Posts Tagged ‘airport’

Home Again

July 29, 2018

I got back from my travels last night.

I was in motion for 24 hours.

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

But no.

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

It was a long day.

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

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

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

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

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

Other gifts for folks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It got flagged at the airport.

I was not happy.

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

I didn’t even get it through security.

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

I was not happy.

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

But nope.

It got flagged.

Ugh.

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

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

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

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

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

I was in line about thirty minutes.

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

I couldn’t remember.

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

No debit card.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

I had left it in the machine!

I flushed very hot then almost started to cry.

I took another deep breath.

What should I do?

Odds are it’s gone.

Somebody was right behind me to use the machine.

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

Or maybe they turned it in to lost and found.

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

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

It was a long ten minutes.

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

Of course.

The card was gone.

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

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

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

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

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

She said of course.

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

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

I nearly wept for joy and thanked her profusely.

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

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

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

Who cares?

I had found my card.

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

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

There were a few other adventures.

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

So even though it was a long trip getting back.

Get back I did.

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

Almost.

I have one more delicious day off.

Ah.

Summer vacation.

You did me good.

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Sorted, Satiated, Seduced

July 5, 2016

By my sweet foggy city.

Home.

It is such a nice place to be.

I am so grateful I put it all back in place to when I got home last night.

I unpacked and put away all my little treasures from the trip.

Some flower hair clips.

Two vintage cardigans.

A couple pairs of cheap earrings.

Some stickers.

Two pounds of locally roasted coffee, one from Mojo and other from Hey Cafe and Coffee.

Two pairs of new sandals.

And the little bit of swag from the conference.

I was a little wound up from getting home.

I got the butterflies and the happy sparklers of joy in my belly as the plane flew in over SFO International Airport.

It is this way every time I fly into the airport.

This feeling of happiness and glee.

This recurring knowing of being home, even before I called San Francisco home, it was home.

I still remember, sixteen years later, how it felt the first time I flew in over the city and how giddy I was with it.

Anticipatory joy and love and awe.

Awe that I was coming and getting to see the friend, a man I was in love with, romantically crushed out on, a man that though I did eventually get to have for one one night, was not the man for me.

But.

I will always be grateful for that unrequited love song that yearned in my heart for it led me to this city, this amazing space and land and confluence of fog and love and flowers in my hair and self-discovery.

And.

Of course.

No matter what.

No matter where.

It will always be home because it is where I got sober.

No other place can lay claim to that piece of my history.

So on top of the general body and soul and heart knowing, there is this deep pocket of grace that I am here.

I leave and return.

I tried to move to Paris.

That didn’t work.

I could see living in New York, it has it’s energy and allure and spark.

But.

Yet.

I am here.

And I continue to return and be soaked with gratitude every time.

I could live in New Orleans.

Oh, the hot humid sexy of it.

The big lushness of it, the flowers and trees, the moss in the trees, the drawl of the voices, the funky, bluesy, jazzy’ness of it, the art and the creative.

And also the underground dark scary spooky.

I suppose everywhere has pockets of wildness and dark.

But I could sense it closer to the surface there than a lot of places, maybe any other place I have been.

Death and sex and hot damp over abundant wildness.

It is there just skimming along below the pulse of warm air on your skin.

I can’t quite describe it, it is intense and dark and surreal and powerful and made my skin feel electric at times, the small hairs on the back of my neck rising in silent acknowledgement of the old the, wild, the barbaric yawp.

I feel it at times, in a different kind of way, but a dark wild way, in pockets of Golden Gate park when I would ride my bike through it at night.

Not always, but often, and though a different kind of energy then what I felt in New Orleans which was at once languid and violent, it too has a dark windy animal howl.

I am compelled by both those energies, softly drawn and also quite aware and wary that it is not my space to wander through.

I get to give it a wide berth.

The other thing about New Orleans was the architecture that was so heavily French influenced.

