble into the Fireside Bar on Irving and 7th which is right next door to the nail salon I go to, tumble off the MUNI and bumble his way across the street with “Santa Baby” playing loudly on a boom box and totter into Pittsburgh’s bar.

Which has most of the neon blown out in the sign so it just says “urgh’s.”

How I think that Santa must have felt.

I had seen one other tragic Christmas moment at the nail salon.

A woman walked in looking for a highlighter brush for a hair dye kit.

She was pretty glazed, Valium or something of the sort, and she knocked over a bunch of salon merchandise and then literally sat down on the floor in front of the accessories and mumbled how was she going to do her highlights before the Christmas dinner had to be cooked?

Yikes.

Merry Christmas lady.

But.

For the most part, it wasn’t a bad day, really, just quiet, like I said, and I managed to sneak into Java Beach and get the last cafe au lait of the day before they closed down for the night.

Decaf, I mean, really I like my coffee, but I try to not have caffeine after four p.m.

Then.

I strolled down to the beach.

The sun had already set, but the twilight was so pretty.

I took a lot of photos.

I love, love, love, the new phone camera.

It really takes some nice shots.

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The above is not the best shot, it’s a little fuzzy, but the camera does this “live” photo thing that is pretty amazing, it shows my facial movement as I line up the shot and it’s really cool to see it, plus the filters are exquisite.

I liked the filter on this one.

The beach was super quiet and it wasn’t quite as cold as I thought it would be.

I walked for a bit and enjoyed it immensely.

Then I came back to the house and pulled a perfectly roasted chicken out of the oven and had myself a damn fine meal.

I headed back out planning on doing a meet up with my fellows over at the Palace of Fine Arts, but only found folks meandering around the parking lot.

Apparently the facility had forgotten to alert them that the building would be closed for the holiday.

So I said hi to a few folks and then went for one more walk.

The Palace is pretty special and at night it really shines.

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The Christmas lights on the houses around the park too were just beautiful and though I didn’t have the night I was expecting it was a nice walk.

I queued up the Elvis Christmas album in the car and drove back to the Outer Sunset.

And yes.

Sigh.

I did tear up a little bit, but you know, the writing, this little blog, it helps me put things into perspective and I’m not so sad anymore.

Rather.

Just grateful as all get out that I have so much in my life.

Merry Christmas Eve!

May all your Christmas wishes be granted.

 

Got The Shot

November 17, 2017

Thank God.

For a minute today, and oh did I get to practice acceptance, I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to get the shot, but I did.

I did.

The shot I’m referring to is the professional photograph that the producers of People Who Usually Don’t Lecture requested.

They want a photograph for publicity purposes.

Eek.

Publicity.

Scary and kind of cool all at the same time.

I sent them a photo I had taken of myself mid-summer, but they requested I send them a photograph that wasn’t taken on my phone.

Sigh.

I’m pretty damn good at taking a selfie, I’m not sure what that implies about me, narcissist, vain, self-involved, maybe, but I do know my angles when it comes to taking my own photo.

I usually take a lot and from certain angles.

I know my best side.

But fuck.

When it’s someone else taking my picture I’m horrible.

Weird ass smile, wrinkled forehead, strange faces, odd ball angles, I manage to look much heavier than I am, I have no clue what to look at where to focus and I’m goofy.

Thank goodness for my dear friend who took time out of her very busy day to help me.

At first I felt like it just wasn’t going to happen, she had a lot going on and I felt a tad guilty about asking her to spend time doing something pro bono, but she told me to get my butt to her studio in the Mission and we got the job done.

I sprung for lunch and got take out from FarmHouse.

And I must say, slight aside, fucking good food.

Really good.

I was impressed.

And I just had the Tom Kha Soup with chicken and some brown rice, but fuck, it was delicious and might be the best Tom Kha I’ve had in the city.

I will be going back, if the soup was that freaking good I’m sure the rest of the food is.

Plus I really liked the decor and it had a warm, vibrant feeling to it.

Anyway.

I picked up lunch and we got a chance to connect and I gave her the down low on life and school and all the things.

So good to reconnect.

And to get the shot.

Yes.

A lot of them were absolute duds.

Not her fault, nope, me and my self-conscious posing.

But we got there and I’m super happy with the resulting photograph.

I’m not sure how many she took, but probably close to a 100 frames.

Which we narrowed down to 16 shots, then six and finally two.

I sent the two off to the producers and I’m done.

Well.

With this part of the process anyway.

I still, obviously, have to do the lecture, but the photograph was a stress that I wasn’t expecting.

Gratefully my friends studio is close to my internship, I wasn’t on my scooter today with the rain, no thank you, and I didn’t have to travel far from her spot to where I needed to be next.

I had a bunch of time in between the photo shoot and my client, so I popped into a cafe and did two hours of reading.  I finished my Jungian Dream Work reading for the semester and got a good bit into my Transpersonal reading.

