Ramblings

Comfortably Numb

It was hand-delivered to the penthouse residencia de señoritas (ladies’ residence) on Avda. Generalísimo (now renamed Paseo de la Castellana) where I was living in Spain. A beautiful envelope with a wax seal and a “Personal: a ser abierto únicamente por el destinatario” label on it. In it, a ticket to London and along with it a handwritten note that invited me to a Pink Floyd concert there. More on that as you read on.

Today, as I watched the documentary Whatever Happened to Pink Floyd? memories that were long forgotten floated back in. Definitely not love at first “hear”, my appreciation came in stages. I didn’t like them at all at first. I didn’t do drugs and saw their music as one that could only be enjoyed while partaking them. But their sound wafted through my roommates’ radios, and at first I learned to tolerate it, then their music infiltrated my mind. I even bought their LP (record/vinyl for those too young to know what that is).

The note in the envelope received was unsigned but I knew who it was from. I went downstairs to the phone next to the kitchen where I dialed the number from a card that had been given to me saying that I should call if I ever needed anything.

Ultimately, Pink Floyd music, became the soundtrack of a memorable part of my life. Though I learned to love their music I knew little or nothing about the integrants of the band or of the band’s history. Which reminds me of a documentary The Pink Floyd Story: Which One is Pink? A documentary I enjoyed even more than the one mentioned above and gives more of a history of the band.

The conversation was short. I didn’t want to express how upset I was at the arrogance of believing I would accept the invitation. I was young but not naive enough to not know (or be suspicious enough) that this came with a ball of strings attached which I was not willing to unravel. So I thanked him and said I was, unfortunately, unavailable.

As I write, it comes up that Pink Floyd is having a fundraiser: COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO by releasing Pink Floyd – PULSE (Restored & Re-Edited 90 Minute Version) on YouTube. At publishing time it looks like they’ve raised over 2 million dollars of the 7 million they are aiming for. There are 68 days remaining to donate if you are inclined. I’m assuming it’s legit though I am not sure of much these days.

Many more gifts came to my residence after the first. All were returned. But the one that I always had a tinge of regret for was the Pink Floyd one. Would have been grand and I would be able to say, “I saw them live!” It would have been quite a memory.

For those who may have wondered about the title of this post “Comfortably Numb,” it comes from a song they released as a single (“Hello, is there anybody in there…”). Here it is:

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The “Crown’s” Little Talked About Impact

The day the World Health Organization declared the Corona Virus outbreak a pandemic, I was headed to a friend’s house to do a transcription. Social distancing was already in place there when I arrived. I disinfected everything I touched before and after which is something not that unusual in me. I am not a germaphobe but I have always tended to overly clean myself and my environment. I wasn’t quite grasping that this was only the beginning of a surreal world situation. The next days Los Angeles proved that it does rain in “sunny California”. Perfect to frame what we would all start living soon.

I grew up in a world that consisted of hugs given the Latin way —close, body to body. It was how my mother comforted me as a child and, as a teenager, how I awkwardly expressed that I liked you. As an adult, it was not given as a precursor to anything (as in foreplay) but as an everything all in itself. I grew up in countries where men kiss men on the cheek in greeting without their sexuality being questioned.

A few days ago I read that scientists have said that we may have to live with social distancing for quite a while. Six-degrees of separation (which actually linked us) has turned into a physical 6-feet separation. So this virus may not only effectively turn lethal to those in the high risk section but to life as we -or I- knew it. In the midst of official social distancing and a self-imposed distancing from mostly everything, I am longing for a touch more than ever. Though I know that I will learn to live without, it saddens me more than words can express.

When I hear about the deaths this virus has caused I think of the sorrow of the loved ones left behind. But I also think of those that in times like this tend to be even more forgotten than they usually are: those suffering from depression and/or anxiety disorders -a not-so-exclusive-club which I have been a member of, off and on, all my life.

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There are many reasons why people tend to shy away. An actor recently said that no one wants to deal with you in your darkness. Even less so in this “be positive” world which doesn’t give room for you to express your thoughts or fears and discards them -and the one that shares them- seeing them as negativity. Now, when we are all dealing with so much, including getting to know ourselves, we gravitate to a mental distancing of anything not considered essential. And those alone feel so even more. 

