Thursday, January 31, 2008

Step Monster

That has to be the title of the show since that is what my step kids call me. I'm touched by the thought people have given my request and I appreciate the free ideas. My biggest problem is how do I get the kids in the same house as the stepmother. I know this seems like a totally easy thing to do but since I need to be able to write from my own experience to make it real, I need the living situation thing solved. Or maybe I don't. Long distance step-mothering? Communicating via IM, video conferencing and blog? Maybe I just keep the kids in the same city as the stepmother and not worry about being in the same house. Some times getting together when we are in the same city is just as hard as getting together when we are separated by a country.

(Having reread this post about 10 times it seems like same city, different town is the way to go. Then you can still incorporate all the technology if you wanted. You don't need to be all that separated to IM. Sam & I have video-conferenced one another from different floors of the house. But the city/suburb thing seems like a direct rip-off of the 1998 Julia Roberts/Susan Sarandon classic, StepMom? ** I'm not being ironic. I love that movie and I will watch it anytime it's on. Sort of the way I will watch Bridget Jones or Die Hard over and over again.)

Anyway, I know this is all a little boring and I apologize for trying to work something out on the blogosphere. I should probably just go back to doing my "Morning Pages" (from The Artist's Way) instead of treating my blog like a brainstorming session. But, come on, what else you got to do today?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blogger's Block

I've had a bit of blogger's block this week. Before I left for my weekend in Tahoe, I linked all y'all to my sister-in -law Michelle's blog. The things she writes about and the way she writes has blocked me a bit. I was so impressed by what she had done in a quarter of the time I've have had this blog, I was intimidated. Then I became blocked. Everything I wanted to write about seemed stupid and then I realized that I couldn't even remember the stupid things I wanted to write about.

On top of that, I went away this weekend with my friend who is also my agent. Like any good saleswoman, she pushes me to write something. In order to sell me, I need to give her something to sell. She wants a show about me being a step-mother. My problem is that I don't really feel like a stepmother. I feel like a really cool aunt. I'm not part of the kids' everyday life. Which is normal since they live in Brooklyn.

I've told Ivy I need her help with this and she is totally on board. She is acutely aware of all the teen angst around her and is always willing to offer it up. (Proper discretion is always practiced -- so I'm not putting you on blast, Dogger.) Problem is, I don't know what the story is if these kids aren't in your life everyday. I see them grow in tremendous increments because I don't seem them so often but it's the excruciating, day-to-day details of that heart ache that make a show great. (Think: My So Called Life.)

My point is: anyone who has any thoughts or ideas, please comment. Or tomorrow I'm gonna start posting my character breakdowns for my show based on my experience at Vito. (Think Cheers set in a cheesy Italian restaurant. Sells itself, right?)

Friday, January 25, 2008


I'm off for the weekend. Going to Lake Tahoe with a group of girls for a ski weekend. (Yes, another all expense paid ski weekend. No, I don't know why your friends aren't paying for you to fly all over the country to ski. Ask them.) Only problem is, I can't ski. I threw my back out on Monday lifting a case of Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon at Vito. Kerri has given me a shot of anti-inflammatory in the ass twice this week. It helps but I'm still not right.

I look forward to sitting in the log cabin all day on Saturday while everyone else skis. Maybe I'll even write something. Maybe not.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Plugging Another Blog

My sister in law Michelle has decided to enter the blogosphere. (I know she just read that and regurgitated her coffee -- or martini, depending on the time of day.)

She started the blog as an exercise to write everyday. Some entries are straight up writing chores (you can play along at home and do them, too -- she explains the exercise at the end of each entry) and others are just funny (really funny) glimpses into her life.

Be sure to read her entries entitled "Guilty Pleasures 1-4." Here's the link to Michelle's blog:

Scenes From A Notebook

Portrait of the Birthday Boy

Michelle was kind enough to send me a new photo of Larry. This picture is from Garrett's birthday party not Larry's which if you look closely you can tell from Larry's seemingly forced smile. My guess is that he's having a nice time posing with his kids but really, he can't wait to get out of where ever they were so he can go home and watch SportsCenter.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Larry!

