Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Nine Days And Counting

August 8, 2013

Well, sort of.

Just staying in today was enough.

I realized as I slept in that today was actually the only day until I leave for Burning Man, that I don’t have something scheduled, something committed to, something to do, somewhere to work or to be.

Which meant, sleeping in.

Tomorrow the alarm is set.

And for every day there after, with perhaps Sunday being a day where I do have a commitment to be somewhere, it is later in the day and as such not an alarm sort of day.

Nine days until I leave.

I don’t want my blog to be all about Burning Man, but that’s about all my head is filled with.  Aside from the fact that someone google searched ‘Elizabeth City’ found my blog and read my book that I posted up here years ago.

I wonder how it looks.

I never read it on the blog.

I just chapter by chapter pasted it into the server and published it.

It’s not the same book that m friend has, it’s not the same book that I will end up publishing, I will publish it, but it there are a lot of similarities.

I suppose the writing has gotten better since I posted it.

How could it not?

I practise every day.

I write twice a day every day.

Sometimes I thrash myself a little for not actually writing more, but that is silliness.

Sometimes I trash myself a little for not actually being a published author.

But that is lie.

I have a published song, a published photography essay, a short story, and of course, my blogs.  They get published you know.

I suppose you do.

It was titillating to see the hits on my site and nerve-wracking too, every time someone hits a run on my blog I wonder if I know them.

Who is it from my murky past looking me up?

But that is both egotistical and self-deprecating at the same time.

I am the piece of shit that the universe revolves around sort of thinking.

I mean, I am all I think about, but occasionally, I do want to be there for you too.

I do.

I wanted someone to give soup to today.

I made a big lovely batch up.

French red lentils, one yellow onion, garlic, fresh picked rosemary out of the yard (and I did not get locked out this time!), Italian Roma tomatoes, a can of organic tomato paste, one container of organic vegetable stock, two heads of broccoli, five carrots, one pound of fresh spinach, lots of salt, black pepper, cayenne, and something new for me, quinoa.

I made a pot of red, or ruby if you will, quinoa.

I was surprised and happily so, it is a nice little addition.

I normally make brown rice with this, but I wanted to try something new and I have a friend who raves about quinoa and well, it’s good to find new things in my cooking vocabulary.

It says hippie earth mother muffin when I say it’s vegan, gluten-free, and all organic.

But it’s true.

It also tastes ridiculously good.

And it cooks in less than one hour.

And makes a pretty picture when all portioned out for my weekly meals.



Red Lentil Soup

That was my work for today.

That and a little check in with the e-mails for the design firm.  I will be seeing the boss lady, and my dear friend, tomorrow for lunch.

Super excited to hear about her travels and to catch up.

The only other thing I did today was laundry and some reading.

I drank a lot of tea.

I confirmed my hair appointment for tomorrow and made lunch plans.

That is it.

A really chill, relaxing, mellow day.

The rest of the week up until I leave is work.

And this is good.

And then there will be the work on playa.

And this is good too.

I am ready.

I am rested.

And I am off to relax for a few more hours.

This may be my last chance for a bit.

More is Revealed

June 9, 2013

“Sounds like you are depriving yourself”.

She said to me over iced coffees in the Castro.

I was once again in the city, the city that beckons me back and back and back some more.

Come home to me, Carmen, she seems to whisper on soft cat paw feet swathed in fog.


I am giving it my best and it does seem to be heading that way, does it not.

I love me some Graceland, I do, I am here, at the moment, my room-mate and friend watching Eddie Izzard on the telly and the cats meowing and the teapot steaming and the squeal of tires doing side shows off in the distance.

Riding home tonight was an intense experience.

A lot of cops.

A lot of drag racing happening around me, not directly on International Ave, but quite close, I felt rabid with speed on my bicycle, I just wanted to get home, get off the streets, get inside.

Soon, though, I will be back into the city.

I have some choices, I have some options, and I had another put in front of me today.

A place that may work better for me than the other that has been offered to me.

Both would require some waiting, but not too much, just a tiny bit, just until, oh say, after I get back from Burning Man.  This seems like the thematic here.  I am staying in East Oakland until I get back from the playa.

This lovely home is a transition place for me.

My friend who I had lunch with today has a place out by the ocean that she was in the process of purchasing when I was just landing in Paris.  It has an in-law and it is in my price range.  I said yes, let’s look into it.  It seems more viable a space for me than the other room that was also offered to me in the Bayview.

