Posted in Life, Spirituality, TV, Universe, Writing

A Year Ago Today, I Took A Chance On My Dreams

Exactly 1 year ago today I decided it was time to get back to my dreams of being a writer. I spent 15 years working as a photographer to pay the bills but deep down, I always wanted to get back to being a writer. The opportunity was there, I just had to take it.

I work for the oldest Entertainment magazine–American Cinematographer started in 1920. Yes, I am the photo editor but I do write the news portion of the magazine. After my father died, all I could think about was writing. In fact, all I could think about was writing about the paranormal investigation docu-series Ghost Adventures. All I had to do was pitch my story idea. What was the worst that could happen? If they said no, I would just go right back to the day-to-day of being the photo editor.

It seemed simple but I am an over-thinker. I had to have the perfect pitch. After all, I was basically asking the magazine permission to cover a reality series; we don’t cover reality shows. Being who I am, never doing things the easy way, I wasn’t even planning on pitching a normal reality series. I was pitching a paranormal investigation reality series.

My friends were actually shocked that I didn’t pitch something Star Wars related. But I couldn’t fully explain it without sounding like a crazy person (though my closest friends are used to my crazy ideas). Months prior, I had read Zak Bagans book, “I am Haunted: Living Life Through the Dead” but I was the one who wound up haunted; haunted with the idea of writing a story about this show. It had to be this show and it had to be at the right time. (Divine timing at its finest).

20150314_204204

I searched through our magazine schedule and noticed that April 2016 was set as the digital issue. The Ghost Adventures guys use digital cameras. We had Batman v. Superman planned as the main feature. They were currently filming in Detroit. Zak went to film school in Detroit. I am from Detroit. Plus this was our NAB issue. The NAB show is held in Las Vegas. Three out of four of the Ghost Adventures guys live in Las Vegas. With all these synchronicities, it was clear that this was the perfect issue for my story.

So after weeks of pep talks from my friends and trying to get ahold of the show’s publicist, I was finally ready to make my pitch. I would talk about the evolution of their camera equipment from their documentary through twelve seasons of the show. My stomach was in knots. I was so nervous. I had convinced myself of all the reasons as to why they would say no but I had to do this for myself. So I walked into my managing editor’s office, I pitched my story and he said yes!!!

Yesterday, I was back at my Alma Mater, the University of Southern California. The School of Cinematic Arts (it was cinema-television 20 years ago when I was a freshman there) was holding a ceremony for the Haskell Wexler Endowed Chair in Documentary. I had the privilege of knowing Haskell and was honored to be there supporting his wife Rita as well as representing his ASC family along with other members and AC staff. When I went to check in, they had stacks of the American Cinematographer April Issue (which later became a tribute issue to Haskell and fellow ASC member Vilmos Zsigmond) sitting on the table for attendees. I saw some of my former professors and former classmates reading a magazine that contained my Ghost Adventures article.

It was so surreal to be standing there on the campus where 20 years ago I was a freshman who dreamed of becoming a writer and I was holding in my hands my published article. 20 years ago I was writing essays about cinematography and now I have published articles about cinematography.

I have yet to fully understand exactly why I had to write about Ghost Adventures but I am so glad that I overcame my fears, quieted my mind and pitched that story to my editor a year ago.

Advertisements
Posted in Life, Relationships

Finally Letting Go

On Instagram, there is a feature that has suggestions for people you might want to follow. The other day, a guy from my past popped up in the suggestions. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in years so I clicked on it to see how he was doing and wound up clicking the “follow” button. Crap (actually, I used a different word)!

I knew he would get a notification that I was now following his feed so I couldn’t immediately unfollow, that would be mean, or so I thought. He didn’t have a lot of followers so I decided to just leave it.

But then I started to think that what I viewed as a nostalgic “let’s just see how he is doing” kind of gesture might be taken the wrong way. My thoughts of making peace with this man from my past and the unrealistic hope that we could someday be friends again might not come across when he sees the new follower notification.

