I hear Tu-Pac "In the city, city of Compton, we keep it rockin' we keep it rockin'" and LL, Mr. Ladies Love Cool J himself, "going back to Cali, to Cali..." There is no shortage of pop-culture references popping into my brain at all times while I'm here. Lana Del Rey, Thirteen Beaches and just about every other song she ever wrote plays in my head when LL and Tu-Pac stop.

And as I'm driving my rented banana yellow Kia Rio down the 405 all I can hear is "Stewart!" said in the way only Kristen Wiig could in that hilariously, annoying, reoccurring SNL skit, "The Californians".

The Hotel Royal where I'm staying in downtown Long Beach was built in the 1920's. I was ruined for fancy hotels after Spain, give me vibe and character over sterile and spiritless any day. There is no elevator, my room is on the 3rd floor so I'm getting in my workouts. The bathrooms are in the hall, there are wood floors in my small room and a window that opens to allow in the brisk 60-70 degree weather and the soothing sounds of the city.  There's bikes to ride around town if I dare and a full kitchen where this morning I was greeted by two other guest, a quiet older gentleman and a nice lesbian who blew the kitchen circuit making waffles and using the toaster oven at the same time.

God I love old buildings.

And I slept better last night at Hotel Royal then I have slept in over two years.
I'm somewhere I've always wanted to visit, Los Angeles California. 

But I'm not a tourist here on a fun trip. I don't want to be here for the reason I am here. I'm making the best of a hard situation.

I am in Long Beach California (which is like a part of LA, like a suburb kinda) because Abel has been here in a residential facility receiving care since mid October. He suffered abuse and tremendous loss before we adopted him at age 6 and it all caught up with him over the last couple years. Our family has been through hell.  I will not give details here for the vultures to feed on. I've posted poems and song lyrics previously, they all tell the tale.

When I flew in on Wednesday I had no idea how long I would be here. I bought a one way ticket on Spirit airlines and packed only a backpack filled with my laptop, one other outfit and pajamas so I wouldn't have to pay for a carry on. I'll go to my niece Candices house in Fresno tomorrow and stay with her until I come back to Long Beach for Thanksgiving with Abel, after that I am not sure where I will be or for how long. There was a chance he would be released today, that is why I flew in on Wednesday, but now it looks like he will be here at least another week, maybe two.

I can't book flights home because I don't know when he will get out.

And yes, this is all very expensive, no we can't afford it. But it's like with any other illnesses your kids suffer, you do what you gotta do. Thank God for the money I've made working the LSU tailgates, that has definitely helped and I started a Gofundme (because I'm not too proud to beg) that I only sent to a handful of people via text because the Vultures like to judge and I can hear them, "she went to Spain a year and a half ago, how much did she spend on that?" Well it was $2,000 including airfare and everything to be exact, thank you! But that has nothing to do with right now. Like I knew my son would need months and months of different forms of ongoing care that insurance would only cover at 80% to 90% and that still would leave thousands that we would have to pay? Anyway, we got a $2,000 limit increase on our only credit card so I closed the Gofundme. God provided. He's providing. Judging friends, family, real or imaginary can judge all they want. I judge myself even harder.

But I'm working on positive thinking so let me not think on that negative stuff, let me focus on the good right now.

I'm so grateful for the people who helped us, Jillian, you were a God send! Donna C, Aimee, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let me know if you want me to come clean your house, decorate, paint something for you! You know those are my gifts :-)

So many of you have been life giving breath, strength, wisdom. I am eternally grateful to you.

This hotel is good, I love it.

I was able to take Abel out for a few hours last night after family session so we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody and we had a great time watching a great movie.

I went to the Getty Museum yesterday and saw real life paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne but my favorite was The Rue Mosnier with Flag by Édouard Manet!

And I'm about to go eat some Spanish food because I found Cafe Sevilla and it's within walking distance and it says "asparagus" on the menu, I'm hoping that means they have the white asparagus I have only been able to taste in my dreams since returning from Spain.

So much light in darkness, joy in pain. Isn't it weird how God fixes those Juxtapositions in one life? Do you ever stop to marvel at that when it happens to you? The irony of me being in LA, experiencing some really cool stuff, but I'm alone and why I'm here is not good...that's real irony right there...worth pondering. Maybe I will have more to say about that in my next update from the Left Coast :-)

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, and of love and of a sound mind." 1Tim 1:7 I wrote this scripture on the mirror in each of our bedrooms at home.

Till my next update, here's to power, love and sound minds back home in Louisiana and here in California.


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