Monday, March 30, 2009

Sam - 11 months old

One of the joys of living in Texas again is getting to see my family so often. I am so glad I get to be in my nephew Sam's life on an ongoing basis. Here are some photos I took today of my sister and Sammy at my mom's house:




My sister is such a good and loving Mom, and you can see the delight in her eyes when she looks at her son. Family is awesome.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Good Supporting Player

I came across this article this morning on Yahoo Health suggesting that eating lots of red meat increases one's mortality risk. This was my favorite quote from the article:

Successfully shifting away from red meat can be as easy as increasing fruits and vegetables in the diet, said Elisabetta Politi of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C.

"I'm not saying everybody should turn into vegetarians," Politi said. "Meat should be a supporting actor on the plate, not the main character."


It seemed apropos to a conversation I had with Hubs a couple nights ago at dinner. I intended to make 2009 the Year of the Veggie, and I did pretty well for the first month or two, but somewhere on the drive to Texas from California, it turned into the Week of the Hamburger.  ;0)

Ever since arriving in Texas, I have been eating meat as part of my diet, but not making it the major thing I'm eating. I told Hubs that I think I feel best when I am including meat in my diet, but when its portion on my plate is like a side dish, and not the main part of the meal. For example, we had a big salad the other night with lots of diced veggies and lettuce with bits of rotisserie chicken shredded on top. I like the principal part of the meal to be the veggies, and for the meat to be the "supporting player".

Just a little food for thought....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Basking in Suburbanity (Is that a word?)


I just got back from rollerblading. In my neighborhood.  As in, I sat on my front doorstep, laced up my blades and cruised!

I can't tell you how awesome it feels to be living in an environment in which I can just go out my front door and start exercising.  That was one of the things I missed the most when I was living the urban life in Los Angeles.  Taking a walk meant braving busy city streets, and going rollerblading (my favorite form of exercise) meant driving 45 minutes to the beach so I could skate on the boardwalk.

I suppose that with every change, there is a loss--the Pacific Ocean is no longer 45 minutes away.  Still, I'm loving this suburban life, and taking comfort that downtown Houston is only 30 minutes away!

Image of rollerblades found here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

TexaCaliEspa├▒Yorker

I once heard former New York mayor say (and this is paraphrased): You move to New York, and after a while you start talking a little faster and walking a little faster, and lo and behold, you're a New Yorker!

My roots are in Texas. That is where I grew up. Texas taught me about friendliness, smiling, climbing trees, and walking and dancing in boots.

My early adulthood was spent in New York. Not only did New York teach me to walk and talk a little bit faster, but it pushed me to my limits, and in many ways, it showed me what I am made of.

In my late 20s, I lived for a year in Spain. Spain taught me how to be a straight-shooter. It also taught me that I was guapa and the virtue of being tranquila.

During my final weeks in California, I pondered what about my 3.5 years there made me a little bit more Californian. California made me a better (if not more aggressive) driver, a bit more liberal, a wife (!), and a person who is surprised when the sun isn't shining and it's not 70 degrees outside.

There is so much to appreciate about life in California. For me, it is the place I went to pursue one dream (acting) and found another (marriage). It has the most glorious weather, and I completely understand why so many people endure the awful traffic just to live in that oh-so-perfect climate. The gorgeous aesthetic of nature in So Cal is reflected in its people, who take pride in looking stylish--both men and women. The soothing rhythm of the ocean waves make for a laid-back lifestyle--one where people understand good and bad "vibes", and where the word "dude" has as many nuances as "How you doin'?" has to a New Yorker.

At the end of the day, though, I moved to LA because I didn't want to be 80 years old sitting in my rocker on the porch, saying to myself, "Why didn't you just try?".

While I didn't land on the sitcom of my dreams, I did get to do some fulfilling acting work. 

I went to Los Angeles. I learned how to act for the camera. I landed a few acting jobs (some paying and some not).  Funny enough, my two favorite jobs there were actually theatre jobs, not on-camera jobs--not a bad thing to learn about myself.  All that to say...I have no regrets. I'll have a satisfying answer to give my 80 year old self, who I have a sneaking suspicion won't be beating herself up at all!

