The part where I talk about living near Movieland, USA

I was talking to someone the other day and commenting that it's interesting to live in this area because almost everyone you meet is related to or has met someone who's famous. So you start collecting these interesting stories about the famous and their behavior. Some of the best stories I ever heard were from a friend who worked as a personal shopper at Fred Segal. If you read any celeb rags at all, you know that the rich and famous practically LIVE at Fred Segal. My friend was the guy who used to gather up clothes he thought particular people would like and take them to their houses for the people to check out. He had interesting things to say about the Pitt/Aniston house, and also about Winona Ryder, Minnie Driver, etc.

So anyway, here are my few stories about the famous and infamous that I've met around here. Starting with the biggest.

--When I was 14 Arnold Schwarze....you know, the governor, was directing a movie called Christmas in Connecticut. They were using a Friends church in Arcadia for some of the scenes, and my dad took me up to watch the filming. We ended up being extras in the movie, and I got Arnold's autograph. He's short.
--My friend Elisa went to USC, and I visited her at her dorm once. She shared a suite with that kid from Growing Pains, the blonde one. Jeremy something. He wandered in when we were hanging out and seemed pretty cool.
--I have a great uncle who has an Oscar, earned for sound editting on Star Wars.
--Nathan and I happened to be hanging out at the Kodak Pavillion in Hollywood the night that Freaky Friday opened across the street at the El Capitan and Lindsay Lohan was escorted past us as she fled the paparazzi.
--I was shopping in Santa Monica one day and in one of the shops I saw Chad Lowe, who used to play Jesse on Life Goes On, but is really most famous for being married to Hilary Swank. He saw me recognize him and gave me a look like, "Please don't blow my cover." So I didn't.
--And the numerous friends over the years who have been in commercials.

So I haven't REALLY gotten to meet anyone super famous. But living around here is fun because there's always the possibility that you might. And one of my favorite things is running across movie sets around town. People film on Greenleaf in Uptown Whittier a lot, and on Third Street in Santa Monica. The best one I've seen was a night in Whittier when they were filming Father of the Bride 2, the scene where they're driving to the hospital. They had Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short, Kimberly Williams, and that Culkin kid stuffed in an SUV on the back of a flatbed truck and were driving up and down Greenleaf over and over and over...

So, what famous people have y'all met? I want your stories to add to the collection....

P.S. Oh, and my grandma dated Mickey Rooney back in the 30s. Pretty cool, huh?


I want a parrot

I have long looked forward to having a child, simply because there is a particular age, when the child has begun to learn to talk, at which you can teach them to say ANYTHING YOU WANT. How fun is that? And when it's my kid, I can teach him to say the things I wasn't allowed to teach my nieces ("shake your booty" got me in a lot of trouble).

Morgan was almost 2 years old when 9/11 happened. She was quickly taught to say that she "didn't like bin Laden" and that the bad guy was "Mohammed Atta." At that age her favorite baseball team was the Dodgers, her favorite car was a Ferrari, her favorite group was U2, and her favorite building was Library Tower. And she would sometimes tell you that "My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius!"

Tonight we had dinner at Brian and Ashlee's. Eszter is at that magic age. She calls her parents Daddy-o and Mamacita, and when we showed up she was wearing a pair of gloves on her feet. She sometimes says "Hijo le!" and has been known to use the Spanish words for near and far. She knows that men don't carry purses, they carry man bags, and today she informed her mother that "Eszter is a woman!" I'm trying to teach her the term fashion victim (I have high hopes). Tonight we were forbidden to mention that we were drinking Sprite, because Eszter would want some. So we decided to call it beer. Brian said, "Eszter, can you say Cerveza?" And she joyfully answered back, "Cerveza!!" She may or may not have been holding a shot glass at the time. I can't wait until this one comes up in the church nursery.

And I can't wait until next year!


Clearly, my readers are geniuses. Or genii. Whatever.

