Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea’

School’s Out For Summer!

May 16, 2016

I’m done!

I’m done!

I’m done!

Take that Psychodynamic Lacanian theoretical paper, I see you, raise you a parental confrontation, a castration complex, and further, you can’t squash my jouissance.


I slay you paper dragon.

“That was fast!” my friend in cohort text me back after I gleefully texted her to let her know I had finished my Psychodynamic’s paper.

It was.

And still I am surprised at how fast I can write.

It doesn’t always mean it’s good, I’ve some modicum of humility, not much, but some, but it does mean that I am capable of doing the work in an efficient manner.


Not to put too fine a point on it.

I had done the reading.

I had taken good notes in class.

I participated in class.

So when I needed to review the material and I did not know what I was going to write on, I did not in fact, write on the topic that I was going to, I google searched it and there were too many theoretical papers already out there.


I used an experience from my youth and wrote about that.

I actually thanked God after the paper was finished for being able to use the traumatic event to write a positive piece.

I am amazed.


By how the wreckage and dreck of my past can be put to use.

“Carmen,” a famous writer once told me, “most writers would kill to have the material you work with.”

Meaning that I have lived a lot of life and have had a lot of experiences.

Some of them dramatic, traumatic and packed with pain.

Pain that I have been able to turn to something else.

If not gold, a kind of beautiful word garden that I can pick and choose what I will present in this bouquet of meaning and language.

I love poetry and words and sonnets and prose and sex and eros and flowers and life and apples and culture and French and travel and all these things add up to something, more than who I am and all of them inform me and build me and shape me.

I am so many things.

I am over the moon to be finished with my first year of graduate school.

I am officially a second year student now.

I am proud of the effort I put in and aware that I did not do any of it on my own.

It was with joy and humor that I spoke with one of my friends today from my cohort.

“Oh, don’t worry,” I said, so and so and I messaged and text and I know people are skyping, I’m totally fine with going over the take home with you.”

We did it together.

I had already turned in my final but I was more than willing to help my friend.

And when I think about all the help I had getting through this first year I am blown away with gratitude.

Friends who bought me groceries when I had to go down in hours at work and I hadn’t gotten my financial aid disbursement yet.

Friends who let me study in their living room when there was a kid’s birthday party here at the house with some many children it was like being inside a bouncy house trying to study.

Friends who bought me readers from Copy Central.

Friends who gave me rides to and from classes.

Friends who commiserated with me about the amount of work involved and how they did it, my nurse and doctor friends, my lawyer friends, my fellows in cohort.

My employers for being flexible and once a month letting me have off on Fridays so I could go to classes all day.

All the people who cheered me along the way and said, you can do it!

I did it.

Thank you friends!

I couldn’t, really, have done it without you.

That is not to down play the amount of work I did.

I did a lot of fucking work.

I showed up consistently, I didn’t miss a single class (which also helps me in writing the papers, let’s be honest, it’s a lot easier to stay on top of things if you are in the classroom, the importance of every class when it’s an intensive full time program taught on the weekend is huge), I did all my readings, well almost all of them, I may have missed an article here or there, but I really read all the books and texts and the majority, over 95% of the readers, I turned in every paper on time and I showed up for every project I had to present on time and prepared.


I know.

Fucking perfectionist.

“Now you can relax,” a friend text me.



How though?

It’s going to take me a minute to unwind from all of this, I already know that, it feels very surreal to have all the work done when I consider that over the past year there was always something I had to be working on.

Going back to full time work is going to feel like a vacation.

Speaking of vacation.

New York in four days!


I’m fucking going to New York.

I can finally get excited about it.

I have all my work done.

“That paper isn’t due yet, though, not for two weeks,” my friend text me when I said I was going to do the Psychodynamic paper today.


Except that I will be in New York next weekend and I don’t want it over my head and I didn’t want to have to worry about carving out time after I got back from the trip either.



I was a smart cookie.

I’m going to be coming back really early on Monday morning, flying out of JFK at 7:30 a.m.

What with the time change it will be 9:30 a.m. or something like that, and I asked off for the whole day from work.


