Of Cancer and Gift Baskets (Or Smiles and Tears)

Friday my monster had surgery.

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His post-op lampshade situation was short-lived, however.

He figured out how to remove it because he is a canine criminal mastermind — even when he’s high on morphine.

I am supposed to find out this week if his cancer spread and if we’re facing the beginning of a battle — or the end. I try to put it out of my head as much as I can because I don’t want to waste time worrying until I know it’s necessary, but prognosis aside, his three big incisions break my heart. I almost cried when I saw them.

Full confession: I love my dog more than I love most people, so this isn’t easy. Maybe that makes me a misanthrope, or maybe he’s just a very special beast. Either way, I have been loathe to leave my house since bringing him home from the vet. I’ve turned down dinner invitations, hiking offers, and I bailed on book club. I just want to be home so I can watch him sleep.

Here he is crushing Cee Cee the Cancer Lion during a recent nap.

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Die Cancer Lion! Die!

I bought Cee Cee for him the day his initial needle biopsies came back positive for cancer. I cried so much that night that I woke up the next morning with my right eye nearly swollen shut. I had to ice my eyelids before I went to work. (It wasn’t awesome.)

I did manage to drag myself away from my patient this weekend to make an appearance at a baby shower, albeit, a brief appearance.

I probably spent more time putting together the gift basket than I spent at the shower, but I did what I could.

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I like presents.

That’s why I get carried away making them look pretty for people.

Like this one.

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It was a pre-cancer project.

Presents help me deal — and they help me express things I sometimes fail to communicate properly.

That’s also why I cook for people. It’s my way of saying I care about them even if I’m lousy at saying it sometimes.

Now I’m off to blast some Matoma remixes and make myself a quiche because I need to show myself a little love.

 

 

I Miss College (Or I Sound Like an @$$#%!* Post)

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ll admit that adulthood has been a colossal letdown. No part of my adult life has lived up to the promise/greatness of college.

Sure, it’s nice to have your company pay for your sushi and your room at the Four Seasons, but I miss the days when my only responsibilities involved learning new things and, on occasion, laundry.

If I’m being really honest I rarely did laundry back then….

I usually brought it home to my parents who missed me so much they took care of it without question — even when I was in grad school.

I realize it’s ridiculous I flew 3,000 miles across the country with a suitcase full of dirty clothes, but my parents needed to feel needed. (Or something.)

I had a chef and a cleaning lady in college (thank you Pi Beta Phi), and now I handle most of that business for myself.

It’s a bummer.

Well, actually, I love cooking so I don’t mind THAT part, but the cleaning could definitely disappear and I wouldn’t be devastated.

I DO miss the not learning part of college, though, desperately.

Living in LA, I fear my brain is atrophying at an alarming rate.

I try to read books and listen to NPR regularly, but even that isn’t as awesome as staying up until 3 am writing a paper on postmodernism because I need intellectual masturbation like my dog needs chicken.

Even though I’ve become proficient at laundry, I still miss the safe womb of college. I miss looking at a catalogue of courses filled with possibilities. I miss cramming for finals, and I miss 4 am dill pickle deliveries.

Somewhere in this sad lament I should probably give you a recipe or tell you about the amazing DIY Halloween decorations I found on Pinterest, but I’m not sure I can. The best I can do is show you this…

it’s a picture of my dog.

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He is the only thing that makes adulthood acceptable. 

The truth is: I could have had a dog in college, though, so that brings me right back to… missing college.

 

 

Resurrection Wednesday (Or I’m Back to Blogging)

So, it has been almost a year since my last post. In that time I have finished a feature script, an original television pilot, a sample episode of Jane the Virgin, and at the moment I’m halfway through a second feature, a second pilot, and a bottle of Kim Crawford.

I’ve gained and lost the same five pounds 14 different times by accident, I’ve driven across the country with my enormous dog twice, and I’ve had stitches in my head along with the requisite drugs associated with slightly massive skull contusions.

Oh, and I went to Vegas… with my mother.

I’m not even sure I know where to start with the pictures or the stories, so I’ll start here.

