Everyday Words

Pride & Predjudice

October 28, 2005

Tonight I went to a special previewing of Pride and Prejudice where director Jo Wright and star Donald Sutherland spoke. By the end of it all, I had to tuck myself away to gather myself; it had been a roller coaster evening when all I was prepared for was a movie.

It began by hearing the director talk. He was quite young which surprised me, however, his ability to speak about the movie, why he did it, and what it was like helped me to believe in movie making again. I’m not one for “Hollywood” but I do adore being on a film set of a good movie – I love the process of it all. I don’t, however, like all the ass kissing, the show and tell, the being something that seems to go along with it. There’s a definite game that gets played in Hollywood and I’ve often wondered how to be a part of it without being a part of it. That struggle has kept me from doing as much as I want to do. However, Jo’s chat, combined with him being my age and just starting out and believing in what he was doing helped me to believe that aside from the politics of it all, there is still movie making going on and I can continue to work in it, somehow.

Watching the movie, memories I had long tucked away came back. I remembered my 18 year old self, living in England in a manor home on an estate and all that went with that – the politics, the decadence, the pride and prejudice (ironic!). There was good and bad to that time and it all came welling up at once. Sometimes one thinks they’ve changed so much but really, they’ve just changed locations and become a little older. When I thought of myself then, I didn’t recognise that girl only to realise that so much of her is still with me. It also reminded me that I’m not really one for the city, that I do enjoy a quieter pace with space but that I need some kind of sophisticated living. Cabin girl I’m not. French provincial, mais oui. The movie was a beautiful break from billboards, traffic and mini skirts at least. It reminded me of where I’m trying to get to, eventually.

And the last thing to hit me, well, it was perfectly timed I suppose. There is a scene at the end involving the father, Mr. Bennet (played by Donald Sutherland). It was the way in which he spoke to his daughter that caught me off guard – he was both sad and joyous at once. Proud of her getting everything that she was meant for yet sad because it meant her to be gone from him. It was an incredibly touching, well-acted moment that was so subtle that unless you were a father or a daughter you might miss it.

I didn’t.

After the movie, Donald Sutherland spoke; his humour and unpretentious, unconscious way of speaking just topped it all. He was really an actor in all good sense of the word. He was at ease and I think that threw off the Hollywood crowd that was there. Each time he was asked a question and answered it, people in the audience would laugh to which he’d have to say, “No really, I’m serious.” I think a lot of people in this town expect people to always be “on” or trying to be something or have all the answers. He was just he and often said, “I don’t know” or “I don’t care.”. And it was terribly endearing and really, really amazing.

As I walked home from the theatre, I had all these thoughts and emotions. I tried to contemplate them all, right foot – movie making, left food – family. Right foot – where am I going. Left foot – where I’ve been. By the time I reached my flat I thought there’s really nothing to sort or figure out. Everything is intertwined – movies, life, creativity, communicating, stirring, living, being – it’s all a part of life. Nothing more. Nothing less. The trick is to just do what you want, have a moment when you need and be what you can without putting too much effort into wondering what it all means. Otherwise you miss it all.

(Just a note about the movie – it was incredibly, incredibly beautiful but it should have truly ended at the scene that I mentioned above. In England it did but because American audiences demand it, the ending went on longer and was changed to give “closure.” It was more modern, contrived, forced and just rather out of place. And I think really good work – writing, art, movies, music – shouldn’t cater to the lowest common denominator but make people rise to match it. Dummying stuff, explaining it, making everyone feel happy at the end well, how does that really help people expand? Art isn’t about explaining.)

Favourite Entries

October 27, 2005

Simon meets the horse.

Last month in Vancouver, my best-friend, her son and I went on a horse drawn carriage ride around Stanley Park. For forty-five minutes the horses pulled the heavy trolly in conditions which were actually pretty good – no large hills, not a lot of traffic racing around and pretty mild weather. Still, we weren’t sure how we felt about these animals being made to lug us around and wondered if it was good for them or if they’d be better off hanging out on a farm somewhere.

