Friday, February 27, 2009

15 minutes

My brief attempt at the spotlight, as an extra in a movie called Kerosine Cowboys shooting this weekend in Reno, in an e-mail (some names and numbers x'd or omitted for privacy):

Thursday afternoon

Hi, I saw on your web site that you're looking for extras for Saturday in Reno. I'm interested if you still need people. I live in Reno and am available all day Saturday (although I'm unavailable Friday and Sunday). I'm not sure what you're looking for, but I've attached a couple pictures - if you need a different kind let me know. What additional information do you need? Thank you, Tammy Gabel (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

Casting lady:
Which studio are you registered with? If you are not registered with (one of our studios), go to (our web site) and click register on line.

Casting lady again:
you avail tomorrow at 9a? in reno

No, I have to work tomorrow (unless it was something quick like paperwork). Should I still go ahead and register?

Casting lady:
9a til 3p, only avail sat then

Yes, only Saturday. I'll register on the site now.

Casting lady:
ok good saturday then

Alright, just registered. Anything else I need to do or know?

Casting lady:
email me a close up pic of you pls

(with picture attached) This is probably the best I can do until I get home later ...

Casting lady:
Margie- Book her for tomorrow.
Tammy- What is your phone number? you avail tomorrow from about 9a til 3p?

Sorry - only available Saturday.

Casting lady:
saturday works!

Okay! My cell is xxx-xxx-xxxx. What else do I need to do? (Time, location, attire?)

Casting lady:
will be in touch regarding wardrobe, location etc tomorrow

4 p.m. Friday

What do I need to know for tomorrow?

Casting lady:
sweets, looks like it is pushed to sunday now! they are runningbehind, you avail.?

Unfortunately not - have to work early Sunday morning.

Casting lady:
Ill put you ON FRO power AND pride THEN =-)

power and pride?

Casting lady:
the steve baldwin, eric roberts film we are also working on =-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

40 Days

When I was a baby, I was baptized Catholic. And that may have been the last time my Mom took me to church. I still don't regularly go to church as an adult (except for the occassional Christmas or Easter service) but sometime in college I started giving up something for lent. I don't remember why I started, but for the past five years or so I've given something up every year. Usually it's coffee, though sometimes it's fast food or coffee and soda, or some other variation. I think maybe it's because going without something for 40 days is a kind of a challenge, and also because I think you maybe appreciate it more after going without for a while. Again this year, I'm giving up coffee. I love my morning cup of joe, but I never feel good about being addicted to the caffeine. I don't like that if I don't have a cup one day, I can count on a headache by the afternoon. Plus, it might do me some good to ditch the calories from all the cream and sugar. So, this morning I had my last cup until at least Easter. Tomorrow's gonna be a fun day ;)

Victory is sweet

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crafts, Cupcakes and Oscars

This morning we had just enough time to go for bagels together before Chris started working. We've hardly seen each other this week, and next week doesn't look to be much better. Sigh. At least we'll both be home tomorrow night for the Oscars ... and the ASU-UofA game. Woop woop.

This is how I've tried to keep busy today:

Made some jewelry, until I ran out of silver headpins and earring hooks.

Started some scrapbook pages from my D.C. trip, but couldn't finish since I don't have prints of the pictures yet.

Made Oscar ballots for Chris and I for tomorrow night.

If I win the Oscar contest, he's treating to cupcakes from Reno's new cupcakery (Don't they look yummy? I can't wait to try the Geiger Grade). If Chris wins, I'm treating to Coldsone. It's pretty much a win-win. (Except for the bragging rights part.)

Speaking of Oscars, yesterday I went to see The Wrestler. It's been years since I've been to the movies alone, and really it wasn't so bad - the hard part, I realized, was not being able to talk about it afterward. It's a really good movie, if you're into sad movies. But I still have no idea how the Oscar votes will fall ... any predictions?

Thursday, February 19, 2009


It's playoffs this week in high school basketball ...

... the couch and I are becoming great friends.
(Also, when did my nose get to be so big?)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Go Baby Go

Once upon a time I went to Hollywood Park for a day of racing with my family. I'd previously been to many races where my uncle's horses were running, but I'd never been there for a win. And I don't remember another time when my Uncle George and Uncle Harry had horses in back-to-back races. My grandfather, who'd been a trainer on the New England circuit, had passed away four months earlier. I've no doubt he and my grandmother were with us that day.

Uncle George's Hollywood Story ran in the second to last race of the day, and when she finished, of course, we were all ecstatic, especially me - excited to finally be in a winner's circle picture with my family.
Uncle Harry's Proud Phil ran in the last race, and we all needed to pinch ourselves when he also finished first. There was a lot of laughing, the kind of laughter that verged on tears.

I'd been to Hollywood Park dozens of times, from the time I was a baby, but none as memorable as that December afternoon in 2004.

Hollywood Story and baby, 2008

Had it not been for horse racing, it's quite possible my parents never would have met. It seems to be one of the few things they have in common. Growing up, and as an adult, I loved getting up early on Saturday mornings to go with my grandpa to the training track - it was so invigorating to be there watching the horses work when the sun was just coming up.

