Friday, October 28, 2016

Be Seen!


Now, Open to Just 8 Non-ATNY Class Actors
who want to be Seen!  Ages 7 - 25



Saturday, Nov 19th, 11:00pm - 3pm, Just $99
Sunday, Nov 20th, 11:00pm - 3pm, Just $99
Free Improvisation Class Included

Opportunity is Everything.
At our Last Agent Showcase Day,
16 of 23 Actors in class were requested.

Go for it.  First 8 Actors Each Day. 

KIDS & TEENS, Ages 7 - 25

5-Top TV/Film & Musical Industry
Agents & Managers

11:00pm - 3:00pm


You got some talent, look or special skill and still need to be seen?  This semester, ATNY is opening it's Fall Showcase Day to 8 Non-Fall Students.  Why? Because we're getting requests.  So, register now. 

Call ATNY for Saturday & Sunday Industry List.
Great Opportunity for Actors w/o Reps.

Just $99
ATNY will follow up with Day Selection
Future Workshop Credit Only for Missed Night

Friday, October 21, 2016

Where Is Seinfeld?

 If only Seinfeld was still on, I'd be bombarding Jerry with requests to do a show about doctors and trying to get an appointment. At least I'd get a laugh about the current state of doctor's office staff. This is one of those things that's so stupid and annoying, I can't believe I have to even write about this. If I don't write about it, my head is going to explode. Between politics, other people's driving skills, and this, I don't know I'm not just walking around yelling in the streets like lunatic. I don't need any extra head explosion material.

This isn't even about the healthcare debate. It's not about Obamacare or rates or anything like that. It has to do with the simple task of just trying to make an appointment. Oh just call. No, no. You can't "just call" to do this seemingly easy thing. Why not? I HAVE NO IDEA.

Now, what happens, is, you have to find a provider. You go to the health insurance site. You do their "Find a Doctor" process, whatever that may be. Don't think you can just go ahead & trust that resource though! You have to double check with the doctor's office if they really do participate with your insurance! Then, it often becomes a game of "Who's on first?". IF, someone answers the phone, you ask them if they participate with XYZ insurance and they may know that. Try to find out any other details and it's probably a bust. They tell you to ask insurance. Insurance says "check with the doctor". By the time you've screamed at both of them you're too exhausted to even make any appointment. But that's only IF you get someone on the phone.

The new way stuff is going down is there isn't even a person answering the phone. No, you have to LEAVE A MESSAGE and someone will call you back. Except NO ONE CALLS YOU BACK. If they do call you back, guaranteed, you don't hear the phone, you're driving & can't pick up, you reach for it and hit decline by accident. It goes to voicemail. Only for you to call back and GET THE F'ING VOICEMAIL AGAIN. Another day, another lost day of getting an appointment. By the time you get someone and try to make the appointment, the only thing they have is months away.

Today is Friday. I've been trying to make doctor appointments for both E and I since MONDAY. Any idea how many I've successfully made? One. One out of five. When I do call a doctor's office, someone answers and it's actually easy, I get teary-eyed and thank the person profusely like they just handed me a Publisher's Clearing House check for a million dollars. I know they think I'm crazy and I might be. But just the act of getting the appointment is like jumping through rings of fire, naked except for nipple pasties soaked in lighter fluid.

There are SOME doctors who allow you to make appointments online and I'm even more thankful. That's the most efficient way. Let me SEE what's available and then put myself in there. Make me give notes, so if my case seems like it's going to be longer or not at a good time for the doctor, then they can call me to reschedule. But let me book the time and go from there! I feel like making-out* with any doctor that has any online booking. *Just to clarify: Only if they want to make-out, of course. I don't just pop a tic tac and grab them. 

Doctor's offices- they HAVE appointments, they just don't know how to GIVE the appointments. 


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Maybe You're The *Cool* Mom

People post parenting articles all the time. Not "how to" parenting articles, but more like personal blogs about being a mom. They're stories about other moms, cliques, feeling like an outsider, and they usually equate being one of the "cool moms" with people who seem like they have it all together. Hair and make-up done at eight o'clock in the morning drop off at school, kids who are on time and look neat and stylish and everyone having everything they're supposed to have with them.

One of my friends shared one of these articles a couple of weeks ago and I've been thinking about it here and there ever since. They write about messy cars, messy faces, and messy life. They ask where "their" people are who share their inevitable mommy mess and love of carbs.

I think they don't notice that it sounds like their being "shunned" is their own doing.

I'm all for being inclusive. From children to adults. Mean Girls was supposed to be a tongue in cheek movie, not real life. It was about teens and shouldn't be going on in real life circles. I know that it does go on with adult women. All these mommy bloggers can't be lying about "Queen Bee Syndrome" where it's super hard to break into the mommy cliques, especially if you're the newbie.

However- if this goes on where I live, in small town suburbia, I have no idea. Because I really don't care. Am I crazy for not wanting to be part of any clique? I totally get wanting to belong, wanting to have friends, even wanting to be part of something bigger. I was in a sorority, believe it or not. But even back then, anyone in my sorority could tell you, I was in it, but I wasn't "IN".

