Tuesday, May 30, 2006

4 Day Weekend Recap

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides."
- David Viscott

Friday: Hideki came to visit from Tokyo. I went to pick him up at the airport on Friday morning and took the day off to hang out with him. We got to my house and went for breakfast with Trey at Rita Flora. Afterwards we both took naps (naps are so delicious!) and then went for a hike with Marley in Runyan Canyon.

P. lives near Runyan Canyon so we stopped by his place on the way home. He was preparing his garden for his big Saturday barbecue. I felt a little bad for Hideki, but we ended up weeding P.'s front lawn. I didn't mind and Hideki was so sweet to do all that gardening after a 13 hour flight from Tokyo. I'm a terrible hostess, eh?

Anyway, after our gardening P. treated us to dinner at Sunset Plaza. We ate at the french place there. I'm blanking on the name, but the steak was lovely. Afterwards, we went home to sleep. My bro had invited us to a party at a club, but with Hideki's big time difference I figured it would be best to just let him sleep.

Saturday: Sean came back from Germany. He, Hideki, Trey and I went to brunch at a place near our pad -- Cafe Verona. It was really cute and reasonable. I wasn't crazy about my endive salad, but everyone else loved their meals. After brunch I left the boys and went to do a wee bit of shopping before going up to P.'s to help him prepare for the barbecue. About 20 people showed up and I got to meet many of P's closest friends. It was a really great soiree.

Sunday: P. and I hung out together all day. Made omelets, did some shopping, etc. I left him around 6 and went to take care of some stuff at home. I gathered Marley while P. went to get his kids. We had a sleepover at his house. The kids were really excited to have Marley spending the night. I think they were happy to have me there too. I brought over a big bag of Halloween costumes and P.'s daughter and I had fun trying on costumes. P.'s son had no interest in the costumes and was completely enamored with Marley.

Monday: We went for breakfast at Mel's Dinner and then went hiking at Tree People. We also went to check out Franklin Canyon. Around 2:00, I left the clan to go to a summer associate barbecue and get a nap. Later I met them for some bowling down the street from my house. Fun times! I'm just really happy that I didn't get beat by the 7 year old (was looking a little precarious at times there). All in all a fantastic long weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Poetry Thursday

This is the poem that I've chosen for Poetry Thursday. I love going back to old favorites. This one feels like a hug from an old dear friend.

Hug O' War

I will not play at tug o'war.
I'd rather play at hug o'war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

Shel Silverstein
from Where the Sidewalk Ends

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

pictures from citrus

Here are a couple pictures from my Monday night Goddess Fest.

My "Sex in the City" girls. Consensus: I'm Carrie. :)

"Samantha" and I.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New York

"They say life's what happens when you're busy making other plans. But sometimes in New York, life is what happens when you're waiting for a table." -- Carrie Bradshaw, Sex in the City

I'm in New York for another Mama Gena weekend. I normally come into NYC with lots of fanfare and try to gather the troups. After the last weekend I realized that these weekends are a little too intense for me to do lots of extra socializing. I can barely stay awake past midnight. It's been wonderful though.

Friday night there was a fun clothing exchange. I netted a fabulous Dolce & Gabana skirt, some shoes, a tank. Later I took a cab to meet Alanna at a gallery opening. I was inspired and still desire my gallery show. On the way to the gallery I saw fireworks over the Hudson river. It was so beautiful and unexpected. I still don't know what the occasion was. After the show Alanna and I went to dine at Kitchen Club. The food was divine, and the quirky owner and her pug added some spunk to the entire affair.

Saturday was a day of the class. Intense, intense, intense. I laughed, I cried, it was much better than Cats. Afterwards I walked around with a friend from the class and did some shopping. That was followed by a tasty dinner at L'Orange Bleu. I went with Alanna and several of her friends from DC. Again the food was super tasty (especially the tagine berbere), but for some reason there was an incredible amount of nudity happening in the restaurant. There were at least two men that did strip shows and a young woman stood on the window ledge and mooned us diners on the sidewalk. Why this was happening, I can't explain. From there I went to Nikki Beach in midtown for some cream colored decadence and dancing with my goddess classmates.

