Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Loving Las Vegas…and welcoming the New Year...

I had a dream last night that I was reading a catalog… JC Penney, I think…

I think my brain is trying to tell me that it's had enough. Slow down! (And isn't it nice that I disassociate myself from my own brain!)

But just look at my life in the last year! It's enough to make any brain wish it could just sit down - however brains sit - and read something as vacuous as a catalog.

It was around this time last year that I got the final word on ever getting back together with Rosa. She emailed me, saying she'd marry a farm animal before ever being seen with me again. (This was in response to a message I left her, wishing her a happy new year. She also told Megan that she thought Sean put me up to it. Both of us kind of just shook our heads.) (This was right around the time when I first realized I might just be getting over her.) But then I saw her, got the hives, and realized I probably still had some work to do before I was finally done.

It didn't take long before I got in another show. I'd only done SEVEN the year before (if you count both writing and acting)! My first one was Do Hoosiers Go To Heaven and, after that experience, I'm surprised there was a second! I have Stephanie to thank for that. She got in this show called Something to Hide and, when it looked like they were without a leading man she called the best actor she could think of, she called the most handsome man in California, she called someone with more talent in his little finger than the entire Screen Actor's Guild… and then she called me.

Something to Hide was quite an experience. From the psychotic leading lady to the hottie maid to the egomaniacal guy playing the detective to getting to start a show every night by kissing Steph for several minutes (the things I do for my craft!) to living in the skin of Howard Holt until my brains got blowed out, it was an incredibly fulfilling ride. As with all the tough plays, I was out of breath by the end, just exhausted, but knew I'd done a good job. This is saying something, too, because it didn't look like I would, at first. I couldn't get my lines down. I couldn't get the character down. But these hurdles made the accomplishment that much more gratifying at the end.

Now, I don't know what it was about Howard that sent me into a spin but that guy had me sleepwalking, nightmaring, not sleeping and crying - crying everywhere about everything! It was like all my sorrow said, "In case you didn't notice…" And all the while, I was playing a very bad man four nights a week…

Then… I think it was sometime in April, sitting inside Woody's Diner in Huntington Beach… everything settled. And I think that's when wheels began turning - and I had no idea how much things would change. I spent the next couple of months working on plays - I wrote a new one called Myth of the Cubicle and did a rewrite on Atheists - hanging out with friends, and looking at houses. And with things settled, I joined Match.com. At $20 for three months, how could I NOT? Hey, I needed my bi-yearly date, right?

Little did I realize that early on in June, I'd meet Vicky.

And that changed everything. It's almost as if I've packed two years into one! The first six months were spent writing and acting; I've spent the second with Vicky. Things have moved so quickly, I can hardly believe it. We met, dated, fell in love, got engaged, moved into an apartment together, took a trip to Oregon, took a trip to Capitola, bought a house, moved into our house together…

… and ended my second 2004 this past weekend in Las Vegas.

How ironic that we should end a year in which so much was packed with a night that lasted so long.

Mind you, it might have been the drive out there. Six hours on the 15 freeway isn't a heck of a lot of fun, but we made it around all the accidents and pulled into Las Vegas around 6pm. Our room was on the 16th floor of the Stardust. The view was incredible. I fell down upon that bed, though, ignoring any view; after all that driving, I was tired! No rest for me, though. Only an hour after we got there, we had to be downstairs and ready to party!

I kept my look simple: black slacks, shoes, jacket, and purple shirt. Vicky wore a knockout, black dress. We met her folks (who were gracious enough to foot the bill) and headed inside. I couldn't wait until dinner. Vicky had shared an egg salad sandwich with me before we left and that was all we'd had all day. But dinner wouldn't be for another hour. For now, we enjoyed the part. A little casino had been set up for us but, better still, over on the side was a smoking room - and I had smokes! - while on the other side was a martini bar. MARTINI BAR!

I'll let you figure out how people who only had 1/2 an egg salad sandwich all day feel after two martinis…

Thankfully, dinner came soon. It was served inside an immense ballroom with two bands taking turns providing constant music. The food was incredible (lobster & filet mignon) but most of dinner sailed past me as I drank one martini after another.

After dinner, Vicky and I left the party to walk out on the strip and enjoy the casino. I couldn't help think of all the other times I'd been to Vegas with a girl. The first time was in 1985 with Deanna. Then, of course, so many times with Rosa. The last time was with Cindy, after Rosa, and I wasn't ready to enjoy either the city or the company. Remembering these times, I held Vicky and enjoyed her with me because I could remember those times and not once wish I was there. Nobody could take Vicky's place.

As midnight approached, we returned to the party. Vicky's folks were off gambling somewhere and I was able to drag Vicky to the dance floor. (Okay, the irony here is the reversal of roles. I hate dancing and Vicky is worried that I won't dance with her at our wedding. But I wanted to show her I could do it with the right music - the band was playing standards - and the right person.) We remained on the dance floor until midnight. Balloons fell on us. We kissed for a long time. And we welcomed another year.

I hope I can fit two years into 2005. I want Vicky to be in both of them. What will they be? In Part One, we'll be engaged. In part two, we'll be married. And I hope we end it a little tipsy, a little tired, dancing, and kissing, and happy.

Last year was a really great year and things are looking good for 2005. I hope your year looks just as good.

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