Saturday, September 29, 2007

For Your Entertainment

Matt showed this at the start of the show last's by another indie film-maker and we all thought it was terribly amusing.


Oh, the Glamour

The movie premiere last night was totally fun. Mostly because it turns out that the movie is really good. Seriously. The Child was beside herself during the prelims, darting around like a butterfly introducing herself and mentioning, oh so casually, that she had a role in the film.

"Sans Vie" is set 50 years in the future, in a rather dismal world, where people can connect to a giant computer called "Opticonnect". Using special contact lenses their eyes become the computer monitor. They can connect to others on-line, go into virtual worlds, like that. Now, least you think "eew, it's sci fi", not so much. The point of the movie is that this virtual way of experiencing life cuts one off from others. (Of course, I have a fundamental problem with this premise given my experience of "virtual" friends via Blogtopia, but let's not debate that for the moment). The main character, Jolie, is one such person. She meets a woman named Paige, who does not use Opticonnect and whose attempts at friendship challenge Jolie to consider whether her "life" has any particular meaning and whether or not engaging with others might not be a better choice.

It's all in French, for no other reason than the writer/producer/director, Matthew Morris, always wanted to make a French film. It's beautifully shot and even more beautifully lit (thanks to the abundant talents of The Spouse, don'tcha know). But the real point of the evening was, of course, that this was The Child's film debut. Or, as I clarified after being corrected by The Spouse (who said, "What about 'Hannah und Heir Papa'?), the first film she made that wasn't based on daddy having a whim one Thanksgiving weekend.

Hannah Und Heir Papa

Anyhoo, we were watching "Sans Vie" and The Child grabbed my hand when she realized her scene was coming up. She only had one line (in French), mostly it was emoting and such. But she looked fabulous and did a really fine job with her part. She was soooooo proud! Here are some stills of her in the film:

Here she is with Melissa Roberts, who plays the adult Jolie:

And here she is last night at the premiere, with the director in his superfantastic Versace suit that he bought for the occasion and let me just tell you that if I'd known he was going to dress like that and that his girlfriend was going to be in a hot black strapless gown with matching gloves and that half a dozen other women were going to be dressed to red carpet standards The Child and I so would have glammed up more than we did. I coulda worn my floofy tulle skirt, for crying out loud.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend doing absolutely NOTHING.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Birthday Treats

Sling couldn't make it to my birthday party but he promised he'd be there in spirits, and by "spirits" I mean, he promised to design a cocktail for the event. And he did. The Neighbor, JP and I had one before the party and until the Chambord runs out, The Neighbor and I will be enjoying one at least once a week. (It's a little much for daily consumption, what with us wanting to keep our trim and youthful figures, but the occasional indulgence is good for the soul).

This is the email he sent me, which was just sweet as can be:

I know that you enjoy "Pink Squirrels",so I wanted to design something along those lines for your birthday,only a little more special.

I wanted it to be seasonal,what with your B-day landing right on the cusp of Fall.
I wanted it to be something that wasn't too expensive...But still,..this is a milestone event!
I wanted it to be festive,AND!...
I wanted it to be named after you.
Two recipes follow...Single serving mixed drink,and blended party style.

****The 'Rainey Day****

Single serve:
In mixing glass with ice;
3/4 oz. Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
1/4 oz. Dark Creme De Cacao
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Light Creme (or milk)
Shake and strain into chilled Martini glass
Garnish with Maraschino cherry.

Fill mixing cup 3/4 full with ice,..Add;
2 oz. Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
1 oz. Dark Creme De Cacao
2 oz.Vodka
Splash Whipped Cream
Add milk to top of ice and blend until desired consistency.
Serve in Poco Loco (or some such fancy) glass.

Happy Birthday my Dear Friend!!

Isn't he just the sweetest thing, ever? I love having my own personal bartender.

Thanks, Sling. It's a very yummy drink. You're the greatest.

JP loved the Chambord bottle. He said he felt like the pope when he carried it.

It does look like something you'd find in a sacristy.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't do a single thing this weekend. And mostly we won't. But tonight we are attending a movie premiere. (I know...such a glamorous life). It's for a short that was done by The Spouse's buddy Matthew Morris, a little thing called "Sans Vie". It's set in the future, in the French quarter of Seattle. Yeah. We don't have a French quarter. Whatever. It's the future. I guess the French are in charge. JP will hate the future.

The Spouse worked on the film and The Child had a small role as the main character as a young girl. It was her first film so she's very excited to see it.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

This and That

I love to sleep. I've always been something of a night owl but since getting sick, I've been going to bed around 10pm, sometimes even earlier. And I'm loving it. Who knew the difference getting 8 hours of sleep a night could make? You'd think some health organization would have lauded these benefits by now. Sheesh.

You know that old saw about "I'll sleep when I'm dead?" I always hated that. Makes it sound like sleeping is a bad thing. I myself am a big proponent of sleeping. Especially of naps. Lordy, lordy, naps are a beautiful thing. People should take them more often. I think the world would be a better place if everyone would have a snack and a little lie down in the afternoon. Maybe with some nice music softly playing in the background. There'd be less stress, I'm pretty sure of it.

The other thing about sleeping more is that I'm even perkier when I get up at 6am. I didn't used to like early rising. Made me nauseous. But I've come to really enjoy 6am. It's a lyrical time. The sun is just risen, or just about to rise. The air is full of lark-song. (I actually don't know that we have larks here but it sounds very poetic, doesn't it?) Coffee tastes richer at 6am. And the house is still. The Spouse is gone, The Child and Dog are still sleeping. Sometimes The Cat is up, meowing for her can but once I feed her she shuts up, too.

I don't like 7am for rising. It's too sharp edged, too close to the rush of the day. I can't sit and savor my coffee and a good book at 7am. If I can't get up at 6 I'd rather just wait until 8. Maybe I just prefer even numbers. No, that's not true. My favorite numbers are 21 and 23. And 7 is a lovely time for dinner, whereas 6 seems entirely too early and geriatric. But for rising time, 6am is perfect.

Now that I'm feeling better, I'm thinking I'll still go to bed earlier. There's not much going on at 10pm worth staying up for. 10pm used to be a good time for television but it's really not so much anymore. "Battlestar Galactica" will probably be on at 10pm so I guess I'll stay up on Sunday nights. "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" is on at 10pm on Thursdays. I love the Gunn. But I've decided I only love him enough to tape him. I don't feel like staying up to watch him.

I used to stay up to watch "ER" but those days are gone. I hate "ER". Know why? Because the entire premise of the show is that happiness is stupid. Don't believe me? Name 2 people on that show that are happy. You can't. And when people do get happy one of two things happen. Either they leave the show, so that we don't have to watch their happiness (Doug, Dr. Carter, Susan, Carol - who, of course, went off and reunited with now-happy Doug) or else they die. That's right. Dr. Green gets happy and they give him a brain tumor. Nela gets happy and her husband gets blown up in Iraq. I'm telling you, they hate the happy on that show. And it ticks me off. So I don't watch it anymore.