Sunday was another intense and fun day of class. That was followed by tea with my beautiful goddess friend Julie and dinner at Bar 89 with Alanna, Jeroen, and Fannie. The food was decent, but the bar was worth it just to see the fun bathrooms.

Monday ... work in the New York office during the day. After work I met Freddy for a quick bite to eat at the legendary PJ Clarke's and then three of my girlfriends for some drinks at Citrus. I had prickly pear and mango margaritas -- absolutely divine!

Tuesday -- final day in the city. I have some client meetings and then I'm off to the airport to go back home. It's been great, but I'm ready to get back home to P., Marley, Charlie, my siblings, my friends, and my little yellow palace.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Poetry Thursday

I've decided to post one of my own poems for Poetry Thursday. This is a poem that I wrote a little while ago about an experience that happened when I was working at another law firm. I re-read this and wondered why I'm still working in a law firm. Sigh.

How Do You Know? by Monick Paul

How do you know when the path's not right?
When the road that once seemed clear and bright
And destined for success and happiness
Seductive like the glint of a mansion's keys;
Seductive like the curves of a new Mercedes
Top down, driving beside the sea.
How do you know when this path's not right?

Imagine lying in a fevered heat;
One leg above, one leg below a sheet
Imagine a ruptured appendix
Nutritive fluids coursing in through an IV
A catheter transporting your pee
Filling little bags in a process not felt but seen
Imagine lying in this fevered heat

Imagine the room where the window will not open
You suffocate from the scent of bouquets your friends were kind to send
Co-mingled smells of roses, sweat, putrid flesh, recyled air, and lillies
Your neighbor coughs loudly and prays for relief
The pain killer made you hallucinate so badly you will no longer take one
You see the sky outside is blue, and you’d kill to feel the sun.
Imagine a room where the window won't open.

Blankly you stare at the daytime TV
You say buy a vowel, and guess "L," "S" and "T"
An old Bill Cosby special comes on and you try not to laugh
Laughing feels like your internal organs will burst through your stiches and rip you in half.
Your weak arms hold a pillow against your stomach and you laugh and you moan.
"Ha ha Ow! Ha ha Ooowww!" In sublime agony you groan.
All day you stare at the daytime TV.

So when do you know you're on the wrong path?
You know when you're in the hospital bed and you can't laugh
You have a ruptured appendix, and you can't eat, pee, or breathe
But you’re happier than you ever were at work and you're relieved.
At least you have flowers, pain killers, Bill Cosby
No stress, yelling bosses, and upset clients to see.
And at least a month off of work to "relax"
That's when you know you're on the wrong path.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


P. and I on Saturday night.

Monday, May 15, 2006

weekend update

"I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything that is natural, which is infinite, which is yes."
– e.e. cummings

I had a wonderful weekend. On Friday night, P. and I had a Downtown LA date night. For those of you guys unfamiliar with Los Angeles, you must know that unlike any other city, LA's Downtown is in no way a center of town. Once upon a time it used to be, but that was at least half a century ago. It's slowly coming back to life however, and P. and I went to explore. First I brought him to see my new larger office at work. (Yup, I moved into a space that's twice as large with 10x the prestige. Just kidding about the prestige part, but is much bigger and brighter). Then we went for dinner at the Warung Cafe in the old Banking District. It's a Thai fusion place with great ambiance and decor, but beyond mediocre food. That was a true pity. Also, they don't serve booze. Some wine would have helped that food go down better. My suggestion -- until they get a new chef, go somewhere else. After Warung, I took P. to one of my favorite downtown spots -- Golden Gopher . I'd never been there later on a weekend night. I've only been there for Happy Hour. It was great until about 11, then it got PACKED with what appeared to be USC students... male USC students. It got to be a bit much and I was sleepy, so we went home after that.

