Paris, Part 1: Before Paris

So this will be a short little series about my experience getting to Paris, enjoying Paris, and saying good-bye to Paris.

I was so excited to get there. I had been anticipating this trip for a year. I was a little nervous, but like I said, mostly ecstatic! I had a long layover at SFO, so I hid out at one of the airline clubs and just chilled out with my music and my Paris tour books. Finally, it was time to board to Paris.

It wasn’t too long before I was settled in and watching a movie.  We got our meal fairly quickly and I tried to sleep after my first movie. I tried to read my Nook (The Late Show by Michael Connelly) and assorted magazines. I was too excited to really focus on anything for more than 30 minutes. So, while we were headed toward the East coast, I went up toward the galley and saw a woman with an oxygen mask on. Someone was on the phone. I didn’t think much about it for whatever reason. I went back to my seat and started a movie. Within an hour, we were headed over Eastern Canada when they made the announcement. We are making an emergency medical landing. HELL NO! This isn’t happening….I felt my heart sink. LIke really sink.. I felt nauseated. I prepared myself for all things Paris, but not emergency landings and re-positioning my trip plans. This can’t be happening. But yet,  it is. They announce we are landing in Newark, New Jersey. The perfect place to start my Paris vacation. NOT. No offense for those in New Jersey, but I was planning on Paris, people! They told us they would be making plans for us for the night, but we were NOT going anywhere till 7PM the next night. Which means I have one less day in Paris.

It was a chaotic hot mess in New Jersey. We (about 150-200 of us) stood in several lines to try to figure out what was going on. Until I stood in that line with everyone, I felt alone and stranded. I know that’s selfish. And when I started talking to these people. People just like me, totally inconvenienced and panicked and in a generally pissed mood. Then something happened. To me, anyway.  We were all in the same boat. We all needed to be in Paris Saturday morning. I learned some people needed to be there by a certain time Saturday even more than I did; they had tours and cruises and their vacation was on a very exacting schedule.  As selfish as it was, it made me feel better that I was not alone.  We all started talking with each other. Trying to figure out what was happening at the front of the lines. We were promised a new flight, hotel passes, and food vouchers.  We started talking about life and what got us headed to Paris in the first place.  It was amazing. Everyone was getting along together, instead of being divisive and rushing for the customer service desk.  Granted, we are all adults, but funny things can happen in crisis.  I finally got to the customer service agent. He apparently was only giving out the hotel vouchers (score for Crowne Plaza) and food vouchers ($30….what???). The lady at the front wrote down our flight number, but couldn’t confirm our seat assignments. Damn…this can’t be good. But I took the flight number and thankfully I had my baggage (there was a reason I paid for the priority boarding), heading for the shuttle with a few other people I had gotten to know during the course of the crazy chaos.  During the stay on the line, I realized I should start contacting my Paris connections, my landlady and a family friend.  By the time I got to the hotel, it was about 3AM.  I called my landlady (poor woman, who just was recovering from her birthday celebration the previous night) at 9AM Paris time.

So I finally went to sleep for about 4-5 hours at the very most. I wanted to get to the airport  and take care of business.  Then I talked to a friend who urged me to call the airline directly from my hotel room. YES!!! I got my flight confirmed with a seat assignment and my boarding pass was ready to go before I even left my hotel that morning. I went down to breakfast at the hotel and saw a fellow traveler, originally from Haiti, who was returning to his Paris, his home of several years. I shared my good fortune with the seat assignments and he called himself. I went upstairs and got ready, then headed down to the lobby to catch the shuttle. Even though I got my seat assignment, I thought it would just be wise to be at the airport. My fellow travelers were on the same page. A group of us were in the lobby by 10AM; I saw a woman I had spoken with the night before and shared the phone number and advice with her. She called as well and got her boarding pass online.  It felt so good to be positive about this whole crappy experience.  I was so happy I could share the phone number and more people could feel secure with confirmed seat assignments. I ended up spending a bit of time with one of the women in that group.

Once I boarded, I took my seat and recognized the young French woman next to me from the night before. We chatted a bit before she went to sleep for the majority of the flight (lucky her!) …. I felt calm and knew the next  7 hours would pass quickly compared to the last 16 hours or so.  They did, indeed, pass and I was soon in Paris.  Once I landed, I was in the customs line with one couple I remembered, but otherwise never saw anyone else again. I never saw the nice Haitian man or the woman I spent four hours with in the airport or the couple I talked to in line for three hours in Newark.  While it was a chaotic time and we weren’t sure exactly how to navigate the  system, we all did just fine and landed in Paris safely.

I arrived in Paris!! I got through customs. I found the taxi stands, had my taxi driver talk to my landlady, and made my way to Rue de Grenelle in the 7th district in Paris, my home for seven,  I mean six days.

