Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Grabbing the Bull by the Horn


Whilst I have no clue whatsoever as to the etymology of referring to a telephone as a “horn”, I seem to have been a tin-eared elk honking like an out-of- tune saxophonist this past week...

“This call will be recorded for quality control purposes” the mechanical voice properly officiously informed me as I dialed a utility company with a simple question.

“Yeah, God willing”, I accidentally sighed out loud.

“OK.  Got it.  I’ll transfer you to billing.”

“Wait, wait, wait; NOOO!

Crap...  Welcome to thirty minutes of pressing buttons on the “horn”...

Are there really no more living, breathing human beings available to pick up the phone except out-sourced companies that leave you on hold with Muzak and then transfer you to another country?


In a worthy attempt to keep my expenses down, but craving some beef, I purchased a bacon cheeseburger at a local mini-mart from their refrigerated section and wagged home the chilly cow.

YAY!  Time for a tasty lunch, yes?!

“Insert burger into store microwave and press #3”.


“Customer satisfaction is guaranteed!” the label read all happily, with an 800 number for my requisite ‘customer satisfaction’.  (Cue more Muzak.)

“Hi.  I bought a bacon cheeseburger from your company, but didn’t cook it in the store.  Can you help me with approximately how much time I should nuke it as to the equivalence of whatever is #3?”

“Oh, I don’t have that kind of specific specs maam. But thank you for calling, and have a great day!”

Are you kidding me???  Yeah, let’s just wing it with E.coli!!!


Still feeling a bit bullied by my on-line Tech Support, I frowned at my computer which was encouraging me to follow seven steps of uploading/downloading (I don’t understand the difference) for technological blah, blah, blah...  (No thanks to my nephew Austin, who is an absolute genius, but is currently waaay too busy being a teenager to help me.  Rebellion.  Got it.)

So, sometimes you just have to take the bull by both horns.

Sending a seriously crabby email (this One Red Cent was in her own rebellious mood); I asked just what the heck I was paying for. 

I’ve seen the little window pop up, and I know that they have the remarkable ability to access my poot remotely!  So, why should I have to sit through all of their idiotic procedures for a program that I never wanted in the first place?

“You’re going to have to allow me remote control, and the current queue is 70 minutes long.”

And pawing at the ground like a bull, I stood my ground, ever at the ready.

“Thank you” I typed, most kindly.




Lastly, aroused during a pleasant mid-day catnap, I awoke to yet another mechanical voice on my landline from my telephone/computer service jarring me into calling their 800 number lest my account catastrophically collapse. 


“Hi and hello, I paid my bill the day after I received it in the mail” I explained truthfully to ‘Ethan’, who tappety-tap-tapped on his computer during the majority of our conversation.  ”Yes, I received your email a week ago identifying my usual monthly bill” I continued, “but I write actual checks to pay my bills.”

And baffled by a dinosaur such as myself, Ethan continued on with his scripted dialogue...

“So, just to be clear, may we use your cell phone to send you text alerts when upgrades are available?”

“Absolutely not” I replied, feeling very much like a bull about to tear down the streets of Pamplona and gore him long distance in the belly.

(Hey, I’m an Actor by trade, and I respect the written script handed to me, but sometimes you need to be aware when your fellow Actor in a scene has fallen off the same page.)

“Sooo, you really DON’T want to be contacted in advance by any form of social media?” simple, stupid well-meaning Ethan sat ever-so confused, confounded that not everything in the world must be handled with whack-a-doodle technology.

(Feel free to insert some sort of rolling eyes emoticon here.)


And just when I thought I’d finally tackled the bull by the horns...


Yes, kind readers, a fax machine is now apparently in love with my cell phone and calls the private number five times a minute every morning with cheery beeps.  (Good grief...)

Maybe some days, we’re all snuffed by the bull?

Unplugging everything for a few hours, but always hopeful for a better tomorrow!



Monday, July 27, 2015

Maybe I Need to Cut My Bangs?