A full day to decompress from the trip and not force myself right back into the grind.

I’ll get to ease back in.

Super grateful I planned that out.

I have also made loose plans for the trip.

Friday I will get up and walk around Clinton Park, the area I’m staying in, grab some coffee and eat some breakfast and then make my way around Brooklyn.

I’m just going to wander.

I have an 8p.m. date with a friend to go do the deal in Williamsburg at Northside, so I figure  I’ll just mosey about Brooklyn all day Friday.

Hit the vintage shops.

Hit the coffee shops.

Wander around the Brooklyn Botanical garden.

Maybe pop into the Brooklyn Museum.

Go to book stores.

I’m very tempted to also hop over to Green Point and see if I can get into Three Kings Tattoo for some fresh ink.  I wouldn’t be able to get a tattoo that day, I’d have to go back after the consultation but they’re open late and I was thinking late Sunday I could get the work done.

It’s a thought, I have very tentative ideas about a piece.

I just like the idea of getting a piece done there, as I have in Paris now twice, it would be fun to add New York to the geographic map of my meandering travel life.

Then Saturday hit the city.

I want to go to the Guggenheim and the MOMA.

I know that’s a lot of museum to do in one day, but I’m on my own and I’m good company and I walk fast, I take the subway into New York, I hit the MOMA first, it closes earlier than the Guggenheim which will be open later, then onto the Guggenheim.

I drink lots of coffee.

I see art.

I buy notes books and take pictures of graffiti and get stickers.

I walk.

I soak it the fuck up.

I eat what ever I want.

Raw oysters.

I drink bubbly water till the cows come home.

I go do the deal somewhere if it makes sense to do so.

I plan on doing the new Whitney on Sunday and then walking the High Line Park and wandering around the little independent galleries around Chelsea.

If I decide to get a tattoo I head back over to Green Point and do that.

Part of me also wants to go to Coney Island.

But I’m not sure.

And I think that’s something to do with another person, ride the Ferris Wheel, go on the tilt-a-whirl, ride the Cyclone, seems like I would want a person to do that with.

Museums and walking about and exploring though.

That’s the deal.

That is my celebration.

I gave myself a trip to New York when I headed into the beginning of this semester.

I am so glad I did.

I am so excited to do this for myself.

I’m so grateful I made it through the school year.

Here’s to the beginning of my awesome summer vacation.

I have no idea where it’s going to go.

I just know I earned it.


It’s going to be fucking awesome.

It already is!

Upside Down

May 12, 2016

Right side in.

Topsy turvy.

This day has been strange.


I have rolled with it really well, surprisingly so, I feel super settled and though overwhelmed a little, just now, pretty able to just groove along with what is happening.

It did not hurt that I got a full night’s rest.

I was knocked out last night.

It still took me a minute to fall out, but when I did, whoa, I was down.

I think I actually got a solid eight hours, which is the first time since last Thursday.

Yay sleep.

I got myself organized this morning, stripping the bed and washing the sheets, getting into my morning routine, a little breakfast, a couple cups of coffee, some writing.



And text my friend who’s place I’m staying at in Brooklyn.

I mean, I should find out how I’m getting into his place when I show up there next Thursday.




His travel plans were changed and he actually needs to stay at his room in Brooklyn and I need to find another place to stay.

I really took it well.

I was a little sad at first, I mean, who doesn’t want to save a few bucks on a place to stay?

But then.

I got happy.


I get to see my friend, I get to go do the deal with him and see how he’s doing and catch up and grab a coffee and maybe walk around Brooklyn.

I may wrangle him for one of my museum days.

He is an artist after all.

So instead of getting miffed, I just got real.

Ok God.

Where do you want me to stay?

I mean.

I am a little overwhelmed with the decision.

I reached out via the social media and said, hey, what’s up New York?

I have gotten some nice leads.

Suffice to say, and I am not at all ashamed of this, I’m a little too freaking tight on time to give it a whole lot of thought.

The place will find me or I will find it.

Right now.

My mind is focused on finishing the work for school, because I’m not going to have any fun in New York if I still have papers to hand into to my professors.

