Saturday, August 31, 2013

Color Me Happy

I can divide the years of my life into colors.

When I was young, before any siblings, my color was shadow gray. Dark corners and cloudy skies, hallways and bedrooms and closets with very little light. My memories are unfinished and rough around the edges, like I'm straining to see too hard inside my head.

Then my brother and sisters came and we were all color-coded. Those were my purple years- down jackets and Easter baskets and lidded cups at grandma's house. Everything was some shade of violet or lavender or plum. I'm not sure if I ever truly liked purple or if I just stuck to my guns- a slip up of some sort that I was too embarrassed to correct. I have always been conscious of pleasing others but my assumptions of what was right weren't always true to myself.

I stepped away from purple for black. I found eyeliner and Hot Topic, determined to fit myself into a mold I didn't understand. I assumed it had to be better than the boys and organized sports my blonde contemporaries enjoyed- neither of which I excelled at. I drifted in and out of degrees of black, trying to find myself. Instead I found others, bruised and damaged and alone. Black was transitional.

I hoped that high school was teal blue- the sort your girlfriends paint on your toes or the color of your favorite sweatshirt. It's the color that people notice you in and the one you wish your eyes were. In reality I was surrounded by brown. My hair, my eyes, my school colors, the scrub brush that surrounded our little island in the hills. I couldn't run away from brown but I sure tried- as evidenced by my bleached blonde bangs at 14.
College was yellow. Bright, vibrant, cheery. I thought if I projected a happy color on my surroundings then the anxiety I felt at not fitting in would be easier to forget. It worked after a fashion. Mr. E's house had butter walls and I let everyone know my future kitchen would be decorated in sunshine hues. And it is.
2011 was green. The color of new beginnings and growth and luck and our wedding. It's my little brother's favorite color and was represented in varying shades by all of my new extended family. It's the color of leaves through the windows and forever hills during road trips but most of all it's the color of Mr. E's bright eyes as we said "I do".
Last year was tangerine orange. A color to strike all other colors down. One that shouts and declares and uses exclamation points, dammit!, but it has a softer sherbert-y side too. The color of our first kitchen as a married couple and my favorite necklace. A color with moods and attitudes as changeable as I am.

Now we're blue. Blue blends in, it stands back. It's neutral enough to mix and match and feel our way to exactly what we want to be or do or say in our new lives. Blue is accepting and comforting and unassuming.
Blue is my springboard.
Blue is my gateway.
Blue is my starting point.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Worship #fiveminutefriday

Write. For five minutes straight. One-word prompt, five minutes, no editing. I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) where we read, write and encourage.
Five Minute Friday

It was the first time in years that I had bought a dress for myself. It was white, with blue pinstripes and a huge navy blue bow in the back whose ties draped down much longer than needed. I was nervous about the exposed shoulders, though, so I bought myself a lacy white cover.

I walked on unsteady heels, clenching his hand tight, the 9 AM sun already making his glasses transition to shades. He smiled, a big skinny grin and my heart flip flopped. 

I was going to church for a boy.

We followed his mother in as she sashayed, petite and perfect. Then his father, a powerful presence with a one-track mind. The congregation mingled and hummed as I tried to sneak to my seat in the family pew, smiling blandly at all of the unfamiliar people. This had never been done before and I was rigid with nervousness.

He squeezed my knee before he got up. Perhaps he was trying to prepare me in some small insignificant way before he embarrassed me in front of all those people. You could have heard a pin drop. 

"There are two things I turn to when I am upset or frustrated. The first is scripture. The second knows who she is."

That's when the entire church turned in their seats and stared. At me.
Sorry about the duckface...YOUTHS.

Instructions on How to Move

Now that I'm all unpacked (say whaaaaat?), here are my tips. From a self-proclaimed pro with too much time on my hands.