In my twenty-five-ish years of working in Hollywood (mostly behind the scenes, but occasionally blissfully in front of my multi-camera Sit-Coms), I consider myself TRULY blessed that I can count on one hand the amount of people in The Industry with whom I’ve personally clashed.  (Seriously, I’m a delight, and I’m brilliant at my job!)
Yes, egos are to be anticipated in my business from various Actors, Actresses and Directors; but with gentle hands and kind comments, a vast group of them are actually rather manageable. (I often envision a herd of fragile lambs/goats that just need to be carefully wrangled by a friendly sheepdog.)  But seriously, sometimes a simple “you look so gorgeous!” comment will get one of the Cast members out of their mental space and back into the show.
I’ve also found that occasionally offering “do you need to run lines?” is an excellent kicker that either makes them slightly annoyed/motivated as Professionals who insist that they artfully know their craft, and/or are extraordinarily grateful for the personal attention depending upon their individual psychopathy.  (I told you, I’m brilliant at my job.)

Of course, sure, you’re going to get your fair share of the occasional Divas who demand that no one looks Her Majesty in the eye (I won’t type her name here, but I “worked with” one lady who put me through a special kind of Hell back in the nineties), or the Nazi-esque Director who makes it his douche-bag macho priority to try to make every single crew member weep and feel incompetent...  (There’s literally one Director in Tinsel Town whom I’ve “worked with”, and to this day, upon simply hearing his name, I immediately develop a Pavlovian rash on my arm.  No joke.  And yes, he berated me and a MALE friend on-camera and made us BOTH cry...)   
Yet as I’m actively searching for a fall TV show, I’m grateful for any leads to assist me in acquiring a new job, and I find myself daily busy at following up on any info.

But learning that one of the other five people that I seriously clashed with has a multi-cam show coming up, I needed to take some personal inventory...
Yes, obviously I need to work again, if only to keep my health insurance and continue to accrue my future pension...  And yes, we “mostly” parted on “civil” terms, but I still think he’s contemptuous, ridiculously tyrannical and completely incompetent; a control freak who believes in the “straight eight” hours of work with no overtime, whether or not we were needed.  (Can somebody loan me a sheepdog?  Or maybe a Pit Bull Viper?)

Perhaps I’m speaking out of turn in my lowly position as a Stand-In, but does it take an Einstein to rationalize that you ought to allow your veteran Crew bathroom breaks (at least ONCE), during six hours of camera-blocking before lunch?  Hello?  Our Cameramen were all in their sixties!  Could he not possibly schedule five minutes for their bladders?  Do you really want to “piss off” a Prostate Militia?
Additionally, I found out later (after he had been let go quietly and I received a hand-written “Thank You” check from my Actress), that this man illegally screwed me out of money for legitimate work performed.  Granted, it was only around $125.00, but still, really???  It’s not like I could afford an Attorney to recoup my losses, but hey, that still would’ve paid a few bills!  (Welcome to the dark underbelly of Hollywood.)

Regardless, hearing that this idiotic tool has a show, I contemplated sending an email to let him know that I’m available...  But the more I thought about it all, the less my desire to make contact.  I saved his @ss every single day running interference between him and our extremely high-maintenance lead Actress (which made him seem brilliant at handling her to the Producers), but you know what?  He doesn’t deserve my unique talents!  Maybe it’s the menopause, but I sweat enough for one person – I’m too old now, to sweat it for two!

Learning that my favorite UPM is producing a show later this fall (it’s generally not acceptable for someone in my position to contact a UPM – Stand-Ins are kind of like vampires:  we have to be invited in), I contemplated sending that email too. 
But as he and I sort of ‘grew up’ in the business together, of course I could reach out to him.  Unfortunately, with info from a separate insider, the show will be shot single camera – a format with which I’m painfully unfamiliar.  (Sooo, after twenty-five years, I’d be the rookie?  Old dog, new tricks?  I guess anything is possible!)

Meanwhile, keeping my sheepdog eyes open to everything in the realm of the possible and dealing with some computer snafus, I contacted the Geek Squad, who sits ever at the ready to assist me as my online Tech Support.

But notified that my plan is about to expire in a few days, I logged on to chat with an Agent as to billing questions, updates and all manner of hoopla that I really don’t understand.  What’s “Webroot?  Why can’t I just renew Tech Support?  If I already have Norton Anti-Virus, why do I need your security plan?”  (Geez, how many condoms does the World Wide Web need to put on its ‘laptop dance’ for a computer that I don’t even use every day?)  And almost as if to prove me right in my sheepdog awareness, I found myself linked to the dumbest Geek Squad member whatever lived...
“I can’t help you with your billing questions, but feel free to call this toll-free number listed below, 24/7.”

