Posts Tagged ‘Rainbow’

Financial Aid

April 26, 2017

Fucking hates me.

But.

I don’t care.

I have gotten a lot more assertive in asking for help from the financial aid office at school, especially since I have had to jump through hoops that I didn’t even know were there to get what I need to get.

After innumerable e-mails I think I am almost there.

Of course there was one thing on the application that made no sense to me, not an iota and I probably filled the damn form out wrong and they won’t give me the money.

GIVE ME THE MONEY.

I need it for therapy.

That sounds a little desperate, I know.

What could be so bad that the lady has to have, HAS TO HAVE, being the operative word, therapy?

Oh, you know, sexual abuse trauma, incest, neglect, physical abuse, history of alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, racism, eating disorder.

Nothing at all that indicates needing therapy.

Ha.

I am being a little flippant.

I have addressed a lot of these issues and I have done an extraordinary amount of work on them over the years and I have done therapy before, but.

My school program requires it as a part of my degree.

And really, it does make fantastic sense, I need to have my shit taken care of so I can show up and help others take care of their shit.

It’s the classic put your oxygen mask on before helping others on the plummeting airplane.

And.

And.

AND.

I found out from my therapist today that my hours with her do actually count towards my 3,000 hours that I need to accrue to get my MFT license.

It’s going to change though, the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences) is going to phase that out.

By 2021 you won’t be able to count personal therapy hours toward your 3,000.

And the thing is, I want those hours to count very much, because as it turns out each hour or personal therapy is counted as three.

THREE HOURS.

Holy shit.

So.

It turns out that tonight I went into my Track My Hours app and I made sure that I was using the Pre 2021 dashboard  and I entered in my hours as my therapist suggested I do and voila!

15 more hours.

I have had, after today, five sessions with her.

Multiply that by three and I now have 16 hours.

There is was in black and white.

Valid hours: 16.

Total hours to accrue: 2,984.

Fuck yeah.

I will take that.

This is going to be huge and such a help to be able to acquire the hours.

My therapist went through the same program that I am doing and we talked a lot about the process and I was so freaking grateful to be seen and have my experience validated, especially in regards to the financial aid stuff and when she said, oh yeah, these hours count, you’ll have your 3,000 by 2021, you’ll be able to use your personal therapy and all you need is for me to sign a piece of paper with my MFT license on it.

Such a huge gift to find this out.

And.

She also suggested that I actually do talk to my offsite supervisor about my work as a nanny, considering how much time I have spent in the heart of so many families, that I actually may be able to get some of my child and family hours covered.

I would never have thought of it, I had a teacher who told me she thought nannies should get hours accredited to them, considering how nannies tend to be involved in a lot of family dynamics and bear witness to children and how they grow and learn, that it would make sense to grant nannies some hours.

I mean.

Fuck.

I’m going to at least check it out with my supervisor.

It’s probably unlikely, but hey, I do have over a decade of work with children and families, that kind of work experience should count for something.

And it does.

My therapist validated that today too, that I have been doing this work for a very long time, that I have, in essence been learning how to be a therapist for years.

She’s right.

It’s nice to let someone be right.

It was nice to be seen too, we have a good connection and I am so grateful for the sessions.

I already can tell that things are working themselves out and it’s an unexpected and lovely support of my experience with school and the anxiety that comes up for me when I am dealing with all things school.

I feel a lot more open with what’s happening and so grateful that I am doing the internship this summer, especially now that I know if I can all my hours by the end of 2020 I can count my therapy hours too.

Such a gift.

Just have to repeat that since I want to pinch myself and gleefully clap my hands.

Who knew?

Therapy doesn’t have to be a vale of tears.

Although.

It is also that.

A vale of tears.

I was sharing about a very sweet interaction I had with a previous charge and a gift that he had given me, a painting of my house, where I live, and this beautiful watercolor of a rainbow, “Carmen!  This is where you live!”

In a house under a rainbow, full of color and light and love.

“You had a lot of emotion come up for you when you shared that,” she said.

Understatement, pass the kleenex box please.

“Can you tell me about that?” She asked.

He saw me, this little boy saw me, and I represented love and color and joy to him, that my home, where I live is in a house full of rainbows, and if you have seen my home, well, there might be some truth to that.

What she said next I’m not sure that I could express how it landed, nor exactly what she said, but I can tell you how it felt, it felt like love, that the love in me was being reciprocated by the love in that little boy, that he saw me for who I am and he shared with me what that love looked like for him.

That we saw each other’s essence and what a gift for me to give that to him.

I had never looked at it like that and it felt.

Well it felt.

True.

It was a really lovely way to wrap up the session and I left having felt something big shift.

I don’t have to analyze it or reason it out.

I can just feel that I was seen, I was, and that I am a big fucking rainbow of love.

I’ll take it.

Thanks therapy.

I’ll take the hours too.

Only 2,984 to go.

No big deal.

Heh.

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The Final Push

December 17, 2016

All I could think about, well, not all, but a lot of what I could think about was getting through the day so that I could get to the thing and then go grocery shopping and get home and blog and have tea and maybe watch half of Project Runway, shut up, and then go to bed and get up and go to yoga and shower and eat breakfast and coffee, coffee, coffee, and go meet my person and then zip the fuck back here and write my fucking paper.

Damn you Psychopathology.

All I can think about is that span of hours that I will be writing.

Alternatively dreading and anticipating.

I mean.

By this time tomorrow I’ll be done with the semester.

If it fucking kills me.

Actually.

I will be done with it before this time tomorrow night or I might shoot myself in the head.

I jest.

Not funny for a therapist in training to joke about suicide, now is it?

Hahahahahaha.

Where’s the coffee?

Heh.

I mean.

It’s not that bad, I do know, without a doubt that I will write the fuck out of the paper and I’ve done my prep and I have my stack of notebooks, three, books, four, and my thoughts in regards to what I need to do.

There is much to do.

But I know the lay of the land and I will wend my way through the paper.

It’s going to take some sustained effort, but I got it.

I do.

It’s just stopping and pausing to enjoy the moment that is right now instead of living in that perpetual feeling of anxiety about writing the paper.

