December is a month of many birthday parties. I
took Zyla to her school friend Dominic's party at the roller rink after gym class Saturday. She requested Justin Beiber
music to skate to. Afterwards, I help drive some of the party kids to the fancy Italian restaurant in downtown Burbank,
where dinner was being served. Men In Black part 3 arrived at our house
from Netflix that afternoon. After the party, Ed, Zyla and I enjoyed this latest installment to the series. Watching
them all so closely together, it was really cool to see how they had evolved with the times and technology. We enjoyed
it very much. Sunday, was spent helping Zyla make her student of the month poster. Ed and I finished up American Horror Story season 1. What a brilliant show! I thought the
finale episode was not really needed it could have ended with episode 11, but it was fun seeing all the characters for one
Monday morning back to Whitney. We
had a new guest stand in George, who was standing in for Ken Marino reprising his role of Brian, Alex brother. I was
doing double duty standing in for Rhea as well as our guest star Leslie Grossman playing Michelle, Brian's wife. All
the stand ins were sharing stories about their hiatus week and holiday fun. Megan gave me a book to read Practicing The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I read through it fairly quickly during some down time
on set. I felt I had read all the principals before in other things, but knowing spiritually I must need to hear it
again, because it was being handed to me. Stay in the moment of Now, do not waist too much time focusing on the past
or imaging the future. After our network run thru, we had a bit of a break then started camera blocking all the scenes
we would normally do on a Tuesday with the camera crew. We did this because on Tuesday all pre-shoots were being shot
on location on NY Street and we would not be in the stages at all. Andy got us out fairly quickly, and I made it home
in time to join my family on a walk to Granada's for dinner.
Tuesday I woke super early, 4am, to get
ready for set. Megan texted and called as I arrived to the stages saying she had slipped on her stairs at home and was
running late. When I called her back, she said she needed to go to the hospital and would not be coming to set.
I told her I would let everyone know. It all worked out fine, because Alex covered for her since Whitney was not in
that day. Only Rhea, Dan and Zoe were in the NY Street scenes. My car was used right across from the principal
car. They covered it in fake snow, it looked really cute, and reminded me of my days living in NY with real snow.
This was the famous street Seinfeld was filmed on. The actors were really
excited about it, Rhea was taking pictures and posting them to FB. I found a toy shop on the street where the stand
ins could hang out, out of the way of shooting. I read a bit of Cyndi's book during my down time. Breakfast and
lunch were catered which was a rare treat for a Tuesday. Megan texted later in the morning saying she was better.
She had to get 3 stitches but should be able to return to work the following day. Brian came in to do BG with his wife
since Chris was not in any scenes. It was a fun day and Andy got us out at a decent hour just before 5pm. I came
home to Ed cooking dinner. Afterwards we all enjoyed Rock of Ages, a
brilliant rock musical of the 80's culture. I loved it so much! Some moments seemed to push the boundary of PG-13
but Zyla made it through and loved it too.
Wednesday show night! Our guest star stand
in George was back with us. Unfortunately Central Casting had messed up and called out to everyone saying we needed
to be in at 6:30am, which was the call time Tuesday. All the regular stand ins get emailed our call times, so I ignored
the message thinking it was the one from yesterday. Thankfully Todd, made sure that George was paid from 6:30am, even
though it was Centrals mistake, since he showed up to the stages a little before 6am and waited 4 hours for everyone else
to show up. The day went smooth, blocking and refresh. Joe came up to me and told me to have my car washed soon,
because he heard the stuff they sprayed on it yesterday on the NY street could eat away the paint. We were not needed
by lighting and I left to go home for a few hours before the show started. When I came back at 4pm, a cupcake truck
had arrived. I had a red velvet, which was very tasty. We had an enjoyable evening laughing together in our AD
office, hearing fun stories from George who has work the industry for about 20 years. Around 9pm we wrapped and I headed
home. Suburgatory had arrived from Netflix so Ed and I checked out an
episode of that, after I kissed Zyla good night.
