How I Ate My Way Through Spain: Part 1

I've taken a two week hiatus. I'm not going to lie, things have been tough. Like I'm sitting here on my couch with greasy hair in my pajamas at 4:30pm tough. I just got back from a vacation, which was wonderful. I originally planned to write an article about how we need to be nicer to ourselves. How stressing about work is ruining our ability to actually enjoy life. But three days back and I'm once again feeling overwhelmed in my job search. And I just can't be the cheerleader today. So I'm going to write about something totally unrelated, my love of good FOOD.

Last April, my boyfriend and I took a trip to Spain. It was AMAZING. When I got back I excitedly called my mom to tell her all about it. After the conversation she said, "But you've only told me about what you ate." DUH. Isn't that the only thing that matters? I've always been a foodie. And when I go to new locations I like to totally immerse myself in their food culture. Today I'm going to take you on a whirlwind tour, detailing how I ate myself through Spain.

BARCELONA:

When we arrived in Barcelona, after travelling for 16 plus hours, we immediately went to the Picasso Museum. Because, you know, who needs sleep? The museum was awesome. My boyfriend and I are both big fans. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed. But me being me, I didn't read the signs. I snapped this.

picasso

I was immediately tackled by security.

Not really. But I was VERY strongly warned. I'm pretty sure I heard the curator mumbling, "Stupid American" as he walked off.

After this we wandered the beautiful winding streets around the museum, full of enchanted alleyways, twists and turns. We were looking for something to eat. After looking at multiple menus we settled on a cute, tiny tapas place and that's when it happened. I realized I was in love with Spain.

To be honest I didn't really know what Spanish food entailed. I ignorantly thought it would be similar to Mexican. I now know that Spanish food is one of my favorites on the planet. Give me tapas any day and I'm golden. At this first spot we ate veal sweetbreads, grilled octopus, and braised oxtail. Everything was out of this world. My only complaint was I didn't have a bigger stomach. I wish I could show you a picture, but at that point we were trying to play it cool and not act like tourists.

That lasted for about 3 hours. Then we took this.

salmon tar tat

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When Government Agencies Make My Head Explode (and not for the reason you think)

It's 7:38 am. I open a letter from Blue Shield Health insurance which tells me my insurance is being denied/and or cancelled because they have not received my whole payment. Which IS A LIE. And it starts. My heart starts beating faster. I can literally feel the heat run down my veins. My shoulder tightens. I soon grow to the size of The Incredible Hulk. And I basically take on the mentality of this Kramer.

top-head-exploding-gif
I am lucky enough to get some government assistance on my health insurance because I'm currently unemployed. This is awesome and I'm totally grateful. Except for the part where I have to rely on a bureaucracy to do something right, and in a timely manner. It also tests my tendencies to want to be in CONTROL OF EVERYTHING!!

Here's the story. I originally called to inquire about the Covered California plans late December. At this point I was on a Cobra plan from my previous job and just getting information. But some IDIOT... wait. I'm sorry. That's not loving or enlightened. Some (grimaces in pain trying to come up with something nice) very misguided lady, who was very busy with other important things so she couldn't fully listen to what I was saying, entered me into the computer with a start date of January 1. But I had just called to get a quote for how much government assistance I qualified for. I HAD ALREADY PAID FOR COBRA THROUGH FEBRUARY.

When I realized this, I called back and some other COMPLETE MORON, I mean super nice lady who thought she was being helpful but didn't know what the hell she was talking about, assured me that this was not a problem because I hadn't even picked a health care plan yet so that didn't matter. For my plan to start March 1 I just needed to pick a plan by February 20. This made perfect sense to me so I continued about my business.

So I did pick a plan early February, and when I went to make the first payment it said I OWED TRIPLE for January, February, and March. How I could pay for the month of January on a plan that I didn't even pick until February 15 is beyond all constraints of logic I possess.  So. First stage of hulkness began and I called Covered California, the government run agency that pays for a portion of health insurance for low income residents. I explained the situation to a really understanding and helpful man, who unbeknownst to me was still a HUGE NITWIT. He said he saw what happened and would amend that plan for a March 1 start date. I went onto my online profile for Covered California and it now said I only owed one payment for my insurance to start March 1. Crisis averted.

