Come on ladies…

Although this blog is not about politics, at all, and it is already emotionally charged enough including topics such as betrayal, trauma, living with an addict, etc… voting my heart is very very important to me. Forewarning: this entry is political. I don’t vote my wallet (as dumb as our accountants think that is), I vote from inside that place in me that cares deeply about the rights of all humans and I want our laws and governmental programs to help, not hurt, people, especially those in need. In my perfect world (which obviously doesn’t exist, because as we all know, no one and nothing is perfect), we would have useful resources available for the mentally ill. Our legal system would work and our prisons wouldn’t be profitable for white men while housing a larger percentage of black men. Equal educational opportunities would be available to all our citizens, and universal healthcare would exist. I believe strongly in certain human rights and I vote accordingly. By vote accordingly, I attempt to vote for the person who appears to represent my point of view. That’s the best I can do, especially in the current climate. I research voting records and personal character of political candidates, as best I can, and then vote. I always vote.

I believe I was born a liberal. I have never felt any other way than I feel right now. Jimmy Carter is my favorite past president. I love that man. I love his humbleness and his humaneness. Since 3/4 of my parent base are republicans and two are conservative republicans, I wasn’t necessarily nurtured to be a democrat. Both my fathers are proud gun owners (not that there aren’t liberal gun owners, I am just not one of them). My step mother is 100% against the right to choose (because that is what it is, an individual’s right to make decisions about her own body), and even my mother at one point voted against gay rights. If I didn’t look so much like my parents, I would swear I am adopted. I am sad our two-party system separates us as a country, but the truth is, I am a liberal democrat. I am not a wacko. I am not a far left faction. I don’t bring weapons to rallies. I don’t chant derogatory words about anyone. I believe in human rights and for many many years I have felt our taxes were being misspent. They are definitely being misspent today. We (me and Blue Eyes, our company) pay A LOT of taxes. We have accountants who work diligently to try and help us, but as they tell us, we don’t make it easy. We pay a total of 52% of our income in taxes. I believe in paying taxes, but I also believe that those taxes should be going towards good. I’m not going to embrace the negative here and spew out a bunch of ways our taxes are being misspent. To me, it is all so obvious. I realize many people disagree with me. I am not saying mine is the only opinion or I am the only one with feelings. I am merely stating my opinion.

So, back to this blog. My older son is visiting from Brooklyn this week. He and his girlfriend, his brother, friends are camping out in the middle of Oregon somewhere having this morning witnessed a full solar eclipse in it’s totality with clear blue skies and no light pollution. I can’t wait until they return tomorrow to tell us all about it. Here in Portland we did not experience totality. Our coverage was 99.5% and although the sky darkened and held a chilly somewhat gloomy cast, and the birds were going absolutely berserk, it never reached darkness. We used our fancy approved glasses and watched the moon glide over the sun leaving just the tiniest of slivers of sun showing, but even that little bit of that huge burning ball of fire was enough to keep us in the light.

Saturday night we had a family barbecue with my parents and unfortunately one of the dinner conversation topics turned to politics. There was a big discussion around Charlottesville and racism, and then somehow abortion rights entered the conversation. I honestly don’t remember how all this went, but my father kind of blew it off saying, “oh come on, abortion is legal, that decision was made a long time ago, there are a lot more compelling things to talk about these days.” Well, I took offense. We have a conservative faction in the American government at this time that has some power. The right to choose is always a “big deal” to me. If we become complacent, rights over our bodies could be next on the chopping block. Yes, I also believe we have reached a pivotal turning point in the race war, and the environment here in America is downright toxic, anti-semitic signs were hung on overpasses over this past weekend as we welcomed thousands of Californians up for eclipse totality (what the actual fuck?), but that doesn’t mean other topics are no longer important.

As we were talking about our government, our theoretic “leadership,” my son brought up a point I had not mentally explored before. I know I had heard this, but I guess I blocked it out. He felt especially deflated at learning soon after last Fall’s election that a majority of WHITE WOMEN voted for Trump. Numerous legitimate sources place the number at 53%. This percentage is only for WHITE women. Even as he said it, I refused to acknowledge it. He pulled out his iPhone and googled it and found numerous references. Of course I knew it was true, but like 30 years of betrayal, I didn’t want to believe it.

Later that evening I googled: why did white women vote for Trump… and this article showed at the top of the search list:

I’m on a roll with New York Times articles this week. I am not going to specifically cite anything from this article, which highlights nearly a dozen women who voted for Trump, and their reasons why. I did read through every single one of them though and with each woman I felt more and more sick. In my mind, some of the reasons they used have already come back to bite us all in the ass. I still have a hard time understanding this phenomena. In my mind, none of the reasons they state are enough to obliterate the one image of Trump making fun of a disabled person.

The sick feeling I got from reading these women’s words remind me of reading mistress blogs all those many months ago. Women rationalizing disrespect. Women hating on women. Somehow these women rationalized voting for a man with no political experience (as Tom Hanks so eloquently put it over and over during the campaigning months: if you need a root canal, are you going to go to someone who thinks they might be able to do it, or to the person who has done 6000 of them and has impressive credentials on the wall), who is a misogynist, and who is backed by white supremacist groups (and everything that goes with that). These women didn’t just vote for Trump, in my opinion, they voted against Clinton. I know they were partly voting against the establishment and many were sucked into the lies, but I do think, now, these white women were choosing not to vote for another white woman because we as women are learning the hard way not to trust other women. In polls, there was a serious lack of trust and respect for Hillary Clinton. One woman even blames Hillary for what Bill did with an intern? Seriously? Okay, I am going to quote this:

And it’s like Hillary has the right to talk about Trump when she stayed with a guy who was in the White House and took advantage of a young intern? Why would you stay with him?

Lady, this is in a major newspaper. You just blamed the wife for the actions of her philandering husband and then compared her staying with a cheater to actually being a cheater. WTF?

Okay, just one more…

I run my household like a business, my classroom like a business. I expect him to run the country in such a manner. You don’t pay more money out than you have.

In an article I read this morning, the security detail alone required for Trump and his family and all their shenanigans has now bankrupted the Secret Service.

That’s all I have to say.

Mystery man, or liar?

Blogger friend, B, has prompted another post. She’s good that way! In a comment on my last blog entry, she posted a link to this NY Times article and mentioned that she thought I might be able to relate.

I read the article twice, and then replied to B’s comment. I absolutely can relate to this article, but my conclusions about marriage and “mystery” diverge from hers, and I’m not sure where that lead in line came from about “lack of curiosity”? Of course we are different people, have unique experiences, and we are married to different men. The author is also a hospice chaplain and has drawn some of her conclusions based on talking with a lot of dying people who are finally ready to give up their secrets. But they are giving them up to her, not the person who may have wanted or needed to know these secrets, or mysteries as the author calls them. She seems to have accepted that her husband is a mystery (I read that as keeps secrets, or doesn’t tell the truth all the time), and she analogizes not knowing another person, kind of like not knowing all of what will happen in the future. For me, these two concepts are vastly different. One is about lying and the other is about a journey. I do very much want to be on this mysterious journey of life, but I don’t really want to be on a journey with a liar.

As I have talked about so many times here, I know I will never know everything about any other person, namely my husband. A lot goes on each day in our separate brains. I do talk a lot, so a lot of what is in my brain comes spilling out all over the people I am with. People who know me or have met me can attest to this. It’s not necessarily an asset, but I really am an open book and even though I realize other people, namely Blue Eyes, need more space than that, that they are not like me, and I realize that is okay, it should never be a rationalization for hiding and lying.

I have my own bachelor party story, briefly outlined in this entry, Wedding, but I had a spy at the party, so I knew about it right away. No one was arrested, but my guess is, some should have been. I did feel like a fool, that my soon-to-be-husband could be coerced into participating in such a vulgar display, but also that the participants “took a pact” not to tell any of the wives and girlfriends. Fucking cowards. If a person needs to keep secrets about their behavior, maybe they should rethink their behavior. Yes, I really believe this.

