Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

I’m Ready

November 14, 2021

To date again.

Well.

I mean.

Theoretically.

I am in no shape to actually go on a date.

I’m still pretty much tied to my bed.

Although I do feel increments of change, small shifts in my body signaling to me of my healing.

My dear friend was over yesterday and she said I looked “sooooo much better,” which is nice since I feel like I look like ass.

But she insisted.

It might have been the shower I had.

I was cleared to shower this past Tuesday.

It might have been one of the greatest showers of all time.

Rivaled many a Burning Man fresh back from the playa shower.

And if the after care hadn’t been so damn hard, it would have been the top shower of all time.

I mean.

I didn’t shower for two weeks.

Sure, I did a whore’s bath.

You know, baby wipes and deodorant and perfume.

Very 1800s French of me.

heh.

But really, I like a good shower.

In fact, I have often said that God is a good shower.

I mean, think about it, it feels so good to have hot water sluicing down ones back.

The sigh of relief when I get underneath a good hot shower with great water pressure.

Oh, so good.

So to go two weeks was pretty hard.

But I had to, the drains didn’t all get removed until two weeks after the surgery.

I had three drains, two of which were removed one week after, and the last 13 days later.

I cannot tell you how obnoxious they were.

Granted that first week I was on heavy painkillers so though annoying, I didn’t find them that uncomfortable.

Sans Percocet, they were infruriating.

Always this slight annoyance, not quite pain, although if I jostled myself too hard or took down my sweat pants too fast.

Egad.

Aside.

One of my friend’s calls sweat pants “my give up” pants.

For the record.

I have never owned sweat pants until this surgery.

I bought two sweat suits prior to the surgery.

I was told, loose pants and zip up fronts.

So sweatsuits seemed appropos.

And on the shelves they were cute, but on me, eek, I do not care for them.

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling better today too, not wearing a sweat suit and I put on a bra.

It’s the small things.

I did contemplate taking another shower today, but I’ll hold off one more day.

Three days is still a bit to go for me, but like I said, despite how fucking phenomenal the shower feels, the after shower routine is really hard.

I feel pretty tired just getting out of the shower and drying off.

Making sure I’m not vigorously drying myself, putting on Neosporin on the stitches, re-bandaging myself, and the skin tightens when it dries so I feel like I’m getting pulled apart and my range of motion gets much smaller. I end up feeling like a hunched over little old lady.

And don’t talk to me about drying my hair.

Holy shit.

Just getting to my blow dryer and doing a quick pass through is really hard.

I did manage it yesterday, but I was super shaky after just a few minutes of it.

Although like I said, I rallied and I put on leggings, a bra, a t-shirt and a button down shirt instead of the zip hoodie and sweat pants over the binder that I am wearing over the bandages, over the stitches.

I might burn the sweat pants in effigy when I’m done.

There’s also a psychological fatigue that happens.

I told myself both times that I showered not to look at the belt lipectomy, which by the way, if you don’t know, is not a tummy tuck, which would just be a midline scar across the front of the belly.

A belt lipectomy is like the name, think of a belt encircling your waist.

It is a full 365 degrees around.

Removing excess skin and tissue from around the entire trunk.

So, it’s a lot.

I know when it’s healed I’ll be ecstatic, but looking at it right now makes me a bit nauseated.

But yeah, I looked, and I think that makes it hard too, it’s not pretty to look at and I’m still bruised and swollen.

In fact, the post-op paperwork does say that many folks go through a regret phase and some slip into depression.

Now.

I won’t lie.

I have had some depressed mood, I mean, aside from two post-op trips to see my surgeon, I haven’t been outside since October 25th.

I am grateful, truly, that I live in a beautiful apartment and it is very sweet, but it is not outside.

Outside where it’s been sunny and late fall gorgeous and 70!

Sigh.

Just a walk to Patricia’s Green is all I really want, but I’m not quite there yet.

So, why do I think I’m ready to date?

It’s mental.

Not physical.

I think I’m finally over my ex, or pretty damn close to it.

I haven’t seen him since January and I think the grief of it all is finally passing.

It’s certainly lightened substantially.

Especially with all the work I put into my dissertation and also the work of transforming with the surgery.

I am the same.

Yet.

I am different.

And too, the new therapist I started working with has been a God send.

I’m ready for someone who is available, physically and emotionally.

I’m ready for some requited love.

I think I’m done with the unrequited kind, thanks.

I’m healing physically and emotionally.

I also, yes, yes I did, I also, booked myself a trip to New York in spring!

I’m going to go for the last weekend in May.

I got a ridiculous fare, $304 roundtrip!

And I scored a room at the Jane Hotel in the Meatpacking District.

I’ve only ever stayed in Brooklyn when I’ve gone to New York before.

Once staying with a friend on Myrtle Ave.

Once an Air BnB in Green Point.

Once an Air Bnb in Bedstuy.

This time I’m staying in Manhattan.

I am super excited.

I’m taking a red eye out after my last client on a Thursday, landing at 6:15a.m. at JFK on Friday.

