Los Angeles

The Corona Diaries Day 7 - My Turn To Chill

I'm a doer and a producer so being active and managing situations is what I'm about. Yesterday I allowed myself to just chill. Did a few things in the morning that needed getting done, but after that, not much else. Played Candy Crush. Cooked meatloaf.

In a facebook group I'm in, someone asked how we are all doing. Reading through the replies makes me very grateful for all that we have and how lucky we are in this wacky weird situation we are all in. I wrote about how I drift between just focusing on today and what's in front of me right now and then look ahead to the hazy strange future. What will it look like for all of us? I don't overwatch/overread the news, but starting to see articles about "how our future will be radically different" adds to my teeth grinding at night, I'm sure. And my mom is a five hour plane ride away. Maybe that's why my shoulder hurts.

So much is out of our control so I'll focus on what I can do and let go what I can't. And play candy crush when I really just need to zone out.

Speaking of out of control, yesterday (the actual day 7), Harper woke up at 4am - I heard her door open and she went to the bathroom. Cool, I thought, she'll go back to bed. Nope, she came to me and said "I can't sleep." She lay with me in our bed for a bit, then got up and said she would read. I tucked her in and asked why she couldn't sleep. "My ear hurts." Okay, some tylenol then. I went back to bed, she read. Then she came in to our room around 5:30 and climbed in bed again and fell asleep, we both did, until about 7.

She asked for more yoga!

IMG_1977

Then because it's Friday and Friday's are days she can watch tv after school, she asked to watch tv. I said "After school" so she said, "okay, let's do school!" So we did the math work and the language arts work including a letter to my mom.

IMG_1977

Then it was time for art. Kurt set up the easel and paints.

IMG_1977

IMG_1977

Then some lunch and snacks and it was time for tv! She watched for a couple hours then I said time for a break. We all just did whatever until around 3:30 or 4. I was playing the aforementioned candy crush and she wanted to help so she did. Then I had to get up for something and I said, "Why don't you take a nap?" and by golly, she said, "okay" and went to her room and TOOK A NAP FROM 4PM UNTIL MIDNIGHT! Wow. Clearly she needed that sleep. I was asleep at 10:30 so when she woke up, she came to me and I took her back to bed and gave her more books to read and fresh water. That lasted a little while then she wanted to get up. I told her to watch some tv with Kurt, and yelling from my bed "Animal shows!" which she did until about 2 or 3. Then she went back to bed and woke up at 7. YAY. I hope that is the end of crazy sleep schedule for her as she is no longer complaining of earache. Fingers crossed.

Kurt and I had dinner on the couch! It's been ages since we did that since we normally eat at the table together every night. It felt like such a throwback to the Before Kids era. We watched the first episode of Top Chef.

Harper got a letter! It's from Grace. As of this writing (Saturday morning) she hasn't opened it yet.

IMG_1977

One week of staying home. It's very very weird to try and conceive of doing this for a long time. While it's stressful to not have work right now (freelance and all) I'm really glad I'm not currently employed so that I can focus on our own needs. Again, very grateful for that.

I have a cold now too...did I catch it from Harper? Whatever was rolling around in her ears? Probably. It's wasn't strep for Harper, so that's good news. No fever for any of us. But a head cold for me. Ugh. Oh well, this too shall pass. Another day, more candy crush.

 


The Corona Diaries Day 6 - Not So Sick Day

Today the ear was better, but we took it easy in the morning. Harper asked again to do yoga - yay! So glad she's loving Cosmic Kids. And I love that she said on the first day "She's from England!"

Biscuit supervised.

IMG_1949

IMG_1949

Yoga in the books, she said her ear hurt a bit so gave her more motrin. Then she got to watch tv for an hour with a breakfast of chamomile tea and green apples. I then went for my own long walk which was so nice. Get out in the clean fresh air.

Biscuit is a long cat.

