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Meet Apple, My Badass Daredevil Of A Daughter

I'll get to the Apple part at the end...

Kurt and his brother went to Rome for three days. Harper and I stayed behind to chill in/around Lucca. We went to a zoo yesterday (another unexpected treat) and today we went to the Pinocchio Park in Collodi. I've never read the book, only seen the Disney movie, which, honestly, is quite creepy and disturbing. Puppets turning into boys? Boys turning into Donkeys? Talking crickets? W E I R D. But hey, let's go to a park in honor of Pinocchio. The author was born in Collodi, hence the connection. 

I'd read that it's a funky old fashioned little park but good for an outing. Little did I know what modern updates awaited! we got there around 11 and it had been raining a little so it was pretty empty. There was a school group as well, maybe 3rd graders, and they made a lot of noise, so it didn't feel totally empty. We walked in to the area with little rides and met Pinocchio himself. Kind of. I mean, he was dressed as Pinocchio and waved at the school kids as Pinocchio, but he also had the key for the three little rides and helped you on and pushed the start button. So. 

Pinnochio

Harper tried all three rides. They are hilarious in their antiquity and (lack of) speed.

First she tried the cars - not bad! I love the design of all these vehicles. 

Then the carousel. Uh... yeah. Not really her speed. 

Then the boats. Harper seemed really unclear on why these rides were so (let's be honest) lame.

Then we moved on to a play place with stuff to climb and a fun little mini-zipline thing. Little did we know it was a foreshadow of bigger things to come!

Then we had a snack and then watched a puppet show - all in Italian of course - but we were surrounded by 30 school kids who laughed and howled and shouted at the puppets. I didn't take a picture, but it was a plywood box with a window and some red "curtains" and one guy doing two hand puppets at a time. It was the story of Pinocchio with Geppetto and Pinocchio at the start, up to the point of where Pinocchio has run away and the Fox and Cat show up. Then it ends...Uh, okay! Now, that part took about 20 minutes, so thank goodness it ended, because OMG.

Anyway....then we grabbed a sandwich and a popsicle. Harper fit right in with the kids eating their ice cream. I loved that.

Icecream

After frozen treats we walked through the mini forest filled with sculptures of characters from the book - but not happy Disneyesque type sculpture with color or joy. No, these were like 1970's retro Post WW 2 Neorealism commentary on life. This is the statue of the Blue Fairy, which Harper clearly dug, so what the hell do I know?

LaFata

But there were fun little secret paths and then you end up at/in the whale! Check that fab 70's Italian Design!

SecretPaths

Whale1

Whale2

After the whale, in which you go into the mouth, then climb up a spiral staircase out the blow hole, then down some back stairs, there was a small hedge maze. We cranked through that pretty well. 

Then. Then we got to the brand new adventure portion of the creaky old park. There are two parts - a smaller Ship thing for the kids to walk around, balance beams, swinging mini bridges, etc. All while on a harness and clipped onto cable. It's for ages 5 - 14 and Harper wanted ON! So I signed our lives away and she got buckled in and had instructions on how to clip in and out - made simple for kids.

GearOn

And she was off!

Ropes1

Just freaking going for it. 

Ropes2

Please note, I am far away - there is nobody else out there, no safety person, no monitor, nothing! Just my five year old daughter who clearly has been waiting for this opportunity for ages...(click for bigger)

Ropes5

But that was part 1. Part 2 is across the river. Over a swinging bridge. Harper, do you want to go? Yes. But the wire to hold onto is pretty high, do you think you can reach it? Yes. You have to swing across the river to come back, is that okay? Yes. I can't go with you, just the safety woman, still want to go? Yes.

RopeBridgestart

I wasn't afraid she would get hurt, I was only afraid she might get all the way over and halfway through that course and something would scare her. I mean, there are times on a regular playground in LA where she asks for my help. But this??? She was on her own. And damn if she didn't freaking do it all. 

Then the big finish! No hesitation, she just went! ZIP!

When she landed, she did look a bit pale, and I said are you okay? She nodded then smiled and I burst into tears and hugged her and told her how proud I was of her! She is my BADASS DAREDEVIL GIRL!

Then she want back to the ship 2 more times. She didn't want to do the zip again...fair enough. For the rest of the hour I hugged her and said how amazed and proud I was of her. DAMN!