When we asked the guide about it, she explained that this particular breed, the rare Grey Shire Horse, was bred solely for the purpose of pulling large weight (mostly for pulling coal out of mines). Because they were bred specifically for this, it’s necessary for the horses to do work each day in order to keep their leg muscles strong so they can support their body weight (1700 to 2000 pounds). Without those muscles, their legs would literally snap and the horse would collapse. Without fulfilling their purpose, they would destroy themselves.

Somehow I don’t this unique to horses.

Links & Loves

October 26, 2005

I’m in-love with Sara’s leaf shadows and apparently I’m not the only one who likes what she does. Three of her photos are on display at Logan airport as part of the “Boston 375 Views” exhibit that runs through December. Her photos are of three different statues in Boston locations, specifically the Public Library, Boston Common and on Newbury Street. So if your travels happen to take you through Logan in the next two months keep an eye out for the exhibit on the walkway between the B and C terminals.

Everyday Words

October 21, 2005

I realise there’s only been a handful of entries this year and that the site has been down more than up. It’s been somewhat intentional by the fact I’ve found myself less and less involved, inspired and in-love with the online world. It’s become a bunch of blah, blah, blah lately. Boring. Myself included.

For the past several months I haven’t read people’s blogs or personal bits and for good reason – I don’t want to know people’s lives by their blog lines. I’ve actually had friends whose response to the “How are you doing” question be, “well you can read it on my web site.” For me, that doesn’t work.

There’s become an assumption that everyone reads everyone’s blogs and people write and live for others now. Have an experience? One must blog about how fucking fantastic the pizza was or how Jimmy broke up with me or how things fell apart again but I’m going to pick myself right back up!

It’s strange to me how a lot of people who write and read personal blogs do so religiously – almost obsessively – and tend to assume that everyone does it, knows about it, participates in it, too. These people tend to forget there’s a whole world out there that doesn’t know blogspot.com or what’s going around or who they newest it person is. Some people feel that if they don’t record their experience on their blog it didn’t really happen and others feel if they don’t comment on those experiences they’ll never get noticed. People and things tend get blown way out of proportion in blogs and blogging life. Some minions hitting a site several times a day can make some blog creators feel like rock stars and then the whole slippery slope starts there.

It’s not bitterness that drives this post, honestly, though I understand some people will think so or think this a rant just because it’s not filled with something uplifting, personal or cute. And when a post lacks those things it’s often met with anger, hostility, and desertion – another things that’s a little sad about the online world as of late. Sometimes one just has to make statements based on observations that have no personal feeling involved (I’m neither upset, angry, bitter nor happy about it. It just is what it is). After 10 years of writing on a personal web site, I’ve seen changes happen and the whole personal web evolve. And what it’s evolved into is something I just don’t really care too much for at the moment.

In fact, I tend to think personal blogging has become more like reality TV – it started off real, with good intentions, shedding light in areas never seen before but now it’s all scripted, managed and carefully created to maintain an image, popularity and standing. Everyone wants to be liked, measures their worth by comments and emails and if they said the latest thing that gets people talking.

It’s my strong belief that one can’t really connect online nor can one find answers to how to really lead a life. To find the answer, the direction one must go is offline and just live within themselves for awhile, without trying to figure out how to write it for others or how to respond to their favourite so they can be in the clique too. One must go offline and just experience – live, try, do, with the only worry being how they feel at the end of the day – not how they can blog about it. And one can’t find answers just by reading self-help web sites or by reading others having experiences – vicarious living is not living. No one has your answers.

“If it be knowledge or wisdom one is seeking, then one had better go direct to the source. And the source is not the scholar or philosopher, not the master, saint or teacher, but life itself — direct experience of life.” -Henry Miller, Books in My Life

P.S. I should like to note that sites that are about information and ideas, I find that useful and interesting despite not keeping up to date with them all and that I do know that not all the web and not all personal sites are crap. There’s actually some really good ones. Some examples? Voila

P.P.S. How do I fit into all of this? No bloody idea.

