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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Gratitude Saturday: #112-134

Hello, all!

Welcome to Gratitude Saturdays.

I recently listened to a fantastic podcast on Your Daily Worth called "Screw Gratitude, It's Ruining Your Career!" You can listen to that HERE if you want. It wasn't really about gratitude per se, but about how that quality with which women have been indoctrinated in our culture to take 70 cents on the dollar compared to the average man... that quality of not asking for enough.... is linked to being too humble, too grateful. Great. Just when I was using gratitude to pull me out of my crabby moods!

But, actually, it's like anything in life. Any characteristic can be a boon in certain instances but a bain in others. For example... my crabbiness. I am so crabby. I am the crabbiest person I know. Largely, I keep it to myself, because I want to keep relations between, say, me and my partner, on good terms. But I am SO crabby. And I think that very crabbiness and curmudgeonliness fuels my comedy. When I'm doing standup, or writing a sketch, or just chilling with my girlfriends, most of my jokes are related to my inner bitch. Also, I play a mean power-hungry bitch very well as an actress. In my heart, I'm a nice girl from small town Minnesota, but on Sex Sent Me To The E.R., I played a power-hungry b**** to rival any strong woman.

Bear in mind, I am reclaiming the term Bitch. I love powerful women. I look up to powerful women in real life as well as in acting characters. I just happen to live and breathe the arts, so my favorites are, say, the kinds of characters Glenn Close might play... or Kim Cattrall or Sharon Stone.

So. While perhaps we should remember when to hide the Gratitude Card and pull out the B**** Card, I still maintain that I am FAR more pleasant at a party if I have done a gratitude list that day!

Here's this week's Gratitude List.

112. Antibiotics

Oh, trust me, I have a healthy sense of condemnation for the overuse of antibiotics. I was on antibiotics almost every month from age 3 until about 12, and it really messed a lot up for me. But having just been diagnosed with pneumonia (the walking variety... I thought I had the flu, but I was wrong! It was pneumonia. :( My voice is just now coming back to me!) I am SO grateful for the medicine which saves lives (and in my case, voices!)

113. That moment when, after a long illness, you start to feel markedly better.

It's like after a dark and wet storm that seems to never end, and you fear you will never see the sun, but then all of a sudden there is a peace, and then a springing to life. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and all that remains of that storm are a few dew droplets on the grass. You feel ALIVE again.

114. The discipline of the mind through meditation that leads to serenity.

I used to be addicted to exercise. (True! I also used to weigh far less than I do now, but as I haven't weighed myself since I was about 21, I don't need to fret over the exact numbers. The doctor will let me know if I'm too far over or under.) I haven't been able to exercise in about a week and a half now, and I haven't even batted an eyelash. In the past, I would have freaked out or secretly exercised to make up for it. But I realize that my body needs all the rest it can to truly heal from pneumonia, and instead, I am meditating or just lazing about (haha, not really. Have you noticed I have been blogging every day for the last week?) knowing that everything will take care of itself and when I am ready, I can exercise again.

Why did meditation give me this peace and not my logic?

My logic is linked to my thoughts, and along side my very practical logical mind is the illogical, impractical mind that hyper-obsesses. (But I'm filming something and I need to look good on camera!)

My meditative mind, however, knows how to watch. It knows how to be still and have faith in something greater than myself, my mind, my fears. It has access to love.

115. My name, Erin.

It has several meanings but one of them is "peace."

In my younger, wilder, crazier years full of angst, I laughed ruefully at that. I would never know peace.

Now, in my not so young, not so old, still crazy but with devotion to love and compassion years full of artistic endeavors and drive, I laugh at my younger, dumber, presumptive self.

116. Banana Pudding at Magnolia Bakery

The 'Nilla Wafers are IN the pudding already. OMG OMG OMG. And all this time, I've been going there for the cupcakes!?

117. The intention to replace a meal with a green juice and then never actually doing it

In my mind, I'm a raw food green juice kinda girl. In real life, I'm a recovered anorexic-bulimic. None of this really has meaning anymore in practice. I am free!

118. This guy:

*I don't care if I have counted him a million times. Look at that face.

119. And this guy (the one on the left.)

120. My sister (who snapped the above pic!)

121. My brother in law (who nodded encouragingly and makes everything fun! Kev truly brings the party.)

122. My set list for March 11th

Which includes "You Go To My Head," "Come Alive" (an original), "Too Much" (another original, the one with the famous music video with Marko from So You Think You Can Dance), and "The Girl in 14G."

