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June 2010

Maui Maui Maui

It's been a year and half since I've been home. Longer since Kurt's been here. I always forget exactly how awesome the tradewinds feel and how the ocean sounds. So lulling.

Here's a recap of the last 24 hours...

Flying in over mom's house. (Yes, I did get the rainbow in there on purpose


Then we turn around for final approach and gaze upon Haleakala. 

I bought a block of Ahi for sashimi before dinner. YUM!!!!11! (Yes, I shared.)

We are staying across the street from Mom's house (housesitting for her neighbors). So I get a nice view to the house I grew up in every time I walk out the door.


In the morning I checked email and online stuffs with this view:


Then Kurt and I went for a walk on the beach. First leaving our slippers at the "door" to Baby Beach.


There were limu pickers, working hard.


Then Mom and I went up to Seabury to get interviewed by Linda for Seabury "archives". It's really not tough for me to talk about how much I love Seabury. I mean look at it!


On the way home, we swung by this so I could take a photo. Spent a few 4th of Julys there watching the rodeos.


Then we stopped at Minit Stop in Paia to get some local ono grinds for lunch: Li hing mango, spam musubi, cone sushi, manapua, then potato wedges and fried chicken for Kurt -- and the Maui chips he loves.


I worked hard on portion control.

Now we are just kicking back, feet up on the lounge chairs on the lanai. We might go to Whole Foods later to get something fresh, local and yummy for dinner. 



My Year Long Seabury Reunion 2009-2010

I realized I left a few people out of my recent reunion post. Here is a rundown of Seabury-ites (Seaburians? Seaburinos?) I've seen over the last year.

July 6, 2009: Kevin Crane came to LA for work and we went out to dinner, taking one self portrait with the iPhone. Hilarious.


While I had seen Courtney in LA earlier in the year, we neglected to take a photo as we spent so many hours yakking and closing down the restaurant we were in! Luckily we were going to meet up again in July in Washington State, this time with Steve.


Then I got all busy working and leaving the country. 

2010 rolled around and there was a great increase in Seabury Facebook traffic with talk of people being at the reunion in June. That lead to more Seabury friends on Facebook and more reconnections.

First there was lunch with Victoria in April. Hadn't seen her since she graduated!


Then she came to see Denis Leary on June 10 and we hung out before hand as well. Plus she'll be on Maui this week too!

In May it was Lance and Ellen in LA. Easily haven't seen them in 20 years. Amazing how comfortable it feels to see everyone, even after decades!


Then Heather (formerly Yolles) came to LA with her family and we got to hang out twice!  He we are with her adorable girl, Sasha.


And today I had lunch with Lehn, wonderful, amazing, inspiring Lehn!


There will be many more photos this week of the parties before the reunion then the reunion itself on campus. Sarah Bott and I have a treasure hunt planned for Cooper House. Look for that soon!

Prepare For A Shortage Of Kleenex On Maui This Week

Jensbabybeachphoto Day after tomorrow I'll be right there. 

For the few that don't know, this is Spreckelsville Baby Beach. Right down the street from my mom's house where I grew up.

We'll be home on Maui for a week and the main reason we are going now is for the Seabury Hall reunion. My 25th, Jen's 30th. There will be a bunch of people from various classes in between '80 and '85 who I haven't seen in 25-30 years. I'm really looking forward to it and at the same time know it's going to be really hard. Who knows if Jen would have come to Maui for this or not. (She hated to fly.) if she decided to come, that would have been a great reason for us to go. I'm mostly going because she's not here and many of her friends will be there. 

Saturday is the reunion and the first thing scheduled at 4:30 is a memorial for those who have died in the last few years. I'll be there with Kurt (of course) and my Mom and Mom's high school friend Jackie, someone Jen and I knew since we were born. It's going to be hard and wonderful and really hard. The woman who is organizing the reunion asked for photos of Jen to show at the memorial. I sent some and Mom sent some. She also asked if we wanted to say something or read a poem or something. Mom said she would. I said I couldn't. I can't. I sort of want to but am too sadangryexhaustedpissedoffdistraughtbesidemyself to do it.

