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Thursday, October 30, 2003

The Bachelor a la Ellen

Anywayyyy...Yesterday, Averie and I head out to LA for the taping of the show, and as instructed go directly to the NBC Studios Gate Guard. They ask for our ID, she tells them why she's here and they look for her name on the list. After finally locating (they spelled our last name with two S's instead of two F's), they buzz us through. Averie is nervous. I'm just tired and sweaty because I've carried a 20 pound bag full of canned goods across the parking lot. Funny thing is, the last time we were here, they searched our purses, we had to go through metal detectors, we got "wanded" by a security guard, etc. This time, here I am carrying a huge, heavy bag of canned foods, and they aren't really paying any attention. I found that completely insane...but enough about that.

We're led into the studio offices by a cute young intern named Ramon. It seems Ramon has just ripped his pants and is providing a comic relief ice breaker by telling all of us about the breeze and even feels pretty free to show us the rip. "So how about my crotch? Black pants, white underwear!" He's cute as hell. Ramon hands us off to another intern, coincidentally named Ellen. I'm still carrying 20 pounds of cans. Intern Ellen leads us to the back of the studio and into a warehouse type area full of props. They're preparing for the Halloween show, so the props make us feel as if we've been led into a cemetery. Another intern, Tall Dave, is now talking to the girls who are a part of this event (19 in all...should have been 25, but only 19 showed up) and asking for their IDs and having them fill out paperwork. Averie uses a graveyard headstone as a desk to fill out her consent forms. I wonder out loud if that could bring bad luck. She looks at me and rolls her eyes. The girls are happily chatting with each other, getting along famously. It seems less like "The Bachelor" and more like a reunion of friends. Those of us who came as "moral support", are standing around waiting. Which is fine. It's what I expected. After years of it, I've become the Queen of Waiting. Staff Member Vikki comes out to greet us. She's the one that called Averie and told her she was a finalist. Turns out that Vikki used to work at NBC in NY and is friends with Jeff Richards. Woohoooooo! Averie is in heaven! One degree from Drunk Girl! That makes Vikki laugh. She tells Averie she's "adorable". I ask Vikki if there's some place to put this bag of canned goods. She smiles and is thrilled to take them and thanks me. Thank God. I just lost 20 pounds. If only it could always be that easy!

We're briefed about what to expect. Which really isn't much briefing, because none of the interns really seems to know how this is going to work. So Ellen the Intern begins to tell us who is on the show. Cuba Gooding Jr., Jane Kazmerak, and OH MY GOD...R.E.M! Yes, that's right.
R.E.M! As Ellen says, "You don't get it People! R.E.M. DOES NOT DO DAYTIME TV! The girls are asking questions about when they're actually going to meet Jeff. The Moral Supporters are asking if they're actually going to get into the show or if they're going to have to wait in the back. The cameramen and stage crew are now coming into their lounge, where we've been waiting, and asking why all these women are in their lounge. Uh oh. A problem. One camera guy really wants us out. He's ok and a bit sarcastic about it, but you can tell that he's unamused. He's told by Intern Tall Dave that there's nowhere else to put us. Camera Guy says, "Don't you guys have a Green Room?" Tall Dave says, "Yeah, but REM is in there." Camera Guy says "FINE". And proceeds to go in the lounge and kick one of the girls out of his chair. A stage hand comes in and collects the girls for rehearsal. We can hear REM rehearsing as they open the studio door. The Moral Supporters wait in the lounge...with Camera Guy.

Finally, Intern Ellen leads the Moral Supporters out to wait with the other audience guests outside. She tells another intern that we're VIP. I see the Pit Pat guy that gave Mary and Ave the tshirts the last time we were here. I approach him and ask his name and remind him about Mary and Ave and he smiles and remembers. I tell him that we wrote an email thanking him for how great he was but we couldn't remember his name. It's Shaun. I tell him why I'm here again. He smiles again, says "COOL! Tell her Good Luck from me!" Now I'm nervous. For Averie. I see Jeff standing behind a camera. Averie is right. He IS adorable.