I am a nurturer by nature so taking care of a kitten recovering from being neutered early last week helps me with feeling needed and not inconsequential, even when I am getting no sleep thanks to his nightly desire to get out of my bedroom (by rasping his cone against the door). My roommate’s (who hasn’t been here since then) other cats undefined await in the rest of the house for some love, food, and water… in reverse order. So all in all I find a sense of purpose in my isolation.

I have shutdown my intuitive side which leads me to thoughts and images I cannot handle right now. I have also steered clear of Facebook and Instagram. My anxiety level is high enough as is.

I have texted, so as not to be obtrusive, with friends checking on how they are doing. I have called and left a message when it goes unanswered. Sometimes, that is all the other side needs. Though it is easy to ask someone to reach out should they need you, it is when they probably will feel less inclined to.

Fear, anxiety, and loneliness are paralyzing. Consider mentally going through your contact list and call or text that person you have not contacted in a while, or a friend or someone that you may suspect may need you. Not in a mass text or Facebook or Instagram post but as a personal message making someone on the other side feel special. I am not suggesting by any means that people may be on the brink of a metaphorical precipice, just that the message of “you are not alone” is a powerful one, one that we underestimate while convincing ourselves of our fortitude or when basking in the proximity of ones we love. And yes, a disclaimer is coming: I am not a doctor or pretend to be one so take this all with a grain of salt. As to taking care of yourself, see what the CDC (Center of Disease Control) says about dealing with it here.

We may already know the value of family and friends but this is a reminder that those with a strong support group should be thankful for its blessing while not forgetting those without.

So let’s maintain physical separation for now and pay more attention to our mental connection. That text or call may mean more to someone than you may imagine.

And as a parting note, corona (aside from being a brand of a beer) means “crown” in Spanish. What on earth are we being crowned as (or with) now?

I have promised to end my blogs with songs so here goes these: Michael Bublé – Help Me Make It Through The Night (feat. Loren Allred) where he explains the reasons why he recorded it as a duet (I think it was written by Kris Kristofferson in the 70s); OK, performed by Mabel which has the sub-title of “Anxiety Anthem”; and Beth Hart – Mama This One’s For You because well… I wish I had her now.

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Friendly Friday – Simple Joys

So I never hitchhike on another blogger’s blog but this was too tempting. The Sandy Chronicles https://thesandychronicles.blog/2020/02/07/friendly-friday-simple-joys/ puts out a challenge on Fridays to post photos depicting a weekly theme. I realized that my last posts were kind of on the too nostalgic/sad vein so I am counteracting them with this one of Simple Joys!

When I questioned this nun in Myanmar if she missed her family in her village she responded, “I am joyful here. I do not miss.” Her smile and earnestness gave me joy.

Same joy that I felt seeing this little girl’s smile in Laos. The one on the left wasn’t so sure about me…

Photography gives me joy. Though losing my external drive with most of mine made me pretty sad.
Eating gives me much joy as well. Oysters being one of my top favorites. These at a fish market in Sydney.
Sunsets give me joy because without them there are no sunrises. This one is in Long Beach, CA, U.S.A.
Traveling (while not so much a simple joy) makes me incredibly joyful. This is Paris.
And the ocean… ah, the ocean gives me so much joy. Photo credit of my friend and photographer extraordinaire, Johanna Siegmann
A graffiti in Buenos Aires that says: “Where I am Always Happy”

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Anniversary Blahs

In November 2009, as I stood sobbing (not a pretty sight) outside my mother’s hospital room, a nurse ran towards me asking me if her patient was alright. I mustered a nod while more water than I ever thought was possible to pour out of my eyes, did. “She’s out of danger so why are you crying?” she asked. “Because I’ll never see her again.” I sensed it. I knew it. The next morning I was to head back to California where I lived and would leave her behind in the city where I was born, Asunción. My mother had Parkinson’s for probably 15 or 16 years. A month before, when I had arrived, she had gone into ICU due to complications of it. A disease that slowly, torturously shuts down your body but leaves you with a mind that knows what is happening, with no possibility to convey to others how you feel, not by voice, not by any movements, not even facial expressions. So very cruel.

