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March 2010

Miscellaneous Photos

We were in downtown LA recently, walking around a bit and I snapped this shot. Angles, corners, fronds.


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Here are Bunny and Mouse in a standard position. How can you not resist those tiny feeeeeet?


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Recently I was at LMU to speak on a panel of women in the Biz. I walked by McKay dorm and had to take a picture of my former room (the circled one, duh.) It was a two bedroom suite with a shared bathroom. I shared one of the rooms room with Shana and we did our best to make it look like Ferris Bueller's room. Yes, it was 1986. Good times!


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For Valentine's Day I made heart shaped cakes out of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Cookbook that my mom gave me in high school. (Oh, I'm a huge fan. Of the books. DO NOT talk to me about the tv show.) They came out not as well as I remembered making them before, but taking into account they would have been an amazing treat on the prairie in the 1870's, I didn't mind.




Kurt loved them. Sweet.

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After Christmas as I was putting away the decorations, I dug out this incense coil from the back of the cupboard. I was surprised I still had it. I got it in December of 1999, when my step brother Gary died. He died suddenly (I mean literally fell to the floor and died) of heart failure on December 23. Tragic, shocking, quite unfair. Gary and his fiance, Carol, had an import business and they were bringing in all kinds of things from Asia, including these amazing coils. At Gary's memorial we had these hung outside and burning constantly. We took a bunch home to Maui and burned them there and I brought a bunch home to LA and burned them here. 

They last for about five days and I hung it in the backyard, thinking of him and of Jen.


After that tragic time, Carol moved on and is doing so beautifully in her own business called Red Egg

I would like to find more of these coils. Anyone know where I can get them in LA?

Other New Horizons

I bid a fond farewell to Shane's Castle (where this photo was taken) and Belfast in general as I am no longer with The Project. I handed in some final docs today and while there may be some additional follow up, that's basically it. This was not a surprise and while some of my fan/friends felt confident that I would be back to the UK, alas, that was my excellent poker face at work again. Chances were slim that I would continue on. 

So let's enjoy some fun on set from one of my all time favorite days. It wasn't just that I got to play with the snow, but it was the day I was given a nickname (Lady Battenberg) by the B camera crew and I knew we had bonded for life. Seriously, those guys kept me laughing and having a good time throughout the entire shoot. This was also the day I got to meet some of my new fan/friends in Belfast at McHugh's. Great night!

I have never worked on a project with more amazing people. Out of the whole cast and crew, I can honestly say there were only two people who I didn't love. (I'll never name names.)(On my blog.) That is the kind of production crew love percentage you dream of on a job. I'm very grateful. 


There are many new things on the horizon for me, thought which ones will come fully into focus is not clear yet. I look forward to whatever lies ahead.


The Babies Are All In Our Minds

Okay, wacky title, but it's true. But that is where we stand.

A few people have been surprised to hear that we are in the process of adopting. (Surprised that we are planning on having kids, not surprised that we are choosing adoption.) And I've kind of felt bad when I've casually mentioned filling out adoption paperwork and someone I'm with says "WHAT?? You didn't tell me!" (Actually, Brian just needs to read my blog more often. COME ON!)

In our very baby steps toward adopting (see what I did there?) it's a very non-place to be. Being able to say "We're pregnant!" has very specific dates and info attached to it and is immediately exciting. Saying "We're filling out paperwork and writing essays and having background checks!" just doesn't have the same ring to it. Plus when you say you are pregnant, that means a baby will be arriving in four to six months. When you say you are filling out adoption paperwork, it can take up to two years and you won't know for a while when the clock starts. 

And, as mentioned previously, we could still get pregnant, it's not out of the realm of possibility. And we are still, ahem, working hard at it. And even if we do get pregnant, we will still work on adoption as we would like more than one Small Frey and by the time we would want to get preggers again, the expire stamps on my eggs will be very clear.

For now the babies are all in our minds. Nothing is tangible so mostly we come up with great names for our future kids. Names like Fergus and Fatima. Pud Mo and Wolverine. Atticus and Churchill. If we have twins they will be Pico and Sepulveda. Actually, the top choice at the moment is either "B" or "Trolololo" after our two current favorite you tube videos. (Click here and here.)

Oh I'll keep you posted. I am a blogger after all and you'll thank me for how very LITTLE information I have reported about us trying to get knocked up. Trust me.

Little Lambs and Missing Jen

Yesterday we worked on our adoption application, writing out essay type answers to many questions. I found it a bit daunting at first, somewhat stressful and quite emotional, especially when you get to the part about who you are closest to in your family and I can't say Jen anymore. I think I cried halfway through half of the questions. 

