A Disneyland Tease (or A Mini High School Reunion Steps Away From The Happiest Place On Earth)

On Easter Sunday, I had absolutely no plans. I was going to do some cleaning in my house and get ready for my work week, but it was a pretty unscheduled day.

I had an errand that I had to do in Anaheim and was planning on putting that off for another day until I saw that a friend from high school was at Disneyland that day.

My friends Ali (who co-hosts The Super Fantastic Nerd Hour podcast) and Nhu-An (both of whom I went to high school with and are now engaged) were at Wonder Con in Anaheim and decided to take their day off to do a Disneyland adventure. I totally wanted to join them, but my pass was blacked out for the day. And I didn’t want to spend a lot of extra money on a blackout day ticket. I really wanted to go into the parks, but I knew that spending that money wasn’t the right choice.

I had messaged them both to see if they would be spending any time outside of the parks on Sunday so I could meet up with them and say hello. Even though it seems like I keep in touch with a ton of people from high school, I had not seen Ali nor Nhu-An since we graduated high school in 2001.

When they messaged me back, they said that they planned to spend the entire day at the parks. So I suggested that maybe we meet up for a drink or something in Downtown Disney toward the end of their day. We agreed to meet up around 9:15pm between the parks so we could have a quick catchup.

I did my errand in Anaheim and then hung out with a friend until it was time to go over to Disneyland. You can actually park for free at Downtown Disney for 3 hours, so at least I didn’t have to pay the $16 to park at the parks. I walked over to where we were supposed to meet when I got another message.

They were at dinner and running late. But they could still meet me when they were done. So I hung out between the two parks for a while. It’s actually not bad there. I was able to see the fireworks (even though I couldn’t hear the soundtrack that went along with it).

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While I waited, I did some work on my phone and played a couple of rounds of Words With Friends. And then Ali and Nhu-An came out and we had a mini reunion outside the gates of the parks.

It was actually pretty fun. We chatted about some random stuff from high school and Ali and I discussed podcasting. I’m trying to hook him up with a fun guest (and if it happens I’ll totally share it on here) for his podcast and he is having some technical issues that the hosts of the podcast that I work for can probably help him with.

We only hung out for about an hour before they were both ready to head back to their hotel (they had just had a full day at both Disney parks). Before we said goodbye, we got a quick picture together to prove that we had a (almost) 13 year mini reunion.

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While I haven’t really stayed in touch with a lot of people from high school in real life, I love that since we all stay in touch virtually it’s not awkward at all when we get together even when it has been a long time since we saw each other face to face. I also like how all the high school cliques that used to exist are pretty much gone now and everyone I stay in touch with over Facebook is very supportive of each other. I sometimes wonder if high school had been like this if I would have still felt like such an outsider.

Either way, this was a great way to spend a Sunday that was completely open for me! And in less than a week, I’ll be spending 2 days at Disneyland with my parents!

Table Read (or Spending My Saturday Acting)

First of all, thank you to everyone who texted, emailed, tweeted, FB messaged, and called me after Keri’s death. I’ve passed on all of your messages to the rest of my family. Writing that post ended up being very therapeutic for me, even though it was tough to write.

But now I want to get on to my regular, happier posts. I know that’s exactly what Keri would want me to do.

Last week, a friend of mine put it out on Facebook that he needed to get some actors together to have a table read for a pilot script that he wrote for a CBS competition.

If you aren’t familiar with the idea of table reads, it’s pretty simple. You have all the actors read their parts of a script while you are all sitting around a table. For a show that is on tv, this is when the writers hear if their lines make sense (or are funny) and the other departments such as costumes or props can make lists of what they will need for that week’s episode.

But for this script, we would each read a few parts so my friend could hear everything out loud and see if he liked how it was going.

We all met at his apartment in the valley and read the script to ourselves before we all got assigned our parts.

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It was a sitcom style script and it was really really funny! I don’t want to give a lot away because this is still a work in progress, but I can totally see it as a CBS sitcom on the air.

