Gutsy Women

 

A few nights ago I was privileged to attend a discussion about a new book. It was held at the 125-year-old Ebell Women’s Club, a place I’m pretty used to visiting. I was there with all kinds of chicks I love (another privilege), so I knew I’d have a good time. What I got was much more.

 

Maria Shriver

 

Maria Shriver led the conversation with the book’s authors. When she came out, she said she intended to steer the conversation in a positive direction, to stay away from ugliness and hate. She’s pretty damned sharp. She’s also a humanitarian. She would have been enough of a draw, but we got more.

 

Maria Shriver, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton in Conversation

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton have written The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience and when they walked out on stage, it was amazing. The theatre roared and I was on my feet in an instant. There was so much positive energy. It was really beautiful.

 

Speaking about the book, the authors told of important women and the impacts they’ve had in our world. Unfortunately, history has often refused to acknowledge these women, history mostly recorded by men. My curiosity was piqued and I can hardly wait to read the book. I fully expect to learn a great deal and to be inspired. That was certainly my experience last night.

 

Chelsea Clinton

 

I have to tell you – I expected Mrs. Clinton’s speech and demeanor to be intelligent and confident. I didn’t know what to expect from Chelsea Clinton, however, and I could not have been happier. She was brilliant, personable, witty and assertive. Maria Shriver did an excellent job of keeping the conversation moving and she asked some pointed questions. The three women on that stage were amazing.

 

As I drove one of my friends home, she and I talked about the night. We both felt it had been a bit surreal, that we were amazed to have been there, to have witnessed the conversation. We were so impressed with what we saw and heard. And we were grateful.

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

Before entering the theatre, attendees were given an opportunity to write questions for Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. I thought about it a bit, and realized the only question I had was this: Can you imagine how quiet our country’s political front would be had my fellow Americans done the right thing and voted for the betterment of our country, how much more safe the entire world would be, how fewer service members lives would have been lost, how much lower our national debt would be, how much better our reputation in the world would be, how much more respectable our supreme court would be without a seated sexual predator, how downright boring our day-to-day government functions could have been? I know – it was a lot. In the end, I decided I wouldn’t write my question, that I would just listen. I made the right call.

 

Shriver’s intention of a positive conversation had been achieved. There were gutsy women on the stage and in the theatre. It was a love-fest, and I got to see it. From the front row.

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton - a Gutsy Woman

I Don’t Need a Boat.

 

When discussing something or other, I often say, “I don’t need a boat. I need a friend with a boat.” This is terribly true. I neither want the responsibility nor the burden of owning a boat, y’all. But if a friend has taken on all that accompanies possessing a water craft, then I am more than happy to appreciate that person’s kindness in allowing me to enjoy their boat. Of course this extends to all sorts of things. And I am grateful for the blessings of my friends’ lives, and for their generosity. So much of what I get to do in this world is due to various friends and their willingness to share their blessings with me. Yes – I am a lucky gal.

 

A couple of nights ago I was invited to a screening of “Judy” and while I thought it might be okay, I had no idea what I was in for. The film is just lovely and heartbreaking and informative and beautiful and powerful and… I could go on, but I won’t, except to add this: When every single person around you – female and male – is crying because of how good a film is, you have won. Period.

 

Renee Zellweger

 

The friend who invited me out for the screening is a member of the SAG Nominating Committee. The Screen Actors Guild is responsible for the SAG Awards, which will be in January of 2020. The Nominating Committee, as I understand it, will, well, nominate individuals and groups of actors for the SAG Awards. Because this was an industry thing, Renee Zellweger, who stars in “Judy,” was on-hand for a Q&A after the film. And she was pretty cool. Down-to-earth, honest – she made quite the impression on me and I find myself with a newfound respect for her as an actor.

 

I got to enjoy that night out because a friend shared her privilege with me. I don’t need a boat. I’ve got friends. So yeah – I really am a lucky gal.

I Said Yes

 

Max and Trust

 

So much has been going on, and nothing at all has been going on. That’s how life rolls sometimes. For me, it seems that’s how it rolls most of the time.

 

All the same, my intentions of sharing things with you have been patiently waiting for me to get my ass in gear. As it’s now officially Summer, I feel the day should be treated with a modicum of reverence. To serve those feelings, I give you a glimpse or two into my world…

 

Vidalias

 

I’m making my way through 20 pounds of Vidalia onions. And I’m enjoying every damned one.

