In Pursuit of Light

We are now many months into this pandemic.

Currently, there is a comet passing by earth. Shaka and I drove out Saturday night to see if we could catch a glimpse of it. Try and avoid a lot of light, face NNW and make sure it’s right after sunset. But of course, it could be an hour and a half after sunset. Or it could be the middle of the night. You might see it if you are in the mountains or better if you are looking towards the horizon. If you miss it, you will have to wait another 6800 years and I just don’t think I have that kind of patience. We didn’t see it Saturday. We will go again tonight. And if we still fail, we will go again tomorrow.

I feel like this pandemic is like trying to chase this comet. You keep doing things right, do what you’re told, hope for an outcome, but you don’t really know if you’re doing it right. You have to hope.

So day after day, in this pandemic, I buckle down in my new normal. Some days feel easy and then others, I cry at a stoopid commercial that isn’t even meant to be sad.

I am fortunate that I still have a job and CAN work from home. The learning curve of making my dining room table and my slow computer do what my work computer can do was quite arduous. I still haven’t exactly found my groove. Work has been crazy, so I don’t feel like AHHHHH I get to chill and go for walks all day long. It’s actually been a bit of a process trying to figure out a routine that keeps me sane and keeps the dead butt syndrome away.

I can’t believe how much time has passed living in this strange new reality. At first, I was like, I will lose weight, learn a language and also become famous with some amazing viral thing I do. But I gained, lost and gained and plateaued. I didn’t learn a new language. And as for being famous, my friends Faye and Leigh separately laughed like, well, what have you done to BE virally famous? And I was like, I dont know…I thought I would have found it by now. I refuse to get tik-tok, so I watch from the sidelines as hilarious Sarah Cooper gains comedic steam. That isn’t to say she wouldn’t have been famous otherwise or take away from her genius, but her timing with both her rise and her imitations are to be respected.

There is a lot going on right now. Lots of emotions, tension, ridiculous political stances about not wearing a mask (yeah, I said it – wear a f&*king mask, you dolts!), protests for civil rights (YES), militia kidnapping people in Portland (WTF?), family members getting sick from Covid, arguments with other family members who I believe are on the wrong side of history and health, weird medical stuff for me, Shaka and the cats, missing going out with my friends, missing travel (we were supposed to have gone to Europe this past Spring), missing cocktails being made by someone who isn’t me or Shaka, etc. I know others have it much worse and I sound like a brat throwing a tantrum.

So instead of focusing on what I am missing out on, I wanted to write about the things that have been keeping my spirits and energy up (let’s be honest – it’s mostly media).

– TV/FILM —- There are a lot of options at the moment for tv/films what with all the various streaming platforms. Here are some we have enjoyed during this quarantine (links provided).

  • We got a month of Disney+ to watch Hamilton (we had seen it live at the Pantages in Hollywood a few years ago). I loved it so much! Even though I love Jonathan Groff…what was with the spitting? It grossed me out so much. I wonder if others had to use a different mic from him after he would record for Frozen or Frozen 2. In this time of Covid, all germy things seem more apparent.

We also enjoyed “The Mandalorian.”

And then Shaka made me watch “The Shaggy Dog”, which was actually kind of             fun. Though I was like,  we are NOT watching old Disney stuff.

  • Which led us to “The Imagineering Story” which was pretty much OLD Disney stuff. But it was so interesting. Keep in mind, it’s told about Disney BY Disney
  • We have been binge watching “Community” which has made me very happy. As the seasons go on, I highly recommend taking edibles, cuz I am pretty sure the writers did.
  • Perry Mason (reboot on HBO) and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (on Showtime), if you are feeling like you need to see more of LA’s crime and racial tensions but in a different era.
  • “Palm Springs” on Hulu!  Oh man, I was truly missing my girls trip to PS this year, so I would have watched this even if it didn’t have Andy Samberg or wasn’t a comedy or even good. But thankfully, I loved it!!!!!! It doesn’t replace the trip, but it’s a pretty good consolation. Zappy said that when she watched it, it was really hot here in LA and made her NOT want to be in an even  hotter desert. If you watch it and want to re-watch it, I highly recommend taking edibles cuz I am pretty sure the writers did.
  • Of course, “Insecure”, “Better Things”, and “Killing Eve” which have nothing to do with one another except that I love them, they are all shot gorgeously and have amazing casts and interesting story lines. Honorable mention is “Dead to Me”
  • There are more but I can’t for the life of me remember cuz my brain is melting…or too many edibles.

