Catching Up (Again) - Isn't That Parenthood On Some Levels?

So yeah! Time flies. I haven't even done any pics from Christmas, not that there were many. I'll get to that later I guess. My intentions are good, but making the time, well that is a negotiation with myself (and sometimes Kurt). Blogging falls by the wayside to make room for our own creative project work, meetings, lunches, general life errands/shopping/maintenance, etc. Throw in some tax prep and preschool applications (oh yeah! and she would even start for ages!) and boy the days fly.

HippoonscaleYou might be wondering how the fasting and weight loss has been going. Or probably not because you have a life! Well, it's been on and off for me these last few weeks. I had a stomach bug in January and haven't quite gotten back on the fasting. But I'm back on tomorrow. I had lost 11 pounds overall since starting that. I've put two back on and so I'm hovering at 183 these days, nine pounds down. The good news is, I started carving into my time with exercise. Just some neighborhood walking but it's been really good to get out and move my body with a fast-paced 35-40 minute walk three to four times a week. My intention is to get back into the weight loss regime, get the pounds off and up the exercise wherever possible.

In day-job news, I got nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award for my work on White House Down. That ceremony is on Wednesday night. Going to dress up and go to the Beverly Hilton! Woohoo! Pictures to follow.

In my creative work, there are irons in a few fires, all of which are really fun and exciting. Hopefully they pay off in all kinds of ways in the not too distant future. I've started waking up before Harper to write for about 30-40 minutes every morning (except Sundays). She gets up around seven, so I've been up around six. It's been amazing and the thing I'm working on is a story that just bubbled up recently so I'm playing around with it. Writing makes me feel great.

And Harper is getting bigger and cuter (not possible!) and the language is opening up more and more. Sometimes she says stuff that makes me think, where did you even hear that word? (And no, not a swear word because I know that will come from me, no matter how hard I'm trying to clean up my potty mouth.)

Here we were at the park the other day (accidentally had the camera set to B&W). She had her sippy cup in one hand and had tried to step up on the climby thing on the left but tumbled down (not far). She ended up in this position, drinking her milk like "Oh yeah. I'm cool. Totally meant to do that."


Here she is in Ponytails. Adorbs. Hard to wrestle the curls into ponytails without much pulling, but man it's worth it sometimes for the "big girl" look.


Back in December, I came to get her from a nap and found this scene. Not sure if she was teacher, cop, or conductor, but it was amazing.


Harper is a style maven, FYI. She has two pairs (TWO! Gawd, I can't control myself) of Bee pajamas. Or as she says "BEE!" One morning we were in her room before breakfast and she went out to the living room and came back like this. "Shades, bitch!" (Sorry, still haven't shaken off Jesse from Breaking Bad.)


She and Willoughby love to play in the car. Momma is not too thrilled with this but what can you do? I thought the other day about this new family member and how if all goes well with Willoughby, Harper will know her until college! Amazing.


We go to a park near the Santa Monica Airport sometimes. Harper likes to play with the sand. Just not necessarily IN the sand.


It's been a lovely day today. Lazy Sunday watching Olympics (Ski Jumping!) and doing laundry and cleaning up and eating bagels. Harper loves bagels. Glad to catch up a little!


My Recent Work Life in Review Or Attack of the Bloodsuckers!

The week before last, I got home one day and I was COVERED IN TICKS!!!

Okay, there was only one tick. But it was on my knee, dug in and sucking my blood. I call it the Tollymore tick, or Tolly for short. It really grossed me out and made me twitchy for days. Even now if a raindrop slides down my head or neck, I spaz out thinking it's another tick. [shudder]

(of course I took a photo of Tolly.)

That's about all I can remember about that week of work.

I remember more about this week, though it felt about 3 weeks long by Wednesday. Here's my recap.

Monday = OMG IT'S SO WINDY AND COLD!!! (luckily I planned ahead and was layered up well.) Also on Monday "The bathroom is how far away???" The views were gorgeous,though. 

Tuesday = Great day with B Camera, Paul and Amie. Much laughing amongst the work. I acquired the nickname "Lady Battenberg" and have been assured it's a nice thing. Still not entirely sure. Weather was much better, only cold and occasionally rainy.