 

Tomatoes

 

We’re also starting to get some tomatoes from our little plants. I call them little, but a couple of the plants are at least 8 feet high and still growing. I don’t understand it any more than you. But I’m not complaining, because all the gods know there’s nothing as good as homegrown tomatoes, y’all.

 

Props Only

 

I worked on a film set for the first time in ages. It was a one-day shoot and I ended up dealing mostly with props. I declared myself to be the day’s Ice Cream Wrangler. Someone had to do it. It reminded me of how much goes on behind the scenes, work that will never be shown or seen. I respect the hell out of the professionals who make cinematic art. Because I got to be a part of this particular shoot, with such lovely people, I enjoyed the day more than I can express.

 

View From LACMA - Deathstar

 

I attended a crazy-cool happening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Throughout the exhibit space of Robert Rauschenberg’s 1/4 Mile, various musicians roamed about, improvising and collaborating to create soundscapes based on the work and the moment. It was trippy and, in some instances, inspired. Once I’d absorbed as much of the evening as I could, I walked outside and spotted work on the adjacent Death Star. It’s not really the Death Star. It’s architect Renzo Piano’s ambitious new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. It’s sure to be astounding, once it’s finished. But I have no doubt it will always be called the Death Star. As it should be.

 

Drinking Cask Ale Makes Me...

 

I also went to the kick-off event for L.A. Beer Week. I was a fish, I was. And I was happy about it, too. (Baker Jen is responsible for the sticker I’m wearing in the above photo. She’s cool like dat.)

 

Baby Hummingbirds

 

Baby hummingbirds got hatched, grew and have already flown away. Little Mama had built the nest and was keeping it warm before we even realized what was going on. Once those babies made their debut, they were in high-gear. They were only there a couple of weeks and then they were gone. Nature. Who knew?

 

Michael Watkins, Director of JPL & Me

 

I got my geek on at JPL‘s open house. When I spotted the dude shown above, I didn’t hesitate to embarrass myself. That’s Dr. Michael Watkins, the director of JPL and a rock star of the science world. Yes – I am that person. I do indeed nerd out for brains.

 

The Liza Minnelli Room at Feinstein's at Vitello's

 

And then there was this week. I was getting some exercise and passed by a place I’ve been many times. It’s a restaurant with an upstairs club. (The restaurant played into Robert Blake’s wife’s infamous murder. Yeah.) I walked past and doubled back. The upstairs club had a new name: Feinstein’s at Vitello’s. As in Michael Feinstein. I wasn’t sure when that had happened, so when I got home I looked on the interwebz and saw that last weekend was the official grand opening of the supper club. I also saw that Michael Feinstein himself had provided the entertainment during the grand opening, with a little help from his friend, Miss Liza Minnelli. Da fuh? I missed that show, which was a shame. But I saw that Melissa Manchester was set to perform during the week, and tickets were still available. I grew up loving that gal. As I sat at my computer, thinking about whether or not I could justify laying out the dough for a ticket, I realized I was singing her songs. I remembered the lyrics, I remembered the tunes. I bit the bullet and bought myself a seat for the show.

 

As I was flying solo that night, I had no idea where I’d be seated or with whom. When I checked in with the hostess, she asked if I was meeting anyone and I told her no. She asked for my name, which I provided, and she said, “Well Mikki – you’re about to make some friends.” Then she led me to a table where 3 men were already seated and engaged in conversation. The hostess said, “Gentlemen – this is Mikki. Mikki – this is Troy, Steven and Max.” She walked away, I sat down, and the 4 of us commenced to talking.

 

I’m a friendly gal and I’m generally a pretty good gauge of people’s decency. But I don’t rush into getting to know people and I don’t give out my digits all willy-nilly. I’m a fairly private person and I’m okay with that. So it was rather surprising to find myself having a mature, honest and soulful conversation with those 3 guys. And it wasn’t just me. They seemed to recognize that something unique was happening as well. The 4 of us were engaging in the manner of old friends. It was lovely. It was refreshing. It was crazy.

 

And the show? I don’t know what to tell you. Melissa Manchester took the stage, began her first song of the evening, and I started crying. (Gentle, happy tears, mind you.) And I smiled and cried right through to the end of the show. Her voice is as resonant and sonorous as ever. She is a beautiful performer. She kind of blew my mind.

