Posts Tagged ‘French’

Where Do I Start?

July 25, 2018

First.

Bon soir!

I have not seen my computer for a few days.

My best French friend insisted that we were to travel very lightly to Marseilles and so, no computer.

Also.

No makeup.

What?

I know I felt naked, until I didn’t.

But apparently, ahem, I still look nice without it.

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I think vacation looks pretty good on me.

It didn’t hurt that I have a tan.

Boy.

Do I have a tan.

The above photo was taken early in the evening yesterday on the island of Frioul.  If you look closely in the background you can see the city of Marseilles.  My friend and I took an early evening ferry-boat to Frioul and strolled around it and took photos.

It was such a pretty place, and it would have been great for swimming had we known.

Next time.

But.

Swimming was had!

I had my first dip, then my second, yesterday in the Mediterranean!

Here I am a touch blissed out:

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My hair is all wet, I am sandy, I went for two swims in the Calanque and it was extraordinary.

First, a slight aside, must get back to swimming, being in the water and swimming felt so damn good.  Screw yoga, I think it’s long past time I get back into the pool.

Second.

Wow.

It was so, so, so beautiful.

A calanque is, well, fuck, I’m not sure I can quite describe it, a sort of wild hill area with dry rocky terrain along the coast that stretches from Marseilles to Cassis, there are all these inlets and beaches and coves, it’s a national park in France and frankly I can see why, they are true treasures.

The clanque that we went to was the Calanque of Sormiou.

It was exquisite.

I mean.

So gorgeous.

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This is the view from the top of an hour-long climb through the hills.

I will not mince words.

It was hot.

I was sweaty.

And I was not exactly happy to be climbing so much.

But.

Fuck.

Once I got to the top.

Wow.

I don’t know how high the climb was, and yes, what goes up must come down, we had to climb back out, gratefully the way is paved and if you have a tiny car and balls of steel you can drive in, but we walked, or climbed.

According to my little app on my phone that counts my steps we climbed.

We walked 26,450 steps yesterday.

Which is 12.4 miles.

And.

We climbed 51 floors!

51!

Ooh la la!

My legs.

But again.

It was extraordinarily beautiful and I’m so glad we did it, even if for a second there my friend made me wear a damp towel on my head for a while, she thought I might be getting close to heat stroke.

I guess I was pretty red in the face.

I certainly sweated a lot.

I think I may have actually lost weight this trip, despite the cheese and charcuterie I have eaten here.

I seriously have walked miles and miles and miles each day.

And swam.

Here.

Enough of my prattle.

More pictures of the beauty:

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I mean.

Come on.

It was like being on a movie set.

Except.

Well.

It was totally real.

Stunning beyond words, even now, looking at these photos, I’m like, really, I was just there yesterday?

Swimming in the sea.

It was truly one of the most beautiful moments, that first cool plunge into the ocean, the taste of the salt, so salty, and then popping up from the water and seeing the mountains arising around me.

I was blown away.

I swam far out until I got a little spooked, and then headed back in to let my friend take her turn.

We didn’t want to leave our stuff unattended on the beach, it has a reputation for thievery.

While my friend swam I unfolded the towel filched from the hotel onto the sand, put on more sunblock and lay back enjoying the hot sun, the sound of the water, the people speaking Italian to my right, the couple canoodling in Catalan on my left, and closed my eyes.

It was glorious.

My friend returned with tales of being nibbled on by a fish, which didn’t exactly compel me to get back in the water, but get back in I did.

Only to be flirted with by some gentleman who tried to tell me that I should be concerned about the sharks.

Thanks man, here’s a pointer on flirting with a woman, don’t tell her there might be sharks in the water, all it does is make a lady want to get the fuck out of the water.

I swam off laughing and telling him he was horrible for telling me such a tale.

Another stint of laying on the beach and then my friend and I packed up our things and began the long, arduous walk back.

I won’t lie.

It was hard.

And it was hot.

Very, very, very hot.

But.

I also would be lying if I didn’t say that there was a part of me that was very proud of myself for doing the climb and having a true adventure with my friend.

We made it back to Marseilles alive, had a late lunch, then went to the hotel and freshened up.

That shower, let me tell you, damn good.

After taking some time to rest we headed out to the ferry-boat and our trip to the island of Frioul.

The first photo I posted was from Frioul.

Here are a couple more, it was truly lovely.

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I have to say, the South of France was very special to see.

And I haven’t even told you about Aix-en-Provence or really about Marseille itself, but you know, I have one last day in Paris tomorrow and it’s time I got ready for it.

Bon soir mes amis!

Bon soir!

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Flanneur

July 22, 2018

Which means, “one who strolls,” in French.

Or something like that.

Google it if you’re not sure.

I am fairly certain, but my French is not that great.

It’s good, but not great.

I know enough French to get me in trouble, its assumed by my accent and the way I talk that I do speak it fairly well, but as I explained to a new English-speaking friend today, I get caught up in trying to say the right word and the rapid fire Parisians are three sentences ahead of me while I am still thinking of the word for “dressing room.”

Which is “cabine,” if you wanted to know, and I did remember, but not before the sales person figured out my French was not as good as assumed.

I actually didn’t really buy anything today, well, food, not that much is open on Sundays.

Oh.

There were tons of shops open in the Marais, but nothing really called to me, except, heh, the shops that weren’t open.

Sunday in Paris is a family day, a rest day, most places are closed and I decided early on today that I would do my best to take it easy today too.

I mean.

I still walked like seven miles, but at an easy, relaxed pace and I did end up taking the Metro home from my final destination as I wasn’t feeling like walking fourteen miles.

I could have, it’s still light out, the sun has not set and it’s nearly 9p.m.

Gorgeous light in the apartment.

My last night alone here, the family returns in the morning.

Then!

I’m off to the South of France at lunchtime.

I’m very excited.

It will be nice to be on a train for a little while, the ride is about three and a half hours, and it will be fantastic to see a new city.

