Archive for May, 2012

Golden Rod and Hot Pink

May 31, 2012

With some sexy black accents-rims and wheels-and an upgraded Sugino Messenger crank set.

I had some fun designing a bike today.  I actually did two bike designs.  One in the early afternoon and one late afternoon.  They were interspersed with much paperwork, e-mailing, book-keeping, and re-stocking of the floor.

At 6:45 p.m. I looked at the clock, that cannot be right.  But it was and I still had serious work ahead of me.

I could have stayed.

Of course, I did not.

I know better.

Not always, but I know better.  I clocked out at 7:01 p.m. and hustled over to Rainbow before heading off to my standing 8 o’clock meet up with my fellows at 2900 24th street.  I got me some more Japanese sweet potatoes, so doing the trick for me right now.  So easy to prepare.

I just pop one in the microwave, nuke it on high for eight minutes, old microwave, and add some organic earth balance with a sprinkle of sea salt and I am a happy lady.

I am also a happy lady when I get disgruntled at work and start to take the job too seriously and get all in a fluster about international shipping prices and loss of online sales, and who the holy heck cares?

I stop, take a breath, smile, and think, does not matter.  It does not matter, I am going to Paris.

It is a soothing little mantra in my mind, breathe in, breathe out, Paris.

Then catch a whiff of sawdust!

I kid you not.  There was some carpentry project going on in the back of the building–I think there’s an art installation going in at the Incline Gallery–and I smelled sawdust this afternoon.

I laughed out loud.

I am still meditating on the sexual ideal and there it was, the smell of sawdust.  Perhaps I am getting closer.  I had a good chuckle at that.

I remember when Cass told me, the way the Universe works is that you’ll meet the one, right before you move to Paris.

This was last October in a coffee shop in the Marina.  I laughed, sounds about par for the course, God has a sense of humor after all.

Then she said, and if he’s the one, he’ll follow you to Paris.

Alright then.

So, I don’t even have to worry about it.   It’s all been planned out without any of my energy needed to be anxious or worried about.  It is all unfolding exactly as it should, and I don’t have to meddle or manipulate.

Last night I watched the last of Paris, Je t’aime (Paris, I love you) and it never fails to bring me to tears.  My favorite vignette is the one with the heavy middle-aged American woman from the Midwest with her non-ironic fanny pack and walking shoes, who has been saving up her pennies for years and has launched out bravely on a vacation to Paris.

She walks around and speaks bad French, and the bad French is so bad you just cringe listening to it, I find myself repeating back what she says in my French accent, which is quite good.

This is not to brag, I was excruciatingly lucky that my first French teacher was a Parisian french woman born and raised–how in the world did she end up teaching French to middle school kids at Gomper’s Middle School on the North East side of Madison, Wisconsin, is beyond my ken–but that God for her.

I was blessed to get her accent.  The two times I have been to Paris I am not taken as American.  I have been told by native French speakers that I have a tres jolie (very pretty) accent.

I am very, very lucky.  I was also lucky to have that teacher because when I moved out of the school district, she went to bat for me.  She had tried to get my parents to get me a tutor in French–she thought I was gifted and had an ear for the language, and wanted me to have extra study time given to the practise.  I was so gung-ho, but my step-father was not.

God forbid I actually have anything else going for me.  He also put the kabosh on advanced placement courses.  Thanks asshole.  Apparently I needed some ego squashing.  I think he just needed a big dose of I am better than a 7th grade girl, I think that spells small dick or closeted homosexual misanthropic, but I could be mis-diagnosing.

I’m not a licenced analyst.

But that teacher went ahead and contacted the woman who ran the department of French studies at the new school system, Mme Pietrich.  This woman scared the pants off me.  She was hard-core.  And she would not have taken me on.  She had a full course load of students and had no intentions of adding another student to her classes.

The universe knew better though, and happily enough, a student moved out of the district as I was moving in.  On my Gomper’s teacher’s recommendation, and it did not hurt that the two women actually knew each other from studies at the Sorbonne (!) small world, small, small world, I got in.

I got a good grounding in French.  I did French forensics, which is not like CSI, it was speaking competitions like regular high school forensics, except, well, duh, in French.

I made it all the way to State my senior year, only one in the district who did.  My teacher, this time in high school, also forget her name (good lord, I don’t remember names unless I was terrorized by you, Mme. Pietrich, you know I mean you) actually made a special trip to take me, the only student that year to get past districts, to the State competition.

Where I won the Gold Medal.

God damn.  I had totally forgotten about that.  What a nice memory.  I won a Gold medal at State in French Forensics–in poetry!

And now I get to move to Paris.

The Universe knew what it was doing all along.

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Long Slow Journey

May 30, 2012

Into the night.

Ah, I dramatize a little bit.  Which is a good reminder, to remember that this too shall pass.

I am in the beginning of a long six-day stretch at work.  I could look at it with annoyance and I have, believe me I have, or I can look at it as a way of getting to be able to do what I want to do next weekend–go to Fred and Heather’s Wedding!

Yes.

I will be getting a City Car Share and driving up to Glen Ellen for the nuptials, and I get to have a three day weekend.  I will be in much need of it.  Six days on, one day off, five days on.  Then the wedding.

I got to see Fred this evening, he was looking dapper.  I suspect prepping for the day and getting all the ducks in a row.  I can’t even imagine how busy Heather must be.

I can’t imagine planning a wedding.

I mean I can, what girl doesn’t?  But the reality of it has got to be quite different from the fantasy, which is what I do, fantasize.

Not that there has been much to fantasize about as far as the gentlemen are concerned.  Although, I am trying something new in the morning meditation.  I am meditating on what my sexual ideal is.

