Posts Tagged ‘walking’

First Book Ordered

July 26, 2019

And summer is done.

Well.

Not quite.

I still have a few weeks before school starts, but I am already doing just a little reading for this upcoming semester.

I said I wouldn’t touch school books until after my trip to Cuba.

I got back Tuesday night at 7a.m.

My god.

My bed was so nice to get into.

I love to travel, I really do, but there is nothing quite like your own bed.

Especially after sleeping 8 nights on a really hard mattress.  I have to admit I was a little let down when I saw my room, but after doing a walking tour of old Havana with a local architect, I got over that shit.

My casa, in comparison to much around me, was really quite nice.

It is one thing to know about the Cuban embargo.

It is another thing entirely to experience it.

The country is poor.

I mean.

Really poor.

And dirty, the streets are disastrous, the cars are all old and there is no smog control, so much exhaust.

So much.

And not actually that many cars, lots of classics, yes, which was fun, I won’t lie, and super cool to see, but there were lots of horses and carts too.

Horses and carts people.

Traveling from Havana to Vinales one day for a trip to visit a tobacco and coffee farm, I counted more horses and carts than actual cars on the freeway.

ON THE FREAKING HIGHWAY.

More horses then cars.

I am not kidding.

These were some of the cars I got to see and go for rides in.  I actually went for more rides in classic cars than regular cars, I didn’t actually take photos of them all.

Sometimes I don’t want to act like a tourist.

Even though I am totally a tourist, I just couldn’t really bring myself to pose on the cars, it didn’t feel like me.

I did, however, quite enjoy cruising around in them, especially when they had A/C.

It was fucking hot.

It was humid.

So humid.

My hair did some batshit crazy things.

And I was constantly sweating.

Er.

Glowing.

I was glowing.

A lot.

 

As you can see, I was “glowing” quite a bit.

I also learned to wear my hair up real fast.

Real fast.

And I was hella grateful that I had brought a travel umbrella.

I actually didn’t use it that much for rain.

There were some showers and one big storm, with hail!

But mostly, I used the umbrella for sun shade.

I was reminded a lot of Burning Man in that regard.  I usually  bring a parasol for the hot days out on playa.

In fact.

Havana reminded me a lot of Burning Man and in some ways having had the experience of going to the event was actually very handy.

I had to bring everything that I wanted or needed.

There were no stores to buy sunblock or extra toothpaste.

I had to use my water filter bottle or buy bottled water, there is no drinking water from the faucets.

Everyone buys bottled water.

Everyone.

It was really dirty, Old Havana is all cobblestone and dirt roads.

I mean.

500 year old cobblestones ain’t clean.

Plus add dogs, cats, and chickens to the mix, garbage, and potholes everywhere.

I’m super glad my friend who had been before cautioned me to wear really sturdy shoes and to bring anything that I might want because I was not going to be able to purchase it there.

I cannot tell you what it was like to see people queuing up for chicken, or to buy one bread roll.

The black market is a real thing there and I found out that I had participated without even knowing it by eating beef one night.

All beef is allocated to the government, restaurants are allowed to have it.

I had it and that means that it was bought on the black market.

Most of the time though I did stick with Cuban classics and I was quite happy with that.

My casa had breakfast every morning, fruit–usually a slice  of watermelon, some papaya, 1/2 a banana and slices of mango with coffee followed by one egg and one slice of avocado.

No bread for me, which my host couldn’t quite understand, but I’m sure she was happy to have the extra roll I sent back each morning.

I dined in a lot of private restaurants, basically in people’s homes.

And I found a couple of cafes that became my haunts, Cafe Bohemia and Papa Ernesto.

Aside, Che Guevero’s given name is Ernesto.

 

This is Cafe Bohemia.

I was so happy to have Pellegrino and mango blended with ice, which they called frappes.  I had a lot of mango.

A lot.

My poop turned orange.

I know.

But it did!

I have never had orange poo before.

Anyway.

The cafe was a life saver as too was Mas Habana.

A restaurant I never would have stumbled upon on my own as it was down a super dirty street with a lot of construction on it.

But I had made a reservation to do a tour of the houses in Old Havana and my host wanted to meet there.

It was a fucking oasis.

An air conditioned oasis.

I went back every day from that point on, either for lunch or for dinner.

On my last day I went there for both lunch and dinner.

I was the queen of beverages at every meal.

San Pellegrino.

Mango frappe.

Cafe con leche.

I had the same amazing appetizer each time, sometimes it was just my meal since I filled up on all the bevvies, tostones rellenos–stuffed fried plantains.

OOOOOH.

So damn good.

Mashed plantains made into patty’s, fried, and then topped with smashed avocado and a shrimp.

I was in heaven.

 

Mas Habana was my little haven.

And on my last night, I splurged and had lobster.

Also black market.

But, fuck it, it was my last night and I knew it was going to be good.

