Sunday, August 31, 2014

Costco, Self-Image, and Body-Shaming: some thoughts

First off, Costco within walking distance - HOORAY!  So yesterday, Stephen and I did the long, walking-and-sampling lunch at our local Costco, and since we were really only out for the walk, we did not SHOP.  Well, er, we SHOPPED, in that we made mental notes of pricing on particular items, like the BOGO on Finish dishwasher tabs that was to end today ($14.49 for 220 total washes - that's like running the full dishwasher four times every week and only spending a quarter on detergent each week, for a year!), and the 1.5 pound package of Kerrygold grass-fed butter for $6.99, among other things.  Now, you may argue that the butter is expensive, and you'd be right, if you're comparing it to standard store-brand butter.  But if you've ever tried grass-fed beef, or grass-fed dairy, you'll understand one's need to stick to grass-fed.  So. Good.

Ennyhoo, while we were on our walk yesterday, Stephen pointed out that WALKING to our local Costco takes less time than it took to DRIVE in NC.  Today, I tested whether check-out time was a factor in driving vs. driving.  Since I needed to BUY things today (like that BOGO on dishwasher tabs), I timed how long my trip took.  I left the apartment driveway at 11:30 and arrived at Costco before most of the walking-and-sampling lunch stations had even set up, so I wandered the store for more SHOPPING - looking at things like booze and swimsuits - knowing that I'd pick up the intend-to-purchase items once I'd started my "lunch."  The entire trip, from driveway to driveway, including parking, leisurely shopping-and-snacking, and checking out, took 1 hour and 10 minutes.  If you're playing along at home, that's ten minutes less than just driving the round-trip in NC.  Woo Hoo!  We're Home!

Before I left the house, I determined that, since today is the official "end of summer" and with Labor Day tomorrow meaning "no more white until Easter," I would wear the cutest white top I own.  Upon donning it, I realized I'd need to cover my lower waist with jeans, because there's just a little more "pudge" around my middle than I'm willing to expose in anything other than a swimsuit.
Also, be sure to walk through the store with arms covering waist,
or at least push a shopping cart to "hide" behind.
Once in the store and snacking, I went to rescue the aforementioned dishwasher tabs, and I was eating a delicious broccoli salad while hiding behind my cart.  There was an oldish girl (or youngish lady) at the end of the aisle, and as our eyes met, I could feel disdain.  I determined to "hide better" behind my cart.

But LATER, at the gourmet cheeses station, there she was again, and we were having a delightful conversation about how easy it was to eat the marinated mozzarella buttons, and that that is what made them a dangerous purchase, etc. ... and she complimented me.  She had sized me up, earlier, and the disdain I felt coming from her stink-eye was, in fact, self-loathing.  What she said to me at the cheese demo was something along the lines of "I was admiring how cute you look.  I have a ways to go, etc." while indicating her dark, blousy top that was hiding her own body-shame.  I thanked her many times for making me feel so good, and because I refuse to return a compliment with a compliment, I neglected to boost her self-esteem in any way.  I regret that.  I should have said something like "not as far as you think" or "you'll get there" but I didn't.  I'm sorry, Young Lady.  You helped me up a notch in my self-esteem, and I did not reciprocate.  You look great.  You really do.  I wish I had said so.

Love me some Costco.  Have a pretty good self-image, most of the time.  Trying to be better about not body-shaming anyone.
Stand like a dancer.  Look like a dancer.  Feel like a dancer.

Your thoughts?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Photo Phriday!

It would appear that my blogging this week has been mostly negative.  While I give myself permission to be "negative" on my own blog, because, hey, it's MINE, I don't wish to be negative in life.  So I've also tried to take some pics lately.  Here they are.  I hope you "read" them as positive.  Happy Friday!
Mutton-chopped Hippie, Stephen

The Aftermath

My foot next to The Aftermath, for perspective

Clean Up, Clean Up, (Stephen does the) Clean Up!

Those last little bits

And of course, the vacuum!


Me, on set, in "holding"... never "maid" it on camera!

The "posh hotel guests" in a better-lit holding area

Smokey likes to pull it away from the wall to make more splash


Reassembly of the laptop, for the second time

Innards, sorted and accounted for

The inner lid, from the underside

Power button ribbon cable properly seated THIS TIME

Seating the keyboard ribbon cable

Back cover replaced and all the hardware elements reinstalled


Rut-Roh.  Where do YOU go?

Ah, yes... THAT'S where.

Dust bunnies and stickies and broken bits, OH MY!

The FIRST time I reassembled, I pushed the wrong screw
through and made a "bubble" on the other side of the cover.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Welcome, Taiwan!

Y'all come back, now, y'hear?  No, seriously.  I love getting new readers, but I really love KEEPING "new" readers, like I'm collecting you or something.  Although nothing that inherently creepy.  I just hope to, one day, have a really green map of the world in my blog stats.  On that day, boy howdy, just you wait, there will be a big ol' PARTAY goin' on up in he-ah!

In other news, I'd like to tell you a little story of blessings and gratitude or something.

