Thursday, August 13, 2009

Julie, Julia & Jill - Like Looking in a Mirror

The other night I went to see Julie & Julia. I’d been waiting a long time for this movie to come out and was excited to finally be able to see it. Being a fan of Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, and of course Julia Child and most importantly FOOD, there was no way you could keep me away from this movie.

The theatre was packed as usual, thanks to free movie night, but I was grateful for a slightly older more mature crowd. No obnoxious teens or tweens to ruin the night by screaming obscenities out at the screen, laughing inappropriately or throwing popcorn at innocent moviegoers. Although I have to say, older people can be obnoxious as well. There was quite a bit of drama involving people blocking other people and way too much talking. But I digress.

From minute one, this movie was as charming as could be. It was based on the real lives of two women. Two very real, and very relatable women. So much so, that it was like watching a documentary about my own life. It was really creepy. Probably 90% of the story related to me and my current life situation. With all the success of this movie, I think maybe a Jill & Paula is in order; dessert edition of course. You will never catch this girl boiling cows feet or boning a duck, but I would be more than happy to make mousse or Crème Brule. The title ‘Jill & Paula’ doesn’t quite flow as well as Julie & Julia, but I think it would be a delight for sure.

Below is a list of several similarities between the life of Jill E. and the lives of Julie and Julia.

Jill Similarity #1 – Being stuck in an unfulfilling office job, trapped in a cube.

Jill Similarity #2 – Turning 30 and not being thrilled about it. Mine is right around the corner and I am terrified.

Jill Similarity #3 – Having a gaggle of friends that, while I may not hate them like Julie, I feel ashamed of my own life when they talk about their careers and successes.

Jill Similarity #4 – Finding some solace and meaning in writing. Blogging specifically to start, and then a book.

Jill Similarity #5 – Love for a TV cooking personality/writer of cookbooks that LOVES butter. Come on.

Jill Similarity #6 – Falling in love and marrying at a much older age. Hopefully that will be my future anyway. Later is better than never.

Jill Similarity #7 – Issue of never being able to have children. Mine is only a fear now. Hopefully it will not be a reality.

Jill Similarity #8 – Strong desire to be published. I’m writing two books now. Hard to believe I know, but I would Love to be published.

Jill Similarity #9 – Cooking on TV. While this was merely a crazy unrealistic dream, I strongly desired at one time to have a show on the Food Network where I was just an average girl teaching average people how to cook. The true baby steps of cooking.

Jill Similarity #10 – Lack of happiness in current place of residence. I think living at home at my age says it all on this one.

Jill Similarity #11 – Searching for a meaningful and fulfilling career. I have NO idea what I want to do.

It was like fate had brought me to this movie. It gave me hope that maybe I didn’t have before. Hope that maybe life after your 20’s won’t be so bad. Hope that there is someone out there for me. Hope that maybe someday I will be published. I left with the feeling that anything is possible. Not sure how long it will last, but for now, hope abounds.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Wish I Had a Gayle

Over the years, I have learned that good friends are not easy to come by. Back in the day, I always used to have a ‘best friend’. It changed ever few years, but there was always that one person who I could talk to about anything, and no matter what we were doing, good times were always had. While there is nothing when you are 6, 10, or even 14 (when I was a kid anyway), that is so earth shattering that you would need a confidant, it’s different once you hit high school, and the need for that one best friend only gets worse from that point on.

You need to be able to talk to someone about your struggles, but just as important, is having someone to celebrate the good times with. Starting in high school, I used to cry EVERY year on my birthday. Well, in high school it actually wasn’t so bad. I would inevitably always have a rehearsal or performance on my birthday which both sucked and at the same time, took away all the birthday pressure. I never have birthday plans, partly because I don’t think anyone really cares to hang out with me. I always get an abundance of evites for these elaborate birthday parties, with 100+ invitees. I don’t think I even know 100 people. Meanwhile, hitting up Pizza Hut with my parents is usually the highlight of mine. Not that there is anything wrong with that. (Loser.) Thankfully, I have amazing parents!

Now of course, on the flip side, you need that person to call when you break up with your boyfriend, or have a fight with a friend, or just feel shitty about yourself, which unfortunately for me, is a common occurrence. Girl talk is important and I am lacking it big time. There is no one that I would tell my deep dark secrets to; especially without the fear of being judged. I judge myself enough; I don’t need it from other people.

I believe that everyone needs and deserves a ‘Gayle’. Minus, however, the bizarre gay lover rumors. I need someone that could be my right hand man. I need that person that would run my magazine if I had one. I need that person that would become famous just for being my best friend. I need someone I could hop in the car with and just drive across country bullshitting and laughing, and if need be, spilling my inner secrets to.

After talking to several people about this, to my surprise, I am not the only one lacking a best friend. And while that should give me some comfort, I remain envious of those who DO have one; especially since I always had one in the past. At least if you never had one, you don’t know what you are missing.

For now, I will continue truckin’ on, minus that best friend. Hopefully over time, I will learn that I don’t need one. And really, I could always just look in the mirror when I have good or bad news and tell myself. At least I know someone will be listening.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Missing the Old Days

Am I happy to be finished with the 19 years of school I was forced to endure, hell yes! Do I enjoy all of the freedom or lack there of that comes next, hell no! In my opinion, school sucks, and as much as I would like to go back and discover some new and exciting career, I think about how much I hated it the first time around, and my mind changes back very quickly. Out of those 19 years, I would have to say that middle school was easily the absolute worst. Your appearance is in its most awkward of phases, and you and your fellow classmates are all about terror and creating chaos. Middle school was the time when we made the teachers cry, would riddle the ceilings with spit balls, lock the nerds in lockers, write on each other’s clothes, and just generally create a very unpleasant environment for the teachers and each other.

