Jun 292011
 

Okay, how many blog posts am I going to start and then “Save Draft” only to never finish them?  Yeah, it’s a rhetorical question that has no answer.  I guess there is an answer – MANY. I feel like the word “interesting” is overused when describing life.  And, yet, my life has been filled with interesting events over the past couple of months since I actually posted a blog.

more_than_3I produced my one-woman show, More Than 300 Pounds, in May.  I did a staged reading.  I rented a fabulous theatre space, The Little Victory at The Victory Theatre in Burbank.  I sent out nearly 2,000 postcards to industry people.  I made a real go of it.  This was going to be it!  This was going to be the moment when someone like Judd Apatow or Kevin Smith was going to “discover” me and these last 15 years of trying to bust through were going to be a blip when Jay Leno asks me about my “overnight success.”  It sounds great doesn’t it?!  When I went to the bank and sucked out a HUGE amount of money out of my dwindling savings to produce this show I just knew I was making an investment in my future.  So, when my mom and sister showed up and a friend, who has been my friend since the second grade, and a handful of other friends it ended up being a really expensive exercise in showing my friends and family how great I am.  Out of the nearly 2,000 postcards I sent I received one RSVP from an industry guy who knows my dad.  And, that was that.  My husband has reminded me that it is and was a great thing I did.  I can tell people I did this.  I wrote this.  I produced this.  I…well, you know.  I did it.  Yay ME!  (That and $2.15 will buy me a Vente drip at Starbucks…)

more_than (1)

People say that when life is uncertain that that is the best place to be.  That when you don’t know what’s next you can create new things.  And, being in the midst of it…blah, blah, blah…it can be difficult to kick up your heels and say, “Yippeee, life is uncertain.”

It stands to reason, kind of, that if you know what’s coming then you can’t have it any different.  Of course, that doesn’t really make sense since life really is chaos and  anything can happen at any moment that can derail what you know.  But I like to think at this point in my life, with all the uncertainty and ups and downs, that something exciting and wonderful is coming.  I suppose it really is, “what you make of it.”  So, if it includes asking people if they want their non-fat latte with or without foam, then life is pretty sweet because it’s better than the alternative.

The Wheel of Death

 Life in Los Angeles  Comments Off on The Wheel of Death
Feb 212011
 

I know, I know.   Where have I been?   A friend called me the other day and said, “Do you realize your last blog entry was October 26, 2010!?”   Yes, I know.   I know.

Wheel of DeathJohn and I used to have annual passes to Disneyland.   We would go all the time.   On our first trip we stayed down in Anaheim for a couple of days and spent a lot of time at both Disney and California Adventure.   Having an annual pass gave us the opportunity to go for a couple of hours on a Saturday night just for coffee and the parade and the fabulous people watching that you can only find at Disney, without the pressure of having to get on a ride or making every minute count like you do when you save up and go once every couple of years.   So, on our first trip to California Adventure we enjoyed everything we could together.   I am a bit of chicken when it comes to rides.   Not just because I’m afraid of the ride but because of fitting.   Yes, there are some rides that just won’t accommodate my ample rear end.   (Years ago, I had an experience at Universal Studios where I didn’t fit in the seat on a ride.   I managed to get the seatbelt around me but clearly I didn’t fit in the seat.   The ride took off and I held on for my life during the whole thing.   It scared the crap out of me.   Really, did I want to be a headline?   “Fat woman plunges to her death on a kiddy ride at Universal…Film at 11!”)   So, even if I had a desire to go on California Screamin’, the roller coaster at California Adventure, it is unlikely I would ever attempt to even get into the seat.   What if I didn’t fit?   What if the alarm didn’t go off when the belt didn’t go around me?   Did I really want to die at Disney?   Surely, if I died they would compensate John quietly as only Disney can…     I decided to be a gamer and get on the Ferris wheel at California Adventure.   How scary could it be?

