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July 2009

Vacation Without Wifi

Im blogging from my iphone cuz i need my fix! (all the promised wifi at each hotel has not worked...) We've been in Seattle all week visiting friends and family. And it's been HOT! no, I mean hot!! Record breaking temps that are 20-25 degrees above normal. Yesterday it was about 103. No one has air conditioning because why would you need it if the average is 77? Oy.

But with the view we have from out B&B, we can't really complain.

Home to LA on Saturday, where it should be so much cooler. Who'd-a-thunk?Vacation Without Wifi

Coast Starlight -- Moon Edition

We took the Coast Starlight from Union Station in LA to Seattle, arriving last evening at 8:45. I live-tweeted the trip and will do a post of those tweets with accompanying pictures shortly. For the moment, I needed to share the best photo of all. 

We were outside Eugene Oregon, going over a bridge and I wanted to take a picture of another bridge and the river. I only had my iPhone and so I kept snapping. When I went back to pick one to use for the tweet, this is what I saw:



Blogger Prom 2009

Wow! What a night! It was so much fun I needed a full day to recover! Blogger Prom was a smashing success and I was so lucky and glad to have been a part of it.

First of all, a HUGE HUGE thanks and shout out to the amazing Blogger Prom Committee! That was a great party and I was overwhelmed by the amount of give-aways and prizes and great food and drinks. And the view! Couldn't have asked for a better one. I know how hard it is to organize and run an event like that so major kudos to you all.

Oh let's get to some pictures, shall we? First of all, you can find a ton of pictures in the Blogger Prom 2009 Flickr group. The outfits! The Hair! The Make Up! The Bows! The Taffeta! The Fingerless Lace Gloves! The Piano Key Tie! Pauly Shore! No seriously, Pauly Shore was there. How 80's is that?!

I had to take the classic "in the bathroom before prom" picture as soon as the cloud of hairspray had evaporated. Let's get a real good view of the hair and makeup, shall we?
I couldn't get the blue to be any bluer. I tried. I put about three layers of blue eyeshadow on. Either they just don't make it like they used to or I need to shop where the drag queens shop.

When I got to the prom, I ran into fellow Metblogger David Markland and his wonderful date, Claire.

Then additional Metbloggers, Joz and Mykal came in, rocking the Dynasty look. I felt right at home!

At the mention of the word Dynasty, Mykal opened his jacket to reveal this AMAZING detail about his outfit:
Holy crap the 80's were, uh, weird.

But the best part of any blogger get-together, wacky prom costumes notwithstanding, is meeting people you have only ever communicated with online. So I got to meet Adri The Girl Blogger (@thegirlblogger) We had tweeted about our Dynasty dresses and curling irons and hairspray before the big event.

Then a babe in hot pink was coming toward me and we did a triple take then yelled each other's names and hugged. It was Kim Prince of House of Prince! (@houseofprince) and with her was a fairly new online friend I had made, Lisa Kelly of The Tale Of My Left Foot (@lkkelly).
We are so sassy!

Then Slackmistress and Be The Boy! (Otherwise known as Nina and Will.) I was striking Blogger Gold!
Check her hair -- I was so excited about taking a picture I got too close to get good focus (#nervousfan).
There were even a few Smarty LA Women, Katy and Jennifer:
Best of all were my MetBlog homies, Travis, Lucinda and Joz:

What a fun night! Woweee.

Oh, and for the record, none of us had sex with Mykal Burns. Also, I won a $75 gift certificate to Ciudad! What a night!

Weigh In Wednesday

KittyonapplescaleThe scale says 188, up one from last week. So my eating habits, while gaining traction back to the much healthier side of things, have not been great. Lots of fiber filled food and many greens this week, but not quite in the right proportions I guess.

There has been much more exercise, and that just feels good, but I have to figure out the best upper body stuff for me. I am thinking about the push up challenge again, but I know I have to start on my knees to even get anywhere! But hey, that's fine. 

Next week we are on the road again. Good news is, there is no food around to randomly snack on. 

Saturday All Day Long!

So after our fun times in Vegas, we got home Friday evening and didn't get to rest at all on Saturday. I left the house at 8:30 am and didn't get home till Midnight. (Kurt took a break in the afternoon and went home for a bit.) Here's why we were so busy:

First Appointment of the Day: Producer's Guild Screening of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. The screening was at 9:30 at the Grove and David Heyman, Producer, answered questions afterward. I wouldn't have signed us up first thing after Vegas, but Kurt had worked a bit with Mr. Heyman about ten years ago on a script and I wanted to make sure they got to shake hands and say hi. The movie was good and even better were the two kids (one boy, one girl) in front of us with their dad. They both had their wands and the boy had not only his robes and HP glasses, but he had his forehead scar as well. OMG so freakin' cute! Even Kurt thought that was pretty sweet. I said "Ooooh, you just want to give that little guy big smooches!" And we laughed about how, uh, inappropriate that might be! 