It was in fact, amazing, bathed in a beautiful garlic broth and shelled for me.

All I had to do was scoop it up in a spoon and sigh with delight.

The staff was great and my last night discounted my bill, “for being such a nice customer.”

I am a good tipper.

Once a waitress.

Always a waitress.

I had many more adventures, but I’ve got to get up early tomorrow.

So more pictures to come.

And more tales to tell.

I have a few more days before I need to knuckle back down for school, I promise I’ll show and tell a bit more before I get buried in the reading.

Promise.

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.

IMG_4108

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.

20,650 Steps

June 27, 2018

That’s how much I walked today.

I wasn’t even sure I was going to write this blog.

I just got out of a bath at the Air BnB I’m staying at in Brooklyn and I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes and I could have stayed there all night.

I mean.

I think I was lying there for at least five minutes, maybe more.

I got up though to put on lotion.

My skin has been changing a little, getting a little dryer as I get older and I don’t like how it feels, so I got up, slathered on some lotion and figured I would at least make an attempt at writing something.

I really did walk that many steps.

I actually walked more than that, I didn’t carry my phone with me all day, so there were a couple of flights of steps not counted and some pattering around the house exploring, but mainly, I was on the move today.

From flying out last night to landing here this early afternoon to strolling all over Brooklyn, I had quite a day.

I am pretty damn beat.

I got about three hours of sleep on the plane.

Not my best showing.

But I am sure I will catch up on that tonight.

And since I’m not on a schedule I can sleep as long as I like.

I have two plans for tomorrow.

The first is the Brooklyn Museum to see the David Bowie Exhibition and the Judy Chicago show.

The second is to see an old friend from SF who moved here years ago and go do the deal tomorrow night at 7:30p.m.

He and his girlfriend started something up a little while back that apparently is like what recovery is in San Francisco.

I had to laugh, since I’m a regular attendee at a spot that models itself after recovery in New York.

It’s always better where you got the message first.

So I will get a little piece of San Francisco tomorrow night, which is sweet.

It’s nice to still be connected to friends 13 years later.

I don’t foresee as much walking tomorrow as I did today.

The walking was actually not really planned.

I decided to walk around the neighborhood a little after I had gotten settled in and had taken a nice shower to wash off the airplane travel.

One block lead to another and another and another.

I like the neighborhood.

Very residential, lots of row houses.

God, I love the brown stones in Brooklyn.

And I love the culture of sitting on the stoop or in the front part of the brownstone, what would be a yard, but is just a square of cement patio.

I loved seeing so many people sitting out on the stoops and watching the neighborhood go by.

I felt like I fit in.

I could see living in Brooklyn, this part of Brooklyn anyway, I’m not quite as much of a fan of Williamsburg, which is quaint, but doesn’t have the row house appeal of this part of Brooklyn.

Bed-Stuy, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill.

Gorgeous houses.

They get fancier and fancier the closer to the water you get.

By the time I had walked to the Brooklyn Heights promenade I was pretty in awe of the houses.

So pretty.

Of course, I’ve only been here when it’s warm, I don’t know that I could deal with the winters, I know they are vicious.

I had enough winters being in Wisconsin as long as I was.

It’s warm, the day was warm, not too hot, it will get warmer as I stay.

Today was about 80 degrees, by Saturday it’s supposed to be low 90s.

It’s going to be hot, hot, hot.

But I will enjoy that too, when the sun goes down and I’m still outside walking around in a light weight dress.

I wore my bibs out today and got lots of compliments on them.

I also got lots of compliments on my tattoos.

I was actually surprised to not see more folks with tattoos, could just be the part of the city I’m in, who knows.

I had a conversation outside a coffee shop on Lafayette Avenue with a youngish girl who wanted to pick my brain as she was planning her first tattoo.

We had quite the conversation.

I like that I can just fall into talking with people, it feels nice.

I did have a moment of feeling a tiny bit lonely tonight when I was back at the Air BnB having procured food from the Whole Foods three miles away.

That was the last stop on my walk, and I have to say, I was a bit out of it by that point.

But.

I did manage to wrangle up breakfast food, coffee, snacks, cold brewed coffee, bottled water, and fruit for the rest of the week.

I plan on eating breakfast at the house and then other meals out.

Although I only ate one meal out today, and it wasn’t with much fan fare, though I have to say, it was nice to eat it outside on the patio at the joint I went to in Fort Greene.

Dinner I didn’t have it in me to plan, cook, or go out for, I was too tired after getting back from the grocery store.

I made oatmeal and a hard-boiled egg.

I’m sure I will eat out plenty the rest of the week.

Anyway.

I’m happy to be here and excited for sleep and to see what the rest of the week shall bring.

Here.

Let me at least leave you with a few photos:

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And now.

Now.

It is time for the rest.

Seriously.

 

Let’s Go Out in The Sunshine

May 15, 2017

But before I do.

