Posts Tagged ‘couch surfing’

Spa Day

April 24, 2013

After the trains, buses, planes, and various Metro lines I took yesterday, both in Rome and in Paris, I was pretty tuckered out.

So much so that when the offer was made to me to come over to a friend’s house and stay while she was away in the states for the week, I balked.


I don’t want to get back on a Metro to transfer to another Metro to hop on the RER C and head out to Vitry-Sur-Seine.

I want to cry in my tea and put my head down on the table and give the fuck up.

I felt done in.

Then the realization hit that my room-mate had a friend coming into town who was going to be staying for the next week, ie until I left back for the states, and perhaps getting on another round of trains was not such a bad idea after all.

I said yes, let me get myself together, drink a cup of tea and re-pack the bag I had just unpacked.

It took me an hour to unwind my frazzled self, a spot of food, what was left in the house before my adventures in Rome–potatoes–and two mugs of tea and I was ready to hit the road, Jack, once again.

When the hell am I going to slow down, I thought to myself as I transferred from Line 7 to Line 10 to the RER C at Gare d’Austerlitz, I shifted my bags and opened to the door to the train and stepped onto the platform.

How many platforms did I cross yesterday?

Express Bus 40 to the Trevi Fountain; Metro Line A to Termini; platform 34 on the Leonardo Express; the plane from Rome To Paris; RER B from Charles de Gaulle International airport to Gare du Nord in Paris; walk down the hill to the house, then back out the door to Metro Line 7 to Metro line 10 to RER C off at Les Ardoines, walk to the house.


I was ready to sit the fuck down.

Apparently I was ready to sleep too.

I did that in spades.

I slept until 11:30 a.m.

It felt like much later, as the house has black out blinds in the living room where I was crashed out on the couch.

“You could always couch surf, you know,” he said to me this evening, the light golden and rich, haloed his blonde hair and his eyes sparkled with a bit of sexy French man charm.

“I could,” I replied, “I am in fact now, couch surfing, despite having rent paid at my place, the opportunity to be in a more spacious environment was given to me, so I took it.”

“I have,” I repeated, “done a lot of couch surfing, and you know, I’m about done with it.”

“Are you moving back in with your parents,” she said and leaned toward me eager to hear my response.

I just about spat out my tea.

“Uh, no,” I said, “that’s never really been an option, although, my parents have lived with me from time to time.”

“Oh,” she said, and stumbled around looking for the next thing to say.

I stepped in and saved her the embarrassment of assumption, “I’ll be staying with friends when I go back,” I concluded and looked up to see another friend coming toward me to kiss my cheeks.  Saved from the continuation of the awkward conversation I turned my complete attention to him, as he sprinkled me with “Ciao Bella’s”.  We hugged and caught up.  I am going to miss some people here, I surely am.

“You look beautiful,” he said to me.

I should, I thought, I got so much sleep and then instead of running out the door and trying to cram some last moments of Paris into the last week I am here, I gave myself a spa day.

Plucked, waxed, shaved, showered, deep conditioned the hair, manicure, pedicure.

While my nails were drying I nibbled a salad of raw vegetables and green olives and sat on the porch in the sunlight and read a book.

Life is not so hard when I stop the struggling.

I do need to focus on getting my feet beneath me, I know this quite well, I do not want to live on the generosity of my friends, I do not want to be a taker, I want to give.

We sat on the banks of the Seine tonight, reading from a book, passing the pages back and forth, talking about the wisdom expressed, sharing our experiences.  The sunset, firing her hair with red-gold and smothering us in love.  “I cannot say how much this means to me,” I said, tears forming in my eyes, “to be here, in Paris, sharing my experience, getting to work with you, on the banks of the Seine at sunset.”

What gifts I have been given.

What a life I get to lead.

Relaxed and at ease, and having an awesome hair day, if I do say so myself, I know that these next few days will have moments of fear, of challenge, perhaps of anxiety, but I believe, I truly do, that I am only going up from here.

The book I was reading today on the porch while my toenails dried in the warm French breeze, finally! Was Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides.

There was a quote that caught me,  “to go forward, you have to go back to where you began.”

That is exactly what this feels like.

I am going forward by going back.

I am no failure for having come here, despite the financial repercussions of my actions.  If anything, they are showing me exactly what I want and knowing that I can begin to change the habits and patterns that do not work for me and find a way forward.

“We will stay close,” he said to me tonight, looking deep into me.  I felt my heart breaking open, breaking wider, allowing in even more love, I love you my dear, I do so very much.  “I will read your words, I will be close, we will see each other again.”

And we will.

Here in Paris.

Or on the playa.

Or where ever the Universe decides to drop me next.

