Posts Tagged ‘L.A.’

When Was I Happiest

January 6, 2018

Today?

I just asked myself that.

In a prompting kind of way, hey you, you need to write your blog, get your fingers moving on that keyboard, make some fucking magic happen.

Because all of the seven people who read my blog really want to know what I did today.

Meh.

I recently got an update from WordPress that I have once again celebrated an anniversary.

Eight years of blogging.

Eight.

What the fuck did I write about?

So many things, so many thoughts.

I have published over 2,400 blogs.

My average blog is somewhere between 1100-1300 words.

But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say 1,000.

That means that I have written over 2,4000,000 words.

Over two million words!

Who the hell knew there were so many words in my head?

I never suspected that I would be where I am in now in my life when I started writing this blog.

I was living on Taylor and Washington in a large studio that was on a cable car line.

I was working as a nanny in China Basin.

I made really good money.

More than I actually make now, if you can believe that, because it was all under the table.

I had a very nice Felt 35 racing bike that I did my commute on.

I was horribly lonely.

I felt like all I did was grind at work, I worked at least 50 hours a week.

Which is funny, as I put in about fifty hours a week now and go to graduate school full-time.

But at that time I was going through a lot of weird stuff.

I was desperately trying to get abstinent with my food, which I did do in that apartment, but it took a hot ass second.

I was trying, oh so very hard, to get some head way on my book, said head way has come to naught in many ways, but you know, I started this blog by publishing each of the chapters one by one in the pages.

If you should want to read some really bad writing, well it’s there.

For sure.

I had a friend read the book in manuscript form about four years ago and he told me with no mincing of words that if he didn’t know better he would have never believed that the person who wrote this blog was the same person who had written that book.

My writing, suffice to say, has gotten much better.

That’s what happens when you practice.

You get better.

I have had eight years of practicing this blog.

Some days I am so inordinately pleased with what I have written that I may actually go back and re-read a blog.

But not very often.

I generally throw it down on the page, I”m just transcribing my thoughts, and really, thank god I have some fast typing skills, I’m just writing what I am thinking.

It’s a little like having a one-sided conversation with me.

Hey how was your day?

Let me tell you about mine, and then I’m unleashed upon you.

Or something like that.

I am reflecting as I did my Morning Pages this morning in the place where Morning Pages originated for me, about ten years ago.

Yeah.

If you thought writing a blog eight years in a row was something, check out my history with writing my Morning Pages.

Ten years, going on eleven.

I realized that this morning as I sat in Muddy Waters on Valencia and 24th.

I had a chiropractor appointment this morning and some time to kill before I had to be into work.

So instead of getting up stupid early, I let myself sleep in, packed my breakfast and brought it with me, planning to eat it at the cafe while having a cafe au lait before going into work.

The cafe is much the same as when I first started hanging out at it.

I had moved to a shared apartment in a rent controlled Victorian on Capp Street and 23rd and Muddy’s was the closest cafe to me and the one where I did a lot, and I do mean a lot, of sitting with another woman and reading out of a big blue book.

So many women in that cafe, before my regular Wednesday haunt, as well as my regular Saturday gig and many other times in between.

And it was also the scene of The Artist Way group that I was a part of for a year and a half.

It was an awesome group.

We met for an hour before rolling up the hill to a spot in Noe Valley on Wednesday nights.

We would grab the big round table towards the back of the cafe and anywhere from 6 to 10 of us would sit down for about an hour and share about the assignments we had done from the book.

We did one chapter a week, followed the instructions regarding the assignments, and talked about our experiences working the projects and doing the morning pages.

The book suggests that every morning you take time to write three pages long hand.

Emphasis on long hand.

No typewrite, keyboard, tablet, computer.

My blog does not count as morning pages and never has.

There is something so captivating about writing on paper with a good pen.

I was writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks that I brought back from Paris this morning and I reflected on how it was in that group that I came to the realization that I wanted to go to Paris.

That I actually wanted to move to Paris.

It would take some years before I moved, but by participating in that group I realized how much I wanted to go to Paris and I took myself on a solo trip for ten days after doing the work in the book.

I took myself on artists dates, I went to museums, I bought myself nice paper, I sat and daydreamed in cafes and watched clouds roll by.

I looked out those same windows today and marveled.

Look how far I have come.

Look where I am now.

