Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Next days, next steps... to healing, we hope!

1 October: It's already October? Wow. Did 2021 fly by for everyone else, or was 2020 just so fucking long that 2021 seems to be shorter?

Ennyhoo. It's Friday the first, and I've managed to somehow sleep, and I have some pain, and I can't do anything. So, I hand my shuffle of papers to Stephen to see if there's anything in there to learn, and also to see if the orthopedist Dr. Drew referred a) accepts Emergency Medi-Cal and b) can see me in the next 10 days. Also, where's that scrip? I'ma need to fill that thing.

I call the ortho. They don't accept EM - I'll need a group number and all that other shit. I'm welcome to call Medi-Cal/Covered California to get a "real" insurance policy. Or I can be a self-pay. But the earliest appointment they have available for me is Wednesday the 13th (oh, hey! TODAY! {the day I'm actually posting this}), which is not within the 10 days Dr. Drew has prescribed I follow-up. Hmm... 

So while I make calls to Medi-Cal and Covered California to try to get a "real" policy, Stephen goes looking for orthopedists who'll see me sooner.

Covered California is the "Marketplace" where California residents can shop for health insurance policies, under the ObamaCare provisions that everyone should be able to afford insurance. According to CC, we won't have earned enough income in 2021 to afford even the most basic of plans, meaning, we should automatically qualify for "regular" Medi-Cal. But Medi-Cal qualifies you based on monthly income, not annual, and even though Stephen's schedule with the Dodgers is very irregular, and he had, in fact, earned $0.00 in the previous workweek, he'd earned enough over the course of September (as had I), that we did not qualify for regular Medi-Cal. So, as far as insurance is concerned, we'll try again once the Dodgers are finished. Which may very well be us trying again next week, if they lose the game tomorrow night. Hmm... I'll need more facts.

Meanwhile (and I mean that in the sense that I was on the phone with both "insurance" entities for practically the full day), Stephen found an ortho with a very user-friendly website, where I could also make an appointment in days rather than weeks, and the office charges would be reasonable enough to put them on a credit card, no matter what my insurance outcome was. Unfortunately, they were full up on Friday, or Friday was already over by the time I even knew to try to get in. However, I was able to get a very early appointment on Monday, confirmed with a phone call from them after I had "placed the order" online. In that phone call, I was given a pre-estimate of charges, for the consult, any x-rays, and a cast, if that was the direction the doc took. Great!

So I grabbed the Rx and walked to my local CVS pharmacy, wearing the ER sling to support the splint, which was, for all intents and purposes, "hidden" by the sling. It was roughly 4 p.m. when I saw the pharmacist, a rude woman who declared that they were "out" of my meds, and no, she couldn't tell me who "might" have them on hand. I think she saw my sling and judged me to be a drug-seeker, even though I had a legitimate Rx! Found another pharmacy nearby, where they also didn't have my Rx, but not because they were out. They didn't have it because they're not a big chain, and they just don't carry narcotics. But that pharmacist was very nice about it all, and suggested CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. She was actually enthusiastic about Walgreens, so that's where I went to get my meds. And they gave me zero resistance. #YayWalgreens

In the upcoming week, I'd been scheduled for some background (acting) work, with Covid tests on Monday and Tuesday, and 3 potential BG days Wednesday through Friday. Somewhere around the incident, they changed the test days to Sunday and Monday. So now it's weekend, and I'm calling the after-hours line, leaving messages, asking to change the tests back to M/T. I have an injury, and an appointment to see a specialist. If you test me and I don't end up working, you won't pay me for the test, and everyone's time will have been wasted. If I see the specialist and he clears me for work, I'll give you two clean tests and then I'll work! ... "Production would like for you to test on S/M and we'll still pay you whether you work or not"... hmm

So on Sunday 3 October, I drive myself to the testing site, by way of an auto-parts store, where I buy a knob for my steering wheel and attach it so I can use my left hand as little as possible and manage to drive myself!

#AchievementUnlocked! And of course, my negative test results come in that night, so...

On Monday 4 October, I drive myself to my ortho appointment. Only one person on the staff grates on me, expecting me to run my credit card for the charges as they accrue, rather than hitting it once for the day's total bill. At some point, he relents to allow me to run the office visit and x-rays together, and I relent to adding the cast afterwards, if that's what it takes to be seen. #ThatsWhatItTakesToBeSeen

Dr. Nevarez and Dr. Gendelman are top-notch. They both inspire sufficient confidence, so that when I discover that the ER has possibly mis-diagnosed and therefore mis-treated me, I'm less upset with the ER than I am sure of this particular ortho practice. My fracture was never hairline; I should have been able to see an ortho within 24-48 hours, or the ER should have put me in a real cast versus the splint. The time spent in the splint has made the fracture worse, not better, and now the only thing for it is surgery.

