The Chocolate Lady

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Beauty

I have kept the post with the info re: Stand Up 2 Cancer down below, but with Pooper's Commercial Debut and all, I thought it only fitting that I post Beauty's debut; a new feature on my blog!

Actually, I mentioned it to My Honey, within ear shot of Beauty, and she was very excited. She immediately started trying on new outfits, because, you see, this new little nugget is called; Being Beauty. It's all about fashion, how to add that extra umph to make your outfit special, and other girly stuff like that.

My inspiration, was this lovely little number. You see, we had plans to go to the local zoo, a small, community zoo, and Beauty immediately ran upstairs and (somehow) managed to find this outfit. Dont adjust your screens, it's WAY TOO SMALL on her. As in, she wears 3T/4T and the outfit is a 24 mos. ensemble.

But, it's LEOPARD print, and she was so excited to dress like a leopard, and even wanted to bring her Leopard webkinz (no way! I can just see some animal feeling taunted by the webkinz and Lord only knows what would happen in such a case.)

Luckily for Beauty, the material had some stretch, and she didnt mind the short "capri" or "3/4" sleeve" lengths, nor the obvious tightness where limbs attach to the body!

Because Im the kind of mom that puts my children's happiness above hearing comments like:

"Cant they afford new clothes for their kids?"


"What kind of mother let's their daughter dress like that?"

I let her go to the zoo in her leopard outfit, and she felt ready to commune with the animals.

She pranced around the zoo, like the Beauty that she is, reminding me that Beauty is in the heart, it's part of our spirit, it's becoming a part of nature....and a bunch of other crap like that. she is.....

Be on the lookout for more The Beauty of Beauty features...and coming up, we spent the weekend at Cancer Camp, so, there is lots to share about that adventure......

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trying to deal with a jealous heart

Today, my heart was filled with conflicted emotions.

Ive been trying to make sense of things, sorting out my thoughts, it's like a Philosophy 101 class, all inside my head.

As you all know, Andrew's debut commercial, the Stand Up 2 Cancer PSA launched today. It's not just a commercial, it's a movement, a campaign, a force of talent, money and inspiration, all geared towards finding a cure for cancer.

And, as much as I want to be excited, Im jealous, Im anxious.

It reminds me of 6th grade, when my friend April invited me to a slumber party. It wasnt any old slumber party. Her parents had bought a new RV, and she and her 3 sisters each got to invite 2 friends to sleep over. We would all stay over in the RV, without parents!

That's 12 girls, and, let's just say this, her parents were THE MOST LENIENT, Im-not-your-parent-Im-your-friend parents EVER. It was guaranteed to be a blast, and in the weeks proceeding, they talked about how their parents were going to let them fill up 2 whole shopping carts with GOODIES, all for our overnight in the RV. YUM.

That night, just minutes before I was to leave, I was sitting eating dinner, which was a frozen fish stick. I HATE FISH. ALWAYS HAVE, ALWAYS WILL.

My dad, in true form, said I couldnt go to the party until I finished my fish stick.

I might have been a picky eater, but I was no dumby, and trust me, by 6th grade you learn a few tricks, like, putting the whole dang fish stick into the garbage disposal (I didnt turn it on, of course, that would be noisy.) See how smart! So, if my dad looked in the trash, it would be empty, and I would go to the party.

I went into the other room, where my dad was watching TV to happily tell him I was done, and say, "good-bye"......and then he got up, went into the kitchen, bypassed the trash, and looked straight into the garbage disposal, reached in and pulled out my FISH STICK.

He then announced, that I was grounded.

I was overwhelmed with the feeling of, "missing out"....that's the best way to describe it. Im sure I had a tantrum, begged, cried and pleaded, because I wanted so badly to be a part of the big RV Celebration.

I feel like that today.

I want so bad to be a part of this Stand Up 2 Cancer campaign. I want to celebrate our push for the cure, but Im feeling left out.

The Stand Up 2 Cancer initiative has brought together, what appears to be, every possible cancer research organization, everyone from the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, all of them, except those focused on pediatric cancers.

Some of you may not know, so, let me pull out my soapbox, and tell you that kids are left out when it comes to cancer research. The American Cancer Society, that loves to march kids around in the Relay for Life, gives approx. 1% of their funds to pediatric cancers.

Why does this matter? Because, kids cancers are different. They have different causes, different treatments.

Kids are so far behind adults, when it comes to knowing what chemos work, what cells mutations are involved, etc.

Kids get MORE CHEMOS, for LONGER PERIODS of time, AT HIGHER DOSES, than adults.....reread that, it's true.

You wont see an adult get 3.5 years of 10+ chemos, for frontline treatment of leukemia.

More than 90% of kids are on experimental trials, it is much less for adults, I think I read it was in the teens.

They just dont know what works for kids, so they bombard them with high doses of chemos.

My point, kids need the research too. So many have gone to heaven too soon, and those that survive face a life of increased risk of cancer and serious long term side effects. The damage done to little developing bodies is still unknown.

So, I hope you can see why I am having that "missing out" feeling. Im jealous that the kids arent included in the Stand Up 2 Cancer campaign.

Im pretty sure it was just an oversight. I am sure people think that the major cancer research organizations are involved in finding a cure for pediatric cancers. They probably didnt realize the importance of including organizations that focus on the kids.

I have written some emails, made some calls, posted some comments on blogs....and hope that someone listens. Our kids have important stories, they are crying out for a cure too, and I hope someone will hear them.

One way you can help....join our team, "Kids with Cancer" on the Stand Up 2 Cancer website. You dont need to donate, just join. We are currently one of the biggest teams, only a handful of the Major League Baseball teams are larger. Im hoping that if we can be the biggest team, we will be seen, we will be heard, we will be included in the fight for a cure.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

check it out!!

Check out Andrew's commercial.

Now, after that long saga, you wont believe the end product. It's very cool, but, when I think of all the retakes, and turning this way, stand up a little sooner, etc. and in the end, did it really matter?

I dont think you can even see either of us in them....pool scene, dodger stadium.....

Stand Up 2 Cancer

it's on the home page (click on the box of the actress, the PSA)

the whole initiative looks really neat.....lots of info to explore on the website.

Also, I started a team, "Kids with Cancer"... obviously, you dont need to be a kid, but it's emphasis is to bring awareness to the kids that get cancer. Also, you can donate, but you dont need to donate....please join, I think there will be fun things over the summer re: the team concept (just dont know what those are yet.)

ok, enjoy.

Come on, where are the cameras, I know they must be here.....

Im pretty sure Im in the midst of a hilarious episode of Candid Camera, or, maybe now that Pooper and I have made a commercial, we are celebrity enough to be "Punked" (that MTV show by Ashton Kucher where he plays practical jokes on the famous.) Im really praying this is all a joke, but Im afraid it's not, in which case, this becomes not so hilarious, but rather HIGHLY IRRITATING.

You see, Im on HOLD with my mortgage company (AGAIN!) Im not gonna bother to link you to my previous posts about the blunders they have made re: our loan, because, those posts are a bit shameful (so I have been told)....but dont worry, we are doing fine, paid up, Im just trying to get them to clear up their errors.

Let me tell you about the Circle of Life that is a phone call with my mortgage company;

I called this morning, and waited 65 minutes to talk to a "representative". After taking a few minutes to ask me "security" questions and verify who I am, I went on to ask for a Supervisor, because I know (from previous, similar calls) that only a supervisor can clear up out situation.

but, as usual, the representative does not want me to talk to a supervisor, "Let me see if I can help you"...they say, and I tell them I know they cant, but they insist and refuse to get a's policy, so anyways.

I tell them my whole, complicated story, which half of them cant follow, so I talk slowly, and reference the dates, and say things like,

"can you see that on your (computer) screen? can you see where I called on that date?"

When we get to the end, and THEY DECIDE that Ill need to talk to a supervisor, usually after about 15 minutes of talking to me, they put me on hold.

And I wait.

And then the phone line get's disconnected.


