Posts Tagged ‘tour guide’

Why Is She Hugging

January 16, 2015

The working guy?

I could almost hear the thought bubble over the mom’s head as she pulled out to run errands this afternoon.

I had been sent out to BiRite to procure food to make dinner, the pizza party was a smashing success in case you were wondering, for the evening.

I love going to BiRite.

It’s just far enough away that I can stretch my legs, but not too far that I can’t do the trip in a decent amount of time.

I could even bicycle over there, I don’t know why I haven’t thought of that before now.

Most times, though, I am with one or two of the boys.

A double stroller in that store is a ticket to resentment and anger, so I don’t often do that.  Most times, I’m with the littlest guy and we make an early run before lunch and naps.

There was none of that this morning, waist deep in potty training and using the current favorite work, “NO!” at top vocal capacity, there was no going to the store.

There was no leaving the bathroom for a while.

I walked into twenty-minute tantrum this morning.

And so it goes.

Feelings they happen.

When I am having them, off, I think they are going to last forever.

“I just don’t want to feel anymore,” she said to me tonight on the phone.

Don’t I know it.

That’s why I spent over half of my life checking the fuck out.

I am a sensitive creature.

I don’t want to have feelings either.

Although they are the things that make life so very interesting.

I don’t care for them.

Unless they are ecstatic, euphoric, happy all the time, tinged with upbeat excitement, tingling anticipation, spiked with a little adrenalin and orgasmic in nature.


Bring them the fuck on.

I mean.

Hell yes.

But regular old feelings?

Pain, grief, sorrow, ambivalence, boredom, anxiety, worry, depression.

No thank you.

No, really, I’m not interested.

I’ll take serenity though, calmness, peacefulness, contentment, these are some feelings I’m down with too.

The thing is, I will always have a bundle of them.

The thing is, feelings are not facts.

The frustration of potty training and the anxiety of feeling and acknowledging his own unique self has made my little two and a half-year old a little wild.

What is happening?

I don’t like it!

Make it stop!

Give me Skittles!


The mom was a peach though and said, you run without him to BiRite and I’ll put him down for his nap before I have to head out.


I grabbed the money, a cloth bag, and my phone and hit the road.

I got to make a few phone calls, check in with a few folks, get some perspective on my day.

I went to confirm a meeting for tonight and was cancelled on, she’s sick.

There’s some super bug going around, I keep avoiding it by the skin of my teeth.  I got the flu vaccination, so there’s that, but I suspect it’s also being a nanny, I’m pretty immune.

Knock on wood.

It’s been a hot second since I’ve been sick.

I’ll take a big pass on it.

Especially since I have a big weekend coming up.

I had made reservations at Samovar tea lounge for a celebration party but it was cancelled on me, so I’ll be heading for a nosh up to the Firewood Cafe in the Castro.

It’s pretty casual, but it’ll hold a bunch of folks and it looks like there’s anywhere from 8 to 11 people showing up.  We can grab a bunch of tables, get cozy and hang out.

I’ll be coming from Castro Tattoo where my friend Barnaby will be planting my 10th star on my neck.

Excited for that.

Excited too for the dancing after dinner and a meet up with some fellows in Noe Valley.

I’ve got some friends coming in from Berkeley, Castro Valley, and Alameda who I realize I haven’t seen all together like this since we were all hanging out at Burning Man.

There will likely be talk of Burning Man at the table.

I do that thing.

I don’t know if I will this year, but I want to.

I have to wait and find out about graduate school before making any solid plans for the event.

I would feel really weird, though, to not go.

This year would be year number 9 for me.

I may have to be in school, and if I get in, that’s going to have to take priority.

Then again, I could go pre-event.

I know enough folks to get into some sort of service position there to get an early arrival pass.

“Are you going to go this year?” My darling friend asked, she’ll be going back for her second time and has begun the preparing.

You may scoff, but really, I prepare for the damn thing year round at this point.

If I see something that makes sense for me to go to Burning Man with, I get that thing.  I have socks and tights that I rarely wear out, though I suppose I could, I do live in San Francisco, which though heavily gentrified in parts, is still a wild creative place.