I will stay at the Jane Hotel Friday night and Saturday night and check out Sunday morning, catching the noon back to SFO Sunday, and due to the time difference, get in Sunday afternoon and have a little time to recalibrate before going back to work on Monday.

I am super excited.

Yeah.

I know I already said that, but seriously.

It will be late spring, warm, but not too hot.

I will walk around in my new (ish) body, in sundresses and skirts and sandals enjoying the warm.

I will go to the Highline.

I will walk the Hudson River Greenway from the hotel to the Beekman for breakfast Saturday morning, it’s about 45 minutes.

I flirted with staying at the Beekman, but fuck paying that much money, I’ll just go have a breakfast there, I had lunch there with my ex when we were in New York summer of 2018 I think, and my God it was beautiful, the dining room is just ridiculous, the atrium, the velvet couches, the leather club chairs.

Then I will just walk the city.

Go to Central Park.

Go to book stores.

Go dress shopping.

Go to the Whitney.

I will likely hit the Whitney my first day in, on Friday, it’s literally a five, ten minute walk from my hotel.

Lunch somewhere in the neighborhood, walk over to Perry Street, a ten minute walk, to do the deal, meander around Greenwich Village, or Bleeker Street.

Buy a new dress.

Go out to a fancy dinner…maybe Catch in the Meatpacking District or Strip House, steak people, it’s a steak house, in Greenwich Village.

Though I do love Peter Luger’s Steak House, I’m not going to go to Williamsburg to get it.

I want to stay on the island and just meander.

And I’ll end my nights at the roof top bar, sans alcohol, just some bubbly water and me sitting underneath the night sky looking out over the city.

A romantic weekend away with myself.

And I have the feeling that sometime around then I’ll be ready to really date.

It’s going to take a few months for me to really feel able to get out.

The recovery from the surgery literally takes months, and can take up to a full year.

But I can see it coming.

All this work I have done on myself.

The emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical transformation, of me.

I mean.

I’m still me.

But.

I’m becoming, have become, something greater than the sum of me.

Even though, technically, there is less of me around.

I take up less space.

And yet I have more space, I am more spacious.

I have grown the space in my heart.

It is a grand thing this.

My metamorphosis.

Though not complete.

It is well underway.

New York State of Mind

November 7, 2021

It’s interesting what a little down time and sitting in my bed for, what now, twelve days?

What it will do to your mind.

I’ve been bed bound recovering from a surgery.

Third surgery this year.

Kind of crazy.

I have not had any surgeries in sobriety until this year.

I am no longer afraid of the pain pills or of becoming addicted to that shit.

I do not like them.

No.

I do not.

Ugh.

Gross, wonky thoughts, horrible nightmares, weird mind meanderings, drugged sleep.

Not for me.

When I was out there using and drinking and smoking and fucking around I liked the up all night kind of drugs.

Cocaine was my spirit animal.

This girl liked to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time.

I didn’t like the slow track.

Never have.

Likely never will.

I have a good girl friend who tells me I drive like her step mother.

Now in some vernacular circles that might come across as an insult, not in this case.

Her stepmother was a rally race car driver.

What my friend doesn’t know is that I slow down when I have folks in the car with me.

heh.

Anyway.

I will also add that pain killers, they do work you know.

I have found myself asking for them.

But only right after the surgery.

The first surgery this year happened in early February.

Burst appendix.

Well, it wasn’t burst until I was actually in the ER.

Then it burst.

Guess that’s a lucky place to be if you’re appendix is going to pop, might as well be where it will be taken care of.

I eschewed the pain meds, I said, no thanks, I’m sober, don’t want any, no way, no how.

Except.

Well fuck.

It was surgery.

And coming out of it was excruciating.

Apparently when I came out I still said no to the pain meds on offer, I have no memory of this.

However, after about twenty minutes or so, maybe more, maybe less, it’s hazy, I couldn’t take it.

The nurse who was typing up a note looked at me and said, “honey, you’re dying, let me give you something.”

Tear leaked down my face and I nodded yes.

Oh sweet God.

Was the relief immediate and welcome.

That was the only time I took anything.

I refused the rest.

But after having gone through that experience I realized I could handle surgery.

And not relapse.

Thank fucking God.

I also realized I was tired of my belly.

The loose skin from the weight loss.

Weight loss I’ve sustained for years and years and years now, twelve I think.

I was too old when I lost the weight for my skin to bounce back.

It just sagged.

I have always been self-conscious about it and it was disarming to lose all that weight and then be left with a body I still had to come to terms with.

I think that’s why a lot of folks actually gain the weight back.

The skin is depressing.

I did a lot of work.

I did a lot of praying.

I did a lot of acceptance.

And I had beautiful body experiences.

I have dated men who were stunning.

My ex for sure.

Gorgeous and hyper fit.

And I still felt self-conscious.

Not as much as I used to.

But it would happen.

No matter how many, “thank you God for this beautiful body” prayers I said, I still felt something.

Sometimes is was dismay, like if I hadn’t been messed with as a kid would I have drown myself in a sea of sugar to cope with the feelings that wouldn’t ever leave me.