This happens 99% of the time when I call my mortgage company.

Im holding, listening to the recorded voice say:

"your call is important to us" and other lies like that...........

or, taunting me with phrases like, "Thanks for waiting, someone will be with you shortly"...because, I KNOW BETTER, that "shortly" doesnt mean and hour to anyone else but this lady.

In reality, my call isnt that important, and I wont talk to anyone shortly, because, the line gets disconnected.

I really think, that there is a guy at the call center, and everyone once in a while, he says, "CLEAR" and he disconnects the lines and all of the representatives get a short break and then start over again. Because, talking to people about their mortgage issues is a tough racket these days, and heck, everyone now and again, it just feels good to clear the switchboard and make everyone call back and start over.f

So, now, Im starting over, calling again, holding again, for probably another hour, to talk to a new representative.

And, since I cant find where I put the heroin, Im just gonna suck all of the whipped cream out of this can that I found in the fridge, and postpone doing the laundry or dishes, for one more day.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pooper's first commercial, Part 6 - the FINALE

So, just to recap, we are in the midst of filming, one section of Dodger Stadium at a time.

We film a section, and then when given direction, we move over to the next section. The director told us that when we see this on TV we will be amazed. It should like a stadium filled with people, with all the sections spliced together.

The stadium was empty, other than us. There was no baseball game, although Im sure when it becomes a commercial, there will in fact, be a team on the field.

Once seated into our section, it was important to be quiet, until our cue to pretend we are at the game, at which time, people made small talk with their neighbor, stared or pointed out onto the field. Some people would clap and cheer, but it seemed odd to have us all doing different things, I mean in real life, if there were some great play, or a homerun, the entire crowd would cheer, not just one person, but anyways.

During this one particular section, we had met back up with Sam and his mom. We filmed a few sections with them, always careful to mix up our seating (sometimes kids next to each other, sometimes moms next to each other), and all of a sudden, during a time when it was supposed to be quiet, we saw a man in the stands below us, the seating section directly behind home plate.

He carefully set up two small (2ft x 1 ft) speakers, and similarly sized topiarys. And within minutes a strange, very Scottish song began blaring out of the speakers. I thought for sure this would bother the director, and maybe it did, but he just kept on with our shoots.

As the Scottish song continued, well dressed folks began to enter the seating area below us, and soon there was, what can only be described as "circus music" being played. Formal wearing people continued to enter the bottom area, and Sam's mom and I just looked at each other and laughed.

It became apparent, that perhaps a small wedding was going to take place in that section. Not a wedding on the field, but in the section behind homeplate. Each new song played, was more bizarre than the previous, and there didnt seem to be any sort of theme or cohesiveness to the music list. After about 15 minutes of mismatched songs, the bride and groom came out, beautiful wedding dress, tux, all accented with flowers in "Dodger Blue"

Maybe it was the 100+ degree temperatures that had been baking our brains, or the fatigue, or the headache, or the personalities of some of the "extras", or the crazy music selection, but the whole wedding thing seemed incredibly bizarre.

We continued on, filming section by section of the stadium. Sometimes, we would take the two flights of stairs up to the next level, film a few sections up there, and then come back down, film a few sections below, walk back up...there was no rhyme or reason, but eventually, we worked our way through each section of ths stadium.

When we did the final few sections, which were right next to the camera location. We were given props; foam "#1" fingers, lemonade, and popcorn. Pooper received a bucket of popcorn, and he devoured it pretty quickly. I made sure that he stayed hydrated, pushing bottled water on him, against his desires, but trying to make sure he didnt wind up with the headache that I was experiencing.

It was one of our final shoots. It was now after 7pm, and the sun was leaving view of the stadium. All of a sudden, at a time that we were supposed to be "quiet", I heard someone screaming a couple of rows behind me,

"dont call me a faggot, you are a faggot, dont tell me Im a faggot! You always do this to me, whispering things in my ear and spitting on me!"

This twenty-something, long haired girl, continued to rant and rave, and now the entire group of us were turned staring at her. She didnt seem to notice us. She was screaming at the little lady behind her. The lady seemed surprised by the rant, and just sat their sweetly, quietly.

The young girl looked like a lunatic, and she continued to scream and ramble, and people started to motion for production staff to come and take care of things. It seemed as if the girl was losing her mind, yelling at the older woman who sat quietly. People were beginning to whisper for "security" and the girl was so worked up, that I think we all were expecting her to go ballistic and get physical.

The man in front of me said, "It's not her fault, the woman behind her is crazy, and she likes to set people off."

Me: "yeah, I know, she was screaming at me earlier."

Man: "yeah, she is a regular extra, I see her almost everyday, and she is always starting problems."

sure enough, the sweet woman, sitting behind the raging girl, was none other than Rose.

Apparently, she had whispered mean things to the girl, throughout the shoot, and the girl finally hit breaking point.

Rose got up and left the area, at the girl's threatening insistance, and the girl eventually calmed down.

Shortly thereafter, our "celebrity" arrived. It was none other than Tobey Maguire. I had heard whispers that Jodi Foster would be in our commercial, and who knows, maybe she'll be edited in (similar to what I expect with Gabrielle Reese in the morning commercial.)

Tobey sat in the final section, close to the camera. I could barely see him, but everyone was excited and talking about him.

Once things, "wrapped", we gathered up our things, said, "good-bye" to our friends, and headed out to the car.

Pooper and I talked about how we are looking forward to seeing the commercial, and about how the end result will look. If we pause the tv when the commercial is on, we should be able to find ourselves, dozens of times, sitting in the stadium.

I asked him which commercial was the most fun to make, and the "pool party" was the easy winner. It was too bad that the weather was hot and we were a bit tired, but even still, I think the Dodger Stadium commercial was interesting, and it will be fun to look for ourselves in 2 commercials this summer.

When all is said and done, Pooper had fun, and I am proud of him for being selected for the "pool party" and also for pushing through the long day and heat to complete the stadium commercial.

We are looking forward to the campaign for Stand Up 2 Cancer. All we really know is that it is an initiative put on by the entertainment industry, to make a serious attempt to find a cure. From what I understand, it will air throughout the summer, on tv and in movie theaters (before the movies), and will lead to some sort of event or telethon at the end of Summer. I dont know how much of that is accurate, but I sure cant wait to see them, and even more, I cant wait to find a cure!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pooper's First Commercial, Part 5

With our friend, Rose, seated and finally quiet, the group sat and listened to the director. He explained that we would be filming, one section at a time, and eventually the film would be spliced together, to look like a full stadium.

The camera was located, roughly, behind the section just past 3rd base. The crew were all gathered around, and in fact, there were tens of folks sitting on those folding directors chairs, watching all of the little tv screens that had been set up.

As we sat in our section, with no seats left vacant, we were told that he would cue us to the film starting, and at that time, we should just act as if we were watching a baseball game. About 10 or so seconds into it, he would yell, "stand" and we were to stand, but not all at once, and turn and look at the camera, just staring into it until the scene ended.

For the few of us that had been in the "pool party" shoot, the concept was understandable, heck, we had practiced it all morning.

For this new group of extras, well, frankly, some of them were a little slow to get the concept. The director and his assistants went over it and over it, and we practiced, a lot, and reminders were hollered, to STAGGER the standing/looking at the camera, that he absolutely didnt want everyone standing up at once.

They even tried cutesy little things, like, those born between Jan. and June stand up first, ....things eventually worked out, but it never seemed to have the precision and finesse that the small group executed earlier in the day. I guess, however, that when you are looking at hundreds, heck, thousands of people in a commerical, you dont really need the polish that a small group requires.

So, we took several shoots in our section, and then were directed, to move to the section directly next to us.

Now, please, try to picture this. We are all sitting in a stadium section. We are then instructed to move to the section to the right, again, filling every seat. But there is a catch, he doesnt want us sitting in the same, as everyone begins walking, going to the section adjacent to us, some of us try to go up or down a bit, so as to mix things up, as directed.