When I was young, I remember hearing a story about a young girl who loved her plastic pop beads. She popped them together everyday and wore them as a necklace.  One day, her father noticed that she was growing up and had gotten a little too old for her plastic pop bead necklace.  He sat her down and told her so. She threw a fit, because she loved her pop beads so. Eventually, though, she let go of them, and her father gave her a new string of pearls, fitting for the young lady she had become.

I can't help but wonder if LA was my pop beads and maybe, just maybe, this new chapter in Texas is my pearls.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nesting

Have I really been in Texas for four days already?  Each day that passes is an exciting frenzy of nesting.

Mom, Jilly, Sam, and my mother-in-law have all been over helping us to get things unpacked, arranging furniture and even cleaning!  The house is looking great, and I have to say that I'm really loving living in it. I haven't really done much in the way of decorating yet. I've mostly been focused on getting things unpacked and in their places.  Once a few things get hung on the wall, I'll be sure and post some photos.

Today was my first day at our new church. I had such a warm welcome from so many people, and enjoyed getting to meet some of Hubs' co-workers. 

In the words of Annie, "I think I'm gonna like it here!"

Tomorrow (pardon the pun!), Mom, Jilly and Sammy are coming over. Living close to them is the biggest blessing, and I'm so thankful to get to see them so regularly!  

Thank You, Lord, for this beautiful new life.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Home.

I arrived at my new home in Texas this evening. It feels really good to be here, reunited with my husband (who is currently snoring away on the pillow next to me). I guess I'm still on Pacific time, because I'm wide awake!

Walking through our house tonight was so cool! I'm overwhelmed in the best way possible--so many possibilities as I think about nesting and decorating and making this house a home.

It feels so good to be in our new home, to be home here with Hubs, and to be back in Texas--my home state.

After living in California for the past 3.5 years (and loving it!), there is something very special about returning to the culture I grew up in, the culture that I understand. While I've never really been the obnoxious brand of Texan (the kind who thinks everything is bigger and better in Texas--although it is sometimes true!), there is no doubt that it is and will always be my home state.

And today...it feels good to be home.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Awesome Closing Weekend

The closing weekend of "Our Leading Lady" was wonderful.  My friend, Kelly, flew in on Saturday afternoon to make the drive back with me. We drove to Redondo Beach because I wanted to go to the beach one last time before leaving for Texas. 


While we were there, something amazing happened!  Not 100 yards off the coastline, we saw whales!  Can you spot the three dorsal fins and one fluke (tail) below?


That night, we met up with my blog buddies who drove down from San Francisco. From left: Tommy' Mommy, Jelly Jules, Me, Autumn's Mom, and Cherry. This was our dinner at El Torito Grill...my fave Mexican Restaurant in Cali!


Then they all came to see my show:


We all had so much fun over dinner, we decided to go out afterward for dessert at Denny's! Thank you for making the trip, ladies!  I had such a great time seeing you again (and meeting you, Liz!)


On Sunday, several local friends came to see my show!  These ladies are from my acting class.  


About a year or two ago, the Hollywood Prayer Network matched me with a wonderful woman named Patty who committed to pray for me and my acting career. We have e-mailed and talked on the phone, but met in person for the first time on Sunday. She gave me these beautiful roses. So sweet!


It was a great closing weekend!

Kelly and I hit the road this morning and made it to Tucson, AZ!  You know you're not in California anymore, when you see this display at Wal-Mart:


I'll likely not post again until I arrive at my new home in a couple days. Until then, may God bless you all!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Closing Weekend of "Our Leading Lady"

Well, it's been a fun experience getting to be part of this production of Our Leading Lady, and I'm so grateful to my husband for supporting me in my decision to stay out here for a few more weeks after he moved to Texas (where he has already started his new job) so that I could play "Clementine Smith".

Just Friday night, Saturday night, and two shows on Sunday, and we're done!  I'll be hopping in my car on Monday morning to drive with a friend out to Texas to start a new life there with Hubs.


I'm getting so excited to see my blog friends who are driving down from San Francisco on Saturday. Ladies, Clemmy sends her kisses and promises to do her very best at Saturday night's show!

Love and hugs to all for a wonderful weekend!

xoxo,
Starshine

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My Nephew is nearly 11 months old!

Isn't he a handsome little fellow?

