Posts Tagged ‘van gough’

Hello Stranger

November 29, 2018

I’m back!

Oh my God, I’m actually back.


This feels so surreal.

It also feels weird because WordPress has once again changed some things on the site and the layout I’m used to using has changed.  But so far, well, so freaking good.

It is nice to be home.

I have missed you!

I have been busy, I won’t lie.

So busy that it makes me wonder how it is that I can even take the time to be sitting here in front of my computer not working on homework.

My God.

The amount of homework.

It is horrendous.

There is literally not a day.


There was a day.

That I don’t do homework.

I didn’t do homework on Thanksgiving.

I almost did, but then I just cut myself some slack and said, no, take the day off or you’re going to be pissed.

And the day was taken off.

I went to a movie!

In fact, heh, I went to two movies!

I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie in the theater, probably last Christmas?  And to see not one, but two in the same day was crazy.

I went with my people to a matinée at the Embarcadero Cinemas, which I love.  I do adore a good art house space, plus, there is just something pretty about that part of town when it is emptied out, as it was being a holiday.   The view of the city, the Embarcadero, the bay, the Bay Bridge, the downtown skyscrapers and plenty of parking, which in and of itself is a miracle.

We saw At Eternity’s Gate, the Vincent Van Gough movie with William DaFoe.

First of all, DaFoe is a fucking genius, he’s got the Oscar on this one.


Horrendously sad.

But I mean, you know it’s not going to end well, the man cuts off his ear for fucks sake, it’s not like this is going to be a happy movie.


It was a gorgeous movie, Julian Schnabel did amazing work.

It’s filmed on site where Van Gough did his paintings, Paris first, than the South of France in Arles, and the light he manages to capture is just exquisite.

It felt like being in one of Van Gough’s paintings.

So much beauty.

So much grief too.

I was in tears and the ending just had me with tears pouring down my face, but ultimately, it was such an extraordinary work of beauty that I was grateful to be able to see it.

And I was grateful to reflect that I have gotten to see a number of Van Gough paintings in person.

Although I have never been to the Van Gough museum, I have seen his works in the Louvre, the MOMA New York and the MOMA San Francisco, and The National Gallery in London.

That’s pretty damn good if I think about it.

I am blessed with having gotten to see the amount of art I have seen in my life.

There is so much more to see.

So much more.

Speaking of art, I had hoped that during my down time from work with the holiday I would get to the MOMA, but I did not, too many other things were happening.

Lots of homework, internship work, seeing clients, seeing friends, running errands that needed desperately to be run, clothes shopping–I hadn’t been clothes shopping in so long it felt kind of crazy.

I’ve lost a little weight the last few months and really had to get new jeans.

And I’m not complaining about that at all, it just took forever for me to have the time to get to it.

You may see a theme here.


The new internship is going well and I feel like it will grow me into a very healthy private practice therapy business.

Which is also part of the reason why I haven’t been blogging here for some time.

I’m not much of a tech person, not really, not at all, and for my internship I needed to build a website.

Now if I had the money I’d just hire a friend to do it, in fact, when I do have the money I will most likely do just that, but in the mean time.



I already have a blog on WordPress, I’ll just use WordPress.



I didn’t realize that I had inadvertently connected the two, my professional website with my, very private, thank you very much, blog.

I mean.

Some of you out there know who I am.

But most of the people reading my blog don’t know who I am.

I am anonymous here and I always have been, since it allows me to pretty freely write about what ever I want to write about.



There are things y’all don’t know and that will stay like that for ever, thank you.


I am really transparent here.

I write about all sorts of things.

All sorts of things that no therapist wants their clients to know about.

So you may imagine my horror when I realized that you could access this blog through my professional site.

I don’t believe I let that oversight go more than a few days.

The horror I felt though when I realized that the website I’d worked on so hard was linked to my personal blog was no bueno.

I mean.


I don’t believe any of my clients found it.

In fact, I do wonder if anyone actually did figure it out.

It wasn’t very obvious, but for a couple of days the “About Me” was my “About Me” blog from this site, which isn’t exactly scandalous, but it is sassy and certainly not anything I would want a therapy client to read.


So once I fixed that I spent too much time trying to figure out how to separate the two entities.

