Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Murder at 3514

One of my son's favorite stories is titled, "A Fly Went By".  It's cute and involves a various amounts of animals as well.  But, I have recently decided that flies are not funny, cute, or in any way, shape or form something a children's story or nursery rhyme should be written about.  Flies have been more accurately depicted in the movie "The Fly" with Jeff Goldblum.  Now that's the reality of a fly.  They're gross.

To be honest, I feel the same way about rats.  I'm a huge Disney fan and will go see almost anything they put to film, but when I went to see "Ratatouille", I left the theater disappointed and realizing the truth --- Rats, especially in the hundreds, don't warm my heart, even when Disney has gotten a hold of them and makes them as human as possible.  Once you've seen a rat run across an alley, scurry out of the way in a restaurant, or leave rat droppings behind in your apartment hallway, their humor ceases. 
I say this for ants as well. Though clever, the movie "Antz" left me itching.  Ants moving as a group, animated or otherwise, are just creepy.  By the way, mice get a pass... don't know why, but those guys in "An American Tale" & "Stuart Little are just down right charming.  I think Mickey Mouse really paved the way for the mouse.  

Okay, sorry, I digress.  The fly.  Not funny.  Not cute.  My feelings about this recently increased 10-fold.

You see, the days following a recent party at my house, we have been overrun with flies in the windows.  The buzzing alone is enough to make a woman lose her mind, but when I opened the blinds to find 15... that's right... FIFTEEN flies attached to my window, I actually lost time.  I became a crazy murderer armed with a section of the newspaper.  I had an out of body experience as I watched myself maniacally slam the window over and over screaming, "Die, you bastards!  Die!"

I'm a peaceful person.  Really, I am.  I like my husband to send spiders, moths and other things not welcome in my home, out the door to let their life unfold as it should naturally.  We have a rabbit problem where they are eating our grass and garden like we were holding a dinner party for them, and still, I won't let my husband use anything toxic to deter them.

So, you can imagine my distress when, once out of my hysteria and back safely in my own consciousness, I saw the remnants of my massacre lying on the floor below the dining room windows.

There were bodies everywhere.
I know how many there were because I counted as I picked them up with a paper towel, and I'm almost sure I heard little tiny bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace" in the background.
I half expected Horatio from CSI Miami to come in with his high tech equipment eying me as a primary suspect above his sunglasses.

I cleaned them up worrying that Karma would come to haunt me sooner than I would like.

Twenty minutes passed, and I had begun to recover from my temporary insanity, which I had decided to plea if Horatio actually did appear.  Then, suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I heard a buzzing against the window.

They were back.  There were four of them!  I put my husband on execution duty after that.  They continued to reappear for the next three days as if out of nowhere.  I was worried that Karma really was a bitch, so I Googled "Reappearing Flies".  The answer I got was something to the extent of something dead in the wall that had grown maggots which turned into flies --- followed by "the good news" of once they had eaten the dead thing completely, the flies would disappear with nothing to feed on.

Wow.  I feel so much better.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

a 21st century problem

Today, I did the unthinkable.  I forgot my cell phone at home!  Gasp!

You need to understand, I am of the age where I actually do remember when phones only had cords and in order to talk to a friend, you had to commit to that activity alone for the duration of your call. That is, unless you had known you were calling your best friend and pulled your laundry over to the phone area so you could fold and talk!

Now, I know I'm not the only person to realize the important role cell phones play in our lives on a day- to-day basis. I'm the first to admit that I have an unnatural relationship with my iPhone today.  My parents are, no doubt, nodding their heads and rolling their eyes as they read this.

I coveted my first cell phone, the Motorola Star-Tac Flip Phone (I am, most assuredly, dating myself) which was purchased for emergencies only.