I read something really beautiful this morning that I'd like to share with you. I'm rereading Looking for Mary or, The Blessed Mother and Me by Beverly Donofrio. It's a terrific book, even if you aren't Catholic. Anyway, she's writing about a pilgrimage to Medjugorje and the priest that is leading the group gives this little homily:

"God gave everything to man and woman. Only one thing he said "Do not touch". A big success for Satan when he focused Eve's eyes from all that she had onto what she was missing. It is the human condition. All conflict begins at the same moment, when I become blind to what I have and see what I don't. We are conditioned to believe we need more to be happy. It's not bad to have more. It's bad when you do not see what you have. A man who lost his leg didn't feel joy when he had it.
"Life has to be more simple. We have so many gifts. If you want peace, open your eyes to what you have around you and say thank you".
That was a good reminder to me, after spending too much time yesterday mired in what wasn't done. It's good to be reminded to say "thank you".

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


It must be fall. I'm in the throes of that seasonal lament: could I please just have a normal day?

There's always the expectation when school starts that things will get back to normal. It's such a myth. The "normal" of which I speak doesn't usually hit until somewhere around early October. I should know that by now.

There hasn't been a normal week all month. First the movie, then last weekend's festivities. I don't begrudge any of it but geez. I'm so ready to not do anything, to not have to run anywhere. But the second school start there came with it the meetings and fundraising and volleyball schedule. Normal? This IS normal.

I'd probably be more ok with it if there weren't still birthday cake crumbs on the dining room table, if the laundry was caught up and if I knew for sure there weren't any end-of-the-month bills to pay without having to look it up.

I need to make grape jelly.

It probably didn't help that I've been sick. I feel better now. A lot better. But at least when I was sick I had an excuse for ignoring the mountain of things that are calling for my attention.

Instead of whining I think I'll make a to do list using my fancy Venetian glass pen. And maybe see if the remnants of birthday cake are edible.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

But Surely There's More?

Well, sure.

For example, JP and I blogged our Top 10 Songs of the 80s from the same computer. That might not mean much to you but it meant a lot to us. And the crickets.

Also, he had quite a time with The Child, which he wrote about rather sweetly here. She did enjoy messing with him. But it was all out of love. In fact, if I were to choose one word to describe how she feels about Uncle JP it would be "adoration".

Who else but a devoted uncle would put up with being buried under stuffed animals while watching an "Ugly Betty" marathon?

Of course, JP gives back as good as he gets. The two of them were quite a pair of pips.

It already felt like JP was part of the family but no more so than on Sunday. Between colds and late nights and champagne, everyone was moving a little slow. We decided Sunday would be a non sans jammie and that we would lie around and watch movies.

This required JP and me going to the store to get a movie (he was horrified that I hadn't seen "Steel Magnolias" and determined to rectify that) and some snacky food. He dared me to go shopping in my jammies. So I did. Then it was The Spouse's turn to be horrified. Fortunately, no photographic evidence exists.

We had strata, bacon and Bloody Marys back at home and then JP and I settled in with a bag of Cheetos to watch the movie. And I loved it. And cried.

And afterwards when we were quoting it like crazy he said, "There are so many good lines in that movie" and I said, "I think that 90% of everything ever said in any conversation comes from that movie".

There was more lying around and napping (well, I napped...he wanted to but The Child kept him up). Then there was pizza and a movie with the whole family.

JP, despite what he may have led you to believe, is not high maintenance. He didn't expect to be entertained with a non-stop agenda of Very Important Things to Do. He was happy to just hang out, just one of the family.

And that really goes to the heart of what was so great about this weekend. JP has been one of my best friends for over a year. It was very exciting to meet but as soon as we did it was no big deal. I mean, it was a big deal and sometimes I'd look over at him and just get all schoogie about the fact that he was really there but it was no big deal in the sense that it felt perfectly right and normal that he should be if he was always there. Which he would be if he moved to Seattle. Which I think he should.

Here's another picture of me hugging him; 'cause I could.

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And What About the Party?

First off, you have to understand that I was really quite sick on Saturday. The cold was doing its best to sap my will to live but my head and heart were determined to not let it ruin my party. Hello? I'm only going to turn 50 once. I took a nap in the afternoon. That helped. So did donning the superfantastic skirt my mommy made for me.

How do you not feel fabulous in something like this?

She was afraid it would be too poofy. I say, the poofier, the better.

Here's a picture of me and The Spouse after he gave me my beautiful necklace.

He's adorable.

Get a load of all those presents. Sheesh.

There were about 30 people at the party. I have a vague sense of having talked to everyone but can't really remember many of the conversations. I was telling Leroy this yesterday and he said that it was kinda like a wedding...every time you start talking to someone you get distracted by someone else and off you go. It was like that.

It also explains why, aside from the fact that this cold makes everything taste like vinegar, I really didn't have much to drink all night. I'd start a glass of wine, put it down and then have to start all over again. For my part there wasn't any serious drinking until the party was over and JP insisted that we finish all the champagne. Or "champangnya", as he likes to call it. And by then it was too late. Not that I really wanted to start the second 50 years of my life feeling like my head was nailed to a concrete block anyway.

You know what did make me happy? I may not have had deep and meaningful conversations with every guest in attendance but they all mixed and mingled perfectly well. I suppose the best sorts of parties are the ones which don't rely on the hostess. If my getting 'round to everyone was required it would have been a disaster. Pretty much, they didn't need me. It was awesome. I was surrounded by people I loved, friends from long ago with tons of history, newer friends, in-between (chronologically) friends. And they all got on like houses afire.

The party began at The Neighbor's. It was a coolish night but she'd created a bistro-like ambiance on her deck, with little lights and candles and cutouts of the Eiffel Tower. It was charming. People flowed in and out of the house, chatting and eating and drinking and laughing. A lot of laughing. After dinner and the presents, she gave everyone a cinnamon votive candle and we processed, singing the Beatles version of "Happy Birthday", to our house for cake and karaoke.

Here are the procession candles after we got to our place.

This is what they looked like an hour later. The Child had fun dipping her fingers in the wax. Until I made her stop.

Back to the karaoke. We didn't have any. Ree had forgotten the CDs. And she felt absolutely terrible about it. To the point that she almost cried. And this is a woman who never cries. I was finally able to convince her that we didn't need them and it was all fine and besides, we had cake. Poor, sweet thing. She felt like she'd let me down. She totally didn't. And much as I love karaoke, it does have a tendency to separate a party into singers and non. Without it, we all could hang together. It was better that way.

These are the adorable candles The Neighbor found for me. I blew them all out in one go so I'll get my wish.

After the first round of cake the party grew a little smaller as the folks with children in tow departed. The rest of us cranked up the tunes and danced and talked and laughed some more and ate more cake. Some people even stopped using a plate.

JP began to make the argument that the midnight toast should start early because it was midnight where he came from. We managed to hold him off until the proper time, which arrived quickly enough. Everyone gathered in a circle and we drank a toast and I told all of them how blessed I was to be sharing that moment with such fine friends. Really: me=luckiest girl in the world.

