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July 2008

Selling My Car Today

In 2000 I became a free agent.  I left the high paying corporate job and was making more time for my creative life.  I had bought a brand new car the year before, a Passat, and loved it.  Four doors and a trunk, what a concept.  For eight years before that I drove a Honda CRX.  The CRX had been my dream car since high school but I was happy to part with it for the larger car.  However, my freedom from a full time office job was more important than a new car so I sold the Passat in 2000 to eliminate expenses.  I drove a "Rent-A-Wreck" for a few weeks while I found a suitable used car to purchase. 

2000 was an interesting transition year.  I went from serious income to not very much and realized I had placed a lot of my identity on my job title and income and by extension, my car.  Letting that all go and refinding my true identity was important but surprisingly hard.  When I went out with my friends, I stil wanted to spend the random $200 on stuff I didn't need.  It was a hard habit to break and I felt like an outsider suddenly, though none of my friends cared or even noticed, I'm sure.  LA being a car culture place, I also hated letting my brand new car go, but I was wise enough to hate a car payment more.  I felt sad that I couldn't afford the new car -- felt sad for one afternoon -- then sold it.  I drove an old beater and found so much freedom in not caring about what kind of car I drove.  Being free from a full time job I didn't want to do meant so much more than any shiny new car.

One day I remembered a friend of mine had an Acura he might want to sell.  I called him up and the timing was perfect.  We made a deal and the car was mine for cheap.  It was a 1993 Acura Integra with 131,000 miles on it, the important part being it was an Acura (hard to kill those) and my friend had taken great care of it.  I took it to the same mechanic and soon decorated it.  It was two doors and no "trunk" but it was paid for and it would last a long time.

Today I'm selling it.  She's 15 years old with 175,500 miles. That averages about 5500 miles per year.  (Nice when you work at home.)  Makes more sense to have it go now and off our insurance while I'm gone for four months as it was time to start thinking of a newer car.  (The Acura was going to start needing work in the next few thousand miles that would cost more to me than the car is worth.)

I'm not sad to see the car go, it's time (and lordy I loathe those passive restraint automatic seatbelts!!).  But it is a transition to whatever comes next in our car life.  Kurt asked me what my dream car is.  And I have to be honest, I don't have one anymore.  The CRX was my dream car and I got to have it.  Now my dream car is something that doesn't require much maintenance, looks decent, has air conditioning, cup holders (seriously, not having cupholders for eight years was a drag) and is cheap.  (Cheap = less than $20,000.)  For the next four months, I don't even have to think about it.

Adios Acura!  Thanks for the years of service, may you enjoy your new life with your new owners.

Final Week of Prep

There's been much shopping, re-trying and returning in the past week.  There will be a tiny bit more this week, but I think I've done the majority of it.  Now I need to clean out the old to make room for the new, even just for the short time the stuff lives here before it moves to London with me.

Yesterday was Day 3 Week 1 of the push up challenge.  I struggled through the assignment, focusing as best I could on keeping my body position correct.  My arms are getting stronger, and the day I do one push up perfectly (in the not too distant future) I will be stoked.

Hitting the showers to prepare for another wild day of "OMG I have to leave the country within two weeks!" prep.

Cleaning and Preparing

When I had to get ready to go to Mexico two years ago, I had so little actual time to prepare to be gone for two months, but it seemed easier.  I realize that this time is different because I actually had no appropriate work clothes that were newer than two years old. (I do now -- thank goodness for summer sales!) And you have to understand, I am not a clothes horse, ask anyone.  I'll find a shirt, buy it in three colors and I'm good for a year.  Same with sweaters and jeans.  I currently own two casual dresses -- one more than I normally have on hand -- and two skirts -- two more than I've had in years. I've been filling in the empty spaces quite rapidly and it's taken a few days to have it all settle in.  I need to clean out the old shrunken, ill fitting, faded, torn and stained items, thank them for their service and send them on to new lives. I am so grateful for this new job and not just for the clothes.  

I had breakfast with my dear Cynthia.  I had not seen her since January 2007 and upon seeing her beautiful pregnant body and soul, I cried and we hugged and I cried some more.  We bonded so long ago, dare I say it, 20 years ago as roommates in college, and she has always been an inspiration to me even when we were not as connected.  Those kinds of threads may stretch thin, but they never break and I'm grateful for that. 

Now I'm cleaning my office, tossing out the boxes that had arrived with new clothes, CF Cards for the camera,  and misc bags from earlier purchases.  Most things are bought, now it's a matter of starting to pack for four months.  I'm listening to REM -- Accelerate and getting motivated to get more stuff moved out, stored and organized. My new, smaller computer got unpacked and is now charging.  Shiny!  It's amazing how much of a difference only 1.5 pounds makes. 

Part of the cleaning/organizing is putting away the stacks of random things that have piled up in my office over the last three months.  One of those stacks is of sympathy cards from friends after Jen died and the little book I took with me to organize her funeral.  Not sure where to put all that, so into a drawer it will go for now. I am not going to read the cards again for now, but I do appreciate them all.

Did I mention that the woman who hired me for the new job is named Jennifer?