Saturday we had the big bbq. P. met my brothers, my cousin Alex, and assorted other friends. I made a lovely Greek meal (grilled up some shrimp and chicken kabobs and some steaks), and served it all with tsatsiki, hummus, pita, olives, mediteranean salad, and feta. The day was beautiful and everyone really enjoyed themselves.

On Saturday night I went with P. to my sister's friend's b-day party. There was karaoke, so of course I went. I sang my rendition of Fever, enjoyed others singing karaoke, danced when the DJ started up, and had a fun night.

Sunday, P. and I went to brunch at Rita Flora and then went hiking with Marley and P.'s son in Franklin Canyon. It was a beautiful day. Mid afternoon, I said goodbye to the guys and then went to meet some friends and finally to take the first class of my newest activity -- pole dancing. Never one to sit bored for too long, I've decided to learn a new art form. :)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Poetry Thursday

It's Poetry Thursday and I'm going to post a poem that was introduced to me by Christina. It's on my desk, so I get to see it every day.

Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Introducing P.

"We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can fly only by embracing each other."
-- Luciano De Crescenzo

This is a picture of P. and I when we went camping last weekend. P. is my boyfriend. It became official last Thursday. It was one of the cutest conversations I've ever had in my life. Anyway, we've had quite the whirlwind romance so far. We've been dating just a little over 5 weeks and I'm feeling quite smitten actually. On Saturday I'm hosting a bbq where I'm going to meet his beloved sister and he is going to meet my siblings. Yikes! Meet the Fockers!!! I've invited non-family friends to ease the pressure a bit. It should be fun. P. is a complete charmer -- he is Australian -- so, I'm sure my brothers will love him. My sis has already met him and approved.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Lessons from the Race and other News

"'Tis a lesson you should heed, Try, try again. If at first you don't succeed, Try, try again."
William Edward Hickson

Things I learned about the race:
1) Follow the training schedule (it's there for a reason).
2) Don't let the race be your longest ride ever. Works in a marathon... not so well in a tri.
3) Don't wait for any other racers. Keep your eyes on the prize -- the finish line.
4) Keep pedaling. Try not to get off the bike.
5) Remember the clock. This is a timed race and you're racing the clock as well as yourself and the other racers.
6) Don't ride too leisurely. Don't wear your legs out, but don't ride like it's Sunday in the park. This is the race.
7) Learn what your hydration needs are and don't drink too much (though erring on the side of drinking more is probably better)
8) Learn basic bike maintenance.
9) Practice with strong riders/runners/swimmers.
10) Know the course map backwards and forwards. Do not be surprised by hills/valleys, etc.
11) This is not the end of the world. Try again. Now I'm thinking about doing a half-ironman at the end of July or the beginning of October. Stay tuned.

Things I did well:
1) Had fun. I truly made sure to enjoy the swim and the bike. It was beautiful!
2) Eat and drink enough. I definitely had enough nutrition and hydration during my race. I felt good.
3) Be prepared. I was prepared to fix the chain problem and I was prepared for all of my transitions.
4) Stick with it. It was challenging, but I made it to the end.
4) Keep it in perspective. I know that not finishing this race is hardly the end of the world and what I did accomplish was pretty huge.

Other news:
P. is my boyfriend. :) I'll share more about him in another post.

Race Report

The half-ironman was not what I would have liked it to be. I did not get to finish the race. I completed the swim. I did it in slightly less time than I thought I would, though I didn't realize how much slower than much of the field I was. I swam and was passed by many of my fellow yellow swim-capped age groupers. Then I was passed by a few people from the wave behind me. Then I was passed by people from the wave behind that. Then I was passed by people from the wave behind them! At that point I started to panic, but kept on swimming. I made it out of the river... 1.2 miles in 50 minutes.

