Tag Archives: friends

Spamilton (or A Between The Seasons Musical)

It’s been a little while since my last show at the Pantages. And we do have tickets for next season, but our first show of that season is about 2 months away. My Pantages group didn’t really have any plans for shows between our two seasons, but when I was driving past the Kirk Douglas Theatre I noticed an ad for “Spamilton“. So I texted the group to see if anyone was interested in checking the show out and everyone said yes!

I have some friends who work at that theater so I contacted them to see if they knew of any deals, and my friend said that he could get us his employee comp tickets! We were going to have to buy the other 2, but that saved us 50% on the tickets so we were so happy about that. And since it’s a show that doesn’t have an intermission it wasn’t a big deal that we couldn’t sit together. We figured we’d hang out before the show and after the show.

We met up for dinner in downtown Culver City before the show and then headed to the theater. None of us knew too much about “Spamilton” except that it was a spoof musical about “Hamilton” and we were excited to see what it was all about.

As soon as we got into the lobby we noticed the drink specials that they were offering. We all loved the puns on the songs that the drinks were named after.

Dani and Michelle decided to have them spin the wheel so they could get the $5 drink of whatever it landed on. I don’t remember what they got, but they both enjoyed their drinks so it was a great deal for them.

Right before the show started, we split up to go to our seats. The two seats we bought were in the second to last and the last row in the center and the two seats we got from my friend ended up being in the 5th row! I thought they would be toward the back because that’s how many comp tickets go, but we lucked out!

And as soon as the show started, we didn’t stop laughing! This show was amazing! You have to know musical theater to get it, but you don’t have to know “Hamilton” super well to get the jokes. If you know the songs a bit and who the cast is, you’ll get the jokes about the show. But there were a lot of joked about other musicals, playwrights, and other people involved in the theater world that they sang about.

One of my favorite parts was when they sang about mashup musicals. It was just so clever and the mashups they created were perfect. I loved how they did “The Lion King” and “The King and I” together and “Avenue Q” and “The Crucible” together. The songs were really funny and I was almost crying I was laughing so hard.

At times we wondered if we were bugging the people sitting by us because we were laughing so loud and they weren’t laughing. I don’t know if they were quiet laughers or if they didn’t get what they were making fun of. But we were having an amazing time and hopefully everyone else in the audience was too.

The show is pretty short at only 80 minutes but it was a jammed packed 80 minutes. And the cast had so much energy from start to finish and it looked like they were having a great time. The main cast was 5 actors and they were accompanied by a piano, but it felt like a much fuller show than that. But I loved the simplicity of the set and music because the performances stood out so much!

After the show was done, we all agreed that it was a great show and very funny! I think it helped me to get my musical fix in between our seasons at Pantages. I am still entering the lottery every day to try to win tickets for “Hamilton”. I really want to see it for a second time before it leaves LA but I haven’t had any luck yet. But there’s still a bit of time left before it leaves so hopefully my luck will change (or one of my friends will win and bring me with them).

Or maybe I’ll go see “Spamilton” again because it was such a great night out!

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A Wizard’s Birthday (or A Full Universal Day)

When I got my Universal Studios pass again this year, I knew it would be worth it since you only have to go twice to make it the cheaper option than buying tickets. But I didn’t know if I’d go much more than that because I don’t love going there as often as I do Disneyland. I’m pretty sure that I won’t be getting another pass after this one expires, so I’m making sure that I get my Universal fix in while I have a pass.

So when my friend Erin told me that her daughter Olive was doing a birthday adventure at Universal, of course I wanted to join in! I’ve known Olive her entire life and I love that she is so into the world of make-believe. She loves everything Harry Potter and loves being in the park to do spells.

They wanted to get there when the park opened, so it was an earlier start than I’m used to. I was at the gate before it opened and it was raining a bit while I waited for them to join me. But fortunately that stopped soon after and it ended up being a pretty gorgeous day out.

Olive could easily spend the day just doing the Harry Potter ride 13 times. That’s actually what she said her plan for the day was. But the grownups in the group knew that wasn’t how the day was going to go so we encouraged her to pick other rides she wanted to go on. We went on the Minions ride, she and I watched when the others went on Jurassic Park, and I got to ride a few other things without Olive. But the main part of the day was spent in the Harry Potter section of the park.

It was nice to see that they were already decorating for the holidays and most of the buildings have garlands and wreaths on them.

We did the Harry Potter ride twice as a group and we also had a nice lunch at the restaurant there. While I can be a bit tired of the same things over and over again, I love being there with Olive because seeing things through a kid’s eyes is just such a fun experience. Seeing her believe in everything in the park as something real is a great thing. So many kids are jaded by her age and I appreciate that she still believes and is still a kid and not an elementary school aged teenager. Kids should get to be kids and that’s exactly what she does.

