Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise…not my favorite time.  We all know I am not a morning person.  Still, I’ve been rising with the sun and forcing myself out the door and onto public transit.  Ugh.

It takes a while before I feel human.  I struggle with mornings and sunrises.  Sunsets are so much better.  Like tonight.

I was in Alhambra on a top level of a parking garage and there was just the most incredible, amazing sunset.  I took pictures till my battery ran dead and stood there, feeling the magic of sunset.

For some reason, sunsets feel imminently more positive than sunrises.  Sunrises make me grumble.  Sunsets make me sigh happily and before I know it, I am embracing the night.  I love the night time.  Darkness and stars seem to spur my creative spirit, inspire words, tickle a poem out of me.  I am at home after sunset.

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The Winter of My Discontent

The geraniums are surviving an L.A. winter

Richard:
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Richard The Third Act 1, scene 1, 1–4, by William Shakespeare

Sooner or later there had to be a Shakespeare reference in my writing. It’s my comfort, and almost like a talisman or Magic 8 Ball to me. Something wrong? Flip to any random page in the Collected Works and find an answer. Ok, so maybe not, but it makes me feel better.

When I was ten years old or maybe eleven, my grandmother and Aunt Jessie took me to the mall and said that I had ten whole dollars to spend. The Glendale Galleria was a new thing and like any kid with a fistful of unexpected money, I was excited. I didn’t know what to buy. Toys didn’t appeal. Clothes? No. Then I saw it, the huge volume of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare sitting on a stand. It was HUGE, it was brown, it was some kind of fake leather binding and it was ten dollars. My eyes lit up, and I skipped to it, picking the heavy thing up lovingly. I had no idea who Shakespeare was, but I wanted this book.  It was my first remembered incident with that thing Nancy Pearl calls Book Lust. I coveted this book desperately.

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Quiet

I love it when it’s quiet.

Growing up in a house full of girls, it was never quiet. Ever. Then I grew up and had four kids, three of them boys. Quiet? Not so much. I think that is why I am such a night owl. Late at night, my sisters would be sleeping and all I could hear was the occasional swoosh of a tire, crickets in the summertime and the quiet breathing of people sleeping. I grew to love that almost silence, that quiet that is alive.

Later, when I had kids I still treasured the night. I could wander around the house and hear only sleeping children, traffic, an occasional siren, the whispering of plants and gentle rustles of trees stretching. I could sit outside and smell the night blooming jasmine we call huele de noche, the smell of the night.

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Missing L.A.

I was back in Mid-Wilshire today and it hit me.  Just how much I miss living in the city.

I miss it.

The traffic clogged streets, the press of people, the subways, the buses, the smog, buildings pressed so close together you’d think they were lovers, the crazy people, the homeless pushing carts, the dirt…I miss it.

I’m in a suburb of L.A. where it’s sterile clean, the streets are quiet, there are no hills around me – just flat.  Silence.  Quiet.  Blah.

I’m working on it.  I’m job hunting and once I find something full time, I am so out of here.  Out of here and into some old apartment built in the 1920’s in K-Town or a beat up old Craftsman duplex somewhere in Highland Park, or a small and hidden gem tucked away in the center of Hollywood.  Yeah…I want to be back where I used to be.

I need the noise, the color and the life.

Someone I know thinks I’m crazy and that I should stay in this quiet, boring and tucked away place.  But, I can’t.  I need to see the hills of Griffith Park surrounding me, I need the madness.  It makes me feel alive.  Here, I feel like I’m living in a coma.  I’m walking and I’m talking but I’m not really alive.

Zombified…

I’m homesick.  It was a perfect day in what is to me a perfect place.  Art, traffic, life all around.

 

Really? Why Do We Care?

Will and Jada might be breaking up.
Shakira Shows Off Her Backside in a Skimpy Bikini
Ricki Martin Isn’t Getting Married, But He’s Getting a Baby Girl This year
How Much Bling Is On Her Ring?
What Should Beyonce and Jay-Z Name Their Baby?

