Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Achieving My Dreams: In Progress


A dream of mine: to live in a house with a view!

One of the blogs I read asked me to answer the question “What’s keeping you from achieving your dreams?” and before I answer, I have to say that I love the way this question is phrased.

If she had asked, “Why haven’t you achieved your dreams?” it would have forced me to say that I haven’t yet succeeded. That is way too negative for me. I enjoy the pursuit of my dreams. As long as I’m working toward them, I’m successful.

So, in response to “What’s keeping me from achieving my dreams?” my response is: I AM achieving my dreams!

At least three times per week I find time to work on my current novel or children’s books, or to submit a book query to an agent. Every week I sock money away for future dream trips and adventures. I am always saving articles about places to visit and things to do or learn. I constantly find ways to make our house more of a home and work toward giving my family a healthy, happy future.

So, “achieving my dreams” is in progress! Someday it’ll happen, I have no doubt.

Monday, April 7, 2014

That Time I Met Mickey Rooney




Me in white with Debbie Reynolds, left, and cast members Robin & Scott.
I grew up watching old Hollywood movie musicals, so imagine how excited I was when I was cast in the show That’s Entertainment, Live, in Debbie Reynolds’ casino. While I worked in the show I met many of Debbie’s friends from old Hollywood and always kept a book of Hollywood musicals in my dressing room in case I needed to pull it out for an autograph.

In my years as a performer I met many celebrities. Usually I didn’t like asking for photos or autographs, preferring to meet them like regular people instead of putting them on a pedestal. But it was interesting to see which stars were nice and which weren’t.

Which leads me to the time I met Mickey Rooney.

I’m writing about him because I heard of his passing yesterday. He was such a talent. Had such a life! It’s hard to think of a bigger star from those good old days of Hollywood.
That's Entertainment, Live! (I'm on the left in the front.)    

So imagine how excited I was when he came to see the opening night of our show at Debbie’s. The afternoon before the show, Rip Taylor, our emcee, offered to introduce me to Mickey, who happened to be having lunch in Debbie’s cafĂ©. I took my book, my pen, and my nervous energy and followed Rip to Mickey’s table. I wasn’t nervous about meeting Mickey – I just wished he knew how much of a lover of old Hollywood I was. I understood! I was one of him!

He sat at his table with three other people. Rip graciously interrupted and then introduced me. Mickey looked up at me and smiled, and we made small chitchat about what role I played in the show and he made a few jokes to the amusement of his friends. I stood there with my book and pen, obviously wanting an autograph.

After our few short polite sentences, he continued talking to his friends and didn't return his focus to me. He didn’t say goodbye or it-was-nice-to-meet-you or anything that would let me know we were finished. The simple act of ignoring me indicated that he was done with me.

I stood there with my book and pen, confused. I needed an exit. I couldn’t just walk away.

He continued to talk to his friends, having clearly dismissed me.

I decided to wait till there was a pause in his conversation and interrupt and say, “Thank you,” and leave, but there was never a pause.

So I stood there.

And stood there. It was agonizing.

Mickey continued talking to his friends and ignoring me. I should have just walked away, but I didn’t want to run away like a dog with its tail between its legs. And I kept thinking there would finally be a pause in which I could make my exit. My upbringing required me to be polite – not to just walk away.

Mickey was not as considerate. He kept talking, knowing I was in an awkward position, and not giving a damn.

After a while – way too long – Rip Taylor returned, saw me standing there, and said, “You’re still here?” (He wasn’t that polite, either.)

I don’t remember anything from that point on, except leaving whiletalking to Rip, and wishing I had never ever tried to ask Mickey Rooney for an autograph.

It’s much better to admire a star from afar than to meet him and realize he’s an ass.

Instead, let’s just remember that incredible talent, and that incredible life.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Big Piles of Stuff



We are having a yard sale tomorrow, and I keep telling my husband, “Aren’t you happy?” when we look at the amount of stuff I have found to get rid of. After all, I am the sentimental one in our relationship who holds onto everything, and I am the one who has hobbies that require stuff. On the other hand, he would be fine with a TV and only enough mementos to fill a shoe box.  

Getting together all this stuff has felt so good, and I even plan to find more to sell before tomorrow. I know it’s clichĂ©, but it feels so good to try to simplify things a bit. I like to open cabinets and see everything inside and not feel stressed out. I like being in control of my space instead of the other way around.

While doing this massive purge, I even picked out several of my old diaries to throw away (not to sell in the yard sale!) I’m only keeping the ones that I truly would enjoy going back and reading, or ones I want our son to have. But no one needs to read about my teenage angst, and reading it myself just stresses me out. (I was that insecure? Yuck!) And instead of keeping my whole journal from when I moved to Vegas, I tore out a few interesting pages about auditions I attended. It’s my history, but I don’t need to save every word.

So, here in this photo is my stack of journals that went to the recycling pile. And I don’t feel bad about letting them go. That is the best part of all.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Ya Doin', Baby Cow?

When you think of Las Vegas, one doesn't normally think of cows, chickens, and pigs, but lucky for my son, we actually do have farm animals in Vegas.

Many years ago, when the area north of the city was flat and bare and cactus-filled, there were ranches with horses and good ol' cowboys. Then Las Vegas grew and spread and overtook these ranches. This means there are now areas of town where horses stand behind fences in between rows of cookie cutter houses, and you might find a Feed and Tack store next to a McDonald's or Barnes & Noble.

