Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta’

So Very Pleased

September 23, 2018

I got a lot done today.

I hung all my artwork in my new home.

I got my new couch delivered and my new chair and they were quickly assembled and they got here ahead of schedule, which was so awesome as it made it possible for me to not only attend a Zoom session for school, but also get to my group supervision on time.

Effectively making it possible for me to even take enough time to do some much-needed personal grooming and pampering, I went and got a mani/pedi and my eyebrows waxed.

And no, I didn’t glaze out with some trash magazines but actually did homework reading.

My books go where ever I go.

That has become mandatory.

Even if I don’t think I will have time, I’m bringing them along.

One at a time I will get through the reading.

There is so very much.

And though a part of me really wanted to do more homework tonight when I got home from doing the deal, I realized that I needed to finish as much of my unpacking as I could.

I just needed to feel settled completely in my home.

I am pretty damn close.

Hanging all my artwork really felt good.

So too blasting some French House music.

My place is sound proofed, plus the landlord is away camping this weekend.

So I didn’t have any compunctions about using a hammer at 9p.m. at night and hanging up my art.

It feels so nice to look at my space.

My couch is freaking perfect, so to the chair and the pillows I got really work nicely, I almost didn’t get them when I was at the store and I even had a moment when I packed them up and I was going to return them, but something made me stop and I am so glad I did, they work really well and look hella cool.

I’m very happy with my couch.

And tomorrow I will get my coffee table, end tables, and bedside tables set up.

I actually hired a woman from Task Rabbit to do it.

I figured it was worth it to not frustrate myself for hours.

I will instead spend a great deal of time tomorrow studying and doing homework.

I have to.

My work week will be full on again as the mom is back from her work travels and I will have the baby full-time again, I may have some time to do readings, but I won’t have time to do writing, which is what I was doing a lot of in the early afternoons before I headed out to pick up the big kids from school.

So tomorrow is definitely a full day of study.

I have one ladybug coming over to do work for an hour and I’ll get out and do the deal, but other than that, I can’t do anything but the work.

Well.

Probably some laundry.

I will want to do that, but I’ll bring homework with me for sure.

It will be my first time going to a laundry mat in years and though I am not excited about that, I am quite happy with how my home has come together and it feels very good to be here.

There are still some things that need to happen for me to entirely settle in, I haven’t gotten a dresser yet and I still have some clothes in a big garment box, but for the most part the space is nicely curated and it feels like me and it feels fun and polished and warm and sweet.

Once it’s all set up I’ll post a few photos.

I really do love the fact that I got myself a pink velvet couch.

Pink is not my favorite color, but I do like it and the couch is just so very me.

A sort of vintage 1970s Paris couch.

It’s the best.

Yeah.

I am very happy in my new home.

It’s also quite a space of reflection for me, to see how far I have come in the last few years.

When I think about how I moved back from Paris with $10 and what I have now, it’s really astounding how much can change in five years.

I got my Master’s degree, I’m working on my PhD,  I went through a buyout (a San Francisco rite of passage now it seems), I found a wonderful new place to live, I have had the most intense romantic love of my life happen, I have traveled back to Paris three times since I moved back, as well as going to New York three times, New Orleans, Burning Man five times, D.C., Atlanta, and L.A.  I bought a scooter, sold the scooter, bought a new car.

I never thought I would actually buy a new car, and holy shit, I did.

I’m starting a private practice internship.

I am fucking living life.

And yeah.

It does get overwhelming at times, but I have a primary purpose and I’m sticking to that.

The PhD is an amazing gift to get to do, but ultimately, it is not the endpoint for my life, although I know it’s going to consume a good bit of my life for a while, it is not my omega point.

Love is.

Deep love.

Loving myself to the best of my abilities and spreading that love as far out into the world as I can.

And now that my home base is almost secure and safe and settled.

I feel that I will be able to do so with even more veracity and courage.

I am in a good place.

It is a challenge.

There are challenges.

No lie.

But I am in a good place.

And I vow to love as hard as I can from this place as I can.

I promise.

Really.

I do.

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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.

A Few More Days

August 2, 2017

Of lazy.

A few more days of being able to do yoga in the morning during the week.

I have signed up for a class tomorrow morning.

I went to one this morning.

My ass has been thoroughly kicked with the yoga.

But.

I feel good too, especially afterward.

Especially when I run into friends in the neighborhood who tell me how good I look and how much weight I have lost.

“You look amazing!  I mean, really beautiful, and you’ve lost so much weight, I mean, you look great!” She exclaimed as she stopped in front of the garage where I was sweeping this morning.

I had just gotten back from yoga class and wanted to do my good deed for the day and so I pulled in the garbage cans, the recycling, the compost bins and I decided to sweep out the front of the house.

It’s not something I have ever been asked to do, but sometimes it’s just nice to do something to care for the house, it’s not mine, but I do live here and I like to pull up on my scooter to a tidy spot.

I was still in my yoga gear, had sweat like a maniac, had my hair up in a big messy bun, and was sweeping garbage into the gutter.

And I look amazing?

You are sweet.

But.

I could also tell that how I was feeling was reflected in how I look.

I am happy.

And it shows.

I think that’s what the “weight loss” is, that I am happy.

It’s a nice thing to say and maybe it is true, but it doesn’t matter, I feel about the same in my body as always, albeit a bit sore from the work out today.

I also had no problem accepting the compliment.

It’s nice to hear.

My neighbor and her dog went to the park, I kept sweeping and it just lead from one thing to the other.

Hot shower.

Clean sheets on the bed.

