Posts Tagged ‘white French tulips’

Topsy Turvy

July 31, 2016

I had a very crazy up and down day.

Although not much happened.

Just some crazy in my head due to some crazy time online.


I am getting certification renewed through the American Red Cross for CPR/First Aid Adult, Children/Infants, and they don’t teach the class quite like they used to.

Part of the course is online and part is in the class room.

I had a lot of moments today when I really wished it was still all classroom time, despite not like spending four and a half hours at the Red Cross, it would have been faster than what I dealt with today.

The online course wasn’t difficult, but it was super time consuming and I’ve taken the course a number of times, this is either four or five, I get renewed every two to three years depending on how they are running the certification.


It took nearly four hours online.

Four hours online for me is crazy pants.

And I felt sucked out when I was done with it.

Not so much that the material was difficult, I mean, it’s a little bit like memorization, and it comes back, it’s just that the program took a long time to get through all the simulations.

It’s also weird to do it online.

I mean.

I’m not going to save anyone’s life by clicking down on the mouse pad to do CPR.

I think it’s a way for the organization to save time and or money and resources on teachers for the classes, but something is really lost in the translation.


I still have to go to the Red Cross downtown tomorrow and finish up with a skills test.

Another two hours.


Ah well, it’s done after that and then I’ll be certified again.

This certification may be the last that I have to get, they last three years and I have high hopes to not be nannying in three years.

Although, it’s hard to tell, I’m not quite sure that I’ll be able to sustain cost of living in San Francisco on intern salary, I mean, I probably won’t but, ah, I get ahead of myself.

Which sometimes, all the time, happens.

Then again, sometimes I need to get a head of myself.

I realized that I am off to the school retreat a week from tomorrow and I have um, ha, not looked at all at the syllabus for the classes.


Fuck me.

I was talking with a classmate tonight at a birthday party and realized that there was a book that I needed for one of the classes.


I got home tonight after doing the deal and ordered it online right away.

Fingers crossed it will get to me before the retreat.

I hope to get it by mid-week and have time to read it before I head out to the retreat.

I read fast, thankfully, and this up coming week I’ll have a little bit of extra time off from work.

Although that time is quickly filling, I still have space for hanging out, doing the deal, going to the MOMA, which day, not quite sure yet, and coffee with folks here and there.

And yoga.

As much as I can get as once this week is up, it will be crazy town for Carmen.


I am sort of into it.

Busy can be fun and it certainly makes the time go by quickly.

I do want to make sure that I am also enjoying quality time and friends and dating and all that jazz too.

A great big, balanced, full life.

It’s rather nice.

Life is rather nice.

Being alive that is.

Sometimes, just that, I remind myself is so very much.

But as I have been reminded so much this last week, sometimes life is fleeting.

And I must grab it and love it and hold on and run with it and be wild and free for I don’t know how much I have and it goes so fast.

I got a text message today that the podcast went up and it happens to be the anniversary of my best friend’s death nine years ago today and so much of what was brought up for me was regarding his influence on me and my life, especially when I was in early recovery.

All the things we confided in each other, all the phone calls and coffees and hanging out and going to do the deal and smoking when we both smoked, and not when we both quit, and that one time he got crazy with the kombucha, and the times he gave me shit, always in the most loving way, and the first time and only time we had a great big fight, because I was being too sensitive about something, and how he made up to me.



So much.

But mostly that he believed in me and saw the best in me and he always thought I was going to be able to do anything and everything.


How much he saw the things in me that I could not see for myself.

Especially how he saw the faith that I had in the moving forward, in the being taken care of, that I believed let him believe and vice versa.

He was and is still.

A gift.

So it was with great pleasure that I received that text today.

It’s his anniversary, what better way to say I love you then to share myself, my heart, my experience.

It’s not always pretty.

It certainly is not always tidy.



Do I fall flat on my face sometimes.

But rather that then rolling over, not trying, not giving it my best shot.

I just get up and try again, maybe with a few tears, but I get up.

And now.

Listening to jazzy French music and thinking of white French tulips.

Thank you Shadrach.

I love you.


And here.

If you’re interested, the link to The Creative High podcast that I was honored to be a part of.

There’s some back story and a poem at the end.


And live.

Really live.

Don’t let your heart knock and not answer.

Tell him you love him.

Because you never know if you will see him again.

Sometimes the best things happen when we least expect, the things that fall out of my mouth when I stop guarding my heart.

“Shadrach,” I said, bashful and hot and a tremble with the terrible joy I felt seeing him (he was glowing, a flame, a fire, under the white harsh light of the church basement’s florescent lights–I could blame it on the running outside getting ready for the San Francisco marathon he fell one week short of running, or rather that he was just full of light, I think that more so than the former), “I just have to tell you that if I never see you again how very beautiful you are right now, I love you.”

He hugged me.

I still feel his arms around my shoulders.

And his imprint of love is still smashed on my heart.

Tell them you love them.



Tell them.






There She Is!

April 25, 2013

He said to me, and busked both my cheeks.

“I thought you had already gone,” he said and pulled back to look at me with big brown eyes and a wry smile.

“Not yet,” I smiled back, “soon.”

I will miss this kissing of cheeks, somehow more sweet and familiar than just a hug, although I still do give a great hug.