While we were at the park I was starting to deal with some pretty bad nausea. I had my medications with me and was taking them while I was there, but I was glad when we decided to take a break from the rides and go watch the Waterworld show. I see that show almost every time I’m there and it is still one of my favorites.

I was feeling a bit better after sitting down for the show, but I was not feeling like I could do any more rides. I don’t think I would have thrown up on a ride, but I didn’t want to risk that or do anything that would potentially make me feel worse. So while everyone else was getting ready to ride the Harry Potter ride again, I had to say goodbye so I could go home and try to feel better.

I didn’t feel too horrible about leaving early because some of Olive’s friends arrived just as I was leaving. And I had been in the park for about 6 hours which is longer than I’m normally there. So I had a full day and I think that Olive had fun while I was there. And from the photos I saw on Facebook, I know that she had fun after I left too. It looks like they stayed there until the park closed so they had a super full day!

I’m only about halfway through my year with this annual pass to Universal so I’m sure I’ll make it back there again before it expires. Some of the employees there mentioned that they were going to do a special castle show for the holidays so hopefully that will be this year so I can see it. And I’ll probably go back right before my pass expires to ride all my favorites one more time before I know I won’t be going back for a while. And maybe Olive will want me to go with her again and we can have another Harry Potter filled day!

A Disney Birthday! (or Princesses and Awesome Ears)

I love Disneyland and I love birthdays so when those get to be combined it’s so much fun! And this week, I had a fun Disney adventure that was to celebrate my friend Michelle’s birthday! We also wanted one more Disney outing to see the Halloween stuff before it switched over to Christmas decorations, so this was perfect timing.

Since we were going to celebrate Michelle’s birthday, Dani and I tried to do some fun planning. We got her some Peter Pan themed ears and told Michelle to make lunch reservations somewhere fun and festive. Michelle is going to wear the ears we got her another time because this time her outfit was Maleficent themed. We all tried to have cute outfits this day because Michelle had recently added MaxPass to her annual pass which includes Photopass so we can get all the cute photos from Disney photographers!

We had to take advantage of getting fun photos right away. When we got to the parks, we started on the Disneyland side and did a bit of shopping at first so Michelle could get some ears to match her outfit. And then we were over to get some photos with Star Wars characters. When we saw Kylo Ren, there wasn’t a Photopass photographer, but we still got a cute photo.

But there was a photographer when we got to Darth Vader and we got so many photos! I knew they took photos while we were posing, but they also took so many photos while we were interacting with the character. It was fun to look at those photos, but my favorites are still when we posed.

After our photos we went over to Tomorrowland to do Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Michelle and I still have our year-long competition with the points on that ride), and Star Tours.

I wish I had a photo from Star Tours too because Michelle ended up being the Rebel Spy that time! I’ve never gotten to be on the ride when someone in my group was the Rebel Spy and I’m sad I didn’t think to have my phone out to take a photo when she was on the screen. Oh well. Hopefully that will happen again and I’ll remember!

After those rides, we headed over to California Adventure since our lunch reservation was over there. We had some time before lunch so we went on Soarin’ Around The World and then walked over to Ariel’s Grotto. I had never had lunch there before (they also do breakfast) and I was impressed by the decor and the view when we got inside.

When you walk downstairs to the dining area, you first take a photo with Ariel. We thought we could use the Photopass for that photo, but it isn’t part of that and we didn’t want to spend $30 on the photo. But we did take advantage of all the princesses that walked around during lunch and got photos with them. The only negative was that there wasn’t a photographer walking with the princesses so most of our photos ended up being selfies.

The food at Ariel’s Grotto is a prix fixe meal. You get soup or salad, a choice of entrée, and then a dessert selection.

I went with the crab chowder and the tri-tip and those along with the dessert were really good!

And we made sure that they knew it was Michelle’s birthday so she also got a cupcake with a candle in it along with her desserts.

After so much food, we wanted our stomachs to settle a bit before riding anything too intense so we went on The Little Mermaid ride and then went to the Animation Academy to do some artwork (I’m finally getting better at drawing circles).

Then it was time to ride Guardians After Dark. Since this was a Halloween offering we wanted to make sure we got to ride it again, and Dani hadn’t had a chance to check it out yet. We didn’t get to do the Guardians ride during the day, but I’m sure we’ll do that next time we are there. But the nighttime Halloween version is fun so I’m glad we did it.

