“The Best Laid Plans of Mice and..” Um, Women. Week started with a gut punch, filled in with beauty.

     Work, work, work,  unplanned, unanticipated gut punch (didn’t involve family or loved ones) visit of Darling Daughter, flash mob, tour of LA Dream Center, Sea Kayaking, experiencing the love of a good man, beach combing, sight-seeing.

  She arrives following an 8 hour plane ride from what feels like the other side of the world.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see my baby, who I haven’t seen since last October.  I was excited to finally get to see her!  She is an official adult now. I am so incredibly proud of my children and grateful for all they have taught me. 

I had done a flash mob in Los Angeles when I first came to Cali and really wanted to do it with my daughter.  We decided about 3 weeks prior to her coming out to both sign up for a proposal flash mob.  My daughter practiced in Alabama with media sent to her and I (having learned my lesson from the first) practiced clumsily with the media that was sent to us here in Cali AND, luckily, was able to attend a group practice session in LA.  I’m so glad I went.  There were a couple of moves (choreographer called them “crumping” that I had no idea how to do.  When I got to the rehearsal, our choreographer was a wonderful, patient teacher, who did not laugh her head off at this 48 year old trying to crump.  I explained that this body no longer makes some of those moves and she let me put my hands on her shoulders to feel how the move goes – this actually helped!  My daughter and I practiced with the full group together right before the actual mobbing for about an hour and a half – of course, she, the 20 year old – got all the choreography the first time.  Then, as a group, we walk over to planned site.

This is where it got real!  We were at a gee-orgeous house at the very end of a cul-de-sac that overlooked the city.  We practiced as a group a few times to fine – tune what kinks we could (except for what they call the core group, flash mob is comprised of every day smutches like myself).  The proposer comes out to end of driveway and explains in an extraordinarily nervous and heart-warming way how they plan for this to go.  It was unbelievably sweet how very nervous they were, truly.  Someone is calling in E.T.A. “she’s at the end of the street – hide, hide”.  We break off into our assigned little groups, some of us crouched down behind parked cars in peoples’ driveways on each side of the street (neighbors had been advised), some in the garage of the proposers’ house.  My daughter could see the proposee as she gets our of car “she’s crying”.  This was so sweet.  Proposer has changed clothes, has a karaoke type setup with a microphone and starts singing (um, not a singer) sweetly (nervously) along with a lovey tune to darling little proposee in the street in front of house.  Music changes to  Beyonces’ “You Should have Put a Ring on It”, the core dancers come out and start the first (fancy) part of the mob, then from both sides of street, we bee bop from our hiding spaces and start dancing behind them.

Proposer felt like proposee might be onto them a bit so as we finish song, posing with our left hand up and pointing to left ring finger, proposer goes to proposee, turns and thanks us (this is supposed to be a house-warming party – thus the guests, etc and proposee knew to dress up), neels down on one knee, ties shoe, gets up and everyone moves toward house – no proposal .  Proposer had fixed up inside of house with pictures detailing their time up to now as a couple – I believe they had a decade  – so just the two walked through the house, everyone else walked to beautiful back yard, fixed up elegantly with a wet bar, tables with flowers, an a capella ladies group that sang the initial song beautifully.  Proposee’s family was up on deck right above where we are all standing.  Proposee comes out from the back door, we are in the round facing her and Proposee, even while nervous, gives this gorgeous, long, romantic speech about their time together “you are the sprinkles on my ice cream” finally gets down on one knee with ring, “Will you?”.  Propossee hesitates long enough for us to begin to worry, then says “of course, Yes”.  This was so fun and out of our comfort zone (no one really knows us here, don’t know if I would do it at home).  Both of us were excited, moved and had so much fun!

I don’t yet see any video of this flash mob posted, but if they do I will share it with you.  I definitely recommend trying a flash mob, soo much fun.

