Friday, April 17, 2009

If only my life were a musical...

I love a musical and I love live performances.

Tonight, I had the opportunity to see both! My friend and I went to a local theater company's production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I would have titled this post "Sobbin' Women" or "Bless Your Beautiful Hide", but I don't know how many others share my love of it and would catch the reference..

This musical holds a special place in my heart because it is my mom's favorite. When I was younger, I recall that she would get so excited when we would stumble upon this movie on TV. Remember that this was ancient history....a time before before VCRs and DVRs. You just had to watch whatever you could find. When we would find this movie, her face would light up and everything else would come to a halt as we watched Millie tame those mountain boys. What a fun memory!

I don't think that I have ever shared with you that I wish that my life were a musical...or at least had a soundtrack. I have often wished that I could break out in a song and have those around me join in with the perfect choreographed moves. I am serious, don't you think that would be fun?

In high school, I helped backstage with the choir's production of Sound of Music. I married a man who played Kurt VonTrapp in summer children's theater. I know all the words to "Do-Re-Mi", "My Favorite Things" and a few more. Let's just say that if the hills were alive, I'd be spinning around and dancing on top of them.

Another musical that I have always enjoyed is Fiddler on the Roof. I saw the movie of it for the first time when I was a senior in high school. I had never seen anything like it before. Now, nothing gets me going like a rousing rendition of "If I were a rich man" by Reb Tevye played by Haim Topol or "Matchmaker, Matchmaker make me a match. find me a find. Catch me a catch". Oops, I sort of got carried away there with all my singing and dancing! Topol is coming to Houston for his farewell tour of FOTR and I sure hope that I get to see it live.

Let's not forget Grease and Footloose... those are great too! Oh and I loved Fame and Flashdance. I love Bye, Bye Birdie, and The Music Man, and Rent, and Jesus Christ, Superstar, and Meet Me in St. Louis, and The King and I, and Miss Saigon (saw that one on Broadway), and South Pacific... and... and...and...

I'm thinking that you get the picture. I haven't met a musical that I did not like.

Do you like musicals? Do you want to break out in song and dance like me? Just wondering!

Now, I'm off to see the Wizard. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mountains out of Molehills...

Here is my mountain of "Clothes That are Too Big". They are being donated to charity tomorrow.

There is no plan B. All clothes that don't fit anymore are about to be gone.

If you see me wearing the same outfit all the time, now you know why!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to change a tail light in 3 or 4 easy steps.

The other day I tried to get my van inspected, but it failed.
Next time, it should study harder. HA HA!

I was a little put out because I don't like to fail anything. Those big automotive guys were just picking on me, I'm sure.

Nevertheless, they gave me 15 days to get the windshield wipers and the cracked tail light repaired. Then, they will reinspect it for free (except that I have already paid them $40 so don't get me started on the FREE thing).

I set out to get the parts for the repairs on my own. After all, I once drove a 1972 Ford Pinto and everyone knows the acronym Ford is "Found on Road Dead". My bright orange FORD Pinto was no exception, so let's just say that I know a little about automotive repair.

I walked in to Autozone with my head high and my shoulders back, confident that I could maneuver the store. Well, it did not take long for Autozone to break me. Not long at all.

All the items looked the same. I could not find any info in the catalog about tail lights and there was a long line at the register (all males wearing shirts with their names emboridered over the pocket). I started to sweat a little and get confused about all the different blades. It felt like I was wearing a sign that said, "This woman knows nothing about this stuff. Please feel free to take advantage of her." (I feel the same way when I go to Vitamin Shoppe. Like a fish out of water.)

I hung my head in defeat and shuffled out the door. Later, I asked, no, begged Jeremy to go back for me and take care of it. He went to Autozone as well and also turned up with nothing there. We had victory at Advance Auto Parts! They ordered the part and assured Jeremy that he would be able to do the job himself.

I picked it up Monday after my training and cardio session. I was feeling empowered after all that physical activity so I decided that I would try my hand at changing the light myself. If I couldn't figure it out myself, I planned to consult the fount of all knowledge.... Google, of course, for detailed instructions.

Here is the light before:

Moving along to step 2. Easy Breezy!

What number are we on. Oh yeah. Step 3: Now, plug in the light and screw it back in.... (wow, I sure do hope that no one plans to use my post as a detailed explanation of how to change a tail light.)

Step 4: Take a picture of your dirty hands for your blog.

There you go!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

All this Birthday stuff is going to his head, but at least he's cute!

My baby, Jonathan, turned 7 yesterday. He is the funniest, sweetest, cutest 7 year old you will ever meet. Not that I'm biased or anything.