Then there was more laughter and craziness until I'm not sure when. JP and I stayed up after everyone left and both The Child and The Spouse had gone to bed. There was champagne to be finished and stories to tell. I love that man.

We'll clean up later.

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But What About the Food and Drink?

On JP's list of Things to Do in Seattle was having cocktails with The Neighbor. So around 5 we trooped over. The Spouse came along, too. The Child popped in and out but she was getting ready to go to the concert. We sat on the deck and had wine and chips. I just kept looking at JP and grinning because he was really here.

Then, since it was The Spouse's and my anniversary, the four of us went out to an intimate little place called Dulce's which does very fine food with a Euro-Latin emphasis. (It's run by a husband and wife team...she cooks, he works the front of the house and acts as sommelier).

The Neighbor had a cioppino, JP had lamb, The Spouse had the Nebraska corn-fed beef (which of course JP refused to order because hello? like he'd come all the way to Seattle to eat beef? Not. Which begs the question, so did you serve him salmon? No.) I had ravioli with a dreamy veal confit. There was a lovely bottle of wine. There was laughter. There was aforementioned sneezing on the dessert cart. (Which embarrassed me greatly but seriously, my cold was worsening by the moment and there just wasn't anything to be done about it. Fortunately, that's not the food they serve to people. Oh, and I had a blackberry trifle and The Neighbor shared a chocolate Napolean with JP and The Spouse had a glass of muscat).

Then we went home and JP and The Dog had a moment.

On Saturday, while The Spouse was giving JP an eyeful of Seattle, I baked cake. I have no Martha Stewart-y skills when it comes to cake and also had 6 pans, 2 of each size ranging from 10 inches to 8. I decided to just stack them all, with raspberry preserves between the layers and cover the mess with ganache. A few raspberries to distract the eye and a jaunty Eiffel Tower and the top and it was ok. Actually, it made me laugh. But it tasted great.

Dinner came first, of course. There were peanuts and olives for aperitif and then we had daube with cute little mini baguettes and a mixed green salad with shallot dressing and goat cheese crouton. By that point my cold was seriously affecting my tastebuds but I'm assured by healthier folks that the food was fabulous.
Sunday was another matter. I had intended to make a nice dinner for JP. But between colds and champagne and excitement and staying up late, there was very little energy in the house. I'd made a strata for brunch, which we had with Bloody Mary's. But you know what we had for dinner? Frozen pizza. That's right. And it tasted just dandy. I'll cook for JP another time.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

An Embarrassment of Riches

I'm just going to have to do this in bits. So let's start with the presents, shall we?

They had been trickling in throughout the week as it was, even earlier actually. The Hat had given me the first printing of my business cards as an early birthday present.

Then came a Venetian glass pen and an antique ink well from ChouChou and John, because she knew that I coveted The Child's. Mine is red and black. It's beautiful.

This was followed by a concertina from Rosie. You see, she plays the accordion and was going to come to my fete and play "La vie en rose" for me. But then she couldn't come. So she did, I suppose, the next best thing and sent me a Hohner concertina, complete with a book for "absolute beginners", which is a dem fine thing because I know absolutely nothing about squeeze boxes. But it is a gorgeous instrument with a lovely tone and when I opened it The Child squealed with delight, "Oh, mama! Now you can be a street musician!"

I do think that mastering, or at least making a running attempt at a new skill in my new decade is a fine goal.

JP blew me away with a vinyl copy of Tracy Ullman's "You Broke My Heart in 17 Places" and a DVD of "Rattle and Hum". Which considering his meh-ness over U2 in the '80's was quite something. He also gave me a CD of "High School Musical II" but that was just to mess with The Child. Who wasn't fooled.

When The Neighbor and I were planning my party we originally thought of doing something very progressive, like having people write a toast or give money to charity or something non-material like that. Then it didn't happen. Which meant people brought presents. And you know what? I don't need a thing but presents are superfantastic. I'd forgotten. Although, I felt a little silly sitting there, surrounded by my friends, opening gift after gift. Really, I did. And such nice gifts too: spa treatments and lotions and soaps and such (Kina, Payson, Jim & Kelly). Jewelry (tiara earrings from The Neighbor and a charm bracelet from Stina and Dave) and pretty boxes to keep jewelry in (Julie and Leroy). Pretty things for the sake of pretty (Bertie & Roger and Lorene & James).

Cheryl and Pat did a clever thing. They gave me a bottle of Carlo Rossi jug wine with a wrapper that said "Lorraine in her 20s" and a fine bottle of white Rhone in a wrapper that said "Lorraine in her 50s", plus a gorgeous glass decanter. And the Cardinal and Mikey gave me land in Scotland. Seriously. I get to register a number and I will be the Lady of Kincavel...owning 1 square foot of Scottish soil which I cannot build on but which may be passed down to subsequent generations. I really hope there is a thistle growing on it.

There were gift cards (Kenny & Tiff) and paintings (Ree & Jerry) and little treats. The Child spent her own money to buy me very pretty kitchen towels. We were all done and I was thanking everyone as sweetly as I could for their kind and thoughtful gifts when The Spouse said, "There's one more" and handed me a small brown box.

In the small brown box was a pretty little china box, painted with roses. I cooed over it

"Oh, honey"...
He said, "Open it".
So I did....
And then I cried a little bit...
because he'd given me a beautiful sapphire pendant set with diamonds. And this picture doesn't do it a lick of justice but it is lovely as can be. That Spouse of mine, I'm telling you...when he decides to go for the grand gesture you are best served standing out of his way.
I also want to thank all of you for your kind was like you were there partying with us.
I'm blessed. Shallow, but blessed.

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*cough*cough *hack*hack*

Oh, dear.

I know you are waiting to hear all the details of the weekend and I want to tell you, I really do.

But I'm still sick. I'm at the stage where I sound worse than I am, although when I'm coughing it sounds like Nicole Kidman in "Moulin Rouge" and I half expect to see the tell-tale red blooms on my hankie while James Broadbent tells me I'm dying.

I have found some red medicine that seems to help quite nicely without making me loopy, which is something I'm very much opposed to -.being made loopy, that is. And I got a very good rest last night. If I can just take it easy today and maybe tomorrow, I'll be right as rain.

I am a little sad, I can tell you that. We had a great time with JP and I don't particularly want to take him to the airport today. I think he should live here. All weekend it rather felt like he did, and not just because he was sleeping in our house. I mean that he liked Seattle and he liked our friends and it felt like he belongs here.

I introduced him with much fanfare, making a huge point of him being the JP for those who read our blogs and also of the fact that he'd come all the way from Omaha to celebrate my birthday. People were suitably impressed.

Later JP asked me why I wasn't fussing about the fact that Payson came all the way from Texas for the same purpose. Of course I loved that Payson traveled up here for my birthday. But he's a jet setter. He travels all the time, for work and leisure.

