I'm the new person all the time these days. I've shaken so many hands and clearly enunciated my name too many times to count in the past month. I'm here.....in California. Too much has happened since I last blogged, and I keep meaning to record a brief (haha right?) summary of it here. Honestly, it has become too daunting. I'm too chronological and detailed and we'd easily have a novel in the works. To save time on writing, perfecting, editing, revising, editing, sending to publishers, cover artwork, publishing, printing, pricing, distribution......I'm just gonna give you the good stuff. Here are a few of my favorite things about my life in LA so far.
1)My Dad came to my rescue in Amarillo. Okay this was pre-LA, but certainly the reason I made it here. He literally wore his "Dad's Rescue Service" shirt depicted onthe right. Long story of car trouble, but he drove all night to come help. What amazing parents I have. This was the tip of realizing how hard it would actually be to leave all my friends and family. The Grand Canyon (below),as amazing as it was/is, seemed to further symbolize the growing distance.
2) I have a new roommate! I had somehow forgotten what a quirky, okay really just weird at times, social introvert I am. I was settled in to a community for years that knew my quirks and somehow forgot they do still exist and ultimately are quirks. She has put up with me with such grace. Living with someone truly is like having someone hold up a mirror. Eeeek! Communication IS key. It has been so great to be on this adventure with another person! Sometimes we just go, "We live in California now?!?"
3)Dog Parks or should I say Tolmi's ALL TIME FAVORITE thing about the move has been the dog park. It has been my
saving grace or my sanity saver or something. I think if I had waited one more day Tolmi would've literally climbed the walls of our apartment. I think I've mentioned before that I'm pretty sure in human form Tolmi would be jock or a cool kid. It's been fun to see him strut his stuff around the other dogs. Unfortunately, he tends to be the annoying one that humps all the dogs. Yeeeesh! I've been schooling myself abit in selflessness, and I've failed alot in the area of attitude. When Tolmi wants to pee, I'm not in Missouri where I can open a door and let him frollick in a fenced yard. I have to drag myself out of bed, clothe myself, shoe myself, leash Tolms, and grab my keys, my phone, and a poo bag all while Tolmi is doing the kidney dance around me. For those who know me well, this is quite alot of activity in my first fifteen minutes of the day. I'm still learning the selflessness lesson....but I love my Tolmers.
4) There's a house at the end of my alley. Our strip is mostly apartment buildings, but there is one house on the end. It has a garage that faces the alley. Often right before sundown, an older gentleman has the garage open revealing this beautiful old car. I know almost nothing about cars, but it looks like a Model T to my car-ignorant brain. I like to make up stories about he and the car as I walk by. I always try to make eye contact and say, "Hi," but he never looks up. Maybe some time I'll share one of those stories with you, but not now. :)
5) I love having my own bathroom. Most of you know baths are my stress reliever. I take one almost every night. So I need not explain much about loving my bathroom. It goes without saying for me. It's not an amazing bathroom, but I love it. Every night, I think about painting a sky scene on the high ceiling. Maybe when my painter friend comes to visit.
6) Walking to and from work. It's great thinking time and the scenery is obviously beautiful! I find myself often feeling pretty whimsical when outside here. I equally love the roof access in my building for this very reason. Here are a few of the palm trees that line the streets in my neighborhood.
7) Speaking of walking to work, I LOVE my new job. I love it because of the girls I work with though. They really make the place what it is. The vibe is so welcoming and home-y. It is such a blessing to get to call these girls friends. And the regulars are pretty awesome too. I am surrounded by creative people, and it's inspiring to say the least. Check out this place! www.mstreetcoffee.com If you live in LA, have a favorite coffee shop, and haven't been to M Street, you have not considered the best coffee shop in the area. And I'm a bit of a coffee snob after working in several cafes. When I moved to LA, I kept thinking, "I just need to find something to pay the bills right away." This place has already done so much more than "pay the bills." I can't say enough about my pleasant surprise in this part of life out here.
Ok there's so much more, but those are just a few of my favorite things. When I wait too long to write, I get very task oriented and lose the natural flow usually captured in recording a vivid experience in writing. To be honest, I fear this has happened here. As far as this list of my favorite things, I have watched The Sound of Music since childhood and still have a VHS of the movie. "When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad" are some lyrics from a song in the movie. I have thought of this a couple of times during this transition, and it does help. This move to LA has been so good for the majority of all the parts. To tie in what I mentioned about realizing how hard it would be to move SO far from friends and family, I have been living that reality out for the last month. I have been confronted with the ache and loss of knowing and being known by people. I have completely started over in the friend area. I've done this several times in the past, but never with this much self awareness I guess. I know myself better today than any of my previous days. Due to this, I am keenly aware that I don't ever walk into a situation here without foundation to lay. Sure, some of it is just small talk with acquaintances, but most of it is "what do you..where do you....when did you...you like what?" My parents visited me recently, and I experienced that deep sigh kind of relaxation you have with people that know you.....really know you....without questions....it's already all been discussed. So for an introvert that loves quality time and quality conversation, I've been tapped out socially from meeting so many people but craving that deeper level stuff, ya know? Remembering all the good things listed above makes waiting for the friendships to develop bearable. :)
Quick interlude depicting one of my "pockets of shyness".....some musicians come regularly to the coffee shop. The owner introduced me to them as a singer/songwriter. They asked for my website so i wrote it down for them. The next week they came back for their Americanos. I assumed they had not checked out my website because the "no response" happens alot. As I handed one his drink, he said he checked out my website and that I have a great voice. I quickly shifted my eyes elsewhere, probably blushed, said "oh thanks...", and moved behind the espresso machine out of his line of vision. What am I, five?? Ugh, you'd think I'd never received a compliment before in my life! Professionalism, zero! Yikes! Where does that come from? So yes, one of my many "pockets of shyness" moments.
Here's to hoping I'm having more success in other music situations in this town.... I'm playing my first gig during an Artwalk in Newhall, CA on Thursday, April 7th at 5pm. I'll be at El Trocadero along with several other songwriters who will be performing throughout the evening.
All in all, I am safe, alive, and much more than well. I have my
heart set on recording some vivid experiences for you soon.....in word and in song. Thanks to everyone that has checked in on me via phone, skype, text, message, wall post, comment, etc. They have all been very timely and greatly appreciated. I make thank you gifts for you in my head, but I realize not everyone wants quilts, mixed tapes, and peanut brittle. I'm uploading a live performance on my youtube channel: leeellenstarks right now, but it's taking five years so set your watches for five years and check it. G'night!
Near the Griffith Observatory in LA