Just hoping it is not on a couch, but in a room, a place to call my own for a while, to grow forward to make my way, to bloom with brightness and love the way the trees along the Seine were blooming tonight.

“I love you,” I said into her hair and the shell of her ear, “I love you so much,” we hugged good-bye and I plunged down the steps to the train station, another platform to cross another rail to ride.

Here in Paris.

Six more days.

Prep Time

February 22, 2013

I am going to do a little research.


That was depressing.

I googled “woman age 40 stats”.

I have to say I am not fond of what I found.  Nor am I of the opinion that what mostly popped up was in any way applicable to me.

Either I am a raving lunatic who must make baby now.


I am losing my sex drive and have nothing to look forward to but the ravages of menopause.

I say fuck you to both those things.

I have been letting my thoughts percolate this week on the subject of being a woman of 40.  A topic I feel like I have done a lot of thinking about and a lot of playing with for this last year.  However, since I was asked to participate in this blog project, I have been coming back to it again and again.

Doing some sorting out of what makes me tick at 40 and what differences I see in my life and whether that has anything to do with anything regarding the actuality of what the age means to the society at large.

I don’t read a lot of papers.

I don’t watch the news.

I don’t get women’s magazines.

I do read “Voici” when I go babysit.

It is this hysterical French gossip rag.

I don’t have to understand much French to understand the scope of the magazine.

Besides the pictures really are worth a 1,000 words.

Not that the articles accompanying them are ever that long.

I have preconceived ideas, I suppose, of what 40 should look like.

It just looks like me.

My scope is limited.  Maybe I don’t have the same kinds of pressure to perform, to juggle marriage, children, career.

Working in a bike shop was a career, of sorts, I suppose, as is babysitting.  But they are certainly not the careers I think I would have seen myself pursuing at this age.  I just see what I am doing and think that it’s what I am doing.  It does not have much to do with my age.

When my age comes up for me it is generally a stick to beat myself with, as in I should be this, this, this, that and the other, like women I see who are my age.

I don’t look like women my age or act like women my age.

I just act like Carmen.

Do I need to put an age on that?

Do I need a signifier to go forward?


The age has brought wisdom.

That I will give it, wisdom which comes with experience.

There is nothing I would go back and change, though.


I like this me.

I like the work I have done to get here.

That is what I believe I will end up writing about for the blog project, the last year in a kind of retrospective, what happened to get me to Paris.  How I let go of things, the couch surfing at Calvin’s, the change of jobs, the losing the cats, the house siting in Oakland, the Lover, the Mister, the dating, the sex, the Burning Man, the service, the roll on suitcase.

I was also asked to be a contributor beyond the initial blog.

Which has me thinking too.

What goals do I have for myself, what am I doing now, where do I plan on going, how to move forward with my most authenticated self.  How to not care that I am 40 and acting like a student on holiday.

Well, actually, perhaps not acting like a student on holiday, the posters of the movie “Spring Breakers” in the Metro are cracking me up.  I am no spring breaker or spring chicken.

But I still get from here to there with a messenger bag, the new “back pack” oft-times and I am looking at Europe through the eyes of a student on vacation.

I found out through a friend recently about a train that runs from Paris to Florence/Milan/Rome/Venice called Thello and it costs, wait for it….

35 Euro one way.

That means for 70 Euro I can go back and forth to Venice.


I can take an over night sleeper train for 35 Euro and go to Venice.

That is something.

I am going to do.

I have been writing I am a world traveller in my daily affirmations for what feels like years now and Venice is one of the places I have always wanted to go.  I could go for a weekend.

Walk, stay in a hostel, maybe couch surf, take a gondola, go to a museum, watch the light and see what the sky looks like in Venice.

70 Euro.

Less than what it cost me to go to London and back.

I want in.

Of course I am still looking for Euro for rent for next month and food and all that jazz.

But 70 Euro?

How can I not do that?

I also do not know when or how things are going to change.

But they are.

That too is something that being 40 has given me.

This utter belief that if I show up things work their way out.  They don’t always work out how I think they ought to or the way I had suspected they would.  No, the world spins to a different tune than the one the dj in my brain box has playing.

It is a better song to dance to, frankly, I get tired of the station my head plays.

Reality when I show up for it is fantastic.

I am doing the work.

Corinne pointed that out to me tonight as I sat on the couch rocking the baby and shedding a few tears, mostly tears of frustration over the thoughts I beat myself with, the 40-year-old stick that I need to retire.  “Your really do the work,” she said.



No bullshit.

I can always push harder and try harder and exhaust myself and wrack my brains with schemes.  Or I can just soften myself, lay down the bat, just because I have been using it for 40 years does not mean that I have to use it for the next 40.

I am not even middle-aged yet.

One day I will look at where I am now and see that it was all exactly the way it was supposed to be.