This is the time, that those who didnt feel like they were in "camera view" inevitably tried to jockey for an aisle seat (sound familiar?) or move up higher or lower. All of that is fine, but we were constantly told to hurry, sit, hurry, sit. There really wasnt time for the strategizing that some seemed to be doing. The whole thing ended up being like a 300 person version of musical chairs, minus groovy music. People shifted sections, tried to get a different seat, sit next to different people, and when things started to settle, there was typically people left standing without a seat, and seats left open, without people. This is when the production assistants would direct those standing to come and fill the open seats....and sometimes this is when people would get annoyed, as if they truly had lost the game of musical chairs, ticked that they didnt really like their new seat.

We took several shots in each section, and did about 20 sections in the middle, and about 20 sections in the lower level. With the constand switch up of where we sat, it gave Pooper and I opportunity to meet a lot of really nice people.

Several people told us about their life as a professional "extra", many people suggested that Andrew should do that, as it paid about $50 a pop, and there was a high need for "extra" kids. One guy, told us that he does about 2-3 jobs a day, and is a "regular" audience member of Deal or No Deal, Late Late Show with Collin Ferguson, and The Price is Right.

Now, Ill just digress, briefly, to tell you that when I was on The Price is Right, there were no paid extras, because tourists were waiting to get in. But when I was on the Leeza Gibbons Show, it was the "off season" and the audience was bare. In fact, it was a rainy day, and eventually, someone from the staff went out to the streets, where there are a lot of homeless folks, and encouraged them to come inside, to be in the warm, dry audience. So, I guess it all just depends, but I do know they like the audience to be full, and apparently, sometimes they even pay actors to do the job.

As we moved along, section by section, watching the game, and standing, we were kind of having fun. I mean, there was definitely a part of me that thought we should have just left after the morning commercial, because we were very tired, it was hot, and nobody would really notice us in the commercial anyways. But I remembered that we were there for a good cause, to Stand Up 2 Cancer, and standing up to cancer is never easy, but it was necessary. Besides, it was good for Pooper to see that acting wasnt always super fun. We did enjoy ourselves, and meet lots of fun people, and would have one more commercial to look for on the TV this summer.

Then, something started happening below us, everyone's eyes diverted to the area behind homebase, all of us wondering about the activity down below.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pooper's first commercial, part 4

We pulled into the parking lot at Dodger Stadium, which was relatively empty. We joined a cluster of parked cars, and immediately, I spotted some crew members who were also just arriving.

While Sam and his mom happily got out of the car, I held my breath, in an attempt to soothe the angry beast of frustration that I wanted to unleash upon Pooper. I told him to get undressed, and I pulled out another outfit, thankful that we had packed several for our shoot. (note, after the pool party, I had him change into a cute outfit that I thought was perfect for the baseball shooting, but now that it was soaked in bubble gum ice cream, I tossed him sweat shorts and a t-shirt, which had been intended as a backup, or a comfy outfit for the long ride home.)

I then grabbed some handy baby-wipes and scrubbed down his sticky face, arms and hands. I reminded him, that he isnt his own parent, and that listening to his mom (the woman God gave him to help guide his life) would be in his best interest.

I grabbed my backpack, which had a second copy of, "Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand." I had brought two copies, one for David Fincher, and an extra, because I knew with the crew volunteering their time, there would be some other special person that we would want to share it with.

After the first shoot, Pooper and I agreed that Paul, the assistant whose wife was a breast cancer survivor, should also get a copy of the book. They didnt have children, yet, because his wife's treatment had left her infertile, but he told us that they wanted children. The book would be a wonderful story for any child's library, but it also is great for adults, and one of my personal favorites. Andrew autographed it for Paul, thanking him for his work to find a cure. And, by the way, if you dont have this book, consider getting your own copy of, Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand

We walked with our new friends, waiting out front of the stadium, in the line to check in. Unlike our intimate, "pool party" shoot, there would be hundreds of people in this commercial.

The handful of us in the earlier filming had "auditioned" and been selected from hundreds of "actors." But now, they were using hundreds of "extras", people that are paid to fill in scenes, crowds, passers-by in movies.

There are agencies that handle "extras" ....and I learned quite a bit about their craft, from the many people we met throughout this project.

While everyone else was volunteering their time for this event, the extras were paid. I think between $40-$80, for their afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

So, after we checked in, we sat and waited for things to start, we sat with our friend Sam, his mom, and another boy and his dad, who had also been in our pool scene (this boy and his dad were also VERY nice. They were the ones that flew down from N. CA, and I will say that the boy was not only handsome, but very well behaved.)

With about a half hour to kill, before the shoot was to get underway, I couldnt help but people watch. Sitting in the baking sun, while the 3 boys played, I noticed the throngs of extras, aspiring stars, many of whom stood out like brilliant, bright lights, (like the 20 something gal with magenta, kinky-curly hair, think Bozo, and daisy-duke shorts, and 4 inched heals that laced up to her knees) and then quite a few others, that reminded me that stars are really a mass of gas.

Our director guy (I know he isnt THE DIRECTOR, David Fincher, but he is the guy that was the head at the pool party,I dont know his name), he now had a bullhorn, and was directing everyone to line up.

I dont remember what the issue was, but as we started to line up, Pooper began to do something disobedient. Again, I cant even remember what....but as I was trying to get him to listen and follow me in line, he was doing something else. I knew he wanted to sit with his friends, and I grabbed his arm and whispered firmly into his ear, to follow me and pay attention. He fought me on it, with an angry tone, wrestling out of my grasp to do whatever it was he had been intent on doing.

Long and short of it, by the time he got in line with me, his friends had gone far ahead.

Now he was on the cusp of a full meltdown, starting to cry because he wanted to sit with his friends. I told him if he had listened to me and followed directions, he would be with his friends, but since he had been rebellious, he had lost our spot in line. I promised to do my best to get back with the other families we knew, not because I wanted to give in to his spoiled demands, but because I knew it would make the whole situation much more calm.

In the meantime, we are supposed to be quiet, not just quiet, but SILENT, as the director is giving us instructions. Crying and whining in a disrespectful tone, to your mother, is not synonomous with SILENCE, in case you were wondering.

I was in full "stage-mom" glory, as I held Pooper's arm and advised him to be quiet, while he flailed and complained.

I got a few cross looks from some "extras"....mind you, Pooper was one of a few kids out of the 300+ actors, and he was sticking out like a sore thumb, a sore thumb that had just been slammed in a car door.

He eventually settled down, and the single file line of actors was told to file into a section of the stadium seating. The director and his assistants repeated MANY TIMES, to go single file, one after another, fill every seat, do not skip seats, keep going, etc. etc.

We were going to fill up one entire section, no more, no less, but one section of the stadium, so we were all kept in line to fill the seats, in an orderly fashion, to ensure that each one was filled.

There would be no way to sit with our friends now, but I promised Pooper we would try to work things out. At this time, for all we knew, this would be our permanent seat for the day. As it turned out, it wasnt, but at the time, it seemed like it would be.

Despite the directors clear instruction, there were many "shining masses of gas" that wanted to skip a seat, or go to a different row, or who stood up, slowing the line as they strategically planned where they would sit (probably in connection to the angle of the camera) and the director had to remind them A LOT, to just keep moving, single file, on after another, fill every seat.

There was an older (70's) woman in front of us, Ill call her Rose, because to call her the "psycho woman" would not be nice. Pooper had finally acquiesced to the plan, and was obediently walking with me, hand in hand, behind Rose.

Now, as we went down the stairs, and approached our "row", Rose decided that she wanted an aisle seat, so she pulled herself away and allowed Pooper and I to go in front of her. We didnt want to go in front of her, because the director was still sternly reminding everyone to keep walking, dont leave gaps, just go to the next seat, etc. and, well, I didnt like being part of Rose's rebellion, perhaps because Pooper still had me in my "follow the darned directions!" mood.

But, not wanting to make a stir, Pooper and I followed into the row, while Rose stood on the aisle. And as those in front of us sat down, and Pooper and I sat down, it turns out, that Pooper was in the aisle seat (with me to his right.) Rose started to protest, telling him to get up, that it was her seat.

