Posts Tagged ‘scholarship’

There Are No Words

June 23, 2015

I mean.


There are no words.


I’ll let the e-mail speak for itself while I try to catch my breath and let my tea cool off enough to sip on it.

Spontaneous crying may happen at any point in the writing of this blog, FYI.

To wit this is the e-mail I opened an hour ago:

Dear Carmen,

Congratulations!  On behalf of the California Institute of Integral Studies Diversity Leadership Scholarship Committee, I’m happy to inform you that you’ve been selected as a recipient of the J.C. Kellogg Integral Counseling Psychology Scholarship. This scholarship provides recipients with $10,000.00 per school year for the 3 years of the ICP/W Programs.

The Financial Aid office will be sending you a revised Awards Package in which this scholarship will be included.

Wishing you all the best!

With warm regards, Pauline

Pauline E. Reif, MA, MFA

Admissions Counselor

California Institute of Integral Studies

I can barely breathe.

I don’t have to take out student loans.



The Opportunity Scholarship I was awarded was for tuition solely, nothing to sneeze at, let me remind you–$50,000–basically paying, directly, my first four semesters of six semesters of tuition.


To get this.

To be recognized again.



There’s the tears.



This means that I won’t as I said, have to take out any additional student loans, suffice to say I am still paying on my undergraduate student loans, $32,000 left on that.

Anyone feeling like paying those off, you just let me know.

It’s the only debt I have.

No credit cards, no scooter payments, no words, no freaking words.

I called my best friend and relayed the news and she said I should run around barefoot in the grass like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

She, Julie Andrews character, was a nanny too!

Nanny’s be getting it on.

I kicked off my flip-flops, tumbled down the flagstone steps and ran around the paddock of grass that encircles the back of the house here at Stone Tree–laughing, crying, sharing with my friend the news, slightly hysterical, definitely giddy.

Normally I would have read that e-mail much sooner, but I have been busy with the little boy wrangling and the swimming and the black berry picking and the wild plum harvest and the walking the dog and taking pictures and soaking up the sun.

It wasn’t until I was sitting on the back patio, all the boys fed, watching a movie with the parents, that I picked up my phone to check my messages and to have a cup of tea while the sun set, golden spiced and delicious, fingers of shadows blue indigo ripe and full of barn swallows reveling in their dinner at dusk.

I was also texting with a friend, said friend who I get to see on Friday in LA for much museum sightings and plain old celebrations.


I get to celebrate more.

I don’t know how to do that, I am so overwhelmed with it, but I do know how to be grateful, I do know how to humbly accept with thanks the gifts that have been given to me, I get to see how important it is that I walk through these doors and take these gifts and share them with my fellows, my community, my family.

I just.


Lost my train of thought.

Trying to breathe and take it all in.

It’s a lot to take in.


Knowing, having the faith that once I started the process that I just had to continue to show up, one day at a time, one moment, giving my best in each moment, being utterly present and myself.

Life is going to happen.

But life without more student loans is also going to happen.

I am so honored.

I’m going to work so hard.

I’m still going to work for my family, of course, I just found out that I won a full ride to school, not a full ride to live in San Francisco.

I make enough working full-time at what I do to live a sweet, comfortable life, with good food in my fridge, a snick of money in my savings account for emergencies and the basics pretty well covered.

My rent and cost of living is below average in San Francisco.

I’m going to have to work, but I won’t have to work as much.

And since the family is going to only need me part-time when the boys are both in matriculation one in pre-school and the other in kindergarten; it works out that I have the right work environment to support my graduates school endeavors.

I won’t have to take out student loans, I won’t have to take out student loans, I won’t have to take out student loans.

Pardon me.

I am crying again.

I spent the day gamboling with the dog, picking blackberries, digging trenches with the boys, playing tag, swimming, it’s a nice pool I felt so happy to be in the water, I even did a few laps and I suspect that I will do a solo swim on my own at some point.

Maybe even tonight when the families get all the boys tucked in for the night.

I will definitely go outside and watch the stars and let the tears fall and though I am alone, I know I am not lonely.

I have friends.

I have family.

I have support and love and kindness immeasurable in my life.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

And I get to go to LA?


Who is this woman?

I was talking to my person earlier today as I walked through the garden, checking out if any of the produce was ready to be picked, nothing yet, but some fresh herbs and the berries and plums, which I was happy to just pop into my mouth, and I expressed that I was so astounded by my life.

