Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Little Gold Star

January 20, 2019

Today I got my 14th star tattoo.

14 stars.

14 years of being sober.

I decided I need to give myself a gold star.

It’s been that kind of year.

When I reflected on all the things that I went through and all the places I’ve been, I think that I definitely earned it.

This past year I traveled to DC, New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychology.

I went through a buy out and moved.

That was some serious stress let me tell you.

I also started a private practice therapy business.

And.

A PhD program.

I also got my grades back from said program.

All “A”s.

ALL.

I was a little surprised to tell you the truth, I had an issue with a final paper I turned in for one of my classes and I didn’t think it was going to fly, the paper, that is–I digressed from the specific instructions the professor gave and did rather what I wanted to do.  It was the only paper for the class, although there were so many discussion posts that I feel like I actually wrote seven papers for the class, and I ran a huge risk doing it.

The risk paid off.

So, yeah, a gold star felt really appropriate.

2019-01-19 20.54.20-2

Yes.

It did hurt.

And it felt really right and I was, obviously, very happy with it.

Not only was I pleased with it, but it filled out the space perfect.  I am very satisfied with the way all my tattoos look and really have little desire to put anything else in that area.

Not sure where I’ll put the 15th, but let’s just let me focus on the 14th star.

It really was quite a year.

I walked through some really challenging things and came out the other side.

I reflected on a lot of that today as I went about my day.

I saw clients at my office, did lots of writing, read for one of my upcoming classes for this next semester (school starts next Thursday!), went to Let it Bleed on Polk Street, got an iced coffee for a treat, walked around the Tenderloin and took graffiti photographs, caught up with my friend DannyBoy at the shop, took myself out to lunch in Hayes Valley, had a coffee with a friend in the Mission at Maxfield’s House of Caffeine, went to Divisadero and got my nails done, and then hit my Saturday night commitment and did the deal.

It was a day.

I’m really happy with my life right now.

Oh, sure, romantically it’s strange, but you know, that will work itself out.

Or not.

I have ceased (fighting anyone or anything) trying to figure it out.

I’m just showing up every day and taking care of myself and I feel really good about what I did today for myself and my own care.

I also thought a lot about what I want to bring forward for this next year.

Get through the next semester of classes, add clients into my private practice, travel.

I also want to get through the Below Market Housing Homeowners workshop.

I really am going to go after buying a house in San Francisco.

My friend whom I met for coffee happens to be a realtor and we spent an hour going over what I need to do to get myself in line to actually do that.

She gave me a good idea of how much money I will need to have saved up, which will take some time (or not, who knows, money may fall out of the sky) to save, but I can do it.

Plus that I should get a credit card.

Which I’m not super stoked on the idea.

I had one that I’d gotten last year and then never used as it made me uncomfortable.

But.

My friend insisted I was really going to need a credit history that showed me paying off a card.

She said get one, pay it off every month and always pay more than the minimum payment.

If I do get another card, and that’s an if, I will definitely not let a balance roll over.

I just do not like the idea of having any credit card debt.

I do, however, like the idea of having a good credit score and something that shows I am a good risk for a home loan.

I shall take it under advisement.

I actually tried to re-open the credit card I had closed but I could not figure out how to do it and just sort of set it aside tonight when I got home.

I feel like I did a lot today just by sitting down and talking about it.

I will manifest a house in San Francisco.

See if I don’t.

In the mean time there is plenty of other things for me to do.

I do want to keep a soft focus on it though, always have it in my mind and see where I can expand my awareness of abundance.

I am continuing to practice that opening up to the universe, to the flow, to God, to abundance, I have continued to give away a little more than I typically do.

More tip in the tip jar, more money in the basket, continuing to pay my bills within 24 hours of getting them.

And!

Oh my gosh, this is definitely part of the gold star, I got approved to become an employee at my internship.

Which means that I will start bringing in more money.

I am so psyched about that.

I’m excited for this year.

I feel like all sorts of incredible things are going to happen.

I really do.

Faith.

I like that.

Faith, abundance, joy, honesty, integrity, serenity.

Words to live by.

Principles to underpin my gold star.

And!

Love.

Let me not forget that one.

Never forget that.

Seriously.

 

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What Would You Buy

January 8, 2019

With one dollar?

He asked me to write it down on the note card.

Then he asked what would I buy if I won $10, then $100.

Then $1,000.00

And $1,000,000.00

And also.

$10,000,000.00

My friend had talked me into buying a couple of lottery tickets right before New Years, he always does around New Years and at first I balked.

“You’re one of those people,” my friend told me, we were just leaving Reno.  She had been working at a casino in Wisconsin and was driving cross-country with me to help me move to San Francisco from Madison.

“What do you mean?  I’m one of ‘those’ people,” I asked, but you know in my head I think I sort of knew.

“You’re one of those people that they warn us about at the casino,” she finished.