My friend knows the area well, we are staying at her favorite hotel in Marseilles, which has a view of the port.

We will go to the big museum there and have a nice dinner, I’m sure, and on Tuesday we will be taking a car to the markets in Aix-en-Provence, then on the way back to Marseilles we will be going swimming in, I forget the exact French word for it, some secret little beach on the Mediterranean.

So stoked.

My friends return in the morning and I’ve been instructed to be ready to leave for the train station by lunch time.

Not going to be a problem, I’ll just be packing a few summer dresses, my toiletries, and my bathing suit.

I still cannot believe I will be swimming in the Mediterranean Sea!

So happy.

And.

Honestly, I could use a break from Paris.

I know.

What?

Did I say.

I have had this feeling before, I did last time I came, at one point in my trip, I’m done with the crowds, I’m done with being stared at on the Metro (I have a lot of tattoos and though one sees them a bit more than they used to, it is very rare to see a woman with as many tattoos as I have, and it’s warm, I’m showing a lot of skin, not obscenely, by no means, but it’s unusual, and man, I get the looks), I’m done with snotty French waiters.

Not all waiters are horrible.

But I usually have one or two that are assholes and I got that one today at a cafe I met a friend at on Rue Madame.

It’s a damn cute cafe though.

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I had my “usual.”

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I like coffee.

And I like the sparkling water.

I just finished up one now.

Nothing says I’m on vacation like the two of them together.

Plus.

Taking the time to sit still and enjoy them.

I tried to sit a little more today, but it can be hard, my brain tells me that I must go and go quickly and get in as much as possible and do, do, do.

A human doing, not a human being.

But today I let myself sleep in, I laid in bed after I woke up until 10 a.m.

Then a nice long shower, a leisurely breakfast, and some laundry, so nice to have laundry here, I am super grateful for that and not having to cart it to the mat down the block or up and down five flights of stairs.

Then coffee and writing.

I didn’t leave the house until after noon.

I decided I didn’t need to do the Louvre, that had been my sort of “plan” but that I could just walk and see where it led me.

I walked through the Marais.

I walked to the Seine.

It was gorgeous.

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I mean.

Come on.

I walked and walked and walked.

Then I crossed over this bridge and went into the Latin Quarter, which I don’t much like, way too many tourists, way too many, but it was on my way to where I was meeting my friend and I realized that I had plenty of time to just walk all the way there without being rushed.

And.

I stumbled upon the Cluny Museum!

Never having been, I popped in for a wonderfully air-conditioned visit and saw the famous tapestries.

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They were beautiful and it was a sweet little detour.

After that I walked over to the Luxembourg Gardens, but needing food I kept my eyes open for the right place to grab a bite.

And lo and behold!

A miracle!

Not only a new organic, locally sourced restaurant, but one with beautiful flowers everywhere, and, and, and!

A non-smoking terrace!

All the cafes, well, except this one, have smoking areas on the terrace, and everyone it seems, smokes, except my friend, thank God, and I made the grave mistake my first night eating outside and my food might as well have been dipped in nicotine.

It was gross.

And I used to be a smoker, so that’s saying something.

But this little spot, was no smoking and I was really happy.

The food was surprisingly good and the terrace was super pretty.

The service was a little spotty, but that was obviously because it was a new restaurant, turns out they’ve only been open three weeks, and I was more than happy to be patient about it.

Which I’m grateful for, because when my food did arrive, the waitress got my order wrong the first go around, it was superb.

Best lunch I’ve had here since I landed.

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A really beautiful crustless Quiche with vegetables, a green salad and these delicious sausages.

That and the atmosphere, made me super happy.

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And then I walked through the Luxembourg Gardens before meeting my friend at Cafe Madame.

A sweet, slow, “lazy” day.

Heh.

I still walked 15, 418 steps and climbed 15 flights of stairs.

And now.

Well.

It’s time for dinner and getting ready for my trip tomorrow.

I hope your Sunday is as lovely as mine was.

Bon soir!

 

A Day Off

June 11, 2018

I think that’s what I actually had.

Oh sure.

I had some commitments, back to back ladies this afternoon and this evening doing my Sunday thing up at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro.

But.

I actually had down time.

I also had a hankering for art.

I have a membership to the MOMA and it’s been on my mind to go and see the Magritte show.

I haven’t been to a museum in months and months and months.

In fact.

I realized today that the last time I had been to a museum was in February when I was in D.C. and I went to the Phillips House Collection, which is actually the oldest Modern Art museum in the United States.

Prior to that I couldn’t remember the last time I had been at the MOMA.

I have a fleeting idea that it was a pretty summer’ish day and I remember an installation or two.

Yes.

As a matter of fact, I remember texting my best friend about a show I had seen and saying that we should check it out together.

That did not happen.

Grad school happened.

But there’s no grad school right now.

And the MOMA was calling my name pretty hard.

I figured even if I just went in for an hour it would scratch the itch.

I have seen the permanent collection quite a few times so I just wanted to get my eyes on the Magritte and I figured if I couldn’t find parking, well, I’d take off and go do something else, but I was going to try.

I found parking!

I zipped into the MOMA with 50 minutes til closing time.

It was perfect.

The majority of people were leaving and the galleries were emptied out.

I got a ticket for the show and I didn’t have to pay extra for it.

Membership has its perks.

Aside from the fact that the ticket alone for the museum is $25 the show would have been an additional $12 I think.

I share a membership with a friend for $150, we both chip in $75 and I go three times it pays for itself.

I think I’ve gone twice this year, this year as in this year of my membership.

I do plan on hitting it up a few more times as I have time off upcoming.

But today, yeah, I just wanted a quick art snack.

And it was tasty.

I’m not a huge Magritte fan, but enough of one that I figured it was worth perusing.

I was right.

There were some fantastic pieces.

I got my art high on for sure.