Umm, hello?   
Yeah, there’s no “hello” unless you’re phoning the great state of Kentucky between 8am and 7:30pm CST.

Meanwhile, I’m still choosing to remain optimistic for a fall show!

Granted, my faith in The Universe (and the human race) has been a bit shaky of late, but receiving an extremely apologetic email the next day from “Agent Philip F, Covert Quality Assurance Agent/Geek Squad Covert Operations Online Support/ PC In-Home Support”, (does all of that title even fit on his business card?) who explained everything to my satisfaction in simple terms, I’ve agreed to renew my membership with them.  Technically (HA!), I can’t afford it, but since too much of my work info is haphazardly strewn about the Internet, I can’t afford NOT to keep Tech Support on the poot.
And just like that, credit card in hand, I found myself as the fragile lamb/goat (it's all ovine to me) that needed to be herded by a friendly sheepdog.  (I didn’t see that coming!)

Additionally, as I took a much needed walk in my neighborhood to soak up some sunshine after a few nights of actual thunder storms (Yikes! The weather blew out my landline for a couple of hours!), I stopped at my local 7/Eleven for a container of heart-healthy mixed fruit and a big ole’ honkin’ fudge brownie.   (Some days, even when you’re unemployed, you can scrounge up the money for, and really just REQUIRE, a big ole’ honkin’ fudge brownie!)
But best of all for the day, collecting my snail mail as I came home, I noticed an envelope from the SAG/AFTRA Department of Residuals...

Yes, kind readers, by someone’s internet rental, I received my very first residual check for smashing my teen idol’s dreamboat face on-camera with a chocolate cream pie!!! 
Hold your breath...

Twelve dollars and ONE RED CENT!  (Well..., before taxes.)
Living the dream!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

"Cent-a-Mental" Thoughts about Trying to Make Sense

Scrounging around the bat-cave and unearthing a few years old two “Santa 39 cent stamps”, I slapped both of them on my Unemployment form and sent the irony to EDD. 
But watching a commercial (I think it’s for a toilet bowl cleaner), apparently everything is now technologically available with a click.

Ergo, Spock-logically, I clicked on USPS to purchase stamps!
Yes, the lilies are lovely, and I’d like to purchase two sheets.

“Your credit card has been processed, and your stamps will arrive within five to seven days.”

Wait, what?
“Additionally, your credit card will be charged for postage of us mailing them to you.”

What the heck kind of scam is THAT?  I can mail a letter and have it arrive in three days anywhere in the United States, but the USPS takes its own sweet time?  Well, gee, sorry, but that’s just stupid...  And tacking on postage for mailing me stamps?
Can someone please help me make sense of this?

Next scenario:

“We need you to move your car for tree trimming between 2pm and 3pm” one of my Landlords alerted me. 
“No problem!” I kindly replied thankfully in a text to one of my Landlords the night before.  “I think my car is being eaten by the overgrown bougainvillea since I haven’t been working!” I emphasized with all due gratuity.

“Remember, you have to move your car” another Landlord reminded me at 11:30am the day of.
“Yeah.  Got it.  But it’s not even noon...”

(Geez, enough, already!)
And maneuvering Cecilia (my Toyota) into one of their parking spots (the Landlords have now absconded with three out of five places - although I’m not convinced that the dorky miniature circus car deserves a whole spot), I left Cecilia in one of their empty places for two and a half hours and then politely moved her back into her designated spot.

“Good job moving your car!” one of my Landlords applauded me as we happened upon each other.
(What am I, five?  Do I get a gold star on my report card?)

Meanwhile, with his deceased Dad’s dog (“Keifer”) on a leash in our recently strictly designated “NO PETS ALLOWED” building, I patted the poor little white fur ball that seemed desperate for attention, a chin scratch and a double ear rub.  
(Sooo, I can’t adopt a kitty from a rescue shelter, but you can trot out the pup?)

How does this make sense?

Additionally I’m having issues with Vladimir (my monster bed).  Whilst it’s spectacular that I can elevate my head to assist my allergies and hit the vibrate button to help unclog my sinuses, somehow I keep ending up scuttled down to the lower half of the end of the mattress, and spend hours trying to claw up Mt. Everest to get back to a pillow.
And doesn’t a pillow have but one function?  “Memory foam”’?  How about a pillow that “remembers” it should simply be fluffy?

Concordantly, with respect to the new apartment regulations, I’ve complacently turned down the volume of my comforting television at midnight so as not to disturb anyone.