Hot breakfast, latte, writing.

Trip to the laundry mat.

Run to the grocery store.

Cook a little.

Write a lot.

Chat on the phone.

Return e-mails for my internship.

Coordinate my schedule for the month.

I have a bunch of consults this week and a probably new client, although I haven’t set anything up yet.  I have been waiting for the assistant director to make the client official.

Although my director did say I could reach out to the client, I feel better waiting for the official look of the e-mail from the assistant director.

I did some research.

I looked over my syllabi for school and I poked around to see if the classes that weren’t posted yet had any of their syllabi in innocuous spots.

Sometimes that happens, a teacher will use a different platform than the one that the school wants everyone to use and a syllabus will get posted somewhere other than the spot I am used to checking.

Anyway.

There was nothing new with school.

I did some personal accounting, adding up my expenditures for the month of July and making a Spending Plan for the month of August.

Which is typically a month where I have an additional financial category.

Burning Man.

I decided this morning to stop being a baby about it and suck it up and be happy that I have enough resources to rent a car and.

Yes.

I applied for a credit card.

I realize I don’t want to tie up a bunch of money on my debit card.

I can and have rented cars before on my debit card, but they typically demand an enormous deposit and the reimbursement of said deposit is almost always a month.

I don’t want to tie up my finances that way.

Especially heading into the fall semester.

Plus.

Well.

I like to travel and I have been lots of places in the last few years, Paris twice, New York twice, New Orleans, Atlanta, and I should be accruing miles for that travel.

But I never have.

I have always found a cheap ticket online and just bought it with my debit card.

Which is fine.

It’s worked well, but I have been thinking it would be nice to be acquiring some miles.

Especially since my dear friend has moved back to France and we’ve discussed probable trips there, and I want to go to Barcelona and I’ll be flying back from LA next June when I do the ALC (Aids Life Cycle Ride.  Hey!  That’s right, I’m riding, you want to donate to the cause?  I need to raise $3,000 it would be great if you donated.  My rider number is: 2713 you can donate here), so I want to start getting travel rewards.

Yup.

That’s right.

I applied for a credit card today.

First credit card I have applied to in 12 years.

I haven’t had one since I got sober.

Cut those bad boys up and threw them in the trash.

I had a lot of debt.

I was very generous when I was drinking and using and I had no problem throwing my plastic around.

That plus.

My first year of sobriety I had no money, like none, I had a bad accident at my first job and was out of work for six, seven months, it took me a long time to get back on my feet and I went over a year and a half without making any payments on those cards I had.

What had been about $12,500 in debt became.

Wait for it.

$112,000.

Yes.

Part of that was back taxes owed the IRS.

But hey, they audited me and took that money right away.

That sucked so hard.

Then there was the pair of panties, the bra and the pair of jeans I had bought using a Victoria Secrets credit card that I never paid on.

It was a sale of $84 that became a debt of $1350.

I cleared it all.

All but my student loan debt.

I had many, many, many conversations with collectors and debt departments and all manner of people who wanted whatever money I had.

I got harassed a lot.

I was mortified.

It was horrendous and I was assured I would drink again if I didn’t take care of it.

So.

After some time.

I made the calls.

I used a script that someone helped me write.

I eventually went and saw a lawyer who took one look at my records, what I was doing and said, “what you are doing is commendable, and at the rate you are going you’re never getting out of it, you need to file for bankruptcy.”

Ugh.

He gave me his services for cheap.

Cheap.

Fuck, it cost me $2500 to file it and for his services.

But.

It went through.

And yes.

I still have debt, but it is just my student loans.

Just.

Bwaahahahahahhaaha.

Excuse me.

Anyway.

I’m worth the investment so I don’t care about the student loans, they will get paid off too when the time is right.

So, to circle back, for eight years I couldn’t have a credit card.

And for the rest of the time I just said, I don’t need one.

I technically don’t.

But.

I would like to not have to deal with the hassle of the car rental and I can rent the damn thing, be done with it, collect some miles on a card, and immediately pay the bill off with my debit card.

That’s what I figure I’ll do.

I’ll rent the car with the card, pay it off right away and then not have to have anything tied up.

That’s the logic anyway.

I don’t know if I can get a card, but I researched and I applied and I’ll just say, I took the action, I’ll let go of the results.

I’ll get to Burning Man one way or the other.

And in the mean time.

I have a few more days of lazy.

Not that I’ve been terribly lazy, just mellow.

Work will start back up for me on Friday.

And of course I have my clients and consults and internship to deal with.

Life is full.

Life is good.

I am happy.

And apparently I have “lost” some weight.

Heh.

 

Teeny, Tiny Steps

July 10, 2015

But forward movement.

Always.

That was what I promised myself when I checked in with my person yesterday and we talked about my fear around the process of getting my course work and reading materials to begin the work outlined in my syllabi for the graduate program.

Holy cats kids.

It’s happening.

It’s coming up.

I have the retreat, which is a part of my first semester of school, in one month.

It is August 9th-16th in Petaluma and I will have my reading done by then.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes I will.

I haven’t purchased any readings yet, although on a complete side note I did find a fantastic shoulder holster on Etsy that I bought for Burning Man.

I have a hip holster and I use it frequently, but there are times when I want something smaller and I have been eyeing up a shoulder holster for a while now.

I found one I like.

I have the money in my spending plan.

And voila.

One more little thing taken care of.

It wasn’t too expensive and it will come out of my clothing allowance for the month, so I don’t even feel like it was a splurge, just something nice to have for myself that I will use and re-use.