Everyday Words

October 20, 2005

It had been a whirlwind morning of darting through Santa Monica, Brentwood and Beverly Hills for several different projects I have going on.It was at four that I decided to head home and grab a quick bite before heading out once again. But it had become rather cold outside due to the marine layer and the cosiness of the mist changed my mind and had me instead wanting to do something I don’t normally do – chill out.

Instead of hopping in the car, I walked through my neighbourhood, admiring so many of the Halloween decorations that are out. This inspired me as this Halloween I’m going to only my second Halloween party – something I don’t normally do. After walking twenty blocks up I moved over to the boutique lined street, Montana Ave where I decided to take my time walking down, stopping into shops and do a bit of window shopping at a very leisurely pace. I hadn’t been on this street for so long, least of all shopping. But on this afternoon I decided to do something I don’t normally do.

The closer I got to my flat, the colder it became so I decided to pop into the cafe for a latte, a bit of warmth and an excuse to sit down outside and people watch. It was good. I’ve been having my tea and coffee on the go for so long that I forgot how wonderful it is to sit under heater lamps, wrapping my small hands around a big mug of hot.

As I sat I began to wonder what I’d do once home – so many things need to be done. So many. Perhaps it was the cooler, cosy weather or the coffee in my hand but I decided that tonight, well tonight would be a night of couch and duvet lovin’, homemade soup and movies – something I hardly ever do.

I walked across the street to the video store where I saw a very well-known actor that I tend to see a lot of. In fact, he often helps me at the grocery by getting things off the high shelves. Upon seeing each other we said ‘hi’ in that “I-kind-of-know-you-but-only-because-I-see-you-everywhere” kind of way. And then I did something else I don’t normally do – I struck up a conversation.

“Since you work in the business,” I said, “Maybe you have some movies to recommend as I have absolutely no ideas at the moment.”

“What do you like?” he asked and I rattled off a few of my favourite films, explaining that generally speaking, I don’t go for the latest Hollywood blockbusters or too many indie flicks.

“Well,” he said, “maybe you should get something you normally wouldn’t” and recommended a Hollywood blockbuster and an indie flick. I rented them both.

For the most part, I like how things are, how I work, what I do. But comfort can stop growth and it’s good to sometimes shake things up a bit and push oneself out of their comfort zone. Not by making crazy, big leaps, changing everything all at once, piercing body parts to match the new blue hair, but just little things to keep things interesting, moving, and growing.

Just little bits of something I don’t normally do, slowly adding up.

Everyday Words

Girl Bits

September 29, 2005
she wondered, "what would happen if one were to run out of excuses?" so for hours she sat to figure it out. and she did. <br />September 29, 2005

she wondered, "what would happen if one were to run out of excuses?" so for hours she sat to figure it out. and she did. September 29, 2005

Family & Friends, Los Angeles, Travels

California Girls Trip

September 27, 2005
Emily & Alex

On Tuesday afternoon she arrived in simple jeans, t-shirt and flip flops and I with tired eyes and a drained personality. Little did we’d know that this trip would change us both enormously.

The first order of business after leaving the airport was to fuel ourselves at Whole Foods for lunch before hitting the Pacific Coast Highway for our two nights in Santa Barbara. After with drinks and snacks in tow, it was time to roll the windows down, crank the music and begin out week long chats and laughing as we cruised alongside the ocean for the next couple of hours.

Arriving at the wonderful Hotel Andulucia just before dinner, we had only a few minutes to quickly change and prepare for what was supposed to be a tour of the farmers market with the Chef of 31 West. Truthfully, though, we weren’t in the mood to meet with him for driving, sunshine and too much time apart had us far too giggly for public interaction. Luckily it turned out that the Chef was too busy for us which gave us time for something much more important – Emily’s first trip to Anthropologie.

There I was her personal shopper; picking out clothes upon clothes that had her modeling for hours. I pushed her out of her comfort zone (something she wanted) and showed her that a skirt can be just as relaxed as pants. By the time the store closed, she agreed, carrying her pretty Anthro bag with ease and a new addiction.

