MY ADVANCED PRACTICE

08/19/2014

My friend Katie Horwitch had a pretty brilliant idea recently – she wrote a poem about it…

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My advanced practice is not a headstand
Or a handstand
Or that twisty arm balancy thingy I learned to do last year after days on end of trying.

My advanced practice isn’t how deep I twist

Or how floaty I get

Or how I move in rhythm with everyone else in the room perfectly without fail.

My level 3 class does not involve higher weights

Or quicker reps

Or all those fancy things people (still) do on a bike.

My advanced class is not 75 minutes, or 90, or a three hour stretch
Because really, who cares about numbers.

Do I impress you? That’s on you.

Do I seem weak? That’s on you, too.

Because my advanced practice happens that second I shift from asleep to awake
The SECOND I move for no one but me.

Have you ever reached your arms out in child’s pose, pressing through the ground, spreading your body so fiercely onto the ground you think it might stick?

Because let me tell you, that is something.

My advanced practice happens when I skip a pose,

Or two,

Or three,

Or a whole eight minutes in a row

Because it moves me so much that all I can do is lay there in awe.

My level threes happen in the quietest moments, the longest holds,

The times when I can feel my soul coming alive not from a shape but from a spark inside.

Because my advanced classes and level X practice happens in less than 60 minutes, or 30, or 20, or more, or 90. My advanced practice is not about a number I can show off because “oh look how strong I am for going so long” – it’s about working and living and breathing smart, intention, intuitively.

It’s about “modifying” (I hate that word) pushups on my knees and then not the day after, it’s about sleeping through my workout altogether and being EVEN MORE OF A BADASS. It’s about not the quantity of my perceived excellence, but the quality of my intelligently-used soul time that maybe only I feel inside. I hope I only feel it inside; it’s my precious fuel that allows me to keep going.

It’s not about what it looks like, it’s about what it feels like.

It’s not about touching my toes, it’s about touching my soul.

My advanced practice is not slow or fast, it is what I decide to feel right. It exists with no distractions, it allows me to meet myself every time without fail. My “power” class is the one in which I fall into a deep savasana, rolling over at the end to realize everything yet nothing is quite the same.

I love my twisty arm balance thingy and upside down is very nice.
But my advanced practice involves none of that.
Anyone who tells you differently has probably been in a beginner class all along.

WHILE I WAS OUT/SINCE WE MOVED

07/16/2014

Since we moved:

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I’ve broken the garbage disposal

I’ve flooded the sink

I am attempting to grow a garden in both the front and back of the house

(and as a result) have lost a toenail

Accidentally de-frosted the freezer with all of our favorite perishables inside

We’ve hosted a party

(and subsequently) found partiers in the house at 4:30am long after both Jordan and I had gone to bed.

I’ve experimented with meals and cooking in this new kitchen

(and because our party was on the 4th of July and we bought too much food) eaten more hot dogs in the past two weeks than probably my entire life

Made a dozen new neighborhood friends and reconnected with LA friends that were “too far away to hang out with” when we were in Long Beach

Had some interesting conversations with Jordan about our continued future and the way in which we live in a house vs. an apartment

Met a million and three of our neighbors (who are the most incredible characters)

Been offered mahjong lessons

Cut my hair

And eaten dim sum at least once every week with my dad.

 

All in all, I’d say it’s been a good few weeks in this new house and new rhythm.

 

 

ONE

06/26/2014

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One year later – An historic 5-4 ruling struck down the 16-year old Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA.

I wrote this essay one year ago. It originally appeared on The Equals Record. Happy Anniversary.

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The tiniest Cambodian woman I’ve ever seen rang me up for two magazines and a bottle of water at I Love LA, the news and gift shop in LAX’s terminal 2. She smiled so wide at me, taking her time as she looked at both my debit card and my ID, “Lie-la. No, Kayla. No, Lie-la. Yes, that’s you. Lie-la.”

She hummed as she carefully checked and re-checked my purchase total before punching it into the credit card machine. One nod for each button pressed correctly. A giggle and a double wink when she pressed the wrong button. “Oh oh oh, that’s not the one.” She handed me my items one at a time. “Always be beautiful. Always be strong. Stay smiling and you will be wise. You are very brave. Stay beautiful.”

There’s a great scene in Up in the Air when George Clooney is describing which line to get in at airport security, “never get behind families with children.” I boarded my flight behind a young mother with her two children who had stopped to tie shoelaces, pull up pants and rearrange pony-tail holders. I passed them on the jet way and walked towards our plane.

From behind I heard, “excuse me, um, can I cut you?” I turned around. Nothing. Then I looked down. From a clear face with a half-toothless grin, “um, I just stopped to tie my shoe. I was in front of you. Can I cut you? Well, me and my sister and my mom. Can we cut you?” His mother rolled her eyes and took in a breath that signaled yet another impatient, “LUUUUUKE!” I said, “of course, it’s only fair.” He looked at me like I had just let him skip to the front of the line at Splash Mountain. In disbelief, he marched forward, head high.