Yet my upstairs neighbor trots around happily at all hours.  Is he moving furniture?  Is he working on his Arthur Murray tango lessons?  Who moves around that much at three in the morning?  I’m not antagonistic, yet what is he DOING up there?
Again, I can’t make sense, but I’ll not be the billy goat gruff knocking on that door...

(It’s no wonder that I’m an insomniac.  And yes, some nights, I just lie there quietly and wait for Mr. Happy Feet to crash through the ceiling joist and smash me like a Wile E. Coyote “Acme” anvil...)

Lastly, as I’m trying to take care of my health, I’m devoted to the consumption of my daily vitamins.
But can someone please explain to me why “One A Day” multi-vitamins say the proper dosage is to take TWO pills?  You’re called One A Day”!

Perhaps I’ll never make sense of the world...

Recently, the Landlords left a note on my stoop:  “Water will be shut off from 11am to 1pm.  Sorry for the inconvenience” on a day when I was experiencing some rather unpleasant tummy trouble. 
Excellent!  (Seriously, has no one yet developed a “sarcasm” font?)

Forever befuddled,


Sunday, June 28, 2015

"Boris" the "Torus" and the Onus Upon Us!

“Your CT scan costs $250.00.  We take all major credit cards!” the cheery receptionist at the Beverly Hills oral surgeon happily processed my Credit Union Visa a few months ago. 

Frankly I didn’t care for anything about the creepy place, let alone trying to sit motionless in a restraining chair while a computer scanned my head.  (I submit that not every idea in my mind is brilliant, but the thoughts are mine and I prefer to keep them to myself unless I choose to blog about them.)

And diagnosed with a “torus” in my mouth by Doctor Evil (whose actual name will just give me a spell-check headache), I accepted my role as a patient, and assumed that whatever ‘the Professionals’ know must be God’s honest truth; my gums would have to be ripped open and bones filed down with possible tooth extraction and some icky dead corpse (redundant) injected into my dental work.


Yet on a particularly hungry evening, craving some apple slices and suffering my very best at the pain in my mouth and tears in my eyes, I looked up a local West Hollywood place within walking distance that had lovely Yelp reviews.  Granted, there was no info if they actually had a surgeon on site, but I had to take the chance.  And calling my Credit Card Company, I let them know in advance that there might be a big fat medical charge within a day or so.


Awake at about 5:50AM (I don’t really sleep at night anymore); I popped up in bed and waited for the institution down the street to open at 9:00AM. 

Whilst I wasn’t particularly proud of my anxiety and weakness, I lit up half of a cigarette.  “Berate me all you want to, new Dentist/Surgeon.  I’ve already had my head checked” I rehearsed pragmatically as any good card-carrying Union Actress worth her salt would do.

But yes: another “Hmmm”...

I wasn’t entirely sure what was rolling around in my mouth, but hello!  Whatever the heck was trying to get out of my gums, it made its way out! 

And preserving “Boris” (the possible “torus”) onto a napkin, for the first time in months, I ate almost absolutely everything in my kitchen; cried , no, SOBBED that I could talk without my tongue getting caught on the nodule (seriously, I sounded like Drew Barrymore after a stroke);  and finally slept for twelve hours!


“Hi Penny.  How are you?” a weird voice called me from the security gate out in front of my apartment building.

“Who IS this?” I wondered.

Well, kind readers, as it turns out, I seem to have a stalker...  And whilst I won’t name him here, BELIEVE ME, my Mom has taken copious notes!  (And no, I don’t think he’s actually dangerous.)

But just when you expel one creepy thing out of your head, a new one pops in!

Now, can someone please explain to me in what alternative Emily Post universe of Etiquette it’s OK to just show up at a single woman’s front security gate???  You were an acquaintance ten years ago?  No, I didn’t know your wife passed away, nor did I know her name, or that you were even married.  But hey, feel free to show up at my apartment building?  How does he even know where I live?  And just what does this fellow think?  Sure let me buzz you in?  That’s seriously INSANE.  I wouldn’t drop by my best friend’s home under ANY situation without calling at least a month in advance!

But politely letting him know that yes, I was in fact busy, he quietly went away.

Now, usually, the “restricted” ring tone on my cell phone (separate from the land line to the security gate) lets me know it’s my friend “Rose”, but I DID make the singular mistake of once answering “What’s up, Buttercup?” to an unlisted Executive Producer.  (Not particularly professional, but I still booked the gig!)