Really?

That’s just a hint of what I found in my Google Reader this morning as I scanned the news. What’s sad is that these are the headlines that will get clicked, retweeted, shared on Facebook and talked about at the water cooler. Forget about CLOAKING TIME. Banned Book Week? What about the story about the fact that RAPE is more popular than smoking in the U.S.?

What the hell is wrong with us? Why do we care more about Justin and what’s her name’s possible engagement than we do about the genital mutilation of girls?

I Tweet what I think are important links often. I share them on Facebook. I get a Like or two and maybe even a re-Tweet. As a test, I posted some godawful nonsense and it blew up. Everyone Liked it. What the hell? Do we, as a society just not CARE about what’s going on around us? Are we scared? Why do we stick our heads in the pop culture sand and gloss over stuff?

I’m disgusted. I’m also guilty. Not of the celebrity crap, because I just don’t care – but I have other ways of sticking my head in the sand. I gaze longingly at ridiculously overpriced shoes. That’s my drug.

What’s yours?

Maybe, Baby

Flowers blooming outside

In other places Winter means bundling up, shoveling snow, salting driveways, buying a new coat, staying warm, etc. In Los Angeles where I live, it means “Maybe.”

Maybe…

Maybe it will be cold. Maybe it will rain. Maybe it will be windy. Maybe it will thunder and lightening. Maybe it will be sunny. Maybe, baby. Just maybe.

Just two weeks ago I was baking up a storm. Now, in January I’m wearing a tank top and capris, and watching the garden explode in flowers. It’s eighty degrees outside, the sky is blue and clear, and the birds are singing. Everyone is out. People are running, wearing shorts, hanging out and some are even heading for the beach.

For me, it’s a day of renewal. I started the New Year off celebrating with a dear friend in Buena Park (more on that in another post), a leisurely meander back into town and then a lazy evening watching the Twilight Zone marathon and Food Network.

Today, I am bursting at the seams. The sunshine and brightness of the day seem to sing renewal, a fresh start. Sunshine to start the new year is lovely. It speaks of hope. Maybe it is the optimist in me, but I see it as a sign of better things to come. The year that just ended was incredibly challenging for me, but it tested my mettle, pushed me and made me stronger. It was exhausting, awful and hard; but it had unexpected bursts and pops of wonder.

This year started with fun and sunshine and so I am saying it is a sign. Maybe, baby 2012 will be filled with brightness, hope, and goodness. Maybe the economy will pick itself up. Maybe I will find a full time job and move out of this roommate situation. Maybe things will get better. I’m not asking for easier because I don’t mind working my butt off for good things. I’m just hoping that there will be more things to work and strive for available. Maybe I’ll finish my book, publish more poetry, get more done. Maybe, baby 2012 will be all about opportunities.

Maybe…

Hibernation

I haven’t been posting much.

I’ve been in a pre and post holiday hibernation mode. First it was stress, busy, baking, stress, busy, baking, last minute shopping and then afterwards, the mental collapse. I’ve been drained. Physically and emotionally drained from stress and worry mixed with holiday frenzy.

It was no big deal, just exhaustion. As always, I try to do too much, too fast, at once. That’s just me. I walk fast, talk fast, cook fast, work fast and hard. If I’m on a project, I don’t even stop to eat most of the time. I know I should, but I get lost. And, that’s where I’ve been – lost in the holidaze.

I’m back.

Planning recipes, working on sites for people, creating logos (my new thing), writing. I’m planning on finishing my novel and self-publishing it as an ebook. I know. I still cringe at the word “selfpub”, but I’d really like to try it. Something small, something ventured, just a try, a dabble in the pond. So I’m working on something for that arena and wondering how it will go.

I’m also working on realizable goals for the new year. This is my 50th year, so I think I should be organized. (laughing).