What does not being "in" mean? It means, I joined, I found people I liked, I was closer to some more than others, but it wasn't my whole identity. I wasn't trying to be a social climber. I was still my own person and I didn't have a specific group within the group. If there were cliques, I was vaguely aware, but it wasn't a thing for me to ruminate over. It's the same with the mommy scene. I've lived in the same town for a little over ten years now. I've had a kid for seven and a half of them. I've joined some groups, was part of the same preschool for four years, and now I'm in the public school, so I've met a lot more people.

I have friends in town. But I'd say it's only been in the last two years I've found "my people". They live in town but some don't have kids at the same elementary school, one has kids younger than mine. We're only a group when and if I bring them all together for one night to celebrate my birthday, but we're not a clique. Other than that, I'm a lone mama and I've never thought much about it.

By the way, I never look washed to go to drop off and most of the time, I don't look any more put together in the afternoon for pick-up. Maybe because that's my choice, and not a casualty of having a bunch of kids causing mayhem. It's just me staying on the treadmill in the morning until the last second before coming up to make sure all is ready for school. Or I've gotten too involved in social media arguments to have time to put on make-up before work. I can't even wear mascara if I wanted to for like at least a month because my eyelashes are falling out.

I don't go to school scoping out any particularly unwashed and slovenly moms to bond with though. Or look at ones who are decked out like I'm Janis Ian coveting a spot in The Plastics.

Didn't we all learn not to judge a book by the cover? I have mom friends that are all different. One doesn't leave the house without full hair and make-up, jewelry and heels. HEELS. Another just looks put together no matter what. I don't know what makes her look more put together than the average person, without trying. It's just life. Then there are some more like me, where it just depends on the day and what's going on. Of all the things to judge, looking put together or hasn't been a topic of conversation, as far as I've paid attention.

This frame of mind that as a mom, you have to be either polished and primped, or you're the one with french fries falling out of your minivan is the one that makes a person feel like an outsider- to themselves. There is no rule. Why would you automatically assume the "cool mom" group is the one you perceive yourself to be the opposite?

For me, any kind of expectation is a standard I don't feel like dealing with. I don't even like Halloween. Never did. Never wanted to be anyone or anything than me. Same with life. I just don't want to be anyone but me. It would be too much pressure, time & effort to wash my hair enough for the fancy crowd. I'd never drive a minivan either. My kid is always on time and dressed nice, but I forgot it was ice cream day today and didn't give him money to buy. What group should that put me in? Besides the "my kid is going to be pissed at me after school" one. Am I supposed to care? People either like me or don't. I can be an acquired taste. Whether they do or don't has little to do with how E or I look on a given day. I'd bet anything on that.

Maybe mommy cliques are like how I think of family. B and I don't like obligations. The people we see are people we want to see and spend time with. The family we've made, not the families we were born into. I don't want to be obligated into a group. From what I've seen, groups now are no different than in fifth grade, when I first learned that a group is nice until people turn on each other from within. I'm sure there are some groups where that doesn't happen, but from my limited view, I've seen it. It's natural though. You're just going to have more of a connection with some over others. I guess it depends on how catty the people in your crowd are as to how, when, why or if people are going to turn on each other enough to have hurt feelings.

There is also perception of cliques. Do you really know that all these people really like each other and hang out all the time. One article referenced seeing events on social media where they weren't invited. As if it has to be said, social media is a glimpse. You make up your own story about the photos. Even if these people do hang out all the time, who knows if you'd even want to do what they're doing? I don't often invite people I don't know to hang out outside of the school yard. And I'd consider myself somewhat of an extrovert. I don't invite them because if I don't really know them, I don't really think about them. Sometimes an outing of moms happens organically because they just happened to be in the same place at the same time. 

If you have a clique and you're happy, great. If you don't but you want to be in one, that's fine too. I just think that if you're looking for "your people", you can't just automatically stereotype people by how they appear. Maybe some of my friends befriended me thinking they were doing a mitzvah for a homeless lady. Only for them to find out later, I often look like I do in public because I want to be incognito. Incognito out of fear someone is going to try to sell me multi-level marketing products. If I look like I don't shower, no one is going to try to sell me expensive face creams, diet shakes or pants with pictures of doughnut holes on the crotch.

These articles remind me of online dating profiles that say "I'm just as comfortable in sweatpants as I am in a little black dress". You should be! You don't have to pick one or the other. If moms where you live tell you that do, maybe you should think about moving. You live around assholes. Or if people seem to get to know you, then don't want to hang out with you, maybe it's time to think about what you're doing to put people off. But, if no one is telling you this, and you're just making the assumption because you feel somehow less than the other moms around you, that's on you Girlfriend. Then instead of moving, you need a good therapist and that character Stuart Smalley to teach you how to tell yourself, "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!".

If you have just one person to complain about  not being in the "cool moms" to, then you have more than you think you do. It's all in how you look at it. Maybe there are moms looking at you and your one friend as a clique they wish they were in.

