Posts Tagged ‘Underground’

Back At It

May 26, 2016

Holy shit do I feel better.

Nothing like a little 24 hour bug to put my health in perspective.

I had no idea I was that under the weather.

Until I woke up this morning and felt so much better, so rested, so ready to conquer the world.

Which was a good thing since the family missed having me around.

I made so much food today.

Holy shit.

Triple batch broccoli soup.

Double batch turkey and black bean chili.

Oatmeal for the boys for the rest of the week.

Cut up raw veggies and fruit for lunch boxes and snacks.


Cheese tortellini with pesto sauce.

Oh and a dozen hard boiled eggs.

Not that boiling eggs is such an ordeal, but yeah, I did the food up today.


Getting back into the routine with the boys who seemed so much bigger and older and well, sassier.

Which is generally what happens when I go away for a long weekend or don’t see them for a little while, they are going to push my boundaries and see if I will hold them the same way I normally do.

And I did.

Little struggles here and there but after a tiny bit of acting out, a few time outs and quiet time moments, we got our groove on and had a really nice day.

I felt great.

Until I didn’t.

And that did, thankfully pass.

Although it did freak me out for a moment.

I got super dizzy and head rushed running up the stairs to grab a book for the six year old and suddenly found myself standing and wobbling back and forth in the boys room.

Hot and cold by turns and almost passed out.

Granted I ate almost nothing yesterday, but I ate well today, and I caught myself before I toppled and breathed and it passed.

But it was a spooky moment and I am grateful I had neither boy in my arms or anything in my hands had I fallen.

I was also absurdly grateful that I had taken yesterday off.

I would have not made it through the day.

No way.

No how.

It is nice to get back into my groove, though I adore the traveling, I am also a creature of my comforts, my tea, my music, my space, my transportation.

It was hella nice to be back on my scooter and not on a subway.

“You’re an above ground kind of girl,” he said to me–the gentleman I stayed with via Air BnB, “you’re not much on the trains are you?”

I do prefer to be above ground, I love trains, but sometimes subways and undergrounds I can do without, I like to look at things, I love to watch the landscape go by, I like to see the sky.

I also like to walk and that’s always a good way to experience a city.

Or any place I travel too.

It’s good to see things and smell things and take in the environment.

Today I was happy to smell the sea and drift wood smoke and a charcoal pit being lit up, the eucalyptus in the Pan Handle, so good.

I felt happy and free and alive.

And I also smell of fabulousness.

I got my new perfume!

It came into Tigerlily and I picked it up right before work.

Rose Flash.

Fuck me it’s so good.

Super sexy and lush and floral, tuber rose and spicy and a bit musky, but not too much, just a hot kiss of it and the dark rustle of angel wings on fire.


I fucking love it.

I could just rub it all over my body.

The girl at the counter was so happy for my happiness that she threw in a body oil on the house also in Rose Flash.

I shall go about my days dipped in deliciousness.

And my nights drowned in the lovely of it.

I like to put on perfume before I go to bed, especially on my wrists and on my neck, behind my ears, so it floats in my hair.

I will crawl naked into bed, float down under the comforter, raise my arms over my head and bury my face in my hair or my shoulder and breath the perfume into myself, my heart, my spirit.

I don’t know when I started that.

But I think it may have been when I was sixteen or seventeen and had splurged on a bottle of Calvin Klein Eternity.

I wore it all the time.

In fact, I probably over wore it, not realizing that my nose got accustomed to the scent, I would put on a lot more than I needed because I wanted to smell it on my body.

“There goes Carmen, wafting again,” one of my mom’s friends snickered as I passed by.

I was horrified.

I had no clue.

I learned then to put it on at night as heavy as I wanted to, the scent washing me to sleep and curling me into dreams.



Soft warm clouds.

Ambient lightness.

Like a lit globe of fairy dust and tales of adventures and wandering.

My sister told me after we had moved out of the house in Windsor, that there were times she would go hang out in my room and lay on my bed and that my sheets always smelled of my perfume.