I do have a thing for all thing Francophile.

It is a definite and well defined influence that I really felt drawn too.

Plus, the colors.

Oh, so bright and many.

And that too, is something I find wonderful and compelling about San Francisco–the Victorians and the architecture here, gorgeous and bright and colorful as well.

I also recognized a kind of art and brightness that I normally associate with San Francisco and the Burning Man culture here.

In fact, at one point when I was in a little store on Magazine Street, I recall thinking to myself that I didn’t know New Orleans was such a Burner’s city.

Then I realized that it was Burning Man influenced, though, there may be some of that too–I know Burner’s Without Borders did a lot of work in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina–it was Mardi Gras.

The store was full of costumes and feather boas and masks and at first I thought it was a store like you might find in the Haight that specializes in festival gear and clothing.

Nope.

Mardi Gras.

Either way, it’s dress up.

For me, though, although I flew my personal little self-expression flag high, I was not as comfortable with it in New Orleans as I am in San Francisco.

I felt at times, if I were to live there, I would tone it down a bit.

Then.

I realized.

Nope.

I am not toning it down for anyone.

I am wild and free and wonderful and live a happy, joyous, compelling life.

And so far.

That life has been focused and centered around living in San Francisco.

Even when the fog, Karl, sweetheart I did miss you, is so thick you can’t see the fireworks display in the sky on the fourth of July.

Even when I needed to unearth the heavy sweatshirt today.

Even with the tech kids and the Millennials and the people getting pushed out and the high cost of living.

Even with the extra traffic and the gentrification.

I still love it so.

I still get feathering tickles in my body of joy co-mingled with electric blue sparkles of anticipation and awe, the wonder of it all.

I get to live in San Francisco.

I.

So.

Am.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Promise You Will

December 18, 2015

She said as we parted ways, I to hop on my trusty stead–that one speed whip that has been getting me around so well for the past few years, and she the other direction down Church Street.

I had just met with my person and she was giving me some parting suggestions.

“Promise me you will do it before you leave,” she repeated, and gave me a great big hug.

“I promise,” I said.

I made a lot of promises tonight.

Actually, I committed to a few things tonight.

Things that will help me to travel.

Things like committing what I am and am not going to eat while I am in Paris.

I have other issues beyond the alcoholism and drug addiction in my life.

Food.

My number one, my first, my always.

And since it’s not necessarily something I can do without.

No one ever says, “Oh, I definitely need more cocaine in my diet,” at least not with a straight face.

Or.

“I could certainly be healthier if I had some more whiskey in my meal plan,” I mean, everybody knows that alcohol is empty calories anyhow.

But no one.

No one that I associate with anyhow.

Has said, I sure could stand to just not ever eat again.

See.

I can say I’m not going to use or drink today, one day at a time for a really fucking long time, like, fingers crossed, the rest of my life, which is going to be long and amazing, but I can’t say I’m never going to eat again.

I have to do that.

So.

I commit what I am going to eat and what I am not going to eat and that is super helpful.

It’s also super helpful that I have lived in Paris before and know how to shop, even in the winter season when the foods are not as fresh, and I know how to order in restaurants.

But.

I also was on a slippery slope in Paris and I had a major relapse in my eating behaviors about three weeks after I got back from Paris.

I am committed to that not happening and I laid out a plan of eating to help me through.

It will look very similar to what I already do here for breakfast–oatmeal with fruit (that’s my sweetener, fruit) and a hard boiled egg and coffee.

I will go to the market, buy breakfast stuffs and cook at the studio every morning.

I will have snacks, which will be fruit.

I will have lunch out or dinner out and that is cool.

I will have steak, oysters, roast chicken, vegetables, and lots of salad.

I will NOT have bread, crepes, sugar, chocolate, croissant, baguette.

Or.

Le sigh.

Les pommes frites.

French fries.

They are my slippery slope.

They were last time I was in Paris and I don’t eat them here, so I’m not going to there.