I came so close to calling in sick today.

And.

I’m not sick.

I just want the relief of being finished with the work.

I want the respite at the end of the tunnel.

Fast acting relief.

I’m not as good with sitting with pain as I used to be.

That being said, I did have a proactive day that wasn’t completely focused on pondering the Psychopathology paper.

I did get up and go to yoga.

I did not do any yoga though.

Which could have had the capacity to piss me off, but didn’t.

The instructor literally slept through her alarm.

I will cut the woman some slack though, she’s just gotten back from a long trip abroad to India and jet lag is no joke.

I left the studio after fifteen minutes of lolling about on my mat and doing some stretching and just figured that God had different plans in mind.

I had a nice breakfast and some delicious coffee and wrote a lot.

I have had a few things on my mind you could say.

And then I scooted downtown to campus to sell back some text books.

Of course the store was closed.

I’d gotten there too early so I went and idled around the practicum support table on the second floor and wrote out the two page practicum application paperwork that my advisor needs to sign for me to move forward in the process.

I was super grateful to get that out-of-the-way and by the time I was done the store had just opened.

I hopped downstairs, sold my text books and gave myself the permission to go buy some of my favorite lotion at Rainbow and wander around the aisles a little bit.

Some apples, some candles, a raw chocolate drink, my body lotion and then over to work.

I had a few minutes before my shift started and I made some phone calls and came to some really deep realizations about some personal things.

And though I will talk about sex and intimacy and dating I can’t and won’t always talk about what is going on internally.

I have to talk it out.

So.

I did that and was really grateful for the response I got back from my person.

It did leave a surreal taste in my mouth for the day, albeit a good one, I feel really free of some character defects that have been plaguing me without me even being conscious of them.

It felt really good, I felt graced and enlightened and though there was some sadness there too, I realized that the decision I had come to was the right one for me and it really was a fucking relief to let go of some old ideas that I had no clue how long I’d been holding onto them.

Pretty intense and pretty fucking fabulous.

Which left me really at ease in my person, my life, where I am with work and school and relationships in general.

I really had a fucking epiphany of gigantic proportions.

Things shifted inside and I cannot believe how being honest with myself could bring about such change.

But there I was sitting on the bench outside the store on the corner of Lexington and 20th having the most profound conversation with my person who was also reiterating to me how deep this shift was and I was blown away, just blown away.

Work, then, was amazing, just for me showing up.

Did lots of cooking.

Stockpiled some broccoli soup and homemade black bean chili for the mom.

Played with the boys.

Ran some errands.

Played with the boys more.

Read stories.

And confirmed that I would love to have dinner with the family after work on Monday to celebrate my birthday at Izakaya Rintaro.

Can you say sashimi?

I can.

Yummy.

“As long as it won’t interfere with you finishing up your finals and papers,” my boss said, “we’d love to take you out to dinner for your birthday.”

I assured them that I would be finished by Monday.

I better be.

It’s due Monday.

But as we all know.

At least I know.

I will be done tomorrow.

So that I can celebrate my birthday without it hanging over my head.

I feel like that is pretty spectacular incentive to finish.

Almost there.

I got this.

I really do.

Seriously.

One more big push.

In My Zone

February 27, 2016

On my bike.

Whipping along 46th avenue.

In my body.

Fog cool on my face.

Getting the ya yas the fuck out of my head.

I came home a little crazy.

A good girlfriend, thank you God for girl friends, talked me down off the ledge.

“Go eat some dinner, watch a movie, chill out, enjoy your Friday.”

I had gotten out of work early and the weather turned a bit toward the intense, heavy fog, so heavy it’s basically rain, and the visibility was decreasing rapidly.

I made the executive decision to scooter home instead of hitting the Church and Market scene to do grocery shopping, the nails, or the Our Lady of SafeWay crowd.

I was headed that way all day in my mind.

Some times the things I have in my head are completely fantasy.

When reality snuck up on me it was after a long day of cake making and crazy birthday party preparations.

One of my charges turns six tomorrow.

We made a birthday cake together.

Watching him and his younger brother lick icing off a spoon and run their fingers along the edge of the batter in the bowl, so sweet.

I also didn’t mind that they were having some sugar, I wasn’t going to have to put them to bed and I wasn’t responsible for dinner, and well, it’s a birthday and hey, you got to bend the rules some times.

I made a two layer banana vanilla spice cake with banana custard filling in between the layers, frosted with homemade buttercream icing and topped with a heavy hand of sprinkles, courtesy of the liberal shakes from the birthday boy.

I was very surprised that the mom wanted me to make a cake.

Last year they got a big chocolate six layer cake from Tartine.

It was a fun project to do and though it’s been a while since I have made a cake from scratch it was just like riding a bike.

It was a blast teaching the six year old how to separate egg whites from yolks, squeeze lemon juice, cream butter and sugar, and whip egg whites into peaks.

“Carmen, can you mix it for awhile, I’m tired,” he said leaning his sweet head against my hip.

“Of course,” I took the whisk and whipped the egg whites into peaks.

“Oof, this is hard,” I said, as my shoulder began to chatter with me, “I am going to need some love to keep going.”

He hugged my arm.

He hugged me a lot today.

He’s been such a sweet snuggle bunny with me.

Oh.

God.

Speaking of snuggle bunnies.

Fucking Rainbow and the barrel of overflowing Jelly Cat bunny rabbits.

(HA!  I just re-read that sentence above as I was editing and I thought, only someone who live in San Francisco knows that Rainbow is a high end hippie grocery store and Jelly Cat is a brand of stuffed animals that they sell in the kids aisle, but it makes a great visual if you don’t know the context!)

I almost threw myself in the vat of them while I was busy spending my paycheck on toiletries.

There was one mint one, like dinner mint green, those soft pastel melting mints that you get at the steak house after a big filet and sizzling plate of hash browns, the ones in a glass carafe at the hostess desk, yeah like that.

That bunny there, mint green with the softest little pink nose.

Dude.

I don’t know how the hell I restrained myself.

Give me all the bunnies.

