Monday, November 28, 2011


photos: Jonathan Mash

No adventure this week since I just moved in to a new apartment, completely spontaneously.  The apartment next door to me just opened up last week and I walked in there out of curiosity and immediately felt like it was meant for me.  Like it was a doorway into a new trajectory that has just been waiting for me to be ready for it.  So I moved in.  I thanked my sweet tiny studio for giving me six years and it was overflowing with memories, but I knew it so deeply, it was time to move on. 

So, I found out I had to paint my old apartment back to white on Thanksgiving.  No Thanksgiving parties, no football all afternoon (oh, bummer).  My friend Jonathan offered to help me, and, thank the lord he did, as I would have been standing there with a roller in my hand, and a paint bucket, staring at the wall just going, uhhhhhhhh.  So he was a master painter and I made him a victory Thanksgiving feast in return.  In my new huge kitchen for which I am, perhaps, the most grateful.

I am thankful for my whole entire life right now and the little alterations that seem to be occurring.  Strangely, I've found, with my new apartment, everything else seems to be changing as well.  For the better.  Way for the better. In subtle ways that just feel right.  Like how I'm up early right now sitting at a cafe with a big bowl of coffee and a croissant and I feel the same joy and fascination in the world that I do when I'm traveling.  

Which is what I wanted to happen with this writing experiment.  To travel around LA and through my life and welcome whatever it has to show me.  And somehow, it's working in even the smallest ways.  I'm seeing the city with new eyes, even if I'm doing the same things I've always done.  And life feels good and I am embracing this strange and simple happiness it seems to be bringing to me.  I do wonder, where did this constant current of alchemy come from that seems to have befallen me?

Maybe it's because I've been so intent on being brave recently.  And really just trusting life and pushing fear to the wayside and not over-thinking everything and being myself as much and as fully as possible.  Maybe that's it.  When you just decide to do exactly what feels right, what feels like it's coming from your truest most pure heart of hearts, like the heart that made decisions when you were young and free and unsullied by the heavy weary work of making it through this world, then you find that life sort of takes you in its clutches and gives you all that you need.  Maybe?

Anyway, I'm beginning to feel like I am becoming ever more me every day.  And it kind of started with this blog and then I got the apartment, and a happiness and drive has taken over. And life is beginning to seem more incredible than it has felt in a long time.  And that's saying a lot, coming from a girl who has always been acutely, almost painstakingly aware of how incredible life is.  But, seriously, lately.  Just this existence, it's almost overwhelming how it unfolds. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cabo Cantina

Went to the newly opened Cabo Cantina on Hollywood Boulevard.  I have no idea where it came from or when either.  It's crazy, because it's only a few blocks from my place and it seems like it just popped up out of the blue.  But it triggered something in me when I spotted it.  I used to go to the one on Sunset Boulevard with my sweetest of LA friends.  Fond memories of that time, back when we all lived here, young and naive and didn't quite realize what life was going to bring.  Now we're all dispersed around the country, each taking our own varied paths through this world.  A little more battered and bruised, a lot wiser.

So, this new Cabo, I had to check it out.  It's interesting and great because it seems to be an older crowd, I mean like late 20s early 30s, like me crowd.  I swear someone was even sitting by himself reading a newspaper.  So it's not like rowdy college spring break in Cancun style at all.  Just a good place where locals go to get out, making Hollywood feel ever more like a town and less like a tourist casserole.

Anyway, my friend Bethany and I, we went the other night.  We got the varietal appetizer.  A medley of five different dips with chips…yummy. And then, when I ordered my margarita, things got complicated.  It was happy hour, so 2 for 1, and who knows how long we were going to dwell there.  Anyway, I order a margarita and the waitress  gives me the option of the four small margaritas she apparently foresaw me having when all was said and done, or one big one.  The big one being less than the four, price-wise, but equal in volume.  And it got me thinking way more than ordering a margarita should. 

I pondered forever and after deliberation and getting up and down half-way out of the booth to change my order several times and laughing and trying to figure out why it was so difficult to figure it out, I finally decided on the one big one, which dear Bethany already knew I would regret. God, she knows me!  So I get my one big margarita and was already bummed because I realized I love having a lot of small things over one big.  I don't really care about the better deal.  I mean, I enjoyed it, but it's just so much more fun for me to have a multitude.  And to not be stuck with one choice, but to be able to decide as I go.