Let me write my morning pages on the deck of the houseboat and eat a plum.

In my long black, sleeveless dress with my bare feet (well, one bare foot, my right ankle was still wrapped up in its Ace bandage) up on a wooden deck chair.

Still need to rest my ankle when and where I can.

It’s not nearly as bad, but I can tell when it starts to get cranky and then, it’s time to sit, rest, let it go, not push too hard.

I have sat far more this trip than I ever have any prior time here.

I have to say.

It’s damn nice.

I’m not so freaked out that I’m not going to get to have the experiences I want to have.

In fact.

I’m pretty ok with whatever experiences that I continue to have here as they have been simply marvelous.

I will never forget sitting on the deck and drinking coffee and watching the Batobus go by with their tops heavy with tourists.

Not ever.

Nor the way the tree dander floated on the wind along the Seine as I walked the river this afternoon perusing the book sellers.

I picked up a couple of really great postcards and had some nice chats with vendors.

I walked from the houseboat down past Notre Dame and had lunch on Ile St. Louis.

I finally got the crappy Paris service that folks complain about, but I also recognize that I perhaps went too long before having my lunch.

Sometimes the walking just pulls me along and I have to go another block, see another building, watch another couple entwined around one another.

Paris.

You are so enchanting.

I feel enchanted being here.

Like I am in a fairy tale.

I made up for the crap service at lunch by finding a fabulous cafe on the edge of the Marais with bright blue chairs and red tables and had the most fabulous lemonade I have ever had.

And.

A cafe creme.

When in Paris.

ALL THE CAFE CREME PLEASE!

It’s my splurge.

The lemonade was so tart it made my whole face pucker, it had no sugar, which is right up my alley, since I don’t do sugar, but the crushed ice and the big sprig of mint made it a savory, refreshing and delicious.

Sitting in the sunshine didn’t hurt either.

After some slow sipping and sitting I wandered the Marais.

And.

Yes.

Yes, I did.

I hit the fucking jackpot.

I found a papeterie that carried a ton of Claire Fontaine notebooks.

I bought six.

Heh.

I am a very, very, very happy girl.

I also swung into Abraxas Tattoo.

Yes.

I will be getting another tattoo.

You know.

That’s what I do.

I will be going in Wednesday at 3:30p.m.

I will probably do a big swing through the Pompidou prior to getting the tattoo.

I am getting Anticonformiste in script on my left forearm.

A visiting tattoo artist from Nepal, Manish, super kind and we had a great chat about when I was going to come in and what I wanted, will be doing the work for me.

I expect that the tattoo won’t take but an hour.

So I may do the Pompidou after.

But the Pompidou I will do.

Tomorrow I will start the museum circuit.

I have the four-day museum pass and Saturday I have plans to go with a friend to Clingancort on Saturday and well, Sunday, I fly home.

But let’s not talk about Sunday yet.

Today is just Monday.

So.

Back to the Marais, back to my strolls.

Oh.

The reminds me, since I’ll be in the Marais again on Wednesday I should pop into the Marche aux Rouge Enfants.

The Market by the Red Children.

It is located by a former orphanage where the children wore red coats.

Thus the name.

It is a gigantic food market.

Closed on Mondays, so no journeying though the stalls, but it will be open on Wednesday.

I am feeling that is where I will be getting my lunch and maybe taking it to Place Vosges to eat before getting inked up.

Not a plan, but a thought, I make no plans, they melt away, I am just letting myself really experience Paris.

Walking through the Marais I also swung into a couple of stores and yes, I found the perfect black sundress.

Superb!

I am very happy to have found it, not too pricey, 59 Euro, and my goal of finding a dress in Paris is complete.

It almost never happens that fast.

In one day I found my dress, all my postcards, put a deposit down on a new tattoo, and got Claire Fontaine notebooks!

I am set.

I want for nothing.

The rest is icing on the cake.

Tomorrow I will start the round of museums and get the Paris Museum Pass activated by going to the D’Orsay.

The Orangerie is closed, so I might pop into the Louvre as well, there is a Vermeer exhibition happening that I would love to see.

No pressure to do the Louvre in entirety, not that I could, it is so enormous, I can’t even express it, over two city block long, two wings of art, each wing having four floors, there is no way I will ever see everything in the Louvre, ever.

Not that I need to either, I have seen the things that I want and even the infamous, and tiny, Mona Lisa, but the big draws are always too much for me to deal with, too many people, I like the smaller rooms and galleries.

But the Vermeer looks like a really good show, so definitely I will go to that.

Plus.

I know the “secret” entrance to the Louvre in the Tuilleries that helps to skip the massive lines that are the queue for the entrance under the I M Pei Pyramid.

So.

Just a quick zip in and out.

And no agenda.

Really.

I am so happy to be here and I am having a fabulous time.

Really relaxing and slowing down and enjoying the delicious sun and the walking and the houseboat and the cafe creme.