I don’t believe this will be my last Burning Man.

I also had the pleasure of being reached out from of all places the Tales from The Playa blog post I submitted a while back that was published on the Burning Man website.

A husband and wife with a two-year old daughter, artists from Paris of all places, are coming for their second burn and wanted tips and suggested for how to burn with their daughter.

It’s nice to know that I can help others with taking their kids to Burning Man and be of service by sharing my experience.

Anyway, aside from the small Burning Man prep that I did, I also investigated deferring my student loan while I am in school.

I realized that with the retreat being in a month, this would be the last month that I make a student loan payment on my undergrad loans.

Which are just slightly less than I thought they were, I just checked, they are still hefty and I have often despaired of every paying them off, but I will, I know I will, I have faith, they currently stand at $31.000 and change.

I don’t pay a whole lot on the monthly, but as my employment will drop down to part-time and I still got to figure out how to pay for my general everyday costs of living in San Francisco, I will need every single spare cent I can spare.

There’s a small part of me that actually wanted to not defer the payment and I may opt to at least continue to make small payments on the interest, but I don’t want to burden myself with extra financial worry when I can with all credibility defer due to being in school full-time.

The paperwork is a bit onerous and it looks like I am going to have to down load it, print it, fill it out by hand, then take it to a person in the financial aid office at CIIS and have them put the official stamp of approval on the request.

One tiny step.

Go to my student loan services website, log in, and look at the paperwork.

That’s all I have to do.

I don’t have to do it perfect, I don’t have to do it all today, I don’t have to figure it out.

One small action taken.

Tomorrow when I go to work I will ask if I may borrow the printer in the office, I’ll print off  the form and then I will fill it out on my lunch break.

I will then call the financial aid office and ask when I can come in and have the form signed so that I may send it out in the mails and have it all set up before August rolls around.

I have a month.

I will get the things done.

And tomorrow I can also find out about meeting with my advisor.

I can e-mail the department.

I may just do that tonight and see about killing two birds with one stone and make an appointment to meet with my advisor and go to the financial aid office and get them to fill out the paperwork.

I can also find out what’s going on with my awards package.

I have yet to receive it in the mail.

I have been watching the mail like a hawk.

I did get my postcard from Atlanta though!

That was fast.

I wasn’t expecting to already get it, postcards seem to take a while to get to me when I mail them out.  And as I had forgotten that I mailed it, I had a nice surprise when I looked in my mail box this evening.

A little reminder of what happens when I take those baby steps.

I wrote about wanting to go to Atlanta long before I took any real “actions” the writing was the first part.

Then more writing, some affirmations, some I am a world traveler writing and the destination I plugged in was Atlanta (since having done this many times before and it always seems to work out–I have written about traveling to Paris, lived there six months, going to London, to Rome, to Burning Man, travel to San Diego, I am writing now about the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Paia, Maui–where my grandmother was born) and eventually I took another action.

I registered for the conference.

Then another action.

I started looking for flights.

Then for lodging.

And eventually, without having to make a huge deal out of it, I got to Atlanta and went and now I am back.

Getting ready to do the graduate school thing and get into those books and do the fully self-supporting financial actions that I have also been writing about.

One of which is: I am financially successful and self-supporting, I have paid my student loans in full.  I have paid my graduate school tuition in full (when I started writing that I had no clue I was even going to apply for a scholarship, let alone win two.).  And this last one, which cracks me up, but is true, I own a new Casper mattress.

I want a new bed.

Sleep is going to be very important to my graduate school endeavors, I know it.

So.

One little baby step today.

And the ball starts rolling and the next thing you know I’ll be putting my name plate above the door of my own private practice.

Well.

Let me not get too far ahead of myself.

I know what I need to do next.

And I know that as long as I stay focused on the small actions in front of me, the rest will follow.

It always does.

Happy, Joyous

July 5, 2015

And packed.

Yup.

I called it an early night, although I had said, yes to dancing, yes to hanging out, yes to more stuff, my heart was just not in it.

And I have to say.

Thank God.

I got back from a really big emotional night, walking in the rain, with no umbrella–which in the South, is not such a huge deal, at least it’s warm–but slightly chagrined as I had actually bought an umbrella earlier in the day (and of course as soon as I bought it, it stopped raining, oh well, I’ll have a new ‘brolly for the playa), and had a late dinner and took it easy.

I talked to a dear friend on the phone and found myself in tears.

It’s been quite the experience.

Overwhelming, moving, intense.

And I did not do it all and I did do a bit of self-flagellation for doing self-care.

Shouldn’t I be cramming 800 different things into my day and night, who needs sleep, or quiet time, or writing time, or any of that when there is spiritual intoxication to be had.

But the fact is, self, I do.

I need quiet time.

I needed to get off campus today and take a break from it all and I needed food.

Real food.

Not fried, processed, greasy, sugary, carnival food.

I swear there is not a piece of fruit to be bought in the mile radius of my hotel.

And the offerings around the Georgia Dome and the Centennial Convention Center did not help me out.

I searched the internet last night and found a few farmer’s markets and a couple that looked really promising that were close to the MARTA–the municipal train for Atlanta–and I took the half mile walk to the station and chose to take self-care with my food and prioritize that before anything else.

And lo and behold.

The damn thing was closed for the holiday.

Despite it being posted on the website that it was open.

I was frustrated and upset and was kicking myself, I should have just stayed put, sucked it up and gotten by with whatever I could get by on.

Then I asked myself what would a friend of mine do.

It just popped right into my head.

Uber.

