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Romancing the Black Lace Water Dragon ~ Chapter 8 by Jacqueline Nyahay

August 2012 ~

August brought Zyla a gig that did not need her to shave her hair off thankfully.  Kids Management called saying Zyla was picture picked to play a tough girl on a new ABC mid season replacement show called How To Live With Your Parents For the Rest of Your Life.  It would begin airing in January 2013.  Ed drove her down to the Fox Studios for her big day.  When she went through wardrobe, they put her in a Catholic School girl uniform along with three other brunettes playing the tough girls.  Her scene took place outside on the New York street sets.  The tough girls chase some cute younger blond girl down the street in a flashback type scene.  Zyla enjoyed her time on set, making new friends and having fun.  I wish I could have been there to share the magic but Ed kept me in the loop through text messages all day and I was happy to hear Zyla reminisce her fun with me when she got home.  The weekend rolled around again.  My friend Christa invited us up to her house for a pool party with her adorable three daughters.  Then I was back to Jodi's house for a night of catch up on True Blood and a mini book club meeting on what I thought of the Fifty Shades of Grey books thus far.  Monday, Zyla enjoyed going to a beach party with her friends from school while Ed and I had our last date day of the summer before he would be heading back to his teaching job.  With the temperatures reaching into the hundreds, we chose to stay inside and use each other's flesh as canvas for painting abstract works of art. 


I got a text from Kids Management for Zyla to work a park scene on Up All Night, but her to come with a non-union parent who would also work in the scene as non-union.  Both Ed and I are union so we had to turn down that job for her.  A while later Jessica's called me with a job to stand in on Parenthood.  While Ed had a daddy and Zyla day, I drove over to set on location in North Hollywood.  Parking at the Walter Reed MS, I found the second second AD and checked in a little early for my 12:30pm call time.  Wardrobe told me to wear blue, and thankfully I had brought a few different colored tanks to choose from.  The temperatures were soaring and I tried to stay in the shade.  The other stand in Jenna was welcoming and friendly.  She had been working Parenthood for 3 years.  After having our catered lunch in the school cafeteria, we were shuttled over to set.  We were filming in a cute little café called Republic of Pie.  In the back was a poetic space with couches and a small stage for readings or small band gigs.  I had never been here before but thought it might be interesting to come again one evening, maybe share some of my novel.  I was standing in for Monica Potter who plays Kristina.  Her regular stand in had taken the day off.  Monica was very nice and introduced herself to me, shaking my hand.  The scene was Monica and Rose Abdoo playing Gwen having coffee at a table in the back.  I sat down and helped crew set up the shot.  Three cameras were set up, about three takes later, they moved on to close ups then we were wrapped for the day!  Under 4 hours and I was heading home to have dinner with my family. 


I finished reading the last book of the trilogy 50 Shades Freed.  It had a lot more action and drama than the previous two.  It was also a hundred pages longer.  The sex became an afterthought because of all the drama the characters had going on.  Not that I minded because the descriptions of the sex would become repetitive.  I still had no idea why it was labeled adult erotica, because compared to Anne Rice's Beauty trilogy where there is sex and nudity on every page, these books were very tame.  I was surprised to read online that the 50 Shades trilogy had outsold Harry Potter books in the UK.  Of course a movie version of the books was already in the works.  I think the success was due to old repressed views on sex in general, and this book brought SMBD into a mainstream cookie cutter friendly light.  It had the Lolita story line but both characters were of age and consenting adults.  It explained why someone would fall into this form of sex, and how beneficial it can be to work through issues, as well as how important communication is for a relationship, how to work through trust and other peoples baggage.  I think the message of the books showed that relationships can be a challenge but with communication and creative outlets you can continue to have an erotic love affair with your spouse throughout your lifetime.   


While the summer break was winding down the temperatures continued to soar.  Ed, Zyla and I enjoyed a BBQ feast at my friend Jodi's on Ed's last day of summer break.  Afterward, Jodi, Shauna and I watched True Blood, with only 2 more episodes to go.  I returned Fifty Shades Freed to Jodi and we talked about the trilogy as well as The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, which she had just finished.  With Ed back to work on Monday and Zyla at another beach playdate with her friend Clarissa, I found myself with time on my hands to pick up something new from the library. 


