RIP AB

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But, that’s ok. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.

-Anthony Bourdain

Thank you for packing us in your suitcase, including us in your travels, for your humanity, stories, humor, words, for urging us to choose the adventure, eat the unfamiliar, explore, and for leaving so much good behind. You were my role model, inspiration, and my always crush.

Rest In Peace.

Living the Dream

I’m sitting in Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove, California, because it’s as close as I can get to my kitchen at the moment. Three weeks into my four week stay and all I want is tea, toast, to write, and listen to music on Saturday mornings and, though some of that is possible from my room at the Hyatt, I prefer the long wooden tables decorated with mason jars of peonies, along with a dirty chai, at Happy Girl.

The boats, whales, and otters of Monterey Bay are just a few blocks away, visible past rows of pristine Craftsman and Victorian houses and a fresh, fishy smell of ocean permeates.

I am up early after dropping an actress’s dry cleaning, needed for Monday, at the cleaners.

The espresso mixed in my chai has yet to kick in and I’m groggy after a long week.

Later today I will go to the grocery store and stock up on my last week’s supply of daily salad ingredients and morning yogurt accessories, berries and such, to stuff in my mini fridge. There is a method to fitting one week’s food into such a small space and it has taken me fifteen years to figure it out. I also remembered the knife, fork, spoon, and sponge this time around.

“You bring your lunch every day?” co- workers ask. “You wash your dishes in the bathroom? I’d be too grossed out,” one replied. “How do you find the time?” others wonder.

“I have to,” I reply. It connects me.

For the first week of my current month on location, the anxiety that somehow the life I love had been erased, yet again, and replaced with nothing but work and a hotel room consumed me.

How to integrate the lives we live, to always feel connected, no matter the circumstances?

I wake early to chop veggies and make hot water with lemon. It is my meditation. Along with my other meditation, preparing food, writing, taking walks, pulling my daily tarot cards, and documenting it all with a camera are the ways I connect back with myself when it seems that my periodically all consuming costuming career will suck me in and forget to spit me back out.

When I remember to connect to myself in these small ways, the anxiety subsides and I am present, able to enjoy whatever may be around me, wherever I may be. And lately I just happen to be in some of the most beautiful places on earth.

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Nourish


Yesterday I had nothing to do. No errands, appointments, work, nothing. So, I packed a bag with water, a few weird protein and granola bars I had taken from craft service, Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird,” and, after putting the mix CD the director of my last show made for the whole crew in my car’s CD player, headed north on the 101.

Knowing the bars wouldn’t get me through the day, I stopped at my new favorite place, The Topanga Table in Topanga Canyon. I love this restaurant! Nestled just off the road, it smells like camping when you sit on the patio. I had the breakfast burrito but could have ordered anything on the menu and will be back for their biscuits and jam. Like, maybe today.

After lunch I continued south on Topanga until I dead ended at the Pacific Ocean/Pacific Coast Highway, where I turned right and headed north.

The CD was a mix of dark Americana and eventually I switched to my own combo of Cat Stevens, Bob Marley, and The Head and the Heart.

I drove until I hit a fog bank somewhere towards Ventura County and turned around to go to my second favorite place, Neptune’s Net.

Though not yet hungry for fish and chips, I parked and watched the surfers below, before driving back towards Zuma to walk its length as the sun set. The tide was out, making for an extra wide path.

I arrived home with sandy feet, sunburnt legs, and so much gratitude for my life, my day, the ocean, our planet, great food, birds, music, and that little voice inside of us that, if we listen, will remind us how to nourish and care for ourselves.
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Back on the Wagon…

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Since the beginning of the year I have been following ideas and recipes from the book “Clean-The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself,” written by Alejandro Junger, M.D. and recommended to me by my sister.

Though I haven’t written much here about my recent health issues, one of the main reasons for the recent life changes I’ve made is that for  the past several years, and especially the last six months of 2016, my body has been screaming that my chosen path  was unsustainable and that the coping mechanisms which had previously allowed me to power through a job, were no longer working. Not only were they not working, they were making me sicker and sicker with every job and year.

My body was running on empty after years of sleep deprivation and the sugar and caffeine I resorted to, just to keep going.  The cycle of anxiety>insomnia>adrenaline>insomnia>depleted immune system and adrenals> constant colds and sinus infections> vitamin deficiency> hormonal imbalance> insomnia> exhaustion became a constant in my life until I finally stopped ever getting better and had a sinus infection for most of six months. In addition, my skin was puffy, my energy was non existent, my digestion was off, and I knew something, or many things, had to change.

