Monday, October 31, 2011

Walking, veggies check-in

Wondering if any of you are keeping your commitments to daily walking and eating your daily allowance of veggies and fruit? I've been walking AT LEAST a mile a day since October 15th, usually 2-3 miles. Walked 3 yesterday. I do allow myself to take 2 days a week off, but I've been taking only one a day off so far. I guess I'm afraid that if I take off 2 in a row, I might not go out on the third day.
I find it hard to get as many veggies as I need to eat. Not so hard to get the fruit. So lately I've been buying red or orange peppers and slicing them up to eat raw. Today I bought a bag of baby carrots, which as we all know aren't really babies at all, just carrots that are cut down to baby size. I find it easier to eat raw vegetables than to eat cooked ones unless I'm eating soup, or someone else is doing the cooking.
Last week I ate soup 4 days of 7. Vegetable soup, of course. And many different kinds of vegetables including turnips, which I would never eat otherwise.
I'm not getting on the scale for awhile yet. As long as I can still wear the same clothes, I'm not going to weigh myself. But my jeans, which used to cut into my waist, now feel like sweatpants. Comfortable.
I'm having trouble with my sweet tooth. So, I'm allowing myself peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And today I bought some honey to eat on rice cakes. The jelly is no sugar-added kind. I don't eat sugar substitutes like aspartame or splenda -- they give me migraines. I'm not eating sugar because I think it will be good for my health, not because I've been ordered off sugar.
I invite your comments. Join me in making a commitment to walking and/or eating more veggies. We can do this!

SALE! Thru 11/1/11 only!

Two of my plays: Blue Roses, and Copperheads and Common Women, are on sale right now at
for 30% off today and tomorrow thru close of business. All you have to do is use this code at checkout:
In fact, you can get 30% off on ANYTHING on Lulu's site up to $50 off, so go! Shop!

Friday, October 28, 2011

BLUE ROSES at Dramatists Guild Friday Night Footlights 10/28/11

It’s 1940 and Dr. Freeman is on the cutting edge of mental health. Two young women named Rose are in an asylum together; their attendants Tee and Flora have obstacles of their own to overcome. The State Hospital for the Insane is no sanctuary as the two Roses meet and bond over their shared family secrets. Tee and Flora, though of different races, share the same working class values, degradations, and abilities to overcome the hardships life throws at them.


ROSE Irene Longshore

ROSE ISABEL Elizabeth Bell

TEE Natalie Claire Holly

FLORA Anna Malinoski

DR. FREEMAN Steven Hauck

NUN Doubled by the actor who plays TEE

RICHIE Doubled by the actor who plays DR. FREEMAN



You can buy a copy of this play at or read more of my work at

THANK YOU FOR COMING TO THE READING OF THIS PLAY! Support Mental Health. Take care of your own, it's a precious thing. Please leave any feedback you have about this play after seeing tonight's reading in the comments section below.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NYC Blue Roses

Attended rehearsal last night at the Ta-Da theater on West 28th Street. Met my director and cast for the first rehearsal of this coming Friday night's reading of "Blue Roses." What a joy! This is the third time I've had a reading of this particular play. The first time was in Portland and it was directed by one of my favorite directors, Matt Zrebski. There were also a couple of my favorite actors in the reading: Anya Pearson as Tee, and Cecily Overman as Rosemary, but I'm blanking on the rest of the cast. (My apologies people, my brain is like teflon.) The following year there was a reading at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha. I didn't know the director or any of the cast. It was a fine reading and I was primarily interested in what the panel of 3 judges had to say. They all thought it should be produced, and what feedback they had, I have since incorporated.
This director is firm yet gentle, has creative insight -- in short, she totally gets the play. What more could a writer ask? Nothing. Except great casting, and she's done that as well. Even the woman doing the stage directions is top notch: a beautiful voice, whip smart, instantly responsive to the director's changes.
I'm in love with the cast. They're enthusiastic, professional, and great to look at. You'd think they were doing Broadway rather than a one-night reading at the Dramatists Guild Friday Night Footlights. That's what being professional is all about, isn't it? As an actor, you never know who this playwright might turn out to be, who your director might refer you to, when your fellow actor might suggest you to someone else. It's all about networking in this business called show. Still, everyone I've met seems genuinely interested in my script, they are all working to do their best, and I so appreciate it. I'm learning even more about the play from being here, watching the process of rehearsal, answering their questions about the characters, about the story.
This is why I'm a playwright. And now I want more. More play time, please. I'm going to upload their pictures so you can see them. I can't work out how to label them, so: the first picture is of the director, Vivian Meisner. The next is the character Rosemary, Irene Longshore. Rose Isabel is played by Elizabeth Bell. Next picture is of Natalie Holly who plays Tee. Our lone man is Steven Hauck who plays Dr. Freeman. Stage directions are read by Jane Altman. I have no picture (yet) for Flora.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A1 Editing Services

