October, 2011

Notes from a Los Angeles Dating Coach in Guerneville, CA


The Bathroom

Notes from a Los Angeles Dating Coach in Guerneville, CA:

Clearheart Grove, the little cabin I have rented where I am going to work on my book, lies about a mile past the town of Guerneville, just off the main road.  I have no idea where I am going, but my GPS takes me straight there.  It’s already dark when I pull over, get out, and push open the gate that shields the property from the street.  Then, I drive in, park in the ample front yard, and close the gate behind me.  When I turn to look at the cabin, my heart leaps.  Unlike many Internet dates who do not look like their photos, this girl doesn’t disappoint.  On the outside, she is every inch as adorable as she was in the pictures she’d posted on


The Bedroom

I punch in the code I’ve been given to the lock box and two small silver keys leap into my hand.  As I slip one into the lock, my heart begins to race.  I’ve driven all this way from Los Angeles and paid a full month’s rent in advance.  What if I don’t like her?

I jiggle the lock and the front door flies open.  This is when I remember that I have to pee—badly.  I’d consumed several liters of water on the way up and hadn’t relieved myself in hours.  I race to find the bathroom, forgetting the cabin completely.


The Kitchen

I collapse into a puddle of gratitude on the toilet. When I am done releasing what seems like the entire contents of my body into the bowl, I look around the room and another wave of relief washes over me.  The bathroom—with its old pedestal sink and pull-chain light above the mirror—is absolutely charming.  I flush, step out into a bedroom, dart into the kitchen, and then run back into the living room.  One room feels cuter, cozier, and more “cabiny” than the next.  There’s warm wood everywhere—on the floors, the walls, and the furniture—and picture windows, too.  Even the doors are mostly glass, allowing me to see out in every direction.  A quilt-covered daybed tucked into a corner provides a perfect view of the ivy-carpeted yard that is pierced by towering redwoods.  In the living room, a welcoming wing back wicker chair waits patiently by the fireplace.  Other touches like an antique stove, roll top desk, and splashes of red, white, and green gingham—complete the picture.  Sigh. I am in love!


The Wicker Chair

Now, I am sitting  at the old oak dining table in my Northern California dream cabin writing this blog.   I wish you could see this place.  It’s perfect.  It’s Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel all rolled into one.  Even the name, Clearheart Grove, sounds like something borrowed from a fairy tale.  I feel completely content.  This is how I felt when I first laid eyes on Benjamin.   I felt like was home, like I was where I belonged.  I felt like I could stop looking for something better because I knew I would never find it.  It could never get any better than this.

Little Rented Cabin

entranceToday, I am driving up north to my little rented cabin at the Russian River to finish writing my book.  I am going there to write my book undisturbed with my friend, Peggy.  Going away to write this book is a dream come true.

One of the best times of my life was about 16 years ago when I rented a guesthouse in the Missouri countryside to do some writing.  The house sat at the edge of a forest.  Fall had just begun, and everyday I watched as the spectacle of dying leaves outside my windows turned a million shades of red and orange, and gold.  Periodically, a nut from an overhanging tree would fall onto the tin roof of the house and brake the rhythm of my writing as it slowly thunk-thunk-thunked its way to the ground.  One day while I was walking in the woods, I became quite emotional when I ran into a box turtle—something I haven’t seen since childhood—lumbering across my path.  So many details from that time are etched upon my mind, but what I remember most of all is how luxurious it felt to be able to write anytime I wanted.  I would write into the early hours of the morning, sleep for a few hours, then get up and write some more.  I didn’t have to answer to anyone.  The entire month I was there, I never tired of the solitude or the how luxurious it felt to be able to write any time of the day or night.bedroom1b

You might be asking yourself, “But won’t you miss your husband and your dogs while you’re away?”  Of course I will.  I’ll miss them every minute of everyday.  But it’s okay.  I love knowing that I have a husband and dogs to miss.  It is their love that inspires me to do the work I do.  They’re with me everywhere I go and in every choice I make.  In fact, my husband was the one who suggested I go away to finish the book.  He told me to do whatever I have to do and to take whatever time I need to get it done.  He encourages me to fly.  Just as he vowed on our wedding day:  He is a guardian of my soul.

I guess it’s time to finish packing and hit the road.  I have burned tons of books onto CD’s, things I never have time to listen to, like the Sookie Stackhouse Novels or The Help.  I usually only have time to read books related to my work or write my own material.  Listening to fiction somehow feels decadent… heck, when I think about it, this whole trip feels decadent!


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