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August 2010
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October 2010

September 2010

The 2010 Frey Household Writing Instrument Census

For some reason last night Kurt and I were talking about pens. (I guess cuz we are writers?) I said something like, "Blah blah blah the 400 pens we have at home." My mind raced to all the drawers and cups full of pens and I said, "I bet we do have 400 pens at home." Kurt said he thought not. So I adjusted my total to 370, Kurt then Price-Is-Right'd me with his vote of 369 and even offered to let me include pencils in my count. I said no, pens only. 

Here's how it breaks down.

Grand total of writing instruments in the house = 485

Pens = 238 (Includes sharpies as I use them often for labeling)

Pencils = 109 (mechanical and manual)

Highlighters = 22 (I do use them a lot for VFX work when reading/breaking down scripts.)

Crayons = 96 (box set)

Magic Markers = 20 (oh that smell!)

And just because they are usually in the same spots:

Scissors = 11 (2 are the kitchen variety)

If you add up the pens, pencils and highlighters, you'll find it lands right at Kurt's guess of 369. Damn that guy is good at EVERYTHING!!

Sarah B asked if we are hoarders. Not really. Pens store quite easily in small places! (See the above photo of the top drawer in my office chest of drawers.) In that photo there are 52 pens, 33 pencils and 6 highlighters.

In my desktop pencil cup (made by Grace) there are 33 pens, 4 pencils and 4 highlighters. Well, there were. I added a few more of the large, new pencils and traded a couple crap pens out when I found awesome pens I love in Kurt's drawer. (Don't worry, he only likes black ink, so I took the blue and purple ones.)

I bet you'd be amazed at how many pens and pencils you have in your house!



Swedish Fish and Kahala Mall

Swedish-fishKurt ran out for a quick errand and I asked if he was going to get any candy. Not that I need any candy, but there it was. Then I said, "No, don't, I don't need it!" Well, he came back with my #1 all time favorite candy: Swedish Fish. I was so pleased that he remembered! I rarely get these at all, unless we are at Ikea.

Smiling and chewing on my candy fish I said, "These have been my favorite since I can ever remember." and that got me thinking to when I first remember having them. That would have been at Kahala Mall at the Nut House. Remember? It was just across from Hickory Farms.

You could buy nuts and candies and swedish fish by the pound. And back then if you only had a quarter, it bought you a good bunch of Swedish fish for those last couple of blocks home.

Libertyhouse-smThinking of Kahala Mall like made many things came flooding back. Liberty House for one. That was the main department store in Hawaii and was fairly upscale. But not as upscale as I. Magnin (I'm pretty sure it was I and not J at Kahala Mall...) But LH was where mom would shop and where later, on Maui, I would get most of my new school clothes every year. I remember buying A LOT of MAC makeup in the Kahala Mall Liberty House one summer when I was visiting friends in Honolulu during high school. So fancy.

Across from LH was Long's Drugs and Woolworth's. I think I shoplifted some lip gloss from there once. It was very exciting and terrifying and that was about the extent of my criminal career. (I was eight.) Woolworth's had ice cream and sometimes I would opt for an ice cream come over the swedish fish.

KahalaMallcarpetFunny how the carpet pattern was one of the first things to float up in my memory. When I googled "Kahala Mall" there were pictures of it! I'm so pleased they still have that pattern. Not sure why, I guess I'm glad that since practically the entire place is so different, one thing has stayed the same. (I had to borrow someone's kid's picture, then cropped it for the important part!)

Now, help me out here. (I'm looking at you, Betsy and Mom) When you were at Hickory Farms and then exited the mall toward the Yum Yum Tree (I'll get to that in a minute) there was another store on the right, was it Foodland or something? All I remember about it was that someone bought some Dr. Scholl's there and I was jealous. Probably Jen. I think she also bought one of those Dymo label makers and I really wanted one too. But what was that store?

The Yum Yum Tree. That was the go to restaurant when it was time for Dad to spend quality time with me. I think it was a nice burger/salad type place, all I really remember were the hot fudge sundaes and how I could usually order one when Dad took me out.

FarrellsTrough More important than the Yum Yum Tree was Farrell's. That was the go to place for birthday parties and when a jawbreaker was on the docket instead of swedish fish or ice cream. (holy cow, I sure mapped out my junk food route as a child...) There was the trough, though I never did "make a pig of myself" and there was the Zoo with all the drums and sirens and bells. AWESOME when you turn six or seven or eight! I discovered there are only four Farrell's open at all anymore and two are on Oahu! Amazing. (Warning - the site has music that comes on instantly when you click the link...)


I have been to Kahala Mall in the last ten years and it's still small and local in a lot of ways, but way more fancy. Now there is a movie theater and an Apple Store and a Whole Foods (did it replace the Times Supermarket in the back?) and even an outpost of The Counter! That's our favorite burger places here in LA.

