Monday, April 30, 2012

The Emperor Has No Dinner

I am not hip enough for Venice, CA.

My boss and his wife and I had dinner at a tapas restaurant/wine bar with a job candidate and his wife in Venice last night. As the beautiful day slipped into a slightly chilly evening, the restaurant staff turned on a combination of pillar-like gas burners and heat lamps hanging from the trellis surrounding the patio. Quite cozy.

The menu was eclectic and interesting -- asparagus with prosciutto, cheese platters, an olive and almond platter, bacon wrapped dates. The server recommended we order eight selections, which seemed reasonable for five people.

When the "cheese platter" arrived, I struggled not to laugh out loud. It contained about half a tablespoon of a creamy cheese, a cube of cheese about half the size of a piece of string cheese, and a 2-inch square of cheese sliced so thin you could read through it.

When I order asparagus, I expect...spears of asparagus. Not here in Venice. The dish -- meant to share with five people -- consisted of three leaves of baby lettuce, one chip of prosciutto, and six or eight dots of asparagus that collectively could not have equalled half a stalk.

The place was filled with folks paying $20 a plate for a nickel's worth of food. No one (including me) pointed out that the emperor was not only naked, he was hungry.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


One of the best things about working in Santa Monica is the wide variety of seriously good restaurants that surrounds us. My day is slammed today, so when I heard a group heading off to a place called "True Food," I asked someone to bring me back a sandwich. Later, my boss asked where I was getting food, and what. "True Food. Tempeh, lettuce and tomato sandwich." His laughter reminded me that back home, few people would consider a TLT true food. Ever more evidence -- We are not in Kansas (City) any more.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Bluebird of Happiness

Back in LA after a long weekend in Little Rock, AR and then the Ozark Mountains. The drive from LR to Springfield, MO takes you through some of the prettiest country you'll ever see. Hawks glide through cerulean skies (That's a $10 word and this is Dollar Store country, but it's the only one I know that even comes close.) Roads snake through cuts blasted into bedrock, stories to infinity and beyond written in layers. Rivers run. Life abides.

Flying out last Thursday, I read The Happiness Project. (Yeah, I know. A little behind the times. Reading is another thing that got lost in the big push that resulted in my move to LaLa Land.) Driving around, hanging with my peeps, I thought, "This. This is what makes me happy. These mountains and these people and this life. I could be happy here." I thought how nice it would be to retire back in the mountains, "from whence commeth my strength." I savored the wide open space, the deep green foliage, the rhythm of the life and the language.

Back in LA this morning, I started the day with a 20-minute walk for coffee. Air perfumed with year-round flowers. Streets lined with palm trees. A barista greets me by name and starts my favorite drink when she sees me open the door. Words from Abraham Lincoln come to mind, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Actual bluebirds are native to the Ozarks, but the bluebird of happiness thrives wherever you nurture it. This late-in-life adventure needs a unique backdrop. The landscape here is not the landscape imprinted on my heart and mind, but it is gorgeous in its own way. I am so blessed to be here now. Gratitude for the life I have is what makes me happy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hello Again

It's been so long. I miss writing and reading and thinking as a blogger. I miss my seat at this table of women, the view of your lives and loves, joys and pain. I miss you, and I miss myself as one of you.

Many of you know that I've traded the reflections on the pond for reflections on the ocean -- for at least a while. The sparkles are brighter and the tides roll in and out, but my reflections are pretty much the same. I still find myself diving into Dumpsters after car keys. Still get hopelessly lost on a regular basis. Still work too long and too much.

Differences exist -- some superficial; some real. My hair stylist walks Goldie Hawn to the door and then turns to greet me. Tatum O'Neil and Rob Reiner are seated at nearby tables at lunch. I sit 15 feet from the President of the United States in a meeting and shake his hand afterward.

But...wherever I go, there I am -- no matter who's at the next table. The view changes, but the essence of the story goes on.