Monday, June 26, 2006

Belated Poetry Thursday Poem and Update

I was flying to NYC last Thursday for another Mama Gena weekend, so I missed Poetry Thursday. I decided that I'd make up for it this Monday afternoon.

Ode To The Lemon
by Pablo Neruda

From blossoms
by the moonlight,
from an
aroma of exasperated
steeped in fragrance,
drifted from the lemon tree,
and from its plantarium
lemons descended to the earth.

Tender yield!
The coasts,
the markets glowed
with light, with
unrefined gold;
we opened
two halves
of a miracle,
congealed acid
from the hemispheres
of a star,
the most intense liqueur
of nature,
unique, vivid,
born of the cool, fresh
of its fragrant house,
its acid, secret symmetry.

sliced a small
in the lemon,
the concealed apse, opened,
revealed acid stained glass,
oozed topaz,
cool architecture.

So, when you hold
the hemisphere
of a cut lemon
above your plate,
you spill
a universe of gold,
yellow goblet
of miracles,
a fragrant nipple
of the earth's breast,
a ray of light that was made fruit,
the minute fire of a planet.

Translated by M. S. Peden

So I'm back from another Mama Gena weekend. Woah! This one was emotional. What a roller coaster of laughter and joy and tears (the good, cathartic kind). I'm rather drained from the weekend and at the same time completely rejuvenated. I feel reborn. I wish for all women to share this ride. Hold on to your hats though... whew!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer Solstice Update

"When things look like they are falling apart, they are actually falling into place."

Happy summer solstice. As I approach this day, I feel like I'm about to embark on a new beginning of my life. More to come. In the meantime...

Pole dancing class continues to be a lot of fun. I have learned some good floor moves and finally got some of the harder pole tricks. I'm ready to continue on this journey of the pole dancing arts.

Last night I went with P., Susan and some of our summer recruits to Cobras y Matadors. The food there is soooo good, but I tend to eat too much there. It's so tasty, I can't help myself. It's BYOB, so you can go to the wine shop next door and get wine. That wine shop is wonderful. Everyone who works there really knows the wine and are super friendly. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Delicious Week

"We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal and then leap in the dark to our success."
Henry David Thoreau

Since I last wrote I've had lots of delicious activities. Here are some highlights:

Monday: 6/12 -- I went to a fun and delicious New Zealand Wine Tasting at the Roosevelt Hotel. In addition to delicious wines, there were also oysters and venison. Yum.

Thursday: 6/15 -- The Associates Advisory Board of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles threw a cocktail party at the Hotel Fig. I'm a part of the Board, so I was very proud of ourselves for our work. The party was great. I also discovered my new favorite bar in Downtown.

Friday: 6/16 -- I treated P. to dinner at Koi. The food was delicious and the food came very fast (almost too fast!). Our waitress was having some issues, but it was great. Afterwards we walked down the bar to Republic for drinks. The ambiance was great and our server was super nice, but there was something wrong with the tonic. I couldn't get a decent vodka tonic to save my life.

Saturday: 6/17 -- P., one of my firm's summer associates, and I went to Burke Williams for massages on Saturday morning. We spent much of the morning there and it was divine.

After the spa I went to pick up Katie and Nicole in the convertible and we rode along the beach to the Getty Villa. At the Getty Villa we had the most amazing lunch -- the food was great for a cafeteria and the service and view could not be beat. After lunch we went to a wreath making workshop and we made beautiful flower wreaths. That was really fun. It was wonderful walking around at the museum that day. Men, woman, and children were walking around wearing flower wreaths and it looked like a gathering a fairies. The Getty Villa is gorgeous and I had a fantastic time there.

Our beloved Trey is leaving, so we had a send-off for him on Saturday evening. We went to dinner at Cafe des Artistes. It's a wonderful French restaurant with great ambiance and evidently a kitchen that remains open until 1:00 am. That was truly a gem. Afterwards we went to hear some jazz at the Catalina Jazz Club. The show was really good, though I felt like we were charged quite a bit for what we got -- $25 for an hour show and we had a two-drink minimum! Well, we made our money last. We lingered afterwards and had a great conversation after the show. We sat at our table after for an extra hour and laughed so hard that tears were streaming down our faces. We stayed so long, that the staff vacuumed around us and finally had to gently escort us out. It was great.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'm the marrying kind

Last weekend I went to DC and I married Kelli and Greg. I was so nervous beforehand. I was afraid my voice would shake and stutter or that I would cry. I was also afraid that I would drop my binder and or microphone -- I had no podium or mic stand. It all worked out beautifully though and bride, groom, parents, and guests all seemed pleased. I even got several people crying. Now that's something to be proud of!

NPI Project

As many of you know, I have committed to helping the mentally ill by raising funds for the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI). I am leading a team of designers in a project known as the NPI Renovation/Healing Project to renovate and redesign the offices where the patients are treated. My first goal is to raise $10,000 in one week. If 100 people send 100 dollars, this could be done in moments! Please read the following Statement of Intention for more details.

Checks should be payable to UC Regents;
For NPI Renovation Project

If you would like to send your tax deductible donation please e-mail me at

Many blessings and thanks!

