A Disneyland kind of a day

The last time I went to Disneyland, a very very long time ago, there were two rides on my mandatory list: Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. The wait to go on each of those rides was over three hours long. So that was pretty much the whole day. Two rides, and in-between, an overpriced ice cream cone and six breaded bite-sized pieces of chicken.

Yesterday I had an 11:00 a.m. appointment to take my car in. It was an unusually busy day there and there was a line for everything, not to mention the actual car repair, which took two hours.  The entire event took four hours.  Half the day.

Then in the evening,  I went with a friend to an open house at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, a local holistic health and education center. We arrived at 6:30.  It was a good-sized, interesting looking event with vendors, displays and practitioners giving free sample sessions.

As soon as we got there, my friend got in the line for a free polarity energy adjustment. I chose the toe-reading reading line. I had never had a toe-reading before, and frankly, until tonight, I didn’t even know it was a thing. There were six people in front of me in my line.

At 8:00 pm, my friend returned to find me still sitting in there in the toe-reading line. She had just finished having her polarities adjusted and was glowing.  She looked really happy, lighter, and said the experience was amazing. I had been sitting in my own line for two hours, but I wasn’t about to get up and leave now.  I was up next.

After my free toe reading (also a very nice experience), an hour after that, I was finally ready to go explore – see the rest of the event! But everything was scheduled to close at 9:30, the crowds had thinned, and all the vendors were now packing up, preparing to go home.

I said to my friend, “Today felt like Disneyland.” 12 hours. Two rides

Tutu Memories

In headline news today at Yahoo there was a story about a little boy in a tutu. Apparently it’s been going viral. The kid was adorable.  But headline news? viral? really? I don’t get what the big deal is. Who wouldn’t want to be a fairy princess!

I was a little jealous of his cute tutu, actually, and it took me drifting down memory lane to my first experience with this coveted wardrobe item. I must’ve been around 4.  All the other little girls had them and I wanted one too, in the worst way. Both my grandmother and my mother sewed very well, and I don’t remember whether it was my mother or my grandmother who concocted this particular custom-built monstrosity for me; a pathetic looking Pepto-Bismal-colored unitard with a padded, attached stuffed animal version of a skirt that flopped heavily halfway down my legs.  I’m sure it was well-made, as far as seams and fit were concerned, but it was a sad facsimile of a tutu.  As Nina Garcia of Project Runway might have expressed had she had the pleasure of seeing this walk down the runway, “It’s well-made, but I question the taste level.” But it was the only one I had, and I know I wore it at least once.

I finally got to wear a real tutu when I was 12.  I had been taking ballet at a dance school that had two big annual events. One, the annual recital, and Two, Picture Day. Picture Day was when a professional photographer came in and every little girl enrolled there was given a tutu-rimmed ballet costume to pose in, and then they charged our parents a small fortune to order a selection of prints in different sizes.

My father liked the picture. He told me I looked beautiful and graceful.  I thought I looked like a dork. So did my brothers, of course. But that picture stood in a prominent place in my parents’ home for many years, well into my adulthood.  Many people who have visited their home since have felt free to comment on the photo.  And “beautiful” and “graceful” are not the words they use.  Fortunately, that picture  has been packed away since my parents moved out of that house over 15 years ago.  Double fortunately, Facebook was not around back then.

Not quite a supermodel

I have a tendency to knit my brows, causing a crease between my eyebrows. I recently had a photoshoot for my upcoming album.

On a bright, sunny morning, two weeks prior, my photographer and I drove out to scout the location. He had a camera with him, and immediately began shooting. He sent me some of the test shots. I don’t know if I was staring at the sun or thinking too hard or what, but in every shot I looked worried, that deep furrow between my eyes. I panicked – I didn’t think I was walking around looking like that, but, maybe I was? I said to my photographer “Omg maybe I need to get botox!” which of course was his cue to say “Don’t be ridiculous. You look fine!” But he said…. nothing. (Oh Sh#*t.)

I had no intention of getting Botox, but I was willing to try pretty much anything else. I googled “How to reduce forehead wrinkles with face yoga.” The lady in the video had impeccably smooth skin, so I tried some of the exercises. I didn’t think it could be a good thing, making my face all stretchy like that, so after a few days I stopped. But the one thing it did make me aware of was how much I do knit my brows, so I was able to become more conscious and stop doing it whenever I caught myself going there.

A few days later, I stopped in at a salon. I asked an aesthetician, “Do you have any topical Botox-like product? As a matter of fact she did. She sold me Vivierskin anti-wrinkle peptide serum which has a mild nerve/muscle relaxant. It was very expensive, but, desperate times… She also threw in a sample of C E Peptide serum  and said “Try using just one drop of this in the mornings.

After using both products for three days, I met a friend for lunch who was unaware of what I’d been up to in the beauty department.  She commented immediately, “Wow – you look great! Rested.”