I got to read a couple of different parts which was a lot of fun. And there was one scene where 2 of the characters I was reading had a conversation so I got to have a funny little moment where I talked with myself.

After the table read was over, we all went over little notes we had about the script. There were a few things that needed clarification and some typos that we noticed, but overall it was an amazing pilot episode.

I’m not sure when the CBS script competition is making their cuts, but I would be shocked if I heard that this didn’t make the next round. And my friend promised that if something comes of this script, he will try to find a way for all of us who helped at the table read to be a part of it.

Even if nothing else comes from this, it was a great opportunity for me. I got to spend a couple of hours acting. I got to read an awesome script and make some character choices. And I got to network with a bunch of new people and reconnect with my friend who I hadn’t seen in years.

Overall, this was an amazing Saturday.

Losing A Friend (or Life Can Be Just So Unfair)

I got some pretty bad news yesterday. My friend Keri passed away after an almost 2 year battle with advanced cancer.

I had known that this was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier. I’m heartbroken.

I met Keri in 2005 at my cousin Stephie’s wedding. Keri and my cousin Adam had been dating for years by then and the wedding was the first time that she and I got to meet in person. Before I got to meet her, but after she started dating my cousin, Keri had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. It wasn’t cancerous and they removed it, but it did cause some health issues. But she beat that tumor and when I met her, she was the most vibrant and friendly person ever.

A few months after the wedding, Keri and Adam had invited me to Portland to come and visit them. That trip was so much fun! I really got to know Keri and realized then that she was just a super generous friend and so many people in Portland loved her.

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We got to go out on my cousin Adam’s sailboat during that trip and even though there was no wind so we couldn’t really sail, we had an awesome time.

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That trip is so memorable for all the fun that we had, but also because while I was walking in the Portland airport to take my flight home, I collapsed in pain. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the start to all my hip issues. While I was dealing with all my hip issues and misdiagnoses from my doctors, Keri was someone who I could call and vent to. She always was happy to listen to me and give advice when it was asked for.

The next time I got to see Keri was in 2007 at my grandparents’ 60th anniversary party. I was at my skinniest then, and as soon as Keri saw me, she said that I was beautiful at my heaviest and beautiful as I was then too. She said that she would love me no matter what my weight was and all she wanted was me to be happy. At the time, she was the only person who I felt felt that for me and it meant so much that she said it out loud for me to hear.

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I only got to see Keri in person a few other times after that. But we always stayed in touch. We called when we could and Keri also wrote me the most beautiful handwritten notes that she mailed to me. Sadly, I lost a bunch of those notes when I moved into my current house (they were in a box with all my non-digital pictures and somehow that box never made the move), but I still have one.

Keri and I were also birthday buddies. My cousin Adam and I have birthdays close together (his is August 7th and mine is August 9th) and Keri’s was right in the middle on the 8th. Every year I would call Keri on her birthday and she would call me on mine. It was pretty funny to have calls 2 days in a row, but it was special. And at the end of every phone call, birthday or not, Keri always ended the call with saying that she loved me.

Sadly, about 2 years ago Keri had gotten in a car accident and had some abdominal pain. It was discovered that she had very advanced cancer and that it had already spread. Traditional treatment options like chemo or surgery were not options for her. So she used holistic treatments as well as positive thinking and she did amazing! The doctors had only given her a few months, and she almost made it 2 years.

My Aunt Cindy (my cousin Adam’s mom) called me last week to let me know that Keri wasn’t doing too well. She let me know that the end was probably near and she wanted me to know. For the last week, I panicked every time my phone had an alert because I was terrified that it was bad news. I checked Facebook all the time for news.

And today, after I had gotten home from a dentist appointment, an email from Aunt Cindy came saying that Keri had passed away in the morning.