 

Miss Liza Minnelli

 

It turned out that Michael Feinstein was also in the audience. So was Miss Liza Minnelli. That’s her in the hat, barely visible in the center of the above photo. Though you can’t tell from this pic, she was as cute as a fucking button. For reals.

 

Melissa Manchester and Troy

 

After the show, my new pals and I stayed for a meet and greet. That’s Troy with Melissa Manchester.

 

Melissa Manchester and Me

 

And that’s me with her. When you meet an idol, your glee just about cracks your face.

 

So many things that pop up in life require an answer. A lot of the time I say No. And let’s be honest – No is often the correct answer. But not always. Sometimes life invites me to say Yes. And sometimes I do. When I decided to go to that Melissa Manchester show, I didn’t know what the night might hold. I only knew that the kid in me really wanted to see one of my vocal heroes. I didn’t know she would be amazing. I didn’t know I was going to experience a sincere connection with 3 strangers. I didn’t know the 4 of us would be texting one another and trying to plan a get-together in a few months time. I didn’t know I would come away from the night as a better version of myself. Someone whose skin fit a little more than it did the day before.

 

The Stalkers

 

But that’s exactly what I got. Magic. All because I said Yes.

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

Street Art – Los Angeles

 

The Mural That Started It All 1

 

A couple of weeks ago Mister and I took part in an organized tour of street art in downtown L.A. I thought it would be cool. Turned out it was amaze-balls. (The image shown above is the mural that started it all, as far as large-scale works go in the Arts District. And for the record, Mister took most of these photos.)

 

Tour Guides

 

Our guides – Galo and Shandu – were established, known artists themselves. And they could not have been more lovely.

 

The Container Yard Outside Art 3

 

We saw art in every direction, including beneath our feet…

 

Beneath our Feet

 

And above our heads.

 

Above our Heads

 

The rain was dumping buckets. (Did I mention it was raining during the tour?) And you’d think that would have detracted from the experience, but you’d be wrong.

 

Mikki on The Tour

 

Somehow the rain made the art more alive. There was more grit to it, more beauty, too.

 

Mural by Tristan Eaton

 

This next work is one of my favorites. Had I not been given specific information about the piece, I still would have liked it but maybe not as much as I do. We were told Royyal Dog came over from Asia and got to work. He didn’t grid the building for drawing his design, nor did he use a projector. He just got in a cherry picker and looked at the phone in his hand and took off. The entire piece was done with spray paint and was finished in 3 days. 3 days, y’all! I mean really. Just look at those gorgeous faces…

 

Mural by Royyal Dog

 

We saw piece…

 

Unfuck Yourself Mural

 

after piece…

 

Mural by El Mac_Kofie_Nuke

 

And our minds were blown.

 

Mural by Helena_Paints

 

The next piece I want to tell you about is the metal art attached to the pole (below). This work is by Blake Shane and from what I understand, he’s a homeless artist working with found materials. Surrounded by such large-scale works, it would be easy to miss. I’m so glad I didn’t…

 

Art by Blake Shane

 

Some of the works are easily recognizable, like these by Its a Living

 

Mural by Its a Living

 

 

Mural by Its a Living and More

 

Others, not so much…

 

Mural 4_Phone Photo

 

There were so many artists represented…

 

Mural Detail by Plek_Black Light King_UTI

 

so many styles…

 

Mural by Low Bros

 

Some may have felt overwhelmed by the works.

 

Mural by Nychos

 

I felt awe.

 

Mural

 

After our walking tour ended, we headed to The Container Yard for a lesson in spray-painting.

 

Art Lesson Mikki

 

Now, a lot of us may have zero-point-zero experience making wall art with spray paint, but a lot of us have at least used the stuff for various tasks and projects. But I have to tell you – there were a few folks in our group who seemed to have never even held a can of paint. For reals. Watching them applying color to the paper set before us was so joyful, I was a grinning fool. It was as if those adults were getting in touch with their inner children and playing. I kind of loved it.

 

Montana Shop at The Container Yard

 

Not only that, but Shandu, who is a fabulous stencil artist…

 

Art by Shandu One

 

demonstrated some of his own stencil work in action…

 

Art Lesson_Stencil Tutorial by Shandu One

 

And he was gracious enough to talk to me about the stencils themselves. I don’t know why, but it had never occurred to me that one might need two stencils for a single project, representing the positive and the negative space of the work. That may mean nothing to you, but to me it was revelatory.