We de-planed in Minneapolis/St. Paul to stretch our legs before boarding the exact same plane bound for Boston. Jordan, my partner, and I overheard a woman we had our eye on earlier. A man had been in her husband’s seat in LA when they boarded. The man seemed to have a pretty reasonable thought process behind wanting (needing) the window seat. In the window seat, he could sit slightly sideways, leaning against the plane to keep his frame from spilling over into the seat next to him. The couple, showing no patience, demanded he move out of the window seat to the aisle. I eavesdropped as the embarrassed passenger said, “I asked for a window seat, it’s best if I sit there. I’ll fit better that way. Do you have a window anywhere? I don’t want to be a burden. I asked for a window.”

The flight attendant said no, only in the emergency exit row, which is exactly where Jordan and I were sitting, with a roomy window seat directly to our left. He looked at it and us longingly. Jordan said, “just give him the damn seat.”

On this plane, we had to pay extra for the extra legroom, so it was not a seat that could just be given away, apparently. The gentleman proceeded to stuff himself into the aisle seat next to the impatient couple. “Can you just buckle the belt, sir?” “Yes, I’m not an imbecile.”

After the impatient woman recounted the story to a flight attendant at the gate she complained that people as fat as the man she was sitting next to should not be allowed to fly in a regular seat. “Isn’t there a way you can ask everyone how fat they are when they buy seats? We shouldn’t be subjected to his issues.” The flight attendant said simply, “Ma’am, he’s just a man.”

It’s a big day today. The Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8 make me incredibly hopeful. Hopeful that we are moving forward as global citizens – in understanding that, as evidenced in today’s interactions in and around the airport, there are so many different kinds of us. Us, being humans. We are old, young, unconditionally altruistic, innately cruel, deeply profound, struggling to get through our days, always searching for reciprocity. While some will consider today’s rulings as a step back, an inconvenience and wrong, there are spirits that shine bright, like my sagely airport cashier, reminding us to be wise and stay brave.

THIS IS OUR BEAUTIFUL HOUSE

06/04/2014

Last night a Notary came to our house to witness Jordan and I signing our life savings over to a bank and the next 30-years towards paying for a house. This house:Bunker Hill

(All these photos are from the MLS website. I’m really grateful to have this slew of beautiful pictures – our house will, no doubt, look a bit different on the inside! And hopefully I can nurse that PEACH tree back to life.)

On the whole, this process was an easy one… especially when I hear the horror stories of buying a house in LA. People get into bidding wars that can raise the price of a house close to $100,000 higher than the asking price. People are buying blind just to buy.

I’m here to tell you it’s possible. It’s possible to be a normal person, who most days still feels like a kid way too young to actually be buying a house, and buy a little future for yourself with someone you love. You have to look hard and think a little outside the norm. With our humble little 10% down and our sweet little under-asking-price offer, we managed to snag this beauty!

In one week Jordan and I are moving to Chinatown in Downtown LA – North Bunker Hill Avenue. It’s so LA. And I’m beaming inside and out. Our neighbors are mostly Cantonese-speaking Chinese with chandelier smiles and gorgeous vegetable gardens. I’ll be able to walk to work and Jordan will take the train down to Anaheim (which he couldn’t be happier about).  It’s a 3-bedroom Craftsman built in 1910 and was owned, two ownerships ago, by a set of architects, who just loved on the place inside and out. It’s pretty incredible…

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Our little place sits just north-east of the 101/110 interchange. If you draw a line from N Bunker Hill Ave, over the freeway to DTLA, it turns into Hope St. You guys, my mom was born on Hope St. and my mom and dad met on Hope St… I feel pretty good about it.

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You guys, the kitchen! It’s so beautiful, I might even try to learn how to cook, just so I can be in there more…

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What’s your favorite part? Mine are the light fixtures, which come with the house, and the little room off the dining room with the built-in record shelves!

You’re all officially invited over for our house-warming party… We’re thinking 4th of July Weekend in Chinatown. We’ll be able to watch the fireworks from Dodger Stadium.

 

TWO THINGS

05/19/2014

1. We bought a house.

2. I’m in Mexico.

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MAYBE-HOUSE

05/12/2014

We’re in escrow.

Did that feel fast to you?

It felt fast to me.

I’ve tried not to tell you, because I don’t want to jinx it… but, whoops.

If the housing market where you live is anything like Los Angeles, you have to act fast. And you have to be attractive, not just in real life – on paper. Tons of cash, more cash than loan value, then even more cash and all cash is best. We have a little bit of cash, a normal amount of cash for people who are prepared to put their close-to-life-savings down for a house. In the past few weeks we’ve watched houses go on the market for $600,000 and sell for upwards of 7 or $800,000. Because of the cash.

It’s that crazy.

It’s been 2-weeks since our little offer was accepted on a little Craftsman house built in 1910 in Chinatown, LA. I lose sleep over how beautiful it is, how many pages and documents and signatures are required to make an offer and how I hope I filled them all out correctly – x2 - because Jordan and I aren’t married so there are double the forms and documents and signatures and are we sure this is what we want to do and have we thought about how to protect ourselves from each other? Yes.

Thankfully, we’ve got the world’s greatest and most mellow agent representing us through it all. Nothing says budding new friendship like staring down the sewer line with your agent and a plumber, looking at years of shit. Literally.

It wouldn’t hurt to show you a sneak-peek of our maybe-kitchen, right? Right.

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Just keep sending good juju, will you?

WHEEZIE-DAY

05/11/2014

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We spent most of the weekend together – ate cheese, drank wine and did yoga.

Happy Mother’s Day, you are my favorite!

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