I can’t believe it’s been a year today since my wonderful mother Lynn passed away. I left the hospital at around noon, and drove straight to my best friend’s house, where she promptly rushed home to make me a lemon drop martini. I love my friends. That morning had been one of the worst of my life. I held my mom in that tiny excuse for a bed, writing her obituary as she slipped away. I had wanted her help and her approval. Just as Alex’s character on Orange is the New Black said about her mother dying, “My first instinct was to call her and talk about it”. She looked beautiful. An hour later, as I inhaled two lemon drops, this very heavy feeling of dread came over me, and my future without my mother seemed very bleak. We had been inseparable best friends for 37 years, how would I, how could I possibly go on without her? We lived together. We worked together. We shopped together, we traveled together. All her things were still in the car we shared. Her “coffee bean” revlon lipstick. Her cell phone. Her iPad. What do I do with her things? They are her things, and she can’t take them with her. The bumper sticker crossed my mind, “he who dies with the most toys wins”. It should read, “He who dies with the most toys, better have a great executor”. None of it matters. It sounds cliche, but really all that matters is love. The overwhelming feeling when my mom was dying, was love. And then dread. I chain smoked that afternoon, thinking “fuck it”, why be healthy when my mother never smoked a day in her very healthy old granola hippy life eating brewers yeast, and now she’s gone at 65. Bullshit, I’m smoking. And drinking. Another lemon drop please. I couldn’t make up my mind whether to use the upstairs or downstairs bathroom, let alone make a decision about what to do next with my life. To quote my mother, I didn’t know “whether to piss or turn to page five”. So, I drank more. And this pattern of drinking and smoking too much lasted for the better part of the next year.
I returned to my apartment in Los Angeles, because I didn’t know what else to do. I felt like a shell of a person, literally going through the motions, but not really alive. I would get up reluctantly at the urging of my two dogs, and walk them half hung over wondering how i’d spend the rest of my day. One day I threw on something ridiculous to go to the grocery store. I took a look at my tangled hair and thought to myself, “my god, I look like I just rolled off the beach”. Well, I pretty much did. I was living right on Venice Beach, with all the crazies, and seeming to fit right in. Because I was grieving, and numb, I really didn’t give a shit about all the homeless people, and crime where I was living. I understood hardship. I understood sadness. I understood their sense of dread. I got that they weren’t looking to the future. They had that minute. And that minute was spent surviving. I had money, and a gorgeous apartment, but I was one of them. Venice was a godsend that year. I slowly started to love the feeling of walking the beach and boardwalk everyday. Everyone was so colorful and alive. I would breath in everyone’s energy and it kept me going . Visiting my local coffee shop each morning became therapeutic for me. I would go there and read emails and do work, and started to feel like I was participating in life again. Venice was the perfect place for me to get over my loss, because nobody was judging me or pushing me, everyone just let me do my thing, and I will always be grateful for that time. And by “that time”, it took me about six months to fumble out of the fog of devastation. I hit my stride.
Today, six months later, I feel human again. I found love. I can laugh. I actually find joy in doing mundane things like dishes, and laundry and all those little everyday things that my mother will never do again. I am happy to be alive. A year ago I could have died right along with her. And part of me felt like I did. I felt like we both had a death sentence. We both were terminal. That’s how I always looked at her cancer. Like WE HAD CANCER. It was heavy. I still talk to her everyday, and she often offers advice. I was running out the door late to an event, all dressed up, and my mother’s voice popped into my head, “don’t forget to put cream on your legs!”. AGH. SHIT. I had to run back into the house and slap that cream on my legs - because she was RIGHT. My mother was always right. I learned everything from her. And that is her legacy. It would be doing my mother a disservice by being sad for the rest of my life. Now’s the time to be happy, teach others what she taught me, and keep her smart, witty, zany spirit alive.
Top 10 reasons you’re getting too old for playland…
1. The mini donuts make you ill
2. You wash your hands before and after entering the bathroom stall
3. You wish they offered sun hats as prizes instead of giant stuffed tweetie birds
4. You need to take a painkiller after riding the wooden coaster
5. After one hour in the park, you have to hump it up the hill for a pint at the press box pub
6. You are thankful for your Jackie o shades at the top of the atmosphere, cause your buddy can’t see that your eyes are clenched shut
7. If the billiards carney wasnt so hot, you’d feel like a real asshole spending $20 without winning squat
8. After two hours at the park, you have to hump it up the hill for another pint at the press box pub.
9.You make sure to cover your wallet, your cell phone, and every orifice on the log ride.
