Posts Tagged ‘sweetness’

Bear Witness To

August 20, 2018

That’s what got me today.

Not the music.

No.

I was careful about my music choices people, I’m learning.

But the wanting to share something with you today.

I wanted so much to pick up the phone and talk and tell you how my day has been, how my week as been, how I feel overwhelmed and that I can’t do it and then you would tell me I could.

I was going through my private practice folder, trying to figure out some things and I touched the leather of the binder and I suddenly lost it.

I remember standing outside the restaurant after brunch when we were on vacation and looking at these soft, supple leather folders and purses and bags, gorgeous hand-made, hand tooled, beautiful pieces.

I bought a bag for files and a folder for my legal pad and I was so happy, over the moon, to be there walking through the city with you, the sun shone down, and yes, there was some sadness that day too, we had some talks, but there was the etherealness to it to.

I remember how you always offered me bites of your food, how you know me so well and in my abstinence you always took care to be kind about my food choices, well, maybe you teased me a little, but you were so sweet.

I was struck by how, later in the day after much walking, you grabbed a hotdog from a street vendor and had a couple of bites, then you ripped off the bun from the un-eaten end, and offered it to me for a bite too.

All the small, sweet, considerate gestures that do me in.

But it was that folder today.

I cried out loud.

I wanted to tell you about what has been going on, how things are moving forward, that I have an office to sub-lease, that I have rent to pay, that I have things happening, that I printed off another syllabus and read from one of my new books, that I had struggled today to not be anxious about all the things unfolding.

When I picked up the folder I realized that you were no longer here to witness me, to tell me how proud you were of me.

I know logically that I don’t need someone to pat me on the back and say, hey you’re doing a great job, I can do that for myself, most of the time, but it just struck me hard, I wanted to tell you and I can’t.

All the things I want to tell you.

I wrote you another letter today.

I told you a little fantasy I had.

I wished for you happiness and joy and kindness, sweetness, and grace.

I pray for you every day and every night and I pray to make it through to the next thing that I have to do.

I have a lot of things to do.

I did get a lot accomplished today and I am proud of myself for doing as much as I did.

I cooked.

I roasted a chicken and I made a turkey and vegetable stew with brown rice.

I cleaned my house.

Aside.

Man oh man, put a syllabus in front of me with homework on it and watch my house suddenly become sparkling clean.

I mean, I cleaned my house.

I have even started tackling some things like cleaning out the freezer, I figure I won’t be here much longer and if I tackle small bits of a big job they will get done eventually and not all pile up on me right as I’m making my move.

Second aside.

I have a place I am going to see on Wednesday.

I know, I said I was waiting.

But have I told you how loud it is here?

It is loud.

And it is uncomfortable.

I saw an ad last night on craigslist and I thought, wow, I should respond to that.

It’s not in a neighborhood I would have ever even thought to look, Sea Cliff, and it’s a unique housing situation, an Au Pear (which means guest cottage), with a drastically reduced (for San Francisco) rent with the caveat that when the family that owns the main house is away the tenant takes care of their dog.

I went to bed thinking, do I want to clean up dog poop and get up early to walk a dog a couple of times a month/year?  I don’t know how often the family travels or what exactly the schedule of care looks like, but yeah, do I want to clean up dog shit for a lowered rent on a cottage in Sea Cliff?

A cottage.

A stand alone, one bedroom with a library!

Oh my God, my little PhD student heart went pitter pat.

In Sea Cliff.

Now if you don’t know San Francisco that means nada to you.

But if you do, you know that Sea Cliff is crazy high-end, big houses, big sprawling yards and gardens, by Baker Beach with all the iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge you could shake a stick at.

The house is literally across the street from the ocean, the cottage has ocean views.

There is also very little traffic in Sea Cliff, no buses or municipal vehicles go through it, no trains, it’s not quite a gated community, but it is super high-end fabulouslity.

A cottage in Sea Cliff would probably rent for $7,000 and upward, I may be lowballing that number too, I think it’s pretty rare that anything in Sea Cliff would actually be rented, and if there are rentals, well, they are freaking expensive.

So a cottage, again, a one bedroom with a library and the biggest freaking windows and wood floors for $1680 a month that includes utilities and parking and laundry?

I’ll pick up some dog poop people.

I have an appointment to see it on Wednesday.

I’ll keep you posted.

And in the meantime.

Love of mine.

I think of you often and wish we could talk and dream of a time I can once again be in your arms.

And yes.

Of course.

I cry.

In cafes with my confidant, at home holding things close you gave me, in the car listening to our music.

I hope you are well, I hope you are muddling through.

I miss you.

I love you.

Always.

Always.

Your baby girl.

It’s Not Time

July 16, 2017

To write this blog yet.

But.

Well.

It wants to be written.

Even though I opened up my WordPress site and sat and stared at the blank screen and thought, I don’t have a thing to write about.

Denial.

I should fold my laundry and put it away.

I will wash my dinner dishes.

So instead of starting to write I got up and put my laundry away and I did the dishes.

I even pre-emptively filled the kettle for a cup of tea after I finish writing.

I know, hot tea, sounds excruciating to think about in July, but it’s July in San Francisco, I’m in bunny slippers and thought for a minute about turning on the heat.

It’s chilly here in July, unlike anywhere else.

Although there was some warmth in the city today after the fog lifted and I got out of the Outer Sunset, I even put on a little sunblock just in case.

