Archive for the ‘paris’ Category

Hello Friday

August 12, 2017

My God.

You smell amazing.

There is nothing.

I mean.

NOTHING.

Like coming home to a package from Chanel.

Oh.

God damn.

And even thought I knew what it was, I still unboxed it like it was a surprise.

I was so giddy.

So happy.

The biggest smiles.

And.

The most delicious of smells.

Yes.

That’s right.

I am back to my scent.

I have adored wearing Rose Flash, it’s been a nice little thing to have and I get sweet compliments on it.

But.

It is not Chanel.

It is not my scent.

My signature scent for decades has been Chanel Egoiste.

Pour Homme.

That’s for Man.

Yeah.

I wear a men’s cologne.

I never set out to wear a men’s cologne, it was a complete accident.

There are no mistakes in God’s world.

It was meant to be, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I found it at a discount store in the mall, one of those stores that specializes in products that have been discontinued.

It wasn’t in a box.

It must have been a sample from the big department store that was closing across the way.

I don’t know.

I had only been in the big department store once, I can’t even remember what the name of it was it wasn’t one that I was familiar with, then again it was in a land I was also unfamiliar with.

Iowa.

Yeah.

For a very strange year when I was 20 years old, I lived and worked in Newton, Iowa.

The short version of the story was that I was there to help my sister raise her child while her husband waited to get out of prison.

Actually they weren’t married yet, that happened at the prison a few months after I moved there with her to help her with my niece.

I swear.

This is the short version.

The long version is the book I wrote, the second in my memoir trilogy (yes I wrote a trilogy, no, it’s not published), called The Iowa Waltz.

Anyway.

We had moved there, my sister and I, as her fiancée was caught breaking bail in Wisconsin and was extradited to Iowa to serve out his sentence at the minimum security prison outside of Newton.

I got a job waitressing at Palma’s, this crazy Greek restaurant where the owner insisted that all the “girls” wear heels when working.

And dresses.

I might have gone to that department store to buy a dress, I think, in fact, that was why I was in the mall at all.

I certainly did not have a lot of extra money to spare, my sister was getting food stamps and WIC.

And I lied my ass off to get the bartending job.

My first shift the woman training me rolled her eyes, “you have got to be kidding me, you don’t know how to make a margarita?!”

It was a margarita night.

It was on special.

And.

It was strawberry.

I learned really fast.

And within a few weeks I was zipping around, tottering really, god how my feet hurt, the other bartenders and making pretty decent tips.

For Iowa, anyway.

The wife of the owner was the “bar manager” and she was a notorious Sambuca drinker and what is that Italian wine, god she drank it by the bottle and it was red and always chilled, Lambrusco?

And.

Fuck.

She smoked.

I mean.

I smoked, probably a pack a day at the time, but she smoked rings around me.

We were allowed to, oh the good old days when you could smoke while you worked.

Gagging.

Voula!  That was her name.

Shit, that just popped right up in my brain, I have not thought about that crazy bitch in a while.

Voula smoked three packs a day, easy.

It wasn’t that she necessarily smoked that much, but she always, I mean, always, had a cigarette burning in an ashtray.

And not just one, but five, sometimes six or seven.

“Do not put out any of her cigarettes, do not dump them, don’t do it, doesn’t matter if the ashtray is full to overfull, do not dump it, you will get the wrath of Voula,” my trainer told me.

She also told me under no circumstances to flirt with Voula’s husband.

Ew.

Yuck.

Why the fuck would I?

He was gross.

Balding, smoked just as much as she did, except he smoked cigars, and he had a big paunch and swinging jowls, I mean, not attractive.

“She will fire you if she thinks you’re flirting with him,” the head bartender told me, “she’s fired four girls in the last month.”

Fuck.

I won’t flirt, like I said, gross.

But.

I had drawn his attention.

And he made it clear.

I don’t remember what he said or how but it translated to I needed to buy another dress for work, and there was no mention of a clothing allowance or a uniform stipend, the money had to come out of my own pocket.

So.

The mall.

I must have found a dress.

And somehow I wandered into this strange little store next to the big department store, cheap trinkets, discounted stuff, old holiday decorations, odd toiletries and make up, junk basically.

But.

There.

On the shelf in the back right hand corner of the shop.

The bottle of Egoiste.

I do not know what compelled me to smell it.

I must have been registering it before I opened the lid and inhaled.

Oh.

Holy Mother of God.

It was the most amazing thing I had ever smelled.

Warm and spicy, musky.

Sexy.

Vanilla, coriander, sandalwood, rosewood, subtle cinnamon.

Not that I could have told you that then.

Fuck.

I was nineteen.

It just smelled amazing.

It blew my mind.

It was $19.99.

I had twenty-five dollars in my wallet.

I did not hesitate.

I bought it.

One of the best decisions ever.

I got fired two nights later when the boss lady’s husband decided to keep the bar open late and play poker with his buddies and he wanted a personal bartender.

Yup.

You guessed right.

Me.

I never once did a thing.

Nothing.

Didn’t matter.

I was fired when I came into work the next day.

“Get out of my bar,” she screamed at me, “you’re fired you fucking whore.”

Yeah.

And goodbye.

Funny thing.

I actually got my next bartending job because of her.

“Wait, what?  You worked for Voula for two months?” The woman interviewing me said, she was the owner of Boots and Spurs, why yes, I did work at Iowa’s largest country western night club, how did you guess?

I nodded, abashed, I had indeed gotten fired.

“You’re hired!” She exclaimed, nobody makes it two weeks with Voula, let alone two months.”

She laughed out loud, “hell, I only made it four days, she was one of my first employers, years and years ago now.”

“You must be amazing, when can you start?”

And so began my illustrious career in a country western nightclub.

But that’s a blog for another day.

Or you know, just read the book when I finally get it published, there’s plenty of stories there, believe you me.