Statement of Intention

Our intention in this project is to create a nurturing and therapeutic environment at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Stewart & Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital ("NPI") to promote maximum healing for the patients. The NPI is one of the world's leading centers for comprehensive patient care, research and education in the fields of mental health and developmental disabilities. Despite the top-notch research and patient care, the facilities are in poor shape. We plan to raise funds to renovate and design a beautiful and functional work and therapy space for the resident doctors of NPI. This project will entail repainting walls, replacing flooring, designing and installing furniture, updating the soundproofing, and changing out the lighting.

Last year, a close relative of mine experienced a mental breakdown and had to check in to the NPI. This was completely unexpected and a shock to our family. As a way to offer my support, I went to visit her during her short stay there.

I am a lawyer at a prestigious law firm in downtown Los Angeles. I consider myself a happy and healthy person. But that day, I walked into the visitor center of the in-patient facility and had to use all my inner resolve not to cry. It wasn’t the people (the staff is top-notch), it was the space! Instead of a soft and sunny atmosphere conducive to healing, the reception area was dank and stifling. The furniture was old and sagging. The paint was peeling. The whole place smelled of decay. I couldn’t imagine how this place could help anyone experiencing mental difficulties. It was making happy-go-lucky me want to ask the nearest doctor for anti-depressants. I felt terrible for my relative and the other patients. I knew that something had to be done.

I hugged my relative and vowed to her that I would do everything in my power to revive the space – for the sake of the patients who spend countless hours, days, months or even years there.

Shortly thereafter, I contacted the hospital and offered my services. They were completely receptive and said that if I wanted to raise the money and manage the project, they would very much appreciate any assistance. The catch? The in-patient facility was already being redone. The building had been condemned! However, they said that the residents’ offices (offices for doctors doing their residency) where they treat patients needed some aid. My project went from being a one-room remodel to a 36-office re-design.

Upon seeing the offices, I realized that this situation was even more dire than the in-patient visitor room. The offices are tiny, windowless rooms with shabby furniture, drab walls, harsh fluorescent lighting, soul-less tiling, and out-of-date sound-proofing. Nothing had been updated since the 1960s when the building went up. Not only are the doctors expected to work in these boxes, but they must also treat patients in these rooms. Upon seeing the space, one patient commented to her psychiatrist, “I live in the ghetto, and I've never seen anything as bad as this!” Upon seeing the offices, I could believe it!

I have decided to rise to the challenge of remodeling this section of the hospital. I put together an amazing team of people, comprised of two interior designers, a Feng Shui consultant (feng shui is the Chinese practice of environmental design), and a handful of dedicated people to help raise funds. We have committed to raising $750,000 for this entire project and completing the re-design of these offices.

The space in which we live and breathe has a tremendous effect on our well-being. It is our hope to aid the healing process of the patients at the NPI. We thank you in advance for your support towards this cause and graciously receive any support you may give.

Please make your tax deductible donation today!


Thursday, June 08, 2006

It's Poetry Thursday Again

It's Poetry Thursday again. Here's a poem from one of my favorite poets -- Maya Angelou. Actually she's one of my favorite people in the world. She's my hero. A couple years ago, my law firm had her come speak at one of our retreats. My law firm is a fairly conservative place full of old white men. I was very surprised to see that she had been hired (at great expense and effort) to speak to the firm's nearly 800 attorneys. I was even more surprised, though I probably should not have been, at the awed reception that she received. I expected that I, black woman, would want to fall at her feet. I did not expect that we all would be completely rapt and completely enthralled by the sage and miraculous presence on the stage before us.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the win
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune is heard
on the distant hillfor the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou

Monday, June 05, 2006

Fantastic Weekend

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler."
- Henry David Thoreau

I had a fantastic weekend. I went with Peter, Sean, and John hiking on a Sierra Club hike in the Channel Island. We hiked about 12-13 miles over some rough terrain. We hiked for a couple hours on a creek bed... scrambling over rocks and rock climbing certain parts. It was so fun! I loved it. On the boat ride back we were accompanied by 3 humpback whales and hundreds of dolphins! It was magical.

After the rugged start to the weekend, P. took me to a resort in Oxnard. We had a beautiful beach side room. We drank champagne as we watched the sunset, danced to the hotel band, ate a delicious dinner, had beach and jacuzzi time, and savored every drop of fun the hotel had to offer. On the drive home on Sunday we stopped at the outlets and had a fun little shopping spree. It was a perfect weekend.

John, Sean, Peter and I on the boat ride.

Sean and Hideki at Brunch (from the previous weekend)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Little Faith on this Poetry Thursday

This is my little inspirational submission for Poetry Thursday. I love this poem and have been thinking a lot about faith. This was very appropriate for me today.

FAITH by David White

I want to write about faith,
about the way the moon rises
over cold snow, night after night,

faithful even as it fades from fullness,
slowly becoming that last curving and impossible
sliver of light before the final darkness.

But I have no faith myself
I refuse it even the smallest entry.

Let this then, my small poem,
like a new moon, slender and barely open,
be the first prayer that opens me to faith.