Posts Tagged ‘walks’

Ooh La La

May 19, 2017

Je suis fatigue.

I am tired.

I was up at 6 a.m.

I couldn’t sleep.

Oh.

I tried.

But gave up the goose around 6:20 a.m.

I popped up and decided to head out to a spot over by the Arc de Triomphe to see some fellows this morning at 8 a.m.

I arrived with plenty of time and was able to grab a quick cafe creme at Comptoir de L’Arc, a little cafe I got turned on to by a friend when I lived here four and a half years ago.

And!

I got a message from that friend today, she’s going to be in town for a quick visit and we are going to meet up at a spot tomorrow with a few other fellows, hang out, do the deal, and go to some French fellowship after.

I am super excited.

I may be super exhausted, but I’m going to sleep when I’m dead.

Or.

Perhaps after I write my blog.

I really did make a big run on the day.

Up so early I felt like I got a scandalous amount of things done today.

One of which has been on my list of things to do in Paris that I never quite got to the last few times I was here.

I went to Marche Aux Enfants Rouge this morning after doing the deal.

I bought cherries and Belle Pomme de Boskop!

My favorite apples in Paris, I believe that they come from Belgium, but they are the apples I used to buy at the market at Square D’Anvers when I lived next to it.

I took my booty to the park nearby, Parc du Temple, sat on a bench and watched the children play in the playground and the ducks paddle about in the pond.

It was spectacular.

Quiet.

Serene.

I had a moment, a Paris moment, and I almost laughed out loud, this, this sitting still on a park bench in a quiet park, off the beaten tourist track, in a sweet neighborhood in the 3rd Arrondisement, may have been one of the highlights of my trip.

It was so serene.

Sometimes a girl has to fly around the world to sit still.

I’m sure I’ll have other opportunities to sit still, although perhaps not tomorrow, as a friend and I are heading to Clingancourt early, but I will give it a shot.

Speaking of friends.

There is nothing, and I mean, nothing quite like bumping into a friend at random in the Marais.

It was amazingly serendipitous.

We walked all over the Marais, chatted, caught up, window shopped.

And.

Ha!

I got my Paris sweatshirt!

Except.

Heh.

It’s not exactly a sweatshirt.

It’s so much better.

And.

It’s so damn me.

It’s a pink satin bomber jacket that I got to have custom patches put on it.

There’s one on the right arm that says Rue Cambon, 1st Arr.

Rue Cambon is where all the fashion house are.

And.

The patch on the back.

Rue de Mauvais Garçon, 3rd Arr.

Literal translation:

Street of the Bad Boys.

Yeah.

I will run with that.

I haven’t had an impulse buy like that in some time and with that I am pretty tapped to with my spending.

I have gotten all my booty and then some.

In fact.

I am a shopped out, museum’ed out, and just about walked out.

My ankle is holding up and I am super glad I go the walking shoes, and I have been careful to not push too hard.

I can easily go too hard too fast.

Which is why I am very happy that I took time today to sit down and watch ducks for a while.

And despite being tired, which frankly makes it harder for me to speak French when my brain isn’t running on a full nights sleep, I got wonderful compliments about my French several times today, and many times over the course of my time here.

I was told by one person that my French was so pretty and where was I from.

He was shocked when I told him that I was from the states.

“But you have no American accent!”

Thank God.

Not that I’m not happy I’m where I’m from, but it does help tremendously to not have the American accent, there is much that is disparaged here about America and sometimes, well, it’s just nice to slide under the radar.

Not that I slide very far under the radar.

I am still quite noticeable in Paris.

I have tattoos you know.

But.

It’s also nice to be recognized.

I had dinner again at a little place by the Musee D’Orsay on Rue de Bac called Cocorico.

The waiter waved me to the table I had last night, the owner came over and chatted with me and we talked about where I was from, again, surprised that I was from America, with my lack of accent, about me being on vacation, that today I was tired, but happy to be eating in her lovely restaurant.

She asked me what I had been doing and I told her, walking and museums and then I told her about the show at the Orangerie and the amazing installation there and she got excited and said she was going to go.

It was a super treat to be chatted with in such a manner, I’m not a local, but I wasn’t treated like a tourist.

She bought my cafe creme for me and when I went to leave she asked my name, “Carmen,” I said, “comme l’Opera.”

Carmen, like the opera.

“Enchante,” she replied, ” je m’appelle Odette.”

I told her it was such a pleasure to meet her and that I was so happy to enjoy her delicious food and I wished her a good night and a good weekend.

I floated out the door.

It’s the little things.

I felt very special.

Thank you Paris for dressing me up in pink satin jackets and making me feel noticed and loved.

It means the world.

