Countertops, Sewer Lines, and Spoiled Dogs (Or I’m Remodeling a Bathroom)

I’m baaaack.

Since being unceremoniously awakened by a swift kick from the dog at 5:30 this morning, I’ve sent 42 emails, made 94 phone calls, and now I’m feeling creative…

So here I am.

What I SHOULD be doing is taking down my Christmas decorations, but who wants to do that on a Friday morning?

I realize it is presently the 21st of FEBRUARY (details), but I don’t like taking down twinkly lights. It makes me sad.

At least I unpacked from my last trip to Michigan immediately instead of living out of a suitcase on my bedroom floor for a week.

I deserve a medal… or a present. If I didn’t have to write so many large checks for doggie daycare every time I board a plane, I’d have a closet full of Louis Vuitton luggage by now, but then I wouldn’t have dogs, and dogs are better than monogrammed bags.

DB450AD9-B70A-448B-9B2C-C91D621795E2_1_201_a

Handbags don’t cuddle.

They also don’t fart excessively, but whatever.

I’ve been knee-deep in details for my dad’s bathroom remodel lately. I promise I’ll give you the full before and after pics in March when it’s done.

For now, I’ll show you the countertop I selected. It was actually my THIRD choice, but you don’t want to know what happened with the first two I picked.

6A0B795D-50B2-4929-A466-2F2B3304233E_1_201_a

This is the floor sample.

I didn’t opt for the roughly hewn edge, and I’m going with different fixtures and cabinets, but you get the idea.

I’ve also written so many checks for plumbing updates in the last six months that I almost want to cry. There is absolutely nothing fun about spending somewhere around $17,000 for THINGS YOU CANNOT SEE like new pipes and sewer lines, but toilets need to flush and whatnot.

Plumbing rant aside, the bathroom remodel has been satisfying.

I should probably get back to my script outline… or I should walk the dog who is currently howling pathetically because I’m pecking at my keyboard instead of petting him.

He’s spoiled.

 

I Think I’m Adulting (Or Midweek Day Off)

Today a did a thing — a thing I don’t usually do.

I took the day off.

I got up at 5:45 this morning, and I made a list of everything I have to achieve before I board a plane to Michigan on Saturday.

Looking at the tasks I need to accomplish before I take off for Detroit felt like A LOT.

Picking up dry-cleaning, buying dog food, and getting a haircut could take up a whole day in LA by themselves, but when you add finding a reputable lawyer to establish a revocable trust and other such responsible nonsense… it’s all too much.

And just to be clear, I mean too much logistically, practically, and maybe more importantly: emotionally.

Sure, I’m capable of juggling all of those details with work, and I totally could have suppressed the emotions involved with the tasks facing me like I have so many times before, but this morning as I was roasting Brussels sprouts in bacon fat, I asked myself, “Why? What’s the point of that?”

I realized there isn’t a single task I could accomplish at work that was more important than addressing my own pressing personal needs today.

This is probably some kind of turning point in my evolution as a human or whatever, but I don’t know if I’m ready to give my decision that kind of weight.

That said, I’m grateful to be home to vacuum, research estate planing attorneys three time zones away, and watch my dogs sleep.

IMG_1137.JPG

Well maybe only one of them is sleeping.

Anyway, I’m home adulting on a Wednesday afternoon, but as responsible as I feel?

I also think it’s maybe time for a midday nap.

 

Dog Yoga and Grocery Delivery (Or Things I Do on Sunday)

It’s a rainy Sunday in LA. It’s the perfect day for staying home and making a big mess of bacon-wrapped food.

The sky is a deep gray, both of my Boxers are asleep, and I’m listening to country music while waiting for my grocery delivery.

I realize the confluence of country music and an urban indulgence like grocery delivery is a bit of a contradiction, but I see it as a perfect microcosm for my identity. While I have somewhat of a redneck sensibility, I am also a spoiled urbanite, and I can’t bear entering a grocery store on a Sunday. The parking lot situation alone is reason enough to stay home — never mind the LA drivers who are blinded by a bit of rain on their windshields.

That leaves me over-spending on Sauvignon Blanc and prosciutto so I don’t have brave the “elements” (read: a light mist) to make dinner.

I recently declared 2019 as the year of productive creativity, so I’m going to get back to my novel outline while I wait for my groceries to arrive.

But first?

IMG_0744

Dog yoga

It’s not nearly as cool as goat yoga, and it involves a pose George invented called, “Barking Dog.”

It’s so relaxing living with Boxers… but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

My boys are everything.

 

George Joseph (Or it’s Not 1999)

It’s 2019 now. I realize this isn’t news to anyone — I’m merely pointing out that 1999 was 20 years ago.

Also?

Prince’s single (and album) by the same name will turn 37 this year.

Now that we’re all thoroughly depressed and feeling terribly old… want to hear what I did this NYE?

I rang in the New Year on my couch watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with both of my Boxers snoring on my legs.

