Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Birthday Weekend Wrap Up

January 15, 2018

It was good.

So good.

I mean.

Super sweet and special, and full of so much love.

And dancing.

And hugs.

And love.

I know, I mentioned that already, but it was just a lovely weekend.

I mean.

Not all of it.

Going over the bridge yesterday, the Bay Bridge, the traffic was so bad I had a moment of why the fuck am I going to Oakland to do this party?

But it was worth it.

So worth it.

I had such a lovely time and got to see folks that I haven’t seen in a while and hear great music and dance and giggle and laugh.

I laughed a lot.

I felt very happy, joyous, free.

It was spectacular.

I still feel like that and also a wee tiny bit emotional, not a lot, but a tiny bit, I was surprised just a few moments ago when I was up in the Castro Most Holy Redeemer to find myself having the anticipation and anxiety of getting a little round metal chip with the Roman numerals ten and three ones on it.

Thirteen

Thirteen years.

It still astounds me.

It felt really, really, really special.

I saw folks there that saw me when I first came in, who helped me and talked to me and bought me coffees and bummed me cigarettes and made suggestions about what to do and shared their experience, strength, hope with me, in such strong graceful ways that their message still stays with me.

Show up.

Suit up.

Be of service.

Say yes.

And extraordinary things will happen.

It is astounding how many things have happened for me.

I had an inkling that this past year was going to be a big one, I remember writing about it in a blog that would have been around this time last year, feeling that it would be fortuitous, that big, big, big things were happening.

My God.

Did the big things happen.

They really did.

I am not the same woman who turned twelve, I have grown so much this past year and really walked through some things that I had no idea I was going to get to experience.

I am so loved.

So blessed.

Graced.

And grateful.

I cannot imagine how, but I feel that this year moving forward will be much the same–full of excitement, growth, travel, love, adventure.

School.

Graduating from one program.

Starting another.

Work of course, internship, of course, recovery, the big of course.

Travel.

I will go to Paris to see my best friend there, although I don’t have set dates yet, I’m still waiting for my work to sort itself out as far as their holiday, summer, travel.

I may be going with them for part of it.

And I want to do other little trips too.

Fun things.

Weekends out of the city.

New places to go and experience.

I feel abundant.

Expansive.

I feel that my capacity for love has grown and opened wide my heart so much.

I have all these images of things  and words and endearments in my head, I am suffused with this feeling of love and I am so happy for it.

My love.

So happy.

I have a feeling that this year is going to be beyond anything I have yet to experience.

It’s a wondrous thing to have faith and be taken care of and show up and really live.

I mean.

Passionately live.

I am so alive.

I am so lucky to be alive.

Frankly.

I should be dead.

Or.

Just scraping along the gutter, in the filth and the muck, trying to make beautiful things and failing.

I have made so many beautiful things since I started this journey thirteen years ago.

Poetry.

Photographs.

Friendships.

Love.

I have made huge leaps of faith.

I have made decisions that I didn’t even know I could make.

I have made music, or collaborated in making music.

I have been in a film.

I have made my way into foreign countries, sat in cafes under many different skies, and scribbled away in so many notebooks I lost count long ago.

I have ridden bicycles all over the place.

San Francisco to LA.

Oakland to Berkeley.

The Outer Sunset to the Outer Mission.

Over the Golden Gate bridge numerous times, down into Sausalito and over to Tiburon, and one memorable day, up to the top of Mt. Tam.

And in Paris.

Nothing says amazing adventure like bringing your own bicycle to the city of Lights and taking a ride down the Champs Elysees.

Although.

Truth be told I only did that a few times.

The Champs Elysees is cobblestone and that was not a pleasant ride but fuck, it was fun to do it a couple of times and say that I had.

Or past the Eiffel Tower.

I did that ride a lot on Sundays.

I have ridden my bike at Burning Man too, not the same bike, but one that I loved for many years, ridden off into many a dusty sunset to dance at the edge of the desert and sing with joy at the heavens.

I have gotten up in front of people and performed my poetry.

Spoken word in Paris at Le Chat Noir.

In the downtown office of Form4 Architecture for their principle architect.

On stage at The Elbow Room and in the studio of Sunshine Jones.

I have done plenty of mundane, every day, simple, day-to-day things too.

Often times, more often than not, with gratitude for just getting to stay in San Francisco.

That’s some kind of miracle, that I still get to live here.

The miracles are innumerable, the gifts astounding.

I can only keep it by giving it away.

The paradox that I love.

Here out by the sea, in my little studio, listening to jazz, writing to you and letting you know about my day and how important you are to me.

So important.

I am overblown with gratitude.

Love.

Love.

Love.

Thank you for thirteen years.

It’s been freaking amazing.

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Just A Tiny Bit

January 13, 2018

Surreal.

I turn 13 in an hour and a half.

I have already received a few congratulations and warm sweet gifts, my god, the thoughtfulness of some people astounds me, though my anniversary is not until tomorrow.

I am grateful that I have this time to reflect and think and be in a place of gratitude and warmth and all wrapped up for the week.

It’s been a week.

I’ve plenty to do tomorrow, but I suspect that it will be done with much joy and laughter and hopefully, no little grace.

My morning will be a typical Saturday morning, yoga and shower and breakfast and coffee and writing.

Then I’m hoping to squeeze in a manicure before I have to go to group supervision at 2 p.m.

Something snazzy and flashy and definitely glittery.

Giggle.

I treated myself to a dress from Modcloth that’s super fun,

It’s also super simple and a bit basic, which is good, I wanted a comfy dress to dance in.

It’s pretty much a little black dress with a scoop neck and a skater skirt.

And.

Glitter.

Heh.

I also allowed myself to pick up some glitter fishnets, because, sparkle.

