Posts Tagged ‘Christmas in Paris’

There is So Much

March 23, 2019

To write about.

And where to begin?

I almost titled this blog, One Hour, as an homage to something quite big.

I also thought about naming it, “Are you Here?” as I suspect my ex is back in town.

At least it feels that way.

More about that later.

Then I thought I should write about my awesome and amazing Mike Doughty experience and having gotten to see him on Wednesday of this week and how I played hooky from clients and went out on a school night.

I didn’t really play hooky, I just rescheduled them for later in the week, I had one tonight and I’ll see the other tomorrow after my regular Saturday clients.

Then I thought, oh yeah, I should call this, “Vive La France!”

As I bought a ticket to Paris last night!

Yeah.

So.

All the things.

All of them.

So much going on.

Plus, of course, the school thing that is happening and how I managed to get all my papers done and turned in on time and also how I got back some really amazing comments on my last couple of papers.

“Clarity, erudition, adept usage of third person, meticulous APA style,” I could go on, but then I think that’s just ego.

I”m right on schedule with school at the moment and extremely happy about that, despite feeling a little disconnected from school since I did not get much time this week at work to do homework.

The family had the flu.

Like seriously bad, fevers, aches, chills, super bad sore throat, coughing.

I do not know how I escaped, but I did.

I also got my flu shot this year so that might have helped and as soon as the family was diagnosed with the flu at the doctors they called me and said call my doctor and get Tamiflu, which is a preventative medicine that will work if taken within 72 hours of exposure.

So I’ve been taking that all week and seemed to have skated by the flu.

Thank fucking God.

I cannot afford to be sick.

And.

I don’t like being sick.

Even the small part of me that rather enjoys lying around all day in bed.

The rest of me drives itself crazy when I’m sick.

So I’m super happy I avoided it.

But man, work was a tough one this week.

Which made it easy to ask off for time to work with a client.

Yes.

It’s official.

This week I got my tenth client.

I took a leap of faith when the person reached out and offered expanded hours beyond what I have available.

Meaning.

Wednesdays I work from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. then see clients at 5:30p.m., 6:30p.m. and 7:30p.m.

I offered the client a 4:30p.m. slot.

Technically I’m working as a nanny, but I’ve been in conversation for months now that at some point I would slowly begin the transitioning down of nanny hours for therapy hours.

I hesitated for just a brief moment but knew, really knew, that I had to offer hours that would overlap into my nanny shifts.

And the client took the Wednesday slot.

Which means I have to be done at the nanny gig by 4p.m. now on Wednesdays.

One hour less of being a nanny.

One hour more of being a therapist.

Plus.

This new client found me on Psychology Today and was not a referral from my agency, meaning the client is full fee.

Yippee!

The more full fee clients I get the faster I will transition out of nannying.

I mean, I love the family, but $30/hour versus $140 an hour.

Well.

I know what works better for me.

Anyway.

That’s therapy business.

Then there’s Paris business which in a way segues into ex-boyfriend business.

Yesterday at work I was checking e-mails in a brief moment of time when I wasn’t picking up used Kleenex, hydrating some small child, washing dishes, drawing, cuddling, or making hot tea with honey and saw an interesting email from a friend.

It was an e-mail that he forwarded that there was a one day sale happening for round trip tickets to Paris.

Oooh.

I wasn’t planning on going to Paris this year, I’ve been planning on going to Hawaii in July,(but still haven’t done anything about it as I’m waiting on my employers to let me know when they’re going to be in Finland and if, probably not, but if they are also planning on taking me to Helsinki with them)  going to Maui and staying in Paia, where my grandmother was born in 1928.

But.

I was curious about the flights and a little bug got in my ear and so I searched and shit, the price was too good to pass by.

So I picked the best time for me to go, end of the fall semester, in December.

Yes.

That’s right.

I’ll be in Paris on my birthday and for Christmas.

I fly out of SFO on December 17th, landing the next day at Charles de Gaulle on December 18th, my birthday, in the early afternoon.  I’ll fly back on December 27th.

So I’ll be there from my birthday through Christmas.

I will sit in cafes, go to museums (the Louvre, the D’Orsay, the Jeu de Paume, the Pompidou–which is open on Christmas, I know where I will be, wandering the galleries there for sure on Christmas day, the Orangerie, the Palais de Tokyo, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Musee de l’Art Moderne), walk everywhere, read books, go do the deal with the Paris fellowship, hang out with my best girlfriend from my Masters degree cohort…we’ve already made plans to go to the ballet (I messaged her right after I bought the ticket).

I got the ticket from Air France round trip, direct flights there and back for $579.32!

I still can’t believe that!

My girlfriend asked me why December after exclaiming at the cost of the ticket.

I told her that my birthday and Christmas have been really tied up with my ex the last two years and maybe its better for me to be in Paris then in San Francisco and really just do something for myself.

I always wanted him to come to Paris with me and I had even brought it up in the days before we broke up that I wanted to plan a trip with him there.

It is such a screamingly romantic city.

And he’s such a foodie, he would have loved it.

I’m still sad we didn’t get to experience that together.

She understood.

Plus, I told her that it makes sense with my school schedule and it’s the slowest time of year for therapy clients….the last two holiday seasons were really slow and I hear that it’s that way for most therapist.

So.

Yeah.

Booked that ticket.

I don’t think I’ll stay with my girlfriend, despite knowing she’d let me, I think I want a little more autonomy and she’s got young twins, who are super sweet and adorable, but the house isn’t huge and as much as I loved staying with them, I don’t want to stress them out at Christmas.

I figure I’ll Air BnB in the Marais where they live, it’s super central and I know it well enough, and just be an independent lady at Christmas time in the City of Lights.

God.

There’s more to say.

The feeling of my ex being in town, and wanting him to reach out or to somehow bump into him, it’s big, but I’ve not got time to write more.

I need to get up early, lots of clients tomorrow.

So.

I bid you adieu and I’ll see you on the flip.

 

Holiday In Quarantine

November 25, 2016

It was a very quiet, self-reflective, mellow, slow Thanksgiving.

I did a lot of reading.

A lot.

I finished all the reading for my Child Therapy class and I got six chapters read in my Family Therapy class.

I had a couple of long sweet conversations with friends and family.