Add weight to protect myself from the world, from the predatory gaze of men in my family or on the street on in school.

Would I have been just a normal size kid?

A beautiful body to match my beautiful face.

I used to wish that I could just cut off my head and put it on another body.

And yeah.

The work has worked and the acceptance has worked and I’m hella grateful for this body that I have been given to walk around in and ultimately, that it saved me, it took the brunt of the mental and emotional pain I was in and held it for me.

Thanks body.

And.

I also wanted something more.

Something transformative.

Like all my tattoos.

A new story for this body.

A new experience.

The appendectomy and the healing that happened and the focus on that part of my body pushed me to inquire about skin reduction surgery.

I have talked about it for years with my therapist.

I have dreamt about it, if I win the lotto type dreams.

So.

I talked to my GP.

And she agreed.

And she referred me to a plastic surgeon at Kaiser.

And I stood naked in front of a mirror and took 365 degree photos of my body and the sagging skin on my stomach and upper arms and sent a stranger photos.

My first naked selfies.

Probably my last.

And I met with the surgeon and he asked me why I wanted the surgery and I told him my reasons and I told him about all the work I have done and how long I’ve been abstinent and how much I wanted to do it, with tears on my face.

And he said.

“You’re the perfect candidate for this surgery, you really are, you deserve to have this surgery done.”

And he said.

“But your insurance won’t cover it, Kaiser won’t cover a dime of it, believe me, I have fought for this for many a patient.”

He asked me one other question, “does the skin on your belly prevent you from walking?”

Um, no.

And he said unless it was so much skin that it prevented my mobility my insurance wouldn’t cover it.

And he ended with, but I still think you should do it and I’m going to refer you some numbers of colleagues in the Bay, as Kaiser in San Francisco is not doing any cosmetic surgery at the moment due to the pandemic.

I took naked selfies for no good reason.

Ugh.

And for all the right reasons.

I called all the numbers and I got no after no because pandemic, because booked up, because on vacation, blah, blah, blah.

So.

I decided to go out of pocket.

I found my own surgeon.

Dr. Kenneth Bermudez.

And he is special.

He is fabulous.

He was amazing to meet and he’s been a dream to work with.

He was not cheap.

I blew all my savings.

I’ve been saving to buy a house.

But instead I decided to remodel the one I live in.

I also used student loans.

I ain’t gonna lie.

I figure I’ve become a great therapist, I have a full client load, I have a lovely business that I have built and worked on and put my heart into creating.

I can afford it.

I will make the money back.

So we set a date, July 16th, to do a brachioplasty, belt lipectomy, and butt lift.

There were some complications which meant that I had to derail the surgery a bit, turns out I was anemic and the surgeon wouldn’t due the full surgery.

But we compromised.

He did the brachioplasty.

And I’ve been recovering from that, pretty well, too I think.

It’s been rather extraordinary to not have the wings of skin hanging off my upper arms.

My arms are still healing and it was painful to go through the process, but man, it was worth it.

After a month and a half of healing I got an iron transfusion to accompany the plethora of iron supplements I had started taking in July.

And my surgeon set my date for the belt lipectomy for October 26th.

hahahahahahahaha.

Right after my PhD dissertation defense.

Can I just say that whole thing was stressful as fuck.

I successfully defended.

I am a doctor.

Huzzah!

And I pretty much turned right around and started getting myself prepped for the belt lipectomy.

Big ass surgery.

And in hindsight I am grateful that there were complications with the first surgery, I don’t think I could have dealt with both my trunk and my arms being inoperable.

It would have been too much.

So I went in 12 days ago and got it done.

He removed 7lbs.

7lbs!!

Of loose skin and tissue.

Fucking amazing.

I’m still too swollen to see much of a change, but I am excited for getting healed up enough to see the difference.

And wear clothes and buy new clothes.

And walk outside of my house.

I’ve been pretty bed bound for the last twelve days.

But.

I am happy to say.

That once again, I got off the pain meds really quick.

I was on Percocet, which is basically Oxycodone.

I hated it.

I mean.

In the beginning I took it without thought because I was in so much pain.

And I slept a lot, a lot, a lot.

But after my six day post-op follow up appointment I felt ready to titrate off the shit.

I went one more full day on the meds, going longer in between taking the pills.

And I had a plan to wean down and cut the pills in half and be off of them by this past Friday.

But.

Ack.

I remember one night, Tuesday it was, one week after the surgery, where I realized that I didn’t need them and that I didn’t want to continue taking them and I was afraid I would become bodily addicted.

So I stopped cold turkey.

And yeah, it wasn’t fabulous, the first night, Wednesday, was hard to sleep and I stayed up until 3 a.m. watching videos, but I got it out of my system and I haven’t had anything since this past Tuesday.

Four and a half days now.

Just Extra Strength Tylenol, lots of bubbly water, and videos.

Movies, series, cooking shows.

And for some reason.

An awful lot of what I have watched has been set in New York.

I have always wanted to live in New York.