“Rested.” That’s a good word. That’s the post-plastic surgery word people use when they don’t know what’s different, but something’s different – fresher, better. My friend is a gay woman in her 60’s and I’ve never seen her in any make-up. I confessed my secret to her, thinking she probably wouldn’t be that interested, but she actually was. Very. I texted her the product names as soon as I got home.

The photos came out great. Not a furrowed brow among them. If anyone were to get the award for most improved, it would be my forehead.  My triceps, on the other hand, need to get their ass back in the gym. Oh well, there’s always Photoshop.

Darned if you do and darned if you don’t and finding the balance

So I posted on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog last week  that my memoir is done.  Technically, it is, although I don’t intend on releasing it for at least another few months, although I may begin posting excerpts from it soon, not sure.

Here’s the thing – everyone I speak to who’s ever published, especially self-published, everything in every book I’ve ever read says you need to start letting people know, months ahead of time, to build interest, so that when you finally do release your book, you have people waiting for it.

In Trader Joe’s yesterday I ran into an old friend who is now mostly a Facebook friend, as I hadn’t seen her in over a year.

“So I saw you just finished writing a memoir!”
“Um,… yeah….”
“That’s exciting! When will it be out!”
“Well, not officially for awhile… Maybe in a few months, maybe I’ll start posting excerpts, I’m not sure…..”

It’s ok. She was cool. But I felt a little, ok,… so now that a lot of people know it’s done, what should I do now, next?  It’s not like I have a game plan in place or anything yet. Note to self: you knucklehead.   I guess I could continue blogging about writing a memoir.  G-d I’m a cliche.

Most likely though, and soon, I should probably do something.

Memoir writing vs. the Gumbledorfians

I love my memoir writing group. We meet every other Sunday and I’ve been going for over two years. The critiques are invaluable and the women are fantastic. The members of my group are all women. Not intentionally, but that’s the way it’s been for awhile.

Sometimes I wish everyone would write their memoir. Wouldn’t it be great for dating? Before going out with someone, they would have to hand you their memoir and you’d say “Ok see you in two weeks!” Then the real conversations could get started immediately. Or not. But at least there’d be no huge skeletons left in the closet waiting to jump out at you.

When I first started working on my memoir, I attended a few writing groups that welcomed all genres. Never again. When a memoir needs help, it’s technical issues; sentence structure, clarification, developing a scene. But the stories are always there, because these are people’s lives, and truth truly is stranger than fiction. But when fiction’s not happening,.. It’s like being stuck in the front row of a bad comedian.

The first group I attended, a long time ago, was a big group that met for three hours and we were each allotted 5 minutes or 5 pages to read our work out loud. There were some technical writers there, some poets, novelists. The guy next to me was writing a dark dystopian fantasy set on the planet dweezolatron, where an epic battle set to take place between the gumbledorfians and the zillyrumpastiltzineans. Ok. I made those names up. But so did he, and his weren’t much better. For those five minutes, time stood still. That clock didn’t move, even though I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. I don’t care how good a writer he may have been, maybe technically. I was ready to jump out of my chair.

There was another guy there who authored pamphlets for his religious group. He had some very strong opinions which I didn’t happen to share, but of course, he was given his five minutes to share them with all of us.

In my little memoir group, every single story is real, captivating, often heart wrenching, and sometimes very funny. When I first started going and people wrote on critiques: “Can’t wait to read more!”, I always thought, “Oh! That’s a nice thing to say.” But shortly in, I realized, no, “can’t wait to read more”, seriously meant, “can’t wait to read more.” Every time we meet, everyone shares just a little bit more of their story and we all leave with cliffhangers not to be continued for two more weeks. The opposite of binge watching.

I’m looking forward to this afternoon. I think the gumbledorfian group meets somewhere on Sundays too. I’m so glad I found my group. Learning to be a better writer isn’t worth the mind-numbing price of going back to that other one.

10 Weird Things Writers Do – with cats

I came across the following post today – this is hysterical.  She has a really great blog going for writers and cat lovers.

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No, this article isn’t about the 10 strange ways that writers interact with cats. But it could be. Anyway… writers often do weird things for no apparent reason, but they wouldn’t have it…

Source: 10 Weird Things Writers Do – with cats

Arizona night skies

We did a photo shoot this evening near in Mesa.  Arizona skies at sunset are spectacular.  I think some of the shots we got tonight came out really nice.  I should be getting them some time next week, so, fingers crossed.   Meantime, here are some evening shots I took with my iPhone.  No filters or anything.  I just love this lighting.

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Crawling out from under a rock

Welcome to my annual pledge to force renewed interest in Twitter. Every DIY book out there says you have to be savvy with social media, and Twitter’s a big one. I’ve been on Facebook for years. Isn’t that enough? Although I use it primarily to post my gigs, cat videos, ooh and ahh over friends’ kids, and stalk my son.