I got one more in today.

Just a small piece, a page posting and a couple of response replies to the thread online.

Not much, but some motion.



Oh, such sweet relief, and I have no idea how it happened, but the APA formatting software that my friend let me download from her, well, I finally got it to open.

I have absolutely no idea what I did differently, but it suddenly happened.

I texted her and got the password to the account.

And voila!

I can now format all my papers in APA style.

No more pulling out my hair trying to figure out citations for the paper, the software does all the work for you, organizing, formatting, my paper will be perfect!


At least better formatted than the previous ones.

I still have to write the thing.

I made some strides though, small ones, but it was a start.

I put away the one class reader and notebook that I have finished all my reading and papers for, thanks and good night Multi-Cultural Counseling, it’s been fun.

Then I organized my three other classes that I have assignments due for and did the aforementioned posting for the fourth class.

I had five classes this semester.

Going back to just working full time is going to feel like a vacation.

No wonder I am having trouble focusing on where the hell to stay in New York.



Hell’s Kitchen?




Come back, Martines, not there yet.

Get back to the paper.


I started going through my notes and putting the stickies with scrawled notes and ideas on my notebook.  I started to get the gist of what I am going to write.

Tomorrow I’m going to do yoga in the morning and when I get done I usually have a few moments after my shower to look at things, I’ll take another half hour and keep up the organizing.  Then, come home and review the rest of it.  I’ll take Friday to do the writing, before and after work and the doctor’s appointment.

Then date night.

Because a girl’s got to have some play too.

All work and no play makes Carmen no fucking fun.

I’m listening to Mike Doughty’s Stellar Motel right now, he lives in New York, and as I have been blogging I have had this little question in my head.

“Where would Mike Doughty stay?”

Fucking cracks me up.

Maybe I’ll just message him.

Hey, you got a place you like?

No, you don’t know me, but you follow me on Instagram.


I do actually have a lot of connections and folks I know in New York or people that have traveled there and had suggestions.

Everything from my boss saying she like Gramercy Park (um, out of my price range) to go where there’s good coffee shops–Queens, Brooklyn, etc.



Digressed again.

I am happy though.

I have the opportunity to go to New York and have a completely different experience than the one I planned.

Isn’t most of my life like that?

While I’m busy making plans, God steps in and says, “no, here, this will work better, you’ll like this more.”

Ok, God, so yeah, where should I stay?

Now that I know what you want me to smell like.


I found my scent.

I am in love.

Remember, couple weeks back, I dropped my brand new bottle of Chanel’s Egoiste Pour Homme in my sink, yeah, that sad, sad day, I haven’t had any perfume since then.

I have not had the time, or, well, truly, the inclination, to replace it.

I suspected I was needing something new.

And wouldn’t you know it.

I got to work super early today, the traffic was oddly light, and I parked on Valencia and paid for all day parking, still waiting on the permit, in front of a specialty perfume shop that opened a little while back–Tiger Lily.

I walked in.

I told the woman what I used to wear that I really loved.

Issey Miyake Feu D’Issey.

Then I told her about the Egoiste Pour Homme and breaking the bottle and that Chanel had sold me the last bottle and were waiting for restocking.

That I decided I needed a new scent and I was looking for something closer to the Issey Miyake perfume.

I described what I wanted and she and I walked around the store.

She suggested this and that.

And they were nice, but not exactly what I wanted.


Oh damn Gina.

There it was.

Rose Flash.

Holy shit.

I had a visceral reaction to it.

I shuddered deeply with pleasure as the scent washed over me.

I felt warm and lush and supplicant and hot and fiery and sexy and roses and candles and spicy, all so delicious I could barely stand it.

I was completely transported.

“This one!” I said fierce with the knowing.

“How much?”  I asked, bracing myself for the amount.

“$60, and it’s perfume, not a toilette, so it will last you a while,” she smiled.

“I’ll take it,” I walked over to the counter heady with the perfume.

“We’re currently out,” she said scanning her supply.

Well poo.