– MUSIC —– Mads, Shaka, ST8 and I have been randomly texting each other our music finds. When I finally create one of my shows, I want Mads and Shaka’s friend Shawn to be the music supervisors on them. But ST8 is a one-man show of knowing good music and knowing the stories behind them. He is also an Angelino and has a long history with music here. He definitely needs a podcast, and when he starts one, you definitely need to listen. Stuff we have shared back and forth

You can kind of feel the nostalgic, vacation vibe we have all been going for.

–  BEAUTY (I have been buying various beauty items. No need for as much lipstick when you put on a mask but I have bought some pretty colors anyway. I also have a lot of great hair and skincare purchases. If you’re interested, let me know. Otherwise, I am only listing the following)

  • Static Nails – I can’t paint my nails well at all. So I finally gave in and decided to try the press-on nails from Static Nails. My nails look AMAZING! I just wish I had somewhere to go because Shaka is sick of telling me “they look great” and I am not sick of asking how they look. hahahaha. Lowkey, I am still shit at doing my nails because I think I glued some of my skin to the nails underneath but trial and error. hahahahaha. ouch.

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– SOCIAL MEDIA – here are some of my fave vlogs and IG sites

  • The Sorry Girls – DIY stuff, Canadian, fun.
  • Penn Smith Skincare – she knows skin, she offers dupes to expensive products and explains things in a great way. And she’s based in PDX (which I am usually drawn to having gone to school there).
  • Best Dressed – this young woman has a lot of self doubt and stream of consciousness way of talking. BUT she is such an artist and I love her aesthetic for design and filmmaking.
  • Mary Elizabeth – love her style, her personality and her design upgrades.
  • DNice – awesome DJ that has kept me sane during this crazy time. His Club Quarantine mixes are so much fun. I dare you not to start moving your body.
  • Norah, Yarah and Rosa – hip hop dancing sisters from Holland
  • Alia – so this is a convergence of different things. My (former) belly dance teacher, Eshta makes gorgeous dance costumes and various items (also face masks  D4954EED-FF70-4DE1-8A6A-BDCA7406F786 I get so many compliments on this). She made a costume for this dancer Alia and mentioned it on fb because Alia was featured in Vogue. I looked her up. She is not only stunning and a captivating dancer, but she is also such a luscious skater. I reached out to my friend, Christia. I am co-directing a music video for her that had to be put on hold but which we will resume another time post quarantine. It features a lot of roller skating. I told Christia to check out Alia. Turns out that Christia (a dancer) was also wanting to get into belly dancing and after watching Alia’s skating footage, I now want to start skating. If you happen to see two Pisces skating and/or belly dancing, you will know it’s us. I just need to find cute skates for these big feet of mine. When I told my sister, she said, “do you remember that Dad broke his hip trying to impress a woman by roller blading? Nothing says youth like a hip replacement.” I will not be deterred. The cool thing is that Alia films and is filmed by another skater Neon Keon and their footage is lovely and fluid cuz they are filming WHILE skating. And I love their music choices too!

So that’s a smidge of things that have been keeping my happiness flowing.

It’s hard, you know? A huge part of who I am is being social. I love seeing the world and interacting in it. I love connecting with my friends and family. I just have to stay in touch as much as I can with people and keep a routine that doesn’t feel so cave-persony.

It’s tiring when every day feels the same, but my goal (besides being virally famous), is to try and make every day have a moment that has never happened before. Kind of like chasing a comet. Even if you don’t actually see it, the trek will be a little outing that you can tell stories about. But I hope we see it so I can tell you about THAT.

Time passes slowly when you’re lost in a dream

Bear with me…this is gonna be tricky.

At work, I am currently seated with some early 20-somethings in what we call “The Quad.” I am not 20-something. I am like the person in college who keeps taking classes and is quite a bit older than my peers and can buy them liquor.