“Really?  Come on, how can you tell after twenty minutes of me playing slots?”  I asked skeptical, but as I mentioned, perhaps there was a little inkling of knowing what she meant.

She broke it down and yup, I pretty much qualified as one of those people.

I still do.

Which is why I’m pretty careful about not gambling, playing the lottery, buying scratcher cards, going to Reno or Vegas for a fun weekend of playing slots.

Nope.

Something inside gets a little wacky.

Gambling can easily become an addiction and I found out later in life that my mom had a gambling addiction in addition to a few other things.

Some things run in the blood.

So when my friend was like, hey just buy a lotto ticket, its tradition, I balked at first.

Then.

He explained himself and I thought, ok, maybe.

I bought two.

I didn’t win.

But for a day or two occasionally I would think about what I would do if I did win.

Pay off my student loans.

And my best friend’s student loans and probably a few friends in my Masters degree cohort too.

I would definitely quit working, as a nanny, I’d still work as a therapist, I think its important to give back and I’m a good therapist, and I think that having something constructive to do is important.

I would travel a ton.

I would go to Paris and take the Belmond Simplon-Orient Express from Paris to Venice.

And I would upgrade to the suite, which is 3,500 Euro for one way.

God it’s a pretty train, all art deco and fancy and stuff.

Then Venice.

Which I have always wanted to go to and have not made it there yet.

I would get skin reduction surgery for the excess skin I have from my weight loss.

I would buy some pretty clothes.

I would buy a flat in Paris.

I would buy a house in San Francisco.

I would buy a house in San Francisco.

I’m going to buy a house in San Francisco.

I have been writing an affirmation now for a few years every morning in my writing that goes something like this, “I own my own home in San Francisco.”

It really has seemed a bit of a pipe dream, even though I had someone tell me to look them up when I entered my Master’s program when I was ready to buy a house.

She was assuming I would eventually come into a decent amount of salary becoming a therapist.

I’m not quite there, but I am beginning to taste the reality of it.

I actually think I can buy a house.

I really do.

Even here.

In the most expensive market in the United States.

This feeling is pretty new to me, only having happened in the last 24 hours.

Yesterday I had  a huge resentment surface around my current landlord.

There is a gigantic water leak in my hallway entry, a leak that was not just drip, dripping, but literally soaking the hallway to my studio.

Granted.

There is not an actual leak in my studio, it’s dry, but the hallway from the entry door to the studio is sopping wet and my landlord happens to be a contractor, I was aghast when it happened a couple of weeks ago and even more so yesterday and the day before.

I got angry about it.

It’s pretty obvious that he’s not doing a thing about it and it’s rather disgusting to walk through.

That and I’m pretty sure, though I haven’t quite figured out what the correct amount is, that he’s overcharging me utilities.

I made a call to the Tenant’s Union last night to go over a few things–like I don’t have a heater in the studio, which I found out was illegal, and it’s been super cold.  I bought out-of-pocket a space heater, but it doesn’t seem much of a solution and apparently my using it is blowing up the utility bill.

Something smacks weird in all this and add-on to a few drunken loud parties, pot smoke in the garage leaking into my bathroom, and some domestic fights that I have heard and I had pretty much made the decision yesterday that I was going to honor my lease but after it was up, get the hell out.

It’s just not quite the right fit.

It’s better than what I had and I will be honest I looked past one red flag that I probably shouldn’t have.

I did some inventory around it and discussed it in detail last night before doing the deal up in the Castro.

One thing that came out is that I have been practicing faith around my finances instead of fear, I have for a few weeks now.

The buy out monies that I pre-paid the first six months of rent will run out in February and I will have to pay rent out of my pocket and I’ve been concerned.

Afterall.

It is $1,000 more than what I was paying.

So I have been doing contrary actions.

Tipping more when I get a coffee or going out to eat, and I’m a good tipper (once service industry, and I did it for two decades, always service industry), giving a little more when asked, paying my bills early, making a car payment when one isn’t yet due, etc.

Believing that I will have enough and acting as thought there is more money coming in.

Yeah, I was miffed about the utility bill and my landlord saying I owed more, I mean, dude, you owe me a heater in my unit, you should pay the fucking bill, is what I wanted to say, but I also did restraint of tongue and pen and text and figured it would be much better to talk with the Tenant’s Union before I talk with my landlord.

I just paid the bill, wrote a check, and I also said, I’m still going to use the space heater.

The studio is god damn cold.

It’s winter.

It’s been a cold winter for San Francisco and the unit is not insulated, so even when it warms up it doesn’t hold it for very long.

Anyway.

After I got my anger out and had a good talk and then listened to a good talk, I said I was going to have the faith that I didn’t have to actually look for a shitty place, I will be able to afford something better.

Then my person said, “why don’t you just buy a house?”

I was like, Jesus, you’re right!

I am going to buy a house.

