Warm Cookies With A Whiskey Chaser

The Perfect Mix of Comfort and Shenanigans

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Much Ado About Nothing

Charlie's friend R is always spouting off about the merits of "Vitamin V" otherwise known as...oh wait, I'm not gonna get sued for this am I? Perhaps I better just say it's that little blue pill that men like to have handy by the bedside. R and others of Charlie's confirmed bachelor buddies use it not because they need it (or so they say), but because it's "a recreational enhancement aid". Well duh.

I always take into account that what we're dealing with here are long-time single men, well into "mid-life," who basically have a little extra money to burn because they don't have families and they work for themselves. Therefore, they have all the toys, nice cars, boats, they take long vacations, fishing trips to Mexico, and golf trips to Arizona, just because they can. Do I sound jealous? Okay, maybe just a bit (except for the golf part..ick). But that's where my jealousy ends, and theirs begins...

The material things of life aside, whenever we have our weekly pub nights, the conversation invariably ends up with sex. I think they always assumed early on that because Charlie and I have been married for so long, we don't have sex anymore. And usually, the topic will wind its way around to women who don't put out once they got that ring on their finger. I think that Tuna Girl and I can attest to that being utterly inaccurate. Maybe we're in the minority, but I'm a little tired of hearing it.

That being said, R has mentioned to Charlie and I on more than one occasion over the past few years that we should really give the old "Vitamin V" a try..."just for fun." Charlie has always laughed, looked at me when the subject has come up (hee hee!), and said, "So, Pua, do you think we need this stuff?" And without hesitation I say "Gawd, no" and in all honesty, I mean it. No really, I mean it. R will smile and shake his head and say, "Okay, but you're missing out." Yeah, whatever.

Last week at pub night, R brought Charlie a present. Yep, two little blue pills in a plastic film cannister. We laughed about it, and Charlie put the container in his pocket "for later" wink wink. When we got home, he put the little treasure up on his dresser and for the most part, we both forgot about it. BUT, we had a very fun week without it, as we have for the last 22 years. And yes Aaron, we've learned long ago to close the heating vent. :o)

Last night, after the kids had been asleep for awhile (Tuna Girl; take note, when they're teenagers, you gotta wait a LOOOONG time for them to fall asleep), Charlie closed the bedroom door and had a smile and "that look" on his face. The one that says "I'm starving and you're my dinner."

Charlie: (grinning devilishly) I took it.

Pua: It what?

Charlie: The "V"

Pua: Really? So now what?

Charlie: I guess you wait 20 minutes.

Pua: Why? It's obvious you're pretty ready to go now.

Charlie: Well, considering I'm not taking it for THAT reason...

Pua: Yeah, so I'm kinda confused. Why is this supposed to be so great?

Charlie: ::shrugs shoulders:: I dunno.

So R, I just wanna tell you, there was really nothing different about any of it. Charlie's been right on the money all these years. Perhaps my husband is more extraordinary than I thought...lucky me. I'm pretty much sure that we haven't been "missing out."

However, the puppet show AFTER was very entertaining. :o)

Monday, August 30, 2004

Ode to "Old School"

It's a quiet Sunday night at home. The girls are both out with their friends, and it's just the three of us; Charlie, Bryson, and me. We're watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. It's been a long weekend of chores and yardwork. Charlie and Bry have worked hard digging up the front yard and preparing to put in new sprinklers. Everyone's tired, so there's not a whole lot of conversation going on. We're just enjoying being still and going braindead in front of the tube.

The Greeks are putting on an incredible show, and every once in awhile, one of us will say "Wow", or "Cool", or in Bry's case, the ever popular with teenaged boys; "Sweet". In between short exclamations, there is blessed quiet. The theme is "Harvest", so there is a beautiful spiraled wheatfield, many, many dancers, rhythmic drums and music, and much celebration. At times, it almost seems bacchanalian.

At one point of the show, some Greek "harvest peasants" light three bonfires and begin dancing around them and jumping THROUGH the flames. As one of the dancers was making his approach to fly through the inferno, out of the silence, and without batting an eyelash, Bryson calmly, and with straight-man timing says, "Dude, how much would it suck if he 'Will Farrelled' it?"

Charlie and I both looked over at Bry at the very same moment, and Bry never so much as twitched a muscle until we both broke out into fits. I almost pee'd myself laughing. With that, Bryson smiled and said, "Just sayin..." And between giggles, we went right back to silently watching the rest of the ceremonies.

It was probably one of Toddy's "you had to be there moments"...but I'll remember it as a classic. That kid kills me.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Color It Hers!

How awesome is it to have a job you love? Last Christmas, after working at a job that she didn't like (though she loved her friends there), Averie found a job at Color Me Mine at Metro Pointe. For someone with an artistic flair, this has got to be the perfect place to work. Well, if she could OWN the place and have all of her friends work there with her, I suppose that would be glaze on the ceramics. But, hey, it's a start. She would sometimes like to hurt some customers and their children, but the perks of getting to paint stuff and get paid for expressing yourself through art is right up her easel. Behold...

Outside of Shanny's dish. Posted by Hello

Dog dish for our Shanny Girl. Posted by Hello

"Babel Fish" pitcher for me! YAY! Posted by Hello

Triangle bowl for Erin and Summer. Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Sure You'll Call

On the night we met, after being set up by mutual friends at a Super Bowl Party, Charlie, being the sweetie he is, offered to walk me out to my car. We had talked for HOURS, and though I would have like to stay and talk all night (even though he was kinda drunk..still he was so cute), it was getting late and I had to work the next morning. As we stood near the car and talked a little more, he got up the courage to ask me if he could give me a goodnight kiss. I looked down at my shoes and said.."sure." He kissed me sweetly on the cheek and then asked if he could give me a call the following day.