After that ride, California Adventure was closing and we were going to go back to the Disneyland side. But we were taking our time and did some shopping and discovered something amazing in one of the stores. Disneyland now sells ears that have changeable bows! So you can have one set of the ears headband but change up what character it represents! I loved that idea and so did Dani and Michelle. All of us ended up buying ears and a second bow. I kept mine with the original bow, but I liked it that way too!

We then headed back into Disneyland to ride the Jungle Cruise since it’s so much fun to ride that when it’s dark out. But as we walked over, it started to drizzle/mist rain. It was so weird and none of us thought it was going to rain that day. But fortunately, the boats on the Jungle Cruise have canvas on top so we were protected from the rain.

And after that ride, we all felt like we were done for the day. But we decided to try to get a cute photo of all of us with our new ears and there was no line for the Photopass photographer in front of the castle! There is always a big line there but maybe the rain scared people away? But within minutes we were taking a bunch of photos in front of the castle. And I love how the rain almost looks like glitter in the photo!

It was a nice full day at Disneyland and we didn’t feel rushed around at all. And some of the Christmas decorations were already up when we were there. But I know we’ll be back at least once or twice to see all of those holiday decorations. But I was just glad that we got to see all the Halloween stuff one more time and got to celebrate another birthday at Disneyland. I never get to celebrate my birthday there since it’s during my pass blackout, but now I’m thinking I should celebrate my half birthday there next year!

Halloween Awesomeness (or I Am Covfefe)

The Halloween party that my friends Marie and Chris throw was this past weekend. As it is with all of their parties, I knew that they would be doing some amazing decorations around their house and I couldn’t want to see what it was going to be. They had been sharing about how hard they had been working on decorations but weren’t giving any clues on what the theme was. So I had no idea what I was in for.

As far as my costume goes, I tend to be a bit lazy with costumes. I wish I was better at them, but it’s just not something that I’m creative with. So when a friend jokingly suggested I could go as covfefe by just wearing a “Hello my name is” name tag, I totally went for it!

I made extra name tags and was thinking that I would be sticking them on other people, on beer bottles, and other things like that. It was a super easy costume, but everyone who saw it seemed to think it was pretty funny.

But while my costume was low-key, the party was anything but! Marie and Chris really outdid themselves this year and they turned their house and backyard into all things Indiana Jones!

And of course, they dressed to fit the theme of the house.

They’ve done some amazing things with decorations before, but this was beyond what any of us expected. I loved the sacrifice pit that was in the middle of their yard.

But I think the greatest thing they made for the party was the golden idol room they had on the side of their yard.

Between the backdrop and the amazing painting work they did and the props that were in the room, this was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve seen! And we all were taking so many photos in there because of how awesome it looked (plus it had some really great lighting).

And I loved getting to see all the creative costumes that my friends did. Everyone always has really fun costumes and this year there seemed to be a lot of family/couple themed costumes. Of course, seeing little kids is costumes is just so cute! But I loved the couples costumes too because they were all really fun and clever. I’m glad that I go into the party not expecting to win the costume contest because the competition is stiff!

But the reason I go to the parties (besides the incredible decorations and awesome costumes) is getting to spend time with amazing friends. And there were so many amazing people at the party. I was able to get there toward the earlier side of things so I got to see a lot of people who had kids but had to leave early to get their kids to bed. But I also stayed later than I normally do so I saw some of the late arrivals too. There were a few people who arrived after I left, but I think I got to see almost everyone that I wanted to.

Some of us took some time to watch the World Series. It was fun because some of the people at the party are die-hard Dodgers fans but there are a lot of people there from Houston so they were rooting for the Astros. But it was all in good fun and I think pretty much everyone was happy to see that the Dodgers won the game that night. And the home run they got toward the end of the game was pretty impressive!

I really tried to be as social as possible at the party. But I had been up since 7am since I worked that morning plus I had a Hell Week workout that afternoon. I was hoping to get a nap in between my workout and the party but that didn’t happen. So I was a bit tired and run down. But it seemed like a lot of people there were feeling a bit low-key too so a lot of the time we were sitting around and talking. There was so much catching up to do at the party and we got the time to do that.

As with all of the parties that Marie and Chris do, I had the best time! They put so much effort into their parties and making sure that we all have so much fun. And we all do! I think their next party will be New Years Eve and I’m already looking forward to it!

Time For A Spa Day (or This Is Exactly What I Needed To Do)

A friend of mine is taking some time off from their job right now and she posted online that they were looking for some fun ways to spend the time off. She was looking for people who work non-traditional hours who maybe wanted to hang out and help her fill her time away from work with awesome stuff. And since I work non-traditional hours, I immediately sent her a message saying that I typically have Mondays free. So we made a plan to get together this week on Monday and it was such an amazing day!

