27 June 2006

Ode To Angie

In January of 1990, I started at a Notre Dame Elementary School in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. That first week was not fun. I had been going to Our Lady of Lourdes in Brooklyn, New York with a few hundred kids who looked like me. I was one of two brown faces in my Notre Dame class, but the other (Andrew) was a brown I had never seen before.

Two or three weeks after I started, the desks were rearranged and I was seated next to Angie. I thought we were friends right away. But years later Angie would confess to calling me "Dumb Danielle" in her diary. She doesn't know why and I don't know what I did to make her come around but it's been 16 years and she's stuck with me. So here's to Angie, who will always be my first, and oldest best friend. Here's our story:

A lifetime before Vegas and seemingly eons before Fargo, I had a friend named Angie.

Before Joel and Lizbeth came over for dinner parties, Angie and I ate chicken nuggets and tater tots. We ate A LOT of chicken nuggets and tater tots.

Before I was a producer and Angie an Associate Producer, we looked at college brochures and considered things like "Telecommunications Technology," because it kind of sounded like what we thought we wanted to do.

Before Jesse and I moved in together, Angie slept over for 5 days in a row. Only to go home for two days and come right back.

Before I went drinking with Jesse, Chris, Ryan, (but never) Dale, Heather, Heather, Heather, Abby, Tab & Andrea, Angie and I didn't go anywhere. But we did stay on the phone for hours complaining about it.

Before I decided to learn to rollerblade, Angie and I went to the Roller Rink to watch Jamie Davis. He had a car and (as far as we knew) lived alone at 16. Although he occasionally took the school bus.

Before cell phones, I had my own phone number in my room. And the first person I called was Angie. In fact, for at least a year the only person I called was Angie.

Angie has been my friend through stupid crushes we haven't forgotten, and birthdays that fall on July 25th.

We've had, but never shared, celebrity obsessions (ie Tom, Tom, & Val). I took her picture with George Clooney, and she took mine. Dan Cortese stuck his finger in our ears at the same and we made the same face. And I'm pretty sure we have the same opinion of Kirstie Alley.

We watched the Real World together and cried when Pedro died. We watched "My So Called Life" in awe that high school could be so fun and romantic and dramatic. We watched the Olympics for the athletes and for Bob Costas. We quizzed each other for finals and heard each other yell at our brothers. We slept in during the summers and cleaned our houses before our parents came home. And we did it all over the phone.

So here's to Angie. She's been there forever. She was also here earlier this month. We had a truly fabulous time. I'm ready to write all about it.

21 June 2006

San Diego: The Harbor

Like I said, the San Diego Harbor is full of boats, water, and people. Here's my dad. Some of the ships were tiny little taxi boats. Others were much larger. I didn't read the information strategically placed along the water because I got a phone call and was distracted. I was too busy enjoying the moment to remember to get enough words to go with my pictures. But I do have words that don't go with the pictures, so I'll give you some of those.

If you don't know Jesse, let me tell you a little bit about him. He's curious. He'll just as soon travel down a path than look at it. There are some points along the harbor where the barrier between the walking path and the water is broken. There are some worn paths that lead to the water. They were the exact type of paths that got Jesse to exploring.

Now let me tell you a little bit about my mom. She's scared of the unknown. She sees the same paths that intrigue Jesse and says to herself: "Self, I'm quite okay on this side of things. There's no reason to go over there. I don't even know where that goes. I'll stay here, thank you." And if don't you know my mother, that is exactly how she talks to herself.

My mom (Adrean) saw Jesse start to wander and she kept asking him where he was going. He had no answer. She shared her non-exploration policy but he kept wandering. At one point while she and Vicki were changing a diaper, Jesse and I were sitting opposite on the Harbor wall. The wall had a ledge on the other side but mommy & Vicki hadn't seen it. (Do you know where this is going?) My dad was off observing something or other. It's what he does.

So there we sat. Jesse started looking behind us, and into the water. My mother said "Danie," and pointed frantically at Jesse. Then he jumped - onto a ledge they couldnt see. Vicki screamed. My mother was frozen with fear. It was hysterical. Jesse told me he was going to do it and I knew it would be funny but it was even funnier than that.

