Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Topanga Bungalow

April 2016

I’m living in Topanga now (staying with Rich and Tara and their two adorable little boys, Sam and Finn) and this first week has felt like a retreat from the real world. It’s been absolutely wonderful. Every morning, I wake up in my little bungalow on the other side of the driveway, and go into the house for coffee and good mornings. The boys run around like madmen, screaming and laughing and playing. Non-stop. Rich has usually already left for work. Tara is Super Mom as she gets the boys ready to leave – they always have somewhere to go, whether it’s school or a playdate, or music class, or gardening. These guys are livin’ the life. That Topanga life.

After they leave, I sit outside my bungalow on the deck and write. Just stream of consciousness kind of writing. My “morning pages.” In the afternoon I go to the gym. A new addition to my life. Haven’t worked out this consistently in years and it feels good. At night, I have dinner with the Robinsons and hang out with the boys for a little before bedtime.

This is my Topanga life. On the fourth day, after my morning pages, I really want a book to read. I go through my collection, or at least, the books I could find in my collection, and decide on Letters to a Young Poet. I read the entire thing in one sitting (it’s a light read). Certain parts of the book really resonate with me, like the stuff about solitude and learning who you are.

I feel good about reading this book. Not great, just good enough to make me want to read something else, immediately. But I have nothing that will do. I quickly remember that on my last trip home, RJ kindly gave me a Barnes & Noble gift card, just because. So sweet, and now I can finally use it. The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/) keeps popping up in my life, to the point that I know I have to read it. (Etsy even interviewed Gilbert in an awesome article about it: https://blog.etsy.com/en/elizabeth-gilbert-has-a-new-book-and-weve-got-the-first-look-at-the-cover/) So after the gym, I cruise over to the book store – I love book stores – and walk around the entire place just because I want to walk around the massive store, before asking the lady at Customer Service if they have the book.

“That’s weird, I just had it.” She goes behind the desk and quickly retrieves the book, handing it over to me. “That never happens. And it’s our last copy.”

Well, if I wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy it before, I certainly am now.

I drive home, pumped.

The next morning, I’m feeling good. The sun is beating down on me as I write my morning pages. The view is incredible and my coffee is strong. I then delve into Big Magic, and start to feel anxious. But in a good way. Like, I feel excited about the possibilities and can’t wait to see what I can do with my life.

I talk to Tara for a bit in the afternoon. I tell her I’m thinking about making rope light signs.

(A few months ago I was working at this cafe and my boss said she wanted a sign for the place. A rope light sign. So I researched and realized that there wasn’t much out there. I found one How-to blog and used that as a reference. My co-worker and friend, Gregg, said he’d help me with it. Fast forward, Gregg and I make the sign. It’s fucking awesome and we have so much fun doing it. “Dude, we should make an Etsy page.”

I laugh at Gregg. Yea, sure we should. It becomes an almost joke between us. But many times Gregg will say, “No seriously, I would totally do it.”)

This was back in January. Since then, I’ve thought about it a few times. I started to realize, when I was in Topanga, that I was thinking about the rope light signs almost the same way I had been thinking about doing 100 Days of Lip Sync back in the day. The only way I can describe it is, at first it seems like something silly, and then you say it out loud to a few people, and then you’re thinking about it more and more, until you think, I actually really want to do this. And THEN you get to a point where you’re like, I HAVE to do this. I’m doing it. And it’s a no longer a choice.)

So Tara shrugs her shoulders and says, “Do it… Why not?”

Finn; an exceptional helper

Why fucking not. You’re absolutely right, Tara.

I go to the gym and work out and read my book and I’m feeling high on life as I get in my car and head over to Home Depot for supplies. I feel a little like a crazy person. I feel like I took Felix Felices* this morning and nothing can stop me, not even myself. I just have to go to Home Depot and get all these supplies for this DIY project that is so not something I would ever do.

When I return home, I walk into the house and say hi to everyone. Am I having a mid-life crisis? Rich asks me why and Tara answers for me. “She’s going to make a rope light sign.” Rich is baffled, not really understanding the correlation between my mid-life crisis and making a rope light sign… or what a rope light sign even is. I don’t know what to say either, except that I need help from Sam.

Sam, who is three years old, is ready and willing to help me work on the project. I throw down a tarp and place the wood on it. Sam and I sand the wood together. I have no idea what I’m doing. Neither does Sam, so he hands the sand paper over to Finn. He’s a one-year-old, but he’s able to focus more on the task than Sam, so I commend Sam for giving up his duties.

This is going to be awesome. I’m already having so much fun. I text Gregg. To say he’s upset I’ve started without him is an understatement. He wants in. I hope he can help in the near future.

I call Courtney (my sister). If you could have a ropelight sign with one or two words, what would it say? She needs time to think, but she asks Christine (her twin), who is nearby, if she has any thoughts. In true Christine fashion, she answers with, “Why?” Courtney doesn’t hesitate in her serious and obvious response, as if Chris should have already known: “Lynn’s starting a new business.”

Duh, Christine. I laugh pretty hard at Courtney’s comment. Who knows? Maybe I will start a business. Maybe I’ll make two signs and be done with it. Either way, it feels good.

*Yes, this is a Harry Potter reference. Felix Felices is “liquid luck.” In the 6th book/movie, Harry wins a vile of the potion one day in class, and eventually uses it to retrieve a memory from Professor Horace Slughorn, which up until that point had seemed an impossible task. While on the “potion” (which translates more to a drug), Harry was extremely happy and mellow and carefree, allowing Felix to take him wherever he wanted to go. 

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