Fun and Games

End of Six Weeks -- How Am I Doing?

My Six week plan was:

  1. Exercise at least six days a week
  2. Eat less and eat better
  3. Complete my book proposal
  4. Start a writer's group for two specific projects

How am I doing? 

I have exercised at least six days a week. The first week was only five days, this last week was also only five days. However, there were two weeks where I did seven days. So I averaged it out. The best part is, I have already gotten stronger. I know this because the exercises are not leaving me sore anymore -- so I have to up the reps and intensity. The other best part is (I can have as many best parts as I want!) that I LOOK FORWARD TO EXERCISING! Holy cow it's been a long time since I've felt that way about it. So while the Wii Fit might not be the best long term exercise plan, it's a damn fine one now because I *want* to do it. In fact, I have to force myself to stop playing so I can get showered and dressed for work. This is a good thing.

In regard to eating, I have not improved much. I haven't lost more than the four pounds I lost earlier in the six week plan. Maintaining is better than gaining. So I will press on with the better eating plan. The longer hours than expected work schedule has been a bit challenging to the better eating, and I'm going to work at getting things done ahead of time. But then I'm doing so much more fun stuff on the weekends (See item #4 above) that I don't have much time then either! I choose how I use my time and I have not chosen to spend time making healthier food yet. 

The book proposal sits idle. I think I put it in the wrong part of my schedule and it floundered. I was working on it just after waking up and before exercising, all before work. Normally I can get a good chunk of writing done at that time of the morning. But this was different kind of writing and I found myself not very enthusiastic. I think I will try switching my book proposal work time to a different time of day. I have one more week of super busy work, then I'll restart on it.

As to item #4 -- it is moving ahead splendidly. It keeps me going through the week and I can't wait to have more time to devote to it!

So what will the next six weeks have? Much of the same

  1. Exercise at least six days a week with higher # of reps and greater intensity. I need to have sore muscles after exercising to know I pushed it harder.
  2. Eat less and eat better, make two specific meals a week (from cookbooks)
  3. Bring book proposal to Rough Draft shape and find a better time to work on it during the day.
  4. Continue writer's group! 

I'm feeling good about another six weeks and am quite proud of myself for how much exercise I've done. Thanks to the Wii Fit for getting me into a new habit.

I'll check back in about three weeks on this!

Resolutions and Commitments

Here at the end of week three of the new year and week three of my six week plan, I find myself sliding a bit, not moving forward. No one is perfect so I'm not beating myself up, just acknowledging where I am.

Today I've been hit with great positive reminders about commitment and moving forward and moving through fear. It started with Seth Godin's email today about needing everything to be okay: 

"No, everything is not going to be okay. It never is. It isn't okay now. Change, by definition, changes things. It makes some things better and some things worse. But everything is never okay. Finding the bravery to shun faux reassurance is a critical step in producing important change. Once you free yourself from the need for perfect acceptance, it's a lot easier to launch work that matters."

Thank you Seth.

Then on Twitter Sean Bonner retweeted Rev Run who posted:

"People don't fail for lack of talent, they fail for lack of commitment."

Thank you Sean and thank you Rev Run!

And not long after that tweet, Jenny Yerrick Martin tweeted about a new guru, a new inspiration for us all, a young man who committed himself to losing weight and lost over 125 pounds in a year. Here is Jenny's post which is about commitment and goals and determination. All extremely inspiring things to read and be reminded about.

Thank you Jenny!

My six week plan has been slightly vague in some areas, more specific in others. It is:

  • Exercise at least six days a week
  • Eat less and eat better
  • Complete my book proposal
  • Start a writer's group for two specific projects

So far I have exercised six days a week, creating sore muscles -- a good thing! I have eaten somewhat less and somewhat better and have lost about four pounds since the holiday high. Also good, but not enough. I'm about halfway through my book proposal, and I'm getting a bit slow each time I open the document. I need a recharge on that. Lastly, I have started the group of writers and that is very exciting.

