Sunday, August 2, 2015
Friday, July 3, 2015
When you're a single parent, you don't take risks with your income.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Last fall I went to work one day, only to leave a few hours later no longer employed.
Laid off ... after almost 10yrs with the same organization.
I have a post coming up soon, my latest column for The Laker, which describes how I handled this, and life after the layoff.
That's not what today's post is about, though.
Today is about an adventure I went on BECAUSE of that layoff.
Those of you who know me personally, especially since childhood, may remember my love of being on stage.
|7-8 yrs old|
|Sometime in my 30's|
Yeah, the little girl who loved to write, and act, ended up Ms. Corporate Professional, working in IT and training.
One thing the layoff did provide, was a bit of time to explore my options.
Did i want to go right back to work, doing what I was doing? Or did I want to try something new? Something totally different.
Then I saw the casting call, looking for background actors for the taping of a new season of a well known TV series being filmed here in Nova Scotia.
I had signed up with Hennessey Casting awhile back.
I filled in a profile. I sent the required pictures. Nothing professional, just 'regular' recent shots, because that was all I had.
And then I did nothing.
I didn't apply for anything for a long time, partly because I couldn't exactly take time off from my 'real' job, to 'have fun' for a day as a background actor, and partly because I didn't really think I'd get picked for anything, as I have no professional acting experience.
A few weeks ago though, I saw that call, for a show that my younger boy absolutely LOVES.
Holy Crap! I've done some pretty interesting things over the years in my career, but if I was picked for this ... the boy would LOSE HIS MIND!
I went to the casting website, read the requirements, took a deep breath, and clicked ... APPLY.
And then I waited. And didn't say a word. To anyone.
I didn't want to even say I had applied for anything, so I wouldn't have to hear the 'Ohhh sorry you didn't get it', if nothing happened.
So I waited. In silence.
And then, a few days later, the email came.
"Congratulations, you are now BOOKED as a background actor on Trailer Park Boys"
Holy Crap! I was picked!
Yes, the boy lost his mind.
Now ... what was I going to wear? ACK!
The night before I was due to be on set, I got another surprise.
I would be in the same scene as guest stars Snoop Dogg, and Tom Arnold.
Um ... WHAT?!?!?!? And once again, HOLY CRAP!
Much of Nova Scotia was abuzz about the fact that Snoop was in town to be on the show.
People were stalking the set most of the week, hoping to get an autograph or at least catch a glimpse of the famous rapper.
And then came the Buzzfeed headline, 'Snoop Dogg Is In Small Town Nova Scotia, And Everyone Is Offering Him Weed!'
Alright, so everyone knows the man likes his herb. But ... really?
Come on, 'Scotians! Be a bit more original!
I decided that if I happened to get the chance to talk to him, that's exactly what I'd be!
So the day came, and off I went to Truro, the location of the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park.
The biggest thing I think I learned about background acting that day is, it's A LOT of waiting around.
After we signed the paperwork and met with wardrobe ... we waited.
Because I had an afternoon call time, (thank you casting Gods!) we waited for the cast to finish the morning shoot.
There was waiting for everyone to have lunch. Myself included.
It was catered and really good, but I could hardly eat. I didn't want to be on camera with food in my teeth, and no dental floss!
There was waiting once we got to the specific location where we were shooting with Snoop, Tom Arnold and the rest of the TPB crew.
This was also the time you were assessed by the hair and makeup people and given your prop and instructions.
And then you waited some more.
And then they said ... 'OK Background, you're up!'
I can't tell you what we did, or what, exactly, the scene entailed because of non-disclosure agreements, and well ... I don't want to spill secrets and piss off Ricky, Julian and Bubbles! Or Snoop! Or Hennessey Casting!
You'll just have to watch Season 10 when it comes out on Netflix.
But I CAN tell you ... it was a pretty awesome experience, and a great day overall!
And yes, I did meet Ricky, Julian, and Snoop Dogg. And chatted with 'T' out in the parking lot when we were finished.
You think I'd leave there without at least meeting a couple of my boy's favourites, if at all possible?
Let me be clear in stating that I did NOT bug the cast during taping.
I didn't go near them.
And yes, the majority of them were there. And this close!