I opened the app on my phone, dropped the pin and was picked up in five minutes, which was nice since it was raining on me, and my parade.

The driver was awesome and as I explained what I was doing and where I had intended to go, he made a suggestion for me and we headed to Little Five Points.

It was perfection.

I felt like I was with my people.

My tattooed, slightly edgy, yes, you might call them Atlanta hipsters, and I relaxed and for the first time since I have been in Atlanta, I wasn’t the only girl around with tattoos.

The driver dropped me off at Aurora Coffee and I had a scrumptious cold brewed iced coffee and a local organic bottled fruit and vegetable smoothie and a banana.

I got right with the world and felt so much better.

I walked out and wandered around the neighborhood and discovered the Junkman’s Daughter.

A vintage store meets head shop meets rockabilly meets costume emporium.

I bought my umbrella, a pair of tights, a pair of earrings and a crinoline to wear underneath my black and white polka dot dress.

I was quite pleased.

Especially since the crinoline was such a steal.  Had I bought it in San Francisco, it would have been $50 at any of the stores on Haight.

Here.

It was ten.

Score.

Then I saw a atm for my bank and I was able to finally deposit the check I had been carrying around since Wednesday from my employers for my health insurance for the month of July and as I was taking out a few bucks in cash I had a feeling and looked over at what.

What am I looking at?

I suddenly saw it.

An organic market.

Just there.

Just hidden, set back from the street and not the first thing anyone might notice had they not been looking for it.

Hallelujah.

I went in and was so happy.

Organic, fresh, healthy, sustainable, tasty food, get in my belly.

I bought some raw almonds, a container of cut up papaya, three bananas, three apples, and some raw coconut.

I sat in the store at a little cafe area and had some almonds and a banana and decided I was ready to go back into the fray.

I, yes, went back to Aurora and bought another coffee, I mean, when was I going to have any better where I was headed and proceeded to order up another Uber.

I got back to the hotel, slipped into my crinoline, it looks fabulous underneath my polka dot dress, if I do say so, and then went out to grab some solid food.

Yes.

I went back to Smoke Ring.

And was it packed.

Holy moly.

The secret was out.

But I was handily sat in the same section and my waitress remembered me and kept my ice tea glass full and made menu recommendations and treated me like a princess.

I over tipped and with a belly full of smoked chicken, brisket, corn on the cob and smoked and grilled brussels sprouts, I walked the mile back to the convention center.

And yes.

I was a tourist.

I bought a magnet.

I bought a couple of postcards and filled them out and dropped them in the mail.

I even bought a t-shirt.

Gasp.

Then, instead of trying to push and make things happened, I just took a walk.

I ran into a friend, who too was desperate for sustenance and I gave him an apple.

I don’t know that I have ever seen someone so happy for a piece of fruit.

I sat in the grass for a while and drank a bottle of sparkling water and got some sun on my face, the rain had stopped, and I gave myself the quiet I needed before heading in with all the other folks from all the other places all over the world and got my gratitude on.

And now.

Well.

it’s just about done.

It’s a quarter of three in the morning and I have to get up in an hour.

Part of me thinks I should just head to the air port now.

But I think it better to at least get a few zzz’s under my belt.

Grateful for this experience.

Grateful to not beat myself up.

Grateful I let myself take care of myself.

I am a better person for the experience.

When I take care of myself.

I can be of better service to another.

And that.

Really.

Is how to be.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

Let alone packed and ready to head home.

See you soon.

In a foggy city on the other side of the country.

Thank you Atlanta for all your gifts.

Big hugs.

I’ll see y’all in five years.

There Is No Dress Rehearsal

July 4, 2015

The tears pricked my eyes as I heard the slow Texas drawl of the man standing in front of the room.

“So live your life now, today, go, do it, what ever it is that you want to do, do it now, don’t wait.”

The tears slid down my face and puddled in my cleavage.

Fortunately I have a bit of cleavage, it can hold a few tears.

It was not the only time today that I shed tears, but it was the most profound and poignant share I heard today.  There were many great and marvelous things I heard today, miracles, and sweetness, and grace.

So much grace.

I happened upon the man with the Southwestern accent completely on accident and I was happy to sit and listen for his entire story.

To bear witness to another person’s life, to grow from their experience, to enrich my own and to understand completely that the things I have done, the risks taken, even when I fell completely flat on my face, were all so worth it.

He spoke of wanting to live in New York, so he and his wife just up and sold all there things and moved to New York for six months.

And he spoke of service and showing up and what that looks like.

It is such a small thing, this showing up, to the page, to the screen, to my words, to my experience, to my life, to show up, be present and accounted for, such a gift.

I don’t always like who I am or what I see, but I am no fool, I see the value of my worth, though I deign to accept much by way of accolades.

“You so, so, so deserve this,” she said to me tonight as we sat in the Georgia Dome counting down the minutes and waving at folks and sitting in awe of the vast number of people present.

She was talking about my graduate school program and my scholarships, my friend has just finished her 3,000 hours required for her MFT liscence and passed all her tests and went to the same school as I am going to for my graduate degree.

She admitted to me that she had wondered what I was going to do and how I was going to handle the financial burden and whether it was the best choice for me.

She and others.

Others who I love and admire and I knew the financial burden going in, but there, underneath it all, was a still quiet, sure voice, that said, do it anyway, the money will come.

And it has.

And that scares me, but also shows me that I am on the right track, walking through the wide open door and walking towards that sunlight I know so well which fills my spirit and leads me forward.