JP, on the other hand is famous for not travelling. But he did for me. He got on a plane and left the comfort of his home to sleep in my child's purple room with the Zac Efron posters and endured all the late night/early morning bathroom noises (because one of her walls contains all the plumbing- it can be a little like sleeping next to a waterfall). He did all this with good and decidedly unbitter humor because he likes me. He really likes me. And he even says that he'll do it again.

Point is, it's a really big deal that he came out here. Really big. And I'm honored. But now I'm sad because it was so nice to have him here and I don't want him to go even though I know that we'll talk on the phone practically every day once he gets back to Omaha, just like we always do.

Here's the thing I've learned about meeting blog buddies. It doesn't fundamentally change the friendship you began in the ethers. Usually, it just confirms it. But once someone becomes "real" then you can miss them when they aren't around. I'm so going to miss my Poodle.

I promise to tell you all about the party as soon as it doesn't hurt to breathe or the red medicine kicks in, whichever comes first.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

JP Est Arrivé

First, the bad news. The Hat isn't coming to my party. She is very, very sick. She is very, very sad. So are we. She will be missed.

(moment of silence)

'K, so having a pretty great time so far, despite the fact that I have a cold which is threatening to turn nasty that caused me, among other things, to sneeze all over the dessert cart last night at dinner. Classy, huh?

JP is here and it is as I thought it would be: it feels totally and completely as if we see each other every day.

I got to the airport about 10 minutes before his flight was to arrive. Got some coffee and stood by the escalators, waiting and watching. Then I decided I'd better 86 the coffee because I knew once I saw him there'd be big hugs and didn't want to scald him the first day in town. I watched and waited and kept thinking my phone was ringing, because he said he'd call me the second the plane hit the tarmac and every time I saw a pair of jean beclad legs on the down escalator I'd think it was him. Until it proved to be some old guy or some young chickypoo. There were people coming up the escalator as well and I'd scan them from time to time. And still no JP.

Then this guy came up behind me and said, "Whatcha lookin' for?"

"A guy".

"Really? What's he look like?"

"He's pretty cute, kinda looks like Bono".

"Oh. Sorry, can't help you there," he replied.

And then the hugs and the squeezes and the kisses and some more hugs just 'cause.

There's more to tell but JP and The Spouse just left for a bit to "run an errand" and The Spouse figured this would be as good a time as any to show JP the nickel tour of downtown. I am therefore going to use this lull to take a nap and see if this contagion can't be held at bay just a little longer. Because even though I will miss The Hat terribly, I am planning on having some serious wang chung fun tonight.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Who Had 16 in the Pool?

Today is such an important day.

16 years ago The Spouse and I were married, by full Catholic rites in a beautiful cathedral on a sun drenched autumnal afternoon. And then we ate cold cuts and apple pie and danced to rock and roll music until the wee hours of the next morning.

I don't know if I've told you the story but The Spouse and I hadn't been dating all that long when we became engaged. It had been so brief a courtship, in fact, that most of my friends hadn't even met him yet. And visa versa. Consequently, we have always suspected that there was a bit of betting going on at our reception. Surely such a whirlwind thing couldn't last.

I'm thinking that we beat all the odds within the first 6 months of our marriage but maybe someone out there had faith that we had what it took.

And here we are and he still makes me laugh and I still love him and he's even cuter now than he was when I married him and I mean, seriously, what are the odds of that happening?
It's been a blissful 16 years, except for the bits that have sucked but you know what? That's what marriage is: working through the suckage so you can get back to the bliss. Sometimes we feel more like room-mates then lovers and then in one instant I'm looking at him and it all changes again. He's my friend, my lover, my supporter, my hero, the father of my child and the best decision I ever made.

Happy anniversary, Pookie.

Once upon a time, I think it was in January, JP and I were talking about the friendship we have developed since meeting in Blogtopia, about how it was a real friendship even though we'd never met, about how we tell each other stuff that we don't necessarily tell other people, like that. And he said something like, "You are one of my best friends and that's true even if we never meet, even though I hope we will".

Well, he's one of my best friends, too, and now we really are going to meet. Having been through this virtual-buddy-to-real-person thing a few times now, I know what to expect. There will be one requisite moment of panic, probably somewhere along the time when I'm scrubbing the bathtub and hoping that he finds it clean enough, when I'll wonder if he'll be disappointed when he meets me. (Oddly, it won't ever occur to me that he might disappoint me. Then the panic will subside into a "I'm sure it'll be fine" sort of feeling and then, a few hours later, I'll be at the airport, and just like when I was going to meet Buck for the first time I'll start getting all butterfly-y and giggly and then I'll see him and give him a giant hug and from then on it will be just like all our emails and phone conversations over the past nearly 2 years only better because he'll actually be here.

JP is going to be in my house. MY house, people. The word "superfantastic" springs to mind.

One amusing story and then I gotta run. Last night at dinner we were discussing various game plans for the weekend and The Spouse said something about taking JP with him downtown to "run an errand" so he could show him the city a little bit and I was all, "Well, you can't have him for that long because we have videos to play and hanging out to do and stuff and I'll be really mad if you take him off for hours and hours so I can't be with him" and The Child got all pouty and even starting crying about how we were going to get more time with Uncle JP than she was and how it wasn't fair and blah blah blah.

"You'll see him right after school and you're going to dinner with us tonight. He's going to be in our house, for crying out loud. You'll get plenty of time with him".

"Well, it's still not fair. He's MY uncle, after all".

Right. So an hour or so later The Boyfriend calls to invite her to a concert. Tonight. I hear her say she can't because her uncle is going to be in town. Then she looks at me, sorta plaintively and I said, "If you'd rather go to the concert than out to dinner with us you may".

She's going to the concert.

She still loves Uncle JP. Just not as much as she loves the idea of going to a concert with The Boyfriend. Just saying.


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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Today Has Not Begun Well

The Spouse is my snooze alarm. About 5 minutes after my alarm brutally rings, he comes to me with a cup of coffee and a goodbye kiss. A most excellent way to begin one's day.

This morning he came in with the kiss and an apology. He'd managed to make coffee without installing the pot. And he had to go to work. Oops. Sorry.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

Sure, there was a pool of coffee on the kitchen floor but I have to mop today anyway. No, the problem was other.

First, there are no coffee beans in the house. No where. Which means that the only coffee available is the emergency pre-ground stuff that was leftover from the Big Blow. Fine. The adage "coffee is coffee" is not one I ascribe to, but a sip or two of hot beverage is still required.

The situation is not optimal but it is times like these that test one's character. I was brave.

Except that something, and heaven only knows what, has rendered the coffee maker mute. It will not light up. The little digital clock face is blank. I unplugged and replugged the machine (because that's the first thing you do in any mechanical misfire). Nothing. I smacked it, gently, but smacked it. Nothing. I swore at it. Still nothing.

Having exhausted my technical repertoire, I boiled some water and made some totally crappy coffee with the emergency* crap.

Fortunately, I do not have time to sit around and worry about this unfortunate turn of events. I have a house guest coming tomorrow and preparations must be made. Including getting some decent coffee into the house.

