Archive for the ‘postaday’ Category

Behind the Ball

August 23, 2019

Ugh.

Ugh.

Ugh.

Here at my intensive in Pacifica for school and I just had to swap out my elective courses.

Which is a blessing and a bit of a disappointment.

And just fucking reality.

My elective class was supposed to be taught here at my intensive, but somehow the professor, who is in another department got slated to be teaching at the intensive in Petaluma, she’s the head of another department and it’s required there.

So.

All the work for the elective I was going to take is online and will have to be done via Zoom sessions, video sessions, and all the Zooms are required and all of them take place on Tuesday nights when I have therapy clients.

And so I dropped that class like a hot fucking potato.

I talked to my advisor, who is here at the intensive and got the go ahead to register for another course and I’m all set.

The thing is though, I haven’t read anything for this new elective.

I just ordered five books which will get to my house in a week.

It bums me out that I could have had these books already at my disposal for the last few weeks and gotten some reading done before the intensive.

Also.

That I read a lot while I’m here.

I have both of my previous semesters and it was super helpful to kick out a few hours of reading each day in between my courses.

It’s a lot of work, but considering I’m not obligated to show up for my nanny gig or my therapy clients, who I rescheduled heavy the beginning of the week and had to cancel my Friday and Saturday clients, it’s doable as I’m here just doing the coursework.

Oh well.

At least I got into the elective that will work better for my schedule and I will get to meet with the professor and I will have the class here and I will get the work done.

I always do.

Always.

How?

I can’t quite tell you, but it happens and I sense that what with the transitioning down of my nanny hours there will be the time to devote to the massive amount of reading I will have to do for this semester.

I have two offices spaces to read in and I will be carrying books with me where ever I go.

This intensive I lucked out too, I have a room mate.

Oh well.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have one, but so it goes.

I was not too happy to walk in on her vaping in the room though, especially since I requested to not be paired with a smoker.

“I smoke, but I don’t smoke in the room,” she said, and waved the smoke away.

I was like, hmm, you’re in the room, smoking, so you do smoke in the room, but you won’t any more now lady pants.

Then she said she was “thirsty” and did I want to join her for a drink?

Ah.

NO.

Fuck.

Not the room mate I was hoping for.

But the room has an amazing view of the ocean and I know it will be ok.

I’m not going to worry about it.

Glad I remembered to pack pajamas though!

I’m secretly hoping that my friend who’s coming in tonight from North Carolina doesn’t have a room mate and I can swap into her room.

She was supposed to room with someone who’s dropped out of the program.

I was surprised and not surprised to see that a few more faces weren’t here.

Its a lot of work and it’s demanding work and some people didn’t really seem to have their ideas fleshed out or solid and to be wishy washy about what they’re doing, well, it was obvious to me that some folks just weren’t going to make it.

I, however, am powering through this.

I am going to be a doctor.

I also have to say that registering for the new elective was sort of fun as I got to see that all my courses were under the category “Doctoral” how fucking sexy is that?!

Pretty sexy, even with my bifocals on.

Heh.

By product of graduate school, loss of eyesight from reading until your eyes bleed.

Actually, someone told me today that bifocals were “gangster as Fuck”.

I laughed out loud.

I just thought they meant I was old and losing my eyesight.

I’ll definitely take gangster as fuck any day over that.

Just set my alarm and already I am thinking about winding it down.

It’s been a long day, even though it feels like I didn’t do a whole lot, I did do group supervision this morning for two hours and pack and run errands and clean my house before heading to Pacifica and getting settled in here.

I feel pretty tuckered out.

I’m just going to wait for my friend to get here from the airport, give her a hug and wind it the hell down.

Doctor Carmen signing off.

Heh.

 

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Putting It Out There

August 22, 2019

In the last two days I have asked two guys out and let another know I was single.

One guy gave me no response, which is a response, which means no.

The other guy said seeing somebody.

The last guy?

Well.

I don’t know.

He asked me out two years ago.

Right after I had gotten involved with my ex.

God damn.

Two years.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been on the dating scene and I feel like I have no idea how to do it.

A friend asked me about a month ago if I had gone out since my ex and nope.

Actually, he said, “have you got your pussy wet since __________?”

HOLY CRAP.

I yelped and smacked his arm.

Then he said, “give me your phone, there’s got to be someone on here who wants to have sex with you.”

OMG.

I just about died.

Then he did something rather cute, he sent a picture of me to a guy who I acqueised would yes, likely have sex with me, since, well, we’d had a sexual relationship.  It had never developed into a dating relationship, but we’d had fun and hooked up a couple times.

My fried sent the photo and a very cute little message and bingo!

Immediate response.

And then he said, “now do it again, next guy.”

It was not a come on message, it was cute, a picture, a how are you, a flirtatiousness.

I wasn’t asking for sex from the second gentleman, but let me tell you, I was thinking about it, since I have had a crush on him forever.

Literally.

Ever since I met him over twelve years ago.

The second gentlemen surprised me with his response, which was that I looked radiant.

Oh.

The first guy?

Meh.

He told me “I’m in an ethical, non-monogamous, kinky, open relationship.”

I told him I was in the Outer Richmond.

Heh.