I received many sweet messages for the holiday.

I slept in.

I sat in the sunshine.

I walked on the beach.

I, yes, did some more laundry.

I have to strip and remake my bed every day for another 5-14 days.

I’ll see what happens when I go in on Saturday for the second treatment.

I didn’t stray from the neighborhood.

Most of the day I sat in the sun in the back yard and read and talked on the phone.

It was nice.

It was simple.

It was a great way to get a lot of reading done.

I still have plenty to do to get myself through the rest of the semester.

Papers to write, more reading to do.

Registering for the next semester of classes.

I have a lot to do.

But today I just sort of did small little actions.

I didn’t feel like following through with any invitations to come over and hang out, after I’m fully cleared.

I mean.

It’s doubtful I would pass anything on, but I just want to be sure.

That being said.

I am going to go to yoga in the morning.

And I plan to be out in the world a little more tomorrow.

NOT doing any Black Friday shopping, unless one counts grocery shopping.

I don’t.

But I will do a little movement away from the neighborhood, go do the deal and such, get out of my head and not let myself be too isolated.

I’ll pop up to the Inner Sunset and grab some fellowship and doing the deal in the early evening.

I don’t have big plans, as you may have sussed out, I have felt a little ostracized, self-imposed for the most part, after finding out about the lice, I haven’t really felt much like being social.

I know, they’re not contagious, but there’s still a little stigma in my head.

Or on my head.

Until I get the second treatment I may be a little shy about social stuff.

I will, however get out and do some stuff on Saturday.

I have my appointment for the second treatment at 9:30 a.m. on Fillmore between Clay and Sacramento.

It’s a fun little neighborhood for shopping and they do have a card shop that I like, I’m a sucker for stationary.

I also put a tentative coffee/lunch date ask out to a friend over in Oakland, hoping to entice him over the bridge with my MOMA membership.

And.

I’ll be seeing my person that night as well as going to dinner with him to Brenda’s.

I can’t eat much on the fried chicken, po’ boy side of town, but they do have a lovely red beans and rice with andouille sausage I quite like and I may allow myself to try the shrimp grits too.

The company is where it will be at though.

I don’t mind a bit of isolation but I need people in my life, even with all the time that I need to dedicate to being in grad school, I still need human love and interactions.

I need rituals and traditions too.

I may get my Christmas tree Sunday.

I almost didn’t have one last year and a friend gave me a little guy that I was able to have on my desk, but I missed having the full size tree.

It will be my splurge.

There really is something decadent about having a live tree in my house that will run me anywhere from $75-$100 for the honor of having a holiday tradition.

And.

Yes.

I will be traveling for Christmas.

But.

I so love the smell of the tree and the lights and the glow.

This is always the point in the year when I wished I was living in a bigger space, so I could have a bigger tree, but I tend to get a nice sized one, last year excepting, and it fills my home so fragrant.

It’s a self-love, self-care act.

I love hanging the lights.

Unwrapping the Christmas ornaments.

Unearthing the holiday cards.

I realized the other day that I have Christmas cards that I bought in Paris last year.

I got them at the gift shop at the end of the Tuileries.

Last year was a sad Christmas.

Despite being in Paris.

My heart felt like it was on fire the entire time.

How hard a place to be.

In the City of Lights, in the City of Love, in the most romantic place with a man I loved, but unable to have any romantic rapport with.

It’s a long terrible story that I have never fully sketched out.

Suffice to say.

It was hard for me and I was sad often.

The light on his face as we walked the avenues and roamed through the museums.

The hope, constant, beating like a broken winged dove in my heart, that something would change, alter, the silences and the unspoken things would come out, the berating of myself and the gorgeous back drop of the city, the smell of chestnuts from street vendors, the children on the carousels, the smell of hot chocolate and popcorn, the lights hanging in the streets.

On one hand it was the most exquisite romantic experience ever.

Unrequited love songs generally are sang best in the tune of not getting what you desire most.

I chose something different this year.

I chose to throw my own birthday party.

I chose to spend Christmas with my best friend from Wisconsin and her skulk.

I chose friendship and comraderie over heart ache and soul suffering.

It was brilliant grist for the grad school paper writing mill, but I don’t need to have that experience again.

It was painful.

I could have built a wall, I could have disappeared into a tunnel of angst, and I did for a little while, but upon careful reflection I deserve every powerful taste of love I can get.

And.

I know without a doubt that getting to know that depth of love I had for that man-made me a better woman, even though we couldn’t be together, the lessons learned will and have made me ready for the next experience I get to have.

I just hope it’s not an experience where I will be inhabited by tiny bugs scritch scratching in my head.

Puts a damper on making out.

Seriously.

I am ready to move forward.

And excited for what the rest of the holiday season brings.

More love.

I am sure of it.

Happiest holidays to one and all.

Deleting Photographs

November 3, 2016

Listening to jazz.

Specifically Art Tatum.

The scratchy sound of the needle dragging though the vinyl is succulent and the glow in my cozy, sweet home is warm and inviting.

I’m deleting photographs in waves.

I had over 10,700 on my hard drive.

They have all been safely moved to my external drive and I’m now in the process of deleting them off my laptop.

I have to say it’s challenging.

There’s a tiny part of me that wants to not delete them, what if they didn’t transfer?

But they did.

And the photos are taking up way too much space on my laptop.

It’s been running slow, telling me constantly to delete files, disk is full.

Yeah.

Yeah.

I hear you, I’m working on it computer.

Thanks to my special help, it takes a village, it does, I was able to secure my pix and now, ha!  Now I can take more.

Well.

Not yet.

But soon.

I’m figuring January.

I’ll be flush enough to get a new camera.

I’m not sitting horribly at the moment, but I did buy a ticket to Wisconsin and a ticket to Paris this past month, just paid rent, just wrote the check from my health insurance and bought my mom her birthday present.

I’ll be sending that off tomorrow.

I love sending presents.

I love the idea of seeing someone’s face when they get something I have gotten for them.

I like to give.

I’m a giver.

Shocking.

I know.

When I have been in financial straits I tend to make things, and truth be told, I’m thinking about doing that this year.

I’m not really in straits, I’m just not as flush as I would like.

I’m doing ok and I’m not going to stress, but I was also thinking that I love cooking and it might be nice to make chicken soup for friends at school.

