Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hiking Parables

Every April (since last year) I go on a hike by myself to think and meditate and try to get more in touch with God.  This year I thought of some parables while hiking; I'm writing them down mainly for myself, but if anyone else enjoys them, that's great, too.

The Parable of the Lonely Flower: Though you may bloom on your own, you at least brightened my day.
The Parable of the Caterpillar - Keep on growing!  Soon you'll become a butterfly . . . or maybe a moth, but either way, you will FLY.
The Parable of the Mating Beetles - Make time for love!

The Parable of the Thistle - Even the prickliest person may have a beautiful flower that we can enjoy.
The Parable of the Anthill - Cooperation and hard work lead to abundance and satisfaction for all.

Like a mountain, God's love isn't going anywhere; it's here to stay.

My Own Silver Lining

As a kid, I constantly dreamed about acting. I imagined what it would be like to create the magic behind the scenes and write the scripts that built the stories. Time passed, life happened, and I never made that dream come true. However, I do check in with a local company, Heery Casting, for occasional work. I missed the filming of Limitlessin 2009, starring Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro, but when I heard they were returning to film The Silver Linings Playbook, I immediately applied. I have always admired Robert DeNiro. A true natural, his movies have profoundly affected me. It was only just before Hangover 2 released that I discovered Bradley Cooper is from Jenkintown, only one town over from my own birthplace. 

I waited anxiously for the call, which I finally received near the end of October. The location was a cozy diner in Upper Darby and I was to bring a Halloween costume. I arrived early, which gave me time to make friends with some of the other extras. After some waiting in the holding area, we piled in vans and headed to a quiet neighborhood. We did a few quick shots as trick-or-treaters, then headed to the diner for more waiting in the parking lot. The crew members were scattered about communicating on headsets to organize who would go where. Taking the opportunity, I made sure to keep moving away from the outgoing vans that were carrying extras back to the holding location.

Eventually, we were herded into the diner and people were placed, filling the space like sardines. I spotted a table remaining empty in the middle of the room and slid myself into a seat at the counter directly across from it. I soon found my intuition was right as Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence came in and sat at the table.

I spent from 4pm until 4am on the set, adrenaline keeping me wide awake the entire time. I laughed. I nibbled cold French fries. I spent hours getting to know the incredible people in the seats around me. Most importantly, I soaked up every moment like a sponge. Being so close to the action allowed me to see how much effort is put into every moment of a film. While David O. Russell directed, the crew worked furiously to keep the extras quiet and moving when needed. When a better camera angle was needed, they swooped in to remove a seat and change the lighting. When squeaking counter seats were creating a distraction, they appeared with oil to grease each one. And all the while, they still worked with a smile and pandered to my penchant for playful banter.

The night was unforgettable. I went home floating on a cloud. When the next day came, all I could think about was getting back to the set. I wanted more. If I was an addict, I would have been doubled over from the withdrawal.

This video was not taken by me, but was from the same day I was on set.

Thankfully, I was called again. This time, the location was in the city. There was a much larger crowd of people and I wondered if I had made the right decision. Would the second time be as fun as the first? Would I be able to get as much out of it as I did before?

It wasn't long before I was assured it would be another memorable day. A more formal scene, we headed over to the Ben Franklin House. We were placed throughout the lobby and balcony hallways. Finding a crew member I recognized, I said hello and he sent me right upstairs with a few others. Wondering if I would be within view of a camera, I was thrilled when Bradley Cooper walked by and stood at the end of the hallway with the gathering crew members.

Again, I was in awe as David and Bradley hashed out the scenes, deciding the best camera angles and how it would be performed. As the day went on, I was placed in prime spots as the stars walked the hallways. David would read their lines, each time with different inflection and timing. They would repeat and repeat until they had what they wanted.

At the end of the day, I left with the same feeling of adrenaline and satisfaction. A dreamy smile plastered to my face. For so long I wondered what it would be like, and even though I didn't pursue the career I wanted, I spent two amazing days entranced with being in the center of it all. Hopefully, it will lead me to more days like this to come. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Went to Carlsbad for the weekend!  Thanks to my friend Lisa who accompanied us, we have some great pictures with both me and Wes in them.  :-)

On the trail to the natural entrance of the cave.  Texas is on the horizon.

At the mouth of the cave

matching headlamps, how romantic!

