It’s Time to Find Your “Why”

Why photo

I’ve been lucky enough to know Stacy for over 25 years now! We met in college, where her outgoing personality and sense of adventure drew this shy, introverted girl out of her shell! I am so happy Stacy invited me on her blog to share a little of my story as a guest blogger this month. We ALL have a story to tell, and each of us has value to add to another by sharing a bit of ourselves, scar tissue and all.

My wellness journey has not been a linear experience, hence the term “journey.” It’s like this for just about every typical person out there, I think. We go through stages in our health. In my twenties, I’d go on and off the path, ranging from complete vegetarian and regular exerciser, to being a couch potato and developing a daily McDonald’s chocolate shake habit (not proud to admit that).

Stress and life events can have a huge impact on the decisions we make about  how we choose to nourish ourselves, mind, body, and spirit. In March of 2015, I had devoted the previous 5 years to having a family and raising our kids. I have a six year old daughter and a four year old son. March is the big birthday month in my house. Both my kids were born in that month (2 years and 3 days apart). My birthday is in March, too. My husband and I were just coming out of a three year stretch of horrible sleep, and less than stellar eating (My chocolate shake habit morphed into an M&M habit) and I realized that something had to change.

I knew that I needed a lifestyle shift. It went way beyond wanting to drop a few pounds. If weight loss is the only motivation you are using in making a shift to a healthier lifestyle, then you are doomed to fail! I did some serious soul searching, and dug deep to the root of the real WHY I wanted to do this. My personal Why centers around the fact that I am an “older” parent. I had my daughter on the cusp of 40, and my son on the cusp of 42. I want to be active in their lives as they grow up. I want to be there to share in the major milestones they will experience going through childhood into becoming independent adults. I don’t want to be mistaken as their grandmother in the stands at their high school graduation! Really, I want to be fully present, and a viable contributing member to my family and society in general for years and years to come. See what I mean by digging deep?

To make permanent changes to a way of living that embraces wellness, you gotta have your why, and it’s gotta be deep enough to keep you going on those days when all you want to do is lie in bed and watch reruns of Law and Order instead of exercising, or when you know it’d be so easy to make a pass through the drive-through rather than take the time to prepare a healthy meal with the produce you bought with the best of intentions, that is starting to go bad in your fridge because you’re too damn tired and unmotivated to cook.

My first suggestion to you is to look deep inside and ask yourself why you want to begin your journey of wellness. Why do you want to commit to healthier eating, to making movement and fitness part of your regular life? When you uncover these reasons, write them down. Reflect on them. Your why has to be big enough to sustain your desire to change, rather than keep the status quo, which isn’t serving you. Your wellness journey MUST begin with your WHY. Once you have your why, then you can start considering the how…

“Beware of Mr. Baker” Music Documentary – An Insane Must See!


This documentary opens with a deranged old man in a pin-striped shirt and rose-tinted glasses – Ginger Baker – threateningly shaking the metal handle of his cane at the camera.

The interviewer/cameraman, Jay Bolger, a young clean-cut American yells,”What the fuck you doing with that? Are you really gonna hit me with the fucking –?”

Mr. Baker retorts venomously in an English accent, “I fucking well am. I’m gonna fucking put you in hospital.”

The metal cane handle jams into frame. There’s a scream! Ginger Baker clocks Jay in the nose.

And so begins the saga of “Beware of Mr. Baker,” a documentary on the legendary drummer, most well-known from the band Cream. Although to be honest, I had no idea who he was before I watched this documentary.

Even if you don’t remember Cream, or that a young Eric Clapton was in it too, you know “White Room” and “Sunshine of Your Love.” With only three band members Cream was a “band’s band” and had a full, drum-fueled sound.

And Ginger Baker “had time” – even all strung out on heroin, looking like Elephant Man meets the Grim Reaper, he naturally felt the beat.

The documentary goes into Ginger growing up during Hitler’s bombing raids on London and uses edgy, Gonzo-style graphics to illustrate Ginger’s years as a troublemaking smartass. He would serve as a decoy in the local music store listening booth while his friends “nicked records.” It was there that he discovered “The Quintet of the Year,” which was composed of legendary jazz musicians Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Bud Powell and Max Roach.

Ginger was blown away: “All of the sudden there was something I could really relate to.” From then on he was hooked.

His obsession with drums would lead him to travel and get kicked out of countries around the world. Including a six year stint in Africa (the birth place of the drums). He set up a studio in Lagos, Nigeria in the 1970’s, at the time “a hotbed of revolution, death and unaccounted violence.” Which Ginger considered: “a great place to be in those days.” He unabashedly admits throughout the documentary, “I love disasters.”