Last year around this time I went over to a friend’s house and cooked food for him for what probably lasted him weeks if not a month while he was going through a challenging time.

Cream of broccoli soup with cheddar cheese and bacon.

And.

Chili with sirloin and three kinds of beans.

Plus a huge pan of cornbread.

It was right around this time, I do remember, it might have actually have been Halloween, I remember there were trick or treaters going around and I used candied corn and bacon, because I roll like that, in the pan of cornbread I made.

I miss baking.

I don’t miss eating it, though I can get nostalgic for it.

But I do miss baking.

Sometimes I wish I could just get all the stuff and bake up a storm like I used to when I lived in Wisconsin.

Sugar cookies with frosting.

Brazil nut toffee.

Popcorn balls.

Fudge.

With and without nuts, but frankly, it’s so much better with nuts.

I miss making cheesecakes and pies, pumpkin pies and apple pies especially at this time of year.

I miss that feeling that, warm, soft glowing feeling that I got as I puttered around my kitchen, mixing and measuring, baking, and kneading, frosting sugar cookies.

I do.

I always get a bit nostalgic for it when I’m heading into the holidays.

The photographs I have been deleting also reminded me of that.

I’m currently in the middle of the 1,000s of photos I took when I lived in Paris.

And I have to say.

Fuck.

I’m a pretty damn good amateur photographer.

There were some really good shots.

And I loved seeing the Paris around Christmas time photographs.

The lights were so gorgeous.

Definitely different from what you see in the states, but they had an allure.

I was also so broke when I lived there, taking pictures was all I could afford to do.

Although I did splurge during the holidays.

Mostly on postage.

I sent my family and friends postcards and Christmas cards from Paris.

I found a photograph of my table, one of my favorite perches at the neighborhood cafe at that was on the same corner where I lived, Rue de Bellefond, in the 9th, Odette and Aime.

I had a glass of water.

A cafe allonge, which is basically an Americano, or a black coffee–I was already skimping on the milk, the cafe cremes were just too pricey.

My notebook.

My bag of pens.

And tons of cards and postcards and stickers from the librairie that was by Square D’Anvers that I made myself a nuisance at.

I couldn’t really afford the pens and paper there, but I would treat myself once in a while, I would buy a card or if I was feeling extravagant, a Claire Fontaine notebook, I would wander the aisles and look at everything.

I was very polite to the owners and once that got used to me and the fact that I always bought something, even if it was tiny, went along way.

Bonjour Madame.

Bonjour.

And I would wile away the time in the aisles longingly caressing the notebooks and smelling the good paper smell.

I love paper.

I love books.

I love, love, love the way they feel and look and well, Paris was a hard place for that luxury when I was living there.

When I went back last Christmas I gave myself carte blanche to buy whatever I wanted to paper wise.

I actually had a challenging time with it for a little while.

Grow up poor and in scarcity, even when there is none, even when I had fat Euro, for me, in my pocket, Euro that was not needing to go to rent or groceries, or god forbid a cafe creme, I had a hard time spending it.

For a few days I was acting as though I couldn’t part with them.

I actually forced myself the first time to buy a notebook at a papeterie my first day there.

Yes, there are paper stores there.

Exclusively paper and pens and auto collants.

STICKERS.

God I love me some stickers.

Shut up.

I did get past it and I did allow a few splurges.

But truth be told.

I could have let myself have more.

That’s a thing.

Letting myself have more.

Nice coffee.

Nice candles.

Nice hair products.

It’s ok to take care of myself.

I still want to give, I do love gifting, there is just something about it, but I also want to let myself have things.

Whether it is an experience, which is usually where I spend my money–traveling.

Or.

A nice pair of pants.

I deserve to have nice things.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

Lest I forget.

And the best thing about the photographs?

They remind me, gently of how far I have come.

When I moved back from Paris three years ago I was broke.

I mean.

I had ten dollars in my wallet.

I have come a long fucking way.

Let me tell you.

And I’m so grateful for the perspective.

And that I documented my experience.

The photographs have been a joy to relive.

Looking forward to making more.

Having more.

Allowing more into my life.

Happy.

Joyous.

And.

Free.

Yes.

Yes, please.

Yes, always.

Well, Your Man Won’t Dance

January 13, 2016

But I will.

Oh.

My.

God.

Total nerdgasm.

I was meeting my person at Church Street Cafe this evening after work, grabbing a tea, just about to turn off my phone and I see a little notice on my Instagram feed.

Mike Doughty just liked your photo.

Followed by.

Mike Doughty is now following you.

What?!

Fuck me.

Wet panties.

Wet.

I am a dork.

I admit it.

I saw that man up front and personal when I was a wee lass, at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee when Soul Coughing was on tour for Ruby Vroom.

I saw him solo at Cafe Montmartre in Madison and I talked to him, briefly about maybe booking a gig at the Angelic Brewing Company.

I remember one of my friends, a co-worker, was so in love with him and screamed out his name and belted out his lyrics, then in a hushed moment declared her unending love and the fact that she was high on mushrooms.

He heckled her so hard she left out of pure mortification.

I saw him back a couple of years ago at The Fillmore when he was playing the Ruby Vroom album pretty much solo and I just finished reading his memoir and like a dork, really thought hard about bringing it with and asking for an autograph.

I didn’t.

But.

I did get my own form of mortification.

I was right up front with my man Stark Raving Brad and our mutual friend Dirty was somewhere out there too with another friend, and I was bobbing along to a solo acoustic rendition of Janine when Doughty changed up the lyrics and said “Edna St. Vincent Millay” instead of the  radio announcer’s name and I whooped out acknowledgement.

He startled, obviously surprised that anyone got the reference.

Secret.

Shhh.

I won a gold medal at an 8th grade forensics meet in Wisconsin when I was at DeForest Middle school reciting a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

She’s my kind of woman.

And Mike.

Well.

Gah.

He gave me a nod and a smile.

I wanted to sink below the floor.

Or give him a blow job.

Heh.

He got me through the sads in Paris I must have listened to Yes, And Also Yes until I knew every single song back and forth.

It was a part of my soundtrack.

It still is.

I have it on the stereo right now.

Just a little hero worship.

Or.

Maybe some day we’ll meet.

Love, love made them beautiful at last.

