Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bleh

Ah, New Year's...

The actual event I find a huge relief; it signifies one more year survived, another chance at...whatever I'm pretending to pursue.

The festivities surrounding the event, however, are as abhorrent as Halloween to me but in a totally different way. At Halloween, people dress in trashy costumes, drink too much, and act crazy and stupid on the streets of Manhattan. On New Year's...wait a minute. Well, the major differences are that everyone congregates in. my. neighborhood. AND every single one of those people is part of a couple. I considered having people over but remembered that 1) I hate not being able to leave a party, and 2) I have no single friends. Not happening.

I just watched the movie Once, a modern day musical you must see. Very touching, well written and acted, good cinema, and great music. And by all that I mean, I sobbed all the way through, but that could have something to do with my PMS.

In the spirit of feeling like I had any right to write about yoga, I took a class today. And by 'take a class' I mean: 'I unwittingly waltzed into a yoga studio thinking I knew anything about the practice and/or my body, and calmly had my ass handed to me as I slid out the door on my (considerable) belly after 90 minutes of abuse.' My friend Rafi pointed out that what I had read as Flow 1/2 clearly stood for 1+2 to the 30th power. Noted. I literally laughed at one point, I was so lost. The teacher kicks ass but was leading using only sanskrit for stretches at a time. HA!

If I can move tomorrow, bring on the new year. If I can't, I'm gonna push it back a few weeks. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

come ON

I think we all know I'm a card-carrying union member who has supported both, devastating strikes this year (Local One, the stagehand's union here on Broadway whose strike was resolved weeks ago, and the WGA, Writer's Guild of America represented from coast to coast and still picketing today). I am the first one to say The Man is trying to screw artists out of royalties and is making bazillions of dollars in internet and DVD viewings that the writers never see. These strikes have also caused tremendous losses of: revenue for anyone involved in the TV industry, morale in those same factions, and, most importantly this evening...a tremendous drop in watchable programs on television. Mercy!

I have 250 channels and am literally drinking one glass of wine after the other hoping that something will appeal. I was just forced to watch John Tucker Must Die, a teen flick about a basketball player that dates many girls at once. Not only does this movie have girl on girl action, there's red lingerie, a ton of cleavage, and Jenny McCarthy playing a mom (and not a silly one, an earnest, single one).

The real issue, however, was when they busted out these two gems of emo rock, "Dirty Little Secret" and "I'm Not a Perfect Person" - both of which could be subtitled "I've Got A Y-Chromosome, Deal With It". Both bands have hired directors for their videos that, perhaps to someone with an IQ of 65, camouflage the real meaning of the song to appear somewhat deep or mysterious. Make no mistake, the actual thrust of the songs are, quite clearly, "I'm an asshole but I'm not responsible for my actions because...just cause." Ah, boys.

There are not one but two tv's in the cafeteria at the hotel I'm working in. One is the size of Texas, the other slightly smaller. When I'm not being subjected to horrible news or Jerry Springer, I'm forced to bury my face in my rice and beans while something like American Wedding takes the stage. There's nothing like a pubic hair joke flying around (pun intended) while you are in a room of co-workers! No issues there. I'm writing a letter ASAP. WTF.

On that note, I'm going to pass out. If there is a God, the strike will end soon and my people will not only be back on the small screen, they'll have their cotton pickin' mitts off of our theatre gigs. Yeesh.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Woof!

Well, now I apparently get enough of blogging.

So, crisis averted, I had a friend who lives close by pick up the keys to the studio for me. I, of course, haven't had a second to actually take class recently but I am, as we speak, facilitating the mental and physical health of some hard core yogis desperate to practice on Christmas Eve.

In truly top form, the Universe heard my whingeing this morning and has sent me a sign that there is Truth and Beauty in the world. One of the participants of class tonight has introduced me to an amazing website. I'm not sure how I lived without it before now.

My Third Eye Itches is a site dedicated to the true practice of yoga...making sure you never become such an obnoxious practicioner that your pretention creates a kill zone with a radius of 10 feet (if only there were a similar site for the Jovan Musk wearers of the world).

From Yoga Dawg's Yogatude:
"As you walk into the practice area, do not acknowledge or say anything to any student if one happens to be there. Additionally, don’t talk or look around while setting your mat up. Keep a centered look as if you possess great Yogic knowledge. With your “Yogatude” and a top of the line Yoga mat from the GreatTranscendentalYoga Superstore, you might even have some of the students fooled into thinking that you indeed, possess great Yogic knowledge. "

Not since hearing Bryan Kest say, "notice how your matching yoga outfit doesn't help you with this pose" and "as you slowly lower down into chaturangha, engage your pectorals...those are the muscles underneath the implants" has the gong of truth rung so clearly in my head.

Please, please, please take the Yoga Quiz. Any multiple choice quiz that has "F'in-A!!" as an option on almost every question is close to my heart.

And, had I not been gifted this URL, I never would have seen the ad or clicked on the link to Yahweh Yoga! Now, listen, y'all know I'm a Christian...a super liberal one...and if you think I'm not buying one of these DVDs yer crazy. It may be just to see how on EARTH they do yoga with that amount of hair, mascara, and nail polish (scroll down for pix)...but check out the guns, yo, sign me UP. I told you JC was a great skiier, did you think it stopped there? Come. On.

Thanks to The Dawg himself, who fought his way through the drifts of snow and hordes of shoppers (okay, it's 40 degrees out and a ghost town here in Hell's Kitchen but...ya know), to take class.

Oy

Have you ever made a conscious, well thought out decision and then spent the entirety of the execution of said decision resenting the hell out of everything and everyone involved in it, not least of all yourself? (not unlike how you started to read that last sentence thinking it might be a cogent thought and lost 2 minutes of your life deciphering what it was actually saying...)

I am not travelling this Christmas. I have a fairly hard and fast rule that I don't travel more than 30-45 minutes away on Thanksgiving, the most hellish travel holiday on earth, but this is newish. There have been gigs that have prevented it, etc., but this was a choice.

