Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

My weekend started beautifully with my friend Joseph Ogden, who had hired me for the gig I did on Thursday.  He took me to brunch at Norma's, a really nice restaurant at the Parker Meridian Hotel.  So yummy, and then we walked the Highline for a bit before he had to leave town.

Last night I got to do a little Easter celebrating with dying eggs with some lovely friends.  Yippee!

Tonight I am going to my first Easter Mass at St. Paul's Church in Lower Manhattan.  I am really looking forward to it.

As I was reading in the scriptures this morning about Christ rising on the third day, one thought struck me, that is not new, so much, but really hit me somehow today.  Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene first.  A woman.  To me, that says so much about His regard not only for her, but for women in general.  And not in a "women are so much better than men" kind of way at all.  But I just really believe that Christ loves women, so much, and holds us in reverence, respect and regard.

Lately I have heard and therefore thought a lot about peoples' ideas with the Church and women, the Priesthood and other perceived or real gender inequalities.  Those issues may or may not be a big deal to some.  They are to others.  And I am not saying our society in the Church is perfect and doesn't have things they can improve on as far as gender goes.  I don't know.  But I do know that Jesus Christ loves women.  So much.  If it wasn't so, he would not have spent the time speaking to Mary Magdalene first, of all people.  Maybe he would have gone to John the Beloved.  That would have made sense.  But he first went to Mary.

So,  I know my place as a woman in the eyes of Jesus Christ, and I know I am loved, respected, and revered.  Those were my thoughts today, and I just love my Savior. 

Happy Easter!


The Gig, The Train and the Tranny.

On Thursday I had a singing gig in New Canaan, CT.  My friend Joseph, who works in External Relations for the Marriott School of Business Management at BYU, was planning an event with their National Advisory Council and hired me to come out and sing at it.  So I grabbed my friend/accompanist Ryan and off we went on the Metro-North Train to New Canaan.  It was my first time taking a train out of the City, so it was kind of exciting.  That little detail is important.  Remember that.

It was a really fun night.  We ate yummy food (of course, always the food), and Ryan and I were a big hit, and I hope they raised lots of money for the school.  New Canaan is gorgeous.  I love living in NYC (obvi), but every time I leave it and go to a suburb I wonder why I live in the City.  Anyway, it was really fun; I was so glad to be asked.

So Ryan and I get on the train about 9:30pm to come back.  The train ride is supposed to be a little over an hour long, and we have a stop in Stamford in the middle of it.  We were both pretty tired, but just chatting with each other and anxious to get home.  During the stop in Stamford, we just stayed on the train.  Why not?  Eventually, the train started.  And we started going backward.

Back the way we came.

Back to New Canaan.

It wasn't until then that we realized we were supposed to transfer at Stamford, not just sit on the train and wait to get going again.


The best part was, we had watched a guy get on the train and ask if it was the train going to NYC.  Another man shook his head "no."  WE WATCHED THIS.  And we still thought, that's crazy.  Of course this is the train going back.  Where else would it be going?  Well, it was going back to New Canaan, that's where.  By this time it was about 10:30, and we wanted to die.

Anyway....we got all the way back to New Canaan, and all the way back to Stamford, and sure did get off the train to transfer.  When our train finally came, we got our reward for the whole painful experience in the form of the largest cross dresser I have ever seen. 

This tranny was huge.  Like, 6'10".  No joke.  And broad as a linebacker.  By unspoken agreement, Ryan and I found two seats just facing her so we could watch as she chatted, very loudly, about her life to anyone who would listen.  I even got a few pictures, but they aren't very good.  You have to look at her shoes!   At one point, she took off her wig to reveal a completely bald head, brushed out the wig, and put it back on.  Her outfit was amazing; all hot pink mesh.  She did not leave a whole lot to the imagination, if you know what I mean. 

*I mean no disrespect to transsexuals, transgender individuals, drag queens, transvestites, etc.  I am actually kind of fascinated, and would love to meet someone someday that could give me insight into the world of gender-bending, to put it generally.  It just seems to be that whenever I run into a tranny, she happens to be one who is so outlandish in her dress and demeanor that I can't help but be entertained.  And I seem to run into them a lot.  I do live in New York City.*

We got home after midnight, tired but in one piece.  And don't think I didn't already have this blog post formulating in my mind....

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Birthday To Me Week!

