Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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.

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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!

 

Belle Femme!

July 20, 2018

I ignored the yell.

I got a few of them.

I really don’t mind being called a beautiful woman, but I wasn’t comfortable in the area of Paris that I was in and did not turn to look.

I am, however, comfortable being here.

I’ve been here since Monday, and yes, I know, it’s Friday, but I have been staying with friends and decided to do something different than usual.

I haven’t blogged, but rather, gone out with my best friend, walked everywhere, oh my God have I walked, played with her beautiful twin babies, hung out and drank coffee, been leisurely and warm, it’s been hot in Paris, eaten steak very rare, went to museums, and sometimes just rested on the couch in the fifth floor walk up where I am staying with my best friend in the Marais on Rue de Temple.

Yes.

You read that correctly.

Fifth floor walk up.

You know that app on your phone that tells you how much you’ve walked and how many flights of stairs you’ve done?

A LOT.

Let’s just say I have walked and climbed a lot.

Jesus.

Today it says I walked 6.4 miles and climbed 12 floors of stairs.

It lies.

I did more than that, I just didn’t carry my phone the whole time.

I probably did 18 or 20 flights of stairs.

Yesterday I walked even more than that, 23,188 steps, 10.6 miles, 14 floors (but more likely 24).

Plus.

Heh.

I’m staying in the loft of the walk up.

The flat is at the very top of the house, and when you go in through the door there is another flight of stairs and then I have to climb one more flight to get to the loft I’m sleeping in.

Now I know how my friend keeps her marvelous figure.

Fuck.

Imagine doing all that climbing with twins?!

She also taught me today to not wear face makeup, “you don’t need it.”

And.

To part my hair differently, “much sexier.”

And.

To wear matte lipstick, “gloss makes you look, well, you know.”

I do.

Slightly trashy.

So.

For the first time in I don’t know how long I wore no coverup or powder, I just did a little eyebrow makeup, mascara, and a matte lip.

She also said I should not wear any lipstick in the daytime, because you want to “pop” at night and how do you pop if you are already wearing lipstick?

I was going to go out tonight and eat in the neighborhood, I still could if I wanted to, it’s only 9:34 p.m. on a Friday night, everywhere is serving dinner, but I’m a bit tuckered out from my walking and stair climbing and I’m not sure I have it in me to do those five floors up and down again.

So yeah, I just did my sexy hair and matte lip to go to the Franprix and buy milk and fruit and sparkling water.

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But you know.

I felt sexy as fuck.

It’s fun to feel sexy just going to the market.

I did other things today, too, ate a big fat steak, very rare, at Comptoir de l’Arc, a resto near the Arc de Triomphe that is just off the tourist path and very much a neighborhood haunt.

It was full of true Parisians and it felt fun to be there.

I had gotten the tip-off to the restaurant from a friend when I lived in Paris 2012/2013.

It was specifically designed for the locals and unlike the majority of restaurants in the neighborhood which have jacked up their prices, it is really affordable and very good.

I was happy to be back.

And it was nice to hop out of the sudden rain that sprang up.

Not that I minded the rain all that much, not when it’s warm.

Paris in the summer and a light rain?

Lovely.

I’m on my own for the next few days as my friends are off to a wedding over the weekend, so I’m fairly sure I’ll be keeping you updated at least through the weekend.

But come Monday I’ll probably go radio silent again.

I’ll be heading out-of-town for a few days.

Originally it was to Ile de Re, an island off the West Coast of France, but the house became unavailable.

Next time.

Instead!

I’ll be going with my best friend to Gard de Nord on Monday morning and grabbing a TGV high-speed train to Marseilles!

Yes.

I am going to the South of France.

I am over the moon.

We booked a hotel for two nights and my friend is going to rent a car too.

We are going to stay the nights in Marseilles, but one of the days we are going to drive to Aix-en-Provence, where she used to live, and go see the markets and drive around and be hot.

It’s going to be very hot in the South of France.

But.

We will also be going swimming in the ocean, so you know, I’m ok with that.

Have I said luckiest girl in the world yet?

Yeah.