I love my family madly, and I prefer a slightly less stressful, emotionally packed setting for my bonding. I just can't take all of us in the same house for 4 days straight. I become a raging bitch. I'm single, I have a lot of alone time and am used to making the majority of my decisions based on what is best for moi. I miss seeing the kiddos, and I know everyone has time off...but I can't do it. I think it might be a lot different if I had a boyfriend with me who could help diffuse my bs...getting laid is like Valium...from what I remember. I have a friend whose hairdresser gave her some Clonopin to take home with her...'nuff said.

So, I'm working at the spa and picking up shifts at the yoga studio. I have SIX massages back to back tomorrow starting at 8 am. I'm sorry? I'm 100% irritated at the universe for answering my prayer for financial abundance, how dare You?! I'm also working with people I never work with and who drive me crazy. I'm currently tapped in the office with the manager who talks non-stop about how hard his life is. Seriously, just a low-volume monologue, always. Awesome.

I also realized last night at about midnight that I hadn't picked up my keys for the yoga studio and was screwed. I got about 2 hours of sleep in between trying to chill and freaking out before I had to get up to be at work at 8.

Sorry this isn't one of my more light and airy posts. I'll get over myself soon. Sending you lots of love and joy (and patience, and vodka) this time with your loved ones.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yo

I got a friendly nudge today to return to the cyber world (thanks J!). After about 10 full days of being disgustingly sick, I'm just now returning to the land of the living.

Today I helped a friend paint her apartment. We had such a good time! What is it about helping someone else around their house that's so liberating? I am never happier than when I can help someone else get stuff like this done (put in dimmer switches, do the dishes) but cannot even force myself to sweep my floor. It's a little ridiculous.

I'm super tired but just wanted to check in - I'm alive!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ladeez and Gentlemen...

(and I use those terms loosely)

Having a hard time motivating yourself to clean? Or just anxious to support the objectification of some fine, fine beefcake?

Git yerself to the model home of Xtra-Pine to visit Brian, Jason and the Original Cleaning Hunk.

Don't say I didn't get you anything for Christmas, yo.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Perspective 101

If you are feeling at all cynical about life, go to my friend Erik's blog and watch this video of his daughter on a carousel.

It will remind you how we can choose to approach life.

Bodily function update

Just what you've been waiting for!

I get sick maybe once a year. Happy Anniversary, sinuses!

This has been a banner week on the physical front. This may be a bit of TMI, but I get terrible cramps about 7 times a year. I have medication for them but if I don't catch it right in time, it's ugly for a bit. Friday, I missed my window and endured 2 of the worst hours I've experienced in a long time.

I like to consider myself a strong person. Redheads are even supposed to have a higher pain threshold than the average joe. Not me. I have the utmost respect for anyone who has ever given birth. A few hours of crying, writhing in pain, throwing up and praying to The Big Guy to make it all better (or just let it end) is humbling...and there's no payoff. Is this my body's way of punishing me for not having had kids?

This insanity must have lowered my immune system. I got home from rehearsal on Saturday night, walked in the door and had instant sore throat. By the end of Sunday, toast. I was in bed all day yesterday until I had to go to work and massage four people in a row. Good times.

I'm doing this holiday concert thing and there's just no way I'm going to sing tonight. I sound like a baritone and I'm just in the chorus (of 75)...I'm not gonna be missed.

The only thing saving me is that I have no sense of taste because my sinuses are so blocked. I don't know how I would tolerate the cabbage-garlic-parsley-carrot-celery juice I've been drinking otherwise.

If you don't, btw, have a neti pot and suffer from allergies or sinus issues, get on it. It's an amazing way to irrigate your sinuses. If you don't take advantage of this, you're just creating more pain in the world, not only for you, but the people who have to hear you complain. Here is a pretty good instructional video (and by 'good' I mean very clear but totally creepy and a little bit hysterical).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Uncle Jimmy

Those of you reading this who know me are quite aware of my allergic reaction to the news and political debate. My empathetic gifts make it very hard for me to watch or read the news without taking to bed (or drink) for days in depression and sadness. The limited capacity I have for wading through jargon to get to a political candidate’s actual platform causes me to rely on a few select, patient friends to help me make a voting decision.
One thing I do know, however, is that I love Jimmy Carter. Until today he was simply President Jimmy Carter, who:
  • was the 39th President in the years preceding my descent into the hell of middle school (’77-’81).
  • being a peanut farmer from Georgia, put the state we had moved from on the map for my Montana classmates.
  • was a champion for ecological issues, racial equality, and civil rights in addition to being a strong Baptist who witnessed to several world leaders while in office (oh, those traits aren’t mutually exclusive, hmmm?).
  • started The Carter Center in 1982.
  • joined forces with Habitat For Humanity in 1986.
  • Removed himself from the Southern Baptist Convention in 2002 when they changed their doctrine to something he thought was too rigid and disturbing. Can I get an ‘Amen’?
  • along with his wife, Rosalynn, continues to raise gazillions of dollars a year for civil rights all over the world.
Today he became Uncle Jimmy. My parents (two of the most intelligent, compassionate, generous people I know) give as much time and suppoort to charities as possible. For the past umpteen years, I want to say 15, they have been donating an annual sum to The Carter Center. Today, my mother got a phone call.

