I have a business card that titles me Queen of LaLa Land. When I created this card I was thinking of that place in my head, the place that I think of when singing lalalala -la-la-la during chorus jig in Nelson. It was a goofy place in my brain. I guess some people also call Los Angeles LaLaLand and so it could apply here. Spending the weekend here I have been thinking queenly things. However I have to tell you that people haven’t really noticed, except the three happiness guy. I thought the purpose of my visit was to see my lovely friend Claudia. I was mistaken; it was mostly to sweat my tail off.
Friday I walked around a bunch. LA is a funny place.
Strip clubs have funny furniture, it looks even funnier in daylight in an alley
You can make a business out of resolving lice infestations
People are friendly and like to show off how many Beefalo sized men can fit in a little jeep. Here there are five. They were really really squished.
I took a bunch of pictures of plants and trees because they were neat looking or I just didn’t know what they are.
very blurry picture of a tree with thorns (don’t climb me tree!)
Here is Claudia and Shaahin. Claudia is wearing his hat. He is wearing the hat I made for Claudia on the plane. He told us a sad story about how his grandmother knitted him a superman sweater since in Iran no one could find the superman shirt that he coveted of his schoolmates. After gads of work they had a party to give him the long awaited sweater. It was pink and pale blue and the S was backwards. I laughed hard at the tale. I don’t think Shaahin will forgive me.
None of this is sweating related but I am including it anyway to be more queen-like, ignoring the rules I just set.
On Saturday Claudia and I biked to a yoga class at Liberation Yoga. It was fantastic, both to practice next to Claudia who is inspiring and the teacher, Christine, had a really great energy. Tried to do a new pose, firefly and I am figuring out Vrschikasana or Scorpion. Here is Claudia in it – see she’s inspiring. From there we biked to lunch and then cleaned up to go to the Bernini exhibition at the Getty museum.
The Getty is stunning.
The Bernini sculptures were impressive but somehow I blocked out that we were going to see all portraits. The busts and paintings are wonderful but can not compare to the over the top wonderful sculptures that I saw in Italy.
Just made me want to see this again
Then our plan is to head to Pasadena and go to a sweat lodge. I don’t know what this is more than the summary of some native american ritual thing that is in a tent, with hot rocks, so that you sweat, a lot. I am told to think of something I want to purge from my life. On the way there I still haven’t thought of anything worthy so I ask Claudia about this. “Do you have something?” Oh yes she tells me. “can I copy?” I am kidding… well sort of. I really cant think of anything. She won’t let me though. I am looking for ideas and got caught up in directions and will we be late so I forgot to think about it more/call Robin for advice. Claudia was invited to this by one of her yoga students and doesn’t know any more about it than what I just listed. We drive down a quintessentially suburban California street.
“Should we have some sort of code to get out if it is freaky?”
“yes, how about I think we need to go, would that be OK?”
I am looking around the yard for what could be a sweat lodge – I have never seen one, and don’t think I can spot it. As we come inside I assess the house. There are cats maybe lots of them, there is native american dolls, wall hangings, stuff on the coffee table. There is a couple saying hello and I try to figure out who is who. There are plastic chairs lined up on the outside of the room, enough seating for 15 people. Then I turn and ask what is that?
“Oh I will let Doug tell you about that thing.” Doug comes out beaming and explains that the dodecahedron of gold plated copper rods are specially engineered to use the sound waves to align your chakras. The base of the table is filled with speakers and the speakers on the top balance out the high sounds of the music. He pulls out a CD of Rolling Stones acoustic covers and queues it up. I hope on. As “Paint it Black” starts building up I am feeling music in an amazing way. My whole body is vibrating with it as if it were incredibly loud but the sound is at a nice level. It is seriously pleasurable. Before I got in I was thinking of Diba and her a shiatsu massages using the rods to balance on but with this the music is the massage. I felt like I was in the machine in Barbarella.
