Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat... Part 2: The ULTIMATE ToT Neighborhood

Calabasas, CA.  The only city in the United States that has an "a" as every other letter.  Where the rich and famous, and I mean RICH AND FAMOUS live when they don't want to live on the West Side.  Eric lived there when we first met, and in fact until we moved into our home.  On the wrong side of the tracks for that city, for the houses on the right side of the tracks are behind gated community check points and start at about 10 million and go up from there.  The houses on the wrong side are "only" about 1 million to 1.5 million dollars.  And on the "wrong" side of the tracks is a special neighborhood where people bring their kids from far and wide.  The reason?  The houses are big, but they are narrow, and go far back onto the property, generally 2 story.  The point is they are narrow.  NARROW.  About 15 feet between front doors.  And even though the people who live there are poor by Calabasas standards, they are hardly without money.  The candy that is handed out is all superb, the shows are spectacular, and the streets are jam-packed with kids.  That is where we went tonight to trick-or-treat.
Actually from last night, Ian and Uncle Al, visiting from Philadelphia

I don't know why this is turning out sidewise, but from bottom to top, Uncle Al, Miles, and Ian.
Tonight's Trick-or-Treating.  The vast majority of the houses where we went are decorated, many of them elaborately.

Who ya gonna call?

Miles has it under control.

Mother & Daughter act.

Just browsing the web!


Just your average stranger on the street, yet they came stranger than this tonight!

A quick rest before tackling the next block.

Ian and Miles.

Viking Fans, anyone?

This was the best house on the block... a full Halloween party with special effects, a DJ, and Michael Jackson videos!

And suddenly we found ourselves at Linda and Paulina's home, where we were greeted by three jack-o-lanterns...

Skeletons in the Palm Trees,

And an open door and invitation to join the party!

Candy Swap.
Add your own caption in the comments... suggested this evening:

  1. He gave us Crabs.
    We are very crabby women.
    It's that time of the month.
    My wives are so crabby that they wouldn't let me eat any Halloween Candy.
    Sisters.  You can tell by the family resemblence.
    We're so crabby that we can't even keep our FB friends.

    Go ahead, add your own caption in the comments... if you care - lol!

Trick or Treat... Part 1

Despite this morning's early trick featuring the appearance of the Indoor Waterfall, today dawned bright, sunny, and cool. A perfect day for a Halloween Party at Slimmons!

Last week, I had envisioned wearing my wedding gown one more time, this time matched up with a Bride-Of-Frankenstein wig for the class, but between the filth splattered over it (there are even wine stains and I never drank a thing... I WONDER who spilled on me?) making it less than desirable to wear, I was at a loss as to what to do. No way was I showing up at class without something memorable! And so I looked around the bedroom and it dawned on me what to wear.

 Yes, that's right.  It's the same grape costume(s) worn by my dogs last week at the reception.

I rearranged the Velcro to attach the two costumes into one, then - at  Eric's suggestion - instead of wearing the dog's hats as hats, festooned them to my legs.  Still, boring.  I added the afro wig that Eric used during the Father-Daughter 60's dance at Lupin Hill Elementary School several years ago with Gabby along with a bandanna.  But the costume still did not seem to be enough.  But then inspiration hit!  I needed to borrow a pair of Eric's Fruit of the Loom underwear and wear them on the outside!!!!   Voila!  That was the touch my costume was missing, and although it was not a winner in Richard's costume contest, I could care less.  It was definitely a crowd pleaser.

Later in the day, after yet another theraputic appointment consulting about "the one," Eric & I came home and responded to Adele's offer to join her and Ian at a haunted house in Woodland Hills.  Uncle Al joined us for dinner and the trip up.  A Halloween display and show put together by a group of Disney employees responsible for inventing and constructing the Haunted Mansion just for the love of doing so, let's just say it was WAY worth visiting!

And still there's the REAL Halloween tomorrow! Uncle Al is going to join us again, and we plan to visit the ULTIMATE trick-or-treat neighborhood in Calabasas. The "wrong side of the tracks" in Calabasas, these homes only cost about a million to buy vs. the more standard 10 to 20 mil home, and they are large, but narrow and long, front doors only maybe 15 feet apart, many good shows, and high quality candy. You can come home with a boatload of goodies after only 1/2 hour to 45 minutes "work," and have been entertained along the way too!

All in all, a very good weekend.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Early Trick, no Treat

Have I mentioned the indoor waterfall feature that our home boasts of?  It's raining cats and dogs outside and as a precaution, I had pulled Miles's air mattress on which he is camping out in the living room out of the "wet zone" earlier this evening when I heard it might rain.  Thank goodness!  Had it not been for proactive action, he'd be soaked right about now.

