Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 145: Taking a sabbatical

That's right. I'm taking a two week vacation, a sabbatical of sorts. From my daily life and yes, dear reader, from my blog posts. I'm going media free for a couple weeks. You'll have to try to get on without me.

I know it will be tough but on June 8th, you'll get a flurry of catch-up posts. You'll be reeling with excitement of getting to scroll through the archive on the right hand side of this page, salivating at the posts you haven't yet read.

Or perhaps not. Perhaps I think too highly of self.

In the meantime, I'll give you a topic:

What really happened in Lost?


And guess this Lost character:

Until we meet again, arrivederci from me and CW.

That was a clue.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 144: My meltdown with the DMV

One of my favorite annual activities is renewing my vehicle registration. There is something so very satisfying about getting the sticker in the mail and putting in on my license plate, knowing I won't have to deal with this task for another year.

This time, I got my smog check as required, paid my dues and waited for the sticker to arrive in the mail.

And I waited.

And waited.

The sticker never came.

I called the DMV and was on hold, which is typical. They apparently sent my new sticker but to the wrong mailing address. See, when I moved they changed my mailing address but they typed it in wrong. When I was asked for the old address and answered incorrectly (because it's very hard for me to actually guess what wrong address they typed in the computer) they said they couldn't change it on the phone. I couldn't solve it online either so I had to go to the dreaded Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in person.

Ugh, that sucks.

Yes, dear reader, it does in fact suck.

 Me waiting in line outside. 

Me watching other people wait in line. 

Once you've waited in the line, you must then wait in a chair.

People of all ages must wait at the DMV.

We are all waiting for our number to be called, so the whole place sounds like a bingo hall except instead of winning money, we pay money. 

While I waited, I got my morning pages done, so that's at least one good thing. 

Once my number was called, I went up to the window to change my address and get my sticker. The lady couldn't have been nicer. She handed me my sticker and I promptly zipped out to my car to put it on my license plate right there in the parking lot. 

Hours later, I took a gander at the printout of the registration that she had handed me when she gave me my sticker. 

She forgot to update my address. 

OMG.

OMFG!

That's when I lost it. Tears. Anger. Yelling. Cursing God. Cursing the D.M. EFFING V!!!!!

I guess I'll be talking to you again DMV mother effers.

Day 143: Demystifying vision boards

I've done my share of vision boards. And if you've ever seen the ridiculously popular film The Secret you've probably done your share vision boards, too.

Vision boards are boards you create to graphically illustrate your hopes and dreams. Usually they look like a collage of magazine clippings. The whole idea behind them is to attract what you want in life.They usually include fancy cars, diamond rings, tropical vacations and, in my case, photos of Simon Baker.

Dreamy Simon Baker. 

I've had mixed results with these vision boards. Mostly, stuff didn't happen. But a few times, I was astonished by the results. My biggest vision board win was adding a photo of a girl in a red dress on a beach in Hawaii. Then I won a Hawaiian vacation. Only when I was standing on the beach in Hawaii wearing a red dress did I remember the photo from the vision board.

But if everything on the vision boards came true, I'd have been married to Simon Baker (or a reasonable facsimile). We'd be living in a house with an ocean view. And of course we'd have scads of moolah and all I'd have to do all day was write my morning pages and update my blog. Oh and I'd be 10 pounds lighter.

But I did get that Hawaiian vacation.

Dreamy Hawaii. 

In the most recent issue of O Magazine, Martha Beck serves up a way to improve results with the vision board.
 
  1. Pick photos that make your animal self smile, not what you think would make you happy. Sometimes this is a photo of a leaf or a dress or flowers or a scene or a person that makes your heart jump with glee. 
  2. Look at the photos and feel how great they make you feel. (Glee is what we are after)
  3. Toss them, recycle them, chuck them and move on.
This is paraphrased, but it's the gist. I like how I don't have to spend time gluing all this down on a dumb board like I'm an 11-year-old girl sitting on my bed making a collage out of the boys in Teen Beat Magazine.

