Christmas music already?

I am back on the internet which feels refreshing. Who am I kidding though, I never actually left the internet. Is that possible nowadays? I did however run into a series of events that kept me from blogging. First I traveled to Alabama to see my sister get married in possibly the loveliest wedding I’ve been to. The house I grew up in has a rather large amount of forest in the back, and with a few lanterns and candles, this was turned into an enchanting wedding set to the music of “Hallelujah” and “Moon River.” My boyfriend had all his fears and stereotypes of the deep dark South erased and now would love to move over there. Which I felt a big “I TOLD YOU SO” pride swelling deep inside because I’m always sticking up for my beloved Southland. Seriously, we do not all marry our siblings. I only have sisters anyway so I never got the chance. ;) Can you believe I talked to someone that thought slavery is still going on there? And I thought I had bad history classes in school. Well, my ranting is best saved for another day. The biggest joy to me was seeing my beloved nephew. I just can’t get over this kid. I got to play Ana to his Elsa as his obsession with Frozen (like all other kids) has him in awe of the ice queen. I think if I could hear that little three year old tell me “Ana, I love you. We best friends” everyday, I would be in heaven. Seriously, I think I need a kid now. Just skip the pregnancy and somebody give me their kid.

Right after that, it was festival after festival for my film industry job. Which means nonstop travel, meetings, and hobnobbing (or in my case clinging to the food tables) at parties. Yeah, those festivals just really take every moment of your time. But I got to see some pretty amazing films which is always a plus to this job. However, I’m back on the internet to actually do something somewhat productive, not just read soul sucking celebrity gossip articles and stalk TV show fan sites that I’m too embarrassed to admit I watch.

Now that I’ve written this, I get to go do a mass reading of some of my favorite blogs.

Hiking in Sequoia National Park

Now that I’ve sorted through my photos I want to share some of the beautiful sights I was able to see when I visited Sequoia National Park last week.

First of all, I was amazed and enthralled with some of the stunning landscapes I was able to see. I always want to go out of the country and travel and often times I forget how absolutely beautiful the United States is. Here are some of the landscapes I was able to hike and kept annoying others by constantly stopping to snap photographs:

photo (32)And another one. I think I could live in this little cabin and be completely happy.

photo (33)Heading down one of the trails that led to a bunch of old mines, I was delighted to discover these silent observers who clearly thought they were being stealthy. I still get excited over the sight of seeing deer in the wild.

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Cooling off on the Hockett Meadow Trail.

But probably my most exciting shot was of this guy right here:

photo (37)And last but not least, my trip wouldn’t be complete without a typical shot of me standing in a Sequoia tree showing how tiny I am.

photo (38)I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and your Monday back hasn’t been too painful!

Mesothelioma: Fighting the Hidden Killer

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which I’ve been known to crawl under, too, from time to time) you’ve been seeing videos of people dumping buckets of ice cold water over their heads. While the idea itself is a little ridiculous (especially for all those people in Southern California doing this while we’re in an extreme drought), it did do something great for ALS- it brought to light a devastating disease that before people didn’t like to think about, or maybe weren’t even aware existed. Now it would be great if we could dump buckets of water over ourselves for every horrible disease that inflicts people everyday, but we can’t. There are just too many. Besides, who’s going to continually dump water on their head or watch it for that matter? So while it’s great that this awareness move brought attention to ALS, what about the many many others taking lives everyday?

There’s a good chance you may not know that today is the 10th Anniversary of Mesothelioma Awareness Day. I’ll admit, I didn’t know this was today. In fact, while I’ve heard of mesothelioma from time to time, I never paid too much attention to it because, like a lot of people, I tend to take my physical good health for granted. It really wasn’t until I was reached out to by the courageous Heather Von St. James that I spent a good deal of time just really looking into and absorbing the information on this cancer that can so easily affect us all. Heather, who was diagnosed 8 years ago, had just given birth to her daughter and was told she only had 15 months to live. Going through a life saving surgery that removed her left lung, Heather is now spreading awareness through her amazing blog.

