Archive for Random

Tea and Bugs.

I’m on a “working vacation” from work that began today. By noon, I was done with all of my errands and back at home, working.  I’m reviewing the heck out of Hair AmErica at the moment. About to take a break and play with the new electronic drawing pad I got today. Excited to draw, and not really for fun. I actually have to draw because no one can do what I want them to do. I haven’t drawn anything in years. I can doodles cats pretty well, though. Came across this chapter from Hair AmErica. I swear this book is about hair: my year in beauty school. However, I did have a six-week break after Mom died before I started class again. So, I had some time and still wrote about random things…related to living at home with Dad, though. I wrote this almost three years ago today. And, I still have several childhood stories I wrote…thanks to Mom.

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Not working and taking a leave from school affords me a lot of time to do…well nothing. All of my clothes on hangers are still covering the couches in the living room, there are boxes in the garage, and my room looks like a place where clothes go to die. My cats love it.

I have been taking care of some things, things too boring to even mention here. Slowly but surely.

While I was reading my kiddie stories the other day, one stuck in my head, so I’m going to share it with you whether you like it or not.  It’s about spiders.

I should preface the story with a visual of the art that accompanies it. There is a huge spider web with two spiders on it, and one of them has a huge red belly.

I remember when I was younger, I’d find black widow spiders in my grandparents’ yard and recall stories my grandpa told me about being bitten. I remember noticing how very black they were with the stark red hourglass on their stomachs.  I think being scared of what I equate to today’s Death Eaters in the Harry Potter saga was weighing heavily on my mind, as evidenced by the following tale…

“There lived a Daddy Longlegged named Dad.  He had long legs. He had a friend, the Bloodsucker.  He had a red tummy.  Dad went into the woods. He was looking for a place to build his new home.  He found the most perfect spot to build his home.  He asked Bloodsucker to help him build his home because Dad never knew how to build webs.  Bloodsucker has built many webs. Bloodsucker came over and built his web.  Bloodsucker stayed over for dinner. They had tea and some bugs. The next morning, a human came by with a stick in his hand.  He saw the web. He took the stick and wrecked the web.  Bloodsucker and Dad jumped off of the web. Bloodsucker climbed onto the human. He bit him and he died.  They made a new web. They finished dinner and lived happily ever after.  June 10, 1985″

I was eight years old. I also didn’t realize that black widows were female. And, I probably had some underlying anger at my brother for something after reading about my fantasy killing. I dunno…

I wonder why Mom never framed this one.

Cancer is rude.

Ughhh. I still have another post to write about the amazing 10 to 12 minutes I had last Thursday reading from my first published book OUT LOUD. For the record, I’ve started writing that blog post and it’s saved under “drafts” in my super sneaky behind-the-scenes website dashboard. It’s lonely and waiting to burst with good news, but it will have to wait. Blog posts have feelings, too.

I’m almost two weeks into a Biggest Loser competition at work. I was very good the first week. Only kind of good the second week. I really want to fit into my dresses again. Just a few more pounds to go.

So, at the gym and looking for a new distraction when I’m done trying to read and do cardio at the same time, I checked Netflix for something to watch and found what I thought was a goldmine. GOLD. MINE.

About six seasons of Grey’s Anatomy I absolutely need to catch up on.

I loved that show when it started, and so did my folks. After I left my circus job and moved back into my parents’ house, we continued to watch, and then we stopped: it was just too sad.

Mom was fighting Stage 4 cancer. Lots of people on Grey’s Anatomy die from cancer. And there is always some great indie song playing in the background while it happens, and Drs. McDreamy and McSteamy continue to look too handsome while acting sad and concerned.

I can confirm that does not happen in real life. HOWEVER, there was one really good-looking nurse who was married, sadly. I remember my parents’ good friend was sitting next to Mom’s bed while quizzing this guy’s marital status for me. It was a thumbs down for me. I looked like a slob anyway.

Back to Grey’s, The last episode I remember seeing was the nuclear-level depressing episode where George dies and everyone thinks Izzy has died…from cancer.