Except it wasn't. This agent never contacted the insurance companies with the change (I told you he was a nitwit! I mean, a well meaning man who just didn't know he had to follow through.) So I then start getting letters from the insurance companies saying I owe three months of payments. I STILL want to know how they expect me to pay for January and February when I hadn't even received my health insurance cards, therefore couldn't actually use the product they were selling. If this is how consumerism works, clearly I am doing something wrong. And everyone owes me $25 for my book that's coming out next year. I haven't started it yet, but trust me, it's gonna be GOOD.

So I called Covered California AGAIN. And some nice lady (nice, gotta trust nice, because my brain is screaming HALFWIT) told me that they would "accelerate my claim" and send a letter to the insurance companies. But this morning I open the letter from Blue Shield saying my plan was being cancelled for lack of payment. I literally felt like the floor was splitting open and I was pummeling down into fiery lava. Because, surely, this is what Hell feels like. I immediately pick up the phone to call them but, of course, it's still only7:48 in the morning and they aren't open yet. So. I. Have. To. Wait.

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This Toaster Does Not Mean Anything

Day 2 of "A Course in Miracles." I've really enjoyed doing these exercises. They may seem a little nonsensical at first, but then I'll have HUGE moments of clarity throughout the day. Like yesterday, I was at a Soundology Lab at Wanderlust Hollywood (which includes an amazing sound bath full of gongs, bowls, and chimes... which also lent itself to a little light napping; awesome because I'm no longer allowing naps in my  Time Management schedules. Hooray for multi tasking!) At the end of the class we did a seven minute chant "Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung." (which I just realized was Hung instead of the HUM I was saying when I looked it up just now.) You can listen to this beautiful chant HERE . The point is, these words truly didn't mean anything. I literally had no clue what I was saying (apparently, its about life and stuff) but they made me so calm and full of joy!

I think that's a good thing. If you give something a positive meaning that works for you, great! Just be observant throughout the day of both the good or bad meanings you make about things. I'm guessing this will eventually culminate in us realizing that our judgements may or may not actually be true, and we'll finally get control of our ego minds. But, for now, just realize that the things alone really don't mean anything. Like the toaster I pulled out of my cupboard this morning. Doesn't mean anything... except that I get to eat some toast and that's pretty cool. Damn, am I giving meaning to the toaster now?

Here's Lesson Two of "A Course in Miracles":

I have given everything I see in this room (on this street, from this window, in this place) all the meaning that it has for me.
And here's my experience of this!



OK. I promise tomorrow no more cat jokes. Maybe.

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Can I Work a Miracle?

I've decided to revisit my very first guide on my path to enlightenment. It's called "A Course in Miracles." About 5 years ago my life basically imploded and I was left with a "NOW WHAT??" mentality. Because obviously what I had been doing for the previous 29 years was not working. (If you love reading about other people's problems because it helps you with a perspective on your own... or if you're just a sadist for misery click here to read my original story.)

So I am going to attempt something I've never done before... actually complete "A Course in Miracles" workbook. It's 365 lessons, one each day... FOR A YEAR. Then I'll be able to work miracles like grow 100 dollar bills on the bush outside and get a man to WANT marriage. All jokes, and witchcraft aside (again JOKE), this course is supposed to completely change your mind set once and for all. Something I've been trying to do for years. I think my mascot is the Little Engine that Could. "I think I can, I think I can... I think... it's been five years. I'm gonna need some more fuel. (They use coal right?) Last time I did this course I think I made it to day 280... in TWO YEARS. But I'm feeling so productive with my time management challenge that I'm gonna try it "ONE MORE TIME!" (Cue the Daft Punk song.)

Here's a quick summary of the Course:

1- These exercises don't take a lot of time: PERFECT. Because I've already proven once that I'm a tad lazy.

2- Phase one: Undo the way you currently see now: Good. Will this also take away the view of the messy bedroom behind me?

3- Phase two: Acquire true perception: Which obviously includes me on TV, right? Or at least makes me as cool as Yoda?