Anyway.

I was hooked.

I fell in love in Iowa with a men’s cologne from Paris.

So many, many years ago.

And I got a bottle today in the mail.

Such an amazing gift.

I opened it and smiled and laughed and giggled and hopped up and down a little.

And then I opened it.

Oh.

That smell.

So good.

So, very, very good.

And just for a moment.

I was transported back to that small town mall in Newton, Iowa (home of Maytag Washing Machines!) and my 19-year-old self.

My god.

How far I have come.

How very fucking far.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Best smelling one too.

Heh.

 

 

 

I Didn’t Do Much

August 3, 2017

But I did a lot.

I mean.

I really did.

I didn’t even go to yoga.

No.

I slept in, I lounged in bed, I was dreamy and soft and it felt so nice to lie there and let my body be and not spring forward and charge off into my day.

Oh.

I had thoughts of going to yoga.

But they were dispelled for better things.

I took the morning easy.

I ate a lovely breakfast and made myself a latte.

I made some phone calls.

I talked to people I loved.

I got right with God.

I wrote.

I wrote a lot.

I mean.

I can fill a page, the words they stream endlessly out of my finger tips, scrawled across the page, margin to margin, all the thoughts and dreams and feelings there on the paper, my pens in a mug on my table at the ready.

I do go through my pens.

My cheap little guys that I buy at Walgreens.

I am particular.

I only like the Wexford black ink pen.

That’s the generic gel ink pen that Walgreens markets.

I love it.

I begged a friend, who asked me what I wanted from San Francisco, when I lived in Paris, to bring me back pens.

The gel ink is the smoothest and the pen is just the right grip for my hand.

Ask me sometime.

I’ll show you the place it sits on my fingers and the writer’s callous there.

Yes.

I have a callous on my middle right finger from writing.

I rather adore that callous.

I also have a distinct muscle in my forearm, again, my right side, I am right-handed, that is pretty developed solely from doing the writing I do every day.

I love words.

Can you tell?

I did more than write today, although I did not go far from my house.

I made it to the back and sat in the sun for a brief moment in the afternoon around 2:30pm when there was fleeting sun that came through the fog.

Mostly I stayed home.

I did work on the house.

I cleaned out my closet and got a bag of clothes and a couple of pairs of shoes to sell to Crossroads.

I also moved everything in my kitchen, and pulled up the rug that I’ve had for the last three and three-quarters year, it was just a simple rag rug, but it had gotten pretty worn out and a bit ragged and I’ve been wanting to replace it for sometime.

I ordered a replacement on Amazon and it was delivered yesterday.

So.

Everything got moved, and I pulled up the old one, shook it out super hard, I did not toss it, it still has a use for me–I’ll be taking it to Burning Man and lining my tent with it.

I also had a long conversation with a woman who was referred to me by a friend in the fellowship who is going to Burning Man for the first time and she had a lot of questions and I just let her pick my brain for nearly an hour and told her where I was going to be camped and all the fellowship and community that is out there and it felt really nice to share my experience, strength and hope with her.

After I finished our conversation I got serious about re-organizing my space and cleaning, everything got dusted, even all my books.

And I winnowed through my books.

I’ve been wanting to sell a bunch of them for sometime.

I only have so much space in my in-law and though the idea of having a big library and loads of bookshelves is super serious appealing.

MY GOD how I want that.

Someday.

A house with a big library, books upon books upon books, paper, ones I can pull down from the shelf, hardcovers, and read, and inhale and love on.

But.

I repeat.

My space is small and I have only so much room and the stacks of books were starting to collect too much dust and really I haven’t had much time for pleasure reading since I started grad school.

So.

I dusted them all off, sorted through the ones I was absolutely not going to part with.

Like.

My copy of Bastille, Issue #2.

The small press that published my short story in Paris, “The Button Boy.”

Poorly edited, there’s a typo and a misprint.

But.

Fuck.

My short story.

In print.

In a publication.

I can say with no small amount of writer’s pride that my first publication was in Paris.

Not selling that guy.

Then a few books that were given to me as gifts and hold far too much sentimental value to ever let go.

Ever.

And the funny thing is, whatever doesn’t sell, I will happily take back and keep.

There will be some that don’t.

But for the most part I am such a sucker for the printed word, I tend to buy hard covers or first runs, so when I do sell I tend to be able to sell most of what I have brought with me.

There was a little sadness packing up the books.

But.

It’s stuff.

And when I came home tonight from doing the deal up the street.

Fuck was it good tonight!

I was so happy to come into my super clean, super tidy little home.

Fresh and clean and dust free, with a new carpet in the kitchen.

And.

Ha.

A “new” book on my table.

I discovered a book I bought two years ago, right before the first semester of my first year of grad school.

I had never gotten to read it.

Two years later.

I started and I’m 37 pages in.

I have my hopes that I will finish it before my text books start arriving in the mail, because as soon as they do, that’s the end of my pleasure reading.

I assure you.

Sneaking in one more day of leisure before I go back to work on Friday.

Yoga, this time for sure, in the morning.

Shower, morning prayer, writing, breakfast, go sell the clothes, go sell the books.

And then a mani/pedi.

I have a client consult in the early evening.

And that’s it.

The days of leisure and pleasure reading will soon be over.

It’s been a sweet little bite of time off from my day job.

My house is clean.

I did a lot of cooking today too, all my meals for Burning Man are in the freezer as well as covering my first weekend of my first semester, so I don’t have to cook or deal with that.

Yes.

It’s a few weeks out.

But it’s nice to have it done and there won’t be down time soon like I have had.

Sigh.

I have no complaints though.

It’s been a good run.

I feel rested.

I feel rejuvenated.

I feel ready for the next chapters.

And I feel happy having taken care of my home.

My sweet little sanctuary by the sea.

It may be small.

But.