Take the one minute to watch this last scene, and you’ll see why we all stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy.

So, I’m on the third episode now of whatever season. Izzy lived. And then something totally unrelated to cancer in this episode reminded me of my mom and this one time I was rude to her and still feel really bad about it.

We were at BJ’s Brewhouse in Roseville near the Galleria. We were in a circular booth with Dad, Ethan, his stupid girlfriend*, Mom and me. The server spilled something and it got onto my mom’s shoe and she gave a look like the server was a stupid idiot.

(*My brother’s girlfriend already knows how I feel about her. She’s rude, coincidentally. And she brings out the “rude” in me apparently.)

My mom was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I am still of this opinion today. However, we all have our non-princess moments.

I said in a short tone to her, “It was an accident, Mom.” And she looked stung.

The rest of the meal, Mom looked down into her food, playing with it because she didn’t feel well, and she didn’t say another word. I felt terrible. I mean, she had cancer. She could be rude.

This is the reason I can’t eat at the BJ’s in Roseville anymore. It was also the place we ate for lunch the last day she was kind of lucid. I remember she kept just poking at her food, saying that she’d ordered chicken but they gave her something else. It was actually chicken, and I’d said so. She said, “Oh.” And I remember looking at dad and thinking oh my fucking god. The end is starting. This was late in July of 2011.

I had a mini-ugly cry while on the elliptical at my apartment community’s gym while remembering the BJ’s moment and left so the person running next to me wouldn’t think I was spreading my slobbery snot all over the elliptical handle bars. I can’t fake “allergy sniffles” because I don’t have allergies.

And then I started to remember all the other times I was rude to her. One hot summer day, she’d wanted to see a movie, I think. I had too but she hadn’t been feeling well and tried to talk her out of it. She insisted on going and I said okayyyyyy. I was dubious.

We were almost to the destination in Roseville somewhere (not some far away place). I was driving her in her own little Pontiac, the car I now own. Suddenly, she said she really didn’t feel well and needed to go home. I remember making some remark that I’d known she was too ill, some I-told-you-so crap, and it made her feel small. But I really was pissed in that moment at my mom and her cancer. They were a stupid solid unit and had been for the previous eight years. I couldn’t even remember how it felt to have a mom without cancer.

And then the worst. About two weeks before she died. Dad and I had been up about 36 hours together straight, dealing with Mom. She kept walking around the house with her eyes closed and running into things, reminding us over and over again we were conspiring against her for something, refusing to sit down, picking up ceramic things to throw at us, and then finally, she wouldn’t eat a sandwich I’d made for her.

I think it was dark out and I was exhausted. The most exhausted I’d ever been. No sleep for almost 36 hours and mentally exhausted at watching the slow and strange death process we were experiencing and thinking it couldn’t get any worse. (It sadly did.)

Mom wouldn’t sit down on the couch. Her eyes were closed, and she was smirking. And she was being flip with me, her daughter, who was trying to take care of her and feed her a fucking sandwich.

I’d had it and I just started yelling at her. I also knew it was not my mom anymore, thanks to the cancer and drugs making her that very rude way at that rude moment. I’d already decided she was not Mom anymore. Just some annoying shell who looked like my mom and who wouldn’t eat her sandwich.

“You and your cancer have ruined my life!” Man, I yelled that so hard I was worried the neighbors had heard it.

I went on.

“You’ve ruined my relationships! I can’t enjoy anything! My life exists around your cancer!”

GAWD, I was terrible. I was RUDE. She just kept smirking.

I said something other things. I don’t really remember what. But I’d had it with that fucking cancer.

She didn’t hear it though really. She was out of it. She wasn’t there. I learned later that she was still in there when the drugs to manage her pain wore away. And then I understood why docs give their patients drugs that make them that way for that level of pain. It’s terrible to see anyone in that amount of pain off of those drugs. My poor mom.

Every joyous experience I’d had since her diagnosis was clouded very darkly with that cancer. Every phone call home was about cancer. Every week I had off from work, I was flying home to see her because of that cancer. Every stomach ache was from the cement block sitting there because of the cancer.

