To sanity.

One could say that is always on my mind.


Never knew how crazy I was until it stopped.

Or I was willing to listen to what others had to say about the whole thing and take some basic suggestions and voila!


Or some bright semblance of.

I believe I am still cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, however, it’s a kind of crazy I have been busy treating for the last 8 years and some odd days.  I can sort of take it to the bank because I have been taught how to treat it.

Just like I did today.

Took my paychecks to the bank and took the money I owed Barnaby to Barnaby.

I like that, see that sentence just there, it’s in the past tense.


I don’t owe him money more.

The debt has been paid and it’s done.

So nice.

I rather enjoy being accountable and taking care of business and I am grateful to not have any more of that debt over my head.

It was good to see Barnaby again as well, give him a quick hug, he was in the middle of doing a tattoo, so I did not stay long, just long enough to say I needed to see him when I got back to San Francisco because I have a need for some fresh ink.

I have a couple of stars to add to the seven on the left side of my neck.

“What happens when you have 50 years of sobriety,” my best friend asked me when I got five butterflies on my shoulder to acknowledge the anniversary.

“Will you have 50 butterflies?”  She asked, half serious, half in jest.

“I might,” I said with a smile.

Heck, at that time I had only one sleeve, not two, and I did not have any idea that I was going to have the tattoos I currently have.  Although I did know I would have more.  I still know I will have more, and yup, not particularly positive what they will be either.

Just that I will be adding a couple stars to my small galaxy.

I gave Barnaby another hug, pulled out the envelope (that just happened to be in some stationary that I bought at a book shop while out with Barnaby one day wandering through bookshop stalls in Paris) that I had put the cash in, said thank you, and I will call when  I get back.

Then I hopped on the bike and headed down to Photo Works to pick up the restored photograph.

$165.18 and a few tears later I have the original photo and the three restored prints in my possession.





I felt overwhelmed with joy.

I don’t know how it works, I really don’t, but it does.

To see the photograph restored seemed a sign of my family being restored to me.

And I did not realize until I looked at the photograph again that it was not my grandparents wedding!


It was my great grand parents wedding photo.

Which made it even more special.

Levi and Dolly.

If I have children that will be their names.

No more French names (Madeleine, Ophelie, I am still partial to those sweet names, I am, but) for me.


I felt something stir in my heart, sweet, and kind and it’s funny I am slightly distracted as I write this, the photographs on the back ground of my computer screen are from my first week in Paris, which seems to add a sense of poignancy to the entire endeavor as well.

How far I have come to go back home.


A story that I am a part of, a narrative that continues to grow and surprise me with its abundance and depth and detail.

I don’t know a lot of my family history.

A smattering here and there.

I know that Dolly and Levi barely knew each other, according to my mom, it was just this side of a pre-arranged marriage.  I know that we used to go to their house in Lodi on Christmas Eve after mass at the Catholic church in downtown Lodi.

I will always remember how drowsy I felt and how hard I tried to stay up to partake of all the goodies in the house and how it smelled so good, like gingerbread and spice and how I never made it.

I always fell asleep.

I don’t know that I could have been more than four or five in that memory.

I just remember the house, the warmth of it, the smell and the nest of coats on the bed covered in a chenille throw.

I don’t know if I burrowed into the stack of coats, but I think it’s a good possibility.

I do remember going back out into the cold and getting settled bleary with sleep into the back seat, the glow of the house lights falling on the snow, the frost on the window in the back seat, lacy and thick, the shroud of a cloud passing over the bright full moon and then asleep.


I know too that my mom has very fond memories of her grandparents and lived with them after an accident she had when she was a little girl and had a long, slow convalescence after falling into a furnace.

She had severe burns all over her legs and still to this day has the clear, tight, skin of a burn victim in splotches on her legs that I never thought unsightly, even though I could see the veins below her skin and the skin seem so tight and translucent over her legs.

They were just my moms legs and they were comforting to me.

So, with a full, achy heart this evening, I returned from my travels about having made a pit stop at 7th and Irving for an hour, then home on the bike, the fog so heavy it was like riding through soup, to unload my treasures.

I framed my copy of the print.

I have my mom’s and my sister’s copy ready to go for the trip as well as the disc that the photograph is on.  I am going to download it to my computer to have it in my own files.  Then give it to my mom so that she can make copies for any of her siblings if she should want.

Restoration was not what I was looking for nine years ago.

I just wanted it to stop.

Stop it did.

And it continues to amaze me.

Fulfill me.

And fill me.

I have been given so much.



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