A friend on twitter (JacMac30) said, "Can't say you strike me as someone that wavers from a task." I appreciate that this is how I look to others. Some commitments are easy: my marriage for one. Yes, marriage takes work and effort, but since I just adore and love Kurt so much, that effort and work and commitment is so much easier. My paying job is not a difficult commitment, though it does have its challenges as every job does. And there are personal challenges about that job I'm working on. But I'm so grateful for the income and the people I get to meet that the commitment often feels effortless.

So I'm recommitting to my goals and when the fear filled voices - either the ones in my head or the ones from non-believers - start speaking, I will remind myself of what my commitments are and move forward. 

Now I'm off to fire up the Wii Fit and sweat for an hour.

The Seattle Trip -- Part III

Having survived the hottest day on record, we awoke to a gorgeous day and a gorgeous view. 


We packed our bags and then packed up the car and said good-bye to our little Bunglaow on the Bluff.


We parked in front of the main house and awaited our pick up by the Albrecht's. Next time we come, and the temperatures are more in line with the area, I would love to stay in the main house.


Beyond the house is the Post Office with original interiors, complete with Fallout Shelter signs. Love those old things.



Then we were off to an EXCELLENT local breakfast place that the Albrecht's frequent called the Blue Moose. It's in the boatyards and is very local. Perfect!


Then we went on a driving tour of Port Townsend and beyond to Fort Worden State Park. We saw amazing houses along the way, beautiful wooden boats, gorgeous water views and, of course, the blimp hanger that is now a theater.


Every town needs a blimp hanger. 

Then we got into our car and followed the Albrecht's to their house in Port Hadlock to see where K1 grew up. It's gorgeous and amazing and wow. Here's the view from inside:


And a better one from in front:


Breathtaking. And K1 says I grew up in a beautiful place. HA!

We chatted for a few more minutes and thanked Ginny and Terry profusely for a wonderful breakfast, tour and visit. We had a really really nice time and are really looking forward to another visit soon.

Gas was gotten and we motored back south toward Poulsbo for a 24th high school reunion. Okay, it wasn't officially a Seabury Reunion, but when you have 33 alumni from your class, one of whom has died (Miss you Bruce!), when three of you get together, that's almost 10% of the class! 

There we were: Julia, Steve and Courtney, together again!
Julia steve and opihi1

Courtney and I saw each other in March or April this year for the first time in 23 or 24 years. Steve and I haven't seen each other since maybe 1986? Yowza! But it was like no time had passed as we chatted and laughed and shed a few happy tears and sad tears (for Bruce and Jai). Steve pulled out some yearbooks and we howled and told stories, each of us remember different things, sometimes our memories overlapping, sometimes not. Occasionally one of us would shout "They did WHAT? When was that?!?!" It was perfect. Kurt and Steve's partner seemed to enjoy themselves so we were clearly not talking about Seabury ALL the time. 

Steve made us a gorgeous cold supper:


And we talked and laughed for a few more hours. We played some pool upstairs, then we put on jammies and watched a movie, then went to sleep. Steve kindly put us all up for the night in lovely guest quarters. 

Next morning was some more coffee and breakfast chat and soon we had to say good-bye to Steve. It was WAY TOO SHORT of a visit, but a great start. You always want to leave wanting more. More hugs a few more happy tears and we were on our way, following Courtney back to Tacoma.

We got to meet her husband Dan and her son Drew and see their gorgeous house and then we had gorgeous house envy. We like the old victorians and craftsmen styles and Dan and Courtney have done an outstanding job fixing theirs up. We have serious house envy. Serious. So envious I only took one photo. I was so distracted.

Courtney's kitchen

I'm behind the camera dripping with kitchen lust.

Then the five of us went to lunch down on the water and had a great visit getting to know Dan and Drew. What a tremendous family of amazing people they are. I can't wait to spend more time with them again too!

But too soon, we had to get back to Renton and to the Freys. We gave big hugs and kisses all around and headed back North to Seattle. We checked back into our quality hotel and headed over to the Northern Frey's for an afternoon of, uh, Uno and Wii, telling them of our travels. We had dinner at a town called Black Diamond in a historic bakery building, dining on prime rib with a view of Mt. Rainier. Lovely night.