SURGERY. Cut me open and install a plate and pins. FIX the injury. Okay. #JustDoIt. How soon? What will it cost? How long will I be "down"?

There was an opening in his schedule for Tuesday 5 October! I'd have to be at the hospital by 5 a.m. for pre-op, so I'd be under the knife by 7 a.m. #GREAT #JustDoIt. Went home with my "do's and don'ts" list, informed Central Casting ON MONDAY that I would not be working this week, and waited. (I did not cancel the Covid test on Sunday!)

5 October: Stephen drove me to the hospital in the 4 a.m. hour, or as I like to call it, #DawnsTrampStamp. Got checked in early in the lobby, and waited to be sent upstairs. Got to the first round of paperwork, which I had him fill out so all I'd have to do was sign, and when they took me in for pre-op, they sent him back downstairs. He found some nice coffee somewhere and did whatever he does (reading or writing or playing games or posting on Fakebork).

Post-op, so bruised & swollen, but feeling 10k times better. I'm now bionic! I will set off every airport security gate going forward... can't wait to get to fly ANYWHERE!

The rest of Tuesday was spent in rest, in a much more reasonable splint, with only two medical "rules" to be followed: 1. Pick up nothing heavy 2. Follow up with the office on the 18th.

And now you're caught up on the injury & immediate treatments. Now to cover just LIFE and unlocked achievements! Please, comment away! I'll respond pretty quickly, this week, I think...

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Timeline, to be updated? Or just continued?

16 - 29 September: work, walk, shop, live... do the things. Do All the Things #ActorLife #SetLife #Blessed
30 September: work on set, then later shop, walk, shoot video/photos of the neighbors' yards that are already decorated for Halloween. Some pretty good stuff, y'all. Trip on a sidewalk crack, fly like Superman, land on both of my hands, exchanging my keys for a biggish chunk of gravel in my left palm, and scraping my phone case (in my right hand) across the offending sidewalk. #10kSteps #ThePhoneIsUnharmedThankfullyBecauseThatsWhatsImportantRightNow #ButOwFuckOwFuckOwFUCKOwFuckOwFuckOwFUCKOwFuckOwFuckOwFUCK

Hobble home, gingerly "holding" my bubbled left wrist with my just-beginning-to-bleed right hand. Greeted by the cats upon entry, burst into the ugliest ugly cry you've never witnessed. You remember the wives in Biblical and/or ancient Greek literature, wailing over their husbands slain in battle? That was me, for a solid 30 minutes, trying to rinse the dirt outta my wounds and figure out (not logically, no) why my fucking wrist hurts so fucking bad! Managed, somehow, in my pain and tears and snot, to call Rachel, the niece, the nurse. She's east coast and it's late. I get voicemail. I'm still crying and snotting and now apologizing for the hour, leaving a message that I have no hope of being understood in**. No idea what to do next.*

* Back before Covid, I had health insurance. GOOD insurance, through my union, SAG-AFTRA. Because of the loss of work, I also lost my insurance. No biggie, since I'm a pretty healthy person with a strong immune system, right? Well...
** Rachel's Google translate is hysterical! I hope she'll allow me to post the screenshot

Still the 30th, even on the east coast, Rachel calls me back. {She's an incredibly patient nurse, and also my very loving niece. I've been so #Blessed to be her auntie.} She talks me off my ledge, instructs me to take 1000mg each of ibuprofen and acetaminaphen, and also locates for me THREE nearish emergency rooms that I should get to immediately, if not sooner, because in her opinion, that left wrist is probably broken. At that point, I don't have the strength in either hand to be able to open the childproof OTC pill bottles, much less drive, and Stephen is at work without wheels of his own. So I knock on the neighbor's door, and they both open my drugs for me and give me a lift to St. Joe's ER. Rachel hangs up when she knows I'm moving in the right direction, and she expects updates, knowing I'll be on someone else's schedule for the next long while. Arriving at the ER, I send the neighbors home - no way I'm asking you to stay, since it'll likely be tomorrow before I'm outta here. Thank you kindly.

