Well, as you all know, this past week, I traveled to Los Angeles (LA) to see my family. First time in an airport and on an airplane in over 15 months. It was, well, amazing.
I flew out of the Eugene airport, which is a small airport about 45 miles south of Corvallis, where I live, and is super easy to fly out of and into. The airport was not crowded at all. In fact, it was super slow, and the plane was only about half full. However….
Upon landing in Los Angeles, that all changed. LAX was super busy. In fact, when I finally made it to the rental car company, there were about 30 people ahead of me in line.
Now, I had two meetings that afternoon, yes, working while on my trip, so after waiting in the line for about 25 minutes, I chose to call an Uber and cancel my reservation. Was a good idea, as the line didn’t move much as I waited for the Uber driver.
It was great to see my mom, sisters, and nieces and nephews. Here are a couple things we did, while I was in LA.
Griffith Observatory and Hollywood
In the hills of LA there is the Griffith Observatory, which looks out over the city. Beautiful. Though the Observatory wasn’t open, you could walk around the grounds and take in all of the views. Here are some pics from our time at the Observatory, and our drive through Hollywood.
A High School Graduation
It was wonderful to see my niece graduate High School on my trip. I was surprised to see so many people, and, well, not surprised. It was a lovely ceremony. Here are some pics of the graduation.
After graduation, we went to the Lazy Dog restaurant, which I had never been to. The food was excellent, and the service was outstanding.
Seal Beach and Taco Surf
On my last day in LA, we took my niece and nephew to the beach in Seal Beach. It was a lovely day, sunny, yet cool. The beach was not overcrowded, and the water was, well, rather cold, yet felt lovely. Here are some pics of the beach.
After spending some time at the beach, we went to a local restaurant I loved to patronize when I was living in LA and working in Seal Beach, Taco Surf; and then stopped in a local bakery, Sweet Jill’s, delicious. Excellent food.
Utmost Feelings, Coming Soon!
About two months ago now, I learned that Astha, of Writing feels good, passed away. I learned of this very sad news from our dear friend Cindy, of Unique Times. Cindy’s post talked about Astha’s Anthology that was being carried forward by Navin, of Navin’s Poetry.
I immediately visited Navin’s blog, and left a message. Navin responded very quickly, and asked for a poem, and said he would speak with the publishers, True Dreamster, about the possibility of making a late addition.
I was astonished and honored when they accepted the poem I shared with Navin. I am so honored to be a part of the beautiful Utmost FeelingsAnthology. The Anthology is full of wonderfully inspirational poets, and is a beautiful tribute to Astha.
Thanks again, to Navin, True Dreamster, and all of the poets in Astha’s Anthology, Utmost Feelings.
Please visit the True Dreamster Instagram page, when you have a moment, and share the news about Utmost Feelings. Thank you.
Here are all of the co-authors of Astha’s Anthology, Utmost Feelings.
This past week, I’ve been writing quite a bit, yet, as you may have noticed, my blogging schedule has changed. Yep, it was intentional. A few weeks ago, I mentioned slowing down. Little did I know at that time, the writing would keep pouring out of me, yet, I am pleased with developing a new schedule.
My goal is to post about 5 or 6 times a week, with a couple days off mixed in. We will see how it goes.
Oh, and it’s time to travel. Wait, what? Yep, it’s time. I leave for Los Angeles tomorrow morning. Wow. I am very excited to see my mom, sisters, and nieces and nephews, and, of course, to be in LA. More on that in a moment.
First, let’s take a look at some writing that occurred this week.
Writing and Reflecting
The poem Night’s End was first inspired from a WDYS prompt, from Keep it Alive, by Sadje, yet, as I reflected on the poem’s beginning, I had another insight for the prompt, which ended up being the poem My Years. It happens like that sometimes.
Anyway, the poem Nights End then, was a reflection on the trials that we all face, and the knowledge that these tests are a part of the experience of being a human being on this planet. I firmly believe that they are given to us to help us learn. Learn more about all of our shared human beingness. Beautiful.
The poem The Moment’s Prose was a reflection upon how fleeting each moment we have with each other truly is. However, when we are present to this fact, we cherish and relish each of these moments. This was not always the case for me, thus, in this poem, I was reflecting upon the entirety of the concept of love lossed.
