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I almost got another dog yesterday and other news of similar importance( the partially bilingual edition)

  1. Only the dog was a girl and Lily does not like girl dogs that are smaller than her. Lily can be a bit bitchy to them. I couldn’t stand her to be mean to this 4lbs. of chihuahua/doxie adorable mix. I did, however, fall in love. I mean, I have it bad. B-A-D. And let me tell you that she is MUCH cuter in person. My iPhone didn’t do justice to this beige-coloured beauty–and she is a BEAUTY. She has mottled fawn and white colour to her super-soft fur and her personality is perfection. Ugh! I hate that I can’t bring her home but Lily REALLY doesn’t like smaller girl dogs, so much so that I would fear for this beauties life. Lily is a cutey but if you saw how fierce she is when she plays with Mr. Monkey you would understand my fear.
  2. A Sephora and a William Sonoma store have just opened up within walking distance from my house. I am liking Valencia a smidgen more because of this. Access to skincare and a quality skillet makes me feel much more optimistic about this place. That said, I am not planning on becoming a member of the what is awesome about “Awesometown” club. They could put a JCrew in the lobby of my building and I still wouldn’t join that club (well, maybe if they put one in the lobby and they had free delivery and gave me a 20% discount AND offered free alterations).
  3. Continue reading ‘I almost got another dog yesterday and other news of similar importance( the partially bilingual edition)’

Je désire (a post of wanton desire and lustful, hedonistic and capitalistic greed)

1. Recently Deja Pseu was raving about RéVive’s Eye Renewal Cream. As soon as I read her review I knew I was sold. The problem is that it REALLY works( and that problem comes from this not being a cheap eye cream).  However an eye cream that is cheap and doesn’t work is no bargain( and I have a shelf filled with these eye cream failures). The ReVive eye cream is on my list of BEST MONEY I EVER SPENT( a list I will soon write up and post—this post also features such expenses as grad school and therapy).  It is so magical that know I want the whole ReVive line. After two days of having a sample of their neck cream and their famous Moisturizing Renewal cream I know I must have them. This is where the bad news comes in. ReVive makes this product called ReVive Peau Magnifique. This 28-day program of magnificence costs a whopping $1500. And it is supposed to be used twice a year. I know it is insane( and I assure you I am not even close to considering buying this) however it is supposed to take 10 years off of your skin and people who have used it say that people thought they had a face lift after the 28th day. If it really works $1500 is much cheaper than the cost of a face lift. And, I would rather not ever have a face lift and still look like I did.

2. I want this chair. I am not at all sure why. But I feel sure that He-weasel could make me one. I, he, and you( if you ever came to visit me) would likely never sit in this chair. That said, must we always want things that are functional? Can’t desire just be about beauty, on occasion.

Continue reading ‘Je désire (a post of wanton desire and lustful, hedonistic and capitalistic greed)’

Therapist #3

When we lived in Las Vegas, I woke one morning and decided that I would begin Jungian analysis. It was a thought that came from nowhere. It was the kind of wanting that one usually has in the form of “I think I’ll have a bagel for breakfast.” It was that casual and without any antecedent. No one I knew was in Jungian analysis. Sure I had read Memories, Dreams and Reflections but that was long before this thought came to mind. Once I made the decision and before I ate the bagel, I got out of bed and went to the phonebook and I looked up “Jungian analyst” and there was a number there. That may not sound odd to you, but it is very odd indeed. It is Alice in Wonderland chatting with a white Rabbit odd. Want me to prove it to you? Go to your phone book and you do the same thing. I’ll wait here while you do….

You back? What did you find? Nothing. I knew it. Jungians do not advertise in the yellow pages–plumbers do; Jungians don’t. There is part of me that thinks I dreamt the whole thing. The whole thing was so crazy-surreal.  This Jungian analyst lived in another state and she flew in once a week to see her Vegas patients. Her office was in a bad 1960′s office complex. Her office was decorated in Victoriana and every surface was covered with lace doilies. There were even doilies on the arms of chairs. She dressed in a style that was equally antiquated. Clothes like hers are no longer made. Everything looked like vintage 1940′s—even her hair was from another time.  She wore it up in a kind of combination bun/chignon/modified rats nest.  And there was something about all of this old and antiquated stuff that surrounded her that was made even more odd by it’s context. Remember we were in Vegas. The Vegas where there are slot machines in the grocery store.

To get to Fronzy’s(not her real name. It was a one syllable name that I modified to sound more fun by adding a ‘y’) office I had to drive across the strip to the North side of town( the dingy side of town). I would pass tourists, and tour buses and billboards announcing Wayne Newton, Dolly Parton and Carrot Top and then I would drive by UNLV and park next to the Soup Plantation. It was all very surreal. Dali might have painted such a canvas: “Time traveling Jungian on the Vegas Strip” in oils and acrylics.