High school and elementary school were ok for the most part, but I would never in a million years choose to go back to either one. Pre-school probably wouldn’t be so bad. Lots of finger painting and making turkeys out of your hand. Doesn’t get much better than that, does it? The only time I really enjoyed school was in the 6th grade. The teachers actually made learning fun. Wow, what a concept. But one good year out of 19, those are some sad looking odds.

Leaving out school, which is kind of hard to do considering how much of your life it consumes, I miss the simplicity of being an adolescent. But why I’m really bummed, is because I miss being able to call up a friend and say, “hey, let’s go to the movies”, and you go. Or the beach, or Great Adventure, or to lunch or dinner or wherever. Now, the majority of the small amount of friends that I do have, live all over the place and I often find myself, alone. I have no one to call up and meet for coffee. I have no one to go to the local street fair with. I have no one to do a White Castle run with. I’m by myself.

Truthfully, there are times when I really could care less about having friends. I have no desire to have a roommate (until a scrumptious someone of the male variety comes along of course; paging Bobby Deen!) and I often vacation alone which is amazing. You don’t have to worry about anyone but yourself. You eat when and where YOU want to eat, you visit the sites YOU want to see, you ride the rides YOU want to ride. It makes it a hell of a lot easier. The only time you may feel a tab bit of self-pity is when you are at Disneyworld let’s say, and you get up to the front of the Peter Pan line, and they ask how many in your party. Just one!

It’s the smaller things that I miss having a friend to just call up on short notice and make plans for the next day, not the next year. There are things I would love to be doing this summer, but it will end up being either I go alone and suck it up, or stay home. Staying home usually tends to win out.

Things like going to the movies and the theatre I have already learned that it’s just easier to go by myself. If I want to see a play or a movie, I just go. It’s just easier than trying to find a time that everyone can go and who wants to see what, blah blah blah. Usually there is so much waiting; I end up missing out completely. But some things are just more fun with someone else to share it with.

Nowadays, if you don’t book time with someone months in advance, you can forget about seeing them; especially in the summer. Two of my best friends in the whole world live hundreds of miles away. A handful live in the city, which while it’s not far, is a pain in the ass. Some are scattered throughout the country and some are strewn across NJ, which even in a small state, may be hours and hours away.

People grow apart, people move away, people start families. It’s a new life. It’s a new time. It’s time to adjust.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Bucket List

So it’s official. Since I am rapidly approaching thirty, I have indeed started my very own Bucket List. While some people think it may be too early to start such a list, I say the earlier the better. Hell, I may die tomorrow by tripping over a squirrel and landing face down in a puddle. And besides, Oprah says it’s a good idea so who am I to argue with the queen. This way, I have a bigger and better chance of accomplishing my goals. Goals like, having a flea circus, or shaving a Giants ‘NY’ in the back of my head, or running naked through the Amazon. I have big dreams and they all deserve the best chance of becoming realities!

So far I have compiled a list of 51 wondrous to-dos and am hoping for more inspiration. To increase my list to hopefully 100 wondrous to-dos, I am accepting proposals for new and exciting goals from anyone who cares to contribute. Right now I have a variety of smaller and very realistic goals combined with some ‘yeah-right never gonna happen’ dreams. You gotta dream big and reach for the stars. That’s what they all say, whoever the hell ‘they’ are.

Here is what I have assembled thus far…….(in no particular order)…….

1. Travel to New Zealand (if I think I could survive the flight)
2. Travel to SoCal (before the state breaks away)
3. Travel to Vegas (and not leave broke)
4. Travel to England
5. Travel to Scotland
6. Travel to Italy
7. Travel to Vancouver
8. Travel to Germany
9. Travel to Chicago
10. Travel to Seattle
11. Travel to DC (as an adult)
12. Marriage (preferably just once)
13. Kid (s)
14. Own a home (of some kind)
15. Stay @ Paula’s Inn
16. Record a Song with my Aunt
17. Have something published
18. Go to a Superbowl
19. Own a Brand New Car
20. Learn to Swim
21. Learn to play the Guitar
22. Learn to play the Piano
23. Play Guitar with my dad
24. Go to a Broadway Premiere
25. Go to a Broadway Closing Night
26. Hug a Chimp
27. Swim with Dolphins
28. Feed a Giraffe
29. Write a Book
30. Stop Caring so much what other people think
31. Get Fit/Lose the belly fat
32. Visit Dorney Park
33. Meet a President (past or present)
34. Visit Disney LAND
35. Visit Universal - LA
36. Meet Poppi’s Family
37. Drive Across Country
38. Learn CPR
39. Take my mom to Savannah
40. Get a Mani/Pedi
41. Get a Massage
42. Get Braces (again)
43. Chemical Peel
44. Yell at someone
45. Work/Volunteer with Special Needs Children
46. Bring a homeless person a meal (hopefully more than once)
47. Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
48. Row Boat in Central Park
49. Learn to Use Chop Sticks Efficiently
50. Appear on a Late Night Talk Show
51. Create MY OWN cookie recipe

