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Auti Angel

Really Great Things: Push Girls and Le Cirque

Periodically I get to experience things that are a bit out of the ordinary because I’m a blogger. This week I met five women that took my breath away and ate at Le Cirque without leaving my beloved Los Angeles.

Friday night Mr. G and I were treated to dinner at a Le Cirque pop up restaurant in Downtown LA. It was at the City Club on Bunker Hill which has sweeping views of Los Angeles and a dress code. When Mr. G asked me if he should wear a sports coat I glibly replied, “Only if you want to, it’s LA you can wear whatever you want.”

My husband and I sat in a stunning dining room while he wore a jacket that looked like it belonged to his father.

And then we ate a magnificent meal.

I had Tuna Tartare (which will make my brother angry) followed by Porcini Risotto and then Paupiette of Black Bass. Mr. G had the Lobster Salad “Le Cirque” followed by Potato Ravioli and then Filet of Beef.

We both loved our appetizers and the Lobster Salad was more interesting than the Tuna Tartare but I’d expected that going in and knew that I wanted to try as many dishes as possible. I liked the Porcini Risotto but didn’t do backflips for it and Mr. G only liked his Potato Raviolo but I absolutely loved it. His Filet of Beef was a more done than he’d have liked it but such is the nature of a pop up restaurant. They’re there for one night only and what might be seen as horrible in Le Cirque New York is somehow charming in Le Cirque Los Angeles. The Paupiette of Black Bass was delicious and just what I was looking for. It’s something that I might even attempt at home.

The Napoleon was the best I’ve ever had. Ever. I would not lie to you about Napoleon it it my favorite dessert in the world, which makes Le Cirque and executive chef Olivier Reginensi the purveyors of my favorite dessert on the planet.  

Sirio’s son was on hand and brought us a copy of his father’s book. To show my gratitude I stole the menus. I’m now committed to a visit to Le Cirque the next time I’m in New York or Las Vegas.

In a perfect month I’d have a dinner like this and feel content, but this has been an extraordinary month, because just a few days later I was invited for lunch with The Push Girls.

I get invited to a lot of luncheons to meet a lot of TV actors and personalities on their way up or down the ladder. I almost always say no because I don’t have time for it and it doesn’t resonate with me.

When the Sundance Channel asked me if I wanted to have lunch with The Push Girls I knew I had to be there even though I didn’t have time for it. The women of the Push Girls are worth knowing. I met Auti, Mia, Tiphany, Angela and Chelsie (who looks startlingly like my friend Emily) and just their presence changed my life.

I know… dramatic right?

But it’s not overly dramatic. I am not happy with my new body. I’m frustrated at what RA has left me unable to do, well I was. Now I’m trying to be grateful. I’m not always succeeding but when I sat with Auti and she was explaining to me how the past 20 years in a chair have been life affirming I was in awe.

When I asked Angela if she ever felt badly for herself she looked me dead in the eye and said, “Never.” I didn’t believe her so I reframed the question a few different ways. I asked her in her darkest moments if she felt sorry for herself and the answer remained the same. In fact she went on to tell me that from her hospital bed as a quadriplegic who could move only her head (and not very well) she spent a good bit of time cheering up her friends, her family and her mother. She looked at me incredulously and couldn’t seem to understand why her mother would be unbearably sad.

I wanted to tell her that her mother loved her more than she’d ever love herself. I wanted to explain to her how mothers ache for their children because motherhood is about looking at your daughter at any age and trying to give her what you didn’t have at that moment in time and trying to give her the best of what you had at that age.

I wanted to explain to her that the joy of motherhood is giving to your children. Giving them strength and opportunities, giving them love and education. I wanted to tell her that it’s not an expression when we say, “This will hurt me more than it hurts you.” It’s almost always true. I wanted her to know that my children’s successes are sweeter than my own.

I wasn’t there to talk. I was there to listen.

So I listened to Auti tell me about meeting Angela ten years ago when Angela had her accident just a few days before. I listened to Chelsie tell me about meeting Tiphany and Mia and how they’d helped her adapt to her new life in a chair. I listened to Tiphany recount her accident and the day she was pronounced dead from a head on collision that left two cars melted together. I asked Mia if she’d ever swim again as she’d been a competitive swimmer and I felt teary listening to her answer.

I listened to Angela tell me about stem cell surgeries and how it took her from blowing into a straw to move her chair to actually sitting up in one and using a hand. She was quick to let me know that the stem cells weren’t from aborted fetuses. I wanted to tell her that I wouldn’t care if they had been, but I was there to listen. I watched Angela demonstrate the muscles that did and did not work, she laughed as she flopped an arm back and couldn’t move it forward on her own. I was mesmerized and awestruck by their strength.

It’s worth mentioning that Push Girls isn’t a show that was cast by a production company or a network. I saw some comments online from the wheelchair community that the show was missing a certain diversity, it was missing someone who was born with a disability. These women have been friends for 3-10 years and the show has the extreme privilege of following them.

I’m anxious to see the first episode on Monday, June 4th. Since The Push Girls are on Sundance my expectation is that it will be a respectful show that will highlight the struggles and joys that the Push Girls have which are part of the human condition and not necessarily just chair related. I hope it does what it’s meant to do.

It was a phenomenal week with events that fed both body and my spirit.

push girls on sundance channel auti tiphany mia angela