Have opened up for editing business after successfully editing for several people recently. Have been editing books and screenplays, along with the usual articles and stage plays, and as I'm getting paid now, I thought it was time to hang out the shingle. We'll see how that works.
One of the things I do that sets me aside from the crowd is I speak fluent medicalese. I spent more than 25 years using medical terminology in my job, so I know how to spell it, pronounce it and use it in a sentence. This means I can edit medical papers for journals, etc. It isn't quite as fun as editing screenplays and stage plays, but I do know how and I've always found reading about medical issues fascinating.
I'm also editing children's books, young adult books, articles related to kids and parents, and college essays. So, if you know anyone looking for help, please send them to my website, where they can get in touch with me. Or send them to me at

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Envy: one of the deadlies, for a reason

Envy can hold us back. I don't believe in "sin" per se, so I'll call it a gift. If we are willing to look at these feelings that plague us and get in the way of our progress on the road to getting what we want in life, then they can be gifts, even envy.
The other day I met up with Ivy* a long-time friend whom I've only ever known online, until now. She and I have many friends in common. Several of them live in my home city. She started our conversation by exclaiming "Glinda* is magnificent, isn't she?" *names are changed to protect me and them from embarrassment.
I said that Glinda and I had gotten off to a bad start. Ivy encouraged me to "let it fly" or words to that effect, but I said that's not who I am. I really don't have anything bad to say about Glinda.
I could have recounted the way in which Glinda and I got off to a bad start TEN YEARS AGO, but what would be the point of that? If we haven't resolved or forgotten that by now, we never will. The truth is, and now that I've been made uncomfortable by meeting up with Ivy face to face and finding out she likes Glinda AT LEAST as much as she likes me (maybe more!), I have to examine what it is that keeps me from actually liking Glinda.
I could -- and have -- fall back on the fact that many of my local playwright friends don't hang out with her, don't like her, supposedly because when she first started writing plays she padded her resume. Lied about her productions. Maybe she did. The truth is, she sure doesn't have to pad anything any longer. She has productions -- real ones, not just readings, like most of us get or hope to get these days. And she has them frequently, and everywhere. She is well-loved (see above example of Ivy) and well-respected by people from other cities, as well as from my own. Clearly other playwrights and other theatre folks in my city do love and respect Glinda, and if they ever had a problem with her, they've moved on.
As for me, I've been wallowing around in ENVY. Feeling that it is unfair that Glinda should be getting productions, getting respect for her work, getting readings in far-flung corners of the earth, winning awards and grants, having actors clamoring to read her scripts, directors asking to read her new works, producers wondering when she'll have something just right for their theatre companies. Unfair that SHE has it, and I don't.
Ironic because when anyone else ever said anything remotely like that to me about her, I said "No, it's great that she's being produced! Any time any woman is produced makes it more likely that another woman will be produced." What's more, I believe that. But somewhere inside, I wasn't believing it about myself.
It's a new day. I do deserve it. I have a reading coming up next Friday in New York City. I have a new play that will have a reading in Fertile Ground in January. I'm writing a new short play right now. My work will be seen. I will receive useful feedback that I will incorporate to make even better work. And I am finished with Envy of Glinda! Thank you Ivy for showing it to me and helping me clear that up!
Readers, are any of the deadly gifts getting in the way of your progress to your better life? Do you feel like sharing? Please, do tell!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poetry again