Then back to their place for more Uno and Wii, then back to the hotel to awake to packing our bags one more time, picking up Dot and heading to the airport to fly home on Virgin America (upper class!) and be home with the kitties by early evening. Home safe and sound after a great trip.

The whole experience was just what I wanted (except for the hotness). Visiting family and great great friends that I haven't seen in ages and realizing there is no reason it should be ages! Seriously. 

This has been mostly a travelogue, but I know I'll get around to more details and insights in future posts. 

Thanks to everyone for all the meals that you bought us! Dang, we couldn't pay for a thing, no matter how hard we tried. Thank you, you are all very wonderful and generous and we can't wait to return the favor.


Fun Guests From Out Of Town

This last week we had great company! Pranab and Kate were in LA for just two short nights and one full day, but we made the very most of it.

Monday night we played poker with a couple of other friends (six of us in all). We had $5 buy in and played for a few hours. Excellent pizza was delivered, cocktails and wine were consumed, snacks snacked upon. We called it quits around 11:30 P&K had just flown in from Taipei (and boy were their arms tired) and another guest, DKSG was getting on a plane to Guam the next morning at eight. Kurt described the evening's games as "pandemonium" because everyone was laughing and chatting so much we had to recheck the bets more than a few times. FUN! 

The dining room table poker table looked not too much the worse for wear the next day.

Poker aftermath

Tuesday morning, we all slept in and around 1pm we picked up P&K at their hotel in Santa Monica and made our way downtown for late lunch. We ended up at the Nickel Diner for a variety of yummy foods and great conversation with Kristen, our friend and the co-owner. Then they closed between lunch and dinner and she kicked our asses to the street and we headed to my favorite place of all time, The BonaVista at the Bonaventure Hotel. The bar that goes in circles. We were a bit early (they open at 5pm) so we hung in the lobby for a short while then headed up in the glass elevators, got our seats and watched LA turn around us. Oh and we had large cocktails.


Then we left, but not before taking a wacky photo 35 stories up and going round and round.


We moseyed back to our house and had a few more snacks, a few more drinks (Kurt was designated driver, by the way, in case you were worried.) and then after talking about all the Uno we played in Seattle, Kate wanted to play! So we played two hilarious rounds of Uno, which was interrupted at one point when, having run out of the small amount of tonic for the vodka and tonics, Kate, staring at the bottle of Kahlua at our bar, asked "Do you have any milk?" I looked at her, then at the bottle of Kahlua and a huge lightbulb went off. "You want a Caucasian!" 


(This is not Kate.)

So I happily skipped into the kitchen and mixed up the first white russian I've made since probably, oh I don't know, high school? College? Probably college. Kate seemed to enjoy it, so all was right with the world.

Not long after, Kurt took them back to the hotel after lots of goodbye hugs and kisses from me as they were getting on a plane at noonish and I had to go to a work meeting the next day. Our visit was brief but packed full of fun.


Blogger Prom 2009

Wow! What a night! It was so much fun I needed a full day to recover! Blogger Prom was a smashing success and I was so lucky and glad to have been a part of it.

First of all, a HUGE HUGE thanks and shout out to the amazing Blogger Prom Committee! That was a great party and I was overwhelmed by the amount of give-aways and prizes and great food and drinks. And the view! Couldn't have asked for a better one. I know how hard it is to organize and run an event like that so major kudos to you all.

Oh let's get to some pictures, shall we? First of all, you can find a ton of pictures in the Blogger Prom 2009 Flickr group. The outfits! The Hair! The Make Up! The Bows! The Taffeta! The Fingerless Lace Gloves! The Piano Key Tie! Pauly Shore! No seriously, Pauly Shore was there. How 80's is that?!

I had to take the classic "in the bathroom before prom" picture as soon as the cloud of hairspray had evaporated. Let's get a real good view of the hair and makeup, shall we?
I couldn't get the blue to be any bluer. I tried. I put about three layers of blue eyeshadow on. Either they just don't make it like they used to or I need to shop where the drag queens shop.

When I got to the prom, I ran into fellow Metblogger David Markland and his wonderful date, Claire.

Then additional Metbloggers, Joz and Mykal came in, rocking the Dynasty look. I felt right at home!

