Posts Tagged ‘Square D’Anvers’

Deleting Photographs

November 3, 2016

Listening to jazz.

Specifically Art Tatum.

The scratchy sound of the needle dragging though the vinyl is succulent and the glow in my cozy, sweet home is warm and inviting.

I’m deleting photographs in waves.

I had over 10,700 on my hard drive.

They have all been safely moved to my external drive and I’m now in the process of deleting them off my laptop.

I have to say it’s challenging.

There’s a tiny part of me that wants to not delete them, what if they didn’t transfer?

But they did.

And the photos are taking up way too much space on my laptop.

It’s been running slow, telling me constantly to delete files, disk is full.

Yeah.

Yeah.

I hear you, I’m working on it computer.

Thanks to my special help, it takes a village, it does, I was able to secure my pix and now, ha!  Now I can take more.

Well.

Not yet.

But soon.

I’m figuring January.

I’ll be flush enough to get a new camera.

I’m not sitting horribly at the moment, but I did buy a ticket to Wisconsin and a ticket to Paris this past month, just paid rent, just wrote the check from my health insurance and bought my mom her birthday present.

I’ll be sending that off tomorrow.

I love sending presents.

I love the idea of seeing someone’s face when they get something I have gotten for them.

I like to give.

I’m a giver.

Shocking.

I know.

When I have been in financial straits I tend to make things, and truth be told, I’m thinking about doing that this year.

I’m not really in straits, I’m just not as flush as I would like.

I’m doing ok and I’m not going to stress, but I was also thinking that I love cooking and it might be nice to make chicken soup for friends at school.

Last year around this time I went over to a friend’s house and cooked food for him for what probably lasted him weeks if not a month while he was going through a challenging time.

Cream of broccoli soup with cheddar cheese and bacon.

And.

Chili with sirloin and three kinds of beans.

Plus a huge pan of cornbread.

It was right around this time, I do remember, it might have actually have been Halloween, I remember there were trick or treaters going around and I used candied corn and bacon, because I roll like that, in the pan of cornbread I made.

I miss baking.

I don’t miss eating it, though I can get nostalgic for it.

But I do miss baking.

Sometimes I wish I could just get all the stuff and bake up a storm like I used to when I lived in Wisconsin.

Sugar cookies with frosting.

Brazil nut toffee.

Popcorn balls.

Fudge.

With and without nuts, but frankly, it’s so much better with nuts.

I miss making cheesecakes and pies, pumpkin pies and apple pies especially at this time of year.

I miss that feeling that, warm, soft glowing feeling that I got as I puttered around my kitchen, mixing and measuring, baking, and kneading, frosting sugar cookies.

I do.

I always get a bit nostalgic for it when I’m heading into the holidays.

The photographs I have been deleting also reminded me of that.

I’m currently in the middle of the 1,000s of photos I took when I lived in Paris.

And I have to say.

Fuck.

I’m a pretty damn good amateur photographer.

There were some really good shots.

And I loved seeing the Paris around Christmas time photographs.

The lights were so gorgeous.

Definitely different from what you see in the states, but they had an allure.

I was also so broke when I lived there, taking pictures was all I could afford to do.

Although I did splurge during the holidays.

Mostly on postage.

I sent my family and friends postcards and Christmas cards from Paris.

I found a photograph of my table, one of my favorite perches at the neighborhood cafe at that was on the same corner where I lived, Rue de Bellefond, in the 9th, Odette and Aime.

I had a glass of water.

A cafe allonge, which is basically an Americano, or a black coffee–I was already skimping on the milk, the cafe cremes were just too pricey.

My notebook.

My bag of pens.

And tons of cards and postcards and stickers from the librairie that was by Square D’Anvers that I made myself a nuisance at.

I couldn’t really afford the pens and paper there, but I would treat myself once in a while, I would buy a card or if I was feeling extravagant, a Claire Fontaine notebook, I would wander the aisles and look at everything.

I was very polite to the owners and once that got used to me and the fact that I always bought something, even if it was tiny, went along way.

Bonjour Madame.

Bonjour.

And I would wile away the time in the aisles longingly caressing the notebooks and smelling the good paper smell.

I love paper.

I love books.

I love, love, love the way they feel and look and well, Paris was a hard place for that luxury when I was living there.

When I went back last Christmas I gave myself carte blanche to buy whatever I wanted to paper wise.

I actually had a challenging time with it for a little while.

Grow up poor and in scarcity, even when there is none, even when I had fat Euro, for me, in my pocket, Euro that was not needing to go to rent or groceries, or god forbid a cafe creme, I had a hard time spending it.

For a few days I was acting as though I couldn’t part with them.

I actually forced myself the first time to buy a notebook at a papeterie my first day there.

Yes, there are paper stores there.

Exclusively paper and pens and auto collants.

STICKERS.

God I love me some stickers.

Shut up.

I did get past it and I did allow a few splurges.

But truth be told.

I could have let myself have more.

That’s a thing.

Letting myself have more.

Nice coffee.

Nice candles.

Nice hair products.

It’s ok to take care of myself.

I still want to give, I do love gifting, there is just something about it, but I also want to let myself have things.