Now, here's the thing. I was the quiet girl in my circle of friends. I tried my best to be inconspicuous. I thought I was fat and ugly, so I tried not to be noticed. My friend M was the extroverted, outgoing, flashy, attention getter. The guys all loved her. She was (IS) vivacious, beautiful, and gregarious. Char was the perfect California blonde surfer girl. Terri was petite, cute, and bubbly. Cindy had a car, a house with permissive parents (booze and weed), no curfew, you get the picture. Me? I was the nobody. Usually, when guys asked for my phone number, it was so they could call me to get one of my friends numbers. If a guy was nice to me, it was because he was trying to get closer to one of my friends. It happened more times than I can count.

So when Charlie asked for my number. I was suspicious. Suddenly all those high school memories of being "a means to an end" came back to haunt me. I looked at him with trepidation and then responded with; "I'll give it to you if what you really want is to talk to ME, not one of my friends...AND if you promise to call." How desperate is that? I'm embarrassed at my pathetic-ness. He said; "Listen, I don't give a crap about your friends. I WANT to talk to YOU. Can I please have your number?" Of course, I gave it to him, but inside I was thinking; "Sure you'll call." When I got home, my phone was ringing. It was Charlie. He didn't even wait until the next day, and he called the following three days, until we could finally get together for our first date. He changed my life. He helped me to trust again because he kept his word.

All these years later, I still get suspicious when people say they'll do something. Because for the most part, they don't. They don't call when they say they will. They won't be where they say they will be. It's aggravating. And to this day, it still makes me feel like the fat, ugly friend that was just a means to an end. I suppose I should be mature, shake it off, and move along. But it hurts. It still hurts.

I'm not funny. I'm not talented. I'm not beautiful. I'm not particularly witty. I'm just someone who has feelings. And I always treat people the way I want to be treated. I wish sometimes people would remember that.

Thank God I have Charlie.

Friday, August 27, 2004

This reminds her of me? Heck yeah! Posted by Hello

Hockey Girls

I got a call from Averie.

Pua: Hello?

Ave: Mommy, we're driving along on the freeway, and guess what pulls up next to me?

Pua: I don't know Honey. Hey...are you talking on your cell phone while you're driving?

Ave: :::sigh::: Mommy, listen to me. Guess what's next to me?

Pua: I don't know Ave. A Corvette? A pink Cadillac? A naked marathon runner? You know, it's dangerous to talk on the phone while you're driving...

Ave: Grrrr! We're driving along and I'm not kidding...the LA Kings Zamboni is next to us!

Pua: Averie, Zamboni's can't go that fast.

Ave: Uh..DUH! It's on a truck.

Pua: WOW! Really? A Zamboni? On the way to San Diego? That's cool!

Ave: Well, you don't see that everyday, and of course, I thought of you.

Pua: You're the best Aves. I love you for thinking of me. You guys have a blast, be careful, and now stop talking on the cell phone while you're driving!

Ave: I love you too! Byeeeeeeeeeeee!

Two wonderful thoughts; 1. I really AM with her wherever she goes. and 2. A Zamboni makes her think of me. That's my girl!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Averie Posted by Hello

She's All Grown Up

I'm experiencing a myriad of mixed feelings today. This morning, I saw Averie off on her very first without Mommy and Daddy and Family roadtrip. Just Averie. Averie and my "TOM" Girls; Celinda, and Lindz. Out there in the world. On the crazy California freeway system. Granted, it's only for two days. Two sunny, beachy days in beautiful Sandy Eggo. But it's two days out of my reach.

I'm excited for her. I KNOW she's excited. They've been planning this for a month now. Hotel reservations, packing checklists, roadtrip munchies, giggling giddily. I remember that feeling. I long for that feeling again. ::sigh::

I'm also terrified. She KNOWS I'm terrified. She hugged me five times and kissed me sweetly. "Don't worry Mommy. I have everything I need; insurance card, driver's license, cash, cell phone. It will always be on and you know you can reach me. Please don't worry. I'll be fine." I know she'll be fine. She's a smart girl with great friends. I want to let her unfurl her wings. I'm just having a hard time doing it without crying. The next two days will be tough ones. I don't imagine that I'll be sleeping too well tonight. Maybe I can get sympathy sex. Hmmmm. Shouldn't be too difficult. I don't think Charlie will be sleeping much tonight either.

I held the tears back until she drove away. However now, sitting here, the waterworks are on. Being a Mom is sometimes so hard. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Monday, August 23, 2004

In Honor of Wespeye Posted by Hello

"He's Wesp-Eye The Sailor Man...TOOT TOOT!"

When I first came to California as a teenager from Hawaii, I was not a happy person. I was angry at my parents for plucking me out of my paradise and sending me to live with my mother's foster parents so that I could go to high school on the mainland. My dad was about to retire from the Navy and they wanted me to start school at the beginning of the year instead of mid-semester, which as a parent, I now understand (though I wouldn't do that to my own kids). But back then, it was devastating. I actually hated them for it.

At the beginning of my freshman year, I met a girl in my English class. She was your typical blue-eyed, summer blonde. Cute, freckles across the bridge of her nose, and a very sunny disposition. I actually hated her for it.

