2018 Already?

Seems like it was just November. December went by in a flash. Finished a job, then Thanksgiving, then Harper birthday then family visits then a trip to Seattle, home for Christmas and New Year and WHEW.

2017 was a good good year. I'll be honest and say the first half was much better than the 2nd! Because of course it was ITALY 2017 in the spring. My long planned birthday gift to myself. It turned out better and more wonderful than I even imagined it would. Here is an image from one of our last days in Lucca. Was was so sad to be saying goodbye to such a lovely town and an amazing experience.


We got home to LA and LA had not changed at all and stood out as dull and full of concrete in contrast. I know I know, not fair to compare Tuscany to LA. But it really made me sit down and consider what the next 5, 10, 20, ?? years might look like. What do I want them to look like? I made a 5 year plan that will be a huge help for the long term goals. But for our distant plans, we are still working on them. Questions like: are we going to live in LA until we die? Are we going to live in this house until we die? All very valid and very REAL questions. Intense questions. Questions we can't answer just at the moment and that's fine. Just as long as they are out there and we are considering. 

As for 2018 - there are goals. Weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly goals. But all of that is predictable and unsurprising so I won't go into that until February as I want to walk my talk and then I'll report back. One goal I will share is to do 5 push ups a day for the month of January. I know, I know, sounds lame and easy. But for me, 5 push ups are hard. And PS I have to do them on my knees because my upper body strength is not great. Also - it's nice to make a goal that is reasonable and totally doable. No extra expense, time or equipment needed. I'll keep you posted.

I hope your 2018 is full of peace and hope and prosperity and joy and good health. 



Independence Day

I have been a faithful Facebook user. However, I am not pleased with that any more. It's been like a drug after the election, seeing a lot of posts flying about what's going on. However, I let myself spend way too much time browsing mindlessly. It takes away from productive time in my day and it is a bad habit I am going to break. Also, I miss blogging and am woefully behind on this very blog. 

There is a 5 year plan of my own making that I have committed to. It started in May of this year and will conclude in May of 2022. (Or sooner or later depending on how successful I am at achieving the various goals I'm setting for myself.) If you want to know what that plan is, you are more than welcome to ask me next time we are together. Suffice to say it runs the gamut from the career side to the creative side to the long term "retirement" sides of life. 

I'll be spending more time on this blog and on my other endeavors. Please come by and visit often!

Roller Skating Life Lessons - Lesson #1

Lesson #1 - Moonlight Rollerway (Since 1950!)

June 25, 2016. 

Holy crap what am I doing here? I'm so nervous. There is a 17 year old girl out in the rink doing amazing things on 8 wheels and I wore the wrong socks. The teacher better get here soon or I'm going to bolt in a panic.

Up on skates, Jeff, the skating instructor, is very gracious, his voice and manner calm and soothing. He holds my hands and/or my arms. He's like a dance instructor, leading without making you feel incompetent. And what I am is incompetent.

I tell Jeff to treat me like any of his five year old students. I have no ego about being an almost 50 year old woman getting back on skates. (Or so I think-more on that in another lesson.) I get my feet under me after a few shaky circuits, I can propel myself in the most basic of skating ways, after a bit I can scooter push and do scissors. This is good.

SneakerskatesWhen was the last time I skated? Early 80's?* I'd coast mom's car backward out of the garage to make room, then sweep the pebbles out, lace the skates, turn music on, then go around and around and around in a tight little two-carport-garage-circle. My skates were blue sneaker style with white trim and laces. When we lived on Oahu, I had white boot style skates with metal wheels which must have been hand-me-downs from one of my sisters. My quick google search led me to these pictured at right - no toe stoppers? Amazing. I do have memories of skating into grassy lawns to slow down/stop or grabbing trees. But maybe I had skills enough to stop without any of that?MetalSkates

God, being a kid is great for physical stuff. No fear, low center of gravity and, most importantly, the joy of ignorant self confidence because at seven you haven't collected decades of self-doubt and -loathing to get in the way of trying new things. Or a good skate.