The Truly Horrible, Really Bad Day that Only Got SO Much Better By Going Home

     I have, in the forefront of my mind, multi-colored sticky notes that keep me organized.  Some folks use their smartphones, others use an online calendar system, like Microsoft Outlook, others use a physical calendar that hangs on a wall or drapes across a desk, others use Post-Its around the room.  I use MS Outlook with a mental, multi-colored sticky notes one-two punch sort of system.
     This morning, I awoke to read the sticky notes:
  • lime green: "Job Interview at 11:30 - when are you going to buy a big wall clock for the living room, APE?"
  • hot pink: "Job Interview at 11:30 - Is your computer up and running MS Outlook, so you'll get an audible and visual reminder in time?"
  • yellow: "Job Interview at 11:30 - check your map again, and don't forget quarters for parking!"
  • purple: "Job Interview at 11:30 - for Goodness' sake, woman - start getting ready by 10:00!"
and so on.

     So I did all the things my sticky notes reminded me to do, and then my day went Truly Horrible:
  • 10:45 - carry the computer down to the car, just in case they need me to print out another resume (HA!  Who wastes paper like that anymore?); drive out of the lot and head into traffic
  • 11:15 - find parking, too far away to walk.  Venture toward a very busy boulevard and manage to get across it without aid of a light.  Write a mental sticky note: "Don't return this way."
  • 11:20 - get parked under a tree, check and re-check the street parking signage, walk to the building and try to decipher the intercom system.
  • 11:21 - get sent upstairs to the office by the two interviewers, who are heading out to walk their dogs
  • check out the open office and get really overwhelmed with sensory overload.  There's not another soul in the building, as far as I can tell, but the TV's on one of those annoying morning talk-show channels, and there's a "Hall of Fame" with pics of celebrities I can't necessarily identify, and bottles of perfume and notes on white boards and STUFF and STUFF and THINGS and CRAP and now I know why they're hiring a "Secretary" (who advertises for a "Secretary" anymore?  Isn't Admin Assist or Exec Assist or Office Manager more in line with what they need in this really cluttered and overwhelming office?)
  • 11:35 - the two chicks are surprised to see me waiting outside the office, and when I mention that I didn't know exactly where I should sit that was non-dog-permissible, I get an explanation that, while the dogs are allowed anywhere, they don't shed.  No shedding = less work for the "owners."  How nice for them.  I am ushered into the French chick's office and offered a beverage, which I decline.  French chick has excused herself to the rest room.
  • 11:40 - after what can be considered "pleasantries" only in French chick's mind, I am given a verbal beat-down on how the industry that I love is "not a profession" and that "you should have a JOB at your age" and by applying for a position as their Secretary, "you are wasting our time." Those Bitches should be grateful I didn't set the damn office on fire as I exited the building.  I was still in earshot when one said to the other, "Can you believe her?"
  • 12:15 - I arrive at home, fuming but grateful that I didn't let Those Bitches see me cry.  I had turned off my music for the drive home because I had so many thoughts of where I was going to post my bile.  
and then I changed into my swimsuit and got in the pool.

     I am so happy and grateful that I could waste only five minutes of someone else's day and have only two hours of my own day (plus 16 miles and change on my car) wasted in order to reach this place where I currently am.  I know what I need to be doing for a living.  I know that I just need to keep putting out feelers with folks in my preferred industry, and if it comes down to begging, I am not above that.  I know that I will succeed in an office environment if I only put myself out there for temporary or temp-to-hire gigs.  I know that those two I met with this morning will find a young brown-nosing troll to do their bidding, and that I will likely never have to deal with them again.  I've deleted the map; I've moved the emails into "junk"; I've torn up the mental stickies.

     Life is good.  It's only going to get better.  Thank you for reading my little story.  Should you have any contacts (or contracts, as I was about to type - that word works well here, too) in the industry you know I love, PLEASE help a sistah OUT!  I'm really not proud.  I'll do any job I'm qualified to do.  And I'm qualified (some might say "over" qualified, but I don't say that) for just about anything!

     Good Day to you, Gentle Ladies and Sirs.

Monday, August 25, 2014

SOME things should not be as difficult as they are.

I'm generating this blog from OUR OWN internets, which we had to acquire thru A.T. & F***ing T.  This is my own name for that terrible company, because they just never make things easy.  They never do things in a logical manner that seems to make any sense from a customer service POV.

We re-activated the DirecTV service we had suspended for up to six months, because we didn't want to catch spoilers for the new series of "Doctor Who," and it was the sort of thing we were able to work out with a longish phone call last Wednesday (or so).  DirecTV understands customer service.  They are unable to offer internets, so they bundle with AT&F***ing T.  Eventually, they'll figure out how to provide SUPREME customer service by offering internets and taking the bastard company out of their loop.  In the meantime, if you order internet from DirecTV's "bundling" department, you end up with the best possible customer service you can, because you don't have to deal with the other company.  Yet.

So we've had satellite TV for several days now.  The guy who came out to install our brand-new satellite dish was very professional and friendly, and when I completed the online survey, I gave him "10"s across the board.  We like DirecTV.

