Christmas

Books Books Books! It's A Win Win Win!

BookShopBanner3The very first blog I started was "Julia's Bookshelf" in October of 2005. (YouTube was only 8 months old then!)

In 2009 I folded that blog into this blog and somehow, writing about the books I was reading fell by the wayside. But I still read a lot! So I thought I would combine my love of books with my love of independent bookstores. Like my two newest favorite spots: Powell's Books in Portland, OR or Lucy's Books in Astoria, OR. (Just visited them last January). I still mourn the loss of the Traveler's Bookcase in Los Angeles and the cookbook shop that was next door to it. I love book stores!

At the beginning of this pandemic, book stores took an extra hard hit. Then the founders of Bookshop.com put together a website where you can buy books online and they help independent bookstores. As they say on their site: "By design, we give away over 75% of our profit margin to stores, publications, authors and others who make up the thriving, inspirational culture around books!" I LOVE THAT.

So why are you telling us all this?

It's the Holidays - books make a great gift! Why not buy from Bookshop.com and get a win - win? You get great gifts to give during the holidays and independent bookshops benefit! They even just started selling gift cards - something I've been waiting for from them, yay!

I made my own "store" on their site where you can start perusing the recommendations I have for kids books as well as some of my all time favorite books for grown-ups.

Check it out by clicking HERE.

And yes - full disclosure - I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

YAY BOOKS!!!


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.


Low Key Christmas Fun

The Holidays were low key around here. After being home on Maui, it was nice to just relax at home for the holidays. Though there was a bit of wrapping/shipping frenzy before the actual holiday! I didn't take many photos, I think I just enjoyed being in the moment. Imagine that!

HarperPiano1 HaperPiano2We were invited to my second cousin's house for a Christmas Eve party, which is something they've been doing in their family since her parents got married in 1958! Amazing that she's kept up the tradition. Makes me feel squishy about not having a tradition like that. Time to start making some! Harper enjoyed the party, so many kids to play with, and seemed to enjoy the piano a whole lot. She sat and played "Jazz improv" (as someone we were talking to said) for a while. The sheet music was a Christmas carol and there was a pencil on the little shelf. Harper would play then pick up the pencil and write on the music (something the other kids had been doing). She looked like a tiny composer working on a piece.

 

For our actual Christmas day, Harper got a stocking full of Pez, just as she had asked Santa for. She (and we) also got many wonderful gifts and were very grateful to all the Santas in our lives!

ChristmasPez

 

 


Early Christmas Present - Yay!

We got a new stove for Christmas. Hooray! Here is the old stove. It was here when I moved in (almost) 16 years ago. It's pretty and charming, but man, we were ready for modern, efficient and predictable!

Stove1

It is smaller, but the broiler works (haven't had a working broiler in 15 years) and the kitchen doesn't heat up to 350 when you bake something at 350. Did I mention efficient?

Also? There is a light in the oven. What a modern concept!

NewStove

If you know anyone who wants to buy the old O'Keefe and Merrit, we are selling it...