Something about sitting in an Adirondack chair looking out over rolling hills and vineyards

by Lorin Michel Saturday, June 18, 2016 6:52 PM

We took our coffee, the first of the morning, and went to sit. The trees were rustling in the breeze, birds were arguing good-naturedly, somewhere a tractor did what tractors do. I heard a dog bark. From inside the house, music. It might have been Eva Cassidy. I found out later it was someone named Lisa Tingle. Roy has a great collection of music. He is our designated disc jockey.

A lizard squirted by, black and scaly, a miniature version of an alligator. 1:100 in scale. Probably more. Or less.

Kevin was walking in the field below though it wasn't much of a field anymore. It's been plowed and staked. New vines will be going in soon. Ever the would-be vintner, he was looking for tips, maybe for validation. He had a cup of coffee with him. A hawk soared above.

Roy was off somewhere taking pictures. Bobbi was still in bed. I was sitting in the back. I had turned one of the old, weathered and nearly broken Adirondack chairs toward the sun, feeling it warm my legs.

This is a different house for us. The past two trips, we've stayed in a two-bedroom guest house in the J & J Vineyards. We fell in love with the space, with sitting out on the porch in the morning, having coffee, overlooking the vineyards. Kevin and I often were up before Roy and Bobbi and we’d go for a walk. Last November, it was cold. We walked anyway, crunching through the vineyard, finding passed-over clusters of grapes. Cold.

But that house, for whatever reason, isn't available anymore. We had to find something new, equally interesting and obviously different. When you get used to a place and really like it, it's harder to change. Bobbi and I want back and forth, comparing places, locations, amenities, and finally decided on Homestead Hill off of Kiler Canyon. We arrived last night near 6 pm. It's definitely different, atop a hill rather than snuggled in and amongst vines. I didn't like it at first; I was disappointed. I don't know why. I think just because it’s new and different.

We made dinner; we relaxed. We went to bed. The windows were open in our rooms. We listened to the crickets and the quiet of the night. We felt the cool air drift over us. We woke up to the birds and the rustling leaves.

I sat with my coffee in my Adirondack chair, my feet on the edge of the dormant fire pit, peering out at the world through my Maui Jims. It had been cool when I came out but the sun started to warm the day. A heat wave starting. It will be all over the west. 

The house is growing on me.

The sun was comforting, comfortable, the day just beginning; beckoning. The vineyards glistened next to the dried brush. It was glorious. A perfect morning beginning a perfect day.

Sitting in an Adirondack chair.

The day dawns

by Lorin Michel Saturday, April 16, 2016 8:07 PM

There is evidence that waking up gradually as the bedroom fills with natural night is more pleasant than waking up to a screaming alarm clock, which makes tremendous sense. According to researchers at MIT, waking up to dawn’s light also increases the body’s level of cortisol, a neurohormone that helps prepare the brain and the body to handle whatever it encounters during the day. MIT says this helps people deliver peak performance. In their research, they found that people who give themselves about 30 minutes of morning light as they wake to greet the day are more likely to feel alert all day. 

The part of me that used to love sleep would love to take issue with that remark. After all, it wasn’t that long ago where sleeping in on Saturday mornings was one of the things I most looked forward to at the end of the week. I always thought it was a good way of recharging my battery. 

But I’ve come to realize that MIT researchers are probably right ­– it is MIT after all – and here’s why: I wake up to natural light every day and I actually feel better because of it. 

In Oak Park, we had nice vertical blinds on the sliding glass doors in the bedroom. They served to block out quite a bit of morning light. The big window in the bathroom, behind the bathtub, had blinds, too, mostly because our neighbors were so close that they could easily look in. Not that I’m prone to soaking in the tub. But the glass shower stall was right next to the tub. It stayed fairly cozy and dim in the room until I opened those blinds, making it easy to sleep in. But I often slept almost too much and then I’d feel actually worse. Foggy, with a dull headache. 

