Archive for the ‘paris’ Category

Hello Old Friend

December 13, 2019

Ah.

Sigh.

Hello my lovely, it’s been a while.

I’m back.

For a little while, a few days here, maybe a couple of weeks, I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I am going to try and post up some blogs and stay a little regular for a little while.

At least until next semester hits.

Then.

Buh bye.

This semester was by far the heaviest work load I have carried in school.

I did a bonkers amount of reading, researching and writing.

All the time.

It just was a constant grind.

And.

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmm.

I turned in my final paper today, this very afternoon.

I am done!

I am done!

I am done!

It feels so very nice.

I already know that I have gotten “A’s” in my two other classes, I completed one last week, turning in the final paper a little early so that I could focus on the last final project I had.

Said project cumulated in a 176 page paper.

Yeah.

I said that.

176 pages.

I pretty much put together a god damn book.

But when I think about it, that’s basically what a dissertation is, a book.

This was not my dissertation but it had some thematics that I will pull in for my work.

And I didn’t write the whole thing all in one shot.

It was broken up into four parts over the course of the semester.

I basically wrote four good sized papers and then connected them all together for the final compilation.

I am so grateful it’s done I can’t even believe that I don’t have a book to read tomorrow, a discussion post to write, a paper to write, an article to read, research to do.

All I have to do is supervision and see clients.

All.

heh.

Yeah.

That’s the other thing.

I have been busting my ass building my private practice.

I currently have 24 clients!

I cannot believe that.

It just amazes me.

Yes.

I am still nannying.

Although!

Not for long.

This week I officially dropped another day, so I’m down to working two days a week and neither day is a full day.  Mondays I’ll be working 9a.m. to 4p.m. and Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 4p.m.

And!

I gave my notice.

That’s right.

I gave my mothefucking notice.

I am so over the moon.

It actually eclipses finishing the semester, I am going to stop being a nanny.

After 13 years of nannying I am going to finally hang up my nanny clogs.

They are not the same clogs I started with, but I am ready to toss them.

I had a really good talk with the mom this week and I am giving them a very healthy notice.

I will stay with them through February.

My final day will be Tuesday, February 25th.

I am sticking it out for another couple of months for two reasons–my imminent trip to Paris and my second semester PhD retreat.

I will be missing two weeks of client sessions while I go to Paris and I will miss another week of sessions in January when I am at the retreat.  This means I will lose three weeks of revenue and that’s a lot.

To offset that I am going to stay with the family until the end of February to make sure that I have enough coming in to self-sustain.

Last week I hit my number that I need to be able to just work as a psychotherapist.

It was wonderful to see that number pop up on my Ivy Pay app–I use Ivy Pay to charge clients and it tallies what I make and when my goal number rolled over I was just over the moon.

That’s it.

That’s what I need to make weekly to be able to quit my nanny job.

I can do that!

I can.

If I wasn’t going on vacation I would have quit by the end of the year.

But.

I am going on vacation, and it is needed, I am so ready for a break.  And I don’t want to worry about covering expenses or not enjoying myself.

I want to do some clothes shopping and go to museums and eat nice food and go to the ballet.  I want to go ice skating at the Grand Palais, which has the largest indoor ice rink in the world.  I will probably fall on my ass and get run over by small children, but I don’t care, it looks marvelous and I can’t imagine anything more spectacular than ice skating in a giant palace in Paris.

I mean.

Seriously.

I also am staying at a really nice Air BnB and I dropped some dimes on it, but I know it’s going to be worth it.

So I didn’t want to worry about spending, I will likely get a tattoo while there, I like doing that, a souvenir I carry with me all my days, and if I want to order a second cafe creme or fuck, a third, I will.

I get to enjoy myself and so that means a couple more months of nanny.

So be it.

It’s worth it and there’s a light, oh there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

I am almost there.

I am almost 100% fully self-supporting as a therapist, as an Associate Psychotherapist at that, I actually could afford to quit my nanny job is I was a regular MFT, but having to pay agency fees, supervision fees, administration fees and the 12.75% cut the agency takes, I have to work more.

I don’t mind, I’m just paying my dues and the end is in sight.

It’s a lovely sight too.

I’m remembering my birthday dinner last year, yeah, that’s coming up soon, next Wednesday is my birthday, and how I made the intention that I would be quitting my nanny job and have a full therapy practice.