Whether it is an experience, which is usually where I spend my money–traveling.

Or.

A nice pair of pants.

I deserve to have nice things.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

Lest I forget.

And the best thing about the photographs?

They remind me, gently of how far I have come.

When I moved back from Paris three years ago I was broke.

I mean.

I had ten dollars in my wallet.

I have come a long fucking way.

Let me tell you.

And I’m so grateful for the perspective.

And that I documented my experience.

The photographs have been a joy to relive.

Looking forward to making more.

Having more.

Allowing more into my life.

Happy.

Joyous.

And.

Free.

Yes.

Yes, please.

Yes, always.

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Oh, Sweet Friday

April 30, 2016

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.

One sparkling, clean, fresh, tidy home.

I got up early today and I did the deal, wrote, breakfasted, coffee’d, wrote some more, and ran up to the market to pick up a few things for the weekend–my little co-op will be closed for International Workers Day on this Sunday, May 1st.

Which marks three years back from Paris for me.

I remember leaving so well, like it was yesterday and I am marveling at the amazing amount of life that I have lived since I have returned from my adventure in trying to be French for a little tiny time in my life.

It was so very, very, very hard.

But it was so worth it.

Every tear I cried, sluiced away in the memories of buttery smells from the patisserie by Square D’Anvers–which I am quietly and joyfully reminded of every time I ride my scooter to work past Tartine on Guerrero Street.  Tartine is the only place I have ever smelled that same delicious baking smell from outside of Paris.  It has something to do with the butter they use for making the croissants and something to with the bread making.

I am no expert, but my nose, well, it knows.

Three years since I moved back from Paris.

And here I am at the nadir of my last month of my first year of graduate school.

Here I am heading into a well deserved weekend from a great job with children I love and a family I respect and am privileged to work for.

A family that confirmed they want me full time for the summer.

Whew.

Although there will be changes in my schedule which I am not horribly thrilled about, I’ll start much earlier with the family than I do now, for instance.

I will be back to working 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

40 hours a week.

I’ve been averaging 35 hours a week when I’m not in school and 28 when I am.

Plus, I have worked a few extra hours here and there and been hyper flexible with them in regards to coming to the house and doing extra stuff for them when they have travelled.

We will review at the end of summer in regards to fall employment.

I am not afraid of that, although I felt a momentary twinge of fear, it went away fast.

Forget you fear, even should the family decide to not run with me as their nanny and I really can’t see that, although, who knows, come this fall, I will find other employment or it will find me.

l have ten years of nanny experience and I’m getting a Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology to be a Child Psycho Therapist.

Who the hell wouldn’t want to hire me.

Yeah, humility, not always my strong suit, but I certainly don’t need to be anxious about employment, I have always, always, always been taken care of.

As long as I put my recovery first, everything, absolutely everything has followed.

It has not always followed the way I thought it would, but everything has been better than what I could have planned or hoped for.

I mean.

If I had had my way, I’d still be in Paris.

But God had his way.

And.

I’ve been back in San Francisco, making it through the crazy tech times and the boisterous economy and the sky rocketing rents.

Side bar.

My land lord sent me a text asking for my e-mail address and my first thought, was “fuck, here it is, she’s really raising the rent,” and then I remembered what my person said to me–“be positive Carmen, don’t always go to the worst case scenario,” and decided that wasn’t the case at all and sent her my e-mail.

She replied by sending me an invitation to her birthday party.

Ha.

Oh.

I fucking love my crazy head.

So.

Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of that practicing being positive.

“You seem to be coming through this whole Burning Man thing, the not going, really, really well, I am so impressed,” my person told me last night.

I reflected.

Yeah, it was hard and I was sad, but it passed quickly and I know, really deeply, that there is something else I am supposed to be doing, some other experience.

I don’t have to know what it is.

I just know that I need to have the experience rather than Burning Man, otherwise I would be going to Burning Man.

There are no mistakes in God’s world.

I’ll go next year.

And what with confirming my full time employment with the family I was also asked to go with them again to Stone Tree, the place they rent out for weeks in the summer for a part of their summer vacation travel plans.

I will once again be up in Sonoma, outside of Glenn Ellen for a few weeks come this summer.

They go twice, once in the early summer and then again right before school starts back up for the boys in August.

I also found out that they will be traveling to Oregon, but I won’t be going with them, I’ll stay back, do some house work and then.

Hmm.

Maybe Wisconsin?

I have really felt a pull to see my best friend from back home and what with my other friend being in Minnesota not too far from the Twin Cities, I may kill two birds with one stone and see a couple of dear friends.  I have to double check dates and times.  I won’t get paid proper vacation time for it, but I’ll get a short week, 28 hours, for their time away and I will still get my full week of vacation time for my second year school retreat, also in August.

It looks like summer is going to be big regardless of what I do.

It’s not here yet though.

My sparkling clean house attests to that.

First the weekend.

Yoga in the morning, shower, breakfast, coffee, writing, meet my person.

Then.

Yes.

My date.

Eek a mouse.

Finally here.

Yay!

It’s the weekend.

I am officially arrived.

Thank fucking God.

Seriously.