IMG_1950

Later, Harper got to choose between art, math or language arts. She chose art first with Kurt and they did alcohol inks. I was in my office dealing with the rest of our lives. Not clear who was in charge of the class.

IMG_1955

IMG_3421

IMG_1955

Today was also clean house day! Bringing back Home Ec to school. Harper helped a bit with all of it and we all learned to appreciate our housekeeper even more than we usually do. (She's being paid to stay at home during this wacky time.)

Biscuit again with the Supervision.

IMG_1962
IMG_1962

By the way, Willoughby is here too, but has had a terrible case of feline acne and we've had to give her special medicine which she freakin HATES so she keeps to herself a lot.

Lunch happened with ramen, kamaboko and hard boiled egg. Surprise-two yolks! Harper said it meant she would be lucky for five days. Cool!

IMG_1964

After lunch was Math with Prof. Frey and again the table sitting appears to be the key to good math studies. Following Math Class was AP Try On Mom's Fancy Shoes. She nailed it. It was pretty cute then I looked the picture of her in which I focused on the silver shoes and man oh man, she already looks like a model with that pose.

IMG_1968

IMG_1968

IMG_1968

Awww, shoe-heart.

The rest of the day included language arts, playing video games and having snacks. Before dinner we went on a walk in more sensible shoes and waved at neighbors.

IMG_1970

Things have been okay, but it's not always easy or fun, that is for sure. I was doing tax prep while Harper and I did language arts. Harper really puts in the work which I appreciate. Don't get me wrong, she doesn't go way above and beyond, but she focuses and gets it done. Can't ask for more than that.

As for me, my temper is kinda short, my nerves on edge often. I'm working on breathing through it but every morning I wake up with my inner cheek rubbed raw from the teeth grinding while I sleep. It's worse than it's been in a long time, the teeth grinding. Glad I have my sexy night guard. I make sure to get outside every day, have time to myself for at least half an hour here and there, even just to play stupid candy crush on my phone. God it's relaxing.

How are you all holding up? We have weeks if not months more to go. I plan on going to the hardware/nursery store to get plants to put in the garden. Tomatoes, etc. A good activity with bonus food down the line!

One day at a time, my friends, one day at a time.

 

 

 


The Corona Diaries Day 5 - Sick Day

Last night Harper woke up crying at about 11pm with an earache. She cried and cried and cried. My theory is that half of that was unexpressed emotional stress about all these changes. Poor thing. I gave her motrin and water and read to her for a bit and she felt better and went to sleep. It was about 11:30 or 12. She woke up at 6:15 this morning and napped a bit this afternoon. Hopefully she'll get a good long sleep tonight.

We do talk to her about what's going on, that it's serious and we are serious about doing all the right things, that it's going to be a big challenge, but we will be okay. I try to ask her about her feelings and share some of mine (But not all. I'm not a monster!)

So Day Three of homeschooling was a sick day. Sweet girl did do another yoga session (she asked to do one!), then got to watch Netflix for a bit as it was a sick day. She ate apples and had hot chocolate.

I enjoyed that down time with a lovely pot of tea.

IMG_1929

I attended to household business, bills and calling the doctor for Harper's ear and such. Kurt was out golfing - I know I know, it sounds nutty, but out in the wide open and easily staying far from the other players sounded good. On his way home he stopped at Vons for more apples and cucumbers and parchment paper and potato chips. Many things were empty but many things were still very much available and it wasn't too crowded. We got a starbucks treat as well (Biscuit was jealous). Kurt took a silkwood shower after all that outdoors/among people stuff.

IMG_1932

Harper had a doctor's appointment at 2:30 so we hung out and ate lunch then played Uno (aka math practice with the Biscuit assist) on our bed.

IMG_1933

IMG_1936

It was nice to drive around, traffic was fine, but busier than I thought it would be. There were cautions galore at the Dr.s office, which is good. It took no time to get seen, which was even better. Harper got a strep test just to be overly cautious, negative in the office, we'll get confirmation tomorrow. For now just take the motrin as needed.