Because it already is.

Ahhhh, Payday

February 4, 2012

I have such plans for you.  And then, we’re done.

Yup.  That was it.  I had such plans for you.  I must remember that I am paying rent this month, the couch surfing days of no rent are gone.

I have to sit down tomorrow and do my spending plan before I go out into the wilds of “nesting” land and feather up my little room.

I did get a microwave today.  From Rich in the Castro.  Another craigslist find.  Brand new, in the box, retro style, super cute, and he delivered it to me at work.  It’s in the design studio upstairs.  I reserved a City Car Share for tomorrow in the early evening.  I will be fully self-sufficient in my inlaw/studio by the end of tomorrow.

I am also getting my shelving unit from Harringtons.  And I am going to sneak in a big grocery shop at Rainbow.  I reserved the car for two hours.  I figure as long as I have a car for a few hours I may as well take it to the grocery store and stock up.

I am really quite liking this whole car share deal.  Not too expensive and quite convenient to my schedule and there seem to be a lot of little car pods around my neighborhood.

I am also going to get a space heater so that I may return Mrs. Fishkin’s to its proper home.  I am very happy with the little guy she gave me, and my toes have been toasty and my fingers have not been chilly.  Makes for writing my blog a whole lot nicer.

This morning as I sat here at my desk I was suffused with this feeling of gentleness and serenity.  I had a tummy full of warm oatmeal and organic apples, and a fresh pot of Stumptown coffee, Holler Mountain, in my French press.  The sunlight streamed through my window and I sat basking in the contentment that is having ones own space.

I feel really blessed and quite fortunate to have it.  And it was worth the wait.  It’s still a little awkward, I have been making breakfast in the kitchen and the patriarch still says nothing to me when I come through and say good morning.  But today, he smiled at me.

That’s a start.

I haven’t seen anyone else, although I hear them on occasion.  I also will be able to prance about naked if I want to–got my curtain rod today that fits the window properly.  I hung the bottom panels as soon as I walked in the door.  Well, first I turned on the space heater, then I hung the curtains.

This space is so distinctly different from the rest of the house, and so obviously me.  My co-worker, Carlos, gave me sweet gruff today when my microwave was dropped off at the store for me.  He teased me for being so girly.

You know you’re girly when a gay man teases you about it.

I admit it.  I really am.

On top of getting my abode done tomorrow, I will also be indulging in the girl and getting a manicure, pedicure, and eye brow wax.  I was going to celebrate my move in last weekend by doing that, but I got caught up unpacking and so, I went a week past my due.

My nails be ragged.  I typed  a lot this week.  And I did a lot of data entry at work.  Time for a little polish.  And a little relaxation.  It’s not a massage, but I do get to sit in a massage chair, and that is pretty sweet.

I garnered a lot of good suggestions about massage places, so I may use what I have not set aside for groceries, phone, student loans, and a few other sundries, toward a massage.  I am going to strive to be in the best of both worlds this weekend–get what I need to get done, laundry, grocery shopping, taxes, pick up appliances, do spending plan, with a little nice pampering of self tossed in there as well.

I may schedule a little session at Kabuki on Sunday.  Massage and hot bath.

Oh, good lord, I think I just drooled a little on myself.  That sounds super fabulously yummy.  I will check into that for sure.

Makes me chuckle to realize I already have my weekend mapped out.  I suppose I should leave a little room in there for spontaneity, for things to happen outside of my schedule and my plans.  There is also writing that must be done and places that must be gone to and commitments fulfilled.

I don’t want to schedule every last second of every last-minute of my weekend.  I get a little nervous with down time, with unscheduled time, but I need a little play time and a little slow down time in there as well.

Because, if I don’t I”ll probably end up crashing into something.  Or tripping on something.  I don’t need a reminder to slow down.  I will just remind myself to slow down right now.

I will start by not setting my alarm for tonight.  I will end by allowing my day to unfold however it is supposed to.  The one most important thing to do is spend an hour at Valencia and 15th.  The rest of the day will happen however it’s supposed to.

Hell, I can even cancel the car share if need be.  Although, I feel that to provide myself with the autonomy of my own cooking space, is an important thing to take care of.

So, two things that are scheduled for tomorrow.  The rest of it, will happen or it won’t.

I am not going to spend my precious time trying to figure it out.

That’s just crazy making.

Keys to the Kingdom

January 27, 2012

Tomorrow at 5 p.m. at the corner of Folsom and 22nd and hand off will happen.  Cash money will be exchanged for the keys to the gate, the keys to the room, the key to my own room.

It is finally about to happen.


I requested off the end of the day at work tomorrow to negotiate the hand off.  I will leave work by 4:30 p.m. and walk to Folsom and 22nd.  I am debating whether I should go to the bank in the morning or go on the way over.  Odds are that the Bank of America on 23rd and Mission will have a line out the door on a Friday afternoon.

