Hobbies and grandparents

30 09 2011

The past few weeks, I’ve really been all wrapped up in my late grandparents’ lives. Fifteen years ago they wrote a book together, just for the family, where they describe life growing up. My granddaddy has his story, then my nanny has her story, and finally it ends with their story together. It’s really beautiful. It’s really hard to feel sorry for yourself when you read these stories. They aren’t complete downers or anything, it’s quite exciting to have a glimpse of the world before the internet, TV, Starbucks and Super Centers. Life was so hard for them, but they still had fun.

The last thing I read from my nanny’s story was this: “Every day of her married life my mother made homemade bread and rolls. How we longed for store-bought sliced bread…” The grass is always greener never seemed so obvious. I mean who actually likes stupid store-bought sliced bread? If we all had the time wouldn’t we love to just make our own bread instead?

Speaking of so much time, I’ve come to realize that I’m a serial hobbyist. It’s kind of ridiculous. My grandparent’s had the same hobbies forever, so why can’t I? I enjoy reading, but I get distracted. I’ve tried to learn at least five different foreign languages, tried to play four different instruments (guitar twice); I’ve made puppets, jewelry, painted, sewed, knitted (at least three different times in my life), rubber stamped, drew comics, wrote poetry, tried cake decorating, the list goes on. I admire people who have had the same hobby for years.

My husband says that I’m not a serial hobbyist, that I just like to try new things. Maybe I’m actually trying to try everything out there at least once. That’s a better way to look at it, right? Who really needs to be bilingual? I’m not Elizabeth Bennett trying to nab Darcy. A few known phrases in a strange selection of languages is good enough. So hit me with your hobbies! I need to learn more. Will I stick with it? Probably not, but for just a while, I’ll be having a blast.

In the mean time, in other words until you all give me some ideas, I’m taking a cue from the grandparents. I’m going to start doing crosswords in ink and go fishing.

Wedding story three years later

2 09 2011

Every married (or soon to be married) woman has a story to tell. How often do we ask an engaged woman how she was proposed to? No one usually asks how the wedding went, because they were all there to see it! Almost all of my family and friends know how my husband asked me to marry him, but very few people know anything about my wedding.

It’s pretty common knowledge that over three years ago the hubby and I got married in Las Vegas. I don’t say eloped, mainly because it was planned and everyone knew it was going to happen. Even though there was a lot of resistance from the moms’ (on both sides), I’m still incredibly happy with my wedding day. Plus I have two stories to tell! I can recount my whole wedding day for you, and I will, but when it happened, it was a day just for the two of us. I always loved the idea of that moment where the bride and groom take time, just for themselves, in between the ceremony and the reception. It’s so romantic. And don’t get me wrong, big weddings are beautiful, exciting, romantic and wonderful, but I don’t have just one private moment to remember. I have hundreds.

For those who are interested, here is my story. My wedding day.