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I really found this one compelling.

Something about the light and the layers of color in the sky.

I just stood and drank it right on up.

It’s called La fin du monde.

The End of the World.

It was fantastic.

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And Magritte wouldn’t be Magritte without the apple.

Of course, the painting that I most associate with Magritte I don’t like as much as I thought I would when I got a closer look.

I found this one more compelling.

La Chambre d’ecoute.

(I wish I could figure out how to put the accents on my French words! D’ecoute is missing an accent)

“The Listening Room”

I rather find the idea of listening to an apple quite appealing.

I wonder what stories it would tell.

About the bees and pollination and birds roosting in tree branches.

About the multiplicity of sunsets in its plush ripe skin.

About the honey of love and the secrets of the heart.

I bet an apple would have many stories to tell.

However.

My favorite was this:

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My God this was so pretty.

My photograph does not do it justice.

But even as I type this I could see myself becoming lost in the reflections of the light on the water.

Such pretty light.

L’empire des lumieres.

(again the apologies for the missing accents here)

“The Dominion of Light.”

Glorious.

Full blown art high.

I was so happy to see this piece.

I love when I get lost in art.

I want to go back again and see it.

Maybe one of the days in between New York and Paris when I won’t be working except seeing clients in the evenings, and I can take a lazy mid-week stroll around the show again and really soak it up.

There was also something about the sky and the color of the sky, bright blue with those white clouds contrasted against the shadows of the house and the water, I could see that it was sunset, that time when there is still light, bright light, but the shadows of dusk are swallowing the houses up and then that light reflected from the lamp-post.

My God.

It was dreamy.

I had my happy art high and I wandered around a few other galleries and took in some photographs and did a little people watching and had some great gratitude for my life that I could just pop on down to the museum on a whim.

It was perfect.

I did errands after, grocery shopping at Rainbow and a little personal grooming-snuck in for a manicure right before my shop closed.

Then on to the Castro and the fellowship there.

It was such a sweet Sunday.

It started out so nice and just blossomed into a restful, artful, true day off.

I actually feel ready for the week!

 

Made It Through

May 21, 2018

The weekend.

I graduated!

Pretty spectacular.

Grateful for the pomp of it and also, well, grateful that it’s done too.

It was a lot of work getting ready for it and I could use a little break from all the hullaballoo.

Granted.

All the ceremony was lovely and I was glad that I attended even if the walk across stage happened so quickly, it was an important walk for me to make.

It was nice to have my mom there too, we haven’t seen each other in a few years and it was good to reconnect.

I’m ready to reconnect to my regular schedule though.

It was nice to have the time off to do the special things, and the not so special, the endoscopy and that damn wire test took up some time and mental space, I got a text from the doctor’s office today that my lab results are in and that I will discuss them with the doctor on Wednesday.

Note to self, make sure to tell the mom at work.

Back to work tomorrow.

Although since I don’t have supervision in the morning, it will be a late start for me.

So I get to gently wind down this weekend of festivities.

The graduation party was fabulous.

Though a bit breezy.

A lot of people didn’t come out to it due to weather being cold and windy, but those folks who did brave the conditions really had my heart.

And my best friend who set up the whole she-bang, man, I am so grateful for all that work.

Throwing parties is work, especially when it’s an offsite event on the beach.

Especially when it was freaking Bay to Breakers today!

They had the whole parking lot cordoned off for the event.

Bay to Breakers is a notorious drinking run that starts at the Bay and ends at the “breakers” at Ocean Beach.

Had I known that it was today I would never have done my party at the beach.

I had to park my car at SafeWay and walk a couple blocks, not horrible, but when the time came for breaking things down and getting things back, it was a bit daunting.

Fortunately I had some great helpers and the one good thing about Bay to Breakers having all their gear set up in the parking lot was that there were gigantic lights put up everywhere, the beach was bright as day.

I had some worry about having enough day light to break everything down, but the lights from the parking lot saved the day.

It was still a bit of a hassle getting things off the beach, but the crew that was left at the end of the party were great and helped me by sitting on my stuff and waiting until I had gotten my car and I was able to get everything in and back to my house.

And.

I am very proud of myself for this.

I unpacked everything and put it all away.

Including throwing all the beach blankets into the wash and putting away all the sodas and sparkling waters that did not get drank.

There were a lot of left overs.

As I said quite a few people didn’t show, but the sweet company of those that did kept me warm on the cold beach and I was happy to celebrate.

I even wore my cap and gown for a little while.

Until the wind blew off my cap and I got too cold.

But like a good San Franciscan, I had two back up layers, a sweatshirt and a jean jacket, plus fingerless gloves and an infinity scarf.

I just bundled right up.

Plus there was the fire and dancing to stay warm and a couple of times hopping into the tent that was good wind protection and actually felt warm.

The family I work for even came.

All the kids had hot dogs and s’mores and they were super sweet and the family gave me a crazy nice graduation gift.

I got some amazing gifts.

I am so grateful for the expressions of love and affection I received this weekend.

I really am.

It was also nice to be witnessed and seen.

To have the acknowledgement of all the work I have done in the last three years meant quite a lot.

There’s still plenty of work to go.

I suspect there will always be work to do.

But.

I am going to take this moment and really let it all soak in.

The flowers in vases all around my house, from my best friend, my mom, my boss, my mentor, help me to see how much I am loved and appreciated.

The beautiful gifts I got.

The sweet cards.

The drawings from my little five-year old charge.

The hugs.

Even the congratulations from strangers as I was walking down the street in my cap and gown with my arms full of flowers, felt really good to get.

Acknowledgement.

Hard work.

Achievement.

And a moment or two to bask in it.

I found parking really quickly when I got to Hayes Valley, there’s always one spot I check first, I used to park there almost all the time when I was going to solo supervision, and sure enough, it was open.

It’s tight, but my car’s small and I just barely fit.