Turned out they were prophetic words. My mother left me January 5 of 2010. Nothing would hurt as much as her passing. I doubt anything ever will.

My mother’s Death Certificate where they noted her passing as Jan. 6 so that they could keep the casket open until my arrival. (A long story.)

My father, a week later went into ICU and died a month and a day after her.

10 years. A long time. I can almost hear some of what I have heard before expressed in a kind way when she died, but at the time just made me want to scream. She will always be with you. Yes, but how I long even now to hear her voice or even her breathing when later, with the progression of her disease, she lost the ability to talk. I knew that she suffered no more and I was grateful for that but, selfishly, how much I wanted her alive nonetheless. When I was severely depressed I was told to “snap out of it.” As impossible as that task felt, to be at peace with her parting seemed even more daunting.

Another consolation phrase which I related to but reacted strongly to when she died was “you now have a star above lighting any darkness you will encounter”. That turned out to be so. Every Dec. 24 I search for “our” star and just talk to her. And in death she has been with me as in life, subtly guiding me in some way or other. I was late to recognize her warnings. On quite a few Jan. 5ths I would get into an argument with someone, letting me know I should not give them my loyalty. I should have terminated those friendships but I’m a slow learner and only realized recently that it was her telling me to stay away. I did not always understand the messages but I knew she was there. A particular song playing in the most unexpected place and time. A unique bird-like sound I hear that connects both her and my dad to me in a special way.

A few years into her death I found myself still grieving. I called a dear friend, a grief counselor, to ask him if this was normal. He responded that there is no “normal” way to grieve and that there’s no deadline to get over someone’s death. We all deal with it in our own very personal way and in our own time. He wasn’t going to urge me to stop grieving. He wanted me to go through the process at my own pace. As long as we can function in daily life we shouldn’t beat ourselves up.

My mother’s favorite rose color. The most striking examples show up when I need her most.

So I concentrated then and now, on being thankful that her suffering had ended, that I was loved in a way that no one will ever love me again. I inherited none of her best traits: her patience, which to this day is like no other I’ve encountered, her innate ability to serve as a mediator without either party realizing they were “mediated” (she was more diplomatic than my father, a career diplomat, ever was), her ability to -without effort- make everyone feel at home. She was soft and sweet in demeanor and in voice. She had fabulous cooking and baking skills (she made jams and jellies that were coveted by all) and so much more. She was the kindest person I have known. No one ever has said anything bad about her. She also had traits that I could have done without learning but managed to assimilate. She never spoke up for herself and that hurt her immensely later in life. Though I grew up being very much a rebel, assertiveness isn’t a trait I truly have, it requires a lot of effort from me. She was amazing in so many ways, yet she didn’t have much self-esteem. I come off very self-assured most of the time but my mom, doubting herself constantly, lives in me.

Anniversaries have always been celebratory for me. But in the past years there have been too many that meant departures of some kind, of endings. There have been beginnings for there can’t be them without endings, but the scale dips by the weight of the ones I should not remember. So this is the last year I commemorate the anniversary of my mother’s death or, in fact my dad’s. I will not start next year by remembering that she left me some years back on Jan. 5th and my dad on Feb. 6th. Instead I will live being thankful every day that she -and he- gave me life.

And even with the above resolution I have no doubt I will miss her forever.


And keeping my promise of ending my blogs with a song, here is not one or two but three! First an Oscar nominated song I’m Standing With You from “Breakthrough” sung by Chrissy Metz, then one from Katie Melua about a mother I Will Be There and finally a short one that has nothing to do with family ties but does about heartbreak, from Rhys, Maybe I Will Learn.

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Holiday Blues

I feel blue. In this time of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s I feel an oppressing pressure to be joyful. Solitude -which I treasure- turning into loneliness at warp speed and in slow motion at the same time. I do envy those who truly like being alone. And regret not being one of them. I am grateful for so much and so many but today I just feel blue. Winter creeping on me both physically and metaphorically.

A snowy cold day on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Remember the movie Inside Out? On Halloween the year the movie was out (2015), I dressed up as one of the characters: Sadness. So this is an accurate portrayal of my state of mind now.