123. Date nights with my sweetie!

I'm hoping tonight we go see "Triple 9" and then tomorrow we watch the Oscars.

124. Rehearsals at UCLA

Makes me feel fancy

125. Researching for the Web Series I am writing for me and Carlo

126. Creating a syllabus for myself to write said Web Series, incorporating books and exercises, making it feel like a college class. Once a nerd, always a nerd, I guess.

127. Insurmountable challenges, such as having to come up with 2016 things to be grateful for when I'm only on number 127 and yet we're about 10% of the way through the year.

128. Creative problem solving, as in, perhaps Gratitude Saturdays will start happening on Sundays as well!!!

129. People who read these lists!!!!!

130. Barbra Stanwyck

I'm watching "The Lady Eve" right now and, boy, she was skinny! But I love how smart and strong she was as well.

131. Learning about the history of romantic comedies and why the strong women of the 1930s disappeared from the movies and became much tamer, and to be tamed by the late 40s, 50s and 60s. (Hint, men returning home from war.)

132. Watching the whole mess of humanity swirl around like paint brushes on a canvas, hoping that the randomness will still result in a beautiful portrait and not some mess.... but then again, Jackson Pollock's work comes to mind and something that was both random and purposeful. Forgive me, art aficionados, for I know so little.

133. The word afficionado

134. Hot showers, which is where I am headed right now.

Friday, February 26, 2016

An Essay: Why We Dream of Acting

It's the weekend of the Oscars (that final religious celebration during the acting holy days) and I awoke with a familiar dream, full of scenes from favorite films ("Holy Smoke" and "The Departed," this time,  although the movies themselves change in these dreams of mine), a little regret over not having made better choices earlier in life, and this yearning that has been with me since as long as I can remember: That is, the yearning to be an actor, to sing, to make movies, to create. To tell stories and move people and be moved. To make 'em laugh. To make 'em cry. 

The desire has never left me. In fact, it only gets stronger. 

And I do what I can. I learn. I study.  I grow.  I dedicate my life to mastery. I audition - an art unto itself - and sometimes it goes brilliantly,  sometimes it straight up sucks, but I pray for the best and let it go.

Now, as an adult... no, truly, I'm a grown up now. It happened over the last few years with an awakening to the fact that I am responsible for my happiness. Despite the fact that I am far more responsible AND pragmatic than ever I was in my teens and 20s, I want more than ever to act, to sing, to write. 

And I ask myself, why?

Not with judgment.  I approve of my desires. That's a far cry from my teens and early 20s, when I was afraid to reveal my secret to others, afraid of the shame in my heart and derision in their eyes when I would say, "I wanna be an actor." Today I know not only I want it, but that I deserve it and I'm great at it. If you've never gone through a creative crisis,  you may not realize how paramount those beliefs are. They are everything. 

No, I mean, I ask myself "why" as in, what is it about a dream like acting and singing and writing,  a dream to truly pursue art and talent, that is so powerful? So powerful that people are willing to leave their homes and families and travel across the world to enter a city that is a sea of sharks and jewels, praying for just a glimpse of a jewel, making friends with the sharks but trying not to be one yourself? 

People have asked this question since the dawn of adventure,  I suppose. Aristotle's "On Poetics" comes to mind.  So do the cave paintings.  

I think it has something to do with a search for deeper meaning. What does it truly mean to be human,  to be alive? Where is God? 

And those questions are the ones secretly explored when we ask the other questions. What is the inciting incident that launches Act Two?  What does my character want? Is a G7 chord better here than a Bminor? 

I get to inhabit many lives in this one life of mine. Through these connections to story, I connect to myself and to humanity and to the team in whatever we are doing. The people in the casting office,  my agent, the musicians in my band for March 11th, the audience, the movie theater employees, the actors, the composers, James Stewart,  Kim Novak, lions in Africa. We are all weaving our story into the tapestry of humanity, vaulted into the stars in the night sky for some distant ancestor in another time and space, looking for meaning in their own painful dramas.

And in the meantime...

I'll try to make 'em laugh.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Music Monday on Wednesday: of Renaissance Women, Time Management, Filling in the Blanks on Monday's blog and Mahattan School of Music 2012, Why I Keep Going

Hey everybody.