Then there were moments when I would think -- shouldn't every parent have to answers these questions before having a baby? Get an FBI check? Have their finances reviewed? The eight-year-old in me thinks "no fair!" then I get back to filling out the paperwork. The control freak, Type-A part of me worries that we won't be good enough and what if they turn us down? And to think I worried about birth control for the last eight years. I didn't expect such a rush of confusing emotions. Luckily we have good friends who have adopted recently and she reminded me that after all the work "you get a prize at the end. :-)" 

I was thinking about Jen a lot this week, especially after finding this video:

It is exactly the kind of thing we would have watched over and over. Then on iChat she or I would have randomly sent an opening chat of "Where's B?" Or just an email that said "Where's B?" And we would have giggled, watched the video again and started a chat about something else. Like, how is the adoption paperwork going? 


Let's Get Back To Books!

While working like a dawg at the paying gig and all the other projects on the side, I still make time to read. I can't keep my hands off the books! I have stacks of them everywhere, by my bed, on the bench under the bedroom window, on the bookshelf in my office,Marchbooks3 

 on the little side table in my office, Marchbooks2 on the set of drawers in my office, Marchbooks1
and course on the overflowing bookshelves in the living room. No such thing as too many books! 

I've been reading a few things for the writing project I'm working on, so I won't discuss those at this juncture. However, the fun reading has been the following, since January. 

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. This was sweet trifle of a book, with things to say about middle age, following your dreams, extricating yourself from unnecessary things and people, and taking chances. This spoke to me on many of those levels and I still just enjoyed whipping right through it.


Then I started reading more leftover magazines from my time away last fall, as well as the research books on the secret projects...

My mom bought me this book for my birthday:


Lives of the Trees by Diana Wells

It was unexpected and I'm really enjoying it. It's a simple listing of different types of trees and Ms. Wells tells you its history, quotes poetry or prose about such trees, she tells you the fairy tales or old wives tales about each tree. It's surprisingly engrossing and I like to take a break from whatever I'm reading every night and read about a few trees before going to sleep. Thanks mom!

Some of you may know that one of the people I'm currently working with is also a novelist. I had not ready any of his books, so bought all three. (One is a collection of short stories.) I just finished reading:


City of Thieves by David Benioff

It's a riveting story set in Leningrad in World War 2 about two young men sent on a ridiculous mission and the friendship and horror and experiences they have during their time together. It was a part of WW2 I knew very little about and opened my eyes about a lot. I couldn't put it down. I'm very much looking forward to his other two books. 

Sunday morning I finished the most recent book:

 A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Either Entertainment Weekly or Time had mentioned this book, recently out in paperback, as a recommended read. In 1907, a rich man in a small town in Wisconsin puts an ad in a paper for a wife, and he finds one. Both have mysterious reasons for why they are doing this and the secrets come out. It's bleak and harsh and I didn't care for his writing style, it often took me out of the story. I finished it almost out of duty as a reader. 

Now that my main book slot is open, last night I started to read:

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin

I read Seth's Blog (HIGHLY recommend) and am often inspired. And in these new personal projects I'm working on, I may not be the best writer, or the best producer or the best anything, but I have my place and I'm going to keep learning how to be the linchpin in these and any future endeavor I choose.

So much great stuff to read, piled all over the place! It's just about making the time. 

Reading IS fundamental. 

Paris Won't Be The Same Without Cousin David

Speaking of that roller coaster, my cousin David died yesterday, very suddenly, very unexpectedly. He was my mom's first cousin and about her age. I haven't heard any details yet as he lived in Paris and his mother, my great aunt, is 95. My mom has only heard that David died.

My grandmother, my mom's mom, had three siblings: one brother, Bob, and two sisters, Cherrie (short for Cherilla and pronounced "Cherry") and Martha. Bob was David's father. They all lived in Hawaii except for Auntie Cherrie so I knew them all growing up. 

Cousin David was a banker and lived in London and then Paris. I met him and his wife at the time and their daughters when I was a junior or senior in high school. They had made a big trip to Hawaii so all the family got together for a dinner party. The next time I met David was in Paris in 1989. And that was the first of many wonderful visits we would have as I've been lucky to have gone to Paris many times and every time I go, no matter who I'm with, I had dinner with David. Except for that first visit in 1989. 