But just because I had never done anything like this before, didn't mean I didn't recognize the importance of professionalism on set.
And we had been specifically warned by the casting company, 'NO PICTURES' on set unless we were given permission!
Since I want to work with this organization again, I followed the rules.
I took no pictures.
That's not to say others didn't snap a picture of me. With friends.
I waited until we were completely finished for the day and when I saw some of the cast hanging around, casually talking to people in the room, I went over.
I spoke to 'Ricky' (Robb Wells) about going to school with his brother many years ago.
I spoke to 'Julian' (John Paul Tremblay) about what is REALLY in that glass.
And then I approached Snoop.
He had been there for awhile, but I could see him slowly making his way towards the door, and I knew my boys would never forgive me if I let him go without at least saying hello, so it was now or never.
I waked over and said, 'Hi!'.
Then, because the dude is REALLY tall, I stood up on tiptoe, and whispered in his ear, 'I hear everyone in Nova Scotia has been offering you their weed. Well, I'm going to offer you something different!'
Oh get your minds out of the gutter, people! It wasn't anything inappropriate!
Although I'm sure he also had no idea what I was about to say next.
Since I was no longer at his ear, he looked down at me through his shades and asked, 'What's that?'
I said, 'I'm offering you a home cooked meal.'
He looked surprised and said, 'Ohhhh I haven't had THAT!'
'I figured you hadn't!', I replied. Then continued on ...
'Just think... home cooked beef and broccoli stir-fry ... or tavern style ribs in the slow cooker aallllll day, covered in BBQ sauce ... so much better than take out!'
I could almost see his mouth watering through the smile when he said, 'That sounds GOOD!'
'I know it does. Now ... those casting people have my information ... you want that home cooked meal ... you find me. I'll make you dinner.'
And then we took a picture together and I walked away.
Everyone was offering Snoop Dogg weed ... So I offered to cook him dinner.
The man was offered weed by every Tom (not Arnold), Dick, Harry AND Jane in town. He's not going to remember any of those people.
But ... guaranteed nobody else offered him a home cooked meal while he was here (unless, perhaps, a cast member who lives here full time).
THAT he'll remember!
Of course, I can't tell you if he took me up on my offer. Because I did promise him 'NO PAPARAZZI!' Nobody would even know he was here.
And that was it. That was a wrap. I waited for my paperwork to be complete, and then left.
As I was heading to my car, I was introduced to and had the pleasure of chatting with 'T' (Tyrone Parsons) for a few minutes. What a nice guy!
All very nice people, including the rest of the background cast and crew.
Overall, it was a great experience. Something I would most definitely do again.
And as luck would have it ... I DID!
I was back on set at the Trailer Park for a another day the following week!
Don't bother looking for me in the Snoop episode, though.
I haven't seen the finished product, but I was at the back of a crowded room, so chances are you won't see me.
But keep an eye out for the chick in the red shirt ... just in case!
Oh, and Snoop ... you missed out on the ribs, Dude. We had them this week.
But the offer still stands, next time you're in town.
P.S. Thank you to 'the powers that be' for giving me the go-ahead to publish this post!
Sunday, June 28, 2015
I may as well start this off right away by saying, I'm probably going to get some flack for this post.
I'm going into this knowing that not everyone is going to agree with or like this one.
And that's OK.
Humour is subjective.
Have you ever said something, or written a comment, that after you'd said/written you thought, 'hmmm ... that was damn funny, but is probably going to offend someone and get me in shit.'
But you still can't help but think it's funny.
Yeah. Me too.
I had just gotten out of bed one morning last winter.
I didn't have to rush out the door anywhere, so I grabbed my coffee, and did the one eye scroll through Facebook while slowly trying to wake up.
Within seconds, I saw it.
A meme that was posted on Drea de Metteo's page.
For those who aren't familiar with Drea, she was affectionately known as 'The Junkie Whore' (aka Wendy) on Sons Of Anarchy and of course mafia princess 'Adriana' on The Sopranos.
I like her. I think she'd be cool to hang out with in real life.
After reading the meme, I let out a, 'HA!', and then without even thinking about it, I started to type. And then hit, ENTER.
I was being a smartass, and thinking about the fact that both Drea and I have ex-husbands, when I said what I did.
