• Recipes

    Jalapeno Lime Cilantro Marinade

    I found this recipe for a tasty jalapeño lime cilantro marinade but can’t find the source. Saving here for future use. Good for 4 chicken breasts. Ingredients:

    • 2 limes, juice and zest or 1/4 cup lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon – ¼ cup olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, grated
    • 1 jalapeno, finely diced (optional)
  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  PR & Marketing

    Cover Girl

    “Change is good for the soul,” Mom texted me a few days ago. She was talking about table runners, but she’s right. Change is good, except for pennies. Seriously, why do they still even make those?

    In the spirit of change being good, I pitched myself for a makeover for First For Women (think Cosmo for the menopausal). I actually quite like my beachy shoulder-length waves but I’ve been rocking that look for a couple of years now. Opening QED nearly killed me, and I’m finally back to feeling like myself and fitting comfortably into all my old clothes. It’s time for a new look and the pictures that come with it.

    The good people at First For Women are kind and efficient and graciously gave my pitch the nod. Today was the day and I had to set an alarm and commute to lower Manhattan during rush hour. I do not miss that one iota.

    Cate The editors chose this pic of Cate Blanchett as the inspiration for my makeover. I haven’t had my hair this short since that brat Laura gave me lice in 2nd grade and my inspiration was Dorothy Hamill. Even when 1/3 of my head was shaved to remove skin cancer, I managed to keep it shoulder length.

    I emerged with a super short, chic haircut by Sho (a “ninja” as his co-workers call him, thanks to his deft scissoring skills) at James Corbett Studio. I scream, “I’M RICH, BIATCH!” Like a cross between Ruth Madoff and a Fox News anchor but not, you know, an asshole. Cate Blanchett better watch out or else I’ll, umm, be her stand in?

    It makes me look and feel younger which is what that whole makeover thing is supposed to do. The cut was followed by a little boost of color to my naturally dirty blonde hair and makeup by Berta Camal. She’s a lovely talent who loves animals and gardening. As if all that weren’t enough, I got to play in front of Eric McNatt’s camera. The pics he let me preview were a knockout. I hope they pick one I love and that I can keep some to use.

    Neck pillowI’m ever grateful they said yes to my pitch. What a great day. Now I’m going to wrap my hair in silk and sleep sitting up like those weirdos on planes using these things that look like elephant skin, so I can save this beautiful blowout till tomorrow when people I know will actually *see* me!

    Keep your eyes peeled for the September 7th issue of First For Women next to the batteries, candy and horoscope scrolls at your local grocery checkout line!

  • Food & Drink,  Recipes

    HOMEMADE PINKBERRY FROZEN YOGURT

    Yields: 4 servings
    INGREDIENTS
    For the frozen yogurt:
    • 3 cups non-fat or reduced-fat Greek yogurt
    • 1 cup skim milk
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon)
    For serving:
    • assorted chopped fresh fruit (or your favorite froyo toppings)
    INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.
    2. Whisk all frozen yogurt ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into the bowl of your ice cream maker and churn until frozen. (This takes about 15 minutes in mine.)
    3. Scoop immediately for soft-serve (delicious!) or store in a covered container in the freezer. My preference is to place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes before serving to harden the yogurt up just a bit and ensure that it doesn’t melt immediately. Top with fresh fruit and enjoy!
  • Food & Drink,  Recipes

    Skinny Mint Chocolate Milkshakes

     

    Thick & creamy mint chocolate milkshakes without all the calories and fat. Only 5 simple ingredients! Add chocolate protein powder and/or a handful of spinach if you like…so many ways to tweak it.

    Ingredients for 2 servings:

    • 1 large frozen very ripe bananas, peeled & sliced
    • 2 heaping Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/2 cup skim milk
    • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
    • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

    Directions:

    1. Make sure you have a strong, powerful blender that will blend up the frozen banana.
    2. Add all of the ingredients to the blender, in the order listed, and blend until thick, creamy, and smooth – about 3 minutes.

    Additional Notes:

    1. The milk can be any milk you like: skim, 1%, 2%, almond, soy, coconut.
    2. The yogurt can be any yogurt you like: vanilla Greek yogurt, plain Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, vanilla yogurt. Non-fat or low fat. Same for milk, of course.
    3. Add more milk to thin it out. You can always add more peppermint extract and/or cocoa powder for a stronger minty and/or chocolate taste.
  • Food & Drink,  Recipes

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

    I’ve been making this single-serving of a crazy flavorful, low-fat, high protein smoothie for myself and double it if Christian is home.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 banana, peeled, sliced, and frozen
    • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I sometimes skip this and just make it PB&B.)
    • 1/2 cup non-fat, plain Greek Yogurt
    • 1/2 cup skim milk
    • 1 Tablespoon Splenda, honey, maple syrup, or agave…whatever sweetener you like. (I actually stopped adding Splenda as an overripe banana is plenty sweet for us.)
    • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter (Any kind you like but we prefer all natural, i.e., the only ingredient listed is peanuts.)

    Directions:

    1. Make sure you have a strong, powerful blender that will blend up the frozen banana.
    2. Put all of the ingredients into the blender, in the order listed, and blend on high until thick and smooth.
    3. Drizzle glass with 1 teaspoon of chocolate syrup (optional) and enjoy!

    Additional Notes:

    If you prefer a less sweet smoothie, you can leave out the honey. Add more peanut butter for a stronger peanut butter taste. Add more milk to make the smoothie thinner, if desired. Add 1 cup of your favorite greens for added nutrition. So many ways to play around with this simple smoothie!

  • All Blog Entries,  QED

    QED Update

    Today I met with three dudes named Z, Fritz and Cyclone. I’m ready to start a boy band or a World of Warcraft team. Also met with Katya an NYC architect now living in Brussels who just happens to be in Astoria for three weeks and agreed to draft up a quick plan for the bar. Serendipitous!

    Thanks to Cyclone Jjs for swinging by from Canarsie to donate an XLR cord and microphone covers. Fritz is building the stage and singing to Jamaican dance music as I type this. I’ll paint the third coat on bathroom walls & ceiling once Fritz leaves. Ceiling tiles arrived as planned, and I booked Jenn Dodd for a character building class & graduation show. Details to come.

    The stage is almost finished at QED: A Place to Show & Tell! I’m sneaking in early in the morning to “bury” a few things under the stage before it’s sealed up. If the whole thing goes belly up, some dude is gonna find a little gift during demolition.

    Stage finished and primed, another coat on about 3/4 of the bathroom, 2/3 of ceiling tiles in place. Huge thanks to John O’DonnellJoe GardenLiam McEneaney & Christian Finnegan for the helping hands and good company. Very satisfying day. Now to fall asleep on the couch sitting upright like the tired, old lady that I feel like.

    Oh, yeah, and wires from walls cut and capped, walls spackled, lighting chosen thanks to Eric Vetter‘s friend Tamora and plans drawn by my new architect friend thanks to Cathryn Lavery.

     

     

  • Uncategorized

    QED Progress Report

    Progress on QED: A Place to Show & Tell this week.

    — I got the kitchen cabinets, granite from the backyard, an interior door and a cabinet island all removed. The huge exhaust fan is being removed, too.
    — Stripped the windows of the old signage & cleaned of the sticky residue then covered the windows with craft paper.
    — Requested estimates for replacing the big sign above the windows.
    — Decided to replace the ugly, stained drop ceiling with these, most likely. Waiting for samples of white, sand & latte to make sure on the color.http://www.proceilingtiles.com/Stratford-Ceiling-Tile-Sand.html
    — Got a 3-month liability insurance plan bought & paid for so people can come in and paint, work, help with no worries.
    — Established a Con Edison account.
    — Rounded up some tree stumps from the cabin to turn into little side tables.
    — A million other things like pricing equipment & furniture, emailing possible vendors for food & beer, vacillating on design ideas.