CANCER IS RUDE!

It makes you rude, too. My mom had the right to be rude to the server who spilled food on her shoe. I was rude because I was mad at the cancer for invading my mom and then justifying her own rudeness.

Cancer is still rude because it consumed a lot of my day. I wanted to work on my special projects, the reason I take every other Monday off from work, but I kept thinking about those times I was rude to my mama. Just couldn’t shake it today.

I may hold off on watching any more Grey’s Anatomy. Maybe I will try Six Feet Under. ;)

EvR

P.S. This article below is pretty great but sad. I began to read it and was reminded for the 23rd time today how rude DEATH is and wrote this depressing blog post. My favorite author, Cheryl Strayed, shared it on Facebook. I’m grateful (and again sad) to finally know so many others in the “Dead Parent Club.” And it’s why folks write these articles (and rude blog posts) too, you know? So you know you’re not alone.

Good read >>>> Before You Know It, Something’s Over. 

 

 

Tell a True Story INVITATION.

More of an announcement.

For the peeps I’m not friends with on Facebook and the peeps that fall into whatever category, I’m reading two chapters from my book OUT LOUD on Thursday, July 17, 2014. It’s at SHINE on 14th an E in Downtown Sacramento from 7-9pm.

Here is the Facebook link to the “event”: FACEBOOK!

And here is the link to the actual event: TELL A TRUE STORY

See you there! I mean, I did buy fake lashes for this event. Come see if I apply them correctly as a licensed cosmetologist.

My Writing Process Blog Tour.

Long time! Oy. Day job and June, in general, were rough. Many highs and a couple lows. I owe an explanation in another blog post but for now….THIS. I was invited to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour by Scott Springer, another Sacramento writer. He kindly wrote about me and my little ebook in his Writing Process blog post. His new book, Bound by Blood, comes out in September! Thank you, Scott. (And I’m sorry I’m posting this late!) x

Bound by Blood

My Writing Process is an ongoing blog tour in which authors blog about their own processes by answering four basic questions and then pass the baton to other authors. The questions and my wordy answers follow.

What am I working on?

In truth, I’m working on procrastinating but I have been working for a few, slow years on a book I wrote about my experience in beauty college. I’d been working in a government job I heavily disliked and at the time, my mom was nearing the end of her eight-year battle with colon cancer. I knew that I didn’t want to return to the dirty, lonely cubicle I had been in for 14 months when I lost her and decided to do something drastic: I enrolled in beauty college.

My dad’s reaction: Hey! Great idea!

My mom’s reaction: What.

My girlfriends’ reactions: I will be your model!

My brother’s reaction: Whatever.

My guy friends’ reactions: Will you introduce me to your single classmates? (I was too old for them, apparently.)

My coworkers’ reactions: I’m so jealous.

Anyhow, I told my disapproving mother that I was going to write a blog about my year in beauty school. Every day, I would write. It would be just like Julie and Julia, the blog turned into a book and then into a movie. I was going to write my first book. Mom was dubious, all the way up until I lost her. I could never tell her why I did it, though. I didn’t want her to know her impending death was tearing me up inside and I needed a change.

To quote a favorite book of mine, “My mom was the love of my life.”

Ugh, tears.

So, anyhow…working on Draft #3218 at the moment of Hair AmErica. First, an ebook. Next, Oscar-winning movie with Jennifer Lawrence playing me with fantastic hair. I may write a romance into the screenplay though because the only love affair I had in beauty college was with my State board final preparations. It ended with a happy divorce.

(Tangent: I do have an outline for a picture book based on my experiences grading student exams about ten years ago and the silly answers the kiddos would write that would deserve high marks but didn’t receive them based on stupid educational standards. And an intermediate fantasy book about SLEEPING. The idea works, I’m telling you. You just have to wait, though.)