Two nights ago at the beach house, Blue Eyes and I were discussing our budget and going through our bank accounts. As a continuation of his education, our older son applied for and was accepted to a prestigious fellowship program at a well known Manhattan museum. The program is heavily subsidized, but there is an entrance fee and he will need to cut his work hours. We are very proud of him for this amazing accomplishment. During this time we will subsidize his income. I went to his bank account, where I will electronically deposit money, and was shocked to see his visa charge card was nearly at it’s limit, when a few days ago it was paid in full. I perused the charges (he knows I do this) and found a substantial charge for the release of a NYC boot on his car. For anyone who doesn’t know what a car boot is, it is a contraption the traffic police attach to the wheel of a car. The owner is unable to drive the car while the boot is on. It costs a lot of money to have the boot removed. Why does the city put boots on cars? Unpaid parking tickets, that’s why. How do I know all about this? Blue Eyes, that’s how.

In college, Blue Eyes was the king of “rhino boots” as they called them. When we saw the charge for the boot release on our son’s visa charges, Blue Eyes immediately said… “well, we’re not paying for that.” I asked him what he did when he was in college and needed the boot off his car (he would leave it on there for quite some time, until he actually needed the car). He sheepishly admitted he would go to his father for the money for the fines and boot removal. *sigh* We’ve had this “like father, like son” conversation quite a few times over the past few months. I love the father, and I love the son, but man do they have a lot of similarities that bust my butt. The father/son conversations were not had to make Blue Eyes feel bad, but merely to point out that his actions have consequences. Cat’s in the cradle, silver spoon, when you coming home son, I don’t know when… kind of consequences. Very predictable. I saw it coming. Our actions are not done in a vacuum.

More frustratingly, however, was Blue Eyes saying, yeah, yeah, I make a lot of mistakes… I get a lot of tickets. Wait, what? Current tense. I “get” a lot of tickets. Over the years Blue Eyes has received lots and lots of tickets, parking tickets, moving violations, expensive fucking tickets. At one point they suspended his night driving due to his poor judgment. A 30-something attorney with his own business… suspended license for lack of good judgment. I looked at him and he realized just a second too late. I asked him when was the last time he received a ticket? He said, oh a year ago or so. I parked in a truck loading zone. But I could tell he was lying. I asked him where was the truck loading zone? Who was he visiting that he parked in a truck loading zone? And when exactly was this? And where is the ticket? I don’t remember seeing a ticket. And what car was he driving, etc… etc… If there is anything I have mastered, it is pummeling Blue Eyes with questions about his lies.

My frustration built as I could see the lies in his eyes. FINALLY, he admitted to parking in a truck loading zone outside a downtown restaurant while picking up a to-go order A COUPLE MONTHS AGO. By the way, there is a parking lot next to AND across the street from the restaurant with legit parking for maybe $5 (as opposed to the $200 ticket). But interestingly enough, the ticket wasn’t even for the illegal parking (which is idiotic as it is). The ticket was for an expired registration. What? He neglected to renew the registration on his vehicle, THEN, he parked illegally. WHAT? But the thing is, and this is what gets me, is that when he is doing these things, like parking wherever the fuck he wants regardless of “rules” he really believes he is impervious to consequences. The consequences don’t hurt him, I guess. When he parks there he thinks, I’ll be less than 15 minutes, no way will I get a ticket, not me. And I won’t tell Kat when I do get that ticket, because, why? I don’t have to answer to anyone. She doesn’t need to know and that way I won’t have to look like an idiot. I’ll just have sex with this woman a few times, I won’t get caught, not me…. Oh wait, yeah, the lying does bring back a whole lot of bad bad memories and feelings for me. It still makes me wonder if he is capable of telling the truth. He knows my response would have been to say he was an idiot for assuming he wouldn’t get a ticket and also if he doesn’t have enough time to have the car registered, give the damn thing to me. I’ll spend the two hours and get it done. Getting a ticket is just not worth it. But instead, he willfully breaks the law and then lies about it. First by omission, then he just flat out lies. Blue Eyes is quite the “mystery man,” isn’t he.

I don’t want that kind of mystery in my life.

Beyond the sea

Apparently I won’t be facing my in-laws any time soon. Phew. I’m still not sure what provoked his desire to make contact, we need to have a long discussion about this, but truth is, I haven’t felt up to the conversation.

When I left the beach house last week, my cold was bad and I was not well enough to clean house. I have had the beach house professionally cleaned exactly once, because it was so dusty and I have severe dust allergies. We have been told to expect construction dust to keep popping up for at least a year. Sigh. During that cleaning, a light fixture and a couple other items were broken. Not to mention, I struggle finding things because the cleaner rearranged all the drawers. Most likely she took everything out of every drawer and dusted & cleaned them thoroughly, unfortunately she didn’t keep track of where things were, or… she had a desire to put things where she would want them rather than where I had them. Who knows. I have decided for the most part that I will do my own cleaning and let someone else wash the massive windows. We’ve had to tighten our budget in order to afford the house payment without increasing salaries, and cleaning is a good place to start. I enjoy the feeling of working hard and then enjoying a spotless house. It doesn’t last long unless I am the only one there, but it is still very nice while it does last.

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This foxy gentleman traveled home with me from Paris. I’ve named him George (Clooney). Totally Caroline has his twin brother out in Florida. 🙂

I spent yesterday cleaning the house… vacuuming (mostly dog fur and sand), dusting, laundering sheets, cleaning bathrooms, and cleaning obvious spots on the windows. I love to turn up the Sonos sound system loud, it keeps me motivated. Yesterday I chose the Michael Bublé Pandora Station. Blue Eyes called me mid-afternoon and I answered before turning the sound system down. I asked him to hold on a minute while I paused the music. The song that was playing was Bobby Darin’s ‘Beyond the Sea,’ but it was being sung by Kevin Spacey. I adore Kevin Spacey. ‘American Beauty’ is one of my all time favorite movies, if not my favorite. I am currently in Season Five of House of Cards. I love me some Kevin Spacey… the more evil, the better. I didn’t realize until watching House of Cards, that Kevin Spacey can really sing. I realize a lot of actors are multi-talented, trained dancers, singers, etc…, but I didn’t realize he was. Anyway…. I told Blue Eyes I thought it was funny that Kevin Spacey was singing that song, I didn’t even realize that it was a Bobby Darin song. Bobby Darrin is a little before my time and so many others have covered ‘Beyond the Sea.’ I particularly like Harry Connick Jr’s version. Anyway, Blue Eyes not only knew that it was a Bobby Darin song, but he could also hear that it was the Kevin Spacey version. WTF? The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I know this is presumptuous of me, but I have shared 34 years of my life with Blue Eyes. The personal things like music and movies, that we have shared, are important to me. Even when he would travel, he rarely watched movies on the planes, and never at the hotels, but if he did watch something without me, he would tell me (I thought) and vice versa. Often we would discuss a movie even if we hadn’t watched it together. This was important to both of us (I thought). I know I didn’t know everything about his life, of course, still don’t. Do I know every person he talks to for business? No. Do I know everything that is discussed between Blue Eyes and his doctors? No. Am I privy to the conversations he has with say, the checker at the grocery store? No. BUT, when it comes to movies and favorite songs and restaurants we like, etc… I feel like they belong to us as a couple. I feel like we should have a similar knowledge base. Share and share alike.