Bring on the fucking steak tartar though.

Oh yeah.

I will eat cheese.

But in moderation.

I rarely eat it here but I do once in a while.

I committed and made a plan and talked about self-care and it was suggested to me that I focus on what I need.

Not anyone else.

Just me.

To take a good look and talk to my God and make sure that I was taking care of myself and having a good time for me and not worrying about taking care of anyone else.

I am a care taker.

It is what I do.

But.

I know.

I know deeply.

That I can better take care of others when I am taking care of myself.

So.

Yes.

Some thoughtfulness around my food.

Which, truth be told, will be when I am in the airport.

That is always the challenge.

I have go to’s, but I have learned, the hard, hard, hard way, to bring food with me.

Because when you say no sugar and no flour and no potatoes they look at you like, “you crazy.”

Especially if you wave off the free cookie.

And.

Ain’t nothing free anymore on air travel, it seems, anyway.

I’ll have some apples and raw carrots, I always buy a packet of almonds, I let myself eat bananas and Naked Juice smoothies, probably the only time I do, when I travel, I prefer to eat my fruit not drink it, but sometimes it’s all I can gather.

Anyway.

I still have a couple of days here and really what my person most wanted was to hear me say that I would write my last paper before I left.

“Oh, that totally does not work for you!” She said with great emphasis.

I told her that I had two papers left.

One of which I am almost done with.

In fact, for all intents and purposes, I am done with it, I finished it today before work–I’ve been working on it everyday before work since the Monday–but I have to proof it, which I will do in the morning and send out before I head into work.

Then, one last paper.

But it’s not due until December 28th.

“You have to do it before you go,” she said, “otherwise you’re going to be thinking about it the entire time you’re there.”

Don’t I know it.

I thought about even just writing it on the plane, but frankly, that sounds fucking awful.

I am going to write it Saturday.

Tomorrow.

I am not doing school work.

I am going to let myself off the hook on my birthday.

Yes.

That’s correct.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I will be 43.

I have one hour and 27 minutes left of being 42 years old.

It’s been a good year.

Ups and downs, that’s for sure.

But overall, a year of much growth.

Oh.

Jesus god, so much growth.

Sometimes it astounds even me that I have space for all this growth, that it just keeps coming, that I have yet another growth opportunity in front of me.

Again and again and again.

Anyway.

I digress.

Tomorrow.

No homework.

Work, yes, can’t get out of that, but it will be a fun day, my last day with the boys for a while and they have a half day at school, so we’ll do a big park adventure.

And then dinner with friends.

Easy.

Sweet.

Light.

I am grateful for it.

My present to me is that I won’t worry about papers or schoolwork and I’ll do it all on Saturday.

I promise.

 

Sucking Brain Power In One Fell Swoop

May 29, 2015

Gone.

What was I doing?

Sipping tea, looking at photographs on my grandmother’s mantles and walls, hearing stories, trying to not think about the weird e-mail in my in-box about my financial aid for school that puzzled me to the point that I could not read it more than twice without closing the message.

I looked at it again this morning.

They need what?

I already have my FAFSA in.

The school already has my information.

What more do you need?

Some more stuff, some more things.

Oh.

That’s it.

That little button.

That fucking little button there took me changing my password, updating my information, having over five windows open on my screen, toggling back and forth, figuring out new security questions, for almost an hour.

At one point I thought, next they will ask me to stand on my head and and with my right hand point to the true North.

Ugh.

That was obnoxious.

However.

Another thing done in the small but steady range of  actions I am certain I will have to continue to take to get into school, let alone, well, um, school itself.

Actually.

School.

I believe, will be ok.

It’s the minutiae, the small stuff, the obvious stuff, that I don’t always get.

“There, water level, right in front of you,” my cousin pointed out the fountain water-spout.

I was mesmerized by the soda options.

When was the last time I had stood in front of a soda fountain machine?

