This household had a rough day today. Our new little addition has good days and full-on-puppy-days.
Today was the latter.
Due to the full-on-puppy-mode, Ms. June was locked in the kitchen while I spent my day inputting hundreds and hundreds of email addresses. Super fun. I heart Excel.
There was whining and whimpering and huffs and puffs. I'd peek in on her every once in awhile, but in general, we were mad at each other.
I decided to take a little break and have a seat on the kitchen floor to say hello. This little one caught me out of the corner of her eye and quickly stretched her way over to my cross-legged lap. She stepped on, put her nose down, pressed her forehead into my chest and just stood there. "I'm sorry, mom."
Spent my morning at the dentist office waiting to hear that I needed to floss more, brush better and buy the latest and greatest toothbrush. Meeting with the dentist was surprisingly painless and he seemed to be pleased with my habits. As I made my way into the next room for a regular cleaning, I had no idea what I was in for. The hygienist sat with me first and was genuinely interested in what I did for a living. She continued to ask questions as she slowly laid my chair back and put on her mask. She adjusted my chair a few times...up, up, down. Up. Down, down. Perfect. She proceeded to ask me questions. Not the yes or no kind. Very detailed questions about succulents, climate change and politics. Each time she finished a thought, she'd adjust my seat slightly. At first, it seemed normal. Adjusting for better reach perhaps. But as she continued to tell me our planet was in for a whirlwind of change, she fell into a pattern of sorts. Do you like the green agave or the slate? If I had 30 seconds with Obama, I'd tell him we need to spend money on greenhouses. Up. Up. Down, down. Scrape, scrape. Down. I hate social media. They shouldn't call it social, they should call it segment media. If you were just on the road, did you see all the crazy climate changes? Which city was the worst? Scrape, spray, suck. Scrape, scrape. Up, up. Down. I was slightly annoyed at first. But as I continued to go up and down, it was comical and took my mind off the scraping. It actually became a game for me to guess when she'd move me again and how long it would be before I laughed.
At the Magic Kingdom in Orlando exists the ever-illusive Disney Tunnel. It's a literal tunnel under the Magic Kingdom where characters, cast members and executives can travel from one side of the park to the other without being seen.
As a Disney Cast Member, you're required to tour the tunnel during orientation. Which I did in college. It's exciting to have access to something most do not, but also quite like seeing behind the curtain in Oz; it ruins the magic a little.
I found this to be true at concerts as well. When you get to see the nitty gritty, behind-the-scenes world of Rock N Roll, it takes away some of the magic. As a fan, you know lead singers probably say the same thing at each show in cities across the world. But when it's YOUR show, you truly believe your audience is special; that the band likes you best.
Being on tour, I lost a little of the magic. But it's also amazing to see how the band DOES react to the energy of a great crowd. When the crowd is on fire, so is the band. And after seeing 60-ish Foster The People shows, it's fun to know exactly when the band is giving a little something special.
I have a new avacado tree. Well, the tree is actually quite old. But the concept of having fresh avocados at my fingertips is quite new. And, until two days ago, I hadn't actually seen one growing on the tree.
I'd seen our local squirrel taunt me while he took one bite out of an avacado and then drop it to the ground.
I've also found a few (bite free) on the ground.
But as soon as one of my favorite people in the world came to visit...she seemed to be able to spot the perfectly ripe, ready-to-be-picked green beauty.
We have a fruit picker. It extends. Prett-ty far in fact. But after one picking attempt, I realized this wasn't going to be easy. So I rigged a chair on top of a saw horse on top of a trash can. A ladder, if you will.
Tippy toes, holding my breath and 30 minutes later...SUCCESS! Worth. Every. Minute.
My new place is amazing and I've been spending any extra time I have decorating, re-decorating, painting, gardening and sending photos to my trustworthy design-type friends for suggestions.
Today, I spent a few too many hours attempting to pull overgrown ivy out of our yard. Ivy and I have met before. I'm no stranger. But I forgot how scary she can be. Like little snakes whose tails have a secret end you won't find unless you use all your strength.
I caught myself talking to the green monster. Directly. Pleading she didn't have hidden bugs (especially Black Widows that my brother has now made me scared of) and/or any other wiggly creature that might surprise me.