The show begins. Ellen, as usual, is brilliant...and really, so pretty. I adore that woman. She talks about her guests and then she asks Jeff to come up. He's blushing already. Ellen explains what's been going on for the past few weeks and how they've received over 2,000 emails from girls trying to get a date with Jeff. She says out of those 2,000 we've got the 19 finalists and Jeff will have to "weed out" from those, leaving only 10 left. They open the stage door and reveal the girls. I see Averie in the back row. We smile at each other and I give her the thumbs up. Ellen tells Jeff that she brought in some "help" to sort out the "riff raff" and introduces Jeff and the audience to The Butler from "Joe Millionaire". Riff Raff? Did she actually say that? She apologizes to the girls.."Not that any of YOU are Riff Raff!" So they send Jeff, the girls, and The Butler out into another room where they're going to have a "Meet Jeff Mixer". While the rest of us enjoy the show.

One of Ellen's guests is Meredith, from the actual "Bachelor" show. She apparantly didn't get a rose in the last episode and was eliminated. Ellen asks Meredith if she wants to go into the Mixer Room and try her luck with Jeff. She laughs and says "SURE" and she goes in the back and joins the party. The irony of all of this is that Averie HATES reality shows. She has only ever watched "Last Comic Standing" since comedy is her world. She hasn't got a clue who Meredith from "The Bachelor" is or who The Butler from "Joe Millionaire" is. She just thinks Meredith is one of the finalists who arrived late. Every once in a while, they do a live shot from the Mixer Room to see how things are developing. Turns out, the very first live shot is Jeff talking to Averie! Little did I know at the time that Averie got to spend more time with Jeff than with any of the other girls. Averie believes that's coincidence. I believe Jeff is a very smart guy. I watch her on the screen and I can feel my whole body SMILE. She's beautiful. Radiant. Adorable.

After Ellen has talked with all of her guests, who ARE amazing, she says that Jeff has sorted through the girls and it's down to 10 that Jeff has chosen. They're bringing the 10 girls on stage now. I'm holding my breath. After about six girls walk onstage, there she is! Averie is one of the 10! She stands directly behind Ellen and looks up at me. We're both smiling so big, it hurts. I told you. Jeff is a very smart guy.

The girls are told to sit behind Jeff and Ellen on the stage and Ellen introduces R.E.M to do their last song, "Losing My Religion" NICE! It's all been a happy happy day. After it's over, they take us back to the back again and tell us that the girls who remain as finalists will get a call tomorrow or the next day to tell them when to come back. I guess from here it goes down to 3. We're told the Fab Five are going to do a Jeff Makeover. I'd like Averie to get to the final three...just so I can SEE Carson. I love him. Just kidding Ave! You KNOW I want you to be the Last Girl Standing!

News Flash: If you can, watch today, Thursday, October 30. The Ellen Degeneres Show, starring the beautiful and awesome Averie!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The Good in between The Bad

As the fires continue to rage through the Southland, I find myself wondering what I can possibly do. It's a helpless feeling. You want to do something..anything, as you watch the horror on tv. People in shelters without places to live. Animals displaced. The thoughts race through my brain about what I would take, if I had to evacuate. I keep saying to the kids that things can be replaced. Pictures can't. It's all I would want. Pictures. Of course, it's easy to say that when right now, it doesn't effect us. Other than the inability to take a deep breath of clean air. Other than having to rinse the car off everytime you want to go somewhere because you can't see through the ash on the windshield. Other than that everything smells like campfire. These are small inconveniences compared to the loss of your home, perhaps the loss of a loved one. Prayers go up in the absence of the ability to do more. I'll go through the pantry and gather some food. I'll go to the store and get some needed things for temporary shelters. I whine about being unemployed for now. But this is bigger than that. It puts things in perspective. These are the days where, unless you're a complete ass (and there ARE many in this world), you find your attitude of gratitude.

