Saturday, December 9, 2017


This morning I got a friend request from an the best friend of an ex who was abusive. The whole experience was jarring to say the least. I know I am safe in the studio I am subletting for the residency in Culver City. Still, this piece of my past is one that is like the Indiana Jones Holy Grail. I look and there is a part of my spirit that gets sucked out.

I never disliked my ex's friend. He was actually a nice dude. But the memories are like open wounds with lots of poison being poured in.

It's always like that with DV. There are never enough laws to protect you. And when there finally are it's because enough women are dead. There are people who don't believe you because they don't see your partner at his or her most evil.Or they think you should get over it. Everyone has all the answers for world's most unwelcome party guest.

There are well meaning people telling me it is a part of the past and it is. But when your ex was part of the reason you invested in a PO Box it's kind of hard.

My ex threatened me physically, emotionally, and sexually. We need to keep the dialogue going. That way men like OJ can be convicted, showing the world women like Nicole matter regardless of their color.

My life is different and better now. I am not afraid. I am also not afraid to press the block button because clearly my ex's friend is just like him. Yes I do need to get on with my life. But again we need to keep talking because without a conversation there can be no change. Now to change my underwear. Because yeah, my mom always said to go to school with fresh panties.......

Had to end this blog on a light note.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

New Adventures

Tomorrow I begin a new chapter in my life. I have been accepted into Antioch University's Low Residency MFA Creative Writing Program in Los Angeles. Yes, LA. She who has no car let alone license is going to the very city where you need one. It will be a firm and shocking change of pace from the subways that I have grown so used to.

I have always wanted to do more with my writing and now is my chance. Plus I am entering a program where I can work, have a life, and am committed for 10 days a semester. That way I can continue my comedy and tour. I am also networking in a city where one gets eaten up easily. And I am getting to know the place without being tied into a lease before I really know where I want to live and if I even want to live there at all. And it is creating a chance to be bicoastal. Additionally, I am paving the way for a career in academia if I so choose to go that way.

And yes, I will have a masters.

I applied on a whim because I felt I needed a change and got in. There are some family members who aren't supportive and that's okay. I am an adult and don't need their approval. Sure, it stings in it's own way. But at the same time, I am paying for this myself and as an adult, I don't need to justify my decision let alone myself.

I will be in LV/LA for basically all of December. I will be filming a TV show in Las Vegas, going to school in LA, and then spending Christmas in town because of all I have to do.

I look forward to this new adventure. I say I was raised in Pittsburgh and grew up in NYC. Now it looks like I will become an adult in LA

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (Elmo & Patsy)