I spent too many precious minutes and hours away from my homework on the help chat.

And then WordPress went down, well, it didn’t go do per se, but the administrative support did and really, the couple of chats I did have done nothing for me, except taunt me with the fact that there was a way to separate the two from each other, but I couldn’t figure it out.


My understanding of technology is a five-year olds.

So for a while, like a petulant five-year old, I just stopped trying.

Then I started reaching out to friends.

I have had three-hour long sessions with friends and nothing was accomplished, except for me to get more frustrated.

I wanted to blow up the site.

I wanted to pull my website, but I’d fucking bought the domain and paid for two years of hosting.

I wanted to delete my blog, my baby, this guy, but really?

No way.

l have over 2,500 blogs on this site and they are valuable to me.

More about that later.


My best idea was to lay as low as possible and not write any blogs while I was getting it all sorted.

And yesterday.

I think.

I hope.

Fingers fucking crossed, I figured it out.


Not the real solution.

But something that would allow me to be anonymous here and not have any tie to my professional site’s identity.

For now it seems to be working, so I’m not going to jinx it.

And hey.

Look at that.

I got to run.

It’s time for me to get ready to go to bed.

I have early supervision now before work and I’ve got a six am start.


But hey.

It’s so nice to be here again!

I am.

So fucking nice.

I promise, I won’t be a stranger no more.

Nighty night.

Museums A GoGo

May 16, 2017

Today I hit the Jeu de Paume and the Musee D’Orsay.

I am not museum’ed out.


But I will be pacing myself.

The crowds were pretty thick at the Musee D’Orsay, and thank God for the Paris Museum Pass, so nice to just pop to the front of the line and not have to be herded through the main gate.

They had a beautiful exhibition with “Etoiles” as the thematic, “stars” lots of Van Gough, Monet, even Georgia O’Keefe, there were artists I had never seen and pieces that resonated so deeply with me, my breath caught in my throat and tears welled in my eyes.

Or every hair stood on end.

One of the Van Gough’s so blew me away, deep and visceral in my body, I caught my breath.

It was deeply surrounded by viewers and I got as close as I could withstand the crowds and breathed in the beauty of it.

I tried to look for postcards later in the museum shops that were of the same piece and I was disappointed, the flatness of the card did the painting no justice and I could not bring myself to buy one.

I did, however, get my museum shop on.

I do love a good museum shop.

I bought a book for one of my charges and postcards and a cloth sack for myself and a magnet of a Klimt piece that I saw in the Etoile ensemble that did translate from the painting to the magnet.

I took lots of photographs and I stopped and sat and periodically rested.

I went all the way to the top of the museum and caught the perspective from the interior, and from the exterior.

I got some pretty pictures.

I am quite happy.

I am a bit of a shutterbug.

I am not sure if I am going to post them up to my other blog or not, I’m thinking, as I continue further with my schooling and career goals that I do have to change-up some things with my blog.

I still haven’t quite figured it out and while I’m in Paris I’m not going to worry about it.

I really just want to enjoy my leisure time here, I am slowed down quite a bit, even with my ankle feeling better.

Tomorrow I will return to the Marais, I have a tattoo appointment at 3:30 p.m. and I will hit the Pompidou either before or after the tattoo.

I also may pop around the shops and do a little more window shopping.

It’s awful fun to do.

I am doing well with my finances and there’s a few things I still haven’t gotten to get, but then again, I have really done so well with what I wanted to get that I am alright if I don’t score a bunch of souvenirs.

I have to be careful, I only have so much room in my luggage.

I bought a poster today that I’m not real sure how the hell I’m going to get back.


I had to get it.

When I was at the Jeu de Paume they were having a sale in the library and one of the prints that was on sale was from the Marilyn Monroe, Phillip Hausmann exhibition that I went to Christmas of 2015.

I had to buy it.

When I had seen the original print it was 25 Euro.

Today it was 2 Euro.



I’ll risk transporting that.

Especially since the bag that I had gotten with the same image was destroyed soon after I got back from the trip with pink hair dye.


I have a magnet of the same image, Monroe barefoot in a black cocktail dress leaping up in front of a cerulean blue backdrop.

Her face and the bare feet really got me.