I have to repeat, I have options, how nice is that?

I like this idea though, my own place, my own little kitchen, my own little bathroom, a newly remodeled place, out by the beach.

You know my favorite smell in the whole world is driftwood fire smoke.


I could go out to the beach and get myself a bonfire every weekend.

Every weekend.

It is still being worked on and it won’t be ready until oh, around the time I get back from Burning Man.  I said yes.

Yes, I said yes to my other friend too.

I can say yes and then I can say yes to something else and I can see what would work best for me and take care of myself rather than taking care of the other person.

I can change my mind too.

“Yeah, so I went vegan,” I said today, “and I feel like that restriction has led to me getting a little wonky in my head around my food,” I explained.

And it has.

I don’t want to admit it, but yeah, I have been indulging in some popcorn.

I have not eaten sugar and I have not eaten flour, but I have been getting some popcorn on.


I have been checking out with it.

Munch, munch, munch, don’t think, don’t feel, don’t stress.

I don’t want to feel is generally what is happening.

I have gone vegan a number of times and each time it is about me controlling my food and restricting myself and depriving myself.

I am vegan no longer.


I had me some meat tonight.

Damn it was good.

Wild Salmon at Local Eatery on 24th street.

I had a dinner date.

And it was lovely.

I like him.


And I explained about having gone vegan while in Paris and he said, “sounds like you were trying to control the fear by focusing all your energy on depriving yourself.”

Fuck me.


He eyed the plate in front of me.

“Oh, don’t worry,” I said with a laugh, “I am vegan no more as of this minute.”

And I had a nibble.

It was delicious.

I had another nibble and I felt relief.

I felt like, oh yeah, I get to do this.

I am not going to over indulge and I am not going to be eating any sugar and any flour, that is enough restricting for me, besides, I have some real serious issues around sugar.

I have never, however, over indulged on salmon.

I have on sugar cookies.

I could have over indulged in him, I caught, every once in a while, a whiff, a soft sugar-coated, brown butter, ginger spice, whiff of him and wanted to cuddle up under his arm.

I restrained from that.

We are both in a precarious place.

Neither here nor there.

His living situation and my living situation are both wonky.

But we agreed that we were both attracted to each other.

“Oh, I’m not attracted to her at all,” he said, in regards to a woman who moved to the city after I moved to Paris who wants very much to be with him.

“I’m attracted to you,” he finished and smiled over the coffees on the table at Ritual.

“Good, I feel the same,” I smiled back.

And I will leave it at that.

There was no kiss, just a sweet hug, a lovely meal, some good catching up, and some stories of the time since we last hung out.

He is house sitting and I will be soon house sitting.

He is looking for his own place.

I am looking for my own space.

We both are transitioning and it was good to acknowledge it and I did not feel pressured to make some declaration of intent or desire, I know we’ll see each other again, and I know when I least expected he will lean in and kiss me.

I see it, just there, beyond the horizon of Graceland.

Perhaps on the beach in front of a bonfire.

Perhaps on a hill swathed in fog.

More will be revealed and I am content to let it happen.

And while more is being revealed I will only deprive myself of being mean to myself.

That is the only restriction I put upon myself.

No more meanness.

Just Tell Me Your Story

June 3, 2013

What ever you feel comfortable with, just let me know, start where ever you want and tell me about yourself.

A little while later I realized that it had been a while since anyone had heard the full story.

And I had not even given him the full story, I did a damn good job, but there were little parts left out here and there and I tried to keep things relevant to my creative process and the work that I do writing and how I got to where I am at, writing every day, blogging every day, attempting to take photographs every day, even when I believe I need that extra space in my messenger bag for groceries and not my camera.

I still take photographs every day.

Street Art

Street Art

This for instance was a stencil on a sidewalk outside of Duboce Park Cafe where I was headed to my third coffee of the day, but I get ahead of myself.

I met with my friend today at Boogaloos on Valencia and 22nd and we got caught up.

I had the tofu scramble with home fries and ranchero sauce and sliced tomatoes instead of the biscuit, coffee with soy milk, and great conversation.

All of which was vegan.

Two months.

I realized that today, I have been vegan for two months.  This may mark the longest stretch of time that I have ever gone vegan.  I have done vegetarian a number of times, but neither flavor for longer than a few weeks.

Not that I was super meat centric, until I was in Paris, shocker, but I do feel good with it.