That felt great.

And I had done a good hour of homework before I headed out the door to do the photo shoot.

I finished almost all my CBT reading, which is good as I have a webinar I have to attend on Sunday.

I also finished all my reading for my Drug and Alcohol class.

So for Jungian Dream Work and for Drug and Alcohol I could actually start writing the final papers for the class if I wanted to.

That also is a nice feeling.

I feel like I won’t start the writing for that yet, I want to focus on getting the rest of my reading done for my other classes and finishing the online components for the classes that have that requirement.

There’s still so much to do, but having made a big jump into the material today, I feel like I will be able to address all the reading by the end of the weekend.

Even with seeing three clients tomorrow and having to go in before my group supervision on Saturday to do a rehearsal for the People Who Usually Don’t Lecture folks.

It will be the first rehearsal with all the people who are speaking.

There are seven of us.

I’m super curious.

I know one of the participants, it was his story that had a bit of our relationship in it that piqued the producers into wanting to meet with me.

It will be great to see him and hear his piece.

I’ve read a good bit of it, it’s a great piece.

I’m certain that the caliber of speakers is going to be quite high.

I have rehearsed my piece once a night since writing it.

I don’t want to let down the producers.

And, well, it’s a fun thing to be participating in, and it’s not school related or work related or client related.

Although.

Ha.

I do talk about all those things in my lecture–work, school, my internship–just with a much different slant than I typically think about my life.

It’s my story and I know it really well, but they, the producers, had me sharpen certain things and I’m eager to do the work to be polished and participate in the project.

It feels like an honor to have been included.

I don’t want to let anyone down.

So it was really with much gratitude and happiness that the photo turned out so well.

Super grateful.

Super excited.

And ready to focus on the next thing in front of me.

Lots of life, lots of school work, and no little love.

So much love.

Grateful to focus on that too.

Beyond my ability to write about it.

But something I read earlier really summed it up, so perhaps I will end on a little quote from my Jungian Dream Work class reading.

“I falter before the task of finding the language which might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of love.”

C. G. Jung

Girl Date

May 30, 2017

I totally took myself out today.

I did it all.

First.

I let myself sleep the fuck in.

I mean, I didn’t get up until 9:15 a.m.

So sleeping in, especially considering that I am up three hours earlier tomorrow so that I can meet with my supervisor–whom I would have met with today but it was a holiday.

I totally treated it like a holiday as well.

I went to a yoga class that I used to be able to go before I started my current nanny gig.

I had lunch with my favorite, most loved person in the entire world.

Pause.

Let me just let that sink in.

I got to have lunch with the person I hold in the highest esteem, who loves me unconditionally, who sees me, who supports me without question, who witnesses everything I do, who helps me see when I am self-sabotaging, and how to change that and be better and stronger and sweeter and softer and live my life to the fullest full definition of happy, joyous and free.

I mean.

That is an extraordinary gift.

We met at Souvla on Divisadero and had great big salads and talked and got totally caught up and I revealed myself and there was no shying away from me or judging, only complete sunshine and love.

I am beyond grateful for this man in my life, I wouldn’t have the life I have without him.

He is a human, don’t get me wrong, I am not putting him on a pedestal, he shows me how to be more human myself, more vulnerable, more willing to show up and more present in the moment when I do.

He is the greatest gift and I do not know what I would do without him.

We are even talking about making travel plans together.

We have talked about it before.

We travel in a similar way, carry on only, get situated, go get connected with fellows and then walk and see and witness and art and churches and more art and museums and cafes and sitting still next to each other and also knowing that we both are self-sufficient travelers, that neither of us is afraid to say, give me space, I want to do a wander on my own or nap or whatever.

We have mutual friends in Barcelona as well as Paris.

We are talking about going to Barcelona together and maybe taking the TGV to Paris or Marseille, probably Paris as we have friends there too and I will need very much to see my Parisian girlfriend and her new family.

Next May.

When I graduate from my Masters of Psychology program, a grand European tour with my mentor, I couldn’t really think of a better gift, his company means so much to me.

So.

Yeah.

Lunch was fucking fabulous and we also dished and laughed and I talked about needing to set firm boundaries around any extra nanny work that may try to weasel its way in when my employers are away in July.

And then he went his way and I went mine.

Off to the MOMA.

I wanted to catch the last day of the Matisse/Diebenkorn show.

Of course.

It was sold out, even as a member of the MOMA I couldn’t get in to see it.

And truth be told, I don’t really care a fig for Matisse, and I’ve seen so much of his work in Paris that I didn’t feel that I was missing out.

I could have my girl date with myself just fine wandering around all the other galleries without having to stand in the huge, and I do mean HUGE, line that was queued up for the show.

I strolled through the second floor galleries and got acquainted again with one of my favorite artists in the museum–Clyfford Still–1906-1980.  I adore his work, there is one painting especially that always gets me and I did my stare in awe and wonder at it for a good fair amount of time before taking myself for a cafe au lait at the Sight Glass cafe on the 3rd floor of the museum.

