Chicken Soup

I am home alone this week as my husband is on a business meeting in Oxford. To tell you the truth I hate being alone. I enjoy my own personal space and alone time, but not at night. My mind races and my imagination goes bonkers. I hear and see things. Ever since I was a little girl I have had a hard time with the dark and I always thought I would grow out of it. Well, I almost have. I have faith that one day I will stop letting my imagination get the best of me, but on the other hand it is that imagination that lets me write and act and do the things I truly love. So go figure.

Last night as I was on my way up the stairs home after a great session at the gym, I bumped into a neighbour who is a dear friend who let me know he was going for drinks with some friends. “There will be live jazz” he told me. I hesitated and he assumed I wouldn’t go. So did I, to be honest. But when I got home I realized that this slump I find myself in will only improve if I am pro-active. “You are going out!” I said to myself in the mirror. I gulped down some leftover quinoa and jumped in the shower.

Entering the bar was an experience. My friend hadn’t answered his phone so I wondered if they were in fact in this bar. I walked down the side of the bar and people looked at me curiously. Several men asked me to come join their table, which I found quite flattering. Then finally I found my friends and I sat down to a delicious cucumber martini. The music in the background gently painted a soothing backdrop of encouraging notes that got our conversation going. We covered all sorts of ground from relationships, to films, to politics. It was swell. True chicken soup for the soul.

One of the topics we talked about brushed upon how insecure we all are as human beings, especially when we are in a relationship. Of course there are varying degrees of these insecurities and varying degrees of how you deal with them. I am ridiculously insecure, rather destructively so. Every year I vow to get better though and I do intend to love myself more and more, no matter how ridiculously corny that sounds. Sometimes when you talk to others about how they have fought with partners you find yourself realizing, it isn’t just you. I have heard stories of throwing things like shoes or paintings, of shouting and screaming whilst pounding fists against the wall, of intentionally adding too much salt to the food, of getting out of the car in the middle of the highway and hitchhiking home. Oh, let me tell you I have heard of, and been instrumental in all sorts of fights. And I have also heard of all sorts of make-ups to. We all fight, we all react in ways that make us ashamed at times. It’s what we do afterwards that counts. It’s how we pick up the pieces and move forward. It’s the intentions we have to do better and be better. Accepting when I instigate an argument, or when I wrongfully blow something out of proportion isn’t easy. But I am learning and as my husband says, it always takes two.

At the end of the day we are social creatures who don’t like to be alone. We need acknowledgement, empathy and love from people around us. Nevertheless, we have to love ourselves too. Something I think we often dismiss as silly. Something we don’t really dedicate that much time to (hopefully, if you dedicate too much time to it – find a balance for goodness sake.) Is that why I am scared to be alone I wonder? Because I don’t love myself? Nah.

As I am attempting to find things that make me happy these days, I just remembered a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s fantastic book, “Eat, Pray, Love” which I had forgotten and will surely make me feel far less alone and afraid at night. She explains that the Balinese believe that when we are accompanied at birth by four invisible brothers, who protect us through our lives. “The brothers inhabit the four virtues a person needs in order to be safe and happy in life: intelligence, friendship, strength and …poetry. The brothers can be called upon in any critical situation for rescue and assistance”. She then goes on to tell how she has had nightmares since she was little of a man with a knife next to her bed. Similarly I have always dreamt of a man in my room watching me. The medicine man tells her that this man is just one of her four brothers who is there to guard her while she sleeps.

Funny how when you turn something to the positive we just become happier. I am off to bed knowing that I am protected and loved – and I say a prayer and send love to all those out there who feel a lack of protection and no love. It’s true what they say, happiness comes with being content and appreciative. But I won’t delve into the meaning of happiness today. Goodnight Moon and cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight and may you all take a moment to realize how swell you are. You truly are.

Day 3: High as a Kite

Today I have been quite high. I am no longer spacey, simply energized and acutely aware of every smell, touch, sound – everything around me.. The 3rd day has been the easiest and I do feel very satisfied with myself. I have to say, however, that I miss the social act of eating. Sitting down for a meal is a time to talk and share and appreciate food with the people you love. I miss that. I miss my dinner with my wonderful husband. Poor thing, he has been eating soup for supper with me for three days out of solidarity, what a trooper. That is love for ya.

I have, on the other hand, realized that I need to appreciate what I eat far more and noted that I don’t really need to eat that much at all in order to thrive.

I have sudden burst of energy and felt very calm and still within. My friends have asked if I have had diarrhea, but you know what? I have actually had a very regular and solid bowl movement every day (especially today). I feel very cleansed, I wonder how on earth anything can come out of me after only ingesting juice for the past three days. The fact that something does come out goes to show that we all can benefit from a cleanse and an opportunity for our tummies to catch up.

