The MAR Blog

Up close and personal.
Where I've been, what I'm doing, what I’ve seen and what I’m up to next.

Schnauzer on the set

Well this week was another milestone for Violet as she was able to not only go up the stairs but down as well. A big task for a little girl who just happened to hit 6 lbs just before turning 15 weeks old. I’m a proud daddy as Miss Violet also mastered sitting and standing on her hind legs with little coaching on my part. So cute.

A full week for us as we were busy filming for the Fine Living Network in my home. Violet was a bit confused by all the furniture being moved and all the lights but she was a real trooper as she hit her mark and could not be more flexible and accommodating to the crew (one of the many segments we filmed that day was about creating a pet-friendly home). Of course she had to make herself known first (some barking), and was a little hesitant, but soon she was back at play, this time with the sand bags and lighting stands. After several hours of this I gave Violet a much-needed break from all the commotion so I placed her in my room to take a rest and to play with a more appropriate toy–like Mr. Ducky. I was sure that she could not go down the stairs therefore I kept the door open. Surprise surprise, it only took her less than an hour before taking the plunge and mastering the stairs. Doing this as quite as a mouse, too. I simply thought Miss Violet would use this private time for a well-deserved nap. I was wrong and right in the middle of one of my “Smart Tip” segments here come the pretty little girl making her way to the bottom of my feet. I could not help but noticed her from the corner of my eye and although I continued reading my lines on the teleprompter I could not help myself to look down for a moment–here she was, her little body hovering around trying to find just the right position at my feet so she could get a good look at me to stare up and watch. I could see her little mind say “Why am I not in this?” The producer called “cut” and Violet was the perfect distraction for a much needed break.

While on the subject of interruptions, it never fails that I could go weeks without talking to my mother when out of the clear blue the phone rings–first the cell phone then the land line, and never leaving a message. This always happens while on a production shoot. Always mid day, always with really nothing to say and always “Oh I did not want to bother you.” Don’t get me wrong, I love speaking with my mom Aurora, but her being retired for many years has somewhat disconnected her from the idea of working hours.

That said, no matter where I am if mother calls I always feel compelled to answer the call. I do what any good son would do if they can’t talk: get to the basics: “Are you ok? Did anyone die?” Get in and get out with a promise to make a follow-up. You see my mother refuses to call me on Sundays as she does not want to bother me. I don’t get it, but what the heck she’s my mom. I found out later that night after so many years of doing this she hates my tone when I say; “What Mother? I’m filming”. Referring to her as”Mother” reminds her of Faye Dunaway in the movie Mommy Dearest. Truth be told, she is a gentle woman who loves her three boys, and can be quite a character. For example, her farm is what I like I like to refer to as “Wild Kingdom” because she and her husband have so many animals–including horses, ostriches, lambs, chickens and dogs! My mother is not what you would call a “country girl” by nature, so maybe a better name for it would be “Green Acres!”

The week ended with Rosebrook Gardens returning back to a home and less like a movie set. I am what my friends would call a “cleaning tornado,” quickly returning every last piece of brick-a-brack and furniture back to it’s original place. Having the production team leave their equipment overnight was somewhat difficult and delayed the tornado, but regardless what you might think I was totally ok with that. By filming over a two-day period we had some of the best work I have ever done. The lighting and the backdrop were so gorgeous and one could really appreciate that this was not just another set but a home. Look for these “Smart Tips” in the upcoming months on the Fine Living Network.

On Friday I was invited to attend an Estee Lauder video shoot to meet some of their top executives and their world-famous makeup artists. It was just off Park Avenue in mid-town Manhattan, and I decided to take Violet. Well of course you know what happened: all of the crew and models were infatuated with her. Here’s Alex Hardyment (in the middle of her closeup!) getting some Violet love. We finished the night off with a fabulous dinner at Le Cirque; the food was exquisite and the atmosphere was wonderful–and even they still don’t know that Violet was there under the table the whole time. Shh–don’t tell!

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