“Is this Maybelle Stone?” [*not real name, ahem]
“Yes it is.”
“Please hold for Jimmy Carter.”
Um…
“Maybelle? This is Jimmy Carter.”
(Without skipping a beat) “Why, President Carter, how nice to hear from you.”
“Maybelle, I just wanted to call and thank you and Homer* for your continuous contribution to The Carter Center. It’s made such a difference.”
“Well President Carter, you’re so welcome. We truly believe you are doing wonderful work and are so happy we can help in some way. Now we just have to get someone like you back in the White House!”
“We’re working on that…”
3-4 minutes of polite chat ensued, which culminated in him asking her to tell Dad he called and to have a wonderful Christmas. The personally autographed copy of Beyond The Whitehouse that had been in the mail the day before now made a lot more sense.
First of all, please understand that my mother is also from Georgia. So, if you had overheard this conversation, it would have sounded like two old friends catching up or someone from the church calling to thank for the donation of clothes for the bazaar that weekend.
Second, o.m.g. !!!!!!! My mother is the only person I know (besides my father) who would be able to have this conversation and say exactly what she wished to in a completely intelligent, gracious fashion without peeing herself.
What a brilliant thing. This is an amazing example of the combination of global and personal thinking this man has. No wonder he’s so successful getting things done. He was totally genuine, took time out of his day to personally connect with a consistent giver, and made her day. They sure ain’t gonna stop giving to that foundation any time soon.
My parents receive a lot of recognition from their various communities (and should). I’m really glad that she had that experience.
I’m so proud of them both. I’m trying hard to live up to their example.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

OMG

The two brain cells I have left after this last weekend neglected to remind me of my blogging duties, sorry!

My family has finally decided to do away with gift giving for the adults. We will be buying for the kids, hello, but not for each other. We've done a gift exchange for years and we all have exquisite taste (thanks mom and dad) but ENOUGH already! I've already received a great, unexpected gift from one sister, though, who donated to her local food bank. If you haven't done that, please, even $10 makes a difference.

We all know that I've been doing my best over the last 3 years to eliminate all the stuff from my life. This has had some interesting side effects, like: ending up with fabulous super dressy, super trampy, and super random clothes, none of which combine to make an actual outfit but each of which is fabulous in it's own right; losing a ton of inches; and making me realize I still have clothes from the '80s. I will now wax on some actual purchases of clothing which were vital and life changing.

First of all, Sarah Jessica Parker has come out with a clothing line, Bitten, in which every piece of clothing is priced under $20. I'm sorry? It's beautifully designed and made in high quality fabrics. It's carried exclusive at Steve and Barry's (at the Manhattan Mall here in NYC and The Beverly Connection in LA). When I went, I couldn't try on a lot of stuff because there were too many large sizes. She has designed from two to TWENTY TWO. I love her! Yeah! I was wearing a medium in most things and a 10 in others.

Second, I finally had to buy some new jeans because mine were falling off (!!!). I ended up getting 2 pair of Long and Leans at The Gap, at all places. I have not bought jeans there since 1992. Rock on. I also bought a 3-pack of socks which have changed my life. They are actually long enough and have enough elastic to wear with boots without droopy-sock-syndrome. They also come in sassy colors/patterns and are totally affordable at $15/3 pair.

I'm sure they were knitted by blind children in Guatemala but I'm really happy with them. Now that I'm spending a lot less time holding up my pants with one hand (since all my belts are from when we wore pants to our boobs...which were also considerably higher at the time), I can use that time to making money to donate to said children.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ouch

Dear Lord. I have a friend in town who turned 22 yesterday. I woke up with a humongous hangover. Who do I think I am? A 22-year-old? Having a binge personality is a bitch.

After years of slowly culling the energy vampiras from my life (a serious feat when you're working with people in the performing arts, a field which attracts more than its share of megalomaniacs and depressives and you have self-worth issues of your own), I have a tremendous number of fabulous women friends. I have managed to surround myself with smart, successful, grounded, self-possessed, nurturing, fun, kick-ass women. Thank you, Jesus.

One of my goals in returning to NYC has been to get this league of Superfriends to know each other. In the past, I was covetous of these women, these agents of sanity in my otherwise crazy circle of acquaintances. Now, I am compelled to share the wealth; it's the only way I know to repay these saviors of mine. That and feed them when they'll let me, babysit when they need it, and remind them why they don't wanna be single.

I'm a lucky woman.

Friday, November 23, 2007

BBsee

What is it about British sitcom? Seriously, they are so much smarter and funnier than we are. There's also something beautiful about the horrible, cheap sets being the stage for such brilliant work. The charming lack of production values means the acting is effing great.

My favorite thing is seeing amazingly versatile actors like Ben Miles, who played the heartbreakingly dysfunctional Montague in The Forsyte Saga, bust out some amazing comic timing. (btw, this was also where I first met my boyfriend, Damian Lewis, who I blogged about previously).

If you haven't seen The Vicar of Dibley or Coupling, Netflix them pronto. If you haven't seen Extras or The Office (the British version, which I think is much better than the US version), get on that, as well.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

After you enjoy your turkey and give thanks for all the abundance in your life, please take a moment to donate some cashola to your local food bank. The New York City Food Bank, usually at $7 million at this time of year, is at $2 million. I'm sure we're not alone.

Here are some links:

New York City Food Bank
San Francisco Food Bank
Los Angeles Food Bank
Boston Food Bank
Arkansas Food Bank
Nebraska Food Bank

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yay!

My friend Julie and I talk continuously about how hard it is to run an errand in New York City (or any of the Burroughs). You can leave the house at 9 am (ok, 10:30, let's be honest here) in need of 60-watt bulbs and Glide dental floss and come back 4 hours later, having gone to 5 drugstores and 4 hardware stores with absolutely nothing but a low blood sugar headache to show for it.

I went to Home Depot in Chelsea to get my (2nd) tree yesterday. It took 10 minutes for the inventory guy to discern they had none left and another 10 for him to find out I couldn't by the floor model. This is Chelsea, yo, they're not messing with the display. Riots would ensue.

They called the other Manhattan location and they didn't have them in stock either. I called the Queens store and they had, lo and behold, 16 in stock. Dreamy. Easy, right? I would just pick one of the plethora up and coast into the season.

Nowhere to be found. The helpful gentleman who wandered around the store with me looking for the particular, 4.5' tree I wanted was matter of fact about it. "What the computer says and what's what is not always the same story." He asked if I would take the display and I said yes! Of course, no box. He emptied out a big box of sparkly ornaments in tubes and we stuffed the dang thing in there.

Mission accomplished.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ew

If you have gmail, you know that there's a sponsored link listed above your inbox. What's a little creepy is that it's based on the content of your emails. So, if you're emailing a lot about, say, Twinkies, chances are the link will be something about desserts, snack cakes, or colon cancer (not really, that would be if I were the person choosing the links). Aside from the terrifying, Big Brother aspect of the whole thing, there's a whole other kind of upsetting going on here.

