Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All Kylie, All week

I've been so busy I haven't been able to obsess about my impending Kylie concert series. Yes, ,I am seeing her twice. I'm a fan, not fanatical.

For me it began in 1988, my summer spent working in London. Yes, yes, my summer abroad for my 18th birthday... Anyway, she was an actress on an Australian soap opera and she had releases her first song, a remake of "The Loco-Motion". I danced to this song whenever they played it.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Excuse me, has anyone seen my life?

Howdy. It's been a frantic time around these here parts. I've got a ten pound life resting on a two pound teeter-totter.

It kicked off in August when I agreed to do the styling and art directing for a 2010 corporate campaign. Usually it's near home, this year it was in Las Vegas. That added an extra layer of crazy to the event. As these things go, deadlines came and were missed and the next thing you know I was working around the clock through a holiday weekend, scrambling to pull it all together. Of course you know I did.

While on the set a shit storm erupted (you know I loathe to swear here, but that is actually the nicest thing I can find to say about what transpired. Trust me, you do not want to hear the "not nice" things). A difficult cross-country jog day plan, became marathon runs in the desert with a 60 lb backpack and no water. 20 hour days left little time left for things like eating or sleeping. Sleeping is so over-rated. It does nothing for you except make you able to do things like think talk or walk. Not to worry, I had the last day planned for just relaxing by the pool. Except we had to do some pick up shots the last day and move our flight back 4 hours. Oh, and both of us still had another day of work for us when we got home.

We returned home to out of town visitors. That was a welcome break from living inside my own head. I relaxed and enjoyed the brief time we had together.

But two days later, we left our guests in the house ("Have fun! Eat whatever you find in the fridge! Please!") and hauled our sorry asses back to Las Vegas for the International Lingerie Show. Less in charge this time, more of an attendee. At least that's what I kept telling myself in between setting up a booth for 5 hours, business dinners, meetings and walking the show floor. Not to worry, I had the last day planned for just relaxing by the pool. Except then Lyle was informed that he would be going to New Jersey for work the next morning and we had to move our flight up by 6 hours so I could get home and do some laundry so he would have clothes to take. Oh and he had to go in to work as well.

So Lyle is gone and I am home trying to gather the fragments of my life back together. This weekend looks full. Next weekend is Kylie Minogue concerts back to back. And the schedule rolls on and on... I can see Halloween just at the corner, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not nearly far enough out on the horizon.

When I am away from my lovely big computer and lack time to write, I have been trying to post photos via my phone to give you a sense of where I am. You may be seeing more of that in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My weak week

Las Vegas, at the lingerie show.

At the Ventian, my favorite racial stereotype penny slot machine.

Breakfast outside at Bouchon. I've only ever been here in January. This outdoor thing is so strange and wonderful.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My 20 hour workday in Vegas

You have received new photos from Jim Kehl.

-- Email sent with the "Multi-Photo Email" iPhone application --

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ramble with pictures

Where I am.

What I brought.

I wish.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Everybody loves a good nap at our house.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Shoppers alert!

I have been BUSY! Besides my regular graphic design work, I am in the middle of styling a photoshoot for a 2010 campaign. Nothing too big, just 6 woman, 4 outfits each, foundation garments, swimwear, evening wear... wait a minute, have I signed on for a Miss Universe pageant? Oh, and my regular job has to continue as well.

This is not a shopping cart at Wal-Mart. This is a shopping cart of shoes at Nordstrom Rack.

Pulling it together. Making sure sizes, colors and shine all work together.

Once I get it all together, which right now feels like never, I get to pack it all up and take it to the location. In a different city. Yeah, that little wrinkle is another killer.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Blackberries!

On a recent tour of my birthland in Washington state, I was privileged to sample the delicacies of the land.

From this:
I picked a large container, scratching up my hands and staining my fingers in the process. Then I had a large container of blackberries, so much better than the kind I can buy here in Los Angeles, but what could I do with them?

I placed them in a Ziploc bag. I placed that Ziploc bag inside another Ziploc bag. Then I placed that double bag inside a piece of Tupperware, which inside my carry on luggage. No one even questioned it.

The berries made it home and on a day when the temperature was about to hit 95°, I turned the oven on to 400° and made this:

Oh my god. I had it for breakfast the next day as well.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Cough, cough, hack, hack...

So uh, it's kind of gross around here this week. There's a giant fire to the Northeast of us. We are managing alright. We are staying inside with the house closed up. Until yesterday, we only had air conditioning in the back of the house, in the office and bedrooms. We only needed it for that 2 week stretch when you can't live without a/c, at which point we just live in the back of the house.

Our house cools off quickly at night. That's why we haven't needed air conditioning throughout. At night, the windows are thrown open and a slight breeze combined with the evening air make it all better. Except we can't really open the windows this week. It's gross out.

The trick is to keep the house as closed up as possible to keep the smoke and soot out, but still cool it off without opening the windows. Lyle snapped. He bought an air conditioner for the living room.

The bad air is giving most people I know some intense headaches. I'm getting the smaller headache, and a scratchy throat. I'll be okay inside, but after a walk around the block with the dogs, my voice gets a tad hoarse. (trust me, better a sore throat than some crazy pent up dogs acting out in my house.)

But I've got my secret weapon. I brought in the air purifier from being stored in the garage and that is making a big difference in the bedroom at night. If I start to feel my throat closing up or a headache coming on, I go hang out in the bedroom.

I want you to know I'm not complaining. I'm just sharing the information. We are very lucky to not be in the path of the fire. So many other people are truly suffering. We are just hanging out and being quiet. The whole city seems to be. It's strange.

This photo is of the fire and smoke as photographed from space by NASA. I read today that the smoke has entered the jet stream and has been carried off as far as Denver now.