Today is my brother Larry's birthday. I don't know how old he is. 44 maybe? I never remember my brothers' birthdays (as I posted about once before) but my brother Jimmy commented on my 4:44 post and sent along a birthday message to Larry with the comment. (Thanks for the heads up, Jim.)

I know Larry doesn't really read my blog because as he told his wife, he reads enough unedited material everyday. (He didn't say this about my blog but about his wife's blog which by the way is awesome and if she allows me I will put up a link to it here. What says you, Michelle?)

I couldn't find a picture of him that I haven't already posted so instead I will throw up some pictures of his children celebrating Garrett's 6th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Larry!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


For years now I've seen 4:44 on the clock. Night or day, I inevitably look at the clock when it's 4:44. The haunting of 4:44 has progressed beyond just digital clocks, it has now spread into house numbers and license plates. It's even been passed down a generation. Ivy now sees it all the time, too. She'll often call me just to tell me it's 4:44. I've been waiting for years to figure out it's significance. I'm hoping that Pami's baby being born at 4:44 is the end of the cycle. As I told Pami, maybe it was Gus that I was waiting for all this time.

The whole 4:44 thing began when I was in 8th grade. The boys in my class started saying "four forty four" to each other and then they would proceed to laugh their asses off. This, of course, drove the girls in the class crazy because we had no idea what it meant and assumed it had something to do with us. When the boys realized this was driving us crazy, they just increased it's usage -- working overtime to work it into their already lame conversations. The girls retaliated by claiming 2:22 as their own which I thought that was totally lame, but I didn't have a better pitch for Joanne Sallese (unofficial 8th grade girls' spokeswoman mainly because she had huge boobs and it gave her a confidence none of us had, yet).

It wasn't until Mark Gillis (or was it Mark Olivieri?) yelled "four forty four" out-loud in the middle of Ms. Meade's math class that the tried and true catchphrase was finally put to rest. The boys were not allowed to ever say it again. If they were heard saying "four forty four," they could count on detention. With the steam taken out of the phrase, Mark Olivieri (or was it Mark Gillis?) finally told me what it meant: The boys in my class had a sleepover and apparently Marc Rodney woke all of them up at 4:44am by farting incredibly loudly.

And that was the day I learned then that nothing boys talk about or laugh about ever has anything to do with girls.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Introducing August Amiram Grimstad!

For about a month now I have had a picture of my friend Pami on my laptop. In the picture she's about 7 months pregnant. I wanted to post about how great I thought it was that she was going to be a mother. She had had a hard year and having a baby is something she's wanted for as long as I've know her. (Which is about 15 years now.) Of course, I got lazy and didn't post. But on Wednesday, Pami had her baby so I thought in honor of August Amiram Grimstad's birth, I thought I'd show his before and after pictures!



Is it me or is that little dude actually smiling?!

SIDE NOTE TO DOGGER: August was born at 4:44!!!! Can you believe that?!

More Ski Stories


When Sam & I were skiing in Park City it started to snow really hard. Dottie and Eric were going to meet us at the bottom of the lift after skiing their blue runs. As Sam and I slowly made our way down the mountain on our green runs, it started really dumping. When we got to the lift we waited for Dottie & Eric. We waited so long we assumed they had got down the mountain and went back up for another run. We waited some more. Finally, we got a call from Dottie. They had gotten lost. They took a wrong turn down one of the blue runs (because, due to the wicked snow, they couldn't see the signs) and ended up in a remote part of the mountain. The blizzard-y, white-out conditions spooked Dottie and they were going to head back to the condo.

In a true example of ignorance is bliss, Sam & I headed back up the mountain to take advantage of this awesome weather. Here's a picture of Sam's on the lift.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Computer Down

My computer broke the other day when I was trying to download a version of Scrabbulous in order to play Scrabble online against Paul. Now my computer won't open any version of an Internet browser. I'm dying. I was in the middle of an awesome post about our skiing trip -- dynamic pix and all when the little f*cker finally shit the bed for good. It's in the shop now. I thought I had loaded all my pictures onto a jumpdrive before I brought it into the shop, but of course, I managed to put everything else on the jump drive except my pictures. So frustrating.

So my awesome ski trip post will have to wait. As will all other posts until I get my computer back.