Dreamy Ricky Schroeder. 

Oh, I have another vision board win. I was once perusing magazines for my vision board and I came across a photo of this handsome architect. I looked at him and thought, "There you are." I've never met him before, at least not in this life (nor in my "sideways" life... Lost wink). I read about him then I found him online and emailed him.

We had a nice little back and forth for a time. It was dreamy and I suspect it meant more to me than to him. But he assisted with altering the course of my life even though he doesn't know it. We were at a Mexican restaurant, which isn't usually the birthplace of revelation. As we indulged in our Combo #1 and Combo #4, I asked him about his dreams. He was the first person ever to say that he was living them. That he was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing, with the exact schedule he wanted, for the exact price he wanted, with the exact people he wanted, in the exact place on the planet he wanted.

Something in me came undone.

Right then, in between bites of my enchilada, my mind opened up to the possibility that the dream of my life doesn't have to be more of my current M-F 9-6 corporate America gig. This guy that I met from some old magazine helped me realize that I want to become the person who, when asked about my dreams, says that I'm living them.

Of course I didn't say that to him. I hardly knew him at the time and I had other kinds of goals in mind for that evening in regards to him, which I'm happy to report, I did in fact achieve.... I didn't have to paste a picture of that on the vision board. But it sure was something that made my animal self smile.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 142: Lies, all lies!

I received an email today that started with this...
"Hi there, Just visited your "City Walks: Paris" blog and I was super impressed by its design and content..."
Of course I was beaming with pride at this. The email went on to say that I was invited to join some online fashion community and current memberships are by invitation only and they'd LOVE to have me in the community.

Well that's nice.

Except I reread the first sentence...
"Just visited your "City Walks: Paris" blog..."
I do, in fact, own this blog in the hopes that one day I will go to Paris and I will do city walks and I will post about them, but right now this is the content that my emailer was "super impressed by:"
Under Construction
This is under construction. If you've arrived here from my other blog, then get back there. There is nothing to see here. Not yet anyway.
Deflated. Rejected. Lied to by a dumb dumb spammer.

There is a lesson here, kids. I just haven't figured it out yet.


Day 141: Breakfast with Dolce & Gabbana


Today I had breakfast with two friends at a fancy restaurant on the beach. They fly into town once every month for three days and on those three days we nosh on lattes, eggs and home fries. The one friend, who I'll call Dolce, goes to school one weekend in the month, while Gabbana goes golfing.

The three of us are a perfect trifecta of friendship. We know each others inner most thoughts? How? Because we tell each other. We're that honest. We prize each other on our good traits and blatantly give each other "suggestions for improvements." All with a laugh and sometimes a pause, followed by, "Ya, I need to work on that."

The waitstaff knows us well. They see me come in early and give me a big booth, knowing I'll be joined shortly by Dolce & Gabbana. When D&G arrive, they bounce into the restaurant and land exuberantly in the booth. And this is often at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. You may find their energy befuddling so early in the morning, but honestly, we are just so happy to be there.

We are handed menus almost apologetically by our waiter who knows we know everything on the menu. They also know we order the same things. By now we have perfected the way we like our eggs and toast and sides of peanut butter. 

It's just breakfast. But it's so much more.

I did not think that when I started meeting them for breakfast that I would be walking into a monthly ritual that has come to mean so much to us all. We give each other the monthly updates, we cajole, we giggle, we discuss the evolution of mankind and we even say grace before our meal, always with one of us piping in the caveat, "Be quick about it."

After breakfast, Dolce hops in my car for a ride to school while Gabbana grabs the clubs for a day at the greens.

Sometimes I observe our monthly ritual and wonder what we did to live this abundance. Then a voice whispers in my inner ear, you showed up. 


I'm so very glad that I did.



Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 140: Living with life's hard questions

Every once in awhile we need some sage advice that make us feel like we're on the right track.
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
                -- Rainer Maria Rilke
Now read it again and let it sink in.