Harper proved she is genetically related to me and my mom by doing THIS all on her own. God I love looking through drawers in doctors waiting rooms...!!!

IMG_1940

Harper was perky in the afternoon so Prof. Frey had math class ready for her after the doctor. She did great. I think the alternate seating options are helpful!

IMG_1944

Later she distracted herself with lemon picking and while I'm glad she found something to do on her own, I was really bummed she picked all those lemons as I had planned to leave them on the tree and use them as needed. :-( Luckily there are still a few on the tree.

IMG_1945

So.

Thursday is Lemon Zest and Juicing Day!

She had a nap while I made a lovely leftover rice/chicken/cheese casserole for dinner with enough for more tomorrow and a bunch for the freezer.

IMG_3414

Quiet dinner, a bit more tv and now bedtime with a slug of motrin for the girl and hopefully a good night sleep!

Fortunately, fresh lemon goes well in a vodka tonic.

 


Your Los Angeles Lakers!

Last Tuesday night I went to my first ever Lakers game. I've lived here for over 30 years and FINALLY made it to a game! I was lucky enough to be invited by my boss from Jumanji, along with some other peeps from the Jumanji VFX crew. We were in the 15th row behind the Lakers bench. Dude.

IMG_1410 IMG_1409

I've never even been inside Staples Center. It's pretty cool. 

I'm don't really follow sports, but I usually have a decent handle on who the top players are, who the coach is, etc on the Lakers. But currently - NO CLUE.

Back in the day, when I went to LMU, the Lakers would sometimes practice in our big new gym on campus. One weekend, my college beau (current friend of the blog and back then a H U G E Lakers fan) and I drove onto campus and saw the lot full of very expensive cars. We parked near them and there was Magic Johnson, walking to practice. My beau had just been telling me about a great interview he read with Magic and I said, "Go say hi! Go tell him how much you liked his interview!" He hesitated and I encouraged and he went, I stayed at the car. Magic was gracious and shook his hand, chatted for a minute. I love that memory. 

Shout out to you, RCL!

Now, maybe I should pay attention to who is on the team these days....especially if I get to go back again some time to the 15th row! 

 


In Which Harper Starts Kindergarten


But first there was Kinder Prep Camp. Brilliant idea to have one week of day camp on the school campus where your kid will start kindergarten. We discussed it a lot before it all happened and Harper seemed excited. And she did great. On the Thursday of that week we arrived at school and found out there was a field trip. On a bus. Going to SYLMAR! (That's an hour a way for those of you non Angelenos.) The communications had not been clear. I suppose it was better for me as I didn't have time to be nervous about her first school bus field trip! At home that night I asked her about the field trip. "Harper, did you ride on a bus?" "Yes! ON THE FREEWAY!" That was the most exciting part for her.

Kinder Camp, making friends (thats her in the back, under the whale tail):

IMG_9126  IMG_9141

Then actual Kindergarten started and we had a good first day send off.

IMG_9224

IMG_9243SEHV9104 IMG_9246

She even finished her first homework assignment. She made her letters "pretty". 

IMG_9249

I've had a lot to learn too. New morning routines, new lunch boxes to fill, though Harper doesn't seem to be eating much these first few days. I'm sure it's all about adjusting to the new world. It's a challenge to fit stuff into tiny sections, but I'm working on it. Harper doesn't like peanut butter so there's 50% of lunches I thought would be a no-brainer. Oh well. 

IMG_9255

It's a whole new world for us all. And we are taking it one step at a time. 

 


Can't Quit Now

During the election there was much talk of the sexism that was happening.* My female colleagues and friends all knew what that was about. We've all been in meetings where we are the only women in the room, learned to walk that fine line of polite but firm, to not rock the boat, smile more. I kept also thinking back to my crew days.