In and out of bands, many of which he created, each new group soared high and flamed out fast. As Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts comments on Ginger’s groups: “Well, ya know, you think this is fabulous, it’s gonna last forever. And then it lasts a week.”

Numerous rock drummers are in the documentary and are giddy describing their awe of Ginger, he was their inspiration to pick up the sticks – Neil Peart (Rush), Mickey Hart (The Grateful Dead), Stewart Copeland (Police), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and many more.

I’ll end here, before even getting into Ginger’s unexpected polo career and how we meet him broke and on his fourth wife at his horse ranch in South Africa. Without a doubt, Ginger Baker is a talented madman who has lived one crazy life.

You should check this out, and let me know what you think! It’s on Netflix. Just make sure the kids aren’t around, because Ginger launches lots of f-bombs and is a purveyor of bad behavior (you wouldn’t want to invite him to tea, but he’s fun to watch).

WILD by Cheryl Strayed – Review

I’ve thought about this book a lot since I read it. It’s hard to write about it without letting my own experience with life-changing grief seep in, but I’ll do my best!

The power of WILD lies in its raw truth. After the loss of her beloved and free-spirited mother – Cheryl Strayed doesn’t gloss over her self-destruction into heroin and mindless sex (even though she was married to a good guy). “Nothing could bring my mother back or make it okay that she was gone.” She was 22, her mom, 45.

The journey back to herself started when she was still reeling, in her words: “sad and desperate and on the brink of divorcing a man I loved.” In line to purchase an foldable shovel, she saw the book “Pacific Coast Trail, Volume 1, California.” She didn’t buy it then, but came back.

And so began her hike that was “two feet wide and 2,663 miles long.” Even with (or because of) a “monster” backpack – she was comically unprepared to hike the Pacific Trail from too tight, toenail-dropping hiking boots to more “condom weight” than necessary.

Sheer physical exhaustion, the brutality and beauty of nature and unexpected moments of humanity and camaraderie is what I leave for you to discover when you check out WILD…

(The photo in the heading is of her mom).

Grumpy Monday Review

It’s easy to get grumpy on Mondays, but I’ve got the cure! Reading a review of someone who’s even grumpier! It’s cathartic to feel that vitriol and to get a laugh at the same time! ‘Cause when you’re pissed, there’s a cutting elegance to your words that can’t be beat!

My favorite passage of this disgruntled diner’s review is: “Oh, and if you complain you can expect the equally pathetic hipster manager to follow you down the street trying to justify their actions like a recently dumped girlfriend trying to get her boyfriend back after cheating on him.”

Read the full text of his assessment of an LA French restaurant named POUR VOUS (and realize it’s not for you!).

Don’t Bother

Diner Review • May 05, 2012

Pour Vous is located on the east side of Melrose in a neighborhood difficult to navigate and impossible to park in at best. Across from Astoburger and next to a mechanic’s shop bordered by a chain link fence, with a dingy store front appearance, this bar certainly does not catch your eye.

It tries to be LA uber-cool by having a post-modern “Duckie”-style (think “Pretty in Pink”) hipster at the door who metes out judgement about who can enter and who can’t, like a TSA agent determining who should get a full-body pat down. (Ooh, you should be so lucky!)

We didn’t actually enter this unsigned, no-street-number watering hole because one of the people in our party did not meet dress code. Why? She was wearing a “summer color” – orange. When asked why this was a problem, “Duckie” informed us that they’re French and they don’t allow summer colors or sandals. That’s right, no sandals allowed, but worn out sneakers seemed to be just fine, as he informed the men in our group.

Maybe they just don’t like women?

My suggestion is to spend your money across the street at Astroburger. Try the Gardenburger Deluxe and onion rings if you are feeling decadent.

Of course, if you are an eighties-style hipster with skinny jeans, pointy shoes and a bow tie, who is desperately seeking “The Scene” to make you feel like you’re part of it all, this may be the place for you.
Beware, however, because no one who actually matters goes here, so your craving for feeling a part of the “LA Scene” will not be sated and you will likely be sorely disappointed.

Whatever you do, don’t wear sandals (apparently they are a liability issue) avec summer colors which are completely unacceptable to LA French Hipsters.

Oh, and if you complain you can expect the equally pathetic hipster manager to follow you down the street trying to justify their actions like a recently dumped girlfriend trying to get her boyfriend back after cheating on him.

Things I’ve Googled (Don’t Judge!)