But the internet options, ugh.  The "self-install" U-Verse Gateway kit arrived via UPS on Friday, but our internet "activation" date was pushed to today.  Yesterday, Stephen unpacked it all and plugged it in to see if there was a way to test whether there was even a dial tone coming through any of the multitude of phone jacks, since we don't have a landline phone.  The system actually WORKED - for a few minutes.  We got our account registered, and then in our attempt to download the next step, it all crashed.

So today, I tried setting it up again, at a different phone jack.  I was hoping to have the flashing box quietly tucked into the bookshelf, rather than hiding behind the popcorn bowl in the kitchen.  My computer saw it, all right, but when it initially connected, I got the error message from AT&F***ing T that my account was not yet active.  It's true, because we were instructed to do nothing until 8 p.m. on our activation day (today) so as not to "break" the Gateway (router).  So I unplugged the thing and let Stephen deal with it this evening.

We tried plugging the system into the jack I'd chosen with the 15-minute "warm-up" time ending at 8.  Then we got impatient to see what I'd seen earlier today, so we started over after 8.  Then we switched back to yesterday's successful jack.  While waiting for that to work, Stephen found another jack in the bedroom.  When we'd unsuccessfully tested both of the preferred jacks, we plugged in the damn thing in the bedroom.  Lo and behold, internet success!  And no 15-minute wait!

Stephen posited that the reason AT&F***ing T makes you wait until after 8 p.m. is so that they can bill you for a full day of service, whether you ever get it to connect or not, AND they don't have to deal with a phone call from you until the next day if you have problems.  From my history of interacting with them ever in my life, I would say that's probably valid.  WHY are they such a terrible company?  WHY does something like "establishing a DSL connection" have to be such an ordeal?  WHY do they not seem to give a flying F*** about their customers?  And really, WHY do so many people actually choose them to provide things they can get elsewhere?

We didn't choose them.  We opted for DSL only because it's cheaper than any of the cable options.  Monopolies in utilities is a rant for another day.  These things should NOT be so damn difficult! :P

We have interwebs now, y'all.  And satellite TV.  It's almost like we never left!  Yay!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Welcome Back, Italy!

You had checked in back in January.  I've missed you.  But on the other hand, I'm betting that my "regular" readership has missed ME (as Stephen has pointed out that I "haven't blogged in awhile.")

So here we are, back in the same place.  Welcome back!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I worked in the background of a tv show as an "Onlooker" to a burning building.  AT NIGHT.  I got home in time for four hours of sleep, and then went into a full weekend of work.

***** insert photo <HERE> once the episode has aired ***** ;)

THIS FRIDAY (tomorrow), I get to be a "Maid" in the background of something I've not heard of, so I'm assuming it's a feature... only my call time is 6:30.  IN THE MORNING.

I love my "job."  I love the transient nature of it.  I love how every set is exactly the same while being completely different.  I love that I've been booked as a maid (I've NEVER BEFORE been booked as a maid).  Can't wait 'til tomorrow, to go back to work.

Chances are great that there will be NO Foto Friday tomorrow.  Hope y'all can forgive me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thank You, Stephanie.

You keep contributing to our environment!  I'm a bit worried you'll end up running out of your own environment!

Ennyhoo.  Kitchen table/chairs, coffee table, and now tall, skinny bookshelf for tall, skinny books!  More and more of our stuff out of boxes and put "away."  Lovely.

....aaaaaaaaaand, BBC America!  Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This made me laugh and cry.  Thank you, Dave.

As of tomorrow, we'll be able to watch all the crap we'd acquired in our DirecTV DVR queue!  But more importantly, we'll be able to PUT INTO the queue shows like "Doctor Who," "Top Gear," and "Downton Abbey."  Whew!

As of Friday, we'll be able to connect the PS3 to the internets and won't have to take turns checking emails or blogging/surfing.

Work work work, work work work, work work work.  Life is good.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What to do THIS week?

Finished up a pretty busy weekend of work, and just got back from a couple-mile walk with Stephen this evening.  In NC, if we wanted to go to Lowe's, we had to drive 40 minutes or so.  If we wanted to go to Best Buy, same deal.  Costco and Trader Joe's, ditto.  Today, while Stephen was at work, I drove a few miles to restock the kitchen at my local TJ's and Costco.  This evening, we walked to Best Buy and Lowe's (and walked by the Costco I'd shopped at earlier today).


So we did.  And it was a nice walk.  We looked at movies and chest freezers and stuff.  We talked about whether we should get cable, satellite, or internet first.  I haven't missed having "television" here, but the new season of Doctor Who starts back up this Saturday, and it's going to be tough to avoid spoilers.

We're generating money of late.  I got a phone call today from another friend who may very well hire me to help her out on a production this week.  Stephen's got a job, y'all.  I'm still available for Background work, and I made quite a few production connections this weekend.  But we still have to choose whether to pay for our own internets (rather than wardrive like we've been doing) or pay for cable/satellite t.v.

#FirstWorldProblems, I know.  I'm sure that we'll have both options within a year of living in BURBANK, but for now, do we spend a little more sooner to avoid spoilers, or do we spend a little less sooner and open our not-limited-to-television entertainment options?