Good.

Day 139: Why corporate America should adopt sabbaticals

A friend of mine is taking all her vacation time and jamming it into one month as a sort of sabbatical. She's been at her office for awhile and has accrued four weeks vacation. Lucky duck.

This got me thinking about sabbaticals and corporate America. What if your company actually gave you a sabbatical? Like you had to take one. Like it was part of your job. Like you had more than your measly two weeks off per year. What would happen?

  1. Avoid burn out.
  2. Heal from burn out.
  3. Long term employee retention for the company.
  4. A fresh mind.
  5. Potential for creative solutions to spring forth as there is time to think them up.
  6. A chance to see the world.
  7. A chance to achieve dreams.
  8. Time to finally make it to a yoga class (this is a personal one)
  9. A chance to volunteer for worthy causes.
  10. And by worthy causes, I mean sleeping in and avoiding the early morning commute.
Sounds like the world's best perk to me.

Perhaps as baby boomers retire and attracting quality talent to fill their places becomes more important, companies will consider adding sabbaticals to their list of perks.
"Employers are finding that employees are more engaged, more productive, and more loyal when they come back from sabbaticals," says Rose Stanley, practice leader of compensation and benefits for World at Work, an association for compensation professionals." -- full article from US news

So there you go.

Most CEOs and especially CFOs would likely balk at sabbaticals saying they would interrupt the work flow or cost the company too much money. But would business really be affected? Would the almighty dollar suffer? Is it really healthier to give people skimpy vacations? Is that really living a balanced life?

I once worked for an advertising agency where I told the president that I wouldn't quit this job to take another job, I'd quit this job to take a nap. Perhaps not my most stellar career move but there was some truth to it. We can run ourselves ragged in our corporate gigs and wake up one morning not able to do much more than put on our bunny slippers and talk in tongues.

If I had a sabbatical I'd high tail it to Paris and walk all day long for months, stopping only to sip coffee at a café here and eat a crepe there. Then I'd head back home and hang with the family. Take up the same sorts of activities but it would be Tim Horton's coffee and my mom's pancakes. After that, I'd go back to my beloved Maui because I still feel ruined from my trip. Everywhere else seems absolutely dreadful once you've been to Maui. And that's saying something. I live near the beach in Southern California. It's pretty here.

And while I would be in all those places, I'd be able to look around, to see life being lived rather than trying to earn a living. Maybe I'd be better off if I were a "happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender."

What would you do, dear Reader? If you had a year off and money was no issue, what would you do?

This is what Stefan Sagmeister did in his TED talk about the power of time off:




Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 138: A totally decent placeholder

I was speaking with a friend recently about sordid love affairs of our past. He spoke of this woman who lived across the courtyard. They'd have dinner with and a screw every Friday night. She was 24. He was 19. Each were equally lonely, despondent, insecure and driftless.

I spoke of mine. How he was fun. We had a few good laughs. We shared a few bottles of wine, films, late nights and early mornings. On occasion, we walked arm-in-arm but never hand-in-hand. And I didn't even care to imagine my first name with his last name.

He was a totally decent placeholder.

The totally decent placeholder is a person you pretend to love for a time. Or at least like enough to pretend to be kinda dating. Not the kind of person you really care to introduce to your family or friends. A person you hang out with but not a person you brag about.

In the quietness of your secret little romance, you whisper little hopes like, "I could get used to this," and, "We should do this again in the near future... and maybe in the distant future."

You both know the score. But there is comfort in lies.

Then, as with any totally decent placeholder, drifting occurs. Calls, texts and emails become sparse until they end completely. No big breakup blowout. Weeks later you think you should call but then you shrug and figure you'll do it later.

We all know that later never comes.

Eventually they make a comment on your status update that makes you smile and you consider writing a witty retort. You also consider starting that thing up again. Whatever that thing was. But then you go about your business of the day and both the witty retort and rekindling thought is forgotten.

