Posts Tagged ‘mental-health’

Small Steps

January 6, 2019

Almost, even, baby steps.

But steps nonetheless.

I have not been exercising for a while.

Not that I’m super out of shape, work five days a week as a nanny, picking up toys, the baby, who is now no longer a baby at two years old, the six-year-old and the almost nine-year old, up and down steps, over to the park and back, and you’ll stay in decent shape.


I haven’t really exercised much since I moved into my new digs.

I’ve been here now three and a half, almost four months.

Part of it is that I’m in a PhD program and the majority of exercise there is lifting a book and turning the page or fretting about having to write a paper.

I’m sure the anxiety of walking through my first semester of the program wore off a few calories, but not really in a way that was healthful for me.

I have been thinking a lot about exercise, partially because a dear friend of mine keeps sending me messages about going to this or that yoga/dance party class.

I keep saying no.


I keep saying I want to.

I don’t actually like exercise.

Until after I’ve done it and then I’m all like, why the fuck don’t I do this more often.

Of course, that feeling often fades and exercise becomes a bit of a chore, but I also know, rather well at that, that feeling better is important.

It’s not just my body that feels better.

It’s my brain.

My brain needs the break from thinking.

Sometimes I just need to get into my body and exercise is a great way to do that.

One of the things I have been telling my friend is that it’s a scheduling thing.

I just can’t see myself getting up early and heading across town to do a yoga class then hauling ass back here and getting ready for work or for seeing clients.

Nothing is convenient.

I looked at pools last night, which I have done enough times to know that it really is a haul to get anywhere that has a pool.

Then I fret about how long it will take to deal with my hair.

My hair is a serious thing.

Not that I do a lot with it, per se, just that I have a lot of it.

In fact, I think my hair is the longest its been in years.

I love my hair and it’s actually easier to deal with when it’s long, I don’t do much with it, it’s just that it takes a long time to de-tangle, wash, condition, and dry.

I have naturally curly hair and if I don’t treat it right it goes bonkers.

So swimming, though imminently appealing is not always the best option for me where I’m living and with the schedule that I keep.


This morning I had a dear friend over for coffee and he mentioned the gym down the street.



I know.

There’s a gym around the corner.

I walked past it on Christmas Eve at sunset when I went for a little stroll around the block and I noticed it.

And it’s been taking up a little corner of my brain for a while now, but until today I wasn’t really taking it seriously.

My friend happened to park next to it and talked to me about it and how it was a key pad punch in and that it didn’t look busy and that it seemed really reasonably priced and wow was it close.

My friend doesn’t have a gym that close to his place and he works out frequently.

I knew when he was talking to me about it that it was the answer and I had also gotten an e-mail at the turn of the New Year regarding the gym as it was part of the mailing list I got popped on for my old yoga studio.

Too many signs saying, ahem, you want convenient and fits in your schedule?

Here you go.


I went online and found out that it really is quite reasonable and there’s a student discount and I could get a membership for $55 a month.

Which is $30 less than I was paying for my yoga studio.

But I don’t have work out shoes, my brain tells me.

Buy them, you twit.

Today after my friend left I headed to the Mission to see clients and I had nothing really to do until my 7p.m. commitment and I thought, you know, there’s that place in the Inner Sunset that has a pretty good athletic shoe selection.

I went.

They didn’t have anything that worked for me, but I had the idea in my head and I knew when I got home that I would just go online and order a pair of shoes.

I had transitioned to Saucony running shoes when I hurt my ankle about five years ago now, and I wore the hell out of them for a while and I know what size works for me.


Oh yeah.

I have an Amazon gift card my employers gave me for Christmas.


Free athletic shoes.

And the decision to go to the gym and get a membership as soon as the shoes arrive.

I’m thinking I could even lose a little weight, not that I need to so much, but I wouldn’t mind dropping one more pant size.

“You just keep getting skinnier and skinnier,” my friend said over coffee this morning, “what are you doing?”

Not much, honestly, obviously not working out.

But when I had all the issues with the reflux I cut a few things out of my diet.

I stopped eating a hard-boiled egg in the morning with my breakfast and I stopped having a snack at night.

I think that was really about it.

I’m just basically eating less.

I don’t think I’m still losing weight, but it was nice to hear that from my friend.

