Category Archives: california

Sleep forever and a day *

For my entire adult life, I have experienced sleep paralysis, usually with hallucinations – and not just a random bout, but frequently, often occurring during afternoon naps. I thought this was normal, that everyone had it, and I’d always request that my dating partners awaken me immediately if they heard me make a noise in my sleep, as that would mean I was feeling trapped. Sleep paralysis is as terrifying as it sounds – I have “seen” figures in my room, pulling the sheets off of my bed while I was unable to move.

I’m tired 100% of the time. I can sleep anywhere, anytime, and have fallen asleep during movies, at school, at jobs, and very nearly while driving. Chalked it up to side effects from depression or Gaucher’s.

While we were in LA this summer, we drove down to Redondo to visit my Boston Terrier friend, Tammy and her wife. Through the course of conversation (and a few local beers!), I learned that Tammy used to be a sleep specialist, and it was she who told me that what I was experiencing was definitely not normal. Tammy urged me to get a sleep study done with an MSLT, which I did last month and I was legitimately happy to have a diagnosis. I just started medication and already feel less lethargic and more alert, less cranky & more positive. It’s also nice to be able to say “fuck you” to the ex-boyfriends who thought I was “lazy” because I needed to sleep. 😉

Throughout these past few months, Tammy texted me information, explained the process of the tests, and looked up medications for me. I am so grateful for her knowledge and support, and so lucky to know her. What’s wild about this is that we met through our dogs’ Instagram accounts several years ago – you never know what kind of amazing people will come into your life via the world of social media!

I’m sharing a cool article about sleep paralysis for you to read here, but I’m also going to encourage you do something else. The whole time Tammy was helping me, she was also kicking ovarian cancer’s ass – a fight that’s not quite finished.

Sometimes it’s the kindness of people you may not know super well, or who you’ve only known a short amount of time that can make the greatest impact. Tammy took the time to not just listen, but engage, and support. She didn’t have to do that – we live on opposite coasts and it would have been easy to say good luck and forget all about it. But she didn’t. She stayed present and is the very epitome of present – documenting her experiences through her photos on Instagram, showing us the beauty in everyday life – a cat eating fish on a street in Italy, dragon kites flown at the beach, shadows of palm trees on Union Station. In this way, she forces you to be present. To view what we may feel are our ordinary lives as extraordinary. For me, this is street photography at its finest.

So here’s the thing: Tammy literally gave me free medical advice without having her own medical insurance. It was terminated – without warning – January of this year. While battling stage IV ovarian cancer, and the multitude of repercussions as a result from that – physical, emotional, financial. This is where my ask comes in – a request to join me in showing gratitude for kindness. Gratitude for keeping us present. Gratitude for her joy.

Just click on Tammy, and you’ll know what to do from there. 💙

why yes, I am sunburnt to hell and back

*title taken from the song ‘Night Nurse’ by Dean & Britta.

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A Song for You

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE fan of the Carpenters. I’ve got most of their albums, am working towards collecting all of the 45s, and have gotten my hands on and read as many books as possible, not to mention seeing all the E! specials, the movies, etc. I have a low singing voice, so I think part of my love for them is due to the fact that I can actually sing along and hit those low notes – gone are the days of me being a 1st soprano!

When googling distances from where I was staying to other areas of California, I realized that I was only 45 minutes from the Carpenters’ house in Downey, and about an hour and a half away from the mausoleum at Pierce Brothers Memorial Park. Since that was pretty close to Malibu, I decided to make the pilgrimage to Karen’s grave and then drive down some of the PCH afterwards. I’m still not exactly sure how to describe the experience.  Their music, as silly as it may sound, has been there through all of my ups and downs, so it was a really meaningful experience to get to “visit” her.

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Karen and her parents are all here

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Pink drumsticks

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it was a super windy day!

One cannot go into the mausoleum, but can peek inside. The marble on Karen’s reads, “A star on earth, a star in heaven.”

While I’ll never get to experience seeing Karen Carpenter, being able to do this was just as worthwhile. Although windy, it was quiet and peaceful, and I sat for a little while, lost in my thoughts. Sure, the drive was a little out of the way, but it was absolutely worth it to be able to thank her for everything she’s meant to me.

And yes, Savanna, I cried.

 

Boston Beach Party

Friends and family asked me if I saw any celebrities in California, and my response was, “yes, the four-legged kind!” Rosie’s Instagram friends are pretty much legendary.

