Saturday, December 31, 2011

reverb11 day 31: that's all she wrote.

Today's prompt asks: Take a moment to think back on your reverb11 responses. Have you learned anything? What surprised you about this experience? Which of your responses was your favourite? (see - I even kept that Canadian spelling, Brad!)

Before I sort of answer this question, I wanted to look back at my last post of reverb10, which was this.

I toot my own horn extremely rarely. Sure, I promote the hell out of projects I'm involved with, but I don't really say many nice things about myself. But I loved my response to that prompt. It felt very right on for how I felt at the time. A lot of it is still true. Most of it, really. And I'm glad that my goals for 2011 were met. I really tried to balance my life this year. And we're getting there. We're getting there.

My life is great. It really is. I am so, so lucky. This horrible thing happened in my state last Sunday, early on Christmas morning. You may have heard the story. I've been thinking about it all week. It really doesn't matter how rich you are, how much success you have in your career, how many toys you have - the most important things rarely lie in those categories, although so many times it feels like they do. It's your family. Your friends. Your health. Those are the most important things. Unequivocally.  I bet that woman, who lost it all on Christmas morning, would trade her life with just about anyone right now. It made me feel so sad for her, and so grateful for what I've been blessed with.

But back to reverb11. Because really, it is all tied together. Reverb is a month-long project that looks back on your year, your life, your goals, your aspirations. When it blew up two days before December 1, my Twitter pal, world-traveler and all-around great guy Brad took it over, with help from Brandee and others.

December is such a busy month. These people didn't exactly have time to take over this enormous project. But when Ms. Bell decided that, as part of her "work," she was going to let it go 48 hours before everyone was anticipating their first prompt, they jumped on it. And, quite frankly, made it better.

I've loved this year's reverb. I know some of my favorite writers - and you know who you are - haven't had a chance to really participate this year, but if this carries on next year - and I really hope it does - I hope they join back in. In my opinion, it was miles better than last year. Not to crap on last year, but I found many of the prompts repetitive. This year, that happened, like, once.  And it was all Oh So Serious. The best part of this year for me was the mix of serious and not-serious prompts.

With what other project would I be able to sincerely talk extensively about how much I miss both my dad and Don Draper? My love of theater and my hatred of Glee? Forgiving myself and my epic trip to LA?  A huge life-changing decision and my secret shame?

I've loved reverb11. I am excited about a little teaser in today's email, hinting at a possible upcoming project early next year. 2011 has been a fabulous year for me. My challenge to next year is to be even more fabulous. Bring it, 2012!

Happy New Year, friends. Thank you for reading.


Friday, December 30, 2011

reverb11 day 30: genie in a bottle

Today’s prompt asks: If a genie could grant you three wishes for 2012, what would they be?

 Well, I’m not going to answer this in any materialistic way. Like, I wish for a pile of money, or a closet full of new clothes, or an unlimited gift certificate to Target (ooooh….that would be amazing though…FOCUS, AMANDA). Here is what I would wish for – and, really, here is what I do wish for, genie or not:

My number one wish, prayer, hope to the universe today and always is for the good health of myself and my family and friends. Nothing else matters above this. Period.

My number two wish would be for the continued strengthening of the relationships within my little immediate family. Marriage and parenthood are two things that are easy at first – it’s simple to be best friends with the guy you just walked down the aisle with and that cute little baby to whom you just gave birth.

But as those relationships endure and lengthen, as we change and hopefully grow as people, as time passes, they take work. I say this not in a negative way – but in a truthful way. Nothing is more worthwhile than investing the time and energy into making your most personal relationships – the ones that are part of your life and your household every single day - strong.

I read recently the idea that marriage should not be work if it’s a good marriage. I could not disagree more. Life is long, hopefully (see wish number one), and all relationships experience highs and lows. If you say I am wrong, you are completely full of shit. So, yes, it does take work. And it’s crucial to make that work a priority – something that is sometimes easy to forget when your heat is broken or the power is out for days on end or the dog is sick or the kid is whiney or the daycare bill is due again or the water isn’t working or you're having car trouble or or or.

(Note: please do not take this to mean more than it does. It’s an observation. Greg and I are fine. My point is that it takes work to be fine. And sometimes I’m not great at prioritizing that work – something I’d like to improve in 2012.)

Same with Jane – in a few short years, if she follows the path of your standard teenager, she will think I’m the biggest idiot/dope/asshole she ever knew. But I’m hoping the roots of our relationship – which are developing now – are strong enough that when she comes out on the other side of that wretched mess we call puberty, we can be great friends. I love nothing more than hearing young women say their mothers are their best friends. Can this be a true thing? I hope so.

My third wish would be for a year bursting with creativity, whether it is a project I am personally involved in, or just a witness to. I want to read, see and hear great stuff. I would love to be part of a meaningful project or two …. or three … all to be determined.

What’s your wish?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

reverb11 day 29: shake and bake

Today’s prompt asks: Looking towards 2012, what can you do to shake things up a little next year?
Well, I think I shook things up a good amount this year, I would say. (Anyone want to hear more about me changing my job again? Anyone? Bueller? Well, suffice to say, it shook things up. Like a Polaroid picture.)

I find that life finds a way to shake itself up even when you don’t plan for it; at least, that’s how it’s gone for me. Good or bad, it seems to constantly change. For me, at this stage in my life, it has a lot to do with being a parent. Once you get the hang of taking care of a baby – BOOM! – she is a wobbly toddler. Once you figure that out, you’re potty training. Once that nightmare is over – look at that! – you have a REAL KID. In the middle of all that, you are trying to figure out your new identity as a parent, a person, an employee. It's constantly evolving.  And 2012 will bring major changes, because my kid - the one that was born, like, ten seconds ago - will be STARTING SCHOOL.

Jane has been in daycare/preschool since she was three months old. That first day – whoa – was one of the saddest of my life. But I love that place now. So much. I love her teachers, I love everything she’s gotten out of it so far. I’m relieved she still has eight months to go there.

But I know it will go by in a flash. And then another major transition will happen again. Not just for her; for all of us. I’ll have new parent friends to make, new groups to join, a new journey to embark on, with my daughter. School matters, big time – to our whole family. And it will be good, but it will be different.

That ought to shake things up, I think.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

reverb11 day 28: second verse, same as the first

Today's prompt asks: What one thing do you need to forgive yourself for this year?