She doesn’t fall in love, she takes hostages.

Let me take you hostage, baby.

Your new song can be 27 Carmens.

Instead of 27 Jennifers.

Bwahahaha.

Oh.

Gack.

I think the closest I have ever gotten to being a douche, but I reframed was when I saw Pete Yorn in the hotel bar at the W down on Mission and 3rd.

I bought him a drink and sent it over to his table.

He had some tiny, skinny, glam doll draped over him and they were both slunk so low down in the chair you could barely tell it was him.

But it was.

I asked the waitress and she nodded.

“Send his next drink from me, but you don’t have to tell him, just a fan,” I said.

Then.

“I mean, I owe the man a few drinks when I think about all the sex I had to Music For The Morning After.”

Then I got good and wasted myself.

Not so much anymore.

The days were darker then.

Not so now.

“You’re on your watch tonight, aren’t you,” he said to me from the deep brown leather chair in the front window of the Church Street Cafe.

I am.

One hour and thirty minutes.

Unless I get some crazy hair up my ass and run over to the 7-11.

I’ll buy a bunch of PowerBall tickets, a bottle or fifteen and then go throw myself in the ocean because my life will effectively be over.

Nah.

I think I’ll stay in.

And do what I did last year.

Drink a cup of tea and say some prayers of grace and thanks and let the clock roll over to midnight and then get on my knees and cry a little out of gratitude.

You know.

No biggie.

Just eleven years of being happy, joyous, and free.

And.

Sometimes depressed, wrecked, ravished, ravaged, and lost.

But never fucked up like I used to be.

No.

Never.

Sometimes so overwhelmed with sorrow that I think I will break.

“Does it bother you that I talk so flippantly about him,” my person paused, looking at me with piercing eyes, gentle, but probing.

“No, it’s ok,” I said.

And it is.

I think he would be proud of me.

“You aren’t going to relapse,” he said, “please, that’s just not in your stars.”

Not so far.

Your love is ghost.

But I still remember the kiss you gave me on that night sitting in the front row at Our Lady of SafeWay on a Friday evening.

You wrapped your arm around my shoulder and pulled me close and kissed my forehead.

I won’t ever forget that kiss.

Or.

The glow of you that last night I saw you alive.

I will always remember.

My dark star.

My heart.

I know how proud you would be of me.

I know how proud you are of me.

I hope you and Bowie are out on the dance floor together.

Toasting our souls with ginger ale.

I heard you whisper, “be the ball, Martines,” to me the other day when I was re-arranging the postcards hanging from my mobile.

I was putting up one I had forgotten I had sent myself from Paris.

On Christmas day from the Pompidou, I ransacked the gift shop and bought a cloth sack, a notebook, two magnets–one of the Pompidou and one of a Mark Rothko I really liked–and postcards.

I had written myself a note, one of congratulations for having made it through a blue period, I think Christmas Eve was the only night I thought I might die of heart ache and sorrow, but I knew, from having walked through it before that I would again.

And.

I did.

And it was Christmas and I was high on art in the Pompidou.

I bought a blue on blue on blue postcard of dense indigo; a smash of rich monochrome, super saturated, intense color.

I got that postcard in the mail, read it, and spun the mobile, looking for a place to clip it.

And there it was.

My post card from Hallowell, Maine.

The one I sent myself the Christmas I went to Maine to stay with your family, their first Christmas without you.

I heard your voice, “be the ball, Martines.”

Yes.

I think I will.

Year eleven.

I hereby declare is the year of being the ball.

The belle of the ball.

The apple of your eye.

The ball to be watched.

The ball to be chased.

Because.

I’m done doing the pursuing.

I am enough.

He knew.

He knew so many years before I did.

Mike Doughty knows.

He liked my street art photos from the Marais.

He’s following me.

Who knows who else will.

This is my miracle year.

I just fucking know it.

Like the clarion ring of a soft finger stroking the string on the neck of a guitar.

It resounds within.

Clear as a bell.

These.

Natural harmonics.

This singing of the spheres.

The lightness in my heart.

This divine glow of love all around me.

All.

Around.

Me.

This.

Love.

 

Joyeux Noel

December 25, 2015

And it was.

Truly.

A very merry Christmas.

My friend and I went to the Centre Pompidou today for a Christmas day full of art, art, art, and yes, more art.

I am such a glutton.

I was like a kid in a candy store.

All the art.

All the time.

Merry Christmas to me.

Thank you God, Santa, Pere Noel, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas.

It was an amazing day, lovely, quiet in the morning, the streets not too busy, the boulangerie on the corner amazingly open so my friend could grab a bite and the train ride a quick and painless one to the Hotel de Ville Metro stop.

Then.

Onto the museum.

And oh, so grateful for the museum pass once again, as the lines were astounding and long.

We zipped right up front and got right smack into the building.

Dropping coats at coat check and riding the escalators right to the top of the building to the observation deck next to the restaurant on the fifth floor.

Amazing views.

Really.

Just amazing.

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Sacre Coeur in the distance.

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Gargoyles on top of Notre Dame.

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Hotel de Ville.

So much beauty.

And I hadn’t even gotten inside yet to get myself steeped, smothered, drowned, divine with art.

Here are some of my favorites from the museum today:

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I got to my very, very, very happy place.

Lunch was had, late in the afternoon at the cafe in the museum, then off to see friends at St. Elizabeth’s in the Bastille by Metro Temple.

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Such a pretty neighborhood.

Then, we walked for a while.

Ending up in Saint-Denis, which is not such a pretty neighborhood and we hopped on the Metro quick like to get out of the hood.

Winding back here in the 15th at Motte-Piquet Grenelle.

A coffee for me.

Some chocolates for my friend.

More walking around the neighborhood.

Not much was open, it is Christmas day.

But.

We did stumble upon a fantastic restaurant–Le Primrose–which was full of French folks, nary a tourist but us, and had an amazing dinner.

I had mushroom risotto with raw ham.

Yes.

I know what that sounds like, it just means it was not cured.

But.

Fuck me.

It was delicious.

Full.

Replete.

And delirious from a day of walking the neighborhoods, walking the museum, climbing up and down the Metro stairs and my friend and I decided to call it a day.

Or a night, as the case may be.

And we arrived back here fairly early.

