Posts Tagged ‘book’

First Book Ordered

July 26, 2019

And summer is done.

Well.

Not quite.

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

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

I got back Tuesday night at 7a.m.

My god.

My bed was so nice to get into.

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

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

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

It is one thing to know about the Cuban embargo.

It is another thing entirely to experience it.

The country is poor.

I mean.

Really poor.

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

So much.

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

Horses and carts people.

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

ON THE FREAKING HIGHWAY.

More horses then cars.

I am not kidding.

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

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

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

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

It was fucking hot.

It was humid.

So humid.

My hair did some batshit crazy things.

And I was constantly sweating.

Er.

Glowing.

I was glowing.

A lot.

 

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

I also learned to wear my hair up real fast.

Real fast.

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

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

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

But mostly, I used the umbrella for sun shade.

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

In fact.

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

I had to bring everything that I wanted or needed.

There were no stores to buy sunblock or extra toothpaste.

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

Everyone buys bottled water.

Everyone.

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

I mean.

500 year old cobblestones ain’t clean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aside, Che Guevero’s given name is Ernesto.

 

This is Cafe Bohemia.

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

A lot.

My poop turned orange.

I know.

But it did!

I have never had orange poo before.

Anyway.

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

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

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

It was a fucking oasis.

An air conditioned oasis.

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

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

I was the queen of beverages at every meal.

San Pellegrino.

Mango frappe.

Cafe con leche.

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

OOOOOH.

So damn good.

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

I was in heaven.

 

Mas Habana was my little haven.

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

Also black market.

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

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

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

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

I am a good tipper.

Once a waitress.

Always a waitress.

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

So more pictures to come.

And more tales to tell.

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

Promise.

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Sneaky Blog

February 12, 2019

I really should probably look at my homework.

But.

Fuck.

I have done a lot in the last couple of days and I also really should let myself off the hook once in a while.

I wrote a paper yesterday as well as attended a three-hour training in Berkeley for my internship.

Day off, what day off?

I also did laundry and roasted a chicken for food prep and packed up my carry-on for a trip this weekend.

I am going to do a quick zoom in and out of D.C.

A friend gave me some miles and I’ve booked an Air BnB with a fireplace in Georgetown.

We’re going to hang out, go to coffee shops and eat nice food.

I might not even go out all that much.

Sit in front of the fire-place and toast my toes.

I am going to do as much homework as possible this week so that I can actually enjoy my time there.

The trip was originally supposed to be before I started up school again but my friends schedule got wonky and we had to push it out.

So.

I will have a quick two and a half days and I’ll be right back in it.

Next weekend will be my weekend off.

Of course it does mean staying on top of things and as of such I did read 65 pages of an article today.

No fucking article should be that long.

Just saying.

Thank goodness the baby took a long nap today.

Poor little guy.

He’s been sick.

Went with the mom to the pediatrician today and it turns out he’s got an eye infection, a sinus infection and an ear infection in both ears!

He’s going to get a whopping big dose of antibiotics in the next couple of days and hopefully it will all get knocked out.

And yes.

I do actually have his cold.

I suspected I was coming down with it on Friday.

Sure as shit, Saturday I was running a fever.

But there was really nothing to do about that.

I got up, I did my morning routine, I went and saw my clients.

Fortunately it never really got anywhere as bad as the little guy’s had.

I’m a tiny bit sick, more like a light runny nose and some yuck congestion in my nose and throat when I wake up in the morning.

It’s like I got the diet version of his cold.

It’s enough to be a little annoying, but not enough to knock me down.

I will admit I was in bed pretty early last night, just to make sure that I was getting enough sleep.

That is the thing I constantly have to do for myself, get enough sleep.

Other things are getting dropped.

Socializing.

Blogging.

My blogging has been slight and I’m not excited about that, but I have to address homework pretty much every day and there is just so much to read.

My God.

The reading is heavy.

I am so very grateful I knocked out three books before the semester started.

I’m also 3/4s of the way through one of my class readers, which is going to be really helpful as I move forward.

But there is just always something else to read.

And I am constantly being sent stuff to read as well.

I can’t do it all

And I can’t blog as much as I would like, but I feel like I’m in a good place right now, turned in that paper yesterday and today did a substantive post to one of my classes.

I need to check into the other two and see what’s on the agenda, but I don’t have to do anything quite yet.

Aha.

I actually did.

And I just did it.

Hopefully I didn’t screw with the flow of the blog, but yeah, I had an inkling there was something I needed to attend to in my Arts and Creativity in Leadership class.

And there was.

So.

That’s done and now I can say I checked in and took care of it and between that, the discussion posts, the responses to others I made today and all the reading, I’m pretty good with my efforts today.

Really.

As long as I stay sober today, ultimately nothing else matters.

But I do want to do the work to get this PhD.

It does feel really important.

I have had some people in and out of my cohort as well exhort me to do a book about what I am writing on and to have it full of photographs of my tattoos.

I am actually thinking about that quite a lot.

I do know some photographers.

I should start asking around.

Of course the two that pop up in my head first are professionals and would probably be a lot to use, but it may be worth it to start engaging in looking.

I would like to document my tattoos anyway and since I’ll be writing about them and my experiences I am also leaning very heavily towards adding them into my dissertation as well.

Which is something I can do with the methodology I’m using.

Things to think about.

I also have to remember I’m meeting with one of my professors next Friday, pop that on my calendar.