I sat and dreamily dreamed and people watched while sipping my coffee–days off always included cafe breaks and nursing a coffee while people watching.

Then I hit the Larry Sultan photography exhibit, which was extraordinary.

And.

Since everyone was in line for the Matisse/Diebenkorn show, the gallery was practically empty.

Heaven.

I got my art girl dose in heavy-duty.

Then having some time and seeing that the sun had decided to cut through the fog and make an appearance, I strolled through Yerba Buena Gardens, and yes, got another coffee, this time iced, and planted myself on the sheltered terrace of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, sipped ice coffee and watched the clouds scut through the sky.

I am always so overwhelmed and grateful for the gardens and the art and the fountains and though the skyline has changed dramatically in the fifteen years I have been in San Francisco, there is still all this familiarity for the place I was sitting in.

How many times had I gone through that park high or drunk?

Smoking cigarettes and slamming extra caffeine to keep up with the high-end dining restaurant that I worked at, Hawthorne Lane, how many times had I caught cabs in front of the Metreon to go to my dealers or to have myself carried to the End Up or 1015 or some underground party.

So many times.

And the dread and the terror that was just below the surface of my skin, beating my heart with fear as I walked the paths through the garden to work, short cutting on my way to the restaurant to work a double to make up for all the money I blew on blow.

And.

Instead.

Twelve and a half years later.

Coiffed, sweetly dressed, yellow silk flower in my hair, expensive shoes on my feet, Hobo purse in my lap, having just left an exquisite show at the MOMA, I sit happy and serene, joyous and free, in that same space, quietly and consistently showing up to make amends to the area and to assuage that damage I did to myself.

So grateful I don’t have the words.

Although.

I have to say I will always keep striving to find them.

Grateful for sunshine, clarity, serenity, communicating my needs, being emotionally transparent.

For all the good things in my life.

For my life.

God damn.

Life is more than fair, you know, if it were fair, I’d be dead.

And I am so not.

I am exquisitely alive.

So.

Fucking.

Alive.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Museums A GoGo

May 16, 2017

Today I hit the Jeu de Paume and the Musee D’Orsay.

I am not museum’ed out.

Yet.

But I will be pacing myself.

The crowds were pretty thick at the Musee D’Orsay, and thank God for the Paris Museum Pass, so nice to just pop to the front of the line and not have to be herded through the main gate.

They had a beautiful exhibition with “Etoiles” as the thematic, “stars” lots of Van Gough, Monet, even Georgia O’Keefe, there were artists I had never seen and pieces that resonated so deeply with me, my breath caught in my throat and tears welled in my eyes.

Or every hair stood on end.

One of the Van Gough’s so blew me away, deep and visceral in my body, I caught my breath.

It was deeply surrounded by viewers and I got as close as I could withstand the crowds and breathed in the beauty of it.

I tried to look for postcards later in the museum shops that were of the same piece and I was disappointed, the flatness of the card did the painting no justice and I could not bring myself to buy one.

I did, however, get my museum shop on.

I do love a good museum shop.

I bought a book for one of my charges and postcards and a cloth sack for myself and a magnet of a Klimt piece that I saw in the Etoile ensemble that did translate from the painting to the magnet.

I took lots of photographs and I stopped and sat and periodically rested.

I went all the way to the top of the museum and caught the perspective from the interior, and from the exterior.

I got some pretty pictures.

I am quite happy.

I am a bit of a shutterbug.

I am not sure if I am going to post them up to my other blog or not, I’m thinking, as I continue further with my schooling and career goals that I do have to change-up some things with my blog.

I still haven’t quite figured it out and while I’m in Paris I’m not going to worry about it.

I really just want to enjoy my leisure time here, I am slowed down quite a bit, even with my ankle feeling better.

Tomorrow I will return to the Marais, I have a tattoo appointment at 3:30 p.m. and I will hit the Pompidou either before or after the tattoo.

I also may pop around the shops and do a little more window shopping.

It’s awful fun to do.

I am doing well with my finances and there’s a few things I still haven’t gotten to get, but then again, I have really done so well with what I wanted to get that I am alright if I don’t score a bunch of souvenirs.

I have to be careful, I only have so much room in my luggage.

I bought a poster today that I’m not real sure how the hell I’m going to get back.

But.

I had to get it.

When I was at the Jeu de Paume they were having a sale in the library and one of the prints that was on sale was from the Marilyn Monroe, Phillip Hausmann exhibition that I went to Christmas of 2015.

I had to buy it.

When I had seen the original print it was 25 Euro.

Today it was 2 Euro.

Um.

Yeah.

I’ll risk transporting that.

Especially since the bag that I had gotten with the same image was destroyed soon after I got back from the trip with pink hair dye.

Oops.