At the end, there was a coloring place and the Blue Fairy (a young woman in a cheesy costume - Cheesy withe a capital Cheese) made her a little fairy wand to color. She asked her name and I had to say Harpe. P. Har--p -- er. And we got this: 

Apple

APPLE!

Holy crap what a day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Eulogy For An Old Cat

DynamoLastDaysDynamo belonged to Kurt's mom, Dot. He was born in Texas in 2001 and we met him when he was a teenage kitty, all legs and a ball of energy, hence his name. He grew into a large handsome tomcat and eventually grew out of his name as he mellowed. Every visit to Texas was made more enjoyable by this big lug of a cat who would come in and plop down on his back so you could rub his belly.

When Dot moved to Los Angeles, Dynamo was in the car with she and Kurt, a big road trip to mark the new beginning. Dynamo rode out the long miles on the floor of the Buick, not happy, but never complaining.

Dynamo adjusted to being an indoor cat, chill dude that he was, after years of roaming the neighborhoods in Texas. He grew fat and lazy, but always loving and sweet. He was such a comfort to Dot and was with her when she died.

He moved in with us a few days after Dot's death and adjusted well. We called him Big Mo. Willoughby was not happy, hissing and batting at him all the time. Dynamo let Willoughby do her thing, even though he outweighed her by a good eight pounds and could have really put her in her place. The best part was, he could go outside again and he loved it. With all the backyard roaming and different cat food, he soon lost his bowling ball like looks and became the sleek cat he had been, strong and regal.

My favorite thing about The Big Mo was his cold wet nose that he would smoosh into yours at night, followed immediately by a big head-butt. He pile-drived his love to you. He was an under-the-covers sleeper, like Bunny was, mostly attaching himself to Kurt's side, usually having walked over my head/pillow to get there.

Willoughby eventually mellowed out around him, though they still never were pals. More like indifferent roommates. IMG_2262

We thought he'd be around for a few more years, Kurt and I both having had 18 and 19 year old cats in our lives. Fifteen is old for a cat, but not nearly old enough for us. Dynamo suffered from kidney disease, which is treatable and we were doing the IV fluids routine for the past few months, then his heart gave out, poor sweet thing.

We are fortunate to be able to call in a vet and do what needed to be done at home. No cold sterile room with dogs howling in the back. Harper was at preschool when it all happened. Easier to tell her after the fact.

Bringing a pet into your life comes with the knowledge that you will need to escort them out of their lives at some point. You are their caretaker and have to make the tough choice. Even when you know it's the right thing to do to avoid suffering and distress on their part, it's so hard.

Dynamo died in his favorite kitty bed in Kurt's lap, with lots of petting from me. After he was gone, the vet left us alone with him for a little while and we just talked about his long life with Dot, remembering when we first met him and his long road trip and his short time with us. We both were so glad he could have his outdoor life again before he died. The picture above at left was taken the day before he died, outside in the sun. We have been in a rental while we remodel our house and haven't let the cats out in our temporary neighborhood. When Kurt texted me this when I was at work, I burst into tears. Dynamo hadn't been outside for 3 months and I was so glad he could do a bit of basking again.

Our house has a hole in it again. I wonder how long it will take me to stop checking under the covers for Big Mo before I put things down on the bed. I miss his wet nose and his concussive head hits. I'm so glad we got to care him, knowing how he cared for Dot. When we told Harper about his death, she thought for a moment then said, "Well, is he going to come back as a shadow?" I hope so, Harper, I hope so.

You will be missed, Dynamo.


Ten Years, Man! Ten YEARS! (Part 2 of 2)

IMG_1495The first half of 2006 had been a fun year, jetting to Paris and up and down North America. And by the way, if you ever get the chance to hang in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Montreal, take it! We got to relax in the business class lounges for all of our travels because in 2005 I was supposed to have worked on a long term project in Virginia. I would have been flying twice a month from LA to Richmond for about eight months so my work partner and I decided to spend the money on a United Red Carpet club membership. Then that job got cancelled but I still had the membership. Silver lining? I suppose. I would have liked to have worked on that job.