10. Ok, if I promise to go on the crazy beach party, then will you let me go home?
I like to watch the planes flying in, all in a row
Reminds me of where I’ve been, and where I want to go
The fun times I want to catch, and outrunning sorrow
Enough heartache behind for a promising tomorrow…
OCTOBER 3, 2011
JANES’S ADDICTION - JOHN ANSON FORD THEATER
I just got home from seeing Jane’s Addiction at the Ford Theatre in Hollywood, and it was the best show of my life. This was my third time seeing Jane’s live; my first was at the San Diego Sports Arena in 1997, and the second at the Vancouver Coliseum in 2001. I am so amped up about the show, I had to sit down, have a glass of wine, and think about how my fanaticism with Jane’s began. It’s pretty nostalgic for me to think about my high school bedroom. It is something I haven’t thought about for a long time. But tonight’s show brought me right back to that wonderful, free-spirited time. We lived on the water in West Vancouver, and I had a very swanky ocean-front bedroom with my own deck and bathroom. My walls were painted black, I had my cat marmalade wandering in and out, and I had two MASSIVE Jane’s posters on the walls - “Nothing’s Shocking” and “Ritual De Lo Habitual”. I would spend hours studying the paper mache sculpture Perry made of he and then girlfriend and muse Casey Nicolli, to grace the “Ritual” cover. Needless to say, I was into them. When I was going to the University of Hawaii, I had an enormous picture of Perry Farrell on the back of my bedroom door. He looked like he was on some serious narcotics, and I would spend HOURS starring into his eyes. I have had the insanely cool opportunity to meet both Dave and Perry. Many years ago, in my early twenties, I was at the Sky Bar on Sunset Boulevard. A friend was doing a radio show on 97.1 in LA, and had become aquainted with Dave Navarro. I have my lips rapped around a dirty martini, and she says to me, “Mya, I want you to meet someone”, and I turn around and it’s Dave Fucking Navarro. This was pre Carmen Electra, pre enema-obsessed, nineties Navarro. I wish I could say it was pre guyliner, pre painted-nails Navarro, but alas, I can not. Fast forward about a decade, and Perry Farrell is DJ’ing a set at a small venue in Vancouver’s Gastown. I talk my way upstairs to meet him and his now wife Etty, make a complete fool of myself while shaking his hand and telling him he is a GOD to me. A few years ago, when I found myself in Los Angeles again, I spent an afternoon lying on the beach in Santa Monica, listening to “Ocean Size” on my iPod over and over. So, a girlfriend told me they were playing tonight at this small venue in Hollywood, and I just had to go. But, the shows had been sold out for some time, she even had to purchase tickets from StubHub. And herein lies the situational irony of the evening. It is the day of the show, and I log onto ticketmaster and try and try to buy two tickets, but it says they aren’t available. So, I try for one solo ticket to the show. And it goes through. I can’t believe my good fortune, but I swear, that ticket was MEANT FOR ME. I then print out a map to this joint, and hop on the freeway in search of Hollywood’s historic John Anson Ford Theatre. Now, this show is very very special, because Jane’s played two infamous sold-out shows here in 1989 to promote the release of “Nothing’s Shocking”. I happened to live in LA at the time, but was only 12 - not really an appropriate age to be out at a Jane’s show. So, I find the address, and I look up, and see a sea of smoke swirling around the giant neon cross in the hills. I knew I had found The Ford. I immediately notice the frenzy of fans and scalpers willing to pay over purchse price for tickets. So, could it be possible that I could cosmically be so lucky, that I actually scored the very last available ticket for the show? I enter and hit the beer line. I met some very cool people in line, who had friends backstage texting them pictures from the stage and the crowd beyond. And the timing was perfect, because I was walking away with my beer when I heard Jane’s start their set with “Whores”. MAGIC. I walk into the amphitheatre, and I am immediately struck by how small and intimate it is. It is like a tiny weenie Hollywood Bowl. I walk towards the front and move into the crowd, dancing crazily, and trying not to spill my beer. I watch the entire show there, dancing with Taylor Hawkins from the Foos to “STOP”, Dave Navarro grabbing my hand during “Three Days”… To Be Continued…
OCTOBER 29, 2011 JANE’S ADDICTION - HOLLYWOOD TOWER
OCTOBER 29, 2011
JANE’S ADDICTION - HOLLYWOOD TOWER
