After that Long Walk down Western, I had some blisters. They were in the same spots I had always been getting them, the inner side of my heels. There were layers of the rumpled skin over the weeks, but nothing too bad. This week, the top layers starting peeling off, nothing gross, mind you, just the natural thing. But as I sat on the couch last night picking at the edges of the dried skin, it reminded me of being on the crew team in college. When you row, you get blisters on your hands which you then work up to nice calluses, but there are always little blisters showing up along the way. At morning practice we usually left before the men's teams and tried to arrive back at the dock before them. The guys would yell at us, "STOP PICKING YOUR CALLUSES AND HURRY UP!" And you'd realize that in fact, you do spend a lot of time picking your calluses when you are on crew. It made boring classes go by faster.
Last night at Trader Joe's a song came on the PA -- John Denver singing "You Fill Up My Senses". Talk about a sentimental journey. It took me right back to Jen and being little, when we still lived on Oahu. Mom played his albums over and over and my other sister, Dor, later learned to play guitar and could play all his songs. (Which I thought was unbelievably cool, still do, actually.) I remember going to his Concert at the H.I.C (Now the Neal Blaisdell Center) with Mom and Jen and Jackie and Sloane. Was Betsy there too? Can't remember...anyway...it was awesome! Walking the aisles last night listening to Johnny D made me teary eyed and I would have been fine, but then the next song was "Seasons In The Sun" from that same time period. Lyrics anyone? Yeah "Good bye my friends it's hard to die/when all the birds are singing in the sky..." Thanks TJs, thanks a lot.
But the evening was not awash in tears as I was at TJ's to buy treats for the weekend. Kurt and I are celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary (which is on Monday) by staying at a swank hotel right here in town. We are bringing our own little picnic basket with yummy snacks (to save a few $$ on room service) and just relax and not think about a thing all weekend. It's the same hotel we stayed in for two nights when we got married. We called it our Mini-Moon because we didn't go on an actual honeymoon until a year later. Seven years ago I remember lounging around watching whatever was on tv and a rerun of Barney Miller was on. We were enthralled.
We got a Wii Fit a few weeks ago and I started using it recently. I highly recommend it. The exercises are fun because there is so much variety. The strength and yoga exercises are straight forward with a "Trainer" walking you through it all. More fun are the balance and aerobic exercises as they are fun games. My favorite so far is the ski jump. My least favorite is the skiing slalom race.I am really bad at it! Missing gates all the time. I do pretty well on the penguin/fish slide thingy. Yesterday I did a set of boxing exercises and dang if my shoulders and biceps aren't sore this morning! Since it is a game system, as you repeat more of the exercises, new balance or aerobic games are unlocked. I value any exercise system that keeps me interested and coming back. The only downfall is that the program will say things like "I noticed you didn't work out yesterday, Julia, why not?" (or something like that.) But there is no interactive "Hey, I put on my shoes and went for a walk, shut up!" But aside from that, I am enjoying the variety and fun of it.
There has been much wildlife activity in our backyard, more than just squirrels. First there is Groucho, a mostly black cat with white spots, and a mustache that makes him (her?) look like the famed Marx Bro. This is not a feral cat, he's very friendly, especially now that we've started giving him a little food when he comes by, which is about once or twice a week, at most. He has no collar and is very clean and tidy. I'm sure he belongs to someone nearby and is just working our soft spot for cats. There is another cat who cruises through from time to time. We call him Smokey - long hair, smokey gray calico. He is much more aloof, bolts if you step out the door. With all this cat-activity, it doesn't surprise me to see one of them walking along our backyard fence out my window in the mornings. So imagine my double and triple take when I saw this the other day:
Momma Opossum and her four little babies. I know possums can creep people out, but to see one in bright daylight (it was way past their bedtimes) with babies clinging on, I was in love. (You can click for bigger cuteness.) I ran around trying to get pictures of them without scaring her too much. I took the above photo from inside and this one from outside:
I'm hoping she found a snug spot to settle into.
It's not a big image, but there it is. Photographic evidence that I had the same boots at Kate Moss.
A friend on Facebook with whom I went to Seabury found this and scanned it up. Thanks Jill!
I know there are pictures of me riding a horse with the boots on. But I know I won't be scanning/blogging. This is good enough...
Yesterday I really missed Jen. For the first time since she died I felt her absence so clearly. Up till now my feelings have been just this staggering disbelief that she's actually dead, the shock of it all. Yesterday I wanted to vent about something and she would have been the person I called. We had this kind of phone call all the time. One of us would call and say, "I'm really mad/upset/annoyed, can I just vent?" and the other would say of course and then the venting would begin. Trivial things, not so trivial things, whatever. But yesterday it took me a while to figure out who I could call and there was no easy answer to that. I stumbled about telling my vent to Kurt and another friend who happened to call, but it was not so satisfying. I either talked or emailed or ichatted with Jen almost every day. Sometimes it could be annoying (as sisters can be, no matter what!) but she was always there for me and I was always there for her. And somehow yesterday that black hole of missing her opened up wide in front of me, suddenly, and it sucked some of the life out of me. And yet I still wake up and blog and go for a walk and go to work and live.