But seriously…

Goals. Real,actionable items that I WILL reach. That’s my main resolution in 2012. That, and not getting sucked up in some Mayan Doomsday prophetic maelstrom. (I just wanted to use the word maelstrom because I’m a word geek).

Less sadness, less stress are also goals but hey, those aren’t always possible. Sadness is going to come with life sometimes and there’s nothing I can do about it, but ride it out and hope for a smile at some point. Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday and the day was tinged with a bit of sadness, wistfulness and loss so I went to see Warhorse with a friend after dinner and had an excuse to cry. A good night’s sleep and morning light made me wake up with a smile. See? Sadness doesn’t last long with me. Sometimes a good cry is all I need.

As for stress…
Um.
Yeah.
Stress.

Maybe yoga. Stress isn’t going to go away. I just have to learn how to be more zen about it (thanks Darlene. See? I do listen). So more exercise, walking and yoga is my plan.

As for my real, reachable goals?

So far I have:
Get a full time job because freelancing is too unstable
Finish e-book and actually publish it.
Visit Eleanor Moody in France.

That’s enough.

For now…

Little Things

It’s the little things that make up the sum of my life.

Like Jasmine who came to me yesterday with knots in her hair.  “Grammy, I’ve been waiting for you to come over and take them out, because you are gentle.”

Or Aiden who gets up in the morning and climbs into the blankets with me, kisses me on the forehead and says, “Grammy, you’re my cuddle bunny.”

Yeah.  Those things that catch at my heart, that show me I am loved, cared for, valued.

It doesn’t matter how shitty the day or week has been, little things like that, that come out of nowhere keep me going.

It’s been a rough month financially and I’ve worried so much that my hair started to fall out.  I noticed it when my laptop keyboard kept having long strands of hair on it.  By the time I finished pulling it all away, I had a sizeable bundle of hair.  None of it grey, damn it.  None of the grey strands fell out.  I think there’s a conspiracy going on with my hair.

Still, I’ve managed to pull myself through yet again in a Hail Mary last minute save that seem to be my trademark.  Just when things are worst, I find a way.  Like my Grandma Lupe used to tell me, “when God closes a door, he invariably opens a window.”  Some days, it’s almost impossible to find that window and when you find it, it’s so tiny you think it won’t let in the light, but it does.

I was talking to my son yesterday who is going through some stuff with his ex-wife and I told him, “There’s always a way.”  I don’t think he believes me, but there always is.  Sometimes, you just have to calm down, smell the roses in your life, find the little things that make you smile before you can see the solution.  Life is up, down and all around but it is never hopeless no matter how hopeless you may feel at any given moment.

Just watch for the little things.

 

Class Act


I met Guy Kawasaki on Twitter a few years ago, and liked him immensely. After several Tweets back and forth; and one phone call, I ended up working with him on Alltop and loved every second of it. Through our working relationship, he was always a class act and a friend. He’s the kind of Guy that really cares about the people he gets to know. Strangely, though we exchanged tons of emails, Tweets and a number of phone calls over the years, we had never met face-to-face.

I wasn’t going to BWELA. I wanted to, really wanted to, but I couldn’t afford a pass. I’m unemployed at the moment, except for occasional freelance work. Conference passes are on the luxury side of my budget for now, which means I don’t go to them. Still, I had planned on meeting up with some of my friends who were flying in for the conference and meeting a friend that morning out that way. Then I heard Guy was coming to BlogWorld LA to speak, and I knew I just HAD to meet him, so I sent him an email. Being Guy, even though he gets about a ton of email, Google pluses, Tweets, DMs; whatever, he responded within the hour. He’d be there for a three-hour slot. I emailed back asking when and where. He responded that he’d be at the Westin, so we set it up to meet there and I’d drive him to the convention center. Only…I don’t drive. LOL.

So I DM’d the friend I was meeting that morning and asked her, “Do you mind meeting me at the Westin in DTLA and giving a friend a ride to the convention center?” Being the sweetheart she is, she said, “of course, what time?” Didn’t even ask who it was. That’s a friend.

