Posts Tagged ‘service industry’

Rendered Speechless

December 27, 2018

I don’t often look at old photographs.

I just did.

Work photos from over sixteen years ago.

Longer, perhaps, though not much more than eighteen years, I’ve been in San Francisco for sixteen, so they have to be at least that old.

There’s a private Facebook page with photographs of a place I used to run for six years.

1996-2002 I was the Floor Manager at the Angelic Brewing Company in Madison, Wisconsin.

A lot of the photographs are ones that I took myself.

Although I don’t have the album that they are located in.

I used to take a lot of staff photos.

Before Facebook and camera phones.

I kept a photo album in the office and I would put it out during big staff events.

Most usually the annual holiday party that I was in charge of organizing and running.

We got silly.

I remember one year I bought a bunch of disposable cameras.

Oh the pictures on those cameras.

Many stories.

I was rendered speechless though when I saw a photograph of myself that may have been at my heaviest weight when I was working there.

I don’t actually know what I weighed.

I didn’t like to use the scale.

But I do know that the shirt I was wearing was a size 26.

I now wear a size eleven.

So much has changed.

I just sat on my couch before logging onto my computer and I had an abstinent meal.

Abstinent for me means no flour (of any kind–almond, oat, coconut, corn, wheat, etc) and no sugar.

I do eat fruit, so I get sugar that way, though I tend to not eat fruit with my dinner.

I will.

Just not always.

Fruit is a sort of desert for me.

For dinner tonight I had about a 1/2 c of sautéed broccoli with a cup of brown rice and a roasted chicken leg and thigh.

I had some bubbly water and I listened to jazz.

When I think about the way I ate when I ran the Angelic.

Oh my God.

Freaks me out a little.

Sort of like how the picture did.

I almost want to post it here but I’m not actually sure how to do that and I am also not really sure I want to post it anyway.

I am grateful though for the changes I have gone through and for the good reminder that although my body doesn’t look the exact way I want it to, it looks a hell of a lot better than it did.

I mean.

I used to have a double chin.

I haven’t had a double chin in a long ass time and I am hella grateful for that.

The amazing thing about the photo is that I’m doing the splits on the bar.

I was a lot more limber then than I am now.

I was also studying to get my black belt in Kung Fu.

That also blows my mind, that I got a black belt at the weight I was.

I wonder sometime what it would have been like if I had lost the weight sooner.

But really that doesn’t do me much good to think about that, it’s just fantasy and speculation.

I also had to have some recovery under my belt before I could get abstinent, recovery, therapy, self-care.

A lot of that.

Self-love.

I am really quite proud of myself when I see how very far I have come.

All things considered.

I shouldn’t be where I am at today.

I am very, very, very grateful.

I’m also grateful to have gotten through Christmas.

Three gay boys, two movies, and one sushi dinner.

It was an official San Francisco Christmas.

Matinee at the Kabuki, hanging out in the Castro, then the Metreon in the evening.

I am grateful too for the people I spent time with.

I am grateful for San Francisco being my home.

I am grateful for all the lovely gifts I was given.

The biggest one, always does seem to be perspective.

That’s why the photo hit me so hard.

Just how far I have come.

I’m 46 now.

I look so much better at 46 than I did at 26.

I may have been a little older in the photo, but my weight would have been about the same.

It got bad there for a bit.

But then I think, I needed to be the way I was, to feel safe.  I ate to feel safe in a body that was not a safe place to inhabit.

I ate because I had been hurt.

I did not want to hurt anymore.

I also ate because it was a compulsion.

There were times when I would find myself in the dark raiding the desert fridge at work– shoving an entire piece of Irish Cream pie into my mouth, one, two, three pieces in under five minutes.

I hated it and I couldn’t stop it.

I also didn’t realize that once I put sugar into my body it was sort of on.

Sugar is just as addictive as many narcotics.

Sugar activates the same place in the brain that cocaine does.

I loved cocaine.

And before I had cocaine.

I had sugar.

I had a lot of it.

God.

Just thinking about how much soda I drank too.

Ugh.

I mean.

I worked in the service industry for two decades.

I did not drink diet soda ever, I scoffed at it.

I drank straight up Coca Cola.

I drank vats of it.

When you work in the service industry you usually get free soda.

And because I was in management, I got free meals.

French fries dipped in sour cream.

Fried fish sandwiches with buckets of tartar sauce.

Pasta with chicken and mushrooms and cream sauce and parmesan and bread sticks.

OH bread sticks.

Idaho nachos–cottage fries instead of corn chips–with heaps of cheese and chicken and black beans and guacamole and sour cream.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Beer cheese soup.

And it was a brewery, so yes, lots of beer too, many, many, many pints.

Ex-employees used to joke about how they would lose the “Angelic 20” when they stopped working there since they weren’t always drinking the beer.

Which was not light in any sense of the word.

Oh.

How things have changed.

For the better.

I might have a nostalgic moment once in a great while for something.