I will stop at the bank on my way into work.  That way there is no stress.  Just the self-imposed kind that I inherently place on myself.  Like what if I could magically manifest an extra day to move in my stuff?  What if I got to move in on Friday?

Oh slow down, child.

Really, the couch surfing, albeit not the most comfortable way to fly, has not been too bad.  It hasn’t been the best, but it hasn’t been too bad.  And it has been a way for me to get some awesome perspective on what I like and what I don’t like.

Despite what some friends have said about the Mission, I adore it.  I love it.  It is home.  It has been home since my first days in the city.  I was not always comfortable with it, I got lost sometimes, I got  turned around going the wrong direction on the BART between 16ht and 24th street stops, but every corner seems to have a little memory for me.

Some of them are not such fond memories, but an awful lot of them are.  I had two bad years in the Mission.  The following seven years I have had more awesome moments in the Mission than I have anywhere else in the city.

As I have said elsewhere, the prodigal daughter is returning home.

Nob Hill is lovely and meant to be enjoyed with a vehicle.  I don’t recommend a car, the parking is ass.  But a scooter will do you quite well.  China Town is fun for a walk about, but no way would I want to live there, the smell and the foot traffic would mow me down.  North Beach is a treat once in a while, but I always feel like a tourist there.  I do aspire however, to get more clothes from Grant street, there are some amazing tailors there.

The SOMA can be sexy, but unless I’m living in South Park, I’m not so interested in the SOMA–it’s still too industrial and not developed enough.  Same goes for Mission Bay.  The Dog Patch could be fun on a budget, but again, the amenities are scarce.  Potrero Hill has never quite done it for me.  Yeah, the views are stellar, but it never felt like home, although being close to the Mission was a bonus.

The Financial District and Down Town also do not hold a lot of appeal to me.  I really dig some of the buildings, but the tourists, the over pricing to gouge the tourists, not so much.

Pacific Heights?  It demands money and wheels.  Marina?  No. Never want to live there, don’t like hanging out there, or shopping there, or eating there.  It can be fun to walk about Crissy Field, it can be fun to ride through, but that’s all I want to do in the Marina, ride through it (usually as fast as possible).

The Avenues, the Sunset, and the Western Addition all seem too far away.  I don’t know why that is, but the effort to get there seems so much greater than the effort I want to put into it-why, I almost liken it to Oakland.  Although, I will admit, I have had moments of desiring to live in the outer Sunset, at the edge of the world to be close to Ocean Beach.  I like the idea of living that close to the ocean.  I don’t know how much I would like the idea of living in the fog bank though.  I would be at Java Beach Cafe every day of the week and probably out surfing as much as humanely possible.

But I don’t surf.

Haight and the Castro.  Oh, I have flirted with the both of you, but nothing ever seemed to pan out.  I do, however, feel an afinity with both those neighborhoods and should another move transpire, they are always options that I leave on the table.  Not to say that I am looking to move, I am not.

The Excelsior feels like Daly City, and what’s the point of living in Daly City?  No thank you.

Portola seems sweet, but too far away.  The same goes for the Presidio.  I like both areas and both have some gorgeous landscaping, but neither seem like home.

Nope, it’s to the Mission I go.  It was love at first sight.  Maybe it was dancing at the Elbow Room to Vivendo do Pao the first time I visited the city.  Or the first time I had a quesadilla suiza with carne asada from El Farolito.  Perhaps it was the first time I had a Philz coffee made by Phil himself that seduced me over to the dark side.  Or the sunshine.  The first time I saw the down town skyline from the top of Dolores Park did not hurt either.

I may never know.  I don’t need to honestly, I can feel the weight of the keys in my hands already.

It’s almost time to go home.

Danger! Danger!

January 26, 2012

Get off craigslist!  No furniture shopping.  No housewares shopping. No nesting until you are actually in your space.


Because I can’t remember how much space I have and because what I do have is plenty for it!

I have some discomfort that I am experiencing around my move in.  The family really does not speak English.  REALLY.  I tried to call today to set up a time to go by and pay my rent and deposit and get the key and I got hung up on three times before I got through.

This I understand, I still, after nine years of living in San Francisco, have a Wisconsin telephone number.  My first thought when I see an unrecognizable number from out-of-state is–telemarketer.  I would not answer either.  But I was hoping to at least get a voice mail.

And that did not happen either.  I finally got through only to be asked if I spoke Spanish, which I don’t, yes, I know my first name is Carmen and my last name is Martines and yes, that’s right, my middle name is I speak French.