    Am woefully behind on emails because of the above & Christian’s Off-Broadway musical. Donations and ideas and help are ALL welcome & appreciated, but I might be late or remiss in getting back to you. ***Regular email is always the best way to reach me so I can more efficiently keep track.***

    I’m most in need of help finding cool ideas for classes, teachers, performers, and the physical stuff like tables, chairs, glasses, anything you see at a bar or cafe I probably need. For example, I bought a paper towel dispenser for the bathroom for $5 at a reuse center, snagged bunch of mason jars & old wooden crates, a coffee maker for $5, two old picture frames that I turned into bulletin boards & a window pane that will become something TBD.

  • All Blog Entries,  QED

    QED Progress Report

    Progress on QED: A Place to Show & Tell this week.

    — I got the kitchen cabinets, granite from the backyard, an interior door and a cabinet island all removed. The huge exhaust fan is being removed, too.
    — Stripped the windows of the old signage & cleaned of the sticky residue then covered the windows with craft paper.
    — Requested estimates for replacing the big sign above the windows.
    — Decided to replace the ugly, stained drop ceiling with these, most likely. Waiting for samples of white, sand & latte to make sure on the color.http://www.proceilingtiles.com/Stratford-Ceiling-Tile-Sand.html
    — Got a 3-month liability insurance plan bought & paid for so people can come in and paint, work, help with no worries.
    — Established a Con Edison account.
    — Rounded up some tree stumps from the cabin to turn into little side tables.
    — A million other things like pricing equipment & furniture, emailing possible vendors for food & beer, vacillating on design ideas.

    Am woefully behind on emails because of the above & Christian’s Off-Broadway musical. Donations and ideas and help are ALL welcome & appreciated, but I might be late or remiss in getting back to you. ***Regular email is always the best way to reach me so I can more efficiently keep track.***

    I’m most in need of help finding cool ideas for classes, teachers, performers, and the physical stuff like tables, chairs, glasses, anything you see at a bar or cafe I probably need. For example, I bought a paper towel dispenser for the bathroom for $5 at a reuse center, snagged bunch of mason jars & old wooden crates, a coffee maker for $5, two old picture frames that I turned into bulletin boards & a window pane that will become something TBD.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  TV & Movies

    Jim Henson’s Studio Visit

    We had a lovely visit with Christian’s old high school pal who is working across the street from our apartment at Jim Henson’s Studios while her daughter is at a two-week intensive at the American Ballet. The studios aren’t open to the public so it was a nice little coincidence that she was working so close to our apartment making it easy for us to horn our way into a private tour. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of any of the creatures beyond the entryway (see my photos below) because they’re all disembodied and/or hanging on curtain rods as they’re built or repaired. Gotta keep up the illusion that they’re alive, ya know?

    This I learned: Big Bird’s feathers are all individually hand-stitched along the stem (?) to reinforce them and help slow down the decay and prevent breakage. Each and every individual feather. THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS. He’s huge!

    It’s not a big warehouse or studio and actually is a quiet little creative space tucked behind an unassuming door on a generic floor of the Standard Motors Building. Everyone is relaxed and happy because, DUH, they work making Sesame Street, Muppets and Fraggle Rock characters among other things, but also because there are no computers. They don’t need them. They’re making stuff with their hands. So nice.

  • All Blog Entries,  Books & Publishing,  Travel

    North Platte’s Town Hall Event

    Big thanks to the folks of North Platte, Nebraska for inviting me to speak at their Town Hall Lecture Series. Past speakers have included some very big names including my inspiration, the lovely Jeannette Walls, author of THE GLASS CASTLE.

    My sister-in-law drove all the way from Missouri to meet up and brought my nieces along for the trip. It was great learning how to loom rubber band bracelets, teaching them how to make things with Bucky Balls, touring Buffalo Bill’s ranch and, generally, just seeing their pretty faces. The girls were mostly happy about my hotel pool and seeing their cousins while I’m pretty stoked about my bull horn turned beer bong necklace.

    BUT…the reason I was in town was to give a speech about my life turned memoir and what BURN DOWN THE GROUND means in the literal and figurative sense. There were about 400 people in the lovely Neville Center, including students from the special high school for “troubled” kids. I had no idea they were going to be there but was overjoyed when I found out they were. I hope my story and message about choices and reinvention resonated with at least ONE of them.

    Huge thanks to Keppler Speakers and the amazing ladies of North Platte. Who knows if our paths will ever cross again but I will carry the experience with me forever and always.

  • Uncategorized

    LaGuardia & Fruit

    Through security and sitting at my gate in 13 minutes which included a pit stop at my driver’s house to see how the winter has delayed the blooming of his lemon, olive and orange trees and gardenias.

    He broke his old record of 15 minutes. He also drove me a couple of years back when I mistakenly went to the airport a day earlier than my flight was scheduled. It was rush hour with construction and also included a drive by his house to see his fruit trees.

    All along the way he assured me it would work out. That I would get to LGA early and on a flight even though I wasn’t booked to fly that day. He was right. I got to DFW and spent the day holding and feeding lemurs and sloths and and an albino wallaby and, of course, fell in love with Chester the capybara.

  • All Blog Entries,  Craft Projects

    Repurposed Yankee Candle Jar

    I’ve held on to some empty Yankee Candle jars knowing they’d be good for something, but the adhesive they use on their labels was impossible for me to remove. It’s stickier than a whore in a honey factory. Sorry, I don’t know why I went there.

    I didn’t use the jars because the leftover gunk made them ugly and tacky (tacky, in the sticky sense. I didn’t want to use the word “sticky” again and, well, now I’ve gone and used it twice.)

    So, the jars. Sticky and ugly. Years pass.

    Today, I got creative (i.e., procrastinating from things I should be doing) and decided to dig out the jars and try cleaning them again. Lo! [Insert sound of clouds parting and angels with trumpets doing their thang.] It turns out Tea Tree Oil is the rubbing the jars needed. It wasn’t like a Pledge commercial where it’s Swish! One swipe and all the dirt is gone. But it didn’t require a ton of elbow grease or time. Cleaned and dried, I added a chalkboard label from a pack Christian got me for Christmas. (True love, people.) Now I’ve got a jar that’s full of ideas.
    Old Yankee Candle Jar  Tools Needed Idea Jar

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Rock House,  Uncategorized

    Cemeteries & Geocaching

    God, I feel gross.

    I took Griswold to Fosterdale Cemetery this afternoon. There’s a request from a woman on an ancestry forum trying to find her ancestor’s burial plot there and a Geocache happens to be hidden there, too. So, I thought it’d be a nice little adventure with purpose.
    Fosterdale Cemetery founded circa 1873
    The cemetery is a tiny little thing off Route 17B not far from Yasgur’s Farm and Bethel Woods where Woodstock took place. There are a lot of veterans buried here, and many flags decorating headstones were knocked over or the sticks broken from the fierce winds we had a few days back. I was sure to keep Griswold on the paths except for when I uprighted or repaired the flags. I wasn’t able to find the headstone for the ancestry researcher after two sweeps. Bummer.

    I headed over to where the cache was stashed. The description said it was “far away” from grave sites. But my GPS said I was within a foot from it, and I was fairly close to a very elaborate memorial for a young man killed in a car accident on September 5, 2011. I thought I must have my coordinates wrong, because it felt just a little too close to a grave to hide a cache.

