Browse Month: November 2017

Villa Metro: More Than A Street Fair

My kids and I have always been a little weird when it comes to looking at houses. We’d go for walks in the neighborhood and pop in on open houses whether we were looking for a house or not. We started doing this when the girls were little more than toddlers.  They learned to see past a bad paint job and look at the bones of a house.

Not all kids find this fun which is why Villa Metro’s Street Fair in Valencia is kind of brilliant. This Saturday, August 17th from 10 – 4, parents can tour brand new Mediterranean-style homes and kids can eat, make crafts and enter contests to win prizes. It’s like a block party before anyone’s moved in.

Valencia has grown tremendously over the past decade. Villa Metro is part of a well-thought out community connected by bike paths, rec areas, pools, gyms and trails. The homes have been developed with the Southern California landscape and lifestyle in mind. Along with an emphasis on family and community, these homes boast sustainable building practices and a small-town feel.  As another bonus, Valencia is connected to LA via Metrolink.

Come out to Villa Metro this weekend to learn more about the design and scope of this community and talk with representatives from The New Home Company while the kids run around and listen to music. Valencia has two farmer’s markets and a growing list of restaurants and shops. There’s also an emphasis on outdoor activity and Valencia is known for its good schools.  So make the trip up this weekend to the Villa Metro Street Fair!

Villa Metro in Valencia, CA

More Than Coffee Spoons

A friend asked me a tricky question today. She asked how I’m doing. The answer to that feels long form and unformed. “I need to read Joan Didion” isn’t really an answer that sheds any light. But I need to read her to remember the kind of writer I want to be. Kind of antsy and a little flat is a more accurate answer, but still not anything anyone wants to hear. It’s nothing I want to look at.

I’ve missed writing here. Haven’t made the time or there just isn’t time. I’m trying to get used to a schedule that includes lots of work and little by way of regularity. I worry far too much. Edward G. Robinson’s character in Double Indemnity talked about the little man in his gut. Mine’s on fire most mornings even before I open my eyes to ponder finances and work and the To Do list.

I’m at a point in my separation where we’ll be filing for divorce soon. It’s been 15 months since my ex and I called it quits. As civil as our separation has been, there’s a taking stock that I feel forced into lately. I’ll just say it outright–After being a stay at home mother, working part time for years, it’s scary to be on my own. I didn’t walk back into a career. I’m patching one together and don’t really know what the hell I’m doing.

When I list what’s going on in my life, it all sounds good. I got a raise this week. I filed a piece with a new outlet. I’m working on a longer piece that I think really has potential. My kids are having a good summer. I’m going back East to see family soon. Lots of good stuff. But I don’t really feel any of it. I’m slogging through, starting the day with coffee and ending with a glass of wine. Marking my days. Like PrufrockI have measured out my life with coffee spoons.

Maybe Prufrock is something else to read right now. The line, Do I dare eat a peach?, jumped out at me in high school when I first read Eliot. I got it. Even the mundane tasks of simple sustenance can be tricky, fear-laden. And there’s J. Alfred laying it all out for me and anyone who cares to read. Fear isn’t confined to jumping off a cliff.  Ordinary life inspires this too.

But Didion writes and Patti Smith sings. Maybe I should make a collage of all the touchstone artists in my life and call it More Than Coffee Spoons. I’ll hang it on the ceiling in my bedroom right over the bed so I see it every morning.

photo credit: Jon McGovern via photopin cc

Whole Inspiration

For the past 18 months I’ve worked part time for Whole Child Foundation as Program Director. Whole Child is a non-profit started by Dr. Lonnie Zeltzer with a beautiful, truly worthy mission and no money (like most non-profits). At Whole Child, through the clinic and foundation, we work with kids and teens with chronic pain. The kids deal with a variety of diagnoses such as migraines, IBS, arthritis, brain cancer and Sickle Cell Anemia. People often say, “Oh wow. That must be so hard. So sad.” It’s not.

At Whole Child, we help kids. We give them hope and techniques for managing or conquering pain. We get them back with their friends, back in school and back to a quality of life that seems almost unimaginable for most of these kids. We’ve witnessed kids go from wheelchair to PhD. We have artists, writers, scholars and athletes come to us. Most of these kids have seen upward of 14 doctors before finding Dr. Zeltzer.

Right now I’m running a filmmaking workshop for Whole Child with a grant from Women Helping Youth. We have 8 kids telling their stories and filming them. I need help editing the footage. I need food to feed everyone on our last session, July 20th. The kids need each other even if they didn’t realize it. I’d love it if the kids produced some great short films during this workshop, but even more, they’ve had the chance to connect with each other and themselves.

It seems paradoxical, but connecting with others suffering from chronic pain frees the kids up to remember themselves without pain.  I’m pretty sure it gives them hope. In taking stock, this is the most gratifying work I do. I get to watch kids who feel lonely, misunderstood and isolated, connect in a deep and meaningful way. And with the workshop, they bring all the force of their creative selves to the forefront.  They are amazing. They are passionate. They are so very real.

As soon as our new site goes live, I’ll share it here so you can meet these kids. In the meantime, if you can help with editing or donate lunch for our last session (July 20th), it would be great. You’ll enjoy it, I promise!  We’re planning to replicate this program soon.

I’m not writing this to get funding.  I just really want to share some of what I’ve been doing that sustains me and gives life a whole lot of meaning.

photo credit: Khánh Hmoong via photopin cc

July, July

I remember last July as a time when my girls were away visiting family.  I’d just moved into my apartment and Scott had moved into his place down the street. I ate chocolate chip cookies for breakfast and baguette with chevre and figs for almost every other meal.  I read excerpts of The Hunger Diaries by Mavis Gallant and wrote about it here on my blog.

This July is different. I’m reading Junot Diaz. There haven’t been enough figs or solitude in this month. Alice Munro announced that she’s written her last book and to be honest, I can’t even process that bit of news.  Gallant’s diaries don’t get published until September. My blog languishes. It’s almost as long a time between posts as it is between me dropping off and picking up my dry cleaning. My cats have both taken off. Black Cat lives with another family who’s nicer and buys him toys. Speed has just disappeared. I think he was lonely without Black Cat (BC is a selfish cat and has definitely moved on from us and poor Speed).  Their water and food dishes sit here just the way they left them.  I started getting teary over the little bastards last night.  I even bought them a tub of catnip.

Izzy is up north visiting family and Amalia went to rhythmic gymnastics camp this past week.  Summer of their independence in a few different ways.  But Amalia has traveled a lot and it’s been really good for her.  Izzy always has a great time on her visits up north. Next week, we leave for NY, family and the beach.  Can’t wait.  But that’s August and a completely different beast.

I didn’t expect this July to be quite so heavy. But I have almost fully decided to let my hair grow again. I cut it last year with the separation. If only it would grow out as quickly as a decision gets made. Making gains in the freelance world has happened a little faster than hair growing and that’s a good thing. I’ve added new outlets and have even done some successful networking.

This is a ramble of a post. Time to get to work.  Have a great day everyone.  How’s your summer been?

photo credit: Muy Yum via photopin cc