During my first session with Fronzy she explained that dreams were a big part of Jungian work. She asked if I had had any. I had. I had dreamt the night before about a snake. It was under my sheets. I was terrified. I woke up screaming. Fronzy asked me to tell her about my first memory of a snake. I told her a modified version of this:

Once upon a time there was a little Belette. She was an adorable little three year old (yes, I am saying that I was cute—but I am saying that because it was true. This is memoir, not a fairytale). Belette went out into the garden to play. Her mother was distracted and busy doing something other than watching what exactly what it was that Belette was playing with. That is until she noticed that Belette was playing with a big snake.  Then came excited screams and demands that the little girl immediately leave the snake alone and come to Mommy, “NOW!!!!!!!!”. So I did. And then my mother called the fire department, the police department and the Marines. Okay, maybe not the marines. It turns out that it was not the horrible Rattlesnake that my mother had reported to the 911 Operator. It was a King-snake. The Firemen explained to my mother that this was a good snake and that it would keep the bad snakes away. My mother didn’t care. She was terrified of the snake and wanted it out of her garden, “NOW!!!!”.

I don’t remember any other run ins that I had with snakes that would make me fear them. Just that one day in the garden turned my non-poison playmate  into a life long enemy. Actually, at first I was just afraid  of them but as I got older I was terrified. I couldn’t look at a magazine without having someone take a look to make sure their were no pictures of them. I couldn’t go into a pet store unless someone went in first to make sure that they weren’t selling any snakes. I had to ask people at the movie theaters if a film was snake-free or not. When He-weasel and I moved to Las Vegas I called the Chamber of Commerce to ask them how many people died of snake bites a year in sin city. The woman who answered the phone had the nerve to laugh at my question and warn me that the casinos were a much bigger threat than snakes.

I have had many snake dreams in my life, hundreds I would guess. As a child I didn’t have the Jungian tool kit to deal with them. I would just wake up screaming and terrified that there was actually one under my bed. I was so afraid that If someone would talk about a snake I would immediately worry that one might enter my dream life. Very often they would.

Fronzy, who sounded an awful lot like Charles Winchester on M.A.S.H., asked me in her hoity-toity way what snakes meant to me. I thought I just had.”Pretend” she instructed, “that I have come from another planet and I have never heard of this creature you speak of.” I thought to myself that her instruction didn’t take a big leap as she did seem as if she came from some old timey plane—a planet that hadn’t yet discovered modern technology like answering machines, synthetic fibers or even the wheel.

“Okay, they are animals without legs. They are unpredictable. That’s what I don’t like about them. You never know which way they are going. They terrify me. If I saw one I would die. They are my greatest fear.”
Fronzy said back in her superior tone: “Snakes are symbolic of a fear that you inherited from your mother. They are symbols of your greatest fears. They are not actually your greatest fears.”

In my work with Fronzy we never worked directly on my fears of snakes. She didn’t ever take my fear literally. She looked at my fears symbolically. Just three months later He-weasel and I went to a pet shop and there were snakes in a cage  right at the entry and I found myself uncharacteristically fascinated by them. I found them strangely beautiful. I stood in front of the cage and stared at them. Six months after that He-weasel and I were hiking in Big Sur and I were hiking and I saw four little snakes curled up in a nest. I pointed them out to He-weasel in VERY calm tones. He didn’t believe me. He knew of my terror first hand, on our first hike ever there had been a baby King snake on our trail. When I saw it I climbed him like a tree. So there was no way I could have seen four snakes and not be screaming. But it was true. I had seen snakes and I wasn’t screaming and I wasn’t climbing him.

I had a dream the next night. I was in my kitchen and there were lots of little snakes. Dozens of them. I was picking them up with my hands and putting them in small plastic Ziploc bags. I didn’t need Fronzy to tell me what the dream meant. My fears were now smaller. They could be handled. And they were contained.
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The illustration of the Dream Snake is by Editor. Thank you, Editor!!! That is one adorable snake.

Freud is patient

waiting_for_her2
Continue reading ‘Freud is patient’

26-34 of 365

(365 Things that don’t suck about L.A.)

26. I have tickets to the Late-Late Show with Craig Ferguson and I am so excited. There are lots of opportunities to see the filming of shows in L.A. only I never do it. No, that’s not true. There was the time I went to see Phil Donahue when he filmed in L.A. for a week , about 20 years ago. I had a bit of a crush on Phil. He was my Oedipal Complex crush #1. (I suppose I still have a crush on Phil, it’s just that when I fell for Oedipal Complex crush #2, Bill Clinton, and Phil went off the air, I sort of forgot how much I loved Phil). I was so smitten and love struck that I had delusions that when Phil saw me in the audience he would leave his do-gooder wife for me. Yes, I was mildly delusional. I have no such hopes with Craig. Well, not entirely true. I feel like if Craig met me he would find me highly amusing and we would be pals. If you want to test your delusion by attending a taping of your favorite TV show when you are in L.A. check this out.