My wedding day started off at the airport. At the time, it made sense to me to get married right away, while we were in Vegas, so the rest of the time seemed like our honeymoon. Now I just think I was a little crazy. Something could have gone wrong, but thank goodness it didn’t. The biggest pain in the but was lugging around that wedding dress. Brides think wedding dresses are heavy just when wearing it, but I had to carry it around all day first. Well, mostly the hubster lugged it around. Ha!  Every couple has a few mishaps to talk about that happened on their wedding day. I’m no exception. It’s no biggie, but getting out of the taxi, returning from the courthouse, I totally majorly broke one of my pretty nails. I hurt like a mofo too (sorry mom). Of course it had to be on my left hand too! I thought, “dang, that’s going to be in every photo!” Really though, there wasn’t too much to be stressed out about it because who would see it? I also remember being very very cold while we were waiting for our limo to pick us up. Who thought Las Vegas would be cold in January? Whoops. Didn’t matter though. I was too excited. Besides, it turns out that you can use your own veil as a little wrap. I probably looked silly, but my husband to be didn’t point it out. That’s why he’s a keeper. Once we got to the chapel, things got kind of surreal. It definitely felt like a scene out of a movie. Right before I walked down the aisle, I could see Elvis walking by in my peripheral. Young fancy Elvis. It wasn’t raining, so I took that sighting as a sign of future marital bliss. Then I walked towards my future husband and Mr. Bean. Yeah, our minister or officiant or whatever looked like Mr. Bean. It got better once he opened his mouth. He had a very thick French accent. So I was being married by French Mr. Bean. Who could want more? I think there were some giggles during that ceremony but it too, like most weddings, happened way too fast. Before I knew it, I was back in our room at the Bellagio. I have to thank my friend Lisa for insisting that I get at least a partial lakeview room. The fountains at night are just magnificent. There is a TV channel that you can turn on in your room that is the music that matches the fountains. We turned it on, turned off the lights, pulled up a chair to the window, still in our wedding attire, and just watched the fountains. The first song that played was Time to Say Goodbye, by Andrea Bocelli. We sat there, eating complementary chocolate covered strawberries, and just enjoyed the last few minutes of the day. We couldn’t have asked for a better wedding day. I think everyone feels that way, which is good. That’s the way it should be.

Three years later, it’s still the best day of my life.

The actual view from our room that very special night. 🙂

You may not want to read this one

10 08 2011

A lot of crazy and great things have happened since my last post. Most of you know that I moved back to Austin and am loving it. The heat is another story though. I have yet to rename this blog or even come up with a new premise/theme.

Today I’m just writing what I feel like I want to write about. Like I said before, you may want to skip this one. I have a feeling that this particular blog post will mostly just be self therapy.

For over two years now I’ve had lots of ups and downs. LA was a very bumpy road and I’m still trying to recover even though I’m back in good ol’ ATX. There are plenty of things that could upset me at any point during a typical day. But I wouldn’t be myself unless I let something really ridiculous make me burst into tears.

Again, you’ve been warned.

Growing up I was a lame kid, according to other people’s’ standards. Though on the Meredith Scale of Cool, I was definitely an eight (out of ten). Two of my best friends were my mom and my nanny, my mother’s mom. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but if you knew these awesome ladies, you’d want to be friends with them too.  My nanny had four kids, my mom being the oldest, and all of those kids had kids. I absolutely loved growing up with a big a family. No, my immediate unit wasn’t large, it was just my mom and myself, but that’s not the way I looked at my family. The way my nanny got everyone together, it didn’t feel like we were all individual units, I felt like we were one big amazing family. To me all of my cousins were my siblings. And I wanted to impress my aunts and uncles just as much as I wanted to impress my mom. I still think I lucked out with a catch phrase that cracked my nanny up until the day she died!

Then things changed. My nanny did pass away. Then my granddaddy too. The heads and heart of this big weird awesome family was no more. I didn’t realize it before they were gone, but both of them had special powers. They had the amazing power of getting everyone together. Now that I’m an adult, I really do think that is a magic power that very few people have.

So all of you are now thinking, “get real, people grow up and have their own lives!” Yes they do, but to me this was different. Our big crazy nerdy family unit was now broken and I was the only one to notice. The number of holidays together slowly declined in number. Summers in Montreat became fond stories of the past. And I was once again just an only child. All of my cousins have actual brothers and sisters. Real ones, not honorary ones. So for them, I assume the change might have gone unnoticed.

As a kid, I always assumed things would be exactly the same growing up for my kids as it was for me. I have to realize that this is just unrealistic. The hubby and I are at a point where we’re thinking about the future. We’re thinking about kids. I’ve had to change my thinking process. My kids won’t be missing out because they won’t grow up with a big family. They will have a big family! They’ll have more second cousins than they’ll know what to do with. What will be more important though, will be our small family core.

Maybe my mom and my grandparents tried to make up for the fact that I didn’t have the typical family. Maybe they were trying to make sure I knew I was loved. Well mission accomplished. It wouldn’t make sense for me to try to recreate my childhood for my kids. I don’t need to make up for a broken home, because they don’t have one. Plus new traditions can be a lot of fun. And who says I can’t steal ideas from the old ones?