Anyway.

I digress.

It was when I was filling my kettle that I realized that I was avoiding the elephant in the room.

Or the plum, as the case may be.

I bought a plum today.

A beautiful, gorgeous, fat black plum.

I’m not a big fan of plums.

I mean, they’re nice and all, but I wouldn’t typically choose to buy a plum, not really my thing.

A persimmon?

Get the fuck out of my way, I’m buying them all.

But a plum?

Nope.

But.

Ugh.

I usually buy one around this time of year.

And it’s not because it’s stone fruit time.

I want stone fruit I eat cherries.

I love cherries.

Or.

Yellow nectarines.

So good.

Not the white ones, only the yellow, and not peaches.

I know, what kind of monster am I?

I don’t like the texture of skin on a peach and the fruit is typically too soft for me, I know friends who would kill for a perfect peach.

Me?

Not so much.

But.

There I was at Gus’s Community Market on Harrison and 17th in front of the plums and I saw it and just reached for it.

My heart in my throat.

Tears prickling my eyes.

I picked out the biggest, prettiest plum in the pile.

I thought about him.

I wrote a story about it once upon a time, a children’s story, about sharing.

I called it “Shadrach and The Plum.”

It was about a little boy and how he shared his most precious treat, a big juicy sweet plum (insert some ee cummings here and an icebox please) with a little girl at school who had forgotten her lunch.

He sat down next to her with his brown paper bag and saw that she had nothing in front of her, her parents had sent her to school with no lunch, he thought to himself as he took the food out of his paper sack, “I’ll share my lunch but not the plum, plums are my favorite, she’s can’t have my plum.”

He asked her, “do you want some of my lunch?”

She nodded eagerly and pointed to what she wanted, “I want the plum.”

He didn’t say a word, he just handed it to her and ate his peanut butter sandwich and drank his milk.

I heard about her later when I read the story I had written to his family.

In hindsight I don’t know if it was the best idea, they were still grieving, it was their first Christmas without him and here I was some girl from San Francisco wearing flowers in her hair and her heart on her sleeve reading a story about lessons we learn from our friends.

Because.

Well.

Shadrach was like that.

He would give you what you needed without question.

I might get teased about it later, I might be razzed, but he always saw me so much clearer than I saw myself.

His death anniversary is coming up.

Sigh.

Ten years now.

And sometimes it still feels like I’m in that ICU at General holding his hand, or in my room on in that crazy old Victorian on Capp and 23rd, sobbing my heart out into a pillow as I prayed and prayed and prayed to God.

I knew better than to ask God to save Shadrach, I pretty much knew he was gone, I never said boo about it, I never tried to change anyone’s mind about their hopes and I certainly did not express any of my doubts about him waking up from the coma to his family, I just kept showing up and asking them what they needed, put I kept asking God to help me through it and the only way I knew how was to not focus on myself.

How can I be of service?

I was brought up that way, in my recovery community.

“How do I do this?”  I called a friend who had just lost a mentor, a man who had 43 years of recovery and who I also knew quite well, the past week.

“You show up and help his family and you ask ‘how may I be of service?’ and you help them that way, and that’s how you get through.  And through you will get.”

He told me how brave I was and how much he loved me and that I could hang in there.

I did.

And I do.

I still hang in there.

I still show up.

I saw that damn plum and almost cried, but as a reminder that I get to live today I bought it.

I did what I needed to do today and I went where I was supposed to go and when I saw someone in my community who was losing it over the recent loss of our young mutual friend tonight, well, I held her hand and I didn’t let her run out of the room.

I just held her and hugged her and hugged her more until she got all the sobs out.

“You don’t do this alone,” I told her, “don’t run out.”

“I can’t handle all this death, it’s too much,” she said and tried to break away again.

I hugged her some more and then I told her some stories.

I told her about losing my best friend to a scooter accident, my best friend who was sober, who was committed, who was about to run the SF Marathon.

The same marathon that is about to be run here on the 23rd of this month.

The signs just went up by the park and I thought of Shadrach, I thought of how beautiful he was when he was running and how strong and graceful.

I thought of the last thing that I said to him, the best gift the moment, that moment when you realize you have to say something or regret it for the rest of your life.

Although, of course, how could I know?

“Shadrach, I just have to tell you, if I never see you again you have to know how beautiful you are right now, you are just glowing,” I touched his arm.

He raised an eyebrow at me and was about to say something witty and cryptic and instead he smiled at me and hugged me to him.

That was the last thing I said to him.

Well.

It was the last thing that I said to him when he was still coherent and not brain-dead in a hospital bed for a week before his family pulled the plug.

I shared my story.

And.

I told her about another woman we both know and how she lost her best friend on the day of his one year sobriety birthday, how he was hit by a bus coming home from his anniversary party.

I mean.

Fuck.

I told her she didn’t have to do it alone and that she was strong enough to shoulder it and that she was lucky, lucky that she got to feel the depth of love she felt for this person who just died a few days ago, that she could be grateful for the time she got to know him.

I hugged her again.

I’m a hugger.

And.

Told her to call me and lean in.

It’s not easy grieving and sometimes I felt like the sadness of Shadrach’s passing would never leave me, but it did.

Well.

That’s also not true, but it lessened, or I got used to it I suppose.

Although seeing that big purple plum sitting on top of a Mason jar on my kitchen counter brought it all home.

I still miss my friend.

He taught me so much.

