Monthly Archives

April 2013

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Five Movies I Want to Live In

I cannot wait to see The Great Gatsby. I know some people are worried that it will not live up to the novel (do movies ever?), but I have no doubt it will at least be as good as the Robert Redford flick if not better. I mean, just watch the trailer.

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The cinematography looks so vibrant. It’s one of those movies you just want to crawl inside and walk around. Maybe take a swim in Gatsby’s pool and go on a joy ride in one of the 1920s death traps they called cars.

Are there any movies you want to crawl inside of? I can think of at least four others off the top of my head:

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Amelie — Everything. Just all of it.

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50 First Dates — This movie makes me yearn for Hawaii. It’s light and fluffy and happy. Vacay, anyone?

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The Sound of Music — The hills are alive with the sound of music. That’s all I need to know.

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The Beach — Who doesn’t want to discover their very own beach, free from the outside world? (I’d cut out all the death and insanity in the second half of the film, though, ahem.)

A Week in the Life: 17/52

This post could’ve been done hours ago, but we have a toddler who will not sleep for various reasons, including but not limited to Mama refusing to read yet another story, teething, her room being too warm, and the inability to sleep without pants on. And do not offer her chicken and vegetables to eat, because it is the highest offense and the wailing will cause your ears to bleed.

Where was I? Oh…

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» “Oh no! There he is!” Alexa says about every single airplane in the sky, no matter how tiny to the naked eye. This kid can see! (Why “Oh no! There he is!”? I don’t know, but it’s hilarious, right?)

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» Watching her try something new. She asked for help a few seconds later.

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» Pretty road on the Hill.

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» Bed head.

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» Picnic at the beach.

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» Seashells were out in full force.

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» Little girl was apprehensive for awhile, even with Mama’s super sunglasses.

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» Feather weather.

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» And … she comes out of her shell just in time to build a sand mountain.

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» This week’s catchphrase: Trees are poems. Weak! I’ve seen better.

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» Sometimes you just have to covet your friend’s lunch.

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» Hi.

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» A colleague gave me a good fright with this guy. Then I adopted him, and he now guards my important files while I’m away from my desk. True story.

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» Alexa pointed out this triangle.

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» I wanted to take a picture of the french braids I put in her hair, but she shot off like a bullet.

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» Selling only fresh water (24 hrs a day … unless they are randomly closed) seems like a limited business, no?

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

I could watch that show again.

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Lately my evenings have been booked. If I’m not running to the store to pick up something we’re out of, I’m sifting through mail or reading Alexa her third bedtime story. I’m trying to get into the routine of using my elliptical machine before 10 p.m., but let me tell you, I’m tired.

Do you know what helps with motivation? Some comfort TV shows. Tonight I queued up “30 Rock” on Netflix, and it totally helped me plow my way through my workout. On a side note, this is the first I’ve watched this series. Why I never watched it while it was on the air is beyond me, because it’s simply hilarious.

Also, it is crazy I didn’t think of doing this earlier because I used to work out while watching “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda” on Nick at Nite when I was in high school. The 20-minute running time of a sitcom is perfect, right?

It’s just enough time to relax, feel comfortable and rejuvenate yourself without a huge time or emotional investment.

I am already thinking of what I’ll watch when I get to the end of “30 Rock.”

Seinfeld — Of course! It doesn’t hurt that I have every season on DVD, just waiting to be watched.

Dick Van Dyke/Mary Tyler Moore/Rhoda — The trifecta of awesomeness.

Just Shoot Me — I also have this one on DVD.

Rules of Engagement — OK, so I like everything David Spade is in, I admit it.

3rd Rock From the Sun — I loved this show back in the day; I’m curious whether it holds up.

Fresh Prince of Bel Air — Oh, why not?

Boy Meets World — Because I miss it.

The Brady Bunch — It’s just so happy.

My Name is Earl or The Office — The first few seasons, before they jumped the shark.

The Patty Duke Show — Identical cousins!

Roseanne — I mean, obviously.

Saved by the Bell — It never gets tired.

That ’70s Show — Does it hold up?

Weeds — Until Agrestic burns down.

Will & Grace — Aw, of course.

Dream On — Does anyone else remember this sitcom fondly?

Californication — Because I still haven’t watched past the first season. Should I? I’m leaning toward yes. It’s David Duchovny, after all.

Edited to add: Scrubs — On par with 30 Rock and Seinfeld. Loved every minute of it.

What would show up on your list of comfort TV shows?

A Week in the Life: 16/52

Wow, it seems like all I can manage to post lately are these weekly photos. At least I’m not failing at all of my projects this year! Sixteen weeks in, and I’m really digging gathering my everyday-life photos and thinking back on all the good times over the course of a week.