Upon reflection, you could think that this was a relationship that failed. Or did it? What if the placeholders had never come along to give us a smile? We could lose hope. How dreary life would be.

So let us honor the totally decent placeholders in our lives. They served a purpose and for this, we thank them. 
Tom: What happened? Why? Why didn't they work out?
Summer: What always happens. Life.
                          -- 500 Days of Summer


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 137: For those who die in sudden and confusing ways

I went to a funeral today for a person who died in a sudden and confusing way.

Back home, someone else in my circle of friends also died in a sudden and confusing way.

It makes you think.

The priest began the service with, "Today is the beginning of a new way of relating to her."

That's an interesting new twist for a priest. I think he's right though. She hasn't gone, she's just moved from this way of being to another way of being.

The program also stated the date she entered this life and the date she entered eternal life. Nice touch.

It's unlikely that anything can bring much comfort to the bereaved, but these little ways of reframing something tragic is at least a place to start.


Day 136: Screen door slams, Mary's dress waves

Listen:



Ahhhh wasn't that a nice break? I became a writer the moment I heard "Screen door slams, Mary's dress waves." From then on I wanted to write something as poetic, true and meaningful. I'm still trying. But the song is so good that I'm still inspired to try. 

Bruce Springsteen explains the song here:



Bruce said this song was his invitation.

I took it.

Thanks, Bruce. 


Day 135: Coffee with Julia Cameron

Today is my 10 year anniversary of moving to Los Angeles.

I thought it only fitting that I celebrate it with Julia Cameron's latest read, Finding Water, since Julia and the Artist's Way is part of the reason I moved to Los Angeles.



When I first did Julia's 12 week course, I'd write my morning pages in the coffee shop at the base of the tower where I worked as a Junior Copywriter for my beloved Leo Burnett advertising agency. My pages were filled with headline options and strategic thinking. I was very into advertising. My pages took a turn, however, when I fell in love with the cutest Account Executive who told me that he was moving to Los Angeles and that was that.

It wasn't Alaska.

It wasn't Timmins for heavensakes.


It was California.

Sexy California.

My pages started being about making my evil plans to move to California. I used them to update my resume and organize my portfolio. To decide what to pack and what to leave behind. To decide who to keep and who to leave behind.

10 years ago today my car dealer picked me up at the airport in the car I was about to purchase that day. I signed papers, handed over some moolah and drove into my life in Santa Monica.

I remember sweat pouring down my back as I drove, not because I was hot but because I was anxious. What the hell was I doing??!?!?!!

I still don't know what I'm doing. And some days I feel like this was all a big mistake.

The love affair died but it inspired the books. The enthusiasm for advertising has waned but I still like it enough to let it pay my bills. I'm still writing down my evil plans in my morning pages. And the car is still here. Still running great. In fact, here are a few photos.

Me and my stigmata blisters from my new sandals lounging in my car:


And a cute little photo I took this morning of a very determined little plant growing in front of my car.


I look at this little plant and whisper back to the girl I was 10 years ago, Grow! You've made it this far. Grow!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 134: Death, love and Tupperware

I have been surrounded by death lately. First, my uncle died a few weeks ago, then my good friend's sister died, then another friend took a mysterious leave of absence from everyone's life and we don't know if he's terminally ill, depressed, in rehab, all of the above or none of the above.

(And if he's reading this, I'd like to invite him out for noodles when he's feeling better. I'd also like to hit him aside the head with a Tupperware lid for making us worry and letting our imaginations run wild.)

ANYWAY...

Considering the lives and deaths of others makes me inevitably ponder my own. If I kicked it right now I'd be so mad. I haven't seen what I've wanted to see and haven't done what I've wanted to do yet.

At the end of our days, whenever they may be, it doesn't matter what our life wasn't. What matters is what our life was. Did we see a lot of the world? Did we have good friendships? Did we laugh a lot? Did we love?

