Posts Tagged ‘rock bottom’

At 51:55 You’re Giving Me A Hand

October 22, 2015


Jesus, people, what do you think I was doing?


I got the cutest message today from a friend I made at Burning Man, on top of all things–the Mayan Warrior.

An enormous art car with the most furious sound system ever.

It really is mind-blowing how much this art car rocks.

The stacks of speakers defy description.

I remember the first year it came out, must have been 2013, and it turned on its sound system while still in the city proper and the little boy I was nannying woke up from sleep screaming.

The power of the bass rattled the entire trailer, I am uncertain if it was the bass shaking me that woke me up or the screaming child or a combo of the two.

The Mayan was wrangled quickly, it was fortunately also pre-event, so the city wasn’t too built up yet, and they were told firmly to lower the volume while they were in the city proper.

And they did.


When the car goes deep playa, it goes deep playa loud.

It also faces its stacks of speakers out toward the deeper desert, out past the trash fence where there is nothing but emptiness and black skies full of the swaths of starlight that you can only get that far out.

Swirls of brilliance on black velvet.

Not that I was looking at the stars that night.

I was deep into the music.

I wish I knew who was the dj prior that had been spinning, I loved Jennifer Cardini’s set, it was amazing, but the set before had absolutely blown my mind.


The circumstances too, now that I think about it, I recall Wednesday night the reason why I was on the Mayan Warrior in the first place–I had just come from a wedding at Dream Land.

A wedding that I randomly got caught in the ceremony and helped to literally sing the service to the bride and groom.

And yes.

I caught the bridal bouquet.

I wonder if that means I will get married at Burning Man next year.

It would be year number 10.

That would be something fun to do.

So many fun things to do.

So much life to live.

So much soup to make.

My God.

The soup I made today.

I have to say it.

I am a pro.

I made a soup I have never made before, pureed cream of broccoli soup, and I slayed it.

I am so grateful I can cook.

And I am grateful that I get to for the family, it’s fun, I feel a sense of accomplishment with it and there is nothing like having a five-year old ask for more broccoli, now please!

Fuck yeah kid, let me feed you some more broccoli.

I am grateful for the gifts and abilities I have.

“She cooks for you too?” The mom from yesterday’s play date said in a hushed voice while I was putting together another plate for her daughter.


I do.

Yesterday I made my home-made chili, ground chicken with black beans and red and yellow peppers, onions, garlic, mild chilis, I am cooking for kids, mind you.

I had a moment today when I was plating the boys dinner and I thought, I should take photos and do a nanny cook book.

All the ideas.

All the stuff.

All the things.




I could say I am a Renaissance woman.

If anyone knew what that meant any longer.

“I didn’t know that!” The mom exclaimed yesterday when I was being questioned by the playdates mom about my back ground and how I came to be a nanny.

I had been working as a legal secretary in a small criminal law firm.

All the jobs that I have done in this city.

Waitress–Hawthorne Lane


I also almost waited tables at Zuni, but the owner, the day I had my first day of training, put a hiring freeze on the restaurant and I was “let go” before I had really started.

Mortgage Broker associate.



I did that too.


I was not good at it.

But I sold myself so well in the interview that I got the job and yup, hit my rock bottom there.

“Where did you come from!?” My boss asked with surprise, literally jumping back startled as I slipped out of the conference room.

I had been taking a nap.

Underneath the conference table.

On the carpet.

In the dark.

All day.

I quick before I got fired.

But that was a few weeks later.

I left the office that day with carpet imprint on my face and I probably left a small pool of drool underneath the table.


The good old days.

I have also house sat, dog sat, baby sat.

I did event managing for the first, and the only Mission Bicycle Festival, there would have been more, but the residents on Lapidge really balked at having a street festival there.  I also helped manage an investor party for a restaurant that was trying to open in the Mission.

I did costumer service in the Bayview produce markets.

I was a customer service representative for a specialty veterinary hospital here in the city, in the Mission–SFVS–for two years.

I almost worked at the SPCA for a while, but after a few months of volunteering doing kitten socializing I realized that the majority of the staff needed to do some human socializing and didn’t take a job there.

I worked as an assistant to a sex educator film director.

I got him coffee and ran errands while he directed the actress who taught people how to properly do BDSM bondage.

That was an interesting shoot.

I never knew there was so much involved with making the sheets look good for the shot.

I have been an English tutor in Paris.

I have been a nanny in Paris.

I have been a nanny here in San Francisco.

And of course.

“She nannied at Burning Man too!” My boss told her friend over dinner conversation while I watched bemused by the three-year old shoveling roasted cauliflower in his mouth.


That’s right.

The three-year old likes roasted cauliflower.

I am that good.

I also think it’s like cauliflower chips, really, roasted cauliflower is stupid good, all crispy and crunchy and garlic salty.

“You nanny at Burning Man,” the second mom said incredulous.


I have.

And I danced a little to.


Just check me out here.

21:53 and yes again at 51:55.

I’m the girl with the giant smile.


The polka dot dress.



Of course.

The goggles on my head, it was a dusty year out there.



The flower in my hair.


It’s Burning Man people.

You can take the girl out of Burning Man.


You can’t take the Burning Man out of her hair.

Or the love.

I definitely got my love on that night.

Grateful that I don’t mind looking silly on video.

Because I do.

And grateful that I have such a big full life.

I am a very lucky girl.

I am.

Hello Darling

July 6, 2014

It’s so nice to see you again.

How have I missed you, let me count the ways.