I asked some unanswerable questions, and voila (WAH-LAA!), I got answers. You guys are the best! I had never thought that Bedrock was in the heart of England, but it all makes sense to me now. Clint, were you and Fred friends? Did you collaborate?

So here's the story of our first date. Figure it out if you can, we can't.

Nathan was in practice in an office down in Anaheim. I had recently taken a friend to get adjusted by him, then decided a few weeks later that I also needed chiropractic care. Just an excuse, really. The first time I went in we were talking about movies we'd seen recently. I asked if he'd seen Titanic and he said no. I'd seen it an embarrassing number of times (I'll discuss my addiction in another post) and couldn't believe that there was one living, breathing person in the country that wasn't in love with it. The next time I went to Nathan's office I mentioned that I'd bought Titanic on video, and we should get together and watch it sometime. Nathan's contribution was to say, "Cool. How about Tuesday?" That's my version. Nathan says that all I said was that I bought Titanic on video, and HE was the one that said, "We should watch it sometime. How about Tuesday?" So, my dear readers, I don't think there's any way that you can really figure out what happened. You would have to have been there. Nathan says he has a witness, one of his patients was standing nearby during the whole exchange. I guess it will always be a mystery. We've agreed to disagree.

P.S. That encounter was more than eight years ago, and here we are, happily married for three and a half years. A lot happened between the first date and the wedding, but it all worked out well. And only recently did I learn that Nathan HATES Titanic, and did from the opening scene. And yet, he endured almost four hours of slop for me. Is that love, or what? Recently, he endured The Aviator, Sense and Sensibility, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for me. What a guy!


I think about

We just got back from an overnight trip to Tulare. It was for a sad reason: Nathan's grandfather passed away a few weeks ago, and the memorial service was this afternoon in Tulare, where he lived most of his life. It's always sad to lose a loved one, but this loss happened very peacefully and in God's (as ever) perfect timing. Grandpa lived a long, full life, and was getting to the point where he was really restricted in his actions by his health. The thing that Grandpa feared maybe the most was having to live in a "home" for old folks, and he passed away right before that would have had to happen. He spent the last six or seven years of his life living in the guest house at Nathan's parents' place, just 10 steps from them. We will miss him, and "Spike" (as he called Judah) will never know him. But the service today was nice, and was more a celebration of his life than a mourning of his passing. He is in heaven today, having accepted Jesus through "that Billy Graham thing," as he told Ken.

Although the reason for the trip was sad, Nathan and I used the opportunity as a little get-away for ourselves, as well. We left Judah at home in good hands with Grammy and Papa and drove up yesterday afternoon. We got to Exeter, where we were staying, in time to check out a couple of antique stores. In one of them I found a really cool old avocado crate label from the 40s. The brand was O'Don, and they were grown in La Habra. Yay! We also stopped for a few minutes in the town of Lindsay, where my mom was born, and checked out the church my grandpa used to pastor. Later on we went to Visalia for dinner and a movie: Curious George! GO SEE IT. It's awesome. And the music (Jack Johnson) is the best part. George reminded us of Judah. :)

After the service today we drove home through the Central Valley. It's so ridiculously flat that it's hard to believe. All those hills all around, and then suddenly a perfectly flat floor for thousands and thousands of acres. The sun was setting and it was so clear and beautiful. And on long drives I always think about stupid things. I have a list of questions that I want to ask God when I get to heaven. Nathan says that when I get there I probably won't care about those things anymore, but I hope I do. They're interesting to me! Here are some of my questions. If you have the answers, let me know!

Who built Stonehenge?
Has there been a single day in the last 100 years on which no babies have been born?
Who has to shuck the miniature corn for salad bars?
If the world stopped spinning for just one second, would we all go flying into space?
Is time linear or cyclical?
Who initiated our first date: me or Nathan? (He swears it was him, I think it was me...)
Who WOULD win in a fight: Mighty Mouse or Superman?