It’s all mine.

And.

I do love it so.

Yes.

Yes, I do.

 

Hello Jet Lag

May 23, 2017

Sigh.

I knew it would happen and so it has.

Hopefully it will wear off by the time I start my internship on Thursday.

Today I had the day “off” so to speak.

But I was still up at 6 a.m.

I had to go and meet with my off site supervisor this morning and do all the things to get that going and though it was a good meeting, it was surreal.

Everything has felt a bit surreal.

Which is generally how it is for a few days until I can re-adjust to my time zone.

I didn’t do a whole lot else today, to tell the truth, I needed to have the down time and it was a great pleasure to not have any obligations other than to go to the market and get some groceries.

The cupboard was bare.

I didn’t have it in me to make a big run to Safeway, so just to the corner co-op and lots of fruit and some coffee, almond milk, sparkling water.

Just enough to get me going and sustain me for a few days.

I have plenty of food prepped for my work week so I didn’t have to cook today, nor did I have any inclination to do anything but stay in bed most the day.

I even had delivery.

I cannot remember the last time that I had delivery.

I mean.

It’s been years.

But I didn’t want to leave my cozy little nest and so I didn’t.

And it was good.

I did get laundry done and I did get some basic scheduling stuff taken care of.

I did also get out this early evening, I knew I needed to go and do the deal and get that in under my belt and I am so glad I did, ran into some folks I haven’t seen in a while.

I ate left over delivery for dinner, did a few e-mails related to my internship and now, some Debussy to listen to and a little blogging.

Tomorrow I go back to work and I am actually looking forward to it.

I have missed the family.

I am also excited to give my charges their gifts.

I sent them postcards from Paris, but I also wanted to get them something.

The oldest I got a sweet book on how to draw from the Musee D’Orsay gift shop and library.

The younger girl I got a night-light from one of my favorite stores in the Marais, Fleux.

But not just a night-light, a unicorn night light.

She has a thing for magic unicorns and who doesn’t want a unicorn nightlight?

I mean.

I do.

Heh.

I already have a bunny night-light, also from Fleux that I got myself years ago on another Paris vacation I took.

It was a lot of fun to tell my supervisor today about my Paris trip, he asked me what the highlights were.

I had to run down the experience of seeing the amazing Japanese painting that caught my heart in the Orangerie, also, the sweet woman who sold me my cashmere wrap the last night I was there, all the fellows I got to see from when I was living there, and writing my morning pages on the deck of the houseboat.

I like my supervisor a lot and although I did not want to get up so early to go and meet with him, I found myself surprised when our hour was up, there was so much to talk about, not just about Paris, but about psychology and seeing clients and the ways of getting my child/family hours that I hadn’t thought about.

Not for right now.

But eventually I will have to address that, there are many different kinds of therapy interactions and iterations that I will have to accrue hours for, some solo therapy hours, supervision hours, group supervision, Couple therapy, Family therapy, child therapy.

All of it will come together, I am sure, one small step at a time and as I have described to a number of friends, this next year of the experience is going to be tough, a grind, so to speak, a juggling act of making sure I can get my internship hours covered, work attended to, recovery done, and who knows, once in a while do something social.

Things are very much on the cusp of big change.

But all I have to do is show up for this moment, just this one, and do the best I can in this moment to be gentle with myself and anyone else that I may interact with.

Today was a good day.

Wonderful really.

And though I am absolutely jet lagged.

I will get through this.

Another early bed time for me and a cup of tea.

Fingers crossed it will be worked out by mid to end week.

As for now.

Good night friends.

Sweetest of sweet dreams.

No Rest For The Wicked

May 22, 2017

But.

I am going to try.

I am zonked.

It’s been a long day.

It started at 5 a.m. today, yesterday?  I don’t even know, what day is it?

Yes.

Sunday.

And yes.

I already have my alarm set for the morning.

I have to get up early and go meet with my supervisor.

My internship starts this week.

I’ve the meeting tomorrow and then training starts on Thursday.

And.

You know.

Work.

And um.

Hello.

Jet lag.

Current Paris time is 4:53 a.m.

That means, 24 hours ago I was just about to get up and finish my packing.

And it was a great big last day of a last day.

One last morning of having coffee on the houseboat and then off to Clingancourt.

Which I almost bailed on.

Crowds cause me some anxiety.

My friend I went with pretty much noticed that ASAP.

“You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to,” I was told, and I knew that, but I also wanted to make the effort.

I’d never made it in to Clingancourt before, I had only gone one other time and it was closed.

I wandered around and took street art photography.

The thing about the market is that it’s in not the prettiest neighborhood, lots of low-income housing tenements, it’s just at the Periphery of the city, so it can get quite a bit sketchy, it’s a haven for pick pockets, and there’s a lot of dingy, trashiness to it, plus there was a lot of construction going on.

However, once you make it into the actual market, it’s great.

It’s just getting through shark infested waters.

I’m bad with pushy tourist scam artists and crowds and what feels very edgy and compromised.

I also recognize that I am sensitive and it takes a lot of work for me to shut out that kind of lifestyle and edge.

I used to do it pretty damn well, but truth be told I haven’t had walls up that high in a bit and it felt exhausting and I was a little ashamed that I wasn’t able to keep it better together, apologizing to my friend too much for how I was dealing and it just left an uneasy taste in my mouth.

But.

I did have fun in the market itself, I saw some beautiful things and actually bartered a little bit with a vendor and got 10 Euro knocked off a pair of vintage earrings.

Scoring them for 20 Euro instead of the 30 Euro listed.

Great deal.

Especially considering that the other pair of earrings I had seen that I was very drawn to were 1750 Euro!

Of course they were, but my god, so gorgeous.

I also had a sweet chat with the woman running the stall and it felt nice to be able to at least tell her that I was so grateful for her time showing me her beautiful jewelry and I felt pretty damn good about remembering the word for earrings in French.