I also don’t see myself very clearly.

I will often see myself as heavier than I am or think that I am bigger than I am.

Partially because, well, I was for a very long time in my life.


Here’s to baby steps and ordering new work out shoes and making the decision to join a gym.

A gym!


I am now one of those people who joins a gym in January.

This isn’t really a resolution though.

More like an intention to do just a little more self-care.

The next semester will bring much work with it and I sense that having an outlet will help me deal with the homework.

And maybe.

You know.

Look sexier in a pair of jeans.


Me, A Book, & A Bicycle

July 28, 2013

That was today’s story.

End of blog.

Well, ok, there may have been a little more to today than just that, but not a whole lot more.

I went grocery shopping in the Haight on a Saturday at Whole Foods.

That was exciting.

I was mistaken for a tourist, which was funny.

“Pretty cold, eh?” A store owner asked me as I peeked my nose into a corner store that I walk past frequently when I am pushing the stroller through Cole Valley and the Upper Haight neighborhood.

“Uh, yeah, typical weather, I guess, I’ve got my layers on,” I said politely.

“Oh, you’re a local, look at that!”  He grinned up from the paper he was reading, “I should have noticed you weren’t in flip flops and shorts.”



It might be hot, humid, and sunny most everywhere else, but here, on this side of town, it’s about 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, with a thick veil of fog and a chill breeze snaking up your sleeves and under your coat.

I just got back from a bike ride from 46th and Irving.

It took me about twenty minutes.

It is not flat like people have been telling me.

Uh, no.

It’s not horribly steep and I did not stand up on my pedals but once, but it is a steady climb and about ten minutes in, despite the nippy bite of ocean wind and the lowering fog bank, I was warm and breaking a sweat.

I am sure I could cut down that time by about five minutes once I am used to the route.

But that is what about how much time it took for me to get from 46th and Irving to Cole and Frederick.

Twenty minute commute to work.

Instead of a forty minute commute to work.

I will pass by fish markets and sushi restaurants, there’s an Andronico’s, a surf shop, all the little markets and cafes and restaurants on Irving in the inner Sunset.

Although I may not ride my bike through that part of the neighborhood frequently, there’s a lot of traffic coming and going and parking and not much using of turn signals.

But I did not see once prostitute.

Nor one drug deal.

Or hear a siren.

I did get a few cars that drove a little too close for comfort.

But that is going to happen where ever you bicycle.

Other places I rode my bike to today–the Mission and Bernal Hill.

Although I did not ride my bicycle all the way up Cortland, it’s a little too steep for a one speed.

I swung through the Mission, stopping by the bike shop to see about picking up my bicycle saddle, but they were swamped and I had a moment when I realized if I were to stay I would probably end up jumping in and helping them and I had a place to be and it was not at the shop.

I will go by tomorrow.

Sunday will be quieter and I will swing over to my friend’s house and grab the ride and see about getting it outfitted with the new saddle.

It does sparkle.

It will look pretty fabulous.

It will.

I shelved the saddle (having snuck in the back no one in the shop even registered I was there) and sorted out the mail for the design firm, recycled the junk mail, and stealthily left the way I came in without being seen or noticed.

I caught myself contemplating going back and working for them while I have these next two weeks of down time ahead of me.  But I could hear my friend’s voice in my head, “don’t go backwards,” and I knew he was right and I don’t want to be there and there are better things for me to do with my time.

Even if it is just to sit on my bum and read a book.

I picked up a used copy of  Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and headed to Martha’s to await my 4pm check in.

I got a cup of coffee, spiked it with cinnamon, settled down at a table, put my feet up and dissolved into a book.

To only dissolve into tears a little later when I did my check in.

What is it with the emotions man?

I mean they were not as bad or overwhelming as yesterday, but yeah, still there.

“It sounds like you feel like a newcomer,” she said to me, “really raw and vulnerable.”

Yup, that sounds about right.

Really raw and vulnerable.

But not checking out with a vat of ice cream or a bag of donuts.

Just a book and a cup of coffee.

I wondered as I sat there and talked and looked out the window at the sky, just far enough removed from the fog that it was not misty on Bernal, but still chill, the cirrus clouds, high, wispy, tattered, spun across the blue sky, I wondered, if maybe I need to go back on antidepressants.

