Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reverb 11 - Choice

What can you choose in 2012 to make your life better?

I can choose not to get hung up on what wasn't, or what may not be.  Focus on my assets, and not my flaws.  Concentrate on now, and not then.  Feel the fullness in my heart, and not the void.

What I wish for 2012 is to partake in every possible way in this thing called life.  I really like my independence and downtime, but sometimes chilling on the couch isn't the best way to live, to connect, to feel alive.  I want to take risks, and experience all the possibilities in this ever changing world.  I want to savor all that comes my way, cherish the moments, and live in gratitude.   Good bye old year, hello new one.

Friday, December 30, 2011

My Father

Yesterday was my father's birthday, he turned 83, and was very chipper when I called to wish him a happy day.  "I made it through another one," he said laughing, as if he's been playing hide and seek with Father Time and winning.  Age has made my father extremely sentimental and communicative.  He is  not the same emotionally unavailable man I have known my whole life.  As our conversation was winding down, he professed, "I just love you so much.  I want you to have a wonderful life." He paused, but before I could reply he said, "well, you already have that, don't you?"  "Yep, I already do."  And then, as my father often does, he made a non sequitur, although this one was easy to follow.  "If I was woman today I wouldn't get married either.  I don't have a problem with that."

I know my parents love me and are very proud of me.  They tell me these things often, but I also know I've disappointed them by never marrying or having children.  They view my single status as a defiant act of a petulant child, but in fact, my not being married has nothing to do with them.  They don't understand what went wrong, or what they did to cause this situation.  On his birthday, my father gave me one of the nicest gifts.  He comprehended marriage was not the only path to happiness,  life can still be good without a spouse, and I can be complete without a husband.  I was surprised, but appreciative he broke from a belief he shares with my mother, a concern they view as an issue, and validated my choices.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reverb 11 - Expectations

What is one expectation you fiercely held for 2011 that you wish to let go of before 2012? What steps are required to putting it to rest?

Expectations got me into trouble a long time ago.   I was unwittingly setting myself up for disappointment, so I stopped having them.  I realized that wasn't the solution either, for it prevented me from dreaming.  It took a lot of work for me to consciously live in a space where I remain excited about the future, open to all that is possible, but without attaching any specific outcomes.  I believe my happiness is largely the result of this shift.


JW's visit flew by as we chatted into the wee hours of the night, laughed uncontrollably, and traversed Southern California in the days leading up to Christmas.  We hiked in the hills of Hollywood, and the trails shadowed by the San Jacinto mountains.  We explored The Getty, strolled the shores of Malibu, ate in Thai Town, and wandered along Abbott Kinney.  We were awed by the oasis, the lights of The Living Desert, and the wind turbines.  We feted Christmas Eve, prepared for holiday guests, and laughed some more.  So incredibly grateful for lifelong friends and the ties that bind us over years spent apart.  Happy 2012 JW!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reverb 11 - Freedom

What new thought, idea or action have you taken this year that gave you a true sense of freedom?

I know I'm not in control of anything, but I do have the power of choice.  Every day I get to choose how I want to spend my time, who I want to spend it with, what I want to explore, how I want to express myself, who I want to be.  I get to choose . . . every moment, every day.  I choose my frame of mind, even when dealing with conflict, struggle, or disappointment.  There's immense freedom in this knowledge, and more importantly this practice.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reverb 11 - Time

If you had 3 more hours in the day what would you do with them?  How do you want to spend your time in 2012?

I'd use 3 extra hours doing the things I love -- connecting with people, being out in nature, reading, taking photos, practicing yoga, entertaining, laughing with friends, viewing art, and finding inspiration.

In 2012 I want to spend my time doing the things I love.  It's kinda simple!

Monday, December 26, 2011


We spent JW's last day in LA seaside with Potter whom I hadn't seen in 22 years.  In photos from our senior year in college we're always wearing each other's clothes, an unconscious expression of our closeness.  Barefoot, the cold ocean numbed my toes, as we strolled, falling into an easy rhythm sharing information and truths. Our conversations two decades ago were filled with dreamy notions about the future, and here we were on the other side of the country tracking our stories.  The comfort and familiarity didn't surprise me, but the distance we've traveled since our last encounter seems implausible.  So much life has been lived in a blink of an eye.

Reverb 11 - Gift

Name one gift that 2011 gave you; what treasure came your way gift wrapped in experience, that (maybe in hindsight) you want to hold onto and place on display?

I've received countless gifts in 2011, a serious abundance, received daily.  But there is one gift that stands out, significant in so many profound ways, and that's the gift of my business partner Sticks.  We named our company One-Two Punch, and people often ask which one of us is One and which one is Two.  Without discussion, we had the same response.  It's interchangeable, it's all about our combined efforts and not who comes first.  We stand side by side, literally and figuratively.

