Musings on Poker and Other Stuff
Many times I've had the experience of departing from and returning to the same place. At first it started with home. I would go travel somewhere, explore, and when I would return I would have an interesting feeling of comfort from seeing things I knew and recognized. And yet, I continued to change. I would recognize something, but because of my internal changes my experience of it would be somehow different. There were certain feelings that I would always get as I flew over the Manhatten skyline on my way back to school. Like somehow the experience of the physical place brought out the parts of me that place nurtured. I used those visual cues to help me adjust bouncing around from place to place.
I came to Cannes in 2004 to help market a movie. My mom helped produce the movie. It was such a special experience that I will always treasure. My mom and I still have jokes we share from the weeks we spent here in my early twenties. (I will scan some pix when I get home...they were actually taken when people took film into the store to be developed.)
When I heard I was going to be coming here to cover the WSOP I was a little bit apprehensive. There are a couple of places from my life experiences that I suppose I want to protect. Places that I saw with, for lack of a better word, innocent eyes. Places that I still hold as some sort of momentary utopia.
Cannes was so special and precious in my heart that I feared returning 8 years later might taint it. But, as with lots of things, I was completely wrong. It has been beautiful to return to the same place, but with a new perspective, with a new kind of age and strength. I arrived and shared a ride with people who are both colleagues and friends. When I checked in and walked into my room, just across from the Palais, I was immediately struck with gratitude. I thought the apartment I shared with my mom in 2004 was amazing. I couldn't believe how I had lucked out. Now,I'm in an amazing hotel right across from the ocean. I literally took pictures when I walked in which I will probably never both to share with anyone...but I had to actually physically commemorate the moment. I feel at once both at home and totally out of place. It turns out that has always been a part of my process. Being a little out of place is where I feel the most at home. In some ways I don't feel grown up enough for this yet. I imagine if you asked my 21 year old self where I would be at 28 I would never guess at the Majestic in Cannes. But I also would not even have a concept of what a do now. LOL. I still feel like the little girl staring at myself in the mirror for an hour before I wear my thrift store 80s prom dress on the red carpet. And I simultaneously feel more comfortable in myself and in my life than ever before. I'm both a grown up and a girl.
Like every giddy kid who is genuinely excited I had to immediately put on the robe and slippers. I sat on the Croisette and watched the sun go down.
As I sat I realized that all those experiences of leaving and returning to places were not about the places at all. They were about me dealing with my own growing and changing and pushing myself. It was an external symbol for the internal rope I was walking between where I came from and where I was going. And looking over the water I felt peaceful that in so doing I found myself exactly where I belonged. Yes, I am in an amazing and fancy hotel in France, and I even rode first class for part of my flight. But I still feel a bit out of place sometimes in those situations because the culmination of my years and experiences has always brought me back home. I derive the most joy and feel the most radiant in the most simple things. I never feel more beautiful than when I'm with my family. (which I was the days before I came here
) I still get crazy for the little things (like turn down service). And I am always eager to jump into new like a web series I'm starting with Heath and some friends.
I guess the craziest thing is that I am still finding myself in these incredibly fortunate situations. Maybe the worst thing to taint my lovely Cannes from 2004, would have been to never return. The fact that I am here 8 years later is a testament to the path I chose and the blessing that this path keeps choosing me. Like a lot of things, I'm not sure I deserve all of this. But with the fullest heart I keep being Thankful.
And trying to share all the LOVE I CANNES!!!
My mom sent me this email last week and I immediately started bawling. There is still some good in the world!
I had to tell you this story from yesterday: so the Dumb Friends League had a fundraiser -- a barbecue with Willie Nelson as the entertainment. Well, Joan is a rabid Willie Nelson fan. After Dave's dad died 20 years ago, Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson have been pretty much the only men in her life. So even though tix were RIDICULOUSLY expensive, like $750 a seat, Dave knew he had to get her there. Joan was beyond excited -- had her outfit planned months in advance (including sparkly nail polish, a denim set and cowboy hat, with a Willie Nelson bandana). She went to the doctor, and and the acupuncturist to make sure she was going to be in perfect health and have good energy. She's so freaked out about people and crowed but when she got there, she actually piped up and started talking to these other elderly ladies there. She was experimenting with appetizers, and was just so happy.
Well, imagine her face when the announcement came that Willie was sick, and had to cancel. She just crumpled, got so tiny, and I could see her fighting back tears. It was so sad watching Dave try to comfort her, and she trying to comfort him because she knew how much he had tried. It was just awful. She was trying to keep a brave face, and she said "Oh Dave, it wasn't waste! I finally had two months of excitement and anticipation about something! It doesn't matter whether I saw the show or not. It was just so great to be so happy all this time!"