The news hit me so hard and it felt like I was punched in the stomach. It just wasn’t fair. Even though I knew it would eventually end like this, it just sucks. Keri was so wonderful and had overcome a tumor already. Why did she have to get cancer too? And if she had to get cancer, why couldn’t it have been treatable?

She was doing so much good in the world and there was so much more good she could have done. Keri was a teacher and I’m hoping that her students carry on her legacy by being as kind and gracious as she was. I know that that’s why I’m going to try to do.

I wish I had more to write about Keri. I wish I had more pictures of us together. I wish her story in my life wasn’t ending like this.

Being Typed (or A Fun Actor Activity)

This past week, I was invited to a Type Party. If you aren’t familiar with a Type Party, it’s something for actors to do to understand what their type (or who they would realistically play) is for film/tv. I had been typed before when The Actors’ Network still had a location, but it had been a long time since I had done it. I had also been typed during a SAG Conservatory event, but since there were so many people at that event and I was one of the last people to go, many people didn’t fully fill out the sheets.

A friend of mine was hosting the party and we were all encouraged to come dressed as you normally would for an audition. So I came in a simple top and jeans, since that’s something I wear a lot for auditions.

I got there on time, but was actually the first one there. Guess not everyone stresses about being on time the same way as I do. Everyone else arrived about 5-10 minutes later. There were about 10 of us there (all women) and we chatted and gossiped a bit before we got started.

I actually didn’t know anybody there except my friend who organized it, but that’s almost better. That way, nobody typing me would be influenced by things they know about me in real life. Everyone’s opinion was just based on superficial things (which is what you want).

The things we wrote down for everyone were things like age range, ethnicity, what jobs you could see the person in, how educated you think they are, celebrity look-a-likes, and any physical or characteristic adjectives you think fit the person.

Most of the things I got were as expected. My age range was between 22-28 (although there was one person who put 32-40). I was given bubbly, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful, and cheerful as some of my adjectives. As far as physical adjectives, they were all what I expected (plus size, full-figured, short), but one person wrote tan and dirty blonde. Maybe the lighting made me look that way? Because I’m not tan at all and I don’t think my hair could be described as dirty blonde (brunette maybe).

Unfortunately, I had to leave early so I wasn’t able to type everyone else, but I’m going to do it for some of them on Facebook. But I did get to take home all of the sheets people wrote things about me on so I could think about new ways to pitch and market myself.

I’m so grateful that a friend of mine organized this. Not only was it a great actor activity that will be super helpful, but I got to meet a ton of new girls that I probably wouldn’t have met without the party!

Busy Time (or Scheduling Again)

I’m really starting to get a hang of having 2 part time jobs. It’s not easy, but it’s starting to make more sense in my life.

The recruiting job is going well. I’m still pretty much working from home all the time, and I’m starting to have more success at it. My boss is pretty happy with my progress, but I’m hoping I get much better at it pretty quickly. The money that I earn from successful calls would be really nice.

The box office job is going pretty well also. I’m still waiting on getting my own login information for the computer systems, but I’m able to borrow another person’s login for now so at least I’m able to do all the work I need to do. It’s still a bit weird to be doing some of the same work I’m used to doing but it’s still pretty different. I’m not pushing ticket sales as hard as I used to and there’s no pitch to join as a member. I’m also not feeling the same motivation to try to get people to buy more (or fancier) ticket because none of the sales in the box office are commissionable. But I’m sure that the box office will feel like normal very very soon.

And finally, my money situation is getting better. After taking my NYC trip, my savings account was pretty much wiped out. My unemployment was ending (because I was still using an old claim and it was almost done) and I didn’t know how much I’d be making at either job. At the beginning of this week, I didn’t know how I was going to manage to pay my rent at the end of the month.

But I got paid from my recruiting job (I missed the cutoff for the mid-month payroll at the box office job so I won’t get my first check there until the end of the month), I got my new unemployment started, and my tax refund came in. This all happened in 2 days. And I finally had my rent money in place (and was able to pay it early which I like to do).