And in some ways I sense it’s a good thing I didn’t when I was till actively drinking.

I think New York might have been the death of me, San Francisco nearly was.

So I never made it there.

I never moved there.

But I have thought of it often.

A brown stone in Brooklyn.

A therapy practice.

Seasons.

Granted.

I know winter there is not the bucolic cinematic scene that I watch cozied up with my fuzzy blankent.

Winters are brutal.

But spring, summer, fall.

Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?

I am nostalgic for a place I have never lived in, though I have visited three times.

And I fit in.

I fit in quite well.

I love the characters, and the character of the city.

I also know it can grind a person down and I know a lot of folks that have moved away.

But there is something about it.

Even now, on the cusp of turning 49 I think about moving to New York.

Though I sense you have to be young to make it in New York and really get established.

I am too old.

I have my one bedroom rent control apartment in Hayes Valley and my office is a five minute walk away.

I have the fog and the cable cars and the trolleys, the ocean, the multitude of beautiful hills and vistas, the Victorians.

Sure.

Yeah.

There’s homelessness and rampant drug use and shit on the sidewalk and some guy in the neighborhood who walks around with a super huge sound system strapped to a rolling cart, but there is still beauty.

So much beauty.

And just like I fit in New York.

I fit in San Francisco.

I’m in year twenty of living here.

So.

I don’t think I’m moving to New York anytime soon.

But there is something there.

A life maybe, running parallel to the one I am in now.

That once in a while I can just see out of the corner of my eye.

So when I’m ready and fully healed up I think it might be time for another trip back.

Which might be a bit yet, I do have to heal and I am going to Hawaii in February for a conference.

Maybe in the summer.

A four day weekend.

A stay at some swank hotel or a cute Air BnB in Brooklyn.

Until then.

I’ll keep watching videos.

I’m still on bed rest.

But I’ll keep the dream alive.

New York, you’re so often on my mind.

Boom

September 11, 2021

It’s the last word of this beautiful, exquisite, love story.

Foodie Love.

I have no idea how I stumbled onto it.

But I did.

I have cried watching every episode.

It is all the things.

I watched it nostalgic for places I have never been, Limoux, France, Toykyo, Japan, Barcelona, Spain.

My friend M. would tell me, “Car! Why have you not gone to Barcelona, Car? It is so you, bright and colorful, eclectic, eccentric, beautiful, you would fit right in Car. You should go.”

I haven’t been.

Damn you pandemic.

I haven’t been anywhere, Joshua Tree I suppose, but that didn’t really feel like traveling, since I was in Paris, December of 2019 celebrating my birthday and Christmas because I could not handle having another Christmas or birthday without you.

I had a brief boyfriend for a moment, we would text often when I was in Paris, the texting was sweeter than the actual relationship which went so fast it was surreal.

He said he loved me on our fourth date.

He asked me to be his girlfriend on the second date.

I should have ran away then.

But he was sweet and smitten with me and young and for just a few moments he would make me forget you, oh eyes of blue.

Until he didn’t.

In fact, he made me miss you more.

You haunted me all over Paris, despite this texting flirtation with the young man.

I bought him chocolate, thinking of you.

He ate the whole box when I gave it to him, like the little boy he was, in one sitting and gave himself a stomach ache.

I got him a t-shirt from a cafe, one of my favorites in the Marais district, Cafe Charlot, a cafe I wish I was sitting with you in it, dreamily gazing at your over a cafe creme. I told him it was a future promise, I would buy him a bacon cheeseburger with pomme frites when we came to Paris together….if the relationship lasted that long.

It did not.

Last long.

That is.

On my birthday you looked at my LinkedIn profile. While I was in Paris texting the young man in Oakland.

I discovered this days later and teared up, you had not looked at it in secret mode or private mode, or whatever it is that lets you look discretely at someone’s profile. You looked and wanted me to know you were thinking of me on my birthday.

This last birthday.

We spent it together.

Half-Moon Bay.

I wore Comme de Garcon and black Tretorn sneakers.

We ate take out sushi at the beach.

You told me, “next year let’s go away for a whole weekend, find a place like that little bed and breakfast we walked by in town.”

You wanted to come again to that beach before that, make a picnic, have a blanket, burrow into a dune, burrow into me.

“I just want to get lost in you,” you said to me often.

I was alright with that.

I liked getting lost in you too.

Of course.

All the sad things came back to me, the reflux flared up again, damn you internalized feelings, the tears started up again and we’d agreed, if I got sad, we would stop.

I got sad.

Christmas day by myself sitting at my kitchen table eating oatmeal opening up a present my mother had sent me, a duplicate of an ornament she’d already sent the year before.

I burst into tears.

Thinking of you with your family in your house with your wife and your child and your dogs and your Christmas tree, wearing new Christmas socks and smiling, smiling, smiling.

Last week, last Sunday, I mailed you a card.

I wrote, “tu me manque” in French.

I miss you.

I pressed my lips to it, leaving a kiss mark on the interior of the card.

A big glittery card with a heart on the cover and Je t’aime on the front.

I do like the Frenchie stuff you know.