New dream required. Inquire within.

21 04 2011

Well, I jinxed it. That’s right. I’m a grown woman who believes that I jinxed myself. LA-DE-DA look at me, I’m surviving! Am I? Am I really?

For the moment.

So what happened, you ask? I realized that being an adult is really still just like being a kid. Do you remember that one toy that you’d do anything to get? I do. I was a pretty dramatic kid, so life was all about that one special toy. I begged, I pleaded, I schemed. I even tried to save my own money to buy it myself, as a back up plan of course. Once that magical day came, where I was in possession of said toy, life couldn’t get sweeter. Well, then one day reality hits and life with that toy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but at some point all toys get old. Eventually you don’t care about that toy at all. Then you really start to freak out because that toy is really your life dream. My life dream. What I’ve been working towards for the majority of my life.

Okay, I’ll get rid of the metaphor and just be real for a moment because I’m mucking this up. For almost 12 years now, I’ve been working towards one goal: get into the film industry. More specific than that, I wanted to actually be involved in making films. Film has always been my first love. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love movies, but I don’t think I thought about it as a future career until my Uncle Mark made we watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I was seven at the time. Being a kid, I only thought of acting as the way to go. And being an attention hog, the shoe fit. Many impromptu shows later (for friends and family), I eventually got into theatre when I moved to Austin. The moms and I moved there before my junior year in high school. Once there, I got my first taste of “behind the scenes” work while attending the fine arts academy McCallum. So there it is, the beginning of the dream and now I’m at the end.

I finally reached my goal. I trained as script supervisor with one of the best. I loved every minute and couldn’t wait to get out and work. I did one free job for an America Film Institute thesis film and that’s all it took. You know I’ve said before this whole industry is who you know, but it’s also be nice to everyone! After that one film, I had more job offers coming at me than I could handle. It was so nice to feel like a hot commodity, even in the student film/low-budget world, especially after being unemployed for more than a year. My self-esteem took a real hit after being let go from my Austin job. I know I wasn’t the only one let go, but it hurt for a long time. I took it personally. I still do! Anyway, that great feeling of being wanted wore off and all I was left with was questions. Did I actually love my job? Was it worth it just to say I work in the film industry? Was I happy, after finally getting what I wanted? The list could go on and on.

I tried to focus on what I did know. I knew that I was good at my job. I never once was nervous the night before a shoot. I knew what I was doing. I was always overly prepared. I could just walk onto a set and jump right in. But if I ever was maybe a tiny bit nervous, it was because of something silly like worrying about if I’d a make a friend on set or not. It didn’t matter though, inside I knew what I wanted to do but I tried to ignore it like I ignore all of my problems. Script supervising is not my future. It’s not worth it. I’m not passionate about it. There are so more important things in life than killing myself for a job I don’t love. You know what I love? Movies. You know what this job makes me hate? Movies. Unacceptable! There is no magic here. I’ve pulled back the curtain. There is no wizard.

So where do I go from here? That’s the big question. I want to go back to Texas, but then I’ll just look like a failure. People will say, “hey, it’s that girl we used to know that tried to make it in Hollywood. What’s she doing back here? Guess she’s a loser that failed. Let’s all point and laugh!” Yep, that’s how it’ll go down. Will that actually happen? I don’t know! But I can tell you that the hubby and I have convinced ourselves that it really will go down like that. So much so that we feel like we can’t leave this stupid town until we have something to show for it. How messed up is that?

Now you’re all caught up. We’re lost and trying to figure out what to do next. Go back? Stay longer? Go live in the UK? It’s so frustrating not having a plan! I know one day, hopefully soon, I’ll think that life without a plan is exciting and freeing. I look forward to that day and promise to embrace it once it’s here. Until then, I’ll keep trying to come up with a new plan. I’m certainly taking suggestions.