At the mention of the word Dynasty, Mykal opened his jacket to reveal this AMAZING detail about his outfit:
Holy crap the 80's were, uh, weird.

But the best part of any blogger get-together, wacky prom costumes notwithstanding, is meeting people you have only ever communicated with online. So I got to meet Adri The Girl Blogger (@thegirlblogger) We had tweeted about our Dynasty dresses and curling irons and hairspray before the big event.

Then a babe in hot pink was coming toward me and we did a triple take then yelled each other's names and hugged. It was Kim Prince of House of Prince! (@houseofprince) and with her was a fairly new online friend I had made, Lisa Kelly of The Tale Of My Left Foot (@lkkelly).
We are so sassy!

Then Slackmistress and Be The Boy! (Otherwise known as Nina and Will.) I was striking Blogger Gold!
Check her hair -- I was so excited about taking a picture I got too close to get good focus (#nervousfan).
There were even a few Smarty LA Women, Katy and Jennifer:
Best of all were my MetBlog homies, Travis, Lucinda and Joz:

What a fun night! Woweee.

Oh, and for the record, none of us had sex with Mykal Burns. Also, I won a $75 gift certificate to Ciudad! What a night!

Saturday All Day Long!

So after our fun times in Vegas, we got home Friday evening and didn't get to rest at all on Saturday. I left the house at 8:30 am and didn't get home till Midnight. (Kurt took a break in the afternoon and went home for a bit.) Here's why we were so busy:

First Appointment of the Day: Producer's Guild Screening of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. The screening was at 9:30 at the Grove and David Heyman, Producer, answered questions afterward. I wouldn't have signed us up first thing after Vegas, but Kurt had worked a bit with Mr. Heyman about ten years ago on a script and I wanted to make sure they got to shake hands and say hi. The movie was good and even better were the two kids (one boy, one girl) in front of us with their dad. They both had their wands and the boy had not only his robes and HP glasses, but he had his forehead scar as well. OMG so freakin' cute! Even Kurt thought that was pretty sweet. I said "Ooooh, you just want to give that little guy big smooches!" And we laughed about how, uh, inappropriate that might be! 

After the Q&A we muscled our way to Mr. Heyman and waited patiently while he spoke to someone else. I realized that Mr. Heyman (who I have never met) might not recognize Kurt after all these years and without his beard and round glasses. So as they came face to face, I made a quick decision and said, "David, do you remember Kurt Frey?" and he perked up, looked at Kurt and said, "Kurt! Great to see you!" and they shook hands and spoke for a minute or two as we were hustled out of the theater. They got separated for a moment then shook hands good bye. Sometimes in Hollywood, a handshake and "how are you" after ten years is all you need to get back "in" with someone. (Oh and a great script that impressed a guy back then...)

Second Appointment of the Day: Bloggers Go Boom. By now it was almost 1pm and we headed east on Third to pick up Noirbettie on our way to the LA Gun Club downtown. We were meeting Travis, Lucinda and Mykal there to shoot guns at paper targets. Mykal is the gun owner of record and came with a 9mm, a .357, a .45 and .25 as well as a shotgun. We all took turns learning how to handle said firearms and then started blasting away. 

Want to know something? I'm good at it. Want proof? 


Yes, I am quite pleased with myself! At one point I started putting the targets much further away than the closest point. Kurt said, "you're putting the target too far away, it should be at the red line." I turned to him and said, "I know it's further away, I need more of a challenge." He nodded and handed me more ammo.

Last up was the shotgun and only me, Kurt and Mykal shot it. Again, please make a note: When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, hand the weapons to me. My two shotgun rounds were within an inch of each other within the red square. 


I got a new nickname: "One Shot One Kill."  

Don't ever under estimate a blonde with a big rack.

Third Appointment of the Day: Classic Eats #6. We dropped Noirbettie off at her place and then Kurt dropped me off at El Cholo at 5pm. I changed into nicer clothes and ordered a margarita and waited for the Classic Eats crew to arrive. There were only nine of us to enjoy the nachos, green corn tamales and margaritas, but it was a fun visit with other fellow bloggers and classic eaters.