Moving isn't easy, whether it's down the street or across the state (or country), but there are some pretty simple rules to follow to keep the stress levels down at a manageable level. Think "Eat my Feelings" vs. "Pull my Hair Out"

1. Move alone
That's right, first rule of thumb is move by yourself. In fact, the more selfish you can keep this act, the better. Not only do you know where everything is, but you KNOW EXACTLY WHERE EVERYTHING IS. Who needs a detailed box-by-box list of what is packed where? Only you can be blamed for breaking that family-heirloom deviled egg platter you've never used.

The best way to do this is to make sure that your significant other is working 60+ hours a week, driving an hour to and from work so that he (or she) is really tired when they get home. That way you're both so exhausted from working (you're packing and they're job-ing) that the SO physically can't help. At least that's what he said.

2. Wait until the last second to paint
Come on. You've been staring at those walls for weeks now, knowing that they need to get done, but nothing burns the fire under your butt like working on a deadline. Put all of those procrastination skills to use so that by the end of your six-coat work out, you're STILL able to see the blue glow on the wall- and it's not the reflection from your smelly tarp/dropcloth either.

3. Make sure you watch the entire season of something
 It doesn't matter what it is. Anything. You need something on in the background while you "pack"- by yourself. So dig deep and watch that show that you've never seen all the way through. My personal favorite was Charmed- good grief those ladies can't act.

4. Move on a weekday
Tetris-skills can be used in everyday life, folks! So when your current landlord has a fumigation appointment on the first but you can't hire a truck or corral people to help out until the third, that's when you've got to get puzzle-solvin' smart. Figure out which of your things are the most important and pack your new car with those things.
The rest can sit out in the fumigated garage.
That has an unlocked half door entry visible to the street.

5. Lose your momentum
No, really. Lose it. Lose it like your middle school diary. Lose it like that first pound of the new diet. Lose it like your cookies on a roller coaster. Because there's nothing better than wallowing in the middle of a paint-scented room, knowing that the carpet needs cleaning, the clothes need to be packed and all of your foodstuffs need to be mobile in 36 hours. That's the best feeling in the world.

FYI, someone needs to come up with that sarcastica font, ASAP.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


We went into this movie with high hopes. After all, Neil Blomkamp directed District 9 which astounded and grossed us out by turns. But in a good way. It's hard to find big-budget films with original concepts these days, so while Elysium was technically a new story, the product was so wrapped in CGI that I felt I was rewatching an older movie.

The basic premise of the story is that Earth has been overpopulated and the rich have removed themselves to an orbiting paradise known as Elysium. The poor folk left on Earth live in slums and work at back-breaking jobs eager for the day when they can save enough to pirate their way through the atmosphere and into someone's well-manicured backyard.

Matt Damon plays...bald Matt Damon. He's an orphan with a vague female interest in his past and a yearning to get out of his current job by any means possible. We learn he's had some run-ins with the law before as evidenced by his demeanor towards some beautifully CGI'd police robots and the friends he surrounds himself with. When he's hurt for mouthing off he finds his lady friend at the hospital and we realize that she is battling her own demons- trying to find care for her sick daughter. Through an unfortunate working (accident?) Damon is sentenced to die so now his only hope is a "healing" bed on Elysium- ruthlessly guarded by Jodi Foster with a strange accent and a stick up her butt.

There was some serious lack of motivation and gaping plot holes, but the CGI was flawless. If graphics have gotten that good then why the heck are movies wasting paltry money to pay for anything less than Elysium? Watching the trailers for Elysium and World War Z back to back is almost painful, but even the graphics couldn't save Elysium's downward spiral.

My biggest issue was the movie's insistence that you feel a certain way in response to what was happing. In most cases the muusic and/or editing supports and strengthens a movie. It helps to encourage the viewer by piquing interest and guiding their emotions. Elysium felt more like the movie was shoving the emotions down your throwat yelling FEEL THIS. Flashbacks, a rjising crescendo to warn the audience- it was all expressly spelled out for you. Personally, I think a movie's worst mistake is to assume the audience isn't smart enough to understand what was going on. Flashbacks have their time and place but the same shots repeated over and over again just loses my interest.