I knew he wasn’t a dating me kind of man, but perhaps what my friend was saying was hey, get out there, get laid, get over your ex, move on.

So.

I made date with first guy.

Who, in his fashion, ghosted me, and then I remembered, oh, motherfucker, he’d done this once before which was the reason I hadn’t really pursued dating him.

So back to the second guy.

I liked “radiant” as a response.

That felt really good.

So we made a date.

Or so I thought.

It was the date, not date.

Ugh.

He turns out to be in a relationship and us connecting was just old friends getting together to catch up.

Fuck.

I mean.

It was great to see him, but I had aspirations damn it.

I can feel it like the urgency of electricity needing to be grounded.

I need to be kissed.

I need to hold a man’s hand in public.

I need to really be out there dating in the light of day.

I have been in a cave of sorts and I need out.

So.

Yesterday I sent a message via Instagram to a man I have known casually for years, obviously not close enough that we have each other’s phone numbers, but I see him now and again and there’s always a touch of a spark.

But nada.

And then this morning I was like, fuck it, reach out to ______________.

Who was excited to hear from me and then I made it quite explicit, I’m asking you out on a date.

And.

Nada.

He’s in a relationship, but said let’s still go dancing.

Maybe.

But want to dance with a man who wants to be with me.

Romantically.

And I think I just upped my game a tiny bit more.

I FB messaged a guy who asked me out two years ago and since I don’t want to play games on FB I just popped his number into my phone and sent a text message.

I want to argue my limitations without having the experience of connecting with him and I sense that gets me into trouble.

He’s an East Bay boy and I have argued my way from reaching out since, like, um the bridge is a major obstacle.

But you know what else is a major fucking obstacle?

Dating unavailable men!

So no more of that shit.

And fuck timing.

And fuck not being good enough.

Have you seen me recently?

I am kicking major fucking ass, I look good, I’m working on a PhD, I’ve got a burgeoning private practice therapy business, I live by myself (that’s a big deal in San Francisco since the rents are ridiculous everyone has room mates), I have a car.

I am the bomb.

Fuck.

And I’m busy.

I won’t lie, it’s not like I get to socialize a whole lot, but I have to be putting it out there, I have to take some actions.

I don’t know what will stick.

But I sense something will.

And I will allow myself to be vulnerable enough to date a man who is actually available to be dating.

Because I am so worth it.

I really am.

And now.

It’s time to let myself let go of what happens next.

I put it out there and what ever comes back is not up to me.

But.

I will keep putting it out there.

It’s time.

It really is my time.

I can feel it.

He’s just over there, all I have to do is shift my perspective.

He’s is there.

And I’m available.

Here It Comes

August 20, 2019

I have two days left before I head down to Pacifica and step back into my PhD life.

Not that I haven’t already been in it.

Yesterday was a shit storm of homework, talking about the work, thinking about the work, reading, writing, posting to Canvas, the platform my online work is on, and feeling way too fucking anxious for my own good.

Seriously.

I had forgotten that ever present, low lying level of anxiety that being in school and working full time gives me.

I had a phone call with a friend in my cohort to talk about some collaborative processes regarding school and a proposal that we have to have done to present at the intensive and I just got bonkers.

I realized, yet again, that I was already behind the ball.

Thanks brain, nothing like making yourself feel bad after a really extraordinary Saturday.

More on that in a moment.

I tried to talk myself in from the ledge and I did ok, but reading and re-reading the syllabi made my stomach flip.

As once again I face the prospect of having to be in zoom meetings on days and times that I cannot as I will be working or seeing a therapy client.

And why?

WHY!?!

Are my electives more fucking work than my required course work?

Shit.

I was totally taken aback at my electives coursework.

Ugh.

I am not complaining, well, a little.

I just get the overwhelms.

And I know this feeling.

I have had it every semester.

I have had it every semester of my Master’s program and yes, for both the semesters in my first year of my PhD coursework.

And inevitably I find the time, it appears, like magic, a sloop on the sea back lit with moon light, and there is the path and I don’t really know how, but it all gets done.

It always does.

So.

I tried to reason a tiny bit with myself that this would be the same thing too and like every semester some weirdo shit happens with my financial aid, this year was no different, but things get worked out, as they did this year as well.

Everything gets worked out.

And.

If I don’t get A’s I’ll be alright.

I mean.

I’m going to fucking get A’s because that’s what I do and because I am a damn good writer.

Not that one can always tell from the writing in my blogs, but I do believe I am a good writer.

Not great, I won’t call what I do that, but good.

I am solid.

I am fluid.

I have good ideas.

I have poetic turns.

I have way with words, have I.

And I have a sense that I will have more time this semester than I did last year.

My work is transitioning.

Boy fucking howdy is it transitioning.

I had a pricking in my thumbs all last week that there was a conversation that needed to happen with the mom at work and I finally had the opportunity to address it and yes, my schedule is changing.

CHANGING.

I’m going to go down to three days a week come the third week in September, basically in a month, I will only be nannying three days a week.

And.

I will continue to transition down every time I pick up a client.

Which I did yesterday.

I am now at 18 clients.

I need two more to cover the costs of losing the nanny hours, but I suspect that I will secure them by the time I go down to three days a week.