My best friend in Paris messaged me today about when I’ll be going back.

I have been to Paris five times since I made that decision, and yes, one of those times was to live there for six months.

I have re-written that book.

Although I still don’t think it’s at a publishable place.

I have written poems.

I have performed with djs in nightclubs reciting my poems.

One of them became a recording.

I have lectured on stage.

I have traveled.

I went to Burning Man, a lot.

I traveled to New York by myself as well as New Orleans to go see art.

I have taken 1,000s and 1,000s of photographs.

I have written millions of words.

I think I have a few million more.

I have done morning pages in Paris, London, Rome, New York, L.A., New Orleans, Madison, Wisconsin, Anchorage, Alaska, Burning Man, Reno, San Diego, Las Vegas, and probably a bunch of other places I can’t remember now.

But they all started one night in a Muddy Waters coffee shop on Valencia and 24th.

Opening a door that has led me down this meandering path of creation and love.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

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Homeward Bound

June 30, 2011

I e-mailed an environmental bed and breakfast yesterday in Wisconsin yesterday that just opened in May and found out that they have an opening for  me when I go back to Wisconsin in July.

What?  Dude, that’s next month.  Fuck, that’s this like in a few days.  Oh my god.

It is in Token Creek.  Had you told me a few years back that a. I would even consider going back for my high school class reunion or b.  that I would be staying at a bed and breakfast in Token Creek; I would have told you to load up another crack rock.

But it is really true.

Granted, I have yet to book the room, I am waiting until I get paid and pay my rent for July, but I have officially decided to splurge.

The lesson I learned going to LA this past weekend was this: do not compromise on your sleep or your accommodations, it will make you or break you.

I have always been rather frugally minded.  Well, to a point, there have been more than one occasion when I decided to buy something else other than food.  C’mon if I get that gram of cocaine, I won’t need food.  Maybe just cab fare to get back to my dealer when it’s gone and a pack of smokes.

But over the last six and a half years I have prioritized a little.  Like I buy groceries and pay rent and get myself new socks when I need them and I totally splurge on body lotion. Shit, I pay like $13  for a tube of %100 Pure coconut body lotion.  It smells like a virgin sacrifice to a volcano god.  It is so good and it only lasts me like, a week and a half, two if I don’t shower a lot in fourteen days.  But I must have it.

However, I have been rather tight with my money in other areas, especially travel.  So, I am going to “splurge”.  It’s not much of a splurge, but it is a bit of one.  I am going to pay twice as much as I could to stay some where.  Further, I am not looking to stay with friends.  I have not asked.  Nor have I sought to manipulate.

Now, this is fucking progress, Batman.

My normal M.O. is to be so worried about money that I have to stay with someone to offset what ever financial insecurity I have about having booked the trip in the first place.  I have slept on floors, in attics, on couches, back yards, in campers surrounded by dog shit, on borrowed sleeping bags, in tents, in poorly ventilated rooms, and in play rooms for the people I work for.  I have had to share bathrooms with people I normally would not even say hello to on the street, let alone want to leave a toothbrush on their sink.  I have put myself in really compromising positions to save some money.

Well, fuck that noise.

I am done with it.  I decided I want a nice place to stay.  It does not have to be über fabulous and totally out of my price range–hello Mansion Hill Inn–but it can be nice, and it can be my own room, and it can have some amenities.

And since I do a spending plan every month and know how much I have coming in and going out, I know I can afford this.  And really, when it comes right down to it, it is not a splurge.  It is keeping my sanity.  I want to be well rested and fresh.  I want to stay where I want to stay.

I want to stay in a place that is located just outside of Madison.  I want to be in the country.  I want to be minutes away from where I spent some of the most formative years of my life.  I want to go for a walk along the creek.  I want to take a nap in the hammock that will be outside my room underneath an oak tree.  I want to sleep on nice sheets and get up to go to the bathroom naked, because that’s how I sleep.  I want to not be on anyone elses schedule but my own.

That is not to say that I won’t be packing my time in tight in Madison.  I have people to see and places to go.  But I will be taking a little time for me.  I will make sure that I get to do some things that I would not have the opportunity of doing if I am at the whim of another’s schedule because I am their house guest.  I am not sleeping on the floor, on the couch, or at a crappy motel by East Town Mall.

