Sunday, December 30, 2012

Creatures were Stirring

I had a Martha Stewart moment and decided we needed a small, and fabulous, Christmas tree in the bedroom this year. Sonic loves to hunker down on the foot of the bed and meditate on the sparkly lights.

Of course there was a Christmas tree in the living room, complete with lucky kitties and monkeys.

We decked the dog.

We hung stockings on the pub mirror, which is the next best thing to our nonexistent chimney. I love dragons, especially of the Schumacher variety.

Between a harried holiday schedule of working retail and performing in dinner theatre shows, I found a few moments for rest, reflection and relaxation. Hope you and yours did too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I am so tired

6 hour retail shift
4 hours in traffic
2 hour dinner show
all in 4 inch heels
all today

After eight dinner theatre shows this month and a part-time retail job during what I contest is not "the mo-o-o-ost wonderful ti-i-i-me of the year", I am so looking forward to the next two days off from works. Between sleeping, rehydrating and getting reacquainted with the gym, there are several chores to do.

Don't be offended if you don't get a holiday card from me this year. I don't think I have it in me.

Above and beyond all that "merry and bright" business, be kind.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Eticat Tips

Holiday etiquette tips with cats. You're welcome.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Oh, hey, Grinch

Chad and I went to the holiday sing-along and Texas State Capitol Christmas tree lighting ceremony this evening. A temperature of eighty degrees Fahrenheit made for brisk lemonade sales and sluggish hot cocoa sales. It seemed downright sacrilegious standing in the muggy heat singing downtempo Christmas carols as people milled about restlessly with dogs on leashes, baby strollers and disaffected teenagers in tow. The song leader, a notoriously nonsensical banter-maker, sang with too much gravitas for what should have been a festive occasion, but felt near-mournful.

Immediately upon the lighting of the big, tacky electrified Christmas tree, the crush of humanity started southward. Some people wanted to stop and chat, thus transforming themselves into speed bumps. Otherwise happy and sane parents grew frustrated, using their baby strollers as plows to bump their fellow man out of their way.

After the seventh time the same lady ran into the back of my legs with her stroller, the child in the stroller started kicking me and crying loudly. I apologized to the child, then looked squarely at his mom (Or maybe his grandma? She was way too old to have a baby that young.) firmly announcing, "I am going as fast as I can."

The stroller-plow operator then whined loudly, "I'm not trying to hit you. I promise."

Really? Because you've done it seven times now. I merely thought this, refraining from saying it out loud. My first rule of surviving human interactions: never argue with crazy, because crazy always wins. So I didn't argue with the stroller-plow operator, but did lose her in the crowd.

That's it for me. No more free public holiday events. I'm done.

I learned a valuable lesson about free, public events. If I'm not being paid to be somewhere, and I'm not paying to be there, it probably isn't worth my precious time. I'd rather be home snuggling loved ones or curled up with a book.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Nevermind that I have a retail job this holiday season, and that I just put four SIX EIGHT dinner mystery shows on my calendar for the holiday season, there are fun things I want to squeeze into the superstuffed schedule this holiday season!

I can't remember what time I get done with work next Saturday, but if I am out of there early enough, I want to go to the Holiday Sing Along & Downtown Stroll. I've never been able to attend, but hear it's so fun and heartwarming in that love your fellow man kind of way. You know, versus the throw an elbow to get the last doorbuster deal behavior that all too often typifies the holidays.

The Austin Trail of Lights is back in all of its cheesy, electricity-sucking, junk food vendors and expensive parking glory! And I am going! There will be open-mouthed gawking at lights and tacky plywood cutouts. There will be consumption of kettle corn and funnel cake. There will be tripping over marauding hordes of distracted people.

I also want to watch classic holiday movies in the grand, historic Paramount Theatre. If you can't be sappy at Christmas, then when?

