Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hi, This is Bob from Lexington

How are you, Bob?
I'm Fine, Ms. F.  How are things where you are?
It's snowin' like a bitch!  How are things in Lexington?
It's snowin' like a bitch!  You goin' to the premiere tonight?
Probly not with the weathah like this.
Would you go if there were two tickets waiting for you?
Oh, well, I might venture out for that.  You gonna be there, Bob?
Yeah, I'm the one leaving the tickets for you.  They'll be at "Will Call" in your name.  Will I see you?
Yeah, well, I think I can get out in this for that.  I'll see you there.  You gonna have any problems gettin' theah?  Could you use a plow?
I could use my driveway plowed.  You know somebody?
Yeah, I'll send my neighbah ovah.  He'll plow your drive for ya.

(Meanwhile, Ms. F's co-worker is climbing the walls)

Ms. F gets the address and sends her neighbor over to plow the driveway, and then later that evening, she sees the premiere of "The Candidate" with Robert Redford and his wife, who warns her to treat him "like a real person," to which Ms. F counters "I treat everybody like real people."

Which she does, clearly.  The co-worker climbing the walls knew that "Bob from Lexington" was Robert Redford.  Ms. F simply continued addressing him in the manner he'd introduced himself!

I am so happy and grateful to have Ms. F in my life.  What a treat she is!  'Sides, she saved me a fortune on my ... faxing. ;)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sometimes, I'm a complete and utter moron. Good thing I'm a BLESSED complete and utter moron!

Today was a day quite similar to any other recent day.  We got up and did the little things we do.  I started a load of laundry, with help carrying it all down.  Then, as I was moving towards swapping clothes from washers to dryer, I got a call from a friend of mine looking for some help on a rush basis - did I want to make fifty bucks for a couple of hours, and could I be at the Disney studios by noon?  Well, of course!  What will I be doing for my $25/hour?

My friend didn't have all the details, but what she did know was that she needed to find one more "player," and then she'd get those pertinent details.  All she knew in that moment was that we'd be playing a game as if we were on a game show.  Cool.  I dealt with the laundry, with the promise Stephen would rescue it all from the dryer in an hour.

Then several text messages were exchanged and I was able to get dressed and made up and out the door in time for the noon call time.  I arrived at the actual location after noon, but I was the first of our little gang of three, and I learned that our actual call time was 12:15.  All of us early!  YAY!

The game we were testing looks to be a ton of fun, once they get it on the air.  The fact that we were all "in" the industry means that they'll never call us back to be actual contestants, but that's okay.  We had fun; if they liked us enough to come "play" again while they tweak the process, then we'll get another fifty for another couple of hours.  Win-win!

So I celebrated by running to Lowe's to pick up some more lumber and brackets, since Stephen's been hankering to continue the bookshelf-building.  I also seriously considered getting us a new kitchen trashcan, so I meandered down to that aisle.  Once I'd made up my mind on none of the choices at that time, I realized that all I had in my cart were my purchases, and all I had in my pocket was my phone.  WHERE were my wallet and keys?  WHERE was the fifty-dollar bill I'd be paying with?  WHAT kind of complete and utter MORON leaves all those things behind on the lumber shelves while shopping elsewhere?

Frantic, I went back to where I knew I'd left them.  I went back to the employee who'd cut my lumber for me.  I went past cashiers, asking all employees I saw whether anyone had turned in a wallet and keys.  Getting desperate by the time I reached the customer service desk, I can assure you.  Didn't know how I'd get home, or how Stephen could possibly help me if I phoned or texted him.  Didn't know how to report my car stolen if it had been.  Didn't know what to do about all of my "cards" in the wallet, and so pissed at myself for being DOWN seventy bucks on the day rather than UP fifty!  STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.

But not only were my wallet and keys turned in and at the very top of the "Lost and Found," so were my clip-on sunglasses!  The wallet hadn't been opened - every card, every piece of paper, even the single nickel in the changepurse part were exactly in place.  I am so blessed.

So after I went back to complete my purchases, I encountered the couple that I KNEW had turned them in.  I'd seen them in the lumber aisle as I was leaving it, and the gentleman may even have been trying to get my attention when he first saw me!  He gave his wife the credit, and I thanked them both PROFUSELY.

Moral of the story: if you're going to be a complete and utter moron, which, if you're human, you may very well decide to be from time to time, make sure that you recognize before, during, and afterward how very very blessed you are.  You may regret being a moron, but you will definitely appreciate being blessed!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All is Lost

If you saw it, what are your thoughts?  Do we need to give ourselves time to process it?  We just watched it, and we both really wanted "Our Man" to get out of his Job-like situation, but you know, The Title doesn't actually let you believe that he possibly can...

I welcome your comments.  If you loved it, tell me why.  If you hated it, tell me why.  If you haven't seen it yet, but you want to, tell me your reasons for both.  If you haven't seen it yet, and have no intentions of seeing it ever, PLEASE tell me why.

Stephen's got some BTS of "Blade Runner" playing right now, and we'll probably watch that again tonight.  Maybe removing ourselves completely from "All is Lost" will help us process it.  I'd really like to end up having liked it.  Just can't quite get there yet.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh, those crazy adventures of my friend, Ms. F

Time to name-drop again... Should I tell you the David Arquette story or the Sean Connery story?

We just watched "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" last night and had a BALL watching James Bond play Indy's dad, Henry.  So I'll tell you the story I just learned about him, as told by Ms. F.

She was on a plane from somewhere coming home to LA.  She was flying on Frequent Flier Miles and had therefore gotten a seat in First Class.  Her seatmate across the aisle was a famous football player (she told me his name, but as I am not a football fan, I don't find him integral to the story and will therefore not name him).  Immediately next to her, however, was 007.

