SoCal is Ron Weasley

Sometimes I feel really out of place in Southern California.

For a person who enjoys mornings and hot chocolate and orange leaves and soup, Southern California with its afternoon glow and Kombucha and sand can be difficult. Not in the way calculus or international trading agreements are difficult, but more in the way picking onions out of a burrito is difficult. And the sun. So much sun. Every day the sun is there, reminding me that I can’t be anything but happy. 

Even the sun is pressuring me!

I went from Southern California to a personified sun. The blog horse is running away again. Excuse me while I pull on those reigns. Neigh! Pull!

SoCal is a delight to many, and I get it. What’s not to love? But since moving here, loving SoCal has felt like cheating on Indiana.

Take the kindest, sweetest boy who wouldn’t kiss you on the first date because of he’s embarrassed by his sweaty lips; that’s Indiana. Falling in love with SoCal would be like leaving the boy and running away with People‘s “Sexiest Man Alive,” circa 1989, 1998, or 2005. Neigh! Pull!

Back to my point: it’s just not fair or nice, and it’s so… predictable. 

And so I’ve never loved California fully. Always one foot on the ground.  

But is it possible to love two places for different reasons? (To be clear, I’m asking this strictly about places. Please don’t run off on your sweet or even semi-aggrivating significant other, even if he does have sweaty lips.)

Like, am I allowed to love California for showing off days like this? 

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And this?

 

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And this?

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May I love it for its ridiculous traffic and unpredictable acts of nature, 

while still adoring Indiana for its autumn and small towns and Walmart? (Walmart is different in Indiana. Trust me.)

I think so. I hope so. I long for my Indiana home, but I’m learning to love California. It’s that slow friendship love that sneaks up on you like wet socks. (I only realize my socks are wet when I stop moving.) I think I can love California like Hermione loves Ron. 

But I’ll always love Indiana like Hermione loves Dobby. Maybe Dobby didn’t appear to be such a star to anyone until after he died, but Hermione saw the potential there. I’m not saying anything would have happened between them, but… you never know. I feel better about that scenario than Hermione/Harry. 

Neigh! Run free! Blog Horse is free.

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HP Images 1&2.

 

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big sur adventure

Last weekend was an adventure. Okay, okay, every weekend is an adventure, but last weekend was a really BIG, SURreal adventure.  See what I did there?

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to go to a super sweet writer’s conference in Big Sur.  The experience was magical and whimsical and cold and full of laughs and packed with complete freakouts.

Let me break it down for you.

Friday

Jill drives us from Malibu to Big Sur.  We pass a zebra farm (with an ocean view).  Why not?

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We get ready in the bathroom of the lodge’s lobby because our room isn’t ready yet. Great.

At the first workshop, my work is torn to shreds.  Overall response: “Cute idea, but terrible execution.”

I sulk.

I attempt to start a fire.  Please see Jill’s post for The Rest of The Story.  (Paul Harvey, I love you!)

I rewrite my first ten pages starting from scratch.

Saturday

Printing issues.  “Just tell him to bring my laptop to the airport. I’m going home.”  I never thought I was this dramatic.

I remember that the world is a magical place full of redwood trees.

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I go back to workshop, and my new pages are well-received.  Overall response: “Always write like this.” Will do.

So much coffee.  Not enough water.

I am on top of the world, and so is the entirety of FAC (First Authors Club).  We sing ROAR with more passion than anyone ever singing a Katy Perry song should.

We eat giant burgers really fast.  “My stomach. I don’t know what’s happening in there.”

Sunday

Bathroom issues.

“Jill, I want to be honest with you. I went to the bathroom. Some things happened. I opened a window.”

20 mins later in the lobby.

Me: “I wouldn’t use the left stall if I were you. Terrible things have occurred.”

Jill: “Was it you again?”

I find out the secret to perfect eyebrows. I will not share this information. wahahaha

FAC shares big (sur) hugs.  So many Big Sur puns out there…

We kick off the drive back with 30 minutes of laughing, screaming, and singing loudly.  It’s a total manic blackout.  I’m just happy we survived.

Overall Experience

I’m so thankful to have Jill and Katie, two brilliant, amazing writers and friends.  I’m so thankful that I write and that what I write has a place in the world.  I’m so thankful I went to Big Sur.

Oh, and I’m so thankful for you… and zebra farms.

catching fire, feel the flame

That’s an epic title, am I right?

This Thursday evening I had the profound pleasure of seeing Catching Fire, but this wasn’t just any Catching Fire experience.  This. Was. SO COOL.

I got out of class at 10.  Night class, am I right?

We get to the Chinese Theatre at 11.  We transform into mega-Hunger Games fans at approximately 11:05.  Right around here.

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Let the ridiculousness begin!  The ridiculousness was spectacular. The movie was spectacular.  Jennifer Lawrence was spectacular.

