Sunday, November 28, 2010


Well, it's the end of November, the end of warm weather (though compared to Utah the warm weather here never ends) and the end of my first quarter at UCLA. I can't believe 1/3 of my program is already over, but I feel like I've already gained a lot. I'm learning to assimilate the story/writing process more and I'd say that is probably the most valuable thing I've gained so far. In my Wednesday workshop class we've spent most of the time outlining our first screenplay to make sure everything's in place so I'll start really writing it over the break. A few weeks ago I was reading this article on Buddhism and the idea of Non-Attachment (enlightening in and of itself) but I realized you really can't get too attached to anything in life, not even ideas. The screenplay ideas and characters I started with at the beginning of class have vastly changed over the weeks and I'm already in a far different place than where I started. Everything does change. And the more I learn the more I realize one really has no control over anything in life except oneself (and sometimes that's even hard.)

Last weekend my sister and her family came to visit me. I tended my twin nieces all day Saturday with some action-packed plans: going to the beach, making cookies, and introducing them to one of the greatest movies of all time - Star Wars. I can't believe it took this long. They actually wanted to watch it again before bed. Abby's favorite character is Chewbacca.
Thanksgiving I spent in Orange County with my aunt Lizzy and her family. It was all about Netflix and turkey (and of course being thankful.) I was kind of disgusted with myself and how many pumpkin desserts I ate so I didn't really eat on Saturday since I was at work all day serving people more food anyway.
I have to admit it's a lot easier to feel lonely around the holidays in my little house on the hill, but lately I've noticed more and more that I'm not alone. The ants are moving in, not content to trickle in along the floor anymore but they're up on the kitchen counters, the bathroom shelves, even in the closed cupboards (that one freaked me out a little.) No matter how much I clean up stuff, they greet me every morning. Half the time I don't really do anything to get rid of them because they're the only company I have and really, when you think about it, what is the big deal anyway? This house is big enough to let the little ants get warm. I wonder if ants were included in Sleeping Beauty's chorus of singing animals, or if it was only creatures over 3 inches tall...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Calendar, Cashiering, & a Banana Nut Muffin

It dawned on me the other day that the streets in my neighborhood including the street I live on, "the Path of the Stars," have no sidewalks or street lights. I think it's perhaps indicative of the path to your own stars - your dreams and highest goals - that there isn't always a set path or consistent guideposts along the way. You have to make your own path.
All that is to say I wake up everyday feeling lost and often guide-less on this journey of my life, but I keep going even in the dark. I've become a person who likes night much better than morning and I usually have to drag myself out of bed earlier than I'd like, to run, read, write and either go to class or work. Which reminds me, I started a new part-time job last week at The Corner Bakery down the street. I wanted to make some extra money and thought it'd be a no-brainer so I can have the bulk of my time and energy for my program. Boy was I wrong. I'm starting to think it could be that I'm actually not adept at anything, including something as mundane as cashiering. I've never seen so many buttons with so many options in my life, and by the way people are very impatient. I didn't expect middle-aged moms to be yelling "tuna on rye" at me.
I also babysit twice a week for 3 hours (I feel like I'm a teenager again with these blasts from my past jobs, but it's been humbling.)I tend a boy, 9 months, and girl around 3 or 4. The best part of that is the little girl calls me "Calendar" because either she can't say my name or she forgets it. Either way, I have a pretty unique nickname. Other than school and work, I've been trying to be social as much as I can, going between LA and Orange County where I know more people and have some friends. This past Saturday night was the annual Service Auction the two singles ward in LA put on to raise money for families at Christmas. Among the items up for bid were Dancing with the Stars tickets and a week at a beach house in El Salvador. My contribution - I bought a banana nut muffin for a dollar. I stayed the night and went to a ward in LA the next day for church where Larry King's 2 boys were part of the primary program. My favorite part was when the class got up to say how they helped serve others and one of the boys said he made his own bed so the maid wouldn't have to. I had to laugh. Just another day in the life...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Red at Redondo

So, after leaving CA two years ago for a Utah sabbatical I'm back again (I figured I might as well since my license plate and driver's license still say California.) Plus an amazing house-sitting gig in Redondo Beach and a year-long screenwriting program at UCLA fell into place at the same time and were too good to pass up so here I am - a walk away from the beach, Trader Joes, and Yogurtland. Ah...
I've been here for 6 weeks now and am feeling more settled in my program and living arrangements.
The floral couch and 70s frames are even starting to grow on me, but though I'm living in an old lady house I'm still not ready to become an old lady yet. I would like a dog though. It does get lonely. Sometimes I talk to myself in the mirror. Or without a mirror.

The neighborhood's quiet, the view's amazing, and the street I live on actually means "Path of the Stars" (I know, cool right?) I'm starting to feel the magic again. I have class 2 nights a week and will be writing 2 screenplays this year. The program started at the end of September and ends in May, all taught by professionals. I've already learned a lot and am finding it very challenging (I'm also finding that I'm stupider than I thought. But Socrates would say that means I'm really learning so I often console myself with that thought.
Honestly, I'm here doing this program because I just love stories and I want to be better at writing and creating them. I believe Joseph Campbell is right. Sometimes you just have to follow your bliss, even if that means living off of hummus and crackers for awhile and using 1-ply toilet paper. I will be more valiant about keeping this updated now for anyone that wants to know or see what I'm up to here, and how the adventures of red (that's me) being in Redondo Beach are unfolding (at least writing about it lessens my talking to myself). Happy November everyone!