Posts Tagged ‘house sitter’

Book Project

November 5, 2022


Here I am again.

Thinking about publishing a book.

But this time it is different.

This time I am ready.

Ten years ago I moved to Paris.

I moved to Paris to “become a writer.”

The truth was.

I already was a writer.

I had been a writer for decades.

I was on the cusp of turning 40 when I moved to Paris.

I am on the cusp of turning 50 now.

If you had told me that I wouldn’t really be looking at being published for a decade after moving to Paris.



I would burst into tears and likely thrown myself off the cutest nearest bridge.

Good thing I didn’t know.


I had no idea ten years ago that instead of becoming a published writer, which, by the way, I am published–my dissertation was published on ProQuest on August 8th–I was to become a therapist.

I had no idea what Paris was going to hold for me.

It was terrifying, cold, heart breaking, wet–it rained a lot, and it snowed!

I got lost all the time–sometimes literally, often figuratively.

I spent a lot of time in churches–they are heated to a nice toasty warm that I would often find myself seeking reprieve from the weather in.

I wrote.

All the fucking time.

I wrote three, sometimes four, times a day.

I edited and re-hashed and re-organized a memoir.

I wrote short stories, poemss, blogs.

I wrote in my journal (s).

There ended up being many, many, many journals–all of which I still have.

I wrote in the morning.

I wrote in the afternoon–in cafes, my favorite being Odette & Aime.

Which was just around the corner on 46 Rue Maubege, I lived at 18 Rue Bellefond.

I would sit for hours in the cafe and sip at tap water and a cafe Allonge–which is basically a black coffee.

I was so poor.

Tit mouse poor.

Starving artist poor.

Hemingway in A Moveable Feast poor.

But like, Hemingway made it sexy.

I was not sexy.

I couldn’t often afford a cafe creme–thus the Allonge–I would eat lunch from the Monoprix–basically a Walgreens with a bit of a supermarket in it.

Lunch would be a single serving piece of cheese and a packet of peanuts.

Often accompanied by an apple I would buy from the Friday market around Square D’Anvers.

Once I treated myself to sausages, heaven, at the Friday market but only once–they were rabbit and to die for.

Breakfast was apple in oatmeal and milk.

Dinners were often from the roti chicken place down the street by the Metro entrance for the Cadet stop.

Not the fancy place up the road that was Monsieur Dufrense.

But the Halal place, the owner was sweet, the chicken was cheap.

I could make one of those last a good four days, sometimes five.

I worked under the table, nanny, dog walker, baby sitter, English tutor.

I took French classes that a friend in Chicago wired me money to go and do.

I walked everywhere, when I wasn’t on the Metro, which I used frequently as I had a Navigo monthly pass.

There were times, especially when I was doing baby sitting outside the periphery, that I realized, no one, not a single person, not a soul, knew where I was.

I was baby sitting in the ghetto, the low income housing, taking three trains to do an under table gig that basically paid 8 Euro an hour.

I walked past drug deals, prostitution, gambling places.

I walked briskly like I knew where I was going.


The place was located on Rue Victor Hugo.

Sounds hella romantic.

Was hella sketchy.

I remember once taking a picture of the street lights reflecting in the rain, once, on a very early morning commute from my place in the 9th arrondisement to outside the periphery, at like 7a.m.

It was a gorgeous shot, the light, the reflection on the sidewalk, the darkness, the sheen.

I got so many comments on social media after I posted it….so pretty, so Paris, so exciting, lucky you, living the dream!


The dream.

Which was actually a nightmare.

Scary, cold, intense, broke as fuck.

Taking an elevator up 9 floors in a tenement in the ghetto outside of Paris.

The kids were sweet, but they didn’t have books, they like to watch the Mickey Mouse Club.

The tv was their babysitter, except when I was there, I insisted on taking them outside.

The park in the middle of the low income houses.

I would watch them race around on their cheap plastic little scooters and stare at the clouds in the sky.

What the hell was I doing with my life?

Query another agent, send off another book proposal, watch my thin stash of Euros in my wallet slowly get a tiny bit bigger, after baby sitting, or tutoring, or house sitting, quietly buying my apples and peanuts and Halal chicken, and then have to pay a week’s rent where I was staying–in a one bedroom lofted apartment where I slept in the living room on a fold out futon that must have been 25 years old, it was so hard.