The main reason my friend is taking time away from work is because they have dealt with some medical issues lately and needed to relax and take some time for herself. So I was thinking of some fun things we could do and I remembered that I have a bunch of day passes to Burke Williams from various swag bags! And since my friend lives in the valley we decided to go to the location in Sherman Oaks. So this was the 4th Burke Williams location I’ve been to!

Our plan wasn’t to get any treatments (I don’t have the money for that right now), but having a day pass to the spa is pretty great too. And my friend had never been to a Burke Williams before so I was so excited to share it with her.

We arrived around noon and since we didn’t have any appointments we were able to take our time doing whatever we wanted in the women’s spa section. So after we got changed and into our spa clothes (I just bring a bathing suit with me), we immediately headed to the hot tub for some relaxation. Since it was a weekday, we pretty much had the place to ourselves which was pretty awesome. So we just soaked in the hot tub and enjoyed spa water and the cool wash cloths that they had there.

After a little while, we were getting a bit warm so we went into the misting room which is basically like a cool steam room. It felt so nice to be in there! It was a really hot day (over 100 degrees outside) so being in a nice cool room felt great. I think we were in there the longest. And once we were nice and cool, we went back to where the steam room and sauna were. We decided to skip the steam room and went into the sauna. It was so hot (we joked how it felt similar to what it felt like outside) so we only lasted in there for a few minutes.

Then it was back to the hot tub for some more soaking before we decided we were ready to leave. We were there for over an hour which is a pretty decent amount of time to sit and relax. We ended up in the sauna one more time because we used it as a way to dry off after rinsing off (I took a shower so I wouldn’t smell like chlorine). It was a really smart idea and I was able to get my bathing suit much drier than I would have without the sauna.

After our spa time, we were both feeling a bit hungry. And the mall that Burke Williams is located in also has a Cheesecake Factory so we decided to stop there for a late lunch.

We didn’t get any cheesecake, but the food is still good. I got my usual salad that I almost always get there and it felt like the perfect post-spa meal. And getting time to hang out with an awesome friend and just be silly and gossip was exactly what I needed to do. Things have been a bit more stressful for me than I would like and I know that a lot of that stress is coming from me. But having an afternoon where the focus was on just relaxing really helped. I felt so separated from my regular life and stress while we were at the spa and after we left I was happy that the stress didn’t come back the way I thought it might.

While some of my stress is gone, not all of it is. But the good thing about the stress that is left is that I seem to have a bit more clarity on some things. Maybe I just needed a break from my normal life to step away and figure out what I need to do. I’m so glad that my friend needed some fun things to do this week because it gave me the perfect excuse to do a fun thing for myself and not feel any guilt about it. I was being lazy and relaxing at the spa, but I was also hanging out with an awesome friend and feeling like I was taking time for myself without worrying if I should be doing it or not.

I’ve got a few more spa passes left, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it to the spa again soon. And I want to get another facial from my friend Michelle so that would be an opportunity to go to the spa but not have to use one of my passes. I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to make it back, but it’s something in my head now that I know I need to do more often for my mental health.

Trivia Night (or An Unexpected Friend Hangout)

Since I’ve been trying to be more involved in SAG-AFTRA events, I’m trying to not say no to things when they fit into my schedule. So when the NextGen Performers committee posted that they’d be doing a trivia night on Tuesday I figured that I should go. I don’t know if I’ve ever gone to an organized trivia night before but it sounded fun. I tried to get some friends to come with me, but nobody seemed to be able to so I planned on just being there on my own.

But right after I arrived, my friend Rayshell walked in! I hadn’t texted her since she lives on the other side of town and usually can’t come over to my side of town after work, but she heard about the trivia night and also wants to be more involved in the union so she made the effort to go. It was so exciting to see each other there when we weren’t expecting it!

And I’m glad she was there (and had a friend with her) because it turned out that this trivia night was a team event. We ended up with a group of 4 and named our group The Misfits. There were lots of really clever names, but we were rushed to come up with a name because we missed that part of the instructions so we didn’t have any funny puns with ours.

At first, the trivia night seemed a bit complicated but I think that’s because we missed some of the instructions. But we picked up the idea pretty quickly. There were 4 rounds that each had 4 questions plus a bonus question. You bet a certain number of points for each question based on how you feel about your answer. And in the first round, we got all the questions right and were in 2nd place!