What a quandary.  Boo Hoo, right? ;)

I know what I'm gonna do right now, though.  I'm gonna eat popcorn and watch Superman.  Yay!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Work on this fine weekend

I told y'all I was gonna get to work this weekend.  Here's the breakdown so far:

  1. Last night, I drove an hour and a half to park at a studio lot and then be shuttled another half-hour (or longer?) to our location.  I was in the background, acting like an "Onlooker" for a burning building scene or two.  I won't mention the name of the show; once it airs, I'll post the one photo I was able to capture.  When we wrapped at the location, they delivered us back to the studio so we could drive home.  It took me just over half an hour to get home, in time to sleep four hours before
  2. I drove fifteen or twenty minutes to the home of my friend who needed me to Script Supervise her short film.  I was there from 7 a.m. until about 6:30 p.m.  I'll post the pics I got there after my friend gives me permission.  There are some decent BTS ones, if I do say so myself.  I'm home in plenty of time to check all my internets, and I've eaten, and I'll get a decent night's sleep, before
  3. I drive up to half an hour tomorrow to be on set again by 7 a.m. to finish the friend's short film.  It should NOT take us twelve hours to finish!  Then I'll get home in time for more much-needed sleep.
Yay, work!  Yay, sleep!  Yay, time to check internets and post a blog!

Friday, August 15, 2014

10 Questions

Another thing I'm "borrowing" from Kelly, mostly because I neglected to take many photos this week (except for continuity and BTS pics from the film set last week, and I don't have permission to share those at this point), this is another "let me think about my life, etc. and 'nutshell' it for you."  If you're interested in "nutshelling" your life and sharing it, please do so in my comments section here, or at least comment with a link to wherever it is you've done so.

1. If you were given an extra hour in the day for anything, how would you spend it? 
Right now, I'm not working in film production nearly enough to want an extra hour.  I'd probably sleep it away, unless it were right smack-dab in the middle of the day, so then I hope I'd do something outside.

2. How different are you now from the person you were five years ago?
Five years ago, Stephen and I were deciding to spend the rest of our lives together, after having been apart for twenty.  I'm not that different now from then, but then, I was very different from the girl I'd been when we dated in college.  Neither of us knew it at the time.  I'm more organized and domesticated, and it's made me into a bit of a nag.  I don't wish to be in my early twenties again ("young and stupid"), but I do regret a bit the loss of my carefree attitude.  I think I'll blame the ex-step-ex-wife.  Yeah.

3. What is the single best purchase you have ever made?
My motorcycle.  I would own another in a heartbeat, even in L.A.

4. What is your favorite animal?
Cats, duh.  They're independent but still need you to care for them.  They're vocal without being annoyingly loud.  They're affectionate and in-your-face without being "jumpy."  They make it "fur"-niture.  They can be toilet-trained.  They're like furry children who never make it past toddling.

5. Would you do things differently if you had a "do-over" for your career?
If I could have known earlier about union pension and health, I would have immediately spent the three years following the stand-in gig with Background Acting.  I'd have learned Script Supervision sooner, too.  I would not change the timing of my arrival in California - the life experiences that led me here were "necessary evils."

6. What is/are your personal mantra/affirmation/saying?
Life is uncertain.  If dessert is worth eating, it's worth eating first.
I read labels, and I eat "real" food.  That said, I don't "diet" to the point that I don't allow myself treats.  If there is a "treat" that would be considered "breaking" a "diet," and if that treat is made with real ingredients and/or made with love, I'm having it FIRST.

Everything is impossible until it isn't.

If it doesn't fit, use a bigger hammer.
No, not really.  We just used to say that in the theatre department in college.

7. If you could dine anywhere in the world, where would you dine?
I consider myself a "picky" eater, but I've found no restaurants where I could find nothing palatable on the menu.  That said, I don't have a particular restaurant or even ethnicity of food that I've been pining to try.  I'd like to travel more, and of course, eat.  But a specific place?  Not even a thought.

8. What is the one luxury you would allow yourself if you could?
Weekly spa treatments.  One-hour massages are the best, and I wouldn't mind someone else doing my mani-pedis once in awhile.

9. Flowers, chocolate, or some other thing for the rest of your life?
Flowers, I think.  I can (and do) buy all the chocolate I ever want or need to consume, but I never treat myself to flowers.  I'd like them potted, though, so they're not dead in a week.  Just in case you decide to start treating me to flowers for the rest of my life.

10. What four words would your BFF use to describe you?
Outgoing, friendly, organized, effective.  I think.  I hope.  I dunno - maybe even if you don't answer the ten questions for yourself, you'll answer #10 about me?  Based on your knowledge of me, what four words would you use to describe me?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I'm workin' tomorrow nite!

I've been assured that it won't be all night, but it IS a "night call."  Depending on what time we wrap, I may drive over to the Scripty gig from there... better take a change of clothes and all my gear, huh?

Now if I could just get PAID for the costuming gig.

Life is good.  Gonna go work out in the pool now.  See y'all on the "flip side!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

work work work, work work work... Hello, Boys! (check out "Blazing Saddles" and laugh a little)

Stephen's almost completed his first "full" workweek.  It's an interesting place, his place of employ.  He knows of one co-worker who's been there about a year, and his manager's been there an indeterminate length of time.  EVERYONE else is still a "newbie."  He took his first "have I learned what I should have learned so far?" quiz last night, and he's pretty confident he aced it.  We don't know if it'll be one of the "eligible for a small raise" quizzes that he's expected to take.  We'll see.