I was telling my mom about Mad Men so she put it on her Netflix Queue. I warned her that she might not like it since she lived through part of that era. Last night she said she got through two episodes and couldn't watch it anymore. She started with "The smoke! The clouds of smoke!" then commented on the sexism and how she had lived it, she didn't need to see it.
Fortunately, I've never had to deal with any overt sexism in my life. Oh there have been older guys on set who have called me "Honey" or "Sweetheart" but I just look at them like the quaint anachronism that they are in this new millennium. They don't stop me from knowing that I am a successful person doing my job.
This is what my mom taught me -- that I could do anything I want, sky's the limit. The only thing that holds me back is my own occasional self-doubt or lack of confidence, but that is normal and I get through it.
There is so much I can't write about and it mostly revolves around work. Work takes up all my time now and yet I can't write about it for many many reasons, number one being that I signed a non-disclosure agreement of course.
I will just leave it at: There is so much I want to write about here. I'll have to find somewhere else to go...
Here's a nice LOLcat instead:
Saw this on San Francisco Metblogs and had to share.
Most times, when you work on a movie for some length of time, you get a crew gift at the end. Depending on your rank, you might get even more if the project spans the Christmas holiday. I walked across the lot this morning, wearing my "Die Hard With A Vengeance" crew jacket -- black letterman style with black leather sleeves. It's a silly memento that I actually paid for myself, but it was my first VFX producing job and I was proud of myself. I think I only produced about 30 shots, but I managed a crew and got a credit so I gave myself this gift.
The only other jacket I bought was my Boss Film jean jacket. I still have it in the back of my closet and will never give it away. It represents the first real job I ever had in the biz and the start of my VFX career -- a career path that found me and has treated me well.
The stuff I got for free?
Alien 3 -- 2 crew jackets, I gave 1 to my sister years ago and sold the other on Ebay a while back. I also got a 20th century fox jacket which I wrote about here.
Contact -- at Christmas in '96 I got a leather Nike weekend bag (still use it all the time) and a few other gifts that I can't remember, but that I know I gave to the coordinators working with me. At the end of the show, we got wind-breaker type jackets in that Contact blue color. I still have that one as it doesn't have a loud logo on it. We also got an army style jacket which I gave away or sold on ebay. Then my friend Tom gave me his a few months ago! Hilarious. I'm meant to have that jacket.
Kate and Leopold -- we got a black wind breaker type jacket with a very modest logo on it. I still have this jacket and wear it a lot.
Identity -- a heavier jacket with a modest logo on it. I wore this jacket a lot as well, good for weekends running around. I think I still have it, but might have given it away in a round of closet cleaning.
Walk The Line -- a jean jacket with a small logo on it. The jacket itself was size small. I gave it to a friend who peripherally worked on the project.
Memoirs Of A Geisha -- a jean jacket with a small logo on it. Again, the jacket itself was size small. I gave it to the same friend! Over that Christmas I got a bottle of sake from the director. We also got snow globes from the studio at the very end. This is a Sony studio thing. I find them to be not my style and gave mine to one of the guys I worked with. He loved it and gave it to his mom, I think.
Vantage Point -- No official crew gift or jacket but it seemed half the departments made t-shirts to give away. We (the VFX crew) (VFX crew=me and Paddy) made one too and it became the most popular t-shirt ever.
Body of Lies -- Often times the stars will give out gifs to thank the crew. Leonardo gave out really nice backpacks with the movie logo on it. That is something I use. I'm sure other stars did on other movies, but smaller things like leather CD cases or gifts to charity in our names, etc.
I'm sure there was lots more but I'm not into dust-collectors or chachkis (how do you spell that?). So unless it is something I will use, I usually don't keep the crew gift. I know there are people in my family or friends who love the movie stuff and I am more than happy to give it all away.
What a walk. What a day.
1 diet coke
1 lemon filled donut.
10 phone calls from friends and family
1 small bag of puffed cheetos
1 application of blister protection (worked at about 80% efficiency)
1 kalua pig plate lunch
3 bottles of water
many conversations on a variety of subjects
1 cop asking (at Western and Vernon) "Are you lost?" "No sir" "Are you sure?"
1 very tired but happy woman.
This photo is from Will's flickr set.
Check out the posts on Metblogs by myself and Will. There are 3 parts, though part 3 doesn't post until 9 this morning...
My walking companion, Will, will be tweeting along the way. Check out his twitter page and follow along as we go.
You can also call me on my cell phone -- those of you who know it.
Photos and stories to come!
Jen died six months ago today.
Half a year.
Feels like half a lifetime.
And half a day.