I thought maybe they would reschedule the show, or refund something, or send out a little video of Willie saying, "Sorry to have missed you folks! Will catch you next time! Your friend, Willie!" or SOMETHING. But nothing came, until we finally got a little paragraph from Dumb Friends saying, "Sorry Willie had to cancel, but we know you were there for the animals! So thank you!" Which was true for Dave and me, but not Joan. She was there for Willie.
When Dave told me she'd stopped listening to Willie Nelson altogether since that night, I felt I had to say something. So I wrote an email to Willie's publicist and his website explaining all this, and sending pix of all of us that afternoon when we picked her up. Well, I sent that email out about 12:30am. So get this.....
Joan got a call at 8am the next morning from..... WILLIE NELSON!!!! At first she thought it was a joke, but when he went into his explanation about why he cancelled, the health issue, etc. she knew it was real. They visited for quite awhile -- she told him how she'd seen him back in Detroit, in Pueblo...how she felt so indignant about his tax issue that she contributed money to help him pay his tax debt.
Needless to say, she was just over the moon, and Willie is back on the music rotation at her house!!
Every time Heath and I go swimming, I'm left with a feeling, "is that it?" Somehow my experience of swimming no longer lives up to the memories I have of splashing around for hours. Recently I resolved myself to the idea that that part of my life was the distant past.
Boom. Not true.
Heath and I went to Texas for a little family re-union this last week and I splashed my face off!! Both Heath's brother and sister have kids. I hadn't seen them in a few years. What a difference a few years make. Playing with those little treasures is the best vacation a girl could ask for. Better than sleeping in. Better than pina coladas.
Being a kid again is an all-inclusive vacation from being a grown up.
Meet my youngest best friend.
She grabbed 3 calculators and we began scheming ways to take over the world. (seriously, how cool is she?)
Meet the twins.
Who did Insanity with us, FOR FUN!!!!
Meet the baby.
Who has more fun with a water bottle than any toy.
We swam for hours, played guns, took over the world, wrestled and even played some poker. I have to say, playing poker with kids is the most fun I've ever had playing.
I'm going to really date myself when I admit that when I was in high school hardly anyone had cell phones. When I first moved to Los Angeles having a 'camera' to document the fun we were all having was an absolute necessity. Well, just a few years later it seems there are a million ways to keep track of all the fun going on. And most of them originate on our phones. Slowly but surely we have all become photographers and artists. Some more than others of course. It cracks me up when I see a picture of a bike leaned up against a brick wall and it looks amazing because someone used a cool filter. We don't need fancy software anymore or even knowledge for that matter.
I went to Sante Fe this weekend and boom, I basically could make a coffee table book.
Just when I thought my photography skills couldn't get any more legit. I discovered paper camera. Now I'm an artist too!
My grandparents couldn't believe how fast I whipped up this sketch of them!
I didn't want to be the only one in Sante Fe developing new techniques. So I taught the whole family how to do the skinny arm!
Gotta keep evolving right?
Every time I go home I am reminded of where I come from. Obviously. But it is unusual in that I end up looking at picture after picture of moments I don't even remember. It is so crazy to see a picture of yourself, recognize it as yourself, but still not be able to relate to that person at all. I wonder if that only occurs in the years 0-15. Like somehow after 15 you have consciousness of your memories as being a part of you. Before that, you just have moments. And then some times years and years after that, you are confronted by pictures where you were so in the moment, those memories don't even exist. Yet, they are part of what shaped you. On some strange level you recognize that. I found some treasures.
Looking through the pictures I couldn't help but see that an alarming number of people had died. Many had been relegated to non-friends after some fights. People were just gone from my life. I realized that in my life I don't want that! I want to extend my hand in love and forgiveness to those who deserve it. I think that is the difference between a stranger and someone you love. A stranger has no reason to see you through shitty times both inside and out. But a friend will see you through your shit. A friend will recognize that you aren't perfect. A friend will know that loyalty is the key to friendship. But forgiveness is the only way to truly know another.
Here is a picture of my dad on his wedding day. He and his friends have endured more than their fair share of death, drugs, destruction & divorce. But, truth was on the other side. And those who made it to that side, know it.
RIP those lost. you are missed.
During my recent travels I have had an exceptional amount of time to read terrible trashy magazine. As a result, I have been thinking of many ways to spice up my blog like the pages of a glossy magazine. One is the essential 25 things you don't know about me spread.
