Old List, New List

I kinda wish 2018 wasn’t over.  I feel like so much is unfinished…

Here’s the list I wrote at the end of 2017:

Michael Roud Photo Shoot 2018
  • Visit home (Boston) for a couple of weeks.
  • Finalize the Book Canela, get published before end of 2018.
  • Clean out my storage area / donate everything.
  • Meet 10 new people who are extraordinary.
  • Rid myself of the 5 toxic people – kindly.
  • Stop “facebooking”.
  • Connect with like-minded creative folk and be inspired.
  • Buy a new car.
  • Find a new apartment / quieter, still close to the beach.
  • See a movie a month at least.
  • Read a book a month at least.

Every year I write a list of at least 10 things I’d like to do, but no more than 20.  All of them tangible and possible.  Here’s how it all panned out:

Visit home

After my book was published in June, I visited most everyone in the book and spent a lot of alone time in my home town of Boston.  It was magical, emotional, inspiring!  I had only been “home” for brief moments over the past 20 years since I moved to Lost Angeles. I’d visit for a funeral or a wedding. Just quick weekend trips where I only saw the airport, freeway, and/or a church. But this past year, I was home for a while.  I got lost in my own neighborhood – that’s how long it’d been and that’s how much things had changed in the city I grew up in.  I saw old friends and fell in love with my childhood all over again.  I saw how far I’d come and I realized how much I loved Boston, but missed Los Angeles. It really was beautiful.  Maybe my favorite part of 2018.  

City of Boston at Night - Taken at the top of the Prudential Building in August 2018 on a clear evening. The glass and lights give it an eery feel.

My Book Canela

I’ve written so much about publishing this book – but let me say this again: if you have the want, the desire to write your story (because everyone has a story to tell) please, do it!  For me, it was cathartic and life learning at every level. The process of writing is one part, editing another – what I didn’t realize was that AFTER you publish it, well…. maybe it’s just me… but this part has been just as incredible and teaching as well. It has changed my life and the way I view it.  Creatively I’ve changed. How I view people’s importance in my life has changed.  And the book has become a very central part of my every-day life in ways I’m just starting to understand.  Tell your story. Preach your story. The world will be a better place because of it.    

Clean out Storage

Done and done.  We all have that STUFF we keep “just in case” we need it.  Uhm, I got rid of all of it.  Period. Just a housekeeping item that I had put off for too many years so… done. 

Meet New People

I met more than 10 extraordinary people in 2018. My point in writing this in my list (I write it every year by the way) is because I think when you meet new people, you have the opportunity to grow and learn and be “better than you used to be”. If you are constantly around the same people all the time, well…. that’s cool. But for me, it can become pretty stagnant.  Here’s the cool thing about the people I met this past year:  I met so many of them because of my book!!!   Yes!  I have done no publicity, no advertising, just giving it out to friends and yet, others have read it and reached out and it’s been amazing!   I ‘ve learned so much and am excited to get to know these people even more over the next years. 

Rid Toxic People

We all have people in our lives we wish we didn’t have to interact with.  And for most people I get this is a hard thing to do.  For me, eeeh, it’s pretty easy. I’m really great at walking away from people when they are toxic.  Even if I have to work with them or be around them for some reason (creatively). I have a pretty tough barrier that keeps them at distance.  It’s a skill I developed growing up the way I did.  You know “bad” people right away and learn to always keep them at arms-length, while still “dealing” with them as best you can.  This past year I had 3 people I definitely wanted OUT of my life, but there were 2 others I was hoping to also end the “pretend” friendships with. That happened earlier this year.  Wow.  Clearly a great thing!  Rid yourself of people who do NOT lift you up or make you a better person. Seriously, it’s the best thing you can do for your health! 

Stop “Facebooking”

Well, this I could have done better for sure. I do not have messenger and I am not on there often.  I also have Instagram and eeeh, use it sparingly.  I’m a huge fan of Twitter though so I’m not sure any of these are better than the other.  But all are a part of our daily lives now – whether we use them or not.  But the point is to get better at NOT being on social media so much and I’ve accomplished that.  I think social media is finding its equilibrium in our lives in that it’s not a constant way of “talking” to each other.  Many times this year I went out to dinner or was hanging with a friend at the beach and missed so many calls and texts. And it’s simply because I’ve learned to turn off that ring/sound and just enjoy my time with the person I’m with.  It seems like things are calming down for all of us on social media.  Maybe we’re all learning that there really is something to actually (physically), talking to each other and enjoying REAL time with one another.  Maybe.