Thursday, it was back to the same ol, in Zyla's school
library, checking in and checking out the books to the 3rd and 4th graders by myself again. They
were a bit out of control, so I had to send some back to class. Afterward I went to get my car washed, but still saw
residue from whatever they had put on my car on that NY Street. Around 3pm, Ed met me at Zyla's school for our first
parent/teacher conference of the year. Zyla's teacher was very excited about Zyla's progress and work, complimenting
her on her behavior, work ethic and grades.
Friday seemed to fly by quickly. I read some
more of Cyndi's book, then I decided to relax and enjoy a movie to start my birthday weekend. I Can't Think Straight about two middle eastern women who fall for each other based on the autobiographical
novel by Shamim Sarif was really well done. I went to pick up Zyla from school, got lunch then took her shopping for
her Christmas dress and her outfit for the Christmas show she was performing in at school the following week. A new
thing Zyla had to do for her religion grade was to work a service hour each week of the 2nd semester. She
went over to our neighbor's house for an hour to be a mommy's helper, cleaning and such around her house. Afterwards,
Ed, Zyla and I ended the evening by celebrating Zyla's amazing all A's first report card of Junior High by having dinner at
one of her favorite restaurants, Outback Steakhouse.
Saturday, I woke really early to finish reading
Cyndi's book, which was due back at the Beverly Hills library that day!!! She is so wonderful, I loved how she stuck
to her guns doing what she knew was her, staying true to her art and vision even when others did not understand or put her
down. Her story was so inspiring and I loved it very much. I had already been a fan of Cyndi's since childhood
but this book really brought her to a new personal level of understanding, making her more real. I finished 2/3rd
of her story before I had to drive it back to the library. I planned to check it out again in the future to finish.
I found a youtube video online of my movie Key To Sex. They had remix
the audio for India calling it Chikni Laila and it was totally reedited much
cleaner, more PG-13 rated with voice-overs in Hindi. I thought it was cool hearing a Hindi voice come out of my mouth
during my scenes. This version of the film look much more mainstream, I was happy zengamovies had posted it. In
the evening Ed, Zyla and I went to eat at Mimi's as a Birthday Eve celebration. Then we went shopping for our fresh
Christmas Tree. We found an 8 foot one that was so full and perfect. Setting it up in the house, its scent of
forest magic filled the air.
Happy Birthday to me Sunday! I decided on a lazy morning, opening
cards and gifts from my family, checking emails, text and Ed's FB posts of all my loved ones wishing me a wonderful day.
Ed, Zyla and I watched the season finale of Glee, then after some lunch we
headed down to Disneyland. It was fun going at the time we normally would be leaving the park around 2pm. It was
crowded, but we managed to get fast passes to my favorite rides. I enjoyed sitting on Main Street under all the Christmas
decorations waiting for the Christmas Parade. Over on the California side, we discovered a new place, the Carthay Circle
Lounge which had amazing cocktails. Zyla had a Rose Petal Soda, while I went for the Sparkling Mare, and Ed had Walt
Disney's drink of choice Scotch Mist. Afterwards we went on Tower of Terror, then entered the amazing Mad T Party concert
area. That was really cool, I loved the atmosphere, the performers, the whole vibe and energy of the place. I
could have stayed there all night. I wanted to see everything lit up on the Disneyland side, so we went back over and
walked down Main Street under all the magical lights. Rode Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and Haunted Mansion thus
ending my wonderful Happy Birthday evening.
Monday it was back to Whitney. We had a guest star stand in Jillian who was standing in for Sydney Mikayla who was playing
R.J.'s niece Maggie. It was a quick easy day, and after the network run thru we were needed for a few minutes by the
lighting crew before being wrapped out for the day. I got home around 2pm, then went to pick up Zyla from school.