So, Pooper stands up, and Rose proceeds to yell at him to move. I told Rose that we were "together" (DUH!) and that he wasnt moving. So, now Rose is standing up, making a spectacle of herself, yelling at Pooper and I, while the director was yelling at all of us to be quiet. So, I sat, ignoring Rose, while she called me names, right up to my face, until finally, one of the production assistants came over and got her to move along.

I had no preference for that seat.....and would have been happy to give it to Rose, but to get up, and try to move, and interrupt the marching of soldiers who were moving row by row into the seating, would have just caused a lot of disruption, and I wasnt in the mood to tick off the director.

Rose eventually found another seat, but she screamed and hollored at us as she walked away.

Apparently, Pooper wasnt the only one who missed his nap, and now, thanks to Rose, the hot sun, and a weary Pooper, I was developing a migraine.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pooper's first commercial, Part 3 OR another hit off the crack pipe for Cortney

We were going to have lunch with Sam and his mom. They were very nice and Pooper and Sam got along great.

Sam and his mom moved to LA from the midwest, just 6 months ago. The dad was still back home, waiting for their house to sell. Both parents are professional, grad-school educated, and gave up extended family and careers to pursue Hollywood.

Now, you would expect, or at least *I* would expect, that such a mom would be all "stage-momish" but she wasnt at all. The two of them seemed to have fun, and it was just that, fun with no pressure.

Anyways, we had agreed to first go to Dodger Stadium, and then find a place to eat nearby, because to do it any other way, would risk getting tied up in traffic and being late for the shoot.

We needed to get gas (which is about $4.15 a gallon these days, for those who are curious), and we stopped at a station.

As I pulled up to the gas pump, an older, black gentleman, wearing a dress shirt and slacks, but very grungy dress shirt and slacks, approached me as I got out of my car...

Man: Can I pump your gas

Me: (had a quick 'lightbulb' moment, remembering that we are in a big city now, and it's not uncommon for people to pan handle) No thanks (I said with a smile, while I made an effort to go about my business without stopping what I was doing.)

As I pumped, the man stood a few feet away, kindly offering to pump the gas of everyone that pulled up. There were no takers.

When I got back in the car, Pooper told me that the guy seemed suspicious. I told Pooper that he was there trying to get some money, by pumping people's gas. Not unlike the guys I have seen that rush up to cars at red lights, with spray bottles and window washer squeegees (sp?) and quickly wash your car wind sheild, and then ask you for money since they cleaned your window.

We drove onward towards the stadium, and Pooper made other comments, about how he noticed all the "drawings" and "scribblings" and "writings" on the walls and benches and signs.

Yeah, kind of what you would expect from a 2 year old. Apparently there is a whole group of people that didnt get spanked when they colored on their mommies walls, but that's just my opinion.

As we approached the entrance to Dodger Stadium, our friends were waiting near the entrance, in their car. The mommy said that, according to her fancy GPS system, the LA Farmers Market was only 6.7 miles away, and we decided to go there for a bite to eat. I think it was now 12:45, and we were due to return at 3:00, ample time to get some food.

The LA Farmer's Market, is a whole outdoor shopping area, with little stores, food joints, and probably more, but I dont know the market that well. Although, it's next to the CBS studios, of which I am quite familiar (thank you Rock Star INXS and The Price Is Right, posts for another day.)

Unfortunately, thanks to the irrational transportation system known as LA TRAFFIC, it took 50 minutes to get to our destination, and Im not lying, 50 minutes to go less than 7 miles. So, we arrived at approximately 1:35.

We parked, and meandered through the crowds, smelling the aromas of a variety of ethnic foods. My Honey and Beauty would have had a field day, as they are much more daring when it comes to trying different kinds of foods. Pooper and I, we keep it simple, and usually keep it Mexican, we both LOVE salsa.

Our friends went to the Chinese (or some type of Asian cuisine) and we went to get tacos. Although, once Pooper saw the tacos displayed in the window, he opted for a hot dog (which they did not have on display.)

We all got our food and met back at a table, thankfully in the shade, on this hot day.

Pooper took one look at his hotdog, and before he could start screaming, I said:

Me; I know this hot dog might not look normal to you, but I promise it tastes like a regular hot dog.

Pooper: (staring at it, with fierce injustice seething from his eyes) It's GREEN!

The other mommy, the kindler-gentler "this is all just a fun adventure" mommy, saved the day by explaining that the color is just from how they cook it, and it's really how the cowboys eat their hotdogs, and made the whole thing seem safe and kind of fun.

Pooper bought it, either that, or he knew the WRATH OF MOMMY would be upon him if he had a meltdown in the middle of the Farmers Market, (my guess is the first one, because as you read on, you will see, he does not fear my wrath.)

We ate, and then decided to grab some ice cream to go.

Sam got a cone. I encouraged Pooper to get a cup, or a cone with a cup, but he only wanted a cone. I tried to be all loving and positive, reminding him that in 150 degree heat, cones melt quickly, and the Stand Up 2 Cancer folks probably didnt want him showing up with ice cream dripped all over his shirt, but he only wanted a cone.

I knew not to push him, as he was tired, and we nearly averted a meltdown over the green hotdog. I was trying to pick my battles, so I cautioned him as I gave him a giant wad of napkins, and we headed back to the car. It was 2:10, and we didnt want to press our luck on being late, so we scooted back to Dodger Stadium. I was concerned that we had never got a nap in, but hopeful that he would get a second gust of wind upon arriving at Dodger Stadium.

We were about half way there, bumper to bumpering our way through the maze of people and cars, when Pooper got all in a fit in the back.

Me: What's wrong dear (in my best Carol Brady voice)


Me; (*&)^%$# I told you that would happen! (in my alien that pops out of Sigourney Weaver's stomach voice)

**More to come, stay tune ***

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I am woman (or in this case, a little girl) hear me roar

Little One is becoming such a little person. She has her own thoughts, ideas and plans, and as she shows them more and more, we are charmed by her.

Here are a couple of things that happened yesterday...I think they are so cute, in a she's-my-child-so-even-when-she-poops-it's-cute sort of way.

Each night at dinner, we say prayers. We all hold hands, and someone usually volunteers to say the prayer. The general rule, is that you dont start eating until we have said prayers.

Until recently, Little One just ate, and didnt participate in prayers. Every now and again, we would try to include her, but she didnt want to hold hands, and certainly couldnt keep from eating if food was on her plate.

But lately, she has been joining in, grasping our hands during the dinnertime prayer.

This past week, she even likes to add in her own petitions, mumbling and then giving a loud, "Aben" when she is done.

So, last night, we started to dig in after prayer, and Little One shouted, "HANDS!" with her own little palms reaching out to us. My Honey and I (who sit on either side of her) clasped our hands in hers, and she bowed her head and said some mumble jumble, "Aben!"

Oh, how cute! We thought it was adorable. Even after the 6th time, it was soooo cute.

But then, I was kinda getting hungry, and was growing weary of the continued demand to put my fork down to pray.

"shermena mommy hubata daddy inamina "bee" (Beauty) agacha "ow ow" (Pooper) Aben!"

"ohhhh, she is praying for me, she said my name!" Beauty cried out. Yes, it's very sweet, isnt it, but, enough already, I was thinking.

Little One continued, and with each prayer there was more gibberish, and always a big smiling "Aben!" at th end.

Ok, time to eat now! We all laughed and tried to get bites in between the prayer warriors insistance of "hands!", trying to walk the fine line of setting limits to her demands and not squashing her new found interest in prayer and independence.

Another new little thing, that Little One likes to demonstrate, is calling us into place with a pointing of the finger. For example, I was at the top of the stairs, she at the bottom, and she wanted me to come down, pronto! She said, "MOMMY!" as she fiercely took her pointed finger from up in the air and cast it down, pointing to the spot right in front of her.

"oh, Im being beckoned!" I told My Honey.