I carried it around for a day.

Don’t mail it.

Mail it.

Don’t mail it.

Mailed it.

Then I woke up the next day in a panic and had fantasies about stalking the mailbox and making the mail man, woman, person, give it back to me.

Even though I knew they would not.

What the fuck did I do?

I had a nightmare.

I dreamt your wife found out about our affair.

I dreamt it was March 17th and I was making you a birthday cake and you were so mad at me that your wife found out.

March 17th is not your birthday.

And I never told your wife.

But you did.

I think, in some ways, she always knew.

Maybe, maybe, maybe she was ok with it, not consciously I suppose, but maybe it helped the facade of the partnership.

Affairs are not the problem in a marriage.

They are the symptom of a problem.

And often they are had to keep the relationship going.

One gets what one needs to stay in the marriage.

“I just want to get lost in you.”

I gave you love and wrote you poetry and baked you cookies that you would keep in your glove box.

I wonder if anyone ever got in your car and marveled at the smell of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies that must have permeated the entire interior.

Better than a paper evergreen tree air freshener.

I made you happy.

Until I made you miserable.

Gave you that ultimatum.

Drove you to panic.

For that I am everlastingly sorry.

Watching you have a panic attack when I asked you to chose between her and me.

Gah.

Years later your face still haunts me.

I did try you know.

I tried to be ok with it and bend and contort.

I wanted you so, so, so bad.

I still do.

Never stopped.

And that is ok.

I can want you and I can not have you.

I walked around Jefferson Square Park this past week, past that stupid mailbox where I mailed that card, and realized, fuck, really truly realized, that I knew, knew in my heart, that you were never going to leave your wife.

So why did I keep going back to you?

Why?

Love, I suppose.

Tragic, romantic, unruly, unreasonable, stupid love.

I’m paying a lot in therapy to figure this all out.

And I know where it stems from.

Childhood abuse, blah, blah, blah.

I am writing, have written I should say, a dissertation on it.

I know the material pretty well.

And yet I can get stuck there again.

Beating myself for doing something my little inner voice said, hmm, maybe don’t do that.

I didn’t send you the playlist on Spotify, at least I didn’t do that, the one called “I still love you.”

I know, very creative.

But I didn’t.

I just listen to it and cry.

So.

Watching this show stirred all the things.

As two souls find themselves, two wounded humans, on a first date in Barcelona, having a coffee, and the arc of the love begins.

It’s astounding and so well done.

The scenery made me long for travel again.

The writing, suberp.

Really, the best, and the acting, so, so good.

I felt bereft watching and a deep longing.

I want all those things, the passion and the intelligence and the balance and the power, the love.

The first time the couple kiss, one of them says, “boom”.

And you, the viewer, the watcher, the voyeur, know, what they are saying is “I love you.”

I want that.

I want that with someone.

I almost wrote with you and deleted that.

The small, quiet, inside voice knows that is not possible.

I have to want it with someone else.

I have to let go.

I have to hope that you don’t get the card, it gets lost in the mail, or it is returned to sender, address unknown.

I have to let myself meet someone else.

Someone who will be ok if once in a while I cry at a show reminded of you, even if they don’t know why, they will hold my hand and kiss my neck, scoop the hair off my face and look into my eyes.

And say.

Boom.

Hello Again

August 2, 2020

It feels like forever.

And it has been awhile.

But I am still here.

Still writing, though not so much on this platform

I have missed it, but I have also been too tired most days to log in and write.

I write in the mornings still, long hand, my three page a day habit, thank you The Artists Way, thirteen years and still going strong.

I have thought about this though, my blog, the thing that I would do religiously come rain or shine, good day, bad day, nothing really happened today day.

I sort of had a nothing happened today day, with highlights of, this is surreal, though I’m used to it.

Sort of.

We’re still deep in the pandemic and although it’s been five plus months now, there are times I’m still caught off guard with the strangeness of it.

Or that I am estranged from my friends, fellows, family, colleauges.

Oh the desire to hang out with friends at a coffee shop.

Although, truth, I did sort of last weekend.

I drove up to the Russian River area with a friend, one of the few people allowed in my bubble, and we did get coffee at a cafe in Guerneville.  There was no sitting inside, though, grab and go.

So many things are shut down, but when I get the chance to go to a cafe or a restaurant I have done so.

It happens quite infrequently.

I do better weathering things on my own.

I have been very safe and very cautious and kept pretty to myself since this has all been unfolding.

But yeah, a trip to the Russian River and being out in the sun felt extraordinary.

It’s not a big deal typically, but a bunch of months of quarantine and I felt like I was playing hooky, albeit wearing a mask, from the pandemic.

Also.

Just getting out into the sunshine was so good.

San Francisco, got to love her, has been having her typical “summer weather” which is cold, foggy, overcast and quite dreary.

Add that to the general malaise of the pandemic and it’s a bit depressing.

So when my friend suggested we head out of town and get some sun I hesitated, I have things to do (homework, prep for teaching, zoom meetings), but folded as soon as I googled the Russian River and saw the trees and sun and water.