4- Don't ever decide for yourself that there are some people, situations, or things that these ideas don't apply to: This means that co-worker you hate and your ex-boyfriend. The very nature of true perception is that it has no limits. Basically, the opposite of how we see now.

5- It doesn't matter if you don't understand, or even believe, a concept: Really??? Best part ever. Just by using the exercises every day, meaning and results will follow. "If you build it, they will come." Just remember, whatever the resistance, JUST DO IT.

So to make this a little more fun for everyone, I am attempting to make short videos about my experience. (We will see how consistently I do this because it involves me doing my hair.) I love to play and poke fun at the exercises a little, but I do actually take them very seriously. I just think "all work and no play, makes Alissa a dull girl." I promise I will never come at you in the bathroom with an ax, though. (If you don't get that reference I'm shaking my head at you. Go watch "The Shining." Classic Kubrick.) Also I apologize that this video won't be in the best format. I shot it vertically because social media and I don't vibe. Apparently, you have to shoot it horizontally but once I figured this out I was already done and, well, LAZY.

DAY 1: Nothing I see in this room (or on this street, from this window, in this place) means anything. Basically it tells you to look around your room and for every object you see say "This table does not mean anything." Etc. Here's my adventure:



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I’m Positively Positive I’m Positive (Is that how you spell Positive?)

Sometimes we think it’s funny to complain. I mean I have a whole repertoire of jokes. Like this woman came up to me and said, “You know, I saw on Dr. Phil that if you don’t make it by the time you’re 30 as a woman in the entertainment business, then you’re NEVER gonna make it.” And I’m like, “Thanks, Mom.” Because I’m already 30... ish.

mom
Everyone has a good laugh at my dad and his constant storm cloud of pessimism, earning him the nickname “Eeyeore” at work. He makes a joke about how nothing goes right when he’s there. Any sports game he goes to, team is gonna lose. In line for a ride at an amusement park, ride’s gonna break down. Whenever I finally get someone to marry me... uhhh Dad I’m starting to rethink this walking me down the aisle thing. (Joking! But we may have to take you to a energy shaman first. 😜)

eeyore
I'm not saying never joke. That's crazy talk. But I am saying maybe be more aware of what you're feeding into your mind. For example, one of my oldest friends reached out to me after my time management post and said we could be schedule accountability partners. So every night before bed we write out our schedules for the following day and send them to each other. (Or wake up, see she sent her schedule, then frantically write mine out that morning to send back.) When I saw her schedule, which consisted of massive amounts of child care, meal prep, and nursing, with only TWO HOURS of adult time, my immediate reaction was, "Wow I'm a selfish, narcissistic shit."  I had a good chuckle to myself about how my biggest problems today were making sure I wrote out 20 marketing postcards to casting directors and trying to make it back in time from Jazz night for a midnight bed time. BUT am I sub consciously blocking my own success because I'm spoon feeding myself, "I'm a bad girl" soup?

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Time Management: Can I Practice What I Preach?

Time management is usually my strong point. I mean I’m the one who goes on a trip and writes out a daily schedule so we can fit in EVERYTHING. On family vacays my sister even writes one out by the hour so We. Are. Prepared. But lately I’ve been about as good at time management as I am at resisting dark chocolate with sea salt. Which is NEVER. And now it’s been almost three months since I was laid off from my job. And I still have NO CLUE where my next paycheck is going to come from. I mean, besides the unemployment office, but my pride won’t let me keep taking that for long. And they cut my deadbeat ass off at six months.

Of course, I could go out and get another serving job but I PROMISED myself I wouldn’t do that. It’s my time to go after what I’m truly called to do. And for me that’s writing and acting. But sometimes I’m faced with this huge task and not knowing what I should do first. And then I find myself watching “The Bachelor Winter Games” because what’s better than the regular Bachelor franchise? An international one with a hot French Canadian named Benoit. (And Claire is an IDIOT for not returning his love.)

So this post is more for me than you because I hope by writing out positive habits for time management that I’ll actually follow them. Manifestation, am I right? So for those of you with time management problems I challenge you (and myself) to follow these very simple habits.

not enough
#1. GO TO BED EARLIER

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