One Heck of a Year

Well, It has been a year. A year, and a new house. A year, a new house, and a baby. A year, a new house, a baby and three shows. It has been a big year. 

We bought a house, a thing I wasn't sure we would ever do, in the city that we love. A special, lovely, old house in the mid city neighborhood of Los Angeles. We moved in July and occasionally Jim and I will randomly make eye contact and just sigh at each other, saying, "I love this house." We love this house. It feels like it has a soul. It feels like home. 


We had a baby, a boy shaped human named Jack. He is very new and very yummy. Longer and leaner than any of my other babes, I have taken to calling him Shrimpy, a nickname I am sure he will love when he is sixteen and taller than I am. It seems odd to say, since he is only six weeks old, but he strikes me as the serious sort. He will round out our crazy bunch nicely. Everyone is smitten, but Penny, who called dibs on holding him first when I was only a few weeks pregnant, is over the moon. She calls him Jacky-Wacky, and begs to hold him, especially when he is sleeping or nursing or anytime that he is content to not be held. 


I did three shows, more than I would have normally tackled in a year before we had kids. It was a lot. It was rewarding. I'm glad I did it. I probably won't do it again. Probably. 

I did not write a single usable word. Apparently, I can not write when I am pregnant, which is perfectly fine, because I plan on NEVER BEING PREGNANT AGAIN. (#finalfelton) Also, in this past year, the way I see the world has shifted. There are realities of living in America that I didn't have to confront before, things I could look away from, that are impossible to ignore now. I've been doing a lot of listening and a lot of learning in this past year. I still have a long way to go. 

All that to say, I'm back. I'm hoping to write at least once a week, to keep a record of our big little family growing and loving each other in Los Angeles, my favorite big little city. 

Still, not sure how today ends. 

Learning Through the Camera Lens

O: I'm gonna take a picture. No! Not of you, of the pretty flowers.

I've had my camera for a little over two months now and, while I've learned a lot about aperture, shutter speed, and iso, the most interesting things I have learned have been about people. I've found that I am not very interested in taking pictures of landscapes or objects, but rather, I love taking candid photos of people.  

Everyone reacts differently to the camera. Some people sit up a little straighter and relax their face just so (I'm pretty sure this is where I fall).

Some people become so instantly self-conscious, taking their picture becomes nearly impossible.  

Some people just start making goofy faces.  

Some people, the lucky ones, have faces that fall into the most beautiful smile, without them even knowing it.


Some people have no problem just ignoring me and that camera altogether. They are my favorite.  

I'm learning a lot about people, but mostly, I'm learning that I need to be sneakier. 

Especially when I'm trying to take a picture of O.

Tech Week Magic

O: Momma, you promise you will come and kiss me softly when you get home and I am asleep? But very softly so you don't wake me up, ok?

K: I promise. 

I'm going to brag. I survived last week. Not only did I survive last week, but Jim, O, P and Sam survived last week. The house remained livable. Everyone ate. Most of us slept, occasionally. Success!

See! She is totally alive! 

See! She is totally alive! 

Tech week is always hard.  It is the final push before the audience joins us and becomes part of the process.  It is where all of the technical elements come together and costumes and lights and sound and some semblance of acting collide.  It is hard.  It is usually a lot of late nights.  It is often painful.  It is always magic.  

See! They are too!!!

See! They are too!!!

There was a lot of magic this week: the talented tech crew and designers who had one only week and made everything in this complicated show work, the professional staff at the playhouse who are bravely pushing boundaries and getting butts in the seats, the phenomenal team of actors with whom I am privileged to share the stage, the fantastic babysitters who lovingly watched my girls while I worked, my incredible preschool community who would sign O out after school when I was running late, the neighbor who popped over to sit with P while she slept so I didn't have to wake her in the middle of her nap, the unbelievably supportive theatre family who filled the house during our previews and opening, the grandparents who pulled an all-nighter so Jim could be there for our first show, and Jim, who has always been there, and always will be there, encouraging me to push past my own beliefs of what I'm capable of, and who (maybe more impressive) did bedtime duty, alone, for the past two months.