Even worse, she said she surfed. "Oh sure," I thought. "She thinks SHE'S a surfer." Her name was Charmaine and one Friday after class, she asked me if I wanted to spend the night at her house so that the next morning we could go on "dawn patrol" together. Well, the mere fact that she knew what dawn patrol was kinda gave me a clue that maybe, just maybe, she was a surfer after all. That first morning surf as the sun is coming up is heaven. To be in the line-up, waiting out there with all the other surfers for waves is what you live for. Of course, I said yes.

That night, at Char's house, she introduced me to her family; her older brother Tim, who was as hot as hot could be, and since I had a thing for haole guys, I was instantly smitten. Her older sister Stephanie, who hated surfing, surfers, Char, me, and everything else (she was just at that age). Her mom, LaVonne; a sweet, soft spoken woman. But no dad? "Don't worry," said Tim. You'll meet ol' Wespeye. EVERYONE meets ol' Wespeye.

Just as we were about to have dinner, Char's dad walks in the door with an ice chest and a big smile. "Dinner Vonnie!" She says, "Wes, I already have dinner made!" "But Vonnie, these are FRESH fish!" So he goes outside and starts cleaning his catch and throws them right on the barbeque. "THAT," says Char, "is my dad". His name is Wes, but everyone calls him Wespeye. And they all start singing "Wespeye the Sailor Man" to the tune of "Popeye." TOOT TOOT! I laughed. I actually loved them for it.

When she got a chance, in between his comedic outbursts, Char introduced me to her father. And every chance he got, he'd walk in the house and give his "Vonnie Oyl" a kiss and a squeeze. She blushed. "SO!," he said to me, "You're from HAWAYA, huh? Well, can ya hula for me?" I blushed. He had an easy laugh and a twinkle in his eye. He loved life. Ate it up with a spoon and some tartar sauce.

He took Char and I out driving that night. Neither one of us had our license since we were only 14. Wes had a '68 mustang. It was turquoise. We thought it was THE coolest car in the world. He laughed and laughed even though we sucked at driving. Instead of getting all hyped out and yelling, he'd calmly reach across from the passenger side and take the wheel when we'd veer offcourse and say, "Whoa there Girl! Let's not put this little filly on the racetrack yet!"

The next morning, he woke us up at 4:30, threw our surfboards in the back of his pickup. He'd already been up for an hour packing his breakfast and hitching up his boat. Then, he dropped us off at the beach pier and told us that he'd meet us at the Dory after we were done surfing. By that time, he'd have his limit of fish and we could head home. When we met him after, he had that great big smile and a new load of fish for his "Vonnie Oyl." Everyone at the pier and the dory knew and loved ol' Wespeye. And he loved them right back.

He was born right here in Costa Mesa in 1929. You don't hear that very much around here. People move here from other places, but not many were born here back when it was known simply as "Goat Hill". In the 30 years I've lived here, I've never seen goat. But Wes could tell you the where's, when's, and why's about his beloved Costa Mesa. His love for this coastal flatland, the ocean that hugs it, the boat that he spent his years on, were all very evident from the minute you met him.

Char called me last Thursday, in tears, to tell me that her dad had passed away that morning. It was sudden, unexpected, but peaceful. Today, at the services, she hugged me and held me tight and I returned her embrace. She whispered in my ear how happy she was that I came. I whispered back, "Anything for Wespeye." And she let out a soft little laugh and squeezed me tighter. "I can't believe you remember that." I remember everything. Especially Wespeye.

Rest sweet, rest soft
Slumber comes at star's loft
Fear no more the pain of past
Sleep dear one, sweet sleep at last

In loving memory
Wes "Wespeye" Crocker
1929 - 2004

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Ok, we apparantly didn't pack ALL their stuff...

Averie; she of a fabulously funny world all her own, has invited us on her journey as a family passenger. Yes, it is indeed THE very Averie of "Tinmen Don't Dance." Please, do yourself a favor; visit her blog and feast your eyes upon HER take of the family weekend roadtrip.

I'm still laughing. And she's so right.

Birthdays, Brothers, and San Francisco

It's been 3 years since I last saw him. I can't believe it's been that long. It makes me feel bad. Especially since we live in the same state. All this family stuff I've been immersed in, and his voice on the phone begging me to come up for his birthday, made me realize I needed to do a better job being a sister. There's no excuse for such a span of time between visits.

So, we packed up the van with whatever you take for a quick weekend trip to the Bay Area; three kids, their stuff, and a flatulent dog, and left at 4:30 am on Friday morning. We got to Skip's front door at 1:30 pm. Factoring in "I gotta pee" and "I'm hungry" stops for both people and canine; I'd say we did alright. His smile told the whole story. He was a happy birthday boy. He was proud to show off his new pool and he, Charlie, and Bry talked golf. He lives for golf. His chest puffed up when he saw Caris and Averie and marvelled at what beautiful nieces he had. He bear hugged us all at least 50 times and I jokingly told him how good he looked for his age. Then again, not so jokingly because he does look damn good for 57. I still can't believe that.

We spent a day in "The City". San Francisco is a short 30 minute drive from Vallejo, and since Bryson had never been, we thought since we were here, we should go. I've always loved San Francisco. We have great memories there. My dad was born there and his family was there, so we spent some good times there when I was little. Charlie and I spent our honeymoon there. Last year, when Averie was visiting Humboldt, she, Caris and I stopped in SF to spend some time. It's an awesome city, full of life, great food, beautiful art, and amazing people. I guess that can be said of any city, but there's a special kind of magic there. Skip has always been a Bay Area guy. He tried a few stints in Southern California, but thinks we're all crazy Babylonians and perfers a Northern Cali life. Name a city or community in the Bay Area, and he's lived there at one time or another. He's got San Francisco Bay water flowing in his veins.