I have no idea what he thinks of me or if he is still upset over things that were said and done in the past. For me, I have let go of any negative feelings toward him. I will forever care about him and wish him the best but I now realize that he is in my past and that is where he needs to stay. I am not the same person I was and neither is he.

I don’t want to go back and relive a time where, in reaction to how he treated me, I was ashamed of the things I said and did. I didn’t like the person I turned into when I was dealing with the insecurities of being ignored and treated poorly by a man I thought I loved.

Everyone comes into your life for a reason. This man was a long, hard and often painful lesson. By having him pop-up in my Instagram suggestions, I think the Universe was trying to tell me that he is fine. I don’t have to worry about him anymore. It is OK to leave him in the past where he belongs. I can finally let go.

So I clicked the unfollow button and he returned the favor by making his account private. So there it was. A book I started when I met this man over 19 years ago was finally closed. Time to focus on a new book.

Posted in Life, Relationships, Spirituality, Universe, Writing

So Much Has Changed

It dawned on me last night that I have really neglected this blog and my personal challenge to try something new every day. I thought I would scroll through old posts for inspiration to get back into blogging mode. Instead of inspiration, I found frustration. My life has drastically changed over the past year that I don’t even recognize the woman who wrote about twin flames and the like. I almost want to go back in time and shake her, ask her “what are you thinking?” But deep down I know that everything in my life happens for a reason and every experience has made me into the person I am today. Circumstances ripped the rose colored glasses from my face and I feel like I can finally see things correctly; perhaps for the first time in my life.

The man from my past, the one I believed to be my “twin flame,” my “Mr. Big,” is no longer a factor in my life. Yes, there was a connection between us but it wasn’t meant to be worked out in this lifetime. He served as a lesson–a painful lesson but a lesson nonetheless. Now he is out of my life and it is for the best. I won’t be wasting anymore time on romantic notions or spiritual cosmic connections or whatever I was writing about in regards to him. It was just another chapter in my book of life.

Over the past ten months or so, I have really re-evaluated my relationships, friendships and just where my life is headed in general. This has been the most difficult year of my life and unfortunately, in difficult times, you see who your real friends are and what truly matters the most in life. I don’t have everything figured out but I am working on it.

One thing that I do know for sure is that I want to get back to writing. I started back in September when I pitched my first story for the magazine where I am currently employed as the photo editor. I always wanted to be a writer, not a photographer. Being a photographer paid the bills when I was laid off from a writing job back in 2002 and it just seemed like a path I had to take to get to where I am now. That article is currently on the news stands in the April issue of American Cinematographer. So far I have received positive responses to the article so hopefully this is the first step toward changing my life into what I want it to be. Stay tuned.

Posted in Family, Life, Universe, Writing

A Gift From My Dad

2016-03-03 14.33.17Nine months ago today, my Dad passed away. I won’t say he died. I can’t say it because it isn’t true, at least for me. His body died but his soul did not. He is still here. I feel him every day. And if I ever doubt that his energy is not present, he gives me a sign, a gift to remind me that he is still here.

I recently wrote a post about how I felt lost without him. I did not know who I was without him. Hours after I wrote that blog entry, I was given several clear signs of who I am and where I am headed. My article for our April issue was now a bullet on our cover. My managing editor told me how much he loved my article and that I should feel free to pitch additional stories in the future. So I pitched an idea in that moment (an idea that has a tie in to my father) and was told we could reach out to the studio/network in regards to making that my next story. I immediately called my Mom and we both agreed this had to be Dad guiding me. And if there were any doubts, events last night further proved to me that my Dad is guiding me back to my goals and dreams.

Last night, I decided to make a trip up to my storage space and finally put away my Christmas decorations. Normally I would just drop off my Christmas storage containers and leave but a gut feeling told me to reorganize some of the boxes I had piled in the back corner. I pulled out some boxes and noticed a file container on the second shelf way in the back corner of the storage unit. It looked like one of the containers I used for storing my tax information. I just had a feeling it was important so I made my way back there to retrieve it. To my surprise, it was filled with all my writing samples from high school, college and my years working as a publicist. I even found my acting headshots from college. I cleared a space and sat down on the floor, reminiscing about my past and a time when I considered myself a writer.