Meanwhile, there was a co-worker who'd been there one day longer than he, who was either "let go" or allowed to quit LAST NIGHT because of a hiring misunderstanding.  If they offer Stephen that guy's position (full-time, regular workweek schedule at a somewhat distant location), he's already indicated to me that he will seriously consider it.  Which means we just have to figure out how to get him to work - he won't be walking to that one!

And over in my world, things are brewin'... you already know about my two days of costuming shortly after our arrival, and I may have also mentioned that I did a day of Background Acting that same week... then two weeks ago, I worked with a friend on a game show that's in development, for some cash in hand.  At the end of that day, my friend asked if I'd be available to help her with her short film, in my "normal" capacity as a Script Supervisor.

THAT gig started this past Sunday, and since I wasn't doing anything else, I went and did what I usedta do.  I was nervous heading in to it, since I've been outta the game for two years.  I was afraid I'd forgotten everything I knew.  ... we were a small crew, so we all wore multiple hats, and not one of us dropped a single ball we were all juggling en masse!  WHAT was I worried about?

Every day, I go online to my casting and crew websites and submit myself for at least one gig.  EVERY day.  It would seem that no one wants to hire me as a Production Assistant, because my resume is, frankly, an "overqualification" for a starting position.  If only each of these potential hirers could see how many PA applications (as well as Scripty apps) I've got out there - they'd see that I just want to be back on set, and that I don't consider myself overqualified, and when I say "I'll be the best PA you've ever hired" I am serious and honest and ready to work.

Thankfully, the more of my network that knows I'm home and looking for work in any capacity, the more potential gigs I get to book.  I was contacted this morning for a babysitting gig - I ain't above babysitting!  I get to finish the short film this weekend, and that really should lead to another gig.  My friend who hired me as a costumer is always posting about getting "all" of the work, so it's only a matter of time before he's in a position to hire me again.  The costumer I worked for those two days will hire me when he can.  And the more I show my face at Central Casting, the more likely I am to book a day or two of Background work!

I just need to be patient.  My NC unemployment is going to run out soon, so it would be really nice if I start generating some California income soon!  While I wait to hear about any of my multitude of applications, you can find me in the pool...

and, oh, by the way...

thank you for being here for me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A bit of a ramble, I'm afraid...

I live in Burbank and work in the film industry.  It is not an uncommon thing for me to encounter a famous person on set or in a coffee shop or grocery store or the credit union.  I admire some famous folk, and some I "judge."  I'm human, you see.  If the celebrity has become famous through forces of talent and skill and personality and luck, chances are, when I encounter him/her in a non-work environment, I will say something (as simple as "love your work" or "I'm a fan"), and a conversation may or may not follow.  The celebrities who are famous for things beyond their own control (wealth and a family name) or "Reality" television are the ones I will NOT tend to say anything to, because they show themselves to disregard anyone "below" their own station, and I have no respect for them.  I'm not here to start a fight!

When a famous person dies, if it's someone I've respected, I may post or share in the "R.I.P." whatever on Facebook.  But it's a short-lived thing.  A quick acknowledgement that he or she has passed, and that the work we could have seen will never be seen.  I met Phillip Seymour Hoffman a few years ago, and we had a short conversation.  He was one whose work I respected, and when he died, I acknowledged it.

I never met Robin Williams.  I never worked with him.  I never even saw him in person, from any distance.  But yesterday was a blow.  I'm still crying.  I'm not even sure WHY. 

I think it has more to do with his Bi-Polar diagnosis, which led to a depression, which led to his suicide.  I am in no way diagnosable as having Bi-Polar Disorder.  I do have occasional depressions, some of which have been diagnosable, although I've never been diagnosed.  I've never been suicidal, although there have been depressions in which I've wished I were dead.  I am not currently depressed, but I am deeply saddened by the loss of Robin Williams.  I think what is hurting me right now is that he had access (i.e. funds) to the finest medical care, but still couldn't find his way to the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm sure that his family and friends probably recognized that he was depressed, but no one can know what's going on in the mind of anyone else.  Ever.  And a depressed mind doesn't necessarily "get" the information that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

I think, if I can manage to think about Robin without crying... no, not "if" but "when"... I will celebrate his life and work with a bingefest of all of his comedies that I have on my shelf.  And then, when I've comedied myself into a frenzy, I'll settle down with "What Dreams May Come"... and then I'll probably wonder why he didn't watch it himself before his own despair took his life.

Farewell, Oh Captain, My Captain.  I hope there is an Annie looking for you on the Other Side.  I'm sure she'll tell you how greatly you are missed (and will be, for a long while) on THIS Side.

Friday, August 8, 2014

And the HITS keep on comin'!