With this:

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Lion sex

Awkward, right?

One of my best friends just got back from Africa and sent me that pic.

(She took it. Obviously.)

I’ve been dying to go on safari for like ever, so I was super jealous — but also happy for her — because her pics were awesome… and my time will come when it’s right.

Right now, my time involves planning a blood drive at my church in July and finishing the feature, the pilot, and the bottle of Kim Crawford.

I’m off to have a planning call now to figure out the blood drive logistics, but before I go, here’s a pic of my bubba on the road.

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What he lacks in navigation skills, he makes up for in handsome.

Later!

LoveYouBye!

Screenwriting From the Road (Or The Incoherent Rambling of a Grateful Gypsy)

I’m ten days into my whirlwind gypsy tour of LA, and I’m finally riding the waves of uncertainty better than I was at the beginning. (Just in case you didn’t read this post, the short version of the story is this: my dog and I left our place for two weeks on less than 24 hours notice.)

Some moments have been a little like the really crazy days in production when acts of God prevent planes from leaving Canada, screwing up virtually every aspect of a tight shooting schedule — those days when despite your best planning, things are so f&#$*% that you and the Executive Producer have to blast Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and dance in his office before taking a deep breath and finding 52 contingency plans based on 15 different possible scenarios.

For example…

At one point last week, I had about four different houses lined up with varying windows of availability, and a tent on “soft hold” just in case. (“Soft Hold” is an annoying production term that basically means, “I MIGHT need you, so sit tight while MY uncertainty inconveniences YOU.” And people wonder why LA is flaky….) I also had to schedule service for my car AND my physical therapy appointments, but I wanted to sort out which sides of the city I would be living on which parts of the week so I could set said appointments based on maximum fuel and time efficiency. #themindofaproducer

In the midst of this madness, I somehow managed to finish my feature screenplay. I finished it, in fact, while staying at a place where I was repeatedly molested in the middle of the night by a cat named Carter.

A side note about Carter…

He actively ignored me all day long — like HID from from me, ignored me — but became my best friend when I was asleep. He woke me up every morning around 2 by crawling into bed with me and repeatedly rubbing himself up against me while I was unconscious.

It was like living with a feline frat boy.

ANYWAY…

I finished my script even though I was exhausted from sleeping with a cat on my face, and after I sent it off to producer friends, I went to Lake Balboa to stare at birds for a few hours because there was nothing left of my brain.

Birds are everything.

Birds are everything.

I could go totally off-topic and tell you why I’m so obsessed with birds, but it would be better if I tried to stay somewhat focused.

(What WAS the point of this post?!? Even I have forgotten.)

Now while I’m waiting for feedback on my feature, I’m tackling my television pilot from my current spot in sunny Santa Monica.

See?

Albus totally pitched story ideas for a minute.

Albus totally pitched story ideas for a minute.

But then he decided TV writing was too hard.

Just let me sleep in peace, lady.

Or maybe he was upset Reagan and Pete didn’t make out on page 6.

Either way, we’re having a peaceful, wonderful time near the beach, and I feel so blessed to have a place to stay with my bubba. We’ve even done 15 loads of laundry for my friend, which saves her oodles of money on cleaning services. (Everybody wins!!!)

I should add that I am also incredibly grateful for the place I stayed last week as well, and as much as I’m joking about Booty Call Carter, my friend was super sweet to hook me up with her keys while she was in Hawaii. And to top it off, she’s taking me out for fancy sushi tonight even though I killed one of her houseplants.

(I am NOT amazing with plant life. Probably because it doesn’t try to snuggle with me in the middle of the night.)

So as I continue on this adventure, I’m repeatedly astounded by the generosity, hospitality, and all around goodness of the people in my life.

I am one grateful girl. ❤

And P.S. My pilot is actually about frat boys, so everything comes full circle….

#writewhatyouknow

Albus and I Hit the Road Again (Or Big Dogs and the Salmon Cooler Taco Adventure)

OK, I’ve been gone for a while because WHOA, there’s been a lot happening.

