Getting organized doesn’t come naturally to me… when I was a teenager my room was so messy that one of my best friends once came over and cleaned it for me while I was away. It lead to a screaming match that went something like this:
“What the xxxx have you done to my room?” “I cleaned it. I can’t live like this!” “But you don’t even live here!” “Fine, I can’t visit like this!” “Then don’t!” “OK, I’m leaving, you can rot away in your dirt!” “Oh, come on, just stay. It’s kind of nice in here. I can’t believe you sorted my dirty laundry, you’re a freak!” It ended well, we stayed friends.
Fast forward to my adult life and I’ve matured enough to do dishes on a regular basis, empty the mailbox, make the bed and nag my daughter to clean her room, at least once in a while, but my mind is still as messy as my teenage room once was.
My thoughts kind of jump around as kids in a bouncy house. Normally I just let them jump until they tire themselves out, but as I’m trying to wrap up a script, I’m realizing that I need to reel them in a bit and make sure the timeline makes sense.
I’m not usually a huge fan of movies with a lot of going back and forth in time – I sometimes wish people would just tell their stories from beginning to end and skip the flash backs, but the story I’m working on just doesn’t work told chronologically, so I’m trying to figure out exactly in which order different events need to be revealed….and since my head is such a messy place, I’ve printed the beginning and end of all scenes, and cut them out, so that I can move them around like a puzzle. Hopefully a puzzle I can solve!
So that’s what I’m up to this week. That and going for long walks to clear my head – summer is almost here and there is so much beauty everywhere. Here are a few pictures from my latest walk… I love how lush everything is this time of year, even in dry Southern California!
Until next time…
Lara McCarthyLara McCarthy was born and raised in Nynäshamn, Sweden. She is currently living in Los Angeles where she divides her time between writing and producing films with her Canadian husband and volunteering backstage at her daughter's ballet school. She is excited and grateful that her life is filled with both family-fun and creativity.
The house felt a bit sad and empty with Chloe visiting relatives on the east coast for ten days, so Greg and I decided to leave town and spend a week in Las Vegas.
In theory, I hate everything about Vegas: How fake, gaudy and ridiculously over-sexualized everything is.
In reality, the second I spot the glittering skyline, I just want to throw my arms in the air, because I just don’t care.
It’s like a dormant part of my brain suddenly comes alive and convinces me to take a break from all responsibilities, problems, societal expectations – and even good taste. Try it, when you get a chance. It’s very relaxing.
This visit was a bit different than usual though, because we decided to take work with us, so that we could go for a longer period of time. Greg was able to take some scattered days off, but needed to work for a few days while we were away, so we got a great, big room at The Rio and set up an “office” for both of us.
While he worked, I wrote, and then we spent several hours going over our script, so he could give me his feedback and ideas for the next day. It was great working without any everyday distractions other than a quick dip in the pool at lunch, or a half hour in the hotel gym, and the trip turned out to be much more productive than I had expected.
The evenings were spent in Vegas style though, and we indulged in everything from gambling to great dinners and drinks at the various casinos.
On our last day there we even popped over to Zion National Park, which is located 2 1/2 hours away, to see some nature and eat dinner at the Lodge, which is located inside the park.
The drive there was so majestic it took our breath away. We got a window table with a view of the giant rocks surrounding the Lodge and inhaled the calm as we enjoyed our food. As we made our way back to the car, the sky lit up with a dramatic thunder and lightning storm – a fitting call to the wilder night that awaited once we returned – a night-time pool party at the Encore.
I’d never been to a night swim like that and wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be so much fun! It felt a lot like a kids’ pool party, giant rubber floaties and all, except for the alcohol and the outfits, of course. Everyone was kind of giggling at each other, because it was both very silly and very fun.
There were probably around a thousand people at the event, sharing three large pools in front of a giant stage where the DJ, RL Grime, came on at one am (which you can probably guess is normally past my bedtime). Bursts of smoke came from the stage, along with quick beats that had everyone dancing, both in and out of the water.
We had so much fun swimming and dancing that we stayed in the pool the entire time, except for a wet and slippery trip to the bar.
“I don’t take wet money,” the bartender said when Greg presented him with two soaked 20:s. “You don’t take wet money?” “Nope.” “It’s two am at a Las Vegas Pool party. What other kind of money is there?” “I’ll take it,” his bar-tending partner said, and happily grabbed the bills. “Money is money.”
At some point during the evening Greg dared me to toss the fake leather hot-pants I was wearing as a cover up onto the stage – so of course I did. I, obviously, never saw them again, so when we decided to leave around 3 am, I had to leave the party in just my swim suit and a thin sweater. When the Lyft driver saw us, he got out of his car, opened the trunk and took out two thick towels that he calmly laid on the seats – a very responsible thing to do, I thought. It’s a good thing not everyone had checked that part of their brain at the Vegas border.
The News Made Me Cry
I start every morning in bed with a coffee and the LA Times. The actual newspaper, made out of paper and ink that rubs off onto my hands. I know, I know, it’s terribly old-fashioned, you can get the news online, but I get so tired of screens sometimes and I love starting my day that way.
