Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

Flanneur

July 22, 2018

Which means, “one who strolls,” in French.

Or something like that.

Google it if you’re not sure.

I am fairly certain, but my French is not that great.

It’s good, but not great.

I know enough French to get me in trouble, its assumed by my accent and the way I talk that I do speak it fairly well, but as I explained to a new English-speaking friend today, I get caught up in trying to say the right word and the rapid fire Parisians are three sentences ahead of me while I am still thinking of the word for “dressing room.”

Which is “cabine,” if you wanted to know, and I did remember, but not before the sales person figured out my French was not as good as assumed.

I actually didn’t really buy anything today, well, food, not that much is open on Sundays.

Oh.

There were tons of shops open in the Marais, but nothing really called to me, except, heh, the shops that weren’t open.

Sunday in Paris is a family day, a rest day, most places are closed and I decided early on today that I would do my best to take it easy today too.

I mean.

I still walked like seven miles, but at an easy, relaxed pace and I did end up taking the Metro home from my final destination as I wasn’t feeling like walking fourteen miles.

I could have, it’s still light out, the sun has not set and it’s nearly 9p.m.

Gorgeous light in the apartment.

My last night alone here, the family returns in the morning.

Then!

I’m off to the South of France at lunchtime.

I’m very excited.

It will be nice to be on a train for a little while, the ride is about three and a half hours, and it will be fantastic to see a new city.

My friend knows the area well, we are staying at her favorite hotel in Marseilles, which has a view of the port.

We will go to the big museum there and have a nice dinner, I’m sure, and on Tuesday we will be taking a car to the markets in Aix-en-Provence, then on the way back to Marseilles we will be going swimming in, I forget the exact French word for it, some secret little beach on the Mediterranean.

So stoked.

My friends return in the morning and I’ve been instructed to be ready to leave for the train station by lunch time.

Not going to be a problem, I’ll just be packing a few summer dresses, my toiletries, and my bathing suit.

I still cannot believe I will be swimming in the Mediterranean Sea!

So happy.

And.

Honestly, I could use a break from Paris.

I know.

What?

Did I say.

I have had this feeling before, I did last time I came, at one point in my trip, I’m done with the crowds, I’m done with being stared at on the Metro (I have a lot of tattoos and though one sees them a bit more than they used to, it is very rare to see a woman with as many tattoos as I have, and it’s warm, I’m showing a lot of skin, not obscenely, by no means, but it’s unusual, and man, I get the looks), I’m done with snotty French waiters.

Not all waiters are horrible.

But I usually have one or two that are assholes and I got that one today at a cafe I met a friend at on Rue Madame.

It’s a damn cute cafe though.

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I had my “usual.”

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I like coffee.

And I like the sparkling water.

I just finished up one now.

Nothing says I’m on vacation like the two of them together.

Plus.

Taking the time to sit still and enjoy them.

I tried to sit a little more today, but it can be hard, my brain tells me that I must go and go quickly and get in as much as possible and do, do, do.

A human doing, not a human being.

But today I let myself sleep in, I laid in bed after I woke up until 10 a.m.

Then a nice long shower, a leisurely breakfast, and some laundry, so nice to have laundry here, I am super grateful for that and not having to cart it to the mat down the block or up and down five flights of stairs.

Then coffee and writing.

I didn’t leave the house until after noon.

I decided I didn’t need to do the Louvre, that had been my sort of “plan” but that I could just walk and see where it led me.

I walked through the Marais.

I walked to the Seine.

It was gorgeous.

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I mean.

Come on.

I walked and walked and walked.

Then I crossed over this bridge and went into the Latin Quarter, which I don’t much like, way too many tourists, way too many, but it was on my way to where I was meeting my friend and I realized that I had plenty of time to just walk all the way there without being rushed.

And.

I stumbled upon the Cluny Museum!

Never having been, I popped in for a wonderfully air-conditioned visit and saw the famous tapestries.

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They were beautiful and it was a sweet little detour.

After that I walked over to the Luxembourg Gardens, but needing food I kept my eyes open for the right place to grab a bite.

And lo and behold!

A miracle!

Not only a new organic, locally sourced restaurant, but one with beautiful flowers everywhere, and, and, and!

A non-smoking terrace!

All the cafes, well, except this one, have smoking areas on the terrace, and everyone it seems, smokes, except my friend, thank God, and I made the grave mistake my first night eating outside and my food might as well have been dipped in nicotine.

It was gross.

And I used to be a smoker, so that’s saying something.

But this little spot, was no smoking and I was really happy.

The food was surprisingly good and the terrace was super pretty.

The service was a little spotty, but that was obviously because it was a new restaurant, turns out they’ve only been open three weeks, and I was more than happy to be patient about it.

Which I’m grateful for, because when my food did arrive, the waitress got my order wrong the first go around, it was superb.

Best lunch I’ve had here since I landed.

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A really beautiful crustless Quiche with vegetables, a green salad and these delicious sausages.

That and the atmosphere, made me super happy.

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And then I walked through the Luxembourg Gardens before meeting my friend at Cafe Madame.