Tomorrow is our last full day in the city before returning to regular life, “regular” what the hell in my life is regular (aside from my morning routine, which I have managed to keep up here despite being on vacation), in San Francisco.

The day, is loosely planned–the Jeu de Paume, for we have not managed to get into the art exhibit, despite showing up three times there now–an early start to the day, planning on being there as it opens.

Then, to the Marais.

To Abraxas, if it is open.

For yes.

Ha.

Tattoos.

My friend and I both sport plenty of tattoos, and what better souvenir than one I can carry with me for the rest of my life?

Besides, I got one the last time I was here, same place, different tattoo artist, and I have a feeling it’s a nice tradition to have.

Then, lunch, and shopping in the Marais.

After a quick jaunt over to the American Church to say a good bye to friends.

Dinner in the neighborhood at Cantine du Trouquet (because, yes, it was just that good that we have decided to go back for dinner for our last night in Paris).

And.

Finally.

Finishing with a night time trip up the Eiffel Tower.

Because.

Why not?

It has been an amazing trip and I am ever so grateful for my friend and the company as we walked about Paris.

It feels special to be of service–to be a good tour guide, to be able to speak French, which is not nearly as rusty as I thought, although never quite as good as I want it to be, and to share the Paris that I love with another person.

I have had a marvelous time and am so very happy that I had such a Merry Christmas this year.

Once again.

Joyeux Noel from the City of Lights.

Et.

Trop bisous pour toi.

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Another Blog

December 24, 2015

With too many photos.

I realized yesterday, perhaps another day, but yesterday for certain.

That when I have photographs in my blog posts they do not get posted the same to my social media pages, Twitter and Facebook, like they typically do.

I have actually seen a decrease in readership since posting the blogs with photos.

But.

Fuck.

I can’t help it.

I take a lot of photographs and I don’t really care what social media has to say or not say or whether or not I have a bigger audience.

Nope.

I continue to just be happy writing for myself.

About myself.

Because.

You know.

It’s all about me.

Ha.

Are you there God?

It’s me Carmen.

IMG_7923

This is a photo my friend took of me today at the Palais de Tokyo at the John Giorno exhibit.

Oh.

My.

God.

I love this artist.

I had such a good time going through the exhibit.

So, so, so god damn good.

I love art.

I repeat.

I fucking love art.

Here are some more shots from the exhibit:

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It’s true.  I do.

And.

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And also this:

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This too:

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All the fuck over it.

Yes.

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Absolutely.

The show was right the fuck on and I enjoyed every little morsel of it.

Of all the photographs I took, though, this next one might be my favorite, just from the perspective of the light, the framing, and the subject matter.

I can’t quite explain it, but man, I was happy when I made the capture and even happier when I downloaded it to my computer, it stood out in my eyes.

IMG_7902

Just something about it that made me happy.

That might be the best definition of art for me.

Just something about it that makes me happy.

So lucky to have so much art in my life, I’m like a glutton for it right now, bring mama more, let me roll around in it, slather it on my skin, dip my heart into it, rub it on my soul, and wash it over my ethereal and oh so corporeal body.

Yum.

IMG_7830

Art and poetry.

Which is art.

The longing heart.

Oh.

Such much that.

My longing heart had so much love today, it was brimming and overflowed many times washing down my face with the rain.

“Are you crying?  Or is that the rain.”  My friend asked as we were caught in a tiny spat of rain on the way to the American Cathedral to meet with friends.

“Rain.” I said emphatically.

My friend looked at me with a cocked head and a raised eyebrow.

“Oh, both, yes, I’m crying.”

And that happened all day and I don’t apologize for those tears, they well up, they pass, I am sad, I am in Paris and then, I am fine, happy, replete, full and loved again.

Washed over and over with memories and heart ache and a new love and lightness too.

So many layers of love.

Here’s one that brought tears to my eyes.

IMG_7973

Sacre Couer on Christmas Eve.

We went to the church, I was hoping we would be able to eat at the cafe in my old neighborhood on Rue Bellefond, but they were already closed for the holiday.

Instead we walked up the hill and rode the funiclare to the top and climbed the last steps.

I went in, holy, silent, reverent, and lost all at the same time.

I lit a candle for my grandmother who passed on Christmas Eve ten years, no elven years ago and knelt down and said the Our Father.

I am not a Catholic, but it runs deep in my family and it felt appropriate and then I found myself saying all my prayers, all the ones that I know, all the ones in my heart, asking to surrender everything I think I know about myself and to let go and love and be loved and to move on and move forward and surrender again.

And again and again.

And again.

I cried my little heart out to the point where I had snot running down my face too.

So unexpected.

These strong emotions.

But good to let them out.

IMG_7967

Pensive, sad, soft, surrendered.

I feel a lot different now.

Looking at roses my friend gave me for Christmas and a sweet hug.

Knowing that the Pompidou is open tomorrow, on Christmas!

What a lovely gift.

And.

The gift of being here that I wasn’t expecting, the experiences I wasn’t expecting, the grounding and lifting of my heart toward the heavens and the laughter the falls out of my mouth sometimes, too, when I least expect it.

I am never going to be French.

No matter how good my French ever should become.

I laugh too loud.

I cry to hard.

And.

All of that.

Is just alright with me.

Because.

I know love.

I know it so very.

Very.

Well.

Merry Christmas from Paris.

Joyeux Noel.

 

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SEX!

December 3, 2015

I’m not having any.

But thanks for looking.

Apparently my post yesterday about registering for second semester graduate school was not very scintillating to anyone.

Aside from my followers, love you, everyone I do–even those of you who I don’t know.

That always makes me want to have a tiny boastful moment.

“Yeah, well, I have followers on my blog who aren’t even friends of mine!”

So there.

Typically there are a few more hits than I got yesterday so I can only assume.

  1. My ex-boyfriend is not stalking me.
  2. Anyone interested in dating me is not checking up on what I’m writing.
  3. I’m just not that scintillating anymore.

Could be any number of things, but I do understand that sometimes a little spice is nice.

And I am spicy.

Just the right amount though.

Nice balance of sugar and spice.

If I do say so myself.

Last week when the grandparents were visiting my charges the grandmother whipped out an old book, it was hers when she was a little girl, off the book shelf and sat on the couch and read Mother Goose rhymes to the boys.

“Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of!” The grandmother said with ferocious inflection.

I remember thinking.

Oh no!

Don’t read the rest of the rhyme, don’t do it!

Too late.

“Snips and snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of!”

Well.

Not always.

Sometimes they are made of sweetness and sunshine and snuggles.

The youngest one confided in me today that the middle name of his favorite cat, his little transitional toy (thanks post-Freudian theory!) Meow Meow, was Carmen.

I asked what Meow Meow’s last name was.

“Manners!” He replied with a laugh and tossed the white (grey) cat at me.

I gave him a squeeze and smelled his soft, fusty little three and a half year old head and kissed the side of his neck.

“I love you,” I said.

“I love you too, Carmen, and Meow Meow Carmen.”

Oh.

My.

God.

What a little pie.

No snails here.

No.

None at all.

No snails or frogs or slugs or puppy dog tails.

That used to horrify me.

Ugh.

Little boys made up of puppy dog tails.

Not the mental image I am inclined towards, thank you very much.

If you haven’t figured it out yet.

This blog is not about sex.

Probably won’t be about sex for a while.

But I am ok with that.

Life right now feels right on track.

I got to see my friend from the neighborhood and hang out for a little while.

I had a good day at work.

I did some reading for school.

I confirmed a date for sushi and a movie on Saturday.

And.

Yes.

I am going to get a Christmas tree after all.

I really want one and there’s time for a little holiday cheer in my life.

I’ll have it up for two weeks and a so I miss having it while I’m in Paris.

My friend convinced me to go for it.

I think he’s right.

Well.

Ha.

I know he’s right, because as soon as he said it I knew I wanted one and I said yes, I’d love a ride.

Hard to get a Christmas tree back to the house on my bike, or my scooter.

Although it would be funny to try it.

Nope.

My friend is going to help me get one on Saturday.

I am thrilled.

Sure, it means a few less euro to spend in Paris, but, I’m ok with that since it will mean a great deal of happiness and joy for me in my home.

Maybe I’ll even get some mistletoe.

Just because there’s not sex doesn’t mean that there can’t be kissing.

Mwahahaha.

Ah.

A girl can dream.

Dream.

By the light of a Christmas tree.

I think I may end up making a little pilgrimage over to Noe Valley on Saturday then too, maybe, I’ll see what I can make happen, but when I was there last weekend I went to this little shop on 24th between Noe and Castro called Past Perfect and they had the sweetest little Christmas ornaments.

I like to get myself an ornament every year.

Slowly replacing the ones an old ex-boyfriend tossed out the year the Isthmus flooded in Madison and they got trashed in the basement.

I carried that resentment around for awhile.

I had not put them in basement and I was aghast later that year, the flood happened in the summer, when I went to unpack my holiday ornaments (ones from when I was three) to that time (I think 24) and I couldn’t find the box.

That box?

Yes.

That box?

My ex repeated, I um, I thought you knew, it was in the basement when it flooded and I threw it out.

What?!

Oh.

God damn it.

I was mad.

So mad.

I could have saved a lot of them, many were porcelain or ceramic.

Sigh.

Oh well.

Anyway.

So maybe I’ll splurge a little more and get myself a little Christmas ornament or two.

It makes me truly happy to think that I will be getting a tree after all.

It’s the little things.

Seeing someone you love.

Holding hands.

Getting a Christmas tree.

Going to Paris.

Ok.

Maybe that’s not such a little thing, but I am glad I am not making myself go through the holiday season without the smell of a fresh cut pine in my house.

Yay for Christmas!

Yay for love.

Yay because.

Why the fuck not?

Heh.

Yay.

 

Find My Way Back To

November 9, 2015

You love.

I have no idea where I have been, but it was never far from this table.

I have spent the majority of today sitting in this chair.

Reading.

Reading

READING.

Some of the reading was with another person and that broke it up and the material was good and well-traveled and there was much experience, strength, and hope shared.

For that I am beyond grateful.

I get to have a full and happy life because I put that first, despite my brain saying, “cancel on everyone you have too much reading to do!”

I ran into a fellow from my school today, a fellow who is in the internship part of the process and happen to have just graduated this past May.  It is really good to see him, I run into him on occasion on Sunday’s in the neighborhood and it’s really a balm to my soul to do a quick check in with him, which is what I did this evening when I headed over to Ulloa and 46th.

I downloaded my experience of reading today and sought his suggestions and experience.

And.

I have to say.

It is so refreshing to hear a graduate of the program say he did not read all the material, in fact, finished very few of the books, did just enough to get by, and that for him the most important part was the experience and showing up.

I have to concur with a lot of that, although it does not completely ring true for me.

When I am doing just enough to get by I’m not always feeling so good about what the outcome is.

Sometimes it’s going to happen.

But.

I feel better and I engage more when I am in school when I have been prepared.

At least marginally.

I do often find myself catching up on the reading that was needed for the prior weekend the week following.

Especially with my Human Development class.

But I am getting better acquainted with my own system and what works for me with the reading and the paper writing .

I have a little system of post it notes and various ways of marking what I want to use in a paper.

I am reading for what resonates and when it resonates a lot or seems to fulfill an overarching need for a paper topic I underline it, star it, and post-it-note it.

Then when I sit down to do the paper I look at those post it notes.

Problem with today’s reading is that so much resonated.

I have a zillion little blue notes all over my Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy book.

I have a bigger writing project that is due on the 17th of this month.

That’s nine days away.

But for me.

It’s more like six to seven days away.

As I need to write the paper next weekend.

I won’t have the time or bandwidth to do it after work during the week.

The best I have been able to do in regards to homework during the work week is get up a little earlier than I want to and read a half hour to 45 minutes before i have to ride out to work.

Riding my bicycle out.

At least for the next week.

Unless the family allows me to park the scooter in their garage, which I may try to persuade them to.

I am in the process of getting a child care parking permit through the city and it may take a few days to get all the documentation together as the family has to provide information that proves I am their employee and that further, they have children.

Once I get the permit I will be riding the scooter to work.

As for tomorrow.

I am on my bicycle.

There’s also rain forecasted and although I abhor riding my bicycle in the rain, I have not been on the scooter enough to know how it handles when the streets are wet.