I do not feel as much pressure as I did last year when I did 365 Days. Some days are just not photo-worthy, and that’s fine. I’m pretty sure I took zero photos on Thursday and Friday this week, and if I had they would’ve been a major snoozefest: me doing a lot of overtime work in Photoshop and InDesign and researching The Canyons, which is a story for a whole different post (but click on that article; it’s an amazing read).

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» Surfing on her wheels. Every time I see her do this it reminds me of Teen Wolf.

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» Here, Daddy, some sugar? (She handed him each sugar packet, then asked for them all back, then did it over again.)

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» These claw machines confound me. Has anyone in the history of the world ever managed to snag what they wanted?

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» This photo doesn’t illustrate it well, but it was a super tight squeeze. L.A. parking spaces, sigh.

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» SPONTANEOUS TRIP TO THE ZOO! We have mixed feelings about the zoo. I always feel sad when we see the small enclosures for some animals, but I do appreciate all the conservation efforts.

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» Alexa fell in love with the petting zoo, taking her grooming comb to all the sleepy goats, who were so oblivious to her delight. One of the goats wanted to eat my cardigan and kept getting a little frisky, so I had to keep it arm’s length.

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» We got in line with the plan to get sensible food. It was a plan, anyway.

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» I wanted to climb atop this elephant, but H and Alexa were hoofin’ it to the next exhibit.

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» I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: giraffes are aliens. (I should note: Alexa was never in harm’s way. This looks like a tiny ledge, but it was rather large and further back from the enclosure than it appears, and H sat her there for a split second so I could snap a shot. And, for the record, we would never ever do this anywhere near a predatory animal.)

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» Even though she did want to climb in with the zebras.

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» Can you blame her? They’re black and white and striped all over.

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» Alpha male staredown. This dude growled at H and kept a close eye on him as we walked past.

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» Sunday morning snuggles.

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» The color was so vivid. I did no post-processing on this.

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» This week’s sign: It’s just art.

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» You can’t see it in this photo, but there’s a rooftop that has the words “HELP US” written on top. So curious about that. Left over from a film shoot?

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» Worst. Advertising. Ever. I can’t even.

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» I don’t know what worries me more: that I was too tired to focus on my feet instead of my bag or that these shoes make me look pigeon-toed.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

Counting

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There we were, four generations on Facetime: me, Alexa and H staring at my dad and my grandmother on the other line. We are trying to coax Alexa into talking. In typical fashion, she has turned her head away from the the phone, shying away at first until she gets used to seeing the new faces.

“Can you count to 10?” I ask.

“One, two, two, two, three, four …”

And she gets distracted and messes around for a little bit, making sure the corresponding fingers are extended for each number. She finished with “ten.” Then, magic.

“Eleven! Twelve! Thirteen! Fourteen! Fifteen! Sixteen! Seventeen! Eighty-ninety-twenty!”

H and I showered her in accolades. This little girl is learning her numbers, and even though we’ve recited them to her a million times, this is the first time we’ve heard them from her lips, each number accentuated with enthusiasm (those exclamation marks are true to life).

Every day I make animal sounds, I sing the alphabet, I help draw letters, I count numbers.

And then I think about counting adult numbers, which is far less satisfying.

I count the teensy bit of time I get to spend with Alexa in the morning before we leave. The amount of time it takes me to get to work. The far-too-many hours I spend at work. The time it takes me to get home every night. The too-few hours that are left for me to pursue my creative outlets. The too-few hours that are left for me to sleep.

I count gas mileage and prices, the cost of living, how quickly the price of milk has skyrocketed.

This is one of the seasons in my life in which I feel more discontent than I should. Here I am, torn between time with my family and time at my job. At odds with my ridiculous commute and, yet, my love for L.A. Still in search of the perfect place to live, yet finding the ideal impossible to come by. Struggling with my writing muse because it comes while I’m driving, and by the time I make it home my brain is fried and I’m too tired to even update this blog, let alone write a novel.

I hesitate to write about this. I always worry how I will come across. Whiny, angry, jaded.

Maybe all of the above.

Don’t get me wrong. I do count my blessings, too. In fact, I often push aside the calculator and focus solely on the simple arithmetic of blessings (exhibit A). But this is reality. I want so desperately to quit doing all this hard math. I want it to come easily. I want to wake up one day, my brain clear and voila! The answer! My magic moment.

“Eleven! Twelve! Thirteen! Fourteen! Fifteen! Sixteen! Seventeen! Eighty-ninety-twenty!”

If Alexa can find the numbers, so can I. Fingers and toes crossed.

A Week in the Life: 15/52

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» Watching the Shockers in the Final Four. Sadly, a heartbreaker. But! We made it to the Final Four!

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» The mess Alexa made while Daddy and I were distracted by the basketball game.

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» Mommy-daughter date to the park and for frozen yogurt. Lots of smiles.