The longer I was there the more came back, although when I got tired, which was often, I don’t think I actually ever got a big full eight hours of sleep, I would lapse in the quality of my French.

Still.

Overall.

I think I did pretty good.

And though Clingancourt was a challenge for me, I can say, I did it, and I also got a very cool poster, a 1955 Scandal sheet, that I was able to score for 10 Euro.

Felt fun to do that.

Although I ended up missing seeing a few people I had hoped to catch up with, after I got back from the market I was too zonked out to try to do anything else.

I sat on the prow of the houseboat and I wrote awhile in my journal and just enjoyed the hell out of the sun.

Super grateful that my last day in Paris was sunny.

Not as warm as I might have liked, but really nice.

And.

After I got packed and sorted a friend and I went out to grab a bite to eat and I decided to get dressed up a little for my last night in Paris and wear my earrings and put my hair up and if only for that I am super glad I went to Clingancourt, my earrings were such fun to wear.

It was lovely to take one last walk along the Seine, to see all the folks lined up at the Musee D’Orsay, to window shop a little, and oh God, yes, get one last little souvenir for stuffing into my suitcase.

Or, as the case may be, for wearing around my shoulders.

I picked up a gorgeous black cashmere (my first cashmere) wrap from this beautiful little shop.

I met the owner and chatted and she called me out as being an artist and then showed me the book her little sister had just gotten published and then told me about Nice and Picasso and Miro and art and al the artists that used to come through their home–the photograph of the book her sister wrote is the woman as a young girl with Pablo Picasso making faces at her.

It was super sweet and she asked me for my information so she could follow my blog.

Which frankly was an interesting moment, when she asked if I was an artist and I am, I’m a writer, a poet, a dreamer, an arranger of colors and sounds and atmospheres in myself, but when someone asks me if I am an artist I always seem to have a moment where I pause and think, no, no, not me.

I’m not really an artist.

But.

I am.

I write poetry and once in a while it is good.

And once in a while I will write a blog that makes me think, yes, I got it, that was art, that was beauty.

But do I paint or draw, no, not so much, do I make music, nope, although I do aspire to be lyrical in my writings.

Nevertheless I gave her my blog address and for a moment I was again a woman artist in Paris, talking art with another artist in a beautiful shop full of soft, delicious things to touch and wrap around me.

It was a comfort on the plane to have the cashmere wrap and I don’t doubt that I will wear it often.

Sensual and soft, warm and engulfing.

All the lovely things.

And now.

My darlings, my dears.

It is time for rest.

I must be up early and I have been going for 24 hours.

Good night my dears.

From a very.

Very.

Grateful.

And.

Lucky girl.

Ooh La La

May 19, 2017

Je suis fatigue.

I am tired.

I was up at 6 a.m.

I couldn’t sleep.

Oh.

I tried.

But gave up the goose around 6:20 a.m.

I popped up and decided to head out to a spot over by the Arc de Triomphe to see some fellows this morning at 8 a.m.

I arrived with plenty of time and was able to grab a quick cafe creme at Comptoir de L’Arc, a little cafe I got turned on to by a friend when I lived here four and a half years ago.

And!

I got a message from that friend today, she’s going to be in town for a quick visit and we are going to meet up at a spot tomorrow with a few other fellows, hang out, do the deal, and go to some French fellowship after.

I am super excited.

I may be super exhausted, but I’m going to sleep when I’m dead.

Or.

Perhaps after I write my blog.

I really did make a big run on the day.

Up so early I felt like I got a scandalous amount of things done today.

One of which has been on my list of things to do in Paris that I never quite got to the last few times I was here.

I went to Marche Aux Enfants Rouge this morning after doing the deal.

I bought cherries and Belle Pomme de Boskop!

My favorite apples in Paris, I believe that they come from Belgium, but they are the apples I used to buy at the market at Square D’Anvers when I lived next to it.

I took my booty to the park nearby, Parc du Temple, sat on a bench and watched the children play in the playground and the ducks paddle about in the pond.

It was spectacular.

Quiet.

Serene.

I had a moment, a Paris moment, and I almost laughed out loud, this, this sitting still on a park bench in a quiet park, off the beaten tourist track, in a sweet neighborhood in the 3rd Arrondisement, may have been one of the highlights of my trip.

It was so serene.

Sometimes a girl has to fly around the world to sit still.

I’m sure I’ll have other opportunities to sit still, although perhaps not tomorrow, as a friend and I are heading to Clingancourt early, but I will give it a shot.

Speaking of friends.

There is nothing, and I mean, nothing quite like bumping into a friend at random in the Marais.

It was amazingly serendipitous.

We walked all over the Marais, chatted, caught up, window shopped.

And.

Ha!

I got my Paris sweatshirt!

Except.

Heh.

It’s not exactly a sweatshirt.

It’s so much better.

And.

It’s so damn me.

It’s a pink satin bomber jacket that I got to have custom patches put on it.

There’s one on the right arm that says Rue Cambon, 1st Arr.

Rue Cambon is where all the fashion house are.

And.

The patch on the back.

Rue de Mauvais Garçon, 3rd Arr.

Literal translation:

Street of the Bad Boys.

Yeah.

I will run with that.

I haven’t had an impulse buy like that in some time and with that I am pretty tapped to with my spending.

I have gotten all my booty and then some.

In fact.

I am a shopped out, museum’ed out, and just about walked out.

My ankle is holding up and I am super glad I go the walking shoes, and I have been careful to not push too hard.

I can easily go too hard too fast.

Which is why I am very happy that I took time today to sit down and watch ducks for a while.

And despite being tired, which frankly makes it harder for me to speak French when my brain isn’t running on a full nights sleep, I got wonderful compliments about my French several times today, and many times over the course of my time here.