Not just how to love.

But.

More importantly, that I was lovable and worthy of love.

A lesson that took many years to sink in.

But in it did.

So.

Tonight.

I will raise my plum to my lips and taste the sweetness and let my fingers be sticky with gratitude and love and memory and honor my friend and all the gifts he gave me, so many years ago now.

All the love he planted in my heart that has grown and flourished and bloomed.

All the things.

All the love.

And.

Always.

The best.

The sweetest, coldest, juiciest plums for you.

Always.

 

 

The Practice Of

June 25, 2017

Showing up.

Showing up to yoga.

Showing up for my recovery.

Showing up for my internship.

The practice of showing up here now that my readership has been cleaved in minute pieces and no one reads the blog anymore.

Not exactly true.

I know that the folks who subscribe are still reading, at least they are getting the blog in their email whether or not they read it I can’t always tell.

But.

The readership that I used to have from using social media has dwindled to just about nothing.

On one hand.

GREAT!

I’ve gone dark, my blog is not being read, it’s not search engine popping up in response to my name and whatever therapy clients I have now or those who will follow in the future, won’t find my ruminating thoughts if and when they decide to Google me.

On the other hand.

Sad.

Not horribly sad, but a little sad, teeny tiny bit sad, just a touch of sadness like a hint of vanilla on a sugar cookie, fleeting and gone and sweet to taste with hints of nostalgia.

I miss the interactions I used to get from people seeing and reading my blog.

But.

I am still here, still showing up, still doing the deal, and it is for me, ultimately that I continue to write for, to please myself, to find all the hidden caches of words in my soul and delve them out, throw them up on the screen and try once again to frame my own world experiences through these scintillating verbs and nouns.

I don’t always succeed.

But when I do.

Oh.

The happiness.

It is joy.

And one side effect of not writing the blog for a social media audience is that I have found myself less abashed to put my poetry up as a blog.

Once in a while I have done that before, written a poem and posted it as my daily blog post.

But recently.

I have been writing a lot more poetry and I am happy to have the forum to throw it out to the world.

The poems get almost no hits and they seem just for me, a sweeting expression of lush moments in my current life.

There is so much pleasure for me in the poetry, I cannot even express it.

The passion it lends to my life, it is a grace, and I am so happy to be pursuing it more here and in my life in general.

Having a muse helps.

Having a line, an image, a word sometimes that captures my attention.

And then.

I am in thrall.

I am writing and the words unlock and open themselves and spread across the sky, backlit with poems that have come before and the surprise of the new moon in the sky over the horizon of the darkling ocean.

I have a gift.

Not everyone will agree with that.

It is like someone who sings, slightly off-key, with fervor and love.

You have to love that person to put up with the passion of what they are creating, but in that loving, in that allowing of the story, the narrative, the poetry, the witness grants the artist succor and the work becomes a gift.

I don’t know where all the words come from and I don’t care, they fly from my fingers, wind themselves around my heart and ensorcell me with abandon and wild loving.

How could I not show up to the page?

Just for the chance to dip myself back into that pool of words and images and love.

It’s really all about love.

Love.

My words just outpourings of infinite love and thus I do know, even if I protest that I don’t, that all love is around me that God surrounds me, that God and love are interchangeable.

What came first it does not matter.

I use love in many different forms.

And.

Oh.

Does love use me.

And I am a grateful servant to this master.

Supplicating upon bent knee, bowing my head to rest it against said sweet skin.

The skein of it binding me as it frees me.

Lost in this world I have no rumination of leaving.

Only to examine and frolic and let my curious heart go.

And the words.

Oh.

They astound.

The feelings fleet and fast and forever changing and then changing again.

Yet.

A constant.

A consistent feeling.

A naming of those things that bind me and I know.

I know intrinsically, without worry or grief for what it belies about my heart, that I am this artist, this is my calling.

So.

I fear not when I am not read.

For having read the book of my own heart.

I am healed.

And for that.

Graced.

Grateful.

Awed.

Loved.

 

Happy Valentines Day!

February 9, 2017

I know.

It’s nowhere near Valentines Day.

But.

I finished up writing all my cards today.

I gave everyone in my cohort at school a Valentine last year and it felt so nice to do that and so good for my own heart, that, yes, I decided to do it again.

I am a bit of a dork.

But I think.

Perhaps.

A sweet dork.

I do want people to love me and I’m not past slipping someone a card to get a little bit of love shone back to me.

But.

There is also that little kid in me who wanted desperately to get a paper bag full of cards at school.

I very much remember third and fourth grade and how the decorating the bag was almost as much fun as getting the little cards and the heart-shaped candies and then.

Well.

It changed.

Boys came on the scene.

Paul Ripp.

Fourth grade.

Mad crush.

Maybe my first crush.

A very sweet boy, tall, blushy cheeks, you know, that Nordic white skin that blushes easily, I always remember his ruddy cheeks and soft wavy brown hair.

I had a few other boys I liked, but he made me feel.

Well.

Special.

And so.

I made him a special card in 4th grade but at the last-minute I got super shy and I didn’t sign it, I sent it anonymously.

Then Tammy tattled on me and told him that it was probably me since she had seen me by his desk right before recess.

I never liked Tammy.

Drama queen.

I mean.

I think she just needed some extra attention and she probably had a crush on Paul too, you might have had you seen him, he was lovely.

Many crushes followed.

Some that lasted a few months.

A few that lasted a few years.