Because I didn’t have to look for parking I had an extra twenty minutes before I had to be at the theater.

I stopped at Arlequin to get a latte.

I sat outside and sipped the hot coffee and really looked at the street and the people walking around and as I realized that I was sitting next door to Absinthe, Arlequin is their sister property, a more casual, but still upscale cafe, to Absinthe’s fancy French pedigree.

Sipping a latte, in my cap, about to walk the stage at the Nourse Theater, and get my Master’s Degree, quietly reflecting on how far I had come.

Absinthe was my first job in sobriety.

I got hired there 19 days after I got sober.

I sure have come a long fucking way since waiting tables there I though.

I smiled.

And as I sipped the last of my latte a busser from Absinthe came dashing over.

“Did you graduate today?”  He asked.

“I’m about to, I head over to the theater as soon as I finish my coffee,” I said and smiled.

“I’m so proud of you!” He said, he grinned.

I grinned.

It was a moment.

It surely was.

In a weekend filled with so many of them.

Of pure unremitting gratitude.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Ooh La La

May 19, 2017

Je suis fatigue.

I am tired.

I was up at 6 a.m.

I couldn’t sleep.

Oh.

I tried.

But gave up the goose around 6:20 a.m.

I popped up and decided to head out to a spot over by the Arc de Triomphe to see some fellows this morning at 8 a.m.

I arrived with plenty of time and was able to grab a quick cafe creme at Comptoir de L’Arc, a little cafe I got turned on to by a friend when I lived here four and a half years ago.

And!

I got a message from that friend today, she’s going to be in town for a quick visit and we are going to meet up at a spot tomorrow with a few other fellows, hang out, do the deal, and go to some French fellowship after.

I am super excited.

I may be super exhausted, but I’m going to sleep when I’m dead.

Or.

Perhaps after I write my blog.

I really did make a big run on the day.

Up so early I felt like I got a scandalous amount of things done today.

One of which has been on my list of things to do in Paris that I never quite got to the last few times I was here.

I went to Marche Aux Enfants Rouge this morning after doing the deal.

I bought cherries and Belle Pomme de Boskop!

My favorite apples in Paris, I believe that they come from Belgium, but they are the apples I used to buy at the market at Square D’Anvers when I lived next to it.

I took my booty to the park nearby, Parc du Temple, sat on a bench and watched the children play in the playground and the ducks paddle about in the pond.

It was spectacular.

Quiet.

Serene.

I had a moment, a Paris moment, and I almost laughed out loud, this, this sitting still on a park bench in a quiet park, off the beaten tourist track, in a sweet neighborhood in the 3rd Arrondisement, may have been one of the highlights of my trip.

It was so serene.

Sometimes a girl has to fly around the world to sit still.

I’m sure I’ll have other opportunities to sit still, although perhaps not tomorrow, as a friend and I are heading to Clingancourt early, but I will give it a shot.

Speaking of friends.

There is nothing, and I mean, nothing quite like bumping into a friend at random in the Marais.

It was amazingly serendipitous.

We walked all over the Marais, chatted, caught up, window shopped.

And.

Ha!

I got my Paris sweatshirt!

Except.

Heh.

It’s not exactly a sweatshirt.

It’s so much better.

And.

It’s so damn me.

It’s a pink satin bomber jacket that I got to have custom patches put on it.

There’s one on the right arm that says Rue Cambon, 1st Arr.

Rue Cambon is where all the fashion house are.

And.

The patch on the back.

Rue de Mauvais Garçon, 3rd Arr.

Literal translation:

Street of the Bad Boys.

Yeah.

I will run with that.

I haven’t had an impulse buy like that in some time and with that I am pretty tapped to with my spending.

I have gotten all my booty and then some.

In fact.

I am a shopped out, museum’ed out, and just about walked out.

My ankle is holding up and I am super glad I go the walking shoes, and I have been careful to not push too hard.

I can easily go too hard too fast.

Which is why I am very happy that I took time today to sit down and watch ducks for a while.

And despite being tired, which frankly makes it harder for me to speak French when my brain isn’t running on a full nights sleep, I got wonderful compliments about my French several times today, and many times over the course of my time here.

I was told by one person that my French was so pretty and where was I from.

He was shocked when I told him that I was from the states.

“But you have no American accent!”

Thank God.

Not that I’m not happy I’m where I’m from, but it does help tremendously to not have the American accent, there is much that is disparaged here about America and sometimes, well, it’s just nice to slide under the radar.

Not that I slide very far under the radar.

I am still quite noticeable in Paris.

I have tattoos you know.

But.

It’s also nice to be recognized.

I had dinner again at a little place by the Musee D’Orsay on Rue de Bac called Cocorico.

The waiter waved me to the table I had last night, the owner came over and chatted with me and we talked about where I was from, again, surprised that I was from America, with my lack of accent, about me being on vacation, that today I was tired, but happy to be eating in her lovely restaurant.

She asked me what I had been doing and I told her, walking and museums and then I told her about the show at the Orangerie and the amazing installation there and she got excited and said she was going to go.

It was a super treat to be chatted with in such a manner, I’m not a local, but I wasn’t treated like a tourist.

She bought my cafe creme for me and when I went to leave she asked my name, “Carmen,” I said, “comme l’Opera.”

Carmen, like the opera.

“Enchante,” she replied, ” je m’appelle Odette.”

I told her it was such a pleasure to meet her and that I was so happy to enjoy her delicious food and I wished her a good night and a good weekend.

I floated out the door.

It’s the little things.

I felt very special.

Thank you Paris for dressing me up in pink satin jackets and making me feel noticed and loved.

It means the world.

It really does.

Slip Into Something More Comfortable

February 13, 2017

Like my bunny slippers.

Yes.

Baby.

Ooh.

That feels so good.

I wore my new Fluevogs today, my interview shoes, all day at school.

Loads of compliments, but they are not quite broke in yet and I realized when I got home, yeah, time to take them off, and slide into my slippers.