Other than that, the harbor was a good way to kill time. Dayana ran into some kites, literally. Then she ran away from them. We also saw some ducks lounging near a popcorn stand. Greedy little buggers. Don't worry, we didn't feed them.

We did some more walking and soon headed back to Chula Vista to get a snack before the Emmy Ceremony. My mother was convinced the $90 dinner would not be filling. We found a burrito place that was super-delicious. Jesse plans to bring his family there next month. Dayana had a quick driving lesson. We ate, then showered, primped, and were off to watch me win an Emmy.

On Sunday June 4th, I took my dad to the airport and went back to sleep. A little later the rest of us went to Denny's. Here's what I learned: Jesse and I are getting fat.

And then we dropped the family off at the airport. Jesse and Dayana had a touching goodbye and we were all on our respective ways. They had a 3:30 flight that stopped in Las Vegas.

We had a5 five hour drive through the mountains. Jesse and I got in the car and do you know what he said? "Dayana's cuter than you." Know what else? He's right.

20 June 2006

San Diego: June 3

When last we met, it was nap time. After the drive and the pool activity, it was time for a break. We all went to our respective rooms and dozed. I slept for two hours and called around at 5. My mom wanted another hour. At six, my dad wanted another hour. At 8, Jesse was hungry. So was my mom, and so was I. Jesse and I volunteered to explore Chula Vista to find an agreeable eatery.

Aside from the Chinese restaurant, there was a Mexican restaurant, a Mexican seafood restaurant, a Chinese seafood restaurant, a Quiznos (closed), and a Carl's Jr. We opted for the chicken sandwiches and fries. Back at the hotel, my dad was still in bed, which sucked for me because I bought him a sandwich. My mom and Vicki were also still in bed but Dayana was up trying to rouse them. She's learned to smile you know. But she scrunches up her face too. It's funny.

We brought the food to their room. Dayana nibbled on Jesse's fries and played with Jesse while he ate and it was all cute and quite nauseating. Then we played dominoes. It's been years since I played and Vicki had all these rules and "points" and "houses." It was fun even though I lost. Jesse and mommy seemed to have some alliance and they both talked a lot of crap, even to each other. After a few games we went bed only to get up a few hours later for the continental breakfast. It wasn't extravagant by any means but I thought it was yummy.

We spent the day at the harbor. This is how babies travel these days. It's not sexy by any means but it gets the job done and it meets all of my travel specifications. Dayana can go towards the front or backwards and she even sleeps in that thing. I think she loves it. I helped Vicki put it on a few times. I doubt SHE loves it.

The San Diego Harbor is mostly water and boats but there is a cute shopping area. I bought a fridge magnet and we stopped to have ice cream. This is how you eat ice cream when you're a big boy. You use spoons and napkins and keep your tongue on the inside.

This is not that. This is a three woman operation to get ice cream into one mouth. It was funny to watch, until Dayana started coughing and sent the ice cream up instead of down. It was yucky. I can't wait until she's older. She's going to love that I was there to document her finer moments.

16 June 2006

If You're Bored...

And If you've danced in the last 50 years, you'll be entertained by this. I got it from a coworker. It's an anthology of sorts.

15 June 2006

San Diego: June 2

Aside from winning an Emmy when I went to San Diego, I also had a good weekend with my family. Let's take a trip down memory lane today, way back to the first weekend in June 2006. After work Jesse and I packed, went to eat, and got gas. We arrived in San Diego just in time to be stuck in a little rush hour traffic, but nothing major. We stopped at San Diego Harbor to stretch, then set out to find food. Know what? Downtown San Diego is not teeming with fast food. We drove around for a while before we decided just to head to the airport.

The problem with airports is that they keep the food on the inside, where only ticketed passengers are allowed. That doesn't bode well for weary travelers just looking for some hash browns. It's that logic that kept us from going to the airport in the first place. So imagine our surprise to find a McDonald's right there in the San Diego International Airport on the non-secure side of security.

After we ate, we waited. We had a little more than an hour before my dad arrived. Jesse tried (unsuccessfully) to take a nap while I watched his phone charge. My dad's flight was about 30 minutes early. That gave us almost two hours until my mother, Vicki, & Dayana arrived. My dad used the time to do some parking lot shopping. He likes this Bentley. See?

