Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Here and there and everywhere.

So, I haven't been good with this whole blogging thing. I try, but, there are three with this, La Femme Monkita and I Eat Veg, and there is just not enough time in the day to get it all done.

I've found my new/old life back at reporting to be wonderful and yet wonderfully chaotic, in ways I know I will love at times and hate at times. But, with the city council meetings and the school board meetings and everything in between, I manage to find a little fun too.

Daniel has done a better job of showcasing some of the fun things our little pack has been up to, from chronicling our first day of almost spring
feeding ducks and making ice cream, to the more semi-debauchery that every night with Megs and Zozzy somehow always becomes.

I've finally had the time to hang out with my two close girlfriends in the area, Cara and Carmen. Cara's a friend I met while studying in Europe nine summers ago (which is almost unfathomable) and I FINALLY was able to meet up with her a couple of weeks ago for some sushi (and edamame and salad and drinks and more drinks) at Little Tree in Royal Oak. I imagine this to be the first of many (many, many) trips to Little Tree with Cara. (It's been exactly two weeks and I'm dying for their "This is it" roll).

Although Daniel and I did manage to make it up to Via Linda Salon to experience the genius that is Carmen giving a haircut, we finally managed to meet on non-work territory.

For Carmen's birthday last week, we made it up to Jason and Jay's for little cookout and bonfire. Of course my folksy friends even managed to have a good ol' fashioned sing-a-long.

It was great for Claire and Ari to have another girl to play with and they seemed to have a lot of fun. Meanwhile, Kiran was able to show us his sweet guitar chops.

So, there's a little snippet of some of the things I've been up to. I'm not going to make any promises, but hopefully I'll have more soon!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Young and Now.

I found my way to a funny blog today, that got submissions from all over the place of people posing to match photos taken when they were young. I'll just let the photos speak for themselves. There are a few that are pretty funny. Maybe I'll have to try to create my own of the photo on my profile...

Check it out HERE.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's true.

My friend Jay continues to blow my mind with the amazing things she creates day after day.

Here's a taste but head on over to the La Femme Monkita blog to read all about the wonderful things she makes....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Just one of those days.

Do you ever have one of those days where little things seem to be going wrong, but it's sunny outside (finally) and it's Friday so you don't even realize the signs are in place for a potentially horrible day ahead of you?

Yesterday was just one of those days for me. Maybe I should have seen it coming. Or maybe it's a good thing that I didn't.

The first little thing happened in the shower. I've only done this a few times in my life, but I'll be damned if I didn't lather up my face scrub (containing microbeads!) and put it directly into my freshly washed hair. I decide this is not as bad as the time I put conditioner on my face.

Then as I'm taking a schlug of my coffee, some spit or something goes down the wrong tube and I have to cough -- like, right now. There's no time to swallow or spit out the coffee. I make my best attempt at spitting the coffee into the sink before exploding in my coughing fit, to no avail. Coffee splattered all over the sink, the wall, you name it. It is now that I am thankful Dan is a heavy sleeper, or he would likely think I am throwing up all over the bathroom (which, admittedly, would have been far worse).

But, I remain optimistic. I get ready for my day. A gloriously warm and sunny summer-like Friday. The day of my very first deadline at work. A big day no doubt. I'm a bit nervous, a bit excited, a bit anxious for the weekend to come either way. All I had to do was run out to Farmington Hills to do my police rounds then head into the office to wrap up the one story I have left to write for the first edition, which lays out and prints Monday.

I go to one police station, gather all kinds of info on a string of car break-ins happening in the area (people, take your wallets, purses, and 42-inch plasma TVs in the house at night). Then I head off to the other police department I cover. The chief kindly stops by the conference room where I'm looking through reports to make sure all is well before he jets off to a M.A.D.D. awards ceremony. We leave the building at the same time.

I see in my rear view mirror that he runs back into the building from his car and I buckle up and turn out of the parking lot. About 100 feet ahead I begin to cruise through a yellow light and when I'm just about through it the little old lady across from me -- wait. what is she. she's not going to -- BLAM. Little Old Lady turns right into me.

It takes me a second to take in my surroundings. I am ingesting the noxious burning-like odor that is present after two airbags explode. I don't remember them going off, I just remember noticing they had popped. I was in a daze and realized my arms were killing me. I am momentarily convinced I have broken my right arm, just as my grandma did, thanks to her airbag when she was in a relatively minor crash.

