Monday, November 3, 2014

My completed manuscript! Now on to editing!

Hello, Welcome to my 101st post. Just thought I'd send a sneak peak look at my next novel called…oh wait. Maybe I shouldn't give that away yet. I'm so excited to polish this baby up, give it a name and a face.  So now I'm looking for a possible reader. Someone who knows what to look for in a story as far as pacing, character development,  dropped plot points, etc, etc, etc. 

If you are interested let me know.

Otherwise, just enjoy a sneak peak…My newest baby...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Hip Hip Hooray!!!


Why thank you.

Why am I so excited? Two reasons, actually:

This is my 100th post!

And…I finished my novel today!!!

 I was going to do a list of 100 books I loved, but that just seems long. Then I thought I would write about my favorite desserts, but that just has nothing to do with writing. So I bagged clever for just honestness.  Today was great, but then it turned out kind of crappy for other reasons, but I am not going to dwell on the negative. I am going to rejoice, hip, hip hurray for me.
Nobody is going to stomp on my party. Bring out the ice cream. I deserve it!

This novel was a long time coming. I restarted it three times, tearing it to pieces when it didn't do what I knew it should.  So I studied, researched a ton and wrote till my hands ached. Yeah, my hands and fingers ache. I'm worried it might be something more serious, but when I take a break (which I desperately need to do,) we'll see if it gets better. Let's just say that my fingers hurt all day long. And trying to open anything is almost impossible. Good thing I have strong boys around to help me out.

So here is my thought for today. I love to write. I may not be Margaret Mitchell, but I think I can tell a story. I'm grateful that my doubts and my weaknesses didn't hold me back from trying something scary. I am full  of self-doubt. BUT, I also have this incredibly strong drive to do and go and try when anyone or anything (my own mind) tells me I can't. I'm like a bull, digging my hoofs and snorting, angrily, minus the nose ring. And the horns, and the ability to buck people to oblivion, and stomp on them and stuff. You get the point.

So, I want to encourage you to do something scary.  I know I've said this before, but I look around and see people stopping themselves all the time. So if that is you…STOP IT. No matter your age, try something new this week. Go for a run if it's been a long time or try a new recipe, or learn a new song, or look for a play to audition for. I am in the craziest fun play right now and I am sooo glad I am in it. I have met the best people and had such a good time. It's been a blast.

I'm pretty darn satisfied with my life right now…minus a few glitches. After all, life is crazy, sometimes right in the middle of some pretty awesome stuff. So happy 100th post day. If you have read them all, let's go out for ice cream. You deserve it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Browning Homestead

Original cabin shown under stucco
The story began over a century ago. A family on the edge of the frontier. Pioneers with hopes and dreams and a will to begin again. Five generations or more passed through these doors. Dinners were served, three wars were fought, babies were born, deaths and disease crept through the cracks like invisible demons. Multiple families shared a two bedroom cabin. The depression was evident in their stories.

Today it comes down. 

Someone's dreams of a better life. Someone's memory of a childhood, now long gone: my father on his mother's back as she scrubbed her kitchen floors to a shine. The thousands of meals set at a simple table, prepared by the able and worn hands of a grandmother who could cook like no other. A gentle prayer offered. Cousins playing. Grandma's soft voice beaconing you close. Laughter. So much laughter. And singing.  If I listen I can still hear it in the rustling of the apple trees in the grove.

We sift through the rubble for signs of this other life, another time, another world. Looking. Wanting a piece of their souls as only a mortal can. Wishing to know them like they know us. What were they like? Did they struggle like me? Did they rejoice like me? And we learn through the scraps and rubble: Seven layers of pink and blue flowered wallpaper, whitewashed walls against bare logs now rotted by time and termites. 
A desire to make their place beautiful. A place of warmth, a refuge from the elements. A place of love and acceptance. A place of God.

interior with drapes
Some things are familiar. Others I've never seen before.
original floor (sometime before the thirties they rebuilt the floor

Linoleum floors that look like fancy carpet. Dainty trim.

They are gone. All but one. 

My dad. 

But they remain in our hearts and in our memories. I can hear her voice. The hum of the fridge. The smell of rolls cooking in the oven. My grandma singing. We are connected forever. 

We are family. And I know, we are not so different after all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


My first national commercial. It was a fun day and believe it or not, it was a long day considering the commercial is only 30 seconds. We had rain, sun, clouds, and then more rain. The little girl in the commercial is the real star in this. I am pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Our little film

I taught a childrens acting class this past winter and had a blast doing it. I'd never taught kids or anyone before so I didn't know how well it would work, but I found out two things: kids love games, and kids love games.  So we played a lot of improv games, I taught them how to speak in front of a camera, gave them some tips on acting and auditioning, and then made a little movie for them to learn from and hopefully also have fun with.

This was my first time directing as well, unless you count my Madonna La Isla Bonita video of 1988, but I'm not counting that. I can tell you that technology has come a LONG way since the days of a VCR and a video recorder. I had to get really creative cutting and splicing using those two devices. Making movies is way cooler these days with all the apps and great computers we have.

So here it is, my kids acting debut titled, Lemonade Stand. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hello Flo's Hilarious New Tampon Ad, 'First Moon Party'

Confessions of a Hopeless Pre-pubescent

First off, this post has nothing to do with writing or anything except my sister-in-law sent me the funniest commercial! *Men and boys will not want to read this. Trust me. Stop here.

