Keepin It Real ~ Chapter 4 by Jacqueline Nyahay
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April 2011 ~

Late Friday night Jessica called with a booking for Monday on the Hallmark film Annie Kringle.  I hadn't worked for CEC since I was with XM and was excited to head back out to Simi Valley on Monday for the possible 3-day shoot.  My mom was leaving town and I had enjoyed my time with her.  I had to believe it was all for the best that I was not meant to be on 9 Lives for whatever reason and kept faith something better would come along for me because I still desired a regular stand in job.

 Monday came and I woke up early and got ready for set.  I said good-bye to my mom who was heading home to Iowa.  Got to Simi Valley an hour earlier than my call time and hung out in my car.  The winds out there were crazy and the tent over the catering almost got picked up and blown away.  The vouchers all blew away and I watched the PA scurry to gather them back up.  I had some breakfast and got my voucher.  The call line had said for my nurse outfit to just wear upscale casual clothes, but knowing every other nurse gig I've done, I brought white tennies.  I was brought to wardrobe and the assistant said I was dressed fine, and then went to holding.  Later they came to get me and said I needed to be put in scrubs.  I was glad I had brought the tennies!  I had to shoot a commercial for one of the scenes in the movie where the lead actor is in a wheelchair saying this company got him a big settlement check.  Then I changed over, back to the other clothes to play a parent.  The crew was shooting fast, two or three takes and then moving on.  But most of the day was spent in holding.  We were shooting at a church so our holding was upstairs in the Sunday school rooms.  The children hired were on principal contracts since they were singing and they were practicing their carols.  I had no idea that meant they could be on set longer than regular BG kids are allowed by law.  I went to set two more times to sit in the pews while watching the rehearsal scenes and to decorate the Christmas tree during the set construction scene.  In total I probably worked an hour out of the 10 hours I was there.  The rest of the time I took a nap and finished my book Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller.  I didn't really enjoy the book at first and felt he used the C word way too much.  I found one page that made me laugh out loud and in the end think the story was ok.  Honestly I have no idea why he would write a fictional diary novel when it could have just been the real thing.  I favor Anais Nin's diaries and look forward to going back to her sequel to Incest.  Got some good food, got some overtime, but unfortunately did not get recalled since I had been featured as the nurse, so Jessica's put me back as available, but I didn't get any gig for the next day.  Sitting inside all day had put a cramp in my neck so I decided to spend my Tuesday getting out into the sunshine and hiking in the woods.

 Tuesday evening Jessica's called saying they needed my stand in resume for an interview for a full time stand in job on another pilot.  I quickly got online and emailed them the link to my sag iActor stand in resume.  I found out the next morning that since my resume height didn't match what was listed at Jessica's I didn't get the interview.  I couldn't believe it.  I didn't understand why I kept getting knocked down.  Joey's List had asked me to change my height to 5'6" since I'm 5'6 ½ " and he wanted me to round down.  When I registered with Jessica's they wanted me to round up to 5'7" and I forgot that my resume still said 5'6" since I hadn't used the resume in so long and didn't really think about it.  Now I had the same height listed everywhere, and had to wait for the next stand in opportunity that I matched to come along.  I went for a walk in the woods to clear my head.  The industry just seemed so insane at times.  When I auditioned for Andrea Anders on BOT they wanted us to be as close to 5'5" as we could.  When asked if we were the correct height we all said yes.  She ended up in heels every day and I wore a bit of one to match her height.  Height really doesn't matter all that much since most girls end up wearing heels, most times they hire stand ins taller than the actress since the actress will never be in flats.  Some shows want to be so anal over everything, in the end its really about who you know when it should be about being a team player and doing your job. 