So, this is trippy. Because I wrote “To be continued” long before I had anything to continue on about. But, I KNEW there was something. It just hadn’t come yet. Until last night. So, last week I heard on the radio that Jane’s was playing a private party for under 100 people at the Historic Hollywood Tower. Built in 1929, this old hotel is known to be haunted, and was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Ride. So, could there be a better event for Halloween weekend? I think not. So, I decide I am going. I have no idea how, but I’m going. And it was easy. Because again, it was meant to be. So, I call up the radio station and announce that I want to win tickets to the upcoming Jane’s show. The DJ tells me that I can, I just have to be the 9th caller during a certain song in his shift. So, I sit in my car, turn on the radio, and wait for the song. When I hear it, I call in, and he tells me I am the 9th caller. I happen to think this is hogwash, I think he just liked me an wanted me to win. So, regardless, I win two tickets. And I’m not surprised. ELATED, but not surprised. I am going! Thank you 98.7 FM! I decide to take my girlfriend who initially told me about the Ford Theater Show - as payback. And because she is a huge fan. So, I arrive at 6pm and there is free valet for the winners, which is so nice, especially in Los Angeles! I check-in and get my passes and wrist bands and head inside to enjoy the open bar and free food. About six of us cram inside the elevator - the very haunted elevator that the California Adventure Park tried to emulate. There is a zombie attached to one wall, and an arm hanging from the ceiling, which ads to the creepiness. We finally arrive at the 5th floor, and spill out onto the roof deck. The views are amazing from every angle. There is the Hollywood Sign, the Capital Records Building, the Knickerbocker Hotel, and the 101 Freeway is a blur beneath us. What a night. The sun is going down as we sip our vodka’s in anticipation of the show… Around 7pm, they usher us to yet another stunning roof deck. It is decorated with strings of hanging lights, and strategically placed sculls, black ravens, and the like. Then, as promised, the boys come out. Perry makes a crack about how it took him an hour and a half to get there - yes, that is Friday afternoon rush-hour in LA. They play five songs for our very intimate little group, and it is pretty special. It doesn’t get more Hollywood than a Hollywood band at a Hollywood landmark, with the Hollywood sign in the distance.
This morning I had breakfast with Brian Wilson. The Brian Wilson. The Beach Boy. Composer of “Pet Sounds”, one of the greatest albums of all time. The man who wrote “Good Vibrations”. And it wasn’t even my first celebrity sighting of the morning. Here’s how it went down. We were having breakfast at an old favorite restaurant in a very low profile part of Hollywood. The kind of soup-to-nuts dive-deli where you could see somebody’s housekeeper and Jackie Collins ordering a Reuben Sandwich at the same time. I walk in, and scour the room, and immediately notice a wall of dyed black hair that is Gene Simmons, sitting at a booth with Shannon Tweed. He pays the check, gets up, and basically works the room on his way out the door. As though he is doing a meet and greet at the Stapes Center, the man stops at each and every booth to say hello to the many fans, I mean deli patrons he passes. I guess he has grown so accustomed to being the “Face” of “Kiss”, that he has to “Kiss” all the “Asses”, I mean “Faces” of the public. As he approaches me, I can’t help but notice his size… Here’s this huge man with a mac book pro tucked under his arm, and white-bleached ostrich-skin cowboy boots, trying to navigate his way out the front door. Shannon Tweed follows him, and is equally as massive. She must easily be six feet tall. They both say hello to me on the way out. As I mentioned, the guy could have been on stage he was putting on such a performance. I am finally seated, and the place is packed, when a frail, disheveled looking Brian Wilson finds his way inside. I overhear the owner telling him she’s sorry, but all the tables are taken. So, I jump up and offer him the extra seat at our table. He takes it. Now, it must be known that I did this… Not because he is an absolute legend, but because he looked elderly, unwell, and like he needed to sit down. Immediately. So, now he is sitting beside me, and I look over at him, and he returns my gaze through melancholy blue eyes. To my absolute delight, he is wearing an Aloha Shirt! Exactly how I had hoped Brian Wilson would look bumming around Beverly Hills. I tell him I am having the Crab Benedict and he nods. Silence. The server comes around after a lengthy wait, and Brian orders a bowl of bran flakes, one egg over hard, and a diet coke. We sit together, in silence, and I hum “Wouldn’t it be Nice” to myself in disbelief. A couple of years ago, I had the honor of seeing Brian Wilson with the LA Philharomic at the Hollywood Bowl, and it was a night to remember. It is hard to believe that the talented and composed man