And this was before I got the second scholarship news.

I saw this arc of my life, this huge parabola of experiences that I have had and marveled, utterly marveled at how I have come this far.

So far.

From being in the back of that VW Bug when I was four, running across country, with my mom and her boyfriend, my little sister and two cats (and let us not forget the large screen television set that took up half of the back seat–which was why I was in the nook between the back seat and the window, my nest of pillows bolstering my view of the passing sky) running away from an eviction, to another uncertain and tenuous beginning for my mom back in Wisconsin.

To now.

The drive up here to Sonoma, the sun, the color of the sky, the dusty grass-covered hills, the spreading oaks and my heart, so full, so open to everything.

And then this?!

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick.

I really have no words.

Even though I just wrote a 1200 word blog.


Thank you God.

Thank you friends, family, community, my fellowship, my employers, everyone.

Thank you everyone.

I wouldn’t be where I am without you.

And where I’m going isn’t worth going without you too.

I heart you to the moon and back a 1,000 times.

I love you “this big.”

I mean.



So very big.

There are no words.

Pre-Emptive Blog

June 15, 2015

I am blogging early.

I have a dinner date.


It’s freaking Sunday.

The Warriors are in the NBA finals and I have a dinner date.


I am a big pile of jello, however, I took the plunge, but not the cold plunge.

I went to Kabuki.

My employers surprised me with a gift card on Friday as I was leaving and I went to the spa today–I was treated to the “Radiance Spa.”

I do feel pretty radiant.

Although, truth be told, I’m not sure if it’s due to the spa time or the upcoming dinner time.

I’m happy.

I had a head and neck massage and hair oil treatment–seriously, the best thing ever is having my scalp rubbed, closely followed by hair brushing.  When people ask that question, what would buy with a million dollars or if you won the lottery, scalp massage, and lots of it.

I jest.

If I won the lottery.

I would pay off my student loan, and then your student loan and if you have any friends that have student loans, theirs too.

Then I would get some scalp massage.

It’s dreamy.

And she used a key lime oil.


I smell like pie.

Hope my date likes that.

Then again, what man doesn’t want his date to smell like pie?

I’m not getting quite as gussied up as I did yesterday, it’s Sunday, I can’t stay out late, but I made sure I look cute and my hair, well, Christ on a stick, it looks fantastic.

All that scalp rubbing and hair oil.

Plus I got a short shiatsu and deep tissue massage–just 25 minutes–but enough to bliss out for a while.

Then a soak in the hot tub and a salt scrub followed by the steam room.

I tried to get into the cold plunge, I usually do hit it a couple of times, but I wasn’t feeling it today.  I decided to just take a nice long shower, shave the legs (not that I am expecting any kind of action tonight, the one thing I will let on about dating said gentleman is that he is a gentleman, we talked quite earnestly about going slow) and slather lotion all over myself.

Then a relaxing cup of tea on a lounge chair while I flipped awhile through a magazine.

Spa’d up and I took a car home.

I decided to splurge there too.

I wasn’t going to ride my bicycle to Kabuki and back.

I definitely feel that I have achieved celebration status for being awarded the scholarship.

An afternoon at the spa and a second date with a very handsome and.


Not writing about that.

I have a second date with someone whom I like very much.


“You can write about me, just change my name,” he told me last night when I told him I was not going to write about him.

I explained that when it means something I don’t want to share.

So that’s it.

That’s all the share you get.

He means something.

This experience means something.

And I am excited.

Not nearly as anxious as I was yesterday before seeing him for our first date and hopefully the butterflies won’t come on too strong, but excited.

Not obsessed either.

That is nice.

My brain is not going 280 miles per hour.

It’s saying.

See what happens.

Let things unfold.

Let yourself be courted.

That’s really want I want.

I want to be courted and cherished.

I suppose everyone wants that.

I also want to provide that for the person I am with and this feels like a good fit.

Onto other news.

I checked out scooters yesterday at Scooter Centre and put down a deposit on a Buddy Italia in avocado with racing stripes.

Super cute.

Best scooter in the shop, 170, it can even go out not the highway.

I dropped five hundred for a deposit.

Filled out all the paperwork and then waited for the phone call back from the financing department.

And got my deposit refunded right back to my card.

