Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’

When You Feel Heartbroken

December 14, 2017

And you don’t know what to do.

You write.

You cry a bit.

You put on Wooden Heart’s Listener album and sing along to torch songs.

About crows and whiskey and prayers that aren’t heard.

But God hears the prayers.

He just doesn’t always give you the answers you want to hear.

You think about dying.

But you don’t die.

You put on a brave face and tell yourself that the pain is alright.

That’s how you grow.

Isn’t it.

Pain.

And I don’t want to die.

I still have so much living to do.

Maybe I just want to crawl into bed and cry into my pillows.

Fall asleep with tears rolling down my face and stare at the dark ceiling.

And wonder about the next door neighbor and the piano jazz that sometimes seeps out the windows of the ramshackle house at odd hours.

And maybe while I’m crying I’ll think about integrity and honesty and pain.

Because maybe you forgot what the pain feels like.

Well.

Until you feel the pain again.

And the surprise of it.

As though the past haunting hurt was just a whisper of how it feels now.

And maybe I’m not supposed to remember how it hurts.

Because then maybe I wouldn’t dare to love again.

Or love now.

I know I’m alive.

I know because it hurts.

And every moment of silence sinks me deeper.

The deep blue of Halsman’s Marilyn Monroe.

The old faded blue Christmas tree lights.

The blue ribbon on the package under the boughs.

Sinking me down.

So I write.

To process it all.

To not sink and stay sunk.

And I cry, soft, wicked slow, tears melting and wet.

Crumpled up and bent over and crying.

And maybe that’s ok.

It’s not, not ok.

It’s just a feeling.

It will pass.

Right?

Every season of grief has a meaning.

I just wish it wasn’t at Christmas time.

The baffled cheeriness of my battered heart.

Listening to Charlie Brown Christmas during the afternoon.

Watching the high blue sky and thinking of you.

Driving in my car so alive, so bouyant, so happy, so grateful.

To end the day in tears and confused and forsook.

I forsake myself, haven’t I?

Haunted by the last kiss you placed on my mouth.

Did you really tell me to scotch guard my shoes?

Were those your last words?

Because there’s no more to say, nothing left to say?

We all have the same holes in our heart.

Maybe I’ll just walk down to the sea and watch the meteor shower.

The sea can wash away the pain.

The sea can have it.

I won’t die from a broken heart.

It just feels that way.

That’s all.

 

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Scrolling Face

December 4, 2015

Crack is not going to write my blog.

Ugh.

I have just had a flat day.

The most exciting thing about today was riding to work in a down pour and saying  the serenity prayer on a loop in my head.

You know it’s gnarly weather when I get off my bike to cross the street on foot by the MUNI tracks, Sanchez and 17th.

They are the worst.

I have nightmares about them.

I got to work fine but it was stressful, the sound of the rain on the road and the woosh of the cars going by, getting soaked before being a quarter of the way there.

But I did get there and there is where I will be doing a lot of being.

Tomorrow that is.

It’s the mom’s birthday so I will be going in at my regular time and staying three hours past so that mom and dad can go out to dinner at Michael Minna.

Go dad.

I am going to take a car in.

I took a car home.

The dad paid for it.

And I felt weird because part of me just wanted to be on my bicycle and now how the hell am I going to get my bicycle back?

I’m riding back in to work on their dime, which is cool.

But I have my bike in the garage and it’s a little cluster fucked.

I could, I suppose, just leave it there the weekend.

I’m not going to be using it.

I’ll be on my scooter during the day Saturday and hopefully that night I will be hanging with a friend for sushi and Christmas tree hauling.

If he’s not sick.

Sick sucks.

Lot of folks been sick this flu season.

So far.

Knock on wood.

I have not.

Grateful for my health and the flu shot I got a month ago.

Anyway.

I figure, I wasn’t supposed to be on my bike coming home and it did throw a little snag in my evening’s plans, but I was happy to get a ride home–the rain has stopped but the streets are still wet and slick and it’s cold and dark.

Not the best times for riding a bicycle.

Despite working longer hours tomorrow I am super happy it’s Friday.

The week has gone by in a rather stretchy, long, nebulous way.

I think it’s because I have homework looming.

Probably.

And I miss my friend who’s been sick.

And the days are short and the night’s long.

It’s holidaze.

Although I do like the lights and the trees and the present wrapping and card writing.

I picked up my holiday stamps today while out running errands with the boys.

I have no idea why I like cards so much.

I’m a paper kind of gal.

There’s something about writing a card, wishing a sentiment, placing the stamp, putting it in the mailbox.