My sister suggested I read Dr. Junger’s book and I related to each symptom he described.  I  won’t paraphrase or try to sum it up, but would highly recommend it to anyone who just doesn’t feel as well as they know they could or should.  Though I have yet to complete the recommended program perfectly, I did it decently well and saw immediate and amazing results.  And then last week, during a long week of work, I fell off of the wagon and into old patterns; coffee, sugar, a whole, large bag of corn chips in one sitting, donuts, wine, and bread. It was all delicious but led to headaches, sinus pressure, puffy eyes, and lethargy, immediately.  So, back on the wagon I go.  Fresh vegetables, healthy fats, meats, and fish, green tea if caffeine is necessary, and no sugar, wheat, alcohol, or dairy.  It will take a couple of days to get back in the swing and be slightly painful for those days, but will then be totally worth it!

Photo taken outside of Matchabar in Silver Lake, one of the great businesses I pass while walking home with groceries.

How I Ground. 

I returned from LA one day ago and have felt epically ungrounded since. With a list of things I should be doing, how to ground and come back to earth after several weeks, months actually, of floating this way and that? 

Chop wood. Haul water. Or, cook, clean, and listen to Bob Marley as the case may be. Tangible, simple, doable things that keep me out of my head and in the present moment. And, I end up with a clean house and delish meal as a result. Bonus! 

Today’s menu is kale and basil pesto over porcini ravioli, thanks to Trader Joe’s, or your local farmer’s market. 

1 bunch kale

1 bunch basil

4-6 cloves garlic

1/2 c olive oil

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup Parmesan

Salt and pepper. 

Put it all in a blender and blend until smooth. 

All measurements are approximate and you should add more or less depending on preference. Bon Apetit. 


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Bread. 

 Sometimes (like on a Monday in January when the costuming job you thought you were about to start falls through, and you just watched Downton Abbey’s characters smear butter onto thick cut teatime slices of bread, and it’s really cold outside) all you can do is put an apron on over your overalls and bake some bread!

I’d never actually made bread until today, though I remember the smell from childhood. My friend Alethea’s Artisan Boulè recipe has been sitting in my inbox for over a year and turned out to be simple, delicious, and is guaranteed to make your house smell good while baking, in all of its gluteny goodness.

 Alethea’s Artisan Boulé

(For free form round dinner loaves and pizza crust)
1.5 TBS dry active yeast

1.5 TBS sea salt

1 TBS honey

3 c. Lukewarm water

Stir

Add 6.5 c unbleached white flour

Stir w/ wooden spoon

Cover not airtight for 2 hours

Once the dough has risen, you can refrigerate in an airtight container for about 2 weeks. If you refrigerate, let the dough you are using sit out for 1/2 hr, then bake. You can also freeze loaves for months.

This batch makes about 2 dinner loaves and 1 pizza or  2 big loaves.

When I make the boulé loaves,  wet hands, take the chunk you want to use and toss back and forth and dust with flour till round.

For pizza cover pizza stone with cornmeal.

At about 30 min I cover the top of the bread in butter

Bake 375 for 50 minutes.

Smear with butter, jam, avocado or whatever sounds good. Enjoy!

 

Highlight Reel

Looking around my house, it appears my trip has exploded all over everything. Two weeks of lived in clothing spill out of the hamper, a suitcase lies on the floor, unopened mail sits on the stairs, and my accumulated treasures and trinkets cover the kitchen table. Looking at the ticket stubs, receipts, and business cards collected, now sitting in a pile on the counter, I can’t help but think of the highlights; the best meals, funniest moments, and favorite sights.

Favorite Meals:
1. Pacci in Buti, Italy. Everything they make is amazing, but the black, squid ink pasta with cream, nuts and salmon is unbelievable.
2. Japanese fish and noodle soup, sitting at the counter of the Stedelijk Museum’s cafe in Amsterdam.
3. And everything at the Korean restaurant Yokiyo in Amsterdam’s red light district. Their miso poached pear with black sesame ice cream. Amazing.

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Favorite Activities:
1.Watching the Buti Warriors play a soccer game against main rivals.
2. A walk along the top of the wall in Lucca.
3. Canal tour through Amsterdam.
4. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
5. Wandering
6. Happy Hour cheese and wine, in NY, Amsterdam, and Italy.

Favorite Stores/Items:
1. White, leather side zip Turkish slippers from Nooosugar, in Amsterdam.
2. Soap from Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, in Florence.
3. Jewelry from ambrosiojewelry, on Bedford Street, in Brooklyn.

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