The feature is currently dripping from about 6 points in the ceiling, requiring a bucket, a trash can, and a kid's wading pool to catch the output.  However, with the intensity of the rain and the duration warned of on the news last night, I expect we will be shopping for more large buckets later this morning.

Oh, but I am so glad that we are renting this house instead of owning it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Life After the Crisis

Eric off to see his Therapist and to see about renting me an office space - an escape hatch, a refuge, and also a place for my creative pursuits to take form, so to speak - in the same building right now.  We're canvasing candidates to take over most of the housekeeping duties here... that being the single biggest factor in my ever-increasing exhaustion due to lack of sleep (trying to keep up) and poor state of mind.  We're working on the issues with the kids too, especially the 'one'... in conjunction with both therapeutic, educational, and legal consultants, to form a strategy to stabilize our home and provide all of them the best care possible both as individuals and as a group. 

Things are going to get better.  Sometimes you have to hit rock-bottom before you can make the changes required to climb out of the hole and this is the first time that I truly experienced that phenomena.  It was horrifyingly awful.  I hope I never have to get to that state again.

I'll forever be grateful to the people who shared my crisis last week, pointing out the errors in my ways, and although I may not have seemed receptive to their ideas and their pain at seeing me like that at the time  (sheer nerves, lack of sleep, a rock-hard deadline that couldn't be changed, and exhaustion colored all of my responses, not helped by an infusion of the experimental poison the day before they arrived), I listened, I learned, and I am acting on their advice.  I know that some of them are still with me, some of them have already made it clear that I am no longer a part of their lives.  The latter saddens me, but even so, I know that the experience helped all of them too.  It was not the normal good times that we expect when I am involved in adventures, but it was still a bonding experience, even as I was left out of that bonding, and I hope that it does everyone good in the long run.

No matter what the future holds, I know my life will be better than it is today,  I've had more sleep in the past couple of days than I have had in months, and with a clearer mind and the pressure off, Eric & I talked this morning about how far we have come and where we are going.  My vision of what this family can become is strong.  Despite feeling like a hamster on a wheel, running faster and faster and going nowhere at the same rate over the past three months, look what we have accomplished!

  1. We have a beautiful home (structurally rotten at the core, but still beautiful) and  for the first time since I've met Eric, he is living in an environment where his most precious possessions are displayed, his house looks like home rather than a warehouse, and the security of living in a beautiful abode that does not look chaotic may, over time, decrease the internal stress level of all the members of our family.  It will take time for everyone to adjust, for especially the kids to trust either Eric or especially me, but just being able to lay your hands on what you're looking for without having to go through a million boxes to find it (or not) is an amazing first step.
  2. The kids are in new schools and mostly are adjusting at an appropriate rate.  We have quickly developed a good working relationship with the administrators in all of their schools, and I am rapidly assimilating the standards of dealing with them.  Dorothy, you're not in Oz anymore.  Entertainment Studio methods of handling management don't apply.  But the principals of management are basically the same and we all have the kids best interests at heart.  Even as I make mistakes in protocol, form, and content when working with this new population, they clearly understand what my intent is and are gently teaching me - as they are teaching our children - how to behave.
  3. We have a plan.  Eric & I both always had the vision and he has the savvy and know-how to schmooze people into helping us just as I supply the backbone and unflinching drive to move us forward.  How to implement the plan, and what is to be prioritized first has changed drastically in the past few days thanks to last week's emotional crisis and great loving advice from people who I respect and care for, but the goal remains the same.  We will get there.
  4. We both have great friends.  I am astounded at how many people came to our reception; people who I and Eric have known and loved over the years... many of them friends that I have not had time to see regularly for a very long time came to celebrate and cherish my new state-of-being, and now that we are prepared - finally - to receive them here in our home (see # 1), I will have the many get-together's that I had longed for in my condo (and Eric in his house) that rarely happened due to lack of space and terrible parking in my case, and chaos in Eric's.  These small 'parties' will not only be good for my own soul and Eric's too, but will set a good healthy model for the kids too.  We don't have to be isolated in our respective homes anymore because of the physical limitations of the environment or the chaos in our lives, and we are going to take full advantage of it.
  5. Eric & I are good for each other.  Even as I have been completely melting down and had lost myself to emotions and fatigue, Eric was there.  He loves me more than I deserve and didn't think was possible.  I love him in a way that he has never experienced before.  Our brains process information in a very similar manner, but our outlooks, our abilities, our talents are very different and compliment each other beautifully.  This is my first marriage and family.  It is his last.  It is my last too.
  6. Neither of us is afraid to seek help when we need it.  Eric needs help with his family and I can provide a strong influence in that regard.  I grew up in an exceptionally dysfunctional environment and know what not to do.  I just don't know how to do the right thing... yet.  I have overcome my desire to hide my weaknesses, and instead, express my vulnerabilities emotionally, and am open to suggestions and not afraid to change up my life direction when the idea and the opportunity presents itself.  That's what brought me here in the first place. Both of us have trouble accepting help from others, but both of us also came a long way in that regard before our relationship got to this level, and we will push each other on, forcing the other to accept the opportunity of generosity from others when one of us falters or flinches.
  7. We have opportunities galore.  I have received a lot of attention for my work in the past few months, public attention, and with an office to work in and the fear of losing medical insurance coverage lessened, I plan to capitalize on that attention and make my "business" what it could be and should be.  My jewelry design and execution is at a point, now, that I know that I am ready to enter the big leagues, and with some stability in my life, I can do so without reservation.  At the same time, with Eric's legal travails about to cease, and with support and back-up from me, he is ready to enact some of the fantastic business ideas that he's been harboring since I've known him.  I've never known anyone to have so many good ideas and the talent and the back-up to make them happen.  I expect that as I start having tremendous success at my passion, Eric will do the same with his.
  8. I even took 90 minutes to work on my orders last night with the full support of Eric, and although other crises in the home overshadowed that fact immediately after it happened, I look upon my output this morning with wonder and happiness.  It is a sign.  I'm not completely gone.  I do have the ability to come back and realize my potential even with the tremendous learning curve and culture shock that I am going through right now.  And I will.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Share The Love: A Different Featured Artist Every Week!