    But there it was, buried under some gravel. I opened it, took out a trackable, logged my name and was re-burying it when I noticed a truck driving up. I took a seat on a downed tree and plopped Grizzy on my lap to wait and see where they were going.

    To my horror the truck stopped a few feet from me, the driver got out and knelt down in front of the young man’s grave. When he stood, a male passenger got out and the two of them checked on the shrubs and trees that were planted around the marker (and the cache), cleaned the granite benches engraved “Forever 21”, straightened a cross and spotlight and smoothed out gravel.

    I wanted to get up and walk away but I was frozen with absolute mortification. I had a baseball cap and big sunglasses on so the men couldn’t really see my face, and I didn’t make a peep.

    Here I was having “fun” trekking around for some silly hidden treasure in the same place where they pour out their adoration, devotion and grief by meticulously caring for the dirt that covers this boy they love.

    As they drove off, I started sobbing. Tears poured out of me like a waterfall. Niagara Falls on my face.

    Before coming, I’d worried about taking Griswold to a cemetery out of respect for the dead. It turns out I was the one I should have worried about. Guh.

    I, for one, will never, ever, ever Geocache in a cemetery again. Once home, I logged in to the Geocaching website. The cache was placed in 2010 before this young man died. I logged a note for the owner about what happened and that it was time to move the cache. I hope he does. And I hope Mr. Telesky is resting in peace, and I’m sorry I messed up what should have been a private moment.

    Telesky Memorial

  • All Blog Entries,  Anipals,  Family & Life

    Pug Zu = Griswold the Grizz Monster

    For Christian’s birthday, I bought a doggy DNA kit. We got the results today and now we can answer the frequently asked question, “What kind of dog is he?”

    Our little Grizz Monster is a Pug and Shih Tzu mix with some other mixed breeds in his ancestry.

    His curly tail & fawn coloring are all pug, which we suspected. The Shih Tzu was a surprise even though people have asked if he was that or lhasa apso (they’re basically the same breed). We thought for sure terrier was in there. Perhaps that’s part of his mixed breed great grandparents.

    We’ll never know that for sure. But what we do know is that he is perfect and loved.

    Griswold enjoys spring at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.
  • All Blog Entries,  Books & Publishing,  Deaf Culture & ASL,  Uncategorized

    Deaf Book Club Skype Call

    Rock House LibraryI’m at the Rock House and had a Skype call with a book club in Minnesota comprised of deaf women and mental health professionals working in the Deaf community. The whole thing took place in ASL.

    Man, I love technology and so wish this convenience had been around for my parents and grandparents. How wonderful to simply click a button on my laptop and be visually connected with no need for a special service or interpreter.

    We had a nice chat about my book, family, the Deaf community, and mental health issues before signing off so I could make a trip to the dump and walk with Griswold around the lake.

    While they’re busy reading books to help them in their important (thankless?) careers as therapists and DV counselors, I’m busy reading, too. I read THE BEDWETTER by Sarah Silverman (enjoyed it) and just finished Tina Fey‘s BOSSYPANTS (really enjoyed it). Tonight I’m starting Sara Barron‘s latest book THE HARM IN ASKING then it’s GIRL WALKS INTO A BAR by Rachel Dratch.

    I’m highbrow, what can I say?

  • All Blog Entries,  Food & Drink,  Recipes

    Baked Tilapia in a Lemon Butter Caper Sauce

    I’ve never been much of a fish eater (except that one time in college!) but lately I’ve been eating more fish tacos, tuna, catfish and tilapia than all my years of life combined. Note, they’re all mild flavored fish. I still can’t stand the smell and taste of fishy fish and tilapia is about as mild as they come. IMG_2396

    This recipe serves two and takes 20 minutes, tops, from the fridge to your belly.

    INGREDIENTS:
    2 tilapia fillets
    2 tablespoons melted butter (I use Land O Lakes Light Butter for an even healthier dish)
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    Garlic salt
    Capers
    Oregano

    DIRECTIONS:
    – Place tilapia in an ungreased baking pan. I line my pan with foil to avoid cleanup.
    – Combine the butter & lemon juice and pour over the fillets. Sprinkle with capers, oregano and garlic salt to taste. Throw on minced garlic or powder if you want more garlic flavor.
    – Bake uncovered at 425° for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. I always go for the full 15 minutes because I don’t want to see the fish again anytime soon, ifyaknowwhatImean.

    Bam. That’s it. Seriously. That’s it.

    In this photo, I’ve paired it with roasted asparagus, onions and cherry tomatoes drizzled with lemon juice and a dusting of parmesan cheese. Ignore the pink, flowery plate. They were left by the previous owners and we never bothered buying dishes of our own.

  • Christian Finnegan,  Family & Life,  Food & Drink,  Uncategorized

    Sugar is the Devil & I’m Possessed!

    Time for an exorcism! Christian and I are five days into a two week detox from the devilish temptation of all things sweet. Happily, it hasn’t been too hard. This is much in part because eight years ago we adopted a pretty much sugar free, non/low-fat, whole grain life following the South Beach Diet. Christian lost 80 pounds and has kept it off for all these years.

    I hesitated even mentioning the SBD because it seems like a fad. But really it’s just the normal way all of us should eat and live. The only “fad” part is Phase 1, the toughest part, which lasts two weeks. This PDF, South Beach Diet Food List, lays it out. Really, two weeks of a life is a blip. Buck up, buttercup.

    This last year (or two?) he and I have gotten lazy. Him due to injuries and me due to visiting all the hotel bars and restaurants this great nation has to offer while on tour. I blame you, Wisconsin! If I were still exercising regularly, it wouldn’t be too much of an issue but travel + me = sloth. The promise of sleeping with blackout curtains in a strange bed and day drinking in a new city never motivates me to pack running shoes.

    The fact that this detox is so much easier this time around tells me we’re not as addicted to bad food. Eight years ago there was a lot of cursing, raised voices and irrational anger. Back then we used to eat pizza and pasta made from white flour, full fat dairy and tons of sugar laden drinks and desserts.

    So far, I’ve had zero cravings and one headache. Christian has craved a beer — normal, since his “office” has a bar and free drinks– and he’s had a few brain farts. For example, I asked him to grab a roll of paper towels. He froze. He started toward the hall closet then froze again. He couldn’t remember where we kept them. We keep them in the same place we’ve always kept them in this apartment we’ve lived in for NINE years.

    Funny & scary what bad food does to our brains. Which brings me to my point: If you are looking to change your eating habits, I’d recommend following this plan. I’m not paid to say so, but Christian should seriously be their spokesperson. So call us, South Beach Diet marketing team!

  • All Blog Entries,  Product Reviews

    Ekobrew Reusable Keurig Filter

    Re-usable Keurig CupRecently my Facebook newsfeed was filled with links to reports and news articles about how bad Keurig coffee cups (K-Cups) are for the environment. Oh no! I love my Keurig! In the city, I usually grab a cup at the deli but that’s not an option for me when I stay in the Catskills. Christian doesn’t drink coffee, we rarely have overnight guests and we don’t have a dishwasher, so the Keurig is quick, easy and hassle-free. This bad news was a buzzkill.

    Fret no more! Today, I found this little guy sitting right in my grocer’s coffee aisle: a reusable filter for Keurig! I had no idea this existed and, dammit, why didn’t I think of it?!

