A tribute to Donnovan Castellanos by the Burbank Vikings… The “The All Heart, Never Quit” Award

I am very rarely caught off guard unless a tragedy happens.  I am a pretty normal mom.  I love my kids, but sometimes I just want to scream.  Yesterday in fact I told a friend about an incident with one of my children: “I really could have slapped them”… ( I didn’t of course, I’ve never hit my kids… but I could see how it could happen!)   Some days I get, well bored, with the same routine; up at 6:20 AM, breakfast, lunches, school, house work, my work, pick ups, activities, asking my son to take a shower 95 times until he finally does it… etc.  I often think, as I did today, ” I guess this is it.  This is the life I chose and it’s great. I have two great kids, a house I love, I am doing what I love, we have food…. but this is it.”  It can be a hamster wheel.

Then tonight happened.  Tonight was my sons end of the year football banquet for his team the Burbank Vikings.  I was to sit at a different table, but kids over ran it.  My son and I randomly sat with a few other players, a sister of one, and the parents of another.  People think I am very out going.  I’m not.  Unless I know someone, I want to start drinking or go home. I have been braver as the years have passed and I started talking to the dad, Sean Moreno’s father.  I think it started out with “I can’t believe this glass of wine was only $3″  He said: ” I know, this beer was only $3.50″…. The Elks Lodge man, they are AWESOME.  We spoke for quite a while.  I remember seeing him when football conditioning happened in August, but I never saw him at the games.  Turns out, he is a forest ranger and is gone 6 days a week.  He only sees his family one day a week…THINK ABOUT THAT…. He had accrued vacation days and is getting some time off until February 1, which is so wonderful.  I remember this man when football just started.  His son Sean had never played football, in fact his Sean is quite a baseball player. I believe some kind of an All Star.  Played all his life.  I remember his father being a bit nervous for his son at the beginning of the year. During the banquet his son was quiet, just sitting by his parents, very patient, never said a peep.  All the boys at our table were very quiet and well behaved, and this think was long….

The Burbank Vikings lost one if it’s players in March, a true angel on Earth, Donnovan Castellanos.  The “All Heart Never Quit Award”, in memory of Donnovan was awarded to Sean Moreno tonight.  I have posted the link to the video on this page and the tribute to Donnovan Castellanos as pictures on this post.  In the future I may rewrite it (with author credits) so it is clearer to read, but honestly I don’t think I could get through it with out breaking down.  To Donnovan and his best friend Sean.  Life can be horrific.  There is absolutely no benefit to Donnovan being taken so early.  There is NO beneficial explanation why his parents should have lost their son.  All I know is Donnovan is and had always been an angel here on earth, and his best friend Sean, who played for him this year will never let the world forget him.  My hope is that both the parents of Donnovan and Sean walk with their heads high and proud until the end of time as they raised AMAZING human beings.

I am grateful beyond words for my “hamster wheel” and I hope it never stops spinning.

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The Universe Tested me and I failed; Greed and Game Shows

I consider myself a generous person… or I did.  I enjoy helping friends, giving gifts, bringing food and blankets to the homeless.  I used to donate money to various organizations and random homeless people on the street when I had a real job..etc.  A lot of people I know see my posts of me bringing candy to the homeless and congratulate me on caring. I “liked to think” that if I was down to my last dollar I would give it away.  Well it turns out that when I’m caught off guard, am borrowing my daughters babysitting money because I haven’t worked in a while, and a car is on the line I’m only willing to give away half of it.