And thirteen years, thirteen years of working it out and doing the deal and showing up and being of service, well, that deserves some fucking glitter, at least so I think.

I had wanted to wear some fabulous shoes but I also want to dance, so my pink velvet Tretorns will have to do, I think they will go perfectly with a glittery dress and fishnets.

Sexy, but hella comfy.

I’ll wear some heels when I go meet my person in the Castro for dinner on Sunday.

Fancy shoes are great for sit down meals, maybe not the best for hours of dancing.

I mean.

I used to do that, a long, long time ago, when my knees were younger and I had a lot of extra chemicals coursing through my veins to keep me going and ignore the painful, numbed out feet I was mashing into the floor as I stomped along to the music long into the night.

Or.

The next morning.

It’s funny.

I’ll be up much past my bedtime, the party goes until 1 a.m. and as one of the hosts I know I will feel responsible to make sure it all goes off well.

I’m not super excited about coming back from Oakland at bar time, but it looks like that will be happening.

At least I got my FasTrak in the mail and I won’t have to pay cash at the toll bridge.

It should be a pretty quick commute back.

Sunday I do have plans, but they’re all spaced out and I should be able to take naps intermittently throughout the day if so needed.

I don’t care in the end.

A girl only turns thirteen once.

Knock on wood.

I don’t have any reservations made for future drinking or using, but I am quite humbly aware that I have been given a gift and that I need to keep passing it along.

I have seen people drift away and they usually don’t drift into wonderful waters.

I have never had a relapse in my recovery and I certainly don’t want one.

I feel really fortunate to have what I have, the community I am in, the resiliency I have been gifted with, the fellowship, my friends, the love that surrounds me.

So.

Yeah.

I’ll be up a little late tomorrow night, but it’s so well worth it.

It’s been an amazing year when I look back.

New relationships.

Vast amounts of love.

Entering my third and final year of my Master’s program.

Starting at my practicum site and seeing clients.

A new job.

A new car.

Travel to Burning Man and Paris.

Therapy.

Internal growth.

So much of that.

Holy mother of God.

So much spiritual work.

All gifts.

I could never have suspected thirteen years ago when I reached out for help the life I would get to have.

It doesn’t even make sense.

I couldn’t imagine the places I would go or the adventures I would have.

So many adventures.

So much travel.

More travel please.

Friends, art, writing.

Oh. My. God.

The amount of writing, I mean I talked about writing before I got sober and I wrote some poetry and I tried my hand a few things, but I never had a real writing practice, I just talked about it a lot.

A LOT.

The book I was going to write, the poetry, the essays, la, la, la, la, la.

All vacuous words spouted from the vapid drunk girl at the end of the bar.

Now.

Well, I can surely tell a story, and I might hold you hostage to it, but I don’t talk about things I’m going to do for hours on end.

I actually do them.

I show up.

I suit up.

And I’m thrilled beyond words that I have a baker’s dozen of years to substantiate that.

Luckiest girl in the world?

Fuck yeah I am.

When Was I Happiest

January 6, 2018

Today?

I just asked myself that.

In a prompting kind of way, hey you, you need to write your blog, get your fingers moving on that keyboard, make some fucking magic happen.

Because all of the seven people who read my blog really want to know what I did today.

Meh.

I recently got an update from WordPress that I have once again celebrated an anniversary.

Eight years of blogging.

Eight.

What the fuck did I write about?

So many things, so many thoughts.

I have published over 2,400 blogs.

My average blog is somewhere between 1100-1300 words.

But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say 1,000.

That means that I have written over 2,4000,000 words.

Over two million words!

Who the hell knew there were so many words in my head?

I never suspected that I would be where I am in now in my life when I started writing this blog.

I was living on Taylor and Washington in a large studio that was on a cable car line.

I was working as a nanny in China Basin.

I made really good money.

More than I actually make now, if you can believe that, because it was all under the table.

I had a very nice Felt 35 racing bike that I did my commute on.

I was horribly lonely.

I felt like all I did was grind at work, I worked at least 50 hours a week.

Which is funny, as I put in about fifty hours a week now and go to graduate school full-time.

But at that time I was going through a lot of weird stuff.

I was desperately trying to get abstinent with my food, which I did do in that apartment, but it took a hot ass second.

I was trying, oh so very hard, to get some head way on my book, said head way has come to naught in many ways, but you know, I started this blog by publishing each of the chapters one by one in the pages.

If you should want to read some really bad writing, well it’s there.

For sure.

I had a friend read the book in manuscript form about four years ago and he told me with no mincing of words that if he didn’t know better he would have never believed that the person who wrote this blog was the same person who had written that book.

My writing, suffice to say, has gotten much better.

That’s what happens when you practice.

You get better.

I have had eight years of practicing this blog.

Some days I am so inordinately pleased with what I have written that I may actually go back and re-read a blog.

But not very often.

I generally throw it down on the page, I”m just transcribing my thoughts, and really, thank god I have some fast typing skills, I’m just writing what I am thinking.

It’s a little like having a one-sided conversation with me.

Hey how was your day?

Let me tell you about mine, and then I’m unleashed upon you.

Or something like that.

I am reflecting as I did my Morning Pages this morning in the place where Morning Pages originated for me, about ten years ago.

Yeah.

If you thought writing a blog eight years in a row was something, check out my history with writing my Morning Pages.

Ten years, going on eleven.

I realized that this morning as I sat in Muddy Waters on Valencia and 24th.

I had a chiropractor appointment this morning and some time to kill before I had to be into work.

So instead of getting up stupid early, I let myself sleep in, packed my breakfast and brought it with me, planning to eat it at the cafe while having a cafe au lait before going into work.

The cafe is much the same as when I first started hanging out at it.

