Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Only Early Summer Salad you Need

I'm in another show. YAY!

Which means I cook dinner twice a week: Sundays after rehearsal and Mondays which I have off. My husband is a very patient man.

Sunday nights I get home close to 8, so unless we're having a Barcelona night and eating at 11--which is great but on a Sunday after a long week not so much---I keep it simple. Easy to do here in SoCal where the farmers markets are so crazy bountiful in summer (ok all year) that throwing a few ingredients on a plate and having it taste amazing is eeeeasy.

On Saturday the mushroom guy had fresh porcinis. I'm used to cooking with dried, so I asked him what he'd do with a fresh porcini and voila: the easiest most delicious delectable summer salad I could dream of. How much of all these ingredients is up to you---go heavy on what you love, go light where you want. You really can't go wrong. And I say splurge on the really good parmesan and use your best olive oil--with ingredients this simple you'll taste the difference.

Fresh Porcini Salad with Arugula and Parmesan

plenty of good arugula or other peppery green
fresh porcini mushroom, very thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese, shaved into thin slices
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

After washing and drying greens, toss with a little lemon juice and a little olive oil. Plate the greens and top with shaved Parmesan and sliced porcinis. Drizzle a little more olive oil; season with a tiny bit of salt and pepper. You're done.

I served this first then we had a barley/lentil pilaf that cooked in one pot while we ate this. Sky swooned. Literally. And I didn't think guys could swoon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

They're Alive!

Remember how I was swooning over The Bird and the Bee a couple of months ago? Their Hall&Oates cover album became my preshow music for Dinner With Friends, by the way. Cate, who was the other woman in the show with me, and I got ritualistic about it, and whatever else we were listening to, we had to listen to a bit of that before the stage manager called "places". Then one day Patrick, one of the guys in the show, was listening to some beautiful, doo-woppy sounding music in his dressing room. My ears perked up, I inquired, and was told it was this rad band called The Living Sisters. I downloaded immediately only to learn as I did that one of the 3 lovely ladies in this trio is Inara George. She's one half of the Bird and the Bee. And she definitely gets a place in the Inspiring Women category.

THEN joy of joys I realized another member of the band is Eleni Mandell who I was obsessed with several years ago, and in a crime of musical irresponsibility, have not followed for a while. I just logged onto her site and seriously, go, listen, get hooked. She has this sexy, sometimes sinister voice that always made me feel like a bad-ass capable of doing anything--anything--I wanted to do. The song "He Thinks He's in Love" is one of my top ten favorite songs ever.
photo property of Veronique Messier

She wears amazing clothes to boot. They all do.

And the 3rd member is Becky Stark, who I haven't had the pleasure of knowing as much about but she is the singer for Lavender Diamond, which I have certainly heard on KCRW and remember thinking "what a gorgeous voice". Definitely some research happening on them this weekend. See what happens when you bring 3 talented girls together? It's like exponentially satisfying--you get, y'know, 6 new things to listen to.

Here they are as The Living Sisters, courtesy of their myspace page. How could they be anything but great if they look like that?

Living Sisters are exactly the kind of music I love for summer: relaxed, easy, lyrics to sing along to while the front door is open and you're sitting on the porch with a mint julep.

I've opted to share this one with you because it's one of my favorites of theirs but this is a remix! Which means if you love their voices, go to the album and hear the original one which slays me; but now you have a bonus track I got from that same myspace page!
How Glad I Am (Greyboy Allstars Remix) by The Living Sisters

Happy listening.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I've wanted to write about this for a while. On NPR a couple of weeks ago I caught the tail end of a story that made me go "HUH?!" out loud in my car. A story about a woman obsessed with a plastic bag that got caught in a tree near her work over TWO YEARS AGO. The woman is Kathy Frederick, and the woman's blog (not only about the bag though that has lots of entries) is The Junk Drawer. I called my house and left myself a message on my home machine (my favorite way of reminding myself to do something) to get on the NPR site and investigate further.

