gathered waists are not my friend

Cambie #3 (View B)
I made my third (and last, for now) Cambie over the weekend, this time in View B. I never normally wear a gathered waist, but I thought I’d try it this time, having a much smaller lower half these days. Maybe it would look cute?

Cambie Fabric Detail
The outer fabric is a super soft and drapey burnout cotton. The lining (which shows through in the burned out parts) is a striped soft cotton with a tiny bit of stretch. I got about 5 yards of each from Michael Levine Loft for a total of eight bucks. Score!

Cambie #3 (View B)
But no, this silhouette still doesn’t do my figure any favours. Maybe it would be festive in a red silk for a Christmas party dress. It feels like a party dress. Which I can’t say I’ve worn since I was a little girl. Probably for a good reason.

It was a good experiment, with inexpensive (but lovely) fabric. Now I know: gathered waists just aren’t for me.

tattoo those four agreements

#tattoo in progress #notmine

#mural by Spanish artist Belin on the back of Kat Von D's tattoo parlor. #belin #artist

I spent a couple of hours in a tattoo parlour yesterday, while two ‘high voltage’ Aussie girlfriends had matching lotus flowers inked on their wrists.

[Khoi Nguyen was the artist. That’s also him — see the star-shaped scar below his eye? — on the Belin mural behind the store. All done with spray paint. Incredible.]

Anyway, while I waited, I pondered the Four Agreements poster up on the wall. I have read the book, and gotten bogged down by God-talk, waffling, clichés, and needless repetition of simple advice. But when the Agreements are bulleted, without all the extraneous fluff, I find them powerful, and a good reminder that many of my unconscious beliefs are self-limiting, if not self-destructive.

The first two Agreements, especially, are speaking loudly to me right now.

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

I found myself saying a lot less today as I pondered this agreement. And being silent is OK, if all you were going to spout was a bit ‘off’. It really is :-)

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Whoa. This is a biggie. This is the one I really need to get inside right now. Because I am the master of making up stories about what someone else’s actions/words/absences do/do not mean. This is a lesson I need to be reminded of over and over again. I know it, I preach it, but I still find myself trying to create explanations. Which mostly point to how I am unworthy.

So yeah. Thank you, Kat Von D, and the friends who led me there. Who knew I would get a spiritual lesson in a tattoo parlour?

Funny how things work out, right?

choose happiness

I was invited to spend the evening with girlfriends, but I knew I needed to spend it alone.


I have given away some personal power this week, waiting for phone calls. Tonight was my night to get back into my own self-sufficiency, to remind myself that everything is totally OK, just as it is. That I am more than fine. Me. Alone. Fine.


I was nearly back home from my hill climb, when my next door neighbour’s labrador pup wriggled under the fence to love on me. Which led to a shared bottle of wine with MB, and then an invitation to contribute to the community art project in his back room. Sharpies and paints were offered.


Of course I partook, enthusiastically.


Choose happiness? Yes.

Me too.

nadia comaneci

Me? Star struck? OK maybe a little bit

I’m a little bit star struck :-)

soccer + beer + rattlesnakes

Since meeting Keifer, I’ve been sallying forth most evenings in a desire to connect with more of my neighbours.

The other night I met Charles Accardi, who let his icecream melt while we chatted by his car. He wants to see my art. Um, OK.

I’ve also been picking up hitchhikers in the canyon. That’s how I met Kai and Nathan.

Tonight I followed sounds of youthful joy to a game of “double football”, played on a side street by three generations. A round ball was being kicked, while an ovoid ball was simultaneously thrown. I joined in for a few minutes (not sure of the rules) until the patriarch ushered me up the adjacent stairs to meet his wife and give me a beer.

Sylvia and John

Meet Sylvia (from Guatemala) and John (from Malta), Topanga residents for 35 years. We talked about geography and bridges and World War II and rattlesnakes.

The snakes seem to be a recurring theme.

The view from John and Sylvia's

But then, so is the happiness for living in this awesome place. Have I mentioned lately how much I love it here?

bridge to nowhere

This hike has been on my list for years. I’m so happy to have done it today.

The Bridge to Nowhere, built in 1936, spans the San Gabriel River in Southern California. It was meant to be part of the East Fork Road connecting the San Gabriel Valley with Wrightwood. The road was still under construction when it was washed out during the great flood of March 1–2, 1938. The project was then abandoned, leaving the bridge forever stranded in the middle of what is now the Sheep Mountain Wilderness.

Trail to the Bridge to Nowhere

The only way to navigate the 10 mile round trip is on foot or horseback, and on summer weekends hundreds of people make the trek. It involves multiple river crossings — you will get wet!

A private company now owns the bridge, and offers bungee jumping.

Bridge to Nowhere

Leaping off the Bridge to Nowhere

If you don’t want to leap off the bridge, you can still swing, splash, and jump in the river. There are some deep water holes and plenty of ways to get wet.

Rope swing upstream from the Bridge to Nowhere

I still have stitches in my back, so opted out of full immersion this time. But next time I’ll be getting thoroughly wet, for sure. This has got to be one of my all-time favourite SoCal hikes. I plan to go back again before the summer is out. And maybe even bungee jump :-)

when you’re onto a good thing, stick to it

Cambie #2

Cambie #2

Cambie #2, with better fit. Fabric is Moda Sweetwater Reunion Ava’s Apron Dot in Cherry.

The following mods were made (from the last version, not the original pattern):
• 1″ removed from the top of the bust princess seam
• small back darts added
• bodice lengthened by 1/2″
• no lining — edges bound with bias

The back still has fit issues. The creases at the top are a result of the gathers at the front; I don’t think there’s much I can do about them.

But overall I think the back is just too big. Experienced sewists, how do I fix it for Cambie #3?

ode to joy

Man, I love flashmobs. I hope I get to see one some day.

this is how it feels, when I allow myself to feel

Luckily I am a local. And I walk slowly.

Once again tonight, I wandered up the hill as the sun went down.

Leaving my treehouse cocoon, barefoot again, feeling the stones and the prickles.

Evening fog rolling in

The fog rolled in.

Vulnerable, heart cracked open, yawning open, trying not to slam it closed again like the Pied Piper’s mountain.

Trying to just breathe, and be, in my raw open state.

Under a sacred oak, restoring my soul

Meandering off the track, under the oak trees. Sitting, just sitting among the sharp dry leaves.


Knowing I have no answers.

Wondering how and why I got here. Fifty-two, far from my family and the home of my youth. Second marriage over.

Looking up through the branches of the sacred oak.


Yet yearning.

This is how it feels.

in that case we’ll do somersaults and spin around in circles and generally roll about

In that case ...
© 2002 Michael Leunig

Half-day at work today, prior to tomorrow’s holiday. Before a brief but delicious afternoon nap, I spied a Leunig book that’s been on my shelf for a decade or so. I love Mr Curly’s irrepressible optimism, such an antidote to the (amusing) cynicism and despair in so many of Leunig’s cartoons. This one especially took my fancy.

Can’t face the future, because it sneaks up from behind, lands on your head, and crawls up your leg? “In that case,” says Mr Curly, “we’ll do somersaults and spin around in circles and generally roll about.”

I agree with the duck: “Very wise …. ”

I think I’ll take that suggestion and twirl with it.

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