Yesterday The Child and I went out to harvest grapes. Ah, the vendage. The harvest was not as bountiful as last year but there look to be enough to make jelly and juice. But that's not the important bit. The important bit was that as I was harvesting on one side of the vines and she on the other, I was thinking to myself that this was one of those perfect moments: brisk autumn breeze, the rustle of leaves, the snip of the shears, the scent of the grapes warmed by the sun. It made me recall moments on the farm, harvesting this or that with my grandpa or Dame Judi...little moments so perfectly perfect that they swell and make it seem, in memory as if growing up was always late summer, always harvest. And it made me wonder, as I do from time to time, what moments of her childhood will stick with The Child in that way?

And as I was thinking that The Child sighed and said, "I really love doing this, mama. It's one of my favorite things". She went on to rhapsodize about the glory of grapes, how they need so little effort...just planting and watering and pruning to yield satisfying fruit. She asked if I'd be making a winemaker's cake with some of the grapes and if there would be enough for her favorite juice. She told me that she wants to own a vineyard when she grows up.

I almost cried.

*Note to self: get decent coffee for the emergency rations. What? We're going to compound the stress of a cataclysm by drinking crap? I think not.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


My yord, in all the excitement I totally forgot that this was "Talk Like a Pirate Day". Avast!

Thanks for the reminder, Hat. I must go pillage something.

My pirate name is:

Black Morgan Kidd

Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network


Baby, It's Cold Outside

The weather has definitely turned, with the apple-crisp tang at the back of the breeze that means fall is around the corner. Historically, the days between my anniversary (21) and birthday (23) are the most beautiful of the season...sunny and warm but with brisk, promising air. I'm still holding out hope for some of that Indian summer magic...the party is set to be outdoors, the dinner part at least, but so far this week it has been rather rainy. We'll need a Plan B. (I'm thinking buffet, Nayb). And JP, I'd pack a rain coat if I were you. Just in case.

Tonight The Neighbor and I are making large pots of daube for the party. It's going to be gorgeous food.

The mountain ash tree is wearing its autumnal garb. Isn't it beautiful? It fills me with delight. Almost as much delight as the fact that the Countdown to JP is now at 2 days. Giddiness ensues.

My to do list for today stretches from my elbow to my wrist so I'd best get to it. Happy busyness.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Musical Interlude

If you read JP's blog you already know this. If you don't, then I'm going to tell you. After almost 9 months of playing videos over at "Here's the 80s", we are nearing the finish line. We've played over 3,000 music videos, across the spectrum of stylings. We've played the classics, we've discovered some new-to-us bands, dug deeper into ones we knew about but didn't really follow at the time (that would be The Cure and The Smiths for me, to name just 2). It's been a great run but we're running out of tunes.

I challenge you to find another website anywhere on the interwebs that has the scope of ours (not to mention one that a) looks as hot or 2) contains the level of brilliantly witty writing). It really is a superfantastic little time capsule from the Decade of Excess and we're darned proud of it. But it's getting to be time to move on. So we decided to cap off our experiment by playing our Top 100 videos. And when I say "we" I mean he's playing his and I'm playing mine. And when I say "Top 100" I mean our personal favorites. There are a scant handful of songs that will appear on both our lists but otherwise, these are the songs that mean "the eighties" to us. We started the countdown last night: the plan is to finish off with our top 20 or so when we're both in the same city, fighting over my laptop. (Which, btw, is something I am very much looking forward to doing). So over the next few days there is going to be some terrific music pushing it's way back up to the top of the blog. You owe it to yourself to check it out. JP made nifty banners for it and everything. It's hot.

The Child's class has been charged with each writing to 3 celebrities to invite them to come speak at the school. I think it's more an exercise in writing proper business type letters than anything but The Child is, of course, already fantasizing about what it will be like when all 3 of her people accept the invitation. She's going to be writing to Miley Cyrus (Billy Ray's kid, who is now a pop star in her own right. She plays Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel. There. Now you're in the know). She's also going to write to Bob Dylan and Bono. I'm so proud.

Last night she was asking me questions about Bono. She's heard of him, heard us talk about him, but she wanted to know more. "I don't even know what he looks like," she said. I realized there was a gap in her education. I her to tthe club and told her to click on "New Year's Day".

"Oh!" she exclaimed. "He is soooo cute!"


Then she listened to the song. "OH! I love this song!" And she began singing along.

My work here is done.

"New Year's Day" U2

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Monday, September 17, 2007

An Update

Project Restoration is moving apace.

I have collected 30 cents in "tips" so far. And 10 pence.

I ascribe to the policy that if I find money on the floor (or buried in the couch or in the laundry, etc) I get to keep it. If I find it in your wallet, well, that's another story.


Filmed Entirely on Location

I keep finding gaffer's tape everywhere!
The recycling bin is nearly full and it was just picked up on Thursday. (Movie crews go through A LOT of bottled water).
I sure hope all the cobwebs in the living room don't show up on film.
Someone left their makeup bag.
I have to find a place to hide the box of Tootsie Pops.
Somewhere between right now and 4:08pm Friday I have to mop.

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All the News that Fits

Cowbell was lamenting the lack of media coverage for this weekend's march on Washington to protest the Iraq war. I found some stuff but it should be noted that it was only 2 pages worth of Google items. (2 pages? Google "britney spears panties" and you get dozens and dozens and dozens).

It looks like a lot of the reporting was on the day of the event and was buried in the "Washington" section of major papers.

One thing I always do enjoy about coverage of protests is the varying numbers. The reports had crowds described as "several thousands" to "100,000". Likewise, the number of people arrested (and why) and the number of people pepper sprayed also vary...although the average consensus on arrests seems to be about 190. I myself have participated in a number of rallies and marches over the years and I can tell you that the mainstream press NEVER give an accurate picture of numbers. NEVER. My standard rule of thumb is to add at least 500 to every 1000 the press claims were in attendance. Just saying.

Anyway, there are some interesting reports so if you are interested you can start
with this from ABC News and move on to the Washington Post, a story out of Australia,
the LA Times, al-Jazeera, the Associated Press, the Washington Times, and The New York Times.

Or just read Cowbell. Her daughter was there. She should know.


That's a Wrap, People!

We're done shooting the movie, which is hardly to suggest that it is finished. Any amount of scoring and editing lie ahead, but that's not my lookout. All I have to worry about is how many of my scenes land on the cutting room floor. Well, that and return my house to some semblance of normal. The crew did a good job of generally returning large things their proper places. But there are still any number of half-full water bottles to recover from the set the living room, piles of "wardrobe" to be returned to the closet and I want to take my duster to all the cobwebs I noticed during the "poor pitiful me" scene.

Here's a picture of The Hat and The Child, between takes.

It was so good to see The Hat, even though most of our interaction came from shooting each other smiley looks and sharing an aside between takes. On Saturday night we wrapped at 11pm (We had some night exteriors to shoot...none of that "day for night" nonesense for Herr Director) and then The Hat and I stayed up until 1:30am, talking. I love her.