 

Art Lesson_Stencil Tutorial by Shandu One_Mikki_Negative and Positive Space

 

And then we got an impromptu tour of The Container Yard itself…

 

The Container Yard Tour_Art 2

 

While there, I talked with a working street artist whose likeness is obscured…

 

The Container Yard Tour_Mikki and Street Artist in Event Space 2

 

I asked him about this and he said he’s still one of the cats out there working in darkness, usually without permission. Nice kid. Talented, too.

 

The Container Yard Tour_Art

 

We took in as much art as we could…

 

The Container Yard Tour_Art 5

 

And then our day was over.

 

The Container Yard Tour_Art by Vyal One

 

If you find yourself in Los Angeles and you’re looking for something fun to do for a few hours, I highly recommend a tour with L.A. Art Tours.  These folks are legit and they offer multiple options for experiencing and learning about street art and graffiti in the Arts District. Personally, I can hardly wait to go back and do the Craft Beer and Urban Art/Graffiti Tour. In fact, had it not been smack-dab in the middle of Dry-uary, a beer (or two) would have paired quite nicely with taking in the art. Damn.

 

The Container Yard Outside Art by Binho Ribeiro

 

And if you’re still unconvinced, please remember that my rag-tag group walked around together in the rain…

 

Yeni and Mural Detail by Trixter

 

Rain! And we loved it so freaking much.

 

Undiscovered America

 

I am still in awe.

 

Mural by Adam Dare

Intersections

 

Bathing Beauties

 

Mister and I recently watched “Marwencol” and it left me, well, fucked up.

 

For those who don’t know, this 2010 documentary is about Mark Hogancamp and the world he has created. He was just an ordinary dude until some assholes beat the crap out of him. After that, Hogancamp found he had lost his memory. It’s far more detrimental and detailed than I’m telling (so please go to the link above and read for yourself), but the documentary is quite lovely in explaining the story. It also gives the viewer an eye into the art Hogancamp is now known for making. There’s a new drama out currently (“Welcome to Marwen“), based on Hogancamp’s story, but I’ve not seen it. I got lucky. I was at a different fabulous documentary screening last month (“Kusama: Infinity“) and the director advised attendees to see “Marwencol” before seeing the dramatization. Boy was she right.

 

But back to the fucked-up part. “Marwencol” is amazing. The intersection of art, real life and fantasy shown in the film overwhelmed me. I want to say it was a good thing, but I’m not sure. I mean – it really rattled my brain, y’all. It led me to see that I don’t have much of a clue about the intersections of my own life. That even though I try to stay on my path, I am lost more often than I care to admit. That my path doesn’t come with a map. “Marwencol” hit me pretty hard. I’m working through the triggered feelings, but I think this might stay with me for a while.

 

In trying to ease my mind and soul along, I thought maybe I should take in some art, live and in-person. So I went to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. I freaking love this place. It’s quite accessible and a gal can get through the displayed collection in one outing. I’ve been there a few times recently, and my affection for the place continues to grow.

 

"Tiptoe Down to Art" by Hassel Smith - 1950

 

On this day, my soul fell into a painting and I needed to sit for a while. Hassel Smith’s “Tiptoe Down to Art” grabbed hold and I was done for. The colors seemed to hold me, warmly. The texture stroked my spirit. I spent a good twenty minutes studying this piece and I’m quite certain I still missed obvious aspects. I wish I could tell you why it moved me so, but I have no idea. It simply did. I smiled some, cried some. And when I stood to go, I looked over my shoulder, one last time. I may have to visit it again.

 

"Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece" by Guariento di Arpo - 1344

 

I was listening to music while walking around the museum, and when I got to Guariento di Arpo’s “Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece,” I again found I needed to sit. This time it was Laura Cantrell’s fault. Her song – “Bees” – came through my ear buds and it zapped me. Though the song/album is dedicated to John Peel, I found it astounding how well-suited the lyrics were to the various panels of di Arpo’s work. My eyes moved over the piece, settling on a new aspect with each line of the song. At some point, I actually imagined Jesus missing bees. I’m not kidding. With the song’s final words, “My time is short now, I feel it coming, I’ll see you darling on the other side,” I looked up and saw Jesus on a cross and was awed by the meshing. I was in that shit and it was powerful. When the song ended, I took it as my cue to mosey.