Back to yesterday. He proceeded to say, “yeah, remember Kevin Spacey played Bobby Darin in that movie… I remember not liking it because Darin drank a lot and there was a lot of arguing and fighting with his wife.” No, I don’t remember that. No, I have never seen the movie. Yes, I would have definitely remembered. He insinuated I had just forgotten. If you read my blog, I talk a lot about the past. I have a pretty amazing memory, like an elephant, or a steel trap. What I do remember, is a conversation we had nearly three years ago about a different movie… one he claimed to have never seen, but he insisted we watch. I could tell he had seen the movie before. He denied it. He lied. My instincts didn’t lie. He did. I hate this aspect of betrayal. The fact that my instincts are good and yet, he continues to say things that cause me to go… wait, what? It’s not like him having seen or not seen a movie or heard a song or eaten in a particular restaurant that I haven’t changes anything for me or our marriage, but all I have ever asked for is the truth. His instincts are to spit out whatever he remembers before thinking about the implications of potential past lies, or lies by omission. The problem is, when the hairs on the back of my neck stick up and I feel that burning ball in the pit of my stomach, I know I am not mistaken.

I recently finished a book called ‘The Silent Wife.’ I knew it had to be written by a woman because the husband character is so shallow. He is completely void of honesty and integrity. He is a caricature of a man (in my opinion). He is not overtly mean, nor is he uneducated or a failure. He cheated monotonously and was even unfaithful to his mistresses. Every woman was a sex object, but he loved them all–so strange, and he was delusional enough to think that even after he had moved out with a girl less than half his age (whom he had impregnated–the daughter of his best friend), he still believed he could have a civil relationship with his first wife, including sex if he so desired. Even after he evicted her from their apartment and stripped her of all of his income and wealth, he still thought about the relationship they would have. The husband made me angry. I couldn’t figure out if I was mad at the author for writing such a vacuous male character, or if I was angry because some of the things this man thought or did reminded me of things that Blue Eyes must have thought and done during his many years of cheating. Blue Eyes is not a stupid man, but he had to be delusional to think he could carry on as he did without being caught.

Blue Eyes is adamant that he did not see that movie with the other woman. He still claims we saw the movie together. He was adamant before too, about so many things. I don’t like being played for a fool. I realize for some strange and absurd reason he thinks it is better to lie than to tell the truth. It is the oldest habit he possesses. He most likely has been lying for as long as he has been able to speak. I have no doubt he saw the Kevin Spacey Bobby Darin movie. He even tried backtracking and saying maybe he just read about it. He was so vivid with the details of the movie and why he didn’t like it. The movie came out right at the end of 2004. His Craig’s List ad and subsequent relationship with the alcoholic hoarder all started right around this time. It’s a strange coincidence, no? I do not believe in coincidence anymore.

The Peacemaker brought up a good point the other day. He said I seem antsy, on edge. He noticed I have been having an increasing number of stress headaches, the kind that pound on the back of my head. He asked if I was doing any meditation. He reminded me that I have not set up my painting supplies at the beach house like I had said I was going to do. Initially I didn’t unpack my painting supplies because there was still work to be done on the house, namely an overhaul of the sheetrock and then repainting the affected walls (which is most of them). My son is right. I have waited long enough. Later this month when I am back at the coast, I plan to start painting again.

I will start with a somewhat abstract version of this photo I took in front of our house last month. I think I will title it: Beyond the Sea.

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Inspiration.

A weight on my shoulders

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Oregon Coast

As much as I love my beach house, and I do love it, and I have spent lots of time there recently, this has been a trying summer so far for me and Blue Eyes. He has been working A LOT. We have been apart. He has been traveling, very few overnights, but many many day trips. Due to business demands, his time at the beach house has been truncated. He has also devoted quite a bit of effort to his mindfulness activities, which in theory is fantastic, but in reality eats into our couple time as well.

Last week was particularly difficult. We spent our 28th wedding anniversary together at the beach house. I had wanted it to be just the two of us, but as it turned out, sometimes life messes with my plans. The Peacemaker has been struggling lately with anxiety and depression. His difficulties come in waves. So, instead of Blue Eyes arriving by himself for a romantic anniversary weekend at the coast, the weekend turned into family time with two fluffy, energetic dogs who LOVE to run around on the beach (much time spent washing them off at the outdoor shower), and a melancholy 23 year old who likes to sulk. Slowly but surely Blue Eyes is working with him on some coping methods and also getting him back to therapy. In the meantime, he is either mine or Blue Eyes’ shadow. The three of us had a lovely dinner together and then, BAM, Blue Eyes came down with a horrible sore throat. All his running around had taken a toll. Also, our architect/designer team had asked if we would mind having photos taken of the house for a publication with a deadline of Aug. 1st. Not only did I have to clean the house in preparation for photos, but we all needed to be away from the house for about six hours. Blue Eyes’ sore throat turned into a cold and then both The Peacemaker and I contracted the cold.

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Oregon Coast

Meanwhile, I had friends visiting the beach house that Tuesday after our anniversary, just about the time the sore throat hit me. The friends only stayed one night, but I still had to change out the bedding and clean bathrooms. Thursday my family arrived for my sister’s birthday celebration. I had invited them nearly two months ago to come out for the occasion, and of course I didn’t want to cancel. By this time my cold was full blown. My big ideas of making my sister a beautiful birthday cake (I love making birthday cakes) was shattered and instead my parents picked up a bakery cake. We had a fine few days with my family, but I sorely missed Blue Eyes, who was at a four-day Mindfulness Retreat (theme: Childhood Wounds) about an hour outside Portland.

We all reunited back in Portland on Sunday and it felt good to have Blue Eyes back, and to have his help with beating this cold (picking up chicken noodle soup from the deli, bringing me herbal tea, and running to the store for medicine, etc…). Unfortunately, when sharing all about his retreat, Blue Eyes threw out his thoughts on making contact with his toxic parents. He has not had contact with them since February 2014, and he has not seen them since August 2013… almost four years since he has set eyes on his parents. All in all, that part of this trauma, recovery, healing period has been bliss for me. After so many years of verbal torture, it was nice to have a break from that, at least. I’m not really sure if the shock and horror at his revelation of being ready to see them again registered on my face, or not, but I could feel a heavy weight descending on me from the moment he mentioned his parents.

I’m not ready to have contact with those people, and I’m pretty sure, just my observation and opinion, that Blue Eyes isn’t either. I’m not quite sure what prompted his desire to make contact, I may have floated off into space after that. I know he said something about hanging around with his parents as three year olds in one of his intense guided meditation sessions at the retreat, but his parents haven’t been innocent three year olds for eight decades. I honestly thought the next time he saw them would be on their death beds. I know that sounds harsh, but they have done some serious damage and they will never change. They will never be nice, or keep boundaries, or treat us with respect and kindness. They will never stop manipulating their children or making them feel worthless. I’m not sure why anyone would want to have contact with them?

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Forest Fire Haze at sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

It will never be about us

I have had numerous conversations lately swirling around the heartbreaking topic of suicide. It’s one of those things that seems to happen in waves, but in fact happens all the time, thoughts of it, and the actual act of it. The familiar words of regret from those left behind, family, friends… insisting there was something more they could have done, spoken over and over. I remember Blue Eyes having these conversations with himself (and with me) after his brother’s suicide. He felt he could have been a better big brother, he could have been there more for his brother. He should have known how much his brother was suffering. Somehow he could have saved him. Truth is, his brother wouldn’t let Blue Eyes help him. I believe it was too much, too painful. The brother did everything in his power to turn Blue Eyes away. No one could have saved him.

I used to feel the same way about my borderline sister, that I could do more for her. I tried everything to make her life better… I regularly gave her money and also bailed her out when she was in financial binds. I bailed her out of jail once, a case of domestic violence. When I was eight months pregnant with my first son, I picked her up at her apartment and took her to a hospital emergency room to get a cat scan as her boyfriend had taken her by her hair and smashed her head into a wall. I continued to take her phone calls, no matter how cruel she was with her words. I was there. I watched her favor my older son over my younger son. It broke my heart and I did my best to try and smooth things over. Eventually, with therapy, I came to a point where I couldn’t do it any longer. I took away her power to hurt me. I stopped taking her phone calls and only communicated with her on my terms. I stopped letting her verbally abuse me. I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do to make her life better, nothing. I let myself be free of the burden of my sister’s health and happiness.