Anyway, I was unable to hold a conversation with the father, who I believe speaks even less English than the mother, who I have had a tiny bit of interaction with.  But I got ahold of their son, who I know and left him a message describing what happened.

But the son got back to me and I will be leaving work early on Friday at 4:30 p.m. to meet with the mom and pay the rent and the deposit and get the key!


I don’t think I will be able to move in on Saturday, but my brain did skirt off into that arena.  What would happen if….

But I have Saturday plans.  I have Saturday commitments.  And I have a Saturday night nanny gig with my monkeys in Potrero Hill.  Saturday is not a great day for me to do a move.  Yes, my mind went there right off.  I want out off this couch so bad, I cannot express.

Actually, I can, and I have, suffice to say, I have not put it on the blog, it’s not comfortable here and I am ready to get the hell out.  I’m safe.  I’m warm.  I’m just really uncomfortable and so ready for my own room.

I just have tonight, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights to be here.  I can do it.  What do they say, “this too shall pass”.  This too shall pass, I will be here just a little longer and then my first move of 2012.

I am hoping that it is not going to be a year of constant moving, like 2011 was.  I moved a grand total of four times.  Four!  I don’t want to move that much this year, unless I am moving abroad, then bring it on.  I’ll move more.  I’ll happily move over seas for a while.

Yes I will.

But in San Francisco?  No.  I want to stay put.  Which is part of the reason I was on the craiglist doing the furniture/appliance porn.  I am looking for a microwave and a mini fridge.  I was told pretty much at the outset that the family will give me access to the kitchen, but they would like it to be minimum.

I am not sure what that means.  I will want to keep food in a refrigerator and I would like to cook once in a while.  But I also don’t want to be in the way and if I have the space for it I will put in a little microwave and fridge in my room.  The more separate I can make my space, the better.

I also don’t know what their own schedule is like at the house.  I don’t know if they work or if they are retired.  Hell, I don’t know shit, except that I have my own bathroom and my own entrance and what my rent is.

That’s good enough for me right now.  And trying to figure out what kitchen stuff I am going to need until I actually see what is available to me, is also of no sense.

Because I veer off into craigslist fantasy world.  Oh, look at that, that would be pretty in my new room.  Or, I could use that. Or that would make a nice upgrade on my bed.


I don’t need these things.  My furnishings are perfectly fine.  The only thing I need to get is a new set of pillows.  I got rid of the really old ones I had in one of my last moves.  I decided a new set was necessary.  I am going to splurge and get myself some nice ones, too, no Anna’s Linens for me.  I am at least going to go to Nordie’s Off The Rack and get the Calvin Klein ones I saw the last time I was there.

They are more expensive than what I might normally get, but less as they are at the Rack and I want some nice pillows.  I just looked at my nemesis, the couch, this couch is not a comfy couch, it’s a damn cool looking couch, but it is not really all that comfortable to sleep on.

A bed.  Soon.  A bed.

I am getting closer to having the details worked out for the move as well.  I have it down to getting the stuff at Robyn’s house between 10 a.m. and noon.  I still need to co-ordinate with Shannon and Alex to get my bed and desk from their storage unit.  Robyn’s place, though, is first on the list as my window to access her place is just 10a.m. to noon.

I need to contact one of the people who said they can help and see if they are still down to do so.  She has a truck.  I may not need to do the City Car Share reservation for a truck, but I do know she has offered and I should probably oh, I don’t know call and confirm?

Still feels uncomfortable to ask, even when it’s been offered.  There are no negative consequences either, I mean, I’ve got the car share and I can use it.  And should every single truck in the city be reserved, fine, I can do u-haul too, I have the where withal to do it.  I have options.  I have choices.

The only choice that I really need to make for the rest of today, though, is to choose to NOT go back on craigslist scouting for a microwave and a mini fridge.  That is just a waste of my time and my energy.

Four more days!


Holding Steady

January 17, 2012

I feel as though I am in a bit of a holding pattern.  Nothing really happening for the next two weeks.  I am just expected to show up at work and do my job.  I will be couch surfing for two more weeks.

Then, my new place.

Oh, I am so looking forward to being in my own space.  I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, with my own bedding.  This last couple of weeks of being on a couch has really made me come to appreciate my bed.  I miss my bed.  I miss my own sheets and blankets and quilts and pillows.  I do. I do.

A bed is a very important thing to have.  A grown up bed with a mattress and a box spring.  A bed to call my own.  I have had many places where I have slept, but few that have been legitimately mine.

I have had mattresses on the floor, best friends old futon frames, couch cushions, sleeping bags, egg-shell foam, flattened cardboard boxes, plywood sheets, back seats of cars.  I have slept in some pretty uncomfortable places on and on some fairly uncomfortable things.

I dream of a really nice bed.