So, there it is; relatively simple goals for a relatively simple gal. In addition to suggestions however, I am open to any assistance in accomplishing the above goals. For instance, if anyone wants to purchase me Super Bowl tickets or send me on an all expense paid trip around the world, you just let me know. I’m open to charity if it means filling up my bucket!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Woke Up On the Wrong Side of the Bed…Again

This morning I woke up a tad bit later than usual. I habitually sleep through my alarm which is why I have a backup set during the week on my TV. Some mornings, with the radio blasting ‘Birthday Sex’ or ‘My Humps’ and the news people blabbering on the TV about death, tragedy, and politicians having torrid affairs in bathroom stalls and foreign lands, I still sleep through it, sound as a baby. When I lived in PA, my roommate would always ask me, ‘Did you hear the police come last night?’ “Did you hear the domestic violence going on last night?’ ‘Didn’t you hear the monkey swinging from the ceiling?’ The answer would 99% of the time be No. Generally I could sleep through almost anything, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, especially in that apartment.

I think getting up in the morning is almost certainly the worst part of the day. I mean, even on days I am heading somewhere fabulous where you think I would be full of excitement and energy and pure joy, I contemplate putting my head back on the pillow for just another 5 minutes, and then another five, and maybe just ten more minutes. Even when Disney is on the plate for the day, that waking up thing is still just so damn hard. I seriously consider postponing or even cancelling the Magic in favor of more sleep. Christmas, same thing. I love it, it’s my favorite day of the year, but I just want to SLEEP. Inevitably the Magic wins out every time, but it’s quite a struggle.

Usually my body will adjust to getting up at a certain time after a while, but it seems to be taking quite some time to adjust to my newest schedule. For 5 months I was getting up at 9…or later…and now I have the pleasure of waking up at 6:30. That’s really not that early considering I used to have to be at work in the city at 7:30 am after a car ride, a bus ride, a subway ride, and a brisk walk. I think part of the reason I have had a hard time adjusting has been this insane weather. I don’t know if you call rain every day weather, but now the sun is finally shining and summer is here and still I cannot wake up.

So this morning I was only behind by 10 or 15 minutes but that really affects the whole routine. The morning routine is set and if I deviate from the norm even one bit, something unexpected and terrible will inevitably occur. Like if I put my shirt on before my pants, I may forget to apply deodorant. It’s happened before and Nobody wants that. I made up the time this morning by abandoning my plans for breakfast and lunch. Now the fact that I have to spend money on buying lunch makes my mood worsen even more.

I was not in the best frame of mind this morning, but I feel that the dire mood is only due in small part to the loss of my usual allotted gettin’ ready time. I watched the Tonight Show while getting ready and one would think that maybe that would put a smile on my face. Conan is a funny guy. I think there may have been a few moments where one corner of my mouth started to move up a millimeter or two, but there was no full on smile happening. It’s now 9:27 am and if you could see my face as I am typing this you would probably express amusement, unlike me. I feel like I look like I want to beat the hell out of someone. That may indeed be true actually. I just can’t snap out of this mood. With 7 and ½ hours left to go ‘til the end of the day I better snap out of this sooner than later or it’s gonna be a REALLY long day.

Why is it that some days you just wake up pissed off? Where did that damn saying come from about waking up on the wrong side of the bed anyway? I would really like to know the origin. Maybe I could gain some invaluable insight or even an excuse for my sour mood. Was it because of those few minutes I lost? Was it because I was dreaming about a sailboat race with squirrels and we were losing? (Don’t ask) Or I am just a grumpy Gus for absolutely no reason? I would prefer to blame it on the squirrels. Considering I can only wake up on one side of my bed anyway, let’s hope it’s the squirrels. Otherwise I may be waking up on the wrong side of the bed everyday. Feng Shui time anyone?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Creepy Crawlies Drive Me Crazy

The dictionary defines the word bug as ‘an insect or other creeping or crawling invertebrate animal’. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that other definitions for the word are ‘an unexpected mistake or imperfection’ or ‘a disease producing germ’.

Recently it seems my dislike, or fear if you will, of all bugs has become more apparent and perhaps more severe over the last few years. You would think that with age, the fear would lessen. I mean, I am rapidly approaching 30 for heaven’s sake. I will say right off the bat however, that I truly do feel bad killing any variety of these tiny or sometimes not so tiny creatures. I often apologize profusely before stomping on them with my big ole foot or sucking them up with a Dust Buster. But, the fact remains, if they are in my house or in my car, they need to disappear. And the odds of me quietly shooing them out the door to safety is slim to none, very slim; except of course for lightning bugs. They are my only friends in the bug kingdom and I would never do them harm. I used to feel the same way about lady bugs until freshman year in college when my room was infested with them. They weren’t so lady like anymore!

Lightning bugs aside, I have issues with all other creatures in the bug universe. Many of my childhood memories involve fear of bugs. Every time we used to visit my grandmother down the hill, we would have to fend off a swarm of bees to get in the front door. And while I was told many times that they were only the chubby, happy bees that don’t sting, there was no calming me down. I could envision myself being attacked by them in a large, vicious swarm, and it wasn’t pretty. I didn’t see one bit of jolly or happiness in those bees. Of course, I never did get stung, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still scary.