Just driving onto the Seabury campus makes me emotional beyond belief. I love that place. All of that is true even without Jen having died. 

Now. Now there is Snooker to miss deeply and Bruce and Jai too. Not to mention David Melrose. (I dreamed of David not long after he died. I dreamt I was on campus and saw him there, but knew he was dead. It was wonderful to think of him still on campus, smiling and laughing.) This was a tiny school and all the people there, whether I knew them well or not, were all important to me. They all played amazing huge roles in my life, more so than they might even guess if they were still here to read this. The 7th graders, Michelle and Shannon, during one of my last lunches as a student there, who surprised me with a big carnation lei to say thanks for being their friend. That was such an amazing moment, I won't forget it for the rest of my life. And Charlotte Melrose who singled me out during Valentine's Day Chapel, 1985 to say that I was a great example of what love is. OH MY GOD. For the few who might know Charlotte, you know what that means to me. For you who don't know her, I can only liken it having Shakespeare call you a good writer, or having Neil Armstrong call you an amazing astronaut. 

(I'll just pause here to say: You only get out of it what you put into it.)

So just being on campus is heart tugging enough. Never mind that I spent my first year there as Jen's little sister. Tears are coming. Many many tears. Thank goodness there is time between the memorial and the reunion party to clean up my eye make up and pull myself together.

And it's not just that we will be there in a couple of days. No. It's been going on for a year. April of 2009 I saw Courtney for the first time in probably 20 years. Then in Summer of last year I saw Steve -- also for the first time in about 20 years. Tears of joy. Courtney joined us and it was a blast. I had seen Kevin a bunch over the years and he was in LA around that time too. Then this year I got to see Lance and Ellen and tomorrow I will have lunch with Lehn. Those three are teachers at Seabury -- the teachers all mean the world to me too. Great supportive amazing people I was lucky enough to be teamed with in high school. Speaking of great teachers, Friday night Maria and Fred will be at my mom's house for the small party we are throwing. Haven't seen them in 20 years either. Did I mention tears? Tears.

The reason all this is coming up tonight is because I'll be seeing Lehn tomorrow in LA. She is a wonderful person and great teacher (I can still see her clear neat handwriting on the chalkboard) but more than anything -- when I went home three weeks after Jen died, to be with my mom on Mother's Day on Maui, we went to the Seabury Craft Fair and I saw one or two people there I knew, but not many. Then I was in the courtyard and turned around and there was Lehn. She took one look at me and all she did was hug me and that just burst the dam of tears. She held me and held me. 

How many of you went to a school where 24 years after you graduated, your European History teacher, who heard recently of the death of your sister, would just hug you and comfort you without saying a word, on the very campus where you met, all those years ago? Honestly, I have some SERIOUS angels looking out for me and don't think I don't appreciate it EVERY DAY. I do.

So yeah. Maui this week. Relaxing and emotionally brutal and cleansing. Luckily I can just sleep and relax and walk on that beach every morning. 

Weigh in Wednesday

Cute-baby-panda Today I weighed in at 178. Down another pound for a total of 14 lost so far! 

I am excited about this. However, I'm feeling a bit funny about it. I weighed myself about 10 times this morning, sliding the scale around the bathroom just to be sure. 

Here's why. Friday night Kurt and I splurged on Pizza from LaRocco's in Culver City. And by "splurge" I mean "gorged." Then we ate ice cream. 2 scoops of full fat yum yum yum ice cream. Saturday I ate healthfully, though my bowl of whole wheat pasta was larger than normal. And Sunday. Sunday was LA Metblogs Donut Summit. I didn't overdo, though I have to say that these days, even having two donuts is overdoing it. When we got home all I wanted was MEAT. So we had rice and beans and steak for dinner. There was some salad too.