Coke?

Cherry Coke?

Rootbeer?

Sprite?

All of it please.

In a really big cup with hella crushed ice and a dessert pizza on the side.

Hahahaha.

I had a cup of water and a “pizza salad” without the pizza part–my cousin didn’t realize that I don’t eat flour, or sugar for that matter–and had taken us all to the new popular pizza place down the road.

It smelled divine.

And truthfully, I was too overwhelmed with the sudden abundance of family and how to act and be polite and be me and not melt into the background.

Not that I wouldn’t stand out a little anyway.

Even without the hot pink hair.

“I like your style,” my friend texted, “you got flavor.”

Flavor.

Yup.

I’ll take it.

And I do.

My ex called it “quirky” and I argue, I am not quirky.

Quirky is Zoe Deschanel and kitten sweaters and argyle socks and well, not me.

I rebut quirky with girl has flavor.

“Chicks with visible neck tattoos and pink hair aren’t anything nuts to me,” he replied, “maybe in Iowa.”

Yet.

When I travel outside of San Francisco I do seem to get a little extra attention.

Although not always in a bad way, the TSA agent at the airport was excited by my hair, “awesome hair!”  He enthused and waved me through.

Where I got to find out that I had to sit in SFO for a bit longer than I thought.

My flight was delayed.

Ugh.

Although, as I sat in the terminal linked up to the internet sipping organic, cold pressed iced coffee and having just finished an organic Niman Ranch hamburger (no bun, no onion, no fries, thank you) with a side of, yes organic, mixed greens, I thought, hmm.

SFO.

Worse places to be delayed.

For sure.

The flight was delayed for weather.

That’s right.

Fog.

Carl the Fog was wrapping up the airport tight.

I wasn’t happy to be delayed, but it gave me a moment to look over the e-mail from the FAFSA people.

I still didn’t get it and I decided, not going to boot up my laptop and try to figure it out.

Sit back.

Sip the coffee.

Watch a video.

Then the fog lifted and I was up in the air and before I knew it the plane was descending through the blue skies, clear of fog, lots of sunshine, and low 70 degree weather.

I took off my sweatshirt.

I needed it on the way to the airport and I needed it on the plane, they do always seem so cold, even a short flight.

Sidebar.

Almost one year later.

My ankle hurts when flying.

It swelled up and got tender and I had to stand in the aisle for a while rolling it around and getting the blood flow going.

I really couldn’t believe it.

The last time I flew was December and it was pretty tight after that flight, and still it’s not fully healed.

I really didn’t believe the doctor when he said it would be 6-8 months and possibly a year before it was fully healed.

End aside.

The sun was shining, the fake boobs were on display.

I mean.

Whoa.

I realized as I watched a woman in a low-cut shelf tank top proudly displaying her assets, I am not in San Francisco anymore.

Granted I have not spent a lot of time in Southern California, but I did immediately see things that I have not seen in San Francisco (and I’m sure I have seen fake boobs in SF, I’m sure they exist, they’re probably just hidden under thirteen layers of clothing and a black hoodie and infinity scarf-every woman could have fake tits and I would never know), enhanced cleavage, spray tan or fake tan, blow outs, high platform sandals, skin-tight jeans/jeggings, I still stood out.

I probably always will.

But I have stopped being so concerned with how I look.

As stated previously, I dress for myself and to make myself happy.

And I was happy I got my stuff packed and on my way with no delay this morning.

I also remembered to wear my clogs so that I didn’t have to struggle with going through security.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in the lounge waiting for the flight to board that I began to sense some side looks and stares.

And I realized that I usually do get them when traveling.

I have a moment or two of feeling singled out, then I thought, whatever, I’m a good-looking woman and who cares if I have pink hair and tattoos, they look pretty and I have flavor and so there.

Ah.

My brain is coming back, the FAFSA website has not won.

Now I can bring my mind back to hanging out in San Diego.

