For The Love of Alden

I was out running.

I had forgotten to silence my cell.  The music and mind are not to be interrupted for that one workout hour. Every. Day. That’s the goal.

The text chimed loudly amidst Prince’s “Purple Rain”.  I stopped cold, annoyed at the interruption.  I checked the phone, attempting to just turn off all sound, I saw the alert message anyways.  It was from the East Coast.  Alden was in the hospital. He’d had a bike accident.

I skipped the rest of the text.

My heart sank.  This has happened to me before.  A text message and then, dread.  I felt my eyes well up. And I reminded myself to read the whole text first…stay calm and read the entire text.

Alden & Jame Startt, lead guitarist for the Parisian funk band, Urban Groove Unit; incomparable vlogger (Tour Talk); and the best photographer of cyling alive today (see Peloton Magazine).

Alden is this beautiful man who is a cross between Robert Redford, Anthony Bourdain and the best friend you could ever have – even if you’d just met him a minute ago, you’d feel it.  He’s intellectually brilliant, his voice is sexy and his energy perfection. I honestly think he’s maybe the hottest guy I’ve ever known – definitely the most beautiful man I’ve ever laughed with –  and I know if he were reading this right now, he’d be blushing, giggling.  He’d try real hard to be mad at me all at the same time humbled by my awe of him. His genuine humility, his authenticity, is probably the sexiest thing about him. And yeah, he’s easy on the eyes for sure.

Alden is a cyclist.  He travels the world and adventures for most of the year meeting the most amazing people, taking the most incredible pictures and just personifies to me – “enjoying life”.  He calls Vermont home, but I think Alden brings a sense of home to wherever he is and to whomever you are. He connects with everyone, from any background, anywhere.  You can’t help but be comfortable in his space – he just has that kind of energy. It’s a gift.  I honestly don’t know one person who has ever said a bad thing about him. But then again, no one would dare say a word to me – I’d kick their butt if they did.

I read the entire text.

Alden was reading my book while “recovering” — he broke his femur. “Call him, he would love to talk to you.”  I felt comforted by that line in the text.  Part of me laughed at the thought of him reading my book for any kind of recovery – but yes, my heart settled a bit. Tears had already rolled down one cheek, as I dialed.

The first words out of his mouth were “CARRRRRRRRRRMEN!” — and then, “Do NOT get on a plane to see me. Don’t do it!”  He was being sarcastic and yet, he wanted me to come – he knows that’s exactly what was about to happen.  I’d done it before when a mutual friend of ours was in the hospital. That time, there was no conversation about it, I just got on a plane and was there as soon as possible.

We talked for a while.  It was nice.  I had forgotten how much I loved talking to this beautiful soul.

In India hanging out with High Schoolers

He’s funny and endearing without even trying.  And whenever we chat it’s both a giggle fest and a learning moment.  Mostly for me, but I think for him too.  We shared our love of Anthony Bourdain and how much we missed him.  I kicked myself for not calling him when “Tony” died – but you know, I thought of Alden so much.  He truly is the most realistic version of a REAL Anthony Bourdain I know – minus the food and tats, add in the avid cyclist and skier.  But Alden is a story-teller, a lover of people, a traveler – an adventurous soul.  His natural good looks are nothing compared to his naturally pure gorgeous heart.  I am so lucky to have him in my life and so grateful that although his injuries are fierce and yes, he’ll be out of commission for a while, that it was nothing worse.   He’ll make a full recovery.  And that’s the thing about Alden – even while I’m tearing as he explains how bad the break was and how devastated he is knowing he’ll be in rehab for bit, he then expressed how in the big scheme of things, he was fine. He’s never a victim. And he’s always more concerned about others and their stories – he wanted to know more about my book and how it was going.  And he reassured me that even though he was still suffering from a concussion that he was excited to read it.  Hilarious!  But that’s who he is. It’s never about him, even when it completely should be.  He’s always curious about others – lovely, charming and so damn smart. I’m honored he’s my brother, my friend. And I’m so glad he’s okay.

Alden riding in West Marin County, CA in the spring.

So, I’m not jumping on a plane today to visit Alden. Though I did look at flights and I will be out in August for sure.  In the meantime, I put together a care package for him – I took a pic of a recent mural of Anthony Bourdain by Jonas Never at the Gramercy here in Los Angeles. I added in some other little funny-isms and sent that out yesterday after our talk.