Why is it always the pajama-drop-off mom that writes these articles anyway? If you are pajama mom, then just own being pajama mom. You don't need to self depricate about being pajama mom or thinly veil feelings about the moms that aren't just because their version of looking like a mom doesn't mirror yours. Get over your lack of desire or ability to get dressed.

Confidence is attractive. If you believe you are worthy of friends, then friends you will have. They just don't appear overnight. Good friendships take time to cultivate. You put yourself out there, meet people, and then after some time, you decide who you want in your circle. YOU decide. Not "who is going to let me in?". It took me years to find my people. I can appreciate them for who they are. Like the Breakfast Club, I have the Type A, the Introvert, the Ethel or Lucy, the Oracle, the Mary Poppins, the Extrovert, the Mama Bear. Also like the movie, everyone one of them, including me, could be any of those on any given day. That's how I like it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Stuff Him With Books

I've lost all attention span since trashing my Blackberry for an iPhone. I think that was in 2008. Believe it or not, I was one of the last hold-outs I think. It may have even been later. Not that my attention span was strong before, but I was able to at least read a whole book. I'm a fast reader too. Since the iPhone, I get distracted too easily. I always almost exclusively read entertainment memoirs. Like celebrity, actor, musician, sports star memoirs.

Prior to the phone, I'd get engrossed in a book, and just read all the way through. Now, I'm reading, get into it, and get to a part where I want more information, I pick up my phone and start going down the Google rabbit hole. I do this with magazines too! I was reading People, reading the Jana Kramer (actor/singer) story, where she was talking about being in an abusive relationship with a guy who went to jail for attempted murder (on her).Of course, I started Googling her/him and I forgot to even go back to the article. I'm convinced that's why people stopped reading print magazines. Because you can get all the info online.

When I was kid though, I read ALL the time. I LOVED reading. I can remember two of my favorite books- The Girl With The Silver Eyes and another one I can't remember the name- one girl wished she had this other girl's life. Somehow they did a body switch. The main character knew but the other girl, who was then in the main girl's body, didn't know what was happening. She flipped out and everyone thought the main character lost her mind. It was a young adult book. I read all the Sweet Valley High books lovingly. I read a lot and fast. I just assumed all kids liked to read. No, no. That's not the case. I assumed my own kid would love to read. No, no. That is not the case either.

He just doesn't care. He doesn't have trouble in any subject in school. He's just disinterested in reading. He can read. He loves learning things. He'd just rather be active. Ask him what his favorite part of school is, he'll tell you recess. I'm sure that's typical, but as a parent, you worry. Or at least, you'd just prefer a more cerebral answer.

The lack of reading enjoyment was bumming me out. I want him to love reading. We've read to him almost every night of his life. He'd be into what we'd read him. Just never interested in doing it himself. I would buy him books through the Scholastic order for school, picking things I'd think he'd totally love, and he just wasn't into them. I do think maybe I tried too soon. Before he was fluent enough. He'd get frustrated, then bored, and give up.

For some reason, I got a free three month trial to Audible. I didn't realize Audible is owned by Amazon. I think I bought something on Amazon that gave me this free trial. I already knew I'm never listening to books. I have a hard enough time keeping up with Howard Stern and the For Crying Out Loud podcast, where incidentally, Audible advertises on. I don't need someone reading to me- I need my mind not to wander. Even as I'm writing this, I'm going back and forth to Facebook. I have multiple tabs open and see I have FB notifications I can't let myself ignore.

I got this free trial and with it, I got a book credit for every month I stay on it. I didn't realize this because I never went on the app. I had put in my calendar when I needed to quit so I wouldn't be charged the fourteen dollars and change it normally costs a month for membership. When I opened the app to see how to cancel, I saw I had three credits good for any books Amazon carries that come in audio. I thought- well, if I can't get E to read, maybe it would be good to have HIM listen to voice books. However I can stuff him with the books, it's positive for him. Of course I'd rather have him read, but even with homework, for the past two years, the teachers put on the homework sheet- "Read for fifteen minutes or be read to for fifteen". This would be like us doing it. We'd still do it, but he could do this instead of playing games on the iPad.

Now, the iPad and video games is sort of B's hill to die on. Lax about other things, B hates the video game phenomenon. We NEVER give him the iPad in the house because it's just not necessary. I don't limit "screen time" in terms of the television. I turn that bitch on as I walk in the door and I practically have a tv in every room. HOWEVER, E will do other things when the tv is on. And I don't even always let him watch his stuff. If we're home together, I may be watching General Hospital, so that's just what we're watching. He has never even thought to ask to go in another room to watch his stuff, because the sunroom is just where we hang out and where his toys are. He gets into GH, but he'll also build Legos or Lincoln Logs, Playstix, puzzles, etc. With the iPad, it's just catatonic holding the screen.

The iPad makes both B and I crazy. There is a weird crappy attitude that comes over him with the iPad and we're not having it. When people ask about limiting screen time, I say he's only allowed the iPad on long car trips or swim meets. They think that's excessively strict. But we don't ever use the iPad to watch tv shows or movies so I think that's the difference. We use the tv to watch tv. He doesn't need the iPad to play games because he acts like an a-hole when playing games.

