Friday, May 30, 2008

So Necessary

You should be watching this.

Go.  Go right now.  

A whole gaggle of people I graduated college with last year made it and I'm freaking busting my buttons because it's so amazing.  Don't worry, I won't steer you wrong...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I am not an athletic person. I never have been. Growing up homeschooled, our version of P.E. was a few rounds of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" led by my mom in the living room. (Athleticism was never really her thing either, obv.) In fourth grade I had to pass the President's Physical Fitness test, and trained for weeks at the park by my house to run a mile, do the V-sit, and hold a pull-up for 7 seconds (note: I just checked the facts on this... SEVEN seconds?! Man...). I remember one evening on the playground with my parents at the monkey bars, preparing for the aforementioned extended pull-up.

After several of my unsuccessful attempts to keep my chin above the bar while my dad looked at his watch and counted down the seven seconds (note: I swear it was longer when I was younger), my mom decided to try and engage my mental strength in the hopes of it somehow carrying over into my physical reserves.  As I dangled there, legs flailing and complaining that I couldn't do it and just wanted to go home, she said, "Okay sweetie, this time just pretend there's a brownie up there!"


This is one of those moments where my adult self looks back on a situation and goes, "Did she really just say that?!"  Sort of like when you all of a sudden remember your dad flipping pancakes in his underwear, or realize Aunt Barb had scotch, not iced tea, in that glass all those years...  Idyllic childhood memories all of a sudden become vaguely tainted with adult realizations.  I know it frustrated the hell out of me at the time, and I really, really tried to picture a big, square, fudgy brownie resting on top of the peeling paint of those iron monkey bars, but all I kept thinking was, "Forget the brownie and just let me GET DOWN!"

When I was even younger, my parents enlisted me in a community tee-ball league (my one and only foray into the world of extracurricular athletics) which basically involved me standing in left field picking daisies and making ponytails through the back of my hat while stray balls occasionally bounced past me.  I couldn't catch (or throw for that matter), and had absolutely no interest in baseball, so why would I try and go after the ball?  In an effort to improve my confidence in the outfield, my mom pulled me aside one afternoon for an easy game of catch.  After several fumbled softballs, she went to throw the ball again and said, "Now this time, pretend it's a pink diamond!"

Lord help me.

Is this explaining anything?  It should fill in a lot of gaps for some of you.

Needless to say, this only worked for a few minutes before I realized I was just as bad at catching a pink diamond as I was a big ugly softball.

I've come to the point now where I've just accepted it.  Athletics are not something I yearn to be good at-- I'm not one of those girls who looks good in sweats and a baseball cap, I'm much more at home in a cocktail dress or even a pair of good jeans and a clean white button-down...  I'm better at baking than baseball, and that suits me just fine.  But seriously now, can someone just teach me to catch?

Friday, May 23, 2008


Currently low on fruit and clean underwear. (There's a Fruit of the Loom joke in here somewhere...)

Update soon.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Today I woke up with "Gaston" from Beauty and the Beast on full rotation in my head.

"... five hurrahs! Give twelve 'hip-hips!', Gaston is the BEST and the REST is all DUH-RIPS! *deep breath* ...Nooooo ooooone fights like Gaston...!"

I mean. I don't even know how to explain that.

Anyway, I hurriedly dressed myself and got ready to go shoot a pilot for HBO about bikers. Um. Okay. When I got the call from the casting agent at 10:00 last night I was a wee bit standoffish about the whole thing, but whatever-- she's the casting agent, surely she knows what she wants right?

*just in case you forgot, this is what I look like:

Um. What about me says biker? I'm just wondering...

Well, I showed up this afternoon as the mercury climbed to a staggering 107 degrees at this big dusty field in North Hollywood. As other cast members began arriving it immediately became clear that they were NOT actors... These were real, legit, straight-off-the-street bikers and there were hordes of them and only one of me.

It was sort of like that game on Sesame Street-- you know, "Which of these things is not like the other?" There I am in my J.Crew jeans and fitted black tank top (the only things I own that seemed even REMOTELY biker-ish), surrounded by leather chaps and sequined bandanas and spandex bell-bottoms with red and orange flames from hem to waistband (no joke). Oh dear.