Later in the evening, she wanted to do a dance on the brick "stage" in front of the fireplace, and apparently, she wanted her siblings as front row spectators, "Bee" "Ow Ow" she called, while firmly pointing for them to sit down in front of her.

And while it is such a delight to see her blossom, there is one new ritual that I need to eradicate. Her morning revele, wake-up routine.

She has been getting up at around 5:30 or 6, which is at least an hour before I am ready. She climbs into our bed, which is a good 3 feet high, and then becomes very demanding.

"Daddy Dora!" she repeats incessantly, while clobbering him with the remote control, urging him to put on her favorite show.

Daddy, being the sound sleeper that he is, ignores her, and eventually Mommy hollers,

"Dora night night! Little One go night night!"

This goes on and on, she'll grab our faces to get our attention, pulling our chins to look at her, "Dora!"

"Dora night night! Mommy night night!"

This will go on and on, until 7am, when we can put on Dora, or one of us wakes enough to take Little One downstairs and get her some food, a distraction until the show comes on.

She is no longer a passive little baby. She is individuating, which is a beautiful and necessary part of development, if not a cause of psychosis-by-sleep-deprivation-in-parents.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pooper's first commercial, Part 2

I jokingly told the production assistant, Paul, that it might just be time for a little powder-freshen-up from the make-up gal, but I wasnt kidding.

It was a scorcher, as we call 'em around here, and when the Director sent an assistant to close the umbrella at the picnic table....the umbrella I was sitting under, the umbrella protecting me from the brightly burning sun, well, it got pretty hot.

Paul chuckled at my remark, and I smiled back, wiping the sweat off my upper lip.

Just a tid-bit of info...Paul was the guy in charge of myself and the few adults at the patio table. After each take, he would come over and tell us that we did great, and often directed so-and-so to stand up sooner, or asked one of us to move to the left, look to the right, stand back, etc. etc. He was always encouraging and sweet.

At one point, I asked something about what Pooper was doing, a few feet below us at the poolside, and he said, "Oh, I dont know, this is my area here." as he motioned to the patio table I was sitting at., each area had there own person monitoring the "acting"...kinda cool.

The whole project "wrapped" shortly thereafter, after a solid 2.5 hours of our "pool party."

Suddenly, the crew swooped down, and were in a hurry to move the kids out of the backyard. We had a bit of unfinished business, but they shuffled us over to the house next door (the house where the front yard was set up with the food truck and linen covered tables.)

In a hurried fashion, we grabbed our bags and the wardrobe gals collected up all of the loaner clothes.

There seemed to be a bit of urgency to get the kids off the site, and I heard someone mention the 'work hours'. Im too new to know what the parameters are, but I do know that there are strict laws re: how long the kids can be on set. The youngest boy was just 6 and I think we must have been coming up to a time limit.

All joking aside, all of the staff were incredibly nice, patient, kind and funny. They were a great bunch, and Pooper had a great time.

I know the Director for the project is David Fincher, of Fight Club, Seven and Panic Room fame. Pooper had brought along an autographed (by Pooper), "Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand" book, for Mr. Fincher, thanking him for, "making lemonade" (he is volunteering his time, and recruiting a lot of celebrities, for the Stand Up 2 Cancer campaign.)

The problem, as we were quickly leaving the backyard, was that I didnt have a clue which of the 50 crew members was actually David Fincher. I asked Jeff, the teacher, if David Fincher was there, and he said, "Yeah, the guy in the blue hat." I could find nobody in a blue hat. Many of the folks were standing behind the cameras, lights and those big screens (that filter light or block sun or something), hard to find anyone.

We left the property, and as we were getting info for the next shoot, I asked the assistant, Paul, if Pooper could give the book to Mr. Fincher. He said, "Yes, but it might be easier at the Dodger Stadium shoot, because they are trying to finish up here." I asked him if he would give it to David for us. The important thing, wasnt to have Andrew meet David Fincher, although that would be nice, it was to give the book to Mr. Fincher. I shared with Paul, that Andrew was a survivor, and he just wanted to show his appreciation to David for supporting the fight for a cure. Paul, who was probably in his early 30's, told me that cause was near to his heart too, as his wife had recently completed treatment for breast cancer. As I grabbed our bag, Paul was thumbing through the book, and as Pooper and I left, he gave me a hug.

It was around noon, and we were due back at Dodger Stadium at 3pm. It was probably about 10-15 miles away, but with the zoo that is LA traffic, it might take longer. In any case, we would have at least a couple of hours to kill. Ideally, I would liked to have found a theater, a theater with air-conditioning, and comfy, nap-able seats. Pooper tires easily, and I knew he would do best to sleep awhile before we did the next Public Service Announcement.

Only two of the kids from our pool party were continuing to the Dodger Stadium filming. We decided to grab some lunch with one of them. We agreed to go to Dodger Stadium, and then find somewhere in that area to eat.

Stay tuned, part 3 to follow!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pooper's first commercial, Part 1

Pooper slept all the way home. I had a screaming headache, was exhausted, but the high intensity of the L.A. freeways kept me alert. By the time we rolled into our driveway, it was nearly 8:30pm.

Our journey began at the crack of dawn, and we started with a quick stop to the neighborhood Starbucks for special treat for Pooper on his big day, a strawberry frappuccino. Actually, we selfishly went for me. Im not used to being on the road at 6am, and the coffee frap was needed to help wake me up.

The information from Pooper’s agent stated that we were to be in Alta Dena by 8am. For those out of the area, that is the NE portion of Los Angeles, and even on a Saturday morning, it took us 90 minutes to get there.

I was sort of confused, as we pulled into the parking area of the mausoleum. Our paperwork had directed us to this fancy cemetery, but Pooper’s scene was of kids swimming in a pool. This was a high-end part of town, but a swimming pool at a cemetery?

As we came up to the property, there were large trucks (wardrobe, props, etc.), security, some trailers…..I rolled down the window and the officer at the gate directed me to the parking area.

Immediately, Pooper began squealing, as he spotted it,,,,,,,,,,THE BUFFET

There were 2 catering trucks, and they were taking orders for omelets and the like. There was also a table set up with muffins, fresh sliced fruit, and other morning fare.

Pooper was in his glory, perusing the food table, even though he wasn’t hungry. I know it made him feel like a big shot.

After checking in, they gave us a number (“us” because, I was in this gig too), and took our pictures. We were told to sit and wait, that this location was a holding area, and that we would be transported to the actual filming site.

We sat and waited in the shade, trying to escape the heat that was already starting to simmer things. We are in the midst of a heat wave, 100+ temps, and the locale is in a warmer part of the southland, far from the beaches.

There were a few other kids waiting with their parents, and eventually we all sat around, introducing ourselves while the kids played. Pooper had a grand ole time taunting a fire ant with some other boys; I had fun meeting their moms and dads.

All in all, there were 6 of us adults, and I *think 8 or 9 kids.

Being new to this scene, I was interested to hear about the other children, to learn about what fun projects they had been in. I found that one family lives in Northern California, and flies down for auditions (about an hour by plane.) They had flown in that morning for this particular shoot. Two of the other families were from out of state, and had recently transplanted to L.A. to try and make a focused “go” at Hollywood. All of the families were friendly, kind, and their children very sweet. Andrew really hit it off with the other boys especially.

Around 9am, a couple of vans came by and took us to a private home a few blocks away. The whole street had been reconnoitered, with large trucks and cars lined up along the curb, porta-potties down near the corner, even the house next-door had been set up with tables and another catering truck and buffet (but that was for later, and not for us.)

We were taken to the backyard, and there were about 50 “crew members”, I met the medic, who made sure the kids had sunscreen, the teacher, who was sort of in charge of the kids, the hair guy, the make-up lady (although, I never saw anyone get make-up, and Elle is the only one that got her hair brushed), there were a few young gals doing wardrobe, going over what options we had brought for our kids (you are told to pack a few outfits) and also going through their own rack of kids clothes, the fire inspector, a variety of directing assistants and production assistants. People moving plants, adding props such as the lemonade on the table (which, naturally, Pooper wanted to drink…but it was just for show.)