 I'm writing a lot this week! I'm sick- oh, don't worry- my Doctor assures me with full confidence I should be able to sing by my rehearsals this weekend for my gig March 11th! (Yeah, I know. My health? Pshaw. But my voice? Anything to preserve my voice!)

Which is a bit about what I wanted to write about.

I want to fill in on some other pieces of the puzzle left from Monday's blog about serendipity.

For a lot of you who have read me or known me a long time, you know that my life as a singer has been a very wild and zig zaggy adventure. Trust me. I didn't start out in life thinking I was going to be a "classical pop crossover Broadway jazz singer songwriter with some country and some rock and roll." I wanted to be Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand from the get go! But what HAPPENED ALONG THE WAY, SO FAR? Well, that was why I wrote a one woman show called "StandUpera." And as a songwriter, I still want to be Tori Amos and Leonard Cohen as well as Harold Arlen and Diane Warren.

I WILL share pieces of StandUpera here, but for those of you new to me, my blog or my story (as a singer, actress, novelist, screenwriter, playwright. I have no problem claiming all my Renaissance Woman capabilities, including correctly spelling Renaissance on the first try) because I'm tired of branding and marketing and pretending I'm smaller than I am just to make other people understand where I'm coming from. Oh, I understand it's like, wait, Tori Amos can also sing like Broadway and opera and she can also do standup?

Yup, I bet she can.

Just like Barbra Streisand is an amazing singer, actress, writer, director, and who knows what else.

Just like Bette Midler did standup as well as sing like that.

Just like Beyonce can sing and dance and act and market and who knows what else.

Just like Madonna and J-Lo.

Just like Lady Gaga.

And who knows where else things might transpire? Look, if ever I actually "make it" with one field or another, I will be so grateful and let the unfolding of my career happen in the arena, of course! But until then, I will focus all my energies on being my Renaissance Self.

Time Management? I really love it. It's like that quote:

"Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work." - Gustave Flaubert

Some day I should post my daily schedule up here. It's not a daily schedule like, from 7 am til 7:45 I walk Henry, then from 8 am until 8:30 I study Italian while eating breakfast (although that is what happens every day.) It's more like, I have ordered them in priority, and then I set a timer. So most important things are accomplished first, but worked around any appointments I have, readings I give, etc. That way, every day I practice, although it might happen at 11 am or 3 pm or 5 pm depending on the day. But every day it happens! Maybe, if people are interested, I'll share it someday. But since I DID set a timer on writing this blog, I want to get to filling in the blanks on the rest of the story from Monday!


A little bit about Manhattan School of Music 2012 and what kind of singer I am (hint: more like Linda Ronstadt.).

When I was in high school, I studied opera. Not because I wanted to be an opera singer, but because that was what was available to me. I had a few wonderful teachers. They all happened to be in the classical tradition. I was also writing songs, sort of a la Jewel, the kinds of songs you would expect a smart and talented and melodramatic teenager to write. I had some heroes, odd ones, though. Nina Simone. (My Dad gave me some of her CDs and a life long love affair was born. Years later I discovered we shared a birthday!)

I had terrible eating disorders in high school and college and was surrounded by an atmosphere of oppression. I don't mean to say that my peers and friends and family were oppressive to me because they meant to harm me. I was simply too much. Too emotional. Too bursting. Too ambitious. Too smart. Too weird. Too different. Too easily influenced by other people's fears. Too needy for people's approval. Too needy. And so I made a series of rotten choices, like turning down a full scholarship to NYU to go to Saint Olaf. Like getting deeper into an eating disorder and that led to a whole downward spiral into depression and then pushing away friends and family and dating total a$$holes (you know who you are, you lovable lumps!) (like attracts like. I was an a$$hole in my own way, too.) And then it just got worse and worse until I found myself in an abusive relationship with a controlling international businessman confronting the fact that I had woken up and wasted years not being myself.

Oh, trust me. my real self was still calling out. I was singing, writing songs, touring, singing in cabarets and rock bands. And some of it I loved and a lot of it didn't feel right but I didn't know what else to do.

I moved to LA, wrote a beautiful album that the producer then had me record in not MY voice but a voice that had nothing to do with me, and after years of bulimia and singing too low and improperly, I wrecked my voice and started getting sick all the time and was just lost.