The best moment of the day was my rake taking a fall and shocking me so much, I jumped about 2 feet in the air and proceeded to run directly inside the house.
A friend texted me from Trader Joe's and asked what kind of beer I'd like. I told her anything but IPA and to just surprise me. Since she's not well versed in the beer world, she decided to ask a trusty Trader Joe's employee.
Then I received this photo and it just said, "Magic 6 pack. Handpicked just for you by this guy."
Went for a hike today and about half way up the road to the hike, there was a mountain biker waving us down from the side of the road. We slowed down to see what he needed and he asked if he could hitch a ride.
My first thought was, "Not sure yer bike will fit, dude." But I said, "Sure..."
Just as I was about to mention the space issue, he grabbed on to the passenger's window and said, "Just don't go over about 30mph."
So he held on and we dragged him up the rest of the hill, chatting the whole way.
Moving is an opportunity to get rid of clutter and organize a new life. But it also opens up shelves and corners and space for new furniture and must-haves on Craigslist. I've been obsessed lately - making my treasure hunt online part of my morning ritual.
I've come across items I could never afford, hilarious postings under "free" and an unbelievable amount of spam. However, I've also discovered it's an amazing way to see who really lives in Los Angeles. In pursuit of new treasure, I've visited a handful of people's homes and each visit opens my eyes a little more.
I met Jack, a polite man in his 60's who sold me 15 old Spanish tiles that I plan to use for a Guerrilla Garden. He was slightly hesitant to hand over the box and asked me what I planned to do with them. After my explanation, he requested I send him photos of the finished product.
I also met Laura who mentioned on the phone there was no pressure to buy anything. She knew it was all fate and if her items spoke to me, I would buy them and I would be very happy. As I stepped into her apartment, she explained she had three kids and a past life and husband she despised. The items she wanted to sell were from that life and she loved them dearly, but wanted a fresh start. She also explained since I was interested in the potted plants, that there would be no bad juju because plants are full of life and can adapt to new love. After helping me load the pots into my car, she offered me a high five and good luck in life and in love.
And finally, Terry, who sold me an antique jewelry box I had my eye on for about a week. I met him at a tiny studio apartment in West Hollywood and when I walked in, there were literally antiques and knick knacks from floor to ceiling. I almost needed to turn sideways to walk into the space. He was buff and blonde, a gold chain peaking out of his three-quarter, un-buttoned shirt and a matching gold hoop earring in his left ear. He had round, rosy cheeks that reminded me of Santa Claus and asked if I had extra time to take a look at the rest of his loot. He explained he used to live in a big home and collected antiques for years and that he used to have a lot of money but was changing his lifestyle and didn't have space anymore.
I did have time.
And I did find a couple more things I probably didn't entirely need. But when I got home tonight, I received an email from him with the subject line, THANK YOU and this image in the body of the email:
I spent some time volunteering today at MEND in Pacoima -- a non-profit we've visited quite a bit with the Do Good Bus.
We actually had a holiday visit this past December where we took family photos for some of their clients. One of the couples we photographed was getting married the following weekend and wanted some pre-wedding photos. When we arrived, we found out the couple didn't have a ride to MEND and luckily, we had brought an extra car with the bus.
I ended up giving them a ride to and from MEND and loved the opportunity to get to know them a little bit along the way.
Today, as I was chatting with Luke, one of the managers at MEND, I found out one of the photographers who joined us last trip offered to shoot the couple's wedding for them at no cost. I had no idea he had done this and was blown away by his kindness. The couple had even sent the final pictures to Luke so I was able to see photos of the happy couple from their wedding day.
As Luke and I scrolled through the images we both couldn't help but think of the dozens of weddings we've attended that, naturally, had photographers. In fact, I would dare say EVERY wedding I've attended had a photographer. And then we both realized this couple wouldn't have had beautiful photos of starting their life together if a young man hadn't thought to offer his time.
After an intimate evening with IKEA, building and cursing all night, I made my first trip to our new local grocery store. I pulled up to an almost empty parking lot and headed in with my head down shuffling through my purse. I suddenly heard someone yelling, "Security guard, security guard! It's THAT woman, right there, it's her."