I found Guy sitting on a bench outside the Westin, working on his iPad. We chatted for a bit and he found out I wasn’t going to the conference and said, “Let me try and get you a ticket.” While we were chatting, he was almost immediately surrounded by people who wanted to say hi, shake his hand and show him their gadgets. That must happen a lot.

I forget sometimes, just what a celebrity he is. To me, he’s the Guy who let me build a topic about bacon, who sent me an iPod Shuffle for my grandkids, who played hockey with his kids and talked about it. He’s the Guy who always asked about my kids and grandkids; and the guy who always had time to answer a question, no matter how silly it seemed. He’s the Guy I respect and admire as just a regular guy, a good friend and a great person to work with and for. The celeb thing at the Westin and again from the people in the convention center gawking at him from the escalator was a reminder of his rockstar status amongst marketers and a kind of surreal experience.

I didn’t think much about the pass, to be honest, I was just thrilled to finally meet him in person and to hang out for a few. As soon as we got him to where he needed to go, he quietly used his Guy Factor, and the next thing I knew poof, there was not only a full conference pass for me; but one for my friend who was in the process of paying for hers. The person taking care of the tickets wouldn’t let her pay. Wow. He’s a class act, Guy is.

You know what? The best part of getting that pass was listening to him speak with Chris Brogan. That was all kinds of fabulousness.

I emailed him with a thank you when I got home and didn’t think he’d get it. He was on a plane somewhere or some place else in the world speaking and doing the Guy thing. Almost immediately, the email was responded to with gentlemanly good manners and class as usual.

Graciousness, thoughtfulness and kindness say class to me, and I was enveloped by it. Not just by the Guy; but by Ana Lydia and the other people (Danica Kombol, Sarah Evans, Brett Green, Ted Rubin, Calvin Lee, Ruben Orozco, Ramon DeLeon) I finally got a chance to meet in person. You all rock and are serious class acts.

Thanks again Guy!

*Special thanks to Neenz for letting me know that Guy would be visiting L.A. Much love, my friend.

Fifty!!!

It’s November 1, 2011.  That means I have exactly one month of fortieshness left to me.  On December first, I turn fifty.

Oh. My. God.

When did it happen?  Just yesterday I was fighting with my sister over the bathroom mirror time.  Just last week, I was twirling batons with bits of taffeta on them in my school colors or hiding out in the library.  I was holding my babies, watching them take first steps, taking them to school, making halloween costumes… When in the hell did I become almost fifty?

My life has been one fast-paced, rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.  I’ve always moved fast, talked fast, cooked fast.  Now it seems life has moved too fast for me to see it coming, and it’s snuck up on me.  I don’t feel almost fifty.  I feel about thirty.

I run around all over the place. I still do Aztec dancing with lots of jumping and twisting of my body, it just hurts a little more and I’m a wee bit slower.  I still take the grandkids on long hikes in the Arroyo or long days in the park.  I’m still learning new things and moving fast.  I check my face in the mirror and see no wrinkles, though my eyelids seem a little lower.  This year, for the first time ever, I have a bit of grey hair at my temples.  NOT liking that at all.

My mother at fifty was almost a cripple.  Her weight and poor health had her barely limping along.  She’d never walk in the Arroyo just because.  She didn’t even like walking to the corner and back.  I walk miles at this age and hope I continue to do so for a long, long time.

So I’m freaking out about a number.  Why?  I don’t rightly know, but it seems, well OLD.  I feel cheated.  I feel like I need an extra twenty years in order to get things done.  Fifty seems like the beginning of the end.  I am all about new beginnings and definitely not a fan of endings.  So fifty, being the beginning of the end is both exciting and terrifying.

I’d like to dial back to thirty and have a do-over.  Would I change anything?  Probably not, but I’d sure like to know what I know now.

Well on the upside, I don’t wear polyester and I can kick higher than Molly Shannon.

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