I had enough anxiety crossing a set of MUNI tracks when I rode it home on Saturday, nothing happened, but I imagine that navigating slippery train tracks on a scooter is a skill and since I have only been on two rides I haven’t developed that skill yet.

So.

Tomorrow a ride in the rain on my bicycle.

I rode my bicycle this evening as well since I wasn’t sure when the rain was coming and I figured, again, why use the scooter when it’s just a few blocks away and the exercise will do me good.

The two walks I took today also did me good.

I had to stop a few times in all the reading and just get outside.

I even, shhh, read a fashion magazine for fifteen minutes at lunch time.

Oh.

And I did cook my food for the week–tarragon chicken with mixed vegetables (edamame, corn, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, onion) and brown rice.  Delicious.

But the majority of the day really was at this table.

I did shake it up for a little while between the after lunch walk and the pre-dinner stroll.

I sat on the chaise lounge under my bright reading lamp and got into the book in a heavy way.

Only keeping a slight eye on the sky as I knew I wanted to give myself a break and walk down to the ocean to catch the sunset.

And I did just that.

Feeling rejuvenated and exhilarated by the sea and sand and the small bands of folks from the neighborhood out with their kids and dogs watching the sun go down.

Then back to the house to read more.

Then dinner and that quick bike ride up to Ulloa and 46th.

And.

Yes.

Back to the house where I put in another half hour of reading to feel like I really got myself in it and starting to suss out the paper project in my brain, I read four and a half chapters today and I probably put in four hours of reading time when it all is added up.

Plus meeting to ladies and doing the deal and cooking.

Not a bad Sunday.

Not bad at all.

And as I walked into my cozy, sweet, inviting, little home, after a chilly ride on my bicycle through the night-time hinterlands of the Outer Sunset, I was met with such a loving warmth and generosity of spirit.

My own.

My self-love and self-care apparent in the pretty things on my wall, in the over flowing bowl of apples and persimmons on the counter, to have established such a lovely little nest to return to at the end of the day blew sunshine spangles into the dark crystal corridors of my heart.

I am so grateful that I have this home and this life.

A scooter.

Friends.

Love.

Recovery.

San Francisco.

Christmas in Paris.

Graduate school.

Life.

Oh.

Life.

I am so very alive.

And so very.

Very.

Grateful.

Ready, Set,

November 5, 2015

Paris!

I found my passport!

I booked the studio and paid for it.

“Wow!” My friend sent me a message after receiving my e-mail regarding my trip to Wells Fargo and the deposit made to her account.  “That happened so fast, I’m almost in shock.”

Me too.

But the good kind.

The pinch me, I’m dreaming kind.

I also requested and was granted two paid days off for vacation.

I am covered.

I have asked off, my passport showed up, and within twelve hours of having gotten the ticket I’ve got a place to stay in the 7th arrondisement.

I will be at 18 Rue Juge.

Metro stop: La Motte Piquet.

It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars, the Trocadero.

I know that area fairly well having meandered there every morning, or there about, Felix Faure was typically the stop I got off at, on Sundays around 11 a.m for six months.

I know that there is a great farmers market there on Sundays.

Unfortunately I will be traveling all day Sunday and leaving early Sunday morning for Charles de Gaulle.

I’m flying out 11a.m. on the 20th and arriving around 11 a.m. on the 21st.

There is the time change, but it will feel like traveling for a day.

I don’t really care.

I’m going to Paris.

It’s such an awesome thing.

Such an unexpected surprise.

Such a gift.

Truly.

My life, the things I get to do, how lucky I am.

I am graced.

Sitting here in my cozy in-law, astounded at how much my life has changed since I moved back from Paris.

It was three years ago on November 1st that I moved there.

How far I have come since coming back.

Getting in touch with my friend in East Oakland reminded me of that.

He responded this morning that he’d looked around the room I had stayed in and no passport.

Which was no problem.

As I found it last night.

That was crazy.

It was amazing actually.

And such a surprise to find it where I did.

I was sitting here finishing up my blog last night thinking about how I may have to go to the embassy and what that would look like and when I was going to do it, what the timing was going to have to be, etc, and I kept looking at a stack of books on my bedside table.

I wonder if it’s in my ……

Big blue book with the broken binder, the old one that is well-loved and used, and made “real” like the Velveteen Rabbit, the one I don’t use anymore as the binder is broke and I have another newer version and a little pocket guy, and I thought, “did I stick it in there?”

i kept staring at it.

I finished my blog.

Made a cup of tea, cut up and apple and some persimmon for a snack.

I carried my snack and my mug of tea to my bedside table, set them down, and unearthed the old book from my stack.

I flipped it open.

Nothing there.

Damn it man.

I got my computer and I set it down.

I looked at my book shelf.

The book shelf that has a lot of my notebooks on it and some of my books and I could see that I had made some space yesterday after digging through everything, every notebook I wrote in Paris, every scrap of paper, every envelope, and I didn’t like the way it looked.

Too much unbalanced space.

I looked down at the books next to the chaise lounge that were starting to stack up and I thought, “hmm, maybe I’ll move them on to the book shelf, there’s some space there now.”

So I picked up four and set them on the shelf.

The fit.

I went to sit down and the two that I left on the floor toppled over.

Annoyed I righted one.

It fell over again.

I righted it once more and was about to settle into my spot and have my snack and my tea and sure as shit, the damn book fell again.

I looked at the shelf.

Hmm.

There might be space if I rearrange it just a tiny bit more and put those notebooks there and stack those books there.

I have them stacked horizontally, not vertically, since there’s so many notebooks on the shelves.

I like to write a little you see.

I picked up the two remaining books and settled on the top shelf and the other just squeezed into the last bit of space on the second shelf.

But.

Ugh.

I have to say this, sometimes it is a defect of character and sometimes, well, is it odd or is it God?

Or was it my God box?

Who can tell.

But I have to say.

It was fucking magic.

Magic I say.

The defect, if you will, is perfectionism.

I recall recently getting a message from my person that said, “perfectionism is not an option.”

Well.

Fuck.

I still fall into it often.

And.

Last night I did.

But it also felt like I was being quietly guided.

Just nudged here and there.

So.