I was also very honored and humbled at being placed in the top 8 of Soni’s Writing Contest this past week. I am so grateful to Soni for facilitating such a lovely writing contest, and am so honored to be selected alongside all of the talented writers. Congratulations to all of the writers that joined Soni’s contest. You are all inspirational and amazing.
If you’ve not visited Soni’s blog, please do. Soni’s site is inspirational, motivational, and hyper-creative.
Traveling to Portland and Los Angeles
Well, as you may recall, I visited Justin in Portland last weekend, and it was a lovely trip. We enjoyed a lovely hike, visited and talked about a book we are reading together, had some wonderful food, and generally just enjoyed each other’s company.
Here are a couple pics from the trip.
And, yep, next week, tomorrow, in fact, I’ll be boarding an airplane for Los Angeles, for the first time in over 15 months. I am both anxious and very excited. As you may recall, my father passed away about 6 months prior to the pandemic, so seeing my mom will be wonderful.
I’ve no definite plans, will need to work a little while I am there, yet will get to the beach, for sure, and do some shopping, places I cannot access here, and then? Visit and love my family.
Alright, that’s all for this week, my dear friends.
Look at that, two My One Thing entries this week. That’s fun.
Alright, and what about next week?
Well, as we discussed in my last entry, I am continuing to write ahead, so have two posts for next weekend almost complete, which are.
The Leadership Series Part 3: Developing Teams
The Law of Attraction
I am also working on several more haiku’s, tanka’s, and poems. Fun.
This past week, I’ve also been reflecting upon growing up in Los Angeles. I don’t know if I’ll actually live permanently in LA again, however, it is a future possibility. Anyway, because of these reflections, I thought I’d share just a few of my favorite places in LA.
Here we go.
Wow, well I could fill several posts with all of the places I love to visit in LA, however, that will do for now. Alright, so quick descriptions, starting from top left, and working our way around clockwise.
Chavez Ravine, Dodger Stadium
Now, as some of you know, I also spent a lot of time in Orange County, CA, and will have some pics of OC in one of my future diary entries.
A New (to me) Podcast
I’ve been listening to a new to me podcast lately called, Invisibilia. The show explores the invisible forces, such as thoughts and feelings, that drive our experiences. As you can imagine, I fell in love with it immediately. It is well done, and, well, quite frankly, excellent. I highly recommend taking a listen.
I’ve been feeling more tired lately, and, as such, have been reworking my schedule. Taking off from work a little early each day, coming home and taking a nap, and then proceeding with my day. I don’t do this everyday, yet am doing it more often than ever before.
It occurs to me that we all need to continue to find new ways to get the rest we need. Whether that rest takes the form of a nap, meditation time, a walk, or some other form matters less, than we create the time, and take the time to replenish ourselves.
The important thing is to check our body and mind often for tiredness. And, when we feel depleted, to take the time needed to recover.
When we ignore our own tiredness, we, in a way, run right over our own intuition. And, our intuition is an important part of the human beings we are.
My invitation to you, as it is to myself everyday, is to pay attention to how your thinking and feeling. And, when your thinking feels skewed, or you just feel tired, to rest in a way that will replenish your body and mind.
Growing up in Los Angeles meant that I could go to the beach, the desert, and the mountains. We didn’t spend a lot of time at the latter two, however, as I’ve written about in The Sound of Series #1: The Sound of the Ocean, I did spend a lot of time at the beach as a kid. And, my affinity for the ocean is vast.
Yet, in the past 12 years, we’ve now lived in two other geographies where access to desert and mountain landscapes, and soundscapes, are readily available. Let’s take a look at a few of these and the sights and sounds that I’ve most enjoyed.
There are a couple of different desertscapes that I’ve lived in. When we were in Phoenix, there was the Valley, which is full of hills and desert plateaus, which are often hiked. There is a certain majesty to desertscapes. Not something that I had ever noticed, nor really connected with prior to living in the Valley.
On the trails, you get to see many different types of cacti, low bushes and shrubbery. You also get to see wildlife, such as snakes, scorpions, and rabbits. They are rather common. Though, thankfully, snakes don’t come around often, at least not when I was hiking. Which, I was grateful for.
The sound of the desert is a quiet that is a bit different than the quiet of the mountains. The granular sound of dust as it is kicked up as you traverse the trails, getting all over your shoes, and all over you, really. Fun.