It stayed in my car, turned off, because the battery life was about 3 minutes if left on, but I loved it.   I then, went through a phone progression that went with the times, with an interim of pager and cell phone so you didn't run your bill up too high.  My move to LA took my cell phone addiction to a new high.  It seems that those of us in LA had propelled to a level of cell phone use that bordered on rude.  (Again, do you hear my dad nodding?)  We all talked on the phone anywhere, anyhow, anytime.  It didn't help that we all had our own cars everywhere we went even though we were all going the same place -- very Swingers!

Recently, a little late to the game, I got my iPhone.  3G, no video capabilities, but awesome!  When I first got it, you would have thought Gollum from Lord of the Rings had taken over my body.  No one could touch it, hold it, look at it or, god forbid, play with it.  It was "my Precious".  I have since loosened up and let my 2-year old play apps that I've downloaded for him.  It seems that I have been served many cups of the Apple brand cool-aid.  I not only love my iPhone, but my husband would tell you that I'm having a sordid affair with my MacBook Pro, and I have spent the past several months trying to conjure up a logical need for the iPad.  (I'm almost there ;)  When I saw this clip, I laughed so hard because, unfortunately, I see myself in it.  If you're offended by swearing or don't know what an iPhone is, feel free to skip this:

But I digress... I really started this post to tell you about my "incident".  So, I headed out to my dad and step-mom's house yesterday to pick up my son who they had been babysitting for all day.  Love it!  It is about an 7 minute ride from my door to theirs, even in traffic.  As I got on the road, I realized that I had forgotten my precious iPhone.

As you can imagine, I struggled with the dilemma of possibly turning around to go get it, but that was silly... it would be safely in my hands in 20 minutes.  I couldn't possibly be that dependent on my iPhone.  I then continued on my journey to my Dad's feeling proud that I made the choice and telling myself, "See, I'm not that addicted, I can stop any time."

At about 1 minute in, I realized that I had gone to check my phone for new emails for a 5th time and still did not have it in my car.  I began to get a little irritated at my choice not to go back.  I was expecting some important email responses, not to mention a text from a colleague of mine.

At 3 minutes in, I turn up the radio to distract myself from the fact that all I'm able to do in the car at a stoplight is wait and drive when it's green.

At 5 minutes, a panic attack sets in because I realize that I can't call my husband to let him know that I forgot my phone at home and think he may not be able to reach in an emergency.... Speaking of emergencies, what if my step-mom is trying to get to me because Tommy has fallen down the stairs and they need to go to the ER right this minute...

At minute 6, I have completely spun out of mind control because I begin to think... what if I were to get into an accident and the injuries were such that I wasn't conscious and they need to figure out who to call after the ambulance, but I don't have any phone numbers in my purse, they're all in my phone so no one knows where I am for several hours...

Minute 7 hits and I'm approaching my Dad's street and I think... see!  that wasn't so bad.  I actually had some time in the car with nothing to do but think and decompress.  This was kind of nice not having my phone with me.  I certainly came up with a blog post.  I should try this more often!

...and then I had the ride home...

Friday, August 13, 2010

We say goodbye to a furry family member.

Denver (Big D) Stewart

Saying Goodbye
Friday, August 6, 2010, my family and I said good-bye to a very special, furry family member, Denver, our Golden Retriever.  She was 10 and a half.

Learning to write about things really close to you heart is hard, I'm finding.  It seems that the most personal of experiences are the hardest to do justice.  I have so much going on emotionally in my head and my heart that getting it on paper seems stuttered and detached.  From all my acting years, I know that when you use the most personal things from your life to fuel a character and a scene, the more truthful a performance will be.  Translating that skill to my writing is proving to be a challenge.  I think it has to do with the fact that in acting, I used my whole body to communicate emotion, in writing it's all words.  It feels like I'm spending so much time in my head when I'm trying to pull information from my heart.

However, I had a very special life with Denver and her passing shouldn't go untold, so here goes...

in 2001, Denver came into my life like a bullet.  I heard from my dog training teacher and mentor that someone from his class was looking to give up their Golden Retriever and would I be interested?  Now, I wasn't quite ready - I lived in an apartment that didn't allow dogs - and I wasn't just going to take any dog that needed a home.  It needed to be the right dog.  I said I would meet her, but couldn't make any promises.

