Posts Tagged ‘Photo Works’


January 11, 2014

To sanity.

One could say that is always on my mind.


Never knew how crazy I was until it stopped.

Or I was willing to listen to what others had to say about the whole thing and take some basic suggestions and voila!


Or some bright semblance of.

I believe I am still cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, however, it’s a kind of crazy I have been busy treating for the last 8 years and some odd days.  I can sort of take it to the bank because I have been taught how to treat it.

Just like I did today.

Took my paychecks to the bank and took the money I owed Barnaby to Barnaby.

I like that, see that sentence just there, it’s in the past tense.


I don’t owe him money more.

The debt has been paid and it’s done.

So nice.

I rather enjoy being accountable and taking care of business and I am grateful to not have any more of that debt over my head.

It was good to see Barnaby again as well, give him a quick hug, he was in the middle of doing a tattoo, so I did not stay long, just long enough to say I needed to see him when I got back to San Francisco because I have a need for some fresh ink.

I have a couple of stars to add to the seven on the left side of my neck.

“What happens when you have 50 years of sobriety,” my best friend asked me when I got five butterflies on my shoulder to acknowledge the anniversary.

“Will you have 50 butterflies?”  She asked, half serious, half in jest.

“I might,” I said with a smile.

Heck, at that time I had only one sleeve, not two, and I did not have any idea that I was going to have the tattoos I currently have.  Although I did know I would have more.  I still know I will have more, and yup, not particularly positive what they will be either.

Just that I will be adding a couple stars to my small galaxy.

I gave Barnaby another hug, pulled out the envelope (that just happened to be in some stationary that I bought at a book shop while out with Barnaby one day wandering through bookshop stalls in Paris) that I had put the cash in, said thank you, and I will call when  I get back.

Then I hopped on the bike and headed down to Photo Works to pick up the restored photograph.

$165.18 and a few tears later I have the original photo and the three restored prints in my possession.





I felt overwhelmed with joy.

I don’t know how it works, I really don’t, but it does.

To see the photograph restored seemed a sign of my family being restored to me.

And I did not realize until I looked at the photograph again that it was not my grandparents wedding!


It was my great grand parents wedding photo.

Which made it even more special.

Levi and Dolly.

If I have children that will be their names.

No more French names (Madeleine, Ophelie, I am still partial to those sweet names, I am, but) for me.


I felt something stir in my heart, sweet, and kind and it’s funny I am slightly distracted as I write this, the photographs on the back ground of my computer screen are from my first week in Paris, which seems to add a sense of poignancy to the entire endeavor as well.

How far I have come to go back home.


A story that I am a part of, a narrative that continues to grow and surprise me with its abundance and depth and detail.

I don’t know a lot of my family history.

A smattering here and there.

I know that Dolly and Levi barely knew each other, according to my mom, it was just this side of a pre-arranged marriage.  I know that we used to go to their house in Lodi on Christmas Eve after mass at the Catholic church in downtown Lodi.

I will always remember how drowsy I felt and how hard I tried to stay up to partake of all the goodies in the house and how it smelled so good, like gingerbread and spice and how I never made it.

I always fell asleep.

I don’t know that I could have been more than four or five in that memory.

I just remember the house, the warmth of it, the smell and the nest of coats on the bed covered in a chenille throw.

I don’t know if I burrowed into the stack of coats, but I think it’s a good possibility.

I do remember going back out into the cold and getting settled bleary with sleep into the back seat, the glow of the house lights falling on the snow, the frost on the window in the back seat, lacy and thick, the shroud of a cloud passing over the bright full moon and then asleep.


I know too that my mom has very fond memories of her grandparents and lived with them after an accident she had when she was a little girl and had a long, slow convalescence after falling into a furnace.

She had severe burns all over her legs and still to this day has the clear, tight, skin of a burn victim in splotches on her legs that I never thought unsightly, even though I could see the veins below her skin and the skin seem so tight and translucent over her legs.

They were just my moms legs and they were comforting to me.