Heh.

Always that.

Bon soir mes amies.

A demain.

Trop grosse bixous!

Friends!

May 14, 2017

I got to see so many friends today, it was almost overwhelming.

And.

It was utterly fucking awesome.

I ran into a lot of the Paris folks that I knew from my time living here and it was just wonderful to double kiss cheeks and catch up in person instead of on Facebook and to touch and smell and see them in three-dimensional time.

I felt very embraced and loved and it was so sweet.

I also got to spend a very special time with a dear friend who was traveling and we overlapped here in the City of Lights and had a walk through the Luxembourg Gardens and then sat at a cafe and talked all things love, life, dancing, friends, music, travel.

The many and numerous big smiles I had on my face today were perhaps too many to count.

I put a few pictures up on my Insta and facecrack pages, but to give one a little idea, let’s just say that the day really couldn’t have started better than to have cafe au lait on the roof top deck of the house boat across the Seine from the Musee D’Orsay.

It really still stuns me that I am here on this boat having a vacation in Paris.

I am here and it is very real and it is slower than I have done the travel here before, said sprain still sprained, although not as bad to get about, lots of ibuprofen, stopping when I need to and taking the Metro instead of walking places I would have normally walked to.

After I left my friend I was walking back from the Luxembourg Gardens to Metro St. Suplice and I had a brief moment of thinking, oh, I should walk back, the light is so damn pretty and I almost did.

Then.

I stopped.

Knock it off.

Don’t stress it out walking too far, take the Metro and rest for a little while before heading out to dinner.

And I actually took my own advice.

I still have a week here and I don’t want to blow out my ankle by trying to force myself to move faster or do more than I am.

It’s ok to go slow.

Sometimes it’s quite lovely to go slow.

To take in all the details.

The patch of weedy dandelions growing out of a seraphim on the top of the Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens.

The sculpture that caught my eye in one of the government houses, that was framed in the window and it was a rear shot and it was hilarious, a gorgeous white marble mooning from two stories up.

I laughed so hard.

It was art and it was farce all at the same time.

The light on the windows of the Palais Royal Louvre at Sunset.

The Japanese girls walking hand in hand wearing the prettiest platform espadrilles and their perfectly manicured toenails, one girl had dark eggplant on her toes, the other a bright cerulean blue.

The sound of a marching procession coming down the Quai D’Orsay, horns and drums and military dressage, it was today that the new French president was inaugurated.

The swirl of cream on the top of my lobster bisque at lunch and the dark roux of the bisque, thick and rich and velvet brown.

The red glass that I filled with water that looked like a blooming rose on the white table-cloth.

The man with the French bulldog at the cafe who had a tattoo of said French bulldog on the back of his leg.

The sunlight coming through a stone edifice window at St. Suplice.

The small children wearing black riding helmets on the ponies in the park.

The boys and girls around the fountain in the middle of the Luxembourg Gardens with their long poles pushing the little wooden sail boats with red and blue sails, back and forth across the water.

The smell of perfume, Chanel No 5, wafting over me from a woman exciting the Metro at Place de la Concorde.

The box trimmed trees at the edges of the Luxembourg Garden.

The blue sky reflected in the water of the Seine.

The greens and blues rippling together.

The spats of rain and the sunshine that followed.

The blue Parisian sky.

The lights of the Eiffel Tower catching me off guard as they began to glitter on the top of the hour.

So many gorgeous little details.

God is in the details.

The white creamy froth on top of a cafe creme.

The butter burr of an older woman’s accent as she ordered her vin rouge at the cafe.

The delicate dressing that was just warmed over the butter lettuce salad I had with my steak tartar at lunch.

I am sure that I am missing so many other things.

As.

The detail girl is very tired now and needs to be wrapping this up.

Time for bed my darlings.

My friends.

Je t’aim toi beaucoup.

I wish you a bon soir.

And the sweetest dreams.

Bisoux.

 

Letting Myself Get Excited

May 3, 2017

I think today it finally sunk in that I am really going to go to Paris soon.

Like I fly out next Thursday.

It has a lot to do with the being done with my papers.

It also has to do with clearing up some housing issues and having all my places situated.

One of the spots I’ll be staying in is actually a place I have stayed in before.

Mama Shelter.

I stayed there when the hotel first opened in 2007.

I got a stellar deal on it since it was new and in a somewhat, not now, but at the time, dodgy neighborhood.

But it was perfect for me.

It reminded me a lot of the area of the Mission that I lived in, dodgy, but charming, easy to navigate and really not a tourist spot.

A bit off the beaten track.

But a very lovely part of off the beaten track.

109 Rue Bagnolet.

It’s in the 20th arrondissement, predominately still a very working class neighborhood.

Not really central, but two, three blocks, five-minute walk to the Metro line 2 and near Pere LaChaise and my very favorite books store Le Merle Moqueuer.