The day they came to class, she came barreling up to me and, with the risk of sounding a little like a crazy dog person, I will say I knew that she was The One.  We didn't have a make out session or plan to marry, but I knew that she was not only the right dog for me, she was the perfect dog.  She then spent her lifetime proving that fact over and over until the minute she died last Friday.

Denver did a multitude of things over the past decade that made my life better:

1.  She gave me someone to come home to and be responsible for.  Living single in LA with nothing to ground you can be a challenge - it's not all Entourage and 90210 - you can lose yourself easily.  So, with her in my life I was slowly becoming a better person who was beginning to grow and thrive again.

2.  She was a partner in crime for all things dog appropriate and that was a lot in LA.  We did brunch, hiking, agility class, and time at the park.

3.  She taught me to be a better dog trainer.  My mentor was leading me, but she was who I went home with to try out all that I was learning.  She let me make mistakes and not have it ruin her.  She communicated when my frustration was too much, not by acting out, but by walking away from me to let me cool down.

4.  She helped me prepare to be a parent.  She showed me that impatience actually hinders the learning process and does harm to relationships.  Her reaction to my emotions informed me on how they could hurt those in my home.  At the same time, she never carried that lesson into the next moment.

5.  She weathered so many tears and provided a body to hold on to when my sadness was too much for me to take alone.

6.  She loved my son in his first two years in the best way I could have asked.  ...and anyone whose had kids for the first two years knows it's not the golden years for kids and dogs.

Her last week was shocking to us in that she hadn't really shown any signs until the day she turned down food.  I knew there was something deeply wrong because she had never --- I mean never --- turned down food before.  From that day, things went south very quickly.  In fact, the vets didn't get a definitive diagnosis of liver cancer until 24 hours before she left us on her own terms.

After I got the diagnosis, there was some hope that she would rally with the help of some steroids for a little while, but the next morning, it was clear to both my husband and myself that there would be no last trip to the beach for us to catalog in our memories.  We called the vet to tell him it was time, and he cleared the end of his day for a goodbye at my home.  Five minutes before we were expecting him, Denver took her last breath in my lap.  It was yet another gift that she has given me.

We will miss her.  We do miss her.  Like crazy.  There's a hole in our home that won't ever be filled for sure.  ....but I do subscribe to the idea (as a friend of mine wrote to me) that "with and in her death, there will be new life and growth," and I look forward to see what comes next.  I only hope it does justice to the memory of my golden girl.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Duped. Swindled. Hoodwinked.

I like to think of myself as an intelligent, savvy, and a relatively street smart gal. 

For example, I got approached on the street last week by the folks trying to gather donations for Save the  It's an entity that I actually know exists, and still, I let them know kindly that I have a policy not to give randomly on the street.  I, logically, give to a certain number of charities at certain times of the year after having collected and researched information on them over time.  That's just the way I roll.

I also receive numerous desperate pleas from the Prince some country I only slightly recall and other wealthy individuals from India who are simply looking for a way to bring their millions of dollars to the US because of unstable times in their country, and they need my help.  All I have to do it give them my bank account numbers.  They will wire the funds to me, and when they are able to retrieve it, I will have done them a huge favor for which, in return, I will receive a generous percentage of the millions I have housed for a short amount of time.  Though the deal sounds totally legit, I delete these requests without another thought.   I wasn't born yesterday even for the promises made by self-declared royalty!

 Like I said, I can spot a scam a mile away...   

Weeeell, today, I went to see my Aunt who is visiting my Mom downtown, joined by my husband Art and my almost 2-year old son.  We had a lovely brunch at the Lux Bar.  The day was absolutely gorgeous so we went walking up and down Oak Street in order to extend the visit a bit longer.  As we're looking in windows at The Ultimate Bride (um, freakin' fabulous dresses, btw), I hear, "Do you like Jazz?"