    I’ll never buy a K-Cup again. Besides being wasteful and harmful to environment, they’re pretty pricey. So now I can save money on better, fresher coffee and lessen my carbon footprint. A little Googling tells me there are other brands available, too.

    Why does anyone use K-Cups at all? One guess is because, like me, they don’t know about this option. So, here’s my PSA. The more you know!

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3rhQc666Sg]

  • All Blog Entries,  Anipals,  Uncategorized

    Spring has Sprung!

    Spring has finally sprung and Griswold is making sure I got the memo. The normally very non-morning boy stood over my face staring at me till I woke up yesterday morning. This is the first and only time in his life he’s ever done this.

    When I had my 103-degree fever and slept for almost 72 hours straight, he lay with me, quiet and content the entire time. During a stay at the cabin last Christmas, I had tried and failed to convince him to wake up to go outside for three days in a row, so I made the bed around him and went on with my day till he decided to finally get up.  On the third day, I got his attention with a promise of a treat to which he merely poked his monkey face out from between two pillows (see photo).

    The winter has been brutal. With the temperatures finally reaching into the low 60’s, Griswold must smell the trees, garbage and urine wafting through our open windows like a cartoon finger tempting him with pie. After a long week working on Christian’s new comedy special and producing his solo show, a long walk around Central Park is just what the doctor ordered for us both. And it was. Miles of walking with a nice break soaking up the sun at Bethesda Fountain had us both pooped.

    This morning? He clawed at my leg, panted and whined, hopped in my lap only to hop back down and back again. He was acting like his skin was crawling, just itching to be outside! Are you kidding? Well, alrighty, let’s go out again. Today we walked all over Astoria Park, found a Geocache and I even ran a few laps around the track while he sat and watched. I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, but it’s time for a trip to the cabin, I’d say.

  • All Blog Entries,  Books & Publishing,  Mentoring

    It’s GREAT!

    My super talented, sweet, funny and dynamo friend and fellow memoirist Sara Benincasa is now a YA author with the publication of GREAT, a contemporary retelling of THE GREAT GATSBY. I was so excited not only to see her back in NYC but to introduce my protege Jeaniah to Sara and a few other friends at the book launch party. Sara read from her novel then signed books as the crowd chit-chatted and ate cake that was designed to look like her book. Clever and yummy and a lovely night.

    My friends are all comedians, actors, writers and artists so they’re not stiff grown ups and immediately treated Jeaniah like a long lost friend. Here’s the conversation we had as we walked away from the party:

    Me: My friends are fun, right?
    J: Yeah and funny! I like being part of the conversation.
    Me: Yeah, nothing beats a good conversation with friends.
    J: I like how the conversation keeps going…like, I make a comment and then they make one and that makes you think of one and then I comment and it goes on and on.

    Thanks to my awesome friends for having a lot to say & being so funny and charming while they do it. She really enjoyed meeting you all & we got some good advice about the upcoming state math tests.

    And, of course, huge congratulations and continued success to Sara who has more books & TV show pilots coming down the pike than I can shake a stick at.

  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  Comedy,  Theater

    The Gorgeous Mosaic Wrap-Up

    Gorgeous Mosaic FlierWe had fantastic crowds* at The Peoples Improv Theater and my husband turned in excellent performances in his solo show THE GORGEOUS MOSAIC.

    I have a decent video of it to share with his manager and agent. The feedback from audience members tells me that this show’s got a lot of heart along with the humor. What to do with it next is the big question. Keep it at the PIT for a regular showing? Tape it and produce a CD/DVD of it? Take it to an Off-Broadway theater? How much should we re-tool it? Is there too much standup and not enough storytelling or was it just the right blend? So many questions that I hope won’t spoil the whole thing for us.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone who made it out and I hope we’ll re-stage it again soon.

    *Fantastic except for the dumb drunk chick in a sparkly hat sitting in the front row talking, cheering, & texting. Why anyone who is craving attention insists on sitting in the front row of a performance is beyond me. They must know that any attention they will get will be negative right? Ugh.

  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  Comedy

    Gorgeous Finnegan

    We had fantastic crowds* at  The Peoples Improv Theater and my husband turned in excellent performances in his solo show THE GORGEOUS MOSAIC.

    I have a decent video of it to share with his manager and agent. The feedback from audience members tells me that this show’s got a lot of heart along with the humor. What to do with it next is the big question. Keep it at the PIT for a regular showing? Tape it and produce a CD/DVD of it? Take it to an Off-Broadway theater? How much should we re-tool it? Is there too much standup and not enough storytelling or was it just the right blend? So many questions that I hope won’t spoil the whole thing for us.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone who made it out and I hope we’ll re-stage it again soon.

    *Fantastic except for the dumb drunk chick in a sparkly hat sitting in the front row talking, cheering, & texting. Why anyone who is craving attention insists on sitting in the front row of a performance is beyond me. They must know that any attention they will get will be negative right? Ugh.

  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  Comedy,  PR & Marketing,  Theater,  TV & Movies

    My Husband is Awesome!

    JOTW Time OutThis week has been a very good one for my awesome, funny, talented husband. His new comedy album THE FUN PART debuted on SiriusXM’s comedy channel and is available for streaming or purchase on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.

    Then, last night he presented his new solo show THE GORGEOUS MOSAIC at the People’s Improv Theater about his 23 years of living in NYC. In this hour show, he talks about awful apartments to the bizarre urban dwellers and hopes to remind us why we came to the concrete jungle and, more importantly, why we stay. It’s really funny but I find it very inspiring and sweet, too.

    The New York Times, Time Out New York and Village Voice all selected the solo show as something worth watching in NYC this weekend. Time Out also ran this great joke (pictured right) of Christian’s from his comedy special THE FUN PART.

    Finally, check out this Q&A with Christian and The Comic’s Comic. And below are screen grabs from his special and Netflix. Good stuff all around and I’m immensely proud of how prolific he’s been!

    FunPartBanner  Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 1.17.43 PM CF The Wilbur

  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  Comedy,  TV & Movies

    The Fun Part!

    Okay, kids, it’s legit! Today is the birthday of my fabulously smart, talented and funny husband’s third comedy special. THE FUN PART by Christian Finnegan was filmed at The Wilbur in his home town of Boston and is now available!

    Netflix (video with subtitles):
    http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/Christian_Finnegan_The_Fun_Part/70298204?trkid=13462100

    Amazon (audio only):
    http://amzn.com/B00JGCBMXM

    iTunes (audio only):
    https://itun.es/i6658XC

    Please retweet/share and give The Fun Part a five star rating on Netflix! And iTunes! And Amazon!

    If you’re in the NYC area, come out to celebrate with us this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at The Peoples Improv Theater. He’s performing a mixture of standup and storytelling called THE GORGEOUS MOSAIC. It’s a one hour look back at his 23 years of living in New York City, from a rat-infested apartment to an overly-intimate Asian delivery guy. Half love letter, half cry for help.

    THU, APR 17 – SAT, APR 19 @ 9:30PM
    The People’s Improv Theater
    123 E. 24th St.
    New York, NY 10010
    www.thepit-nyc.com | 212.563.7488

    $12 online, $15 door. General admission. Full bar. No drink minimums. A limited number of tickets are available for only $10 w/the code PITFINNEGAN.

    After the show, we’ll hang out and hug and laugh and stuff.