It’s bright walking into this light and I cannot see what it holds, everything is backlit and the screen is dark, I can only see vague outlines, but I can feel the warmth and I know that I am going in the right direction.

I am living my life unafraid, well, mostly unafraid.

I do a lot of acting as if.

Act as if your student loan will get paid off from your undergrad degree.

Act as if you will be able to pay for graduate school tuition.

Act as if you will be able to afford living in San Francisco while going to graduate school.

Faith.

I have faith.

In more and more areas of my life, I have faith.

It astounds me and as I hugged my dear, dear, sweet friend I knew that she was right, I do deserve these things, I do deserve abundance and joy and prosperity, and love.

I do.

I also know that I have to play it forward, I have to be of service, I have to continue to grow and change.

And live.

Because there really is no dress rehearsal, there is only this day, only this life, only this moment.

I got to talk to a friend tonight and share how much I wished he was here, even when I have thousands of people around me I can get lonely, though it was good to have some alone time today, some quiet time just for myself.

Again.

How grateful I am to have my own hotel room.

When this thing goes to Detroit I am booking my own room again, unless I am sharing it with a partner, I want to have my own space, it has been saving my butt.

I slept in today and when I did wake up it was raining, big thunderstorm, flashes of lighting, rain pelting the windows.

It felt so nice to lie in bed and listen to the rain.

I fell back asleep and let myself get the rest my body needed.

Then a nice bit of time sitting and being still and taking a knee and doing that thing and writing, doing the things that anchor me to my day, so that I can go out and experience my life.

This has been quite the experience and I am so grateful to have had it and to have another day of it.

Though, I will be playing hooky a little tomorrow and heading into another part of Atlanta.

I need to get out of the downtown area and get some fresh fruit for myself and wander around a little on my own, do my own exploring and have my own little adventure, maybe go meander around an art gallery, and hit a farmers market.  I looked up a few possibilities and I want to do that for a couple of hours before going back into the fray.

A wonderful, marvelous fray, no doubt of that at all, but a fray nonetheless.

I am glad that I can see that I live my life and take myself places and let myself explore things just a little off the beaten path.

I found a wonderful shop today in my neighborhood and they helped me take care of my humidity hair, homemade pomade with fresh lemons in it, my hair looks amazing and I smell like lemon merengue pie.

I bought a tiny jar of it and a pretty ring as a souvenir of my trip.

A little bauble, but sweet, and it matched my pants–I wore my safety orange cords and took advantage of the warm weather to wear platform sandals all day.

I had a great little conversation with the ladies there and got a great tip on a BBQ joint in the neighborhood and had an amazing lunch, yes by myself, dining alone, but smiling, enjoying the view, enjoying the continual adventure of my life.

More adventures to follow tomorrow.

More adventures every day.

I got a second chance at my life.

I get to live.

And I am going to squeeze as much from this life as I can.

Do as much as I can.

Be as present as I can.

It’s the least I can do.

Considering the gifts I have been given.

So many gifts.

So much.

Love.

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service

July 3, 2015

So how about.

No bras.

No elastic bands.

No dental floss.

No idea what I was on when I was packing.

“Seriously, Martines,” I said aloud to myself as I finished unloading the contents of my rolling suitcase–a rolling suitcase that I hope makes it through the weekend and back to San Francisco.

It’s time for an upgrade.

I have had it for much longer than I realized when I looked back and recounted all the trips it has gone on with me, beginning with my return to Paris, sober, in 2007.

I have had it for 8 years, that’s a good stretch.

And I know how to pack it, I can get a lot of stuff in it and be jamming out the door fairly quick.

in fact, when I was done with my packing last night I still had 45 minutes before I had to leave for the airport and really, that was also giving myself a generous amount of wiggle room to get through the gate and to be on time for the plane.

Not that it mattered, considering how long we sat on the runway.

And, fyi, this blog may come out strange, discombobulated, unhinged a teensy tiny bit.

I have not had much sleep.

In fact, barely any at all.

I am going to sleep so hard in my great big king size bed.

Yup.

I’m in my own room, with my own bathroom and bed and though I had not planned on dropping the big cash (and it’s not too bad, really $360 for the three nights) I am happy and grateful to have a quiet place to rest my head and to collect myself.

I am also in a perfect place location wise.

Just outside of the conference grounds enough to not feel like I am in the noise and the ruckus and yet, close enough I can walk there in a bout fifteen to twenty minutes.

Although this evening when I ventured out I took the complete opposite direction of what the navigation on my phone told me and I was so certain I was right it took me 45 minutes to walk the 18 minute route.

Oops.

I didn’t mind so much though, I got some great shots on my phone and I was happy to play photographer during the pretty early evening light and to be traipsing about in my light summer dress, my sleeveless summer dress.

It’s actually summer here and not quite as bad as I thought it would be.

I am handling the heat and the humidity pretty well.

The lack of clothing and toiletries options not withstanding.

I really don’t know what had my brain pre-occupied that I missed completely putting bras in my suitcase.

I mean, come on.

That was the discovery that prompted the out loud scolding earlier.

However, I got over it pretty fast and was grateful I have the one I am wearing and it’s my favorite and it’s black, so it will go with most of my things anyhow, but it was annoying to discover that I had over packed panties and completely spaced my bras.

I had also spaced hair elastics.

Something I never do and I couldn’t even locate one in my lip gloss bag, where I usually have one or two squirreled away.

No pigtails for me.

Which is too bad, pigtails would rock with the dress i have planned for tomorrow, or even braids.

Ah well.

And the dental floss.

That was just a fluke, I used the last without realizing how little I had left.

