Monday, July 23, 2007

48 Hour Film Festival

This is a blog I wrote at 3 a.m. this morning after having led our team to near defeat! Learn about the project and watch the movie.

Have you ever been too tired to go to sleep? I'm experiencing a version of that. We were the last ones to hand in our movie on-time, about about 30 seconds before they stopped taking qualifying entries. (I'm the one who ran like a demon from the car to the Brew and View.)

The last ten minutes as we rushed to the finish line (in NORTH Asheville) from our editor's house in SOUTH Asheville were about the most insane of my life. I had our DP drive my Subaru (he didn't trust his trusty minivan) as: A) I finished filling out the paperwork; and B) as my laptop in the backseat burned a data DVD with the movie file. I chose 8x fast-burn, but it didn't seem to go fast enough! I was appalled at how long my G4 was taking, not only to burn, but to verify the burn. "If we get to the View and Brew and it's not done verifying, should I cancel verifying?" I asked Pat. I'd never tried such a thing. "Better not," he said.

It was utter hell. Five minutes from end-time (which clock do we trust? Cell phone? Watches? Car clock? They all said something different). I was sure we were not going to be on time. We had taken a loop around downtown and were coming into town from the east on I-240. "Merrimon sucks," Pat said. "I know a quicker way." Like Luke Skywalker, I just had to let go and let the Force guide. Pat took the Charlotte St. exit, eventually found his cross-street -- and then tucked in closely behind the slowest car in town on a two-lane. Amazing.

I knew we would not make it, and everyone would hate me -- well, just the 10 others on our team, but that's a pretty high number to be hated by. I was the one who insisted on "one more edit." Because I am the team leader, I got my way. I was regretting getting my way. Of course, we hit the stoplight just before our destination, with 85 percent of verification finished. And then something happened -- my G4, perhaps sensing the urgency of the situation, STARTED TO SPEED UP. The last few percentage points went really, really fast, as did I, through cheers and toward Dylan, my sound guy, waiting for me. I gave him a hug. I gave the 48-hour crew my packet. I got my two free tickets. And I'm so excited, it's 3 a.m. the next day and I can't get to sleep. -- Eric, Team Stellar Media

I just want to give a shout-out of sympathy to all the teams who were late. I feel your pain, and think there ought to be a 10 minute grace period if a majority of the other teams vote for it.

Baby Larson

Today had a 36 week ultrasound, and baby weighs 5 lbs. 7 oz., which is perfect (and we saw him/her sucking its thumb!). I was nervous b/c one of the complications of gestational diabetes is often large babies, so knowing that this kid should be around 7.5 to 8 lbs. at birth eased my mind. I really have been taking good care of myself, exercising a lot and monitoring my carb intake. Oh how I miss orange juice. But these small sacrifices are all worth it when I get a good report from the doctor.

Only 2 more weeks and a few days until we see his/her face. I'm beginning to wash baby things, get stuff out of the attic, etc. Eric, in typical male fashion, wants to wait until the day before to even think about setting up a co-sleeper or installing a car seat. And me, in typical anal type-A fashion, wanted it done yesterday. We've compromised on a date of August 1st - having everything totally ready to go.

That's about it from here, just a quick note to say hi. Hope everyone is well!

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Speech! Speech!"

Knowing who Stella's mom is, I just knew our daughter one day was going to have the gift of the gab. That's a good thing. But I couldn't know exactly how her speech would manifest itself.

Home Girl can monologue like no one I have ever known. She can go on for 5 plus minutes, as if she is Tom Brokaw reporting the news. Most of it is nonsense (as is the case with TV pundits, too) but often she'll throw out some phrases that sound like they make perfect sense. The only thing they are missing is the original context.

At any given time she may say one of the following:

"I don't think that's a very good idea, but..."

"That man's getting a little bit old, but that's okay." (She might be talking about me.)

"Mommy's got a baby in her belly. I'm going to be a big sister. He's a boy. His name is going to be 'Big Boy.'"

And she likes to end random sentences of babble with "August-time." I like that. She knows the baby is going to be born in August. Maybe that's where she gets that term.

A couple days ago she was urging Marian to get off the couch and lead a walk to our neighbor's house to feed her cat, Roxie. Stella tried her best to pull her pregnant mom to her feet.

"Come on, Mommy! Let's go feed Roxie."

When Marian wouldn't comply, she said.

"Come on, Mommy... Help a sister out!"

Both of us died laughing. You can bet where she got THAT.

We don't get "why" yet. That's going to be a blast, when everything we say is following by "why" or "how" or "how come."

But it's fascinating to watch. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: As people to study, kids are more interesting than adults, because kids change every day. Adults -- every few years or so. And one's own kids are usually more interesting than others' children. Funny how that happens.

I recommend a kid to most anyone thinking about having one.