I flipped through the different files and stopped when I spotted a blue folder labeled “Grandpa.” I knew it contained a story I wrote in high school about the day my grandfather died of a sudden heart attack. I pulled out the folder and immediately started crying when I saw my father’s handwriting. For months I had been searching for the letters I received from my Dad my freshman year of college. I thought they were at my parents’ house. I had no clue that I had them with me the entire time, in my storage space and with a story about the death of my Dad’s Dad. There they were, in this folder with the story and two writing awards I received—one for the “Grandpa” story and another for all the articles I wrote for my college newspaper “The Daily Trojan.” What a coincidence to find them all together.

So I read the letters, struggling through the tears. My Dad wrote these letters during my first few months at college. I had moved to thIMG_20160302_171925e other side of the country to follow my dreams and attend USC. The funny thing is that his advice in these letters applies to what I am struggling with today. He tells me he is proud of me and he misses me (but not to get cocky about it—my Dad was Han Solo). “I truly believe you know what you want to do.” And when it comes to my dreams and goals, his advice: “You just hang in there and go for what you want.”

He wrote me these letters almost 20 years ago. And for anyone who knew my Dad, writing was not his strong suit. One letter he wrote over a course of a week—adding the date each time he started writing again. It meant a great deal to me back then that he would take the time to write to me and it was like winning the lottery to find these letters now. I am once again at a point in my life where I need his advice and guidance. He found a way to give me the exact pep talk that I needed by putting these letters back into my hands. (Thanks, Daddy!)

Posted in Diet, Exploration, Life, Personal Challenge, Southern California, Tourism, Travel, Universe, Writing

Pasadena Art Weekend: The Art of Food: Personal Challenge, Day 27 (10.13.12)

After the debacle with Friday night’s introduction to Pasadena Art Night, I was a bit nervous about trying out Saturday’s activities.  But again, being a Libra, I had to push forward, stay optimistic and hope that the next event would be better.  Besides, this particular event involved food so how could it be bad?

So I took the Metro Gold Line over to Lake (where I realized I had to buy a transfer ticket to ride the Pasadena Arts bus) and hopped on the Arts bus down to the South Lake Farmers’ Market area to partake in the Art of Food event.  There were no mishaps with the buses this time so things were working out.  The Art of Food just might redeem Art Weekend.

So when I arrived at the event, a young woman approached me, asking me how I had learned of today’s event.  I told them “Pasadena Weekly.”  They then sent me over to their booth where I could fill out a quick survey and get a free reusable grocery bag.  (YAY for free stuff).

There were food booths galore, a demo area (there was a bartender teaching the art of cocktail making–awesome), a live band performance and a beer and wine garden.  Each booth represented a local business in the South Lake area.  I decided I would avoid the chain restaurants and check out the local Mom & Pop style establishments.

Most booths were giving out sample platters for $1 to $4, depending on what you wanted to try.  There were also free samples, stickers, raffle prizes, and menus.  Some booths had really long lines–like the fondue place.

I decided I would check out a place that I had just read about in this week’s Pasadena Weekly, The Real Food Daily (Organic Vegan Cuisine).  Since my friends and I really enjoyed Green Earth Vegan Cuisine the other night, I thought it would be nice to compare and contrast.  At the Green Earth Vegan Cuisine booth, they had samples of a Caesar Salad and Wrap sandwich for $2.00.  To be honest, it wasn’t bad.  It tasted like there was meat in there–chciken and bacon, I believe–even though it was completely vegan.  But when you compare it to Green Earth, Green Earth is more of a fancy, sit-down restaurant where as Real Food Daily reminds me of diner of deli food–kind of like the vegan version of Togos (which was at the event as well).  I would definitely check out their restaurant and other items on their menu.