I've been writing a few poems this month, having signed up to receive a prompt a day, or at least to be aware that there is a prompt available to me once a day. Today I wrote two poems, and it felt good. For awhile there I felt as if I had forgotten how to write poetry (again). What that feels like for me is that I see or hear a prompt and I immediately take it literally and want to write something literal. Trying to think outside the box is not even possible. That feels so depressing that I then don't even want to write at all. So I instantly think of all the other things I need to do, and just don't write a poem.
Ever happen to you? Yeah, I thought so.
This is going to be short. I seriously do have to do something else. I'm meeting someone in 45 minutes, and I have to get ready to go. But I wanted to take the time to say that I am writing. I hope you are also writing. Oh! And I have been walking EVERY DAY (20 min or more now), and eating my veggies and fruit. I have to go to the store this evening and buy more groceries. I've also been practicing biofeedback on the migraines (successfully today). Taking care of my health, in other words. Please write me if you have advice, or want to check in on how you are keeping well, what you are writing, how you are maintaining your writing schedule, any of that. I do want to know.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cleaning house

Literally. Today I have to clean my house because I cannot stand it another minute. This seems to be my current M.O. I wait until I can't bear it, then I clean. And I clean everything. Today I started by cleaning up my website. Go check it out:
As soon as I return from picking up my granddaughter from school, I will start at the top of my place (sleeping loft) and keep going until I have shoveled out the hovel. This time all clutter has to go. It's fall cleaning with a vengeance. Tomorrow I will pack for my 3 week trip. So, yes, my place will be dirty when I come back home. Cat hair, litter, and dust will be everywhere again. But no clutter (there isn't that much now, truthfully). But all the extra clothes, bric-a brac, magazines, and so on will be gone. Books delivered to the library. Things I thought might come in handy delivered to Goodwill along with clothes I didn't wear this summer.
I feel 10 pounds lighter already! I did not walk yesterday, nor did I eat my allotment of fruit and veggies. I was groggy all day yesterday because I got a migraine at 11pm the night before and took my meds. I wasn't able to just sleep off the headache because I had my handyguy coming at 9am. So I had to get up, and then of course I just stayed up, loggerheaded, all day. Back to semi-normal today, and I will meet my commitments today. Remember, my commitment is to walking FIVE days a week, so I'm allowed one more day of not walking this week. Veggies should be SEVEN days. So, I have missed one day. I will try to make it today for sure. You? How's your day going? How is your commitment to health coming along? And what about your balance between health and creativity? How you doing? Eh?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Walking, eating veggies... wasn't I supposed to be writing???

Having the same problem I always have: balance. When I add in focusing on walking and getting enough veggies, I forget about getting enough pages. This should not be difficult. We're only talking about 10 minutes of walking a day at this point! Of course, I am also running errands, doing household chores and catching up from having been gone all last week, but still.
Must get better at folding in new stuff. Just like in a recipe.
How do YOU do it? Right now I feel exhausted, and it's 6:13pm. Please, just tell me how you manage to do it all.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Walking, thinking