Tuesday was more of the same at Whitney. Whitney
had to be at her talk show in the afternoon so we did the camera blocking of most scenes first, then the pre-shoot scenes
in the afternoon that she was not in. Although it was walk away lunch, production bought us a grilled cheese food truck
and I enjoyed a Melted Brie with honey apple sauce grilled sandwich with tomato. Very tasty! We wrapped
around 5pm, getting me home in time to make dinner for my family. Ed bought red and purple lights to wrap around our
tree. Our home was looking very festive.
Wednesday, show night! With so many of the scenes
pre-shot I had a feeling it would be a quick evening for the show. Three of the scenes had been pre-shot a few weeks
ago with John Cleese playing Whitney and Alex marriage therapist. Then two of the bar scenes with Maggie were pre-shot
yesterday. I had to be to set by 10:30am. Once I settled in at set and had some breakfast, we blocked out the
scene we had skipped the day before when Whitney had to run off to do her talk show for E!. Things seemed to take a
little longer than usual for the refresh because rewrites kept taking place. Whitney seemed upset and was venting about
the ratings and how they are tabulated. The girls were needed to stand in for the café scene before we could
leave for lunch. I went home for a half hour to relax before heading in for the evening. Ed and Zyla got home
just before I was leaving so it was nice to see them. Upon my return, a coffee truck was waiting outside the stages
courtesy of the writer of the current episode, Zachary Rosenblatt. I grabbed myself a caramel latte on ice and a double
espresso on ice for Todd. We had another guest star stand in since Jillian could not be back with us. Maddie was
standing in for Sydney for the evening, but she had an easy day and was never used. The night went quickly as I had
predicted and we were wrapped out by 7:30pm. I got home in time to spend time with our old friends and neighbors Stephanie
and Darryl who stopped by to say hi. Zyla went to bed at the usual time and seemed perfectly fine. But at 1:30am
she woke up throwing up with a violent stomach virus. I spent the rest of the early morning hours with her until her
stomach settled and she could go back to sleep. Ed called her in sick to school and took the day off as well to help
out. Neither of us had gotten much sleep. He went to the store to get some Gatorade and chicken soup. Zyla
had a temperature and we knew she would not be able to attend her big Christmas program that evening. It was heartbreaking
because she had been rehearsing for it for months. The teacher had even complimented her on knowing the songs the best.
She had been so excited to perform this show. By Friday she was doing a lot better, but still did not have her strength
and energy back to attend school. She had been able to keep a glass of water down and half a piece of bread and some
chicken broth the day before but that was it. She had no more temperature, and had a full nights rest, so she wasn't
tired or napping by Friday. She was able to eat a little more, we took things slow. I went to the school and picked
up her work she had missed. She was worried about all the tests she had missed that she would have to make up the following
week. I told her not to worry, it would all be ok. Ed and I watched the Whitney
episode that had aired on Wednesday. It was ok, had some funny moments. The ratings were back up to what they
had been for the premier, so that was good news, but I wasn't sure if it was good enough to get the back 5. The next
episode wouldn't air for 2 weeks, not until after the New Year. Andy had said 6 had to air before a green light is given
for back 5, so it did not seem like we would even know until mid January.
Saturday, Zyla was back to
herself again. I was still keeping her off dairy, so she had some dry cereal and toast before heading to gymnastics.
I told her not to push herself too much. Afterward we had a lazy afternoon, I took a nap. When I woke up it was
time to shower and get ready for Ed and I date night. Zyla went to her gymnastic PJ party while Ed and I headed over
to Flapper's Comedy Club Main Room for the Holiday Headliners show. We got there an hour early and were seated on the
second level center. Perfect seats without the fear of being picked on by any comedians. We ordered up cocktails
and garlic fries, making jokes and passing notes. We toasted our glasses countless times to a very Merry Christmas!
Our first comedian up was Mary Lynn Rajskub who I had just stood in for on Mentalist
last month! She was soooo funny and talented, I loved her act! Next was James P Connolly, then the headliners
were Deven Green and Joel Bryant, a married couple who were really funny. Deven reminded me a lot of Whitney.