My online program piece uses a lot of Zoom meetings, but I can’t make most of them wtih my schedule.

I actually had one this Saturday, client cancelled, and I checked in with one of my professors who lives on the East Coast.

We had a great talk and he gave me some of the best compliments.

I mean.

I was really blown away.

He said, “Well, Carmen, I just think you’re brilliant, I really do.”

And.

He added a little later that he had something else to admit to, “I save your papers until the last to read, that way I have something to look forward to.”

OMG.

Best compliment.

I was so very flattered.

I really want to let myself enjoy this compliment too.

In the not so recent past I have used compliments like this to stress myself out, I better perform even better, I can’t disappoint now!

So for the last couple of days I have really held that for myself.

Of course.

The paper that was due yesterday was for his class and the first of the semester (for this class, not for the semester, I’ve already turned in two other papers thank you very much).

So.

Yeah, I had some anxiety writing it.

But overall, I think it was a good paper and he’ll like it and it’s ok if he doesn’t either.

I know that I have skills.

Maybe not mad skills, but I do think I have some writing chops.

Grateful as hell for that.

And with that.

I bid you adieu.

It’s time to attend to a few more school things before winding it down for the night.

Sweet dreams.

Sleep tight.

Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

(I have always wondered how one does that?)

Heh.

Get It While

January 22, 2019

The getting is good.

I don’t have much time left.

Just a few days before my next semester of course work begins for my PhD program.

Which means, many, many, many books, articles, discussion posts and who knows how many projects, tears, yelps of frustration, and ranting there will be.

I am assuming there will be much.

There will be moments, I already know this, where I will question, what the exact fuck am I doing getting a PhD?

And there will be moments when I know beyond a doubt that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

Showing up will, as always, be the most important thing.

I have been showing up first and foremost by doing the reading already.

I am nearly finished with my third book of the semester.

I haven’t really taken a look at any of the syllabi, well, one, a tiny bit, but there wasn’t a sequence of reading listed (I sense it will get revealed at the intensive our first day of class), so I figured, just read as much as I can while I can.

That really helped me last semester, I stayed on top of the reading by having read a couple of the books before the semester had gotten underway.

My suggestion, always start in on the reading as soon as possible.

Always carry some reading material with you as well.

I don’t know when the kids are going to be in school, out of school, sick, napping, not napping, or whether I will be doing pick up or drop off.

My schedule at work is fairly consistent but surprises always happen and the times when I thought, surely, not today will there be any time to read, there’s been time.

And, of course, the converse has happened.

I have really needed/wanted to work on something and I show up to find a home sick from school monkey.

Today was all about the monkey.

I had all three of my charges today as it was a school holiday.

The dad was home and that was nice, he took one of them and I had two of them and we sort of swapped back and forth the whole day.

I did baths, he cooked, I ran two of them up and down the hill to the playground, he did Lego models and took another out to lunch.

It worked well and it was a nice day, especially to be outside after all the rain over the past week and this weekend.

I didn’t get any reading done at work, but I did have a nickel of time in between work and my evening commitment.

I ran to the grocery store and did some shopping and then hit up Tart to Tart in the Inner Sunset for a quick half hour of reading and studying.

I feel like this is going to be a better semester from the stand point of having made it through the first one I know I can do the second.

I got all “A”s and I’m still a little overwhelmed by that and sincerely grateful to have earned them.

I do feel like I really did show up for the classes and did what was necessary and then some.

I figured when I got home that I would do some food prep and write a blog to settle myself down.

I feel like I want to do 18 different things before now and bed time but there really isn’t a lot to do.

I have to get through the next few days of work and I get to see clients tomorrow night and Wednesday.

Thursday morning I have group supervision bright and early, 8:15 a.m. so I’ll be up at 6 a.m. to get ready and be there on time, but after that, I don’t have to do anything but get my butt to the intensive and check in at 3p.m.

I’m out of supervision by 10:15a.m. and my nail salon opens at 10a.m., I’m going to go and get a mani/pedi and then treat myself to some Marnee Thai for lunch–I’ll be staying at a hotel in Burlingame which means hotel food, for the intensive, I figure one nice meal before I jet is needed.

I’m thinking I’ll be packing day of the intensive.

Burlingame is super close and won’t take me that long to get to, maybe 40 minutes depending on traffic.

It is far enough away that I will pretty much be staying there to make an effort to connect and hang out with my cohort and be present for the experience.

Although I did consider what it would be like to just stay at home the entire time and commute back and forth, I figure, I’m paying for the intensive as part of my tuition and it’s required that I attend all the classes, it will be a lot easier to just stay there the whole time.

I mean, Pacifica was where the last one was and that too isn’t too far from me in San Francisco, I could have stayed at home, but I know I would have missed out on a part of the bonding that I think is necessary to doing the classwork.

Plus, it’s good to put names to faces and I’m already thinking about a few of my classmates that I am excited to reconnect with.

Funny enough, there are a few people who at the first intensive I wasn’t much enamored of, but after witnessing how they showed up for the classes I want to touch base and let them know how much I appreciated them being in class.

And you know, it will be good to commiserate with others about the work and life and there’s not a lot of folks out in the world working on a PhD, so it’s community that I will want as I continue to do the work.

It can be a little isolating.

I do, also notice that I miss some of my cohort from my Master’s program.

So.

Yeah.

Two more days in town and then I’m out.

I’ll likely do some blogging while I’m there, but I am not committing to anything.