I thought there was a mistake with this prompt. I thought this was a duplicate of one that was sent out earlier this month. It turns out that that is not the case - but my answer is the same.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

reverb11 day 27: in which I don't really answer the question

Today prompt asks: Share with us the title and inside jacket cover of the book you’d most like to write.
And here we are, day 27, and I don’t have an answer. I really don’t. Here’s why: I don’t think I have a book in me (I am answering in terms of a fictional book; but I won't be writing a non-fiction book either. That's for the experts of....things, which I am not.)

 Unlike so, so many of you talented bloggers, I am not a creative writer. I enjoy writing about my life, and about pop culture, and my various and sundry opinions (educated or not) about just about anything, but as much as I loooooove to read fiction – and plow through dozens and dozens of books a year – I don’t have a great, unwritten or unfinished novel in me.

 I’ll leave that to you guys.

reverb11 day 26: what you own

Today’s prompt asks: Think of one song that you turn to time and time again, and describe why it’s important to you.
Because I am a nerd, my number one go-to song is from my number one, all-time favorite musical, RENT.

I remember one particular morning welllll over 10 years ago – actually, closer to 15 – when I was driving to work. I was driving to work at my first real adult job as a newspaper reporter, from my first apartment, and life was grand. And as I barreled down 91 South in my (unbelievably shitty) Ford Probe, I remember the complete joy I felt when the song “What You Own” from RENT came on. I felt like I was flying. At the time, it was a relatively new soundtrack (this was probably in late ’97 or early ’98, and the show opened in 1996) and I had only seen the show professionally once, on Broadway, with my friend Hilary. I had already completely memorized the CD, and "What You Own" was then, and always will be, my favorite show from that show.

Of course, since then, I’ve seen RENT 22 times professionally, and a handful of times on a community level (before it re-opened off-Broadway this year, the rights were briefly available for amateur groups to produce).

Other songs from the cast recording have been incredibly meaningful to me in other ways, but “What You Own” remains my go-to track. I freaking love that song. I have no really deep reason why; it just kicks ass and brings me tons of joy.

reverb11 day 15: but how did he know!?!?!

Today’s prompt asks: What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?
Apologies in advance for taking this prompt kind of lightly. No deep and super-meaningful answers from me this week. But something that popped into my head was a gift I received, oh, probably three decades ago.

I didn’t grow up with a lot of grandparents around. Both of my grandmothers and one grandfather were dead before I could ever remember them. But my maternal grandfather lived until I was in 10th grade, so I have some fun childhood memories with him. (Side note: I really do wish I had a grandmother around when I was growing up. It seems like a really special relationship for kids to have, which is why I make sure Jane spends lots of time with both of her grandmothers.)

So, anyway, I remember one Christmas when I was still in elementary school – maybe fifth or sixth grade – and my grandfather gave me a pottery set. Just a little arts and crafts thing for kids, nothing professional or anything, but HOLY SHIT, I was completely FLOORED. How did he know to get me such a cool gift!?!?!?!

See, I had wanted a pottery set, but never expected to get one from Grandpa – but there it was! He knew me so well! I was totally beside myself.

Now, as an adult, I know that either a) my mother told him to buy it for me or b) my mother bought it herself and he paid her for it (this is the most likely scenario). But she let him have the glory. And, friends, it was a truly glorious gift.

reverb11 day 24: baby, it's cold outside

Today’s prompt was super-easy, just asking for a one-line answer to the prompt: “Somebody has to say it.” But for some reason, I had it in my head that the prompt was “It just has to be said.” Which is a little bit different – the second one prompting a more personal response. (Or maybe not. I don’t know. My brain is full of cookies right now.) Anyway, here is my answer:
It just has to be said that despite my seething rage at the disaster that Glee has become – and, please, I encourage you to read my thoughts on it here – my very favorite Christmas song this year is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” as performed by Glee cast members Chris Colfer and Darren Criss, and I have listened to it approximately eleventy jillion times over the past month.


PS Despite my personal rule to never listen to Christmas music after December 25, I have already listened to this twice today (December 27). I am a BAD. ASS.

Friday, December 23, 2011

reverb11 day 23: I'm goin' back to Cali

Today’s reverb11 prompt asks: Did you visit anywhere new this year? Any plans to travel next year?
Well, reverb11, I DID in fact visit somewhere new this year! I FINALLY got to go to the Los Angeles! And about damn time, thinks this lover of gossip mags and all things showbizzy.

I have always wanted to go to LA. You know….just BECAUSE. But Greg didn’t want to, because, in his words, “it’s gross.” See, he had been there before, and so it was all, been there done that, for him – but WHAT ABOUT MEEEEE? Even when we were in San Diego on TWO SEPARATE TRIPS he didn’t want to make the two hour jaunt north so I could try to spot some celebrities. (And, frankly, San Diego, which is where I will retire if I have ANYTHING AT ALL to say about it, is kind of hard to leave for any reason, so I couldn't really blame him.)

So last spring, when my work bestie Beth and I had the opportunity to spend a grand total of 36 hours for a marketing junket thingy (side note: sometimes, maaaybe once a year, we had to travel for marketing junket thingies) ("thingy" is an official marketing term) in LA. Never had we been invited to one of these things in such a fabulous location! And whilst it was completely INSANE to take two cross-country flights to spend a day and a half, including sleeping time AND working time, in Los Angeles, we were ALL IN.

I have written about this before – click here for pics and details – but I want you to pay attention to the second to last paragraph. I shall copy and paste it here, if you do not care to click over:

PS It needs to be said that I was soooo exhausted on Thursday night at the airport while we were waiting to catch our 10:45 p.m. flight (that's 1:45 a.m. for us East Coasters!) that I was laughing harder than I have laughed in about 10 years. I was like a lunatic - a drunk, stumbling, hysterical lunatic. People were giving me dirty looks.

 This trip was truly one big giant you had to be there. But I will look back on it, and my time there with my Beth, very happily for the rest of my life.

PS We did not see ONE SINGLE CELEBRITY. Epic fail, LA!

PPS Please enjoy these additional pics, taken with my Blackberry.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

reverb11 day 22: all the world's a stage

Today’s prompt asks: If you could quit your day job and your quality of life wouldn’t change, what would you do?

 Well, here’s the thing. I wouldn’t quit working, that’s for sure. Even if I didn’t get a paycheck – I’d work. I think I’d epically suck at being a lady of leisure. A few days a year, sure, but not all of the time. One of my epiphanies this year is that I actually like to work – that I have to work. As much as I’ve complained (here, there, and everywhere else) about being busy busy busy BUUUSSSSYYYY – I thrive on it. So, given the opportunity to not work at all, well, I wouldn’t take it.