And I need five more clients after that, I think, if I have done the math right, to be fully self-sustaining as a therapist.

That would be 25.

I want 30 though and possibly a few more.

As.

Well.

Clients cancel.

Things happen, stuff comes up at work, vacations, sick days, etc.

I need to have a buffer and account for that.

But even then.

When I think about it, when I let myself dream and drift a little, 30-35 clients, why, shit, that’s 10 hours a week less then I was working first semester of my PhD program last year.

I went into the program working 42-45 hours a week–as a nanny, I’m not including hours that I was seeing clients or doing group supervision and training with my agency.

At one point right at the beginning of the second semester I was working about 60 hours of work between the two and doing my PhD work, no wonder I felt crazed by the end of the semester.

And thankfully.

Second semester saw me drop down to 40 towards the end of the semester and then around the beginning of the summer 35 and then two weeks ago 30 and I’m staring down 20 hours when the transition happens.  The two older kids will be back in school and the family secured a daycare spot for the littlest guy.

20 hours of nanny work.

Actually that’s not even true, more like 18 since I picked up a client yesterday.

18 hours of nannying.

I mean.

I cannot even believe that.

I have been nannying for 12 1/2 years.

Thirteen maybe.

I am never quite sure about the number.

A long fucking time, how about that.

I really thought at one point that I would never not be a nanny and there was some self-esteem stuff tied up with that.

I had judgements about what I did as a profession.

I mean.

Who takes a nanny seriously?

Despite the enormous amount of work it takes to be a nanny, it is not seen as a credible career in Western society.

I have worked my ass off, however, as a nanny, and I can ascertain that most nannies do.

Not all of them.

I have seen some pretty lax shit happen in the parks, but it’s a damn lot of work.

It can also have the appearance of being fun and games all the time, going out to ice cream, going to parks, taking the monkeys to an arcade–got to do that today, me and the eldest hit up Free Gold Watch in the Haight, singing, taking long walks, being outside, playtime, nap time.

But it is work.

Work to stay present and balanced and even keeled when there’s crazy happening, when there’s screaming tantrums, when there’s diapers and vomit and sick kids or crazed sugar mania happening.

Work.

A lot of work.

And love.

Don’t get me wrong, there is so much love.

And.

I am done with it.

I have done it long enough.

I have paid my dues.

I can see the light at the end of the nanny tunnel and though I am a little afraid to go into the light.

(Don’t go into the light Carol Anne!)

Go I shall.

We strength and grace and assuredness that I will be held financially and be full self-supporting as a therapist.

I know I will.

I have extended office hours, I have rented extra office space, I have built it.

They will come.

Oh yes they will.

And the faster they come, the sooner I am done nannying.

Ooh la la.

Now.

Just to get through the anxiety of starting up school again.

Life.

It just keeps going.

It really does.

Sun Burst

August 18, 2019

They left their car behind in the Pan Handle of Florida.

Broken down along the side of the road.

Tin can from a Chunky’s Chicken Corn Chowder soup barely holding

Together the rotten muffler.

Love.

Flashes like heat waves rolling up from asphalt

Pavement, as smoke eddies and drifts from a lit

Pall Mall filter Gold Light 100, grasped like a lifeline into

Another time where glorious naivety

Flexed in her 19 year old calve muscles.

Feet strong and unweary, propped on the dashboard watching the

Moss dipped trees roll along outside the window while Jethro Tull blasts from the radio.

These stories written in the power of youth and the glory of

Summers wandered through decades ago.

Her skin tattooed now with narratives and bygone memorabilia.

Literally.

She, her, I, wears her heart on her sleeve.

(Left side inside wrist wreathed with cherry blossoms)

She, her, I, has not forgotten the sunshine splash of freckles

Constellating his face and the desire badgering her heart to kiss each one.

Love rises like mist in a swimming pool at night in

Saint Augustine awash in humidity and the susurration of wind in palm leaves.

Song of flash pan memories born on the wings of cicadas,

Bark of a worried dog, crackle of fire on the edge of night,

Embers glowing on her (my) face, fronting strength under the curious

Gaze of heroin junkies and good ol’ boys with running mates and prostitute

Companions holding bent Budweiser can carburetor crack pipes.

She, her, I, will dance, never the less, none the less, dance now, dance then

Beneath the swelter of stars, amid the whispers of sexy, sexy, sexy

Spilling from the mouths of men unable to grasp her, attain her, hold her (me).

Love, lost like a plasticine slipper in the dusky playa at sunset.

Burnished with desire to kiss the bottom lip of his mouth and vanish into the

Streets of the Mission District, oh my sweet San Francisco how unexpected

Summer night strewn me with ghost kisses of fog being sucked in over Twin Peaks.

She, her, I will climb the hills back towards the sea, remember her (me) her face

Aswirl in dark curls, your face writ with awe, once again in her (my) hands.

Oh bluest eyes

Peering back into mine, this blissful fantasy a phantasmagoric feeling all

Ephemeral and moon washed will haunt you, I, me no more.

For yes, oh yes,

My darling.

This too shall pass.

One More Week

August 12, 2019

Of freedom.

From school.