A sweet, slow, “lazy” day.

Heh.

I still walked 15, 418 steps and climbed 15 flights of stairs.

And now.

Well.

It’s time for dinner and getting ready for my trip tomorrow.

I hope your Sunday is as lovely as mine was.

Bon soir!

 

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The Light

July 21, 2018

Today was magic.

The light all day long.

Extraordinaire.

I was blown away by all the different kinds of it.

The light on the Seine.

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And in the sky above the Eiffel Tower as I crossed Pont Alma, a “pont” is a bridge, on my way to the American Church to see some friends this evening.

The light was also amazing coming through the church windows, but well, I don’t take pictures in churches, at least not most of the time.

I was happy to traipse through the light tonight after leaving the church to head to the Metro to go to the 11th Arrondisment to, yes, another place filled with light.

L’Atelier des Lumieres.

Oh my God.

It was extraordinary.

I mean.

I cannot quite put words to it, but there were often tears on my face as I sat in the dark listening to the beautiful music they scored the works of Klimt to as the light and color and shapes melted and merged and coalesced into all these beautiful paintings that I am so very, very fond of.

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Klimt is one of my favorite artists.

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So when I stumbled upon this show a few weeks back I made a mental note to myself that I would go.

And I went.

And I went after a fairly packed day of stuff previous to it, but it was perfect to go, it was actually a nice thing to do after my full day, as I sat still for close to an hour watching the show.

Previous to the show I had been at the aforementioned church way across town.

Before that a visit to Marche aux Enfant Rouge for a roasted chicken, cherries, apricots and a beautiful nectarine.

Before that shopping in the Marais.

I scored a dress!

I can’t believe I scored a dress in Paris.

It’s not always the easiest place for me to shop.

I was very, very, very happy to get the dress.

Before the shopping?

Art.

Lots and lots and lots of art.

I went to the Musee Pompidou.

They had a great exhibition from the 1930s on architecture and furniture and then I gamboled through the permanent galleries and stumbled quiet without knowing it, unto the most beautiful art film I think I may have ever seen.

It was called “The Silence of Ani,” by Francis Alys.

It was stunning and I can’t even do it justice, but it was like watching a poem unwind.

Here’s a Vimeo of it, it’s about thirteen minutes long and well worth it.

Imagine seeing it in the middle of Paris, in the afternoon with no one else in the theater with you.

Superb does not do it justice.

And before the museum?

Yes I did.

I got a tattoo.

heh.

At Abraxas, where I have gotten all my Paris tattoos, on Rue St. Merrie in the Marais.

Speaking of all the light, here’s a shot of the tattoo after my long day of running around the city, just as the sun was setting in the kitchen window of the fifth floor walk up.

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And though there are probably a lot more things I can say about today.

I am also light-headed with the tiredness.

I think I will call it a night and let myself rest for a while and nibble on some of those delicious cherries I got from the market today.

Bisous!

 

Belle Femme!

July 20, 2018

I ignored the yell.

I got a few of them.

I really don’t mind being called a beautiful woman, but I wasn’t comfortable in the area of Paris that I was in and did not turn to look.

I am, however, comfortable being here.

I’ve been here since Monday, and yes, I know, it’s Friday, but I have been staying with friends and decided to do something different than usual.

I haven’t blogged, but rather, gone out with my best friend, walked everywhere, oh my God have I walked, played with her beautiful twin babies, hung out and drank coffee, been leisurely and warm, it’s been hot in Paris, eaten steak very rare, went to museums, and sometimes just rested on the couch in the fifth floor walk up where I am staying with my best friend in the Marais on Rue de Temple.

Yes.

You read that correctly.

Fifth floor walk up.

You know that app on your phone that tells you how much you’ve walked and how many flights of stairs you’ve done?

A LOT.

Let’s just say I have walked and climbed a lot.

Jesus.

Today it says I walked 6.4 miles and climbed 12 floors of stairs.

It lies.

I did more than that, I just didn’t carry my phone the whole time.

I probably did 18 or 20 flights of stairs.

Yesterday I walked even more than that, 23,188 steps, 10.6 miles, 14 floors (but more likely 24).

Plus.

Heh.

I’m staying in the loft of the walk up.

The flat is at the very top of the house, and when you go in through the door there is another flight of stairs and then I have to climb one more flight to get to the loft I’m sleeping in.

Now I know how my friend keeps her marvelous figure.

Fuck.

Imagine doing all that climbing with twins?!

She also taught me today to not wear face makeup, “you don’t need it.”

And.

To part my hair differently, “much sexier.”

And.

To wear matte lipstick, “gloss makes you look, well, you know.”

I do.

Slightly trashy.

So.

For the first time in I don’t know how long I wore no coverup or powder, I just did a little eyebrow makeup, mascara, and a matte lip.

She also said I should not wear any lipstick in the daytime, because you want to “pop” at night and how do you pop if you are already wearing lipstick?

I was going to go out tonight and eat in the neighborhood, I still could if I wanted to, it’s only 9:34 p.m. on a Friday night, everywhere is serving dinner, but I’m a bit tuckered out from my walking and stair climbing and I’m not sure I have it in me to do those five floors up and down again.

