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!