 

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just wandering around. I also wasn’t listening for anything in particular. The playlist keeping me company holds close to 200 songs and was set to random play. It wasn’t odd or even interesting that a Dido song came up in the rotation. Except that it was. For just as the song began, I rounded a corner and saw this…

 

The Legend of Dido

 

The exhibit was lovely. It had nothing to do with the music in my ears, but it made me smile. The gods enjoy a little humor from time to time. This time it was relatively banal, but it was appreciated just the same.

 

After a while, I walked out to the garden. I figured it was my last chance to get some clarity. I searched, but found none.

 

"Reclining Figure" by Henry Moore - 1956-60

 

“Marwencol” really did a number on me. Good art is like that. Sometimes we are centered enough to understand its effects. Sometimes not. I’m feeling a mixture of both right now and may be dealing with the resonance for some time. There’s a lot of life swirling in my mind and in my soul. That’s just who I am. How I am. It’s true I don’t have a map. I often don’t have a clue. But I keep going. That’s also who I am, how I am. I can’t imagine being any other way.

Dry-uary

 

This is the 4th day of Dry-uary for Mister and me. We’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s okie dokie. We don’t drink (or do anything else, ahem) the entire month and in the end, our livers thank us. For the most part, we stick with it. There have been a few times when an emergency shot of bourbon was necessary – for medicinal purposes of course – but that’s about it. It sounds boring, I know, but I really do feel better after January. And then I’m a freaking light-weight! Bonus!

 

Enjoy This Lifepg

 

I saw this sidewalk graffiti yesterday while out walking. I tend to the optimistic side of things, but always appreciate when the world reminds me where my bread is buttered.

 

I also had my first Elvis sighting of the year yesterday. Now I see Elvis quite often at the grocery store. (We shop the same aisles, don’t you know.) But this was an entirely different part of town and an entirely different Elvis. The King’s birthday is next week, so I’ll keep an eye out for him around town. You never know.

 

Aside from that, I salute this day. I want to celebrate it, to honor it, to enjoy it. Today is my life. And it is good.

Bubye 2018

 

Bubye 2018

 

Most people I know are ready to toss 2018 into the wood chipper. Here in the States, among people with a modicum of integrity, the past year is viewed for the poo-show it was. Good riddance.

 

But there were glimmers of vitality and joy. Just the other night I danced my ass off and that was definitely a highlight. Not only that, but when I sat and watched other party-goers tear up the dance floor, I felt a joy bubble burst in my brain hole and just about smiled myself to death.

 

Rodin at the Norton Simon Museum

 

I saw amazing art, locally…

 

4th Day_Hyde Park_Christo and a Queens Swan

 

and abroad.

 

Sunset in December

 

The Los Angeles sunsets brought ridiculous awe and wonder to my front door. Thank you smog!

 

Bentley My Lover Dog

 

I got to visit with a dog I adore. Only this time he decided to show his love for me by going to town on my leg. As this is very uncommon for this well-behaved soul, I think his affection may be due to a past-life experience. Maybe Bentley and I were lovers in another time. I do hail from white trash, so maybe there’s some dog in my lineage. Whatever the reason, it was unexpected and not cool, dog.

 

Desert Respite

 

Mister and I had a desert respite. It was fun and restful and beautiful and we got to see dear friends. Win-win, y’all.

 

Blindfold Puzzle

 

While in the desert, I witnessed my friend SJ assemble a puzzle while blindfolded. Yep. She discerned which side of each piece was up while blindfolded. She separated side and interior pieces while blindfolded. Then she put the mutha together and it didn’t take very long. I love this gal for a lot of reasons. And now I love her even more.

 

Beer Advent Finished

 

Mister and I finished our Beer Advent Calendar, and we had a blast doing it. All those German beers were a treat. And the cans look so amazing on the mantel. As we don’t live in a frat house, they’ll be coming down today, however. That’s alright. We enjoyed them while they lasted.

 

I got through the first draft of part two of the book I’m writing, and as my goal was to get it out of my head before the year’s end, I’m feeling pretty good about that. Miles to go, of course, but still. Sometimes baby steps are incredibly fulfilling.

 

Mikki and Lorinda 2003

 

I also reconnected with someone I love more than butter. If you know a soul who seems to be part of the fiber of your being, then you can appreciate how I feel about this chick. She’s woven into me. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. Gratitude abounds.