I found that sweet.

I still find that sweet.

And I am so happy to have this new scent to waft me into sleep and dreams and reverie with.  I am a very lucky girl.

I’m happy and healthy and taken care of.

I paid my rent today.

That always feels good.

I get to go to yoga in the morning.

That will feel lovely.


Cherries are in season.

Oh so sweet.

My life.

A bowl of cherries.

A wash of spiced perfume.

The moon riding over the wine dark seas.

My heart on my sleeve.

Exactly where it should be.

All is right in the world.



It’s all around me.



You See Me Better

February 17, 2015

Than I see me.

It’s really true.

I don’t see myself well.

I don’t see how others see me, either, but when I take the time to ask, I get some real nice surprises.

I went downtown today in the afternoon, I had today off, it’s a holiday yo.  And I did some shopping.

My first stop was Optical Underground at Sutter and Grant.

I have been noticing that I need new glasses.

My prescription hasn’t changed that much in the past few years, but as I explained to a ladybug tonight over tea, we’re sensitive people, and my equilibrium has been a little off and I have noticed myself doing the old lady squint a couple of times recently.

I knew I would have today off so I contacted my ophthalmologist, because I wasn’t going to spend a couple hundred or more on the frames at her place, way out of my range, and I had them e-mail my prescription to me.

I took myself to Optical Underground instead, they have the frames they have in the store, nothing more, mostly overstocks or last season, or if they get a hold of the frames from a store that has closed, they’ll scoop them up.

I got my current pair of frames there.

I was not as overwhelmed as I was the first time I went in a few years back, I hadn’t worn glasses at that point in over a decade, since the laser surgery on my eyes, and I couldn’t figure out what frames to buy.

Plus I was really cash strapped and a friend had announced she would help me out with the new frames.

I was abashed to have to ask for help, but knew I had to accept.

That’s how it is so often in my life.

I don’t want to ask for help, but I have to.

Sometimes, yes I know I’m being dramatic, it really is a matter of life and death.

When I went in with my friend the first time she and I wandered around the store for a while then asked the sales clerk to help us pick frames.

“She just got a job at a hipster bike shop in the Mission, she needs hipster glasses,” my friend told the sales girl.

“I’m not a hipster!” I laughed.

Even though I occasionally drink coffee like one and yes, I do ride a one speed flip-flop hub steel frame bike (but really, no true, self-effacing hipster would ride a navy blue frame with rockstar glitter sparkle top coat and purple and silver rims and a flower embossed saddle.  A hipster would have a raw steel frame with a clear coat over it and silver components with a black Brooks saddle and wheel locks), I’m really not a hipster.

My ex called me a “hippiester” once, an amalgamation of hippie and hipster.

I bristled at that.

I laughed too.

There’s some granola in my roll, I don’t doubt it.

But I’m not a hippie either.

I am just myself.

Fabulous me.

The sales girl at Optical Underground looked at my friend, smiled, and said “I know exactly which ones she should try on,” and retrieved a pair from the glass shelf.

They were it.

I knew in the blink of an eye.

As soon as I tried them on, they were perfect.

I did try on a few other pairs, but it was obvious, the first frames were it, and I acquiesced to my friend paying for them.

Grateful then.

Grateful now.

To have the friends I have.

And I thought about that experience as I wandered around the shop not finding anything I liked or that looked good on my face.

The sales clerk today told me my current frames were in great condition and I could just get the new lenses and they would pop them into my frames, but it would take a week.

I wasn’t keen on the idea.

I don’t actually need my glasses to drive, I was able to pass the DMV eye test without wearing them, but I feel a lot better with them on and I notice that, especially with all the writing and reading I do, that I can get headaches from eye strain.

But after going through and trying on ten pairs and not liking anything I saw, I was beginning to think I may have to.


Well, duh, ask for help genius.

That’s what the sales girl is there for, to help the customer.

I went up to her, showed her the one pair that I liked, but not as much as I liked the ones that I am wearing, and asked for help.