I was feeling brave so I said, “let’s go in one that slides.”   Here’s how it went. We get in the bucket.   I am feeling fine.   I am sitting Lisa_scream2across from John.   I have a water bottle next to me on the seat.   We start to move…slowly.   I feel my heart starting to pound and my hands starting to sweat.   I looked around for something to hold onto.   There was nothing.   I pushed my fingers through the small holes of the cage.   My eyes were wide.   I looked at John terrified…pleading.   Then as we started to rise I said in a shrill voice, “This may not have been such a good idea!!”   Then my water bottle fell over.   John calmly said, “Honey, we are going to slide now.”   At that moment the bucket slid backwards and we started to swing. I started to shriek and scream like only someone in a horror movie could.   It was a lifetime until we finished the revolution.   They stopped the ride and let us off.   As I stepped off I said to John, “Do you think they know it was me?”   I am pretty sure they have a picture of me in the operator’s box with a big red circle with a line through my face.   For full disclosure, they have a picture like that of me over at Splash Mountain at Disneyland too.

Why bring up the Wheel of Death now?   Because lately that’s a bit how life feels.   Not bad.   Nothing that’s going to kill me.   Definitely some excitement and some fear and some joy and some uncertainty all wrapped up with a “Have Disney Day” smile.

Oct 262010
 

Today is October 25th, the anniversary of the day I broke up with an ex-boyfriend and tomorrow is the anniversary of the day I finally met my husband in person.  Dates are funny.  Not in a magical way.  Dates are like smells in the memories they invoke.  I remember the day I broke up with my ex-boyfriend distinctly.  It was a Sunday.  We had gone downtown to Chinatown for Dim Sum.  The place he wanted to go was closed for a private party so, we wandered around downtown trying to find a place.  By the time we found a Dim Sum place it was filled with people and there was a line.  He got upset.  Clearly, he had issues that had nothing to do with not getting a pork bao and a chicken foot.  I was upset that he was upset.  We walked back to the car in silence.  Then in the car we started arguing about something or other.  I remember taking off the silver rolling ring he had bought me on a fun trip down to Tijuana to have lunch and buy contraband freon for an old car he was working on, and I threw it at him and said, “Maybe we should just break up!!”  The words hung in the air.  A moment later he turned to me and said, “Okay.”  We drove to Canter’s where we had soup and cried.

The following year, John, my now husband, and I started talking on line and then on the phone.  He came to visit me for the first time on October 26th.  At the time I was taking part in a documentary about 4 women of size and their lives.  The camera crew came with me to pick John up at LAX.  The moment we saw each other, for the first time, in the flesh, was captured on film.  We showed that snippet of film at our wedding reception.

Today is just another day.  Days lately seem like just another day.  I lost my job with the accounting firm a little over a year ago.  It was a job, I thought I was good at. But everyday I would drive home from there deflated and sad that that was the job I was doing.  It wasn’t the people.  Okay, it was one of them.  But it wasn’t really the people or the work.  I like accounting.  It just wasn’t what I moved to LA to do.  Every day I would drive home in that ridiculous 101 commute wearing grown up clothes and feeling miserable. When I was “let go” I was sad and frustrated and yet I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and freedom.  That is, once I stopped crying.

sausageA year ago today I was in Amsterdam.  I had paid for my ticket less than a week before I got “let go.”   It was an amazing trip.  I felt inspired and alive when I was there.  When I was home, I continued to feel inspired.  It is an inspiring place.   On this day a year ago I was in a farmer’s market with my sister and brother-in-law.  The sausage guys started singing a Mamas and Papas song and called me Mama Cass.

I know it’s silly.  Nothing has changed in the year.  I weigh the same as I did last year.  My hair is a bit darker.  Financially, I know I need to work and soon.  But I read an article in the LA Times about unemployment and how a woman applied for a job where there were four openings and 2000 people had submitted applications.  It seems so bleak.  And, worse, I wouldn’t want that job.

I have had some great auditions this year.  And, in a sense, it feels like when you are looking at a slot machine and you almost win.  There is that excitement but there are no bells and no money in your pocket.

I remember a long time ago talking to a friend who was unhappy about some things in her life.  I told her, “you have shitty circumstances but you aren’t your circumstances!”  That is kind of how I feel.  Only all of my circumstances aren’t shitty.  And, all of my situations aren’t shitty either.  It really is bits and pieces.  My great husband just came home and I am cooking dinner.  I am fortunate to have a great husband and I am fortunate to have dinner to cook in my apartment.