Which is fucking hilarious as I carted around two gigantic text books today on the off chance of being somewhere I was going to read.

I learned to always carry my books with me, because inevitably the day will come when I don’t, (this past Saturday) when a client no shows and I have down time to read.

Or I’m at work and unexpectedly get time to read.

I probably won’t at all be able to do that at work tomorrow, I just don’t see it happening, but sometimes it does and as my time is super precious I use whatever I can get.

I have finished one of my text books for the fall semester and started in on another one and I am simultaneously reviewing a few articles for the class I will be guest lecturing on the 21st of September and reading a book for that class as well.

I did question myself a little about that today as I sat in a training in Berkeley for my agency, what am I doing teaching a class too this semester?!

But, I feel it’s good for me to do and I’m excited for the topic and the few people, outside of school, I have run it by, really like listening to me talk about it.

I find that encouraging, if someone who doesn’t have a background in psychology finds it fascinating, those who are pursuing the Master’s degree should like it too.

Or so I hope.

Regardless of whether they do or not,  I am learning as I prepare to teach.

Which is always how it goes.

Want to learn something on a deeper level?

Teach it.

I have had that experience over and over and over again.

And I’m grateful to get to go before an incoming Master’s cohort who are just beginning their journey and say here I am, in my second year of a PhD program, as a licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a burgeoning private practice.

I get to model what they can become and that’s really a sweet gift to give back.

I didn’t know how much work it was going to be and I’m pretty glad I didn’t, I did know I was right where I was supposed to be and I want to share all the things that I have gotten to learn over the past few years.

An hour and a half lecture will not encapsulate that, but it should be enough time to lecture on Reverie, which I find totally fascinating.

Reverie is something that happens in sessions where daydreams, wayward thoughts, fantasies, visions, intuitions, come to the therapist.

The first time it happened to me in a session, a dyad at school with a classmate, I got spooked.

I thought I had drifted off.

But there was something so potent about it, the image that came to mind, that I mentioned it to my professor who then told me that I had experienced  reverie and that it was clinically significant.

We discussed what I saw, how it was clinically relevant, and how to make an intervention around it.

It was fascinating.

It still is and there’s lots to talk about, and I won’t bore you with it at this time, since I don’t know that you’re really here to listen to me practice my lecture in Psychodynamics.

Heh.

Who knows why you’re here anyway.

I don’t.

I mean.

This blog has been dark for almost two years now, maybe actually it has been a little more than two years.

I don’t link it to social media.

I don’t post it anywhere.

This is just me noodling away at my keyboard.

There are perhaps of handful of folks that still follow me out there who know me, but most of the people that read this have no idea who I am.

Once in a while it gets read a whole bunch and I’ll be curious who has discovered it and why is it so fascinating.

Recently it was getting a ton of reads in, of all places, Hong Kong.

No idea why.

But for a few days, on and off for the last couple of months, literally hundreds of my blogs were being read in Hong Kong.

That was kind of cool to see.

I don’t know how many blogs I’m going to get out before the semester starts, I’ll be starting with some new clients this week and trying to get some homework done before the intensive.

One of my classes doesn’t have the syllabus up yet, which always makes me nervous, but the other two do and there is going to be some major work and a lot of reading to do this semester just for these two classes.

But.

I am not going to stop blogging.

Especially since I am going to actually try to incorporate my blog into a “Work In Progress” assignment for my class in Arts Based Research.

I know that I won’t be able to do a blog a day like I still managed to do with my Master’s degree.

That became really evident I am sure when my blogs took a total nose dive once I began my PhD and started building up my private practice.

The blog took such a hit.

But.

I have never stopped writing and I’m going to keep sending out these little missives to the Universe whenever I can.

It helps me to keep my writing chops and it helps me process all the things.

Like not speaking or being in contact with my ex and what that feels like.

Good and super hard all at the same time and scary and sad.

Or thinking about the time I was in Cuba, just recently and had an overwhelming spiritual experience at a Catholic church where Santoria is practiced.

Floods of tears, praying on my knees, and asking for forgiveness in front of a black Madonna.

Or when I was walking the cobblestone streets of Old Havana with my hair up, a long white dress on, a bright turquoise parasol protecting me from the sun and the feeling of awe in wonder at who I get to be in this life and where I get to go.

And.

Where I get to go home to.

San Francisco.

I am still here.

Hanging on at the edge of the city.

The ledge of the Western seaboard.

Two blocks from the Ocean.

The moon rise and the the dark breach of universe turning above me.

I am so fucking grateful to be alive.

It’s ok that I got my heart broke.

It’s ok that my rent’s ridiculous.

It’s ok that I’m still a nanny.

I get to do all these miraculous things.

It’s ok that I’m busy with my PhD and nervous to teach the class.

I get to do all these things.

Because.

I am graced.

Happy.

Joyous.

And so very.

Very.

Very.

Free.

Take One Step Towards

August 9, 2019

The Universe and the Universe throws hella new clients at you!

Holy crow.

Last Thursday I took a, for me, leap and connected with a woman who has an office in the same building I have my therapy office in.

She had tagged me in a post on social media about having office hours available.

I was really interested in one of the days, but, also, well, nervous, can I take on more rent?