I didn’t usually have the month’s rent.

But I would pay week to week to week.

Living on peanuts and apples.

Like I said.

Hemingway made it much sexier.


Ten years later.

Many adventures since.

So many adventures.

I am sitting in my very cozy, very pretty, one bedroom apartment in Hayes Valley in San Francisco.

I have a successful private practice therapy business.

I own a car.

A new one.

I have traveled back to Paris, and will do so again in December to celebrate my 50th birthday with a new tattoo from my favorite tattoo shop–Abraxas on Rue Beauborg in the Marais, where I will also be staying a beautiful and hip Air BnB, also in the Marais.

I will buy myself dresses this time instead of packets of peanuts.

I will buy notebooks from Claire Fontaine.

I will go to many museums.

And not on the free days.

I will have a lot of cafe cremes, and not a single Allonge.

I will eat a chicken from Monsieur Dufrense and an actual meal at Odette & Aime.


I will eat my birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant La Cantine du Troquet on Rue de Grenelle.

I will celebrate a dear friend’s wedding anniversary the day before–having become amazing friends in my Master’s in Psychology program, I have stayed at her family home in the Marais and as she will be celebrating, I will be at my Air BnB just a five minute walk from her home.

I will go to my favorite cafe, Cafe Charlot, which is open on Christmas.

I will be there for Christmas as well as my birthday.

I will take photographs and write, like I always do.


Hopefully I will not be writing agents to query them about a memoir, just writing in general, after scoring a few of my favorite notebooks, a small stack, at least five, maybe more.

I will instead be querying agents now about my book proposal.

Not exactly a memoir, but in a sense very much so, but with a different scope, seen through the lens of my dissertation, with beautiful photographs not take by me on my phone, but by the professional photographer I am meeting with next week for coffee in Petaluma–Sarah Deragon with Portraits to the People.

She did my headshots for my website and I adore her work.

I queried her if she would be interested in collaborating with me and I got a yes.

I’ve got some work to do before I see her.

Sketch out the book better, mock something up.

Cut and paste and write.


I keep coming back to the writing.

Which is what I am doing, here, now.


I’m not exactly out of practice, I still journal every day, did it today, I’ll do it tomorrow.


I haven’t been blogging in a while.

Time to polish the chops and sit at the keyboard and see where my meandering brain takes me.

I had not thought that it would be a time travel back to Paris ten years ago, I don’t often know where this page is going to take me, but take me it does.

I figured that the best way to put together my book proposal and manuscript was to open my blog and write my intentions and start from here.

I don’t know how exactly to get an agent.

But there’s Google for that.

I do know my dissertation is a mighty fine academic piece, but it’s not a book ready piece.

No one, well, my dissertation committee did, wants to read my Method and very few people are going to be interested in my Lit review, but there’s some juicy stuff in there.








There’s story and it’s good story and it’s got scandal.

And who doesn’t like scandal?

I’m going to risk it all and put it all out there with transparency and honesty and integrity.

And hopefully, someone will bite.

I want to do a kind of coffee table art house photography book with my poems, essays, blogs, memoir excerpts, and pictures of my transformation alongside the story of what I discovered with my research in my dissertation.

I also will write an epilogue with new insights.

The transformative tattoo; Walking towards joy.

Coming to you soon.

Fingers crossed.

How Much Can You Cram Into Your Day?

August 14, 2012

Apparently quite a lot, that is until the electricity goes out and you are left with a fist full of cat poo.

I was on a cleaning binge.  I wanted to get the house tidied up before Alex and Shannon got back, but I also had done a ridiculous amount of my own work today and was nearing a crescendo point.

You know it’s bad when a friendly call from Scout brings you to tears.


I was just leaving the ladies up on Fair Oaks and 25th and noticed that he had called, I had a moment of pure and utter panic, he’s not going to need the house sitter, what am I going to do.

I gave notice to my landlady yesterday and organized via text with Cesar, his mother, and Casey a good day for them all to get together and see my room.  I am going to leave everything to Casey so I don’t have to move anything out and she can just move right on in.  We will all be meeting at my place Sunday morning at 9 am to do the exchange.