Wednesday = COLD. Wasn't quite as prepared with the layers, but not too bad. Much planning and organizing

Thursday = Met a nice extra from Australia, sweet young man on a big adventure. Also much mud and cow manure. I woke up thinking "I haven't gotten much exercise lately" and then ended up walking/running about five miles during the course of that day. Literally. My dogs were barking.

Friday = Woke up grumpy to my alarm going off (normally I wake up a few minutes before). Knew it would be a bad day so I blasted some Green Day while getting layered up. Didn't help much. Should have won an oscar for my "smiling great attitude" performance. After work drinks with co-workers with much laughter, but I still felt like I was pretending. Probably had 12 too many cocktails.

No, I didn't actually have 12 cocktails. I had four or five (hmm, can't remember, that seems bad) over the course of six hours. Walked back to my hotel at 3:00am while on the phone with Kurt. Does it count as "drunk dialing" when you call your own husband?

Up and blogging and a bit of coffee, trying to decide what to do with myself. I have lots of work to do this weekend, and will try to get some done today so it's not all left for tomorrow. 

Causeway Route Weekend Day 2 - Part 2 (Dunluce Castle)

After the morning hopping all over Giant's Causeway, we headed further NW toward Dunluce Castle.



The ruins are well cared for now and walking around, it is easy to imagine what a lonely place this must have been for the women who lived here. You were FAR from everything.






Near the parking area was the Wee Cottage where you could buy postcards and sit for tea and snacks.


Kurt caught me hanging out with my other favorite past time...safety graphics.


In the pasture near the castle, the cows were chillaxin.


We continued along the coast to Portrush. Which is...um...uh...a town that has seen better days, a long time ago. We had lunch in a cheap/fast food place. Food was crap but the view made up for it. There were surfers and kite surfers out there. I think the water in LA is cold, can't even imagine how cold it is here. More power to them. 


We drove through Portstewart then motored back to Belfast, ending our lovely Coastal Route weekend adventure!

Food Options In Ireland (Republic of)

We got to Dublin in the early evening last Friday. (I'll post about our wild day on the road in a few days.) Once we arrived, we were tired and cranky but oh so happy to be in our fancy hotel. Kurt found a dining guide in the room and our restaurant choice was secured: WAGAMAMA!

It was such a refreshing change from the small town Irish fare we'd been choosing from the week previous.

Of course we had to call Brian and tell him we were eating at Wagamama in Dublin!



Causeway Route Weekend Day 2 - Part 1 (Giant's Causeway)

After our drive up along the coast with stops at beautiful valley parks and the rope bridge, we were hoping to spend the night in Bushmills (of the 400 year old whiskey) or near the Giant's Causeway itself. Alas and alack most hotels were full up and we hadn't reserved anything! So we drove back toward Carrick-A-Rede and found a spot at the Fullerton Arms in Ballintoy. It was a pub/inn combo, so after a few minutes chillin' in the room, we went down for a pint and some food. 

When we first arrived there were lots of people who looked dressed for work - suits and ties, etc, but it was a Saturday. When we went back down to eat, I realized we had stumbled into the after-gathering of a funeral. There were non funeral goers in the pub as well so we didn't feel too out of place. Just watching the dynamics of the group, I gathered that an older gentleman (60s) had lost his wife. I think his son and daughter in law were there and another older gentleman friend. It was strangely fascinating to be on the outside of it. I wanted to hug them all. I drank 2 pints of Tennants instead.

We fell asleep early and arose for a full breakfast fry-up and coffee then hit the road, first stopping in the little harbor at Ballintoy. We found this unusual house just above the small harbor. 


Not your typical Irish cottage by the sea.

The small harbor itself had stunning views.


On the way back up we saw the church and churchyard where there was the grave site of the previous day's funeral. 


We headed north again, aiming the mighty VW Polo toward Giant's Causeway. We stopped to look at a castle ruin - Dun something (sorry, can't find the name!).


Then into the tiny village of the Giant's Causweay and here was our favorite restaurant! Okay, we didn't eat here, but it's the same name as our fave restaurant in LA: Nook. Can't wait to go there again in the not too distant future. (The one in LA I mean...)