There is part of me that just knows it isn’t time to quit yet.  I know there is a lot of acting and writing left in my future.  I know I will make money doing what I love.

The Luxor, the Celebrity Chef, the Comedian and the Fat Girl

 Life in Los Angeles, Vegas  Comments Off on The Luxor, the Celebrity Chef, the Comedian and the Fat Girl
Jul 182010
 

I admit it, I love Las Vegas.   I love to play the slots.   I love roulette.   I love the great restaurants.   I love to people watch.   It is a feast for all the senses in a most prurient way. Over the past year or so I have been spoiled by getting to stay at the Mandalay Bay.   Yes, I know there are more extravagant hotels in Las Vegas.   But there is something about the Mandalay Bay.   It smells a bit like heaven and coconuts.   Unfortunately, my great offers this time around weren’t for the Mandalay Bay.   I knew I would get 2 nights on the strip before we moved down to the South Point for my husband’s conference.   I had some GREAT offers for the MGM Properties.   So, I had to choose.   I was leery of choosing the Luxor even though in the past I have done well gambling there.   My birthday there last year was awful.   When you have to change rooms three times you just give up.   It was crazy since my husband’s birthday celebration there 3 months earlier was amazing.   Even the bed we had on his birthday was the most comfortable bed I had ever slept on.   It seems that is the only bed of it’s kind in the hotel.   With that said, we did opt to stay at the Luxor for the first 2 nights of our stay and while the woman at the desk told me she looked at the print out and we were going to have a pillow top mattress, we did not.   She was adamant that we get the room with the jacuzzi jets in the tub.   That was sweet but I knew it was highly unlikely we would use it.   The mattress was old and quite bouncy.   Given that it was bizarrely comfortable.

I gambled, well, a lot.   More than I anticipated.   I got stuck at a machine.   It was crazy.   I was like a poster child for why you shouldn’t gamble.   You know, I would hit a big jackpot and then give it all back.   Then I would put my money in because, of course, I was going to hit another jackpot.   Then I would give the money back and put in more of my money.   Yes, I know that is how they built Las Vegas.   Since I visited, the Luxor can definitely afford to buy it least one more pillow top mattress.

Out of my last six visits to Las Vegas over the past year I have only stayed at one other hotel besides the Luxor and the Mandalay Bay (or THE Hotel at the Mandalay Bay) and that was New York, New York.   Every time I have been to Las Vegas over this past year,   I have walked by RM Seafood which is at the foot of the Mandalay Place as you walk out of the Mandalay Bay Hotel towards the Luxor.   If I say I have walked by it 15 times I may be close to accurate.   I have read the menu a handful of times.   I even brought my husband there last August when we stayed at the Mandalay Bay.   He loves seafood.   But no, we ended up eating somewhere else.   So, this trip we had one free night together.   I asked if he wanted to try RM Seafood.   I had seen Rick Moonen a while back on Oprah where he made his signature catfish Sloppy Joe.   Not my bag of meat (as they say) but I knew my husband would be thrilled to eat seafood.   My mother was apoplectic when I told her we were probably going to go there.   “OHHH!!! I love him.   He should have won Top Chef Masters.   If you see him, tell him I said so.”   “Okay, Mom.   I will…”   As if I was going to see him.   I called over to the restaurant.   Made a reservation which was more like a, “Hey, can you seat two for dinner as soon as we can hoof it through the Luxor casino and through the Mandalay Place?”   The answer was yes.   We got there around 7:45 on a Wednesday evening.   The place was hopping.