I want to wake up to the smell of high summer in Wisconsin.  I want to see lightning bugs flit through the meadow grass while I listen to the horses knicker to themselves as they settle down for sleep.  I want to smell the air, warm and fragrant with lilac and summer blooming roses.  I want the full Wisconsin country side experience, even if I am there for just a short time.  Particularly, because I am there for such a short time.

I do once in a while fantasize about moving back to Wisconsin.  And I want to emphasize “fantasize”.  I don’t have any real plans to do so.  San Francisco is my home sweet home, but my soul was born in Windsor, Wisconsin, and some times one has to make that journey back to feed the head waters of that spring.

And I am renting a car.  No being at the mercy of somebody who doesn’t know how to get to Hwy 51.

It’s kind of like knowing how to get to Sesame Street, but you make a right instead of a left.

Escape From L.A.

June 27, 2011

Today was a long day.  A trying day.  A day in which I was further gratified to know that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I was never happier to see the toll plaza to the Bay Bridge in my life.

There is a moment, a moment that I will always remember, that I was reminded tonight as we wound down toward the toll plaza– when you have been driving for a long time,the first was when I drove out here almost nine years ago from Wisconsin, and you have been looking at dead burnt grass and hot landscapes, then suddenly you are lifted up into the air and you come over the freeway and there she is–San Francisco.

The fog is curling lightly around the spires of the Golden Gate.  I can see the Trans America building, there is Coit tower.  I can tell you just from the apartment buildings perched on the top of the hills where I am in the city–where I actually live, you can see it from the freeway since it’s one of the higher hills (you want my ass, get on a bike baby and ride up and down Taylor Street).  It is this gorgeous thing of glass and metal and water and soft light and I always am moved.

Always.

Perhaps more so today as it really was a long ass day.  I joked with Pell that I was going to write a screenplay and call it Escape From L.A.  Because I apparently could not.

Really, I know that it was my first performance in L.A. and I was truly judgemental of how I performed, but apparently, L.A. thought I was great, because little heathen that she is, she kept me there far, far longer than I had any desire to be.  It was Ground Hog Day all day long.

I was up again early–between Friday and Saturday I believe I may have gotten a cummulative ten hours of sleep.  I am now highly aware that my inner alarm clock is set fairly well.  I went to bed around 1:30a.m/2 a.m. and was up again by 7:15a.m.  I used the bathroom, drank some water, then crawled back into bed.  No use, it was not my bed, it was occupied by another person–I got the experience of having to swap out my bed last night.  Not exactly happy about that, but I tried to roll with it.

Note to self, note to self that I made all day long: there is being accommodating and flexible, then there is being steam rolled into doing things that you don’t want to do.  Give up your private bed, albeit in a room I was sharing with two other people, to sleep in a room with another person whose gear smelled, that’s a nice way of saying stank.  It fucking stank to high holy heaven.

Side bar–wet suits should not be hung in communal spaces.  They fucking stink people.  Oh my god.  I just about gagged.  I am sensitive to smell, so I usually don’t make a big fuss about it, what bothers me does not normally bother other people.  But I was knocked out by the smell of that wet suit.  I don’t think I ever can go surfing now that smell may remain with me for the rest of my life.

I also agree to ride with people back to San Francisco who don’t realize that you actually are on a bit of a time constraint.  My fault here, I take full responsibility.  I was to go back early today and I said I could be a little flexible with my time–I did not properly communicate my needs.  I did not have to be on the road as early as the person had been told.  But when I said that I meant, hey, we don’t have to be on the road by 7a.m.; 8 a.m. will work,or 9 a.m.  Especially as one of the people who was to be sharing the car was still asleep at the hotel.

I had heard nothing by 9:45 a.m.  Despite texting and attempting to make contact.  I had been packed, eaten breakfast, had coffee, done my morning writing pages, and was sitting twiddling my thumbs.  I find out later that another set of people have stepped in and are taking my spot in the car.  Had the director not intervened, I may still be on the road, something else to be grateful for.

The rest of the house was making a move to go hang with fellowship in Pacific Palisades.  So I make the decision to join them, will probably do me good to get a little of the solution into my morning mix before hitting the road.  I tell the director I can be flexible with my time and she arranges to get me where I need to go with another group of the cast members.

