Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hello again.

This is my first post in a very, very long time. I can attribute that to the general at-home laziness that I have been feeling as a result of unrelenting outside-of-home business. No, wait, not "business," busy-ness. Not a word, but it's what I mean. I've been crazy busy.

Since leaving full-time employment in the theatre in mid-2008, I generally satisfy the performing urge on a fairly irregular basis; but I've been performing like mad over the last few months, which has been great, but also exhausting. Over the last few months, I've been doing a lot of singing, something which I love to do. I'm going to try to do it more often, I think.

I'm taking a break from theatre for a few months, which will hopefully result in working toward these goals in my personal life:
  • Cooking at home more often. I love cooking, but due to the general at-home laziness I mentioned above, I haven't done it enough lately. This week, however, my first one with significant time at home in months, I cooked. I cooked delicious fresh burgers made with beef from my co-worker's farm; I cooked a homemade stromboli with chicken sasage, ricotta cheese, peppers, portabellas and fresh basil; a fabulous birthday dinner for my husband's birthday (filet mignon, asparagus and smashed purple potatoes with giant chunks of garlic). I can't wait to get back into this.
  • Reading more books. Reading is one of the true joys of my life, but due to the laziness, I haven't really read anything lately. My nightstand is covered with books, waiting for my brain to be ready to absorb them. I think my brain is ready now.
  • Canning! My mother-in-law has taught me the joys of canning this past fall, and I can't wait for a summer's worth of canning. My good friend and co-worker Michele is the canning queen and she'll be showing me her secrets in the coming months. This past fall I canned jam and applesauce, but I'm looking forward to moving onto more savory treats, like tomato sauce and sauerkraut.
  • Writing. I write a newspaper column every week, which is a blessing. I manage to use my writing degree every day in my full-time job and in my column, but as a result, I don't EVER use it for fun. I used to write constantly, incessantly. Now, I don't. I'm going to set modest personal writing goals for myself, so you may see some ramblings on here in the coming months.
Well, thanks for listening. Off to tackle Mt. Laundry.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blissful Sunday in the kitchen.

There are few things that make me happier than a quiet day at home with my husband, cooking. Today, I'm enjoying just such a day. I consider myself a progressive, forward-thinking woman, but I can't deny my inherent love of feeding and doting on Robert. Plus, I love to eat food.

The day began with a yummy breakfast: spinach and cheddar scrambled eggs with uncured pepper bacon (no nitrites here!). I spent all afternoon baking pies - one pear-pomegranate, one pumpkin - and topped it off making Autumn Vegetable Soup from this fantastic cookbook, a well-used gift from my mother-in-law. I can smell the flavors simmering as I write this! Pure bliss.

I'm working toward more "conscious" eating - knowing exactly what I'm eating and eating it with love and gratefulness. I'm dong pretty well, and I feel amazing. And when I eat crappy food mindlessly, I really feel crappy, which is a great incentive. Now I just need to exercise more consistently... one thing at a time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Collect the moments one by one
I guess that's how the future's done

I've been pretty busy lately, which isn't really news. I'm always busy, and I think that I, in equal parts, thrive on it and hate it. I get bored easily, and if I am idle for too long, I feel lazy. Then I feel guilty. Is that normal?

Anyway, despite how interminably crazy my job has been lately, I have enjoyed lots of time with my husband and friends. I've done a lot of cooking, I've started exercising semi-consistently, I've lost a few pounds. I'd like to lose more pounds, but whatever. We'll see.

I turned 30, which I was expecting to be a way bigger deal than it was. I spent my birthday weekend camping with friends at Gifford Pinchot State Park, where, in an unbelievable feat of irony, we got busted for drinking beer. On my 30th freaking birthday. I couldn't help laughing to myself as we poured like 40 beers out on the ground. Ridiculous. But it was a fantastic weekend... I love camping and sleeping in a tent.

I do feel totally ready for my 30s... I sort of felt 30 as soon as I turned 29. I don't know if it was the anticipation, or that Robert was 30, but I definitely felt like it was time for me to embark on a new phase. I'm trying not to freak out about things that I feel like I should do now, (or should have done by now), and just accept that everything happens just as it's meant to.

I think I'm going to try to update this thing more often too, so we'll see how that goes.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The only pretty ringtime.

The other day, I realized I have spent the last eight springs in Reservoir Park, doing Shakespeare. It's gotten to the point where I can't remember what it was like NOT braving the elements... the interminable heat and humidity (like the last two evenings), the unseasonable cold (like the first week of May) and the perfect, seasonable evenings (like tonight)... packing my car full of clothes for all seasons, hunkering down and playing in the park.