Our house now is not close to anyone other than the birds and the deer so we have no window coverings anywhere. The only thing we have is a deck with a roof that extends out at least 12 feet, providing shade but not necessarily diminishing the light. We face almost directly south so when the sun rises in the east each morning, it comes up over the mountains to our left, gently, almost quietly. And we wake up equally gently. We can stretch, watch as the sun floods the valley below, turning the day from a purplish gray to bright, the sky blue, the desert green. 

Photo to the east of the house at dawn, courtesy of Roy Guzman

I have found that I’m up early every day now, even on the weekends, even my precious recharging Saturday. Up with the light. This morning, a Saturday, previously my day to lounge and sleep, I was up at 6:50, walking the dog by 7:30. As the summer comes ever closer, I’ll be up even earlier. The light will flood the room, I’ll stretch and look to the south, out the wall of glass, past the railing on the deck and welcome the day. It’s hard for me to actually believe that I now enjoy getting up. That I can and do enjoy the earliness, every day.

We have coffee, we walk. We’re back to the house, usually before 8, just as the day is heating up. We still go to bed at the same time so we should be more tired, but we’re not. We’re – dare I say it? – energized.

The day dawns and so do we. If MIT says it’s good, who are we to argue?

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live out loud

Things that happened

by Lorin Michel Thursday, December 31, 2015 3:09 PM

It seems like just a year ago it was snowing. I ran to the window every 15 minutes or so, like a kid, watching and waiting for the flakes to begin. When they did, I squealed with delight. Yes, squealed. It set the tone for 2015 and I was ready. 

We started the snowy year filled with anxiety and anticipation. Our house was nearing completion and Roy’s gallery opening was looming. We had hoped to be in by the end of January but we were still finishing, still tiling, still shopping for lights and mirrors and accoutrements. Cooper started to get sick and the vet kept insisting it was Valley Fever when it wasn’t. He put him on prednisone and it seemed to perk him right up. But it would be short lived. 

February came and went and we began to worry. We booked movers. We had Roy’s show coming up and we needed a house for the party we were throwing. We pressured Mike and he gave a date that was soon moved back. We simply weren’t finished. We paid a point and a half on our loan because we hadn’t converted from construction to residential. Tick tock went the clock.

Finally March, a move in, a show, a party and the loss of our beloved Cooper. I’ll never forget how sick he was just a week before the move. How he seemed to get better and then how he went completely down hill. I remember being frustrated with him and hating myself for it. There was so much going on and I needed him to be better because I didn’t have time to worry. But I did worry. And then he died on March 29, the day after Roy’s opening. 

We were in the house. Now came the task of putting it all together, and then the realization that a new house didn’t actually mean there was nothing to do. Quite the contrary. Project after project materialized. Some were completed; most were not. Works in progress. Projects in progress. 

Riley arrived on April 27 because I simply could not fathom living here without a dog. It was always supposed to be for the three of us. Our beautiful boy, whose name is still attached to the area on the side of the house where Riley pees and poops. The Cooper area. He never got to use it but Riley makes up for that every day. 

We experienced our first monsoon up here, watching the sky turn green and fly toward us at breakneck speed. Torrential rain, fierce winds. One day, a microburst that hurled our furniture across the deck, breaking one of our Adirondack chairs. 

Visitors came, two by two. Kevin’s brother and sister-in-law, people I’d never spent any time with in the 20 years he and I have been together. What fun we had. Roy and Bobbi. Diane and Gene. Justin, who walked in and stood in the foyer. “Holy shit.” My sister came in July; my mother and aunt in November. We made new friends and missed our old ones. Wished they could always be here with us.

There was travel to Los Angeles, a road trip to Paso Robles. Wine tasting, cooking. Volunteer work and work work.

Birthdays, anniversaries, phone calls and Face Time, face time and emails, text messages. New iPhones, new iPads, a new computer for me.

Tick tock goes the clock. Ever forward.

Older, wiser. Some days happier, some days curious. Other days wondering did we do the right thing? So much change, so much. 