I had moved to a shared apartment in a rent controlled Victorian on Capp Street and 23rd and Muddy’s was the closest cafe to me and the one where I did a lot, and I do mean a lot, of sitting with another woman and reading out of a big blue book.

So many women in that cafe, before my regular Wednesday haunt, as well as my regular Saturday gig and many other times in between.

And it was also the scene of The Artist Way group that I was a part of for a year and a half.

It was an awesome group.

We met for an hour before rolling up the hill to a spot in Noe Valley on Wednesday nights.

We would grab the big round table towards the back of the cafe and anywhere from 6 to 10 of us would sit down for about an hour and share about the assignments we had done from the book.

We did one chapter a week, followed the instructions regarding the assignments, and talked about our experiences working the projects and doing the morning pages.

The book suggests that every morning you take time to write three pages long hand.

Emphasis on long hand.

No typewrite, keyboard, tablet, computer.

My blog does not count as morning pages and never has.

There is something so captivating about writing on paper with a good pen.

I was writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks that I brought back from Paris this morning and I reflected on how it was in that group that I came to the realization that I wanted to go to Paris.

That I actually wanted to move to Paris.

It would take some years before I moved, but by participating in that group I realized how much I wanted to go to Paris and I took myself on a solo trip for ten days after doing the work in the book.

I took myself on artists dates, I went to museums, I bought myself nice paper, I sat and daydreamed in cafes and watched clouds roll by.

I looked out those same windows today and marveled.

Look how far I have come.

Look where I am now.

My best friend in Paris messaged me today about when I’ll be going back.

I have been to Paris five times since I made that decision, and yes, one of those times was to live there for six months.

I have re-written that book.

Although I still don’t think it’s at a publishable place.

I have written poems.

I have performed with djs in nightclubs reciting my poems.

One of them became a recording.

I have lectured on stage.

I have traveled.

I went to Burning Man, a lot.

I traveled to New York by myself as well as New Orleans to go see art.

I have taken 1,000s and 1,000s of photographs.

I have written millions of words.

I think I have a few million more.

I have done morning pages in Paris, London, Rome, New York, L.A., New Orleans, Madison, Wisconsin, Anchorage, Alaska, Burning Man, Reno, San Diego, Las Vegas, and probably a bunch of other places I can’t remember now.

But they all started one night in a Muddy Waters coffee shop on Valencia and 24th.

Opening a door that has led me down this meandering path of creation and love.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

Graduation Application

January 5, 2018

Holy fuck.

It’s happening.

I mean.

It’s been happening for years now, when I think about it, the getting to graduation bit.

But.

Whoa.

It’s really happening now.

I got a notification from my cohort’s student representative with the program that the deadline for the application to graduate is February 1st.

I have two more weeks before I’m heading back into the first weekend of classes for my last semester and I have to be on this shit in a major way.

There are quite a few hoops to jump through,

I am a tiny bit surprised that there is so much paperwork that has to be done, and at the same time, not at all surprised, the school is small and there often times seems to be a lot of unnecessary hoop jumping on the part of the students.

This is not something new.

So good information to have as I navigate the next couple of weeks before the semester begins, because I will also have another application due in February.

The application to the PhD program through the Transformative Psychology program.

That application is due at the end of the month.

The application to graduate from my Masters in Counseling Psychology will be due the 1st of the month.

Nicely bookending my weekend of classes and all the other things that I need to take care of to get through the month.

Plus.

I am going on a trip in February to the East Coast.

Holy bats.

February is going to be a big fucking month.

And although it’s only January 4th I can feel that this month is going to fly by.

This week certainly has, I was like, wait, what, tomorrow’s Friday?

How the hell did that happen so quick?

Back to clients, back to work, holidays over, get yourself busy.

Gratefully this week really was an easing in.

I didn’t have my solo supervision, that revs back up on Monday, just my therapy this week, and I also did not carry my full load of clients.

I’ve had three this week so far, two of those session were tonight, and I will have a phone session tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

My last client of the week cancelled.

So I will actually get out in time to do the deal.

Maybe I’ll pop over to Our Lady of Safeway and get right with God.

It’s been a hot second since I’ve been in that neck of the woods.

I’ve a full day Saturday, dentist appointment at 9 a.m., hoping to get out with just a quick cleaning and get back to my neighborhood in time to go to yoga, then a shower, some late breakfast, and getting over to group supervision in the afternoon from 2-4p.m.

I’ll have a lull in between, maybe time to get a manicure.

I’ll hit my spot at 7pm in the NOPA and call it a Saturday.

Sunday I do have a ladybug coming over to do some work and I’m looking forward to that for sure.

Of course, I’ll want to get in a yoga class, and perhaps another bike ride, I really enjoyed doing that.

If the weather holds.

It’s been raining a fuck of a lot the last couple days and it looks like there’s still some more in the upcoming days.

So grateful for my car.

Really, so much.

Especially coming home tonight when the sky just sort of opened up out of nowhere, to not be on my scooter in the rain, such a blessing.

Anyway.

Sunday may be the day to kick out the graduation application.

I do want to get it out-of-the-way fairly quickly.

I don’t want it looming over me during the school weekend, especially as I will be occupied getting into my class routine.

Plus.

I will want to have the rest of the time to work on my application for the PhD program.

Which reminds me.

I need to talk to my advisor, who just so happens to be the head of my department, about getting a letter of recommendation from him.

The PhD program requires that one of my letters come from my academic advisor.

I don’t believe it will be too hard to get a good letter from him, he was one of my first teachers in the program, I had him my first semester, he admires me, he has asked me to help advise others regarding writing academically and he’s asked after my experience with teachers in the program and some interesting internal conflicts my cohort has gone through.

I really like him and he likes me and he’s been a great advocate of mine.

I have to make an appointment to meet with him ASAP.