Now that is a different one.

It is a suggestion I have not had before and I am liking it.  I am taking every morning this week to do so and then writing down what comes up when I finish.

Most of the time it is gobbedly gook.  But once in a while something comes through.  I have gotten a few things, but the one that happens the most is carpenter.

Or wood worker, or wood shop.

I smell wood burning or being shaved down.  I smell wood chips and saw dust.  And I feel warmth.  Like being in a stable on a sunny day or a work shop in a bright space with a fireplace.

Now, I love the way wood smells burning, it is my favorite smell.  It is evocative of so much for me.  Child hood memories, adult memories, bonfires, fireplace at my grandparents home, wood burning stoves.  There is a cheerful kind of warmth to it.

A wintry warmth.  Or a fall warmth.  Hot cider, leaves, clean brisk air, wood smoke.

So, apparently my ideal works with his hands.

Now the point is not to actually get the ideal–I have thought that before.  Ok, so if I do the suggested writing, poof!  I will have a date.

I tend toward magical thinking at times.

The point, or so I have been told, is to grow toward the ideal.  As in the last time I wrote one I had down physically fit–not being physically fit myself, I got to work toward that goal, amongst other things.

After two days of meditating on my current ideal I have only gotten the idea that I should look at taking a wood shop class?

Maybe it’s from growing up in the Midwest, but I am tending to think that I want some one who is less cerebral and more hands on.  I am a thinker.  I don’t always want to be or need to be and I will try to figure things out till the cows come home.

Just re-confirming for you the ‘I am from Wisconsin’ bit.

I like the idea of some one who is good with their hands.

I am not particularly, nor do I actually have a huge desire to be, well, dexterity is nice, but I am not aiming toward suddenly wielding a jigsaw.  I just really admire people who are.  Skills like carpentry and building rather amaze me.  I am a little in awe of people who know how to build things.  I like playing with blocks, but I cannot fathom what it would take to build a house.

How do you even get into something like that?  I rather imagine that it is a family trade or a talented passed down generationally.

Not much got passed down in my family–abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, low self-esteem, poverty–not exactly tools to build a successful life on.

Then again, I have made a pretty fair exchange with those gifts, and I do think of them as gifts now, as I appreciate so much what I have and of how far I have come.  I have a stunning amount, really, when I look at things with perspective.

I certainly have all I need.

I also, took a small positive step forward with my writing.  I down loaded Word for MAC onto my computer so that I may do some formatting work on my book.  When I had my laptop repaired I lost the formatting.  I thought I had a back up on-line, I did not.

So, I will re-do that.  I actually have that as a kind of quiet goal.  Get all my books formatted before I move to Paris.

I want to take as little as possible.  I don’t want to take the notebooks with my rough drafts in them.  This means that I have to get the manuscripts written and typed.

I have not looked over those manuscripts in six years.

Six!

I really am taking little with me.  I will gather as I go.

I am actually debating not taking my bike either.  I am thinking I may sell it.  I’m weighing the pros and cons of shipping it versus selling it and either hoofing it while I’m there or using their public bike system.

And of course the Metro is really fabulous and easy to use too.

I bumped into Barnaby unexpectedly tonight, he was back from the long weekend and a visit to his mum.  We will be meeting up tomorrow night and having a sit down cuppa tea.

We have not actually had the chance to just sit and chat about details yet.  It has been a I’ll see you here, I’ll see you there rather hit and miss.

I haven’t been too worried, I know I’m going, but it will be nice to get more details.  Like when he’s going to be there and when it would be a good idea to buy a ticket over.

I feel good about this, not too excited, just simply doing some information gathering.

A little step forward and down the cobblestone road.

More Sitting Around Doing Nothing

May 29, 2012

That’s right hurry up and sit there.

Ah.  The need to figure it out strikes me stupid some times.  I must make it happen is a dangerous place for me to go to.  When I find myself pages deep on an internet site trying to decipher travel visas versus work visas versus student visas in Paris I get insane in the membrane.

When I am trying to locate what it is that I will do in Paris once I’m there, job, study, nanny?  What?

Cray cray.

Or when I am on Craiglist Paris looking at apartments.  Ok, knock it off sweet heart, this is not the answer.

The answer is to not try to figure it out.  The answer is to take the opposite action than what I think I should.  My brain is wiley and likes to scheme.

Scheming will not get me to Paris.  It will just drive me crazy.

So, I have been sitting still a lot more.  Meditating.  Just being.  I have been doing the things that I like to do here in San Francisco.  Which, to be honest is not excruciatingly exciting.  I am not waiting to get to Paris to live my life how I want to.  I am doing the things I like now.

I like to sit in cafes and read–again with the Auster, who so deliciously described escaping into a movie theater in high summer that I felt the cool dark air envelop me and I could feel the velvet seat cushion against my skin as I nestled in for the matinee.

I like to sit and write.

I like to walk around the neighborhood and take photographs.

I love the stuff that I see.  For instance this just cracks me up, it’s been posted on the telephone poll outside my house now for a week.

Lost Cat

Lost Cat

On my days off I like to write.  On my days on I like to write.  So, I write.  What am I going to do when I go to Paris?  I will write.  So, I took extra time today and I did some editing on an essay and I submitted it.

I already got a response!  They want it, suggested a few edits and are going to run it in August or September.  How did I get so easily published?

By submitting somewhere that does not get a lot of submissions and will not be paying me.

I had a moment today when I realized that perhaps taking the focus off getting paid for my writing will help me just to get it out there.

I was asked this evening what I was going to be doing later and I said, writing.  She inquired asking if it was journaling, and I said, well, I do that, but that’s in the morning and at night I write a daily blog of about 1,000-1,500 words.

