I Dream of Running Away (Or Ambivalent About LA Again)

I frequently feel the urge to flee LA — at least once a year — to be specific. When I’m gripped with the strong desire to go somewhere else it’s usually because I’m fantasizing about a “normal” life.

(My definition of normal involves a garden, proximity to men who own more power tools than I do, and a standing tailgate every Saturday in the fall.)

I was having one of those days on Thursday. I wanted to be anywhere but here. Then I got a message from my friend, Murph. He had an extra ticket to the Snoop, Cypress Hill, and Wiz Khalifa show at the Greek for 4/20, complete with backstage passes.

IMG_7492.JPG

Normal life, what? Who needs THAT when you can go backstage?!?

Murph is developing a pilot with Bobo, the drummer from Cypress Hill, because this is LA, and everyone is working on a pilot. Bobo hooked us up for the show.

Obviously, our seats were sick.

IMG_7498.JPG

Not a bad shot of Wiz and Snoop right?

But maybe not as sick as the backstage situation.

IMG_7504

Like duh.

Sure, I now have to dry-clean my entire ensemble so I don’t smell like a walking bong, but it was worth it.

So worth it, in fact, that I got over my need to flee for 24 full hours.

That is until I was in an uber with Dan on the way to his friends’ Purple Rain screening party the following evening. It was an ordeal to get someone to walk the dog at the last minute, and we had a LONG ride to the party. Those old feelings were coming up again. I swear it would be easier to invade a small country than to plan how to go out on a Friday night with friends in LA where no one gets arrested.

Since we had what felt like 42 hours in the backseat of someone else’s Hyundai, I shared my fantasy about moving to Austin to eat proper barbecue and grow my own herbs in a large garden.

“And I’d have room to throw pots,” he observed wistfully.

Apparently, my wanderlust was contagious.

It was news to me that he made pottery, but I guess we all have sides of ourselves we can’t (or don’t) express in LA — interests we’ve put on hold. Sure, you can find anything here if you search for it, but the pace and the cost of everything can sometimes cause you to shelve some of your interests while you’re stuck in traffic or working to feed your enormous dog the venison he deserves.

I sometimes wonder if I’m putting too much of myself on hold to be here, however.

Would I have more to write about if I went somewhere new and immersed myself in a different place?

The thought will plague me until someone else invites me to do something cool and I’ll probably be fine again.

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Advertisements

Gin, the Lawn, and the Crashy-Bam-Bam (Or My New Ouchy-Boo-Boo)

Tuesday night I had an accident… but not that kind of accident.

I didn’t crash my car, I didn’t soil myself, and I didn’t make out with anyone inappropriate.

I did, however, step into an unseen hole in my lawn. (It was dark and there may have been a bit of gin involved.) I lost my balance and went flying onto the sidewalk, whereupon I skinned my knee and gruesomely shredded the palm of my hand. I fell with such force that I also hit my chin on the ground, jarring my head and neck. Mercifully, my chin landed on the grass on the other side of the sidewalk, and I didn’t shred my face. (Thank the good Lord for small miracles and stuff.)

My dog sat patiently next to me as I lay on the ground. I explained to him, “Mommy went crashy-bam-bam and needs a minute to get up. She has an ouchy-boo-boo.” Crashy-Bam-Bam is a term he’s familiar with, given that he was an enthusiastic and rather clumsy puppy. And now that he’s sporting three-inch scars from his recent cancer surgery, he has heard a lot about ouchy-boo-boos from me as well.

(I like to think he understands me, but it may all be science fiction. Also? I’m quite aware that I sound like a lunatic when I talk to him.)

Finally, after a few moments passed, I managed to pull myself to my feet and we finished our walk with me feeling rather sorry for myself.

A large bruise has since formed on my kneecap, and my hand is mummified in gauze. It’s all terribly sad. (Or at least I think so.)

I’ve always been clumsy. It’s just not something you outgrow, especially if you’re fond of sapphire and tonic.

So anyway, I’m wounded.

Wanna send me flowers?

I like peonies, and they’re in season.

Dark-pink-peonies-at-Columbia-Road

This many would fix my situation. Source

And now I’ll stop wallowing in self pity and get some work done.

XOXO

Old Friends Know What You Need (Or Emergency Encouragement)

Last night I was glum. I was watching Grey’s Anatomy when my phone vibrated next to me. Delighted to see it was my dear friend, Chris, I responded immediately.

He texts me when he’s working the night shift in the ER. He’s in Michigan, so I’m one of the few people still awake during the long, odd hours he is on his feet pulling bullets out of people.

We caught up on life: his twins, my dog, the state of my love life.

I admitted that my writing wasn’t going well. Forever an optimist, and forever my biggest fan, he encouraged me.

My life may not have been hanging in the balance, but my motivation certainly was. His belief in me was just what the doctor ordered.  (Forgive the cliche.)

As we texted, it occurred to me that the men already in my life — my friends — have set the bar exceptionally high and I told him as much.

“I pity the poor man who has to live up to the standard you’ve all set,” I told him.