On a deeper level, I guess it's just how I am with life in general.  I always want the variety.  I always want to see the small pieces.  The little things, the moments, they just make so much more sense.  

The details, now those I find forever fascinating. Those are easy. The theme, however, the big one, that's what most boggles me. When I begin wondering what it's all about, durrr... there I get muddled.  I mean, sometimes, sometimes, just for brief fleeting flashes, I get it. Clarity for about five seconds, but then it's lost. 

So I suppose that's why I revel in the details and savor each step. Because when I get stuck contemplating the plot too much, if I settle into it before I can shake myself out, I do get depressed. Suddenly I look around and nothing makes sense. The metaphorical rainbows and butterflies that are usually surrounding me, the sunshine that I try and keep in the foreground, it all disappears and it is grey grey grey. 

And the only thing I can do when that happens is to let it be and try and revel in that place as well. To be quiet and let myself cry and give myself liberty to not understand anything at all. And when I do that, there is something gentle and beautiful and hushed in the deep confusion. There is something so real about that sadness. And I know now, because, god, I've been me for long enough, I know it will pass eventually, and that I will be uplifted again.   

In any case, we did well with the appetizer. And hooray, a Cabo Cantina in this Hollywood village of mine!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Went hiking up Runyon Canyon the other morning. As I do on many mornings, and each time it's so different up there. Last week, I ascended through thick thick clouds, and then, almost to the top, I stepped out of the clouds like a curtain and the sky was spotlessly blue and clear and the sun was shining so brightly and it was just me and the crows in a warm pocket of blue and yellow on a grey dance floor. Like it's own small world, the top of a mountain and a bright sunny sky. And two feet below, the thickest ocean of clouds, forever, endless, nothing but clouds and the tippy tops of a couple of buildings downtown trying to break through. 

Such serenity up there. Which most people don't experience on that hike as it's basically LA traffic expressed in humans and dogs instead of cars. It makes sense, though, since the hiking trail juts right out of Hollywood up to Mulholland Drive. So many people, lucky to have a hiking trail in the very heart of the city.  Or, at least, I always feel lucky about it. And it definitely deserves its own post by me, as it is my meditation, my therapy, my endorphin fix, source of energy, release and sweaty clarity.

For me, it's never too crowded.  I usually go so early in the morning, there are very few other people. Those I did pass that day above the clouds, well, they must have thought I was a little bit crazy because I was so unabashedly joyous and was not afraid to let them in on it. So it was me, running and skipping past people saying, It's like Runyon Heaven up here! Isn't it just gorgeous up here this morning?! I bet we'll never see it like this again! It's soooo beautiful!

This last morning, well, it's winter, for sure.  Started raining. And I love when winter comes. But it's so different now. Though I still love it. Here in LA, winter is fun because we get to wear sweaters and maybe retire the flip-flops and if I'm lucky, it will rain a lot. 

But, I guess it's nostalgia that makes me so excited inside when winter arrives and why I love winter so much still, for so many reasons. Because in Colorado, where I'm from,  winter means the dawn of skiing and snowboarding and telemarking and snowshoeing and so many of the things I loved to do. The things you have to wait for. And it means inner tubing down the mountains and hot chocolate and fireplaces and very warm blankets and the world covered in blue under the moonlight. It means my dad pulling on my toes to wake me up saying, don't go to school today, it's a powder day! It means tying our sleds to the back of the old Toyota Landcruiser while dad plows the driveway in the morning. 

It's gathering snow in a cup and adding milk and sugar and cinnamon and eating it like it's ice cream. And it's glittering snow on the hills, feet and feet deep. And jumping off the roof into that glittering snow laughing.  And it's fresh vegetable soup and my mom in fuzzy boots and oatmeal and icy roads and birds perched on fluffy white trees. And mostly, it means being warm and loved and happy. 

Monday, November 7, 2011


The first outing, Yamashiro's. Impromptu, because I was going to start with my favorite restaurant, but it was closed on this particular night. Well of course it was because that's mostly how it goes. It just is. Things not going as planned seems quite a general theme of life, which is why I've tried to become an expert at handling, well, all of it.  I guess I learned a long time ago that we're just not in control of too much. Possibly anything.  Our only decisions seem to come not in what happens, but in how we will be with what happens.