As a woman of size, I always scope a place out to make sure I am going to fit where they are taking me to sit and to be sure that I am not going to bump into people along the way.   Once seated I always plot my way back out of the restaurant and watch as people are seated so I don’t have to say, “excuse me” as I bump into the back of someone as they are eating. The hostess took us to a perfect table.   The table moved so I was able to sit on the very comfortable bench.   My husband sat across from me.   We read the menu back and forth to each other.   You know, “Oh wow, did you see the crab cake?”   “They have barbecued macaroni and cheese.”   I don’t know who the people were sitting next to us but they were clearly “someone” when they were done their waiter came by and said, “Rick took care of it. Dinner is on him.”   Or something like that.   How nice of Rick! I didn’t even think that was “Rick” as in the “R” in RM. Our waiter was great.   John ordered the crab cake appetizer and the Cioppino for dinner.   He barely spoke to me during dinner. I ordered the macaroni and cheese as starter, and the pan roasted chicken with a side order of mashed potatoes for dinner.   Just typing it my mouth is watering.   Even though we wanted dessert we were full from the outrageous meal and didn’t order it.   We ate exactly what we wanted.   (Of course a little over a week later, writing it, I would KILL for what I left on that table.) During our meal the GM came over to our table and chatted with us a bit.   What a charmer! Then Rick, himself, came over to our table.   Yes, Rick Moonen!   It was such a wonderful surprise.   He was charming and humble.   His food is definitely a work of art and it shows.   He clearly LOVES what he does.   I look forward to going back again not just for the food but for the atmosphere of being around people doing what they love.

Then we moved down to the South Point Hotel.   My husband was going to attend TAM8 (The Amazing Meeting).   Financially, we figured next year I will attend as well.   I was so pleasantly surprised by the room at the South Point.   It was big and spacious…not a lot of furniture cluttering up the space.   But there was enough furniture to relax in different places in the room.   The two chairs at the table did not have arms.   The couch was firm and comfortable.   The bed was a bit firm but nice.   The pillows were great (even though I brought my own.) The bathroom was perfect.   One of my pet peeves as a big woman is a toilet that is crammed between two walls.   I have hips and those hips don’t need to rest against a wall while I sit on a toilet.   Sorry to paint a picture you may not be interested in, but suffice it to say, this bathroom was awesome!   Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a 4-star hotel.   The toilet seat is plastic and there wasn’t a clock in our room.   We did have a flat screen television on the wall so I was able to eat a great deli sandwich from the deli in the hotel and catch a rerun of South Park while John attended a dinner.   As someone who, admittedly, can sit at a video poker machine for hours I will say their chairs in the casino weren’t very comfortable.   It was as if the chair was pitched forward.   Or it could have been the way my large ass fit on the chair.   I don’t know.   I definitely was aware of the seat and I can say I haven’t noticed that in other casino’s.   At least I didn’t notice it at the Luxor.

One night at the South Point we found ourselves sitting in the bar.   John had a beer and I was sporting a killer headache.   It could have been from staring at a video poker machine all day in an uncomfortable seat with canned air.   Regardless, I had a club soda.   I noticed that Paul Provenza was sitting with a group of people.   I am a HUGE fan.   No pun intended.   I really am.   The Aristocrats is sheer genius!! He had spoken earlier at the conference.   I would have LOVED to have been there.   So, here he was sitting with some people.   I wasn’t sure if he was with those people or if they, like me, just had to meet Paul Provenza.   I didn’t want to interrupt.   As time went on he got up to leave and I had the amazing opportunity to say hello and tell him how inspiring I thought his new show the Green Room on Showtime is.   We had a great conversation about stand up comedy.   He introduced me to his friend and producer of the Green Room, Barbara Romen.   Both of them were very generous with their time and attention.   Those brief conversations spurred me to consider performing stand up again.   Maybe…we’ll see.

It was a great time.   It definitely had me look a what’s next for me and it had me take a hard look at where I fit, both literally and figuratively.

Couldn’t I Just Win The Lottery?