Poor ole’ tummy of ours. We give everything around us a break, the weekend is technically our break, we make time to go on a break, we make time to relax – we should also give our digestive system a break. Did you know that 60% of our body’s immune system is based in our gut? It is pivotal to keep your digestive system healthy. In our gut we have trillions of bacteria, some are “good” some are “bad”. They live together in a pleasant manner when there is “bacterial balance” in your body. What upsets the bacterial balance? Factors such as stress (the number on enemy of all health), poor diet, antibiotics or illness. Taking probiotics, which are “good” bacteria, helps keep the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines. I have always taken probiotics at random moments of my life. I now feel far more convinced that I could use more balance in my belly and perhaps juice once in a while – especially after a night out, plenty of delicious wine or cocktails … anything that is yummy and can affect your tummy.

We all can do more for our gut (I just spelt gut – git – it was hilarious – had to share – “We all can do more for our “git” – ha ha yes we can) . Lets face it, we stress far too much. Your stomach is the first place to feel it – so take care of it please.

Now I am lecturing and giggling about “git”…oh the things a juice can do….. I shall step down from my pedestal upon which I preach and go drink my juice….

Lets see how I awake tomorrow…. I had a dream I awoke multi-coloured (the colours of all my juices). I didn’t. Thank the Lord.

 

 

WAW (What a Weekend)

Drinking my coffee reflecting upon the weekend I can’t stop sighing, huffing, making loud exclamations and generally being in disbelief of all the wondrous things that have taken place.

Here is a sneak peek of what has occurred. It is rather, mental.

Thursday 2nd of February:

Carlos and I woke up (stick with it). I skipped to Abbot Kinney to get my makeup done with the best brow shaper and makeup artist in the world Kelley Baker at Kelley Baker Brows and then headed over to Euphoria to get my “up-do” with amazing Jenna (Angela is my beloved hairdresser that cuts like no other. Fact)

Mood of the morning: Giddy with the urge to pee more than usual.

Looking amazing (thanks to the most beautiful makeup and wowza hair style) Carlos picked me up at 1.

I got in the car – we looked at each other and screamed. We are getting married.

So we had hyped the whole thing down as our “real” wedding is in Norway this summer, but as the day approached the importance of the whole thing sunk in. On the day, we were ecstatic and basically, hysterical.

We ran home, got changed, ironed, Carlos showered, I checked our papers, we put perfume on, ironed more, more perfume…ran out the door.

With Elsita, one of our beautiful witnesses in the car we sat in disbelief and sheer ecstasy on the way to the Beverly Hills Courthouse. “Oh my God” was repeated several times. I sat clutching the most beautiful bouquet thoughtful Elsita had bought me – a complete bride.

Arrived at Courthouse. Marc our second beautiful witness was there, camera in hand documenting the occasion.

A line of couples waiting to get married. Carlos and I in Mexican dress, other Mexicans stared at us and smiled.

Our turn. A tall lady with the most comforting eyes and perfect curls stood before us and smiled. Her dark skin radiating in the sun. “This way.”

A small room with an arch covered by fake flowers. In the corner there was a fake cake. Here we go.

The ceremony was lovely. We both said YES and now we are husband and wife…legally. The spiritual side is greatly missing. Cannot wait for Norway wedding – will be amazing.

After this more pictures. Then champagne and some quite delectable tapas at The Ivy. Then a glorious dinner at Picca accompanied by some wicked Pisco Sours.

Amazing night..(nudge nudge wink wink).

Friday 3rd of February:

Awoke with my HUSBAND next to me. Wholly cow!

He left to work. “Now what?” Perhaps a tad anti-climactic. He missed our lunch date. Didn’t call to explain. I waited like a fool. Deep breathe. Kept reading The Happiness Project. Gretchen Rubin, I love you. Quite literally adore you.

Apologetic husband came home. He is the best – (corny moment) – I am very much in love.

Dinner date with Chef Kevin Meehan cooking as part of his Kali Dining. Ate the most delicious food I have ever eaten in my life. Highly recommend this unique experience.

Lots of wine and deep deep sleep.

Saturday 4th February:

Awoke thirsty. Don’t usually drink so body is confused and perplexed. Liver not happy.

Breakfast. Wedding planning. Laundry. Sun. Waves. Lying on the sand like beached whales. Iguana’s. Delicious. Eating banana chips. Heaven.

Dinner at Umami. Oh mammi, that is one good burger. Cold beer. Ice cream sundae for desert. Delish.

Mahler’s 8th “Symphony of a Thousand” conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at the Shrine Auditorium. Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela playing. Jaw dropping.

Waited for Dudamel after the concert. Congratulated the whole orchestra and choir as we waited. Amazing. Dudamel! Maestro! En hora buena! We shook his hand. He was lovely. What a Conductor – es un tipazo!

Met Marc (one of our witnesses) and friends downtown for a quick drink at Baco Mercat. Got peckish. Oh dear, the kitchen is closed. Food looked divine and smelt good. mouth-watering. Must return. Waiter lovely too.