I don’t have any credit history.

My credit score is high, but because there’s no record of me using a credit card for the last ten years I have no history of being a good or bad risk.

The company that Scooter Centre works with turned me down.

I had an inkling that may happen, so I was not upset when that turned out to be the case.

I can go to my bank and ask for a loan.

I can probably get a credit card, I get offers for them all the time.

I can not worry about getting a scooter right now and save my money.

I can keep riding my bicycle and use the money I do have towards paying for the fees and registration that I will have to cover for my school.  The scholarship I was awarded is solely tuition, but at $24,500 a year for two years, that’s nothing to sniff at.

However, a close inspection of the registration fees and the fee for the required week-long retreat at the beginning of the semester with my cohort in Petaluma at the Ions Institute, is going to cost about $2,500.

That’s nothing in comparison to the tuition, but it is something.

I am still assuming that I will have to take out some loans, just to cover cost of living, but the fewer I have to take out the better and the faster I can pay down my student loan debt, the easier it will be for me in the long run.

I mean, I’m still paying off my undergraduate degree.


I wasn’t upset and I believe something else will happen.

Maybe I don’t get a scooter.

Maybe I do.

I’m alright no matter what happens.

And I have a date in twenty minutes.

Gotta go!

See you tomorrow.

With bells on.

The Consensus

June 12, 2015

Is in.

Spa day.

That is the best suggestion I have gotten from the majority of folks that I have asked.

That and playing with kittens.

Sounds purrfect.

I’d like one day at the spa with intermittent breaks to snuggle with kittens.

Spa day to celebrate the scholarship.

I may not.

I may not (wo)man up and go to the spa, it is a big deal, in my brain at least, and I’m not sure I want to spend the money, but I do like the thought of hot baths and hot tubs and hot saunas and water.

I mean, I don’t have a bath tub at my house, it would be a nice way to celebrate.

Now where to go?

And when?

I already know that Saturday is out, I’ll be up and out of the house by 10:30a.m. doing the deal, then meeting a few folks at Tart to Tart for a couple of hours, squish in lunch, probably at Crepevine, then down town to the SOMA to meet my friend at the Scooter Centre and check out scooters.


I am not sure about the scooter.

I am loath to finance anything, I have been realizing, my bicycle works fine and maybe I just want to save those pennies a little longer.

Although my knees could probably use the break from the bicycle.

I’m probably just in fear of getting burned again on a scooter.

I’ll show up and see what there is to be seen and leave it at that.  No use fretting until I know what I am dealing with.  I am also just as afraid to walk into a deal where I am suddenly buying something vintage and I get screwed there too.

Just going to play it by ear and not worry.

This is also about fun.

Having fun.

I’ll definitely have fun later Saturday too.

Once I get back from the scootering I’ll be getting ready for the first date with the gentleman who asked me out last night, who, I must say, without saying much more I want to keep this on the down low with my blog, said one of the best things to me ever as we parted ways last night.

“Let’s not chat until Saturday, that way we’ll have things to say to each other,” he declared before rolling on down the hill.


I love that.

I don’t want to have a texting flirtation.

I want the real thing, right in front of me.

I am also enjoying the anticipation of this date.

There is something here that I am excited to explore.

Enough said there.

But I don’t see squeezing in a spa date on Saturday, unless said date has sauna, hot tub, and massage table at his house (and then, well, all bets off) and maybe someone to wash my hair as that is the ultimate luxury.


Now there’s an idea.

I could get a blow out.

That is definitely not something I ever splurge on.

I get my hair blown out once, maybe twice a year.

I don’t wear it straight and I love my curls, but that’s a thought.


I don’t think I’ll be asking my date to provide me spa services.

At least not on the first date.

I keep going back to Kabuki and I keep balking.

Maybe I just go buy a dress.

Or some flowers.

I don’t have to get crazy.

I don’t always know how to do these things, it’s like the manual was left in the dashboard and the vehicle’s been sent to the dump for scrap.

I’m sure the thing will come to me and I will happily celebrate.

I am happy.

That is to be sure.

My life doesn’t look that much different from it did before I got the e-mail with the news, but it’s been radically altered and I know it, the gift is huge and accepting it is a big deal.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I keep saying it when it strikes me, all these things, all this love, I am so lucky, I get stand here with my arms open and receive and allow myself to be seen and this is who I am, pink hair and tattoos and all.