Same name, new concept

14 01 2011

Driving home after dropping the hubby off at work, I had the best idea: Make my new blog “Stories from Set.” Yeah, we all know I’m surviving, right? Big deal, now what? Stories from Set! My life is about to be all about work and nothing else. When I’m working, I literally have no time for anything. It’s long hours on set, then lots of paper work when I get home, then a tiny bit a sleep. But while on set, there is always stuff happening, so why not blog about it.

It would have been perfect if I had thought of this sooner while on my last shoot. I could have talked about the whole Michael Gross thing.  Embarrassing story, could have been more embarrassing than it was. Anyway, so I start back to work in about a week. And I have four projects lined up back to back. I’m going to have more material than I’ll know what to do with. I’m really excited about this. I’ve missed blogging. Glad I have something new to write about. Hope you enjoy the new version!

P.S. I updated the “About” section if you want to check it out too.

Apparently Surviving

27 09 2010

Turns out when you build a blog around the concept of trying to survive in LA, there’s not a whole lot to say when you are in fact…surviving.  I might even go out on a limb and say thriving. Now to be far, it’s a very big and sturdy limb plus it’s not very high up. So let me get you up to speed on current life in LA.

The hubby now has an actual full-time job. Yay! It even comes with benefits, vacation and sick time! I’d forgotten what those were like.

I finished my script supervising classes and already have one short film under my belt. It was an absolutely insane experience and I loved every minute of it. Since then I sent my info off to the head of production at AFI (American Film Institute) so I can work on student thesis films. I have more offers for work than I can actually handle! Granted, most of these are for free, but I have to build a resume. So far I have two of those jobs locked in and one of them pays!

Well you’re all caught up now. There isn’t much else to say. I’m thinking that this will probably be the end of this blog. It must be re-tooled. I love writing, but this is a dead topic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about that. It’s nice to no longer see impending doom in my near future.

I will say that it is a very strange thing that my career has completely changed. There is no way that my past Meredith, the one that was employed at PBS and living in ATX, could have imagined present Meredith (future Meredith to her). Maybe I can go to my 10 year high school reunion and not be embarrassed. That would be nice.


Blashphemy ensues

19 07 2010

I got a complaint about my last blog. Said it was…alright, but all the others are better, more interesting. Fine, no more cooking, back to the old “let’s analyze life in LA.” Hey, if that’s all I’m good at writing about, than so be it. So to the complainer, you win. Happy, mom?

Moving to LA has been like a death in the family. I don’t mean to say that moving here is tragic and really sad (well, it could be, but again off topic). What I really mean to say is that moving to LA has been like going through the stages of grief.

Denial: Upon first moving here, I expected a lot. Sure I tried to be realistic, but moving here is something no one can prepare you for. On some level, everyone is a bit naive. Jerin and I were both in denial about the future.

Anger: Once we both realized that “making it,” out here wasn’t going to be easy, we got pissed. It’s not easy. It’s not hard. It’s not challenging. It’s damn near impossible! I think that part of my anger was because I felt we did everything right, and nothing was happening. If I hear one more time “you have to get through a bunch of no’s to get to that yes,” I might scream. Every single “no” hurts. After a while you start getting angry about it.

Bargaining: You can’t be angry forever, right? So by this point we started coming up with new plans. What we thought would work, didn’t. Maybe this wasn’t meant to be? Of course it is! Back and forth. Back and forth. Then I came up with exit strategies which really pushed us into the next stage.

Depression: This town crushes souls. It crushes dreams, hopes, spirits, you name it. No town should have that capability. Regardless, it does and we were not immune.

Acceptance: You all know that this happened. Right around the one year mark of being in LA, I accepted that I live here. I accepted that I belong here. And I begrudgingly accepted that I will probably be here for a while.

Where’s the blasphemy you ask?

Like I said, moving to LA seems like the stages of grief. I went through them all, as did the hubby. The only difference is that I think there is one more stage. I’m making it up right now. I’m calling it Moving On.