I’m going to be talking to the Dean from the Transformative Psychology department on Monday, I want to line up my advisor for the following week when I’ll be heading into my first weekend of the semester.

But.

First.

A little fun.

And.

Oh.

A tiny bit of pain too.

I have my anniversary in 9 days and a dance party to go to–the fun.

And.

Yes.

A thirteenth star tattoo to get–the pain.

I’ll be heading into see Danny Boy at Let it Bleed on Polk Street on the afternoon of my anniversary after I get out of my group supervision.

Danny Boy’s done the last three stars for me.

I’m planning a pink one this go around, a small’ish one, on the right side of my neck, above the big black star that I got, my 11th year, which also happened to fall right after David Bowie’s death–Bowie was sober and his last album was Black Star–seemed quite apropos.

I’m excited.

There’s some big stuff happening.

Anniversary, graduation application, PhD application, life, love, doing the deal, work, clients.

All the things.

All of them.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2018

I really haven’t any resolutions to share with you.

I prefer to just treat each day like it’s a new day instead of having expectations that I need to change or get better or perfect something.

I need to grow a little everyday and not try to cram a bunch of resolutions into my day and think that I’m going to change over night.

Little bits by little bits.

Baby steps, baby.

And I took some nice ones today.

I got out of bed.

I know.

Crazy.

I really wanted to stay in bed and in fact, did sleep past the point I would normally get up.

My brain was trying to hijack my body though and convince me that I didn’t need to go to yoga.

I needed to go to yoga.

It, my brain, almost won out, but I have smart feet and I also have inborn knowledge from having done enough yoga that I always feel better after a class, even if it’s with not my favorite instructor at the studio.

Which is the excuse that I used the day before to not go, but really, I assure you I had gotten plenty of exercise the previous twelve hours to not feel upset about missing a class and I think that I needed the extra sleep yesterday.

Today, not so much, and I knew that I would not be happy with myself if I skipped yoga two days in a row during a time that I could be going to yoga.

I can’t typically make it to classes during the week, work and my internship conflict, so I’m a weekend warrior.

To not go on both Saturday and Sunday would have been sacrilege.

So I got my happy ass out of bed and into my yoga clothes and I stayed in them for a long time.

It was a great class, I was really surprised, maybe not having any expectations that I would enjoy the class I actually did.

I came home thinking that I wanted to go on a bike ride too, the bike ride had been running around in my head for a few days now that I think on it, and I figured I could actually make it a nice physical day for myself, maybe even go back to the late yoga class.

It’s a restorative yoga class, so it wouldn’t have been like a big effort, although I didn’t end up going, something else came up.

But.

I did go on the bike ride!

It was great and in fact, I might let myself go on another tomorrow.

I was supposed to meet with a ladybug today, but she had to cancel, so after a good check in via phone, I pulled my bike out and pumped air into the tires, grabbed my messenger bag, a water bottle and my bike locks, in case I wanted to stop anywhere I could lock up my bike.

I rode out from the house down 46th to Sloat, then up to Great Highway, up past the zoo a bit, and then stopped right before the hill to gaze at the ocean for a while and snap a quick photo of my bicycle, she is a pretty, pretty thing, before I headed back down Great Highway, riding past my turn off to Fulton Ave, the up to 47th and around the park for awhile, around the soccer fields and the back side of the Beach Chalet, I went past the archery fields and eventually popped back out onto Lincoln Ave at Chain of Lakes, back down to 46th, then two blocks back to the house.

IMG_E0126

It was smashing.

I am so glad I did it.

Aside from the exercise it also felt really meditative and I reflected over and over again how amazing it is that I live somewhere so beautiful, that I literally am blocks away from Ocean Beach, that I get to ride my bicycle around a world-renowned park, that I get to live here in San Francisco.

It is a huge gift.

After the bike ride I had a late lunch and then made some chicken soup.

I’ll be visiting my person tomorrow, he just had a hip replacement surgery, and I wanted to bring him some more chicken soup, he’s gone through the two big Mason jars I gave him right before the surgery.

I’ll be heading is way by 1 p.m. and we’ll go for an easy walk around the block.

Like literally.

Just around the block.

And maybe a few minutes of hang out time.

I don’t think he’s got the energy for big visits, but he wants to see my face and I, his.

It will be good to see him.

I’m also going to hit up another yoga class tomorrow.

It’s nice to have a Monday off and the studio is open.

That will make three yoga classes over the weekend and a bike ride.

Not bad.

Especially for someone who is  loath to exercise.

I generally like it once I’m doing it and I know how important it is to move my body, but my brain is a sabotaging machine.

Anyway.

I signed up for the 10 a.m. yoga class and I’ll see my person at 1p.m.

Other than that I have no New Year’s Day plans.

Doing the deal somewhere and chilling out with my new book.

NEW BOOK!

That’s not a psychology book.

I know.

Crazy.

I went up to Blackbird Books, the new book store in my hood next to Trouble Coffee, and splurged on the new Jennifer Eagen book, Manhattan Beach, I’m going to indulge my literary self and not read any psychology for at least a week.

So freaking sexy.

I may just spend most of tomorrow lazing on the chaise lounge after I get back from helping out my person and just read.

Such luxury.

And that’s it, that’s my New Year’s Day plans.

To chill the fuck out.

The year is going to be full and amazing, hello, I’ll be graduating, going to Paris, and starting  PhD program, traveling to D.C., and who knows what else will happen, seeing many clients and nanny’ing up a storm.

Wishing you and yours the Happiest of New Years!

Big love from the city by the Bay.

May the year bring you so much love and joy.

So much.

Slowing Down

December 13, 2017

Not having any school stress hanging over me has really mellowed me out.

I got to debrief with my therapist about it all and the lecture and all the things love and relationship and work and family today.

It really amazed me to see that it was just one week ago today that I was on a stage giving a lecture in front of 100s of people.