The weekend went quickly, as weekends always do, and before you knew it, we were back on the road heading south. The dog was still flatulent. Thank God for power windows. Dog fart humor keeps you laughing for a good 100 miles. Just in case you were planning a trip in the near future.

Uncle Skip, can we take your pool home with us? Posted by Hello

We "Heart" SF! Posted by Hello

Free Willy! Posted by Hello

What big feet you have! Posted by Hello

"Heyyyy...you look ok for a guy your age!" Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Last post for today...I promise!

In all the hubbub, I neglected to mention that we were going away for the weekend. My brother Skip is celebrating his birthday. This is the brother whom I was raised with. My big bro. He's always called me his baby sister. To this very day, he still calls me "Baby."

Skip's been pretty supportive in my efforts to find my birth family. At first, I didn't tell him because I didn't want to hurt him, or make him think that he didn't matter to me. When I told him I was going to search, he said..."Just be careful Baby, I don't want what happened to me, to happen to you." You see, Skip also tried to find his father. When he finally found him 20 years ago, somewhere in Virginia, the man slammed the door in his face and told him he didn't want to have anything to do with him. Heartbreaking. He's always been very protective of me. I'm 43, and he's still trying to keep me from getting hurt.

When I called to tell him that my search had ended happily, he said, "I'm really happy for you Pua. Just remember who your big brother is. And I don't care who you found, you're always going to be MY baby sister." Yesterday was his birthday. He turned 54. We're going to pile into the van and drive to Vallejo, some 450 miles north, and spend the weekend with him. We may not share the same bloodline, but that never made a bit of difference. It still doesn't. I want him to know that he matters. He will always matter. He will always be my big bro. No matter what.

Happy Birthday Skip. I love you.

See you Monday everyone. Love one another.

Averie and Comedian/Writer Jeff Cosgrave on "Ellen" Posted by Hello

I LOVE Reruns!

I just got home in time to watch "ELLEN" and get this....it's Averie's date night episode with Jeff. :::giggle::: I love reruns!

Is an order of French Fries too much to ask for?

Ok, it's quite possible I'm PMS'ing. I hate saying that, because so many people, especially men, roll their eyes and say that's a female cop out. But guess what? I'm thinking it's for real. Either that or I'm just a bitch. Shut up.

I should be out in the work world. I really should. Financially, I know the burden is piling up on Charlie. I worry about him. He's a quiet sufferer. He doesn't complain. But I know it's hard.

Over the last year of my being unemployed, we've made some big sacrifices. The timing is such that here I am, without a steady income coming in to help defray family expenses, BUT, Charlie's mom needs someone around all the time. That someone has turned out to be me. In between taking care of the Mum-in-law, I've fallen right back into the "At-Home Mom" scene with a vengence. Wherever they need me, I'm there. And now, with Caris doing background work for tv and movies, I want to be the one making sure she's safe while she's pursuing her dream. I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I REALLY thought that as teenagers, they'd need me less. But it's not true. If anything, they need me more. As much as I envy their lives, because they're SO much more blessed than I was, I wouldn't be a teen again for anything. It's too hard. But let's get back to me, dammit.

So, Monday; the day is spent on set with Caris. It's a long day and they don't "wrap" until 13 hours after we actually arrive. Then the long drive home. Tired. (Shameless Mom-type Plug: episode airs Sept. 20, CBS, Still Standing)

Tuesday; drop Bry off at summer school, take Caris to the DMV for her Driver's test, and then Mum-in-law babysitting the rest of the day.

Wednesday, drop Bry off at summer school, pick up school registration packages for Caris and Bryson, go make breakfast for Mum-in-law, pick up Bry. Back to Mum-in-law babysitting. All day.

Last night, I wanted to be home before Charlie got home so that I could make dinner for him. But I didn't make it. Mum had a little accident with her dinner, so I stayed and helped her clean up, made round two of dinner, and finally, at 5:30 pm, I kissed her forehead and left her, happily napping in her chair.

When I got home, bless his heart, Charlie was waiting for me with a JD and Coke (God, I needed it!) and we sat for a few minutes and talked about the day. He thanked me for my hard work with Mum and then he said the magic words;

Charlie: Would you like me to go pick up something for dinner?

Pua: I love you. I REALLY love you.

Charlie: What would you like?

Pua: Just go to McDonald's. The kids will be fine with that, and it's close.

Charlie: Ok, what would YOU like?

Pua: I'd like a cheeseburger and small fries.

Charlie: Be right back.

Thirty minutes later, he's back and hands me a small sack. I open it. It's a cheeseburger. No fries. I look at him. He's chowing down on a chicken sandwich. He looks at me...

Charlie: What?

Pua: I'd like a cheeseburger and small fries.

Charlie: Oh shit! I'm sorry. You did say that didn't you?

Pua: I'd like a cheeseburger and small fries. Is that hard? A cheeseburger and small fries.

Charlie: I'll go get it right now.

Pua: No, nevermind. I'll just have another drink to make up for it.

When he comes back with my drink, he starts to tell me about his day. But I can't hear him. All I can hear is my own voice saying; "Twenty-four years of cheeseburger and small fries and he still can't get it. Is that so much to ask?" I also hear myself calling myself a lot of horrible names because I honestly can't get back to hearing what he's saying. I'm tired, cranky, I have french fries on the brain and a pissy voice in my head saying, "Twenty-four years of cheeseburger and small fries and he still can't get it."