My grandmother also had what we have coined Hopping Bugs in her basement which were truly terrifying. Turns out, we also have them in ours. They are actually called Camel Back or Hump Back Crickets but Hopping Bug works just fine. The name itself says it all. It you are ever bored and feel the need to google them, beware, they are extremely terrifying to look at up close, or from any distance really. I was washing the dishes one fine day and I thought I saw some sort of shadow on my shoulder. Upon further inspection, which consisted of me simply turning my head to the left, I realized that one had silently hopped its way on to my shoulder. Not sure from where it hopped, but there it was. I went into a hysterical state, full of rage and intent on Killing. Can’t remember if I caught it or not. That part of the memory is a little fuzzy. They often creep there way upstairs and when I find them it’s like terror envelops me. Seriously, look them up. Scary little bastards.

Then of course there are spiders. I really hate them. My grandmother was the kind of person that would see a spider and either leave it alone and take the risk of having it crawl on her face while sleeping, or catch it and set if free out in the wilderness. I, on the other hand, scream (depending on the size and location) and look for the nearest weapon. Last weekend we were harmlessly out for a drive, when out of nowhere, I started twitching and yelling. My poor friend who was driving of course feared something was wrong until I told her there was a large spider crawling toward me. In a car you are trapped. Seat belted in to a confined space with no chance of evasion. Eventually, and due in large part to the fact that I was perhaps creating a dangerous driving environment, my friend pulled over so we could do away with this evil creature. She gave me a rolled up magazine and told me to just brush it off the door. Fear took over my body as I stared in to the eyes of this hairy, blue-mouthed spider. I couldn’t do it. What if it jumped at me while I was trying to simply help it to safety? Thankfully my friend came to the rescue, acknowledging first that this particular spider was indeed scary. She brushed it out of the car and off we sped as to not give it a chance to jump back on to the car and continue its terror spree.

Everyone has bug stories. I mean, there are countless more bugs in the world than people so encountering them is unfortunately a daily occurrence. I could go on and on about Japanese Beetles getting tangled in my hair, or inhaling mosquitoes while playing soccer, or being bittern countless times by fleas, or waking up to a squirrel sitting on my hamper…. Oh, sorry, that’s another story and an entirely different topic. Back to the bugs, I know they have their value in the world and I respect that, I guess. If they could only stay away from me, perhaps I wouldn’t mind them so much. It’s only in their best interest anyway, seeing as how coming near me is most likely a death sentence. Creep and crawl all you want, just maintain a safe perimeter and all will be well.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rapidly Approaching 30

So, it has recently been thrown in my face that I am rapidly approaching the big 3-0. And while this accusation is 100% true, it is something that I have feared probably since I was 25. I have many memories of declaring, “I’m almost 30, I’m almost 30”, loudly from my friend’s Queens balcony, when I still had 4 or 5 years to go. Now it’s down to months and I think I am in complete denial. I have no idea what comes after the number 29. Perhaps 29.1, 29.2, 29.3………. Thirty is a dirty, dirty word.

When you are young, you look forward to aging. There are so many wonderful things to look forward to at that point. When you are an infant, there are countless milestones in your life that, while you have no memory of them now, are very exciting at the time. Mostly exciting for your parents, but they certainly do make your life more interesting. Like the first time you realized you had hands and fingers. That supplied endless hours of trippy fun. Or when you figured out that you could put your foot in your mouth; more hours of amusement. Now I can’t even get my foot halfway to my mouth; although I do often put my foot in my mouth in a different way. Moving on, you then you have your first roll over, first crawl, steps, word, sentence, and the list goes on and on.

Once you reach adolescence, the milestones become more important and exciting for you and less so for your parents. They are just an emotional mess because their baby is growing up. I remember how excited I was to reach double digits. 10! It was such a huge deal. Travelling down the “Death Hill” on Rt 23, I would always tell my aunt to be extra careful to ensure I would make it to double digits. Then there’s becoming a teenager…. Seemed exciting at the time, but I would never choose to relive those years. No, thank you.

Between the ages of 16 and 21 are probably the most exciting birthdays you will have. 16, you get your permit and create much fear in your parents who have the unfortunate privilege of being in the car with you. 17, you can drive all by yourself and inevitably experience your first minor car accident. 18, you are an adult, which means buying your own cigarettes and accruing gambling debts. 19, you are almost 20. 20, you aren’t a teenager anymore, thank God. And of course 21, the age of countless black outs. After that, really the only age to look forward to is 25 so you can rent a car. Still haven’t taken advantage of that exciting privilege.

So, now it’s 2009 and I have hit all of my childhood milestones. So what’s left? 3-0 is right around the corner and every day I notice something else that only brings it home that I am getting older. For example, I recently noticed that my stomach and backside have been taken over by cellulite. Uh, where the hell did that come from? Gonna have to buy a cream for that. While on the beach last weekend, I found a small cluster of spider veins. Uh, I didn’t invite you to the beach. Perhaps they have a cream for that. While posing with a large tub of peanut butter sauce from Hershey, I noticed in the photograph that I have some pretty darn intense crow’s feet. Bring on the eye cream. And isn’t the fact that I just said photograph an indication of age? I’ve also noticed my face is getting fatter, despite my recent workout activities. Is there a magic cream for chubby face???