Push Ups

Yesterday was Day 2, Week 1 of the Hundred Push Up Challenge.  I decided that I would do the Week 1 assignment until I can actually do push ups!  Right now what I'm doing is not a push up.  I slowly lower myself down, then the lower half of my body is on the ground and I push myself back up, barely.  But I am working my muscles doing these faux push ups so I know I will get stronger and soon I'll be on my way to 100!  Ooh I can't wait to see my nicely defined arm muscles.

"Like A Chicken With No Feathers!"

Featherless-chicken My friend Vince's mom used to say that.  English wasn't her first language, but I just loved this because it almost makes more sense to me.  Or maybe I'm just toooooo amped on adrenaline right now to think clearly no matter what and that's why it makes more sense?  Whatever!  AMPED!

I've been shopping this week, somewhat for new clothes in general but mostly for clothes I can wear on my new job.  Working on a movie set can be awkward.  You need comfy clothes, but you also need to have layers handy as you can go from pre-dawn to midday sun to late evening and you have to carry most of it with you.  Well, I do anyway as I don't have my own department truck to leave stuff on during the day, and those camper-trailers you may have heard about are usually miles away from where you need to be.  Not complaining, just explaining...So I went to REI to find tons of shirts and sweaters on the clearance rack -- good news, plus I'd bought other comfy shirts and layers last week so I'm covered on top.  I have new jeans (all my old ones had paint stains or holes) and will buy another pair but now I need pants for set.  I'll try other sport stores and Adventure 16.  I got some great light hiking shoes and lots of socks.  Keeping your feet comfy and dry is KEY.  I'm prepared for inclement weather with stuff I've bought for other movies where you have to stand outside in the cold and damp.

What else is on my list?  Pants, camera/computer bag to haul around, other shoes for more casual work situations and a pair or two for potentially going out.  Toiletries, books, photos, computer stuff, power adapters, office supplies.  Got a new computer today -- super cool -- and Brian's going to come help me switch from the old to the new. I need to redo my list.

You wanted to know all this didn't you?  Of course you did.

My life is all about prep, this week and next.  I've been to get my mammogram, my teeth cleaned, my yearly doctor's appointment.  Next week I'm getting my hair cut and colored.  In between I'm getting a refresher course in SLR camera action and lunching with friends I haven't seen in ages.

I also found out I will have my own car to drive.  YOWZA!  That will be an interesting first few days.

By the way, some of you asked -- the job is in London, the movie is called "Nottingham", the director is Ridley Scott and the star is Russel Crowe.  I'll be leaving around the week of July 21 and returning sometime in December.  WOOT!

Wow I'm a spaz right now.  Better sit down with Kurt and the Kitties for some quality Tour De France time.

One Hundred Push Up Challenge

Outline700I'm not super motivated to work out, even though I know I need to. Fortunately, after a child- and young adulthood of being in decent shape (swimming from 3rd grade through high school, then rowing on the crew team all through college) my body remembers how to be in shape when I put effort into it. I give myself a small break for the last few months of personal life insanity but now need to focus on becoming fitter.

I also know enough about myself to know that going to a gym on a regular basis just doesn't happen.  If I can put on shoes and immediately start to exercise, in the house or around the neighborhood, I'll do it.  If I have to dress, put stuff in a bag, get in the car, drive, find parking, find a locker, etc etc etc, I'll find something much closer to home to do instead of work out. 

This why the 100 push up challenge fits nicely into my lifestyle.  I started with the test today and I was (sadly) in no way stunned to find I could do 1/2 a push up.  I could walk for hours and hours, but upper body strength?  not so much.  So I started day 1 of week 1 of the challenge, and realized that I couldn't even finish the level 1 set.  Oh well, the point is I'm giving it a go and I know I will get stronger.  I can feel that I worked my muscles in the 7 push ups I attempted this morning.  "Attempted" being the key word as I couldn't really do any of them properly.

But I have a plan, the plan is doable and the plan doesn't require any special equipment or locations.  Yay!  Awesome strong arms, in time for sweater season coming up!

Bra Shopping For Us Big Boned Gals

Buying bras has always been an activity I dread.  Well, maybe dread is a strong word, but I never really look forward to it.  Even finally being able to afford new bras after being on an extremely tight budget and having worn the three bras I own to limp pieces, there was a fraction of "looking forward to it." Mostly it was with a heavy heart and a deep sigh that I approached the Nordstrom lingerie department.

Why is it such a chore?  When you have a rack like mine, which often doubles as a "snack tray" or "crumb catcher," it takes a sturdy piece of engineering to hold the ladies up and make them look nice at the same time.  I got measured, was presented with a size I didn't expect (smaller in the inches, bigger in the cup) and then began the hunt for this mysterious new size in the racks of ginormous bras.  For some reason I am always shocked at how large they look on the mini hanger at the store compared with how they look, all faded and flaccid in my underwear drawer at home.  But also they look huge because in my mind, I am not that big.  When you have lived with big boobs as long as I have, you get so used to them, they diminish in size in your mind. I started wearing a bra in 5th grade (that's about 10 or 11 years old), thanks very much. I guess the bras also look out of proportion on a rack, compared with how they look on your body.