And then I forgot about it.
Until the 'likes' started coming in.
A steady stream of likes.
Oh don't get me wrong, there was lots of dislike for my words also, and accusations of bitterness and bitchiness. Yes, those are there, too.
But the comments in response to mine also contained quite a few 'Yup!', 'Agreed!' and 'Me, too!'.
And just the other day, 6 months later, that comment hit over 1000 likes.
HA! Really? I feel like I should say thank you!
I can honestly say that's the first time that's happened to one of my Facebook comments.
And I can also honestly say, there was no bitterness or bitchiness intended,
I never did specifically say I was referring to *my* ex!
That was an assumption made by the internet.
It's been 11yrs, people! It's all good.
In my half-awake, lack of caffeine state, I just thought it was funny and thought if Drea actually read her comments, (after seeing her sense of humour through her posts), SHE would find it funny, too.
I never even really thought about the rest of her followers.
I had only had two mouthfuls of coffee ... I wasn't thinking about anything yet!
I don't want to post the meme here, because there's a big 'ol *F*-word right in the middle of it, that definitely jumps out at you, and I know some of you are reading while at work, or have little ones hanging around, and we wouldn't want the boss or kids to walk by, and take that big 'ol *F*-word personally!
So if you'd like to see the meme, and the comment of 1000 likes at a more appropriate time, you can find them HERE.
I think you can figure out which comment is mine.
But don't read more into it, than it really was.
Agree with me, don't agree with me, find it funny, don't find it funny, think I'm a terrible person ... whatever.
I still think Drea laughed. And that was my sole intention.
Other than more coffee.
P.S. Before you send me hate mail, YES, I know it goes for ex-wives, too, of course!
And if I reeeeaaaallllyyyy thought the ex was that bad, I wouldn't be letting the boy go live with him in another province for the summer, would I?
No. Didn't think so.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Not because I'm afraid to express my opinion, especially among my inner circle, (anyone who knows me, probably just chuckled at that remark) but because as a single parent, the fear of someone harming me or my children, in any way, to 'get back at' me for something I've said, or an opinion I've expressed publicly that doesn't match with some psychopath's, has kept me reserved with my thoughts.
People DIE for their views and opinions. And not only in Bangladesh.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
I was putting the dishes away, staring out the window, not really thinking about anything specific when I heard the first notes coming from the younger Boy's room.
I haven't watched this show in a very long time, but I immediately flashed back 20 yrs, to cleaning the apartment, with this on the stereo, afternoons at the lake, with this on the stereo, touring around 12 states on the honeymoon, with this on the stereo, and flopping on the couch every week, and enforcing the 'Thursday Night Rule'.
"No phone calls, and no visitors after 9pm, it's Thursday Night Lineup!!!"
Friends. Seinfeld. ER.
Seriously. If the phone rang after 9pm, it went to voicemail.
Every Thursday night, from the very first episode, we watched and grew up with the Central Perk crew.
They were in their mid-20's. I was in my mid-20's, and although they were all still single and I was getting married and having babies, we connected.
I think it's safe to say that cast and that show connected with an entire generation.
And earlier this week, I think the generation gap in this house just got a little bit smaller, when I heard the F.R.I.E.N.D.S theme coming from my son's room.
I dropped the dish and cloth on the counter and knocked on his door, and opened it to find the show just beginning.
'You watch this now?' I asked with a big smile.
'Yeah, they were watching it at Joe's* one night, and I liked it.'
That made me smile even more.
I don't know why it should surprise me that my kid likes a show I used to love. It was a great sitcom.
It also made me a little nostalgic for a minute, for those long ago 20's and somewhat carefree days.
But ... if the tradeoff is now getting to sit on the couch with my kid, laughing at the FRIENDS cast, and hearing Ross whine, 'We were on a break!' together, I'll take that deal.
I wonder if he knows about Smelly Cat yet? Must find that episode!
*Joe ... not his real name. Of course.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
My latest column, in May's edition of The Laker ...
How do you know you're losing your mind?
I don't mean a scenario where one day, you wake up and your mind completely snaps and you go on a murderous rampage for no reason, or you trap and eat your neighbour's cat for dinner, with a nice Chianti.