I stood in the aisle for a good minute or so thinking about it, stroking the candy colored rabbit’s ears and then, with a last squeeze, I walked over to the produce area and got the apples I had come for.

Yeah.

So I got some good love on today with the boys.

“Carmen, I’m putting all my love in your heart,” the three year old told me as the mom was passing by, and then threw himself into my arms.

I just about burst into tears.

Yeah.

Still got the sads.

Slightly tempered by the pissed offs.

Why do I do the things that I do to myself?

Haven’t you learned yet?

Fuck.

I was beating myself up pretty bad.

Then the family left for a dinner at Rintaro as I finished up the laundry and tidied up the house for the weekend, birthday celebration.

I left my boy a small stack of presents and a hand made card on the kitchen counter and put his paper birthday crown from school on top of the domed cake in the kitchen.

I got him a bunch of model planes to fold out of paper and cardboard as well as a self-propelled rocket launcher that works on green energy.

It’ll shoot the rocket up to thirty feet.

Dude.

He’s going to be over the moon.

“Carmen, I used up all my love, I gave it all to you,” he said after licking the whisk reverently with half lidded eyes–banana custard, I mean really, I don’t eat sugar, but this was intoxicating to make and the smell, oh my, heaven.

“You know, I accept all your love, I always will, I love you heaps and bunches and to the moon and back infinity times infinity,” I said and stroked his soft face.

“That’s a lot!”

“Yes, it is, but you know the amazing thing about love?” I asked him.

“What’s that?”

“It’s an infinite resource, there is always more love to give, you can’t run out of it, whenever you breathe in the air, you breathe out love, it’s just natural, it’s just always there, I promise, you’ll never run out.”

“That’s a good thing,” he said and continued dreamily licking off the spoon.

“I agree.”

And I remind myself of the same thing.

Love.

Infinite love.

I have it always, deep down inside me where that small quiet voice presides.

So.

I locked down the scooter, ordered some take out from Thai Cottage, I ate an awesome pumpkin curry and then pumped up my bike tires and got my bicycle ready for a sprint over to Vicente and 41st, hang with the hoodlums in the Outer Sunset.

It was the best thing to do.

I heard everything I needed.

And I got my God on good.

Then.

The ride back, the soft fog still thick and wet, I was pretty soaked by the time I wheeled my whip into the garage, the air on my face, the smell of the sea, the crash of the waves on the beach, soul sluiced with sweetness.

Sometimes when you’re dreaming I see a light.

I walked into my safe, warm, glow globe room and said, “thank you,” and “hello house,” and “I love you.”

Because.

That’s how I roll.

Infinite love.

All the way deep down in my starlight soul.

All the way to the heavens and back.

A thousand times.

Giving myself the allowance.

The band width to be human.

With just a tiny bit.

Of.

(Infinite)

REVERENCE.

And.

God in the mix.

Not a bad way to start the weekend.

Hello you.

Let’s be friends.

 

 

Leap Of Faith

April 25, 2015

He leaned forward.

And jumped.

I was two steps below what I would have like to have been to make sure that it was not such a leap, but the boy was ready to not be napping and to get down stairs and be in the world.

His arms wrapped around me.

I caught him.

I always do.

His leaping lizard ways do cause my heart to lurch into my mouth at times, but the sweet and absolute trust in me he has, makes me feel always at the ready to catch him.

“I love you,” he said and buried his face in my shoulder.

“I love you too, bug,” I said and squished him close to my heart.

It never fails to amaze me.

This thing called love.

I felt love of all sorts tonight.

I met with a dear friend after work tonight and we hung out and had tea and talk all things girlfriend and life and the stuff of it.

I went where I always go on a Friday night, that bastion of crazy good and weird and wonky, Our Lady of Safeway.

I texted with a darling friend who just had a baby last week to check in on her and see how I could be of some service.

I’ll be heading over to her side of the bay next Saturday to spend time with her and the new little guy.

I rode home, slowly, in the thick of the night through shrouds of fog and wind and mist that slowly materialized into rain.

I did my stretches and strengthening exercise and though I did not want to do them, I did them anyway.

I have love of self too.

It doesn’t always manifest itself in the most logical of ways and that is why I also have a big community and fellowship that helps me discern when my feelings are having their way with me.

But love.

Well, love can have its way with me.

I may get hurt.

However, I will still have the experience.

I want to experience it all.

I have taken some leaps and leapt into some uncomfortable situations, painful, life affirming, and experiential all.

I don’t see myself sitting on the side lines with anything at the moment.

I am committed.

I sound like I am talking in circles and I am, but I know what I am talking about and as it winds itself out of my head and down into my heart I see where the wound is and how that it might sting, like, a lot.

Or not.

I don’t know.

So I took some action, reached out, and now, well, the results are not mine, the words, with a little help from my friend, thank god for friends, the timing so not mine, but the feelings, succinct and sure, are all mine.

I look forward to what ever happens next knowing that I have asked for what I need given the information I have been given.

And then life, well, it continues forward.

Through the rain and the gentle mist and the days and the nights, through the music and the poetry.

To the hair salon!

Yes.

Tomorrow I go in for a much-needed hair cut and color.

“I’m thinking of _____________,” I told a friend tonight as we were comparing schedules in regards to going out to Berkeley next Saturday.  “I don’t know that I want to do color, everybody is doing color now (meaning blue and green and purple and what have you), I was doing color before color was a thing, I think I’m going in a different direction.”

I will take photos.

Don’t worry.

It will be fun to have a ladies day at the salon too.

I’m going to do the deal and then meet with my person at Tart to Tart and do some reading and checking in and then some lunch and the salon.

I’ll be heading up to Solid Gold in the venerable Tender Nob.

That nice narrow strip of town nestled between the bourgeois in Nob Hill and the hoi poi in the Tenderloin.

It’s not quite the same as the tech smash-up of gentrification and the homeless drug addicts strolling around Mission Street, but it is a clash of worlds and I am grateful that I get to navigate it the way I do now instead of the way I used to.

I have come a long way, baby.

There’s a coffee shop that I used to score at just around the corner from where I get my hair done and it’s always a fond trip down memory lane for me to go past it and occasionally even go in for a fix before getting my hair done.