Then I started working with voice teachers. Like, really. Like, listening to what they actually said. Like, trying it. Like, not thinking I know everything (can you believe THAT?)

And I started piecing my voice back together.

And then I started dabbling in Broadway songs and opera again.

And then I thought, I want to be Andrea Bocelli.

I want to be Kristen Chenoweth.

I want to be Barbra Streisand.

I want to be Erin. I want to be ME. Whatever and whomever that is.

So, I thought about being an opera singer. Could I do it? Was my voice too damaged?

And I started applying to all these different young artist programs, summer programs, companies, having no idea what would happen. No one wanted me. No one. Until one place did. Manhattan School of Music. They invited me to be a part of their Summer Voice Program and I started working with some of the best in the WORLD.

Which brings us up to Monday's blog and Rose. She was the other person interested in me.

A few months after that program at Manhattan School, by the way, I was visiting my parents in Minnesota and going through a box of old high school stuff. That's when I found that prospectus from MSM all those years ago.

Do I want to be an opera singer?

Honestly, at this point in my career, I want to be a concert singer a la Andrea Bocelli who does musicals a la Kristen Chenoweth and who sings on the Ellen show and on her own TV show a la Glee. ha! I know. I'm still a dreamer! But why not me? That's why I keep singing and writing web series and auditioning and auditioning and auditioning. Eventually, I will get so undeniable I MUST get hired, or, I will be old and lose my teeth and say, "Can't say I didn't try." ha.

But that's not why I keep singing and writing and acting.

I keep singing because I am a singer.

I keep writing because I am a writer.

I keep acting because I am an actress.

I keep creating art because I am a woman, a creative, a child of God, a member of the human race, and because stories are how we hear and heal one another.

I love you.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


I have the flu. :(



110. My sweet partner who has been taking care of me since I came down with the flu on Wednesday night but didn't really accept it til Thursday.

111.  The sofa, which is where I am going now. More gratitude tomorrow. xoxoxoxo

Monday, February 15, 2016

Music Mondays: technique, set lists, rehearsals, believing in yourself, and not warming up during the Uber ride to UCLA

Over the weekend, after going to a cafe in LA to root for NAPOLI'S ill-fated soccer match against Juventus (boo,) I had a rehearsal at the UCLA School of Music with James Lent, who will be my pianist/ music director on March 11th. As I wandered the halls of the Schoenberg Music, also bearing the name Herb Alpert on the front, I felt a rush of nostalgia. The practice rooms were full of students singing, playing piano, playing oboe. I have spent so much of my life in rooms like these, in hallways like these. I miss it- my piano at home isn't a real piano but a keyboard with weighted keys and a damper pedal that is in reverse and I can't get it to work properly.

I'd love to go into the nerdy singer details of my rehearsal- I know not everyone knows or cares about this stuff, but for those of you who are among my singer friends, I will share a few details!

I hadn't warmed up at all- it seemed like it would have been a bad idea during the soccer match, and I didn't drive myself to rehearsal, I Ubered over and so it would have seemed rude. "Excuse me, but do you mind if I warm up during this ride instead of inquire after your day? Me may mah moh moo. Oh, your brother's having open heart surgery? Me may mah moh moo. I will pray for him, if you like! Me may mah moh moo." Yeah. No.

We ran through some of the songs to get a feel for our combo- I'm doing some originals, some pop, some country, some classical, some Broadway. You know,  "Erin" branding, as in, if Josh Groban and Adele had a baby who hung out with Bette Midler. We decided that the combo will be drums, bass, piano, guitar; and some of the songs will likely be just guitar and voice, if we can find the right person. We will also try to find musicians who can do some harmonies.

Who is paying for all this?



Meanwhile, James and I started talking about learning to belt years after the fact. I am learning to belt properly, as opposed to in the unhealthy way I belted for so long. James shared a few techniques he uses to get sopranos to belt- he calls it "hailing a taxi," and reminded me that the human body is actually built to belt as well as other kinds of singing. I smiled and tried it... I'm a mix belter, but I hope to graduate into real belter soon. Sometimes it happens on accident, you know, when I'm in the moment during a song, not doing technique but truly in the spirit of the song itself......