It feels like it was last year.

There was so much that happened after the lecture that I quite lost sight of the fact that I had done it.

Even though I have had a number of people clamor for the video of it.

It has not been posted up yet and I’m rather loathe to watch it anyhow.

I don’t need to see myself, I was there, I know how it felt.

Even my therapist wants to see it!

My therapist went to the same school I’m in now and did the same program and had some of the same teachers.

It’s always a good feeling of commiseration with her about my life and school and all the things.

It’s almost as though we are contemporaries, friends.

We had a good session and there was much to process.

There always is.

And then off to work.

I went in early to help the family and got to spend an unexpectedly sweet day with the baby.

He’s almost a year now and it’s coming close to time to renew my contract with the family.

I’m very happy with them and they are happy with me.

It’s a mutual appreciation society.

Seriously.

The dad today said he didn’t know how they’d still be alive without me.

That was super sweet to hear.

It’s a trip though, working for a family with three kids, three really changes the dynamic, it’s a flat-out hustle sometimes and there is not a lot of down time.

There is always something for me to do.

Always.

I don’t mind, it’s good to stay busy.

Although not too busy.

The parents had asked if there was a day in the upcoming weeks that I might be able to help with an overnight and I gave them a night when I could and as it turns out that night doesn’t work and well, I have to say that I wasn’t really upset about that.

I don’t have solid plans to do anything on the days I have off, but I sort of like that I have some time off to do with what I will.

My therapist asked me about Christmas and what it was like for me and whew boy that opened up a lot of fodder.

I realized very much that the last few Christmases have been really hard on me and she was encouraging me to do something sweet for myself, a yoga retreat, a little road trip in my new car, something personal and kind and I will add, for myself, cheerful.

I often spend Christmas alone and I can get melancholic about it.

Last Christmas I was navigating through some personal landmines that surprised me but in hindsight needed to happen and helped me grow exponentially.

Nothing like pain to prompt some spiritual growth.

The year before I was with someone in Paris who couldn’t really be with me and that felt like throwing my heart on a bonfire and roasting marshmallows over it.

Burnt and crisp and super painful.

I’d rather not have a painful Christmas this year.

Soft and gentle and loving and I really want to let myself not freak out about it.

I don’t want to compare and despair.

Maybe the road trip to Stinson on Christmas Day, pack a picnic, go to the beach, have bonfire, collect shells, reflect on my life and what I want in the new year.

Or down to Santa Cruz and go to Bridges State Park for the Monarch migration happening now.

I tried to go one year with a boyfriend and yes, we made it, but so late in the day that the monarchs weren’t flying.

I might try to give that another shot.

I should also get my MOMA on.

I have a membership and haven’t been in months, now that I’m on break from school it’s definitely time to go again.

I also want very much to see the Klimt exhibit at the Legion of Honor.

I love Klimt.

That is a must do.

I will also do a movie at the movie theater.

Last year I went to La La Land on Christmas day for a matinée at Kabuki Theaters and then I took myself out to sushi.

It was super cold on my scooter and I felt pretty miserable riding around.

Not going to be a problem with year with having a car.

I’ll be taking her tomorrow.

The last two days I’ve been on my scooter to avoid the morning rush traffic and get to supervision and today to therapy, before work and then to my internship on time.

I haven’t those obligations tomorrow.

I’ll be taking my car.

I really love having that car.

Yeah.

The more I think about it the more I think a mini road trip will do me good.

Even if it’s just across the bridge.

Oh!

I could do a ferry ride too.

I remember one year on Christmas Eve I caught the last ferry to Sausalito, I got off the boat, walked to a coffee shop, bought a coffee and walked right back onto the ferry.

I got to see the city at night all lit up in Christmas lights.

It was stunning.

I got a lot of really gorgeous photographs from that little jaunt.

And of course.

I’ll find somewhere to go do the deal and get right with God, always that, especially during this time.

Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I have to be lonely.

Nope.

There will be many ways to keep it merry and bright.

Heck.

I can just sit and contemplate my Christmas tree and watch Holiday Inn.

I love me some Bing Crosby.

I do.

 

Almost

December 10, 2017

I am so close to being finished with this semester.

One more class tomorrow.

9a.m. to noon.

Then I am done.

I’ll be doing a sushi lunch with my best girlfriend in the cohort after class to celebrate.

I can’t decide if I’m going to come home and kick out the last paper or just collapse in a heap on my bed.

It does not help that the professor extended the due date until December 18th.

Not really what I wanted.

Because now I could technically procrastinate the paper until next weekend.

I won’t, but it’s a possibility, it’s a temptation.

But really what I want is to finish the fucking semester tomorrow, which means writing and turning in that last paper.

I have some ideas about what I want to write on so I just need to sit, review my notes, review the readings I have done and leap in.

I suspect I could have it written before the sun goes down.

And then I can run up to 45th and Judah to the Christmas tree lot and get myself a Christmas tree and celebrate that I am done with the semester and maybe even wrap a few presents or write a couple of cards.

I’m a little late to the cards, normally I would have already sent some out, but this semester has been my toughest by far with the amount of work and the load that I am carrying.

But I’m making it through.

I turned in my last hard copy paper today that I needed to do and I nailed my final project presentation.

All I have to do is show up and sit through the lecture tomorrow and the last group of presenters and that’s it.

It would be tempting to skip, I’ve turned in the final paper, done the final presentation, there’s really nothing else that I need to do for the class.

But.

It doesn’t feel right to not sit and bear witness to my classmates who haven’t had a chance yet to present as well as say thank you to the professor, especially since he came out to hear me do my lecture on Tuesday.

Something I was very flattered by.

Very.

So.

Yeah.

Show up tomorrow and just do the last bit of the class and then a nice sushi lunch with my friend.