I am trying to co-ordinate everything so that it is done by the time I leave for Burning Man, in eleven days.

Breathe, Martines, it will all get done.

At the same time as I was coordinating about the room I was also in a dialogue with Robyn about retrieving the final last two boxes that I have had in storage at her place since December.  I need to get my Burning Man gear that is in one box and I also want to get my box of notebooks and manuscripts over to storage at Tanya’s house.

With whom I worked out a schedule to have her come by, also on Sunday and pick me and anything I want to store up to take to her house.

When Scout told me he was leaving early for Chicago I just about peed my pants, because I have to get the keys to Graceland, his nickname for his house, and I need to get a walk through.

I really thought I was going to burst into tears.

It was a full day and it just about the straw that broke my back.  But I breathed and we figured out that I can come over after work on Wednesday.  I will BART to Fruitvale, he will drive us back to the house, I will get the tour, the run down, check in about the cats and whatever else has to happen.

Then back to San Francisco.

Thursday I will go to Robyn’s house at 7:30 p.m. to get the boxes.

All the while doing what I already do, you know, like work full time, get my recovery on, write all the time, and shhhhh brain, it’s going to be ok.

It really is.

The day was jam-packed.  I got up early, showered, did laundry, fresh linens on the bed, clean towels in the bathroom, dishes done, write,  breakfast, meditate, read, blast out the door.

Went to Nordestrom’s and got a few clothing essentials to round out what I need for playa gear–mostly socks, bras, and panties, one new dress that was a steal and I found some awesome tights that were on sale.

Then off to my place in the Mission to drop the goodies.  I did a quick drop, grabbed all the books I still had left and skeedadled to Aardvark books on Church and Market.  Sold what I could and donated the rest.

Then I met with John Ater, who told me to slow down and breathe after I rattled off to him the things that have all happened over the week, you know, Burning Man ticket, Paris ticket, date with cute guy to nice restaurant, work stuff, giving notice at work, giving notice at my place, house sitting for Scout, house sitting for Alex and Shannon.

“Girl, slow down, and take a breath.”

I should do that right now.



Breathing good.

Lunch was wonderful.  And my fortune cookie fortune was awesome!  “You are radiant.  You make people happy when they see you.”

Shine the fuck on.

Love it.

After John and I parted ways, I went to Cross Roads and yes!

I found the perfect pair of playa boots for $18!

Thank God.

Back on the bike and back to the Mission.  I did some organizing at the house, dropped the loot, and got one last round of books that I had not been able to stuff in my bag when I went to Aardvark.

I took them over to Alley Cat and traded for trade.  I got a load of postcards.

I figure I will send them from Burning Man and maybe, oh I don’t know, Paris.

Back to the house, jiggedy jig.  Where I had a bag of clothes waiting for me.

I hustled them over to Buffalo Xchange and yes, that’s right I am now completely free of all clothes that I absolutely do not need.  I have winnowed it right the fuck down.

Then a quick pit stop to grab “dinner” at the Valencia Farmer’s Market–protein bar, cherries, string cheese–and off to meet Tanya at Muddy’s.


Then up to Fair Oaks.

Then the call with Scout.

I was officially frazzled.

So what do I do?

Ride my bike like a bat out of hell back to 15th and Buena Vista Terrace and I clean out the fish tank, siphon out the water, re-place, feed fish, feed cats, do a little more laundry, sweep, and scrub sinks in bathroom, kitchen, and wipe down toilet.  I was starting in on the cat boxes when Mushi did well, what Mushi does.

Man, that cat needs to figure out how to bury the load.

I went to get a bag and I do not know why, but it was just too much to smell, so I lit a little votive candle to clear the stank.

Thank God.

Because just as I was scooping up the poo all the lights go out.

“Not funny,”  I said.

“I mean it, turn them back on.”

Don’t ask me who I was talking to, God, the universe, the axe-murderer in the basement who just got the electrical lines.

I got spooked and looked out the window, wasn’t just me, the entire block was down, in fact, it looked like a bunch of lights were down.

God apparently wanted me to slow the fuck down.

So, I did.

I found a bunch of candles and lit them all up, put on the kettle, ate a peach and crawled into bed with a hot cup of tea.

I was just about to make another cup when the lights came back up.


A reprieve.

That was nice.

Now back to work!

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