IMG_0588

OK, maybe only Georgie was using my person as a pillow, but you get the idea.

I had planned to make myself a lovely filet mignon, but I was so tired by the time I got home from work that I settled for broccoli, champagne, and Trader Joe’s gouda mac and cheese. (I saved the steak for another night.)

We snuggled as the dogs watched their namesakes do battle with evil.

On the topic of namesakes, this is now going to be a terrible segue to the origin of Georgie’s name. (I did promise that story here after all….)

OBVIOUSLY, Albus was named for the greatest Headmaster of Hogwarts of all time, and I have frequently thought he should have a little Harry Potter as a buddy.

When I met the new nugget, I knew pretty quickly he wasn’t a Harry, however.

We spent 12 hours together before I dubbed him “George.”

After careful observation, his spunk and spirit reminded me of George Weasley. (George is one half of the Weasley Twin Duo who wreaked havoc at Hogwarts and went on to create their own joke shop.)

His middle name, Joseph, is a sadder story I’m afraid.

Shortly after rescuing George, I learned that my dad’s youngest brother James Joseph had passed away fairly unexpectedly.

His neighbor visited his home in hopes of borrowing a tool. The neighbor knocked on the door repeatedly and received no response. It had been snowing in their Northern Michigan town, and he observed there weren’t any footprints outside my Uncle Jim’s home.

When his persistent knocking proved fruitless, he contacted the local authorities. Officers arrived on the scene to find my dad’s youngest brother dead in his bead. He had died peacefully of natural causes.

While a peaceful death is always preferable to a painful or contracted one, death is still difficult for those left behind. I wanted to honor my Uncle Jim and felt that George should share the same middle name.

I don’t have human kids, after all so it seemed like the right thing to do. Plus my Uncle Jim was an animal lover.

IMG_0695

George Joseph means business.

I think my Uncle Jim would be proud to share a name with him.

 

New Baby Nugget (Or I RESCUED!)

So… I have news… belated news, but news nonetheless.

Albus and I have a new baby.

Hes’s super skinny…

IMG_0396.JPG

and he likes to sleep on Uggs.

See, three weeks ago Malibu and Ventura County were on fire. I was sitting on my couch watching college football while looking at images of the devastation of the Woolsey fire, and I wanted to do something. The air outside my place was hazy and full of smoke. My social media sources were filled with photos of horses dangerously close to the lapping flames, evacuated goats on the beach, and the Malibu Wines giraffe was left in harm’s way.

I knew there were so many animals I couldn’t save, but I wanted to do SOMETHING.

On an impulse, I googled “Ventura County Shelter.”

On the first page of their site, I saw the image of an emaciated Boxer. He had been surrendered that day. I said a prayer asking God to open the door if it was in his will for him to be mine and to close it if it wasn’t right.

I set out to meet the sweet dog called “Snoopy.”

The freeway to Ventura County was closed because of the fires but I found backroads to lead me to the shelter.

The voice of Jim Dale reading “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” on audiobook soothed me as I drove past plumes of stifling smoke as well as green fields yet untouched by the fire’s destructive appetite.

I arrived at the shelter only to be told they were closed for adoptions because of the fire. The woman behind the counter said I should come back the following day at 1 pm. She also cautioned me that Snoopy had stomach issues and they were a factor in his surrender.

Never one to give up, I showed up the next day, right on time. I had traversed the same backroads again, as the fires were still raging and conventional routes were unavailable.

When I arrived, I was again told they closed for adoptions. I offered another silent prayer. I reminded the volunteers they had told me to come today — at this time. I also said I couldn’t come again tomorrow because I had to work.

They consulted with one another and agreed to let me meet him. Again, they reminded me of his stomach issues. (Stomach, whatever. I didn’t care.)

I had boiled chicken in my purse in anticipation of meeting the little man.

They set him loose in the enclosure and I asked him to sit. He obliged immediately. I offered him a bit of chicken. Ravenous, he took the chicken so aggressively it seemed like he might take the tips of my fingers off.

I told them I wanted him — stomach problems and all.

They agreed to let me take him home for a mere $65.

$65 to save a life.

I would have paid so much more than that.

There’s so much more I want to say about him and his integration into my home, but I’ll save that for another post.

For now I’ll just say, I love the little guy.

IMG_0316.JPG

You’re HOME, George Joseph!

Your brother and I LOVE you!

More on the origin of his new name later….

 

Of Cancer and Gift Baskets (Or Smiles and Tears)

Friday my monster had surgery.

IMG_7389

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.

IMG_7398

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.

IMG_7393.JPG

I like presents.

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

Like this one.

IMG_7174

Even boys need bows on their birthday. Fact.

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.

Okay, enough rambling. I’m off to blast some Matoma remixes and make myself a quiche because I need to show myself a little love via my mouth now.

 

 

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.

IMG_5627.JPG

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:

IMG_5691.JPG

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.

IMG_3634

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.