My dad wanted us to drop him off at the hotel and come back for the rest. Granted, my little Hyundai was burst at the seams but gas in California is ridiculous. So I told him we were going to wait. He suggested I put mommy and Vicki in a cab. And he was almost serious. But I assured him we would fit (quite snuggly) in my car. And we did.

I told everyone to pack as light as possible, let no space get wasted. But Vicki went farther than even I imagined. There's a dress in that Tupperware container. Granted it's a small dress, but that's a small container.

We arrived at the Best Western Chula Vista Inn around 11:30 and guess what? We were too early to check in. So we decided to get something to eat. Chula Vista is less than 10 miles from Mexico. Naturally we ate Chinese. It was delicious, but messy.

Dayana observed from her high chair. She was entertained by her baby MP3 player for about two minutes. Then she climbed out to see the food first hand, and smush it all over the table. And look: she has 6 teeth. Dayana had a fantastic time. I imagine our waitress did not. By that point Jesse had been up for more than 24 hours. He drove the whole way there. (As I drove back we decided to split the driving both ways instead of having one person drive the whole 5 hours.)

After we ate, we began the check-in process. We tried to get rooms next to each other, and got them. But lost them because two of the room had fresh carpet cleanings. While the woman at the desk got that sorted out, Dayana met her new best friend. His name is Jesse. Aren't they precious?

My mother thought they were just too cute, and said so. My father told her to watch her mouth. This is his "that's just crazy talk" face. Apparently he thought my mother was dropping some type of hint. She probably was. But I certainly wasn't picking it up.

When all was said and done, we were on three different floors. Jesse took a nap, my dad went exploring (and found wal*mart), and the rest of us went to the pool. I didn't bring a camera but there were great visuals, as we say. Dayana exhausted herself kicking around in the whirlpool. She loved it. I wanted to drop and let her swim, but my mother didn't have the nerves for it. Jesse said Dayana is probably a better swimmer than I am. He's right.

The Eternal Sunburn

Jesse is hot. He's so hot his skin is peeling off. He's so hot that he thinks that he can take on the sun. Turns out Jesse's not that hot. His sexy tan (in my opinion) is bordering on melanoma.

I became aware of this tan while I was staying at the Wynn with Angie (those details ARE coming). Jesse presented himself to me and said something like: "I hurt."

I have been told to tell you Jesse did not pose for the above picture. I will volunteer that he is eating beans, and that his undies are falling because one time when I took him shopping for underwear, he grabbed the first pack he saw. Those undies were extra large and not medium. I didn't notice until I washed them but Jesse wears them nonetheless.

But anyway, once he stopped radiating, he started peeling and (I imagine) throbbing. It got ugly. First little clusters of peeling skin popped up across Jesse's back. He then volunteered me to cut open my aloe plant (that he tried to get me to leave in Fargo), squish the insides and rub the juice across his back. Hooray for me.

So I did it. And the little clusters got bigger. The flakes got bigger and the whole mess got uglier. I mean it was never fun, but it got disgusting. Jesse refused to go outside, but who could blame him after the way the sun treated him last week? He couldn't wear a shirt without scratching (and flaking) all over the place.

Then he declared himself "much better." He wanted to upgrade from the aloe plant, to aloe lotion. I told him the plant was the best thing going but he wanted lotion. So we went to Walgreen's and he picked up the first generic bottle of Walgreen's lotion with an aloe plant on the bottle. We went home and I applied this lotion quite liberally. I started at one shoulder and by the time I got to the other shoulder, he was screaming something about it burning.

I got a towel and wiped off the generic lotion as gently as possible. We then went back to the aloe plant. He wasn't so much better after all. But time, and some exfoliating gloves, will heal all things. The majority of the peeling has stopped. We're (I'm) still applying aloe. The results are promising. He might not have cancer after all. But I recommend everyone eligible for sunburn invest in an aloe plant.

13 June 2006

Burger Time

Well he did it. Jesse went 30 days without eating a cheeseburger. There were times when he would have cheated, but I did not capitalize. I'm just too nice. Plus, part of me wanted him to succeed. I'm sure his arteries are thanking me.