I always say that somehow things fit into place for me. And I’m starting to have more hope that that is really how it will work out. I’m not sure how things will be next month, but maybe I’ll get more successful calls from my recruiting job or more hours in the box office. It’s all a little up in the air but it looking like a much more realistic lifestyle now.

Sorry if this is a somewhat boring post, but that’s where I am in life this week. But to add some excitement, here’s a set of photos my dad just sent to me. The top picture is Tucker when we adopted him and the bottom photo is Tucker yesterday (about 4 months later). He’s getting so big!!

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Passover (or A Family Reunion A Decade Overdue)

Monday evening was the first night of Passover. Even though both of my parents are Jewish and I went to Hebrew school for a few years, I don’t really celebrate any of the Jewish holidays. I went to a Passover Seder a few years ago that a friend did, but she and I were the only Jews there.

A little over a month ago, my mom was talking with her cousin who lives in LA and somehow I came up in conversation. My mom mentioned how I still live in LA and her cousin had no idea. I had seen her years ago, but she just thought that when I finished college I had moved away. So as soon as she realized I was still here, she invited me to Passover dinner.

I was really excited to get to see my second cousin again. The last time I saw her was right after my hip surgery, and I hadn’t seen her siblings (my other second cousins) in possibly over a decade. That’s a little ridiculous when we all live in LA.

I was a little nervous when I got there because I wasn’t sure how it would be with family who were practically strangers to me. But as soon as I walked inside, I was welcomed with open arms. My cousin Wendy, who was hosting the event, was so happy to see me again. She was asking me all about my life and as soon as other guests arrived, she made sure to introduce me to them right away so I didn’t feel left out.

My second cousins Randy and Craig were also there with their families. I had met Craig’s wife before but I don’t know if I had met Randy’s wife in the past. And I had never met any of their kids before, so I got to meet 4 new third cousins that I didn’t know existed!

Dinner was great. I was seated next to cousin Wendy so that was very nice. And I got to catch up with all the other family at the table. Also, pretty much everyone there was either in the entertainment industry or knew a lot about it so that dominated a lot of the conversation.

We did a semi-traditional Seder. We went over the Seder plate and the plagues and said some of the prayers, but we didn’t do a full Seder. But that gave us more time to catch up.

I had also brought the wedding album my mom made of Ross and Krystle’s wedding, so all my second cousins wanted to see that and see other family members (they haven’t seen anyone from my section of the family for a very long time).

Before I knew it, it was time for all of us to go home. I exchanged numbers and email addresses with my second cousins and I’m hoping that I can get to know them even more and make sure that it’s not another decade before I see them again.

But before we all said goodbye, I made sure we all got a picture together so I could show my mom.

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It was really an amazing evening. I feel like I’ve gotten to reconnect with a section of my family that had been lost to me in the past. I know it’s nobody’s fault that we all fell out of touch and hadn’t seen each other in forever. But I’m going to make it my responsibility to make sure that I get together with them more often now.

LA Times Festival Of Books (or Realizing I’m Only A Minor Book Nerd)

This past weekend was the LA Times Festival of Books at USC. I’ve always wanted to go to it each year, but I always seem to be working. A month or so ago, I saw something online about media passes for the festival and I decided to apply for it.

I had totally forgotten about applying for the media pass until last week when I got an email saying that I had been approved for one! I was already scheduled to work on Saturday, but I decided that I would go on Sunday and finally check it out.

I took the light rail there because parking was expensive (and I’m sure not too close to the event). When I sat down, I saw the perfect ad for my trip to the festival.

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The light rail stop was right across the street from the entrance to the festival, so that was very nice. I was able to find the media check in pretty easily and got my fancy media pass.

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I met up with a friend after getting my pass and she showed me around the festival. It was a little overwhelming, so I’m glad I had a friend guide me around. We checked out a bunch of the booths and the books for sale.