I felt like I got to be that little bit of special flavor today as I walked around a group of tourists in front of Craftsman and Wolves on Valencia Street.

Oh look.

A local out shopping.


Oh and what colorful tattoos.

Yes, now move, I have places to go and things to cook.

Today I made ginger chicken stir fry with celery and green onions, sushi rice, and prepped fruit.

I saw my friend as I was turning the corner and went up to sneak in a hug before getting my cook on.

The grin on his face was beaming.

We hugged.

He had just celebrated an anniversary the day before mine.

We both could have floated off the ground.

It was awesome.

The mom pulled out of the garage and gave me the strangest look.

I know a lot of folks.

I do.

Even some that happen to work on the house doing gardening and construction.

Or just down the block at the coffee shop or at the playground, the corner market, the bike shop, the hipster clothing store clerk, the check out gal at the farmers market, I know a lot of folks in the Mission.

And I try to hug as many of them as I can.

Not a bad way to break up the work day at all.

And tomorrow.

Is Friday.

Bring on the three-day weekend!


I got Monday off.

First time I have ever been given Martin Luther King Jr. Day off.

Pretty stoked.

I’ll still have plenty to keep me occupied.

That’s for sure.

And maybe I’ll hug another working guy too.

I like working guys.

Got My Cable Car On

January 5, 2015

“We want to do the trolley.”

My friend from college is visiting with his company on business.

“And the Painted Ladies, you know that place where they filmed Full House.”

Ugh, yes I do know.

“And the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Oh sweet jesus.

I just thought we were going to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on the past few years that we haven’t seen each other.

And how the fuck did he turn 40? Or for that matter, how am I 42?

I also don’t remember him being taller than me, but that could be because the guy I am dating is shorter than I am and I am automatically thinking that all men are shorter than me.

My friend is also losing his hair.


I gave him a little grief about the hair, I had to poke some fun, but I get it, he’s got a 13 month old baby boy, I’m sure the hair loss happened shortly after realizing that he wasn’t going to get any sleep for the first 8 months of his child’s life.

He always hollers “hola” at me because of my name and despite many years of persuading him that I do not, in fact, speak spanish, despite my spanish sounding name, the “hola” has continued.

It is like my family calling me Bubba.

Which is not a bad nickname when I acknowledge it, and I may have inadvertently gotten a new nickname from my boyfriend.

“Hey lip gloss,” he said to me the other night as I re-applied some lip balm.

“I just brushed my teeth,” I warded him off, “I need to re-up.”

Poor man.

He got more than he bargained for with this sparkle pony.

I joke that I am not going to prank him by mowing off an eyebrow while he sleeps or shaving some silly design on the side of his head; no, I’ll just dump loose glitter on his motorcycle jacket.

Or spray him down with aerosol adhesive and then dump loose glitter on him.

I have red, purple, and sky blue.

I bought them years ago for Burning Man and then never used them.

But he’s right, I do have a fondness for the lip gloss.

I like my mouth to feel a certain way and I hate dry lips.

I digress.

I basically played tourist today.

I took my friend and his boss on a little sightseeing of San Francisco.

I didn’t mind, although, truth be told, I was surprised at the number of things we crammed into a short amount of time.

They picked me up around 2:45 p.m. and dropped me off just before 6 p.m. having to give themselves enough time to get the rental car back to the airport and pick up another person from SFO for the rest of the business trip.

In that time we drove Great Highway, went up to Lands End, parked, walked around Seal Rock, Lands End, and took photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Then we hopped back into the car and I navigate us to the NOPA neighborhood so that we could do a quick spin around Alamo Square Park and see the Painted Ladies.

Which actually looked really lovely in the late afternoon light.

Plus the scaffolding that has been up on one of the girls finally has been pulled down.

I’m not always the biggest fan of the Painted Ladies, I think there are far prettier houses, but the view is gorgeous and my friend and his co-hort got to snap some photographs.

Before heading to the cable car.

At least I know my cable car lines.

I did not direct us to either the downtown turn around on Powell or the one at the end of Fisherman’s Wharf.