Today, I got this listing:
"Picture Of A Hangnail - RevolutionHealth.com - What Does A Hangnail Look Like? See An Illustration Here & Learn More."

Um...

How did The Great Google discern my fascination with cuticle issues? I honestly have no earthly idea why this would be zeroed in on for me. I don't even have any nails. It's not like I'm emailing my girlfriends for polish recommendations. I haven't done any google searches on anything related to this.

You know I clicked on that damn link. I was a little concerned about being besieged by a huge, nasty photo of a hangnail. It wasn't. In fact, there's not even a picture. It's basically an introduction to "nail problems and injuries" for...say...aliens visiting earth who don't have digits, much less nails.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

La, la, laaaaaa

I sing regularly with the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (GMTWP). It was one of the things I missed the most being in LA. This is a 2 year program with about 30 people per class who study with Bill Finn (Falsettos, A New Brain), Mel Marvin (Elmer Gantry, How the Grinch Stole Christmas), Fred Carl, and my friend, Rob Hartmann, among others. For their first year and thesis projects, the school hires professionals, often people who are on Broadway regularly, to come in and perform their pieces as a reading. It allows the students to get used to writing for the real deal and see if their work is actually functional. Many amazing people and projects come out of this program. The most recent is The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, on which grad Rachel Sheinkin and Bill Finn collaborated.

Rob and I met, um, mumble years ago doing summer stock in Montana at Bigfork Summer Playhouse. This is a fabulous, non-union company which hires really strong triple threats and does 4 shows in rep. Not everyone was the best dancer (hello!) or actor, but everyone had a fantastic voice. I think about 80% of us were vocal majors at our respective schools, the rest were theatre majors. I was a totally different person then (super self-involved and a bit of a diva...I am SO different now!) but I do have 2 or 3 lasting friendships from the two summers I was there.

Rob went to the NYU program and is now adjunct faculty in addition to consistently working on his own fabulous works. Last week, I helped do a recording of a song from a new musical he's working on, Stand Clear, set on a subway car. It's an ensemble piece with tight harmonies (and I'm singing the middle part) but it's a good idea of the stuff I work on regularly. Check it out, Commuter's Prayer, Steph Lynge is also on this, she is a fellow Bigfork alum. The rest of the songs are great too (check out the previous link).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ah, high school

A friend of mine is an acting teacher at a local high school and I went to see his show last night. The show is a difficult farce and he did a brilliant job directing the students, who were very talented.

Every student in the school is required to see the show. Imagine an auditorium of 7-12 grade kids waiting to see their classmates perform while seeing each other out of the confined context of school. Or, you know, think back to every pep rally or basketball game you ever went to. This is a performing arts high school, so these are the equivalents of star athletes. (Man, I went to the wrong school!)

I (mistakenly) assumed that, given the performing arts aspect of the school, the students would be well behaved in an audience. Holy cow. The four girls behind me in the third row talked throughout.

"That was a good one." One of them said every once in a while. In the second act, one of her friends said, "Can you please stop saying that?" I wasn't the only one irritated by her illuminating commentary. "He's not good." the same girl shared with those of us within earshot when a young man came on stage for his first entrance. Yeesh.

I was in the odd position of not being a student, parent, or teacher and totally out of place age-wise. At intermission, getting up to stretch my legs and squelch the urge to strangle the in-house critics behind me, I ran into my friend.

Shannon is one of my dearest friends, a fantastic actor, teacher, and person. And hot. He's really hot. As we talked about the show, a young woman approached, maybe 22. She introduced her boyfriend to us and proceeded to do all but throw herself bodily at Shannon. She completely ignored me and her man, doing an amazing dance of hair shaking, midriff baring, and lip pursing while soliciting kudos for her help on the building of the set and coyly accusing Shannon of not appreciating her enough. Woah.

Holy shit. Was I ever like this? Did I actually think I was being subtle in any way? It made me feel really old. And exhausted. At the end of the play I met one of his current squeezes who was a lovely person from what I could tell and beautiful. I imagine she was told by him that I was a close friend because she went into be-best-friends-with-the-best-girl-friend mode a bit. That's exhausting, too. Dude, I've got no pull here, it's all you.

I left feeling old, single, and unemployed. Good times.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Capitalists R Us

The tree I got at the Manhattan Mall on a whim turned out to be not quite what I wanted. Although the built in lights had eight settings (from seasick to epileptic frenzy), they only stayed on in this weird bluish pink. There was no option to have them just green or blue or red. It was a dream to set up and equally easy to take down, but a no go.

When I first bought this thang, it took the woman 10 minutes to check me out. This is a holiday storefront at the only mall on the island, she'd been working there for 2 weeks and not made a sale. Who buys a Christmas tree on Halloween, I ask you? She was a sweet, sweet girl, and couldn't key the right dollar amount into the machine. When I returned it, she couldn't figure out how to refund me.

Now, I've waited tables, so I know a credit card machine like the back of my hand but I was very patient both times. She'll never learn unless she figures it out on her own. She charged me again by mistake and she and her manager were convinced it was a refund, but the glaring lack of the minus sign before the amount kept me convinced...I was right.

Since I'm looking for a tree with just white lights, I got on Home Depot's website; there are two in Manhattan and another close by in Queens. They have plenty to choose from, but one of the first few choices is this:
That's right, folks, the whimsical upside down Christmas tree that you've been looking for. Um, quoi? Or, more accurately, pourquoi? I'm glad there aren't children starving in, oh, our own towns, or people without houses, this makes everything all right! Which forces me to look at my own consumerist issues in relationship to looking for a tree in general. Gah.

I will buy a tree and, in addition to the normal amount I give to charity monthly, I'm going to write an effing check to the NY Food Bank in the exact amount the tree ends up being.