Connect with Creative People

I found a few groups on MeetUp.com and got inspired for sure.  WritersBlok was a great place to go and finish up the last edits of my book.  I’m really glad I found it.  I also had lunch with up and coming Directors this year, met with other writers, had dinner with a few musicians.  I met with dancers and graphic designers, actors…  being around creative people fuels me and I made an effort this past year to be around those people more often than not!  So glad I did. I’m a better person for it! 

Movies and Books

I did much better this year with Movies and Books but there’s still room for improvement. The movie that surprised me most was clearly Black Panther.  I’m a huge fan of all action movies (Marvel and DC) but Black Panther stunned me. It’s not what I expected at all and I loved it. I loved it when I saw it alone, then again with a few friends, but my favorite was watching it with my 10 year old God-Daughter who’s take on it was exactly how we all want the world to be! 

Black Panther viewing with Julie

Another favorite movie this year was definitely Mary Poppins Returns!  Loved it, loved everything about it. And can I just say, Lin-Manuel Miranda?  I think we’re in the midst of genius with this lovely talented man…I’d love to work with him.  Hmmm. 

As far as Books are concerned, I’m a slow reader and if a book doesn’t grab my attention or is too difficult, I just put it down. It bums me out. I didn’t finish four books this year to make my goal complete, but I did start them…that counts, right?  Ughh. *insert big cheesy half smile emoji here*

In 2019, I’d like to think I have a list as long as former President Barack Obama’s. I’m not sure I’m as interested in his entire list of books, but I’d like to think I’d read as much to even have such a list. #Goals.

Things I didn’t accomplish:

I didn’t buy a new car – and I guess I really don’t need one.  So, you know, there’s that.  I also didn’t move out of my current apartment.  That may still happen next year.  I love my apartment and it’s close enough to the beach (3 miles) but I hate my neighbor upstairs. She has a great kid but it’s just loud all the time. When I was a little girl and lived in an apartment with my mom, we were never allowed to run and jump in the house.  You just didn’t do it.  You were taught to have respect and consideration for the neighbors that lived next to you and below you. If you wanted to run, you went outside.  But not these people. It’s incredible. I don’t blame the little girl. It’s her parents. They are inconsiderate and…goodness, it’s a one bedroom.  They run up there, always have too many guests – every day.  And it’s just incredibly loud and not a great place to live if you like quiet and need to write, to work, to just be. So, it’s still a goal. But, seriously, I keep thinking:  First. World. Problems. Hmmm.   

More Time

Well, if I had more time I guess I’d finish the books I didn’t complete and maybe I’d… 

No, it’s all good. I had enough time for all the things that matter. 2018 is almost over and it’s been a good year personally after-all. There were some missteps along the way, but nothing too damaging or unfamiliar to move through. 

Actually 2018 started out with my sweet sister (Jo-ann) from Boston visiting me in January for my birthday.

The year ended with me hanging out at Christmas time with one of the guys – also from Boston— who helped me go to college (Scot in the book). 

And in-between it all I became an author, traveled, got inspired, did a GREAT photo shoot (with Michael Roud!), saw so many of my dear friends, met new people from all over the world (shout out to Jean-Claude in Luxembourg) and really accomplished so much more than I realized!

Okay 2018. Actually I’m ready to move on. Bring it! I’m starting my 2019 list right now.  🙂

Happy sweet New Year to all of you!  We got this! 

Carmen 

My Symphony

Saturday 9:23am

I just feel like writing. I’m dressed to go for a run. My bed is made, I’ve had my coffee, it’s way past my “writing time” – yes, I have a “writing time” – it’s usually early in the morning between 5am and 6am.  It was never a scheduled thing, it just happens that way.  It’s the quietest time of the day for me. My mind is free, clear and fresh.  And yet, things pop in and out like a symphony.  Musicians chiming in on cue – that’s what it feels like when I write early in the morning.

But now it’s much later. My day has already begun, and this, this workout – this run – is what’s next. But I can’t. Something has pulled me back.  And I never type when I write. No. I’m old school. I’m that person that has to write long-hand and then transfer it to the computer if I dare (that “symphony” of writing isn’t always a masterpiece, or even close, by the way).

Hmm.  So what’s so important that I half tied the laces on my sneakers and have sat back down in front of my computer to write? Honestly I have no idea. I don’t know what’s about to come next, but I’m typing nonetheless.