I have a magnet of the same image, Monroe barefoot in a black cocktail dress leaping up in front of a cerulean blue backdrop.

Her face and the bare feet really got me.

The blue background is brilliantly done as well too, it highlights the blonde blond of her hair and the cream of her skin and the bare feet, something so tender and vulnerable and real.

I love the photograph.

I’ll see if I can scare up a cardboard poster shipping container.

I’m sure I can pick one up at the post office.

But what with the numerous notebooks, the gifts for the children I work for and the new dress I don’t have much space left for stuff in my carry on.

I put back a Diane Arbus book that I was sorely tempted to get and resolved that I would get something else.

I have always loved getting earrings, so I’ll grab a pair and I do want to get a hat.

Hats from Paris are the bees knees.

Just saying.

I also will be bringing home a tan.

I have been out in the sunshine all day and it was glorious.

A bit hot, but so good.

Tomorrow it is supposed to be 83 degrees, today was the same.

Then rain is forecast for the rest of the time that I am here and the temperature is going to drastically drop.

So.

Tomorrow.

Sundress time.

Lots of pictures while the light is good and a new tattoo, a visit to one of my favorite museums and of course.

Cafe creme.

I mean.

When in Paris.

Do what the Parisians do.

Right?

Done And Done

February 27, 2017

Well.

Not quite done.

But done enough.

I mean.

I have done enough.

I am enough.

I am ahead of the schedule.

I finished all my reading for the next weekend of classes today and I wrote my Trauma paper.

A little 5 page ditty rounding out around 1,500 words.

Thank you and done with that.

I still have a Couples Therapy mid-term to write, but I have the next weekend to do it.

I really just wanted to attend to the reading and to getting my Trauma paper written today.

Of course.

I was a little thrown of course by the dental work that happened yesterday, but I have found myself more and more recovered from it as the day has gone one.

My jaw is still a bit achy from being held open for so long, but even that is fading and I don’t really notice it like I did this morning when I woke up.

I got up.

Went to yoga.

Did the shower, the breakfast, the getting dressed and made up and the communicating with my friend whom I had to cancel on last night.

We had made plans to meet today and watch a movie that we need to write on for our Couples Therapy class.

However.

She was concerned about me and I wasn’t certain how I was going to navigate through the day, so when she cancelled for me, I have to say I did feel some relief.

It just opened up my day to being able to take care of some self-care things and to do the reading and the paper writing that I wanted to address today.

I did not, however, cancel my lunch plans to go see my friend in North Beach and have lunch with him and his wife.

I thought about it for a minute, but after I made it through yoga and a hot shower, I felt good enough to commit to going and I really did not want to cancel on plans that had been made over a month ago.

It was so good to see him and it was great to have lunch at, for me, a new spot in North Beach.

Cafe Puccini.

Up on Columbus Avenue.

I got to park my scooter and I had brought my camera with me and happy to have done so.

I got some nice shots of the neighborhood and the Coppola building, which is one of my favorites in San Francisco and one of the first cafes I had an espresso in, an espresso Romano with a twist of lemon peel, after an aged port on a visit to the city back in 2000.

We had a nice reunion and chatted, art, architecture, life, Venice, The Biennale, where he has shown significant work, and of course, Burning Man.

He will be making his third pilgrimage, I my 11th.

He already has tickets.

I await the nod from the box office in regards to getting a low-income ticket.

I sure as fuck hope that happens after spending $1375 on my teeth yesterday.

And thank God, just an aside, that I had the money, that I had done my taxes early and gotten a refund, that I had gotten dental insurance, that I took care of it, I’m super grateful, despite how uncomfortable I was, I am, hella grateful.

We had a great lunch, capped by espresso drinks and an invitation to take a tour to their home!

I was so excited.

It was totally unexpected and since my plans with my friend from school had been cancelled I was able to walk back, and up, up, up, the hill, to their amazing abode.

All the art.

Oh.

It was so good.

God.

How I do love me some art.

And the views.

Extraordinary.

I’d post some photographs, but I already did that on my other blog.

You can check them out here.

I got the grand tour.

I was so grateful and happy, happy, especially that I had remembered to bring my camera.

I can take a damn good photo on my Iphone, but nothing quite beats having my camera.

It felt good to post the blog too, my little photography side project, http://www.whereintheworldisauntiebubba.wordpress.com I don’t take out my camera as often as I would like, you know, full-time grad school, full time recovery, full time work, but I am grateful whenever I can get it together to take a few shots and edit them and pop them up on the blog.

Feels good.

It felt good too, to cruise back through the city and take the scenic route, getting home and locking up my scooter literally as a rain shower started.

Glad for that, getting off the road before the rain.

And.

For having some extra time at the house.

I did some food prep.

Made homemade chicken soup with brown rice and vegetables.

And.

Homemade jambalaya.

I have food for the week and a little extra stocked in the freezer.

I like to make a tiny bit more than I need for the week so when my school weekend rolls around I don’t have to stress about food prep, I can just pull something from the freezer and go.

