La La Land

Back in January, after our trip to half moon bay, we spent a weekend in LA. It was a good weekend and there are a couple things I’d like to tell you about it, but I can’t seem to string them all together into one coherent story. So instead I’ll give it to you straight, in true Virgoan style, as a list.

1. I visited LA twice before this particular trip. Both previous trips were totally disastrous for a number of different reasons that I won’t delve into just now. But on this occasion, the third time really was a charm.

2. If you, like me, spent much of your youth obsessing over Francesca Lia Block and thus have totally unreasonable expectations of Los Angeles (and alos, um, the rest of the world) then you must stay at the Petit Ermitage. It’s the only experience I’ve ever had that even dares to come close.

3. I had the worst, and I mean the worst restaurant meal of my life on this trip. It happened in a very trendy, faux asian restaurant run by a very well known pastry chef and it was truly awful. The food was breathtakingly beautiful but really just tasted bad. There’s just no other way to describe it. Discordant flavors, unpleasant textures, etc. We did however make up for it with some killer fish tacos at a tiny mexican joint in silver lake.

4. In the past when visiting LA I found the obvious attention that people pay to appearances (both their’s and other’s) to be totally, completely insecurity provoking. After walking by one-hundred different females who could all be supermodels styled for a fashion shoot it was hard for me not to be hyper conscious of just how short, dark and curvy I really am. But this time, for some reason, I felt totally at ease. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t get any taller, thinner or blonder so it must be the fact that I’m getting more confident and secure in my own skin. Hooray for maturity!

5. Whatever your plans are in LA, please, please make sure you take an afternoon/early evening and drive down Highway 1 at sunset. That was the part of my trip where LA turned into a dream. A classic, quintessentially Californian dream.

no place like

I used to have a ritual.

On Saturday mornings I would buy a big bunch of flowers at the Lakeshore farmer’s market. Then, when I was done putting away all the rest of my spoils, I would put on some music and spend a good long time arranging them. I am certainly no florist and most of the time my flower arrangements are kind of sloppy and lopsided but I would take the time to do this anyway, every single week. Because I liked the process. Because I like thinking about which stem to place where.

Now, we haven’t had flowers in our house for months.

At the beginning of the year P and I both made a resolution to use our flexible work schedules to pursue more travel. This year, we’ve been up and down the whole state of CA. Back and forth between the east coast and the west. To CO and Portland, and finally, this past week, to Paris. I intended to use this place as a journal for all of our adventuring, but when the time came, I was too busy to ever actually update.

While I feel very fortunate that we’ve had the opportunity for all these adventures, I have to say I’m ready to come home.

I miss arranging my flowers. I miss the Lakeshore market in general most of all. I miss getting a coffee and walking by every stand, seeing what’s freshest and most beautiful before I decide what to take home. Even after all that travelling I still think Lakeshore is the best farmer’s market in the whole entire world.

I miss writing songs with P. Running the lake in late afternoon when everyone’s just getting off of work and Oakland turns into a carnival of people. I miss the Alameda antique fair. I miss my kitties. I miss cooking dinner in my own kitchen, humming to my favorite songs and drinking a glass of wine. I miss the satisfaction of being here, in my life, and knowing that this is exactly what I chose for myself and that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want to tell you about all the places I’ve been this year, but first, I felt like I needed to pay tribute to all the beauty and abundance that exists right here.

Thank you for listening.

jet lag

I struggle a lot with the idea of authenticity. To me, something is only golden when it is truly authentic and genuine. That’s why I have posted approximately 2 words on this blog in the past year. I can’t stand the idea of saying something inauthentic. I see it everywhere online; from my friends posts on facebook to the well-manicured and maintained blogs that people make a living off of, when someone is not being their true authentic self in their online posting it appears to me to be glaringly, glitteringly obvious.

I have just returned from a weeklong vacation in Paris, and I know that I have genuine and authentic observations to share on this experience. I just can’t formulate them into coherent sentences in my jet-lagged mind right now. But I will.

And in the meantime, I’ll tell you this: coming back from Paris has only seemed to make the inauthenticity I so often observe seem even more glaringly obvious. Perhaps this is only because my experience of Paris was that of a traveler, and when we’re traveling, when we’re looking in at a culture from the outside, doesn’t it always seem so much more authentic?

Either way it is 4 in the morning in Oakland and I am wide awake, my brain still believing that it’s 1 in the afternoon and not quite yet ready to let go.

happenstance

I got that feeling this morning. An itch while I lay awake in bed. Something was not quite right. True, it is the last day of a long and relaxing vacation and that’s always a bit of a downer. But this was different. Like I had somehow fallen out of alignment with myself. Like the pieces of my psyche weren’t exactly fitting together. Not a tragedy. Just a small bother. Just enough to keep me from sleeping in on a Sunday.

I’ve had this feeling before. Many a time. I’m sure you have, too. For me, it’s always a signal that I need to take a few moments to myself, to look at where I am and where I’ve been. To unravel the knots and reassemble what’s been knocked out of place.

This morning, I got out of bed and I grabbed my computer. My intention was to journal a bit but I found my blog reader still open, exactly the way I left it when I fell asleep last night. My eyes scanned the two posts that were on the screen. Simple, small things, a few well chosen sentiments from a pair of women I’ve never met, never spoken to, never even commented on or tweeted at before. And of course, that was it. That was all the re-alignment I needed. As if the mysterious and magical internet had somehow tapped into my very own psyche and produced the advice I most needed to hear.

That’s as good a reason to write down words as any I can think of. Because of the chance that somebody might be listening. And because of the chance that they might need to hear.