Like that.

The Song Hit Me Hard

July 15, 2018

Like a nova in my chest.

A painful sunburst of love, loss, longing.

I wanted to reach out so very much.

I didn’t.

I just sang along to the song in the car driving down Division Street.

Pushing up the hill between Valencia and Guerrero with flashes of sun piercing the July fog.

You there with me.

In the car, in the song, in the spaces between notes.

I managed.

All day.

To out run you.

Out write you.

Out manoeuver you.

I was not going to sit idle with the feelings.

No.

Not when I could drive them off with business and doing.

I am glad I was doing the doings.

And sad too.

I finished the big project, the internship application.

Remember two weeks ago today?

Remember sitting in the cemetery with me when I got the news?

I burst into tears.

Sitting in that green vibrant lushness that sprung from the brows of dead men.

My face.

Your voice sick with concern.

The tears falling without thought of being in public.

It’s a cemetery.

I’m sure there have been tears there before.

You said why don’t we just go home?

And I wanted to.

But there were places to go yet.

Rabbits to burn.

Bridges to cross.

So to turn round.

Two weeks, to the day, a project, another application, another launching of hope onto the sea, a small newspaper boat with a popsicle stick sail, all I wanted.

All I wanted.

Was to reach out and tell you.

I did it!

But you were not there to reach for.

So I moved.

I ran out into the day.

I did things to prepare.

I am going on a trip tomorrow.

I have zero excitement for it.

And it’s Paris.

I should be over the moon, in the tops of the trees, singing the soundtrack to Amelie.

Or something like that.

But it’s Paris.

Without you.

That makes me.

Well.

What rhymes with you?

Blue.

Yes.

That will work.

There is rain in the forecast.

And all I could think about was your eyes in the shower, how bright they are when you are sleek and wet, how much I wanted to fall against you.

Press into you.

Stay hidden.

And seen.

In the waterfall of warmth and never leave that small space.

I saw the weather for Paris.

Rain.

“I love Paris in the rain,” danced through my head.

I would love it more if you were there walking in the rain with me, eyes wet and full.

You weren’t with me last year when I was in Paris either.

Yet, you were.

I remember walking along the Left Bank, hurrying to find cover in a cafe before the rain hit.

Nestling into a corner in the back, connecting to wifi.

And voila.

There.

Your face on the small screen of my phone.

I won’t have even that this year.

In Paris.

I will be sad.

But it will be in Paris.

Which makes it prettier, sexier sadness.

But sadness nonetheless.

And now.

Now that I have stopped running.

The sadness swarms me and I recall you telling me how to run into the feelings.

Have them.

Just have them.

If I can’t have you.

I can at least have the feelings.

There are so many.

So many.

I can’t outrun them all.

As.

I can’t stop loving you.

Not Excited Yet

July 13, 2018

But I’m hopeful I will get there.

I realized tonight when I wrapped up with my last client that I only have one client left to see before I go to Paris.

Paris seems far away and a touch surreal at the moment.

I have been so busy walking through this housing situation that I have spent little to no time thinking about Paris.

Cue standing in the dental aisle at Walgreens this afternoon when I went in to fill a prescription.

Why am I standing in front of the toothpaste?

I have toothpaste at home.

I don’t need toothpaste.

But I kept coming back.

Until I remembered.

Oh snap!

I need travel size toothpaste!

I’m traveling soon.

I leave in three days!

It just has not really landed at all.

I am, of course, very much looking forward to seeing my dear friend.

I miss her so much and it was hard to finish my last semester of school without her.

Friends are so damn important.

It will be good to reconnect, to have lots of time with her, and of course, to have the best and most brilliant of insider guides to the city that I love only second to San Francisco.

I am always so happy that I get to live here.

Yesterday I went and visited a friend who used to live in the city but has done what so many of my friends have done, moved out of the city across the Bay.

She lives high up in the Berkeley Hills and it was a beautiful home and a lovely, stunning really, view of the city, the bay, the fog pushing over Twin Peaks, but I could not imagine living there.

I love San Francisco.

Sure.

It’s changed, but everything changes.