Heather and Family

Heather and her family

Cancer is a huge killer. We know that. But what you may or may not know about mesothelioma is that it is caused by exposure to asbestos- which are used in all kinds of buildings, still, to this day. Knowing all the facts and information on this aggressive cancer can possibly help us not only be more aware on how to prevent it,  but it can also open up our eyes and hearts to be there for those who are struggling with mesothelioma now as you read this.

So if you could just take the time today for Mesothelioma Awareness and look over some very important facts on this disease Heather is fighting to protect us from:

What you need to know about the asbestos found everywhere:

Asbestos is a naturally
occurring mineral that is classified
as a known human carcinogen,
because of its association
with mesothelioma.

Even 30 years after the peak
of its use, asbestos still remains
as the number one cause of
occupational cancer in the
United States.

This year 10,000 Americans will die of
asbestos-related diseases such as lung
cancer or mesothelioma and 200,000
people will be living with asbestos.

The EPA estimates that there are asbestos
containing materials in most of the nations
approximately 107,000 primary and
secondary schools and 733,000 public
and commercial buildings.

What you need to know about Mesothelioma:

Mesothelioma commonly sits dormant
in the body for 20-50 years after
initial exposure to asbestos.

80% of all mesothelioma cases occur
within the lining of the lungs.
There are two other recognized types;
peritoneal mesothelioma occurring in the
abdominal lining, and pericardial
mesothelioma occurring in the heart’s lining.

Mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed
between the ages of 50 and 70,
but it is not uncommon among
younger generations who may
have experienced second hand exposure.

Asbestos exposure was first linked
to mesothelioma cancer in 1964.
Worldwide mesothelioma cases are
expected to reach their peak
around the year 2020.

Between 2,500 and 3,000 new cases
of mesothelioma are diagnosed
each year. On average,
they are given 10 months to live.

A Trip To Sequoia: Silver City Mountain Resort

As you all know, I’ve been talking about doing something each day to bring about some happiness. Well, this past weekend it was happiness overload because I took a trip to Sequoia National Park. I’ve probably said this before, but I am a huge outdoors/travel nut. I love it. If I’m indoors for too long I start to get restless and sad. But when I’m outdoors doing some traveling and experiencing new sights, I’m in heaven. Sequoia was one of the areas I wanted to visit in California so I’m glad I was able to finally scratch that off my bucket list. I took pictures, a ton of pictures, and I’m psyched to share them (so if you hate that kind of stuff, avoid my next few posts. But I hope you don’t!) So first, let me tell you about this absolutely adorable place we decided to stay at: Silver City Mountain Resort. Claiming to be the most remote area in the park (which I can believe), this is the kind of place where you hear absolute silence. (If hearing silence is a thing.) After living in a big city for so long, this was refreshing.

On Friday, J and I packed up the car and left work early to take the 4 hour long drive from LA to the Sierra Nevada. I was warned that the hour long road up the mountains and into Sequoia was twisty and dangerous and, yeah, they weren’t kidding around. Once I started the trek up the mountain (lucky for me it was my turn to drive when this came about) it was about 8:30 pm so not only were we driving this snaky road, with little between us and the straight drop off below, but we had to do it at night. It was pretty scary, yet thrilling because I’m the kind of odd one that thrives on those situations. I didn’t get to see much scenery because of our late arrival but I did get to have a nature nerd freak out when I saw cute little mice scampering a long the roads at night, and a tarantula creeping across. Once we arrived to Silver City, we were left keys and a map to our cabin because everyone had gone to bed and given up on us. You know LA people can’t ever be on time. (Damn you, traffic!!) We stayed in the Honeymoon cabin, despite the fact we’re not on a honeymoon, and it was an old little cabin with propane lamps you lit yourself. No electricity.

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Honeymoon Cabin

Private campfire for each cabin.

Private campfire for each cabin.