The home was beautiful and the backyard was perfect. Lush gardens surrounded the brick patio, which led down a few steps to the pool and grassy area. The entire yard was private with a canopy of trees.

I sat up top with a few parents, chit chatting at the table while the kids played in the pool below. In reality, the bushes blocked my view of Pooper, so I could only hope that he was following the directions given.

Now, this is was all for a Public Service Announcement for a new initiative called, “Stand up 2 Cancer” I know very little about it. I do know that there are a ton of famous folks involved, and that there will be some sort of telethon or fundraisers, and that the many PSA’s will play nationwide, on TV and in theaters, I believe throughout the summer.

Each commercial has a celebrity. On this particular shoot, we had Elle Fanning, Dakota’s little sister. She was sort of quiet and didn’t really interact with anyone that I saw. She was down by the pool with the kids, but she was off to the side, dressed in clothes, sitting on the grass. The rest of the kids were in bathing suits, and either in or around the pool. Pooper initially sat on the side, dangling his feet, but eventually the director had him in the water, splashing around, and Pooper was thrilled.

We kept hearing the director referring to “Gabriella”….”When Gabriella stands….” “Gabriella this” “Gabriella that”…and all I could think of was the gal from High School Musical, and I thought, “WHOA! Pooper is gonna go nutso if that gal is here!” But, it turned out to be Gabriella Reese (professional volleyball player)…and the odd thing, she showed up, and then stood with the other bazillion crew members in the back, but I never actually saw her “in” our commercial. So, not sure if they changed their mind, or if she will be edited in, or whatever….shall see when it airs, I guess.

The commercial starts with the adults talking, kids playing in the pool, and then Elle stands up. We are all cued to slowly, curiously, notice that Elle is standing and then one by one we all stand up to, staring into the camera the entire time. The commercial ends with all of us standing, including the kids that are now on the sides of the pool, and we are all staring into the camera.

With the exception of a few breaks for water and fruit (Ill get to that), and some wardrobe changes on the kids, we just repeated this numerous times, for about 2 hours.

At one point, they passed around a tray of fruit for the kids. It was so hot, they didn’t want the kids to get dehydrated, and they told them to quickly grab a piece. I wandered down, and sure enough, I see Pooper asking an assistant if he could have a plate. Everyone else was just taking a piece, as the director was waiting.

Not my Pooper, he wanted to pile up a plate, and as he was directing the assistant to get him some cantaloupe, watermelon….I interrupted and told him to take one piece, quickly eat it, and get back in the pool. Geesh!

He actually did very well, paying attention, doing what was asked, but he was really enjoying the splashing around in the pool between takes. In fact, one of the other moms was kind enough to tell me (since I couldn’t see what Pooper was doing from my view) that she was concerned, as he kept trying to “ride” the GIGANTIC, practically life-sized, blow up, Shamu pool toy, and she was worried he would fall off and hit his head on the side of the pool.

I had to “pssst!” him and say, “Hey, this isn’t your birthday party, it’s a job, get off the toys and pay attention!”

**Gotta run…will write more later, our day in TV land is far from over……..

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A raisin in the sun

Stay tuned, because, Ive just got so much to tell you about yesterday's PSA shooting.

We filmed two different spots, ....

First one, was the kids pool party, it was a great time, intimate group (9 kids, 6 adults)...Met some really nice folks, and I cant wait to tell you about it.

Second one, filmed in the afternoon at Dodgers Stadium in the 100+ heat, with about 300 extras....did you know some people make their living doing "extra work"....fascinating, and, um, you've never "people watched" until you have spent 4+ hours with a couple hundred extras....

Honestly, Im still exhausted, and it's time to get ready for church....

but I promise a mini-series on our day in front of the cameras.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hooray for Hollywood

Great news!

Pooper went on an audition a week ago, and we go the news that he got the part.

The casting call was for kids ages 5-13, and they must be able to swim. Well, Pooper's resume lists his "competetive swimming" as a skill, and he was selected to audition. (his agent said he was the only kid that she submitted from their agency, to even get picked for the audition.)

So, he went to the audition, as did a ton of other kids...and he got the job.

The few things I know about this job:

* It is a Public Service Announcement for "Stand Up 2 Cancer"....

* It's being produced or directed (or whatever) by David Fincher who did Fight Club, Seven, Panic Room and other famous stuff (of which I havent seen any, but, anyhoo.)

on a side note....I looked up that organization, Stand Up 2 Cancer, and dabbled around online, and found that it is a new effort to eradicate cancer....with lots of celebrities onboard. Everything else seems to be kinda hush hush, but when I know more, God knows Ill post it here. So, kinda cool!

*The ad he is doing is a "pool party" scene...he needs to wear his bathing suit.

Now, here's the bad news...I know, I know, but Im a glass-half-empty person.

When we were at the audition, the casting gal asked if I was going to audition...

Me: uh, no, Im just here with my son.

Her: Well, we'd like you to audition too.

Me: Um, well, this isnt really my thing.

Her: We are looking for parents too.

Me: if I dont, will it hurt my son's chances?

Her: No, but it's pretty easy, just fill this out (hands me paperwork, clearly not taking "no" for an answer)

So, Pooper and I went in together, and they filmed us answering questions. Then I saw my self on their tv screen and had one of those moments, where, like, I had forgotten what I looked like, and was not happy with the size of myself on screen.

When his agent called to tell me he got the part, she said:

her: Did they ask you to audition too?

Me: Um, oh, yeah.

her: Well, you got the part too.

Me: ohferkryingoutlowd, I dont want to do a pool party scene! Im not wearing a bathing suit, and I dont have any cute "resort wear"....I hope they have a plus-size wardrobe department, and do airbrushing and stuff....

Well, I really didnt say all that, but I sure thought it!

Ill get all the details tomorrow, and of course, will post all about it after we do the shoot on Saturday (if Im allowed...of course.)

In the meantime, go to Pooper's agency website, and click on "bookings" to see his announcement :) He is very excited.

Youth Talent Connection

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I want my MTV

I was just getting ready to blog about our Colombian Family. Lately, my kids, have been so ungrateful about what they have in life. There's a mini-meltdown likely to be had any time things dont go their way.

Pooper is a really good kid, but he, in particular, has been particularly demanding, throwing a fit anytime he doesnt get what he wants.

I've had to play the Colombian Family card a few times, and I was even thinking of using my not-yet-deposited-economic-stimulus-check to finance his way to Colombia, to spend the summer with one of his South American siblings, and learn what true hardship really looks like.

Recently, I bought him new shoes, but he complains when I tie them as they are, "too tight" (they arent tight at all, he just doesnt like any pressure on his feet, but he needs the ankle support.)

Me: Do you know that your Colombian brother doesnt even have shoes? He walks around with cuts and sores on his feet, as he walks the miles and miles to get water and wood for the family each day....He would be soooo grateful to wear these new shoes! the food of the day that he complains about.....

Me: Your Colombian sister doesnt even get to eat every day...she is lucky if she can find some bugs on the ground to eat...and she doesnt complain, she is thankful for those bugs, Im pretty sure she would say, "Thank you so much Jesus!" If she got a McDonald's hamburger, even if they did forget the ketchup.

The usefulness of our Colombian Family has been maximized lately, and the thing that is so odd, is that I think MTV has been eaves dropping on my brain!

The other night, while watching the Hills finale, I saw a preview of Exiled, the new MTV series.

Remember that "Sweet 16" series, with the spoiled brats that had over the top birthday parties...where they cried if they got a white Bentley instead of a black one? or, cussed out their parents for not getting the right band to entertain the guests? You know, the parties that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars?

Well, get this, now those spoiled kids are being taught a lesson, being sent to impoverished countries, to live with teens their age, for a week (my plan was for a summer, which I think would be much more effective.)

Aside from the fact that they stole my idea, I just love this concept...because, well, it was mine!