I used my three Audible credits to get three books for E. I put Audible on his iPad. I don't know why but no matter how much the book costs on Audible, it's worth one credit. So I "bought" the first Harry Potter book in the series, because B and E had just read the newest one together and they were REALLY into it. I also bought The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. I thought it seemed Harry Potter- ish. Lastly, I bought a medley of the Ramona Quimby books. That cost like twenty-nine dollars in comparison to the others which cost somewhere between fifteen and twenty dollars. But it was "free" with my credit. Even if I was paying for Audible though, that's part of the deal - you get a free credit a month.

He started listening to Ramona and he said he liked it, but he didn't seem JAZZED. Then he listened to a little Harry Potter and he liked it more than Ramona, but still not taken with it all. I thought, ok, this isn't going to do it. I'll just cancel. Then, the next day, he started listening to The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and something CLICKED. He wanted to listen to it for at least a little while every day. Then, he had library at school. I told him to ask the librarian for something like that book. He did. He was so excited after school that we went to go play on the playground and he said he was going to sit on a bench and read for a little while first. I was VERKLEMPT! That never has happened before. So, instead of running around with his friends, he literally walked over to the bench and started reading. Of course that only lasted like ten minutes but it was certainly a great start!

Then, last night he wanted to read some of it to B instead of B reading to him. Then he asked to listen to some more of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe before he went to sleep. I'm kvelling. Of course you can! Now, he's still gullible and he thinks I have an app that can see what he's doing on the iPad and in life at all times. I just wanted to put that out there so you aren't thinking he's conning us and really playing games.

So I'm here to say, don't despair if you don't have a naturally interested reader. You just have to find their *thing*. I know that seems like common sense, but I really didn't think we'd find his thing to spur an interest in reading. I thought he'd be like B and just not be that into it. Or me with no attention span. I think the last full book I read in a three day period non-stop was Corey Feldman's memoir- I couldn't put it down. If you don't have a kid who seems to like reading, try Audible or some other book on tape thing. I don't even know other alternatives. Someone was telling me yesterday that you can get digital "books on tape" at the library in town. Audible seems to work fine so I'm sticking with it for now. I'll take whatever works!

Update: 9:17p, still reading, p.85!

*I'm in no way affiliated with or getting paid by Audible to write this. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Rape Culture and Triggers

Yes. People are tired of hearing about the upcoming election. They're tired of hearing slams on "their" team, their player. They're tired of hearing about this tape of disgusting conversation between Billy Bush and Donald Trump. I've heard- "It was ten years ago!" and "Trump wasn't running for president then!" and my favorite- "But Bill Clinton...!". If you're tired of reading about it, close out this window.

Guess what? I'm tired of people defending Donald Trump, no matter what he says or does. There is no defense as a candidate for the presidency. I think Maya Angelou was the one who said- "If someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them". Donald Trump has shown from ten years ago through today exactly who he is. Supporters are filtering out the garbage stuff as "not really him" and just twisting the rest of it to their own interests.

Nevermind anything else- perpetuating rape culture in this country is what I want to discuss now though. It's a trigger for many of us who have been in some way sexually assaulted or harrassed, for other women to accept this behavior as "men will be men". Or calling this "just locker room talk that all men engage in at some point in life". Even if you wanted to talk about a less mature person making stupid comments, Donald Trump was fifty-seven when he made those comments about grabbing women's pussies and getting what you want sexually when you're a "star". He can't get a pass on being young and stupid. Especially since he continues to degrade women. He may not have been caught talking about grabbing pussies this year, but he still fat shames and objectifies. None of which is presidential in the least.

I mentioned triggers. Every time someone says what he said "isn't that bad" and doesn't affect his ability to be a great leader, it's a slap in the face to those who have been on the receiving end of that kind of deplorable, disgusting, treatment. It's unfathomable how anyone can give a plausible explanation to their daughters how they can excuse this away. Someone on Facebook said, "Don't we have bigger things to worry about than him having a potty mouth?". No, we don't. Because clearly you don't know the difference between potty mouth and talking about taking women sexually without their consent. There IS a major difference. *I* have what would be considered a potty mouth. I'm not offended by potty mouth. By cursing. This and that is comparing apples and oranges. One thing IS actually just words. The other is discussion actions where someone is dominant and someone is unwillingly submissive. One is called potty mouth and one is called rape culture.

I have a story. I don't know if I've ever even told my husband this story. I don't think I told my boyfriend at the time either. Because when this happens to you, there is part of you that feels like maybe there is something you could've done to prevent it from happening. Did you give off a signal? Give him the wrong idea?

It's a little scary to tell this kind of story even now, because I know there are going to be people judging. The internet is always judge and jury. But it is what it is. I'm forty-two now and of course hindsight is 20/20. Nothing I can do about that now.