And it’s still, to me, one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially to live.

I also ran an errand and took back a bicycle rack that a friend had loaned me last year for Burning Man.

That took me to Alameda.

Where I did see a few cute houses, but it felt so suburban and removed and I also could not see myself there.

Or in Oakland.

Or in Berkeley.

I see myself in San Francisco.

My focus on finding a place is focused on the city proper.

And let me tell you.

I have been looking.

I have seen a few things, but not much.

I have responded to a few things, but gotten no response.

I do feel like when the dust is settled here and all the paperwork signed and taken care of that I will be throwing all my might behind finding a new place.

I will also officially throw it up on social media and I’m quite hopeful that I will find a good place.

I have been quietly telling a few friends and starting to put the word out.

The fact is though, at this point, it’s so close to me leaving for Paris that I really should skip even looking, I don’t know that I could do anything or get anything together before I leave.

I think it’s time I get excited!

I think it’s time to contemplate what I am going to be doing, walking around in the best city to walk, seeing art, street art and art, art.

Getting to spend time shopping in the Marais at all the little paper shops for notebooks to smuggle home with me.

Gah.

I bought a book today to read on the plane and I couldn’t help myself, I bought a new notebook too.

It was too cool to pass up and I knew I must have it.

There was a little voice in my head saying don’t accrue any more stuff!  I need to get ready to move and the less to pack, the better.

But.

Well.

I couldn’t help it, I bought the notebook.

And I did some writing siting in a cafe waiting for my friend and her new baby to come and join me.

I don’t often sit in cafes in San Francisco and write anymore.

I do the majority of my writing here where I am sitting right now, at a tiny table in my tiny kitchen, heaped high with notebooks and folders and books.

God.

I love paper.

I love writing.

I wrote a love letter in the new notebook.

I think that’s why I decided I had to buy it.

It is perfect for writing love letters.

And it was.

After my friend left I had some down time to sit for a while before I headed into my internship.

To sit outside, in the warm late afternoon sun, with a bottle of sparkling water, at a park in the Mission on Valencia Street that I used to bring former charges too and write a love letter while looking up at the bright blue sky, well, it was something else.

So no regrets about buying the notebook.

It will be used.

I will also buy more when I am in Paris.

Along with my standard pair of earrings, lipstick/lip gloss or eyeshadow, postcards, museum magnets and whatever else small momento I feel I should need.

I am so looking forward to seeing Paris through my friends eyes that I will have to buy something outside of my normal repertoire of souvenirs.

I thought about perhaps buying a market basket, I do love how they look.

And.

Yes.

I have contemplated a new tattoo.

I have one in mind, I will see if it stands the test of time when I arrive.

There’s a shop in the Marais that I get my work done at and I’ll see if they have an opening when my friend is off to a wedding out-of-town one of the weekends I am there, get myself a souvenir that I can wear always.

I like that quite a bit.

Of course.

I will take lots and lots and lots of photos too.

I promise.

Psst.

Here are a few from my recent trip to New York.

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Back yard patio at a lovely little restaurant in Williamsburg, The Rabbit Hole, where I had the most amazing soup and salad–broccoli cheese consume and the salad was like a deconstructed BLT with avocado and fried leeks.

So good.

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Bunny rabbit lamps!

From Le Grand Strip, on Grand Ave in Williamsburg.

I swear to God I almost bought them, but not knowing where I am going to live stopped me.  Once I’m settled I may actually buy them, the owner said she could ship them for me.

Bunny lamps!

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A triptych of feminist Latina women at the Brooklyn Museum.

Why, yes.

That is me in the middle.

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Mural in Fort Greene Brooklyn.

More to come.

Paris soon.

T-minus three days and counting.

But who’s counting?

 

One Hell of a Day

July 10, 2018

I’m still not sure how I got through it.

But.

I did.

And I just had breakfast for dinner to celebrate.

Sort of.

I just made oatmeal and had a hard-boiled egg because I did not have the opportunity to get out and do grocery shopping and by the time I was done seeing clients tonight.

Well.

I was done.