So yeah, I just did my sexy hair and matte lip to go to the Franprix and buy milk and fruit and sparkling water.

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But you know.

I felt sexy as fuck.

It’s fun to feel sexy just going to the market.

I did other things today, too, ate a big fat steak, very rare, at Comptoir de l’Arc, a resto near the Arc de Triomphe that is just off the tourist path and very much a neighborhood haunt.

It was full of true Parisians and it felt fun to be there.

I had gotten the tip-off to the restaurant from a friend when I lived in Paris 2012/2013.

It was specifically designed for the locals and unlike the majority of restaurants in the neighborhood which have jacked up their prices, it is really affordable and very good.

I was happy to be back.

And it was nice to hop out of the sudden rain that sprang up.

Not that I minded the rain all that much, not when it’s warm.

Paris in the summer and a light rain?

Lovely.

I’m on my own for the next few days as my friends are off to a wedding over the weekend, so I’m fairly sure I’ll be keeping you updated at least through the weekend.

But come Monday I’ll probably go radio silent again.

I’ll be heading out-of-town for a few days.

Originally it was to Ile de Re, an island off the West Coast of France, but the house became unavailable.

Next time.

Instead!

I’ll be going with my best friend to Gard de Nord on Monday morning and grabbing a TGV high-speed train to Marseilles!

Yes.

I am going to the South of France.

I am over the moon.

We booked a hotel for two nights and my friend is going to rent a car too.

We are going to stay the nights in Marseilles, but one of the days we are going to drive to Aix-en-Provence, where she used to live, and go see the markets and drive around and be hot.

It’s going to be very hot in the South of France.

But.

We will also be going swimming in the ocean, so you know, I’m ok with that.

Have I said luckiest girl in the world yet?

Yeah.

Like that.

Not Excited Yet

July 13, 2018

But I’m hopeful I will get there.

I realized tonight when I wrapped up with my last client that I only have one client left to see before I go to Paris.

Paris seems far away and a touch surreal at the moment.

I have been so busy walking through this housing situation that I have spent little to no time thinking about Paris.

Cue standing in the dental aisle at Walgreens this afternoon when I went in to fill a prescription.

Why am I standing in front of the toothpaste?

I have toothpaste at home.

I don’t need toothpaste.

But I kept coming back.

Until I remembered.

Oh snap!

I need travel size toothpaste!

I’m traveling soon.

I leave in three days!

It just has not really landed at all.

I am, of course, very much looking forward to seeing my dear friend.

I miss her so much and it was hard to finish my last semester of school without her.

Friends are so damn important.

It will be good to reconnect, to have lots of time with her, and of course, to have the best and most brilliant of insider guides to the city that I love only second to San Francisco.

I am always so happy that I get to live here.

Yesterday I went and visited a friend who used to live in the city but has done what so many of my friends have done, moved out of the city across the Bay.

She lives high up in the Berkeley Hills and it was a beautiful home and a lovely, stunning really, view of the city, the bay, the fog pushing over Twin Peaks, but I could not imagine living there.

I love San Francisco.

Sure.

It’s changed, but everything changes.

And it’s still, to me, one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially to live.

I also ran an errand and took back a bicycle rack that a friend had loaned me last year for Burning Man.

That took me to Alameda.

Where I did see a few cute houses, but it felt so suburban and removed and I also could not see myself there.

Or in Oakland.

Or in Berkeley.

I see myself in San Francisco.

My focus on finding a place is focused on the city proper.

And let me tell you.

I have been looking.

I have seen a few things, but not much.

I have responded to a few things, but gotten no response.

I do feel like when the dust is settled here and all the paperwork signed and taken care of that I will be throwing all my might behind finding a new place.

I will also officially throw it up on social media and I’m quite hopeful that I will find a good place.

I have been quietly telling a few friends and starting to put the word out.

The fact is though, at this point, it’s so close to me leaving for Paris that I really should skip even looking, I don’t know that I could do anything or get anything together before I leave.

I think it’s time I get excited!

I think it’s time to contemplate what I am going to be doing, walking around in the best city to walk, seeing art, street art and art, art.

Getting to spend time shopping in the Marais at all the little paper shops for notebooks to smuggle home with me.

Gah.

I bought a book today to read on the plane and I couldn’t help myself, I bought a new notebook too.

It was too cool to pass up and I knew I must have it.

There was a little voice in my head saying don’t accrue any more stuff!  I need to get ready to move and the less to pack, the better.

But.

Well.

I couldn’t help it, I bought the notebook.

And I did some writing siting in a cafe waiting for my friend and her new baby to come and join me.

I don’t often sit in cafes in San Francisco and write anymore.

I do the majority of my writing here where I am sitting right now, at a tiny table in my tiny kitchen, heaped high with notebooks and folders and books.

God.

I love paper.

I love writing.

I wrote a love letter in the new notebook.

I think that’s why I decided I had to buy it.

It is perfect for writing love letters.

And it was.