One that lasted decades.

I still love him, but I’m not in love with him and we are still friends.

I haven’t seen him in years but we still stay in touch.

It’s funny how things change, but there is still this soft entwining of memories and I am not sad for that girl and her girl crushes.

Or that young woman and her young woman crushes.

I learned something from them all.

I learned about unrequited love and I learned about romance and I learned how to seduce myself into thinking those things were the best things because I was feeling so deeply.

I may not have dressed up like a Goth, but I had my Goth girl feelings.

Yes.

I did.

Today.

Well.

I find the holiday sweet and I like that I can spread a little extra cheer, really any excuse to give some one a card and to play with stickers and stamps and stick some love in an envelope and mail it across country or just across town.

I don’t know what I would do if I actually had a date or a boyfriend on Valentines Day, it’s been years.

Seven years.

I just counted.

I mean.

I have dated in those seven years, but it’s been seven years since I was with someone on Valentines Day.

I hope he’s well.

He had a good heart.

But.

He was an active addict and I had myself convinced, momentarily, that we could date.

I couldn’t, in the end, I couldn’t.

I do find myself thinking about, why, I don’t know, habit, maybe, that this year it might be different, maybe I’ll have a boyfriend or a partner or.

But it’s rather like Lucy and the football.

My heart is Charlie Brown and runs forward to swing and kick.

And this time.

Oh!

This time I’ll kick that damn ball through the goal posts of love.

And.

Nope.

I kick.

Valentines Day pulls the ball away and I’m flat on my back, breath knocked out of me, staring at the wide blue sky above me.

Blue like the watery eyes of rheumatic old man.

Blue like the inner lining of intestines in the bright air of death.

Peridot.

Periwinkle.

The death knell blue of hyacinth dying in the sun on the windowsill and how they smell so, so, so sweet, then, one day, dead.

Rotting blue-veined meat.

Staring into the robin’s egg blue bowl of sky turned over my head.

And instead of crying.

Today.

Well.

I laugh.

There’s nothing wrong with trying.

I can hold my heart’s hand and pull her back up and say, hey, it’s ok, look, you broke yourself wide open.

Let’s cross the river and not drown in the undertow.

The sheltering sky a broad band of periwinkle and seer sucker and the scudding of flat bottom clouds with billowing tops sailing right on by.

I can gather up an apron full of blue cornflowers and wipe clean my blue slate.

I can salt it with love and eat my heart.

Blue black.

Just the way I like it.

Rare.

Buttery.

Seared on the outside.

Tender and juicy and melting on the inside.

And the bluest eye might shed one crystal blue persuasion tear and let loose with a flood of love.

A tsunami of blue capped water.

Aquamarine.

Indigo.

Turquoise.

Love the color of bluing skin above a tourniquet.

Dusted with blue velvet eyeshadow.

And the somnolent smile of sleep at the grey blue crack of dawn when the moon is still pushing through the muddled grey clouds permeating the sky.

My face buried in a Diebenkorn Ocean #5 blue pillow case.

I sigh.

And hold my hand to my heart.

Love.

Right there.

My hand on my own heart.

My country tis of thee.

I pledge allegiance to me.

Be my blue jean blue Valentine.

Be my love so true.

Be my tight blue star skinned tattoo.

Not quite healed.

But stretched tight and taut and smoothed in blue skeined lapis lazuli love.

Tenderfooted.

Dancing shoes blue suede.

A soft shoe shuffle.

Underneath that blue fairy ringed moon.

Love.

Love.

Always here.

Always there.

My paint by number blues.

In the shadows and the hues.

My.

Luminescent.

Blue light district.

My heart.

My love.

My blue valentine.

Always.

And.

Forever.

So.

Very.

Very.

True.

Blue.

 

 

 

Gearing Up

January 7, 2017

For the weekend.

I got stuff to do people.

Places to go.

French friends to reconnect with.

Plans to make.

Plans that may be changing.

I may postpone my trip to Paris in May, my friend won’t be going back the time we had originally made plans on being there together, she’s made some suggestions and we are going to get together tomorrow in the afternoon and hash it out.

Oh.

I’m still going.

There is absolutely no doubt about that.

Just that the timing may be different, more toward late summer or fall.

The entire point of the trip was for us to spend time together, she’s from Paris and has spoken often and passionately about a Paris I have had glimpses of but not quite gotten to see.

She wants to show me and I am all in.

We just have to push it back a little bit.

Once we have figured that out I will look at making my other travel plans, Puerto Rico.

I may take a few days and go there in May, swap out the timing on the two trips.

There will be travel.

And tomorrow there will be much get about on the train.

I have parked my scooter and covered her up.

It’s going to rain.

And it’s going to rain a fucking lot.

For over a week.

Oh well.

Before the train I will be going to yoga, I haven’t been all week trying to navigate my new schedule with the new job, but I signed up for the 9 a.m. class tomorrow and I will squeeze in a class on Sunday as well and perhaps one on Thursday, help me get mellowed out before I have my first weekend of classes.

Yup.

That’s next weekend.

I got my second text-book in the mail today.

The stack of notebooks and text books begins to grow once again.

So this weekend will be getting as much stuff as I can done before next weekend’s first classes.

I will do the deal at Tart to Tart with my person tomorrow at noon.

Then a manicure.

Then lunch with my friend.

I’ll probably find a cafe to hole up in for a few hours and crank out some reading.