It’s special.

Even the boys, ages 3 and 5, know that it’s special to mail something off, they argue fiercely to get to be the helper who puts the cards in the post box.

And the oldest one is constantly folding paper and stapling it and drawing and now writing on it, making “books” and sealing envelopes.

Cards and letter writing is special.

All writing is special.

Plus.

There’s something about sending a card, I know how good I feel when I get one in the mail, I actually prolong opening personal mail until I am fully in the house and all my bags and sweatshirts and stuff are put away, lights are on candles lit, music playing.

I like ambiance you could say.

And then.

I open the envelope.

Savoring the feel of the paper.

The contents of the card.

Or note.

Or letter.

I know I am a tad old fashioned.

I can’t seem to help myself.

And I don’t think I want to change it now.

I remember being sad when the e-card phase was happening.

I don’t like getting a fabricated video card or a weird GIF with family members heads cut off and stuck on elves.

I would rather get something in the post.

Then.

When I get the card I string it up on a piece of curled green twine with a little bit of red ribbon and possibly a silver bell and hang the cards in cascades down the string.

They are a cheap and easy Christmas decoration and they make me feel good and special and loved.

Viscerally loved.

Perhaps that is why I love them so.

And the best cards.

I save.

I’m a little picky.

But that’s me.

Some I know are instantly going in the recycling after the holidays are past.

Some, however, go in a special stack and once in a while I will go through them and be filled with love for that person and their thoughts.

I am really blessed.

I have so much love in my life.

I am always taken care of.

See car ride home.

And even when the wrapping paper is not what I want it to be, the gifts always astound me.

So whatever I can bring.

Whatever small song of love I can send out into the world.

I will.

It just takes a moment.

Putting pen to paper.

Placing the Charlie Brown Holiday stamp in the top right corner.

Throwing some glitter in there.

It’s not Christmas without glitter.

Just sayin’.

And posting the cards up in the mail.

Not quite letters for Santa.

Or.

Romantic love letters.

But love nonetheless.

In letters bold and sweet and still swooping in my funny cursive across the red envelopes.

A Christmas wish for you.

Like bright chinaberries against the snow.

And the low light of the North star in the sky.

Helping to find your way home.

I wish you love.

Joy.

Happiness.

Prosperity.

Abundance.

And more.

Love.

Always yours.

Carmen.IMG_7440

 

 

And A Very Merry Christmas

December 26, 2014

To you.

The day is winding down.

The tree is slightly askew.

But I bought it that way, don’t fret.

My nod to a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Or a “humility tree” as I learned when I was up in Anchorage; where, yes, I was given the opportunity to place the one and only little red bulb on the bent bough.

One of just a few memories that popped into my head as I reflected on my day and watched the surf pound the sand.

Yes.

I spent Christmas down by the sea.

Not all of it.

Although, I suppose I could argue that I did, considering how close to Ocean Beach I live.

My guy had obligations that took him out of the city today, so I made the big Christmas dinner last night: bacon wrapped baked rib eye w/blue cheese butter and pomegranate reduction, garnished with garlic mushrooms and pomegranate seeds; tossed salad with romaine hearts and black olives, cherry tomatoes, and organic radishes; baked Japanese sweet potato with sea salt and whipped butter; baby asparagus with shaved parmesan cheese and prosciutto; and last, but not least, marscapone infused with cinnamon and nutmeg and the last of the season persimmons and medjool dates stuffed with Roquefort blue cheese and topped with strawberries.

Yeah.

I roll like that.

Notice, if you will, because although I don’t bristle when folks exclaim, “oh my God!  What do you eat if you don’t eat sugar or flour?” that I did not make a thing that required said ingredients.  I always find it funny that, I must not eat well if I exclude those food items or things that have those food items in them.

I eat damn well.

And I did as well tonight, with  my guy back from his trip, but simpler so that we could actually eat before it was too late.

Tonight we had breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs with garlic crimini mushrooms, asparagus tips, a bit of left over prosciutto from last night, parmesan cheese, paired up with chicken apple sausage and yogurt for the man, and marscapone cheese for me, with strawberries and blackberries.

My guy also got toast.

I bought the tiny little loaf of SemiFreddi’s at the store yesterday.

Perfect for slicing up some toast and using some organic small vat butter.

And yes, I talk the talk, but I can attest to the quality of the food not just because I ate it, but so did he and he washed the dishes too.

Good man.

Good God damn.

I am a lucky girl.