She looked at my face and dashed off, returning shortly with a tray with six frames on them.

The third pair she had picked were it.

I was shocked.

They were fabulous.

I mean, fuck, I would not have picked the frames either.


They’re really hipster’y.


I can’t escape it.

And they’re colored.

I was not expecting to end up buying a pair of frames with any color, but the frames fit my face perfect and the colors, a kind of forest green and redwood brown, were super flattering to my skin tone.

I didn’t think twice, I said these are it and I will take them.

I had to laugh when I saw the price tag, $179, I was not expecting that either, most of the frames in the store are around $50-$75, of course they were–I’m great at picking the most expensive thing around (turns out the frames are this “season” as well, which explains the look, a store had just gone out of business and Optical Underground scored all their current stock).

The entire reason I had gone to Optical Underground was because all the frames at my ophthalmologists were too expensive.

Adding the lenses and tax, my total came to $277.

But, as I picked up the frames again and put them on, it was so obvious they were mine, I didn’t bat an eye.

I whipped out the debit card and paid for them.

And I was so grateful that I could, that I have the money to do so, and when I thought about how my friend had bought my last pair, well the bigger price tag really was negated.

I’ll have a new set of glasses to see with in one week.

Grateful that I get to still ask for help.

Grateful that others see me better than I see myself.

Funny how that works.

Wonderful too.

Home Again, Home Again

January 13, 2013

Jiggedy jig.

I am ready to go home.

Paris, that is.

London has been lovely and I have gotten to meet some really nice people–one of whom is named Eloise.


It’s like something out of a story book.

I was chatting with a gentleman I met tonight and we both smiled at the state of my life, the adventures, the travel, the hop the EuroStar for the weekend to mark a special anniversary.

Not that I really did anything special.

I just walked around.


Cromwell Road

Cromwell Road

I took in some sites.  But not the sites typically taken in, I would think.

I had a nice morning into early afternoon with Miss Kellie and we parted about 2pm this afternoon.

She was not feeling at the top of her game and after a long week of working back in San Francisco, travel, jet lag, and a little sore throat, on top of the need to be in peak performance shape for a full week back to work, she had to go back to the flat.

I was left to my own devices.

Kellie got me as far as the Underground and gave me good directions on which way to go.

I had decided I was going to go to Trafalgar Square and face the tourists and do the National Museum.

That did not happen.

I got to the tube just fine, added a few pounds to the Oyster Card (Metro pass) that Barnaby lent me, and headed toward the correct platform.

While on the train, however, the announcer came on and said, this is the stop for the museums.  I just thought, oh, I’m here earlier than I thought.


Different set of museums.


Museum of Science and Natural History

I would have gone in.

I was in fact, headed toward the front gate.

So were hundreds of other people.


The line, where I passed by and gave up hope of getting in, was marked for a 45 minute queue time.

The line was much further back than the 45 minute marker.  It was easily double that and full of children, loads of children, retarded amounts of children.  I was not going to stand in line for an hour and a half to be bamboozled by kids all afternoon.

I walked past.

I came to an intersection, looked both ways, man is it disconcerting that the cars run on the opposite side, looked both ways again, and said, ok, which way?

I turned left.

Glad I did.

I got to go past Saint Augustine’s Church.


Saint Augustine's

Saint Augustine’s

The sun on the facade, the naked trees against the blue of the sky.

I was mesmerized.

I kept turning back to take more photographs as I walked away.



I walked into the Chelsea neighborhood.  It was divine.  Quiet, elegant row houses, lots of brick, and the sun was shining over it all, benevolent, still, almost warm when I was in a sheltered area for a moment.

Row Houses

Row Houses

I followed the line of the road past these brick beauties and came to another intersection.

Again, I looked both ways, less for the cars, the roads were fairly quiet, the neighborhood extremely residential, but more for which way do I go.

I saw a peak of a church belfry to my left and decided to head toward that.