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's Always Fun When Grandma Comes

I'm kind of behind -- this was last week -- but we had a great time when my mom came to visit for a few days.  She read a lot of books to the kids, listened to all their stories and crazy ideas, and we went hiking and to the Biopark together.  Everyone was sad she could only stay for a few days, but we enjoyed her visit immensely (especially Sapphire, who didn't have to go to school).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Woolite Oxy Deep

Let's talk cleaning.

In my house, I have neutral colored rugs. Sandy brown, speckled beige, and I even chose a cream colored carpet for the dining room. The dining room!

What was I thinking? you say?

I have a secret weapon.

When it comes to cleaning messes, I battle juice spills, mud tracks, and my least favorite, animal puke. While the dog is an infrequent offender, the cat ruins my day several times a week. 

This little bottle of magic has erased every stain in its path. You spray it on, leave it a few minutes and come back to soak up the mess and POOF! Gone. I only use paper towels and it works every time.

I have never been so grateful for a stain remover. It has erased the big and small spots. I've even used it on the microfiber sofas...because the cat is not picky about where he chucks his hairballs.

Woolite OxyDeep is hands down the best stain remover I have used. Between kids and pets, there's nothing that has eliminated messes like this cleaner. 

If only it would watch the kids so I can go see a movie, it would be perfect.

*I was not compensated in any way for this review. I have used Woolite OxyDeep for a number of years and was not approached to post about it.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Railrunner to Santa Fe Children's Museum

Last Friday the kids had the day off, so we took the Railrunner to Santa Fe (the Capitol Hill station) and walked to the Children's Museum there.  The walk from the station to the museum was a little long (1.5 miles), but worth it.  While it has some science exhibits like Explora, it has a lot of art-making opportunities as well, such as painting your own face (something Sapphire took full advantage of), a full dress-up and puppet show area, and outdoor xylophones.  They even had a rock climbing wall and, everyone's favorite, a pit filled with old tires to roll up the hill and send careening into the pit.

Quotes of the week:

Wes: "I always gaze lovingly into the eyes of my potato."
Andrea: "You can look at me, I can look at you; you can eat some millet, I can eat . . . something that's not you."
Sapphire: "Do you want a banana?  This banana's for you!"
Quartz: "It exploded and I'm happy about that.  I hope it explodes again."
Onyx: "There's no coffin launcher in a real pyramid."

Monday, April 9, 2012


I haven't been able to eat today.  Oh, I wanted to, and there was no shortage of food.  As a matter of fact, I made roast, gravy, broccoli casserole, and mashed potatoes.

I wasn't allowed to eat, but instead, was instructed to take four Dulcolax tablets and then chug 64 ounces of Gatorade with an entire economy-sized bottle of Miralax.

I'm running a little hot right now, so I'll keep it short.

I have a hostile digestive system.  It's been more belligerent than normal lately, so I've had a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, a blood transfusion, two EKG's, and more blood drawn that Bella Swan.

Apparently, my colon is a kamikaze.

So, tomorrow I will go in and swallow this:

Yes, that is a capsule with a camera inside it.  I'm going to be forced to voluntarily swallow it, and if that's not enough, I have to wear this spiffy little get-up as well:

Her jacket is covering up the suspenders.  I think the suspenders make the outfit.

It's all very unnerving.  The camera in the capsule will travel through my digestive system, stopping for an extended excursion in my small intestines  where it will take pictures and send them to the computer I will wear around my waist.

Again, unnerving.

Tonight I was reading all the warnings on the pre-procedure sheet, and read them aloud to Coach.

Me: "It says after I ingest this thing I can't be near any MRI devices, ham radios, or electromagnetic fields."

Coach: "Yeah, no kidding.  If you were to try to get an MRI tomorrow the magnet in that thing would attract that camera and pull it straight through your body.  That's why they call it an MRI- it's a huge magnet.  You know, Magnetic Resonance Imaging."

Me: "I know what MRI stands for."

Coach:  "I'm just saying.  You don't want to mess around with that.  It will rock your insides."

Me: "Your bedside manner blows."

Coach:  "Are you sure you don't want me to go?  I can go."

Me:  "Yeah, no.  But I might need you to do my ham radio broadcast tomorrow."

I'll let you know how it goes.  We had some exotic wildlife visit over the weekend;  I'll tell you all about it once I've "excreted" the PillCam and resumed life as normal.

See Y'all!