I cannot believe it actually happened.

But it did.

The week before my birthday I hit my number and I gave notice.

Amazing.

I think my intention for this upcoming year is that I be engaged to be married by my next birthday.

I’m dead serious.

I want to be engaged.

That’s the intention I will set.

Somewhere in Paris, having dinner, rare steak or a tartare, a cafe creme and a cheese plate for dessert.

I will set my intention.

Oh yes I will.

Not Sure Where to Begin

April 30, 2019

But apparently I’m ready for dating.

I wasn’t expecting that when I told my therapist last Tuesday about some recent experiences doing inventory work.

Man.

I did some self-searching, some fearless and deep, and thoughtful, insightful thinking and writing.

I saw my patterns.

Especially my patterns around dating.

My ex fell into my patterns and completely obliterated them too.

He was much more than just another guy.

He broke the pattern.

He didn’t break me.

Although he did absolutely break my heart.

I seem, however, to be healing and the writing helps.

And the longer days of sunshine help and being busy as fuck wrapping up this semester of school certainly keeps my brain occupied.

My brain would like to create some trouble.

Like, Friday night coming home after work and seeing therapy clients it starts telling me this story about this place I used to go to on Friday nights.

Our Lady of Safeway.

This church on Church Street and Market.

I spent many, many, many Friday nights in that church.

It is in fact where I met my ex.

Oh how he used to shine at me.

Still makes me quiver thinking about that.

Sometimes the thoughts slip in and I don’t try too hard to keep them at bay.

Sometimes they are just sweet and sad and nostalgic, I find myself thinking about him as I fall asleep, the first time he said he loved me, the first time he brought me flowers after he had said he loved me, his face over the bouquet of flowers, so open and vulnerable and full of love, his eyes.

Oof.

Yeah, I might be getting through all of this but I’m still not over you lover.

And that’s ok.

I have given up on trying to be over you.

And as I mentioned, apparently I might be ready to date.

It just sort of popped out in my therapy session last week, all about seeing the patterns and seeing where I need to look at myself and what I want.

I have some very specific needs and wants and really being open and honest about them to myself.

As I expressed all of it my therapist stopped me and said, “wait, are you saying you’re ready to date?!”

“Yes!” I said without a pause and holy shit, I felt it, I am ready to date.

Oh.

I suppose.

A little weirded out by it too.

I basically haven’t dated in two years and over these last two years there were more than a few moments of me thinking, this is it he’s the love of my life, my soulmate, my best friend, he’s going to be the one, I don’t have to think about dating again or finding love.

I had found it.

But.

Well.

Though the love didn’t leave me, he did.

And that was his choice and I won’t disparage him for it.

So now I have to get the fuck on with my life.

To that end.

I wrote up my sexual ideal and really dug into it, basically coming up with a three page essay on what I am looking for in a partner, mate, boyfriend.

I really want a monogamous, committed, romantic, sober, non-smoking relationship.

And yeah, three other pages of things.

I read them out loud in my parked car on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Noe Street this past Saturday night to my person after we had done the deal up in Potrero Hill.

He then suggested I go home and read it out loud in first person.

See what I had to grow towards.

And the really awesome thing, I already have the majority of qualities I’m looking for in a partner.

I’m quite happy about that.

The surprise that came up for me is that I want to cohabitate with a partner.

I haven’t lived with a boyfriend in, wait for it, twenty years.

I’m ready to live with someone again.

Yeah.

I also had hopes that the person I was going to be living with was my ex, but that was just fantasy, wasn’t it.

Everything was just fantasy, beautiful, romantic, lovely, fantasy.

Exquisite in the night, sweeping, and intoxicating, but in reality, the light of day, it fell short and left me with such a hurting heart all the time.

I want reality now.

I am ready for that.

And I’m not expecting a Knight on a white horse, I’ve never needed a man to rescue me, but I do want a partner to compliment me.

Someone to travel with!

My person really made a point of that, “I see you going to Paris and staying in that gorgeous apartment in the Marais with a boyfriend,” he told me after I had finished reading out my ideal.

Me too!

I booked it thinking about how romantic it was and yeah, I certainly have some big high hopes that I will be traveling with a partner this Christmas.

My birthday and Christmas in the City of Lights with my boyfriend.

I know it’s a little early to ask for a Christmas present, but well, when you know you know.