It really does.

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!

How Did I Do All That?

April 17, 2017

I mean.

I am not really sure, but man, it flowed, lovely and smooth from one experience to the next.

Until now.

Sitting here at my table doing my little evening routine, listening to some old school-house music, Tortured Soul, in my bunny slippers, it is Easter after all, with my belly full of warm homemade soup, I am rather astounded.

I am.

I got a lot done.

There is still so much more to do, I have so much paper writing yet to attack, but I know how I am going to handle two of my papers, which is a relief, sometimes just knowing what I am going to write about makes the process so much less stressful.

It’s still anxiety making.

I mean.

I have three papers due.

Yet.

I took a huge leap forward today.

It started slow and it started with not wanting to get out of my bed when the alarm went off, but I knew that danger, and I knew I wanted to go to the earlier yoga class this morning, I had to be up in the Castro to do some homework by a certain point and going to a later class wouldn’t have worked.

And.

I just knew I needed up and out.

The class was hard, but really good and I’m grateful I went.

I had a lovely breakfast here at the house (organic oatmeal with banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, raw cocoa, sea salt, and blueberries; a soft-boiled egg,  and an amazing toasted coconut/almond milk latte) and did some morning page writing.

I checked my syllabus, packed my books, got my notebook, my class folder, and put on some makeup, pulled my hair up in a bun, hopped into my rain boots and headed to the MUNI.

I caught the N-Judah to the J-Church.

I read the entire time.

I finished two chapters in my Trauma reading.

As well as getting into a third on my ride back from the Castro.

I got off the train at the Castro Street Station and marveled with glee at the little rainbow lights lining the escalator.

How I do love you San Francisco.

I do so much.

I strolled through the main drag with my umbrella and my rain boots and smiled at all the fellas in their Easter finery.

I ran a couple of errands then went up to Firewood Cafe.

I met with my person and another friend for lunch then we adjourned to another friends apartment up on Noe and 19th.

God.

Rent control.

How I envy folks who have it.

The apartment is a huge one bedroom with front room, dining room, big bathroom, hard woods, fireplace, huge kitchen.

I was definitely having some apartment envy.

It was the perfect place though, the big couch in the front room, the table, the chair I put in front of the couch.

We all got settled and I started the recording on my phone.

And this time I got it!

I got a half hour session of a Couples Therapy dyad.

“You’re good!” They both exclaimed after we finished the session.

Thank you guys!

It felt really good.

I had a few moments when I was unsure which way to go or what to say, but I didn’t think to hard about it and I noticed my counter transference and actually noted to myself in the session, “hey!  That’s countertransference! Remember that!”

Of course, now, in this moment, I have no solid clue what it was or what it was in regards too, but I knew I had it and I used it in the session and I know that when I go back and listen to the recording again I’ll be able to hear it in the recording.

So happy I got that out-of-the-way.

And while I was on the train riding to the Castro to meet with my friends who were going to help with the project, I had an idea about what to write for my Trauma paper.

Very happy about that.

Part of my “stress” if you want to call it that, is that I need to listen to things again before I write the paper, I can’t just pick up a book or a class reader or an article or my notebook and get the information there.

I have to take an extra step for each paper and listen to a recording, break down what is happening in the recording and use it for the papers.

It is a lot more work than a normal paper for me.

That being said, I feel so much more competent about what I will be writing about and I feel a lot better about the state of my papers.

No.

I did not do any paper writing today.

Although I did write a lot.

I thought about it, but I also didn’t want to stress myself out about it.

If I got to it, great, but that I did so much footwork for the material that will go into the writing, for two different papers, is huge.

I actually accomplished a lot.

Plus.

I got to see two wonderful men in my life who mean so much to me and have a nice Sunday lunch and walk underneath the cherry trees in the Castro and be seen and be helped.

It was truly lovely.

I hopped back on the train and was heading back to the house and my smart feet actually hopped up when I hit Church Street Station.

It was ten of four.

Oh!

I could go check out a spot I used to go to way back in the day.

And I did.

And it was good.

I got to see some folks I haven’t seen in a long time and get grounded and then hop back on the train and come home.

Home.

Home to cook my soup.

I made homemade hot and sour soup today.

I took a large Mason jar of my chicken stock (made from last weeks roasting chicken), 1 bag of large wild caught shrimp, a container of organic tofu that was cubed, a small box of Hen of the Wood mushrooms, a small box of crimini mushrooms and tossed them in my soup pot.

I added a good heavy splash or five of Bragg’s Amino Acids, instead of soy sauce, loads of fresh ground white pepper, some rice vinegar, ground ginger, garlic and sliced in a fat organic carrot and some chopped Swiss Chard (I would have used bok choy, but the store was out and the chard actually worked really well).