I was seventeen years old. I was in a pretty serious relationship for about eight months or so by the time this happened. I was always a flirt but never indulged in willy-nilly sexual behavior. I'd had boyfriends, all had been pretty good to me by that point. Very respectful. Guys who cared, didn't pressure me to have sex. So I didn't. My parents told me that if I didn't have sex, I'd have the upperhand. I believed them. I was a virgin until this boyfriend I had when I was seventeen. Up until this boyfriend, other guys had coined the nickname for me- V.A.P.O.I. (Virgin And Proud Of It). Even losing my virginity was a really good experience though because he really loved me. I never felt used or experienced pressure with him or anyone prior. He was a little older than me but careful to let me be in control of that aspect of our relationship.

Like I said though, I was always very social and what you'd call- a flirt, but I thought that was normal. I liked the attention but never planned to act on it and no one ever made me feel like I had to act on it. I was naive and very trusting. I had no reason not to be.

I worked like three days a week at a telemarketing place my senior year of high school. I met all these new friends there, of all ages, guys and girls. Of course it was more fun with the guys though and there were more guys that worked there in general than females. We worked in four hour blocks, different people doing different surveys. You would sit next to the people working on the same survey. If the managers were feeling nice, they'd let you work on the same survey as your friends so you could sit together.

I started sitting next to this guy a lot and we struck up what I thought was a friendship. He was twenty-three, sort of good looking in a nerdy kind of way. He wasn't big- not much taller than me and not stocky. He was in law school. He was smart and he seemed interesting. He lived a few towns over from my hometown. I had my boyfriend who I loved and had no plans to cheat on. But flirting with him was a way to pass the time in between surveys. It's funny, I still call it flirting, putting the onus on that, when really, it could've just been misinterpreted talking. I call it flirting because somehow he got an idea that there was going to be more than talking, so here, I assume still I must have projected that. When the reality is, he was twenty-three and I was seventeen. He shouldn't have been thinking anything of the sort. Or at least thinking that maybe the conversations wasn't meant the way he was taking it.

I had ongoing community service hours to do at a church near his apartment because of a motor vehicle ticket. That's another story entirely. It was a lot of hours over many months. He kept telling me that I should stop by his apartment some night, on  my way home from community service. Just to see his apartment and hang out. I hadn't taken him up on that but something made me impulsively decide to do that one night. I thought I'd just stop by quickly, chat a little, and leave. It was a school night and I think I was done at community service at eight o'clock. I thought I'd hang for like an hour and go home.

I stopped there. I can still picture his apartment. It was the upstairs of a two family house. Or some kind of apartment in a house. It was very private and had it's own entrance. I can remember going up a pretty long staircase and all of a sudden getting a weird feeling, like maybe this was a bad idea. I ignored that feeling and continued in to his apartment where there was nowhere to really sit but the bed. Then I really felt weird. I talked for a few minutes and then said I was going to go home.

He proceeded to grab my arm and try to kiss me. I told him to stop and tried to get away. I told him that he knew I had a boyfriend. He said that I knew what I was coming there for, not to play dumb. That I wasn't leaving because I being a total dick-tease. I got really nervous, like, how did I get into this mess? Did I subconsciously know what I was going there for? I didn't think I did. I was second guessing myself, but I just knew I had to get out of there. He had a grip on my arm, but I said I was going. I'd never felt like he was imposing, physically, till that moment. But as I write this, I feel like I'm remembering he was into some kind of martial arts.

I really think when he really looked at my face, he got nervous in that moment too, because he was in law school and working or interning for a law firm. I didn't know anything about law firms then, but it was probably a prestigious law firm and lucky for me, I think he saw his future career flash before his eyes. The thought of what might happen to HIM in an aftermath outweighed what he wanted sexually. He let go of my arm and basically threatened me. He said something to the effect of I better not tell anyone, especially because he knows and I know that I wanted it. That I was a child trying to act like an adult and I'd be "sorry" if I told anyone.

I felt so dirty when I left. I felt dirty and not like myself for weeks after. I had to see him at work for another few months until I left for college. Some would say that nothing really happened. That I was lucky to have escaped without anything else besides the grab of my arm and the threat. I didn't feel like I could tell anyone because I thought people would think it was my fault for going there. I didn't tell my boyfriend, who was also who I considered my best friend at the time. I didn't tell him because he was very jealous and I knew he'd get angry that I even went there. He always said I was naive to guys liking me. I didn't tell my mom because I wasn't supposed to go anywhere but home after community service. I had to just live with it and be glad I got away relatively unscathed.

What ever happened to that guy? I've followed his career somewhat. I obviously never forgot him. There was no internet until years after he did what he did to me. Once there was, I looked him up. I didn't know what I hoped to find but it wasn't what I found! Guess what he's doing these days? Well, he's a highly-respected JUDGE. Yes, folks, a judge. AND, he's presided over rape cases. Awesome.

Now, granted, he may have never done something like that again. I don't know. What I do know is I will never forget that night. I will never forget him. And when people, especially woman, make light of or excuses for vile things a man says about taking a woman sexually against their will, I think about that night again. And how I felt like no one would care or be on my side. How they'd say I deserved it. How I felt like I may have deserved it.