So July. The job in Mexico had gotten into a smooth rhythm. We had some adventures on our weekends. Then I got a call that my dad had taken a serious downturn and would probably die in the next 48 hours. And he did. My dad had been in a nursing home facility for years as he had alzheimer's. He also had heart issues and was 83 when he died, so it wasn't entirely unexpected, though a death is always a shock, even when you know it's coming.

100_1265The team in Mexico was supportive and helpful, of course. At the end of July, I flew back to LA for a night, then Kurt and I flew to the Big Island for a week, helping with the funeral plans and reminiscing. We stayed at the hotel at Anaeho'omalu Beach, which was perfect. It is the beach I know so well on the Big Island, have known it since I was so little, where we used to go before there was a hotel. Also, let's be honest, so happy to be in air conditioning. Waikoloa is H O T in August.

It was a fascinating time, learning more about my dad, hearing others talk about him, people who knew him in a totally different way than I did. We all told stories and looked through old pictures all while playing the Keola and Kapono records, shouting out the words to Mr. Sun Cho Lee. (He got plenty lychee!) 100_1288

It was also surreal to be with my sisters and stepmom and nieces and nephew in dad's house, all there without dad. All the emotions were heightened, of course, the grief hitting us all in different ways. There were tears and laughter and plenty of shouting and hurt feelings, all the usual family stuff. At one point Dor turned to me and said, "How can you be so calm?" I just shrugged and said, "That's what I do. That's what I've always done." Then added, "Hand me another beer..."

There's my dad. The Don Draper of Honolulu. (Who later moved to the Big Island.)

The day after the funeral, we scattered his ashes from canoes at Anaeho'omalu Bay. The water was calm and the experience quite new for me on a variety of levels.

Then a big aloha to Hawai'i and back to Mexico for me. I was really glad to have two overnights in LA on each side of that trip. Nice to sleep in my own bed and pet the cats.

There were three more weeks of the shoot in Mexico and I enjoyed the hell out of them. We went to Puebla for a few days as well as Cuernavaca. We had various locations that were a refreshing break from the sets at the abandoned quarry/mall. A friend from LA came down to hang out for a long weekend and we timed it for the two day weekend that had been scheduled (we were working half days on Saturdays). It was so nice to be a tourist with a good friend.

100_1460A giddiness started creeping into the crew as we got near the end. We were all still working hard, but laughing more and taking more pictures of each other. The crew went out one night for drinks and music and that was our non official wrap party and it was a blast. Then the real wrap party came and it was nice, but not as much fun. On the last day of shooting, when the first AD called "That's a wrap!" I, of course, burst into tears. What a long crazy summer it had been.

Adiós Mexico! Adiós Diana, my favorite statue in Mexico City. Hello LA...

Home. But not for long. At the end of September I'd be off to London to work with the VFX team for a few weeks, handing over the information from the shoot to the new producer. But before that, we were invited to a friend's beach house in Santa Barbara for Labor Day weekend. A wonderful few days of good friends and sitting on the beach and looking at the ocean. Soothing.

London. I got good at figuring out the bus schedule (cheaper/easier than the tube) and my little neighborhood in Clerkenwell where I stayed in the Zetter Hotel. Quite hipster cool at the time and so expensive that when my work was done and Kurt and I were staying a few days more, we found a cheap and therefore TINY room elsewhere. We played tourist, my favorite day being the one at Hampton Court Palace. (I love a good audio tour!) 100_2347

Then for fun and also because you can, we took the train to Paris for three days where again, our friends were staying in their apartment and we spent a lot of good time with them.

Paris twice in one year? Man, that is a good year.

Home at the end of October. I was exhausted and charged with emotion and restlessness since I had been moving practically non stop since April.

There was one more trip and that was to Maui in early December with Kurt's family. They had never been so we enjoyed many touristy things, trips to Hana, up to Haleakala, ziplining, snorkeling, big hotel Luau, the whole nine yards.

Then home. HOME. A quiet Christmas on our own here in LA. Just us and the cats.

2006 was a roller coaster and I loved it all. I know that sounds strange since my dad died in the middle of it, but loving it all is just embracing all that life throws at you - the good, the bad, the easy, the tough - everything. I'm proud of that year. I doubt I'll have another quite like it. But I hope I do.