Last week was my birthday!  I am so lucky to have great friends to celebrate it with.  I kind of celebrated all week, at least in the way I ate....I totally have food hangover today.  It all started with a burger and a shake at Shake Shack late Tuesday night, and hasn't really stopped because, well, it was the weekend.  Just wanted to share a few pics of the Italian restaurant we went to on Wednesday (the actual day), and the party Abby and Deb threw for me Friday night. 


Shake Shack.  Mmmm...

Italian with some of my people. 
Rance, Chelsea and me.

Melanie, Stephen and Abby
Jeff and Matt

Deb has found in moving out here that people are obssessed with her I did a study in her hair: 

Let's be honest, I have hair envy.  I am not ashamed to admit it.  We decided we needed to create a Facebook fan page for Deb's hair.  It will be complete with a cut out of her hair that you can insert your own face into.  Like so:

Stay tuned for that.

And, me and my crazy friends at my birthday party.

 Let's not talk about the poster.  It was not my idea.  Or the (fully clothed) lap dance I got from Seth.  Not my idea either, but really, REALLY funny.  And slightly uncomfortable.  But mostly funny. 

After a Saturday of work, and opening up Pippin,
Sunday night found us breaking the fast with eachother, as we have done so many times in the last few months.  I like my friends a lot.  They seriously are the best. 

However, it is time to get back on the wagon.  I have a huge food hangover. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Recovery, Self-Love and Selfies.

This last week I have had a few call backs, which was exciting for me.  It feels so good to see a little bit of progress, even though I didn't actually book any of the jobs.  It validates me that I am on the right track.  But last Wednesday, after my last call back, I was really discouraged because it should have gone really well, and I choked.  Somehow.  It was a movement call back after a chorus call, which means I sang my song on Monday, and on Tuesday they called and asked me to come to a movement call back.  Since the show was not heavy dancing, they just wanted to see if I could do simple dancing.  No problem.  The combination was super easy, but I still somehow choked when it came to crunch time.  I was so mad at myself and sad about the botched opportunity.  I would not have hired myself, so I didn't expect anything to happen.

Anyway, I got home and decided I needed a bit of selfie therapy.  Oddly, it helped.  Not completely, but these silly moments definitely made a difference.

Today, I was thinking about my industry, and my personal journey of recovery from codependency.  It wasn't until after my marriage ended that I learned how codependent I can tend to be, and ever since then I have been learning more and more about what emotional health means for me, and have been working to achieve that.  (That is the nutshell version of a very long story, and an even longer journey.) 

I have a great opportunity at this point in my life, and in this industry, to practice my recovery every day.  I have kind of thought about this before, but never really with this amount of clarity.  The principles of Recovery as I understand them are based on fully trusting and surrendering to a Higher Power, and letting that Higher Power take care of you.  Recovery is learning to love and trust yourself.  It is learning to keep that self-love intact and not base it on other people's opinions of you.  It is about living in your own truth, and not taking responsibility for others' lives, feelings and reactions.  It is about letting go of things you can't control.   It is about taking care of YOU, and therefore being better equipped to be your best self, and in turn be able to love and serve others in a more healthy way.  

Anyway, lately I have felt like I am in a really good place, therefore, have worried that I haven't been as proactive in "working my recovery" as I could be.   On Saturday night, I went to a group meeting and as I shared my feelings about this,  all of a sudden this idea formed in my head about how I am actually working my recovery every day as I audition.  As I thought more about it today, it clarified even more.

Every day, I am given with the chance to love myself in the face of rejection; to see my own value no matter what the people across the table think about my work.

I get to practice faith and trust in God that He will take care of me when I am going to audition after audition and not finding anything.  I also get to practice the faith that He will take care of me in the other aspects of my life as well, while I am so focused on my career.  (AKA, dating and a theoretical marriage do-over).

When I have a bad audition or a disappointing experience of some kind, I get to practice the skill of feeling my feelings, processing them, and moving on, instead of telling myself I am not supposed to feel sad or discouraged.  I can feel those things, acknowledge them, and then figure out what to do with those feelings in a healthy manner.

I get to address my sense of perfectionism every day.  I get to make mistakes and beat myself up over them, or not.  I work on the NOT beating myself up part.  The other option helps no one, least of all myself. A great saying in my network of Recovering Codependents is "progress, not perfection."  I love that.  It helps me keep perspective.

