Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter

I'm out of sorts. Mason, Gunner and I made the long drive to Utah to see my family. My mom has been declining in the recent months and it was just time to get there and see her. My mom waited for me to get there and then today, took a turn for the worse. Even though death is expected as our parents age, it brings out questions of mortality, and all kinds of emotions that are impossible to articulate. What's the point to working so hard for this, or making that just right? We're all going to die anyway. Of course, the point is that we make the most of each day that we have so when our time comes, we don’t look back with regret. We don’t wish we had tried harder, or done more. I know that I live out loud and I’m coaching Mason to do the same. It doesn’t matter if you step up and fall flat on your face. In fact, if that happens, it will be an epic story for years to come! Step up again, and again, and again. Learn to play the guitar, be an actor, skydive, take a cake decorating class, write a blog - make it you life story so your family has it when you’re gone, learn to dance and then go invite someone you don’t know to dance with you, the list could go on and on. Ultimately, make the most of today - no, every day. 

Tell those you love that you love them. Let the little shit go. It seems the disagreements only matter if we think we can continue arguing our point. What if you are walking away for the last time? You can't talk about it any you still want to be right? Even if you are? It's all so surreal. Faith really helps those that believe there is a home, they're going home to family and father. I get that, even if it's just for the comfort that there is something more, or better. What will it be like for our kids to have to say goodbye to us? That makes me even sadder.

It was a long drive both ways and an emotional trip. I want to thank my sister Teri Cartwright for taking care of my mom as she gets ready to transition to whatever is next. The job of the caregiver is not an easy one and my sister is the strongest, most giving person I know.  

Sunday was Easter. It was a lovely day. We all slept in, Mason got to hunt for eggs that all had scratchers in them and ended with his basket that contained the entire series of The X-Files on DVD. He was over the moon! We watched tv, laughed, sat in the hot tub, and Dave made a traditional Easter dinner while I made brownies for dessert. Not a chocolate bunny in the house. It was so nice to just live the ordinary with my family, these are the moments that ultimately will be the most special memories, wouldn't you agree?

Monday, April 10, 2017

That's A Wrap!

Grayson and Mason (don't mind the makeup residue)
Mason is done shooting the movie. This has been an epic experience on so many levels, mostly because Mason got to see that so many of the things I’ve been saying to him are true. I’ve shared with him how casting works, what producers and directors expect from talent, and proper etiquette through the casting process and on set. This shoot was not a big budget production, but it was big enough for Mason to note, “If this is how it is making movies, I want to make movies for a living!” I assured him there are all kinds of opportunities and sometimes the smaller productions offer more to new talent. I think that was true in this case. 

Even more interesting, Mason got to see what happens when talent behaves badly. I’ve worked diligently to impress upon him to be on time (early), to be willing to do whatever it takes, to listen more than he talks (we both struggle with that one), and to bring light and positivity to the set. Not only did we see someone “released” from the production, but we also met someone who everyone loved! Grayson Russell is a talented young actor (started at 8 and just turned 18) and to say he was a joy to meet and work with wouldn’t do him justice. You might know Grayson from his role as the young son of Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, or as Fregley in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid films. He was just so polite, friendly, and genuinely interested in every one he met, including Mason. An amazing role model for sure! Good job mom, although I know, some of it is what we do, and some of it is the character of these amazing people we call our sons. 

This impressive and spooky castle is the location where Mason had the experience of a lifetime, Preston School of Industry in Ione, CA. We met amazing people, he got to do a stunt, he had to shave his head, and he got to be made up by real Hollywood makeup artists. I've expressed my gratitude every step of the way and I still feel like I need to say thank you a million more times. I know Mason will make more movies and I can't wait to continue this journey with him. He's a good kid and makes his dad and I proud every day.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Happy 50th Birthday Jules!

Happy 50th Birthday to my most longtime best friend! I can't believe I've been able to be on this journey with Julie for darn near 40 years. To be her best friend since fourth grade, well, to say it's an honor would be an understatement. I'm so glad so many of her friends joined me on Saturday to celebrate her, her life, and the awesome woman she is. So glad to call her, and all of you friends!