Also, since I have the distinction of coming from singer-songwriter and rock band land moreso than Broadway land, I have had to completely rework my singing technique. Thanks to Gary Busby at UCI, I feel my voice is only just now coming into its true sound- in my 30s! Oh, who knows what would have happened to my singing career if I had received the kind of support in my teens and 20s I am giving mySELF now in my 30s. We'll never know, and I didn't know how to give myself the strength and courage (and money and time and belief in my talent) to really go there until now. Maybe I'll never make it, so to speak, and maybe I'm the next Andrea Bocelli or Susan Boyle. No matter what, I feel so lucky to be able to sing whatever I want, to book gigs at venues I love, to sing with incredible, world-class musicians and study with great teachers.

Life is good.

Singing is good.

 A few of the songs we are considering for March 11th, veering more pop and songwriter, but with some Broadway and classical as well:

Come Alive (original)
You Go To My Head (jazz standard)
Hell on Heels (country)
Too Much (original from poet's lovely daughter)
Girl in 14G (!!!!!!)

of course there will be much more.... this is just a list to entice you all to come, or stream it live

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday, St. Valentine's Day, of Philomena, Mary Magdalene, broken hearts, Fiction Fridays, Gratitude Saturdays #95-108

It's St. Valentine's Day, 6 in the morning. The sky is dark outside in the cool Los Angeles morning, the concrete forest of my city awakening with singing birds and a random car speeding past now and again. I couldn't sleep. I've been dreaming of old loves- not just lovers, but things I loved in the past. Friends I've lost. Boyfriends I left. Books I traveled the world with but haven't thought of in ages.

And it's St. Valentine's Day.


I've made a big deal of Valentine's Day this year. Apparently I do every year. I told my beloved partner that I was gifting myself the sort of Valentine's Day *I* would like to have because he thinks (as ALL my boyfriends throughout time have said) that it's dumb to have a commercial Hallmark holiday to have to be romantic.

By the way. Literally every boyfriend I have ever had, with the exception of J___ and J___, whose birthdays happened to be Valentine's Day- oh!- Happy Birthday, boys- (early college years, crazy years. I doubt either of them read this blog and if they do, well, boys, forgive me for my crazy years. I wasn't well.)But back to the literally every boyfriend I have ever had thing- they have all said the same singsong complaint about not needing some Hallmark holiday to be romantic.

Let me tell you.

Yes. Yes, in fact, you do.

Oh, not that you weren't all incredibly romantic. Some of you were. Some of you were incredibly romantic- J___ (V-day birthday boy) wrote love letters. The other J___ made CD mixes (old-fashioned playlists or mixed tapes after tapes but before playlists.) One of my J's, a third college boyfriend whose name also confusingly began with J, was an incredible artist who made a hand-crafted, hand painted kama sutra for me.

Never on Valentine's Day.

Why do we need Valentine's Day?

Well, the reason I love it and celebrate it as an adult is not because I am some dumb consumer blindly being led by marketing.

No, it is for the same reason that I think things like prom and graduation ceremonies and baseball games are important.

I didn't really go to prom, by the way. I think I went one of the two years, with a group of girls, without a date, because even though I was pretty and thin by my senior year (after years of being a chubby, broken glasses wearing, funky short-haired girl sometimes mistaken meanly for a pretty gay boy) I was undate-able in my small town high school. Aside from one sweet boy a few years younger than me who is still a very good friend, no boy would ask me out. Still burns, although not in a way that I'm actually hurt or care. Years later, several boys from school told me they always *wanted* to ask me out. I suppose we all carry wounds from stupid high school, except for those of you lucky enough not to.

I also didn't go to my college graduation, even though I graduated with honors.

And a lot of things. Over the years, I have missed all sorts of baby showers, weddings, funerals. For years, I missed them because I was on the road as a musician, or performing. After a while, I just wasn't invited.

My biggest regret in life, after NOT going to NYU on the big scholarship they offered me (I know.) is not going to my childhood best friend's wedding because I was in India. At the time it seemed a good idea. Now, I feel sorely the lack of that particular friend in my life- frenemy, really, and I suppose years later, time passing, all things turn to dust, as will she and I.

But this is about St. Valentine's Day, and love, and love letters, and remembrances.

There's rosemary,
that's for remembrance.
Pray you, love, remember.
And there's pansies, that's for thoughts.
There's fennel for you, and columbines.
There's rue for you, and here's some for me.
We may call it herb of grace o' Sundays.
Oh, you must wear your rue with a difference.
There's a daisy. I would give you some violets,
but they withered all when my father died.
They say he made a good end.