“You sound depressed,” she said to me.

And that hit a little closer to home than I thought it would.

I will admit I have been feeling blue, but I have been chalking that up to the discomfort of being rootless and getting back to the bay and starting over.

“Hey Carmen,” an acquaintance said this evening, “missing Paris?”

Fuck off.

“A little,” I said and smiled wanly.

“Oh, I’ll bet,” he continued.


We aren’t friends, now stop it.

“Do you have any girlfriends you can lean on right now,” she asked and sipped her tea as I pulled my eyes away from the high feathery clouds and back to her green searching gaze.

“I do.” I said and thought how I got to see Joan and Tami this week and that was really good.  How I got to see my lady Jennifer last night and how good that was.

I had also called another friend earlier today to ask what she was up to.

“Just got done with work…dinner?  coffee? are you still in town?….”

The text read when I wrapped up at Martha’s and just as I was putting down my phone and turning off the ringer, she walked in.

Saved by the friend.

We went to dinner.

I met her daughter.

We headed out to the ocean and I saw the room.

It’s looking good.

It’s all looking good.

“You are doing the work, I can see that, it sounds like you just need to be gentle to yourself and work on acceptance.” She said and I nodded.

Nothing in my world is a mistake.

Not myself.

Not where I live.

Not who I am.

A room by the ocean, a bicycle to ride, a book to read, time to accept the reality of my life and to honor the gifts therein.

And my friends.

Thank you for my friends.

Again and again and again.

Just Two Blocks Over

June 29, 2013

Maybe three.

And it’s a completely different neighborhood.

I suppose many places are like that, especially places where a lot of tourist go.

I don’t hang out much in the Haight, I don’t like tourists, and tonight was not much different.

I got to the house sitting gig after spending the day semi-checked out at Graceland.

There were small things I needed to attend to, laundry, a little shopping, taking care of the kittens, doing some writing, then I realized that I did not need to be in the city until 5pm and I wouldn’t need to be on a BART until 3:45/4pm and I had a lot of time to kill.

So I shot a few brain cells and watched some Netflix.

It is surreal to watch television during the day when you are not sick.

Although, technically, I am sick.

I have one of a few diseases that are self-diagnosible and I diagnosed one today.

I got the symptoms I do.

But I also have the cure and I reached out and checked in and did some crying and said yes I would be gentle with myself and that I did realize this, whatever this was, was only temporary.

I am not a big tough chick.

In case you were wondering, I am a fucking cream puff.

I get scared.

I just don’t show it.

And the strain of being scared has definitely been wearing me down.

The strain of not showing I am afraid is wearing me down just as quick.

I have been comfort eating, previously discussed ad nauseam so I am not going to go into it, comfort checking out, NetFlix you evil whore you, like I did not already have check out go to, but my room-mate has an astounding big wide-screen television with surround sound and a deep leather couch to stretch out on.

Check out central.

The road narrows they say.

“I can see it, I can see what is happening and I am getting spun out of it faster and faster and I can see how it does not work and I can’t stand that it does not work and that pisses me off, and, well, fuck.”

Yes, well fuck.

The things that once brought me fast acting relief stopped working–cocaine, beer, vodka, esctacy, mindless sex with strangers, speed, mushrooms, LSD, sugar, cigarettes, crack–and I can’t really go back to any of them.

“Look, I’d even let you stay on my couch for a week if you relapsed on crack,” one of my best friends told me last week, “I love you.”

That’s how we say I love you, I would let you stay on my couch a week.

“Then, well, I’d tell you to get the fuck out and get better,” he finished.

That is how we really say I love you and more than you know, I love you enough to support you until you can do it on your own, no free rides here sugar.

None of my check outs comes with a free ride, just to hell, just to a place of terror or confusion or disorientation, drama, adrenaline.

I realized last night riding my bike through the neighborhoods, good, bad, indifferent, really fucking bad (ok, what is up with this particular corner, just two blocks away is a fire department, which means, you know like people who are serious and have connection to the cops and such, just two blocks away from fire station and it is going off.  Off I say.  Yesterday on my way to work I saw a dwarf prostitute.


A fucking midget hooker.

Oakland, we got all your crazy crack needs right here.