In the past my solution to my “blueness” was to travel. But I can’t anymore, so when I’m low I reminisce and travel again in my mind. For some reason Vietnam came to it. Which is odd, for of all the countries that I visited in Southeast Asia, it was the one I connected to the least. Yet, it was there that I was introduced to Caodaism. According to caodai.org: “The noble effort of CaoDai is to unite all of humanity through a common vision of the Supreme Being, whatever our minor differences, in order to promote peace and understanding throughout the world. CaoDai does not seek to create a gray world, where all religions are exactly the same, only to create a more tolerant world, where all can see each other as sisters and brothers from a common divine source reaching out to a common divine destiny realizing peace within and without.”

A dirt path strewn with litter that leads to…
A beautiful, well-kept building…
Which is absolutely breathtaking inside.

I realize I am in Rossmoor and that in Garden Grove, only 17 minutes away, is a Cao Dai Temple resembling the one just outside Long Xuyen, Vietnam that introduced me to this religion. Did someone say I could not travel? Off I go in a virtual journey no more.

So the path to the temple in Vietnam is dirt and rubble. Here it is busy streets that lead me to a residential area in Garden Grove, CA. I see the colors and it’s as if they are mermaids singing to me. I must go to it. Hopefully this visit has a better outcome than when the mermaids lure sailors in.

undefined They have a parking lot and as I park I hear the sounds of a language I have not learned and probably never will.

The entrance is a mini-me of the temple I so admired and moved me in Vietnam.

However the main pole in front of the temple does not have the reversed swastikas which happen to have a Buddhist influence and is sacred to many Vietnamese. The swastika (a Sanskrit word) is also a tantric symbol to evoke ‘shakti’ or the sacred symbol of auspiciousness. I don’t doubt that its absence is due to trying to avoid controversy.

The one in Vietnam.

I take a few photos. Take off my shoes (as ordered) and enter another world.

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The place is smaller than than its parent in Vietnam but is just as colorful. The quiet I expected is not quite there for the side doors are open and in comes loud voices in Vietnamese from the courtyard. There’s a gathering of followers who are sprucing up the church. One side door is being primed and the other has already been painted yellow. It is noticeable that the congregation takes pride in their home. I kneel and find my inner quiet.

As I look through one of the windows and hear the background chatter, I am almost transported to Long Xuyen.

It is in the little touches of daily life and some writings that I linger.

Before leaving I explore the back of the temple. I pass about 15 people sitting around a table chatting and as they turn their head to see me, I join my hands in prayer mode and bow slightly, saying nothing. They go back to socializing; I go back to the car knowing that I will visit again.

And keeping my promise that I would end each blog with a song or two. Here are two. I did not see the movie that “I’m Standing With You” comes from (I think it’s about a mother and child) but I feel we all want that someone that stands with us through whatever we go through. I’ve been lucky to have those people beside me.

And then, one of Peter Bradley Adams, a singer that brings me happy memories. “For You” How can you not love a song that says: “If your wandering ever leads you, To a place where you don’t know which road to choose, Leave your worries behind, Take the road that leads to mine, And I’ll be waiting there for you”

Categories: California, Ramblings, Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Saudade Starts My Monday Morn

The prevalent feeling is one of saudade (a word in Portuguese I am most fond of). It is practically an untranslatable word, full of contradictory emotions, but “longing” is mentioned in many definitions. It is unestablished of what exactly I am longing of. It’s early enough that the sun has yet to pierce the clouds and shine through. Maybe today, it won’t even attempt to.

I make my coffee, an essential part of any morning of mine, and after medicating and feeding the fur babies

 

I head to the back patio with a yet undefined purpose -despite the book in my hand-. It’s a bit chilly and my robe accompanies me and acts as a blanket.20190603_074704Inane thoughts come up before I even open my book with the determination of finishing it: My legs are still tanned from my jaunt to Miami. I love to hear the chirping of the birds in the silence of the morning. Darn it, the garbage pick up truck is piercing that silence (I get up and bring the can in.) 20190603_085145 The basil plant 20190603_074737still has many leaves -even after such a big batch of pesto I made.- I toy with the idea of lighting the fire pit for some warmth. 20190603_074718Discard it because half the fun is seeing the flames which I won’t really see now. Need to stop the cascade of unmatched and unnecessary thoughts (lots of “un” words in this post).