Yesterday The Spouse woke me at 8am. We had to scramble because call time was 9 am. And this crew of ours, which I will remind you is NOT getting paid and doing this all for love, are extremely professional. If call was 9am, people would be arriving by 8:55.

I hoped up, greeted The Hat, made coffee and realized that I had my two biggest speeches left to shoot. Guess what? I couldn't remember either of them. At all.

The Hat ran lines with me when I got a chance. She was very nice. She tried very hard not to laugh at how often I stared off blankly and then asked, "Line?" She told me to do the Chicken Dance. It worked, shaking loose the lines just in time for me to actually deliver them on camera.

These 4 days of shooting have been exhausting. By yesterday morning I was beginning to feel ready to be done with all this, have a normal weekend around the casa and all that. But I confess that when I heard "This is the martini shot, people!" I got a little varkelmpt. When the Director shouted, "That's a wrap, people" and everyone started applauding, there were tears. Tears I could have used in the "poor pitiful me" scene, but tears nonetheless.

Then we all ate lasagne. I'm going to miss craft services.

Once the house was restored, sorta, to rights and the last strips on the script board were ceremoniously turned by our superfantastic AD, once idiot checks were done to be sure no bits of equipment lingered where they ought not and once everyone was properly hugged and thanked and sent on their way, I lay down to nap. For 3 hours. Then we watched dailies. Then I went to bed.

Get your fancy schmanzy clothes in order. I'll let you know when we're having the premiere.

Now I get to focus on this coming weekend's celebrations and the arrival of JP. I. Can't. Wait.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday Stuff

The Child didn't win the election. She's OK with it. We all know that the best person for the job doesn't always win.

I have to pick up the house. Which is funny because in a couple hours it's going to be torn up by the crew to set the scene for the movie. Oh well.

The Spouse is still coughing and sniffling. Then this morning he woke up in absolute agony because all his lying around yesterday resulted in a bad back. I massaged it, put muscle rub all over him (mmm...minty fresh) and gave him an ibuprofen. An hour later he came out and did a little dance to show that he was feeling better. Funny boy.

I get to see the Hat in a few hours. Yay!

I also have to go pull together my wardrobe for today. We're shooting some fantasy sequences that are going to require wardrobe changes. I have to make sure that what I have in mind doesn't make me look like a pregnant pumpkin. The camera really does add 20 pounds, btw. I hate the camera.

Last night The Child and I were watching the original "Love Bug". I had such a crush on Dean Jones when I was a kid. Lord, he was yummy. Anyway, despite my interest in the movie I started to fall asleep (it's been a long week). Suddenly The Spouse came in and said, "Honey, the Rabbi is here". I had totally forgotten that I had promised the Rabbi's Wife that I'd come turn off her oven at 8:30. I was barefoot and in my jammies. I threw on a coat and walked over to their house with the Rabbi and their daughter, chatting about the movie and apologizing. The Rabbi's Wife was laughing when I got there and it got worse because I was wearing my glasses and when I'm wearing them, I can't really see to read (usually wear contacts and have reading glasses, dontcha know). I had to take off my glasses and stick my face right up to her ovens to find the right buttons. It was hysterically ridiculous. Once everything was shut down I gave her a big hug and said, "The goyim come through again!" They all cracked up. Nothing gets a Jewish person laughing faster than goyim calling themselves goyim. Oy vey.

Two hours til call time. Best get on with it.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

I Need A Nap

The Spouse stayed home sick yesterday. He has to rest up for the last big weekend of shooting. The Child and I have been keeping our distance from him, what with our having to be in front of the camera. I think the Script Supervisor would have some continuity issues if she and I were ailing.

I had a lovely dinner out last night with a college room-mate. I only got miffed once (a miffing which I did not display to her but which was certainly felt in my heart). She gave me one of "those" cards. I do not feel "old", I do not look "old" (except on camera), I do NOT like cards that make over-the-hill "jokes". She wrote a very lovely message in the card, which I will, I think, cut out and clue into my journal, because it spoke of long friendships and the richness she wished for me in my "next 50". But the offending ephemera itself will be recycled. None of that negativity around me, puppies! I did not remain miffed for long, however, as she gave me a beautiful silver necklace with a circle pendent covered in sparkly sparklies. See?

I can be bought.

In other news, I'm just exhausted. This week has been too busy and too emotional and now I have 2 long days of shooting ahead of me. I am so going to take a nap as soon as I'm done posting. I cannot be a wreck tomorrow.

Oh, and we've been waiting all week for the election returns. Apparently there was a four-way tie so there had to be a recount or something very Florida 2000, only without the chicanery. We should know today. I'm sure it will be on CNN.

Finally, and this is sorta big, today I went live with the website for my business. My business card is getting out there in the world and it was time to stop tweaking and just go. There's one section that isn't as complete as I'd like it to be but that should be fixed by the first part of next week, if not sooner. So no sweat. Anyway, if you wanna, you can go look at it:

If you really wanna, you could go hit it a bunch of times so it moves up the Google food chain.

While you are there, please take a few moments to stop and admire how truly beautiful it is. That would owe to my darling Hat, who has the ability to read my mind. It has ever been a frustration of mine that I can totally picture in my head how something should look but have never had any skill whatsoever for drawing and such. The Hat, however, can see what I want and make it happen. She did it for the artwork over at Here's the Dish and she did it again for Sorted Home. Seriously, I told her what I wanted, she had something back to me within seconds and the artwork itself endured, I believe, exactly one tweaking before I pronounced it to be exactly what I wanted. And then, as if free graphic art design wasn't enough, she told me she was ordering the first printing of my business cards as an early birthday present. Then she totally helped me design the website, which I think is superfantastic.

Hat has done nothing but encourage, cheerlead and generally act as the wind beneath my wings from the second I told her my idea and even though I've told her and even though I'm raving about her to you right now, she will never know how much all this has meant to me.

Now I want to send a shout out to all of you ('cause I love ya) but especially to Anne, Seattle Coffee Girl, Nicole, Gina, and City Mouse.

"For why?" they all chorus in their dulcet tones. "Whatever did we do?"

You were the ones who, by virtue of your comments on this post, made me think that I could turn something I very much enjoy doing into something for which others might pay me. I owe you all one hour of organzining services. Or a pizza. Or, you know, a martini or something.

Having fulfilled my quota of links per post, I am now going to go have a nice lie-down.

Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Going Places

All the stuff that was bumming me out yesterday? All fixed. It's 'cause I have a very effective strategy for those sorts of situations:

1) Stew about it. Get really pissy.

2) Start borrowing trouble...running through the possible scenarios and coming up with withering retorts, icy looks and assorted other "you and this situation are so beneath me" responses.

3) Vent spleen on someone who totally gets it.

4) Get quiet somewhere, offer it up, put a smile on my face and move forward.

A very mature person would just skip straight to #4, what with quiet, collection of thoughts and prayer being far more effective strategies for any of life's little complications. But I am, apparently, not that mature. (I really need to confirm that the date on my birth certificate is accurate). Regardless. I worked my system and lo and behold, everything worked out.