Caffeine, that is.

That’s a leap of faith too.

All the things I have done that I can forget about.

All the ways that love as aligned to get me where I am now and where I will go next.

As I sit and look around my home and everything that has happened here in the last year and a half and how much I have done and seen and grown since moving back from Paris with $10 in my pocket, I am truly amazed.

Awed really.

Look ma!

No hands.

I’m doing this life thing.

It’s not just fantasy in my head.

And I have been in some fantasy in my head over the last week.

I took some action and, well, I get to let go of those results too.

Surrender is an act of faith too.

“Shh, sweet darling,” I said as I gathered him up from the stroller, “Meow is right here.”

He hung his head down onto my chest, clutching his stuffed cat to his body and clung to me as we climbed the stairs into the house heading straight up into his room, where I tucked him in and turned on the sound machine and a little fan.

I brushed the hair of his face, tucked him in, and bent down to kiss his forehead.

“I love you,” I said and my heart grew a little more full.

“I love you too, Carmen Cat,” he said, finishing with a sleepy, “meow,” has he turned over onto his pillow and burrowed under the covers.

I almost fell over and tumbled down the stairs myself.

Love.

It will catch you unaware and bash into your heart.

And I find.

There is not protecting myself from it.

I am open to it all.

To know that.

Is to know.

Grace.

And.

I am graced.

Where Did All My Money Go?

December 8, 2014

When the clerk rang me up at Rainbow I blanched.

Err.

“Are you sure,” I wanted to say.

However, I held my tongue.

I knew I had overspent, not but much, but by a lot.

Yeah, I meant to write it that way.

I berated myself a little bit, I had been having shopping fantasies and they did not play out the way I had envisioned them.

Then again.

Fantasy rarely does for me.

I had use of my boyfriends car this afternoon and I had grand delusions of getting some holiday shopping done, buying new blue jeans, maybe getting some fancy lingerie, grocery shopping, household shopping, and maybe a small side trip here then there.

I lost it on the second floor of Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

And that was my first stop.

Does not bode well for my shopping day.

Fact is, I am just not a great shopper, I get overwhelmed with stuff and I usually end up doing the opposite of what I came to do, I leave with my head on fire and have to ditch stuff in the aisles or on the way out the door.

I was about to do just that as I was not finding what I had headed up to the second floor to find—pillow case shams—they have them, I just couldn’t locate them and instead of asking, there was no one to ask, really mostly another confused woman wandering around with a fabric swatch she was trying to match to bathroom carpeting, I fled the top floor.

I ran to the escalator and as the moving stairs unfurled before me I looked into my basket—one large bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap, a packet of makeup remover and nothing else.

I just about threw my hands up in defeat, what had I come here for?

Not this.

The items in my basket I could get anywhere.

Oh, yeah!

A new saucepan.

Which I finally discovered, grabbed, and ran to the line.

I don’t do well in big box stores and the lie I tell myself is that I do.

Or that there is one big imaginary store, with no one else in it and I have all the time in the world and I will have buckets of money to spend in said store.

I paid and got out of the store, I walked past Trader Joes.

Do I dare go inside?

I looked and shuddered.

No.

No fucking way was I going in.

I went to Nordstrom’s Off the Rack.

I used the bathroom and tried to settle myself down.

I did feel calmer, but I was not in the space to shop and I knew it.

I need jeans and I went to the rack and was trapped between a woman with a large stroller, empty, mind you, her progeny was not in the stroller, but rather flying about the store on his scooter–I got rolled over twice by the boy—and tiny Asian woman and her boyfriend who were so assiduously combing the racks I couldn’t insert myself to do the same.

I sighed.

What in the world had I wanted from here?

Oh yeah.

A soft throw blanket.

Success.

I found one, its soft and furry and beachy sky blue.

I have wanted a soft faux fur throw forever and now with delicious naps beckoning to me on the weekends with my man, more so than ever.

Score.

Another thing down.

After my small victory I thought I might be able to do a roll through the lingerie department, but no dice.

I did grab a bunch of bras and panties, but once I was heading to the check out my feet took over my brain and refused to detour to the dressing rooms.

I did not have it in me to try on the bras.

I dumped them on a table and ran to the check out, narrowly avoiding getting hit by small boy on scooter a third time.

Somebody corral his or her child please.

I was so over it that I almost skipped going to Rainbow and in hindsight, I should have, there’s nothing there that I can’t get where I live, I just had this thought that I would get a few things in bulk that I normally don’t have around and also to pick over a few of their household department things.

But the damn store foiled me.

Damn you Rainbow.

They had re-organized the bulk bin and spices and the coffee and teas and I was lost and turned around and wanted out so bad.

I had to just go for it.

I was there.

And somehow I spent one hundred dollars.

What the fuck did I buy?

That was my question when I got home and unloaded my groceries and household supplies.

I also realized that I had lost two of my items in my boyfriends car and that was annoying.

I mean I could go walk over to his place and grab them out, he lives four blocks away (geographically ideal thank you very much) but once I got dinner cooking, I was loathed to leave and retrieve the items.

Ah well.

Lesson learned.

I don’t need to cross town in traffic just because I can.

I did get what I needed, but what I really got was that I have everything here.

The pasture is not greener and there is no better than right here.

Applies to just about everything in my life, that lesson.

This time of year I also am a little more spend thrifty than usual.

That being said, I am happy to report that I am 95% done with my Christmas shopping—my sister and her family, my mom, and my boyfriend—done.

I have one small thing left to get the man, but that will fall into place in my regular out and about daily life, I don’t have to travel for it.

And I nearly am finished with writing my Christmas cards.

All total 25 of those bad boys dropped in the mail.

I have to buy more stamps tomorrow, and write up a few more, but just about done.

As too, this weekend, just about done.

I saw my guy.

Went to a holiday party.

Wore a cute frock.

Canoodled with my man.

Cooked some beans and rice.

Wrote some cards.

Made some calls.

Saw some ladies.

Did the deal.

Wrote.

No complaints here.

Even if I overspent.