Last semester was a doozy, I expect that this one will be too.

Good too.

I predict it will be good too.

God lord.

I am really getting a PhD.

Crazy!

Today I Ate

December 25, 2018

An entire book.

I mean.

I consumed it.

I chopped it up and snorted it down like it was some sort of happy drug.

I haven’t read fiction in so long it was an aphrodisiac.

I still feel a little high.

I did just like I said I would and I slept in this morning.

I woke up at 9:45 a.m.!

Holy Toledo.

I cannot remember the last time I slept that late.  I mean, maybe the ARTumnal Airpusher after party silent dance rave I went to in November, but even the day after coming home from a night of carousing and dancing I was still up by 8:30a.m.

I think.

So this morning was nuts.

I believe it was partially, at least this is my excuse, not that I need one, that it was so clouded over.

Dark and stormy.

Grey and misty and wet.

True San Francisco winter weather, not exactly rain, but mist and wind and rainy and all-pervasive.

San Francisco rain doesn’t really always come straight down, it seems to enwrap you and get everything soaked.

Without directly raining all that much.

So I slept in.

I might have even slept longer were it not for the siren song of my bladder yelling out about the big mug of tea I had before I went to bed last night.

I got up and was leisurely.

Like in a major way.

I think it was 11:30a.m. before I actually sat down for breakfast.

A phone call from my best friend was partially the reason, but mostly, I was just going slow and easy.

I enjoyed my late breakfast and wrote a ton.

A lot.

It was lovely.

And though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I did know I was going to need to make a run to the grocery store and maybe see what was playing at the Balboa Theater, which is just up the road from me.

Unfortunately I’d already seen one of the movies and the other I am planning on seeing tomorrow.

But.

La Promenade Cafe was open and so I took my book and settled into a big leather arm-chair by the front window and sank into my story.

I bought this book last summer, a few weeks before I was to start my fall intensive for school.

A day before I got my first text-book in the mail for said intensive.

I only read a few of the stories, it’s a collection of shorts from A.M. Holmes called Days of Awe.

I really like her work, I’ve only read her novels and was happy to find that the shorts were just as compelling and in a way very interwoven, so it felt like I was reading a novel in a way.

I read at the cafe and listened to music and people watched and thought how nice it was to actually be in a cafe in my new neighborhood.

The first time since I’ve moved here since mid-September that I actually did something other than laundry in the neighborhood.

It felt a little like getting settled.

I did another first today too, this one may surprise you, although it shouldn’t considering how busy I keep myself.

I went for a walk around my neighborhood!

Yeah.

I know.

I really haven’t done any walking, unless it was from my car to the house or from the house to my car.

I had gotten back from the cafe, unloaded my groceries, roasted a chicken, made a late lunch, sat on my couch, watched the rain, ate brown butter brussels sprouts and hot roast chicken and listened to Coleman Hawkins.

It was delicious.

The food.

The music.

The rain on the windows.

It felt outside of time, I couldn’t remember what day of the week it was, Sunday, Monday, it all blended together.

My tree looked pretty, I lit candles, it was so cozy.

Then the sun burst out for a few minutes and I thought I should go for a sunset walk.

I quickly bundled up, there was only a few minutes before the sun was going to set, and I walked out the door on 48th and down Balboa towards the sea.

As I got closer, I realized that there was a path that I hadn’t seen before and what do you know, it’s actually a little park!

Sutro Dunes!

I had no idea.

Sweet little wood slat path along the base of the grass and flower covered dunes.

In the twilight it was deeply moving and full of divinity.

It felt really good to just do a little stretch around the neighborhood, to see the Cliff House hanging like an ornament over the ocean, to smell the fresh washed air, to just be.

I am pretty lucky when I think about it.

I live by the ocean.

It is literally a block away from my house.

Although I don’t get down to it as much as I would like, it is always a solace to me and I see it every day when I leave in the morning.

I always say hello.

I am in perpetual awe of its beauty.

And I am not often home at sunset to ponder it.

It was a really lovely little gift to me.

I got back to the house right before the rain began again and settled back on my couch, my first day of really sitting on my couch too!

My first day really using my coffee table like a coffee table.

I drank a second homemade cafe au lait, so decadent to have two in one day at my house, and I read more of the book until I left to go do the deal up at 7th and Irving.

Which was also just marvelous.

Ran into some much-loved fellows and heard exactly what I needed to hear.

Came home, heated up dinner.

And yes.

Yes I did.

I ate the rest of the book.

I read 288 pages today.

It was not a chore.

It was the best feeling.

And guess what?

One of my text books for the next semester did come in the mail today.

I did not read it.

I was tempted.

But I realized, did I want to leave the A.M. Holmes until next summer?

Or was it actually ok to let myself have Christmas Eve without homework?

It was ok.

And it was so lovely.

Exactly the kind of day off that will sustain me for many weeks as I marshal my way forward towards this next milestone of learning and life.

Gratitude this Christmas for all the gifts in my life.

There are so many.

The best, I dare say, may be my relationship with myself and the life I have been given.

Grace.

That’s what it is.

Grace.

I have been blessed.

And may you be as well.

Merry Christmas to all.

And to all.

A.

Very.

Good.

Night.

Is It Over Yet?

December 7, 2018

Normally this would be a lament about the holidays and being overwhelmed with being cheery and bright.

But frankly I can’t wait for that shit.

No.

I’m on the “can this semester please be over yet?” tip.

