Saturday, March 20, 2010

Actually did something for the acting career today!

So, despite my desire to build some kind of part-time acting career for myself out of the local projects that are available - I've been terribly lax about pursuing it. While it's something I want, I'm always terribly nervous about making the child care arrangements work out right. That tends to make me hesitant. And when things get complicated, well...let's just say we become a less-than-happy family for a while.

But if I really want this, the only way to make things go smoother is to get more practice. It's hard to get better at something that only happens once or twice a year. So this morning I went to an open call for background talent for a film that will be shooting locally in April and May. The call said to come either dressed in upscale business attire or trendy nightclub attire and to bring a photo of yourself in business attire. Well, some of the headshots that were taken of me last spring are in a suit jacket, so that covered the business attire. I wanted to show them both looks, in hopes of doubling my chances at getting cast, so I decided that I would show up in nightclub attire.

There was, however, one problem - I haven't been to a nightclub since before I had kids. Since my oldest is 8, not only did I not own any appropriate clothing...I didn't even know what would BE appropriate. Thank goodness for Facebook! I posted my dilemma as my status earlier this week and was informed that all I needed to do was go to Forever 21 and buy a cheap shirt. Good to know.

So yesterday, after picking N up from preschool, she and I took a little trip up to the King of Prussia Mall - where the closest Forever 21 is located. Normally, I hate going to the KoP Mall - the traffic is generally awful and I'm not a fan of crowds. But it turns out neither is very bad in the middle of a weekday (I'll have to remember that for future reference). Score!

Of course, N was hungry, so we hit the food court first. She got herself Chick-Fil-A (a special treat, since we can't go there as a family, with A on the Feingold Program). And I hit Salad Sensations. N finished all of her lunch and I didn't finish mine - I was very proud of both of us.

Then, we were off to Forever 21. Of course, since I'm 37, I felt a little silly. But I valiantly tried on a selection of cheap tops. Now, I've lost some weight recently and am feeling pretty good about my body right now. But many of these shirts were not only tight, they were nearly all the kind of unforgiving knit fabric that shows every little bump and bulge. Definitely not cute (at least on me). But I finally settled on a cute satiny top that had boning in the bottom half that pulled double duty of adding interest to the garment and hiding flaws. To complete the nightclub look, I got some cheap bangles to go with it. All for less than $20 - double score!

Got home and put them on with my black skirt. $#!+ - the skirt in question is definitely too long to look nightclubby. That little detail made it look like I was going for business attire and missing, rather than succeeding at looking like a trendy chick going out for the evening. Now what? It occurred to me that my friend, K, is pretty close to my size. I called in desperation asking if she had a short black skirt I could borrow. Luckily, she did! She would bring it the next morning on her way to work. But since she's thinner than me, I wasn't sure if it would fit - so I decided on a pair of tight jeans as a backup in case the skirt was too small.

A short while later, the doorbell rang. K had kindly sent her hubby over early with the skirt in question, plus an extra one, just in case. Thank goodness, one of them fit and looked perfect for a night on the town!

So this morning, I got myself all dolled up like I was going out dancing. This felt a little silly, since it was about 10:30 am. But I did it, right down to the FMPs. The casting director rounded a bunch of us up in the middle of the room and gave us the low-down about what to expect in terms of when we might be contacted and how we would get all of our info. Then she indicated where we would put our photos and said we could go. For a second I was crestfallen - I had gone through all that effort for nothing. There was no way anyone would notice how I looked in the split second it took me to put my photo on the pile. But as everyone else was moving to leave their photos, one of the other casting directors who works at the agency was pulling a few women off to the side. He took photos of us right then, holding a board with our name. Triple score!

So, I left feeling pretty good. I did everything I could do to get a chance at the gig and someone noticed that I looked nice. Now I guess it's just a matter of keeping my fingers crossed and my cell phone on!

Who knows, perhaps six months from now, I'll be blogging about where to look for me in the background.

Speaking of where to look for me...if you happen to rent Law Abiding Citizen, look for me behind and to the right of Girard Butler in the bail hearing scene, I'm wearing a gray turtleneck.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not as hard as it sounds

So, a couple of posts back, I gave a bit of an explanation of The Feingold Program. In short, it's a diet (although it's more, since it also involves cleaning and personal care products) that eliminates artificial additives (colors, fragrances, flavors and certain preservatives).

Having to follow any special diet takes some getting used to. And it's certainly more difficult than walking into the supermarket and buying whatever you fancy. But following Feingold isn't really as difficult as it might first sound.

