Posts Tagged ‘tourists’

Gratitude Does Not Even Begin

August 3, 2015

To express the wide range of emotions I have had this weekend.

But as a word, it will have to suffice.

I was so overwhelmed with it at so many points in the weekend that I just felt my heart over full with joy and gladness.

There was no need to look on the sunny side of life.

It was there at all times, surrounding me, welcoming me, showing me the beauty and the awe of the world that I get to live in.

I mean.

Seriously.

Yosemite.

Who am I to say there is no God?

What hand, then made this?

I am not going to get into a theological discussion, I will just say that my love and reverence for the God in my life just continues to grow deeper and stronger and I get to see so much more and see how far my life has taken me and how much more I just have to experience.

I mean.

I need more camping in my life.

Hello.

Of course, as I look at the stack, and the stack is getting bigger–there was another book waiting for me in the hallway to the house when I got back from Yosemite today–I know I have a lot of work, and that the work is only just beginning, but that I will need to have time away from the work to be able to do it strong and well.

I have to fill the well.

The well of images and love and senses.

“That good, eh?” My friend teased me tonight as we sat eating sushi up at Raw on Traval and Sunset.

I had my happy sushi face on.

It was good.

“I’m a sensory person,” I said, and rubbed my belly.

“I’ve noticed,” he smiled and patted my hand.

It’s true.

I like the sensory side of life.

The senses were quite pleased this weekend.

The moving forward, riding in the car, traveling under the light of the high bright blue sky, the pines sloughing in the wind, the smell of pitch, the sound of a hawk keening, the cicadas in the trees last night–how soon I forget the sounds of nature at night–how loud they were in the trees, the sight of the moon rising behind the low-lying clouds in Yosemite and the push of light through the darkened pines, the redwoods and the smell of evergreen needles drying in the sun, the warmth of being by a fire at night, the smell of wood burning, the sounds of a teenage group of kids getting their Saturday night party on in the woods.

So many things to hear and touch and see and smell.

So many things to feel.

The wind on my face as I stood on top of a rock at Glacier Point in Yosemite, 7, 214 feet above sea level, my arms outspread, the tears drying on my face from the sun and the vast expanse of the southern end of the valley rolling majestically before me.

I felt so alive and free and joyous.

It was overwhelming and I was so full of awe and wonder.

Still am.

I got to see Yosemite falls and Half Dome, Clouds Rest, which really, literally looked like clouds were resting on it.

I got to drive into the park through the tunnel on the southern side and was so blown open by seeing the valley from a different perspective than the one I had just witnessed, to get to get out of the car and stand again and the door step to Gods kingdom and marvel at the handiwork.

Of myself I am nothing, the father doeth the works.

I could not ever have imagined.

When I was getting teary in the car and excited and my friends were being silly and giddy and saying, just you wait, this ain’t nothing, just you wait, I couldn’t have imagined the grand spectacle of it all.

I had no comprehension of the size and scope.

I also have no desire to go back at this time of year again.

Although go back I will.

It was super touristy.

In fact, we were able, quite be coincidence and chance, is it odd or is it God, to get around some of the crowds because one of my friends happened to work at Yosemite when he was younger and because my other friend was a super savvy driver and knew how to navigate us around.

But I did get overwhelmed with the people and had a moment of panic.

It reminded me of why I have never actually seen the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, although I have been there three times.

The crowds of tourists threatened to engulf me.

When my friend drove to the look out point just after the tunnel descending down toward the valley floor my other friend, said, “pull over, she needs to look.”

And we got out and went to the vista point.

We got there seconds, it would seem, before a couple of tour buses pulled up and disgorged an inordinate amount of tourists onto the point.

I was sitting on the ledge and my friend was taking a photograph of me and all I could see was this tsunami of tourists rushing to the wall.

I was literally engulfed in an enormous wave of humanity.

I got up and dashed madly away, deserting my friends at the wall and walking through the parking area as rapidly as I could to get away from it.

I am not always the best with crowds and tourists, even when I am one of them too, it can overwhelm the hell out of me.