In college, I rowed on the crew team all four years. Junior year I was on the varsity lightweight 8 and we were awesome. We worked our asses off and were a great team. Four of us lived together and almost everyone in the boat was dating someone from the men's team, myself included. Crew becomes your whole life. During that amazing year, we won. We won all but two races we had that year. We lost to Radcliffe at the San Diego Crew Classic and we lost to other east coast teams when we went out for nationals at the end of the year. (That weekend was a blur of trying to make weight and white caps on the water during our race.)

The LMU Women's Varsity Lightweight 8 Crew beat everyone we met from the west coast. We were West Coast Champions.

The LA Times came down to the boathouse that spring of 1988 and wrote a full page story, complete with tons of photos, about the men's varsity team.

The men's team.

The men's team who hadn't won a race. The team who was barely making a mark in California, much less in the wider rowing world.

I vividly recall being on a run with my college boyfriend (who is a wonderful human being) and we were on the bike path along Ballona Creek in the Marina and we were talking about the story (he had been in it) and I had to stop running and burst into tears. I felt like I was doing something I'd never done before, working harder, getting stronger (physically and emotionally), plus the crazy weekly weight loss to make the 130 mark before a race. This was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my young life and it was paying off! We were winning! But the full page sports section story in the Los Angeles Times was not about us. It was about the men with a subpar record of success.

I was heartbroken. All that work didn't matter to anyone but ourselves, it seemed.

So we kept winning anyway.

Maybe that's where the seed of my cynical streak got planted. If you know me, I doubt you'd describe me as cynical. But there are moments. I learned from way back that there are times when no matter how hard you work, no matter how much time you put in, how much commitment and teamwork, no matter how much you actually succeed, few people are going to care.

But before I acquired a cynical streak, I believed in fairness and I still do. In this new era, with this new president, I am committed to fairness and making sure those without a voice are heard and helped and protected.

No, I don't compare my crew team experience to people in our country being wildly underserved. Just saying I learned a lot that spring in 1988 and am committed to working just as hard, if not harder.

 

 

*Oh there was plenty to talk about before and after the election and I'm not going talk about all that here. You can subscribe to my new Post Election Connection email newsletter for that


Fun Outside The House

Our new old house makes us happy. Our new old house is still full of boxes as we await installation of about 3 more major closets/cupboards - therefore - the house can become confining so going out is key! This last weekend we had some adventures.

Harper and I started on Saturday at the Dead Zoo aka The Dinosaur Library (Harper's name for it) aka The Natural History Museum. We are members and go there so often I've learned to bring a change of clothes so Harper can splash and throw rocks in the little fountain pond outside. Most of the other kids are bummed because they see Harper getting soaked but their parents tell them no. Sorry kids! But do I have a picture of that? No, because we go so often, I didn't take one this time...but here's one from the other side of that pond fountain:

IMG_4670

The last time we went, this little boy came up to me and said, "Can I go in there?" I said, "Sorry sweetie, you have to ask your mom." He walked away, glum. I watched him play in the not so wet fountain (pictured above) and he kept watching Harper throwing rocks and splashing about. Ten minutes later he came back and said, "Can I go in there?" I laughed and gave him the same disappointing answer.

Harper likes to look at the bones and sometimes the dioramas of the animals and sometimes the rocks and gems and sometimes the nature lab downstairs. The one thing she ALWAYS likes to do is look at the toys in the gift shop.

This last trip, after all of the above, we walked outside and around to the lovely hummingbird garden and the edible garden. Then back inside to pose with the lovely statue in the rotunda. (You can always click the images for larger versions.)

IMG_4676

IMG_4666

NH Museum was Saturday while we let Kurt get his office somewhat put together (as the electrician had been there early in the morning to run power out there). Sunday the three of us went to LA County Museum of Art (no nicknames yet), signed up as members and had a grand day of it.

There was this fun outdoor noodly thing that Harper L O V E D.