And it’s all good.

About a month ago a dear friend of mine took me out to tea and we talked about graduate school and whether this was really the program that I wanted to be in and what was I going to do when I got out, would I be able to turn around and find gainful employment, would I be able to handle the debt load of my student loans.

$90,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

But I knew I was on the right track and here is the confirmation.

Two years of tuition being paid for.

Thank you.

I still have lots of work to do, but it seems unfathomable and I will allow myself to feel all the feels around this, it’s a big deal, I deserve to acknowledge it, I deserve to be happy about it, and ah.


I just had a thought.

I’m going Burning Man shopping.

That is what I want to do to celebrate.

There are always a few things that I lust after each year and why not indulge one of those items.

A new dress.

A fun pair of tights.

Perhaps a shoulder holster.

A trip to Haight Street and some hat shopping at Goorin Brothers for a new fedora perhaps.

I keep trying to think of something that I have always wanted to do and haven’t yet done, but the fact is, I do a lot of things, so it doesn’t have to be extra outside the box.

Maybe I just go down to the beach and sit and watch the sunset this weekend and let the waves wash away the sounds in m brain, ah, that is a good idea.

I could go down to the beach and do a bon fire.

That is celebratory and I have not done a beach bonfire since I moved out here to the Outer Sunset, I should rectify that.

And what better reason than this?

I think I have a winner.

Bonfire, Ocean Beach.

Let the celebration begin.

Now, if I can only arrange to have some kittens there to snuggle with.


June 11, 2015

Damn it man.

I am just not good at celebrating, but as the news sinks in and I have been sharing with those about me, I feel the urge to take said suggestion and enjoy the moment.

I haven’t had many moments quite as momentous in my life.

I was writing this morning and I realized that there is a person to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for that has no idea about what has happened–I only connect with him when I see him at Burning Man–and that I can’t wait to tell him and give him a hug and say thank you for telling me to get my ass to graduate school.

“You’re a child psychologist being paid baby sitter wages, what are you going to do about it?  Do you have an undergrad degree?  Go to grad school.”

I was excited at the prospect of rolling up to his camp and hollering, “Daddy Don?!” and then telling him that I took his suggestion and I applied to graduate school and I got in!


Well, now I’m going to tell him and say, oh yeah, I also got a full ride for my first two years in school.

It is still boggling the mind.

I mean serious boggle action happening here.

I can’t fathom it really, it doesn’t make sense.

But then it does.

When I am honest and have humility, it makes sense.

Humility is being exactly who I am and accepting it, both the good and the bad.

I am awful good at knowing my faults and blowing them up to massive proportion and making myself feel rotten, the constant search for self-improvement over the sustainable and life supporting way of self-acceptance.

I am great at the flagellation necessary to be a perfectionist.

But I am not always good at receiving praise or gifts or nice things.

I have gotten better.

I really have.

I was just thinking about these two families I used to work for, I often think of them, especially since I’ll be on playa with one of them this burn, which is less than three months away!  And I remember reading the letters of recommendation that the mom’s wrote for me when I was looking for work with new families.

Those letters blew me away.

Who is this person they are writing about?

I knew it was me, but I had a hard time accepting the compliments and the honest appraisal of who I am and the job I do.

I grew up believing that I was not good enough, there was nothing I could do and that I would never be good enough, not for a man, no amount of academic success would sustain me, that the awards and trophy’s and the hard work, that it essentially meant nothing.

And yet.

I kept trying and doing and pushing.

I still keep pushing.

I expect to continue to keep pushing.

I am good at that.

But to rest.

To stop, smell the success, see it for what it is, a gift, but also one that I have worked very, very, very hard for, to recognize the accomplishment and to acknowledge that the people in charge, the ones awarding the scholarship know what they are doing and that I do deserve it.


I have been told to celebrate.

I was given a few suggestions for one person who knows very well I won’t be celebrating by having my cake and eating it too.

“Spa, massage, trip to Harbin,” she suggested to me.

I immediately thought of Osento, oh how I miss you, then remembered, for the umpteenth time that it doesn’t exist any more.

Then I thought, Kabuki would be nice, it’s been awhile.

I always do the same thing though, I think, man Kabuki, that would be great, but then I don’t want to ride my bike there and back.

Maybe I take a car and splurge?