But.

It was just another part of the experience.

Granted one that made me very cognizant of wanting to come back in May, early May, while school is still in, or mid to late September, when the tourists go home to every corner of the globe and the park is not so overrun.

I will be going back.

I will be going forward, I should say, forward with many dreams of camping under the stars, of wood smoke, and the sound of wind in the trees and the trails ahead of me.

My path and journey I do not always know, but I know I need more of what I got this weekend and I am grateful.

Oh so grateful for this, yet another life affirming, experience.

For love.

For my friends.

For joy.

And for the sense to say yes when the gift was offered.

May I always be so graced to allow myself to accept these gifts.

May I always know this depth of love and gratitude.

Thank you friend.

Thank you for an experience I did not even know that I was missing.

And now this full and thank full heart is ready for bed.

And that too is something to be grateful for.

A home to come home to.

An anchor point to my travels and my life.

My life.

It really is.

Well.

Spectacular.

What A Long Strange Day

March 1, 2015

It’s been.

Not a bad day.

No, not at all.

Just strange.

Disjointed, out-of-place, off my schedule, up and about and going places and doing things, not much things, but things, that I don’t ordinarily do and places I haven’t been to in a long time.

24th Street for one, below Valencia Street.

It’s been a long while since I was in that neck of the woods.

I had a workshop that I was running up in Noe Valley today and it was sort of smack in the middle of my early afternoon.

Too early for me to get lunch out and about, but too late to get stuff done here in the neighborhood before I had to be up in Noe.

I did get a call from a girlfriend as I was writing this morning and we made plans to meet and hang out after my commitment was up.

A commitment that I am extremely grateful I got to show up for and do and be of service.

“You are gifted,” she said to me, “you really know how to do this thing.”

I’m not sure if she was referencing my style or the way I ran the workshop or what, but I do have to say, I was quite happy with how it came off.

I have never done anything quite like it before and it was a unique experience for me to go through.

One in which I did a lot of reflection around for the weeks coming up to it and one in which I was happy to say went off so well.

It was also fun to dress up for it and flounce about town in my polka dot party dress.

A lot of the workshop was showing the steps I took to be my authentic self in recovery and discussing body image and sexuality and how I have found growth, amazing growth in those areas.

It felt not only appropriate but down right correct to be dressed up in my outfit with my hair done up with roses and bright red lipstick on and just be me.

I have felt like I am stepping more and more into my skin and I so do like that.

Afterward I took myself out for a late lunch at a little Chinese restaurant, Tung Sing, on 24th.

Simple, light, easy, steamed veggies and shrimp, brown rice, green tea.

I ate half my meal, packed up the other half for tomorrow, and walked down 24th from Noe Valley into the Mission nibbling on an apple I picked up from the Farmer’s Market in Noe Valley.

Ah.

The Mission.

Loud.

Dirty.

Weirdly gentrified and old school drug addled all at the same time.

It was a boiling pot of tourists taking Uber straight to Balmy Alley in their Coach leopard print slip ons and Kate Spade clutches to snap photos of the murals to the homeless nut bag talking to himself on the corner where the line wound around the block to Humphrey Slocombe for artisanal ice cream.

Olive oil ice cream anyone?

I met my friend walking up the street and we window shopped and talked about life and schedules and Burning Man.

If I’m going.

I want to.

How I’m going to go.

I don’t know.

She’s already got her ticket, has a place to camp, is roaring into her second year ready to have a new experience after the debacles at the Gate last year getting stuck in the rain storm at will call.

I have no idea where I would camp, where I would get my ticket from, how I would go, what I would stay in, how I would do it.

But I suspect, do it I will.

She and I talked scenarios and meandered at a slow, leisure like pace.

We stopped at Philz so she could grab her coffee.

I declined staying for coffee.

I was actually a little overwhelmed by the crowds and the tourists and I cannot remember a time when I had ever walked into Philz before on 24th and Folsom and felt so not a part of.

It was such an awkward combination of tech guys and tourists and hipsters, but out-of-town hipsters, that I did not want to stay and intermingle.

