When in La La Land…

Things on my end have been wildly busy! It’s difficult to keep up with this Blog. I have recently made some changes in my life that I will share later and that will, hopefully, give me the time I need to start writing more consistently come July.

I recently went to Los Angeles for a week. It was blissful. I stayed with my friend, “C” who I can now officially out at Cynthia from the blog CynthiaLive. This lovely lady lives a block from the ocean, smack dab in the heart of Venice Beach.

image

My first night there we drank wine and hung out near the water, catching each other up on one another’s lives and families.  We share the common denominator of being big sisters. It’s a lot of responsibility to be the oldest!  It’s crazy to think I hadn’t seen her since Thailand and that it has been two years since I moved to Pittsburgh.

image

» Cynthia and I in Thailand waiting out a monsoon «

I have had so many memories like this from living in that city. There is no replacing the feeling of wet sand beneath your toes, the dangling of feet from the damp wood porch of a lifeguard stand or the natural lullabies of crashing tides. I miss the California sun lifestyle and culture so much it hurts just to re-write it. I’ll admit, I was a little sad knowing I would have to leave in a few days despite the familiarity of city that surrounded me and the beach that I once called home.   

image

I started my days flirting with the salty air, taking early morning walks and reminiscing of the times my business partner and I would take to the water, daydreaming about the business venture we have since created.

On day two of my trip I met up with my friend, Whitney Rosenson. Whitney owns an online art rental company, Art Dimensions Inc. Art Dimensions was one of my first jobs out of college and we have remained great friends over the years. She immediately dragged me to the artist, Ann Thornycroft’s house to drop off some painting she had on loan.

image

» Image of Anne Thornycrofts print, Garden Series 15, found on Art Dimensions Website Here  (You can rent it if you’re interested!)«

I’ve know Ann’s work for years and had never had the opportunity to see it in person. The tall vast canvases of her new pieces were breathtaking as the geometric shapes played off the early afternoon light. I was honored to be included and delighted when Ann asked if I wanted a quick impromptu tour of her studio, home and garden. Of course I did! Hell, I hope to get paid to do this for a living.. The home was full of California charm with its open layout and stout 1950’s west coast architecture.

 After that Whitney and I hopped in the car and drove up to Malibu. We passed the small town cafes buried deep in the veins of a windy mountain range. I shared with her my angst of having moved East to start a business and the love I’ve found that might keep me there. Fields of grapes graced the hilltops and we eventually landed at Malibu Winery. This has been on my list since they opened. I felt valiant upon our arrival and made my mental check.image

Eventually, my trip ended up at San Onofre State Beach campground outside of San Diego where I went camping on the bluffs with youngest brother Dominic, sister, Veronica and our cousin Angie.

image

It was so much fun. Dominic is deaf and it was a struggle trying to remember my signs and tell stories by the light of our measly campfire. In the end we persevered. Dominic has such a great personality and is growing into a wonderful young man. He’s always so optimistic and patient with his hearing family. Most of our family has not learned sign or is very poor at it like myself. I know it bothers him. While we tried to be sure we were including him during the trip, there were still many hearing conversations he was left out of. 

Tears welled up in my eyes when I first saw him. He had probably grown a foot since we last saw one another. Veronica and Dominic are my biological siblings. While we are all still very close with each other it’s rare that we are able to spend physical time together. Our brother Damon lives in New York, I’m in Pennsylvania and Dominic and Veronica are a 2-3 hour drive away from one another in Southern California. It had been two years since I’d been able to see and hug my baby brother.

image

» Pardon the camp head «

He has this video blog (VLOG) that he does. At different points on the trip he would whip out his phone, sign rapidly with his right hand while holding the camera in his left. At one point he even did an interview with Veronica (the fluent signer in the bunch). The two of them are significantly taller than their older older siblings (poor Damon and I). It’s almost laughable.

I love being around my younger siblings and cousins, they are all full of so much energy, creativity and promise. They inspire me to move forward, remind me that I’m a role model and at almost 10 years their senior I hope to be doing a good job.

Los Angeles lifestyle Pittsburgh Art Artists family deaf sign language travel love

Why a memoir?

In telling people I was working on writing a memoir most look at me with a questionable eye and a face full of doubt. Whether it is my non-biological Mother, some dude I may or may not have a crush on, or any respectable adult over the age of 30, they all seem a little worried about this pursuit. This makes sense. I’m completely terrified as well. How can someone write a memoir at the age of 25? My response is, the same thing I use to tell my college boyfriend in attempts to sound like an old soul, “I’ve lived a lot of life in my young age and most of it I did not ask for.” As I crawl inside myself looking for material and content, I am reaffirmed on a regular basis that this is what I’m being called to do.