They exchanged pleasantries, and she watched him sign autograph after autograph.  The football player was likely doing the same.  She watched both of these men be as gracious as any famous person can possibly be.  Mr. Connery ordered her a Bloody Mary, which she graciously accepted.  The football player made some comment, to which she replied in a grandiose manner.  Mr. Connery immediately regained her attention to ask whether she thought the athlete would have known a particular word she had used.  She said "let's find out," and then asked another question of the athlete to test him.

When his response indicated his lack of vocabulary, Mr. Connery ordered another Bloody Mary.  Over the course of the flight, the very famous men on either side of Ms. F got her hammered on Bloody Mary's.  (I apologize for my misspelling of the plural of Mary, if I have, in fact, pluralized it incorrectly.  I know that the plural of "Mary" is not "Maries."  Help me out here, kids.)

Upon disembarking, Ms. F's control of her own body was gone.  So James Bond and the Athlete carried her off the plane, to the arms of her awaiting husband.  Introductions and more pleasantries exchanged, and I would assume many a "Thank You," and then Sean Connery offered Ms. F (or maybe handed is the correct word?) two tickets to the Academy Awards.

Ms. F and her husband sat in the second row of the balcony at the Kodak Theatre, to watch Sean Connery receive his Lifetime Achievement Award.  Connery's family was seated directly in front of my pair of friends.  Afterwards, they all mingled together again in the "Backstage Pass" world that exists at the Oscars.

Some day, it'll be me in First Class, on a plane, giving tickets to my "new best friend" to some grand and glorious and glamorous event! ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

He Drives Me Crazy! (Woh, woh - that's right, kids, SING ALONG TIME!)

Today started poorly.  One of the cats had had an accident on the towel/rag we're using as a bathmat.  Stephen assumed it was Cocoa, because she's more "scent-sitive" than Smokey is, and besides, she was the one who woke him at 6:30 to go do something about it.  While he passive-aggressively made enough noise for me to feel "blamed" for the incident, I DID go back to sleep.  He came back to bed, and then we both got up around 9, I think.

Did our things.  I felt him following me around, waiting to tell me what Cocoa had done.  I probably drove him crazy by not giving him any indication that I knew what had happened, or that I appreciated the clean-up.  I should have thanked him.  Thank you, Stephen.

But my morning sort of spiraled.  The skies have been gray, and that contributes to my own personal "cloudiness."  I was in a bad mood, because everywhere I went, there were drawers and cabinets and closets left open.  I've said something about this seemingly new habit before.  So I passive-aggressively made enough noise while closing things for him to hear me, and maybe remember that I've said something about this already.  I don't want to nag, so I passive-aggressively make noise.  It's not good, and I know it.

Here's the thing.  When he realized I was grumpy, he immediately wanted to know what he'd done wrong or how he could "fix" it, right then in that moment.  So what follows is my list of wants, needs, and desires, as a human being.  I know I can't have this list RIGHT NOW.  I'd like to have it in general.

I want to live in a clean environment that is comfortable for anyone who visits.  I don't want to ever have to say "excuse the mess" when anyone walks in the door.  I have cats and a husband but not dogs or children.  There should never be a mess to have to excuse, now that we're mostly unpacked (but for the books).

I want my husband to want the same clean environment.  I appreciate it when he vacuums the cat hair off the futon, but I'll appreciate it more when I don't have to clean up the toothpaste off any mirrors.  Is this a big deal or a little one?  It bugs me, but maybe I should get over it because it's just a stupid little nothing?  I honestly don't know.

I want my dishwasher to actually clean my dishes.  Right now, it leaves a film, and nothing looks clean.  We're using a rinse aid, but I don't know what else to do about it.

I want to have the freedom to have a bad day or be in a bad mood and get myself out of it.  I know that men need to fix things RIGHT NOW, but I don't expect you to cancel your plans that you made for yourself and for your business, and I don't want you to think that I expect you to fix it for me.  I want to come blog myself into a good mood, okay?  (It's working, by the way. Blogging, plus the fact that your plans for today inadvertently included "separate" time.)

I want things outside of this apartment to occupy our time and our brainpower (see previous sentence).  That week I had three days on set was a glorious week.  I know there will be plenty more of these opportunities, and I'm looking forward to them.  I've got a phone interview tomorrow, and Stephen's got a second in-person interview at the same time, so we could each book work for ourselves, starting soon!  Then we can not spend all of our time in the same space.  We each need a reason to get away from each other, as well as away from our home.  Work's as good a reason as any.

I want to be able to walk around the apartment in my bare feet.  This means I need to mop more.  I'm currently blogging from atop my bed while the floor dries.  This is a want I can TOTALLY take care of!

I need enough money to buy the things I want.  I need to feel needed.  I need to feel appreciated.  I need to not nag and to cease my passive aggression.  It's ugly, and I don't like it.

I desire to be in shape again.  I'm workin' on it, and in the meantime, my tan is gettin' really great.  And wouldja lookit that?  The sun is out!  I can go tread water!  Yay!

The One Thing:

The one thing I "dislike" about this list is: that it is full of "shoulds." I don't personally believe in "shoulds," so while I'll leave the following list intact, in my head, it reads, "The one thing I think I should..."  If you'd like to amend it for your personal use, by all means.  I got it from Kelly, in the format you see below.