After my friend left I had some down time to sit for a while before I headed into my internship.

To sit outside, in the warm late afternoon sun, with a bottle of sparkling water, at a park in the Mission on Valencia Street that I used to bring former charges too and write a love letter while looking up at the bright blue sky, well, it was something else.

So no regrets about buying the notebook.

It will be used.

I will also buy more when I am in Paris.

Along with my standard pair of earrings, lipstick/lip gloss or eyeshadow, postcards, museum magnets and whatever else small momento I feel I should need.

I am so looking forward to seeing Paris through my friends eyes that I will have to buy something outside of my normal repertoire of souvenirs.

I thought about perhaps buying a market basket, I do love how they look.

And.

Yes.

I have contemplated a new tattoo.

I have one in mind, I will see if it stands the test of time when I arrive.

There’s a shop in the Marais that I get my work done at and I’ll see if they have an opening when my friend is off to a wedding out-of-town one of the weekends I am there, get myself a souvenir that I can wear always.

I like that quite a bit.

Of course.

I will take lots and lots and lots of photos too.

I promise.

Psst.

Here are a few from my recent trip to New York.

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Back yard patio at a lovely little restaurant in Williamsburg, The Rabbit Hole, where I had the most amazing soup and salad–broccoli cheese consume and the salad was like a deconstructed BLT with avocado and fried leeks.

So good.

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Bunny rabbit lamps!

From Le Grand Strip, on Grand Ave in Williamsburg.

I swear to God I almost bought them, but not knowing where I am going to live stopped me.  Once I’m settled I may actually buy them, the owner said she could ship them for me.

Bunny lamps!

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A triptych of feminist Latina women at the Brooklyn Museum.

Why, yes.

That is me in the middle.

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Mural in Fort Greene Brooklyn.

More to come.

Paris soon.

T-minus three days and counting.

But who’s counting?

 

The Best Thing

June 22, 2018

About writing progress notes this week has been this: “therapist out of office next week, rescheduled with client for…”

Therapist is out of office next week!

I’ve one more day of work and one last client to see tomorrow before I get to go to New York.

I’m so excited.

Although it does seem a touch surreal that I will have five weeks off of work, I am ready for it.

I was told recently that my type A ass might have a hard time settling down to relax so to be careful that I don’t over book myself during my time off.

Yeah.

Sure.

Bwaahahaaha.

I’ll take it easy.

I perhaps won’t take it as easy as the average slothful bear, but I will take it a little easy.

I’m so ready for a little vacation time.

I really am.

Ready for all the fun too of getting prepped to go.

Even though the sandals I ordered online came and they don’t fit well, I still have many cute outfits and shoes to wear.

And I have the weekend as well to shop.

I probably will get at least a dress or two and if I run across some cute sandals, well, yeah, I will.

I will be downtown on Saturday getting a hair cut.

I haven’t gotten a hair cut in ten, eleven months.

I am due.

My hairstylist, who I have known for years, but never actually gotten a cut from, has her salon in the Flood Building, so I’ll be downtown on a Saturday and I figure I can do a little shopping for myself and my trip.

I don’t need to, there’s nothing super pressing that I must get, but it will be nice to peak around at things.

I always like having another dress in the closet.

And part of the money I have set aside for travel is always earmarked towards outfits for said travel.

I’ve been saving for a while and I have a nice chunk I can afford to bring with me to New York as well as what I have saved for Paris.

Enough so that I can eat nice food, drink a plethora of iced beverages, mainly iced coffees as I walk the streets of New York, get myself notebooks, one of my favorite souvenirs to bring back from any trip, a few pairs of earrings, a mandatory souvenir as well.  I love having little things like that I can wear or write in that remind me of the trip.

I love my DC notebook.

I love my Paris notebooks.

I have had a New York notebook from my last trip that I got at The Strand bookstore that I filled up with stickers and museum ticket stubs.

I can literally compare notes to my last trip.

I feel that this one will be better.

I know it will be better.

I also have done some of the other little prep type things that one needs to do when traveling.

I put a travel alert on my debit card so when I use it in New York my bank won’t freak out and turn it off.

I made an appointment for a service for my car, the guy in the shop said it would take less than a half hour, I’ll be bringing her over to Berkeley for that on Monday.

I have all my toiletries bought and set aside.

And I reached out to the Air BnB host who said I would be able to check in early.

I will either get to do the full check in right when I get there or depending on whether or not the cleaners are still there, I will at least get to drop my bags.

Which is really all I want to do.

Just not have to drag my luggage all over Brooklyn until 5p.m.

I figure whatever happens I will make a foray out into Brooklyn right away.

I’m thinking of lunch on Dekalb Avenue at one of the restaurants I went to when I was there the last time, then a trip over to the Brooklyn Museum to see the David Bowie Exhibition.

Then a trip to Whole Foods on Lafayette Avenue and back to my Air BnB with food for the next days breakfast.

That’s a loose plan.

I may also meet up with a friend for coffee and doing the deal, depending on schedules and if we can connect.

Either way.

