Cine, Los Angeles

The Simpsons table-read

There’s many reasons I enjoy my job. Namely, I like working with college students to help them meet their goals. The additional perks are pretty cool. This summer, I got to attend field trips as a chaperone to the Aquarium of the Pacific, Disneyland and California Adventure and a biotech company’s campus. Those were all part of coordinating one of the summer research programs.

After the Simpsons table read

Yesterday’s staff field trip took us to the Fox Studios a few miles away in Century City for a table-read of a Simpsons episode.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been up close with the entertainment industry. It’s hard to avoid it living in LA and attending/working at UCLA. Years ago, I walked in on the filming of an Old School scene. A couple of years before that, I was in a Destiny’s Child video with the UCLA Marching Band. I auditioned for MTV and have been an extra in big audience scenes. And like every other Angeleño, I spot a celebrity every once in a while.

Been watching these guys since the Tracy Ullman show

All those experiences were memorable in their own way, but the table-read stands out. It was surreal hearing the voices behind the characters (Yeardley Smith, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellenata, Julie Kavner, Hank Azaria, Pamela Hayden) just a few feet away. I geeked out when Cartwright did Nelson Muntz’s “ha ha!” mocking laugh. Those who know me know I do that at inappropriate times. I had to calm down my inner 9 year old who has been watching since The Tracey Ullman Show days and who was super jealous of all the other kids with Bart Simpson “Eat My Shorts!” and “Ay Caramba!” t-shirts from being overly starstruck.

The show runner, Al Jean, narrated the action and gags yet to be animated while the actors read their parts for writers, producers and several guests. Someone in the office knows a writer, hence the invitation. Sean came along too. The episode itself was quite funny, I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

After the reading, we were informed by a coworker that the actors would sign scripts. A few of the actors rushed out, but a few remained and were gracious enough to sign autographs and take photos. Sean and I got signatures from Azaria, Cartwright (she had the longest line, but it moved quickly), and Hayden. I should’ve told Azaria that I love Bumblebee Man more than Moe. I didn’t get to take a picture with a VIP guest, Jane Krakowski — I love 30 Rock! Jane was busy speaking to others. We checked out the studio store, discussed the next steps for the episode and then returned to work.

I’m glad we got in once last field trip before summer officially ended and the students returned to campus for the fall quarter.


Notes on a bicoastal wedding

I can’t come up with anything eloquent right now, but I do have pictures and a few notes.

Sean and Cindy p/v (por vida). #bicoastalwedding

I’m elated to be married to Sean.

In the party bus

I’m pretty sure I’ve never smiled so much in one day nor posed for so many iPhones.


Parents meet for the first time

I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to have such amazing family and friends. My parents were impressed that so many of Sean’s family and friends traveled out from the east coast.

Maid of Honor

Fun with Danny and Cynthia

I’m so glad our guests had a super time. And gained some new friendships in the process.

Ten minutes before going in to the church. A bit nervous and chatting up the altar servers to keep myself calm.    #bicoastalwedding

I felt like a “wedding princess” — according to my niece/flower girl, Isabelle.

Leaving the church

No one lost the bet. Neither one of us actually cried, but we both teared up at different points during the day, mainly during the ceremony (vows, cousin Fabiola singing “Ave Maria”, and hearing that we were a symbol of hope for the St. John Vianney community struggling after the fire).

Super bride and groom

Yes, it was hot. The high was 107, but we managed to stay indoors with the air conditioning on full blast all day except for about an hour when we took photos outside.


The wedding reverse taper

License to wed

I hate comparing non running things to marathons and marathon training. It makes even less sense these days because I’m not running (like, at all).

The days leading up to the wedding are the opposite of the taper. Rather than spend less time on the wedding prep, I’m spending more. There’s calls, itineraries to tweak, appointments to make, vendors to confirm details and arrival times with, items to pick up from Costco and Smart & Final, etc. Granted, I’m not doing any of these things alone thanks to our amazing family, friends and Carmen, our wedding coordinator.