But after that amazing first round, we hit a slump. Rounds 2 and 3 didn’t go that great for us but it seemed like other groups were struggling too. And after the last round but before the last bonus question, we were all updated on how the scores looked. We were pretty close to the middle of the pack and the last bonus question was one where you could bet up to 20 points, but you risked losing those points if you got the answer wrong.

We figured we had nothing to lose so we bet 20 points and tried hard to think of the answer for the last bonus question. The question was which movie was the only one where Harrison Ford was nominated for an Oscar. All of us immediately thought “The Fugitive” but we weren’t rushing to answer. But then one member of our group remembered that he was in the movie “Witness” and that was probably the answer. So we put that down, turned our answer in, and hoped for the best.

Once everything was done, the MC was announcing the scores starting with last place. Once he got through half the groups we were so excited to know we were in the top half of the groups. Then he announced the 3rd place winner and that still wasn’t us so we knew we were in the top 2! We couldn’t believe it, but somehow we came back from the middle to end up in second place!

There was a basket of prizes to choose from and I got a SAG-AFTRA key chain. A lot of the stuff in the basket was similar to what we got in our swag bags at the convention so I didn’t really care too much on what I got. But just knowing that we got second place was awesome enough for me! I really wasn’t thinking we’d do that well and I think the entire group was shocked when we realized that we were in the top 2.

Even though winning second place in trivia was amazing, what was even better was getting to hang out with Rayshell again. Neither of us knew the other would be there, but fortunately there was a lot of downtime between trivia questions for us to catch up. It was like one of our happy hour hangouts! And this time there was free food since the NextGen Performers events have free food (actors always love free stuff!). We will still do another happy hour hangout soon, but at least we won’t feel as guilty about how much time will pass since we got to see each other this week.

After trivia was done, I had to get home. I’m still getting over being sick and I wanted to get home to get some sleep. But most people were leaving once the winners were announced. This mixer was more of a trivia night than a hangout night, but that was ok with me. It was something new for me and I had a great time. And even though it wasn’t the most actor related event, it was still a great night out with my union friends and that is always a win for me.

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It’s Convention Time (or I’ve Been Waiting 2 Years For This!)

This past weekend was the SAG-AFTRA National Convention. I was attending as a second term delegate and it was just as amazing as it was the first time. I honestly had been waiting for convention to happen again as soon as the last one was done and I am now already anxious for the next one in 2 more years!

Since this time I knew what the convention was going to be like, I was much more prepared for things. I planned out my schedule a bit better so I wouldn’t feel as overwhelmed and exhausted, but since I was battling a cold it was still a bit tough on me mentally and physically. But it was totally worth it.

Convention started on Thursday night with a cocktail party to meet my fellow delegates. Last time, I was feeling a bit nervous and stuck with mainly talking to the delegates I already knew. I also felt like I had arrived late so I was feeling a bit scattered. So this time I got there early so I wouldn’t be late and had time to get checked in for the convention to get all my things before the party started.

While at the party, I did talk to a lot of my friends who are delegates, but I did make an effort to meet new people too. I got to talk to a bunch of people from New York, Portland, and New Orleans and many of them were first time delegates. The best advice I could give to them that it was going to be so overwhelming but they would be wanting more when everything was done. Some of the smaller locals don’t have slates to help prepare new delegates for the convention like LA does, so I tried to do my part. I also found out over the few days of convention that some first time delegates found my blog post from 2 years ago to learn about what convention would be like. So if you are reading this 2 years from now to get ready for the 2019 convention, hi!

I didn’t stay out too late because I knew the next morning was going to be an early morning. I was going to work my day job from convention again and I was going to start 2 hours early to make up for any time that I was going to miss to vote. That meant getting up at 6am to be out the door by 6:45 to deal with rush hour traffic. It was a very early morning, but it worked out ok since I was able to get logged into work right on time and I got a great seat for the convention in the LA section!

I also spent a bit of time that morning checking out the expo since I missed that the last time. Most of the organizations weren’t set up that early on the first day, but there was a “Words of Wisdom” wall we could sign and since the convention hadn’t started yet I got to be the 3rd person to sign it.

I wrote on the bottom “Don’t forget to smile!”. I knew that it would be getting filled up throughout the convention, so I’m glad I got to sign it before a lot of the space was taken.

Once convention started, things moved pretty quickly. We had to do the elections for the various vice presidents which included the executive VP as well as the geographical and categorical ones. Fortunately, most of that time was spent in the main convention room as Los Angeles and the actor categories are the biggest one. And they made some changes to the voting this year so it was significantly faster. I thought I’d have to be away from work for maybe 20 minutes when it ended up being less than 5!

