Pop-Up Art in Los Angeles

 

There’s a pop-up art show going on near downtown Los Angeles, installed by “The Art Department,” an anonymous art collective working in and around L.A. I went today, but be warned: the show will only be open 2 more days (Saturday and Sunday). A link to the show’s info is here. And if you’re planning to attend and want to be surprised, stop reading this post, dammit!

 

Dandelions: One Dandelion Per Person

 

Actually, I’m not sure if this is an art show or not. I think it may be something altogether different. It may be performance. It may be magic. Or maybe my experience was atypical. It certainly got off on the right foot…

 

I was driving (to the address I’d received in an email) when my phone rang. It was my sweet friend Cate Graves, who’s now living in Nashville. She was just checking in, but talking with Cate is never just anything. She’s a freaking light in the world and I adore her. Our conversation meandered, insights were shared, spiritual guidance was gifted. By the time we said our good-byes, I was in the designated parking lot and ready to get my art on. I’m telling you this bit because I want you to understand my frame of mind at that time. I was in a warm, gooey joy bubble after talking with my friend. And because I speak openly with her, I was a wee bit vulnerable. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just, well, it’s just where I was.

 

Anyhoo – “The Art Department” had provided certain guidelines for their pop-up, so I checked in with the folks tasked with readying visitors and was given a ticket…

 

Dandelions: Magic Ticket

 

Well that was intriguing! After a few minutes, our group was instructed to walk the short distance to the installation. I was still going over thoughts and ideas my friend had sprinkled around me, so I didn’t really talk to anyone in the group. But my head wasn’t down, either. I was terribly moved by a fence of bougainvillea I passed along the way. It was worth slowing down to really see it…

 

Dandelions: On The Walk to The Experience

 

Once we’d arrived at the installation site – a live electrical substation-  some last-minute instructions were given. I listened and walked toward the building. I realized I was tightly gripping the ticket I’d received only a few minutes before.

 

Dandelions: Outside the Electrical Substation Building

 

I knew the word Dandelions was associated with this pop-up. I did not know anything beyond that. So when I climbed the external stairs to enter the building, I had no idea what waited behind the wooden door…

 

Dandelions: Indoor Garden

 

The indoor garden took me by surprise and took me to joy. I started smiling and slowly walking through the living greenery, stopping here and there to study the scene.

 

Dandelions: Indoor Garden - So Many Wishes

 

The space wasn’t pretending to be anything other than itself, but it didn’t need to pretend. It was beautiful. It was engaging. It was alive.

 

Dandelions: Indoor Garden and Electric Substation Beyond

 

By the time I reached the end of the path, I really thought that might have been the whole she-bang. I had no idea how trippy-cool my experience was about to become.

 

I sat down with a uniformed gentleman who looked at me and asked, “Do you have your wish ready?” Y’all – I hadn’t prepared anything! But in that instant, I knew I did have a wish. And I was ready. So I answered in the affirmative and the gentleman drew something and asked if my wish resembled the drawing. I told him the truth, “I’ve never thought about how my wish might appear on paper. I suppose that’s as good an interpretation as any.” He asked if I was certain and I said I was. He then instructed me to go to the next station: The Wish-Tek 2000.

 

Dandelions: Wish-Tek 2000

 

The retro-cool of the moment wasn’t lost on me. The questions, though simple, made me really think about my wish. I continued to smile as I entered answers for each question. I may have laughed a few times, too. Once I’d completed my run-through of the program, I was instructed to go to the next station. There I found another uniformed  person, asking to see my hand stamp and ticket. After the lady processed my entry, I was sent into a room with a large map of L.A. County. There was also a printer there, continuously spitting out lines of prose.

 

Dandelions: It Was the City That Held You

 

The uniformed gentleman in that room handed me a small clipboard and instructed me to write my wish. He told me to then use a pin to attach my wish to the map, anywhere I wanted. I wrote the wish and after a moment of serious consideration, I chose a specific place to pin my wish. I moved on.

 

Dandelions: Wishes on the L.A. County Map

 

The next stop was really the culmination of the journey: setting my wish upon the air. The uniformed lady in that small space carefully chose a dandelion from a wall that contained about a jillion of the billowy orbs. She gave it to me and pointed to a wall, telling me to choose where my wish best fit…

 

Dandelions: Qualifying One's Wish

 

After blowing the dandelion seeds away and into the universe, I passed a window and looked through to the two-story high space occupying the same building. There were so many dandelion seeds moving through the air, it was magical. All I could think was how beautiful it was to see all those wishes floating about. All those dreams.

 

Dandelions: Wishes in the Air

 

I knew it was time for my experience to come to a close, so I walked toward the Seed Sorting Department…

 

Dandelions: Seed Sorting Department

 

I was astounded by the tremendous piles of seeds, practically filling the whole room. I took a few photos but realized the best pic was the one showing the seed sorter at work…

 

Dandelions: Seed Sorter at Work

 

I walked down a flight of stairs and made my way outside. I wasn’t caught off-guard by my constant smile. In the right frame of mind, I’m a pretty smiley chick. But I was surprised at the way I seemed to cry throughout the experience. I think the first tear fell when I entered the living garden and honestly, I didn’t stop crying until I was back in my car. That’s okay. Tears of joy are a gift. Having an unexpected artful experience is a gift. Living is a gift.