 Hamlet Prince of Denmark
 Act IV Scene V

St. Valentine's Day is important because it gives us a collective opportunity to remember the ones we love and celebrate that. I don't care about the flowers and chocolate and sex. I mean, of course I do. I have all sorts of plans involving tiramisu and champagne and lingerie. But if I were alone this year, I would be doing the same damn thing, actually. I'm done skipping out on things that might connect me more deeply to my own humanity.

For years, I lived life David Foster Wallace. Not as famous, successful, or brilliant, perhaps, but the basic template of my being is in that man with whom I share a birthday (along side Anais Nin, Nina Simone, W.H. Auden, Ursula LeGuin, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. It all starts to make sense, right?). ...  as lonely, isolated, able to see through the bullshit of culture but without a community to share that with. As disappointed in both the inhumanity of humanity as well as the stupidity of humanity. Frustrated by the simple lack of caring, if not elegance. Where was Jesus now? Where was beauty? We reduced ourselves, at least in this nation, to cave-men, although at least we have maintained Venus of Willendorfs via selfies by Miss Kim Kardashian, that berated symbol of fertility that we mistake for celebrity...

But that's a story. Partially true, partially untrue, varied year by year, filtered through the lens of this moment now.

You see, that's a belief system as poisonous and dangerous as one that says that God sends natural disasters to punish nations for allowing gay marriage.

It is.

And so while the answer is not, in my mind, to hook up and believe in culture, aka marketing, aka a series of agreements that we agree too agree upon about the way the world is, whether we realize we are agreeing or not-

At least, while I'm alive on this earth, this lifetime, whatever time I have left, I'm looking to find beauty and humanity and possibility and goodness everywhere I can.

I'm old enough to know how the world works, and I'm even older than that. I'm old enough to look beyond its transgressions to find its renewal of hope.

And so,

Valentine's Day.

I WHISPERED, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.


There's a wonderful book I read whilst in rehab for eating disorders years ago in college, "Reviving Ophelia." Can't get into the details now. Google it. But know that it is about reclaiming young women from the brink of demolition in the forms of eating disorders, sexual abuse, sex selfies, low self esteem, revenge porn, cutting, bullying, etc. Modern day witch hunting.

I thought of it so often while watching- for the second time in one month- the film Philomena last night. This was my second viewing, this time with my partner in life and crime. What a beautiful film. Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench in the true story of a jobless, broken journalist helping an Irish woman find her 50 year old son after-


the nuns at the Abbey where she had given birth in the 1950s had sold the baby for adoption to America.

The first time I watched the movie, I wept, as I wept last night- but that first time my blood BOILED over the Catholic church, and organized religion in general, and its crimes against people, humble people especially. Oh, there's other blogs for me to talk about how so often our establishments stray so far from what Jesus would actually do it's down right farcical, if not evil. But.

Last night I wept also for everyone. Because the nuns who did those things, they were no better nor worse than the rest of them. They were simply surviving and operating so as to survive the best they could under the circumstances as well. Yes. It was wrong. But then I started thinking about the way the world thought of- and often still thinks of- women and sex. And we simply were and often still are downright medieval in our thoughts and beliefs about women and the rights of women. And I wept for all of us. 

Then I thought of Mary Magdalene, one of our earliest Ophelias. I suppose at this point, if you are reading my blog, you are most likely familiar with what I will call a reclamation of Mary Magdalene. You are most likely someone who venerates her despite the most likely false reputation she has been given over the centuries as a way to control and manipulate people. You may even be someone who looks up to her legend for answers to your own broken heart.

And she is hear to show you, as is Philomena,

Let your heart break,

Because it will.

Your heart will break.

Speaking of prom and high school, this is something that should be taught in schools that isn't, at least not outright. It is something that classes like English literature get close to, but something you should all know about life:

You Heart Will Break.

And you can let it break open.

Do not let it break shut, crumbling to dust at your feet. Death will do that for you.

Let it break open, bursting with pain into a thousand soaring skies.

You will discover not only that you have a choice to do so-

Philomena did- watch the movie- a stunning ending-

I did- and do, and practice doing so at every chance-

And that opening is where miracles live.