“But, it’s a local perfumery and I can get it in really quick, let me have your e-mail and I’ll send you a message as soon as it comes in, and in the meantime, let me give you a sample, I love how you reacted to it!”


And I have been dreamily reacting to it all day long.

I put some on at work and the soft warm wafts of scent would envelope me and my mood would just shift and change and open.


I feel happy smelling it.


So nice.


Something new.

A new smell, a new experience.

There’s something great in New York.




There are no problems.

Only different points of view.

Different perspectives and a new opportunity to have a different experience.

Looking forward to it.

Now, excuse me, while I wind down.

I’ve got some busy time ahead of me.

And opportunity to see what happens next.

I suspect it will be amazing.

It always is.

You’ve Had Quite The Year

January 6, 2015


I mean, it’s only five days in.

It’s been alright.


You mean, this past year?

Yeah, I sort of forgot about the six months of ankle recovery, the flying down to Florida last year to see my sister for the first time in seven or eight years, the seeing my father for the first time in twelve years, the hoo ha that happened at Burning Man, getting a scooter, deciding to go to graduate school, actively pursuing dating, getting into a relationship, navigation of said relationship through the holidays, turning 42, writing, blogging, doing the deal, being open and honest as much as possible, going to Northern Wisconsin to see my best friend and her brood in July, riding my bicycle all over San Francisco, taking the motorcycle safety course and getting my motorcycle licence, interviewing all over the place for months and then when I least expected it, getting a new job in September right after getting back from Burning Man.

Oh and going to New York for the first time, let me not forget that either–the Empire State Building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, walking around Union Square, wandering around Chelsea, going to the piers, eating oysters on the half shell with friends, walking the High Line, sitting in Tavern on The Green and watching the world go by, one fat horse-drawn buggy after another, splashing about the fountain in Washington Square Park, eating fat steak at Peter Luger’s.

I have indeed, had a year.

Who knows what’s going to happen in this one.

I cannot predict it, nor, really do I want to.

I am no good at mind reading, predicting the future, or knowing what’s best for you, despite often times wanting to pretend that I do.

I know this much, when I have expectations I get bummed out.

When I show up expecting nothing, things happen.

Wild things.

Unexpected things.

I find love in interesting places.

I meet new people.

I have found tender new reserves within me that I knew not and have grieved relationships that I did not even know needed to be grieved.

Real and imaginary.

I have had numerous children say sweetly from the bottoms of their adorable hearts, “Carmen, I love you.”

I have had long walks on the beach and quiet long meditations in the sand dunes at Ocean Beach, listening to the Universe, asking God what he wants from me, looking out to the sea and letting go to the moment.

I have written a lot.

According to WordPress I have had over 10,000 views on my blog this past year.

In 2014 I wrote 316 blogs.

I actually wrote a few more than that, but some needed to be deleted for privacy reasons.

Every once in a while a girl has got to scrub her blog.

I had a total of 10, 516 views.

I had, I love this stat, 5, 422 visitors.

Over five thousand people visited my site.

I know that’s small peanuts in the general scheme of things, but 5,000 people found my blog and liked it enough to read it.

I currently have 263 followers.

That means that 263 of you subscribe to have my blog delivered to your in box every time I publish a blog.

Again, not screaming numbers in the over all scope of writing and writers, but then again, come on, 263 people want to read my stuff.

I am beyond flattered by that.

Most of the people who read my blog are in the United States, but I have a number of folks in France and Great Britain that read it.  I have been read by folks in Costa Rica, Canada, Germany, Australia, Italy, India, Denmark.

I am pretty happy with that.

I was looking back and it turns out the 2012 was my best year for visits and views, but let’s be honest, it was also the same year that I was in Paris and I was posting one or more blogs a day.

In fact, that year I not only posted every day, I posted an additional 27 posts.

That didn’t happen with this year, a new boyfriend happened and that dropped my numbers down.

I also stopped writing about dating, and shocker, when my audience was not as titillated by the content, the numbers dropped too.

However, I try to not write for the audience, I try to write by just sitting down and writing.