And, again, shocker, it’s a lot easier being a vegan in the Bay area than it may be anywhere else in the world.

We caught up and discussed a little bit of the project that he was doing and what it would entail, taking some photographs, doing a video, answering some questions, a basic interview, and telling my story.

We took a load of photographs in front of the corner building on Hill Street, which is a law office in yellow brick.

Thank God for digital.

I joked with my friend that I could never be a model since I have no idea about how to present myself, or how to work my angles.

I am usually looking off into the distance or making a face or my mouth is wide open in laughter.


There were a lot of those photos in the group that he took; however, with a little patience and some gentle coaching, “inhale through your nose and exhale, relax your face, look to the right, then at the camera,” I was able to take a few shots that I believe may be flattering.

I had dithered around this morning trying to figure out what to wear and I realized as I was sifting through my slight wardrobe, that it did not matter, dress in what I normally would wear.

Leggings it was, a short teal t-shirt dress, a screen print t-shirt with a bicycle on it from an arts collective in Oakland, and my hair in pigtails, with yes, heart-shaped earrings in blue sparkle.

Add my messenger bag to the mix and my bicycle and you have me.


After taking photos we retired to Ritual Coffee Roasters and scored the back couch in the rear of the coffee-house.  It may be my favorite spot to settle in, with a book, or a friend, or a confidant.  I realized that I have made a lot of important life decisions on that couch.

In fact, I was able to describe to my friend exactly the conversation I had with John Ater when I made the decision to quit the bicycle shop and travel and take photographs and write–it was on the same couch.

I have sat and cried on that couch, caught up with friends over shots of espresso, sipped lattes (when I was still drinking milk) with girl friends, made life altering decisions, read important big books on that couch, done intense writing, taken suggestions.

I have lived a great deal from that coffee shop.

Calvin and I have had lattes on the side-walk in front of the shop window blasting old Michael Jackson on a boom box.

I have played dominoes there, snuggled with one very cute boy in the window, drank spicy sweet chai with Shadrach there, when I still was imbibing sugar and Shadrach was still around to drink coffees with.

I was glad to have a comfortable forum to retell my story.

The Americano went down smooth and I got into the details.

My life, so many details, so many words.

Again and again, as I look at how my life has unfolded, from leaving the Bay Area when I was a little girl to traveling back, once, twice, and now thrice, may this third time returning be the charm (and the last time I leave), to all the adventures I have had along the way, I am amazed.

One that I am here at all.

So many things conspired against me to even be here at all seems like a sort of miracle.

If life was fair, I would be dead.

I ain’t dead yet and I don’t plan on going that way anytime soon.

There are no mistakes.

A little Asian girl with a pacifier in her mouth, bright yellow daisy flowers, pink rim, wide dark brown eyes, toddled over to me and asked to explore my bag.

Her mom, not her birth mom, came over and explained to me what was going on.

I smiled and nodded, and said, “I know what she wants, I am a professional nanny, she’s fine, she’s not bothering me at all.”

I wanted to tell the mom it was going to be all right, but I don’t know that for her, I just know that for me.

I let the little girl explore my messenger bag and look at my water bottle and we chatted, well I chatted and she nodded at what I was saying, while my friend wrapped up the notes he had been taking about my life and my story, discreetly taking out his camera and shooting a few more photographs.

It does not even feel like my story, it’s just an experience, a living, a lust for saying yes and allowing myself to be authentically me.

That is how I love myself, I let myself be myself.

Whether that is flirting with a beautiful little girl and talking to her with a smile on my face and acknowledging her curiosity or allowing my own, it does not matter.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and that is why I get to continue to tell this story.

It’s yours as much as mine.

And I know a great couch to sit on while we get caught up.

Girl Friends & Gardens

May 16, 2013

I had a moment of financial panic today when the mom at the nanny gig said, “we’ll be back to our regular schedule next week.”

Ie–three days with part-time hours.

And I don’t have other work.

And I need money.

And shut up.

You are fine.

The other gig will be starting soon and you will be ok, you are ok, you have food, you have a roof, you will get paid for this weeks work tomorrow, and you have a gig on Sunday.

All is good.

And when the brain says, “no, bitch, it ain’t,” you know where to go.

I was also to meet a friend tonight at 7 pm in Rockridge, an old friend, some one I have not seen in years, as she lives in Oakland I was living in San Francisco and I know from experience that whatever it is about getting from one place to the other, you stay put on your side of the bridge for the most part.