But one project I’d love to throw my energy into (and, I assume, money, because we live in a fantasy land here, right?) is creating a theater space for my theater group.

When you don’t have your own space, you are at the mercy of the venues in your area. We pay a LOT of money to run tech rehearsals and perform on the stages in the local schools, and, although we do pay less, it’s still expensive to produce a show at alternate venues like community centers and places like that. It would be so ideal to have our own space – so every time we want to stage something, we don’t have to ask ourselves if we can afford it – if it will be the production that will shut us down forever.

It would take a TON of fundraising and grant-writing and educating and energy, but it would be so worth it, I think. I mean, we are lucky to have a rehearsal hall and storage space - but I want more!

That’s what I would love to do. Theater is one of my passions, as you know, and to help create a home base like this would be phenomenal. And I really do hope it’s something that I can help make happen, day job or not!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

reverb11 day 21: party like it's 1999

Today’s prompt asks: Tell us about the best party you attended this year.

 Oh man, do I love parties. I really do!  And one of my favorite parties last year was Relaxapalooza 2011.

I started throwing the annual Relaxapalooza party a couple of years ago. New Year’s Eve is kind of a bust for us since we had Jane, of course – we are typically in bed before midnight, although I really do try to stay awake to watch the ball drop (last year was not so spectacular, as I found myself throwing up at 11:50 p.m.). I mean, we DO go to our friends’ house and stuff our faces and have lots of laughs, but I wanted to get back into the tradition of having a big party to celebrate the new year. I just like new beginnings, you know?

So we started hosting Relaxapalooza at our house on January 1. This year's invite reads as such:

Let’s face it – we’re not cool enough to throw a New Year’s Eve party these days. But we can bring it on New Year’s Day like nobody’s business! This is meant to be a casual, laid-back gathering to relax and bring in the new year. Wear your PJs. Don’t shower. We don’t care. (Just please brush your teeth. We have some standards.) We hope you join us for food (think apps and desserts – remember, THIS IS NOT FANCY), friends, and most of all fun!

And, friends, IT IS GREAT FUN. I put a ton of pressure on myself to prep the house and yard for the big summer parties we host (Fourth of July and Jane’s birthday - both epic), but in this case, the idea of relaxing applies to both myself AND my guests. I mean, I clean the house, of course, but I try not to get all OCD about it. We get loads of frozen apps and desserts and just eat (mostly cheese-based and highly-caloric deliciousness) and hang and have fun. The kids play, trash my house, and the adults hang, and it is awesome.

Pretty much can’t think of a better way to bring in the New Year than that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

reverb11 day 20: thank you for being a friend

Today’s prompt asks: What kind of friend were you in 2011? What kind of a friend do you want to be in 2012?

This is a hard one. A question better asked of my friends, I would think. I will say, as I have said already during this project, that my friendships are vitally important to my life. I love, love, love my friends, and I would hope that they would answer this by saying I am a good friend, a present friend, a loyal friend, a friend that is there when they need someone to lean on. This is the kind of friend I aspire to be, this year, next year, every year. I hope that the fact that many of my friendships are 10+, 20+ and 30+ (!!!) years long is a testament to the fact that I make my friendships a priority, even though it’s sometimes hard, what with working, and being a mom, and having a family.

So with that, some favorite pics of my friends throughout the year. (and I apparently really liked wearing that pink scarf this year, too.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

reverb11 day 19: blackout! (the generosity edition)

Today’s prompt asks: Tell us about a time this year that you were moved by the generosity of others.

At the end of October, my lovely state got bitch-slapped by a Nor’Easter that dumped 15 inches of snow in my area, and took down trees and powerlines that resulted in nearly the entire state being in the dark for a week or more. And it sucked. Lo, how it sucked. We are on a well, so when we lose power, we also lose water. So all of the sudden it’s like you're camping. Inside your 40-something-degree house. With the added twist that it wasn't even Halloween yet.

Well, we got the hell out of there. We haphazardly packed, forgetting chargers and dog food and lots of other important things, and ran. We got the hell out of there so fast that we were driving over someone’s lawn to avoid the live wires that were crossing either side of our road. We didn’t want to get somehow trapped. When Irene (the hurricane) hit in August, we stayed home during the three-day power outage, save for one night in a shady hotel. We didn’t want to do that again – this time, it was freezing! And also, forcing flushes in your toilet every time you go to the bathroom isn't as glamorous as it sounds. And also not being able to shower. Or brush your teeth. Etc.

We headed to my in-laws, who live down at the shore. Only 45 minutes away, but wow, what a difference. They had maaaaybe a dusting of snow on the ground. Much more importantly they had running water! Heat! Power! It was glorious.

They took us in for five days. (Our power was out for six, but of course we had to stay home that first day when the storm hit.) They have a smallish house, and it certainly was not an easy thing to have a whole family move in, but they offered with no questions asked. My in-laws both work full-time as well, so to have four adults who have to get to work in the morning, plus a four-year-old who thought she was on vacation, definitely created some hectic moments. But we managed.

My mother-in-law was great. She made sure to stock the house with food we liked, entertained Jane, even babysat her one night so Greg and I could go to the movies. She went with us around the neighborhood on Halloween so Jane could trick-or-treat (something most kids in my area had to forgo this year). In a way, it really WAS like being on vacation – except with an hour-commute any time I had to go to work or rehearsal or come up for more supplies.

That week inspired generosity in a lot of people. All over Facebook, people who had generators or – miraculously - actual power were offering up their homes to anyone who needed it. The people I knew who did have power had full houses of friends and family who were without – it was a crazy, dirty, cramped, sleepover party for the bulk of the week for so many people.

It was awesome to see people be so nice to each other. It was inspiring. The moment our power came back on (perhaps one of the happiest days of this year) (no, DEFINITELY one of the happiest days of the year) I put the offer up on Facebook for anyone to stop by, warm up, sleep over, take a shower – whatever.

And you can bet your ass we bought a generator right after that.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

reverb11 day 18: the lunch I won't have

Today's prompt asks: If you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be and what would you like to discuss?

You know, initially I wanted to go a little bit lighter with this one again, like yesterday. And a list of people popped into my head: Michelle Obama, Trey Parker, John Hamm and Jonathan Larson, to name a few, all for very different reasons. Also, I wasn't sure if this was an "anybody living or dead" question. I was going to throw that question out on Twitter to see how other people were going to answer it, but the truth is, there is one person above all the rest that I want to have lunch with. And that's my dad.