Next time we're on Oahu, I might have to go back and take pictures of the carpet for myself.

Thanks for the Swedish fish and the walk down memory lane, honey.



Belated Weigh in Wednesday

Noel 6 wk weigh-in-thumb-400x435 Yesterday I barely squeaked into 174 land. Today I'm on the low end of 175. So I'm getting down toward my goal. The weight has not been flying off and I'm focused on these next two weeks to get and stay well below 174.

My goal, remember, is 167. I didn't give myself a time limit on it, other than the vague "end of the year" plan. I will make it before then for sure. I'm feeling very neutral about it all, wanting to get down there, but not actually working super hard to make it happen faster. Silver lining is it's better for my overall health in the long run to do it slowly. Right? RIGHT? Ahem.

Last weekend was a tough one. Much sadness and angst which became much ice cream, pie and pizza. Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a comfort eater. But I woke up Monday morning and said enough now, let's get back on track. All I can do is move ahead.

So far this week I've stayed on my WW numbers plan and will be quite strict about it as I want next Wednesday's number to be 173 (or less). Totally doable. The fridge is stuffed with lots of fruits and veggies, ready for my devouring.

Forward, little kitty, ever forward.

A Year Ago Today

One year ago today I was packing for a four day trip to Scotland and Ireland. This was a scouting and meeting trip for that project that is no longer nameless: Game of Thrones. I was excited to be employed with HBO after a few previous false starts. I was also excited to go on location again as travel is a big deal for me and when someone else pays (even though it is still work) I love it even more. 

2009DouneCastleOn 9/15 we (me and the VFX Supervisor) flew from LAX to LHR to EDI and were picked up by the other department heads and went to Doune Castle for a scout and discussions. This is where I first met most of the gang.

It was surreal as always to get right off a plane after flying ten to twelve hours and start working, but luckily the discussions were pretty straightforward. And having work to do keeps you awake through the afternoon. 

After about two hours there, we got back in the vans and drove to GLA, then hopped a plane to BHD. Belfast City Airport is small and there is a huge IKEA at one end of the runway. I like to imagined that you exit the aircraft then collect your luggage and any new household items you might need before finding your hotel transport. No such luck.

Everyone was amazing and it was nice to meet people who I had only emailed with or spoken to on the phone. My favorite was Katrina who dealt with my travel info. She would occasionally call to confirm info and her calls always started with "Hello lovely lady!" Such a sweet way to begin business.

It was a whirlwind trip and I got to start my love affair with one of my favorite restaurants: The Barking Dog. If the Barking Dog were in LA, I'd be there every week or so. The food is great, the atmosphere cozy and stylish and they play great music too. (We Shazamed about 10 songs when I ate there with Kurt.)

I would be back to Belfast about ten days after that to start the job in full. Little did I expect that I would become "famous" in certain circles or that I would make a lot of great new friends online. I also didn't realize that the not so happy days on set would inspire me to do so many new, creative and exciting things in 2010. 

And I was given a nickname by B Camera crew which they assure me was a not a slight: Lady Battenberg. But you never can be too sure with camera crews...

What a year it's been. Can't wait to see where I am one year from now. Here's hoping I'll be scouting locations for my own tv series.

Self Reflection

(It's a blog, isn't that what every post is about?)

Seth Godin's email today was this:


Two shores of the same river, either can get you into a lot of trouble.

Self-delusion is lying to yourself about how good you are. You might think you're a world class designer or actor or chef or administrator or problem solver, but you might be merely well-intentioned, hard-working and pretty good. Which is fine, but pretty good is hardly remarkable. Telling yourself the truth about what you've got to market is the first step to marketing with success.


Self-loathing is lying to yourself about how bad you are. You might think you've got nothing to add, that you're a lame designer or actor or chef or administrator or problem solver, but you probably have the potential to be great. Awe-inspiringly great ...if you're willing to do the work, make the sacrifices and stop undercutting yourself. Supporting yourself with the truth about what you could market is the second step to marketing with success.

1ecd5_goalsIt's only Tuesday and I've suffered a bit of both already this week, though more the second than the first. We are in a strange waiting room, waiting for many babies to be born-actual babies and creative babies. Moving forward while still waiting waiting waiting is challenging. Some days I overdo the bravado and am slammed back to reality with excellent notes from Kurt on something I've written, or news that we didn't get chosen by a birth parent.  Some days I overdo the misery and then fall into the predictable routine of eating too much as a way of "feeling better." Ha.

I've achieved some good goals that I set for myself this year. But I recently read a quote (can't find it now) that said something like "if you achieve a goal, it must not have been big enough to begin with." (I've mangled it, but you get the drift.) I appreciate this idea so much because while I thought my goal was pretty huge (Pitch a tv show to a major producer/production company) now that I've done it, it doesn't feel big at all. It feels only like the first mile in a marathon. I need to set a goal equivalent to the 13.1 mile mark then the 26.2 after that. And then an ultramarathon after that. This is what I'm working on this week: higher marks to hit.

