Archive for January, 2009

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Coaching

January 8, 2009

TUESDAY
6 January 2009

For many years now, another profession that has appealed to me (in addition to writing/filmmaking) is that of Life Coach.  Yes, I know – add this to the list that also includes stage actor, dog whisperer, roller coaster designer, novelist, fitness magazine cover model, professional psychic, full-time sexy person and trained snorkeler.  So what of it?  I’m layered.

In 2008, when I was still living in Minneapolis, I decided to do a little research about Life Coaching.  A little research never hurt anyone, right?  And it’s free.  Of course, in 2004 I decided to “just do a little research” about nose jobs and a month later had a new schnoz, which definitely was NOT free, as fond as I am of the revised sniffer.

Anyhoo – with Life Coaching, you have the opportunity to help other people become the best version of themselves they want to be, which seriously jazzes me.  THEY still do the work, though, much like a basketball coach is not out there on the field, diamond, court, track … whatever the playing surface in basketball is called … but rather there to help the players focus on their strengths, develop other areas and apply their natural skills to the team and to the goal of winning.

I realized about a week ago that I’ve been seriously studying all of the things that are part of Life Coaching – at least the kind of Coaching I’d like to do – for more than four years!  Clearing life clutter, focusing on what makes you feel good, the Law of Attraction, living presently, etc.  Dang!  As I continued to ponder my studies, I thought of still more research/prep work I’d done even further back in time – such as discovering Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” in 1998/1999 (LOOOOOOVE this book), and even reading Louise Hay’s seminal “You Can Heal Your Life” in my early 20s.  Cool.  I’m not as much of a newbie as I thought.  The Universe has been winking at me all this time.  Who’da thunk?

One of my accomplishments in 2009 (here’s the full list) will be certification as a Life Coach.  Still, I’m intrigued to start sharing what I know, how I can communicate it to others, designing a plan for them, what the whole process will be like for me in the real world and so forth.  This past weekend I was chatting with one of the animal rescue volunteers – the only one who isn’t still a teenager.  He’s an actor, and he mentioned he’s somewhat frustrated with life, career and other things, so I offered to help him out.  I’m sure he’ll be a famous television or film star soon enough, so out of respect for his privacy, we’ll call him Bryan.

We met for coffee today and I said if he was willing to be my guinea pig, I would coach him for free.  As payment, I joked that I would like to be mentioned during his acceptance speech at the Oscars.  (Of course, I might not hear it because I’ll likely be backstage taking questions from the press because I just won too, but these are logistics we can suss out later.)  Bryan’s an ideal client because he is ready for and wants to make changes in his life, and those are the kind of Life Coachees who will make the best progress.  I’ll keep you posted on how all of that goes!

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Life aboard

January 6, 2009

MONDAY
5 January 2009

Not too much excitement today.  I had coffee with a friend, and was excited to start making contact with all the industry people who have been busy since the holidays.  “Call me in the new year!  Call me after the 1st.  We’re hiring in January!”  So it’s finally  here, and that’s good news!

The end of my lease (April 1) is going to show up quickly, so I’ve started looking at apartments.  I need to carefully consider where my next move is going to be, so I want to be clear on what I can get and for how much.  I found one apartment in Marina del Rey that is actually a sailboat in the marina.  How sweet would that be?!  Living on the water in my own little S.S. Minnow.  Plus, it was cheaper than most of the rentals I’d found on Craigslist.

After work yesterday, I made my way there to look at it.  While I was waiting my turn for the boat owner/landlord to show me the boat, I realized how incredibly quiet it was.  Wow.  I’ve been nowhere in LA that was this quiet, not even in the ‘burbs in the Valley.  It was noticeable.  Cool.  Water AND quiet.  Mind you, with all of this, I still have no clue how I would pay for this rental at this time, but anyway…

It was finally my turn and the owner and I chatted while we walked there.  He is a musician in town and he writes/performs music that promotes environmental awareness.  OK, so he’s kindof a hippee like me.  That’s cool.  He’s an Italian guy (I think), so he has an accent that is delightful. During the showing, we talked about art and life and the Universe and creativity, so that was interesting.  I can talk about that stuff endlessly with those willing to listen.  He was an intriguing fellow.  He meditates a lot, and he wants to make sure he rents the space to someone who will use the solitude and quiet of the marina to find peace in their own world, so that their calm energy will then emanate into the world.  I can appreciate that.  As for the boat…