Reporting in: So far, so good. I've kept my commitments. Walked 10 minutes yesterday, the last minutes before dark. And today, in the rain this morning. Ate more veggies yesterday than I did fruit! That's because my friend gave me tomatoes from her garden. Big ones. I'll have to make a bigger effort today. I might have to break down and eat (shudder) chard.
Spent some time thinking. Thinking about memory. For years I was the memory keeper in my family and in my circle. I remembered everything, both short and long-term. Phone numbers, names, faces, events, trivia, lines, poems, you name it. Everything I read, sang, every argument, conversation, every movie I saw, every house I ever lived in since I was still in my crib. (This is true, ask my 94 year old mother, who hasn't lost her memory yet.) However, once I started on beta blockers in my early 40s, I started having trouble with my short-term memory. I started having to make notes. Before that, I didn't keep a calendar. Didn't need an organizer at work. I kept everything in my head. So once I started forgetting and keeping notes, there was a transition period. I'd turn over my daily planner calendar and find a note that said "lunch." Great. Lunch with whom, I wonder? What time? Where? I had to learn to fill in details like that. Now things are even worse, but I'm used to it. For example, I'm currently re-reading a book that I read in 1998 because the author has written a sequel. I knew I'd read it before because I've read everything she's written, but I also knew I would have forgotten it. So, I'm reading it, nearly finished with it and I call my friend and tell her that I'm re-reading it in preparation for the sequel. She says she's already started the sequel without realizing it's a sequel. I start trying to tell her about the book I'm reading and realize I've already forgotten what I've read. It's like living in the present, and only in the present! As I read the book I think: Oh yes, I remember this. But I don't know what's going to happen next. Then after I've read it, I forget it again. Oy. So, really. Do I need to read this book? I'm going to have forgotten it by the time I pick up the sequel anyway.
I don't have dementia. I don't have Alzheimer's. So, don't worry about me. I don't leave burners on. I remember what refrigerators are for. And I don't get lost. I sometimes get in the car and have to go back into the house to get my glasses though. But I always leave in plenty of time for things that could go wrong, so no worries. Just know this is something you might have to look forward to, if you ever have to take beta blockers, or get forgetful in later years.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Starting a New Year in October: resolutions

I know. It's October 9, 2011. Not exactly New Year's Day in anyone's book, right? My friend Jenny just finished her Mussar Year. It was just Yom Kippur (I'm not Jewish), and it's not Chinese New Year, or any of those. But I've been reflecting a LOT lately. Wanting to begin a program of self-reflection or self-improvement or both. Trying to decide on which and what program. This morning I get an email from my healthcare provider: Kaiser Permanente. Thrive. Yeah, right. I'm always so skeptical about them. I do not feel I get that great of care from the Kaiser. But this morning they sent me info about weight loss and exercise, and I actually need something to help motivate me to get me back on my walking program. I want to make it a daily practice like brushing my teeth, not something I dread. I have to remember how much I actually LIKE walking.
Anyway, here is this missive. I click on the links, and lo and behold, I actually completed part of this program 3 years ago. So, I start over. Now I go further. There are multiple levels to this, like a video game, only this is actually helpful, as helpful as I want it to be. And now I have a blog. Someplace I can make a public commitment, and check in everyday. Someplace I can actually thrive. The program has digital support, consulting, logs, mp3s and so on. Today I looked at stress management and nutrition assistance. I actually do have good nutrition, I need to lose more weight, but my pounds have been going in the right direction over the past years. Walking will help me with this. The cholesterol levels will be helped as well.
Walking 5 days a week is my goal. No, it is my commitment. 5 days a week and eventually 30 minutes each time. This week I will begin with 10 minutes each day. I know I can do 10 minutes. If I do more, I'll say so. Also, I will commit to eating more veggies. I have no problem eating my fruit servings. I need to add more veggies.
Anyone want to join me? If you're a Kaiser member go to and sign up for the Succeed program (free). If you aren't, just join me in a walk and eat more veggies. Make a commitment to do something healthy. State it publicly if you feel like it. I find I am more apt to keep my commitments when I say so in public. Or in writing. Both is like concrete to me. I'll be back tomorrow to let you know how I did today!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Asylum No More ... Table Read

