Monday, June 9, 2008

Redding's Next Big Star!

I missed Marilyn. We'd been friends since we met years ago (won't say how many). We were both at a group interview at a health club. Vogue Figure Control - we wore black leotards and tights with white smocks and carried clipboards, leading toning classes and instructing ladies in the use of machines that vibrated the fat right off their bodies.

I introduced her to her first husband. I'm godmother to her son. We walked 60 miles together in 3 days to raise money to fight breast cancer, just a month before her sister Dorothy succumbed.

My ex-husband was going to be taking a couple weekends "off" for golf tournaments, so I decided to take one weekend for me. Got a good fare to Los Angeles. Worked Friday until about 3:30 and drove to the Redding Airport.

I took my first flight when I was 18, and I loved it. The year I worked for my brother's robotic company, I traveled across the US with him. For 7 years I worked for a condo and villa vacation company, and traveled to Hawai'i about 4 times a year and Mexico 3. Flying was wonderful. There was nothing like the feeling of being in the air - helped, of course, by frequent upgrades to first class.

Something happened one time when I flew to Palm Springs to visit a friend. The turbulence was frightening. Only 11 people on the flight, no heat. We were all wrapped in blankets, and the FAs were handing out liquor as though it was water, during the few times they could walk around. After that, flying was not something I enjoyed, but rather dreaded.

For some reason, after my divorce, flying became okay again. Not the wonderful experience it had been, but certainly bearable.

Well, the flight to Arcata (on the way to Los Angeles?) was horrible. Thankfully, I had a little glass of a nice red wine that made it a little less scary. But not much. I was terrified. I prayed I'd see my little ones again.

The flight from Arcata to Los Angeles was interesting. A woman sat next to me, holding a book I loved, "Water for Elephants." I mentioned that, and she told me she wasn't going to talk during the flight because she was enjoying it so much. I had a good book, too.

We landed at LAX 25 minutes early. EARLY? What happens when you land early at LAX? You sit and wait. After I deplaned, I ran to the ladies' room (do you THINK I was going to disturb the reading woman?), then grabbed a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It was 9:00, and I knew I had a long night ahead. By the time I made it to the baggage carousel, my bag was a already coming down...the very first bag. A sign of good things to come.

Marilyn picked me up in a coworker's little hybrid was cute, but she said she was unused to driving it. We made it to Dockweiler Beach in no time at all.

Marilyn works in transportation in the film & TV industry. She's working on a small, low-budget film called, "How to Make Love to a Woman." They had already filmed the beach scenes and were working on the driving scenes. It was sooooo cool to see how they actually do all that stuff! I rode with Marilyn and the sound guys in a 15-passenger van. We had the equipment that recorded the sound transmitted from the car with the actors. Josh (the leading man) kept forgetting to roll up the driver's window, so they had to do many takes. I didn't care, I was having a great time.

Pretty soon it was around midnight. They wanted to film a scene where the actor's car is passed by an RV (with a married couple inside) and a Volkswagon bus full of seniors. They were short some background (they used to be called extras), though. They put a driver in the VW with a floppy hat to hide the fact that he was about 12. They had a driver for the RV, but no "wife." They asked me if I wanted to do it! Of course, I said yes. It only took a couple takes, and I don't even know if you'll be able to see me in the final cut, but it was a blast!

We finally made it home around 6am, after going to pick up Marilyn's car in Beverly Hills and dropping off the van. A few (very few) hours of sleep, and we were back at LAX picking up Marilyn's ex-husband (the one I introduced her to). We were all down there to celebrate their son's 23rd birthday, and he'd decided he wanted to go (just like he does every year) to Medieval Times.

I'd heard of it before, but had never visited. I thought it would just be totally corny, but it was actually fun, especially since we had a whole bunch of people. Bought lots of overpriced souvenirs for the kids. Had yummy, overpriced tropical drinks.

We were home and in bed by 10 that night, and that felt wonderful. I was soooo exhausted.

Sunday morning we got up early and went out for brunch before taking Gene (Marilyn's ex-husband) to the airport. It was a great little restaurant in El Segundo. After dropping Gene off, we got ready for the highlight of the weekend (hard to say that, because it was all so wonderful) - "A Chorus Line" at the Ahmanson Theatre.

When I was in college, I was a dancer...ok, I'd been a dancer most of my life...but my college years were spent with usually about 6 classes a week. Ballet, tap, jazz, modern. And I was in LOTS of musical theatre (South Pacific was my favorite). And I dreamed of being a gypsy. A Broadway gypsy.....and "A Chorus Line" was my favorite sound track. I was never able to go see it, but I played the album (yes, a record album) constantly.

I know every word to every song. Still, after all these years. And Marilyn got tickets for us to see it.

It exceeded my every expectation....

After dinner and a funky little Manhatten Beach restaurant, it was time to go back to the airport. The flight home (with no stops this time, thankfully) was blissfully uneventful.

And I think it's going to be a while before I fly again.


Marilyn said...

It was a fun-filled, whirlwind weekend, wasn't it. It's never enough time when we're together, but I think we made the most of it. I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed having you here.

I'm no longer on that little film. Last week CSI, this week a new tv show called "The Starter Wife", though I have a day off tomorrow. This weekend Heroes is shooting a 2nd unit (which is separate from the main unit), hoping to get on that.

Miss you much...

Erica said...

Wow it sounds like you had so much fun. I am glad you got away. You deserve a fun weekend away. You are such an amazing mom. We love you and your kids.

KalynRebecca said...

Sounds like a lot of fun! :)

I'm terrified of flying... not for any reason, I just am. And yet I still seem to be on airplanes all the time... Oh well, with the way things are going, it may soon be impossible to fly, given the rate increases and groundings... :P

Keith said...

Annie, what a great read! Missed hearing from you here. But, as you said, exhaustion is good.

So, seems yer energy is back!