My fantastic beyond words friend Dana is moving from Cleveland to Austin. She’s also doing it at the not so tender age of 44 and stressing out.

So what do you think she googled?

“Zit under jaw line.” Love it (and her)!

Let’s face it – we’ve all googled some zingers. We like to think it’s anonymous, but even without Big Brother government conspiracy theories (some of which have gotta be true) every time you pull out your laptop or ipad or phone – there’s always the danger that last search will come up in full glaring view to anyone around you when you log into the web.

Let’s hope your last search wasn’t on herpes. Or how to get out of a felony conviction. Or even my boyfriend’s last search – “is Loverboy still together?” The answer – Yes, they are and cashing in on the county fair circuit ’cause “everybody’s working for the weekend.” (Sorry couldn’t help myself :).

And don’t forget being an office chair/internet doctor. Who hasn’t googled one symptom they’re having and then spent an hour (or three) hunched over while trolling through medical sites and then eventually convinced themselves that they have lupus, SARS or that rare illness that stumped all the doctors on last night’s rerun of HOUSE?

So in the internet spirit, let’s share, what’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve googled? And are you done googling it or are you still addicted to that search???

Music and Religion

Peter Gabriel

They are so intertwined.  There’s a reason hymnals start and end religious ceremony throughout the world.  Religious dogmas and the choice of Gods we worship dual, but the uplifting power of music and song penetrates borders, language, culture, gender and belief.

No matter who you are – I dare you to not be moved by an Arabic funeral mourning chant, the ridiculous glee of a K-pop (Korean -think Psy’s “gangham style”), the deep pain of a blues or gospel (or both) spiritual or the music of your time – one that brings back memories – even if it’s decades later.

The thing that struck me me most when my mom was an ex-pat in India is how all the American and Canadians (let’s face it we’re close) were moved by a so-so Indian band singing cover songs from the ex-pat homeland.  A Beatles song could capture the English too and bring everyone to tears.

I was lucky enough to attend two amazing shows at the Hollywood Bowl this week.  A beautiful outdoor ampitheatre cut into the hills of California in the 1920’s in the style of Greece and Rome.

I got to relive my past and the AWESOME music of Peter Gabriel.  Decades later he and his musicians are on their game – same as they were 30 years ago –

And the next night a modern day chanteuse (Florence and the Machine) haunted the Hollywood hills with the choral undertones of her music and her emotive voice backed by powerful, gospel voices.  This clip’s from BBC (“The Drumming Song” for my singing, always into the music know, friend Janelle :).  Enjoy!

And just for fun – Korean Psy live- you may not understand the language, but you feel the energy – it’s a “church” of thousands!

Sing along and rejoice!



California Dreaming

Encinitas – this San Diego North County beach town has had my heart since I moved to LA. Leslie and I would go visit her cousin there in our first year in the City of Angels. Leslie’s cousin, Sherry, lived in a $400 studio that was a stones throw from Moonlight Beach. We’d drink beer, eat amazing fish tacos and light some groovy sandstone incense while Sherry read our tarot cards.

The backbeat was waves lapping the shore and we laughed and got drunk (and I hoped that Sherry’s prediction that I would come into a ridiculous amount of money would come true – still waiting on that one 🙂 According to the cards I also had complicated boyfriends.


But we’re all more complicated then we let on, then we drink too much and try to explain ourselves while being in a state of complete incomprehension.

Years later I dated a dude who lived in Encinitas and the trip down was a nice escape from the city. We’d catch an incredible band at the Casbah Club 15 miles away in San Diego proper and ride back to North County in a pick-up truck with the wind and the stars. We’d also talk about stealing the shrooms in the freezer from his roommate – but it never happened. Still never done – but curious and afraid it could be a bad trip at once.

It’s gotten more expensive, but there’s still a reasonable motel with Moonlight Beach breezes across from where Leslie’s cousin used to live. Heard that studio’s rent is $1200 now. But that’s California, beach views are no longer for everyone.

Still – if I meet someone special – we always come back here. There’s an ocean breeze and frogs croaking in the lagoon and we can walk to the beach or up to the leaking La Paloma historic theater or to the taco stand or the 100 year old stinky bar with darts or we can splurge on one of the many fancy restaurants.

And this isn’t just dudes – it’s friends and family. This place became special because it was a place Leslie and I went in her convertible alfa romero to meet her cousin Sherry – and then my mom, Cynthia and Dana and Colette and I – have shared this awesome setting too.

And maybe on the beach stroll we’ll pass this whimsical cacti that kids stuck some Mr. Potato Head pieces and swords on and laugh at how it’s the small stuff that touches our hearts.