Did I tell you I was in a movie?

Life has been kind of rough lately, and I’ve been finding myself in a woe-is-me type of mood far too often. I hate it. I can’t talk myself out of how I feel because life is seriously throwing some crud my way. I decided, though, to take a look at my life and recall some of the fun/interesting/unique things that I’ve experienced.

1. I was an extra in Girl, Interrupted. It was a really cool experience, way back in 1998. My parents had clipped a notice out of the paper because the movie was looking for classic cars to use. They had it on their coffee table one night when I went up to visit and I took a look at it. In addition to needing classic cars, they were looking for extras. I had no aspirations to be in the movies, but it sounded like fun. I sent in my bio and the only pictures I had available – my high school senior photos (I had graduated the year before). I was super surprised when the casting director called me a few months later. I showed up and got fitted in Wardrobe. Then I went to a sort of holding area. We were all sitting around, dressed like hippies, chatting. Someone came in and said they needed a “couple” who could “make out” in the party scene. A dude looked at me and asked me if I wanted to “work” with him. For several reasons I said no. Then someone else came in and surveyed the room. He looked at me and said, “You. Do you smoke?” I told him I didn’t but that I could fake it. I had never touched a cigarette in my life. At first they were rolling faux joints, but they weren’t holding together real well, so we ended up with cigarettes. I spent 4 hours pretending to smoke. It was super gross. Between takes Angelina Jolie would come around and chat with the extras. I think she talked to just about everyone. She was really cool. Winona Ryder didn’t chat with anyone. She just sat on her seat and let people attend to her. Whatever. But, yeah, if you watch the movie, there is a scene where Susanna and Lisa are on their way to Florida and stop at a party. Susanna (Ryder) is on the couch with a guy. As they pan across the room, there is a girl sitting on the floor lighting a cigarette off a candle. That’s me!

2. I had drinks with Ving Rhames. This is the most random thing ever. I have several people who can attest to the validity of this claim. I was out in Pittsburgh for work and was taking the elevator back to my room. (I stayed at a hotel that was often frequented by celebrities who were in town. Oo-la-la, I know.) A gentleman boarded the elevator with me, and asked me if I was in town to work on the movie. I had no idea what he was talking about. For once in my life I think I was actually dressed pretty well, so I think maybe I looked movie-ish? I don’t know. I told him I worked for an insurance company and knew nothing about a movie. He asked if I knew who he was. I said no. He actually seemed disappointed. He told me he was Ving Rhames.

ImageInternally I said to myself, “Hmmmm…..I thought you’d be taller!?” I told him I just didn’t recognize him, blah, blah, blah. I guess he thought I didn’t believe him because then he starts digging in his duffle bag for the script. He followed me off the elevator and kept trying to convince me who he was. I believed him, but just wasn’t as ga-ga excited as I guess he wanted me to be. He invited me to the hotel bar for a drink, so I said yes. I forget what I got, but I distinctly remember that he got a virgin pina colada. I remember it because it was absolutely not what I expected. During our conversation I mentioned that my then-boyfriend had worked in LA. I explained what S did, and he because intrigued. He wanted to call him. I have no idea why I let him, but I did. When S didn’t pick up the phone, Ving (Mr. Rhames?) proceeded to leave a crazy message on his voice mail, quoting rather intense lines from Pulp Fiction. They were very, very intense lines. S got the voice mail several minutes later and thought I had been kidnapped! He called back and Mr. Ving (that might sound better) took my phone and answered it. It was surreal. Shortly thereafter I excused myself; that was a little too much excitement for me. (BTW . . . When I told my mom this story, her eyes got huge and she told me that she LOVED Ving Rhames. How did I not know that?) For the next few weeks S played the voice mail for everyone.

3. I’ve traveled to Canada (well, Niagara Falls), Mexico (but only Nogales), Guatemala (3 times), Costa Rica, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ethiopia (twice). I absolutely cannot wait to visit more countries. There is so much of the world to be seen. My dream is to own a tiny little house here, have just a few possessions, and spend lots of time traveling the world with my family.

4.  I ran 100 miles. Boom.

5. I sing with the praise band at my church. I’m not great. I’m not going to get on The Voice or American Idol. I’m not going to sell any records. But it’s fun. If I knew how to share one of our songs, I would. I am not sure if this one will work or not. If it does, ignore the video. S couldn’t get me in the frame so just set the phone down where he could get the best audio.

6. I get to be “Mom” to Little Dude. ‘Nuff said.

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7. S and I were part of a Discovery web series. We talked allllllll about our infertility woes. It was an interesting experience, and I am not sure I would do it again. It definitely opened up conversations with folks that may not have otherwise taken place. But it was really personal. Through it, though, I made a great friend and got her wrapped up in ultra-marathoning. You’re welcome, Kasey-Dee.

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8. I married a really cool guy. He’s going to do some really neat things, and you’ll probably hear about them. Stay tuned.

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9. I went zip-lining in the Costa Rican rain forest. I wish I could find the picture with us in our dorky – yet safe – helmets. What an awesome experience.

10. I climbed an active volcano in Guatemala. The weather was wacky that day. It was very cloudy and windy. I will admit to being scared. I will also admit to being sad that we forgot marshmallows. We could have easily roasted them over the flowing lava. We were sooooo close to it. You can see the red lava to the side of S’s face in the photo below.

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11. We’ve been sponsoring a boy in Guatemala for the past 6 years. (He’s the one in the white shirt.) We’ve spent some time with him and even got to meet his family (shown in the photo). It’s been awesome to keep in touch with him through the years and to see him grow. We haven’t seen him in person in over 4 years.

Image12. I got to meet this woman and to send her all my old running shoes. I got so happy when I would get a new pair – not really because of the new ones, but because I could send Dona Nachita my old ones. I would wash them so they looked nice and send them down to her. She had to walk from her “house” (a small, flimsy shack, really) to the orphanage a kilometer or so away for her meals. She walked on a rough dirt road and when I first met her, her shoes were falling apart. I found that we wore the same size, so I told her I’d get her shoes. Sadly she passed away a couple of years ago. Now when I wear out my shoes I get sad.

Image13. I used Walt Disney’s toilet. I am not kidding. We were in LA a few years ago and visited one of S’s friends. His office used to be Walt Disney’s back in the day. While we were there I (surprise) had to use the restroom. So, yep – I used Disney’s toilet. It worked just like a normal one would. This is the tiniest picture. It was me emerging from the bathroom. Apparently S decided it was photo-worthy.

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Did this help lighten my mood? Maybe a little. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the here and now and cannot see what’s behind me or in front of me. It’s really hard to look into the future and believe things will get better when so many signs don’t indicate that. I tend to forget to look in the past for things to be happy about or thankful for. It’s not that I’m holding onto the past in a pathetic, clingy sort of way, but it’s a self-inflicted kick in the pants to remind myself that there are good times. It’s nice to have all of this in one spot so I can look at it when I need a reminder.

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