He went over to help Hubs unpack at our new house!


Thanks for helping, little guy!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Feeling Honored, Flattered, Loved and PUMPED!!!

Several of my San Francisco blog buddies have decided to give me the most amazing send-off from California ever!

Cherry, Jelly Jules, Autumn's Mom and Liz are making a road trip down to LA to see my show on Saturday night.

From left: Autumn's Mom, Jelly Jules, Cherry, and me last month in San Francisco.

Ladies, I can't tell you how loved I feel right now...thank you! Looking forward to finally meeting you, Liz!

Monday, March 02, 2009

More Good Press!

As reported in:

Local theater livens up with  a ‘Leading Lady’


Pictured from left: Gillian Doyle, Robert Youngs, James Jaeger, Carla Valentine, Kathleen Taylor, Tracy Ahern and Michael Tatlock


Thursday, February 26, 2009 5:54 PM PST


Other than the assassination, the play was quite humorous.


By Mary Scott, Peninsula News


With the observation of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday past us, how timely it is to premiere a comedy about his death. Yes. I said comedy. And it’s a good one.

 

The Neighborhood Playhouse opened the West Coast premiere of Charles Busch’s new comedy “Our Leading Lady.” Busch is the brain behind “Psycho Beach Party.” The comedy is less about Lincoln’s assassination or the Civil War (both serve as a backdrop) and more about the outrageous goings-on behind the scenes of the acting troupe that was on stage performing “Our American Cousin” the night Lincoln was assassinated.

Actress Gillian Doyle returns to the South Bay to take on the role of the queen diva, a femme trailblazer in mid-19th century theater, Laura Keene. The real Keene, not only a popular British actress at the time but also a reputed theater manager, was leading the Ford Theatre’s cast of “Our American Cousin.” The president was not the only one assassinated that night. Keene’s career never recovered.

In Busch’s fanciful version, Keene is trying to take over the theater. Her plans are to have Mr. Ford hand over the management of his theater to her. Afterward, she will oust the resident company and replace them with New York actors. But she must keep this a secret — something hard to do in the theater! In the meantime, she must deal the assorted personalities in the cast all the while maintaining her ego.

When Laura learns that the president will attend the final performance, she concludes his presence will benefit her plan. When he cancels, she shames him into coming.

“Our Leading Lady” is not your run-of-mill situation comedy; it is reminiscent of the great classic Greek comedy where tragedy is still comedy if it ends on a high note. Besides some poignant dramatic moments, “Our Leading Lady” is full of humor, trysts, backstabbings — goes well with a shooting — egos, divas, all that you’d expect from a troupe of actors high on whiskey and themselves.

The playhouse cast of nine is made up of hardened stage veterans. Doyle, already mentioned, is brilliant, poised. I saw her several years ago in a Long Beach production of “My Boy Jack” as (Mrs. Kipling). Loved her performance then, love her performance now.

The graceful Doyle is paired with a spitfire, Kathleen Taylor, as Verbena de Chamblay (say that with a loud Southern accent!). Miss de Chamblay, the wife of Gavin de Chamblay, a closet homosexual, is the Southern belle and sympathizer of the Ford The-a-tre. An exhausting character, Taylor holds up quite well to her counterpart and is by far my favorite performance of the show.

“Our Leading Lady” is better suited for the community’s adult theatergoers, not that there’s anything too randy about the show. But given its historical content and subtle and some not-so-subtle adult humor, the younger set may not appreciate it. So leave them home.

Joining Doyle and Taylor in the cast are: Tracy Ahern as Clementine Smith; Rita Hull as Maude Bentley; James Jaeger as W.J. Ferguson; Michael Prohaska as Major Hopwood; Michael Tatlock as Gavin de Chamblay; Carla Valentine as Madame Wu-Chan; and Robert Youngs as Harry Hawk. Brady Schwind directs.

Performances of “Our Leading Lady” are: Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 27 at 8 p.m., Feb. 28 at 2 and 8 p.m., March 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m., March 6 and 7 at 8 p.m., and March 8 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Neighborhood Playhouse is located at 415 Paseo del Mar in Palos Verdes Estates. Reserved tickets cost $22 to $34 and are available by calling (310) 378-9353 or online at www.neighborhoodplayhouse.net.