One of the Quad members is Nira. She is a bubbly, open-minded networker. We find ourselves talking conspiracy theories regarding the Mandela Effect or about ghosts.

One day, we were talking about the concept of time. I truly can get woo-woo spiritual regarding other dimensions and parallel universes and dreams and such. Naturally, I don’t open with that side of myself when I meet people, but Quad Life has a way of dispensing your personal truths.

So Nira says, “I have a book I think you would like. It’s a quick read. It’s called ‘Einstein’s Dreams’ and it’s about the concept of time.”

einstein's dreams

I am not gonna lie, the part about it being a quick read, was what got my attention.  I borrowed it and intended to read it now for a couple of weeks. But hadn’t yet.

Friday, Nira was saying how she had some plans that sounded amazing but there was something that wasn’t squaring as she continued talking. It turns out, she was feeling possibly sidelined by her friends. I (and another co-worker who is quite a master of riding these waters) told Nira that no one can take away her peace of mind or her weekend. If she didn’t feel like going out with them, she could always go to a cool farmer’s market, or dress up in brunch-wear and grab her most mysterious sunglasses and order a drink at the Chateau Marmont and read a cool book while sitting among celebrities. Her weekend was unwritten and it was all up to her how she wanted to experience it. Her time was her own. She left work with a pep in her step.

Last night, I was talking on the phone (I know! The phone!!!! I was just as shocked – who does that these days?) with Mads.

I was telling her about Nira and her plans. And then we started talking about various things. She mentioned an article in the NY Times about these Argentinian bankers in their 20s who have parties in this carriage house in NY (a block from Gramercy Park). She said it reminded her of the parties we used to throw when we were single.  We had the best parties. But it wasn’t just the big blow outs. It was also the little soirees or the spontaneous get-togethers. Or the nights checking out cool restaurants or strangers’ parties.

I told her how Shutterfly sent me a reminder of certain photos and I was taking a trip down memory lane as well. I joked that it seemed like we went out almost every night. And she said, “I think we did.” Which sounds about right.

 

 

 

 

Zappy seems to have a different feeling about those times vs. the present. She has a line of demarcation where that was then and this is now. Mads and I both see it more like part of the same stream but a different landscape. I don’t look at how our parties were a “back then” kind of thing. Yes, we were all single. Yes, we were broker. But it still feels like part of the whole. As Mads mentioned, we just had Shaka’s bday party at her house this summer and that kind of lush summer fete doesn’t feel that different from other nights we used to have. I agree with her.

Maybe that’s what keeps us thinking young. Or maybe it’s delusion. Time is a funny thing. And it’s all perspective, isn’t it?

We started talking about how there are certain people we know who are older than we are, but who keep grabbing life by the balls (er, horns?) and living the hell out of it.

She said that at her job, the summer brings “special guest stars.” Those guest stars range from art repair people, to the construction workers fixing up areas of the buildings. At lunch, they all gather and tell fascinating stories of their travels or their lives or their experiences. Mads has always been a magnet for cool shit. But she is also very open to it. There are always people in the world who could meet those same guest stars, and be like, “meh” and miss out on that kind of connecting. Hearing her stories ignited something in me. I love those kind of moments. Plus, I had just come back from visiting Luce, a beautiful, spiritual soul who reads coffee grounds. I hadn’t seen her since last year and it was such a wonderful afternoon. My coffee ground reading was great (as was the strong coffee – nom nom), but we also connect on a truly deep level. She has lived all over the world and has had such unique experiences. I left there with a pep in my own damn step.

So today, after working out, I decided to begin the quick read of “Einstein’s Dreams.”

It was quite funny how the timing of all that I experienced this weekend seemed to line up with the book. There are various scenarios about how societies perceive time. In one scenario, people age in reverse. In another, you live your entire life in one day; one sunrise and one sunset. At first, it felt like sort of random little stories, but as I kept going, I could feel something in my brain rewiring. And the even stranger thing was the stoppage of time that occurred as I was reading. I didn’t feel rushed or like I was wasting time or have any kind of Sunday-itis. I felt calm. And like the world had just opened a hallway of more opportunities.

Or maybe that is how I perceived it.

“Each time is true, but the truths are not the same.”
― Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams

I am glad that I have people in my life that I feel connected to, even if our truths aren’t the same.