Now, I’m not opposed to a small living space.  Even in my room now with the limited stuff I brought with me from Minneapolis, it is astounding the mess I can create.  For me, more space equates to more mess.  (Hmm, maybe I should rewrite that story.)  However, the boat was just a little TOO cozy.  With a dog in the picture – which there will be – we’d be stepping on each other all the time.  Actually, the boat – while charming – was the human equivalent of a dog crate, only I wouldn’t have enough room to stand up or turn around.  I don’t think it’d be easy living an environment where you can’t stand fully upright without bonking your head.

Going with the dog crate analogy, this was also not a place in which I could go to the bathroom, since there wasn’t a working toilet onboard.  Ouch.  I can deal with having to go to the marina to shower, but when I’ve got to pee at 4 in the morning?  Um, no.  Or got forbid I eat some bad seafood or something.  Eeew.  I don’t even want to think about it.  Would I have to buy a bedpan for these circumstances?  Pee in a jug?  Yeah, this really wasn’t the life I was envisioning for myself.

I enjoyed the chat with the landlord, though, and figured he must have a website where I could hear some of his music.  I asked for a card, but he didn’t have one.  [Sidebar:  I am amazed at the number of people in Los Angeles — the city of networking and connections — who do not have cards at the ready every second.  ONCE I’ve been ‘caught’ without my cards, and it was with a movie producer.  Lesson learned.]  Anyway, he said he’d send me some links since he still had my email.  I told him regardless of how the boat situation works out, he should keep in touch.  As artists, we need to support and help one another out, right?  He agreed, saying we should grab coffee, meditate together and possibly exchange energies.

Um, I’m sorry… what was that last thing again?  “We could exchange energies.”  OK.  Was that a come-on?  I wasn’t sure.  I stood there for a minute, thinking I must’ve looked like a deer caught in headlights, because this has never been proposed to me before.  Then I realized I was just standing there and there had been an awkward pause where no one had spoken.  I said something to end it, but what that was I can’t recall.

“Exchange energies.”  I am giving that to y’all as a freebie.  Try using it on your husbands, wives, significant others, boy/girlfriends, drunken nightclub hook-ups or online tricks and let me know how it works for you.  I’ll publish the results after extensive data has been returned to me.

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Dog days

January 5, 2009

SUNDAY
4 January 2009

Today was a busy day at the animal rescue.  We have these GREAT kids who volunteer with the group.  They walk the dogs one at a time, they sit in the pens and play with the dogs, and they’re able to help answer questions.  They’re probably all between 11 and 13, and it’s encouraging to see them giving up their time to help out.

Unbelievably, Debbie the Doberman (10 weeks old) remains unadopted.

debbiedobie

She is all feet, and her head hasn’t quite grown into her body yet.  She’s bigger now than when I took this picture, but her adorable-ness is also growing exponentially.

It is a little heart-breaking when people surrender their dogs.  This weekend alone, someone turned over their 7 year-old pug named Tyler.  How do you give up a dog you’ve had 7 years?  Another family gave up their three shitzus, two of whom are 10 and one (the father of the other two) who is 14.  They are healthy, gentle, kind, loving and suuuuuper soft.  Like alpaca fur.

Obviously, I don’t have the full details of these surrender situations, and I can’t know what these families are going through.  The dogs know something is up, though.  The looks on their faces … ouch.  “Where’s that dude who fed me for 7 years?  Where’s my cozy little bed next to armchair?  What’s happening here?  Did I do something wrong?”

I’m still a little tentative interviewing prospective pet guardians.  You’re literally putting a dog’s life into someone else’s hands.  Since most of the animals at Good Dog were rescued from a kill shelter, this is their second chance at life.  I want to make sure I get it right.  A few more interviews and I’ll be much more confident about things.

To end this on a happier note, my ex John sent me this fantastic video clip that I’m trying to tell everyone about.  It is actually a beautiful, touching story about a friendship between two animals that chokes me up every time I watch.  Check out the video clip here.