I’m ready for some more sunshine.

PS

As I am editing this blog, my grandmother came over and said, “your hair looks so pretty up like that, it looks like a flower.”

#winning

Got My Cable Car On

January 5, 2015

“We want to do the trolley.”

My friend from college is visiting with his company on business.

“And the Painted Ladies, you know that place where they filmed Full House.”

Ugh, yes I do know.

“And the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Oh sweet jesus.

I just thought we were going to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on the past few years that we haven’t seen each other.

And how the fuck did he turn 40? Or for that matter, how am I 42?

I also don’t remember him being taller than me, but that could be because the guy I am dating is shorter than I am and I am automatically thinking that all men are shorter than me.

My friend is also losing his hair.

Mortality.

I gave him a little grief about the hair, I had to poke some fun, but I get it, he’s got a 13 month old baby boy, I’m sure the hair loss happened shortly after realizing that he wasn’t going to get any sleep for the first 8 months of his child’s life.

He always hollers “hola” at me because of my name and despite many years of persuading him that I do not, in fact, speak spanish, despite my spanish sounding name, the “hola” has continued.

It is like my family calling me Bubba.

Which is not a bad nickname when I acknowledge it, and I may have inadvertently gotten a new nickname from my boyfriend.

“Hey lip gloss,” he said to me the other night as I re-applied some lip balm.

“I just brushed my teeth,” I warded him off, “I need to re-up.”

Poor man.

He got more than he bargained for with this sparkle pony.

I joke that I am not going to prank him by mowing off an eyebrow while he sleeps or shaving some silly design on the side of his head; no, I’ll just dump loose glitter on his motorcycle jacket.

Or spray him down with aerosol adhesive and then dump loose glitter on him.

I have red, purple, and sky blue.

I bought them years ago for Burning Man and then never used them.

But he’s right, I do have a fondness for the lip gloss.

I like my mouth to feel a certain way and I hate dry lips.

I digress.

I basically played tourist today.

I took my friend and his boss on a little sightseeing of San Francisco.

I didn’t mind, although, truth be told, I was surprised at the number of things we crammed into a short amount of time.

They picked me up around 2:45 p.m. and dropped me off just before 6 p.m. having to give themselves enough time to get the rental car back to the airport and pick up another person from SFO for the rest of the business trip.

In that time we drove Great Highway, went up to Lands End, parked, walked around Seal Rock, Lands End, and took photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Then we hopped back into the car and I navigate us to the NOPA neighborhood so that we could do a quick spin around Alamo Square Park and see the Painted Ladies.

Which actually looked really lovely in the late afternoon light.

Plus the scaffolding that has been up on one of the girls finally has been pulled down.

I’m not always the biggest fan of the Painted Ladies, I think there are far prettier houses, but the view is gorgeous and my friend and his co-hort got to snap some photographs.

Before heading to the cable car.

At least I know my cable car lines.

I did not direct us to either the downtown turn around on Powell or the one at the end of Fisherman’s Wharf.

Nope.

We hopped on the California Van Ness line at California and Polk Street.

I pointed out things like a good host guide–“there’s the Masonic Temple, in case you wanted to see any Mason’s,” I chuckled when we passed the venue.

“On the left side of the car is Grace Cathedral, there’s Huntington Square Park, here’s the Fairmont Hotel with the Tonga Room, and on the other side is the Top of The Mark, where Vertigo was filmed.”

I told them about how the cable cars run and the difference between a cable car and a trolley.

I got to see some San Francisco I don’t normally see.

Then we hopped off at the end of the line in the Financial District and walked over to the Ferry Building.

They joked about hipsters and gluten-free diets and hippies and vegan donuts and I used the bathroom.

We grabbed a Boccalone sampler of salted pig parts and walked back to the Financial District and for the first time in so long I can’t remember when this actually happened, we went to a bar and watched the end of the Dallas Detroit Game.