So naturally, two nights later when I heard the “restricted” ring tone, I assumed it was either “Rose” or an employer.


“Hey, I just wondered if you had dinner yet.”

“Who IS this?”

OK, once is odd; twice is disturbing...  (Now, he has my private cell number?)


But as I’m not completely stupid, I did a wee bit of online window shopping as to a bit of home protection.  (My family in the Midwest are proud of their rights to “pack heat”, so why shouldn’t I?  And hey, I got University Credit for a riflery class!) 

“What’s a Desert Eagle 50 AE Spring Powered Airsoft Gun?” I ever so officiously contacted a Department of Justice friend who knows absolutely everything about these extremely powerful firearms, and whether or not $21.99 was a decent price.

“My dear, that’s just a BB gun” he replied.  “The most you could probably do if you have a semi-decent shot, is wing your creepy 90 year old shirtless neighbor that rakes leaves all night and every morning outside your window.”

“Well... that certainly wouldn’t bode well for the pizza delivery boy if I was experiencing a hot flash and hunger pangs!”  (I mistakenly thought I’d get a chuckle, but apparently the DOJ doesn’t sanction a sense of humor.)

(Yep, insert another “Hmmm...”)

Additionally, my Mom tells me that my youngest nephew Austin is incredibly gifted with accuracy and a blow dart gun!  (*scratch chin, and contemplate*.)


Viable as an alternative as that could be, I recently fell dead asleep in front of the television at two in the afternoon with a marathon of “Criminal Minds”; my glasses still on my face.  (Suffice it to say my frames are still wonky, and until I get them all bendy back normally, a blow dart gun would likely only blast a pigeon or accidentally take out my mail carrier...)

So what’s a girl to do?


*Ring* (9:45pm on my cell phone a couple of nights ago – “restricted”.)

“Hey, Penny, is it too late to call you?”

“Yes.  And who IS this?” (I recognized his voice immediately, but I felt the need to establish the fact that we have NO real personal connection and that this is simply NOT acceptable behavior.)

“OK, well, I’ll stay in touch.”

Oh, brother...


Personally, I’ve decided not to arm myself with an arsenal.  (Most likely, I’d end up shooting off my own foot.)

But if my body could fight off “Boris” and “Dr. Evil”, then I think I may be clever enough to elude my stalker...!

I’m admittedly a pathetic prevaricator, but so far I’ve established a fabricated tale (should the stalker call again), that my “boyfriend” is here (I really gotta think up a manly name...  Any suggestions?  Is “Thor” believable?  How about “Maximillian”?   (Told you, I’m a lousy liar)); but additionally, after “he” (the mysterious fictional boyfriend) finishes power weight lifting, “we’re” going to watch a violent slasher movie and eat a meat lover’s pizza.  (As an Actress, I’ve mastered a disturbingly believable baritone voice, so yes, I can play both roles.)


In the “mean” time, I’m just thrilled to chew!  I’ve officially designated “butter” and “chocolate” as necessary dietary food groups in the RDA pyramid. 

Additionally, “Pepperidge Farms Garlic Bread” has become a staple on my grocery list, and it’s my firm belief that “Stouffer’s Meat Lasagna” is the source of a significant life force.

But hey, that’s just me.  (And maybe the anti-vampire stench of garlic will fend off my stalker!)

Wishing you all epicurean delights!



Monday, June 8, 2015

Racking Focus on my Chinny Chin Chin


In a spectacularly brutal test of my personal endurance as a resilient and stalwart human being, the grand epic Universe (or a sickly person in the orange juice aisle who actually LIKES pulp and put the OTHER bottle back) opted for a bit of “fun” by biblically plaguing me with a head cold on top of my usual seasonal allergies. 
(I have absolutely no proof that this pulp-loving diseased individual actually exists, but I DO firmly believe that the world is a monstrous Petri dish FULL of bacteria, and I still desire to earn millions of dollars and eventually dwell in my very own live-in Bubble.)