Still Missing by Chevy Stevens was the first book I devoured after the Fifty Shades trilogy.  It sucked me in, reminding me of a cross between Misery and Gerald's Game by Steven King.  I read it through in two days time.  After reading the Fifty Shades I kept flashing back to it in my mind, thinking Still Missing was like it only with one consenting adult.  Still Missing was about a realtor abducted from an open house showing and being held captive in a remote cabin in the woods by a sadist/rapist.  Some of the dialog would bring me back to Fifty Shades and freak me out.  Fifty Shades had really gotten under my skin.  I loved Chevy's format of the book, telling the story through therapy sessions.  How trauma can affect our lives forever, change us forever as well as our friends and loved ones.  Next I started reading Daphne du Maurier The Rebecca Notebook and Other Memories.  At first I was under the impression it was Daphne's diary she had kept while writing her novel Rebecca.  I had always loved Rebecca from the first time I read it while trapped in the teen help behavior modification cult boarding school CEDU.  Daphne's book had helped my mind escape the harsh controlled abusive conditions of my environment I was condemned to and I would always be grateful to her for it.  The Notebook was not really a diary though, more her notes on chapter titles and ideas for Rebecca, but nothing of her every day life or family or thoughts in general while she was working on the novel.  It also had a lot of her earlier works, short stories that I found really well written.  It was like spending time with an old friend and hearing new stories.  I enjoyed these earlier works of Daphne very much.  Speaking of brainwashing boarding schools, I found a memoir by Cindy Drew Etler called Straightling which was all about her time locked away at Straight Inc, an eerily similar facility reminding me of CEDU.  It was not available at the library so I was going to have to order it online.  Was I ready to revisit that part of my history and hers? 


Dexter Season 6 was finally released to DVD.  Ed and I had started watching the series last year by internet, but the copies of the episodes off isohunt.com were horrible, jumpy, skipping dialog and we gave up watching the show until we could see it properly.  I loved the new season.  I loved how Dexter was questioning how he should raise his son and whether religion should play into his son's childhood when he himself had no use or need of it.  I think sometimes people can get hung up on religion; all the rules, politics and man made policies that turn people off to being involved.  I believe we all have an innate sense of the miraculous, something beyond us, a Higher Power, God in the universe that holds all the pieces in place, the balance of nature, etc.  It's how we understand it for ourselves and how our words fail us as we struggle to define or defend a belief.  But to explain to a child a concept as magnificent as God and how we are all connected and everything affects everything can be a challenge.  Using religion can be a starting ground for exploration into this immense topic.    I believe it is in the benefit of a child to be exposed to all types of worship and spirituality for them to find a balance and truth for themselves and their soul. 


Another summertime weekend.  Zyla went off to a birthday party with her school friends while Ed and I had a mellow day to ourselves.  Sunday I found myself at Jodi's for True Blood, which was the bloodiest episode of the season.  Things were really heating up and getting good for the season finale, which we would enjoy next weekend.  Jessica's had gotten me no jobs the previous week.  I did not have expectations for anything this week either as I had book out most of it since Zyla was still on summer break.  I watched an amazing documentary called This is What Love in Action Looks Like.  I was immediately drawn to it because it reminded me of CEDU.  I had no idea there were places trying to cure gay teens, like it was some disease.  It was shocking in this day and age.  Thank God for the internet and activists fighting for basic human rights, because that is how this place was eventually shut down.  I believe the same held true for CEDU.  I remember being asked to be part of a protest against my former school, but at the time I was living in New York.  Eventually CEDU was shut down as well.  Love In Action was using the same tactics and language of Straight Inc.  CEDU was a derivative of Straight Inc.  It started making sense why it all sounded so familiar.  Zyla wanted to hear my story of what happened to me at CEDU and how I escaped the madness.  I do not often dwell on that time of my life, but it seemed the Universe was drawing me back.  I really wanted to read Cindy's memoir and needed to order it already.  I had not been on the Fornits.com website in forever.  This is a place for survivors of these types of institutions, to help clear your mind of the brainwash and sort out emotions and share with other like-minded friends.  I was glad to see it still up and running.  I was happy more and more places were being exposed for the truth of how damaging these programs are for children.

Kids Management texted with a possible job for Zyla on Touch.  I quickly called in to try to get her the gig.  While I was sitting on hold, thoughts kept running through my mind.  I was glad she was offered back to that show considering what had happened last March.  I could not believe I would be taking her back to that set again when I had sworn I would never return there after the way we were treated, breaking Child Labor Laws, etc.  Being offered to return helped ease Zyla's mind that because I had passionately stood up for her rights on set, it would not harm her getting more jobs.  By the time I got through to the casting director all the spots had been filled, but they did have room for Zyla on a Nissan commercial instead!  Zyla was so happy, her first commercial!  I called Jessica's to book out, excited to be taking Zyla to set again.  We spent the evening doing karaoke to distract us from waiting for the email we were expecting any time between 5pm-9pm.  At 9:01 we received the email from Atmosphere Casting with all our details for the following day's shoot. 