I continued to walk around and check out the different booths, picking up free samples along the way.  But it was Float Pasadena that got my attention and caused me to stop.  There were selling “Dad’s” root beer, root beer floats and boxed water.  I was curious about the boxed water so I had to inquire about something I had never seen or heard of before.  It literally was a box of water, kind of like the box that you would purchase milk it.  They said it was better for the environment.  I just thought it was really cool and I was stopped by many people, asking about mybox of water.  They also had samples of their caramel popcorn (in a recycled bag) and their sandwiches.  I tried the “Hungry Vegetarian” sandwich sample and it was amazing–a flavorful treat for my taste buds.  I took their menu–and they gave me a sticker (yes, I am a big kid).  This is definitely a place I want to check out.

Now I would like to clarify that I am not in-fact a vegetarian.  I am a Midwestern born and bred girl from Detroit who loves meat.  I have many friends who are vegetarians or who have food allergies so it is also a good idea to find places where everyone can enjoy the food.

Posted in Exploration, Life, Personal Challenge, Photography, Southern California, Tourism, Travel, Universe, Writing

Kicking Off Pasadena Art Weekend with ArtNight: Personal Challenge, Day 26 (10.12.12)

Friday night started Pasadena’s Art Weekend with ArtNight, a night where the local museums are open to the public with free admission.  There are free shuttles to take patrons to and from the participating museums.  Food trucks and live performances would also be available to the ArtNight participants at specific locations.  I read all about Art Weekend in the Pasadena Weekly and I was excited to check out some of the exhibits–specifically the Pages exhibit at the Art Center College of Design’s Williamson Gallery.

Pasadena City Hall

According to the ArtNight website, Pasadena City Hall would be the transportation hub where patrons could catch the free shuttles that would transport them to any gallery of their choosing.  There would also be live entertainment and food at the City Hall hub.  So I decided that I would begin my night there.  I took the Metro Gold Line to the Memorial Park station, located near City Hall.  Pasadena City Hall is a work of architectural art.  It is a stunning sight to see, especially at night.  Once I arrived, I was greeted by an ArtNight volunteer who gave me a map of the museums and shuttle routes.  I was also given the official Art Night sticker, proof of my participation in the nightly event.

I looked at the ArtNight brochure and noticed that I needed the North shuttle to reach my destination, Art Center College of Design.  So I sat on the steps of City Hall, enjoying the live music as I waited for my bus to arrive.  Many shuttles showed up and many shuttles left.  I saw the East shuttles, West shuttles and Central shuttles go past me, many times.  I didn’t see a single North shuttle.  I kept looking at the brochure but it was too dark to really see the map of the routes–I couldn’t make out one route from the other.  I saw several others waiting around, waiting for the North shuttle as well.  There were ArtNight volunteers roaming around but they didn’t seem to notice all the people standing around looking confused.  No one seemed to understand which shuttle went where or how to locate the North shuttle.  Finally, a woman (perhaps one of the event organizers) stepped forward to assist with the buses.  Several people asked her when the North bus would arrive.  Her reply. “The North bus doesn’t come here.  It leaves from the Pasadena Museum of History.  That is the only place where you can catch the North shuttle.”  Seriously?  I had wasted all this time waiting for a shuttle that was never going to arrive.

Live music at Pasadena City Hall

I quickly hopped on the first shuttle that would take me to the Pasadena Museum of History.  I managed to catch the West bus, a bus that actually traveled very close to Art Center (when it stopped at KidSpace) but backtracked to the Museum of History.  I end up chatting with a family that was just as frustrated as I was.  But they had actually started the evening right at 6pm–I waited until 7pm).  They managed to stop at the Pacific Asia Museum first.  So we all arrived at the Museum of History and had to wait in line for the North shuttle.  Thankfully this area was well-organized.  They had signs for each bus so you knew where to wait to catch the appropriate bus (they should have done that at City Hall).  After three shuttle loads, we were finally on the North shuttle headed up to the Art Center gallery.  (This was not a short shuttle ride).

I was so excited when I finally arrived at the Art Center’s Williamson Gallery.  I made my way past the student work and into the new Pages exhibit (this was the opening night for the exhibit).  At first, I was in heaven with an exhibit focused on books.  There were some beautiful photographs of books and a floor to ceiling sculpture of stacked books (I wasn’t allowed to take photos of the artwork).