 

If you’re in L.A. and looking for something to do this weekend, consider going to the Dandelions installation. It’s quirky, it’s cool, it’s performance, it’s art. I don’t know how or why I was sent information about this pop-up. But I’m grateful to have seen it. And that wish I made? I’ll never tell…

 

Dandelions: Indoor Garden - One Final Glance

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy

 

You're Not a Taco

 

New month. Same me.

 

That’s okay. Today I’m meditating on the fact that I can’t make everyone happy. Sometimes that may mean I can’t quite make me happy. At my best, I can ride out those times until a different day comes along and I am able to cajole myself to joy. Those days truly are the best.

 

For now, for today, I will do my best to simply be. To try to enjoy friends and loved ones. To see art and to let it wash over me. And maybe, just maybe, to have a taco. Tacos really are pretty freaking perfect.

I Wish You a Merry Christmas (Yes, You)

 

Yes You

 

Not sure what your day looks like, but I do hope it’s joyful. Maybe you’ll have yourself some laughs. Maybe some good times. Maybe some peace.

 

No matter where you are, I hope this day of yours is worth living. I hope mine is, too.

With Bells On

 

With Bells On

 

The season continues, as do I. To boost my own spirits, I’ve attached some bells to my old (old) army boots. The jingle-jangle of each step brings joy to my soul.

 

There’s no tree at our house this year. About the only things signifying the holidays are the cards on the mantel. Those and the array of colorful cans from the Beer Advent Calendar. Just last night I pointed out to Mister how the mantel area has become quite the mix of sophistication, quirk and frat house. Some things just leave a gal shaking her head.

 

Anyhoo – if you see me out in the world over the next couple of weeks, keep an ear open. I may very well have shown up with bells on. I do love to jingle-jangle.

Today

 

 

Sometimes, for no reason at all, I become depressed. That depression can be debilitating or merely annoying. It can break me in body and spirit, or it can challenge me to break it. Sometimes, for no reason at all, I’m filled with joy. That joy can be the kind that’s bubbly and giggly. Or it can simply be quiet and smiley. The latter is the type of joy that struck me yesterday and it was lovely.

 

If I wanted to decipher my happiness, I could point to avoiding the news as a source. Or maybe the long walk from yesterday morning. The nachos I had for lunch could deserve some of the credit. But I’m not in the deciphering mood. I am merely content. Content to go about my business. Content to handle life, at least for today. And because I know how good the joyful moments are, I’m grateful.

 

Sometimes, for no reason at all, I become depressed. Thankfully, today is not one of those days.

I Feel Good

 

 

Yesterday I woke with a smile. There in the dark, completely content to face a Monday, I felt good. And I said as much, right out loud. Only I didn’t say it. I sang it.

 

There’s this musician dude, Freebo, and he’s got a song called “Sometimes It’s For Nothin’.” A lot of folks refer to the song as “I Feel Good” because those words are repeatedly repeated in the chorus. Anyone who’s ever seen Freebo live will tell you how infectious this song can be. The whole audience gets to wailing along with him, and I swear. By the time that song is over, you do feel good.

 

Freebo is a sweet guy and though our paths have not crossed for quite a while, I do think of him fondly from time to time. And almost always, those thoughts are triggered by the lyrics “I feel good.” Yesterday morning was lovely. And I did feel good.

 

I also sent peaceful thoughts to Freebo. I send good thoughts to various people all the time. Sometimes those notions are in the form of prayer. Sometimes not. When I imagine folks receiving my good intentions, I picture them smiling. I don’t insert myself into the scene, though, as there’s no need for friends and loved ones to credit me in any way, shape or form. I don’t need to be part of their joy or happiness. That’s theirs. My only hope in focusing on the well-being of another is that they actually connect with themselves and revel in that moment. Just seeing that in my mind causes me to smile. And maybe that’s the point of well-wishing. Maybe sending kind thoughts to another actually increases kindness within the sender. And if my kindness for myself flares, mightn’t I be more likely to spread that around as I go about my day? And isn’t it possible that I might make someone else’s day, if only in passing? It’s lovely to imagine life that way.

 

So yes. I felt good yesterday. And while Freebo wasn’t the cause of my feelings, his music certainly did reflect my morning joy. I’d say that was plenty good reason to send Freebo excellent vibes. Hope he felt them.

Monday, Monday

 

 

A week ago, I started Monday with a carryover of Sunday’s blues. It wasn’t the best.

 

But today is a new Monday, a new week. And I feel new as well. I didn’t do anything extraordinary over the weekend. It was what some might call boring. I stayed home all weekend, spent time with Mister (who had a summer cold), watched the wrap-up of the Rio Olympics games and chilled. And it couldn’t have been lovelier.