Today, I thought about writing this blog post knowing that he’d hate me sharing his pictures from his private facebook page – knowing that he’d hate all the accolades and love I send his way.  I gush too much I’m sure.  But then I thought – I don’t care.  If I had LOST him, if my boy had died in that bike accident, I’d be writing this and sharing about him because I waited too long.  It would be a miserable thing.  And sad.  And you know what?  I don’t want to make that mistake.  I want to praise him while he’s here.  I never want to take for granted ever again the people I love the most.  Priorities.  He can be mad all he wants. I welcome his wrath.  I’ll be grateful for it actually.

Reach out to your loved ones today.  Seriously. Take this as a sign.

With love, Carmen

 

 

 

 

Two minute movie review: Paddington

When it comes to movies, I’m rarely surprised.

This weekend I went with my beautiful 6 year old God-daughter and her mom to see the movie Paddington and we had the best time!  Talk about being surprised!

Laugh out loud funny moments for both kids and adults.  A story line that works brilliantly, with wonderful acting, great music moments (one of my favorites without giving anything away – I’ll just say two words:  Lionel Richie) and a beautiful teddy bear that feels life-like right from the start – Paddington is great fun and a perfect family movie that all will appreciate and certainly enjoy!

Oh, and just to add a little more – it teaches empathy, love and about what family really means (and a whole bunch more).  We give it two bear-paws up!    Enjoy!

Tell Someone Today — PLEASE!

Today is the 1 year anniversary of my dear friend Richard Johnson’s unexpected passing.  In his memory, I’m asking that if you’re reading this post, please reach out to someone today and tell them that you love them.  It’s not that life is short, but, that life is precious.  People are precious.  Friends, family, loved ones, precious.  And in honor of Richard’s remarkable life, I’d like to always remember my own true purpose:  to love and be loved – as authentically as possible.  Hug someone today. Love someone today.  “Stay beautiful and know you’re always somebody important to me.”

Richard&Carm2000

Simple: My House My Rules

The way I see it, my website is my home on the web.  My Facebook page:  also my home – maybe more a “vacation” home if you will, but my space nonetheless.

I invite everyone to come in and visit. Feel free to stay awhile.  You’re welcomed to visit any room/page, look at what I consider my art, take a seat, lounge around a bit and even interact with some of my other friends and family I’ve also invited.  But, make no mistake, whether it be my actual physical space in California, or my “home”  here online,  I will not tolerate disrespect.

I don’t care who you ARE or who you THINK you are.  In my home, whether it be online or my physical space, everyone is treated exactly the same – with respect and dignity.  And trust me, if your argument starts with, “Do you know who I am…”  in my world, you’ve already lost the case and my attention.

Don’t get me wrong, you can disagree. You can criticize and argue your point. Discussions and debates are encouraged.  And criticism doesn’t bother me at all.  For those of you who don’t actually know me, I’ve been a performer my whole life – criticism comes with the territory.  But being mean and crass just doesn’t fly here on my website or any place I call home.

A lack of manners or lack of etiquette will get you deleted from my space.   If you don’t like what you see or WHO you see here, then by all means, either keep your mouth shut, or simply click away.  Yes, I have friends of all colors, ethnicity and backgrounds.  My friends are wealthy, poor, celebrity and not, some wanna-be’s, some gay, some straight, some democrats, republicans and whole bunch in-between.  I am the luckiest person I know to have such wealth and abundance of friends.  My goodness I can’t even believe I’m admitting this, but I even have some friends who just don’t vote!  But my friends are my friends and I am fierce and loyal and I will not tolerate any disrespect towards them in any of  my homes either.

There’s something to that old adage:  “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  But, if you feel the burning desire to share because you disagree with something I’ve said or something someone else has said, then I suggest you watch your tone.  How you say something is just as important as WHAT you say.  Make your argument but beware  manners, etiquette and tone are paramount to being heard.  And they are the only way in my home that you will be allowed to state your case.

I have no problem using my delete/block or erase button (and by the way, neither should you).   People who actually know me will tell you that I’d just as easily kick you out of my physical space too.  I may look and sound real sweet, but understand my TONE right now:  I wouldn’t need anyone else’s help to kick your ass to the curb.  Trust me.

My house, my rules.

Simple.