Keely Says Awkward Things On The Food Network…

…And Other Weekendy Things.

Compared to last weekend’s glorious hibernation, I’m pretty sure this weekend has led Nora to believe that her car seat is her new nursery. (It is very nice.)

Saturday: P.J. had an audition. (Good little trick for all you actor pals out there- disregard all audition notices for one calendar year. Have a big ol’ life event. Despair a little bit about your career. One year to the day later- you’ll be batting auditions away with a stick. A soft stick. Because you’ll still kinda want to go to them.)

During this time Nora and I were to have a chill session of floor-blankie-blocks-nappin’. But a call from the Food Network changed all of that. (Doesn’t it always?) The segment I was going to help tape the following day now needed me- and a few awesome friends- Saturday afternoon.

Most of my artsy friends were either working or supplementing their work with more work. (Bears season opener, anyone?) One friend who was available had her dreams of glory shot down due- yet again- to vegetarianism. (It’s the meanest!) Did I mention that the show centered around adventurous eating and random types of game? (More “pheasant” and less “Connect 4.”) Another pal has pneumonia. (Come on!) Crazily enough, my friend with a two year old was able to attend. Go figure.

So, she and I- and, at the last minute not Nora because Peej made it home in time- jetted down to the taping. Only to find that they had cancelled “actors” for the day. And were shooting stills of that temperamental artist known as The Kitchen.

So Leah and I went to Lincoln Station and had a beer and a Reuben apiece and enjoyed our kid-free date by…comparing labor and delivery stories. (The irony is that our friends are always at Lincoln Station and send us texts to join and we’re all like- We can’t. We have kids.) Sigh.

That night P.J. and I enjoyed an Outta Money, Kinda Tired, No I’m Not Cooking Date Night. (Marriage is awesome.)

The next morning we all put on our Sunday best because The Schoeny family was to be on the telly. Hopefully. When the producers asked me to return the next day, they asked if I knew a guy who’d be good on a food challenge.

Yeah, I know a guy.

And we just decided to bring Nora because, let’s face it. Who’s the most camera-ready of us all? Exactly. Nora= meal ticket.

We wanted to stop by the German Fest in Lincoln Square first, as Nora is a quarter German via Alsace-Lorraine (via Chicago.) We got her a bratwurst, some German potato salad and some sauerkraut- actually, she and I “shared” a plate, but I didn’t get more than three bites in before she was gnawing on the Chinet. So, yeah, she likes German food. The Oompah band was a little much for her, but that just shows that she’s discerning.

Started to head downtown and got a call that the taping had been pushed back one hour.

So we got some gelato. (Nora is a citizen of the culinary world.)

Drove down by the lake to kill some time and got a call saying we needed to come half an hour later than that. This put us smack dab in the middle of Nora’s second nap. “She’ll sleep in the car,” we told ourselves. She did not. Not until we were all the way downtown and in the noisiest of ‘hoods. This was also, coincidentally, when we needed to park and remove the sleeping child from the car. Ah well. I read that power naps are sometimes even more rejuvenating.

Got to the restaurant where the shindig was being filmed and met up with Leah and Kat, two of my most camera-fabulous friends. (I don’t know how Leah swung the childless thing two days in a row, but rock on.) We proceeded to wait for an hour and a half in the blazing sun. They eventually told us we could come inside out of the heat- for the baby (yay baby!)- as long as we were silent during the last bit of kitchen taping. (That kitchen was a diva!) That worked for- oh- about thirty seconds. Then Nora screeched a random, happy shriek of babyhood and about twelve pairs of death-glarey eyes turned on us. So we loitered in the CVS.

Once we got going, however, it flew by. Without giving too much away, Peej and I were in a competition of sorts for a different kind of game show. We had to introduce ourselves numerous times to get the right angle/audio/dialogue and some of the stuff they had me say was a little, uh, non-family friendly?

“Tell them how much you like meat.”

“Say you’ll eat ANYTHING. Any kind of meat!”

“Tell them that your husband thinks he’s gonna beat you BUT HE’S WRONG.”

I kept it simple. And smiled a lot. A nice, ‘don’t listen to my words’ kinda smile.

Leah and Kat hung out with Nora while we taped the segment and all was good until I dinged a stupid bell as hard as I could- in the heat of competition- and remembered at the very last second how much my daughter hates sudden frantic sounds.

So, she cried. And by “cry” I mean “purple-faced Sicilian mourner keening.” Leah and Kat took her outside. And I had to keep taping. Because we were still rolling. And I was facing the street so, through the picture window I could see my baby gal soundlessly giving herself an aneurysm. But we kept going. (Watch for the part in middle of the contest where I glaze over and stare off into space and well up and bite my lip and clench my fists. Oh, TV is magical.)

And I won’t tell you how it ended, other than to say that Nora was just fine and I’m pretty sure my friends are still talking to me.

We got home in time to let Nora run around nudie in the backyard while P.J. gardened and I- well, I don’t know what I did much beyond telling P.J. that He Thinks He’s Gonna Beat Me But He’s Wrong. (It takes me a long time to get out of character.)

And I promise to discuss the season enders of Psych and True Blood- as soon as I can process them/acknowledge that I am programme-less for a few months.

But tune in tomorrow for a bonus posting- a featurette of a fabulous company (go say hi to them in the upper right hand corner!) And remember, the more you like them, the more they’ll like me, and the more they like me, the more other people will like me, and maybe- just maybe- all this likin’ will equal a decent paycheck which will also equal more columns and postings and features and antics.

After all, I just got the Fall L.L. Bean catalogue- and it ain’t gonna mock itself.



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