Yesterday, we were at Target spending his gift certificates and he met a sales lady in the shoe aisle and he told her "Today's my birthday!" If he did that once yesterday, he did it 100 Target, at Game Stop, at lunch, at the Good Friday service, at Chili's for his birthday dinner. Everyone he told gave him exactly what he wanted: They responded with a cheerful "Happy Birthday" and some small talk about his party, presents and just how happy they were it was his birthday. As we walked away from the sales lady, he confided in me, "Mom, you know, I'm good at conversations."

Yes, Jonathan. I had noticed.

Wonder where you got that?

At lunch, he and Caleb were deciding some important matter like "who's going to go first?" or something and Jonathan said, "Caleb, can I go first since it is my birthday?"

I leaned over to Jonathan to remind him that he was the birthday boy, not the birthday brat. Before I could get those words out of my mouth, he smiled mischievously and whispered, "That's how I get my way. "

Yes, Jonathan. I had noticed.

Wonder where you got that?

Let's take a walk down memory lane... I don't have any digital photos of him when he was 1 and I don't feel like scanning any so that year is missing. Sorry, but not sorry enough to do anything about it.

Birth Day April 10, 2002

2nd Birthday: Clifford Party

3rd Birthday: Fireman Party

4th Birthday: Sports Hero Party

5th Birthday: Superhero party

6th Birthday: Skate Party

7th Birthday: Chuck E Cheese party

Jonathan's name means "gift of God" and he truly is!

By the way, did you see those dimples that he has in the picture above?

Wonder where he got those?

There you go!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I think I found my new calling! Part 2

As promised, my story continues. If you missed part 1, go here!

As you recall, Penny from Wardrobe had said that I should bring some comfortable clothes that might work for the commercial in case the client liked them better than hers. She also said that I did not have to bring my whole closet, just a few of my favorite options.

What woman in her right mind would wear "old clothes" on a commercial? I logically treated her request to bring clothes as an open invitation to go crazy with the credit card at all of my favorite clothing stores.

While I was shopping, my mindset was different than normal. I wasn't looking for clothes for Plain ol' Linda. No, not this time! I was shopping for the HEB commercial "star" who had just been discovered! It felt so glamorous. It proves that attitude is everything!

While I was shopping, I got a call from the Producer. Again, I felt so glam and important on my cell talking to a "producer." Ooh, la la! Watch out Hollywood! We went over a few details of the shoot, but before we got off the phone, I mentioned jokingly to him that I was out shopping for clothes for the commercial. He quickly reassured me that I did not have to do that at all because wardrobe would take care of it. Silly producer, shopping's for girls. It's really no trouble!

Fast forward to Monday.

I arrived on the outskirts of Austin right around 11 am in plenty of time for my noon call time. I had practiced my lines as I drove and felt fairly confident in them. Of course, that confidence was a bit overshadowed by the anxiety that I felt about the whole experience. It was truly a "What on earth have I gotten myself into?" moment. But, I just bolstered myself with encouraging self talk such as, "This will be a fun experience. If they wanted a professional, they would have hired one. They want a mom and you qualify!"

I checked in at the front desk of the studio and tried to look nonchalant as I lugged my load of clothes and various toiletries. You see, I did bring most of my closet with me after all. (I am sure that none of you are surprised about that, now are you?) She showed me to the waiting area where I met 3 of the other "talents" for the commercial. (That's what they call you... talent. In MY case, they were using it very loosely!)

The other 3 ladies were from the Houston area and knew one other. Two of them were actresses and the other lady was just a regular person like me. When I walked in one of the ladies asked me, "Are you an actress?" Without thinking, I replied, "Nope, I'm just a person." What a dufus I can be sometimes!! Seriously, that was the best I could do? After a few minutes of awkward silence while I am inwardly chastising myself, someone came to usher me to wardrobe to fill out some forms and to let Penny choose my outfit.

Forms! Maybe that means $$$! Yep, I had to fill out a contract and a W-2. It was a small stipend, but I did not feel the need to negotiate a better deal!! Ha ha!

I did not know how to fill out the contract so I asked the director's asst to "walk me through it." I choked back a guffaw when she pointed to one of the lines and said, "That is where you put your agent's name so we know where to send your check." I replied in all seriousness, "So, since I don't have an agent at this time, should I put my home address?" (As if I was just in-between agents or something.... HMMM....Maybe I have more acting talent than I gave myself credit for!!)

There's more to the story, but that will have to be a Part 3!!
There you go!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I think I found my new calling!

You may remember that I told you I had the opportunity to get free groceries from HEB as part of a market research study aka the HEB Low price challenge. I was as happy as a clam to get my free groceries and never really gave the whole experience much thought.