Yeah, I'm a bitch. A PMS-ing bitch who wants fries.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Stressed and Emotional

I describe today as bittersweet. Caris got her driver's license after we spent nearly 3 hours at DMV, or as Dane Cook calls it, Satan's Asshole. But I can't afford the insurance to cover her so that she can drive. :o(

It makes Charlie and I feel like failures. Give them all you can and sometimes it's still not enough. She's not complaining. I am.

This afternoon was spent getting Mum-in-law's bills in order...this, after spending all of Sunday getting Mum-in-law's house in order.

I'm spent. I think I'm just stretched just a bit too thin. Could cry at the drop of a hat emotional.

And I'm not even bleeding.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Caris' Headshot Posted by Hello

Big Brother is Watching...

We pre-empt the Florida Debauchery yet again to bring you this very fun moment in the lives of a background actress daughter and her mom.

Thursday night, while Charlie and I were having an early date night (it's usually on Friday) at our favorite place (even though to some particularly snobby Newport Beach residents, it has "no style" and "smells of stale beer", and for the record, he's particularly full of crap and full of himself as well...so there.) my phone began to signal that I had a text message.

Now, only three people text message me; Averie, Wayne, and Caris's agent. I knew it wasn't Ave, because she wasn't at work and in that case, she would call. It could be Wayne, but it was kinda late on the East Coast, so I didn't think it was likely. Yep, it was Caris's agent. And it was a "911" call.

I'm not particularly fond of these calls. Being that we live in Orange County, and all of the work is in LA, sometimes it can be grueling to get her to her set calls. Usually, they give us a good 24 to 36 hour notice. When it's a "911" extension call, I know that it's gonna be one of those "can you be there first thing in the morning? PLEEEEZEEE?" Of course, we always do it, because, hey, it's work. Not to mention that even though at times it's very stressful, it's always very exciting for Caris, and yeah, its fun for me too. So sure enough, when I called the office, they asked me if Caris was available tomorrow (Friday) to be a photo double for a young actress on a CBS sitcom. I got the information, called Caris at home, asked her if she wanted the job, and then, upon Caris's approval, I called her agent back and said it was a go.

On Friday, mid-morning, we got ourselves together and headed out to the Big Bad City; 52 miles away, according to handy-dandy MapQuest AND our Thomas Guide "Bible". With Friday traffic, it took two hours. It's NEVER taken us that long to get to Los Angeles. Love that congested LA freeway system! Caris had a 1:30 call time and we were pulling into the CBS gate at exactly 1:18. I thought we were cool. Unfortunately, when the gate guard gave us a MAP of the studio lot and showed us where we had to park and then HIKE back to the studio, I wasn't real sure we were going to be on time. Now we're stressing.

The parking structure is behind Studio 1. We had to get to Studio 20. Yep, they're lined up numerically. We basically RAN down Gunsmoke Lane (by the "Passions" studio), crossed over Mary Tyler Moore Blvd. (by "That 70's Show"), through some Beaver Cleaver looking backlot neighborhood. Now out of breath and sweating in the hot So Cal sun, we found, between "Yes Dear" and "CSI:NY" (yes, that's right CSI NEW YORK), Studio 20, where they tape "Still Standing". It was 1:31. We made it. We stood in the doorway and a young woman approached us and said "checking in?". We nodded. She pointed to another young woman in the audience bleachers who waved us over.

It's always fun to go on these set calls. Though my only purpose is to get Caris to where she needs to be and be available to her because she's a minor (labor laws are very strict for minors in the industry), I enjoy these days so much. I love watching her do what she loves to do and because I grew up such a star-struck little island girl, I feel like I'm living a dream just having the opportunity to see these things happen right before my eyes. By the same token, I loved the time that I spent with Averie when she was on the Ellen show last year. What a great opportunity for her and the doors that it opened up in her comedy world have been immeasureable.

The time we spend together really is concentrated time for me and Caris. We have these long drives, and we talk a lot. We listen to music and laugh. She's independent and knows what she wants, but she's still looking to me for guidance. She depends on me to make sure all of her permits are in order, that she has what she needs, that her paperwork is completed on set, to keep her audition calendar in check, BUT, she also looks to me for encouragement in stressful situations. I leave her completely alone when she's working, I stay as behind the scenes as behind the scenes can be. I'm not a stage-mom and more often than not, she has to come looking for me on breaks, because I try to give her her autonomy. I'm her ride and her cheerleader, nothing more. She has WAY more talent in her little finger hangnail than I could ever hope to have. She doesn't need me to tell her what to do.

So, we get to the set, watch the actors run through their rehearsal, and after about an hour, they come and get Caris and the four other girls that have come to be "sized up" as photo doubles for "Lauren Miller." She's the character played by Renee Olmstead in the show; the daughter of the characters played by Jami Gertz and Mark Addy. For this particular "pool party" shoot, they don't want Lauren to get wet because it would take too long to dry off and re-do makeup. Thus, the need for a body double. The director asks each of the four girls to stand next to the actresses with their backs facing them. They pick two of the girls. Caris is not one of those chosen for the photo double. BUT, they ask her to come back on Monday to be one of the pool party guests. Cool! So, she got rejected, but got paid for showing up, AND she got a tape job on Monday. After an hour and a half, we collected her pink pay slip, and walked out of the studio...this time walking, so that we could enjoy our surroundings. After all, how often can you say that you were on the studio lot, walking around unescorted? (Not talking about YOU, MaryFairy; Studio Brat Extraordinaire!)

As we got to the parking structure, we hopped on the elevator for the ride up to the 5th floor and on the way, the elevator stopped at the 4th. Two well-dressed men got on and asked if we were going down. We told them that we were going up one flight, but they were welcome to get on for the ride. They smiled and stepped in. We made smalltalk about rude people on cell phones, and then the doors opened on our floor. Caris and I got out. On the walk to the car, she said, "Hey Mommy, let's go to the top and see the view!" I smiled. Why not?