Beauty surveying the ocean off Goleta Beach
Walkway along the beach
Folks kayaking in Pacific off Goleta Beach
The Morton Bay Fig Tree in Santa Barbara, it even has its’ own wikipedia page
Kelp leaf, Goleta, California

We are privilieged to be invited to a picnic on the beach in Goleta by my Love.  This, for me, is also out of my comfort zone a bit, although I kind of think I am the only one who is uncomfortable.  Somehow, some way, God sent the Love of my Life (except for my kiddies, of course) and he is beautiful, so intelligent, beautiful, funny and good, at this stage of my life. He is so good to my children and seems to go at their pace.  My daughter, in turn, is patient, kind and understanding of my love for him.   It really makes me happy to see them get along.  We eat hot dogs, drink “soda”  (what they call co-cola out here), walk along the beach and they skip stones on the ocean.  Nice! 

One of the things that I really wanted to do when I came to California for work was to see the Los Angeles Dream Center.  I attend The Church of the Highlands back home in Alabama and the Dream Center in Woodlawn, Al is based L.A.s’ Dream Center.  I have heard so much about it and decided to take one of their twice weekly tours with my daughter (had a rental car)  A beautiful, articulate young man took us on a tour of the facilities and explained how it got started and we walked through the facilities, learning about their many programs – including the new program to house children who have recently “aged out” of foster care, homeless childrens’ daycare, the one year drug and alcohol recovery program, medical missions, dental missions and more.  By the end of the tour, my toes were completely curled! I was excited about the program and so grateful to see really good people helping those who need it.  This is really how I came to God, not by what a person said to me, but by watching their actions and how they lived. I, personally, think this is the best witness.  I am so glad we went.  My daughter was even inspired.  Please Google “Los Angeles Dream Center” for more information

http://www.dreamcenter.org/leadershipschool/about/
“We are one of four locations for the City Help Mobile Medical Clinic to provide free health care to the poor and uninsured throughout the county. –
Beginning of Dream Center tour, view from roof
View of LA from roof at beginning of Dream Center tour
This is the community and resident fitness center at the Dream Center, Los Angeles. Only $25/month for community members. Very nice!
Isn’t this the Truth
August 23 upload dream center truck
http://www.dreamcenter.org/about-us/

After leaving the Dream Center, we accidently landed on what looks like it must be a hoity-toity mall, called “The Grove” in LA.  We just find a parking spot, wander into this extraordinarily cool open air place.  The first thing that you see is a large water fountain where the water dances to music, there are restaurants and shops facing the fountain.  This is one of those places where you look very touristy (at least, I do) with your mouth drooped open and exclaiming “wow” every few minutes.  My favorite part of this place (I am not really a shopper) was the farmers’ market at the end.  It has every possible thing you could want, foods, etc AND I bought a Grapico there!  You can tell that it is an upscale place, has Nordstroms and all the name stores.  Most of the folks walking around were gorgeous, well dressed and skinny – more food for me. www.thegrovela.com/

I just looked this up..”The Grove is a retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, California, built, owned, and operated by Rick J. Caruso and his company Caruso Affiliated on parts of the historical Farmers Market”
Pinwheels on statue at the Grove
Fancy streetlights at the Grove
Promenade at The Grove
https://www.dylanscandybar.com/info/About_Us.html Dylan Lauren
Checkout counter at Dylans’ Candy Bar at the Grove, LA
Lollipop lanterns Dylans Candy Bar The Grove, Los Angeles
Gas station exhibit at the Grove LA
Truck @ gas station exhibit, The Grove, Los Angeles, California
Mural on wall store @ The Grove
Thank you very much. Welcome to LA sign at the Grove
I really like the wood on this awning at the Grove

Monday evening, we take the looonng drive down to Coronado Island, near San Diego.  Let me preface by pointing out that  A) I am from the South and am quite used to warm, I say – warm, ocean waters of the Gulf.  I have been in Cali, up and down the Coast, for about 3 years and have easily managed to not get into that freezing cold, wave and shark filled water the whole time.  No desire whatsoever.  I have happily taken pics of it and admired it from a safe distance, thank you very much.  Even the beautiful, clear, cerulean waters of Monterey, the big surfer-filled waves of Santa Cruz.

Nope, nada, nyet, nien (sp?)!

