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.

Edwardian Ball

 

 

Last week Mister and I attended the Edwardian Ball in L.A. I can honestly say that day was the first time I’ve ever uttered the words, “Don’t wanna be late for the ball!”

 

 

This all came about because I said Yes. My friend Gwendelyn invited us to go and the idea seemed just crazy enough to push me a little sideways. I’m trying to be aware that such moments are opportunities, if I only get out of my way and explore them. Hence the Yes.

 

 

Costuming was in order, friends. The universe was dialed up when I looked for a dress, I tell ya, as I found a second-hand, perfect-color, happened-to-fit dress the week before. It was rather nondescript, so I set to jazzing it up. We found some of Mister’s pieces at a costume shop, where I also rented the fabulous head piece shown above. Mister borrowed a hat from our sweet friends over at FlipBookIt and his look was done. We were set.

 

 

I knew Gwendelyn would come up with something amazing, but I didn’t have a clue as to what she had planned. When Mister and I saw her getting out of her ride at Hollywood’s Fonda Theatre, we were duly impressed. Her fella – Chad – was none too shabby his own self.

 

 

The Ball itself was a spectacular, gorgeous, colorful spectacle of a spectacu-larrrrrr! The sold-out event featured over-the-top and under-the-radar costumes, covering a wide variety of themes. As I understand it, the Edwardian Ball was started by members of Rosin Coven with the idea of putting on an event aligned with Edward Gorey-like styles, as well as re-imagined Edwardian period costumes.

 

 

The soiree started in San Francisco, then began popping up in Los Angeles as well. This marked the 7th year in Hollywood. Lucky for us, the Fonda Theatre has a rooftop patio. More than once we found ourselves up there, taking the airs…

 

 

There were loads of steampunk aficionados…

 

 

And quite a few dapper dans…

 

 

There was live music…

 

 

And other forms of live entertainment, too…

 

 

Now I have to tell you something. I knew that Mister’s borrowed hat would be a hit. But I had no idea he’d be the belle of the ball! That guy posed for more pictures than I could count, and people just kept asking. To his credit, he did hand out our friends’ FlipBookIt bid-ness cards and he smiled and obliged each and every eager photographer. It was a lot of fun to watch, actually. And y’all – he really did look great…

 

 

Just as we were calling it a night and readying to leave, we came upon a goblin.

 

 

He asked me for a terrible story, in 12 words. Gwendelyn suggested a topic and I said, “I don’t wanna talk about her.” The goblin said, “6 more words.” I was mum. Mister then said, “She’s not a very nice person.” 12 words. At that, the goblin presented me with the currency shown below. He told me I could now place all the bad feelings about the barely-mentioned person in the currency and that they’d stay there. I thought that was pretty cool. I plan to keep it in my desk. I also plan to put any other bad feelings I have into that currency. Hope it works.

 

 

I’m so grateful Gwendelyn thought to ask us to join her at the Edwardian Ball. I’m so grateful I said yes. I don’t know if I’ll ever go again, but it sure was fun this time. And hey – the seats even held my initials. I think it was meant to be…

 

Slowpoke?

 

 

I’ve shared that I’m working on a commissioned painting right now and that there is a deadline. Because I didn’t just meet me, I was able to plan accordingly when taking on this project, giving myself enough time to actually finish the danged thang. As of right now, I’m not worried. My head may start to melt as the deadline draws near, mind you, but I’ll deal with that then.

 

Yesterday brought a new challenge my way: I was asked to participate in a local charity art show. Basically – I agreed to paint 2 very small pieces – 4 x 6 inches each – on art paper. The pieces are then displayed and sold for set prices, along with several hundred other works, the night of the big fundraiser. Ordinarily, this shindig goes down in November. But this year is different. It’s happening in September, so I – all by myself – agreed to meet a 4 September submission date . For 2 tiny paintings. By me. Slowpoke Mikki.

 

Now if you’re asking why I would agree to such a deadline, what with knowing myself and all, I’ll tell ya: I’m trying to say “Yes” more often to life. And when this incredibly lovely person asked me to contribute, I sort of felt like I needed to make myself available. Some of that is, like I said, saying “Yes.” Some of it is putting myself in a position that calls upon me to actually be an artist. No matter what you read and see in these missives, I am very conservative in life when it comes to tooting my own horn. Being part of this fundraiser will require me to own, well, me. And I can definitely stand to do a bit more of that.

 

So yesterday I worked on one of the small paintings and all it needs is a touch-up, once it’s dry. It’s darling. And it took less than 2 hours. I may not be as slowpoke-y as I think I am. Hmm…

The Rearview

 

 

This year has been a doozy. There have certainly been some ugly times and occurrences. I don’t deny that. But as I look in the rearview at the last 12 months, I’m choosing to focus on some positives. I thank you in advance for indulging me…

 

Slippers – Yes, after decades of wearing socks for warmth, I finally broke down and got myself some damned slippers. I’m wearing them as I type and I wear them all the time! I love them truly. I love them madly. I love them deeply. I had no idea slippers could change my little world.