The thoughts stop; I read my book. About 10 pages in I get up, warm my coffee and remain inside since it is a bit too nippy for me outside. I hear the kitties little bells on their collar as they go in and out and it gives me as much comfort as my presence probably gives them.

 

A grumbling in my stomach indicates that maybe breakfast is in order. So I pick up a Le Creuset pan that reminds me of a wedding gift of a whole set of pans that I received long ago, despite them not being on my registry. I weighed 95 pounds at the time and these pans are super heavy. It was my lifting weights exercise routine! 20190603_075654 Maybe it was a regift since I got a set of 8. They stick (though now they are making them with Teflon coating too).

I heat a turkey picadillo I made yesterday and fry an egg. I’m on the Keto diet 20190530_084623 (lifestyle doesn’t apply since I do get off it at times) so bread is out of the question. I’m not one for breakfasts unless with someone, so this is unusual for me but the front patio of my friends’ house, which I am pet and housesitting for, makes it an inviting proposition.

 

I read a little, eat, and enjoy the pops of colors from the plants.

 

I glance at my cell and it’s 8:00 am and about time to start my day. Enough of lounging around. I enter my day relaxed and ready to take it on.20190529_132553

Categories: Ramblings, Venice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sensory Overload. Oh My! Wow! Ay, ay, ay!

Today I left with some sadness the apartment that we called home on Rue de la Liberté for the past 6 days.  But I must admit I am excited about our next abode: a houseboat on the River Seine with the Eiffel Tower on our backyard, or better said back river (Is there such a thing?).  I wait for my taxi and say my final good-byes to the street I am familiar with and the neighborhood I did not feel alien to.  Our 4 bags and I are alone on the cobblestone enclosure on the first floor.  I am to move to our houseboat alone and will be met afterwards at noon.  A few hours before a visual adventure that I will tell you about soon.

I have an address composed of only two words:  Port Debilly and a phone number to call the owner of the houseboat just in case the taxi driver does not know where it is.  I am happy that I have that because the driver did not know where I was going so called Jean and was directed how to get to the péniche (barge).

Jean greets me at the garden and helps me with the luggage.  I would not have been able to do it alone and am happy that he is there.  See the plank I have to cross to get to the boat.  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river,   I go in péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river,  to a boat with classical music on, a view that is to die for,  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river,  Eiffel Tower a living room that invites reading and marveling at Eiffel Tower, péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower flowers in the kitchen péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, galley, kitchen (or galley), péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, galley, kitchen  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower a porthole through which I still can see the Eiffel Tower, péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, porthole, galley, kitchen  and a bedroom péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, bedroom with a skylight so that when we open our eyes we can see the leaves of the weeping willow above us, péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, bedroom (and yes, I still get incredible views from here).

I want to share this and the only one available right now is Tutu so I sit him on a chair akin in color to his.  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, koala, antique chair  He complains he can’t see the tower so I place him on a table.  koala More complaints so I make him the captain and he seems to be happy!

péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, captain, Tutu, koala

I go out to encounter first hand one of the many tourist boats that will be gracing my back yard.  Most of the tourists are facing the tower but some are facing me and the boat and taking photographs.  What conversations will I be included in with a “How lucky is that Parisian to be where she is?”  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, Batteaux Mouches, tourist boats What I didn’t expect was two Parisians walking on the Ave. de New York 6th arrondissement, Paris, France, Rue de New York(the street above the dock) and as I look up, one saying to me:  “Madame, vous etes privilegie!” and pointing at the tower. Yes, I consider myself very, very lucky!  And if the Eiffel Tower view weren’t enough, the Sacre Cour is off at a distance.  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Cour  The Eiffel Tower, the weeping willow (the only one on the dock and the one that is in on the other side of the boat), and the deck.  Oh my!!! péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, weeping willow, boat deck, deck And then a surprise as I look to my left.  A young little cat that seems very much at home on this boat.  I have a feeling she will be another house guest while we are here.  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, cat, kitty