Last week I was cleaning up after Thursday’s Beef Brisket dinner party and prepping for Friday’s Salmon Taco dinner party when I received a last-minute rental request for my place. The money was too good to turn down, so I accepted the request even though the timing wasn’t amazing considering I had a fridge full of leftovers and whatnot.

I mean, I wasn’t about to leave this salmon situation behind.

I'm selfish like that.

I’m selfish like that.

In addition to the logistical challenge presented by copious leftovers, accepting the request also meant that my dog and I would have to be out of our home within 24 hours and would have to find a place to stay for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.

Um… not exactly easy.

See, if you’ve been following along for a while, you know my dog looks like this:

He doesn't exactly fit in my purse.

He doesn’t really fit in my purse.

I can’t sneak him into places where he’s technically not allowed because he’s enormous, enthusiastic, and just generally about as subtle as a hurricane, so I have to be legit about our arrangements. (Also, being legit is less stressful for my soul and stuff.)

That place? Also needs to be cheaper than my nightly rental rate or our adventure ends up being purely for the sake of anecdotes because it’s a wash financially.

Albus has been a trooper this year while I’ve been on a writing adventure that has virtually upended every aspect of our lives, but I think he may have been starting to lose his shit a little when I was packing us up to hit the road yet again, ‘cuz this happened.

Look Lady, I gave up my venison food so you could save a lousy $7 a month serving me lamb, but you had better bring it with us because lamb is the last straw.

Look, lady, I gave up my venison so you could save a lousy $7 a month serving me lamb, so you had better bring it with us because this tin of lamb is the last straw.

The poor beast. I kissed his head and told him my salmon might have been farm-raised instead of wild-caught. I mean, we’re ALL making sacrifices here.

ANYWAY…

Our first night out of our place, we stayed at the Motel 6 in Thousand Oaks because all Motel 6 locations are dog-friendly and because my first friend’s home would not be available until the following day.

Motel 6 also does not require pet deposits, and they don’t have size, breed, or weight restrictions. (If you’ve ever been on a road trip with a big man-dog, you will know this policy is a rare and wonderful combination.) I picked the Thousand Oaks location because it was close to my next destination in the valley, was still less expensive than my nightly rate to rent my place, and because it was cheaper than the LA locations. Besides, I like getting out of the city for a minute whenever I can.

Also?

It was kind of cute for a Motel 6.

(Like the Santa Barbara locations, it has recently been upgraded.)

How long are we staying here? But more importantly, when do I get some of the leftover salmon tacos you stashed in here?

How long are we staying here? But more importantly, when do I get some of the leftover salmon tacos you stashed in our cooler?

A few nights later, I finally got into the leftover salmon. Somewhere between my first and second salmon cooler taco, I started to question the wisdom of eating fish that had been on the road with me for days. I happened to be texting with my friend and shared my concerns.

His response?

“When in doubt, eat it.”

Since I was pretty much past the point of no return on the tacos, I was glad he helped me rationalize my questionable decision. I figured if I was vomiting the next day at least we’d BOTH be wrong. (I’ll spare you the suspense: I was fine.)

I’ve had many other moments when I’ve questioned myself on more than the tacos this week, but so many amazing people have come through for me in so many ways that I am not sure I will ever be able to properly put that into words.

So anyway…

I might write more about the who, what, when and where of our unfolding adventure or I may just need to hug all of the fabulous people in my life, throw them a massive thank you dinner when this is all over, and never speak of this again. We’ll see.

But for now?

I leave you with this: salmon cooler tacos are awesome, Motel 6 is the cheapest, easiest place to stay with a big ass dog, and I think you should listen to this song because I love it.

Goodbye.

I’m off to finish the script that I had to put on hold during the where-the-eff-are-we-staying-for-two-whole-weeks?!? fire drill that has been the last five days.

Puppy Teepee (Or Ziggy the Fluffy Messiah)

OMIGOSH, it has been SO long since I talked to you about dogs… or decor. So today I’m totally talking about both.

Last weekend I went to see my long lost Gillian. She and I went to USC together and bonded over a mutual love of Twin Peaks when we were wee ones in grad school. We worked in the same office for separate non-profits when we were students, and after graduation we coincidentally worked for two producers who happened to be best friends.