If we don't hold the person trying to be elected to the most powerful position in the world to a higher standard of treatment and talk of others, who do we hold? If we don't hold the POTUS nominee to that higher standard, why would a twenty-three year old law student feel like he should be held to any standard? If we let it just be men being men, those are men going out with your sisters, your moms, your daughters. Nevermind that they're just people on their own- but it seems to have to be put in a closer perspective for some. As parents, how do you explain this kind of talk and thinking to your daughters? Do you tell them men are just pigs? How do you explain why you would be with a man at all if they all just talk like that? Do you just tell them not to do anything to deserve it? What about your sons? Is this what you want them to think is acceptable talk and action toward women?

Sure, the country has big problems as we stand. But I'm stymied that the perpetuation of rape culture isn't as high up on the priority list as the other things. How do you quantify sexual assault or attempted sexual assault as less than other things. We don't live in caveman days where men just club and grab their women by the hair to do as they please. I have a son. There is no way I'd ever allow it to be acceptable for him to talk or think that way. Somehow, we excuse the person who is seemingly wants the job to lead us all. Billy Bush got suspended from his job. Rightfully so. Just for not speaking up. Yet, the person who actually talked the talk is allowed to run for the biggest, most important job in the land. With people clapping. Condoning calling her the C-word and worse.There is something very wrong with that.

Don't tell me that rape culture in this country doesn't exist. Every time discussion comes up about lewd and vile things that Donald Trump has said about women, people bring up Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton who isn't running for office. And you can think anything Bill did or was accused of is horrifying. But that doesn't make this other wrong any less important. You can concurrently feel like they're both horrifying and still neither is Hillary's fault. It doesn't make Trump's behavior any less wrong because someone else did something wrong. Wrong is wrong. And wrong is wrong when someone is running for President. People want to blame and call Hillary out now for Bill Clinton's indiscretions, for staying with her husband. Accusing her of covering up for his cheating and whatever other sexual atrocities of which he's been accused. Hear me. Really hear me. SHE was a victim. In our rape culture, she's to blame. There is also something very wrong with THAT.

Kelly Oxford, author and social media personality tweeted asking women to tweet back with their own sexual assault stories. She thought if no one responded she'd take the tweet down. By Saturday night she said she had NINE POINT SEVEN MILLION TWITTER INTERACTIONS. Read that number again and then try to deny there is rape culture here. Read more here: Kelly Oxford rape culture tweets

Friday, October 7, 2016

Days In The Life Of A Momager

Dead on Blue Bloods

Yes, just call me Kris Kardashian. I'm a "momager". Except I'm not really like Kris K because I'm not pushing E to be famous or making us millions. However, E wanted to "be on tv" so that's what I'm helping him do. Basically I'm an Uber driver for him as he does mostly background work on tv shows and movies filmed in NYC.

Now that I think back, he's done a decent amount of work on tv. The first one was Blue Bloods - season five, episode eighteen. He also worked on The Americans (FX), The Good Wife (CBS), Red Oaks (Amazon Prime), The Blacklist (NBC), The Affair (Showtime), and The Path (Hulu). As far as movies, there was The Intern (Anne Hathaway & Robert DeNiro) and last week, he's worked on a movie was filming in Coney Island.

Two seconds on The Americans
He has an agent but thankfully his agent isn't trying to take ten dollars here and there for E's background work. I get him this background stuff. It's not a big deal for me to get him there and stay on set for a day. B would rather have me at work, but we both agree that it's a cool experience for E and it's making him a little money. Not a lot of money, especially relative to what I pay in gas, tolls and parking, but it's money he wouldn't have otherwise. His agent is the one who gets him the auditions for real parts vs background. He hasn't snagged anything of high caliber yet though. But even just the memorization of lines and the audition experience itself is a great experience. They say "there aren't any small parts", right?

Hair & make-up
While a lot of the process, for me, is kind of lame- a lot of driving, filling out paperwork and sitting around. Some real Kramer-esque stuff happens on our little acting adventures. First of all, sometimes just getting to a shoot is a lot of craziness. Many shows shoot in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I guess that's fine. I've never been to Greenpoint in nice weather. I only know it in an ice storm and in snow. When E worked on Blue Bloods, which films there, snow banks were everywhere. There was nowhere to park. No garages, so you have to park on the street, IF you can find somewhere to park. Luckily I still had the Mini Cooper so I found a spot, far away, on a snow bank. Then I got the mom-sweats as I dragged his mini suitcase with his options for wardrobe that I was asked to bring with me.

The mom-sweats are a thing- especially when you have to be in Park Slope by nine o'clock in the morning, the traffic is standstill, and you know that even though you left the house at six-thirty, it's only thirty-two miles away on the map, you're still not making it on time.

Blue Bloods "family"
A few weeks ago, for an NBC show, I had to be in Yonkers at six-forty five in the morning. Which means E had to be up at five-fifteen and I had to leave the house by five-thirty-ish. Because who knew how long it was going to take. Even if there isn't traffic, I have to make sure there are no detours or getting lost. You just never know what's going to be on one of these drives.