Occasionally I have pulled our car over so my son can check out a horse or two, but the easiest way for him to visit a farm is to go to The Farm. Located in the northwest part of the city near Gilcrease Orchard, The Farm has been around for 50 years, taking in animals who need help, and selling fresh eggs and produce, and local honey, jams, and jellies. At Easter time you can take photos with real bunnies, and in the Fall they offer hay rides and pumpkin chips.

On this trip, my son's favorite was the calf that lay in the grass in between the pens of two huge cows and two overly friendly horses. "Hi baby cow! How ya doin'?" my son kept asking the little animal, and it did seem interested in return. They looked at each other for quite a while. I took many photos and a video, while hearing constant grunts from Violet the pig who liked to stand nearby. Have you ever petted a pig? I can say now that I have.

On this trip we enjoyed looking at the bunnies who were, however cliche, eating carrots. Also fun were the ducks who thought we had food and quacked loudly at us. We liked finding the cats who slept in quiet tucked-away places and didn't stir when we whispered "Hello!" The exotic roosters and peacocks strutted their stuff and all called their ear-splitting cries. When tired of the animals for a moment, my son checked out the old tractors, watched the men working in the pens, and picked up handfuls of hay to cover his legs while I cringed at the dirt.

But kids are supposed to get dirty. And they're supposed to get to know cows and birds and friendly pigs. Las Vegas is lucky to have The Farm!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Poop On The Wall


 

This is a story involving a toddler, and it exemplifies our life right now.

Our son is going through potty training and is doing pretty well. But as part of his new found independence, he likes to take his diaper off at random times and run around naked. Usually this is no big deal, except for making sure that after he takes it off we don’t hear “I pottied!” from the living room.

This weekend, he stood in the kitchen and I heard the unmistakable sound of the release of diaper tabs, and when I looked up I saw him fling his diaper. Usually he just drops it, but this time he flung it in an arc around his head, causing it to hit the wall and land across the room with a splat.

Yes, a splat.

The diaper had poop in it. We cleaned him up, cleaned the floor, put him to bed, and decided to unwind with a glass of wine. But I still smelled poop. I cleaned the floor again, sprayed the whole room with clouds of Lysol, and still smelled it.

Then George began to whine excitedly. He was on his hind legs up on the kitchen wall. And that’s when we saw it.

Apparently our walls are painted the exact same shade as toddler poop. Perhaps Sherwin Williams should change that paint color name to Toddler Poop Brown.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wholeness



This quote was on the internet recently, and after reading it I realized it made me feel calmer. It eloquently says exactly how I feel, and what I have written about on this blog once before. Our society is too happiness-driven.

Of course happiness is great, but why do we have to imply that someone is a failure if they’re not perfectly happy? Pressured by questions such as “does my job make me happy,” “am I doing what I love,” “how often do I feel joy,” and constant lessons from Oprah for Living My Best Life, it seems that we are supposed to make constant happiness our primary objective.

I often think back to issues from my childhood and early adulthood – incidents that make me cringe in embarrassment or regret – and focus on trying to heal or forget them. I want to forget the bad times and move on and become fulfilled and get to a happy place in life. The above quote helps me do that.

Instead of forgetting the bad and trying to leave behind the person I used to be, the idea of embracing those times, and that person – accepting those negative things that make me who I now am – comforts me more than the search for happiness ever could.

Trying to be constantly blissfully happy seems trivial, while encompassing the idea of wholeness gives me a mental picture of taking a big breath and relaxing. Wholeness is a deeper state of being.

So stop trying to be so happy! Are you whole? Relax and let it be.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Little Crazy


I went a little crazy for my son’s birthday party this year. But anyone who knows me knows to expect that. If I have the motivation and the energy, I will go all out.

We used to be a fairly social couple and liked to have people over for dinner now and then. But ever since our son entered the picture, we’ve just been too tired! Now, if people come over we usually order pizza or just talk while we sprawl exhausted on the couch.

So my son’s birthday is the perfect excuse to go all out one time a year. We invite everyone we know and use his special day as a way to see all the people we now don’t see as often.  

Last year’s theme was ducks; this year’s was Farm. And my new favorite thing is foam core. I painted farm animals on it and cut them out and hung them around the room. I cut out animal noise quotes to put above the seating in the room (see above photo), which made me laugh out loud when I got the idea, and even made a playhouse-sized barn out of it for the backyard. (This foam core came in 4’x8’ sheets and was free and leftover from one of the local convention centers. It was used for signage but was blank on the back; they would throw it away if I didn’t take it!) The food was themed, too, as well as the wine we offered – Dancing Bull, Lucky Duck, Three Horse Ranch, and Rex Goliath.

Jude loved his party. I wasn’t sure how he’d react after his nap when he found the house full of people, but he just stood around for a while, watching everyone, and whenever anyone laughed he would laugh loudly and jump up and down in excitement.

The best part was the rain, which poured down for much of the party. Remember, this is the desert, so rain is exciting! We stood under the patio and watched it fill up the yard, and Jude ran out into it and had to change clothes twice.

That night after everyone was gone, he took one of his new trucks up to bed with him. We tucked it in under a blanket and told it “night night.”  

I’m already dreaming up themes for next year’s party!