I’m glad I did.

I am also grateful for getting out of the city.

I haven’t been outside of the Bay Area since before shelter in place.

I realized the last time I had gotten out it was Christmas when I went to Paris.

Now, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but it also meant that I hadn’t left the city in over six months.

I don’t, fyi count Oakland, Berkeley, or Alameda, all places I have gone to, as getting outside the city…they just feel like continuations of it.

Though, San Francisco is definitely in transition, it is still the city, and once in a while to appreciate the city, I need to leave it.

I will go up one more time to the Russian River before summer ends.

Just a quick day trip to work on some teaching prep the weekend before I start teaching Psychodynamic’s.

I’m not exactly excited, truth be told, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of a summer–my private practice therapy business has been full (and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have work to do) and I have been doing so much psychoanalytic theory reading, my brain feels about shot.

But.

I have finished, as of today all the books that are required reading for class.

I also, I haven’t shared much about this, turned down the core faculty position I was interviewing for.

I found out how much work was expected and how little money was being paid for it and I changed my mind about wanting to work for the school–I was making more money as a private professional nanny then what they were offering for a full time core faculty professor in a master’s program.

No thank you.

I kept thinking to myself that I did not work this hard to keep working harder for less money.

I felt bad, for a moment, when I told my individual supervisor who really wanted me to take on the teaching position, but I realized if I had taken it I would have been terribly resentful with myself for taking on so much work.

Especially since I am still working on my PhD.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been here, so I cannot recall if I have written about that the last time I was blogging.  But.  I have made some progress there.  I have my external third committee chair member and she has my dissertation proposal as does my internal second.

So.

I await their critiques and get to start working on a Power Point (ugh) to defend my proposal.

Once I defend the proposal I will move into PhD candidacy.

I am ready for that.

I am hoping that I will get to defend by the end of this month and then turn around and start doing the study part of my dissertation.

My hope is to do the study this fall and then do the writing for the dissertation in the spring.

I want to put in one more year and be done.

In fact.

That is my goal.

One more year at the school working on my PhD and teaching one master’s class, then I’m done.

I’ve been on this track for five years now.

I’m ready to finish it.

I have it in my sights and I am hopeful that I can put down my head and push through this last year.

I suspect things are going to be challenging with the pandemic continuing to rage and whatever weirdness is up and coming with the pending elections, but I shall keep busy, keep pushing and get through.

And.

When it’s all said and done and I have my doctorate.

I am going on a big fucking trip.

I’m thinking fly from San Francisco to London, train to Paris, then train to the South of France, rent a car there and tool around and then reverse the trip back.

Two, maybe three weeks.

That’s a carrot to work towards.

Seriously.

What Day Is It?

May 22, 2020

I mean.

I know it’s Thursday, but honestly, I had to check a few times today to remember.

The days they are blurring together.

I’m not upset about that, it is just interesting, how malleable time has become.

I have a good routine.

I got up with an alarm today.

I had group supervision on Thursday mornings.

Since shelter in place I get to “sleep in” on Thursday mornings until 7a.m., days when I would have driven cross town I would have been up at 6a.m.

There are some benefits of shelter in place, I won’t deny it.

There are many drawbacks, but I bet you already know what those are.

I’m just going to keep it on the up and up for the most part, at least today, whatever day it is, whatever month it is.

I had a client mention the three day weekend and I was like, what three day weekend?

Oh.

Ha.

Memorial Day is Monday.

I don’t have plans.

Well.

Not true.

I have hella clients.

Monday is my busiest day.

I will have seven client sessions, some weeks I have eight.

I definitely start the week off with a bang.

I also have some down time in the middle of it so it doesn’t blow me completely to bits, but yeah, Monday won’t be a holiday for me.

And I will soon really be in it as I will start picking up teenagers next week with the contract position with Daily City Youth Clinic.

I am going in tomorrow to do the last bits of orientation and pick up a “stack of files I have waiting for you,” from my newest supervisor.

I will be slamming right into the work.

Which is great, I am not complaining.

Again, it will keep my busy, it will keep me from ruminating or feeling lonely.

It may also blast out my brain a bit, I am a little concerned about being on my laptop so much.  I am definitely booking a lot of screen time.

With picking up another batch of clients that will only increase.

I was actually not sure about blogging tonight.

I mean, I wanted to, but I also was thinking I might want a break from my screen.

But, oh, the siren song of writing a blog and not writing something academic.

Well.

It surely called to me.

So here I am, on day whatever it is, writing to you about my day, which really was pretty chill and not dramatic and simple and when I am honest in my heart, very sweet.

I didn’t hang out with anyone but myself, and I like myself quite a bit, so I’m like, you know, fantastic company.

I had some really great phone calls.

I went on a long walk up and around Sutro Heights Park, which overlooks Ocean Beach and it was gorgeous and stunning and filled my eyes and heart and soul with goodness and beachiness and the smell of the Monterey pines and the Eucalyptus was so good.

So good.