Happy feet.

Happy heart.

I got to see my cohort out in style today.

I gave everyone a Valentines Day card.

Felt really good and sweet and I love to spread the love.

I do.

It’s just who I am and I am glad to know it, to have it in my heart, to show it, to accept it when it comes back too.

I also got to have lunch with my friends in cohort, catch up, share stories, be together, be seen and after I got out I ran a quick errand then caught a late afternoon coffee, decaf thank you, with a lady and do some work showing up for each other in honesty and good faith.

Then.

Go speak.

And.

Do the deal.

Then have dinner with another friend who unexpectedly came to the spot and that was a gift, I am so grateful for my friends.

So grateful.

It was really good to catch up with my friend at dinner and we could have hung out for hours more, but ah yes, the work week calls, it’s not quite so siren song.

I mean, I suppose it is a siren song, I can’t ignore it, but I can lament, a tiny bit the end of the weekend the coming of the work.

Though.

I am grateful too for that.

I am.

I really like my new job and it feels good to look forward to work and to look forward to seeing the family, to look forward to helping them and seeing how big the baby has gotten over the weekend and to cook for them.

Such gifts.

So much life.

I am just in a super happy, serene place.

I am also well fed, hydrated, showered and have had sweet, smart company today.

Life.

You could say.

Is good.

Very good.

All life is good I am grateful to be alive.

Period.

If life were fair.

I have said many, many times.

I would be dead.

But.

I am still here, still making a go at it, still learning, and loving and changing.

I have plenty to get ready for this next week, school stuff mostly, I have to get my paper work in order for the next steps in my practicum process, but I talked to my advisor today and was very excited by his excitement for me and for getting placed.

I’m a little a head of the curve in regards to the rest of the cohort, and there is no judgment there, I just knew I needed to be in position to get what I needed to take care of myself.

But I must continue to be proactive and take the next small steps.

I will give myself a day or two to breathe and come down from the weekend of classes before I leap back into the work, at least tomorrow, at least one day of down time, not taking my books to work, just easing into the work week.

Which may not feel easy in my brain since I am going to ask off for Burning Man dates, but that too is just asking a question, I just have expectations.

When I can let go of the expectation though, and just know that I am going to be wherever God wants me to be, usually in a pace of maximum service then I know I am going to be ok.

I ask.

I let go of the results.

Of course.

I want to go so it feels loaded, when ever my wants are on the table it can bring up fear.

I’m not going to get what I want or I’m going to lose something I already have.

I’d rather ask in faith, knowing that whatever the outcome, I’m taken care of.

I’m going to Paris in May for fucks sake, I get to go on vacation, I’ll be starting my internship, I have a job, I have a home to live in, I have nice shoes and clothes, I have my scooter.

I am taken care of.

Heck.

I have a tax return returning.

It’s pretty good, this life of mine, really, superb.

I feel that my little blog is a bit rambling tonight, but I have to give myself some credit, I have gotten up early every day for the last three days, shown up prepared and did the work in my classes.

I did a lot of work.

Lots of emotional work.

Lots of staying in the moment work.

Lots of dyad work.

I may allow myself to be a little all over the place, I just feel so content and blissed out on having gotten to see my friends, both in school and out of school, to have had some social engagement, to feel like life is not just all work and recovery and school, there are these wonderful beings called friends that want to see me and spend time with me and how lucky am I?

Hella lucky.

Hella grateful.

And yes.

Hella tired.

My bed beckons.

I bid you adieu.

Bon nuit.

Bon soir.

Trop gros bisous pour toi.

A demain mes amies!

J’aime toi beaucoup.

xo

The Half Way Point

October 24, 2016

Has been met.

I wrapped up my third weekend of five here in the first semester of my second year of graduate school.

Graduate school is sexy.

In case you were wondering.

Sleep deprivation.

Overconsumption of caffeine.

Anxiety about keeping up on the reading.

Writing papers.

Cramming it all in between the nooks and crannies of living life.

And.

Hoping once in a while to get a little sunshine on my face or a hug from a friend.

Or.

God fucking forbid.

A date.

Dating is challenging.

Throw recovery into the mix, full-time work and grad school.

Fuck me.

I’ll see you when I graduate and oh, then I’ll be interning.

That will be entertaining.

I do have hopes though for some magic.

I do.

I might even hop back out into online dating and Tinder.

I might.

I say this as I’m downloading the app to my phone.

I might use it.

Fuck me.

I amuse myself.

I was chatting with a friend of mine after class today at Philz and I told her about how I was getting a little too hormonal for my own good.

I also have to say, thank God for girlfriends you can share all the things with.

I am so lucky.

I told her about how things have gone this week and got all flustered and wound up and how if I’m feeling like this, if I’m so flushed up and flustered, maybe I need to take action.

“I need a fucking boyfriend,” I said.

“Yes, you do, but get laid and maybe, don’t worry about the guy being sober, like, throw open the pool and just you know, have some fun, get you through for a little while,” she said and laughed with me.

I’m a touch frustrated.

And it’s ok.

It is what it is.

But walking around perpetually turned on, although, hey, my skin is glowing, is a lot to deal with on top of grad school, work, etc, ad nauseum, blah, blah, blah.

It’s just life.

I remind myself.

It’s just another thing to experience.

I’ll probably have it up, the Tinder profile, for a week and be like fuck this like I have previously.

But.

I do feel a need to take some action.

I was thinking about asking someone out.

Not that I have had the opportunity to do so recently.

Recently having been this weekend, in which I was in school classes for 29 hours, so yeah, maybe not the best time to go out on a date.

But.

I do feel like I need to keep trying.

Keep things moving.

Keep trying.

Keep living.

I’m going to be a fucking therapist.

I should have some more relationship experience.

And besides.

I feel ready.

Definitely ready and I’m adamant about the “no married men” thing and the being available to be with someone who is available.