I can accept myself and my work every day.  My triumphs and failures, the good and bad about me, my strengths and weaknesses, my ugly and my beautiful.  I can accept myself as a person.  I need to.  The whole package.  Also, I can accept that whatever I do that day is enough.  I am enough.

I don't always do all of these things.  Quite often I come up short on a given day that is hard.  But at least I am aware, and I know the direction I want to go in.  So I guess I am working my Recovery more than I realized.  

Incidentally, I realized a long time ago that the more I work my Recovery, the better I will be in my craft.  Funny how that happens, isn't it?

I love this quote I found in "The Gifts of Imperfection," by Brene Brown:

"My story matters because I matter."

I relate to that in my life as well as in my work.  I matter, therefore, my story matters.  My life story, or the story I am telling that day, it is the same.  It is my story.

And, on the days when my story doesn't seem that great, I can always take a few selfies to cheer myself up.  It's better than eating my feelings.  But it doesn't taste as good.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lunch Break Explorations

The other day I worked at an investment bank on 52nd and Park Ave.  I have worked there before, and I love it because they are so nice, and they feed you lunch every day. :-)  If I always worked there, it would not be good.  But since it is only on occasion, I feel great about it. 

So I went exploring a bit on my lunch break.  Here is what I found.  Disclaimer: I actually discovered these sights on my first time at this office.  But it was no less fun the other day when I was taking pics.

St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church. It was built in 1917.  I love finding historic churches amidst the concrete jungle of Manhattan.  I love churches so much that I may end up doing a whole blog post about all the ones I see all the time here.

Every time I think of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel I think of the movie Serendipity.  One of the things I love about living here is that I get to see places that I have only read about or seen in movies.  I still get excited about it.  I am a big nerd, I know, but that is what happens.

I didn't want to be totally tacky and take pictures of everything, but the bathrooms!  They were so fancy!  Every stall was actually its own little private bathroom.  I was very overwhelmed by the fanciness of it all. 

I just love this view from Park Ave.  I think I have seen it in some movie or another.  For some reason, this feels iconic New York to me.  So I like it.

Sometimes I Go See Shows

I wish I had the time/money to see all the shows I want to see.  But sometimes I get to go, and this is what I have seen recently:

Once: The Musical.  A. Mazing.  My friend Steph came into town and we had lunch and hit the matinee.  I was really sad that Steve Kazee wasn't in that day, but it was still so so so good.  And Cristin Milioti?  Forget about it.  She was stunning.

And...we found a toilet set piece on the street.  You know, like you do in the NYC.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Saw this with Max, Brendan and Deb the other night.  Acting?  Absolutely incredible.  How they go there 8 shows a week is beyond me.  Production value?  It's Broadway.  Of course it was great.  Great writing.  Really great, complex characters.  The only thing is, I wanted to kill myself almost the whole show because it was so sad and distressing seeing the way these relationships worked, or didn't work, as the case may be.  All the discontent of their lives was hard.  It was a hard show to watch, but so good at the same time.

Max and I, first intermission.  Yes, there were two.  It was that long and that intense that the audience needed two opportunities to decompress. 

That's it.  I love me some shows, and I go every chance I can get. :-)

My Funny Valentines

OK, I'm back.  The last couple of weeks have been really busy, and I have a hard time finding my weekly motivation to talk about it.  For the most part, just life as usual, auditioning, living the dream.  Nothing too exciting.  But I have been remiss on a few things.  Anywhoosers....

On Valentine's Day, I was my own Valentine, and I felt great about it.  (Incidentally, I did have a date that night, and while it was a great night, it was a first date, therefore, it didn't really count.  Back to my story).  I figured, if I can't be my own Valentine, I certainly can't be anyone else's.  And good Valentines always shows up with flowers.  So I showed up for myself that day.  It was great.

On the train ride home from my audition, beautiful roses proudly in hand, I got sandwiched on the train between and MASSIVE man who reeked of cigarette smoke, and a woman eating Indian food.  I half expected my roses to wilt.  By the time I got off that train, I thought I might be sick.  It was not a shining moment in NYC public transit life.

But THEN, I arrived home to this lovely Valentine from my sister Cyndi and her family in Oregon:

It made my day even more.  Now I had lots of Valentines!

Happy Valentine's Day to me!