Sometimes I will still catch myself fantasizing about  a place or a thing, people, not so much anymore.  Even men, I don’t find myself fantasizing about the boys either.  But a good bed?  That is a bird of another feather.

A good bed needs to be at least full size.  I honestly have never had a queen or a king and would not know what to do with all that space.  Perhaps if I were in a relationship it would be applicable.  I tend to sleep on “my” side of the bed, even when there is no one else in the bed I don’t really sprawl out.

I don’t know if this is old habit from childhood, sleeping with my sister.  Or from the one long-term relationship I was in, five years.  But for whatever reason, I tend to sleep on the left side of the bed and the right stays empty.  Maybe I am holding space for the One?

A good bed should also have very clean cotton sheets, with a thread count of at least 400.  And could I let myself splurge I would definitely get sheets that have a higher thread count than that.  But absolutely no polyester, no cotton blends, and no silk.  I don’t like slippery sheets.  Also, no flannel.  There’s something weird to my skin about flannel sheets.  Yeah, I know, they’re warm or something, but they don’t feel right.

There is just something so good and right about getting into a bed with fresh sheets on it.  I don’t tuck them in either, my feet like the option of “breathing”.  I don’t want to be corralled into my bed.

Then a good soft fleece type blanket and a heavy quilt.  I prefer quilts to comforters.  I have a hard time with down comforters as I get to warm under them.  It I am too hot I cannot sleep.  I love the weight of a good quilt and occasionally when I am feeling crafty, which is not all that often, I do entertain the idea of making a quilt.  I think it might be good fun.

But then I sometimes have queer ideas of fun.

Next, pillows.  Not too firm, not too soft, and at least four of them.  Not that I sleep with four, but they just look better on the bed that way.  I sleep with two.  More’s too much, less too little, two is perfect.  I actually get to buy new pillows when I move into my room and I am excited about that.  I may also up date my sheets.  I have a nice set, but not a great set.

And two sets would be nice.  I change my sheets once a week.  Mandatory.  Nothing is yuckier than dirty sheets.  I remember my sister hated making her bed and washing her sheets and once I caught her sweeping off her bed!  Ah, no thanks.

In fact, I used to scent my sheets with my favorite perfume.  I found it decadent and divinely delicious to crawl into my bed and be enveloped in scent.  I don’t often do that.  But I do wash my sheets in nice detergent–Mrs. Meyers and I use nice dryer sheets–so they do have a cozy pleasant smell to them.

I am a scent person.  I like a nice candle to be burning in my room pretty much whenever I am in it and I like pretty scents enveloping me when I go to sleep.  I should perhaps qualify that even more, I like sensual things.  Those things that are pleasant to my senses.  And I do them for me more than I do them for anyone I might be entertaining, friend or lover.

I like soft light, candle light, yellow, peachy light.  I like nice warm smells–not musky, but warm, spicy–cinnamon, cloves, bergamot, vertiver, vanilla, they are almost bright smells to me, but not citrus sharp.  I like smells that have a round edge to them not a square sharp edge.

Then there must be nice things to look at from my bed.  Art, evocative pictures, landscapes, things that my eye can rest on and be pleased with.  I don’t know how to describe it or why it happens, but there are patterns of color that please me more so than others and palettes that I prefer.

I like creamy colors and dulcet tones.  I like sepia.  I like dusky browns and warm greys.  Softly shaded purples, lilacs, and lavender.  I like sage greens and egg-shell blues.  I like shabby chic,  but I like a little edginess to it.  I don’t want my home to look like a store.  Which is how it was described once and I found that off-putting.

The bed is the center piece, the middle of it all, the island in my ocean of calm.  It is where I make my nest.  My current bed is the best bed I have had in a while.  But a secret, the box spring is really crappy and the mattress I bought second-hand off of craigslist.

Granted it was very gently used, but I have never had a new mattress and box spring.  Still, all in all, my bed is gently beckoning to me.  I can see it made up warmly in my old quilt with the corduroy patches in cream, navy, deep purple, and sage with big pillows propped upon it, my bed side tables flanking it and two old-fashioned metal lamps on either side throwing puddles of creamy yellow light onto the floor.

To sleep, perchance to dream, to curl warm and soft into my bed in my own room.

That will keep me buoyed up for the next two weeks like nothing else I can imagine.

Slow Sunday

January 9, 2012

Sunday Dinner

Slow Cooked

I took it mellow today.  It was helpful that there was nothing to worry about.  I almost got on craigslist just to be funny and poke around the rooms for rent.

I almost miss it.

What will my days be filled with now that I am not obsessing about where I am going to live?

Perhaps I will be content to be content.  Serene.  Calm.

I did not fall down once today.  Or crash my bike.  I picked it up this afternoon after running my errands and doing the deal.  Before I got to the shop I meandered around the Mission a little.  Did you notice the weather?