I really am in a daze, and am not sure what to do or if I should do anything. Cars begin honking at me and Little Old Lady is looking at me and pointing, which confuses me anymore. I pull over closer to the side of the road.

Having driven past the crash just moments after it occurred, the police chief backs up his truck and gets out, coming to get me out of my car saying something about the airbags. I'm embarrassed to be crying at this man with whom I'm supposed to be earning trust and respect in a professional manner, as he speaks to me like I am his daughter and gets me out of the car.

When he called later in the evening to make sure I was OK, he said I was sitting in the car engulfed by a cloud of airbag dust going directly into my face, which, no matter what anyone says, can't be good for you. He says in all of his decades in policing he's never been in a car when airbags explode and he's sure it must be scary.

He walks over to his officer who has arrived on the scene when an older man starts talking to me. I have no idea who he is and for a moment wonder if he had been the driver of the other car and not Little Old Lady, because he's trying to say it was my fault, it seems.

Man: You drove right through the amber light.

Me: Yes.

Man: You see, if you go through the amber light, that's tough. You have to turn on an amber light because if you don't you have to turn on a red light and that's against the law.

(To which I think, who the hell is this man and is he really saying it's OK to turn into traffic to beat a light???) He disappears and finds the other drier to bother her some while Officer Wood gets my information. When we meet up with the woman, she asks if I'm OK, but never apologizes. She's easily in her mid-70s, and this is her first ticket.

I essentially had a couple of giant goose egg-like bruises with scratches on my right arm and some cuts and scratches on the inside of my left arm from the airbag. Nothing was broken though.

The car dealership where I bought my new car only four weeks ago is wonderful. Becky in the Service Department says she can hook me up with a free rental for 2 weeks and she's sending out Luca's Towing to come get me. I spend the next couple of hours sitting on a bench in downtown Farmington, in the amazing sun. I'm even able to pick up a wireless signal, which enables me to contact Dan whose phone is on vibrate in the bottom of his bag. He is able to leave work to come snag me, so I don't have to ride with Luca on the 40-minute trip to the car dealership.

While I wait, I realize I have 2 cans of La Croix in a cooler in the trunk of my car. I also have a salad leftover from dinner the night before, but no fork... BUT I threw a bag of frozen broccoli on top of the salad to keep it cold. Yes! Broccoli ice pack. Sadly, I forgot that I had an actual icepack underneath the salad, but that's OK, because the broccoli is able to reach all of my right-arm injuries.

By the time Dan drops me off at the dealership, I get my brand new rental and get to the office, it is 4 p.m. The crash has taken away five hours of my day and I have missed my first deadline by an hour. I collect myself as best I can, though tired, frazzled and in pain and write up the quick story on the break-ins. My editor says I can finish my one incomplete story over the weekend and I'm out the door by 5:30.

Jay mentioned I should get Arnica lotion for my bumps and bruises. After the genius that was oscillicoccinum (I'll have to repost that blog from Myspace later) I'm immediately on board. Being the awesome squeeze that he is, Dan runs to the store and gets me Arnicaflora Gel (the most expensive and preferred by the Whole Foods employee). Although I woke up today with a very tight and sore body, my Playdough arm is gone! It's still painful, scratched up and bruised to hell, but it's LEVEL. Not too bad for 24 hours after the crash.

After 3 hours awake, I decide I could probably go back to sleep. Dan convinces me I should and that my body is probably tired because it is healing. He gives me a great massage and wraps me up in the many blankets we refer to as my cocoon. Though I'm convinced I can't actually fall asleep, I lie there for a while, daydreaming about how I will attack my day. First the yarn store for Joy's blanket, then Meijer, then... I wake up at 5 p.m.

Now I'm feeling pretty well. I should be working on my story, but instead I'm blogging. This is my first Saturday since I moved where I didn't have to do anything -- and didn't. I wish it wasn't because I feel poo-like, but I'm glad I was able to rest and recuperate. I'm pretty sure my 24 hours of ultimate, supreme, uber-pampering is nearing its end, but I'm going to milk it for all its worth.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Four going on 14

The following is an exchange that occurred Monday night between Claire and I. We were taking turns in a restaurant bathroom stall.