The trying on process can also be a bit of an ego killer.  It's not like trying on clothes where even if something fits wrong, you just whip it off and try on something else.  With clothes, you have your underwear on (at least I hope you do) but with bras, you have to be naked, at least from the waist up. And if you (read: I) are not especially self-confident in this area, it can be really tough staring at every bump and roll. Plus there is the supremely unattractive maneuvers you have to do to get the thing on right and in place.  Wow, what a freak show it can be!  This is why I buy my bras at Nordstrom.  More expensive, yes, but the service and atmosphere are very soothing.

The woman helping me was great and she found most of the bras I tried on and kept coming back to check on fit or remove great piles of the "no thanks."  I found 4 I liked out of about 25 during the 45 minutes in the dressing room.  Yes, I tried on about 25 bras. I have to. They are like shoes or glasses, you must try them on to see if they fit right and are comfortable because you'll be putting them on every day.  I can't NOT wear a bra.  Well, I could, but no one needs to see that.  The bras I bought are not sexy, though they do have little bows on them.  They are Practical with a capital P and this makes me a little sad.  I used to be able to buy a large array of sexy bras, back when my cup and band sizes were both much smaller. There is an easy ("easy") remedy to this problem:  Lose weight.  I'm working on it.  But for now, I needed some new bras.

When I got home I told Kurt about the bra shopping and said how it would be nice to just be able to set them aside from time to time -- the boobs, not the bras. I get tired of them. He looked at my like I was crazy and said he never gets tired of them.  I'm so glad he feels that way, it's a really good thing to have in a husband!  He also said "There are women who would kill to have your boobs."  (There must be a Law & Order episode with this story line.)  I know, I know.  Grass is always greener and boobs are always smaller/bigger.  Some days I love them, if I'm wearing just the right thing and have just the right swagger, but those days are few and far between.  I look forward to more of those days in the future.  For today I am glad to be well supported.

More Blasts From The Photographic Past

We had dinner at Sarah's on Saturday night and she had these pictures out. The first was from the West Coast Seabury Reunion Jen and I organized in (I believe) 1993 at her house in No. Cal. So many people came, including Sarah, and a great time was had by all, based on all the beer bottles being recycled!  Sarah was so cool -- she brought her Polaroid camera and a box FULL of film leftover from her previous movie  job.  We thought it was pretty amazing to have that much Polaroid film at our fingertips!Jen:sarah1993
Jen and I had a good time planning that reunion. Vegasbaby

Then Sarah pulled out this gem! Wooo hooo! This is from 1998-ish when I worked at Sony. Six of us went to Vegas and we decided ahead of time to buy some seriously funky/wacky/cheesy clothes, and get dressed up and go out one night in our outfits. This was me. The dress cost me about $20 and the shoes about $7. The most expensive part of the outfit was the hair.  It cost $50 It is my actual hair, but I got it DONE. And that hair didn't move all night. Then when I brushed it out the next morning, it still looked fabulous.  Money well spent.

At one point in the evening we sat down at a blackjack table together and the dealer looked at us, did a double take and then asked if we were a band.  We all looked at each other and said "Sure! Yeah, that's it, a band!"  I think even later in the evening people took photos of us.  We rocked.

David Puddy Works At Starbucks Now

I stopped at Starbucks the other day.  This was a treat as we have not been to Starbucks much due to tight budgets. I approached the register and there was a new barista in our local place (See, I used to go a lot.)  This guy looked like Patrick Warburton, dark hair, tall, quite beefy -- to be honest, he seemed out of place in the Starbucks.  LR5O3567 No matter, he smiled and took my order.  I asked for a caramel frap (for Kurt) and Patrick asked me if I wanted it "light." I said no, and with whipped cream please.  He was friendly, so I let it slide that he assumed I might want a "lower calorie" type beverage.  (I did want a lower calorie drink but I didn't need him assuming...) Then I started to order my drink but couldn't decide for a second so he pointed to both hot cups and cold cups and I pointed to hot and he pulled it up to prepare to make notes.  I said, "I would like a nonfat -- do you have sugar free vanilla syrup? (Patrick nodded) -- nonfat sugar free vanilla latte please."  He finished his cup notes, handed it off then turned back to me and said, smiling and so Puddy-like, "From now on we are going to call that a 'skinny latte.'"  I waited for the "High Five!" but it didn't come.  I really had to hold back from saying "Are we?  Are we really?"  I paid my money and moved along.

David Puddy must be The Tick's alter ego.  (Okay I just made that up.) But that reminded me of Bat Manuel.  Kurt and I went to see The Dark Knight at a special early screening from the Producer's Guild (in IMAX, it was great and we rule for seeing it early.)  Nestor Carbonell, lately of Lost, played Gotham's mayor in the movie.  But the moment he appeared on screen Kurt and I looked at each other and laughed, refraining from shrieking into the large theater "BAT MANUEL!"  I dared Kurt to ask  Christopher Nolan (the director of the movie) if they cast Mr. Carbonell simply to be able to make "Bat Manuel" jokes on set.  Alas, neither of us had the guts.