My media pass got me into any of the lectures that I wanted to go to, but I ended up not making it to any of them (plus all the ones I wanted to go to were on Saturday). There were also various stages with authors speaking that I didn’t need my pass to get in to.

I went to the young adult stage to see one of my favorite authors, Marissa Meyer, speak along with some other authors who specialize in young adult science fiction/fantasy.

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That was pretty awesome. I didn’t know the other authors but they were all amazing to listen to. I’m not usually a science fiction/fantasy fan, but Marissa Meyer’s series The Lunar Chronicles really got me. The books are science fiction retellings of classic fairy tales in a dystopian society.

After the authors were done speaking, they were all signing books. I got in line so I could meet Marissa Meyer and I noticed how unprepared I was for the signing. Almost everyone in front of me in line had suitcases full of books to be signed. Multiple copies of each book from every author. Since all my books are pretty much on my Kindle, I didn’t have a physical book to have signed (and I didn’t want to get my Kindle signed like some people in front of me in line did). I realized that I was a pretty poor book nerd not having anything to get signed.

But I did have my media pass so when I got to the front of the line I asked Marissa to sign the back of my pass.

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The line for the signing took a little over an hour. And once I got my pass signed I was feeling pretty tired from being out in the sun for so long (and it turns out I got pretty badly sunburnt as well). So I headed back onto the light rail and headed home again.

I had a really good time at the festival even though I wasn’t there for too long. But I will totally be returning next year (and making sure that I don’t have to work that weekend)!

Full Day At The New Job (or Seeing My Old Workplace Abandoned)

On Saturday, I worked a full show shift in the box office. The day before, I only worked a few hours. Saturday was an 8 hour shift (technically 7.5 since I had to take a 30 minute lunch).

This was my first full work day away from home since I was laid off. While it was weird trying to get everything together before I left for the day, since I was going to a place I’ve worked before it wasn’t too bad. I even remembered to pack a lunch (something that I had trouble with when I worked in telesales).

I also got a better idea of what the workday would be like for me in the box office. I’m happy to see that there is downtime because when you work the will call box before a show, it’s a little crazy. Especially when you can’t find the tickets for people.

But again, the people in the box office are being super patient with me and are more than willing to help me with all the weird stuff I’m trying to get used to. I really feel like people there are happy to see that I’m back, and that is really helping with coming back to a place where I was laid off.

During one of those downtime moments, the box office manager and I were chatting about something random and she mentioned how they use magnetic to stick notices to the box office door. I said that I was pretty sure that I left some magnets at my desk in the trailer that I worked telesales in. So the box office manager handed me her keys and sent me over there to see if I could find any.

It was very very weird to go back into the trailer. I had been there one time after being laid off when my boss was still there (I think it was only a week after being laid off). The last time, everything was still there but there were boxes everywhere. This time, it looked like a ghost town inside.

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I actually texted that picture to my ex-boss because it seemed so sad inside. They are tearing down the trailer soon so this was probably the last time I was going to go inside it.

But I did find my magnets still stuck to my whiteboard above where my desk used to be!

I showed everyone in the box office that picture and they all agreed that it looked very sad inside the trailer. But it was a nice closure on the telesales job. I’m actually enjoying working in the box office and being able to interact more with customers and my co-workers. I’m still hoping to get more hours there so I won’t have to worry about finding yet another day job (and when would I have time to fit that in?!?), but that’s being worked on.

Overall, I’d say my first full day shift in the box office was a success! And yes, I dressed properly for the job this time.

2 Jobs 1 Day (or What My New Normal Might Look Like)

On Friday, I had my first shift back at my old job (but in a new job position). I also worked my new job in the morning. It was a lesson in how I need to start managing my time a new way (again).

On Friday, I actually had to go into the office for my first job. I was doing some personal organizing work for the business so I spent my 4 hour shift going through files and throwing out paperwork that was outdated or able to be found online. Not the toughest job to do, but it seemed endless (I got one drawer done in 4 hours and there are 2 more to go still). I was able to start earlier than I usually go in so I would have enough time between my jobs. I wanted to give myself more time than I would usually have because I wasn’t too sure how it was going to work out.