Oh, she said, so you’re a writer.

I said yes.

Ha.

I am a writer.  And I don’t have to be paid to be a writer.  I can just be one.  Why that suddenly makes sense and gives me some lassitude to write more, I don’t know, but this realization has.

I feel like I know what my dream is, I always have–I want to write in Paris.

It was the same dream that had me leaving Wisconsin for San Francisco–I wanted to come out to San Francisco and be a writer.   Since that time I have written over 500 blog posts (527, but who’s counting?), three books in rough draft–one has been taken all the way into fifth draft, countless essays, poems, and probably close to 40 maybe 50 notebooks full of writing. I think I succeeded in my dream.

Oh, of course, what I was dreaming of was coming to San Francisco, writing the next great American novel and making a lot of money and going on book tour and being like stellar and awesome and famous and on Oprah’s book club.

I did not see the practise, the daily writing, as a goal, or a dream to fulfill, or the real meaning of sustaining my heart–how the writing sustains me, fills me, completes me somehow in a way I cannot otherwise be completed–I am nourished by the writing.  It is a kind of sustenance I could not do without.  Friends, family, love, air, water, food, God, recovery, words.

Ok, coffee, you too can be on the list.

Funny that I now do.

Funny, in a wonderful kind of way.

So, the focus is not on how to get to Paris.  I will buy a plane ticket.  Or where to live in Paris.  I will stay with Barnaby.  Or even what to do when I get to Paris.  I will write.

Thus, the doing it is in the doing here.  Write here.  My life won’t begin when I move to Paris.  My life is happening right now.

Yes, I will continue to take actions and I will probably continue to scheme, I cant’s help myself, but I will do my damnedest to bring it back to the moment, to the now, to the right here.

And write here.

I have a desk.  I have a bed.  I have a notebook or five.  I have some pens.  I have a rocking chair to sit in.  I have jazz.  I have tea.  I have friends.

Oh wonderful friends!  Joan pie is in the city!  I have gotten to see her three days in a row and I get to see her tomorrow too!  Love it.

I will sit on my days off and continue my practise.  I will sit on my days on and write and continue my practise.  I will submit and let go of trying to submit to get money, but just submit to practise doing it.

I may also take a class.  I ran into an old friend who is teaching a free writing class.  If it fits, I will check it out.

I will not beat myself up about money, career, men or the like.

I will take care of my own and my heart and I will keep letting myself do the simple, pleasurable things I really do enjoy the most–sitting in cafes, reading books, drinking coffee, sipping tea, writing, watching the world go by, walking around the neighborhood  and snapping a few photographs along the way.

This is a grand life.  I am a writer living in San Francisco.

One day soon I will be a writer living in Paris.

The only thing of real import is the writing, now, today.

And always.

Life is a Bowl of Cherries

May 28, 2012

In fact, it is three.

I may have a stomach ache later, but my God, I love me some stone fruit.

Today I slept in.  Today I did not do a whole lot of anything.

God.  Already I am lying, I actually did do a lot of writing today, a lot.  Ok, so, first, though, I let myself sleep in and I walked around and I did not let myself beat myself up about sleeping in.

It was the hard kind of sleep.  Not the kind of sleep where you noodle in and out of consciousness.  Not the kind of sleep where you sort of feel bad for wallowing in bed when there are things to do and places to go.  Not the sort of sleep where you hear the neighbors pounding up and down the stairs or the birds or the parade.  Or Carnival.

I slept through the parade.

Well, most of it, anyway.

I woke up at 8 a.m. went to the bathroom and thought, oh, I’ll sleep another hour.  I woke up at 11:20 a.m.!

It was solid, lights out kind of sleep.  I obviously needed it.  It was refreshing and good and I could not even begin to feel bad for it.

Thus, setting the tone for the rest of my day.  I decided right there on the spot to do my best to just stay present, let the day unwind and not hassle my self with chores and laundry and errands and doing.  I just gave myself permission to have a nice leisurely day.

Living in the “sun belt” really helps.  It was gloomy this morning, perhaps why it was so easy to sleep in, over cast and heavy fog.  It felt chilly.  I made my bed, made my coffee, said my morning prayers, and ate breakfast.

Hot bowl of oatmeal with a fuji apple and organic blueberries.  One scrambled egg with sea salt and black pepper.  One French press pot of coffee.

Ok, well, it was two.  I admit it.

I drank a lot of coffee today.  It is either going to go one of two ways, the extra caffeination will keep me up all night long or I will get over tired from it.  I am rather hoping for the latter, but suspect the former.

I meditated.  I am at a solid fifteen minutes.  Rather tepid about taking it further than that.  But I am sitting for fifteen whole minutes at a go.  I have for this entire last week, except for Friday morning when I met with Carolyn before work.  I am really seeing the results and so appreciative that I took Carolyn’s suggestion to start sitting.  Funny thing, that, the acknowledgement that it works, but my trepidation at sitting longer.

It really does remind me to get into the present moment.  Maybe that’s why!  My brain strives to be so not in the moment.  Get me out of here, it says, it’s not good enough here.  Such silliness brain.  It’s always ‘here,’ no matter where you go.

I decided after meditating that I was going to take a walk around Carnival and take photographs and eat an apple.

That was it.  Nothing big.  Nothing spectacular.  But so dreamy and lovely and oh, present minded.  I meandered over to 24th Street.  I played tourist.  I took photographs of things that I like, telephone polls and alley ways and trees against the sky.  A vendor selling soft stuffed dolls, I was almost compelled to buy one.

Dolls For Sale

Vendor selling dolls on 24th Street

 

I also went to Minxy, which is my new favorite store.  I found awesome earrings and a great shirt and a hot pink silk slip with black roses embroidered on it.