Lots of things have plagued my brain lately. I refuse to let politics crowd my thinking too much so I’ve limited my time around it — but I can’t dismiss what happened yesterday.  What a refreshing moment to hear President Barack Obama speak in Chicago. I turned on the TV and like a dried-up sponge needing for just a drop of water, I was quenched instantaneously.  The complete feeling of security as an American came back to me – I hadn’t realized it had ever left. But yes, that stunned me a bit yesterday — the need to hear a leader of my country speak… in a rhythm. In a cadence. With elegance and intelligence.  It was music to my ears, to my soul…

In lieu of dealing with the daily politics of the current foolish administration, I’ve been reading Jon Meacham’s book, The Soul of America.  A reminder that we’ve been through similar moments before and prevailed.  But still.   I wish we weren’t here again.  I wish Obama’s voice didn’t settle my soul so much – it just reminded me of how bad things really are – and although I have faith that we’ll be fine and find our way back, it’s is daunting…maddening and surreal.

But my brain has also been plagued by my recent trip back to the east coast.  I got lost in my own home town of Boston – that’s how long it’d been since I’d been home – I can’t lie, I miss that beautiful town so much more than I realized.  I actually missed the sky scrapers, the city lights, the hum…  it’s not like New York at all, but when New Yorkers talk about New York, I get what they mean.  For me, Boston has never left me.  My heart.  It’s part of who I am and although I never negated that, and I’ve always been a proud Bostonian, I hadn’t been home FOR REAL in a long time.  Just me, visiting the city.  Me, walking around – people watching.  City loving.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d been back in the past 24 years, but just for weddings, funerals, graduations – and only for a minute. A weekend at most – but this time, I was THERE. Away from the chores of “family” and instead with just the city. And my friends. And I miss it. I ache for my friends.  And I’m a little sad to be back in Los Angeles…

I went to Vermont too – actually I was there first. I don’t miss Vermont so much (I went to school there) but I do miss sitting on Alden’s back porch for hours overlooking Lake Champlain in the distance and laughing, talking, reminiscing… That was everything. And it settled my heart.  I miss the simplicity of quiet.  The prettiness of tranquility.  The crickets at night nearly killed me though – but I could get used to that hum again, I think, not sure – but the quiet during the day, the calm hum of life…. It really was beautiful.  And yeah, I miss that now too.

I don’t know why I needed to write right now, but isn’t that the beauty of creativity? You never know when it’s going to hit – and sometimes I swear I have the best thoughts in the most inopportune moments – for me, IN THE SHOWER is a big one!  I hate that!  It also happens when I’m in my stride.  Running so fast (for me) that I’m in that imaginary zone people talk about – if I think of it, I turn on my recorder on my cell and try to grasp that ever “clever” thought – but the moment I do all of that, I’ve stopped the creativity and most likely lost the initial “thought” anyways!!!  I’m sure I’ve solved the world’s problems ten times over during those moments – I just haven’t been able to record it fast enough without losing the momentary thought!  😉

James Baldwin said, “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.  Love is a battle; love is a war; love is a growing up.”  Seriously, it’s just in my head. I have no idea why, but I wanted to mention that too.  It’s part of the symphony – it all makes sense and sounds so beautiful in my head.  And I’m not sure Mr. Baldwin was right. But I can’t argue it yet either – so it’s there, in the melody…

There’s a lot going on in my head – I feel blessed to be consumed by so much.  Whenever I write (long hand) I tend to end with how I’m feeling.  I feel good.  Right now, I feel empowered and in a space of intrigue.  Everything seems tangible even though I can’t really grasp it.  Yes, I get how ridiculous that sounds, and yet, it’s still true. I am reevaluating everything. I’m dreaming every dream and not discounting its real life applications. Everything is in sync. It sounds beautiful. Rhythmic. In tune. I love that actually. I love that a lot.

Okay, my typing has slowed, my brain feels purged. I think the orchestra has finished. For now.

Time to lace up my sneakers, put on my headset and go for a run.

Carmen

Boston. Love. Prayers.

As of this post, 2 , casualties, 23 injured at the Boston Marathon.   0820_Boston-MA_400x280

New York is taking precautions, Washington D.C., is also making some changes on Pennsylvania Ave/at the White House — out of precaution.

My hometown. Boston. So sad.  My country.  It feels unsafe.  A little scary.  But I don’t want to live in fear.  I will be more alert, more vigilant but no fear.

They’re not sure if this is a terrorist attack or some random technical problem.  Either way, it feels a little like the hours after 9/11.  Uncertainty. The not knowing.  Fear.  Again.

Gotta fight it.

The fear.

Can’t function in fear.

But together, in love and prayers, we can get through this too.

I’m sorry Boston.  Sending much love to the families…to the runners…

I’m sorry America… Sending much love and prayers for us too — lets get through this as we always do, together.

…and be stronger for it.

Peace, love and all that good stuff.

Carm.