“You’re too kind,” he replied.

“Well, it’s true,” I countered.

And it is.

Chris and I have been friends since we were 12 years old, and he is a tremendous human being. He has forgiven me for paying more attention to his soccer teammates when I was tutoring them in calculus… and other transgressions.

He has also come through for me with words of encouragement, a listening ear, and loyal friendship for 26 years. We first bonded over a mutual love of Twin Peaks at 7th grade camp, and we’ve never looked back.

DSC00693

That’s why it was easy to give a toast at his wedding.

After last night’s pep talk from the doc, I’m ready to do a little writing today.

(Writing other than this, that is.)

 

Marriage, Madeleine Ferguson, and the State of the Mirror (Or Things Delayed)

Today I could, or rather, should do seven loads of laundry and seek intervention in the form of a pedicure. I’ve opted to read my new book and watch my dog sleep instead.

I’m ambitious like that.

Honestly, I worked six days last week, today is my one day off before it starts all over again, and I just don’t want to be productive.

Besides, I hung my own mirror this weekend.

IMG_7445.JPG

What more do you want from me?

The man who was supposed to do it for me is in Minnesota… perhaps permanently and I’m mad at him for as many reasons as that state has lakes.

In truth, I never really needed his help.

I was merely trying to make him feel useful when I asked him to do it for me, and if I’m being REALLY honest that was sort of a crappy move on my part, but I needed to know if he would do what he said he would, and he didn’t.

I wanted to give him a chance to show me who he was. And he did. In more ways than one. (It wasn’t just the mirror.)

As I recounted the story to my friend Mike on a recent phone call, I told him it was imperative that I could count on someone.”Yes,” he agreed, “because they can count on you.” #aww

That’s the beautiful thing about friends.

They know you. They see you.

They know who you are. They’ve walked with you through so many seasons of your life that you show yourselves to one another again and again, sometimes without even meaning to do so.

I find it hard to replicate this while dating, everyone on their best behavior at dinner, struggling to be mysterious or romantic or whatever. It just doesn’t feel like real life.

Real life, to me, involves situations like: Can we hang my faux deer head without killing each other even though we’re both covered in the gum we accidentally melted with the hairdryer? (Obviously that example is too specific to be fictional.)

My parents practically filed for divorce every time they put up wallpaper or got in a car to go anywhere that involved a map, so I’m not trying to subject any future hypothetical children to that noise.

I’m not saying I have anything against dinner (I’m actually quite fond of it), but I guess what I’m saying is: the other stuff matters more to me.

I started this post for another purpose, and now it has become this.

Oh well.

Like the laundry that should be thrown into the machine and the nails that should be filed and polished, those words and that purpose will be delayed another day.

Now I’m going to straighten the art my dog decided to rearrange last night and go back to my book.

IMG_7448.JPG

Apparently he has a problem with Laura Palmer, Madeleine Ferguson, and all things Twin Peaks.

I, have a problem with my couch.

I almost can’t even look at that wretched thing.

Send help.

Derby Hats, Dark Books, and Easter Desserts (Or Things that Make Me Smile)

Here are some things that make me smile:

#1 I got my dog’s biopsy results back, and his cancer didn’t spread to his lymph nodes. Sure, the tumors were level 2, which means they COULD return, but they didn’t spread, so there’s that. We are consulting with a veterinary oncologist, but it’s mostly good news for now.

#2 I’m going to Vegas for the Kentucky Derby with two of my besties from college. We’ve been scheming about hats in a group text all morning.

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 2.56.48 PM.png

This little nugget from Nordstrom is my front runner.

Part of me is tempted to have a flower crown made for the Derby, like this fabulous one I’m wearing here:

IMG_7369.JPG

I don’t actually know who this guy is.

He just liked my cakeandpunch crown, so we posed for a pic at Malibu Wines. (I think ranunculus are everything. Apparently he agreed.)

#3 In addition to conspiring about hats, we’ve been discussing poolside reading. Kelley and I shared book suggestions all morning and have basically started our own long distance, two-person book club. Most of my friends would recommend me for a padded room if I told them to read these books, so I’m grateful for a kindred spirit in the land of the macabre. (Pretty Girls, The Missing, The Murder Room, and I’m Thinking of Ending Things are our first orders of business for discussion.)

#4 It’s almost time for Easter at 816, an annual tradition that brings the best people on the planet together for food, wine, and fun at our favorite Santa Monica beach house.

IMG_5160

Here are a few of my beautiful bunnies from last year’s festivities.

I’m trying to decide if I want to make the same fennel scalloped potatoes I made last year or if I want to branch out.

This gorgeous geode cake from Buttercream Bakeshop in DC gives me ideas.

FullSizeRender-20

Couldn’t you just DIE from the pretty?

I think I’d put ice cream in the inside instead of cake if I made it. I’ve been scouring this link for ice cream inspiration.

Cake bores me as much as a bad book.

True story.