Last night, it was just as wild, I got blown by an Escalade near off the road, blingety blinged out, and watched a pregnant hooker, that was not a distended belly from malnutrition, I think, work a corner, totter across the street to her john.

I also saw two cars lined up right in the middle of the intersection doing hand offs through the windows.

Just two blocks over.)  that maybe it was time to stop riding through the neighborhoods.

Maybe if I was that tense about it that it would just be a better idea to ride BART through Oakland, at least at night.  I am going to debate it.

Maybe that will relieve the scared little girl I forget I carry inside my brain who is clutching a very worn down stuffed bunny rabbit, poor thing as seen more than any child needs to see.

“You seem like a nice nanny,” she said to me at the park yesterday, “I like you, you got a lot of tattoos though, my uncle D, he got a lot of tattoos and he in prison.”

“NO he ain’t,” her little friend shot back, “D’Angelo just in jail, he aint’ in prison, he do got a lot of tattoos though, all up his back.”

“Oh, well, I don’t have any back pieces,” I smiled at the girls.

“Don’t get any more, you don’t want to wind up in prison,” the little girl concluded and scratched at her wrist where is disappeared under the dirty grey plaster cast that was up to her elbow.

“Ok,” I said, no need to tell her I always want more tattoos, I do want a back piece, but I don’t see a correlation to doing time, aside from the time it takes to lie still.

“How did you break your arm?” I asked.

“I fell,” she said, no more explanation.

“I broke my foot when I was your age, right during summer vacation, it sucks,” I said.

“You did?”

“Yup, I think I was about your age, you in second or third grade?” I asked.

“Gonna be in third!” She proudly exclaimed.

“I broke my foot summer between second and third grade, same timing,” I smiled, “it’s hard, but you don’t have to use crutches, so that’s good.”

“Yeah, I broke my other arm last year,” she said out of the blue.

I drew in a breath, oh baby, “how did you do that?”

“I fell.” Her eyes left mine and looked flat at the sky over my head.

I picked up my little girl a few things she likes today and said, listen this is it for the comfort, the adult me has got to get us back on track.  We can watch a few more shows then it’s back to reality time.

I walked back from Haight Street after going to the market and the temperature was dropping, the cool air from the ocean blowing in.

Just two and a half blocks from the tourist and the homeless kids trying to make the tourists, quiet, serene, peaceful, painted lady Victorians resplendent in their finery graciously curtsied up the street to where I am staying for the weekend.

I let myself in, turned on the television, said hello to the cats and settled in.

“I got a place,” I told my mom, “back in San Francisco I can’t wait, just two blocks from the beach and two blocks from Golden Gate Park.”

Just a few weeks left to go.

Hang on kiddo we can do this.


Last Night of House Sitting

June 22, 2013

And not nary a bite of sugar or processed flour in sight.

Motherfuckers I am back on the abstinence train.

Jesus christ on a fucking hockey stick that was nasty.

Aside from the severe sugar crash, the emotional and physical hangover, the literal, oh my god I weigh what when I got on the scale, and the ache of my joints, the gas and tummy upset have been enough to say no fucking thank you to that experiment again, it was not all that bad.


The thing that I took away from my two and a half day sugar and white flour binge-o-ramma  was some very powerful information.

One–I am not perfect and I cannot do it alone.

Oh, I think I can, I sure as fuck want to.  You want to help me?  No, thanks, I got this.  Fact is, I don’t got this, I never had this, and I need help all the freaking time.

Two–I have some amazing, awesome, compassionate, kind, sweet as fuck friends.

I have friends that really care about my well-being, that reached out, that said, hey stop beating yourself up, we love you, you are going to be ok, you will get through this, what do you need?

Three–I am fond of classic isolation.

Oh, I don’t look it.

How many FaceBook friends do you have?  Twitter followers, LinkedIn friends, acquaintances, etc?  Me, well I got a lot, but most Friday nights I am at the house writing by myself.  I actually don’t get out and do things as much as I could or should.

(sidebar–a friend recently said, “it should be called anti-social media”.  Agreed.)

Four–house sitting is not a good gig for me.

Despite wanting it to be a good fit, it’s not.  I am a creature of habit and staying out at someone else’s place throws my routine.  Throws it hard and gives me the perfect excuse to, what, oh yes, isolate.