She sent it to me because I did something similar when I was young. Here's the story:

When I was in fourth grade, ( nine years old) I walked into my room one day and found a medium sized box sitting on my bed. It had a picture of a girl on a beach looking out into the vast ocean, all dreamy-like. Remember this? Anyone? I opened my new gift and found all these boxes with little packages of large sized band aides I assumed were to be used if you ever fell on your head and broke it in half. I was super curious, but I wasn't sure what to do with this new gift. Lucky for me my older--much older--sister was schooled in these things, so when she got home I asked her about it. Now you may be wondering why my mom didn't tell me, but that's the way it was at our house. The box was sitting there and I was left to read the pamphlet.  Plus I was number three girl and number five child and I think she didn't want to have 'The talk' again or yet or something. So she gave the job to my sister, who was more than happy to tell me a very short, vague story about some long word called MENSTRUATION. 

Apparently, my sister had "started" and my mom decided to get a 'two for one deal' and get me a box for the future. It sounded pretty cool and grown up. I couldn't wait till it was my turn, which I was sure was going to happen any day since I now had all those huge band-aids tucked under my bed. A few weeks later I went to the bathroom. (now we are getting personal, sorry.) I probably wiped a little too hard and there was a little bit of blood on the tissue. (sorry again, but what the heck.) So I told my sister, who squealed and screamed and called her friends, my other sister, my mom, my dad,(Seriously!) my brothers, (gross!) my best friend, my cousins, the old neighbor next door and anyone else she could think of. "Becky started her period!"

After my initial embarrassment wore off I went along with it, got all padded up, and waited for the magic to happen. 

It didn't. Happen. At all. Now what was I supposed to do? 

I waited some more. Still. nothing. What now? Tell them? No way!  I didn't want to admit that it had been a false alarm. Everybody had seemed so excited and surprised, like I was probably the youngest girl to ever start her period, and I didn't want to relinquish that title as I rarely won anything. 

And I kinda liked the attention. So I found a solution, because that's what I do.

I spied my sister's lipstick. It was a nice plum color. Just right, I decided, so I painted the pad with Cover Girl's continuous coverage in Passion Plum. My cousins offered me congratulations. My mom sighed, her little girl was all grown up. My sister was giddy. My stomach churned with guilt as I painstakingly covered my tracks just in case someone checked. 

I played along for several days. Too long if you were the one using the passion plum on your lips-- unaware of its alternate function. Gross!

Eventually, I couldn't keep up, nor did I want to and the lie played out. I was in fourth grade. I didn't want to deal with that crap every month for the rest of my life. So I came clean and relinquished the title and the box back under my bed where it sat for several more years. And thankfully nobody threw me a 'new moon' party. Thank you Mom.

I should have bought my sister new lipstick, but, well, I was nine and funds were scarce. So sue me. 

Maybe I should send her some new Passion Plum Cover Girl lipstick. What is the statute of limitations on a thing like this, anyway?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ode to Research


I'm so busy writing my novel that I haven't had time to update my blog. Today I am forcing myself to say hi. So...Hi. How's your summer going? It's going great at our house. Have any fun plans? We have a few that are always subject to change, as life is never dull. Speaking of life, life has changed dramatically since I began writing five years ago. My kids are growing up, they are more independent and two of them have jobs! One will be leaving us in the fall and our number will diminish to four "full-time" children. These days they need me physically less, mentally more. It's a challenge. It's also wonderful. I may get this book finished by the end of the summer. That would be exciting! I'm on page 175, not that I'm counting.

Today I want to talk a bit about the importance of research. I have done more research on this book than on any other novel ever-put together! I find that when you have a prayer in your heart the Lord will bless you in your efforts, even when you are writing a  love story. I have had some interesting experiences while writing this manuscript. I wish I could share them now, but I think I better hold on a bit longer. What I will say is that if you are writing a novel do not underestimate the importance of research. True life is often stranger than fiction, and if you dig deep enough there is a story or a certain item that will enliven your current w.i.p., leaving you with something far better than what you could come up with alone. Keep at it, dig until you find that nugget that is waiting for you. I've found a few wonderful gold pieces that not only make my story better, but also teach me something about myself, or life in general. I love writing! So don't forget about me. I'll have something really fun for you to read soon.

Here's the deal, I'll keep writing, and you keep doing what you're doing and we'll all meet later in the fall. Deal? Deal.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Two years ago I ventured out on my self-publishing journey with nothing more than determination and a will to dive in without worrying too much about the consequences. (That's the three in me, but we'll save that discussion for another day.)

First, The Sand Bar, came out in March of 2012 and then almost exactly a year later my second novel, Far From Perfect followed. I am really proud of these two books, and really proud of the fact that I pushed myself to do something difficult and uncomfortable. 

I remember when I first started writing, I would write a page and then self-edit the heck out of it for fear of what others might think. "What if they think that's what I think or do or say?  What if they realize that is something I struggle with, too?" Eventually I stopped doing that. I stopped because I looked at all the books I love and saw that the authors had to do the same thing (be honest,) and I loved them for it. And the ones that were too worried about what others thought usually fell a little flat for me. 

So today is a celebration of will, and guts, and the ability to learn, cause I've learned a ton, because if I'd really known how much I didn't know about writing I never would have ventured into the big bad world of fiction. But then again, with that attitude, I never would have had five kids or gotten married, or most anything else I've done that was hard. 

So the moral of the story is... Go FOR YOUR DREAMS! If you love something, DO IT! It doesn't matter  how old you are or if you got your degree in it, If you love it enough you'll learn how to be successful in it. (Of course, if you want to be a brain surgeon,  go to school first!) 