I parked the car next to the edge of the parking structure on the side overlooking the studio lot and Caris and I got out. We both laughed because it really didn't look like much. She said, "So much for this idea." But we stayed and looked around for a bit. Then, just below us on the left, I saw something familiar. A set, yes, but it was completely surrounded by ten foot chain link fence and it had a manned guard gate. Then I recognized the "front door". It was the Big Brother 5 compound. A heavily guarded area within the backlot. Trailer upon trailer forming somewhat of a triangular space. I said to Caris, who is a HUGE Big Brother fan, "Sweetie, that's Big Brother over there." She gasped, "WHAT??? WHERE??? WHERE!!??" and I pointed it out to her.

Now, you would think that a girl that has brushed elbows with the likes of Sir Ben Kingsley and Annette Bening on movie sets, would be excited over something like that. And the fact that we just walked out of a studio where she would be working on a sitcom next week, you'd think that would be exilherating. It was to me. However, she calmly and discreetly asked me, "Mommy, who is Ben Kingsley?" and "Where do I know Annette Bening from?" Oh my gosh, I felt so old as I explained to her that she was having the great honor to be working with Academy Award winning artists. She smiled and quietly said.."Oh, that's nice!" and "She's even more beautiful in person." And now, here we were, overlooking the Big Brother compound and she's coming out of her tree with excitement. Go figure.

Just then, we noticed that the two men that were in the elevator with us were approaching the Big Brother guard gate and having their credentials looked over. They looked our way, and I waved at one of them. He pulled his sunglasses down and looked up at us. I said to Caris, "Hmmm, I thought he might wave back." Then she said, "He's looking at us like we're spies." It then occurred to me that they might be producers for the show and that maybe the DO think we're spies. One of them pointed. The other turned. Caris said.."Ummm, Mommy, I think we better go!" I laughed, and we both ran for the car, giggling. All the way down the structure and out the studio gate, we were still giddy. "Big Brother!" Caris said. "Can you believe it?"

I shook my head. "No Honey, I can't believe it."

Friday, August 06, 2004

Two of the many reasons why I love being a mom....

Summer Sweets Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Happy Birthday Lokelani!

It's crazy. She was adopted out at birth, just like me. She grew up in San Diego and we went to high school only 80 miles apart. We never knew the other existed, yet now, I don't want to miss a single minute of her life. We were two puzzles with pieces missing. Now, the picture is complete.

Last weekend, when Charlie and I went to her house in San Diego and met her husband Phil for the first time, he spent a good portion of the evening staring at me. He apologized, but said he couldn't help himself. We look so much alike. I made a comment about the parallel lives we've led. Finding our soulmates (skinny, white boys who are very much alike), marrying young, sticking with our marriages for all these years. It's a huge accomplishment these days.

She's 11 months younger than me, and today, she and I are the same age; 43. It will only last a few weeks, until I move to the next "F-word" on the numerical scale. But for today, I will revel in the beauty that is my "little sister". God, I never thought I'd ever say those words; my little sister. I feel joy. Mostly because, from this birthday on, we will never celebrate them not knowing about each other.

Happy Birthday Little Sis. I love you.

Senior Pics; Lokelani (79) & Pua (78) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

GAWD, I'm an idiot!

Ok, so I read too many blogs. In between all the happenings of the day that keep my household and family running like a well-oiled machine, I have all of these beautiful lives of beautiful people to keep up on. I sometimes feel like "the Mama". And then there are those times that I just feel so completely out of touch. This is one of those times. I don't know quite how it happened, but I seem to have pissed someone off.

A blog that I read regularly is of someone who lives closeby. He leads a very exciting life and most of the time, I find it a great deal of fun. He has a huge following. A lot of the things he and his co-horts say, I don't necessarily agree with, but he's a great writer and being in complete agreement with someone isn't the criteria I use to accept the soul of a person. In that way, I feel I broaden my own depth as a human being.

Today, he made a comment about certain aspects of places in Orange County and how LA was better in this particular regard. In complete levity, I cut and pasted the quote that he made into his commenter and simply put "Ummm..nope. But a great story!" and posted. He wrote me an email response saying that he stood by his opinion. I responded, still thinking it was light and airy and told him the reasons that I thought we differed, paying special attention to compliment him on his very exciting lifestyle. And in conclusion, I offered up one of my most favorite things to do in OC, closed with my usual "be well", and went about my merry way.

In return, I received another email basically lambasing my tastes. How he liked such and such because it had style, and disliked my particular fave because it was divey. That's the Reader's Digest condensed version. By the time he was done, I felt dirty. I felt like I had been spanked like an ugly stepchild. I felt like I should crawl into a cave and die for my lack of style. To tell you the truth, I was hurt. I had been a quiet fan. I'd even been one of his rah-rah people when others were personally attacking him in a public way on his blog. I couldn't understand why he felt it necessary to say things in a way that turned into a personal attack on me. He may not have meant it, but that's very much how it felt.

I sat there and thought. I wrote and re-wrote a response. It's ALWAYS my nature to be kind. That's the way I live my life. Through kind words and thoughtful response. Unless of course you mess with my kids. In that case, I might take your head off before you know it's missing. In the end, I deleted all that I had written and simply sent an email apologizing if I'd somehow offended him.

Then, I sat at my desk and cried. I feel really stupid....but mostly, I'm hurt. I'm just way too sensitive for my own good.