I mean, the Chinese Theatre, am I right? Okay, I’ll stop.

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The last time I went to the Chinese Theatre I saw Gravity, or in the words of Jill: “We WERE Gravity.”

This time was just as magical.  Also, seeing movies with good friends, like my Italian Rachel is magical, am I right? Last one, I swear.  Check out Rach’s silly face and Jill’s neck below. Oh, and Peeta.  That’s all.

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universal studios

I’m still alive.  That was important to assert. In fact, you could say that the reason I haven’t blogged in 13 days (goodness sakes) is because I’ve been living life to the fullest, i.e. grading and presenting and dressing up for Halloween – the important stuff.

A big part of living life to the fullest is a good theme park day. Yes, for me, theme park and carpe diem are synonymous.  Theme parks are full of laughter and magic and (on good days) short lines. This weekend I went to Universal Studios, the self-proclaimed “Entertainment Capital of LA,” with Thad and Meg and Rachel, and I had a blast.  I want everyday to be a blast.  It can be, right?  I’m going to try.  I really am.

Thad and Meg were Wayne and Garth, which was just about the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  I was a puppy/human hybrid (last minute much?).  Rach was the goddess of song, Adele.

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Have a blast of a day!

for the love of movies

Have I mentioned that I love movies?  Oh, I did.  Oh, you can tell.  Oh, I can’t seem to have a single thought without relating it to a movie you “just have to see.”  Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don’t think my love of movies is going anywhere fast.

I’ve always wanted to be a part of making movies, part of the “dream factory.”  In Indiana, this dream felt like a faraway calling, a quest that I would never be quite ready for.  In California (more specifically, in Malibu), the dream makers are everywhere; although they just say they’re in the “industry.”  I like dream makers more; it’s very Inception; you just have to see Inception.  (Told you. It’s a tick.)  The industry folk are quite literally my neighbors (yes, even in the “prefabricated homes” park), and there are moments that are so very surreal, it’s surprising I haven’t fainted. For instance, I drove by Dustin Hoffman walking on a beach street. I waved at him, and he waved at me; I cried for the next ten minutes and wrote several drafts of a fan letter explaining what that wave meant to me (don’t worry, I didn’t send it).

 

Another one of these surreal gems happened this weekend.  Rob, Jill, Rachel, and I (and I smell a fantastic friend group here), went to see Gravity at the GRAUMANN’S CHINESE THEATER. As in, where Star Wars first premiered.  As in, had to step over Julie Andrews’s handprints to get inside.  As in, I could have danced with a Spiderman impersonator on the way out; okay, that one isn’t super cool.

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Inside, there was a display case of George Clooney’s astronaut costume for the movie we were about to see!  If movies are dreams, this place is where sleeping happens, man.  (I feel like I could do better with that analogy.) I found my way to ladies’ restroom, and I thought, “I’m home.”  It’s like the calling to be a part of the dream world is still there, but now, it’s not quite as far away.  It’s like I’m Pocahontas and everything is “just around the riverbend.”

 

Although, that’s not quite what I mean because I already have so many of my dreams.  Dustin Hoffman is just a person, everybody (mostly talking to myself: “Stop crying.”).  The Chinese Theater is just a building.  And movies, as much as I love them, are just movies.  It’s how these people, places, and artworks invade ourselves that really matters; that’s what gets me excited about movies.  It’s who I am and how I treat people that defines the level of success in my life.  I love movies, but I love goodness more.  I think the two of them can be friends, like Lethal Weapon (Mel is movies, Danny is goodness).  You just have to see that movie.

Afterthought: here are some other movies you just have to see, especially, if you need a good cry: http://www.lydiamag.com/2013/10/let-it-out-cryfest-feature-list.html#more

pretty views and pretty blooms

So the title doesn’t rhyme, but it sounds like it almost does, right?  Throw me a bone.

I live in a pretty place, and sometimes I forget how beautiful it really is and how much I dreamed of living here when I was younger.

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But like so many dreams becoming reality.  Living here, in California, is different than I imagined.  It’s busier and more expensive and more real.  Isn’t that what happens when what we wish for comes true?  It’s simultaneously more and less and different than you thought, but that’s because it’s not just a thought anymore.  The dream has been thrust into reality and that means it’s so much messier than you imagined.  But, can I just say, it’s so much greater, too.

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There is someone out there “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”  Isn’t that awesome?  Because I imagine some pretty great things.  I ask for specific, crazy, wonderful things in my life, and yet, everything I receive is so much better than anything I could think up to ask.  I’m not trying to paint a picture of perfection here because my life is FAR from it, but even if it isn’t perfect, it’s certainly beautiful.  Every day, here in California, and at home, in Indiana, life is beautiful as dreams manifest themselves in reality, and something greater, something more than we could ever imagine for ourselves, takes root in our lives.

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