I did.

It felt like the entire city was out lolling around on the side walks, over spilling the cafes, standing in lines at Delfina and Tartine.  Or Bi-Rite.

I stood in line today at Bi-Rite and did not mind.  I had something on my mind, a little traditional roast chicken dinner for myself.  I picked up an organic whole chicken from the deli counter and was pleasantly surprised to find out that my chicken, organic, was cheaper than anywhere else I have gotten them in the city.

Nice surprise.

I made a roast chicken with olive oil, ground pepper, sea salt, garlic, mustard, and rosemary.  I chopped up an entire head of organic cauliflower, a quarter of a purple cauliflower, one russet potato, two parsnips, and a bunch of carrots.  Popped the entire concoction in the oven and went to the corner and did my laundry.

It is my couch surfing ritual.  If I am feeling a little on the needing to nest in my space, I roast off a chicken.  It is comforting and cozy and warms the belly right up.  It’s also a nice thing to pass along to the host family.

That is what I call my friends who are letting me crash with them–my host family.

Which is funny as I was looking at courses at City College earlier.  I ponder taking French through City College.  I also ponder going to the Mission Campus and, I cannot believe I am even admitting this, but I looked at taking the course work necessary to get the clerical accounting certificate.

I use Quick Books every day at work.  I have five different people telling me how to use the program.  Perhaps I should look into taking a class and getting better acquainted with the program that way.

Frightens me a little bit to even be entertaining the thought of doing any sort of accounting class.  But I think I will be at this job for a little while and it can’t hurt to glean some more knowledge in an area that I am resistant to.

I have always abhorred math, but simple inputting of numbers is not as off-putting as I  led myself to believe.  It’s looking at patterns and recognizing where they are askew.

I sent a query e-mail to the staff member at City College that runs the course.  It has a couple of things going for it–I would learn intermediate Microsoft Excel as well as a number of other programs, Quick Books, and basic accounting skills; plus it is located at the Mission City College Campus, and last but not least, it’s a free course.

I was looking for French classes.  But the Mission Campus doesn’t offer French classes.  It does offer American Sign Language, which could be fun to learn as well.

I am channeling a little Annie Hall.  I just watched it.  I did my laundry, ate my roast chicken, god damn, and then watched Annie Hall.

What I find compelling about the movie is not necessarily the relationship between Annie and Alvie.  Watching the movie reminds me of when I was young.  The way the cars look, the Volkswagen Annie drives, the clothes.  The movie is set in 1975.  I was born in 1972.

I realize often that my favorite aesthetic for clothes is that of the early ’70s.  Not that I actually have anything like that in my wardrobe.  But that I do have a tendency to imagine what it would look like if I was the skinny 70s girl with the long pants and the hats and the blouses with my hair sort of messy and the glasses and academic air of it all.

It’s like I’m flirting with trying on an identity.  I am still finding my way with who I am at 39.  I suppose, I may never stop.

And I will let you in on a secret.  I am going to get another tattoo.  A cluster of seven stars.  I have been thinking about it for a few weeks now.  I was putting off getting any  work done until I found a place and also since I pulled the trigger and started my bike build.

But since I have found a place, hallelujah, and the deposit is small, I have few bucks I can put toward a little art.  Besides, it’s a commemorative piece.  Just like my five butterflies were.

Problem is, who’s going to do the work?  Barnaby is in Paris.  I was thinking I could check in with Ross K. Jones.  I like his work, although his style of tattooing is pretty different from Barnaby’s.  Ross does what I consider a vintage style of tattoo.  The painted lady  with the curvy body and the traditional sailor style–I always think LA and pin-up girl and motorcycle.

Barnaby does Asian work for the most part.  And I have two Chinese dragons and cherry and peonies blossoms on me, plus two Chinese characters, the one for compassion on the inside of my left wrist and the one for Shaolin on the back of my neck.

I am torn about the piece, which may mean that it won’t work for me.  I want a piece that is compatible with what I have already.  I don’t want to have hodge podge artwork on me. The other issue I am having as I deliberate the piece is where to put it.

I just realize I have something to obsess about.

My brain is such a funny little machine.

Let’s get back to that slow roasted chicken.  My mellow sunny day, and the fact that I have a nice full belly, warm slippers on my feet, a blog that is almost complete, a job, and a place to live.

Whether or not I get a tattoo or of what or where it’s going to go does not need to take away from the loveliness of my day and the recollection of how the leaves on the trees look on Folsom street drifting down in the wind.

And the fact that I will get to observe them a lot in the near future.

Lily Pad House, Will You Marry Me?