It always ends with love. The ultimate test of a life well lived. Did we love enough? Did we spread the love? Were we generous with our time, possessions and talents?

I've done alright in the love department but I'd like to step it up a notch. I'd like to know what it feels like to love a man so deeply that I want to walk through life with him. I get confused when people say, "I knew I'd spend the rest of my life with him." I want to know what it feels like to love a child the way I see parents love theirs. I want to know what it feels like to have so much love emanating from me that it doesn't matter what I do with my time. I'm blissful and satisfied. But most importantly, I don't want God to be waiting for me at the Pearly Gates with a Tupperware lid in his hand ready to ding me on the head and say, "What were you waiting for girl? Why didn't you go out and get it?"


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 133: My ity bity book of complaints

Attempting to take my own advice from yesterday's post, I decided to actually do my morning pages in the morning.

They are, after all, called morning pages. That Julia Cameron knew what she was talking about when she wrote the Artist's Way.

As I sat down with my page and a super strong overpriced coffee from the swanky boutique coffee shop near my house, I realized that I usually to start my pages with a list of complaints.

Janice's Ity Bity Book of Nastiness

That's what my journal has become.

Even I didn't want to read it as I was writing it so I stopped. This could be why I've been slacking on doing my pages lately. That and my friend Ilham told me yesterday to stop complaining.

When I stopped, my mind went blank except for one thought. What if I didn't have anything to complain about? What on earth would I write about? 

Blankness. Is that what is happening? Am I writing out all the words so that I become a blank canvas?

Apparently no, because after I gave it another minute, what followed was my Evil Plans.

Sigmund Freud once said that in order to be truly happy in life, a human being needed to acquire two things: The capacity to work, and the capacity to love.

Hugh MacLeod (no relation) says that an Evil Plan is really about being able to do both at the same time. Read more about it here.

So ya, my Evil Plans are rising up in my pages. And you know what? They are so much better to read than a long list of complaints. Now my book is....

Janice's Ity Bit Book of Evil Plans

Bwah-ha-ha-haaaa


Day 132: I skipped yet another day of writing morning pages

I went to see Iron Man 2 instead.


I could tell you I felt guilty about not writing my pages, but honestly, Iron Man 2 was worth it.

Though there is a lesson here, kids. Do your morning pages in the morning so that they are out of the way just in case someone asks you to go see a Marvel Comic blockbuster film last minute.

Now if only I could take my own advice.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 131: What is your life's purpose?


So today I was going through a little monologue in my head called "What is my life's purpose." It's a pretty regular internal strife I put myself through whenever I'm not fully engaged in whatever work I'm doing.

And I'm not fully engaged today because I was criticized. Yes. A client actually didn't like what I wrote. How dare they. I usually don't get this feedback, which could explain why I felt paralyzed and started second guessing my life's work.

So I went to Guru #1 for answers: Ilham. He's a friend who has been at his job for seven years, which is like dog years to any person who works in the creative department of an advertising agency. I think this guy is the coolest cat ever, which is why I painted him:

He says:
  1. Don't complain.
  2. Be grateful.
  3. Don't always look up for what is better out there.
  4. Look down to see those who don't have it so good. It could always be worse.
Ya, but it could be better, too.

So, I moved to Guru #2:

 Michael Bernard Beckwith.

I went to the gym, hopped on a bike and popped in my earphones to listen to his guided meditation about figuring out my life's purpose. Rather than ponder what my life purpose is, Mr. Beckwith posed the question this way:

What is God's idea of Itself as me?

God as Itself sure as shit wouldn't be working this freak show.

(Truth be told I like my job... but I go into hypersensitivity when faced with criticism... ugh... being creative is a process)

What followed in my guided meditation (at this point I was off the bike and doing yoga stretches... two birds, I say) was the idea of throwing out tiny seeds of possibility. Email one person here and one person there. Tell one person about this. Tell one person about that. Mention something here and take a trip there. Tiny ity bity little movements that inch myself toward a life that is a bit more me than the one I am currently living.