I’m feeling pretty done.

I have to finish one book, which has been decent if not scintillating material, do one more big discussion post on that book, write a ten page paper, a twelve page paper, and do a creative piece (of my choosing, thank God) that encapsulates the material of one of my classes.

Meaning I have thee big things yet to do.

The book reading is just reading, it does involve effort, but hey, I can sit at the laundry mat on Sunday and kick it out.

The papers are where the big effort comes in.

I mean.

The things that I need to cover are deep and conceptual and complex.

I have to use language I’m just beginning to get the hang of and I have to write on concepts that are deep and multi-layered, plus, god damn, I have just read so much this semester I’m not sure exactly where to go for my references.

I have a lot of them.

I also feel like I’m going to have to go back in and re-read a bit, not heavily, I really don’t see that happening, but I will have to have a good sit down with my materials, articles, videos, books, and discussion posts and see what jumps out at me.

I am very grateful that I did my book review a week early and got it out-of-the-way.

I have already gotten quite a good amount of feedback from my TA in that class and my professor, who also noted that I had very satisfactorily submitted all the deliverables for the class.  I could probably send in a pretty picture and a poem for my final project and I would pass the class easily.

Of course.

I won’t do that.

I do want to do something that integrates my whole experience and I have a few thoughts and ideas to explore before I really have to knuckle down.

But as this project and the ten page paper are both due the 17th of the month I need to attend to one this weekend and then to the other next weekend.

I will use the time between at work for finishing reading and posting to my last, thank God, discussion thread for the semester.

I don’t really want to write the ten page paper this weekend, I really just want to chuck it all and go Christmas shopping.  I haven’t at all and I have just barely begun writing a few Christmas cards.

My mom sent me a message yesterday that both my birthday and Christmas presents are in the mail.

ARGH.

I have nothing in the mail.

Well, except for the three cards I have managed to write out in between supervision this morning and work, clients yesterday and work, therapy and being a therapist, and all the school work.

I am allowing myself a compromise as far as it all goes, since my Trauma training on Sunday was cancelled and I have five extra hours in my day that I wasn’t expecting to work on the paper.

Therefor I resolve to let myself go Christmas shopping on Saturday after clients and appointments.

I will try to do it all in one fell swoop.

I actually don’t have a ton of folks to buy for, so it shouldn’t be too hard, mostly I just like the idea of going out and buying some nice things for people I love and then maybe a little something for myself too.

I am on the fence about Sunday, as far as scheduling stuff goes.  Even with the Trauma training being cancelled I still have household duties to do and I’ll be meeting a lady in the afternoon to do the deal and my person in the evening and I really want to get my Christmas tree.

I am just wondering if I use it as a carrot or if I just get the tree early and then whatever time I have left in the day before I meet my person in the evening I will then devote to working on the paper.

Either way, it will get worked on.

I am not going to pressure myself to getting it all done, but I am going to take a really big swing at it and then give myself the week to let it stew and process and hopefully refine it as much as possible.

Considering that the paper is the only paper (well, I have written a lot in the discussion posts) example of my writing this professor is really going to get and he’s the guy that designed this PhD program, I kind of want to blow him out of the water.

Kind of.

Ha.

I really want it to be a good paper.

Which means I have to not do the whole thing in one fell swoop.

I can do that, in fact, I have done that for a number of the papers for my other classes this semester, but I usually have a plan and the papers tended to be towards creative things that I was able to crank them out.

This paper feels like it has to be a bit more thoughtful.

Anyway.

Enough with the school stuff.

I posted up another discussion before starting this blog, so I can say that with no compunctions.

I want to wrap up my day, I was up at 6a.m. for group supervision before work, and have some tea and watch some Peaky Blinders.

Yes.

Not Excited Yet

July 13, 2018

But I’m hopeful I will get there.

I realized tonight when I wrapped up with my last client that I only have one client left to see before I go to Paris.

Paris seems far away and a touch surreal at the moment.

I have been so busy walking through this housing situation that I have spent little to no time thinking about Paris.

Cue standing in the dental aisle at Walgreens this afternoon when I went in to fill a prescription.

Why am I standing in front of the toothpaste?

I have toothpaste at home.

I don’t need toothpaste.

But I kept coming back.

Until I remembered.

Oh snap!

I need travel size toothpaste!

I’m traveling soon.

I leave in three days!

It just has not really landed at all.

I am, of course, very much looking forward to seeing my dear friend.

I miss her so much and it was hard to finish my last semester of school without her.

Friends are so damn important.

It will be good to reconnect, to have lots of time with her, and of course, to have the best and most brilliant of insider guides to the city that I love only second to San Francisco.

I am always so happy that I get to live here.

Yesterday I went and visited a friend who used to live in the city but has done what so many of my friends have done, moved out of the city across the Bay.

She lives high up in the Berkeley Hills and it was a beautiful home and a lovely, stunning really, view of the city, the bay, the fog pushing over Twin Peaks, but I could not imagine living there.

I love San Francisco.

Sure.

It’s changed, but everything changes.

And it’s still, to me, one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially to live.

I also ran an errand and took back a bicycle rack that a friend had loaned me last year for Burning Man.

That took me to Alameda.

Where I did see a few cute houses, but it felt so suburban and removed and I also could not see myself there.

Or in Oakland.

Or in Berkeley.

I see myself in San Francisco.

My focus on finding a place is focused on the city proper.

And let me tell you.