I had about 2 hours to get changed and ready to go to job #2. It was a little weird feeling going back as an employee, but everyone who works in the box office was so happy to see me again. I was greeted with a lot of hugs and people saying how much I was missed.

I didn’t get started on the best foot in the box office. First of all, I was dressed incorrectly. When I used to work at shows, the dress code was dressy. So I guessed the box office was the same. I wore nice black pants and a dark blue top. Turns out, black tops are kind of a requirement. So I was told that it was ok since I didn’t know better, but I needed to dress properly for future shifts (after working on Friday, I ordered a couple of dressy black tops on Old Navy so I would have something appropriate to wear).

While working in the box office is similar to what I did in telesales, it’s pretty different. Orders are taken a different way and things that I was used to doing have to be changed because the box office is the final step in order taking. In telesales, we used to turn in our orders to the box office so I didn’t have to do all the steps. There are also side work things that I’ve never had to do before. I’m trying to remember it all, but fortunately everyone understands that the box office is different from what I’m used to so they are all very patient with me.

I ran the will call window at the show, and I was lucky to start on a slow night. It still seemed pretty fast paced to me, but I will get to ease into the craziness that is working a box office during a show.

I also had the chance to talk with the box office manager about what types of hours I need so I don’t have to look for a third job. She’s going to try to accommodate my schedule, but that won’t happen for at least 2 more weeks since the schedules have already been set (unless someone is sick and I will fill in).

My first shift in the box offices was a short one, so it went by very quickly. And I have to say that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be. It can be a bit more low-key than telesales since I don’t have to think about making phone calls every second of my shift. There’s a little downtime between calls from customers or handling will call so that’s nice.

I’m actually pretty optimistic that I will be able to handle the two job days without too much stress. Hopefully that is how it all works out.

I’ve Got Some Follow Through (or I Said I’d Do It So I Did)

Yesterday, I mentioned that I needed to start scheduling things to do after my work day so I would get out of my house. I also mentioned that I needed to get back to SoulCycle.

Want to take a wild guess what my after work thing was yesterday evening?

Yup, I went to an after work spin class.

I’ve actually never taking a spin class after working. I’ve done one in the middle of a split shift once. But other than that, every spin class I’ve gone to was either before work or on a non-work day. And I’ll say, an early evening class is very different from a morning class.

I had to be pretty careful with how I ate during the day. I wanted to have enough energy for class, but I don’t like to work out if I feel full. I thought that I had planned a decent meal day for me, but I learned that I need to eat something a little closer to class time. Yesterday, I had a serving of chocolate milk about 90 minutes before class. That’s what I normally have before going to a morning class as well. But I was starving during the class.

None of the instructors that I usually go to teach at the studio during the times I was looking (I went to a 5:30pm class), so I had to try someone new. This instructor’s name was David, and it really was a great class.

It was super hard, but I’m wondering if part of that was my crazy hunger and my hip pain. I did managed to stand up on the bike for about 90 seconds during a hill section, but besides that I stayed seated for the class. I did also do all the arm work with 2 pound weights. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, they get heavy! I started with 1 pound weights and doubling the weight has made things tougher (but I think I’m getting stronger too).

The best thing about SoulCycle for me is since it’s only 45 minutes, time seems to fly by (and I’m aware that if you hate working out that sounds crazy but it’s true). And I got a pretty good calorie burn for my workout as well.

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I have a bunch of stuff going on this weekend (including returning to my old job) so I’m not too sure if I’ll make it to spin class this weekend. If I do, it will be another odd time for me. I like my usual Saturday afternoon class with Heather, but this Saturday I’m working during that time.

But at least I have another instructor that I’m comfortable with and if I’m not working evenings back at my old job, I can probably fit this class in more regularly.