The one thing I should do less often is: procrastinate. I've had this list for three days now, and I'm just getting around to completing it. :P
The one thing I should do more often is: treat myself to "girlie" things like manicures and pedicures.  I LIKE feeling feminine, and I think a fresh mani-pedi goes a long way towards positive self-esteem.
The one thing that always makes me smile is: happy babies, either in person or in pictures.  Children laughing is the sweetest sound to this "Great Auntie."
The one thing that does my head in is: how controlling I get.  I really don't want to nag, but I find myself "correcting" stupid little things ALL THE TIME.  Makes me crazy.
The one thing I should eat more of is: ? I'm drawing a blank here. I'm fairly certain that, on any given day, I'm consuming a good balance of the "right" proteins and carbs to keep my system going, and on any given day where you may witness me eating something "less" healthy, it's because I've made a conscious decision to not deprive myself of something really delicious that I really want.
The one thing I can do to make the world a better place is: make my world a better place, and let the world around me watch me do it.  I'm pretty empathetic (and sometimes pathetic, yes, that too) and I feel like my opinion counts to some folks.  I hope that I'm modeling any advice that I happen to give out, because I know that I do give advice when asked for it.
The one thing I need to remind myself is: I am the only "me."  No one else will think exactly as I do; no one else will do things exactly the way I do.  I need to accept that I need you because you are not "me."
The one thing I should do for myself right now is: forgive myself for not blogging yesterday.  It's MY blog, and there are no schedules anyone else has put on me!
The one thing I should say ‘no’ more often to is: ? Another blank.  I think I have a healthy grasp of "yes" and "no."  Not that I have a way to explain that for you, sorry.
The one thing I should say ‘yes’ more often to is: everything new and different and (safely) scary.  A big part of our return to LA has been "saying yes" more often, and we are implementing that into our lives.  I need to prevent myself/us from falling back into our old routines, especially once we both have a routine!

Thank you, Kelly, for this post!

If you would like for me to see your answers to this list, or maybe you have more "shoulds" to add, please link the location of your list (or just post it in full) for me to check out in the comments below!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Foto Friday!

Mystery Actor (not to be named until Comi-Con)!

I went to make the bed,

and discovered Cocoa under the blanket!

What a HIPPIE!

Cocoa dances in her sleep

One of many clocks I am considering for the living room -
Do you HATE IT, Kelly? ;)

No, I am not a nurse... I just play on one TV!

This came with my Melaleuca order.  I don't know these folks.
But my brother-in-law does!

Guess where WE are tonight?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not much to say tonight...

Got my butt over to Central to add a photo to my file (wearing my nursing scrubs) but got there too late for the first "wave" so headed BACK over the highway to the nearest insurance agency.  DRENCHED in sweat is a really unusual state for me.  I don't like it.  The receptionist got me a glass of ice water, and an associate agent walked me through the quotes I needed, even though he won't get "the sale" if I decide to follow up with them.  "My" agent wasn't in today, and I just didn't want to do everything that was needed over the phone.  It's too much.  I was there for awhile, and finished my glass of water, including eating the coupla ice cubes that were left (SO not "me").  Went back to Central and was able to squeak into the last row of folks from wave one, effectively "cutting" in line ahead of those in wave two.  So sue me - I WALKED there.  In SCRUBS.  TWICE.

On my way home, I was accosted by Amnesty International "member" Giugis (I think that was his name - nice fellow; Greek; works at a Greek restaurant in The Grove, since, according to him, it's "The Law" for all LA-based Greeks to work at Greek restaurants).  He told me all about AI and why I'd be a good fit for them (I would, really, I think, if I were inclined to join any cause), as well as telling me what his name means in English (I've forgotten), and as I was declining joining at this moment, expressing shock that I am not currently employed!  Remember, I was wearing my scrubs, so, yes, I certainly did look like someone who could afford to join up.  Alas, not today.  However, I indicated that I live nearby, so if they plant themselves kind of often in that spot, I'll likely catch them again, and possibly be dressed differently (the agent associate is hoping I'll drop in to that office in another costume in the future) - I LOVE THIS TOWN!

Got home and ate ice cream to cool down, because I needed a photo for my own purposes, and if I'd peeled those things off immediately, they'd have never made it back onto my body.  Not today.  It got to 95 today.  I dunno what the humidity was, but it existed, that is certain.  Like I said, "DRENCHED in sweat is a really unusual state for me," and "I don't like it."

Eventually went down to the pool.  Back gate locked again.  What is UP with the one resident who will NEVER get into the pool controlling how I access it? Blargh!  A bit more eventually, STEPHEN joined me in the pool! What the what?  Apparently, it was too hot for him not to. ;)

Checked the mail and got BOTH of the "long-lost" Entertainment Weekly issues we weren't expecting.  Had time to apply/submit for two industry jobs.  Three, if you count the voice acting job I'm not likely to get.  I mean, I could, but I don't yet have anything even vaguely like a home studio, and I don't know where I'd go to record the thing.  But boy, would I love to get that career kicked off!  Ennyhoo.  Stephen made dinner; we finished off the wine and had chocolate, and watched U-571.  While I've been typing all this, we've been going back into it to try to figure out which character was played by Jon Bon Jovi (we were both VERY wrong, but that's okay, because we both had our eye on the same guy).  Good flick; I'll probably have to watch it again, to see exactly when JBJ and David Keith "buy it" (we know when Bill Paxton does, and we also know who gets to survive).

Guess there was more to tell you than I thought, huh?  Thanks for reading!


My map is so pretty - all those BIG splotches of green.  Thank you for joining my little party here.  Please visit often!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PLENTY accomplished today

For starters, there's fresh coconut ice cream in the freezer, almost ready for consumption! (It WAS 90 degrees today, so don't judge me)

Stephen made chicken and squash on the George Forman grill, with a side of spinach.  MMMMM...

Prior to that, there were a lot of job websites visited, job applications completed, job phone calls placed.

I went for a swim.  Well, really, I tread water so slowly that to others watching me, I'm "meditating" or "peaceful."  It is exercise, because I'm not just floating to keep my head above water.  I am working.  But the neighbors verbally "envy" my state of peace.  I always invite them to join me, but I think too many folks are either afraid of the cold water, or afraid of the water in general.  One neighbor did make a phone call yesterday, and now the gate is unlocked on both ends, not just the end that's convenient to the resident who holds the key. {I mean, what's that about? We're in a controlled-access building, so why does one resident control when and from which direction the rest may access the pool?}

I did not nap today!  Even though I was awakened by Stephen's leg cramp at some ungodly 6-ish hour this morning (he was moaning on the floor, trying not to wake me, and would not allow me to assist him in any way), and then got up in the slightly-less ungodly 7-ish hour.