Before all that, however, one night almost 20 years ago my sister called me on the phone. It was about 11:30pm and Blue Eyes was off on a business trip. My sister had definitely been crying, was still crying, and begged me to come over and pick up her cat. At this point she was living in my parents’ house all by herself. My father had taken a contract job on the coast and they were living over there, partly because my father had retired and he liked having the work, and partly because they were trying to escape the stress of my sister. She had at this point an undiagnosed mental illness and serious addictions to anything that would soothe her for the moment. She was approaching 30 years old. I told her I could not pick up her cat. The boys were sleeping. She begged me to have a friend come over and stay with the boys so I could go get her cat. She just kept saying I needed to pick up her cat. Eventually she gave up and told me that she couldn’t do “it” anymore, “it” being life.

From the time of adolescence, my sister was either up up up, life of the party, or down, depressed, mean, angry, belligerent, a real bear to be around. On this particular night, she was down and she told me that she had done horrible things and that if I knew the truth about her, I couldn’t love her. That she was unlovable. I told her that was ridiculous and there was nothing she could tell me, or anyone else in our family, that would make us love her less. We truly did, and do, love her unconditionally. She proceeded to tell me in great detail about the times she was sexually abused, first by her friend’s father when she was ten years old and then second by a relative when she was 11. I had no idea at this point that she had been sexually abused. At about age 13 she started sneaking out the house to have sex with her boyfriends, and there were a lot of them. When she realized keeping a “real” relationship going was too much work, she started having sexual relationships with her bosses and others, married (and unavailable) men. She also medicated heavily with alcohol and over the counter meds. Some of what she was telling me, I knew, but some of it was new information. I felt for her and her pain, but there was nothing I could do for her that night. I asked if she wanted me to call someone to come be with her. She said no, she would be alright.

After hanging up, I called her a couple more times before falling asleep, and she reiterated that she was okay. The next morning I got the kids up and off to school. I didn’t want to call my sister for fear of waking her up. After a night like the one before, she often called in sick and slept all day. At about 10am I received a call from the psych ward of a local hospital. They told me that my sister had given my name and number as next of kin. My sister was in the mental health wing of the hospital on lock down. They wanted to know if I could pick up a few things for her at my parent’s house and bring them to the hospital. I asked how she had arrived to the hospital. They said she had called 9-1-1. She had cut herself with a sharp kitchen knife in numerous places on her body, all were serious, none were fatal… since she had called for help. My sister did not want to die that night, but she desperately wanted to release some of her pain.

I went to my parent’s house and witnessed the devastation, blood everywhere and the bloody knife on the living room floor. Strangely enough there was an empty 2 liter bottle of root beer tipped over on the counter, and it looked like she had literally thrown the soda all over the kitchen. I cleaned everything as best I could. I had already called my parents, who were on their way back home. I grabbed the items my sister had requested. This was back when Beanie Babies were collectibles and my kids were obsessed with them. They each had over 50 Beanie Babies of their own. I kept a couple for myself that I especially liked. Before I had left home, I grabbed my favorite little bear and brought him with me. At the hospital, I was let into a very small room with my sister that was monitored from the nurse’s station. I barely recognized my sister. She was bandaged up, of course, but she looked more like a caged animal than a beautiful thirty year old. Her bleach blonde hair was dirty with dried blood and sticking up in the oddest way. Her face was smeared with blood and makeup. Her eyes were rimmed with red and she looked drugged. She probably was. The room was tiny and I was a bit afraid. I handed her a bag with the requested items in it (which had already been checked by the staff) and I handed her the Beanie Baby and told her it was a gift from the boys. I lied. My boys knew nothing of what was going on with their favorite Aunt. My sister grabbed the bear and looked at me with pure hatred in her eyes. All I could think was that she blamed me for not coming to her when she had called the night before. She became very angry with me and started spewing hateful and demeaning comments and after a few seconds she was yelling and descending on me. We were immediately joined by a large orderly who held on to my sister with both hands and threatened to send her back to her room if she couldn’t calm down. She immediately became limp in his arms. I barely recognized this person I had known for thirty years. The orderly asked my sister why she was so angry with me. He asked about the bear and wasn’t she grateful I had brought her such a cute gift. The words seethed out of her mouth… “that is not from HER, that is from my NEPHEWS.” At that point, I smiled at the orderly and asked to be released from the room. I had had enough.

My parents arrived home later that day and they took over. I did not make another visit to the hospital and it would be months before I saw her again. It took me years to not feel guilty for my sister’s pain.

This past weekend we celebrated her 49th birthday at the beach house.

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When Blue Eyes’ brother committed suicide, he had a well thought out plan. His was not an attempt. It was forever.

In a recent conversation with another betrayed spouse, she was sad and grieving for her husband’s good friend, who had recently died very young, having basically brought about his own death through excessive eating and use of alcohol to cope. A form of suicide really. She said he was lonely. She lamented the fact that he didn’t have a wife or kids… he didn’t have anything to live for. The thing is though, as observed from very recent suicides of famous musicians (plus many many others), it is not about who loves us, or how much we are loved, whether we are married or single, do or don’t have children or pets, or how monetarily successful we are. In the end none of those things are enough to keep a person happy or content or coping, and they are not enough to prevent suicide. In fact, many people who attempt or are successful at committing suicide believe they are a burden on their friends and family. As much as we don’t want them to leave us, they may be using us as a rationale for the leaving.

Most often a suicidal person’s internal pain is intense, their feeling of despair is chronic, their vision of their own future is dismal. We, friends and family, can be there, we can listen without judgment, we can offer our love, but we cannot fix them.

When Blue Eyes spilled his own truth out to me that fateful day in January 2014, it felt like I had lived 10 lifetimes at that point. I was tired and I was traumatized, but deep inside I knew the truth, that this part of his story, was not about me. It would take me months and months to force the traumatized Kat to believe the stronger, experienced Kat, but I did it. Did I think about suicide? I did. The trauma was overwhelming. But then I realized I didn’t want to give anyone else the power to take my life away from me. I wanted to live.

I have had this post in my queue for a while. I decided now was the time to post. To a dear friend out there in the blogosphere. I’m here… and I love you. ❤

 

Feeling lucky

Do you ever have one of those days, or weeks, where you feel lucky? Like pinch yourself lucky? Like you should really get yourself on down to the casino and play some cards, lucky? Or maybe this is the day to buy that winning lottery ticket? Or… you feel like today is the day you should push that little Google button ‘I’m feeling lucky.’ (just kidding) Well, I don’t gamble, at all, but I am feeling pretty lucky lately. Almost like I actually did win the lottery.

I just spent four days at the beach house with The Peacemaker (I’m only home for a day because of a meeting I had in town today). Blue Eyes joined us Saturday and Sunday with the dogs. We love this particular two-mile stretch of beach on the Oregon Coast. We chose it on purpose, because it is quiet, very quiet a lot of the year. It is also gorgeous. Honestly though, we have not truly been able to enjoy it, and explore it, until now. During the winter the tide runs high at both high and low tide. High enough to actually get all the way up onto our deck at one point earlier this year. Again, they say that is a rare occurrence and we are hoping “they” are right. During the summer, however, low tide allows for some beautiful walks both north and south. North you can easily cross over to other beaches and walk all the way, in fact, into the town of Cannon Beach. Walking south, however, you encounter what seems like a whole other world with rock groupings around a basalt point, tide pools, dramatic structures and a cave that leads to a beach full of boulders and then a long stretch of sandy beach where the forest literally meets the sand. We have so much more to explore, but here’s a little of the beauty from the past few days.