One Month Out

November 19, 2015

I realized today when I was writing my morning pages that I have one month of my first semester of graduate school left.

Panic.

Not really.

I did numerate the number of papers I have to do times the amount of reading I have to do and I said to self, “self, chill the fuck out, you’re doing fine.”

Then I addressed some things that needed addressing.

I got the rest of my paperwork sorted out for my child care parking permit at work, wrote out a check for $111 to SFMTA and hopefully, in approximately the same amount of time that it takes for me to finish up my first semester of grad school, I’ll have a permit.

This will be great timing as my work schedule will likely change while I am on the winter break.

The boys will also be on winter break and I suspect that I will have a schedule that is closer to 10 a.m. to 6p.m. Monday through Friday.

As opposed to the 1p.m. to 8p.m. it is now.

I may miss putting the boys to bed, but I am going to enjoy getting done a little earlier in the evening.

I’m not much for working until 8p.m.

I’m used to it at this point.

But.

Last night.

For instance.

I did not want to have to talk with my psych(e)analytic professor at 8:45 pm at night.

No thank you.

However.

There was certainly no other time of day that was going to work and I found myself defending the paper I wrote for the class.

It was challenging and enlightening.

And painful.

I found some old stuff came up for me around my father.

Grief stuff.

Sadness.

The rupture of the relationship, the longing for a father growing up.

The not having one at all.

And I’m not complaining, there are plenty of people who grew up without their father around.

Or grew up with an awful father around.

At least, or so I assuage myself, I had the fantasy of a father.

I never got the reality of it.

Except those times when I got to tell him I could not have him in my life any longer.

That was real.

It is not that way now.

But.

I don’t have contact with him.

There is no there there.

I got to express some of that while talking with my professor on my paper which was an extension of the Mourning and Melancholia lectures and readings of Freud.

What I found out was that I did not adequately address all the issues of the professors request.

However.

In 30 years of teaching she has never gotten a paper like mine.

I wrote her sonnets to explain the Freudian papers and readings.

She told me she actually had to look up some words.

I am not sure that I believe her there.

The woman is a smart cookie.

But she did ask me to explain to her what I was writing about and by the end of the discussion she let me know what I was missing and how I came closer to writing a paper on the Repetition Compulsion.

I completely agreed with her.

However.

That was not the topic and interestingly enough, I had not know about the Repetition Compulsion when I was writing it.

But man, it sure as shit smacks of it.

That is.

Repeating the same thing over and over despite it being painful and not understanding why you keep doing the same thing.

It sounds a little like insanity.

Repeating the same actions.

Expecting different results.

And yes.

I do know how that feels.

I don’t always succeed in trying different things, I don’t always figure out my way to a different place, sometimes I have to get nudged, some times I have to stumble.

Often times I have to fuck it up.

But.

Every once in a while.

I see that road with the pot hole in it and I decide to not walk down the street and peer into it.

To see.

Just in case.

You know.

Anything has changed.

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing has changed.

It’s all the same mess in that hole.

What has changed is that I recognize the street and tend to not walk down it anymore.

I changed.

The hole doesn’t have to change.

The things in the hole, other people and how they need to do it differently, don’t have to change.

But.

When I do.

Wow.

Things change.

Like being in graduate school.

It really is a gift, a great big, huge, scary, frustrating, amazing, awesome, awful, wonderful gift.

All the learning.

All the growth.

All the new friendships.

I got messaged today about possible jobs.

At $45 more an hour than I make now!

That made me smile.

I am not qualified.

And my friend in the cohort who sent me the message knows that, but it’s an inkling of what is to come.

I also got a sweet text message from another friend in my cohort about getting to see me on the weekend and I am super excited to see her too.

I love that I have made new friends.

Hell.

That one of my new friends will be in Paris visiting her family while I am there with my friend.

I am so excited to be going.

Even with the unrest and the tensions.

Unless the borders are closed.

I’m flying in.

And I suspect that it will mean even more to me, to walk the streets of the city, to see the lights, to be exuberant and myself and alive in the museums, to see the art, to sit in the cafes, to people watch, to wander, to get lost, to mail myself (and others) postcards, to speak French, even my poor passable French, it’s still a joy to hear it.

To ride the Metro and hear the Metro stops.

I swear.

This was one of the ways I practiced my French was to repeat back exactly the sound of the Metro operator reciting the stops.

Les Sablons.

Palais Royale Musee du Louvre.

Square D’Anvers.

Cadet.

Trocadero.

Passy.

Le Motte Piquet–which is the stop where I will be getting off frequently as it is the one closest to the studio in the 7th where I am staying.

I am excited.

And it’s a month away.

It feels light years away as there is a whole lot of school work standing in between me and my passport going through customs, but it’s closer every moment.

I’m just about ready for the next weekend in school and I am excited to be doing this work.

It is intense and it is big and it is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

I know this.

Even when I get overwhelmed.

The time it all seems to just fall into place and if I can slowly chip away at the work, before I know it I will be on a plane heading to the City of Lights with a heart full of joy and gratitude.

Just got to make it through this next month!

 

New Dress

November 10, 2015

Finally.

I returned a dress weeks ago and finally just got the access to the return on Modcloth.

