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December 2012

November 2012

F is for Flo Bo

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F is for Flo Bo.

Which is shorthand for floating boat.  It's what I live on.  It's what I'm currently remodeling.  It's why I'm writing this from a tiny hotel 350 miles from LA.  I am on the make - headed north - to grab the Airstream cause I just wonder - when will I have the opportunity again to live in the Malibu RV Park?  Of course I could live there anytime - but right now, after living on the sailboat, in hotels, on the road, in a sublet, at my pal Lisa's, and pretty much anywhere I could score a good night of shut eye - I just need a little more space and it seems to make sense.  Funny - space now means a 23' travel trailer.  And, it feels luxe.

Meanwhile - loopin' back through some old pix, I see these of the Flo and think, Oh!  Guess that shit was cute even before I ripped her to shreds and uprooted my life and my Keetsa bed and decided to redo her top to bottom.  Even before I tossed everything into storage and decided to basically live out of my truck. Thank God I discovered this Rip Curl luggage.  Easy to tote, light as a feather and so, so tidy.

I just know that in a few weeks the beast will be done.  It has to be done.  Toss on some paint, throw in some soapstone, hook up some appliances, tie in some lighting and let's call it a day.  I want my mind free from it all.  So I can get inspired again.  So I can open up a new avenue of thought again.  It will be a real, real blissful day when the super-fly 1920's Dutch door from France gets installed.  And, it's all locked up tight and a new day begins.

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E is for Escapade

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E is for Escapade
There is nothing like a true fisherman's marina in the wee hours of the night. Especially when you are me and think you are on some sort of covert mission (which I was at the time - eventually a TV show will come).  
I drove to Rhode Island one fine day earlier this year while I was stationed out on the East Coast.  Took forever.  Night had long fallen by the time we pulled in and the hard-to-track-down fisherman we were looking for we're long gone home.
No matter.  There are still things to document.  Workers to spy on.  Stories to craft up.  Doors to sneak behind. All for no good reason, of course...except for the sparkly drama of rolling in late, long lensing the scene (black ops style) and rolling out before the first shift of the morning clocks in.
You crawl into bed around 5 am knowing a scene was set, material has been found, and one more notch has been added to the story belt piecing itself together in your mind.  Ahhhhh.
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D is for Drift

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D is for Drift

In true MST fashion - the next big thing I wanna do is learn to fly.  I took a flying lesson earlier in the year and I was stunned how easy it was. Especially compared to the sometimes terror that sailing can bring on when the ocean turns and the waves crest the boat and you just know this is the one you won't make it through.

We shot up out of Santa Monica Airport in less than a minute and we're drifting up the coast toward Santa Barbara like we were just headed to the supermarket for a gallon of milk.   When the instructor let me take over the plane, it was nuts.  I have a bit of a heavy hand and just wanted to start doing rolls immediately.  But, it was just so easy. We landed at an airport in the valley, took off again and swung back across the hills.   We zoomed over my parents boat in the Marina and waved (what a cool moment) - and I got to see my sailboat and floating home from the air.  Just so, so easy.

Once we landed back in Santa Monica (love that airport), I was obsessed with buying a little plane.  They aren't as expensive as you'd think - and after a few glasses of wine at Typhoon (a great little restaurant at the 'port that serves all kinds of exotic bug dishes), I was hooked.  There are all kinds of newspapers there that have small planes for sale, but just like with boats - it's all about how much luxury do you want/need?

There's a cool dirt landing strip down in Baja that I keep thinking about flying to.   Why?  Lord knows.  I just wanna be able to fly down there - have a margarita, a swim in the Sea of Cortez, and a night under the stars. Then, fly home.  Or not.  

Think - if I get a plane someday...I will have an airstream, a sailboat, a plane.  And live in a floating home on top of the Pacific.  A perfectly mobile life.

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C is for Corral Canyon State Park

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C is for Corral Canyon State Park.

I was just simply looking for a place to take Minka.  A dog friendly place to hike which is oddly rare most places.  A quick hikespeak search brought me straight up PCH to Corral Canyon - a place nobody I know seems to have heard of.  I went with Mouse on Thanksgiving morning - it was blissfully empty as we started up the 2.5 mile loop.  Oh the leashless (pronounced to Minka - Ah leesh lay) joy a 6 month old puppy can exhibit when given a fine dirt path in the woods!  