I remember Dor coming to visit once from the Big Island. I was nine or ten. Not sure how long she'd been staying but on her last night she was making lasagna (her specialty) and while she cooked, I skated. The window over the sink looked into the garage and we would talk. Details of the actual conversation are gone, but I recall Dor laughing and saying something about "Nini is ready for me to go home!" How could she read my mind? We'd had a fun visit, but I wanted to have my regular routine back. I tried to deny it to not make Dor feel bad. Looking back, I love that Dor (at 17 or so) had the insight to read me so well. I know now that I worked so hard to hide those kinds of feelings. I wonder if I was simply unable keep hiding them at the end of her visit or if the physical act of skating pushed those feelings out of my body and made it obvious.

I didn't fall in my first lesson with Jeff, a huge achievement. The muscles in my feet were tired as were my thighs, but otherwise I felt great. I would get the hang of this again in no time!

I'd had a wacky idea: Roller Skating lessons! And I didn't back out of it. Feel the fear, do it anyway.

But I didn't really know what there was to fear yet.




*The couple of times I roller bladed in the mid-90's didn't stick.







Getting Up Early To Write - 2015 Edition

For one reason or another, I've gotten behind on my early morning writing. So this my transition week to get my momentum going again. Waking up pre-dawn* has been a little tough, but not bad. I've had years of training and I'm not talking about Harper.

In college I rowed on the crew team and learned to get up in the dark and get moving quickly. If you hesitate, you are done, asleep again until it's light out. Back then you did have the safety of roommates who would roust you if you fell back to sleep. But now I have the motivation of middle age. "Do you want to accomplish something more? Then GET UP AND WRITE!" is the voice in my head.

I am also very lucky to have the ability to wake myself up without an alarm. When I go to bed I'll tell myself "Wake up at 5:30" and I always do. Though usually I wake up around 5:15. This is the danger time - I can't just "close my eyes for five minutes" because I might be asleep again for another hour. I tend to just get up at that point.

The cats get excited when I get up, but are then disappointed that I don't open the door for them. (I don't open the back door because it's right by Harper's room and shares the wall with her bed and I need her to sleep as long as possible while I'm writing.) Except Dynamo sometimes pushes his luck. I'll sit for a few minutes, getting the blog set up, waiting for the coffee to brew. Then I'll get up for a cup, turn and see this:


Dammit Dynamo!

Dynamo is not a small cat and not easily nudged from a spot. But nudge him I do so I can get on with the business at hand.


*Fun fact: Dawn is not sunrise. I learned this from working on a movie. The opening scene took place at dawn and we learned that dawn is "the first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise." So the opening scene looked like this:


Watch the whole opening sequence here. It's really good and I want you know that except for the interior helicopter shots with Jamie Foxx, the whole scene/city/everything is fake, CG, visual effects. Full credit to Luxx Studios in Germany for that job. Also, the movie is pretty fun. But I digress.

So learning about dawn was three years ago. But it took me until just recently, and listening to that damn Elsa Letting It Go that I realized what the term "break of dawn" means.


Dawn=first light

Sunrise=sun above the horizon.

So the sun coming up is what breaks dawn. Need a graphic? Here you go:




I love words and wordplay!

Seven Days Down - A Great Kickstart To The New Year To Come

Today is the final day of the Your Turn Challenge. Here is my post to answer the question: What are you taking with you from this Challenge?

I'm taking momentum with me.

I had already started back on my pre-dawn/before the daughter wakes up writing schedule, but finding the Your Turn Challenge helped to solidify the routine.

My lesson coming out of the challenge is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Slow and steady wins the race. “Small moves, Ellie, small moves."

I know I will keep this writing time going, though it won’t be a daily blog post, necessarily. I already have a plan to write a short scene starting tomorrow. This will be a rewrite of a scene I wrote as part of a larger…uh…thing I wrote last year. (I call it a thing because I don’t know what it was other than an important thing for me to write last year — could turn into a novel, could be a script, could be a long fictional journal entry, who knows.) But this scene is very specific and I have a notion of actually shooting it as a short film. And it is totally doable. Of course it is.

I’m grateful for this week of cementing in a pattern that I started last year and will continue into this new year and beyond.

