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December 2009

2009: A Look Back In Two Parts (Part 2)

Continuing from Part I of 2009: A Look Back.

We arrived in the Pacific Northwest for a record breaking heat wave. We stayed overnight one night in Port Townsend and enjoyed the pretty view and great company of friend's parents in town.


I had a mini-Seabury Class of 85 reunion with Steve and Courtney. The visit was way too short!


Another blogger field trip resulted in a new tattoo. Fun day


I got to celebrate the baptism of a good friend's son. Sweet ceremony. Sadly, this dear boy's grandpa died a few months later and we celebrated that amazing life with a funeral in December.


Later in August:



In September I got to meet internets superstar, Ben Huh. I also learned a lot of great stuff from him.


A gang of us got together in September to celebrate our 20+ year long friendships -- one that started at LMU in the late 80's. So much fun to get together and eat El Tarasco's!


Then I left LA to go to work in Northern Ireland on a tv pilot. More importantly, I met Elvis at the Belfast International Airport. 


Kurt came to visit for about 10 days and we toured the North coast, Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede bridge. Great weekend adventures...


...and plenty of Guinness!


Of course I was working. Here's another shot of me on set.


In November, Safety Graphic Fun celebrated it's first anniversary. Here's hoping we can get to the 2nd!


I got home from the shoot in Northern Ireland just before Thanksgiving and we flew to North Carolina to cook turkey and celebrate with great friends.


Just after Thanksgiving I was on another work trip to Montana and Oregon. I made a snow angel on Ted Turner's ranch...


...and generally spent time looking like this as the scenery was so lovely.


Finally. Finally. Finally. I got to come home. Three weeks before Christmas I could unpack and put my suitcases away. Heaven. Kurt and I both worked pretty full on until about December 24th. Bunny kept the Christmas tree monitored. 


Now we are sliding gently into 2010 with many creative irons in the fire and resolutions/goals/plans/intentions to have much to review and relive in one year's time.

Thanks to all my family, friends and new friends/fans who read this blog and send love and support. You all really held me up when I was feeling down in 2009 and I'm grateful to you. Thank you for making 2009 a year full of friendship and joy.

All the best to you all in 2010!

2009: A Look Back In Two Parts (Part 1)

In case it wasn't ever that clear: 2008 was awful. The worst. My sister died in 2008. There were other family health crises that made the year tough even without Jen dying. There was not much rejoicing or looking back in December 2008, as all the looking back was right there in my heart: pain, grief, anger. 

2009 was about continuing to move forward through that pain, anger and grief, and to look ahead to what was to come: good, fun, and joyous things. Kurt and I had a lot of fun this year, among the bittersweet moments.

It started off by me becoming the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything:


And since I had just become that, I attended the JPL tweet-up in late January and got to hang out with some superstars of space, like this model of the Voyager spacecraft with The Golden Record!


Spent a lovely afternoon/evening for Classic Eats #2 at Union Station and Phillipe's French Dip. That's a Classic Eats combo I want to do again sometime!


I got a freelance gig back at Sony Imageworks and had to work in an actual office. It took some adjusting.


In early spring, near the anniversary of Jen's death, Sarah took this picture of me and I see so much of Jen in it that it's strange and sweet.


The chinook wind came down to LA and blew our wisteria down.


We took it as a sign to get out of town, so in April we went to see some amazing places in the Southwest, the best being Monument Valley. 


In May we hosted Classic Eats #5. Love Classic Eats! Here we are at Musso And Frank.


We got a new car. We think it rocks.


In June I co-hosted a Very Special Classic Eats called Hot Dog Death March! We had a great time and raised almost $200 for a charity in India that builds toilets in a small village. Wonder if there will be a HDDM in 2010...


In July my niece turned 21. We had a girly day of make up and cocktails with lots of her friends. 


Kurt and I joined her and her friends in Vegas for additional birthday celebrations and poolside lounging.


Later in July there was a blogger field trip to the gun range in downtown LA. I got a new nickname: 

"One Shot One Kill"  

In the Zombie apocalypse, hand the weapons to me.


Also in July I got invited to Blogger Prom. I went all out for the 80's theme.


At the end of July we returned to Union Station downtown and took Kurt's mom on the Coast Starlight up to Seattle. Two days and a night onboard the train actually goes by pretty quickly!


Wow, so much good stuff and that's only half way!

More from 2009 in the follow-up post....

Christmas Full Of Books!

I am very grateful for all the gifts I was given this Christmas. I would have been happy with big hugs and shared company of good friends and family alone. Bonus! I got gifts too.

What makes me very happy is that I got many many books! Good old fashioned books with pages and bindings and that new book smell. I always bury my nose into a new book at least three or four times when I start reading it.

My book gift list:

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby (Love me some Nick Hornby!)

Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann (I read about it, put it on my wish list then forgot about it!)