We walked to the top and sprinted to the bottom - her tenderly exploring hidden nooks and crannies that lined the trail and me drinking in all the wonderfully herbacious smells permeating the path:  anise, fennel, mustard, sage.  She races ahead, spins around, waits for me to catch up and takes off again.  My special Minka whislte causes the birds nearby to whistle back - which causes Minx to cock her head and wonder why my lips aren't moving YET SHE HEARS MY WHISTLE...

I went again the next day because I was so happy to know this patch of land. It made me feel alive again.  To the point of - time to go get the airstream finally and move it to the Malibu RV Park :).  Hell, the Malibu RV park is right next door, there's a fish market and restaurant (Malibu Seafood) that shares the parks parking lot, and there are loads of other trails up and down PCH that we now have to explore (we will just be doing it from the airstream next week instead of boat/apartment/sublet/hotel hopping).

Oh and I just got the new Backpacker magazine in the mail this week and found a whole new hiking journey to undertake next year.  A new 100 mile trail that is part of the new Wales Coast Path.  OMG.  I have to go do this hike - hidden towns where you can bed down for the night, local food, carrying nothing but a day pack and I'm sure a lovely weight loss to boot :).

The feeling after a super good hike/run is what exercise should feel like.  I HATE THE GYM.

Oh and quick note - I am always on the hunt for perfectly cooked whole fish and after day 2 in Corral Canyon, a quick pit stop at Tavenra Tony had me wolfing down just that - a lovely whole sea bass.  Ended it with a next-level cappuccino that restored my faith in humanity & puts most coffee to shame and a hulking chunk of baklava.  Thing is, after a trek like that you deserve the best of and don't even think twice about a 2nd glass of pinot for lunch!

ALSO - after that fish, Mouse needed a walk and just around the corner from Tony's is the probably the best little walking park I've been to in LA. It used to be a big empty field and is now the most beautiful park ever - complete with a duck pond, herbs to die for, and loads of friendly dogs.

Next up is a hike thru Escondido Falls - about 19 miles up the coast from Marina del Rey.  I'm literally giddy with the idea of hiking.  As it should be :)

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B is for Brave

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B is for Brave.

When I very first went to Indonesia, I didn't have an ounce of fear in me.  Not sure why.  I just don't get scared of traveling alone on a budget.  Internal compass thing that I will forever have in me, I guess.  Now, when I landed in the village of Sembalun (on the Muslim island of Lombok) to volunteer for the first time ever in my life - I almost shit my pants.  Not cause I was scared, but because I was terrified.  To teach.  I was just suddenly standing in front of a classroom of 10-year-olds (I'm sure they were just as stunned as I was) - expecting to perform.  OMG.  Could you just?  
Every set of teachers eyes were gleefully on ME, all kids were hyperventilating with excitement (an American alone in a Muslim  school about to teach?!), and I literally had not only no lesson plan (huh?), but no freaking idea what to say or do.  Somehow I fell back on humor though and we learned body parts.  It was a brilliant stroke of genius on my part (no clue where it came from) to scream belly button and point it out and have the whole class repeat.  I could have gone on forever (and did about 12 hours a day for 2 weeks).  Somehow off that little bout of insanity, I became legend in Sembalun (the teacher they all remember most I'm told) - and I think it's cause it was so non-traditional, so fun and unexpected...how could you not help but get caught up in the whooping joy?
After I left and went home to Chicago, I took that phenomenal high and started 4th World Love - which has gone one to teach anyone willing to learn English for free.  We started a community development center(a new one was just built, the destroyed in a flood, and is now being rebuilt again), we have a paid full time English teacher, we host multiple volunteers from around the world, we support pretty much any village project (water tanks, cleft palate surgeris, garbage cans, organic farming, art center, etc...) that they want to tackle.  I thought I was brave that first time, but after going back this past summer - what I really saw was how brave all my friends in the village had become.
I just remember EVERYONE being shy to the point of almost running away and now, well, now - there are these amazing conversations in ENGLISH about everything in the world.  They remember all the Spanish I ever taught them and are nothing but hungry for more.  They want to create jobs in the village.  They leave to learn a little, then come back and really try to figure out how to apply what they discovered to the village and home they love.  They give back to each other so simply and effortlessly, its almost a shame.  How did we in America get so jaded and cynical and straight up unappreciative?
The villagers of Semablun, especially all my great friends at CDC, are the bravest, coolest, funniest people I know.  Even the gals.  They were terrified of me trip 1.  Now, they roll me into their arms and shove local sweets down my throat (god bless 'em).  They create things to sell.  They are trying to grow outside the stamp of poor and it's incredible to witness.  It takes some serious WANT to learn like that.  To give like that.  To dedicate like that.
Guess I'm just glad that I was brave enough to head there the first time so they can now be brave enough to head elsewhere the first time.  Full circle.
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A is for Absolute Freedom

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A is for Absolute Freedom.