I brought it up last week in Group Supervision and my supervisor interrupted me and said, “Who here thinks that Carmen should rent the office?”

Everyone raised their hands.

EVERYONE.

Ok then.

One of the members in my group succinctly pointed out that I have been steadily adding new clients and building my practice.

At the time of the conversation I had 15 clients.

I had 16 but one client moved.

And.

My group member was right, I have steadily increased my client load and I had the sense of “if you build it they will come.”

So  reached out that day and sent a direct text and inquired.

I got a response that it was available, but/and two other people had expressed interest.

Shit.

But they hadn’t confirmed.  I was adamant that I wanted the office, especially when I found out what the rent was and it was much less than I thought it would  be.

She said to be fair she would re-contact the interested parties and see where they stood and then let me know.

I thanked her and realized that I was ok no matter what happened.

Sure.

I wanted the office space, but really, having taken the action of just reaching out really felt good and positive.

Take action and let go of the results.

She got back the next afternoon.

I got the office!

Apparently my vigorous yes to taking the space swayed her and that I was ready to take on the space this month.

The lease is all drafted and dealt with–connected her to my agency and I get the key tomorrow!

I start with a client in the space next Monday.

I am using it for a client that had to cancel a standing session.

It was so nice to be able to offer the alternative space.

Then it gets crazy.

After the phone call with my new landlord I have my individual supervision and I excitedly share with my supervisor about the new office.

She is surprised and happy for me and adds that she knew I was interested in extra office hours but she didn’t realize how serious I was about it and would I also like to have Thursdays in the office?

HOLY SHIT.

My individual supervisor is also my landlord whom I sublet my office from, we share the office space.  She recently became core faculty at CIIS, my alma mater (my current “mater” for that matter, my PhD intensive is two and a half weeks away!) and has cut back her office hours.

Whoa.

I knew that was happening and I had soft ball pitched wanting extra office hours about a month ago but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen.

Until it did.

She told me to think about it and let her know.

I clapped my hands in glee like a small child in front of birthday cupcakes and said “yes!”

And like that.

I have office hours now Monday-Saturday!

My hope is that once I fill up on clients I will actually be able to stop seeing clients on Saturdays.  I need to right now, I see four clients and that’s a good chunk of change.  But if I can fill up the weekdays I can transition out of working Saturdays.

I haven’t had a full weekend off in years.

Literally.

I have been working six days a week and going to school full time for the last three and a half years.

I am so ready to have my weekends back!

Granted.

I will likely be working on my PhD, but who cares!

Weekends.

And!

I have a potential new client for next Thursday.

That part about saying yes to the office and yes to the Universe, well apparently the Universe heard and I got four referrals yesterday from Psychology Today as well as a referral from my individual supervisor.

I made contact with three of them, leaving the others messages but not hearing back.

I did two phone consultations yesterday, immediately landing one new client.

I also did a phone consult tonight and again, landed the client!

I have another phone consult tomorrow early evening in between clients and feel very positive about it having already made good e-mail connection.

I am over the moon.

I now have 17 clients!

My goal is 30 and then I can stop nannying.

I am so close.

I can almost taste it.

My charges can too, the little lady tonight asked me when I was leaving and I knew it wasn’t about when I was leaving at the end of my shift.

I told her not for a while yet, she was probably going to get me for another five or six months and I was planning on always being in her life and that rest assured she was my favorite client.

She gets very jealous when  leave to go see my clients, let me tell you.

My goal is six months tops.

I would love to be done by the end of the year, that has always been my original goal, but I figure I will just say six months from the first day I am in my additional office.

So by February 12th of 2020 I will be done being a nanny.

Fingers crossed and the river don’t rise.

Bring on the clients.

I am ready.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

To not be a nanny anymore.

Family & Friends

August 1, 2019

I have some new ones in both categories.

I should be more specific.

I have new family of choice, not of origin.

Though heaven knows I have enough family out there that it would not surprise me in the least if a cousin had a baby and I had no clue.

What I am referring to is Cuban family.

I received the sweetest, most heartfelt gratitudes and thank you from the Cuban people I connected with when I was in Havana today.

Yesterday I finally hopped on Air BnB and reviewed the experiences that I had booked in Cuba.

Normally I don’t actually do reviews on Air BnB.

I have never booked experiences before though and I was asked by each person that hosted me to review them on the site.

Apparently it really helps them and considering the state of economics in Cuba I was more than happy to help in anyway I could.

I gave 5 stars (out of five) to all but one of the experiences.

The one I only gave 4 to wasn’t necessarily the hosts fault.  I gave a lesser rating to my trip to Vinales because the tour tried to pack too much into it.

First, Vinales is almost, not quite, but almost  two hour drive from Havana, so that’s four hours in a car, a classic car–which is at once super cool and also, not comfortable.  At least not nearly as comfortable as a modern car. It was a great car, but my legs were cramped for sure.

Second, the tour really could have, in my opinion, ended after the horse back riding and lunch.

The first thing we did was stop at the Vinales Valley visitor center and take in the panorama of the valley.

It was gorgeous.

After a little education about the valley we headed to a tobacco and coffee farm to learn about how they grow tobacco and to smoke cigars and drink rum.