Julie’s birthday is March 30th, but to celebrate on April 1st (yes, April Fools Day!) with a “theme” that combined Steampunk, Pirates, Mardi Gras, and Disney, well, it fit Julie to a tee! Almost everyone dressed up and the food was off the hook. If this party did not make Jules feel loved, well, I can’t imagine what would. She is loved and I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years holds for us!

Monday, March 27, 2017

It's Inevitable, With Life Comes Death

Dave's dad is home and back in his own house. I'm sure we are all happier, but the stress was crazy heavy. Him being gone left me feeling happy and exhausted at the same time. Couple that with Gunner heading back to the vet with all the signs he's ingested something yet again, and I learned this week that both Dave's mom and my mom are both starting hospice care. We knew it was coming, it's not terrible, but it's all so emotional. Mason and I are still back and forth between Auburn and Ione while he is still shooting the movie and Dave is leaving this weekend for two weeks. 

Yes, my mom is dying. It's not terrible, she's lived a long life - it's time. I called her and we talked, I asked her how she felt, if she was excited to see my dad, granny, and grandpop. She told me she is. I asked her if she is afraid, and she said no. Mason was sitting on the floor of my office listening in and thought I was crazy (insensitive) to be talking about death with someone who is so close to crossing over. No! To allow my mom to share with me how she feels and where she is going in this next phase of her existence, I see it as a gift. Not many people agree with me but I don't care, it's she and I and it's real. I had a similar conversation with my granny years ago. She was more and more frequently wanting to talk about when she dies, and family would hush and poo-poo her, they would say, “Oh granny, we don’t want to talk about that.” But she did, so one day we were having tea, that’s what we did, we had hot tea (with milk and sugar) with dry toast and cheese and she brought up what she wanted when she dies. I asked her to tell me. She talked about her things, what she promised to whom and then she asked me what I wanted. I was inclined to say nothing, but there was something, I wanted her plants. Her eyes got big and she looked very surprised, “My plants? That’s what you want?” Yep, my granny and I both love house plants and she had a green thumb like nobody I’ve ever known. I got her plants and through 16+ years and many moves, they have not all survived, but I do still have one. 

Death scares me. I think it's because I still have life to live and things to do, and the idea of leaving Mason before he is grown makes me shudder. I hope when I'm old, I'm ready and not afraid. And I hope Mason will talk with me about these things... Love you mom, when you are ready to go, go, it's totally okay…but like I told granny, when you're dead, be dead, no showing up as an apparition, that would scare the bejesus out of me! I’ll be making plans to go see her and in the meantime, we’ll talk some more.

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Week on Set

He did it! He got the lenses in.
It's been an exciting week, 3 days in a row on a movie set, watching Mason live my dream and can I tell you, I think it's better helping him succeed. I don't know all the way because I didn't get this far in my pursuit, but I also didn't start until I was 30. I had to figure it out, pay my own way, learn the ropes and then wouldn't you know, 7 years into that journey, I was a working actor and Dave and I found our love of a lifetime blossoming. It was a no brainer and here I am today not only living it with Mason, but giving him the gifts of an early start, knowing how to navigate these waters for him, and a love of the business that I see growing in his heart more each day. I'm just so full of gratitude and love, my eyes are welling. I just can't say "thank you" enough. So now he has homework, he needs to practice putting in creepy white contact lenses for filming next week. With his determination, I'm sure he'll make it happen. 

But now since I've been gone for 3 days, I have laundry to do, groceries to get, dinner to prep...laughing! All I really want to do is nothing, lie in bed, watch tv and doze off. Ah, but that is not to be, it's back to real life, which is pretty dang awesome, too!

Speaking of pretty dang awesome, my hubby bought tickets for us to see Beauty and the Beast this weekend. I was really excited and it was good, but I wasn't wowed. The cinematography was great and the CGI was state of the art, but I didn't like that they didn't stay true to the story. Okay, they did mostly, but they added songs, which was fine, but they changed up who Belle's father is/was, where he was going, and why. The fight scene at the castle seemed even longer in this film than it did in the original animation (which was too long in my opinion as well), and finally, the ballroom dance scene seemed to be downplayed. They could have made the dance more of a focal point and the fight less so. I don't know, maybe I'm just nit picking, but that's my two cents. Dave would be sure to add that I did sing along to all the original songs and I loved being there with him. So check this out, these are side by side images of the two of us when we got engaged in 2001 and our last family photos in 2016 - isn't it cool how much the same we still look? Okay, older for sure, but still happy. I think our love shows, don't you?