I get processed relatively quickly. I don't see a lot of what look like COVID cases (although I'm waiting in the "injured" half of the room and don't have the instinct to "diagnose" anyone in the other side of the room). X-rays are taken, and I'm so chilled to my bones, I'm afraid I've messed up the pics with my shaking. The tech assures me he got what was needed, finds me a toasty warm blanket to wrap up in, and parks me in a chair in the hall - no more lobby waiting for me!

I'm sent to a room where I'm greeted by my PA, "Dr. Drew". He tells me I have a hairline fracture; tries to show it to me in the printouts of the x-rays, but I don't really know what I'm looking at. He tells me they're going to put me in a "soft cast" (splint), give me an Rx for pain meds, and refer me to an orthopedist I'll need to see in ten days. Then he hands me (or really, tucks into my bag for me) a bunch of papers, including the x-ray prints, and leaves the room to fetch the splinter-tech. 

I'm joined by 3 young people, possibly nurses, possibly some other job label. I learn their names immediately, because that's what I do. I have, of course, since forgotten their names. It's been twelve days - gimme a break! The woman in charge is training the man, and the other young lady is also observing as training (she had been observing when I was first admitted). We four are getting along splendidly, and I'm trying to absorb all the same info at the same time. There was probably a pain-med injection early on, though, so I may have been a bit loopy. I don't recall.

The splint goes from my second knuckles around my elbow and back again to the second knuckles. I ask why so long, and the lead tech has me twist my right wrist, which I'm able to do (because it is not restricted to the elbow). I ask about the 10 days, and she says most patients are out of it sooner. Um, what? Of their own volition, or what? How does that work? They finish the dressing, ask if I have my discharge papers, and tell me they'll be back with Dr. Drew. Um, okay. #IDontKnowWhatQuestionsToAsk #IDontKnowHowToAnswerTheirQuestions #DoIHaveDischargePapers?

I'm left alone for a little bit, so I post pics on Fakebork and tag Stephen, because it feels like I need to go home soon, if they're asking if I have discharge papers... he calls immediately, in panic mode, because that's his SOP (which is why I hadn't reached out earlier), and while I can't give him concrete answers to his questions yet, I do assure him that I just need for him to come get me, and all of the details will be sorted in due time. He signs off, saying he needs to get permission to leave early (but sure it won't be a problem).

Dr. Drew et al return to see if everything's been done "correctly". I ask whether I need to pay a bill at registration or if I'll be billed, and Dr. Drew remembers this lovely California thing called "Emergency Medi-Cal", which is essentially Medicare for low-income under-65's (US). He sends the financial wizard in, and wouldn't you know? We qualified. Of course we did. So now, rather than waiting for Stephen to get all the way home on a bus, to collect my keys from the hook, and drive to get me, he catches a rather expensive Lyft to bring him to me and then us to home.

In the meantime, I still don't know that all of the papers that Dr. Drew had shoved into my bag So. Much. Earlier this night were, in fact, my discharge papers. I've been free to go! For a coupla hours, apparently! I meet the car in the drive, still wrapped in my no-longer-toasty blanket, and we get home, where I replay the events, and the cats finally get fed.

And then Cocoa stress-pees on the bed, and Stephen has to strip it for immediate laundering, and we've gotta figure out how to sleep before the next adventure! This was an awful lot to type, so I'm going to say... next post, a continuation of this epic saga! Feel free to chime in with questions or your own similar experiences!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Fuuuuuck... time for a bitchfest!

 So, yeah. I'm super-happy about being super-busy, because #AnyDayOnSetIsAGoodDay. But there are drawbacks to being super-busy, one of which is time-management.

Usedtabe, I'd open Quicken semi-daily, reconcile all the accounts, pay a bill or two as soon as there were sufficient funds to do so, and get on with my life. It doesn't take any time at all or even a helluva lot of brainpower, if you do it every coupla days or so.

Once I got super-busy, I had to find time to open Quicken and have it talk to the accounts. Not that I ever let anything get paid "late", mind you. But certain cards are used more frequently or regularly than other cards, and a weekly check-in feels insufficient when you've been doing near-daily.

One of those cards was ready for a payment this weekend. Having just deposited a coupla paychecks from setwork (#KaChing!), I went ahead and paid the card. Unfortunately, the only way to make deposits on the weekend is either at the ATM or via the mobile app, both of which only "credit" the first $200, leaving the balance to wait until one full business day has passed. Or, at least, that's how it works at the SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union.