A girl's gotta sleep at night...in the sweet light of her prelit, fake Christmas tree.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am posting. Here I am posting. I'm exhausted and about 1 minute away from my new, self-imposed curfew of 11pm. I spent the evening screeching out high A's with a bunch of other sopranos. Yeesh.

Big week coming up, a friend visiting (I think, no shows are running, so I'm not sure what she's going to do), Thanksgiving, picking up a million shifts at work. Sigh.

Boring...but I posted.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wheeeeeeee!

It’s Christmas time! I am so in love with Christmas. I grew up in the mountains, with feet and feet of snow (when global warming was just a gleam in the Industrial Revolution’s eye), with a big family who tromped into the forest (clad in our down coats made by my mother. Actually, these weren't those coats but I'll get a hold of that photo at some point) [oops, one of my sisters just told me she and her counterpart are wearing The Coats. So the bookends are the real deal.] and selected a tree for my dad to chop down. Seriously, how cute were we?

We spent many hours cross country and downhill skiing, sledding, building snow forts and snowmen, and getting serious cabin fever and driving our parents crazy.

I remember staring for hours outside the big picture window in our living room into a winter wonderland. Street lamps shined triangles of soft light amid a steady flow of big fat snowflakes floating down to join already fluffy mounds of untouched, glittering powder. On a clear night, the night sky gradually darkened from a royal blue to total blackness.

One thing I miss greatly and long for in the city is true darkness - the deep blackness that comes from being far from the steady, ambient yellowish-grey of city lights. There’s also nothing like the silence of a snowy landscape. It can feel strangely comforting in its pillowy, insulating hush. Even as your insignificant mortality is reinforced by the vast beauty, that same magnificence can’t help but reassure you that there is a grander plan and force at work. To clarify, I refer to the one NOT fueling your search for the perfect pair of snowpants to showcase your hard earned, size 8 ass. I’ve never felt less alone than cross country skiing by myself for hours without another soul in sight; just me and the big JC. He’s a great skier, btw.

So, for the first time, I’m allowing myself to enjoy the season. I bought a 4-foot tall fake tree for my apartment (which I’m exchanging tomorrow because the built in lights are the wrong color). My friend Julie came over and gave me some lovely holiday cheer in the form of ornaments that are currently gracing my entryway and living room. I’m all over it.

My next post may address how the holidays seem to be synonymous with getting engaged or celebrating anniversaries. Thanks Zales. Thank God for Tivo.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007



Since I am still deep in a grumbly, contrary snit of the grandest proportions, I am going to point you to some other places to have a good laugh.

I thought this might be a long lost classmate from the aforementioned 8th grade graduation but, alas, it is a red carpet (well, more like mottled, pebble walkway) mention in Go Fug Yourself. If you don't read this blog regularly, you're way too deep for me, our friendship is over.

And, in other news:
Midtown Manhattan is a freakin' ghost town right now, due to the stagehand strike that's going on. It's really wild. Um, that's not a big knee slapper, just an actual fact.

And, from the inimitable Charles Phoenix, "Nun With Cotton Candy".

Monday, November 12, 2007

high colonic for the psyche, anyone?

I woke up seriously grumpy today. It could be the barometric pressure, the fact that I had to work tonight, that I haven’t had a green vegetable in 5 days, or that I’ve been eating too much wheat. My instinct is, however, that the overwhelming factor is that I’ve been meditating regularly for 5 weeks now.

I haven’t had a regular meditation practice for a full 4 years, at least. Many years ago, I woke up and realized I was a serious mess (as was manifesting in an astonishing plethora of ways) and I needed to change my life. I also realized there was no way on earth I could do it alone. I was too proud to pursue a class or guru but had deigned to buy several books on eastern religions and metaphysics. I decided to start meditating.

At that time, the thought of sitting still for more than the length of a subway ride was inconceivable. A hard core runner and gym rat at the time, doing the elliptical was too low key for me. I had a hard time being motionless long enough to fall asleep, even after a full day in New York City, the idea of having a silent mind was ludicrous.

Acknowledging that couldn’t do it alone I decided to try cds. Centerpointe makes amazing meditation tools that helped me get started. The extensive material included with them made it clear that I would experience major shifting mentally and emotionally. To reach positive results, negative patterns would first need to be released. Holy irritability. Talk about mental detox. It’s a good thing I was working a lot, and didn’t have many close friends…okay, any friends (see paragraph 2). I was a mess.

It was instrumental in changing my life. I changed a lot of behaviors, including no longer spending time with people who were a drain on my emotional resources and general sanity. After recently extricating myself from a friendship that went south quite some time ago, I decided to get back to the basics. Emotional detox, here we come. Susan Piver puts it well in her book, how not to be afraid of your own life. When she decided to make a commitment to meditating, her teacher asked, “Are you ready for your life to change completely?” (Note the lack of the words, “into the fairy tale existence you’ve always dreamed of and with little to now effort on your part!”)

So, caution, woman working. If I don’t pick up or return your call, you’ll not only understand why, you’ll thank me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

ok

I'm totally letting myself off the hook. I'm doing a ton of writing right now, I'm getting insanely busy. I'm really happy with everything that's going on and thrilled that I'm blogging as much as I am...so get off my back already! Stop trying to make me feel like an asshole!

Right, then. I was at a book release party last night for kissing snowflakes. Have you read it yet? Hello?! Your tween is not getting any younger. Git on it. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such talented writers. I am part of this great writing group with these fabulous woman and they are kicking my ass.

I picked up a shift Saturday night and will be at the spa 3 nights in a row tomorrow night. It's amazing how fast my zen approach to work changes when I start to feel like it's a full time job. I start to dread my next shift, worried that my priorities aren't in line, that I shouldn't be spending so much time away from acting or singing. Breathe. When I'm in the room with a client, I'm in healer mode, present and available. It's the getting there.

I'm performing in a holiday concert with 100 other singers. It's an oratorio with all kinds of styles and stories. It should be an absolute gas, I'll report back when I see the music!

Friday, November 9, 2007

winter!

We have gone from Indian Summer straight into winter. It's rainy and cold today. I must say, it's amazing how nice it is to be wearing a sweater. I missed the seasons in LA but forgot what it really felt like to be chilly.