I can’t quite envision it, but I can feel it.

And I have done so much work.

God, I have worked through so much grief over this break up, I could use a break.

So.

Yeah.

Hey God, it’s me.

I’m ready to date again.

Really.

Blue Hawaii

March 28, 2019

And Paris without you.

God damn it.

I’m still pissed at you.

Granted I have my own self to blame for that.

I should not have gone on social media.

I had you blocked.

Not because I was worried about you seeing me, no.

I didn’t want to be looking at your photos.

And I did it anyway.

I looked last night.

I know you’re in Hawaii and I knew you were going to be there and I had to look.

Ugh.

Wrong.

Wrong.

Wrong.

It doesn’t help that I want to go to Hawaii with you and that the trip I have tentatively planned for July has your name written all over it.

Or that I have thoughts about you in the ocean, swimming, your eyes wet and blue.

I’m so angry still and I’m still so damn sad.

Not as much.

Not every day.

And so, of course, the person to be angry with is me, I know better than to go onto social and look up your photos.

It hurts.

No more of that.

Although, why?

I can’t figure it out, a photo of us pops up every day, every day on my computer despite closing the photo app.

Every day your blue, blue, bluest eyes stare out at me as I see us on the red leather couch in the Air BnB we rented in D.C.  My eyes are closed, I’m kissing the side of your face and you have your arm wrapped around me.

Sometimes the photo makes me jump.

Sometimes I forget it’s there.

I have shut down the computer, restarted the computer, closed the app, and it just randomly pops back up.

Can’t get away from it and I use my computer all the time.

I mean.

Fuck.

I am working on a PhD I drag the damn thing around like it’s a security blanket.

And there you are, sweet face and dreamy and I know that we were in front of a fire and the color of your eyes and the shape of my face, and my hair tumbled down around my shoulders.

Ugh.

It hurts.

Not as bad.

I will admit that.

Things haven’t hurt so awful in the day-to-day.

Get me in my therapy sessions and I’m a fucking mess, but hey, that’s therapy and I leave it there in the wet balls of crumpled tissues streaked with mascara.

I joked with my therapist this past session that my tears must be some kind of napalm right now as I have tried three different kinds of waterproof mascara and the shit just slides off my eyelashes when I cry.

I yelled at you tonight.

In the car.

On the way home.

Thinking about you on an island and me here and then I’ll be going to Paris and well, fuck, you’re supposed to be in Paris with me.

Damn it.

We were supposed to do Paris.

You know it.

I know it.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Paris, baby.

You were supposed to go to Paris with me.

I hella splurged too.

I mean.

I got a place to stay, cute, bohemian, arty, obviously someone who was an avid flea market shopper, and I got a great deal, super cheap, $1,000 less than most of the other places I was looking at.

So I booked it.

And alas.

The woman got back to me and said she wasn’t able to let me rent it as she was going to be in Paris for Christmas.

Oh well.

I went back and looked some more and I looked at hotels and I really had to think about where I wanted to stay and why.

I wanted to make sure I was in the Marais, my best friend lives there and it’s my favorite part of the city and very central.

Hotels were not cheap and I went back to looking at Air BnB.

This one place kept calling me back and it was more than I wanted to spend, but then again, I knew I had the money in savings to cover it, I’d have nine months to save up more, I deserve to stay somewhere nice, the last two times I stayed in Paris I stayed with friends and didn’t pay for accommodations and the time before that I stayed in a hella cheap place and regretted it almost immediately.

I kept going back to this listing and then I said, fuck it.

I’m booking it.

It’s where I’m supposed to be and I’m going to let myself stay there.

Gorgeous tapestry wall paper.

Fireplace!

Full kitchen.

Dining area.

Plus red velvet chairs.

Couch with a red velvet throw.

Separate bedroom up this sweet curving stair case.

Big huge bed under the eaves.

Gigantic bathtub in the room!

Bathtubs are a rarity in French apartments, so to get one and it’s big, huge luxury.

It’s super pretty and I’m super grateful I booked it and I paid for the whole thing up front.

Done and done.

I was so excited when I booked it the night before last.

And then.

Tonight.

I wasn’t.