So even though there were technically "SUFficient funds" in the account, those funds weren't technically available until today, so when the credit card cleared the influx yesterday, the bank called it "INsufficient funds", automatically transferred the less-than-a-hundred bux it would take to be "SUFficient", and charged me five bux for the privilege.

I am sick to death of businesses charging me nickel-and-dime fees for the PRIVILEGE of working with them!

First off, if I had known that the funds were going to wait until today, I would've waited to pay the fucking card. Secondly, I thought credit unions were supposed to be #BetterThanBanks, because "Membership has its Privileges" or some shit like that. Thirdly, no, really, actually, this should be first-point-five-ish, after one day of having withdrawn less than a hundred bux from the overdraft account, I already accrued THREE CENTS in interest! One Fucking Day equals three cents in interest on a loan, but how much interest does my hundred bux earn in savings, hmmm? Significantly fucking less.

I called the credit union. They explained it to me like I'm a fucking moron, and after "reviewing my records", they credited me the five bux. Because she was so fucking condescending, I wasn't going to ask for the three cents. But it's all such bullshit. And really, this was just the straw that broke this camel's (i.e. me/mine) back.

I've already been truly pissed off by our new utility billing. Usedtabe, water/sewer and trash were included in our rent. But #BecauseCovid, more people are home and so the landlords decided to split them "proportionately" among the tenants, and the company they use to bill us has the gall to claim that this type of billing encourages conservation. Bull-fucking-shit. But on top of that, they charged us ten bux to set up the bill (that we never requested in the first place), and then another three bux every month for the privilege of being billed that way... and if you want to pay it with a credit card, that's another two-fiddy!

#NickelsAndDimes... It's not that I can't afford these bills. I just shouldn't have to pay these ridonkulous fees. No one should. It's all just a big steaming pile of bullshit. 

Thanks for letting me rant (like you could stop me if you tried) - I'm feeling much better now. #MontyPythonForLife #ImNotDeadYet

Please use my comments section to tell me about your #NickelsAndDimes reason to bitch. I'd love to think I'm not alone in this particular irk.

Monday, September 13, 2021

A Spoiler-free review, and ... more?

 We went to the movies, y'all! At the Movie Theater! It was on a day we were both not working, this month, but honestly, my brain is pretty fried from all the busy I've been, so I don't recall exactly when it was. But I do know what it was, so let's proceed.

We're fans of the comic book and superhero genres, so of course we've seen every Marvel and DC film and show as they are released. Shang Chi is part of the Marvel universe, but like so many of the characters in that universe, I was completely unfamiliar with his story or how he tied in, prior to our viewing. 

This flick has a ton of action/fighting scenes, and when they take place in urban Macau, China, on temporary bamboo scaffolding 50 stories up the side of a huge corporate building, they are very reminiscent of Jackie Chan's fight choreography. This is not a bad thing. When they take place in mystical villages and people get to leap over each other, they are very reminiscent of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". Also not a bad thing.

And when Michelle Yeoh fights, it gives me hope that there's still time for me to get to experience some wire-work (not that she did any wire-work in this film, shut up).

Beyond the fighting, there's the story. There are the characters. There's AWKWAFINA, who is amazeballs. And there's the Marvel tie-in, courtesy of Wong from the Doctor Strange part of the "world" (and, well, the whole "Ten Rings" thing that I'd forgotten they'd mentioned).

Having no foreknowledge did not impede my enjoyment of this film. I'm curious as to whether actual comic book fans enjoyed the film as much as the ignorant masses (<== I include myself in the latter group).

Overall, the story flows at a decent pace, and in the right order to allow the audience to keep up. The writing, direction, and acting is all top-notch (as one expects from Marvel these days). We laughed our asses off, quite frequently. If you like all the same stuff I've just mentioned, then make sure you go see it!


And now, to the "more" of the title:

I was keeping myself out of the world of background acting for most of the pandemic for a variety of reasons... COVID, a "lack" of work, wanting to focus on auditions for foreground acting, and the whole audiobook side of my career. Also, Stephen and I were house-hunting for a bit, thinking we'd be upgrading our lifestyle from that of renting. Right around the beginning of August, though, because pretty much every audition I had was a self-tape that I could "fit" into my schedule, I gave my calling service the "go ahead" to find work for me.

