Monday, September 04, 2006


Hemingway's No Dummy....

Hey Everyone, it's Our Woman in L.A. here.

So, Our Man in L.A. decided to give me total artistic license this week. He handed over the blog to me. I guess he thought he needed a break. Wanted to give you readers something to chew on, although, I gotta say, not sure if this will really satisfy your appetite.

Hemingway once said that “good artists borrow and great artists steal.” Taking my lead from this smart man, I will begin my first ever full blog entry….stealing the famous “top five” from one of the most talented people I know - my husband. To add my own twist, I will bring you the first–ever (drum roll, please) OUR WOMAN IN L.A.’S MONDAY TOP FIVE LIST!!! (get it, instead of Tuesday, it’s Monday).

Okay, here goes:

5. Crystal Light Sugar Free On the Go Packets
So, I have been trying to drink more water lately. Six glasses a day or more. Yeah, I know, it’s good for your skin, good for your body, so I should just drink the stuff. And trust me, I try. I have been trying to drink less diet soda, trying to get my green tea in. Sigh. It’s so L.A. But it has been a struggle. That is, until I discovered the Crystal Light sugar free “On the Go” packets. These tiny little packets go straight into your water bottle and transform your water into peach tea, or raspberry lemonade, or fruit punch. Yum. Who knows, maybe these packets will kill me. Some random ingredient that causes a variety of diseases may slowly eat away at my nervous system. But, until it is proven, I am in water heaven.

4. Friendly Neighbors
I don’t think I have ever had neighbors like in the black and white television shows that would bake pies and come over to welcome you to the neighborhood. I am not really sure if that exists, since most people these days just want to be left the heck alone. However, when Chris and I moved into our apartment building, I was surprised to be greeted by a series of friendly folks. One year later, these neighbors still surprise me with their friendliness. I’ll give a few examples:
1. My neighbor Nina (about 80 years old and from eastern Europe) still knocks on my door to tell me she’s cleaned the washers and dryers, so I better wash a load quick before the other neighbors get to the machines. She also checks our mail when we are out of town. I love her.
2. Nina’s husband knocked on my door when the cable man came to install our system. When I answered the door, the conversation was as follows:
Nina’s husband: Are you okay in there?
Me: Uh, yeah. Is everything okay in the building?
NH: Oh yes. I just saw that the cable man had come in, and I know your husband is at work. Just checking in to see if everything is okay.
Me: Oh, yes. He’s just installing the cable. All’s well.
NH: Okay. Have a good day.
Then there’s Nelly. She’s in her seventies. She wakes up really early to take bread and nuts and feeds the squirrels. She’s a bit strange, but also really nice. When we moved in, she knocked on our door and brought us a brochure on cool things to do in the neighborhood.

There’s John, who’s a fan of the L.A. Sparks (the WNBA team here). He is always trying to get us to go to the games with him. We haven’t so far, busy schedules and whatnot, but are going to take him up on it in the upcoming year.

Oh, and finally, there’s James. He’s probably in his late sixties, and in good shape. He kind of reminds me of a modern day Count Dracula, except, without the teeth and whole drinking blood thing (well, as far as I know). He is always giving us tips about the building, and how to deal with our landlords. Cause, you know, he’s lived in this building for 19 years.

3. Think MTV
So, I know what you might say, MTV? Really? At your age? Come on, Steph, get a grip, and stop killing those brain cells. Well, that’s what Our Man in L.A. says every time he catches me watching the network. However, the folks over at MTV are on to something with their ThinkMTV shows. Recently, they aired a show about people under the age of 24 living with HIV/AIDS. It was amazing. A series of personal videos shot by individuals living with the disease, and pieced together to create a powerful study of what life is like as a young person in America dealing with HIV, the stereotypes, and the challenges. ThinkMTV is geared to create awareness about important issues like AIDS and the environment and poverty and violence. I think it is a wonderful way to inform youth in America. Gotta do whatever it takes to get people aware and concerned and then active. Kudos MTV. Maybe y’all could spend more money making those types of shows. I think we’d be cool with a few less dating shows or reality shows about wealthy socialites.

2. City at Peace CD Release (Shameless Plug!!)
So, as many of you know, I have made a career shift recently. I am now the Artistic Director of City at Peace Los Angeles, a non-profit organization that uses the performing arts with a diverse group of teens to teach the principles and skills of cross-cultural understanding, non-violent conflict resolution, and leadership. During the program, participating teens create an original musical based on their lives and their ideas for transforming the city in which they live into a city at peace. Then, through advocacy projects, the teens act on their vision to make it a reality. City at Peace has programs across the United States, as well as in South Africa and in Israel. I really believe in this organization and I am incredibly proud to be leading the program in L.A.
Recently, the organization released a CD, and I think it ROCKS! The CD was recorded at Sony in NYC this past year with teens from CAP programs from across the country. The songs come straight from their lives and experiences. You can order the CD and listen to pieces of it at Don’t hesitate—order one - you’ll love it.

1. Days Without Lists
Okay, so this one is short and sweet. I recently had the thought that heaven is a place with no “to do” lists. I also made the discovery that rare is the day when I don’t make one. They can vary in length and in task. They have been known to be color-coded. If you have had had the pleasure of seeing one of mine, you would be impressed. But, enough is enough. Last weekend, I dared to go where I have rarely gone before - a day without a “to do” list. Wow. It was liberating! I woke up and Chris said, “What do you want to do today”? “Hmm”, I thought. “Let’s just see where the weekend takes us”. It was so wonderful. The weekend included a run, yoga, a wonderful bottle of wine, and some good old television watching. The good life!

Okay, please stay tuned for more Our Woman in L.A. entries this week. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll even consider a Weekly Bottom One. Oh, and feel free to make suggestions. I am not above feedback. Just no throwing cyberspace peanuts at me. Please.

Yeah! Nice to see something new on the blog. I was getting depressed...
Also, I heartily approve of the new writer, I think she's a keeper. Looking forward to seeing you guys in October.
--Prof. Evenkeel
I approve of the guest blogger, too. I love the friendly neighbors and no to-do-list day. Great!
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