After a fat and sassy bowl of chicken, rice, Andouille sausage, tomatoes, spices, and shrimp, I got down to it.

I washed the dishes.

Made some tea.

And then I wrote.

I knocked out the Trauma paper, proofed it, edited it, tightened it up a bit and printed it off.

Then.

I finished all my reading for Couples Therapy.

And like that.

I am done with my homework for the week.

It feels so good.

I had a super productive day and I got to see art and have good food and talk about Burning Man, one of my favortie topics every to talk about, dontcha know, and get to take photographs of one of the most beautiful places in the world, San Francisco.

Who’s a lucky girl?

I am, that’s who.

Luckiest girl in the world.

One Dozen

January 14, 2017

Long stem blushing pink roses.

One for each year I’ve been doing the deal.

That was what greeted me this morning.

Actually.

The full moon setting this morning from my back door is what greeted me, all pearly and low hanging, incandescent in the first blush of morning.

I took out my camera and shot a few photographs.

I don’t believe that I did it any justice, that moon, that opal jewel in the dark indigo wash of sky over the ocean, but I gratefully pulled out my camera to give it a go.

That camera a gift.

Something that I can frame my world with, a poetic extension of my world view, a way to take the moment and hold it, like a poem in my mouth, a moment luxurious with depth and meaning and love.

I awoke to love.

Great love.

Outpourings of love.

Messages of gratitude and sweetness, kindness, reflection and beauty.

I felt blessed.

I felt more and more blessed as the day went on.

I had school today, my first day back in classes, first day, second semester, second year.

I had some trepidation after I was ensconced in all the readings prior to class, but by the time I was a quarter of the way into my first class I knew, this was going to be a different semester and yes, loads of work, every fucking semester has been so, it would be good, soul enriching, spirit broadening work.

I am looking forward to the semester and the learning in a way that I had felt disconnected from and dissatisfied with in my experience last semester.

Those cobwebs got blown away and I feel refreshed and re-invigorated by the work and reconnected with my cohort and really alive with the school.

Oh.

There’s still wonky crap, but what academic institution doesn’t have it’s foibles?

I had a surprising and wonderful discussion with my advisor and I have an appointment to talk to one of my professor’s about a letter of recommendation for practicum tomorrow after my morning class.

Things move a pace.

I made some executive decisions regarding where I am going to apply to practicum and I feel hopeful that those will suss out.

I had to face the fact that unless money suddenly falls the fuck out of the sky I’m probably not going to be able to do the UCSF practicum.

The program is looking for a 25-40 hour a week commitment.

And it’s not a paid internship.

Most aren’t.

But to work 25-40 hours a week on top of a full-time job and full time graduate school feels.

Well.

Fucked.

And impossible.

I had a chat with a third year student who is also in the weekend program and works full-time and he told me about where he was doing practicum.

The Liberation Institute.

Which is in the Mission and would be handy to my work and school commute.

Plus I found out after attending the workshop and practicum fair that the institute has weekend and evening hours available to interns.

Yes and yes please.

If I’m going to accrue hours and not get paid at least let them be during times that will facilitate me working full-time.

I live in San Francisco and I need to keep paying the bills.

And well, that would allow me to do it.

My current job is flexible with me having one Friday off a month to go to classes, but I can’t imagine that I would be able to work a job with benefits for less than full-time hours and the family needs me 35-40 hours a week.

There is a way forward and this may be the way.

Sure.

I’d love the acclaim of working for UCSF, but maybe this is better for me, not trying to cram so damn much into my schedule and still letting me do the deal.

Because doing the deal for the last twelve years is what has gotten me to where I am.

I would not be in graduate school if I was still out there using and drinking.

I’d be homeless.

You bet.

I’d be dirty and broken and soul less.

I might be dead.

If I were lucky I’d be dead.

But I’d probably drag along the bottom of the gutter terrorized and blank and shattered.

No thank you.

So a balance needs to be made.

I have always believed that it was of utmost importance to not put the life that I was given before the way of life that I had learned by taking the simple suggestions made to me in the very beginning of my recovery.

Simple, daily practices that keep me going one day at a time.

One hour at a time.

One fucking minute at a time sometimes.

And here.

Twelve years later.

Fierce and free and strong.

Joyful and happy.

Content and blessed.

So many gifts I have been given, so much life to live that I have been graced with.

It boggles my fucking mind.

Yes.

Yes it does.

Boggles I say.

And I know that as long as I put my recovery first.

Well.

Everything else will follow.

That’s been my experience.

When I didn’t know what to do or where to go.

I always knew where to go.

Church basements and funny rooms in the backs of odd buildings.

Holding hands with strangers that became family.

Sitting in cafes reading from blue bound books and sharing my experience, strength and hope.

How this works?

I can not tell you.

I don’t know.

I just do my best to take the suggestions given to me and to turn around and give it all away.