Then let the seeds fall where they may. Let God take care of the rest.

Let's see how it goes, shall we?


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 130: Random Awesomeness in the mail!

Not for you. For me.

Check out what one of my loyal readers sent me in the mail:


It's the DVD for PALEYFEST when they featured Lost. I went to this event and you can read all about it here.

Lost is on tonight. Only three episodes left until the end of the series. I haven't been this excited since EVER. I've never been so freaking excited about a show in all my days.

Dexter comes close.

And maybe Arrested Development.

And True Blood.

Six Feet Under.

And that's about it.

No wait.

Weeds.

Okay, so I'm a TV-series-aholic but only for completely awesome shows.

If you haven't followed Lost up until no, you need to know 2 things:

1. Shame on you.
2. Don't start watching now. Start at the beginning on DVD. The addiction will really sink in somewhere around Season Four.

Oh the sweet addiction.

Thanks go out to the reader who rocks my world for sending me random awesomeness in the mail. My affection can be bought. You know me so well.


Day 129: Post-It Note Art

I was recently introduced to the art of Ed Spence. This guy takes old paintings and adds a modern twist.
He also makes art on post-it notes:


This post-it art inspired my friend Sharon who made me a series called The Bird.


The Bird:


The Bird II:


And this inspired me to share with you my Post-It film "Posting" a Question:



 Here's to making art any which way you can with whatever tools you have on you, whether that be an old thrift store painting or a post-it note.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 128: My dear friend Ned

I didn't write my morning pages today. I didn't want to. I had one thing on my mind and I knew that if I wrote my pages, I would write down the one thing on my mind. And it was too sad to write down.

Today I sad with a good friend of mine and his family who had recently and tragically lost a family member. Watching him go through the grief of losing a sibling was challenging. Watching his parents go through the grief of losing a child was heart wrenching.

This experience reminded me of my own first big grief experience. My friend Ned died a few years ago quite suddenly and tragically. The last thing he ever said to me was, "I'm going on vacation. I'll call you when I get back." Then he was gone. I didn't know how to handle the grief so I did what I know how to do: I wrote.

I started a dialogue with Ned in my journal:
Janice: WTF?
Ned: I told you I'd call when I get back. 
Janice: What the hell?

Ned: I know. Weird. Check me out. I'm dead. Didn't see that coming. I didn't know it was happening at the time. I got out of bed that morning. I didn't feel good. I went back to bed. Now I'm here. I've been sitting here waiting for you to start writing with me.

Janice: I'm so sad I could barf.

Ned: Dude, I know. I don't want you to feel sad but I also understand now that part of my role in your life is to teach you about grief.
And so began a conversation that lasted about a year. I wrote and he wrote back. He told me about  his experiences just after he died...
I was all "what the?" and couldn't comprehend what was going on or even where I was. All I knew was that I felt great. That I was happy, content and understood fully that I should be here.)
He wrote about how Heaven feels different from Earth...  
Earth is a heavy place. It feels like being stuck in a system that you feel you have no control over. And it's so bland compared to here. Now the food, the colors, the senses, even love are vibrant and palpable)
What his Heaven is like...
Finally good tomatoes.
I said that his description of Heaven was severely lacking...
You know what is especially different about being here? I can't even feel sad. I remember sadness as I remember the scenes of my life, but this feels so good that I can't even attach myself to sadness. It really does feel like Heaven here except you can't know how Heaven feels until after your body dies. I wish I had the words to explain this feeling. Maybe there are no words because we can't know this feeling when we're alive. Otherwise we'd all kill ourselves trying to get back to this feeling.
He said he and I were soul mates...
But not the smoochy-smoochy kind of soul mates.
Gross!
We've been hanging out together in a bunch of lifetimes already, helping each other along the way. We are of a tapestry, both of us threads that keep meeting lifetime after lifetime to assist each other.
Then I told him to not show up all ghostly in the middle of the night to freak my shit out...
Okay, no scary ghost business in the middle of the night. How about we communicate in your journals and drawings.
Deal. 
I'd shake on it but that would probably freak your shit out.
You got that right, mister. 

