Sunday, August 31, 2008

adventures in show biz

I took DD for a modeling/acting audition this afternoon. If you've ever wondered if anything ever comes of those mall-kiosk on-the-spot video auditions, the answer is yes. I got a message on my cellphone early this week inviting her to an open audition this weekend where she was interviewed by a rep from ACT and filmed a 30-second spot in front of an agent from The Gersch Agency.

I'd been hearing radio ads about the open audition - "Be one of the first 200 people to call" - but they called us, so I suppose that means something. (Not much, but something). It was a cattle call in the Hyatt's Regency Ballroom, nicely done. First come, first served, with ushers to show us to a seat and to keep the peace while the auditions proceeded. We had been told to arrive at 45 minutes early for her 1PM appointment, and were only 5 minutes late (I used the valet parking). The timing turned out to be crucial, because we ended up seated near the aisle in the third row, so we did get out of there much more quickly than the lollygaggers who straggled in at 12:58PM. We were both well-prepared for the wait, but I had paperwork to attend to: the application and disclaimer, plus a brochure for the ACT school. DD had to write a 100-word essay on why she wanted to do this and why she thought she would be good at it. She dictated, I transcribed and made suggestions. The whole thing was completely legit and on the level, completely professional, and there wasn't even a hint of anything weird or off.

We got underway a few minutes after 1PM with a little talk from an ACT rep first, and then each child got to do his thing. The talk covered the basics: this won't work unless the child is very motivated and the parents are supportive, so if you dragged your kid here because you think he's cute, don't get your hopes up. Also, most kids won't get a call back because they simply do not have the talent. I loved, loved, loved how blunt she was about this. It's not enough to be cute and to want this, you actually have to have the ability. At the same time, she encouraged everyone who is really into it to keep trying, telling a cute story about how Mylie Cyrus had to audition 8 times before she got the lead role in Hannah Montana. The rep also stressed that they won't work with anyone that isn't doing well in school. California has an industry regulation that says they can't work with kids who have below a 2.5 GPA, which she acknowledged is very low. They won't work with less than B average kids because if their grades drop, they'll have to get pulled off the shoot. She also commented that the smarter kids are more likely to be successful in this business.

Last, she explained the interview and audition processes, which involved one brief interview with the ACT rep, and the audition, which involved filming a 30-second spot for the Gersh agent. For the audition, the kids had to "slate", state their names and ages. The rep asked for three volunteers, and DD raised her hand enthusiastically. Since we were in the third row near the center aisle, she was perfectly positioned to be noticed by the rep, and she was selected. She had to get up in front of a room of about 200 people and state her name and age. She did very well, certainly better than one of the others who was so nervous she couldn't remember to say her full name. I was especially impressed because she went last, and had to stand there watching the other girls do it. During that time she wasn't nervous or impatient, she just waited calmly. Honestly? I didn't know she had it in her, but then again, I'd never given it much thought.

Clearly the primary purpose of these open calls is to get new recruits for ACT's workshops, where starting tuition is close to $2000 for the "Basic Development" 20-week workshop that gets your kid camera-ready . ACT is not an agency but the spiel their rep gave sounded as if the kids do get auditions somehow as well, but that's not clear. We find out if DD made the cut with ACT when we call at 9:30AM, but I'm fairly sure that DH doesn't want to pursue that. One factoid the ACT rep dropped is that a national commercial pays $30-60,000, which is a lot more than I expected. Even a single local spot would more than cover the cost of the workshop, right? I'm sure that's how they suck parents into paying for their kids' pipe dreams.