I had thought about going and doing Open Studio’s in the Mission, my friend has a studio, Hold The Phone, and I wanted to pick up some art from her.

And my boss has an open studio too at Art Explosion studios which is right in the same neighborhood.

But I have been thinking it might feel a little too much like going into work and I’m not sure that I want to re-route to the Mission from Hayes Valley.

I suspect that the best use of my time is going to be getting on my scooter, get the fuck home, write the damn paper and get it done.

After that I will allow myself some fun.

Write the paper, write the paper, write the paper.

Finish the semester out and be done with it.

One month break.

From school anyway.

Work will be work and my internship will be happening.

But I’ve already had a lot of my clients tells me that they have holiday plans.

I will have some slow weeks there I feel and that’s ok.

I may have some clients transitioning out as well, I’m not sure yet, I’ll know more this week.

I will also have my sit down with the family I work with and sign a new contract.

I’m a little nervous about that, but there’s really nothing to be worried about, every time I work with the family I am told how much I am appreciated and how much I help and I know I do a good job.

It will just be a sit down and a chat and yeah, signing a new contract.

And for a month I’ll not have to write papers or read or attend classes.

It will be a nice break.

Plus I’ll have two three day weekends in a row–Christmas and New Year’s are both on a Monday, so I’ll get a three-day weekend with each holiday.

That will be really nice.

Maybe I’ll take my little car on a tiny road trip.

Go see some lighthouses.

Maybe go see the monarch migration in Santa Cruz.

Maybe go across the bridge and up north a little, get some oysters at Hog Island.

I don’t know.

I’ll have some time and I suspect that a little jaunt out of the city may be a good thing for me.

Or I could just go over the bridge and drive to Stinson beach.

I haven’t been to Stinson or Muir beach in a long time.

In fact.

I think the last time I was at Stinson was right before I moved to Paris five years ago.

Wow.

Yeah.

That can’t be right.

I’ve got something nudging my memory, but I can’t place it.

Oh, I know, I did a motorcycle ride there with an ex boyfriend three years ago.

Anyway.

My brains fried, it’s been a busy weekend with school and really, a busy last few weeks of constant working, reading, writing, and preparing for lectures, papers, presentations.

No wonder I can’t remember.

Time to wrap this up and make some tea.

My bed is calling to me in no uncertain terms.

Good night.

Honky Tonk Heart Break

November 25, 2017

I have nothing to complain about.

Especially when I listen to the music from this Spotify playlist.

Honky tonk heart-break is a for real thing.

Bottom of the whiskey bottle, bottom of the bear glass, the lonesome sound of the woman you love walking out the door.

Yeouch.

I mean.

What do I have to complain about?

My massage was kind of weak.

Oh.

It wasn’t bad, but I was surprised, in fact, at one point I thought to myself, deep tissue, my ass, this isn’t deep tissue at all.

It was pleasant, I suppose, but not what I was hoping for.

In fact, the spa really wasn’t as posh as I thought it would be.

It was still nice, I’m not bitching, but I was a bit surprised, it was smaller, and the back patio was covered with leaves and the reclining chairs didn’t have cushions.

So much for sitting outside on a lounge and getting some sun.

The fireplace wasn’t on either.

That bummed me out.

It, was, however, when I left, I thought that was funny.

The massage was nice though, and the sauna was good and it was nice to drive my car to a new spot in town and to find parking that wasn’t a meter in the area was pretty sweet.

I also made a little pilgrimage to Nest and got a sweet little Christmas ornament.

Last year I actually was pining pretty bad for Christmas.

I think it was mostly the fact that I was so fucking lonely last year, since I was under quarantine with the lice, I let myself get a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.

I saw social media post of people who have already got up their tree and I was like, whoa!

I’m not feeling it quite like that this year.

Although, granted I am very much looking forward to getting a Christmas tree.

It’s an expensive bit of self-care.

I get a live tree and they’re expensive, but the smell, oof, so good.

I just love having that smell and the magic of Christmas lights and the sweetness of having presents wrapped under the tree.

So, yeah, it was fun to get an ornament today on Fillmore Street.

And I thought about doing a little Black Friday shopping, but once I got back to my car, I would have to move it and re-park it and it just didn’t seem worthwhile.

I hit the road Jack instead.

I did actually, inadvertently do a little shopping anyhow.

I swung into Laurel Village on my way home to deposit a check into my bank and there was an Ace Hardware store there that I got a bunch of little things there.

A replacement light bulb for my salt lamp my friend gave me for Christmas last year.

A set of blue Christmas tree lights, I have some from last year, but I think I needed to replace a strand.

I always do blue lights, I like to have an Elvis Blue Christmas theme for the tree.

I got a pack of printer paper, I got a pack of papers I need to write-up before the semester wraps up.

I also got a phone charger for my car!

That was cool and I got a car mount kit so that I can mount my phone to the dashboard.

Quite happy with that as well.

And can I just say, Bluetooth is revolutionary.

So nice to have my Spotify go straight to my radio.

So nice to have phone calls I can answer via touching a little button on my steering wheel.

Amazing.

My mom was my first call I took in the car.

Heh.

Also, lovely, really, to have navigation, I love plugging in the address and having the directions told to me.

Remember maps?

I fucking do.

Fuckers.

I had a stash of them and somehow never quite used them all that well.

I mean.

I made it across country driving my little two door Honda Accord, but really I am still amazed I made it.

All the places I used to have to look up in an Atlas, remember having the AAA Atlas in your car?

Maps for every state.

I think that’s what I used to drive cross-country.

Now all I have to do is type in the address on my phone and my car literally syncs up with my phone and the directions come out of the speakers.

It’s fucking magic.

I know.

Maybe it’s not magic for you, you’re used to this, but remember, I haven’t owned a car in fifteen years.