No Foto Friday today - didn't take any pics this week!  (<gasp>)

But there's this:
Poland has been consistently lookin' at me once per day, roughly, over the past week or two.  I can count on my readers in North America and the UK and Australia to visit a few times per day, every day.  Those NINETEEN Turkey hits all happened at 6:00 a.m. today.  NINETEEN hits in one hour!  In a country where I know not a single soul!  TEN of Netherland's 20 hits happened today, and the other TEN happened yesterday, both times as "singularities," like Turkey's 19.

I love blogging. This shit is so fascinating to me.  Thank you, dear readers, for stickin' with me, and for coming back, and for bringing your friends.

We're havin' some fun now!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Big A-List Cast... in ten-minute increments?

I was blown away by the actors in "12 Years a Slave," but flabbergasted by how soon they'd leave the story!  It was deserving of all its nominations, but not a movie I'll watch again.  Even when it's finally "happy,' it ain't.  And given the subject matter and how far we've come with movie technology, I'm sure you understand what I mean when I say it's brutal.

In other news, Stephen had his first not-quite-five-hour shift tonight at Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies.  Since it was his first shift, and it ended after dark, and I was only home watching a movie, he asked me to pick him up.  No problem - gave me a chance to check out this awesome store!  When he's on the clock, he's not allowed to "assist" me (of course).  I think he'll end up getting a pretty decent discount, so we may be spoiling the furbabies sooner, rather than later.  Yay!

AND, I ran into a coupla different "old" friends today, neither of whom knew I was back before today!  (In fact, the second friend was out of the "we'd gone to North Carolina in the first place" loop!)

Interesting day today.  Gonna maybe "spec" an audience gig tomorrow - I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Welcome BACK, Netherlands!

You were gone for awhile, but you appear to have returned IN FORCE.  Thank you for remembering me, and sharing me with your neighbors! :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Just Two Things to say...


  1. Caitlin and her family cut the Grand Canyon vacation short for a detour visit here.  Yay for "rocks!"
  2. Stephen's new employer called and has asked him to fill out his "new hire" paperwork tomorrow.  Yay for wages!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Water flowing underground (Act Three of "How Did I Get Here?")

I'm going to backtrack here just a little bit, I think.

BEFORE I got booked on Mad Men, I had somehow added doing "background work" to my repertoire of income-producing gigs.  I was cast in a children's show with the local theatre company, as Rosie, the "fabulous, gorgeous, big sister duck" to the "Ugly Duckling."  We had just opened the show and I had just gotten busy doing BG work when Mommy was killed.  She had called me from New Jersey, and asked whether she should make California part of her trip, after visiting Brett in Kentucky.  I was so busy, I told her "no."  I was afraid I wouldn't have time to "entertain" her.  She never needed us to entertain her; she only ever wanted to spend time with her babies.  After she was killed, I carried an extraordinary amount of guilt, thinking that if I had just said "yes," she'd have been on a different route and she'd still be with us.  Poppycock.  God called her into the Heavenly Choir when He was ready for her, and He had definitely spoken "you're next" to her soul (not her intellect), and she was ready for Him.  I had a friend on set with me, to "keep an eye" on me, for a "recall" day on the show "Desperate Housewives" after the weekend we learned of her death.  Then, later in that week, I went to a rehearsal of "The Ugly Duckling," both to help my understudy learn the part as well as to give me something to do before I had to go to Florida for Mommy's services, etc.  On my way home from the rehearsal, my mind blanked for just a moment (grief, you know?) and I totaled my car.  Good times! ... NOT.

That was the end of 2006.  Got back to LA and borrowed a manual transmission car for a couple months from my "little sister" (you know, the Ugly Duckling?) so I'd have to always think about the act of driving, while I waited for the insurance company to pay off my totaled automatic.  Threw myself back into work.  Got a copy of "The Book" from Daddy, and picked up his "mission" to start handing copies out to folks I encountered who could use a copy.  If you're grieving, get yourself a copy.  If you know folks who are grieving, start handing out copies.  It does a WORLD of good.  Got myself booked on Mad Men, and life seemed to return to "normal."

Then, in February of 2009, Stephen was in touch with folks from NC State University, where we had dated.  There was a reunion scheduled for September of that year, and a mutual friend tasked him with finding me.  Here's the backstory on "Our Hollywood Story:"