After all that work we were ready for our dinner at 31 West. Wine, good food and conversation though truthfully we ended up being tired, wanting to really go back to the room, slip on our robes and watch cable – something that had become a guilty pleasure to both of us since we had both forgone cable for so long. But rest in comfy duvets was what we needed; the day had been long and the next morning we’d be up early for a good cause – a wine tour through the Santa Ynez Valley.

Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours picked us up at 10AM at our hotel. Instantly smitten with our driver, we knew the trip would be fantastic – and it was. We hit four wineries and by the last we couldn’t do more than 2 tasting’s. The sun, the laughter, the open air hit us hard but good. Going up old stage coach roads, singing the theme to the Greatest American Hero (despite the fact that neither of us is American) lead to a wonderful evening. We wouldn’t have wanted the trip to end were it not for the fact that LOST was premiering that night and we couldn’t miss it. In fact, we couldn’t stop talking about it for hours after.

The next morning we went to a little farmers market, picked up some Girlfriends Booty and went to the beach for a breakfast picnic where we promptly realised we did not like booty.

Driving back to LA along the coast we saw beautiful beaches filled with driftwood in which people had made make-shift shelters. We had to play, and did. Jumping in the waves, hiding under forts, writing messages in the sand. We felt five, which was good because we were really far from it.

Emily’s not a fancy girl but I wanted her to have just a little of it. So we headed to one of my favourite LA hangouts – the Beverly Hills Hotel Fountain restaurant. It was an experience, as always. To see her reaction to people greeting us and treating us well was funny and giving her the best veggie burger on the planet was the best. When Rene Russo walked in she couldn’t believe it – she had just finished watching the Thomas Crowne affair and kept saying “I just saw her totally naked!”

With full bellies it was time to head to The Getty Museum. For $7 the two of us had top views of LA and excellent art. As an art graduate and amazing artist, it was a real experience to see all of it with her. It was even more of an experience to watch her draw there and then to pose her like a model (which she so could be).

After several hours we headed back to my place in Santa Monica, walking the promenade where she shopped even more (which surprised me) and bought the amazing “Holy Moly” shirt from Fossil. Then it was time for dinner and more talking before an early bedtime because the next day was the biggest day – Disneyland.

Put two girlfriends together in Disneyland who love rides and it gets dangerous. I don’t know what we loved more – all the coasters or the fact that twenty-year old guys kept checking us out and hitting on us. I must confess that we loved it. Some things never change.

On one of the coasters there was an older prissy couple in front. Being the mature girl I made the most beautiful and amazing vomiting noise ever. Without missing a beat Emily exclaimed, “Oh no! It’s everywhere!” The best part? They were video’ing the whole thing.

So much screaming, laughing, talking that by the time we left at midnight my voice was gone completely. That, however, did not stop us from opening up the Disney Karaoke CD, playing it and singing along as we drove home that night. While other cars shook with bass to the latest, we were singing The Bare Necessities.

Saturday morning I took her to my favourite cafe for amazing food and my favourite Chai Latte. Then it was a drive to Beverly Hills, the Grove and then to Elixir to relax in the back while getting some drinks to help us recover. When we’d had enough we drove up to The Ritz Carlton in Pasadena where we had dinner reservations.

At first, Emily was hesitant; she hadn’t ever stayed in a hotel like the Ritz or dined somewhere like The Dining Room. She was afraid she didn’t look right or know how to act. I told her that she didn’t have to act any way; there’s no game face to put on and no pretending to do. Borrowing my skirt and top she fretted because she didn’t have shoes – just her flip flops. I told her that was fine, besides, she’d be sitting down. The experience was more important than the shoes. She was worried though as we walked into the restaurant. However, we were greeted wonderfully and had an extraordinary time. In fact, we ended up seeing several girls entering – all with flip flops.

The Dining Room was an amazing, amazing experience – neither of us had ever had anything like it. Jared, whose only job was to order wines and do pairings, started us off with champagne. Then Chef came out because I have an allergy to Gluten and he was incredibly friendly and nice and knew what to do. Choosing the 5 course dinner Jared paired wines for every course and I am here to tell you it makes a difference.
After each dish was served we gushed about the food and wine. Three hours and $400 later were were quite content and even felt a little like rock stars (who are those girls that Chef keeps talking to?).