I turn around and see two clean looking individuals, a guy and a girl, walking towards us.  They are in black T-Shirts and shorts and really look like they could be in a band… or crew for a band.  Really.  

I, trying to be courteous, say, "Well, yeah.  Some."  At this point my Aunt continues to move forward while I, not wanting to be rude stick around to chat with these seemingly harmless folks.  Our conversation went something like this:

"Well, we're part of a band that's playing a bunch of different venues (they named them, I recognized the places, but don't remember them now, except Green Mill, of which I'm a fan) in a fundraiser that's organized to raise money for a member of our band, who sadly, has colon cancer."

"And no health insurance," chimed in the girl making a sad face.  Little did she know, she just hooked me.  Who would lie about that?

He continued, "We are giving away these first 20 CD's... for a donation."  

Hmmm, Giving ... for a donation.  Is that an oxymoron?   Or just moronic? Tough questions for tough times. 

So, of course, I said, "Ok, you sold me.  How much is the CD?"  (Mistake number One:  Yeah, absolutely just let them name their price!)

Brief pause and then,"$20," he said, and followed it quickly with, "But showing the CD at the door will also get you into the show at Green Mill for free," – in defense of the asking price. (I told him I really liked the Green Mill.  Yeah, I play it cool.  I also tell car dealers when I absolutely can’t live without a particular car.)

And, as if I was no longer in control of my limbs, I reached in my wallet, grabbed a 20-dollar bill and gave it to him.  (Mistake Number Two:  Certainly don't negotiate the "donation" they're asking for!  I'm so awesome.)

Now, before I continue, as you know, I'm an artist myself and I have a soft spot for artists.  I also can sympathize with how horrible colon cancer would be for anyone, let alone a struggling musician who, it was not far fetched to say, had no insurance.  Cue the violins. 

   ... back to the encounter.

I handed him $20 like I had it to give - I must have been feeling the Oak Street vibes - and he said, "Great!  See you on Thursday!" and almost too quickly, jetted off.

My Mom, Aunt, Art, and, it seemed, even my almost 2-year old didn't say anything, just looked at me.  I looked back at them like the cold heartless animals that I knew they were, and said, "It was a fundraiser for colon cancer!"  The ladies turned without a word and walked ahead.

Well, now I got to thinkin'... (Mistake number Three:  Got to thinking too late.)

I stopped my husband before we caught up to the ladies and said, "I think I got taken."  His first instinct, a good one, was to slowly tilt his head and say, "What do you mean?"

"I just gave them $20.  They didn't have a flyer to offer.  I think it might have been a scam."

Art squinched up his face and tilted his head and said, "Well, they had me until the CD purchase."

This didn't make me feel better.  He silently took charge of my son and continued walking.  We didn't speak anymore about it because I was starting to feel like a serious idiot.  …or moron? defines the difference as,
"an idiot is a stupid person with a mental age below three years, while a moron is a stupid person with a mental age of between seven to twelve years"...

psyched about neither definition, let's say nincompoop.

Here comes the coup de grace:  

We got in the car, and I can't stop the nagging feeling that I have been seriously had.  Um… no judging!  It's easy from your perspective, to see that this is stating the obvious – at that moment, not so much.

So, slowly, much more slowly than I pulled the 20 out of my wallet, I got the CD out of my purse and looked at the enclosed white sheet that I assumed had the list of songs that were burned on to my most recent jazz purchase.  As I look closer, it was a listing of who's playing when at The Empty Bottle, a venue on Western in Chicago.  Oh, and the listing is for April & May of 2010.  It's June 6th today.  So, now I have a $20 listing of memories I didn't make at The Empty Bottle.  (FYI, on 4/26, the bands F*ck Knights, The Runnies and Dumpster Babies played there.  To think I missed them... that's just adding salt to the wound!)