And a secret.

Despite having been given this large gift of money (not cash, not a check, there won’t be any money being deposited to my account, rather, my tuition bill will be paid at the beginning of each of my semesters for the first two years of school, it’s a three-year program, but I’ll cross the third year’s tuition when I get there) I am loathe, almost afraid, to spend any money on said celebration.

Which is silly.

Then again, I do know that I am saving my pennies for Atlanta and there’s also the distinct possibility that I may try to finance a scooter in my near future, so I want to continue being frugal.

But I can have some celebration.

I can kick up my heels a bit.

I can dance and holler and whoop.

I did a little of that this evening.

I was celebrating but I also felt capricious and silly and goofy and joyous and well, I had just gotten asked out on a date by someone I am attracted too, so, uh.


Celebrating by being taken out to dinner by cute guy in the neighborhood works for me too.

We had a moment when we saw each other tonight and he complimented my hair and my glasses and I thought, I should say something, but I was a little shy.

At same time, it turns out, he’s asking mutual friend if I’m single (to which he’s told, I’m dating someone!  Hello, really?  Despite sharing about break up with ex boyfriend to same group of people I appear to be in a long-term relationship?  Uh no!  But then, I thought, huh, that’s kind of compliment, I’m happy and people assume when a woman is happy she’s shacked up) about the same time as I am wondering if I should say something to him.


I actually do say something, I share a funny story and tell about the guy on Facebook who I thought was him, but turned out not to be and how I got stood up for the date.

And then, he tells me a funny story, how he’s just asked his friend if I’m available, only to be told that I’m dating someone.

We both burst out laughing.

He looks at me, “so, you’re single?”

“Yup,” I replied.

“Would you go on a date with me?” He asks.

“Yes,” I replied.

We’re both so giddy and laughing we hug, then high-five and that officially marks the first time I have high-five a guy for asking me out.

Numbers are exchanged and plans made and we’re having dinner at Thai Cottage Saturday at 7p.m.


That sounds like celebrating to me.

I suspect I may need to do something else to fulfill the suggestion and I am wiling to do so.

I deserve to take a moment.

I show up.

I do the work.

I can show up for the rewards as well.

I can.

I promise.

I will.



June 10, 2015

Ad infinitum.

At least I’m not crying anymore.

There were a few moments today when my brain sort of went bat shit crazy hay wired, “does not compute, does not compute, does not compute.”

I put my phone down on the kitchen table at work, face down, I couldn’t look at the message again.

Did I just read what I read?

What did it say?

I had tears streaming down my face.

I tried to stop.

Pause, take a bite of my lunch, I’ve only got so many minutes before quiet time is up and the oldest comes back from his doctor appointment and the mound of Lego’s still needs to be cleaned up.



Did I read that right?



Take it from the top.

I flipped over my phone and read it again.

Dear Carmen,

Congratulations! The Scholarship Team is pleased to inform you that you have been selected as a recipient of the CIIS Opportunity Scholarship beginning in the Fall 2015 Semester and ending in the Spring 2017

The CIIS Opportunity Scholarship is a tuition-only award. At the beginning of each semester, your tuition account will be credited. Any additional fees (including registration fees) are not covered by the scholarship. Please read the contract below for rules and regulations.

Opportunity scholarships are made possible by the generous gifts from various foundations and/or donors.  As a future follow-up, you may be contacted by our Development Office regarding which of these foundations and/or donors funded your scholarship. 

Again, congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you success in your academic endeavors.

Warmest regards,

I Chen

Director of Financial Aid

Financial Aid Office

I got the scholarship!

I got the scholarship!

I got the scholarship!


What the hell?

I re-read the e-mail, yes, it’s addressed to me, yes, that’s my name, but that’s not the scholarship I was directed to send in another essay to.

In fact.

Fuck me.

It’s better.

The scholarship I applied to was for the Diversity in Leadership Award.

Nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, one full year of tuition–i.e. two semesters–of school paid for.

This is different.

This is a scholarship of Opportunity.

Holy shit.

And it’s for two years, not one.

That’s four semesters of school that just got paid for.

Holy mother of God.

I just got two years paid for.

Two years.

“How are you going to pay for the third year, eh?” My deviant brain asked in a moment of blank when I was sitting in the chair in the kitchen, trying to divide my attention between the baby monitor, the clock on the wall, and my lunch which was rapidly cooling off.