The lottery ticket, like I said didn’t yield a win, but it did put the desire to be a homeowner square in my face and I have thought for a long time that I might be crazy, but somehow I was going to end up owning a house in SF.

San Francisco has a Below Market Housing lotto for new homes that are built to accommodate those in the city that can’t afford to buy market rate houses.

I have to attend six hours of workshops and do a 1 on 1 counseling session before I can enter the lottery, but once that’s done, I can apply to every listing that goes up.

Guess who signed up for their first workshop last night?

Yeah.

That’s right.

And I have this feeling.

I really do.

I am going to buy a house.

And it’s not that far away.

I can feel it.

Seriously.

 

The Last Moments

December 18, 2018

Of my 45th year.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I will be 46 years old.

It’s a surreal number.

Really.

All of them have been a touch on the surreal side ever since passing 40.

But now, well, as I edge closer to 50 than 40 and my body slowly starts to fall apart, I can say yeah, I’m getting old.

Well.

At least older.

And I’m not kidding about the body thing.

I mean.

I can still shake my booty on the dance floor, or in my house as it stands, I just did some dancing to a really lovely remix of “Take You for a Ride on a Big Jet Plane” and I really did break it out.

But.

The signs of getting older are there.

Despite wearing my hair up in gigantic poufs today and donning pink glitter eyeshadow.

I don’t have clients on Mondays after my nanny gig, so I like to play a little with the makeup and the hair.

But you know.

There’s some wrinkles underneath that glitter and there’s definitely some grey hair in those poufs.

And, you know.

I’m ok with it.

I like who I am.

I have worked really fucking hard to get here and my body has managed to carry me through.

So what if it looks like it’s been well-traveled, it has.

Every wrinkle and grey hair a testament to how far I have come.

I did have a moment though, last night, when I was getting ready for bed and I was like, enough with all the stuff.

My aesthetician did some work to remove a patch of collagen that has been bothering me for years recently and I have to touch it up every night and morning to make sure it goes all the way away and I have begun washing my face with actual cleansing foam instead of soap.

She was horrified when I told her I washed my face with soap.

I felt like I was getting scolded by my mom.

So now, I use some cleansing foam and yes, I always use sunblock, she made that a big ass deal years ago.

God.

I sound all sorts of bougie right now.

I hadn’t seen my aesthetician for eight or nine years, I used to go to her when I had really bad cystic acne.

That is one nice thing of getting older, that damn acne finally went away, but I had it well into my early thirties.

In the last few years I have noticed my skin getting a tiny bit dryer and last year I noticed that I had stopped getting black heads at all.

I used to still get those guys.

It seems that the oil in my skin is drying up.

So now I use moisturizer too.

I’m sure these are things most women much younger than me are doing, but you know, I’m a simple lady with the routines, so this adding in of stuff feels new.

And.

Now I’m wearing a night guard at night so I don’t crack any more fucking teeth and have to get any more crowns.

No thank you.

But it’s weird.

And I have to remember to put it in at night, adding another thing I need to do, on top of also taking my reflux meds.

I swallowed the three tiny pills and popped my mouth guard in and snorted.

It has begun.

I’m taking pills at night and wearing a night guard next thing you know I’ll be wearing Depends.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I’m a lucky bitch and I know it.

I don’t look my age, so now that Mother Nature is actually showing me that I’m not immune to this whole getting older thing, I just want to respect it and embrace it.

I don’t want to struggle against it.

I’m going to be 46 in the morning.

And if it’s anything like 45’s been, it’s going to be a pretty damn good year.

In my 45th year I graduated with a Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I traveled to D.C., New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I got hired at a private practice internship and started subletting an office space as a licenced Associate Marriage Family Therapist.

I danced.

I sang in my car a lot.

I took walks on the beach.

I loved really, really, really hard.

I cried a lot.

I wrote a lot of poetry.

I started my first semester of a PhD program.

I’m one week away from finishing the semester!  I just posted my final discussion post and turned in my final project for my Creative Inquiry Scholarship for the 21st Century class.

It’s been a damn good year.

I’m happy with who I am and where I’m going, even if I cannot see the final destination, I don’t really need to know that anyway.

Oh!

And I moved!

I went through a buyout and walked through a tremendous amount of fear.

I bought my first ever couch.

And it’s pink velvet, so there.

I’ve done a lot of therapy work and feel better about myself and supported in the work i do as a therapist as well.

I bought art from friends.

I pushed myself out of my school, nanny, internship shell and got back into the fellowship in San Francisco a bit more.

I ate a lot of apples.

I like apples.

I wrote a lot of Morning Pages.

I wrote a few blogs, not as many as I might have considering the issues I had there for a while.  But huzzah!  I have, with much help, gotten the two sites separated and I was happy to post my first blog on my therapy site tonight.

I’ve had a damn good year.

I’m a very lucky girl.

Or woman.

I suppose at 46 it’s time to really step into that women role.

Well.