I was told by one person that my French was so pretty and where was I from.

He was shocked when I told him that I was from the states.

“But you have no American accent!”

Thank God.

Not that I’m not happy I’m where I’m from, but it does help tremendously to not have the American accent, there is much that is disparaged here about America and sometimes, well, it’s just nice to slide under the radar.

Not that I slide very far under the radar.

I am still quite noticeable in Paris.

I have tattoos you know.

But.

It’s also nice to be recognized.

I had dinner again at a little place by the Musee D’Orsay on Rue de Bac called Cocorico.

The waiter waved me to the table I had last night, the owner came over and chatted with me and we talked about where I was from, again, surprised that I was from America, with my lack of accent, about me being on vacation, that today I was tired, but happy to be eating in her lovely restaurant.

She asked me what I had been doing and I told her, walking and museums and then I told her about the show at the Orangerie and the amazing installation there and she got excited and said she was going to go.

It was a super treat to be chatted with in such a manner, I’m not a local, but I wasn’t treated like a tourist.

She bought my cafe creme for me and when I went to leave she asked my name, “Carmen,” I said, “comme l’Opera.”

Carmen, like the opera.

“Enchante,” she replied, ” je m’appelle Odette.”

I told her it was such a pleasure to meet her and that I was so happy to enjoy her delicious food and I wished her a good night and a good weekend.

I floated out the door.

It’s the little things.

I felt very special.

Thank you Paris for dressing me up in pink satin jackets and making me feel noticed and loved.

It means the world.

It really does.

Nocturne

May 18, 2017

Just out of a super hot shower and swaddled in blankets tucked away in the prow of the sleeping quarters on the houseboat listening to Chopin.

It is sweet and dreamy and all things rainy night in Paris.

I am finally not wet and cold.

It rained.

It poured.

It was a deluge.

I had Mike Doughty’s “Sad Girl Walking in the Rain” stuck in my head for hours.

However.

I was not sad.

I was dreamy.

I was bemused.

I was looking at all the things.

I was seeing the poetry in the wet cobblestones.

In the unexpected flair of a red rain poncho covering an old man as he pedaled his bicycle along the Seine.

I saw the heavy-headed peonies, blushing pink and sweet underneath the floral shop awning, drowsed with rain and nodding on their pale green stems.

I smelled roses, drunk with rain and walked underneath flowering chestnut trees.

I got wet.

Oh.

I got so wet.

Drenched.

Doused.

Soaked.

And yet.

My heart felt light and I strode along the avenues, occasionally lost and adrift in the details of the weather and in the welter of my soul as it beat against my rib cage, sometimes it lives there, underneath my heart, just behind my rib cage, a plummeting bird singing a song, sad and melancholic, beautiful and lyric and like the timpani softly chiming it sings a song just to me.

I was not sad.

I was not melancholic.

I was steered toward that direction once or twice when the rain seemed to overtake me and my feet got wet, but the lightness in me kept me warm.

I was surprised to find, when I finally took shelter in a cafe bistro, that my hands were so cold from clasping the umbrella handle that I could not bend my fingers properly.

I had a quiet dinner in a small bistro on Rue de Bac.

Roast chicken and roasted vegetables, sweet and savory in their juices, a Comte cheese plate with a simple mixed green salad and a few drops of balsamic vinaigrette, a small bottle of Perrier, and a cafe creme.

I sat and almost became melancholic and I can feel a sad story trying to escape my heart and perhaps it is just the poesies of the art I saw earlier still nestled there, but I did not let myself drift there.

You are not alone in Paris having dinner you are with yourself and your company is lovely.

I sat and looked at the rain falling outside, the umbrella stand tilted over, heavy with parpluies, the round wooden bistro chairs tucked underneath tables, more peonies and pink roses on the bar, the old man who tumbled by underneath a large yellow and red and blue golf umbrella, chased by the rain towards home, I presume.

I tasted the cafe creme and once caught my own eye in the long mirror to my side and thought, who is that beauty?

Oh.

Ha.

It’s me.

And that made me, for a moment soften and sadden for all those times when my company was not enough for me, not knowing how rich and good it is, and I longed for another and there was no other and I was alone in Paris eating my steak tartar in a bistro years ago somewhere in the 9th arrondissement in the rain.

Oh.

Paris in the rain, you can be so sad and lonely.

Or.

You can shine with lustre like a rare pearl, polished in the fiery embers of the red lights reflected in the wet street pavement.

I am never alone when I am with Paris.

We are lovers.

Yes.

My own secret language of dreams, and do you really wonder why I have it tattooed on my chest, dream, in French, that is.

I saw you as I walked back to the house boat after my lovely well curated little meal, a single swan in the Seine, in the rain, long graceful neck slightly curved beneath the weight of the glory of being its own perfect self.

Perhaps I too am like that.

In moments here and there.

In the light that reflects from the raindrops, in the light that is cast from the bateaux mouche as they traverse the river up and down, constantly ferrying souls to and fro.

There are times I am lonely.

Yet.

I am never alone.

Unfettered and loved.

I am here.

I am there.

I am in the notes of revery between the keys on the piano, the soft hand strikes the ivory and music resonates, pearling into the air about me like staccato raindrops on the roof of the houseboat.

And so.

I go forward.

Warm now.

Sheltered from the rain.

But not quite a part from it.

As it, like the music, like the painting that blew my heart out in the Musee L’Orangerie today, blew it out, devoured it, rendered it changed and altered and smashed my face with soft tears that drifted shamelessly down my face, awestruck in the face of such grace, is now ground into me.

The rain.

The poetry.

The Chopin.

The art.

The city.

A swan of desire upon my fevered face.

I shall not forget soon.

No.

I shall not.

This blasphemous joy.

Museums A GoGo

May 16, 2017

Today I hit the Jeu de Paume and the Musee D’Orsay.