Ok, so as I look at it, I realize that there is very likely no Jazz on this CD, but I have this tendency to believe in people.  Musicians don't have a lot of marketing money, and... so, maybe they just slid that in there to ... um, ... protect the CD?  Art, smirking, says, “Just put the CD in.  Maybe the music is good?”

In slow motion I take the CD out of the envelope.  The front of it has no writing, and as I'm noticing that, Art asks, "What's the band's name?"  The pit in my stomach grows in acidity as I realize that I have to answer, "I don't know."   Deep breath in.  Deep breath out.  I put the CD in the player and wait.  
And wait.

And wait.

Art presses some buttons to fast forward, but the player isn't reading the CD.  He gallantly continues to eject and re-insert our new gift hoping that songs, any kind of songs, will play miraculously.  The reality sinks in that I just bought this one and only blank CD, with added bonus of April/May listing from The Empty Bottle for the low, low price of 20 of my hard earned dollars. 

"There is a special place in Hell for someone who swindles a person into giving money in the name of colon cancer," I say.  Quickly though, I formed a plan, "Oh! We should get a sitter, go to the show, find this guy, and confront him.  Remember, this CD also gets us into the show at the Green Mill for free next Thursday."  Before the last word comes out of my mouth, Art bursts into laughter that he's clearly been holding back for a good hour.  

"I'm sure the Green Mill will honor the blank Maxell CD you bring to the door for two tickets to the show that night," he is barely able to say between gulps of laughter.  

Picture this for a moment.  I’m at the Green Mill door with a blank CD in hand as payment.  "No really, I bought this for $20 from a guy on Oak Street... for the band benefitting the guy with colon cancer... (make a sad face) with no insurance!"

My last hope is my CD player in my computer, but alas, it confirms what I already know.  I have been seriously bamboozled.  Perhaps my time in the suburbs has made me more naive than I knew.  Whatever the case, no one, not even the little child with one arm in Mexico selling Chiclets on the side of the road that her mom bought for one cent, and she's selling for “almost free for you”, will get me again!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Showering is overrated

Don't think badly of me.

My name is Nicole and I don't shower everyday.  Neither does my husband, who is, much to his dismay, out of work, and trying not to live out the stereotype.  This isn't helping the way, he's totally going to kill me for outing him.

It's just that there's a lot involved in showering for me --- I don't know what his excuse is.
There's the undressing, getting the water the right temperature, hair washing, hair conditioning, body washing, face washing, drying, lotioning, and dressing.  Whew!  I'm tired just thinking about it!
If blow drying of the hair and applying make-up happened all the time, it might bring the occurence rate down even further.  It's all about the hair --- can I make it look good with out the shower?  If so, it's on!

I'm not proud of this.  I will say that I heard that it's good to give your hair a break from washing once and a while.  ...I also glom on to the theories about dark chocolate & red wine on just the word of the internet.

I am proud to say, I always shower if I've worked out, or find my self itching or carrying the odor of the homeless.  I've got standards, you know.

hmm..  there must be an Anonymous program for this.  If not, there should be.

promises of an open time slot

I'm starting to get that just posting on a regular basis, let alone writing a short story while running my own business and having a little one at home is a goal much like a plan to exercise at the end of the day.  It doesn't seem to happen.

I have great ideas when I'm in bed about to go to sleep, so I write them down in my journal with very big plans to develop them in the morning.  However, much to my dismay, morning comes very early and I'm... um... not an awesome morning person.  So, before I know it, I hear the call that acts as my alarm every day, "Mom! (pause.) Mom! (pause) Mom! (pause. pause. pause.) Moooooooooooom! (pause.)  Dad! .... " and so it goes.  There isn't a snooze button, by the way.  What I would give for a snooze button.  Sometimes he will sit and talk to his "guys" in his crib for a while keeping himself entertained, but the monitor is on and well,... he's funny.  He organizes them, throws them overboard (then you hear, "uh-oh), and runs back and forth in his crib talking in a language where there is no translation.  By that time, I'm up and it's time to start the day.  This is when I vow to do some writing at his nap time.  Ha!

