Category Archives: Writer life

Action! (TV Debut part 2)

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Can this count as action? Since I wasn’t able to take pictures of the actual filming, for obvious reasons, here’s an “action” shot of me getting my nose powdered by the floor manager. He doesn’t look like the type to apply make-up, does he? He gave the host the wrap-up sign and ran a camera, or was it just the teleprompter? I also saw him washing our mugs later. A versatile guy! And a total sweetheart. His accent was as Southern as they come. I commented that he must be local. He said, “I was born six miles from here,” in his fantastic drawl.

It was fun watching the teleprompter scroll while the host read from it and the operator  sped it up or slowed it down according to her pace. Neat to see one in action. I also walked by the sound room. I didn’t take a picture because I was sure the flash would bounce off the glass, but it was accurate to all sound rooms you’ve seen in the movies. Also, being back stage was a hoot: roaming through the wooden sets on wheels, ready to take to the studio when their program time came. Wild!

The floor manager gave us the low-down. It would be casual, just sitting and having a conversation, he said. Through my moderated hyperventilating I asked how much editing they do. He said, “We don’t really, not unless there’s a major flub.” “So, I can’t just look at you and say, ‘Can we edit that part out?'” “No,” he said. Bummer.

So we sat on yellow couches and were filmed talking about 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage and 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person. The baby in my belly was introduced to the world by the host. “Hi, Joseph,” she said and actually waved to him. (The poor kid’s been on TV before he’s even been born. No pressure.) It will be fun, and frightening, to watch the shows when they air sometime in the fall. We did our quick wardrobe changes between programs and said stuff on the next episode like, “So when we were talking yesterday…” What a riot.

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Here I am getting mic’d up, as they say, by a young man who was surprisingly comfortable handling women’s clothing. For each shoot he had to drop the mic down the back of the host’s dress. I saw him hold it in his hands for a minute beforehand to warm it up. What a sweetie! He was very good at what he does, making sure the cord wasn’t showing, etc.

At the end of each program, the floor manager announced, “And we’re clear.” I saw the credits scroll on the tv with the closing song playing over a backdrop. But after one of the episodes, he didn’t say “We’re clear.” I was about to pull off my microphone but looked up to see our faces still on the screen. “We’re still on,” I muttered. The three of us looked at each other. “What should we do?” I said. “I know, let’s pretend like someone said something funny.” And the host and I did an arms-in-the-air fake laugh that will, no doubt, look exactly like people doing fake laughs when they know they’re still being filmed. I’m eager to see how that turns out! Ha!

When the final program was over, we rushed to our guest house to pack up and be ready for our ride back to the airport. I was sad we ran out before saying a proper goodbye to our host. Turns out, she met us at the van. She said her crew enjoyed the program and thought we were funny. Then she said it was a big deal for them to say anything because they’re so jaded from seeing so many of these day in and day out. They normally don’t comment at all. That was the best compliment.

When my colleague left me in the Houston airport, I was jealous that she’d be home soon, but I still had about five hours before I’d be back in my own bed, around midnight. That’s when the fatigue finally hit, but, despite that and other discomforts on the way home, I knew they were hardly worth mentioning since there’d been more than enough blessings to make up for it. And I had so much fun. It was a great experience. Maybe next time (if there’s ever a next time) I won’t be so nervous!

P.S. Since I’m clearly such an exciting person, you can’t get enough of me, I’m trying to get better about marketing, and if you’re on Facebook, please like my parenting is funny page. I would appreciate it! 🙂

Lights, camera…

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Here’s some of them. Thank goodness none came loose! And that I didn’t consider that possibility until after the fact!

Although I was, on the whole, very satisfied with this trip, it wasn’t without its slight hiccups, starting with arriving at the airport around 9:30 at night and having NO driver waiting to pick us up. Also, culture shock: stepping out of the airport and being enveloped by second-hand smoke. It was unavoidable, with still smoldering cigarettes in ash trays every several feet. I’ve taken for granted CA’s smoking laws. And me being pregnant. But aside from that, my colleague got on her phone and found our driver who arrived about 20 minutes later while the airport kept thinning out more and more, leaving us the last poor schleps waiting to be picked up. At least the temperature was fine.

When our driver arrived and opened the back of the van, I rolled my suitcase up and hefted it into the trunk, not seeing him make an immediate move to do so. Then my co-author rolled hers up to his feet and stepped back to let him take care of it. I was like, “Oh, I guess that’s what experienced travelers do–let the driver do the heavy lifting. I’m a total newbie.” I was hoping there’d be a man with a cap and uniform of some sort waiting in the terminal holding a sign with my last name on it–How cool would that be?! I would’ve totally gotten a picture with him, but no. Maybe next time. 🙂 Read the rest of this entry

Home again, home again, jiggity jog

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Where to begin?

It’s embarrassing to admit that I thought of you all many times on this trip, sometimes even by name. I do have friends in real life too, honest! But I was frequently thinking of how I would write up certain things for this blog and you, my beloved blog buddies.

After I got through the security check in San Diego, I sat down and typed this:

The first pat down was painless. They not only had the footprint floor mat facing away from the maddening crowd of the security line, they took me a little ways off to the side. There was an onlooker this time (like in D.C.) but only because my “patter” was a trainee. She was gentle (unlike in D.C.). The only hitch was I needed to hold my pants up while she frisked my legs. “This is embarrassing enough without my pants falling down,” I said. She was kind enough to let me break protocol and put my arms down for that part of the procedure.