My first tour of Europe was post college graduation, with three friends, backpacks, eurail passes and "Let's Go" at the ready. My mom had written ahead to David to say I would be stopping in sometime in June. She gave me his work address and phone number and one day in Paris my friend Vince and I found his office. Cousin David was then serving as the (I believe this is the correct title) President of the Bank of Kuwait and his office was on the Champs Elysees. We were in our best youth hostel travel gear so going into the small, elegant, air-conditioned offices was a bit intimidating. ("Country bumpkin" comes to mind when I picture myself there.) I smiled at the gorgeous french woman at the reception and told her who I was and that I was here to see Mr. Lowrey. We were shown into a lovely office, offered cokes (we said yes please) and then David came in, smiling, so happy to see me, nice to meet my friend. How were our travels, etc. Then he said, "So tell me again, how do you know Jane?" David was a brilliant guy, but sometimes a bit scatterbrained. "Ummm, Jane's my mom?" He laughed and said "Of course, how silly!" and we chatted for a few minutes more. Unfortunately our stay in Paris was too short to arrange dinner with David and all three of my friends.

In 1992 I went back to Europe alone but for the eurail pass, backpack and updated "Let's Go." I had written to David myself to say I was coming into Paris and would like to visit again if I could. This time I called ahead and we arranged to have dinner at a restaurant he frequented near my youth hostel. We met there and he ordered for me ("Do you like duck?") and we had wine. Well, I had some, he had what seemed like a LOT to a naive young traveler like me. I don't remember what we talked about, but it was probably a lot about growing up in Hawaii, family, family history, Paris, traveling, etc. David was a fine dinner companion. We said good-bye and I tottered home, feeling the wine.

I was next in Paris in 1994 with my boyfriend at the time. Again I wrote ahead to let David know we were coming and could we have dinner. Yes indeed! By this time (post gulf war #1) David was teaching business and economics. The three of us met, had a wonderful dinner, talked about work, the film business, traveling, a bit of family history again, etc. Lots of good wine to drink and delicious food. 

In 1997, cousin David was in Hawaii visiting his mom on Oahu. I was on an extended vacation after finishing Contact and when mom told me David was coming to visit, I asked if we could go over so we did and got more cousins together and it was so much fun! We had dinner at the Outrigger and had the most amazing sunset. Here we are:

L --> R: Emmi, Auntie Sally (David's mom), Jane (my mom), Tony, Wendy, Me, David (in red shirt) and Jimmy.

(Jimmy and Wendy are brother and sister and their mom is Auntie Martha (not pictured), they are first cousins to my mom and David. Tony is married to Wendy, Emmi is married to Jimmy.)

Just sitting there listening to good fun family stories and histories about high school at Punahou and small kid time on Kauai and Oahu and the Big Island and Maui. It was pricesless and wonderful. I'm so glad we went.

Next time I was in Paris was 2004. Kurt and I had been married for almost three years and I had just been in Macedonia for work. Kurt met me for a few days in MK and then we spent four or five days in Paris before going home. Of course I had to call David and make plans for dinner! Turns out that cousins Wendy and Tony were going to be there for a night on their way home from a canal boat tour and so we got double bonus cousin time. We met David first for dinner one night, he had been to the dentist that day so was already not feeling any pain! We had a smashing good time, chatted a lot, he got to know Kurt and we all got along great. Then we met him again when Wendy and Tony were there, all of us meeting at David's flat on Rue Mazarin for cocktails (champagne), pu-pus and a cousin picture:


David, me and Wendy.

Then we went across the tiny street to a portuguese restaurant and had some yummy food and more fun stories to tell. Wendy and Tony were catching an early flight the next day so they turned in early. "Early" was around 11 or 12. David asked if we were game and we said yes and went to a TINY bar just down the block. It was a "Mexican Bar" and there were about four good sized picnic tables and benches, a plank of wood for a bar in the back and guys playing guitars. It was crowded, but since we were pretty "early," we got seats and drank more champagne. We stayed for another hour or two, the oldest people in the place, though the owners knew and greeted David warmly. Finally Kurt and I could barely keep our eyes open and we left, walking David back to his flat, big hugs and thanks for a wonderful evening! I think David might have stayed all night in the Mexican Bar if we had had the stamina.

The last time we saw David was spring 2006. We were in Paris for two weeks and other friends of ours were in Paris then as well. The five of us got together, of course, starting at his flat with the wonderfully requisite champagne and pu-pus, then going across the street for dinner. It was a lovely evening.


David and our friend Pranab.


Kurt and David (quite a flash!)

David, gallantly posing with the silly sock monkey we took on the trip for some reason.

That is the last time we saw David. 

I've been so lucky to be able to go to Paris five times and each time, it has been made more special by having family there, wonderful cousin David who always made us feel so welcome. Having someone local in place like Paris is great, having family there is even better. Those of you who know what Ohana means, knows how special that can be.

Paris will be a bit dimmer without him now. And I was so hoping to have a trip in the next few years where Kurt and I could take my mom to Paris and then we could all have dinner with David. Not to be. 

Aloha 'oe, dear David.


Matthew Is 20 Today -- Happy Birthday!