I put it on the stove, set it to simmer and then realized it was going to be at least an hour before it was ready.

I could do more reading.

Or.

I could sneak in another yoga class.

Yoga won.

I slipped into the studio three minutes before it started.

It was not Vinyasa yoga, like I did this morning, but restorative.

I could not have done another Vinyasa class.

But restorative, lots of slow, soft, warm stretching, yes ma’am.

It was perfect.

I got back, tasted the soup, oooh, added a little more white ground pepper, lit some candles, put on my bunny slippers and had myself an amazing dinner.

The soup was so good.

Umami bomb.

I am astounded and I have a new favorite.

I am very happy how my Sunday went.

Not upset that I didn’t get the writing done I was thinking I might, but I got the things done that I needed to do and I did exquisite self-care.

Happy day.

I saw friends, chosen family, ate delicious food, did yoga, not once, but twice! Made tons of progress on my homework and walked underneath blooming cherry trees in one of the prettiest cities in the world.

Where I live does not suck.

Nope.

I am the luckiest girl.

I really am.

And now I’m ready for Monday.

Night all.

xoxoxoxo

 

 

End Days

December 15, 2016

I had my last day with the family up in Noe Valley today.

My key ring is just a little bit lighter.

And my heart a little bit softer and sad.

But a sweet kind of sad.

A grateful kind of melting in my heart, all the brood wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, even the dog cuddled under my arm, the oldest boy reading his own book, the middle boy and I counting meerkats in the find the meerkat book, and the littlest girl on my lap intermittently reading Pete the Cat with me.

It was pretty awesome.

We even had a special bubble bath, heaps of bubbles and finger painting soap.

It was hilarious.

I was a little remiss to discover that I had the full afternoon to myself and the baby and the boys were getting picked up by grandma to do cookie baking.

I had thought I would have all three the whole day.

I had plans.

Oh well.

But.

I still got to have some time alone with all of them and it was good.

I also kicked myself a little for not bringing my Psychopathology with me to work on, I could have knocked out another couple of hours.

But this morning I decided I wasn’t going to lug around all the books and notebooks, I have never had a Wednesday when I was able to get time alone to do homework.

Let alone breathe, most of the time juggling three is a new level of nannying for me.

It was good practice though and the experience will not be lost on me as I transition to the next family and their soon to be three children–mom is due on December 30th.

I start on January 2nd.

That’s not so far away and yet feels like years away.

So much in between here and there.

Just knocking them out day by day.

Doing yoga.

Got up again today and went.

It was hard.

Super fucking hard.

There are some poses that my body just can’t get to, I’m too tight, too stiff, have had too much damage done, bad ankles, bad knees.

I leaked tears.

I have a really hard time doing any of the squatting poses and I tried, I really did, but between the shoulder that’s been a pester and my ankles being awful (I mean I may have sustained that ankle injury two years ago, but that bitch flairs up all the time, ALL the time) I ended up seizing up.

My legs cramped.

I got a Charley horse.

And my foot began to cramp.

I fell out of the pose and tried to catch my breath in child’s pose while the rest of the class blithely went about doing it as if it were nothing.

I cried, but it was not an angry kind of cry.

It was sort of surrendering to the moment cry and the tears were yes because I was in pain, but also, there was some emotional baggage there that I just didn’t even realize until a little more time had pass and the class was winding down.

As I lay there on the mat, eyes closed, tears sliding down my face, I made an amends to myself.

Out of nowhere, this part of me just sobbed, inside, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

And then.

I forgave myself.

I beat my body up.

I used my body as a shield.

I over ate to protect my too tender heat not realizing how harmful it was going to be later down the line.

I took relief and succor where I could find it.

It did not serve.

My brain perhaps, it alleviated the pain of being in my body, in this world, with all the suffering contingent therein.

I didn’t know any better.

And I did the best I could.

I wore shitty shoes and didn’t exercise and ate crap for decades.

Until I didn’t.

But it took awhile and instead of going to that place I do sometimes in my brain when I want to explain to everyone around me why I can’t do something, why my body, older by far than the whippet lithe bodies of twenty year olds around me, wasn’t capable of doing what everyone else could do, I stopped.

I don’t need to tell anyone my story, I don’t need to justify my experience, I don’t have to explain.

I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

All that matters is that I showed up.

And when I think about all the abuse I have been through and all the abuse I have heaped upon myself and all the things I put into my body, well, fuck, thank  God I still have a body to walk around in, to do yoga in, to make love in, to sleep in, to enjoy eating food in.

Because if life were fair.

I’d be dead.

Seriously.