Moving On: I (and the hubby) always assumed that we’d work out here, make a name for ourselves, and then go back to Austin. ATX was our home, but now I’m seeing it like an old boyfriend that you dated when you were young. I’ve out grown you a bit. Hear me out! The town and people are wonderful. There are no comparisons. But the industry out there, that’s another story. As I come to the end of my training, I think about my future life as a script supervisor. I want to make myself available for work in Austin (really everywhere), but moving back there seems like a step back. What would it accomplish? Maybe I should go somewhere completely different after being in LA. NY maybe? Who knows? Just keep in mind these are just thoughts. I don’t know what my future holds. I do know that I want to be successful. Someday I want to be on the same level as my script supervisor teacher. You can’t get any higher than her. But can I do that without living here? That’s not something I can answer anytime soon.

And please forgive me, my fellow ATX peeps, I still love you all. 

It’s shake n’ bake, and I helped! Not really though.

15 07 2010

This week has been an absolute emotional roller coaster. I haven’t had too many of those types of weeks lately, so it was a pretty rough ride. Instead of going all into the nonsense, I’d rather talk about things like cooking and photography!

When I was younger, my culinary skills encompassed three tasks: peeling boiled eggs (to be made into deviled eggs), making scrambled eggs and finally the pièce de résistance, handling the Shake n’ Bake bag. Thank goodness my repertoire has expanded from that. There is this amazing dish I cooked a couple of years back that I remember everyone enjoying it. It was healthy too, yay! Problem was I no longer had the recipe. I remembered the ingredients; it’s a pretty simple dish. There was a time though that I wouldn’t even give it a go without a recipe in front of me. My ultimate goal is for my cooking to become more of an art than a science. I want it to be more like when my nanny use to cook, but healthier versions with fresher ingredients. So without further ado, I give you photo recap of my very successful dish: Meatball pepper pasta!

Now be nice, this was my first time at food photography. I was home alone, so I had to take quick photos while I was cooking. Look at your own risk. I’m not responsible if you get hungry! 🙂

I love cooking with peppers. They’re yummy and pretty. Couldn’t pass up this opportunity. While my pasta was boiling I prepared my peppers. Side note, I used wheat pasta this time and it was amazing! Don’t think I’ll ever go back.

I sautéed the peppers in a little bit of olive oil. At the end, I first thought I should have cooked them longer, but I liked that they were a bit crunchy compared to the soft pasta.

After I finished with the peppers, I added some sauce and the meatballs. I do remember from this recipe that you don’t use a lot of sauce. I had about a half of jar left and it was perfect. Photography note: I love how with this camera you can even see the steam coming off the sauce.

Meatball pepper pastaAnd Voila! The completed meatball pepper pasta. Once you’re done with the sauce you’re suppose to mix it with the pasta. That way it’s just enough sauce, but not too much added fat/calories. Everything was wonderful! The hubby didn’t even want Parmesan cheese. He said it was perfect without it, so score! I was proud of myself for completing this recipe. I didn’t have a real guide to go by. Yes it was easy, which is good, but I’m proud to say I didn’t measure a single thing. Somehow the amount of pasta and the amount of sauce just ended up being perfect.

Well I hope you enjoyed my first stab at cooking photography. There are plenty of leftovers if you’re now really hungry!

I’m a walking contradiction

1 07 2010

For over a month now I’ve been thinking about the concept of people being walking contradictions. It’s crazy how much I’ve become one. I think this town perpetuates it. I can’t think of a town that is a bigger contradiction that Los Angeles. But how have I become one, you ask? Let me explain. First, I hope you all watch Glee, otherwise you won’t be able to appreciate this as much. One of my favorite lines from the show was from the character Rachel Berry. For those that don’t watch the show, she’s the bossy, pushy, loud, insane overachiever as well as a future superstar in the making. For those that know me, that about describes me as a kid/teen. I even wanted to be a star. So it’s easy for me to relate to the Rachel Berry character. The line that just cracked me up was this,

“I’m like Tinkerbell. I need applause to live!”