I did neither of those things.

I did, however have coffee and I bought two bottles of coffee beans.

Yes.

I said bottles.

The country has almost no manufacturing capabilities, everything gets reused and recycled, so my beans came in reused water bottles.

Lovely beans too.

I have been having Cuban coffee every morning since I got back.

Then after the cigars, rum, coffee we went horseback riding through the valley.

It was gorgeous and unfortunately being on a horse did not really facilitate me taking a lot of photos.  No pictures of horses for you.

It was hot though, whew, sweat galore.

After the horses we went to a local paladar and had an amazing Cuban lunch–yucca, lobster, squash, beans and rice, stewed pork, chicken two different ways and I had, for my drink, a huge young coconut that I happily sipped all the juice from and ate the entirety of the insides.

Baby coconut is so freaking good.

Then we went to a cave.

Then we went to a mural.

I did not like the cave, it was too dark and wet and it was hot, it did not feel cool being underground and there were bats and we rode a boat at one point.

I did not need that experience.

Nope.

The best thing about the cave?

Literally the light at the end of the tunnel.

After that we got back in the car and went to visit a famous mural.

Now I am done at this point and the cave had been a pretty popular tourist destination so for the only time I was in Cuba, I had to wait in line to do something.

Never my cup of tea.

The mural was nice, but it was nice, not amazing and it was late and a free pina colada was not to my liking.  Just give me the water and get me home.

And that was my “worst” time?

Please, I got to ride in a classic car, meet cool people, go horse back riding, buy coffee from a Cuban farm, go spelunking and visit a national monument (the mural).  I have nothing to complain about.

The rest of my experiences reflected just that, nothing to complain about, nothing that I would have changed or made better.

I had a slight critique of feeling dropped at Mediteranneo Habana, but it was such a tiny glitch I didn’t give them a negative review.

It was a farm to table experience where I went out and had a tour of the farm that provides meat, milk, cheese, sausage, cured meats, chicken, pig, rabbit, vegetables, all the fruits–bananas, sugarcane, mango, guava, and herbs to this very highly regarded Mediterranean restaurant in Verdado.

The farm was beautiful and I was met by the manager of the farm, his family has been running the farm for 5 generations.  He was super kind, very friendly, had great English, and greeted me with a heaping plate of mango, watermelon, pineapple, and guava.

It was lovely.

I felt so welcomed and really got a grasp of what it is like to farm in Cuba.

Where almost all the farm’s production goes straight to the government.

They are not allowed to keep any of the beef they produce and only 10% of the milk they produce.  The milk they use to make cheese for the restaurant.  I tried four different kinds between the ricotta and the fresh mozzarella I was astounded.  They were so good.

The farm also gives the government almost all pork produced and a fair amount of the eggs and chickens.

I was amazed they are able to stay in production.

It was quite a behind the scenes look at farming and I really enjoyed my meal later at the restaurant.  The transition between the two was a little bumpy, but like I said, the food and the waiter who took care of me pretty much negated it.

And here I am at the end of my blog time, I’ve got to get up early for group supervision and I haven’t even got to the three top experiences that I went on.

They will have to wait for the next blog.

Buenes Noches!

 

First Book Ordered

July 26, 2019

And summer is done.

Well.

Not quite.

I still have a few weeks before school starts, but I am already doing just a little reading for this upcoming semester.

I said I wouldn’t touch school books until after my trip to Cuba.

I got back Tuesday night at 7a.m.

My god.

My bed was so nice to get into.

I love to travel, I really do, but there is nothing quite like your own bed.

Especially after sleeping 8 nights on a really hard mattress.  I have to admit I was a little let down when I saw my room, but after doing a walking tour of old Havana with a local architect, I got over that shit.

My casa, in comparison to much around me, was really quite nice.

It is one thing to know about the Cuban embargo.

It is another thing entirely to experience it.

The country is poor.

I mean.

Really poor.

And dirty, the streets are disastrous, the cars are all old and there is no smog control, so much exhaust.

So much.

And not actually that many cars, lots of classics, yes, which was fun, I won’t lie, and super cool to see, but there were lots of horses and carts too.

Horses and carts people.

Traveling from Havana to Vinales one day for a trip to visit a tobacco and coffee farm, I counted more horses and carts than actual cars on the freeway.

ON THE FREAKING HIGHWAY.

More horses then cars.

I am not kidding.

These were some of the cars I got to see and go for rides in.  I actually went for more rides in classic cars than regular cars, I didn’t actually take photos of them all.

Sometimes I don’t want to act like a tourist.

Even though I am totally a tourist, I just couldn’t really bring myself to pose on the cars, it didn’t feel like me.

I did, however, quite enjoy cruising around in them, especially when they had A/C.

It was fucking hot.

It was humid.

So humid.

My hair did some batshit crazy things.

And I was constantly sweating.

Er.

Glowing.

I was glowing.

A lot.

 

As you can see, I was “glowing” quite a bit.

I also learned to wear my hair up real fast.

Real fast.

And I was hella grateful that I had brought a travel umbrella.

I actually didn’t use it that much for rain.

There were some showers and one big storm, with hail!

But mostly, I used the umbrella for sun shade.