Sure, I slept a few hours here and there the first few nights amidst comforting sips of Vicks NyQuil dreams; but snoring or snorting myself awake with congestion every other hour since I never consumed a full dose as recommended, I pressed the “elevate head” button on “Vladimir” (my magnificent monster mattress), and laid there once again like seasoned meat stuffed in a taco shell.
Now, of course I’ve heard the adage that “misery loves company”, but I must say that my heart went out to an upstairs neighbor in my rather compact apartment building who hasn’t stopped loudly sneezing for the last two weeks.  (He sneezes FOUR times in a row, EVERY TIME!)  So, at the very least, I’m comforted that whatever seemed to be in bloom and emanating massive doses of pollen; I wasn’t alone!

But equally bothered by completely unrelated symptoms, I searched the World Wide Web for a bit of insight as to my ongoing malaise.  (And before I continue to proceed further, all Y-chromosome readers may feel free to skip this post.  No hard feelings!  Yet if you choose to continue on, hopefully you’ll find my research educational.)

Yes, this Penny is going through her Change.  (And I don’t mean the happy FUN kind when you pop open the belly of your pink piggy bank and roll coins in tiny paper bank sleeves!)  (Don’t judge me – it’s thrifty as well as fiscally savvy:  I recently tipped a delivery guy with a two dollar roll of nickels.  Some of you will appreciate the irony.)

Yet I digress, as I’m wont to do!


Locating a website devoted entirely to a forum of one-page short stories published by women of all ages equally experiencing ‘the Change’, I hesitated before clicking on the link.  After all, what could I possibly learn?

“WAIT, WAIT, WAIT Penny!” a female friend of mine piped up in a ‘feverish’ panic on the phone as I expressed my desire to blog about this particularly difficult phase in every woman’s life.  “You can’t WRITE about it!  Image in Hollywood is EVERYTHING.  Yes, it’s superficial, but that’s the MAGIC we create!  You might NEVER work again if you blog about this!” she warned me.

“Or..., I might actually gain the respect of powerful people in The Industry who applaud self-awareness, knowledge and acceptance that this is simply a fact of life that we all have to deal with” I replied Spock-logically (seasoned with a hint of Oprah).

Seriously, are we living in the Victorian Era in the Age of Technology?  By all means, feel free to post a picture of your double chocolate chip breakfast muffin on social media.  Just don’t dare mention that without a bite of chocolate, you might’ve ripped someone a “new one” at work?

“Obviously I’m NOT a menopausal woman” my male friend RJ laughed long distance, but I can tell you, I have no mercy for your hot flashes.  I’m a large man, and I perspire more than anyone I know.  That’s why I keep my office freezing cold so I can still wear my favorite wool sweaters!  But the allergies, yeah I get that.  Never had allergies my whole life, but now I don’t leave the house without a handkerchief.  And I don’t know if this helps, but when my Mom went through ‘her Change’, she constantly wore her favorite t-shirt that said “I’m out of Estrogen and I have a gun.”  (I LOVE that!)

After much serious contemplation, I choose to believe that rather than politically correctly hush-up, perhaps I can use this page to help at least one woman who thinks she’s going bonkers and/or a husband who thinks his wife is bat-crap crazy.

Yes, sometimes I stick my head in the freezer.  (And no, it’s not the happy FUN time of searching for a scoop of ice cream at 3:30am.)

On certain days, I’m nauseous from allergies (no longer seasonal) and I can blow through 10 Kleenexes in one minute. 

I’m often exhausted despite taking my vitamins, and I pat myself on the back if I can sleep two whole hours in a row at night.  These blissful hours are usually roused by creepy night sweats and inexplicable bouts of anxiety.  (Recently, I checked the clock, turned off the lights, slept hard for what seemed an eternity, woke up, stretched and turned the lights back on, only to discover that I had slept for exactly 18 minutes.)
Conversely, as I’m not currently employed, I find that I’m akin to one of the viral adorable sleepy puppies on YouTube, and randomly fall dead asleep midday in front of the television; the human equivalent of utter inability not to drowse into your food bowl of kibble.

Additionally, the hair on my head is thinning, which is apparently no deterrent to the fuzzy peach moustache that I seem to have inherited from my beloved Grandma Ruth on my upper lip. (Awesome!  My career happens to be in television Sit-Coms which has mostly become High-Def.  Can you zoom in for focus on that singular ebon Shakespearean witch-hag follicle that grows at an alarming rate over night?)
And difficult of a confession as this may also be - my intolerance of utterly stupid people has risen exponentially.  Some days, it’s all I can do to slap a smile on my face and pretend to be “pleasant”, all the while suppressing thoughts of slapping the snot out of incompetent idiots.  (I’m not particularly proud of these moments, but I own them.) 