Stephen wrote.  This is always a good thing.  I don't measure his "success" by how much he writes; I'm happy when he writes, because he's happy when he writes.  And he's been writing daily.  I'm just mentioning it today.

I did a good bit online and on the phone regarding all things insurance.  We have probably 30 days from our move to get the California auto and renters policies in place; 60 days to enroll in California's health insurance plan; need to change my address on my life insurance policy, and that one can't be done online (why not, I wonder?).

We discussed building/installing our next round of bookshelves in the bedroom.  I'm not quite ready to go buy the lumber, which is why I made ice cream.  And that is the full circle of our day.

Welcome BACK, Poland!

I've missed you - did you miss me?

WELCOME, Japan! UPDATED: It IS "Welcome Back!"

Or would that be "welcome BACK?"  I noticed the webdriver-thingymobob you used to find me was something called "Google Translator" - that's excellent - but I wonder how "Google Translator" will translate "webdriver-thingymobob."

At any rate, I hope you enjoy what you read, and you'll stick around.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I think I may be spending a little too much time in the sun...

Last week, I got to work three days on set.  Because of my "wrap" time on Friday, I was unable to put myself on the availability list for the weekend and yesterday.  This week, I've made myself available for work today and tomorrow, so far.  I have ALSO been able to apply for a Script Supervision gig in August that I already didn't get, as well as a twelve-week gig as a PA, also starting in August.  Do I really want to work as a PA for minimum wage, long hours, and no real respect, for twelve weeks?  Boy, howdy, do I ever!  (Yes, I really am serious - the job description fit me to a "T")

Since we've been here, Stephen's done a lot of writing, AND a lot of applying for jobs, both online and on paper.  The difference between the last time he had to do that (in NC) and now, is that, in North Carolina, every job he applied to was simply a "J.O.B." (Just Over Broke) that would help us survive financially.  Here, without exception, every job he's applying for is something that he would like to do!  Some may very well be minimum wage and part-time.  So what?  If he gets hired for a minimum wage, part-time job, and he feels a need to bring home more bacon than it offers, he can get hired for a second part-time job, and that'll satisfy that need.  Or he can get quickly promoted to a higher wage and/or more hours!  He's had two interviews already, and we've been in our current residence only 19 days!  We both know that the job he's meant to have will find him, and probably quite soon.  We've got faith that here is where we're supposed to be, and so appropriate work will find both of us.

In the meantime, though, I spend about an hour or more in the pool and in the sunshine.  Today, while Stephen was at his job interview, I was in the pool and sunshine for a long time.  When I came back upstairs and he got home, my energy level was sapped, so I took a nap.  I like napping, but honestly, I'd rather be working.  I like having access to a pool, and I like sunshine on my skin, but I don't want so much of it that it causes me to have to nap.  Also, I very much enjoy having someone to chat with while I'm treading water.

My Italian neighbor, Teresa, likes to walk laps around the building's interior.  Sometimes, she'll walk while I'm in the pool, and we'll chat briefly.  I caught her during her laps this evening, and we chatted through my living room window (she refused an invitation to come in and sit).  One of these days, I'll get her into the pool, walking in the shallow end while I'm treading water in the deep.  One of these days...

and then it won't feel like I'm spending too much time in the sun!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Time Travel

We just finished watching our Blu-Ray of Looper, which we had bought some time ago, and even though we'd both already seen the movie before, it had recently come up in conversation, so we watched our not-so-recently-purchased-but never-before-viewed "new" copy.

We are time travelers, you know?  We are able to see the choices we've made in the past, and because we watch sci-fi (specifically Time Travel) flicks, we can see how different our lives would be if we would ever get the chance to change Just. One. Thing.

Take, for instance, if all those nights Stephen asked me to marry him (in college), rather than me just saying "yes,"* what if I said "yes - let's set a date for after your graduation?"  If we had married right out of college, even if we waited for him to finish his film degree, so that we knew we'd be coming to LA, we'd have avoided me marrying that other guy, as well as him dating that other chick.  We'd have children, no doubt.  Would I have had the career I've had, just this LA career?  Would he have gotten together with his writing partner to be a published author at this point?  Would we still be renting?  Would we STILL be in Los Angeles?  Who really knows?

Or, what if, for instance, he had only changed his relationship with his Dad enough to convince the man to write a new will, or get health insurance, or life insurance?  Or, what if, for instance, when Mommy asked "should I come visit you in California, before I go home?" back in October of 2006, I had said, "yes, PLEASE!"?  Would Stephen's Dad have somehow managed to avoid his cancers, or at least left his survivors not flailing so, there at the end?  Would God NOT have taken Mommy on that highway in Tennessee?

My point, if I have one, is that we have THIS life to live.  If we watch ourselves make mistakes that we are able to learn something from, then the time traveling we do is in not making those same mistakes anymore.  If we learn anything in this life, we are obligated to share our knowledge with those who come after us, and thereby time travel into a better future.

Or am I just blowing smoke or sunshine up your skirt?

*Remind me to tell you THAT story, if I haven't yet.  I'm already losing track of what I've told you, here on my blog!  Dang!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Let the water hold me up (How Did I Get Here? Act Two)

So I got my SAG card in 2003 and then what?  Before I had "accepted" the stand-in gig (read, opened the door Opportunity knocked on and walked through), I had also "accepted" a small role at the local theatre company, which rehearsed things "workshop style," which meant, until The Board gave it a "green light" for a short run, it was just a project to keep everyone's acting chops honed.  The Board said "go," and we were slated to perform around Thanksgiving/Christmas (I have long since forgotten our actual run dates).  This meant at least one full week of tech rehearsals nightly, where everyone needed to BE THERE no later than 7 p.m.  Which meant that I needed to make arrangements with my "real job," which was standing-in on "24."

