Sunday, September 27, 2009

Home sick.

Amelia and I are both sick and stuck inside on this rainy day in New York City. I'm trying to be slightly productive between blowing my nose and wiping hers constantly. I did, however, go thru a stack of papers and came across her school photo from last year. It's not the greatest pic of Amelia, but it's her very first school photo and is a milestone.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The California Project

The Serrano's, it seems at this point, are Los Angeles bound. That's right, you heard it here first. It looks like we're hitching the horses to the wagons and heading west. We're hoping to be out there by January, so Amelia can start school when they return from winter break. So much leg work has been done already and we have a lot of work ahead of us.

This conversation first began around March or so. Nestor was in LA for pilot season (that's when all the networks green light pilots/shows for the fall and actors swarm to the sunshine state to audition and hopefully book a pilot, which will then, hopefully, get picked up as a show) and he mentioned to me that he and his Manager were discussing the climate of the industry and where it's heading. It's been a rough couple of years for us for several reasons:

1. The Networks/Studios are not paying the kind of money they once did. Almost everything is scale +10% (the 10% is to pay your agent/manager their percentage) -- no negotiating.

2. Most of the shows we watch are shot in LA, with the exception of "Law & Order," "Ugly Betty," "Gossip Girl" and a couple other shows. Not much steady work for Guest Stars, which are our bread and butter jobs. Although Nestor used to be able to work out of NYC -- Networks no longer want to fly actors out to Los Angeles, rent them a car, put them into a hotel and pay them per diem -- so they go for a "local hire." For awhile, Nestor was able to work as a local hire and would make all the arrangements for himself, but that's no longer financially worth it. Also, Productions don't like to be "out of control" of their actors (ie. his flight gets delayed or canceled -- at least if they're calling the shots, they can get him on another flight, etc.)

3. Everyone wants to do TV! The jobs that used to fall into Nestor's lap are now being snatched up by film actors who used to look down on TV. Everyone has/had a series now: Harvey Keitel, Christian Slater, Holly Hunter, Lawrence Fishburne, Chris O'Donnell, etc. Those actors are now looking for a steady gig that keeps them home with their families -- not on location half way around the world. Nestor needs to be in LA so that he can walk into the room and meet the Producer, Director or Writer in person. Not on tape from the Casting Director's office in NYC. It makes a big difference when it comes down to booking a job.

There are so many mixed emotions with this decision. Obviously, we love New York. Our families are based on the East Coast. I've lived here for 20 years -- over half my life. I love the energy and action. Amelia is in a wonderful school here, has an incredible team of therapists, doctors, nurses, respite caretaker and has so many remarkable services here.

California is broke. Nestor's amazing cousin, Colette, who lives in Calabasas (in the Valley) and works in the school system has been a tremendous resource and inspiration. She has an Autistic son who has grown up to be a mainstreamed, extraordinarily high functioning teenager -- and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the credit goes to his petite mother who screamed until she was heard. Colette has sent me every name and contact number she could find to help me. She even found the school (Sven Lokrantz, in Tarzana) that is the perfect fit for Amelia. I have spoken to the Board of Ed out there and they are awaiting Amelia's current IEP (Individual Education Program) which is a Federally recognized document -- so the funding will come from the Federal, not State, Government (PHEW!) and Amelia will receive all the services in her mandate.

The kicker is The Regional Center. In California the system for people with disabilities is different than most other states. Out there, any services received outside of school is funded by The Regional Center and unfortunately, that is funded by California State. The cuts have been deep. However, I spoke with a lovely woman yesterday who told me that families are getting what they need -- it's hard for me to believe that, but she has told me that they are on the upswing and children are receiving the therapies and respite they need. I guess I have to throw positive energy out there and hope for the best. Colette has assured me that Amelia will get everything she needs...just keep shouting till you get it. I have no problems with that!!!!

The upside of moving is that the weather is wonderful out there -- maybe Amelia won't have to live on 2 breathing treatments a day. We'll be able to buy a house (the housing market is still really, really down out there, good news for us) and move out of our little 1 bedroom, 600 sq. ft. apt. We do have cousins and extremely close friends out there, who stood by us -- so fiercely, when Amelia was born. Also, with Amelia being born out there, we have a whole team of doctors in place.

Nestor has always relished the luxury of living in NYC and working in Hollywood -- or whichever filming location. But it looks like that has changed -- at least for now. We have talked for endless hours about the move, house hunted online and sadly, broken the news to our families. I am so nervous, excited, sad, apprehensive and giddy about the whole thing. Appropriate, for our next big family adventure.

He tells me we'll move back to New York one day, I think, I hope we will.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Snorting Stem Cells: The wave of the future?

This is really incredible research.

We are trying to figure out how to dress Amelia up as a German mouse. Any thoughts? I'm thinking lederhosen and Mickey Mouse ears.

Snort stem cells to get them to brain - health - 10 September 2009 - New Scientist

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Last of the Summer Fun

Amelia and I on the Tin Lizzie's in Ocean City, NJ saying "Hi" to (Aunt) Jackie and (cousin)Ezra

The week before last, we went to Margate, NJ for a few days and hung out with my folks and sister, Jackie's (above) family. Always fun, but got rained out from going to "Storybook Land" which is where we had so much fun last summer. We went to the Aquarium instead -- although I think Amelia would have had more fun on some rides. Oh well, next year.

It was pretty quiet last week. Just hanging around and seeing friends and family. Went to the park a lot and had drinks with a girlfriend on Friday night. I actually trekked all the out to Brooklyn!

This is a group that we stumbled on last Wed. evening. Magic hour at The Hudson River Park. It's a group of Tango Enthusiasts who go to different venues each day of the week. It was really beautiful. Amelia is a superb dancing partner! Only in NY folks...only in NY!

Not too much else to report, which is good! School starts tomorrow and I couldn't be happier. Don't get me wrong -- we've had a very relaxing couple of weeks -- but I am really ready to get back to my own morning routine. Also, because Amelia gets so much of her therapy and socialization at school I always feel like she loses out on a lot when she's home for such a long period of time (3.5 weeks) around us boring grown ups.

Big shout out to Ezra who turned 5 yesterday!!!!! Also to my MIL, Regina who had a birthday yesterday too -- turning...more than 5;)