I was reminded a lot of Burning Man in that regard.  I usually  bring a parasol for the hot days out on playa.

In fact.

Havana reminded me a lot of Burning Man and in some ways having had the experience of going to the event was actually very handy.

I had to bring everything that I wanted or needed.

There were no stores to buy sunblock or extra toothpaste.

I had to use my water filter bottle or buy bottled water, there is no drinking water from the faucets.

Everyone buys bottled water.

Everyone.

It was really dirty, Old Havana is all cobblestone and dirt roads.

I mean.

500 year old cobblestones ain’t clean.

Plus add dogs, cats, and chickens to the mix, garbage, and potholes everywhere.

I’m super glad my friend who had been before cautioned me to wear really sturdy shoes and to bring anything that I might want because I was not going to be able to purchase it there.

I cannot tell you what it was like to see people queuing up for chicken, or to buy one bread roll.

The black market is a real thing there and I found out that I had participated without even knowing it by eating beef one night.

All beef is allocated to the government, restaurants are allowed to have it.

I had it and that means that it was bought on the black market.

Most of the time though I did stick with Cuban classics and I was quite happy with that.

My casa had breakfast every morning, fruit–usually a slice  of watermelon, some papaya, 1/2 a banana and slices of mango with coffee followed by one egg and one slice of avocado.

No bread for me, which my host couldn’t quite understand, but I’m sure she was happy to have the extra roll I sent back each morning.

I dined in a lot of private restaurants, basically in people’s homes.

And I found a couple of cafes that became my haunts, Cafe Bohemia and Papa Ernesto.

Aside, Che Guevero’s given name is Ernesto.

 

This is Cafe Bohemia.

I was so happy to have Pellegrino and mango blended with ice, which they called frappes.  I had a lot of mango.

A lot.

My poop turned orange.

I know.

But it did!

I have never had orange poo before.

Anyway.

The cafe was a life saver as too was Mas Habana.

A restaurant I never would have stumbled upon on my own as it was down a super dirty street with a lot of construction on it.

But I had made a reservation to do a tour of the houses in Old Havana and my host wanted to meet there.

It was a fucking oasis.

An air conditioned oasis.

I went back every day from that point on, either for lunch or for dinner.

On my last day I went there for both lunch and dinner.

I was the queen of beverages at every meal.

San Pellegrino.

Mango frappe.

Cafe con leche.

I had the same amazing appetizer each time, sometimes it was just my meal since I filled up on all the bevvies, tostones rellenos–stuffed fried plantains.

OOOOOH.

So damn good.

Mashed plantains made into patty’s, fried, and then topped with smashed avocado and a shrimp.

I was in heaven.

 

Mas Habana was my little haven.

And on my last night, I splurged and had lobster.

Also black market.

But, fuck it, it was my last night and I knew it was going to be good.

It was in fact, amazing, bathed in a beautiful garlic broth and shelled for me.

All I had to do was scoop it up in a spoon and sigh with delight.

The staff was great and my last night discounted my bill, “for being such a nice customer.”

I am a good tipper.

Once a waitress.

Always a waitress.

I had many more adventures, but I’ve got to get up early tomorrow.

So more pictures to come.

And more tales to tell.

I have a few more days before I need to knuckle back down for school, I promise I’ll show and tell a bit more before I get buried in the reading.

Promise.

Getting Closer

July 12, 2019

I am three days away from my trip to Havana, Cuba.

Three days.

Where the hell is my damn filtration water bottle and Cuban Spanish/English phrasebook?

Really Amazon.

This is not the time to drop the ball.

Of course, I have only myself to blame, but it is a little hilarious that these are the only things missing from my bag of stuff.

I am really set to go.

And.

I am not too worried about the phrase book and the water bottle.

They will show tomorrow.

I leave Sunday.

I was proactive today knowing that I wouldn’t want to have to deal with annoying things and took care of getting my laundry done.

I almost wore a dress today that I was planning on bringing to Cuba and I thought, um no, don’t sabotage the summery, warm weather, it’s even going to be warm at night, dress, for a foggy grey San Francisco day.

And then not have time to wash it before packing and heading out.

I wore a dress today that will not be coming to Cuba and did laundry and did a tiny bit of grocery shopping and really, I have nothing to do but see clients the next couple of days and get my nails done.

I am really excited.

I haven’t really been on vacation since last July when I went to France.

I am ready.

It’s been really nice having off from my nanny job, but I have been still seeing clients and I have more clients then I did this time last year.

I now have sixteen clients!

I am really happy to report that.

But with the extra clients comes extra supervision, extra paper work, extra scheduling.

Fortunately I finally got my phone and my laptop calendar’s synced up so that when I make a change on my computer it updates my phone and vice versa.

Such a huge relief.

Sometimes my calendar looks like I’m playing a game of Jenga or Tetris.

Tetris for sure.

I have eight more clients to see in the next two days.

One dinner with my person tomorrow night.

One manicure/pedicure.

And a night with hanging out with some girlfriends or doing fellowship Saturday.

Supplies are bought.

Although I would love to get a market basket purse, I have not found one that works well for travel and I won’t be bringing the one I bought in Aix-en-Provence last July, it is just too precious to stuff underneath the seat in front of me on an airplane.