It was in the center of a gorgeously quiet pocket of Chelsea.  I almost felt like I had tripped upon some gated community.  The church was in the middle of a park and I thought briefly of going in, but it was private and gated and despite the gate looking unlocked, I had a feeling it was not a public house.

I stopped and stared, nonetheless and of course, clicked on the camera to take a few photographs.



Sunlit Steeple

Sunlit Steeple

The sun shone brightly and I continued my walk through the neighborhood.

I popped out of the quiet residential pocket onto a slightly busier road and after looking at a map on a bus station decided I should walk toward the Thames.

I mean, I am in London, right, maybe at least get headed back in the direction of the places one is supposed to go set eyes on, The Tower of London, West Minster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, maybe the London Eye.  Something of that nature.

However, on my way to that end I walked past the West Brompton Cemetery.

Death called.

I answered.

I swerved off the beaten path and into the quiet, sun drenched stillness of the cemetery.





It was exquisitely quiet.



The sun battered down and I felt so at peace, no pun intended, so at rest, ok, a little intended, I just drifted along.

The chorus of ravens flocking about, the flit of a squirrel on a branch, the lines of tilted stone crosses and old headstones.

The romance of it all.

Death, you do me good.

I would have stayed longer.

I thought about snagging the bench in the corner of the back edge that I saw, so beguiling, so beckoning.

However, I hate to admit it, but I had a large cup of coffee and a half liter of water in me from the earlier part of the day.

I had to find the loo.

My visit cut short, I edged out along a more public path–I apparently had come in the back side entrance–and headed toward the West Brompton Underground Station.

West Brompton Train

West Brompton Train Station

As luck would have it I was guided to my final destination on my trip planner a little earlier than I thought I would be going.

I had plans, tentative, it turns out, and unconfirmed plans end up being plans that do not pan out, to meet some one at the Angel Tube stop.

I debated while on the train whether I should just get off at Oxford Circus on the Piccadilly Line and head to the museum.

I had time before my seven o’clock meet time.

I had the inclination.

But I did not have the desire.

The stillness and solitude of the cemetery still sat with me and I could not fathom losing that peace I had acquired in the sun to a mess of tourist in that neighborhood.  I was content to be headed in the right direction.

I got off at the Angel tube stop and walked about.

I found a restroom in a Starbucks and got a coffee to pay for the usage of the facilities.  It was a warm, cozy spot with a lot of overstuffed chairs and my feet hurt.  I debated.


I am in London, go walk about some more.

The light fading fast I headed out with my Americano in a cup and made for a direction that seemed pleasing.

I discovered the end of a little antique market closing down for the day.  I went about the stalls and poked through a few shops.  The wind picked up and the sun was gone.

As I fumbled with my camera to get a shot of a gorgeous flowering tree next to a vintage shop on one of the corners I realized that I was chilled, my feet were really sore, and despite wanting to see more of London, what I really wanted was a book and a sit in a comfy chair with a cup of tea.

I got the photograph.

Flowering Tree at Dusk

Flowering Tree

I turned around and headed back to the book store I saw on the way.

I perused the stacks and picked up a Brett Easton Ellis novel I had not heard of before.

I headed back to the Starbucks.


I settled for comfort and a warm place to sit and wait for my friend.

Who, as it turns out had a change in her plans and we never did connect.

I did get to the meet up place and I did meet a few more interesting folk before the night was through.

Ultimately making it back to Miss Kellie’s place in time for a hug and a hot bowl of take away from last night warmed up in the microwave, followed by, yes, another mug of tea.

I am glad I came to London.

I am happy I am going home, though.



I will see you soon, ma cherie.

Adventures in Traveling

January 13, 2013

I got to the train just fine.

I got to the Underground alright too.

I got to my friend’s house as well.

We went out to grab a bite down the corner and upon returning realized we were locked out.

Not sure how or why I was not bothered.  But I was not.  It was an adventure.

My friend made some calls and we even enlisted the help of two police man on duty in the neighborhood, quite cute they were too, one of them asked me if I had any friends in London.