This is a bigger problem than you'd think. Foreign movies looking for a US distrubutor are often edited to pieced to make them more digesible for American audiences. Snowpiercer and The Grandmaster are case in point- where studios over-rule directors in favor of a better response from viewers. Much like the test screening I attended a few weeks ago, unfinished movies are run by test audiences for generic pointers. Negative feelings are often evidence enough to chop the movie.

By the end of the movie I was rolling my eyes- another flashback? Another gut-wrenching slow motion shot? I felt cheated out of the emotions I was legitimately feeling- too closely monitored by the movie and ultimately I decided I didn't like it.

But those robots looked pretty cool.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Not Even About Affleck Anymore

In case you don't have twitter (I do! Follow me here!) or an internet connection, Warner Bros. has just announced that Ben Affleck will play Batman in the new Superman/Batman movie. And then the internet exploded.

I think this is a bad idea.

But not because of Affleck.

I don't think we're ready for another Batman movie. Come on, studios! We were just forcibly dumped by our favorite Batman series ever when Chris Nolan told us in no uncertain terms that he was done with Batman. And Christian Bale backed him up and told us no more Batman suits for him, either.

Look at the roller coaster of emotions we had in that series-here was the first Batman we could all get behind, not just the geeks and fans. We rooted for the villains just as much as the heroes, not because we all have a little evil streak but because the movies were complicated and real and challenged us with morals and ethics. We didn't go into Batman expecting just car chases and cool gadgets- we got philosophy and poignancy wrapped in layers of a bulletproof Batsuit.

We came together over midnight showings and bonded with Halloween costumes. We became the fandom we needed and maybe not the one we deserved. We had strong opinions on Rachel, and then on the Joker, even on the role that Joseph Gordon-Levitt may or may not have played.

So why jump on the bandwagon so soon? Why churn out a movie we didn't ask for and may not even want? Yes, this movie is technically in the Superman canon, but Batman is arguably one of the most well-known (pre-Hollywood make-all-of-the-superhero-movies era) superheroes in pop culture. This isn't the 1960s anymore where the Hollywood tells the public the movies they want to see. We're in the age of Kickstarter and Indiegogo fundraising millions, where the Internet has become a playground for those looking to lose their accountability and opinions give way to anger and hatred.

For all of the production studios' work trying to study the public through screenings and focus groups they're still missing the big picture. You want to know why movies are flopping left and right? Because you're trying to wrap a flop in a trend and that's not going over so well for you. Johnny Depp can't pull the fourth Pirates by himself and we aren't interested in The Lone Ranger regardless of the fact he stars in it. Studies show guys won't go see a sci-fi movie called The Princess of Mars so you re-brand it John Carter? Re-brand and promote a movie all you want but if your story sucks then even the cult followers can't overtake word of mouth.

Batman isn't about Affleck. It's about audiences telling the studios we're not ready for this particular story to be remade. Again. No amount of big budget or big names are going to change our minds. Stop trying to bank on the superhero trend and let us wait, let us at least get to a ten year reunion for crying out loud before you release another hero for us to root for. Audiences want a story, not a disjointed fandom.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Last #fiveminutefriday

Write. For five minutes straight. One-word prompt, five minutes, no editing. I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) where we read, write and encourage.
Five Minute Friday

He sat down with a huff and tipped all of the pens onto the desk and proceeded to organize them by color: black to blue to red. This was the worst part of the night. The flourescents overhead gave him a headache by 7 o'clock and the constant driving back and forth from the office to the movie set didn't help either. But the fridge was stocked and he had finally adjusted his chair to the perfect resistance, so four more hours wouldn't hurt.

"Hey," Jen whispered. "Hey, you!"

Dan cocked his head and cast a quick glance over his shoulder. The production office was nearly empty and he was pretty sure he was the only guy in the building. Their eyes met and Jen frantically gestured with her free hand as she reached into one of her desk drawers.

