Thursday, June 25, 2009


It comes in threes.

Two days ago, Ed McMahon.

Today, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Childhood icons are vanishing fast, and in Farrah's & Machael's cases, far too young (regardless of what we might feel about Mr. Jackson's personal dramas).

This is how I will remember Michael. I even had the Off the Wall album on vinyl (and admit it freely).

And this will always be Farrah.

Sometimes I have to wonder if the Universe gets a volume discount.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Fine Routine

I'm quite happy to report the weekend passed with very little teen/adult conflict. Sunday was spent having a really nice Father's Day with my family: lunch at Lombardi's in Ballard, followed by Up at the Majestic Bay.

Oh my gawd.

You know, I have traditionally come off as somewhat rabid in my love of Pixar films, but trust me on this - nobody has come close to this animated film in any other (certainly nothing in the Disney vault comes close). Grave of the Fireflies is probably the only animated film that gutted me as much.

The first ten minutes had Raechelle and me in tears. It's an incredibly uplifting and powerful story with wonderful characters. It's also probably the heaviest in Pixar's catalog.

After the movie, we headed to my stepmother's apartment complex for my sister-in-law's grad party. With yummy food. And a cheesecake ice cream cake. That's right. An ice cream cake made with cheesecake-flavored ice cream. That's all kinds of rich and decadent. And it was about all I could handle in the oversaturation department. Kayleigh had play rehearsal, so we had to head back and had ourselves a nice, quiet evening.

Monday was a runaround day, with a school meeting, a well child exam, grocery run and transport to Kayleigh's friend's birthday party in Burien. Raechelle and I made homemade soft tacos, Spanish rice and margaritas, and Tyler joined us for dinner and The Transporter. I think Raechelle liked it.

Today was all kinds of busy, finalizing the monogram Raechelle and I will be using for the wedding (and possibly beyond), and still more running around. The kids are out of school, and we've found a way to keep them busy: post lists of chores on the fridge. This usually keeps them active outdoors and hanging out with friends as they try to dodge the chores they will have if they stay at home. Smart.

Now I need to dig out more financials.




Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I feel like I should give a hearty shout out to Dan & Trish, a couple of very close friends who are not only great creative collaborators, but now parents-to-be.

They've been trying for three years, and after a litany of drugs and interventions, finally conceived the old fashioned way.

Congrats, you two. You are going to be amazing parents.


By all rights I should not feel as good as I currently do. Last night was spent in the ER, but this time not for me - for Tyler. But this time not for psychiatric evaluation - for the concussion he gave himself when he was running for a bus stop near the Junction, tripped and lost a fight with the sidewalk.

Life as a parent is one giant lesson in how to take things in stride without going fruitbasket-crazy. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.

Case in point: I had a nice long meditation and moment of Zen regarding The Tyler Conundrum. Without descending into detail, the result was that I was able to release that sense of guilt that most all parents possess - you know, that little inner critic who blames you for your offspring turning out a certain way, as if you didn't actually do everything possible at every step of the way to give them the tools necessary for success? That's the one. Well it's been tarred, feathered and driven from the premises, hopefully to be heard from no more.

I'm focusing on the greater good: an upcoming wedding, summer activities for the kids, and Househunt II: The Return of Househunt. We've got six properties to go see tonight. And things like this make me happy. I've been re-inspired creatively and on a basic human level. So, with that...

Yabba dabba friggin' doo.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


After a week of feeling run over, chewed up and spit out, I feel like I'm on the mend. There's still some lingering fatigue, but on the whole things are much improved.

I have to say, I wouldn't have fared so well without the care of TFMD - thank you, sweetie! The kids were also very good, working with Raechelle and cooperating for the most part. Certainly better than usual.

During my enforced downtime this last week, I was able to watch a lot of instant programming on my Netflix queue. Cleared through the first season of Star Trek remastered (the original series with the new digital transfer and the updated effects). Actually saw an episode I'd never seen, in all my exposure to the show while growing up in the 1970s. Also watched a lot of stand-up comedy specials and a few movies.

Among the movies watched was Dan in Real Life, starring Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook. Despite mixed reviews (and not being a huge Binoche fan), I found it a charming, understated romance. Once again, I immediately identified with the main character, a widowed father, four years down the road, trying to raise his kids and maintain a career while finding love. I did like the chemistry between Carell and Cook as brothers pursuing the same woman, and John Mahoney and Dianne Wiest were perfectly cast as the parents.

Anyway, now that I can concentrate for more than five minutes, I'll be back at work on Monday, finishing up the last Duo script outline for the improvised scene, and fleshing out some Deep7 concepts. Time to inject that entity with some fresh blood.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Post Entitled "WTF?!"

As TFMD mentioned in her last post, we've been having some drama with a side of drama around the Downing-Marsh household. But we were forced to put the Tyler situation on hold temporarily because I came down with a very VERY nasty flu.

[Details follow - it ain't pretty - you've been warned]

At first they said Influenza-A, but because it's not your usual flu season, they're thinking I have (DAH DAH DUMMMM!) swine flu. Just flippin' great. And how did I pick up this nasty bug, you ask? Not a clue. I haven't been to Mexico or Canada in the last few months and I don't work around livestock. It either came from one of my countless Mexican farmer friends* (or "amigos" as we say), or perhaps it's possible to get it from a cat. I know that's not the current medical thinking, but I swear there were a few times right after Elvis got his bug when the little feline bastard deliberately sneezed on me. As in he turned his head right at me and -atchoo!- sick kitty phlegm akimbo.

