Hiatus.

hi·a·tus
hīˈādəs/
noun
A pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process.
elmatador
Hello all you lovelies! I hope everyone has had a superb summer. The past few months have been full of change and I figured what better day to fill you all in on all the new developments than the first day of of a new season?  Today is the first day of Fall and with the leaves changing in the east and the winds changing in the west, I will share my changes here….
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July was a particularly difficult month. Loosing a pet just never seems to get easier. Not sure if you love cats, or dogs, or lizards, or birds, or E. all of the above, but whatever floats your boat, the loss of a pet just sucks. Humans are resilient beings and time does heal, but there will always be a little place in your heart that stays tender to each lost loved one. I have experienced a lot of loss over the years including pets, family, and friends. I wish I could draw a picture of the kaleidoscope of little tiny spots that fill my figurative heart. Its funny though because the spots aren’t black holes of void, they are spots full love and fun and stories. Transactions and circumstances that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I know its cliché but its better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. I would love to hang the drawing of my spotted heart so that every day I could see, together in one place, all the people and things that I have loved.
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Over the summer I DID attempt to attack the pineapple drink brigade but alas, I was only able to imbibe in one. And that one was created by a temp bar tender and tasted like poop. It was supposed to be a vodka drink with thyme, lavender and lemon but I’m pretty sure she just gave me ginger beer over ice with some tequila in it. Despite the unsuccessful flavor, the experience was super fun.
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This pineapple drink at Hotel Casa Del Mar was awful. Despite the taste, I sure loved drinking from that bronzed chalice. SO festive! Not sure what instagated this new obsession with pineapples, but I want one of these in my house. Did you know that back during colonization, having a pineapple displayed was a way to welcome guests?
When August arrived, my six year stint with my beloved Regular Show came to an end. I have thoroughly  enjoyed every moment. JG, the show runner, is not only creatively brilliant but he is amazing with collaboration. Always supportive, he was fabulous at pushing his team to be the best they can be. And the success of the show was a result of that. I will miss Mordecai and Rigby. Yes, I know that they aren’t real, but their stories were very real to me. Fun, dynamic, exciting. The rest of the crew, also fabulous, have become family to me. Its not easy in the entertainment industry to find a production where you get to work side by side with such talented people who have no ego issues. I’ve been blessed to have been a part of such an amazing team.
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Mid August the studio awarded me three weeks vacation to replenish my soul. In my industry this is known as the  joyous hiatus, a time eagerly awaited by entertainment employees with high hopes of fun and relaxation and often times exotic travels. Knowing I was to return to CN mid September technically allowed me to relax but unbeknownst to  more than a few, I had a lot going on behind the scenes regarding work. I was called into a few interviews at other studios and the entire three weeks I spent in negotiations and trying to figure out what direction to follow. A champaign problem for sure, but stressful all the same. I did take two days to myself  to do absolutely nothing. One day I spent in Malibu, the other in Laguna. Both equally amazing.
I had forgotten what it felt like to not have a deadline over my head. I had forgotten how to relax. The lull of the ocean waves and the glorious sounds of bird song pulled me back to “me”.
Reminders from Soul Rejuvenation:
1. The significance of meditation
2. What it feels like to be at a slower pace
3. Life is too short to rush through it. 
4. Its ok if you can’t get everything done when your supposed to.
5. NOT everything is important. Prioritize what is important to YOU.
6. Sometimes its ok to just eat the whole loaf.
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Relaxing in Malibu was a needed respite from every day pressures. Salty wind, warm sand, and the accompaniment of this feathered friend I named Gene, in honor of Gene Wilder who had passed away earlier this day. Gene reminds me to laugh, and to choose not to worry.
Also during my break I did a ten day Ballet “bootcamp” This was intense but fun. I wanted to see what life was like as a professional ballerina. I took 2-3 hours of barre each day (including 3 pointe classes), pilates, weight lifting, and cardio. I ate super clean too.  I think the experience was marred a bit by not knowing how to really pace myself and the stress of work negotiations but over all it was amazing. On the negative side, I was SO SORE. omg! I did get a few massages but I think by the end of it I was actually more stiff and less flexible! I think next year i’d like to do a 7 day ballet camp instead. A camp that is planned out for the dancers because I think  I may have been over training- just a little ;).
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I loved being a professional ballerina for ten days! I improved a lot in many ways but I was SO sore and tight I’m thinking my schedule was counter productive. Looking forward to doing a real ballet camp maybe next year. One that is scheduled out for us.
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Practicing pique at barre en pointe.
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Taking a break between pilates and barre class.
Of course I always leave at least some time for fun with MSM and friends. Summer isn’t summer without at least one visit to the Cinespia outdoor screening, this year we saw True Romance. We also danced the night away at a few concerts (Psychedelic Furs at the Pier was particularly amazing), shared cocktails at Sunset, and spent time lounging at the beach. I attended a UT alum BBQ where they flew in Salt Lick from Austin! So yummy. My great great great grand “little” from KD came to visit and we shared lunch in Temecula. It was an enjoyable and lively Summer!
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It was so much fun participating in the Texas Exes Salt Lick BBQ fundraiser. They had delicious BBQ flown over from Austin that day! Along with chips and REAL queso- which is virtually impossible to find in LA 🙂 Whoot ya’ll!
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Proud UT Alumna!