And "find work" is what happened! For the past six weeks, I have been averaging four days per week where I have someplace to go (and get paid for going)... COVID tests, fittings, actual days on set, working. Most of the work days have had added "bumps" like mileage, overtime, or meal penalties, and I've been pulled from the background to the position of stand-in, which is actually more of a "crew" position, with a higher base pay and a better level of treatment.

I had the privilege of working on a very high level project, and since the woman I was standing in for was not a blonde, I decided to buy a few wigs. Once I started wearing the appropriate wig for that job, it made me that much more valuable to the (very high level) director and cinematographer. Then just yesterday, my car worked for 10+ hours while I waited with the other 100 background artists back at basecamp, on a show that had some stuntwork on a freeway. And tomorrow, I'm back to standing in on another show (this time for a blonde, so whilst allowing this post to "stew", I've also been touching up my roots)!

Have I mentioned how busy I am? Have I mentioned how #Blessed I feel? I love my job. I love my life. #ActorLife #SetLife #Grateful

They say that if you find work you love doing, you'll never "work" another day. I feel that. How 'bout you?

Sunday, September 5, 2021

It's September Already! Time to head Back To School!

Well, not for me, per se... although, if I'm honest, I headed back to school prior to the pandemic. I've been a consumer of additional training like a starving person heads to a buffet table! I've mentioned this already, in the post titled "Hello, is this thing on?"

So, in addition to being nice and busy in my industry (showbiz: in front of the camera, behind the mic, and as recently as this weekend, BEHIND the camera), I've also been back in school, as it were, consuming and sharing a five webinar series to up my VO game. I'm sure you remember, from my "catch-up" post titled "Where to begin?", that I began my VO career with a relationship with a Kindle Rights Holder, and have been producing his audiobooks. I'm consuming and sharing this week's free webinar to make sure I'm still doing everything the right way (I am, thanks for asking).

So I want to make sure, if you have an interest in a VO career for yourself, or if you know someone else with an interest in a VO career, that YOU (or that person you know) has visited the link I shared and watched the five videos. Here's the deal: this free webinar, while being a complete free educational opportunity, does lead you to a full curriculum and a whole year's worth of education! Last year, I opted in for the curriculum and the community, just like SCHOOL (although online, because of the pandemic, of course).

The curriculum covers so much more than audiobooks. There's just so much more training and workouts and coaching and feedback and all questions answered, by the coaches or the community... it really does feel like heading back to school, but without any of the negative connotations that "school" may imply. Sure, you can sharpen some new pencils or grab a new notebook (remember the Trapper Keeper(TM)?), but you don't have to. You don't need to buy a uniform or any other new "back to school" clothes or figure out which bus to take or how to get to class. In fact, since everything is on mic and not on camera, you could very easily attend every lesson/workout/training sesh in yer birthday suit, if ya wanna! #FreeToBeReal

This year's curriculum is available to you as early as TODAY. The free webinar is still available this week, so you should definitely check it out - go to - and click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the page (1 through 5), and then look at the final video, which walks you through registering for CoolSchool

I've gained so much over the past year of attending this #CoolSchool, both in the training I've received from David H. Lawrence XVII and the other coaches and also in the community of my "classmates". We're all in different places in our lives, educations, and careers. Some of us are brand new at VO (and everyone is, at some point), and others of us are nearly expert at one or more areas of VO. We all have something to contribute, including asking questions publicly, in case another classmate has the same question!

Do YOU have an interest in starting or improving your VO career? Do you know someone who does? Have you visited the link ( Do you have any other questions for me? Comment below!

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Assumptions based on personal history, UPDATED

If you've been following me for awhile, you know that one of the ways I *try* to stay fit is by walking 10,000 steps each day. I'll go days at a time where I don't get close - like, if I stay in the apartment and never venture past the mailbox, I'm lucky to hit 1,000 steps. And then I'll have weeks where I average 12k-13k per day. It's no big deal, either way; I'm not bragging about my successes nor complaining about my "failures". I'm just saying - I'm a human being who has found a way to feel good about fitness through walking, and I have good days and not-so-good days.

One of my favorite reasons to get out of the house lately, is when I "win" a "give" from my local Buy Nothing group. If you're on Fakebork At All, you may know about the Buy Nothing Project. "Give Where You Live" is the motto that drives it, and it's a FREE marketplace where you can meet your neighbors. Have a sectional couch in decent shape that you don't need anymore? Post it as a "give" in your local group. Need new hot or foam rollers because your hair is long enough to work on "period" film/television and just don't have time to shop for a new set? ASK for them! Chances are, you have a neighbor who wants to unload their old-but-still-functional steam rollers! Or express your appreciation for all of the neighbors who contributed single china tea place settings for your bridal shower garden party in a "gratitude" post! It's amazing. 