So tonight, after we took Angie to the airport, we stopped the good old In-N-Out burger. Jesse ordered two double doubles, animal style, minus the pickles. We got home with 16 minutes to spare and guess what? We were out of ketchup. Jesse went to the store and came back with just two minutes to spare. Then he opened up Pique A Boo and saw that it was indeed Burger Time.

He ate the first burger so fast, I doubt he tasted it. He savored the second burger a little longer, but not much. Then he lounged on the couch in prime burping position.

And there goes the great Cheeseburger Challenge of 2006. Maybe next year I'll try for two months.

12 June 2006

Here I Am!

Hi. I am not incapacitated, just busy. I still have a lot to write about our trip to San Diego. And while the draft has been started, it's far from a complete work.

It's been a busy June for me. I saw my parents, won an Emmy, and got a visit from Angie. We've been living fabulous-ly ever since. Also, Jesse got a ridiculous sunburn that has required constant attention. Wait until you see the pictures. It's disgusting. He's going to deplete much of my Aloe Vera resources. Plus it looks like he's going to win the cheeseburger challenge. I'm not good at subterfuge. I couldn't bring myself to leave cheeseburgers all over the apartment. It just seemed mean. Now it's going to cost me $100. Craspstastic.

07 June 2006

Emmy Ceremony: The Details

I was nominated (and eventually awarded) by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Pacific Southwest Chapter. In January of this year, every producer at the station was asked to enter at least one show from 2005. I only had one saved, so it was an easy pick. The nominations were announced in April. Remember that? Exciting.

Once you're nominated, they send you a certificate and an order form for a plaque saying the academy has recognized your work, or something like that. I still haven't ordered mine, but I'm getting there. They also send you an invite to the ceremony, giving you all the details. It costs $90 / person (including nominees) to go to the dinner & ceremony. Extortion? Perhaps, but I couldn't not go.

I know you've been reading all about my shopping, so we won't live through that again. It was an ordeal but I have to say everything was worth it. I was just the right amount of formal. I really like my dress and I'll wear it again whenever I can. My mom, dad, and Jess all wore suits. My mom and Jesse almost wore the exact same black suit & tie / white shirt combo. I told them the Blues Brothers were not invited.

But Dayana really stole the show. She wore a little white dress that was pink at the top. She was the center of attention as soon as we arrived. Two women at the door said she had the prettiest gown of the night. After we checked in (and my dad, Jesse, and Vicki, went straight to the shrimp), the compliments didn't stop. Dayana was told that she was smaller than an Emmy and awarded the "Emmy for cutest baby," if such a thing existed. She played shy and people just ate that up.

Then they put her on her little white shoes and she couldn't be stopped. Dayana apparently loves being on the go. She had some trouble with the frills on her dress but she was waddling all over the place. Also, I learned she and I have something in common: (aside from Jesse, who she just loves) the fiddle. I love the fiddle. I like to hear, I like to watch people play it, I one day hope to master it. I don't know what Dayana's plans are, but there was a Fiddler at the reception and she and Dayana were friends. She played and Dayana danced and giggled and danced. It was so sweet I got a cavity. Too bad for Dayana I was the one up for an Emmy.

After the reception, we went in for the dinner and were conveniently seated near a door. We were seated for maybe 10 minutes before the soup came. I finished my soup just in time for the main course, and the ceremony started before dessert was served. There was a montage, an address from the presenters, and some instructions. Then it was right to the awards.

I was up in the first category. When they called my name, my parents and I had the same reaction. Can you tell we're related? I walked up right away. Then I got to the stage and somehow didn't know what to do. So I just stood there until some other people came up so I could follow their lead.

I gave my name to the floor person. She then told the director, who then put my name up on the jumbo screen when I gave my speech. Then they gave me a generic Emmy to hold during my speech. I had not prepared a speech. I figured it would just come to me. I did not realize that I would only be able to hear my heart in my ears and not be able to think. Although I did remember that I am not a fan of public speaking. And then it was my turn to speak. I saw Jesse get up close to the stage to take pictures and I remember telling myself not to just stare at him. And then I made a speech. Like to hear it? Here it goes:

I'd like to thank God for so many blessings. I'd like to thank my parents for always supporting me, even when I wanted to move to North Dakota. I'd like to thank anyone who's ever given me a news tip or helped me out along the way. That's it, thanks.