The bright peppery smell of orange and yellow nasturtiums, the blooms of jasmine, the roses, pink sherbet swirled, lulling fat fuzzy bumble bees in for sweet repose.

It was good.

Then I walked the avenues for awhile.

I’m out on 48th Avenue and up a hill, so not many folks out walking and that’s nice.

I even took a break from calling people names, in my head, I don’t do it their faces, about not wearing masks.

Who am I to tell another how to live.

Funny, though, how often I have been prescribed a specific role.

Funny how I often say, um, no thanks, I’m going to do it my way.

So.

I know that it’s not helpful to tell people what to do and saying douche bag in my head only affects my experience.

I’m trying to gently curb it.

Sometimes I substitute, “oh look at you and your cute privilege!”

But even that snark doesn’t do me much good.

The best thing for me is to gently remind myself that I can only police myself and act with integrity in all my affairs.

I don’t have to tell others what to do, I mean, I have had plenty of experience with that and it’s no fun.

Keep my side of the street clean and move the fuck on.

And walk where there are not so many people.

And call my friends.

And make plans for when this moves away and it will, I don’t know when or how, but this too shall pass.

Go see my dear friend in Florida.

Go see my best friend in Wisconsin and as long as I’m in that neck of the woods, get in a visit with my oldest friend from high school in Minnesota.

Go to New York and hit up the museums, New York has really been on my mind, maybe because I am wearing a dress I bought here in San Francisco that I associate with New York–I bought it specifically for the last trip to New York I had.

I wore it to the Brooklyn Museum to the David Bowie installation and walked around Judy Chicago’s beautiful piece The Dinner Party.

It was hot.

The dress is red and I felt and feel pretty in it.

It makes me think of warm summer nights and wandering through the city.

I love New York.

There is still a little piece of me that thinks I should live there, but I’m here and I love San Francisco too, and well, frankly, it is prettier.

Although I sense I might have more adventures in New York than I have here, but that’s speculation.

New York just holds a special place in my heart.

I also want to visit my best friend from my Master’s cohort in Paris.

Paris, my love, I am ready to see you again too.

Hell.

I’m ready to see the rest of San Francisco.

Sit in my favorite cafe and drink a really hot latte and have girl friend time with my best girl out here.

Go get a mani/pedi.

Oh!

Eat lunch at Souvla.

Yeah.

I know I could get take out, but I want to sit in the back patio and stare at the sky and people watch.

I have a good routine.

I have many, many, many blessings.

I am grateful.

I am graced.

I also have feelings and I miss things and travel and adventures.

I miss people.

Even though I am good company to myself, I miss the touch of another’s hand, a hug, a shoulder to set my head on.

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

 

 

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.

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.

 

Itinerary

July 5, 2019

I got on it today!

I mean.

I really did a lot of travel prep for my upcoming trip to Havana, Cuba.

I got my passport out.

I slowly, painstakingly, double, triple, quadruple checked how to fill out my Visa, then I filled it our correctly.

I got traveler’s health insurance.

You have to have proof of insurance for entry into Cuba, and though I am fairly certain my health insurance was ok, I didn’t want to risk being turned away for not having the proper insurance or paperwork.  So.  I just used the health insurance that Cuba Travel Services, who I used to procure my Visa, recommended

Frankly, $55 was worth not having to worry about anything.

Then.

I started booking things through Air BnB.

The Visa I am traveling under is in the category of “Support of Cuban People” which is not a traditional tourist Visa, nor was it one of the two categories the current administration squashed.

“People to People” got pulled and so did the Visa that folks use if they’re on a cruise ship.

But.

In “Support of Cuban People” is still legitimate.

Plus I did my research and what I found was that Visa’s granted before the current restrictions were put in place will be honored.

I got my Visa in the mail the day before the sanctions came down.

I am so grateful that I listened to the little voice inside which told me to take care of my Visa before I traveled.

So, so, so glad.

I will have some restrictions on what I can and can’t do with this Visa, and frankly, I’m not bothered by them at all.

I can’t shop at military run or government supported stores or businesses.

Or stay in hotels operated by the government.

No big deal.

I am staying at a private residence that is called a “casa particular” which is pretty much a family owned bed and breakfast.

I had looked up some on Air BnB, but found nothing that was quite the right fit, then I googled for places and stumbled upon a Forbes article that called the place I’m staying one of the best secrets in Old Havana and I checked it out and made a request.

And.

Yes!

They have a room for me.

For 40 Cuban Peso a night including a full breakfast.

I’m pretty sure I posted up about the place before, but I really excited that I landed in such a sweet spot.

Plus, it’s in Old Havana, which is pretty much where I want to spend most of my time anyway.

I’ll be staying in one of the Art Deco rooms in Hostal Chez Nous next to La Habana Vieja, the old square.

I will pay when I arrive.

They don’t accept American credit cards for reservations.  I literally printed off the confirmation e-mail and I present that and the money in Cuban peso for my 8 night stay.

320 Cuban Peso.

For 8 nights including a full Cuban breakfast.

Seriously good deal.