It didn't alarm me. In fact, I barely looked up to see what was happening...just assumed someone had done something wrong. A fleeting thought entered my mind that our new neighborhood was a little shady. But I rolled my eyes, sort of half grinned and thought, "Oh well."
The lady who seemed to be accused of something had now stopped in her tracks and was looking back at the door. The security guard was swiftly heading toward her with an outstretched arm and a mile-long receipt.
"Mam, mam. You forgot your $5 coupon."
My half grin turned into a full smile and I immediately knew I liked my new neighborhood.
I'm still on the moving train and it truly has been a ride of sorts. Sifting through clutter and memories and dust. As items make their way into boxes, I've been noticing how much technology is effecting things we keep.
iTunes has replaced the 200 CD cases taking up a spot in my garage. My iPad is beginning to replace my leather portfolio of past work. My phone and my computer trying to replace stacks of photo scrapbooks.
In the motion and whirlwind of packing, those items find their places in a box quickly and I move to the next pile of crap needing a home. But the scrapbooks are the only items that force me to slow down. To sit and reflect. To smile.
I spent most of the weekend packing, aka throwing things away. It's pretty amazing what one human being can accumulate in 8 years. I won't pretend there's anything fun about packing up an entire apartment, but I did realize I need to brush the dust off some things and start enjoying what I have.
Hopefully in the next year, I'll: Have more picnics. Throw a few fondue parties. Go scuba diving. Make frozen margaritas. Invite people over for espresso.
I worked at Bolivar Cafe until closing today and walked out with a nice old man who'd been working most of the afternoon. As we started to cross the street together he asked, "I'm curious, why do you work here, in a coffee a shop, instead of an office?"
I explained what I was working on and then asked him the same. He explained his wife had just passed away a few weeks ago and it was good for him to be in a place where people come and go, even if they were strangers. Otherwise, he'd be pretty lonely at home.
My heart nearly melted on the sidewalk.
We chatted a little longer and went our separate ways. I spent the rest of my walk home regretting not offering him a hug, but also convincing myself I didn't have much to be sad about.
I was in a coffee shop today and ended up chatting with some strangers sharing my table. At some point, Foster The People came up and they were talking about hearing them everywhere lately. I nodded and said I heard of the band. We talked a little bit about music and new bands and one of them said, "Yeah, no one will know who Foster The People is this time next year. They're totally a one hit wonder."
I woke up this morning at 4am from a dream where I was trying to convince a friend my neighborhood was safe and quiet. In the dream, we were sitting in my room and just as I said, "See...quiet. Right?" - there was suddenly this very loud, consistent noise coming from outside. As I lay in bed transferring from a dream world to real life, I realized the sound was real. And it sounded like 100 squirrels were throwing acorns at my building. And laughing, I'm sure. I tossed and turned for the rest of the morning saying out loud, "Please stop." The noise is from a drain outside my window and when it rains, somehow the water isn't running through it correctly and instead of waking to the wonderful trickle of rain, I huff and puff praying for it to stop.
This morning though, as I tried to come up with a description of the noise so I could call my landlord, I envisioned a group of squirrels standing in a half circle in the bushes chucking acorns at my building. For hours. And that at least made me slightly less angry.
The year I committed to finding a sunshine everyday was indeed a task. An annoying one at times. But on the days I was sad or frustrated or annoyed...being committed to the process of finding something good always made - at least that moment - a little sunnier.
Admittedly, I've been avoiding this little space on the Internet. There have been moments of sunshine, even days full.
But some of my sadness and frustration lately have kept me from taking time to write. And now, coming up for some air, I'm remembering how much some of these little nuggets of sunshine (even if forced) helped me when I was down.
So, game on. (and commence some back logging of remembered sunshines from the past few weeks)
I've mentioned this before and I still feel the same way. Especially because most people have smart phones now and there's no need to ask for help.
Stuck in traffic on Santa Monica Blvd, ahem, with my windows down -- a business man pulled up next to me and said, "Excuse me? How do I get to the 405?"
I gave him directions, he gave me a quick thank you and I silently thanked Los Angeles for having great weather that allows me to have my windows down. In January. And the opportunity for human interaction - even if just for a moment.