He looked around at the hollow offices and empty chairs. They were supposed to be waiting for the call from set to let them know when shooting was over, but someone always forgot. The last item on the end-of-the-day checklist. *He glanced anxiously at the phone, willing it to ring, beep, anything to avoid a confrontation with his supervisor. 

She grabbed what must have been keys since they jingled as she walked past his desk, tapping his chair on her way to the unused stairs. The production company leased the lower level of a five story brick building downtown, across from a Presbyterian church and a Starbucks- the lifeblood of America even in the city of dreams. Dan hung his head and followed her, certain she was going to let him know in excruciating detail all the mistakes he had made that day. The coffee without creamer? The 100 extra copies he made? The wrong size shoes he picked up for the props department? The movie business wasn't as easy as he thought.

He trudged up the steps after her, their sneakers scuffing in perfect tandem up five flights, but he stopped short when he reached the last step and the open door. Before him was a summer evening's paradise: a sky electrified with colors and clouds and the whole twinkling city before him. It seemed to stretch forever, melding at the horizon into the fading sun and beginning again as cloud formations built across the sky.
"Pretty snazzy, huh?" Jen grinned.

"Yeah...It's incredible."

"I have my phone connected to the landline- as soon as they call I'll get it on this so we don't have to go back downstairs." She shook her iPhone in reference.

"Do you do this every night?" he asked, turning slowly to soak in the 360 degree view.

"Every night in the summer. It's the only time that everyone's out of the office when the sun sets."

"Wow. This is great."

She fell into one of the plastic lawn chairs littering the roof. "Don't let today get you down. We all start as assistants- unless we're suck ups. We know where you've been, how you feel. This is one of the only jobs you can get fired for guacamole when the boss asked for nacho cheese. But things like this make it worth it."

"This and the movie, right?"

"Yeah, but sometimes the movie is a piece of crap. But you do it because it's what you want to do. Every project is a step. And every step gets you closer to where you want to be." She gestured to the chair beside her.

"Where do you want to be, Dan?"

*Soooo that was a little longer than five minutes. But once I started I couldn't stop. At least there was no editing! Go on, Greg. Find a spelling mistake. I dare you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Guys, I'm Geeking Out Over Here

Things I found on the web this week that I wanted to share with you?

This man's art (Kevin Van Aelst):
This video that sheds a little light on an issue I have internalized forever. Yay for geeks and nerds alike!

The most amazing crossover I've ever seen. This is saying something because I could look at Disney princesses as Avatars/Sailor Moon & Co/steampunk/etc all. freaking. day.
Jane Eyre Guitar Art Print
Finally, if anyone wanted to know what to get me for my birthday or for Christmas or just cuz it's a TUESDAY, please get me this. I will pay you in hugs. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On Set +1

One of the perks of marrying into the industry is that I get to take a sneak peak at what goes on...without actually being terrified about my job security. Every time I think that Mr. E has an awesome gig I'm reminded that he could get fired over guacamole on his boss's lunch.

So when Mr. E offers to pick me up during work I'm both intrigued and seriously worried for his job. Then again, in his workplace it's common- even expected- to prank, cuss and do your own grocery shopping.

I really detest driving in new places (like a broken record over here) but I'm actually a fairly good passenger/navigator/backseat picture taker, so all in all I'm kind of a toss up on road trips. We drove from the production office in Burbank to set in LA. Now, set is actually divided into multiple locations including base camp and the shooting location, as well as additional smaller satellite locations. Each day a set map/location list is sent out to all of the appropriate parties...and it's about here I think that my small experience as a stage manager would have helped tremendously if I wanted to pursue film. 
Really the call sheet has all of the relevant information for everyone- closest hospital, a small map of the surrounding streets, the locations of all of the pieces and parts to set, the names and numbers for all the people who are on call for the day, etc. Traffic is highly regulated by a single security officer and a network of trailers- no stars on the door but the porta-potty I used was one of the nicest I've ever been in. Mr. E has to tag his car with a "Wish I Was Here" card so he passes scrutiny.
Apparently in LA there are all sorts of yellow signs up on the lightposts- this direct you to a film set! Once you notice them you'll start to see them everywhere. They're semi-coded as initials so Wish I Was Here became WIWH. I spotted another for C6- any ideas??
We stopped by a satellite location to drop off some high-res photographs that the Visual Effects (that's VFX, guys) made for the artist. There were two retaining walls in a residential neighborhood that the city permitted to be spray-painted for the movie. I can only imagine how much that would cost! Seeing as how they were in plain view of the street, I could resist snapping a picture, but seeing as how I'm not looking for any legal attention, we'll keep it a sneak-peak peek.
Really, the city of LA is fascinating- there are truly all walks of life here. All I know about the city is what I've seen from movies (go figure) and it surprised me that it was both similar and so very very different. Don't call me an Angeleno yet!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Some Things Stay the Same