IMG_4682

IMG_4766

We walked through the Ahmanson Building and looked at art. We kept asking Harper was she saw or what she thought things were. One piece she said, off handedly, "that's a popsicle" another piece (a sculpture of what looked like different colored car pieces bent and welded together) she looked at and said, "That's garbage." (as in actual trash!) Hilarious. Later in the Toba Khedoori exhibit, which is comprised of rooms with giant cream colored canvases on the walls, each with a different image similar in style to this:

Toba

Harper ran through and then back out saying "They forgot to put art in here!" Sorry Ms. Khedoori! I wanted to stay and look at each one more closely. But this is the beauty of having a membership.

We opted for more "kid-friendly" art - Lamps:

IMG_4692

IMG_4700

Rain: (I could have stayed in there for hours. The sound alone was soothing therapy for a drought filled LA life!)

IMG_4706

IMG_4712

If you follow the instructions, you stay dry, minus a few errant drops. Harper got pretty damp.

Giant indoor sculpture:

IMG_4736

Giant outdoor - er - rock:

IMG_4747

We went to the Guillermo Del Toro exhibit - calling it "Spooky Fun Halloween" stuff for Harper (which she loves). We stayed for a little while. Harper wanted to watch the videos most, but I made her walk around. She was especially taken with the life sized reproduction of Boris Karlof having his Frankenstein monster make up put on:

IMG_1237

I had to explain it to her. Explain how actors put on make up to make movies. "Why?" so they can look like a monster. "Why?" You know how you like to dress up for Halloween? She nods. That's what he's doing, but his mask and make up take a long time. "Why?"

OMG

We walked around a little bit more but got back to this and she stopped again and said, "Tell about this more." So we sat on the floor and I went through the whole story again about makeup and masks and playing dress up and movies and etc etc. Always amazes me what catches her eye - especially in that giant exhibit of monsters and weirdness!

We moved on to a quieter space. A space to create:

IMG_4769

IMG_4770

I can't wait to go back to that lovely painting room.

On Sundays they have a bunch of craft and art stations for kids. Harper made this broach:

IMG_4781

Last thing we saw was this amazing set up! Cars cars cars!

IMG_4777

Happy to be members of LACMA now and to know how many different things there are that Harper will love. Plus the Tar Pits just down the street that we are already a member of by being members of the Dead Zoo/Dinosaur Library!

Hooray LA!


Roller Skating Life Lessons - Lesson #1

Lesson #1 - Moonlight Rollerway (Since 1950!)

June 25, 2016. 

Holy crap what am I doing here? I'm so nervous. There is a 17 year old girl out in the rink doing amazing things on 8 wheels and I wore the wrong socks. The teacher better get here soon or I'm going to bolt in a panic.

Up on skates, Jeff, the skating instructor, is very gracious, his voice and manner calm and soothing. He holds my hands and/or my arms. He's like a dance instructor, leading without making you feel incompetent. And what I am is incompetent.

I tell Jeff to treat me like any of his five year old students. I have no ego about being an almost 50 year old woman getting back on skates. (Or so I think-more on that in another lesson.) I get my feet under me after a few shaky circuits, I can propel myself in the most basic of skating ways, after a bit I can scooter push and do scissors. This is good.

SneakerskatesWhen was the last time I skated? Early 80's?* I'd coast mom's car backward out of the garage to make room, then sweep the pebbles out, lace the skates, turn music on, then go around and around and around in a tight little two-carport-garage-circle. My skates were blue sneaker style with white trim and laces. When we lived on Oahu, I had white boot style skates with metal wheels which must have been hand-me-downs from one of my sisters. My quick google search led me to these pictured at right - no toe stoppers? Amazing. I do have memories of skating into grassy lawns to slow down/stop or grabbing trees. But maybe I had skills enough to stop without any of that?MetalSkates

God, being a kid is great for physical stuff. No fear, low center of gravity and, most importantly, the joy of ignorant self confidence because at seven you haven't collected decades of self-doubt and -loathing to get in the way of trying new things. Or a good skate.