There is simply no excuse. I have been busy, yes. Busy with Monologue-a-palooza at Samuel French Bookstore (so fun! Amazing talent! Especially Brittny Roberts, hope she doesn't mind me citing her. She's the woman who put the whole thing together and she is incredibly gifted as a writer and actress. In fact, what I am about to say reveals my own high esteem I have for myself, haha, but, I wish she and I could have a TV show or something together. I have been part of two of her events and am really a fan of both her writing AND her acting.) I WILL return with Fiction Fridays, perhaps today, even, Fiction Fridays on Sunday? I have been rehearsing for my gig March 11th as well as writing my next project, a web series I will share more about later- and pitching my script with Carlo and all the little intricacies of coping with rejection and getting cautiously optimistic about potential opportunities and all that. 

So. It's nigh on 7 am now, and so soon I will have to walk the Henry Monster and bake the croissants (they are proofing right now... let me just go see how big they have gotten overnight- 

oh- oh, yes, oh, my. They have doubled in size, maybe even tripled, and they smell yeasty and buttery and they are FULL of marzipan and in an hour I will bake them and I can tell already they will flake perfectly. They won't be as good as the real real deal, as in, like, from Paris, real deal... but they will be AWESOME.

I got so excited about those croissants just not that even Henry got excited- the possibility of food thrills him- he IS a dog, after all- and he just came in the room to let me know he is definitely awake and ready to play, eat, or pee, or all three. So I gotta wrap this up asap!)



I missed gratitude Saturdays because I didn't wake up at dawn to write. I woke up just in time to feed the boy, walk the boy, and do my Italian lesson with breakfast (something I do every day, my Italian lesson with breakfast. Yesterday was a revisiting of one of the past tenses... ho studiato italiano, etc.) And then it was time to do ballet and then I had to get ready to put on my jersey and go support Napoli (we lost, 0-1 to Juventus) (my partner's team, but I *did* get to meet a GENIUS director who is also a supporter of Napoli) before rehearsal at UCLA with the pianist/ music director for my gig March 11th before coming home to clean the kitchen and the bathroom (we still have a hole in the ceiling in the bathroom because there is a leak from the upstairs neighbors which caused a crack in the walls to become, well, a big hole that then the plumber had to make even bigger, and the bathroom is covered in crumbling wood and paint and dust and I am simply tired of bathing in what seems like the ruins of a bathroom rather than an actual functioning urban apartment, so, I did my best) and then the day had gotten away from me and it was date time. So. 

95. Old fashioned Valentine's cards

96. Red lipstick

97. High heeled stiletto shoes

98. Surprising a group of Italians with an official Napoli jersey in robin's egg blue

99. A mother who knows JUST how to flatter your ego.

I sent her a picture of me in the jersey in our kitchen, where the lighting is PERFECT, and she wrote back, "did you get botox?" I was vainly proud, as I am always, of my skin. What a vain biatch I can be. Really. One of my worst qualities. But Carlo took me down a notch when he said, 

"Your Mom is smart." 

"What?" I asked, not quite sure I had heard him correctly.

"She's smart," he repeated, with an impish grin.

"Why?" I asked, confused.

"She knows how to make you feel good."

The realization swept over me, and my vainglory slapped me in the face.

"Oh." I said. "So, I don't actually look like I have had botox done," (which I have not, for the record, although last week I DID have a microcurrent, microdermabrasion facial done, and I wrote so to my Mother, gleefully exclaiming, "maybe it worked." Oh, how embarrassing.) I looked down at the second half of my pizza, debating whether or not to defy my diet and refuse my slim career game, or if I wilt not, but be sworn to love, and a character actress I will be?... 

The next piece already halfway down my gullet- what was that about a diet? Meh. (Shrugs.)

I continued,

"She was just making me feel better."

Carlo giggled and continued eating his Saturday night junk food as well.

Oh, we are as sick as the secrets we keep.

Pizza, corn dogs, chocolate, wine.

Not too bad. ;-p

100. Pizza

101. Corn Dogs

102. Chocolate

103. Wine

104. Almond Croissants

105. Comfy sofas

106. Strong men with broad shoulders who hold you in their arms

107. Reclaiming heroines besmirched by marketing

108. Allowing life to open your heart rather than shutter it up like a beach house come November

109. The little puppy dogs who are forever loyal but are now placing a paw across your lap. It simply is time to let you go.