I have to say, I want at times to write about my relationship, all the things that I am learning about myself, about how to show up for romantic love, what that entails doing, being, feeling.

Let me say.

I have a lot of feelings.


There’s another person involved and I am not interested in writing anything about that person.

I have learned to keep certain secret rooms of my heart a little more secluded.


The door pops open once in a while and the heart I wear on my sleeve tries to do a little polka dance out onto the stage, but I push it back and suck it up and then write in my morning pages.

I have been writing a lot of those.

I took it up a little over the last two months that I have been dating my fella.

The times that I was not blogging I was making sure that I was writing more long hand and that’s where the relationship has played out, where I suss and sort my feelings, where I ask for guidance, where I pray for unselfish action, and how to be of service to the relationship.

I learned one thing that I am willing to share.

Being in a romantic relationship makes all my relationships better.

The more I communicate, the more I learn, the more I am able to bring that learned knowledge into my relationships with friends, my employers, the women I work with on a daily basis, the children I care for.

The more contact I have and the more I strive to find equilibrium and serenity in my daily life in this romantic relationship, the more I grow.

“Romantic relationships are Miracle Grow for defects of character,” she told me with a knowing laugh.



Yes, that has indeed been my experience.

And I am astounded, awed, and amazed that I have so much more to learn.

I mean.

I just keep learning, about myself, about what I need, what I think I need, and how I am most certainly a proponent of wanting to be happy versus right.

Right it does me no good and certainly does not give me that warm fuzzy feeling when I concede the higher ground on principle.


I have had a year.

I wasn’t intending to write a prospectus on my past year, but hey, I don’t always get to choose my topic, it often chooses me.

I still got the words.

And I still have the commitment.

And I will still keep showing up here to share with you my experience, strength, hope, love, joy, grief, journey, dreams, and desires.

It’s the least I can do.

You’ve really been there for me.

It has been a year.

But I couldn’t have done it without you.

I love you.

And wish you your best year yet.

Happy New Years!

Five days in.


Home Again, Home Again

January 13, 2013

Jiggedy jig.

I am ready to go home.

Paris, that is.

London has been lovely and I have gotten to meet some really nice people–one of whom is named Eloise.


It’s like something out of a story book.

I was chatting with a gentleman I met tonight and we both smiled at the state of my life, the adventures, the travel, the hop the EuroStar for the weekend to mark a special anniversary.

Not that I really did anything special.

I just walked around.


Cromwell Road

Cromwell Road

I took in some sites.  But not the sites typically taken in, I would think.

I had a nice morning into early afternoon with Miss Kellie and we parted about 2pm this afternoon.

She was not feeling at the top of her game and after a long week of working back in San Francisco, travel, jet lag, and a little sore throat, on top of the need to be in peak performance shape for a full week back to work, she had to go back to the flat.

I was left to my own devices.

Kellie got me as far as the Underground and gave me good directions on which way to go.

I had decided I was going to go to Trafalgar Square and face the tourists and do the National Museum.

That did not happen.

I got to the tube just fine, added a few pounds to the Oyster Card (Metro pass) that Barnaby lent me, and headed toward the correct platform.

While on the train, however, the announcer came on and said, this is the stop for the museums.  I just thought, oh, I’m here earlier than I thought.


Different set of museums.


Museum of Science and Natural History

I would have gone in.

I was in fact, headed toward the front gate.

So were hundreds of other people.


The line, where I passed by and gave up hope of getting in, was marked for a 45 minute queue time.

The line was much further back than the 45 minute marker.  It was easily double that and full of children, loads of children, retarded amounts of children.  I was not going to stand in line for an hour and a half to be bamboozled by kids all afternoon.

I walked past.

I came to an intersection, looked both ways, man is it disconcerting that the cars run on the opposite side, looked both ways again, and said, ok, which way?

I turned left.

Glad I did.

I got to go past Saint Augustine’s Church.


Saint Augustine's

Saint Augustine’s

The sun on the facade, the naked trees against the blue of the sky.

I was mesmerized.

I kept turning back to take more photographs as I walked away.