And I did not buy anything.  I will.  But not until next pay period.  Something to look forward to.  The shop is on 24th Street and it has some of the best curated vintage clothing I have seen in some time.  As well as being actually reasonably priced.  Some times I go into a vintage store and I am like, please, I am not paying this much.

Minxy is just about perfect, not too expensive, but not super cheap, and well done, well situated and displayed and playful.  I quite like the aesthetic, smart, cheeky, and the clothes work with modern stuff too.  I won’t look like a vintage scrounger Salvation Army cast off fashionista.  It’s  a little more pulled together, but without being pretentious.

Shit.

I should stop talking about this store.  I don’t want you to go buy anything there.

I drifted around observing the revelry and enjoying the sunshine that was coming out and took photographs and well, I strolled.

I turned back down my street and there he was, Mister Cherry Vendor, right outside of Parque Ninos United, and they looked so delicious.  Almost gone in ripeness and the smell, so ripely dark and sweet.  I was not going to get any, but did.  I stopped, sampled, and slapped down a five dollar bill.

So good.  I have had to wash cherry juice off my fingers three times today! I have the last of them waiting for me to finish my blog.  I pitted them and threw them in the freezer.  Frozen cherries are just pure decadence, I don’t know why, and I don’t care to figure it out.  I am going to chop up a Fuji apple, and toss it with some raw walnuts, sprinkle it with sea salt and pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg and ginger and cinnamon and then add a little plain non-fat yogurt and topped with frozen cherries.

Gah.  Must finish blog now.

After lunch back at the hacienda.  I sat outside and I wrote. I wrote a lot.  I wrote an inventory.  I took an honest look at some past behaviors.  Forgave myself, drank some tea and packed my dinner for the road.

I headed to Maxfield’s House of Caffeine, straddling the Mission/Castro border and I indulged in a large coffee spiked with cinnamon and nutmeg (there is a pattern here) and I read Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy.

Amazing stuff.

His way of describing things is so rich and so simple at the same time.  The way he wrote about the character Daniel Quinn eating a bowl of corn flakes for dinner, then smoking a cigarette.

I could taste the corn flakes, I could taste the milk, vitamin D fortified.  I could see the kitchen, the formica table top, the ashtray, taste the smoke in my own mouth.  It was quite amazing.

I strive to write like that.

Then off to see my fellows, touch base with Carolyn, and another walk.  This time around Dolores Street.

Dolores Street

Sutro Tower, Dolores Street, fog

It got chilly and the tourists standing in line at BiRite Ice Creamery huddled against each other as the sun started to be covered in fog and the winds kicked up.

Happy summer in San Francisco–now go buy a sweatshirt and support the high rents.

I happily pulled out my scarf, wrapped in snuggly around my neck, zipped up my sweatshirt, button closed my jean jacket, rolled up my pants, stopped playing tourist, and hopped on my bicycle through the still celebratory Carnival left overs and those just really beginning the Memorial Day partying.

Life is good.

I am loved.

And 

I have more cherries.

Are You Single?

May 27, 2012

I asked in jest, but not really.

And of course, he is not.  But, boy howdy he is cute.  He is also older than I thought, which may explain the attraction as well.

I tend to not really be all that attracted to guys my age, rather like them a little older or a lot younger.  There does not seem to be a happy medium.

I have not deleted the OKStupid profile yet and I had a fun chat with some one last night, but ultimately it led nowhere.  And when he decided to make a comment about my mouth, yeah, yeah, yeah, tell me another story I was just sort of like, time to go.

I told him I was turning in and had a busy day at work.

The truth, I just wanted to watch a little bit of a movie and have a cup of tea before going to bed.

I forgot to sign out of the account and realized an hour later that I was still online.  He probably thought I was blowing him off.

Well, as I was not blowing him, regardless, despite the implications that I may have talents in those areas, I figure, what ever.  I am not too upset if I hurt some one’s feelings on an online dating site.

How to segue this blog to the real topic at hand?

I just looked up and my eye was caught by a picture of my mom kissing me.  I am on a tricycle leaned over the handle bars and she is squatted down.

The photograph consists of just our two profiles.  I do not know why it fills me with such an ache right now.

I suspect that I am a touch hormonal.  I saw twin babies today and wanted to go snatch them up.  I dreamt of two little girls last night–Vivian Marie and Madeleine Ophelie.

Where the hell do I come up with these names?

And why am I sad for children I don’t have?

Yeah, definitely hormonal.

Which may also explain why I was so flippantly flirtatious with the guy tonight.  I always am when they are not available as well.  If they are truly single, I clam up, get nervous, and run.

Or I ask out guys that have absolutely no intentions of dating me.

I am not sad for what I do not have.  I am incredibly lucky for what I do have.

I think, and don’t tell, please, she’s already trying to get me to go to Disney World.  I think, that I miss my mom.

I would probably get my fill right quick if I were to see her for a visit, I might make it two days tops and I would want to get the hell out of Dodge, but tonight, I miss my mom a little bit.  Yeah, I might be having a little biological tic tock too, but that picture, the two of us exchanging a kiss, both of our eyes are closed.

My little nose nestled under her nose, my hair curly and lighter than I remember it being, tied up in a little curly fro top knot.  My mom’s hair, far darker than I ever remember it being, her eyes closed, but not quite all the way.

She’s looking at me just a tiny bit, and  I realized after looking at it for a moment, she’s tired.   She’s really tired.

And that made me sad.

It had to have been so hard.  Being away from her home, family, and friends.  Being alone with my dad, his parents, their alcoholism, the drug use, a marriage that was rapidly disintegrating before it even had the chance to be a marriage.