Forget about the doubters, the heavy-handers, the negative Nellies, the bottom feeders--those that think you should stick to the script that they have written for you-- they really don't matter. There will be enough supporters, fans, and people cheering you on that all of the other stuff will be simply irrelevant. 

Mostly though, I want to thank YOU, my faithful, willing readers! Thanks for taking a chance on me, for ordering/downloading my books and then giving feedback on Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon and anywhere else. I appreciate you all!!! I am still amazed how many hits my blog gets, and I'm pleasantly surprised to receive royalty checks for my books in the mail. Who knew!

*As an update, I am busy writing my next novel and am having such a great time at it. I LOVE this story so much and I hope to get it out to the public by the end of the year, but then again, maybe I should just wait until February or March and stay consistent.  It's all in my head, but it takes a while to get it written out.

In the mean time, enjoy the song I sing almost every day in my shower. I know you do too!
Happy spring faithful readers!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

And Now you know... the rest of the story

Wrap up session

I have a few loose strings I'd like to take care of today. There is nothing more annoying than a story that leaves some important plot points undone like untied shoelaces. It's a recipe for disaster, especially if you're on a bike. Though for me it wasn't shoelaces that caused the unfortunate crash of 1980. It was my protruding bellbottoms that got stuck in the chain of my next door neighbor Mark's bike. I guess I didn't have a bike yet and I remember his sister Leann helping me learn to ride on the road. I believe it ended with severe road rash, but that isn't nearly as bad as what happened to said neighbor, Mark when I dared him to ride his tricycle down their front steps. The blood stain never did fully disappear from the sidewalk after that head injury. For years I cried in my head, "Out damn spot, Out!" But it just wouldn't go away. Poor Mark. I'm not sure if he or his family has ever forgiven me for that one. Wait a minute, I think, by the way Mark kissed me in the playhouse in 1981 that he forgave me after all. Sorry Mark for splashing our secret love affair all over the blogosphere. By the way, any kiss given before sixth grade does not count in my book. I was hot lips Hoolihan up until fifth grade. Then things turned pretty cold.

Back to the subject at hand. I bet you want to know what happened this week when I went to my Jam class. Well, what happened is this. The Silver Sneakers showed up with headbands, warm up suits and sour looks on their faces. We met in the back alley way, circled for a bit while they called us ninimuggins and bumbusus and we danced circles around them while Pink sang out about wanting to start a fight in the background. "We're all gonna get in a fight!"

Actually, it's pretty anti-climatic. My instructor got there way early and talked to the class before her and informed her of the pain and suffering we experience every time they are late, which is most of the time. So they wrapped it up in a timely fashion and got out of there by two after. During my class I watched for the "silver sneakers" to show up. Guess what time some of them show up to wait? Like fifteen minutes early! I am here to tell them that we will NEVER get out early. Not even one minute early. Ever. What are they doing standing out there so eagerly? They got a special chair they have their eye set on? 

                 "I must get the third one from the bottom! The legs are   perfectly square to the floor. It doesn't wabble, even a little. Perfectly square, I tell ya! It's a beautiful thing."

So...we still skipped cool down again, for fear of a second showing of Pirañas of Kaysville, but there were no words spoken between any of us. It was unusually quiet as we left and they came in. It's the Jets and the Sharks I tell ya and this story ain't over yet! Just a cool down period. Stay cool boy, real cool. I fear there is more to come...

Wrap up number dos: The musical of all musicals. It's going pretty well. Sorry, another anticlimactic ending. After consistently going up the wrong stairs, in the out and speaking lines to the wrong person, I think I have finally figured it all out. Now that doesn't mean I get my lines perfect every time, but I'm getting there.  I'm finding my footing, and man does it feel good.  I will add this. I LOVE, that's L-O-V-E being on stage. Something comes alive inside me that has been dormant for a long time. I love it. Did I mention that I love it already?

Wrap up number tres: I got a new computer!!! Due to my loving husband, I am the owner of a brand spankin' new computer. To pay him back I will be doing some accounting for his business. This is a joke. You don't want me to do your accounting. I'm a very good estimator, but I haven't balanced a checkbook in fifteen years. Oh who am I kidding. I never balanced a checkbook. Like ever. 

Speaking of love, I was going to write a segment on a movie I saw recently for Valentines day, but the movie sucked too much to even bother. Like double digits stinkathon. Super disappointing. It had all the right ingredients and then fell flat as a pancake. I'm not going to tell you what the movie was, but I will tell you that it had an all star cast and still bombed. As the saying goes, you can have the best actors in the world, but a bad script is still a bad script! I mean it had everything going for it! Collin Ferrill people! Russell Crowe. Good heavens, they could have had Laurence Olivier and it would have still bombed in the theater. Very disappointing. So, happy Valentines Day to all of you that care about such things.

Enjoy a little jets and sharks on this snowy Wednesday. They make dancing look almost cool!

P.S. Is it bad that I had my kids ride their bikes to school this morning and now it is snowing like crazy? Maybe I should have checked the weather, but I'm a hardcore mom like that. No snow on the ground and it's over twenty-five degrees?

    "It's almost spring, get on your bikes and ride like the wind!" 
    "But mom, it's supposed to..."
    "No buts! Get going or you'll be late. And you might want to
    take an umbrella...and some snow boots...and don't forget your
    mittens...mommy loves you!" Slam!

Happy day!

West Side Story - Cool (1961) HD

Monday, February 10, 2014

Three Minutes won't Kill you...then again, you're old, maybe it will.