Fourth Appointment of the Day: VFX Wrap Party for 2012. Kurt picked me up at about 7:45 and we headed into the heart of Hollywood to Roland Emmerich's house for the party. OMG his house is amazing. Gorgeous. Fabulous. WOW. The party was fun, I saw many people I had hired last fall to work on the in-house FX crew. I wasn't really sure about going to the party as I was pretty tired, but I was rewarded with one of the artists saying to me "Julia, thank you so much for hiring me, this has been the best job I've ever had!" Wow. Okay, my day was MADE. We stayed at the party until about 11:30 and by then my feet were killing me (leftover from walking so much in high heels in Vegas) and we went home.

I woke up at about eight or nine the next morning, still smelling of gunpowder. It had been a great day!

Vegas, Baby!

We went to Vegas to help Grace celebrate turning 21 last week. Kurt and I hadn't been in four years so we were excited to go. We stayed at the Venetian -- FAB rooms! -- and spent two nights total, meeting up with Grace and her friends for dinner and some fun both nights. 

We like to gamble a bit, it's entertaining, especially when there are wacky new slot machines like this Star Wars one:

Yes, that is the Death Star up there, which spins when you get the bonus round. Hilarious.

We spent a morning by the pool, mostly in the shade. Then the sun hit our spot and Kurt high-tailed it out of there. I stayed for another hour, reading in the sun. This is something I haven't done in years and years! If it hadn't been 112, I would have stayed for two. (By the way, this book is EXCELLENT! So much better than the movie.)


A nice slushy drink and a quick swim in the pool helped:


Grace and her friends went dancing, we abstained. It hasn't really been my thing for a long long long time. The second night, we had dinner at New York New York as they had all gone to see Zumanity and we met them after. Then we went on the roller coaster -- also something we haven't done since the Cyclone at Coney Island in 2001. ("Coney Island: Hellhole of Fun!") That was a blast, I was laughing so hard all the way through the corkscrews and full upside down turn.

We stayed up till two am the first night then four am the second. We didn't drink much so it was more about tired than hungover. The "kids" enjoyed their GIANT plastic yard long drinks every night and more power to them. It was hot, they were 21 and no one had to drive!

It was fun and I look forward to Vegas again in the future.

Emerging From The Hot Dog Induced Haze

Last Saturday was the big event I'd been working on for the last 1-2 months: Hot Dog Death March

It was a rip-roaring success and I'm pleased to hear people asking me and Lucinda what next year's March will be. Whew, thank goodness I don't to think about that right away (though I am making notes for next time...)

Thanks to Lucinda we got some GREAT press! Check us out on page 1 of the LA Times weekly supplement Brand X:


Lucinda and I laughed ourselves silly taking those photos a week before the blessed event. Check out the flickr group site here to see TONS of great photos. Thanks to everyone who came along or even those who were there in spirit! On Sunday I was WIPED OUT. I forget how tiring it is to be ON for hours at a time. The turn out was about 50 people at our peak time. The only downside was I only had one hot dog. One simple, ketchup and relish hot dog all day. I had two bites of a chili dog, and a few of Mykal's french fries at Skooby's (which are so delicious!). I'll just have to go back!

The same weekend, my mom was at her 50th high school reunion on Oahu. She had a great time and I'm so glad she stayed longer than planned. I can't imagine my class at Seabury after 50 years, would we actually get together? So small and all...

Sunday morning for breakfast I went off the Engine 2 program some more with french toast, scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast at our favorite diner, Norm's. Mmmmm. But I did feel a bit gross after, which is such a good thing since I don't much eat that way any more. (Hot dog events not withstanding.) On the table at the restaurant was this sign: 

Um, ew! Baja shrimp cocktail and an eclair. Just the kind of combo to make you lose your lunch.

And my love for Keyboard Cat continues with this most recent edition:

Work is almost done and I'm looking forward to being able to focus more on my creative writing, blogging, social networking and other food events. Being social is my thing and I love putting people together. The internets are really great for meeting people and arranging events that would have been so much harder to do just a few short years ago...

This blog post is sort of all over the place. Oh well. The hot dog haze will clear soon!