Good Morning!  Eric & I are back from being married in a private ceremony in Yosemite and it's time to get back to business, or at least blogging!  We'll start by this week's featured Artizen at Share the Love:

This weeks Featured Artisan is Elly's Creations! Beautiful creations!
You can find Elly's Creations at:

Ellie makes very pretty and cost efficient jewelry, and certainly is worth checking out.  Although "Marriage Season" is about to wrap up for us with our reception party in a couple of weeks and once it's done, I will start to post the myriad of jewelry that I have made into my own shop, I don't consider handmade jewelry by other artists a competitive business because we all have our own interpretations of even the exact same materials, and in addition, we work with different skill sets and at different pricepoints.

Ellie's work is perfect for holiday gift giving, especially for those people who you would like to acknowledge but you may not want to spend a bazillion dollars on.  Anyone would be proud to wear her work.  Enjoy her shop!

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Don't Know!

Last Saturday night, Eric & I were supposed to have a date night, but I was so incredibly tired that in the end, we went out to dinner and came home to an empty house thanks to Christina.  We had asked her to take the kids out for dinner and follow it up with an evening of bowling to give us some much-needed quiet time.  It was wonderful!  As much as I love the kids, due to one child or another always missing school, I have not had any private time at all.  It's true culture shock after living so many years alone, and although I enjoy the company, sometimes I crave solitude.

They came back home around 10:30 with exciting news.  They had seen Brad Garrett of "Everybody Loves Raymond" fame at Corbin Bowl!  They were trying to remember the show he stars in now, but I was still very tired, in my pajamas, in my bed, and short of patience.  I kicked them all out without completing the conversation.

Last night, Miles brought it up again.  "So what IS the show that Brad Garrett starred in?"  he asked.  "I don't know."  I answered.  "No, really!" he responded.  "What's the name of the show?"  And I answered "I don't know!"

At that point, he started looking very accusatory.  "You know the name of the show.  Tell me!"  And I replied, this time in a more self-assured tone, "I Don't Know.  Really!  It's 'I Don't Know!"

Miles looked confused.  "You've never lied to me before," he said.  "And I'm not now either."  I replied.  "I don't know!"

"I've never lied to you and I'm not starting now either.  But I might tease you a little."  I smiled.  "But I can prove to you that Brad Garrett stars in a show called 'I Don't Know."


"Come with me," and we proceeded to the bedroom where Eric was deeply engrossed on the computer.  He looked a little cross when we interrupted him, but this was of utmost importance.  "Eric," I asked very seriously, "What show is Brad Garrett who used to star in 'Everybody Loves Raymond' starring in now?"  And Eric did not let me down.

"I don't know." he replied.

"See!"  I said to Miles.  His show really IS "I don't know!"


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