I'm on Sam's laptop now and I can feel him giving the back of my head the hairy eyeball as he waits.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tlapazola 1 - Ellen Bean 0

My mother came out the Saturday after Christmas and stayed for a week. I think she had a really good time. My mother is always game for anything so it doesn't really matter what I plan for her, she's happy to do it.

But one day I took her by surprise. Sam, Elzo and I were poking around for second-hand skiing gear for our impending trip to Park City. My mother loves to go to thrift stores so I knew she'd be down for the task. We didn't find anything. (We were looking for suspenders to hold up the oldy-time ski pants I had bought him.) As a reward for our unsuccessful bargain hunting, my mother and I went to a lunch at Tlapazola Grill.

The little dudes who work there know me. I often come in alone before I go in for my shift at Vito. I have their delicious salad and their even more delicious, bowl-size margarita. Lately this one waiter, Ambroscio, has taken to bringing me a second (smaller) margarita and then whether or not I finish that drink, he brings me a shot of some sort of almond-y, tequila-ish after dinner liqueur. It's too much and I have been able to stop the last shot from happening but not the day I brought my mother there for lunch.

Ambroscio pulled out all the stops for Elzo-- salsa fresca with out asking, margaritas, dessert and no just one but TWO after dinner liqueurs. My mother was stuffed to the gills and a little tipsy. I took her home so we could rest up and get ready for the dinner party we were expected to go to that night.

My mother never made it to the dinner party. Here's a picture of her after her lunch at Tlapazola.

Tlapazola 1 - Elzo 0

Friday, January 11, 2008

Park City, Utah.

As I mentioned Sam & I were treated to a trip to Park City for Sam's friend Eric's birthday. The long weekend was a present to Eric from his wife Dottie. I not sure how we lucked out but we did. I love my generous, rich friends. It was living. I'm telling you.

Eric and Dottie snowboarded while Sam & I stayed on skis. Those guys are better athletes than us so we would take the lifts up together and then separate (us, green circles - them, blue squares). We would meet again at the bottom. A couple of these paths intersected before we hit the bottom which enabled Eric to get this picture of me skiing.

I look like I'm standing still on a perfectly flat run but to my memory I was motoring down that super steep hill like Suzy Chapstick.

Back On The Line

Well, Sam and I were back on the line this week after a very, very long break from picketing. It was a WGA imposed hiatus from December 17th to January 7th. (And a skiing in Utah imposed one after that.) I think the WGA board members figured that since every single studio head is out of town for all that time, walking in circles in front of their offices would be futile. And in reality, the only place a picket line would really have an impact on those guys during the holidays would have been outside the Four Seasons in Maui.

Sony Studios, the location Sam and I had become very comfortable with, has been closed down as a picketing location and all writers have been redirected to Fox Studios. Not sure why they decided not to continue picketing Sony but Sam has a theory that I agree with: Now that the WGA is trying to make deals with smaller independent producers (like Letterman's Worldwide Pants or Tom Cruise's UA), they'd like Sony to agree to one of those contracts. Taking the heat off Sony by removing the picketing writers might be an olive branch to try and get negotiations started. Just a theory but a smart one.

Anyway, Fox is a totally different vibe. It's what I imagine being brought up to the major league from the minor's feels like. It's much bigger, more crowded and the competition is fierce. As I may have mentioned before, what I liked about Sony Gate 2 was that it was a small crowd of about 9 men. And me. Just the way I like it. I could roll out of bed, jump on the bike and start marching once I got there. To go to Fox I actually had to put make-up on. There are so many people there that I know, I can't possibly strike in my pajamas and still hold my head high. Don't even get me started about all the other chicks there...

So in honor of the glory days at Sony Gate 2, I bring to you a photo of our last day on the line there.

From left to right: half of someone, Wally Wolodarsky, Michael Oates Palmer, Lew Schneider, Matthew Carlson, Mike Schiff, Chris Ord, Sam, Bill I-forget-his-last-name, Rick Groel and me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

100th Post!

I know I haven't posted since I turned 39 but I have been busy entertaining my mother and skiing in Utah. I have lots of pictures of both adventures to show you, but in honor of my 100th post I'd like to share a little something my brother Chris created in his free time.

I don't think my husband has ever been sexier.