I haven't worked out in two days. I've set up my schedule in a stupid way and had to decide between sleep and the gym. I am, subsequently, a cranky, bloated beatch. Of course, it's amazing how easy it is to forget that working out makes you less tired.

I don't have anything else to write about today so I'm going to link you to this amazing blog: Crazy, Sexy Cancer. This woman has got it going on.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

1st Horseman

I spent an excruciating 2 hours this evening at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden watching Cirque du Soleil’s newest theatre lead balloon, Wintuk. Run, don’t walk as far as you can from the redheaded step child of a parent whose other progeny literally redefined ‘theatrical experience’. If you have ever seen any of the OTHER Cirque shows (or clips on Bravo or the net), you can see the way they have combined acting, dance, clowning, and song to make surreal, dreamlike, phenomenal worlds that sweep the audience away. I have literally been moved to tears in all but one of the shows I’ve seen in the past (Dralion was nothing but a big Chinese parade of very talented acrobats but absolutely nothing theatrical to offer) by the sheer artistry.

Having been warned by a friend that it was beyond sub-par for Cirque I felt I was sufficiently prepared. No. This was bad for, say, a Barney On Ice Holiday Special. There’s effing dialogue to begin. This is an immediate sign that there might be some confusion about what’s going on that needs to be clarified by speech. There has never been a word spoken in any Cirque show. That’s the point. The stories are told through everything but speech, and beautifully. No only this, the entire first act has kids on roller skates and bikes, singing street lamps (you didn’t read that wrong, and they’re freaky, with eyelashes, and they’re singing terrible, atonal songs), and huge dog puppets. The second act has some aspects that hinted at the beauty I have come to expect.

I seriously can’t even get more into it. I have to post in the next 60 seconds to make my own deadline. Suffice it to say, it’s a crime this is happening.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Push on

The number one hardest thing about The Industry, Show Biz, The Boards...the field I have been wrenched into in spite of my best efforts to be content pursuing many, any other career(s)...after getting the training and experience required to be eligible in the vocation, is the mental game. This is a business where you are your product and not getting cast feels like personal rejection. There is also no way of knowing why you haven't booked a gig. It's entirely possible your audition was brilliant but you're too tall, short, young, old, or not a big enough name for the production.

The key is to keep from sabotaging yourself before you even get in the room by deciding you're not talented enough or right for the role. Of course, if you've really blown it by not preparing enough or deciding you don't have what it takes, you know it - that's a whole different type of hell. The most frustrating thing is when you've nailed it and you don't book it. And when you don't know the casting director and you don't have an agent to call for you and find out why you weren't hired, it can be crazy making.

After a series of near misses or bad experiences, it's pretty hard to keep stepping up. It's like going on a series of excruciating 1st dates (I imagine). How do you keep the faith that there's someone out there for you? Why would you continue to put yourself into such a thankless situation with no evident payoff?

Because you have to. Because you have to go on first dates to get to second dates. Because you have to open yourself up to hurt and disappointment to fall in love. Because although you are miserable not getting hired, the idea of not working again makes you suicidal, and you're even more of a shell if you're not pursuing it.

My dear friend, Solange, was on hold for a huge theatrical gig (dream role in a prominent regional house) and just found out she didn't book it. Now, it's normal to be put on hold for TV gigs because they book on a super fast time-line and they need to make sure you don't accept something while waiting for them to make a decision...but not for theatre. When you audition for plays, it's usually weeks or months before the rehearsal process starts unless it's for an immediate replacement or understudy position on Broadway. In a way, it's huge compliment for her to have been requested to keep those dates open until they finalized casting. If you don't book something, you are not notified; you only get a call if you're being offered a role. It's also, however, like waving a syringe of insulin in front of a seizing diabetic and then yanking it away.

She now needs to process the disappointment, enjoy the other parts of her very successful, full life (boyfriend, audio book recording gig, brilliant network of friends, yoga practice) and continue to throw herself out there. As she will after many future auditions. Onward and upward.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

ugh

Seriously? The effing Bachelor?! Really? This man makes out with numerous women on camera and soulfully and talks about how “special” each one is between shots of him mackin’ on these chicks. He also tells each of them how amazing they are and tenderly kisses each one while holding their face in his manly hands. How is this even happening? Granted, each of the girls (that’s a choice) is waxing on how much they’re falling in love with them, blah, blah. Ew! THEN he sleeps with each one of them and each of them knows he has. GROSS.

How can I not be thinking, well, we know who gave the worst bj, after he keeps 2 of the 3 after sleeping with them all? Gahblegh!

Sound byte from the last night’s episode: “I don’t know that you should have to work that hard to find true love.” Really, Brad? Really? Is it supposed to be easy? What on earth must I be doing wrong?

Bret Michaels, the blue eyeliner wearing, hot, lead singer of Poison (the ‘80s band) did a reality show where he was looking for a woman. When it was down to 2 women, Skanky McSkankerson said to cute, hip tat chick “just remember where his mouth was all last night.” Ha! No conceits there, beATCH! Um, guess which is which

Of course, the fact that I’m getting teary about being single while watching this stuff and drinking a glass of chardonnay is nothing to be alarmed about. Single, white cliché? Your table’s ready.

Monday, November 5, 2007

My bionic eye

I've reached a very interesting place with my writing where I compose things in my head all the time. I see something happen on the street and I write the sentences mentally, I can see them. I've always been very visual, when I memorize music and lines I see them as I perform them. If I go up (forget where I am) I can see exactly where I've lost my place. It's pretty wild, though to see the words appear like a ticker in my line of sight. You know how Jaime Sommers has the stats scroll in her bionic eye? Or the Terminator? Same thing. I'll start to worry when the voices tell me to do bad things to people.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Rrrrright

It's amazing how self-fulfilling prophesies play out. I have, in the past, had an, um, issue with follow through. I think it all stems from the idea I wrote about in my first post, how if you don't do something right immediately, it's clearly not the thing to be doing. Crippling, that. So after making a promise to blog daily, I didn't write yesterday.