I woke up Monday, fully prepared to be a few pounds up, maybe 180, or even 181. That would be fair. Nope. I was at the upper end of 178. (I weighed myself about 15 times to be sure, but it stayed there.) Yesterday I thought, okay, today the reckoning! Also 178. This morning (on my official weigh in day) I was sure I'd be back in the 180s. Nope.

Clearly I'm doing something right and I'm not going to complain. Though I'm not going to risk another pizza donut binge this weekend!

Look at that wiggly little Panda! Just want to bury your face in his fuzzy tummy.  

We Were VIPs


Last Thursday the Rescue Me Comedy Tour came to Los Angeles and we went to see it. We love Denis Leary and Rescue Me to begin with, but this was made even more fun by the fact that my cousins Charly and Adam are in the band! So I got in touch and we made plans to see each other at the show. Charly very kindly got us VIP passes! We already had tickets, so this was mega bonus. I've never been a VIP like this before.

The show was at Club Nokia and there is a lounge behind the upper seats where you can buy cocktails and food before the show. After the show they block a section of this lounge off and people gather there to talk after the show. By people I mean performers. We didn't have backstage passes, just party passes. Which means we didn't get to meet Mr. Leary. But that would have been icing on the bonus cake because really we were there to see Charly and Adam and Charly's wife Robin.

A bit of backstory -- Charly and Adam are my 2nd cousins on my mom's side. My mom and their mom are first cousins. Got it? Cool. I met them in 2001 in NYC when I was working on Kate and Leopold. Their father is Arnold Roth and he is a famous cartoonist. You've seen his work in many many books and magazines. Their mom is also a talented painter.

Below: Kurt, Adam, moi, Charly and Robin. 


We can't wait to go back to NYC sometime soon and see them all together. 

The show was a blast, Denis Leary was hilarious as were all the comedians. The music was fantastic with a horn section and full rock and roll band. I highly recommend catching the show if you can! Here's the link.


Excellent Input From Seth Godin

Twice in the last week Seth Godin's daily emails have really inspired me and put me in my place (in a very good way). The first email is about where to put the fear when it is time to ship. This reminds me of my favorite quote by Mark Twain: "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear."

Fear of shipping

Shipping is fraught with risk and danger.

Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you're exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself.

It's no wonder we're afraid to ship.

It's not clear you have much choice, though. A life spent curled in a ball, hiding in the corner might seem less risky, but in fact it's certain to lead to ennui and eventually failure.

Since you're going to ship anyway, then, the question is: why bother indulging your fear?

In a long distance race, everyone gets tired. The winner is the runner who figures out where to put the tired, figures out how to store it away until after the race is over. Sure, he's tired. Everyone is. That's not the point. The point is to run.

Same thing is true for shipping, I think. Everyone is afraid. Where do you put the fear?

The second email is a good grounding reminder. There are times when I (and I know I'm not alone) start to think dreamy dreams about what will happen with my projects. Somehow I'll be the luckiest person and win the magic Hollywood lottery! Well...

Hope and the magic lottery

Entrepreneurial hope is essential. It gets us over the hump and through the dip. There's a variety of this hope, though, that's far more damaging than helpful.

This is the hope of the magic lottery ticket.

A fledgling entrepreneur ambushes a venture capitalist who just appeared on a panel. "Excuse me," she says, then launches into a two, then six and eventually twenty minute pitch that will never (sorry, never) lead to the VC saying, "Great, here's a check for $2 million on your terms."

Or the fledgling author, the one who has been turned down by ten agents and then copies his manuscript and fedexes it to twenty large publishing houses--what is he hoping for, exactly? Perhaps he's hoping to win the magic lottery, to be the one piece of slush chosen out of a million (literally a million!) that goes on to be published and revered.

You deserve better than the dashed hopes of a magic lottery.


Starbucks didn't become Starbucks by getting discovered by Oprah Winfrey or being blessed by Warren Buffet when they only had a few stores. No, they plugged along. They raised bits of money here and there, flirted with disaster, added one store and then another, tweaked and measured and improved and repeated. Day by day, they dripped their way to success. No magic lottery.