It’s really nice.

I have to say, I really like it.

I’m so grateful to have gotten it.

I am so grateful for all the help I got getting it, meant the world, it really did.

There is such a comfort in driving.

It feels right.

It’s really interesting.

It feels right to be in a car.

I must be an American.

And one from the Midwest for sure.

It was out of the question for me to not have a car when I was in Wisconsin.

It wasn’t for over a decade here.

Plenty of transit options, shit, more so now then when I moved here if you count Lyft and Uber and Get Around and car share services and what all.

But.

Really.

Having my own car is something special.

It feels really natural.

I am almost surprised by how natural it feels.

And occasionally, I will admit, a tiny bit smug that it’s a stick shift.

Not sure if smug is quite the right word.

Perhaps.

Self-satisfied.

There is something about being able to drive a stick shift that seems really cool and a bit anachronistic and well, just a tiny bit out of the ordinary.

All things I rather like about myself.

The manual feels right and of course, that makes sense to me since all I owned previously were manuals.

It’s rather like coming home.

And being surprised that it’s been patiently waiting for me all along.

It’s not honky-tonk at all.

Nope.

Not one bit.

But I can play honky-tonk in my car if I want to.

Ha.

And Then She Went

November 21, 2017

And got a car.

Holy shit.

I did it.

Not without a bit of hand holding.

Thank fucking god for my friend who came with me.

Just having another person there was super helpful and I didn’t feel quite as overwhelmed as I think I might have had I gone alone.

And.

Well.

It was hella nice that I had a female sales person.

The person who I had been working with to set up the deal ended up being out sick and I got another sales associate, and she was super sweet, very accommodating, and really helpful.

I had really already done the majority of the work, so it was just signing the papers, coordinating with my insurance company and doing the test drive.

I was nervous about driving the car, I won’t lie, I haven’t driven a stick shift in a while.

But it was just like riding a bike.

I had no problems using the stick.

Yeah!

That’s right bitches, I got a manual transmission.

Which is one of the reasons the car was on sale and that was fine with me, I know most folks like an automatic, but this lady learned on a stick and I love the control I have in the car versus driving an automatic.

I learned on a Ford Diesel station wagon how to drive stick.

My mom taught me.

It was horrendous.

Let me make no bones about it.

She was not the right person to teach me and getting screamed at while stalling out the car at the four-way stop intersection in Windsor Wisconsin is a trauma I may well never forget, she did, however, eventually teach me how to do it.

Or she at least installed the fundamentals.

I actually feel like it was my Uncle Jeff who taught me how to drive.

My mom was bitching about my inability to get the mechanics of it at a Thanksgiving dinner with family and my uncle piped up and said, “I’ll teach her.”

And like that we were getting bundled up in coats and out the door.

I remember there was snow on the roads, and they were a little slippery, but we were not anywhere close to any other cars, and it was Thanksgiving, most folks were not getting in their cars to go anywhere, most folks were still digesting their food and watching the Packers play Detroit and wondering if they might be able to sneak a sliver more of pumpkin pie in their bellies without exploding.

I remember the truck cab was really cold and the  stick was huge, he had an old Ford.

He told me my mom was too worried about me ruining her car to relax, he didn’t give a fuck if I hit something or killed it, it was an old truck, he was fine with me beating on it.

And in that moment I felt a huge burden fall off my shoulders and I could breathe again.

He also explained a bit better to me the feeling of what the clutch did underneath my left foot when the truck wanted to shift into another gear and I could feel it much better underneath the big clutch on his car and the much smaller one on my mom’s.

I started it, popped it into first, shifted into second, got it up to speed in third, managed to not slip on any ice or snow and we drove around for a while.

I had a great big grin on my face.

I got it!

It made sense, I could feel it and sure enough, the next time I took out my mom’s car I was able to do it and I’ve been successfully driving a stick ever since.

My first car I bought on my own, with money from detassling corn four summers in a row at Kaltenberg Seed Farms–I had gotten a bonus for perfect attendance, was a Honda Civic, stick shift.

Then after that car died, it really went quick and I didn’t have the money to fix it, I got my first car in a relationship in my early twenties.

We went in halfsies on an old Jetta that was a stick.

I really loved that car.

It died soon after my boyfriend and I broke up, but for three years it was a great little car and I think we only paid $500 for it.

And when the Jetta died my boss at the Angelic Brewing Company sold me his car, a two door Honda Accord that I had for three years, also a stick shift, when he upgraded to an SUV, which were just beginning to get a lot of attention.

All the cars I have owned have been manual!

But this.

THIS.

Is my first brand new car!

I have never spent more money on a car.

The Honda Civic in high school was $500 used, the Jetta $500, the Honda Accord my boss sold me I think I paid $1200 for.

This time my car cost $12,000.

But seriously.

A new car for $12,000 is fantastic.

I, of course, did not pay the full sticker price, no way I could have.

I put $2,000 down and my car payments are going to be $186 a month.

l also pre-paid for six months of car insurance.

I just felt better doing that and I’m going to have to pay it and then I left myself room with my money, I didn’t spend the entire $5,000 I pulled from savings, nope, I gave myself a year’s worth of back up payments with that money, in case anything happens, I’ve got a year of payments stacked.

I don’t have to make my initial payment after this until January and when I do I will pay more than the $186.

I do want to pay it off faster than the loan terms, which would stretch out for six years.

But I also don’t want to hurt myself by throwing all my liquid cash at the car.

Which was nice.

I had some left over to take my darling friend out to lunch on Shattuck Avenue.

And where we parked made all the hairs on my head tingle.

We were directly across from the hotel that I stayed at when I first traveled to Berkeley to meet up with a friend and get myself reappointed with the Bay Area.