So as I lay on that mat, softly tearing up, welling with emotions, I forgave myself, I forgave myself for it all and I made a promise, to my body, from my heart, I will do the best I can to take care of you, body, I will love you and nourish you and treat you kindly and exercise and keep showing up for yoga and it will be a life long amends.

I felt soothed and relieved and wiped out and it wasn’t even time to go to work yet.

A hot shower.

A hot cup of coffee.

Some oatmeal.

And work.

And love.

And yeah, so I didn’t get to that paper today, it would have been interrupted anyway, I did have a wonderful day with the baby and the boys and I took a long walk and I wrote the last of my Christmas cards and I sent out little reminders to friends about Sunday and brunch on my birthday.

My birthday feels so far away.

Until I finish the last paper, it all feels very far away.

Anyway.

Right here.

Right now.

I’m tired.

I’m going to make some more tea and snuggle into my cozy bed, watch my Christmas tree, revel in my body, grateful for all the places it has carried me today.

So grateful to be in this body.

Especially.

As I sit quietly waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in.

Seriously.

Deleting Photographs

November 3, 2016

Listening to jazz.

Specifically Art Tatum.

The scratchy sound of the needle dragging though the vinyl is succulent and the glow in my cozy, sweet home is warm and inviting.

I’m deleting photographs in waves.

I had over 10,700 on my hard drive.

They have all been safely moved to my external drive and I’m now in the process of deleting them off my laptop.

I have to say it’s challenging.

There’s a tiny part of me that wants to not delete them, what if they didn’t transfer?

But they did.

And the photos are taking up way too much space on my laptop.

It’s been running slow, telling me constantly to delete files, disk is full.

Yeah.

Yeah.

I hear you, I’m working on it computer.

Thanks to my special help, it takes a village, it does, I was able to secure my pix and now, ha!  Now I can take more.

Well.

Not yet.

But soon.

I’m figuring January.

I’ll be flush enough to get a new camera.

I’m not sitting horribly at the moment, but I did buy a ticket to Wisconsin and a ticket to Paris this past month, just paid rent, just wrote the check from my health insurance and bought my mom her birthday present.

I’ll be sending that off tomorrow.

I love sending presents.

I love the idea of seeing someone’s face when they get something I have gotten for them.

I like to give.

I’m a giver.

Shocking.

I know.

When I have been in financial straits I tend to make things, and truth be told, I’m thinking about doing that this year.

I’m not really in straits, I’m just not as flush as I would like.

I’m doing ok and I’m not going to stress, but I was also thinking that I love cooking and it might be nice to make chicken soup for friends at school.

Last year around this time I went over to a friend’s house and cooked food for him for what probably lasted him weeks if not a month while he was going through a challenging time.

Cream of broccoli soup with cheddar cheese and bacon.

And.

Chili with sirloin and three kinds of beans.

Plus a huge pan of cornbread.

It was right around this time, I do remember, it might have actually have been Halloween, I remember there were trick or treaters going around and I used candied corn and bacon, because I roll like that, in the pan of cornbread I made.

I miss baking.

I don’t miss eating it, though I can get nostalgic for it.

But I do miss baking.

Sometimes I wish I could just get all the stuff and bake up a storm like I used to when I lived in Wisconsin.

Sugar cookies with frosting.

Brazil nut toffee.

Popcorn balls.

Fudge.

With and without nuts, but frankly, it’s so much better with nuts.

I miss making cheesecakes and pies, pumpkin pies and apple pies especially at this time of year.

I miss that feeling that, warm, soft glowing feeling that I got as I puttered around my kitchen, mixing and measuring, baking, and kneading, frosting sugar cookies.

I do.

I always get a bit nostalgic for it when I’m heading into the holidays.

The photographs I have been deleting also reminded me of that.

I’m currently in the middle of the 1,000s of photos I took when I lived in Paris.

And I have to say.

Fuck.

I’m a pretty damn good amateur photographer.

There were some really good shots.

And I loved seeing the Paris around Christmas time photographs.

The lights were so gorgeous.

Definitely different from what you see in the states, but they had an allure.

I was also so broke when I lived there, taking pictures was all I could afford to do.

Although I did splurge during the holidays.

Mostly on postage.

I sent my family and friends postcards and Christmas cards from Paris.

I found a photograph of my table, one of my favorite perches at the neighborhood cafe at that was on the same corner where I lived, Rue de Bellefond, in the 9th, Odette and Aime.

I had a glass of water.

A cafe allonge, which is basically an Americano, or a black coffee–I was already skimping on the milk, the cafe cremes were just too pricey.

My notebook.

My bag of pens.

And tons of cards and postcards and stickers from the librairie that was by Square D’Anvers that I made myself a nuisance at.