After the Q&A we muscled our way to Mr. Heyman and waited patiently while he spoke to someone else. I realized that Mr. Heyman (who I have never met) might not recognize Kurt after all these years and without his beard and round glasses. So as they came face to face, I made a quick decision and said, "David, do you remember Kurt Frey?" and he perked up, looked at Kurt and said, "Kurt! Great to see you!" and they shook hands and spoke for a minute or two as we were hustled out of the theater. They got separated for a moment then shook hands good bye. Sometimes in Hollywood, a handshake and "how are you" after ten years is all you need to get back "in" with someone. (Oh and a great script that impressed a guy back then...)

Second Appointment of the Day: Bloggers Go Boom. By now it was almost 1pm and we headed east on Third to pick up Noirbettie on our way to the LA Gun Club downtown. We were meeting Travis, Lucinda and Mykal there to shoot guns at paper targets. Mykal is the gun owner of record and came with a 9mm, a .357, a .45 and .25 as well as a shotgun. We all took turns learning how to handle said firearms and then started blasting away. 

Want to know something? I'm good at it. Want proof? 


Yes, I am quite pleased with myself! At one point I started putting the targets much further away than the closest point. Kurt said, "you're putting the target too far away, it should be at the red line." I turned to him and said, "I know it's further away, I need more of a challenge." He nodded and handed me more ammo.

Last up was the shotgun and only me, Kurt and Mykal shot it. Again, please make a note: When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, hand the weapons to me. My two shotgun rounds were within an inch of each other within the red square. 


I got a new nickname: "One Shot One Kill."  

Don't ever under estimate a blonde with a big rack.

Third Appointment of the Day: Classic Eats #6. We dropped Noirbettie off at her place and then Kurt dropped me off at El Cholo at 5pm. I changed into nicer clothes and ordered a margarita and waited for the Classic Eats crew to arrive. There were only nine of us to enjoy the nachos, green corn tamales and margaritas, but it was a fun visit with other fellow bloggers and classic eaters.

Fourth Appointment of the Day: VFX Wrap Party for 2012. Kurt picked me up at about 7:45 and we headed into the heart of Hollywood to Roland Emmerich's house for the party. OMG his house is amazing. Gorgeous. Fabulous. WOW. The party was fun, I saw many people I had hired last fall to work on the in-house FX crew. I wasn't really sure about going to the party as I was pretty tired, but I was rewarded with one of the artists saying to me "Julia, thank you so much for hiring me, this has been the best job I've ever had!" Wow. Okay, my day was MADE. We stayed at the party until about 11:30 and by then my feet were killing me (leftover from walking so much in high heels in Vegas) and we went home.

I woke up at about eight or nine the next morning, still smelling of gunpowder. It had been a great day!

Vegas, Baby!

We went to Vegas to help Grace celebrate turning 21 last week. Kurt and I hadn't been in four years so we were excited to go. We stayed at the Venetian -- FAB rooms! -- and spent two nights total, meeting up with Grace and her friends for dinner and some fun both nights. 

We like to gamble a bit, it's entertaining, especially when there are wacky new slot machines like this Star Wars one:

Yes, that is the Death Star up there, which spins when you get the bonus round. Hilarious.

We spent a morning by the pool, mostly in the shade. Then the sun hit our spot and Kurt high-tailed it out of there. I stayed for another hour, reading in the sun. This is something I haven't done in years and years! If it hadn't been 112, I would have stayed for two. (By the way, this book is EXCELLENT! So much better than the movie.)


A nice slushy drink and a quick swim in the pool helped:


Grace and her friends went dancing, we abstained. It hasn't really been my thing for a long long long time. The second night, we had dinner at New York New York as they had all gone to see Zumanity and we met them after. Then we went on the roller coaster -- also something we haven't done since the Cyclone at Coney Island in 2001. ("Coney Island: Hellhole of Fun!") That was a blast, I was laughing so hard all the way through the corkscrews and full upside down turn.

We stayed up till two am the first night then four am the second. We didn't drink much so it was more about tired than hungover. The "kids" enjoyed their GIANT plastic yard long drinks every night and more power to them. It was hot, they were 21 and no one had to drive!

It was fun and I look forward to Vegas again in the future.

Cancer! Cancer! Cancer! I've HAD It With You!

When Jen died last year, I took off my Livestrong bracelet. 