LAX, Take 2

So, after hanging out at "Club M", we packed up, yet again, and made our way from Simi to LAX. And by the way you goofballs, this is about my trip, not my friend's hockey playing boyfriend, even though he is very, very hot. Very hot. Where was I? Oh yeah, it's Sunday morning and for some reason, EVERYONE and their uncle has decided that today is the day to travel. The line for check-in is almost out the door. M, being the travel princess that she is, decides that she can't possibly wait like the commonfolk and walks right by the line and up to the counter. Carol and I are getting a little worried. The last thing we want to do is to have a bunch of pissed off passengers releasing their rage onto us because M doesn't know how to wait her turn. She looks over her shoulder at us and gives us the "get your asses up here" look. Oh God, it's gonna be a long trip.

The attendant checks our IDs and wraps the luggage routing tag onto our suitcases and then tells us we have to go wait in the security check line. M takes one look at that line and says.."I don't think so." So, she cuts over to the first class quick line where the uniformed Federal Transportation Bureau guys are checking first class luggage. The FTB guy says, "I'm sorry Ma'am, but you'll have to go to THAT line over there." He motioned us over to the line that is winding around the terminal and OUT the door and back IN another door. M decides that that's not going to happen and says, "I'm in first class (which she's not) and I can have a talk with the airline about you." He retorts, "I'm not an airline employee, I work for the government." She rips back, "Well then, you work for me don't you?" Meanwhile, Carol and I want to crawl into a hole and die. We just don't do things like this. I'm the meekest of the meek, unless you mess with my kids, and then I'll go postal on ya. But my philosophy in life is that you get so much farther with a kind word than with aggression. Oh, it doesn't end there kids.

We pull M away from her war of words with Government Boy and tell her to just chill. We're on vacation. Just enjoy the journey. And all of this is part of the journey. I smile. Carol smiles. M fumes. She just doesn't do lines. I make smalltalk about how I LOVE airports and I love watching people. You can tell the ones that are GOING on vacation from the ones that are at the END of theirs. Our line moves slow. Agonizingly slow. I'm cool with it. We're early and I'm finding a great deal of joy in the experience. It's just unbearable for M. She suddenly breaks away from the line and says to Carol and I, "Stay here, I'll be right back." Oh no. Please no. We watch as she moves to the front of the line. There's quite possibly 50 people in front of us. She leans over to talk to another FTB employee. He shakes his head. We can tell she is agitated. Carol makes a comment about how we need to stop her because if we don't, our luggage is gonna end up in Pakistan because she pisses someone off. She comes back and tells us her attempt to BRIBE the guy didn't work. Thank God, we think. That's all we need is to end up being carted away by Airport Security and miss another plane or worse.

I take M's luggage and tell her, "Listen, why don't you go on ahead. Go upstairs and wait for us at the bar near our gate. We'll check your luggage through and we'll meet you up there when we're done. Ok? Please?" To our great relief, she agrees. She whips her little "First Class" card out of her wallet (she has one for every airline), and goes happily on her way. I could feel my blood pressure going down. I could sense Carol calming as well. For the next 45 minutes, we watched people, shuffled along in the line, talked to newlyweds, met a young couple from "Couples Fear Factor" who had just finished filming a reunion Fear Factor episode, had a discussion about personalities and people and how the jetset life is just a tad too stressful for us, and how great it is to live in the minute. We had a great time and soon, our luggage was on it's way and we were heading through screening and waving to M who was drinking a Bloody Mary in the bar. It's 9:30 am. I ordered a JD and Coke.

By the time I got on the plane, I had had 2 JDs. I'm a fearful flyer. I have met SO many people by being a fearful flyer. It's amazing how compassionate people can be when you're on the verge of tears and you turn to the person sitting next to you and ask if you can hold their hand. I've never been turned down. I'm fine once we're up or once we've landed, but take-offs and landings send me into a frightening thought spiral. Luckily, this time, I had Carol to sit next to. We giggled as we boarded. We giggled as we found our seats. Lo and behold. They put the two giggling women in the Emergency Exit row. They put M on the other side of the plane with a lavatory between us. That was probably best. Since she travels 8 to 9 months out of the year, this isn't much fun for her. I was having too much fun for a buzzkill.

The flight attendant came and asked us if we were aware that we were in the Emergency Exit row and should the need arise, would we be able to assist with the door and helping other passengers. We smiled. Sure. No problem. I picked up the Emergency card in the seat pocket and started to read my homework. Carol giggled and dug through her carry-on bag to find something to eat. She pulled out an AquaFina bottle, uncapped it, and stuck it under my nose. "Thirsty?" My SpideySense told me it wasn't water. She said, "Now all we need is some orange juice." The businessman behind us said, "We hope you're gonna share that!" And then he thought better of it as we giggled a response and he said..."Oh great, THEY'RE in charge of our emergency exit!" He laughed and then reached over and squeezed my shoulder. "Don't worry, Honey. We're not gonna need you." Good thing. Fun flight.

We had an uneventful flight and landed safely in Atlanta. This was easy. Now it was just a matter of waiting to get on a 45 minute flight to Jacksonville, Florida where our friend Cindy was anxiously waiting for our arrival. There was a little pub right next to our gate and we decided to wait there. The girls wanted a barley soda. I ordered a JD and Coke. Our server leaned over and said in his cute little Georgian accent, "that's MY favorite drink too!" Mmmmmm, that means I'm gonna get a good one. Drink, that is. He brings the girls their beers. Nice, tall, pints. He leaves and comes back with my drink and puts in on the table in front of me. My face must have said it all because both Carol and M almost did a spit take from laughter. I looked at my drink. It was, I'm not kidding you, in a SHOT GLASS. I laughed as I turned to George, our cute little server, and said.."Darlin', WHAT is this? Don't ya'll know how to make a drink in Atlanta?" He smiled the most brilliant smile as he picked up M's credit card and accidentally dropped it. When he bent over to pick it up, I said.."Well ok, if the drink comes with a floorshow, then fine." At that, George, still smiling, "accidentally" dropped the card again, and bent over nice and slow, turning back to look at me and winked. When he came back with the bill, he said, "The JD and Coke was on me." Carol and M yelled "foul!". I left a big tip. I like Atlanta.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

"I'm sorry...."