Of course, I'm lucky. I live about ten minutes from a Trader Joe's. While only a few of TJ's products are officially on "The Foodlist" (see "The Medless ADHD Son" for more on the Foodlist), all of their private label products are free of the offending artificials. Admittedly, many hard line Feingolders would say this isn't following the program. But I'm not really a hard line kind of girl. When I learned about the artificial-free nature of TJ's in-house products, I was cautious at first. I knew what a reaction would look like (short temper, impulsiveness, more fidgeting than usual) and kept a sharp eye out. The only TJ's products that elicited any such response were off-list breads. When we started on Feingold, I learned that cooking spray is often laced with preservatives, but isn't considered an ingredient. So, I assumed that the offending breads used inappropriate sprays. Now we stick to the breads that are on the list. But otherwise, TJ's makes our life on Feingold pretty easy.

If there weren't a Trader Joe's nearby, my second choice for shopping would be Whole Foods. I know what you're thinking...EXPENSIVE. But here's the thing, their in-store private label brand (365 Everyday Value) is actually quite reasonable and of good quality. Plus, most of their products are on the Foodlist. In fact if a Whole Foods were closer to my home, it might be my first shopping choice, just because as much as I love TJ's - they just don't carry everything. As it stands, the nearest Whole Foods is about 30-40 minutes away, so second choice it remains.

If neither of these were available, I'd be leaning much harder on my darling Foodlist and hitting a conventional Supermarket. When I first started Feingold shopping, before I learned about the magic naturalness of TJ's in-house brand, I did this quite a bit. I would hit the store with my shopping list in one hand and the Foodlist in the other. Doing the weekly grocery shopping this way easily takes twice as long (and I learned early NOT to do it with the kids), but it certainly can be done. And it can be done for not much more money than pre-Feingold days. I did a bit more cooking from scratch, but I enjoy cooking, so this was no big deal for me.

So, does Feingold take a bit of effort? Yeah, but not nearly as much as I thought it would be going in. Does it cost a bit more? Sure, but not as much as a prescription would - and nowhere near as much money as dietary measures some others have to take (gluten/casein free, for example). But the joy of having a kid who's on the high-energy-end of normal rather than out of control is more than benefit enough. Add to that that we get it without the side effects of drugs and you got yourself one satisfied Mommy.

So, what should we talk about next time?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Some people should not be parents

Please pardon my outrage, but this will be a soapbox entry.

*stepping up*

I'm a SAHM, so I spend a lot of time around my kids. They are, in essence, my full-time job. Yeah, yeah, there's cleaning the house and taking care of the pets. But really, it's mostly about the kids. So, I get that my perspective is a bit different from a working parent. seems to me that there are some parenting concepts that should be universal.

Like, you do not leave an 8-year-old in the house by him/herself. Now, I'm not talking about running out to get the garbage can, or even across the street to give something to a neighbor. I'm talking about parent-completely-inaccessible-to-child alone.

It recently came to my attention that there's an 8-year-old in my neighborhood who is left alone on a regular basis. Think about that...second grade. I think back to when I was in second grade, and while we may have played outside unsupervised, we were close to home and there was a parent at home. Never in a million years would my parents have left me in the house by myself. And that was 29 years ago, when general ideas about parenting were a lot less protective than they are now.

How did this come to light? The poor thing heard some creepy noises and got scared. She ran crying to a neighbor and asked if she could come in, because she just couldn't stay there alone anymore. She later said that she's alone every day.


The neighbor she ran to told me about this. She's understandably upset and worried. We both did some online searching and found that Pennsylvania has no law regarding minimum age that a child can be left alone. I had always heard that kids had to be 12 before they could babysit, so assumed that there was a similar age limit for kids taking care of themselves. Turns out, the 12-year-old babysitter law doesn't even exist. So, despite being glaringly against all common sense, what these people are doing to their child is COMPLETELY LEGAL. The only way they would suffer consequences would be if something were to happen to the child while left alone. Then, an investigation would look into the ability of the child to care for herself and the parents' judgment of said ability. Seems to me, that's a little too late.

Sometimes, the inconsistencies or outright holes in the law leave me completely speechless. My neighbor is now left in a horrible position. She's the one the child went to, she has repeatedly witnessed lack of concern for this girl's well-being and there's nothing she can do.

It breaks my heart.

And I keep asking myself, "why did these people decide to have kids?" And it does seem to have been intentional, since they also have a younger child who was at daycare while all this was going on.

I admit, there are times when I'm less attentive than I probably should be. No parent is perfect. But when it comes down to it, I would die for my kids. I would never intentionally endanger them or even place them in a position to potentially be frightened the way this poor girl was. And I can't imagine the kind of person who would. Makes me think of the line from the movie, Parenthood, "You need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any [expletive deleted] be a father." I'd say that goes for some mothers, too.

Some people just should not have kids.

*stepping off soapbox*

Just had to get that off my chest. So...what do you want to talk about next time?