I have been itching to get a new frock, but what with the scooter purchase and the unexpected, “hey let’s go to Paris for Christmas!” I have been loath to lay out any money for a new dress.

I want a new dress.

For Paris.

For my birthday.

Because it’s Monday.

Because maybe I want to wear it somewhere.

Not that I have a date or plans, but you never know.

I am still debating popping into the ARTumnal event on the 21st.

We shall see.

If so, then this is definitely the dress for it.

Or just to have a dress.

It’s nice to have something coming in the mail.

I won’t be spending anything else this month on clothes.

I am trying to keep it all to a dull roar.

Technically I could drop up to $200 on clothes this month, that’s what I put into my spending plan, but that was before Christmas in Paris and frankly, well, I would rather buy things in Paris than buy new clothes here.

Notebooks.

I am getting myself a gang of Clarefontaine notebooks.  I see the occasionally here in the city, Flax will carry them, but they don’t tend to carry the collections or the special issued ones.  I suppose I could just order them online, but there is something special about buying notebooks in Paris.

I will definitely be purchasing a special notebook for the trip, me and my glue stick are ready.

“Whenever you go on a trip, grab a glue stick and paste in things to a little notebook, so you can see everything you did while you were there,” a very good friend of mine, who travels a lot, told me this years ago and I do exactly that.

Where ever I am, Paris, Burning Man, London, Rome, New York, I stick and paste little things from my travels in that notebook.

I discovered, in my great hunt for my passport, so many of my notebooks from Paris.

I was a gog at all the places i went, all the little tickets and postcards and strip photos from photo booths in Metro stations, with ribbons and match book covers, with the Metro tickets and airplane boarding passes, the reciepts from museums and the ocassional business card or note from someone I had met.

I was able to remember so much just by flipping through the journals.

So.

Yes.

Notebooks.

And stickers.

Yeah.

Whatever.

I like stickers and I always try to get some from where I travel to.

The museum stores normally have some fantastic ones that you just don’t see anywhere else.

My trip in 2007 I got some phenomenal stickers from the Pompidou, I was just astounded at the whimsy and artistry of them and I never saw them anywhere else again.

But they are in my notebook.

I want as well, a market bag.

I lost my Merle Moqueur tote bag, I think in a Uber one day coming home from school being totally exhausted and stupid I think I left it in the front seat, so I need to replace that.

I would love to go to that bookstore, it’s a great one and definitely my favorite in the city.

Even though all the kids go to Shakespeare and Company, which has its appeal, but it’s a definite tourist stop and Le Merle Moqueur was just a neighborhood bookstore with a great selection of books and paper goods and I got two strands of paper cut outs there that I still have hanging in my house–one of the Eiffel Tower and paper hearts in yellow and orange by my chaise lounge and the other of pale green birds hanging in my bathroom.

I may get another set of paper cut outs.

They are sweet and not a lot of money to buy.

I also will get a hat.

It’s Paris.

You have to get a hat in Paris.

Well.

I have to get a hat in Paris.

I always get great compliments on the cabbie hat I got in the city my visit in 2007.

I still have it and whenever I wear it I do feel just a kiss of Paris.

The last time I wore it to school my friend who gave me a ride said, “nice hat!  You look very French today.”

“I bought it in Paris,” I replied with a smile and adjusted the brim.

“Of course you did.”

I chuckle.

Oh!

I want some tea.

Definitely.

Tea.

From Mariage Freres.

The Earl Grey.

So yummy.

I remember the first time I had it, visiting my person up in Pacific Heights and she was someone who travelled frequently to Paris, being in fashion, how could she not, and she made me a cup and it was divine.

Just a kiss of milk and heaven in a cup.

Yeah, I take a tin home with me for sure.

Perhaps some perfume from duty-free on the way back out, another bottle of Chanel Egoiste.

I still have some from the Chanel Boutique down on Maiden Lane, but it will be gone soon enough and it’s always nice to have a bottle I bought in Paris, in the airport as the size of bottle I want won’t go through security.

Postcards are on the list.

I will send myself one.

I will send many to friends and family.

It’s what I do.

I love snail mail.

There’s something so lovely and deliberate about sitting down and writing a little note and thinking about the person I am writing to, then the placing of the stamp, sealed with a kiss, the dropping it in the post and letting her go.

The time it takes for mail to get from France to here will be longer than the time I am in Paris, so sending myself a postcard is like a lovely little reminder of the adventures I had while away.

Perhaps a small poster from the booksellers along the Seine.

I pair of earrings.

That is always something I do.

I still have the pair I bought at a brocante (flea market) at Square D’Anvers one of the last weekends I was in Paris.

I always think of walking around that market and the sunshine, it was a warm April day, last weekend in April and it was almost hot and the cafes were overflowing and the music of French being spoken all around me, soon.

Soon.

I will be there again.

I am looking forward to it.

And I will be well dressed for it!

I’ll Buy The Ticket

November 3, 2015

If you find us a place to stay.

Oh my fucking God.

I am now on a mission people.

I was chatting with a friend tonight who has not really been to Paris, except to fly through Charles De Gaulle on his way home to San Francisco, who has some vacation time he has to use before the end of the year.