I was hurt and angry and thinking about you and your vacation pictures and I just yelled at you in the car, how we’re supposed to be in Paris together, walking the streets, eating all the food, cheese, chacuterie, drinking all the coffee, snuggling on the red velvet couch, having sex on the red velvet couch, the bed, the floor in front of the fire-place, the bathtub, meeting fellows in church basements, seeing all the sites, making out in public, holding hands.

I wanted to take you to the one cafe I know about in the 11th that’s super good and order food for you in French and then happy and replete I would walk you along the Seine to look at the Eiffel Tower when it lights up with glitter lights.

Damn it.

We were supposed to do Paris together.

I know that the sting will wear off, I mean, my trip is not until December, but right now, I feel hurt and sad and yes, angry at you.

Oh God.

The places I wanted to take you.

A walk in Pere LaChaise cemetary.

And the L’ile des Cygnetes, Island of the Swans, in the middle of the Seine, that has one of Statue of Liberty models on it that the artist did as he worked on the scale for the one sent to Americar.

Oh.

And all the outdoor markets, buying cheese and fruit and bread for you.

I wanted to take you to the amazing restaurant in Belleville that my friend took me to last summer and then go to Le Chat Noir and do the Paris Open Mic and recite you poems I have written about you.

But I won’t.

I won’t be doing any of those things.

I’ll be taking a bath under the eaves of a mansion on Rue de Parc Royale.

A bath with bubbles.

And I will sit in front of the fire and fingers crossed, not be sad to be alone, again, in Paris, without you.

 

There is So Much

March 23, 2019

To write about.

And where to begin?

I almost titled this blog, One Hour, as an homage to something quite big.

I also thought about naming it, “Are you Here?” as I suspect my ex is back in town.

At least it feels that way.

More about that later.

Then I thought I should write about my awesome and amazing Mike Doughty experience and having gotten to see him on Wednesday of this week and how I played hooky from clients and went out on a school night.

I didn’t really play hooky, I just rescheduled them for later in the week, I had one tonight and I’ll see the other tomorrow after my regular Saturday clients.

Then I thought, oh yeah, I should call this, “Vive La France!”

As I bought a ticket to Paris last night!

Yeah.

So.

All the things.

All of them.

So much going on.

Plus, of course, the school thing that is happening and how I managed to get all my papers done and turned in on time and also how I got back some really amazing comments on my last couple of papers.

“Clarity, erudition, adept usage of third person, meticulous APA style,” I could go on, but then I think that’s just ego.

I”m right on schedule with school at the moment and extremely happy about that, despite feeling a little disconnected from school since I did not get much time this week at work to do homework.

The family had the flu.

Like seriously bad, fevers, aches, chills, super bad sore throat, coughing.

I do not know how I escaped, but I did.

I also got my flu shot this year so that might have helped and as soon as the family was diagnosed with the flu at the doctors they called me and said call my doctor and get Tamiflu, which is a preventative medicine that will work if taken within 72 hours of exposure.

So I’ve been taking that all week and seemed to have skated by the flu.

Thank fucking God.

I cannot afford to be sick.

And.

I don’t like being sick.

Even the small part of me that rather enjoys lying around all day in bed.

The rest of me drives itself crazy when I’m sick.

So I’m super happy I avoided it.

But man, work was a tough one this week.

Which made it easy to ask off for time to work with a client.

Yes.

It’s official.

This week I got my tenth client.

I took a leap of faith when the person reached out and offered expanded hours beyond what I have available.

Meaning.

Wednesdays I work from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. then see clients at 5:30p.m., 6:30p.m. and 7:30p.m.

I offered the client a 4:30p.m. slot.

Technically I’m working as a nanny, but I’ve been in conversation for months now that at some point I would slowly begin the transitioning down of nanny hours for therapy hours.

I hesitated for just a brief moment but knew, really knew, that I had to offer hours that would overlap into my nanny shifts.

And the client took the Wednesday slot.

Which means I have to be done at the nanny gig by 4p.m. now on Wednesdays.

One hour less of being a nanny.

One hour more of being a therapist.

Plus.

This new client found me on Psychology Today and was not a referral from my agency, meaning the client is full fee.

Yippee!

The more full fee clients I get the faster I will transition out of nannying.

I mean, I love the family, but $30/hour versus $140 an hour.

Well.

I know what works better for me.

Anyway.

That’s therapy business.

Then there’s Paris business which in a way segues into ex-boyfriend business.