My friend was determined to find a place to watch the last few minutes, and his compatriot seemed just as eager, I think they were on the spread (what does that mean anyway?).

So, that’s how it happened to be that at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon I find myself in the hotel bar of the Hyatt Regency downtown sipping a Pellegrino and sending texts to my boyfriend who is away on business in Santa Clara while my friend drinks a pint and watches the football game.

I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

Twice in one weekend I find myself in social settings with bars.

I’m not interested in drinking, if anything it really grosses me out, the smell of it especially, I find myself more and more sensitive to it, but I did not like that I had ended up in a bar on my day off.

I was glad to see my friend.

But I was ready to go home.

We took an Uber from the hotel bar to the rental car after the game finished and I thought, my life, it really is so different from the everyday hustle bustle of the rest of the world.

Not just because I live and work in San Francisco, but also because I practice an actively spiritual way of life that does not include drinking.

I have been reminded at New Years and again today, how the rest of the world works and plays, oh, yeah, this is what “normal” people do.

I have to say.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I don’t mind playing tourist once in a while.

But that’s not a part of town I need to revisit again.

Literally and figuratively.

That being said, it was a gift to see my friend, it is nice to see people from Madison, from UW, from that part of my life.

If only to smash home how radically different a person I have become.

“Your place looks entirely Carmen,” my friend said as he used the bathroom and I gave him the “grand tour” of my in-law.

Although not exactly the person I was when I went to school back at UW Madison, I am apparently not too different either.

Just a bit more clear-eyed.

And present.

And now back to my regular programming.

My “normal.”

Living my own little slice of San Francisco.

Away, way, way, down by the sea.

In my little bungalow that looks like me.

 

Oh Yeah

December 18, 2014

Tomorrow’s my birthday.

I sort of forgot.

“I don’t care about my birthday, or Christmas, or the holidays, or any of it, I just don’t have it in me,” I told my dear friend today on the phone from the playground before the rain started up again.

No those aren’t tears on my face, it’s just the rain.

Ok.

I lie.

There’s some tears in there too.

I cried a bit more than I expected I would today, it would catch me off guard and I wasn’t prepared for it.

I went back to work today after spending a lot of time yesterday nesting in my little home by the sea.

I cleaned, scoured, scrubbed, swept, did laundry, stripped my bedding, washed it all down, as though if I could possibly control my environment I would feel in control of something.

“If it feels like you’re falling down the hill, you’re in God’s will.”

Falling down that hill.

Not sure where it’s going to land either.

Things aren’t neat and tidy like they are in the movies, a quick resolution of the drama, a tight little bundle wrapped in brown paper and tied up with green jute string.

Nope.

My father’s situation is still stable, no change, according to the phone call I took this morning from the hospital.

I took a few phone calls from the hospital, which is probably why I was in tears more than once today.  Emotionally off my equilibrium.

Caught in the unawares by feelings that I thought had already come out.

I was that crazy lady in the terminal at the airport crying.

I was the passenger in the window seat forlornly staring at the cloud columns rising in the sky against the burnt umber of the sunset.

I was the woman lost at the terminal when I landed waiting for my ride to show up, he was in terminal three I was in terminal one.

I was that person.

I was that woman sobbing in her boyfriends arms.

Then kissing him and hugging him and wanting to crawl under his arm and into his coat.

Which I did do later that night and when he didn’t ask if I wanted him to spend the night, he has to be up ridiculously early for work, but just gathered his things to bring over to my house, I was grateful.

Wet and sad too.

The rain, it just doesn’t stop.

It’s like God is crying for me.

And sometimes I don’t know what I am crying for.

The sadness of it all, the wasted living, the relationship that was truncated so long ago and never fully re-established.

I miss my dad, but I miss him like an afterthought of what a father is supposed to be, like the taste of chocolate, a memory in my mouth.