We end the year with high clouds and cold temperatures. No snow, not even rain in the forecast. We’ll light a fire and sit near the glow of the Christmas tree on this last night of the year. We’ll remember all we’ve accomplished, all we’ve celebrated, and what we’ve lost, what we’ve had to give up, the people we always miss, and we’ll toast to each. Happy 2015. And welcome a brand spankin’ new 2016. Let’s take it out for a ride and see what it can do.


by Lorin Michel Wednesday, December 23, 2015 5:37 PM

Road trip today. Left on Houghton, down to the 10 east to 80 south toward Tombstone. Winding through the desert, through tiny towns that always make me wonder who lives there and why, past decaying buildings, many flying fraying flags. It was a two lane road, 80 east, flanked by buffalo grass waving in the breeze. The sky was heavy with clouds, threatening rain. We were behind a truck called Greer Doors & Windows. It was just the two of us, climbing slowly up to just over 5200 feet and into the charming and artistic town of Bisbee. 

Bisbee is about an hour and a half south of Tucson. It's tucked into the Mule Mountains in Cochise County. It was founded in 1880 as a mining town, like so many of the small towns in Arizona. Arizona is known as the copper state because of all the mining of copper in the 19th and early 20th century.

Bisbee is a bit like the land that time forgot, in the most artistic and funky way. Downtown still looks like it looked once upon a time though now, instead of tool shops and jean depots, it is galleries and gift shops, lovely cafes and restaurants. The architecture is funky, the spirit creative, the people artsy. There is wine tasting and music, lots of decorations. 

We got there around 10:30 and wound our way through galleries and shops, up Main Street and back down again. We stopped to talk to a woman who makes her own glass beads by wrapping different strands of glass around a soldering stick and melting them together. Each one has a different color scheme but each has a crescent moon on one side and a full moon on the other. Kevin bought one for me for Christmas. 

We ate at a place called Ana's Seasonal Cafe. There were six tables, one waitress and one cook. The tables all had shelf-lining paper wrapped around the tops and stapled on the bottom. The food was excellent. 

We stopped to pet a German shepherd puppy named Ozzie. His owner assured us that he will eventually grow into his ears.

As we walked back toward the car we stopped to look at a set of stairs that started between two businesses and went up, up and up some more. There are many such staircases in Bisbee. It's built into the mountains and houses are nestled and stacked. There are several abandoned mine buildings at the end of closed shafts. Kevin and Roy were taking photographs. A lovely elderly woman stopped. Her hair was a soft white, in loose curls. She wore blue jeans with studs down the side, brown cowboy boots. She was wrapped up in a big red coat and had a green scarf tied around her throat. She was carrying a small Christmas bag with an illustration of Santa.

"Where are you all from?" she asked.

We proceeded to tell her and she welcomed us to her town. She told us about the Acacia just down Main that used to be a horse hotel. Inside, she said, is the big wooden freight elevator they used to bring the horses to the second level. The carriages and wagons were parked on the first floor. Down Gulch were a number of mansions. There was mine tours. She used to work in the visitor's center. She's retired now, was in town to get her mail. Her name was Juanita and she's always called Bisbee home. She lives there with her husband. 

After speaking with us for 15 or 20 minutes, she said she had to get to the mail. She wished us Happy Christmas, and tying her scarf a little tighter, she walked off down Main, toward the Gulch, leaving us smiling in her wake.

We took a road trip today to Bisbee and we met some wonderful people. It was a day to celebrate, to live it out loud.

In the pantry and in the freezer

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, December 22, 2015 6:25 PM

I am a planner. I am a control freak. These two personality traits go hand in paw. Last night we started planning what we'll be eating on Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day. I don't plan every meal we're going to eat. Last night for example, I had absolutely nothing planned. This isn’t usually a problem as I actually enjoy opening the door to the pantry to see what might spark an idea. I do the same by opening the freezer. Usually something strikes me and I create. 