There it is. Hilarious moment. Also, still describes me. I may have outgrown that wide-eyed little girl dreaming of becoming a star, but I still crave praise. It’s a horrible trait, I know. For the most part, this only applies to me in two  ways. With work and with cooking. In every job that I’ve had, I desperately wanted to please my bosses; always going above and beyond the call of duty. Yes, I wanted to be proud of great work, but I wanted others to be proud of it as well. Where does this contradiction stuff come in, you ask? Well, here I am, still that person that “needs applause to live,” and yet I have chosen the MOST thankless jobs in the entire film industry. Yes, you read that right.

Script supervising is a big job and it’s just for one person. I’m a department of one. Going over the actual “work” in my last class of what you need to watch out for, I was starting to feel overwhelmed. This is a job where you need to know that script backwards and forwards. Every department will ask you a question and you ALWAYS have to know the answer. “What time a day is it in this scene?” “Is the actress’s nail polish the same color from the scene we shot two weeks ago?” “Which word did I drink out of my cup?” “Was the door always open?” It goes on and on!

So I keep asking myself, why in the world did you pick this craft? And the simple answer is I think I love it. Over halfway through my classes, I get more and more eager to start working. I honestly feel like this job was tailor-made for me. It seems a bit overwhelming right now since I’m still learning, but doesn’t everything seem like that when you first start out? Then you think back, “what the heck was I afraid of?” For now, I guess I’ll just have to deal with the fact that I’m a walking contradiction. I’ll just have to get my praise some where else. 🙂

1 Year Anniversary. Dinner’s on me.

9 06 2010

Everyone loves anniversaries, right? Who goes, “ugh, it’s my anniversary, lame.” Who does that? Can’t think of anyone. Certainly can’t include myself in the list. I love anniversaries: birthdays (um, anniversary of my birth), dating ones (Nov 9th 2001, yep I still remember), wedding ones and now the anniversary of living in Los Angeles. LA isn’t going to buy me dinner or get me flowers, but I’ll let it slide this time.  Marking this milestone has really changed things, so let me explain.

Strange thing happened at 12:31am Monday morning while driving home from a game night from a friend’s house, I had an epiphany.  Driving on the 101 from Silverlake back to Valley I felt changed. Not sure when it happened, but this was the first time I was noticing it. A week ago the hubby and I  just passed our one year anniversary living in here in Los Angeles.  In any other town, that wouldn’t really be a big deal. I’m not trying to say that this town is better than others, I’m just saying that this is a tough town to live in. Coming to LA and trying to make it in the biz  is just as hard as everyone says. Maybe even harder considering the economic climate. I’ve known some amazingly talented people come out here, nothing happens, a year passes by, still nothing so they go home. I have been determined to not become like that. Yeah I know it’s my pride, but I don’t want to go back to Texas with my tail between my legs as everyone mumbles to each other how much of a waste that move was.

So back to the drive. Even though it’s late, it’s the city. Bright lights everywhere. Exit signs for the Kodak Theatre. Universal Studios. Panavision. It really dawns on me how a bit surreal it is that I live in California. I live in Los Angeles. We made it. We’re over the hump. We certainly hit our worst low point, on the brink of having to move. We hit it and now we’ve moved on. As much as I had planned otherwise, we’re here for the long haul. I’m still a Texan, but for now, I belong here. I can’t go back, at least not for a good while. I have a lot of work to do. And for the first time, during this same car ride, I realized that I’m okay with that. I don’t miss Austin on a daily basis. I don’t wish that we could just pack up and go home.

I don’t think I can chalk this feeling up to just any one thing.  I’d say it’s because of a great many things: great friends, new job prospect for me, new camera for Jerin, etc… I’m just so grateful for all those things and more. We finally have great things going for us here. Things definitely could get better, don’t get me wrong, but emotionally, this is a wonderful place to be in.

So happy anniversary LA! You’re stuck with me for a while (and the hubby too of course). I’m serious about those flowers though. Next time remember. No carnations. 🙂