Maybe another day.

Today I was grateful for my quiet, or quieter, life down by the sea.

There are tourists out here too, but it’s just a little different and not as developed and nowhere near as crowded.

So instead of grabbing a cup, large, no sugar, just cream, of the Greater Alarm, I went with my friend and looked at more shops and made sure to walk on the sunny side of the street.

I got my sunshine on, that’s for sure.

We walked up 24th to Noe Valley, stopping at Issa on 24th and Chattanooga and then over to Common Scents before hitting the Whole Foods salad bar.

Then.

Starbux.

Not because I like the tea or the coffee all that much, but because it’s central to my evening commitment, there’s WIFI and there’s big cushy window seats to people watch from.

And sky watch.

The sunset tonight was spectacular.

Not so much the news that I heard shortly thereafter, namely, that the spot I was headed to had been cancelled without notice.

Well shoot.

Who knows what I might have done with my day if I hadn’t been wandering around waiting to cover my Saturday evening commitment.

I was miffed momentarily, then whipped out my phone, looked up some information and headed off to catch the MUNI back to the Sunset.

Arriving at my destination early I popped into Tart to Tart and got a lemon ginger tea and read my book for about 45 minutes.

Then I ran into old friends also displaced from this evening’s routine.

We joked about being ex-pats and caught up.

It was as strange day, again, not unpleasant, just long and meandering and in some ways good for me to see that I have really grown quite fond of my side of town.

I’m a city girl for sure, just look at how I dress, but I need the quiet and the stillness out here, down by the sea.

I thought I would always be a Mission girl, for always and forever.

And while I know I will always be a San Francisco lass.

I may have turned the corner.

To becoming a local from the Sunset.

The Outer Sunset at that.

Who would have guessed.

 

Simply Sunday

March 17, 2014

I did not try anything new today.

I did not push myself to accomplish anything, go surfing, ride a 50 mile ride, write a novel, learn a new nanny skill, or practice a dating technique.

I just let today be Sunday.

I slept in.

I read.

I wrote.

I meditated.

I went for a walk on the beach.

It was foggy.  The rest of the city was warm and sunny, but in the Outer Sunset, it was foggy.  The sand was actually warm from yesterday’s sun, or so it seemed to me, it was not cold, by my standards down on the beach, it was foggy though and there was no sun.

It wasn’t stopping the herds of folks from all points not the Sunset from going to the beach.

Most were not prepared for the weather upon arrival and I saw a lot of shivering folk.

As I was returning from my walk on the beach I passed the N-Judah depositing people at its last stop before turning around at LaPlaya and heading back to the center of the city, I heard this from a rider descending.

“Fuck!  It’s freezing!” She said shivering intensely.

She was youngish, early twenties, perhaps late teens, possible San Franciscan who was newish to the city and not conversant, yet with the micro-climates throughout.

She was wearing a skimpy pair of jean shorts, flip-flops, and a sheer tank top over a bikini top.  I felt for her and tried not to say, “welcome to the Sunset!” too loudly, but I did smile when I passed by.

I was wearing jeans, flip-flops, a tank, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt and a light coat.

I can say I am a local.

Perhaps not a born and bred San Franciscan, but a local, for sure.

I give good directions too.

And I know how to dress in layers.

It took sometime.

I got inoculated to the Mission weather and would often, gleefully, I admit, observe the ring of fog surrounding the flat inner circle of sun falling in the Mission and bless my lucky stars that I didn’t live in an area locked in cold mist and fog.

Now, well, I don’t mind.

I am loving my little place by the sea.

I like that I can walk out the door and see the heavy roll and swell of winter waves smashing onto the sand and walk away my busy head, drowning out the sound of obsessed with everything Carmen, to just enjoy the air and sand and sea.

Plus, I have to say it, I don’t like riding my bicycle in the Mission anymore.

I find it too stressful.

I am a bicycle commuter, not a weekend leisure rider.

I am well versed in traffic and have ridden consistently in the city for the last 8 years.  I follow the rules of the road, most of the time, and I am hyper aware of my surroundings.