No going back to the drawing board.

But maybe just a little roll around the hay.

Hmm.

I don’t know.

I definitely don’t have to figure it out right now.

Perhaps the frustration of not getting what I want can be harnessed.

Heh.

I could run the world.

Not like I’m not already busy enough.

I was able to express myself to my friend though, it was so helpful and I am so grateful for my friend and to get to have dinner with her and her husband and another beloved person tonight after school, after cups of Philz coffee in the Castro, I was really so very grateful for them.

We went and had dinner at Lark, up on 18th between Castro and Hartford.

Pretty much the heart of the Castro.

Lots of lovely men to look at.

Not that anyone of them were interested in me, aside to compliment my frock.

I have to say, nothing like having a load of gay men tell me I look divine in polka dots and red lipstick.

Thank you very much.

I wore my crinoline too, it was just too much, but just right all at the same time.

And we had such a lovely time.

My friend also suggested that I talk more with them in French.

I tried.

I get a little flustered with it, but it’s such good practice and considering how much I love my friend and she’s French and lives in Paris and I’ll be going to Paris to visit her.

I also suspect that it won’t be my last time to Paris.

When someone you love dearly is living in Paris, you go when you can.

I did rather well, with the French-speaking, actually.

I ended up describing my relationship to my person, my mentor so to speak (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) all in French and though I stumbled a bit, I got it all out and that felt rather good to explain about my person and how I am helped by working with him and the whys and whereof of getting support around my family of origin alcohol and drug addictions.

It was rather awesome.

I mean, there was still some things lost in translation, but really, I did ok.

And my friend said the same thing, she told me that I actually speak a lot better than I think I do and that what I should start doing with her is speak as much French as I can and when I can’t, then use English.

She’s totally right.

It helped immediately.

I went back and forth between English and French all dinner.

It was thrilling.

And when I thought about it.

My heart just beat so hard in my chest.

Who was this woman, in her red Chanel lipstick, speaking French at a fancy restaurant in San Francisco?

Surrounded by people who love me.

I mean.

I have absolutely no question that I am loved.

It was just amazing.

And I felt so, well, awed, really.

I felt validated too.

It’s been a good week for that.

I’m in a good place.

A happy place.

A secure place.

A place of love.

A place of polka dots and my heart on my sleeve.

A place full of music and joy.

I might be just a tiny bit relieved to be done with the school weekend too.

Heh.

Happy.

Joyous.

Sexy.

And.

Motherfucking.

Free.

 

Ta Douleur

August 6, 2016

Wake up – I’ve just decided
Let me replace you
I will take away your pain
Softly; no noise at all
Like rain wakes you up
I will take away your pain
Take away your pain
I will take away your pain
She is struggling and fighting
But don’t bother escaping
I will block the elevator
I will take away your pain
Sabotage the switch
I will take away your pain
But who is this hanger-on
Thunderstorm before the summer
Dirty little brat sister
I will take her everything
Her darts and her whistle
I will spank her little ass
I will take away your pain
Remove her from the playground
I will take away your pain.
But who is this little heiress
Who bathes and hides herself
In the warm water of your loins?
I will deprive her of dessert
Make her eat dirt
of those who aren’t hungry anymore
I will take away your pain
from those who don’t have any more
I will take away your pain
Tell me what science will do
when we have this bridge between our bellies?
If you are hurt where you are scared
You’re not hurt there I think
What does this bitch want?
Cake and eating it too?
Whether you live or whether you die?
She must crave happiness
or a new pair of shoes
She must collapse under the flowers
Change the colours
I will take away your pain
I will take away your pain
Tell me what science will do
when we have this bridge between our bellies?
If you are hurt where you are scared
You’re not hurt there ooh I sing
Okay get up
Lève toi c’est décidé
Laisse-moi te remplacer
Je vais prendre ta douleur
Doucement sans faire de bruit
Comme on réveille la pluie
Je vais prendre ta douleur
Elle lutte elle se débat
Mais ne résistera pas
Je vais bloquer l’ascenseur
Saboter l’interrupteur
Mais c’est qui cette incrustée
Cet orage avant l’été
Sale chipie de petite sœur?
Je vais tout lui confisquer
Ses fléchettes et son sifflet
Je vais lui donner la fessée
La virer de la récrée
Mais c’est qui cette héritière
Qui se baigne qui se terre
Dans l’eau tiède de tes reins?
Je vais la priver de dessert
Lui faire mordre la poussière
De tous ceux qui n’ont plus rien
De tous ceux qui n’ont plus faim
Dites moi que fout la science
A quand ce pont entre nos panses?
Si tu as mal là où t’as peur….
My new favorite song.
Oh my gosh.
So good.
My dear Parisian friend made me a playlist on Spotify.
I have been listening to it pretty nonstop.
The above is one of my favorite songs on the the playlist.
Ta Doleur.
By Camille.
I immediately put the album Le Fil on my favorites.
I love finding new music and new French music?
So lovely.
Then.
I am at work and I am listening to music blasting quite loud and it comes on the sound system.
Except.
It’s not Camille.
It’s Mike Doughty.
Holy shit.
I had no idea that he had done a cover of the song and he did it in French on his album The Flip is Another Honey.
I don’t think he actually speaks French, I could be wrong, I would guess that he’s doing it phonetically.  However, it was nice to hear coming out from the speakers in the kitchen while I was cooking up a storm for my absent family.
I got it all done too.
And was able to get out a little early, get some personal shit taken care of and even meet a friend for tea.
While we were sitting there catching up I had a deja vu to the first time we had sat at that same cafe, other table, in the front, one night after doing the deal and had coffees and talked and I think it was a sort of let’s investigate whether or not we want to date.
We did off and on.
The best I can say is that I had a friend/lover/friend.
I was moving to Paris and it was fun to share some of that juju with him.
He sent me a few mixed cds to me in Paris.
They came at the worst possible time, I was so homesick that week I had burst into tears in my French class over a “futbol” exercise.
Football.
Thanksgiving.
And I’m in Paris where there is not Thanksgiving and they just go about their days ambivalent to your football, it’s soccer anyhow, you heathen.
I didn’t watch football when I was in the states, it was just something that said Thanksgiving to me, family, playing eucher at the table after dinner was done and the girls, my aunts, and me and maybe one other cousin, were washing dishes in the kitchen.
I hadn’t even been to a family Thanksgiving in years, five, six, seven, more, maybe a decade since the last time I had been to a Thanksgiving meal at my grandparents, but there I was losing it in Paris in my French class in a border line neighborhood at the end of the line 7 Metro train.
It was rainy.
The rain fell in heavy splatters against the windows.
The room was overheated.
The French, mostly bad, except for the teacher.
And me, I was the best speaker in class.
Not because I am the best French speaker, oh no, it was more like I had taken a class below my skill set because I am stupid on computers and when I took the skills test on the school’s system I fucked up, so I was assigned a beginning class.
Which was actually really helpful, it was a great way for me to refresh my French.
The teacher was going to move me into a different slot after she heard me speak, but I told her I was just fine and I was.
It was fine.
Until it wasn’t.
The rain.
The homesick.
The culture shock that I didn’t realize I was going through, but was absolutely going through, was taking a toll on me.
The paltry Thanksgiving dinner that I could barely eat anything from at the English speaking pub a friend worked at, the cold Metro ride home, the rain, the rain, the rain.
An instant message from my friend/lover/friend.
Did you get my package?
I hadn’t.
And then.
I knew where it was.
I had known, you know, sometimes you just know, and it was like a homing device.
I ran back out into the rain, crossed the courtyard, and there, I found it.
Henry Miller Tropic of Cancer.
50 Euro note.
Two mixed cds.
One which was “Something To Write To.”
The other “Something to Dance To.”
He knew me well.
I burst into tears listening.
He knew me.
But not well enough.
And.
That is another story.
We’re both fans of Mike Doughty and there was a song on the “Something To Write To” mix from the album “Yes and Also Yes.”
I immediately downloaded that album.
It became my Paris soundtrack.
I don’t know why, it just did.
And there is this curious serendipity as I talked to my now strictly friend/friend, as we’ll be going with mutual friends and his girlfriend to see Doughty play and I think of my French friend from Paris and it’s odd, or God, or both.
And there is just this deep beauty in it.
The song, when it came on, the cover by Doughty, made my arms break out in goose bumps.
I don’t have to find meaning.
There is just sometimes magic in the world and when I open my heart to it.
It burns.
Rare.
Pure.
Bright.
Smitten to my core.
With.
Love.
Yes.
Love.
And more than a little forgiveness.
But most.
Simple.
And.
Most.
Just.
Love.