I'm not really sure where I stand in terms of where I belong on the map. I don't feel like I can claim San Diego as my "hometown", but it's the city (and suburbs) that I'm the most familiar: the malls I camped out at for Black Friday, the freeways I learned to drive on, the hills and the beaches I loved. I wasn't a big city explorer and most days I'm still not. Downtown San Diego gave me the heebie-jeebies (that's a technical term) and it hasn't gotten better from there.

Moving to Burbank was a big jump for me. I've lived my whole life on military bases, in military housing, or in suburbs- right next to police stations and I used to walk everywhere because I felt safe enough to do so. The prospect of moving downtown somewhere was terrifying- what if I get mugged? What if I get jumped? What if I get held up or held down or run over?

And then we actually moved.

And it wasn't so bad. Yes, there are alleys everywhere and sometimes you hear arguments in the underground parking garages or catch shadowed individuals in the alley extinguishing a smoke, but there are humongous trees lining the streets and beautiful architecture and the constant bustle of people just sidewalks away.

I'm still learning to like the city. Every so often I find something that lessens the worry that much more: a new route to walk Ripley reveals a gorgeous church. A new restaurant. A library.

There is literally nothing more relaxing than to walk inside of a library. I'm the kind of girl who will walk out of the building with a kink in my neck and a purse weighed down with musty hardbacks. There were definitely points in my college career when I would climb to the 7th floor (popular fiction) and just. sit. All of the anxiety and the worry and the stress stopped at the door.
That's actually Mr. E and myself there...
I haven't changed one bit. The anxiety and cabin fever from sitting at home and applying for jobs was too much today but as soon as I walked through those sliding doors and into the air conditioning the world was alright again.

The smell was the same: dry and slightly musty. Of the bottom of backpacks and the first turned page.
The lighting was the same: overhead fluorescents reflecting off of plastic jacketed books.
The sound was the same: rustling pants, clacking keyboards and a tense murmur anticipating the accompanying shush.
After signing up and checking out, I walked home with a new outlook on the neighborhood: the library is only 7 minutes away by foot. Perfect.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Going On

Heyyyy. I thought maybe the best way to address this was head-on.

I'm working on finding my angle. My niche for this blog. Who I'm writing to, what I'm writing about and how I want to say it. Originally this was an update for those friends and family we should call more often (you know who you are)- sort of a "what we're doing" kind of thing. But since Mr. E was still in school there was a lot of "Brie's craft time" instead. Which is totally viable and awesome.

Except now that a) we've moved and b) we both have real jobs, there just isn't a whole lot of space or time to do craft projects and baking and sewing and pictures and posting all in one weekend. I'm not that put-together and that's okay.
Now that we're firmly ensconced in Burbank, LA is only a hop skip and jump away from home. There are endless possibilities of things to do around here: restaurants to try, graffiti to see, parks to explore, museums and concerts and movie screenings. The way we see it, we're only young once, but we're broke almost always. And therein lies the rub.

So keep reading! Because this blog will still be all about us! I will regale you with stories of our life- working in the industry, learning to love LA (which I currently don't but may be susceptible to at some point) and all the wacky ins and outs of our hobbies, our interests, and our dog. If you want to know what a grip is, how I created a duvet cover out of sheets, how Mr. E's personal films are being made or what new recipe I'm trying, then it's here.