In an ideal world, the Gersh rep would just ring us up and say, "We want to represent your daughter," in which case we would laugh and decide what to do. I made a point of peeking at her score sheet as we were walking out, and she had several highest scores circled, but that doesn't mean anything. She attracted positive attention from the beginning when she was selected as a volunteer. The ACT rep liked her a lot. She told DD she was "cute" and liked her enthusiasm and my flexibility with regards to this whole affair -- who knows where it will go? Most likely: no where, but DD had a lot of fun today anyway.

lately, a list

My camera is broken. It will take photos, but I can't get it to focus on what I want it to focus on, because there's a problem with the lens. I also can't get it to zoom or go macro. It could be fixable but it's probably not worth it. *sigh*


Ran a good ThyCa meeting last week, a nice balance of new people and old. No word on a facility for meetings closer to home, but I will follow up with that this week.


Saw Dr. O this week and happily he didn't feel any lymph nodes, but he wants me to come back once a month for a few months to keep an eye on it. I am amused because he is implicitly disagreeing with my endo's recommendation regarding this node, which
was basically "See you in January," not, "Come in next month and let's take a look and make sure there's nothing going on there." It may be overkill on his part, but the node measured out as 17mm along one axis and that's not insubstantial.


Worked 2 days in DS2's class this past week. The class is small and generally enthusiastic, except for one little guy who just won't work. Not can't, won't. Sad. I wonder what will become of him as he gets older. The longer he hangs onto that attitude, the worse it will be for him.


Itching like crazy lately, especially after a shower. Last night it was the worst so far (at least a 7 on the 1 to 10 scale). It takes about 30-45 minutes for it to go away, and web research this evening didn't turn up anything useful. I've had eczema my whole life but this isn't like that. I don't have any redness, swelling, bumps, or rashes, I just itch all over no matter how much Lubriderm for Extra Dry Skin I slather on. Interestingly, being in the pool today (we had our annual Labor Day getaway at the resort) provoked only minor itching that didn't persist long at all, so I'm going to try cooler showers and/or cooling down with cold water at the end to close all my pores and hopefully prevent the itch-a-thon.

I think the itching may be medication-related but I can't be sure. I'm on the same dose (10mcg Cytomel) I took all summer, why should this be happening now?


Still slogging through my first lesson of my Sheltered Content Instruction course. My brain is actively resisting absorbing this information. I'm not sure why.


Still working on discernment. I had a great talk with one of my sister's friends who lives in this area and is working in Special Ed in the Higley district. She was a font of information, but now I am more confused than ever, and have to spend some time thinking about what is important to me. Dawn Eden linked to this awesome article that has been very helpful to me.


Many questions, few answers. Just muddling through.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

random information

You can't keep a hedgehog as a pet in Arizona. You can keep a hedgehog in Arizona if you get a Wildlife Holding license from the Dept. of Fish and Game, but you can only get a license if you want a hedgehog for scientific, educational, or humanitarian purposes. The official language:
A wildlife holding license shall authorize an individual to possess, transport, import, display for educational purposes, photograph for commercial purposes, purchase, propagate, export, give away, or euthanize either restricted live wildlife or live wildlife lawfully held under a hunting or fishing license for any of the following purposes: advancement of science, wildlife management, or promotion of public health or welfare; Education: photograph for a commercial purpose live wildlife that is lawfully possessed; to give humane treatment to restricted live wildlife that has been abandoned or permanently disabled; or to lawfully possess restricted live wildlife that was possessed under another special license, and the primary purpose for that special license no longer exists.

Hedgehogs are "restricted wildlife" in Arizona. The main concern is that freed hedgehogs would find the climate very amenable, and since they have no natural predators here, a hedgehog population could disrupt the local (fragile) ecosystem. As I explained to DD, "It would be bunnies in Australia all over again."

DD was disappointed even though we hadn't even discussed the possibility of getting a hedgehog. The kind officer at Fish & Game told me there are some hedgehogs at the Phoenix Zoo, but he may have meant the World Wildlife Zoo. I'll have to look into that so she can get a hedgehog fix from time to time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

good news, bad news?

My ENT called this afternoon. He is my favorite doctor of all time, which is saying something since my OB saw me through three pregnancies and is completely wonderful, too.

Anyway, Dr. O called to tell me that my hearing test came back perfect, which is the good news.