Ten years, Man! Ten years.


Ten Years, Man! Ten YEARS! (Part 1 of 2)

IMG_0669The other day I was pouring coffee into this mug and thinking about when and where I got it and realized it was ten years ago.

20th Century Fox had hired me to work on The Omen (6/6/6) and the offices were at The Lot on Santa Monica Blvd. The job itself was not too intense and the crew was great, mainly the woman who ran the whole office, Emily. Technically she was the Production Assistant and had only recently graduated from university, but she really ran the place. She and I had many fun conversations and now, ten years later, we are still friends. We haven't seen much of each other lately and that is something I promise to remedy very soon. (Oh and I got the mug at the Starbucks at the corner of Santa Monica and La Brea on a slow work day just before Valentine's Day.)

 

TEN YEARS! This is my favorite moment from Grosse Point Blank. I love Jeremy Piven.

 

But then I started thinking about what a nutty crazy year 2006 was. Come with me...

January through mid April - working on The Omen, met Emily. Learned how to really set boundaries at work. Didn't let the outrageous screaming guy get to me. I was quite proud of myself.

In April I got a phone call asking if I could come and work in Mexico City for the summer on a movie, but due to work and vacation schedules I had to turn it down as they needed me to start right away in April. (But pay attention to the name of my blog...)

SpidermanI got another phone call asking if I could work on a movie for two weeks in Cleveland at the end of April. This actually worked out as The Omen was just finishing and I arranged to leave and work on a 2nd Unit shoot for Spiderman 3. It was the wildest/wackiest two weeks. The shoot only happened in daylight (best kind of filmshoot because once it gets dark, you are done.) AND our hotel was literally on the street where we were shooting. No 45 minute bus rides to location.

And because my hours were not too nutty, I also moonlighted in the evenings redoing vfx shot breakdowns for an HBO mini-series as new scripts came in. Hey, why not make a few extra bucks on the side? We had a trip to Paris coming up...Cleveland was fascinating and OMG SO COLD. I loved being downtown where there is a football stadium, a baseball stadium and the basketball arena and all the historic buildings from prosperous days gone by with names like Carnegie and Rockefeller sprinkled about.

The crew on the job was fun, though we had a local PA who was none too bright, I'm sorry to say. Hopefully he had other strengths. The best part was that while none of the actual stars of the movie were there (only stunt versions) the crowds came out to see Spiderman and the production company let Spidey meet all the kids who came to see him and take tons of pictures. I snuck one in myself.

 

I got back from Cleveland and almost immediately we jetted off to Paris in May.

20120706-110844We were in Paris for two weeks and rented an apartment about two blocks from Notre Dame Cathedral. We spent almost every day with Pranab and Kate who were in their apartment in the 12th arrondissement. It was relaxing and lovely and I'd like to do it like that again. The highlight for me was the day we walked along La Promenade Plantee - the original Highline Park. It was magical to walk up above the streets of Paris, looking into apartments and offices, through lush gardens. At the end we found a place to sit and have a refreshing beverage and just enjoy the city.

We walked so much on that trip, eschewing the metro every time we made the 2.5k walk back and forth to their flat. We always went to them as they had a large indoor market plus boulangerie and lovely wine shop all within two blocks. Heaven.

We have not been back to Paris since then and we need to remedy that soon.

Grace graduated from high school in early June and we were all there to celebrate that fun day. While there I got another phone call from the Mexico City job asking if I were available now. I said, well, I'm in No. Cal for an event then going to Montreal for a wedding in two weeks. After that, I said, I'm free. So on the phone I got the gig as they still needed a producer on the ground. They asked if I could come down for four days between trips to get a lay of the land, have a few meetings, etc. Ummm. okay! Hooray for Hollywood.

So after the graduation trip, I hopped on a plane to Mexico City with a script and not a clue what it would be like or even who in the world I would be working with! I have amazing guardian angels because I got to meet and work with Paddy and Steve. Two kind, relaxed and funny guys who made my quick pre-trip to Mexico easy and fun. We stayed at the very colorful Camino Real hotel and it was a whirlwind trip. I said "see you soon!" and hopped back on a plane to LA.