Forgive me for being sappy. But the fact is, although he died nearly 12 years ago now, he's been on my mind a lot lately. Probably the holidays. I know a big sob-fest is brewing; I don't know when it will hit, but it certainly won't be convenient.

I remember the first Christmas after my father died. He died in February, so it was a full 10 months later. And my family had been doing a good job (after the intial couple of weeks) of holding our shit together for each other. I don't know why; for me, it was a matter of trying to stay strong for my mom, to try not to be another sad thing in her life, you know? That was my 26-year-old logic at the time.

Anyway, I remember Christmas morning. I went to a gas station across the street from my apartment and bought one of those cheesy wrapped roses, went to the cemetery and left it on his headstone, still totally holding it together. Then I remember walking into my mother's house, balancing laundry and gifts, and just collapsing in tears. I remember her hugging me, and I remember me saying, "It's just so sad." Because there was nothing else to say. I literally have tears running down my face right now, so sad for that version of me.

Holidays and birthdays and anniversaries have gotten immeasurably easier over the past decade-plus. The sadness hits at the strangest times. But I guess it's not strange at all to have a loved one on your mind during the holidays.

My relationship with my father wasn't easy. I've written about it before. We were just of two very different generations, two very different mindsets. Both stubborn Italians with dark hair, short stature and big eyebrows. I look just like him. And he was a super-fun guy. The life of the party, really. People loved him.

Anyway, I'm not answering the question. I'd love to have lunch with my dad. And I want to know what he thinks of me now. So much has happened since he died. I did a complete career jump from journalism to marketing. I lost a bunch of weight. I moved a lot. I had a couple of relationships, serious and not-so-serious. I met Greg, got enagaged, got married. What would he think of Greg? My parents were self-employed, and I always thought that was crazy. It's so hard to work for yourself. There are no excuses. And look- I married someone who is self-employed.

When my two older sisters got married, he walked them down the aisle. To each of them, right before they began that journey to the altar, he said something that made them cry. What would he have said to me? I would ask him that, at lunch.

I would love to see him with Jane. Could I invite her to this lunch too? She has never asked me about my dad; to her, I just don't have one. It's never come up, although I am sure it will, and soon. He would love her, of course, and I wish they had even a day to spend together. Just so I could get a picture of them, and put it up on my piano.

Would he be proud of me? This is mostly what I want to know. He questioned everything I did in my life. Every decision I made. And it pissed me off. And we fought. Of course, now I know he was just looking out for me. He wanted my life to be easier than his. But when you're a teenager, or an early 20-something, you can't see that. Now, as a parent, it's so clear. What would he think of me as a parent? So many questions.

I miss you Dad, so much. And I so much wish we could have this meal together, even though I know it will never happen.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

reverb11 day 17: loathing, gleefully

Please enjoy these two reasons to continue watching Glee

Today's (freaking awesome) prompt asks: Wo or what do you loathe and how have you expressed that in 2011? 

May I just take a quick moment to say this is exactly the kind of prompt I was looking for last year? Something not so serious, sprinkled in with all of the reflecting and manifesting and what not? I mean, it's December, people - we're all going nuts. Sometimes you just have to lighten up.

Because of course I'm not going to talk about a real person I loathe or anything. Oh, no. I will take a moment to discuss the thing that I have probably complained about the MOST on Twitter this year. Yes, even more than the dreaded snow.

I am talking about GLEE.

Yes, yes - some of you are nodding your head, perhaps clicking away from the post because you cannot bear to hear me rant against this -  comedy? drama? dramedy? WTF is it these days? - yet again. But I am nothing if not a lover of the pop culture, and I have some very, very strong feelings towards this show.

See, when it came out a couple of years ago, it seemed like the IDEAL show for me. I'm a musical theater NERD (you know this). And here was this show, starring some Broadway stars (Lea Michelle, Matthew Morrison) singing and dancing their way through high school shenanigans? SIGN ME UP.

And for about six episodes, I was all in. Loooooved it.

And then it began to suck. Nearly every main character began to piss me off. Like, what is up with Finn's FACE? He looks stoned all the time! And Mr. Shu - oh God. He's so jumpy and annoying and his whole relationship with his compusive wife (I can't remember her name) irritates the living shit out of me. Have you noticed they both carrying lunch boxes to school? And also, remember at the end of last season some random dude in NYC basically convinced him he could have a Broadway career after hearing him sing by himself in a dark theater? But he decided to give up on his dream and continue running glee club? I mean...WTF? I know I'm not really making any sense, but he annoys the ever-loving shit out of me.

As does Rachel, played by the other Broadway star, Lea Michelle. Now, I know I am not alone in my disgust of Rachel. There is truly nothing at all appealing about her character. I want to punch her most of the time. Oh, and what the hell is going on with Quinn? I mean - whatever they did to her this season to turn her into some sort of bass-ass rebel was a truly terrible idea. Her voice! What is up with her new deep voice?

Does anyone remember the episode last year where they all of the sudden were a bunch of in-school drinkers? They never drank at school before or after this ep, but to make all of the songs make sense, they had to create this assinine storyline. It really seems like the writers are given a bunch of songs, and then they try to squeeze some sort of plot around it. And it blows.

I'm not even going to get into how there seems to be a full orchestra hanging out everywhere, and that this Glee club has a bigger budget to produce than the professional theater I worked at up until recently. I can forgive that stuff.

It's the characters. The plots. It's the fact that Sue Sylvester isn't even really making me laugh anymore.

So why do I still watch this thing? I don't know. Mostly I hate myself for it. I do have a new crush on Blaine, so there's that. And then, every once in a while, some Broadway star will make a cameo that gives me great amounts of joy. Like Idina Menzel, and (this does not happen often enough) Cheyenne Jackson.

So, like a total asshole, I still sit there and watch. Loathing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

reverb11 day 16: community

Today’s prompt asks: Online and IRL we’re all part of a multitude of communities. Tell us about one that moves you.

Well, I’ve already talked about my friends here on the internet and my friends IRL – two majorly importantly communities in my life. And I’ve drooled my love of community theater all over this here blog for the past month. So today I’ll talk about a new community that was established this year in my life – the daycare moms’ Friday happy hour community.

Oh yes. It’s true. I’ve become the mother who hits happy hour before she picks up her kid. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’ve become friends with a few of the other parents of Jane’s classmates, and one day a few months ago, someone got the idea that we should get a drink next door (there is a restaurant/bar next door to her school) one Friday afternoon. Always one to say “cheers!” to an idea like that, I suggested that very Friday. And pretty much every Friday since, three or four of us have been getting together for a drink and apps and hilariousness for an hour or so before pick-up.