We hopped on the California Van Ness line at California and Polk Street.

I pointed out things like a good host guide–“there’s the Masonic Temple, in case you wanted to see any Mason’s,” I chuckled when we passed the venue.

“On the left side of the car is Grace Cathedral, there’s Huntington Square Park, here’s the Fairmont Hotel with the Tonga Room, and on the other side is the Top of The Mark, where Vertigo was filmed.”

I told them about how the cable cars run and the difference between a cable car and a trolley.

I got to see some San Francisco I don’t normally see.

Then we hopped off at the end of the line in the Financial District and walked over to the Ferry Building.

They joked about hipsters and gluten-free diets and hippies and vegan donuts and I used the bathroom.

We grabbed a Boccalone sampler of salted pig parts and walked back to the Financial District and for the first time in so long I can’t remember when this actually happened, we went to a bar and watched the end of the Dallas Detroit Game.

My friend was determined to find a place to watch the last few minutes, and his compatriot seemed just as eager, I think they were on the spread (what does that mean anyway?).

So, that’s how it happened to be that at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon I find myself in the hotel bar of the Hyatt Regency downtown sipping a Pellegrino and sending texts to my boyfriend who is away on business in Santa Clara while my friend drinks a pint and watches the football game.

I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

Twice in one weekend I find myself in social settings with bars.

I’m not interested in drinking, if anything it really grosses me out, the smell of it especially, I find myself more and more sensitive to it, but I did not like that I had ended up in a bar on my day off.

I was glad to see my friend.

But I was ready to go home.

We took an Uber from the hotel bar to the rental car after the game finished and I thought, my life, it really is so different from the everyday hustle bustle of the rest of the world.

Not just because I live and work in San Francisco, but also because I practice an actively spiritual way of life that does not include drinking.

I have been reminded at New Years and again today, how the rest of the world works and plays, oh, yeah, this is what “normal” people do.

I have to say.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I don’t mind playing tourist once in a while.

But that’s not a part of town I need to revisit again.

Literally and figuratively.

That being said, it was a gift to see my friend, it is nice to see people from Madison, from UW, from that part of my life.

If only to smash home how radically different a person I have become.

“Your place looks entirely Carmen,” my friend said as he used the bathroom and I gave him the “grand tour” of my in-law.

Although not exactly the person I was when I went to school back at UW Madison, I am apparently not too different either.

Just a bit more clear-eyed.

And present.

And now back to my regular programming.

My “normal.”

Living my own little slice of San Francisco.

Away, way, way, down by the sea.

In my little bungalow that looks like me.


Viva Roma!

April 8, 2013

Or something like that.

To celebrate saying yes to the Universe I have been granted a trip to Rome.

I will be flying out the 20th of April from Charles de Gaulle in Paris and returning the 23rd of April from Rome.

Just a quick in and out.

I have never been to Rome.

I have no idea what I should see in Rome.

I have a few days to do some internet research.

I am just absurdly grateful and actually rather in awe that I get to do this.

Hell, that I have gotten to do any of this.

“You will see,” he said to me this afternoon in his lilting French accent, “you will discover so much will have come from this journey, it is of the educational variety, non?”

He continued, “you will be back, I know this, we need you here.”

I smiled, nodded.

“You are inspiration, you are your own authentic self, that is what I aspire to be, that is what we all need to be, to find our own authenticity.” He finished, smiled and I teared up.

“Thanks, Stan.”  I said and sat and listened for a while this afternoon.  Then I was invited to lunch with another friend I have met here.

I got to get turned onto the salad bar in the neighborhood.

It is not like an American Pizza Hut buffet, but a really divine little French company that does a build your own salad.  You choose a bowl of lettuce–mache, frisee, romaine, mixed greens, and then they toss it with your choice of toppings, and dress it.

I had a baby greens salad with pink grapefruit, tomatoes, edamame, and avocado with a citrus and olive oil vinaigrette.


Day 8 vegan style.

I explained to my friend Shannon I may not stay vegan, but I am going to definitely give it a go, I am officially having cheese detox after the weekend stay in Chambourcy.

