Exploring the city is going well these days. What fun this has been! Brad and I are always trying to find time to hang out, and it finally happened. This past week, we went to Stout on Cahuenga with Brad's friend Simon, who's here from England for a few months. Now that was a good time!
I love Stout. It's this lovely little gourmet beer bar, all brick and wood, with probably my favorite veggie burger in town. They make their own quinoa burger and also have a secret menu of standard bar foods, but better, to which I am always eager to introduce my company. The secret menu includes zucchini sticks, German style soft pretzels and beer-battered onion rings. Although, we went with the sweet potato fries from the non-covert menu because those things are some of the best I've had. But, I do love a secret menu. And knowing about it.
The beer selection is pretty amazing too. Plus, they'll let you sample anything and are always able to recommend a number of micro-brews if they don't have your favorite. I appreciate that knowledge. I've learned about a beer or two there that always make me feel worldly and well-versed when I ask for them at other places.
I love the atmosphere of Stout too, because the wall on the street is usually kept open so it feels halfway like a patio. Which is something that LA lacks. Patios. I swear, every other big city that I've been to in the world is just a daisy chain of patios. And then the one city that is basically sunny year-round has so few. I've never understood that.
What a fine crew we made, the three of us! We did well with each other. Non-stop conversation and laughter and unabashed, shameless telling of tales. How nice to meet a stranger and have it feel like he's an old friend. Simon was a riot and I'm sure he was not expecting me with my antics and stories when Brad first invited him out with us! We all melded well, as we spoke of life and dating, and everything else. Probably an entertaining conversation for the folks next to us, if they were wise enough to eavesdrop. Ah, the dinner conversation between men and women sometimes. I love having good guy friends for that reason. We can really get some insight. It's important to me. To learn these things from my friends, a different perspective. Brad's been good for that.
After that delicious dinner, it was home for me.
How I love coming home to my new apartment! Anyone who knows me and then sees this place just says how very me it is. And it truly is, all light and air and trees. I hardly want to leave it sometimes. And it's just getting better.
Last week, my mom and brother came down from Ojai to help me with some moving-in details. It was all hustle and bustle around here. My brother drilling things while mom and I hung up artwork and moved furniture around. And then, we had to pause and find a hardware store. And, blessed be, I discovered the best hardware store in the world! I sure do love a good hardware store. I suppose that comes from being raised going to lumber yards and nurseries and dad always was making some beautiful creation or another for the house.
This hardware store. The best. Anawalt, just down Highland from my place. Randomly in the city, but it instantly exudes a small town atmosphere. Lumber yard, nursery and hardware store all on the same campus. The store bit of it, though, that really feels like a tiny neighborhood hardware store, only it's huge. But still quaint somehow. We could have spent hours in there, all of us. We had precious little time, but each found ourselves wandering around down the aisles just taking it in and wanting to stay. It was the cutest place ever (if hardware stores can be cute). How they made that thorough, giant store feel so quirky and perfect, I have no idea. But it was. And I will definitely go back.
And then, we'd done it all. Everything was in place. My apartment was in order and beautiful. My mom and brother had to leave and when I was saying goodbye, I got tears in my eyes. I said that it felt like I was getting dropped off at college again. I had that same feeling. Like they had just placed me into my next phase. My brother was funny, because he was just like, what just happened? Everything was great. Now you're crying. I don't quite know what that was, but maybe just all of the excitement and so much commotion and being with my family and then it was just me again. Back in Hollywood. Just me. And then mom said she was so happy about what I was doing. I was just like, what am I doing? I've no idea. I really don't.
Sometimes that's tough. I really don't know what I'm doing. But do any of us? If the president or the banker actually asked that question, would they really know? I doubt it, because we don't. So we persevere. And do what we do. And try and be good and happy and continue on well.
But when I walked into my apartment and opened the windows, the air spilled in, saturated with the scent of lilacs, and I smiled. Hollywood smells like lilacs right now. That's a beautiful thing.
And I thought, this is what I'm doing. I'm experiencing life. I'm doing something. This. Living and continuing. Which is what everybody's doing. And the air, the air smells like lilacs.