Thursday, August 30, 2012


Hello 40's!  Nice to meet ya'.  Let's see what kind of trouble we can get into, shall we?

Exactly 40 years ago today (August 31), I came out backwards. I think that means something. And as I sit here and watch the last 20 minutes of my 30's wind down, I realize that birthdays aren't as bad as I thought.

Things could be worse.

For instance, tonight at my daughter's lacrosse practice, one of her coaches hobbled over to the parents on the sidelines in a boot cast.

Us:  "How did that happen?"
Him: "I got blowed up."
Us: "Come again?"
Him: (who I should mention is a member of the police SWAT team): "Well, we were trying to get the Chicken Man out of his house, and he set off a bomb, so I had to dive into the bushes and this is what happened."

I am very sorry to hear about the Chicken Man. I don't know why he blew up his house, or why the SWAT Team was called in, but this story intrigues me on many levels.  Number 1, I've always wanted to be a cop.  Number 2, I love chickens.  And Number 3, it did not happen on my birthday.

For you see, sometimes bad things have happened on my birthday.  Things I don't want to dwell on because they are in the past.  But I did think, at one point, that I was jinxed.

And now I know, whether it be the wisdom of age or the blessings of time, that I have not been jinxed, but granted abundant grace.  Being 40, to me, means that I have figured it all out.  I've got my family, my friends, my health (although I do have some twinges in my back and a weird mole) and a stability that has eluded me until this point in my life.

Today, my son and I were in the car together and he asked me what I was like as a kid.  I told him, "Honestly, I was quiet and shy and nerdy." 

He couldn't believe it, but you know what, it was the truth.  And I wouldn't change a thing.  Because today, I am confident, self-aware, and don't give too much of a sh*t what people think (unless they are mad at me, and then I'm sorry).

So here's to you 40!  Bring it on.  I double dog dare ya' - and you know I mean it.

Until next time, keep crowin' and blowin' out the candles!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Naughty Bits

There have been several events or aspects of my life lately that all have elements of naughty in them. Bad dogs, prank phone calls, boundary-blurring bosses, and a memorable girls' trip, to name a few. I present them to you now, in snippets.

I only have one dog that is bad, but they both have issues. I recently discovered a wonderful website that publicly shames pets who have misbehaved. You can find it by clicking here.

In that spirit, I would like to announce the shortcomings of my beloved pooches, in the hopes they will be inspired to reform their ways.  Because I am really tired of shopping for new panties.


On Saturday morning, just before I was about to leave for a staycation, I received a call from a woman who knew my husband's name and told me that he was sending lurid messages to young girls, as well as parking outside their apartment.  I explained to her that she had the wrong number, and she proceeded to call me a dumb b*tch.  Naturally, I hung up, but she called again, and this time my husband took the call.  He could not get a word in edgewise, so he hung up as well.  And then called the police, who told him there was nothing they could do about Crazy.

We like to call the police. When my husband and I left home and were living in an apartment in the big city, we got prank calls all the time. One "regular" was a man who was sure that we were Jehovah's Witness pastors, and were preventing his estranged son from having a birthday party.  Another call was from a wedding planning vendor, who took issue when my husband returned his call at 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday night. The man had called me by my first name in his voicemail, which freaked us out. And then yelled at us for calling so late. So, you guessed it, we called the police.  They actually came and told us, as kindly as possible, that perhaps we needed to be less Crazy.

When we lived in our first home together, we called the police all the time on our neighbors, who would vandalize our yard and get in fist fights in the street.  But I am proud to report that I am 7 years "911" sober (with the exception of the time I had to call an ambulance because a desk fell on our stage manager's head during a show clean-up.).