I am not museum’ed out.

Yet.

But I will be pacing myself.

The crowds were pretty thick at the Musee D’Orsay, and thank God for the Paris Museum Pass, so nice to just pop to the front of the line and not have to be herded through the main gate.

They had a beautiful exhibition with “Etoiles” as the thematic, “stars” lots of Van Gough, Monet, even Georgia O’Keefe, there were artists I had never seen and pieces that resonated so deeply with me, my breath caught in my throat and tears welled in my eyes.

Or every hair stood on end.

One of the Van Gough’s so blew me away, deep and visceral in my body, I caught my breath.

It was deeply surrounded by viewers and I got as close as I could withstand the crowds and breathed in the beauty of it.

I tried to look for postcards later in the museum shops that were of the same piece and I was disappointed, the flatness of the card did the painting no justice and I could not bring myself to buy one.

I did, however, get my museum shop on.

I do love a good museum shop.

I bought a book for one of my charges and postcards and a cloth sack for myself and a magnet of a Klimt piece that I saw in the Etoile ensemble that did translate from the painting to the magnet.

I took lots of photographs and I stopped and sat and periodically rested.

I went all the way to the top of the museum and caught the perspective from the interior, and from the exterior.

I got some pretty pictures.

I am quite happy.

I am a bit of a shutterbug.

I am not sure if I am going to post them up to my other blog or not, I’m thinking, as I continue further with my schooling and career goals that I do have to change-up some things with my blog.

I still haven’t quite figured it out and while I’m in Paris I’m not going to worry about it.

I really just want to enjoy my leisure time here, I am slowed down quite a bit, even with my ankle feeling better.

Tomorrow I will return to the Marais, I have a tattoo appointment at 3:30 p.m. and I will hit the Pompidou either before or after the tattoo.

I also may pop around the shops and do a little more window shopping.

It’s awful fun to do.

I am doing well with my finances and there’s a few things I still haven’t gotten to get, but then again, I have really done so well with what I wanted to get that I am alright if I don’t score a bunch of souvenirs.

I have to be careful, I only have so much room in my luggage.

I bought a poster today that I’m not real sure how the hell I’m going to get back.

But.

I had to get it.

When I was at the Jeu de Paume they were having a sale in the library and one of the prints that was on sale was from the Marilyn Monroe, Phillip Hausmann exhibition that I went to Christmas of 2015.

I had to buy it.

When I had seen the original print it was 25 Euro.

Today it was 2 Euro.

Um.

Yeah.

I’ll risk transporting that.

Especially since the bag that I had gotten with the same image was destroyed soon after I got back from the trip with pink hair dye.

Oops.

I have a magnet of the same image, Monroe barefoot in a black cocktail dress leaping up in front of a cerulean blue backdrop.

Her face and the bare feet really got me.

The blue background is brilliantly done as well too, it highlights the blonde blond of her hair and the cream of her skin and the bare feet, something so tender and vulnerable and real.

I love the photograph.

I’ll see if I can scare up a cardboard poster shipping container.

I’m sure I can pick one up at the post office.

But what with the numerous notebooks, the gifts for the children I work for and the new dress I don’t have much space left for stuff in my carry on.

I put back a Diane Arbus book that I was sorely tempted to get and resolved that I would get something else.

I have always loved getting earrings, so I’ll grab a pair and I do want to get a hat.

Hats from Paris are the bees knees.

Just saying.

I also will be bringing home a tan.

I have been out in the sunshine all day and it was glorious.

A bit hot, but so good.

Tomorrow it is supposed to be 83 degrees, today was the same.

Then rain is forecast for the rest of the time that I am here and the temperature is going to drastically drop.

So.

Tomorrow.

Sundress time.

Lots of pictures while the light is good and a new tattoo, a visit to one of my favorite museums and of course.

Cafe creme.

I mean.

When in Paris.

Do what the Parisians do.

Right?

Let’s Go Out in The Sunshine

May 15, 2017

But before I do.

Let me write my morning pages on the deck of the houseboat and eat a plum.

In my long black, sleeveless dress with my bare feet (well, one bare foot, my right ankle was still wrapped up in its Ace bandage) up on a wooden deck chair.

Still need to rest my ankle when and where I can.

It’s not nearly as bad, but I can tell when it starts to get cranky and then, it’s time to sit, rest, let it go, not push too hard.

I have sat far more this trip than I ever have any prior time here.

I have to say.

It’s damn nice.

I’m not so freaked out that I’m not going to get to have the experiences I want to have.

In fact.

I’m pretty ok with whatever experiences that I continue to have here as they have been simply marvelous.

I will never forget sitting on the deck and drinking coffee and watching the Batobus go by with their tops heavy with tourists.

Not ever.

Nor the way the tree dander floated on the wind along the Seine as I walked the river this afternoon perusing the book sellers.

I picked up a couple of really great postcards and had some nice chats with vendors.

I walked from the houseboat down past Notre Dame and had lunch on Ile St. Louis.

I finally got the crappy Paris service that folks complain about, but I also recognize that I perhaps went too long before having my lunch.

Sometimes the walking just pulls me along and I have to go another block, see another building, watch another couple entwined around one another.

Paris.

You are so enchanting.

I feel enchanted being here.

Like I am in a fairy tale.

I made up for the crap service at lunch by finding a fabulous cafe on the edge of the Marais with bright blue chairs and red tables and had the most fabulous lemonade I have ever had.

And.

A cafe creme.

When in Paris.

ALL THE CAFE CREME PLEASE!

It’s my splurge.

The lemonade was so tart it made my whole face pucker, it had no sugar, which is right up my alley, since I don’t do sugar, but the crushed ice and the big sprig of mint made it a savory, refreshing and delicious.

Sitting in the sunshine didn’t hurt either.

After some slow sipping and sitting I wandered the Marais.

And.

Yes.