Time to start an A to Z series again of all that is on the happs - travel/food/thoughts/booze.  Really just the things that matter.

One place I adore is Nick's Cove.  I trekked up north earlier this summer looking for oysters.  Looking to get away from all FLOBO madness, looking to just be back on the road again - living out of my truck.  I wanted to see the floating home community in San Francisco, I wanted to see what all the hype about wine country was about, bust mostly I wanted oysters and local food.  The belly altering kind.

Guess I was stunned at just how damn local everything was.  Really?!  Can it really be?  Like - around the corner the cheese is made.  Oh!  This winemaker lives down that dirt road.  Mushrooms come from the yard. The soap is made with local goats milk.  Stuff like that.  It really does make a difference.  I don't know how people don't understand the importance of eating local.  Maybe cause it costs more?  That's no joke - it does. But, at the same time - the taste is beyond.  It's sensation like you've never had when you experience fresh things for the first time.  Like the time I had red snapper from Gulf of Mexico- just caught, just cooked.  I was blown away.  

Anyhow - back to Nick's.  I'd been reading about the place forever and there I finally was.  Down a windy road on a blustery day.  Ready to eat.  Local wine.  Lots of it.  Everything on the menu.  Clam chowder that would make you toss most you've ever had.  Seafood so ridiculously fresh you have to stop mid-bit to comprehend what is happening in your mouth.  And oysters that were harvested right outside in the bay.  Once you start to eat like this, you can never really go back.  It's next to impossible.  Like the dif between the farmers market and mass grocery stores.  Can't happen.

That's what proper food does to me - it makes me feel free.  Like - I have worked hard and earned the money that is able to purchase food of this level. I deserve this quality.  I appreciate trying to understand where items were sourced and why it makes such a difference to eat locally.   It just makes me and my mind and my body feel free like nothing else I know.  It's a FREE obsession.  A FREE spin on life that makes me happy beyond belief.  Oh, for sure I overeat.  I indulge beyond comparison.  But, I'm never ever sick from good honest food. I'm free from it.  It's a daily thing for me that some would call a special madness...but once people taste.  Well...enough said.

Freedom - Absolute Freedom - should mean waking up in the morning.  Checking in with the mind and bod. Assessing what is really needed to make it/yourself work at capacity and then making that happen.  Could be a walk to get a capp, a hike in the woods, or tracking down some fresh oysters.  As long as it's the very stuff you can find, I think we should just be absolutely free to have it all.

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New Fatcake Logo - So, so cool.

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All kinds of updates are needed...

But one of the coolest is the new Fatty logo.  Our gals who designed the 4th World Love website are in the middle of giving Fatcake a new look - website, logo, the whole thing.  I'm so exited - it's about time to regroup, refigure some shizz out and literally rebrand my whole life!

We should be up and going in the next few weeks - just a very, very simple 1 page site that will lay out the goods.  But man, a whole network could be built off of a super-fly looking logo like the new fatty one.  It's got all the good green vibes I'm going for - but also is edgy enough to be tacked onto just about anything amazing I can conjure up.  Literally, any idea that comes down the pipe - if it's cool enough, the Fatcake stamp gets smacked onto it and it's part of the ultimate brand.

In other news, the Flo moved back to her slip yesterday.  Thank god.  But, there is still much, much to be done.  At least the outside is jammin' though.  I am praying I can move in there in the next month - or at least have it very near done before I head to Mexico mid-December.  Cannot wait to be back in the loving arms of Casa de Mita...

Yah - the latest TV show for OWN/TLC is winding down - I'm wrapping out 100% next week and am just really, really looking forward to freedom.  Old school, MST style wind blowin'.  I just gotta remember to say no, no, no.

Time to grow, change, and remember all the good that there is left to do in the world.  And, keep slapping the Fatty label on the right stuff.  MMMMM....