The photograph was taken in the back yard of my grandparents home in Palo Alto.  The back drop is a faded green wood fence with palmetto leaves behind it.  It is October.  It is the day my mom came home from the hospital with my younger sister.  I am 22 months old.

I have had so much life.

I am blown away by all the things that I have gotten to experience.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the horrific, the beauty.  The sheer beauty of my life blows me away.

The emotion is empathy not pity.  The feeling is sympathetic.  I love my mom.  I hate her some times too.  But the resentments get shorter and smaller and there are these moments when I can get out-of-the-way of my own ideas of what happened when I was a little girl.

And I just see a young woman, 23 years old, toughing it out the best way she could, kissing her daughter.

No wonder I am asking men if they are single.

I want to play the love forward.

Not that I will ever admit that on a first date.

Is That Barnaby?

May 26, 2012

Yes.

Yes, it is Barnaby.

He is not a made up imaginary friend.  Although my brain is super prone to fantasy, he is the real deal.

I think that tattoos gave him away.

He looks good, he looks French.  Well, he acts French, I got the double cheek buss tonight.  I love being greeted in the French fashion, kiss kiss.

It was good to see him in the flesh and realize that this is not actually that big a deal.

I mean, yes, I am planning on moving to Paris, but if Barnaby can do it, then so can I. Some one did it before him and some one will do it after me.  The awesome thing is that I can ask for help from Barnaby and then I get to turn around and share my experience with some one else.

I am not the only person in the whole world who has dreamed of moving to Paris.  I bet there’s just loads of information out there.

Actually there is too much information out there.  I get overwhelmed with the websites and the blogs and the internet searches and the craiglist postings.  It can be a lot of information to sift through.

Most of the time I just want to throw up my hands and say, enough!  Just enough.  Too much info, too much input, brain is full, stand by for download.

I was just reminded of that part of the Matrix where Keanu Reeves is plugged in and in a mere nano second has downloaded to his brain every single style of martial arts available to man kind.

“I know kung fu,”  he said with awe.

That’s kind of what my dream is.

“I know French.”

Or

“I know how to move across the globe without breaking a sweat, be able to pay off all my student loans, and transfer my phone number to an international one, get a Visa, passport, and a place to live, secure a job, and a bank account, and hey, while I’m at it, let me just download a husband and a town house in the 13 arrondisement as well.”

Is there a website for that?

Today, it was what would it take to get a student Visa?

Honestly, by the time I spent a half hour on it I wanted to say, fuck this whole idea, I’m staying in San Francisco and working at the bike shop for the rest of my life.  I will only live in the Mission, I’ll just get a tattoo every once in a while and I will live a life of quiet and desperate futility.

Thanks internet.

I am grateful, oh, so grateful that I don’t do this alone.  I do this life with guidance and love and compassion and humor.

I had some wonderful laughs with Carolyn before I went to work today.  We normally meet at Ritual, but she had some appointments that kept her house bound, so I rode my bike up into Noe Valley this morning before heading off to the salt mines.

We had coffee in her kitchen and her cat Jim leapt in and out of my lap.

We laughed about our crazy and I got to honestly share how I can see my whirly gig thoughts around this travel and this trip and what I am doing.

I get spun up into a frenzy, then I create some drama, then I feel like an ass when I have let the cat out of the bag and it doesn’t turn out the way I think it should, or I want.

Could going to Paris be that exact thing?

Sure.

In fact, it probably is.

So, with some help, and lots of perspective, this is the goal.  For today, live in today.  Keep taking actions, but not the ones I “think” will make me happy or will help me to figure it out.

Keep showing up and being honest with Carolyn.  Keep talking about what the crazy pants party in my head is sharing with me.  I realize that when it’s a story, it’s dishonest or its fantasy.

When its simple and supposed to happen, it will and it will fall into place with out me telling some show boat drama pants story.

I am writing about it, yes.  I am talking to my friends about it yes, I am investigating yes.  Am I moving to Paris?

I don’t know.

And today, for right now, that is ok.

Am I planning to take another action toward that goal of moving to Paris?

Yes.

So, what happens next?  I take some action, does not have to be what I think it should be, but just an action, direct my attention and my thoughts, perhaps, to helping others, and then let go of the results.

If it’s supposed to happen it will happen with out me mucking around in it or manipulating it.

I have more time to meet with Barnaby tomorrow.  He was beat and hungry and I had to get home tonight after my commitments to write and to get ready for a busy Saturday in the Mission.

We will meet up tomorrow evening in Noe Valley and we will discuss more.

It was just great to see him, get hugs, be next to a friend who has seen me grow up a lot over the last seven years, talk tattoos–he really likes my dragons–he has good taste!  And just begin the discussion.

If anything, I get to look at this as an adventure in getting to know myself and my friend better.  What better way than to confab about Paris and the day-to-day life of moving there?

It is exciting, but excitement, though, well, titillating and dramatic, is not really what I want.  I rather want the serenity of that cerulean blue, faded, porcelain sky over the Musee Romantique that I captured in my mind’s eye over a Pellegrino and a cafe creme at a cafe one late afternoon toward the end of my ten days in Paris.

It is the same sense of peace and tranquility that I get when I sit in my favorite cafe outside in San Francisco and stare at the sky and feel the warm sun on my face.

I am with God

And its all good.

Auntie Bubba Goes To Paris

May 25, 2012

Well, not yet, but I am getting closer.

In my mind anyhow, which seems to urgently need something to fixate on to keep its paws busy.

I talked with Barnaby today.

He is back from New York and coming into San Francisco tomorrow.  I will see him after I get done with work.  I confirmed to him that I am down for doing the deal.