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» No fewer than three children tried to steal our globe bouncy ball. Can’t say I blame ’em.

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» Chocolate, plus toppings picked by Miss Lexa herself: strawberries, grapes, marshmallows.

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» LACMA has the best spots for work breaks.

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» Iced coffee. I finally figured out the perfect, not-too-sweet formula.

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» Peek-a-boo morning fun.

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» Powerball billboards everywhere.

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» “Picture?”

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» Row, row, row your boat. So awesome to see her playing in the laundry basket just like I remember doing when I was a kid.

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» She brings this guy into my bed first thing in the morning and says, “Frog hugs?”

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» I’ve been taking lunch break walks. Here are a few images from one.

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» Springtime colors.

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» A stroll past the Tar Pits.

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» Nothing is certain but … death and taxes.

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» Cuties in the folk art museum window.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 14/52

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» Before & After: Finally, a haircut. I thought I wanted long hair, but I thought wrong.

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» It was a lot of hair.

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» Horses on the Hill. I mostly took this photo for Alexa’s sake.

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» H and I went to the Staples Center to see my alma mater (Wichita State) play in the Elite Eight against Ohio State. We won to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 1965.

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» Shockers cheering section. It got pretty exciting.

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» The Easter bunny stayed up late to boil eggs and, lacking dye, washi-taped the eggs instead. Bonus: It was easier to peel them later, using the tape to unravel the shell.

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» Alexa’s basket of fun.

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» Playing with her magnetic fishing pole puzzle. A big hit. Good job, Easter Bunny!

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» A quick recharge at the blustery beach.

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» Monday lunchtime picnic outside. Such a gorgeous day.

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» Shame on you.

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» The Keymaster.

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» Blank billboard, a rarity in L.A.

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» Doodling.

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» She loves to play cars with her friends at daycare.

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» Wrestling match with Daddy. Alexa wins!

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» The biggest starfruit I’ve ever seen in my life.

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» A midafternoon pick-me-up on Friday at a neighborhood coffee shop. Love the little vases on the wall.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

There’s a Reason They’re Called Unicorns

Let me introduce you to my fresh hell. It’s called My Horse.

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This app, known to Alexa as “Horsie,” seemed innocent enough. Lots of things to learn. How to feed the horse, how to take care of it, performing tasks to earn gold coins. These gold coins can be used to buy new horses or a field in Hawaii. Alexa is pretty obsessed with buying new horses.

They can be pricy, though. Alexa wants unicorns, for example, which are approximately 5,304,349 gold coins. Or something. Basically, you can never accumulate enough gold coins to purchase a unicorn. That’s what makes them unicorns. Because they’re unattainable.

But guess what! For just $4.99 (in real-life money), you can procure thousands of gold coins. Alexa figured this out today, and she bought them. H, sitting nearby, was none the wiser. I, sitting at work, received an email about my “purchase.”

Unicorns for everyone!

Parental locks for Alexa on all devices!

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Listen & Look: Foxygen

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Something about Foxygen reminds me of The Velvet Underground. Like you should be sitting in a dark room with Andy Warhol paintings. There should be a black light. And everyone should be wearing sunglasses and looking as cool as Nico.

And, perhaps, this scenario should be taking place in San Francisco.

What I Learned Weeks 2-3 on the Paleo Diet

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I lasted a little more than half a month before deciding that this diet wasn’t agreeing with me. I am a Whole30 failure. I was a little scared to come on here and admit to it, but you know what? It’s the truth, and I should share what I’ve learned.

Life is too short to go without creamer in my coffee. It’s too short to go without a piece of toast. It’s too short to be constantly tired and pissy. I kept waiting for the fog to lift like all the testimonials said it would. On Day 9 I thought it was. I was thinking, “Oh, I’m starting to feel a little more normal.” Then I woke up feeling like Medusa on Day 10. Let me put this clearly. Eating this way was making me a crazy, snappy, mean person with snakes in her hair. Days went by. Day 15, Day 16. Still Medusa.

H and I lasted about the same amount of time before buckling. He started a few days before I did and finished a few days before I did. He relayed how he felt so much better after allowing himself to eat a biscuit, and I was so jealous. I started to whimper when I thought about eating another chunk of meat. I’m just not a huge meat eater, which is why it was so much easier to go pescatarian than to go grainless.

So I said to hell with it, and I ate all the things!

Not really. We made a pizza, and I ate two pieces.

Then I stopped.

I didn’t make it 30 days going full paleo. But I learned a thing or two about moderation.

Here’s my plan going forward: One or two servings a day of grains/dairy. The majority of my diet will still come from vegetables/fruits/proteins/fats. I’m just no longer interested in denying myself an iced coffee or a sandwich or yogurt.

Life is too short!