But not ever looking like that picture again?

That will kill any craving I might have.

Fact is.

I don’t crave food, when you don’t have it in your system, the urge goes away.

Hella grateful for that too.

So here’s to not having to make New Years resolutions.

I am resolved every day.

I am happy.

Joyous.

Abstinent.

And.

Motherfucking.

Free.

 

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Giddy Like A School Girl

October 8, 2015

It’s how he makes me feel.

Then I laughed to myself, as I shut the gate to the house, catching one last glimpse of him as he sauntered down the street.

I am a schoolgirl.

Ha.

And like a good school girl I am here writing.

Yeah.

I know, this is not home work.

But I do my best work when I am able to also do this, this sitting, this coming to the page, this writing it all out, all down, falling down that dirty little hole of word lust and wanderlust and rumpled and tossed on my bed kissed with heat and desire and shake it off girl, you got papers to write.

I do have papers to write.

But I still have reading to do.

So.

The reading runs a pace.

I got in more today and I am happy to announce I have a plan.

(God laughs at my plans)

I will read as much as I can and then outline my paper on Saturday afternoon, writing it in the afternoon completely on Sunday.

I have a few ladybugs that I am meeting with, then doing the paper writing deal.

My week is actually pretty damn full up.

When isn’t it?

Tomorrow I meet with my person after work at Church St. Cafe.

Friday I meet with a ladybug at the same cafe, again after work.

Saturday I meet with another one of my people.

Yeah.

Like that.

It takes a village to keep me straight, as in not bent.

Then.

A speaking engagement at 7th and Irving.

After.

I will treat myself to my small indulgence and go out to a solo lady lunch and then go to my mani/pedi/waxing spot and get my girl on.

Why?

Because I like to pamper myself and this is one of the few things I allow myself, once a month I get the full deal and it’s so nice.

I would actually be getting my nails done more frequently, but between juggling work and school, well, I just don’t have the time.

I looked at my nails today and cringed, it’s been too long, but, it’s going to wait until Saturday, there just is no time otherwise.

After I do the girl’ing out, back to my house, a shower, a shave, shake out my hair, curl it up (like I have anything to do with that, it will just do it all on its own) pull out a crinoline and put on a pretty dress.

I gots a date.

Super stoked to be going to a restaurant I have never been to and heard lots of good things about.

Range in the Mission.

In fact, the dad who I work for, it’s his favorite restaurant.

The mom’s is Michael Minna’s.

I have never been to either, although, ha, I have known people who have worked in both places.

Even after a decade of being out of the service industry (I was in it for 21 years) I still know lots of people in it.

I like this dating thing.

I am having fun.

The going slow is good too.

Although, on one hand there is no going slow.

The intimacy, emotional, has been deep and intense and also relaxed and easy.

I’m not going anywhere.

I’m in school, giddy like a school girl, remember, for the next three years.

I was working this morning on my three pages of journal writing, my morning pages, and acknowledging the slight bit of anxiety about getting my Human Development paper done and getting my date on and doing the deal with the ladies, I’m meeting with three of them this weekend plus my two people–it’s like having another job, of course the most important job when it gets right down to it as it allows me to do everything else that there is to do, and I do mean everything–but I know it will happen.

I just have to sit down and do it.

I am also working on the sonnets for the Burning Man collaboration with an artist I met at the burn and I am happy, nay, excited, thrilled, over the moon, that they are going well, they make me tingle when I am writing them and I had to put them down today after I wrote the fourth one in full.

I actually spoke to myself out loud.

“Ok, now, read, put down the poetry, Martines, pick up your reader.”

And I did.

I read for a while before getting on my bicycle and going to work.

Work.

Adventures in nannying.

Adventures in asking for what I need.

I am taking a day off in November to go over to Corte Madera and do a little speaking engagement that I was asked to do before I had started school or even headed off to Burning Man.

I realized when I asked for the day, that I obviously couldn’t take it as a sick day, but the family and I haven’t sussed out whether or not I get vacation days or pay or time off or sick days or, shit, a lot of things have yet to be discussed.

So.

I must to send them an e-mail tonight requesting it off officially, so they have a reminder and I need to ask for clarity.

Such a small thing.

I thought I would feel some anxiety, but I don’t.

I just need to clear it up so that I don’t have it on my head running around in circles, just being present is the hardest thing to be and it is an absolute must when I am nannying.

Being completely present for the boys and for myself.

Knowing how I best can take care of myself is a part of that.

Knowing that I can balance it all out is good to know too.

I am.

I will continue to do so.

Moment to moment.

Taking a minute.

Once in a while.

To get giddy like the proverbial girl and let my hormones, just for a minute, tumble me about.

Then back to the grind.

Back to the books.

Back to the page.

And.

Back to work.

There’s always something to do.

Grateful.

Grateful for it all.

At the end of the day.

I am happy.

I am happy today.

No regrets.

No cause for worry.