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First, Blue Eyes’ new addition to the Beach House, a Chinese Buddha relic, maybe 300 years old.

Our first night’s sunset walk along our stretch of beach. South End.

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Second night’s sunset walk. North End.

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Day three walk. North.

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Third night sunset.

Day four walk. South End.

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New super comfy chaise lounges for the deck.

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Our little guard dog also likes the new chairs!

So yeah. I feel very lucky. ❤

 

Sex, Lies and Obsession

In between watching Wimbledon matches, I ran across a movie on the Lifetime Channel called ‘Sex, Lies and Obsession’ starring Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna. It’s a very old movie and I remembered hearing about it or watching it years ago, maybe 15 years ago, WAY before dday, but didn’t remember any of the details. I decided to tape it and see exactly how the movie treated sex addiction in 2001. I figured the acting might be decent since Harry and Lisa are married. I don’t know why I thought that, but I thought it might seem more real. In the movie they have two teenage sons. I read a couple reviews to make sure it wasn’t going to be a horrible waste of time (it’s not generally well rated, but has some decent reviews that applied to the reason I was watching) and then I asked Blue Eyes if he wanted to watch it with me. He said he would like to.

For Blue Eyes it is difficult to grasp the fact that people were talking about, and there was a movie about, sex addiction way back in 2000 because he never actually thought of sex addiction as being real, and he certainly did not think he was a sex addict. I don’t think he ever thought much about the reasons he did what he did, but he did believe he was just generally a bad person who did bad things, negative self talk that goes back as far as he can remember and, of course, that he would… NEVER DO IT AGAIN. At the time the movie came out, Blue Eyes had cheated with three separate women, but was four years away from the Craigslist Ad. The movie addresses sex addiction behavior, and then therapy and 12-step as forms of recovery. Honestly, the script (written by Patricia Resnick of The Expendables and 9 to 5 fame) seems ahead of its time. Of course sex addiction has been around and recognized for awhile, as far back as the 1970’s, and Patrick Carnes wrote his ‘Don’t Call it Love: Recovery From Sexual Addition’ book back in 1991, but it was still a much hidden phenomena. It kind of still is. The diagnosis has always been controversial and there are still quite a few naysayers, but keeping the legitimacy of the diagnosis in question, and constantly belittling and degrading people who identify with sexual compulsivity doesn’t really help the thousands and thousands of people who suffer every day. Not hearing about it or hearing only negative remarks about it hinders people getting real help.

The movie does not address any negative feedback from friends, family, nor does it address a negative reputation of ‘sex addiction’ in the media. What the movie does do, and pretty well in my opinion, realizing they are shoving probably at least a year’s worth of sexual behaviors, discovery, trauma, and recovery into a 90-minute movie, is it addresses the addict’s denial and fear around being labeled an addict. They ALL think they can control their behavior. For a lot of addicts, anger about living in reality feeds their desire to act out and so the cycle continues even after they have acknowledged they may have a problem. Before Harry is technically “caught” the movie also plays out how the addict is in a sort of trance while seeking his sexual hit. At one point Lisa is following Harry in her car, honking at him, and she pulls up in a parking lot as he is entering his secret lair with a prostitute wrapped around him. He doesn’t hear his wife, he doesn’t see her, he is oblivious to reality, he only seeks his high.

They give Lisa Rinna about two or three scenes to play out her devastation and trauma, that was lame, and in one scene the way you know she is in trauma is because she is distracted and her hair is mussed up. Both Blue Eyes and I laughed out loud at that, because she’s still so adorable (I’m not going to mention the lips, I’m not going to mention the lips–OOPS!), but you know, in reality she would be doubled over on the floor, crying out in pain like a wounded animal, and dissociating from her new and horrid reality. At least that was my reality. One of the other silly points in the movie is that Lisa first hears about sex addiction from a TEENAGER in a clinic where she is having her STI/STD tests done because she is too embarrassed to go to her regular doctor. Well, they had to fit it in somewhere!

For a while during the movie I kept thinking… when is Harry going to hit rock bottom? I mean this guy is something else. He picks up flight attendants on trips to medical conferences (we know this is common, men behaving badly while out of town) and of course that is where they start in the movie, but not where they end. Harry has a whole secret apartment with porn in both print and video form. He has a regular prostitute who visits him there. Harry gets massages with happy endings. Harry is very ANGRY when he runs out of coins during a peep show. Harry regularly cruises the streets for hookers. Harry calls 1-900 numbers. Harry is a very busy man. Of course they wanted to show just how out of control Harry is. Not all sex addicts have quite so many outlets for their addiction, but this was a movie. Harry was a lot more confident and self assured than Blue Eyes (thus most likely the reason he had four partners instead of 50+ like Harry), but Blue Eyes admits there are guys like Harry in his meetings. A false sense of who they are, when who they are is completely broken.

There is also the portrayal of Harry’s married life. Two successful careers, two adorable children, an active sex life (when Harry is actually home) and lots of excuses and lies on Harry’s part. Old cliches about men getting something different or better from a working girl. Lisa is not suspicious, she happens upon the truth because Harry is so out of control he is no longer hiding things well. There is nothing wrong with their marriage other than the fact that Harry is so distracted by his addiction that he is fucking falling apart. This felt real to me.

So, my thoughts are no undiagnosed sex addict watching the movie is going to go… HEY, THAT’S ME. But I do believe it is a decent (albeit very truncated) version of what a sex addict is, what a sex addict does, how devastating it is on the partner and the family when the truth is revealed, and that there are avenues to recovery. And Harry and Lisa are handsome people who make a cute couple. The focus was definitely on the sex addict, and not on the trauma of the wife, but you know what, that’s okay because what was represented seemed pretty real, in a Lifetime movie kind of way. Is that an oxymoron? I used to think so, but not so much anymore.

 

Issues

If I could wish for a talent I don’t possess, it would be to have an amazing singing voice. I would write songs like this one and sing like this, and wear suits that look like pajamas (LOL–I’m totally into comfort) and have all my songs be acoustic. My voice would be a little raspy, but mostly sweet, and my lyrics would be reminiscent of the pain I have been through. I wouldn’t have the kind of voice where I could scream out the lyrics (a la Adele), and maybe my lyrics and my voice would be a little sickly sweet for some, but the passion would totally be there.

You do shit on purpose
You get mad and you break things
Feel bad, try to fix things
But you’re perfect
Poorly wired circuit
And got hands like an ocean
Push you out, pull you back in

I remember 23, Julia, and it all seemed so real, so intense, so damn life altering. And then I lived a few more decades and I learned what pain really feels like. I learned about how the distance from all those childhood wounds didn’t grow weaker with age, it grew stronger and threatened to take over my life. I learned that agony can be so overwhelming that it made me question whether I really wanted this life anymore. The thoughts were fleeting, but they were there. I was changed, changed by the actions of someone else. I never thought it could happen. If someone had told me how my life would proceed, I wouldn’t have believed them. I am stubborn. I believed I had control over what happened to me and how I would respond. Life is full of surprises.

Yeah, I got issues
And one of them is how bad I need you

I would change the lyrics to how bad I want you but yeah, I’ve got issues. I fell in love with an addict and I don’t want to let him go.

That’s how I feel today.

 

Turbulence on re-entry

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At this point, I feel like readers are pretty aware that with all the fun of travel and beach houses, and all that jazz going on in my life, inevitably struggles will sneak their way in because, you know, living with a sex addict ain’t easy. Frankly, after 33 years, I’m not sure living with anyone is all that easy, but I do enjoy my life with Blue Eyes.