I remember being at Hollywood Park as a young kid, my vision at waist level, and men wearing brown suits, and the smell of cigars. Every year, on the first Saturday in May, everything stopped for three minutes so we could watch the Kentucky Derby. When my grandmother died, after the service and the mercy meal, we all went to Del Mar and watched satellite racing because, well, what else were we going to do?

In college I participated in two sports writing workshops - one at Hollywood Park and the other at Churchill Downs. Standing on the backstretch before the sun came up at Churchill Downs and seeing the twin spires lit up brought tears to my eyes.

That the horse racing industry is waning in popularity does not come as a surprise. There are few superstar horses drawing in the crowds. There are many more things competing for people's interest. But when I read this article in December that 2009 could be Hollywood Park's last year, I was very sad. I wasn't expecting a track with so much history (at least, for me, personal history) to close so soon. I hope the development planned in its place gets put on hold. I hope someone comes up with a plan to revitalize the sport so more tracks aren't closed. I hope someday for my kids to be able to go to the track with their grandparents.

And while in no way do I think it's any sort of permanent solution, I hope in the interim the new show "Jockeys" on Animal Planet generates some fresh interest in The Sport of Kings.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

For Valentine's Day, a poem

I love you more than applesauce,
Than peaches and a plum,
Than chocolate hearts,
And cherry tarts,
And berry bubble-gum.
I love you more than lemonade,
And seven-layer cake,
Than lollipops,
And candy drops,
And thick vanilla shake.
I love you more than marzipan,
Than marmalade on toast;
For I love pies Of any size,
But I love you the most.
-Jack Prelutsky

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shower from afar

A few months ago, some friends and family of the V-team decided we wanted to do something special for the arrival of their firstborn, despite the fact that they're 8,000 miles or so away. Andrea spearheaded the effort, and came up with a great idea of making personalized onesies for little Jack or Olivia, or getting a book and writing a personal message, and sending all the gifts together with a video camera to capture their reaction. We gathered names and addresses from all over the country and sent out some invites for this "no-shower baby shower." The Volkmanns and Kanns held mini-showers to make their creations together. Soon Andrea had a box full of treats to send to Benny and Michelle. Finally, the box arrived in Okinawa on Friday. When I talked to Michelle on Saturday she sounded genuinely surprised and said they loved all the goodies. I wish we could have all flown to Japan to shower them in person, but I think this is the next best thing. Benny and Michelle - we love you guys and look forward to the arrival of a happy, healthy Baby V ... or V Baby, if you prefer.

Team Gabel's creations

The Nevins' onesies

Monday, February 9, 2009

Say Cheese

Since Chris' parents are headed up this weekend for a visit, we decided we'd exchange our Valentine's gifts early, and maybe we'd have a nice dinner for the occassion. We were thinking Monday or Wednesday, since Chris plays basketball Sunday and Tuesday evenings and the Gabels are arriving Thursday. But sometime Sunday afternoon, we both grew impatient. "I want to give you your present now," Chris said. "Me, too," I said. We hastily wrapped gifts and presented them about 60 seconds later. For Chris, tickets to see the Suns at the Warriors next month. For me, a shiny new camera.

Chris had asked me whether he should go romantic (this being our first V-day as a married couple and all) or practical. I had no idea what this potential practical gift was (air filter? shampoo?), but given the hit we've taken with the wedding, HoneyBun's repairs and, now, furloughs, I thought practical would be just fine. Even though my old camera went on a suicide mission in D.C., I still was clueless as to what Chris was getting me, but I love taking pictures so much it might as well have been the romantic gift. (My work-issued point and shoot has gotten me through the last couple weeks.)I've already figured out that I can crop and resize pictures right on the camera - I can't wait to see what else it can do!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mystery Cup

A couple months back, Michelle sent me this cup from Okinawa. Or is it a mug? Anyhow, I adore it. It comes with a lid and a wooden spoon which hangs from the side. I've been meaning to ask Michelle if it's meant for tea, and the reason for the lid and the spoon - only I forgot to ask until tonight when I got it out for, well, tea. So, while I wait to hear back from the future (it's tomorrow in Japan, duh) I figured I'd see if anyone feels like taking a guess. Which should tell you how desperate I am for blog ideas this week ;)

Oh, and I've decided to call my car HoneyBun, as suggested by Nanette. What's funny (to me, at least) is that it reminds her of South Pacific, but reminds me of Pulp Fiction. (Warning, there is some foul language in the clip below.)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Déjà vu

Is this the way the Super Bowl XLIII felt to any other ASU fans?
It was so reminiscent of the last time the Valley had a Cinderella-esque team playing for a championship.

Last time it was Jake Plummer in the 1997 Rose Bowl, willing the Sun Devils to the lead late in the fourth quarter only to see Ohio State march right back down the field for the winning TD with less than 45 seconds to play.

Then Sunday it was Warner to Fitzgerald -- God, that guy is good; how high does he get drafted in fantasy leagues next year? -- to put the Cardinals ahead with 2:37 left, only to see the Steelers march down the field.

Oh, and guess where Santonio Holmes went to college?

At least there was that Diamondbacks' World Series victory in 2001, and Sunday's loss wasn't as frustrating as all those recent times the Suns have been dispatched from the playoffs. But even that D-Backs win is beginning to wear off.