There is an intimacy in the cheek busk, a letting in of a person to your vulnerable self, a letting down of guard.

At least for me.

I will miss much about Paris, the wonderful new friends, the robin’s egg blue brushed sky with the pillows of clouds, when it is sunny, which it was today.

Rain forecast for tomorrow and for the weekend, cooling back off, this false come hither, go yon Spring, turning fickle once more and chill.

I will not however, miss the crowds.

Tourist season is in full swing and I was in amongst it a few times today.  Down in the 4th–the Latin Quarter–a quick nip into the Marais, and a walk about the Seine through the bookseller stalls.  I had come into town from Vitry-Sur-Seine to wrap up some things at the house before I head out to Chambourcy for the weekend to housesit and walk Rusty the dog.

Or course it will be raining.

Oh well, at least it shouldn’t be snowing, like it did over Easter weekend.

A rainy walk through the woods is not necessarily a bad thing and the trees should be blooming and the grass will be green and the flowers will be pushing their bright faces out at me.

I was thinking of the white French tulips I saw today on the edge of the Marais in a small, hidden courtyard–the soft fluted petals flared out nodding heavy on the waxy green stems, the breeze rifled through and I felt his kiss on my forehead and knew he was with me in that moment.

I was thinking of Shadrach.

I was thinking he would be proud of me.

I breathed in the air and the sun and the warmth that ricocheted off the walls of the church in front of me and I said thank you to the Universe, to love, to being taken care of, to the host of people he introduced me to.

I looked at the tattoo I have on my arm in commemoration of him, “until I die, he will not leave my side,” the last line of the eulogy Dylan Thomas wrote for his father, underscored with sky blue ink and curled around the green stems of two white French tulips, and I compared the tulips to the flowers in front of me.

They were one and the same.

I never actually thought I would be in Paris looking at white French tulips and have my entire last 8 years flash before my eyes and the wash of gratitude that flushed over me was almost more than I could bear.  “Not yet,” I am not ready yet,” I remember thinking this once when another such feeling came over me, there is still too much for me to experience and to have, to learn, and to grow.

“You’re not going to relapse,” he said to me, “please, Martines, you are going to be around a long time to annoy the hell out of people who don’t have the kind of faith you have.”

“Shut up!” I said, despondent and annoyed, I wanted to have my pity party and he was not having any of it.

“Your faith,” he paused and looked at me over the top rim of his glasses, usually a twinkle, a sassy mischievous kind of glance, this time tempered with something akin to wonder, “frankly, lady, it scares me sometimes, you walk this razor’s edge of trust and you just keep going, it’s a little intimidating to the average bear.”

I pushed him, put I was pleased.

I do have a kind of faith, in showing up, mostly, that I still find to be a kind of miracle.

I showed up today, despite not wanting to leave the house.

Yes, the day was sunny and warm and bright and I could feel the call of the outdoors, but leaving would mean saying good-bye, to Paris, to people who I have just begun to get to know.  There is no begrudging ego in the way either, which is a relief, just that sad well of feelings that I will miss some of these faces I have just begun to know.  And there is the preparing to leave part that is always a little anxiety inducing.

They say, who they is, fuck if I know, but it feels right, that moving is the most stressful thing that a person can do.

I must handle stress damn well as I move a lot.

I would like to not actually have this stress for a bit.

I am, however, good at getting my shit together and bundling up the stray ends.

When I got over to 36 Rue Bellefond today, yes I managed to get my bottom out of Vitry-sur-Seine, onto the RER C train, transferring to Metro 10 at Gare d’Austerlitz, then again at Jussieu onto Line 7, I was only going to pop in and gather a few things that I needed to return to folks.  I thought I would sit down for a minute, have a cup of tea, heat up some lunch, and then be on my way.

But as I started to move about the house I realized that I could just pack it all up.

So, I did.

The only thing really left to do is break down my bike and put it in the bike box.

I was able to sort through my things, throwing out two pieces of clothing that had gotten shredded with frequent wear, an old pair of socks, and a few bits and pieces of collage art I had put up on the wall.

I put aside the outfit I will wear to the airport and I packed my suitcase full.  My life, once again, reduced down to a roll on suitcase and a messenger bag.

My life expanding into the ever-increasing cosmos of love.

I walked the streets of Paris today and took photographs and meandered in and out of shops on Ile Saint Louis, then over toward the Marais, where I saw the tulips, and then onto Hotel de Ville, where I saw the Couture Exhibit.  It was empty, everyone was outside enjoying the weather.  I looked at the gowns and the designers and I got fevered with fashion, I saw a Rochas from 1938 that made me swoon.

I went back out into the light and headed to the Metro, navigating my way through Chatelet and Les Halles without much thought, I knew where I was going and I circumnavigated the clumps of tourists peering at maps with stern scared looks on their faces.

I am not an old pro at Paris, but I know the city enough to get about, and as I strolled up the Champs Elysees and headed toward Rue Vacquerie, I remembered how overwhelmed I was when I first landed here and how scared I was.

Today, the fear, nibbled on my collarbones and tried to get me to stay put, but I have always learned that the majority of the work is to just show up.

Show up I did.

One more day in Paris.

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