I met up with Jamie, whose pups are Peanut Girlfriday and Butters, and with her was also  Cricket Outlaw Moonshadow, who she was taking care of for the day. When we got to the beach, Coach was holding court, running around and keeping all of the Barktechtives in line. It was so nice to meet Jamie, Tammy, Lisa, and all of Rosie’s friends! Because it was Zoie’s birthday the following week, her momager brought treats for all the dogs, and was kind enough to send one home with me for Ro. It was an all-dog meet-up, but the Bostons definitely outnumbered all the others – about a dozen of them! I Facetimed with Rosie, so she could “attend” the meet-up, too, but she was unimpressed, having been awakened from her afternoon nap. I also Facetimed with Nicole and Travis, so that Lucille and Kumba could take part, as well. It was such a fun afternoon-I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

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Cricket, Peanut, & Butters

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Hi, Coach!

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Peanut and Butters having a drink

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Happy Birthday, Zoie!

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Ziggie & her momager

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Chunk of nocluelulu putting on his speedo

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Coach is ready for his close-up

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Boston moms unite! (s/o to Tiger’s Den Vintage for my Member’s Only jacket!)

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Jamie & sweet Peanut

So, Jamie is pretty much the best. We went to lunch after the meet-up and I, overwhelmed by so many amazing Bostons, lost my mind and managed to lock my keys in my car. She stayed with me the whole time while we waited for the company to send someone over to unlock it. I can’t wait to see her again and hit up Disneyland for some Dole Whip!

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Barktechtives group photo

Look at all of those beautiful squishy faces! We really are a cult of Boston Terrier owners who just want to hang out together and talk about our dogs – and it’s so much fun! These fur babies are so amazing – they do SUP, surf, ride in motorcycles, are detectives, and all-around sweethearts. Everyone was so welcoming (and tried to convince Rosie and I to move out there!), and I’d love to visit again this summer with Rosie, who, by the way, is also a member of Barktechtives! Newport Dog Beach is really great, and everyone has been working really hard to save it from becoming just another beach. You can help by signing the petition here!

So, did I convince you to get a Boston yet? 😉

West or Bust

Where to begin! I got really lucky in February and found an amazing price on tickets into LA, on which I just couldn’t pass. Double that luck when my parents’ best friends said I could stay with them during my visit! They live right around the corner from Mt. Baldy, which is a simply stunning mountain. Passion fruit smoothie in hand (assimilated quickly to the West Coast!), I headed up the mountain with Jim my first morning to take in some views. It’s pretty amazing to go from 70 degree weather to snow in just a matter of minutes. Aside from the natural amenities, the village of Mt. Baldy actually has a lot to offer, including a Zen lodge, a museum, and restaurant. It’s such a great escape that’s a mere 5 minutes away from the rest of civilization. I wouldn’t mind having that in my backyard!

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view from Mt. Baldy

I spent the rest of the afternoon in Sherman Oaks with my friend, Shannon, looking at pups up for adoption at the local animal shelter, and driving into LA. Shannon and I have been friends since our art department days in college, and it was so nice to get to catch up with her and hear about her plans for the future.

I was eager to find a cute little store I follow on Instagram called Pygmy Hippo Shoppe. It really is the most darling, tiniest shop ever! I picked up a few goodies for my pen pals, a Heinz pickle pin for my pickle-hating boyfriend, and found a pink vintage AKC rosette for my Rosie. This is the perfect shop for finding a unique, one-of-a-kind gift, and fortunately, they are online, too! I’m still eyeing their heart printed rain bonnets…

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just look at those adorable bonnets!

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souvenirs from Pygmy Hippo Shoppe

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mural by Chris Uphues

We drove through Beverly Hills and Laurel Canyon on the way back to Sherman Oaks,  hitting up Melrose, Sunset, and Mulholland Drive, among other notable streets. It had rained a bit that afternoon, and California drivers canNOT deal, haha. It’s like when we southerners get snow flurries and the city shuts down. Bree made the joke that instead of locals running to the store for bread and milk like they do here, they rush out for bread and soymilk. Ha! I will say, however, that California drivers are so great. As long as your blinker is on, they will let you over, and move out of the way to help. While rush hour traffic does suck, they just deal with it and are straight up nice about it.

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Shannon and I getting caught in the rain ❤

I closed out the day with dinner at Loving Hut with Beth, Bree, and the kids. Vegan cheeze sticks, steamed dumplings, & chocolate chip “cheese”cake! Yum! I always knew I’d be able to eat in California!

The next day there was to be a meet-up at the dog beach in Newport. Though it sounds like something I would do, I actually did NOT plan my trip around seeing a dozen Boston Terriers, hahaha. I just got lucky that the first meet-up of the year coincided with the weekend of my vacation, and I was absolutely going to take advantage of it to meet some of Rosie’s friends! Plus, I wasn’t going to turn down the chance to go to the beach and stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean! Get ready for an overload of BT photos….