So, with a full, achy heart this evening, I returned from my travels about having made a pit stop at 7th and Irving for an hour, then home on the bike, the fog so heavy it was like riding through soup, to unload my treasures.

I framed my copy of the print.

I have my mom’s and my sister’s copy ready to go for the trip as well as the disc that the photograph is on.  I am going to download it to my computer to have it in my own files.  Then give it to my mom so that she can make copies for any of her siblings if she should want.

Restoration was not what I was looking for nine years ago.

I just wanted it to stop.

Stop it did.

And it continues to amaze me.

Fulfill me.

And fill me.

I have been given so much.



I Didn’t Do Much

January 4, 2014

But I did a whole lot of it.

I had one of those days, still am, I believe, where I feel like I did not accomplish a single thing, but upon reflection did a lot of things.

I went grocery shopping at three different grocery stores.

That is what may have set me off.

Realizing this morning that I either was going to have black coffee or make a run up to Other Avenues to buy some almond milk for my breakfast.

I don’t mind shopping there, it’s just super expensive.

More expensive than Whole Foods.

Pricier than Rainbow.

It’s a co-op that I cannot justify buying a membership to as I won’t spend enough there to make it worth while.

But sometimes you just gotta have the milk for the morning coffee.

As I was sitting back at the house, having gotten back without too much of a dent in my pocket-book, I sipped my coffee, and thought, I really need to do a big grocery shopping trip.

I had recently done my spending plan for the month of January and I was reviewing how much I spent on groceries and eating out in December and it was a lot more than I wanted to be spending.

Food in San Francisco is expensive.

And, too, I realized yesterday after sitting down and talking in a cafe with a confidant, that I was eating too many convience meals.

Eating out more than once a week for dinner or not spending the time to really cook a meal, so I rely on a Japanese sweet potato microwaved in the oven at work with carrots and hummus for snacking and an apple or pear to get me through.

And while that’s all well and good, it does add up when I am not actually cooking my food, when I just grab and go.

Plus, there’s something about having a home cooked meal that is really nice for me.

So, as I finished my breakfast and decided yes to another cup of coffee, I made a list of groceries and resolved to actually get to Rainbow and maybe even Trader Joes, Bed, Bath, Beyond, et al at the little shopping outlet down on 9th and Harrison.

I also took down the Christmas tree.

Wrapped up all my ornaments, curbed the tree, and cleaned the house of all pine needles shed while dismantling the tree.

I did two loads of laundry.

Wrote three pages long hand.


Moved stuff around the garage and re-arranged my space a little.

I am resolved to get an extra chair in here where the Christmas tree was so that when I have guests over I can entertain a little better.

Nice to have a cup of tea and sit across from someone.

Also something I did today.

I had someone over and we sipped cups of tea and read some stuff that’s pretty important to my life and hers.

Then I hopped a ride down to the Castro with her having put it out to the Universe, ie Facecrack, that I needed a ride to run some errands and gotten an affirmative response almost immediately, I had an errand to run at Church and Market then we were going to meet in the Mission.

I went to PhotoWorks and decided to really drop a dime.

I am in possession of my grandparents, on my mother’s side, wedding photo.

I believe it’s the only one in existence and it’s torn in half.

I found it tucked in between the pages of a book my mom had sent me years ago and she must have gotten it from my grandparents house when my grandmother passed nine years ago this Christmas Eve.

I unearthed it with my things when I unpacked the things I had in storage when I left for Paris.

I have had it propped up on my bookshelf for a few weeks now and decided last week that I wanted to restore it, frame it, and give it back to my mom when I go see her and my sister in Florida next weekend.

I fly a red-eye out from SFO next Saturday.

I am going to be there for an anniversary of my sisters and another of mine that we happen to “coincidentally” have in common.

Life is amazing sometimes.

It really is.

“Good thing the tear is not down the faces,” the clerk at PhotoWorks said to me as I handed him the fragile sepia paper.