I didn’t want to go out to eat either.

Besides.

I did have a very nice lunch at a place in the Castro today that I have never been too with my person and he convinced me to have the grilled romaine salad.

It was really good!

I will be back.

So.

I did  have some nice food today and you know, I do like oatmeal, it wasn’t a hardship for me to eat it.

It’s not like I’m eating stale nuts and flat water.

It was more that it was a big day, I had a lot going on, I did a lot, I did the deal, I spoke, I had a lot of things to organize this morning, research that I needed to do, places I needed to call.

Stuff and things.

I’m being a bit vague as not all of it is sorted out and I don’t need to report on something that hasn’t happened it.

Suffice to say.

Things are moving.

And after some intense moments, hopefully in a direction that is beneficial to all involved.

Speaking of moving.

I am really looking.

I did get a response back from one place, but no follow through.

I feel like this may happen a bit, I figure the demands for housing are so high that people who are posting are probably inundated with requests.

I will soon be posting to social media that I am looking too, so that may be another avenue of possibilities.

I haven’t done so yet, being in a sort of limbo here.

Clarity is on the horizon, it feels and things moving enough to say that I am actively looking, hell I’ve been actively looking for a bit, but that I will be letting my friends, family, and social  networks in on it as well.

I haven’t yet done that.

I’m hoping that is where the juice is at.

That someone I know will have something or know of something.

Word of mouth always feels like the best way to find something.

And it’s not a resource I have availed myself of yet.

I have also done other work these last couple of days, lots of emails about the internship.

I have already gotten back one letter of recommendation!

Which was so good to read!

It made me really happy to read it.

Especially right after I saw my clients tonight.

I had some big sessions tonight.

Here’s the letter:

Dear ___________________
I am very pleased to write this letter of recommendation for _________ AMFT. I have
worked with ______ for over a year at The Liberation Institute of San Francisco, and as her clinical supervisor in weekly group supervision and periodic individual consultations, I have close knowledge of her work with clients.

_______ possesses the qualities of an excellent professional psychotherapist. She is self-aware, compassionate, mature and fully dedicated to her work. She provides a caring, consistent holding environment for her clients and has the ability to form a solid working alliance with clients from a range of backgrounds, experiences, diverse life styles, and cultures.
________’s personal qualities and life experiences have informed her capacity to be a healing force for her clients. She has established effective therapeutic relationships with clients dealing with very challenging issues and has sustained long-term work with many as they have stabilized and made important changes in their lives. Given an interview opportunity she may share some about this.
In group supervision _______ has been a very valued contributor. She listens well to others and offers astute insights in a supportive way. She is open to others input and comes prepared with questions and things to share about her own work. Carmen also knows how to establish boundaries in the clinical situation, has a good grasp of professional ethics, and has helped others in the group by sharing her own experiences.
I believe ______ would be a strong asset to your organization and have no reservations
whatsoever in recommending her for a clinician position.

Yay!

God that was nice.

I don’t know if I’ll see the letter from my other supervisor or not, but he was happy to write me up one and I feel very comfortable that he will portray me well.

Grateful for the kind words, it’s nice to see how others think of my skills and abilities and I am happy to have another little piece of the next part of the puzzle in place.

And I got a response back from the woman who was going to be my supervisor and she expressed excitement for me and also that she would like to talk further about it.

We’re going to establish some contact tomorrow and figure that out.

I also made another coffee date with a friend for this week.

Which is super nice.

I am going to be coffee’ed up!

But I’m glad for that.

I have a coffee date tomorrow, a hiking/hot tub date and meet the new baby in Berkeley date on Wednesday, a coffee date and possible walk around the Mission Farmer’s Market on Thursday, and not one but two coffee dates on Friday! Plus maybe dinner Friday night too?

Grateful to get some connecting in.

I need it.

As I have alluded to, it’s been some stressful times and making plans with friends has really helped.

Really helped.

And soon, I feel certain, everything is going to fall into place.

And!

Let me not forget.

Paris.

I leave on Sunday.

Paris always makes everything feel better.

I am a very lucky girl.

Very.


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