I thought today, again, as I walked down to the beach with a blanket and a book that a dear friend had given me for Christmas, my lunch (left over salad from dinner last night and an apple–I can’t eat like I did very often add to that I had oysters and tartar the other night and the Absinthe burger–no bun–after the symphony on Tuesday night, I have eaten well and richly for this week), dressed in love’s trappings–flip-flops on my feet, a light sweatshirt and a sundress, adorned with some sunblock Santa left underneath the Christmas tree.

I have had a lovely week.

I really have.

Even when my head has gotten in the way.

I was able to step out of if, do some writing, do some inventory, and get readjusted really fast.

I know that the holidays are the holidays and that I treat them as such, just another day I get to have on this planet.

Just another moment, yes, layered with memories, but just another day of opportunity to practice love, service, gratitude.

This is water.

The surf crashed, the waves unfurled with all the winter magnitude and majesty of Ocean Beach and I held the small book in my hand and was quiet for a little while.

My friend had gifted me David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech that was published in essay form, “This is Water” and I had read the book in two sittings, perhaps fifteen minutes each, between last night and this afternoon at the beach.

This is Water

Contemplative Christmas by the Sea

I could choose to see the garbage in the dunes and be unkind in my mind about litter bugs, or I could look at it as a sort of point of focus that brought all the beauty of the sea and sand and ocean together.

Sometimes when I see something ugly I have to choose a different perspective to appreciate what I have.

I could grouse about the tourists who couldn’t wait to get off the beach and take their 7-Eleven pizza box with them.

Or I could be grateful that today, instead, I choose to feed myself well, organically, and lovingly, and with kindness.

That I took time today, despite it’s Christmas, because it’s Christmas, to do laundry and put fresh sheets on my bed, to meditate, to write, four, no six! Six pages long hand.

That I called people I love and left messages and that I just showed up for whatever the day was going to give me.

That is the gift.

The amends.

The way of living that I take, or try to the best of my ability, to take daily, to live a honorable and will lived life.

Yeah, Christmas can throw it all into high relief, the gift buying, the special foods, the racking your brain over what so and so would like, the juggling of everyone’s schedule, sending gifts out, parties, dresses, expectations.

Oh, expectations.

Or, as someone said to me recently, “white girl problems.”

I had some and I let them go, drift away on the sand and the tide and the sea and I paused as they danced into the air on the backs of the speckled brown wild plovers dashing in and out of the surf, and I said, goodbye, I don’t need to see it that way and the world tilted, the shift happened, the perspective changed.

Gratitude.

Mile and miles and miles of it.

For my family, my health, my little Charlie Brown Christmas tree, for getting to go to the San Francisco Symphony with my honey for the Charlie Brown Christmas special, the lights of City Hall all festive and bright as seen from the roof top balcony of the Symphony building.

Christmas in San Francisco

City Hall San Francisco

Grateful for beautiful silver earrings from my boyfriend in the shape of wings, that remind to be angelic, sweet, gentle, with myself and the experience.

Grateful that my grandma and my uncles headed up to Anchorage Alaska to see my father, so that he was not alone on this Christmas.

Grateful for my sister and her family and my mom and her partner down in Florida being close.

For though I was alone part of the day, I never felt lonely or lost or out to sea when I allowed myself to see exactly the gifts that I have in my life.

And oh, there are so many more than the ones listed, they are just a drop in the bucket, a speck of foam on the cusp of wave unfurling out at the shore.

My life, my love bucket full, my grateful heart, my friends, and family, and employers, and fellowship, my boyfriend, my perspective, a blessing.

Graced with gratitude for it these gifts.

Merry Christmas to all.

And to all.

A very good night.

I’m Glad Your Posting Again

December 23, 2014

He said to me this evening as we exchanged a quick hug before I bounced to catch the N-Judah home.

Yeah, not my bicycle, but the MUNI.

Flat tire today.

I was able to pump it up this morning and it held air to get me to, work, but by the time I was done with work again it was soft and suspect I need either a new tube, as the valve might be leaky, or I need a new tire.

Either way I am covered.

And very fortunate that my bike shop is just blocks away from where I work.

I dropped it off at the shop and then high tailed it in a cab to the Inner Sunset.

I got my God on and hit the MUNI home.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking a car into work, I don’t like how often I have had to take Uber and Lyft and cabs this past week and a half, but between the rain, the flat tire, and it just being that way, I will live.

“White girl problems,” he said to me as I complained that the new teas at Starbucks sucked and they didn’t carry any decent tea.

Yeah, that’s pretty much what I have today.