Yes, I did.

I hit the fucking jackpot.

I found a papeterie that carried a ton of Claire Fontaine notebooks.

I bought six.

Heh.

I am a very, very, very happy girl.

I also swung into Abraxas Tattoo.

Yes.

I will be getting another tattoo.

You know.

That’s what I do.

I will be going in Wednesday at 3:30p.m.

I will probably do a big swing through the Pompidou prior to getting the tattoo.

I am getting Anticonformiste in script on my left forearm.

A visiting tattoo artist from Nepal, Manish, super kind and we had a great chat about when I was going to come in and what I wanted, will be doing the work for me.

I expect that the tattoo won’t take but an hour.

So I may do the Pompidou after.

But the Pompidou I will do.

Tomorrow I will start the museum circuit.

I have the four-day museum pass and Saturday I have plans to go with a friend to Clingancort on Saturday and well, Sunday, I fly home.

But let’s not talk about Sunday yet.

Today is just Monday.

So.

Back to the Marais, back to my strolls.

Oh.

The reminds me, since I’ll be in the Marais again on Wednesday I should pop into the Marche aux Rouge Enfants.

The Market by the Red Children.

It is located by a former orphanage where the children wore red coats.

Thus the name.

It is a gigantic food market.

Closed on Mondays, so no journeying though the stalls, but it will be open on Wednesday.

I am feeling that is where I will be getting my lunch and maybe taking it to Place Vosges to eat before getting inked up.

Not a plan, but a thought, I make no plans, they melt away, I am just letting myself really experience Paris.

Walking through the Marais I also swung into a couple of stores and yes, I found the perfect black sundress.

Superb!

I am very happy to have found it, not too pricey, 59 Euro, and my goal of finding a dress in Paris is complete.

It almost never happens that fast.

In one day I found my dress, all my postcards, put a deposit down on a new tattoo, and got Claire Fontaine notebooks!

I am set.

I want for nothing.

The rest is icing on the cake.

Tomorrow I will start the round of museums and get the Paris Museum Pass activated by going to the D’Orsay.

The Orangerie is closed, so I might pop into the Louvre as well, there is a Vermeer exhibition happening that I would love to see.

No pressure to do the Louvre in entirety, not that I could, it is so enormous, I can’t even express it, over two city block long, two wings of art, each wing having four floors, there is no way I will ever see everything in the Louvre, ever.

Not that I need to either, I have seen the things that I want and even the infamous, and tiny, Mona Lisa, but the big draws are always too much for me to deal with, too many people, I like the smaller rooms and galleries.

But the Vermeer looks like a really good show, so definitely I will go to that.

Plus.

I know the “secret” entrance to the Louvre in the Tuilleries that helps to skip the massive lines that are the queue for the entrance under the I M Pei Pyramid.

So.

Just a quick zip in and out.

And no agenda.

Really.

I am so happy to be here and I am having a fabulous time.

Really relaxing and slowing down and enjoying the delicious sun and the walking and the houseboat and the cafe creme.

Heh.

Always that.

Bon soir mes amies.

A demain.

Trop grosse bixous!

Friends!

May 14, 2017

I got to see so many friends today, it was almost overwhelming.

And.

It was utterly fucking awesome.

I ran into a lot of the Paris folks that I knew from my time living here and it was just wonderful to double kiss cheeks and catch up in person instead of on Facebook and to touch and smell and see them in three-dimensional time.

I felt very embraced and loved and it was so sweet.

I also got to spend a very special time with a dear friend who was traveling and we overlapped here in the City of Lights and had a walk through the Luxembourg Gardens and then sat at a cafe and talked all things love, life, dancing, friends, music, travel.

The many and numerous big smiles I had on my face today were perhaps too many to count.

I put a few pictures up on my Insta and facecrack pages, but to give one a little idea, let’s just say that the day really couldn’t have started better than to have cafe au lait on the roof top deck of the house boat across the Seine from the Musee D’Orsay.

It really still stuns me that I am here on this boat having a vacation in Paris.

I am here and it is very real and it is slower than I have done the travel here before, said sprain still sprained, although not as bad to get about, lots of ibuprofen, stopping when I need to and taking the Metro instead of walking places I would have normally walked to.

After I left my friend I was walking back from the Luxembourg Gardens to Metro St. Suplice and I had a brief moment of thinking, oh, I should walk back, the light is so damn pretty and I almost did.

Then.

I stopped.

Knock it off.

Don’t stress it out walking too far, take the Metro and rest for a little while before heading out to dinner.

And I actually took my own advice.

I still have a week here and I don’t want to blow out my ankle by trying to force myself to move faster or do more than I am.

It’s ok to go slow.

Sometimes it’s quite lovely to go slow.

To take in all the details.

The patch of weedy dandelions growing out of a seraphim on the top of the Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens.

The sculpture that caught my eye in one of the government houses, that was framed in the window and it was a rear shot and it was hilarious, a gorgeous white marble mooning from two stories up.

I laughed so hard.

It was art and it was farce all at the same time.

The light on the windows of the Palais Royal Louvre at Sunset.

The Japanese girls walking hand in hand wearing the prettiest platform espadrilles and their perfectly manicured toenails, one girl had dark eggplant on her toes, the other a bright cerulean blue.

The sound of a marching procession coming down the Quai D’Orsay, horns and drums and military dressage, it was today that the new French president was inaugurated.

The swirl of cream on the top of my lobster bisque at lunch and the dark roux of the bisque, thick and rich and velvet brown.

The red glass that I filled with water that looked like a blooming rose on the white table-cloth.

The man with the French bulldog at the cafe who had a tattoo of said French bulldog on the back of his leg.

The sunlight coming through a stone edifice window at St. Suplice.

The small children wearing black riding helmets on the ponies in the park.