The bag got away from a shopper a couple of years ago (whole story told through an imaginined interview with the bag), got caught in the branches of a tree near Kathy's work, and since then she has celebrated the anniversaries of it being there with birthday cake for the whole office, posted videos of it blowing in the fall leaves or on winter bare branches, written haikus about it, rolled out a contest about who can guess when it will come down (day, month, year), and developed a huge following on Facebook.
photo from The Junk Drawer

I am intrigued by how many people are following Windy. I'm in love with the idea that Kathy embraced something which could be seen as annoying, seen as ugly, and made a celebration out of it. Of course she could figure out a way to get it out of the tree, but she wants to see how long it takes to come down on its own---observing divine timing and the elements in action as it were. Practicing less control.

I like that she's taken it and turned it into a reverent game. Like in life when something is plaguing us or nagging at us or repeating itself over and over in our brains perhaps to our frustration--- to then frame it like a game; to have a sense of humor about it; and from there to see that the persistent thing that felt maybe negative in some way is actually an opportunity to practice a change in perspective. It's making us think differently, or act differently, or just practice more acceptance less resistance.

I also like that she has accepted the bag for what it is, not judging it for the circumstances around it. Yes, plastic bags suck. Just the fact that it hasn't disintegrated in the tree for 2 years can make one weep at the thought of the landfills. But there the bag is, and rather than throwing a fit at the bag (which let's be honest would do how much good?) she's making lemonade out of lemons.

I laughed out loud when Kathy admitted on NPR that this story could make her sound like a nut job. I think it's great to sound like a nut job once in a while, especially if the qualifications for sounding like a nut job are that you speak up loudly for something you love.

What I got reminded of in listening to Kathy is everything is not as it seems. Something can look like a curse, someone can look like an enemy, and with a little willingness and openness that thing or person or situation could turn out to be a hidden blessing or best friend. I'm grateful for unexpected reminders that our idiosyncrasies are what make us unique and admirable: I, for one, would not have thought to make a shrine to a plastic bag. That Kathy did has me looking all over my life for what I can show more appreciation for more.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Can we discuss for a minute how gorgeous Ms. Dolly is in this picture?

The play closes this weekend which is tragic--it's been such an amazing (and SHORT) run; however, that will leave me with a little more time for blogging which I look forward to.

In the meantime I came across these photos of Dolly Parton on Oprah's website and I was stunned by how amazing she looks in them.

In the name of women celebrating other women (as opposed to being jealous, threatened, insecure over which I, for one, can get sometimes) I think I might have to make a habit of posting beautiful, talented, brilliant women here once in a while. Feel free to send me your faves.

Happy Weekend!

Monday, June 14, 2010

They're Singing our Song

That's a street in the city where I grew up. Thinking I need a trip back there in the next year--it's been a while, my husband has never seen it, and I don't know--maybe it's the play I'm doing which has so much in it about making choices in life and in love---I feel like I want to be back where I was a kid and had no idea what the life ahead was going to deliver---all its miracles and all its mudslides.

I've been listening to music I loved when I was 11, 12, 13, 14.....digging out old CDs, downloading stuff I only have on cassettes from itunes. When a song comes on, it's like I'm launched back to listening to it then----remember the room I was in, or the friends' car, remember the weather. You know. We all do this. Can't help it. I don't remember exactly what I'd think about when I listened, but I know exactly how I felt, and that age there was a lot of longing and a lot of dreaming. I don't know exactly what I was longing for, and I don't remember all the dreams. I know I thought I'd have an Oscar by now:) And simultaneously there's the 2 decades of life layered onto whatever memory is there. So it almost feels like there are 2 of me listening and 2 of me going on the trip of the song.

I hadn't told my sister any of this, but in good sibling telepathy she sent me in the mail a CD of the first Indigo Girls album from 1989. 21 freaking years ago! So how old are they now....? Anyway.

She sent it to me and I listened--it's been a long time. I knew every lyric and I was that little kid and me now all at once and it's that bizarre existential feeling you all know: how was that 21 years ago? And somehow I got from there to here and it's been beautiful and it's been long....but 21 years long? No. I can't quantify the time but it's not 21 years. Couldn't be.

I think it's a good thing to be bittersweet sometimes. To half smile and half tear up about life going by. Makes us appreciate it, no? It's a half-sunny, half-cloudy day here and I'm listening to Willie Nelson singing sad songs so maybe that's what this mood is.....

