When you’re living in overtime, or extra time, bonus time – whatever you’d like to call the point at which every moment you have left matters (a lot) – you fall in love with the days when everything comes together and the Universe hands you a gift.
Toss in a little luck with an email from a reader of this blog and it becomes the “perfect” day.
With my wife fighting a cold, my 11 year-old daughter and I visited the Renegade Craft Fair, located between Chinatown and Downtown LA. It was our holiday gift-finding adventure on a Saturday morning. And, as a bonus, the weather gods delivered the optimal temperature: 75 degrees, light breeze and crystal clear sky with minimal pollution that we could see.
Now just a bit of back story.
Usually I drag my daughter to early morning flea markets and swap meets in search of reclaimed wood and metal pieces and other unique items I can refinish for the house. Like the time we drove all the way to the Long Beach Flea Market and I told my daughter it might be chilly out and to dress warmly, only to get an 80-degree day. This led to “angry tweener syndrome,” which is a lot like walking the booths with the Tasmanian Devil at your side. It bites. So keep your eyes forward and ignore the snarling noises.
What I’ve learned is my daughter at 11 has a very narrow range in her comfort zone. Tired, hot, and hungry all lead to beating up daddy with “grumpitude.”
But the Renegade Fair, with its jewelry and clothing, was more her style. And though she overdressed a bit, losing the wool scarf upon arrival, she took to the hip, LA cool of the place right away, especially when it’s almost Christmas and I’m footing the bill.
90 minutes later, we left with bags and more bags of soaps, caramel popcorn (peppermint was my favorite, curry, hers), seed bombs, fruit preserves, lip balms, and a hanging terrarium for her mom. We also rejoiced in helping small businesses and scoring great Christmas gifts. Double Bonus.
(Now the story shifts sideways for a moment.)
The best part of writing this blog is the people I’ve met online, from Van Nuys CA, not too far away, to Australia and England, and down south to Georgia. And Texas. And Boston. And Valencia CA. And Minnesota. I fear mentioning just these locations because they don’t cover all of my blog friends. But they’re far and wide.
I email back and forth with many of these wonderful and caring people and they prevent me from being completely hopeless and negative about humanity.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Larry emailed me and mentioned he saw a place TV show with a restaurant in LA called Homegirl Cafe and asked if I’ve ever been there. I haven’t. And it’s in Downtown LA, so I doubt I ever will, I tell him. But I research it, finding out Homeboy/Homegirl helps transform gang members with “Jobs, not Jail,” an excellent cause here in LA. I’m intrigued and put in on my mental bucket list.
So, as my daughter and I drive away from the craft fair, what restaurant do I pass?
If you guessed Homegirl, you are correct. (Larry, my friend, you are a Prince.)
The Universe said: Luck is your responsibility.
Daddy, was that legal?
We skip driving home and park at Homegirl.
Luck had found us thanks to a simple question in a simple email. And my daughter and I enjoy a great memory and brunch – a bacon omelette, in which she removes the bacon strip and tries to eat it all at once. “You eat like a barbarian,” I say. She smiled a big bacon smile.
The Universe rewarded me with an amazing Cucumber, pineapple and lime drink and I enter “foodie heaven” – and feel good about supporting a wonderful enterprise like Homegirl.
I read a theory on time once that stated it feels slow for us when we’re young because we fill it constantly with new experiences and memories. As we grow older, we create fewer new memories and time feels like it goes faster.
I’m not sure if the theory is correct or not, but I can say this: 4.5 hours of airway clearance a day, and three to four hospitalizations a year, are worth the price of admission to a life with days like this one.
Good job you remembered the brits sunshine.
Lucky (for you)
Sounds like an amazing day – this blog timed it right into my inbox – off to the hospital with D. Bad timing before christmas. I’m hoping its just a blip.
Grab those days by the collar.
The best advice ever given.
Love you spud head. Now get back in your training wheel.
Beautiful and witty…!
This made me smile :-). I hope your holidays are lovely!
I’m glad it made you smile. I forgot to list Ohio. Argh. See, it’s hard to keep track of every person and place. Wishing you and the family the best and healthiest of holidays.
BTW, why couldn’t your Browns have beat the Patriots. ARGH.
Thanks UC. Far from a Prince but feel honored you think so. Thrilled that the Universe shown down on you and a perfect day was made. And to know that the purchase of the bacon omelette and cucumber, lime, pineapple drink (what?) goes to such a good cause makes it more enjoyable.
Your comment nailed it perfectly. Nothing to add but, “Thank you.”
I can’t wait to try Homegirl! It’s funny because I was right in that area on Saturday looking for a place to eat between meetings. My experimental restaurant did not work out so well. You described the perfect day. I love it when it all just unfolds like that in such a perfect way. It’s days like those that make me remember to leave the expectations behind and just be present to enjoy what happens.
I like the fact we were having a fun meal and helping LA. Lots of interesting tattoos to view, too. You and I probably drove past each other that day. There is also Phillipe’s down the street. Best french dip in LA.
Every day now I look for a reason to zig zag from the routine. Some days, it actually happens. Magic.
Best to you and the family this holiday season.