I put the book in the space on the shelf, but it was larger, longer than the book underneath it and I didn’t like the way that looked, so I unshelved it, set it on the floor and pulled out the stack of books so I could reshelve the bigger book on the bottom of the stack, thus aligning everything and making my obsessive compulsive sprite inside my brain happy.

And what the fuck do you know?

There it was!

Standing straight up.

On the second shelf of my bookshelf.

(underneath my God box)

Under the shelf below my hot pink magenta bunny rabbit bank that I bought in the Marais of Paris.

A gift I had given myself when a friend sent me 50 Euro and said spend it on something nice.

I wanted that damn rabbit bad.

I carried it through the Louvre later that day and took pictures of it next to works of art.

I know.

I am a weirdo.

But whatever.

I digress.

Underneath the shelf, standing up, looking all sassy and proper and navy blue.

My passport!

Oh my fucking God.

I yelped and grabbed it and laughed.

There it was!

I flipped it open.

Wow.

My hair has grown out so long.

That was my first thought.

Then I looked at my stamps.

Entering and exiting Paris.

The EuroStar train stamp from going to London and back.

Then the last stamp from the airport in Frankfurt where I exchanged my last Euro for a measly $10 American and headed on my last leg back to the United States.

So much there.

So many memories.

Just in seeing those small stamps.

I am so excited to get to add another series of stamps to the book.

I’m over the moon, I keep saying it, but it’s true.

Christmas in Paris.

I am so.

So.

So.

Ready for you.

Are You There God?

November 4, 2015

It’s me Margaret.

I mean Carmen.

I mean.

Where the fuck is my passport?!

Ugh.

l can’t find it and um, bwhahahahahahaha.

I uh, kind of need it.

Because this lady is going to Paris for Christmas!

Oh.

My.

God.

Oh.

My.

Fucking.

God.

I can’t believe this is happening.

My ticket cost $500, the prices jumped between yesterday and today and my friend asked me to contribute to offset the miles and what was I going to say, no?

Please.

A round trip ticket from SFO to Charles de Gaulle for $500.

I would be insane to not do that.

I cut him a check on the spot and I’m off to Paris.

Flying out December 20th and returning the 27th.

Six nights in the City of Lights at Christmas.

Dreamy.

I have goosebumps thinking of it.

My friend only asked that I be flexible, I like planning and figuring things out and having an agenda and doing all the things and well, he’s a little more spontaneous.

And I am so cool with that.

I do not care.

Yes.

There are places I want to go and people I want to see, but I don’t have to have an agenda.

I have been to Paris three times, this will mark my fourth time going.

Four.

How lucky am I?

Plus, my dear friend, my dear Parisian friend, from my masters program at CIIS, will also be in Paris visiting her family the 19th through the 29th.

She joked about doing papers in a cafe.

I think not.

I am not doing homework in Paris.

Oh.

I will write.

That’s a part of what I do.

No matter what the writing will happen.

And the buying of notebooks will happen too.

I am excited to visit the Papetrie’s, I need new Marie Clare notebooks.

I flipped through them all this morning before going to work.

I have looked for my passport one other time, I don’t even recall why, I haven’t had cause to do any traveling outside the United States since I moved to Paris three years ago the first of November 2012.

Three years ago I was in Paris, probably lost and hungry, cold and wet, and trying to figure out which way to go on a map.

I got lost a lot, but I always did find my way home.

Home, fingers crossed, I haven’t confirmed it yet with my host, will be a studio in the 7eme.  Which is near the Eiffel Tower.

A place my friend insists on seeing and going to the top of.

Something I have never actually done.

I have taken a horse-drawn carriage around it once.

And once, my first time there, I got lost and separated from the family I was traveling with and climbed the stairs to the second level trying to find them, but I never got to the top.

I will this time.

And I will make sure to walk around it at night when it lights up.

Especially since the studio is so close to the tower.

I know the woman from my time in Paris and she made me a really nice deal.

50 Euro a night.

My friend and I will split the cost of the studio and for about $650 I will have flight and accommodations.

Thank you very much.

Now.

Where the hell is my passport?

I went through every notebook, especially all the ones from my last time in Paris and looked for it, I scouted out all the obvious spots.

I live in a studio, there’s not a lot of places to look.

And I have looked once before.

I ransacked my place, neatly, I didn’t make a mess, and I did discover some sweet photos that I had forgotten I had, but I did not find my passport.

I wrote a little note and I dropped it into my God box.

Yes.

That’s right.

I have one of those.

I like using it, it always works and it clears my head and you know, I’m a little eclectic and my God box is actually a magenta pink rabbit that I bought in the Marais district of Paris from a store that was near to the tattoo shop my friend worked out of–Abraxasis.

I dropped the note then e-mailed my friend in Oakland who was letting me stay at his place until I was settled here in my in-law.

Because that is the last place I can remember having my hands on it.

I spent sometime trying to see where it was in my mind.

I had it in my wallet when I first got back from Paris and remember stumbling across it at some point when I was digging out a card from the divider and realized it probably wasn’t the best idea to carry my passport on my person in East Oakland.

I can recall sitting on the bed in the room at Graceland and pulling the passport out of my wallet and then putting it in something, a book, a notebook, a file and stacking it with some other bits and pieces of paperwork on the secretariat in the room.

That’s the last time I can remember having it.

I also remember thinking to myself that I might be squirreling it away too well.

That I might forget where I put it.

And voila.

I fucking did.

I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

Instead, I sent my friend a message and hopefully it’s there in the room, maybe in the drawer of the little desk.

If it’s not.

Well.

Thank God there’s an embassy here and I will go down to it with all the pertinent documents and pay the expedited fee to get one in five days.

I don’t want to, I would rather the money to spend in cafes on postcards, notebooks, dinners out–nothing fancy, my friend, too cute, “I don’t want to go anywhere fancy for food.”

Neither do I.

Although I do want to go to Odette and Aime for dinner one night, it’s not fancy, and it’s the cafe I spent the most amount of time in, since it was on the same block where I lived, it’s just good home-made food and it will be nice to see my old stomping grounds.

I’m going, going.

Back, back.

To Paris.

Over the moon.

I am over the fucking moon.

Best Christmas present ever.

I might just have to pinch myself.

It doesn’t seem real.

But I’m going.

I’ll send you postcards.

Promise.

Sealed with a bisous

Or.

Two.


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