 

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I got to go to the opening of the new California incline before the cars were allowed to drive on it. This will be the only time anyone will have seen this busy thoroughfare in an empty state. People could dance in the middle of the street and dogs could walk freely with no fear of being hit by a car. The city hired a DJ. It was really festive. I just loved this cute pup!
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Beautiful iron gate I found while hiking in Malibu.
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Enjoying a french macaroon in Laguna Beach. Bon Apetít!
Now I sit here typing at a new work station in a new location-  a location I can’t divulge just yet because I’m not sure how permanent it is. Still waiting for negotiations to be closed. But its all VERY exciting.
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Found this photo on google search and I just adore it! Onto bigger and better things….
Huge Lesson Learned:
Change is scary but its GOOD. Rather than calling it “change” I’d like to think of it as its synonym, “development”. Its so important to keep on moving forward. To keep on growing and to keep on pushing yourself past what feels comfortable. I love and appreciate MSM for pushing me to take this position even though I was terrified and worried that I “wasn’t ready”. Learning new skills, expanding my network….I feel ten years younger. I am rejuvenated and re-energized. Who knew that all the heaviness I had been feeling was all because I had ceilinged out at my old post. Its ok to need to move on. Its actually imperative. I’ve known some amazing people who seem to have the talent of knowing when its time to push for growth. They know who they are, and I want to take a moment just to say Thank You all for listening to me and for nudging me to make a move.
haitus
It is important to always try on new hats, or in this case sunglasses! During my break I had a great time shopping at The Grove with my friend Cheryl. 
Although my hiatus was mostly stressful, it was a well needed break from my comfort zone (where I was actually comfortable but necessarily 100% happy). Ripping me away from my “normal” allowed me the time to get pushed back on track.
Keep on learning ya’ll!
Toodles for now.
xo
QJ
QJ

Abby.

abbyPortrait

I have had the hardest time concentrating this week. I recently found out that my beautiful baby girl, Abby the Bernese Mountain Dog aka Abby Airmail Equus Calhoun, will need to be put to rest. If I was allowed to keep her around, she would have turned 12 on August 23rd, a date that also would have marked my Mother and Father’s 64th wedding anniversary (had my father still been alive). On top of that,  this craziness in France, and all the unnecessary shootings are exasperating my melancholy state of mind. The cruelty of people can be so overwhelming to a sensitive soul like mine.  To add to things, we are wrapping up the final episode of season 8 at work and MSM starts a new job on Monday. Just a lot of endings are hitting at once. And I’m not good at endings. In fact, I’m terrible with them.

 

I’d like to focus this blog post on Abby, my devoted fur daughter who has brought so much love and joy to my life. I remember the very first day we picked her up from the airport (she was born on a farm in Oklahoma and sent to us). I opened her crate door and gazed upon the most adorable rollie-pollie curly-haired puppy I had ever seen. And she was eating her poop! This habit, I am embarrassed to admit, never ceased. I wont get into those stories even though they are funny to me, to avoid potentially offending someone who is reading this.

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Abby’s baby photo. I have more but sadly they are all in storage. This one is printed out! Rember when people used to print their photos?!

Baby Abby was so beyond adorable. I can picture her laying flat on her side in her Ex-pen during the training months, jerking from puppy dreams of running in fields and eating treats (and poop :P). One year, when Abby was about 3 or 4, I had invited company over for dinner. I set up a beautiful french cheese spread, about four pounds of exquisite stinky cheeses paired with fruit and crackers. When the doorbell rang, I exited the room to greet my friends. When we walked over to the cheese spread, Abby had eaten THE ENTIRE THING. ALL FOUR POUNDS of cheese! She loved to run in the yard and she adored stealing her (Shih-Tzu) tiny big sister’s toys and burying them because if Abby couldn’t have them, either could Daisy! Abby had a wonderful full life. She experienced camping in Joshua Tree, fishing in Bishop, and hiking in Orange County, Los Angeles, Ojai, and Pismo. She lived at the beach with a 180 degree view of the pacific, and inland with beautiful foothills as her backdrop.

Berners are incredibly affectionate and Abby is no exception. In fact, she really is basically pure love. One of her favorite things is being with her people. She sits on our feet and sleeps or grabs our hands and insists we pet her. If we stop for a beat she tosses and turns and pushes our hand back for more petting. She loves to lick our faces (hopefully not after poop eating) or stare right at us, with her face an inch away from ours, and burp  “I love you”. She adores cuddling on the sofa during our favorite TV shows or movies. At night she used to prefer sleeping on a cool surface, usually by a door so she could protect her pack. For some reason as she aged, and this is one of my favorites, she crawls into bed at night, lays next to me, and sighs.