So I have a choice, here. I can succumb to my bad habits, beat myself up for continuing to disappoint myself or acknowledge I'm human and life is about showing up. I talk with one of my sisters regularly about how irritating it is that we have to continue showing up. I went to the gym yesterday, why do I have to go again? I already made the decision to eat well at lunch, why do I have to do that again at dinner. Sigh.

I'm not sure why my expectation of life arriving in the form of an engraved invitation on a silver platter carried by my trusty butler, Yardley, is not only not being fulfilled but deemed unreasonable. I was clearly born to learn romance languages and flower arranging while having a brilliant yet frivolous round of starring roles on the stage simply because my public is demanding it and I can't bear to break their hearts. Can't you see I'm a princess, Universe? Hello.

On another note, after watching marathon coverage and blazing through my Tivo'd treasures, I have a good, old-fashioned Sunday movie on as I write this entry. TCM is airing the much requested The Bedroom Window. You know, the 1987 classic thriller with Steve Guttenberg and Elizabeth McGovern? Nothing says suspense and tension like Mr. and Ms. 1980's Romantic Comedy. Wow. I'm shocked I've never. heard. of. it. There's a particularly fantastic scene in a bar (where E. McGovern is a cocktail waitress) that is positively resplendent with '80's decor. Neon and perms abound in addition to some amazingly bad dancing by the extras in the background. And there's simply nothing like watching Steve "Tough Guy" G. getting forceful with the housekeeper in his nubby, black & white, shoulder padded suit coat (bending at the waist and taking a hold of her shoulders). Be still my heart.

My rock star friend has completed the marathon and I'm waiting for his girlfriend to pour him onto my massage table. The coverage was incredibly moving, such stories! One older gentlemen who had a heart transplant years ago ran with the donors brother today. On the Verrazzano Bridge, he stopped, put the brother's hand on his heart and said, "That's your brother running this marathon." (or something of the like, that's not a direct quote) I can't believe that I ever complain about anything or have a hard time getting to the gym. Seriously.

It's also unbelievable how the marathon brings the city together. It's a mob scene by my apartment (I live about 1/4 mile from the park and 1/2 a mile from the finish line). So inspiring.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Angels R Us

My mother is a saint. She taught me how to sew…’nuff said. If you do not sew, you can not fathom the patience, focus, and combination of geometry, second sight, and straight up luck it requires. It is truly an art from an era where people had endless hours of time void of distractions like television, cell phones, and email as well as a lack of unlimited, affordable, store-bought clothing made overseas.

There is not one step of sewing anything that can be done on auto-pilot. The moment you get cocky and think you know what you’re doing, you’ve forgotten to add some crucial seam allowance to your measurements and you’ve turned an elegant frock into the Queen Mother’s sensible day dress. (A costume designer I once worked with told me how he not once, not twice, but three times sewed a leather sleeve onto a jerkin upside down so when he put it on the form, it was sticking straight up!) A delicate science.

My mother is a woman who, after spending several hours (probably about 10 or so, total) on the pattern I’d selected for my 8th grade graduation dress (a tea-length dress with a full skirt and strapless with fan-like, wide pleating in the bodice in a peach cotton) almost throttled me when I said I’d rather have store-bought. I’m not sure what possessed me, I think I was just wanting to fit in more. What a fucking princess! I would have been so much more proud to wear her handiwork. Instead, I felt like someone I was trying to be (that was new, not) instead of myself. I’m sure there’s a picture somewhere (unless I’ve burned it). I wore a strapless dress from Maurice’s, jealous much?!, with a short-sleeve shirt over it…I’d decided the strapless was a bit too risqué. Honestly.

Mom had put in several hours on The Dress in between teaching, raising 4 kids (my oldest sister was in college at that point), driving 2 of us to every sporting and musical event we were involved in, and studying for her master’s degree. Good lord. What an asshole. I remember the look of rage she shot me as she bundled the almost completed dress into a paper bag and muttered, “I’ve been sewing for Goodwill for 10 years!” I was a thankless wretch.

A dear friend of mine, who grew up in a very small town in the Bitterroot Valley, points out that 8th grade graduation was huge deal in her parts because a lot of the girls never had a prom. It was a largely Mormon population, and the many of them never made it through high school because they were married and mothers by 16. I do think that is why it was such a huge affair, most of the gals had floor-length gowns with hoop skirts. Of course, it was Montana, so we were approximately 7 years behind the times, fashion-wise. So in 1984…you understand. If you'd like a real idea of what was happening in Montana in the early '80's, check out 15 Minute Lunch: Strap in, shut up and hold on. We're going back. It wasn't really this bad, but this is so funny, you don't want to miss it. We were, sadly, ensconced in leggings, long, shaker knit sweaters, and neon...just go to the local mall today, that's what we were wearing. Why, oh, why would someone bring the '80's back?!

I think I ended up wearing a green, sequined, two-piece, green, granny number to my actual prom (attended to by the first and only guy who asked me, a friend of mine from math class). That’s another entry. Dear Lord. The ‘80s were really unkind, the ‘70’s, actually, if you go by the fashion time-line. Or I just had no effing taste. Or personality. Or…we’ll stop while I’m ahead.

I could not be more indebted to my mother for teaching me how to sew. There is nothing like having tangible proof that you can create something and that patience and diligence pay off. I made many of my own clothes over the years (usually pieces I couldn’t find anywhere) and am going to get back to it soon. Thanks, mom.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NaBloPoMo


That's right, kids, it's National Blog Post Month. I'm going to be blogging every day this month - lucky you! I can't promise equally amazing pearls of wisdom or insight with each entry, but I can promise words...that I've written. Every. Single. Day.

I have two friends running the New York Marathon this weekend. One of them, who's staying with me, ran the AIDS run in Florence last year. I have gotten back to running myself (jogging, really. Okay, loping painfully for four minutes and walking for one, then starting the whole thing over again) and could not be less made for long distance. I have profound respect and fear for someone who is able to put their body through that kind of prolonged agony. Send them some good thoughts Sunday.