Except when I wear my bunny slippers.

I don’t care how old I get, I’ll probably always wear bunny slippers.

heh.

So here’s to making it alive, sober, abstinent, happy, joyous, and motherfucking free, one more time around the sun.

Thanks 45, it’s been fun.

Bring on 46.

Separation of Church and State

December 16, 2018

And it finally happened.

I am so grateful to report that after much time, many failed attempts, yelling at my computer, yelling at the WordPress chat help, not literally, although I do think I told one of the people on the chat that I was as computer conversant as a tired four-year old.

I really felt like throwing a tantrum with that chat and I excused myself from it quickly when I realized I might, probably not, but might throw my computer on the floor and stomp on it.

So it is with much happiness and relief that I can report my website, my professional website, and my personal blog are no longer connected.

Oh.

They still are, but not really, not in a way that anyone could figure out and my friend who helped me even made the suggestion to change my face on the profile picture so I couldn’t be recognized that way.

Hence the new icon which is a graffiti photo I took many years ago in Paris.

Six years ago it feels like.

Paris was much on my mind today.

And in many of my conversations.

I went and saw my dear friend Barnaby at his new shop in Oakland, East Bay Tattoo, and he touched up the color on my pink jackalope bunny tattoo that he gave me for my 40th birthday when we were living as room mates in Paris.

We both marveled at how far we’d come since that time in Paris.

We were both trying to figure things out and neither one of us thought that we’d actually be moving back here.

Barnaby landed in Oakland and I in the Outer Sunset.

Six years later he’s the father of two boys and he and his partner own a house in Oakland and he just opened a new shop.

Six years later I’m a psychotherapist, not going to tell you my name though, oh no, I don’t want you finding my website from my personal blog (this baby is dark, no social media, no LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, nada), I’m also a PhD student and I own a car!

I mean.

I remember how I felt leaving Paris when we did, my heart-felt bruised, I felt defeated, broken, I had tried so damn hard to make it work and Paris was not having it.

Not having me.

Although she has welcomed me back with open arms and love every time that I have gone back since.

I feel like I have learned so much about myself from my time spent in Paris.

So my friend and I reminisced and talked about all the things we did there and the conversations and all the things that we have done in the time between and how life is.

You know.

Life is pretty damn good.

Even though.

Fuck my life.

I just found out that my paper is due at 5p.m. instead of midnight.

And!!!

Hahhahahahahahahaha.

God.

I must be a little on edge about getting my shit done by all the deadlines.

I forgot, tomorrow is Sunday, not Monday.

The paper is due Monday.

Of course I’ll be working and not really have time to address the paper, so I’ve been planning all along to have the work done by Sunday night and turn it in Sunday night after I get back from doing the deal up in the Castro.

Whew.

What a goofy little moment of panic.

I was all sorts of mad.

Heh.

Ah.

Breathing deeply again.

So.

I will hopefully be posting on a much more regular basis on my blog now that I don’t have any worry about potential clients finding out about it.

I mean.

Ahem.

My most “popular” blog is about cocaine and vodka enemas, not something I want any perspective client to be reading about.

I know how that sounds.

I never have and never will administer or be given a cocaine vodka enema, but I had a friend tell me a story once and I was so horrified by the idea, I’d never heard of it and I guess it’s actually a thing, that I wrote a blog about it many moons ago and what do you know.

It’s the most searched for tag that leads people to my blog.

I have actually thought about deleting it, but you know, it’s actually well written and it does in fact allude to recovery, so maybe someone out there who happens to stumble upon it might get the idea that they actually have a better shot at life without shooting cocaine up their bum mixed with vodka.

Anyway.

There are lots of other things in my blog I’d rather not have my therapy clients find out.

Like I’ve been to Burning Man eleven times.

(Dirty hippy)

(Sex addict)

(addict in general)

(weirdo)

I won’t say that any of those things don’t apply, but ahem, you know, I’m happy with who I am and not really shy about sharing.

God forbid a client read any of the blogs I wrote about my brief and tumultuous jaunt on Tinder.

God was that a heap of crap.

With one or two shining moments, but mostly a lot of yuck.

And now.

Well.

THANK YOU FRIEND!

I don’t have to worry about it.

I can write happily and freely about everything.

Well.

heh.

I don’t actually write about everything either, you know a girl has to have a few things kept back.

At least for right now.

There may well be a time and place when that changes, but right now, yeah, there are a few things that don’t wind up in these posts and that’s alright too.

I’m just so happy to have my little blog space back.

I don’t mind that it’s gone so dark, it’s like my own little private universe with a few select friends that like to hang out and have a cup of coffee with me and catch up.

I’ve got some followers who know me in my personal life as a real bona fide person, and I’m cool with that, but the rest of the world can keep right on thinking of me as Auntie Bubba.

I’m very.

Very.

Very.

Cool with that.

So Very Pleased

September 23, 2018

I got a lot done today.