So I spent my day sitting in a dive bar the still, oppressive heat of the San Fernando valley, surrounded by more bikers and "old ladies" than I have ever seen in the entirety of my life-- let alone at once-- wearing a pair of (wardrobe-supplied) cut-off shorts and drinking a fake beer while listening to a fairly talented cover band sing Janis Joplin over, and over, and over, and over...

There was enough leather in that room to strangle every single PETA member from here to the nearest polar bear reserve, and I listened to all these bearded men talk about police corruption and so-and-so's brother who got his hand broken by some dudes on Bourbon Street, and badass Kim let me borrow her hot pink lip gloss. I really feel like I earned a little street cred when one of the old weird guys at the bar asked me to pose with him on the back of his bike. Slightly skeezed, but proud. (Sort of...)

Tomorrow I'm going to a ladies' luncheon and then must bake a three-tiered birthday cake. Clearly much more my speed.

From a secretary in 1962 to biker chick to ladies' luncheons and birthday cakes. I mean... Is this really my life?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day

I miss her. Every year I think it’s gotten better, and then that shake comes back—the one that rattles deep in my soul and shakes its way up to the base of my neck, catching my breath and spinning me into a quiet frenzy. Dizzy and alone I sit with nothing but the sick ache in my chest to keep me company, no sound or noise registering but the dull throb that pulses in the soft tissue around my heart.


July, 2006

It is these times that I miss her the most. Times when “Mother” is plastered in every shop window, every spam e-mail, every greeting card headline… Mother. Even her name is soft and comforting.

I remember after she died, I flew with Dad and Brother to Hawaii, her favorite place, to shake what ashes remained of her human form over the crystal blue tropical waters she loved so much. Sitting in the airport on a layover from one island to another, I caught sight of a family encamped in the row of chairs across from me. Father, Mother, and two daughters sat in their shorts and sandals, bags and magazines and colored iPods spread out over several chairs. The girls played with each other occasionally, but mostly the eldest sat with her headphones in her ears while the younger asked Dad for money to buy M&M’s, if she could go to the bathroom, how much longer the layover was, and if Mom had remembered to pack her favorite My Little Pony. Busy and dizzy with anticipation and boredom, she finally settled in the seat next to Mom and laid her head in her lap. She laughed and talked and haphazardly ran her hands up and down her mother’s legs as Mom absentmindedly stroked her hair while reading a magazine.

Something about the scene hit my heart, and suddenly the back of my throat became very tight. Stinging, stinging eyes, and tears I tried to hide by tilting my head back so they would only have to roll the short distance across my temples until they were out of sight, lost in the forest of my hair. It seemed so familiar. So easy. So average and normal that it hurt like a knife coming out. Probably the way a permanently injured athlete feels when they watch the game they can never play again, or what rushes through an amputee when they go to buy pants. Loss afresh.

I watched this little girl with her stringy hair and bunchy shorts strewn across her mother’s lap, and her mother’s calm, tired face as she ran her hands through her daughter’s hair, and the thought came: “Don’t take it for granted. You may not always have this—this ease, this thoughtless love, this perfect informality. Don’t take it for granted!”

But then even quicker I thought, "But isn’t that the benefit of a mother?" Isn’t that the built-in perk to the relationship? It is so deep and permanent and constant and unchanging—the most lasting, eternal bond we will ever know… Isn’t part of the greatness of the relationship that we GET to take it for granted? The way that the sky is blue or the sun rises in the morning-- it is and was forever. It’s something good you can always rely on, and a blessing don’t have to think about. There are other things to write thank-you notes for.

No, as I sat there I realized the real beauty of what I was seeing was the fact that this excited, bored, restless little girl could sit and laugh and talk with her mom, and never ever have to think twice about whether her mother loved her or thought she was special or wanted to spend time with her. She could just exist in her mother’s love, and not have to apologize for it.

Sunday is a special day. It’s a day when children across the globe honor and thank their mothers—their suns, their blue skies, their eternal love. That day, more than any other day we are encouraged not to take our mothers for granted, but instead to acknowledge their tireless efforts and many sacrifices for our good. I cannot tell you how I wished I had a reason to buy a card this week. How I would love to see my momma in church wearing the corsage my dad would have picked out for her, and sit across the table from her at brunch in the afternoon. How I wish I could whisper, "I love you, Momma," in her ear one last time. She was an incredible mother, and she deserves more honor than she received.