I am super happy I get to have the early access to the Air BnB and I’m hella happy that I only have one more day to go before I can begin the fun of getting my travel on.

The weekend will be full, but not too full.

I will have to do group supervision on Saturday, with my fabulous new haircut, and I’m hoping to get in a mani/pedi and some eyebrow waxing.

Although I might skip that and do the Korean day spa on Geary–Imperial Day Spa–and get myself some sauna time.

I have enough time on Monday after the car to do a mani/pedi if I want to.

I have the whole day off.

I don’t fly out until 11:55 p.m. Monday night.

The only thing I have scheduled for Monday is the service maintenance on my car.

I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday.

I am so ready for my New York adventure.

So, so, so ready!

Emotional Attachment

June 12, 2018

I woke up a tiny bit off.

Not a lot, but just enough to notice.

I felt a little flat.

Sometimes when I feel this way it’s because I am trying to avoid feeling anything.

So I disassociate a little, go about my day, do my things, make my bed, get dressed and do my hair, make breakfast, get lunch ready for work, look at my calendar, make coffee.

You know.

Routine.

I can check out a little in my routine.

But.

It all came clear when I peeped social media.

Oh hi there.

I wasn’t expecting to see that.

But.

I should have.

I have been sensing it in the air.

I thought about it a couple of days ago.

There’s a birthday coming up, isn’t there?

And yes.

Thanks social media.

There it was on Facebook.

Hi papa.

Happy birthday.

Today you turned 69.

Sigh.

I haven’t seen my father since he was in a coma over four years ago.

I ceded responsibility for his health to the State of Alaska.

I sat by his side for four days and cried and talked and held his hand.

I wrote him a long card that I had bought at a gift shop in the Anchorage Museum a friend had taken me to one afternoon.

“Enough, you’ve had enough time in the hospital, come out, get some air, let’s do something not related to the hospital and the ICU.”

I found a really cool card with raven totems on it.

I bought it for my dad.

I left all my information in it.

My phone number.

My address.

My email.

I said I loved him and hoped he was going to get better and be safe and be happy and get healthy.

I told him I forgave him.

I’m actually not sure I wrote that in the letter, but I told him that.

And I asked him to forgive me.

He wasn’t always the best dad.

I wasn’t always the best daughter.

And I let him go.

My last  night there before getting on the plane the nurses encouraged me to talk to him more, that thought that he might wake up to my voice.

He never did.

I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to come back to San Francisco, I had to go back to work.

I had to take care of myself.

I kissed him on the cheek.

I was surprised by the warmth of his face and the softness of his skin under my lips.

My eyes welled up with tears and I left.

He woke up about a week later.

On my birthday of all days.

I saw it was the number of the hospital in Anchorage.

I answered.

It was one of my dad’s nurses, “your father’s awake and he wants to talk to you.”

“Hi ___________________ I said softly, I call my father by his first name.  A psychological defense of distancing that I learned at a very young age.  My father ceased being papa when I was six although there were a few scattered times in my adolescence that my father reclaimed the moniker, he’s always been known to me by his first name.

He said, “my balls itch and the nurse won’t let me scratch them.”

Sigh.

Happy birthday.

That really wasn’t what I wanted to hear from my dad, but then again he was awake and that was something else.

He’d been in the coma for two weeks.

Then he cawed at me.

“Caw! Caw!”

Like a crow.

Like a raven.

I teared up.

He’d gotten my letter and either he’d read it or someone read it to him.

He understood and he was letting me know that he’d gotten the message.

I felt big crashing waves of emotions.

And then.

The nurse had to get him off the phone, for he kept trying to take off the bandages around his skull where the craniotomy had happened to relieve the brain swelling he’d had as a result of the accident he was in.

And accident that was propelled and fueled by his alcoholism.

Those were the last words I got from my dad.

I wondered about him today.

I felt a similar feeling last year around this time.

An urge to reach out.

An urge to connect.

I tried a cell phone number that I thought might work.

It was disconnected.

Just like I was.

Detached.

Removed.

Far, far, far away.

I checked in with my person today, I told on myself about my father’s birthday and some guilt and shame that was coming up.

I got lovely perspective and calm soothing words and an invitation instead to get a candle for my father and light it and that it be a scented candle, a smell that I like.

And when I smelled it I would send a little prayer up to God for my father.

I lit that candle tonight when I got home.

Kona coffee scented.

Seems apropos.

My father was born in Hawaii.

I miss you papa and I hope you are well and happy and content.

I won’t reach out further.

There is too much illness and disease and dysfunction there for me to get involved in an emotional imbroglio.

Rather.

Today.

I reached out to those who are my chosen family, friends that have seen me through rough stuff with my parents, friends who love me.

I called an old friend from Wisconsin from my undergrad days.

I got a hold of a friend of mine from high school.

And I reached out to my two best girlfriends from my graduated school program.

Then I loved hard at work.

“I think we are all emotionally attached to you,” the mom said, so sweet, with such tenderness and vulnerability.

I am a soothing presence in their lives and that was sweet to hear and much appreciated.

I got to help put the baby down for a nap when he was super upset.