The blue background is brilliantly done as well too, it highlights the blonde blond of her hair and the cream of her skin and the bare feet, something so tender and vulnerable and real.

I love the photograph.

I’ll see if I can scare up a cardboard poster shipping container.

I’m sure I can pick one up at the post office.

But what with the numerous notebooks, the gifts for the children I work for and the new dress I don’t have much space left for stuff in my carry on.

I put back a Diane Arbus book that I was sorely tempted to get and resolved that I would get something else.

I have always loved getting earrings, so I’ll grab a pair and I do want to get a hat.

Hats from Paris are the bees knees.

Just saying.

I also will be bringing home a tan.

I have been out in the sunshine all day and it was glorious.

A bit hot, but so good.

Tomorrow it is supposed to be 83 degrees, today was the same.

Then rain is forecast for the rest of the time that I am here and the temperature is going to drastically drop.



Sundress time.

Lots of pictures while the light is good and a new tattoo, a visit to one of my favorite museums and of course.

Cafe creme.

I mean.

When in Paris.

Do what the Parisians do.


No More Tattoos

February 20, 2017


I mean.

I don’t know that I can say no more tattoos, tattoos I think will continue to happen, but.

No more tattoos there.

Specifically on my collar-bone.

Whoooee getting my touch up today was not intolerable, but I had some dread going back in, which is fairly unusual for me in getting work done.

Especially with something so small, but the location and the thinness of the skin over the collar-bone, really was, well not excruciating, but challenging for sure.

I have an idea for a tattoo I’d like to get next year but aside from that I have no other tattoo plans in sight.

In fact.

I was thinking that the one I get next year may be it for a good while.

Then again.

A lady can change her mind.

It’s just that I am not feeling the need for more ink.


I’ll probably get to Paris in May and go to Abraxas and want a tattoo.

I do like me a tattoo as a souvenir of my travels.

I have two from Paris and one I got in New York.

The rest of my work has been gotten here in San Francisco.

I have had one primary artist.

Barnaby Williams.

He is currently at Tiger’s Blood in Alameda.

I first went to Barnaby when he was the owner of Mom’s in the Haight.

I had made an appointment to get a dragon tattoo from Barnaby.

I walked into the shop into a huge bear hug from the man and big mournful eyes.

“Hey,” he said quietly, “how ya doin’?”

I teared up.

“I’m ok, but um, I don’t want to do the dragon tattoo anymore,” I said, eyes blurred and starting to sniffle, “I want to get a memorial instead.”

He nodded.

Sat down and drew out the tattoo for me.

Two white French Tulips.

(Shadrach’s favorite flowers)

And the last line of the elegy that Dylan Thomas wrote for his father.

Until I die/He will not leave my side.

It was written in beautiful calligraphic script.

The flowers he outlined and used white ink on, white does not traditionally stick very well, but it seems to have weathered the test of time.

I have had the tattoo for 9.5 years and it still looks bright and fresh.

It was the biggest piece I had gotten up until that point.

The other two were small, a cover up on my left shoulder of my name in flames, a cover up that Barnaby later covered  up with a dragon, classic little known tattoo–the cover up of the cover up.

In the end, so far.

Barnaby has done two dragons on me, both left arm and right arm, and a beautiful pink Jackalope surrounded by French Marguerite daisies, my favorite flowers.

I have had work done as well.

By Ross K. Jones out of Idle Hand on Haight Street.

Although when I got tattooed by Ross he was out of a warehouse space in the SOMA before warehouse spaces in the SOMA were at a premium.

Ross tattooed my first set of stars.

Seven stars for seven years of sobriety.

To this day I can say that Ross has one of the gentlest approaches and best bedside manner of any tattoo artist I have had.

I have one tattoo from a guest Chinese tattoo artist at Abraxas in Paris when I was there last year at Christmas, his name was Bin and we “talked” via Google translator.

He did the Reve (pop a circumflex over the “e” in reve and you get “dream” in French) piece on my chest plate.

Despite the area being a thinner place of skin, he was fast, smooth, efficient, gentle, it was quite a bit less painful than I thought it was going to be.

Barnaby has done one star as well–he did number 10, which was a bit bigger than my other ones and I had him do an homage to Van Gough’s Starry Night painting, but I asked him to use yellow and pink in the tattoo (thereby balancing the pink of the other stars that I had and complementing the sky blue ones I have as well).