They played a game of bringing up a married couple from the audience and guessing how they got together and different scenarios
and the couple would hit buzzers if they were right. Ed and I ducked out of the club at 9:30pm to go pick up Zyla on
time at her gym party. It was funny because the couple who had been brought up on stage were picking up their daughter
from the gym as well! Small world.
Sunday, we took things slow. I needed to get
groceries. Zyla needed to alter serve at Mass for one of her service hours. She was finally feeling herself again,
so we went to dinner at Mimi's celebrating the end of my birthday week and the beginning of hers. Zyla wanted to be
caught up on 80's PG-13 movies so we spent the afternoon watching Don't Tell Mom
the Babysitters Dead. I loved Christina Applegate's performance, always a favorite actress of mine from my childhood
days of watching Married With Children. Ed and I started watching Samantha Who on Netflix instant. She is such a talented woman, and I was happy
to see a child actor who had made it as an adult with a clear professional head on her shoulders.
Monday it was back to Whitney for the last episode we would shoot this
year. The rehearsals were running a little behind schedule since we were working with a guest star director Linda Mendoza
who I remembered directing one of the episodes last season as well. After the run thru, the lighting crew needed us
for a short period of time then I wrapped out and went to pick up Zyla from school. The flu was heavily going around
her school. She complained of a sore throat, so I started loading her up on vitamin C to hopefully curb any new strain
of virus attacking her system. The weather was finally feeling like winter, with a chill in the air. The skies
threatened rain so we drove to Granada's for our Mexican dinner fix.
Tuesday, I was needed very early
to set for camera blocking. We were preshooting 4 scenes. Before leaving to set, I noticed a small leak of water
coming from under the floorboards in the kitchen and called for maintenance to send a plumber. The day was grey and
drizzly, dragging on slowly, it felt like Linda was milking every moment of directing the show. I'm sure it would all
turn out brilliantly. Brian was featured as a motorcycle guy coming into the bar. He had been featured as a pilot
on season 1 so it was cool to see him on the show again, but too bad they did not give him any lines. Whitney had an
interview with Talk Stoop, I assumed a spoof off the show Talk Soup. They shot it in the café set while we were trying to shoot the bar scene.
It was a bit obnoxious when Whitney and the host were laughing and being really loud while we were filming dialog. The
2nd 2nd AD ran over to tell them we were rolling, but Whitney did not care, she was doing her interview,
and vocally said so. The scene we were filming wrapped up and the cameras moved to the next set up in the alley while
Whitney continued her interview. After her interview the crew for Talk Stoop
wanted to interview other actors on the show, but everyone else was busy with the agenda for the day of doing all these pre-shoots,
so they left. When it came time for the preshoot of the café Whitney kept messing up saying she was doing footage
for the gag reel at the wrap party. Her vibe seemed off, later we found out she was fighting the flu and loosing her
voice. I had a feeling that the Whitney party train was soon to be over. I was wondering if she had already been
told we would not get the back 5. At walk away lunch the cast bought everyone a lunch truck that had weird choices.
I ended up just getting the French fries. Earlier we had been brought a snack of pulled pork and chicken bbq.
The Christmas spirit filled our stages, with lights up around every door, along the audience section and the Whitney tree
decked out with ornaments donated by the crew. And a little Hanukkah candle lit up too. Ed texted that the plumber
showed up and could not figure out the issue, I kept texting what had happened. Finally another plumber showed up and
they figured out it must be a leak outside on the wall and would return the next day. After we got through the preshoots
and then the camera blocking of most of the scenes, Whitney was let go to go home and get well. Alex and Brian were
kept to run the blocking for the apartment scenes and the rest of the stand ins were wrapped. I arrived home to a delicious
steak dinner Ed had prepared. Zyla was feeling better, with just a little bit of sore throat, so we kept giving her
vitamin C. She was in the mood to draw and had found a great website that helped walk you through step by step.