And after those elections, we moved on to the resolutions. This would take part of all 3 days of the convention and is pretty important. This is where we vote as representatives for other members on various issues. I take this seriously and spent time before convention reviewing all the information and seeking answers to questions that I had. And since I had my computer with me, I was able to text others that were there that know more than me if I had questions.

At the end of the first day, I then had to get ready for the gala. But that is going to be a post for tomorrow. But I was out pretty late that night and had another super early morning for day 2. And again, I had to work from the convention, but my work shift was only 3 hours instead of 7 so that was much better. And we had more resolution voting and then we had what so many of us considered one of the highlights of the convention: the food truck lunch!

I didn’t take any photos of lunch, but trust me, it was delicious! And it was a bit of a longer lunch break so I had some time to wander around before the next part of the convention started. I took advantage of the photo set up with the giant SAG-AFTRA card.

And I saw my friend Robert who was there volunteering as a member ambassador! He also ran as a delegate but wasn’t elected. But it made me so happy to see that he is still being super involved in the union and of course we had to take a photo together too!

I also had some time to check out the expo again and see what was set up there. I got some information on various union affiliated organizations and got some fun swag too. And while I was there, our National Executive Director David White was adding his words of wisdom to the wall. He is one of the most inspiring speakers at the convention and at any union event he’s at and I had to get a picture with him.

Day 2 ended with finishing as many resolutions as we could and then there was a film screening we could go to. I ended up skipping the screening because I was really tired, but I heard it was amazing and I’m a bit sad I didn’t go.

Day 3 was the last day of convention and started a bit later than the other days. I also didn’t have to work my day job so that was nice. While we had breakfast provided every morning, the last morning is the nicest breakfast and I was able to eat outside with some of my fellow delegates. It was a mix of people I already knew, people I met for the first time earlier in the convention, and people I was meeting for the first time at breakfast. We had an amazing conversation that really was what being at convention is all about. We learned about each other’s concerns about the industry and what we all want for the future. It’s just so inspiring and I love getting to be a part of that.

The last day was a mix of finishing the resolutions as well as some speeches. We got to hear the reports from the president, vice president, and secretary-treasurer. Those speeches had some really inspiring moments. One of my favorites was when Vice President Rebecca Damon used a “Hamilton” quote. She said how this convention room is the room where it happens. And she is so right and I feel so lucky that I am inside that room.

Once the convention was adjourned, all the LA delegates had to stay so we could take a photo. Since I’m one of the shorter delegates, I was up in the front again.

And then technically it was all over. I couldn’t believe that it was done. It felt like it was so fast and even though I was ready to sleep for 27 days in a row, I wanted more! But I wasn’t ready to leave because I wanted to make sure I got lots of photos with my friends there. Everyone at convention is someone who is inspiring, creative, and just awesome.

Officially, my time as a delegate is done. But there are lots of opportunities for me to stay involved and I’ve already been working on those. And before I know it, it will be election time again and I’ll be running for delegate again. Being involved in union service was not something I considered before my first term as a delegate, but now that I’m involved I don’t want to stop. I know that this second term is still only the beginning of my union service career and I can’t wait to see what is next for me!

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Halloween Time In The Daytime (or The Fun Of The Single Rider Line)

When I renewed my Universal Studios pass earlier this year, I knew that I wouldn’t have to go that much to make the price worth it. I actually had already gone enough to make the pass worth it back in June, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t going to go more. And when my friend Michelle and I figured out we both had a free Monday afternoon, we decided we should go to the park and have some fun that day!

It actually worked out perfectly because I had to meet someone near Universal that evening, so being over there prevented me from having to drive over in rush hour traffic. We got to Universal around noon and were trying to make a plan on what we wanted to do. We always like riding the rides in the Harry Potter section, but we also wanted to go on other things. So we decided to head down to the lower lot and go on some rides there first.

As we were heading down, I realized that I left some one-time front of the line passes I had gotten in June. I had gotten stuck on a ride and they gave us some passes to use another time. The park wasn’t too crowded, but waiting 30 minutes per ride can add up. But when we got to the Mummy ride, we realized that there was a single rider line! We don’t care if we don’t ride together (you don’t talk while on the ride), so that’s what we did and we only ended up waiting about 5 minutes before we got to go on.

After we both rode on the Mummy, we headed over to Transformers where they also had a single rider line. And again, the regular line was about 30 minutes and we pretty much walked on as single riders. It really doesn’t matter about not riding in the same vehicle and we only had to wait a few minutes for each other after the ride. The only other ride down on the lower lot is the Jurassic Park ride, and even though it was a warmer day neither of us wanted to get wet so we headed back up the escalators.