I am lucky that I have someone at work that is also rapidly approaching 30; and approaching much more rapidly than me I might add. Sorry Alexis. It’s nice to have someone to go through all of these revelations with on a daily basis. I really think they need support groups for aging. ‘Hi, My name is Jill and I am rapidly approaching 30’. We could discuss wrinkles, and cellulite, and weakened bladders, and perhaps gain some advice from fellow almost 30 year olds in a loving and nonjudgmental environment. I would attend those meetings; unless of course I forgot due to my fading memory. We could gain invaluable advice about what to do if you need to pee and there is no bathroom in site. Or, how to properly apply eye cream, and wrinkle cream, and cellulite cream, and foot cream, and anti-aging cream, and fortifying creams.

I’m not sure how I’ll feel on the actual day of the big 3-0. I think I may need to keep a psychologist on standby. I would need them to keep me calm after hearing all my parent’s age friends and family tell me ‘30 isn’t old’ or ‘you have your whole life ahead of you’. Well, thanks but no thanks. You were all married with a house and children and a career well before 30! I got nothing. Nothing except for my pseudo-independence, which is pretty awesome. Having to adjust to sharing my schedule with another person someday is not something I look forward to.

As for now, I will continue to purchase cream after cream. I will march on proudly and cream-covered as my last days of being a twenty something are fewer and fewer. Perhaps a bucket list is in order.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Please, Stop Singing!

I realize that people tend to annoy me rather easily. I try not to judge and I try to always be kind, but there are some inhabitants of this planet that I think just crave other people’s attention and it drives me crazy! Everyone has encountered somebody like this at some point….many points probably. It’s not just that they are craving their friends’ attention; they are trying to get it from all the people around them as well. And it’s not just the attention they crave, but more annoyingly, jealousy. I hate to pick on only one group of people, but unfortunately most of the time I get extremely agitated, it’s by a member of this particular group. It’s a group to which I actually belong, theatre folk; be it simply a fan like me or a wannabe Broadway Star.

Let’s start with perhaps the most common offense that I am charging this group with. I’m at a show perusing the Playbill, anxiously awaiting the curtain’s rise. There are two people that I have the unfortunate pleasure of being seated near. I am keeping to myself if alone, or if with my theatre-loving posse, harmlessly and quietly trying to find celebrity look-a-likes in the audience. Then it inevitably starts…… These people feel the need to A) Criticize everyone’s bio and comment about how poorly written they are, while making fun of the fact that they have ALL appeared in Law & Order. First of all, I don’t see your bio in there, so really, zip it. And secondly, what the hell is so wrong with appearing on Law & Order? It’s like one of the only dramas shot in the city where these people live and work and it’s a great franchise. Again, I’m not seeing you on the TV am I? And B) They proceed to look at the show listings in the back of the Playbill and LOUDLY announce to their friends how many they have seen, and how many times, and how they saw four shows in one week. Great….super….nobody cares.

Another somewhat common offense occurs when fans of ‘cult’ shows such as Rent (R.I.P.), wait outside the stage door with excited theatre fans waiting to say hello to, let’s say, Anthony Rapp. When the smaller cast members begin to trickle out, these offenders immediately begin commenting on each of them, and talking about them like they are best buds. “Oh, there’s Amy, I’m sure she doesn’t want to be talking to that guy”. Or “Here comes Justin. I think he has Yoga in the Village tonight.” It’s a never ending string of futile comments trying to evoke jealously from nearby fans. And news flash, the fact that you are a stage door stalker EVERY NIGHT does not make you friends with these people. Listen, I used to go to the stage door after shows all the time and still do on special occasions. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, please do not try and make yourself feel ‘cool’ because you are really just coming off as irritating and stalkerish.

The final offense that I am going to discuss involves a combination of just babbling on and on about being in shows and auditioning, and singing (badly I might add) songs from EVERY musical that you have ever seen. This past weekend I was in LBI with a fellow theatre fan who actually works in a professional theatre. We got on line for some ice cream at the Show Place, which, at the time I was excited to finally be able to try out. Excited of course until I realized it would involve humiliation on my part, but that’s another story. While waiting, a group of four high schoolers got on line right behind us. High school and middle school children generally annoy me by just being…..well, by just being. But I try to be open to the fact that they may actually be good kids. However, this was not the case on this fine evening.

Almost immediately I could tell this was not going to be an enjoyable wait. The one girl in particular, made me want to literally cut my ears off with my car keys with her obnoxious antics. She began telling her friends about some audition she had lined up and the task of choosing a proper audition song. Then proceeded to sing each and every song….loudly and badly. She would say like, “Hey what about ‘Tits and Ass’ from A Chorus Line?” and then belt it out. “Maybe I should sing ‘Without You’ from Rent”….. belt it out. This went on for far too long. Perhaps I should have suggested ‘Let Your Freak Flag Fly’ from Shrek. That may have been more appropriate. Or even better, ‘Freak/Ode to Attention Seekers’ from Taboo. The mother and daughter in front of us actually up and left the line and I could only imagine it was because of the blabbering, singing fool behind us. Of course, when we go in to be seated, that lovely party of four was placed RIGHT in front of us. Unfortunately, and to no surprise, the irritating behavior continued, just in a different fashion.