It was a perfect week, a perfect day, and I had a perfect plan.  My best friend was getting married.  She came into town a few days before her wedding and we were going to “DO LA” until we flew back up to Montana for “The Wedding”.  I was the Maid of Honor.  I had never been the Maid of Honor in a wedding before and I wanted to do a great job.  I wanted everything to be perfect.  As this was her second marriage and she didn’t want a shower or a Bachelorette party, I had to be creative.  I said I would do the flowers, I took her out to lunch, but there had to be more.  The pressure was on.  A couple weeks before I had taken my mom on the show Let’s Make a Deal.  Now the background in me and game shows: I am a NUT… I have tried to get on the Price is Right and Let’s Make a Deal probably a combined total of at least 15 times since I was 20 years old.  The first time was The Price is Right with my best Childhood friend Genana.  We were sooooo excited we got there the night before at 11 pm and stayed up all night.  We blew the interview because we were so tired and another person in line gave us bad sabotage advice by telling us that they picked a quiet person the last time he was there… we didn’t get picked.  This was a MAJOR blow as I have been watching game shows DAILY since I was born with my grandma.  Because of not getting picked I boycotted the show for several years.  There is nothing more torturous then waiting for your name to be called, on the edge of your seat SIX times and being deflated each time.  However, I did get over it and when I moved back to LA and friends would come visit me I would take them to The Price is Right or Let’s Make a Deal.  I just could not let it go.  Every time I amped up the energy.  I tried to be happy and spunky and loud.  It was never enough.  I had even brought Amy a few years ago and when we were interviewed I said I enjoyed singing karaoke while horse back-riding and I sang to the beat of the horses hooves (I was taking improv classes at the time.  I thought I was hilarious…. They did not)  Sooooo….. A couple weeks before the wedding I take my mom to Lets Make a Deal (I’ve taken her about 3 times).  We are fun.  We are smiling, laughing, having fun…. MY MOTHER GETS PICKED…. WHAT???? AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.  She ends up getting Zonked.  Shes still not over it… that’s another story.

Cut two two weeks later… wedding week.  I am CONVINCED that if Amy and I go she will get picked.  Its her wedding that Saturday.  We dressed up as Bride and Maid of Honor.  I decorated the car and had my mom drop us off in front honking.  I coached Amy.  Kept poking her to smile and jump up and down…. for hours.  I was on it.  My best friend was going to get picked.  This was my gift to her because I was poor and hadn’t booked a job in a while.  I had even been trying to get a part time job in a bar… NO ONE would hire me.  Apparently I’m too old for bar work….. She was going to get picked and she was going to play for a car.  I knew she would win it and I wanted her to have that car.  There was no discussion prior about us splitting anything either of us won because, she was the bride and she was going to be picked NOT ME.  I didn’t want her to split anything with me.  NEVER IN MY WILDEST DREAMS DID I THINK I WOULD GET PICKED.  I had tried like 15 … or more times plus… I’M NOT the BRIDE.  After a couple games and a couple breaks of us dancing and smiling to the cameras (and me poking Amy to keep the perma smile on because they are watching… they are always watching) I see one of the cameras pointed our way.  “This is it I thought!  Amy is getting picked now”….. And they are back… and Wayne calls my name…. and I run down… and he announces I am playing for a car……. It is really all a blur.  he asks me like “what am I dressed as”…. I respond with; its Amys wedding in Montana on Saturday… I give her a shout out.  The camera goes to her…… she smiles… people clap.  WHAT I SHOULD HAVE SAID  (AND I HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT EVERY DAY SINCE) ” Anything I win I will give to Amy for her wedding”.  And I SWEAR if I would have thought it out ahead of time I would have.  I would have even just reached in to pick out a tire instead of messing them up because all the good tires are probably on top.  They want you to win…. but again… NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD GET PICKED.  AMY WAS THE BRIDE.

I did not win the car.  I even failed further after by telling Amy: “You know I would have split the car with you”.  Split the car?  She was the bride.  It was HER car.  I don’t care how poor I was or how EVERYONE in my life continued to tell me how poor I was and to get a part time job, I am a giving person damn it.  I’m mother f’in Mother Teresa….. Well… turns out… I’m not, and I have thought a lot about this.  I have a long way to go in the giving department.  I will only give when I have enough.  I have never donated my “really good” clothes or shoes.  I am not volunteering at the soup kitchen every night or taking in homeless people.  I am very pro refugee, but have I ever welcomed one into my home?… no…..   The point is?  I have a long long way to go.  The Universe did test me… and I failed.  I got greedy.  I let all the doubters who refuse to loan me money when I’m poor, who whisper in my ear to get a job get to me. (they do have a valid point; I am irresponsible and currently want 50 pink yard flamingos… however)  I was not my noble self that day.  I can be better.  Now I owe Amy a damn car…. I need a job. xo

Happy Post… Doing what I Love…. My new acting reels…:)

It has been a hard long journey, but I am doing what I love.

Clip from the feature film Spring

Clips from sketches I was in on Jimmy Kimmel

New Drama Reel

My Favorite Being Vanessa