2009: A Look Back In Two Parts (Part 2)

Continuing from Part I of 2009: A Look Back.

We arrived in the Pacific Northwest for a record breaking heat wave. We stayed overnight one night in Port Townsend and enjoyed the pretty view and great company of friend's parents in town.


I had a mini-Seabury Class of 85 reunion with Steve and Courtney. The visit was way too short!


Another blogger field trip resulted in a new tattoo. Fun day


I got to celebrate the baptism of a good friend's son. Sweet ceremony. Sadly, this dear boy's grandpa died a few months later and we celebrated that amazing life with a funeral in December.


Later in August:



In September I got to meet internets superstar, Ben Huh. I also learned a lot of great stuff from him.


A gang of us got together in September to celebrate our 20+ year long friendships -- one that started at LMU in the late 80's. So much fun to get together and eat El Tarasco's!


Then I left LA to go to work in Northern Ireland on a tv pilot. More importantly, I met Elvis at the Belfast International Airport. 


Kurt came to visit for about 10 days and we toured the North coast, Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede bridge. Great weekend adventures...


...and plenty of Guinness!


Of course I was working. Here's another shot of me on set.


In November, Safety Graphic Fun celebrated it's first anniversary. Here's hoping we can get to the 2nd!


I got home from the shoot in Northern Ireland just before Thanksgiving and we flew to North Carolina to cook turkey and celebrate with great friends.


Just after Thanksgiving I was on another work trip to Montana and Oregon. I made a snow angel on Ted Turner's ranch...


...and generally spent time looking like this as the scenery was so lovely.


Finally. Finally. Finally. I got to come home. Three weeks before Christmas I could unpack and put my suitcases away. Heaven. Kurt and I both worked pretty full on until about December 24th. Bunny kept the Christmas tree monitored. 


Now we are sliding gently into 2010 with many creative irons in the fire and resolutions/goals/plans/intentions to have much to review and relive in one year's time.

Thanks to all my family, friends and new friends/fans who read this blog and send love and support. You all really held me up when I was feeling down in 2009 and I'm grateful to you. Thank you for making 2009 a year full of friendship and joy.

All the best to you all in 2010!

Christmas Cheer in Unexpected Places

This morning I found a website called Scouting New York (via Neatorama) that I fell in love with instantly. "Scout" is a film location scout and finds all kinds of nooks and crannies and details most people overlook in and around NYC. (I've bookmarked him over on the right.)

My favorite photos were those of his shots of some mistletoe in an unusual spot:


I love that someone did this! I love that mischievous spirit that can only make people smile, if people notice it at all. This is the kind of thing I would like to do.

Thanks Scout, for letting me use your pictures.  All the best to you in 2009!

There Is So Much To Be Grateful For

I have lost a great deal and yet there is still so much to be grateful for. All the family who love and support me, good friends abound, nice home, sweet cats, and who could ask for a better husband? Not me. I'm not in an outwardly Christmas mood this year and I am so glad to be home with Mom and Jack, just relaxing, sleeping in, watching it rain.

 Acridotheres_tristisThere was a myna bird in our yard with one leg. I waited a bit to see if he was just holding one up, but he wasn't. But this myna looked and sounded and acted just like any other myna in the yard, chattering and hopping about. Made me think of mom's neighbor across the street who lost his right arm in a boating accident about six months ago. I watched him walk to the beach in his swim gear this morning, still gaunt and recovering, but he was off to swim. I saw him come back later, wet from his morning go in the warm salt water. There is still plenty of life to be lived, no matter how much or how little we might have.

Merry Christmas.

On Oahu - We Ate At Zippy's!

I was born on Oahu (at the same hospital as Obama, for those of you keeping score at home) and lived here till just before my 9th birthday. So Oahu and and Honolulu are deep memories for me.  Driving around with Mom yesterday was great. 

We are staying with her friend Dana who just built a new house in Nu'uanu. But if you didn't know it was brand new you would think it was just fixed up. The house fits right in to this old Honolulu neighborhood of Craftsman-esque bungalows. It is the kind of house I would live in in a heartbeat -- TONS of huge windows, surrounded by lush green ginger and ti plants. It's gorgeous.

We spent the morning in Chinatown -- but more on that later -- and then mom and I drove through downtwon, past Iolani Palace, past King Kamehameha, past the HIC, past KGMB (Checkers and Pogo!) past Ala Moana, through Waikiki, over Diamond Head, down to Royal Circle (more on that later as well), quick visit to Emmi and Jimmy's, then on to Hawaii Kai and back, up to Manoa to see my great-grandparent's house (more on that later too) and then back to Dana's.  

Then I treated them to dinner at Zippy's!!
I had the Pork Saimin:
Mom had the fried Mahi Mahi -- love the color scheme. Dana had grilled Mahi, the colors were similar.

Best of all is the menu -- so local!!  I burst out laughing at this photo.  Gawd I love Hawai'i.

Today we are going over the Pali and more driving around Manoa and Nu'uanu.

Betsy, thanks for your comment and I think of you all the time in Honolulu, knowing that if I needed to know a Hawaiian word or phrase, I could always call you!  But I learned a new word this trip:
Ho'omalimali -- to flatter. It came up in regard to my dad...