Remember what I said about 2nd ADs having very little power but wielding what little they had?  I was given permission to be "taillights to the wind" by 6 p.m. any evening I worked, to make it across "The Valley" from Encino to Studio City by my theatre call time, for tech week as well as any performances.  I handed out flyers trying to get folks to come see the show.  I was still bright green.

Got through our entire run, and then "24" broke for Christmas hiatus.  When the show started up again in January, everyone went back to work.  Everyone except me.  I kept NOT getting called to stand-in.  The 2nd AD had decided that I was "unreliable" (despite the fact that the play was now closed and there was nothing left for me to commit to but "24") and essentially fired me.  Not that Central Casting received any kind of notice to that effect.  She didn't want to burn that bridge with them or me, just in case her career may founder, and mine may surpass hers.  She knew how the business works.  Don't fire someone or even ever treat that person remotely badly (she didn't, I promise you).  Just don't ever ask for that person back.  So one of my friends in the background spied out the situation for me and let my green become just a little more "earthy" - I was finished on "24."  The stand-in/PA who had trained me was picking up the slack by wearing a wig.  The only real loss to "24" was that they no longer had a photo-double, which meant they'd have to shoot Elisha's inserts using ELISHA.  Oh, well.

So I found work as a Personal Assistant (still didn't know how to book Production Assistant gigs, nor did I understand the joys of Background Acting), and started looking for principal acting work again.  Only now, I was in the Union, and I was prohibited from working for low-paying, non-union gigs.

But a casting call for a non-union low-budget horror flick crossed my path, and I was perfect for the lead role, and I let the producers know it, and I booked an audition.  They scheduled me to read for a minor part, but as luck would have it, one or both of the actors who were scheduled to read before and/or after me were no-shows, so I got to really "wow" 'em... and then I reduced my SAG status to "Financial Core" so that I could star in a non-union production... and then I learned that I could make a living doing union background work.  What a delicious, delightful mess!

So with a Financial Core status, I went back to Central with dues payment receipts and started working as a union background actor.  And I worked enough to get SAG health insurance, and keep it for three years!  Hello, healthcare!  And no longer "green" about the industry, although there was still plenty to learn.

Then there was the Writers' Strike... and the Directors Guild got the contract they wanted right away... and SAG held out for something better... for a year.  In the year that SAG should have either accepted the contract offered or gone on strike, production either shut down, or switched contracts to AFTRA (the "video" union, considered at the time to be "okay" but not as "legit" as SAG).  I'd been booking the show "Mad Men" on a regular basis (check out the first three seasons and look for the secretary that looks an awful lot like Marilyn Monroe - that's ME!), and they had an agreement to shoot no matter what; if SAG called a strike or came to an agreement in the contract, "Mad Men" was allowed to continue shooting at the previous rates.  But after "Mad Men," where was all the work?  Over at AFTRA...

So I joined AFTRA, and even though there was still sufficient work, my time was now split between two unions, which meant I was going to lose my health insurance.  Not the biggest of deals, being healthy, but it was the harbinger of change...
Letting the days go by...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

We didn't leave a light on...

not that that matters to the furbabies, for a coupla reasons. A) they're CATS and B) there's plenty of light in our "resort" that sneaks in the windows.

The reason it could matter to us is that it means we didn't expect to be out past dark, but we were.

Got up this morning and did some grocery shopping, with the intention of also picking up a "party platter" to contribute to the BBQ/BBP (Belated Birthday Party) we were to attend 3-7 this afternoon.  At the store, I discovered that I could buy all the fruits and veggies we could possibly want to consume ourselves in the coming week, and make a lovely party platter myself.  I do have an appropriate platter!

So I put that together, and we headed out.  Found the house with little difficulty but had to circle the block to find parking.  No idea where the rest of the guests parked - we found a sweet spot right around the corner from the house.  We were, of course, the first to arrive.  I don't mind, though - we've been gone for almost two years, so hosts are going to want to see us first!

The BBP was being hosted by the Birthday Boy, Dave.  His wife, my friend Jenn, was at work, unfortunately, and no one really knew for how long.  We did not expect to get to see her. :(

Guests arrived; we knew only Dave and 3-year-old Brendan.  Or, should I say, I knew only Dave.  Brendan was an infant the last time we saw him, and Stephen had only met Dave once.  'Saright.  We mingled.  We met the other guests.  We watched the children play and the parents admonish.  We ate.  And ate.  And ate!

Then guests began to depart, and suddenly it was just us again.  Stephen figured we'd go, too, but Dave invited us inside so that he could get to know Stephen better, and Brendan could settle a bit from all the excitement.  We had a good time; there was continuation of eating, and the "getting to know you" was really going smashingly.

And then Jenn got home!  Hugs, more hugs, genuine catching up and "so happy to see you"s, and before anyone knew it, Brendan was asleep on the dog.  MORE catching up, because now we could converse like real grownups, and suddenly it was 11 p.m.  We checked the map and came home.

I don't think either of us had planned to network today, but it felt like that happened anyway.  It was a good day.  Good BBQ.  Good BBP.  Good evening.  Pleasant drive home.  And now there are lights on, and the cats aren't sure what to do with us!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Foto Friday

First night BOTH cats stayed on the bed after lights out! (It's so bright from the flash)

All the tool we needed to build the futon. :)

The couple who created the one-woman show

Found this in June and HAD to bring it - I teared up
 when I saw it. I can't show you the front, sorry.

Tom and Tiki Al behind the scenes


My buddy Jason - proof that he does, in fact, WALK!

Exec Prod and 2nd AD BTS

Me and my boss-man, Mike Philpot

A star takes direction while EVERYONE watches

Me and the 2nd, sharing some love

He's a really good sport.  What a lovely man.