I suppose a run on a pharmacy will fix the majority of those things.

All except the bras.

That’s a bummer.

But, in the scheme of things, in the rough out line of my day, really nothing to be even a little bent out of shape over.

I had a great day.

I ran into someone I know from Paris.

That was awesome, and he handily pulled my suitcase around for me while I took care of getting my registration lanyard and paperwork.

I had lunch with three of my lady friends.

One of whom happens to be the lady who came to my rescue when I was in Anchorage last December and drove me all over the place and was basically the person who kept me tethered to the planet and able to do the work I needed to do to show up for my dad.

I cannot, side bar, believe I am still writing, it’s beginning to feel like an odd surreal painting of someone typing words, I’m so removed I’m sleeping on the couch.

THere’s a couch in the room too.

It’s a really big room.

It could have held three people quite comfortably–two in the big bed and another on the couch.

But, as I said, more than happy to have my own chill quiet, calm space.

I need it.

I got a little lost in the crowds today and at one point felt terribly alone, funny that, horribly alone, despite being surrounded by thousands of like-minded folks.

I was dressed up after having taken an exquisite achingly hot shower and washing and shaving and doing up my hair, lots of flowers.

You can take the girl out of San Francisco, but you can’t take the flowers out of her hair.

I milled around the convention center and when the band, a really good band, an astoundingly good band, when I recall other such dances (though none as heavily attended) that I have gone to over the last ten plus years, played “I Had The Time of My Life” I got stupid.

Yeah.

Shut up.

I got sad listening to a Dirty Dancing cover song.

Yup.

Because that is where my disease will take me, sappy land, with no one around, yet thousands present, lonely, though so not alone, and a bit maudlin.

Really.

A dearth of bras is not that bad.

Feeling lonely in the middle of thousands of people is horror though.

I muddled through, I turned back twice, then made myself go and approach the dance floor, the music was good and so what if I didn’t know anyone.

I would by the end of the evening.

And when I least expected, I did run into a friend I haven’t seen in two years.

We danced like fools.

I danced the self-pity away and ended the evening surrounded by amazing women and sweet friends.

I sweated off a pants size and got my self hoarse singing along to the band.

Then.

A late night dinner–ham and cheese omelet and a side of fruit–in a 24 hour diner downtown.

I had come full circle.

And another friend pinged me and joined me for a last-minute conversation before we both called it a night.

There is much to do tomorrow.

And sleep must to be had.

I can go without the proper undergarments a few more days.

But I need my sleep.

So, with that.

I bid you adieu.

Good night.

Aufviederschoen.

Good bye.

To you, and you, and you.

Big ol’ hugs from Atlanta.

I’ll keep you abreast, though braless, of further adventures.

Real soon.

Like after I sleep 18 hours.

Get A Room!

July 1, 2015

It’s an embarrassment of riches, this.

I just got a room in Atlanta.

After all the kerfuffle with the bed and breakfast, I got a room.

I don’t know that I had mentioned it in the last few blogs, but I found out late last week that the bed and breakfast that I had made reservations back, oh, I don’t know, four, five months ago, had a sudden and very unexpected plumbing problem come up.

I was told that the extent of the issue was such that the entire facility was being shut down to address the issue, and so sorry, we don’t have a room for you, we hope you are able to find accommodations and enjoy your time in Atlanta.

Well.

I wasn’t even fazed.

I was later.

But at the time that I received the e-mail, there was a small quiet voice that said, there’s something better for you and don’t worry about it, it will get taken care of.

So.

I didn’t worry about it.

I went about my day, I did my job, I talked to my friends and I enjoyed the sunshine in Sonoma.

Although as my friend said to me later on the phone when I broke the news to her–she was going to share the room with me in Atlanta, so she was getting screwed as well, “working in paradise is not the same as vacationing in paradise.”

So true.

I like working back in the city much more.

Granted.

There were some really nice perks with being in Sonoma, but it’s so much easier for me to deal with my job when I can actually leave my job and have some private space.

I haven’t been woken up once this week by a tantrum or crying boy or a slamming door or loud booming steps running past my door.

That’s been really nice.

Plus my breaks have been a little more regulated, and that makes my work day a much happier day.

A happier day and a surprising day today.

I awoke this morning and turned off the alarm on my phone, threw off the covers, swung my legs over the side of the bed and took a big inhale of breath and broke out into a smile.

I was gifted some lovely art yesterday.

In fact, I was gifted two pieces of art!

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

I had a lady bug give me a painting that she had done herself and wrapped up in pretty pink and blue and white paper and top with a big pink bow.

“Congratulations!”  She said and hugged me.

Oh.

It’s so nice to be seen and loved.

It’s a jackalope!

On a hot pink background.

It, uh, hahaha, fits right in with the rest of my apartment.

Apparently you may now consider me the bunny lady.

At least I’m not the cat lady.

Even though I do miss having a cat, I do.

Then last night another friend texted me as it was passing the ten o’clock hour, “you still up?”

For you friend.

I’ll get out of bed.

Just saying.

“Of course!”  I responded.

“I have something for you, can I park in the drive way?”

I walked out and there he stood with a Diebenkorn in hand.

Oh dear God.

Thank you for loving me so much.

Thank you for art.

Thank you for keeping me sober and abstinent today, for not having me smoke cigarettes, for not having me eat sugar and for having me do all the work that ends up with me being given so many precious gifts.

Gifts I never.

Ever.

Ever.

Expect.

And gifts that I am learning.

Sometimes quickly.

But mostly slowly.