Do You Speak

December 15, 2015

Spanish.

Nope.

And I’m not interested in flirting with you.

I speak French.

Not the best French, not the greatest, but enough.

Enough to get me into trouble, I joke.

I suppose I should be brushing up on it, watching some more French movies and such.

I watched Blue Is The Warmest Color recently and may also download Amour, Love, to fly over the seas and into the heart of France.

I have been watching little snippets of Paris Je t’aime, Paris, I Love You, as well.  And unlike previous times I have watched it, I am watching it without subtitles.

Not that it seems to be helping, but I never know what is going to stick and what is not.

That is often the case with me in school as well.

I am not sure I got something, but I write the notes and I read the books or the article and I act as if.

And.

More often than not, the information comes up to the surface and I find that is has been integrated somewhere in the hard drive of my mind.

The mind is a marvelous thing.

It will tell me stories.

Not all of them true, ha, most of them not true at all.

It will entertain me.

With those stories that are not true.

But sometimes, my mind will surprise me and work in conjunction with my heart and I see a path, a resolution, a laying of love down the road, an acceptance, an awareness, an action, a course to take, a way to go, a belief that the summer skies will always wheel over my head and the warmth of love will not be blown out in the cold winter nights.

And even if it is, another flame will rekindle and there, despite the dark and the not knowing and the wayward beat of my heart, a drum pulsing with rhythm and the blood drives within, I will find that I have arrived on another shore and found, if not another way home.

The realization that I am always home.

In this body.

In this life.

In this love.

For myself, for the experience, for the constant and consistent journey on in this life.

The journey that will take me soon over the country and across the sea.

Another day closer.

A little more work to do.

I got up at to the sound of my alarm going off, which is unusual, I normally wake up a few minutes before, sometimes half hour or so, but today I slept all the way to my alarm.

A solid, sexy, gratifying eight hours of sleep.

It was lush and luxurious and I was startled to be awoken from a very deep sleep, it seems I could have gone on a bit longer, but the alarm was going and it was time to get up.

Time to do the deal and have my breakfast, to drink my coffee, to write my words and to do some homework.

For despite yesterday being the last day of classes for my first semester.

(LAST DAY OF CLASSES FOR THE SEMESTER!)

I still have work to do.

I have to do a transcription and another Psychoanalytic paper.

I started the transcription today.

I worked on it for about 45 minutes or so before calling a car and heading off to work.

I got there early enough that I was able to ship my mom and my sister’s Christmas packages before I had to be at work.

Which means.

I am done with the Christmas stuff that needs to happen.

I am also done with all bills that need to be paid for the month, so I do not have any other obligations to deal with financially before leaving for Paris.

I have other obligations though.

Fuck.

I got called up for jury duty.

I haven’t been called in before.

Thirteen years of living in San Francisco.

I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later.

I am being called in the week of January 11th, which aside from having a very significant date during that week, an anniversary of sorts on the 13th, is also my first week back in classes.

There is no way I can be available that week, but I don’t really have a reason that is going to stand up in court.

However, I can postpone it.

I can postpone it for six months.

Summer is a much better time for me to do it.