 

Off track…featuring gummy bears and lemon drop martinis

Why am I posting exercise and fitness rants when I am supposed to be writing about dating, relationships and communication between males and females as well as female friends?  That was the focus, right? Well, I have found that the relationship I have with myself is pretty damn important. If I can’t be happy with the way I look or feel, how can I exude confidence? I can’t. If I can’t, how can I expect others to be confident in me and experience an attract to someone they want to get to know (male or female)? I can’t do that either. I am going go to be successful in the adventures of relationships with guys and my female friends when I am successful in the relationship I have with myself. Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City character) said this pretty exactly in the last episode of Sex and the City Season six, part two.

Enter fitness and exercise.  And diet (seemingly my albatross). When I have the tools in my tool chest, I have no excuses. Especially when I have used the tools with success in the last year. I have no one to blame but myself when I am to happy with the way things are going. I love the fitness part. I hate the healthy eating part.  Except, I love the way I feel and look when I am successful with healthy eating patterns and habits. I hate the way I feel after eating at  McDonalds. Why is it so hard? It makes total sense that I should be fully on board with the “eating right” thing. But I am not. So far from it. This weekend I have consumed the following in no particular order:

  • gummy bears
  • hot wings and sweet potato fries
  • two IPAs
  • movie popcorn
  • lemon drop martini
  • red wine
  • omelet with bacon and cheese (don’t forget the potatoes and bread with that please)
  • and some other stuff I can’t get remember.

So why is this so hard this year? If I could break through that, I think I could get to the crux of the problem. Just Saturday, I was reminded of my fat content when my personal trainer said “today, we are doing measurements”. Uh? What? I thought the fat caliper measurement was all that we needed to determine how out of shape I was. Clearly, not so much.

I have done the diet, the eating right, the changing of the paradigm. What happened over this last holiday season that got me so far off track? I am going to work on answerig that one, right after I grab a rice cake.  Seriously, they are not so bad when you  put some white cheddar cheese on top. Just kidding….Not.

 

Apologies….

I realize that I did not post a Throwback Thursdays post this week. It is something I am considering to be an experiment. I am not sure how popular it is. I would l love to take a poll. So for all of my readers, please leave a comment if my Throwback Thursdays are worth keeping. The posts are usually some type of retelling of an escapade of dating gone terribly awry. Throwback Thursday 5: AA and the homeless guy is a recent example. So the a look. Let me know. I usually post about two to three times a week, Thursday being one of them. If this is something you look forward to reading, please leave me a comment. That would be awesome!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and stay tuned!

Healing power

via Daily Prompt: Heal

So I remember a long time ago, back when I had my other blog, I wrote about the healing process because it is something any honest person can relate to. I say honest because it really takes someone who can be true to themselves, and less importantly to others, to admit she (or he) is healing from something, that there was something broken to begin with. That’s ego. If the ego can make way for healing, then we have half a chance, don’t we.

Physical illness is a process, but a sympathetic process. People can get behind that. There are those who have the disease of addiction and healing from that. Who’s supporting them, encouraging the healing and sobering process (although it is ultimately up to the addict).  People seem  slightly little less  sympathetic. “Oh you’re clean and sober? That’s great”… Healing from  years of the disease of addiction is not easy. I am not an addict, but I know those who have died from the disease. I even heard someone say of those having difficulty of the healing process: “if they die from overdosing its just natural selection” . It was a bit shocking to hear this. I guess I am naive to think that the general public could have sympathy for  those with addiction. From my experience with people close to me, it is probably one of the hardest diseases to recover from  and heal successfully from the ravages of addiction. I was slightly more shocked at the statement about natural selection as my stepbrother died from an overdose and the person who said this may or may not have known this. It really doesn’t matter whether he knew it or not.

Everyone is trying to heal from something. You never know who is working on some path to recovery, Whether someone is healing from a physical injury, a broken heart,  or depression, it really doesn’t matter does it?

Have some compassion people and let us heal ourselves in the best way we can. We are not infallible; we are mere mortals.

 

Music pairing: Hold on by Sarah McLachlan

Symbiosis: Are the scales ever balanced?

via Daily Prompt: Symbiosis

Am I too cynical? When is symbiosis beneficial to both parties? I haven’t seen this often enough.  There is always some power play. Maybe we could be symbiotic in some equal-ish transfer of different contributions, money, emotional support, intellect, sex….the list goes on. The transfer can be fluid. I suppose if both people absolutely are equal in their need for the other’s contributions  to the relationship, then the symbiosis is copacetic. All good.

But when is it EVER a perfect balance of power? When we are so invested in the others success? Is it because our success depends too heavily on the others?  I wish I could think about all the lovely ecosystems and symbiosis in nature. That would be so cool here in the world of human behavior in relationships. It’s just now where my head goes.  My head goes to dysfunction in the so-called symbiosis of relationships I have seen (not just my own, mind you).

In human relationships (take your pick), when are the scaled perfectly balanced to create a genuine symbiosis?