I had worshiped that night, was the same timid, befuddled man with me today. A friend of mine used to tour with him in the eighties, and told me Brian requested a sandbox be placed under the piano, so he could stick his feet in it! And that’s not the only wacky thing he did. He used to spend weeks or months without getting out of bed. If you grew up in Canada like I did, you probably know the Barenaked Ladies song “Lying in Bed, Just like Brian Wilson Did”. So, these things are all flying through my head, our shoulders are touching, and we sit in silence. He gets his bran flakes, and eats them ravenously, and when he’s finished, he picks up the bowl and slurps up the milk like a little kid would. I think about “Surfer Girl”, and “Surfin’ Safari”, and “California Girls”, and realize that this man at my table had such a great influence on my life. I always wanted to get to California, and a large part of that was because of Brian Wilson. He single-handedly left me a trail of auditory bread crumbs that led me to this table I sit at today, with him, eating my Crab Benny. It’s hard to explain, but California makes me feel the same way the Beach Boys used to make me feel as a kid… I wanted to capsulate his vibe, and ingest it. Brian’s hands clumsily scramble about the table, as he searches for something. He leans over and asks the rich bitch girls at the table beside us if they have an extra spoon, and they ignore him. They don’t recognize him as being one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and dismiss him as a derelict. We give him a spoon and he thanks us. As we eat in silence, I can hear “Little Deuce Coupe” BLARING in my head. Brian gets his egg, and eats it with the spoon in a matter of seconds. Then, he’s up, and out. Just as quickly as he came. He doesn’t acknowledge us again, and I don’t mind. I am just so happy to have done what I could for him, in the small window of opportunity that I had. He slips out of the restaurant unnoticed, like a green flash on the horizon at sunset
Whenever I hear from a certain special someone from my past, I still get very excited.
Unfortunately, all I ever get from this dude, is a text. Or rather, a “sext”.
He is a former love, who, despite the fact we have thousands of miles, and several loves between us, feels the need to do his bi-annual check-in. I have many theories for this. The simplest being, that he wants to know he has someone to fall back upon should things not work out in his current situation. My mother says, that men are like monkeys. They never let go of one branch, until they have swung onto another. I like to say, don’t count your monkeys before they’re hatched.
I feel it important to tell you that this particular text said, “How are you Baby?”.
Ok, well, he is still referring to me as “Baby”. That’s good isn’t it? That means he still thinks of me fondly. He remembers the good times, the warm embraces. The home-cooked meals. We always had fun, so maybe he’s thinking he might not have it as good with his current pet. He can’t help but wonder what could have been if we were still dating, what our kids would have looked like, what my name would sound like followed by his…so he’s sniffing around to find out if I’m available.
Or, maybe he’s just horny.
Either way, it got me to thinking really, what is he thinking?
Are men actually thinking we are ladies in waiting, and that our lives are at a total stand-still until they make contact? Like, that I climbed into an air-tight container, well preserved, wearing the same heels I had on the last time we made out?
There are a few things I’m sure he hasn’t taken into consideration.
It’s been two years since we saw each other last. During those two years, I may have altered my appearance slightly. I pretty much weigh the same, (give or take 10 lbs.), but my hair is a bit longer, a bit darker, and I could have a couple more pronounced wrinkles, mainly from squinting in the dark at his damn texts.
So, allow me this opportunity to set the fantasy straight.
When you reached out to me the other night, I was actually in bed with my two dogs. Or, as I refer to it, “The Fart Pit”. My two Boston Terriers, despite lots of exercise and a first class diet, break wind. Out loud. No dainty dog-farts here. So, I am in bed, with the dogs, on my third or fourth vodka, reading a Marilyn Monroe biography on a Friday night. I am not in a cute little negligee, I am in sweats. That’s right. My beloved, holey, faded, stand-by’s. I have some cheesy girly-music on, that you would not think is cool, and I have anti-wrinkle cream on my neck.
Still want to sext me now?
The clutter of suits in the street, and hairspray in the air!
I want to be where my nails don’t need painting…
It’s good for the soul to be swooned by the slack-key guitar
and the heart to grow in the sunlight, like an orchid from a pile of mossy stones.