Claire: What’s this? (Pointing to stainless steel in-stall counter top), Where you can change a baby’s diaper if you have a baby?

Kirsten: That’s exactly what it is.

Claire: What’s this? (Pointing to metal sanitary products dispenser hanging on wall)

Kirsten: I don’t know. (not wanting to go there)

Claire: Well, what’s it for?

Kirsten: For grown up stuff.

Claire: What kind of grown up stuff?

Kirsten: Sometimes adult girls need special stuff.

Claire: You mean like tampons?

Kirsten: Yes. Exactly. (Shakes head, smiling)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dear Kathy...

Hey, Kathy! How’s it going?

I just wanted to pass on some of the calls I’ve gotten for you since I acquired your old phone number two weeks ago.

You are popular! Geez, woman, I didn’t have my new 248 number for three minutes before the calls started coming! That first day I got about 10. I only wish I was that popular!

I’m really sorry to hear about your debt problems. Times are tight, especially in Michigan. We’re all feeling the pinch for sure! You should probably stop giving people this number though, because it’s mine now – after all, you’re going to have to pick out a new one when you get your phone turned back on. I just thought I should point that out because I got a call last week from a woman up north who said she had just met with you an hour earlier and you had given her your old number. My number.

That one was nice because it was an actual human being. So was the woman at Business Solutions 101 calling on a reference check -- she sure seemed nice.

But some of the other calls haven't been so nice. Mann Bracken Attorneys at Law called every day for the first week, and Miss Greentree debt collection called five or six times a day. It was no surprise to learn they've been investigated for their debt collection tactics and badgering. Lucky for you, I’ve been the one who's had to deal with them!

I can’t recall too many of the others. The automated ones always are exciting though because the funny computery voice says your name differently every time. Sometimes it’s really clear – Kathy A. Brock. Other times the computer voice screws it up and it comes out “Kathia Brock.” It cracks me right up!

Oh, one of your girlfriends called too. I didn’t catch her name because I was in a 9 A.M. MEETING at the time. I don't think she was at work -- sounds like she was just getting in from the club! I won't even explain, I'll just play you the message:


Did you get all that?

Anyway, the calls are down to a manageable two a day now. It seems all of that sitting through automated prompts until I reach a human to tell them it’s not your number anymore actually worked. The waits are usually only about five minutes and it’s worth it to help you out. It’s so funny – they always ask who I am and if I can help them get in touch with you. I tell them that I don’t actually know you – but I’m starting to feel like I do!

I hope this helps. Good luck, Kathy, and take care. If you're ever in town, give me a ring -- you know my number!


P.S. Danielle texted you this morning -- it's her birthday and she hopes you'll come out to "bdubs" tonight!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Best April Fool's Day Joke of All Time

If you haven't figured it out yet, the post "Be seated for this" was an April Fool's Day joke. You see, I e-mailed it out to a handful of my friends and family. VERY FEW caught on, and even then it was later in the day when they would have had plenty of time to be reminded that it was, in fact, April Fool's Day.

While I saw an incredible outpouring of love and support despite what any of them may actually have been feeling, here are some of my favorite responses I got when they found out it was a hoax.

"Jerk. You are a jerk." -- J.B.

"F***face." -- B.V.

"Did I mention I want to murder you? GOD I'm not on my game." -- L.C.

"My tongue has been bleeding now for half of the day. I was trying to come up with a nice way to say “you are out of you F***** mind!!!!” -- E.B.

"Actually I totally forwarded it to K. and said (behind your back)
that I was worried about you and that I was completely surprised that you guys would subject Claire to a life of child stardom (because those are never happy stories)... K. was just excited that you guys would probably meet "Gandalf." -- K.B.

"Oh my god." -- L.C.

"You really, really, really got me......my heart can't take that shit!" -- D.M.


Be seated for this

I guess the best way to get the word out is to post this e-mail I forwarded to some friends and family this morning that Daniel had written to his family!