Zyla's call time was 2:30pm in Santa Monica giving us a leisurely morning before heading down to set.  Knowing how traffic can be in L.A., we left early and arrived an hour early to set.  Crew parking and base camp were in one of the many parking lot areas down on the beach just south of the Santa Monica pier.  After checking in, we relaxed with the beautiful view of the beach before us.  Zyla was approved by wardrobe with what she had worn to set, jean shorts, hot pink/grey blouse and sandals.  Everyone gathered in a group to walk to set, which was about 7 blocks north up the bike path.  We were told to leave everything in our cars because security was at base camp and not so much on set.  Set was a circular turnout area right on the beach.  A hot dog vendor stand was set up.  The Santa Monica pier was in the background and the hero car, a Nissan in a beautiful shade of blue, pulls around and stops at the beach to watch the sunset.  Everyone sat around for quite a while as crew set up the shot.  I felt bad that I did not have all of Zyla's fun stuff, or extra food or water since we were told to leave everything in our cars.  Thankfully craft service finally set up and she was able to snack.  Zyla picked little flowers and placed them between my toes.  Some woman backed up her car parked at a meter and hit some guys big motorcycle knocking it down.  It was fun people watching as random things kept occurring with the general public at the beach.  Things started happening when most of the adults and kids doing BG were placed on set.  Zyla was the youngest kid on the call.  Mostly it was boys on their rip sticks and some girls' rollerblading.  Zyla was not used in the first shot and she was worried they wouldn't need her at all.  There were no bathrooms at set, except for the ones provided by the city for beachgoers, full of sand and water and no paper towels to dry your hands after washing.  A van was offered to parents to go back to our cars to get jackets.  It had started getting really chilly once the sun started setting, so I hopped in the van to grab Zyla's stuff out of my car.  When I got back to set, Zyla had been placed in the scene.  She walks with two other girls down the sidewalk toward the hero car, then off down the way toward the pier.  The Farris wheel was all lit up, the last of the sun glittered off the ocean and the shot was really beautiful.  Zyla said that a homeless man kept wandering into the shot, who was not supposed to.  I told her it is hard when you can't lock off a location and have to deal with anyone who might show up.  Two different emergency vehicles went racing down the sand with sirens blaring back toward the beach area where our cars were parked.  About 7:30pm wrap was called and we all walked back to base camp.  Once there, we had to wait as production printed out copies of our time cards one at a time starting with the adult BG.  While waiting in the nearly empty parking lot, we watched as more cops showed up, and a fire truck.  We still had no idea what was going on down by the water, where quite a few emergency vehicles had clustered.  The sun was down, stars glittered in the night sky beside a sliver of moon hanging low.  I thought I overheard someone say a stabbing.  Zyla's name was called at 8:15pm.  With time card in hand we headed to the car and made our way back home.  The next disk of Dexter had arrived from Netflix.  Ed and I watched an episode before I passed out for the night.