Shaddup brain.

Bask for one fucking moment, can you please?

Crying is basking right?

I don’t know that it has really sunk in yet.

I mean, there’s a part of me that is still in awe that I am going to graduate school at all, that I got in, that they want me, that not only do they want me, they are willing to pay for me to go to school.

There will still be costs, I still have to pay registration fees, but you know, I can handle the $300 deposit fee I had to pay when I accepted placement into the program.

Seems a fair deal considering that a semester for the Master’s in Psychology program at CIIS is $1,018 per credit.  At twelve credits a semester, that’s a bit over $24,000.

Um yeah.

Oh my God.

I actually don’t know the exact bill for tuition.

It’s a little confusing, there’s a lot of numbers in teeny tiny print on the website page for tuition and fees.

I do get that the scholarship is only for tuition, it doesn’t cover additional fees, which it looks like I can see right from the website is going to be about another $1500 or so.


I’ll take it.

What it appears to me is that I just was gifted approximately $50,000 in tuition.

That means $50,000 I won’t have to pay back to student loans.

I still expect that I will have to take out a few loans here and there.

I am still living in San Francisco, I don’t suspect that the cost of living is about to go down any time soon, despite warnings of pending tech bubble bursting (I don’t really believe it, although I am not sure the city can withstand any more increasing rent hikes, I’m seeing too many people I care about and love get priced right out of living in San Francisco), I doubt that it’s going to cost any less than it does now to live in San Francisco.

I live a good life.

It’s not ostentatious.

I don’t own much.

What I have is enough and I am happy and grateful for it.

In spades.

But working full-time now, making what I make now, I am living at just the threshold of getting by.

I’m not paycheck to paycheck.

But I am every other paycheck to paycheck.

And if I want something, travel, a scooter, a new laptop, I have to save the money, I have to crunch my numbers and I must have a spending plan.

I get by, I do ok, but I don’t see not taking out some additional loan money.

I won’t be working full-time for the family, I already have thought about what I could do to pick up extra hours here and there to make sure that I get things covered, but I wasn’t expecting the discussion that happened when I brought the boys back from the park.

The mom wanted to know if they should be concerned, if I was going to want to cut back my hours since I got the scholarship.



Not at all, didn’t once cross my mind.

My biggest wish is to get through all three years of graduate school without having to take out any student loans.

Fuck man.

I’m still paying on my undergraduate degree thirteen years later.

Less debt is better.

And my student loan debt is the only debt I have.


I’m not going to be stupid, I will accept money for school, I don’t want to work full-time, I’m going to be busy with full-time graduate school work, doing the deal, and hopefully writing a blog or two once in a while.

I will not kill myself.

And enough with all that.

I am not here to be anxious.

I am not here to worry about the rug being pulled out from underneath me or not having enough.

I have enough.

I am enough.

I got two years of graduate school tuition paid for.

I think I done alright.


I’m going to grad school.

Jesus God.

I’m blown away.

I really am.

Thank you and you and you and definitely you over there for all your support and love and congratulations and sweet words, I did not do this alone.

I had a lot of help and I am so grateful for it.

So grateful.

I don’t have words.

Despite this rambling blog.

Now, excuse me, I need to go read that e-mail again.

You laugh until you cry/you cry until you laugh

                                          Then you take that love you make/and stick it into someone else’s heart

I Don’t Know What To Write

May 19, 2015

I mean.

I do.

I always have something to write about here.


Not enough sex.


Not dating.

Breaking up.

Being single.



Burning Man.

My bicycle.

Rent in San Francisco.


I mean.

I have a lot to write about, not including what ever peccadillo is under my hat at the moment.

“You have a really interesting life!” A friend of mine exclaimed to me tonight, “you do so much.”

I don’t even think about it, is my life all that more interesting than any one else’s or is it that I just write about it well, or is it interesting?

Or perhaps a little mix of both.

I mean I feel like, as another friend in the neighborhood expressed to me once, “you can be all dramatic about buying a loaf of bread at the store….and then the bread, it was AMAZING, and I had this insight and wow, bread.”

I told him to fuck off and punched him in the arm.


He’s right.

I can write a hell of a story about nothing at all, it seems.


The title of my blog has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I have nothing to write about.

Plenty happened today.