It's all here.

And I want to share it with you.

Also I updated my About Me page...and now it's as complicated as I always wanted it to be.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Decorating Dilemma

I'm reaching the end of my rope but, sadly, NOT the end of my frames. We have two huge empty walls in the bedroom and so many frames and pictures and art pieces I don't know what to put up and what to store.

I really liked the frames I had above the couch in the last house- hollow gray and white frames that graced our the altar at our wedding. It's just that sort of modern touch with sentimental value that I'm crazy about, but we have so many frames to choose from I am a little overwhelmed.
In an effort not to create a shotgun effect on the wall, I used the packing paper we had left over from moving to trace the frames and added the color in the middle- so I could eyeball my placements.

These are the two displays I have so far, but I'm open to suggestions! What do you think?
A little long on the wall and Mr. E wasn't crazy about the line.
Shorter on the wall and a little more compact, but the two sides mesh better.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Small #fiveminutefriday

Write. For five minutes straight. One-word prompt, five minutes, no editing. I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) where we read, write and encourage.
Five Minute Friday
Sometimes, when we speak, we substitute words. You learn synonyms (cinnamon) and antonyms in grade school and as you grow your list of interchangeable words does too. When you write or blog or essay the words come, sometimes rushing quickly onto the page and you're already on the next paragraph racing just to keep up. Other times it's a slow painful drip, agonizing over each word and use and connotation.

Sometimes we forget in our effort to use the best words, the most descriptive, the most appropriate, that our vernacular has caused words to evolve. And not always for the better. Just the other day Google approved a definition for "literally" as "figuratively". Who decided that one? Sometimes you need to go back to the starting word, the fundamental,

Small does not mean insignificant.
Small does not mean unimportant or overlooked or brushed aside. It is more than cute or handheld, more than little or tiny or lost in a sea of bigger (not better) things.

Small is a start. A place to grow. An unfurling, a contained self, a beginning.
We all start with small steps and lead ourselves to our personal achievements- big achievements because they're ours and we conquered them.

Small does not mean it wasn't enough. Small means begin.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Free Movie...with Stipulations

I embraced a uniquely LA experience yesterday.

No, I haven't gone on the two hour star tour. (Is it two hours? I don't even know)

But I will.

I went to a test screening for a movie that hasn't been released yet. Post-production. Unfinished.

I can't tell you who was in it (really good actors) and I can't tell you what it was about (dramatic) or what the title was (it had an awful fake title anyways). I signed away all of my rights to do that in exchange for a free movie ticket and a gift card. So, frankly, I think I'm getting a pretty good deal.

A group of us went to see Elysium the other day at our local movie theater--did we mention we can walk there? There's sort of a small food court and some sidewalk performers looking for change. Movies are king, though, and a Saturday night calls people like bacon at breakfast. Standing in the middle of the throng is a guy hawking colored half slips of paper yelling "Free movie! Free movie for two!" at the top of his lungs.

So of course the vultures descend. We're not that far from graduation and you just don't pass up free ANYTHING. The slip has the working title of the film (the fake title), the actors, a brief synopsis and a whole lot of legalese.

Rule number one, you don't talk about free movies.
Rule number two, you don't TALK about free movies.

The deal: RSVP and show up early. They'll corral you into a huge line and pass out waiver forms and information sheets. If you meet the criteria they might contact you again for focus groups; if you don't then thanks for playing and here's the movie.

Talking to some of the other people in line they said that they get to see all sorts of movies this way- before and after final cuts of the movie. Sometimes the CGI isn't completely finished or the sound is off or the colors are too dark, but they let you know it's a work in progress and they're really just trying to gauge the success of the movie overall.
The papers we signed wanted our complete silence on the film, our personal information and our first born child. There were no cell phones or cameras allowed in the theater- they waved the metal detector wand over your limbs and checked your bags at the door.