“You know how in America you have a vegetable crisper in your fridge?”  I asked Shannon yesterday via Skype.

“Ya,” she nodded, adjusting the Penelope LaRoux so that I could see her little ginger tipped ears in the video screen.

“Well, they had a cheese crisper,” I said, “I am not joking, three kinds of camembert, Roquefort, Elemental, bags of Baby Belles, mozzarella, chevre, more, I lost count, and I drank three lattes a day while I was there.”

“Oh my god.”

“Yeah, I know, disgusting, but I knew it was to be my last, so I openly admit it, I overindulged.”

I won’t be doing that again.

My tummy was not friendly with me for a few days.

I feel like I mostly go vegan anyhow, it’s not been much of a stretch.  It has just come down to, don’t raid the baby sitting gigs fridges for cheese and you’ll be fine.

Cheese has opiates.

That would explain some stuff.


I digress.

I shall not be imbibing of the pizza or pasta or gelato in Rome.

Not that I have been engaging in illicit treats here.

If I can not eat a baguette or pain au chocolat my entire time in Paris I won’t have any trouble not eating pizza in Rome.

I will probably do exactly what I do here.


Get lost.

Walk some more.

Take a lot of photographs.


Or whatever the Italian word is for voila!

I asked Corinne today if she had any suggestions as to what to do before I left.  She nixed going to Montparnasse, but did say I should climb the bell towers at Notre Dame.

I had not thought about it, but apparently you can get really close to the gargoyles.

I would love to get some shots of them up close and personal on my camera and if I could go at dusk, or late afternoon the light could be amazing.

So, climb the stairs to the top of Notre Dame.

That and a trip to the Louvre to see the two wings I have not explored.

Not tomorrow as its closed, and I may have plans anyhow.

I am not quite sure if my plans are to go on a date with this guy I met on the stairs of the Metro at Alma-Marceau, or if I am to be his tour guide.

It was a strange and interesting interaction.

A man caught my eye on the stairs and I recognized him from Bert’s cafe.

He was having a coffee with a man I assumed to be his partner last week while I was there with Greta doing some work.

He saw me today and gave me a look, paused, and said, “where do I know you from?”

I smiled, and said in halting French, “last week at Bert’s I was with a friend and you were in the back on the couch with a friend.”

“Ah! Oui!”  He remembered.

The next exchange happened so quickly that I am still uncertain it happened, but I have his number, an Austrian one, in my book, so it must have.

His name is Michel-Claude, he is a doctor, Austrian, here for three days and he would like someone to show him around and he thought I was pretty and nice and obviously knew my way about Paris.

I was flattered and agreed, I said I was available tomorrow, not tonight, as I was babysitting, he said he would call and set something up.

He was very well dressed and I thought, hey this could be fun, take him and his partner around some nice tourist places, maybe make a little extra travel to Rome money.

I gave him my number and e-mail.

Then I said I had to catch my train.

Then he said I was pretty and I got the look.



I thought you were gay.

Fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck.

You’re not gay.

You are European.


I may have said I would go on a day long date with someone and show him Paris.


I have not heard from him yet this evening, and I may not, but in the spirit of saying yes to the Universe, why not?

I can show up to Bert’s and have a coffee and who knows where it will lead.

Saying yes is leading me to Rome.

Saying yes has led me to Paris.

I am just going to keep sending it out to the Universe.



Or however they say it in Italian.

Go To Sleep Little Baby

March 25, 2013

I can hear the sound track to O Brother Where Art Thou in my head right now as I cradle a small 11 month old to my chest.

He has lovely blue eyes swathed with the longest lashes, his mouth is parted slightly, cupid bow pink, bottom just a little glisten of shine on it, breath slow, steady, in, out.  He is warm.

I am ready.

No, not to have one.

I am ready for a break.

It has been a long day.

I joined the family at 1 p.m. today to accompany the mom to the Luxembourg Gardens.

It is 11 p.m. right now and I am still with the kids.

I had thought I would have a little down time in the middle of the day to recuperate, relax, and let down the guard a little.