Dear Old people at the gym,

I see you standing outside the room, pacing like old, feeble cheetahs. Your gold wristwatches scream  one minute to eleven, and we're still doing our work out. The nerve! This is not the first time we've been a minute or two late, but this time your patience has warn as thin as your hair. You've been pushed around enough. This is the last time you will make it home for your daily chicken noodle soup ten minutes past noon. It's an outrage!  Your sallow skin grows warm and almost turns flesh colored. Your breathing accelerates. Your anger mounts. "Let's swarm them!" Someone calls out. Probably the eighty year old woman that can hardly walk wearing her nicest chino slacks and polo blouse. And, are those earrings and pearls? This is a work out, right?

 I recognize that your time is precious. Probably more precious than mine. After all, I only have five children that go to three different schools, two businesses, a husband, a dog, a fish, and a hamster and a  house and three cars that need tending to. I totally understand your plight. You are nearly dead and there's only four more hours to get your workout in and to your early bird buffet before you call it a day. You're busy, I get it. There's lunch at noon and bingo at two. And who can skip lunch? I can't, can you? Especially when you've got medication to take and your bowels don't work after six pm. I'm nearly there myself, so believe me when I say, I get it. But in having empathy for your shortening time on earth and your OCD type desire to be punctual, can I offer a thought? Just something to consider? I know it may be a generations gap thing, but I might have something to offer you. My thought...

It's only three minutes. Three minutes is all it is. Think about it. Three minutes is how long it takes you to buckle your seat belt, or walk up the stairs at the gym. I know because I usually get stuck behind you. Three minutes is how long it takes you to  decide that it's finally safe to turn left. Again, I know because I'm usually behind you as you slowly creep onto the busy road and I have to slam on my brakes to wait for you. You seldom acknowledge me as you roll your giant Cadillac into oncoming traffic. I'm not sure if you even realize that you now have at least a half a dozen cars lined up behind you. And when I have to wait for you to cross the road and watch your little legs toddle to and fro when I'm in a hurry, I have to remind myself that it's only three minutes. And three minutes won't kill anybody. Then again...

One other thing. Perhaps, as wise as you are now that your nearly a centurion, you might realize that being rude will not help you get into heaven any faster, and at your age, I'd like to think that being kind and looking to understand that maybe there was a legitimate reason why we were late, would be your number one goal, seeing as how you will be meeting your maker any day. Swarming a class and yelling at it's participants is shallow and insulting. Unlike a fine wine, class is something that doesn't just come with age. I saw that today. I hope that you still have enough time to find you some. Because you were right about one thing. Time is precious, and yours is running out.

You're welcome, and have a nice day.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Joshua Radin-Brand new day

Manure stinks and other Valentine stories

I'm going to delve into a topic that I rarely explore. Manure. So if you're not into that feel free to read one of my prior posts.

Don't let my Idaho accent fool you. I wasn't raised on a  farm, but I've always felt like I could handle hard work-- for a girl who wasn't raised on a farm-- of course. Keep in mind that the idea of what hard work is, is all relative. 

Anyway, last year I was researching for a potential story and I offered to help the local rancher neighbor give shots to their cows while the local vet checked to see if the cows were pregnant. It was an eye opening experience. It was rainy, muddy, cold, and poopy. Those cows, all two hundred of them had a synchronized case of diarrhea. They went when and where they wanted, including all over each other... and me! It was gross. 

Then came the needles. I am horribly afraid of needles, and cows, and manure, and blistery, cold, miserable weather. It was a challenge, but I was determined to stick it out. I did pretty well until I poked my thumb with the enormous needle while simultaneously having poop flung across my face and into my mouth by a disgruntled cow who wanted out of the stocks. Did you hear all that? Needle in thumb, poop in mouth, cold rain pouring down face--all for research. That kind of did me in. Weak in the knees, I resigned as shot giver and retracted to the nearest truck to recover from the shock and wash my mouth out with hydrogen chloride.

As more than a year has past since that experience I have had time to reflect on it and I can say, looking back, that I am really glad I did it. I learned more about ranching and I have a greater appreciation for what they do. It's a tough business and while I don't want to do it again,  I do appreciate what I learned. I will also say I had a hard time eating meat for about three months after that. But I'm fine now, thanks. 

Life can be like that too. You can feel stuck in the manure of life, barely holding on, needles pointed in our every direction while even more challenges and difficulties swirl like howling winds around your head. The beasts of trial and weakness inflict us at every turn, leaving some of us on our knees begging for mercy or help when it seems like no one hears our cries or really cares. Sometimes it seems we are judged harshly and not understood by even our most intimate of associates. Sometimes we don't understand why things happen. Sometimes there really is no answer.

I have friends who have lost spouses and children and have wondered why or what was the good to be learned from it all. I have no answer for them. Some things have no real answers or if they do it will only be had in the next life. Sometimes the answer is simply, "I don't know, but we are promised that everything that happens is for our good and learning." Easy to say, hard to swallow.

Philip Seymour-Hofman is one of those most recently hit by the fiery darts of life. He was an excellent actor and yet his demons must have tormented him endlessly. I am sorry for him and for his loved ones who have lost a father and friend. I hold no judgement against him and only pray  he can feel the peace of God's love now. And I pray for anyone else out there who struggles with addiction by taking it day by day as they work to overcome their own challenges. You have my love, prayers, and understanding for such a difficult life-long struggle. 