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Ehhh…I don’t know really how it’s different than others in its genre except that I haven’t read anything else like it. I write what is called creative nonfiction or narrative nonfiction. Or…memoir. I learned recently the different between “memoir” and “autobiography,” actually. (You’re about to learn something useless here.) A memoir is written work about a period of your life, not your entire life. That would be an autobiography. So, I’m currently writing a memoir about my year in beauty college. I can just see all the heterosexual males lining up to buy my first copies. Truth: my dad read the entire blog as it was happening. He loved it, and he’s also biased. When writing a book, you’re supposed to do some research first. You’re supposed to find out if others have written what you’re wanting to write about. You might find some competition or learn that it’s been tried and failed. I have only seen one other mainstream book written about beauty college, and that was Kabul Beauty SchoolI started reading it years ago, and while it was good, I didn’t finish it. It also takes place in AFGHANISTAN. My book takes place in SACRAMENTO, so I think I’m golden, that is, if I can ever get this book finished. And this is still a work of nonfiction. I am writing about myself. But it’s not a “how to” book. That’s why it’s called creative or narrative nonfiction: it reads like a novel. So I’d like to think.

Why do I write what I do?

I have no deep answer for this. I even Googled other writers’ responses to this question to get ideas.  It should be easy to write about myself; my books are memoirs. However, I write what I know, which is about things that have happened to me or things that I have done. I have difficulty answering questions about why I write these things, and the only thing I can think of is that quote I see people post often on Facebook by Toni Morrison:

“If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

She was probably referring to literary fiction, but I’ll take it. I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to read a book about beauty school, but I think people can relate to being stuck and looking to something else for happiness. This book about beauty school also deals with death, grief, cancer, volunteerism, politics, love, friendship, and grace…though that description may make the book sound way better than it actually is. That is my biggest fear at the moment, that no one else will think it’s great. It will be dedicated to my mama, so that makes it superb.

By the way, my mom always talked about how she wanted to write a book. A mystery. She lacked the confidence and time, though. This is why my pseudonym includes the original spelling of her maiden name, is now attached to my first book, a book about online dating. I feel like online dating is a bit of a mystery…as in you never know what you’re going to get. x

How does my writing process work?

I don’t have a process. Clearly. I just write when I can. I save every draft by dating them so I know which version is the last one I worked on. I do have some whiteboards with outlines on them that have half-wiped clean accidentally during the four moves I’ve made in four years. My desk is a mess, as is the living room coffee table which adds to my procrastination, I know. I sometimes write for other websites for free with the promise they will send people to my blog and then book for purchase, but that has not proven to be fruitful, so no more…for now. I have been trying to submit a few query letters a week for representation for the hair book. I am about to do the same for my now award-winning ebook based on my online dating experiences in a blog called So Many Tools in the Internet Shed. Anything to leave my cubicle farm. I think the dating book makes an excellent bathroom read.  xx __________________________________________________________

I’ve invited two writers to participate in this tour thingy. (It should have been three but had a difficult time hearing back from people and I owe poor Scott a blog post!) You may want to follow them. They’re pretty interesting and diverse.

Josh Fielder writes as Hack Kerouac. (Just select the link there so you don’t have to spell “Kerouac.” You’re welcome.) I met Josh in an interesting way. He wrote an amazing post not long after the Newtown shootings that was shared endlessly throughout Facebook. I stalked him and added him and then won a dog collar from his side business for a dog I never got. He had gained many fans (and stalkers…real ones…and not me) and started blogging about his experiences as a cab driver, gaining MORE fans. That blog is about to become a book, and he’s about to embark on a national tour in his RV with his sidekick dog, Izzy. Check him out.

taxi__________________________________________________________

Edward Medina. I met Edward in a writing group on Facebook, and he’s done a LOT. Lemme just post this from his profile because I couldn’t say it any better.

Amazon bestselling author Edward Medina is a native New Yorker who was raised by his mother and grandmother to believe that life is an adventure best lived to the fullest. To that end he has lived his life on the edge of creative possibility.

Well, that doesn’t exactly say what he’s done, but I had to include a line about his mama and his grandmama. Trust me though, his canon is full of creative goodness. Okay, here’s a little more:

Amazon bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic steampunk adventure novels, short stories, and poems. Find Edward HERE.

by Edward Medina

by Edward Medina

Pride about PRIDE.