Paris came up.

We looked at tickets.

I talked his ear off.

Art, art, art.

Museum, museum, museum.

I showed him photos of my bicycle in Paris, cafes I used to hang out at, places I walked around, the Rodin museum, the Louvre, the Palais de Tokyo, Musee D’Orsay.

Oh.

My.

God.

SERIOUSLY?

Seriously.

I could be leaving for Paris two days after my birthday and be there the week of Christmas.

My heart just is leaping about my chest.

The Eiffel Tower at night with glitter lights splashed all over it.

Sitting in Odette and Aime over a cafe creme.

Going to the market at Square D’Anvers.

Apples.

Rabbit sausages in a paper packet from the rotisserie.

The ferris wheel in Place de la Concorde.

The one I never got around to riding on, although I so wanted to on my 40th birthday, but I was taken out to a birthday dinner in the Belleville and wasn’t able to make it to the ferris wheel.

I would go this time.

Oh.

Walking through the Tuilleries at dusk.

Going to see old friends at the American Church and crossing over Point d’Alma to the American Cathedral and heading up Rue George V.

Sacre Couer, midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

The singing in Latin.

I would go to my favorite book store in the 20th, Le Merle Moqueur and buy a book or two and also lots of postcards and then promenade through Pere LaChaise cemetery.

I have posted on Facebook, texted a friend, and e-mailed another already before starting this post.

My friend was dead serious.

I find us a place to stay and he’ll buy the tickets.

Holy moly man.

Fuck.

I’m putting out the feelers.

Just to walk around again.

And play tour guide, since I know the city and my friend doesn’t.

It would be fun.

Also, since I was there last I was broke.

So broke and hungry and trying so, so, so hard to make it work and well, everyone here knows the story, it didn’t work, but damn I tried.

I’m grateful it didn’t work.

It wasn’t supposed to, but I leapt and I moved there and I tried it on for size and found it too tight, too constricting, too much effort to just get by, barely, scantily, scraping by.

“I was going to say it, I’m so glad you brought it up, I think it’s time you went home,” she said to me as we finished doing some reading in the book.

I had tears sliding down my face.

I knew she was right.

It was time to go home.

But.

Oh, the humble pie I had to eat.

When I thought I was going to be there so long.

Forever.

Years at least.

A decade probably.

Nope.

Six months.

But still.

How many people give themselves six months in Paris?

Even poor and scraping and just barely getting by, it was six months of walking the streets of one of the most beautiful cities int the world.

Just saying the museum names makes me giddy with delight and childish greed.

I want to eat it.

Let me lick the Kandinsky Accent En Rose in the Pompidou, let me saunter around the Warhol’s at the Musee Moderne.

Let me go to the Musee Marmottan Monet.

Or just let me walk the bridges.

Pont Neuf.

Pont D’Alma.

Walk over the Trocadero and up the stairs to the Passy Metro station.

Or down towards the Seine and out onto the island with the Statue Of Liberty on it.

The things that I would do that I didn’t do or allow myself to do because I was on such a tight budget.

The opera house.

I never did see the Chagall’s there.

Or the new LVMH Gehry museum.

Or eat oysters on the half shell at a cafe.

I could handle that on Christmas eve.

I would go to Cafe Rouge again in the Marais.

I would go to the little shop I found on a twisty, turning, winding bit of road and buy a hat from the millinery shop in the Marais, I believe it might have been on Rue de Victoire, and I felt like I fell down a little rabbit hole of hats and ostrich feathers and fedoras, felts and velvets, and ribbons, and I just touched with such reverence and looking with my eyes and heart.

I swoon thinking about it.

All the sweet treasured spots I have in my heart for the city.

The churches.

The smell of incense and the warmth.

I could always get warm in a church after much walking with cold toes through the streets.

I would go to Place Vosges and sit at the Victor Hugo cafe.

I would have many cafe cremes.

Many, many, many.

I would buy posters and postcards from the book stalls along the Seine.

I would walk through the Garden du Luxembourg at dusk just to hear the gendarmes walking through with their whistles clearing the park.

I would buy some the de Mariage Freres.

Tea.

That is.

I would eat some cheese.

Hello.

And tartar.

Oh.

I would have some tartar thank you very much.

Put it in my mouth.

Sushi face, try steak tartar face.

It’s fun just to sit here and think about the silliness I would get myself up to and sharing it with a friend who’s never been, tres cool.

Oh the delirious thoughts in my head.

The lights at night.

The Christmas lights too.

So beautiful, very different from the United States, but still so pretty.

It would be cold.

But I know what that’s like and I also know to dress warmer then I did when I was living there.

Mwahahahaha.

I just got pinged.

Message from a friend in Paris with a studio near the Eiffel Tower.

She’s looking for a rental, but I bet a good price could happen.

I don’t know that it’s a fit.

But, it’s a start.

And worth investigating.

The hunt is on.

And hey.

If you know of anyone who’s looking to do a San Francisco swap, my friend has a great big gorgeous room in an awesome house out by Ocean Beach, he’s open to a swap.

Hell.

If I could swap my place too I would, but my housemate isn’t into it.

Anyway.

Paris?