To accept without saying anything other than, “thank you.”

Not, “I don’t deserve this, or you shouldn’t have!”

Nope.

Just a sweet simple thank you and my heart grows ever bigger.

More room in there for more love.

Who knew it could get this big.

Bigger than the moon rising over the Castro as I stepped out into the still warm evening air and read the series of text on my phone.

It was the travel itinerary of a woman I have never met who got my number from a man I have never met who does this thing once a week in the city on Wednesday nights with a friend of mine and I was passed his information and called him as I was touching down in LA.

“Hey, __________, I’m a friend of ____________ from ___________ he said you might have a room?”

Turns out he had a block of rooms with space in one of them.

He said I could have it.

Whoop!

Then I went off on my LA adventure and had my celebration like there was no tomorrow.

The best way to live, by the way, not in tomorrow, but in the right freaking now.

That’s where the God is.

The juice.

The love.

Right here.

Right now.

In front of my beautiful new art.

As I mentioned, the other piece I was given was a Diebenkorn, Ocean Park No. 67.

It is glorious.

A print from the DeYoung that was mounted on wood and cropped such that the title and DeYoung logo have been taken out, it’s heavy and my friend is going to help me mount it up on the wall.

Right now it’s in front of me, luminous with light and blues and greens, sage, creamy soft buttery yellow, I told my friend that it remind me of the ocean, the dunes, the green grass and the way the light is at the golden hour.

I had not known the name of the piece when I told him what it looked like to me, so when I googled it, I was pleasantly surprised to see the title of the piece was Ocean Park.

It made me smile.

Seeing that painting as soon as I woke up, all the colors in my room coral and beach blue and cream and light, love again, there, against the wall, waiting for me to awaken and walk towards it.

I walked toward accepting it all.

Just like I did a few hours ago when I stepped out underneath that glowing moon.

I told the woman who got my information from the man who offered me a room, that I would take over her reservation.

Sure.

It’s more than I was going to spend.

But who knows.

Maybe a friend needs a place to stay.

Or maybe I’m just supposed to have the experience of being on my own.

I won’t be alone.

And though I may feel lonely, I can, even in a crowd of 80,000 people.

I know that I am not alone.

I am loved.

Lit up.

Surrounded my art.

My soft, sweet, bright room.

And love.

Yes.

I got a room.

A room of my own.

With a window on the world.

My view from here.

Spectacular.

Let It Go

June 22, 2015

Let it all go.

Revel in the sunshine, thick, golden, syrupy sunshine, splayed down the mountains.

The song on the radio.

The blue sky above.

My foot on the pedal and I’m off to Glen Ellen for a week for work.

I was anxious this morning, I find traveling extraordinarily exciting and fulfilling, but there’s always a touch of anxiety around it, what to pack, how to pack, am I taking too much, too little, do I have my toothbrush?

It was also a day of coordination, clean up the house, make sure my ducks were in a row, tidy up the back yard from the bonfire the other night, make the bed, water the plants, do a little grocery shopping so that I was able to eat for the day, but not my typical three market shopping.

Just a run up to Other Avenues–a pint of strawberries, a 1/2 dozen eggs, a travel size box of toothpaste.

I may or may not, the verdict is still out, being going to LA at the end of the week.

I have let go any expectations, I don’t want to force things, I am liking the idea of a friendship and going slow so LA might be off the table.  I haven’t heard either way, but I know, I know without a doubt, that there is nothing wrong.

I mean.

I am working in sunshine all week.

I may get to go to LA at the end of it.

And next week?

Atlanta.

I am going to get to wear summer clothes, no scarves thank you very much, for the next two weeks.

That is such a huge gift.

I love San Francisco, but I love sunshine too.

Having been previously diagnosed with seasonal depression when I was younger (not to mention the clinical anxiety, and depression I was diagnosed with as an adult) sunshine is like medicine to me.

I love Wisconsin, but I don’t think I can ever live there again.

Not enough sunshine.

And I love the Outer Sunset and the beach and I know without any doubt in my mind that I will always live by the ocean, how can I not, it soothes me, it cradles me to sleep, “you can hear the ocean from here!” He said opening up the back door to my studio.

But.

I could really do without the cold summers and fogginess.

I know it’s the tradeoff for having rent I can afford in the city, although the rents in the neighborhood have gone up and if you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be living in the Outer Sunset I would have told you to go fire up your crack pipe.

I yearn for sunshine.

So.

This work trip, a gift.

All travel, really a gift.

I watched the ocean sparkle and glimmer with light this afternoon on the way out to the airport, my employers had me rent a car and Uber out to SFO to pick it up, and was stunned again by the beauty that is just there, right there for me to access.

I enjoyed the ride.

I love car trips.

I like driving.

But I like being a passenger even more.

The watching out the windows, the light moving past, the glamour of road travel.

Yes.

I am a weirdo.

I think road travel has a certain kind of glamour to it.

It also has a certain sound track and I spent a lot of time flipping through the radio stations on the car before I found what I liked.

It should be classic rock and maybe some blues and ballads to sing to.

A little folk is lovely, but classic rock does it for me.

It’s how I grew up, it’s what was playing on the radio when my mom and sister and mom’s boyfriend took the first big road trip of my life from California out to Wisconsin.

I was four and a half?

Five tops.

Riding in the back of the Volkswagen Bug, listening to music, watching the clouds scroll by, and the light, the light always capturing me, doing something magical and alchemic to my soul.

My heart burnished with 70s rock melodies and high bright blue skies and sunshine.