I couldn’t really afford the pens and paper there, but I would treat myself once in a while, I would buy a card or if I was feeling extravagant, a Claire Fontaine notebook, I would wander the aisles and look at everything.

I was very polite to the owners and once that got used to me and the fact that I always bought something, even if it was tiny, went along way.

Bonjour Madame.

Bonjour.

And I would wile away the time in the aisles longingly caressing the notebooks and smelling the good paper smell.

I love paper.

I love books.

I love, love, love the way they feel and look and well, Paris was a hard place for that luxury when I was living there.

When I went back last Christmas I gave myself carte blanche to buy whatever I wanted to paper wise.

I actually had a challenging time with it for a little while.

Grow up poor and in scarcity, even when there is none, even when I had fat Euro, for me, in my pocket, Euro that was not needing to go to rent or groceries, or god forbid a cafe creme, I had a hard time spending it.

For a few days I was acting as though I couldn’t part with them.

I actually forced myself the first time to buy a notebook at a papeterie my first day there.

Yes, there are paper stores there.

Exclusively paper and pens and auto collants.

STICKERS.

God I love me some stickers.

Shut up.

I did get past it and I did allow a few splurges.

But truth be told.

I could have let myself have more.

That’s a thing.

Letting myself have more.

Nice coffee.

Nice candles.

Nice hair products.

It’s ok to take care of myself.

I still want to give, I do love gifting, there is just something about it, but I also want to let myself have things.

Whether it is an experience, which is usually where I spend my money–traveling.

Or.

A nice pair of pants.

I deserve to have nice things.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

Lest I forget.

And the best thing about the photographs?

They remind me, gently of how far I have come.

When I moved back from Paris three years ago I was broke.

I mean.

I had ten dollars in my wallet.

I have come a long fucking way.

Let me tell you.

And I’m so grateful for the perspective.

And that I documented my experience.

The photographs have been a joy to relive.

Looking forward to making more.

Having more.

Allowing more into my life.

Happy.

Joyous.

And.

Free.

Yes.

Yes, please.

Yes, always.

New Orleans Lunch

July 3, 2016

I had it today.

Not lunch exactly, although I did eat quite well, but what is referred to as having a “New Orleans Lunch.”

My host at the luscious Air BnB I am staying at in the historic (what part of New Orleans is not historic, by the way) Treme district, explained to me as she was making late reservations for Friday lunch at Galatoire’s in the French Quarter, that a New Orleans lunch is a lunch that lasts all afternoon and is really an excuse for old friends to catch up with each other.

It lasts at least two hours, usually three, sometimes four.

Today lunch was three hours for me.

I have not had a more enjoyable lunch with better company in some time, not in recent memory, that is certain.

She was a new friend, so I suppose that the idea of old friends catching up did not apply, but she felt like an old friend, in fact, by the time we had finished our time together, me teary eyed with gratitude and love for the experience, she had become an old friend.

I did not start out the day knowing that this would happen.

I am so grateful.

Utterly and completely and sincerely grateful that I say yes to things, always say yes, say yes, even when you don’t want to, say yes when a stranger touches your arm and asks you out to lunch.

Say yes.

I had started out the day in a very leisurely manner.

Which was really needed after yesterday’s travel and hit the ground running start to my time in New Orleans.

I was not able to blog last night since there was a problem with the WiFi here at the Air BnB, which is just scrumptious as I said previously, with just enough Southern Gothic creepy, but not too much, I mean, yeah, I did have a moment of wariness when I knelt down to pray last night before the sleigh bed that is four feet off the ground, what is underneath this monstrous thing? But a divine space, even with the cobwebs in the corner, filled with enormous, stunning, astounding amounts of art.  The owners are collectors, artists, collaborators, and are also a part of the CANO-LA organization.

It’s basically an art home.

So chock full of art, it’s almost, but not quite, too much.

The hostess gave me the best suggestion as to how to spend my afternoon, I wanted to be to the conference to check in by 6p.m. last night, so I had the afternoon.

She drew a little map and told me to go to the New Orleans Museum of Art and then take the Canal St. Street Car down to the river and walk about.

I did exactly that.

It was divine.

I decided to walk from the mansion, to the museum yesterday, I wanted to see New Orleans from foot for a while, I find that the best place to discover and experience things.

I took a bath first in the amazing bathroom that is part of my room, which is really not a room, I really have a full suite, huge bedroom, huge ( I mean huge, the bathroom is literally the size of my studio) bathroom, and my own, again, rather large, front balcony with rocking chairs and lounge chairs and a gigantic table, and a view, of I kid not, a huge nest with six (!) baby grey crested herons.