If I had written a speech, it would have been this one:

I'd like to thank God for so many blessings. I'd like to thank my parents for always supporting me and helping me reach my goals. I produced this show just two months after I moved to Vegas. I don't think I improved much in that time so I have to thank the staff at KVLY TV 11 in Fargo, North Dakota. It was there that I learned whatever it was that got me this Emmy. I'd also like to thank the Academy for the recognition. This statue validates a lot. Thank you.
Anyway, after the speech, I walked off stage and gave the generic Emmy to one of those ladies who stand off to the side during award ceremonies. Then I had to write my name and address of a label. But I was still shaking. And I was wearing the gloves. So the pen wouldn't stay in my hands. I ended up having to hold it like a little kid. I don't even remember If I gave them the right address. Then I stood with a different generic statue and took a picture. I'm sure I look happy. Then I went and picked up my very own Emmy. It's heavy. I brought it back to the table and showed my family. Everyone was beyond excited.

Then I went out into the hallway to make the calls and start the calling trees. Mike, who was also up, did not win. But he was out there making calls as well. I thought it was awkward for me to be cheering myself on with him right behind me, but he apparently had a lot of calls to make since no one in his family came.

We stayed for maybe an hour after that. We never stopped to take group pictures. When we got back to the hotel, Jesse took a few pictures of me & Emmy and everyone went to bed.

06 June 2006

Reaction At Work

Look at me giving my speech.

I brought my Emmy to work on Monday and it was fun. It looks even more fantastic in a regular place than it does at a fancy dinner. There was an email that went out before I got in, so everyone already knew but apparently it's one thing to know and quite another to see it up close. There were congratulations all around. Just about everyone (whether they've already won one or not) was really happy for me.

But of course there were some questionable comments. Actually, there were questionable comments from two people.

One person (quite seriously) said: "Congratulations. Do you have mine?"

The other said: "Congratulations. The ball is going to break off. The statue is going to snap off at the legs. You shouldn't leave it at work, someone will steal it. And you can't sell it. It's still property of the Academy. So you can't pawn it or anything like that."

Who says that? It's like telling a new mother: "you know, small kids have a tendency to choke on things, so if you're not careful you'll kill that baby."

Jealous much?

But like I said, just about everyone here is really happy for me. I guess in a city this big one runs into all types of people who think all types of comments are appropriate.

01 June 2006

We're Off to San Diego

Jesse and I are off to San Diego. We're leaving late Thursday night / early Friday morning. At this moment, I'm at work. After the show, we still have to pack and get something to eat. We don't want to leave too early.

Once we get to San Diego, the plan is to lounge on the beach until my parents arrive.
My dad arrives first at 9:35 from JFK. My mom, Vicki, & Dayana arrive about an hour later at 10:30. We're technically not allowed to check in until three, but we're going to try anyway. Jesse and I plan to be on the beach for much (if not most) of the day. It's supposed to be a cool 80 degrees. I know! That sounds like I've never lived in Fargo, but compared to the blistering 105 it was here today, 80 is like fall weather.

The Emmy ceremony is Saturday at 5:30 Pacific Time. Once I win, I'll send a message right here to Pique A Boo. I'll also call all of the people who asked me to call them. I'll post the pictures Sunday night and there will be much celebrating.

But Before we go, there's a matter that needs to be addressed. Jesse and I are having a debate over the Cheeseburger Challenge. We never discussed whether Jesse could eat plain hamburgers. Honestly It never crossed my mind because Jesse would never eat a plain hamburger. But he asked if he could eat a plain burger, then take a bite out of a slice of cheese. He said he would not assemble the cheeseburger in his mouth. But I told him his stomach wouldn't know the difference. He countered by saying his stomach wouldn't know the difference from a cheeseburger and a taco. So we're taking it to the people.

Is Jesse allowed to eat hamburgers?
Yes. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers are worlds apart.
No. No burger / bun combinations allowed.
Who would eat a cheeseburger without cheese?
Poll Courtesy Pollhost.com

I have to tell you he's starting to crack. He doesn't know how to eat anything else. I could make it really difficult for him but I feel mean doing it. But I'm not ready to lose $100. I think I'll start the subterfuge next week. I think a few double cheeseburgers placed near the vents ought to do the trick. It just seems too easy.