Valerie Anne Burns
6 min readMay 6, 2023


My Very Own Everything, Everywhere, All at Once

My Eyes

They say that eyes are the windows to your soul. That could very well be true and there’s nothing better than in-person eye contact. It’s easy to take your eyes and eyesight for granted. After being diagnosed with Shingles in my left eye that became so painful and scary, I thought I’d lose my eyesight, and realizing that an eyepatch is not a great look for me, I am only grateful to be nearly altogether healed. During that time, my eye was too strained to write or read, which is a real challenge to a writer. I was still busy and managed to show up at Chaucer’s Bookstore to do my reading as scheduled, take in my friend of 44 year, Taras as a house guest, and journey up to Figueroa Mountain with her to see an explosion of poppies and fragrant lupin. In that same week and after 20 years of no contact that was in my best interest, I received an inquiry from my ex-husband that triggered me in a thousand ways, and a second surprise email from a friend of the male persuasion I haven’t seen in 6 years.

If that wasn’t enough, there was the memorial Tara was helping to arrange for Carl, a man many of us worked for doing catering gigs between what we really wanted to do in LA. I began working for Ambrosia Catering back in the 80’s and met very creative and like-minded people when I was either bartending, serving, or designing tables. We were actors, singers, writers, directors, designers, etc. My dream in the city of angels was to be a creative producer on films. I worked catering jobs between production jobs. The memorial was at Maria Shriver’s (close friend of Carl’s) church, Saint Monica in Santa Monica just a few blocks from my old stomping grounds

when I lived on 4th Street near Idaho. The grand party and celebration of life fully decorated by immense talent was in the pavillion next to the church. The memorial was beautiful and moving with song and reverence. I had not seen many of the people attending from my old LA days for 20 or more years. I was nervous. And it was not a bite at a time but seeing everyone all at once for the party. I was not the only one who felt overwhelmed. Some had been good friends but between moving up to Santa Barbara, marriage, divorce, and breast cancer many of them turned or fell away.

So, I put it all aside and remained present in the moment as a once-again reinvented creative person becoming a memoir writer and published author. There was a part of me that struggled with self-esteem and feeling like the outsider. But that’s been a reality since I was a toddler losing my mom at the age of three. Life is constantly moving and changing. I’ve realized that more and more from my trials and tribulations. I hung out with friend and fellow-creative and troublemaker, Gary (in photo) quite a bit. We worked on many parties together and always had the best sarcastic repartee. We would laugh so hard and fell right back into it after not seeing one another for at least 10 years. I started late morning in Santa Monica at a cafe on Montana (old hangout) with a writer friend I’d only met and seen on Zoom for our writing group out of LA and we talked non-stop for 2-hours. After helping with the break down for a little while, I departed at 6:00 p.m. heading down California St to PCH with barely any traffic on a Friday and made a right on Malibu Canyon to the 101 with easy driving. I want to point out that driving on Malibu Canyon was so stunning. Emerald green and mustard growing on the canyon that rises high on either side of you. It was spectacular. Bless our much needed rain over the winter.!

I was spent after arriving home. Such a whirlwind around health, friends, surprise emails, adventure to Figueroa Mountain and an emotional and sweet adventure in Santa Monica. I had never been up to see the poppies and knew this was the year to go after the big rains. It is a drive climbing a steep and curvy mountain with switchbacks. I highly recommend a co-pilot. The beauty surprise was seeing the mix of fragrant Lupin mixed with the orange Poppies. Interestingly, the color theme in decor for Carl’s memorial party was orange and purple.

And the roller coaster continued where Saturday I barely moved and on Sunday, my friend I hadn’t seen for 6 years drove up to SB to see me and catch-up where his life has taken a huge and emotional turn. I found myself spinning in thought afterward. Then a morning where I was gobsmacked in a misunderstanding when I only showed up from the heart with the best of intentions, and the following day a gnarly specialized dental surgery (for an infection way up in a tooth canal from a botched crown) where prescribed 3 Xanax were needed to get through it. One friend drove me there and another friend picked me up who I had to hold onto because I was so

loopy. The best part was getting a hot Matcha latte with Ninaya before she drove me home. I had a bit of a Xanax hangover the next day but it didn’t stop me from getting a ton done. My whirlwind of a life since returning from Italy last fall has made the time go faster than I’m comfortable with. Life seems to be a never ending roller coaster ride for me but I keep moving forward and never fail to find moments of beauty… especially in nature.

There you have it and why I’ve been tardy on blogging the last 6 weeks — My very own everything, everywhere, all at once. How was your month of April? Wishing you a glorious month of May!

Keep on swimming through life,

Valerie Anne



Valerie Anne Burns

Author of Caution: Mermaid Crossing, Voyages of a Motherless Daughter”; Blogger; Breast Cancer Survivor; Hollywood Survivor; Workshop Leader; & Beauty Seeker.