And since I will have to bring plenty of cash, first converting to Euro because the exchange rate is better for Euro than the American dollar, I decided I would preemptively book some activities.

I had never really delved into the Air BnB activities before, really only just used it to book rooms for myself when I have traveled.

New York.

D.C.

New Orleans.

Paris.

I tend to do pretty well finding what I want to see and do without having to deal with a tour guide or the like.

But a friend of mine had gone Havana within this last year and sent me a private message about places to go and things to do that he highly recommended and two of them were Air BnB experiences.

So.

I checked it out and I was pleasantly surprised.

One.

As I can pre-pay for them and thus not have to carry as much cash on my person.

And two, that all the activities I booked fall under my Visa category, “Support of Cuban People” which made me very happy.

Most of the sites I researched suggested that it would be very unlikely that I would be asked for an itinerary, but just in case, I can show one in which every day I am doing something to support the Cuban people.

My first day in I didn’t book anything.

I was going to, but I figured I’ll be jet lagged and tired and may just want to check into the casa and chill out.

Maybe wander around a little bit and take myself out to dinner in the neighborhood, but nothing serious.

The second day I am going to go to La Marca  Havana’s only legal tattoo shop, also it’s first tattoo shop.  It is also an art gallery and what appears to be a pretty hipster little scene.  I tried to book online with them but it bounced back.  So I’m just going to show up and ask for a walk in appointment.

It’s in Old Havana and maybe a ten minute walk from where I’m staying.

I also plan on going shopping at Clandestina, Havana’s first independent clothing company that happens to be run completely by women.

I’m so in.

Next, yes, yes, I did.

I booked a classic car ride to tour the seawall and cruise along the Malecon.

Ironically, I’ll need to take a taxi to get there, but I couldn’t help but want to do at least one cruise around Havana in a classic car, I mean, really, I had to.

Wednesday I left pretty open.

I figure museums and cafes and I booked a couple of hours with an art student from the university to take me on a photo tour.

This I’m looking forward to, I love street art, and off the beaten track and that’s what this seems to be.  This was also the activity my friend raved about, so two hours in the afternoon wandering around taking pictures with a local student.

Totally down.

Thursday I picked a big adventure, basically committed myself to twelve hours of tour.

I booked a historical tour to the Vinales Valley, tobacco farms, coffee farms, a tour through some of the famous caves and horseback riding in and out of the valley.

What really nailed it for me was that they host come and pick you up where you are staying and drop you back off.

There’s no Uber there.

No Lyft.

I don’t speak Spanish.

Not much really, a few tiny phrases, and something about haggling with a taxi cab driver or getting lost really doesn’t sound like fun for me, so having the pressure taken off by getting picked up and dropped back off really sold me.

Plus.

Ahem.

The ride there and back is in a classic 50s convertible.

Um.

Hehe.

Yes please.

Friday I’ll be doing a ferry trip over the bay to a little known spot in Havana called Regla.  There was something about the trip that appealed.  I don’t know the neighborhood, but I like that it’s a tour guided by a women who is an art history graduate who lives with her grandmother and shows off the markets in the neighborhood.

Plus.

Ferry boat ride.

I’m a sucker for a ferry boat.

Then Friday night I am going clubbing.

But not by myself.

I’m a pretty self-assured woman, but I didn’t want to hit the clubs solo, but there was one place I really wanted to go, FAC The Cuban Art Factory, a gallery space with art and music and djs and it looks like the place to go.

I connected with a couple of women on Air BnB who I will meet up at a cafe and head over to the club and hang out with and get the lowdown and have a safety net.  Really quite pleased with this.

Saturday I’m doing a farm to table lunch with a local chef and then.

And then.

And then.

Holy shit.

It happened.

I was able to book a night with the Buena Vista Social Club!

I am over the fucking moon.

The experience was sold out the last time I looked and it appears that more shows go added.

Basically this lovely older woman books a dinner table for you at the club, you meet her, she’s bought your ticket, you hang out with her and two or three other folks, eat dinner at the club and get to see the floor show and hear the band play.

Never in a million years did I imagine when I bought that compact disc so many moons ago in Madison that I would actually be going to Havana and getting to see a performance of the Buena Vista Social Club.

Fuck.

I feel so grateful.

Sunday morning I’m doing a cultural market and food tour with a lunch to follow with a lovely women who after I booked asked if I wanted to be included in a trip to the beach, Santa Maria beach.

Why yes.

Yes.

Yes I do.

So after the market and lunch I will go with her in a, yes, heh, classic convertible to the beach for a few hours of swimming and laying in the oh so white sand.

Pinch me.

Seriously.

Who’s life is this?

My last day in Havana I want to relax and chill out so I sent a query off to the Manzana Hotel to book a spa pass for their rooftop pool and spa facilities.

60 Cuban peso is not the cheapest, but the pool is so pretty.

I figure book a massage, lay out by the pool and just relax before I head back to the foggy fog.

I am so pleased.

And very excited.

So excited.

It feels really good to have this planned out.

And really.

I don’t think I could have done anything much better with my fourth of July holiday than work on the details for this trip.

Seriously.


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