  • All Blog Entries,  Comedy,  Theater,  Writing

    My Writing Process Blog Tour

    Thank you to my fellow storyteller and writer Julie Threlkeld for asking me to take part in this Writing Round Robin Blog Tour Thingy™. To read Julie’s response to the Writing Round Robin Blog Tour Thingy™ and to check out her other work, click here. So, here we go…

    What am I working on?
    Good question! If bingeing on seasons one through three of Game of Thrones so that I’m caught up and the Internet can no longer ruin it for me is “work”, then that’s what I’m working on. During my downtime (a/k/a “As the HBO Go App’s Wheel Turns”), I’m tinkering on a few things.

    1) I adapted my memoir about me and My Jailed Deaf Dad into a solo show which I produced and performed a few months ago. I am giving it a tune up based on those shows. I’m re-thinking the ending mostly and trimming off the fat in other parts. Maybe I’ll enter it into a festival or keep taking it to colleges if they’ll have me.

    2) I’ve got a new solo show idea in mind about my love for David Lee Roth and how he became my spiritual advisor when I was a vulnerable teenager. I’m calling it “The Book of David” or “The Gospel of David” and the show will be like attending church service but with Diamond Dave as my lord and savior. I think it could be funny, charming and, believe it or not, insightful. We’ll see. I plan to enter it into the next SoloCom or another festival for new works.

    3) This summer, I’m taking a class on TV writing. I’ve got in mind a sitcom pilot but need to get some book learnin’ under my belt. I’ve never considered myself a writer and, even after banging out a memoir, still don’t. It’s not the thing that makes my motor hum the way producing and performing do. But without a script, I’ve got nothing to produce. Hence the class. It’s mostly for fun but I never thought I’d get a book deal from telling stories for fun in Ochi’s Lounge, so who knows?

    How does my work differ from others of its genre?
    Since my work is all autobiographical –blogging, solo shows, memoir– it is uniquely mine  by default. While our stories are universal, they come from our own experiences and points of view. I’d say my POV uses sarcasm and humor to counter some of the more brutal or sad stuff. Lately, thankfully, not much has been sad…just bizarre when it comes to living in NYC, having a comedian husband and a deaf dad in a Texas prison.

    Why do I write what I do?
    I was given a treasure trove of material to write with the family and life experience I got. I’d be a fool not to! Also, as a hearing kid in a deaf family, I was often serving as an interpreter and told what to say and how to say it. Having a mom who hated her private business being fodder for Deaf community gossip emphasized this even more. She gave me frequent warnings of not to tell anyone –even family– about stuff. Writing about my life with no boundaries or strict rules or fear is very liberating. The truth sets you free, yada, yada, yada. I’ve considered writing fiction but it’s a bit of an enigma to me. The endless possibilities overwhelm rather than excite me. And the fiction that I’ve thought about writing is all based on true events, so…yeah.

    How does my writing process work?
    By deadlines. Without deadlines I do not write. Once I have a deadline, I generally meet it. I took a playwriting class last summer during which I banged out my solo show. Since the show was based on my memoir, I wasn’t writing from scratch and it should be a cinch, right? But I had no deadline looming over me to say I need this script by X date. By signing up for the class, I was able to accomplish that goal. During the thick of writing my first draft of my memoir, I spent a lot of time cleaning house. Scrubbing, washing, dusting, organizing are all ways I free my mind to wander. There’s a lot of talking to myself, acting out, crying, yelling, laughing. Saying things out loud are important, especially if done in front of an audience. So I sign up for a lot of open mike type storytelling shows and work on my pieces that way as well.

    So that’s it for me. Thanks, Julie, for tagging me! Next up on the are these terrific people:

    DAVID DICKERSON is a writer, humorist, video blogger, teacher, editor, storyteller, and radio performer. I vividly remember the first time I met him in Ochi’s Lounge, the space I ran in the basement of Comix. That’s how instantaneously charming, smart as a whip and nicer than most he is. David’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Story Quarterly, The Gettysburg Review, and Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. In 2009, he released his greeting card memoir, House of Cards, which is currently in development as a sitcom with USA. He is now working on his next book, a road trip/travel narrative tentatively titled Tomorrow Might Suck Less.

    JENNIFER TRESS is vibrant, intelligent, has the best laugh and is one fiercely driven lady.  She’s the author of the memoir You’re Not Pretty EnoughThough the book is a collection of funny, heartfelt stories, the title story refers to something her ex-husband said to her as the reason he was having an affair (which is why, ahem, he’s her ex-husband). She is also a speaker and the founder of the Project by the same name, which is aimed at building higher self-esteem by providing a forum and discussions around beauty norms and their impact on the individual.

    JENN DODD and I had the same high school drama teacher back in Texas exactly 10 years apart and now we both live in Queens. She writes more sketches and characters than anyone I know. Her solo show No Show: A One Woman Show won the Best of Studio Award at the “Out of the Loop” Fringe Festival last month and Jenn has been a finalist in the Andy Kaufmann Awards. She is a graduate of Circle in the Square Theatre School, in the cast of the off-Broadway hit The Gong Show LIVE in which she plays multiple original characters, and is a member of The Final Edition Radio Hour. You can see her live every month at the The People’s Improv Theatre where she hosts the monthly character showcase Buttski & Glasscock’s New Talent Blow Out.

  • All Blog Entries,  Random,  Travel

    Lost & Found

    I seriously don’t understand why people hate LaGuardia Airport so much. I had another amazing travel day with them. One of, gosh, a hundred or so over the last few years. Got there in 10 minutes, got through security and was sitting at my gate 5 minutes later. Along the way, I heard “good morning” a few people and an offer for assistance by two others. Sure, the place could use an update for outlets and added bathrooms, but really, how long are you there? My flights are almost always on time or early, too. Haters gonna hate.

    I made it to Green Bay, WI and was greeted by a lovely lady with the Fox Cities Book Festival. Good grief Midwesterners are seriously the nicest people on earth. Well, maybe second to the Irish, but it’s a tight race. If you’re in the Appleton, WI area, I’ll be giving a presentation tomorrow and some entertainment at Friday evening’s Mix & Mingle.

    While on a layover at O’Hare, I lost a new tube of lip gloss, but I found Captain Kangaroo. He wears glasses now and enjoys a pint of beer at 11:30 AM. Good for him!

    Captain Kangaroo

     

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  Theater

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch

    So good. So, so, so good. Neil Patrick Harris is perfection. I first learned about Hedwig when I was still a tourist traveling to the Big Apple with my Ohio theater friends. We’d pile in a van, drive to NYC to jam-pack four, sometimes five shows in three days before the drive home.

    On one such trip in 1998, Hedwig and the Angry Inch was playing Off-Broadway at the Jane Street Theater. Torn between which shows to see during my limited time, I decided to skip Hedwig in favor of some other big Broadway show. It was a choice I regretted as soon as I saw my friend Eileen, fresh from the show and out of her mind with enthusiastic love for it and its writer and star John Cameron Mitchell. I couldn’t tell you what I saw that night instead.

    I’ve loved the music for years, singing, screaming and weeping out loud in my car to Wig in a Box, Wicked Little Town, Origin of Love.

    Last night I remedied my mistake by seeing it on Broadway. It moved me. Not just Harris’ fantastic (definitely Tony Award nominated, probably winning) performance but the journey of the show from Jane Street to here and my own from a tourist to a 14-year New Yorker. The art and love of it all had me in tears a few times. And the music. God, I love the music.

    Don’t make the same mistake I did in 1998. Go see it.

    http://hedwigbroadway.com

    NPH Hedwig

  • All Blog Entries,  Anipals,  Christian Finnegan,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Random

    My Fool’s Day

    Turning 41 on a Tuesday can be pretty blah. If you looked at our day on paper, it probably was.