We went on the tram next. I think the tram will always be special to me since I worked at Terror Tram. And the signs for Terror Tram were up even though that only happens at nighttime. The sign said it was a 10 minute wait for the tram, but we walked right on to one since we didn’t care what car we were seated in.

But we did still get to see some of the Terror Tram stuff down by the Bates Motel since they can’t take it apart every night. I didn’t really get any pictures of that because I was seated on the wrong side of the tram. But it’s always fun to see where I used to work and where some of my friends still work!

Then we decided it was time for some Harry Potter fun.

First we got some lunch because it was getting a bit late in the afternoon and we both needed to eat. The Three Broomsticks restaurant in that section of the park is pretty good and I’m always happy to eat there. I didn’t get any Butterbeer this time but it was still a good meal and a nice time for Michelle and I to sit in the shade and relax.

We then went on both Harry Potter rides (we pretty much walked onto both rides) and then realized that it was time for the last Waterworld show of the day. That’s always a great show and it seemed like perfect timing that it was happening right then. It was pretty crowded in there, but we found some seats in the shade pretty close to the front (but not too close that we were in the splash zone). The show was just as good as always and again it was a nice way to enjoy the afternoon.

After the show was done, we were pretty shocked that we had done everything we wanted to do in the park so fast. We really expected to take longer to do everything, but the single rider line really saved us. But in under 5 hours we did 5 rides, a show, and had lunch. Plus we had the time we had to walk to and from the car to the park and all the walking we did in the park. I don’t think even on an empty day I would expect to get more than this done in that amount of time. It really worked out perfectly for us and I’m so glad we went!

I might be going back to the park next month, but I really don’t have any concrete plans yet. And I’m debating if I’ll renew my pass again when it expires next year. I do really enjoy going to Universal, but it’s not the same as going to Disneyland. It’s totally repeatable, but not in the same way. And if I’m trying to do better on budgeting, the cost of my pass (even if it is pretty low) could probably be put toward better use. But I’ve got a while before my pass expires so I’m guessing I’ll be back at least once or twice before I have to think about renewing.

It’s Halloweentime! (or Another Disney Afternoon)

It seems like it has been forever since I was at Disneyland, but it was only about a month ago that I was there. But since that day was a short visit I felt due for another Disney day. This time, my friend Dani was out-of-town working so Michelle and I went just the two of us. It’s weird to be missing a member of our usual Disney group, but Dani understood that we wanted a Disney outing and didn’t mind that we went without her.

Michelle and I went after I had my Orangetheory workout that morning, which is the usual routine. But that also means that we get to the parks around 1pm. But that worked out well because we didn’t have a big plan for the day. We knew all the Halloween decorations were up and all the Halloween overlays were on rides, so that’s pretty much all we focused on doing.

Right when we got to the parks, we made a quick lunch stop for corn dogs and we found out that our friend Lauren was on her way to Disneyland too! So we waited there for her to meet us before we headed to our first ride of the day. Space Mountain is a favorite of mine in whatever form the ride is in. I love the classic ride, the Hyperspace Mountain version, and the Ghost Galaxy version that they have at Halloween. It was a perfect first ride for the day. We were trying to think of a funny ride photo pose, but I think we all missed what the others were saying. I thought we were going to pretend that we were in a shampoo commercial where someone seems way too happy to have their hair washed.

After that, we decided to go on something a bit slower. The Rivers Of America had opened up the last time we were there, but we rode the train around to see things. This time, we decided to go on the Mark Twain boat to see everything else that we missed. We found the perfect place to relax on the second level in the front and we got to admire what an amazing day it was.

And there were a lot of details around the river that we saw that you can’t see from the train. My favorite was this animatronic beaver that is under the bridge the train goes over. It’s chewed through one plank and is working through another.

I love that Disney adds all those cute details and it makes it so that there are always new things to discover. The ride around was the perfect way to relax before our next Halloweentime ride: Haunted Mansion Holiday.

This overlay is not just for Halloween, but I still think of it as a Halloween thing. They always do a great job for the ride and there are new things added each year. And I love to see what the gingerbread house looks like each year.

After that, we decided to walk over to California Adventure. There was a Halloween party on the Disneyland side and we wanted to switch to the other park before it got too crazy. And our first stop on the other side was our new favorite: Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.

They also have a Halloween overlay, but they only do it at nighttime. But that was perfect for us since this ride is still so new to us that we wanted to ride it the normal way too. After the ride, we had a decent amount of time to wait before the nighttime version started. So we did some shopping and some artwork.