Christmas?

What do you say Universe?

I’ve been a really good girl this year.

Pretty, pretty please.

With the Eiffel Tower on top.

You’re A Natural

July 24, 2015

“That’s great mothering!” The woman exclaimed as I ushered the two boys out of the bathroom stall at Mission Playground.

I smiled, reached for the soap dispenser and looked at her in the mirror, “thanks!  But I’m not the mom.”

“Oh, well, you are a natural at nurturing, you should really now that,” she smiled, waved at the boys and left the bathroom.

“What did she say to you?” The oldest boy asked washing his hands and then playing the favorite, which also happens to be one of the most annoying games he plays, hand dryer roulette, in and out of the automatic hand dryer, which makes the three-year old clap his hands over his years and squinch his eyes shut until the noise has stopped racketing about the ceramic tiles in the bathroom.

“She said I was doing a good job,” I told the five-year old and then we headed back out into the world.

I don’t think about it much, maybe after 8 1/2 years of doing it, it really just does come naturally.

But.

I suspect that I am a natural at care taking.

I can take it too far and not take care of myself, but over the years I have developed better and better self-care.

I still have to practice a lot.

I had to do so this afternoon.

I was invited over to a sleep over snuggle fest at my friend’s house.

Oh.

How.

I.

Wanted.

To.

Damn it man.

He’s got one of those California King beds that you could just sink into and float away.

Except.

Well, I know that I would drift off and never come back.

There are things to do.

Places to be.

Dance parties to go to.

Yes.

I am going dancing tomorrow night and I am looking forward to it, I got a sweet little thumbs up from a friend I haven’t seen in a few weeks about seeing her there and my lady, the luscious Bon Bon will be hitting the floor sans walking boot from when she hurt her ankle.

Ah walking boots, love to hate you.

But yes, dancing, and I even know what I’m going to wear and that was part of it, the turning down the request for the sleep over, I need to be here, in my space, in my home, using my shower and doing my deal.

It’s a part of my self-care that I can and have neglected over the past weeks and days, I get carried away in the experience and then I’m not present or tired at work and that is no good.

I get frustrated and often when I am telling the littlest guy to use his words and take a deep breath, I am really talking to myself.

I am often at the emotional level of a three-year old.

I just have to take myself in hand and say, hey little girl, you’re going to be alright.

It’s all going to be just alright.

I’m not always a natural at self-soothing, but at least I don’t obsessively wring my hands any longer or rub my feet back and forth–classic self-soothing actions.

I will still catch myself twirling my hair, which I used to do as a child and would give myself bald spots on my head.

I’m not sure how or when I stopped.

I suspect there was a shard of violence behind the lesson and today I strive, really strive to be the best nanny I can, and to explain and express and take time and be tender and love the boys.

I really do love them.

Awful hard.

Even when I get tired and don’t think I can do it another day.

I do it.

I show up.

That’s natural too.

I show up for a lot of people and though I know I need to create that space that allows me to be there for another, I can only do it if I’m taking care of numero uno.

I used to think that was the ultimate selfishness.

Of course.

I was taught that.

How dare I take care of myself or my needs when others are reliant upon me, my money, my skills, my abilities to provide comfort.

I like those characteristics about me, I love them in fact, but as it’s been said before, I do have to make sure that oxygen mask is on me before I go assist another.

I can spend the night tomorrow or Saturday at my friends.

Or not.

Time will tell.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

I hardly know what’s going to happen the rest of today.

I am going to finish my blog.

I will fold my laundry.

Maybe I will have a bowl of cherries.

Life is all about the sitting in the space and seeing the beauty inherent in the right now and the right here.

“You’re always going to taste like cherries to me and cinnamon spice tea, you’re going to smell like wood fires burning in my back yard, no matter what happens, I have this sense memory and association,” I told my friend and laughed, looking up at the stars.

Paris was painful, hard, egregious at times and so raw and beautiful it scoured my soul and set me on a different path.

But no matter how much it hurt, it was always smothering me with gorgeous sense memory.

Paris will always taste like apples to me.

Specifically the apples from the market around Square D’Anvers on Friday afternoons.

I wish I could remember the name of the apple, it is just there on the tip of my tongue.

I remember the flesh though, crisp and tart and sweet, white snowy flesh with marbles of red through out and a sort of yellow cream mottled skin that was also burnished with red.

I was not always happy to engage with the woman who ran that stall at the market, but as the weeks came and went and I always went back with my cloth canvas bag from Le Merle Moquer bookstore in the 20th, she grew if not friendly, at least not curt and once even threw in a pretty extra apple for me.

I have a tendency to always dwell on the positive.

Paris tastes like apples.

My friend like cherries, wood smoke, and cinnamon.

My heart is a deep well of many flavored things and smells and love.

Love.

All the things.

And I am.

Indeed.

A natural at that.

To Market, To Market

April 14, 2013

To buy a fat pig.

Or a five euro glass box.

Which I tried to barter down from 7 euro to quinze Euro.

The man in the stall did a double take, laughed, patted my arm, pulled his wife over, showed her the box told her I wanted to buy it for quinze instead of cinque, cue me blushing, having realized I asked for a higher price rather than a lower.