Which isn’t to say that I won’t get my panties in a twist when something small arises, so I gratefully hopped in the cab and I will gratefully take a car into work tomorrow.

Which also happens to be my Friday.

Oh yeah.

I have a five-day weekend.

I shall be kicking it off by getting picked up by my boyfriend from work and heading straight to the symphony to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special accompanied by the San Francisco Symphony playing the score by Vince Guaraldi.

I don’t know what I will be doing exactly for Christmas Eve or Christmas or the days thereafter.

I did mention to my guy that I wanted to go down to Big Sur and see the monarch migration, but he’s been sick and is just now after five days of being in it, coming back to a state of normalcy.

I find it too difficult to ask for anything from anyone who is sick, let alone the boyfriend.

I figure we’ll roll with whatever happens.

He actually has standing plans to be elsewhere Christmas morning, so I’ll have that free too.

Sleeping in is about all I think Santa is going to be leaving under my tree.

My tree!

I forgot I had gotten my tree yesterday and was warmly surprised and delighted when I opened the door to my studio and there my little Charlie Brown tree was draped in lights and ornaments.

I plugged in the lights and smiled.

I do so like Christmas time.

I also finished wrapping up presents.

I picked up some things for the boys that I care for today—vintage newspaper boat hats, googley eyed “monster” putty packs, and one brand new wooden racecar for each of them.

I joked with the clerk in the store that I was using my Christmas bonus to buy toys for the boys I care for.

And so the love goes around.

I got a bonus for Christmas and that was such a lovely thing.

I wasn’t surprised per se, I expected that I would get one, but I wasn’t expecting it to be a whole weeks pay, before taxes.

Thank you Santa.

Serious.

I paid off my student loan a few weeks early, threw some in savings, bought some nice food to have around the house and am thinking I may splurge on a New Year’s Eve frock.

As well as paying for the application fee to the graduate school I will be applying to this weekend.

Yes.

That’s right, it’s time to get that going and on track.

I will have time to work on it and I can’t think of a better Christmas present to give myself than a future.

I had a few doubts over the past few days in regards to the school and the direction and am I doing the right thing, but as they say, “willingness without action is fantasy.”

I have to take the action and move forward.

If it’s not meant to be, then that will be made very apparent, but if it’s meant to be I have to do the work.

I can be willing to change and be better, but until I actually take a different action then its just masturbation and fantasy.

Gee, wouldn’t it be nice, if when my body falls apart from being a nanny for over eight years, I have another career I can segue into.

A career where I can be of love and service to the community about me.

Which is always my purpose anyhow.

For which I am handsomely and richly paid, but it is a different kind of service.

So, I will be taking some time to work on that and get it done.

“You don’t want to stop doing all the things that the person who is with you was attracted by, you’ll paradoxically lose that persons interest.”

Well spoken.

So, when I got the pat on the back for getting back in the blogging saddle, I knew it was the truth.

I still got to write.

I don’t suppose or hope or have expectations around my blogging or the morning pages that I do; rather, that I just need to do them.

I don’t have expectations any more about becoming a big, rich, famous writer.

Besides, I’m famous in my own mind.

I do, however, need to cultivate the artistic temperament in me, whatever that looks like in the moment, which is often the writing for me.

But it is also reading, which I haven’t done a lot of recently, and doing activities that inspire wonder and awe in me.

My partner, I have said often and loud, must compliment me, not complete me.

This means, I complete myself, take care of myself and nurture that art girl in me.

Maybe it’s time for an Artist Date as well.

I do have Christmas Eve day off.

So much life.

So much love.

So much gratitude.

Happy Holidays.

Home for the holidays.

Christmas in San Francisco continues.

 

 

Brown Paper Packages

December 22, 2014

Tied up with string.

These are a few of my favorite things.

“Upcycled” is how I like to think about it when I wrap my Christmas packages in brown paper deconstructed from SafeWay grocery bags and brown paper sacks from CVS Pharmacy.

I cut the bag up, pull the handles off, flip it inside out and wrap whatever present I have at hand that needs a spiffy new look to it.

I put a name tag or holiday tag on the package.

Then the piece de resistance, green jute string.

I also occasionally use fabric and ribbon remnants.

I have a little Christmas box and it was unearthed today.

I got my Christmas tree.

It’s definitely a Charlie Brown type of fella, but he’s got some style and panache and some adorable blue lights adorning him.

Before

Before

After

After

A Few of My Favorite Things

Tied up with String

Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas

And despite the fact that my Christmas tree has blue lights, it’s not a blue holiday for me this year.