The boys and girls around the fountain in the middle of the Luxembourg Gardens with their long poles pushing the little wooden sail boats with red and blue sails, back and forth across the water.

The smell of perfume, Chanel No 5, wafting over me from a woman exciting the Metro at Place de la Concorde.

The box trimmed trees at the edges of the Luxembourg Garden.

The blue sky reflected in the water of the Seine.

The greens and blues rippling together.

The spats of rain and the sunshine that followed.

The blue Parisian sky.

The lights of the Eiffel Tower catching me off guard as they began to glitter on the top of the hour.

So many gorgeous little details.

God is in the details.

The white creamy froth on top of a cafe creme.

The butter burr of an older woman’s accent as she ordered her vin rouge at the cafe.

The delicate dressing that was just warmed over the butter lettuce salad I had with my steak tartar at lunch.

I am sure that I am missing so many other things.

As.

The detail girl is very tired now and needs to be wrapping this up.

Time for bed my darlings.

My friends.

Je t’aim toi beaucoup.

I wish you a bon soir.

And the sweetest dreams.

Bisoux.

 

Who’s Life Is This?

May 13, 2017

I said to my friend as I sat on the deck of the houseboat we’re sharing on the Seine, eating my salad in the sun slanting golden through the clouds over Le Grand Palais.

My friend pithily replied, “it’s yours.”

Oh shit.

It is.

I felt my heart swell up with gratitude and tears well in my eyes.

The tears they always well easy, but sitting on top of a houseboat in the middle of the Seine, located at Place de la Concorde/Champs Elysees, I felt blown up with joy.

This is my life.

And I’m on a houseboat in Paris.

It’s a pretty fucking amazing life, this.

I say it all the time, luckiest girl in the world, but it really feels that way, I can also see challenging things as lucky too, I have perspective, part of the reason why it felt so shocking to me is how I left when I moved away from Paris.

Broke.

Or.

How I left it last Christmas.

Heartbroken.

To just be sitting on the top deck, under an awning, waving at the Bateaux Mouche going by with their decks heavy with tourists, eating my dinner, in Paris.

In Paris.

It astounds.

I am grateful to be here, ready to be settled in one spot for a while.

It’s felt like non-stop moving at certain points and I’m happy to be moored for the rest of my time here.

I got up super early this morning.

Which was not my intention.

NOT AT ALL.

But.

I woke up at 4 a.m. wide awake.

And as much as I tried I couldn’t go back to sleep.

I rolled around, drifting in and out of thoughts, half dreams, revery, but never sunk back into sleep.

So.

I got up at 5:30a.m. and took a super hot shower, god I love hotels for super hot showers, plus huge over head rainfall shower heads, and let the water wash away the travel and the weary and washed out my hair.

Oh my God.

People.

My hair.

It’s huge.

The humidity isn’t bad, but it’s greater than what I am used to in San Francisco.

I have a lot of hair.

But right now.

It feels like.

I have.

A LOT.

It’s pretty huge.

It, my hair, has led to some interesting conversations, mostly with men, actually, all with men.

I got propositioned this morning as I left the hotel to take a morning stroll around Pere LaChaise Cemetery.

I mean.

I was basically offered cunnilingus for breakfast.

I was like.

Wow.

Paris.

It’s 7 a.m.

I’m going to wait though, and grab a cafe creme before entertaining that thought.

Yeesh.

I also was told by a way too friendly taxi cab drive that I had an amazing smile.

Thanks.

Now stop looking at me in the rearview window and drive, you’re making me nervous.

I’m pretty friendly and gregarious and sometimes I forget that doesn’t always translate here.

Smile?

Sure.

You must be a hooker and want to blow me in my cab and pay an extra fare.

Douche bag.

I also forgot, and it took me longer than it has in the past to pick up on it, I don’t think about it at all living in San Francissco, that I have tattoos.

And.

It’s warmer than the last two times I was in Pairs, I was here over two different winters I was not showing any skin.

And though I am not showing a lot, one can see that I am sporting more tattoos than the average bear.

As I was standing in the lobby to check out of my super hip boutique hotel the woman at the front was telling the other clerk that his tattoos were too big and that she couldn’t get anymore if she ever wanted to have a job outside of working at Mama Shelter.

I wanted to intervene, in French, and say something, but I played restraint of pen and tongue, nobody asked for my fucking opinion.

But.

Folks here definitely have some ideas about what tattoos mean.

Whore.

Anyway.

Like I care.

Like I give a fat god damn.

I am sitting on a houseboat in the Seine writing my blog.

This life, my life, is so fucking amazing and you know, I’ll probably go get another tattoo while I’m here, because, well, that’s what I do.

Heh.

I get to do whatever I want, well, as long as I accept the consequences.

So, I smile, and I’m joyful and if that means I get some over reaching flirting once in a while I can deal or stares or comments.

It isn’t any of my business what people think of me.

Shit.

It’s none of my business what I think of me.

I don’t always think well of myself, so I try not to think too much of myself.

Just enough.

Just barely enough.

But.

The truth is, I am more than enough and I deserve to be here and I work really motherfucking hard.

I’m happy to be on a boat in the Seine rocking on the waves of the boats rolling by.

It’s an experience I quietly dreamed about my first time walking the Seine by myself in Paris in 2007.

Seeing all the houseboats, dreaming about owning one or renting one.

When the cab dropped me off I had gotten there early and I knew which one it was by the photos from the reservation, but no one was around, just the tabby cat sunning itself on the deck.

I stood for a while, then the cat got curious, as they do, and came over and gave me the once over and deigned to let me stroke him and then I just said, fuck it, and hopped on the boat.

Standing with a goofy too big smile on my face in the brilliant afternoon sun over Paris.

On a boat.

I’m just going to keep going with this.

It will fade off I am sure.

But for right now.

Well.

Basking.

Just glowing with it.

All the things.

For.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Me.


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