I had a really great time in Paris. Blue Eyes and I talked a few times, texted every day. He wanted to know how my trip was going, living vicariously and all that, and I of course wanted to know how things were back home. When Blue Eyes traveled all those years, all the time, at points in our marriage he traveled far more days than he was home, there was little to no contact while he was gone. At the beginning, we didn’t have the fancy gadgets like Skype and FaceTime and at the very beginning, not even regular reliable email. When he lived 3/4 time away from us in California, of course there was the phone, but in those days mostly you still had to pay by the minute for long distance and we were on a tight budget. We did talk, however, it was always on Blue Eyes’ terms and most often it was something about the boys.

But then he moved back home and his International travel picked up, and eventually we did have all those fancy gadgets and yet, we didn’t hear from Blue Eyes. I have said a few times before… he trained me well. When he went off on business trips, he was wrapped up in his addictive world. Business fed off his addiction and vice versa. Before the other woman, there was fantasy obsession, porn, and obsessive masturbation while he was away. He was free to do what he liked and medicate however he pleased. From 2008-2013 there was the other woman at his beck and call. I didn’t know, I gave him his space.

Now, without having his drug at his fingertips, he struggles. He struggles with daily life sometimes and with all transitions. He has anxiety and he lives in fear on many days. He obsesses over things he cannot control or change. He recently called it quits with his therapist and will soon be participating in EMDR therapy to work on childhood wounds and other trauma triggers. (Yes, Moi, he’s finally doing it!!!) Right now he is planning on seeing Ms. Honey for the EMDR therapy and I am all for it. Ms. Honey is the next best thing to my SAIT (Sex Addiction Induced Trauma) therapist in LA. Ms. Honey works with patients who suffer from anxiety and phobias, abuse and trauma issues, self-esteem issues, shame reduction, addiction (she is a certified CSAT) and she is a certified EMDR provider. And, I know she is good. We are works in progress, all of us, but Blue Eyes has a whole lot of deep work still to do. He knows he needs to keep working.

Back to the turbulence. I arrived from Paris around dinnertime on a Friday. Both Blue Eyes and The Peacemaker picked me up at the airport. Having The Peacemaker there was a lovely gesture as it is difficult to drag him away from the house unless it is to hang with his friends, or for a sporting event. I guess he missed me. 🙂 We stopped for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and the boys ordered their Ham & Hot Rolls, Oysters on the Half Shell, and decadent Pimento Double-Cheeseburger.

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This Pimento double cheeseburger from Trifecta Tavern in Portland, Oregon is one of the richest burgers I have ever tasted. And a taste is all I have ever eaten. It is over the top!

Lack of sleep and all the rich food I had consumed over the past week was starting to hit me. I, therefore, ordered one of their lovely salads, and even shared it with The Peacemaker.

I am surprised I was able to stay awake until 11:00pm. That night, I slept for a glorious 10 hours and really thought that would help me with jet lag. No such luck, unfortunately. Blue Eyes was very happy to see me and he didn’t leave my side for the first, oh, 12 hours or so. But then at about 6:00am he was up and out of bed. I really thought he would want to sleep in with me. Instead, he told me he couldn’t sleep (now that I was actually home and in bed with him–HE COULDN’T SLEEP?) and he was off to an early Saturday morning 12-step meeting. WTF? The entire time I was gone he did not attend one SA meeting or his Buddhist Sangha. Now that I am home, he is off at 6:30 in the morning? It was triggering, guys. The look on my sleepy face must have registered sadness and dismay as he finished tying his shoes and was off, not even a kiss on the cheek. I tossed and turned and finally fell back asleep.

For a couple days, things were very off. I couldn’t understand why Blue Eyes seemed so distant and distracted. From the moment he heard that I would be going to Paris without him, until I was safely back home, he was stressed and clingy. Now that I was back home, he was fairly well ignoring me. Over the next few days Blue Eyes was rude to both our boys and non-communicative with me. No communication is where I draw the line. Jet lag was torture and I was weepy and lethargic for the first few days I was home. I knew it wasn’t just jet lag or menopause, or whatever excuses I come up with to distract myself from the obvious… Blue Eyes is a pain in the ass to deal with.

I was very happy to be home. A week away was plenty for me to get my “alone” fix. Blue Eyes and I headed over to the beach house on Monday morning in preparation for the 4th on Tuesday. Blue Eyes insisted that he had work to do after we arrived to the beach house, and he wanted to make sure I knew that. Of course. But then once we were settled in at the beach, he wasn’t making work a priority, and yet he seemed pissed at me. When I was being playful, he seemed even more angry. I had had enough so I confronted him. His excuse is often that he has trouble with transitions. I am not really sure what this means. For decades he would flit off to this or that country, for this or that meeting, whatever and I was expected to run the house, the company, my life, the kids’ lives and just let him be and definitely don’t expect anything from him. Now, I go away for one week with a friend and he has trouble “transitioning.” I can’t win.

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Fourth of July at the Beach House.

Monday afternoon he did take some business calls with our sales guys. He was a completely different person than the one I was seeing. He was engaged and lively on his first conference call. He was jovial, boisterous, loud and demonstrative on the phone with one of our employees. It was such an unusual persona for him that even Bernie the Aussie barked at him. Kind of like “hey Dad, what’s up with you?” What’s up with him is that everyone else gets the energetic Blue Eyes and I get the moody Blue Eyes. It’s been this way forever. When we were young, I got the fun and energetic Blue Eyes all the time… when he wasn’t sick that is. Life wasn’t so complicated back then. Now, I feel like I am a burden sometimes. I remind him of who he really is. It hurts. There is nothing much I can do at this point. I am who I am. I never let Blue Eyes’ moods bother me before. They were just part of him. But now I know. Now I know he is willing to throw me under the bus when the going gets rough. He says he will never do that again, but as I watch him ignore me and harbor anger and resentment, I’m not so sure.

I was glad to hear he had ended it with The Shrink a couple weeks ago (although this may be causing him some of the anxiety), but I definitely do want him to continue his therapy journey. I know people aren’t perfect and Blue Eyes won’t ever be the carefree, loving-life person I thought he was for years. I know Blue Eyes’ emotional struggles are not about me and that I need to learn to have a thicker skin, but geez if I don’t just want things to be easier some days. I know communicating openly about his inner most feelings is difficult for Blue Eyes, but difficult or not, it will be necessary for the health of our relationship. I’m in this thing with everything I’ve got, and that is all I can do.

Yesterday we visited an Asian Antiques store and found a lovely copper fire pit for the beach house (something I had been looking for) and Blue Eyes also found an amazing Buddha (something he had been looking for) for his meditation corner. He never would have purchased the Buddha had I not been there. I want him to have things that have special meaning to him and that bring him peace, because at this point, I know I cannot do that for him.

Tomorrow I am off to the beach house to relax and enjoy our new treasures.

Seven days in Paris

I’m not kidding. I am attempting to post seven glorious days in one of the most amazing cities in the world in one post. No wonder it has taken me so long to do this. Here goes….

Day One

Arriving rainy and chilly Keflavik Airport, Reykjavik Iceland.

The flight I booked through Cheapoair (it’s a real website, I promise, I’ve used it numerous times) allowed me to fly business class to Paris within a similar timeframe and price range as coach fare on Delta, so I flew Iceland Air to Paris, through Iceland!

Bad stuff: Keflavik Airport has bitten off more than it can chew. Tourism is booming in Iceland. There aren’t enough gates or jetways for all the planes. Both ways I ended up walking up and down an outside stairway to the tarmac and then riding a bus to the terminal or the plane. It was tiring and time consuming, but I made my connections (because they hold all the planes for everyone).