Rabbits moving here and there, swishing through the brush, in search of their prey, or simply avoiding you. The wind, as it howls through the Valley, whistling through the shrubbery and low bushes, brushing your face and body. Enjoyable, and feels so good, especially on hot days, of which there are many in the Valley.
The sound of lizards as they scurry across the trail, moving ever so fast, avoiding you as you continue up and around the bends in the trails. Birds moving from one rock and tree to another, perching themselves, sitting, and waiting; looking, and calling other birds in the area.
What I didn’t know a lot about before moving to Arizona, was just how different the Valley was from the northern part of the state. Though considered high-desert, it is really a completely different landscape, with similar, and yet very different sights and sounds.
The high desert in Northern Arizona is full of trees, many of them, especially in Flagstaff. A vast pinetree forest. You can get lost in there quite easily, and it is fun. Much of Northern Arizona, however, is mostly desert, like the valley, though the weather is quite different. Cooler, and of course lots of snow in the winter.
I remember being on a hike when we first moved to Flagstaff, just around the apartment where we were living at the time. I was on a trail and was looking down, noticing all of the lovely flowers to my left and right, and when I picked my head up, there was a huge stag about 50 yards from me.
Heart racing, I began to slowly back away from the animal, back the way I came, looking toward the stag to ensure it didn’t follow or run at me. I was completely unaware at the time, that running into a giant deer was even possible. Remember, I grew up in Los Angeles. You have to travel to see that kind of beauty in LA. Phew. What an experience.
I especially liked hiking in the winter. There’s something quite tranquil about being out on a hike, when everything is white with snow, melting and dripping in the afternoon sun. Quite lovely.
Of course, the Grand Canyon is also in Northern Arizona. Majesty. I’ve only been once or twice, and I have to say, looking out over the canyon is one of the most awe inspiring sights I’ve ever seen. It is so vast. Amazing. And, there really is no sound. Not needed. It’s as if time stands still as you look out over the vast gorge. Phew. The coolest thing.
The Willamette Valley Scape
Have you ever been to the Willamette Valley? I hadn’t either until about 12 years ago. It is located in Western Oregon, and is very green. The first time I flew into Portland, we were living in Phoenix at the time, I didn’t know geography could be that green. I remember looking out the window from the plane, and being in awe of all the green. Everything was green.
When we moved to the Valley about 8 years ago, I remember thinking about the rain a lot. Would I be able to handle all of the rain? Was very unsure. Turns out, there’s been only one year, about 2 years ago, when there was so much rain, and lack of sunshine, that I thought moving might be best. Mostly, throughout the year, you get sun here and there, and, yes, you get a lot of rain. It’s part of living here.
With the rain, you also get the opportunity to get out and into nature. Easily. Trails, and hiking abound, where you can, dependent on the time of year, get hard pack trails, or muddy and slippery trails. You have to be careful. You also get tons of moss. Moss grows everywhere, and is on everything. Seriously, moss is also part of living in the Pac Northwest.
You also get deer. Friendly deer. Meaning, that they come down from the hills at certain times of year, usually during spring and summer, and they love to eat your flowers and vegetables. Be careful. A couple of years ago, I had three awesome looking tomato plants when I left for work, and when I got home, they were gone. Really. Gone. All that was left were a few stubs. Kind of funny actually.
There are also lots of waterfalls in the Valley. Hiking plus waterfalls equals a super cool experience. There is something quite exhilarating about the sound and sight of water rushing towards a precipice, then falling, falling, down to the water awaiting below. Separate, yet connected. Super cool.
You also get the coast in Oregon. Lots of coast to visit. As was aforementioned, I’ve previously written about the sound of the ocean, yet mentioning the sight and sound of the ocean here also seems appropriate.
The sound of the ocean reminds me of our own breathing. The coming in of the waves, the going back out of the waves. Waves that are also seemingly separate, yet completely connected. Lovely. There is also something quite special about looking out over the vastness of the ocean. Just looking. That’s it. That’s all. Love it.
The sounds and sights of nature are everywhere, even where I grew up in Los Angeles. One of the things I loved about the sights and sounds of nature in LA, was that of the crickets during summer time. I love that sound. I remember laying in my bed as a child, listening to that sound, thinking and dreaming about the next day.
Crickets singing, singing the song of summer in Los Angeles, to a boy that was ready to create something anew each day. To play, live, and have fun. All the while the sights and sounds of nature surrounded him, as they surround you now. All you have to do is stop, listen, and take them all in.