I’m not going to bother coming home after I do the deal and meet my friend for lunch.

I’m gong to be heading over to the East Bay to a speaking engagement and I figure once I’m out, I’ll be out all day and just get it all in.

Sunday I’m having a lady over to do some work and then I’ll cook for the week and work on my practicum applications.

Because that shit has to get done.

And after next weekend I will be in the doing homework mode.

I mean.

Fuck.

I already am.

I have reading assigned for all my classes.

But after next weekend’s round of classes I will also have the papers and the projects that inevitably follow a weekend of classes and I have to get my practicum stuff together.

So yeah.

I’m almost, not quite, but almost, grateful for the rainy days.

I will not be out running amok.

Not that I tend to anyway when I’m getting prepared for the school weekend.

But you know.

Easier to sit still when it’s rainy and cold.

I do wish that it passes quickly and that it clears by the weekend so that I can ride my scooter to school or even to a day or two of work.

It is just so much faster than the trains.

I finally figured out the fastest way to work today.

I found the magic through streets that get me from Diamond Heights to my spot in Glen Park.

It’s a lot of hills and it’s a little nerve-wracking, but I’m getting used to the commute and it is intriguing to be in a part of the city that I haven’t had much experience with.

It’s funny how a little change in my work location opens up an entirely new part of the city and all the things that I had no clue where there are there.

It’s fun to discover stuff.

And the new job continues to be quite lovely.

I am really going to like it, I am liking it more and more every day.

Even though today was a little hard.

It wasn’t hard because of my current job, it was hard because of my previous job.

I saw the boys today.

Oh, hello tears.

I am super grateful I didn’t cry at the school, but it took some enormous draw of strength to not do so.

I saw the little guy first when I went to pick up my current charges from school.

He was out running around, he and the little girl in the family are in the same class and I figured I would see him, but I had no idea how hard it would be.

Which, you know, is a gift, when someone affects me like that, when I have that kind of depth of feeling, I don’t have to run from it, it’s a gift, it means he meant something to me.

He still does.

He means so much.

I said his name.

He looked at me, and for a moment he didn’t recognize me.

Then.

“CARMEN!”

He flew across the playground and threw himself in my arms (pausing to cry, I’ll be with you in just a moment) and hugged me so hard.

So very hard.

“I missed you,” he said and shuddered and then clung to me even harder, “I missed you so much.”

“I missed you too sweet guy,” I said and squeezed him back.

I set him gently down and asked how his Christmas was and his first week back at school and then I took a few pictures of him with my little girl charge and there was another hug and then he raced off to the playground and that was that.

I hugged my new charge and we got her back pack and bag of stuff to take home and signed her out.

I saw the old mom.

We said “hi,” and she said, “did you see?”

I did.

I nodded.

She told me his older brother was coming out and very much wanted to see me as well.

Ugh.

Slight pause to clean off my glasses.

Tear splatters.

I girded myself for the emotions and took my little girl by her hand and asked her about her day and she showed me the drawing she had drawn for me and then I looked up.

And.

Oh.

God.

His face.

All the emotions dancing across his face.

Shyness, excitement, joy, sadness, he paused and looked at me.

I smiled.

He smiled back.

Then he grinned.

Then he ran to me.

I caught him and lifted him up and hugged him and smelled his sweet neck and tried very hard, very, very, very hard, to not cry.

Saved that all for right now.

Ha.

“I missed you Carmen,” he whispered into my ear, “it’s been two weeks, it’s been too long, when are you coming back?”

“Oh bunny,” I said, and set him down, then I knelt down next to him.

“I missed you too,” I said and brushed his hair from his face and touched his soft cheek, how pale he looked, how sad and sweet and sincere.

“When are you coming back?” He asked me again.

I didn’t get a chance to say anything, the mom came and scooped him up, “we got to go ____________”

“I have to get them to the dentist,” she said, “sorry to rush off!”

“No worries, it was wonderful to see them, have a great weekend,” I said and smiled.

He looked at me, ugh, that look, then walked away with his mom.

I signed out my other charge and gave him a big hug.

“Guess what?!” I said and shook the sads out of my coat sleeves.

“What?” He asked very solemn.

“ICE CREAM,” his sister yelled, “ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, we’re going to go get ice cream.”

And we did and it was jolly fun and it helped soothe the ache in my chest to be with them and giggle and laugh and taste, them, not me, the different flavors at BiRite Creamery, and then sit and watch them devour their cones and then say, hey, let me get a coffee and guess what else, we got time for the park before we catch the train.

It was a good day.

A little sad.

A lot tender.

But a good day.

And I’m grateful for all the feelings.

“It must be hard,” my new mom said to me, when I mentioned that I saw the boys.

“For them, but also for you,” she said.

She’s an insightful person.

We get along quite well, I have to say.

“It was, but it was also good to see them,” I said, I might have been trying to gloss it over a tiny bit to keep myself together as I got my stuff to leave for the weekend.

“You must feel pretty tender, it might be harder than if you had just had a complete end with them,” she added.

“Maybe,” I said, looking at her deep blue-green sea glass eyes.

“But I’ll be ok, and I am so grateful to have made the transition to be with you,” I smiled, “thank you and please let me know how I can help next week, I’m very happy to be here.”

“Mom!” The little girl came running, “come eat dinner.”

Saved by the dinner time bell.

I got another hug from the little girl and a blown kiss from the boy and big, hearty, heart-felt thank you’s from the parents.