Broken Hearts, Crushed Mint, and Other Things (Or Cowboy Hoof Cocktails)

I had a mini breakthrough on my recent heartbreak. I was able to put some of the experience — and my buried feelings about it — into words. Granted, they’re words forever hidden in a journal, but they represent progress for me nonetheless.

(I’m super remedial when it comes to my heart.)

There’s a chance I’ll mine those words at some point for more inspiration, but for now I’m grateful I was able to do something, however small, with my feelings.

In other news, I came across an intriguing cocktail recipe today and thought I’d give it a try.

It’s called the Cowboy Hoof.

IMG_1330.jpg

I channel my inner cowboy at times.

#whenintexas

That’s why the name caught my eye.

As if the name weren’t enough, the ingredients sent me over the edge: mint AND gin?

Yes, please.

I’ve been known to sip Sapphire like it’s the sweet nectar of life, and I eat fresh mint garnish instead of the desserts it adorns, so this cocktail spoke to my soul and stuff.

IMG_7424

The drink is MUCH prettier than my pic.

(I’m probably more remedial about photography than I am about my feelings.)

ANYWAY, ignore the basic pic, and just make yourself one.

Cowboy Hoof
12 mint leaves, plus one to garnish
2 tsp simple syrup
3 ounces of gin

Muddle the mint and simple syrup. Add ice and gin. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Pour cocktail through a strainer. Add mint to garnish.

Sip.

Smile.

Repeat.

Oh, and just in case you want to hear the song that ultimately unlocked my feelings, it’s a Bearson remix of James Bay’s Let it Go. The juxtaposition of the chipper, yet haunting beats with the painful lyrics perfectly summarize my feelings. I’m trying to shake it off and move on while simultaneously attempting to acknowledge that it hurt.

 

My Macabre Musings (Or I Return to My Roots)

Maybe it started with the Raymond Chandler novel my aunt encouraged me to purchase at The Last Bookstore, or maybe it’s my mood about my dog’s cancer, but I recently abandoned my usual girlie reading material for more macabre fare.

(Translation: no more Emily Giffin for a minute.)

IMG_7317.JPG

I read the entire Chandler classic in the Mexico City Airport.

Now I’m reading two rather grim books, and I’m LOVING both of them.

(If you must know: The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo, and Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter are riveting. The former is non-fiction, the latter, fiction.)

Also?

The Last Bookstore is AMAZING, and you ABSOLUTELY have to go if you’re in LA. It’s like the only real culture we have here.

IMG_2922.jpg

Aptly named, it’s also basically THE Last Bookstore in LA.

Inspired by my dark books, I tweeted last weekend, “Given the state of my love life, I think it’s time to shelve my rom com ideas and write stories about serial killers instead.”

I gained a few new followers after the tweet, so maybe I’m on the right track.

I have been utterly unable to write ANY of the soapy/rom commy ideas I’ve outlined in the last six months. Every time I sit down to write, I feel hollow, empty, and devoid of inspiration.

Sure, I actually had feelings for the first person in FOUR YEARS this year, but that was a raging dumpster fire of a disaster, and while the fallout SHOULD have sent me into a writing frenzy, it has utterly failed to do so. I spent hours journaling, trying to mine my heart and brain for reasons, but I came up empty.

Why was I crazy about him and unable to put the experience into words?

What was different this time?

Other heartbreaks have inspired my best work.

I mean, I should have known better than to fall for him in the first place, but feelings aren’t logical and that’s why I find them so maddening.

I had a date last week, but I couldn’t bring myself to go on a second with the poor guy. My feelings on the practice of dating remain unchanged. (#ihateit) I’d rather just hang out casually and slowly decide if someone annoys me or not.

Sure, I can be sentimental, and I am a bit of a princess (or so my friend Tim says when he hands me my Sauvignon Blanc after work), but I’m not sure I’m suited for the traditional trappings of romance. It all feels forced, contrived, conventional, and more disgusting to me than a rotting corpse covered in maggots.

I spent my adolescence devouring Stephen King, Thomas Harris, Christopher Pike, and Peter Benchley. (I read Jaws in the fifth grade for crying out loud.)

My friend Mike was recently shocked to learn that I have never seen The Notebook. He’s known me HOW long, and he’s surprised by this?!? (In his defense, I guess I was equally surprised to learn he HAD seen it.)

I think maybe my perky, let’s-put-a-bow-on-it, party planing side throws even my closest friends, but COME ON…

Have you seen the art on my walls?!?

IMG_7421

My living room is a shrine to David Lynch.

(I am QUITE aware the prints are not hung symmetrically and it KILLS me.)

The stills are limited edition Richard Beymer originals from the set of Twin Peaks.

Also?

IMG_7422

Who hasn’t noticed my creepy bathroom art situation?

My sorority roommate’s mother let me pick out one of her prints at the Ann Arbor Art Fair back in the day, and I selected the most disturbing one she had.

It’s a vintage mannequin head, and it looks simultaneously serene and unsettling to me.

I love it.

So, anyway, I think maybe it’s time to write about murder because I’m just NOT feeling love at the moment.