Waiting for Ms. F to arrive for our swim, Cocoa carpe'd that diem

RUB MY BELLY, WOMAN! And scratch my head while you're at it - you've got two good hands!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My friend, Ms. F was just here

and THAT woman has stories that need to be told!

She came over to use the pool.  I knew her from back when I had a membership at the Y, and I would go to "Open Swim," and walk back-and-forth with the older ladies in the shallow end.  She was the first one to quit the Y, because of reasons, and when I finally quit before the move to NC, my hope was that I would end up in a building that had a pool, so I wouldn't have to rejoin.  I have landed in a building with a pool (you've probably seen it in my pics), so I have no need of the Y.  And let's face it, the walking gang doesn't need me to keep 'em walking in the shallow end!

So Ms. F had been our local contact when we were moving, storing some of our possessions while we were in "local" transit (staying pet-friendly in Whittier), and she is our friend, and I knew, since she was holding some mail for us and did not have a Y membership herself, that she would likely enjoy an open invitation to use the pool.  Today, she took us up on our offer.

She brought a bottle of red wine, which she opened right away, and then we stashed the corkscrew gift in the drawer (it has a built-in foil cutter!).  We drank from "poolware" that she'd also brought.  We sat and chatted.  Eventually, she and I left Stephen to work some more on his book, and we took our refilled glasses downstairs to hit the water.

The sun was warm.  The pool was cold.  She "dove" in from the steps that she'd inched down; I got back up out of the steps and jumped into the deep end.  We both started treading water or swimming short laps or walking on the line that separates shallow from deep, to get our muscles moving and to make the water feel warmer.

Ms. F caught me up on the Y ladies' situations, with whom she had managed to maintain relationships, even without the maintenance of her membership.  Ms. A is in the hospital with a blood clot in her brain, but is expected to survive.  Others have other issues that are being watched.  All are still living their lives, but there is a new sense of "orphanage" that we don't think about when we're young(er).

We got out of the pool and reapplied sunscreen to Irish Ms. F's fair, exposed skin.  I sat facing the sun, to try to tan my belly.  We talked about our friends who have retired to Florida, and the regaining of that relationship that had been feared lost.  We talked about late-in-life orphanage.  I realized that I no longer have ANY older living relatives on my mother's side of the family, (older than MY generation of cousins).  Ms. F is also "the last."

Then she went on to continue the "name-dropping" habit that she has.  Ms. F doesn't drop names to impress - she's simply relaying events in her life.  I asked her if I could blog about her, and she gave me permission, as long as I post no photos or name her by name, as there are one or two folks in her past she'd rather not reacquaint herself with. ("Bitch" and "The Embodiment of Evil" - these may have been exaggerations, but I don't know the suspects personally, so I'll take Ms. F's word)

In future posts, if Ms. F approves, we'll talk about "Ted and Joanie" and "Uncle Dick" and other important figures in her life.  For now, I'll just tell you about how she "impersonated" Woody Allen.

Ms. F was living and breathing New York, and WA was a prominent figure at the time (not that he's not prominent now, but you understand).  So Ms. F would call a restaurant for which reservations were simply impossible, and say "Mr. Allen would like a table for 4 this evening at 7:30" or "Mr. Allen would like four tickets for tonight's premiere," which would be met with "will Ms. Farrow be joining him?" to which she would reply, "Ms. Farrow may be joining him, but Mr. Allen would like four tickets."  Then, when Ms. F arrived with her three friends, she would say "Mr. Allen is unable to hold his reservation and has released it for us."

Everyone but the restaurants and theatres knew Ms. F was running this scam, and it was working.  Until the evening her foursome showed up at Elaine's, and the hostess said, "Mr. Allen has already arrived.  Shall I take you to him?"

Ms. F had to oblige, of course, so there she was, facing the man himself.  He asked how long she'd been doing this.  "Two years," she said.  "Well done," he said.  He offered her his table for four at another impossible location, which she graciously accepted.  She didn't indicate to me whether that was the end of "impersonating" Woody Allen, but I like to think she found herself an even-bigger fish to fry after that.

I do hope Ms. F will continue relaying her life experiences to me in small-enough chunks for me to remember long enough to blog about them.  I hope she'll make swimming with me in our building's pool a regular thing.  I hope she doesn't bring wine every time, because, um... I'm a lightweight?  and if I hadn't started typing this almost immediately after she left this afternoon, I'm sure I would have forgotten most of it.  If you'd like to hear more about Ms. F's life and the celebrities that have filled it, please comment to that effect, here, on the blog.  You're welcome to comment anonymously.  If she is to see your comments, it'll only be here (not on Facebook).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And you may ask yourself, Well, How did I get here? (go ahead and sing along, kids, you know you wanna)

As you know from yesterday's post, I was on set again today as a costumer.  This is not my preferred position on set, but it's definitely something I can do, and today, I had the honor of working with the Costume Designer, Mike Philpot.  Really, I was more of a Costume Department PA, so my comfort level with the job increased as my personal level of responsibility decreased.  I can handle being in charge, don't get me wrong.  I just like to know ahead of time that that's the expectation.

Anyhoo.  At lunch, Mike and I had a conversation wherein he expressed his admiration for me in the job I'd been hired to do.  Which got me to the point of telling my "how I got here" story.  Most of the time, y'all don't get to hear any of my stories of my past, but Mike said it was a good one, so I decided to share it with you as well.  This may be the first time I've ever written it.  Probably.  I've told it many a time.

When I first moved to LA from North Carolina in 2002, I had only the emotional (and some, well, probably A LOT of financial) support from my family and a degree in Theatre.  I was an actor with NO knowledge of film or television, or the industry, or how anything worked.  To call me "green" is an insult to the color green.