    We slept till 10:30 and in between the rush of showering, dog walking, coffee and breakfast, I gave Christian (the birthday boy) his gifts:

    1) A doggy DNA kit for our mutt Griswold,
    2) Tickets to “Hedwig & the Angry Inch” starring Neil Patrick Harris, and
    3) A neon sign from the set of his sitcom Are We There Yet? that an eagle-eyed photographer from the show snagged at a junk store and shipped to me from Connecticut.

    Christian went to therapy and had an MRI for his knee & hip while I worked. Afterward, we took Grizzy to an empty dog park. Bummer. Grizzy was hankering for some play time. We were finally joined by a guy with a rambunctious puppy named Fliffy. Making small talk about our dogs, we asked Fliffy’s dad what breed Fliffy was (poodle, Wheaton terrier mix). He asked what Grizzy was. I said we didn’t know but that I got the doggy DNA kit for Christian’s birthday.

    “Today’s your birthday?” the guy asked as he walked toward Christian with his hand extended to give a shake. “It’s mine, too.”

    Weird! “Happy birthday, Fliffy’s dad!”

    “What year? I’m 1973.”

    WOW! WHOA! WEIRD! What are the odds?

    Hungry, Christian, Grizzy & I left the park for LIC Bar. We ate Vietnamese food and drank beer in the rapidly diminishing afternoon sun followed by dessert at Monika’s Cafe Bar. We came home to swab Grizzy’s cheeks for DNA, watch TV and not much else.

    Turning 41 on a Tuesday can be pretty blah. If you looked at our day on paper, it probably was.

    Christian & Griswold

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life

    April 2014

    Continuing from my goal to remind myself of positive plans, here’s what’s in store for  April. (Click to see January, February, March.)

    * Give two presentations at the Fox Cities Book Festival in Wisconsin.
    * Watch Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway starring Neil Patrick Harris for my husband’s birthday.
    * Celebrate the release of my husband Christian Finnegan‘s third stand up comedy special THE FUN PART premiering on Netflix. Filmed at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, it is beautifully shot and directed. Don’t have Netflix? It’s available for audio-only (for now) download on iTunes and Amazon.
    * Produce and promote Christian’s solo show THE GORGEOUS MOSAIC at the People’s Improv Theater. It’s 60 mins of his standup & storytelling about his 23 years in NYC and it’s solid. So saith the New York Times, so saith we all.
    * Ride every ride at Coney Island as many times possible in four hours. (Thanks, Living Social!)
    * Take my protege to meet Sara Benincasa at Sara’s book party & reading for her new YA book GREAT. Celebrate good times, come on!
    * Atone for my sin of not watching Game of Thrones by watching all the Game of Thrones.

    March ended up being like February: underachieved. I got sick –again!– and the weather stunk and I’ve been unable to focus. But I did go ice skating with my protege and didn’t fall once in two hours. I tutored her twice a week, too. I don’t know if I was of any help to her, but I liked seeing her so often. My event at RIT/NTID was awesome! Check out the video phone booth and poster from the campus. Let’s see if April can break the trend and actually go as expected or better.

    IMG_2258 IMG_2301 IMG_2303

     

  • All Blog Entries,  Theater,  TV & Movies

    Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel Sing “Confrontation” from Les Miserables

    I’m in a really bad mood, but my husband knows just how to pull me out of the spiral. He sent me a link to this! It’s a combination of my loves Neil Patrick Harris & Jason Segel singing “Confrontation” from Les Mis. The only thing that could make this better is if David Lee Roth flew across the stage wearing spandex pants carrying a boom box.*

    Bad mood is now on the back burner set to simmer.

    *ETA: The How I Met Your Mother series finale included Neil Patrick Harris dressed as David Lee Roth. Head exploded!

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Random

    Fly, Baby, Fly

    NYPDTweetI saw a tweet (click pic at right or scroll down below) from the NYPD and thought it was cool. It’s cool not only that in 1988 Mary Lowery was the first woman assigned to the NYPD’s Aviation Unit, but also because that same year Mom was wiring avionics for Heli-Dyne in Hurst, TX. She was even in a Budweiser commercial during the “For all you do, this Bud’s for you!” advertising phase. One helicopter they built was for…you guessed it:  The NYPD.

    After the helicopter was completed, the NYPD gave everyone at Heli-Dyne baseball hats with their logo on it. Dad used it to try to get out of a traffic ticket. I was with him and acted as his interpreter. Dad told the truth to me, and I interpreted a lie to the cop which was better. We got off. We didn’t need the hat.

    Years later, when I moved to NYC, I worked at the law firm that represented the NYPD in their precedent-setting licensing efforts. Less than two months after the license was granted, planes flew into the Twin Towers on 9/11 and the NYPD’s trademark became invaluable. Months were spent at Ground Zero confiscating unlicensed NYPD hats. Funny how things go full circle.

    Heli-Dyne I always loved that Mom didn’t have a “traditional woman’s” job. That she excelled in her industry inspired and empowered me. With each generation we women can learn from and lean on each other.  There’s something weird going on in the USA with women’s rights. I can’t fully wrap my head around it and why it’s happening now, but I have faith that it’s just a phase. We still have the right to vote, something our [great] grandmothers didn’t always have and women in other countries *still* don’t have.

    Exercise that right, ladies.

    Build your own helicopter and fly that baby.

    ~Kambri
    Below are pics of the tweet / photo of Mary Lowery and a photo of Mom (the redhead) with two other women in avionics with the NYPD chopper, wiring other choppers and the NYPD choppers in action at the World Trade Center and the Brooklyn Bridge.

    NYPDTweet Heli-Dyne NYPDChopperBridge NYPDChopperWTC NYPD Chopper MomWiringChopper MomWiringChopper2 NYPDChopperTest

  • All Blog Entries,  Recipes

    Mediterranean Orzo Salad

    Ingredients:
    ½ lb orzo
    3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    6 oz pitted & sliced kalamata olives
    4 oz diced sundried tomatoes (dry or jarred)
    8 oz cubed or crumbled feta
    2 oz toasted pine nuts
    handful of fresh diced parsley
    salt + pepper to taste

    Bring water to a boil, enough to cook your orzo pasta.  Meanwhile, slice your kalamata olives in half, cube your feta, and dice your sundried tomatoes.  Toast your pine nuts in the oven for a few minutes at 375 degrees, it enhances their flavor.  Chop a small handful of parsley, and set all aside.

    Cook your orzo according to the directions on the box, strain, and place in a bowl.  Immediately pour the EVOO over the orzo to keep it from sticking, then stir it all around.  Add the feta, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and parsley on top.  Toss the ingredients together, then add freshly cracked black pepper and salt to taste.  Chill for an hour, serves 6 to 8 people.

  • All Blog Entries,  Comedy,  NYC,  Random,  Theater,  Writing

    Solo Shows & Storytelling

    The first time I saw the Oscar-winning movie Midnight Express was the summer I turned seven years old. The Academy Award-winning film was based on the memoir by a young American named Billy Hayes who was arrested in Turkey in 1970 during an attempt to smuggle hashish out of the country by taping it all over his body. His sentence of four years was, for various reasons, converted to a minimum of thirty years to life. For trying to smuggle pot. Crazy.

    Life in a Turkish prison is pretty horrific as you can imagine, and Mr. Hayes’ story left an indelible mark on my young, impressionable mind.  The movie is rated R for violence, a gay-lite prison sex scene (hubba, hubba), tons of nudity (including full frontal male, hubba, hubba, hubba), and a prison visit masturbation scene (hubb…oh…wait…this is heart-wrenching).