Ask anyone and you'll know that I am the eternal optimist, always the one who looks for and finds the silver lining, always looking for the good thing that is hidden in the bad times. I'm the frakkin Maria Von Trapp trying to explain that when "god closes a door, somewhere he opens a window." But when my sister died, things got dark. Very dark indeed. In the 15 months since then, my inner lights have slowly come back on, slowly brightening up. There are lots of dark corners still and who knows if there will ever be light back in some of them again. 

When we found out Jen had cancer in August of 2007, I put the bracelet on as kind of a talisman to the whole experience. But then in April of 2008 the bright sunny yellow of the bracelet was like a joke and I didn't want to look at it, so off it came. I ended up making black armband bracelets after writing about the whole black armband concept last summer. I've been wearing that bracelet ever since then. 

But now I'm wearing both again, the black and the yellow. I was inspired to because a friend who recently had surgery for testicular cancer now has to do chemo. The prognosis is very good, but still, it's cancer, dammit. Another friend is recovering from breast cancer. She had major surgery, chemo and radiation. So far things are looking good, but she's not out of the woods yet, though the trees are getting thinner. But still, it's cancer, dammit. My stepmom had breast cancer, but is many many years in remission, thank goodness. 

So I'm back to wearing yellow to keep living strong. I don't think I ever stopped living strong during these last two years, even when times were dark. I might be lazy sometimes, but I never give up.

Weigh In Wednesday

LemuronscaleBack down to 187 today, as predicted. (the downward, not specifically the number...) Funny how focused, good eating and more exercise will do that!

We are off to Vegas to celebrate Grace's 21st birthday today. I'm not terribly worried as there will be lots of walking, maybe some dancing and when you have to pay for all the food you eat, you tend to be picky about what you eat! I am, anyway. Mostly I'm looking forward to the fun.

Back on track!


Yesterday I drove to Manhattan Beach to meet a friend for lunch and we had a great visit. But the "Driving There" part is what is on my mind. Instead of taking the 405 south to Rosecrans I took the beach route. This always brings back wonderful memories of college days and driving that same route all the time. My college beau lived in Manhattan Beach and I would hang out there with him all the time. Sometimes I would take my red bug and meet him there. Sometimes we'd go together in his classic blue VW bus. (I LOVED driving that thing!) Every once in a blue moon, he would have his brother's motorcycle and we would head home on that. That was a special and exciting treat, to wrap my arms around my first real sweetheart while we flew along the ocean, the sun setting. For a few years after we broke up, it was hard to take that drive. But now it's full of warm, sweet, salty memories.

❇ ✪ ✿ ❉ ✬ ✺ ✱ ❂ ❇ ✪ ✿ ❉ ✬ ✺ ✱ ❂ ❇ ✪ ✿ ❉ ✬ ✺ ✱ ❂ ❇ ✪ ✿ ❉ ✬ ✺ ✱ ❂ 

On Sunday we took Dot to dinner in the valley, to an austro-hungarian restaurant she had read about and wanted to try. (Uh, not a lot of plant based options there!) We took the GTI and as Kurt drove his mom asked him "How did you learn to drive?" (Kurt's parents were divorced when he was about five and his dad lived far away.) Kurt said, "Driver's Ed." It made me think of learning how to drive on Maui. 

The driving age then was 15, so at 14 I was already practicing. Seabury didn't have drivers ed so Jack took me to the huge empty parking lot behind MCC (which I think is gone now) and in the little blue Honda, taught me to drive stick. Those first few lessons figuring out the timing between clutch and gas were a jolty, annoying time. And for some reason, remembering to put it into first every time I stopped was lost on me. But it was all about practice and the rote routine of doing it over and over and over. Jack was very patient, just let me have at it in the wide open space. I got the hang of it and a few months later took my driving test and past. I failed the parallel parking section, but the guy testing me said I was a conscientious and safe driver, so off I went, license in hand. 

One thing I did on my own was to wear my seatbelt from day one. I figured I was an idiot who didn't know how to drive well, might as well protect myself from myself. Once all the seatbelt laws came into effect, it was old hat to me. I had to listen to my friends grumble about it for ages before they got used to it. If I'm ever in a car without wearing my seatbelt now I feel so naked! 

And I'm so glad I learned stick right form the start. I'm amazed at how many people don't know how to drive a manual car. I know in this day and age it's getting rarer and rarer, so it's less of an issue. But I've never owned a car (except for Kurt's Honda and now Dot's Buick) that wasn't a stick and as mentioned, the GTI has six, count them-six, awesome manual gears. 

I love to drive. LOVE IT.

Thanks to Jack for teaching me so well!