27. Now that it is coldish in L.A. I am finding that I don’t really miss the subzero temps of Chicago. L.A.’s Winters don’t entirely suck. Summer does. Fall does. Winter does not.

28. Being in L.A. forced me to work on some issues that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. If it weren’t for being in L.A. I wouldn’t have worked with Igor. If I hadn’t worked with Igor it is likely I would never have been open to adoption. Being in L.A. changed my life. I hate to admit it but it is true.

29. The Getty Villa. The Villa is the original Getty center and it is absolutely gorgeous. I think that truth be told, as much as I love the new Getty, I love the Getty Villa even more than the new Getty. It is a must see if you visit L.A.

30.Overhearing conversations in the bathroom at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. Yesterday I overheard two women talking about their hair. One woman said to the other, “I get the back of my hair cut by Lars. And, Jacques cuts the front of my hair.” Woman #2 also admitted to having two different stylists for different parts of her hair. Seriously, where else in the world would you hear that conversation?

31. My hair angel, April, at Dej Salon. Tell her I sent you. Thank me for how good looks after you see her.

32. The Hungry Pocket Falafel House for falafel in Santa Monica. It is divey-dive-dive and yet when a falafel craving hits we get on the 405 freeway and then on the Santa Monica freeway and then get off at Pico and drive up towards Santa Monica College and then hope against hope that maybe we can find a parking place. Then we try to find a place to sit among the college students and then the ordering of delicious falafel and kabob begins.

33. L.A. is just an hour and a half from Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara does not suck at all. Things I love about Santa Barbara: The trees, the architecture, the weather, Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, La Super Rica, The Saks Fifth Avenue on State Street, and my memories of going to grad school there. Even the drive to Santa Barbara is gorgeous, that is if you take Pacific Coast Highway.

34. The scent of Eucalyptus trees at the 5/405 freeway interchange. It only lasts for a mile or two but the scent always makes me happy.

Three people, nearly 750sq feet of space, and perfection by Editor

The wonderful Belette asked if I would do a post on the topic of “home.” Her very helpful prompts in her email seemed, to me, to hint at her concerns about making a misstep with selecting a new home. Her list of questions, which I loved but that she didn’t want me to use directly, were well-structured to best help reveal some criteria for choosing a home. It struck me that where she might have some anxiety over selecting a new home, my home-related anxiety is squarely in my past, focused on a house I have left behind.

I grew up in a tri-level suburban house whose design was one of 9 or 10 options in the community we lived in. There was a split-level yard with a pool, a 2-car garage, sprinklers, cottage cheese ceilings, the tract-home works. I hated it, but not because of the wall-to-wall carpeting or the high ceilings that made it cold in the winter and impossible to cool in the summer, or any of the other things my mom complained about. I always felt fearful in the house, nervous of the sliding glass doors (there were 2, one on each yard level) and the types of criminals who would be able to open them – the very impotent little locks that I could never secure to my satisfaction before going reluctantly to bed still feature in the occasional nightmare where I find myself, horror of horrors, back in my childhood home. My over-sized imagination that went into high gear every night, conjuring up determined predators who would target our, truthfully, crime-free neighborhood, was fueled by conversations at the dinner table about my father’s workload as a public defender, or stories my mom had read that day in the metro section of the paper.

Since moving out of my parents’ home, but not including college dorms, I have lived in 10 different apartments. 8 were rentals and 2 that we’ve owned. They have varied in size and city, from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again. Incredibly, four of the apartments were in one small town, where we just could not hit upon the right formula. The move to a new city, where we now live, confirmed, for me, that the apartments weren’t the (only) problem.

The first apartment we ever owned was the first (and only) apartment that we looked at when we decided to buy in the aforementioned small town. By then we had lived in 8 apartments so we were not amateurs and knew, more or less, what we needed. The apartment met all of our criteria (elevator, pet-friendly, washer/dryer in the unit, wood floor, nice views, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, parking and a balcony). A friend, a licensed architect with impeccable taste, dictated paint colors, doorknobs, window coverings, furniture placement, etc. It never felt like perfection.