This time, I was thrilled that I got there even a little early. Except that I was given the wrong address and ended up at the actual set for filming, which was a diner next to a bowling alley. A guy working on the production saw that I had a kid in the car so he told me just to park and we'd worry about the car later. Great! The other option is to be sent to "crew parking" which is always like a mile away and they need to put you in a van to get to set. It's always better to have the car as close as possible so I don't have to drag suitcases or whatever around with me like I'm a golf caddy.

E and I got out of the car and a production assistant was called by a wardrobe person who happened to see us standing there. He rushed over and told us that he was glad we were were and would show E to his trailer for hair and make-up. I immediately knew something was...not right.

I've been on numerous background shoots with E and while we've been treated decently most of the time, we weren't ever greeted with this amount of warmth. The PA opened the door to the trailer we were in front of and told us to go in, put on the wardrobe and wait. I told him that I think he's mistaken, that E is not that important. The PA got indignant, and asked what I expected. As if I was saying E needed a bigger, better, nicer trailer. I said, "No, no. You don't understand. E is not said E is that important and I don't believe he's supposed to be in a trailer or have hair and make up". The PA got even more indignant, said that E *is* that important and that he is in charge of E for the day. I gave him a weak ok, and went in the trailer to just wait. E, of course, decided this is how things should be going down all the time and just wanted to turn on the tv in the trailer. He was a second away from looking for a mini-bar and making requests.

The PA came back minutes later. He told us that this was a case of mistaken identity and I was correct. He'd just spoken to the kid's dad who was supposed to be in the trailer, and that I needed to take my car off the set, drive to crew parking a mile and a half away and take a van to set. Awesome! Our Macauley Culkin moment was over. No trailer. No hair and make-up. And as it turned out- No work. Oh, he got paid for being there. But they never used him. First time that ever happened. We got up at five o'clock in the morning, drove to Westchester, NY, sat in the basement of an old bowling alley for four hours, where I was starting to feel claustrophobic, only to not work. Those are the breaks!

The next two jobs later that week made up for it though. It just happened to be a busy work week. Two other shows, both shooting in Westchester, which is great for us, because that usually means no parking garages. Going into the city, I know I'm pretty much paying out in tolls and parking like half of what he's making. Westchester, Long Island, or almost anywhere else, the parking situation is almost always easier and cheaper.

The first one, for Showtime, was the most fun for both E and me. It was filmed in a prison. Neither of us had ever been in a prison so that was kind of cool. Because it wasn't on a set, the principal actors were having to just be around the rest of us lesser folks. There was no where else for them to be. No dressing rooms or anything. Their director's chairs with their names on them were in the hallway, right outside where the background actors were being kept until needed. Call time wasn't until five thirty so I was thrilled. No getting up at the crack of dawn and driving in morning rush hour.

We got to the prison and it was a whole scene. Anyone playing an inmate had to take their costume shirt off every time they went outside to Craft Services. Otherwise they would've been mistaken for an escaped prisoner. Apparently that wouldn't have ended well.

I was thisclose to three principal actors for almost the whole time we were there, and I got to speak to one of them. There are usually strict rules not to approach the principal actors (also no photos on set), and I never have, but this time, they called- "It's a wrap", so I felt like it was okay. We were walking out of the prison at the same time, because I made sure of that. I just sidled up to him and said- "I don't think I'm supposed to be talking to you, but I'm a fan. Look, my friend Cohen told me to just yell the name of our favorite movie of yours at you but I didn't think that was appropriate". I didn't know what else to say or do. I was pressed for time too. I had to say whatever I could, fast, before having to get the bus back to holding with the rest of the background folks.

He couldn't have been nicer. He thanked me and told me E did a good job. I told him the movie Cohen wanted me to yell out and he said- "Yeah, that was a good one! It really held up". I didn't get a photo or anything but it was just a cool moment. It made being on set with a seven year old until around ten o'clock at night totally worth it!

The second job- it was in Pearl River, which isn't far. I had to be there at ten o'clock in the morning which meant no rush hour. He had to be in and out of a pool, playing, for an hour, on a gorgeous sunny day. We were back in our town, at our town pool, by twelve-forty-five in the afternoon. The only issue was that there were bees everywhere. Neither of us got stung, he got paid, and it was all good. 

In a nutshell, that's what it's like. A lot of running, sitting, running, cramming E with lines, doing self-tapes, taking an hour or so to get into NYC for auditions that last two minutes. But he loves it. He really does. He learns lines unusually quick, he likes being on sets, he loves when there are other kids to work with, he enjoys having faux-parents. He likes knowing he's working and making money. He understands that even though it's often long hours, he doesn't even get paid that much. So, when he's twenty-two and getting out of college, if that's his path, that a six figure job doesn't just fall into your lap. That's probably one of the best lessons he takes away from his work.