She had drawn me a cool sexy Sailor Moon type cartoon for my birthday, and now she was working on a sexy cowgirl. She
had a good eye for detail and the shape and figure of the body. Californication
season 5 had come from Netflix. Ed and I enjoyed two episodes of that before crashing out for the night. I saw
the scene I had shot on the airplane, but they did not use the angle I had been in. As always brilliant show, loved
the writing and all of the cast were in top form.
Wednesday, our last Show Night of 2012. I had
a mid morning call time, so after getting Zyla to school, I went home to finish getting ready for set. We were supposed
to be getting our crew gift jackets that evening; I wondered what they would look like. The grip department had special
ordered theirs with their names on them and their union local number. They looked amazing as they modeled them for everyone
the day before. The plumber showed up just as I was getting ready to go. He had not been out the night before
so I explained the situation to him. He cut a hole in the back wall of the kitchen cupboards and found the leak.
I left for work a little early when I noticed Zyla had left her pencils and pens bag by the computer. She had been drawing
the night before off the Internet and must have forgotten to put them back in her backpack. I dropped them to her on
my way into Whitney. A fully catered breakfast was waiting for the crew.
I ordered a breakfast burrito and squeezed up some fresh orange juice and sat with some of our Electrical Crew members.
Everyone had been given their gift jacket but the stand ins. I figured we would collect them that evening when we sat
in the AD office all night, which is where they were sitting in gift bags with our names on them. Everyone was full
of holiday cheer. Megan and Brian gave out Christmas cards. Todd let me know that Rhea was at the vet with her
cat and that something was wrong. I was going to be needed to run all her lines with 1st team for the camera
refresh. She was in three of the scenes and it all went smoothly. Chris was talking about getting the green light
on his hour-long comedy special that his dad would be directing. Zoe liked my engagement ring. When I told her
it was my wedding ring, that I had been married 13 years and had a 12 year old, she started laughing thinking I was joking.
Rhea finally showed up heartbroken in tears. They debated whether she could run the scene and chose to let her go straight
to make up and relax. She had to leave her cat at the vet overnight. I finish the camera refresh for her, then
was pretty much done for the day. I went to sit with the other stand ins for the rest of the morning/early afternoon.
We thought we were wrapped for lunch, when the director Linda, wanted to go over a scene again in the bar with 2nd
team running the lines, so we all did that. Finally broke for lunch around 2pm and Alex, Megan, Robert and I all headed
to Mexi-Cali for lunch. I had eaten some of the chicken noodle soup on set, so I was not really hungry for much.
I had some chips and guacamole and my favorite drink the Mexi-Mosa. The difference between it and the drink I had down
at Disney, well besides the price was the added Corzo Anejo Tequila to the Champaign, Elderflower liqueur and sip of orange
juice. Alex ordered one too. Our waiter said the bartender was going on break but he could make us more drinks
if we wanted. When we ordered refills, he did a horrible job and brought out regular mimosas that tasted nothing like
the amazing drinks we had just had. After lunch we headed back to set, for the cupcake and coffee trucks. They
did not have my Caramel Caramel Sea Salt cupcake, saying it was seasonal. I got the chocolate peppermint one instead
but it was not as good. I got my usual Caramel Latte on ice and a double espresso on ice for Todd. Back in the
AD office for the evening, Megan passed out our gift bags. I loved the new hoodie sweatshirt the Whitney executives gave us. It fit perfect, a dark gray with the logo of LowBar above the left breast.
We also got baseball caps with the Low Bar logo and Whitney S2 on them from
our UPM, Nancy. The show went smoothly. Sushi was brought in and was amazingly fresh and delicious. I got
an extra bump for doing the dialog with 1st team, wrapping out at just before 10pm. I went home and watched
an episode of Californication before crashing out for the night.
was a busy busy day. Zyla's 12th birthday eve and much to be done. I made sure to confirm with all
the parents of the girls coming to the party sleep over. Ed, Zyla and I all left to take her to school early.