On the bright side of the street; they called! At 2:00 yesterday afternoon, the phone rang. I could hear Averie softly answer, "Yes, this is she." As the minutes passed, her calm demeanor changed to a tone of excitement. I looked over to her as she paced in the dining room, from my seat on the living room couch. I gave her the "who is it?" look. I mouthed the words "It's them, isn't it?" With the receiver still attached to her head and a huge smile on her face, she nodded afirmation. The Ellen Degeneres Show is calling. She's made it to the finals of "Find a Girlfriend for Jeff." After a decently long conversation with Ellen's staff member Vikki, Averie politely thanks her, hangs up, and before the receiver is actually down on the telephone base, Averie and I are jumping and screaming! I think the screaming and jumping actually went on for a good minute...maybe two. She catches her breath and calms down enough to tell me that out of the 1200 emails they have received from "eligible" bachelorettes, they've narrowed it down to 25, and she is one of the 25. She's to come to the studio today (Wednesday) at 2pm (woohoooo! VIP!), "camera ready", for a "mixer" and to meet Jeff (Ellen's Personal Assistant). Vikki told her that her email was very funny and she said that she just "HAD" to call THIS girl! Of course. That's my amazingly talented, bright, funny, articulate, beautiful offspring.

And Averie, just so you know without a doubt....you ARE a rare find and Jeff would be crazy not to notice you. Whether he does or not, it doesn't change a thing. You rule.

Monday, October 27, 2003

The High Priestess on Family, Fires, and the Messy Aftermath of Both...

I understand that it's been awhile since I've blogged. The problem, it seems, is that when you have a houseful of out of town in-laws in for a big family wedding, EVERYTHING in your home is basically, not your own. You MUST share. In this age of technology, everyone needs a computer. So every useful outlet in the house is up for grabs and it's first come first served.

Now that things have quieted down a bit, I can take a breather and catch up. I think.

The out of towners arrived on Wednesday. Averie sacrificed her room for the comfort of her aunt and uncle, and bunked with her sister (thanks girls). Bryson escaped unscathed. We all gave up our living room space to accommodate cousin Tina, who slept on an air mattress on the floor. Everyone put up with some sort of inconvenience; sharing bathrooms, losing privacy, and making "nice nice" with family.

On Thursday, wedding rehearsal. As the fires were raging through the inland empire, the gentle fall of ashes began to appear. It is to be an outdoor, rose garden wedding. Falling ash on white satin. Get the picture? At this point, we're all putting on our happy faces and praying that the fires will soon be extinguished.

On Friday, family drama ensues as the aunts are not particularly fond of each other and the squabbling, whining, and general pettiness shows it's ugly head. It will calm and there will be peace before the wedding day. But for now, there is momentary, emotional stress.

On Saturday, Wedding Day, the fires are worse, the ashfall is abundant, the sky is hazy orange, and the show must go on. It's the 4th day of family in the house, and I'm just about DONE. Everything goes off without a hitch. The day is absolutely beautiful, despite the fires, and the happy couple are off to Tahiti. I wish they were taking me with. However, there is a small reprieve as the out of towners are going to visit the uncle's family in the heart of Fire Central. We get a one night breather in our own home. Averie blissfully sleeps in her own bed. There is a sense of peace.

On Sunday, more family fun as we have an after wedding brunch at the bride's parent's home. Very nice. Not too much stress. Yummy food. Go home and wait for the out of towners to return. That is, if they aren't now stuck in San Bernardino awaiting firestorms to be extinguished.
Sunday evening brings the return of drama. The out of towners arrive at 10 pm with horror stories of fire survival. We know from experience that it's not always as bad as it's presented, but we listen politely, say we're happy they're all safe, and go to bed. Averie gives up her bed again.

This morning, we're informed that flights out of LAX are cancelled and therefore, the out of towners may not get home to Pittsburg today. Oh joy. Averie...don't change the sheets on your bed just yet.

Monday, October 20, 2003

The High Priestess wants NO MORE CONFLICT! Please!

Can't we just all get along? I'm much too old and much too weary for all of this drama. Frankly, I personally believe that all this stress can be relieved with one great night of wild sex. For me anyway. Those of you in my world who are right now saying.."ewwww TMI." Get over yourselves. Sex happens. And I'm allowed. So there.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The High Priestess bids adieu...

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Friday, October 10, 2003

The High Priestess wonders no more...

If there EVER was a question about the intelligence factor of the population of California..and if we were not ALREADY the butt of the nation's jokes this year...well this should put those questions to rest. I have two words; Brain Trust

Thursday, October 09, 2003

The High Priestess gets her "RED ON"....