If I don't have to perform in a dinner theatre show on December 17th (the contract is still out), then I want to go to the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar that night to shop locally made gifts and listen to the musical stylings of The Eggmen. The Eggmen are a Beatles tribute band that change into spot-on perfect costumes and wigs for the different eras of Beatles music.

In between all that, I'll be watching my favorite holiday movies at home such as: Holiday Affair, Elf, A Christmas Story, Love Actually, Christmas Vacation and any Scooby Doo Christmas specials I can find. (Yes. I love me some Scooby Doo.)

May you days be merry and bright! Be nice out there, because Santa is watching. And because it's a really dumb idea to be rude to a retail worker to whom you're about to hand your credit card and personal information.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Escape to Dallas

I'm a sucker for festive lights at night (especially of the Asian lantern influence) and glass art (especially of the Suess-inspired variety). When I found out that both the Chinese Lantern Festival and Chihuly installations in Dallas mercifully extended their stays for over-scheduled, under-planned people such as myself, I booked a quick trip!

We hit the Chinese Lantern Festival at Dallas Fair Park first. Some of the lanterns featured traditional Asian themes and subjects. Chad and I liked these best. Some of the lantern scenes displayed strong Disney and Sanrio influences, barely avoiding tripping over trademarks. These seemed more suited to children with poor taste, and were not our favorites.

Silk wire-framed entry gates make for a giant lantern!

Fairy Temple straight ahead with dragon crafted out of plates to the side.

Quilin figures shaped out of glass beads and silk wire-framed bases. Amazing!

I loathe having my photo taken, but these blossom lanterns are lovely.

Next up on the to-see/to-do list: the Chihuly Exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Admittedly, I was bummed that the evening exhibit was sold-out. However, once we arrived, I appreciated the sunlight for viewing all the gorgeous gardens, glass and gourds. (See what I did there with the alliteration? You love it. Don't pretend you don't.)

Charming Chihuly Chandelier

Chihuly Sun-like Orb, Chad's Favorite

Official title is Yellow Icicles, but I think it looks like a spiny cactus

We also ate some stuff in Dallas. Worth mentioning was the yummy Neapolitan style pizza and mista salad from Cane Rosso. Literally translated, that name means Red Dog. Nothing tasted like dog there, so thumbs-up!

Monday, November 05, 2012


When I was a kid, if I didn't know how to do something, I would ask lots of questions until I felt confident enough to do whatever difficult task was vexing me. As an adult, I find that I get many different answers on how I should be doing something, or on what I should be doing, depending on who I ask. Many times, I get bombarded with unsolicited (and usually unwelcome) directions for daily life, menial tasks and far-reaching personal values.

I believe that no one person has all the answers for everyone and every situation. To quote a 1980s sitcom theme song, "what might be right for you, may not be right for some". It's perfectly acceptable to say to me, "I don't know" or even, very occasionally to say, "I don't care". Personally, I try to take the route of truthfully admitting, "I'm not sure, but I'm happy to try and figure it out together."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

In the grand tradition of recycling my dinner mystery show costumes into Halloween costumes, and because I affectionately call Chad "Frank" as in Frankenstein (because he's so tall and broad-shouldered with a habit of looming over me in our cozy house) we went as a modern day Munster couple to a Halloween party this weekend. Photo proof:

Breaking with tradition totally, a true dinner mystery show first, during Monday night's show at Maggiano's in the Domain there was a very interesting query from one audience member during the questioning of the suspects. A gentleman raised his hand, took the microphone saying, "I have a question", and proceeded to get down on bended knee while pulling a jewelry box from his pocket. He proposed to his date/girlfriend, who luckily said yes. Congratulations & best wishes to the happy couple!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Down with BYOP, Yeah You Know Me!

Chad and I broke free of last year's curmudgeonly ways. We found the time, energy and good cheer to throw what is turning out to be a biennial Bring Your Own Pumpkin party this past Friday. 

Pre-Party Candy Table


Chad's pumpkin is all smiles, while mine is feline.

Kate shows off the tragedy side of their jack-o-lantern.