Danny Boy Smith, at Let it Bleed on Polk Street, has done two of my stars.

Number 11, which I had him do as a black star to homage David Bowie’s passing last year and also my 11th year in recovery.


This current new star, star number 12.

Which is a soft pastel blue with black outline.

I like my tattoos.

They tell me a story.

They are beautiful art pieces.

I am connected to each in memorable ways and each has meaning to me.

They needn’t tell anyone’s story but my own.

I often forget I have them and will be startled occasionally when someone references them.

In Paris it was challenging, albeit not so much the last time I was there since it was winter, when I have shown off a lot of tattoos.

There are plenty of shops and plenty of people with tattoos in Paris, it’s become quite a bit more acceptable, but I have gotten some stares, tell you what.

Especially at the swimming pool or just walking the streets or going through the Metro stations.

I forget about them too, living in San Francisco.

It seems like everyone has one.

But some, well, some are better than others and I can tell the jail tats from the gang tats from the home-made gun tats and the sleeves of suddenly wealthy dot-com kids who made it big in the 90s to the hipster tattoos and throw back retro vintage Sailor Jerry tattoo art that is so popular today with the Millennials.

I was getting tattooed and pierced long before it was popular.

I don’t care about the time line on it, it’s just an observation.

I am grateful though, that I have had such great artists in my tattoo history.

I am proud of my ink.

Sometimes it is a mask to hide behind.

Sometimes it is a shield.

You cannot hurt me I have done the hurting already.

Sometimes it is art.

It is beauty.

The narrative of my recovery and the sheltering sky storms brewed up in my psyche.

Just another indelible way I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I’m serious.

Courtesy of Mat Moreno out of Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn.

I have a heart tattoo with cherry blossoms on my left inner arm.




Almost There!

March 26, 2013

Yes, blog post number three in a row with small child swaddled to my chest.

My back is in monstrous sympathy with all pregnant mothers.

Although, God forbid any of them have to carry to term with the weight of a full one year old.

Yup, the monkey turns one tomorrow.

Happy Birthday from Paris!

Some years from now you will resent the hell out of your parents when they bring it up, “oh, you’ve been to Paris, you turned one there!”

Yeah, like I’ve been to Hawaii, mom was pregnant with me there.

Does not count.

If I cannot remember it, the situation did not happen.

Yes, that means I am self-centered.

What is your blog about?

I get asked this question all the time when it comes out that I write a daily blog.  Myself, I answer, me, myself, and I.  All about the Carmen, all about my experiences, my hopes, dreams, schemes and little plans.

I was joking with Maggie on the phone tonight that my two-week figure it out time is almost up–Easter Sunday will mark the end of the time of what is going to keep my butt in Paris.  I have not had any success figuring it out.


She laughed, “the Resurrection!”

Yes, indeed, resurrect my ass in France.

I do not know.

The only thing that is clear so far is that my room-mate suggested I not sell my bike.  I have been doing the do I?  Do I not? Sell my bike.

She loves me.

She loves me not.

God damn I love my bike.  I am attached to her, how could I not be, inspired by Van Gough’s Starry Night, which only one person has ever sussed out, a midnight blue (RAL 5011) with Rock Star Glitter top coat, one silver rim in the front, one deep V classic purple in the rear, black spokes, saddle, cogs, black Sugino messenger crank, flip-flop hub, set currently in fixed gear, Japanese drop grips, Deda Pista handle bars, she is a gorgeous beast.

I don’t want to sell her, but sell her I will if that is what is called for.

Granted, I may not get a response for her.

She gets a lot of attention, but I designed her, I designed her with no one else in mind but me.

If you want to buy a custom-built bike, you probably want to go through the process of designing it to your specifications. It is not a Trek off the store floor.  My bicycle screams custom, and screams Carmen.

I scream.

You scream.

We all scream for Carmen.


I am full of myself today, but that just means I am full of caffeine.

“We can have a tea party?”  She asked as I rifled through the tea tin in the cupboard.

“Absolutely,” I responded, settling on some Black Currant tea.  I drank all the Earl Grey up yesterday.