Nap time comes and I am well into my business day.  There are emails to be returned, dog clients to be soothed and marketing to struggle through and then, all of a sudden, "Mom!  Dad!  (pause. pause. pause.) Dad-dy!  Mum-my!"(did I forget to turn my alarm off?) and we're off and running with the afternoon of either appointments for me and Dad is the afternoon entertainment or I am.  By the time his bedtime comes, I'm ready to shut it down for the day.  A TV show, some dinner and a glass of wine with my husband, and we are always aware that our new alarm clock is not able to be reset for a later time.

Now, let me be clear, I love my life.  I love that I don't have to set a real alarm anymore.  I love figuring out where to take him to watch him explore a new environment.  I love just talking to him and hearing him try to make words with his mouth.  It is really a humbling experience being a mom.  I'm lost some of the time, feeling guilty about something some of the time, laughing some of the time, rediscovering the excitement of a train or fire engine going by a lot of the time.  I love it.

It's just taking some doing to carve out some space for my creativity to really flow for more that a 5 minute period.  I'll find the space.  I did today.  That's a step in the right direction.

What do you do for yourself?  When do you do it?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Look Ma, no carbs!

I know that this isn't exactly on topic, but maybe we should all get used to the fact that that is something that may happen more often than not a little.  After all, doesn't it make sense that while on the path to finding my creativity, I may take me on some detours in order to spend time observing and commenting?

So, I was watching TV the other day and maybe because my husband and I have been on a no sugar, no flour, no pasta diet for four weeks now, this commercial caught my eye.  See, I love bread.  I romanticize pasta.  I lust after pizza.  On this eating plan, I've had to breakup with them all.  I made them a mix tape and said "see you on Sundays".  (We allow ourselves a break on Sundays so my obsessive personality doesn't make me a nightmare to live with.)  So.... I see this sandwich being advertised.

Above is the new KFC "sandwich".  The fact that it looks like a puppet sticking it's tongue out that should be on Sesame Street is only the first of things wrong with it.

Yes, all of you Atkins diet groupies, there is no bread, but that alone does not really put it in "the plan"... you know this right?

The ingredients are as follows:

Two boneless pieces of fried chicken
Two pieces of bacon
Two melted slices of Monterey cheese and Pepper Jack cheese
The "Colonel's Sauce"

Now remember Big Mac's "special" sauce?  It was Thousand Island dressing!
Don't get me wrong, it tasted good, but... REALLY?!?

I don't know why this gets my goat, but in this day and age, after their PR people brought them a name change to KFC, this is their newest menu item?    I'm just sayin'...  it seems like a heart attack waiting to happen.  If they were looking to change their reputation, at least grill the chicken, right?

I'm obsessing and it's just Monday.  Must-get-carbs- back-now!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Shutting Down

I'm not feeling very inspired or creative today.

I'm writing anyway because I think that's what this blog is all about. Creating habits, working through blocks, learning not to let things stop you.  Today, it's hard.  So, I had started a post about motivation and how it seems to work, but I'm saving that for another day.

Today, it's easier to talk about what's in front of me.  I feel shut down from anything creative.
In The Artist's Way, she talks a lot about gremlins.  It's basically the voice inside of you that keeps you down.  It talks badly about you - to you.  My gremlin voice is the biggest jerk ever!  (says the 12 year old inside of me)

What triggers a gremlin and sends it soaring to the front of your brain?  For me, it's sadness and/or fear.  Fear of failure, fear of doing it wrong, fear of life changes I can't handle - my gremlin apparently doesn't find me very capable.  It's a persistent voice that somehow manages to push through a thousand other thoughts and doesn't let anything get in it's way.  If only my confidence had that kind of focus.

As I work on my writing, I hear, "Who do you think you are to write?  You've never written anything substantial.  Writers are much smarter than you.  You don't have the stamina or follow through.  You don't have the discipline!"  That stupid gremlin goes on and on and on.  Honestly, what a nag!