Well,  I’d gotten this great idea to kayak while my daughter is here, something I have always wanted to do but haven’t yet.  Found a Groupon for the sunset kayak here and purchased.  When I advised my daughter, via phone, she quickly asks “what happens if we tip over?”  Good question.  Forgot the ocean part of the kayak trip.  I called and was reassured that that “almost never happens” “we have life jackets”, etc.  Umm, did I mention that I am the picture of grace and elegance.  That “almost never” clause is for me.  If it’s gonna happen, it’ll be me.

Whatever, this is something that I’ve always wanted to do and would be fun to do with my little one, she of no fear ever.  First, Coronado Island is Gorgeous!  I am nervous as all get out and we are hungry.  God is good and placed a KFC in our path, so I quickly try to drown my fears in greasy chicken legs.  Doesn’t help, but ummm was it good.  We check in, get a locker for our non-waterproof goodies, pick out a life jacket and here we go.  Still terrified, really.  I am the goof that, as we are on the kayaks and the confident, athletic young fella is pushing the kayak off (note the mom and young child ahead of us who are braving the waters) who goes “oooohhhhh” as we go. DD mortified.

Ah, but once we are bobbing around on the water – me in the back as the “heaviest” sits in back and steers, I’m liking this.  Really.  You feel like you are just on a raft bouncing along.  Fun!  So we paddle one direction as our guide confidently and carefully watches over us, enjoying the beautiful scenery. I’m making every effort to not think about the sharks, Our guide would stop and let us rest when needed and gave a very knowledgeable, non-boring talk about the sites and the history of the island. It really did add value to the trip, which was great anyway.  When we got to the other end, we were able to go around the boats docked in the water there, some looked like pirate ships. This was interesting.

It is now dark.  The lights of the island and the city are all on and it is a new kind of beautiful.  I have this new kind of brave going on and we are hungry, so DD and I paddle like mad-women to get back to starting point.  I am now hooked.  Again, once I try something I am so scared of, I really love it.  It would have been a shame if I never got to do this. I can’t compliment the staff at the company enough, they were wonderful!

Skyline from Coronado Island as sun sets. http://www.hikebikekayak.com/index.php/bike/coronado-bike-tour.html I HIGHLY recommend them.
View from Coronado Cali , skyline at night after ocean Kayak tour 2014

      My baby has to fly back to Bama.  Argh.  I absolutely hate these times.  I am so not good with goodbye, truly.  So, I call in the troops.  I explain very clearly to Darling Boyfriend (haven’t decided on proper title yet)  that I need him, I will be a puddle when she leaves and get this…he comes with me to airport and we bid my Lovey bye.  He supports me and keeps me entertained and upbeat for a few days so I can stand up.  What a wonderful wonderful person, truly (yes, I am mushy, but whodda thunk?)

One of the things he and I did was to visit the California Science Museum,(http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/ ) where the space shuttle Endeavor is displayed and their exhibit entitled Pompeii.  We got to experience a simulated earthquake.  There is a large, beautiful rose garden just outside of the museum that we also wandered through.  I am a flower fiend and it was wonderful and romantical to be there with my Love.

August 23 upload Pompeii exhibit
http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/Exhibits/SpecialExhibits/pompeii/pompeii.php

Helmet from Pompeii exhibitAugust 23 upload walking into building where Pompeii exhibit isAugust 23 upload beautiful ceiling from building where Pompeii exhibit held

 These pics were taken on the ride that I take often on the Pacific Surfliner.  I am blessed to have this line nearby and if I book rides early enough, they are not expensive.  Notice what appeared in the reflection of the window on one of these pics.

Train ride past Ventura
Reflection from train window taking pics of scenery
I’m riding train, taking pics through window of scenery. Didn’t see reflection until uploaded.
Amen!

August 23 upload 6 August 23 upload 7 August 23 upload 8 train ride past Ventura August 23 upload 12 train August 23 upload 15  August 23 upload 9 train ride past Ventura August 23 upload 10 train ride past Ventura August 23 upload 11 train ride past Ventura    August 23 upload train ride back from Santa B picnic         August 23 upload Palm trees near dream center la    August 23 upload ocean 3                       August 23 upload 20 August 23 upload ocean again  August 23 upload 15 August 23 upload 8 train ride past Ventura August 23 upload 9 train ride past Ventura August 23 upload 10 train ride past Ventura  August 23 upload 12 train August 23 upload 7 August 23 upload 4 August 23 upload 5  

I haven’t written original post in a minute, many many changes within the last week

     Life, right?  I am living it, digesting what I cannot control and trying to make sense of what little I can.  I am working hard on turning to God, listening to His Will instead of mine, which I usually try to organize and do what I think is right.  One quote that comes to mind is..”If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten”.  So true.  Very active, interesting, event filled week which I will write about in a bit.  Many pictures as this is how I mark memories. 