9:40 am
Here's my sweet Valentine from my beloved.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Gratitude Saturday Part Two: #92-94

92. Chocolate

93. This guy AND chocolate

94. Smooching this guy

Gratitude Saturdays~ In the Theme of Love and Sensuality~ #69-91

It's Saturday! And if you read my blog regularly, you know that, since the beginning of 2016, I have decreed Saturdays to be a day where I list things (people, places, experiences, poems, what have you) for which I am grateful. In fact, I am at #69 of 2016 things! I looked at the number, and, since I do these once a week on a Saturday morningish/ afternoonish timeline, I thought, whoa! How did that happen!?

Then I saw I was at #69 and, given that it is the month of Valentine's, and love, and since I love LOVE and romance and sensuality and bubble baths and champagne and pink and red and chocolates and love letters and love poems and music and getting swept away and all things Aquarian AND Piscean, well, I thought I'd give a theme to this week's Gratitude List!

69. Jessica Rabbit

She was my first template for sexy before I even knew what sexy was!

I've had red hair, you know, and loved it. I like being blonde best, but, it was fun.They say red heads have more fun! Well, I've had most every hair color (other than gray/ white) and let me tell you: blondes get approached the most, but red heads get approached by the most interesting men. I didn't get hit on "as much" when I was a red head, but it was always the most fascinating people... men and women... versus as a blonde, a LOT of people approach you. Also, people speak to me as if I'm a bit dumber than I am when I'm blonde. Very interesting.

70. "The One," my one woman show, where I talk about sex and love as an adult. Not as a porn star (as I am not.) But as an adult. i.e., R Rated, not PG 13.

71. Le Cirque Rouge

I performed with the cardinal Minneapolis burlesque troupe in its early days. I loved it. Vintage dresses and big red lips. Fan f-ing tastic.

72 . Sense and Sensuality

I almost called my old radio show, "Wide Open," "Sense and Sensuality." (inspired, of course, by "Sense and Sensibility.")

73. Love letter strewn across Rome in 2008

I wrote love letters to _________, meaning, a future love, while I was there in September 2008. I hid them all over the cities of both Rome AND Venice. I hid them under mattresses, in churches, in boots at the Salvatore Ferragamo store near the Spanish Steps, in the pile of informational brochures at the little home of Shelley near the Spanish Steps, under placemats at cafes, everywhere. Eventually, those love letters became songs.

74. "Under the Stars of Jazz"

A song not yet released that I wrote in Venice, the first song I wrote from those love letters, the rest of which became the album "Poet's Lovely Daughter"

75. Paolo Conte

Was on the music playing in the little cafe in Venezia. The song was "Sotto le stelle de Jazz," hence the title of MY song.

76. Writing lyrics:

Under the stars of jazz
Cold rain pours outside
And I'm inside
This little apartment
And life feels like
A New York City Globe

And I'm all shook up
Swirling around
Oh, my Heart is racing
I'm dying to see you
And maybe this time
I'll tell you how I feel

'Cause life's too short
to wait, my love, my love,
but if waiting's all I got,
My love, my love
Then I shall have
The dream of you in my heart
Comin' up the stairs and through the front door
To say hello,
My love

Oh, I was never good
At waiting for anything
So how is it I'd rather be alone
Than with a facsimile
Silence rings so loud
and yet I swear
I hear your voice in my ear
Whispering you love me dear

but Life's too short
to wait, my love, my love
but if waiting's all I got my love, my love
Then I shall have the dream of you
in my heart
Comin' up the stairs and through the front door
To say hello
My love

Is it you, is it me, Fate or destiny?
Should I remain all alone, or pick up the phone
Are you somewhere out there, in this world we share,
Should I forget this dream and get back out on the scene
I'll give it one more day, becomes a month then a year,
How long must I live with all this fear

but Life's too short
to wait, my love, my love
but if waiting's all I got my love, my love
Then I shall have the dream of you
in my heart
Comin' up the stairs and through the front door
To say hello
My love

77. Lucky numbers 7 and 11

78. Pink champagne

79. Bubble baths

80. A beautiful cedarwood sauna with lavendar and eucalytpus

81. Fresh flowers

82. The scent of night-blooming jasmine

83. The scent of honeysuckle

84. Staying up late talking about cabbages and kings

85. Old-fashioned Valentine's

86. Heart-shaped boxes

87. White chocolate and raspberry

88. Stamps and letters

89. Antique music boxes

90. Homemade pasta cooked all dente

91. Dating the man you've been with and live with and finding out new things you never knew!