Scary.

Exciting.

WHOA MY GOD.

I promised myself all I would do today is take one tiny action and that was to call Barnaby and leave him a message about further checking in regarding all things Paris.

I clocked out and walked out the door when he called.  I am keeping it under wraps at work until I have a set end day.  October is the shot for goal.  Barnaby may or may not be going back earlier than that.

He may also be going back later, but not by much.  His shoot for date is mid-October.  He has an apartment in the 11th near the Bastille.

Awesome.

We talked about actually getting a two bedroom and being room mates.  As long as there are no cats, he’s allergic.

Well, God already arranged that, I have not cats.  I have no kids, I have no boyfriend.  I have a passport coming in the mail and an old dream to be in Paris for my 40th birthday.

The dream really is to live in Paris.  I would love to spend my 40s in the City of Lights.

Ten years ago this week I was getting ready to graduate from UW Madison.  I was about to have a Bachelor’s in English Literature.  I also was on the cusp of having my black belt.  I had a “plan” to move to San Francisco at the end of summer.

Ten years in San Francisco.  Pretty stellar.  I don’t know a lot of people who can say that they did this.

Now I am shooting for ten years in Paris.

If it does not work out, I come back to San Francisco.  I have friends and fellows.  I will not be dropped.

I wrote about being scared today in my morning pages.  Of course I am scared.  I am talking about starting over in another country, in a language I know only passingly, well Barnaby assures me I won’t even need to know it that well-he doesn’t speak it very well, in fact, not at all before moving there a year ago.

I know it enough.  Yeah, I always want to be more of an expert than I am at anything I try my hand at, but in this, I am at least an amateur.  Not a novice.  Not completely estranged from the language or the culture.  I have a little experience.

I have also the faith of experience; which is that I moved across the country with little but an idea that I would find what I was looking for in San Francisco, that San Francisco was the next chapter in my life.

It turns out it was.  Ten years.  I am coming up on ten years here.  Really, I believe this to be an accomplishment.  It was also helpful for me to acknowledge that when I moved to San Francisco I had next to nothing in recovery–oh I mean, I had none.

And I did not have a lot of friends here.

I had a few, Dani and Eric.

They were great for going to the bars and doing drugs with, but aside from that, not a lot of help.  Aside from just knowing that they were making it happen, thus I could too.

What I have now is so much more extensive.  First, I have faith.  I have faith that I am being taken care or, always have been, not about to be dropped on my ass yet.  Second, I have a huge community.  I also have some one who lives in Paris who will help me, who said, point blank, I will introduce you to the women you need to know, to the places you need to go, and I will help you get situated.

Barnaby has an apartment and he also expressed to me that should I want to be room mates with him, he has the connection via his agency and land lord to get into a two bedroom in the city–he’s on good terms with his land lord.

Awesome.

The only thing I need to do is find work.

I will be able to do that.

And if I don’t, if it’s stupid and hard and makes no sense, then it won’t happen and I will get a 90 day ‘vacation’ in Paris and I will travel around the rest of the world.

I have a good feeling that the work will happen.  I have a great skill set.  I have a degree, thank you again, UW Madison.  I have life skills galore.  I am clever and smart and resourceful.

I also belong to a secret society, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, that I have an inkling of an idea will be of helpful support.

Really, all I have to do is focus on that aspect of my life and as I have been shown again and again and again, I will be taken care of.

That’s not to say that there is not foot work to do.  I don’t expect that this won’t be without challenges, but I get to try.  I get to do it.  I get to toss myself off the bridge and into that great unknown.

I will begin by watching Paris, Je t’aime.

Paris, I love you.

That’s how I like to brush up on my French–watching French movies.  In the queue is also Amelie, La Petite Voleuse (The Little Thief), and Midnight in Paris.

The other way I roll is to listen to French music–and take a wild stab at what’s on the stereo–it’s not Edith Piaf, but it is French.  One of my favorite groups that I discovered three years ago–Mossu T e Le Jovents–a Marseille French Maritime group.

Fabulous.

I don’t know what I am singing when I sing along, sometimes, I do, but I know this much–I’m singing in French.

 

Sex, Drugs, And Bicycles

May 24, 2012

What no rock and roll?

Yup.

The four currencies of the underground: cash, sex, drugs, stolen bicycles.

I am not joking.  I may be a little on the sensitive side of it, as I work in a bike shop and ride my bike to work and to get about, but it’s true.

I hear tourists wonder why bicycle theft is so prevalent.  It’s called drug use.  Bike parts are a currency.  Ask any one who has had their saddle stolen, or their saddle and seat post stolen.

Or their lights stolen.

Or their pedal stolen.

Or their bag stolen.

I have had a seat stolen, a seat post, lights, saddle bags, and one bike.  The bike was a long time ago and it was improperly locked.

Most people have their bicycle stolen because it was not locked up well enough or they left it for too long on the street or worse yet, over night.  If you leave your bike overnight, you might as well kiss it good-bye, it is not going to be there in the morning.

Even in front of a heavily trafficked area.  Even in front of stores with security guards or cameras.

A Brooks saddle equals crack.

A bike light equals speed.

A bike equals a weekend of partying.

Still one wonders, where do they all go?  Even a crafty tweaker is going to get caught eventually.  They use craigslist or they try to sell it on the corner, they get caught.  I wonder where the majority do go, apparently to Oakland.

Via Ingleside.

Via the Mission.

Via the Nortena’s.

A local gang that runs the Mission action.  Ever wonder why the merchants get pissy on 24th street when they close off the streets for Sunday Streets?

Because they are selling drugs out of their shops.  Loads of the little mom and pop shops are really fronts for drug running.