I have the money to do so.

My life, well.

Yes, Virginia, it does.

Rocks.

 

 

Do You Have A Swim Suit?

June 30, 2014

Pack it.

Already packed.

My friend’s text arrived via a flurry of getting the kids ready for bath, bed, and beyond, and what do you want to do?

Duluth?

Minneapolis?

Stockholm, Wisconsin?

Kayak.

Canoe.

Swim.

ARGH.

I want to do it all and I want to be wearing my sassy sandals.

Which have been banished to the corner of my closet as I was so tempted to pack them anyway, they are so cute, when am I going to have a week of sandal wearing goodness in San Francisco?

Never.

And I certainly won’t be wearing these beautiful shoes to Burning Man.

Oh well.

I knew it was too much to put my ankle through, so in the closet they stay.

I am otherwise just about packed.

I wanted to be proactive partially because I feel better having it all ready and partially, well, the lady moves slow like still.

I am getting around a bit better and last night for the first time I took some tentative and slow steps from the bed to the bathroom.

Woohoo!

Ten steps indoors without the walking boot on.

Huzzah.

Sigh.

I could probably swim, but I will most likely just float.

I won’t be doing some nice steady, smooth, strong kicking, not yet.  I don’t want to move it around that much.  But I can probably still do a crawl stroke, I’ll just let my legs go dead behind, sort of like when we used pull buoys on swim team.

The buoys were held between the legs for, yes, you guessed it, buoyancy, and one did not kick ones feet while swimming laps.  They were to help perfect your crawl stroke.

I would like to say that I will be doing lots of active things on my summer vacation.

But perhaps it will be the inactive ones that I get to enjoy the most.

There’s a possibility of going out on a pontoon boat.

PONTOON!

I can’t remember the last time I was on a pontoon boat.  Maybe when I was ten, twelve?

I recall a summer Lake Wisconsin pontoon trip outside of Okee.

Okee is a teeny tiny town outside of Lodi, itself pretty small (2,500 pop.), on Lake Wisconsin.

If you were headed to the ferry driving towards Devil’s Lake State Park or Baraboo, you would bypass Okee.

It was on the wrong side of the Lake Wisconsin for the ferry.

But it was where an aunt of mine lived for a while and briefly, if memory serves, my mom and sister and I stayed with her too.

I remember the hammock in her back yard.

I also remember that the part of the lake she lived on was shallow.  I could wade out thirty, forty, fifty yards, and the water would only come up to my thighs, my eight year old thighs, so it was super shallow.

I got tall, but well after eight.

I don’t know what the occasion for the pontoon was, but it was definitely a party, it’s pretty much an excuse to drift slow and lazy on the river or lake and drink a lot of beer.

Hell, any gathering of my family in Wisconsin seemed to be a ocassion to sit by a lake and drink a lot of beer.

I don’t think my family is anything special in regards to this.

Pontoons are great for picnicking on too.

They just move so slow.

It’s sort of like being on a parade float, except it’s in the water.

Speaking of parade.

Pride was today and the hooligans were out early.

I had an errand to run up to 7th and Irving and the packs of champagne swilling, mimosa monkeys in rainbow colors flying their freak flags high were huge.

One particular group of teenagers, twelve, thirteen of them, on the back part of the N-Judah at 11:20 a.m. had the bottles of champagne going round, the Gatroade bottles going round, the flasks of cheap vodka already having been dumped into the sport drink bottles.

Nothing says good times like smell of purple Gatorade and vodka in the morning.

Blech.

They were having a great time and all of them had on body paint and net shirts and rainbow striped headbands and wristbands and of the entourage, one guy was gay.

The Pride part of the party was underscored by the “party” part of Pride.

San Franciscans don’t need much excuse to bring out a bottle and some bright neon net t-shirt action, be it Bay to Breakers or Pride, or Tuesday afternoon for that matter.

It was quite amusing to watch the faces of a few tourists who didn’t know what Pride was and were out at the beach and heading in to the city to go do tourist type things.

I was not going anywhere past 7th and Irving.

I had a moment of desire to hop further up and drop into Cole and Carl–grab my nanny clogs from the house I work out of for my trip, but the amount of people already on the train was just too much for me.

That is a side effect of this whole thing that has surprised me a little.

I have gotten a bit overwhelmed by crowds on recent excursions.

I suppose that it’s a bit of being extra cautious about my ankle and also having spent a lot of time by myself over these last few weeks.

This trip to Wisconsin will be a nice easing back into the human world.

It’s a little slower in Wisconsin anyhow and slow is great for me at the moment.

I will sit on the porch with my friend and drink coffee in the morning and look out towards the lake and perhaps see an eagle fishing for breakfast.

I will sit in the car and happily go on mini-car trips to the wilds of the North woods of Wisconsin.

Or perhaps I shall meander along with her through down town Hudson and procure an iced coffee at a cafe.

I will enjoy whatever happens, I’ll be with my best friend, even if I can’t keep up with her three boys, I will bask in their energy and be happy to be a guest in their home.

Off now to finish the packing.

And try to get to bed a tiny bit early.

The alarm is set for 4 a.m.

My flight out of SFO is at 7:30 a.m.

Eesh.

Grateful for the travel pillow.

And with that.

I shall see you tomorrow from the bustling metropolis of Hudson, Wisconsin.

 

 

Rainbow Redux

May 5, 2014

Let me count the ways I love thee.

Bulk spices.

Check.

Bulk oatmeal.

Check.

Favorite lotion that no other store in  San Francisco carries.

Check.

Pacifica Candles.

Check.

Run in with ex-boyfriend who works at Rainbow.

Check.

“You know,” he said to me today in the tea aisle, I get updates when you come in the store, ‘Carmen was here’.”

I smiled.

It’s good to go noticed and it’s good to be noticed and it’s always best to look better than you did when you were dating someone.

Although at the time I certainly was not unattractive, I was just a bit heavier and I was also going through a really challenging time in my life having just lost a best friend in a freak accident.

I also will always fondly recall this relationship, because though it was not one that lasted very long, a few months, he did say one of the sweetest things to me that a man ever said and then acted on it in the way that I wish more men would.