 

2018 was a janky year, I won’t deny. But there were moments that stood out, moments that made a difference. And I want to do all I can to make even more stand-out moments come to life this year. It won’t be easy, y’all. My country is still being slowly destroyed by the worst president in history. Jackasses around the globe are discriminating against human souls in more ways than I can comprehend. Our environment seems to be dying. And don’t get me started on gender issues. Honestly – it’s enough to break a person. I know a few folks who have fallen so deeply into depression that they may not make it back. I’m not kidding. That’s heartbreaking.

 

But! I’m not ready to give up. In fact, I’m just getting started. You want a piece of me, 2019? Bring it on. I’m your worst nightmare – a Club 50, optimistic, brave, excited creator. And I’m about to make this year my bitch. Here we go…

 

Happy New Year!

 

This Beautiful Ride Called Living

 

Christmas Cheer!

 

How the hell did it get to be December already?

 

I’m not complaining, mind you. I’m just surprised. And honestly, I enjoyed November so much I wasn’t quite ready to see it go. I didn’t enjoy all of it. The fires were terribly awful. And then there was that one crazy thing that happened, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Mostly, it was a pretty good month.

 

The Broad Mikki Outside

 

A couple of weeks ago, Mister and I spent an afternoon at The Broad and it was aces. For some reason, I thought there was a new Ed Ruscha exhibit and I was all hopped up about it. Only we got to the museum and I was hopping for no reason. There were a few new-to-me pieces on view, and those pieces were awesome, but my expectations were not met. Not by Ruscha. But then we wandered into an installation of Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors and I no longer wanted to hop, as I was floating. If you’re in L.A. and get the chance, please go. I cried through a smile so big, my cheeks still ache.

 

Ed Ruscha Works at The Broad

 

After the museum visit, we walked toward the train and found this young man on the sidewalk…

 

The Broad Poems for Sale

 

I immediately started digging in my pockets for cash, as there was no way I was gonna pass by a guy with a typewriter, selling poems, and not make a purchase. I didn’t get the feeling Jacob was one for talking too much, so our interaction was mostly limited to transaction…

 

The Broad I Bought a Poem

 

The very next day, I walked from DTLA…

 

DTLA_11.17.2018

 

 

to Santa Monica.

 

Wendy and Mikki at Sunset

 

Because I can. And because why the hell not? And because I had two friends along and one of them is a freaking light in the universe and the other was celebrating her actual birthday.

 

Route 66 Wendy and Amy

 

Hey – there’s nothing like a 17-mile stroll to make you feel young. This was my 3rd time participating in The Great L.A. Walk (GLAW) and I have to say – it was my personal best. No blisters or crazy soreness after. I felt pretty damned good, in fact. It was a beautiful day, the walk was smooth and the company couldn’t be beat. There was also that moment when we crossed paths with Bono (for reals). This is L.A. Shit like that happens.

 

The Broad - Metro Station

 

Before I tell you this next part, I’d like you to remember that I am fine and safe. I mean – I’m typing this and all is well. Um-kay? Okay. After the walk and subsequent GLAW celebrations had ended, when I took the train home from Santa Monica, there was … an incident. A young woman on the train was being harassed by a dude and it was one of those moments when you have to decide if you’re gonna be a stand-up person or not and all I could hope was that if I had to stand up for the woman that others would stand with me. The train was crowded and a whole lot of us were all too aware of the situation and again, I just hoped decency would prevail.

 

This particular young woman was seated directly in front of me, as our seats were in an L-shaped arrangement. Next to her was a young dude who, for whatever reason, decided to lean against and talk to the young woman. Never mind the fact that she was wearing gi-normous headphones and clearly not interested in talking to him. She tried pointing at the headphones, as if to indicate she couldn’t hear him. He was not deterred. After leaning against her for a bit, the dude stood up and – no shit – took off his shirt. Like that was in any way attractive. Or normal. Then he began leaning against her again.

 

Someone seated next to me moved and the young woman immediately asked if she could sit beside me. I nodded and she moved to my side. I leaned slightly toward her and removed one side of my headphones. She removed one side of hers. I said, “I’ve got your back.” She said, “Thank you.” We put our headphones in place and tried to act as if nothing was going on, all the while keeping watch on the dude three feet in front of us.