Cleaving by Julie Powell (of Julie and Julia fame)

Misquoting Jesus -- The Story Behind Who Changed The Bible and Why by Bart Ehrman

The First Five Pages -- A Writer's Guide to Staying Out Of The Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman (Thanks for supporting my writing Mom!)

Spirit Animals -- Unlocking The Secrets of Our Animal Companions by Stefanie Iris Weiss. (This after an evening last summer when we saw a large possum in our backyard one night while eating there with friends. Unusual to see one out that early so we looked up the spirit animal significance. This same friend gave me this book.) 

Secret Ingredients - the New Yorker Book Of Food And Drink. (This is a great gift but alas, I already own it and have read it. So I'll be passing this on to Dor who I think will enjoy it a great deal!)

I started reading Juliet, Naked last night and all I want to do today is run away to a coffee shop and just read quietly for hours. Alas, I have to work a little bit (just on the phone and via email) and we still have family here.

I'm grateful for all the great gifts I received!

Christmas, Hawaii And The Rubbish Men

As I heard the garbage trucks trundle about this morning here in LA, I thought about the garbage men in Hawaii at Christmas and the haul of beer they would collect. On the last rubbish pick up day before Christmas, people would put out a six pack or case of beer on top of their garbage cans as a Christmas gift and thank you for the year of hard work. You'd make sure to stand at your door or in your drive way as they came by so you could give the big Shaka and Mele Kalikimaka. There were news stories about how much beer these guys would collect. 

So I listened to a truck go by, thinking I should run out and give the driver a loaf of banana bread I had baked to say thanks. Then I realized that I maybe actually see them, or even make eye contact with them once  or twice a year. I also realized there will be at least three of them as we have the black container for garbage, the blue for recycling and the green for yard trimmings and they never actually leave their trucks to "pick up the garbage." It's all automatic from inside the cab. I appreciate their work, I'm just unprepared to say thanks today. Sorry guys! 

Was life really easier in a small town in Hawaii way back when? Maybe. Mostly just fewer garbage trucks.


Movie Stars and Me

Very rarely does this happen. The only reason I have a photo with Liev Schreiber is because I worked on Kate and Leopold in 2001 and went to the wrap party. Both Liev and some other guy...what was his name...Oh yeah, Hugh Jackman were there, both super nice, chatty with all, took photos, etc. (I do have a picture with Hugh, but it's somewhere in a box and I don't have the energy to find/scan it. Not sure why I have scanned this one...)


In my normal every day general "fan" life, I would never ask an actor for a photo or autograph. I have been known to say to an actor that I adore how much I love their work. But I never bother them when eating or if they are talking with friends or family or having a personal moment. For example, I saw Elliott Gould at my local Whole Foods in the produce section and very quietly said, "I love your work, you make me laugh, so sorry to bother you!" and he said, "No bother, thank you so much, that's great!" I did a similar thing with Allison Janney while she waited for her coffee order at a counter at the Grove. She was so sweet and kind and I was in and out in 20 seconds. I figure, if I'm not intruding at all, who doesn't want to hear that they are loved and adored? I had it happen to me recently in Belfast (okay, not "loved and adored" so much) -- and it felt GREAT.

Okay, wait. I *have* asked for autographs four times in my life but they were always for other people. 

1) 1988 - Michael Jordan was filming a Nike commercial in our gym at LMU (where the lakers would sometimes practice) and I happened to be walking across the parking lot as he was walking to his car with a large group of followers. I thought -- oh I should get his autograph for my boyfriend (who was a HUGE basketball fan, probably still is). Then I thought -- no, too many people around. Then I thought -- when will I have this chance again? So I opened a notebook to a blank page, jammed my way to the front of the crowd and just held the book in front of Michael who had a pen already. He just signed it and moved on to the next piece of paper. I gave the autograph to the boyfriend and I hope he liked it because I can't remember what he said or did.

2) 1988 - James Worthy came into the restaurant I worked at (Italy's Little Kitchen "Hi, two? Smoking or non?") and I am about 80% sure I also go his autograph for the same basketball loving boyfriend.

3) 1995 - Shaquille O'Neal was the star of my 2nd VFX producing job -- that's right people, I worked on Kazaam! He was freely signing basketballs for anyone, everyone. When my chiropractor found out I was working with Shaq, she said her 12 year old son LOVED him so I got Shaq to sign a ball for him. 

4) 2007 - Dog The Bounty Hunter was in Toys-R-Us in Culver City (no, I'm not making that up) and I was laughing as the show is a guilty pleasure of a good friend of mine. So I got his autograph and he proved his great intellect by asking how to spell "Sarah". And not just "is there an h at the end" but he wrote the S and then looked up at me, confused. So I continued, "A, R, A, H." Oy. Sarah did find it amusing. 

Somehow it's mostly basketball related. Funny that.

Anyway the whole reason I even wrote this blog post is because a friend on Twitter commented that a guy who looks like Liev just came into her office and she swooned.