I hung all my artwork in my new home.

I got my new couch delivered and my new chair and they were quickly assembled and they got here ahead of schedule, which was so awesome as it made it possible for me to not only attend a Zoom session for school, but also get to my group supervision on time.

Effectively making it possible for me to even take enough time to do some much-needed personal grooming and pampering, I went and got a mani/pedi and my eyebrows waxed.

And no, I didn’t glaze out with some trash magazines but actually did homework reading.

My books go where ever I go.

That has become mandatory.

Even if I don’t think I will have time, I’m bringing them along.

One at a time I will get through the reading.

There is so very much.

And though a part of me really wanted to do more homework tonight when I got home from doing the deal, I realized that I needed to finish as much of my unpacking as I could.

I just needed to feel settled completely in my home.

I am pretty damn close.

Hanging all my artwork really felt good.

So too blasting some French House music.

My place is sound proofed, plus the landlord is away camping this weekend.

So I didn’t have any compunctions about using a hammer at 9p.m. at night and hanging up my art.

It feels so nice to look at my space.

My couch is freaking perfect, so to the chair and the pillows I got really work nicely, I almost didn’t get them when I was at the store and I even had a moment when I packed them up and I was going to return them, but something made me stop and I am so glad I did, they work really well and look hella cool.

I’m very happy with my couch.

And tomorrow I will get my coffee table, end tables, and bedside tables set up.

I actually hired a woman from Task Rabbit to do it.

I figured it was worth it to not frustrate myself for hours.

I will instead spend a great deal of time tomorrow studying and doing homework.

I have to.

My work week will be full on again as the mom is back from her work travels and I will have the baby full-time again, I may have some time to do readings, but I won’t have time to do writing, which is what I was doing a lot of in the early afternoons before I headed out to pick up the big kids from school.

So tomorrow is definitely a full day of study.

I have one ladybug coming over to do work for an hour and I’ll get out and do the deal, but other than that, I can’t do anything but the work.

Well.

Probably some laundry.

I will want to do that, but I’ll bring homework with me for sure.

It will be my first time going to a laundry mat in years and though I am not excited about that, I am quite happy with how my home has come together and it feels very good to be here.

There are still some things that need to happen for me to entirely settle in, I haven’t gotten a dresser yet and I still have some clothes in a big garment box, but for the most part the space is nicely curated and it feels like me and it feels fun and polished and warm and sweet.

Once it’s all set up I’ll post a few photos.

I really do love the fact that I got myself a pink velvet couch.

Pink is not my favorite color, but I do like it and the couch is just so very me.

A sort of vintage 1970s Paris couch.

It’s the best.

Yeah.

I am very happy in my new home.

It’s also quite a space of reflection for me, to see how far I have come in the last few years.

When I think about how I moved back from Paris with $10 and what I have now, it’s really astounding how much can change in five years.

I got my Master’s degree, I’m working on my PhD,  I went through a buyout (a San Francisco rite of passage now it seems), I found a wonderful new place to live, I have had the most intense romantic love of my life happen, I have traveled back to Paris three times since I moved back, as well as going to New York three times, New Orleans, Burning Man five times, D.C., Atlanta, and L.A.  I bought a scooter, sold the scooter, bought a new car.

I never thought I would actually buy a new car, and holy shit, I did.

I’m starting a private practice internship.

I am fucking living life.

And yeah.

It does get overwhelming at times, but I have a primary purpose and I’m sticking to that.

The PhD is an amazing gift to get to do, but ultimately, it is not the endpoint for my life, although I know it’s going to consume a good bit of my life for a while, it is not my omega point.

Love is.

Deep love.

Loving myself to the best of my abilities and spreading that love as far out into the world as I can.

And now that my home base is almost secure and safe and settled.

I feel that I will be able to do so with even more veracity and courage.

I am in a good place.

It is a challenge.

There are challenges.

No lie.

But I am in a good place.

And I vow to love as hard as I can from this place as I can.

I promise.

Really.

I do.

Swimmingly

August 25, 2018

I did not forget my swimsuit today.

Nope.

I had that puppy packed in my purse.

I go just about nowhere without my purse.

I pulled it out as soon as I walked in the door at work, “look what I didn’t forget,” I said triumphantly to my charge who was very excited to see it but still asked why I hadn’t remembered it yesterday.

I ruffled his hair, said I was sorry again for forgetting and promised I would do a lot of swimming with him to make up for it.

And I did.

I also went down the water slide to appease him.

I was not really interested, it’s meant more for kids and it was sort of awkward to climb, but he really wanted me to and I wanted to humor him and we were just having the best day, so yeah, I clambered up and went down and it was cute.

He was so happy today.

And so was I.

Although I had my moments of sadness.

Happiness too.

Swimming is happiness for me.

There is nothing quite like it.

I feel so in my body and alive and it’s just exhilarating.