Yesterday at work I was checking e-mails in a brief moment of time when I wasn’t picking up used Kleenex, hydrating some small child, washing dishes, drawing, cuddling, or making hot tea with honey and saw an interesting email from a friend.

It was an e-mail that he forwarded that there was a one day sale happening for round trip tickets to Paris.

Oooh.

I wasn’t planning on going to Paris this year, I’ve been planning on going to Hawaii in July,(but still haven’t done anything about it as I’m waiting on my employers to let me know when they’re going to be in Finland and if, probably not, but if they are also planning on taking me to Helsinki with them)  going to Maui and staying in Paia, where my grandmother was born in 1928.

But.

I was curious about the flights and a little bug got in my ear and so I searched and shit, the price was too good to pass by.

So I picked the best time for me to go, end of the fall semester, in December.

Yes.

That’s right.

I’ll be in Paris on my birthday and for Christmas.

I fly out of SFO on December 17th, landing the next day at Charles de Gaulle on December 18th, my birthday, in the early afternoon.  I’ll fly back on December 27th.

So I’ll be there from my birthday through Christmas.

I will sit in cafes, go to museums (the Louvre, the D’Orsay, the Jeu de Paume, the Pompidou–which is open on Christmas, I know where I will be, wandering the galleries there for sure on Christmas day, the Orangerie, the Palais de Tokyo, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Musee de l’Art Moderne), walk everywhere, read books, go do the deal with the Paris fellowship, hang out with my best girlfriend from my Masters degree cohort…we’ve already made plans to go to the ballet (I messaged her right after I bought the ticket).

I got the ticket from Air France round trip, direct flights there and back for $579.32!

I still can’t believe that!

My girlfriend asked me why December after exclaiming at the cost of the ticket.

I told her that my birthday and Christmas have been really tied up with my ex the last two years and maybe its better for me to be in Paris then in San Francisco and really just do something for myself.

I always wanted him to come to Paris with me and I had even brought it up in the days before we broke up that I wanted to plan a trip with him there.

It is such a screamingly romantic city.

And he’s such a foodie, he would have loved it.

I’m still sad we didn’t get to experience that together.

She understood.

Plus, I told her that it makes sense with my school schedule and it’s the slowest time of year for therapy clients….the last two holiday seasons were really slow and I hear that it’s that way for most therapist.

So.

Yeah.

Booked that ticket.

I don’t think I’ll stay with my girlfriend, despite knowing she’d let me, I think I want a little more autonomy and she’s got young twins, who are super sweet and adorable, but the house isn’t huge and as much as I loved staying with them, I don’t want to stress them out at Christmas.

I figure I’ll Air BnB in the Marais where they live, it’s super central and I know it well enough, and just be an independent lady at Christmas time in the City of Lights.

God.

There’s more to say.

The feeling of my ex being in town, and wanting him to reach out or to somehow bump into him, it’s big, but I’ve not got time to write more.

I need to get up early, lots of clients tomorrow.

So.

I bid you adieu and I’ll see you on the flip.

 

Separation of Church and State

December 16, 2018

And it finally happened.

I am so grateful to report that after much time, many failed attempts, yelling at my computer, yelling at the WordPress chat help, not literally, although I do think I told one of the people on the chat that I was as computer conversant as a tired four-year old.

I really felt like throwing a tantrum with that chat and I excused myself from it quickly when I realized I might, probably not, but might throw my computer on the floor and stomp on it.

So it is with much happiness and relief that I can report my website, my professional website, and my personal blog are no longer connected.

Oh.

They still are, but not really, not in a way that anyone could figure out and my friend who helped me even made the suggestion to change my face on the profile picture so I couldn’t be recognized that way.

Hence the new icon which is a graffiti photo I took many years ago in Paris.

Six years ago it feels like.

Paris was much on my mind today.

And in many of my conversations.

I went and saw my dear friend Barnaby at his new shop in Oakland, East Bay Tattoo, and he touched up the color on my pink jackalope bunny tattoo that he gave me for my 40th birthday when we were living as room mates in Paris.

We both marveled at how far we’d come since that time in Paris.

We were both trying to figure things out and neither one of us thought that we’d actually be moving back here.

Barnaby landed in Oakland and I in the Outer Sunset.

Six years later he’s the father of two boys and he and his partner own a house in Oakland and he just opened a new shop.