I was sitting perched up on an exercise machine he had in the kitchen of his place–it was like a horse without the horse, a mechanical saddle–and he was making me a cup of tea.

Side bar, I still find it hysterical that our first date I offered him some tepid, stale, luke warm, peppermint tea that I pilfered from a room-mate, I did not have any tea in the house.

He’s the tea buyer at Rainbow.

He’s a large part of the reason I have learned so much about tea and have a lot of it at my house, not as much as he did, oh no, but I got turned on to tea in a way I never would have thought.

Anyway, so I am in his kitchen and he’s making me Matcha, like the real deal, green powder, whisking it, the whole nine, and he looks at me and cocks his head.

“You have no idea how beautiful you are, do you?” He asked me, setting down the bowl of tea.

I smiled, shy, “I uh, no, I guess not.”

He crossed the kitchen in three strides and smashed me up against the wall and kissed me until I thought I was going to become part of the wall supporting me.

It was pretty awesome.

He has a girl friend now, and never fails to mention it, but I still get a great big hug and an appreciative look over.

Makes a girl feel attractive.

And I was at Rainbow.

Which I have missed shopping at.

I could have been grocery shopping there, I suppose, but it’s quite the haul from my place at 46th and Judah to Rainbow, which is in the SOMA at 14th and Folsom.  The few times I did make the trek on my bike it was just too much.

But now, enter the scooter, and enter my confidence going up and yes, I made it to the mecca that is Rainbow.

It can still be overwhelming and I suppose there are some that say the customers are smug or entitled or hippies or I don’t know and I don’t care.  I just know that they carry pumpkin pie spice in bulk and good organic nutmeg and cinnamon, that they carry California Naturals body lotion and it’s 98% organic and my favorite scent was in stock–Coconut Tangerine–and the oatmeal, which I eat every day, is the cheapest bulk organic oatmeal in the city, was there for the taking.

I had done the majority of my grocery shopping earlier.

In fact, I suppose one could say that all I did today was grocery shop.

I went to Safeway, Other Avenues, Noriega Produce, and Rainbow.

I am in possession of the kind of refrigerator that I want to show off to my friends, I want to take pictures of all the goodness therein.

I want to gloat over my home-made soup that I canned and froze for the week.

Because after all that shopping, I made soup to have for my meals at work for the majority of the week.

This weeks soup is a yellow split pea with chicken, onions, garlic, Pattapan yellow squash, asparagus, and golden chard.  I seasoned it with turmeric, Spike, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, nutmeg, just a pinch, pumpkin pie spice (the nutmeg and the pumpkin pie spice were added to round off the almost dirty taste of the chard–it was a really pungent earthy chard with a whisper of sweetness) and adobo.  I also made my stand by pot of brown rice while it was simmering.

I also have a mound of organic fruit as well on the counter, mangos, bananas, apples, and pears.

I am set for the week and ready to go.

I like being a good little housewife to myself.

I like practicing good self-care.

I like that my sheets are fresh and clean on my bed, the laundry is done, and I took a nice hot shower today.

Sunday.

Short hand for self-care.

I rode my bicycle too.

I don’t think that I need to scooter to the grocery stores in the neighborhood, they are close enough to bike too, and the exercise was good.

I knew I was eventually headed to Church and Market though and when I realized that I had the spare time to do it, I did make the decision to go to Rainbow.

The scooter is slowly opening up the city to me and I am getting better at it.

I will ride it a lot this week since I am up in the Castro four days of my work week.

Thursday I shall ride the velo, no where to park the scooter all day, but the rest of the time, I shall Vespa it up.

And in my saddle bag, er, my messenger bag, I shall have homemade soup and organic apples.

Because that’s how I roll.

 

Is That A Dozen Eggs

October 19, 2013

In your bag?

My friend asked me this late afternoon at the corner of Folsom and 24th.

We had coffee plans to go to Philz, but they were over run, so we meandered a short hop to Haus, kitty corner from Philz, and stood in line to get our perspective teas.

Yup.

A dozen organic, free range, omega 3 eggs, from Judy’s Organics.

Along with kale, some of which dislodged from my bag and spilled onto the floor.

Sorry, Haus, I didn’t mean to get organic kale on your floor, but as you’re in the Mission, which although truly gentrified to bits, does still have some of that stale bum urine rankness happening.  So, I don’t feel too bad about it.

I had gone downtown to interview for Healthy San Francisco, which I was informed, repeatedly, is NOT health insurance, but only for preventative care and emergencies.

Ok, I hear you, now, sign me up please.

Because despite the kale and organic eggs (and pinto beans and navy beans and brown rice, brown mushrooms, onion, and garlic, I am going to make a bean stew with the various accoutrements, apples, and almond milk), despite the healthy eating, living, bicycling, and hopefully soon, more surfing, you never know when you are going to get hit by a bus.

And I don’t have health insurance.

It’s been about a year since I have and it was pointed out to me that as an act of self-care I needed to take care of that.

Duly noted and taken care of.

A half hour later I exited the building, hopped on my bicycle and headed to Rainbow.

Because when in Rome you buy the organics at the best place you can.

I am debating becoming a member of a CSA as well–less groceries in my messenger bag–who doesn’t want farm fresh veggies and fruits, organic, dropped off at your door?

I just have no idea when I would schedule a drop off.

I mean, I am home, but I am out more than I am in.

Something to think about.

Lots of things to think about as I head into the weekend, which doesn’t much feel like a weekend since I am working a split shift tomorrow–10a.m.-1p.m. in the Castro, then 8p.m.-2a.m. in Potrero Hill.

It does, however, feel like a week when I am going to make some money.

Money I have plans for.

I went to Aqua Surf Shop today at Sloat and 46th Avenue and looked over wetsuits there and talked to an awesome guy, Devon, who told me he lived at 47th and Judah for 15 years, and I would really like it, about all things wetsuits.

He gave me some great advice and suggestions, including some thoughts about surf boards et al.

Aqua

Aqua

Sunday I am going to head over to Wise Surf Shop on Great Highway and check them out.