The following week went by sadly with no more work.  I can get really depressed when I have to stay home and not go to work.  I went for many hikes praying the rosary and trying to understand why I was not working.  I guess God wanted me to work on myself because I ended up working on all these issues and took this 12 days of Aries challenge on my friend Jason's Kabbalah website at www.kabbalahcurious.com.  I was also surprised that Kids Management didn't call for Zyla to do the recall added scene on Welcome to People.  I can only guess as to why that didn't happen, maybe they got rid of the added scene or it got pushed to some later date who knows.  Communication between call in services and talent is nill unless they need you asap, otherwise they don't talk to you or keep you in the loop.  I was not happy the week ended with still no job for Monday.  A nice surprise happened when my friend Venesa called saying she was coming to town from Vegas and wanted to see me.  I had not seen her since we worked on Zalman King's Women of the Night in the 90's and was excited about her visit.

The next week, I was still working on the Kabbalah challenge thing and got a call from Jessica's to work one day on some untitled NBC LAPD police drama pilot.  I went to the LA Times building in downtown LA to play a detective in the bullpen scenes.  It was fun seeing some familiar faces, seems that now that I was with Jessica's I ran into more of the same people when I did get to set.  Base camp was set up in a parking lot outside the building and I had a nice breakfast from the omelet bar.  We then were brought to our holding inside the building but didn't spend much time there as we were needed on set pretty much the entire day.  I got a desk next to the principals and was featured a few times.  I wouldn't mind this show getting picked up if I could just have this regular desk job a couple times a week, but really in my heart I missed standing in and hoped God would bring me regular work doing that.  Lunch was awesome; it was the Limelight caterers who are usually pretty good.  We finished earlier than I had expected but late enough to avoid traffic going home.  I pulled into my place as the sun was setting in time to do bedtime prayers with Zyla. 

The remainder of the week I didn't work and enjoyed time doing rosary prayer hikes and seeing friends.  I took on Kathleen Norris book Acedia & me for a little bit of spiritual reflection on a topic I sometimes struggle with.  On Friday my family headed down to Disneyland to see the Pirate sneak peak experience in the back.  We waited in line for an hour but it was worth the front row seats. :)  It was crowded but not as bad as the Friday we went last month.  Saturday I awoke to do prayers with my family and some drum dancing.  The beautiful weather encouraged us to head down to San Pedro to the Candy Shop in Ports 'O Call, that I had found during my day on location for NTSF SD SUV.  We gathered up more than enough to fill Zyla's Easter basket, before heading to the Cabrillo Museum.  I was excited for the Grunion and wanted to come back at midnight to see the fish on the special nights they make their appearance.  We enjoyed wandering around seeing the jellys and sharks and touch tank, then headed home.  Enjoyed watching Howl, which is James Franco playing a brilliant Allen Ginsberg.  I love the beat poets and that scene.  I was in the middle of reading How I Became Hettie Jones and piecing all these main players lives together as I gathered information about them from different sources.  I finished my last day of the Kabbalah challenge I had been on and readied myself for Palm Sunday and the last week of Lent.