The following day, I took Zyla down to Disneyland.  The black out days of summer were over and we could again enjoy our Magic Kingdom.  She wanted to try for the new Cars ride on the California side so that is where we headed first.  Thankfully the line for the fast pass wasn't as long as it had been the last time we came.  We got fast passes for 3:15pm.  That was at 8:45am in the morning.  All the fast passes were gone by 10am.  For a weekday, and with Orange County and most of L.A. county schools back in session the park was still pretty crowded.  I took Zyla to all her favorite rides on the California side, Tower of Terror, Screamin.  When we hit Silly Swings, there was a huge camera dolly coming out of the elevator.  I wondered what they were filming.  When we rode the Swings a cameraman was filming the entire time.  We went to the Brother Bear Wilderness Challenge area and found more cameras along with wardrobe crew and asked what was going on.  The ranger said it was a promo video for the California side of Disney.  Running through the ropes suspended so high above the ground, swinging the bridges, having fun with Zyla reminded me of all the times I had brought her here over the years.  How much she had grown.  We both entered the cave to find out our spirit animals of the day.  Zyla got beaver and I got bear.  Next we had lunch, hot dogs since she was craving one after seeing the fake hot dog stand on set the day before.  After lunch we went on the Roarin Rapids where I got thoroughly soaked.  We left the California side and went over to the Disneyland side around 12:30pm.  Hit up Thunder Mountain, Pirates, Haunted Mansion.  Rode the Disneyland Express Railroad over to Tomorrow Land.  Autotopia had no wait, probably because Cars Land was so popular, so we drove our cars around, then went on Star Tours.  We wanted the pineapple whip before heading back to the Cally side, but the line was so long, it would have been over a 30-minute wait!  We left the Disney side and got in line to enter the Cally side again around 2:40pm and the line was really long, taking about 20 minutes just to re-enter that park.  We made our way through Cars Land to the entrance of Radiator Springs Racers.  With fast passes in hand, we quickly walked through the line up to the gate.  This was our first time experiencing the new ride.  We were standing at the gate ready for the next car when the ride shut down.  Zyla did not want to leave; she believed the ride would start up again soon.  About 20 minutes later it did.  We finally got into a purple car and were on our way.  The ride was really cute.  I had enjoyed the Cars movie when it first came out and this ride really put you inside the movie.  When our car was about to start racing another car the ride temporarily shut down again.  Thankfully we were stopped in an underground cave type area, not baking in the sun.  The ride started up again and the race was on!  That part was even more fun, racing through and I wish it had lasted a little longer.  Our car won, the ride was over.  The regular stand by line to get on this ride was 2 hours.  Better than the 4 hours it had been last time we came.  I did not think I could stand in line that long for any ride and was thankful for fast pass.  Zyla and I grabbed up Jamba Juice from the city walk before hopping on the tram to take us back to the parking lot.  Traffic was bad and I had not intended to stay that long at Disney.  We finally got home at 6pm exhausted.  Ed thoughtfully made us some dinner while I got out of my still damp clothes.  Zyla went to play with her friend while Ed and I watched some more Dexter.  I loved how the killer, Travis, had a dark passenger that was all in his head, just like Dexter's dad haunted him.  The religious obsession with the end of the world and bringing it about theme was really well done.  I also liked the episode where Dexter starts seeing his dead brother and listening to him instead of the ghost of his dad.  The old church and the apocalyptic paintings along with their mirror crime scenes were very creative and I give kudos to all of Dexter's art department, props and locations.  As a child I was fascinated by the book of Revelations, finding it the most interesting book of the Bible.  The symbolism, the tapestry of images, the hidden meanings, made it all a beautiful dark mystery to me that caught my imagination. 


Friday again.  Not that days distinguish themselves all that much during the summer break.  One bleeds into the next.  I lined up a playdate for Zyla with her friend Isabella.  Took them out to breakfast at Mimi's, then mini golfing and arcade.  All before the overcast burnt off turning the somewhat bearable day to hot.  Finished reading Daphne's book.  Towards the end there was a section in which she shares personal stories, that were her own memories and thoughts of what was going through her head on a couple of topics.  I liked reading about her relationship with her dad, how she saw him and his impact on her life, and about her views on religion and romantic love.  The book ended with three of her poems, which reminded me of my poetry. 


Saturday, I snuck out of the house early in the morning for a rosary hike at Stough.  The season finale of Dexter came in the mail.  After the visuals of the entire season, this last episode seemed anti-climatic.  I did like the ending of Deb witnessing Dexter doing what he does best.  Sunday I went back to Jodi's for the season finale of True Blood.  This was a fun crazy episode full of exploding vampires, fairies going into orgasmic labor and everyone trying to act casual in the unnatural circumstances they find themselves.  The ending left me wanting more as Eric yells RUN to Sookie.  I remember when Bill yelled that to her at the Tolerance Festival scene I shot last year. 


Monday, Joleen invited Zyla and I to join her on a new hike near my house.  It was the Old Zoo of Griffith, just south of the L.A. Zoo.  Here we found the ruins of the old zoo and could explore inside the creepy abandoned cages that had stood since 1912.  A great lawn sits adjacent to the cave type enclosures where the free summer Shakespeare plays are performed.  We planned to return for the last showing happening Labor Day weekend.  I got a text from Kids Management for Zyla and quickly called in.  She would be working Mistresses the following day, playing a kid in a petting zoo.  Another text came through for Parenthood, but since I had just booked her on the other call, she could not do both.