I clearly don’t set out to be bothered by these people. I set out to have an enjoyable theatre experience but these offenders seem to be in abundance. It only makes you wonder, do I bother people this much when I am out and about? Is someone dedicating some negative blog to me and people like me? Who knows and who cares! Just stop the damn singing!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I worked in TV for a few years (a few long, and sometimes unbearable years), in which time, celebrity citings were a part of my every day life. For the most part I would think, wow, this is so cool that Soleil Moon Fry is gonna be on today’s show, but it was a rare occasion that I got really excited about a guest. Work is work after all. It’s funny though how if I saw a celeb at work in the morning I didn’t care, but if I saw that same person out on the street or in a restaurant later on, I suddenly became filled with excitement. Oh my God, it’s Steve Urkle!

Of course there were occasions when we would have a guest that I admired or just had a mad crazy girl crush on. Some I’m not proud of, but you know, you can’t help your feelings, right? One of those embarrassing ‘crushes’ was non other than Mr. Constantine Mouroulis. Generally there was no chit chatting with guests, but the audio guy Brian knew I was crushing and felt the need to tell Constantine that I too was from NJ in order to try and initiate a conversation. He was very kind and sweet and as usual, I just smiled and turned red. No idea what, if anything, I said back to him and then he was off.

Other people I got quite excited about include the likes of David Duchovny (it’s Mulder for goodness sake), Jennifer Hudson, and of course Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews. Who wouldn’t be nervous and excited about that one? She’s practically perfect in every way. When we got off the elevator people were just lined up to see her, and many of us were brought to tears merely by being in her presence.

The one that topped the cake though is no surprise to anyone who knows me. Mickey Mouse you say? Not quite. It’s the queen of southern cuisine and mayor of Butter Town, Paula Deen! People would always wonder why I loved her so much, but that changed quickly as soon as they all had the privilege of meeting her in person. It’s like you meet her and you become an instant stalker. Not me of course, but I’ve seen it happen.

The first time I ‘met’ Paula Deen, she was doing a signing at BJ’s of all places. A few days prior, I had met her sons at another book signing where my crush on Bobby Deen certainly deepened. If you look at the picture below, I think we would make quite a lovely couple if I do say so myself. I never said I was a rational person. They were wonderful and sweet and I would actually be seeing them the next week along with their fabulous mother because they were all scheduled to be guests on Rachael (thanks to me and Holly). A few days later, I finally saw Paula Deen in the flesh with her husband Michael Groover aka Santa Clause. It was like a Dream Come True and a Nightmare all at the same time. Of course I was nervous and excited to meet someone I so admire. When she arrived, the crowd cheered (they damn well better have) and she quickly started her signing to ensure everyone got an autograph and a hello. The Nightmare came in when I finally got up to her and Michael and had NOTHING to say. Shocking I know. It was basically a 3 second encounter where she was handed the book by her assistant, said hello and they kicked you the hell out like a wicked awful assembly line. The thing that kept me positive was that I knew I would be seeing her the next week on the show.

So next week came and I of course was anxious all day. The first batch of guests came and I was fitting in a quick lunch before it was time for Ms. Butter and her son’s arrival. The receptionist told me as I was shoving food in my mouth, that the Deen Boys were in the lobby, which I merely took as a mean joke as that would mean they would have been VERY EARLY, ungreeted and confused wandering around the lobby. Long story short, they were indeed just hanging out in the lobby unattended. Not good! I made a B-Line for the elevator, apologized, brought them upstairs and ran back down to await Ms. Deen herself. I was so rushed I couldn’t even enjoy the fact that I was riding in a small elevator with BOTH the Deen boys. Yum! Paula arrived soon after, we directed the car in to the garage and out she came like a beam of sunshine. Inside I was a mess, but I calmly and professionally shook her hand and welcomed her, and simply told her it was very nice to meet her.

As to not babble on and on about the best day of my life, soon after I was formally introduced to her in the green room with an audience of close to 30 people. I couldn’t even look at her so thankfully I had co-workers to do the talking for me. She was so sweet and so gracious and we took a few quick pictures before I had to run off and get my ass back to work. After her visit, people understood where my love for her came from.

Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of attending her show in Savannah, randomly meeting the boys at The Lady & Sons, and working on her show for a few weeks when it came to NY. While it seemed like working on her show would be a dream come true for me, it was actually kind of a frustrating experience. First of all, I really wanted to be watching the show not working on the show. Secondly, it was hard to see her come and go off stage without getting a chance to say hello. Although, let’s be honest. We all know that if I did get a chance to talk to her, just like last time, I would be speechless and kick myself later for it. I did have one chance to say something, anything, when she wandered over to the craft service table babbly delightfully about the wonderful variety of yummy snacks. Of course, I was silent and just smiled and chuckled at EVERTHING she said. Thirdly, I don’t like the idea of Paula doing her show in New York. New York City is too big, and cold, and colorless. The show was so much warmer when it was taped at Uncle Bubba’s. On the up side, I did have a lovely chat on the street corner with Michael Groover; another fabulous person. Can you tell I really love that family?

Since I no longer work in TV, I fear my Deen encounters will be fewer and fewer. And now that I have a Real job with Real hours, chances of me running in to any family members in Savannah are very slim. I will keep my Deen love alive by watching her shows, reading her magazines, buying her boys’ books, buying her books, and pans, and knives, and dishes, and spoons, and t-shirts, and magnets…… Oh wait, I already have all of those. She truly is a delight ya’ll!