Now that I'm no longer full-time at Gamut, my schedule really only allows me to do the Park show, which is great, because it's my favorite. I love everything about it. There's something unexplainably... well, magical I guess, even though I kind of cringe to use that word. But it certainly is a powerful experience to send your voice up the hill, to wrap it around four hundred year-old words that still matter, that still move us.

We're doing As You Like It, which I always liked, but now I love it. I'm playing Celia, who I always liked, but now I love. And we have a fabulous, talented cast. And it's free, so come see it. Bring a picnic. And if you bring wine, I won't report you to the park rangers.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Beverly L. Dow
January 1, 1931 - April 1, 2010

Is that all there is? Is that all there is?
If that's all there is, my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is.

- Peggy Lee

This week, I said goodbye to my grandmother. Her illness consumed her life over the last two years, and although it devastated our family, there is a profound sense of relief that she's no longer in pain.

I am still in Ebensburg - the tiny Western Pennsylvania mountain town where my father grew up. We were planning to leave yesterday, but on the way to the funeral on Tuesday we discovered my 2009 Honda Fit had a weird transmission problem (which turned out to be a busted throttle) that has kept my sister and I here for two extra days. I just got the word that my car will be fixed this afternoon, and we can be on our way.

And although staying here longer than we planned proved to be a bit inconvenient for our regular Harrisburg lives, it has been so nice to spend some more time with our dad and aunts and cousins... and my Pap-Pap, who's walking a little slower and is a little more quiet these last few days (except when the Pirates won against the Dodgers last night - he was jubilant). We helped write thank-you cards to the dozens of old friends who stopped by with lasagnas and pies and sandwiches, and those who donated money to the Hospice group that helped keep Gammy comfortable these last few months, and those who sent beautiful flowers to the funeral home. It was nice to be part of that.

At the funeral, I read a letter from my great aunt Pam who now lives in Australia. It spoke of all the things that she learned from Gammy, who was a good bit older than her. There were lots of beautiful sentiments, but what stuck with me the most was how Gammy taught her to let loose and love life. Almost everyone I talked with had a funny story about how much fun Gammy was - everyone had so many memories of great times with her. So do I.

A few weeks ago, when my aunts and dad were asking her what music she wanted at the funeral, she didn't really have any preferences, except for the Peggy Lee song "Is That All There Is," which is the excerpt I have listed at the top of this entry. They played it at the end of the service, when the family members were saying their last goodbyes before we took her to the cemetery. It was the most perfect, beautiful song for a woman who loved her beer and her cigarettes and her family more than anything in the world.

I will miss her so much, but it comforts me to imagine her in my fondest memories - with a salted I.C. Light from the kitchen BeerMeister and a cigarette, lounging on her brightly lit sunporch with her hair curled and her lipstick fresh, laughing.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 or bust.

I read a lot of great retrospectives on 2009 recently, so I thought I'd throw my proverbial hat in the ring and write my own. It has been quite a year for me - big milestones, small milestones... one of my resolutions for the new is being thankful for all of them.

This year I married Robert, which was by far one of the most beautiful and happiest moments in my life. Today is our five-month anniversary. Every morning I wake up thrilled and proud to be his wife, and grateful for the life we share. We've already experienced the profound loss of our first pregnancy, and as heartbreaking as that was and still is at times, we both agree that it has brought us closer together - the blessing of each other as well as the love and support of the many amazing people in our lives has helped us weather this difficult time. So although it has been a deep, difficult grief unlike any other I have experienced, I am ultimately thankful for it and am learning from it every day.

Other notable happenings this year:

~ Free Shakespeare in the Park - I realized that this summer's Cymbeline was my eighth FSIP endeavor. Yikes.
~ Read some great books - notably, Persepolis, several Christopher Moore books (I think my fave of 2009 was A Dirty Job, and Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida, which I received from my sister-in-law for Christmas and immediately devoured.
~ Cooked a LOT - the older I get, the more important cooking has become to me. I have always enjoyed it, but now I really love it - the importance of cooking for family and friends has become a very important part of my life. So come on over and I'll cook you dinner.
~ Visited Oregon for our honeymoon - we enjoyed a week in Ashland, Oregon, a place neither Robert or I had ever been, but had always wanted to go. We saw some great Shakespeare, did a lot of hiking, ate a lot of fabulous local food and walked everywhere. Total bliss.

There were many more beautiful things that happened in 2009, but I'm ready to move forward. Thank you for your friendship, and here's to a new decade.