Then we headed to the day's main event -- The Giant's Causeway!
This particular spot is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I imagine in the summer it is TEEMING with people. There were plenty the day we were there, but you didn't feel one of zillions.

And it was windy. Very very windy, but luckily only a few drops of rain.


It's a super fascinating place and we crawled all around it.



We traded taking photos of others... 

Then they took ours. But by then, the wind had blown a nice salty fog filter on the lens...




There was a rainbow but we didn't find any pots of gold.






Did I mention it was windy?


Other amazing views.


And the Giant's Boot!


Soon it was time to head back up the hill to our car. 


We saw this man and his walking stick. Somehow it struck us funny to climb around these rocks with an umbrella. Maybe you had to be there. 


Highly recommend going to Giant's Causeway. If the formations aren't enough for you, then how about this? Legend has it that Finn McCool built the causeway to get to Scotland and you can see the other side of the "trail" over there. 

We decided that boy or girl, when we do have kids, one of them will be named Finn McCool Frey. HA!

Causeway Route Weekend Day 1 - Part 2 (Carrick-A-Rede)

When we last left our intrepid explorers, we were cruising up to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. 

I had forgotten to include a picture of this other tunnel we saw on our way up the coast:


It's really more like sculpture, I think.

Back to the Rope Bridge. First you walk a ways along the cliff edge with lovely views out to the small islands in the area. 


Then to the bridge itself. He's Kurt backing down the steep stairs. (He's being silly, really.)



Then I came to join him on the wee island.


Someone kindly took our photo.


Hey, let's read about the bridge!


It was about salmon fishing.

Loved the tiny caves and inlets. Look how clear the water is, makes you want to jump in and have a lovely swim. But then you remember it must be oh so very cold!


Kurt is working very hard to take a picture of us. Nice job.


Back to the mainland. 



And up!


View from the path.

It's a beautiful spot, a gorgeous walk along the water, and a fun trip across the bridge. I highly recommend!

Causeway Route Weekend Day 1 - Part 1 (The Coast)

Kurt arrived last Friday and Saturday morning we were off to the North in our VW Polo. (Production rented the VFX department a car and after my increased heart rate and blood pressure the first few times I drove last week, I'm pretty used to it now. Though my right hand still reaches for the gearshift from time to time and I will say out loud "Stay Left!" when I'm feeling unsure.)

We drove out of Belfast on The Causeway Coastal Route and headed through Carrickfergus on our way out of town. Here is the castle as seen from the moving car. Handy to have a photographer on board!


Driving around Northern Ireland you figure out in a nano-second you are NOT in LA anymore. The roads are quite different.



We stopped for gas at a place with a foodmart and Kurt soon discovered his new love: Lay's Walker's Potato Chips Crisps: Smoky Bacon Flavor Flavour. He'll be sending a case back home I'm sure.

We wound our way along the water, the day was cloudy but clear. We loved this little tunnel not far from Ballygally.


Here is a view of Ballygally bay.


Me, loving it.


Lighthouses on two tiny islands off the coast.


More gorgeous coastline up toward Glenarm and Carnlough.


When you drive along the coast, there are signs, very disconcerting signs along the road that say things like "Road Liable to Subside." WHAT? Not what I want to read while driving along the ocean.

We stopped in Carnlough for a bite of lunch and walked around looking at this sweet little harbor village.




Though times are not as good as they once were.


There doesn't seem to be as much fun in Funland.


Oh well. We popped into a pub for some pub grub and Kurt had his first taste of Guinness in Ireland.


Guinness is good for you.

We moved on to Glenariff Park to walk in the lovely lush valley.


Here is one nice view down the valley.Viewfromglenariff

Enjoying the view.


This park is very, um, moist.


We headed further north and got to Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The parking lot was busy with this man and his pack of dogs. ("Direterriers" as Kurt likes to call them.)


I'll post about the rope bridge tour later - that will be part 2 of day 1...

For now, just know that I'm definitely a very good driver.