Monday, June 22, 2009

It’s Like a Coffee Table Book about Coffee Tables

So, I initially started this blog because I was angry. I was angry and it seemed like writing how I felt would be a good outlet. When I was in school, from the days I first started to read and write, all the way through college, I hated any class that involved writing. Unfortunately that was basically every class accept math. Thank goodness for math! Even in all my TV and Radio classes I had to write meaningless papers. What the hell is the point of that? Let me record some PSAs about the 400 side effects of Advil and film some of my friends in a multi-camera X-Files spoof and we’ll call it a day. It was an obnoxious task that I plowed my way through as best I could. I really had no desire to write about the Boston Tea Party, a Teddy Bear who comes to life, book reports on books I had no intention of reading (and didn’t!), or essays on the English language itself. And of course, depending on what form you were writing in, most of the time was actually spent finding the appropriate way to create footnotes and headers and references…. Do I really care?

It wasn’t until I started blogging that I found writing could actually be…..enjoyable. What a thought. Of course it’s easy to write about your own life. You’re stuck in it, every day. I actually came to find that it’s very therapeutic. Blogging and twittering and all these devices that let the whole world know what we are doing and feeling at all times of the day certainly seem very egotistical. After all, do I really need to know that Barry just ate a hot dog, or that Sandra had to pee in the woods because there were no bathrooms at the concert? And while I am semi-guilty of this by way of needless status updates on Facebook about eating at Pizza Hut or enjoying Friendly’s peanut butter sauce, or posting quotes from Pretty Woman that represent how I’m feeling that given day, I look at this blogging as more of an emotional outlet. It’s not for other people’s benefit, it’s for mine.

I’m the kind of person who, when you first meet me, you’ll probably think I’m a bitch. Why, because I probably won’t talk to you… all. If I am in any kind of social situation where there are people I don’t know or am uncomfortable with in any way, I become a complete mute. Literally, like as soon as a “stranger” walks in to the room, my internal mute button is turned to the ‘on’ position. I will smile and chuckle silently but no words will come out. I become a passive observer…..a drone really.

These silly entries are a great way to get out what I feel with no fear of attack or judgment or worry of grammatical errors and improper syntax. Nobody ain’t gonna care ‘bout right English in a blog. Take that Ms. Jones!!! Of course there are some things that all four of my readers don’t need to know. But for the most part, it has been a great outlet to express the inner me, scary as that may be to some. Musicians have their songs, screen writers have their scripts, poets have their poems, and I have my blog.

Friday, June 19, 2009

That Damn Guitar! (and all that led up to it)

So I guess you could say I grew up in a relatively musical environment. While my mother claims to be lacking in that department, my father and his sister grew up harmonizing on the street corners of Jersey City. Hard to believe people actually did that but….they did. I grew up listening to them sing. For me, other than singing Somewhere Out There with my brother over and over….and over and over…..I really started to have a passion for music when I started elementary school, where every poor child is forced to join the chorus. Despite the horrible songs we had to sing like Baby Beluga and Yellow Submarine, and the wicked awful arrangements that destroyed songs I actually liked, I still came to really love music.

In 4th grade I got to tackle an instrument; the fluteafone. I guess you could say it’s a less fancy version of a recorder. That was truly the highlight of reaching the fourth grade. I’m sure we jammed out to some Mary Had A Little Lamb and Hot Cross Buns with a little Twinkle Twinkle thrown in. BUT, the big climax of the flutafone lessons was learning the theme from the Mickey Mouse Club. Oh yeah, it was a big deal. I played that song with my fellow flutafone musicians proudly on stage and can still play it just as proudly to this day.

In 5th grade you were able to move up to REAL instruments, where I chose to take on the regular flute; mainly because my mother had borrowed one from my cousin, therefore, it was FREE. Again, we started with some Hot Cross Buns and Mary and her stupid Lamb but soon got to rock it out hard to………Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx . Alright, so maybe not so rockish.

6th grade was an exciting year. In addition to the flute, I started playing the trombone. Flute players weren’t cool enough to be in the Jazz band so I switched from the treble to the bass and attempted to play these jazzier songs on a big ole trombone. I say attempt because I really had no idea what I was doing. I faked my way through all those concerts like a pro. Who would notice? You know what those choirs and bands sound like anyway. It’s painful on the ears but the parents still go and cheer you on and tell you how wonderful it was and fabulous you were. Please! It was a train wreck. I watch back tapes of concerts and plays from High School even, and I have to run and hide under the bed from the horrible shrieking, frightening chords, and tone deaf singing.

Anyway, 6th grade was also the year we got to participate in drama club. It was what I had been waiting for since Kindergarten. Up til then, the highlight was playing a dog in the 1st grade Christmas play. We put on some small show where I played Repunzel and had like one line and then we did that Charlie Brown Halloween play; you know, the one with the pumpkin. I got cast as the unprovoked yet uber bitchy Violet. Not sure where that came from, or do I???? We got to skip around the audience singing Pumpkin Bells. While both the previous plays were enjoyable, the pinnacle was The Wizard of Oz. One of the best movies EVER; a true classic. Unlike the previous plays where they just cast whoever in whatever role, we actually had auditions for this play and I wanted in. Every girl dreams of being Dorothy right? Beautiful, cute dog, lives on a farm with chickens, on a fabulous adventure where she is the center of everyone’s story….. Well, not this girl. My heart was set on the Scarecrow. Dream role! The auditions were basically everyone standing on stage singing a mixture of songs from the show, and then they just picked people for various roles based on, well I have no idea really. Unless of course you wanted Dorothy. The Dorothy wannabees had a much more rigorous audition process. By rigorous I mean, singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow alone instead of with 25 other people. Really tough stuff. Long story short, I was heart broken, literally, when they cast me as the Tin Man. Oil Can!