I have been looking.

I have seen a few things, but not much.

I have responded to a few things, but gotten no response.

I do feel like when the dust is settled here and all the paperwork signed and taken care of that I will be throwing all my might behind finding a new place.

I will also officially throw it up on social media and I’m quite hopeful that I will find a good place.

I have been quietly telling a few friends and starting to put the word out.

The fact is though, at this point, it’s so close to me leaving for Paris that I really should skip even looking, I don’t know that I could do anything or get anything together before I leave.

I think it’s time I get excited!

I think it’s time to contemplate what I am going to be doing, walking around in the best city to walk, seeing art, street art and art, art.

Getting to spend time shopping in the Marais at all the little paper shops for notebooks to smuggle home with me.

Gah.

I bought a book today to read on the plane and I couldn’t help myself, I bought a new notebook too.

It was too cool to pass up and I knew I must have it.

There was a little voice in my head saying don’t accrue any more stuff!  I need to get ready to move and the less to pack, the better.

But.

Well.

I couldn’t help it, I bought the notebook.

And I did some writing siting in a cafe waiting for my friend and her new baby to come and join me.

I don’t often sit in cafes in San Francisco and write anymore.

I do the majority of my writing here where I am sitting right now, at a tiny table in my tiny kitchen, heaped high with notebooks and folders and books.

God.

I love paper.

I love writing.

I wrote a love letter in the new notebook.

I think that’s why I decided I had to buy it.

It is perfect for writing love letters.

And it was.

After my friend left I had some down time to sit for a while before I headed into my internship.

To sit outside, in the warm late afternoon sun, with a bottle of sparkling water, at a park in the Mission on Valencia Street that I used to bring former charges too and write a love letter while looking up at the bright blue sky, well, it was something else.

So no regrets about buying the notebook.

It will be used.

I will also buy more when I am in Paris.

Along with my standard pair of earrings, lipstick/lip gloss or eyeshadow, postcards, museum magnets and whatever else small momento I feel I should need.

I am so looking forward to seeing Paris through my friends eyes that I will have to buy something outside of my normal repertoire of souvenirs.

I thought about perhaps buying a market basket, I do love how they look.

And.

Yes.

I have contemplated a new tattoo.

I have one in mind, I will see if it stands the test of time when I arrive.

There’s a shop in the Marais that I get my work done at and I’ll see if they have an opening when my friend is off to a wedding out-of-town one of the weekends I am there, get myself a souvenir that I can wear always.

I like that quite a bit.

Of course.

I will take lots and lots and lots of photos too.

I promise.

Psst.

Here are a few from my recent trip to New York.

IMG_E3788

Back yard patio at a lovely little restaurant in Williamsburg, The Rabbit Hole, where I had the most amazing soup and salad–broccoli cheese consume and the salad was like a deconstructed BLT with avocado and fried leeks.

So good.

IMG_E3777

Bunny rabbit lamps!

From Le Grand Strip, on Grand Ave in Williamsburg.

I swear to God I almost bought them, but not knowing where I am going to live stopped me.  Once I’m settled I may actually buy them, the owner said she could ship them for me.

Bunny lamps!

IMG_E3749

A triptych of feminist Latina women at the Brooklyn Museum.

Why, yes.

That is me in the middle.

IMG_3694

Mural in Fort Greene Brooklyn.

More to come.

Paris soon.

T-minus three days and counting.

But who’s counting?

 

Whole Lotta Nothing

December 30, 2017

Not that it was bad.

No.

It was divine.

I only left the house today to go to yoga.

And.

I almost didn’t go.

My brain said, hey, you were sick yesterday really bad, you should lie in bed and make sure that you’re ok.

Even though I was pretty much back to my normal self by the time bed time rolled around last night, no nausea, no headache, so no reason for me to lay in the bed this morning.

I got up and got dressed and walked over to yoga.

And it was good.

I got nice and warm and sweaty and had a good work out and stretched and my back is slowly feeling better, between a couple of chiropractor visits and doing a little more yoga, I have a much happier back.

Sure, some poses still not great at and I couldn’t hold a few of them today, tough on the tender ankles, but I know that balancing is helpful for strengthening my ankles and I also did some foot exercises today that my chiropractor recommended to me for strengthening my ankles.

I went though and I am happy I did.

It was the only time I went outside today.

I ended up taking a huge hot shower, wrote many pages in my notebook, and then had my best friend over for hang out time.

Lots of talking, hanging out, getting caught up, and I made some yummy food.

I cooked up my version of a Cajun gumbo/jambalaya.

Sans the crayfish.

I used shrimp instead.

It wasn’t really a gumbo and it wasn’t really a jambalaya, but it was somewhere in between and it was tasty.

I am very happy I made it too, knocked out some food prep for the week, what wasn’t eaten was put up and frozen and I’ll probably run some over to my person too, who’s recuperating from a hip replacement surgery.

I got the best text message from him regarding one of my soups that I had given him.

I made him an Italian sausage with white bean soup and then my version of chicken soup with veggies, brown rice, and Andouille sausage.

He was very, very happy with them both, but I think the latter got the big applause.

I do like to cook, it’s a nice way to show someone who you care for that you love them.

Since I don’t eat sugar or flour I don’t make super intricate stuff for myself, but since I know how to cook and have cooked plenty with those ingredients, I know how to combine flavors.

Sometimes I have no idea where the stuff comes from, I’m just like, hmm, put that with this and see what happens.

