Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Confess

A bunch of friends hit the racetrack this weekend on Friday for a little gambling and a concert.

The gambling: I lost a few races and got into a fight with a 'teller' who was so excruciatingly slow that the race started before I got to wager my bet. Of course one of the horses I would have picked to Place, came in at Place and I grumbled about it for hours. We moved downstairs to watch the adorable jockeys mount their horses. What a sight to behold - tiny athletes and enormous muscular animals. One of the jockeys smiled at me as they were exiting to the track and I took this as a sign. I picked his horse to Win, and it did. Before the next race, I ran down to watch the scene and waited to see who, if anyone, would smile. #3 did and despite his high odds, I picked him to Place. He won. I know, all gamblers have their weird little OCD rituals, but I think in the future I will try this one again. Did I mention how cute those jockeys are?

The concert: Did you realize the English Beat had so many hits? They sang them all, one after the other - "I Confess", "Sooner or Later", "Mirror in the Bathroom", and on and on and on. We danced our butts off until the wee hours of the morning. Almost thirty years later and they've still got it, though Dave Wakefield, the lead singer, oddly reminded me of a realtor I worked with, Clifford Rowe.

This morning I heard a piece on NPR about the racetrack in Baghdad. Despite uncertain times and the war and the violence in that region, people still go to the racetrack, because for that minute-and-a-half that the horses are vying for the finish line, the Iraqi people can forget about their troubles and just focus on the action on the track. It was a powerful story and made me appreciate the relative calm of an ordinary Friday night in Los Angeles, despite the small altercation with the teller ; )

Friday, May 28, 2010

Esalen: How I Love Thee

Just back from another trip up to Esalen, spiritual hub of America. The beauty of the place is unmatched. I experienced my first Esalen massage and I'm happy to report - as I've heard from countless people - it is the 8th wonder of the world. I am so looking forward to teaching a workshop there in October. Thanks again to Ann Randolph for inviting us to speak in her workshop and for making us laugh the entire trip. ("Mmmmmmmmmm")

The garden

The girls

The baths

Hidden beaches on the drive home

moody landscape on the drive home

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's (Not) Too Late Baby

I was so inspired by the Carole King/James Taylor concert last weekend at the Hollywood Bowl. Good writing transcends time and that is why the show was sold out for three nights in a row. King is now 68. I hope when I'm 68 I'm still jumping around a metaphorical stage and rocking out to life.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Slim to None and a Grumbling Tummy

Well, it's that time of year where I'm popping the Tums. End of the semester grading coupled with the never ending pending book stuff has left me with a grumbly, burbling stomach. TMI? That, plus news of the wretched oil spill, the Times Square bomber, etc. etc. I am so looking forward to my May visit to Esalen at the end of the month where I plan on stripping off the clothes and spending time in the hot springs. TMI?

In GCC book news, member Jenny Gardiner is going the digital route with her new book Slim to None. The novel is available on Kindle for the next three months, so if you have a Kindle (Daniela P.) why not give it a try!

From Jenny: "Dramatic changes have been underway in the publishing industry in recent years—changes that--combined with a faltering economy--have left traditional publishing in a bit of a tailspin. While the cumbersome infrastructure of the publishing industry is perhaps not quite nimble enough to as easily embrace and adapt to these changes, authors are on their own figuring out how they can achieve their end goal--to reach readers hungry for their work."

Take a sneak peek at the first chapter of SLIM TO NONE here:

On another note entirely, the Otis Senior Art show was last night. The sophomores when I first started teaching are now seniors and it was so exciting seeing their work, hearing their plans for the future and being able to wish them well.