There’s also Le Chat Noir, where I have done open mics, and Rue Denoyez which has some fantastic graffiti and mural art.  I mean there’s some fantastic artists in the 20th, I have a lot of photographs of murals and graffiti from my many walks through the area.

I’m only there one night, though, then staying with a friend in a more central location.

So I’ll get my gritty “real” Paris feel for my first night and rendezvous with my old haunts and cafes and libriaries  before heading toward central Paris for the rest of the trip.

I am so excited.

I was talking about my trip today with my therapist and how it came about and challenges I have had in the past with female friendships and how excited it was to have planned this trip with my French friend in the cohort, how happy I am to have her as a friend and how I have a tough time saying what I need in relationships with women.

I didn’t exactly have the best modeling around female relationships.

We talked about how important my friendships are and how I often feel a bit lonely, so many of my friends have moved out of San Francisco and I have said goodbye to many precious ladies.

I will say good-bye to more as the school year wraps up this weekend and I won’t see some faces until next fall.

And.

Some faces I won’t see at all.

I am sad for that, I will be crushed when my dear friend moves back to Paris, but then again, what a fabulous excuse to get me to go back.

I assure you I will be visiting her a lot.

We have already tentatively talked about next May and I am sure there will be many other trips to Paris to see her sweet face.

And there will be this trip to Paris.

I decided to even let myself do the super uber touristy thing.

Something I have disdained from doing, but um, actually sort of want.

A Paris black zip hoodie.

My friend that I lived with in Paris had one and I secretly loved it but I couldn’t ever bring myself to buy one, somehow it just felt too hokey.

But I realize.

I want one.

So.

Heh.

Expect to see some photograph of me in the near future sporting a black, zip hoodie with Paris emblazoned across the chest.

Fuck it.

I’m only going to live once.

I have also gotten an idea of what I want for my Paris tattoo.

Anticonformiste. 

In script on my left forearm.

I definitely am not someone who conforms much.

Whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

I often find myself doing things differently.

I am also smitten with a monologue on the Bon Entendeur music app that I have on my phone which has actors speaking about moments in their lives, scripts, films, revealing moments, then it’s woven into the tracks, deep house, chill, electro, and one of my favorites that I have been listening to a lot is Astier, Anticonformisme.

The track list is so good.

Astier starts out talking, in French, about how his mother was always drawn to certain people, neither rich or poor, of a certain temperament, that tend to buck the system, to be artists, lovers, musicians, humans, and how he admired this trait in his mother and how she brought him up to appreciate the creative.

I love the monologue and the music is just so good, I’ve been listening to it a lot to have French in my head for the trip.

I will probably queue up Amelie as well as Je t’aime Paris, soon, they are sort of my go to movies to get my ears back into French.

I digress.

Back to my tattoo.

I just thought, what a fucking awesome idea for a tattoo, which is anti-conformist thing to do, getting a tattoo, and it speaks to me, speaks to me of my love for French house music and electro, of being an artist, of doing things outside the box.

I am pretty sure that’s what I am going to get, but I’ll leave it open.

I am going to get a tattoo though.

And yes.

Ha.

My sweatshirt.

Hey, I live in the Outer Sunset, often a land of heavy chilly fogs, I need another hoodie.

I only have three.

Heh.

Oh Paris.

All the things we shall do together.

I am counting down the days.

I am watching the weather forecast.

I am planning my outfits.

I am greedy for you, my love.

I shall be seeing you soon.

Oh.

So.

Soon.

Yes.

 

Number One

April 25, 2017

It’s official.

I have logged my first hour of supervision towards my MFT License for the state of California.

Only 2,999 to go!

Heh.

I’m so happy it’s hard to believe that I could be this excited about having to work so many more hours, free, mind you, or not free if you consider how much I have taken out in student loans to pay for the Master’s in Psychology degree that I am working on, but excited I am.

I also just set up my Track My Hours account, which is a BBS (Board of Behavioral Sciences) approved way of tracking the hours needed to get the license.

It’s happening.

I will be tracking solo supervision with my off site supervisor, once a week.

I met with him today and we talked about being in service to the client, tracking my hours, figuring out what my record keeping was going to be like, confidentiality, my time off for the week I’m in Paris (I can only miss two supervision dates for the semester, Paris will be one of them and Burning Man the other, at least for this semester), and what I want to think about or questions I may have for our next session.

I’ll meet with him two more times before I start taking clients at my internship.

There I will be accruing the majority of my hours for practicum, solo one on one client hours, child hours, couple hours, group hours.

I will also be tracking my own therapy hours, since my program requires I do 50 hours of personal therapy with a licensed MFT as well.

Tomorrow will be my fifth time meeting with her.

I am actually excited to share about getting my first hour of supervision today and what that feels like.

Exciting.

Exhilarating.

Happy.