Completely by accident we ended up sitting in the VIP row right next to the director. The manager of the theater came by to give a little speech and the movie started. No previews, no infographics, no associated studios or sound effects teams, just film.

Fast forward two hours and they hand out a two-sided survey asking what you liked and didn't like about the movie: were there specific parts you enjoyed? Hated? Were you there for the actors or the genre? Did you think it was overacted? Was the pacing well thought-out? Etc, etc. We handed in the finished surveys and received a gift card to the theater for our troubles.

I think the secrecy about the movie added to the overall ambiance of the experience and really made you feel like you were one of "them": a movie-goer in the city where movies are made. Not bad for a Wednesday night...not bad at all.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nails and Colgate Regular Paste

There's a ritual that occurs around 8pm every week night. Mr. E rattles the screen door and Ripley goes wild. Her tail wags so hard it carries the momentum of her hind legs so she essentially crab walks at high speed around the house, teeth chattering, waiting for him to open the door. When he does his face instantly lights up- it's only this once that I'll share that smile, the one that's meant for wives and significant others, the one that releases worries and cares in the comfort of home. He beams it at her in full force.

We meet eyes right before he does a nightly "sizing up" of the house. He's not looking at how much was put away today, or what chores I completed or what's unpacked. He's weighing which nightly decorating project he'd rather not do. I save the really important stuff for him so that when we sit down on the couch six months from now and he complains that our pictures are crooked or should be on the other wall, I can tell him that he had just as much say in it as I did. It's my ace in the hole.

Last night in particular we decided to decorate the desk- arguably one of the few areas in the house that's more "his" than "mine". He wants to decorate with action figures. I'd like to decorate with old cameras.

The issue is hanging. We suck at this like Olympic winter sports (come on, I'd rather watch the gymnastics than the skiing!).

We've tried eye-balling.

We've tried levelling.

We've tried measuring.

We've tried poking holes in paper where the approximate hooks are.

Two hours and eight taquitos later we're covered in drywall dust, smearing toothpaste all over our espresso wall cubes of varying sizes, balancing on tip toes and trying our best to reign in our tempers despite the fact that all we'd like to do is smash the damn cubes to pieces with the hammer. Oh, wait. Just me?

He's scowling and I'm swallowing "I told you so's" with a chaser of Moscato when we finally reach a consensus that you can't tell it's a tiny bit un-level anyways. We lock eyes for a second and I am reminded how incredibly lucky, blessed, and loved I am to have this man in particular by my side.

He destresses by playing a video game and I by reading and we're curled next to each other despite the heat, basking in each other's presence. I'll forget the next day is our anniversary and he'll forget to take out the trash like I asked him, but in the end it's details, details and our life is a bigger picture than we know.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lonely #fiveminutefriday

Write. For five minutes straight. One-word prompt, five minutes, no editing. I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) where we read, write and encourage.
Five Minute Friday

Thumping basketballs outside the window and down the street. Leaves swish and clack as the neighborhood dog walkers bustle through on their phones- taking even the most mundane and relatively stress-free activities to a whole new level. 

We're only a mile from the freeway and the constant hum of cars sings us to sleep at night and jars us awake in the morning. People coming and going, working and playing and existing within arms reach. A stone's throw to one of the most densely populated places on the planet.

And I'm here. Eyeballing picture frames (don't tell my husband) and stroking the puppy to sleep, her little pink belly marred and inked by a little blue incision. It's muggy in this apartment because we've closed the windows and the door. We've shut ourselves away from the world and we live content, minute to minute, enjoying the presence of each other after a long day away.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pre-Interview, Interview

Confession: I hate driving new places. I get some serious anxiety- my body shakes, I cry, sometimes I shout to myself. In fact, most times I shout to myself.

It's really not pretty.
Engine Co. No. 28, Los Angeles
Not actually where I was, but I drove by it enough times trying to find parking. via
Case in point, my job interview today- went fantastic for anyone who was wondering. But I broke the cardinal rule of interviews...

I was 45 minutes late.