“How long have you been living in Oakland,” I asked her over tea tonight at, yes, I have to say it, ‘Gaylords’.

“About eight years,” she replied.

“Jesus,” I thought, and then said, “that’s about how much time I have, then you must have come back and forth a bit to the city.”

“Yeah, I still do,” she said, “I have work over there and I go back two to three times a week.”

Which is what I will be doing once I start in with the other families in San Francisco.  This is good information to have, if she can do it, so can I.

In fact, I would hazard that we are also not the only ones doing this.

Oakland I am getting to know you and the more I find out, the more I like.

“Do you like to dance?” She asked me.

Uh yeah.

In fact, I am going over to the city on Saturday.  A friend invited me to the Heart Deco fundraiser at Mighty.  I was not expecting to go over, I’m meeting a ladybug in the city in the early afternoon, then getting stuff out of storage and taking it back to Graceland.

Last thing I thought I would want to do is go back and do a night of dancing, but when friend with car says she’s going, well, damn, Gina, that’s a completely different thing.

“I love to dance,” I said.

“Have you heard of ‘ecstatic dance’?”

“Yes, in fact,” I paused, thinking back a few years to a night I was out one evening at Burning Man with a girlfriend, who had also re-located to Oakland, when we were dancing by the Pier out on the playa who had mentioned to me the same thing.

“You should do ecstatic dance,” that friend had said as we whirled around the Pier, “there’s this great group in Oakland.”

Cue me zoning out.

I am not going to got to Oakland to go dancing when I live in San Francisco.


Well, now, since I live in Oakland, it does not seem that far-fetched.

And wait!

They don’t serve alcohol and it’s on Wednesday nights and it’s early, like starts at 8pm and is done by 11 pm.  Oh my god, this ‘old lady’ is in love with the idea.  I could actually go out dancing on a school night and be home before midnight.

I have a date to get my ecstatic dance on for next week, tentative, my friend has a work gig early the next day, but if not next week, then the week following.

I am down.

I am also down with getting my yoga on, which will be the next frontier that I explore, and as it turns out my ‘new’ friend is also a yoga teacher.

Well, things just keep getting surprising here.


Pardon me while I tell my brain to shut up.







Uh, hi, yes, Carmen, welcome back to the East Bay, you’ve become a California cliché.

And I don’t really care, it feels so good.

At least I’m not living in an ashram, yet.


I will keep my sense of irony close to my chest.

And I will also add budding amateur gardener to the list.


Because there are garden boxes at Graceland begging to be attended to.

The master of the house said I could and as I was sitting and letting my anxieties over the day and my ‘worries’ about what and how and money and time and, and, and…


Patch of sunlight, quiet, garden.


I only have three days of work next week?

Right on.

I can work on the garden at Graceland.

How expensive are some seeds going to be?

You don’t know how to garden, said my brain.

Well, no, I don’t but I bet you dig a hole and put a seed in it and water it and weed out the funny looking plants and cultivate the ones that look edible and just see what happens.

And I do know how to garden.

We had a huge one back in Windsor Wisconsin where I grew up, and my grandfather had an enormous one behind his house in Lodi.  Now, granted, I did not do a lot of the work, my mom did and my step-father did, but I am and always have been, observant.

I remember a lot.

I remember how to compost and weed and how to plant and I have used a roto-tiller, not that  is even necessary at Graceland, there are boxes already set up.

I just need to invest in a few seedlings, tomatoes and cucumbers, maybe a basil plant, and some strawberries–ever-bearing most likely–I think it’s too late in the season to do others.

Heck, I could put in carrots and probably potatoes too.  Oh, and broccoli, so good.

Even if it’s just the tomatoes, that would be something else.

Oh, I can already taste them warm off the vine with some sea salt.

All those things that I turned up my nose at, girlfriends and yoga and gardening and meditation and going vegan and expressing myself in dance, barefoot to ambient music, hmm, maybe those are all things that would enrich my life and make me happy.

No wonder I have always turned up my nose at them.

I don’t want to be happy.

I want to be miserable.

I want to isolate.

I want to do it all on my own and fuck you very much.

Except, that I do actually want all those things.  I want a yoga practice, and a meditation practice and I want to write daily and eat well and plant things and watch them grow and giggle with a girlfriend as we dance around the room and not have any judgements at all about the woman in the corner who is so feeling the music she strips down to just her skirt and ankle bracelet in front of the speaker to better feel the vibe.