So that will be dealt with, but I don’t have to before I leave on the trip.

I have only a few things to do.

Work mostly.

Show up, be of service to my job, love the boys as hard as possible, cook the best food I can, love the dog, be helpful with the household and do what I can to help the family prepare for me being away a whole week for them.

The mom has got me doing food prep like nobody’s business.

I will be making a triple batch of broccoli soup, a batch of chili, some quinoa risotto, beef stew, and Christmas cookies before I leave on Friday.

Which is also my birthday.

I have dinner plans.

Although I am not sure where.

I am working and I am sure I will be kept busy on that last day until the last minute.

But that is ok.

I am able to go to Paris because I can take the time off and I have a job that pays me vacation pay and I love my boys.

I got so much love from them today, verbally effusive love.

“Carmen!  I love you to the moon and back!” The littlest guy told me today at dinner when I gave him a piece of bread with butter on it to dip in his broccoli soup.

“Carmen! I love you to the moon and back a hundred times!” The oldest boy said and spooned some chicken salad I had made him into his mouth.

“I love you times infinity!” The youngest countered.

“You guys, I love you so much, I can’t even quantify it,” I said and hugged them both.

“Infinity plus twenty hundred,” the oldest boy said with a stomp of his foot.

“Infinity plus infinity!” The youngest said.

We all giggled.

I have such a rich, wonderful life.

I am so lucky.

And no, I don’t speak Spanish and I don’t know where I’m going, and often times I’m not too certain how I got where I am now.

I suspect it’s something called Grace.

I definitely have been graced.

Dipped in it like a gilded flower of love.

Daisies in gold.

I am.

So.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Loved.

To the moon and back.

Infinity times infinity.

On The Path

December 2, 2015

And I keep on keeping on.

I just registered for my second semester of graduate school.

Hard to believe that I am rounding the bend into the home stretch of the first semester.

It felt odd to be registering for the next semester when it feels like there is still so much of this one left.

That being said.

There’s not really that much more.

I have one more weekend of classes and a final project presentation.

The presentation is the thing I need to focus on next, but I’m still finishing up some of the reading.

I am not going to fret about it.

It will get done.

It always does.

One moment at a time and the work will get done.

I was thinking about that as I deposited a check to my account and immediately pulled a bunch of money out to put into a Christmas card for my Parisian friend who bought my tickets to the ballet at the Garnier Palace Opera House in Paris for the show on the 23rd of this month.

Imagine.

In 22 days I will be in a box seat with people I love watching the ballet in Paris.

In 19 days I fly out of SFO to Paris.

In 17 days it’s my birthday.

December is a big month.

And of course, that final school weekend, that I mentioned already, is December 10th-12th.

I am almost there.

Yet it all seems so far away.

I suppose once the last paper is turned in and I have done the final project presentation I will feel it.

Until then.

It all feels rather surreal.

Like I’m treading water and swimming a million miles a minute all at the same time.

It reminds me of something I read this morning before work, in my Human Development reader about death and how having some knowledge of it makes life that much more rewarding and richer.

That awareness of the present moment being the moment to most focus on.

I can’t see much past what is happening, Paris, et al, as I am so focused on living right here, right now.

It is also an assurance to my mental sanity when I stay in the present.

So many things can go wrong in the future.

Or.

There’s just the fantasy of the future, if this than that, if I wear this will he like it more than that, if I do this will she like me, if I work harder I can do this….

Blah, blah, blah.

It’s just a way to be out of the magic of what is happening right now.

For instance.

Despite being alone tonight.

I am not lonely.

I have some Chet Baker on the stereo.

I have some tea in a mug.

It’s delicious tea.

I have tickets to Paris–my friend got hard paper tickets and they came in the mail today!

I’m going to Paris!

Ahem.

The candles are lit and the air is perfumed.

There are snow flakes hanging from the antlers in the corner and the heater is blowing warm air into the studio–it’s been cold!

There are pretty pictures on my walls, my bed is made, my house is clean, I am registered for classes, friends reached out today and texted me sweet messages.

I enrolled with a friend in my cohort and we managed to get three out of five classes together.

Excellent.

There are many more things that I can reflect on right in front of me.

The photo of my sister and I when we were five and three.

In fact, that’s a thought I keep having, blow it up and frame it and send to my mom for Christmas.

I don’t think she has any other copies of the photo.

I have Christmas cards ready to be written.

Oh!

And if you want a post card from Paris, do let me know, I’ll send one.

Sending postcards has to be one of my favorite things to do, the perfect souvenir, I have postcards that I have sent myself from all over the world.

Rome.

London.

Paris.

Burning Man.

New York.

San Francisco (yes, I do send myself postcards from San Francisco–if it’s somewhere I have never been and I am having an experience I like to document it–heck I send cards to folks that live just down the street).

It’s the thing to do.

Staying here.

Staying in the moment and being kind to myself.

As I was reading school work a bit before I started writing the blog and I realized that I wasn’t really retaining the information.

Sometimes that happens.

So.

I stop.

And refocused and got into the present.

Which is where all the gifts are.

That’s why it’s called the “present.”

Mwhahahaha.

Anyway.

The point being that it’s a night for a little extra self-care, a shower, a snuggle with a cozy blanket, the rest of a French movie my dear Parisian friend suggested–Blue Is The Warmest Color.

I like to watch French movies before I travel to Paris.

It helps with getting the language back into my ear.

French music too.

All the things French.

All the things.

I’m pretty happy right now.

Yes.

I am a touched stressed, there is work to do, but I see it all happening and I know how lucky I am to be doing what I am doing, where I am doing it, and getting to do all the things.

Because.

Ultimately.

I do all the really important things.

If you haven’t figured out what that is yet.

We can have a little talk one on one.

Heh.

Otherwise.

It is safe to say that my life is a miracle.

And I don’t have to be on my deathbed to see it.

I just have to stay.

Present.

 


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