I got to hug the little lady and make her all sorts of her favorite foods.

And.

Oh.

The oldest boy just crawled right up into my lap today at the dinner table.

He wasn’t feeling well and he just wanted me to hold him and scratch his back.

He put his head on my chest and asked me to sing him a lullaby.

It was the most heartbreakingly sweet thing ever.

Having this eight year old boy curled up on me listening to me sing “Hush Little Baby.”

My family of origin may not be the family I wanted to have in my life.

And I’m ok with that.

They did the best they could.

Besides

I have such amazing family in my life.

My family of choice.

And for that I am beyond grateful.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

 

A Day Off

June 11, 2018

I think that’s what I actually had.

Oh sure.

I had some commitments, back to back ladies this afternoon and this evening doing my Sunday thing up at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro.

But.

I actually had down time.

I also had a hankering for art.

I have a membership to the MOMA and it’s been on my mind to go and see the Magritte show.

I haven’t been to a museum in months and months and months.

In fact.

I realized today that the last time I had been to a museum was in February when I was in D.C. and I went to the Phillips House Collection, which is actually the oldest Modern Art museum in the United States.

Prior to that I couldn’t remember the last time I had been at the MOMA.

I have a fleeting idea that it was a pretty summer’ish day and I remember an installation or two.

Yes.

As a matter of fact, I remember texting my best friend about a show I had seen and saying that we should check it out together.

That did not happen.

Grad school happened.

But there’s no grad school right now.

And the MOMA was calling my name pretty hard.

I figured even if I just went in for an hour it would scratch the itch.

I have seen the permanent collection quite a few times so I just wanted to get my eyes on the Magritte and I figured if I couldn’t find parking, well, I’d take off and go do something else, but I was going to try.

I found parking!

I zipped into the MOMA with 50 minutes til closing time.

It was perfect.

The majority of people were leaving and the galleries were emptied out.

I got a ticket for the show and I didn’t have to pay extra for it.

Membership has its perks.

Aside from the fact that the ticket alone for the museum is $25 the show would have been an additional $12 I think.

I share a membership with a friend for $150, we both chip in $75 and I go three times it pays for itself.

I think I’ve gone twice this year, this year as in this year of my membership.

I do plan on hitting it up a few more times as I have time off upcoming.

But today, yeah, I just wanted a quick art snack.

And it was tasty.

I’m not a huge Magritte fan, but enough of one that I figured it was worth perusing.

I was right.

There were some fantastic pieces.

I got my art high on for sure.

2018-06-10 16.18.59-1

I really found this one compelling.

Something about the light and the layers of color in the sky.

I just stood and drank it right on up.

It’s called La fin du monde.

The End of the World.

It was fantastic.

2018-06-10 16.16.29

And Magritte wouldn’t be Magritte without the apple.

Of course, the painting that I most associate with Magritte I don’t like as much as I thought I would when I got a closer look.

I found this one more compelling.

La Chambre d’ecoute.

(I wish I could figure out how to put the accents on my French words! D’ecoute is missing an accent)

“The Listening Room”

I rather find the idea of listening to an apple quite appealing.

I wonder what stories it would tell.

About the bees and pollination and birds roosting in tree branches.

About the multiplicity of sunsets in its plush ripe skin.

About the honey of love and the secrets of the heart.

I bet an apple would have many stories to tell.

However.

My favorite was this:

2018-06-10 16.20.07-1

My God this was so pretty.

My photograph does not do it justice.

But even as I type this I could see myself becoming lost in the reflections of the light on the water.

Such pretty light.

L’empire des lumieres.

(again the apologies for the missing accents here)

“The Dominion of Light.”

Glorious.

Full blown art high.

I was so happy to see this piece.

I love when I get lost in art.

I want to go back again and see it.

Maybe one of the days in between New York and Paris when I won’t be working except seeing clients in the evenings, and I can take a lazy mid-week stroll around the show again and really soak it up.

There was also something about the sky and the color of the sky, bright blue with those white clouds contrasted against the shadows of the house and the water, I could see that it was sunset, that time when there is still light, bright light, but the shadows of dusk are swallowing the houses up and then that light reflected from the lamp-post.

My God.

It was dreamy.

I had my happy art high and I wandered around a few other galleries and took in some photographs and did a little people watching and had some great gratitude for my life that I could just pop on down to the museum on a whim.

It was perfect.

I did errands after, grocery shopping at Rainbow and a little personal grooming-snuck in for a manicure right before my shop closed.

Then on to the Castro and the fellowship there.

It was such a sweet Sunday.

It started out so nice and just blossomed into a restful, artful, true day off.

I actually feel ready for the week!

 

July

March 2, 2018

It’s going to be a good one.

I am going to have a lot of time off.

A LOT.

The family is going to be traveling for.

Wait for it.

FIVE WEEKS!

And.

They are not bringing me with them.

They are enlisting some friends and family in Europe and I will not be doing any travel work for them.

On one hand I was a little let down, it would have been pretty awesome to go to Finland, Sweden, Portugal.

On the other hand.

Five weeks off!

Paid.