I don’t always read all that much news though, to be perfectly honest. Most of the time I take a quick look at the A section, shudder at the headlines about all the horrors in our city and around the world, skim one or two articles, so I have a bit of a clue of what’s going on, then I reach for the Calendar section and read it from cover to cover; all the film reviews, horoscopes and the “Ask Amy” column, finishing with the comics in time for my coffee being all gone.
A couple of days ago, however, the cover really grabbed my attention. It was a story about how the first parent had finally been re-united with his child, a 6 year old boy, after being separated at the border. They had been separated for two months. The dad was hugging his child, whose eyes looked dead.
Like a lot people, both here in the US and all around the world, I’ve been horrified by the separation of children and parents at the border since the moment I heard of it, but this picture made it hit home even more. The child looked completely traumatized and it made me so full of rage and sadness that I started crying. I also pictured what it would have been like if that had happened to us when Chloe was six. If she had been separated from us for months, or weeks, or one night even. How traumatized she would have been. She couldn’t even handle sleep-overs at her friends’ houses at that age. The children going through this ordeal must be going through a similar experience to children being abducted. Those experiences will most likely haunt them for the rest of their lives.
It’s child abuse. How could this happen? Why is it happening? Humanity is so far from being civilized, so monstrous, so irresponsible that it is almost impossible to fully comprehend.
What can we do to help? There are many people out there bringing change about, and while this never should have happened in the first place, the outcry has led to steps being taken to at least put an end to this atrocity.
Personally, I almost always turn to Save the Children when trying to help people in need. It’s an organization that I trust and support. Here is their fact sheet on the border crisis:
My husband and I took an Uber to dinner the other night and were met by a very excited driver. “I see you’re going to SALT,” he said. “Good choice, that is the best restaurant in LA.” Just like that, as if it were a scientific fact. I was excited about our dinner and had heard great things about the place, yet his statement irked me, as it always does when someone calls something “the best”. I don’t mean using the expression “It’s the best!” I get that, it’s just an expression, but it bothers me when someone says it as if they are stating an actual fact, if it isn’t. “The best ice cream in all of Italy.” “The best artist of the 20th century.” “The best movie ever made.” “Best director.”
How can anyone use those words with a straight face when talking about something culinary or creative? Those are subjective experiences – we all have different tastes when it comes to food and art. I could subsist on oysters alone for a week, and honestly say that I like oysters the best of all foods, but I have friends who gag just seeing them served. You get the picture. I guess that’s why award shows always make me roll my eyes. I love celebrating people’s talent and hard work, but could we maybe change the award to Director of the Year, instead of Best Director? Anyone agree with me? I know, I know, this isn’t terribly important, I’m just worried my eyes will get stuck at the back of my head from too much rolling.
Okay, I’ll stop now. Back to our dinner at SALT. I won’t say it was actually the best in LA, but I will say that it was fantastic and that I highly recommend it. We arrived just as the sun began setting and were seated on the outdoor patio with a view of the harbor. I love boats, there is something so summery and relaxing about them to me, seeing them bob in the water, suntanned people in shorts sauntering up and down the docks.
The sun kept setting the entire time we were there…I’m not sure how that happened, but it felt like the longest, most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. And I mean that literally. The wine and the service were excellent, and the food was beyond that. I wanted to lick the plates to taste every last drop, but managed to control myself, because, you know, I’m a lady and all that.
We shared a burrata and plum salad and a salmon dish. I don’t always like salmon, the wild caught tends to get too tough and chewy for my taste, I guess from all the exercise the salmons get from swimming upstream, but the salmon we had was very tender. The chef either performed a miracle or our salmon had been extremely lazy during his lifetime, never leaving the couch, never letting go of the remote or his bag of chips, not developing a single chewy muscle.
Ugh, the image of our food just got too personal. I’m always conflicted about eating other living creatures, when we can survive on plants, but can’t quite stop craving meat and fish. I’ve tried being a vegetarian a few times, but the last time it ended with me craving meat so much that I found myself circling the deli at Whole Foods with my eyes on a bloody piece of roast beef behind the glass. It was as if I had turned into something from the nature channel, like I suddenly wouldn’t be able to stop myself from attacking the prey, as in jumping up onto the glass and grabbing the roast beef with my teeth and devouring it right there on the spot. It felt like a bad thing to do at Whole Foods, especially since there were so many of Chloe’s classmates’ parents there, and she might get a bit embarrassed if I turned psychotic carnivore in front of them. “Isn’t that Chloe’s mom? Wasn’t she class parent last year? What happened to her?” …so I just bought the meat instead and figured I could deal with my inner turmoil later. What do you all think? Do you eat meat? How do you stop your cravings if you want to go vegetarian?
Well, those are my thoughts for today.
Until next time…
You may have noticed that it’s a bit toasty outside if you live here in LA right now.
If you’re submerged in a pool or have A/C, it’s not so bad, but the second you go out, it’s a whole different world.