It’s a nice skill to have and I’m always surprised that so many people can’t cook or don’t know how to do even basic stuff.

I’m not a great cook, but I’m good and I feel like I’m definitely better than the average bear.

My friend seemed quite happy to eat the food.

I don’t recall any complaints.

We hung out past sunset, which really isn’t that late since the sun goes down around 5p.m. and by the time my company had left and I washed up the dishes and put everything away I had absolutely no desire or urge to go outside.

It’s just too cozy in my little house and I’m happy to stay put.

It feels rather nice to not have clients tonight, to not have work either, which is why I was able to go to a 8:30 a.m. yoga class today, the family I nanny for went out-of-town for the weekend.

I’ll be going back into work on Tuesday.

Back to therapy, back to seeing clients, back to it all.

Fortunately the kids will be going back to school by that time as well, working early every day this past week, with the obvious exception of yesterday having called out sick, is a bit of a grind.

I don’t mind it horribly and I’m always glad I can be flexible for the family, but it will be nice to go back to my regular hours.

In the meantime I don’t have a lot planned for the weekend, and no plans at all for New Years.

I would just rather skip it.

I have my dance party on January 13th and that will be my dancing fun, I don’t need to go and be out amongst the hoi poi over the weekend, I’m more than happy to skip lines, drunks, amateurs, and Uber and Lyft crazy drivers from out-of-town.

Not sure what I’ll do, if anything, to celebrate.

More yoga.

The studio has classes on Monday, so technically I could do yoga tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday, making it a four-day run for me.

I think that’s the best idea.

And maybe I’ll take a little trip to Stinson or Muir in my car.

I got my FasTrak in the mail today, so I can pay tolls via that instead of cash and it’s a no brainer to get over the bridge.

I do have group supervision tomorrow, lest I forget, though it was a very, very quiet week for clients, only one client, I only have to attend group, which is nice, but I do have to attend.

My solo supervisor is still out on Monday, which is New Years Day, so I won’t start back up with him until the 9th of January.

A tiny bit more of a break.

School is back on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of the month, January that is.

I still have a few weeks before I have to start thinking about it, although I already have a tiny bit.

I just checked my grades, I’m still carrying a 4.0!

Huzzah.

That’s always nice to see.

I also need to start looking seriously into applying to the PhD program at my school if I’m going to do that.

I think I have to apply by February or March.

My supervisor at my practicum site already said he would write me a letter of recommendation.

I definitely want to have that!

Plenty to think about and do over the next few months, but for the rest of this weekend, I’m just going to chill out, do lots of yoga, cook some nice food, maybe I’ll even buy a book that’s not related to psychology.

Maybe.

 

Homework

September 17, 2017

What homework?

Fuck me.

I am not ready for it yet, but I know I have to get my good girl study habits into action.

Especially since I ran into one of my professors today at my internship.

At least she could sympathize with me about my “plight.”

Full time work, full-time grad school, practicum 10-15 hours a week.

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t expect my paper to not be on time.

I got a message from her about it and also, thank God, a question from one of my fellows in the cohort asking about a test that I had not registered in my brain that um, I have to take tomorrow.

FUCK.

Doesn’t my school know I have a life?

I mean.

Seriously.

Ugh.

And I do have a plan, of course I do and I will get my homework done and I’m not so worried about it.

I always get it done and I am very aware of how efficiently I am able to read and write.

Thank God, again and again and again, for my daily writing practice.

I have two papers to write tomorrow and the test to take for my CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) class.

Plus.

A fuck ton of reading.

I had thought I might get to some of my reading today, but between just some general housekeeping that I really needed to do, laundry and letting myself take it relatively easy this morning, relatively is a relative statement, I did a 80 minute yoga class, took a shower, made breakfast, wrote for thirty minutes, put fresh sheets on the bed, did two loads of laundry, took out trash and recycling, e-mailed clients, paid bills, juggled schedules, I didn’t have quite as much time this morning to attend to reading and I didn’t really want to push it.

I threw my reading in my bag along with lunch and hit up my internship.

Two hours of group supervision and then a couples consult and then I had nothing left in me.

I didn’t want to do homework, I just wanted to get the fuck out of Dodge.

I thought I might have stayed an hour or so at my office and just knock out some reading, but I decided that what I really needed was a little personal down time and I went and got a manicure.

It was perfect.

A phone call with my best friend.

A flip through a trashy magazine.

And some electric blue fingernails.

And well.

Now.

Now I feel ready to tackle the homework.

But.

Not tonight.

Nope.

I am going to continue to let myself enjoy my evening and have a relaxing night.

No homework, no anxiety.

A little care taking of me.

A little slowing down.

I have plenty to do tomorrow.

It’s true.

I’ll go to yoga and do breakfast and write here at the house.

I have a lady coming over at 1pm to do some work and doing of the deal.

Then a coffee date with a friend.

Then the homework.

And I bet I will get my CBT homework done between my breakfast and meeting with my first person at 1 p.m.

I also have to do a little grocery shopping and I will need to do food prep.

I am also banking on having some extra time at work to do the reading that I need to do.

The mom is out-of-town with the baby, I won’t have my normal morning routine with my youngest charge.

Oh.

There will still be plenty to do and in some instances some extra work, but I won’t have active charges until 2:15p.m. every day.

I’ll be at the house and make wicked fast work of whatever household things I need to deal with and then give myself at least an hour if not two of reading.

I’ll get it done.