December 16, 2011

This used to be my favorite graffiti in all of San Francisco.  It was on a wall on the front side of a Chinese Donut shop on Folsom and 16th.  It has been covered for years now with a crappy billboard that advertises what ever super bad movie schlock is going to be playing at the Metreon in 3D.  I miss it.

I had not thought about that particular graffiti in some time.  I used to admonish myself to take a photo graph of it and I never did.  I rued it the day I went past and saw the billboard had obliterated it.  It was in block sky blue letters on white paint.  I just adored it.

I imagined some one sitting on the Folsom 12 with his girlfriend pointing it out.

I saw another of my favorite San Francisco pieces of art this evening, though, that has not been changed, with the exception of some one re-wiring it for electricity–the Defenestration building at 6th and Howard.   It is the building that Academy of Science art students affixed various forms of furniture to crawling alongside the building.  There’s a mattress coming out a window, end tables, couches, chairs, scaling the sides of the wall.  And on the very top there is an old television set which just occasionally rolls through a screen test.

It was on tonight and I count it as good luck.

Things are shaking themselves out in my world.  I don’t know what exactly is happening, but I have the proverbial “pricking of my thumbs” happening.  My vision seems to be clearing.  I seem to be coming out of a fog.  I don’t know where I am yet and I don’t know where I am going to be, and the changes keep coming.  But I think I am at least getting used to the changes happening.

It is helpful that the cats are being taken care of.  My Burning Man family is taking them in for the month of January.  Hurrah!  I am so very grateful that my furry little monsters will have a home.  They are couch surfing in Berkeley and I will be couch surfing in Nob Hill.  And perhaps in the Castro for part of the month as well.  I’ll be getting my back packing through San Francisco experience on!

All my personal trappings are being dispersed throughout the Bay area.  I keep having the load lightened.  Before you know it I will be striped down to the essential Carmen.  There will just be me, my party dress, and my new shoes.  And a new haircut.

Calvin got me in on Saturday at Solid Gold Salon for a birthday present.  You got to love having a hair stylist as a good friend! I have no clue what he’s going to do, but I want to keep growing it out and I want to keep it feminine and pretty.  My curls are starting to come in and I really enjoy having them.  I also like the way my neck looks when I wear my hair “up”.  So far, up, means teeny tiny pig tails, but I have enough hair to pull them off.  Very exciting.

I am getting to see the city in a brand new light.  That is perhaps what is happening.  And my life as well.  Every thing is transitional.  No matter how much I try to hold onto something I am left again and again with the realization that things are constantly in flux and constantly changing.  I can attempt to establish a routine, I can try to get to know something, but it will change and be different and baffle me and astound me all at the same time.

I don’t know that I am articulating very well what I am seeing and feeling right now.  I feel like I am on the lid of a hurricane.  I am just on the outer ring of a wild wind pattern that is constantly swirling and that the epi-center is nigh and I am about to be sucked into another dimension.  I feel deja vu.  I feel flush.  I feel lucky.  I feel excited.  I feel like there are a nexus of possibilities right now.  I may “think” I have some grasp of what is going on, but I don’t.

I keep just trying to show up and do what is in front of me.  I keep getting smacked into the moment, despite my feeble attempts to roam off into the future.  Even the near future, like Saturday or Sunday, seem nebulous, as though a bit of wind stirred by a butterfly wing could change the very course of my life.  I feel like I have really begun to listen to my intuition and there is something prodding it, nudging me, trying to guide me and I am trying very hard, very hard to let go and just be guided.

I want to not struggle with it.  It does not mean that I am giving up.  I am just not struggling.  I am pausing and asking for direction.

The act of defenestration connotes the forcible or peremptory removal of an adversary, and the term is sometimes used in just that sense;[4] it also suggests breaking the windows in the process (de- also means removal). Although defenestrations can be fatal due to the height of the window through which a person is thrown or throws oneself or due to lacerations from broken glass, the act of defenestration need not carry the intent or result of death.

Thanks Wikipedia.

I think the adversary that is being removed, literally tossed out the window,  is my idea of who I am and what I am supposed to be.  How I am supposed to look, where I am supposed to live, and what I am supposed to do for a living.  All of these ideas have been taken away from me.  It is the death of my self.

I have crossed over a threshold.  I have said, I am no longer a nanny.  I am no longer interested in being single.  And I am going to do something different.

Now, I have been flailing around in the air as the shards of my life flash around me, but I have not actually gotten hurt.  And this dying, I feel like it is coming to a close.  I feel as though, yes I may be in free fall, but I am falling into something.  I am becoming something.

If you will bear with me, the phoenix is starting to stir in the ashes.

I do not know what it is that I am becoming as I continue to lose the trappings of what I think I am.  But it is almost here, I can feel it like breath warm on my neck.

And it is fabulous.

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