  • We dated in college, for four years (give or take), while we were both living in Raleigh, NC, and attending NC State, and in the first year that Stephen went on to the NC School of the Arts, in Winston-Salem.  The year he was in W-S, Mommy and Daddy had moved back to Charlotte, NC, so since W-S was equidistant to Raleigh and Charlotte, I transferred my degree to UNC Charlotte.  EVERY night that Stephen and I were together, he asked me to marry him.  My answer was always "yes."
  • After that first year of "long-distance" dating, we realized we were too young-and-stupid to maintain being apart by a two-hour drive, so we "broke up," amicably.  Stephen asked me to marry him; I said "maybe."
  • After MY degree was finally finished and I met and got engaged to someone else, I invited Stephen to my wedding.  He was dating a psycho-chick at the time, who was afraid I would steal him away from her at my wedding, and he was therefore prohibited from attending.  Turns out she was prescient, but in the wrong timeframe.
  • I ended up living my life in NC, being a step-Mommy and dealing with an ex-wife (she is now my "ex-step-ex-wife") who ended up brutalizing her own child and destroying my marriage.  At the end of my day, my family said, "Hey.  Let's get your ass to LA so you can be an actress."
  • Meanwhile, Stephen had finished a Speech-Communication degree, a Stage Management degree, and had started a Screenwriting degree, before his funds just ran completely out.  He (and quite a few of his School of the Arts compatriots) headed to LA to "make a go of it."
In February of 2009, at the urging of our mutual friend, Stephen did a Charlotte-based city-search on Daddy.  No dice (he'd already moved to Florida, with Mommy, many years prior to that).  So he tried Facebook, remembering that Daddy was a computer geek, and not remembering what my married name was.  No dice - too many pages of men who could be Daddy, with tiny profile pics to sort through.  So he went to MySpace, and found a man with a profile pic that had the right number of men and women of potentially-appropriate ages in it, with the following caption:
"J*** M*** (check), retired RN (check) from Charlotte, NC (oh, yeah).  My older daughter built this page for me (that's right, big sis is a computer geek, too) because my son was too lazy to do it (yup, younger brother also a nerd!).  MY YOUNGER DAUGHTER IS AN ACTRESS IN HOLLYWOOD - MAYBE YOU'VE SEEN HER?" (emphasis added by me here, because upon reading it, Stephen's jaw is on the floor)
So he sends Daddy a message through the system; waits two weeks, find's Cheryl's page as a link and immediately upon viewing her profile pic (on MySpace, mind you), says to himself, "I know that kid."  You see, I wasn't in Daddy's profile pic.  The young lady who should have been me, was, in fact, my grown niece.  In my sister's pic was the younger version of her, listening to her Mommy's heart with a toy stethoscope.  BAM!  So he sends her the message he'd sent Daddy; she forwards it to me; I get it and go "O.M.G. - he's been floating through my brain for the past two weeks!"

We discover we'd been living nine miles apart for the last seven years.  We start dating again.  We go, not only to the NC State reunion at the end of September, but also to my high school reunion at the beginning of October, which just happened to be one town away from the other one, and while we're making our travel arrangements, we inform our families, "we'll be in North Carolina this particular week.  If you'd like there to be a wedding, then please make it happen, and we'll be there."

Yes, I made him "ask me" One. More. Time.

... Into the Blue Again

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Best Movie Soundtrack EVER

Okay, well, I don't profess to ever really buy music.  Nor do I profess to having seen every movie ever made.  Honestly, we've been home one month exactly today, and we were given the opportunity to see a new release and catch up with an old friend today.


Oh, you want to know what else the movie has?  Okay, I'll tell you.  It almost has an F-bomb.  It may or may not almost have other swearing (I honestly can't remember, it was such a non-issue).  They started the film, and I was immediately swept into a beautiful, poignant, tragic, tear-jerking scene of life and loss, when BAM! the humour attacked me and would not allow a single salty drop to slide down my face.

I don't know who the target audience is.  THIS middle-aged (OMG, am I REALLY already "middle-aged"?) MWF who loves comic-book/superhero action movies but had no prior knowledge of the characters or potential storyline (other than what I'd read in Entertainment Weekly) had an absolutely amazing enjoyment of almost every moment.  The only distractions I experienced, personally, were

  1. the rest of the audience laughing too loudly, and
  2. ONE fight scene that felt "too close" and was difficult for me to follow.
This film "fits" into the same Marvel Universe that the rest of the Avengers do, but as yet, we're not given any connection.  So it acts like a "one-off."  That, I think, is what makes it so enjoyable.  It's an ensemble piece that just happens to have a clear leader.  All of the characters have very clear personalities and motivations.

It's so well written, and directed, and performed, and shot, and and, and ...  So far, it's my favorite film of the summer.  But the MUSIC!  I was both singing AND dancing in my seat.  BEST SOUNDTRACK EVER.

I don't know who won't love this movie.  See it, expecting to have fun, and I guarantee you will.  Well, unless you're just a mean grumpyface contrarion!  In that case, I make no guarantees!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

What "Saying 'Yes'" really means

I have a friend with a three-year-old son who is VERY physical.  She's unable to work much outside of her home, because, even though her husband has a great job "in the world," childcare in Los Angeles is very cost-prohibitive.  So she's a full-time, stay-at-home Mommy with business partners who give her enough freedom to also "work from home" as much as possible.

I had indicated to her that we are saying "yes" to more and more things, as much as possible, this time around in LA.  That meant driving an unfamiliar distance to an unfamiliar neighborhood to help her husband celebrate his birthday... which led to Stephen making a new friend, and us staying longer than we might have, to catch up in general, with my friend the wife.

... which led to her asking (one day this week) whether today might be a good day for her to bring the son over for a swim.  I called it "Park, Picnic, and Pool" and invited other moms with young sons to join us.  Who cares that we all live on different sides of town?  Let's make a "Play Date" and get all these little boys socialized!  I am, after all, the Best Auntie Ever!

