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The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Good Things

I haven't written lately because I have been under enormous amounts of stress. But now a load has been lifted, and I am in much better spirits.

Here's what happened: All the stressful events in my life conspired and apparently decided that it would be fun if they all took place over a two-week period. And boy, was it fun!

It all started right before Mother's Day. My state real estate exam was looming threateningly on the horizon, and I was woefully underprepared. I had also contracted to give a copy editing seminar to the editorial staff at a group of trade magazines, and I had several writing and copy editing assignments coming due, as well. To top it all off, my mother-in-law, Mrs. Blacklabel, was coming into town.

Now, visiting with Mrs. Blacklabel is not a stressful event in and of itself. We have a great time. But I was possessed with the need to dust and polish every surface of our home and get rid of clutter and hide my giant stack of unread magazines and in general make it look like we live a perfect, glossy existence. I also had to buy fresh flowers and lay in libations and snacks for cocktail hour. Plus, Mrs. Blacklabel was actually staying with my parents, because we don't have any room for guests except on our couch, so my mom, too, was freaking out with the cleaning and the preparing. Mrs. Blacklabel always says, "You don't have to do anything special for me. I'm family!" And that's all well and good. But still, I wanted things to look nice for her. (And I'm not a slob--I do clean and polish at other times, too. It's just on a more sporadic basis.)

Anyway, once she got into town, we had lots of fun. Everyone got together for some Mother's Day wine tasting, which was way more fun than eating an overpriced brunch in some stuffy restaurant. It wasn't very crowded, either...maybe not that many children drink with their parents. After the wine tasting, Mr. Pink and I prepared a fabulous meal.

On Monday, Greg had to work and I had a meeting, so I left Mrs. Blacklabel in my mother's care for the morning. Then we hung out that afternoon and surprised Mr. Pink at work, and we all went to dinner. On Tuesday, we had beauty treatments and lunch and shopping, and I had my real estate class in the evening, so Mr. Pink prepared dinner for the two of them. And in between all this activity, I had to snatch a few hours to prepare for my copy editing seminar and study for class.

Mrs. Blacklabel had to leave on Tuesday evening, and then the stress levels really ramped up. I gave my seminar, which was quite well-received. Then I picked up a bunch of copy editing work that was due Friday. I also had a conference call for an upcoming assignment, and some other projects that were due. And my real estate license exam was on Monday, and I had scarcely started to study.

When I did begin to study, I was horrified to realize that there was A LOT I did not know. I am usually such an excellent student. I got about a 50 percent on my first practice test, and I needed at least a 70 percent to pass the test. So I created my own cramming weekend. I stayed indoors and took practice test after practice test until I was scoring in the high 80s.

Finally, the day of the test arrived and I went in and did my best, but I came out feeling very shaky about my results. And the worst part was, everyone knew I had taken the test on Monday, and they all asked how I did. I had to tell them that I wasn't confident, and then they thought I was just being modest!

But the stress didn't end there. I also had my final exam to prepare for in my real estate class, several project deadlines, two meetings, and just a bunch of stuff to take care of. Finally, yesterday afternoon, I got everyhing done. But the exam results still hadn't been posted, even though I'd been checking obsessively several times a day. I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't know until Tuesday, and I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I probably didn't pass. "Just relax and try to enjoy the long weekend," Mr. Pink said. But that didn't stop me from checking the Web site one more time this morning. And I passed! I'm so relieved.

Moving into real estate is going to be a big change for me, but I am still going to be writing (and acting, should the opportunity ever arise). So wish me luck in my new career!

PS--Congratulations to my brother Esquire, who got a callback interview with an establishment he very much wants to work for. He's got a 1-in-3 shot...let's hope he's the big winner!


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