Good Stuff: Business (Saga) Class on Iceland Air was really nice. Food was great, service impeccable and the views arriving and departing Iceland were beautiful. Next time I think I would save money and choose Economy Comfort… it looked just as nice and less expensive. I forgot my iPad on my first flight and I was literally running to catch my next flight. I didn’t realize I had left the thing in the pocket of my seat until I was at my next gate. My second flight was running late (all my flights ran late). I asked the gate attendant if she could check on it. They had it delivered to me within 10 minutes. I dare say that would not happen in the U.S.

I’m pretty sure there’s a trip to Iceland in our not too distant future (suggestions welcome).

Departing Reykjavik for Paris

French countryside, arriving Paris

My plane landed first. TC’s direct flight from the U.S. East Coast was delayed and arrived shortly after mine. We met up at the airport and headed into the city by taxi.

The apartment we reserved in the Saint Germain area of Paris was lovely. We booked through HomeAway and the entire experience went smoothly.

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One of my favorite aspects of Paris Apartment buildings is the stairways. Nothing fancy, oddly shaped with crooked old wooden stairs.

This was my bedroom, street side. We each had our own bathrooms, which is key to a great roommate experience, in my opinion! I loved the niches in this room. They were filled with little one-of-a-kind treasures and art antiques.

The nights were a little warm when we first arrived. It doesn’t get dark until after 10:30pm in Paris at this time of year, it doesn’t cool down really until after dark, and most apartments don’t have A/C. There were two busy cafes/bars below the apartment that stayed noisy until well after 2am. I eventually started closing the windows at bedtime and relying on the fans to drown out some of the street noise and keep me cool.

The living room was well designed and functional with original artwork by french painter Michele Taupin, and gorgeous tall windows.

Our view facing away from the cafes on Rue de Bourbon le Chateau in Saint Germain. There was an Henri Le Roux chocolate shop on the street level of our building. 😁

No rest for the weary on Day One in Paris. Somehow both TC and I were full of energy and ready to take on the city (even though I missed an entire night’s sleep).  TC wanted to hunt down Space Invader Art and I was ready to soak in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Paris.

First stop, Pierre Herme Saint Germain so TC could order her beloved Ispahan Croissants (more on that later) for Saturday breakfast.

Once croissants were ordered, we were off to explore our new neighborhood. By this time it was very late afternoon and TC wanted to introduce me to a David Lebovitz favorite, Poilane. Next to their little boulangerie, is the cafe. We intended to have a bite to eat, but it was near closing and all they were offering were pastries. So we opted for tea and an apple tart to share.

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I cannot subsist on sweets alone, so we continued to stroll Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Very close to our apartment are the famous Cafe de Flore and Cafe Les Deux Magots, the historical rendezvous spot of the likes of Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, and Julia Child.

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Les Deux Magots at 6 Place Saint-Germain des Pres, 75006 Paris, France.

Just down the street from Les Deux Magots is a steak frites restaurant Blue Eyes and I have eaten at before, and loved. TC had not been, but had been wanting to try it, so we got in line. By this time I was very hungry. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations. There are three locations in Paris, and all work the same, no reservations with generally long lines that move quickly.

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le “Relais de l’entrecôte” in Saint Germain

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The steak frites with their amazing special recipe steak sauce. The steak is incredibly tender and the sauce is rich and herbaceous without being overpowering.

And then TC introduced me to THIS:

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I did not know how much I love Gelato until I had a taste of Grom Cioccolato (Peruvian Chocolate) topped with a huge dollop of chantilly cream. OH MY!

Day Two

Day two in Paris was a very special affair. First, it was TC’s birthday. She was up before me and out to spot new Invader Art and to pick up her birthday croissants. Her excitement was contagious. I had eaten an Ispahan Croissant once before in Kyoto, Japan on the recommendation of TC. The Ritz Carlton Kyoto (an absolutely gorgeous boutique hotel) has a Pierre Herme shop in the lobby. I found the croissant to be delicious, but a little sweet for me. Dare I say it, the Ispahan Croissant is TC’s one true love. She ate two each morning for about the first five or six days we were in Paris.

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The Ispahan Croissant, created by Pierre Herme, is a buttery croissant, just like all the rest, but inside these croissants is homemade rose-scented almond paste and raspberry-lychee gelee. The croissants are glazed with rose icing and topped with crunchy freeze-dried raspberries.

If you would like to make these croissants yourself, this website has the recipe: Iron Whisk: Ispahan Croissants.

TC also introduced me to my favorite breakfast food, La Fermiere Yogurt in the little blue re-usable crocks. I brought six of those crocks home with me. I think I will plant a little herb garden in them at the beach house. I’m especially fond of micro-cilantro.

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It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Saint Germain.

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TC introduced me to Taschen Book Store. I wanted to bring one home with me as a souvenir, but they were just too heavy. They have THE most amazing large scale photo books I have ever seen.

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TC does not eat pork, but Blue Eyes would have been all over this place! 🙂

After breakfast we headed off to the Paris flea market at Porte de Clignancourt. This market had been on my “must see in Paris” list since 2013. I am thrilled TC and I made this market a priority. It was a one shot Metro ride from our local line 4 station at Saint Germain. Once out at le Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, we haphazardly ended up at Marche Vernaison and I’m so glad we did. I purchased a treasure to take home to the beach house. An abstract nude caught my eye from outside the vendor’s shop. Once I saw it, I wanted it. It was the middle of the night at home, so contacting Blue Eyes for “permission” seemed cruel. Unfortunately, the vendor was new and was not set up for credit… CASH ONLY? Well, I was not carrying around that kind of euro. I put down a 100euro deposit to hold it and told the vendor I would be back on Monday (the market is only open Saturday-Monday, thus one of the reasons I had not been before).

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Marche Vernaison

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So many vendors

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Honestly, I am so glad we went to the flea market. I loved it!

After the flea market we headed to La Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marche near our apartment. Our eyes were big as saucers eyeing all the delicacies at the Epicerie (a large food hall).

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We picked up some goodies for a picnic style lunch back at our apartment.

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We kept it pretty light as we were planning ahead for TC’s big birthday dinner.

After a bit of rest, we dressed for dinner and headed to The Marais, my personal favorite neighborhood in Paris. TC had chosen a nostalgic favorite, Benoit, for her birthday dinner. I had never been to this restaurant, one of the oldest in Paris.

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I fell in love with this restaurant, from the artistic menus to the gorgeous china, and of course the delicious cheese gougeres, it was a grand experience.

After such an extravagant meal, some serious walking was in order. We headed into La Marais and it quickly became obvious that it was Paris Gay Pride Day. La Marais is THE gay neighborhood in Paris, full of unique boutique shopping, amazing food, great energy, and wild entertainment.

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Cross dressers doing some kind of performance, I wasn’t quite sure what. While we were there they were just standing around.

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We also saw Space Invader Bugs Bunny in La Marais. I think he was my favorite.

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We made our way through the dense crowds and I am very glad we did. So much eye candy. It was a fun night.

 

Day Three

Sunday morning arrived and by the time I rolled out of bed, TC was gone again on her morning croissant fix/Invader hunt. I chose to take it easy and read a book. I needed the energy for the afternoon as TC had booked us at the OPERA!

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Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera House.

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The Palais Garnier is a gorgeous place. Blue Eyes and I had taken one of their guided tours last year for my birthday trip (Paris 2016). I would highly recommend the tour. During our tour, however, we only got a glimpse inside the theatre as they were practicing a performance. This time TC booked us in amazing seats for a performance of La Cenerentola, a Cinderella story done the Italian way. When the step father (yeah, not step mother) walked out the door in the first scene with his pants off and giving a kiss good-bye to a prostitute, I knew this was no Disney Cinderella, LOL. Anyway, the performance was so different as to be completely compelling and there was even some humor to it. The music wasn’t bad either! 😉 I am absolutely in love with the Marc Chagall ceiling.

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After the matinee, TC wanted to try the famous Mille-Feuille at Cafe de la Paix at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel (the very same hotel Blue Eyes and I stayed at last year).