Yeah, yeah, yeah, think what nasty thoughts you wanna think. Nothing can make me unhappy right now. I put my Detroit flag out front, first thing this morning. I got home from a job interview, went to my closet, pulled out my Shanahan jersey, put it on, and settled on the couch with remote in hand. Thanks to my brilliant man, I have another season of Center Ice. Which basically means that beginning tonight, and for the next 7 months, Charlie is a Hockey Widower. Unless of course, he would care to join me on the couch and watch while my amazing and wonderful Detroit Red Wings kick some hockey ass! Woohooooo! Game on!

It is indeed, a beautiful world.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

The High Priestess pegs the milestones...

As I sat on the patio of 57 Calle Los Olivos, looking out at the beautiful blue Pacific; I couldn't help but reflect on the chaos that I would probably be going home to. I feel blessed that Nancy always invites me to come with her to Baja Malibu. It's 2 hours near, but worlds away. Away from hectic paces and races with time. Away from responsibilities, other than making sure there's always ice for my drink. Watching the dolphins surf all day and the cruise ships partying by, I can't help but feel that I could live on this side of the border for the rest of my life. But this is not real. It's just for this moment.

No matter how far away from them I am, the family races through my head on a minute by minute basis. Did Charlie talk to Joe? Did Averie get rides to work and school? How is VB going for Caris? Is Bry doing his homework? I know, of course, that all of these things are being taken care of and that I should just relax. But it's hard. It's my job. It's what I do. I'm the Mom.

So, after four days of Mexican bliss, the Gringas return and reality rears it's ugly head. While I was gone, Charlie's boss got fired, Averie's "Stand-up Guy" joins the Army, Caris has major issues with controlling volleyball coaches, and Bryson is going up and down the birthday party ladder. It's life. It has, as I imagined it would, gone on whether I was present or not.

After one day of being back, Averie has gotten her license to leave. Oh wait, I mean, her driver's license. YAY! Extreme relief coupled with extreme anxiety. A piece of paper that says that she may take the car and drive herself wherever herself needs to go, whenever herself needs to get there. Eighteen years of being the chauffer, and now, she takes herself. It's a "qweird" feeling, as Caris would say. The day I have waited for for so long has arrived, and I'm sick to my stomach! Friday is usually date night, but I was too mopey to leave the house. Couldn't put my finger on why. After vacation letdown? Boredom? Averie got her license? All of the above...me thinketh "yeah."

It's nothing whatsoever to do with my lack of trust. I trust her implicitly. I trust her choices, her friends, her decisions for herself. She's done well thus far, and I'm so proud. I feel we've given her the right tools. It's all of those bastards out there who haven't been given those right tools. The ones who don't make the right choices. The ones who couldn't decide their way out of a paper bag. THEY are the ones that I don't trust. I've worked for 18 long, hard years, not including the nine months of gestation and the 21 hours of labor, to bring this cherished human being to where she is; driver's license and car key in hand. It would take an asshole only seconds to take that away from me. I worry about these things. It's my job. It's what I do. I'm the Mom.

I know these worries will never end. They come with the territory. They, coupled with the joys, the tears, the anxieties, the pride, are all part of the ecosystem of parenting. I know this. I accept it. It doesn't always mean I have to like it. It's not over-protecting, it's not obsessive. I go along with my day, my life, my chores. But always in the back of my head is that little voice that says.."God, be with her when I can't." It goes this way hundreds of times a day. And not just for Averie, but for Caris and Bryson too. For Mary, Celinda, Bobby. I want whomever is in charge of this blue marble to know that these people are precious to me, and I pray they are listening. I don't often feel that I'm heard, but I keep talking.

So, I have to get more and more used, to seeing less and less Averie. I'll deal with it. Milestones are milestones. New ones are coming up. Such as having a strange "new voice" around the house. A voice attached to a now 14 year old GUY that lives here. Happy Birthday Grommet. I love you. Other milestones, such as a soon to be 16 year old who wants to set the acting world on fire. I'll be here for these milestones. Driving them along the road, and then stepping aside and handing them the keys to drive themselves....worrying as they drive away. It's my job. It's what I do. I'm the Mom.