Six years later I’m a psychotherapist, not going to tell you my name though, oh no, I don’t want you finding my website from my personal blog (this baby is dark, no social media, no LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, nada), I’m also a PhD student and I own a car!

I mean.

I remember how I felt leaving Paris when we did, my heart-felt bruised, I felt defeated, broken, I had tried so damn hard to make it work and Paris was not having it.

Not having me.

Although she has welcomed me back with open arms and love every time that I have gone back since.

I feel like I have learned so much about myself from my time spent in Paris.

So my friend and I reminisced and talked about all the things we did there and the conversations and all the things that we have done in the time between and how life is.

You know.

Life is pretty damn good.

Even though.

Fuck my life.

I just found out that my paper is due at 5p.m. instead of midnight.

And!!!

Hahhahahahahahahaha.

God.

I must be a little on edge about getting my shit done by all the deadlines.

I forgot, tomorrow is Sunday, not Monday.

The paper is due Monday.

Of course I’ll be working and not really have time to address the paper, so I’ve been planning all along to have the work done by Sunday night and turn it in Sunday night after I get back from doing the deal up in the Castro.

Whew.

What a goofy little moment of panic.

I was all sorts of mad.

Heh.

Ah.

Breathing deeply again.

So.

I will hopefully be posting on a much more regular basis on my blog now that I don’t have any worry about potential clients finding out about it.

I mean.

Ahem.

My most “popular” blog is about cocaine and vodka enemas, not something I want any perspective client to be reading about.

I know how that sounds.

I never have and never will administer or be given a cocaine vodka enema, but I had a friend tell me a story once and I was so horrified by the idea, I’d never heard of it and I guess it’s actually a thing, that I wrote a blog about it many moons ago and what do you know.

It’s the most searched for tag that leads people to my blog.

I have actually thought about deleting it, but you know, it’s actually well written and it does in fact allude to recovery, so maybe someone out there who happens to stumble upon it might get the idea that they actually have a better shot at life without shooting cocaine up their bum mixed with vodka.

Anyway.

There are lots of other things in my blog I’d rather not have my therapy clients find out.

Like I’ve been to Burning Man eleven times.

(Dirty hippy)

(Sex addict)

(addict in general)

(weirdo)

I won’t say that any of those things don’t apply, but ahem, you know, I’m happy with who I am and not really shy about sharing.

God forbid a client read any of the blogs I wrote about my brief and tumultuous jaunt on Tinder.

God was that a heap of crap.

With one or two shining moments, but mostly a lot of yuck.

And now.

Well.

THANK YOU FRIEND!

I don’t have to worry about it.

I can write happily and freely about everything.

Well.

heh.

I don’t actually write about everything either, you know a girl has to have a few things kept back.

At least for right now.

There may well be a time and place when that changes, but right now, yeah, there are a few things that don’t wind up in these posts and that’s alright too.

I’m just so happy to have my little blog space back.

I don’t mind that it’s gone so dark, it’s like my own little private universe with a few select friends that like to hang out and have a cup of coffee with me and catch up.

I’ve got some followers who know me in my personal life as a real bona fide person, and I’m cool with that, but the rest of the world can keep right on thinking of me as Auntie Bubba.

I’m very.

Very.

Very.

Cool with that.

Home Again

July 29, 2018

I got back from my travels last night.

I was in motion for 24 hours.

Although what with the time change it looked like I had just traveled 11 hours.

But no.

When I got in to my studio last night the clock said it was 6 a.m. Paris time and I had been up since 5:30 a.m. the previous morning.

It was a long day.

I am very, very, very grateful that I woke up before my alarm went off, it was too hot to sleep and I kept waking up and having difficulty falling back asleep, so when I woke up at 5 a.m. I never got fully back into sleep, just lay in bed sweating lightly and wondering if I should just get up and get going.

When the light began to grow bright enough I gave up the ghost, got up and started my getting ready to leave.

I gave myself time to have a light breakfast, which thank God I did, because there was no time at the airport to get food, I was super lucky to be able to snag a bottle of water for the flight, let alone have had anytime to forage for food.

I had done most of my packing the day before, even went a bought a cheap suitcase to haul back my goodies from my trip.

Notebooks, a stuffed hippo for one of my charges, a model car for another charge, stickers and rainbow unicorn rub on tattoos and a pretty notebook for the little girl.