The mom actually told me to take some time to myself today and I got to put in 500 yards.

That’s not much, but it felt great and I was happy to have some time to swim.

I have also set my alarm for tomorrow morning.

I will be getting up and going to Sava Pool to swim.

My swim bag is packed and I’m air drying my suit in a place that I won’t forget it.

It was also really such lovely weather, sunny, bright, not too hot, but hot enough.

And it made me think of you, bunny.

I realized that it wasn’t just the Marin hills that made me think of you, it was swimming as well.

I had the same feeling in my body, in my heart, when I went swimming in the Mediterranean when my best girl friend and I went hiking into the Calanque de Sormiou outside of Marseille.

It was the sun, it was the salt water, it was the dry hills and the green trees, very reminiscent of Marin, but also it was the feeling.

It was the feeling of being so in my body and I kept feeling that you should be there with me, that we are meant to be somewhere sunny with you sunbathing, as I know you like, tan and golden and glowing like some leonine thing in the light, and me swimming and emerging from the pool or sea to sit next to you and bask in the sunshine.

Then I realized it at a deeper level.

Swimming reminds me of you because of how at ease in my body I am in the water.

I found that same ease with you.

I have never felt so at home in my body than when I was with you, making love, or laying together, spent afterward, completely glowing and happy and alive, so alive.

I teared up at the pool when I made the connection and realized that was one more thing that was so good about being with you.

I was myself.

In the pool, in the water, I am myself.

When I was with you I was myself.

Unapologetically me.

I wanted you there by my side because I was myself and free and happy and I associate those feelings with you.

And I can’t share any of this with you.

And we never went swimming together.

Although we did bask in some sunshine.

It wasn’t enough.

I am such a good addict, just give me some more please, more of you and more of you and more of you until I am satiated.

Which I never am for very long.

Sigh.

I miss you my love.

And I am grateful to have made the connection today with what it feels like to be in the water, to be in my body and how it reminds me of you.

It will incentivize me to swim.

And one day.

I can dream.

I can.

I do hope.

I really do.

That I will get to go swimming.

I will get to share this feeling.

I will get to go.

And.

Be.

Once again.

With.

You.

Bear Witness To

August 20, 2018

That’s what got me today.

Not the music.

No.

I was careful about my music choices people, I’m learning.

But the wanting to share something with you today.

I wanted so much to pick up the phone and talk and tell you how my day has been, how my week as been, how I feel overwhelmed and that I can’t do it and then you would tell me I could.

I was going through my private practice folder, trying to figure out some things and I touched the leather of the binder and I suddenly lost it.

I remember standing outside the restaurant after brunch when we were on vacation and looking at these soft, supple leather folders and purses and bags, gorgeous hand-made, hand tooled, beautiful pieces.

I bought a bag for files and a folder for my legal pad and I was so happy, over the moon, to be there walking through the city with you, the sun shone down, and yes, there was some sadness that day too, we had some talks, but there was the etherealness to it to.

I remember how you always offered me bites of your food, how you know me so well and in my abstinence you always took care to be kind about my food choices, well, maybe you teased me a little, but you were so sweet.

I was struck by how, later in the day after much walking, you grabbed a hotdog from a street vendor and had a couple of bites, then you ripped off the bun from the un-eaten end, and offered it to me for a bite too.

All the small, sweet, considerate gestures that do me in.

But it was that folder today.

I cried out loud.

I wanted to tell you about what has been going on, how things are moving forward, that I have an office to sub-lease, that I have rent to pay, that I have things happening, that I printed off another syllabus and read from one of my new books, that I had struggled today to not be anxious about all the things unfolding.

When I picked up the folder I realized that you were no longer here to witness me, to tell me how proud you were of me.

I know logically that I don’t need someone to pat me on the back and say, hey you’re doing a great job, I can do that for myself, most of the time, but it just struck me hard, I wanted to tell you and I can’t.

All the things I want to tell you.

I wrote you another letter today.

I told you a little fantasy I had.

I wished for you happiness and joy and kindness, sweetness, and grace.

I pray for you every day and every night and I pray to make it through to the next thing that I have to do.

I have a lot of things to do.

I did get a lot accomplished today and I am proud of myself for doing as much as I did.

I cooked.

I roasted a chicken and I made a turkey and vegetable stew with brown rice.

I cleaned my house.

Aside.

Man oh man, put a syllabus in front of me with homework on it and watch my house suddenly become sparkling clean.

I mean, I cleaned my house.

I have even started tackling some things like cleaning out the freezer, I figure I won’t be here much longer and if I tackle small bits of a big job they will get done eventually and not all pile up on me right as I’m making my move.

Second aside.

I have a place I am going to see on Wednesday.

I know, I said I was waiting.

But have I told you how loud it is here?

It is loud.

And it is uncomfortable.

I saw an ad last night on craigslist and I thought, wow, I should respond to that.