Just be very careful when you're teaching them to talk.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

screech, not hoot

Owls, that is. In our neighborhood. A wise, elderly neighbor said they're not technically screech owls, but they sure do screech. In case you don't know, I hate birds. OK, a soaring bald eagle over the Rockies is fine, but little flitty birds, pigeons, birds in cages, and many others repulse me. I despise the ducks and geese at our local lake. I am a peace-loving woman, but I swear I want to shoot those bad boys with a BB gun when they hiss at me.

I'm not sure how I feel about owls. They are spooky, beautiful, ominous, and so unusual that I can't help but be intrigued. At the same time, they scare me to death. I took this photo through the screen in my bedroom window, because, quite frankly, I was scared he would fly at my head if I opened it fully. What if that owl got in my house?

Eric even set up his tripod and video camera tonight to get some footage of them. They are the talk of our street.

On another tangent, my best friend Brittain treated me to a pedicure, followed by a matinee showing of Sicko and a sushi dinner. What a great day spent together. She and I were convinced that the people doing our pedicures, who spoke Chinese to each other the whole time, were discussing how disgusting our feet were. Here they are, post treatment.

And here's a simple shot of our big girl in the bathtub. These days, she has to do EVERYTHING all by herself, including rinsing her hair like this.

That's it from here. Good night!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pet Peeves

Pet Peeve #1:

Is waiting to find out the sex of your baby truly that strange? I cannot tell you the number of people that we've encountered who act like we are crazy for not finding out. It's really getting on my nerves. I mean, it's only been in the last couple of decades that it's even been an option to know. And technically, ultrasounds are for making sure the baby is developing properly, not to see what its wee wee looks like.

I'm not knocking anyone for wanting to find out, of course. But for us, it just doesn't feel right. It doesn't seem that outrageous, or granola, or insane, to want that moment of "it's a girl" or "it's a boy" to happen in the delivery room.

Pet Peeve #2:

I have gestational diabetes. Found out last week with only five weeks to go - bummer. But in some ways, it's been kind of a blessing. I've had to check my blood sugar 4X a day, and I've actually learned a lot about what to eat and what to avoid, and how much exercise can lower my numbers. I feel better than I have in 3 months, truly. I've been walking at least once every day since finding this out. I have tons of energy and am really getting excited to meet this little guy. Or girl.

Other than that, we're in the throes of potty training Stella, and it's going pretty well. She's pretty much mastered it at home, but going out is another story. Yesterday Eric took her out for the afternoon, and she had three accidents. At least he went prepared with many changes of clothes!

Business is busy but good. We're participating in the 48-hour film festival in Asheville this weekend (, so that should be stressful, but fun too. We're re-doing our Stellar Media website, so I'll let you know when it's all finished. It's gonna look great.

That's about it from here. Hope everyone is well!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The past week

The past week has been a fun one for us - our last beach trip as a family of three, for starters. We spent several days in Wilmington, NC, with my aunt and uncle at their lovely beach home - a much needed vacation for us. We ate, slept, swam, and just hung out - just what the doctor ordered. Here are a few photos from there:

Check out Amy, the Newfoundland, next to Stella. She is the most gentle dog you'll ever meet. She's also the hugest!

Stella didn't like the ocean much, but she loved digging in the sand and playing with a bucket of mud. I think in this photo her bathing suit strap was falling down.

Our big girl making footprints. Check out how few people there are on the beach! I know, private island living must be nice sometimes.

We got home yesterday, and today we had a fun-filled day of July 4th festivities. We went to a block party on a street where we know three families, so we saw tons of friends, met new ones, ate some great cookout food, and just enjoyed hanging out in the comfortable evening temperatures around here. (yes, I'm pregnant, and yes, I'm constantly burning up. Thank God for mountain summers!) Check out some photos from that event:

Showing off her George Washington tattoo. After 2 minutes, she was begging for me to wash it off.

Just a cool dog at the party.

A house on the street where the party was. I'm no photographer, but I love how this one turned out.

The 5-foot-long banana sundae. Yum.

And us.

Happy 4th, everyone!

Good Advisors

Everytime I talk to someone about our businesses they say, "That's super that you're being so successful!" I appreciate their comments, but, honestly, any small business in its first few years (we're in our third) is fairly close to disaster. The potential for disaster can actually get larger as one's budget gets bigger.

That's why I always tell folks who have businesses to get good advisors. You have to be humble and ask for advice. You might get three different opinions on any single question, but it's more likely they will start to echo one another -- a signal you need to pay attention. Anytime I want to make a bold move (ex. a new hire, new equipment, a new way of marketing) I talk to a few of my advisors. Sometimes it will become clear that I need to go ahead with the move. Other times it's clear I need to wait, maybe even switch focus.

I see businesses fail around me for what must be a host of reasons. But I suspect that a lot of the time it is because the owner had a one-track mind and didn't listen to good advisors.