Okay, the play reached final draft point. The End was written. Table read date was set before I even started writing the dialogue. (Yes, I'm fearless that way.) On Monday I began the process of printing the play, getting copies made, collated, covered, and so on. One always has to allow for running out of ink (check), not being able to replace said ink (check), finishing the job on a different computer in a different location (check), and so on. I bought water for each reader including stage directions reader, arrived early to get set up, got out my notebook and sat back and listened.
I was thrilled to find that my director for the already scheduled staged reading (January 20 and 21st, 2012, 11pm) was there, he read one of the roles in fact, as well as my writing partner who read another. I knew they would provide great feedback. The reading was delivered well, especially for a cold reading. My thoughts were: I need to show more of Tee's motivation; more of Tee's inner process needs to be outer; and whoa! this climax is TOO BIG for this little team. So, after the "popcorn" responses, and the positive feedback from the audience, it was time for my question to them: did the climax see believable to you? Their responses rained down: in a word: no. Not only did it feel too big, but most people don't believe a nurse would be so unfeeling as to start a fire, even in an empty building if there was a possibility of danger to human life. She would be too compassionate. Okay, I hear you.
I have some work to do. I just want everyone to know I also heard the positive responses re the dialogue, the complex characters, the humor. It's a good play, and now I'm going to make it better. That's why we have a table read. And especially why we have it in front of people who know how to make plays better.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Purity Argument

In 1970 I organized a protest march against the wearing of fur at a fashion show. This was the first of its kind in Anchorage, Alaska at the time, so the media turned out in force, even though there were only about 12 of us marching on that March day. Nearly all my social sorority sisters were inside that fashion show that day, wearing their furs. They stared at me in shock and horror as they crossed our line to enter the hotel that day. Some spoke to me. And that was the first time I heard the argument that a person could not protest the wearing of fur if she ate meat or wore leather. "What are your shoes made of?" Apparently, if a protestor wore a speck of leather, she had no right to protest the clubbing of baby seals -- which was rampant at that time in Alaska. My hand-made sign had a picture of a baby seal, and the words "He died for your skins!"
Now all of PETA is overly familiar with fur wearers arguments. Those arguments probably contributed greatly to veganism. Fine. I have no problem with veganism and pleather and options to wearing animal skins. I'm a vegetarian. I was then.
Here's the thing though. This is a free country. We have the right to free speech. We have the right to protest whatever we feel is wrong. And we do not have to be pure before we can speak out. So, please if you feel in your heart that you should say something about the fact that the makers of UGG boots are using the skins of raccoon dogs that have been SKINNED ALIVE (see, but you eat meat and wear leather shoes, don't let that stop you. Okay?
If you want to join with other protestors in Pioneer Square this Thursday at noon October 6, and protest Wall Street, but you happen to own stocks, or invest your money in bonds, or some combination that you don't even understand, but you still don't believe that the people who brought this country to its knees should get away with it -- well go protest!
Remember the last line from "Some Like it Hot": "Nobody's perfect." That's right, none of us are, and if we all speak up, stand together, do our part, we CAN make this world a better place.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Knowledge is Power, redux

Just coming off a migraine again. But no headache today. Today I want to think again about the universe, about spiritually, about connectedness and what we really know. On June 15 I was musing about these things whilst in the throes of a migraine. I didn't come up with answers about why I believed in reincarnation, but not necessarily in a higher power. I haven't found the answers yet. I don't know whether I believe in karma, though I would like to. It would be satisfying to believe that somehow, somewhere people who perpetuate evil in this world will be repaid. But they might not. And if I believe that, does that mean that people who are now suffering horrible lives are paying for past or future deeds? Or is it all random?
There are millions of people starving to death in another part of the world -- right now, this minute -- while grapes in my garden are falling to the ground and rotting. While people are throwing food away because they're too lazy to eat leftovers, because restaurants give out too large servings, because we buy too much and don't eat it. I can't ship those grapes anywhere, they aren't even "food grade" grapes. I eat some of them, the ones I can reach and pick over. I try not to waste food at my house, and I know I am in the minority. I also know that I do this because I am scraping by financially.
There are millions of people starving to death and we knew the famines were coming, we know about it every day, we know we could end it, and we do nothing much. We could end the famines easily by cutting back on war. Just us, the US. We could. Imagine if all the nations worked together to end the famines. We could continue on with the wars and still end hunger.
If nations worked together, we could end war. End hunger. End disease. End global warming. If we worked together, there is no end to the good we could create. Knowledge of that is more than power, it is heartbreak. Because for some reason, we don't want to work together. We don't want peace. We seem to prefer fighting, conflict, war. Where is the love, the peace, the understanding?