You can’t keep it without giving it away.

A crazy paradox of love and altruism that isn’t really so altruistic.

I mean.

I don’t want to fucking die in the gutter with a crack pipe in my hand sitting in between cars on Minna Alley on a piece of scavenged cardboard.

Been there.

Done that.

God’s got better plans.

Yes.

Thank God.

And thank you.

You know who you are and I love you more than I can possibly express here.

But when I see you on campus you know I will give you a hug and perhaps in the circle of my arms you feel just a small expression of the depth of gratitude I have for you.

I have so very much.

Yes, love.

Love.

For you.

Always.

Forever.

Slow Down

December 29, 2016

He said and patted my arm as we were heading up the stairs to the MOMA’s membership desk.

Then he did a mimicry of me and my busy self.

Oh shit.

I had someone else do that to me recently.

I was a bit abashed.

And as I sit here, having slowed way the hell down today, after the MOMA and lunch out with my friends, I came home, and read.

I didn’t nap.

I was actually a little afraid to nap.

Who the fuck is afraid of naps?

I am.

If they are past a certain point of time in the day, then I get afraid I wouldn’t get out of the house again if I lay down (and I did get out for a little while this evening to do the deal, which was super handy).

So I read.

And that was relaxing.

And I roasted a chicken and that made my little studio warm and cozy.

I posted up the photographs I took at the MOMA and I just hung out at the house and was chill.

I am contemplating a yoga class in the morning, but truth be told, I may not go, just let myself rest, sleep, lay about.

Even if it kills me.

Because it won’t be for always and there’s a good chance I will still go out and deal with a few things.

I have been in intermittent communication with the mom in my new gig and we have been trying to figure out a time to meet and talk about the job and sign the contract.

Said job starts on Monday.

But.

Mom is pregnant and due December 30th.

Today is the 28th.

So.

Like any second now she could be going into labor.

In fact, a couple of times I thought to myself today, we’re not going to end up being able to meet, she’s in labor, or she’s about to have the baby.

But I got an email this evening asking if I was available tomorrow or Friday.

I have an appointment downtown that is going to take up some time on Friday, so I said tomorrow.

I will skip yoga, rest, and await her time frame.

I am not about to get pushy with a mom who’s due to deliver at any second.

She gets to set the time.

I get to be available.

And yes, the cold is lingering and it felt improbably worse tonight then it has in a few days.

I think it’s gone and going away and then it’s back.

Annoying thing.

I have things to do.

Places to be.

Ugh.

Shut up brain.

Let it go.

I did my FAFSA renewal yesterday, for my federal financial aid package for grad school next year, and I had this tremendous anxiety over come me when I started to think about all the things I needed to do and how I was squandering my time off and I should be working on my practicum cover letters and applications and arranging to go to open houses and get my resume written and my letters of recommendation.

Boy howdy.

My brain knows so well how to sabotage me enjoying a day off and getting a massage.

Thanks brain.

SHUT UP.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a really sweet day today and saw some yummy art and hung out with two of my favorite people and then got treated to lunch at an amazing Zagat rated Chinese restaurant.

Which was nice.

Since i got a fucking $81 parking ticket on my scooter.

I plugged the meter!

I swear.

I used my debit card, it registered as having charged me for $3.40 cents, hours of time, and I happily traipsed off to the museum with my camera.

I came back and there was a ticket.

For 12:45 p.m.

What?

I paid long in case we decided to stay at the museum and have lunch in the cafe.

I should be covered until 2 p.m.

I used my card, it charged my card, I wrote it down and balanced my check book.

Because that’s how I roll.

I don’t have a credit card, everything by cash and I tally as I go and I also keep a running log in my checkbook register.

You know, those funny little things in the back of a check book.

Yeah.

I use them.

All the time.

I checked, yup, I had put a notation down for $3.40 and then I thought!

Oh hey!

I’ll check my bank balance online and I’ll contest the ticket!

I checked my bank balance.

The charge had not gone through.

What the fuck?

I don’t know if it was user error or meter error, but there was nothing left for me to do but get out my check book again and pay the ticket.

Can’t contest it if I don’t have evidence that I paid.

Because if it didn’t pull from my account, then technically, I didn’t pay.

Sigh.

Cost of living in the city.

Grateful I got a couple of cards from family with cash in them this Christmas.

Oh well, really, I’m not too upset about it, I really had such a lovely day, I don’t want to focus on the negative.

In the grand scheme of things, one parking ticket is not going to break me and what a gift that I had money, disposable income, to pay it off within hours of getting it.

That is something to be happy about.

So too, the option and availability to rest and not push myself.

Sleep in tomorrow.

Don’t set the alarm.

Rest.

Read a book in bed.

Chill the hell out.

And if the mom gets back to me, yes, I’ll venture out and I’ll have a coffee with her or tea and see how I can help and be of service in my new job.