No wonder I wanted to move back out West as soon as I graduated from college.

Once I had made the first initial foray I knew I would never come back.

My mom told me she knew that when I got to San Francisco there was no turning back for me, she had not wanted to buy me the plane ticket, it was a gift, one of the few my mom got right on the nose (I asked for it specifically, it may have been the only time in my life I really asked for what I wanted from my mom and she gave it to me.  Thanks mom.) and I knew she regretted it on some levels, her baby flying the coop at the ripe age of 29.

When I drive in California, those songs come back to me, the sunshine comes back to me, I am overwhelmed with sense memory and the smell of the air, the slight oceanic tinge, the dry grass, the time of day even will envelop me with memory.

Some concrete and tangible.

Some vague, yet, so strong, so filled with meaning and emotion I could feel my tender heart, well, growing more tender.

I teared up driving into the sun under a canopy of spreading oak trees as I turned up Sonoma Mountain Road heading to the house the family has rented for the next week.

There was something about the sun dappling through those branches, the Steve Miller Band on the radio, and the smell of it all that made me so aware of how amazing my life is and how much work and effort it has taken to get back here, having circled back and completed this revolution of change and growth in my life.

To be exactly where I am at.

The still point.

Of.

Perfection.

Save The Date!

February 3, 2015

I sat down with the mom today at lunch while the little guy was napping and the big guy was still at school and worked out some dates for this summer.

I’ll be helping the family in Sonoma for three weeks over the summer.

The first week will be June 22nd-26th.

I’ll be working as though I’m at their house in the city, same hours, but I’ll be living at the house with them.  I’ll have my own bedroom and bathroom separate from the rest of the house.

It’ll be my first time doing live in overnight care.

Although, technically, that’s not true, I was basically live in care every time I went to Burning Man with the families I worked for.

But this will not be Burning Man.

This will be Sonoma.

They have also requested another two weeks in August, the 17th-21st and also the following week, the 24th-28th.

I’d have a rental car to come and go from the city with, I’d drive up and back on my own, and most likely have the care for the whole weekend in between the August weeks.

I already know I will need to come back to San Francisco on the weekends.

My job is a job and I need weekends off.

The family will also be on vacation at the end of July, the 27th-31st.

Now this is time that interests me.

Not necessarily because I had something planned around it, but because the family will be on vacation with friends out-of-town and I won’t be going.

If I don’t take it as vacation time the mom would probably come up with work for me to do around the house.

Not interested.

I am not contractually bound to vacation at the same time, but it is the polite thing to do and I have two weeks of vacation time of which I haven’t used any since starting.

I have taken three sick days to deal with my dad in Anchorage, but that was it.

Otherwise.

I have shown up and done my job.

Done it well I should add.

The youngest starts pre-school the week of September 2nd.

Both the boys will be in school, but the family will still need a nanny and mother’s helper.  The mom and I basically agreed that I would stay on with them while I was in graduate school, that she would take me for whatever hours I feel I can spare.

Ah.

Job security.

It’s an awful nice thing to have.

And vacation time.

The trip to Atlanta falls on the 4th of July holiday paid days off, so I don’t have to take vacation hours for the trip.

Which, aside, is really looking up to being an awesome adventure.

My girl friend who I am going to be splitting a room with at the Self Discovery Center Bed and Breakfast, just informed me via text that she was able to get on my flight!

We are travel buddies!

I am so stoked.

I’m a freaking dork right now.

We’re totally going to be the annoying people who ask to switch spots so that we can sit next to each other.

Yay!

Yay!

Yay!

Three days with one of my best girl friends ever, traveling, hanging out at a bed and breakfast, catching up, going to see friends, lots and lots and lots of friends.

Like 70,000 or so.

I do not exaggerate.

I also found out the awesome lady in Anchorage who I became friends with when I was up there is going too.

We’ll be having a reunion, I can feel it!

So all of this means, when do I take my two weeks vacation time and what do I do?

I could take that week that the family is gone at the end of July and go to Wisconsin.  I would love to see my best friend from back home.

I also had a fleeting idea of going to Hawaii.

I have never been and I bet July is not really a time most folks are there.

I still am planning a trip down to Chula Vista to see my grandmother, but I don’t think I want to wait until the end of July.

My next thought is, I should take my second week of vacation and go to Burning Man.

I could be there the first week that the boys are in school, the family won’t need me as much and I could go get my dusty on.

I still don’t know the time frame for the graduate school program.

That is the question that for me is up in the air.

I just checked the website again and they don’t have the dates for the program up yet.

So that’s on the back burner.

Burning Man.

What would I do if I wasn’t going to see you?

I suspect that I will go, even if I don’t know how, even when I was in Paris I figured I would be going back for the burning of the dude in the desert.

And I did.

This would be year nine for me and I want to go.

The question is what to do for the week in July?

Take it as vacation time or work odd jobs around the house.

I know I will need a week off for the retreat that kicks off the graduate school program and then if I go to Burning Man, that’s another week.

That could be my two-week vacation all wrapped up with those obligations.

I suppose no plans need to be made right now.

I know I’ll be in Sonoma for three weeks this summer and I know I’ll be in Atlanta for a long weekend in July.

I suspect I will be in Chula Vista for a weekend soon and other than that, I don’t know, I don’t have to know and it’s going to be just fine.

It’s the second day in February, I don’t need to be living in September quite yet.

I’ve got a few dates to go on before I get there.

Some friends to see.

Some adventures to be had.

Some dancing to be done.

Some present to be present for.

In the moment.

Where all the best things happen.


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