We used to talk every day.

Now she is an incredibly successful producer in her own right, and she travels a lot for work.

We see each other when we can, and even though we don’t talk every day it’s as if no time has passed at all each time we do.

That’s the amazing thing about old friends. ❤

Anyway, she has this darling little dog that I used to babysit when she first adopted him. My mummy met him once, and she loved the little guy so much she referred to him as the fluffy messiah. (My mum doesn’t even like dogs….)

When you see Ziggy you’ll see why she was so taken with him.

Here he is at our Thanksgiving Dinner.

He loves meat pies.

Couldn’t you just die?

His bow tie is beyond.

His bow tie is beyond.

Do you know what else is beyond?

His dog teepee.

Chevron + Puppy Tee Pee = <3

Chevron + Puppy Tee Pee = ❤

Gillian’s interior designer found it on Etsy… and when I saw it this weekend I was like, “I need one for my bubba!”

The only problem?

This is my dog.

He is the size of a teenage boy.

He does not weigh nine pounds like Ziggy.

He is the size of a teenage boy.

His teepee would take up way too much real estate in my little place.

So, we’ll just have to wait on that for now.

If you don’t have a man-sized dog and want to get a puppy teepee, here’s the link to the Etsy store.

Come on, you know you need one….

Friday I’m in Love (Or Three Things I’m Into)

It’s FRIDAY!!!!

And I’m in LOVE. ❤ ❤ ❤

But not in the way you think I mean. I’m in love with my life, and I want to tell you about a few things that are making me happy right now because I’m all about spreading love and happiness. ❤

MY FAVORITE GLUTEN FREE CRACKERS:

They’re the Sea Salt Brown Rice Crackers by Food Should Taste Good, but a better name might be Crack in a Box.

The government should require a warning label for these things.

I mean…

Monica loves them so much, I think she might fight me for them.

Monica loves them so much, she snuggles with the box. 

They used to carry them at Costco, and I got ADDICTED. They stopped stocking them last year, and I nearly had to go to therapy.

I recently found them at the high end market on my street for 6x the price I paid at Costco. I only let myself buy them as a special treat because I’m not trying to be homeless because I’m addicted to amaranth and rice crackers.

Today felt like the right day to splurge, so I bought a box.

You probably should too, but please don’t blame me if you end up living in your car because of your addiction.

WALKING THE DOG WHILE LISTENING TO SCREENWRITING PODCASTS: 

I’m ALL about maximizing efficiency, so I get excited when I can do two things at once. Yesterday, I found a way to do THREE things at once, which was so fabulous it was almost like having an orgasm.

See, I figured out how to work out, tire out my enormous dog, AND solve some script problems all at once.

The solution?

Walking the dog while listening to screenwriting podcasts.

Genius, right?

I decided to make it an extra relaxing time for us, so we even lay in the park for a while as I listened to smart and famey writers talk about writing.

See?

Aren't you glad I showed you my armpit?

Aren’t you glad I showed you my armpit?

Nature + Learning = ❤

Plus a humming bird joined us for a while.

It was awesome.

That's not dirt. It's a bird.

That’s not dirt. It’s a bad photo of a little bird. I promise.

Time with my dog + birds + learning = ❤ ❤ ❤

If you’re into this sort of movie madness, you can check out Scriptnotes here.

And last but not least….

WRITING TO YOUTUBE MIX TAPES:

I started doing it this week, and it’s uh-mazing. Most of the mix tapes run about an hour, so you get uninterrupted beats without having to deal with ads.

True story.

I put one of my favorites below. This one happens to be all Kygo tracks, but I’m not mad about it. It includes remixes of Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.”

Plus Owly, the genius who created it, even lists the tracks on the playlist so you don’t have to interrupt your writing flow to shazaam a song when you like it.

OK, I’m off to implement some of the screenwriting tips from yesterday before going to dinner with my adorable aunt and cousin.

We’re going to listen to country music while eating our favorite burritos.

It’s going to be beyond.

XOXO

❤ ❤ ❤