It was a good week.

I am glad.

My tears have dried.

And I am glad for both the expression of the emotion and that I can hold a vast amount of love and joy and emotions all at the same time.

I can love and miss the boys.

And.

I can be excited and happy for the new job.

And grateful for all of it.

All the feels.

All the things.

All the love.

Yes, love.

All the love.

It is so very, very good.

Even when it hurts.

Even then.

Seriously.

I Can’t Quite Believe

December 23, 2016

That.

Tomorrow is my last day with the boys.

I only cried three times today.

Grateful for that.

I didn’t need to stuff my feelings.

It was a challenge.

I cried when I wasn’t expecting it.

I felt a bit blown out and a bit tired and a lot sad.

The boys also had great big screaming tantrums, so that was fun, albeit completely understandable.

The tantrums didn’t, of course, start until after we had gotten back to the house and I needed to get them ready for A Charlie Brown Christmas at the San Francisco Symphony.

I mean, really, sort of figured it would happen.

Just needed to have the monkeys fed and changed into their navy velvet blazers and bow ties by 1 p.m.

No biggie.

Except they were emotional too.

They know.

They know I’m going to be gone tomorrow.

That’s it.

No more nanny.

“Carmen, please visit us,” the older boy stopped, took my hand, tugged on it, as we rounded the corner from the park to the house, literally stopping me in my tracks as I pushed his brother in the stroller.

“________________, I’m right here, right now, with you, and,” I paused, reached down, hefted his 6.5 year old body up, great work out, being a nanny in case you’re ever wanting to switch careers, “I love you and I promise tomorrow is not the last time you will see, I promise.”

I had lifted him so that he was eye level with me, we rubbed noses, he wrapped his arms around me, and we just stood and hugged it out on the corner.

Oof.

It was like that all day.

The park was barely the park.

Mostly the park was both boys trying to sit in my lap at the same time.

They eventually did get up and play and run around and chase pigeons, but all they wanted to do was sit with me, on my lap, or leaned against me.

The youngest gets me the most, or at my heart the most, his small face this plate of silence and sadness.  He just oozes it, it breaks my heart to look at his face and every time, like, um now, fuck, I see his little face in my head, I just start crying.

Which is challenging to do when writing a blog, the screen gets blurry.

Ugh.

Oof.

I am super grateful I have the feels, it means the boys mean something to me and it’s important I grieve the loss and the moving on and yeah, I don’t know what tomorrow is going to be like but I did make sure to have plans to have dinner with a friend and maybe I’ll go get a mani/pedi afterward and just take it really sweet and easy.

I got a nice Christmas bonus.

Slight aside.

SERIOUS ADULTING.

I got my Christmas bonus yesterday and I couldn’t open the card until I had been home for hours, there was something daunting about it, and I realized later that I was loath to open it because it really would signal the end of days and I can’t quite seem to wrap my mind around not going in to work next week and seeing my little guys.

But.

I did open it and I was quite grateful for the gift, really.

And then.

I did the adulting.

The first thing I bought with my bonus?

Dental insurance.

Then I put a little in savings.

I met with my person after work today and she plunked the kleenex box down in front of me, “today the last day or tomorrow,” she asked.

“Tomorrow,” I said and reached for a tissue.

We had tea we talked all things recovery, it was really good.

Then she said, “that’s great about the dental insurance, that’s a beautiful gift to give yourself, but get something fun for you too.”

I took her suggestion.

It took me a hot minute though.

I was going to go book a massage and when I went they place was closed for the holidays!

Ugh.

So I went to Rainbow and bought some, for me, expensive body lotion I really like by Pure Organics and a Rau raw chocolate drink.

Then I pondered where I was going to go.

There was a little voice in my head that said, go home, hide, stick your head in the sand, get all isolated and shit, watch some videos and let the squirrels in your head run amok.

I was like, ooh yeah, I’ll catch up on Black Mirror.

But.

Well.

That sounds fucking depressing.

Jesus, Martines, that’s not a good idea.

I just about laughed out loud.

So.

I rode my scooter over to the Inner Sunset and I made myself park close to a spot that would pretty much guarantee me doing the deal, then I went and cashed my Christmas bonus check and went to Green Apple Books.

I had not bought anything when I was there the other day, I was just browsing to kill time until I met my date at Park Chow.

This time I let myself buy.

God  damn do I love buying books.

And pleasure books, oh lord, I get to do some pleasure reading.

Not much, just a week, so what ever I knock through between now and New Years is what I get.  Maybe even a little less, I’m going to need to order my books for the upcoming semester sooner than I realize, I know it.  But.  I’ll have seven days of freedom, I think, where I can read.

I bought three books.

The new Don DeLillo, Zero K.

Cormac McCarthy, Child of God.

And.

Irvine Welsh, The Bedroom Secrets of The Master Chefs.

I’m drooling just typing out the names and looking at them on top of my stack of notebooks makes me very happy.

After I had satiated my book desires I went to dinner.

I treated myself to Marnee Thai and fuck am I glad I did, it was awesome.  I took the suggestion of the waitress and had a red curry with duck and plantains and brown rice.

Swoon.

It was good.

A bit pricier than I would have typically spent at my little secret spot out here in my hood, but Thai Cottage is closed for the next few weeks for the holidays and I smelled goodness wafting from the restaurant when I passed it on the way to the bookstore.

My nose knew.