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100 Accomplishments

January 4, 2009

SATURDAY
3 January 2009

A few years ago, I was reading one of the hippie/raw food eating/metaphysical philosophy books I own (and cherish, thanks very much), and the author touted the importance of making a list of 100 things you want to accomplish in the next year.  These aren’t resolutions, mind you.  This is another way of visualizing the life you’d like to lead for the next year.  Much like a vision board, I suppose.  A big, comprehensive list of the things you want to do, see, have, learn, experience, etc.

In the several years I’ve done this exercise, I’ve yet to come up with 100 things.  Can you believe that??  I’m even including things like, “I replaced all of my tattered underwear!” and “Purchased a fancy watch!”  I came up with everything my brain can imagine that I really want right now.  Special thanks to my sister for posting a similar list on her blog from which I ‘borrowed’ several fantastic suggestions.

One of the challenges is that the accomplishments have to be measurable.  Nothing vague like, “I will be in the best shape of my life.”  However, “I gained 15 pounds of muscle” works, as does “I returned to tai chi play three times per week.”  Sometimes, I admit, I’m not 100% successful with this.  I know I’ll keep revamping and revising until it’s compliant with this rule, though.

The list is all over the place – career stuff, personal stuff, travel items, material things.  Writing the list makes you think BIG about everything you want in your life, and not stopping until you reach 100 really forces you to expand your mind.  Here’s my list as it stands right now:

1.  New apartment that is quiet, peaceful, near the beach and where I can have a pup
2.  New bicycle
3.  New car
4.  One screenplay optioned (minimum)
5.  Ran a marathon
6.  Added 15 pounds of muscle
7.  Wrote two new screenplays (minimum)
8.  Became financially independent – my investments earn enough to pay my expenses
9.  Earned $1000 worth of writing income per week (business, creative, technical, articles, etc.)
10.  Up and running with my iPhone
11.  LA365 blog receives 50,000 hits per day
12.  Arctic Dog Films website is up and running
13.  Learned to surf! (and own all the accoutrements)
14.  Met and am sharing life with my next great love
15.  Enjoying my new MacbookPro w/Final Cut and ACS4
16.  Studied & developed my intuitive abilities and put them to use (reading people)
17.  Learned to speak French
18.  Learned to speak Spanish
19.  Went for an extended trip to Paris (and explored Europe, too)
20.  Bought a new guitar
21.  Took guitar lessons and relearned to play
22.  Wrote a song on my guitar
23.  Produced and starred in my own cabaret show
24.  Directed and produced ILLUME
25.  Completely simplified and organized every aspect of my life (a la “Coach Yourself…”)
26.  Went on a ski trip to the Rockies
27.  Trip to NYC
28.  Secured production deals with two companies (one is a major studio)
29.  Started voice lessons again
30.  Relearned TaiChi grand long form
31.  Began regular yoga practice
32.  Took an RSVP, Atlantis or Zoom Vacation
33.  Had a sitting with a professional photographer
34.  Gave $15,000 to charity
35.  Volunteered at least 10 hours per month
36.  Enjoyed monthly spa days
37.  Swam with dolphins
38.  Went horseback riding
39.  Had lunch, dinner or drinks with Oprah Winfrey
40.  Returned to an 80% raw food eating plan
41.  New Vespa
42.  Saved 6 months worth of expenses as a reserve
43.  Paid off my credit cards
44.  Paid back monies owed to my family
45.  Current with my taxes & loved by the IRS
46.  Earned $1,000,000 income!!!
47.  Went on a yoga/meditation retreat
48.  Take an Alaskan cruise
49.  Landed an agent – both literary and directing
50.  Hired an assistant
51.  Hired a housekeeper
52.  Hired a personal, raw food chef
53.  Purchased a high-end watch
54.  Purchased a hi-def television set
55.  Raw foods and health supplements are delivered to my home
56.  Traveled to the Grand Canyon
57.  Traveled to Australia
58.  Developed a photography hobby
59.  Enjoying a sleek, new NIKON D60 digital camera for aforementioned hobby
60.  Finished a triathlon
61.  Revamped my wardrobe/style/image & am able to cultivate it authentically
62.  Wrote & produced fun webisode series about dating
63.  Bought a piano and took piano lessons
64.  Acted in a small role in a film
65.  Performed in a play or musical here in LA
66.  Had coffee, lunch or drinks with Meryl Streep
67.  Had a successful pitch meeting at Focus Features which resulted in an option
68.  Talked with Steven Spielberg at an industry event
69.  Attended a swanky Oscar after-party!
70.  Wrote a novel
71.  Unloaded my Minneapolis condo
72.  Rescued at least two dogs
73.  Attended a Hicks/Abraham seminar
74.  Dinner with Jerry & Esther Hicks
75.  New collection of fancy-schmancy underwear
76.  New running shoes
77.  New running shoe heel inserts
78.  Sweet new rollerblades
79.  Attached a name actor to ILLUME (minimum)
80.  Was mentored by and established relationships with multiple entertainment industry pros
81.  Purchased a brand new professional-grade video camera for vlogging & webisode work
82.  Took golf lessons
83.  Bought golf clubs and golf accoutrements
84.  New backpack/satchel thing for hauling around all m’stuff
85.  Became a certified Life Coach
86.  Slept under the stars
87.  Went to Disneyland
88.  Planted a garden and grew my own vegetables
89.  Went skinny dipping
90.  Kissed that someone special in the rain (see #14)
91.  Went for a moonlit walk along the beach
92.  Went to a drive-in movie (double-feature would be awesome!)
93.  Joined a book club
94.  Visited every major film studio lot in Los Angeles
95.  Took a Hawaiian vacation
96.  Watched the northern lights
97.  Have a new home stereo system
98.  Bought some sweet BOSE noise-reduction headphones
99.  Read every script nominated for “Best Original Screenplay” within the past 10 years
100.  Watched every “Best Picture” Oscar winner for the past 30 years