My nephew, Matthew, is 20 today. Last night I was thinking about his actual birth day in 1990. I was working in Editorial at Boss Film at the time and had warned my boss that my sister was having a baby and I would need to head up to help out. He was fine with that. The call came on Friday, so I left work a bit early and flew up to No. Cal. 

Funny, I can't remember if I saw Jen in the hospital before Matthew was born at all or if I was just baby-sitting Grace (who was about a year and half then) at the house while Peter was at the hospital. Jen was VERY private and no one was allowed to be near her for both births except Peter. My mom was flying to San Francisco from Maui on the red eye so I stayed with Grace at the house over night, then Peter came back home (Jen was still in labor) to get Grace while I drove to SFO in the pre-dawn dark.

Picked up mom, probably went back to the house after calling Peter for an update. No baby yet. But soon Matthew came along, a bouncing baby boy, all cute and pink and adorable. Mom and baby did great and they went home after a day or so.

I flew back down to LA on Sunday night, exhausted, and before I went to bed I realized I had jury duty the next morning. I was stressed out! This was before cell phones and email and even office voice mail for that matter. I couldn't call my boss to say I would be in later. I was usually the first one in to deal with film dailies, etc. This was my first real job and I didn't want to screw up. But I had to go to jury duty to get out of it. I got to the office around 10 or 11 and was so freaked, trying to explain about jury duty and etc etc. 

My boss Howie, one of the nicest bosses in the world, came over to see me after I got in and asked how the baby was. I burst into tears after all that travel and excitement and stress and no sleep. He said "Is the baby okay???" And I squeaked out something like "Yes, he's fine." Then ran into the negative room. (That's not a metaphor -- it's the room where we kept the negative.) Jim, the younger friend of mine in the department came in to ask what was wrong. I had calmed down by then but explained all the good stress about the weekend, and the whole jury duty, late to work thing. No one was mad at me, but I hate letting people down. 

Funny to look back at how I worked so hard to keep all my emotions so severely in check. I probably wanted to cry with joy at seeing Matthew so brand new and me being so happy for everyone, but didn't because no one else did. 

Crazy wonderful weekend.

Happy Birthday Matthew!

I Forgot I Was On A Roller Coaster

Okay, I didn't entirely forget about it, but I've been on a flat, even path for a few months now. But lately the track has started twisting and turning again, hard ups and hard downs (mostly hard downs) and really putting stress on the safety harness.

I've mentioned that we are heading down the baby path. And as previously mentioned: we're not currently pregnant. And that fact has been so much harder to deal with than I thought it would. We've always been wide open to adoption if the biology didn't work out as extreme scientific measures are not for us. (Especially me, since that part of it would be all me.) Having a baby with our genetics would be great, but it's not critical to us for being parents. 

That all sounds good on paper. But when month after month the pee-covered stick says NO! it is a bit tough to take. I feel like a failure. Kurt tries to gently remind me that it's not my failure, it's just biology. Easy for him to say, his "biology" is fine (we had that checked). All my tests have been positive and normal and nominal and green too, actually, and yet -- not pregnant. So yes, in my head, I know it's not something I've done or haven't done, it's just biology. But in my heart it makes me sad to have lost out on that opportunity. There is still a chance I could get pregnant, but really, let's not hold our breathe. 

We are moving forward with adoption and filling out paperwork and getting that going. This is a great thing and we are looking forward to this very much. But I've been weepy for the last month or so. Mourning the biological loss. And I'm only writing about it here because, really, no one wants to hear about it my real life. 

What's my favorite Twitter hashtag? Oh yeah: #firstworldproblem

Seriously, here's me, approaching the person with the clipboard:

Clipboard: Hello, can I help you?

Me: Yes, I can't get pregnant.

Clipboard: I see, how old are you? 

Me: 43.

Clipboard: Right, see that line? (points to a line stretching as far as the eye can see) Yeah, go to the back of that. Next!

No one wants to talk about my first world problem because there are so many solutions to it. 

The one person I could talk to about it? Jen. We would have had many ichats and facebook chats and phone calls, talking about it all and how silly parts of it all can be. We might not have dug into all the feelings about it, or maybe we would have on ichat (safer) but she would have been there every single time to hear me be sad about this loss. And then to be excited about adopting.

And the fact that I'm sad about this makes all my sadness about her come flying right back up to the top. I miss her so much. And even thinking about having kids in the future and not having her there to be an amazing auntie makes me cry even harder. It's going to be such an empty spot in my heart. It is such an empty spot in my heart.

So this has all been a sudden slamming of the roller coaster ride again and I'm trying to remember to breathe and hold on for that next flat patch. It might be a while.

I just hope the safety harness holds.