Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer Vacation 2017

I forgot how beautiful Florida is. When I got off the plane I was met by the warm, sticky humidity. When I got to the beach I was met by sweaty, tan, beautiful people, and an ocean water as comfortable and as beautiful as anyone could expect.

I spent a lot of time alone. I bought myself a Ron Jon water cup and stickers for my car and made arroz con poyo with my grandmother (vlog soon).  I walked along the shore and collected roughly fifty different seashells, which I brought back as small gifts for people. I could have spent the rest of my life at that beach because of the peace I felt and the way it made me feel to be so close to the shore. When I compare going to the beach vs. camping, I can see how the sunshine and saltwater, I must say, I prefer the ocean. When I go camping, there is so much more to do. I can work with my hands and get lost in the woods and explore water falls, enjoy a camp fire and live nomadically. When I am at the beach, the ocean sweeps me completely away. I am immediately taken up with the tide. No wonder, I had no reservations about Day Camp going to the beach and wading. How could you be so close to God's largest creation and not let at least your toes touch it?

Isn't my family beautiful?

I spent the first day going grocery shopping with my grandmother at a latin super market. Check out all the beans!

My grandmother recently had a shunt put in for her hydrocephelus (water in her brain). You can feel the bump where the shunt is in place AND you can feel the cord on her neck. The cord goes all the way down her body in to her belly. It's super weird and sad but at least she is not in pain. She is loosing her short term memory FAST. I think she asked me five-six times one day, if I wanted lunch and what I wanted. We went into this big ordeal to go by her toiletries. She has about twelve shampoos and conditioner bottles in her shower - all of which are empty. Because she has hardly any hair, I'm not concerned. I bought a massive pack of toilet paper for her. I planted the TP right in front of her, so that when she sat down to do her business, it would be the first thing she sees. The next day, she started telling me about how important it was that we went out and got toilet paper because we were out. 

My cousin says she shows signs of the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. Which is sad, but perhaps a normal part of life. I'm not sure which is worse, a disease that requires chemo or slowly loosing your sense of self with memory loss. I wish she was closer so that I could spend more time with her. 

Spent my second day at a dog beach and little did I know how rocky it would be. I tripped over a boulder about the size of a foot stool. I couldn't see it because it was covered by the ocean water. When I got out of the water, I discovered that my toe nail peeled back. What you see below is literally all sand underneath my toe nail. My grandma gave me a tooth pick and some peroxide and watched me squirm on the couch as I tried to remove it all. She called me a raton :) (rat in Spanish - the equivalent of a squeamish.) 


While spending the week with my grandma in Melbourne, FL, I re-watched this romantic comedy/classic and fell in love with film all over again. There is a certain magic to some romantic comedies. Some examples are: "Mermaids" (another Cher film) "You've Got Mail," "French Kiss," "Pretty Woman," etc. This one is just like that - magic. The characters are all special and unique - characters you could watch over and over again. Cher, in her humility and simple grace in this film is so different from the persona she puts on when she sings. If I remember correctly, I discovered her in film before I discovered her in music. The first song of hers I heard was called "Believe."

This opera scene is such an amazing example of powerful acting because after watching it, you don't remember the play, or the Opera, exactly. You remember the way Cher warms up to the power of the play, and surrenders.

I am not a fan of the theology of this film - what Cage says about life and love and the "story books." But I do like his declaration of love and how hopelessly devoted he is toward her.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Monrovia, CA

On the way to the Metro Station.

Lambda Lit Conference

This post is sort of late. Above is a picture of a panel of writers at the first ever Lambda LGBT literary conference. It was created to bring writers together for encouragement, sharing, and inspiration. This panel was definitely all three. Some of the writers read their poetry, others talked about their work with students. The guy in the middle with the microphone was especially wonderful with his self-deprecating humor and compassion for people of color who question their sexuality. He talked about working at USC in theater and teaching engineering and biology students (people outside of the creative arts) who took his acting classes in efforts to fulfill requirements. It was usually pretense, for he found that students were often looking for permission to explore, permission to try, to discover who they are. I would love to have him as a teacher.

I am pretty sure I matched on Tinder with the beautiful trans woman in purple. The woman to the far right wrote an amazing book called "Conflict is Not Abuse" and it made me reconsider the complexities of when we unknowingly cross boundaries. In other words, we don't always realize when we are hurting someone and even if we know that saying something might hurt, it's not a reason to be shunned. Schulman describes shunning as our instinct reaction to conflict, overstating it as abuse. This is a lesson I need to be reminded of repeatedly as I spend more and more time with a church that is not affirming. Conflict is not abuse. Shunning people for messing up, getting it wrong, refusing to agree with me, is wrong because it's shunning - isolating - and emotionally withdrawing. I don't want people to treat me like that.

Another panel that spoke was a group of LA based writers who were brought up to discuss the role that the city placed in their work. It was super interesting to think about. As a transplant who plans on staying permanently in Los Angeles, who love to call herself an Angeleno, I want to find a way to connect with my city and to write about it, film it in the same way that E.M. Forester uses India in "A Passage to India." India is pretty much another character in his story. I can't remember if India reflected what was happening inside of the characters at each moment in each scene, as a cliche....? It must not have because I remember reading it as much more profound that that. It must have simply taken on a mind of it's own and reflected the deeper possibilities/realities of the characters and their time... not sure. Probably should read it again.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ummm... YES!

So, like... yeah - no one told me DiNiro and Fonda were in their own romance together!?!? And talk about ROMANCE. He is such a terrific actor. He played a illiterate working class gem who was having a hard time taking his father and his illiteracy a secret. Is that a word? Illiteracy. He is such a good actor. Fonda, on the other hand, isn't that exceptional. But I can see why she was such a star. When she focuses her attention on him, it's electric. They are so cute. I highly recommend it. 

I've been off Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, for a couple of months now. This mass exodus from popular programing was in efforts to save money AND to help my creative juices flow. How can I write if I am always entertained? What ideas can spring up if I'm never bored? I went several months without ever being seriously bored and that was a problem - for me. And so unplugging  definitely helps. But on the nights that I really want something good to watch, where I can't stand being in my own head anymore, when I really need something to sink my heart  into - I check out the free streaming service (yes free) on "Stanley and Iris" (1990) is on there. If you'd like,  check it out.

Graduation 2014

It's hard to believe it's been three years since I graduated from the Academy with my Master's in Fine Arts and two years since I moved from San Francisco, to Los Angeles. So much has changed. I left the Y, cut ALL my hair off and began making car payments. I now work for children who have cancer, I am helping start a church in "the Valley," I'm working on funding for my first feature and officially beginning writing my first novel. I feel a serious sense of loss anytime I think about San Francisco but I am also overwhelmed with gratitude that I even had the experience at all. I have no idea where God is going to take me these next few years and I am beginning to loose my need to know. I care, don't get me wrong. I absolutely care about where I end up, what, if any, fruit of my labor will there be. But it's no longer nagging me in the middle of the night. The worry is no longer wrapping it's hands around my face, turning my attention away. I am happy knowing I am right where God wants me right now. Today. It's the same feeling I had when I was in SF, those 4 years.

So grateful.

My grandma - the Kardashian