Then I was off to the museum on foot, after a pit stop at the Pagoda cafe to get an iced coffee.

Google maps said 40 minute walk.

It took me two and a half hours.

But.

You know.

I wander.

I meander.

I stop and take photographs.

I had a beautiful, sweet, small lunch at the Degas Cafe, a gorgeous little plate of gulf prawns with okra and corn choux and chili oil.

I walked around the St. Louis Cemetery #3.

I stopped at a wig shop.

Come on!

I had to.

I browsed through a vintage store.

And I strolled around City Park for a little while before heading into the museum.

There was a great exhibition by Bob Dylan, yes the musician, of paintings he did in homage to New Orleans.

There was a spectacular Monet that I had never seen before, Snow at Giverny.

There was also a Warhol, Stilettos, that was amazing, never seen it before either, not in books or other Warhol shows.

I got my art on.

Then I took the street car down Canal Street, wandered around the edges of the French Quarter and after headed to the conference.

I came back to the Treme district and had an amazing dinner at Lola’s and then slept like a baby through the night.

As I said prior, I didn’t have much of an exact idea what I was going to do today.

I knew I would be heading to the conference in the evening.

But.

Other than that.

I was rather in a mood to let the day unfold and surprise me.

Which it did.

In spades.

I started again at Pagoda cafe and got my iced coffee.

I flipped through a little guide book my hosts had left me and decided to go the Marigny district to see the galleries there.

I took a car, it was too hot to spend an hour walking, besides, I walked so much yesterday my feet needed a break.

I went to the Front Gallery on St. Claude.

And.

Fuck.

It was closed for an installation.

However, there were some other galleries in the neighborhood, so I did an impromptu art walk and discovered a gorgeous installation at the Good Children Gallery by Lala Raščić.

It rather blew me away.

The artist was there and explained how she data mined the internet to get the images that she created that were sheets of glass painted with 24 karat gold leaf and mounted on blocks of wood, then she strategically placed lights in areas to create shadows and shapes and the results where shined upon the walls.

I was breathless with the beauty of it.

After that I rather drifted down the road.

I was uncertain about going further, it was hot, there was not much shade, and it was a long patch of road before I would get to anything else resembling a gallery.

I noticed a place that I had passed in the car on the way to the Front Gallery and decided I would just peak in.

So grateful I did.

This is where I met my new friend.

I did not meet her walking in, I met two other artists and chatted with them, told them I was visiting from San Francisco and wandered around.

I was not there all that long, twenty minutes perhaps, and I was feeling the call to move on.

I stepped outside to get a car.

And then I felt a hand on my arm.

“Excuse me, I just wanted to ask you a question,” a lilting female voice.

I turned and smiled at her, “ask away.”

“Well, this may sound a little odd, but are you doing anything for lunch?  I just, well, I like to meet interesting people and I overheard you’re from San Francisco, and you look interesting, and well, would you?”

I was struck with the flattery of it.

I am an interesting person!

Jesus.

Hello.

Carmen.

I have hot pink hair, a wild assortment of tattoos and I am wearing a vintage gingham black and white halter dress.

Of course I look interesting.

And of course.

I said yes.

What transpired next was so astounding I am still in awe hours later.

We went two doors down from the gallery to her house and she gave me a tour of her art collection.

Then.

We drove, yes, I got in a car with a complete stranger, (not that I don’t every time I call for an Uber, but) off to one of her favorite restaurants in the neighborhood.

We talked and talked and talked.

And talked.

I told her my story.

She told me hers.

Suffice to say.

A fast friendship was formed.

She’s an amazing 72 year old woman living a rich, full, wonderful life.

I aspire to be that kind of woman.

She owns her home, has loads of art, goes out to jazz clubs, loves New Orleans, travels, does photography and has just started to become a writer.

There was so much more said and spoken of, matters of the heart, that I won’t divulge, somethings that are best left at the lunch table.

She footed the bill, “a little taste of Southern hospitality,” she said and laughed.

Then she gave me a ride clear across town to Magazine Street, through the French Quarter, sharing stories all the way.

We exchanged numbers, e-mails, and addresses.

We hugged.

I got teary.

Of course I did.

That’s what I do.

Heart on my sleeve and all that.

“Now you have a New Orleans connection, you’ll stay with me the next time you’re in town.”

And what do you think I said?

Yes.

Of course.

I said.

Yes.

I am honored, awed, and thrilled.

New Orleans.

I think I love you.

 

 

The Art Of Being

April 13, 2015

Still.

Staying put.

Not going anywhere.

Well, maybe for a walk on the beach.

But not with a blind date, I cancelled the date.

Just me.

The sea.