Ah, French.

How do I love thee, let me count the nouns.

I also just discovered the difference between the noun “baiser” and the verb  “baiser”.

One means a kiss.

The other, in slang, means to fuck.

Well, no wonder all French men think us American gals are all for the having sex non-stop.

“No, monsieur, just kiss me.”

Uh huh.

Christ.

Well, I did get it for the reduced price and I actually had a very cute and charming conversation with the vendor.  I told his wife I knew I spoke French like a Spanish cow, her husband doubled over, first time I have heard a French person belly laugh, tears standing in his eyes.

I was on a roll and explained at least it was better than the mistake I made a few months back when I first arrived here and said “no, I don’t need a sack, I am a sack.”

At this point, I believe if the wife had not been present, he might have just given me the box, he was laughing so hard.

Glad to know we can all laugh at me, most of all myself.

I do have a tendency to take myself too damn seriously anyhow.

I actually did quite well today at the flea market.

I was thrilled, too, to not have to go out to Cliangcourt to get my flea market fix, which was most likely swamped, as today was the first deliriously real day of Spring, I actually chose to walk on the shaded side of the street at one point, I went instead to Square D’Anvers, just a few blocks away from where I live.

Last night as I was returning from the baby sitting gig (which earned me the money for the few little splurges I got) I noticed the stalls being set up and the flyers posted around the square for “Brocante Soldes.”

Antiques.

Yes.

It was actually a really big market, I was surprised by how much of the street it ended up encompassing.  I walked through it twice.  The first time to get a lay of the stalls and what was being offered.  The second time to make my purchases.

All of which I talked down from the original price.

I may not be able to speak French as well as I imagine I do, and I do imagine it–I find myself thinking in French more and more often which is kind of crazy–but I do know how to barter.

I also know when I am being snookered.

I refused to pay for the price of a pair of bib overalls that a woman was selling in her stall.

Partially because I found it astoundingly rude to be hollered at from the cafe table across the way.  Lady, get off your ass and make the sale, put the cigarette down, leave the wine, and man your stall.  No, I don’t think I want to buy from you anyhow.

They are my current obsession, bib overalls.

I have no idea why, but I want a pair.

I do need a new pair of jeans, my last pair from the states died.

Bicycle riding will do that.

They did last longer than I thought they would, but the last bike ride out they died.  And no new jeans.  I find that I have looked a little for new jeans but I am finding it difficult to shop.  I am not much of a shopper any how, oh, I would be, I am sure, if I had more money to spend, but I am not much for just going and trying stuff on.

I still don’t see my body very clearly and despite having tried on clothes since I lost the weight, over two years ago now, I find myself either going for things that are too small or too big, getting discouraged, and giving up.

Plus, despite being smaller than the last time I was here in Paris four years ago, I do still have a bigger frame than the majority of woman here, except for the African immigrants.

French woman are just tiny naturally, shorter, in leg and torso, and thin.

I am none of the above.

Now, I love my body, it’s strong, and much healthier than it was for years and years, but finding clothing that works well for me has never been quite my forte.

Hence the lure of the accessory.

I found my Paris earrings!

Five euro.

Pink plastic hearts.

I also found a wood bead and fabric necklace for five euros.  It had been originally been 25 Euro, not sure how I got it for five and I scampered away before the madame could change her mind.  I knew I had made a great score when a few stalls down when I stopped to look at some beautiful vintage hats and gloves (way out of my range even with barter skills) the woman in the stall approached me and complimented me on the necklace asking what country I was from and where I got the necklace.

When I told her, ici, here, she was quite surprised.

I was thrilled and told her thank you and that she had a lovely stall, more expensive than I could afford, but so pretty.  She thanked me, we talked about my tattoos and I slowly drifted off to the next stall.

I got a lot of attention for the tattoos.

The weather, ah, oh, ooooooh, the sun, it came out today.

And off with the jacket, the scarf, and the layers.

I showed more skin today than I have in months.

I was not openly harassed, though, just admired and it was a pleasant experience.  I told my friend today at the park, as we sat in the sunshine and admired the green leaves unfurling, that I often had men, mostly, approach me, and touch me, then ask after the tattoos, the last time I came to Paris.

It was a disconcerting experience then, my French much more rusty than it is currently, despite making mistakes still, which I will, I am sure, make more of.

I don’t put up with the touching now at all.

It won’t be an issue for the next few days anyhow, I will be covered up again.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain, but I got out today, walking, wandering, bartering, speaking my poor French and soaking up the sun.  I don’t even care that I made an ass of myself.

If I can’t laugh at me then I am taking myself too damn seriously.

And I am not that French.

That Was Stressful

March 23, 2013

Oof.

I lost the family.

Well, not exactly, the family got lost.

Mom let me go this afternoon saying, “we can get back from here.”

“Are you sure?”  I asked.

I was not certain and I did not like leaving them to get back up and over the hill.

“Oh, it’s fine, I know how, I’ll figure it out,” she said.

Mom is tiny, tres petite, an 11 month old strapped to her front and a four-year old who was having a temper tantrum regarding another ride on the carousel.