    Obviously, it was highly inappropriate for me to watch it. Yet I did…alone…dozens of times thanks to a summer spent at my deaf grandparents who had cable TV. This should serve as a testament to powerful storytelling that a seven-year-old kid would watch a long, quietly intense drama about a Turkish prison experience.

    midnightexpressLast week, I went to see Mr. Hayes in his solo show “Riding the Midnight Express”. It’s just him and a stool and a bottle of Poland Spring followed by a Q&A and book signing. He was generous of his time and gave us his all even though it was a light crowd on a Wednesday afternoon during  a snowstorm.

    He told the same story he wrote in his memoir — the memoir that Oliver Stone turned into a movie that won an Oscar. After winning, I’m sure plenty would think, “Hang up the hat, dude. You did it!”. Now, 40+ years later, Mr. Hayes is touring the world with a solo show.

    This is encouraging to me as someone who is worried that I’ve squeezed all the juice from the lemons life gave me.

    My memoir is almost two years old and even older to NYC alt comedy and storytelling audiences. Now, here I am on a train to Rochester to give a speech at RIT/NTID and am in the early stages of producing a solo show of me telling the same old story. Really? YUP!

    So the timing of seeing Mr. Hayes could not have been more perfect. There are billions of people in the world and all but several thousand of them have never heard of me, my book, my storytelling, nothing. Add to that, that I actually have a *message* of hope and societal change to share, why would I stop now?

    I’m reminded of Mike Birbiglia, too. I saw him tell him tell his Sleepwalk with Me story many times as a long stand up comedy bit about ten years ago, give or take. It progressed to long form storytelling on This American Life and, most recently, a feature film.

    Like Mike, I have other stories to share and hope to not be telling the same story in 40 years, but even if I am? Fantastic. What a privilege it is to have people come out, spend their hard earned money and precious time to see me. Thank you, each and every one of you, who have given me that honor.

  • All Blog Entries,  Books & Publishing,  Family & Life,  Random

    Make Life Happen

    Don’t ya just love when the Universe sends a clear message? I’ve been pretty lazy about a few projects and haven’t been able (wanted?) to focus on them even though they get me excited simply talking about them. These horses have got legs, some of them are even saddled up, I’m just not hopping on and taking the reins for whatever reason(s).

    Then I got an email from a reader asking me if it was okay for her to use a line from my memoir as a tattoo (see pic). I’ve shared part of that email below with her permission:

    I wrote to you about a year ago after I read your book for the second time. I had told you about a passage in your book that struck me.

    “Events in my life just seemed to happen to me. Now, however, I wanted to make life happen.”

    You responded telling me about how you made lists and started making things work for you, having the universe respond. And again…it struck me.

    I have that passage written down and look at it daily. It’s on the wall at work. It’s a note in my phone. I even have it written on a post it note I keep in my wallet just in case I need that reminder. I have held that phrase, that power, with me since I first read it.

    … It’s become the way I try to live my life and it’s something I want to carry with me, literally, forever…

    In any sense, I appreciate your words and your kindness and I genuinely appreciate you for helping me to change my life.

    How nice, right? I replied to her that, of course, she could use the line. Her email came at the perfect time to remind me that I have to hop on the saddle and take the reins.

    She inspired me to live by my own words:

    Make life happen.

    ~Kambri
    Giddy up!

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Mentoring

    The Power of Choice

    Here is something I told my protege and wrote to her in a follow up letter.  I thought was worth sharing as it’s something that is true for all of us young and old:Letter to Jeaniah

    We don’t have control over many things in life, but we do have control over how we feed our minds and souls. We control the books we read, the movies and TV shows we watch, the music we listen to, the people we choose as friends, how we spend our idle time, and how seriously we take our studies.

    You hold a lot of power in the choices you make.

    I hope she’ll consider this and refer back to it as she grows older and choices and life become more complicated.

    (Read the full letter by clicking on the image.)

     

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Travel

    March 2014

    Continuing from my post / idea to remind myself of the positive plans I have in a nutshell, here is my post for what’s in store for  March:

    * Stay at our cabin at least once, probably twice.
    * Submit my solo show to All For One.
    * Travel to Rochester, NY and give presentations at RIT/NTID, the largest deaf school in the country. !!!
    * Promote Christian’s dates at Gotham Comedy Club, his new hour special THE FUN PART debuting on Netflix & his solo show at The PIT.
    * Tutor my protege twice a week to prepare her for the state’s standardized tests.
    * Go ice skating with my protege.
    * Work on a new solo show idea for myself and a full-length play I’ve been tossing around in my head for a while now.

    While January 2014’s plans went as expected, February, yeah, not so much. The TV pilot moved shoot dates to a day when I was in DC, so I couldn’t be an extra. DC was great, though. I enjoyed the Newseum and the Ford’s Theater and Lincoln Museum plus a gorgeous walk through the National Mall which I had practically all to myself because of a snowstorm that shut the city down*  I also enjoyed a decadent, incredible lunch at Jaleo (pics below) with the lovely Jennifer Tress, author of You’re Not Pretty Enough. She makes me happy.

    But then I got sick AGAIN for another full week of being laid up with a fever. Very upsetting and turned all my plans upside down. This winter has left me feeling negligent to my needs personally & professionally, but looking at what I *have* done I can say the last two months weren’t wasted.

    Hopefully March will be illness free and include some fun surprises. Mostly, I’m excited to go to Rochester to share my story and meet tons of hearing, deaf, HoH, & CODA staff and students.

    *Totally unnecessary. Roads & sidewalks were completely clear. Why am I not surprised to learn that DC is filled with slackers and wussies?
    Capitol National Mall IMG_2211 IMG_2212 IMG_2213 IMG_2214

  • All Blog Entries,  Product Reviews,  Random

    Wet n’ Wild Megalast Lip Color

    I arrived in DC last night and quickly realized I didn’t bring any lip gloss or color. I have tons at home, so I wasn’t in the mood to spend a lot of time or money on new stuff and the corner CVS’s small inventory was raked over. This resulted in my grabbing the cheapest stuff I could easily find: Wet n Wild.

    I got the standard clear stuff just to apply over my bare lips or with lip liner and then some bright pink stuff because it was $3. So why not? YOU CAN’T STOP ME. I’M CRAZY LIKE THE WIND!

    Turns out, the pink stuff was Wet n Wild’s Megalast liquid lip color called “Back to the Fuchsia”. I applied it in a dark restaurant and almost immediately was like, “WTF?” I mean it looked like gloss and felt like gloss, but this was not gloss. It dried to a matte finish (Eeeewwww, why? Noooooo! The 90s were my “lost years”, and I don’t need to find them again.) and my lips actually were sticking together. The stuff is very tacky. Pun intended.

    I dabbed on a bit of the clear stuff because I couldn’t stand the feeling of dry, tacky lips then ate dinner, had a drink and HOURS later this picture is AFTER my shower. Wow. MegaLAST is MegaRIGHT. Photo on 2-13-14 at 5.50 PM #2

    Had I not applied the little bit of clear gloss the stuff ain’t budging. Like busy-day-as-a-porn-star smudge-proof.