I did what was necessary to search for acting work and an agent and a way to get my SAG card.  The only other "job" I even had any knowledge of, beyond acting, was that of PAs.  I'd been a clerical assistant in my day, so surely I could be a Production Assistant!  Not that I knew how to get one of those gigs, either.  So I auditioned for an in-house commercial video for a "doctor's" office in Beverly Hills (yes, 90210).  Didn't book the gig, but since I helped the guy set up the camera, he hired me to run the office.  Office Manager, right outta the gate!  Woo Hoo!

In a handful of months, we saw fewer than a handful of clients, and we had a ton of inventory of snake oils that the Beverly Hillians weren't buying, and the company went belly up.  I got laid off, and for the first time in my life, I was eligible to collect unemployment benefits.  I took my newfound windfall and attended bartending school.  Once I completed the coursework and got "certified" as a bartender, I started taking temp gigs tending bar for private parties, care of the head instructor.  It was a sweet deal.  Pretty much an under-the-table paycheck, plus tips, and all I had to supply was my "uniform" tux shirt/pants and my pouring kit.

So I was setting up the folding tables in the yard of the hostess of "Watch the Oscar de la Hoya Fight at My House This Saturday Night and Don't Pour Your Own Drinks" party, when she came out to chat me up.

  • Hostess: "So, what do you really do?"  (when not bartending, of course)
  • Me: "Oh, you know, I'm trying to have an acting career."
  • Hostess: "Do you have your SAG card?"
  • Me: "No."
  • Hostess: "Do you want it?" (um, duh? who asks this?)
  • Me: "Of course!"
  • Hostess: "Give your card to my assistant, and we'll call you."
What I didn't know - what I never bothered to ask - was what my employer-for-the-night did for a living.  This particular hostess was the 2nd AD on the show "24."  I had never heard of a 2nd AD.  I didn't know how little power one had, nor how much power one would yield (in spite of actually having so little).  I found her assistant (who turned out to be the Key Set PA) and gave him my card.  At the end of the night, I packed up my crap and went home.  The next day, all of the party attendees (crew on the show) went back to work.  Yes, they all had to work on a Sunday - that's why she hired a bartender!

On Monday, the PA called.
  • PA: "So, you're going to come be a stand-in for us tomorrow on '24,' right?"
  • Me: "Sure!  What's a stand-in?" (remember, I was too green for the color green)
  • PA: (audible groan) "Are you registered at Central Casting?"
  • Me: "Yes, of course." (not that I had done anything through Central beyond the one week I worked in the background on the show Bernie Mac because of my 1989 Cadillac Sedan deVille; i.e. I was still super-green)
  • PA: "Lee from Central's going to call you later today.  Ask him all of your questions."
Lee did call me, and he told me just enough that I was no longer shaming the color, and I went to Encino to be a stand-in on "24" on Tuesday.  I was in my mid-30's, standing in for Elisha Cuthbert, who was 20 at the time.  I learned how to do the job because of another stand-in, Alicia, who only taught me what I needed to know because she'd been instructed to.  I'm sure every fiber of her being hoped I would fail.  She was a bit insecure in her position there, even though she'd been there from the start and was also a PA when not standing in, so I don't know what she was worried about!

By the time lunch rolled around, Elisha was wrapped and sent home.  I didn't know that when you stand-in for one specific actor and your actor wraps, so do you (normally), so I was still soaking up all the knowledge after we started shooting the second half of the day.  The 2nd AD who had hired me was sitting near the monitors, and looking over at me, until she finally asked if I was willing to cut my hair.  "How much?" (since at the time, my hair was straight and landed at my shoulder blades) was my initial response.  "We'll bring it to your shoulders and probably give you bangs."  "Sure, why not?" sent me to the vanities trailer, where I got the fastest professional haircut of my life, and the $18 haircut "bump" on my pay voucher.  Excuse me, SAG voucher.  Then they sent me to wardrobe, where I was fitted in a suit that exactly matched that worn by Elisha Cuthbert!  They were turning me into her photo-double!  With another "bump" for changing the job I was doing, mid-day!  I walked toward set and crossed paths with Zach Quinto, who worked "opposite" Elisha most days, and as we approached each other, he said, "Hey, I thought they sent you ho...oh...oh.  Oh, they didn't send you home."  

They made mid-thirty-something-year-old-me look EXACTLY like a twenty-year-old!  Zach Quinto did a double take!  And he SPOKE to me! <swoon>

I worked as Elisha's stand-in and photo-double on SAG vouchers three days in my first week ever really being on set (I honestly don't count that week on Bernie Mac).  It takes three SAG vouchers to be eligible to join SAG.  I'd gone from completely ignorant of how the industry works to SAG-eligible in less than a year and a half.  And do you know why?

Because I wasn't "pursuing" an acting career.  I was trying to have one, and I'm a big believer in "right place, right time" and answering the door when Opportunity knocks.  This story hasn't brought us to the gig I just completed tonight, but it's Act One.  Maybe, if you're good, I'll tell you the next Act in the not-too-distant future.  Stay tuned, and keep in tune!                            
... Letting the days go by...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

No Pics for You!

I got to work on set today... we shot a bunch of greenscreen stuff, with one actor.  He was great, and pretty well-known in the sci-fi world, and even though he did allow us crew to get selfies with him, it would be unprofessional of me to post them without the permission of the production.  Sorry, kids, you'll just have to sit there wondering who I had the pleasure of working with, and wish you lived my life. ;)

Speaking of working on set, let me tell ya a little about today.  My training for film work involves acting and background acting and photo-doubling, all of which take place on camera, as well as stand-in work, Production Assistance, and Script Supervision, all of which are off-camera.  In my life, from a young age, I have known how to sew.  Back in the day, when I used to love to sew on a regular basis, I never wanted to "make a living at it" for fear I would lose my joy for the act of sewing.

When Stephen and I determined we'd be returning to Los Angeles from North Carolina, we decided to say "yes" more, both to parties/events/networking opportunities, and to work.  When I saw the request for "costume department help - must know how to sew," I immediately reached out to my friend to offer my services.  It took a second request for my friend to realize that I was serious about my offer.  Yesterday, he "heard" me, and offered me two days of work.  I was happy to accept.