My white dress blowing in the wind, my red-painted toenails awash in the tide flowing up onto the beach.

“You look like an angel,” she said, giving me a hug.

I ran into a lady from the Outer Mission who had done the long, hour-long, probably longer, commute via MUNI to come out to the beach today.

I recognized her from a way off, standing facing out to the sea, the sunlight playing over the planes of her proud face.

Beautiful.

We chatted for a moment, then she went her way and I went mine, walking further down the beach toward Sloat.

I reflected on the day, the weekend, the dating over the weekend and the decision to delete my OkCupid account.

“You’re gorgeous! I’m sure you’re going to be drowning in dates, you’re totally going to be taken care of!”  She exclaimed in my little kitchenette as I was plying her with experiences I have had recently over the past few months of online dating and the like, while she was sharing some inventory.

“It’s not about being gorgeous,” he said, “it’s not about that, you and I know that, that’s an ego feeding proposition and it does nothing for you.”

“I agree,” I replied.

It’s, cliché, but it’s what’s inside that counts.

I realize that I get a distorted idea of who a person is online, just as I assume, they do of me.

I want to be seen.

“Oh you’re noticed,” my ex-boyfriend said, “I feel like I need to constantly mark my territory.”

Interesting.

Not that I notice.

I only seem to notice when it’s not appropriate to what I want.

Which is also telling.

“It’s about acceptance,” my friend said as the date from yesterday disappeared down Judah toward the Starbucks on the corner.

“You know you can always reach out to me,” she continued, “now that I am retired, I really like seeing women in the fellowship and talking recovery, you know I’m on Facebook, just reach out.”

We hugged and I got on the N-Judah.

Sometimes I tend toward creating drama when there is no need for drama.

I don’t need to be dating.

“Oh, I get it,” he said today on the phone as I was walking up the dune at the end of Judah and Great Highway, “you want to be coupled up.”

“Yes,” I said, sheepish, embarrassed, “but,” I added, “I don’t need to be, I get that, I’m not looking for something to complete me or someone to fix me, or…”  I drifted off, the view of the ocean taking my breath once again.

“I know you understand that, it’s natural, we’re experience junkies, being in a relationship, being a couple, is an experience and you want to have as many experiences as possible in your life time.”

He paused as I caught my breath, I almost started to cry with relief, “every relationship is God’s, every one of them, what ever one you are in, friend, sister, daughter, employee, it’s God’s.”

Of course.

I know this.

Yet I needed to be reminded.

And.

Good gravy man.

It was a comfort to hear that it’s natural to want to be in a relationship with a lover, to be a couple, to be dating someone, committed to a person.

I have this idea, which I realized only while talking to my person, that I have shame around this desire.

That I somehow don’t deserve this very basic human experience.

Well.

Damn it.

Let’s change that right now.

What action can I take?

Let me fucking do it.

Oh.

Wait.

Pause.

Breathe.

Be still.

Know that there is a God.

And I am not it and be quiet.

Let the moment seep into your skin.

Let the smell of the ocean wash over you and carry your salty tears off onto the wind.

Turn your face to the sun like a flower, float down the beach like an angel, gorgeous in forgiveness.

For therein lies the true beauty.

Forgive myself.

Grieve and let go.

That of course, is the hardest thing for me, the letting go, the soft, yielding surrender.

I don’t have to be forced to it.

I don’t have to be beaten into it.

I can accept, kind and gracious the gift of not being ashamed of my life, my experiences, my heart, the way it beats when a Jim Croce song comes on the stereo and I am transported to a soft summer night rife with the smell of chicken on the grill, the barbecue searing the air with smoke and charcoal, the smell of cut grass, being a little girl in a sundress and running around the yard.

Or I can struggle some more.

I choose not to struggle.

The yielding to the better life, the actual goodness that I know and have in my life is so abundant and prosperous with love and sunshine and oh, god, glory.

I live a glorious life.

I do not need to create drama.

I do not have to do anything.

I can be still.

Thus I sat when I got back from the Ocean Beach walk.

I meditated.

I sat in the sun in the Adirondack chair in the back yard.

Then I ate some dinner on the back porch sitting at my housemates wrought iron table and chairs, curled up basking in the sunshine falling from the sky and lighting every crooked passage of my heart.

Sear out the shame in sunshine.

It’s ok to be human, child, girl, woman, this is how you get to live.

Not how you have to live.

But get.

This graced gift, my life.

Listen to some music that fills your heart, sit in some sunshine, sip some spicy ginger tea, read a book, watch the raven’s fly over the back yard, delete the things in your life that don’t work and surrender to the breath that draws your beating heart forward into the golden land of the sunset.

