Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Dad Rocks!

A short Happy Father's Day shout out to my dad. I'm the luckiest daughter in the world because my dad has always been full of love and support. Quick story - when I was a junior in high school deciding what I wanted to study in college I had a talk with my dad in the car. He asked me what I thought I wanted to do. I answered that although I loved being on stage, it didn't seem like a very practical choice. Maybe I should do go be a teacher or a doctor. And he said to me, "Why? If that's where your heart is then you have to go for it." Cut to six Broadway shows and a couple TV appearances later, and boy am I grateful that my dad believed in me even when I didn't.
Thanks Dad!!! I love you!!!

I'd also like to say Happy Father's Day to my Pap, Danny and Jim. And to my Grandpa Wyatt who was the epitome of class. And to my friends who are amazing dads to Samson Jack - Eric and David.

I mean, come on. When you dress your kid up for Halloween as a Jawa and you go as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, you are sooooo destined for the Fatherhood Hall of Fame.

I leave you with this awesome article about fathers that was in today's NY Times by Nicholas Kristof. Check it out if you want to have a good cry.

Happy Father's Day!!!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

When in Doubt - Smize it Out

Well hello Cyber-Friends. It's been such a long time since we've seen each other! Suffice it to say that between doing an internship at a food company, rehearsing and previewing a new musical and pretending to be on America's Next Top Model with one of my besties, Lindsay, that I sort of lost track of time... Smizing takes a lot out of a girl. Just ask Tyra. And I have a lot to smize about right now...

Wait. Hold up. Internship? Food company? What the eff? I know, I know. I surprise even myself sometimes. But it's true. Back towards the end of January when my Broadway show ("Shrek the Musical") had closed I decided I didn't want to sit around and wait for my phone to ring and wallow in unemployment. As many of you know I have an interest in all things food. So I ventured into the civilian world and took a non-paying internship at this company called Basis Foods. I had read about them on a website called Tasting Table and I loved their mission which is to provide good food to all people - not just rich people. That's kick ass. So I emailed them, told them I was an unemployed actress and had no viable skills but that I would work for free. They got back to me right away...I'd like to think it was my charm, but it was probably the "work for free" part. Basis was developing a new program to get food from small family farms to consumers like you and me through a home delivery service - sort of like Fresh Direct meets a CSA. For those of you outside of the five boroughs Fresh Direct is a grocery delivery service here in NYC. For those of you who don't know what a CSA is it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. I'm a member of the Astoria CSA where I pay some money at the beginning of every growing season to a small local, organic farm; then every week I go pick up a box of fresh, organic fruit and veggies from June through November. It's pretty awesome. Anyway, working at Basis was eye opening. In my experience, there are few things harder than getting a new musical off the ground, but I would venture to say that starting a small business is one of those things. We would literally work 15 hour days doing everything from taking orders from customers to packing vegetables in a freezing warehouse at midnight to dealing with a citrus crisis to listening to people complain that they had too many greens in there bags that week. It was A LOT to deal with, but it was really fun. And the people who work for that company are smart, efficient and are completely dedicated to getting good food to the masses. But you know what else I learned? That I LOVE being an actress. It was nice to know that I could hang in an office setting, but it made me so grateful to do my real job.

Speaking of my real job... I am currently performing in the world premiere production of "Johnny Baseball" at the American Repertory Theater.

I love doing all kinds of acting jobs, but my favorite gigs are when I get to originate something entirely new. And it's even better when the project is good. And "Johnny Baseball" is GOOD! It has been one of those magical experiences where everything clicks - the piece, the cast, the creative team. We are having a blast. If you're in the Boston area come and see it. You won't be disappointed. It's about the Curse of the Bambino and institutional racism in major league baseball. And it's AWESOME! Seriously, I'm so proud of this piece.

And we got to go to Fenway.

So, as I mentioned earlier I am a member of the Astoria CSA and our season has just begun. My sister and I split our share because it is literally so much food that there is no way one of us could finish it all in one week. For instance, this past week we got Boston lettuce, Romaine lettuce, strawberries, rhubarb, arugula, spinach, Japanese salad turnips and French breakfast radishes. I had to go back to NYC for an audition on Monday, so I was able to pick up my veggies and fruit and bring it back to Cambridge with me. Needless to say, my week has been filled with delicious salads, bread and butter with radishes and a dash of sea salt and sauteed spinach and garlic. And yesterday I spent part of the day making a delicious Rhubarb and Strawberry Clafouti. You heard me. I said clafouti - which is a delicious French concoction that involves spreading some fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and then putting a crap load of pancake batter on top of it. It rocks. I would have shown you picture, but it's all gone. Hee hee. Now, what to do with those Japanese turnips... perhaps a sensible puree or a simple roast. We'll see. That's the thing about a CSA - there's always something in the box that I would never normally pick up in the grocery store. Just wait until kohlrabi season. I'm gonna get all Iron Chef on your asses.

Sometimes when I smize (that's smiling with your eyes, in case you don't watch ANTM) I look crazy. But I do have lots to smize about right now. It makes me think about the grace that my Grandpa Wyatt would always say before dinner. I can't remember all of it, but the last line was always thanking God for a grateful heart. And that's how I am trying to live my life these days. I am grateful that my hubby is back in the country safe and sound (he was in Turkey), for my awesome job, my health, my supportive parents and sister and entire family. I'm grateful for that when I count good friends I run out of fingers. I'm grateful for coffee, Edith Piaf, Spanx and Mad Men. And somewhere, deep down, I will muster up the strength to be grateful for kohlrabi.

Til next time... peace out.

Addendum - my aunt forwarded me the grace my grandpa used to say.
"Dear Lord, who has given us so much--please give us one thing more--a grateful heart."