But more than anything else, more than all these things, I wish she were here to rest my head on her lap. To squeeze myself into the little nook in between the back of her knees and the back of the couch, and curl up on top of her as we watch American Idol or some other guilty pleasure TV show of hers. I wish she were there on her sofa when I come out into the kitchen to get my breakfast, reading her Bible and drinking her coffee in the morning sun. I wish she was here to tell all about my first day of work and how I feel like I screwed up that relationship, and how do you tell when a mango is ripe again? I wish she were here to say, “I love you,” as we get off the phone…

I wish she were here so I could take her for granted. And I don’t regret a single day I did.

November, 1990

Happy Mother’s Day, Momma. I love you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I'ma Let You in on a Secret!

So I started my new job three weeks ago tomorrow, and at the risk of balling up into a big giant wad of cliche, it's been a whirlwind. Things have been slow to start, so I've only worked one day each week, but it is amazing how much I've learned and picked up in just a few days. The first thing that truly struck me after being on set was how incredibly efficient, professional, and generally polite everyone was.  I mean, I guess I shouldn't have been shocked-- it IS a Golden Globe award-winning show. But the sight of this big group of people, all accomplishing their designated tasks and moving with an efficacy that seemed like pieces of clockwork was just a wonder to behold.  Amazing, really.  I've made a few blunders, but hopefully nothing to drastically mar my reputation-- I just dust myself off and kept moving. *gulp* Generally I just try to stay as quiet as possible and not get in anybody's way (which can be a little tricky when you're ALSO trying to ham it up and get some camera time)!

There are so many little technical things that nobody tells you about in school. All this time I've been spending hours moving from the center of my body and learning about scansion (which really IS helpful), and nobody tells you what a second A.D. is or why you'll get yelled at if you head straight for the food line at lunch time.  And let's be real for a second... If anybody on set ever saw me shaking sound out of my leg, I'd be INSTANTLY demoted to "the girl who is always in the back".

Therefore, in the event that you ever find yourself working as an actor on a TV show, I've compiled this random list of:
Things You Might Want to Know to Look Like You Know What You're Doing Until You Actually Figure Out What You're Doing

(This list is ongoing, and by no means all-encompassing)

1. Segregation is alive and well in television. Crew only talks to crew. Stars (aka: Principals) only talk to stars. Background only talks to background. The only interlopers are hair and makeup people, the props guys, costumes, and the occasional PA. Any other attempt at cross-genre communication will be met with surprise and a pat answer before they look at you funny and walk away stiffly. (Thusfar I have not been dissuaded. I'm considering staging a sit-in at the lighting guys' lunch table next week... This may or may not have anything to do with the extremely hot man who works in lighting. I'll keep you updated.)

2. Any and all food set out by the lunch or craft services staff CANNOT BE TOUCHED FOR ANY GOD-GIVEN REASON UNTIL EVERY SINGLE CREW MEMBER HAS EATEN. Otherwise you will find yourself on the receiving end of some very, VERY nasty looks and some pretty dirty comments. Just stay away and gnaw on your hand until the last grip leaves the food table. Trust me.

3. Speaking of eating, you will find yourself privy to more food on a constant basis then you have probably ever had access to in a week, let alone a day. The holy and anointed ones (aka: the craft services team) will keep their table stocked at all hours of shooting with a vast array of snackables. Sample wisely... You still want to fit into your costume tomorrow.

4. Any and all odd behavior exhibited by principal actors is to be absolutely disregarded and undiscussed. This includes yelling, making loud "pip, pop, POW" noises, jumping around, singing suicidal songs at the top of their voice, making stupid jokes that use the "F" word over and over again, et al. Any obtrusive, annoying, or unsociable behavior is to go unrecognized and is never, EVER to be discussed. It is simply to be considered "part of their preparation".

5. Oh, and the really gorgeous lead actor who is somehow even MORE gorgeous in person and you can't even look in his direction without losing your breath a little bit...? Well. Uh. Just enjoy it I guess. :)