1. I was a vegan for two years.
2. I worked on fishing boat for one day.
3. I get sea sick easily.
4. Like every woman, I love The Notebook.
5. I'm way into conspiracy theories.
6. I used to have a girlfriend.
7. Unfortunately every time I'm on the treadmill I secretly hope The Real Housewives will be on.
8. I have four screws in my right hand.
9. Most prescription pain meds make me puke.
10. I had a summer where I changed my name to Anja de Souza
11. Sometimes when I'm not busy I will watch hours of cute dog videos on YouTube.
12. Once I broke into a historical museum and video taped my friends killing a chicken. (they ate it)
13. I haven't had television since 6th grade.
14. I have worked at Hooters, the Olive Garden and a 50s diner (where my name was Babs)
15. I was a smoker until I was 23 and I chewed. GROSS.
16. I'm cheap.
17. I gained and lost 25 lbs in the last 5 years.
18. One of my favorite ways to spend an evening is with a bottle of wine and a good skype date.
19. I always feel amazing after I leave church.
20. I never feel more awkward than when I'm at a club.
21. When I went to New Orleans I had someone make me customized fangs.
22. I have a tattoo on my butt, my hip, and my waist.
23. WINE FTW!
24. Speaking of that, I get the worst hang overs!! Like vomit for 24 hours bad.
25. I had a bed wetting phase. My dad built a pad for me to sleep on that would wake me up when I did it...so I stopped. Thanks dad.
I just spent the last week before the PCA in Texas with Heath's family. It was so interesting because like always I had this incredibly overwhelming sense that FAMILY is absolutely the most important thing in the world. And yet I had the reassuring sense that I don't want children. Maybe I'm just going up slower than I thought.
When I was younger I imagined I would be married at 27 and I would have kids not too long after. I've since had my 28th birthday. And even though I've been with the same person 3.5 years, there is no wedding in sight. More than that though, I still don't find myself desiring the glory of parenthood. I keep waiting for the sensation. I'm so grateful for my parents. I treasure my family. So, why wouldn't I want to continue that legacy?
I guess I'm secretly afraid I'm a fair weather person. Let me be more clear. I'm holding a baby and thinking it so cute and touching his/her soft little head. Suddenly out of no where the baby starts crying and I can't get it outta my hands fast enough. Even the way I call babies "it" may have some kind of larger implications. I LOVE other peoples' kids. I want to Love them and kiss on them. But as soon as something comes up to do or see, I'm out of there! I invite the tots over but after 3 hours I think I might tear my hair out. I mean come on....I ought to be more steadfast and true.
Then I wonder if perhaps we are all just growing up a ton slower. I read the other day that 50% of people 18-25 live with their parents. I think that was unheard of some 50 years ago. Problem is our bodies haven't really evolved to accomodate our new sensibilities and freedoms. Or is it evolution at all? Maybe we are going backwards. I sure as h#*- don't have any idea.
I love my family and the sacrifices made for me become more glaring the closer I get to being 'that age.'
Lost most the pictures from the trip when my phone fell out at Heath's dad's ranch. I found some old ones of my family but they aren't uploading in the blog. I'll have to check back and try to do it again soon.
I just returned from a trip to Colorado. My best friend passed away last month. Her birthday is October 24th. She and I used to smoke cigarettes and drink coffee all day long in the Waffle. We would write poetry and complain about society in a capitalistic environment. It was our second home and so for her birthday I went home to spend the night at the Waffle House.
I used to fight with her mom. We really hated each other. But his weekend we sat across from each other for hours upon hours crying and laughing and sharing in suffering and in love. We came full circle because what a waste to hold on to that.
I always get this incredible sense of arbitrage when I return home. It stays the same in some ways, and even though I am always different, I can always manage to tap back into what it felt like before. It is a bitter sweet sensation. Things will never be the same, and you don't want them to be, but one can't help but reminisce about the times that were. The experiences that built you. And to feel the experiences that are building you right now.
I ended up watching some old home movie with my cousins. It is crazy to see yourself as a child. You recognize that is you, but you can't connect yourself to that person at all. It was bizarre to see all of kids and all of parents and grandparents. Now, we have all experienced death, divorce, illness and tragedy. But when we were so young, it seemed mostly hopeful.
It is the cycle of living, of knowing each other, of being human.
My cousin brought over her new baby and I saw it beginning all over again. In a room full of family with resentments and history, everything felt happy when her beautiful son was sitting on the floor giggling. All was forgotten for the moment.
Yet, I was acutely aware that at some point he would be sitting in our position. Someday he will have baggage to carry as well. He will have disappointments and heart breaks, but also he will have joys and real love. He will have friends who feel like family. And he will have a family that will support and love him no matter what.
It is a funny thing about family, a funny thing about love, it brings people together. Sometimes, it tears people apart. It forces you to experience deep loss, and lets you experience intense happiness. Either way, I trust it. I trust the ebb and flow. The leaving and coming back. The dying and being born. It is all part of pieces that are making us from moment to moment. And I am grateful for all of them.