So here’s to not isolating, here’s to going to see some girlfriends tomorrow and Sunday, here’s to this being my last night at the gig and here’s to what I believe may be my last time doing this.

Unless I get paid a lot better and it makes sense to do it.


It doesn’t compute.

I am not the girl for you anymore.

I am going to make a faith-based decision right here and right now and say that there is more money coming my way and I don’t need to hop from one place to another to scrimp on money for rent.

Besides it ends up being, generally a more expensive proposition for me.

I either break even or I eke out a tiny little extra.

I actually probably took a loss doing this gig.

But I learned a lot.

It was not the most pleasant learning experience, but god damn did it force me to reach for some tools that I had not reached for in a long while.  Forced me to get honest with myself and showed me that I have actually got a really great life happening right now.

“Sounds amazing, actually, everything that is happening for you,” my friend said to me over dinner tonight at The Saint Francis Fountain (two soft-boiled eggs, sliced tomatoes, a sausage patty, and some fried potatoes–the only meal I had today, I guess you could say I wasn’t really hungry after the last few days of indulgences).

“Yup,” I nodded in complete agreement.  “Life is really good and there are all these opportunities happening, and I think that is what scares me, I am trying to sabotage it.”

“Well, stop for pete’s sake,” she said and laughed.





Let your life be big and beautiful, just like you.

“What if,” my friend Cal said to me today at South Park as we sat in the sun with iced coffees from Cafe Centro, “you stopped and just let yourself enjoy what is happening?”

“I mean, I see you do this all the time, you jump through hoops, you force yourself to go after something, you push yourself really hard and there’s no room for error, or for that matter enjoyment.”  He paused, sipped his iced coffee, “I was jogging this morning and realized, you know, there’s nothing wrong with right now.”


There is nothing wrong with right now.


I was sitting in the sun at a park in San Francisco with one of my best friends enjoying an iced coffee, about to throw down with some frisbee, having just gotten off a turn on the swing set, alive, safe, loved.

Yeah, nothing wrong here.

He and I talked a lot.

That is a good friend to me, someone who sees me warts and all, tells me like it is and says I love you no matter what, no matter what weight or hair style or where I live or who I am dating or not dating.

“You know, lady, you got a lot of energy, go take  Muy Thai kick boxing class or some Ju Jitsu or mixed martial arts, go hit a heavy bag, you’ll feel better,” he also said.


Throw down some punches.

And throw down a party.

That’s right C&C Produktions are gonna be having a party.

Calvin has an amazing movie set up, projector, sound system, the whole works.  One night he and I found this great wall in the SOMA and sat outside and watched some old Star Trek movies.

That was some hot shit.

I think I even took some photographs somewhere and called it the AV Club.

Well, I told him I want to throw a party sometime in mid to late September.  After I have gotten moved into my place in the Sunset and have decompressed a little bit from Burning Man.

A party?

Yes, a party.

I want to celebrate posting my 1,000th blog.

This blog post is going to by 907, by mid-September I will be right around 1,000.

I want to celebrate my writing and all the changes in my life and all the amazing friends I have who have gotten to be a part of and a witness to the craziness of Carmen.

Find an alley or old warehouse building with a large wall, watch some old crazy movie, dj up some tunes, dance, post up some of the photographs I took in Paris, drink some iced coffee and celebrate.

Celebrate my friends and all the adventures thereof and therein.

I have got me a wonderful bunch.

Friends and experiences.

Begone Self-Doubt

February 26, 2013

Get the fuck out my head.

I told a friend on the phone today that I was walking along and all the sudden my head sprang out of a dark, wet alley and bit me on the ass.

Not true.

My brain was up before the rest of me was awake, say maybe 15 minutes or so, twitching, like a cat about to pounce on a laser pointer.

Perfect metaphor.

By the way.

The cat one, chasing after a laser pointer light; chasing after something not real.

Instincts gone awry.

That little red spot is not a mouse.

Not anything worth pursuing, eating, or really playing with; however you can chase that light all day long, never catching it, getting more and more exhausted, until you give you and call in the cavalry.

I went for a swim, this helped quite a bit.

I got out of my head for an hour and into the pool.

The quick gliding stroke along the bottom of the pool right before the tightness in my chest forces me to rise and breathe in air.  There is a space there where all is quiet, blue lit serene.