The bad news is that he wants to see me to follow-up on the results of the neck ultrasound I had a few weeks ago. My endocrinologist was OK with that lymph node it identified in my left neck, but he wants to take a look. I respect his opinion, so I made an appointment and will be seeing him next Wednesday.

This isn't really bad news, and I'm trying not to get worked up about it. He's just being thorough, after all. My TSH was so low (0.03) and my Tg (thyroglobulin, my tumor marker) has dropped from 0.28 to 0.23, so, nothing to worry about, right? (I admit, I would be much happier if it would come back truly undetectable, so far that's not happening.)

Since I'm in here talking about health-related issues, I've got a trifecta of freakish injuries running: 1) a slight case of tendonitis in my left Achilles that's going on its fourth week now 2) bruised index and middle fingers on my right hand that I have no memory of injuring; I must have smacked something really hard and 3) muscle strain in my right neck/shoulder I think from the combination of too much phone time and falling asleep in an awkward position on the couch. When I wake up in the morning I can't walk because my left leg is so tensed up, and my right hand is frozen. The headaches that descend when the ibuprofen wears off are so reminiscent of those I had post-op after my neck dissection it's depressing. Taking the aforementioned ibuprofen and judicious stretching gets everything moving again, but this has been a rough couple of weeks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

out of the blue

I'm flying back to New York on Monday, so I can be on television Tuesday morning.

How did that happen? It all started more than eight years ago, when I wrote Confessions of a Recovering Control Freak, which has languished on thar interwebs ever since. Until today, when the producer of The Morning Show with Mike and Juliette (audio at the link) called to talk to me about it. They're doing a segment on how controlling personalities affect relationships, and he loved my take on it.

After much deliberation and discussion with family members, I agreed. I'm excited but nervous, and also second-guessing my decision at this point. In the pre-interview I had to go over a lot of ancient history, and it is a bit discomfiting to talk about all the little things I used to pick on DH about. I feel dense that it took me so long to come to my senses! But at least I did, and things are much better now.

DH is OK with this as long as I don't present myself as "cured", LOL. He's so awesome. I can't imagine where I'd be without him.

Update: It's not happening. When I hadn't heard anything about travel arrangements by 5PM Eastern Sunday afternoon, I called the producer and left him a message. He called back a half hour later, explaining that they'd found local people and that he had to conserve his budget. Now I am simultaneously disappointed and relieved, which is a very odd mixture.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I got nothin'

These days, the majority of my time is spent planning meals, shopping for food, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up.

I don't remember it being so labor-intensive in the past, but in previous years the boys would buy their lunch at school most days. This year they're bringing their lunch every day. It's less expensive and they get better quality food, but it does take a certain amount of dedication on my part.

That's why I spend a half-hour in the kitchen every school night, putting together the next day's breakfasts and lunches. If I don't, the mornings are just too crazy.

I'm in that treading-water mode for another week or so until my class starts up, and in that time I've got some other stuff to do, but I'm singularly amotivated. I did tick my Cytomel down to 7.5 from 10 mcg/day (my TSH was way down to 0.03, which is over-suppressed even for me), and maybe that's taking the edge off. Or maybe it's just the usual end-of-summer down-shift, where I have to get used to long stretches of being alone again after many weeks of being around people constantly, not to mention being back in AZ after many weeks of being able to go to the beach whenever I felt like it.

It just takes some time, is all.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

last gasp

Children escape the rehearsal dinner to enjoy one last walk on a beach.

Summer's over now, well and truly. The kids are back into the school routine, I've registered for my next class, and I'm almost over my jetlag: we spent the weekend on Long Island for my nephew's wedding. It was all very lovely and exhausting.

With the family, at the rehearsal dinner, just two days shy of 45.

Low lighting conditions at the wedding reception made my camera pretty much useless, and I spent too much time dancing to worry much about taking pictures. Besides, photos of people dancing always look goofy! (I have a few shots that demonstrate, I won't post them.) As I said, it was all very lovely, a fine celebration to close out our summer.