...but I don't show a reservation for you in the system."

That's what the Delta ticket agent at LAX said to my friend Carol and I when we showed up to catch our flight on Saturday morning. We stood there perplexed. Charlie had just dropped us off and said good-bye. And there we were, bags packed and ready to get on a 10:00 am flight to Florida. Just like our friend M, who had made all the arrangements had told us:

"Don't be late. Our plane leaves at 10:00, and you know how LAX is. So be there at 9:00 if you can. Ok?"

Carol and I always try to be compliant where M is concerned. M is the career business woman. She's the one that's led the jet-set life since high school. World traveler, 6-digit income, bon vivant, linquist. You name it, she knows about it. So back in April, when she told us she had booked tickets for Carol and myself to go to Jax Beach, Florida to visit our other bud from high school, Cindy, her treat, we of course, wrote it in pen on our calendars.

A few days before the trip, Carol called me:

Carol: Hey Girl...I just talked to M and she told me to tell you that we should only take CARRY-ON luggage. That will save us some time.

Me: ::::silence::::

Carol: Pua?

Me: Um...Carol?

Carol: Yes?

Me: I can't even fit ONE pair of my pants into carry-on.

Carol: :::laughing::: THANK GOD! That's exactly how I feel! So we should get to the airport earlier than M. That way, we can check our luggage in without her even knowing it. By the time she gets there, we'll be all checked in and ready to go. We can tell her that we have to go to baggage claim when we get to Florida. Deal?

Me: Sounds like a plan!

So that's how it went. Carol got to my house early, Charlie drove us the 40 miles to LAX, and now we stood at the counter, with the Delta representative telling us that there are no tickets for us. As the rep is looking over the "E ticket" printout I gave to her and trying to figure things out, my cell phone rings;

Me: Hello?

M: :::grumpy::: Hi.

Me: What's up Sweetie?

M: I'm at the airport. My travel agent never followed through and booked the flight for us.

Me: Uh..yeah. I'm getting that impression.

M: So don't even bother coming to the airport.

Me: Well, actually, we're already here.

M: What? Where are you?

Me: We're at Delta 5

M: I'm right outside. Come out here.

I should have looked at this as an omen; a foresight of things to come in the following days. But, what the hell? Here I was with a week to spare, and I'm a roll-with-the-flow kinda girl. Little did I know that at the end of 6 days, I was going to earn my gold medal in Flow Rolling.

When Carol and I go outside of the terminal to meet M, she was standing there with her little rolling carry-on, and she was FUMING. We both, kinda pulled our regular sized suitcases BEHIND us so she couldn't see them right away. We needn't have worried. She was too pissed off to notice.

"So?," we asked, "what happened?". We proceeded to get the lowdown on how her agent hadn't followed through and paid for the tickets when M okay'd them back in April. Therefore, M had to pay for us to get seats on a flight leaving the following day. The catch? She paid $1,000 PER seat. At that, Carol and I played the "mass drop" game. Our jaws fell open. We were doing a mosquito hangar impression. We looked at each other and then looked at M. Neither one of us could afford that kind of airfare. I'm a simple housewife. Unemployed for over a year now. Charlie and I had to use money from a home equity line of credit to pay for the trip to Hawaii to meet my family. Carol rents a room in her brother's house. That kind of kala (money) was WAY outside our means. M saw our faces and said..."Oh please. This is nothing. I always figure out a way. So come on, we're going to my house to hang out until tomorrow." Like dutiful $1,000 slaves, Carol and I followed obediently.

Being the world traveler, M always parks her car in airport parking and leaves it there when she goes on her trips. We loaded our luggage, and for the first time, M notices that Carol and I don't just have carry-ons:

M: What the fuck, you guys!

Carol & Pua: :::laughing:::

M: That's the biggest fucking carry-on luggage I've ever seen!

Carol: Well, I called Pua the other night and we had a little talk about you and your carry-on. We're two big and beautiful women whose accoutrements cannot be contained in that little purse you call a carry-on. So deal with it.

M: :::laughing::: You two kill me.

M has a beautiful home in Simi Valley, so she called her boyfriend Jerry, and told him that he was going to have unexpected guests tonight. Jerry's a BEAUTIFUL hockey playing Czech. You KNOW how I love hockey players. So hey, I'll float in the pool, and watch Jerry walk around. Not a problem. My vacation has already begun. We made a quick stop at the stables so that M could show us her new horse, Stretch, who as it turns out, loved me and we had some very nice muzzle to muzzle time. Carol was jealous. M said Jerry was built like Stretch. I was jealous. :o)

So, Carol and I spent a beautiful afternoon lounging around M and Jerry's pool and laughed about the way things were going at the start of our adventure. Unfortunately, M suffered a migraine (I'm sure it was stress) and retired early. Jerry took Carol and I out to dinner, then we came home and tried to get a good night's sleep. After all, we were heading back to LAX in the morning...

and THAT my dear friends, is just the beginning of the chaos....