Ship it! Walk Your Talk! Surprise yourself!

Walk Your Talk

I'm working the Your Turn Challenge and today is Day 2. Here is my post to answer the question: Tell us something that is important to you.


In 1992 I was working on a major motion picture at a visual effects company. I had been on the job since the previous January. My goal, about 1/3 of the way into the job, was to save money and go backpacking in Europe again. (I’d been with three friends right after college graduation three years before.) I had told my new work bestie that I was going to do this trip. Actually, I think I told everyone, non stop.

Then came the day I bought my plane ticket. These were the days when you actually had to go and buy a paper ticket. Over lunch hour one fine day, months before the project was over, months before departure day, I went to the nearest United Airlines office and got my ticket to London. As soon as I got back I raced to my work bestie’s office and showed her. She looked me up and down and said, “Oh. You are actually going to go.” I looked at her like “Uh, duh?” She then explained her slight surprise:

“You are someone who actually does what they say they are going to do.”

It was the second biggest compliment I’d gotten in my young life. (The first is another story for another time).

And it really made an impression on me. From then on I worked hard to walk my talk. I (mostly) didn’t make grand pronouncements about things I was going to do unless I was actually going to follow through.

The downside was (is?) that I might dream of something I want to do but not say it because I’m afraid of it or I don’t think I can actually do it.

When I meet new people, learning if they walk their talk is incredibly important to me. If I find they don’t, then I don’t tend to keep them in my life. I’m here to manifest and want to surround myself with like-minded people.

Now it’s time to focus on letting go of the fear. There. I said it.

They Say It's My Birthday

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!

January 2015


January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the God of beginnings and transitions; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) since January is the door to the year.


Hello New Year! Okay, well it doesn't look that much different than the old one, but my plan is to change that. Not making a list of resolutions, but I do have a few plans and goals. But I'm just going to start with January. A year's worth of goals is a bit overwhelming. I do have long terms goals, but I'm going to focus on short term right now.

January Goals:

1. 185 by January 30th.

When I get on the scale on January 30 it will read 185 (or less). I had been doing well losing weight last year then somehow got wildly off track. In April I was down to 182, heading toward my then goal of 175, then lost my way, went up and down then way up again, ending at 196 right before Christmas. I was really eating and eating and eating. I've been outside of my comfort zone a LOT in 2014 which is good for me, but clearly not good for my figure! So January is about reducing the amount of comfort food I put in my gullet and more about writing and journaling about my lack of comfort. And lots of hot tea. I still have the overall goal of 175, but am going focus on achieving the January goal during January.

2. Take Harper out to eat more often in more diverse places.

I have been using the excuse that she's a toddler, too fidgety to sit still at a restaurant for too long and so we have hardly taken her out. 18 months was great when she would just sit in high chair and play with toys and eat her food. But I really feel like it's time to get those skills going in her, all in age-appropriate venues of course. Luckily there are conveyor belt sushi restaurants and dim sum houses aplenty in LA. The key is that food comes at you right away, no waiting! (We had an attempt at one of the sushi places last night but they were clearly having an off night as next to nothing came past us on the belt.) The longer term goal is to increase the diversity of foods and experiences. But for January, more sushi and dim sum.

3. Spend no time on Facebook.

Facebook is fun, it can be entertaining. But I am letting myself get waaaaaay too distracted by it and am not very good at controlling my time there, not unlike eating too much comfort food. So I'm going to take a break, starting with January to see how I do. I have two scripts to rewrite and don't have time to faff about on Facebook! So if we're friends on FB, you'll see a notice about that shortly.

4. Write more on this blog.

And dovetailing with #3 is to write more on this blog. Almost everything I post on Facebook I can blog about here, so why not. There may not be as many comments or "likes" but I'm anti like-button anyway. Never use it myself. But if I'm a writer who already has this blog, why not just refocus back here? As Harper would say, "Well then, do it!"

That is the bulk of January. Let's DO THIS THING!