Sunday 5th February:

Recovering whilst everyone else watched the Superbowl.

Dinner at Gjelina, perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Monday 6th February:

Sipping coffee and writing this. A pigeon flies into the apartment. A scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds and I love Lucy ensues.

THE END.

P.S. A visual version of this post will appear shortly. I don’t have any pictures yet.

 

 

 

What’s in a name?

Even Juliet worried about her lovers name. Why oh why did he have to be a Montague? Nevertheless dear ole’ Romeo and Juliet never got to the point of sitting down at the dinner table and having the discussion over wine and candles about names, sadly enough. In Juliet’s state of love induced euphoria she reasons that, “that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” Whilst this is poetic and rather charming in theory, she may have changed her tune if she had been given a chance to really think this through, in the 21st Century.

Names do matter.You know how I know? I have posted just about every update and novelty on Facebook. I receive a few comments sometimes but never as many as when I recently posted something about changing my name that challenged the tradition of taking ones future husbands name.  I received a plethora of comments, e-mails and even phone calls. People had an opinion. Conclusion: Names matter. Fact.

Names don’t only matter based on the fact that I got feedback on Facebook. When I say people, I mean women. Only two man out of all of my male friends, including my fiancée, commented. One commented on Facebook the other sent me a personal e-mail on the matter.

The question of surnames has arisen for, as you may guess, I am getting married and have been confronted with the question of “are you going to take Carlos’ name?” Simple answer, no. Why? Because I don’t see why a woman must concede her name, a part of her identity, in order to create a unified family. Why does anybody have to concede anything? Why can’t two people marry and each keep their name?

Confession: Taking my future husbands name was something I considered for a brief while. I remember when I would have a crush on boys at school, I would day-dream of myself as “Jenny Smith” or “Jenny Pope” (I am using false names because writing the real ones embarrassed me too much – I actually blushed). That was all I knew of as a little girl, my mother had my father’s name (although originally she kept her maiden name) and people around me seemed to do so as well so I didn’t think of the roots of such a tradition or custom. I soon learnt how until very recently women were considered the property of men, so loosing their own name came along with loosing the few rights they had from before. Imagine my shock. Meanwhile I was learning about the Romans and found it a superb idea to have slaves feed you grapes, whilst you lay reclined on copious amounts of pillows. Go figure.

I find it worrying that so many women of my generation, in their mid-twenties, consider taking their husband’s name a romantic gesture and a means of creating a family. If Lucy Stone, the famous suffragist and the first American woman to keep her own last name in 1855 was here she would put forth her two cents or re-iterated that, “a wife should no more take her husband’s name than he should hers”. Women before us have fought tirelessly for the right to keep their own name and we just sit back and sweetly say “oh what a lovely tradition, lets uphold it.” Rubbish I say! I wonder how many of these women really think about the origin of this tradition. We must pay tribute to those women who dared to shake the paradigm of women being a man’s property thus automatically taking their husband’s name. Why are we taking our rights for granted? We should all, men and women alike, appreciate our rights as women and recognize that there is so much more that must be done for women’s rights (and a number of other human rights that fall by the way side but I shan’t touch upon them just now).

Some of the comments I received on Facebook told me to calm down, to see this as a choice I have, as a woman who has rights now. This method of making it my “choice” to take my husband’s name is to me a fairly weak argument. Okay sure, so what you are telling me is to not see the need for further change and revisit an antiquated tradition from a “novel” perspective that is supposedly “mine”?  This presumes that we somehow have not been influenced by society in our decision. Furthermore, it is interesting to me how women adopt the role of having the responsibility to take on their husband’s name so as to create a family. Why is it the woman’s role? Men and women may be biologically different, but we both have the same responsibility, as equals, to create a family together. This is what we have fought for, for so long. Lets own it, don’t you think? And by “lets” I mean men and women. Gone are the times of women fighting for their rights alone.

If we as women automatically take on our husbands names without much thought (or no thought at all) this is a grave situation. It is our duty to question why we do so. Sure, in a few years we may not even have names, maybe we will identity one another by an electronic fingerprint which would at least recognize each and everybody’s individuality. For now, we have names and the remains of a tradition that should haunt us far more than it does.

I am disappointed in my fellow women. Recently I found (in Wikipedia) that in October of 1855 Lucy Stone spoke at the National Women’s Rights’ Convention in Cincinnati for the rights of women. A heckler interrupted the proceeding calling female speakers “a few disappointed women.” Lucy Stone apparantly got up on the platform and retorted that yes, she was indeed a “disappointed woman.” “In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, dissapointment is the lot of woman. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman’s heart until she bows down to it no longer”.

I am no Lucy Stone but I sure as hell won’t become apathetic or abide by traditions that from part of a questionable paradigm. Maybe we all should be more “disappointed” using this as fuel towards positive change.

I welcome opinions and comments for this discussion does not end here, next topic – what do we call our kids? (This one will be relived in a few years)