Not being stared at because I have tattoos and funky hair.
In fact, my hair is less funky than many here.
Case in point, my dear friend with the shaved tribal design on the side of her head picked me up today and I didn’t even look twice at the cut, its fabulous and so is she.

I have the tattoos.
I don’t watch Nascar and I don’t have single tribal tattoo of barbed wire on my upper arm.

Yes, if you ask nicely I will let you look at them.

Yes. They hurt.


You don’t hesitate to throw down a dance party with hula hoops at the drop of a hat in Noe Valley.
That is just how you roll.

I have to dress warmly here.
Despite it being July.

Because its July and everyone, tourists excepting, knows that it’s winter time here out by the coast and the fog is thick and cool and the wind is chilly and yes, I did leave my house in a fuzzy pink sweater and a jacket.
It’s July people.
It’s cold.

It’s home.
It just plain old is.

I love you San Francisco and whenever I leave I get to return to that dear fact.

I love my best friend in Wisconsin, probably more than any other person on the planet.

However, Wisconsin is not populated with a plethora of her.
Just the one.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there are not like-minded folk there, there are.
Like her husband.
And some mutual friends, and some old friends, but overall, I am more at home here than there.

That is not to say that I did not entertain thoughts of moving back.
I always do when I go there.
It is inevitable.

I get this soul enriching experience with my friend and experience a kind of joy and deep belly laugh that I only have around her.
I get her kids who I just adore to smithereens.
Especially her oldest boy who, no surprise, is my favorite.
Although the two younger ones are amazing little creatures too, it’s the eldest that has my heart.

I made a vow to always be a good person for him, to always be the best me that I could be to always practice kindness and compassion and love, generosity, humility, honesty, and to strive to be the best me possible.

His mom did something for me that no other person in my life did.
She helped me when I needed help.

There were plenty of people who wanted to help me or tried to help me, I’m sure there were, but she was the one who stuck it out and she was the one who stayed by me and my crazy when it was really, really, really bad.

She was the one I called when I hit rock bottom.

She got me where I needed to go and she said the most piercing, horrifying, awful thing to me.
A sentence, one sentence that sent it all home.
That nailed my coffin shut on my using, though I did not know it at the time, but it hurt so bad to hear what she said that I could no longer ignore how deep and how bad I had gotten into the drugs.

There was a part of me, a large part, I won’t kid, I won’t lie, I won’t try to hide it, that wanted her to swoop in like a mama bird and take care of me and get me into rehab and then, you know, let me live with her and her family until I was up on my feet again and I would have home and shelter and care until I could care for myself again.

We talked long over the phone trying to figure out what I would do and where I would get help and I don’t know if I floated the idea or what or how it came out, but the hope that maybe I could go back to Wisconsin and set up camp at her home got thrown out into the ether.

Just like the words that followed, the deeps silence that greeted my idea spoke to me and was perhaps the thing that allowed the words she said next to sink into my heart.
Break my heart.
Open me up to something else and allow for my journey to really begin.

Breathtaking pause.


“Carmen, I love you, but I can’t, I can’t let you stay in my home, I don’t think I can trust you around, S.”

Oh dear sweet Jesus.

It sunk in.

All the way in.

How bad I was.
How bad it had gotten.
The depths had been reached and I had no further bottom to dig to.

I wiped tears off my face, knew she was right.
And wanted to prove her wrong.

But her child was more important.
And that’s how it’s suppose to be.

The child is more important.
She had her priorities straight and mine were lined up, chopped up, diced up and snorted with a bloody bill that would wind up back in my sad, depleted wallet after being licked clean of any residue left on it.

I vowed that I would never be anything but sober around that little boy.
A boy who is not so little anymore.

A boy who breaks my heart with his deep beauty and grace and gazelle legs and hazel brown, green, gold flecked eyes, who told me again and again that he loved me and wrapped his sun warm limbs around me and let me hug and kiss him and squish him and dote on him.

He does not need to know any of that history.
He just get to know the love and for that I am so beyond grateful.

My friend asked after my writing and my progression with it and where it’s going next and truth be told, I don’t know.

I really don’t.

I can dream big dreams of publishing dreams and money and glory and forever and ever material success and satisfaction.

But it all matters not one whit to the important and real commitment I have to this way of life I live and what I do in it.

My community, my fellowship, my recovery.

If you had told me years ago that I would get to help save lives and not have to go to medical school and rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to do so, I would have jumped at the opportunity.

Little did I know that doing a lot of drugs, sleeping with men whose names I didn’t know, and stealing where the prerequisites to my job.
My true purpose.
To fit myself to be of maximum service to my fellow.

I have a purpose.
I have a point.

And the writing gets to be my own little side thing.
My little hobby that maybe, well, I can still dream–will manifest in something wild and wooly and wonderful, I know that, but it’s not the point of my life, I have another calling too and that purpose and that point is the reason that I get to be a part of a the life of my friend and her family.

I get to sit on the dock and watch the boys jump in and out of the water, get to hold the one in my lap, with my arms wrapped tight about him at sunset and putter around the lake on the pontoon boat and see a bald eagle high in a tree, to help build a fire and make s’mores on the Fourth of July while lighting off boxes of sparklers (or ‘parklers as the youngest says, always dropping the “s” on his four-year old words), to go wild blueberry picking in the woods and to hug them and hold them and know that I am known and loved and trusted.

I am trusted with my friends children.

I am the luckiest woman alive.

I am so lucky to be loving you.


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