Roy and Bobbi are here for the holiday. It officially became Christmas when they arrived on Sunday night. I had stuff planned for when they arrived. Tapas, really. Steak tips in a gorgonzola sauce, mini twice baked potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, spinach/artichoke dip. But for some reason, I didn’t get anything for last night. I’m not sure why. We all started musing about dinner and Roy said that he could do pasta. I’m always up for pasta. It’s one of my official food groups. I remembered I had some wild-mushroom stuffed ravioli. I had some French bread. I decided to make a mushroom/tomato/garlic ragout to serve over the ravioli, all veggies I had in the drawer. I made garlic bread. It was a lovely meal.

Bobbi and I wrapped presents today for the Southern Arizona Golden Retriever Rescue group. In between wrapping, we discussed our menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Some had already been decided. We order prime rib yesterday and the boys will pick it up on Thursday morning. I also need them to get me some ahi tuna since I need that for Christmas Eve. 

Originally I had planned to do manicotti. It’s an Italian tradition, one I’ve done before. But it seemed as if it might be heavy. I thought, since we’re having prime rib on Christmas, maybe we should do a feast of appetizers instead. But a feast of appetizers, as appetizing as that sounds, needs to be planned, especially since I absolutely do not want to brave the grocery store between now and Christmas Eve. 

We decided on an avocado/tuna tower with mango. We’re going to do mini tacos that I’ll put in Tostido scoops, topped with sour cream, salsa, and olives. We’re going to do bourbon meatballs. Those require hamburger, ground pork (I’m substituting turkey sausage), apricot jam and bourbon. We’re also going to do a vegetable thing that has slices of squash, zucchini, onion and potato, topped with Italian cheese. Also maybe some cheese and some bread. 

For Christmas, to go with the prime rib, we’re doing fennel scalloped potatoes, and asparagus with a garlic butter/gorgonzola sauce.

All of these things required a list. Bobbi and I dutifully looked everything up on our phones while waiting for people who needed books wrapped. Whatever did we do before smart phones and iPhones in general? I really can’t remember actually having to go to a cookbook, though since we were in Barnes and Noble we could have easily found something enticing to copy. 

I made a list and then went to the store. I now have everything I need for the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals with the exception of the prime rib and the tuna. I’m ready.

Except for tomorrow. I have nothing planned. Maybe I’ll make some kind of soup. I’ll have to see what I have in the pantry or the freezer and then create – and celebrate – accordingly.

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live out loud

Musings on this night

by Lorin Michel Thursday, December 3, 2015 9:05 PM

I’m having a tired day. I think the last few weeks are finally catching up with me. I haven’t been sleeping well. Last weekend was a whirlwind of driving and wine tasting, I’m still fairly busy at work. I just can’t seem to catch up on anything and I feel like a zombie. Coincidentally, I look like one as well. It’s very sad. 

I have also been scraping the bottom of the barrel today when it comes to creativity. Nothing was coming easily, I got very little accomplished from a writing standpoint. I couldn’t even come up with an idea for the blog. It’s very very sad. 

So at 7:44, I decided to pour myself a glass of wine and armed with the football game – which is on CBS even though I thought Thursday night games were now on the NFL channel – I sat my butt down to write. Something. Anything. Please. So sad. 

Here’s what I know: it’s December. I have done almost nothing for Christmas. I finally bought some stuff on Monday. If Patty hadn’t brought me a poinsettia yesterday when she came for an overnight visit, I’d have no decorations. 

It was very cold until this morning but spring has returned temporarily and I’m not crazy about it. 

Today is Roy’s birthday. Kevin’s is Tuesday.

I can’t seem to keep a thought in my head when I’m tired like this. It’s like it goes out a door into a storm and it takes me a while to seek it out.

I haven’t watched Criminal Minds in years and am surprised to see that it’s still on. Not because I don’t watch it but because I don’t know anyone who does. 

We’re going to a holiday open house on Saturday. Next week we’re getting together with our neighbors to have a holiday celebration. Bring on the cheer.

Sometimes we’re lonely up here on the hill. We’re trying not to be. 

Roy and Bobbi come for Christmas on the 20th.