This has become a really fun tradition, and a great kick-off to the weekend. I’ve gotten together with some of them outside of school for playdates and birthday parties, but sans kids, we just have a really great time where we don’t have to supervise anyone. Is there anyone more harried, stressed and, frankly, awesome than working parents? In more ways than one, I feel like I’ve found some awesome new soul sisters in this group.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

reverb11 day 15: teacher

Today’s prompt asks: Sometimes we find teachers in the most unexpected places. Who surprised you as a teacher this year, and what did you learn?

So, this morning I woke up to a kiss on the cheek. It was Jane, who then told me, “Mommy, you’re my best friend.”

Seriously. How cute is that?

As much as Greg and I are responsible for guiding Jane through these first years of her life, she has absolutely been a teacher to me over the past four years. She teaches me to stop. Look around. Look at the trees, or the way the light is hitting a glass to create a rainbow, to notice the shapes of the clouds, to inspect a bug on the ground. And balloons! How amazing are balloons? When you are four, nearly everything is worth stopping for, taking a moment for, and marveling over.

I’m a rusher. Rush rush rush, busy busy busy. It’s just the type of person I’ve grown into, and really, I’m mostly OK with that. In just being the typical, inquisitive four-year-old that she is, Jane has slowed me down. She’s reminded me of life’s daily magic. It’s there, and has been there, all this time – but we forget. We don’t look. Always on to the next thing, and thinking about the thing after that.

Kids are great that way. They demand that you stop – even when you don’t want to, or think you don’t have time to. They insist you take notice. Appreciate. Investigate. Enjoy.

This past Saturday morning, I was running around my house like a lunatic. I had overslept from staying out late after the show the night before, plus I had a show that night, a birthday party in the afternoon, and I needed to drag Jane to the mall to buy a present for said birthday party. At one point, however, Jane decided she had to do my hair. “Like a princess,” she said. So I found myself sitting on my bathroom floor, Jane mangling and tangling my hair, and taking a minute to just breathe. It was exactly what I needed.

To put it simply: Jane teaches me to not just rush through life - but to notice and find joy in the details.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

reverb11 day 14: grateful? oh yes.

Today’s prompt asks: What five things are you most grateful for from 2011?

Isn’t it nice that a bunch of things popped into my head?

1) Number one, always and forever, is the health of myself, family and friends. Cliché, perhaps, but it couldn’t be more true. My mother-in-law is a fairly spiritual person, and she says the only thing she will pray for is health. Nothing else matters, really. And certainly, it is the most important thing - losing my father 11 years ago (almost 12, now) taught me that. I have found myself focusing on health a lot this year – and really beginning to recognize what makes me feel good, and, more importantly feel gross (and avoiding the gross-making stuff - see, I'm a total health nut!).

2) The wide, diverse, and awesome group of friends I have in my life. Last night, on the Twitters, I complained about writing out all of my Christmas cards, and how my hand hurt, and blah blah blah. But you know what? I can look at that stack of 50+ cards and know that they are going out to people I truly love and care about, and that – hopefully – on the other side are people who care about and love me. No matter how snarky and sarcastic I can be with my friends, at the end of the day, they are hugely important to me. I never, ever express that enough. And, on that note, I am so grateful for all of the friends I’ve made through this blog, and Twitter, and reverb, and what not. You guys have made a big difference in my life, whether you know it or not.

3) I had the opportunity to direct my favorite comedy, Rumors. Recently on this here blawg, I've talked a lot about the show I did last week (which was total amazeballs, if you haven't heard), but back in the spring, I had the chance to direct what I consider to be one of the absolute most hilarious shows out there. What a treat it was to work with such talented performers, and laugh night after night at rehearsal – and get to stand at the back of the theater during the performances and watch the crowd respond oh-so-positively to our hard work. I truly love directing. I don’t know if it’s a control thing or what, but I love it, and can’t wait to do it again. And, boy, was I a lucky director with the cast and crew I had - I couldn't have hoped for better. One of my top-three favorite theater experiences to date.

4) I got to go away on two vacations with Greg and Jane this summer. The first was to my in-laws’ cottage at the beach in Connecticut (sure, it was only 45 minutes from our house, BUT STILL, it wasn’t OUR HOUSE- oh, staycations, how I loathe you) and then we rented a house in Rhode Island with some friends in July. That, in particular, was an especially awesome trip - it was like a week-long party with a view of the water - and we have plans to do it again in 2012. Can. Not. Wait. Also, for my previous gig, I got to go on two particularly awesome trips with my girl Beth - to LA and NYC. 2011 highlights, both. *NOTE: I will painfully miss trips like this when they come around for Beth and I can't go. I believe I shall hide in her suitcase. Do you think she'll notice?

5) I am incredibly grateful that during this reverb project this year, I am having a hard time thinking about times I’ve struggled and been sad, things I want to change, difficulties I’ve endured – this has been a GOOD year. And for that, I am profoundly grateful.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

reverb11 day 13: what scared you?

Today’s prompt asks: What scared you this year more than anything else? Did you learn anything new about yourself?

Well, I knew I would keep coming back to this. I was scared of changing my job. This was the biggest game-changer for me this year, and was the decision into which I put the most thought, most emotion, and most energy.

I was scared out of my mind. Scared that I would make the wrong choice. Scared that I would feel….less, because I was going part-time, you know? Parents – moms especially – put SO MUCH PRESSURE on themselves to do it all. We’re super-forgiving and encouraging of each other (at least, I know I am), but not so much of ourselves, am I right? We want to do it all. We went to have a career, a social life, time to ourselves, hobbies, the whole nine, while at the same time be a great parent. I want to, anyway. I know that I don’t want to work part-time forever. I like being busy – being crazy-busy, even. It’s who I am, who I’ve always been. I just don’t like being through-the-roof-insane busy. And nobody around me likes it when I’m that way either.

Like with most well-thought-out decisions, I learned a lot about myself. What I expected from myself (everything). What I wanted out of my life (more balance, more creativity, more fun). That I was brave (this was a huge leap). That I could actually still be a theater person, even if I didn’t work at a theater anymore (see: past two months). That my weirdo, spazzy self would be accepted elsewhere, that I would make new friends. That, if even a minor amount of effort is put into it, I can keep up all of the awesome friendships I made at my previous job. That I could pursue freelancing, finally (something I'm planning on going balls-out with next year). That life could be better. That, even at 38, you can make big decisions that can be hugely impactful. That things don’t have to stay the same, just because they have been that way for so long. That ruts are stupid. That change is great. That you’re never stuck if you don’t want to be. That surprising people can be an awesome feeling – especially if you surprise yourself.