I've been craving this situation for most of career, and didn't even know it.  To work with a trusted friend whom I respect and love, and who inspires me is priceless.  Many of our conversations prior to launching the company were about quality of life, and infusing our company with the traits that are most important to us; communication, trust, integrity.  Interestingly, when I look back, I realize how long ago the seeds were planted for this manifestation.  I vividly remember the first time we met for lunch in 2005, sushi in the valley.  We talked about all the things that still connect us -- family, striving for balance, the desire to travel, and books that inspire us.  In fact, I immediately purchased one of Sticks' recommendations for an upcoming trip to Costa Rica.  The Universe is mysterious, it listens and provides in the most powerful ways.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry, Merry

Had a magical holiday season, lots of festivities shared with friends.
I'm blessed to have a heart full of love and joy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reverb 11 - Travel

Where did you travel to in 2011?  Where would you like to visit in 2012?  What does traveling mean to you?

I had lots of wonderful adventures in 2011, kicking off the new year in London and Paris, returning to LA, and spending the remainder of January in NJ and NY.  At the end of February Thai Air transported me to Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam.  A month long excursion, perfect in so many ways.  In June, a decadent weekend in Vegas celebrating AT's birthday, lead to my first glimpse of  the Grand Canyon.  Journeyed back east for my mother's 80th birthday, and enjoyed warm summer days and nights in Manhattan.  Work became my priority in the second half of the year, curtailing my travels, but no complaints.  Jaunts to Palm Springs and Ojai to visit dear friends and walk among groves of fruit trees satiated any wanderlust.  A last minute trip to the east coast this December, to partake in family baking traditions completed a spectacular year.

Travel brings me great pleasure and joy, and soothes my intrepid impulses.  There are many more places I want to explore, but work will dictate how much, and how far I travel this year.  I'd like to go on a road trip, explore the national parks, camp, and just get lost in the vastness of America.  Craving another trip up North or perhaps South to Sayulita.  Cuba, Morocco, Africa, Laos -- so many places to experience.  The opportunities will unfold in time, hopefully there's a set visit or two among them.

Christmas in the Desert

Not your typical Currier and Ives greeting card image, but in unsuspecting places holiday spirit thrives in the desert.  At the Thousand Palms Oasis, reindeer fashioned from the bark of  palm trees lined the fence at the entrance.  When the night temperature began to dip into the 40s we chased the chill  away with hot chocolate and s'mores toasted in open fire pits at The Living Desert, a space transformed by 750,000 lights, an impressive model train set, and giggling children of all ages.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Reverb 11

Prompt: Who did you miss?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reverb 11 - Belief

Believe:  What did you believe in this year?   Did your faith help propel you forward?  What do you want to believe in throughout 2012?

I believed in a combination of myself and the universe.  I've always had strong instincts and thankfully I trust them, more and more.  My faith definitely  propelled me forward, one day at a time, never getting too far ahead of myself.  I stayed focus on living in the moment, enjoying the ride.

I always want to believe everything will be okay, whatever that means, so a part of me wants to believe that for 2012 as well.  Silly belief, truly, since everything always is okay even when life takes me down an unexpected route.  I want to believe in love, the head-over-heels epic stuff.  I believe it's exists, but I think it's rare, a gift when presented to one in a lifetime.  Not sure I pulled this card from the deck this time around.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

Spent the winter solstice with JW hiking the hills of Hollywood, sifting through old photos, and roaming the lawns and galleries at The Getty.  We reminisced, and reconnected after not seeing each other for over a decade.  We laughed about the many shared experiences from our days in college, and early 20s.  A glorious sunset spread warm amber light over the horizon, before an evening chill set in reminding us it is indeed Winter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reverb 11 - Gathering

Gathering:  What was your favorite party or gathering (large or small) in 2011?  Who would you like to gather with in 2012?

A simple backyard summer BBQ at JB's comes to mind.  Intimate, casual, good friends, thought provoking conversations, bursts of laughing fits.  I spent some time over the hot grill watching skewers of shrimp become translucent.  A juicy tenderloin sizzled and summer vegetables charred.  Sweet summer corn boiled in a pot on the stove.  I baked an apple pie, someone brought gooey, fudgy brownies that were worthy of moans.  As the night progressed the hula hoop found its way on various hips.  I went home slightly tired, and happy.

I like to entertain, and hope to have more dinner parties in 2012 bringing together eclectic groups of friends, inspiring conversation and connection.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Baking Frenzy

Spent the afternoon listening to Christmas tunes and baking lavender shortbread, chocolate almond cookies and butter cookies. The countdown is on!!!

Reverb 11 - Lessons

Lessons: What lessons did you learn about yourself this year?