I realized the other day that I was unnecessarily running around trying to distract myself with buying a purse when I needed to be feeling my feelings.

Oh feelings.

Man they suck right now.

I went to acupuncture Tuesday and the doctor tapped this spot on my tummy and said, “stuck emotions” and I just about burst into tears.

Yeah.

Those.

I had reconnected with my ex in an attempt to just be friends.

It just didn’t work.

I am not at all sad or upset or in anyway regret having seen him.

I missed him so damn much.

Miss him now.

But.

Being just friends with someone you are madly in love with might be the hardest thing in the entire world.

So.

Sunday I said I can’t do it anymore.

And I really want to ball my eyes out all the time, but it just keeps getting stuck.

Like right now.

I want to cry and the tears sort of start and then my body just hunches over and it stops.

Yeah.

Stuck emotions.

Reflux.

Tummy upset.

It’s all getting internalized.

I think I’m afraid that if I start I won’t stop.

I want to reach out.

I can’t.

I haven’t.

I won’t.

I want to anyway.

I did mail him a card on Monday and then my person said knock it off, no more contact.

I almost bought him a card yesterday and today too.

I still feel like there is so much to say.

So much.

And so.

I am just over here trying to breathe and let it go.

Let him go.

Even though I didn’t want to.

I had to.

I have to change.

I have to do something different.

I recognize I’m enough but I have to act it too and saying no more to trying to be friends was a part of that.

I don’t know what else is and I’m just going to try my best and believe.

I believe something wonderful will come of all this damn work.

It just has to.

I mean.

Seriously.

It fucking has to.

I have done so much work over these last two years.

I have suffered and cried.

And I have loved.

I have loved unlike anything I have ever done before.

No regrets.

No apologies to you who may have judgments.

I did what I did and I fell in love and I don’t have a single damn regret.

I would do it all over again.

And the love hasn’t gone anywhere.

I don’t suspect that it will.

So I will go somewhere.

I will change my scenery like no one’s business and I will immerse myself in a culture and people and experience and I will bring my best self.

Even if once in a while, it may be my sad self.

I will bring it all and I will dance and I will swim in the ocean and I will meet new people and have a new experience and adventures and take photographs and grow.

I have not died.

He has not died.

Although.

Yes.

It felt like a part of me died when he walked away.

I die a little more now thinking about it.

Perhaps that is what this is too.

I am too afraid.

That if I let it all out my heart will just die.

That it will just break this time.

Oh there.

Hello.

There are some tears.

Another reason to write, it gets the emotions unstuck.

The acupuncture helped, but the blog is the best.

That and my morning pages.

I cried a little writing them today.

I cried in my towel last night after washing my face.

Surprised myself.

Howled with grief.

The gasped and stopped it all back up.

Stuck again.

I keep reminding myself–

Those things worth having are worth the work.

What I am working towards is a free and untethered love,  completely out in the light of day, in the sunshine, transparent and honest and open and I am worthy of that.

So this pain.

Though it hurts.

Hurts so damn bad.

Is worth working through.

I am worth it.

I am enough.

 

Here Again

July 11, 2019

These old memories.

They bang at my head.

A washing of blue jean sky,

Salt tenderized by the sea.

Light.

So.

Californian.

Like my soul,

Built on mussel sea shells

Found by the sea shore.

Sally sells them for a penny a piece.

(find a penny pick it up)

In a brown paper bag I left them.

Hiding, the shells–

Underneath the Volkswagen’s seat.

The bounce of light against the

Rear window in the back seat of the Bug.

Little girl.

Brown eyes wide.

Watching the clouds scroll by,

Catching glimpses of ocean blue between the dunes.

Side mirror reflections bring me back to now.

Decades later.

Decades.

(All day long you’ll have good luck)

Four to be exact.

Those days down by the sea

Watching the water foam over the shore,

Tiny sandpipers scurry.

Coppertone baby in white panties,

Already insecure in my body,

Scampering at the edges of the sand burning bright

Heat rolling up my legs from my feet.

I am.

Curly headed.

I am.

Sweet lipped.

I am.

Brown as a nut berry.

(See a  penny, let it lie)

Pink soled feet softened by the rasp of sand.

Now I am plagued by these,

Photographs of melancholia–

Nostalgia tinged with seaweed.

The cry of mermaids in the grotto.

Sun high.

Heat on high

Cooking hotdogs on aluminum foil on the hood of the Volk’s.

Sand, a grit in my teeth.

Running back to the water, the ocean nips at my feet.

I find another shell for my paper bag.

(All good luck will pass you by)

Listen for the soundtrack to these memories.

One that drifts on the radio dial of Northern California

70s folk rock.

The outlines of my heart.

The nook in the cafe.

A flash of vinyl, the undertone scratch of needle finding the groove.

The light.

The light.

The light.

The smell of salt.

The hint of driftwood bonfires at the edge of night.

Golden foiled light in the dying

Embers of my childhood.

Bespoke.

Bag of shells.

Halo of white sun as I close my eyes to

Everything.

Lost again in that bright light.

Washed out in the sun.

Freckling my face.

I am.

Softened now

By these.

Kisses of eternity.


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