Now, if anything positive may come of this post, I just wish that women of whatever age will know that they are not alone; nor are their husbands or boyfriends, who think that they are suddenly living with a bat-crap crazy lunatic.  It is what it is!  This is obviously an awkward, undesirable phase in life, but hopefully I’ve opened the door for discussion for you and your significant others.

As for me, on the plus side (sleep deprived as I may be), I’ve learned that I’m an absolute GENIUS at boiling spaghetti around midnight. 
Additionally, my kitchen sink has never been cleaner, as occasionally taking to task helps to shake off anxiety.

But what’s best of all? 
I recently discovered a free channel (uninterrupted by commercials) on my TV of music from the 1980’s.  Cognitive development occurs at the age of 14, so yes, I’ll get out of bed and dance ala Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy to retro songs from “The Breakfast Club” at any given hour of the night.  (“You never know when you may have to jam”!)

Ladies, please know that you’re not crazy.  Rather, I prefer to diagnose us as suffering from various degrees of “Mad-ness”.

And whilst I’m neither a certified doctor (albeit occasionally “certifiable”) nor am I an altruistic do-gooder, if you wish to read some personal stories that verify you haven’t lost your mind, “Project Aware” is an excellent website if you care to check it out.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my head has a date with the freezer. 

And yes, at least for today, this will be the FUN happy time when I pillage for chocolate Haagen Dazs!
Yours in a hot flash,


 p.s. I'm LOATHING Google right now that it won't format my page correctly translated from Word Document, FFS.  It's MADNESS, I tell you!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Future, Present and Past Tenses

“OK Penny, see THIS part needs to be filled out by your Spouse”, the nicest (God love him, but chattiest) Notary Public whatever lived hesitated before authenticating my most recent documents as to “Transfer upon Death” titles regarding my miniscule stocks and bonds.
“I don’t have a husband” I shrugged matter-of- factly, palms in the air.
“Why not?  You’re an absolute delight!  Oh...  It’s “us”, isn’t it...” he winced, apparently expressing an all-encompassing apology for the entire male species.  “We’re just awful, aren’t we?!” he searched my face for some sort of confirmation to his oblique justification. 
Here we go...
“No, of course not” I tried to allay the fragile feelings of the ‘common law’ officer who seemed to be rummaging for a topic in common.  “I just haven’t found my ‘Mr. Right!’” I suddenly found myself equally apologizing for all of the picky women in the world who refuse to settle for any man less remotely ridiculously charming as George Clooney.
“Men are pigs, huh?  We don’t deserve women like you!” my Notary puled like a whiney chick.
Was I at a Notary or a therapist?
“You remind me sooo much of this slightly younger actress who comes in here” the Notary continued to ramble on.  “Have you ever heard of (insert unfamiliar name)? She’s like a breath of fresh air; but she kind of smells like a combination of cotton candy and bubble gum.”
Oh dear...
“Um, no” I replied, trying to pleasantly disguise my baffled brow (seriously wishing that I’d opted to wear bangs that day), and continually experiencing the acutely intense weirdness of a waaay too personal conversation.
“Well anyway, she was performing Stand-Up at this club in San Bernardino, and she gave me a free pass!  But sadly, I was the only one who showed up to support her.”
“Aww” I responded kindly.
“Aww!” he mimicked me.  “That’s just exactly what SHE said!” he giggled like a school girl.  “But you don’t smell anything like her” he nodded sagely all the way across the counter top.  “You smell more like citrus.  Let me think for a sec; it’ll come to me” he happily surmised, officiously replacing all of his office supplies in their proper slots before he could ever even begin to process my paperwork.
Awesome:  “Hyperosmia”, i.e. acute olfactory awareness, and OCD to boot.
(Side note:  I’m not entirely sure precisely which fragrance my favorite exotic French ‘Eau de Parfum’ was specifically designed to emanate, but with a spritz or two mixed with my physical chemistry, apparently I’m an apricot.)
“Sooo” I piped up cheerfully.  “If you could just possibly, any time soon, while I’m in a thirty minute parking space, send those two faxes to my Accountant, make copies of these other documents to mail to my sister, and notarize the paperwork of “Transfer upon Death” agreement, I think we’ll be all done here!” I gently urged along the process.  “Forgive me, but a few of these necessities kind of give me the willies” I added perfunctorily so as not to further encourage any additional witty banter.
“”Give me the willies!”” the Notary mimicked me for the second time.  “People don’t use phrases like that anymore!”