Granted I will have things I am accountable to, my internship, for example, but I get five weeks off!

Five.

It’s amazing.

I can hardly believe I’ll have that much time off.

I could actually do a couple of trips now that I think of it.

I have a credit that has to be used by October and I really don’t see any other better time to travel than the month the family is away.

I basically have all of July off and it looks like the last week in June.

They haven’t gotten their tickets yet, but we sat down and talked about summer schedules and I got the go ahead to book my ticket to Paris.

July is not a super busy month in Paris, it’s hot, August even less so, May and June are the big travel times, that and September.

July will be hot.

But.

Fuck.

I won’t care.

It’s Paris.

I’ve message my dear friend in Paris and I’m awaiting her response on when is the best time to come for them.

Considering that my friend and her husband have twins who will be just over a year old, they have a lot on their hands.

I promised her that I would have the information by the end of the week.

I am thrilled that I found out today and chomping at the bit to book a ticket.

The ones for the dates I was looking at last night have jumped up by $300.

I was for a moment disappointed that I hadn’t grabbed the tickets when I first saw them, but I hadn’t confirmed travel times with the family and it was still up in the air as to whether or not the family was going to have me travel with them.

Now that I know.

I can manipulate the best travel dates for the best deal.

I also recognize that I am willing to sacrifice a little extra money to find a flight that best works for me.

I.e.

I want a direct flight.

I don’t want to have to transfer flights.

It’s just so much easier to fly direct.

And the time it saves is super worth the extra cost.

If I book soon I think I can get a flight for around $850.

Last night and this afternoon I was seeing flights for $760.

But those are gone.

And the dates I looked for are now substantially higher.

I’m sure I’ll get something good and fingers crossed I’ll have a ticket booked before I head into my chiropractor’s appointment tomorrow.

I am super psyched.

And once I have that ticket booked I’m going to think about whether or not I want to book some other travel too.

I could go see friends in Wisconsin–that was the original ticket that I bought, I was going to visit my best friend from Wisconsin and her brood up in Hudson.

At Christmas time.

It would have been hella cold.

Now July in Wisconsin isn’t exactly a picnic, it will be hot, but my friend has a cottage in the family and they spend many weekends up North on Lake 7.

Yes.

That is the name of the lake, Lake number 7.

Tickles me every time.

Some swimming, some hikes in the woods, some telling tall tales on the balcony that over looks the lake, sleeping in, not that I would, not that I think I could, three boys in the family–14, 11, and 7.

That’s a lot of big energy.

Blueberry picking.

I did a lot of that the last time I was there.

So that’s an option.

My other flight options with this particular airline are: Tampa, Orlando, Fort Meyers, Minneapolis (which is where I would fly in to visit my friend in Wisconsin, Hudson is just across the river from the Twin Cities), Miami, Dallas, New York, Cozumel or Cancun.

Though truth be told, I’m not super interested in going to Mexico in July.

If I didn’t go to Minneapolis I think I would lean towards Miami, which will be fucking hot as hell in July, but also, Miami.

Or

New York.

Again.

Really hot and humid.

But New York.

I have no desire to go to the other destinations.

Miami has some appeal, even though, again, hella hot, because I haven’t been since I was 19 and I feel like I owe the city some living amends.

Smoking crack in the city will lead one to wanting to right some wrongs.

Although, technically, I was not in Miami, but a suburb, Homestead.

I have no desire to go to Homestead.

At all.

NONE.

A teensy tiny pull towards the Keys, but I had some horrendous experiences there as well.

Miami I just sort of did a dreamy pass through, never really stopped, never explored.

Granted I was 19, homeless, and broke as fuck.

I was certainly not in a place to revel in the culture of the city.

I do like the idea of hot sweltering nights.

Long sun dresses and sandals.

Oh my god.

I am going to have a god damn summer.

I am going to Paris in July, which will be warm, as opposed to cold and foggy and dreary here in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco.

And I will either be in New York or Miami.

Truth be told as much as I love my friend in Wisconsin, the call of the city is alluring.

Culture, graffiti, art, beaches, museums, outdoor cafe people watching.

I am so excited by the prospect.

I love to travel.

EEK.

My friend from Paris just messaged me.

It’s 8 a.m. there.

I’ll have my travel dates nailed down soon!

I’ll keep you posted.

 

Foiled

January 31, 2018

But god damn it.

I tried.

I got up early, I did my morning routine, I got into my yoga clothes and I walked to the studio in the early grey blue light.

Only to be greeted by a closed up shop.

Nobody was there.

One other woman with a rolled up mat sauntered over and we both woefully looked at the locked door and sighed and each of us turned and went our separate ways.

No class this morning.

I was annoyed.

To say the least.

But.

Well.

That’s life.

And as I sat and enjoyed a really leisurely breakfast, sitting with my notebook and my cup of coffee, and my full warm belly, I reflected, it wasn’t so bad getting up early.

Sure.

I had expected to be going willy nilly full tilt boogie, yoga, therapy, work, clients, doing the deal, get it done, go, go, go.

Turns out my day was not going to be like that.