So a new plan. Yamashiro's seemed a nice alternative to the original idea. Which, yay, I can still look forward to! But, to Yamashiro's. It's so beautiful there. It's an iconic Hollywood restaurant at the top of the hill overlooking the city and is definitely a tourist destination, but I love it because I can walk there and for so many reasons, actually. Sweeping view of the sparkling city. Paths through the gardens on the hillside. And the summer night-time farmer's market they host is one of my absolute favorite things, but that will have to wait until April, when it begins again.

Anyway, delicious shared dinner with my friend. A plate colorfully striped with vegetables and noodles and some crazy delicious flavors coming from somewhere. So, so delightful. I love sharing food. Oh, how I love and have always loved that! There is something so engaging about it. And you are connected by the food itself, so it becomes more of a living element of the whole experience. Being with others, tasting the same flavors. Just good. 

I wonder, sometimes, do I enjoy these small things more than most? Probably. It seems that when I'm in a restaurant, I'm the person having the most fun. I look around and it's like everyone else is trying to play by some rules that I'm still trying to figure out and then I giggle too hard and drop my fork and the champagne spills and I laugh some more….But maybe it's just that I grew up in the restaurant business and am so comfortable with it all, like it's my element. Except, then again, even when I walk down the street or go to the market, I feel like I'm having the most fun. I just find this adventure here so very interesting. 

After dinner, we walked the gardens. Looking out over the whole of Los Angeles. That is always such a beautiful moment for me. I remember flying into LAX many years ago and saying to myself, god, I could never live here! So sprawling. Just a sea of pavement and buildings for miles and miles and too many miles! And here I am, nine years in, and it's home. And I love it.

I flew back here from a visit to New York a few months ago, and I was so happy to return to that same stone sea. And I tried to figure out what it is, exactly, about this city that I love so much and I realized, the main thing is, it's so expansive. And I am too. So it just suits me. Because the thing I fear almost the most is feeling trapped. 

Here, on certain days of the year, when I go hiking, I can see the mountains dusted with snow to my left, and the ocean spanning straight to the horizon to my right. And then I look to the streets and buildings and neighborhoods and towns in between, and all I see are memories, sweet sweet memories. And I know that I have been living here, really living, the way I have always wanted to.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Embark

In light of the fact that I might end up waiting forever to have the time and funds to take off and travel the world and write about my experiences, I've devised a new plan.  Here it is. This better, more realistic plan. Stay here, and write about that. And why have I not thought of this before? Ah! Probably because putting something off is sometimes so appealing. A great excuse not to do something is a safe and trusting companion. "I would write, only I can't make it around the world just yet."  

Screw it. Courage, I am yours. I am not going to wait anymore. I will stay here. I will stay here in LA. I will stay with my life just as it is, and experience it and write about it. A journey that is readily at hand. The one I have already been on for so long. 

So maybe I won't get to have a week-long love affair in Barcelona, but who's to say I won't have that week-long love affair with a Spaniard right here on the firma terra of this wildly interesting, this often magical place? And perhaps I will not be blessed by the Ganges any time soon, but what if I find a waterfall in Malibu that will bless me just as well? And I may not snorkel off the shores of Argentina, but I get to be here, right here, and I get to live.

I will no longer be prey to the grass being greener syndrome. Oh, no, I will not! Sign me up for life here. Let's see what I have to say about that. I want to dig into the world ever more, the rugged ragged illuminated confusing world, the mischief, the joy, the heartbreak, the freedom, all of it. I am ready…well, reluctantly, because I'm also scared as hell to begin. It takes some serious bravery to share yourself, really who you are, completely, entirely. Bless those who do it. Me, I'm scared. 

But, I have a fool-proof idea, for, interestingly, this creative spirit, she responds well to structure. Thus, I will fuel this correspondence about my voyage in the life of myself with weekly outings. I imagine, knowing me as I do, that I won't much write about the places themselves, but the destinations will get me out into the world and offer a starting point from which my thoughts and musings can materialize. They will be intentional fodder, but If something arises that I simply must write about, don't you worry, I won't hold out on you. You, the lovely void to which I write, and, some day, maybe, real, actual people!

And so, I embark.