26 June 2006

Shake your head and wonder

Wow. I'm beat. It's been a very busy last 4 days. I won't bore you with all the details but I will say I had a blast! Thursday night I did a very LA thing and went to see my friend's most awesome band - The Teenage Prayers - at The Viper Room. It's a place that is probably more well known for who died there than for the up and coming bands who play there but it was my first show after all these years of living only blocks away and it was very cool! Not the 'I'm too cool for you' cool but the 'you don't feel like you're in a trendy LA bar' cool. I had flashes of feeling like I was in a dive bar in the West Village. The band totally rocked, the sound mix was good, and people were surprisingly unpretentious. It wasn't what I expected.

As I sit here 'shaking my head and wondering' (thanks Shawn Colvin) I realize this last weekend wasn't what I expected either. After driving up with my recently met, very cool, east coast neighbours up to San Francisco, and spending the weekend with many strangers, I am totally beat and pleasantly surprised. It was one of those unplanned, last minute, fly by the seat weekends. Everywhere I turned there were awesome people. It started the minute I walked in from my 8 1/2 hour drive up and into a stranger's house (I stayed with Robert, a friend of Sara's) and felt totally welcomed, comfy, and part of everything. Even the amazing neighbours upstairs and their friends took me in the next morning, bagel'd me up, coffee'd my veins and let me tag along. Maybe it was the special nature of a whole city having a party, maybe it was being in one of my favourite city's that put me in a particularly sociable mood, or maybe people up in San Fran are more my speed. Either way it was a blast and I want to send this week's blog out to my neighbours and all the very cool 'you don't feel like you're in a trendy LA bar' people I met this past weekend! If any of you ever read this I want you to know how much I appreciate our conversations, our long walks and how welcome you made me feel. Thank you all!!!!

Thanks for tuning in.....Until next monday......Cheers!

19 June 2006

Seems like everyone's got a plan

You know you’ve lived in LA too long when someone you used to work with now has a TV show on Bravo. Yep. It’s happened. She was a writer’s assistant, I was a PA and it was my first job in LA (the one where I worked for the late Scott Brazil). I left the job before the show got canceled, not being more than friendly coworkers, we lost in touch. Years later I ran into her at my gym. She was working towards being a Personal Trainer. We chatted, caught up, and I applauded her for getting out of the industry as I do with all that I find out are brave enough to run away from the circus.

Then last week as I sat on the couch catching up on Tivo’d items, and blowing my nose until the cows strolled home (they still haven’t btw) I saw her in an ad for a new show. For some reason it struck me, not just seeing a familiar face on a screen, since this wasn’t the first time, (several of my college friends/acquaintances have gone on to some healthy success) but the idea that I had once lauded her for ‘getting out’. It made me wonder, is everyone here to get a TV deal? She seemed so happy to have ‘escaped’ when I ran into her at the gym. Now here she was in my living room. Did she get lucky? Was it one of those things where it was too good a deal to pass up and thus she was pulled ‘back in’? Or was it her intention all along, though she made it seem as if she earnestly was happy to have run away from the circus. I’ll never know the answers to these questions since until last week I hadn’t seen her in years. But I wonder. I wonder for myself, and for anyone I know who is here. Was Shawn Mullins right when he observed that ‘it seems like everyone’s got a plan’?

Thanks for tuning in.....Until next monday......Cheers!

PS. A special shout-out: My friend’s band - The Teenage Prayers are playing this thurs. 22 June at The Viper Room - 9.30p. www.teenageprayers.com

14 June 2006

You know I’ll miss you and thus it begins

I’ve returned to LA exhausted, sick, and sad. My time back east was very well spent, very busy, and as I spend my first day back resting on the couch and catching up on Tivo’d items, I reflect on the previous days. While I spent both weekends in Massachusetts with friends, the time in between I used to catch up on some long overdue work on my sisters house. This is stuff her, thankfully soon to be ex looser, should have done while he was not working. I built a walkway, 2 gardens, painted her foundation, her porch, and helped her to try and save a stray cat shot by the very evil Dr. Hubbard. I am paying now, though it was worth it, with a head cold, and pains in my body that will take days to recover.

I’m feeling sad that I’ve left, and feeling torn between two worlds. As Phineas sits in his favourite box in the closet I think about this street that I’ve lived on for over 8 1/2 years, and the neighbourhood that helped look for Phin when he got out for the month of October (we think he went to Vegas, though he has yet to fully spill the beans, silly cat!). Then my thoughts wander to my tearful goodbye yesterday at Bradley International Airport. I kissed my niece, wished her happy birthday, and hugged my very awesome sister promising that one day I’ll move back.