Duh.

I mean, really, you expect me to believe that you are paying the rent on the store front with your $8 Corte de Pelo.  That’s a fuck load of hair cuts for June rent, papi.

Add bikes to the mix.

The local Mission Police Department comes around every once in a while to talk with the shops and see what they can do to help prevent bike theft.  We do a lock tutorial every time we sell a bike.  I actually dissuade people from buying locks that are “cute” as primary locks.

We have an awesome lock from Japan called a Palmy, they are all these funky anodized paint colors–blue, pink, yellow, white, gold, black, silver–but they are aluminum locks and they’re meant to be a cafe lock, or a secondary wheel lock or a visual deterrent.

They will be cut in half with a strong bolt cutter and your bike will be gone.  I have people who come in all the time and because they are cute and light want to lock up their two thousand dollar bike with one.

Dude.

You just spent $2000 on a bike, pony up and get the $60 Kyrptonite, at least they insure them.

I readily admit the “hassle” of filling out paper work to insure your lock or to register your bike with the police department, is a little time consuming, but do it.

The police chief I spoke with today described how they apprehended this kid in the Nortena’s crew (god every time I write that, I get slightly goose bumped–shooting in the neighborhood last night) who they had been trailing for a while.

They popped him on a stolen bike, they then followed up on some evidence in the house where they caught him, which led to more bikes being discovered in Ingleside–about 22 of them–which then led to–

Oakland.

They found a container of over 100 bikes in Oakland.

Mother fuckers where going to ship those puppies right on out of port.

It’s like Sons of Anarchy, except with bicycles instead of motorcycles.

I always suspected they went over seas or down south.

We have a client who bought a bicycle from us and is trying to get it through customs in Columbia.

Too funny, how much coke comes from Colombia, but this dude can’t get his bike through customs.  The world is a crazy place.

I don’t normally post up links to other pages, but I am going to include the link to the police blotter here, maybe you had a bike stolen.  And if you didn’t you probably know some one who did.

Go here.

And then go register your bike.  Find the serial number, usually stamped on the bottom bracket of your bicycle frame and register it.  It won’t take long.  Promise.

Last, but not least, if you are buying a used bike and you are getting it off of Craigslist and it seems too good to be true, it is.

It’s hot.

Report it.

That’s my lecture for tonight.

Now go get your bike on!

Just Go!

May 23, 2012

Patience.

Patience.

Patience.

Sometimes the doing nothing is the important thing.  Today, I only took one little step forward, minute, truly.

I put my passport application in an envelope, stapled my new passport photo to the form, double checked the payment on the check,added in my old passport, sealed it up, addressed it to the State Deparment, weighed it, 3 oz, and put $1.30 in postage on the envelope.

It went out in the afternoon mail along with a paid invoice for t-shirts at the shop and a complete bicycle headed to Toronto, Canada.

There’s not a whole lot more for me to do today.

Aside from not obsess, not hunt craigslist Paris, and not worry.

I read an interesting blog last night about what you need to move to Paris.  I have the necessary requirements in spades–chutzpah, luck, tenacity.  Here is a link.  It is pretty mush about moving with out the money.

I can do that!

I have $1900 in savings so far.  The one way ticket is $577 on IceLandic Air (ah, Iceland, another place I have notions to visit, but one trip at a time) from SFO to Charles De Gaulle on October 15th.

I want to buy that ticket really, really, really badly.

However, for the time being, I am just going to sit back and wait for a little more information.

Barnaby is back in San Francisco tomorrow.  I want to pounce on him and pick his brain the minute he lands.  Probably not going to happen like that.  I imagine he’ll want to rest up from the travels back and forth.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for a Thursday after work meet up for tea.

Although, if he gets in tomorrow and is down for the discussion, I am all over it.

The article talked about having the tenacity to do something.  I have tenacity.  When I actually acknowledge myself and some of the things I have  done, I can say without any kind of smugness, I am tenacious for sure.

It gave some good tips and pointers about where to go and what to do.  The biggest thing, aside from getting work, is finding a place to stay.  That one I basically have.

Jesus, I don’t even know where Barnaby lives in Paris.

Who cares?

It’s Paris.  I’ll take the Metro.

I already have tickets.  Courtesy of Mrs. Shannon Smith-Bernardin, who brought back her unused carnets (tickets) for the Metro from her honeymoon.  I have a handful, enough to get around for a couple of days.

I was re-reading my entry in my journal from Paris, May 22nd, 2009 earlier, and I had a good chuckle over something I had entirely forgotten that I had done.

When I was there I fell into speaking French fairly quickly, a fact that I keep reminding myself of, the language will come back really fast, especially being immersed.  However, there was one time that I lost it, broke down and was hollering in English.

At a ticket agent.

Is it just subway systems everywhere that bring this behaviour out?  I have had words with BART operators before too.

I had gotten turned away at the turnstile was I was attempting to catch a train and I could not figure out why the machines would not take my tickets, I had just purchased them.

I brought them over to the woman behind the plastic screen and explained that I could not get through the gate.  She explained that I had purchased a pack of children’s Metro tickets, not the adult rider ticket.  I asked for a refund.  She said no, she could not do that.

I asked who could.

She told me I had to go to the Motparnasse station.  This was completely out of my way and I think I did not have anymore cash on me?  I can’t quite remember what the issue was, but I was suddenly irate, upset, and bewildered.  My French, which had gotten me carriage rides, dinners, cafe cremes, jewelry, museum passes, stickers, pain au chocolat, taxis, postage at the post office for my post cards, reservations, and countless other things, was suddenly no good.

I could not get a refund on the Metro.

I was livid.  And my French rapidly became loud, obnoxious American.

