Preparing for the heart of the beast...

After ten years in LA, I'm about to do something I've never done since moving here--a trek back east for Thanksgiving. 

And to make it even more interesting I fly in a few hours in the midst of the travel hell that is the day before Thanksgiving.

Here's to hoping the travel gods are on my side. (and if they're not, that the bar is well stocked AND well staffed) *Wood squarely knocked*

The adventure begins as soon as I get away from this fantastic, awesome, lovely job.  (Seriously, it's 5:30....this must be the only office in LA that didn't have a half day today)

And off I go...


So if one day you have a kid who grows up and sets the rug on fire...

I had a nice productive weekend.  I started with a solo hike on Saturday morning. Then spent the afternoon editing with Darrin to bring this re-hash phase of our little project to a near end point. Sunday I cleaned up the house and got a good amount of writing done in the afternoon.

As the sun set it started to get cool fast so I picked up a little pack of wood and a bottle of wine at Vons on my way home where I planned to settle in to watch Dexter and the Curb finale.

I started the fire. I opened the wine. I grilled a burger. I turned on the TV.  Nice end to the weekend...

A bit later when the fire begins to die down I throw on another log which unfortunately didn't seem to catch the flame.  I take the fire tongs, open the chain mail curtain and grab a mostly burned glowing log on one end.  As I lift it up it snaps in half causing one end to crash back into the fire and toss a handful of glowing chunks out into the room.  OH NO!

I'm frozen for a few seconds.  What do I do!?

I actually started to reach for one...but reason stopped me before I scar my hand.

I take the tongs and attempt to grab each little piece.  But the problem is fire tongs are hardly precise machinery so it takes forever to get a decent enough grip on the golf ball sized chunks.  After I FINALLY get them all safely back into the fireplace I look down at the rug to find three two-inch dark, crushed spots of charred, melted rug with a few other smaller spots from the tinier embers.


We got this rug new when we moved into our new place.

It really tied the room together, man.  And the scarring totally throws the feng shui of our interior design out the window.

Stupid fire.  Stupid, stupid fire.


12 Angry Men--*does not include those who have a vacation planned

I've reported for Jury Duty four times.

My first experience was during school in Boston where I sat in a massive room with no book for three hours before we were all declared unnecessary for the day and released.

The second time I had to venture to Long Beach.  Again, I sat in a jury room--although I remembered a book. I lasted past lunch. Unlike in Boston, I watched as others were called to be potential jurists on various cases. My name was never read. I went home.

Two years ago, I reported for my third stint. This time a local case in Torrance. Experience taught me well. I brought my laptop to do some work--set everything up...and right after the day began I was immediately called to a courtroom.  After they released me on that case, I went back to the jury room, set myself up again....and they sent me to another courtroom. This time I ended up in the jury box. Selection continued to a second day (I earned fifteen whole dollars for returning!), but this was a  medical malpractice case so after a squirly attorney learned during questioning that I knew someone in the midst of some major healthcare issues, I was axed.

So here I was on Thursday...back at the Torrance Courthouse. This time I was backed by a company that pays 10 days of jury duty. I went in wanting to get picked just for the experience of it all.

I find a spot at a table with two older guys and some punky looking artist kid.  I setup my laptop. (The jury room now has wifi!)  Plugged in to my music and waited...and waited...and waited.  At some point they read about 80 names to report to a courtroom. My tablemates and I were spared.

Lunch break.  2 hours!  Nice.  I ordered a beer with my sandwich just because I could.

Get back.  More waiting. More waiting.  At 3:30 they start reading more names.  Off we go. (Off everyone goes...)

We pile in to the crowded room. I wonder what could await us.

Murder case.  At least 20 court days.

Just my luck. The average case is only six days and the one time I've ever had a situation where work could cover it, the case is three times longer. The guy next to me says 15 years ago he was on a case that lasted 95 days.  Yikes.

As it turns out they're not very hardass about cases that go longer than a several days.  We were the fourth group of 80 people brought in and more were coming on Friday. The judge asked if the schedule would be a conflict for anyone and half the hands in the room went up. We each had to stand and explain our situation.  I answered honestly that I had a nonrefundable plane ticket for holiday travel. Most of the other excuses were related to financial hardship from missing work.  A handful of older hispanic women claimed they didn't understand English very well. ...yet they spoke and answered clearly. Hmmm. One said she's been living here for 32 years.  I wonder what the statute of limitations are on 'don't speak the language'.  Towards the end of the survey a woman started crying that her meth addicted husband was home alone with her daughter and she needed to get there fast. After a sidebar she was released.  Someone else went into a long explanation about being the sole caregiver for a parent that had some pretty gross bathroom requirements.  Ugh with the TMI.

At ten minutes to five most of those who had an issue were sent home and that was the end of it.  Another day of jury duty and another day of avoiding the jury.

I don't know how the judge had patience after one single panel of excuses and we were but one of many. Yikes.  

My mother recently told me she's never been called for jury duty.  How is that possible!?  I have no doubt I'll be back in that room yet again in two or three years.


Yins and Yangs of the Creative Mind

We've been busy.  Really busy.

Since I've last written...

Saw The Sounds--great show and far better at the Wiltern than the Key Club last summer... although that could entirely be because we had a place to stand. I don't really know why I enjoy this Swedish new wave  band so much. I guess it's the "catchy" part.

Attended a friend's 40th birthday party. My friends are getting old!

Attended a different friend's 30th birthday party the next night.  Even my younger friends are getting old!

As a fantastic gift for MY birthday from Darrin--saw U2 at the Rose Bowl. Unfortunate events kept him from getting in though...UGH.  See the whole show here 

Celebrated the birthday very low key style by locally having dinner and drinks with just Liz. When you have friends turning 40 and 30 the same weekend you turn 33, you cede the parties...  NEXT YEAR will be a BLOW OUT!

Waffled an entire week about what to do for Halloween.  At the end we had options ranging from a house party in Tarzana to a club event to a party bus traveling the West Side.  But we couldn't settle on an idea and because of that never sorted a costume.  Ended up keeping things easy and went to an outdoor screening of Halloween in a cemetery.  We were home just after midnight.  We've been doing something big every other year so I guess that means next year is going to be--as the kids say--"off the hook."

But despite all of that...it's not why I've been neglecting the blog.

I've been writing. A LOT.  The last two weeks have been quite productive. It seems productivity in one area has been at the expense of another. As goes the yins and yangs of a creative mind. And the weird catalyst for it all was a suggestion from a co-worker who also moonlights on her own creative projects to work out of the house at coffee shops and the like.

A few years ago when I was unemployed, I hit the shops all the time for the change in scenery. And it DID help. But since then I figure after slogging all day at the office, why go out again?  Problem is at home there are endless distractions, and even though we have an office space, I'm not surrounded by others pounding away on keyboards productively.  So I heeded by co-worker/writer/friend's advice and found a late night coffee shop. Next thing I know, the words are just flowing...I'm working out story problems...I'm fleshing out my character arcs.  AND...I'm ignoring THIS outlet.

I like this outlet--so here I am. I think I can work this yin-yang thing out. But I had general lack of inspiration and writer's block for the entire summer, so if this doesn't work and I can't do it all, you'll understand why I disappear.