I was meeting my friend in the Mission for a spot of tea and some catching up this afternoon and I left giving myself plenty of time to get there.

I wasn’t going fast, just my normal clip, but I had to slow down a lot because of the heavy traffic.

Not car traffic.

Bicycle traffic.

Heavy, amateur bicycle traffic.

In no specific order, but just to annoy me, the following happened within five minutes of hitting the panhandle–

Bicycles riding the wrong direction on the path.

Bicycles passing on the right in my blind spot.

Bicyclists not using turn signals and suddenly turning or stopping.

A fleet of tourist on hybrids and a dad with a kid on a double bicycle that hollered out at me, “you go girl!” as I rode past.

Clumps of bikes that took up the full two lanes as they rode forward chatting amongst themselves.

A couple of bicyclists that were wearing ear buds who did not hear me when I passed, yelling out “on your left,” to make sure they didn’t swerve into me, swerved into me anyway.

Maybe I am a bit of a purist.

But.

Use a light at night.

Take out the ear buds.

Open your eyes.

Please, please, please, don’t pass on my right to pass on the car turning right–I don’t really feel like watching someone die today–it’s just scary and stupid.

No body needs to get there that freaking fast.

End small bicycle rant.

I am sure that once I am up and running on my scooter I will have a different kind of rant to rant about, and I was well aware of that as I hollered out “nice move douche bag,” on a fellow bicyclist who was cutting a corner to catch a light and nearly took out a woman walking through the cross walk.

Ok.

Slow down myself.

I don’t need to get there that fast either.

Once in the Mission I wanted to just get off my bike and walk.

It really was overrun.

Perhaps not as much as yesterday, the weather was nicer, but still.

I was happy to leave it locked up for a bit, walk around the Valencia corridor a bit, bought a dear friend a birthday present at a little shop, and then head over to my other friends house for tea time.

We went to Boderlands Cafe and got decaf chai teas and walked over to the park at Valencia between 19th and 20th.

The weather was perfect, hot, sunny, and the proverbial ring of fog circled it’s cold cat feet around the saucer flat bowl of the Mission.

I shed a layer and caught the waning sun before it dropped behind Twin Peaks and reveled in the day, the tea, my friend, her dog, conversations, catching up, and actions to take to move forward.

Then I met another friend and we went on a little bike ride to Church and Market and after some time there, I headed back out on my bicycle, when the day has ended, it’s Sunday and folks are inside mourning the True Detective sized hole in their Sunday evenings.

I rode through the Wiggle and onto the Panhandle, with nary a bicycle incident in sight.

In fact, I hit it down Lincoln Ave and rode the rest of the way home at a clip that I dare say was not pedestrian.

Wind in my face, sharp smell of pines in my nose, the cool air swishing past, free.

It was a nice way to end my day, a nice way to round out my weekend.

It was a good day.

Simple.

Sweet.

Sunday.

A walk on the beach, a bicycle ride through the park, tea with a girlfriend.

My life is fantastic.

Just saying.

Gratitude

February 1, 2014

Yeah, it’s one of those posts.

Who cares, no one is reading this, it’s Friday night, y’all out there getting your Friday on.

I am getting my pajamas on.

I don’t think I am sick, though every child and parent I have been exposed to over the last week or so has had the same cold/flu/virus yuck that has been going around.

“How do you manage to not get sick,” the poor mom asked me today as she handed me the little monkey, who had generously given his mom and dad his cold.

I don’t honestly know.

I get good rest.

I eat well.

I have been sneezed on, peed on, shat on, puked on, no I am not into fetish play, thanks, I work with kids (I also laughed to find a Puff–a popular baby snack — in my rolled up cuffs tonight as I crossed my legs–“want a snack?” I asked the woman seated next to me under my breath, picking it out of my pants, we both stifled mad laughter).

I have nanny immunity.

“Meet Carmen, the best nanny in San Francisco,” my dear friend introduced me to friends of hers as we were sitting outside Craftsmen and Wolves catching up, enjoying the weather, my charge nestled on my bosom, asleep and immune to the day, the dog, the passing tourists.