The good news is that a) it's less prevalent than it used to be, and b) I am learning tools to combat the gory beast.  Things that help for me are:

1. Writing stream of consciousness in hopes of unplugging the dam.
2.  Exercising and then coming back to it.
3.  A good cup of coffee.  (Caffeine, a drug, I know. But hey, at least it's not Irish Whiskey.)
4. And, of course, blogging about it.

My gremlin, at the moment, is saying, "No one cares what you do to get un-stuck or ward me away?  Nobody will read this!"

I wrote anyway.  Now I'm posting.  Have that Mr. Gremlin!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Creating creative community

So, though I like to think of myself as a truly unique individual, I, shockingly, am not the first to consider a way to revive my creative juices.  Not to mention, this is also not the first time I've taken a step to do it.  Have you ever heard of The Artist's Way?  It's a book by Julia Cameron.  It's been around for a good long time.  It works.

It's something that everyone, even those not aiming for a creative career, can benefit from.  It's a 12 week program that you can do on your own.  So, you can just buy the book and start the exercises.  Sounds simple, huh?  Well, one of the hardest things for me about it is that you do it alone.  It takes a lot of discipline and structure and, well,... things that aren't exactly my strong suit.

My mother, she would rock at this.  She makes lists.  She then completes them before doing anything else.  She's never tempted to just leave the list and go to a movie or sit down and vow to do it tomorrow.  She is someone I admire, hold myself up to and, of course, drives me crazy... by the way, I drive her crazy too.  Just don't tell her I know!

This book is something she would complete with gold stars and on-time.  I couldn't get myself past week three on my own.

The good news is that several years ago, I stumbled upon a woman who takes the book and facilitates a group.  We met for 12 weeks, once a week and kept ourselves on track.  Nobody beat anybody up for not finishing a task, but we did motivate one another to keep going.  I loved all the people.  The coolest thing about them is that there was a documentary filmmaker, a couple of actresses, a lawyer, and several other occupations that you probably wouldn't think would line up to spend their Saturdays digging inside themselves in the name of creativity.  It was the first time I finished it.  I didn't want it to end.

If you're in the Chicago area and this strikes you as something you might like to do, I highly recommend looking at Michel's website:

Let me repeat, you don't have to want to live as an actress, writer, director, or desire to display your feelings through interpretive dance movement in order to do something like this.  It's just fun and opens you up to other parts of you.

So, why am I babbling on about this?  Well, it was back then that I had the first thought about letting writing be an important creative outlet for me.  I have been ruminating the idea of writing a book in my brain for sometime, but my inner gremlins have really gotten the best of me.  

I'll take another time to talk about those, but suffice to say, my inner critic is pretty harsh and not much of an optimist.  The thing is, as I mentioned before, I feel better when I write.  Be it to you, the black hole of the blogging world or in my journal, or some short story... whatever.  I like it.  I do like to work with people though, and I'm hoping that over time this blog will collect others who are striving to do something that fills their soul each day as well.  If you are, tell me about it.  If you're blogging, let me know, I'll follow.  Connection and a community is a good thing.  

What are you working on?

Sunday, April 18, 2010


My intent in starting this blog was to inspire creative recovery within myself, and writing every week seemed like good way to go.  Even better, if when anyone starts to read my blog, it creates a reason to keep writing.  I might even encourage others to start doing something towards creating a piece of their life that they had stopped pursuing.  It's always better to diet with someone, so I'm figuring the same theory applies.  So, as I got ready to do this next blog post, here's what I'd hoped my process would look like:

1.  Have a thought - or two or three strung together.
2.  Go to my computer or journal, jot it down and expand on said thoughts.
3.  Post blog with something inspiring.