Sorry if this is repetitive – I knew the job situation would crop up more than once during reverb!

Monday, December 12, 2011

reverb11 day 12: what don't you need?

Today's prompt asks: What are 12 things your life doesn’t need in 2012? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 12 things change your life?

Wow. I have to say something – and this is going to be shocking – but I’m pretty happy with life right now. If you remember, during last year's reverb project I made FUN my priority word for 2011. And, even though I have never, ever assigned a word to a year before, I really stuck to this idea for the past 12 months. It was constantly in the back of my head while making decisions throughout the year. And I plan to continue that focus when the calendar flips. Now, it’s not like this was the very best year of my life, or anything, but the idea of thinking of 12 things in my life that I would like to eliminate seems daunting – so I will see how far I get.

 1) Snow. My life doesn’t need snow. But what it does need are friends and family. And the fact is, the bulk of my friends and family are right here in CT, with me. Where it is cold. Where we will soon have snow (you know – let’s just pretend that whole 15 inches in October thing didn’t happen). (Oh, who am I fooling – it scarred me for life.) My ideal place to live is San Diego. And maybe someday that will happen. But as much as I talk about it now, I know for a fact it’s not going to happen anytime soon - by choice. So, looks like I won’t be able to eliminate snow after all. Cue the BIG DRAMATIC SIGH.

2) Shitty attitudes. From myself, or anyone else. I am super snarky (I know this is shocking for you to hear) but I really do try not to have a shitty attitude. I go there sometimes; of course. We all do. But it tends to make my stomach hurt when I’m all stuffed up with negativity. I know I'm not all sunshine and ponies - and it freaks people out when I am, frankly - but snark and sarcasm do not equal shitty - at least in my book.

3) These 8 extra pounds. (But hey! Now it’s 8! Instead of 10! Yay!)

4) My Blackberry addiction. I am addicted to this thing like oxygen. It’s pathetic. And I know it. I need to make a practice of leaving it at home sometimes. Stupid blinking red light is like crack.

5) Caffeine. HA HA HAAA there is NO WAY I am totally eliminating caffeine. But I have been having trouble sleeping lately and I think I need to go back to (once again) only having one caffeinated beverage a day. And more water. FINE, MORE WATER.

6) Excuses. Excuses for not exercising (although I have become SO MUCH BETTER at this lately. Proud of that.) and excuses for not writing. Who cares if my life is dull as shit? I can still make you read about it. : )

OK, OK, now I am just digging around in my head trying to come up with something else – so I’ll stop. Six things ain’t so bad. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

curtain call.

So, the show went fantastically this weekend, and I have some serious post-show letdown, as expected. Everything about this experience reminded me why I love community theater in the first place - the challenge to myself, getting to perform, making great friends and just pursing something that I completely love. I am fused to my couch right now and getting ready to collect my Mom of the Year award for letting Jane watch TV all day. With that, please enjoy these backstage pics from last night (sorry if we're friends on FB and you've already seen them). I especially hope you enjoy my vintage 1970s dress from Act 1. Never have I felt more hottt.

PS I think I might direct the next show in the spring. Shhh...don't tell Greg.

Friday, December 09, 2011

reverb11 day 9 - how Don Draper disappointed me

Today’s prompt asks: What was the one disappointment that has turned out to be a blessing in the last 12 months. How will this affect how you deal with disappointment in the future?

 OK – here’s the dealio. I got, like, four hours of sleep last night, I have seven minutes to write this post, and my show opens tonight – so I don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about the disappointments of 2011. The good news is, a big list of things didn’t immediately come to mind, so I’m going silly on this one – it’s Friday, after all!

 So, last year (2010), after several annoying years of people telling me I should be watching Mad Men, and oh, I would love Mad Men, and, Amanda, you REALLY SHOULD WATCH MAD MEN, SERIOUSLY, THIS IS THE SHOW FOR YOU, I decided to give in and watch Mad Men over the summer, when there was nothing else on. So Greg and I started renting the DVDs, and were immediately hooked. This was a big deal, considering we watch maybe two shows together, because we never like the same stuff. But, lo, we became mightily addicted to Mad Men – which we nicknamed “The Don Draper Show.”

 Side note: Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper, is painfully hot. So, so much hotness. I mean, this didn’t even need to be said, but there you go. And he’s funny! Not on Mad Men, but in movies, and on SNL, and 30 Rock, and other things. He is my official TV boyfriend, for those of you keeping track. (Mark Ruffalo is my Hollywood boyfriend, and my Broadway boyfriend slot is currently open – although, really, Cheyenne Jackson would do nicely.)

 Anyway, we blew through the first three seasons, caught up to the fourth as it was airing, and watched the rest of the fourth season in real time. And it was wonderful .

 And then.

 Then there was some sort of contract negotiation bullshit between the creator, Matthew Weiner, and AMC, the network that airs the show, and the season that SHOULD have aired this summer did not. The fifth season will not air until March 2012. What the fuck, AMC? I needed a dose of Don Draper!

 BUT. Here is how that disappointment turned into a blessing. This past summer, I managed to get my hands on the iPad (Greg and Jane hog that thing), and realized that Netflix streaming offered Mad Men. So, for shits and giggles, I fired up the first episode – I thought it might be nice to see the gang again, if only for a few minutes.

 You know where this is headed.

 Several weeks later, I finished up watching ALL FOUR SEASONS AGAIN. And it was good. Good because I got my dose of Don, and good because I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before. And I’m totally primed for the fifth season, which starts in only – sigh – three months.

 Maybe I’d better watch it again.

 PS This video cracks me up. What?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

reverb11 day 8 - joy to the world

Today’s prompt asks: Take us back to a moment this year when you experienced pure, unadulterated joy.

Well, you can imagine my joy when I opened up my reverb email today – because this was one of the prompts I suggested! And even though I suggested it less than two weeks ago, the moment I immediately thought of happened more recently than that.

This past Sunday was a big tech day for my show. So before rehearsal, I was helping out with the transportation of props and set pieces, etc, from our rehearsal hall to venue. One of the things I do as a board member for my group is handle publicity, and one of the things I handle wearing that hat is painting a big sign for our town green and installing it a week or two before the show. Sunday was that day.