 

He began shuffling things around in the bags he had brought on the train, and that’s when he pulled out a knife. He held it in his hands and looked it over, turning it to admire the blade. That blade appeared to be around 8 to 10 inches. The dude just held it, studying it, and the young woman turned to me, terror on her face and I said to her, “Okay. You go.” She moved between people, ending up somewhere behind me on the train. I had already looked for the car’s emergency call switch and located it – behind the dude with the knife. That was out, as it would have put me in direct contact with him. I was holding my phone and as the train was still above ground and I had service, I called 911. I cupped my hand over the phone, to try and make myself audible over the train’s noise. I smiled and laughed a bit while talking with the emergency operator, trying to appear as if all was right in my little world. I gave as much information as I could and was told police would be boarding at the next stop. I told myself to breathe deeply.

 

The next stop came and went, y’all. No police. The dude was still one seat away. I thought maybe the next stop would bring help. Or the next one. Or the next. When the train moved beneath the city, I knew I could no longer call anyone for help as my phone service had ended. I was the closest person to the dude now and I was just trying to keep it together, hoping we’d pull into that last station without something going terribly wrong. All I could do was wait. That was all any of us could do.

 

When we reached the final stop, passengers were hustling to get the hell out of there. I stood calmly, picked up my pack and walked to the exit. Once I stepped off the train, I saw around 15 uniformed officers. I made eye contact with one and pointed toward the dude. About 3 of the officers nodded and headed into the train car.

 

Now – I needed to transfer to a different line to get home, but fear had caused me to just about pee myself. So I walked upstairs to a fabulous, familiar restaurant. The first person I saw was a busboy. I walked up to him, in my sweaty walking clothes and said, “I’m not here to order anything. I have been here many times and I love this place. But I just had a terrifying moment on a train and I really need to calm down in your ladies room.” That guy sweetly smiled and said, “Sure! Right this way…” and he walked me back to the loos. I think I peed for twenty minutes, then splashed some water on my face. I headed back downstairs to catch my train.

 

As I was walking down the escalator, my phone rang. It was one of the on-scene officers. He asked me some follow-up questions and I answered. I told him I was coming back to board a train and could talk in-person if he wanted. He acknowledged seeing me and suggested we keep it on the phone, so that I wouldn’t be identified during the arrest taking place nearby. I didn’t argue. I told the officer I had seen the dude place the knife in one particular bag. He said, “Oh – we found the knife and everything else.” Da fuh? Our conversation ended and I got on the next train headed my way.

 

I can’t tell you how fast my brain was processing everything around me that night. Where were my exits? Where was the emergency call button? What was the train car ID number? The upcoming stop? Why the fuck was this happening at all? And why was it happening after I’d walked 18 miles and needed some friggin’ sleep? But my brain did process. And I somehow stayed calm. I wasn’t called upon to fight anyone or to put out a fire or to be a hero. I was simply being a human in this city. My city. I did my part.

 

I didn’t see the young woman again, the one who’d been subjected to harassment and terror. I hoped she would be okay. As for me, I rode that second train to my stop, where Mister was waiting to pick me up and drive me home. I was safe. Tired and frazzled, too, but definitely safe.

 

Some of you reading this will admonish me for ever taking the train at all. Some of you will tell me to avoid crowded places, to shelter and hide from the dangers of the world. I get where you’re coming from. I do. But I’m not ready to give up this beautiful ride called Living. Not yet. I’m not ready to miss out on unexpected art. Or an introverted poet on the street. Or Bono, for cry-eye. I’m also not ready to give up being there for someone who’s decided to accomplish something on her birthday. Or someone who needs a stranger to have her back. Or Bono, for cry-eye. I mean – come on.

 

The world can be crazy. And parts of it have gone bat-shit mad, I admit. But in my city, the good still outweighs the bad. And I intend to do all I can to maintain that balance. That includes Living my Life. For as long as I’m able. God knows, I love being alive.

 

Yes.

 

Love

November Sunsets

 

Sunset on Thanksgiving

 

This is a photo of the sunset on Thanksgiving night. Mister and I were at the home of friends in Santa Monica, and we all took a stroll after our al fresco dinner. Mister had fried a turkey for the table and the bounty was amazing.

 

We’re entering that time of year when our sunsets come earlier and earlier. May they all follow lovely days. This one certainly did.