Lucy shows off the comedy side of their jack-o-lantern.

Dain wasn't ready for carving, opting for stickers.

The Fords chose a warty pumpkin monster with 3 eyes and a ghoulish grin.

I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday by far. This week promises two dinner mystery shows featuring fun costumes  and a Monster Mash dance party! Chad and I will try to squeeze in a few scary movies too, I'm sure. And lots of candy, I'm positive.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Hijinks

Even if you don't think you like dinner theatre, you'll want to be at this happening Halloween party. Two words: candy buffet.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

I'm not proud of...

Each time I sell a sectional sofa to an urban dweller with a small living room, a little piece of my internal interior decorator dies. Sectional sofas are appropriate for large open living areas; not tiny downtown condos.

That dinner theater I do is sometimes just a battle to be heard over drunk audience members who think they are funnier than we are. Note to all hecklers: you're not nearly as dashing, witty, charming or funny as you think you are. Shut up and let everyone enjoy the show, or promptly leave.

I loathe shades of beige, white and grey as color palettes for decorating. Yet it seems to be the candy that some of my customers want. Be ready to use some color if you ask for my decorating advice, or back away slowly towards the nearest exit.

Some of the clothing pieces for which I get the most compliments come from Old Navy. I know it's sweatshop labor made in outsourced lands. I know it's wrong. It's just so cute, on-trend and cheap sometimes. I can't wear fair-labor, American-made, more expensive clothes everyday.

I want to dye my hair blond. Even blonder than it is now. Not strawberry blond. Not white blond. Not 1970s looking highlighted blond. I want expensive, has to be touched up every few weeks, honey-blond all over my head.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

And then...

I just put three dinner mystery shows on my calendar for the next month. I could have put five on the calendar, but I have this pesky personal life. I'm a bit selfish in insisting that I have time to spend with Chad and time to sleep.

I can't quit doing theatre and occasional commercial auditions or extra work any more than I can quit breathing. I crave the creativity.

That exciting opportunity I blogged about last week? Not so much. I have seen the sausage being made (metaphorically, of course), and I can't stomach it. I don't want that double-edged job.

I must get myself to the sewing machine and finish some projects! Clothing repairs, a picnic quilt and a purse pattern await completion.

Remember when I made that crazy squid for the Fronterfest play I also acted in? No? It was fun. I used floaty noodles from the pool supply store along with poly-fil to stuff the squid for the right combination of structure and squish. Here are photos to jog your memory:

I wish I could work with my hands more -- dreaming up crazy ideas and making them happen.

And then I need to figure out what I'm wearing for my Halloween costume this year. Suggestions?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For

Remember last year when I wrote a blog post about how caring for little furry souls as a job proved to be too much pressure for me? Remember how I said that in my next job, I just wanted to make things pretty? An exciting opportunity is afoot. I hope to share details soon.

If I jump at this opportunity, I'll leave the acting agency I'm with currently, and likely quit doing dinner theatre, at least for a while. I need to let go of one trapeze bar to catch the next. I have a lot of self esteem and identity wrapped up in being a (paid!) part-time actress. Thank goodness I have a sturdy net in the form of Chad.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Once More with Feeling

Come see children's TV show hosts behaving badly in "Can You Say Murder?" I play Detective Safety, also known as Clarice Dixon. She has a lisp. So it sounds like "Detective Thafety, altho know ath, Clarithe Dikthon." I try to give every character I play a unique quality that real-life people have. Real people sometimes have speech impediments or verbal idiosyncrasies. I sometimes repeat what people say to me if I like the way it sounds or if I'm trying to process exactly what they meant by what they said. That's my real-life verbal oddity.

Hope to see you at the show! (Click on the above graphic to make it larger so you can call for reservations.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guest Post: Janie Redecorates

Um. Hi. This is Janie. I am the dog. I have some thoughts and suggestions about the 1952 House.