If she doesn’t, it’s all good, I know that I will show up and be ready to go on Monday.

Everything is alright, I didn’t drink or use today.

I didn’t smoke a cigarette or eat a big pile of donuts.

I spent time with two fabulous men who I dearly love and got to see art and eat amazing Chinese food.

I have a blessed life.

Really.

I do.

And I am allowed to slow down, to feel the feelings that need to be felt, and to rejuvenate before the busy gets well, busy again.

Everything, I gently remind myself, is exactly, and I do mean EXACTLY, how it should be.

It always is.

Seriously.

Camera Time

December 27, 2016

And that’s what days off are for.

Spending a lot of time on the phone with a tech guy figuring out what is the issue and how to fix it.

The issue for me has been that when I got my new camera, the same guy I used to have, just a newer version, my computer would only get halfway through the process of uploading my pictures.

It was really frustrating.

I had a friend look at it recently and he said take it to the Genius Bar.

But.

I did not want to be in an Apple store the day after Christmas, fuck no, so I looked up an appointments for calls on-line and set it up so that I could get tech support when I got back from my yoga class.

Yes.

Back in it after a weird week off with the work and the holiday and the cold.

I still have the cold, but it doesn’t seem as tenacious as it was the last few days.

It maybe all the sleep I let myself have.

I slept nine hours.

I never sleep nine hours any more.

I used to, a long time ago, sleep nine hours and even once in a while I would get a big fat ten hours a night.

No longer.

Thank you grad school and full-time work.

Anyway.

I had a nice yoga class.

A hot shower.

A delicious breakfast.

The persimmons are just about gone and I’m jolly well enjoying them to the last juicy bite.

Then some writing and laundry and the phone call.

It took about twenty-five minutes and then I had to reboot and restart the computer.

I went to the co-op up the street and grabbed a few things.

Came back, unpack my goodies, signaled the computer it was ok to restart, plugged in all the passwords and such and then still had to wait another bit of time while it updated.

But.

I used said time well and took out the left over pork roast from yesterday and made some pork fried rice for lunch.

YUM.

By the time I had folded my laundry and did my dishes, the upgrade had finished and my computer was back up and running with a bunch of slightly different little icons on the dock.

I opened up my Iphoto and hooked up the USB cable from my camera to my computer.

And.

YES!

It took.

Yay.

My photographs all downloaded.

And I discovered a whole batch of photographs that hadn’t been moved over to my hard drive.

Old photos from Paris, a bunch of Burning Man photos, nanny photos and just general out and about in the world, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles.

It was pretty cool to see them, I hadn’t realized they were there.

Another project for this week.

The getting my camera to sync with my computer was a big one.

I need to attend to some school stuff, renew my FAFSA for next year’s round of financial aid, update my Linkedin profile, which I haven’t touched in years but was strongly advised that I want to have a good profile up for school and practicum interviews.

Who knew?

I’m also going to peep my syllabi and buy any text books that need buying.

I want to run over to Optical Underground and see if I can get the lenses taken out of an old set of frames and into a new set.

I have had the frames forever, really like them, but they are old and just not holding their shape, the lenses, however, are fairly recent (I had my optometrist re-lense my current prescription into them).

I’ll probably do that Wednesday since I had a date to the MOMA with two of my favorite men in the universe.

We’ll be meeting at the MOMA at 10 a.m. for a good wander and then out to lunch.

I’m super excited to spend time with both of them, so near and dear to my heart.

Tomorrow I’m signed up for an early yoga class but I’m not sure what the rest of the day will look like.

Definitely more out and about with my camera.

Having downloaded the photographs I was eager to take more.

I posted to my other blog.

Which is exclusively photographs.

I hadn’t put fresh photographs on that site in about two years.

It was high time.

And then I decided I wanted to get out and take more.

It was pretty close to sunset and I speculated that I might be able to make Twin Peaks.

But.

It would be really close.

I hopped on my scooter, went to the gas station, topped off the tank–all of a $1.26–and headed out.

The light was fading fast and as I zoomed up Lincoln Ave I caught a glimpse of Grand View Park.

And I thought, there, that’s where I need to go, I’ve been to Twin Peaks, but I have never climbed up Grand View.

And it’s a climb, there’s no driving all the way to the top.

Although I took my scooter as far as I could, parking it at 14th and Moraga.

Then I scooped my camera and began climbing the flights of stairs to the top.

Which was helpful to warm me up a little.

My God it was cold and windy.

But.

It was worth it.

The views were out of this world.

I am so happy I did it.

My fingers could barely move as I took photos and I bumbled around a bit with my glasses and my feet and trying to line up shots with a steady hand that wasn’t shaking from the cold.

I got a few good ones.

Go check them out.

I hope to continue getting a few good ones.

I can’t promise how often I will post.

The editing takes time and then getting them up to the other blog, although there is not much writing, there is a lot of editing and it takes awhile to put together.

That being said.