Still, like with an actual taper, I find I have more free time — mainly because I’m on vacation. Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the afternoon after I got my nails done (and messed up while trying to get lunch together) reading Junot Díaz’s new collection of stories, This Is How You Lose Her. There’s some irony there, I think. But damn, Díaz is an amazing writer. I stopped reading because I didn’t want to finish it all in one sitting. I felt like I should be doing something but things are checked off on our to-do list.

More similarities:

  • Getting a massage on the Thursday before.
  • Trying to eat well and get more rest.
  • Staying off my feet and staying hydrated.
  • Lots of hand sanitizer and other precautions to avoid catching a late summer cold.
  • Getting my day-of clothes and food sorted out beforehand.
  • Reading recaps for some inspiration, ideas and tips.
  • Freaking out about the weather.
  • Lots of prep and waiting around before the actual show begins.
  • Thinking a lot about the music I want to listen to on the day-of.
  • Rehearsal is like an expo, right?


  • I’ll be wearing a totally new outfit.
  • I’ll have much better photos.
  • No awful tanlines.

Okay, I need to run some errands and try and stay cool.


Second guessing

There’s a few things we’re second guessing these days.

Wine for the reception

The first is doing a sorta DIY wedding. Our venue is bring-your-own with pretty much everything except tables, chairs and ice. This was a big plus for us, especially when it came to alcohol. Buying beer and wine ourselves and hiring our own bartender was much more budget friendly than going with an in-house service. Fast forward 14 months and we’re grumbling about loading up boxes of wine, cases of water and soda, and picking up kegs. Now we know why they charge so much more… convenience! Duh. Oh well, at least we gave ourselves time to plan this out and have help.

The second is a wedding in September. Last summer was nice and mild. I barely needed to use my fan. I even wrote about the weather making training for an October marathon much easier. That was last year and 2010 as well. This summer has been so much hotter and humid with a thunderstorm every other week.

The highs in Palms and Westwood for the past seven weeks — maybe more — have been in the upper 80s and 90s. It’s worse farther east in Hacienda Heights and Brea, the ceremony and reception locations. I’m worried a high of 97 degrees (!) will kill the party mood. I’ve been to summer weddings where I didn’t feel like dancing because it was too hot. Then I was wearing a short dress. I’m not sure how comfortable I’ll be in a long wedding gown. Ugh. I know how I get in the heat. I get cranky and sweat a lot. I’m not one of those women who “glows.” I sweat just putting on my wedding dress indoors. I am glad we didn’t choose a park location for post ceremony photos and that there is air conditioning at both locations.

While Hacienda Heights will be hot on the 15th, I’m still very happy to be getting married there. It wasn’t enough to be listed in Sunday’s church bulletin. During the announcements, Father Ricky asked the assembly to say a blessing for us in our final days of preparation. I couldn’t help but cry as he recounted the first meeting back in July. “Cindy told me she wanted to get married here despite the fire because it was her home. I was really touched by that,” he said. I meant it then. SJV has always felt like home with so many familiar faces. I definitely felt that sense of community with so many people praying for us in our home for now, the interim tent church.

St John Vianney interim church

And yeah, it is air conditioned.


The questions

To be used 9/15

I’ve been hearing the following questions from friends, family members, co-workers.

Are you excited?
Yes, but more nervous.

Why are you not freaking out?!
‘Cause I’m freaking out about work. (This was more the case two weeks ago as there was a lot to do in the last week of the summer programs.)

Are you freaking out?
Actually, no one asks me this. Sean gets this question.

Do you have everything ready?
No. All the “big stuff” is generally done, but there are still plenty of things on the to-do list. Fortunately, we have plenty of people to help and enough time. I thought I’d want to take the whole week off from work, but went in on Monday.

Do you have your dress?
Of course. I’ve had it since early June.