Other gifts for folks.

And then the things that I had gotten for myself: a purse, a market basket from Aix-en-Provence, an art book from the Zao Wou-ki show I went to at the Musee Moderne, lots of notebooks, five or six I think, magnets from the Klimt show and one from Marseilles, some notecards, three dresses (three! I was so thrilled to have found a shop, with the help of my friend, that carried my size and had lovely clothes), a sweater coat, and a blouse.

I can’t believe I found such lovely clothes, it’s very rare for me to find clothing when I have gone to Paris before.

Partially because I just didn’t know really where to look, having a friend who lives in Paris show you the spots is a huge perk.

I also got a vintage candle holder/lantern from a shop on Ile St. Louis and some prints from the Klimt show.

I couldn’t have squeezed all of that into my little carry-on.

My carry on, which as it would turn out, was not so little anyway.

It got flagged at the airport.

I was not happy.

This was the first time that it’s been flagged.

I didn’t even get it through security.

A couple of times I have had to check it at the gate but never before did I have it flagged before even going through security.

I was not happy.

I was on the same airline I took to get to France, so I knew it would fit, in fact, it had slightly fewer items in it since I had bag checked the other suitcase and figured I would fill that one heavier and keep my carry on fairly light.

But nope.

It got flagged.

Ugh.

I had already had a bit of a rough start to my Charles de Gaulle experience.

I got to the airport with plenty of time, I splurged and took a cab.

Again, thank God, if I had done the train I would have likely missed my flight considering the amount of time it took to get to the gate.

When I arrived I did a check in on a kiosk, printed off my boarding pass and got a sticker for the checked bag.

Then I stood in line with my checked bag to get it to a counter to get loaded onto the plane.

I was in line about thirty minutes.

About twenty minutes into being online a little voice in my head said, “hey, did you get your card from the kiosk?”

I couldn’t remember.

I took a deep breath, got out my wallet, opened it up and looked.

No debit card.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

I had left it in the machine!

I flushed very hot then almost started to cry.

I took another deep breath.

What should I do?

Odds are it’s gone.

Somebody was right behind me to use the machine.

Either they took it and went wild at the Duty Free shop.

Or maybe they turned it in to lost and found.

I started to think about how to ask the next Air France agent I saw about where the lost and found was in French.

I resolved to stay in line and check my bag and then go look.

It was a long ten minutes.

I got my bag on the belt and dashed back to the machine.

Of course.

The card was gone.

I looked around, there was a desk next to the kiosk, but nothing on it.

I turned to go back to the line that had to Air France agents working it.

I should mention that there were three different areas to queue up to, each area having two agents, then agents roaming between and agents at the desk.

I don’t know how I decided to ask the woman I asked, but I made a snap decision and walked towards her.

I approached and asked if I could speak English with her, I really wasn’t sure I could get across in French what had happened, although I had been practicing it for the last ten minutes.

She said of course.

I told her what I did, I pointed to the machine, I was about to ask if there was a lost and found and she said, “you’re Carmen?”

I nodded, yes, yes, yes, as she pulled my debit card out of the front breast pocket of her jacket.

I nearly wept for joy and thanked her profusely.

What are the odds that the person I asked would have my card in her pocket?

I don’t know, but it felt like winning the lottery.

I was so happy about it that when I was told my carry on would cost me 80 Euro to process I didn’t give a fuck.

Who cares?

I had found my card.

And though the whole process set me back over an hour and a half of going to and fro, it was all worth while.

I made my plane with minutes to spare, enough to be able to dash to the nearest counter and buy a bottle of water and then get myself settled in for a very long flight.

There were a few other adventures.

Like the plane having to sit on the tamarack for another hour because a person had to be de-planed, which led to me literally sprinting through the Atlanta airport to make my connecting flight, but I did then too.

So even though it was a long trip getting back.

Get back I did.

And I am very grateful to be home, unpacked, all my laundry washed and put away and almost ready to get back to my regular routine.

Almost.

I have one more delicious day off.

Ah.

Summer vacation.

You did me good.

Where Do I Start?

July 25, 2018

First.

Bon soir!

I have not seen my computer for a few days.

My best French friend insisted that we were to travel very lightly to Marseilles and so, no computer.

Also.

No makeup.

What?

I know I felt naked, until I didn’t.