Tuesday morning Zyla and I woke super early at 4:30am to get ready for set.  It was at the Disney Studios in Burbank and I was happy to be taking her there for her first time.  I missed going to that studio regularly back when I did Flash Forward and No Ordinary Family.  Arriving under the stars, we parked in the Zorro Lot and walked over to stage 6.  Check in went smoothly, then we vanned across the lot to the little lawn area where I had shot high school quad scenes before.  Now there was a petting zoo set up.  Chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, baby pigs and alpacas were running around in the hay.  The kids were all placed in the scene to pet animals while the principal actress receives a phone call.  Our call time was 6am, but crew call was 7am, so we were allowed to have some breakfast that was set up before shooting the scene.  It all went very quickly, then the kids still on summer break or not in school yet were wrapped, while the others had to do their 3 hours of school time.  I was excited for Zyla's super short day!  We arrived back home before 10am.


A Drink Called Paradise by Terese Svoboda was quickly read in one morning, taking me into the mind of a woman trapped in her mind and body after suffering a tragedy.  Sex and ghosts island style.  The Virgin and the Gypsy by D.H. Lawrence was a fast read as well.  Falling in love happens at the most inconvenient of times.  Passionate Minds interested me when I saw Anais Nin on the cover along with other women who rewrote the world.  I thought the book would include pieces of the women's writing not widely published, but instead it is Claudia Roth Pierpont giving a history of the great works and lives of these literary females.  I liked learning about Olive Schreiner whom I had never heard of.  I really wanted to find African Farm after hearing Pierpont talk so much about it.  The piece on Gertrude Stein was informative, I had heard of her but never read anything by her.  Anais Nin was dealt with pretty harshly, maybe Pierpont was applying tough love to the situation.  Selfish, manipulating, liar is not how I describe Nin; I think she was just a woman being brutally honest, trying her best to live free while married, who wrote her life into a story.  I do not think she excused her actions because she was an artist.  In the end we must be true to ourselves, live our truth, without worry or regret that it might not be the popular social norm.  Life is not always black or white.  Love comes at us unexpectedly and she chose her path guided by her own magic and mystery. 


Zyla's summer break came to an end.  First day of Junior High.  Growing up too fast.  I got a call from Jessica's saying I was back on Whitney.  The last day of August I returned to my favorite job.  My old ID badge from last season still worked.  I drove onto the lot and into the parking structure.  Memories of last season flooding my mind.  I was so happy to be back.  I parked and made my way back to stage 10.  I was the first stand in to arrive.  Checked in with Todd, saying hi and welcome back.  Back home to my Whitney family felt good.  I saw Jeff, the on set decorator, then Alex, then a new face Brian who would be standing in for Chris/Alex this season.  Maulik had left the show and returned to New York to reprise his role on 30 Rock.  Matt showed up, then another new stand in for Zoe/Lily, Monika.  Monika had blonde hair but brought a red wig to do Zoe.  Joe, our 1st AD, came over to say hi to us all.  Erik, Andy's son was now our new onset PA, and Andy was directing.  A flow of familiar faces embraced me all day as we all agreed this was the best place to be and everyone was thrilled to be back.  Getting to know the new stand ins and catching up with Alex and Matt was how we spent a lot of the day.  Whitney, using her camera phone, filmed everyone on set saying welcome back.  Rhea gave out hugs to Alex and me.  Chris came up to me to welcome me back.  I felt really lucky and blessed to be part of the magic again on this funny show.  The shows format had changed.  We were no longer doing lots of short scenes.  Instead the scenes were longer, getting into issues Whitney style.  I found the first episode 'Bawl and Chain' really cute, picking up right where the season finale had left off.  Everyone on set was talking about Clint Eastwood and his speech to the empty Obama chair during the Republican National Convention.  Alex and I talked about the 50 Shades trilogy she had also read, deciding who should play the parts.  Rehearsals finished early, we had almost 2 hours off before the run thru.  Lunch was served, salmon, steak, broccoli, salad, and couscous.  The run thru went well and the meeting after for notes was the fastest I had ever seen!  Patti our DP needed us to stand in a bit for some scenes.  Antar was back along with her.  Matt had left right after the run thru for an audition so I stood in for his character Dan/Mark as well as my girl Rhea/Roxanne.  Then I forgot but Matt was standing in for the one guest star Jane Kaczmarek, since all the girls were in that scene.  So I did Jane/Candi as well.  We wrapped out by 4pm and I met Ed and Zyla at Menchies to get our Labor Day weekend started.  We all shared with each other about our exciting day. 

Continue reading Romancing the Black Lace Water Dragon ~ Chapter 9 CLICK HERE!!