The velveteen rabbit bank he gave me more solid in my mind than conversations about our lives, hopes, dreams, endeavors.

I know, however, I believe firm and true, that my father wanted the best for me.

So, with all due respect to the man still in the coma, I am going to get about living.

That’s really the only option I have–be true to my life and my recovery and my journey and live it the hell up.

Tomorrow I’ll be 42.

Hell, in two hours I will be 42.

In fact, in Australia, I already am 42.

I was a few hours ago as a friend from Sidney wished me a happy birthday from down under.

What will I do with 42?

In the year past I have done some traveling–Florida to see my mom and sister last January, Wisconsin to see my best friend and her skulk in July, Burning Man, to see that family that is extra special dusty and dreamy, in August, and Anchorage, Alaska, to see my father in a hospital johnny that did nothing to hide the ravages of the years.

I would actually like to go back to Alaska, under better circumstances, this year of my life, to see the long days and the light that lasts almost all night in the summer.

I did not see much of Anchorage, but I saw enough that I am intrigued.

Plus, I met one super fabulous woman and I suspect that there are a few others up that way who may be friends of friends that I could connect with.

I also want to go to Hawaii.

When?

I don’t actually know, but I feel like this passage of time and this experience with my father has brought about in me a hunger to know more of my family and more of my family history–which on my father’s side has a great deal to do with the Hawaiian islands.

“How old is grandma?” I asked my cousin as we sat in the airport terminal having lunch.

One of the gifts of the delayed flight time back (I am sure there are others, but this is the only clear one to me, the length of time it took me to get back was deliriously long–one missed connection by four minutes led to me having to wait an extra six and a half hours in the airport and then the weather was bad in San Francisco and my plane, once I was finally on it, was delayed again and we sat on the runway for two hours, then circled for an additional half hour in the air above SFO) was that I received a call from a cousin who I had not seen in over 30 years.

He called when my grandmother saw my post on facecrack about the flight delay, he was nearby at work and we had a little family reunion at the Phoenix airport over some bbq in the terminal.

“She was 13 when Pearl Harbor was bombed,” he said ticking off the numbers we figured out her age.

My grandmother was on the island when the bombing happened.

There’s a lot of history there to be explored.

That’s something I want to do for 42.

I also want to go to Atlanta, Georgia, there’s a really big convention there in July.

Not that I am psyched about going to Georgia in July, but hey, it only happens every five years and I have yet to go.

It’s time I do that as well.

Other goals?

Well, graduate school.

That’s still on the table.

“I’m a therapists wet dream,” I joked morbidly with one of the nurses on my father’s watch.

I had moments of dark humour sweep over me and sometimes it would sneak out.

But it doesn’t really surprise me that one of my desires is to do therapy as a vocation.

I’m a care taker, a home maker, a protector, a nanny, a confidante, a mentor, it makes sense to add therapist there.

“You’re a child psychologist making baby sitter wages, go back to school,” he suggested with blunt authority.

Yes sir.

That graduate school application isn’t going to do itself.

That’s one thing to aim for in this year of 42, another thing on my to do list.

Go back to school my dear.

I want to see the monarch migrations in Big Sur, go to Burning Man, but not work it, well, at least not the way that I have in the past 7 years, I want to hang glide, got to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, I want to spend a holiday at my Uncle’s house in Nevada City, see my grandmother in San Diego, maybe see if I can get my mom to come to San Francisco.

Oh.

Yeah.

It’s also time for another tattoo.

Come January 13th or thereabouts, I will need a commemorative tattoo.

Design yet to be decided upon.

And I want to live, live, live, and experience life fully, dance, sing, hold my boyfriends hand, sleep in the crook of his arms, be of service to my friends and my community, laugh a lot, cry when I need to, ride my scooter, go to school, love as hard as I can.

Really.

That’s it.

I just want to live and love as hard as I can.

I think that’s a great goal for this next year of my life.

42.

I say I do.

Let’s get it on.


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