I always do.

I know how full my life can get and it may seem untenable and challenging and too much, but it won’t be like this always.

And I have winnowed out some things, for instance I was unregistered over the weekend for the ALC ride, my bicycle rep still tried to talk me into doing it, but I gracefully turned it down and that’s one less thing on my plate.

I am going to acknowledge that yes, my calendar is still hella full, but I know time will coalesce and things will happen that allow me to have fun and not take myself or my situation so damn serious.

A client will cancel, I’ll get out of work early, some circumstance will arise and I will have a surprise gift of time.

It always happens.

I’m super grateful for that too.

I’ll get through this year.

I’ll get my Masters degree.

I’ve always wanted one.

I’ll have achieved one more step toward my career goal.

I don’t have to do it all tomorrow.

Or tonight for that matter.

I did enough today.

I am enough.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

I affirm myself.

I am capable and strong and I have such lovely people in my life.

I do.

I do.

I am blessed beyond words.

So very blessed.

 

You Did The Thing

February 4, 2014

My friend said tonight over a hot cup of lemon ginger tea.

“That’s the thing, you did it,” he continued, “I haven’t done this, how many people have?”

He was referring to my book, Baby Girl.

He surprised me by pulling the printed manuscript, bound and collated, out of his messenger bag.

There it was, my book, here it is, my book.

It’s sitting on the floor to the left of my “writing desk” while I write this.

“You have something,” he said, “you got to do a lot of work to get it to stand on its own, you might just have to junk the whole thing, but there is something there.”

But the best was hearing, “you are such a better writer, you have come so far with the writing, it’s really obvious that you wrote this a long time ago.”

I did, indeed write it a long time ago.

I started the manuscript in an orange 5 subject notebook 8 years ago this month.

I finished it three months after starting it.

I let it sit for about six months then took it to second draft.

Then I left it alone for a while.

Never printed it off, just had the original manuscript and the “second draft” which was really just me typing almost literally word for word the work from notebook into my ancient PC.

I mean ancient, this thing was so old, running Windows that was registered to DeForest High School, I still don’t know how my friend managed to pull it off my computer when it looked like the thing was finally about to die.

But she did.

And the book lived on.

I re-wrote another draft of it a year or so later.

Somewhere in my head I got the idea that I was a great and capable writer and that I just needed to get this book published and the world would bow and scrape at my feet, throwing money and applause to me while the champagne swirled and the caviar glinted.

I mean I have not an idea why I did that to myself except, perhaps to help manufacture a great deal of misery when those things did not happen and the work just languished and sat and mouldered in a drawer.

“She went to Paris to work on her memoirs,” he said to his friends in front of the Cole Street Cafe as I was walking by with the boys in the double stroller.

“How amazing is that?” He said and his friends looked at me goggle eyed.

Yes.

I did.

And see me back here in San Francisco just doing the nanny thing again.

But you know that nanny thing it gives me the kind of job that I don’t have to take home with me.  It gives me some mental freedom and some space to write, much more so than when I worked in the service industry and thought, you know I’ll write before work.

I was too busy before work sleeping it off from the night before to write.

I did manage a little when I first moved to San Francisco.

I can compile some things I wrote, I won’t get rid of them as they are part of who I am and my experience, but I am, as my friend noted, a much better writer now.

I would not change a thing of the way it all has happened.

Not going to Paris.

Not taking years and years for the manuscript to evolve.

Or devolve.

“You might want to scrap the whole thing and start with a blank page,” he said, “you know, re-write it completely from scratch and see what happens.”

What he means is ignore the draft that I have saved to this computer and to my blog and to my Gmail account and start over from beginning the way that I write now.

Can I do that?

Sure, why the fuck not?

He also suggested that I sit down and read it straight through, I have not done that with a bound copy of the work.

The feed back he gave me was absolute gold.

I have a new idea how to frame the story.

I need to start with the end rather than end with the start.

I need to do a lot of work.

And will it be worth it?

Duh.

I did the thing.

I wrote the book.

Now.

I have to keep writing the book.

Maybe it will be done when I am 95 years old and I will still be talking about that damn book I started working on in my early thirties.

But so be it.

I have a purpose.

I mean I have a primary purpose and I attend to that every day, but I also have a purpose as an artist who predominately creates through her words.

I have an art.

I have a craft.

I have something to sustain me and something that I get to learn from and grow from.

I am excited to have this opportunity.

The best things take time.

They take re-working, you don’t just go in and become a virtuoso over night.

At least I don’t.

I have been practising my craft now for a few years.

I have the time, day and night, devoted to it.

Most times, I admit, I am not thinking that I do this to get better, I am thinking I do this because I can’t not do it, I am compelled and in the compulsion is the subsuming of who I am.

I become something more than just the characters shaping themselves on the screen or to the page.

I become more myself every time I write.

More concise.

More alert.

More aware.

More allowed to be authentic in my person and to sustain this amazing life that I have been granted.

“That is so white trash, I can hardly stand it,” my friend laughed shaking his head, after I told him some of the stories that happened directly after the story arc of the first work.

It was.

I was.

Yet.

I grew and became something more.

“Wait, wait a second, I think I have a picture of him somewhere,” I said and disappeared into the garage to find my old photo album.

I did not find that photo I must have it stashed elsewhere (and I just remembered where!), but I did have a photo of me from not too long after the events in the book take place.

“You look exactly alike and yet, totally different,” he said looking from the photo of me at 20 to the reality of me at 41.