My life to date is a story of heroes. Men and women who have seen triumph and who can whole heartily be given credit for my successes. I want people to know that there is life after tragedy. In the eyes of the public or in the solitude of depression, it is possible to move beyond the events that leave scars on your history. There is strength found in reclaiming something as precious as one’s life and a well-deserved pride in doing it with integrity. I want people to understand the portrait of an amazing woman who was never asked to be my mother but took me in kindness and showed me love even though I didn’t start calling her Mom until I was 22.

I want to weave my readers through the struggle of being a recent graduate in an economic culture most 23 year olds, let alone 50 year olds were not prepared for in 2009. I want to give a glimpse of the ever so coveted Los Angeles art world and then I hope to land right smack in the middle of three guys changing the Los Angeles food culture one restaurant at a time.  These are the stories found in my book. 

Maybe it will take me a lifetime but I feel I have to use the time given to me now to get out as much as I can. This memoir is more than just the life of a questionably sane 20 something; it’s a telescope into a range of industries, politics and social atrocities. 

memoir writing travel parenting CURATE IT los angeles

Brief moments of culture shock

  • Driving to the gym an old tune I haven’t heard in a while came on the radio: Backstreet Boys, I don’t want you back. Seriously? Then it dawned on me they are still playing the same stuff they played when I was in High School. 
  • Watching the snow fall is an activity (and I love it..). I had to stay in today because it was snowing and my car won’t make it up the driveway in that sort of weather. 
  • Hot style trends are crocks, fleece and  the “natural look” for the older crowd. The younger ones seem to like pocketless, white washed jeans with studded belts and skin tight shirts that emphasize their muffin tops. It’s never a good look!
  • High school students have face piercings and black eyeliner, what?! Where are their parents…
  • Oh, but at least the hippies are taking care of their children…though it is a little unsettling when you see whole families with dreadlocks. I guess that’s one way to get out of washing your child’s hair regularly.

 *shrug*

Dorothy, you are not in Los Angeles anymore. 

Nevada County grass valley nevada city los angeles

Sometimes you have to go back to the beginning in order to move forward.

Choosing to move home wasn’t as hard of a decision as I had thought it would be. At 25 I had lived in Los Angeles for a little over five years. The last year in that city had been one of the hardest. Unlike, the years of struggle before it, I was financially stable. Instead of working three jobs to make rent I had a career and still remained a strong and active member of the art world. While I loved Los Angeles and the many opportunities it brings, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a waiting room.

I would never settle down anywhere in southern California. The chances of finding love, in a city that is driven by self-empowering individuals, seemed fleeting. It’s not that people don’t find love in Los Angeles. They do. However, it’s the exception not the rule. Most families move to the valley and suburban areas to raise their children. That definitely would never be in the cards for this small town girl. The many marriages I came to admire while living in LA mostly didn’t happen until the couple was much older then where I want to be when I start my family.

I’m not saying that there is a wrong or right way to develop your life. It really is a matter of preference. My preference had left me unhappy. I was living a lifestyle I wasn’t proud of and in a city I wasn’t committed to. The relationship you have with where you live is like any relationship. It must be nurtured, your lifestyles need to be similar and well, frankly, you and your city need to like each other. Once you fall out of love it’s hard to fall back into any sort of sustainable living arrangement. There may be a summer here or a weekend there that’s full of joy but if it’s not sustainable, you end up prolonging the inevitable. When the opportunity arose I knew it was my time to leave. Within two weeks, I broke up with Los Angeles and told everyone I was moving.

My 25th birthday party became an impromptu going away bash. I found a replacement roommate, sold my furniture and loaded up my car. I spent my last few days roaming Abbot Kinney, going out to lunch, starring at the ocean, going to concerts in Silver Lake and saying my farewells. It was beautiful. I left feeling loved, accomplished and inspired.

My decision to move home was very similar to when I realized I wanted to be an Art History major. It didn’t make sense to many people but I knew in my heart of hearts it was the right path for me. I needed a way to keep tract of the choices I’ll be making, the different things I will add and subtract from my life. I needed a way to memorialize how I curate the next few months of travel, love and even that of business. So here I am; blogging…. Along with everyone else. Apparently this is cool thing to do! This is me trying to spruce up my writing skills, keep everyone informed with my impending travel plans and have a space where I can share my experiences.

Nothing more and nothing less.

los angeles southern california curate it