I’m not usually one to wish a month or just time away at all because hey, life is short enough already.

I’m a little glad June is over. It means we are well on our way at getting through the hot summer of Sacramento. The closer to fall, the better.

While I love the things I do in June, it’s always busy. June includes Mom’s birthday, which often falls on Father’s Day (like it did this year), and then my new June tradition, volunteering the entire last weekend of June for San Francisco PRIDE.

It was my third year. Every year, I somehow suddenly remember how fun it is once I navigate parking, BART, and finding the hotel and then venue. Without my dumbphone, I have no idea how people got around…to begin with.

I often wonder how I found my way to high school in the used car I had. Without help.

In 2011, my cousin, Steve, asked if I’d like to volunteer with him at PRIDE. I couldn’t that year. I was about to leave a job for beauty school, I was packing to move, and any amount of time I could spend with Mom was becoming more and more precious. I just couldn’t do it.

He asked again in 2012. I was back in beauty school after Mom’s death. I had some time, and I was game.

My cousin is the Police Liaison between the SF Pride Safety Committee and the SF Police Department. PRIDE pretty much begins on Friday evening, and then goes until late Sunday. Steve plays an important role in the order of the entire event.

According to the Safety trainers, many many years ago, someone died at PRIDE. They were run over by a vehicle in the parade. It was tragic, and it almost shut down the entire PRIDE celebration forever.

PRIDE committee folks told the city that if they could guarantee no more accidental deaths, there would be no reason to cancel the PRIDE celebration. The city agreed, and thus the Safety Committee was born. (And to the PRIDE people reading this blog post, if any of this is incorrect, I’m really sorry. Feel free to message me to so I can make corrections. If it’s close enough, swell.)

I attended a training last Friday that went from 7-9pm. It was at a beautiful church for the Unitarian Universalists…err…Universalist Unitarians…err. You get it. If I recall in my own religious studies, they are a very open, progressive Christian sect. The church was frankly GORGEOUS. Yet smelled old.

Cat hair on man in church.

Cat hair on man in church.

The training includes instructions for contingent monitors…the folks who are assigned to the floats/vehicles who are in charge of walking next to the wheels to ensure no one gets under them because of the tragic death from years before.

The second half of training is for the Safety Monitors. That what I’d been the previous two years. We walk around in small groups, looking for broken glass, passed out people, assisting in medical emergencies, etc. It’s fun. You get to walk around and windowshop and be stopped every few minutes for directions to the restroom. That happens on Saturday. On Sunday, we’re assigned to a spot on the parade route and make sure people don’t hop the barriers, direct them to restrooms and MUNI stops (where they can cross Market Street underground) and help apply sunscreen and take group photos for them. I’m also useful when it comes to knowing when the parade is going to actually end. Some years, it seems to go on…forever.

One favorite moment from my first year…2012. I was assigned to Safety Joseiph, a Team Leader. My brother and I and a few others walked around together, stopping at the food vendors and lightly shopping. We approached the “Meet Nude Men” booth and was startled to see naked old men. I said something to Safety Joseiph, and he said, “I’m not so concerned that they’re naked but that they’re not wearing shoes.” You might have had to been there.

Last year was also fun. I was in Safety Joseiph’s group again and felt like his right-hand gal.

I was sitting in the church with my cousin and bro, sitting through the same training we’d had the previous two years Friday night, and Safety Joey snuck into the pew next to me and asked I wanted to be a Team Leader because they were short. I said, “Is it hard?” He said, “No…it’s just getting used to the radio.” I said yes. And then felt like OH SHIT. RESPONSIBILITY.

I joined their training a few minutes later. Trying to listen hard. Safety Joseiph gave me a hug and said he hoped I hadn’t minded…they were short and he said, “I have an idea…” Honestly, I like having power, so deep down, I was excited. I was going to be on radio as part of the safety team in charge of the second-largest PRIDE event in the world. And if that last part isn’t true, oh well. It’s LARGE, okay?