Because the "marketplace" is hyper-local, receiving a gift is a very good excuse to take a walk. I don't always get 10k steps out of it, but I've learned my local routes well enough, and I do wear my Disney princess non-Fitbit thingy, so I can calculate where I need to go to get those 10k. So I get out, pick up small "gives, sometimes meet the neighbors (not always - COVID has made a lot of exchanges socially distant), get my steps.

Most days, whether I'm able to walk at my 3.5 mph pace, or I'm much slower due to foot, ankle, or knee pain, I'm walking by choice. OFTEN (far too often), some random dude in a car will pass me, honking or slowing down, to "check me out". I do what I can to ignore them. If they're blatant in their rude gawking, I'll turn to face them and angrily yell "WHAT?"... at which point they'll usually offer me a ride.

I've been stewing over this random-dudes-offering-me-rides issue for awhile. I do not know how to make it clear, once and For All Time, that I am taking a fucking walk! If I wanted to be in a car, I'd be driving!

So. Yesterday, after I was wrapped from set, I had a pick-up to make. Walking home, a car approached and slowed waaaaay the fuck down. I was already in angry yell "WHAT?" mode before I realized the driver was a little old lady. After I passed, another pedestrian couple stopped at her passenger window, and she told them that I looked exactly like her mother did, when she (her mom) was my age.

Not what I was expecting to hear. My personal experiences with walking through my neighborhood have only allowed me to assume that the driver is some rando... a horndog dude. And so I finished my walk, chastened for having yelled at a little old lady who was missing her dead mom, and I cried, missing my Mommy. 

When you assume, you make an ass outta you and me.

What's walking in your neighborhood like? Do you participate in the BNP, or anything similar? Do you still miss your dead Mommy, 15 years later? Talk to me, peeps. I've been gone awhile. I miss you! (Comment below)

UPDATE: I got home from set today, did some "stuff", and then headed out for a nearby pickup from my BNP group. Easy peasy 10k steps today. Then, as I'm reaching my block, I allow a turning car to travel before I cross the street. I know that as a pedestrian, I have the right of way, and I will often exercise that right, but just as often, I'll yield, so I don't piss off a driver enough to have him knock me on my ass with his car. So I yielded, and walked down my block towards the apartment building. Dude must've been watching me, and turned around. He traveled down my block, slowly, and asked if I wanted a ride. PLEASE say it with me: "No, I don't want a fucking ride! If I wanted to be in a car, I'd be driving!"

Fuck these fucking assumptions. I hate being right so much.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Where to Begin, to "cover" two years?

5:51 p.m. I suppose the smart thing to do would be to re-read the 16 posts I made in 2019. Yeah, that's what I'll do... hang on... BRB, as the kids say...

7:38 p.m. I can't just re-read my words. I have to re-read them aloud, because I'm more actor than writer, y'all. Sorry it took me 1.5 hours to read 17 posts. #ImADumbass #IIncludedTheOneFromThisWeek

2019 ended with plenty more work and plenty more volunteerism and probably a Christmas party or a dozen, notably at the SAG-AFTRA offices, among other places. We worked and earned some money and made some contacts and lived our fucking lives. All of us did. None of us knew.

2020 began and I continued booking background acting work. I was on set, photo-doubling for Cloris Leachman in scenes she was not able to shoot (yes, I was wigged and dressed and absolutely not shot in such a way you'd know it wasn't her)... and then the world learned of "The Chinese Virus"... and the production did everything right from the word "go"... masks and hand sanitizers and temperature checks and no more communal buffet-style catering or craft services... and I had one last day to go, which got cancelled without notice, but I guess "Finger of God" is sufficient excuse not to pay anyone for that day of work, so at the beginning of April, I filed for unemployment. By June, I'd lost my health insurance coverage (as I'd lost my eligibility by the end of March).

At some point early in 2020, Stephen was hired by Dodgers Stadium. The hiring process took some time, what with interviews and assessment tests and start paperwork and getting uniforms and such. And then the stadium cancelled the season for the foreseeable future. So every week, we'd get a direct deposit of $0.00 from Dodgers Stadium, so we'd know that Stephen still had a "job" he couldn't go to. So he filed for unemployment.