Or

At least the Outer Sunset.

Just Another Pretty Day

March 18, 2014

At the park.

And it was.

Gorgeous today.

Spring

Spring

All I wanted to do was be outside.

Out in the world, smelling the flowers and feeling the sunshine on my face.

Lucky for me, I often hold office hours at the park.

Two in particular that were just blow me away gorgeous–Golden Gate Park and Buena Vista Park.

I am really grateful to be within walking distance of both of these, as well as Kids Kingdom in the Panhandle–although it can be a chilly park as all the trees are old and provide a lot of shade.

I overheard this today–“what side of the street do you want to walk on?”

The response?

“The sunny side.”

There are micro-climates in the micro-climates.

The shady side is always cold and the sunny side is always warmer, always, the difference in temperature makes me laugh sometimes, but I often do find myself navigating over to the sunny side.  It will be the difference between wearing my sweatshirt and jean jacket or not at all.

This afternoon I was able to leave the jacket at the house.

I still brought the boys stuff with, an extra blanket, an extra pair of pants, little jackets and lots of snacks.

Snacks?

Did you say snacks?

Put them in my mouth!

Ever see the amount of birds that hang out at a playground?

Hysterical.

They wait for you to walk away, maybe put a baby in the swing, then flock to the stroller and pick out all the cracker crumbs from the carriage.

Makes me laugh every time.

I laughed a lot today.

I was in a good nanny mood.

Even when I arrived and my eldest charges was in grumpy cat mode, I still put on my happy Monday face.  And dance music.  Dance music always helps obliterate the Monday blues.

A little Beegees to get the feet moving while I looked for the appropriate feel good soundtrack to the day.

It ended up being a funk/soul/R&B compilation from the 70s.

Love.

Blasted some Hues Corporation, Rock the Boat, segued into Shuggie Otis, Strawberry Letter 23, then before you know it, time to walk out to the park.

We hit Golden Gate Children’s playground first, but most of the equipment was still wet from the heavy fog from last night and there was no going down slides.

Slides is what’s half the fun of going to the park.

Swings is the other.

The boys wore themselves out and before eleven thirty a.m. were down and having their first nap of the day.

The only nap of the day.

Foiled.

I had my fingers crossed that a second nap for the youngest was to be happening, but alas, no, he was wound up from having a gigantic poop and there was no going back once the magic nap window had been breached.

He was wired and stayed that way until just before mom came to pick him up.

The early nap though short, was sweet.

I dropped the hoods over their little sleepy faces and made a quick dash through the Whole Foods at Haight and Stanyan.

Although I did cook up a big pot of beans with rice and chicken, I still needed some apples to get me through, and my favorite lunch side, raw carrots with humus.

I do not know what it is about this, but raw carrots with sea salt and lemon humus is like the perfect snack.

Serious.

I was able to eat my raw carrots with humus and have a cup of tea before the little one woke up from his nap, and then feed him and get him changed into fresh pants before the older boy woke up and I got to repeat the process.

Diaper.

Feed.

Hydrate.

Sing.

Repeat.

Feed.

Push stroller.

Push swing.

Dig in sand box.

Laugh.

Repeat often.

Take ibuprofen from pushing stroller too exuberantly up to Buena Vista Park.

I love this park.

It is old school with bright primary colors and it’s secluded, off the beaten path, rarely used, and small, completely fenced in, the view is amazing, and, and, and, it sucks to push a double wide stroller up the last part of the hill, it is steep.

But the reward upon arriving is usually worth it.

It is frequently empty when we arrive and there are nice comfy benches for me to sit on and it’s small enough that I can actually sit down and let the boys wander on their own a little.

They can’t go too far, I can see a direct line of sight everywhere in the park space and I actually, amazing this, can sit for a minute or two.

Golden Gate Park Children’s Playground is gorgeous and fun and awesome and the boys love it, but I am constantly on, there’s so much happening, so many nooks and crannies and more than one play area, three sand boxes, two swing sets, a gigantic wave wall for amateur rock climbers, and huge expanses of lawn.

None of which is gated in.

I am on hyper alert most of the time.

Once the eldest disappeared behind the wave for a moment and when I turned he was completely out of my line of sight, I could feel the panic rise in my throat as I scooped up the little one from the sand box and galloped toward the edge of the sand box to crane my neck, and yes, there he was, right by the tortoise, but yikes.

That  is not a feeling I like to have.

No thank you.

I don’t know how often I will take them up to Buena Vista park, there is one other drawback from the hike up the hill, no bathrooms.

But today, it was perfect.

And they were happy.

And I was happy.

And if you’re happy and you know it, smile real big.

REAL BIG.

Yup, that’s what happy looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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