I’ve had a Twitter account since 2009. I check in about once a year to see if anyone’s tried to contact me. My son, a successful entrepreneur, has been after me about this for years. “Mom – you have to be on Twitter!” he says.  I counter with “Well I don’t care what anybody had for breakfast!” Yeah I’m clever. Dinosaur mom with the snappy comeback. Apparently, that was the old Twitter. The new Twitter is actually pretty exciting, with news updates, valuable info. and funny people saying funny things coming at you a mile a minute. (Note: My son is not a Twitter fan either, but appreciates the value, so he has someone else doing it for him.)

I worked as a secretary in the early 80’s when word processors were first becoming a big deal and there were always a couple of old lady hold-outs in the back offices who couldn’t handle the new technology, hanging onto their electric typewriters for dear life. And damn they were good! Banging out perfect letters every time like no one today would be capable of.

It’s time for me to move out of this back room before I get stuck to my seat. I’m going to start by doubling my Twitter presence.

Memoir

I just finished writing my memoir.  I completed all the business stuff today;  copyright, reserved a new domain name, and now I have to start looking into publishing or self-publishing.  I also have to get back into blogging, according to every  book I’ve ever read.  That’s ok.  I’ve always enjoyed blogging.  I had stopped for a little while (2 years, ok?), but I’m feeling bloggy again, so, here we go.

I’ve been working on this book for over 5 years.  For a long time I didn’t know if all the writing I was doing was mostly just for myself, a writing-as-therapy sort of thing, or for public consumption. Then I had the good fortune, from a memoirist’s perspective, of a few central characters dying.  2015 was a really rough year.  But that being said, I feel freer to release this book now than I would’ve, say, two years ago.

And speaking of blogging, last week I had a brilliant earth shattering idea. WHAT IF I BLOG MY BOOK!  I did a search to see if anyone else was as brilliant as I, only to discover many other people had blogged books before, and someone had even written a book about it: “How to Blog a Book”. I ordered my copy and giddily waited for it to arrive, and then as soon as it got here I buried myself inside for three hours with a yellow highlighter and didn’t come out till I was done.

Then, not even ten minutes after my self-congratulatory dance, I discovered: “Please Don’t Blog Your Book” and immediately backpedalled into “um…ok….well maybe it’s not the best idea then…..”

I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this whole book blogging thing.  I may go ahead and post some excerpts up here, or maybe I’ll start a whole new, separate “blog your book”site and go for it.  Or maybe I’ll stop blogging again for another 2-3 years and get everyone who was really interested mad at me.  I don’t know. We’ll see.

 

All I Know

A new year. New resolutions. In the past they’ve always been fame and fortune. This is the one. This is the year. Gonna get discovered. My big break. Bust outta this joint.

Well, I’m feeling a little more sober this year, actually. I used to write music and perform mainly with my husband. We gained some impressive credits, with the potential for our really big break always looming around the corner.

I’ve been on my own for almost three years now. In 2012, I did a Kickstarter campaign. With every “you go girl” and the Rocky theme song coursing through my veins, I shouted to the world: “I can do this! I’m gonna do this!!!” My campaign raised over $10,000 to produce my new, breakout CD. With all that (and a lot more), I hired a high profile producer and a manager/consultant to take me to that next level.

Fast forward two years, and all that money (and a lot more) into my new, breakout solo direction. The almost final mixes began coming my way, a little over a year ago now, sounding not quite ready for primetime. Shortly thereafter, I learned my producer was seriously ill, and I realized, it wasn’t going to get any better than this.

All the work that we had done so far was released back to me. My ex-husband, who had produced all my previous CDs, offered to help me finish up my project, which I was so grateful for that, but less than two months into that idea, I found a renewed appreciation for why we were no longer together.

At this time, my project is with a third producer. Someone local whom I trust and adore, and also gave me a really good deal. We have been working together in patching this puppy up, making it work. I’m thinking and hoping it’s going to be really good, but I don’t know. There’s still work to be done.

Meantime, last month some friends asked me to perform a few songs at their baby shower, which I did. One of the songs in particular, they really loved. They have two older children, each one with their own “special” song, and they wanted this one to be “the one” for their new baby.

I had never recorded it, but their baby was born last week, so as a gift to surprise them, I sat down with my Garageband to get a simple recording down for them. Not pro by any standards, but…. I do have to say, fifteen years into my recording career and thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars spent on everything but this,….OMG this is one of the best recordings/performances I’ve ever done!

Hmm.

There’s a song by Art Garfunkel, “Angel Clare”, and one of the lines is: “I love you, and that’s all I know.” I love that, that he’s admitting, he doesn’t know anything. But for sure, he does know that.

I’m feeling kind of at that point in my musical career, that history has revealed to me that as a music marketing person, businesswoman, financier, studio recording artist, etc., clearly I don’t know WTF I’ve been doing.

But all I know right now is, I like what I’m hearing from my little DIY garageband set up. I really like it.

My new year’s resolution is to work smaller and smarter; to stop throwing money down the toilet at grandiose music projects. At this point in the timeline of life and my musical career, I don’t have those kind of resources to throw around anyway. But I do have a good keyboard and Garageband, and yeah – it’s totally working for me.