“Just her,” I said pointing to K. “And you,” I added, almost winking.

You could keep me cozy tonight officer.

Now, there’s a phrase I never would have thought would come out of my mouth.


K.  eventually got through to H.  who said come over for a spot of tea and a biscuit.

We hopped the Underground.



Mind the gap now.

And headed to Notting Hill.

I have to say it really felt like I was in  a bit of a movie scene.  Especially when I first got off the EuroStar at St. Pancras Station.

The size of the station, the overarching lights and beams.

The enormous clock and the statue of the couple embracing.

I whipped out my camera and did not mind the I feel like a tourist moment whatsoever.

I am a tourist.

St. Pancras Station

St. Pancras Station

I did not actually take out the camera much more after that, however, the focus being on getting to Notting Hill and finding K’s room-mate so we could get the keys to the flat from her.

Room mate was located whilst in transit–she was at a movie, left the keys with the box office and there you go, all we need to do is get to the theater.

On the way, stopping off at K’s friends house, who as it turns out not only lives in super posh flat in Notting Hill, but who also has the most amazing little car.

The ride

The ride

I had actually taken a photograph of it before we went into H’s flat.  Not realizing that it was her car.

We had tea.  We warmed up.  London is colder than Paris.  I saw snow on the fields the train passed through earlier in the evening.

That was something that prickled at me for a moment.

A little thing I think of now and then.

I need to see country side.

I need fields and ghostly copse.

Rivers and marshes.

I need to see nature.

It fills something up in me.  I watched the landscape slip by before the train went below the channel and drifted in and out of country dreams of simple skies and tree-lined horizons.

I would not mind a farm.

Of course the kind of farm I want is a gentleman’s farm.

Or a hobby farm.

Something rather like a big barn house that has been converted and has a wood burning stove and rocking chairs and a hearth.  A kitchen garden in the back and some apple trees.

Oh, I would love to live on some land with apple trees and a garden.

A writers desk on the second floor with sunshine that streams through the windows.

I dazed on the land as it whipped by.

I did not have a window seat so I tried to not stare too much, I know how it feels to have someone look over your shoulder, it’s not pleasant and I had a companion sitting next to me who blocked the majority of the view.

But what glimpses I caught re-lit that old dream.

So many dreams.

“That’s the nice thing, innit?”  H said as we sat in her car, the aforementioned awesome ride that I got to go on.

I did not mind K misplacing the keys, I got to meet H.  have a spot of tea in an amazing flat, and then go for a ride on a Saturday night through the theater district in London.

Not bad for my first night in.

We got the keys, got a ride back to K’s flat and now, here I am writing another blog from another corner of the globe.




Where will I get to write next.

Such and amazing thing being able to travel.

The passport stamp for the train is so cute.  I am actually thinking of asking Barnaby to do a  small tattoo of it for me.

Maybe for my anniversary.

Which is imminently approaching.

How nice to be in London and instead of going to a pub, I got to go to a dinner with my friend, a ride on the Underground, and a cuppa tea with a new friend.

I will remember London this time.

I will make some new London memories.

I may even come back.

H.  offered a spot to crash should I need a place to hop to.

It is amazing, life, when you say yes, it just hollers yes right back at you.  I barely know this woman, don’t know her last name, and the next thing you know I am being offered a place to crash.

I thought to myself as she whizzed us in and out of traffic in her little mobile, which I should have asked after the name, I have never seen anything quite like it before, is that I want to do this same thing for someone.

I want to say, come over, hang out, I will make you tea, and when you need a ride, yes I have a car, I will happily lend you a lift.

In fact, next time you’re in town, stay at my place.

I really want to be able to do that.

I believe, that if I keep on going this way, keep on doing what I am doing, that life is just going to get weirder and wilder and more amazing.

I will be able to say all those things, and more, soon.

I can feel it.

Like crazy 8s.

And like that, as the clock ticks forward to midnight, I am eight years today.

Thank you London.

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