I got a different shirt.

PROMOTION.

 

We wore yellow (or GOLDENROD…the joke of the day) and green on Sunday. You will find no selfies of me in the yellow shirt. No matter how tan a blonde is, yellow and blonde never work.

I arrived on Saturday HELLA NERVOUS. For real. Hella nervous.

Headquarters is at the Bill Graham Civic Center. This year, on the fourth floor.

I got a radio. No big deal. I got the inner ear radio instead of the Madonna-headpiece-radio because…because. I’d used radios like all of these when I toured with Cirque du Soleil. I wasn’t worried about this radio. I was only worried about being responsible for the deaths of people at PRIDE because I am terrible at giving street directions out in the event area. That was what my brother was good for, though. (He was in my group.)

Some really cool men were assigned to me. Actually, we all just kind of came together near the food and drink area. It’s loosey-goosey, really. John, Mike, and Ethan (my bro) and I headed out around noon into the madness.

Beautiful day.

Beautiful day.

 

So, one thing we do is walk into that grassy area as a team and look for broken glass, unbroken glass (with gentle reminders to attendees to make sure they throw them away or hide them), passed out folks, etc. Mostly, my morning consisted of ensuring my little group was first inside to get pizza during their break.

Me: “Safety Erica to Safety Command?”

SC: “Go for Safety Command.”

Me: “WE’RE HUNGRY.”

(Not really, but we were the first to go back to headquarters at Bill Graham Civic Center to get sustenance.)

We rescued a lot of glass. We guarded a large truck that was late in providing pieces to set up for a stage near a long row of portable restrooms. We formed a circle, trying to forbid wayward attendees from walking past the truck while also acting as the Potty Police.

“Excuse me, you can’t go through there unless you have to use the restroom.”

“Are you going to use the potty?”

“The last three are vacant.”

Yeah, we all got really good at that.

My first emergency? John developed hives. We were just walking and he said, “Guys…I think I have to go back.” His arms were covered in hives. He said he could feel them under his shirt.

As we were walking back to HQ, we were trying to figure out what we had all eaten and realized the FREE HUG we’d given to the FREE HUG dudes might have triggered some sort of reaction. I mean, those guys were wearing fake fur and maybe some other things…

We left poor John with the medics. “JOHN! I’LL CHECK ON YOU LATER!” I yelled. So professional. We all went back out.

Ethan, Mike and I continued to peruse the event site. I also enjoyed running into senior/regular Safety staff throughout the day, such as Safety Kurt, Safety Panda, Safety Josh (he helped with the toilets), Safety Joey, Safety Joseiph, Safety Joan, Safety Freddie, etc. Fun, fun people.

We did some sweeps of UN Plaza for glass. There is always glass there. Sometimes, you will see a bottle being kicked around by a crowd and by the time you get to it, it’s in one billion pieces. We do our best to get it all up. Cut feet are the most common injury at SF PRIDE.

WEAR SHOES, PEOPLE.

We later learned John received a shot and went back out with another team. I went off radio at about 4:30pm. Mike went out with another group. Ethan and I went our separate ways to get ready for an evening with our first cousin, Steve.

…not before Mike and I snuck a peek across the hall by opening the door to the soundcheck for Robyn and Royskopp. They were performing that night, and I wish I’d known. I love Robyn, since the 1990s. She’s fearless. The things you run into at the Bill Graham Civic Center.

This is what we heard:

The three of us met up at SOMA StrEAT Eats, or whatever it is, in San Francisco. Some famous food trucks are there. We also stumbled across some karaoke. I made Ethan and Steve stay to hear me sing three songs because I had to outdo the three little girls singing Alicia Keys.

Karaoke.

My stage.

 

Trust me when I say I was amazing. There also wasn’t much to compare me to. I sang Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, and Nicky Minaj. If one can actually “sing” Nicky Minaj.

Next day…early day.

Safety Monitors eating.

Safety Monitors eating.