It’s not in a neighborhood I would have ever even thought to look, Sea Cliff, and it’s a unique housing situation, an Au Pear (which means guest cottage), with a drastically reduced (for San Francisco) rent with the caveat that when the family that owns the main house is away the tenant takes care of their dog.

I went to bed thinking, do I want to clean up dog poop and get up early to walk a dog a couple of times a month/year?  I don’t know how often the family travels or what exactly the schedule of care looks like, but yeah, do I want to clean up dog shit for a lowered rent on a cottage in Sea Cliff?

A cottage.

A stand alone, one bedroom with a library!

Oh my God, my little PhD student heart went pitter pat.

In Sea Cliff.

Now if you don’t know San Francisco that means nada to you.

But if you do, you know that Sea Cliff is crazy high-end, big houses, big sprawling yards and gardens, by Baker Beach with all the iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge you could shake a stick at.

The house is literally across the street from the ocean, the cottage has ocean views.

There is also very little traffic in Sea Cliff, no buses or municipal vehicles go through it, no trains, it’s not quite a gated community, but it is super high-end fabulouslity.

A cottage in Sea Cliff would probably rent for $7,000 and upward, I may be lowballing that number too, I think it’s pretty rare that anything in Sea Cliff would actually be rented, and if there are rentals, well, they are freaking expensive.

So a cottage, again, a one bedroom with a library and the biggest freaking windows and wood floors for $1680 a month that includes utilities and parking and laundry?

I’ll pick up some dog poop people.

I have an appointment to see it on Wednesday.

I’ll keep you posted.

And in the meantime.

Love of mine.

I think of you often and wish we could talk and dream of a time I can once again be in your arms.

And yes.

Of course.

I cry.

In cafes with my confidant, at home holding things close you gave me, in the car listening to our music.

I hope you are well, I hope you are muddling through.

I miss you.

I love you.

Always.

Always.

Your baby girl.

Home Again

July 29, 2018

I got back from my travels last night.

I was in motion for 24 hours.

Although what with the time change it looked like I had just traveled 11 hours.

But no.

When I got in to my studio last night the clock said it was 6 a.m. Paris time and I had been up since 5:30 a.m. the previous morning.

It was a long day.

I am very, very, very grateful that I woke up before my alarm went off, it was too hot to sleep and I kept waking up and having difficulty falling back asleep, so when I woke up at 5 a.m. I never got fully back into sleep, just lay in bed sweating lightly and wondering if I should just get up and get going.

When the light began to grow bright enough I gave up the ghost, got up and started my getting ready to leave.

I gave myself time to have a light breakfast, which thank God I did, because there was no time at the airport to get food, I was super lucky to be able to snag a bottle of water for the flight, let alone have had anytime to forage for food.

I had done most of my packing the day before, even went a bought a cheap suitcase to haul back my goodies from my trip.

Notebooks, a stuffed hippo for one of my charges, a model car for another charge, stickers and rainbow unicorn rub on tattoos and a pretty notebook for the little girl.

Other gifts for folks.

And then the things that I had gotten for myself: a purse, a market basket from Aix-en-Provence, an art book from the Zao Wou-ki show I went to at the Musee Moderne, lots of notebooks, five or six I think, magnets from the Klimt show and one from Marseilles, some notecards, three dresses (three! I was so thrilled to have found a shop, with the help of my friend, that carried my size and had lovely clothes), a sweater coat, and a blouse.

I can’t believe I found such lovely clothes, it’s very rare for me to find clothing when I have gone to Paris before.

Partially because I just didn’t know really where to look, having a friend who lives in Paris show you the spots is a huge perk.

I also got a vintage candle holder/lantern from a shop on Ile St. Louis and some prints from the Klimt show.

I couldn’t have squeezed all of that into my little carry-on.

My carry on, which as it would turn out, was not so little anyway.

It got flagged at the airport.

I was not happy.

This was the first time that it’s been flagged.

I didn’t even get it through security.

A couple of times I have had to check it at the gate but never before did I have it flagged before even going through security.

I was not happy.

I was on the same airline I took to get to France, so I knew it would fit, in fact, it had slightly fewer items in it since I had bag checked the other suitcase and figured I would fill that one heavier and keep my carry on fairly light.

But nope.

It got flagged.

Ugh.

I had already had a bit of a rough start to my Charles de Gaulle experience.

I got to the airport with plenty of time, I splurged and took a cab.

Again, thank God, if I had done the train I would have likely missed my flight considering the amount of time it took to get to the gate.

When I arrived I did a check in on a kiosk, printed off my boarding pass and got a sticker for the checked bag.

Then I stood in line with my checked bag to get it to a counter to get loaded onto the plane.

I was in line about thirty minutes.

About twenty minutes into being online a little voice in my head said, “hey, did you get your card from the kiosk?”

I couldn’t remember.

I took a deep breath, got out my wallet, opened it up and looked.