So there I was, driving Greg’s SUV, with this giant sign filling up the bulk of the car, squeezed in with other theater-related stuff, me stuffing the Arby’s that I grabbed in the drive-thru down my throat as a I drove to the green to put the sign in, and I just had this moment of joy.

Here’s why: I’ve been involved with this particular group for 15 years. I’ve done shows with other groups as well, but this really is my community theater home, in the town where I grew up. (I only live about 20 minutes away now.) (Pathetic, I know, but whatevs.) I’ve done all kinds of shows in all kinds of capacities, but I’ve also been handling publicity this whole time, which means since I was 23 years old, I have been hauling that sign to and fro, painting, re-painting, installing, taking out, in all kinds of weather.

So much of my life has changed since I started with this group in 1996, since I said, sure, hey, I’ll do props for Rumors, what the hell. This little group has seen me through the highs (getting married, having Jane) and the lows (my father dying), with a million hours logged in our rehearsal hall and various stages in between.

The responsibilities in my life have grown leaps and bounds as well. I used to do five or six shows a year – one right after the other – and now, juggling work, Jane and home, I’m lucky if I do two. And really, I am lucky that Greg is alright with me running out the door at night three times a week for a couple of months a pop. Unlike how things were prior to having Jane, it now affects him too, and keeps him at home while I go play with my friends.

But when I’m doing these shows - and, specifically, last Sunday, when I was dragging my old friend the sign to its appointed place on the town green – I feel like the same person I was when I was 23. The core me I’ve always been, all along, and always will be. And that version of me is pretty damn joyful sometimes.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

reverb 11 day 7 - forgiveness

(PS to yesterday's post: My friend and number-one commenter Dwayne is obviously very funny. There. I said it. Are you happy now, Dwayne?)

Today’s prompt asks: Who have you forgiven this year and what was the journey like that brought you to forgive them?

 I will admit it – I almost bailed on this prompt. Nothing immediately popped into my mind and this week is so busy with my show, I didn’t think I’d even have time to half-assedly come up with something, especially on such a heavy topic.

But then I started thinking about it. And, like so many prompts that inspire reflection, it came back to me – or rather, how I see myself. I have said it here, and everywhere, time and time again this year – EVERY year - that I need to lose 10 pounds. I need to lose 10 pounds, and I won’t be happy until I lose 10 pounds, and then I will be the weight I want to be, I should be, and all will be right with the world.

Ever since I turned 12, and puberty settled in for a niiiiice looooong stay, I have never had the ideal body – and by that I mean, what society will tell you the ideal body is. I have hips, I have boobs, I have a stomach – one, that even when I weighed 20 pounds less that I do now, was never flat. I'm rather short. And although I’ve been this way for the bulk of my life – it’s like I can’t forgive myself for it. It’s just not RIGHT.

We get off on trashing ourselves, I think. I know I do. If someone says something bad about themselves, well, don’t we all just jump in and criticize ourselves as well, to somehow make them feel better? It’s so easy. I could name 10 things, off the top of my head, that I can’t stand about myself. That sucks!

Why don’t I look at the positives? I exercise, 5-6 times a week, sometimes every day. I do try to eat right, more and more as I get older, because I realize it actually makes me feel better. Sure, I have shitty days, as we all do, but I certainly wouldn’t say I live a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. So why isn’t that good enough? In fact, why isn’t that GREAT? Why can’t I forgive myself for being the way I naturally am? Why can’t I celebrate it?

I try to look at it this way – I need to be a positive example to Jane. I refuse to make it OK to trash myself in front of my daughter. She will be assaulted enough by the images thrown at her from all directions depicting what the ideal is – in the eyes of the media, or celebrity, or magazines etc, anyway. If she sees me exercising, and trying to eat right, and, probably most importantly, NOT MAKING IT OK TO SELF-CRITICIZE, maybe - hopefully – she will do the same for herself. Or at least see that it’s a possibility. That it's just a better way to live, to be.

So, I guess this year – and every year – I continue to make progress on forgiving myself….for being myself.

(this really was written off-the-cuff, and I have no real time to edit – I know it could be better, and certainly more coherent, but I wanted to post something.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

reverb11 day 6 - what made you laugh

Today’s prompt asks: What made you laugh this year?
 I couldn’t think of a specific situation that made me laugh this year (or, rather, I thought of too many situations, and I couldn’t pick just one), so here’s the part where I get dorky about my friends.

I have managed to surround myself with some freaking hilarious people. Yeah, yeah, my friends are supportive, and there when I need them, and blah blah blah, but most days, the most important thing they do is make me laugh. Life’s serious enough, right?

I have been best friends with the same girl since I was 7 years old. THIRTY YEARS. We grew up together, across the street from each other. She and her siblings remain my closest friends to this day. This is a gift, one of the best of my life, I am certain. And one of the best things about Heather is how funny she is.

Greg always knows that when I get together with her, he’s totally lost me. He knows I will just laugh and laugh at whatever Heather says, like I’m her personal laugh track. I don’t even realize it’s happening, but in retrospect, it’s true. He claims I’m never happier or having more fun than when I’m hanging out with Heather.

And she’s just one of the people that crack me up. Now that I’m sitting here thinking about it, I really do have a lot of ridonkulously funny friends. There are people who claim that I’m funny, but I pale in comparison to my peeps. Sarcasm is my favorite kind of funny. If you’re sarcastic, I probably love you. No - I definitely love you.

I am a huge proponent of finding the funny in a situation. I am like my mother this way – she always tries to seek out the humor in whatever is going on. And I have surrounded myself with peeps who feel the same way. What’s better than that?

Monday, December 05, 2011

reverb11 day 5 - five guilty pleasures

Today’s reverb11 post asks us to name five guilty pleasures.

Well, first, let me say that I do not feel guilty about things that give me pleasure. But I know the intention here – not the BIG things, like family, friendships, etc – the small things in life that give you joy and maybe take the edge off.

Here’s five quick things that I love love love – none of which should surprise you, if you've read this blog for any length of time:

1) Reading gossip magazines and drinking delicious Frappuccinos and other tasty treats at Barnes and Noble (RIP, Borders).

2) Eating chips and salsa. Enormous amounts of it.

3) Reality television: The Biggest Loser and Survivor top that list.

4) Belting out showtunes in my car (currently The Book of Mormon)

5) Obsessing over nerdy theater websites like and

Love it all.

reverb11 day 4: letting go

Today’s post asks – what have you let go of this year and how has it affected you?
A major, major change in my life this year was taking a new job – something I would bet you’ll hear about several times this month, as it’s been very impactful. I first wrote about it here. Ooh, and some fun pics of my last day are here.