As the years progressed, I continued singing in choirs, attempted piano lessons, and was involved with musical theatre all through college. Since then, my musical passion really has no outlet, with the exception of course, of being an audience member to fabulous Broadway (or not) Shows and Clay Aiken concerts! Yes, I most certainly DID say Clay Aiken. I utilize my karaoke machine when I need to get my ‘sing on’ but other than an occasional play of Mickey Mouse Club on my flutafone I have no instrumental outlet.

A few years ago I had my father teach me some chords on his guitar. The guitar that, might I add, he would save in a fire over me. I was successful in learning two chords but then we got to the E, or maybe the F, who knows, and I found it virtually impossible for my fingers to maneuver in to that needed position. After a short time, I gave up despite my desire to learn. Guitars are cool. I want to be cool.

This past year I finally purchased Guitar Hero. And while it in no way simulates real guitar play, you do have to manipulate your fingers in strange configurations. Perhaps now I am ready to tackle this damn guitar! I borrowed my aunt’s last weekend and had my father tune it. It remains in the case. It remains untouched by me. It remains a huge intimidating thing on the floor. I will open that case, and I will learn more than 2 chords! Dammit guitar, I…….will…… win!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Something small always seems to happen right when you need it.

Following up on the previous entry about my grandmother and her struggle with Alzheimer’s, the struggle continues, and every visit is a unique experience. There are some weeks that it seems all pieces of the woman she was are gone. Other weeks, she is talking up a storm. And while the words that are coming out may not make much sense, she is communicating, making eye contact, reaching out. And still other weeks, she can somewhat carry on a conversation; a very short, simple conversation, but a conversation none-the-less.

When you enter her room on any given week, you never know which version of the person you love you are going to get. A few months back, there happened to be a not so good day for her that I unfortunately had to witness. It was like her mind was set to pause. I couldn’t get her to look at me or say “I love you”. Nothing. Now, generally I can handle the Alzheimer’s and the nursing home atmosphere like a pro, but that week was different. It’s not often you look into her eyes and see nothing. The incontrollable emotional mess that I am, I started to cry. I usually try to hide any negative emotions from her but on that day I didn’t think she would really even notice. She hadn’t even seemed to notice my presence up to that point at all. To my surprise, as a silent tear ran down my cheek, she looked right at me, and in a complete and coherent sentence, she told me, “It will be ok”. I have no idea where that came from, but it came right at a time when I needed it the most. It may not seem like anything much, but it meant the world to me. At a moment that I feared my grandmother was slipping away (as I know she will someday), she came through for me. She provided the love and support that she has given me countless times in the past.

Now this past weekend was a whole different story. In the beginning she was a little distant, not talking too much and I was kind of getting that look like, “I have no idea who you are.” “Would you shut up and stop talking.” Which honestly, I get quite often. Well, the second half of that anyway. Not really what you want to see from your flesh and blood. But as I continued to try and communicate with her, I got a smile…..and then another….and another…and another. Smiles from her are few and far between and I got four of them within a few minutes. It was amazing. I think she was even making herself smile. It was such a wonderful feeling for her of course but for me as well. She really lives such a sad and confusing life since being touched by this horrible disease, so any signs of joy, for whatever reason, are amazing things.

I always had the feeling that things were happening in my life when I needed them the most; often times, seeing something that would maybe make a situation less scary or sad. We had an all women get together a few weeks ago and this very topic came up. It’s incredible how when you talk about it, you realize that other people experience the same thing; in different ways of course, but the need for what we see, and the calm we get from it is the same.

After my aunt passed away last year, I was sitting in the parking lot of my mother’s church. Again, being an emotional mess, I began crying while my mother was working out the details and what to do on the phone. I just cried and cried and stared out the window. It was March so it was still very cold and I hadn’t seen any Robins yet. Robins, the sign of Spring and hope. As I continued to stare out the window, filled with utter sadness, I noticed my first Robin sitting right outside the car. He just stood there for a while and I just stared at him. Eventually he took a few hops away, then a few more, a few more, and then finally flew away never to be seen again. While it was probably just a coincidence that that bird landed next to me at that particular time, it meant something to me. To me, that bird was my aunt telling me good bye. Letting me know she is ok.

After she died, and the family has the horrible task of going through your loved one’s belongings, one of my aunts found a ring that they thought I would like. I’m not really a big jewelry person by any means. Partially because I just can’t be bothered and partly because I can NEVER find a ring that fits my fat fingers. I actually have one of my grandmother’s rings and I have to wear it on my pinky. Even that’s a tight squeeze. So my aunt showed me the ring and of course I was more than happy to have it. Assuming that, like every other ring, it would never in a million years fit my chubby finger, I politely took the ring thinking, ok, it will be a nice reminder that will sit in my jewelry box until it’s passed on to someone else. I can’t remember why I decided to eventually try it on, but I did and it fit perfectly. Perfectly! I wore that ring to her wake and funeral and continue to wear it in her honor and as a beautiful reminder of who I had in my life for almost 30 years.

Keeps your eyes open. You never know what little “miracle” you may see.