Here we go again...
“Well, I sure do” an elderly gentleman war Veteran chimed in behind me in line; waiting ever so patiently as a torrid hurricane of a twenty-something girl blathered relentlessly on her cell phone, who LITERALLY absconded with the pen IN MY HAND (“can I borrow this?; thanks”); unfurled a package and disappeared like a whirlwind tornado from the store whilst continually yapping incessantly on her Android.
Oh my!
“Kids today are what they are” the Vet shrugged complacently.  “But I appreciate your archaic phrasing” the Veteran beamed.  “I don’t think I’ve heard anyone speak like you since World War II.”
(Personally, I’d have married that blue-eyed handsome devil of a Vet on the spot if he wasn’t already sporting a golden wedding ring!  (Well, if he wasn’t apparently approximately ninety years old and if my Notary wasn’t such a total basket case.)
Startled awake by a broken English-speaking “IRS Agent” dubbed “Johnathan Knight Badge #46719” on my land-line, I listened to the message intensely with all due panic.
“During sensitive audit, we find YOU hiding MONEY from US Government!  You call back NOW at this number with debit or credit card or you be ARRESTED!
WTF?  Now I was the basket case, despite confirmation the night before that my bank had already received my tax refunds!
And logging inquisitively onto my poot as to area code 202, I was promptly alerted to a false notorious IRS scam that often occurs this time of year.  (FYI, if you get a phone spam as I did (or an email phish), the IRS has an official link to report your incident if you wish to do so.)  Take THAT, phony “badge #46719” – I gave the IRS your scheming phone number!
Additionally, I got spammed once again, via email, that “your have resume listed with CalJobs as Actor which is set to expire”, from a “Do Not Reply” bogus address presuming to be the Unemployment Department.
Now, I don’t know who these people are or how they sleep at night, but I’m sick and tired of being bullied.
And clicking “reply” to the “Do Not Reply” address (surprise, surprise); I was able to send the following message:  Your might have my resume, but spam me again and I’ll report you to Federal Authorities.”
Sometimes, you just have to be present, diligent and take a stand!

Meanwhile, I’d been presently tensely prepping myself for a Memorial Service to celebrate the life of a gentleman that I knew on my very first television show.
Quite frankly, I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d fare to see so many beloved faces from twenty-four years ago (YIKES!); nor was I remotely certain how emotional the evening might become.  (I’d already packed my purse with tissues just in case I might blubber uncontrollably like my Notary.)
Now I absolutely MUST bestow a monumental “THANK YOU” upon my friend Ellie Mae; who, with BRILLIANT forethought, arrived with a heaping stack of photos as visual reminders - an enormous collection of composite pieces of all of our mutual histories together.
And with three of my most cherished friends, like four chickens in a free range pen, we hen-pecked each other’s brains to remember just who the heck was who.
Faces we knew (kinda); but names?  We barely had a clue!
Yet entering the elegant open air patio overlooking Sunset Blvd. (eyeballing the free food, and seriously wishing I’d brought a bigger purse and some Tupperware); I embraced that which made feel most at ease, i.e. a host of my very first television family, happily comingled with an assorted manner of adopted relations from all of the spin-off shows where I was blessed to be hired as a contributing participant.
And whilst I ought to have fallen asleep a mere few hours later after the Memorial, instead I sat wide awake in the middle of the night; completely consumed yet oddly comforted by ever so many ghosts of the past.
Personally, I trust the fickle Mistress known as Hollywood to help me find my next niche; wherein I shall land somewhere soft and comfortable that offers me a new opportunity to shine and thrive.  (After all, I’m an apricot!)
And with a giant genuine hug and a peck of a kiss to my favorite handsome Producer (who will be thanked profusely when I eventually win my Emmy), I looked forward to the present and the future, sans tense, or pretense.
Final note:  Padding outside last night to gather my snail mail, our beloved friend “Matthew Money” who passed away, apparently still gives with all of his heart from the great beyond!
The return address was of course SAG-AFTRA; but underneath was the ever so tiny printing “Residual Department”, enveloping a check from my first television family amounting to $72.88 after taxes.
Dinner is on me, Matthew!!!
Written with love,