The picture above didn't make much sense to me, so I added an overlay of a map with names and freeways to it. We live at the yellow dot area.
(click on either photo to see larger)

It's massive. Our sunrises and sunsets all have a deep orange glow to them. They think they won't get this under control until sometime around the 15th, two weeks away.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

On How To Be Happy

Are you happy? I'm happy. I haven't always been able to say that. It's taken some time and some days it takes courage to say it out loud. But I am, I AM HAPPY.

Not everyone is happy. I am not always happy. I have had times when I wasn't happy for a long stretch of time. My natural curiosity works around the clock to discover how come I am happy now and I wasn't happy before? How can I stay happy? How can I share this secret of being happy with others?

Do you like yourself?:
Well isn't that just huge!? I've found that if I don't like myself, I am not happy. I've had to make peace with the past. If you don't like who you are today, the past is an easy place to look and blame. Looking backwards and hating who it made you. However if you like who you currently are, the past (as much as it may have sucked or rocked) is just the vehicle which brought you to where you are. Everything that has happened, has happened to bring you here, to the present. If you like yourself, then thank god those hardships happened because they made you who you are today and you like YOU!

Perspective:
I was talking to a friend yesterday about a trip I took to Peru 6 years ago. The shanty towns we saw outside of Lima where entire families were living in a three wall lean-to on an 12'x12' square of dirt. Row after row. Mile after mile. No running water, no roads, no fourth wall... We got home from that trip and I remember saying, "Well, my job may not be the best job, my car may not be new, I can't buy a suit at Gucci this week, but I've got indoor plumbing! INDOOR PLUMBING!"

I think I lived off that perspective for over a year.

A low water mark.
It's tempting to look at your life the day you drop the pickle jar and it explodes all over your kitchen and shout, "THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE!" I do. But it's not. I've had the worst day of my life a few different ways.

The day I got fired from my dream job.
I'd worked my entire adult career towards this dream job, it was all I ever wanted to do. I would rule the world from my dream job... until I got fired. I spent a year going out every other night (or more) drinking with friends and hanging out with porn stars and drag queens. I was numbing the pain and spent away my 401k on fabulous outfits and booze. I had a really good time. But then I got a new job. At my new job I worked a lot less and made a lot more money. I would never go back to that "dream job" I had before. Is it a cliche to say now that the day I got fired was the best day of my life?

The day I broke up with "the love of my life" (or so I thought at the time).
I stormed off, loaded up my car to move back home, gunned the engine and (I think this is the term) threw a rod. The car went putt, putt, sputter, sputter, DEAD. A week later I was home at my parents with no job, no income, no boyfriend. A month later I was in London working for the summer. It was one of the most formative experiences of my entire life. Twenty years later, I'm working on being friends with that ex. It's much easier now when I look at how much he actually gave me.

The day I spent at the hospital.
It's uh, kind of personal. So I'm going to gloss over it. Watching someone you love in pain and wondering what comes next. Worried if they will pull through. I call it the worst day of my life because it was. No matter how bad a situation is, I know what I am made of. I know my strengths. I know what I would do because I've had to consider it. I know who my friends are because they were there. I know my very core.

I also know I can buy a new jar of pickles and that the housekeeper will get that sticky spot behind the fridge. There is BIG stuff and there is small stuff.

Expectations:
As a child, my parents would have us make a Christmas Wish List. I would sit down with the Montgomery Wards Toy catalog and just list pages, "Anything off of page 62, all of page 38, 2 of everything from page 40..." and then I would sit back and dream of the large truck required to deliver it all. Christmas morning, there it would be, only 20 gifts. Some of them pencils. I didn't list pencils! Where is my page 38? Where is my double page 40?! And then I would storm off to my room slam the door, open the door to throw all my gifts into the hallway, then slam the door again! "Christmas sucks! I HATE ALL OF YOU!!!"
It would be a lot funnier if it hadn't really happened... every year.

Turns out, I had some unrealistic expectations. My mother had to sit me down and explain there was a budget, priorities needed to be made and I needed to know that I was always only going to get 20 gifts and there were always going to be things I didn't expect. I learned that surprises and the unknown are not my friend. I have a grand and vivid imagination and not much in life can meet up to what I could dream. I need to distinguish dreams from goals.

Goals are good. They give you something to aim for, a reason to get up in the morning. But what if you've set your sights so far beyond what could happen?

I no longer tell myself I am a failure because I am not a household name (oh sure, I am at YOUR house). I believe that my purpose is to affect change wherever I am. If it is to be on a smaller scale in this world, so be it. I am still doing what I am supposed to do. I'm learning to accept what happens and feel that being a good person, being kind, loving the people around me are the better way to measure success than fame or money.

Everyone has a crap day:
I've had crap years. It's important to distinguish the difference. I used to want to be happy all the time. (I used to need to be happy all the time). Do you have any idea how exhausting that is?

A plane can't fly forever. Sooner or later you need to come down and refuel. The trick is to get to the ground before you run out of gas or you will crash into the ground and be buried. I like my life to be like a good plane ride, easy lift off to a great height, turbulence accepted as part of deal, then a nice gentle landing where my plane gets refueled for the next great time. Maintenance and groundings come with the territory.

Now when I'm having bad day I honestly say to myself, "It's just one day. You are entitled to a bad day." Then I cancel my plans, dish up the ice cream and do whatever I want. It's just one day.

No one is perfect:
I'm not and I'm certain Lyle would pleased to tell you in what ways. My goal isn't to be perfect. My goal is to be ME. I have a ton of little tricks I play on myself to keep track of where I am in this world and how I'm feeling. This one is my favorite, as my good friend Sheryl Crow sings in one of her songs, "It's not getting what you want, its wanting what you've got."