“I want that one,” she said as I dropped my tea bag into my cup.

“No, sugar, that one has caffeine in it,” I replied.

“I like caffeine,” she said, stomping her small foot on the kitchen tiles, “I want caffeine.”

“I don’t think you do,” I replied.  “I certainly don’t think your parents want you to have caffeine, and I do not want you going near the stuff.”

Or the sugar, or the chocolate, or the honey/caramel frosted cereal bombs in the kitchen.

You, missy, were up until midnight last night.

Not going to play that song and dance again tonight.

“I need to pee.” She said.

“I need to eat,” she said the next time.

“I need my mom and dad,” she said the third time up.

“I need another story,” she told me the fourth time.

“I need water,” she said, “Carmen, Carmen, Carmen!”

“Shh, hush honey, your brother is sleeping,” I said as I walked into the bedroom.  “You have water right here on the bedside table.”  I pointed out the sippy cup next to her.

“Is it fresh?”  She demanded.

Oh my god.

I almost got fresh with her.  Then I stopped and I admit it, I lied. “Yes it is, now drink up, and go back under the covers, it is super late.”

It was after midnight by now.

I had been with the kids for nearly twelve hours, that had not been the plan.  I wonder, if I should have asked for overtime pay.  I was certainly starting to be resentful about the hours and I just wanted some quiet time to rest.

She was up when the parents came home.

“I get my special melty purple pill tonight!” She told me when I came in early this evening.

“Give her a Benadryl when she’s getting ready for bed,” mom said tonight as they left the house.  “I hope you had a really wonderful afternoon off,” mom added, “thank you again for you help.”

You betcha.

I had the afternoon off.

I needed the afternoon off to recuperate.

I did not sleep in, as I was not sure when the family was going to need me, and as the adage goes, “make hay while the sun shines,” I was clear they could use me this afternoon if so needed.

I finally got a call from the mom around three pm asking me to come up to the apartment by 4:30pm.


Wrote, meditated, went grocery shopping, check in with my room-mate about room-mate stuff, did a load of laundry, read a book, Joyce Maynard’s memoir, made a tidy hot lunch, and started writing a new piece, which I am scared to write and was completely compelled to literally drop my fork from my lunch, pick up a notebook I had started using as a short story manuscript and begin writing.

The opening line to the work came to me as I was eating and I could not get it out of my head and it was so sharp, compelling, and starkly mad, I had to write it down.  I will admit the source material scares me, it is an intimate story, shocking, it’s mine, and it is about an intimate relationship–the longest one I have ever had–with my mother.

“You should write a book,” John Ater said to me, “this could be your opening piece, you could call it MOTHER.”

“Fuck you,” I said, dashing the tears off my face, and signalling the waitress at the Lucky Penny, that yes, I would like another refill on the coffee, just leave the damn pot on the table, I have a lot of reading yet to do here.

That conversation and the subsequent events in my life, a history that I never thought I would ever write about, it all just boiled up off the back burner in my writing repertoire and spilled all over onto the stove.  Whoa, that is hot, and ready to be dealt with.

The paradox is that I recently, Sunday, had access to a land line that I can call the States from and I called my mom.  We have been in communication again, for the last few years after a very long hiatus, and I had seen her right before moving to Paris.  We have had an honest dialogue and a kind of open communication with each other on a level I have never before known.  It has been a lot of work, but worth it, amending my relationships is what makes me able to have new ones.

“Any romance?”  She asked, “it’s just, well, you’re in Paris, you should have a love in your life.”

Maybe, mom.

Maybe there is, but it is too early to tell, and as of yet, it has not been a romantic experience here in Paris, with the exception of the love affair I have with the city.

“I like listening to how you describe Paris,” he said to me via Skype, his blue eyes, blue, searching, wry.  He licked his mouth, full bottom lip, damn it, knock it off, I thought to myself.  I should never have agreed to Skype, I want to crawl through the screen and bite that lip right back.

Not hard.

But hard enough to get noticed.

Distracted then.

Distracted now, by blue eyes, and a tousled blonde head on my breast, his breath, warm, soft, slow, heavy.

Go to sleep little baby, go to sleep you little baby, you’re a sweet little baby.

We are almost there.

Where ever there is.


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