Montreal! An old family friend Paul married Dee in her hometown. Paul's whole family had come to our wedding five years prior and when his older brother Matt got married, we were not able to make that wedding (with great regret). So I vowed to be in Montreal. Kurt and I spent a lovely long weekend there. The wedding was beautiful and the receptions and parties after were a blast.

100_0761Then back to LA for a minute, wash clothes, buy specific Mexico City gear (including the infamous BFH) 100_0949pack for three months, kiss the cats and husband good-bye and back to Mexico City.

Back to the Camino Real, back to the wild main set built next to the abandoned shopping mall down in an old quarry, back to the fun crew and VFX team. My spanish got better and I learned a lot of very specific spanish words that are not normally taught in high school: pentalla verde, for example.

It was all going well. Trips to see pyramids at Teotihuacan, adventurous dinners out around town, just driving through the city every morning and evening there was something new to see. Finishing the work day in the bar, having cocktails, doing paperwork and emails with Paddy and Steve. Seeing other film crews arrive for other movies (clearly the Camino Real is THE place to stay).

 

 

Then my dad died.

 

More to come....

 

 

 

 

 

 


Darkest Day Of The Year

Winter-solstice-tree-galleryToday is the Winter Solstice, the shortest and therefore darkest day of the year. It's been kind of a dark December overall and I'm looking forward to there being more light in the world.

December is the month Jen was born so her birthday is a reminder of what was lost. And while the 13th is an especially specific reminder, of course I'm reminded every day of what I've lost, what we've all lost. But as Grace so wonderfully said, it's nice to get special messages on Jen's birthday because we would all be bombarding Jen on Facebook with birthday wishes if she were here. Different than that dark day in April.

This December had the death of my cousin Adam who only found out he had cancer a few months ago. Darkness. Brutal tough darkness for all of his most loved ones. And many more of us by extension remembering him and others we've lost.

Winter Solstice (Yule) is celebrated with fire to symbolize the rebirth of the sun, of hope, of light. But some Decembers it's really hard to find that little flame of hope. But find it we must to go on and on with whatever time we have left, with our families and friends, with our passions and hopes and dreams.

We can never let that fire die out.

 


Harper's First Existential Question

Harper asked me an existential question the other day. She didn't realize it, of course.

We were driving along, listening to the soundtrack of this little indie film called "Frozen" - have you heard of it? We were listening to the showstopper (and my personal favorite) Let It Go and Harper asked:

Mama, why does Elsa throw her crown away?

ElsaCrownIf you haven't seen the movie, (and I really assume most of you haven't) the quick recap is: Elsa is born with magical powers to create ice and snow. She accidentally hurt her younger sister Anna when they were little and has spent rest of her childhood hiding her powers (and her feelings, which express themselves with her powers) out of fear of hurting anyone again. Their parents die in a shipwreck (Disney movie!) and Elsa becomes queen. She accidentally reveals her powers in front of the whole kingdom (essentially) and runs away so that she never hurts anyone again and then she embraces her power. As she runs, she sings Let It Go and transforms into the image you've seen of her, sans crown.

So, while listening in the car, Harper is clearly watching the scene in her mind and asks the question. Why does she throw her crown away?

I was excited by this great question, the topic of power, and authority and symbols! My mind raced with all the potential answers:

The crown represents a life she doesn't want, authority she doesn't feel is rightly hers.

The crown is a symbol of restriction and she's letting that all go.

The crown is a reminder that her parents are dead and she's had to pretend not to feel anything about it since they died.

The crown represents masculine power and she'll be queen any way she wants with whatever symbols she chooses. (Giant ice palace, anyone?)

The crown is about small earthly human power and she is a goddess, filled with infinite power to create the world as she desires. This puny piece of metal can't represent all that she is!

All these variables raced through my mind in about two seconds. Then I remembered: Harper is three and a half. Hmmm.

Mama, why did Elsa throw her crown away?

Me: Because she didn't want it anymore.

 

Sigh. I just have to be patient. There will come a day when we can discuss the real reasons Elsa tossed that thing, but for now, I'll stick with mostly literal ones.