And so began my year of writing down my conversations with a dead guy in my journal. You may think I'm crazy. I don't care. It helped. It was the only thing that helped.

Harry: Tell me one last thing. Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?
Dumbledore: Of course it is happening inside you head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?

--Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Day 127: Morning pages report and second chances

I figure I should actually report on this project once in awhile rather than just show you all the photos I take with my iPhone. Okay, just one:


To recap this project for new readers, I have decided to write three pages in my journal everyday in 2010 and blog about the experience. My hypothesis is that my life will change in magical and beautiful ways, I will unleash incredible art and become the artist I'm meant to be.

So far, I've written mostly each day. I've skipped it four times, including Day 128. Plus, I haven't updated since last Thursday and I've had a few people call. Okay, my sisters call. They go into high alert when I haven't updated my blog daily, figuring something must be up and they must get to the bottom of it, but not before discussing amongst themselves. I love them.

The reason I haven't blogged is that I haven't wanted to. I kinda got sick of it last week. Yet, I'm not ready to let go of the project or the idea of having 365 blog entries this year.

Speaking of not being able to let go, I met a man at my coffee shop today that was reading a really thick book. I saw that it was from the library. I told him that he's gonna have to renew that sucker because there is no way he can get that read before it's due.

He laughed and told me that he doesn't have to read the entire book, but something inside him can't let go of the idea that he should read the whole book. And he said if spends his time reading this book, he can avoid doing other things.

I told him that I knew exactly how he felt.

He asked for an example. I wanted to sit down at his table and give him one but I got shy because he was super cute. Anyway. I wanted to tell him about how I'm trying to reread all my morning pages and harvest all the good bits to create some sort of amazing book or painting or poetry something-or-other or anything of merit at all. But as long as I just stick to rereading the morning pages, I don't actually have to write the something-or-other of any merit.

Dig?

Dig. 


So, to report: I skipped a day writing pages. I felt guilty about it. I didn't want to have to write about it in my blog, therefore I didn't write my blog.

Full disclosure.

Thanks. Appreciate it. You know, it's a challenge to stick to something. You're doing a great job.

Thanks, dear Reader. You're always here to encourage me. And sometimes to call me to ask WTF is going on. Your emails, calls and text help me keep going. I would have probably quit this project a month ago had you not been here to read this.

A thousand thank yous for this.

So as of now, I'm giving myself a second chance. Starting new. I fell off the wagon but I'm back on. We're doing this.

Yep. We're doing this.




Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 126: Follow your Heart

This is not some flowery optimistic instruction from Beyond. Follow your Heart is a restaurant I discovered at lunch right here in the stinking valley, right off Sherman Oaks, the armpit of LA. It's a grocery store with a great restaurant in the back. It is probably what Whole Foods was like before Whole Foods become the conglomerate that it is today.

Imagine being vegan but loving burgers.
Imagine loving diners but knowing they only have meat burgers.
Imagine a place where you can get a vegan burger at a diner.

Follow your Heart is this place. It has the best vegetarian greasy spoon fare ever.

Let's start with diner coffee...


Then let's assume you want soy because you're probably vegan...


Then let's assume you want cane sugar because chances are, you're that girl...


Then let's give you a veggie burger that tastes like a real burger...

(No burger photo available as your author inhaled it upon receipt.)

Then let's let the "burger" settle with unlimited cups of coffee...


Heaven. I'm in heaven. And all it took was a burger and a coffee.

Day 125: Your horoscope for today

This is your horoscope for today:


When I first read this, I sighed with relief.

May you as well.

Namaste, dear Reader.

Namaste.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 124: Today is Unrequited Dream Day



Maui ruined me.

Ever since I returned from my Hawaiian vacation, I haven't been able to get back in the groove of corporate life.