There’s a very long way to go but I know that I need to acknowledge this milestone, it is a big one, my first hour.

It’s like the first dollar of a new business.

Especially as this is going to be my career, this is what I am doing, this is what I am, a psychotherapist.

I will be licensed and I will have a private practice.

I will also go for my PhD, because, well, I can be of more service in my community, I might as well, as my supervisor at my internship is supporting me in that endeavor.

And.

Ha.

Dr. Martines has a really fucking nice ring to it.

Don’t you think?

I’m really thrilled right now and happy.

I still have loads to do this week, two more papers to write, some more work to get out-of-the-way, but it’s happening, this is happening, one little hour at a time.

One day at a time.

Showing up and suiting up and learning.

God damn.

All the learning.

I also received a verification e-mail from my Couples Therapy teacher, my final paper made it to him.

Grateful that’s out-of-the-way.

And I got a small present, from me, to me, in the mail.

My perfume in a small travel size that I can take with me when I go to Paris.

I ordered it because I knew I would want to smell good when I’m there and it’s another little carrot for me to get the work done so I can go.

I am going to need every single second of that ten days in Paris because life is going to get really full once I get back.

I start my internship the day after I return from Paris.

I will be jet lagged as fuck, but I will be there.

I will also be in supervision that day as well, and a full day of work, and all those things.

I however will be fine.

Ten days in Paris.

So close I can taste it.

I can hear it.

I was talking to my supervisor today about it, he asked where I’m staying, how much French do I speak, what will I do.

I mean.

What won’t I do?

But first.

Here and now.

Therapy in the morning and work and having a conversation with the mom about hours for summer, the kids will not be in school and she wants me to start earlier.

And work more hours.

40 instead of 35.

I’ll be able to do it since won’t be in school.

Neither here nor there, yet.

Just on the horizon.

Day to-day I have my marching orders to get through what needs to be taken care of.

Travel perfume.

Check.

Passport.

Check.

Cute sandals for walking around Paris?

Check.

Place to stay?

Check.

I’ll be grabbing a museum pass at the airport when I fly in and I’ll be off and running, well, walking, one strolls through Paris, not runs, unless one is there to run the marathon, which I am not.

The only marathon I am going to be doing is how many museums can I get to in one day.

If done well, I can get the Jeu de Paume, the Orangerie, and the D’Orsay in one day, they’re all rather close together and accessible.

I can do the Louvre, or not, although if I have the pass I probably will, in one day, and there’s so much that to do anything else except drink coffee, is probably too much.

I’ll do the Pompidou on its own.

I’ll hit the Musee Moderne and the Palais de Tokyo on the same day, they’re right next to each other.

I might go to the Rodin museum.

I will absolutely get myself out to the LVMH that Frank Gehry designed.

And I think I may hit the Musee Marmottan Monet.

Aside from that, walks in the Marais, markets, and Claire Fontaine notebooks.

Oh.

Heh.

And a tattoo.

I will want to do that too.

Perhaps something to commemorate my first hour of supervision.

Yes.

I rather like that idea.

Anyway.

Off to have some tea and get a little rest.

I have much to do.

And do it I shall.

HOUR ONE LOGGED!

Heh.

Sorry.

Just had to say it one more time before I turn in.

It’s kind of a big deal.

 

Sweet Heart

March 8, 2017

That’s what I was called today.

Not by a lover.

Nor a friend.

Not a cat call.

Not someone trying to get something from me.

Nope.

MY BOSS.

That was in response to a message I had sent.

For offereing to make dinner and sending the mom and dad fun pictures of the charges at the park on the slide.

“You’re such a sweetheart!”

I’ll take that.

It feels really quite nice to be in my job right now, it’s been just a touch over two months and I really feel a part of.

Sometimes that can be challenging as I am navigating waters I haven’t had much experience with, English as a second language for the kids, but I’m figuring it out and it’s been an adventure.

Most times I don’t have a problem when my family speaks in their mother tongue.

In fact, it’s kind of nice to not know what someone is saying.

Their language is not a romance language.

I know I’m being vague, but I have a signed confidentiality agreement and I feel like if I go into too many details it would not be cool.

I’ll leave it at I’m happy to be with them and I feel very appreciated.

Which just makes me want to do a better job.

I am grateful for them.

I have been grateful for every job that I have had, regardless of conflict or challenge, because they have led here and here is pretty fucking awesome.

I feel good.

I feel serene.

I feel easy in my skin.

I have my school work ready for this upcoming weekend of classes.

I was able to run some personal errands today at work, while running errands for the family, and I was able to grab some toiletries and household things I’ll need for over the weekend.

I was able to run to the grocery store after work before doing the deal and get some fruit and veggies and almond milk to have in the house to supplement the food I made over the weekend for class.

I even got to sneak in a visit with a friend who I have not seen in a little while who I have been trying to hang out with.

Totally serendipitous and partially because I had a cancellation tonight.