I have a dear friend who was recently diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She has already been through so much with a chronic bad back and know she's had at least two surgeries trying to alleviate the pain she has endured for several years. Now she is going through chemo with three small children at her side. Yet she doesn't complain. Through it all she is hopeful and optimistic. She is one of my best friends though she moved away several years ago. I don't have a lot of best friends.  I'm too much of an introvert and too picky about who I want to hang out with. But what I love about her is she likes me for me. She laughs at my antics and keeps me grounded about what really matters in life. I know that no matter what I will always be her friend. I have my own trials. I wish I didn't have to go through the things I have to go through. But somehow, I know it is all part of the plan. The pain, the suffering, the sickness, all of it is for our growth, but man is that growth painful sometimes. It can be discouraging. It can feel hopeless. Yet, I know that through the mud and muck there is a sunset and warm arms to surround us like a blanket that offers hope for better days. There is help given by God's angels dressed up as our neighbors and friends, concerned for our well-being. I've had a few of those serve me recently. I am so grateful for their friendship that is honest and heartfelt because they do only one thing: they love me for me. What a wonderful gift.

So if your life feels like it's stuck in the mud. If you feel like you are covered in manure or that you are cold and wet from the elements, seek shelter in the nearest truck you can find. I am here for you if only by this association. I offer hope and love and absolutely no judgement. You can rest safely near by. 

...After we get you hosed off, of course.

Thanks Steve for reminding me that George Castanza always says it best.

Fear vs Panic

I heard a great quote today while I was watching a movie. I say watching because I was at the gym and the sound was muted. It was a surfer movie with Gerard Butler and the cutest curly haired boy I've ever seen. So adorable. Don't know his name or the name of the movie, but in a teaching moment Gerard's character reminds the boy that Fear and Panic are two different things. "Fear is healthy. It helps you recognize danger and to act accordingly. Panic will only kill you." I thought that was pretty good advice, especially for a surfer dude. So I thought I'd pass it on.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014



It's true. For two weeks I have been computer less, which means, having less than a computer. It's a long story...well, it's not really. First, my ten year old spilled lemonade on my keyboard and failed to tell me until it was too late. I remember saying something like, "Why is this computer going crazy and making a funny gurgling sound!" Dead. Then, a month later, while using the kids' computer  I hurriedly picked it up to take into the other room and failed to notice that it was still plugged in. The plug and I played tugawar and the plug won. The computer fell out of my arms and onto the hardwood kitchen floor. I lay over it like a long beloved kitten that I accidentally might have run over, hoping that with love and the proper amount of CPR I could bring it back to life. The cat was an obvious goner, but the computer seemed to have some life in it as it sputtered and churned trying to come back to life. But in the end it too lay cold and lifeless like Shadow, the mouse killing champion.

Two computers down in one month. Their warranties have long since expired, as have their lives. Just to get the hard drive is going to cost 250. The computer is eight years old. I'll be lucky to get the hard drive copied off let alone have the repair guys bring it back to life for another two hundred to five hundred dollars. Might as well bury it next to Shadow in the backyard.

Now I have no computer. I don't know what to do. I should go get a job because there is no way I am just going to clean all day long. No sir, not me. I keep the house tidy, but I am not a maid. (my family hears this quite often, usually with a raised voice and shoes and socks flying in different directions.)

cleanhouse.jpg Before I wrote, I took care of little babies. My own. Then I discovered writing and my kids grew older and I've never looked back. And my babies grew bigger and went off to school. But this new life of no computer and no babies is empty and wrong and boring. And I never get bored. I wander from room to room with no purpose.  Of course, I could clean closets or under beds, or get on my hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor, but then what? What's my reward? A clean house? I know that is what some people get off on, but me...not so much. I like a clean house, but I like to do other things as well. And as soon as the kids get home it will be dirty again and I'll be playing chauffeur and then where is my creative me time? I feel like falling on the floor and kicking and screaming and throwing a down right pity party. But I won't because I am a grown up. Instead, I will pull out the ice cream and have a spoonful...or three.

I have a rule about the TV never being on during the day, but I've broken it at least three times in the last week as I find myself curled up in a blanket watching a movie at 11:30 in the morning. Okay, I don't just find myself there like I was knocked unconscious or something. Let's be honest, I purposefully put myself there, but sometimes I wonder how it happened. Maybe I'm sleep walking. And the ice cream! Heaven help me with the needless calories!!!

I've come to the conclusion that no matter what the bank account says, and being January I can tell you it says, "Don't even think about it" I must get a computer. I was waiting until I could get the, you know, the big one, the creme de la creme of computers, but at this point I am ready to go down to the local electronics store and buy the cheapest version they have. I'll go back for the big guy later...when my ship comes in or I row out to it. I gotta do something and soon. I started watching the midwives series on Netflix. Now I'll never get anything done, except gather a second chin and cry my eyes out all day. Not productive. Not any way to live my life.

Any suggestions regarding a cheap good computer?

Monday, January 13, 2014

My life is a comedy act waiting to be discovered.

I promised to give you the comedy details of my first week at rehearsals and I always keep my promises so let's cut out the fat and get to the pudding.

 Let's start with day One:

Let's  title this, "You can call me Lucille Ball."

When I went to our initial meeting I was given a script, but no folder to put the loose papers in. The day of my first real practice I grabbed a used, but empty folder from the cupboard and stuffed the papers in the side pockets thinking that later (I'm always thinking later), I'll punch holes and put it in a better binder...or something. I'd also been advised to bring something to record with to the musical practices. I thought I would use my phone, though I don't actually know how to do that, so trying to think ahead I had a plan b. I asked my son to go find that tape recorder they play with sometimes. Yes, you heard right. I said TAPE RECORDER. Just in case you don't know what that is here is a definition, at least about the tape cassette.