Post opening: See! I made it too! 

Post opening: See! I made it too! 

The show is up.  We had a sold-out opening, a very positive review, and a lot of champagne to celebrate.  It really could not have been better.

And tonight, I get to be home for bedtime snuggles, and that might be the most magical part of the whole thing.  

Glad to be back. Still not sure how today ends.


Radio Silence

O: So, I'm going to see my fun, fun baby-sitters this week?

K: You sure are.

O: Oh good! When I get to see them I almost don't miss you at all.

Radio Flyer. Radio Silence. I know, it is a stretch.

Radio Flyer. Radio Silence. I know, it is a stretch.

I'm opening a show on Saturday. That means this week will be full of lights, big hair, corsets, and late nights.  I will emerge Sunday, exhausted and exhilarated.  However, this massive outlay of creative capital means that some things will be neglected.

First on that list is this blog.  I'll see you all on the other side.

And thank goodness for fun, fun baby-sitters.



I Made Dinner

O: The whole kitchen smells delicious, like real food. 

Please don't misunderstand.  My children have had dinner each and every night, but since I've been running back-to-back shows, it has generally been made by someone else. I'll leave instructions for the baby sitter regarding quesadilas or buttered noodles or some other sure-to-please-a-picky-tiny-person type of dish, but two nights ago, for the first time in weeks, I had the night off and I was in my own house, with my own kitchen.  

So I had a beer, made scrambled eggs for dinner, and went to bed at 8:30. 

There was beer and there was bacon, dinner of champions.

There was beer and there was bacon, dinner of champions.

But the next night, I made dinner, nothing fancy, just some steamed broccoli and fish.  It felt good, to all be eating the same meal.  It was nice to spend some time in the kitchen.  It felt really good to make dinner, and even better to eat it.

Baked Halibut with Brown Rice and Steamed Broccoli

Serves 2 adults and 2 furiously hungry small people

(This recipe works beautifully with any mild white fish. I generally try to only buy wild caught and fresh, as in never frozen, which will drastically limit your choices most days if you are at a regular market.)


Three 6 ounce fillets of halibut

One cup brown rice (the girls prefer short grained)

One crown of broccoli

For the marinade (full disclosure-I never measure, I eye-ball, pinch, and approximate so feel free to taste and adjust)

1/4 of a of cup soy sauce

1/8 of a cup of rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp of honey

Two cloves of garlic, pressed

1/4 tsp of fish sauce-if you haven't cooked with this before, you should start, but know a little goes a long way

 1/4 of a cup of olive oil

1/2 tsp of dijon mustard 

Put the rice on.  I use a rice cooker, but there are great stove-top directions here. Pre-heat your oven to 300. We have a cool, funky, antique, gas oven that works great, but heats up the whole kitchen, so when I can, I use our toaster oven, which handles this dish perfectly.  

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the marinade.  Rinse and pat fish dry. Place in a small baking, dish skin side up, and pour the marinade over. You may want to reserve a small amount to drizzle over the dish for any adults you happen to be serving.  

Clean and prep broccoli, cutting into small florets.  

Breathe and pour yourself a glass of wine. You are almost done.

Put fish into oven, checking for doneness every five minutes or so. Fish is done when it appears nearly opaque and flakey.  These particular fillets took about 10 minutes at 300. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish, but remember that they will continue to cook in the hot pan when you pull it out, and while you can alway stick it back in for a minute or two, you can't repair an over-cooked piece of fish.  

I usually cheat and throw the broccoli florets into the rice cooker, on top of the rice, when the rice is about 3/4th done, but you can also steam or sauté them the traditional way.  

Cheater cheater, broccoli eater

Cheater cheater, broccoli eater

Serve the fish atop a bed of brown rice with the broccoli on the side, or on a segmented, plastic, zebra-themed plate. 

just like this

just like this

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