Ups and Downs and LA Lights

I’ve been meaning to write a few posts about my Northwestern road trip a few weeks ago (we went all the way to Canada!!!), but have taken a pause as so many things have come up recently that I am currently writing this from Los Angeles, where I have come for a visit.

The city of angels

I would say that much shit has hit the fan, but that’s not exactly true.  Good things have brought me back to my Southern Californian motherland as well as bad.  Mostly there’s just a lot of changes afoot.

Firstly, my twin sister got engaged.  I found out when we were still on our road trip.  Her fiance proposed on Thursday shortly after we had crossed into Canada and I had turned my phone off, so I didn’t find out until we were back in Washington state on Sunday.  Much of why I came down to LA was to visit my sister, who is already full in wedding planning mode and very excited.  Being so close, it is definitely strange to me that she is engaged, but I’m happy for her because she is happy.  I will do my best to help her with wedding plans from afar in San Francisco, even though I’m not exactly a wedding type of person.  Most women’s sisters would have screamed with excitement when hearing such news; my reply was more along the lines of “Oh, that’s cool”.  I’m also behind the times on Maid of Honor decorum and have happily passed over bridal shower duties to whichever friend wants them.  But you can bet I will plan a kick-ass bachelorette party!  As always, the best part about being here in LA is hanging out with her and laughing and being silly.

A more unfortunate reason to bring me down to LA is the health of my paternal grandfather.  Since I’ve moved to San Francisco she’s been slowing down more and more and beginning to have problems with her health – understandably since she is 89!  A few weeks ago (also when I was away on my road trip) she slipped getting out of bed and could not get up.  She called my aunt who took her to the ER.  They weren’t completely able to figure out what was wrong with her, but the past few weeks she has been in a rehab center while my parents and aunt and uncle make preparations to move her to an assisted living facility.  I had a chance to visit her in the rehab center yesterday.  At first I was a little startled by how small and tired she seemed in the hospital bed, but after talking to her I could see how much of her spunk was still there.  She’s a Jewish grandmother, so can be pretty salty sometimes!  There is certainly life in the old girl yet, if she puts her mind to it.  She can be pretty moody and her optimism varies from day to day.  More than just a visit, she wanted to give me something.  Her gift was a diamond necklace that I remember her wearing all the time, a pendant with five small diamonds clustered around a larger one in the center, set in yellow gold.  She explained to me that the pendant had been a gift from my grandfather for their fifth wedding anniversary, way back in 1948.  The large diamond had been from her original engagement ring in 1943, which he replaced with a larger one and then made this necklace for her.  I have to admit that when I was presented with this necklace I completely lost it and got very “ferklempt”, as my grandmother says in Yiddish.  I loved my grandfather enormously and he passed away four years ago, so now when I wear this very special necklace I will have both of them around my neck.

Also bringing me to LA was business of a more mechanical nature.  The very morning that we left on our road trip, I walked to my car to load it up, only to find that during the night some jackass had hit the driver’s  door of my lovely blue Ford Focus, leaving a sizeable, crunched dent.  No note.  Not like I expected there to be, but still.  Unfortunately though, we had to get on the road and deal with it.  During our weeklong trip, the door got increasingly harder to open and close.  One time in Canada it actually opened on the road, popped open by the locking mechanism.  So until I could get down to Robert, the car whisperer who always fixes my car, I’ve been climbing in and out through my passenger door.  Not fun.

To add to the craziness I lost my phone while en route to LA.  I stopped at the Pea Soup Anderson’s in Santa Nella and have no idea what happened to it.  It was a dumb phone, so it’s not a real loss, but I have never lost a phone before so I certainly felt like a dumbass.  To add to my dumbassery, I was so wound up that I got on the freeway going the wrong way and couldn’t get off to turn around for 15 miles.  But yesterday I got – drumroll please – an iphone!  This is a really big deal.  I am pretty anti-technology and have been resisting getting a smart phone for ages now.  And even though I’m still overwhelmed by it, I admit it will be very useful.  I signed on to stage manage a play in the fall, so I was going to have to get one anyways to efficiently communicate with cast and crew.  Now I’ll be ahead of the game.

Emotional ups and downs aside, I am having the most quintessential “LA” trip of my life.  I have already been to the spa in Koreatown with my sister, an Oscars party, a fitness class with my mom, my cousin’s recording session at the historic Capitol Records studios, and dinner at Micheli’s, Hollywood’s oldest Italian restaurant since 1949.  Whew.  I assure you that when I lived here, my life was not nearly this glamorous.

Mural outside of Capitol Records
Capitol Records, Hollywood, CA

Still in store are two more exciting events.  Tonight I am seeing a preview screening of Grand Budapest Hotel, the newest film by Wes Anderson.  And there will be a Q & A.  With WES ANDERSON.  He is my favorite modern director so I will probably pass out.  Later this week I’m seeing my old band, lovelesslust, play at House of Blues.  That will be surreal.  I played House of Blues with them before, but this time I will be watching and another girl (who strangely resembles me) will be rocking out on bass.  Good strange fun.

When I asked for time off to come down here, my boss told me that Mercury is in retrograde so everything is out of whack right now.  That may be true, but for me all of this has been a good lesson in sitting back and going with the flow.  I used to be very resistant to change, and preferred to have my life meticulously planned rather than be spontaneous.  And I do have some pretty bright lights at the end of the tunnel: another costuming gig with African-American Shakespeare Company and finally my big Eastern European Adventure that I’ve been attempting to plan for months now.  It is happening!!!

Thanks for listening, and as always,

Good Luck and Happy Travels


What LA looks like to me

4 thoughts on “Ups and Downs and LA Lights”

  1. Such an awesome post Mo!! It was so good to see you, although I’m very sorry to hear about your grandmother. I especially love the pics on this post for some reason– I guess its because maybe you’re seeing the LA I see too? Talk to you soon!

    1. Thanks so much Jill! One of the things that has struck me on this trip is how freakin’ ugly la is- but there are such hidden gems. Lovely to see you guys too and keep me posted on travel plans!

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