 

Saying Yes – This year saw me taking a different tack when faced with situations/opportunities that frighten me. For example, in the past, I never would have said yes when asked to participate in a public reading. But I did it, so there you go. Other experiences have been added to my life as well, and a few more are already on the calendar. When I was recently asked to do something very cool and very scary, I told the organizer the truth: This idea is amazing and yet the very thought makes me terribly uncomfortable. Because I’m afraid, I think I’d better say Yes. I’ll participate.

 

London – I about blogged that trip to death. And I’m still talking about how great it was! No doubt, Mister had a lot to do with that as he was such a great fellow traveler. But there was also something magical about the vacation. Sure – Kate Bush was a dream. But so was the Harry Potter Tour. And so was Dinner By Heston Blumenthal. And so was our beautiful Navy-colored hotel room. And so was every other fabulous thing. Again, I’m still talking about it.

 

Painting – I finished a painting a couple of weeks ago and I can’t tell you how happy I am. I’m a slow painter, y’all. I own that. So when I decided I wanted to finish this particular piece by year’s end, my painting buddy Nicole laughed and laughed. (Sadly – she didn’t just meet me.) Betting her I would finish spurred me to actually do it. And I did. Good for me.

 

Books – I read some top-notch books this year and reading is one my greatest pleasures, so I’m quite happy with this one. And I’m reading a couple of grand books now. As I’m known to say, no matter how long I live I’ll never get to read all the books I want. So I’ll take what I can.

 

Letting Go – This one is partly due to having read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. I certainly don’t claim to be a Master or anything, but I’m learning people. And that counts. It feels good to not have to try and make sure every friggin’ thing is just so. We all know how well that turns out, right? The work on this one continues.

 

My Kate Bush Mug – This may seem like an odd thing to love, love, love, but I do, do, do. Love, love, love it I mean. I keep it on the back of the shelf, so when the dishwasher is holding a few to-be-cleaned cups I reach in and find the Kate mug. I can’t tell you how big I smile when that happens. The cup reads “It’s coming! It’s in the trees!” It makes me very happy, y’all.

 

D2T2 – This little creative idea was born at the end of last year during a beautiful, drunken afternoon. And though it’s been challenging to undertake an artistic endeavor each week of the year (yes – I know we dropped the ball a few times), it’s been inspiring. And I have to say – the creative wheels seem to be turning more than before we undertook the task. What’s more – these projects netted art! How cool is that?

 

Mister – Nothing I write here could ever come close to conveying my truth where this guy is concerned. I can’t properly describe my feelings, my respect, my love. To say I’d open a vein for the man is just scratching the surface. I love him more than butter. It’s crazy. It’s surreal. It must be love.

 

I could keep going, but this is a pretty nice list. And to end it on the love of my life seems appropriate.

 

So here’s to the New Year. To New Adventures. To New Opportunities. To New Life. Cheers!

Saying Yes

 

 

I’ve been trying to figure out what’s causing the tension in my neck. I have a lot to do, but it’s all do-able, so that’s not it. I could use a workout, but I can carve out just enough time for it, so that’s not it. I’m in the middle of an avalanche of contracts, but that shall pass (eventually). That’s probably part of it. I don’t know. I suppose it all adds up to “it” – whatever “it” is.

 

There are a lot of unknowns right now. And I guess that freaks me out. So much of my life has been established as routine. So much of my life is predicated on predictability. Straying from that sometimes throws me for a loop, which sends me running back to my little cocoon of perceived safety.

 

But is that really living? If I know exactly what each coming day will bring, if my routine is so managed as to be expected, is that a life? What about change? What about spontaneity? What about the damned monkey wrenches that get hurled around by, well, monkeys? Am I so afraid of the unknowns as to want to forgo them entirely?

 

I think I know the answer to that last question, but my frazzled nerves tell a different story. And that’s my conundrum. How do I calm the frightened child within while also challenging the lust-for-life junkie? How do I protect the girl who wears sunblock every day of her life, while also cheering on the gal who’s jumped out of an airplane?

 

Right now, I don’t have an answer. And maybe I never will. Maybe I just keep moving. Forward, hopefully.

 

And maybe it’s okay to be terrified of life’s dark alleys, as long as I don’t shy away from life’s invigorating street fairs.

 

For the honest truth is, I don’t want to miss out on this ride. I don’t want to say no to living my all-too-short life when I could be screaming yes-yes-yes!

 

The sun is trying to peek through – outside and in. I want to say yes to its rays. And so I clear my throat…