The decision to take a new job required me to let go of a very comfortable working situation. Yes, there was a lot of work and responsibility involved, and some crazy hours, and some over-the-top personalities, but I was in my zone. I knew what I was doing. I had been at it for over a decade. I knew all of the players, internally and externally. There were moments when I thought it would be where I retired.

While in my heart of hearts I knew taking this new position, in an entirely different industry, was completely right for me and my family, at the same time I had to let go of the comfort of my previous job, and it was extremely hard. I agonized over the decision more than any other one in my life – really. It was difficult for me to let go and take a leap into a new life – I had an internal debate going on for weeks. It kept me up at night. It made my stomach hurt.

But I am so glad I did. I have no regrets. I do miss my friends, but I still see them and am in contact with some of them every day. I’m still getting used to my new life – but I’m glad I took the risk and let go of my comfort zone. This was a huge part of my 2011.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

reverb11 day 3 - a moment in time

Today's reverb11 prompt is: Tell us about one moment that you lived in 2011 that you will never forget.

Well, I don't mean to cheat, but all you have to read is this post. A moment - a very, very loooong moment - that I will never forget. I just re-told this story last night. It's a good one, with thankfully a happy ending.

Damn dog.

Friday, December 02, 2011

reverb11 day 2 - my children will do it differently

Here we go! Day two's prompt asks: If you could choose one thing that your children will do or experience in a different way than you have, what would it be and why?

I’ve had a lucky life. It’s true. I had a pretty blessed childhood, and my teen years were fairly ideal as well, although I never would have said that at the time. When I read this prompt, I read it to mean what about my childhood would I change so that my children (child, in my case) would experience it differently. And this is what I came up with:

 An experience that I hope Jane has that I didn’t, to its fullest potential, anyway,  is going away to college. In fact, I did live on-campus for my first semester of college, but I quickly decided to change my major to secondary education, and the best university for that degree was 20 minutes from my house. So rather than live on-campus, I commuted here. I paid for college myself, and it would have been insane to spend the money on housing if my own house was so close. However.

Yes, I loved college. Yes, I spent a decent amount of time on dorm room floors, partying, whatnot. But living at home - no matter how little time I actually spent there (basically just to sleep) -  is just not the same as living away (as I well learned when I returned home from that one semester away).

Will it break my heart to see her pack her things up (very eagerly, I’m sure) and (very happily, dammit) walk away from us for months at a time? Oh yes. Do I have a lump in my throat RIGHT NOW just thinking about it? Maaybe. But it’s an experience I want for her so much.

I don’t want her to go too far. Greg went to UConn, which is about 45 minutes away from here. Far enough to live on-campus, but close enough for her to come home when she needs mommy. Or, far more likely, when mommy needs her.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Reverb11, bitches. Back and better than ever!

You guys. YOU GUYS. If I could express how excited I was right now - well, I don't think I can. It's REVERB TIME, bitches!

OK, let's take a step back. Remember when I did Reverb10 last year? Well, while I found some of the prompts to be somewhat drippy and repetitive, this amazing thing happened as a result of that project: I made a shit-ton of internet friends. Like, real people, far and wide, that I've never met, but check in with pretty much daily. Which is awesome, because THEY are awesome. (I would name-drop here, but I would fuck it up and leave people out, and I don't wanna do that. So I am talking to ALL of you. Especially YOU.)

Chatter about Reverb11 started up a couple of months ago. People were getting excited. I was kind of back and forth about my participation, and settled on the idea that I would sign up for it, but only respond to the prompts that really spoke to me. Besides, December is BUSY (have I mentioned I am in a play? And I have rehearsal practically every night over the next week and a half? And that it's NEXT WEEKEND OMG. Plus Christmas, etc. etc.).

Anyway, Gwen Bell, who I will not link to here because right now I think she kind of sucks (mean, I know, but true) was the main organizer of the Reverbs over the past couple of years, and everyone had been instructed to go to her site to sign up for Reverb11. Which we all did. And then two days ago we all got an email from her saying, basically, too bad, so sad, I'm not really in that place right now, no Reverb for you, and FYI, I'm deleting the mailing list, so good luck with that. Oh, and plan your own Reverb in the next, oh, 36 hours.

But the thing is? It happened. Brad over at is spearheading a Reverb, and I know there are others floating out there. And because it happened this way - that people I've become close to, over Twitter and blogs and some on Facebook, rallied and made this happen - is how I know that this is going to to be better than ever. I even submitted a couple of prompts - we'll see if they come through.

So, to make a long story short (too late!) (anyone?) - it is time to Reverb. Without further ado, here we go:
Day 1 - One Word. Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word.Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you? If you did Reverb10 then bonus points for also re-posting your 2011 word from last year along with how you feel about that in retrospect.

I think my one word for 2011 is TRANSFORMATIVE. The word I chose last year for 2011 was FUN. And to me, compared to the nightmare of misery, depression, and anxiety that was 2010, the words "fun" and "transformative" are kind of the same. Perhaps my word for 2011 is TRANSFORMATIVELY FUN? 2011 and 2010 were completely different years. And for that, I am grateful, and proud that I was extremely proactive about it.

A major transition for me this year - this decade, really - was leaving my full-time theater marketing position that I had for 11 years to take a part-time marketing position at a college. Here is the story on that. This is a change in my life that I am still getting used to. But I do not regret it. I miss my friends, yes - but I don't regret the decision. It turns out it was right for me, and, more importantly, it was right for my family.

I have consistantly exercised for the past year. And while that 10 pounds I really want to lose won't budge, what HAS transformed is my mindset about it. I KNOW I have to exercise. This is not a choice anymore. As I head into my very late 30s, exercise must be a part of my routine as many days a week as possible. So when I wake up, I don't bargain or hit the snooze button or make excuses. I get up and get out, before the sun rises.

OK, so that part isn't fun. What has been fun this year? So, so much. I have made a huge effort to spend more time with friends. I directed my favorite play. I am currently in a play, and I'm having a complete blast. I have totally been consumed by the theater bug again. I went on vacation with my family. I went on vacation with my friends. I made fun a focus. And you can bet you ass I'm doing that in 2012 too.

As for my 2012 word - I'm not sure. This one might not make sense, because it's more of an action word than an overview word, but a word I want to become part of each day in 2012 is WRITE. It is time that I start writing more.

And what a sweet kick-off  Reverb11 is for that. Join us, won't you?