Im thinking I can probably save myself the funds, and rather then send Pooper to Colombia, I can just have him watch this show with me (imagine, encouraging my son to watch MTV!!) I cant wait for the programs to air....stay tuned, as Im sure I will have some blog posts to follow about these educational shows and their impact on my kids.

Monday, May 12, 2008

**UPDATE** Im ticked at Uncle Sam, and Happy Mother's Day

UPDATE on the Economic Stimulus Check situation....After a bit more research and a lot of time on hold, I know where my check is....NOT IN MY BANK!

Although, I was led to believe that I met all the criteria for my check to be deposited on the 9th of May:

* My Honey's SS# ends in 50
* We DID NOT earn too much (are you kidding GJ???)
* We paid taxes
* Our tax return was processed back in Feb.
* We did our taxes online with automatic deposit

Apparently, there was an asterix next to the "online deposit" rule.

I did our taxes via Turbo Tax (love that!) and though it was submitted online, and the return deposited to our bank electronically.....Turbo Tax took their fees out of our return, which somehow disqualifies us from the "online deposit" category.

We are now schedule to have our checks MAILED to us, JUNE 13.

What a kicker!

I called my bank, to let them know, so, maybe they will have mercy on me and just hold everything until My Honey is paid on Wed. And, they are reversing a few of the "overdrawn" fees....geesh.....

Stay tuned....Im working on my next post in my is about our Colombian family, and MTV is involved!!


First, Happy Mothers Day to Grandma J We hope you had fun...we missed you here.

My Mother's Day was, church, chocolates, and a new purse....

Im not a purse person, but there is a bag I have wanted for a long time, in fact, it was my Christmas gift from a few years ago. I have a gift certificate for it, that I received in's a purse with a picture on it. Glad I didnt get it back then, so now I was able to order it with Little One's picture included :) Sort of a bonus that I had the gift certificate from years ago, so it didnt really cost anything.

Anyhoo..speaking of money, I know..taboo, but here I go....

Typically, I dont spend money unless I have it. Not counting the fine art of juggling bills and buying chemo when I really dont have the money...that's different.

What I mean, is that we dont do credit cards, arent really shoppers (as evidenced by the maternity pants and top that I am wearing....and that I will probably wear on W/F/S of this I rotate my 2-3 outfits - most of which are comprised of maternity garments....) So, I dont shop much.

But, you know, the "economic stimulus" checks are coming, and besides my new dental work, there were a few items that I thought we needed. I wanted to get the kids new shoes, a couple pairs of pants for Little One who has outgrown her warm pants recently (since the weather here is schizophrenic....high of 64 with light rain today, it will be in the 80's by Wed.), I spent money, FULLY BELIEVING THE GOVT that my check would be deposited on MAY 9th, per the IRS notices and website.

Trust me, I checked this out. Checked the IRS website, checked Google for new info, asked friends who had SS#'s ending in 00-19, to see if they got theirs on the 2nd of May (yep and yep), according to the plan, my check was to have been deposited on May 9th.

Lo and behold, I have checked my online banking 54 times since Friday, and they only thing being deposited is bounced check fees. HELLO! Not the kind of stimulus I needed.

I know, totally my bad. Should not have bought these things without KNOWING, SEEING the money in my account....but, it's really bugging me now!

Im wondering, have those of you expecting checks received them on time?

So far, those who did automatic deposit on their taxes, had their taxes filed before the April 15th deadline, and whose last 2 digits of the primary social are 00-75, should have received their monies.

did you get yours? how will you spend it? on shoes and a root canal? just wondering.......

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's that time again!

There are some things in life, that happen with such regularity, that we sort of expect them.

Things like Christmas, the increase in the price of postage stamps (happening Monday!) and bossy painting her patio floors. And, oh yeah, that other thing, the Duggar's are having another baby. I'm. not. kidding.

That's right, Jim Bob and Michelle (and their 17 "J" named children) are expecting a new little bundle in January!

You know what I love about the Duggar's? There are many, many things, but first, I like how they just tell us when they are pregnant. Apparently, she is 6 weeks pregnant, so, it's not like they have been holding out on this exciting info. Not like Brangelina or Nicole Richie or any of the other celebs that walk around, 7 months preggers, full-on basketball lump covered by a designer, flowing gown, denying that their womb is occupied. Nope. none of that for the Duggar's, just plain ole honesty, and I think the minute they knew, there was only a 30 second lag time before it was up on the internet.

Although, let's be honest, at almost any given time, you could say, "hey, the Duggar's are pregnant!" and you would be right, but still, I like their openness.

I realize, that not everyone is in favor of the plus-sized family. In fact, one comment I read about a year ago(different Duggar pregnancy), "It's a vagina, not a clown car." still makes me snicker. I know it isnt nice, but it is kind of funny.

Personally, Im all for people having a bunch of kids. I think there are a lot of benefits....

Let me just make a disclaimer, and say, these are my opinions (duh!) and are "generally speaking" based on my experiences and observations....

First, I think kids from large families are (generally speaking) nicer kids. They arent over-indulged, it would practically be impossible. Much less likely for Susie to have her tantrums over not getting her way, because nobody will pay attention if she does. The other kids wont support her antics, and chances are, mom and dad are too busy to pay attention as well.

Second, they are better at doing chores. It's nearly impossible to live in a house with that many people, and not be used for slave labor, at some level. and, that's a good thing. I think kids need to learn that we all need to pitch in, to make a family work, to earn a living, to get by in life, you need to pull your weight.

Third, they have great organizational skills. If you have more than a dozen kids, your gonna have to do most things via assembly line. Packing lunches, changing diapers, folding laundry,'s just the way it needs to be done.

When I worked in our county orphanage (which we called a "receiving home") we did it that way. In the nursery, with 30+ babies, two people bathed, and passed the child along to the person that got them dressed, and then they were passed along to the one gal that put them in high chairs and supervised breakfast, followed by the *lucky lady who sat with them in the play area at the end of the line.

It might sound cold and heartless, but it wasnt. There was lots of love and kisses and sweet things said along the way.

This type of structure really adds organization and efficiency, and God bless the kids that learn how to function that way at an early age.

Another great thing, is that the kids are never lonely. There is always a play-mate, always a friend, and mom and dad are less inclined to feel as if they need to entertain the children with a new activity at every step of the day. Let's not forget the people skills that these kids will room for wallflowers in a family like the Duggar' learn to speak up and be a part of the group, real quick.

Im not saying there are no down sides, everyone likes to be spoiled, or be "The Princess"...and there is probably less of that going on in family's like the Duggars....but, let's be honest, there are some good things that happen in large families.

For me, I just couldnt have that many kids, physically.

My morning sickness is so extreme, the entire 10 months (it's 10, not 9) that with Pooper, I didnt gain weight until the 7th month, with Beauty, not until the 6th (oh, I looked very pregnant, but I was throwing up so much, that the rest of me was shrinking.)

By the 3rd month, my sciatica (old back injury that flares up) keeps me from walking or standing much, and by month 6, I need to use the "handi-cart" (motored-scooter-chair-thingys-for-seniors) just to get my grocery shopping done.

By month 9, Im almost always in tears, begging my doctor to take the baby early, and thinking of safe ways to break my water. honest.

So, Im not the best candidate to spend most of my adult years pregnant. Admittedly.

What about you? How many kids is best for your family? What do you think of the Duggars and other large families?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tearing wings off of butterflies

If you've read this blog for any length of time, and I mean ANY, as in A DAY, you know that Pooper is no angel. I think he is an amazing kid, with lots of fantastic qualities and amazing strengths, but he's not perfect.

And, just as a side note....his nickname is Pooper. He likes it. And, that's what we call him. If those of you (eh hem, GJ) want to call him something else, that's fine, but he earned that nickname, and by golly, after 7.5 years of calling him Pooper, we arent changing it now.

But anyways....

Yesterday we went to our 2nd audition. It was for (or all things) a Public Service Announcement re: cancer research. But the casting call was for kids WHO CAN SWIM! for a pool party scene. That means, HIGH. ENERGY.