I am exactly alike.

And totally different.

I did the thing.

I am going to continue doing the thing.

Because I deserve all the things.

And this is a part of my journey to get there.

There’s Nothing Wrong!

July 15, 2013

I will stop trying to fix myself.

I almost screamed this into his voicemail.

Sorry, John, I was a little giddy from lack of sleep, meditating for a half hour at 6 am and having a spiritual conversation with someone before bicycling 8 miles at 8 am around Lake Merritt to go to Alta Summit Bates Hospital.

To get lost.

To get found.

To go, what the fuck am I doing here, and say thank you, I see that it’s working for you, but I gotta go.

I spent the rest of the day in a haze of gratitude, no way, no how, am I going to give up doing my daily writing to put myself through that experience again, instead I spent it gorging myself in an absolute blur of…

Words.

Lush, descriptive, well crafted, words.

Words so definitive and enticing that I read 423 pages of them.

In fact, I just put the book down.

Partially to draw out the pleasure, like a good little addict, there’s one really nice fat bump left on the plate before I split the bag with fingernail and dump the crumbs, thrusting the tip of my tongue into the small ziplock bag and then ceremoniously placing the crumbled bit of dead plastic in a tissue to ball up and push down into a public garbage can.

It has been a good, greedy, fat word day for me.

I have been reading The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach.

I first read of him when I was going to Paris.

There was an interesting article in the issue of Vanity Fair I had on the plane with me.  It was about getting agency and the odds of getting paid and published, and it spoke of how often he had to go back and re-work the story, all the bad jobs he worked while he continually wrote and crafted, excised and plucked the words perfumed with story from the heavens over Northern Wisconsin.

There is that too, it’s set in Wisconsin, Northern Wisconsin, but still a Wisconsin that I am familiar with.

One with humidity laced summers so wet with moisture in the air that just sitting still the back of my knees would break out in a rolling sweat.

The swollen sun setting in the thick tall grass, the corn, knee-high (by July) thrust impudent from the black loamy earth in the back corner of my grandfather’s garden in Lodi, Wisconsin.

I know the lure of nostalgia, and that lure is there whispering in the chop of waves breaking against the prow of the ferry-boat ushering picnickers from Devil’s Lake State Park across the Wisconsin River and back to all points Madison, Waunakee (the only Waunakee in the world), Sun Prairie, DeForest, Windsor, and the like.

It spoke to me rash and thick, like the breath on Lake Monona on a day when the high summer heat and the algae bloom have finally banished all thought of there ever having been a snow day on campus, the foetid wash of rot buttering the air like corn at the fair.

I don’t know if it was the book, the blurb, or the first few chapters that sprang up all the Wisconsin imagery, because at times I would get the feeling that I was not reading Harbach, but I was reading A Prayer for Owen Meany or The World According to Garp, it felt almost East Coast in style and feel.

Then like some one wrought homesick for lightning storms and the powdery smell of grass that was cut  wet in the morning to dry all day in the sun, a kind of high summer smell more romantic to me with possibility than perhaps any other smell.

Not that much did ever happen, occasionally a tumble in the orchard or a flirtation at the baseball diamond.

Mostly just me, walking the train tracks, balanced on one rail, feeling the heat bake-off the silca stone gravel heaped along the rails; sensing that there was something being whispered in amongst the snap dragon flowers and if only I could discern the language, break the spell, and tumble forward, I would somehow make it to the far off island, the hillock supporting one spare spreading Oak in the field, that I would cross over into fairy land.

Not that I knew what I wanted, I just had the ache, yearning and tight, that I can still feel– the hand print of it on my person and the wealth of sense knowledge, the pangs of being restless and too smart and not smart enough, wondering how it was that I could discern the shape of pepper and pink in the white clover that studded the field, next to the rich purple heads that seemed more grassy, less floral, and somehow, false.

Or the heavy nodding heads of peonies in the grass.

Florid pinks, fuchsias, punch drunk cream heavy whites with carnations of blood blooms, veins of red that splashed the rumbled edges of petals.

I never like the peonies as much as the other flowers, too much showiness.

Not enough scent.

And that was what caught me.

The scent of story and the bildungsroman of it all, the coming of age, it was Infinite Jest,  the break down of the young tennis pro, without the footnotes, The World According to Garp with its full on love of the coach (wrestling still has not been so wrought with words than that story), it was Updikean and despite wanting to be all things Melville (in scope and lust of detail) where it shone, is still shining, I haven’t finished, leaving those last bits of cake to languish in the frosting where I will lick it off surreptitiously in the dark light of my room while the rest of the house falls asleep, is in the narrative.

It also felt like it was often about to veer off into being overwrought, too many plot twists and turns and overstylization and there were times I thought, nope, no one talks like this, but then something would pop and I would be drawn back in.

I found myself rooting for the story, for the characters.

And though I did see the craft of it and I do believe it a tiny bit overworked, it is a good book.  Perhaps not a great book, but a really good one, one which propels me to do for myself and encourages my own literary dreams.

A book is a book worth its weight when it encourages the vocabulary in my own heart and paints me a picture.

I watched a long movie today, in a book, sequestered at times in the stained glass afternoon light of sun, with a demanding Maine Coon cat on my lap, it will be made movie (I bet the book is optioned already), but I won’t see it, the film so strong in my head.

I love words.

I love to read.

I got my book on today.

It was good.


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