The Board had to do a presentation last night which, quite simply, rocked. Everyone was spectacular: clear, concise, poignant and yes, in some ways, pre-emptive. Ha!

Then there was a little meeting after all the back-to-school hooha about the DC fundraising (as it will herewith be known). One of the leaders pulled me aside before the meeting to tell me that a) they had taken my advice on a point of particular thorniness and 2) clarified how we are structuring things going forward...a plan which, btw, takes in to rather abundant consideration input I gave last week. It became manifest that the "core group" considers me to be a part of the "core group". Not that I really need anything more to do right now but considering the insularity of the people involved and the fact that I was pretty sure I'd thoroughly ticked them off with aforementioned input, it was pretty groovy. It also confirmed that speaking your mind is actually not always a bad thing.

Would you like to know another little system I have that's really effective? Sure you would. It regards travel. For all that I am a plan-y plan-y, organized, list making, occasionally trouble borrowing sort of person, my general travel strategy is very much not in that vein. It goes like this:

Let's use, as an example, the trip The Spouse and I hope to take next summer. The plan is to send The Child to France to hang with Nicole, right? Well, given what I can only assume will be the fantastic success of my new business, The Spouse and I would accompany her, deposit her in Laval and then go off for a week or two on our own. We never had a real honeymoon; it might be kinda nice. Paris would be a factor.

Paris is, I've heard tell, a big city with tons and tons and tons to see and do. One could be there for months and not see it all, let alone give it due in a few days. But I don't travel to do and see everything. I like to invite experiences, finding a way to discover a sense of the heart of a place. You don't always find that by hitting all the major tourist attractions.

I already have my plan for Paris:

1) See the Eiffel Tower. Just see it. I don't have to go up in it or touch it. Just get a good long gander at it from the ground and not merely a high speed train.

2) See the Mona Lisa.

3) Drink Pernod in a cafe.

4) Go to one of those places where you can buy old silverware by the pound and get 12 place settings of same.

5) Light a candle in Notre Dame.

That's all. Eating is assumed. Seeing other artwork on my way to the Mona Lisa would be well, unavoidable. But there would be no big pressure to tour the Louvre, no spending hours on a tour bus. It's the sort of plan that invites all sorts of interesting, meaningful and unexpected things to seep through the interstices of our time there and also assures that there won't be any big let-down afterwards because we didn't "do it all".

I know this works. The strategy has been applied with great success in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and London.

Oh, London.

Dig this. We were there for 1 1/2 days. Hardly time enough, you say. Strictly speaking, no. But we knew it was going to be that brief so we had very low expectations. The Spouse wanted to see Buckingham Palace. I wanted to see (just see, didn't have to go in) Westminster Abbey. Oh, and buy something at Harrod's. As it turned out, the flat where we stayed was in Kensington/Hyde Park; pretty much central London. There was so much history and architecture right in our own borrowed 'hood that I was blissed out. And we were able to, via a very convenient double decker tour bus that stopped right 'round the corner, see what was on our list and then some.

But as is the way of these things, the memories we made in London weren't about our list. It was The Child discovering the joys of currant buns. Asking directions of a bobby. Poking around Westminster Cathedral after a Mass. The Child instinctively going down on her little four year old knees to pray in one of the side chapels and realizing as I joined her that we were in the chapel dedicated to St. Patrick and the saints of Ireland; our people. Crossing the Thames and having a gestalt kinda moment during which The Spouse said, "Pookie" to get my attention so he could snap a photo. (Later I told him how perfect it was that he caught me in "a moment" and he said, "Yeah, I figured it was a pretty big deal for you"). Point is, the fewer the expectations, the more room for surprises.

Having low expectations is generally not considered a good thing. When it comes to travel, though, I highly recommend it.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Add Your Own Soundtrack

I am feeling really overwhelmed right now.

So far this week I've spent the majority of my time doing things that have been important and necessary but not always actually things I've wanted to do. Like school meetings and research. I'm getting way behind on household stuff and website stuff and there are grapes that need to be harvested but there's no sense in doing that until I have time to turn them into jelly and uh, yeah, a quick check of the calendar says that ain't going to be any time soon.

Plus, I'm sick of fundraising and school has just started.

We always have to do fundraising. There's about a $2500 gap between what we pay in tuition and what it actually costs to educate a student. Which means each family has a modest fundraising obligation over the course of the year. The first fundraiser, which The Child won't even be participating in, is this weekend. But she's still fundraising for it and so far has received nearly half of what we need to honor our obligation. She so rocks.

But on top of that, there's fundraising for the 8th grade trip to DC. And the people in leadership on this are starting to really get on my nerves, for a variety of incredibly valid reasons that I won't bore you with. Except to say that I'm this close to telling them that I'll get her to DC one way or the other and they can leave me the frak alone for the rest of the year.

I could rant about something else related to school but I won't. Because it's boring. It amounts to sideline thumb twiddlers complaining about things in which they are unwilling to personally invest. Know what I say to that? Shut the frak up.

But it does kinda make a person ask the question, "Why am I bothering with this?"

Oh right. Because I love my child and I love her school.

On a brighter note, I got to see my baby yesterday. Let's all ooh and ahh at him, shall we?

And my niece Molly, who cracks me up daily, posted this video of her dancing. It was shot before (or after, I forget) a play she was in. Someone put on a song she loves and she started goofing. It makes me laugh. Even without sound.

Now I'm going to grab my timer and see if I can't accomplish something useful.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam

I know people who knew people. A family on one of the planes, a restaurant worker in the one of the towers, a cousin at the Pentagon.

I haven't read any of the novels that have been written about that day. I didn't even buy Springsteen's "The Rising" but burned a copy of a friend's. Which is messed up in one place so we hardly ever listen to it.

I don't have the Lego tower anymore, the one The Child built one afternoon and brought to me.

"Do you know what this is?" she asked. She was only 7.

"It looks like one of the towers".

"It is," she said, brightly. "But see? I made a diving board. And down here is a big swimming pool. That way if something ever happens, like, oh, say, a fire or something, the people could just jump away and be safe".

She didn't see any television that day. I wouldn't let her watch. I didn't want her to see the smoke and panic and tears. She was picking up enough of that from us. Because as much as we understood that the point of terrorism is to stop you in your tracks, make you afraid to live life normally, at least on that day, they succeeded. I was good and afraid. Trying to be a big strong mommy was the only thing that kept me going. I still had tiny tremors in my hands in the late afternoon, as I sat blithely waiting for The Child to finish with dance class. It was the one day, in all those years of dance classes, that the moms, who usually just sat in their own little worlds reading magazines or tending smaller sibs, actually talked to each other.

I wasn't going to write about this today but I woke up remembering, woke up to my alarm instead of to the ring of the phone and ChouChou's terse voice saying, "Turn on your TV". That day the phone woke me from a dream wherein the Mariners, in that glorious 2001 season of 118 wins, were simply given the league championship because everyone was tired of losing to them. And then I turned on the TV and understood for the first time what it really meant to feel anguish.