“I think we might be able to repair it, but it’s going to take some time and a bit of work, let me get you a quote,” he said and then disappeared for a few minutes behind the door in the rear of the shop.

“Yup,” he said when he returned, “it’s actually quite a bit more than I even thought,” he placed the two pieces of the photo down gently in front of me.

“$150 to do the restoration,” he said pushing the pieces toward me.

“Oh, wow, that is a lot more than I thought it would be,” I said hesitantly looking at the photograph, the smile on my grandmother’s face as she looked up at my grandfather, he towering over her in an old-fashioned black suit and thin tie, a smile on his face that I rarely remember seeing.

I held the pieces in my hand.

“Do it,” I said with some resolve.

It’s only money, Martines, you won’t regret this.

There is more money coming.

Invest in your history.

Do this.

“You can change your mind,” the clerk said, “we won’t be able to get to it until Tuesday.”

“No,” I said with more resolve, “this is it, this is important, please take care of it.”

“Ok, if you decide to not proceed, just call us by end of day Monday,” he scooped the two halves into an envelope and carefully sealed it.

“Do you want any prints of it?” He asked as he wrote my name and information down on a label which he then affixed to the envelope.

“I do!” I said.

Then I thought, Jesus, how much are they going to be, but I want one and I think my sister should have one too.

“60 cents,” the clerk said with a smile.

“Yes!” I said with relief, “I will take three.”

And I walked out of the shopped dazed, but happy I invested in my family.

I am grateful beyond words for them and I can’t wait to see my mom’s face when she opens the box.

I also procured some frames for the photographs on my walk from the Castro to the Mission.

Then my friend called, swooped me up and took me to Rainbow, where I did the novelty of shopping with an actual cart, not a basket.

I got a lot of food.

More than enough to get me through the next two weeks and then a few days more, most likely.  I got extra almond milk and coffee because I don’t get to Rainbow often, I also got the really big container or organic yogurt and extra eggs and string cheese, and the fixings to make a really yummy soup.

I am soaking the cannelli beans now.

We also dashed over to Trader Joes and I picked up some organic chicken to make my bean soup with.  I am going to do a white bean soup with garlic, onions, shredded chicken, black olives, corn, carrots, and peas.  I got extra brown rice to go with it and in between my commitments tomorrow I am going to rock out some tasty soup.

My friend and I sang songs from the Glee soundtrack at the top of our lungs on the drive back to Ocean Beach and the sunset smeary pinks and smokey grays, dusky indigo over the sea and my heart filled with the sight.

We unloaded my goodies (also a trip to Bed/Bath/Beyond for dish detergent, toilet paper, razors, toothpaste all the shit I don’t want to think about but have to plan special trips out for if I am on my bike–toilet paper especially is a hassle in my messenger bag, too bulky) and I made him a cup of coffee.

I drank my tea and we chatted, love and dating and friends and fellows, jobs and school and travels and I thought, how lucky am I to have such a sweet friend in my life?

When he left to go play poker with friends I fished out the Japanese sweet potato from the oven that had been roasting as we caught up, and had dinner.

My brain said, man, you didn’t get much done today, but looking about, the frames in a stack awaiting my grandparents wedding photo, the new frame on my wall highlighting an original photograph I bought over fifteen years ago from an artist in Madison (another find in my boxes of stuff in storage I had forgotten about), the cupboards full of good food, the beans soaking on the stove, I knew I had gotten a lot done.

It just did not feel crazy because I did not feel crazy or rushed or busy.

The day unfolded in a lovely divine mellow sweet way.

Just like my life probably will, as long as I stay out of my way and let the “opinions” in my head just be opinions.

“Feelings are not facts,” I told her today, “I am my actions, not my thoughts.”

My actions, indeed.

Sometimes the acts of basic self-care are the hardest ones to accomplish, and the least likely to be applauded, but they bring me the most fulfilment.

Read a little.

Write a little.

Drink a little tea.

Hug a friend.



Breathe deep.

Just because it feels like I didn’t do much.

Doesn’t mean that great things weren’t accomplished.

They were.


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