My person and I were supposed to meet, but he got the flu and I ended up having a tiny chunk of time that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I connected with my friend, got to get my “I’m going to Paris in May,” dork on, and then when the clock was getting late, scoot on out the door, hop on my scooter and zoom zip across town.

And now I’m home.

Cozy.

Sipping hot tea and blogging.

Listening to St. Germaine and dreaming about my trip.

I am so excited to get to go again.

I am remiss that my friend, with whom I had planned the trip won’t be able to go, but hey, she’s got a great reason, she’s close to term with twins and can’t fly.

So.

Yeah.

She’ll be staying here.

I’m sad that I won’t get to experience Paris with her, but I’m cool on my own in Paris, I get along just fine.

And I will have friends there.

Because I have friends that live there and folks I know in the fellowship.

And a friend of mine will be visiting there with his mom.

He was supposed to come and visit me when I was living there but we missed each other.

I’ll get to be his tour guide for him and his mom for a few days, I think they overlap and are either going to London or Rome part of the time I’m in Paris.

I will be there ten days.

Ten days.

Dreamy sigh.

In May.

Another big dreamy sigh.

I’m so happy I’ll be going in spring, especially since the last two times I was there was during winter and it was cold.

And dark.

And grey.

I remember a dear friend of mine saying to me when I moved back how happy she was that I was back in San Francisco, in California, in the sun, that all the pictures I had taken in Paris when I lived there were lovely, but so grey and dark and depressing.

Paris is dark, grey, cold and depressing in the winter.

It is true.

Romantic, gothic, gorgeous.

But.

Cold, dark, and depressing for sure.

So to get to go in May, when the nights are shorter, the days are longer, and the weather is warmer.

Yes.

And more yes please.

Walks along the Seine.

Trips to the Jeu de Paume–the modern art photography museum.

Walks through the Tuilleries.

Walks in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Walks in Bois de Bologne.

Walks in the Marais.

Walks, and walks, and more walks.

And then.

Sitting in cafes.

Drinking cafe creme and people watching.

Then.

More walking.

The marches, the markets, the brocantes, the flea markets, the book stalls, the vintage clothes and jewelry.

Oh yes, that too.

And.

I have friends who are musicians.

I need to go to some nightclubs.

I didn’t do that too much when I lived there, although I did go to one big underground show that blew my lid off.

I knew the dj who was spinning and had no clue the venue was going to be so big and so packed.

It was amazing.

I also know a jazz saxophonist, a blues singer and a jazz singer.

I could get some late night jazz on in Paris.

Yes.

Oh, yes, I could.

I will also get myself a couple of things that I didn’t get to when I was there last.

I need another hat.

I want a market basket purse from either Marche des Rouge Enfants in the Marais or another canvas sack from Le Merle Moquer, my favorite bookstore in Paris.

And something small and whimsical from Fleux, a store in the Marais that has amazing household items, reminds me a tiny bit of Ikea, but super cool, chic, fun, unusual things.

I got my hot pink bunny Pylon bank there when I was living in Paris.

And.

When I was last there I scored a pickle jar lamp that has a miniature Eiffel Tower on the bottom of it.

It is just so quaint and sweet and I adore it.

I turn it on and it always makes me smile.

Ah.

So much to smile about.

Life.

Well.

Life is fucking good.

That’s what.

Seriously.

Life.

Is.

So.

Damn.

Good.

God Damn!

June 6, 2016

She shouted as she got onto the beach.

“It’s fucking freezing out here,” she squealed wrapping her bare arms around herself.

I chuckled inside.

I was wearing leggings, a long sleeve shirt dress, cardigan, and my hoodie, one of the four in my closet, yo.

Yeah.

I was rocking the flip flops, but I don’t like sand in my shoes, I get that enough at work with the boys when we go to the playground.

This is not, of course, the first time I have heard such an exclamation from some one getting off the N-Judah at the end of the line.

Welcome to the Sunset.

It’s fucking cold out here.

My heater is on.

Not on high, but it’s on.

I just got back in from my second, yes, second, bike ride of the day.

Neither one of them was real long, but they both got my heart rate up, and it was quite nice to come home to my cozy, good smelling, little home and turn up the heat a little to warm up the studio.

I was thinking today, why hasn’t some one started a sweatshirt stand out here?

I mean, seriously, I might make a mint.

Or you’d think San Fran Psycho would open a pop up or something at the end of the train line, just would hoodies and hats and probably some scarves.

They’d make bank.

I saw another gaggle of girls, who from the talk sounded like they were coming from the sacred inner city warmth of the Mission district, bleat like small lambs to the slaughter as the minced up the dunes toward the beach in bikinis and cut off shorts.

“It’s so cold!”

And repeat.

I had a nice little day in my neighborhood.

Despite waking up with dread on my chest like a weight of demise and ruin.

What the fuck?