After the dinner I still had some time and I popped into Ambiance.

And yes.

l bought myself a pretty dress for New Year’s Eve and decided that I would commit to going to a New Year’s Eve party some friends of mine are throwing in the Mission.

Yup.

I’ll be going stag to a New Year’s Eve party, and I don’t fucking care, I’m going to dance and wear platforms and my new dress and be pretty and not give a damn about being single, because I’m allowed to have fun and be happy.

I don’t need to be partnered up on the holidays.

That’s not worked out so well for me the last few years.

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, not well at all.

No.

And tomorrow.

Well.

It will be here soon and I’m sure I will have all the feels about it and just breathe in and out and hug my boys tight and smell the napes of their necks and kiss their faces and it will be alright.

It will.

I am lucky to get this opportunity.

I am literally paid to love.

Not a bad job if you can get it.

Seriously.

 

I Had A Brilliant

October 31, 2016

Blog ready to go.

I mean I really did.

And usually all I need to get to that blog is a line, sometimes just a word, or an image.

I was messaging with a friend, cooking my Sunday afternoon roast chicken, and I commented on something and it triggered a thought and I was like!

Yes!

That!

That’s what I’m going to write about.

Then.

Well.

Fuck.

It doesn’t usually happen, I mean, it really does not, I completely forgot.

It was a “b” word, I remember that.

It was something that sounded like or reminded me of the word bear, but it’s not that and even if it was that, what the fuck am I doing writing a blog about a bear?

“Listen if you bring in the bear and you give it that much weight, that much suspense, you have to do something with the bear, otherwise, kill that chapter,” Alan Kaufman said.

Yeah, Alan.

I worked with him in a class for about nine months or so.

I was on a hot streak, I was writing like gang busters, I had put out a first draft manuscript for one book and was in the middle of writing the follow-up piece.

And there was a chapter in the book about a “camping trip.”

I put it in parenthesis as I was told when I got sober that was a cute way for me to label being homeless.

Which is basically what it was.

It’s not camping if you don’t have a home to return to after your trip is up.

But there had been a bear scare near where we were located and I wrote about that for the chapter I was presenting in class that week and Alan was not having it.

In fact.

Nobody was.

“I mean, Carmen, it’s really well written, you had me, I was right there, but then you didn’t do anything with it and why bother putting that much emphasis on something and then leaving your reader hang,” he concluded.

And although I liked the chapter.

Yes.

I did indeed scrap it.

I wrote another piece after that as well.

As well you know if you’ve been following my blogs, I have written manuscripts, but not done much with them and at this point, in life, in school, where I am.

I am just not going to make that much of a deal out of it.

If I wasn’t blogging.

Maybe it would be different.

But the blog provides me with something that is ineffable and I love to do it.

So why would I change?

It’s all really ego, after all, I want to say that I am a published author with a large body of works and a following, of course I would like to also make money from what I write, but I obviously haven’t pursued doing that.

And that’s like a total line of omission.

Yeesh.

What the fuck was Paris but a six month daily write-a-thon where I did finish another draft of the book and I did submit it to over 50 agencies and editors, where I did actually get published, with one short story in one magazine and a poem in another.

I have tried.

I tried really fucking hard.

But not much lately.

So.

This is just my little blog and I like it the way it is and I’m not seeking representation when I’m writing it, I’m not seeking fame, I’m not even seeking your attention, though, yes, granted, it is dreamy when I get it.

No.

This really is all for me.

And.

Sure.

I do get curious, I do want to have an affect, I do want to be seen as a good writer, but am I trying to get published right now?

No.

I will, most likely, I do believe, get published at some point.

There are just too many words in my head, too many stories, too many images to write about to not keep writing and with the constant practice I do hope to become a better writer, it’s not just about doing the writing though, it’s about doing the reading as well.

Not that I did much reading at all this weekend.

I ended up being really gentle to myself and slept a lot and hung out with friends.

Today I had an amazing lunch at PPQ Vietnamese over on Clement Street at 25th.

It had rained a bunch earlier and though it had cleared out by the time I went to meet my friend for lunch, it was still one of those dreary days when a good bowl of hot and sour soup is really in order.

We shared a pot of tea.

A large bowl, and it was large, of Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp and some shrimp fried rice.

We sat for hours and talked and caught up.

I was so grateful to spend time with him and talk about life, work, school, dating.

I’ve known him for over ten years.

It’s good to have friends that I can open up to, tell all to, not have to worry about judgements, confide in.

I have more of those than most I suspect.

And for that I am inexhaustibly grateful.

I do spend a lot of time on my own, I’m a tiny bit, a lot, of a lone wolf, but I have learned that doing it my way or on my own doesn’t always work out.

Heh.

Usually the results, well, let’s just say, not so good.

So.

I can’t remember what I was going to blog about, but there they are, all those lovely, delicious words.

I can tell you that I did good self-care today.

Roasted a chicken.

Made a perfect pot of rice.

Did my laundry.

Took a hot shower and washed my hair.

I even decided to let it air dry.

Hopefully it will be by the time I go to work tomorrow.

Heh.

It takes a while.

Oh.

But when I do.

How soft it is.

And tomorrow is Halloween and I don’t have a care in the world about it.

I do know my charges will be excited and that will be sweet to witness.

I do know that it has been a hoot seeing people out and about in their costumes all weekend.

I have always, will always, love San Francisco for embracing Halloween and all things dress up.