Then with the info I have under my belt I shall make myself a wetsuit purchase.

Because I will be able to afford to do so.

I have the full-time work happening.

Thank God.

I have also looked a bit on Craigslist for used suits, but I have yet to see something that will work for me.

I may also check out Sports Basement, since I am going to be in the Mission tomorrow, I decided I won’t be heading back to my house in between my split shifts.

I have a meeting of the minds at Philz on 18th and Noe Street at 1:15p.m.  then free time until I am due up at 26th and Hampshire (I think it’s Hampshire, yeesh, I haven’t been over there in a while, I know it’s at 26th and the hill is steep) so I can scoot over to Sports Basement and maybe REI and that other place I always forget is there at Division and 15th.

Do my wetsuit research.

Funny enough the one place I thought was too expensive, Mollusk, still has the best price for what I am looking for.

That being said I have only gone to two surf shops so far.

I have, as well, done online research, so I am not completely in the dark here.

Granted, I have yet to try one on and that I know is going to be some monkey business.

I did find out from a friend last Saturday that you can purchase a wetsuit and bring it home and try it on in the privacy of your own home and return it if it doesn’t fit.

You cannot return it once it’s gone in the water.

Good information to have.

So much to do.

I am keeping busy I am.

I am also contemplating taking part in the November novel-writing challenge.

I got an e-mail from a friend asking if I was taking part.

I checked it out and thought, nah.

But the thought wouldn’t go away and I do have as story, not a memoir, that I think could be extrapolated out to a novel, and yes, I can’t believe I am saying this, but it is Science Fiction in nature.

My friend who asked shot me another e-mail and said that the basic requirement is 1,000 words a day.

Uh, yeah, I can do that.

In fact, I already do that now.

I typically crank out a blog between 1,000 and 1,200 words every night.

I have some practise with this.

Now, I don’t know if the words will flow as well and I am not sure if I would do the rough draft to the novel on my computer or if I would do it long hand, but I bet I could.

And sometimes what I need is a kick in the pants to get something going.

I have had a little voice in the back of my head asking when I was going to be writing something new, other than my morning pages and my blog, and this may be just the thing.

I think I am going to give it a go and see if a few other of my friends are interested in doing it.

The challenge begins in November and goes through out the month and there seems to be a lot of support around the community that is generating the challenge.

I just need to say yes and set up the profile.

If I can haul $70 worth of groceries on my back from Rainbow to the house without breaking one of my dozen organic eggs, I bet I could write a novel in the month of November.

I really have no idea how that correlates, but it seems that it is taking the action and not thinking.

I am not going to think.

I am going to do.

November novel month here I come.

I’ll be the girl grinding it out in a wet suit.

 

The Rainbow Connection

August 22, 2013

I should just start calling these the day after blogs.

The weather was big time again yesterday.

Dust storm white out.

Lighting.

Thunder.

Three different systems that moved in and out and flew across the playa, kicking up high winds, hail, rain, and yes, of course, dust.

The squalls blew in quickly, winds up to 42 miles an hour and then blew back out.

I was fortunate to have gotten in a quick shower before the last of the storms blew in.

Just as I was leaving the shower area another started.

I tell you, it’s nice to work for people who have a direct line on what the weather is going to be like.  It is unpredictable, but there are, oops!

Interject, someone’s shade structure just blew over and smacked into the trailer.

Damn, Gina, stake that shit down.

This wind is not fucking around.

Thursday is supposedly the last of the “bad” weather.

Although, again, it can turn on a dime and I have seen it do just that.

I was able to duck out from the trailer in between the storm systems and grab a few shots of the double rainbow that appeared right at sunset as the setting red-gold orb sank below the mountains, a few God rays peeped through and sprayed a beautiful rainbow across the desert.

The hooting was heard all across the playa.

Rainbow

Rainbow

The photograph does no justice to the beauty of the sky, but it was the best one I was able to cull from the bunch I took.

I have been taking on average about 75-100 photos a day.

I have been editing them down and I get about 10-15 that I like and of all the photographs I have taken, I have gotten about five really good shots.

That is not bad.

I used to think those were horrid odds.

However, I feel grateful to get any.

And grateful that my camera still works.

One trip to Paris five years ago for ten days sparked buying the camera and it was the best purchase.  Thank God, too, for digital photography.  I don’t think I could afford the film I would be going through if I didn’t have the camera I have now.

I have not had much of a chance to get out and about during the day, morning or afternoons, I have been with the baby.

He’s doing fairly well, but there are times when the melt down happens, and he’s cutting molars.

Ah.

Teething.

NO fun at all.

Again, grateful that the parents work for the Borg (Burning Man Organization).

They have a trailer with air conditioning and a fridge with a freezer that actually works.

I have been cutting up fruit for the peanut every day and sticking it in the freezer for him to gnaw on when the molars get bad, he’s had his little paws in his mouth a lot the last few days.

Working on keeping those clean too.

Lots of baby spa time.

Lots.

He’s the envy of the playa, is what I think.

A buxom woman taking care of his every need, hauling him around in a snugly or in the covered wagon, standing in front the swamp cooler at the commissary (it is the largest one I have ever seen, the fan is easily five foot by six-foot), drinking cold bubbly water from fancy sippy cups, eating frozen fruit, getting foot rubs with vitamin e oil, and lots and lots and lots of cooling cream on the bum.

Not a bad way to spend your Burning Man.

Plus, everyone wants to say hi to him and pinch his little cheeks and coo at him.

The family has taken to eating on the less populated side of the commissary, away from the entrance and the main aisle that leads to the food line, as the constant attention–male and female–is distracting to the bunny at meal times.

We go “en famille” every day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It is nice to feel part of a unit and I really like the parents more and more and more.

Not only for the unstinting way they take care of their child, but also in the way that have accommodated me into their family.

I do feel like I am family.

That is how I like to roll.

Plus, I get to see more of my extended family every day.

Mostly in the commissary, where the meals are sit down and every one chatters about their day and what they are doing, where they are camped, what art project they are working on, what jackassery is in the making, and who is batting eyes at whom.