I'm talking about those times that you can't, for the life of you, think of the word you want to say.
I'm talking about those times that you're in mid-sentence, and have no idea where you were going with the conversation.
I'm talking about letting the dog out one night, and suddenly realizing you have no idea how long you've been standing there with the door open, staring at the stars, in the cold.
I'm talking about not being able to remember the name of the hair colour product, that you've used for over ten years.
I'm talking about reading the directions on how to cook something, getting to the stove, and having to turn around and read the directions again, because you can't remember what you just read.
I'm talking about the times your child says to you, 'Hey mom, remember the time when ...' and although you reply with, 'Oh YEAH', and smile and nod, you silently realize you really have no idea what they're referring to. And it makes you sad that you simply don't remember.
THAT'S the type of 'losing your mind' I'm talking about.
I have experienced every single one of these scenarios.
I'm 44yrs old.
Yes, I understand our brains change as we get older. We forget things. It's a natural sign of aging, and the natural progression of 'getting old'.
But when should you start to worry that what you're experiencing is not only a natural symptom of age, but perhaps the warning signs of early onset Alzheimers, which affects people in their 40's and 50's?
My grandmother is 90 yrs old. Over the past few years, we noticed a drastic change in her personality. Little things at first, like being forgetful, or not having a sense of time, or who she was talking to.
But now, it's full fledged dementia. She has no idea where she is, she has no mobility, she can no longer speak, and she no longer recognizes her children or grandchildren, and won't accept affection from any of us.
While I love my grandmother dearly, I hate seeing her like this, and I worry.
I worry that given the issues I have with my own memory, I'm seeing into my future, and it scares the crap out of me.
I didn't really spend too much time thinking about my memory loss, until I recently watched a movie called, Still Alice.
If you have someone in your family suffering from Alzheimers, I HIGHLY recommend seeing this.
It was a fantastic movie, about a smart, professional, educated woman struggling with early onset Alzheimers, and her journey through it with her family. Someone who was considered 'young' and who was completely taken by surprise by the diagnosis.
As movies tend to do, it made me smile, it made me laugh, and it made me cry.
But it also made me think.
About myself. About my future. About my mind.
I'm scared. There. I've said it. I'm scared to end up in a chair, completely immobile, and unaware of my surroundings or my kids.
I'm terrified of losing, myself.
And I'm scared that it's already started.
This morning, I was having a conversation with the boy, and mid-sentence, I couldn't think of the word I wanted.
This was not the first time this has happened.
I knew what I wanted to say. I knew EXACTLY what I WANTED to say, but I just could NOT get that word to formulate in my brain, and come out of my mouth.
Perhaps I've just been thinking about all this too much lately, because I started to cry. I didn't mean to, it just happened because I was frustrated, but I think it scared the boy.
And I don't want to do that.
So after he left, I got online.
I searched for 'symptoms of early onset Alzheimers'.
And then I made a phone call, and booked myself into a free Memory Clinic being run by True North Clinical Research.
I go in three weeks.
I've never done anything like this before, so I have no idea what to expect.
They asked me a few questions over the phone to determine WHY I wanted to do this, and although they said that these types of symptoms can be brought on by stress, or even worry about HAVING dementia, they still thought I should come in based on what I told them.
I'm happy I made the appointment. If nothing else, they will tell me how my brain is functioning in comparison to other 44 yr olds.
And I'm still scared. I'm scared of what else it might tell me.
But I'd rather know for sure, what may or may not be going on in my brain, so I can finally stop worrying about it.
Breaking a bone, dislocating a shoulder, having a cold, even many diseases can be cured and fixed.
But, how do you fix a broken mind?
How do you fix losing yourself and the person you once were?
How do you hold on to the memories, that you feel are like grains of sand, slipping though that hourglass and the sand is running out, and you have no way to flip that glass to keep things flowing.
I don't want to be an empty hourglass.
I'm terrified to find out the answers to these questions. But I'm more terrified of doing nothing and not knowing.
So one way or another, I'm going to find out!
I suggest that if you have ANY doubt about your mental health, you should, too!
And with any luck ... I'm just getting old naturally, and the neighbour's cat is safe for a few more years, yet!