Now, for someone who absolutely detests when others are late- this was a big deal. My entire moral system was crumbling. How can I show these people that I'm dependable? How do they know that they can rely on me? How will I get this job in the face of all these other applicants who are most likely ON TIME? How will we pay our bills? On and on and on.

It certainly doesn't help that the CD Mr. E put in the car to pump me up for the interview is a soundtrack- complete with suspenseful music, tracks 7-10. It doesn't help that I'm fairly sure this part of LA was birthed into this world grimy and run-down. The one way streets? The aggressive drivers? The sights and sounds of downtown? The creaking in the backseat I'm know is just junk left over from the move but sounds like my car is breaking down?

Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Of course I called ahead. Of course I had my GPS with me. And this was the only thing I had on the agenda today- so I was free as a bird to cower in my little apartment with the dog as soon as it was over. Which is basically what I'm doing.

Why, oh why, did an introvert and directionally-challenged individual like myself move to LA county?

For love.

Stupid, stupid, love.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Settling In

We're cramped in here, this dog and I. She has squinty sleepy eyes, blinking slowly as she settles in to her many mid-morning naps. I don't quite fit in the nook I've made myself, stretching legs into empty bookcases and leaning against packed boxes. I've worn the same outfit four days in a row- capris and a tank top- because I can't quite muster the dedication I need to tackle the bedroom closets.
The momentum I carried through the weekend of packing and moving and shifting and organizing and unpacking has finally left me. My eyes hurt as I strain to see around cardboard boxes and through plastic bins. My arms feel heavy, weighted with the burden of house and hearth. This is my arena. This is my element. Even as it encourages me to stretch my creativity, to simplify and minimize and prioritize, the sheer weight of our home is suffocating.
You know who's not suffering? Mr. E. This guy comes home full of stories and jokes and enthusiasm for his work. He tells me all about his day- his five hours in traffic, the flowers he delivered to actresses on set, the costumes and the crew and the catered lunches. He's exhausted by the time he sits down, but he's just the right amount of happy and frustrated- enough to like what he's doing but not enough to settle for it forever. He's sort of been my inspiration here.

The overall feeling in this little one bedroom apartment, smack dab in the middle of downtown Burbank, purveying the valley that nestles the city of dreams- that feeling is hope. Hope that I'll tackle this apartment. Hope that I'll find a job. Hope that everything will work out for us the way it has so far.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

We're Alive. Barely.

Okay, more than barely, but it felt a little touch and go in the last week.

Mr. E has been busy as a bee, commuting from Orange to Burbank (85+ miles/day on our new car!) and dreading every minute. But he loves his job and he loves the people he works with, so he was happy to make the sacrifice. I've never seen him as confident and easy-going as he is now that he's in a real job.

I had three days to pack/clean the three bedroom house and boy let me tell you. My fingers felt like they were permanently twisted around a mop handle, my spine ached from carrying everything out into the garage and I never want to paint again. Ever. Please, someone hold me to this.

Thankfully all those years wasting time playing Tetris have paid off. Who said you wouldn't use video game skills in real life? I had moved all of our boxes and some furniture into the living room (unused once we moved the TV to the air conditioning) but later realized that because the first falls in the middle of the week, we couldn't actually MOVE our stuff until Saturday. Aaaand the landlord was fumigating. So it became a mad rush to move all of our things into the garage (to wait out the tenting) as well as eat ALL OF THE FOOD because we didn't have a fridge in the new place.

Spoiler alert: we made it. We're still throwing away most of our refrigerated food but you can't have everything.

And the apartment! We moved from a three-bedroom house (though we only used two bedrooms) down to a one bedroom apartment. Personally, I'm excited for the change. Mr. E and I love the location, the rooms are spacious and we're right next to downtown Burbank. Ripley? Not so much. She paced the apartment for 16 hours yesterday without stop- no sleeping, no resting. When we couldn't take it anymore we took her to the car in the hopes she would settle.

Here's the apartment (with some lovely photobombing). Can't wait to move in and decorate!