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A Spooktacular Time

I usually plan to do something fun for Halloween but, in the end, my lack of follow-through generally outweighs my good intentions. This year, though, I am pleased that I not only completed the outfit I intended to, but I attended a fun Halloween event...on the day of no less!

Since I have no shame, I wore my Scarlett costume to work on Friday. Fortunately, the others in my office shared in the spirit. The fact that I drew my inspiration from the 1982 GI Joe action figure was not lost on them. (I guess it helps that they're mostly artists.) In fact, a good deal of them dressed up as well! One of the guys wore a sweet Max costume from "Where the Wild Things Are"...sewn by a fellow costumer and friend: Maria.

After having several last-minute afternoon meetings, where I wondered if people took me seriously with my flaming red wig, I rushed off to join up with other friends/costumers: Shawn and Colleen. They were helping out with a haunted "yard" in Studio City called The Witch's Castle. It was very nicely set up. Colleen dressed as the creepiest "dead girl" I have ever seen! When people would come around the tree she would be sitting quietly (sometimes singing softly) on her swing, gripping her doll by the neck, and staring straight into their eyes. Kids and adults alike were completely unnerved. Many would come back again and again just to look at her.

Halloween is fabulous. It's the one day of year that everyone else joins in on something the rest of us love to do every day: play dress up!

My Not-So-Sexy Suit

Except for possibly the "career" mocap actors, getting in the spandex suit for most actors is not exactly an ego-boosting experience. These suits are spandex and tight-fitting for a reason. One of the actors once called it his "sexy suit." But, I have to say, that is far from how I felt about it when I dawned one for the first time yesterday. (Yes, I've been in the industry for almost four years and this was my first time...shocker!) I can barely look at pictures of myself in the suit. Bleh. Not attractive!

I decided to run my own test shoot in order to put some of the things I've been talking about to my team to the test. The good news is that there was no need to go to lunchtime yoga after the shoot. The bad news is that my knees and elbows are sore from all the joint locks I was doing and I have some small, deep bruises on my back where the markers dug into me during a judo roll. How do these actors do this all day long? We should install a hot tub for everyone to sit in at the end of a shoot. Mmm. Hot tuuubbb.

A Me Weekend

I've spent the last two days being very self-centered...in a good way! I've finally dug in and spent the time to clean out my second bedroom to be my proper sewing/project room instead of the giant storage closet it had turned into. Several trips to the recycling bin and Goodwill Donation Center later, I was able to use my re-found (is that a word?) space to sew the red shoulder patch for my Scarlett costume. Organization = happiness!

I took a break from my mostly indoor weekend to soak up some sunshine in my garden. Okay, technically it belongs to the Crosbys. Lucky for me that neither of them enjoys gardening like I do so I have been given carte blanche (effectively) to plant, mulch and weed to my heart's content. Yes, I know it's strange that I even enjoy weeding. Oddly enough it makes me miss my late bunny Penny. She would have loved that clover I dug up from around the privet bush!

All of this house work and gardening has left me happy but a bit sore. Fingers crossed that lunchtime yoga isn't too brutal tomorrow!

Becoming Scarlett

One of my favorite childhood memories is playing GI Joe with my brother. Naturally I played the only female character at the time: Scarlett. She was very cool; she had flaming red hair and a crossbow. How can you not love that?

I remember being very sad when I lost that tiny little crossbow in the tall grasses surrounding our air conditioning unit in Millington, Tennessee. The original action figure itself has been long gone by this point in my life, but I smile everytime I think of tough, no-nonsense Scarlett and her weapon of choice.

Well, being a self-proclaimed costumer I can certainly do more than just remember her. I can recreate...even become...my dear Scarlett. Halloween turns out to the be the perfect deadline to provide the motivation I need for this project. And, I'm happy to say, that I am well on my way to being done in time! Woo-hoo!

Things on the list:
- red hair - wig arrived in the mail last week
- boots - bought a pair last night at the mall
- gloves - still have to find some...ideally which will match the boots
- olive catsuit (first layer) - ordered and (theoretically) on its way
- beige leotard (second layer) - arrived and fits perfectly
- crossbow - Shawn promises to let me borrow his (yippee!)
- throwing stars - need to decide if I want to order some or make some
- red shoulder pad - made the prelim version this morning; need to quilt grid, then done
- grenade - need to make one from a small tomato paste can
- belt - picked one up from army surplus store
- pouches for belt - need to order from military store on-line
- pouches for boots - need to pick up leather to make pouches

I can hardly wait to finish putting everything together!!


Family Heirlooms

Today I received a package in the mail from my Texas granny. In it was my great-grandmother's 1925 wedding dress and slip. Both the dress and slip are simple but sweet. They were constructed with french seams, and the dress itself has some lovely pin tucks. There are spots that need repair but, generally speaking, they're both in reasonable shape. The best news is that they actually fit me! I plan to take a picture of myself in it to send to my grandmother this weekend. She'll be so pleased!

Also in the package was my great-grandmother's favorite bonnet and handbag. The bonnet is the one she wore practically every day around the ranch; it's soft and faded. (That side of the family has been in Texas for _many_ generations.) I'm not sure at what point in her life she had the handbag, but she clearly took care of it.