People seem both more sluggish and more irritable. It didn’t help that when I drove home earlier today, people kept swerving into my lane – which made me very mad. I’m a big fan of sticking to boundaries, such as those white ones painted onto the road, when driving. Perhaps those who popped over into my personal driving space had a good reason and I should cut them some slack for almost crashing into my car. Maybe their A/C wasn’t working and they were so exhausted from the heat that they simply didn’t have enough energy to turn the steering wheel to stay in their own lanes. Or maybe the heat made their mascara melt and they had a make up emergency and really needed to re-apply it, that instant, right as they were making a left turn. Or maybe its just me who is grumpy because I’m too hot.
I think it’s time for me to to find a nice cool body of water and go dunk my head in it. But before I go, here’s a tip for the next few days if you’re looking for a place to swim:
The Annenberg is one of my favorite pools in Santa Monica. It’s the perfect place for a hot day, because you have access to everything in one spot. There is a beautiful pool, changing rooms with showers, a restaurant, you can even do yoga or throw a party there. The restaurant isn’t cheap, a burger is $18, for example, but it’s worth it not to have to leave and park again, and you can have lunch, or dinner and a drink right on the sand. If you have kids, you can watch them play on the play ground right next to the restaurant, and if you feel like a dip in the actual ocean, you can walk right out for a swim. They only allow a limited number of guests into the pool area, so it helps going early. You can also reserve cabanas on the beach outside.
Here’s the website for more info!
Hope you all have a great weekend and manage to stay cool! Time for me to jump in! Until next time…
Outside My Comfort Zone
You know how people say it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, experience new things, grow as a person, blah, blah, blah… well, I hope those people, whoever they are, are happy now, because I’ve done a lot of that the past couple of weeks.
Inside my comfort zone we have things like walking to brunch in the sunshine and eating popcorn at the movies. You know, comfortable stuff.
Outside my comfort zone we have things like being hurtled through the air upside down and walking through snake infested wilderness. Other people seem to think of these activities as fun and recreational, but to me they seem like strange forms of punishment that definitely should be avoided. Yet somehow, during the past couple of weeks, I’ve ended up both at Magic Mountain and hiking with evil rattlesnakes at Temescal Canyon.
I did have a good reason for being at Magic Mountain. Greg loves roller coasters and said he wanted to go there for his birthday – and you can’t really say no to a birthday wish, can you? So, there we were, Greg, I, and a group of friends. Chloe, who isn’t a big fan of roller coasters either, got a fever in the morning and had to stay in bed. My mom came over to spend the day with her, and as I reluctantly left she said, “Have fun mamma,” from under the covers, with both pity and a bit of an evil laugh, knowing very well that I wouldn’t.
It can’t be that bad, I thought. Lots of people survive roller coasters every single day. I’ll just close my eyes on the rides and this day will soon be over. Turns out I’m an even bigger chicken than I thought I was. I am very, very scared of heights. I had forgotten exactly how scared. As we stood in line to the first roller coaster, slowly climbing the stairs, up, up, up and even further up, I felt like I was in line to a guillotine, waiting to have my head chopped off. I felt both dizzy and nauseous. “I can’t. Sorry.” I said. “Here, let me take your bags and hats.” Greg and our friends gratefully dumped their stuff on me and I walked over to the side where a bunch of people with strollers waited. If only I could have blamed it on a baby in a stroller.
Our group took pity on me and we tried a tiny roller coaster next, which I could handle. The only problem was that most things I can handle at an amusement park will, without doubt, be extremely boring, even for me.
“Oooo, I want to try this,” I screamed, seeing a sign for a VR experience. That, at least would be safe.
So here comes the most embarrassing part:
Remember how I’m scared of heights? Well, this VR experience simulated going up on the outside of a skyscraper, all the way to the top, where you then had to walk across a beam, which, in reality, was just a piece of foam on the ground, less than two inches thick, to rescue a kitten. Piece of cake, I thought. Wrong. It felt nightmarishly real. “Stop, bring me down,” I screamed. Yep. I screamed. I was so freaked out that it didn’t occur to me that I could just take the goggles off. So down I went in the pretend world. “Are you okay? Do you want to try again?” the attendant asked. “Yes, please, I kind of need to conquer this one, I think.”
With some deep breathing and major mental focus on the fact that I would actually remain safely on the ground, I managed to get all the way up to the top. It was exhilarating. “You’re at the top,” the attendant said. “Yay, I’m at the top!” “Now go get the kitten.” That’s right. I had forgotten about the dumb imaginary kitten. I carefully walked out onto the imaginary plank, I even looked down. It was amazing. “Now grab the kitty.” I reached for the cat, but lost my balance, freaked out, and accidentally kicked it off the plank. “The cat is definitely dead, but you made it,” the attendant exclaimed. “You can still pick out a prize…” Everyone cheered. Then I went back to holding bags and hats for the rest of the afternoon.
I think I should probably skip the details of the hiking trip…I’m guessing you guys can only take so much wimpiness in one sitting. Let’s just say we had to rely on the kindness of strangers for sunscreen and a map back to civilization…but I’ll admit that the scenery during the hike was beautiful.
Until next time…