- was the 39th President in the years preceding my descent into the hell of middle school (’77-’81).
- being a peanut farmer from
, put the state we had moved from on the map for my Georgia classmates. Montana
- 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.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
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
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
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
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
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.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Today, I got this listing:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I spent an excruciating 2 hours this evening at the Wamu Theatre at
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
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
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
Sunday, November 4, 2007
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
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
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
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
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
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.