Another manifestation of Murphy's Law

How come people who blare music never blare GOOD music? It's always something horrible with way too much bass. I thought we'd escaped this when we left Brea for the yuppie paradise of Yorba Linda. Back in Brea we lived on the one ghetto street in the city. Our complex was usually okay, but across the street was the barrio, and they blared ranchera music at truly ungodly hours. You know, it's that music that always has the same beat, it goes, bomp-BOMP-bomp-BOMP and there's always an accordian. So anyway, we thought we'd escaped it out here, and then the new people moved into apartment three. They like to party. And while it isn't ranchera music, it's possibly worse. Rap. And then tonight. Tonight it was Meatloaf. I'm not kidding. And the only song anyone knows of his is "Anything for Love," and that was the only one they blared. Not once, not twice, but FIVE TIMES IN A ROW. Judah woke up crying during the fifth playing, along with another baby we could hear down the way. I don't blame them. I almost cried too.

Meatloaf. Honestly.


Can anyone explain this to me?

Are we missing something? We live pretty close to Anaheim Hills, where the fire is right now, and we thought we knew the geography pretty well. The official reports say the the fire is burning on the EAST side of the 241. But if the fire's burning between the 241 and Serrano, that means it's burning on the WEST side of the 241. We checked this out on Google Earth and everything, and it just isn't making sense. And all the TV stations and news websites are saying it wrong, as far as we can tell. Can anyone clear this up for me? Are we directionally challenged or something?

Like I said....

Guess what's happening today?

Did I call it or what? If this thing spreads, we're going to have to listen to all the millionaires cry about their homes, then watch them rebuild in the exact same places so that they can whine again next time it rains and their new homes slide down the cliffs.


We do so have seasons here! They're just....different.

A lot of places have seasons like summer, winter, fall, and spring. But that's boring. You can find that anywhere. Here in Southern California our seasons are a little different. And to make things even more interesting, they don't happen in the same order every year. Some of them don't even happen every year. And some of them happen many times a year. Here are some of the seasons we have in SoCal, and approximately when they happen:

Summer: March 1st through December 31st. Temperatures are high and it's almost always sunny. Any day is a good beach day.

Slightly cooler summer: January 2nd through February 28th (February 29th is up for grabs). Temperatures are a little bit lower than normal summer, and sometimes we get a couple drops of rain, but it's usually sunny and clear.

January 1st: Weather can be clear or cloudy, but it never EVER rains on January 1st. There have been only three exceptions to this season in the last 117 years.

El Nino season: Happens once every few years, and has no set pattern, regardless of what people try to tell you. There are floods and storms of Biblical proportions, and most houses in Laguna and Malibu are destroyed by landslides. Again.

Earthquake season: Can happen at any time during the year, usually only for one day at a time. Characterized by high temperatures, overcast skies, still air, and an eerie silence. Only people who don't live here say that you can't predict earthquakes. We know better.

Santa Ana season: September through November, but can happen any time. Santa Anas are strong winds that blow over trash cans and pile 2 inches of dust on your car. During a Santa Ana you can't see LA, even if you're standing in the center of it.

Fire season: May through December, but also whenever. The area is composed entirely of dead brush, so the whole thing catches on fire for no reason (arsonists) every couple years. Or a couple times every year. All the houses in Malibu and Laguna that survived El Nino burn down during fire season.

See how exciting it is here? Who needs colorful leaves and snow when we have fires and floods? It's like a little tiny apocalypse right in your own backyard.

This post has been brought to you by the Sierra Fire, currently burning a few miles away in Anaheim Hills. It's a doozy. Who's got the s'mores? I'm just kidding about that. That was rude.


But more than the words, it was the look on her face, as if Paradise had just opened before her

"It doesn't matter why you're taking the road trip. All a road trip means is you get to eat at new In-N-Outs that you've never eaten at before!"
~Ashlee Cowell, 1.31.06