We stopped to get Krispy Crème doughnuts for her class to celebrate and sing Happy Birthday to her at snack time.
She wanted to have a day for herself and her birthday fell on the Christmas Class party, so she opted for day before.
Ed worked with me in the school library. He shelved the returns as I checked in and checked out books. Afterward,
we went home to wrap gifts, clean house and get things in readiness for the sleep over party. Around noon we headed
to Teru Sushi for the lunchtime specials. The sushi was sooooo incredibly good. I just cannot say enough about
the yummy spicy tuna rice cakes. Many toasts were made with my champagne and his sake. We split up to finish running
errands; I wanted to grab up tons of snack foods at the grocery store for Zyla's party. Zyla had been fighting an infection
all week, her voice started sounding weird, but the sore throat was gone. I gave her some medicine. She
was able to make it to gymnastics one last time for 2012 before the holiday break. I took some time to look up the Whitney situation online and found that NBC had given the show a back 3 last week.
I found that really odd since no one on set had mentioned it and no new crew calendar schedule had been issued saying we would
work past the episode slated for the first week of January. This might explain why Whitney had been upset lately.
NBC had approved 5 more scripts to be written and if they only green lit 3 episodes it seemed like a slap in the face compared
to the back 9 she originally wanted. But I was happy with whatever happened, and felt this was wonderful news.
I wondered when the show would actually be confirming this information and let us know when we would be shooting these extra
Christmas vacation came and went. It started off with Zyla's amazing 12th
Birthday party on the predicted Mayan End of the World Day. The world did not come to an end. Zyla had an amazing
24 hour party with all her girlfriends jumping at Sky High, eating pizza, blowing out candles at Republic of Pie, then dancing,
movies and slumber party secrets until wee morning hours. And she got the iPad she always wanted. After all that,
we took things slow until Christmas Eve when we celebrated Ed's traditional Carpatho-Ruthenian meal then headed out to midnight
Mass where Zyla Alter Served. Christmas day Ed made his amazing lasagna and sweet potatoes, which we brought over to
my sister's house to celebrate the holiday with her family. Much laughter and wine was enjoyed before we said good night,
heading home to get ready for our trip to Ohio. Thankfully we weren't flying out the next day because airports were
closing due to a major snowstorm racing across Middle America. I had gotten a new book for my birthday Watch the Face of the Sky by Anna Lee Waldo. After waiting about a decade I finally had the trilogy
ending to the historical fiction of Druids traveling to America long before Columbus. I started reading it on the plane
and found it interesting how often I stumbled upon Mayan lore lately. We managed to dodge the storm and land safely
before another came through. It was a winter wonderland of beauty. Ed's family was happy we were there to celebrate
New Years with them. Zyla was able to earn some more of her service hours helping deliver baskets to the priest throughout
the Columbus diocese, and helping clean the sanctuary and Russian icons of the Byzantine Church his family attends there.
New Year's Eve, we watched the Dick Clark special as the snow started to fall again. It was funny to see all the Hollywood
footage knowing they had shot it a month ago on the sound stage next door to my show Whitney.
Zyla went crazy over Justin Beiber on the screen and couldn't believe he had been on the sound stage next door to me when
I was working at Whitney last month. She held me at fault for not getting his autograph for her.
back on 2012, I was pleased with all I had accomplished as a mother, wife, mentor and friend to those around me. I looked
forward to another amazing year ahead with God at the center of my being led by the Spirit. I had started reading The Religion of Ayahuasca by Alex Polari De Alverga. I loved this book about
the teachings of the Church of Santo Daime, which is a mix of Catholicism and Amazonian Shamanism and the personal experiences
the author had with Daime, Padrinho Sebastiao and all the work happening at Ceu do Mapia in the heart of the Brazilian rain
forest. I had heard of a sister church in Oregon and hoped to make a pilgrimage to experience the sacred sacramental
drink they spoke of.