At first the only symptom was a persistent, shallow cough. As I commonly pick up a short cold with the change of seasons, we simply thought that was the extent of it. And then last Sunday night, head-swelling congestion and the feeling I'd been hit by a truck full of angry Scotsmen.

On Monday, I got the flu diagnosis after the nurse rammed a long Q-tip up my swollen sinus cavities. Came home and rested. Took my codeine cough syrup, which has two side effects: 1) nausea; and 2) constipation. So by midday Tuesday, I was one stopped up dude. And I couldn't keep anything down. Not a single saltine, not a single sip of 7-up. Even after there was nothing left in the chamber, the tummy-gun kept firing. I was dry-heaving nonstop from Noon until we finally went to the ER at around midnight. And by that time I was so dehydrated I couldn't see straight and would try to heave with the slightest movement.

Swedish runs a nice ER, and fortunately it was a slow night. I was processed quickly and they hooked me up with a couple bags of saline and some Zofran for the nausea. It's funny what names I remember from Sam's chemo days.

Raechelle stayed with me the entire time, holding my hand, stroking my arm or my forehead, keeping me upbeat when I was close to panicking (surprise, surprise, I'm not a big fan of hospitals, especially being a patient in one). We talked about the honeymoon and found humor in the weirdest subjects. Not that there was any doubt in my mind, but my girl really went the distance for me, and it totally made the difference in my recovery.

They finally released me at 4:30AM with a shopping list of pharmaceuticals.

I'm not as wobbly today, but just typing this blog post has sapped my morning energy reserve, so I'm gonna go recuperate.

Once again, for the record, I think it was the cat.

* That's a joke. I don't really have countless Mexican farmer friends. Not even several.

Friday, June 5, 2009


...of sorts.

As I have mentioned previously, we are having issues with our teenager. Above and beyond your average teenager issues. It's been sapping every ounce of strength and energy we have, hence the lack of blog posts. The behaviors have been escalating, resulting in interventions by mental health professionals and the police. It's sort of like watching this dark cloud form over his head, growing darker and angrier, until it erupts in thunder and lightning and a deluge of acid rain.

But I saw a sunbreak yesterday. It was a subtle shift, but it was there.

Without going into detail, one of the hallmarks of Tyler's anger is that it is usually so blind that any attempt to disengage or calm him down usually results in an explosion of rage (and me spackling holes in the wall the next day). Not surprising, considering the trauma he's been through in his short life.

But yesterday, in the midst of conflict, when I was just settling in for the long haul, he applied the brakes, turned the angry car around, and altered his behavior on his own accord, without outside coercion. Now, Tyler has exploded and come back calm before. But this was completely different. It was a conscious decision to disengage from the conflict and re-engage in a totally positive way.

While Raechelle took Kayleigh to her martial arts lesson, Tyler and I walked to the store for supplies, then came home and made spaghetti with meatballs, fresh fruit salad and a mixed green salad with ingredients from our own garden. At one point, Tyler said to me, "I like cooking with you." I told him I liked it too. Dinner was a success, and afterward we watched the freaky storm whip through our neighborhood. Tyler went to bed at the correct time without incident (usually a high-stress time as TFMD and I wonder what form his outburst will take).

As his father, nobody has been burned more by these apparent changes in the past. By all rights, I shouldn't feel as optimistic as I do. But I do. Something changed. It was small, but profound nonetheless. And now he's in a partial day program which provides him with solo and group therapy, anger management, health & wellness support, and follow-up care.

I'm hoping to build on the success of last night. For the first time in several weeks, I saw my son emerge again. It was wonderful.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Weekend Update

Just some bullet points for the new week and new month...

  • Kayleigh went to Silverwood in Idaho for her school band trip. They took all kinds of awards and she had a blasty-blast, except for this one time when her friend dared her to go in the pool in her clothes and she did and she forgot she had her cell phone and her wallet in the pockets and her cell phone and her wallet got ruined and she was very upset. But other than that, it was great.
  • Friday was pizza-movie night. Another screening of my new favorite buddy/roadtrip/heist/romantic comedy, Fanboys. Another argument with Tyler at bedtime.
  • Saturday we crossed some stuff off our to-do list, and, as Tyler was at his uncle's overnight, TFMD and I went to have a nice dinner out, followed by Crumac at Conor Byrne, followed by Uno and Shut-the-Box at The Mop & Bucket. It was a late night, and we were none too happy to see the sun rise on a day that meant a drive to Bellingham for my family's May Birthdays celebration.
  • Had a short stay in Bellingham, got to see my grandparents' new digs at Merrill Gardens (pretty sweet), and headed home, exhausted and numb - literally. After four hours driving, my left arm (the one with the pinched nerve) was all pins and needles.
  • Monday brought a bunch of errands and medical appointments. And my LMP was able to isolate the culprit muscles responsible for the nerve issue. Another few sessions and I should be right as rain. Not that we would know, what with our sunny 80+ degree days.
  • Sun + lack of time {+/- energy} = [lawn > Mekong Delta]
  • Having dinner with two of our favorite peeps tonight. And the kids get to fawn over one of their fave local celebs.

And so I leave you with this...