Little Tokyo Tower

 

 

My friend Nicole and I went on an art outing yesterday. I’ll share more about that this week, but for now I wanted to share the above photo. It was taken in downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. I didn’t notice when I took the photo, but now I see how very fake the tower appears. Not in the sense that it’s a fake tower, built in Little Tokyo, but instead the photo looks to me as if it isn’t a photo at all. It looks to me like a digitally drawn tower. Weird, huh?

 

For all I know, we are all digitally drawn renderings of something or other, and my whole life is being conducted inside The Matrix. If that’s the case, I want a yummy steak, please. And don’t skimp on the imaginary sauce. God bless the rabbit hole.

High Fives For All My Friends!

 

 

The last couple of days have found me feeling fairly grand. I’m in a good mood. I feel energetic and alive. Everywhere I look, I see something awesome. And I’ve caught myself – a couple of times – very nearly high-fiving strangers.

 

If I were coming off a week at Rock Camp, I’d attribute my state of grace to that. But Rock Camp hasn’t happened yet. And I didn’t make it to Ladies Rock Camp last weekend. So what gives?

 

Well, I did hang out with my friend Betro, and she told me all I’d missed at Ladies Camp. Then I hung out with Baker Jen, and she shared her experiences of Ladies Camp. Put them together, and apparently I have vicariously caught the excellent Rock Camp vibes. What a feat!

 

I gotta tell ya – this has caught me by surprise. It’s a wonderful surprise, granted, but a surprise just the same. And as I’m reveling in the glow of all this love, I’m also thinking about how amazing these people truly are. We are, without a doubt, the most positive friggin’ group I’ve ever encountered. We’re human, sure, but we lift each other and support each other in ways most folks have never known. And while Girls Rock Camp Alliance is an international organization with super-duper branches all over the globe, I have heard from multiple volunteers that what we’ve managed to create here in Los Angeles is the envy of many camps. Honestly, it makes me love and appreciate us even more.

 

This year I’m crazy-excited for a friend who’s signed up to volunteer at Rock Camp. I’ve known for a while that she is perfect for our tribe and that she just needed to commit. As scheduling has permitted, she’s done it and I can hardly wait! She has no idea how rad these chicks are. How much fun it is to watch the kids as they explore and become themselves. How emotional it is to be around this level of support. How she’ll never be the same after volunteering with Rock Camp L.A.

 

To be sure, we’re an exclusive lot. And we welcome everyone with open arms. All that’s required of volunteers is that they show up and let the positive waves wash over them. That’s it. Well – that and a lot of high-fiving. Seriously – on that front we’re a sick bunch. Deliriously so.

Desert Nature

 

 

Mister and I spent last weekend in the desert of Arizona. And it was fabulous. The foliage was in bloom and the wildlife was teeming. I guess you never know what you’ll encounter in the desert.

 

 

Outside our door, we found this nest of baby birds. Their mama was hilarious, and would swoop over us like a bat each time we entered or exited the room. Her bird-cry almost sounded like “Move! Move!” She was just doing her job, and those little birds were darned cute.

 

 

One morning I awoke and looked outside the window. I saw this little bunny, nibbling on the foliage. Much like the baby birds, this baby bunny was also darned cute.

 

And then there was the evening we spotted another bit of desert nature. This time the specimen was alert and aware of our presence. He even posed for us when we lifted our camera. No doubt about it, that baby dude ranked high on the cute meter, too…

 

 

Like I said, you never know what you’ll encounter in the desert.

Moments

 

 

Every now and then I experience moments of clarity. I’d like this to be the norm and not the exception, but to paraphrase a wise kid – I get what I get.

 

I didn’t always have these moments. I certainly don’t remember having them when I was in 5th grade and the popular girls had parties. I was always invited to those parties, but I never quite knew why. Instead of just going with it and having a good time, I searched my mind trying to figure out what could possibly have led to my being included in their elite circle.

 

I also didn’t have these moments in high school. I had friends, and we hung out. But a part of me wondered how long that would last. When would the other shoe drop?

 

I believe that sort of thinking – the kind filled with self-doubt – continued well into adulthood. Sometimes I’m still amazed to be included in the lives of others. And though I no longer spend my party time obsessing over why I’m there and instead just enjoy myself, I do still wonder.

 

But not as often as I once did. For now I’ve found my tribe and in doing so, I guess I’ve sort of found me. I realized all this yesterday when I was grocery-shopping with my friend Betro. (For the record, if you’ve never gone grocery-shopping with a friend, you’re truly missing out. It makes the task downright pleasurable!) She was filling me in on all I missed during this past weekend’s Ladies Rock Camp session. As she shared stories about Lady Campers and their performances, about fellow volunteers, about the overall breakthroughs experienced by all, I felt myself beginning to cry. Right there in the salad dressing aisle. By the time I asked if she’d tried a particular poppy seed dressing, it was through strained tears. Naturally, we laughed at ourselves and finished the shopping. We cried together a bit more on the way home, and then I dropped her off at her house and headed in the direction of my own, but not before we hugged each other tightly and said how we feel about one another.