Give this exercise a try.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds!

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New work begins

January 2, 2009

OK, y’all.  We’ll try this again.  I’m doing my best to write the current entries, as well as rewrite and post ALL of my previous missing entries dating back to November.  My GOAL is to post one new entry here on the top page each day, and I’ll work on posting the make-up entries ASAP, several at a time.  I DO have entries and stories for the past month or more, believe me!  But it is a new year, so I thought it would be good to begin posting current entries again.  Then, when I post the back entries for Nov/Dec, it’ll be kindof like the Star Wars prequels or something.  Well, those weren’t universally loved, so maybe that’s not a great analogy.  Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for reading!

FRIDAY
2 January 2009

Today was my first day working for Good Dog!  It was really foggy today, so Jocelyn and Chance – the couple that runs the rescue – called to tell me they’d opted not to set up for adoptions given the timing and the weather.

I was already on my way to Spot – the pet boutique in Beverly Hills they’ve partnered with for adoptions – when I got the call, so they asked if I’d go walk one of the adopted pups who had been returned that morning.  So sad.  His name is Bo and he’s a beagle/hound mix:

bo

Such a handsome guy.  I took this picture before Christmas.  Bo is the litter-mate of Diddley, the dog who has chosen me as his next guardian.  That situation is gonna take some figurin’ out.  And if Diddley truly is my pup, a name change is definitely in order.

Anyway, it seems Bo was causing a ruckus with this family’s other beagle.  Traumatic for both dogs, and definitely for the family that had to return him.  Ugh.  Adoption returns are never fun for anyone.  Bo will find the right family soon enough.

Anyway, a few of the younger volunteers, Natalie and Tatiana, had shown up, so Chance decided to go ahead and set up shop anyway.  There were no adoptions today, but I think an application or two were filed.  Tomorrow a litter of SEVEN Newfie pups that are eight weeks old are showing up.  That will be cuteness beyond all get out.

After the store closed and everything was packed up, Chance, Jocelyn and I had a pow-wow at Taco Plus to talk about a fundraiser they have coming up, and to figure out some other ways I can use my writing/producing skills to help them.  Good meeting, plus I love riding in their minivan with their 7 dogs!