Not in my wonderful.

Full.

Loved.

Creative.

Poetic.

Enchanted.

School girl life.

You Can Have Easy Does It

July 9, 2014

Or.

You can have easy does it, the hard way.

I have had a few friends admonish me, in sweet, loving ways, to go slow and ease back into work and to really let myself be ok with just hanging out at the house and be relaxed with the boys.

Of course I said, yes, I hear you.

And of course I will.

Then I get to work and all I want to do is leave.

The house where my primary nanny share is at is under construction, a big huge project that will be amazing once finished, but is no where near yet, in which the attic is being ripped out and replaced with a great big floor plan.

There are sky lights and a new dormer window and it’s going to be awesome, but right now it’s just awesome loud.

And despite the workers all being rather sweet and super affectionate with the boys, how could they not, they are the boys, it’s a hard juggling act at times.

One which would be a challenge without being hobbled by my ankle.

The front door is constantly opening and closing and today, I don’t know why, but my phone was ringing off the hook, I got more calls than I think I get in a week.

My texts were coming in fast and furious from a number of sources, three parental, thus from my three families, and a grouping of others that I was trying to schedule.

Friends checking in.

Just a cacophony of things happening.

A bed being delivered.

And two little boys.

I had to get them out of the house.

Had to.

Except.

WELL FUCK.

The double stroller got stuck between two parked vehicles in the garage and I could not get it out, I mean now way, no how.

Maybe if I had not the hobbled ankle I could have brought it up the back steps through the garage, out the back yard, up the steps to the kitchen and then through the house and out the front door and down the steps to the side-walk.

But uh.

No.

I found myself in tears trying to figure out how to manipulate the situation.

And there was no way around it.

None.

I did manage to get out.

I just had one of the boys walk and I had the other ride in the solo seated stroller that I could just barely squeeze out the garage door.

I was forced to slow down.

I was forced to not go too far.

There is only a certain distance two-year old legs can go before they are tired and need to stop.  We made many little pit stops on the way to the park in the Pan Handle–Kids Kingdom–had little snack breaks and sang songs and walked really, really, really slow.

We looked both ways when crossing the street, waving cars on by, as I still am not that perambulatory, although I noticed I feel better getting about today by a great deal more than I did yesterday.

I did have the thought, on the way back, when I was feeling the ankle’s presence a little more and starting to fret about how I was going to manage nap time at the noisy house (when I have the double stroller available I can have the boys nap out in it and figured that was what I was going to do with all the construction noise at the house–air compressors, nail guns, saws, hammering, you name it) that I was going to need to go into another career soon.

I recalled when I had returned from my hiatus at Absinthe where I waited tables oh, about nine years ago, and I was not fully recuperated, but had been cleared for work and upon return was in the galley folding linen napkins and caressing my still quite sore back and thinking, I just can’t do this any longer.

I just can’t.

It’s too hard on my body, I have been in the service industry for too long (age 13-33), and I did not want to be serving alcohol any longer, having gotten sober just a few months prior.

I started working there with 19 days sober.

At a restaurant called Absinthe of all things.

It was actually a really great job and I did well, I am a people person, and I was a great server and I did well in all aspects of the service industry when I was present to do my job.

But I was done.

That day in the lower kitchen folding the crisp, thick napkins, I was just done.

I remember praying hard and after my shift happened to see I had a message on my phone which I had not noticed prior to starting, but it must have been there.

It was a message for an interview with San Francisco Veterinary Specialists.

I had applied months back and never got a call back.

And then, that day, when I said, no more of this, I got the call.

I got the job too.

Though it in the end, turned out to not be the call for me.

But it got me out of the service industry and I have not gone back to it.

The thought was similar to that experience as I was walking up Cole Street to get to the house, navigate back through the construction, make the boys lunch, eat something myself, and figure out naps.

I am done with this?

Can I keep going on?

What am I doing with my life?

Ugh.

I can’t figure that out, not now, not ever, this is just what I am doing now and just do the next thing in front of you.

I took small little actions and got the boys lunch and myself lunch and made tea and kept them both up about a half hour past nap time.

Then I snuggled them into the double stroller and pushed it back and forth in place while they settled down and voila!

Nap time happened.

They slept through it all!

The sawing, hammering, air compressor noise, the up and down of the workers on the stairs, all of it.

The youngest slept his typical shorter nap, but it was still an hour and ten minutes and the oldest boy slept for three hours and fifteen minutes!

I made tea, elevated my ankle, returned texts and phone calls, talked to my mom who just had a knee replacement done this morning and forgot about trying to figure out a new career to move into.

I was just grateful to be at work.

Period.

I will take this feeling with me tomorrow and though I will try to make sure that I have access to the double stroller, I won’t try to force anything.

When change happens for me, it can be natural, organic, and right.

I don’t have to force a solution.

I don’t have to figure it out.

Figure it out is not a slogan that has ever worked for me.

Easy does it is.


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