 

 


'Let It Go' Is This Middle-Aged Good-Girl's Anthem

FrozenposterFrozen came out in November of 2013 and girls ate it up. It's a movie about two powerful women, Anna, who is funny and resourceful and brave and Elsa, the queen, who has scary but amazing powers and who sings a kick-ass song. 2014 iced over with all things Frozen, the costumes, the toys, the music. Then there was the inevitable backlash -  "If I have to hear that song one more time...!!" regarding "Let it go."

I was at a distance to the movie as Harper was only two when it came out. We watched it via our screener in 2013 and enjoyed it, but never watched it again until a few months ago when Harper wanted to watch "Anna and Elsa" (as she calls it). I really love the movie and never get tired of seeing it.* Now she wants to hear the music on its own in the car and I'm happy to oblige as we drive to preschool.

But here's what I didn't expect - that I would listen to Let It Go on repeat all the way home by myself. I theorize that for every one person who says "I never want to hear that song again!" there are another fifty who secretly listen to it alone in their cars or showers, belting it out as they drive or shampoo.

Most of us women of a certain age have been brought up to be good girls, to follow the rules, to not make waves, to do what you're told and as Elsa says, "conceal, don't feel." And as wives and moms, we are expected to be perfect, understanding caregivers to the kids, ever smiling and generous partners to our spouses. As women in the work force, we are expected to work harder, then wait longer for the reward for all that work. It's ingrained in us good girls not to complain, not to get mad, not to reveal the true powers at our very cores.

And we are powerful! And that power can be scary at times, but it can move mountains -- heck, it can create mountains. When used wisely, it can make miracles. And listening to Elsa discovering her tremendous powers and throwing off that symbolic cape, I'll be honest-- it brings tears to my eyes.

Every time I hear the song, a different line will speak to me. It's like each day I get a new idea to meditate on. Lately this speaks to me: "It's time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through." My own inner barriers are coming down, sometimes I smash through the stone walls, sometimes I can only chip away with tweezers, but I'm always working on breaking out of my fear and finding my true strengths.

Elsa-frozen-25377-1280x800If you've watched the movie, you know that Elsa does go overboard (She freezes Arendelle over in the middle of summer). I rarely like to criticize my homegirls when they break out, lean in, stand up, but there are a few limits in the real world. Elsa says, "It's time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through" which is great, but then follows up with, "No right, no wrong, no rules for me!" Well, as much as this good girl does like to break a few rules now and then, I still know that I can't break them all. I can't actually live in an ice palace, alone, at the top of a mountain. (Though I think I could rock that dress.)

But sometimes the pendulum does need to swing too far to really break down the walls. Let's not forget that awesome phrase by the amazing Rear Admiral Grace Hopper: "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission." Let's go get what we want, test our power, break through our (mostly imagined) limits. I know from experience that it's a lot less scary once you get to there and then you have the courage to keep racing forward.

As Elsa says, "I'm never going back, the past is in the past! Let it go, let it go, and I'll rise like the break of dawn, that perfect girl is gone."

In her place is a powerful, courageous, graceful, beautiful woman. That is all of us!

 

 

 Watch the the Idina Menzel version of Let It Go here.

 

*I'm lucky because Harper never stays fixated on one movie too long. Frozen is usually in rotation with Cars or Kung Fu Panda or Curious George.

At this moment my favorite scene is "big summer blowout!"


They Say It's My Birthday

Birthday-Cake-Candles
It's a new year - 2015 - and a new year - 48. Can't believe that number is assigned to me. Truly. I fee like a total dork most of the time still. How can I be this "mature"? I can definitely feel it in my body, though, and having a three year old really helps with that. (See my previous new year blog post about losing some weight this month!)

Okay and about that weight loss. I'll be honest, it's not going as well as I'd like. I'm down two pounds so far, but with not as much time to my goal. There has still been a lot of comfort eating (for various and specific reasons) and I have to find my way around that kind of eating. It's such a trap that I set for myself and I'm getting tired of it. (But clearly not tired enough to have truly made a change yet. Interesting.)

But let's move on.

January has always been my favorite month, being the new year and birthday time. I like to reflect, I like to review, I like to question, challenge myself. 2010/43 was a big year. I made a goal to pitch a TV show concept to potential producers and I (and my partners) did it! Three times. It was fantastic. Did it get bought? No. But that just means I have to up my goals.

Because I can manifest, people. I can Man - I - Fest!