Dean returns from the first shoot on his film and takes it all in quickly since we have reservations at the restaurant at the Eiffel Tower:  Le Jules Verne.  The day is only at its midpoint and I don’t know if I can take any more excitement!  But we head out there walking since it is only about a 10 minute walk.  Eiffel is even more impressive up front.  Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement  The entrance to Le Jules Verne péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, Le Jules Verne, view, food, Parisian restaurant  where you get into a private elevator that catapults Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, Paris, France you to the second floor 213 meters up.  Paris, France, Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, table with a view, food, Parisian restaurant,

The food was acceptable.  Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, steak, Paris, France The view beyond compare.  Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, Paris, France  We get some madeleines as a gift when we leave to go out to the viewing deck.  Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, Paris, France More amazing views.  Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, Paris, France

And we return to the boat with even more excitement on the way.  A wedding…6th arrondissement, Paris, France, wedding photo

A photo shoot (with a car as its protagonist). Car, antique car, photo shoot, 6th arrondissement, Paris, France  We make a side trip to buy stuff for dinner so we can sit on the deck and watch the Eiffel Tower twinkle.  We take the underpass, Paris, France, 6th arrondissementup some stairs, Stairs buy our stuff and later that night sit on the deck as the tower surprises us by being multicolor in honor of the South African season in France.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, colors, twinkle, night view of the tower, 6th arrondissement

I have to go to sleep now because I really don’t think my heart can take any more excitement.  Nighty, night!

Categories: 6th arrondissement, Eiffel Tower, France, Paris, Ramblings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Tus Ojos Son Mi Ventana!

Today, again Dean is off to help out a friend on his short.  But contrary to yesterday, for me it’s a day of play.  I intend to say good-bye to my neighborhood by visiting its many alleyways, villas – as the French call them.

cobblestones, Parisian apartment, door, entrance, mailbox, 19th arrondissement, Paris, FranceAs I leave I take a last recognizance look of the cobblestones and door I will cross only a few times more.  The cobblestones take me back to my hometown of Asunción where they are common.  I almost expect to see a horse carriage when I open the heavy wood door.

Quartier de la Mouzaia is a working class neighborhood (and I proved that yesterday with all the chores I did.) It was built between the end of the 19th and early 20th century.  Running down the hills (one where our apartment is located) are some twenty pedestrian street or villas.

Each has its own feel to it.

19th arrondissement, Quartier de la Mouzaia, villas, pedestrian street, Paris, France, cobblestone street, 19th arrondissement, Quartier de la Mouzaia, villas, pedestrian street, Paris, France, cobblestone street,    19th arrondissement, Quartier de la Mouzaia, villas, pedestrian street, Paris, France, cobblestone street,    Villa3    19th arrondissement, Quartier de la Mouzaia, villas, pedestrian street, Paris, France, cobblestone street,  I didn’t visit them all but did not tire of walking around.  Of course, there had to be one with a scooter as its emblem .  Villa

Red brick is predominant on the houses 19th arrondissement, Quartier de la Mouzaia, Paris, France, red brick, lavender, window, door, building  but, as the villas, each has its own unique character. And you see burst of colors which in previous walks I had not noticed.  19th arrondissement, Quartier de la Mouzaia, Paris, France, door   19th arrondissement, Quartier de la Mouzaia, Paris, France, window, door, pink façade, pink building  19th arrondissement, Quartier de la Mouzaia, Paris, France, window, door, blue and green façade, building

And then there is a surprise graffiti that is in Spanish!  Tus Ojos Son Mi Ventana, 19th arrondissement, Quartier de la Mouzaia, Paris, France, window, graffiti

I have yet to visit my local park Parc des Buttes Chaumont and if I don’t do it today I have a feeling I won’t do it at all so I go to the metro Botzaris metro, 19th arrondissement, Botzaris, Paris underground, subway, Paris, France where love is in the air and enter the park from a side street.  Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, park  Boxing, or tai bo, in the open air may be fun.  Parc des Buttes Chaumont, tai bo, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, park But a bite to eat at the park’s entrance may be a better idea. Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, park  Maybe some sunbathing after that. Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, park  While enjoying the view. Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, park  Going to ignore vandalism in this oasis.  Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, park

As I leave a see a vendor with maté by his side.  I automatically assume that he is either Argentinian, Uruguayan or Paraguayan so I ask him in Spanish where he is from and it turns out he is French but lived in South America for a year and adopted maté as his drink of choice.  It is a small world!