What we learned was that renting and owning are somewhat different things. After living there for over 2 years (the longest time we had spent in any apartment), we discovered that what we thought were priorities were not. For one thing, I absolutely did not want a washer/dryer to worry about (the horrible banging when a load becomes unbalanced in the final spin, the potential for leaks or fires from clogged lint vents, that last one we experienced first hand). I also preferred just one bathroom – I like to clean my own home, but more for the self-reliance than for the thrill of the process. That extra toilet was discouraging, and the shower stall was never used. And finally, a 24-hour doorman would all but eliminate the small trace of concern for my family’s safety that is as much a part of me as the tiny beauty marks that dot my body, even if, unlike those marks, the insecurity is the product of nurture, not nature.

When we began our hunt for our current apartment, we were determined not to buy the first one we saw this time. In truth, it was the second one we visited, and we knew instantly that we wanted it, but we still made an effort to look at 2 or 3 others before making an offer. How did we know? There was just a feeling. It was not analytical. That is how my husband and I operate. We are fast decision-makers. It was that way with picking our child’s name – a decision that was resolved in the span of a crosswalk after exiting the hospital from the checkup that revealed the gender, before we even reached the opposite curb. I realize this haste has landed us in some dwellings that did not live up to our expectations, but so far, in our new apartment, so good. In fact, the things we love about the apartment are details we discovered/appreciated after moving in.

It is a 1 bedroom, 1 bath pre-war with leafy views and a separate dining area. The building is pet-friendly, in case we ever decide to have dogs again, has charming hallways, an ideal location in an-almost ideal city, is well-maintained and has a wonderful staff of extremely pleasant doormen who work in shifts around the clock.

Three people, nearly 750sq feet of space, and perfection.

There are rooms that do the bulk of the work, multifunctional spaces that you live in more than others. In our last apartment it was our master bedroom, but it always felt more like we were hiding in there. The tv was in that bedroom. When we moved, we got rid of our tv. In our current apartment, the kitchen/dining area is the center of the apartment (even though physically it’s not). The dining table seats 7 comfortably, but almost every meal it’s just us 3. It is also where we set up our laptops, where I paint, where we read, talk on the phone, you name it. Our daughter has the big bedroom, and we divided the generous living room with an Eames storage unit that we bought expressly for this purpose. I lovingly refer to it as “the unit” (eg “don’t lean on the unit,” “that better not be a cup I see on the unit.”). On one side, we have our couch, a chair, books, in short, our living room. On the other side, our bed, a dresser, bedside tables – our bedroom.

Furnishing this space is so fun, so personal, that I have slowed down and left many needs un-met, just so I can string out the process a bit longer. I hope it is forever a work in progress. Buying rugs was a ridiculous joy (to anyone in the NYC area, I cannot over-emphasize the treasures to be found in the d
iscount basement of ABC Carpet). I created a sitting area in our entry way just as an excuse to buy a small runner I fell in love with.

Friends are skeptical of the space/arrangement I have chosen for my family, until they come over and see it. Then they seem genuinely cozy and reluctant to leave. My mother has stayed with us for extended visits, sleeping on a fold-up futon, and repeatedly says how much she loves being in the apartment. My sister and brother-in-law laugh with amazement though that my apartment could easily fit on the first floor of their 2-story house, and yet the respective cost of our homes is the exact inverse of their sizes, relative to one another.

My daughter has one of the most amazing urban parks for her backyard, the best view in the apartment, and a protective building staff that seems charmed by her, yet after a succession of particularly rainy days in early Spring, I passed by the bathroom while she was in there and I overheard her mutter to herself the first and, to my knowledge, only string of poetry she has ever composed, “Jammed in this tiny house, waiting for the rain to stop.” She is 6. When she is in her 30s, she might find herself gravitating to homes of grandiose proportions. She might want a home with stairs and a yard with shadows. If she grows up to reject everything I have furnished my adult life with, at the very least I hope, more than anything else, her desires and dreams are founded on security and confidence. Ideally everyone’s home is a haven, but just from life, not from nightmares…

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Editor is the author and artist who is the creator of the whimsical, smart and fabulous Up and Downtown. Up and Downtown “is a semi-autobiographical work of mostly fictional fashion, presented as individual cartoons, meant to be enjoyed as a continuous story that gets updated 5 days a week. It’s the story of a girl, who is no longer a girl, living in a city.” You may remember her work from the post “Find Belette“.

About Me

My name is Tracey, aka La Belette Rouge. I am a psychotherapist and the author of Freudian Sip @ Psychology Today. I blog about psychology, my therapy, dreams, writing, meaning making, home, longing, loss, infertility and other things that delight or inspire me. I try to make deep and elusive psychodynamic concepts accessible and funny. For more information, click here .
These blog posts are informational only and not meant to replace individual psychotherapy, counseling or medical advice. If you are in need of help, reaching out to a professional may help you decide how to proceed or how to find the care you need. For a referral, contact

Fertility Planit Video: Letting Go of the Hope of Having genetic Offspring

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