These bonds endure, regardless of time.

 

 

Katification of Me

It started at the beginning of this year.   I was at a dinner party where I ran into a friend of a friend.

Her name is Kat.  She is beautiful, thin, young and incredibly vapid.

She is of that generation that came out of learning to brand themselves for social networking and have parlayed that into marketing, PR and Networking careers.

I have never had a strong opinion of Kat, other than she was 3 degrees of separation.  And she always says, “hello” to me in a very fabricated, genuine way.

After having one of the longest conversations I had ever experienced with her (10 minutes) at the dinner party, I realized that she isn’t all bad.  But she IS a lot of bad.  Bad for me, anyway.  Bad for my soul (wait?  Too dramatic).  Well, you get it.  Bad in a way that left me feeling like there was still a residue from our conversation. A sentence without a period.

What was gnawing at me?  It wasn’t jealousy (though for the low hanging fruit pickers, that would be obvi but untrue).  I didn’t want to BE her because I like more parts to my personality than she has hair on her head (she has beautiful, brown flowing locks). There was nothing about her that I found particularly interesting, funny or creative. And yet, one day, out of sheer boredom on facebook,  I wound up at her page.

I noticed that on a recent trip to NY, she had posted a photo of the contents (carefully art-designed, naturally) of her carry-on bag.

Among the various items of makeup, scarves, lotions, her phone and her camera, was a pair of headphones.  They jumped out at me on the page.  Was it my insatiable consumeristic nature?  Was it the part of me that loves those “What’s in Your Bag” features of many beauty haul blogs on youtube?  Or was it the ACTUAL beauty of these headphones (sometimes headphones are, afterall, just  headphones)?

It WAS the headphones.  But it was so much more.  It was that with very little effort (or so it appeared), she had so many things at her fingertips which were a struggle for me to achieve.

The headphones represented the disparities in our lives. It was quite literally, a snapshot into her easy life.

There, I guess it WAS more than the headphones and a little jealousy.

Kat’s appeal; her mystery, was that she felt like everything that happened to her, came to her, fell into her lap, was HERS.  She willed it.  Or wanted it, then willed it.

Either way, I found that although, yes, she came from privilege, she wasn’t a brat.

She was just entitled.

The world gave her a lot when she was born.  But she continued to expect a lot – with a smile.

And she got it.

These headphones had been a gift.  Probably swag.  Everything in that photo was simple, but purposeful. Her knowledge of branding was to be envied.  She had created a cult of the anti-personality.  And it was working! Everything was working for her!

I looked in the mirror that morning.

Were things working for me? And if not, why not?

What could I do differently?

If I could take one ounce of the Kat Koolaid and apply it to my own life, how differently would things turn out?

I was going to make this year:  The Katification of Me!

I had never been too materialistic, save for perfume and hair products.

I didn’t want to become like Kat, I only wanted to create a a playing field where I wouldn’t just secretly covet things or lifestyles of others, but rather, I would find a way to have them or create them for myself, while still being me.

It’s strange when you change the narrative of your own story.

Once I started creating a list of things I wanted, I realized that some items weren’t really that important to me.

A dupe might work here, or the real thing there.

I found that craving some materialistic objects made me happy and made me buy a lot less crap.  Like when you eat really good gelato rather than light ice cream.  It does the satiation trick.

Some things fell of the list really fast, like wouldn’t you know it – the headphones which had started this whole thing!  I ended up getting a pair I love for a fraction of the cost.

Some items are still on the list because I still WANT them even after months and months of deliberating if I NEED them.

I wasn’t coveting anything or anyone else’s life anymore.

Funny thing was…I hadn’t even known that I HAD been until it stopped. Weird.

Who knew that a casual acquaintance would help me start to truly love my life and be grateful? Be grateful for what I already have, be grateful for what I want to have, even if it never reaches me.

Be grateful I live in a time and place where for me, this is possible.  And also, not to be so quick to judge someone’s place in my life.  The lesson was quite loud.

I have run into Kat a few times since then.  She has no idea.  I doubt she would care about the impact this experiment had on me, if I were to tell her.

But who knows? She might surprise me. The power of Katification has shown me that anything is possible!