Everybody's Working For ON The Weekend

Wow, that was a busy week, even coming to work at 10 and leaving at 5 ish every day. Wednesday we had dinner at good friends' house. Thursday we went to the Writers Guild to hear the creators and writers of LOST talk about what they do and how they do it. Last night was a fun at Sarah's seeing her family who were in from points east and north. Much laughing and pizza was had by all. Tonight we are invited to another BBQ but I think I'm going to cancel and just hang. Too much to do today. Tax prep and also finish a bid (for pay) that is due on Monday. Tomorrow is Dot's birthday so we are taking her to Santa Anita to watch the races and have a lovely luncheon. In between all that I want to blog a bit more and update Safety Graphic Fun. There are many people who have sent me images. I need to thank them and then organize the pictures. I'm already tired.

As Xeni Jardin said on Twitter this morning: COFFEE IS A FOOD GROUP. 

(She didn't shout it; uppercase mine)

Random Tidbits To Finish The Week

Goldstar Tonight is the Battlestar Galactica premiere of the last ten shows. We are joining friends to all watch together and that will be fun. Apparently there is a series called "Caprica" in the making which tells an earlier story of, uh, Caprica an the cylons, etc. Why make a whole new show and cancel the original when clearly the show is very popular? Confusing.

Goldstar I bought a book on Umbria yesterday from my 2nd favorite travel bookstore, The Traveler's Bookcase. (Well, technically it's #1 because my favorite bookstore, California Map and Travel went out of business.) We've not been back to Italy since January 2003 on our honeymoon. Six years is way too long to be away from Italy, IMAO. I was watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and he went to Venice. Oh Venice. Just watching those images made me really long for Italy, wether it's Venice or Rome or Lucca or Siena or whatever. I just need to go back. So as a soothing balm, I bought a small book on Umbria to whet my appetite and to dream a bit about our next trip. 

Goldstar I donated platelets yesterday, got $15 worth of coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf as a thank you, which was very nice. I watched the first half of "A Fish Called Wanda" which I hadn't seen in ages. Oh the pants on Jamie Lee Curtis! No low rise jeans in sight for miles/decades. Plus a few lines I had forgotten about like Kevin Kline yelling at John Cleese "You're the vulgarian you f**k!!" Nearly spit out my grape juice. Sarah had come along to donate as well, but alas her hemoglobin was not quite high enough. She's now wolfing down Total to bulk up her blood. It's a drag when you get turned away for that. (It's happened to me a couple of times now.) After all the birthday gifts and wishes, it was nice to give back a bit.

Goldstar I've taken the bus a few times this week. I had an acupuncture appointment on Tuesday in Westwood and it was easier/cheaper to take the bus (either the #8 or #12 Big Blue Bus) than to find and pay for parking. Plus after acupuncture, it's nice to keep that warm buzz going by not driving. Yesterday I took the bus home after platelets as Sarah didn't stay. Also a good way to relax after giving of your bodily fluids. (which my body will replace by today -- amazing.)

Goldstar 2009 is shaping up to be a bit different than my intellectual/monkey/uber capricorn brain thought it would be. I really find I need to catch up with myself, regroup, restructure myself, my life, my health. My health is generally good, but it can be much better. There are pounds to be shed, tight muscles to relax and stretch, greener foods to eat. There are photographs to take and new projects to start as well as projects to finish. I'm looking forward to it all but find I can't force myself to do it all faster! Now! Hurry! There are times when I feel like Luke on Dagobah, ready to live up to his Jedi potential but still a sulky kid needing a patient guiding hand. I am working with my inner Yoda this year and I will be the Jedi I always knew I would be. 

My Dogs Are Still Barking

What a walk.  What a day.

28 miles.
11 hours.  
1 diet coke
1 lemon filled donut.
10 phone calls from friends and family
1 small bag of puffed cheetos
1 application of blister protection (worked at about 80% efficiency) 
1 kalua pig plate lunch
135 photos
3 bottles of water
many conversations on a variety of subjects
1 cop asking (at Western and Vernon) "Are you lost?"  "No sir"  "Are you sure?"
1 very tired but happy woman.

This photo is from Will's flickr set.

Check out the posts on Metblogs by myself and Will.  There are 3 parts, though part 3 doesn't post until 9 this morning...