I worked, I played, I got some recovery, I rode my bicycle, I ate some nice food, I went to BiRite and bought some nice food, I made a beef stew for the family I work for, I played with the boys, I went to the park, 826 Valencia (the only independent pirate supply store in San Francisco, thank you very much) and viewed the fish and dug for treasure in sand drum, I saw a friend and caught up and browsed through all the goodies at Paxton Gate, I finished up at work, covered my commitment, rode my bicycle home, took some time to read a message I got in my e-mail, refused to dwell on it–what am I going to write–took care of some business end of things and took a shower.

Now I am here.

Writing my blog and wondering what am I going to write.

Because it means a lot.

I mean.


Like $30,000.

I don’t know that I have ever had so much hinge on an essay.

Congratulations on your acceptance to the ICP Fall 2015 ICP program!

I’d like to invite you to apply for the ICP Diversity Leadership Scholarship that will be awarded to three eligible students in the Fall 2015 ICP program. This scholarship provides recipients with $10,000.00 each year of the program, a total of $30,000.00 awarded over the course of your ICP education.

The scholarship hinges on three things: financial need, person of color (Latino/Hawaiian Islander or Pacific Islander, check and check), and demonstrates leadership within their community.

I have the financial need.

They received my FAFSA although at first it appeared that they, the school had not, I received a previous e-mail prior to this one asking that I send in my FAFSA post-haste as I was being considered for the scholarship.



I sent that sucker in months ago!

I messaged back a few times with my advisor who forwarded my information to the financial aid office and they found it.

Thank you Jeebus.

And despite not speaking a lick of Spanish, I am Puerto Rican and despite not speaking a lick of Hawaiian, I am Polynesian.

The name, hello my name is Carmen Regina Martines, you drank my milk, prepare to die, says it all.


The diversity part is covered and it’s helpful that I am a woman, I mean, it’s not always an advantage to be a woman (though I stridently disagree and could imagine nothing better, I truly love being a woman and I think men have it a lot harder, emotionally anyway, than women do in the areas I find most important–you know all the touchy feely things), but in this case it adds to the cache of my name.

What is tripping me up is the last part.

Demonstrates leadership in community and will continue to do so upon graduation. 

I mean.

I know what that contribution is and I have been contributing to my fellowship for over a decade now and I intend to continue to do so after I graduate and while I am in school and I can’t do school, or anything else in my life that is worthwhile unless I continue to keep giving away what I have been so freely given.

But how the hell to write about that?

I think it’s the “leadership” thing.

I am not a leader in so much as a mentor, a teacher, a person who leads by example, share’s her experience, strength, and hope with another woman and I do loads of service.


I do loads of service to stay sober.





But I don’t head anything up.

Nobody relies on me that way.

If I did something stupid, God please never no, but if I did, there would be someone else to pass the basket and put the money in an envelope, there would be someone else to unlock the doors to the church or start the coffee urn percolating.

There would be someone to unfold the chairs and put out the literature and hug the new person hiding out in the corner.

I cannot put on the title of leader.

I do, however, know that I am important in my community and that I am loved and I feel needed and seen and I want to continue helping and being of service and a part of that is having experiences, sharing them with others, letting people see that I walk through the fear and get to the other side and it’s gorgeous here and you deserve to be here, so come on, let’s go get rocketed into the fourth dimension.

Let’s trudge that happy road of destiny.


I listened to a message when I got home from the commitment before I hopped into the shower; the e-mail taking a back burner–to bear witness to a ladybug and a big interview she had today and how she let things happen and asked to be of service and to let God speak through her and for her.

And there it was.

My answer.

I don’t know how to write about what I am in my community.

I don’t see myself with clear perspective.

But if I can get out-of-the-way and carry the message, not the mess (myself), and write with being of service in mind.


I might have something.

And it might very well help me pay for school.

If it’s God’s will.

I just take the action and let go of the results.

Pretty simple.

I don’t know what to write.


I do know.

The words will come.

They always do.

Brain Exploding

April 5, 2015

I just got sucked into the vortex of online scholarship applications.

I managed to apply for two.

Not bad out of the thousand it seems I am qualified for.

I did the easiest ones too.

I had to set up a profile and wade through some gunk, but I used the site that CIIS recommended when I went to the open house and sat through the informative talk with the financial aid advisor there.