Until, one random Monday, Niki from HEB called and asked if I would be interested in doing a commercial for HEB. Since I am afraid of public speaking and hate to be in the limelight, I politely declined.


Actually, I gasped out a yes without even asking any questions as to where and when it was to be shot, or how much, or even if, there was going to be any money changing hands. I think I scared the poor lady just a teensy bit!

She explained that the commercial was to be shot in Austin and the dates were already set. Would I be available and willing to fly or drive to Austin the following Monday? I could barely control my excitement. I think that she got the point that I might be willing to take a Greyhound bus or a scooter to Austin for this commercial opportunity. We ended the conversation with her promise that the production company would call me back with more details later that week.

As promised, a lady from the production company called and wanted me to send "head shots." This excited and scared me because I started to realize that I might be out of my league here as the closest thing that I had to head shots were some pics Jeremy took of me before his company Christmas party in front of the Christmas tree. She also mentioned that they might need some children for the commercial so I volunteered to send pics of my boys as well. You all know that I think that they are the cutest kids in America, right?

Before we got off the phone, she informed me that I was on a "Strong Hold" for Monday's commercial and I would hear more from them later. I sent those Christmas head shots off faster than you could say "Deck the Halls" and wondered what in the world a "strong hold" was. Much to Jeremy's chagrin, I failed to ask if I was going to be compensated for my participation in the commercial. I reminded him that I was still more than willing to pay them for this opportunity!

I fretted that I would not look like they wanted me to, but decided that I was who I was and that was that. Also, I still had the $150 in free groceries to assuage any of my tender feelings should they decide not to use me.

The family was planning a Cub Scout camping trip that I opted out of so that I would be available for any calls about the commercial. I started to realize that I might be more than a "strong hold" when I received an email from the production company with the scripts for the commercial. They sent three scripts and told me to be prepared for all three as they had not assigned them to anyone yet. (I knew that there were going to be at least 2 other women there for the commercial. )

Picture this: Me with my personal trainer practicing my lines while lifting heavy weights. Me on the treadmill at the YMCA practicing my lines. Me in the shower practicing my lines. (Wait, don't picture that one.)

The hardest part about the three scripts is that they were definitely different, but also VERY similar. The email had said we would have a teleprompter, but I did not really know how that would work so I wanted to be prepared. Remember, we are a scout family!

My excitement and tensions mounted when "Penny from Wardrobe" called on Friday evening to get my sizes so that she could go shopping for me.

Penny told me that the HEB folks were looking for the "Gap Mom" look with 3/4 sleeves, possibly layers, with no greens because we were shooting on a green screen. We discussed my height and jean and shoe options. She told me that I could bring a few things from home that I felt met the criteria and that made me feel comfortable. She mentioned that I did not have to bring my whole closet, just a few things in case what she bought did not work.

Again, much to Jeremy's chagrin, I did not ask if I was going to get any moolah for making the commercial. I told him that I had missed the opportunity to ask that question. Penny from Wardrobe was nice, but I did not think that she was signing any checks, you know! (I was still willing to work for free!!)

Penny from Wardrobe's call did, however, put me in a bit of a panic. Remember that I don't have any clothes from last year that fit me properly AND I had been sorting of limping by in the wardrobe department since my size keeps changing. (Getting smaller--wahoo!!)

I worried that I told her the wrong size, and I would be unable to participate because the clothes she bought might make me look like a sausage with a belt around the waist. I guess I could have always said that you could get the sausage cheaper at HEB.

With all this in mind, I selflessly set out to give ole Penny from Wardrobe a hand. I shopped until I dropped! I saved every receipt so that if we did not use the items, I could return them.

Well, fans, that is all for today's post. Tune in tomorrow to find out if the "Strong Hold" turned into something fantastic. (Here's a hint, IT DID!) Also, I promise that I will write more about shopping for the HEB Shopper Mom, the call from the Producer, and the question everybody wants to know: Will Linda be paid for her commercial?

It's a nailbiter! There you go!

The words I did not want to hear....

My mom's cancer is back. We knew that it was a matter of "when" not "if".

But, this "when" sure does seem soon, if you ask me. But no one did. I could be mad at God. I could be mad at my mom. I could be mad at the mailman, for that matter. None of that will do any good.

It is what it is. I told my mom that we will walk with road with as much grace and strength that we can. Thankfully, my grace and strength come from an Unending Supply.

It is in her lungs and in her brain. They will treat it aggressively. Good idea. Treat cancer aggressively. It deserves no mercy.

This is the verse that I am counting on:

2 Corinthians 9:8 (Contemporary English Version)

8God can bless you with everything you need, and you will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others.