I don't know if it's just E's personality or having auditioned and NOT gotten so many parts, but he can totally handle the rejection like a champ. The only part he didn't get that he was bummed about enough to say "Aww. I really wanted that one!", was in The Deuce, a show James Franco is in for HBO. He just loves James Franco and was excited to meet and work with him. He was "Franco" on General Hospital! Well, and in the movie Oz and "Ceasar's dad" in Rise of the Apes.

The only time he ever cried having to do with this work, was this past week, when he was done working on this movie. He was crying from being overtired, but also because he was sad to leave the friends he made in those two days. He gets very attached to the other kids he works with.

However long we do this for, I put it in my category of interesting life experience. We've eaten a lot of good and bad craft service, we've met some cool people, made some friends, and E's had a few moments on tv. He's learned the discipline of patience, sitting on sets for hours on end. He gets to do something not everyone gets to do and he'll always have the memories. I'll have the moment I sidled up to one of my 90's crushes and fed him a silly line because I couldn't come up with something better. Lastly, he and his dad have baseball, skateboarding, and whatever else they do together to bond. This is our bonding time. And rituals. Like getting that damned street soft pretzel any time we go into NYC!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Happy New Year and My Three C's

Brisket on the stove (uncooked)

Happy New Year to those who celebrate! My three C's- Cunninhams, Cohens and Carrs- that is who we spent our holiday, Rosh Hashana with. Our chosen family. We stretched the two day holiday into three dinners so we really felt the love. I have to say, when you have a family of your own making, where you love each and every one of them, and have genuinely warm feelings toward them, holidays are actually something in which you look forward.

For the longest time, I wasn't really interested in holidays. I still feel like they're just days on a calendar. I don't need to celebrate a holiday ON the date everyone else does. If the stars don't align in this busy life, sometimes you have to make concessions. Work, divorce, illness- those can all be factors in why you'd have to make your get-together on a different date, but the main ingredient of importance is the company you keep.

It was also my mom's deathiversary (10-2) and her birthday (yesterday, 10-5), neither of which I really felt like discussing. Not because I was a mess or anything, but it's just a weird thing for me. I'm ok. It's been six years. I miss her. I have questions I'd like to ask her. I just don't feel like any specific day is worse than any other. The death day isn't harder. Her birthday isn't harder. Moments out of the blue are harder. When I need the answer to a question only she or her sister, who is also deceased, could answer- it's harder. So I don't write on social media about the death day or her birthday about her death, or her life- I write about her when something I'm thinking about her pops into my head.

I was happy to have the distraction of my hamster wheel life going on. E worked on a movie in Coney Island, for what felt like endless hours, two days last week. He had an audition in NYC the day after that. There was swim practice in there, and then shopping for and cooking nine pounds of brisket and two kugels for Rosh Hashanah. Then dinner, dinner, dinner. Life in perpetual motion definitely helped get through days that could be hard if left to just think about them. I did chuckle to myself when the sun finally peeked out on Monday because I heard Rita saying- "The sun will come out. The sun always shines for the Jews..." One of my favorite Rita-isms.

We missed seeing Bob & Barbara before the holiday because E was working and we didn't get home until around eight o'clock both Wednesday and Thursday, but they're a huge part of our chosen family too. We finally got to see them and catch up yesterday which was very nice. E and I are very routined so it throws us for a loop when we're off our schedule. He was very excited for their visit.

Dinner at the Cunninghams was fun, yet not as eventful as the many uncooked hens of Passover. Food was all cooked and fabulous. Lots of loudness and laughs. I'm so happy for Jen that she got her dream job but I miss her and her Breck hair popping into my store during the day.

More delightful dishes and fun at the Cohens was dinner number two, and it was awesome to finally catch up. Nicole and I went down my list of topics I'd been keeping since the summer and still didn't cover it all. E had been asking almost daily when we were going to see brother Joe, and we finally did. Unfortunately I didn't think to take any photos.

Impressive line at Zadies
Last but not least was dinner number three, at the Carrs, which technically commenced when the holiday was over, but we're not much for rules. I got to hear about any and all teen goings-ons I've missed over the past few months- my favorite kind of talk.

I'd stood on a line at Zadies like I was waiting for Bon Jovi tickets or like Springsteen was inside the bakery giving away free kisses and kokash. We were all going to be eating cake and round challah till we were ready to explode.

E and I also got to go apple picking with a gaggle of boys over the holiday weekend. That was like a party for E. We drove up to Penning's in Warwick where you can drive up to the trees vs having to be held hostage on a hayride to get to any apples.

We got many apples that will probably go bad before we get to eat them. Considering the ones from last year are still in my garage. But, it's the act of picking and hanging with friends that's the fun of it all! Cider donuts, belly full of apples and great company made the day a success.

And now I'm back at work. It's Thursday and it's my first full day in awhile. In my routine, and as B would say- back on my perch. Drinking my Tall, Iced, Skinny Vanilla Latte with two Splenda. Being shamed by the barista for all my artificial sweetener. B, E and I took a family walk last night down to the football field to see Briana, and her son at football practice. I looked at the pool and realized that summer is really over. Here's looking to May 2017!