 

Throwback Thursday 5: AA and the homeless guy

To preface this story, I have to disclose something. I am pretty sure I have mentioned this before in a previous post, but if you weren’t present for that rant, here it is: I used to think I had a drinking problem. For anyone who really knows me, they realize, as did I after nine years, that I simply had a lifestyle problem. I went to AA for a little over nine years till I realized I solidly  am NOT an alcoholic. That is a totally different post, or possibly memoir. This is simply one small snapshot from that time in AA. I made some pretty poor dating decisions, or just life decisions when I was in AA. While it changed my life for the better overall, the early  years were questionable!

Here we go! So I don’t know why I found this guy intriguing, but I did. I couldn’t come up with  a single reason other than he was tall, dark, and somewhat good looking. It’s quite the short story. He and I hung out a few times. I am not sure you would call them dates. He said he had a job. After one AA meeting, I eventually  agreed to let him come home with me. We stopped by ‘his’ house and he disappeared behind the back of the house, but refused to let me ‘come in’.  Odd, but as  I didn’t know him terribly well, I didn’t ask too many questions. We hung out at my place and all was fine. Since I wasn’t about to let him stay at my place, I gave him a ride back downtown when I went to work the next day and asked if he wanted to be dropped off at ‘his’ house. He simply said I could drop him off anywhere as he had some errands and had to be at work early anyway and he’d just walk around a bit. Odd, again….but who knows!  So, one of those fine days of dropping him off at my work, he just took off and it seemed in a different direction each time. Odder and odder. Each time. Where does he go? That morning, we  had decided to meet at the 5:45pm  AA meeting that night.

I met him at the meeting. After that, we went back to my place for dinner and would contemplate the later meeting. At my house, we were hanging out and his keys fell from his hoodie pocket. I picked them up for him. Only there were two keys. Very small keys. Almost like locker keys, but no house key. At all. Did I call him out on this? As I couldn’t find a house key to ‘his’ house where I let him pick up ‘a few things’ that first night? Of course I did! I can’t NOT ask him what the fuck is going on…with the locker keys, nowhere to go every morning…..

“I’m kinda homeless,” he says. WTF? I ask him about the house. He says he had hidden some clothes in the backyard and “kinda knows the guy that lives there”. Everything else explains itself pretty immediately once he tells me that he’s homeless. I tell him immediately, with no charitable blood in my body at that moment that we must go back to AA so I can promptly drop him off where I found him.  I should have been more compassionate. Maybe, just maybe, if he had been honest from the beginning I may have been more concerned, understanding, and/or helpful. No guarantees, but at this point, it was not happening. No sir.  I took him back to one of the big AA  meeting houses in Denver where we first met. We drove down pretty much in silence. What do you say?  I parked my little VW Beetle in the parking lot after unwittingly providing him a home for basically a week (at night anyway).

He says to me as I am getting out of the car, “Can I just stay in the car for a while you go to the meeting?”  Really? “No,” I said. Just no.

In the weeks, months,  and years that followed, I saw him from a distance at meetings and around the meeting house. He bleached his hair, he got a little stranger in his behavior.  I am glad I called him out on the key that night. Not that I wouldn’t  have figured it out sooner or later. Likely sooner. But at least when I dodged the bullet there, the bullet was much smaller.

Have a great day my readers!  I will catch up with you all this weekend!

Those Jeans!

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So I am wearing the blue jeans again today.  The ones from my earlier post: Blue Jeans. I needed to get inspired and I was hoping thy would do the trick. I was almost out of inspiration and felt there was nothing to write about. Then I remembered: What was I doing when I got these jeans? I was leaving a not so great situation about 6.5 years ago. And that, my dear readers, is an understatement. What does that have to do with now?

I was on my Facebook feed this week. I was reading my friends’ posts and comments and updating myself on the day’s events as I do most evenings. Now what happened next shouldn’t come as a total surprise to me. After all, I had one last remaining mutual friend on Facebook with my ex-husband. The thing is, my ex had not been on Facebook in any way visible to me via this friend since about 2010. All of a sudden, his profile showed up with a comment on said friend’s post/feed. I was definitely surprised. And feeling immediately nauseated and felt my Facebook was invaded without my permission. And yes, I am well aware its a public space. I wasn’t thinking clearly, only emotionally…. Why did I feel so shocked and surprised, after all these two were good friends?  Maybe because he looked different. Maybe he looked happy. Hard to tell.  Perhaps I resented that he is so happy after putting me through so  much financial hardship and hell back then and now. Fortunately, I have refused to let him take my happiness, at least in the last 4-5 years.  But for all my efforts to overcome that whole incident that I will call a marriage, I was hoping he wouldn’t be looking so smug or happy. SO hard to tell with him.

And that’s why I am wearing the jeans today. To celebrate strength, the strength I have had all along to get through unexpected events that throat me for a loop. I didn’t get totally unravelled, but it was definitely disconnecting.  But now I know, he’s nearby with the death of distance that social media brings us closer to. Its okay. I know there is no way he would contact me.

I am okay. And I say that every  day. Because it is so true.

Have a fantastic end of your weekend. I’m glad I kept these jeans!