 

Before I had even left her street, I started crying again. This time, it was because I had one of those moments of clarity: I realized I have wonderful friends who love me as deeply as I love them. I gotta tell ya – owning that is huge. Accepting that we are loved – truly loved – by others, is monumental, folks. I highly recommend it.

 

Rock Camp is coming up in only a few weeks and I plan to be there. For the kids. For the volunteers. For myself. And I already know I’m going to be drowning in those wonderful, beautiful, tear-filled moments of clarity. I’ll take it.

Just So You Know…

 

 

I thought I’d try something new with this post. In the past, I’ve rarely shared paintings before they’re finished. I’ve shared details or small areas, but not the entire mess. That’s because when I begin a new painting, the first layer generally looks like something a 3rd-grader might accomplish. Say what you will about my paintings, but 3rd-grade results are not what I’m aiming for, folks.

 

So this is taking me a bit outside my comfort zone. And just so you know, these 2 little canvases are 8-inch squares. Yep – tiny. (There’s actually a 3rd canvas, barely peeking out on the left, but I didn’t manage to get any paint on that one.) When they’re done, I’m hoping they look like a city skyline. Part of New York’s skyline, to be precise. One thing’s for sure – they won’t look anything like they do now.

 

Anyhoo – as you can see, I’ve a long way to go. And if you’re thinking small canvases must surely be easier than large, think again. Everyone I know who’s painted all sizes says the same thing: the little ones take just as long, if not longer.

 

I’m lighting a candle for myself, thank-you-very-much.

New Stop

 

 

Betro and I were cruising a familiar street when this sign snuck up on us. Before we knew it, we happened upon another couple of “New Stop” signs.

 

I don’t know what Los Angeles is doing in that part of town, but those stop signs were funneling traffic away from some construction that’s going down in the very middle of the road. Honestly, it looks like the city is building a Thunderdome there. Now, if Tina Turner is going to show up, okay. Otherwise, a Thunderdome seems risky. Or maybe I’m wrong, and the city is instead building a Terrordome. In that case, I’m hoping Chuck D. and Flavor Flav show up. Otherwise? That’s right – risky.

 

Whatever might be going up, at least the city is practicing some Truth in Advertising. I mean, those stop signs really are new. Yeah, boy!

Memorializing

 

 

I’ve been volunteering with a group that tends to focus its efforts on U.S. Veterans and active service personnel. My participation has been rather mild and as of yet, I’ve had no direct contact with anyone in the organization other than the volunteers. In other words, I’m working behind the scenes with this group. And that’s cool.

 

But I have learned a lot, and I do appreciate being able to go about the living of my life in relative safety and peace, so when I put flaggie out for display today I think I’ll be smiling. And thinking about the folks I know who’ve served. Some are still around. Some not. Or maybe they are. For when we think of those who’ve passed on, aren’t they made present in our memories, if only for the moment? I know that when I picture my grandfather – Little Papa – I can actually see the Brylcreem in his hair and hear his voice. It’s amazing. And it sure feels real to me.

 

Here’s hoping your Memorial Day – and your memories – are grand.

Pizza on the Grill!

 

 

This was last week’s Sunday Supper, and we cooked it on the grill! For reals!

 

I think I’m gonna have to blog this, as it was far easier than I expected and way more delicious than I’d hoped. Until then, you’ll just have to enjoy the photo.

 

I have no idea what tonight’s Sunday Supper will be. We’ll just wing it. Mmm – wings…

Oh.

 

 

I’ve been a little blue the last couple of days, and I’ve been hard-pressed to understand why.

 

And then it hit me: I’m feeling a sense of loss over my TV stories and shows. The end of Mad Men is still feeling odd. And now The Late Show With David Letterman is no more. And I think that somewhere in my brain-hole I’m fully aware that I’ll be losing Jon Stewart from The Daily Show in a couple of months.

 

Judge as you will, but I love television. And if my attachments to shows and characters is unhealthy, so be it. TV has been my friend since it became my baby-sitter at an all-too-tender age. Would real human beings have been better? Maybe. Depends on the humans. As it was, I count myself lucky to have had the positive role models and comedic influences that glowed from the magic box in the living room. Had it not been for my TV friends and families, I would be a completely different person now. And I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t like me nearly as much.

 

I’ll get over my TV losses. We all will. They’re not nearly so painful as losing actual loved ones, right? Right? Someone – tell me I’m right.

Ready For The Weekend!

 

 

Beer and gummy vitamins. Looks like I’m ready for the weekend!