I remember Dor coming to visit once from the Big Island. I was nine or ten. Not sure how long she'd been staying but on her last night she was making lasagna (her specialty) and while she cooked, I skated. The window over the sink looked into the garage and we would talk. Details of the actual conversation are gone, but I recall Dor laughing and saying something about "Nini is ready for me to go home!" How could she read my mind? We'd had a fun visit, but I wanted to have my regular routine back. I tried to deny it to not make Dor feel bad. Looking back, I love that Dor (at 17 or so) had the insight to read me so well. I know now that I worked so hard to hide those kinds of feelings. I wonder if I was simply unable keep hiding them at the end of her visit or if the physical act of skating pushed those feelings out of my body and made it obvious.

I didn't fall in my first lesson with Jeff, a huge achievement. The muscles in my feet were tired as were my thighs, but otherwise I felt great. I would get the hang of this again in no time!

I'd had a wacky idea: Roller Skating lessons! And I didn't back out of it. Feel the fear, do it anyway.

But I didn't really know what there was to fear yet.

 

 

 

*The couple of times I roller bladed in the mid-90's didn't stick.

 

 

 

 

 

 


We Live In A Modern City (Almost)

Living in LA requires a car. Two problems with that:

1) Not everyone who lives here can afford a car and they rely on mass transit, which, in modern times, had been almost entirely made up of buses until 1990. That's when the Blue Line train opened, followed over the next 26 years by the Red, Green, Gold, Purple and now the Expo Line. But still, mostly buses.

2) Because there are so many cars and the majority of mass transit is buses, the roads are crowded.

LA had a history of great rail transit with it's Red and Yellow car system, but due to high costs, they were phased out for buses, the last rail lines dismantled by 1963. So to build subway and surface rail lines in a city that for decades relied on vehicles on surface streets is no easy feat, I'll grant you. And LA is big. Let's look at a map (click on it for a bigger image).

0f57261fdcc1fb8fab9357fcfc118c77The five boroughs of NYC are large. The greater LA area is also very large. This map incorporates other cities that live within LA (Long Beach, Santa Monica, Culver City, etc) and starts to touch on Orange County ("WHICH IS NOT LA OMG!"). Just to reiterate that restarting rail lines is not easy after all those years. And not just geographically. The amount of people who are against mass transit is astonishing.

I went to a few of the planning meetings for the EXPO line (as it is two blocks away from our house). I met many neighbors who were vehemently opposed to having it near us. "Crime will go up!" There is plenty of crime in our part of town already, trains or no trains, sorry to say. "We don't want those people come to our neighborhood!" Who are *those* people? People who want to use mass transit, like me?? "Our property values will go down!" In fact, property values generally increase. "The noise of above ground trains will be unbearable!" This part I can't judge because we live two blocks away from the train, not across the street from it. However, we do live three houses away from the 10 freeway and that sucker is LOUD. I doubt people can hear the train over the sound of the rushing freeway!

I couldn't wait for the train to get here and all this preamble to say: THE TRAIN FINALLY OPENED ON MAY 20!!

They had free rides on Friday the 20th and all day Saturday the 21st. We hopped on after work on Friday and went to Santa Monica to have dinner. What a blast!

Expo7 Expo6 Expo8 Expo1Expo2

On Saturday the trains were PACKED. But we went again, meeting friends in Culver City and taking the train down to Santa Monica for lunch. While we had to stand the whole way, both ways, it was still a pleasure.

I'm currently working in Culver City and made it my goal to take the train at least once a week. It actually takes less time to drive, but I love have a little walk, a little ride, then another little walk. And after being on so many other city transit systems in my travels, it's almost surreal to use a train to get around in my neighborhood in LOS ANGELES! It's almost like living in a modern city.