Not English, I was not English, I was not proper, I was bitchy, mean, snotty, loud–American.  All things I despised when ever I came across American tourists.

In fact, most of the time when I did cross an American’s path, I spoke French.  I was not, even with a camera at the ready, taken for American.  Brazilian, or maybe Spanish, perhaps from Portugal, but American, nope.

Until the Metro.

Then the ugly came out.

Soon, I will be an American in Paris again.  An American who has the tenacity and the stick to it’ness to be able to not just be an American, but to be an Expat.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

An expatriate.

Ha.

A polite ex-pat who speaks coolly, calmly, serenely going about her day-to-day life in Paris–writing in cafes being very much at the top of my list.

The one thing that the article also mentioned, was to hit the ground running.  I may take exception with this, the one thing I want to do when I get there is just sit for a minute.  An hour.  A day.  Preferably a week.  Just sit and write and sit and watch and get in some nice long walks.

I will be going over in October, when the tourist season has passed and the days will be shorter and the rain my come and it will be colder, but the leaves will be changing colors and the sky will have the silhouettes of gables and smokey chimney stacks.

I want to take a little time to just let myself be.

I also need to remember that nothing is happening yet.  I am still here, still in San Francisco.  I still need to focus on my self-care, recovery, and service to be done here.

Then, I can just go with impunity.

 

Administrative Duties

May 22, 2012

Yes, I do them in my own life as well as at work.

I paid the bills today.  Went to the bank, pulled out cash to pay the rent (yes, I pay rent early, when I know I won’t get paid again until after the first, it makes better sense for me to do now and be proactive), balanced the check book, put money in my savings account (the one called Paris), and wrote out the check to renew my passport.

Now all I have to do tomorrow is drop all the paperwork in the mail.  It was a touch surreal to write a check to the Department of State.

Fact, is this whole thing has been surreal.  Wonderful yes, but surreal none the less.

Maybe hyper-real is better.

I find myself spinning out in my brain at times about the hows and the whys and the whens and the what ifs….then I take a big breath and some small little action.

It keeps working.

I also upped my meditation again.

I am now at fourteen minutes.

There is a serenity party going on in my house.  Get on board. Whew, the big fifteen minutes might even happen this week.

I did laundry, took out the recycling, went grocery shopping and almost fell into the Henry Hall trap again.

Damn you man, how come you are all about calling me right now?  Ah, friend, old friend, old flame, just die off hey, now, wouldn’t you?

Don’t call me on Valentines Day and wish me a happy Valentines Day and tell me about driving through the country and thinking about me.  Please don’t.

Then, I too must not pry.  It is so not my business to enquire after your relationship with your partner, the mother of your children.  Not my business.

And yet, the words just flew out of my mouth like swallows out of a barn at dusk.

Ugh.

I get to keep re-learning.

Thanks God.  I did retract my offer to go to the High Sierra Music Festival with him and his friend Mark.  Who I have not seen since he dropped me off at my old house on Potrero and 25th after we had been all out drinking and I was loaded on coke and oh yeah, I am fairly certain I made a complete inappropriate pass on.

Because if you can’t seem to manage to land the love of your life, it’s a great idea to fuck his best friend.

Ack.

Quite glad Mark turned down my offer.

Man was I a hot mess.

Henry and Mark and a music fest in the High Sierra’s.  Pot, beer, partying.  No thanks, I know better.  Henry is going to want to hang with his friend and let loose since he won’t have his kids and I don’t want to be around my friend when he’s had a few.

I love him, but now I know that I love me more.

I also love the idea of having a cup of coffee with him when he flies into San Francisco to meet Mark and then waving fair well to them as they hit the road for their weekend of music and debauchery guy friend thing.

I have better things to spend my time and money on.

I also deserve to have a relationship with someone who is available.  I heard Henry’s hesitation when I proposed coming along, I mean, hey, I’m not going to Burning Man, might as well make a trip of some sort, but I steam rolled over it.

Fortunately, Henry was honest with me about the fact he was uncomfortable with it.  Not from the stand point of spending time with me, but he was frank, he wanted to party with Mark.  And I am sober.

Nothing really puts a kibosh on a good old-fashioned let’s get shit faced weekend with the boys, then a sober friend.

I totally got it.  Thank God for perspective too, I don’t want to go.  I don’t want to waste another precious minute of my life pining after something that is not real and I don’t want to see my friend drunk or high.

I don’t care if he does or if you do or if the President does, it’s none of my business.

However, it’s not fun for me to hang out around.  I have absolutely no desire to imbibe, in fact, the thought rather grosses me out.  It smells bad, it looks bad, and I don’t need to check out.

Even when reality is intense and I think I am being overwhelmed with all the things going on.

Really, there is nothing going on.  I am sitting at my desk writing and listening to the Beetles.  I wrote a few checks today and did errands.  I took the next action toward fulfilling a life long dream, no biggie.

And it was no biggie.

That is the magic of how it happens.  Just one tiny bit of action and it all adds up.

You really can do anything you want.

You just have to do it.

You also don’t have to do those things that you don’t like because you, I have an old out dated idea of love.

I am worth more.

I have acted as if for long enough now to actually believe that and now it seems that all that work is really, really paying off.

I have been stripped down, cleaned up, and inwardly re-organized.  I have a little more inventory to write and some other acts of personal house cleaning to do in the next couple of days, but for the moment, all the actions I needed to do today have been done.

The big one was the to not do something and just sit still.

Helped me focus on cutting that check to the State Department instead of funneling money to a music festival I don’t want to go to in the first place.

I know what I want today and it is not a music festival.

I want Paris.

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower as seen from the Left Bank, Paris.


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