 Life in Los Angeles  Comments Off on Couldn’t I Just Win The Lottery?
Jun 132010
 

I haven’t written in a while.   And, it isn’t that I don’t think about writing ALL the time.   I do.   It’s just life gets in the way.   I get busy.   Being unemployed and trying to figure out what’s next has been, well, interesting.   I am going to warn you in advance…I am especially crabby today.   I want to preface that with the fact that I know I am ridiculously fortunate.   That being said, wow, I am feeling angry and annoyed today.   No, it isn’t PMS.   No, it isn’t low-blood sugar.   I am WAY too young for menopause or peri-menopause (thanks Mom, that helped…)

We have had a lot of company over the past month or so.   This is the first weekend that we haven’t had company in what feels like forever.   It is also Gay Pride Weekend in LA.   Parking on our street was at a premium.   I thought aboutass_sushi moving my car to the street so I could sell the spot when people started driving around in circles looking for parking.   Luckily, no one blocked our driveway today.   Today they would have been towed.   Hell, in my mood, I could have gone out there and pushed a car out of the way.   At least I got to see some people in “assless chaps” at the parade.   That definitely helped my mood.

I have been acting in a play.   I auditioned and got the part which was very exciting.   The play is called The Donut Shop by Carl Stillitano.   It’s about 4 people (an anorexic, a bulimic, an over-eater and a guy named Mike) who get locked in a donut shop and their interactions while they try to get out.   Guess which part I play? It’s in pre-production I guess you would say.   The producers are looking for investors so we did a staged reading of the play a little over a week ago.   It was a great time.   We are going to be doing another reading in about 10 days. Fingers crossed.

Tomorrow, I have a big television audition.   It’s one where I have to be “menacing.”   I went to my acting coach yesterday and he told me I need to work on not letting my “good nature” come through in my voice.   HA!   When I think I am being nice people get defensive like I am being a bitch.   And, when I am acting menacing I am told my good nature is coming through.   WTF!!!   I was thinking maybe I should video tape myself and then see how I sound.   I’m afraid that may piss me off too.

My acting coach also told me to consider doing stand-up.   I just don’t know if I can do it again.   I did it for years.   I was performing stand up when I moved to LA.   I was performing in San Diego before I moved.   But now, I just don’t know if I can do it.   I feel like I was so young then.   Funny, right?   I suppose this bitter pill I have obviously swallowed could make for great stand up.   Ack, I just don’t know.

There is this woman who walks her dog on our street.   He is a big rotty mix. She is a skinny blond with gorgeous legs. He is like a big buffoon of a dog.   He lumbers along and bounces around.   He clearly isn’t the brightest bulb in the dog house but he is definitely filled with joy.   Surprising since his owner is, well, stupid!   She walks him off the leash.   Why?   Because she can’t control him on the leash.   It’s a huge error in logic that is going to be a recipe for disaster. (I try and throw at least one cliche in every post…there you go.) Everyday he bounds across our lawn and chases the little cat who lives in our yard.   I have confronted her on numerous occasions and yet, she continues to do this.   I have confronted her on the street where she has completely ignored me.   (OHHH, I should think of her when I audition tomorrow!!)   Today I was at my kitchen table as Cujo came bounding across our lawn to chase the cat.   I yelled out to her, “Please keep your dog off our lawn!!”   To which she replied, “He pulls my arm when he wants to chase your cat…so, I can’t.”   Did I already say, STUPID?!   So, I say, “Then don’t walk here!”   So, she replies, “We just live up the street.” So, I say, “Walk on a different street!!”   I was polite…given I was trying to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent (second cliche alert) I made sure to holler after her, “It’s not his fault you walk him here!”   The dog is just being a dog…an untrained dog at that.   I am sure they will be back tomorrow around 9a.   Maybe I will set up my video camera and wait.   Plus it will help me with my audition later in the day.

A couple of weeks ago my husband said, “Maybe we should send you back to Amsterdam…”   I was lit up when I got back last time.   I think he is torn between wanting to get rid of me without burying me in the yard and truly believing sending me away would inspire me.   I feel like I still am very excited about what I want to do.   I have knocked on a few doors and either no one answered or they were slammed in my face.   I know I need to just shake this off and move forward.   Like I said, I am not giving up and I am certainly not done, yet.

Believe me, I know how ridiculous I am being.   I want to work.   I want to work at what I moved to LA to do.   I want to write.   I want to act.   I want to be able to contribute to the world both with my experiences and financially.   I want to make a difference.

What’s the answer?   Do I write a book?   Do I stick with my one-woman show and do my own staged reading?   Do I promote the reality ideas I have?   Crap, couldn’t I just win the lottery?