Granted.

It was still full.

I just didn’t start it out rushing about.

I slowed down.

Which is generally a good thing for me, slowing down, that is.

It felt good to sit and write and check my emails, to deal with my bills, paid my rent, popped a little money in savings, note to self, car payment is coming up, remember to do that please.

Maybe I’ll do that in the morning.

Fuck.

I could probably just do it right now.

And there.

Done.

That feels good.

I made a double payment again.

Technically I don’t have a car payment until March, since I did a double payment last month, but I figure as long as it feels comfortable to do so I’m going to pay more on the car loan than I need to.

I like to be proactive around my money.

I also received my financial aid disbursement for school today.

Which was really nice as I was getting fairly low in my account what with the unexpected dental work I had to do this past month.

Super grateful for that landing and not making me feel über tight with paying rent and making a car payment.

I knocked some into my savings, paid my rent, just made my car payment, and I may reach out to my car insurance and just pay another six months of insurance while I have the money and it’s not ear marked towards anything else.

I will also have some spending money for going to D.C.

I’m headed out in a little over two weeks.

I’ll be visiting my best friend and spending time in Georgetown.

I’m excited.

I’ve never really been to D.C.

Sort of.

I mean.

I was there once, when I was nineteen, homeless, catching a Greyhound bus from North Carolina heading back to Madison, Wisconsin.

I don’t remember much of the city.

I remember more the Hardees in the bus station and making friends with a girl who was probably my age and both of us were basically returning from having run away from home.

She and I became fast friends and sat in the Hardees in the station and smoked cigarettes and ate cinnamon rolls sticks and talked smack about our experiences.

We had a long wait for the next bus so we went for a walk around D.C.

I got really nervous about getting lost and not making the bus connection on time so we didn’t go too far.

We ended up sitting on a fountain smoking cigarettes and getting to know each other’s life stories.

Not much to tell at 19.

Except.

Well.

I had already been through a lot of shit.

Having just left a violent boyfriend who had threatened to kill me in Kill Devil Hills North Carolina, and before that having been homeless with same said boyfriend outside of Miami, in Homestead Florida.

Billy Ray.

Oh my God.

I haven’t thought of that man’s name in some time.

I was my old man, he self-titled himself that, I would never have called a boyfriend my old man, but then again, he was ten years older than me.

And he, bless his generous heart, had introduced me to smoking crack cocaine.

I have written about him before, but it’s been awhile.

I told my new-found friend all the gory details about Billy and what had happened in Florida and what had then transpired in North Carolina, and how I found myself on a Greyhound bus heading back to Wisconsin.

Thank God for that girl.

We talked and gabbed at each other for hours and hours through the long night, all the way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was headed.

I remember hugging her very hard in the terminal.

I remember also that the terminal was really old and rather pretty, I remember the sun coming in through the high windows in thick honied shafts dancing with dust motes.

I remember, too, that the bathrooms were pay to pee and that I was indignant and crawled under the door to one of the stalls.

I wasn’t going to pay a fucking quarter to pee, fuck that.

And I recall coming back out, washing my hands in the old marble sink, looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself to “go home, Baby Girl, just get home.”

So.

Yeah.

This trip to D.C. is going to be much different.

I am going to stay at a nice hotel.

I am going to go to a museum that is close to the hotel.

I am going to eat nice food.

I am going to spend every moment I can with my best friend and really cherish our time together and just smash myself with love.

I feel like it’s a sort of living amends to the city of D.C.

I will not be eating in a Hardees and I most definitely will not be smoking.

I will be letting in all the love and reflecting it back at my friend and enjoying the hell out of getting to see a city I only once passed briefly through on my way from running away from home to running back.

My life has taken me many places and I’m so, so grateful that today I don’t have to run away.

Or take a Greyhound bus anywhere.

Jesus.

Thank god for that.

May I never have to take a Greyhound bus again.

Seriously.

When Was I Happiest

January 6, 2018

Today?

I just asked myself that.

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

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

Meh.

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

Eight years of blogging.

Eight.

What the fuck did I write about?

So many things, so many thoughts.

I have published over 2,400 blogs.

My average blog is somewhere between 1100-1300 words.

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

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

Over two million words!

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

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

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

I was working as a nanny in China Basin.

I made really good money.

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

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

I was horribly lonely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For sure.

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

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

That’s what happens when you practice.

You get better.

I have had eight years of practicing this blog.

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

But not very often.

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

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

Hey how was your day?

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

Or something like that.

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

Yeah.

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

Ten years, going on eleven.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was an awesome group.

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

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

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

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

Emphasis on long hand.

No typewrite, keyboard, tablet, computer.

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

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

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

That I actually wanted to move to Paris.

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

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

I looked out those same windows today and marveled.

Look how far I have come.

Look where I am now.

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

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

I have re-written that book.

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

I have written poems.

I have performed with djs in nightclubs reciting my poems.

One of them became a recording.

I have lectured on stage.

I have traveled.

I went to Burning Man, a lot.

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

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

I have written millions of words.

I think I have a few million more.

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

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

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

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.


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