My first goal is to set the goals without the self delusion and the self loathing.

Wish me luck.

Selling Yourself As A Parent

You've heard about the paperwork: applications, proof of birth certificates and marriage licenses, criminal background checks, reference letters, medical reports, financial statements, etc etc etc. A book full. Whether you are doing domestic or international, you have to go through it all. For domestic adoption, you must also write a "Dear Birthparent" letter. This is where you sell yourselves as potential parents to a birthmom/parent's unborn child, waiting to be born and adopted.  Julia&Kurt

No pressure.

This is the hardest writing assignment there is. Some of it is really easy -- write about what kind of dad I think Kurt will be. My shortened version: Gentle, kind, a great role model for working hard, fun, encouraging, brave, unflappable in the worst moments, hugely supportive and a great partner in all the moments. And about three more paragraphs of that.

But how do you convince a perfect stranger that you will be the best parents to their unborn baby? What do you say that tips the scale in your favor? It's hard to know, really. So the best advice is to be yourself, give fun and telling details about ourselves and our lives. Know what to leave out. In one draft I wrote that Kurt's favorite football team is the Dallas Cowboys. He informed it would be best to take that out as they are also the most hated football team in the country. They are? Yes they are, I was informed by a former DC native and Redskins fan. Hmmm. Okay, out it comes. (But not before a giggle of a moment imagining when some anxious birth parent reads our letter and announces "NO CHILD OF MINE WILL BE ADOPTED BY A COWBOYS FAN!" and moves on to the next possible candidates.)

And while chances are awfully good we'll become parents via domestic adoption in the not too distant future, I have my moments of "What if we never get picked?" when reviewing our letter. It's brutal.

So we'll just be ourselves and the stork will come when the stork finds us a match. Hurry along now, Mr. Stork.

Goals Update Addendum - Goal Achieved!

When I wrote this earlier post, there was another major goal about to come into fruition. I was very vague about it as I wanted to achieve the goal THEN talk about it. With something like weight loss, I prefer to talk about it ahead of time because then I am accountable to walk my talk. That is a much more straightforward thing.

This other goal I was so mum about? It was this: In 2010 I would pitch (as part of a team) our tv show idea to a major producer or production company. This past Tuesday, we did just that. And it went really well for a bunch of first time tv show pitchers! They are interested in talking more and we will follow up next week. 

That is as specific as I'm going to get because, yes, I achieved the goal and now can talk about it, but that one goal was merely the threshold to a whole new set of goals that need to be achieved. New goals involve developing the additional "notions" we've bounced around when we were sick of talking about the original project. Once developed, we'll need to pitch those as well. (And don't worry, if something significant happens, I'll let you know loud and clear!)

Most of all, I am really proud of myself for staying committed, working with a great team and following through. While I wasn't the front person on the pitch, we all contributed to the conversation and I'm stoked that I made, what I thought, was a very good off the cuff comment. I was floating around the house when we got back and loved that feeling. Wednesday morning I got up early to keep working.

More vague goal reports to come!

House Painting Is Complete - The Before and Afters

Let's just get to it! (Though apologies for not having matching lighting conditions.)





I'll try to get a sunny one soon...

Backyard before:


Backyard After!


Some details - the entrance before


The entrance after:


Front window before:


And refreshed:


Window detail before:


And after:


(I promise that the house looks less christmasy than this picture would otherwise indicate.)

Side of house before: 

(My what a large dish you have.)

Side After:


Not quite the same angle, but you get the drift. 

Our painters were awesome. They fixed many things, replaced screens and wood panels, and one broken pane of glass. They were really inexpensive and SO FRIENDLY and paid attention to lots of detail. They do interiors as well and we may call them for a few odd jobs when we are flush with cash again.

Woohoo! I feel so grown up.

Look Mr. Stork! Our house is presentable!

Painters Day 3 and 4

This will only be a tease as the majority of the painting is done. I don't want to spoil the full reveal. That will come on Wednesday...But for now, just seeing the sweet old house in better shape is good.

For example, the underside of the front porch after sanding all the peeling paint:

Prep now all painted and smooth and happy:




Painters - Day 2

As the crew has been prepping, they also painted a swatch for us to get a visual.

Here are a bunch of different colors. We have decided that we love the dark green wall (Dried Chive), we like the left side red accent (Deep Crimson) and we like the right side trim color (Distant Mountain). The trim is very pale green, hard to see in this very blown out picture, but you'll see it all done soon...



The is the front window that needed the most work done. (Click for bigger if you are so inclined.) See the crack in the lower corner of the pane second from the top? Our guy is going to replace that whole pane. For no extra charge. 


Here's the underneath of the front porch. It was so awful and peeling and sad, soon it will be so happy and refreshed!