I do like a good costume.

The holidays are sneaking up and I have much reading to do, papers to write, and work to juggle, but just for today I let myself just be.

I read but a little.

I got tech help with a computer issue.

My tech guy was AMAZING.

And now I’m going to slowly wind it down as tomorrow is an early work day for me.

It was a slow, soft, sweet Sunday.

Thank you universe.

I needed that.

I’m Done!

February 1, 2016

I finished all the reading for my next weekend of classes.

One weekend ahead of time.

I am absurdly pleased.

I just closed my Ethics and Family Law textbook and shelved it along with everything else that I read this weekend.

I do have a proposal that I did not get to, but whatever.

I have all week to do it and it’s a proposal, not a formal paper.

I have had some time to think about what I want to accomplish with it and I do believe I am going to do the meditative coloring.

I also thought about doing a guided meditation, I haven’t done a lot of sitting meditation, enough to know I can comfortably sit for fifteen minutes without bother.

I remember the first time I sat for three minutes.

I thought I was going to crawl out of my skin.

I thought I might leap out of my chair or rip my own hair out.

I was that uncomfortable sitting still in my body, in my own space, with my own thoughts to occupy me.

I thought my brain might actually eat me alive.

I have come a long way baby.

I can sit for up to an hour and have done so on a few occasions.

I have had years where I did a sitting meditation, in addition to my writing meditation, but I have to be upfront about that, it wasn’t more than a ten minute sit, often times just five minutes and I did it because the person I was working with insisted I do it as a requirement to work with her.

I wasn’t opposed.

I am not now.

But.

I think the coloring is a nice way to go about it.

I tried some last night to get the hang of it and it was nice.

I actually got some freedom from the rapidity of my brain and it was nice to get lost in between the lines and let go and play with color and just enjoy doing something that didn’t require me to think.

I plan on being up front with my professor and outlining what I currently do.

I thought, briefly about with holding some aspects of my spiritual practice so that I could “implement” it back in and go from there.

Some might call this efficient.

However, it felt a little like cheating for me and I couldn’t quite square the principle of honesty behind that action.

I prefer to be honest with my professor, to even go so far as to say that I have had resentments and needed to work them out, that, already, is spiritual progress for me.

I recognized that it was with myself that lay the problem, not with my professor, he’s not doing it wrong, he’s just not doing it the way I think, or better, thought, it should be done.

Anyway.

That’s all I have to do.

Write and send a one page proposal, outlining what I am going to do to deepen my spiritual practice.

Due by this Friday.

I’ll probably ruminate on it a little bit more then type something up before work tomorrow.

Just to have it out of the way.

I don’t have to start the actual practice of it until February 12th.

Which is also when my first paper is due.

I plan on working on that next weekend.  I will probably review the readings for the class, it was dense, really dense and not well written.  If the author used “implicit” one more time in a chapter to give gravitas to what he was writing I was going to look him up and suggest some creative writing workshops for him to expand his vocabulary.

It really is a pleasant feeling, though, to have all the reading done.

I also got to see my girl friend from my cohort.

She rode her bicycle out and I was grateful to get to show her my home space and we went for coffee and toast at Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club and then down for a walk on the beach.

It was deliriously windy out and the beach was fairly deserted.

It was like being sandblasted.

We did not stay long, but she got a taste of the glory of the beach and vowed to come back soon, although by a better bicycle route than the one Google Maps gave her.

Oof.

Any other city it probably makes sense, but in San Francisco, negotiating the hillier parts of the city, there really is a way to get from here to there and it does not involve riding the coastline.

When she told me her route I got sympathetic leg pain just thinking about it.

I have done some similar things when I was newly on my bicycle and found out the hard way how to navigate around the hillier districts.

The SFBC (San Francisco Bicycle Coalition) map is probably the best one to use for navigation, as it shows grades of streets on hills.

One block over can really make a huge difference.

Going up Polk to the Marina is a lot easier than going up Van Ness.

And probably much safer too.

I digress.

We had a great time.

No homework was really accomplished, although we did go over a couple of things on the syllabus for the next weekend and talked about the school, the program, and of course, our other classmates.

But mostly.

About ourselves.

It was sweet and I feel a strong connection and bond to her.

Partially because she really does see me and also sees me in a way, that although I don’t find flattering and sometimes I get upset with myself, I do have a vast amount of acceptance about, that being that I am in desperate need to control my environment.

“It’s a safety thing for you,” she said in her sweet, lilting, French accent, “I totally get it, and I see how often you do it, with everything in your environment.”

I have had lovers mess up the pillows on my bed to make me squirm or a friend purposely mess up a section of literature I have just set out on a table.

I have seen it, consciously, more and more as I accept myself more and more and learn, not always gracefully, to let go of the reigns and have new experiences.

I really do want them and I recognize, I must recognize, how brave I am.

I didn’t fold up, I didn’t collapse, I kept trying.

Sometimes doing things that I didn’t know better, stratagems that I learned growing up, self-defense mechanisms that worked really well at the time and then stopped, even though I continued to employ them.

I see things with a lot more clarity.

The writing daily has helped, the praying, the spiritual practices I employ.

My recovery.

Oh, all the wonderful things I get to do in the act of getting back to that place where I am allowed to be vulnerable, soft, sweet, and not in control.

Tender.

I opened the door.

I let in my friend.

I experienced intimacy.

And I got my reading done for school.

Winning.


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