My Scrooge McDuck is the one in the middle that looks weird and cross-eyed. We then headed over to Starbucks to sit and relax and we ended up meeting up with my friend Christopher and his wife who were in the park that day too! Lauren ended up having to leave after that and Michelle and I headed back to Guardians of the Galaxy to ride the nighttime version.

This version reminded us both of the old Tower of Terror ride. The new ride doesn’t feel as much as a drop ride as Tower did. But the nighttime version was totally a drop ride again! Since it was totally new to us, we didn’t know what to expect. And when we were at the top where they take the photo, it took forever before it dropped so Michelle and I kept glancing at each other while we were in our photo pose.

We had gotten Fastpasses for the Guardians ride again and had some more time to wait. So we headed over to Cars Land to get some dinner and check out the new Halloween decorations they had in that area.

And then we were back at Guardians for another ride. The nighttime version only has 1 song (the daytime version has 6 songs each with their own ride pattern) so we were a bit more prepared for the ride. But being prepared and knowing what happens doesn’t make it any less fun for us. We both had a blast riding it!

And when we were done with the ride, the park had closed. We took our time walking out because it’s so fun looking at everything at nighttime. I loved the exterior of the Guardians ride and how it reminded me of the Tower of Terror.

And once we left, we got to check out the decoration at the gate too. We saw it during the day, but it’s much more impressive lit up at night.

Even though we didn’t do a ton of rides, it still felt like a full Disney day. We got all the rides in that we wanted to and we had a blast. I’m hoping to make it back to the parks sometime in October so that I can see all the Halloween stuff one more time, but if I don’t make it at least I got to see it this week!

Another Business Brunch (or A Delayed Mentoring Circle Meeting)

It’s been a little while since the last brunch for my Women In Film mentoring group. We were supposed to meet in August and had a date set for it, but all of us ended up being busy. Then we scheduled for September and again at the last minute we had to reschedule. But we were finally able to find a date that about half of us could meet this past weekend so we finally had our brunch meeting.

I actually parked right next to one of the other women from the group, so we walked over to the restaurant together. And while we were walking, we were both saying how happy we were that we were finally having this meeting. I think everyone in the group feels the same way I do with that these meetings are awesome. And we have all become friends so while it is a business thing, it’s still a social thing too.

There were 4 of us at the brunch this time and again I felt like I had nothing to tell everyone. Of course, I did have the union election to update everyone on and I was happy to share that I won my delegate seat. And since I had friends who ran and didn’t win a seat, I’m aware more this year than I was before about how lucky I am to be elected. It’s not a guarantee and I do appreciate my fellow union members voting me in. But I think I am extra appreciative this time when I know how much other people wanted to be elected who didn’t get it.

I also had a bit of a health update for everyone with having my next MRI scheduled. It’s coming up next month and then after that I’ll have the meeting with my surgeon. Everyone in my group wants to know what’s happening with me and I promised to tell them all as soon as I knew anything. I know they are all concerned about me and they are all hopeful that I will have news that the tumors shrank and not that I will need surgery.

It’s tough to be ok with such a limited update, but I know why things are this way. I still had to work to get back into things after thinking I was going to need surgery. I spent a lot of the summer working on my personal life and not my professional life. And the election took up a lot of my time as well. But I think that things are getting closer to normal now so I’m hoping that when we meet again that I will have a more substantial update.

But for me, I get so much more out of hearing what everyone else has to say. I love to hear how everyone else is succeeding in their career and it always inspires me. Even though we are all at different levels of our careers, seeing how people have progressed over the few years we have been meeting. One member of our group has been talking about a play that she wanted to try to get produced in New York since pretty much we started meeting. We’ve been loving her updates over the years and this time she announced that she has producers interested in helping her put the show on either on Broadway or in an off-Broadway theater! That’s amazing!

Hearing the other journeys gives me hope that being persistent and always working will pay off for me eventually. I know that an overnight success story isn’t reality (they say overnight success takes 10 years), but it can be tough trying to be patient. But knowing how others have made huge leaps over time keeps me motivated and makes me feel like I am doing the right thing. Even if my updates for the group are minor, there is always forward progress in my life and I do need to focus on that.

But besides the inspiration that I get from everyone else, I’m always just incredibly grateful for these brunches because of the friendships that I’ve formed out of this group. I know I say this almost every time I write about our meetings, but every time I meet with the group I feel even more grateful. It’s not easy to make new friends as an adult and even harder to make friends in the entertainment industry without one person worried that the other is trying to be friends for some other motive. But with this group, we are all in it to support each other and to get support when needed. Having such a pure and honest friendship is rare and special. And I’m always reminded how lucky I am each brunch we have.