So another Mommy was happy to bring her not-quite-two-year-old over for a swim, if nothing else.  I was happy to see them both, even if the little one took his sweet time warming up to me (I get it - I met him when he was a true "infant" and then went away - it'll take awhile!).  We figured out where to put all the picnic items and then the other family arrived (the daddy, too).  The third family asked for a "raincheck" - we'll definitely be hosting this kind of deal again, so no problem!

Once all expected parties were here, we went down to the pool with some of the food.  Not ready to walk to the park in hot/humid weather, when we can just spend all day in the pool!  That's fine.  The two little boys befriended each other and will likely become better friends as they get a little older, if we manage to get them together to do so.  The Mommies had enough in common that they'll find a way to become better friends, and therefore socialize their sons.  And the menfolk had all day to "conversate" (can you believe that the OED has added that as a new "word?"), and I'm STILL The Best Auntie Ever!

Single Mom and Youngest Child left after a good, long visit.  They had evening plans and still needed to squeeze in a nap.  Family with Very Physical Three-Year-Old stayed a good LONG time, and I had time to give Stay-at-Home-Working-Mommy a "grown-up" break (they all talked politics while I got to play cars and superheroes and shooting rubber bands and nerf guns with the kid).  It was a fabulous day, even though the sun never quite broke through the clouds, and it slowly but surely melted into a fabulous evening/night.

Saying "Yes" means MUCH MORE socializing.  Today was not cost-prohibitive for any of the participants (to my knowledge), and it was really really lovely.  I can't wait to "Say Yes" some more!

Friday, August 1, 2014

FoTo FriDay

200+ classic cars that we could WALK to see!

the interior of the previous

Even pick-em-up trucks!


Stephen with the Green Hornet car

An ACTUAL Burbank PD car, not just from "the movies"

A Hackney!

No, I'm not actually TOUCHING the pretty purple car!

My view from beneath, shortly upon completion

The chest in the living room collapsed on me last night

So we reinforced the legs from the INSIDE

& got rid of those pathetic nails that had been "holding" them!


Cocoa, in sunlight, is NOT a black cat - she's BROWN!

SHE drives me crazy! (Woh, woh) - Rebuttal/Apology for yesterday

So, it would appear that I was unkind yesterday, or that I was asking Stephen to leave forever.  That is not the intent of yesterday's post, but no matter intent.  My feelings are my own, but by the same token, your feelings are YOUR own.  This post (today) is my "take" on Stephen's rebuke of my yesterday's post, if he were to "guest blog."  I offered him the opportunity, but he's a real writer, and has no desire to blog.  I hope that I can find his "voice" for today.  Consider this a "she said, he said," but understand that it's essentially my hearing that's being put here today.

Today started off lousy.  We got up around 9 again, together-ish, and I hit the head first, as usual (how does she hold her bladder so long?), and I cleaned the litterbox.  I think she always knows that it needs cleaning first thing, and she holds her bladder on purpose.  I know she doesn't like to clean it, but neither do I, so why am I always the one to do it?  And no thanks for it, either.  Love the cats, but that damn litterbox.  Ugh.

So to make it better, I go out to the kitchen to make coffee.  She's got the kitchen blinds closed again, so I fetch the box fan from the bedroom and install it in the kitchen window.  The handle of the blinds begin clackity-clacking against the side of the fan, so I open the blinds further.  She's taken the "good signal" seat on the futon, so I've got to sit at the living room window for us to both have access to the internet.  That's wardriving, I guess.  I'll be glad when I have a job, so we can afford our own connection from anywhere in the apartment!  But I digress.  I get up to do something, maybe pour a cuppa joe? and she moves the box fan to the window where I was sitting.  Does she not even want me in the room with her?  What's up with that?  And not a word as to why she's doing it.  Damn.

So I go into the bedroom.  Fine.  Then I read her frakkin' blog from yesterday.  Holy Shit, does she hate me?  Does she wish I'd never come back into her life?  Am I that bad as a husband that she's got to share it with the world how miserable I make her?  FINE.  I will get a damn job and I will get out of her hair and I will not spend any time with her again, ever.  Damn.  I love her, and I tell her all the time, and now I know how she really feels, don't I?  This sucks.  This really hurts.  Why does she hate me so much?  What am I supposed to do now?

Stephen, my dearest love.  I had no idea that ^this^ is how you would feel when I put those words out into the world yesterday.  I don't need you to fix my bad days for me, but I do need to be heard.  Apparently, this morning you "heard" me, even through your own filters.  I am so incredibly sorry to have hurt you with my words.  Thank you for every little thing you do.  Thank you for cleaning the cat box.  Thank you for making the bed.  Thank you for doing what you can to help me save money while we're still both out there, looking for work.  I hope that if the interview you're on right now feels like "the one" for you, that you also feel like "the one" for them, and this process will be over.  I know it's stressful for you.

I love you so much, and I should say it more.  I'm grateful for you, and I should say that more, too.  I know you love me.  You say it plenty.  I think you're grateful for me, but maybe you could say that more. ;)

Thank you for putting up with my nagging and my passive-aggression.  I don't want to do either, but I'm the wife - I think somewhere, there's a handbook that has "nagging and passive-aggression" listed as my job description.  Please forgive me, and please let me know if I'm driving you crazy.  We really are in this together.  I want you; I need you; I love you.