Getting late and I’m meeting Dean at a station Metroat the other side of town so I go back home passing another villa (alleyway / path) where a cat makes sure I understand this is his villa.  19th arrondissement, Quartier de Mouzaia, Paris, France, villa  19th arrondissement, Paris, France, Quartier de Mouzaia, cat, cobblestone street

I notice that my front door also provides that burst of color that the Quartier is known for.  19th arrondissement, Quartier Mouzaia, Paris, France, door, red door And I photograph the inner courtyard. 12 Rue de la Liberté, Paris, France, Quartier Mouzaia, courtyard, windows, Paris, France Everything seems to have character here.  Even a window with clothes drying.  12 Rue de la Liberté, Paris, France, Quartier Mouzaia, courtyard, windows, Paris, France

I get to Portes de Vanves metro, Paris, France– and I must say I am very proud of myself for getting there on time after two transfers on the metro – (Everyone who knows me knows that I have zero, zilch, no sense of orientation so this was a feat for me!)where we are checking out another possible shoot location.  The market of Antique and Old Books.  Portes de Vanves, book market, antique books, Paris, France   Portes de Vanves, Paris, France, books, antique book fair  Another window I like.  window, Paris, France  Back to our neck of the woods to have a great Vietnamese meal at Chez Kim.  Chez Kim, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France

And enjoy our last sunset in this part of town.  19th arrondissement, 12 Rue de la Liberté, sunset, window

Sunset

Wait till I take you to where we are moving to tomorrow!!!!

Categories: 19th arrondissement, Botzaris, France, Marché du livres ancien et d'occasion, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Paris, Ramblings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I’m a Loca Parisienne!! Revision: a LocaL Parisienne! :)

Today is a day of errands.  My companion is off helping a student filmmaker make his thesis film and I am left to my own devices.  I wake early (Yes, you heard that right… early!) to see him go and to start my day.

So what do Parisians do in the morning?  Perhaps prepare their first cup of coffee.  Perhaps.  Probably go get the morning croissant and baguette.  Even if that isn’t what they do that is what I will do!  I go in search of the neighborhood boulangerie (bakery for all you non-Parisians) and return to my closest supermarché.

So once I map out my route, I depart.  I also must go to the bank, so first I head there while enjoying “my” neighborhood.  Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene,   The walk is only two blocks but it takes me a while since I stop to photograph anything that catches my eye.

A door.  Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene, 10 Rue de la Liberté  A window. Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene, window, flower box

A street. Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene, Rue de la Liberté

Once there, I return to the apartment (pied-a-terre) and towards Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene the boulangerie where I confidently (Okay, not so confidently ask for 4 croissants, donut, and can he add another two croissants please?  Bonne journée madame.  The equivalent of “Have a good day.” A vous aussi.  You too.  Yay!  I manage to feel like I belong.

And with my precious croissants – my, do they smell good – I go to the supermarket supermarket, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, French supermarket chain that reminds me when they opened in Elkins Park, Philadelphia a million (well, maybe about 20 years ago).  I like their baskets, which have a curve so I can carry it on my side without having to lean like the Tower of Pisa.  shopping basket, basket, Carrefour, supermarket, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France  Now back to the apartment.  I put away my groceries. Munch on a croissant. Vaguely think that all these carbs that I am consuming are going to make me fat.  Quickly discard that fact and stare at the pile of clothes I have to take to the lavomatique (laundromat).  Procrastinating sounds just the way to deal with this, but I do not…mainly propelled by the fact that I have no more socks or undies left clean, than by a recognition that procrastinating will get me nowhere.

Again I map my course and off I go!  I pick up the keys which are the oddest shape.  odd shape keys, antique keys, keys  And with my very heavy two bags of clothes I go into the unknown.  I’m really not that sure of where it is.  After a quite a few blocks I must admit to myself (though not to others) that I have mapped out my course dreadfully wrong.  So I ask a woman on the street where is the closest laundromat and manage to understand perfectly well her directions.  Am relieved to know it is only two more blocks away and that I will not have to climb these steps to get to it.   P1150492  Or these…stairs, climb, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement  By the way, on the side is “The Aztec” club which is a weight training gym.  I get a kick out of that.