However, the timing is still a bit skewed and he and I end up in a camper trailer being driven down the Santa Monica highway at noon by another set of cast members to a hotel by the LAX airport where the next set of drivers is waiting for us to get there so we may leave from L.A. to San Francisco.

By this time I am in tears.  I am hours behind when I thought I would leave.  I am hungry.  I am tired.  I am angry.

Uh oh.

Then the driver and his “navigator” spend a lot of time conversing/bickering/discussing, opening and closing various maps, and trying to figure out the proper way to get to the motel where the other cast members are waiting for us.  They succeed in getting us lost and then, oh yes, stuck in Santa Monica beach board walk traffic in what is now the middle of a Sunday afternoon beach day.  Oh my god.

I start to cry.  I can’t help it.  I call Barnaby, who is supposed to come by the house and drop off a cruiser bike for me and I need to hand over the last payment on the tattoo, and tell him I will not be getting back when I thought I would be getting back.

He talks me from the ledge and I breathe deeply and watch the strip malls float by.  We are going so slow and everything looks the same, it is as though we are not moving at all.

It takes some time, but we make it to the hotel.  Transfer all the luggage from the camper trailer to Ralph’s car.  I mention to Ralph the neither of us has had a chance to eat lunch, there’s an In-N-Out Burger just passed the way we came, can we hit it?  I find out later, Ralph has some hearing issues.

I have some dietary restrictions and In-N-Out is probably my best choice.  Had I known what was to happen next I would have gotten more stuff at the Whole Foods I popped into yesterday on Wilshire.  But I did not know that Ralph would whirl us passed that In-N-Out, past another, and only to get us on the highway to pull off over an hour later at a gas station/deli/tackle and bait shop.

McDonalds was the other option.  I would rather eat my foot than McDonalds.

I have to say.  The deli guy was very nice and I was able to get a little sustenance for the road.  But the walls of bait and tackle for fishing next to the deli counter was a bit off-putting.

Just a bit.

Of course we hit traffic.  Because that’s the way we roll people.

I just gave up at one point and closed my eyes.  I actually napped on and off the whole way back.  Only to wake up briefly at gas stations to use the restrooms and buy a bottle of water and once a piece of fruit and  a Naked smoothie.

We finally get back into the city and although it has been mentioned a number of times as we are about to exit off the highway that it is Pride and the Civic Center will be closed off, guess what we drove straight into?

But I got home.   I am home.  And tomorrow, maybe even a little later tonight, the whole experience will be a laughable thing.  I survived.  My cats were quite happy to see me and Barnaby will drop off the bike tomorrow and I will pay him out the last bit on the tattoo as he prepares to leave for Paris.

And I have the first episode of True Blood Season Four down loading.

Let’s hope it’s not set in L.A.

Hot Mess

June 26, 2011

Today’s performance, my performance, was just that, a hot, greasy, mess.  I felt like left over sloppy joe with american cheese melted off the side.

I kid you not.

I can pin a number of things on it, or place the blame directly where it belongs, on my shoulders.  I did not sleep as long as I needed and I got up way too early.  I wanted a hot shower.  I got one, but at what cost?

I can function on five hours of sleep, I did today, I have done so in the past, but what I cannot do is function on not enough food and hydration.  I did not keep pace with my water today, but I certainly did with my coffee.  I think I totally depleted my reserves.

I drew a complete and under blank during the run through this afternoon.  It was hideous.  It is not a feeling I ever want to experience again.  I got a hefty dose of humility today.  I had to lean heavily on my cast members.  Fortunately they were there for me.  I don’t know how we all came together, but we did.

It felt like we were plodding through the production.

I take that back.  I cannot speak for anyone else’s feelings, only my own.  I felt like I was plodding through the production.  However, we still got a standing ovation.

The audience was kind.  The cast was a bit more judgemental, but gently so.  I think we all were feeling tired from the journey.  I did have some lovely moments of bonding with the cast and I am supremely grateful for that.

I am my own harshest critic.  I know that, so I will take my performance with a grain of salt.  I know that last week was better.  I know that I can actually do better than this week and last week.  I am actually looking forward to doing it again.  And I would like to have a good nights sleep when I do it.  I would like to be in my normal eating routine and not piecing together weird hodge podge food.