I tried to access my online financial aid account on the schools website today and no dice, nothing’s been posted yet.

Then I recalled that I did have that scholarship webpage saved in my phone and one thing led to another and I’m not sure but I think I was on the site for an hour.

My brain is mush.

Sometimes being online actually seems to make me stupid.

I didn’t want to go online at all today.

I felt that I needed a break after the getting of the new computer, the trying to transfer information and the just general malaise that spending too much time on the inter webs can do to me.

The internet, social media, et al, sometimes I feel, fosters a sense of dislocation within my person.

I’m connected, but I’m not really connected.

Yes, I ‘liked’ you or your status or your photo, geez, I may have even gone so far as to post a comment on your pretty picture; but did I talk to you?


Did talk to a whole lot of people today?


I did some.

I wasn’t completely isolated.

I got up, did my morning deal and headed up to the Inner Sunset on my bicycle, a fast, quick, and relatively brisk ride–the temperatures dropped today and the wind was kicky.

I sat for my hour, shared my share, did my thing, said some how are you’s, accepted and gave a hug, then went to meet my person at Tart to Tart.

Where I got to do some reading and some checking in and see that I am still a crazy lady, even with solution under my belt, sometimes the crazy just comes by and whacks me on my ass.

I was given some instructions and some suggestions and believe you me, I took them.

Then I did a little eating out and a little shopping.

My eating out was uninspired, let me tell you, and after all the foo foo haha in my head and my little world over my diet and nutrients and what I am getting and not getting enough of, if I spend the money to eat out it better be better than this was.

I went to the Crepevine and I have to say the increase in price and the decrease in portion was not cool, or that instead of salad (I don’t eat the potatoes or the toast there) I requested with my scramble, I got some sad wilted looking lettuce leaves with no dressing on them.  I was almost tempted to hand back the plate, second time in recent history with them that my food has been so lack luster.

But hunger got the best of me and I ate.

But made a large note to self, in the future go around the corner to Park Chow or Pacific Catch, spend a tiny bit more and enjoy your food.

That has been the major uptake for me in all this dietary stuff.

I really do want to enjoy every bit I put in my mouth, especially since I am restricted by my health needs to certain foods and avoidance of others.

With that in mind I did my afternoon grocery shopping.

But not before I did my afternoon book shopping.


Thank you so much Green Apple Books for opening a store in the Inner Sunset.

That was my one beef with the neighborhood when I moved out to the Sunset, no good bookstores.

I am not sure how much time I spent browsing through the racks, but it was good and I got a new book, Funny Girl, by Nick Hornby (About a Boy) and when I did get back from the grocery shopping I sat down and read a good fair bit of it.

I was going to do more shopping, clothes, thrifting, shoes, but I just didn’t have it in me.

The weather turned cooler and the wind picked up more and I found myself just wanting to get back to my little space by the sea.

I did manage a quick run to the grocery store, but even then it was truncated.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like shopping, even grocery shopping can become overwhelming.

But since I had such a lack luster lunch I wanted to have a really nice dinner.

I treated myself, before finding out my cholesterol was high, to a steak from Whole Foods earlier this week, and despite my doctor’s admonishment to cut back on meat products, I ate that steak right up.

I’m anemic too and I figure the anemia needs addressing first and foremost.

I’ve been doubling my iron supplement and eating kale like it’s going out of style.

The cholesterol I suspect is hereditary and as such, I’m not too worried about it, I do eat so very well and I don’t eat a lot of meat or animal products, I don’t drink milk, I don’t eat butter, I don’t have cheese, except some low-fat string cheese, I eat a boiled egg a day in the morning for some protein, really, I do have a great diet.

Tonight though, as I said, a little splurge, a nice piece of steak, rare, rare, rare, some seared brussels sprouts (in olive oil, mind you) and sautéed brown mushrooms with garlic, a small salad of heirloom tomato and avocado, and a little bit of brown rice.

Happy tummy.

Helped me get through the scholarship applications.

I will, I am sure do more, but I just petered out and when I realized how long I been in the hole of internet browsing and clicking and nodding out, I had to pull back and stop.

I made some tea, I am decided to get to my blog a little early and I will probably watch a little video and relax the rest of the night.

It’s a mellow Saturday and I’m ok with that.

I don’t have to be non-stop go all the time.

I won’t have any energy left to apply for tuition money then.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

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