Was it just last weekend that we were in Paso Robles? Incredible how quickly time flies.

Yesterday there was yet another mass shooting, the 355th of the year. Of. The. Year. Maybe the weapons of mass destruction are in THIS country. 

My husband is at Lowes and I’m in charge of cooking the chicken. I don’t like to cook chicken. I do, however, like to eat chicken. 

This year it seems as if I have been and am forever behind, more so than usual, on nearly everything. This may be something I need to address though I’m not entirely sure what I can do differently. Maybe find a way to get some more sleep in order to harness more energy. Also find a way to clear the brain fog that settles nearly every day. I need driving lights. 

My entire life has changed in the last two years and it hasn’t changed a bit. It’s definitely an enigma.

Enigma used to be a musical group specializing in fusion pop jazz.

I look out over the sparkling city. In the houses below us, some sparkle with Christmas decorations. In the sky, I see a shooting star. I’m amazed at how often I see them here. It’s like they’re racing to get to the top of someone’s tree. Maybe ours. Maybe on Saturday, when I’ll be decorating out loud.  

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live out loud

It's art

by Lorin Michel Friday, October 2, 2015 10:57 PM


As much as I want everyone to believe that Roy and Bobbi are here this weekend just because they missed us, it's not true. Well maybe it's a little true but it's mostly not. They're here because Roy has two pieces of art going into galleries in Phoenix.

As Roy's rep, Kevin has been pitching his art to galleries and we've been somewhat successful. There was the gallery showing during the month of April which was a success. There is the piece on permanent display at the Tucson Music Museum downtown. Bobbi hasn't seen that yet; we might go tomorrow when we're downtown for Tucson Modern Week.

The other place where we've had success is the Herberger Theatre in Phoenix. The Herberger was built in 1989 to "support and foster the growth of performing arts in Phoenix as a performance venue and arts incubator. The Herberger Theater Center has contributed to the cultural and educational development of the Valley. Each year, approximately 130,000 patrons, including 30,000 school-aged children share the unique experience of live performing arts." That's from their website. It has a sister theatre in Tucson called the Arizona Theatre Company. We've been three times and just love it.

When we submit Roy's art, it has thus far been for juried art shows, where we've submitted pieces and his work has been chosen sans his name or any other information. The first time his work exhibited there was during the same month as the gallery showing. He has two pieces going in this month, one a painting and another a photograph that is going up in one of their affiliated facilities. The painting is on display until January; the photograph just through early November. Roy and Bobbi came on Wednesday evening, stopping in Phoenix to drop both pieces at the Theatre.

Tonight is the opening and the four of us are going to the Valley of the Sun, to downtown Phoenix. It's a two and a half hour drive each way. The event is an hour and a half. We'll drive through the desert in the late afternoon sun, talking and laughing. Tired because Roy accidentally set the alarm off around 6 am waking us both up rather violently. But excited to see Roy's piece on display. This place is big time. It's high end. It's art. When it's Roy's art, it's always worth celebrating.

The conversation flows as easily as the wine

by Lorin Michel Thursday, October 1, 2015 8:58 PM

Roy and Bobbi are here visiting. They came in late yesterday afternoon, rolling up the hill just before 5 and in time for sunset. They haven’t been here since the end of April, just after we got Riley. We miss them so much, and even though Bobbi and I “chat” every day, including the weekends, we haven’t had the time to simply be. To talk, to share. Most importantly, to laugh.

I don’t know when we all got to be so close and ultimately it doesn’t matter. It’s been a long time, and it’s one of the great joys of my life. They are two of the best people I know, and always remind me of the importance of good friends. The importance of life.

Even though it had been months, we immediately settled into ourselves and our friendship. There is never a lack of things to talk about, or more importantly to laugh about. Kevin opened some wine as Roy and Bobbi sat on the steps, waiting for Riley to get used to them. We had warned them to ignore him, talk to him in just a regular tone of voice, don’t show any excitement and let him to come you. He’s an odd duck, our Riley Boo. I think his reticence when it comes to new people stems from his old people.