As I walked around Newburyport this past sunday my mind went back to my years in Boston, and the trips to various northern towns, and states. The places where I still feel at home. Including the place in Maine where I was a camp councilor and met my dearest Suzanne who, from 1000’s of miles away opened up to me about her late sister upon hearing of my mothers death and thusly became the lifeline that kept me sane those first awful months. My mind weighs heavily on these thoughts as I recover from my flight and the crap in my head.

Then there is this place. LA. A place that I have yet to fully understand as I approach on the 16th the 9 year mark. If it weren't for my ‘hood I would have left years ago. The streets that I walk to the store, the movie theatre, or sushi. The neighbours who helped looked for Phin. The extraordinary friends I’ve made along the way.

I am deeply conflicted and perhaps that is why I write this blog. I never thought I’d be here so long, and I thought much would happen that has yet to come to fruition. At what point do we walk away and try something new, or old?

Abby and I both struggle with this daily as we are both tied to our families on the east coast, and the places that make us feel ok about the world. Maybe that’s the trick, to figure out where we most feel ok, or most happy to be alive. That place that makes us want to get up early because we don’t want to miss anything. We don’t want to miss the dew soaked sunrise, or the sunset that comes after a summer thunderstorm. Perhaps it’s that first snow that falls as you take a sip of your Wicked Winter Ale on the covered back porch while sitting under your sleeping bag. Or maybe you don’t want to miss the hike down to the beach in Malibu, or the weekends in Big Bear. Maybe it’s the Farmers Market on Melrose Place where neighbours gather every sunday and shop for organic food for the week. Maybe...maybe....oy. Too much to think about right now so I’m going to go take another vitamin, and catch some Z’s.

Thanks for tuning in...Until next monday...Cheers!

05 June 2006

Babe, won't you let me stay, you're a beautiful girl

I'm in love. I want to shout it from the roof tops, I want to scream it from the sea. I AM IN LOVE!!! It's been a long time coming, a long, steady, unrequited time. It started about 20 years ago when my dear friend, Hank, took me up to his family's estate in The Berkshires. While the main house had been sold, his family kept, and still has, the guest cottage and the 300 plus acres surrounding the houses. It was a beautiful weekend on every level. We spent afternoons at The "Dead" Lion drinking Bloody Mary's (don't ask me why I wasn't carded...), talking about our dreams for our respective futures, music....and cars. I have been in love with that side of the world ever since. The towns, the people, the history, and of course, Tanglewood. There is very little better in this life than an evening at Tanglewood.

This past weekend I went up there with my other dear friend, Fritz, to see his ex wife, Lauren and her daughter, Catherine. Since I moved out to LA this has become an expected, and needed trip for us both. It's our time together. I have grown very fond of our 'hosts' and the 2 hour drive up Route 7. It's been a couple of years since we have had the time to stay for more than an hour or 2 so this time Lauren made plans for dinner and drinks with some friends of hers at this nice little place called Due (doo eh) in Great Barrington. Aside from the tasty vittles and stimulating conversation I noticed something else. Everyone in the joint was beautiful. Our waiter was a major hottie and if I'd been a Hollywood agent I would have snatched him up. Though I'm guessing he's pre-med and wouldn't care.

I was absolutely struck by the beauty that surrounded me. Not just the natural world of the rolling hills and mountains I so crave when I am away. But the people. Everyone was beautiful in this amazing, natural way. I never once looked at someone and wondered what kind of work they have had done as is so common a thought in LA where most everyone is 'beautiful', 'perfect' and sterile. It numbs my brain to people watch sometimes because people always look so put together, so 'made' and cardboard like. What I witnessed in this restaurant and everywhere we went was this softness, this realism, this tangible and delectable beauty that you can taste when you breathe in the humid air. I was truly amazed.

It was hard to leave. Very hard. I'm wondering why I hadn't noticed all this the last time I was there. Or the time before. I think when I lived on this side of the world it was everywhere I looked and I took it for granted. Time in LA has changed the lenses from which I view this planet. I appreciate it so much more than I did when I was growing up here. There is such a stark contrast living in LA, in so many ways, that to describe it would take a novel, or a weekly blog, to fully comprehend for me or you. Unless you live it. Maybe that's the trick. You have to live it to fully be in love. So yes, I am in love. I can admit it. I'm in love with the rolling hills of The Berkshires, the natural friendly faces, and her Cooper Mini that Lauren finally let me drive!!!

Thanks for tuning in...Until next Monday...CHEERS!!!!