Noun1.cassette tape - a cassette that contains magnetic tapecassette tape - a cassette that contains magnetic tape
cassette - a container that holds a magnetic tape used for recording or playing sound or video
mag tapemagnetic tapetape - memory device consisting of a long thin plastic strip coated with iron oxide; used to record audio or video signals or to store computer information; "he took along a dozen tapes to record the interview"

I don't know where this thing came from, but it has been floating around our house for at least a couple years. It doesn't work so well, but I am a tape recorder fix-a-lot-er so there was no worries. Back in the day I removed more jammed Madonna tapes from my car tape deck than you could La isla Bonita with the material girl herself in a year. Rewind button broken? No problem. Turn it over to the other side and fast-forward a ways, then flip it back over and walla, your back to the beginning of Glenn Medeiros Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You
Won't record? Hold the tape down half way. Or how about twisted ribbon on the wheel, or what to do when your little baby or brother has taken to the tape ribbon like it was some kind of pull string toy and left it in a heap like cow dung on the living room floor. Pencils come in handy then. And if you ever wondered why I had one of my moms kitchen knives in my car, well, they came in handy when I couldn't get that tape out of the deck.

I'm getting off topic. Let me reign myself back in...but while I type I think I'll listen to Madonna's, Like a prayer to keep with the nun theme. Sort of.

So I get there. I look around and see that OTHER people have put a bit more thought into their folders. Several have had their scripts professionally bound. What a good idea. And those that didn't bind them had carefully placed them in sheet protectors and organized them by scene, tabbed and color coded in nice three ring binders.Perhaps it was just my pride that made it difficult to pull out my sons old folder with Science scribbled in seventh grade penmanship across the front, but this really set me back. I was quite embarrassed and wanted to hide all my stuff under my coat which was suddenly sitting on my lap.

When the director asked us to go to scene two, I shifted through my papers and pulled them out only to have three or four extras grab hold and go floating all over the floor. While everyone else spoke their lines, I crawled on hands and knees after runaway scenes three and four that had scattered under chairs and under foot. When I caught those  little naughty papers I spent the next little while trying to get them back in order. When pages are printed front and back I get easily confused. I was lost half the time. When she told me to counter cross and I looked at her blankly, it wasn't just because I wasn't sure what that meant, but also I was on the wrong page. Again. Still.

Then it was time to go over the music. Wait a minute. Where was my music? Oh yeah. They sent it in an email and I hadn't printed it off yet as I was feeling lazy...I mean, I was thinking I would use my phone and just look at the music from the actual attachment. See how environmentally friendly I can be? I reached into my bag to pull my phone out. No phone. I searched my coat pockets. No phone. Crap! Where is my phone? I realized eventually that I'd left it at home. Something I never do, but in my haste had done.

So I had no music and no phone. Everyone around me used their color coded tabs to find the right song. Wanting to look professional I shuffled some more papers around. Actually, I didn't have to pretend. My pages were so messed up I had Maria and the Captain professing their love on one page and on the next page he was blowing his whistle at her as he introduced her to the children. Finally I confessed to the girl next to me that I didn't have any music with me and could I share with her? She was nice enough to share, but I could tell that her binder felt too heavy for her to hold out to me, and she was sniffing and wiping her nose constantly which made me a little worried I would catch whatever she had, but I didn't want to seem ungrateful, so eventually, to spread the love, I began looking at another person's well-organized binder to give her a break.

Now here comes the best part. The director instructed us to pull out our recording devices "now." Wanting to be obedient I complied quickly, pulling out my ancient looking tape recorder only one step up from my kids old Fisher Price Recorder, (man I had fun with that toy). I mean my kids had fun with that toy. I looked around and realized that EVERYONE else was using their fancy dancy iphones. And then there was Becky with her 1990 (maybe, could be older) big black monstrous looking tape recorder taking up her whole lap like a big black metal box of shame.

"Record now!" She said. Just as I pushed on the record and play button the room became eerily silent. The tape made a sickening screechy sound that echoed throughout the room and caught too many peoples attention. It kind of sounded like the tape was being massacred. Almost as horrible as fingernails on a chalkboard.

Side note. Did you know that there are kids out there that don't know what that sounds like? True story. They have white boards at schools nowadays. The idea of fingernails scraping a chalkboard doesn't leave my kids squirming. They just stare at me with blank faces, like, "Yeah? That's the best you got?"

I'm getting old.

I hid my giant recording device under my collection of loose papers. I didn't want anyone to see it. It refused to record of course, so I  had to hold the play/record button down midway the whole time which left me with no free hands and a very red face. I got through it though and the minute we finished I shoved that black contraption into my very large handbag and swore that no amount of wanting to please the director would convince me to use that ever again.

The rest of practice went quite well. I was surrounded by amazing singers. I left feeling so excited to be a part of such a talented cast and I was reminded how much I love this kind of thing and even told a lady as we exited the building how excited I was. She smiled politely at me. She probably remembered me as being the unprepared one. Then I went right to the store and bought a new binder and two packages of sheet protectors. Haven't tabbed it yet, but I think it's a good idea. Then I printed off all my music.

I may not have made a great first impression, but I'm determined to be the black horse in this little production. Or maybe the blue horse, or red. I like red as well.