I have someone to share it with and that’s first in some years.

I quite enjoyed wrapping up his presents while he lay napping on my bed this afternoon–poor bunny’s been sick.

He did rally like a trooper and helped me go to the Sloat Garden Center and get my tree.

I warned him that I was about to dork out.

I closely inspected all the trees, the pickings were far slimmer than I recalled from last year.  Then I realized that last year I had gotten my Christmas tree far earlier than this year.

That whole weekend trip to Alaska threw my schedule off.

And despite the decorations and the lights and the Christmas carol’s being sung, the stockings all hung by the chimney with care, it hasn’t felt like Christmas until about today.

I feel settled and at ease with what is happening with my father.

I got through my birthday, which, yes, though a day of celebration was such a surreal experience as it was the day I got the news about my father, plus it’s just a loaded day.

“Don’t have any expectations about anything,” I told myself.

Which is the best suggestion I can give myself at any time.

Expectations lead to resentments for me and the last thing I need on top of my already merry-go-round mind is some resentments about the expectations I have around the holidays.

And with a few years of having done this deal and been an orphan as such, although not really an orphan, I have done a few things for myself that speaks to good self-care and holiday joviality.

Last year I worked at half day on Christmas eve, then I rode the F-Market train down from the heart of the Castro to the Embarcadero and caught the last ferry from the terminal to Sausalito and then hopped off, walked a few yards, snapped some photographs, and hopped back on the ferry to San Francisco.

The year before I was in Paris and that was both monumentally mundane, as I helped a visiting friend locate a store open in Paris on Christmas Eve that could fax some paper work to her job, and unbearably magical–walking into Sacre Couer for midnight mass and the entire church is signing the first Noel in Latin.

Yeah, that’s not really a bad way to spend Christmas Eve.

The year prior I took myself out to the San Francisco Ballet and saw the Nutcracker for the first time.

I got all dressed up and took a cab.

I was unbearably homeless and lonely.

I was house sitting for a friend.

One of the sweetest gifts I got that year was a tiny black framed print in aquamarine that says: “Happy is a home that shelters a friend.”

I was pretty much a wreck that year, but tried to muster through it.

Of course in hindsight I can look back and see that I was being stripped down of all the things that I needed to let go of so that when the opportunity arose to go to Paris I was pretty much able to up and go.

The year prior to that I was living in Nob Hill.

And that was the first year that I allowed myself a Christmas tree.

I had a small studio and it overlooked the cable car line on Washington Street at Taylor.

The cable car guys would rumble by and certain operators would wave or flirt, or ask me what I was eating, my window really was just at eye level with the cable cars.

That year I was struck dumb with love and light and joy when I turned off the lights in my little studio and the Christmas lights on my tree twinkled and winked at me and the bulbs lit up the ornaments which cast Christmas colored shadows on the walls and ceilings.

Then.

Oh then.

A full cable car rattled by and all the passengers on the car were signing Christmas carols.

I felt my heart swell and the magic of Christmas kissed my forehead as I settled down for a long winter’s nap.

I can and do get a tiny bit sentimental and I think that’s ok.

There’s love and joy all year round in my life, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to celebrate and decorate and do up my own tiny little scene.

I have some Christmas goodies in the fridge to make a Christmas Eve dinner: warm spinach salad with bacon and Roquefort Blue Cheese, cherry tomatoes, and chopped apples; mini-rouladen–thin sliced black forest ham, slathered with a cream cheese and rolled around a dill pickle spear; asparagus with prosciutto, (I am now seeing a proliferation of pork products in my dinner I was not aware of until just now, ha), roasted Japanese sweet potato, and filet with some of that Blue Cheese reduced down and mixed with softened butter and fresh pressed garlic sautéed with baby Portobello mushrooms.

Yeah.

I like to cook.

Then  Christmas night dinner–caesar salad with grilled chicken and bacon, berries–strawberries and blackberries– and mixed cheeses, which I am going to do a little swing through ye olde BiRite tomorrow while on the way to the park with the boys, I’ll probably get my man a small Acme batard or sweet roll, a relish plate with marinated baby artichoke hearts, black olives, cornichons, deviled eggs with organic paprika, and yes, Virginia (ham is not on this menu), a duck.

I have not ever made duck before, but I am going to give it a go.

As I said, I like to cook, if you haven’t noticed from previous blogs and I am quietly thrilled to be able to make a few things for the man.

And have a tree.

And someone to hold my hand and snuggle with while I watch the lights twinkle in the dark.

Happiness.

Happy home for the holidays.

Happy indeed.


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