2001 and 2016

Monday, March 13, 2017

Moving Through the Stuff

Preston Castle - this is where the movie is being filmed.
This week has been busy, lots of doing and preparing for the coming two weeks when Mason will be working on the movie. I have a pretty good idea of what to expect and at the same time, I'm not sure at all. That sounds odd, I'm sure, but while some things are pretty standard in the process of movie making, other things are unique to a production. I'm excited for Mason to get to have a full experience. He is not simply a background actor or extra, he has a featured role, and though he does not have lines at this point, he will be required to shave his head, be pushed in a swimming pool (not for fun, for delousing) and have to swim to get out quickly. This pool scene by itself is considered a stunt. Who gets to do a stunt in their first movie? Mason does, that's who! This is a gritty, icky role and that's what will make it so much fun for him. It's these kinds of roles that actors live for and I'm so excited Mason is getting to do this. With that said, I have stuff I need to do to be ready to be away from home and work next week. Hopefully we will have good reception at the castle (doesn't that just sound cool, at the castle) and I can work while Mason is doing his thing. More on this as it unfolds, at least as much as I can share.

I don't have much more to share so we'll just leave it here until next week. Go out and do something that moves you one step closer to your dreams, and if you you're not currently dreaming for yourself, help someone else move a little closer to their dream. Yeah, that feels super good!

Monday, March 6, 2017

So Much BIG News!

Dave and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last November 9th and Dave bought me Bon Jovi tickets. Not only did he purchase the tickets, he made plans for us to stay in Sacramento for the night. I was such a fun day and night. Some days I have to pinch myself to know my life is real. I am married to a guy who finds so much joy in surprising and spoiling me. I just don't have the words to express how grateful I am and how lucky I feel. I ❤ you David Partak, thank you for loving me like only you can. But wait! There’s more.

Dave didn't want our time "away" to end so he made reservations for Date Night at Bootleggers, one of our favorite local restaurants. Every Wednesday is “Date Night,” it’s $29 for two people, three courses. Ty Rowe dinner was off the hook! The tri-tip with chimichurri was mouthwatering and the chicken Marsala left me wanting to lick my plate - I didn't but that was only because Dave moved it out of my reach before I could. My only complaint is that when I ordered more Marsala sauce, there wasn't any!! 

After Dave and I had such a great date night with Bon Jovi, we've decided to go on an overnight once a month. Sacramento, Apple Hill, Nevada City, Alameda, San Francisco... just something different, and away from the distractions at home. Don't get me wrong, it's really good at home, but plugging in to us is important and it's more fun on an adventure. So now we get to have fun deciding where we should go. There is a treehouse place in Northern CA, and the Safari spot in the Sonoma area... it will be fun, to plan and go! Remember, the best gift you can give your kids is happily married parents. And we stay happily married when we spend a little time without our kids. ❌❤⭕❤❌❤⭕❤

I get pretty consistent requests for Mason to donate a cooking class from different organizations and service clubs. I've always said no because I didn't know if he could actually do it. Since he turned 13, I finally agreed and on Saturday he taught his first cooking class to nine kids.

He taught basics, knife skills, misen place, clean-as-you-go, baked chicken ziti, salad, strawberry roses, a mocktail, and ice cream in a bag. He had a special needs child who he handled like a pro, and got all the kids to eat things their parents assured us they would not eat. It was unbelievable what that kid did. I was pretty blown away.
I was also tired. The class had me donating $40, 23 hours of my time and over 100 miles traveled. I'm not complaining, just evaluating how this all pans out for the future.

So now the big news, Mason just got cast in his first film role! Sally at Forcier Casting, has given Mason an incredible opportunity considering he really has no real film experience. I would say this is what we call in the business, “a big break!” Her coaching and guidance have been invaluable to Mason and I'm certain she and her team are contributing to his success in a big way. John Howard Swain and Marsha Mercant, I’m not leaving you guys out! You two are the voices in my head that Mason gets to hear once in a while, too. Okay, all the time, but he may only listen once in a while. This is very exciting on so many levels, I can’t wait to write this journey as it unfolds. 

With all of this cool news, go out and get one step closer to making your dreams come true. Seriously, it feels amazing when things come to fruition.