“Sugar, switch hands with me,” I said taking the little girls paw in mine as we transferred Metro stops and walked along the platform.

I am paid to be vigilant.

I am probably hyper vigilant.

Mom speaks no French and I have seen us get targeted a few times as possible pick pocket marks.

However, we have been fortunate to be left alone today.  Although when I went off to follow the little girl on the playground and the mom got up and left our bags on the bench I wanted to scream.

That is my life there, lady.

My Iphone, my wallet, my bank card, my id.

Not that there is much in the bank or that anyone is going to be able to do anything with my California Drivers licence, but my heart flew up into my mouth when I saw the bags on the bench.  I don’t care that it is an enclosed park, the fence is only three feet high.  Anyone could have reached over and snagged it all.

My worries for naught, I scooped up our things and packed everything into my messenger bag.

I have been carrying and toting all day today.

I have felt a little more like a pack mule today than a babysitter.

I have gotten one hell of a work out.

Chasing the little girl around the park, then carrying her up and down the stairs of the Metro, riding her on my shoulders as we navigated the sidewalks in Paris, holding her on my lap, and yes, carrying her through two Metro Line transfers and up countless stairs as she slept, completely knocked out, across me.

I locked her bum under my crossed arms, tucked her head into my neck, and just sucked it up and carried her.

Flash forward to getting all of us back to the house and mom and dad and friends have a private art gallery show to go to.  I am in for the evening and after bathing the little boy and making dinner for them, I strapped him into the carrier, where he seems most happy, cleaned up the house, and walked around pacing until he conked out.

The little girl got a video, “Horton Hears a Who” and is sleeping in mom and dad’s bed.

And here I am blogging.

After a late night last night, I had a “date” with a Skype friend, I crashed out hard.

I thought I may have a hard time dropping off as the flirtatiousness of the call had me wired, but I was out like a light, knelt down, said my thanks for the day, climbed into bed, started to go to that place in my head and the next thing you know the room-mate is up making coffee and breakfast.

I got up about fifteen minutes after he left, showered, breakfasted, wrote, and out the door.

And the rest of my day has been consumed by all things child.

Earlier, I had a thought, as I was navigating the best way for us to get to the park (mom has an app that suggested we transfer through Chatelet and take three trains).  No thank you.  I have the experience of having gotten lost enough and taken enough of the trains that I took us on a different route, which had us only taking two trains, avoiding Chatelet and Les Halles completely (huge underground labyrinths of confusion) and going in the “back door” of the park, thereby saving us easily an hour of travel time.

Which meant more time in the park.

I could start a business of being a “travel companion/nanny”.

Got plans to come to Paris?

Have kids?

Let me be your guide.

Of course, having done it now a few times for the family, I can say it is exhausting and I should be charging double what I asked.  Oh well, lesson learned.  And I have no complaints, they have tipped me every shift I have worked for them and are friends of friends, so I am not bitter.

Just exhausted.

That being said, I will make a tidy sum tonight and I will not be working a full day for them tomorrow.  Dad is done with work and declared it a family day.  I am thinking the family can do without me for the afternoon and then mom and dad can have their night out.

Which, fuck my mother, I just realized is going to make Wednesday a rough day.

I have my standing gig with the French miss in Courbevoie.

The gig I get up at 7 a.m. for.


Oh well, just keep repeating to self, restful weekend in the country.

I am going to really try to let it be a restful weekend in the country too.  I have been watching myself make plans to come into the city back and forth like a maniac and just thought to myself, is it worth it?  Maybe I can rearrange the meet ups I have made and actually take the weekend to myself.

I would like to go and sit and read the manuscripts my room-mate brought back from San Francisco.  Sit, with a legal pad and a pen or five, a hot cup of coffee, and a dog at my feet, at the kitchen table and really read them.  Make some notes, then take those bad boys into second draft territory.

I do not expect that I would be able to do the full work of the second draft in the weekend, however, I can read them and make notes and I can get a good jump on the work.

I believe this is the way I want to go.

And maybe a Skype date with a certain someone when my room-mate is not in the house to over hear the giggling coming from the kitchen.

Just a thought.


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