Soon enough, he was playing with his new toy and we were all just enjoying Wednesday.

We talked about everything. Roy’s art, the house, Bobbi’s teaching, Bobbi’s business, LA, Tucson, Kevin’s work, my books, Bobbi’s family, my family, Diane and Gene and their impending move.  The conversation moved effortlessly from one topic to another.

We went outside for sunset though didn’t stay long because we’re just finishing up monsoon 2015 – ending officially last night – and because we’ve had more rain than usual, we also have more irritating bugs than usual. Little gnat type bugs that don’t necessarily bite. They simply annoy. They swarm. And they take all of the enjoyment out of being outside. For that reason, and others, we’re ready for the heat and the summer to go away. It’s time.

Soon we were opening another bottle of wine and munching on some extra sharp cheddar. I made scalloped potatoes while Kevin and Roy went outside to put the ribs on the grill. Bobbi and I talked about art. After the potatoes were done and ready for the oven, we moved to the great room and eventually into the master bedroom where we only have one piece of art hanging, over the bed. It’s a whimsical piece, oil on canvas. There’s no frame. It’s one of my favorites, purchased at a swap meet in Ventura years ago.

We started talking about Kevin and I leaving LA and how it affected all of us, perhaps them most of all because they were the ones left. How it disrupted our lives, how it made them feel. How it made us feel.

Once upon a time and nearly every week, we celebrated Fritini. It was the punctuation at the end of the week, a way to sit and talk and drink and laugh. To share the week and to get over it. We don’t have that anymore, none of us, and while we have this gorgeous new home, we don’t have them. Not close by. We all feel the distance, the emptiness. Even though we easily became the four of us again. The band, back together.

We opened another bottle of wine. We had dinner. The conversation flowed as easily as the L’Aventure Optimus. It was as it always was and as it will always be. With good friends, good wine, good talk. A good night indeed.

Captured at the speed of a shutter click

by Lorin Michel Saturday, August 22, 2015 8:37 PM

In 8th grade, we had to choose a profession and do a report on it. I chose photography and to this day, I can’t tell you why. I suspect it sounded glamorous and artistic and fun. The fact that I didn’t own a camera and had probably never taken a picture in my life was immaterial. I still remember the cover I did for the report. Yellow construction paper with the word Photography written in colored magic marker. I don’t think there was a photograph included, on the cover or inside. Regardless, I got an A. It must have been well-written and researched.

I did take a photography class in high school. I had an old Canon SLS camera at that point. We shot on black and white film and learned how to open a canister, and put the roll onto a spiel inside a black bag in order to develop the negatives. I became quite adept at it, but I was never a great photographer. And truth be told, I didn’t really like it.

Kevin loves to take photos and he’s good at it. His dad was a photographer, and heavily involved in a camera club when Kevin was growing up. I think Kevin even had something to do with the club when he was in high school. We have several of Tom Michel’s black and white photos here in the house.

Our friend Gene, a musician by trade, is a great photographer. He has a good eye and an easy way of capturing life.

And then there’s Roy. As an artist, he sees everything differently than the rest of us. He can look at the house, and where everyone else is trying to figure out how to get all of it into one picture, he simply takes a portion of it, capturing the unique angles at a unique angle. He views the world through his viewfinder. Even the photos he takes of his cats are spectacular. We’ve always told him he should do an exhibit just of animal photos.

He has had one painting in a theatre in Phoenix, chosen through an anonymous jury. He has another that will be displayed for the last part of this year, October, thru December. A month or so ago, the theater, the Herberger, had another call to artists, this time for photography. Labeled the “candid” exhibit, they wanted life shots, captured at the speed of a shutter click. We (because it was a team effort, though most of the work was done by photographer Roy and his trustee sidekick extraordinaire, Bobbi) submitted 10 photos. Today we got word:

“On behalf of the Herberger Theater Center, I would like to congratulate you on being chosen to participate.” The piece that was selected is entitled “Dog in Fiat.” It was one of 30 chosen out of 370 images, again by a blind jury.