In the year since I accepted a contract position (which means I'm not a real employee and not worth listing on the company website) I have been asked to do ridiculous things for free.  Firstly, I created 4 logos and other design elements for a co-worker's birthday party, to which I was not invited. Most recently, I was asked to produce 3 book covers in 24 hours for a piece on prostate cancer for one of my boss' volunteer hobbies. She said, and I quote, "I said you would do it because I told you to." Someone was big pimpin' and I was the dumb b*tch that let it happen.  So much for Tawanda.  But, in the end, my boss was grateful and realized perhaps this was beyond the scope of my job, and gave me a bonus, which I'm using to buy new panties. (See #1).


The staycation I just enjoyed (See #2) was a lovely outing with 9 friends to a local hotel for pool time, Thai food, and dancing.  We sowed a few wild oats, as some of us (not me) engaged in beer bong hits with frat boys via a plastic flamingo, and laughed the day away with pitchers of sangria, margarita, vodkita, etc.  I am not saying that I was naughty, because I truly believe that I was the victim of a demonic possession, as evidenced by this photo.  I am calling Ghostbusters as soon as I finish this blog:

In closing, I would like to believe that a little naughty is OK.  It spices things up, without getting everyone too hot and bothered.  I encourage everyone to add some Vitamin N to your life - just don't get too Crazy.
Until next time, keep crowin' !

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Tonight was the culmination of a year's work. It was the awards ceremony for my theater organization. This wasn't your mama's Easter Egg hunt on the church lawn. This was a full-blown, hometown Tony Awards. I am the President. The buck stops here. And I didn't have a CLUE what I was doing.

In the two weeks leading up to this event, I had tech week for another show, started my kids in their first week of school, and had a major deadline for work. Tech week, in the theater world, is a special kind of hell. You rehearse every night leading up to the show, late into the night, and then you have the show itself.

I don't know why I thought I could do a show, work, and host an awards ceremony during the first week of school.  All I can think of is that the marijuana I smoked in college is still having some residual effects.  

I auditioned for the show because it was about Elvis, and I worked at Graceland for 3 months following college. I was a secretary in the communications department, and had the distinct pleasure of repeating to outraged fans the official press release of Lisa Marie's marriage to Michael Jackson, taking agoraphobics on tours of the Jungle Room, and fielding crank calls from my mother's closeted co-worker from the Tallahassee historic home tour circuit.

I auditioned for the show because that's what I love to do, and it was a 99% female cast, which is my favorite. But, as I am sure my fellow cast mates can attest, perhaps the show did not love me. I fell asleep in a chair many nights, unable to muster up the steam to push through until curtain call.

And then there is my response to stress.  If I'm freaked, it's going to show --- I develop tumors on my face.  Not pimples - something more like hives on steroids.  I've tried and tried, but they come when they want and they leave when they are damn good and ready.  The stress level in my life was enough to roll out the red carpet for a few, and so, this morning, as I was racing around to get the ceremony ready, I welcomed a testicle on my chin.  

But I really didn't care.  Because between all the ceremony drama, like missing pianos and angry stage managers, I also had to handle a texting disaster between my daughter and her friend, as well as the realization that I didn't print the nominee certificates on the same color paper, that I had failed to secure a trophy girl, and that I actually did not have time to properly get ready for the ceremony. I wasn't even supposed to be in charge of this thing, but the board member who was in charge literally disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle of Irresponsibility.

So, after a private meltdown in my car and some gagging, I rehearsed a number for the ceremony, and then with 20 minutes until I had to open the box office, I called my husband, who is not a theater person.

Him: "Hello?"
Me: "I need you to get here as soon as possible with my red dress, open toed black shoes, nail polish, a flat iron, and a phone charger."
Him: "Hello?"

He found the red dress, which I had worn to the ceremony a few years back and apparently had failed to have dry-cleaned, because the old sweat stains lingered under the arm pittage area.  I tried to wipe them off, but new sweat found its way in. I'm not talking a little perspiration.  I am talking a full-blown, medical anomaly sweat experience.  Like when you wave at someone and smell something really bad in the wind, and then determine that YOU are the source of the odor. And that there are tributaries fanning out under your arms and you have to hold them flat at your sides to both contain the stink and the visual of the sweat.