I had a fantastic night last night, why the anxiety, the dread?

Well I know.

I have that thing upstairs that likes to ruin shit for me, my brain, that is.

So.

I just did what I do best.

The next thing in front of me.

And a lot of writing this morning.

I finished up my notebook that I bought in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo over Christmas when I was there visiting.

I opened up my Brooklyn notebook.

Or I suppose, I should say, my New York notebook.

Which I had bought when my friend and I hit the Strand.

A very dangerous place for me to be considering my fondness for the written word.

I did get sucked in, I did, until I realized that I could buy any and all of the books that I had in my hand in San Francisco, and that the weight of the books would not be fun in my suitcase on the way home.

I bought, rather, notebooks, some stickers, a magnet, and today I opened up one of those notebooks.

It was the one I had started when I was staying at the Air BnB in Clinton Hill.

The one that I slapped the Gorilla Coffee sticker on.

I also, happily, glue sticked my Paul Simon ticket from last night’s show in there too.

I have ticket stubs from the Brooklyn Museum, the MOMA, the New Whitney.

A postcard I got at the MOMA of a Warhol Marilyn with a pink background.

Stickers from the Brooklyn Museum.

The business card, which was really a clever word balloon cut from a book, from the art studio I got the private tour of, Doug Beube, as well as the business card from Mat Moreno [sic] which looks like a Metro card, who gave me the tattoo at Three Kings Tattoo in Green Pointe.

I also have their sticker.

There’s a few other things in there and I am always so grateful that I do that, scrap book a little, they are sweet, small tokens of my time.

So.

Yes.

Lots of writing.

Then some phone calls to my people.

It always helps to just drop a message and say, I know I’m being crazy, my brain wants me to have things to do, stuff to ruminate on, all I have to do today is show up to the 7:30 p.m. thing up at St. Gabe’s and just take the rest of the day as it comes.

One moment at at time.

And it all works out.

I think, no, I know, God damn it, I am getting old, that part of my unease was sleeping in as “late” as I did.

Gah.

I remember sleeping until 5p.m. before and rushing to get myself to the bar to work by 6p.m.

Not any more.

10 a.m. is sleeping in.

10:30 a.m.

Fuck.

That’s heresy.

I screwed my whole day.

That was the story, oh fuck off narrative, I was telling myself, I had wasted the day already, even before it had begun.

Might as well just make it a rotten one.

Wait.

Stop.

Pause.

Breathe.

Pray.

Try again.

Call another person.

Ask how they are doing.

Go buy some groceries up the street.

Then.

Oh.

Novel idea.

Cook the food.

Ha.

I actually made a really fucking delicious dish today, I haven’t made it in a long time and I must be craving something, because it was calling.

Basically I made a sort of stew.

Turmeric seasoned brown rice with a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

And.

Chicken, shrimp, and mussels sauteed in their own juices with a little garlic, chopped onion, Basil, Oregano, Parsley, lots of sea salt, I like things salty, ahem.

Then I threw in four green zucchinis chopped up with a can of black olives and some crushed tomatoes and let it simmer in the pot on the stove.

It was hella good.

I froze some and put up the rest for meals at work this week.

Love taking care of myself.

Although.

There, it snuck in, for just a moment, man I wish I was cooking for someone.

Ok now.

Stop it.

I hate this trope my disease likes to throw out.

It has not been working for me lately though, I’m like, over you, shut up, move on, been there, done that.

I recalled my conversation with my friend last night after the Paul Simon show and how sometimes the solution is just to do some fucking exercise.

Yes.

Hop on the bike.

I took a short bicycle ride and felt much better.

And.

Yes.

There is an afternoon yoga class.

Sign up for it.

Ok.

And fuck it.

So what if it’s grey, take a walk to the beach.

I was on the beach for an hour, talked with the moms for a half hour, did my daughterly duties, and then I collect sand dollars like pennies from heaven.

Seriously.

I have never found so many whole sand dollars on a walk on the beach.

I could set up a sand dollar and sweat shirt shop on the beach if I don’t make it through grad school.

She sells seashells by the seashore.

I found nine or ten and some pretty stones and sea glass.

I picked out the ones that pleased me the most and put the rest back for some one else to happily discover.

I got back here.

Hopped into my yoga clothes.

Got on the mat and got happy.

Then a hot shower, God, I swear, is a hot shower.

And.

Dinner was a repeat of the delicious.

Then, yeah, fuck it, ride the bike up to St. Gabe’s.

And like that.

My day.

Two bike rides, cooking, writing, long walk on the beach, ahem, collecting shells (yeah, I am a girl like that, shut up), yoga, and doing the deal.

Even when my head tells me, lies to me really, that my life is not enough.

It so obviously is.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

 

Warm and cozy.

Down by the sea.

Wrapped up in my music and the love of the day.

Nigh y’all.

Happy Sunday.

It was smashing.

Seriously.


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