But apparently, ahem, I still look nice without it.

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I think vacation looks pretty good on me.

It didn’t hurt that I have a tan.

Boy.

Do I have a tan.

The above photo was taken early in the evening yesterday on the island of Frioul.  If you look closely in the background you can see the city of Marseilles.  My friend and I took an early evening ferry-boat to Frioul and strolled around it and took photos.

It was such a pretty place, and it would have been great for swimming had we known.

Next time.

But.

Swimming was had!

I had my first dip, then my second, yesterday in the Mediterranean!

Here I am a touch blissed out:

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My hair is all wet, I am sandy, I went for two swims in the Calanque and it was extraordinary.

First, a slight aside, must get back to swimming, being in the water and swimming felt so damn good.  Screw yoga, I think it’s long past time I get back into the pool.

Second.

Wow.

It was so, so, so beautiful.

A calanque is, well, fuck, I’m not sure I can quite describe it, a sort of wild hill area with dry rocky terrain along the coast that stretches from Marseilles to Cassis, there are all these inlets and beaches and coves, it’s a national park in France and frankly I can see why, they are true treasures.

The clanque that we went to was the Calanque of Sormiou.

It was exquisite.

I mean.

So gorgeous.

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This is the view from the top of an hour-long climb through the hills.

I will not mince words.

It was hot.

I was sweaty.

And I was not exactly happy to be climbing so much.

But.

Fuck.

Once I got to the top.

Wow.

I don’t know how high the climb was, and yes, what goes up must come down, we had to climb back out, gratefully the way is paved and if you have a tiny car and balls of steel you can drive in, but we walked, or climbed.

According to my little app on my phone that counts my steps we climbed.

We walked 26,450 steps yesterday.

Which is 12.4 miles.

And.

We climbed 51 floors!

51!

Ooh la la!

My legs.

But again.

It was extraordinarily beautiful and I’m so glad we did it, even if for a second there my friend made me wear a damp towel on my head for a while, she thought I might be getting close to heat stroke.

I guess I was pretty red in the face.

I certainly sweated a lot.

I think I may have actually lost weight this trip, despite the cheese and charcuterie I have eaten here.

I seriously have walked miles and miles and miles each day.

And swam.

Here.

Enough of my prattle.

More pictures of the beauty:

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I mean.

Come on.

It was like being on a movie set.

Except.

Well.

It was totally real.

Stunning beyond words, even now, looking at these photos, I’m like, really, I was just there yesterday?

Swimming in the sea.

It was truly one of the most beautiful moments, that first cool plunge into the ocean, the taste of the salt, so salty, and then popping up from the water and seeing the mountains arising around me.

I was blown away.

I swam far out until I got a little spooked, and then headed back in to let my friend take her turn.

We didn’t want to leave our stuff unattended on the beach, it has a reputation for thievery.

While my friend swam I unfolded the towel filched from the hotel onto the sand, put on more sunblock and lay back enjoying the hot sun, the sound of the water, the people speaking Italian to my right, the couple canoodling in Catalan on my left, and closed my eyes.

It was glorious.

My friend returned with tales of being nibbled on by a fish, which didn’t exactly compel me to get back in the water, but get back in I did.

Only to be flirted with by some gentleman who tried to tell me that I should be concerned about the sharks.

Thanks man, here’s a pointer on flirting with a woman, don’t tell her there might be sharks in the water, all it does is make a lady want to get the fuck out of the water.

I swam off laughing and telling him he was horrible for telling me such a tale.

Another stint of laying on the beach and then my friend and I packed up our things and began the long, arduous walk back.

I won’t lie.

It was hard.

And it was hot.

Very, very, very hot.

But.

I also would be lying if I didn’t say that there was a part of me that was very proud of myself for doing the climb and having a true adventure with my friend.

We made it back to Marseilles alive, had a late lunch, then went to the hotel and freshened up.

That shower, let me tell you, damn good.

After taking some time to rest we headed out to the ferry-boat and our trip to the island of Frioul.

The first photo I posted was from Frioul.

Here are a couple more, it was truly lovely.

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I have to say, the South of France was very special to see.

And I haven’t even told you about Aix-en-Provence or really about Marseille itself, but you know, I have one last day in Paris tomorrow and it’s time I got ready for it.

Bon soir mes amis!

Bon soir!

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!

 

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.


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