To quote my friend Calvin, “SERENITY NOW!”

He says it just like that, all caps.

I laughed at myself when I left Corinne a message detailing the crazy in my head before I headed off to the pool to get reprieve from the monsters up there.

She laughed later when we finally connected and said something that I had not ever heard before, or perhaps had not let myself hear, “you are doing all the work, so your disease is working overtime.”

I knew it.

Little fucker.

I knew you were up today before me, doing push ups, corralling the fear police, getting all decked out in your riot gear.

Note to self, there is no fire to put out.


There is not even the picture of a burning log on a television screen to turn off.

Everything is alright, because it already is.

My head told me today, thanks for sharing!  That I was a shit writer, that no one wants to read my book, that I don’t know what I am doing (there is some truth in that, lies always come off better if they are wrapped up in a little white paper square of truth, like a sandwich wrapped up with a twist of string), that I will never write like so and so…fact is, I get to write like me and that is a huge gift.  

My voice.

I have a voice and I use it.

I express it.

Of course I won’t write like so and so.

I don’t really want to.

I want to write like me.

Oh, I want the success of that writer or this writer.  I want to see my books, yes I said books, up on a shelf in Shakespeare and Company.  Hell, I want to give a reading there.

Preferably when it is warm.

Just hang in there, Martines, the weather is going to change.  Spring is a comin’.

To tell myself that I am not a good writer or that I can’t do it is bullshit.

I am doing it.

I went through and counted how many queries I have sent out since I finished the book–32 total.

My friend suggested that I stop at 40, to represent the new me at 40 in Paris, and I like that. I sent another off today, 33, and that means I have about seven left to do.  Then I will start doing follow-up e-mails.

I have also applied to contests, have submitted my short stories, and an essay, as well as written, still in draft form, a blog for  a new blog a friend is starting (which, I shall also count a success, to not only be asked, but to be asked to be a continuing contributor.  How nice is that?), I have applied to work jobs here in Paris.

And yesterday I also applied to work at the first 24 hour a day English-speaking radio station in Paris.  It is going to be launching in Spring/Summer.  I have some experience writing pieces from when I was a radio news intern at KQED in San Francisco.

It is not a paid position, but it will get me writing more pieces, as well as getting my voice, literally out there.  Anything at this point feels like I have to try it.

I was a little bummed out, I realized, today, a bit defeated after listening to my friend yesterday at Shakespeare and Company.  I believe this is where my head was mining for treasure this morning, up having a double espresso while I was still laying in bed, it lay in waiting, ready to pounce, ready to beat me with the Oak stick.

Corinne made a suggestion today about not beating myself up and I am going to try it.

In fact, pause here, to take a breath and do it.



And again.

Nobody beats up Baby, er puts her in a corner.


I am putting down the stick, I am dropping the red light beam of inscrutability and I am allowing myself this moment, here, after my swim, after my dinner, a shower, and a hot cup  of tea, in Paris, in February, thank God you are a short month you brutal little fuck, and give myself a pat on the back instead.

I am doing alright.

I am doing better than alright.

I am allowing myself to have experiences and to learn and I leapt.

Damn it, I deserve to allow myself that.

I leapt.

Of course I brought my brain with me, and I had been warned that little monster would make an appearance, and now I am seeing what Corinne means, I am doing the work and getting out there and taking suggestions.

My brain is so fucking afraid of success.

If I succeed there will be no more tender moments of self-flagellation.

What the hell would life look like then?

I don’t know, but I am going to start finding out.

Right now.


Monster Migraine

January 22, 2013

I fell out yesterday.

I have not had a migraine like that in quite some time.

It was one of the scariest experiences I have had in a while.

If I had been paying attention, I might have realized what was happening, but as the case was and is, so often with me, I was not paying attention to my body, I was paying attention to the fear generating machine in my mind.

Get out the door!

Get to the Metro!

Find the new address for the babysitting gig!

While you’re at it, make sure you take some photographs so people don’t think you’re not doing anything here in Paris.

God, fucking, forbid, it look like I’m not doing something worthwhile and worthy of notice and support.

Who are these people anyhow?

I don’t know, but they were all up in the committee banging pots and pans and rattle trapping along to beat the band.