It’s not a hotel anymore, but I recognized the building and it felt so amazing and synchronic and auspicious.

Lucky, you know?

I could never have imagined the life that I created out here in San Francisco when I was sitting in that hotel room on the phone with my friend from Wisconsin trying to tell her that I had found where I wanted to be and that I was going to move to San Francisco, in fact, I was seriously considering not coming home and just leaving my entire life in Madison to die.

My friend convinced me to come home, to finish my degree, to give it another year, um, especially since we had just signed a lease on a 2 bedroom apartment, and I said I would, but I was moving to San Francisco as soon as I graduated.

And 15 years after I donated my car, my little two door Honda Accord, to the Goodwill on South Van Ness I got to drive my brand new Fiat Pop 500 home to my little studio by the sea.

Pretty fucking amazing.

And!

I found parking.

Hahahahahaha.

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Scheduling

October 27, 2017

And moving forward.

I spent a great deal of time talking with the mom today at work regarding the rest of the school year.

What the family needs.

What I need.

It’s been a little over ten months with them.

We are going to sit down and renegotiate the contract in December, make sure my health insurance needs are being met, talk about vacation times, and schedules moving forward past spring when I graduate in May.

I asked off for a little travel time in February.

And I asked off for May 18th.

Which is the day before I graduate, the day before the commencement ceremony.

I suspect that my mom is going to want to spend some time with me.

She has told me that she and her partner will come to San Francisco to see me walk, to see my graduate with my Master’s Degree.

I have some feelings around that and no little nervousness, I haven’t seen my mom in a while and there’s a sense of wanting to show her a different San Francisco than the last time she was here.

Oh.

I didn’t entirely disappoint, I think.

I took her to Hawthorne Lane for dinner.

I took her out to the bars.

I took her to Coit Tower.

I can’t remember if we did Twin Peaks.

I took her to Chow on Church Street.

Philz Coffee before it was hip and Phil flirted his ass off with her.

I got her quesadilla’s from El Farolito, super quesadilla suiza with carne asada.

I took her to Tartine.

I did pretty good

I also ditched her at some point to get absolutely shit faced obliterated.

I was just going to go out for a few drinks with a friend at Blondie’s in the Mission.

I had already been with my mom for a week, I had taken her to London, on my credit card which I was soon to max out, but it still had a few dollars on it, hung out with her, fed her, bought her smokes, and drinks, and tuk tuk rides around Buckingham palace, to the Wheel, to the National Gallery, to see a show, we saw Stomp, I took her to a fancy tea place where we got stinking tossed on fancy ass over the top expensive cocktails.

So.

I was ready for a little mom break.

I ran down to El Farolito and got her the quesadilla.

I called my friend and said, “I need a margarita, I need a break from my mom,” and she said, “I’ll see you at Blondie’s in a half hour.”

I got my mom situated in my apartment on the couch in the living room, my room-mate was out-of-town, thank God.

And I got dressed and fled into the night.

I had two double margarita’s on the rocks with extra salted rim and when my friend said “let’s have another!”  I got a little scared.

I could feel it coming on.

It was probably coming on before I even got off the plane at SFO.

I think I knew.

I could feel it in my body, I knew it in my conscious even if I wasn’t saying it out loud.

I was going to score.

I had all the reasons in the world to get fucked up.

I had been with my mom for a week in a hotel room in London, flown there and back with her, I deserved a fucking drink.

But I knew if I kept drinking, well, something else was going to get up in the mix.

I looked at my friend and said a bit under my breath, “if I drink more I’m going to want to do blow.”

I said this because this was the friend who had used to be sober who had done that AA thing and had said to me once while we were on a run that maybe I might have a problem because of how I didn’t like myself when I used.

I had no idea what the fuck she was talking about and was aghast.

I didn’t like myself?

Truth was I fucking hated myself, but I couldn’t let myself see it.

She had told me that all I had to do is let her know if I wanted to use and she would help me to not pick up.

What ever that meant.

So in that moment, two double margarita’s in, with the urge to call my dealer on my phone and arrange a little something, something for delivery, I said, to the best of my ability what I thought was a plea for help.

Her response?

“I could definitely do some blow!”

Fuck me.

I sighed.

I know I sighed.

I got my phone out of my purse and I dialed my dealer and arranged for him to meet us at Blondie’s.

I went across the street.

“Hey, where are you going,” the cute guy sitting next to me said.

I flippantly replied, “my friend wants to do some blow so I’m going to the ATM across the street to get some cash before my dealer shows up.”

“Holy shit!” He jumped up, “me too, can I get some too?”

And like that, I had a new friend.

I was so popular.

Ugh.

I will spare you the dirty details of the night.

It was so close to my bottom that it was a pretty intense scene.

And I remember all of it, oh yes I do.

Right down to getting back to the house, while my mom was still asleep in the living room, with a couple of grams of blow in my bra, what I hadn’t yet used, to chop and snort and cram as much in as I could before she woke up.

I was that kind of addict.

I did not fucking matter that my mom was in the front room, probably heard me come in, probably knew what I was doing, nope, didn’t matter.

Because once I started, the party was not over until every fucking last bit was gone.

Suffice to say my mom’s last day in town was a bit of a rough one.

I muggled through.

I guess what I’m getting around to is that maybe I’ll want to show her a nicer time than I did before.

We are both in different places, and I also hope to have some time to celebrate my graduating from graduate school.

A nice meal somewhere with friends, good coffee, laughter, connection, company.

A party.

I should throw myself a little party.

Ah, May, you’re a bit away.

But when my employer and I walked through the months and worked on getting my schedule lined up with theirs, well, there you were, a tiny bit bashful but a little smile on your face, a daisy tucked up behind your ear, saying here I am, let’s have some fun.

Yes.

Of course, my dear.

Let’s.


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