When I called my grandmother today to let her know about receiving the package she mentioned that she has a couple of more goodies for me. She plans to find them when I come for my Christmas-time visit. One of the things she mentioned is a stoll which was made from a red wolf that my grandfather shot on his ranch. Now, I don't like the idea of killing animals just for their fur. However, if there was a wolf on the property I know my great-grandfather was primarily concerned with protecting his goats. Perhaps I'm just rationalizing, but it makes me feel better.

Pondering an EMBA

A couple of weeks ago I had the great opportunity to attending a week of management training at UCLA. I took classes on organizational politics, business administration and transitioning from technical to managerial responsibilities. I certainly learned a lot, but I have to say that what I especially enjoyed was the networking with fellow managers, albeit in completely different industries. It reminded me that I'm not alone with the frustrations I face day to day at work.

One of the things that I started thinking about again, while I was in class, was the thought of getting an MBA. I thought about it before when I was at Corning, but I never did it. Then, of course, I ended up changing careers and coming out to LA. I'm still trying to decide if investing the time and money is worth it. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on the subject. On one hand, some say, yes, get an MBA in case you want to run your own business someday or be an executive making business decisions. Others say it's not worth it because you can learn what you need on the job.

The nice thing is that if I decide to pursue this degree I have the option to attend a school (LMU) that is conveniently situated halfway inbetween home and work. Plus, I could earn the degree while still working. Reading LMU's promotional materials I have to say that the concept feels more and more exciting.

In the end, I know that I have to decide for myself whether or not it's worth it. So, I thought I would outline some of the reasons why I think it might be a good idea...for me.

* Develop understanding in areas as finance, accounting, marketing, etc.
* Network with other professionals.
* Find mentors for help with tough decisions.
* Flesh out my resume and increase my chances for career advancement.
* Learn the unwritten rules of business and management.
* Contribute to whatever industry I'm in by making _educated_ decisions.

Hmm. Still thinking...

My first earthquake!

Okay, not exactly. I've been here six years, and this is (oddly enough) the first one I've felt/noticed. It probably helps that I'm on the 4th floor. It was a soft, rolling sensation.

Anyone who's been through a major earthquake likely doesn't share my enthusiam. But, I at least want to note it for my record.

Here's the official notice:

A minor earthquake occurred at 7:57:08 PM (PDT) on Tuesday, September 30, 2008.
The magnitude 3.0 event occurred 4 km (2 miles) N of El Segundo, CA.
The hypocentral depth is 14 km ( 8 miles).

yummy vitamin D

I love sunshine. This is perhaps my favorite part (aside from my good friends) about L.A. I went home for lunch today and was reminded of why I love living here. Sun...without the humidity I grew up with. The weather could not have been more perfect. Even my kitty was laying in front of the door soaking up some rays. I even made use of my grill. I made a very tasty veggie burger with spinach and yogurt cheese...mmmm...

As the Stomach Churns...And the Head Spins

Okay, I need a do-over for today. It was...challenging...but, oddly, more on a physical level than anything else. I started off the day with a crick in my neck. (Maybe a pinched nerve?) Then I think my salad dressing for lunch had dairy in it because the afternoon was spent with a massive stomach ache. That was less than fun especially considering I had further dealings with my "favorite" client. I don't which pain was worse, come to think of it.

The highlight of the day came when Colleen helped me fit my mock-up. (Of course, keeping with the theme, that was punctuated with an accidental poke or two with pins.) Sadly it needed so much pinning that I will definitely need to do a second mock-up before I can even hope to start cutting the real material. Well, I know what my spare time this week will entail!

Back to the motif for the evening: pain. As I was putting my sewing project into the trunk I failed to notice that I didn't raise the trunk high enough and smacked my head (just below the hairline) on the edge of it. As it turns out, that was just foreshadowing for what was to come.

I made it to my salsa class (now on Monday nights) where I was introduced to Elisabeth's replacement: Elizabeth. Yep, that's right. And, get this, the other person we were considering was another Elizabeth. What's really funny is that I'm an Amy Beth. Go figure. Things were going along well, considering I still can't count salsa music worth a darn, until Salar and I tried a particular move. (Very few of the moves seem to have actual names.) Well, it ended up being more kungfu than salsa. Salar's elbow came straight back as I was stepping forward...we made contact very similar to the one I had with the trunk earlier in the evening. That one took me down. I literally had to sit on the floor with my hands on my head for a while. They brought me ibuprofen and ice. Yes, I did cry some. Come on, it hurt!! (Salar felt pretty bad.) After I was able to get back to practice, the guys started gently teasing me...calling me a unicorn. Yep, there's a nice big, very visible knot in the middle of my forehead now. I'm thinking about painting it to look like my third eye. :)

sew productive

Today was a lovely day full of plenty of "Amy time". I finished sewing the mock-up for the 40's dress. I mended my blue skirt with the neverending rows of ruffles. I made some progress on the blouse I'm making to match a skirt I picked up in the Philippines. And, I'm in the middle of baking a couple of loafs of banana bread. (There were a couple of dozen unused bananas left over from Friday's shoot at work.) I'm interested in finding out how they taste; this is the first time I've tried this recipe and it's a little unusual. (It's from my allergen-free recipe book.)

I'm so looking forward to the four-day weekend coming up. Why oh why can't we have four-day weekends every week? Boo. Oh, well. I guess I'll just enjoy the time I do have off. :)