In 5 minutes time, I threw on makeup, flat ironed the bumps out of my hair, abandoned my bra because I had forgotten to request a strapless, and, without having prepared a single word, opened the ceremony.

I have no idea what I said or how I looked, but apparently, I pulled it off.  There were a few weird noises and a reference to birthing Bette Midler, but, it seemed to work.  I got great feedback at the VIP party, and, aside from some blisters on my feet, have emerged intact.  

It will take me some time to recover, but I survived, and as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive.

Until next time, keep crowin' and don't overbook!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fake It 'Til You Make It

I love those moments when I am taken down a peg.  When I realize that we're supposed to laugh at ourselves and not take everything so seriously.

Yesterday, I took my son to his best friend's house.  His friend wasn't home, but within minutes of his mom answering the door bell, he came huffing and puffing up his driveway, having run from a neighbor's house a mile down the street.  "I heard Mrs. Paul's voice" he said.

Apparently, it travels well. 

It's one thing I've never had to worry about with acting - my projection.  Sound level, check.  Costume, check.  Memorization, checkish. Tony Award winning performance ... that's where the questions creep in.

The insecurities of theatre extend far and wide.  Actors thrive on audience reactions - which vary  depending on the time, day of the week, and proximity of performance to a bar. The happier the audience, the better the show.

Then there's the false confidence. When you think, I've nailed this. You envision yourself through the audience's eyes. In my current show, I play a prim and proper secretary to Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll.  I've got my pearls and white gloves and lilting Southern drawl.  I imagine the audience comparing my character to Jackie Kennedy or Doris Day.

And then the photographer comes and takes pictures of your performance.  And you realize that you do not look like a Steel Magnolia, but a Jersey Cow passing unexpected gas in a pasture.

After experiencing the horror of the variety of grimaces and snorks the photographer has captured, you breathe and remind yourself that it's just a show and all these expressions add to your character's charm.  And that you can't change the size of the lips or the shape of your snout. 

But, at least I know, without any hesitancy or a moment's doubt, that there is nothing I have done or will ever do, that is as uncomfortably bad as this:

Until next time, keep crowin'!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Peeing on My Trees

Remember Tawanda? In the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, she was the quiet, unassuming housewife named Evelyn Couch who couldn't even look at her own vagina.  Everyone thought she was a doormat.  Until one day ......

It happens to all of us.  That moment when we are sick and tired and just can't take it anymore.  Life's Back Up and Haul Ass Moment.

It happened to me this week. I was starting to feel like a big "Welcome" was tattooed on my forehead. So, I  spoke up. I stirred the pot. I made a nuisance of myself.  But, in the nicest possible way. And it sucked a little. Because I spoke my mind and then had to deal with the reactions of those to whom I spoke.

It was really uncomfortable because I am not that woman.  I am not the town crier.  I am the meek little mouse that usually says "yes sir" and "no ma'am" and lets it all go. Well, at least for the last 39 years, I did.

But something clicked in the last 48 hours.  I don't know if I decided that bitch begins at 40 or that I was inspired by the Olympics Volleyball Team.  Whatever it was, I let my guard down and lifted my voice up.

I'm President of a theatre organization, but the previous President is the Founder of said organization. I peed on his tree this week and I think a little splattered on him.  He says "we're cool" but that's dude for "you asshole."

I'm Chairperson of a PTA committee, and someone peed on my tree.  So, I let them know that territory was well-covered.  It freaked them out and now I've got to do a little wipe-up.  But message received.

I don't want people to think that I'm going to go all commando on them, but honestly, Tawanda is at full throttle and engaged.  If you have anything to ask me, I suggest you do it on bended knee while extending a chocolate pie towards my general direction.  'Cause homey don't play.

Until next time, keep crowin' and fight for your rights!