I wasn't going to write about this because it's too easy to veer off into rants about our reckless government, about the thousands upon thousands who have since died in the Middle East for nothing, about generals advising we stay the course in the face of certain defeat. And I don't want to do that. And I won't. Because whatever else this anniversary has come to represent, today it is about remembering. I remember the stunning cloudless September morning, a cloudless morning that stretched from coast to coast. I remember the silent skies. It was so quiet that day that all you heard outside was birdsong. I remember that we ate take-away pizza with the cadre of family and friends who had gathered, searching for the comfort of community in the midst of such a randomly horrible day, I remember that suddenly, out of the silence, there was the roar of jets and I looked up in panic.

"Those are ours," Jim said, very softly.

Then suddenly on top of all my shattered, oogey emotions and untamed thoughts was added the notion of living in a city, on a day, when the military had to fly cover.

I suppose remembering is a pretty human characteristic and today I can't help but remember. I guess I thought writing a blog post about remembering was kinda lame and maybe even corny. Except everyone else in America is remembering today, and not just because of the memorials and moments of silence, but because this anniversary, this date, is burned on us forever.

In the end though, I decided to write for Sandra, Francie and John because I know they woke up remembering, too; remembering the ones they lost. They join thousands of others who lost loved ones, who will wake remembering and probably incredulous that it's been 6 years already. Because however much any of us have "moved on", September 11 isn't just a date. It was an event. And it seems like it was just yesterday.


Monday, September 10, 2007

What I Really Want to Do is Direct


I learned something very important this weekend: movie making is not glamorous.

It is hours of waiting around for 2 minutes of action. Which you then have to repeat over and over. It is hitting your mark, opening a quarter turn to the camera, being cued and then having to wait because yet another jet is flying overhead. It is being in makeup at 9am with your first on-camera lines coming at 2:30pm. It is getting yourself all worked up so you can cry on camera and just when you get actual tears realizing that the crew is still fussing with the camera angle. It's remembering to have the sound guy take off your wireless so you can have some privacy in the bathroom. It is putting in an 8 hour day for what will amount to 5 minutes of final film and being so tired that your bones ache, even when you are sleeping.

Yup. Glam.Our.

On the plus side, the people working on this project are all really nice, really funny folks. And they are all total professionals, even though none of them is getting paid. It is very cool to see Iwanski and The Spouse's words coming to life. Things that seemed rather simple on the page became much more interesting in reality. It's fun to learn a new language:

"Kill the baby!" (Nothing to do with child abuse and everything to do with lighting).

"This is the martini shot!" (Last shot of the day - we get this right and we can all have beer).

And there's the litany for each shot:

"Sound ready".
" rolling".

Another thing I learned about movie making is that it is a big plus to work with a good director. And I can honestly say, even though I am sleeping with him, that our director is a dream. The Spouse has a decided vision of what this film is supposed to look like and he communicates that clearly to both cast and crew. Additionally, he's a consummate professional. I have never, of course, really seen him in action movie-wise and when I did he was working as an electrician. In all his years of movie-making, he's learned a lot about direction and it shows. He's getting the performances he wants, he trusts his crew and he's on the mark with his shooting schedule. I was very apprehensive about working with him in this capacity but I needn't have been. He is A.Maz.Ing.

Not to mention, he was brilliant with The Child. I was bored out of my skull most of the time but at least I know how to cope with boredom. The Child, especially the first day, was twitchy and goofy and I, for one (though I don't think I was alone in this) frequently recalled the old Hollywood adage, "Never work with animals or children". But The Spouse managed to pull the performance he wanted from her and was able to control her in a very professional manner. It wasn't daddy yelling at the kid, it was the Director, working calmly with giddy teen talent. He did his job and she did hers. And yesterday she was far more composed and far less annoying.

It's been quite an experience so far. I'm looking forward to next weekend's shoot. I also know that I am so not giving up my day job.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

All Politics is Local

The Child has decided to run for class vice president. There she goes again with that whole gumption thing. And of course, my first thought (note: thought, not word) was "Oh, geez, don't do that. What if you don't win?" (That would be the primal-mother-bear-voice talking). What I said was, "Good luck, honey!"

After dinner she asked if I'd help her write her speech.

"Not tonight, we can work on it tomorrow if you want".

That wasn't good enough, what with her whole "dog with a bone" thing. She wrote her own speech.

I sent her to bed.

She stayed up way past her bedtime practising her speech. Which I considered to be something of a waste of time because there would, no doubt, be significant changes to the text before it was ready for delivery. (That was my William-Shawn-with-a-mechanical-pencil voice).

This morning she asked me to listen to her efforts:

Hello, fellow classmates. I am here because I would like to be our class Vice President.
This is our last year together before we go our separate ways to high school. I believe we should have a fun time together.
Sure, I'm no Joe 4.0, but if I set my mind to something I can get it done. I promise that with me as the Vice President of our class, I will get our class on more field trips than last year*. We should remember our last year together. We don't have to all become best friends and go out from St. G hand in hand. But our 8th grade year should be one to remember.
I promise I will do whatever it takes to get our class to DC and make it an unforgettable experience.
When you are voting, please consider the issues and who has the passion and commitment for this position.
Thank you.

Isn't that a perfectly fine speech? (That's the beaming-with-pride mom voice). You know what I contributed? A little switching of word order and the deletion of 2 passive words.

She really is moving toward that place, both heart-wrenching and desired, where she just doesn't need me as much any more. Except that she still can't drive anywhere. Ha!

*Valid promise, btw, as the 8th grade teacher believes that planning field trips should be the province of the students...if they want it bad enough to do the legwork, they can have it.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

This Post is Even More Amusing for Reasons that Will Be Obvious If You Go Read Iwanski's Comment on "Games"

OK, here's the thing. I started writing the post that appears underneath here 2 days ago but didn't publish it today. Then I wondered and wondered why no one, I mean No. One. left a comment. So I wrote a post complaining about how Blogger had eaten my post. Then Gina commented. On the post I thought Blogger ate. How in the world?

This was the point at which I remembered that being able to save drafts of posts is all very lovely but if one wants them at the top of the blog, one must change the time stamp. Which I obviously didn't do. Until I had ranted about the boogeriness of Blooger. So, feeling ever so sheepish, I changed the time stamp on the original and then quickly deleted the rant about blogivorous Blogger.

Ah! But I wasn't quick enough. No. Before it disappeared from the ethers it was read and commented on by Mr. Iwanski. Which would have been no big deal if he'd just said something like, "Dude, totally". But he didn't. He wrote a poem. And so, because I get email when someone posts a comment, the verse was saved from eternal deletion. And so, I give you, Mr. Iwanski's ode to Blogger. 'K, not an ode, a limerick. Still. Poetry.

Oh, I hate blogger when it eats my posts.
That's precisely when I hate it about the most.
You type and pour your words.
Blogger flushes them like turds.
Your blog entry just becomes a verbal ghost.

(Now go read the comments. See? Even Iwanski knew how important it was for his verse to be shared with all).