Sorry to keep any of you in the dark on this. It's all happened really fast and I didn't want to say anything until we knew for sure. Part of me is still in "I'll believe it when I see it" mode, but as far as I can tell, this really is happening... I'll know a few more details about a time line soon. I'm probably going to keep working for a few weeks and let Dan set everything up in L.A. That way I won't be screwing my new employer and the paper still can launch as planned on April 23rd. I've already started a stockpile of stories, so they should be good at least for the first couple of weeks and hopefully will have my replacement by then.

While I'm here, I'll work on getting most of our stuff from the house into a storage place 2 blocks away. If anyone has some muscle and a truck... :) Also, we're just going to get a car when we get out there. I just bought my 2005 G6, so if anyone is interested in buying car, let me know!

Again, sorry to let you know this way, but I figured the easiest thing was to just forward Dan's e-mail to his fam!

More soon!


From Dan:

We've been holding off on telling anybody about this until we knew more for sure. But over the weekend there was enough confirmation that we think it's time to let everybody know what's been going on behind the scenes over at Johnsonland. So....

We're moving to LA!

Maybe not - probably not - permanently, but for at least a year. It seems that in addition to being magic, hilarious and phenomenally sweet, Claire is also movie star potential. We found out for sure Sunday that she's been picked as one of three child leads in the next Robert Zemeckis film, called Eve. (Her part is May Fairy 1, and she's geeked about that) We have to move to do the movie. If you don't know Zemeckis, he made Forrest Gump, Castaway and Contact (all three of which I loved) and he's been experimenting with a new kind of animation technique that mirrors real actor's faces in Polar Express and Beowulf. Eve is going to be in this photorealistic/animated vain, but it will look exactly like Claire because the computers will monitor her face. They want Claire to train with a speech therapist first. Her name is Julie Senoke and she's supposed to be one of the best. She's also going to prepare Claire for the very unique work of child acting, especially the longish hours. She's kind of like a child actor mentor and she's worked with a lot of famous kids. I've had a few hour+ conversations with her and I really trust her and think this is going to be an amazing experience for Claire on so many levels.

They're renting us a house in the Laurel Canyon area, near Zemeckis' preproduction studio complex. I guess these films take a very long time to make, much of which is done in pre-production. So we will be out there for a while. But in addition, Claire will be signing with an agency connected to Zemeckis' film production company and there's probably good reason to assume she will move into other projects once this one wraps. IF SHE WANTS.

Claire won't start Kindergarten classes in the fall as we had planned, but will have a private tutor, which should be infinitely better. Plus this is essentially a kids movie. There is, like, only one adult in the cast (Ian McKellan from X-Men), so she will stay socialized with all the other kids present in the cast and in the families of the crew.

Another benefit - and this is not the criteria we based the decision on - is that Kirsten and I will finally be able to get out of debt. The salary that Claire makes is all hers and will sit in fund that will essentially pay for her college and then some. But they've set us up with a ridiculously generous living stipend to pay for accommodations AND allowed us the use of one of the houses attached to the Zemeckis production empire, rent-free. Which means we will get to keep most of that living stipend.

As you can imagine, there are a ton of things to think about and we're trying to think of them all. For the most part we've been under the assumption that this wouldn't go through so maybe we're a little underprepared! For one, Kirst will have to quit her brand new job. (We're both going to try and plug the Zemeckis connection for writing gigs in the area.) I'm on a month-to-month lease so that's not an issue. Who knows, this could be a net benefit for us as well as Claire. But still, it's all really sudden and we've got a lot of work and preparation to do.

How did this happen? Three weeks ago scouts visited a bunch of day cares in Oakland County - none of us even knew this was going to happen - and Claire's was one of them. I'm going to assume that Claire was being the ON version of herself that day because they've told us out of all the Oakland County Schools, she was the only kid they followed up on. Then they contacted us to set up auditions. They wanted to do them the weekend of Kirst's move and I wasn't really taking it seriously and just told them I couldn't. But they insisted on doing it as soon as possible and so we did them last Tuesday and then again on Friday. Claire stayed ON, which I still don't understand (she must have some kind of ambition we didn't know about), and we got the callback Friday saying probably and Sunday saying definitely. It's insane.

I'll be posting about these crazy events as they happen. It should make for a few great reads. I feel like I'm forgetting a lot and I'm sure I am. To me, as crazy as all of this is, it somehow makes sense in the context of my life. And in the crazy life that Kirsten and I are building with Claire.