Here's how it really happens:

1.  Have a thought -- yeah, it's kinda awesome.  Better head to the computer...
2.  Hear a thunderous sound that might be my almost 2 year old knocking every item in his room over simultaneously.
3.  Run to the room passing said almost 2 year old going the other way with a clear, "Wasn't me!" look on his face.
4.  Finding his cow head humidifier, formerly filled with water, now decapitated from it's base and leaking, no, pouring out it's contents all over the wood floor.
5.  Grab towels, get on hands & knees to soak up cow head water that is now nicely mixed with tumbleweeds of dog hair from under the crib -- clearly, I have been neglecting this area for months.
6.  Curse myself for my poor housekeeping skills & vow to clean dog hair more diligently going forward much the same way I used to vow never to drink again after a hangover -- and with the same level of commitment and follow-through, I'm sure.  This thought is interrupted by my son yelling, "Mom!  Nuuuuuuu!" while putting his fingers to his head acting as if he has horns.  (Nuuu! is the sound he makes for cows --- we're still working on the finer points of animal sounds.)
7.  With fragments of original thought still in my head, lake cleaned up, a pillow's worth of wet dog hair in the garbage, and a few minutes left to jot something down, I head towards the computer.
8.  Realizing that I can't leave the almost 2 year old upstairs, I go to grab him and find out he's nowhere in sight until I hear a "Hi!".  I turn towards the sound and see a little face staring at me from deep inside our very big dog crate.
9.  Go spelunking into the dog hair filled (it's supposed to be there -- it's a dog crate) cave to retrieve him.  It takes several less than graceful attempts because though he only knows 4 words, he has gained some seriously mad skills of evasion.
10.  Get downstairs to the computer.  Put child in front of The Wiggles

 - I know! not-so-perfect parenting, but it buys me 15 glorious minutes -- and finally, I sit down to write.

11.  Stare blankly at the blinking cursor on a blank blog page thinking, "What the hell was I going to write about?"

So, now that fabulous post that was going to be a brilliant piece of writing turns into a story about an almost 2 year old, a cow head humidifier and my seriously defunct cleaning skills.  This, my friends is why my creative recovery might take a little longer that I'd hoped.

...But you've got to start somewhere, right?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Diving in...

As I sit watching my two dogs, my husband, and my 20-month old little boy play in the yard, I feel grateful.  I love them all with an intensity that I'm not sure I can accurately describe.  Before I had Tommy, I heard a quote that went something like this, "When you have a child, you're heart lives out side your body forever after."  Well, it went something like that... I'm paraphrasing because if I knew how true that statement would be, I would have printed it out word for word and framed it.  I feel that sentiment everyday. 

Here's the thing, as I sit and watch my crew, I also have feelings that are, well... less Hallmark.

The things that also run through my head are, "Who am I?" and "How did I get here?"  See, it's not that "here" is bad, it's just feels a little off to the left (or right) of where I want to be.  Since I was a small child, I've been an artist.  Not a visual one - just look in my childhood box of drawings and clay sculptures - I was clearly never a budding Van Gogh or Michaelangelo.  Of course, my mom, god love her, would have told you differently.  I was always writing, acting, dancing and, much to my best friend's dismay, directing.  So, when I look at all the roles I play on a day to day basis, they include:  Mom, wife, dog mom, business owner, daughter, sister, aunt, but very rarely artist.  

Now, I'm absolutely clear that I'm not alone in this feeling.  In fact, people around the world, have been feeling this need for a slight life chiropractic adjustment.  I mean, few of us are actually doing what we've always wanted to, but why?  My dad would probably say, "Because, that's life."  He's partly right, but don't tell him!  What I know is that my sanity is better when I'm creating.  My husband agrees and he has a vested interest in my sanity.  I know that in order to fulfill this need, I have to just--- do.  

This is why I'm here jumping into the blogging abyss.  Everything I have done thus far has landed me in this place has had it's purpose and created happiness for me. But now, I'm ready to spend a little of each week doing things that merge where I am now and who I always wanted to be.  I want to add artist back into my list of roles.  

I figure, why not tell you all about it as it happens and create a little accountability along the way.  Want to join me?  What part of your dreams have you left in the dark for responsibility and grown-up-itis?