*In case you are wondering, I tried to listen to the recording of the nuns songs on my recorder. It didn't work so well. It was too slow, too fast, muffled, (probably because I was hiding it under my papers),  horrible and made my kids laugh. Made me laugh too. Then I had my son show me how to record on my phone. No more looking like a fool Mr. T. Or  rather, Mrs. B.

Friday, January 10, 2014

THIRD TIMES A CHARM and other auditioning wisdom.

For the past twenty years my time at home verses time away from home has been about a 95/5% ratio. In the past ten years it has become more like 85/15%. My days are as follows: I get up, get kids off, or at least say goodbye to the early birds, go to the gym, come home, do the breakfast thing, do the get ready for the day thing, check facebook thing, do a chore thing and then settle down for some writing or reading. 

Occasionally, I audition for a movie or a play or a commercial, but this is only occasionally. Occasionally, I actually get a call back or a part in a short film or a commercial , but this is occasionally. Occasionally I take an acting class that runs for a few weeks or so. 

Most of the time I am home when my kids get home. Most of the time I get them to their activities. Most of the time I make dinner, I try to get people to help me clean up. I try to help with homework, but my older kids know they should go right to dad. I usually am home to put people to bed or at least beg and plead that they please go to bed so that I can. That's about the gist of it. It's not that exciting.  And this is the way I have chosen to live my life. But as my kids grow older, the opportunity to do something for myself has grown as well. So a few years ago I decided that maybe I'd audition for a play. It didn't go so well...

...Let me start this off by saying that I love the theater. I used to be in lots of plays. Then I decided I wasn't good enough and changed my major to something I was even less gifted in. How I wish I could do college over. Then I got married. Then I had a baby. Then we moved to another state. Then I got the acting bug again. I got professional headshots and tried out for a play and even made callbacks, but didn't get a part. I was also pregnant with my second child. With one car and no family to help out, I realized it would put a strain on my young family so I put acting on a very back burner. Then we moved. Then we had another child. We moved again. Then I had another child. Then I got the bug again. 

If you're counting you'll know we now had four kids. While we were within a days drive, we were still not close to family. However, we did have two cars and my eight year old was pretty mature for his age so he was almost old enough to babysit so the possibility of doing some sort of local theater was opening up. (kidding about the eight year old thing.)

So I auditioned for the community play. It was Annie. I didn't have a lead, but I did have a few lines and I learned to tap dance. With four kids, the youngest being a year old and the oldest being eight, it felt great to do something other than change diapers and do dishes all day.  The next year I auditioned again and got the part of tap dancer. I could see I was becoming "tap" casted, so I turned them down and decided to take the summer off.

Then I had another child. Then we moved. Then we lived in the country where there weren't any theaters nearby and I didn't even know where to begin. I'm pretty content to stay home and I felt pretty busy with my now large family so I didn't think too much about acting. Then I learned that I loved to write and was okay with not acting. Then we moved again, back to the city where volunteer musical theater is like a profession for some people. (They take their theater seriously here). The bug to act came back in full force. I started taking acting lessons and auditioned for a few bit parts in films, but I still longed to be on the stage. 

Eventually, I looked up auditions at different local theaters. I'm so unsure of myself that even putting my foot out there that much felt like a stretch. I let several pass me by before gathering the courage to audition for Scarlet Pimpernel. I was so nervous, but after I did it I really felt great and I walked out of the theater flying high, sure I would get a call back.  At the time I said I would only accept a  major role and I might have also added I had a few calender conflicts.  I mean, I will only accept a lead even though it had been nearly twenty years since I'd had a lead? Delusions of grandeur.

 I didn't get a call back.

I licked my wounds and worked up the courage to audition again about six months later, this time for The Secret Garden. This time I said I would accept any role and I didn't say I had any conflicts. I just wanted to be in a  play! But I made one fatal flaw. One I realized too late. I noticed that no one had sung anything from that play. I began to connect the dots. "Maybe you aren't supposed to sing a song from the play for which you are auditioning. After all, they might get tired of hearing 100 versions of How could I ever know. I panicked. I had prepared that song from The Secret Garden! I asked a girl if I could look at her music book so I could pick another song. My fingers fumbled clumsily over her huge selection of music. I could hardly think straight. I realized that I wouldn't know the words and I'd be a wreck. I gave it back to her and stewed about what to do. When they called my name I profusely apologized for preparing a song from the very play I was trying out for. I'm sure my face was bright red as they all looked at me with sympathetic, yet unimpressed faces. I sang the song, but knew I probably wouldn't get a call back. 

 I didn't get a call back.  

So I waited another year to gather the courage and try again. Third times a charm. And I wasn't going to make the same mistakes I had made in the past. 

So last month I decided to audition for The Sound of Music.  I didn't want to screw anything up this time. I made a plan and checked it twice: I prepared a song in the style of the play, but not from the play. CHECK.  I had no conflicts and I said I would accept ANY role. CHECK.  I almost wrote at the bottom, "Please, please, please have mercy and let me be in your play." I restrained myself. I dressed like a modern Maria, wearing a skirt and blouse and high boots. I probably should have put my hair up in a bun, but I didn't. (kicking myself for that one). Feeling confident, I invited my two daughters to audition with me. We practised their songs each day and I helped them learn how to audition. The day of, I picked them up from school and brought them a change of clothes so we would be on time. We stopped at daughters vocal coach's house for a quick lesson. She gave me a few pointers as well. CHECK. Time to go. Things were working like clock work. We arrived ten minutes early. CHECK.  I was so proud of my master planning. Three of us ready to go conquer the stage! 