That is Safety Kurt there with the radio, color-coordinated socks and short shorts. My new little team walked by him as he performed “Cold-Hearted Snake” by Paula Abdul. It was spot on.

My new little team: two very quiet brothers (newbies), a dad from a few years before (Jim), Benny (from last year), and my bro. We were assigned to 3rd and Market on the parade route. I’d be near my cousin, too. He was stationed as the Police Liaison near us.

We walked and walked and walked to our spot. Made friends with the folks who arrive early for a good seat. Told them there were 221 contingents. Told them where bathrooms were, where to cross the street underneath Market Street, and to help us locate suspicious bags left behind. There are a lot of people who still dislike PRIDE and what it stands for.

And the parade began.

Rainbow balloons.

Rainbow balloons.

Lots of rainbows coming your way.

…including Scottish rainbows.

Rainbow bagpipes.

Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser party.

Kaiser Permanente, I will never like you.

Many contingents walking around me, just like this, including Google and Facebook.

You can also ride the Chipotle burrito after this guy. He did a great job holding on.

The Chipotle Burrito.

The Chipotle Burrito.

And then there was State Senator Mark Leno walking near me in leather pants.

Them pants.

Them pants.

I have no photographic evidence of what happened next, but I made my first emergency medical call when the contingent for Aquarium of the Bay flagged me down because the passenger in their turquoise vehicle dressed like an otter was overheating inside the full-body costume.

I approached the van, and he’d taken his otter head off. He was leaning on the driver and said he couldn’t get up and walk.

Me: “Safety Erica to Safety Command?”

SC: “Go for Safety Command.”

Me: “I have a man who is overheating inside……….an animal costume.”

I remember pausing because I couldn’t tell if he was a squirrel or an otter and then realized it’s an aquarium contingent so likely an otter.

The medical team eventually made it to us through the very large jellyfish dancing around us. Other contingents began to walk around our van, since it was stopped in the middle of the intersection at 3rd and Market.

Eventually, Aquarium of Bay, Contingent #177, rejoined the parade, and Squirrel/Otter Man was alright. I mean, it was 80 degrees in San Francisco that day. That is unheard of for people not from Sacramento.

And then it was over. And the Safety Staff close in and hold hands after the last contingent passes their intersection. We become part of the parade.

Safety closure.

Safety closure.

We also get a lot of applause from the guests. It’s pretty cool. If you’re on the end, you get to wave like a prom queen. I don’t have a picture of that, either.

Back at Safety Command, I dropped off my radio. Completed my first run as a Team Leader. Got a “thank you” from Safety Marcia, the communications expert. I’d had fun.

Added new “friends” on Facebook. Said good-bye to those not on Facebook. Put on some flip-flops because walking and standing in sneakers for almost two days straight will still make your feet burn.

Got a last minute pic with the bro and cousin.

A Norwegian family reunion.

A Norwegian family reunion.

 

I’m pretty tall for a gal. They’re clearly taller.

Oh, and there was this from earlier on the parade route with Steve.

Steve-O and me.

Steve-O and me.

And then with the bro. We’re looking a little haggard and a little burnt. Those are all of our fans behind us. :P

Erica and Ethan.

Sibs.

 

Said goodbye to all the staff I know now and then headed out quickly before they even had the goody bags filled. It was getting late, and I had to pick up my bag from the hotel and find the BART and then fight a lot of stinky attendees for the same BART train. I made it to my station at around 5:30pm, and then home at 7pm.

And then, I went to work the next day.

PRIDE is fun. There are always negative elements to large gatherings of people having a good time…celebrating. The positive always outweighs the negative, though. People make new friends. People can sell their wares. Folks can find like-minded folks all in one place! And then commiserate and celebrate. I’m there to support my LGBTQI friends and family. I love it. It’s a blast ever year. I only wish my day job didn’t interfere with my desire to volunteer more. 

I look forward to being a Team Leader again next year. Thanks for asking me, Safety Joseiph and Safety Joey. :)

My last view of PRIDE before I left.

Bye, PRIDE.

Bye, PRIDE.

 

Until next year. x

EvR