More and more people arrived and then the evening was explained to us. Four parts, will be very dark in the tent, and a little crowded since there are more people this time. Doug will be outside tending the stones and opening the flap. You can answer people’s prayers with “Ho” which is a fancy native american feeling version of “me too.” We ask questions. Someone asks about the practicality of contact lenses, another about the kachina dolls. Doug explains he has 66 of them. He would have more but she got them all in the divorce. I’m not sure who “she” is but she left him seven in a little box he hasn’t opened since she sent it many years ago. With visible pride he explains about collecting stones. Then we are changing and going in. It was hot. I could squeegee the sweat off my arms. Disembodied voices called out there prayers and with each was water on the stones. The accents were interesting. The difference in this community and mine was easy to see. I found myself thinking about how this would feel in New England. In the quiet of winter with the sounds of the country. I think about what my community would sound like in these supplications. Some things would be very similar, health and safety of loved ones, but I imagine some others to be very different.
One part of the ritual, the one I didn’t prepare something to be rid of in my life was done simultaneously. Everyone was to call out their thing together so you couldn’t hear other people’s garbage. It got as loud as it was hot. Waves of people yelling things so that you could only catch some words: fear, sabotage, insecurity, no more. It sounded primal and awful and then would quiet and kick up again.
When it was over I laid outside with a towel on me and waited until I equalized with the world outside. Then I got changed and there was a regroup before the potluck. People talked about the experience. People continued to say “HO” to things. When it was winding down, it reminded me that my dishwasher often flashes that phrase.
“My dishwasher often flashes HO at me. At first I thought it was saying something disparaging about my sexuality but now, because of this, I will think that my dishwasher is agreeing with me.”
When we left I told Doug that I have nicknamed him “flapmaster.” He seemed to like that a lot. It is his new hip hop name to go with his Native American Spiritual Name.
Sunday I listened as Claudia taught a children’s yoga class and then we practiced in the garden studio of Liberation yoga. It was gorgeous.
Claudia asked me if I wanted to try surfing. We could go to Santa Monica and hit this famous Power Yoga guys class and then go to the beach. This sounded like a great idea to me. It had some big flaws though.
First off we came in late for the class because we got a little lost cracking up over this picture.
Apparently if you sell underwear here it is common to also make people feel inadequate. My stomach hurt from laughing so much and then we get to the studio. I get a mat which is so warn on the feet and hand places that really I would likely be more comfortable on the floor. I should have brought one. The place is packed, like sixty people packed and everyone is staggered and still going to hit each other. So this is the famous power yoga guy. OK then. He starts the class and at first I think I am hearing wrong but the whole thing is being conducted in rhyme. “Monday morning cobra nice and slow up to downward dog you go.” or something like “now look down your nose and just forty breaths hold that pose.” I had trouble not laughing, but apparently this guy is serious. In his rounds he came over near me, stepped on my hand to get my attention and said “you’re not supposed to pound!” My jump backs are getting better but I am not a floater yet. Sometimes my toes hit hard especially if the mat is word to the thickness of onion skin. I thought he had a lot of nerve. He scolded people a lot for looking around. This is something I do frequently. It is inspiring and I learn from watching other people. He can stuff that and his scolding me personally. He did have a very sweaty class though, but that wasn’t worth getting chided.
After we ate and went to surf lesson. I had no idea that surfing was so physical. As I lay on the board on the sand with the instructor telling me that I was to “pop up.” I was thinking seriously uh oh. This is to basically to a fast push up and spring into a balanced squat in one quick movement I was regretting the Dr. Seuss style class. The ocean beat the living shit out of me. I couldn’t get the board under the water deep enough to gracefully cut under the waves. I hit the bottom hard and scraped off a bit of my knee, I inhaled a lot of salt water. My eyes burned and the board cut my foot somehow. I got up a few times and stayed up until the wave slowed and I lost my balance. enough to get the feel of it. Shortly after I started I was too tired to do anything but try and fall off. I will have to go again some other time.
Today is hurts to lift a mason jar of juice and I will fly home tonight.