Feeling good we went next door to the bar where R&B was playing. We boogeyed it up and again got hit on by several men far younger than us. “They must think it’s cool to hit on 30 year old women” she said. “I don’t think they think we’re 30” I replied.

We headed up to our room – larger than my flat – with two rooms, two balconies, and two bathrooms. We hit the bed and promptly fell to sleep, which was good. Our massages were at 8AM the next morning.

Because we were on the private Club Level at the Ritz, we were able to have free food and drinks literally all day. So at 7:30 we went to the club and had an amazing breakfast and mimosas before we went to the spa. For eighty minutes we were beaten by women but at least we had no knots by the time we dipped ourselves in the hot tub after. Lunch followed to give us energy to hit Old Town Pasadena where, being girls who love 50’s music, we could not help but sing Little Old Lady from Pasadena, over and over.

Later that night we went back to the room where somehow we got sucked into watching two hours of tv which consisted of two shows about people over 500LBS. But there was nothing better than watching it on an amazing bed, with a girlfriend, who would tell you when you could open your eyes and when to close them during the surgery scenes. God bless her.

After we headed back to the club where we had dinner and Baileys. Oh Baileys. Several hours later we went back to our room where, as a surprise to her, I had put all our skits and tapes onto a DVD. For the next 3 hours we watched ourselves from ages 17-21. So much history. It just really hit us that night.

To go away with a girlfriend is to remind you of yourself and that’s what happened on this trip. We each bring out the best of each other and remind each other of who to be. I encouraged her to do her art and she encouraged me to keep moving forward. There was never an awkward moment, no complaining, to trying – nothing. It was a week of ease, of fun, of beautiful, funny, heartfelt moments.

I adore this girl with all my heart and when she left and did her big kiss goodbye I cried. Tears didn’t stop coming out until I got home a half-hour later. I missed her already. But what was interesting to me is that we both said goodbye a little bit changed; she left in a new skirt, top and shoes and was using the word “fancy” and I was relaxed and far more talkative despite having no voice for the past three days.

Oh this trip was good. It was as though we were 18 all over again, just free to do as we pleased, literally laughing all the time, dancing like the morning would never come and telling jokes that only we’d find funny (and we did). We lived each moment fully without effort. Without analysing it, blogging about it, using self-help words or wondering how it fit into the grand scheme of things. Just lived life simply, easily. How it should be.

We agreed to take these trips once a year because it reminded us of all the traits about ourselves we loved then and shouldn’t hide now. And I’m so freaking thankful for that reminder.

Trip Photos.

Everyday Words

Sleeping Bee

July 22, 2005

Sleeping Bee

I remember when I first saw this bee laying in the flower and thought him dead. My first reaction wasn’t that in the heat of summer he might have been so busy as to just need a nap (which was true) but that it must not be alive if it’s not moving.

The past few months for me have been busy. So very, very busy. I’m not the kind of girl who schedules her life so seeing my iCal fill up with times and dates and people was so overwhelming at first, and then sadly became routine. And although Sundays had been strictly a day off for me with nothing more than breakfast and hanging out at the beach in Mailbu, all other days were go, go, go.

I think perhaps I thought if I wasn’t moving, I wasn’t living either. Ridiculous, isn’t it.

So I took a week off at home, not answering personal emails, not going to any appointments, not working on projects or worrying about deadlines. I literally shut all the windows, kept the lights low and just relaxed for the first time in years.

Then the second week I opened the windows and went out just a little, keeping some people at bay and pushing back projects. The third week I found balance between doing and resting which is good, as next week I’m out on part business, part pleasure. I’ll need to remember that some busy is good (especially when you want things) but some rest is just as good (especially if you’re in a lovely city).

Everyday Words

Baby Bird

May 27, 2005

Baby Bird

Walking home I noticed this little bird in a doorway; a baby seeming rather lost with no mother near. The little tufts of hair and the way he turned his head made me think him rather cantakerous and I felt with that, he’d be alright, just like Biggie.