I will say this, no offense folks, but I saw some way creepy body shit in this town today.  Women that were so tiny and sucked in and skeletal that I actually gasped audibly a few times.  Fake boobs I was ready for and saw, plastic surgery, botox, enhanced this and that.  But the teeny tiny skinny women and young girls I saw freaked me out, I was actually shocked.  And I suppose I knew, but I did not know.

I am so glad to be a different place.  I am so grateful for the beautiful body I have been given.  Even with its “flaws” I have accepted myself and I do not think I could actually do what women do to compete in this town.  I just wanted to hug a few of the girls and let them know they really did not have to go to such lengths.  It was really disturbing to be honest.

L.A. is not my town.  And that is kind of a relief to know.  I got to trash the few fantasies I had about being “discovered” and realize that I have absolutely no desire to live here.  I was even told by a professional SAG actor that I am a natural, but I don’t think I could pursue a career here in L. A. I love me some San Francisco.

And, maybe that’s all that I needed to see about this trip and this experience, once again it has been affirmed the San Francisco is my home.  It is the place I will keep returning to.  It is the place that I belong.  It is the place I want to come home to.

San Francisco, I hella heart you big big.  Can’t wait to see you tomorrow.

 

Long Day

June 25, 2011

Nine hour work day, two grandparents, one father working from home, two toddlers, 6.5 hour long drive after work from San Francisco to L.A.

I deserve a nap.

Currently sitting in a rental house in Santa Monica with two guys crashed out in the living room a two gals in the room behind me and the room I will be occupying has some guy I’ve met once sleeping on the floor and another woman sleeping in a bed a foot away from where I will be resting my head when it is time to rest my head, snoring.

I sort of miss my apartment right now and my cats.

Sigh.

But I am pretending to be at camp.  It’s not really a slumber party as there is no one up being silly or watching a John Hughes movie.

But it is an experience.  And I get to sleep in tomorrow.  Not that I will.  Not that I can imagine actually doing that.  Two other people in a teeny tiny room with me, one bathroom for let me count, seven of us, yeah, don’t know that I will actually be sleeping in.

And there will be no late night run on the bathroom naked thank you very much.  And I will be sleeping in pajamas which sucks as I like to sleep in the nude.  Again, oh well.

The snoring is not such a big deal, but I’m not a fan of the stale cigarette smoke that lingers around the edges of some of my housemates. Then again, at least they are not smoking inside.

It’s an adventure.

Tomorrow I don’t have to be to the theater until 2 p.m.  Hoping to find a place nearby to get a manicure and a cup or fifteen of coffee and maybe get my eyebrows waxed as I realized that I forgot to pack my tweezers.  Damn it.

Actually, is probably a good thing that I am the late arrival and all the other house mates are already fast asleep, or close to it.  By the time I get up, let’s keep our fingers crossed on this, I should be able to have a shower all to myself.  Hmmm.  Or maybe what I’ll do is shower before I go to bed.  And that way I don’t have to battle it out for the bathroom in the morning.  I can just get up, brush the teeth and do a quick wash up.

That is something to seriously consider.

This is the most boring blog I have written all week.  Is there any one interested in my morning toilet?  I think not.

How to spice it up.  I could rant about the fact that I had both grandparents today and the dad in the house and yet, I could be let go early because I had to feed K.  Really folks, it wouldn’t hurt if maybe you all had a family dinner, I bet she would develop some better eating habits, just a thought.

The drive up was also interesting.  Dan does not have a radio in his car.  No music.  Which was truly depressing for the first moment or two of being in the vehicle and then we started talking.  He’s a good egg and easily the most talented person of the play.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for him that he is discovered down here and given some juicy opportunities.  He’s truly an amazing actor.  I have to be careful watching him though, because he’s also mad good at improvisational comedy and there have been more than a few times that I have caught myself absolutely crying with laughter.

I don’t want to miss my entrance and exits because I am watching him perform.

I’m looking forward to the seeing Santa Monica tomorrow and maybe wandering down to the pier.  But really, I am just here because I was asked and I have been taught to say yes to certain experiences in my life.  I’m grateful I get to be of service and learn about a new fellowship.

Must remember to pick up a post card and send it to myself.  Anybody else want one?  Send me your address and I’ll write you one.  I left my address book at home.

Oh!  And this just in, I got somebody in the cast to help me move Shannon and Alex’s love seat next weekend!  Yay!  My furniture needs for my apartment have just about been met.  House warming party to be set as soon as I get back from L.A. adventures.


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