When Abby was four, along came her brother Stanley. Stanley has been like a remora shark to Abby. He follows her everywhere. I’m very worried for him now. What will he do without his sweet sister?

siblingLove
Sibling love.

When Abby came into my life I was married. I had a lot to offer her- a father, a yard, a house with a dog door, time, money, and, of course, love. A ton of love. When my marriage ended my whole life shattered. Everything I knew had suddenly and drastically changed. Everything I dreamt for the future could no longer occur because the players in my game of life had changed. I was on my own, ungrounded,  and feeling like a failure. As I worked on rebuilding my life I did okay with the pups and always appreciated and reciprocated their support. Eventually, due to finances,  working a zillion hours a week, and not being able to afford a house with a yard (or an apartment that allowed dogs over 20lbs),  I chose to re-home them for what I thought would be a temporary three to six months. I did this, despite being the person that ALWAY got on a soap box about how giving up your pets is basically synonymous with murder and how only losers and A-holes do it. I could rationalize my choice because I had every intention of bringing them home soon. I wasn’t giving them away, I was temporarily fostering them so they were in a better place while I was getting re-situated. Despite rationalization, re-homing them even temporarily was heart breaking.  I had sold my home in OC with thoughts of buying in LA not knowing I was fooling myself because there was NO WAY I could afford a home up here at that time (in a safe neighborhood). I am happy that for the past year my fur kids have had a great home with a family that loves them, a small yard and a dog park close by that they visit often. They are very happy and healthy. It’s a three-hour round trip commute to where they are now but I’ve been going every other month to visit. And I pay for all their medical expenses, grooming, and food. I still love them. They are still mine in my heart. But I am also sad because I haven’t been able to be with them on a daily basis. It has been extremely difficult.

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In December, due to a degenerative neurological issue in her spine, Abby began to lose the use of her rear left leg. This progressed to both rear legs. Now Abby’s pain has gotten worse, pain meds are no longer working, her back legs are no longer functioning at all, she soils herself daily, and she can’t move- I am beyond devastated. I am having ethical issues regarding putting her down, but I also know it will take the pain away from her and can kind of wrap my head around why its more humane to put her to rest. It hurts that  I will never be able to bring her home. I like to think she IS home. In her new home with her new mom and dad. But its hard to accept that. She’s eleven. She was basically eleven when they got her. She’s my dog and I’ve missed her every day I haven’t been with her this year, but at least previously I could get in a car and go see her or have the foster parents send a photo. I am SO grateful that MSM surprised us this past Christmas with a five-day trip to Carmel, where I got to snuggle with Miss Abby and Stanley. We cuddled, and played, and hiked, and ran on the beach. It was so amazing and beautiful and I can not express the amount of gratitude I feel for having those last few successive days as a family with her. Of course I’ve visited her often since then, including a full weekend last month, but that time in December was the best because it was extended and it was when she was mostly healthy.

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Vallentyne Photography I’m so grateful that we did a photo shoot with Heather Vallentyne. Everyone with dogs should do this!!!
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Vallentyne Photography Abby as a teenager. She loved to run on the beach.

 

I love you my sweet Abby girl. May you rest peacefully in heaven, eat all the stinky cheese you desire, run in the grassy fields, and bury your big sister’s toys. I hope Daisy is there for you and will help you through. My heart will always be with you. It’s so hard to let go.

 

Abby

My game plan for dealing with all these endings:

  1. A yogi once said, of his broken gem collection, “Those things were for my joy, not for my misery.” I have been learning meditation, and I think I need to take the day on Saturday to meditate on this. My good friend Dave told me, regarding dealing with a passing pet;  “Nothing and no one lasts forever. Rather than focusing on the loss, focus on how grateful you are for the time you had with the pet, and all the good things about her”
  2.  Do not attempt to push away the sadness, ride through it. To ease the pain I will pamper myself with a massage and/or mani/pedi.
  3. I will focus on present happiness with a ballet class and/or a walk on the beach with MSM.
  4. I will honor Abby’s life with a ceremonial dinner and toast.
  5. I will have an Annual wine and Stinky Cheese pairing party in honor of Abby.
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I’m so grateful that I got to spend the weekend with my Abby last month. We snuggled and talked. She couldn’t play much, but we were happy to be wtih each other. 

Loss is always a reminder that life is too short. I need to take this time to take a chance and do some things that I’m normally too afraid to do. Its time to focus on career growth, where I want to go, and who I want to be. So often out of the pain of loss comes a new beginning that usually leads to something good. Can you think of something you currently love that you can trace back as ultimately starting from a loss? I bet your answer is “yes.”

xoxo

QJ

QJ