No debit card.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

I had left it in the machine!

I flushed very hot then almost started to cry.

I took another deep breath.

What should I do?

Odds are it’s gone.

Somebody was right behind me to use the machine.

Either they took it and went wild at the Duty Free shop.

Or maybe they turned it in to lost and found.

I started to think about how to ask the next Air France agent I saw about where the lost and found was in French.

I resolved to stay in line and check my bag and then go look.

It was a long ten minutes.

I got my bag on the belt and dashed back to the machine.

Of course.

The card was gone.

I looked around, there was a desk next to the kiosk, but nothing on it.

I turned to go back to the line that had to Air France agents working it.

I should mention that there were three different areas to queue up to, each area having two agents, then agents roaming between and agents at the desk.

I don’t know how I decided to ask the woman I asked, but I made a snap decision and walked towards her.

I approached and asked if I could speak English with her, I really wasn’t sure I could get across in French what had happened, although I had been practicing it for the last ten minutes.

She said of course.

I told her what I did, I pointed to the machine, I was about to ask if there was a lost and found and she said, “you’re Carmen?”

I nodded, yes, yes, yes, as she pulled my debit card out of the front breast pocket of her jacket.

I nearly wept for joy and thanked her profusely.

What are the odds that the person I asked would have my card in her pocket?

I don’t know, but it felt like winning the lottery.

I was so happy about it that when I was told my carry on would cost me 80 Euro to process I didn’t give a fuck.

Who cares?

I had found my card.

And though the whole process set me back over an hour and a half of going to and fro, it was all worth while.

I made my plane with minutes to spare, enough to be able to dash to the nearest counter and buy a bottle of water and then get myself settled in for a very long flight.

There were a few other adventures.

Like the plane having to sit on the tamarack for another hour because a person had to be de-planed, which led to me literally sprinting through the Atlanta airport to make my connecting flight, but I did then too.

So even though it was a long trip getting back.

Get back I did.

And I am very grateful to be home, unpacked, all my laundry washed and put away and almost ready to get back to my regular routine.

Almost.

I have one more delicious day off.

Ah.

Summer vacation.

You did me good.

Where Do I Start?

July 25, 2018

First.

Bon soir!

I have not seen my computer for a few days.

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

Also.

No makeup.

What?

I know I felt naked, until I didn’t.

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

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I think vacation looks pretty good on me.

It didn’t hurt that I have a tan.

Boy.

Do I have a tan.

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

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

Next time.

But.

Swimming was had!

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

Here I am a touch blissed out:

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

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

Second.

Wow.

It was so, so, so beautiful.

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

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

It was exquisite.

I mean.

So gorgeous.

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

I will not mince words.

It was hot.

I was sweaty.

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

But.

Fuck.

Once I got to the top.

Wow.

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

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

We walked 26,450 steps yesterday.

Which is 12.4 miles.

And.

We climbed 51 floors!

51!

Ooh la la!

My legs.

But again.

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

I guess I was pretty red in the face.

I certainly sweated a lot.

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

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

And swam.

Here.

Enough of my prattle.

More pictures of the beauty:

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I mean.

Come on.

It was like being on a movie set.

Except.

Well.

It was totally real.

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

Swimming in the sea.

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

I was blown away.

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

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

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

It was glorious.

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

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

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

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

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

I won’t lie.

It was hard.

And it was hot.

Very, very, very hot.

But.

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

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

That shower, let me tell you, damn good.

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

The first photo I posted was from Frioul.

Here are a couple more, it was truly lovely.

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

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

Bon soir mes amis!

Bon soir!

Flanneur

July 22, 2018

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

Or something like that.

Google it if you’re not sure.

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

It’s good, but not great.

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

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

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

Oh.

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

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

I mean.

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

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

Gorgeous light in the apartment.

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

Then!

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

I’m very excited.

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

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

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

So stoked.

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

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

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

So happy.

And.

Honestly, I could use a break from Paris.

I know.

What?

Did I say.

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

Not all waiters are horrible.

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

It’s a damn cute cafe though.

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I had my “usual.”

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I like coffee.

And I like the sparkling water.

I just finished up one now.

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

Plus.

Taking the time to sit still and enjoy them.

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

A human doing, not a human being.

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

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

Then coffee and writing.

I didn’t leave the house until after noon.

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

I walked through the Marais.

I walked to the Seine.

It was gorgeous.

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I mean.

Come on.

I walked and walked and walked.

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

And.

I stumbled upon the Cluny Museum!

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

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They were beautiful and it was a sweet little detour.

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

And lo and behold!

A miracle!

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

A non-smoking terrace!

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

It was gross.

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

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

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

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

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

Best lunch I’ve had here since I landed.

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

That and the atmosphere, made me super happy.

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

A sweet, slow, “lazy” day.

Heh.

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

And now.

Well.

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

I hope your Sunday is as lovely as mine was.

Bon soir!

 


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