It turns out I do want all those things.

Look at me getting honest with, well, me.

I just had to go to Paris to figure out that everything I wanted was right here all along.

Taking a trip (not taking a trip).

Just don’t ask me to give up the coffee.


New Post!

April 6, 2012

Ah, the pending anxiety of ‘what do I write about in my blog tonight’?

I left Carolyn’s this morning determined to go a little slow, despite knowing that I would be late for work.


I was exactly one minute late.  My co-worker was putting out the bikes and I apologized for being late.  Then I clocked in.

My God, I was a minute late.


Carolyn had suggested that I sit still for five minutes. In fact, she sat still with me.  I had a meditation before I went to work.

I have finally met my match.  Seven years into this work and here she is, sweet, gentle, and no bullshit.

“Out with it,” she said to me at one point this morning.

Well, god damn it, there go the tears.  And out with it happened.  I had debated not wearing eye make up to see her as the last few times I have just been a hot mess after working with her, then I head to work all dishevelled and eye make up smeared and yuck.

But, as I was putting on my eye makeup this morning, the little voice said, don’t worry about it, you’ve got nothing on your mind.  You’re doing great!

Fuck you, little voice.

Next week, I bring make up with me and I do it at work.  Of course, just like the theory of leaving the house with an umbrella only to carry it all day long because it did not rain, I will probably not cry.  But I am going to bring the make up bag any way.

Just in case.

Carolyn asked after my morning practise today and I glibly rattled off all the things that I do and she said, “but do you sit?”

Well, no.  I have too much to do to sit.  I can’t sit.  No.


I was directed to sit.

I am to start taking five minutes, use a timer if I need to, and sit.  I am eventually to work my way to ten minutes.

Well, god damn it.

I don’t have the time for it, really does not cut much hay with me.  I will be making the time.  I also had a sneaking thought a few months back that just doing my writing in the morning, though needed, wanted, and relied upon, may not be cutting it any more.

That, in fact, I may need to expand that aspect of my growth.


I will be adding meditation to the mix.  Before you know it I will be a vegan doing yoga.

Hell, I am not that far removed from it right now.  The clerk at Rainbow asked me last night if I was vegan.  She wanted to know about the flax milk I had bought.

Flax milk.

I drink flax milk.

What the fuck is flax?

Well, there’s soy milk, so passe.  Then there’s oat milk, and rice milk, and almond milk, and coconut milk.  And now, there’s flax milk.

Aka non-dairy milk substitutes.

I also ate fake bologna today.


I was curious.  It’s actually pretty good and reminded, quite honestly of bologna.

Oh, if my bologna had a first name…

Ah, excuse me.  I grew up in a town where there was an Oscar Meyer plant.  The East side of Madison always smells like pork products, just fyi, should you ever be hankering for a little chopped pig part scent.

I am a cheater vegan, by the way.  Partially because I eat eggs and cheese and milk yogurt-which would then qualify me to be a vegetarian, but I also will eat meat on occasion.

I switched to almond milk and flax milk because it has fewer calories than milk and just as much calcium.  Plus, I don’t want to admit it, but I was getting and can be compulsive with caffeine, especially nonfat lattes.  Good god, I could drink five in a row, pat my tummy and say more please.

And even with non-fat milk, that shit adds up.

So, no milk for me.

Meditation.  A flyer into the realm of the spirit.

How about a flyer into the realm of crazy.  My brain was not a still and settled thing, but I will admit, I did feel some sort of change, subtle, but there.

Enough that I will probably continue to do it.

Eh, who am I kidding?

I am such a people pleaser, I will totally take Carolyn’s suggestion and do it because I am working with her and I need to follow some one else’s direction.  On my own, my brain dispenses lousy advice.

It’s always got some fear cooking in the pot.  Or, as Carolyn put it so well today, my brain tells me that every second I am about to


Every scene in this movie has a monster lurking and ready to pounce and kill me and slash and burn and mutilate and.

Shhh….hush little brain, it’s only Quick Books, it doesn’t really bite.

Then, why’s the accountant so mean to me?

Well, little one, he’s just doing his job, never you mind.

There is no boogey man.


I will be setting aside another five minutes.  I will set aside my prejudices, and my ideas, and try something new.

What fun!

I can still be ironic right?

I’d like that veggie burger lettuce wrapped with veganaise mayo, sun ripened avocado, sliced tomato, and bacon.


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