dear cali.
i forgot how much i love you indeed.
how could i forget?
i remembered you to feel more overwhelming like chicago had felt for me. but you are not. you are beautiful and freeing. even my relationship with chicago is better now, but not as great as here.

i called my friend alli miller today. whom i met out here 4 years ago and is one of my best friends to this day. i had been looking for an old coffeeshop we went to when we were both here – she frequented the one downtown and i the one in hollywood. i went looking for it only to realize i had been near there the previous day. i called her feeling silly and sharing with her my forgotten love for this place. her response: “of course you love it! i made you love it!” ha, those words are too true. we had some pretty magical days here.
picking up picnic food and seeing the screenings at Hollywood ForeverMy Man Godfrey probably being my favorite. i am in love with old movies. our trip to El Matador beach and Neptune’s for crab cakes and just the adventure and the healing that came out of that day for both of us. looking through photography books and only beginning to realize the delight of cooking and nurturing in this little lady so full of love. we walked through some of the hells of our lives together that summer. she made it bearable for me on many days. and i assume i helped a bit too. she shared her love for this city with me. and i found my own spots – coffeeshops and bookstores and the silverlake market with peruvian chocolates. (speaking of if you want the best chocolate there is, search no further: Guanni Chocolates)

i spent the day today at the beaches – santa monica and venice. rode to santa monica with my sister-in-law, Gina. rented a bike and rode the beach trail and then around town in Venice and beyond. probably biked over 10 miles and i was just so thankful to be on a bike, even if it was a cruiser. i wanted to fly, but settled with the wind.

santa monica is ripe with memories for me, more than i realized. the last time i came to visit my dad, one of the 6 times i saw him from 5th grade until he passed, was when i was a junior in high school. i stayed with him and my brother downtown. there are a lot of hard memories from that trip. some due to circumstances, some to my immaturity. one favorable memory was the night the three of us went down to the Santa Monica Pier. i remember walking to the end and getting a flower made from palm fronds from a man down by the sea. i remember walking around the shopping area and seeing the street performers. i remember that night being more pleasant than the rest and being thankful for the open air and the beauty of the sea.
i also recalled at some point the conversations with a friend when we went to visit Fuller my sophomore year of college. trying to understand the brokenness of the place and thinking big about solutions to the broken systems of our country and world. wondering what restoration and healing might mean in this instance and look like practically.

but yesterday, was just a day of much needed adventure. i needed to be biking, which i have fallen in love with and brings me sanity. i rode to the end of the trail and then back to venice and asked a surfer for a good place to eat. she recommended i ride down to Abbot Kinney and gave me directions.
i hate shopping but i ventured into the stores just to see the good design. i love good design and the stores of this artsy city are filled with it. found a place called Alternative with a sign on the window that said “Choose to Care.” they had a great green space in the back/side and it was full of succulents, some hanging out of old tires. i finished my coffee there just to make myself sit still for a moment. oddly enough, they sell whistles.
the coffee i grabbed from Abbots Habit – small decaf don’t worry Marcela. and lunch from GTA one of the best sandwiches i’ve had in awhile and on really good bread. calories. then rode around for awhile past the trail, realized it was getting late and weaved in between bikers, walkers, and rollar bladers as fast as i could ride without plowing anyone over. returned the bike, jumped in the water at the beach, and then air dried since i didn’t have a towel while listening the the sounds of the sea.

there’s a quote that i love that i found independently of this girl but always makes me think of her: “The cure for everything is saltwater. Sweat, tears, or the sea.” (Karen Blixen whose pen name was Isak Dinesen) it has proven true repeatedly since i read it and i think it’s because it was written by a lass.

this week and these memories and adventures have been a whirlwind of thoughts, emotions and processing. i am thankful to be on the west coast, which has proven to be a more significant part of my life than i had previously given it credit for. it is a healing place for me in some strange way – maybe in the ways that it forces me to deal with my shit which i can hide in all my other places, even when i’m not trying to. who knows….maybe i will end up here one day. maybe the Evans kids were meant to find life on the west coast.

[stephan – i found another terrarium store. The Juicy Leaf it was beautiful and made me wish you had been there with me for the day.]

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