We get out of the car. I ask daughter where the music is....we search the vehicle, my bag, under the seats...twice. NO MUSIC! I begin to panic. Five minutes till go time and we have no music. Well, I have mine, but my daughters don't have theirs. She left it at the vocal coach's house! AGH!!! I make a frantic call to my son who makes a frantic call to my husband who makes a frantic stop at the vocal coach's house. We  work like a chain passing the music from one to the next and finally to me as I race back to Kaysville to meet them at the freeway entrance.

I get back to the theater. Now I am nowhere near calm. A flustered knot of nerves is more like it. My girls are nervous wrecks. Everything I taught them flies out the window in their new found fear. However, we get through it with smiles, but secretly I am doubtful any of us will hear back. I go home feeling totally dejected while at the same time trying  not to be angry at or blame my daughter for messing up my perfectly planned audition. After all, it could have easily been me. I once went to an audition for a commercial and forgot my resume. Huge no-no! By the time I got back I was an hour late. No I didn't get that one either. Anyway, moving on to a happier side of the story....

While my two lovely daughters did not get  call backs, (after all, this was their first audition and Ellie still has braces and nobody wore braces in Austria 1939), I did get a call back, and better yet? I actually got a part in the play! I will be playing Sister Margaretta. And I am thrilled. Thrilled!

As happy as I am to have a part in this play, my absence from theater has been more than evident this last week as rehearsals have begun. More on that in my next blog. But I may have just earned myself the nickname, "Comedy Margaretta".

More to come...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson (Lyrics Music Video) Kinetic Typography

Resolution Party going on right now

It's that time of year for the left part of my person, or is it right? Yes, maybe it is the right portion of my brain, (see, I'm so unfamiliar with it I don't even know where it resides--or shall I say hides out-- most of the year) to come out and play.

  1. 1.
    a firm decision to do or not to do something.
    "she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more"

  2. 2.  the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
  3. "the peaceful resolution of all disputes"
    synonyms:solution to, answer to, end to, ending to, settlement of, conclusion to


If you were to dissect Becky into words you'd find a plethora-- and yes I do know what that word means-- of words like, flighty, romantic, unsure, insecure, hopeful, loyal, etc etc. There would only be bits of  dignified ones like: plan, decision, action, aim, firm, etc, etc scattered about like discarded flakes of salt. While I love all of those qualities in other people I just don't have it running thick through my blood. A post about that will follow shortly.

However, come January first,  a shot, and I mean it truly feels like a shot of adrenaline, bursts through my veins just as the last box of Christmas is put away. I feel a resolution to change. Gone are the cut corners, I don't think I'll go to the gym today and yes I will eat that third cookie that is  taunting me from the kitchen, Becky. Gone is the girl who can't decide what curtains to put in the windows. And gone is the girl that has no idea at three o'clock in the afternoon what to make for dinner. Not even a clue. That girl is no more! Pinterest comes alive,  ideas pile up on my boards. Meal plans abound. Curtain ideas are plentiful. "How to be organized, How to teach your kids responsibility, How to keep on top of the clutter, How to be more thankful, How to live on a budget, how to establish rules, how to spend quality time with your spouse, all become feats I am determined to conquer. I am woman and hear me roar!!! 

I go like gangbusters through the house tearing apart closets, drawers, moving furniture, cleaning old dusty bookshelves that haven't seen  the likes of a duster in six months with the determination and positive attitude of Mary Poppins. Lego pieces long abandoned on the floor, that only a week before I had consciously, or unconsciously stepped over, are picked up and put away or thrown away, (I mean seriously, how many Lego pieces does one really need? And yes, I did throw that tire away. I don't know what Lego set it went to, but they will have to live with one less tire on their spacecraft-- I'm sure they'll be fine) and whatever else lay in my path. I'm like a tornado on speed (which is worse than a regular tornado, of course),  and man does it feel good. 

Unfortunately, as the case usually is, you never know when my adrenaline-d junky self will go from 100 to 0. I can be in the middle of a closet, clothes laid out in piles of "Too small", "Too big,", "How the heck did this get in here?" and "Not even the DI would take this," and suddenly a light goes out inside me. Turn off the power to the Death Star, Becky is so over this.

"Okay, I think I'm done. Is that a cookie calling my name from the kitchen? And where is that book I got for Christmas? I haven't even opened it yet"

The clothing is often shoved back where it came from until the urge to clean strikes once again around spring.

Of course, I'd like to say I was joking about all that, but unfortunately, as was the case yesterday in my son's closet, "it" happens.  I justify my lost interest by deciding that this organization party can wait until next week, or until warmer weather hits, like, say... June

But before you think all is lost, that is, Becky is a lost cause, which might very well be true, you should see my family room. It looks awesome! Last night I sat on my new sofa and stared at the cleanliness and simplicity of a streamlined space for like a half hour all alone. It was a thing of beauty. And then I ate a piece of pumpkin pie.* At eleven o'clock at night. 

*The healthy living Becky will come out tomorrow, because after all, tomorrow is another day!

So, what kind of person are you? A deep cleaner every three months like me, or keep things neat and tidy by putting the house to bed every night like I think I will be but never am. Frowny face.

Enjoy the videos. I especially like Kelly Clarkson's song called "People like us". Sadly, I couldn't find a video, but this way you can sing along with the words. Sort of like Blogger Karaoke.

Happy Resolutions making and then keeping.