I got to the gig today expecting to assist the costume department.  Turns out, I was the costume department!  I arrived expecting to have to carry costumes to a dry cleaner, and use the designer's machine and other tools to alter one costume.  Thankfully, someone else had taken the laundry already, and was slated to collect it all at the end of the day.  So the alteration of the costume: no machine, no hand needle, no thread, no scissors or seam ripper.  I borrowed a seam ripper from the HAIR department gal (who is normally a COSTUME department gal), and there was a sculptor in the art department who just happened to have a cloth measuring tape so I could measure the actor's neck and alter the neck closure for him.

We had one PA who was sent out for a sewing notions run, and then later, he ran out for posterboard.  Poor kid - I was sure he could hear us whispering his name for any errands we might need!

It was a good day, but weird.  I'm used to being asked to do anything.  I'm ready to do anything.  I'm not used to being in charge when I'm expecting to assist.  We managed to keep the day short and do everything we needed to, but there was a lot of "down-time" that, on a normal set, the various departments experience in shifts, not everyone all at once.  So, weird.  But everyone was nice/friendly/professional, and I look forward to returning tomorrow.  At least I know what tools to bring!

Monday, July 14, 2014

ONE MONTH AGO, we left North Carolina

Yes, kids, that is the milestone I promised you yesterday.  In some ways, it feels like it's been much longer than that.  In other ways, it feels like a month.  In NO way does it feel like "just yesterday."  I still have friends there, yes, but I was no longer employed, and most all of "my" stuff was either packed in a shipping container or in my car or tossed in the dumpster, and we hit the road without really looking back, once the cats were safely situated.

In other news, I HAVE A GIG that starts TOMORROW!  I'm on the call sheet as "Costumer," of all things.  I think what I really am is "Costume Dept. PA" but that's okay.  Part of this move was being willing to accept any job that I'm qualified to do, and boy, howdy, am I qualified to work in the Costume Department!  Woo Hoo!
****The producer who is bringing me on can only guarantee two days of work, but so-friggin'-what?  I intend to make them love me, so they'll want to keep me for longer than that.  Or just have a helluva good time for two awesome days and work on getting my next gig!

In other other news, here are some pics to entertain you:
We borrowed our on-site maintenance dude's circular saw to trim
the pieces we'd mis-measured and had cut originally @ Lowe's.
Then we OBVIOUSLY had to clean up all the sawdust! Duh!

I let Stephen do most of the actual "handiwork" of installing
the new bookshelves.  Now, he'll have the confidence to
continue if he's got the right tools at hand without "this tool."
Bookshelves, Part One.  Yes, this was taken from my POV.
Don't worry yourself over the fact I can't reach these.
I don't read.  Really.  I can read.  I just DON'T. :)

I built the salad while Stephen grilled the frozen chicken
thighs on the George Forman grill.  I have YET to find a
food that thing won't cook properly, and FAST!

Did I mention I have a GIG that starts tomorrow? w00t!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday, Lazy Sunday! (that's right, kids, you can sing along if ya want)

Went to bed late but still got up too early... just can't seem to manage to sleep in!  This was the best shot I could get of the "Supermoon" :/
I know, pathetic, right?
So I got up this morning, had breakfast, read some of an old "Entertainment Weekly" and helped Stephen bring the coffee table up from the car... and then I had a nap, I think.

Got up from the nap, and we went to Big Lots for a new box fan for the window.  Came home with more stuff that we needed, because TODAY ONLY was a "Friends and Family" 20% Off sale at Big Lots, which we just happened to luck into on our Lazy Sunday.

Took a dip in the pool... Took another nap, while trying to do some online surveys.  Got up from the second nap, and Stephen had me choose a movie.  "Speed" was on its side, which meant we had purchased the Blu-Ray some time ago and never got around to watching the disc.  We had wine and chocolate on the new coffee table, seated on the new futon, while watching the movie.
All of those wine and liquor boxes hold BOOKS.  Next step, shelving!

Discovered that it was SANDRA BULLOCK, not Keanu Reeves, that gave the sage advice about traumatic events and making life decisions.  Huh.

We haven't found a suitable, inexpensive substitute for Green Fin Red Table Wine.  Tonight's choice was fifty cents cheaper and okay, but a little too peppery for pairing with our Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.  We'll have to continue trying other bottles (the Italian wine from the other night was too dry, overall); hopefully, we don't end up with "Two Buck Chuck" or the TJ's boxed wine.  Not that there's anything wrong with either of those choices, either.  But when the organic grapes come back, we'll be stocking up on Green Fin, I guar-own-tee!

Tomorrow: a milestone.  Stay tuned, kids, and for the love of Pete, would you keep that singing IN tune?  Sheesh.

Four "Little" Things

  1. Probably got my twice-a-month bookkeeping gig back, to start sometime in the coming week.  Work begets work, so this is a very good thing.
  2. THIS: 
    Thanks, Patrick and Michele, for contributing to our living room!
  3. Went to see this lovely woman's 1 8/9 person show.  I laughed and was brought to tears several times.  I may have some issues that need sorting; I dunno. event invite get yer tickets!
  4. Stephanie gave us our new coffee table, which will live overnight in the car, both to give us daylight to carry it up, and to give the cats only one new piece of furniture to "learn" at a time.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Welcome, Thailand!

I hope you enjoyed what you read and will return!  Thanks for visiting!

Foto Friday

we live in a RESORT, y'all!
at least, it looks like it upon approach at night :)

since the opposite seems to be true for us, maybe having this would remind him to stay on his half? maybe? ;)
in the hot light of day - still lovely, no?

love this dress, which Stephanie handed-down to me, but I can't really wear it anywhere. :/
because tube tops just don't work for ANY figure!