I Want To Be Pen Pals With Emma Thompson

Emma1I could have said, "I want to meet Emma Thompson" or "I'd like to work with Emma Thompson" and both of these are true (and both are not outside the realm of possibility). But being a pen pal is different. It is about creating a relationship with someone who is a stranger and who lives far away.

Now of course, Ms. Thompson is not exactly a stranger. She's an award winning movie star. I can read all about her all over the interwebs, but I hardly do. I prefer to watch her movies and to see her on talk shows when possible. I admire her talent and style and humor...but wait, all this should be in my opening letter.

Dear Ms. Thompson,

I would like to be pen pals. My name is Julia and I live in Los Angeles. I am married and have one daughter, her name is Harper, she's almost two and she's adorable. Okay, all mom's say that about their own kids and it's always true. I'm originally from Hawaii and moved to LA for college and to work in the movies. I love to travel and have been so lucky to do a lot of it, sometimes for work, mostly for pleasure. My favorite country is Italy. The food! The language! The wine! The scenery! Ireland is a close second. So green and the people can be so kind.

I'm looking forward to seeing all your upcoming movies and I hope you'll write more about your screenwriting work. (I loved your diaries on Sense and Sensibility.)

I'll end here as this is harder than I thought! I'm nervous just writing this simple letter. But my desire is sincere and I do admire your writing talent, your acting talent and your no-nonsense style and humor.

All the best to you and I hope you'll write back.

With affection and aloha,


There. That should do it.


Of Earthquake Kits and Exercise

Sunday I spent the afternoon refreshing our earthquake kit. After two small earthquakes centered near Beverly Hills last week, I said, "Right, we've been putting it off long enough!" We have two big boxes, one full of canned foods (a variety of fruits, veggies, beans, Spagettios, Spam and soup) the other that is full of cooking pots, personal hygiene items, diapers, wipes, work gloves, tarps, flashlights, batteries, playing cards, etc etc.

I tossed all the expired canned food and went to Vons to restock. My cart was full of these canned items and I kept walking by this French mom and her two young kids (let's say 8 and 10). I was hoping they didn't look too closely at my cart because of what was in there.I was mortified to imagine me fitting into an American Stereotype - cart full of Spam and Spagettios. Oy.

What? People aren't paying attention to me at all times? Oh. Good to know.

There was another woman who I kept running into at Vons. She was an older Japanese lady who didn't speak English too clearly but well enough that I realized she was trying to get me to come to Jesus, or at least church. I ran into her THREE TIMES! By the last time I said, "You've talked to me three times now, thank you!" And she walked away. Maybe it was a sign from god that I was doing the right thing by filling my cart with Spam. Let's hope.

This morning I got up before dawn to exercise. With a full time job and baby, life is about making choices to get all the things done you want to get done. I need to exercise, I really really do. Walking on weekends is not nearly enough and Harper is only getting bigger and soon will be mobile! I have to be ready. The only time I can manage is from 5:15 to 6:00am. (She wakes up around 6:30.) So up I got today and put on my walking togs.

It was so lovely! The stars were shining bright, Orion greeted me as I made my way along the sidewalk. The neighborhood was really quiet and I was surprised. There were cars along the busy streets (National and Westwood) but none on the smaller streets. The only other people I saw was a woman standing in her driveway with her golf clubs waiting for a ride, the newspaper delivery people and a security guard at Trader Joe's talking to an employee there. But there were no other joggers or walkers at all that early. Even the planes landing at LAX were still flying in the opposite pattern (landing from the ocean side). Amazing.

The only thing that made me nervous was the threat of spiderwebs. Our neighborhood only has street lights near intersections so walking along the sidewalk with close bushes or trees can be frightening. I was awake enough to think clearly but not awake enough to want that sudden burst of adrenaline after running into a giant spider web. So sometimes I walked in the street instead of on the sidewalk. When I was on the sidewalk, I hoped that someone had already been there ahead of me, but I doubt it...the terrors of pre-dawn LA!

My plan is to walk two early mornings a week, plus the Saturday/Sunday walks when I take Harper for a stroll. I have to also do a lot of stretching as my flexibility has atrophied as well. Slow steps for now as I get back into it. But I know I'm going to feel great about it.