I walked into the Chelsea neighborhood.  It was divine.  Quiet, elegant row houses, lots of brick, and the sun was shining over it all, benevolent, still, almost warm when I was in a sheltered area for a moment.

Row Houses

Row Houses

I followed the line of the road past these brick beauties and came to another intersection.

Again, I looked both ways, less for the cars, the roads were fairly quiet, the neighborhood extremely residential, but more for which way do I go.

I saw a peak of a church belfry to my left and decided to head toward that.

It was in the center of a gorgeously quiet pocket of Chelsea.  I almost felt like I had tripped upon some gated community.  The church was in the middle of a park and I thought briefly of going in, but it was private and gated and despite the gate looking unlocked, I had a feeling it was not a public house.

I stopped and stared, nonetheless and of course, clicked on the camera to take a few photographs.



Sunlit Steeple

Sunlit Steeple

The sun shone brightly and I continued my walk through the neighborhood.

I popped out of the quiet residential pocket onto a slightly busier road and after looking at a map on a bus station decided I should walk toward the Thames.

I mean, I am in London, right, maybe at least get headed back in the direction of the places one is supposed to go set eyes on, The Tower of London, West Minster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, maybe the London Eye.  Something of that nature.

However, on my way to that end I walked past the West Brompton Cemetery.

Death called.

I answered.

I swerved off the beaten path and into the quiet, sun drenched stillness of the cemetery.





It was exquisitely quiet.



The sun battered down and I felt so at peace, no pun intended, so at rest, ok, a little intended, I just drifted along.

The chorus of ravens flocking about, the flit of a squirrel on a branch, the lines of tilted stone crosses and old headstones.

The romance of it all.

Death, you do me good.

I would have stayed longer.

I thought about snagging the bench in the corner of the back edge that I saw, so beguiling, so beckoning.

However, I hate to admit it, but I had a large cup of coffee and a half liter of water in me from the earlier part of the day.

I had to find the loo.

My visit cut short, I edged out along a more public path–I apparently had come in the back side entrance–and headed toward the West Brompton Underground Station.

West Brompton Train

West Brompton Train Station

As luck would have it I was guided to my final destination on my trip planner a little earlier than I thought I would be going.

I had plans, tentative, it turns out, and unconfirmed plans end up being plans that do not pan out, to meet some one at the Angel Tube stop.

I debated while on the train whether I should just get off at Oxford Circus on the Piccadilly Line and head to the museum.

I had time before my seven o’clock meet time.

I had the inclination.

But I did not have the desire.

The stillness and solitude of the cemetery still sat with me and I could not fathom losing that peace I had acquired in the sun to a mess of tourist in that neighborhood.  I was content to be headed in the right direction.

I got off at the Angel tube stop and walked about.

I found a restroom in a Starbucks and got a coffee to pay for the usage of the facilities.  It was a warm, cozy spot with a lot of overstuffed chairs and my feet hurt.  I debated.


I am in London, go walk about some more.

The light fading fast I headed out with my Americano in a cup and made for a direction that seemed pleasing.

I discovered the end of a little antique market closing down for the day.  I went about the stalls and poked through a few shops.  The wind picked up and the sun was gone.

As I fumbled with my camera to get a shot of a gorgeous flowering tree next to a vintage shop on one of the corners I realized that I was chilled, my feet were really sore, and despite wanting to see more of London, what I really wanted was a book and a sit in a comfy chair with a cup of tea.

I got the photograph.

Flowering Tree at Dusk

Flowering Tree

I turned around and headed back to the book store I saw on the way.

I perused the stacks and picked up a Brett Easton Ellis novel I had not heard of before.

I headed back to the Starbucks.


I settled for comfort and a warm place to sit and wait for my friend.

Who, as it turns out had a change in her plans and we never did connect.

I did get to the meet up place and I did meet a few more interesting folk before the night was through.

Ultimately making it back to Miss Kellie’s place in time for a hug and a hot bowl of take away from last night warmed up in the microwave, followed by, yes, another mug of tea.

I am glad I came to London.

I am happy I am going home, though.



I will see you soon, ma cherie.

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