I like my Mitchell Gold couch. It's real nice, but sometimes the people try to lay on it too. There is not enough room for both of us to stretch out. I found these chevron beds on flash-sale site If Jenn and Chad curl up, one of them could fit on each, and I could have the couch to myself.

Let's talk about the artwork in the 1952 House. Too many photos of chandeliers and too many limited-edition, hipster-made prints featuring cats and Pee Wee Herman. Let's have some dogs in the art. Not those silly poker playing dogs. Dogs don't play poker. We don't have thumbs. Our wagging tails would give away our hand, because we're guileless creatures. So here is some nice art from that sale too. I especially like the one about mutts that is a riff of that Sir Mixalot song. Although, I prefer the term "mystery-mix" to "mutt".

Also, and I can't stress this enough, please put the treats in the kitchen where I can reach them. I get tired of looking at you hopefully 15 times a day. Trading tricks for treats cheapens us both. Really.

**Credits: chevron beds by Thro, Marlo Lorenz. Artwork by Artehouse, Ginger Oliphant. All available on for a limited time.**

Monday, August 20, 2012


We needed a break from our jobs, the 1952 House, our sweet (but demanding) pets, chores and whatnot. The rule in selecting the vacation destination this year: no big dirty cities. We wanted nature, cooler weather and not much of a hipster scene. Hood River, Oregon filled the bill.

Waterfalls, hiking, a brewery tour, daily siestas, reading fiction, touring local fruit stands/orchards and gazing out our hotel balcony doors at windsurfers filled the schedule. Being out in the boonies as it were, we had a great view of the Perseid Meteor Shower and the Milky Way. 

We also toured the Bonneville Dam mainly to check out the innovative, wildlife-friendly fish ladder. When we heard about the 450 pound Sturgeon fish down at the hatchery, we HAD to go meet him. His name is Herman. He is a big boy. 

On the way to the Portland Airport (just over an hour drive from Hood River) we decided to take a detour through Portland to shop at Powell's Books and deconstruct some Voodoo Doughnuts. The short time we spent in downtown Portland reminded us why we didn't want to vacation in a big city. Too many one-way streets, too little parking, too many aggressively weird people being aggressively weird.

Hopefully by next summer, the bank account will be ready for a trip to Ireland. If not, I vote for a stateside vacation in some other small town with not much to do aside from gawking at nature and soaking up cooler temperatures. 

Friday, August 03, 2012

Oh yeah... the show

I'll be performing in another dinner mystery show at Maggiano's on Monday. If you want to make me cry, ask me if I know all my lines yet to play the Master of Ceremonies / Detective, Heather Weathers.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pretending to Redecorate

Just like the nation's economy, the budget at the 1952 House isn't what it used to be. On the count your blessings side of the fence, we have all that we need. On the glass half empty side of the fence, we don't have all that we want. Who does, right? A friend asked recently what I bought with my generous employee discount at my part-time retail job. My disappointing (to her and to me) reply, nothing. I got that job to help with the financial situation, not to be Spendy McGee.

Indulge me while I tour the items I would purchase if I could redecorate a bit right now. Starting in the living room:

Janie-dog agrees that this sofa would be a lovely contrast to her dark fur.

Of course, pillows are needed for the sofa. 
These Kantha pillows from West Elm are handmade, and each is one of a kind.

This Swirl Rug from West Elm in an 8x10 size would be the perfect pop for the living room floor. 

I want a pair of these Turned Pedestal side tables from West Elm for a lighter, shabby-chic look,

or maybe a pair of these Carved Wood side tables for a more exotic look.

I love these unique Wezandla Wire Pendants from West Elm for the existing dining room light fixture. They would match our black dining table and red dining chairs most magnificently.

Perhaps you've sensed the West Elm theme? Um, employee discount! However, there are a few non-West Elm items for which I am pining.

Mark your calendars for my birthday on October 8th. I'll be accepting gifts in the form of large bags of cash or preloaded Visa gift cards. Thanks in advance for your generosity.