Back to the Indigos. They wrote some pretty amazing lyrics. I am a sucker for a good lyric. I can sit down and just read Leonard Cohen's no music needed that guy is so good. This song I really love. I'm not putting all the words here---just a couple verses that got me then and get me now. This is so the world of the play I've been living in for weeks; YES it's influencing my life. How could it not. What would be the point of doing art if it didn't get under the skin? So take a gander and maybe stroll on over to itunes on your next cloudy day to dig through those songs you've forgotten you love so much.

pieces of "Love's Recovery" by the Indigo Girls

There I am in younger days, star gazing,
Painting picture perfect maps of how my life and love would be
Not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection
My compass, faith in love's perfection
I missed ten million miles of road I should have seen
Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together
Left each other one by one in search of fairer weather
And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast
To the slim chance of love's recovery.

Oh how I wish I were a trinity, so if I lost a part of me
I'd still have two of the same to live
But nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal, as specks of dust we're universal
To let this love survive would be the greatest gift we could give
Tell all the friends who think they're so together
That these are ghosts and mirages, these thoughts of fairer weather
Though it's storming out I feel safe within the arms of love's discovery


Friday, June 11, 2010

Virgin Saint Angel

I am none of the above.

However, a couple of weeks ago there was yet another turn in baby-creating world, and my body did it's thing--you know--it's woman thing. It bled. It was quite amazing, actually; and I realized the upshot of going through what I've been going through with no cycle is that I'll never be that girl that complains about her period. It was incredible to see my friends' faces when I told them---they got so excited and I felt so supported and cheered on. The kind of positivity that makes something already good even greater and more real. I'm continuing with my health stuff as I was before, even with the show running (OK I'm getting a little less sleep but my happiness level is so high that it makes up for what I'm not getting in rest), and I know that this doesn't mean I'll have the same experience this month but it might.....

It was worth celebrating.

Sky is a big fan of the celebration. Our engagement story is the stuff of legend---it's a 30-minute tale--I'll tell you sometime---and he's the kind of guy that plays it low key.....until he doesn't. Then he goes all out. And he gets to decide what's a good reason for going all-out. This became one of those times.

We planned date night on a night I got home from rehearsal and he showed up with 12 unbelievable red variegated roses, some sparking shiraz (one of my favorite things to drink---sparkling and red?! c'mon), 3 dinner reservations for me to choose from, and a gold box for me to open.

This was inside it.

Welcome to Virgins, Saints, and Angels jewelry line. (If you click on this link it will take you to their home page but most of the designs aren't visible there---you have to be an authorized retailer. There are more images here.) The pieces are borrowed from Mexican symbols of feminity; some are made with found objects; some are replicas of found objects. All are guaranteed for life. Here are some more:
You can wear them dressed up on a Saturday or throw them on with a t-shirt and boom, you're glam.
Needless to say, when I wear the one Sky gave me with the heart in the middle I feel my female goddess superpowers in full effect. Alisa said the coolest thing to me in our call yesterday: she said motherhood doesn't begin when you conceive, it begins when you decide to have a child. This feels like my first Mothers' Day gift.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Get your Game On

I'm coming back I swear!!!!!!

Opening went beautifully. I don't as a habit read reviews but I heard this one was stellar so I caved.

I have so many things I want to put up here and until there's a teeny more time in my day I will leave you with a game for your amusement. I suppose if you're really stubborn this could become an obsession. But a minute or 2 is fun and weird.

How Smart is Your Right Foot?

1. While sitting in front of your computer (ie now), lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand.
Your foot will change direction.

There is nothing you can do about it!!!!! My sister says she beat it but I know there's something fishy going on there. I catch myself trying it at random moments, sneaking up on it like a cat burglar, and it never fails: my right foot follows my right hand. BIZARRE. What neurons are talking to each other, oh mysterious body and brain?

So now you always have something to do in doctors' offices, in airports, while waiting for a train......

Go Lakers.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Where I'll be this Week


I am officially going underground this week because my play opens on Friday. I am facing the realization (again---life is often teaching me this) that I am not in fact Superwoman and cannot do everything I want to do, ie post here during tech week where my days at the theatre are 12 hours.

HOWEVER, here's the flyer for the show and if you're in LA or know anyone in LA send them!! The play is beautiful and funny--about relationships, being lonely, trying to connect, what's under the surface; the cast and direction is so good; the theatre is a SoCal gem. And if you do come, please find me after and say Hi! That would make my day.

Talk to you next week