 

One gift of age, for me, is recognizing who I truly am and honoring her. I don’t always succeed on those fronts, but when I do, I experience true happiness, right down to my core. Those moments are beautiful and I love them. Not to imply that I’m completely content in life, because that isn’t true. I still want to scale mountains and achieve personal goals. It’s just that I’m not unhappy in the meantime. And I attribute my relative joy in life to knowing myself. It has made a tremendous difference for me, and I kind of feel like I’ve only just begun. Considering I could be dreading my age and all it entails, I feel pretty darned grateful for being so positive and smiley about the whole scene.

 

So here’s to Monday and this blank canvas of a week. I can see a few hills before me. Mountains, maybe. No time like the present to start climbing…

Monday, Monday

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I had a swell weekend. There was entertainment and food and laughter and imbibing and pool-time and well… It was just grand.

 

On Sunday evening, Mister said something about how easy it is to forget the satisfaction and joy to be found in living a simple day. Sunday was simple. And it was lovely. Mister was right. It is far too easy to forget life’s simple pleasures. And yet, if we let them, those pleasures show themselves and remind us of joy. Lucky for us, this weekend served us well. All the way around.

 

Here’s hoping we remember how good life can be. How good it is. How much there is that’s worthy of gratitude. Even in this crazy world.

Listen To Your Heart

 

 

Yesterday, while I was still trying to sort out my feelings about the loss of the genius that was Prince, I found myself cycling through some not-great memories. I don’t know why. I can only guess it was because I was in a not-great emotional place. And believe me – I want to move on. It would be good for my life if I moved on. But sometimes grief grabs hold. And I think this will pass when it’s ready.

 

Anyhoo – one odd memory popped up and really caused me to think. It was many years ago, and I was waiting in a lobby for a job interview. The interviewer – who would be my boss – was late returning from lunch. I didn’t hold that against her or anything, I just sat quietly, biding my time. The interviewer wasn’t a complete stranger, by the way. I had met her a few times, and though we weren’t friends or anything, she was familiar. After quite a while of waiting, she entered the lobby, looked over at me and said, “Oh! You’re here!” She then walked over to where I sat and – I swear to God – she dragged one of her shoes across the top of one of my very white shoes, leaving a large, noticeable scuff mark. “There. That’s better. Your shoes were entirely too clean,” she said in a sober tone. She then turned and walked toward her office, saying, “Follow me.” I was in shock, but I did as I was told.

 

In that moment, before following the interviewer into her office, my gut was screaming for my attention, trying to get me to run away as fast as I could. Everything in me suggested this was not going to be a good fit. That I simply could not mesh with someone who would behave as she just had. But I needed the job. So I followed through and went to work for her. And though I wouldn’t call her a bad person, I can’t say she was very organized or that she provided necessary training. While I worked for her, I struggled to figure out most of the basic functions of her office – on my own. And every single day I spent there was awkward. By the time I left, I was so relieved.

 

After stumbling down that portion of Memory Lane, I thought about a few other instances when I didn’t listen to my gut, nor to my heart. And how each time I failed to honor my greater truth, I eventually faced ugliness of some sort. I don’t know why, when I’ve been given the gift of intuition, I’ve chosen to ignore that guidance. But I have. And I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to stop that behavior. Maybe it’s time to trust myself, at least a little bit. I mean really – how much time is left?

 

I’m hoping to ease out of the darkness soon. To switch my focus from life’s absurd brevity to life’s ridiculous joy. It’s all there, you know. Two sides of a coin. Time for a toss, I think. I call heads…

Feeling Lucky

 

 

Yesterday I was feeling my age. My joints were aching and I was sluggish. It didn’t occur to me to think I was coming down with anything, because I felt great. Other than the aches and whatnot, that is. So I thought walking might help. Dork that I am, I set off on an 8-mile journey, not considering something shorter. Know what happened? That’s right. I only made it a few miles before my body rebelled and said no mas. So I headed back home.

 

And then Mister sent me a link to a story about an old gal who’s traveling the States instead of undergoing typical treatments for cancer. Digging into that story led me to a piece about Dr.Bill Thomas and the remarkable work he’s doing for and with the aged. Reading about Miss Norma and Dr. Thomas lifted my spirits quite a bit.

 

And then I started working on some promo for an upcoming event with author Mollie Gregory. And the simple act of cobbling together words on a page – words about this woman’s fabulous work – brought a smile to my face. And I felt a bit lighter.

 

And then I got a few emails from friends and they were all reflecting on Joy. Before I knew it, I was on my feet, nearly in a jig.

 

And then I resumed work on the fireplace wall. (This got put on the back burner while I tended other duties.) I was doing a bit of sanding and knocking-down of the texture, getting it ready for priming. I forgot to wear a mask, but I still had a great time and I found myself thinking this little project might turn out okay.

 

And then I forgot about my aching joints. And I forgot I had been feeling low. And I forgot to judge myself for not walking as far as I’d hoped. And I forgot to be tired. And I forgot I’d gotten a tetanus shot the day before and that I was probably having a reaction to the chemicals (aches and such).

 

And then I truly felt my age. And I was happy. The end.