First clue that I was not all mentally there, I had a difficult time getting my bag of stuff together.  I forgot my map book, I put my phone in the wrong pocket, I almost forgot my camera.

Next clue, I could not take off my shoes properly when I got to the babysitting gig.  It felt like slogging through soft, thick, knee-high clay.  The walls were closing in on me and I did not even notice.  I was trying too hard to untie my shoe laces, which seemed to be five miles away from my hand.

I should have known by the time I got to the bathroom.

It smelled like bacon.


No bathroom anywhere smells like bacon.

I get auditory and sensory hallucinations with my migraines.  Sometimes I hear birds, which in hindsight, I did now just realize, I heard robins tweeting when I lay down to take a nap.

That is one of the best perks of being a baby sitter of a certain age of children–they nap.

I usually find something to do during nap time, read, write, work on something.

Yesterday, however, all I wanted to do was lay down.

I lay down after putting the girls to bed, such pumpkins, I do hope I actually get the chance to meet up with them again when I am in full faculties, I could barely read to them yesterday.  My French, fyi, I was told by the three and a half-year old, was not as good as hers.


She is right, in case you were wondering.

Really smart little girl.

She taught me the word for peanuts though, we used it as our secret password for the day.

Cacouettes (I think that’s how it’s spelled).

I lay down, the snow was falling.

I listened to it, the crisp crackle and hiss of it, underlying the sound of the neighbors coming and going, the occasional wail of an ambulance, the wash of birds singing.

That should have been the tip-off.

I heard birds.

Birds are not apt to be out signing in the snowfall, Martines.

My head definitely hurt and I was beginning to feel nasueous, but I put that off to the heat in the apartment being really high.  I was also wearing more layers than normal.  I had on an additional pair of tights under my blue jeans and a pair of knee-high socks–striped the three and a half-year old like to point out all the colors.

By the time the dad had called to let me know he was running late and the girls were up for their naps, I knew there was something horribly wrong.

I barely eked my way through the next hour and fifteen.

Thank God the girls were clever and knew how to entertain themselves quite well.

By the time the dad got there I was as close to throwing up as I have ever been with a migraine.

I managed to get my coat on and my scarves, but I was so overheated I could barely lace my shoes together.  I sat outside their door, having left my shoes outside, and nearly cried with the effort of putting on my Converse.

I made it to the Metro.

The most horrifying part of my day.

I leaned up against the cold back side of the train, my back pressed to the door, my bag clasped in my hands, my eyes closed.

Every time I opened my eyes I was washed over with the desire to throw up.

I cannot imagine the results would have been that awful–all I ate yesterday was oatmeal and banana for breakfast and two apples with almond butter and a small baby bell cheese for lunch–yet, vomit, during rush hour on the Metro?

No, please God, thank you.

I managed to get off the right transfer and onto the next train.

I just kept envisioning the code to the building and getting inside 36 Rue Bellefond.

I did not stop at the grocery store and there was nothing I was going to eat anyhow, the thought of crossing the street to the Carrefour was almost more overwhelming than the entire journey from the 16th to the 9th.

I got inside.

I pulled off my clothes, put on my pajamas and fell into bed.

I closed my eyes and slept.

I woke up twice.

Once to pee.

Once to take a vitamin C tab with aspirin fizzy tablet that my room-mate had a stash of in the bathroom.

The migraine broke sometime this morning.

I woke up at ten a.m.

I made my bed, I prayed, yeah, I did.

I pulled on some socks and put on my shoes and I went to the Carrefour in my pajamas.  I bought bananas and sparkling water and pink grapefruit juice.  I came home, made oatmeal, a cup of coffee, and wrote.

I am going to leave the revelations of the writing for tonight’s blog as I really should have posted to my blog last night.  This post will suffice for that and I will write another tonight.

I had some revelations.

The monster came out of the closet and we made friends.

I have a new appreciation for being here in Paris.

Funny, that, pain, really is the arbiter of spiritual progress.

I made some progress, yes, yes I did.


Back Amongst the Insured

June 25, 2012

And already dying of cancer.

Wow.  That was fast.

That’s my brain, zero to insanity in nano seconds.

I just got off the phone with the advice nurse at Kaiser.  To whom I would not even have been speaking to except that Joan gave me crap about it today when we were hanging out.

Specifically crap about not taking care of myself.