Day Four

Day four started off much like the others with TC out and about walking, eating croissants, searching for space invader art, visiting perfume shops and following in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette (chocolates)…

I was on a mission to get that cash and pick up my treasure. After about an hour of finagling with BNP Paribas and my banks back home, I was able to secure the right amount of cash and make my way back out to the market by Metro to pick up the painting. My lovely French vendor guy was waiting for me with my treasure all wrapped up. He called me a taxi and by early afternoon, I was on my way back to secure the painting in our apartment. TC shared her decadent chocolates from Debauve & Gallis with me and we scarfed down a bit of baguette and brie.

Since the Galeries Lafayette shopping center had been closed when we were there on Sunday after the Opera, we decided to head back to that area and do some shopping. The Galeries Lafayette are a must see for their glass ceilings alone.

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Before heading across the street to the Food Hall, I spent a little time drooling over the Angelina pastry counter, but we did not try any as TC had all our desserts planned out, LOL!

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I love food halls in general. Even if I don’t purchase anything, I can spend hours just perusing the options. Galeries Lafayette food halls are no exception. Last year I was there with Blue Eyes and I fell in love with the spice shop. This time I actually brought some of the spices and salts home with me.

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So many interesting pastries in Paris. All these are Japanese green tea (Matcha, macha) flavored.

TC then introduced me to Fauchon’s cafe and we shared a beautiful strawberry tart.

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Honestly, people, I know I am diabetic and so my portions of the desserts were small, a bite or two at best. I was not on a suicide mission. But a little taste here and there with all the miles of walking we were doing, just felt right.

For dinner we took off to a new area of town where we ate at Cafe Constant. I must have duck confit at least once while in Paris because, well, it’s DUCK CONFIT! If you have never had it and you like rich delicacies, you will not be disappointed.

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Cafe Constant duck and potato pie with duck confit.

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The profiteroles stuffed with ice cream and sitting in a bowl of warm chocolate, a famous Cafe Constant dessert. This was TC’s dessert. I had a bite. I am not a profiterole/eclair type girl, per se, so I just stared at the chocolate the whole time! 🙂

By the way, here is my Paris flea market treasure at the beach house

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Day Five

On day five we went and had a real breakfast at Angelina. I had never been. The shop/cafe at the location on Rue de Rivoli was so sweet. Small, but the mirrors and murals make it seem bigger, and it is right across the street from my favorite garden, the Tuileries.

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The shop at Angelina

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I had a half cup of the decadent Le Chocolat Chaud l’Africain (hot chocolate), which is as TC says, like drinking melted chocolate bars.

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The Angelina omelet and TC’s baguette with jam and butter

After our very filling breakfast, we walked over to the Tuileries, the gardens outside of the Louvre Museum.

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I adore the symmetry of these gardens.

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And the gorgeous Tuileries fountain

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Another shot of the Tuileries fountain with Rue de Rivoli behind. They had a carnival type set up going on while we were there.

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My favorite Museum, Musee d’Orsay from the River Seine. A boat cruise on the Seine is still on my “must do” list. Next time.

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We walked to the Champs Elysees, the famous tree-lined shopping street that starts at the Arc de Triomphe and seems to go on forever.

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Speaking of, the Arc de Triomphe

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We had dinner at Laduree on Champs Elysees. Pretty touristy, but divine nonetheless. The rooms upstairs are a little warmer in the summer, but beautiful and quiet.

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Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Vol au Vent

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My one and only dessert that wasn’t a shared dessert. It was so decadent, all chocolate, but I couldn’t finish it. I actually did have a salad too, but who wants to see a picture of a boring salad? I mean, there are lovely salads, but this one was greens with a light dressing. Nothing much to see.

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We ended the night with a view of the twinkling Eiffel Tower.

Day Six

On day six I headed out to the Hockney exhibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou by myself. Even though the Pompidou is in the Marais district (where our family stayed for 2 1/2 weeks four years ago), I never made it to this famous modern art museum designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano. With the David Hockney exhibit, I wasn’t going to miss it this time.

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My walk to the museum on a beautiful summer morning included passing by Saint-Michel metro. I love the Paris Metro.

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I crossed the River Seine

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And passed through quaint alleyways

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Georges Pompidou from the Place Stravinsky side with the whimsical water spraying sculptures.

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Honestly, it’s a crazy looking industrial design building, not to be missed.

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I have learned to always purchase tickets online beforehand so as not to waste time standing around.

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The views from the Pompidou are amazing.

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Outdoor sculpture display with the magnificent view and Sacre Coeur in the distance.

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I particularly love this photo of men standing around the Hockney exhibit with what I consider his most iconic piece, A Bigger Splash (1967), in the background.

 

 

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Most of the men were looking at this David Hockney painting, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Fingers), 1971.

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There were so many interesting pieces by Hockney that I had never seen. For example, I had no idea he had a Picasso Period. Anyway, I fell in love with this HUGE mural of Bigger Trees, but technically photography was not allowed. I snuck in a few photos, but there were plenty of people guarding this one and way too many people to get any kind of decent photo. So this will do.

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After making my way through the David Hockney exhibit, I then ventured to the two floors below and found some lovely modern art by some of my favorites, including this Matisse.

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I grabbed a quick, cold drink in The Georges Restaurant on the 6th (top) Floor of the Pompidou. A great place to relax and enjoy a spectacular view.

Then I set out to walk back to the apartment, however, a pretty heavy rain shower thwarted my efforts and I ended up stopping in to a little Trattoria for some pasta. The pasta was so rich that I decided it would be my last meal for the day. I retired early at the apartment and left TC to fend for herself, which she does quite nicely.

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Penne with courgette cream sauce.

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On my walk back to Saint Germain, I passed this adorable alleyway. I want to check this out further on my next visit to Paris.

Day Seven

Our last full day in Paris was really about two things for me… a couple treats to bring home for my men, and the Jardin Exhibit at the Grand Palais.

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I started out early to grab some butter and chocolates at La Grand Epicerie. I stopped into the restaurant on the second floor, La Table for a bite of breakfast.

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I ordered the Pain Perdu with Orange Marmalade and it was melt in your mouth deliciousness.

After perusing some other shops in Saint Germain, I stuck my goodies in the fridge and TC and I set out for the Grand Palais.

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Greeting visitors near the entrance of the ‘Jardins’ exhibition is Kôichi Kurita’s installation of 400 squares of earth. Spread out on the floor, the samples are all in slightly different tones of reds, browns, oranges, yellows and greys. Formally, the carefully arranged composition loosely recalls an abstract painting whilst also falling into the tradition of land art. It features the rich variety of the types of earth that the Japanese artist has been collecting in France, mostly in the areas surrounding the Loire Valley, since 2004. (Source: damnmagazine)

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A watercolor portrait study of Irises by French Artist Patrick Neu (2010-2015).

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Magnolia by Imogen Cunningham

I very much enjoyed the Jardin exhibit, but I will say I was expecting more Monet and or other large scale garden paintings. I will have to go elsewhere for that next time. The exhibit, however, did include a very well rounded look at garden and art as it relates to so many different mediums such as film, architectural drawings of garden design, and some pretty fabulous jewelry.

My last stop of the day was at the Henri Le Roux chocolate shop just below our apartment. As a matter of fact, that blue door in the picture is the entrance to the apartment building where we stayed. A wonderful location, but I do still love my La Marais.

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We packed the night before and had Blue Eyes pre-arrange an Uber ride to the airport for us, so Friday morning was a breeze. TC and I were in different terminals, so we said good-bye in the Uber… until next time.

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My view from Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik while waiting to board my plane back home.

What a glorious seven days in Paris with a lovely friend. I’m pretty sure Blue Eyes won’t let me go without him next time.

Au Revoir aux amis. ❤