Speaking of art, I got the Where/What/When map today and I am excited for a day to go out and start seeing more of it.

Not Thursday, though.

It is mom and dad’s ten-year anniversary!

They met ten years ago on a Ranger shift.

So romantic.

I think there may be a moon lit golf cart ride out to deep playa with a bottle of champagne.

I am going to be staying back at the camp to keep an eye on the baby.

I will make a cup of tea and write down what I did during the day and fingers crossed, there won’t be anymore storm systems.

The weather clears after Thursday.

It should be hot and clear for the event.

I am sure there will even be a moment when I miss the rain.

The sound of it on the roof of the trailer and the feel of it on my face, the cool ozone smell that drifts across the playa is delicious.

Tonigh the storm brought the first chilly evening I have experienced out here.

And the smells of the first burn barrels being lit up.

Wood smoke.

My favorite smell.

So good.

So happy to be here.

Home is where the heart is.

And mine, albeit normally on my sleeve, is right here.

Right now.

 

How Fast I Forget

May 20, 2013

Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that I was thrilled to have any work, let alone the promise, literally the promise, that full-time work would soon follow?

I think it was.

In fact, when I think back a few more weeks I can recall the thought that I would be beyond the moon over the rainbow grateful for any work.

Cue this afternoon, early, pushing my bicycle up Noe towards 19th.

“This is fucking bullshit, this is too much work.”

Thanks brain.

Chill out.

It’s just one hill.

Two blocks long, there’s a wee little road in between 19th and 18th on Noe, just to let you know you’re at the half-way point, and then you’re there.

At another house in the Castro doing the nanny.

It was the culmination of an uncomfortable morning as I felt a little emotionally hung over and not ready to face the day, the putting on a bright smiling face, and the nanny pants.

I was in tears this morning as I wrote and felt all discombobulated and, well, out of my fucking head, is what i felt.

Insane.

It was like the dirty dregs of terror were left rinsed out in my brain and I, despite having written what I thought was a decent blog, I had not addressed my brain.

Sometimes that monkey needs a little extra action before bed and I had not taken the corrective measures to assure a calm morning.

Pretty calm.

You could have looked at me sitting at the dining room table eating my oatmeal with apple and drinking my big mug of coffee spiked with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, pen scratching across the page, and thought, there’s Carmen, happy in her morning routine.

But my brain was eating me alive.

It was having me for breakfast.

By the time I had made it half way through my pages my brain was satiated and burping fear.

I tried to stifle it.

It’s not becoming to cry in your morning oatmeal.

But that’s about what I did.

The shine of tears shimmered in my eyes, then drifted down my cheeks.

I heard my room-mate stir from his bedroom and I briskly wiped off my face.

I was sitting in a puddle of financial insecurity.

It comes back it does.

What I recognize though, is that it passes faster and faster and as I get closer and closer to having more full-time hours, I know it will dissipate and go away.

I was having fear about not being able to pay the rent.

Which is such an old fear I wonder why I bother with it anymore.

I suppose because I still get fuel for the fear train from it.

The longer I do this, this living, this way of being, in this kind of awareness, the more I see that I am climbing up the steps with a yo-yo in my hand.

It may feel like I am descending at times, which it did this morning, but the reality is that I am steady and slow, sure-footed and gracefully (well I like to tell myself that) rising up.

Once I catch my breath, literally, I pause and look out over the hills and see this beautiful vista that I get to be a part of again. The climb might feel exhausting, but that feeling fades, and the sun shines and the air lifts the hair off the nape of my neck and I am split asunder again by the beauty of my life.

I have had this thought, it is not a nice thought and it has some diseased thinking in it, that what was the point, went to Paris to write, and came back broke and oh, look, I am a nanny again.

But that is just the silly biting voice of all that wants me to not be happy.

Safe, breathless, and still, I propped my bike across my leg, got out my water bottle, took a huge swig of water, and calmed down.

Even with people I know, even with situations I have some familiarity with, I have anxiety.

I forget this all the time.

I have clinical anxiety and clinical depression and I am not currently medicated.

I have worked really hard to stay off the meds, but I forget my naturally tendency is to live in a state of anxiety.

First day at a new job is anxiety inducing.

Duh.

“You can always go back on a small dosage if you need to,” my psychiatrist said, her face, demeanor, all of it relaxed and at ease.

“Well, I have to say I do have some anxiety about feeling anxious,” I laughed and tried to not wring my hands.

This is a sure-fire tip-off, when I wring my hands.

When I am calm and can sit still and hold my hands lightly in my lap it is a sign to myself that I am fine, and a reminder that I used to incessantly, without pause, especially in early sobriety, wring the fuck out of my hands.

“That is a legitimate anxiety disorder as well,” she said.

Oh stop.

Which I had, I have stopped being on meds for almost two and a half years.

This is amazing.

Yet, I will forget.

I will forget the work I have done, the therapy, the medications, the anxiety, the debilitating depression, oh all the fucking work I have done to just get “normal”.

Not to say that I am special.

Nope.

I know loads of people who have had it far worse than I.

What it is though, is a soft, gentle reminder to myself that I need to cut myself some slack.

This has been a tumultuous time for me.

Moving back, time changes and jet lag, getting into a new place to live, acknowledging the East Bay as my home now, re-acquainting myself with friends and family, shit, I still haven’t managed to see everybody and I get overwhelmed with figuring out my own schedule let alone this person there or that person here that wants to hang out.

Hell, grocery shopping is hard.

I realized that today as I was walking through Rainbow at 8:45pm on a Sunday.

I had forgotten where things are and what I needed.

I had gone shopping with Joanie last night but forgotten to pick up coffee.  I had gotten overwhelmed in Whole Foods.

This is better than having panic attacks at SafeWay or Costco.

I have only managed Costco twice and once I literally bounced and left the cart in the line, I had to get out that bad.

So, sure, there are going to be moments of fear or struggle, but there are also these bright clear moments when I run into a friend at Herbivore, FROG! And get to see another friend, RONNIE! And then I am having a wonderful meal with a darling and I am alright, the world is alright and there is nothing to be afraid of.

Not even the fear itself.

 


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