“Ok, folks, next stop on the list,” the tour guide said as she gathered up her posse of folks who had just exited the coffee haus and pastry extravaganza, folding maps, children, and old folks in tow, “we are going to walk to Balmy Alley.”

“When did that happen,” my friend said.

“And what is it?” She added, “I have seen this twice now, thought it was a conference group, but it’s not.”

“Nope, tour guide, guided tours of the Mission,” I said.

We got to be part of the local flavor.

I can’t believe there are walking tours being led in the Mission.

And at the same time I can.

Absolutely.

“San Francisco has become a playground for wealthy people,” a friend of mine said recently.

I think it always was.

This is frankly, not news to me, I remember moving to the Mission over 11 years ago and even then it was becoming something gentrified and elevated.

That is what happens.

I am just grateful that I get to continue living in this city, one of the most expensive to live in the world, if not the most expensive–the rents are nationally recognized as being the highest–and I get to live here.

Pretty awesome.

The cherry tress are all in bloom.

The smell of petals crushed under foot.

The magnolia trees are also pushing forth their thick waxy blooms, perfuming the air with their rich smell of discretely intoxicated ladies who lunch at Jardiniere; everywhere plush plant life and blooms.

I get to walk about and enjoy the sun and finally, now, my music.

Oh.

Yeah.

That is something to be grateful for.

Some sort of glitch in my Iphone and once in a while all of my music disappears off my phone.  I plugged it in to my laptop today and suddenly it booted up.

I got all my music off my laptop and back on my phone again, which is currently in my IHome player and I am getting to hear (well, I can always listen to my library on my computer, but the system is not as rich in sound as my player, nor does the volume go as loud. I like it loud, or at least louder than the computer can do) music I have not enjoyed in sometime.

I tried to work up some self-pity about being home on a Friday night, but couldn’t muster it.

I really have had a nice week.

Getting to go to work, getting to have work, getting offers to check out some new things, having my friends advocate for me, getting amazing feed back from all sorts of places, going on a date, even if it was to be told not interested, getting paid, getting to ride the MUNI.

Rode in to work again today and if the MUNI always ran as smooth as it did today I might actually take it more often, but from personal experience I have not been able to rely on it to do that.

Nevertheless I was at Noe and 19th a scant 43 minutes after leaving my house.

I could hardly believe that I had walked out the door and made it, door to door, in under an hour.

That has never happened before.

I will be taking care of the bike Sunday.

I was going to do it tomorrow, but I have dance plans with a girl friend and I have doing the deal plans at Tart to Tart at 12:15p.m.

I need to do both and be in very different places and to take care of getting lunch, my bike, and to the dance venue by 3p.m. is not going to work unless something magical happens.

Which could, I’m not saying it’s not possible, but I want to dance and as soon as I realized that to take the MUNI back to my place, get my bike, and then go back to the Mission from Ocean Beach would eat up a load of my time, I figured I would just wait until Sunday to deal with it.

Or, hmm, a new thought, I could bring it with me to 7th and Irving and just head from there.  That could work.  Put me into the Mission a little early and get it out-of-the-way.

I will see what tomorrow brings.

Grateful to be home in my pjs with some hot tea and some dance grooves, this has been an intense week without getting into detail, lots of revelations that I have not been able to blog about, yet, but amazed at how things seem to be falling together.

Shit happens when I stand up for myself.

“Practice self-assertion,” she said to me recently over the phone, “that really is a principle.”

I had not thought that.

But apparently it is.

My friend leaned over to me as I held the sleeping boy in my arms, his lashes a thick fringe of velveteen rabbit goodness on the cream cusp of his cheek that made me bend forward and kiss his small smooth forehead, and said, “you make yourself so small, I have seen you take up so little space, you really have a gift you know, embrace it, embrace things.”

Yes.

Here is to embracing ALL the things.

I deserve it.

And I am fucking grateful, yes, that I finally realize it.

Took long enough.


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