"Dog in Fiat" by Roy Guzman, Photographer

I obviously never seriously pursued a career in photography. I never even dabbled. But I know good photography when I see it. A good photograph can catapult you into the image. Suddenly you’re walking on the beach at sunset, you’re lost in the vineyards of Santa Ynez, you’re next to a hummingbird on a flower, you’re watching the fog roll over the ocean in Oregon, you’re inside a cave in Antelope Canyon. You’re standing along the road, watching a fiat go by with a big dog in the passenger seat. It just takes a click and you’re there, celebrating. Living it out loud. 

So big it’s claustrophobic

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, May 20, 2015 8:56 PM

I spoke with my friend Diane today. She and Gene are up in Oregon. It’s their third or fourth trip and they’re in the process of deciding whether or not to move. It’s a big decision, but one they seem on the verge of making and I couldn’t be happier for them.

We all moved to LA at around the same time, give or take a few years. Diane moved from Detroit. I believe Gene moved from Ohio. I moved from the North East, Kevin from Chicago, Bobbi from Wisconsin. Roy is the only native amongst us. One of the lasting jokes about Los Angeles is that everyone there is from somewhere else. I’m not sure that’s as true now as it used to be but I suspect it is.

Los Angeles has long held sway over young people, especially those in entertainment. Diane moved to be closer to the music industry and for a time, worked as a recording studio manager. Gene, a musician, moved to be in the music industry. Bobbi moved to work in the music industry as well. She had actually been accepted into USC as a music major but never went. Roy was already in the music industry. He worked as an artist for United Artists Records which eventually became Capitol Records when Capitol bought them. He designed album covers.

Bobbi worked for Diane. Then Diane moved onto someplace else and Bobbi got a job at Capitol where she met Roy.

I’m not sure how I expected to meet my fame and make my fortune. I had entertained being a screenwriter, and I actually had several things that were nearly optioned. But I soon gave that up and just decided to write for me, and for anyone who wanted – wants – to pay me.

Kevin’s background is sales and marketing but he decided to also go more toward the creative in 2000 when he quit his job and started his own web development, design, and marketing company.

LA was very good to us all. It gave us a shot at our creative careers. Perhaps even more importantly, it introduced us to some of the best people we know. I’ve been friends with Roy and Bobbi since 1989, with Diane since shortly thereafter and with Gene since shortly thereafter that. Kevin and I got together in 1995 but he also knew Roy and Bobbi from before. We’re all just one big happy coincidence.

The ranch where Diane and Gene are staying. Gene posted this yesterday.

We’ve all decided that LA is more for younger people. I don’t consider any of us old, but we’re long past our 20s and 30s, the time when traffic isn’t as bothersome, when the outrageousness of the city doesn’t irritate. When you get to the point where every time you go somewhere it’s a major ordeal because of traffic; when you have to check the traffic reports before you leave the house; when even after doing all of that, you’re still late because of traffic, it gets frustrating. As Roy always says, it takes the fun out of the balloon.

We stopped having fun in LA a long time ago. We rarely left our house in Oak Park because it was just too painful to go anywhere. Diane and Gene are in that place now, too, and like us, they can take their careers elsewhere. Plus, should they move to Oregon, it’s not that far from LA. It’s easy to get back when you need to.

We talked about it all today. She’s ready; Gene is a little more apprehensive. But their lives in LA are now nostalgic. Gene was the lead guitarist for Joe Cocker and toured the world for years. But Joe died just before Christmas last year and none of the other band mates live in LA either.

Los Angeles is wondrous, adventurous, full of possibility. It’s also claustrophobic because it’s so big. All of the concrete and traffic and buildings and people seeking their break close down around you. You don’t really realize it until you get out. We miss the ideal of it but no longer the idea of it. I suspect Diane and Gene may be doing the same in the not too distant future, and we wish them dogspeed on their way to living it out loud.

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live out loud

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