What I’m not getting a kick out of is carrying these two heavy bags of clothes.  As I approach the laundromat I spot a word that propels me back home:  Audition.  Never mind that it refers to nothing about my profession (acting) but does refer to auditory needs.  Auditory needs, earpieces, hearing aids, audition   And I arrive.  Phew!  I don’t take a picture ’cause I am way too busy trying to figure out how to work/pay for the wash.  The machines are tiny.  It’s about $6 a wash.  Yikes!  And only after somebody actually comes to my aid am I able to use them.

What I do with great ease is go to the café, the Arch in the Sky,  Parisian café, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France (L’arc en Ciel) next door, empty except for one table of locals outside, and sit and feel like I am really part of this neighborhood.  Une noisette s’il vous plait.  A little espresso with a drop of milk please (And can I feel any more French today?).  I read.  I look out the lace curtain.  Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, lace, café,   I survey the place. Parisian café, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, café I like the fact that my waiter seems to be 100 years old and doesn’t question my choice of boisson (drink).  Time to pay and return to my errands.  I fold. I feel good. I am loving everything just about now.

I return home to a welcoming by Tutu koala  From my kitchen I see Paris’ rooftops.  I wonder about who lives in them and spin webs of words that gel into lives that really may be far from reality.  Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, rooftop, windows

Would love to see this particular wood window open one day.  Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, rooftop, window  Even through the bars I find myself enjoying washing dishes.  rooftops, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, windows  Dean comes home just in time to enjoy another beautiful sunset in the neighborhood!

Rooftops, windows, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France

 

🙂

Categories: 19th arrondissement, France, Paris, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sing To Me Eric Clapton…

SuitcaseIt’s 3:30 am and the rooster sings.  My alarm clock is a rooster crowing.  I think it takes me back to times in my grandpa’s house where often I was awaken by one.  I have packed almost all night.  Fretted about just about everything.  Do I have my passport?  Should I take this dress?  How much of this and of that will fit?  Do I have my passport?   My permanent resident card?  I am now officially a Spaniard I have the passport to prove it!  Will it present problems?  I have a European Union passport! Passport Am I going to be okay?  More packing.  No I don’t need this much.  Is the suitcase too heavy?  Do I have my passport? Ay!!!

My flight leaves at 7:30 am.  Pick up by cab at 4:30 am.  Unreasonable times to be awake.  So worth it to be able to be London bound.    Dean’s flight leaves at 7:00 pm.  His is a direct flight.  Mine stops in Chicago.  Change plane to Berlin.  Change plane and airline to London.  I arrive a mere two hours before he does.

A cab picks us up.  The fare ends up being not the $50 or $60 they estimated but $75 plus tip.  Next time we take a car service.   We are both groggy.

My first flight is with American Airlines.  American  My next one with AirBerlin. Air BerlinEverything is self check now and I would rename it as all-confusing.  What happened to the civilized way of doing this?  But we get it all sorted out with help by personnel there for that purpose, and after over more than 40 minutes we are all set.  I get Priority Access thanks to my AA frequent flyer status.  I like.  They say that with Priority Access I can enter the Admirals Club.  Don’t believe them.  Dean gets a day-pass; I get a smile and “I’m sorry but either you pay or can’t come in.” Then it dawns on me that I have a Klout score of more than 55 which allows me to go in, right?  “Yes, mam.  Let’s see? ”  I show them, way higher… yay!  Buuuuut there is no barcode.  Huh?  Barcode.  Yes, please send to your phone.  So I try and it doesn’t happen.  Sorry mam.  Ugh!

So we go to breakfast in the only crappy sit down restaurant/bar in the terminal.  Have a lovely conversation with a couple returning from Kuai.  Then I head to my gate where Priority Access is once again a good thing and I board first.  But before that I say goodbye.  We will meet again in a Costa Coffee -ground floor, Terminal 4 in Heathrow.  Seems to me that this past year, and even the one before has been a whirlwind of departures and arrivals.  Sadness and joy, laced and inevitable interconnected.

And what does all this have to do with Eric Clapton?  What awaits us in London is two nights of Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall along with many other adventures which you and I will be taking together.  See you in London!

Categories: Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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