We show up, and I had spent a bit of time on the drive up reminding Pooper that kids at a pool party are "happy" and "energetic"...and he understood, that he should portray such.

We entered the waiting area, and there were other kids already there. Kids that were running around, hopping on the colored floor tiles, climbing on furniture... and Pooper sat, like the 45 year old, er, I mean, the 7 year old that he is, with good manners.

Each time the casting staff walked through the room, I imagined that they noticed the adorable, creative, spunky energy that all the other child displayed....

I doubt anyone noticed the quiet kid, sitting nicely with his mommy.

I encouraged him to go and play, but again, he took a back seat to the hyper kids.

I felt disappointed and proud, all at the same time.

I wanted him to show off his outgoing personality, I wanted everyone to see that he is a leader, a smart and funny leader...but instead, he only displayed good behavior. Behavior that I have worked hard to instill in him. But behavior that isnt going to get him any role as the exciting, bouncing off the wall, pool-perty-enjoyer.

Last week, we went to an audition for a music video. We were in a big building that had several different castings going on...mostly adult castings.....women, model looking women who were hoping to land a spot selling Cool Whip or plugging Target. Each audition had it's own little room, but we all shared one big waiting room.

With a couple hundred people gathered in the room with low ceilings, voices seemed to carry. More than once, a casting director would come out into the big room and YELL (and cuss) for everyone to be could they tape with all the noise?

My Pooper was quiet and well behaved, I didnt have to tell him to be quiet, he stood, waiting, patiently.

Im guessing the bazillion doctors visits have helped in this regard. He knows how to wait for hours. He knows not to talk or interrupt when Mommy is talking to the doctor. He knows not to make noise in the waiting room, because some of the other children feel very, very sick. He knows how to be patient, and in those formal settings, he is good at it.

So, when it came time for Pooper to turn it on for the music video audition, I dont think he knew how to transition from "child-waiting-quietly-afraid-of-the-casting-director-who-yells-or-my-mom-that-will-scold-me" to "funky-peppy-energetic-music-video-dancer"

All day, Ive been feeling as if Ive pulled the wings off a butterfly. Im feeling like my desire to instill good manners in Andrew has resulted in him being unable to just have a rip-roaring be child-like.

Again, dont get me wrong, he knows how to misbehave with the best of them....but I just dont know if his skills and strengths are able to be seen in the confines of a brief casting setting. I dont know if we can walk into an interview with adults, and he can turn on his "sponge bob" or "family guy" behavior....and Im thinking it might be my fault, and I worry that he wont be able to soar.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Ballerina and the Rabid Dog

Beauty had a recital yesterday. She was so excited, as were we all, to see the fruits of her labor displayed on stage. Adorned in beautiful costumes, we would see her dancing and cheerleading play out to rhythmic music. Wonderful.

There were a few things that I dont quite "get" about how her academy does dance recitals...first, is that this is considered a "mini" recital, and in June, there will be the "big" recital....different songs, different routines, different costumes. The Big One will be at the local high school auditorium, this one was at the academy itself. Seems like the two are a bit close together, which makes it lose it's *specialness*..but whatever, Im always up for watching Beauty perform.

The other thing that was kind of odd, was that her cheer routine, and one of her dance routines (different teachers, by the way) were set to the same song. I couldnt help wondering what happened to the communication between the adults...I mean, what if all the teachers picked, "The Wind Beneath My Wings" or something? Can you imagine sitting through 12 different routines of the same song?

Anywho...the theme was, "All Aboard" and they had songs from across the country...with the idea being that the kids were taking a train ride through different parts of the U.S.A.

Beauty did an adorable cheer routine to, "Deep in the Heart of Texas"...not to be outdown by her dance routine to the same song, in the same gingham and denim outfit. Later in the show, she did her favorite dance to, "I Want to go to Hollywood." She loved wearing the shimmery silver dress, trimmed in white feathers, with a hot pink boa wrapped around her shoulders. She looked so cute.

I do have pictures and video, but Id be a liar if I promised to get them up anytime soon, because Im just lame with technology like that.

After the big night, we went to dinner, Beauty's choice. She picked Islands for the scrumptious cheese fries with bacon, a real big hit in our family.

I was glad when we were finally seated at the restaurant, because Pooper was hungry. We were all hungry, but Pooper gets incredibly irritable when he goes too long without food, and it's a situation that I try to avoid. We put the order in for the cheese fries "WITH BACON" Pooper emphatically threw in, in case our waiter hadnt taken note.

While Beauty sat basking in the glory of her special night, as we asked her questions such as, "what was your favorite part?" and "didnt you love your pink boa?", the much anticipated cheese fries arrived.

It was as if the space shuttle was coming in for a landing, as the plate was lowered to the much excitement!! And then it happened....

Pooper pounced on the plate, with a ferociousness that I havent seen in at least a few weeks. He had his fork in one hand, and he was manically attempting to lift the entire top layer (the cheesy-bacony layer) of fries off the platter and onto his little plate.

"Whoa...hold on cowboy!" I said

"Wait just a minute" My Honey told him, as we both reached over to move Pooper away from the food.

Beauty started to whine and cry, fearful that the treat she had been waiting for was about to be inhaled by her brother.

And then Pooper started pushing back at us, refusing to release his grip from the cheese fries. He was rambling on about something unintelligible as he started shovelling the gooey fries into his mouth.

Beauty cried louder. My Honey's tone got more emphatic, and I looked around the restaurant.

That's something I like to do...when my kids are having meltdowns in public, I like to look around, hoping to see other kids going nutso. But I never see that. When I looked around last night, I saw kids laughing, smiling, napkins on laps, eating tiny bites of food at a time, appreciative, pleasant, well mannered little tikes were all throughout the restaurant.

And then my eyes came back to my table, where Kujo had his face in the platter and was sucking up every last fry, while Beauty howled, and Daddy barked.

Finally, My Honey was able to pull Pooper away from the table and he took him outside to cool off. Beauty and I sat, looking at the remaining pile of fries, little bits of bacon sprinkled all over the table, and she said,

"He is ruining my special night!"

"Im sorry sweetie, but he cant ruin it for me! You are so special, and we are so proud of you....Daddy and I loved watching you dance and cheer, and it doesnt matter if Pooper eats all the fries, he cant change how proud we are of you."

She smiled, and I smiled back, and then we both picked at the remnants of bacon on the table, trying to savor the taste, enjoying the good things from this special night.

Friday, May 2, 2008

guilty pleasures

Sometimes, it seems, that people look down on, "spending time on the computer." Im not sure if it's because it's not an aerobic exercise and therefore seems to be a lazy thing to do. Or, maybe people associate the internet with bad things, such as porn or chat rooms or violent role play games, and that is why they have a negative view of it.

I prefer to spend my "down time" on the internet...rather than watching some mindless tv show, Id prefer to come online and be more interactive; whether just looking up interesting things that I have always wondered about, or reading the news, or browsing through blogs, or writing my own, I just enjoy having the endless options that are available on the computer.

I have wondered, if people would be as critical of someone sitting around reading encyclopedias, or taking an art class, or writing a short story. I think not. I think that for some reason, people just consider spending time on the internet less creative, less intellectually stimulating, but I think they are wrong.

The other day, I was listening to Leo LePort on the radio. He has a talk show about "tech things"....not really my favorite show, but talk radio is limited on the weekends. In any case, he was talking about this very subject, and said he would much prefer his teen boys be on the internet, rather than playing video games.

He talked about the creative projects, from graphics to photoshop, music production to web development that they have been able to to learn from their time on the computer. It was great to hear his perspective, and to have someone publically acknowledge the positive things that one can do online.

He encouraged people to call in and talk about the creative outlets that they have fostered on the computer.....writing blogs, reading blogs, even playing puzzles....all are valuable in my eyes.

What do you think? Do you think people look down on "computer time"....What worthwhile things do you like to do on the computer? Id like to know.