I now have an appointment to see my primary care physician, whom I have not had the pleasure of working with in the last eight months of being un-insured.  I had been paying for my own health insurance out-of-pocket.  When I stopped being a nanny and took the pay cut to work at the bike shop I could not afford my own health insurance anymore.

I dropped it.

Recently the bike shop started offering health insurance.  I was just a week past the cut off date.  I wavered, I am going to be moving, I am going to need all the money I can possibly set aside, I should not splurge on such a silly thing.

Health insurance, who needs it?

Just rich people, right?

Well, that’s just signing up to live in fear.  I can not afford it.

I went and told my GM I would take it.

I can always cancel before I move to Paris, and despite wanting to have a few extra dollars saved up, I figured it was probably worth it.

I got my card in the mail today.  It was probably sitting in my mail box for a few days, but I just had not received it.  I pulled it out today and casually mentioned to Joan that I was having some issues with my eyes.

Nothing, big, you know, they have just been bothering me a little.

For like, a month.

“Oh my god, that’s not eye make up,” Joan said in response to my casual mention of my eye issue.

Ah, no, its not.  And I am horrified by my vanity. And grateful too, really, it was partially because I could not bear the idea of putting on eye make up today that finally led me to open my mouth up about it.

It is probably allergies.

It is just not something I know how to deal with and I feel like I am some how weak when I have an illness.  Like I can some how will myself better.


It was also vanity that led me to this place, I realized the other night when I got back from the motorcycle ride that I looked old.  Old as dirt.

The issue with my eyes makes me look old.  The skin is inflamed and peeling and cracking and when I wear make up it dries funny and I look like I have a land mine of wrinkles.

Ok, I know I am being a little sensitive about it, but it sucks. Being a vain woman, I am, I am.  I could not take it any more.

Shit, I was with a guy who is seven years younger and I looked fucking old.

Old as the hills.

Then a 27-year-old guy hit on me last night and when I washed my face last night the skin looked so dry and tender and old, I just about cried.  No man is going to want to make out with this old face.

Vanity, defect of character working over time for me.

Thanks God.

I could not bear the idea of putting eye make up on tonight.  I got invited to go out dancing and I said yes, then I realized I would not want to go out with a bare face, I’d want to get bedazzled, you know, saucy.

That was the last straw.

I called the advice nurse.

The first thing she said was, do you have any auto-immune issues?

Oh my god, I have AIDS.

Shaddup head.


Hmm, you are really healthy it looks like.

Yes, yes, I am.

She asked if this had happened before and I said yes, as a matter of fact about a year ago (when I had a friend point it out and he said, he thought it was stress).  I mention this and the nurse says, after a pause to nicely phrase what she was going to say, “I see you have had some issues dealing with stress before.”

Ah, yeah, that’s a nice way to say total mental breakdown when I was diagnosed with clinical depression, clinical anxiety, acute PTSD, and ACA syndrome.

Stress, what’s that?

I am not stressed.



Oh yeah.  I am stressed out.


OH, it’s not cancer, it’s work.

Good thing I am moving.

It’s probably not even work either, although, I don’t think it helps any.  I think it’s probably allergies.  Which I do have.  My symptoms have just always been so slight since I moved to San Francisco that I have pretty much ignored them.

My allergies in Wisconsin were over blown and horrid.  Itchy, scratchy, watery eyes, constant runny nose, sneezing all the time.  I am allergic to seven different kinds of deciduous trees–oaks, elms, maples, sugar maples, birch trees, red oak, and willows.

This is a tough row to hoe in the MidWest.

I experienced such a drastic drop off in my allergies when I moved to San Francisco, it has been rather like I haven’t got any.

But, I live on a street with a lot of trees.  I am wondering if as I am getting along in my age, not old, mind you, just aging, if I am becoming more allergic to my environment.

I don’t know what kind of trees line Folsom Street, but the trees are part of what I really like about this neighborhood.

Could I be allergic?

Probably a better diagnosis than cancer, thanks again over active imagination.

I will find out tomorrow at 11:20 a.m. Kaiser on Geary.

Fun times.

I hope my eyes go back to normal, I missed wearing eye make up today.

I made up for it, but buying a pair of ridiculous high heels.

I had to get some sexy on for Pete’s sake, me and my peeling eyelids.




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