Tomorrow we start earlier and go later, so it’ll really be a full day.  I’ll get a much better feel for what a typical day is like with Good Dog.  I’m so grateful Chance and Jocelyn have hired me on.  Clearly, they could smell my dog-loving freakishness from 10 miles away!

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A fantastic new year

January 2, 2009

OK, y’all.  We’ll try this again.  I’m doing my best to write the current entries, as well as rewrite and post ALL of my previous missing entries dating back to November.  My GOAL is to post one new entry here on the top page each day, and I’ll work on posting the make-up entries ASAP, several at a time.  I DO have entries and stories for the past month or more, believe me!  But it is a new year, so I thought it would be good to begin posting current entries again.  Then, when I post the back entries for Nov/Dec, it’ll be kindof like the Star Wars prequels or something.  Well, those weren’t universally loved, so maybe that’s not a great analogy.  Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for reading!

THURSDAY
1 January 2009

I can not express in blog-space how excited I am about 2009.  The last year definitely presented its challenges, but I have come to peace with them and am actually grateful for all I’ve been through this year.  I know I am stronger, better and wiser than I was at this time last year.  Well, let’s hope I’m wiser!

The first day of the new year started at 6:00am when I heard my housemate Jeffrey come in from the New Year’s Eve festivities he attended downtown.  I heard the door open, but the footsteps weren’t Jeffrey’s.  I could tell because they were very fast-paced, very scritch-scratchy, and it was obviously more than two feet walking across the floor.

I went to see what the dealeo was.  There was Jeffery closing the door, but he had a guest: a furry little white poodle-type dog who was prancing around the room, tongue out, panting, happy to be alive.  “This dog followed me home,” he said.  Jeffery, not the dog.  I could tell he hadn’t been roaming the streets for a long time or anything, because it was pretty healthy and well-fed.  I got him some water, and we checked the collar for a tag.  Bentley was his name, and Jeffrey called the owner.  Here’s a picture I snapped with my camera phone (of Bentley, not the housemate).

bentley

Well, Bentley was about as happy-go-lucky as a dog can be.  We should all be so lucky to have this much enthusiasm for life.  I sat in a chair in the living room and Bentley jumped up next to me, put one of his paws and his snoots on my leg.  Jeffrey went to bed since he’d been up all night, and I wanted some extra rest, too.  I went back to my room and Bentley followed right quick, hopped up in the bed with me and settled in for a little nap.  Such a cutie.  If only my dates were as willing…

The call came for Bentley at about 8:30am.  Turns out he’d escaped the yard at 11:45 the previous night and had been wondering around all night, presumably until he found Jeffrey.  There were three other dogs who were still unaccounted for.  The woman who picked up Bentley was dogsitting him, but the other three dogs were hers.  She had been up and out all night searching for them.  What an agonizing start to the new year for her.  I am keeping my fingers crossed her dogs make a safe and healthy return home.  It turns out she works for the vet who does a TON of the veterinary work for the animal rescue group I am working with.  What’re the odds??

It being the new year and all, I FINALLY decided: “OK, damnit!  I’m going to the beach today!!”  I hopped on a #333 Venice Boulevard bus and was at Venice Beach in all of 10 minutes.  The ‘boardwalk,’ I am calling it – with all the shops, booths, tarot readers, street musicians and… let’s kindly call the rest a ‘unique cross section of the human species’ – was busy with walkers and gawkers.  I wasn’t that interested in the shops, a slice of pizza, a henna tattoo or a seeing a two-headed turtle at the Museum of Oddities.  I just wanted to visit the water.

The payoff was worth it.  It was really peaceful and beautiful.  Cloudy today, but here’s a picture:

venice-sunset-0011

I found myself wondering “How have I not lived here my whole life?”  It felt very natural to me.  Is Libra a water-sign?  I dunno.  I love the ocean:  the smell of the salt water and the sound of the waves.  The water crashing and the wind blocks out all the other sounds of the city… traffic, people, industrial hum.  It is quite magnificent.  I sat down and took some time to think about how truly grateful I am to simply be alive during this time.  I can’t explain it, but I know I am being watched over.  There is some greater purpose for me here, and I’m closer than I’ve ever been to understanding what that is.  2009 will be astonishing and wonderful.