I don't remember when our apartment manager Marge died, but her husband Jack, who'd been the handyman for the building, became the manager by default, and then he got very very ill... in March or April of 2020. And then he died. We have no evidence, but we believe COVID got him. We were all pretty sad to lose Marge, but we were hit hard when we lost Jack. Everything was shut down! Everyone was home, all the damn time! Keeping our distance and wearing masks and stuff! Jack probably contracted it doing a small repair in someone's apartment, or working in his garage on somebody's car. He was probably ready to be reunited with Marge, but I hate to think how he probably suffered in his last days. And none of us knew.

Once I knew I wasn't going anywhere, I dyed my hair purple (temporary dye). Got new headshots in August.

Then it grew/washed out a fun streaky silver. Got new headshots in November.
Then I dyed it purple again. Then it grew/washed out a less-fun streaky silver but mostly dirty blonde. Got new headshots in February of 2021.

*short tangent* Then in April, both of us qualified to get vaccinated. So vaccinated we got. When they ask us to get boosters, we'll get 'em. #CrushThisFuckingPandemic *end tangent*

Then I went back to "my" blonde, but did not return to my pixie cut. Got new headshots in June.

... and "life" went on. We were staying abreast of developments, and that meme showed up, and I dove headfirst into online training, since in-person training was "over". And unemployment was supplemented, and extended, and supplemented again, and extended again, and so on. And there were stimulus payments. And God Knows, if there had been work for either of us to do that could have been done without risk of contracting a killer disease, we'd have gone back to work. We didn't stay unemployed because it paid more than employment. We stayed unemployed because it was all we could do.

I honestly don't even know how I managed it, but I got us out of debt, y'all. #Blessed and #IAmAMoneyMagnetThankYouThankYouThankYou ... got us out of debt, paid off the car and EVERY single credit card, and bought a lot of online trainings. Got set up in my home VO booth and connected with an author ("rights holder") on ACX and started producing his audiobooks. I set my finished hour rate, he agreed to it, and he just keeps throwing "one more" book at me. #VOActorGettingPaid #18BooksAndCounting

Still and all, our income tax return for 2020 looks like we're just out of college and newly married. The lowest income - TOGETHER - that either of us can remember making, in our personal histories of filing earned income taxes. And no real hope of an end to the pandemic in sight yet.

BUT the Dodgers returned to the stadium! And Stephen now gets more than $0.00 deposited most weeks, because he is gainfully employed (part-time, but still)!

I somehow got "found" by a manager in January of 2020, and after a longish "false start" to that relationship, something compelled me to reach out and figure out how to improve that relationship (get new headshots when you dye or otherwise change your hair). I've become a go-to actor/intern/technology goddess, and I have had more auditions since 2019 than I ever had in my career prior. No bookings yet, but I have at least two casting directors who invite me repeatedly to audition for their projects. Which means it's just a matter of time. #WhatsForMeIsForOnlyMe

... and in the last month or so, I've finally told my calling service (for background acting) that as long as auditions are self-taped and not live (whether in-person or virtual), there is no reason I can't be working on #SafeSets. Which means, because of COVID testing protocols, for the past 4 weeks, I have averaged ONE day per week where I didn't have somewhere to go for a production (which means I'm averaging 4 paid days of "work" per week). And because my hair is not a pixie cut, I'm back to working on "period" pieces, where I have fittings and personalized hairdressings and makeup not my "norm".

ALSO in the last month or two, Stephen and I decided that it was time for us to own a home. We started house-hunting in earnest, working with a realtor to see what we could likely afford, and reaching out to lenders to see what "the system" thinks we can afford. 

Unfortunately, because of that just-out-of-college level of income for 2020, we've had to put real estate on hold until we can compile all of our verifiable 2021 income. In the meantime, we stay busy with work, we certify for unemployment (because part-time income and/or dayplaying, as I'm doing, is still not fully employed, and therefore underemployed, even if either of us earns too much in a week to be eligible to collect benefits). The last known "extension" ends by September 11th, and neither of us is even in that extension, so unless the pandemic brings government back to addressing unemployment extensions or supplements again, when either of our "banks" runs out of money, so do we.

At least we're out of debt, yo. #ImNotWorried #ImNotEagerEither

And I think you're now caught up! Which means that I just have to not get so busy that I neglect you again! What shall we talk about next? Comment below!