We collected some palm branches at church and Ed shaped them into little crosses for us to place around the house and in our car.  Holy week had begun.  Ed still had to teach for two more days and Zyla had some tests to finish up before they were officially on their Easter break for the next week and a half.  I had only worked two days this month and was trying to keep myself busy with other things as pilot season was over and very few projects were working now.  Tuesday, I debated about going to the Grunion run since Zyla had to get up early the next morning for school.  When I picked her up, she said she did not have much homework and wanted to go.  My childhood dream would finally be realized.  At 7:30pm we drove down to San Pedro to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.  We made great timing, getting there a little after 8pm.  The Aquarium was open and selling tickets to the night's festivities.  I had no idea how popular this event would be.  We wandered around the facility checking out the fish we had just seen Saturday.  I thought it was amazing that the sharks' sleep on the bottom on their tank and that some of them were snuggling!  I loved looking at the moon jelly's floating in their black-lit water.  The discovery zone was open and we spent a lot more time in there, looking through the microscopes at just hatched baby grunion, coloring grunion, and playing in the dress up area on the TV.  At 9pm we went into the auditorium to watch a brief movie about the history of the grunion and what we could expect on the beach.  After they were handing out glass jars to shake up and watch baby grunion eggs hatch!  At 10:40pm we were led out onto the beach to the spot where the fish normally are spotted.  About 400 people had shown up to bear witness to the event.  We were lined up along the beach and had to settle in and be very quiet.  The fish were sensitive to light so flashlights were off as we waited in the dark.  The cloud cover blotted out the moonlight and it was spooky but fun watching the waves crash against the shore as the tide slowly rose.  We were told it was a good sign that many birds were flying about waiting for the meal that was about to be delivered.  A group of scientists from the museum were set up to collect samples.  While they had a permit to touch the fish, no one else did.  In April and May no one is allowed to touch the fish, only observe.  About 11:20pm the grunions were washed up on the beach.  One of the scientists announced that about 200 had just come ashore, but it was not right in front of where my family was sitting.  Zyla had grown tired and was sleeping under the blanket on the beach and Ed said he would watch her if I wanted to walk down to where the fish were spawning.  I got up and ran over to see.  Everyone had their flashlights trained on the fish and it was amazing seeing all these fish just up on the beach flipping around.  Then the waters came and started taking them back out to sea.  We were told to turn our flashlights off and create the darkness again so the fish would come back in on the next big wave.  I went back to our blankets and on the next wave Ed walked down to see over 400 fish washed up on shore.  Zyla woke to the commotion and she jumped up and ran to see the miracle.  It was really amazing.  Then again we were told off with the flashlights, and the next one will be a really big run.  We weren't disappointed, maybe close to 600 fish washed up on the next big wave and the crowd surged onto the wet sand to get a really close look at what was going on.  I don't recall actually seeing a female grunion dig into the sand; it just looked like tons of silver fish flipping around doing some crazy dance.  Zyla bent down to touch one lonely fish that wasn't near any of his friends.  The museum was closing at 12am even though the fish would still be coming for another hour.  We left the party and made it home just after midnight.

Zyla was Alter server for the Good Friday Liturgy and Stations of the Cross.  She beautifully performed her duties and I felt blessed.  Easter Sunday finally arrived ending my Lenten season.  Zyla searched for eggs and enjoyed some Easter candy before Alter serving for the early Easter Morning Mass.  We spent the afternoon at Descanso Gardens wandering through the many flower gardens.  My favorite was the Lilac Garden and Oak forests.  The week that followed Ed and Zyla were off for spring break and we decided to head up to Big Bear.  I booked our hotel before booking out with Jessica's and quickly called them to make sure I wasn't going to be working the following day.  Nope, good to go on vacation.  I dragged my family into Holcolm Valley trying to find a childhood stomping ground we named Arctic Canyon, though whether that is where we actually were was up for question.  After searching for a couple of hours, we headed out.  When I got home I became obsessed with trying to figure out where it was by maps online and I think I have it figured out for next time.  The rest of our time in Big Bear was really relaxing and beautiful.  And there was just a touch of snow left over that we found time to make a mini snowman and Zyla threw snow down my pants!  I wanted to add a little bit of poetry reading to our trip and brought my Edgar Allen Poe book along.  While Ed drove us down the winding mountain roads I theatrically read by request different poems out of the book.  We had collected some cool rocks and washed them when we got home.  As a memory of our trip Zyla and I painted scenes of Big Bear on the rocks.  Ed created a cool poster for his book-signing coming up the following weekend.  I got a call from Jessica's list with a booking for Monday.  Back to Californication after 3 years!  I took Zyla to a night skate at Moonlight Rollerway and some Disney kids were there.  She had never run into celebrities in real life so she was excited but shy.  Saturday evening we went to Mass to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.  Zyla wanted to Alter serve because this was the day I found out I was pregnant a decade ago and why she was named after St. Faustina.  Even though it was not her turn, they needed her and she was back up on the Alter helping out. 

Me & Venesa reunited after over a decade!
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Keepin It Real ~ Chapter 5 click here to continue reading...