I went to the transition area and changed into my bike gear. I was a little light headed from the swim and went a little slowly. Within ten minutes I was on my bike and on the route. It started with a huge hill. I chugged up it and kept going. A coach had told me the day before to go really slow and steady and take it like a training ride. I followed his advice... maybe a little too literally. I went slowly. At times, I rode like it was a easy Sunday morning ride by the beach. I took in the sights. It was beautiful. Around mile 16 my chain fell off the bike. Luckily I had learned how to fix this little problem the day before. I took a couple minutes to fix the chain and then kept going. Mile 22, I make a friend. A woman who's training for an ironman starts peddaling next to me. We're having fun. We're chatting. Mile 26 she needs to go to the bathroom. She pulls over to the side where there's a small convenience store. I'm liking having a friend to talk to, so I pull over with her. She takes about 6 minutes. When she's done we continue riding. 4 minutes later she zooms ahead of me and leaves me! That sucked! Mile 33, my legs start to cramp and now I have to go to the bathroom. There's a porta-potty near an aid station. I jump in and can barely walk. My legs are cramping so badly. I limp back to the bike and start peddaling again. After a while, my leg muscles ease up. Mile 39... I've been on the bike for 3 hours. I'm a little behind my expected finish time of 4 hours, but I think I'll be able to make it. Mile 40... the dreaded Nasty Grade Hill. It's very aptly named. I start climbing the two mile hill. My legs start cramping again. About a mile and a half up, I think I'm going to fall over. My legs are cramping so badly and the hill looks like it's never going to end. I get off and walk up half a mile. I think I'm almost at the top and hop back on. I ride over the crest. The hill goes down a bit and then veers to the right and climbs some more. I'm almost in tears, but I keep going. Finally I make it to the delicious downhill. I didn't look at the course map very closely. I forget about the 3.5 mile climb again at mile 46. My legs are dead. Even the flats feel like climbs. The course is very windy and the head winds do not help. Then there another long climb at mile 52. I'm going slow and steady trying to keep my legs as fresh as possible for the run. I forget about the time cut-off.

I finally make it back to the transition area. A friendly event volunteer smiles at me. "How was the bike?" "Long." She then stoops to take off my race chip. "Don't I need that for the run?" "You missed the time cut-off honey." My face dropped. I forgot all about that!

Ilyse's brother Adam is in the transition area. He comes to greet me. I'm disappointed and he helps me pack up my race bag. Ilyse comes in 10 minutes or so later and we commiserate about the hideous hills at the end of the race.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Poetry Thursday

It's Poetry Thursday, and I'm posting one of my favorite poems:

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda.

I do not love you as if you were the salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Simple Pleasures

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves."

—Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese"

I must give credit where credit is due. I lifted the above quote from my dear friend Jill's blog.

I've had some simple pleasures this week. I had the simple pleasure of being cooked for on Monday night. P. made me dinner in his beautiful home in the Hollywood Hills. I enjoyed the simple pleasures of hugs and kisses and laughter. I had the simple pleasure of running on the beach with my best friends Jojo and Melissa last night. I love running with the two of them -- easy conversation, comfortable silences, always pushing each other to run faster without words or effort. I had the simple pleasure of going for a walk on the beach with Marley and Katie this morning. I enjoyed the simple pleasure of feeling the chilled morning sand between my toes, observing dolphins frolicking not far from the land, appreciating the surfers, enjoying watching Marley run with reckless abandon through the sand.

Three days until my half-ironman. I'm just enjoying these simple pleasures and trying to allow my body sufficient rest and nutrition.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Weekend in New York

"A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform. A woman knows that nothing can come to fruition without light. Let us call upon woman's voice and woman's heart to guide us in this age of planetary transformation."
- Diane Mariechild

I had a woman's weekend... a weekend of Mastery at the School of Womanly Arts in New York. It's too much experience and intensity to really put it all down. There was lots of dancing, euphoria, tears, flirting, fashion, education, bonding, and pleasure. It was phenomenal, yet challenging and intense. I'm so happy to have gone and so happy to be on this journey of transformation as a woman with other women. Through this course and my attempts to transform myself, strengthen my voice, and clarify my heart's desires, hopefully I will contribute to the planetary transformation referenced in the quote above.