The get up, drive to work, be at work, pick up food, drive home, eat, sleep, repeat lacks the put-up-with-it-ness that it had before my romp with sea turtles and conversation with the banyan tree.

So that's what today was all about. I wish I'd just get over it. I wish I had a life that didn't have this ache.

And the worst part?

My job is fine.

What's my problem?

I could say that I just need a vacation, but the last vacation resulted in an unbearable state of being that I thought I'd shake after week one and certainly by week two. But it's been a few months and it's still here.

What's a girl to do?

Get up and go to work. Look at my bank balance to remember that the checks clear. Remind myself that it's a good gig. Put it out of my mind as best I can. Grin and bear it. Tell myself that it could be worse.

And try to forget that it could be so much better.



Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 123: Less is the new black

I'm a photographer
I have a few crappy cameras
Sold the fancy ones with too many buttons
I believe in auto focus
And I take most of my photos with my phone
Because I know that there are ten great photos
Within ten minutes and ten feet
Of anywhere to anywhere

And this is why:


My friend Chris O. dropped this book off at my desk after seeing the Hipstamatic photos I took on my iPhone on facebook. The author of this book, Chase Jarvis, is my kind of people. Finally someone who, like me, believes that it doesn't matter what kind of camera you have. It matters that it's with you and it matters that you take a lot of photos with it.  That's how to get the photos you want. Photography's dirtiest little secret. It has little to do with talent.

Chase Jarvis fills this incredible little book with beautiful photos and wisdom.
"I don't want more settings or buttons. I want less. Less is the new black."
He's right. What I love about taking photos with my phone is that I am both in a scene and removed from a scene. I can be where I'm required to be but have the tools I need to keep my inner artist occupied.
"People usually ignore the camera that's built into your phone because they consider it useless. That comes in handy."
This guy rocks my world. I have a few friends that buy a lot of cameras and equipment. They also buy a lot of tools and stuff that they never really use. These are all just things that get in the way of getting art out in the world. I know for me, as a painter, I find that I use less as I paint. I know what brushes work for me. I know what paint colors work for me. I know what canvases work for me. I use up, give away or toss the rest because all that extra stuff squashes my mojo. Gets in my way. Bugs.

So dear budding artist, pare it down. Cut back. Stop hiding behind your fancy tools. And, take this final piece of advice from Mr. Chase Jarvis:
"Shoot."


Day 122: Coffee date with Polaroid Notes

One of my favorite weekend activities is to hop on my bicycle and head down the beach to Urbanic on Abbott Kinney Boulevard, which is the best stationery shop EVER.

Ever?

Ever.

Check out the black bike trying to pick up my blue bike outside the shop:


I can see why. My blue bike has got it going on. Plus, Abbott Kinney is a scene! You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a hottie. After I picked up some new supplies at Urbanic, I rode up to a new coffee shop on Main Street in Venice, CA:


Once I settled into my chair, I whipped out my goodies from Urbanic:



Little beautiful note cards the size of Polaroids. Makes my teeth tingle.

After gazing at my treats, I settled into my morning pages and realized the date:


My five month anniversary of starting this project. 122 days of morning pages and blog posts. That's something. It is also my friend Jim's birthday:


He told me not to tell. Oh well. You know how it is with blogs. A lot of sharing. A lot of words. And a heck of a lot of coffee.



Day 121: How to make a fort

Introducing the best fort ever.


Supplies:
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Small child
  • Flashlight
Oliver, my Godson, came by to hang with his Auntie Jan. A few weeks ago he was into bubbles. Now it's all about forts. I couldn't be more pleased.  I'm especially pleased when he wants me to be one of the posts. That means I have to sit on the couch with my feet on the coffee table, holding down the corners of the blanket. From this vantage point I sip my coffee and watch while he builds the rest. We chat about the merits of using one pillow over the other and how the use of the umbrella makes the fort roof waterproof, obviously.

This child is brilliant. Clearly, he takes after his Godmother.


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