And now, the TV Rant for the day:

My favorite ad on TV, hands down, is for Levis. You’ve seen it, this guy is pulling his jeans on in his living room and a phone booth (cause people still use those) crashes up into his apartment through the floor (with the rest of the street below). He finishes buttoning up his jeans, he walks out of the phone booth and they walk down the street together. I don’t know if this means they just made it (in homage to the most recent era in which phone booths were regularly used) in said booth de phone or he just happened to be changing his pants in the middle of the street. ‘Cause it’s Levis, yo, and that’s how they roll. [In watching this again, it’s pretty clear they haven’t been together but I thought this was too funny to cut.]

If you haven’t seen it, you’ve seen the exact same commercial with a hot MAN in the phone booth instead of a woman…and you’re clearly a night owl because this version isn’t shown during primetime, yo. Maybe on Logo.

This reminds me of a time when I had an audition at a random studio in Chelsea that caters to fashion and advertising. A Levis go-see was happening next to the room my theatre audition was happening in. As I concentrated on not having a panic attack in a sea of Size zero’s and resisting my sudden urge to eat myself through a bushel of Ho-Ho’s, the monitor for my audition stepped out, panned the room, zeroed in on me and said, “Actor’s Theatre?” Ouch. Um…what are you saying? I couldn’t be here for the go-see? Ha HA. Sigh.

Okay, clearly I’m living in the Dark Ages for even knowing what the ads ARE on TV right now, but the ads for the new Diesel fragrance are ridonculous! Yeah, these guys are relying on fragrance to get laid.

Thank you for visiting Single Gal-land. The next time you visit, remember that a $6.99 bottle of Merlot from Associated Supermarket doesn’t help take the edge off. Be smart, either go with the Manischewitz and stop pretending it’ll actually be wine, or spend 3 more bucks for the real deal, tightwad.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

kissing snowflakes - READ THIS BOOK!

I regularly read young adult fiction. The category draws me because I: love fantasy writing that isn’t bone-dry with super complicated worlds or languages, am an avid romantic who loves a traditional battle between good and evil, and was very lonely and lost at that age (I’m sure everyone was, but you know how you are an island at that age). Mostly, I think I am in a constant search for the teenager I wish I’d been. Teenager and hot mess are pretty much synonymous, I think, in most people’s experience of themselves a that age…at least the people I’m close with, but I have spent a good portion of my life wishing I had made drastically different choices.

Every once in a while I find a movie or book that hits me where I live; that reminds me of something I went through and longings thought successfully buried.

I just finished reading an amazing young adult book kissing snowflakes. Written by a dear friend of mine (her first book, the irritatingly talented woman!), Abby Sher, this book is phenomenal. Written in first person narrative, it is the story of 15-year-old Samantha’s winter break with her brother, father, and brand new step mom. Through fantastic inner monologue, we join Sam in dealing with resentment of her new family situation, social awkwardness, first real kiss, and decisions about drinking and sex.

I don’t have any children, but if I did, I would want my daughter to read this and then talk with her about it to open the door to future conversations about life decisions. I would want my son to read it to understand how girls think - *how everything boys say and do to them is replayed on a loop from the occurrence until God-knows-when in an effort to make sense of it and, therefore, ourselves. I would want my boyfriend or husband to read it (if I had one, shut up) to understand me better as a person (* insert here, replace ‘boys’ with ‘men’).

Abby captures the magic of winter beautifully. Set in Vermont, this book made me miss Montana (where I grew up) terribly. I also reconnected the adolescent that pounds at my ribcage daily as I look for Mr. Right. I cried unabashedly at the end of the book, aching for the memory of a similar encounter and still hoping for a future one.

The tone of the book is straightforward, not at all cutesy, patronizing, or shallow. kissing snowflakes is not oversimplified or heavy-handed; it is complex and raw with a healthy balance of lightheartedness and vibrance, like every young woman I know…especially the one I carry with me every day.

Buy it. Read it. Pass it along or, better yet, buy another copy for someone close to you, or who you want to be closer to.

It's on...

I started this blog almost 2 years ago at have ignored it since for several reasons:
  • I was brought up to be very conscious of what I wrote down...mostly NOT to put anything in writing I didn't want shared at some time or another if it fell into the wrong hands. If people don't know how you feel, not only can you avoid hurting people's feelings, you can avoid being hurt yourself. A very well useful bit of advice that prevented a lot of missteps and is now being let go. WASPs rule...
  • When I was a junior in high school, I had a English sub who worked with us for a week on thesis paragraphs. I had never actually worked on something like that before, I thought that smart people only had to do something once and it was good, if it wasn't, you didn't have what it took. I didn't spend any time on the remainder of the paper and the teacher, on his return, didn't believe I'd written the first paragraph and accused me of plagiarizing.
Well, anyone who knows me knows that I have puh-lenty of opinions about, well, everything. I have, actually, had a private blog that about 10 friends read regularly, who would never know what was up otherwise since I'm in a different time zone or too busy. I am ready to own those opinions and share them a bit more publicly with the hope that they might help you, dear reader, make a decision, feel less alone, laugh out loud, or find something that helps you, among other things.

The term 'soul exchange' was first introduced to me by a friend years ago during a conversation, probably about a boy. She was making the point, I believe, that it took time to wade through the chaff in order to find "the kind of soul exchange we demand in a relationship." Since I am not likely to start a rock band (although in my head, I front a mean power ballad), I'm adopting it for this blog.

All my efforts to explain what this phrase means to me sound horribly woo-woo or unbearably insipid. The introduction of the term 'soul exchange' helped me to realized what I was looking for in my relationships. I've spent the last several years doing serious housecleaning on my psyche and, as a result, my personal rolodex. After the recent letting go of a friendship that has caused me tremendous stress and anger over many years, I feel like I've finally exorcised the major, external contributors of emotional drama/crazy in my life...note I said external. My newfound groundedness and freedom is something I plan to work hard to keep with me. Hopefully this forum will help me.

Here we go!