    I’m not entirely sure the color is right for me, especially in the winter with my pale, freckled skin, but for $3 and hundreds of applications in the bottle we are talking my language:  Bang for Three Bucks!*

    *Also the future name of my porno in which I’ll test drive this stuff.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life

    February 2014

    Continuing from my January post / idea to remind myself of the positive plans I have in a nutshell, here is my post for what’s in store for February:

    * Perform the last** of my solo show workshop performances.
    * Update my solo show script using info gleaned from my workshop performances.
    * Go to DC over V-Day weekend with Christian where he headlines The DC Improv & will see friends while there.
    * Perform on three  comedy / storytelling shows. (Info here.)
    * Work as an extra on a friend’s TV pilot.
    * Watch two Soundtrack Series storytelling shows at MoMI.
    * Attend a screening of “Network” and Q&A with David Itzkoff & Keith Olbermann also at MoMI.
    * Hang out with my protege during her mid-winter school break.

    ** Last of this go round. I’m going to stage one more set of two or three workshops to finalize the script and have it professionally videotaped so I can submit to festivals and such.

    January 2014’s plans went as expected. It was very busy, with lots of great movies thanks to those SAG screeners. The Los Angeles trip included a meeting with a screenwriter and trips to the La Brea Tar Pits and Getty Villa. Also, I hung out with my protege one day and had the best time ever. We rode down a toboggan in Times Square set up for Super Bowl Boulevard, checked out Puppy Bowl at Discovery Times Square and toured Ripley’s Believe It or Not.Ripley's

    So, all in all, a pretty awesome month! The only downside was that I got very sick for a solid week including one day when I had an almost 103-degree temperature. Scary! It put a damper on my rehearsals for my solo show, but I managed to pull through. The show went on and I was pretty pleased with it.

    Let’s see if February shakes out as planned and if anything else fun or interesting pops up.

  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  Family & Life,  TV & Movies

    January 2014

    The holidays tend to bum me out, and I felt like I hadn’t accomplished much in 2013 and don’t have much to look forward to in 2014. That’s just the silly holiday blues talking. So, to remind myself of the positive plans I have in a nutshell, I’m going to write an entry at the top of each month about the weeks ahead.

    For January 2014, I am:

    Going to Los Angeles and Cleveland,
    Producing & performing my solo show at the The Peoples Improv Theater,
    Promoting shows for NYC PodFest,
    Seeing a half dozen comedy shows or more,
    Performing on a few others,
    Celebrating 11 years with Christian Finnegan,
    Getting a haircut and going for my tri-annual teeth cleaning.

    SAG Screeners

    After I wrote this, we got the mail and received a bunch of screeners from the Screen Actor’s Guild of which Christian is now a member. We’ve never gotten anything like this before so we were very excited to see our mailbox spilling out with such great movies.

    I’m sure veterans of the stage and screen don’t get all atwitter for these, but to us it felt like Christmas morning! They arrived just in time for a 10-inch snowfall and bitter cold in NYC and our trip to Los Angeles, so we’ll have plenty to keep us company.

    So, yeah, there is a lot to look forward to. Now let’s get this party started!

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Mentoring,  NYC,  Rock House

    Christmas 2013

    I had an especially awesome week leading up to Christmas. I had three separate dates with my protégé which was the biggest treat. We hopped aboard a vintage train (pic at right & at bottom) to Midtown where we shopped at the Disney store and Toys R Us Times SquareNostalgia Train, and got tickets at the TDF booth for Newsies the Musical. Our seats were pretty high up in the mezzanine but this musical’s set design allowed for great viewing. The choreography was phenomenal and we enjoyed the show very much.

    During intermission, Jeaniah pored through the program matching each actor’s headshot and bio with their characters. A few minutes into the second act, the lead male was singing in earnest and Jeaniah whispered, “He has a very pretty voice!” I agreed and took note at how enthralled she was. At curtain call, she applauded politely for chorus, loudly for a few of her favorite supporting cast members, then screamed the highest pitched dolphin squeal that could’ve broken glass when the lead male took his bows, like we were at a One Direction concert. Her unbridled enthusiasm made me happier than any gift could.

    On the subway ride home, some boys started breakdancing in our car and could’ve rivaled any dancer in the Newsies chorus. Our car wasn’t that packed so it wasn’t too obnoxious and they were seriously talented, so Jeaniah gave them a dollar.

    A few days later, I picked her up after school. She opened my Christmas gifts for her: a bracelet loom, tons of rubber bands and charms for making the bracelets, and a jewelry organizer for her new bedroom. These were met with gasps of OH MY GOSH! and COOL! I also packed her bag with her favorite treats that I normally would put in a stocking like some gummy bears (Gummy bears?! I LOVE gummy bears!) and a bag of Goldfish crackers (Goldfish?! I LOVE Goldfish!). This cracked me up. I’ve known her for two years now, so of course I know what she wants and likes to eat and do and see. Her surprise was delightful.

    She mentioned that she had cards for her two teachers but wished she had gifts, so I let her pick two gifts from a shopping bag of heavily discounted Christmas items I had just snagged at Rite Aid. She chose an amaryllis and a candle/holder.

    Later that week, I picked her up after school to go see “Frozen” in 3D. We both really loved it and the theme song “Let it Go”. In the movie, it’s sung by Idina Menzel but when then end credits rolled, it’s this Demi Lovato version. Dang it is a catchy tune! I felt so happy from the movie, so the heck with it….I’m gonna SING! We sang what words we knew (not many) at the tops of our lungs and mumbled the rest and bounced around in our seats. I gotta take this girl to a real concert.

    ESB

    A couple of days later Christian and I joined her and her family at the annual Hour Children Christmas party with gifts supplied by the Marine’s Toys for Tots program. We got a few really nice pictures and made some crafts before Christian and I scooted out to LIC for the LIC Flea and the gorgeous view of Manhattan with the ESB decorated in green & red for Christmas with an awesome light show timed with music airing on 106.7. Fun! (Click here for the YouTube video of the light show.)

    All in all, it was a great week in the city with all it has to offer, but I was happy to leave it behind for a long “vacation” at our cabin upstate. We enjoyed dominoes, the wood fire, Vince Guaraldi, lots of good home cooked meals, “Cheers” on Netflix, making pomander balls, way too much candy and almost too much laziness. Among other gifts, I gave Christian a pair of Hunter boots and Morrissey’s new autobiography and a bunch of tech gadgets; he gave me a gorgeous vintage tub planter, a much needed wallet and  a 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. The latter was really a gift to him: I stayed busy and out of his hair for a whole week. ;oP

    We rang in the New Year quietly around our fire, writing out our goals, the theme of which seemed based on this Samuel Beckett quote:

    All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    Onward and upward to us all in 2014!

    Hour Children Christmas Party 2013 Hour Children Christmas Party 2013 Hour Children Christmas Party 2013 Nostalgia Train Nostalgia Train Nostalgia Train Nostalgia Train Newsies LIChristmas 2013 Tree2013 Tree Christmas 2013 Pomander Balls  Fireside Chat

  • All Blog Entries,  Deaf Culture & ASL,  Mentoring

    47 ASL High School

    Had a long but rewarding day at 47 ASL High School yesterday. The students were about 20% Deaf, HoH and CODA and the rest hearing but immersed in a school that embraces ASL. How wonderful.

    I met 180+ great teens from all parts of NYC some who shared with me privately about their hopes to be involved with producing, dreams of being a writer, and brushes with domestic violence, drugs & alcohol, mental illness and more. I donated a copy of my book to the library and signed it to the kids. I went home and collapsed –exhausted but inspired– and awoke to this nice email from the coordinator today:

    “You are the talk of the town! [T]eachers and administrators who made it to your presentation were touched and impressed by the way you shared your experiences with the students. And, of course, the kids are all going to be reading your book now and they are so excited and honored to have it autographed by you!”

    I was honored to share with them. I’d take a repeat of yesterday Every. Single. Day.