Several key friendships have shifted this year, and I've surrendered to this evolution.  In a particular instance, I chose honesty over enabling a friend who was in deep trouble and need.  I chose taking care of myself instead of spinning in her illness and distortion.  I chose putting our friendship on the line for the truth, and it cost me.   Although deeply saddened by the loss of her presence, I recognize how much calmer my life is as a result.

Drama can be seductive, distracting, mask voids and make me feel important.  But in the end it's a charlatan, an energy drain. The absence of crisis can resemble boredom, an unsettling quiet calm, but I've come to value it.  I'm also aware of the space it creates for new people and experiences.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Madness

I don't like getting caught up in the holiday frenzy of consumerism and burning the candle at both ends until exhaustion results in a day of bed rest.  But when I'm not traveling, as I was the last two years, I do enjoy certain traditions like filling tins with fresh baked cookies, propping up an evergreen in my living room and entertaining.  My plan to dedicate this weekend to all of those activities was greatly compromised when two scripts arrived in need of immediate notes.  I juggled my time, jettisoned my to-do list, and embraced the craziness of the season.  My eyelids are heavy, and my head is eager to rest on my pillow.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

Growing up, a few days before Christmas,  I could always count on Mrs D to hand deliver freshly baked Irish Soda Bread.  This was a very fair exchange for a tin of my mother's cookies.  As I got older, I marveled that Mrs D, mother of ten, had time to bake at all.  She never seemed stressed, or out of sorts on her visits.  Her last pregnancy resulted in twins, and my young mind associated a popular beer jingle, "the one to have when you're having more than one", with her multiple births.  In my mind Mrs D, the Schaefer Brewing Company and Irish Soda Bread will be forever linked.  One Christmas, in my stocking, I found a blank red notebook, a place for me to keep my favorite recipes.  The ingredients for the yummy loaf were an immediate entry, one I still turn to every holiday season, a gift I like to make for friends.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reverb 11 - Gratitude

What are the 5 things, people and moments you are grateful for in 2011?  What would you like to be grateful for in 2012?

1.  The incredible month I spent exploring Southeast Asia.

2.  My business partner, without her I never would have formed a production company.  We are similar, yet different, communicative and supportive of each other's dreams in life, not just work.

3.  Friendships built on honesty and adventure.

4.  Financial security

5.  My parents' health after last winter's car accident which set them back for months.

In 2012 I hope my company has continued to success, and we get a series on the air.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Cookies

My mother doesn't quadruple her recipes  anymore, but she still makes a variety of cookies at Christmas time.  They've become classics, well-remembered by anyone who has tasted them, and enjoyed by neighbors who stop by for coffee during the cold, holiday months.   My father, the cookie taster, approved of this season's batch of almond crescents and pecan balls.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reverb 11

Passion: What did you become/continue to be sincerely passionate about in 2011? When you are in the moment doing something you love what does look + feel like?  

My love affair with the camera started in 2010, and continued into 2011.  I cherish the moments I wandered the traffic-laden streets in Phnom Penh, explored the hillside tribes in Vietnam or retread my neighborhood hiking trails with only my camera as a companion.  Even when the results disappointed,  I never regretted getting caught up in a particular moment.  Time seemed to slow down, as if I was floating in the light.  My range of subjects increased, my eye continued to find new tableaux.  I'd like to take another photography class in 2012, kick it up a notch.


My mother's mother was born and raised in Polizzi Generosa, a small, hillside town in Sicily.  An arranged marriage to a local boy who had been living in New York caused her to cross the ocean on a boat, and set up home on Mott Street in Little Italy.  Uprooted, and homesick, she continued to celebrate and honor various religious holidays with traditional dishes and baked goods, learned from the women in her town.  My favorite ritual is Cucidata, a sophisticated fig newton, baked only at Christmas time.

A laborious process, barely altered from my grandmother's recipe, is followed every December by my mother and cousin.  After Thanksgiving the filling, a mixture of nuts, figs and honey, is prepared.   For decades, several nights were devoted to grinding the filberts using my grandmother's ancient cast iron contraption.  My mother, afraid the taste would be altered if she used a blender or food processor, finally  relented.  The dough, made in 5 pound batches, is still mixed by hand, and rolled on a board my grandfather made from an old door, over eighty years ago.  This year, I traveled to NJ to sit across from my mother, board on our laps, using rolling pins my grandfather whittled from broomsticks, to make Cucidata.  I hadn't made them since I moved to California almost twenty years ago.  Every year, mid December, I receive a box via UPS with bubble wrapped cookies.  This year, I will sneak them home in my suitcase to share with my brother, cousin, and friends. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reverb 11 - Discovery

What is one thing that you discovered in 2011 that you use to make you happy even when you are having a bad day?

I don't really distinguish between good and bad days, they are all just days.  However, I do glance at the sky often, noting the rotation of the sun, and cloud formations.  When I do, I'm immediately aware of my relationship to the universe.  I feel tethered to the earth, grounded and blissful.