I really enjoy doing it.

So I will as much as I can.

Especially this week when I have some free time to indulge in my little amateur hobby.

I love photography.

It makes me happy.

And as far as I’m concerned.

There is always room for more happy in my life.

Always.

Puerto Rico

December 19, 2016

In the New Year?

Um.

Yes please.

So today was my birthday and like all good plans, hahahaha, plans you are just awesome and always so fucked, it didn’t quite go the way I um, planned.

Free Gold Watch was closed for a private party.

Which they hadn’t advertised and so when I showed up with my friends there was no pinball to be had.

And it was cold.

And I had stood outside for a long time waiting in line at Zazie’s in Cole Valley for brunch to want to stand outside any longer and figure out anywhere else to go.

So.

I called it a day.

And I have no regrets, no hurt feelings, because.

Ha, I had no expectations.

Which is actually a really nice way to roll.

And.

I had such a good time, such a lovely, sweet, warm, cozy, when we finally got seated in the restaurant as we had to wait in line for over an hour, but so worth the wait.

I had a delicious meal.

A lot of coffee.

And the company of some dear friends.

I am a very lucky girl.

Standing on the curb in Cole Valley outside a hopping French bistro waiting in line to have brunch on my birthday, feeling all the love.

I was a little disappointed to not play ye olde pinball, I love pinball, but I wasn’t upset that I was missing out, I had already had such a good time.

And.

My friends sang me Happy Birthday in the restaurant and the entire place joined in.

Wonderfully mortifying and special all at the same time.

Full, replete, and warm, I couldn’t have asked for more.

I also had an awesome talk with my dear friend who came over from Oakland to have brunch, we hadn’t seen each other in months, but sometimes, when there’s a connection, there’s a connection and it doesn’t matter that it was a little while, we were right back in it.

And.

Guess where he’d been?

Puerto Rico.

And guess where the airline I have the voucher for flies to?

San Juan.

Puerto Rico.

Of course, it’s too late to get a flight anywhere, all the holiday traveling, and I’m fine with that, but I corralled my friend on the curb and told him about my Christmas plans changing and that I had to cancel my ticket and now had a flight voucher that I could use to travel anywhere the airline had hubs.

It’s a small airline-SunCountry, so no Hawaii or international travel, except Puerto Rico, some spots in the Caribbean and Mexico.

Hello.

I said to the little map showing off Puerto Rico.

I haven’t seen you in a long time.

I mean.

A really long time.

And I have wanted to go back, to do it right.

To do it sober, for one, to go again to the bio luminescent sea, to walk the cobbled streets of Old San Juan, to swim in the water and lay on the beach.

So as I’m explaining to my friend about the ticket and my thoughts and wondering when he’s going back to Puerto Rico, he just starts smiling and smiling and then.

“Nena, open your gift.”

I looked at him, “ok.”

And opened my gift on the sidewalk outside Zazie’s and screeched with joy.

A travel book to Puerto Rico.

A bag of Puerto Rican coffee.

And a jar of Adobo spice.

OMG.

So made my birthday.

“How the hell?” I was so excited,  smacked my friend with the Adobo.

“I don’t know, but obviously the Universe provides,” he smiled.

We’ll be talking more, he’s got business there and will be going a couple of times a year for the next year and a half, two years, so sometime in the new year there will be a trip to Puerto Rico with my dear friend.

I am so excited.

And though the plans, they keep changing, I will be here for Christmas, I’m not upset about them changing, life happens, things change, roll with it.

Tonight will be an early night for me, despite it being my birthday I don’t need to go and paint the town eighteen shades of red, rather, I get to curl up here in my cozy home, by my sweet Christmas tree and have a little more tea and get a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow begins my last week with my current family.

It will be sad to say good-bye to the boys, but also I know it’s not a true goodbye as the next family I work with goes to the same private school.

I will see the boys at pick up and drop off and that will be a kind way to ease the transition.

Both for them and for me.

I have some Christmas presents for them and some things that I hope will remind them of me and keep me in their hearts, but I am ready to move onward to the next adventure.

I am also grateful that I have week off from said next adventure.

There will be much yoga.

There will be a little travel over to the other side of the bridge to help out a friend on Christmas Eve day.

There will be trips to the MOMA.

Dare I say it?

There will be naps.

There will be time to figure out my camera and why I can’t download my pictures to my computer.

There will be time to attend to a few school things–practicum applications, resume writing, gathering references.

As well as doing my FAFSA for the next school year and starting to order my books for the next semester.

Fingers crossed.

There will be time for at least one book that is pleasure reading.

There will be time for a ferry-boat ride on the bay me thinks.

I love to take the ferry once in a while, it’s my special solo date gig.

There will be lots of writing.

When isn’t there?

There will be plans that go awry and things that change and I will grow and change with them.

Hello 44 years old.

You look pretty damn good.

Glad we’ve made it this far.

Luckiest girl in the world.


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