Cabin kitchen

Cabin kitchen

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Bedroom. (I was really praying those tarantulas didn’t pay my bed a visit.)

It was so old fashioned and bare, which I loved. When I say bare, that means it also didn’t include bathrooms. Those were just a short walk from the cabins and much to my delight, they were very lovely inside. I was honestly expecting some kind of outhouse. The store on site included a delicious restaurant and homemade pies they claimed were the best you ever had. And I had all of them.

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Restaurant/store and in the bottom picture I tried to capture the hail that came down late Saturday.

 

I wasn't kidding about eating all the pie.

I wasn’t kidding about eating all the pie.

This was quite the little haven and a camper’s paradise. Of course, I say camping even though this technically isn’t camping, but still. There was no bathroom or electricity in my cabin so I think I should get some credit for roughing it! Staying in these cabins reminded me of some of my childhood vacations we would take to the mountains and I was elated to relive this. Now once I sort through all my hiking pictures I can share with you some of the most beautiful areas of land I’ve ever seen.

Project Happiness

As I’ve said before (or you may have picked up on in some of my posts) I suffer from depression and like many others know, it can really take a toll on your life. I’m always looking for new ways to get around it, and recently I’ve been focusing on doing something everyday to help take hold of some happiness. Or at least find a way to bring a spark of happiness to every day. And when I say this, I don’t mean I find time to lie on the couch with a huge bowl of ice cream (although ice cream does tend to make me happy), but I mean doing something, even if it’s very small, that will just make me feel all around better about myself and life in general. Whether you suffer from depression or not, trying to squeeze in that moment can benefit us all. We all lead hectic lives that can weigh us down, and if you’re anything like me, you may tend to find your days going by where you’re focused more on other people and making sure they’re happy. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, but it sure leaves your poor neglected self alone out in the cold. And we certainly don’t need that! There’s a lot of sadness in the world as it is.

I enjoy running, but the weather has been so boiling hot lately (we’re looking at highs of 105 next week!!) that I’ve been forced to workout indoors. Last night the weather had cooled down slightly, so I decided to take advantage of that and grab a moment to myself for a quick run around the neighborhood. After adding some new songs on my iPod (who doesn’t get amped up by new music?) I was out the door to enjoy the fresh air.

So even something as simple as stopping to check out the books at a neighbor’s mini library:

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Just the way they decorated this box makes me happy. Notice the owl on top.

Or taking time to stop by the park right before sundown:

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Even just taking the time to do something cost free and good for yourself can make a huge difference. If we all took the time at some point in our day to do something for ourselves that will make us happy, then what an improvement to our health, mind, and attitude it would make.

And who wouldn’t be thrilled to be greeted by this eagerly awaiting face when you get back?:

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(Unless, like 80% of the rest of the population, you’re terrified of rats then being greeted by one probably won’t help bring a ray of sunshine to your day.)

If there’s something special you do during the day for yourself to bring in that spirit of happiness, I would love for you to share it with me!

Waltz with the Courtesan

 

courtesan

 The neon lights flicker with an eerie foreboding glare

The palpitation in my breast warns me I shouldn’t be there

A dismal cavern of musty velvet bids me deep within

This is nothing but a nightmare there’s no use trying to pretend

 

I feel myself under scrutiny by these deceptive eyes

Each alabaster face with lips cracked of death from lustful lies

This sullied world I’ve entered has me chained against its flesh

So why do I feel they’re judging me? I beg my mind to rest

 

Deliquescing into stillness now, I see her floating there

A haunting look she casts my way has her stripping my conscious bare

Luscious locks swirling, twirling they are all servants to this enchanting queen

My thighs begin to ache as she leads me away into this fervent dream

 

Peach lips enunciate words of silk, her lingerie falls against floors no longer soiled

I will now be her king, her true love, to me she will always be ever so loyal

She tells me she is forever mine, forget them all, stay in this land of darkened greed

Of course my courtesan assures me everlasting love if ironically I pay a golden fee

 

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #25

Photo by jjlovely