I was not comfortable leaving her there, especially when I had her take out her Iphone and put in the map navigator, the phone was almost out of juice and the thought of leaving her to the jackals left me quite uneasy.

We had been approached more than once by the hordes of illegals trying to press wrap bracelets on you, flowers, trinket, geegaws; they trap you with the bracelet, tying it rapidly on your wrist, they will grab your hand, and while you are busy trying to negotiate your way out of it, one of them picks your pocket.

“Let’s see, one pm, to now, um, that’s,” she calculated out loud pulling her wallet open in front of the baby while the little girl whirled in and out between us, “here,” she said handing me 100 Euros, two 50 Euro notes, “that’s for today, I want to tip you, and then we leave 30 Euro credit for tomorrow?”

“Ok,” I said, I quickly folded the notes over and jammed them in my wallet, relocating my bag to the front of my body and pushing my wallet into it as far as I could.  I held it in front of me until I was out of the melee of the park.

“Are you sure I can’t get you back up and over the hill?”  I asked one more time, I knew she was going to get lost.

“No, no, we are fine, I am just going to get us back and go buy lunch at the store and a bottle of wine and we’ll be fine.” She gave me a hug, “I will touch base later about dinner, maybe we will use you tonight, and definitely for tomorrow.”

“Alright,” I said.  I was not going to micro-manage her experience, despite wanting to tell her what to do, she had made the decision.

It is her experience.

If she wants to have the getting lost in Paris experience with two tired children, that is her prerogative.

She got it.

I did not realize that she had called me until I got home, unloading the groceries from my bag.

Shit.

I did not even need to check the message to know what was going on.

Sure enough, they had gotten lost.

She was so close too.

I got her on the phone, but the call continuously dropped as her phone ran out of power.

I had a moment of panic.

Then I thought, she is really close to where she lives, she has a wallet jammed with money, I saw it when she paid me, almost made me want to snatch her hands and say, what are you doing carrying that much cash around?!

She can flag a cab.

She can walk into a cafe or a restaurant.

She is in the Montmartre and there are so many tourists spots there and so many people who speak English, all she has to do is ask.

It took her another hour to get back to me that she had made it home.

I had managed to get her two blocks away from her apartment.

Before her phone died and I was unable to contact her again.

An hour to go two blocks.

Oh, how I know that feeling.

I remembered quite distinctly how lost I had gotten trying to navigate my way from Abaraxas in the Marais to the Lizard Lounge, hours, I had spent hours trying to find one then the other, just blocks away from each other.

It can be extraordinarily challenging.

But, regardless it is an experience, we all get to get lost, and I realize as I sit here at the keyboard, I am just as lost.

I don’t know where I am going.

I don’t know how to get there either.

The best I can do is enjoy the scenery on the way.

I sat in the park, on a bench with his small baby body strapped to me sleeping, the sun brushing the back of my shoulders with warmth while his sister chased up and down the slide and made friends with the kids running around the park at Square D’Anvers.

Mom was off shopping.

She had expressed a desire to do some vintage shopping and I knew of a couple of awesome shops in my neighborhood.  She took my leave for two hours and shopped and I got to stay at the park with the shouts of children carooming off the buildings.  I gave her directions, pointing out the two streets from the park that she would need to navigate to get to the stores.

She came back laden with bags, a successful trip.

I had also a successful trip, just sitting down on the bench in a park, in Paris, for two hours with a baby snuggled to me was a trip.  She suggested we go to the cafe by the park.

We went to Les Oiseaux to grab some lunch.

Unfortunately, Les Oiseaux was like my experience at Cafe Flore, slow, rude, awful service, by a condescending waiter who yelled at us, telling us we were taking up too much space at the tables, which were empty and there was no one waiting to sit down.

The mom looked shocked.

I explained to the waiter what we needed, he came back, after we had scooted down to a smaller table, gruffly handing me two menus, then he dismissed us and trotted off.

“Should we go?” The mom asked.

“I think so, I’m sorry, these cafes so close to the heavy tourist areas can have really awful service,” I said, gathering up her bags and pushing away from the table after another five minutes of being ignored.

I took her a couple blocks out-of-the-way to avoid the worst foot traffic at the base of Sacre Couer.  I had planned on getting her back to the apartment and was thinking that there may be a better way to do it then the way I was going, despite it being the most direct route. But my plans, well, they were ignored.

They often are, I think, I realize, I am beginning to understand, my best laid plans are often, very often, all the time, mis-laid.  I cannot manage another’s life, I cannot manage my own life.

Again, I think, lost, aren’t we all?

Just trying to do our best.

I should just speak for myself, always so busy getting lost, trying to navigate through the world, to be my best, to be kind, gentle, and caring, to be of service and help where I can.

I did not know what to do with myself when I got back, too late to make plans for the rest of the day, too early to do my normal just getting home for the night routine.

I decided to take advantage of the room-mate being at work.

Then.

I took a screamingly hot shower.

While showering I got a message from the mom, safe, sound, back to the apartment, a new book of maps bought, and her phone charging.

Safe and sound.

A good reminder to myself that I too am taken care of, despite not knowing what will happen next, I too am safe and sound.

Here, in Paris.

 

 

 

 


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