And I'm lucky. In 2011/44 I got pregnant and had a baby. Without any outside help (other than Kurt of course.)

I'm lucky and I can manifest things. So I need to up my game and really step out.

What is there to be afraid of? NOTHING. Not one thing. Oh I could worry about making an ass of myself, but you know what? I need MORE of that in my life. I play it way too safe all the freakin time. I need to be a great role model for Harper by taking chances and falling on my face and getting up and doing it again until I succeed at the things I'm reaching for.

My gift to myself this year 2015/48 is to step WAY outside my comfort zone and to make more wonderful things happen. I am also considering skateboard lessons.

Happy Birthday to me!


Milestones: Of House Cats and Houses

MouseOn December 30, we said good bye to our cat, Mouse. She was 18 years old and lived her long lucky life indoors, mostly trying to snuggle with Bunny, and not always succeeding.

In the fall of 1996, a friend's alley cat had kittens and since I already had Bunny and was working a million hours at Sony, I thought a new cat would be good for Bunny, so I adopted Mouse. She got her name from the fact that when she was just days old I saw her for the first time and she was grey all over and looked like a little mouse.

It was purely coincidence that I named both cats after other animals.

Mouse was an odd cat. She never slept in your lap or curled up and slept next to you. She liked attention but always seemed riled up and a bit frantic when asking for it. She sort of liked to be petted, but not in the usual cat ways. In her old age she would ask for attention, you would pet her and then she would bite you. That got a little tiresome, I'll be honest.

Bunny151Bunny died about six weeks after Harper was born and poor Mouse grieved heavily for the loss and massive changes in the house. Every night for almost a year she would yowl in the wee small hours of the morning. The first few times I thought something was horribly wrong with her and would leap up and come and see but she would just be sitting in the living room (not unlike that photo above).

She seemed comfortable this last year, though clearly getting quite old. Rather quickly, her heart gave out during the day on the 30th and we made the quick call not to resuscitate. Her time really had come and with average life span of cats at 10-15 years, she had a lot of time on this planet.

We tried to explain to Harper, very directly and honestly, that Mouse had died. Harper didn't seem too interested, just wanted to watch Curious George. But a couple of days later she and I were having breakfast and she told Willoughby not to play with a cat toy. I told Harper it was okay for Willoughby to play with it. Harper said, "It's Mouse's toy." And I said, "But Mouse isn't here any more." She said, "Mouse is in the hospital." And I said, "Well, I took her to the hospital, but Mouse was very old and she was sick and she died." Harper thought about it for a minute then she said, "Can she get a new battery?" That just warmed my heart. I said, "No sweetie, only toys can get new batteries when they die. Animals and people only get one battery." She then moved on to another topic.

Good bye Mouse, thanks for being part of our lives, sorry you only had one battery.

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Another milestone is that January marks 17 years that I've lived in this house. I'm amazed it's been this long already! I'm also amazed that we've made it work all this time with very little change. I'm proud of myself for buying it all those years ago (when houses were affordable!) instead of blowing my down payment on a car. But in those days (like it was 50 years ago) this would have been considered a "starter home" and five years later I would have upgraded to a larger one. But five years later we were already two years married and both freelance, so we made the space work.

Now that there are three of us, the house does seem to be getting smaller and smaller! I have to remind myself to put on my "perspectacles" because we own a house with heating and plumbing and modern appliances in a great school district. Okay okay, but I'd like at least another bathroom soon (now that all three of us are potty trained) and modern sized counters in the kitchen (they are still original to 1938).

The house is cozy and has a working fireplace and sweet period details. I am so glad I found it and bought way back when. Happy anniversary little house!


To School!

Well, nursery school.*

Next year it will be "Back to School"!

Harper started her first day at Happyland yesterday, a sweet preschool highly recommended by three friends. The report from the teachers were that she cried just a little at nap time and when she woke up (makes senes, waking up in a strange place) but otherwise, they said, it was like she'd been going there for ages. Wonderful!

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Mama was excited and I actually didn't cry. (I cried when we had our visit two weeks ago and saw her name on her cubby.)

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Thus begins a whole new chapter in our lives! Only 16 more years and it will be off to college! [sob]

 

*phrases you rarely, if ever hear any more: Nursery school, service station, old folks home.