Flying Home Tomorrow

I'm meeting Mom in Honolulu tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it. I was packing tonight and forgot that Christmas was this week. There was nothing particularly festive in my suitcase in case we went to a Christmas gathering. We may go across the street to the neighbor's house for Christmas Eve or Christmas day dinner, we may not.  We may go to the Kula House for the extended family gathering and if we do, it will be bittersweet. I haven't been home for Christmas day ten years. I honestly can't remember the last time I was home on Christmas day with Mom and Jack.  

Here's the thing:  Christmas is PEAK SEASON in Hawai'i and the airfare is nuts. I found a ticket this year for less than $1000. Not much less, but less than. It was a miracle. But that's only a flight to Honolulu, I still have to get to Maui. Nevermind. It's expensive to want to visit paradise, but for me it's not "paradise", it's where I grew up and my parents still live there and I want to just have a quiet holiday time. 

But aside from all that, I am looking forward to Honolulu with Mom. It's always a great time to go around Honolulu and see all the places she used to go when she was in high school and a young adult, young mom there. Plus all the places I knew from when I was born until I was almost 9. Kahala, Hawai'i Kai, Aina Haina, Royal Circle. We were there together in 2005 for a day with Kurt and we drove around Oahu -- something I haven't done since I was really little.  Mokuleia is a place we went camping once when my mom and dad were still married and for some reason it really stands out -- some of my very earliest memories. (hmmmm, I don't really like camping now...maybe that wasn't such a great trip?)

But it doesn't feel so much like Christmas. My heart's not in it, but I'm so glad to be going home and hanging with mom in on Oahu. Maui will be very very relaxing as well. No plans. Going to bed early (9 or 9:30) and waking up early (5:30? 6am?). I look forward to sitting at the kitchen table, watching the sky brighten up and watching the neighbors all walk down to the beach, half of them looking up to wave. I like that part of small town life.

I'll take photos, I'll write much more. I'll catch up with myself a bit. I'll miss Kurt. I'll rest.

Now It Can Be Told

Next Friday, December 19th is my last day on the project I'm on. It was never a guarantee that I would be on until May but I took the option to be done. Is it a smart move in this economy? For our debt repayment program? No. For my wounded heart? Yes. There are many creative projects that have lay dormant for too long and even if I only have January off, I will commit to finishing or getting as close to finishing them as possible.

One more week of work, of handing off my responsibilities to the other producer. I feel relieved and glad but things are still so heavy on my heart that there is no skipping or singing.

Just moving on.

You'll Excuse Me If I'm Not Jolly

Just can't get super christmas-y this year. December is the worst month, really. Jen's birthday AND Christmas. We are supposed to be full of joy and etc. There is some joy here and there, but it's covered with the heavy blanket of grief. I haven't heard too much christmas music yet. I got put on hold the other day and the music playing was Nat King Cole singing something Christmas-y. It was a bit of a shock, like it felt way too early to actually be Christmas. The weather is too warm and dry. My job keeps me to busy to focus on the holidays. We aren't doing lights or a tree as we will be out of town. And Jen only died a few days ago. 

Wait, I mean almost 8 months ago.

No Christmas cards this year. I just can't bring myself to even consider it. I can only put on so much of a poker face at work and with friends. I might drop a note here and there to those who I only write to at Christmas but that's about it. 

Kurt and I were planning Christmas stuff, what to buy for family members, travel plans, etc. He seemed surprised that I wasn't more excited as Christmas is one of my favorite things. I explained that it's a fucked up Christmas this year. He was shocked by my answer and then I realized that he may have forgotten for a moment what had happened because he asked "why?"  Because my sister is dead. It's okay, I'm glad he doesn't know how this feels, I don't want anyone to have to know how this feels. It sucks,to put it most ridiculously mildly. Other people move on and forget. It makes sense. No one wants to think about how it might feel if their sister (or brother or mother or father or son or daughter) died. No one. 

I remember once being with Jen when we were much younger, I was probably in college and Grace might not have been born yet. We were driving through a shopping mall, maybe Stanford, and talking about life. I think we were both getting to that age where you don't feel so immortal, or at least you start to think about your parents not being immortal. We were talking about what it might be like when mom dies, way way way in the future. I think we both realized if we kept talking about it, we would get choked up and so we changed the subject. 

It's just too much to think about.

So I don't get mad that people don't remember what I've been through, I don't want them to. All I want to do is apologize to my friends who have lost family members over the years. I want to apologize for being insensitive and for moving on and not letting you know that I think about you often and wish you didn't have to go through what you went through and what you are going through, even years later, what you will go through for the rest of your lives as you adjust to that family member not being there. It sucks. I'm with you and I'm sorry I couldn't have been there more for you.

My Christmas List is Too Short This Year

I just sat down to start figuring out what to get for everyone and Jen's not on my list. 

The idea of officially grieving for a year or at the very least, expecting to grieve for a year, is so true and necessary. The year of events and holidays and birthdays is hard and sad and tough.  Her birthdays is coming up too. 

2009 can not come soon enough. The grief will never end, just change, but there is something about getting out of this horrible year that makes me feel better.