Click the title of this part to read his entire post. I really recommend it.

It is an excellent reminder to work hard on making your product (no matter what it is) as good as it can possibly be and to keep your audience with you, no matter how small you may start out. 

I will read these both again when I'm hanging on the lottery idea as well as when I get nervous about shipping.

Fans Become Friends

You may recall I worked on a project last fall in Belfast wherein my blog became quite popular with a certain segment of the population. Okay, I'll say it outright and risk sounding self-centered: I have fans. (That project is called Game of Thrones and there is now an official HBO website.)

The lovely thing is, these fans have become friends. I met some in Belfast and then became better friends with them via twitter and facebook, some I only know online and one I met in LA this past weekend! That's right, I got to meet Axechucker IN REAL LIFE! We met at the LA Metblogs Donut Summit (hence my t-shirt and silver donut award for best apple fritter.)

We had a great time chatting about all things donuts and GOT. Okay, not ALL things GOT of course, still can't chitchat too much about that...


Axechucker was behind the interview that was posted on Winter Is Coming earlier this year and it was really a pleasure to spend some quality donut time together. 

I love the internets!

Where Do The Weeks Go?

Time is flying and we don't even have kids yet!

Speaking of kids - the adoption process is coming along. We are finishing up our last bits of paperwork and having our last meeting with the social worker on Saturday. Tidying up the details. Then we'll be waiting to find a match. Nothing terribly exciting to report other than "most of the boxes have been ticked."

In the mean time, we've been writing and writing! You saw my Script Frenzy progress in April -- I wrote 120 pages. Then May (and part of June) was Rewrite Frenzy. Kudos to me, I finished a first draft of a screenplay last Thursday. Key word there being "first". The script is now out to a few readers while I take a week off. I'll get feedback then keep working on it. There is the other project Kurt and friends and I are working on, that's going well and moving forward. More about that when I have something specific to report. I'm also going to start some research into a third project...

I'm slowly looking for work, but I know work won't be nearly as exciting and fun as the writing has been, so it's tough to leap out there.

My weight loss plan is working great and I'm really pleased with myself on that. I've also learned to drink coffee without anything in it so that I wean myself away from extra sweeteners (real or fake). I'm amazed how quickly and easily I adjusted. 

Volunteering went well in May -- I doubled up to make up for not volunteering in April. I need to find something in June, but haven't organized it yet. I had a nice conversation with Kim Tracy Prince about helping her more with Help A Mother Out. I feel very inspired to keep helping with that cause, now that I'm soon to be a mom. We'll see what comes up. I did sign up for multiple shifts at KCRW for their summer fund drive, so I'll be taking your calls in August!

Yesterday was the Donut Summit (an LA Metblogs event) and we had a great time! Here we are, sporting our favorite pastry shirts. 


Not much more to report other than housecleaning continues and we will be having a fun visit this week by Grace and her friend Audrey. They are coming down to learn about 3d animation and the film biz, going on tours, meeting people, seeing Toy Story 3. Fun!

Weigh in Wednesday

Gal_animals6Scale said 179 today. Yes and yes and yes! I made it into the 170s. Haven't seen this place in a lot of years. I will keep working my way down that scale. 

I've lost 13 pounds now, half way to my goal!

And with this new weight and size, I am beginning a new set of relationships with the jeans that have been sitting, neglected for years, in my drawer. There is the pair of size 12 wide leg gap jeans I bought four years ago when I was a size 14, intending to just lose those few extra pounds to fit into them. (I never really did.) They look fab on me now. There is the pair of jeans I got free last summer from the Gap party I went to, hosted by the Slackmistress. I put on a bunch of weight between last summer and this winter so I never wore them. And the pair of dark dark dark blue jeans I bought last time I got to 180, which was December of 2007. I only stayed at 180 long enough to buy those jeans, apparently. But now they are all in rotation!

Feeling good, though there is much to do outside of eating and I'm a bit stressed about that....

But look at that darling little leopard! Smooch his little face!