      Just wanted to write something to let folks know I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth, all is well and will get even better.  Thank you to my followers and those who inspire me.

“Don’t go Gentle into that Night” , wonderful article by Ryan Mitchell, The Tiny House Blog

Don’t Go Gentle Into That Night

 

I recently was listening to a podcast where a quote was given that struck me.  I have been thinking a lot recently about how predetermined and designed life can be for us unless we wake up and take charge.  The quote was:

It’s called the American dream because you

have to be asleep to believe it.

Wake from your slumber!

The scary thing is if we don’t wake up from this slumber of complacency, our lives are influenced to a point that defies common sense.  It may be extreme sounding, but to be a cog in the machine, to work long hours only to “buy, buy, buy!” it’s like we are merely an engine which we fuel consumerism.  That isn’t to say that to consume, buy or trade is inherently wrong, but to do it with such abandon that the average American has over $15,000 in credit card debt is insane. (source)

dulyposted-live-your-life_quote-610x610Being “awake” is an odd experience when people some call tiny housers crazy for living in a tiny house.  If I were to have no debt of any kind and $10 in my pocket, I’d have more wealth than 25% of Americans combined!  If I have no debt and $15,000, I’d have a higher net worth than about the bottom third of Americans… combined! (source)

We are told debt is normal, that credit cards are normal, that a home loan and a student loans are a “good investment” and people believe it.  I believed it for a time!  I have a Master’s degree and after crunching the numbers, it panned out financially, but that is quickly changing for many people. (source)  A home loan… no thank you.  I have friends who talk about buying a home, with no money down and all I can think of is “I want you to be happy, but I can’t but help question the wisdom of not being able to afford a down payment, but thinking you can afford a house”.

I don’t think it’s my place to say people can’t shop till they drop, have no debt of any kind or they should live in a tiny house.  But I struggle when I see people – particularly friends – taking this predetermined path without giving it serious consideration.  If someone were to be fully aware of things and still decided to proceed, I’d be okay with that, but blindly following the pattern is scary.

tumblr_mzzdbvaN5A1sk4myeo1_1280As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen more and more of my friends get into the grind of adulthood and be miserable in their jobs; luckily I think this is the minority of my friends/acquaintances.  I’ve had friends comment that they now drink more than they used to because it makes the work week a bit more bearable.

I see consumerism as a troublesome band-aid for many folks who are unhappy with some aspect of their life.  Again, I’m not saying no consuming, there are things we need in life, but it shouldn’t be a coping mechanism like it is used today for so many.  I was shocked to find out that I know several people who go to the mall and shop 2-3 times a week!  I think the city where I live, Charlotte, is on the extreme end of this, because I have 6 large malls within a 30 minute drive of my home; there is even tour bus companies here that bring people to our city just to shop!

To not just complain about it all, below are some things that might help determine your own path.

  1. Consider what your goals are in life, then look at why they are your goals, dig deep.
  2. Write a personal mission statement.
  3. Do the math on what debt really means for you.
  4. Ask yourself “if I could do anything right now, what would it be?”
  5. Identify the reason you cannot do number 4 right now… How can you eliminate that?
  6. Consider how resilient your currently are in your situation.  How can you be more resilient?
  7. Identify stressors and potential disrupts, guard against or change to eliminate.

 

To close I thought I’d share this poem, which I used part of in the title.  It’s by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Finally, I’d like to hear your thoughts about this topic. 

Your Turn!

  • How did you “wake up”?
  • How do you help people consider their path?
  • How can we awaken loved ones we care about?”    Direct quote from “The Tiny Life” blog by Ryan Mitchell