As you made your way toward the center of the exhibit, you had the opportunity to view books and book pages on loan from the Huntington Library, USC Special Library, and Caltech.  For me, this is where I started to feel like the Universe was playing a cruel joke on me.  Many of the books on exhibit were books I had seen before, when I went to the Huntington Library.  It was January of 2011 and I was at the Huntington Library on a date with Big.  However it was the manuscript poem, entitled “Beer” by Charles Bukowski, on loan from the USC Special Library Collection that led to my “Mr. Big” freak out.  When Big and I went to the Huntington, we were going for the Charles Bukowski exhibit.  Big and I are both book lovers, the book exhibit was our agreed favorite part of the Huntington (I hadn’t yet explored the gardens when I went with him).  Big and I met when we were at USC so the whole Charles Bukowski (and Beer, another story I won’t mention), Huntington and USC connection was more than I could handle.  It was too weird of a coincidence–the Universe is trying to tell me something, in my opinion.  Plus, as a lover of books, I don’t like to see books being destroyed, especially in the name of art.  Cutting up books or whiting out the majority of the words just feels like a crime to me.  So I was done.

Drawing of a typewriter at Pasadena City Hall

I made my way back to the shuttles.  One was leaving and the other still had space.  I boarded the shuttle, watched as it filled up and watched as we all just sat there.  The shuttle driver was on break.  It was 9:25 pm when the shuttle driver finally decided to return and begin our journey back to the Museum of History.  Once we arrived at the Museum, then we had to catch another shuttle back to downtown Pasadena, were the majority of the museums live.  The event ended at 10 pm so there wasn’t any point in trying to make it to another museum when the shuttle I was on had just departed the Pasadena Museum of History at 9:40 pm.

Pasadena City Hall

I arrived back at Pasadena City Hall at 9:59 pm.  I wasted the ArtNight experience on the Art Center–and shuttle experience.  (And the whole Big connection didn’t help matters).  Once again, the Pasadena “bus” service did not work in my favor.  At least now I know that next year, I should arrive at 6 pm and stick to the Museums closest to downtown.  Or as my California sister advised, “stick to the food trucks.”

Posted in Diet, Exploration, Life, Personal Challenge, Southern California, Tourism, Travel, Universe

The Quest For A Burger: Personal Challenge, Day 25 (10.11.12)

My body is on strike from all of the activity.  My sore muscles and tired limbs want a day off from walking around so my quest today will be simple–try a new food.  With tons of local restaurants in Altadena and Pasadena, this is not an easy task so I needed to narrow down my search to a simple quest for a really good burger.

I searched Yelp and found a burger place with decent ratings, located very close to home.  The place, Super Burger, is located on Altadena drive.  I made my way over to the burger stand, parked and started to walk toward Super Burger when I noticed the lights were off.  I checked Yelp and discovered that Super Burger closes at 7:30 pm.  It was 7:31 pm.  Crap.

So now I was in search of something else.  I decided to drive down foothill and see if anything jumped out at me.  As I approached a red light at Foothill and Halstead, I noticed on the corner a restaurant called Hook Burger.  Perfect.  I pulled into the parking lot and checked out the ratings on Yelp.  There were several raves for the Bistro Burger and their fries (and beer but I wasn’t in a beer mood).

So I walked in and was happily greeted by the cashier.  I placed my order for the Bistro Burger and took the cashier’s recommendation for the regular fries, as opposed to the sweet potato fries.  She inquired about my Hook Burger status.  I revealed I was in fact a Hook Burger virgin.  She welcomed me and explained how the Hook Burger experience plays out.  Basically, I just needed to place my order and have a seat.  The Hook Burger staff would cater to my every need (involving my meal only).  I sat down with my drink and waited as my meal was prepared then served.

The Bistro Burger was awesome!  I instantly had to text my California sister and tell her that I found the perfect burger place for us.  In my opinion, Hook Burger is better than Habit and even better than Umami (opening another location soon in Pasadena, by the way).  I am so glad the Universe intervened when I had tried to go to Super Burger but fate sent me to what I would now call my new favorite burger joint, HOOK BURGER.