Let's check-in

The world never ceases to amaze me. 

I have been hard at work the last two months, writing, studying, working, and making time to escape. First things first, before I dive into the pictures: Writing on Serango continues. Because of back-to-back conferences and school work, I could not meet my goal of 40,000 words for February. But I did break thirty. I have officially reached that point in the book where every other day I seriously doubt that this story will be entertaining for anyone. Sometimes I re-read what I have written and I am pleased, but mostly there is chronic doubt. I am clinging to my notes and outlines for dear life. In those moments when I'm sure this book is going to go nowhere, I just tell myself that it doesn't matter. And truthfully, seeing as how I get no money from this, it does not matter. So long as I am happy with the draft, that is what matters most. Now, let me say that to myself five times under my breath, and then I'll write the next paragraph. 

I originally started this blog post intending to share excerpts from the last couple weeks, but I find I do not have the heart to do so. So, onto the photos. 

One of my favorite movies of 2016 was Kubo and the Two Strings, and I was fortunate enough to make the trip to Universal Studios to see the exhibition there, which featured puppets from the film. This skeleton is the largest stop motion puppet ever used in a film. 

There was also the stage of the boat made from leaves and the Japanese style castle, complete with tiny decorated screens and itty bitty props. In other rooms were the shoebox-sized puppets, sets, and props—all the tiny belongings from Coraline, Paranorman, and Boxtrolls

Stop motion has really come to amaze me in the last year. I had never fallen in love with The Nightmare Before Christmas as a child, so I suppose that led me to overlook Laika as well. Kubo definitely changed that! 

A week later, I went birding for the first time at a large park just outside Los Angeles. Then I went to the Pasadena Arboretum, which was full of peacocks roaming around, as well as a show dedicated to camellias—a literal flower contest. The fresh flowers had been carefully placed in little dishes of water and judged in categories based around their type and how they were raised. The flower's size, how soon it was picked, and other factors... I did not know about such things until I stumbled on this contest. I had been rolling around on the ground taking pictures of peacocks strutting outside the building. 

This past week, I was able to enjoy an escape weekend in San Pedro, a city south of Los Angeles. Staying in an apartment overlooking the ocean, I was able to cook, walk around the coast and parks. I even got to take a tour of the lighthouse there, which had survived from the 1870s. Two sisters were the first keepers of the lighthouse, which in those days, was the only building along the coast. San Pedro would go on to become the major lumber port for Los Angeles, growing as construction continued in the area. 

The view from the lighthouse tower.

The view from the lighthouse tower.

Finally, I would be amiss if I did not share a picture from this weekend. I visited the Santa Monica Pier, where I accidentally ended up in some lady's sexy swimsuit photo shoot. That's very Los Angeles somehow...

It was actually a very serious sexy swimsuit photoshoot, but we got here first. 

It was actually a very serious sexy swimsuit photoshoot, but we got here first. 

Oh my. Well. Don't zoom in too much. 

Oh my. Well. Don't zoom in too much. 

Anyway, back to writing!