When she checked my belly, I said, “Yes, it’s real.” Both women laughed and gushed over how cute and petite it was. I managed to survive that part. 😉

They wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, and I was on my way.

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So TOTALLY not me.

Even though it was a little sad to be traveling on Mother’s Day, since I’m obviously a mother, thanks to this beer gut, I got a hearty Happy M. D. from the kind lady I bought my lunch from, as well as one of the flight attendants, who gushed over my belly, asked me several questions, told me a little about her son, and then finally continued beverage service. When she finished she came back, leaned her arm against the overhead bin above me, and we chatted me some more.

The woman who did my pat down in the Birmingham airport on the way home asked me similar questions in the same exact tone as she gave the run-down of the procedure. Matter-of-factly she said, as her hands did their business: Read the rest of this entry

The news that isn’t fit to print, but I am anyway

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“Betsy, you’re waddling,” I was told last night as I walked into a restaurant for a friend’s baby shower. (The friend, btw, was not in attendance because she was at the hospital in labor. We celebrated in her absence.)

So it’s as I feared.

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This is what I’ve become. Picture the waddle.

The sprained muscle I mentioned in my last post has only gotten worse, and the other side of my body is getting thrown off to compensate, thereby exasperating my pregnant-lady walk. At seven months, I should not have the pregnant-lady walk!

Not to mention the pain. I decided it was time to take action by rubbing cream on the affected area, you know, my “lower back.”

Oooh, the cooling sensation. Not bad. Why didn’t I do this sooner?

Wait? What’s happening now? Why is it burning? My gosh my as—er… lower back is on fire! How did a cream that started out cool turn my backside into a bunsen burner?! Read the rest of this entry

The news that’s fit to print

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Leaving—on a jet plane. DO know when I’ll be back again. The very next day!

I’ve begun planning for my whirlwind trip by picking out, washing, drying, and hanging up the five wardrobe changes for my television debut. Hanging the clothes up is a fool’s errand since they’ll be shoved, er, placed nicely, in a suitcase soon enough, but I can at least give them a fighting chance, right?

My schedule is to leave Sunday morning, spend all day on planes and in airports after getting the customary pregnant-woman-who-refuses-to-use-the-body-scanner pat-down (Happy Mother’s Day to me!), arrive at night, film the next day from 9a.m.-4:30p.m., fly away that evening, doing the whole pat-down, airports, flights thing in reverse, and arriving home around midnight local time.

If this is what’s considered “living the life” of a writer, it might be overrated. And did I mention the flights I’ve been booked are on United? Heaven help me.

So I’m planning six outfits for being on-site less than 24 hours. The sixth outfit being my Read the rest of this entry

Turning in my introvert card

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Carrie Rubin, prepare to be amazed.

So y’all know of my great D.C. adventure where I gave a speech to some 200 people, right? You can read of my airport pat-down debacles here and here.

Well, guess what? I need to prepare for the frisking yet again! But it’s not for a talk this time. Oh no. It’s for television! Read the rest of this entry

Getting frisked for the second time in three days

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airport-1895173_640At long last, part two. (If you missed part one, you may want to catch up.)

So, two days after flying into Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., for my big speaking debut, it was time to fly home to the reality of my mommy existence. First order of business would be feeding my kids the vegetables they were likely missing for the past three days.

Walking into the airport with my trusty companion, I said to her, “It would be nice if I didn’t have to get frisked this time. I’m just not feeling up for that again.”

But it soon became apparent that security at Dulles was no joke, and the likelihood of me not getting frisked was dwindling with each TSA security agent we saw, the first ones being immediately upon entry.

Two were poised and ready to check our boarding passes and wave us through. Then we located our gate number and headed in the proper direction, only to come to security check number two. Here TSA used machines to scan our boarding passes.

Then on to security check number three. Despite the seriousness this place clearly gives its safety, I still held on to some hope I could avoid the pat-down. But once we entered the waving sea of security lines, all hope was lost.

Let me describe for you the security line in San Diego, my beloved city of origin: That’s just it–security LINE, as in singular. And it pretty much takes you to half the airport. Plus, even calling it a line is a bit much. We hardly had time to remove our shoes before it was our turn to go through. I suppose once people arrive in San Diego, they don’t want to leave.

aircraft-1526567_640But in Dulles there was an ocean of people in sixish lines weaving and winding to the point where you couldn’t tell where your lane was letting out. (Insert your own joke about trying to get out of D.C. here.)

When it was our turn to put our stuff on the conveyor belt, I noted that the posted TSA agent was literally getting paid to sit on a chair and people watch. He wasn’t making any announcements whatsoever about liquids, laptops, OR lozenges. (If that makes no sense, see previous post.) I told him I was preggo and didn’t want to go through the body scanner.

“There’s no x-rays, Ma’am.”

“So you’re able to see under people’s clothing by harnessing Superman’s powers?” Is what I wanted to say, but I know you don’t mess with TSA any more than you do TX, even this lazy TSA, so instead I answered, “I’d still rather not.”

“Then you’ll get a pat-down.”

“Couldn’t I just go through that?” gesturing in vain to the poor nearly discarded relic of a metal detector, left standing there just to mock the likes of me.

“No.”

And so I waited once again in disgrace to be called back for my humiliation. Then I caught sight of my tormentor. Read the rest of this entry