It was the summer of 1998. On Saturdays, we typically did yard work and then had a late lunch/early dinner. My mother thought it would be a special treat to eat on the back porch as we had been working all day. The house was cluttered as it always was in those days. After all, three kids ages 16, 13, and 10 lived there, respectively.
A week previous, our neighbors across the street had gotten robbed. There was a lot of talk as a mysterious jogger had suddenly been seen in the neighborhood. One neighbor asserted that this family, nicknamed the Clampets, had faked the robbery in order to get insurance. No one knew for sure.
We were a gun owning family, but not a vocal one. My Dad wanted us to know there were guns in the house and to respect firearms. He felt it was important. We also knew how to fire a gun if we had to. For a time my parents even belonged to what was known as a local “gun club.”
However, gun culture proved just to be too overwhelmingly stupid for my parents for lack of a better word. My dad wasn’t a hunter. Because of his career and work hours he didn’t have time, and my mom felt it was disgusting. Plus a lot of those folks were toying with starting their own militias and spouted Second Amendment rhetoric frequently. My dad studied it and knew while the Second Amendment was important, there was no truth to this hillbilly paranoia. When he explained no one was going to lose their guns anytime soon he was met with resistance.
My dad would explain as a lawyer this couldn’t happen, there would have to be many, many, many lawsuits before the Second Amendment was overturned. But they would interrupt him explaining one could never trust the government for very long. My dad would say they were giving the government too much credit. They couldn’t even deliver a piece of mail on time. But this fell on deaf ears, and some were really and truly losing their hearing because they were around guns so damn much.
Out of our family, the best shot was actually Skipper. I was a terrible shot. My skills behind a gun were tragic. Skipper could shoot a bullseye without effort. Later, she would go on to become a champion markswoman.
My dad’s whole thing was that yes, we owned guns but we were never to tell anyone. It was because he didn’t want them stolen or used in a felony. He also knew that if one of our moron friends accidentally shot themselves, it would be a shit show for lack of a better term. But yes, we had them and that was all we had to know.
After dinner, we were cleaning off the table. Dishes were about to be washed and the TV was about to be turned on. Auspiciously placed were my brother’s cleats from summer football practice. Not so far away was my notebook from writing camp. Pick up after ourselves…..ehhh……you know how it goes with kids.
Just then, there was a loud banging from downstairs.
“What was that?” My dad asked curiously.
“Nothing.” I said. “Probably some crap from Wendell’s football.” I said glancing over at my brother. While the season had yet to start, my brother had weights and other things he was using to buff up. Cumbersome and annoying, I had stubbed my toe on several.
There was a second bang, now it was more like a slam.
 “I think it’s the boxes we stacked.” Skipper said, referring to boxes of books we were getting rid of. These books were old, outdated encyclopedias in our basement that still referenced the former Soviet Union. My father felt they were obselete and we needed space for other things, so my mother, sister and I had stacked them one night while our dad was working late.
The noise grew louder. Now it was as if someone was walking. We all froze in panic.
“No one’s home.” A male voice was heard saying.
We all gasped in horror. Oh shit.
 “Guys, stay out here. Dad is going to get his gun.” My mom assured us.
Then she instructed, “If there is a group of intruders, run out the back deck. Run to the nearest neighbor and get help.”
Note this was before the age of cellphones so this all made sense.
My dad went and retrieved a firearm from a place in the house where it was hidden. Meanwhile, we were in the Florida room closes to the deck in case my father couldn’t shoot the intruders in time. These burglars might have been bad but they had never seen my dad when his was pissed. He was just a Western Pennsylvania man defending his home and he knew that at the end as a lawyer, he knew his rights and would get off.
Skipper began to cry. I held my sisters hand, and Wendell covered us both. “Keep it together. They can’t know we are here.” She said.  
“Beware mutherfuckers.” My dad said under his breath. “I will kill any sonvabitch that comes in my home.”
My dad’s dark eyes flashed. There was no way these intruders were making it out alive.
Sure, these guys might have been bad, but they never saw my dad when he was pissed let alone defending his home. My dad was a nice guy, but when you crossed him he could cut a bitch for lack of a better term. One former associate at his law firm referred to my dad as “Satan” because of the way he spoke to opposing counsel. Yet when someone who heard this story saw our Dad with us at a local restaurant, he could hardly believe it was the man he had heard so many horror stories about. Bottom line, you didn’t fuck with my dad and come out unscathed.
“If any of you see their faces before you run for it, remember them. They are going to ask you in court.” My mother instructed.
Wow Mom, way to make a bad situation even worse. My stomach lurched at the thought of the potential tragedy that was about to happen. My heart beat and I felt everything freeze. I got ready to run, bad ankle and all. Skipper could go the fastest and Wendell wasn’t notorious for his speed. My mom always tripped and fell when she got nervous. It was a tick she had. Gosh this was going to be a shit show.
And shit show it was.
The door opened and I was expecting a scene from what would be a 20/20 crime special in seconds. I expected tragedy. Instead I heard,  “Wendelin, that is no way to greet your mother in law!”
Fear disappeared and now we were just startled and amazed. My mom sprinted inside as my father dropped his gun to his side. The look on my dad’s face was priceless. Standing there was my Nuni, barely five feet tall with snow white hair and a light purple summer pants suit. On her head was a summer bonnet. Her lips had frosty pink lipstick. With her was a man who looked like the disenfranchised son of Charles Manson.
“MOM!” My mother said, shocked and pleasantly surprised. “You didn’t tell me you would be stopping over!”
“I tried to call but you didn’t pick up and your message machine was full. Here’s the book I promised you. You know the one about raising a teenage daughter with an interest in the arts.” My grandmother handed my mom the book.
Nuni continued, “It was from Barb.” Barb was my cousin’s wife. Their son had gone to film school and wanted my mom to have the book because I liked to write and work with puppets. He was currently living in LA with some girl from Brazil. The book was to give my parents hope and to assuage their fears about my dreams.
 “Get in here and give your grandmother a hug.” My mom instructed, trying to make the most of an awkward situation. Meanwhile, my embarrassed father disappeared to put his firearm back in the undisclosed location.
When he reappeared she said,  “Wendelin can’t kill me! He has to do my will first.”
“Who’s this?” My sister Skipper asked pointing to her friend. Her strawberry blonde hair had recently been cut and she was wearing her summer shorts and top.
“Oh this is Bob.” Nuni explained. “He’s a friend of Rachel’s from the Ren Faire. I saw him at the Walmart and he needed a ride.” At the time, Nuni worked as a greeter at Walmart. She was literally the mayor of the superstore. Nuni was so incredibly popular that she was even featured in several of their local television commercials.
Aunt Rachel worked at the Ren Faire. It had become her yearly gig and the only thing in her life that was constant. After breaking up with Rick and then running out on her wedding to Josh (subject of another blog) Rachel had sough solace in the Ren Faire. While my grandparents had blown their life savings on a wedding that was never to happen, they were glad their wayward creation was finding an outlet.
As for Aunt Rachel’s friends, they were notoriously nondrivers or had their license’s suspended for whatever reason, so Aunt Rachel was the chauffeur of the group. On this day, Bob needed a ride to wherever he was staying, probably a halfway house. Who knew…..
Either way, Nuni, who’s conduct never ceased to shock, awe, and amuse thought it was nothing short of hysterical that my father had almost shot her. Meanwhile, my father’s face was twisted in that state that was a mix between embarrassed, confused, and somewhat pissed. Nuni explained she would have knocked but when she parked her car, she saw the garage door was open.
Yes, Nuni was notorious for never using a front door let alone knocking. She had let herself in my Uncle Seth’s townhouse once because he left the back screen ajar. Needless to say he caught her youngest son and his wife Taylor sharing a moment of passion. Talk about killing the mood. Of course, Nuni freely and fearlessly relayed this story as my dad continued to stand there, mouth gaped open at this happenings of the day.
Minutes later, Nuni and Bob departed. My dad was pissed, but not for the reason we figured. Nevermind he had almost blown his mother in law’s head off. As he explained, , “A STRANGER CAME INTO MY HOUSE AND IT WAS MESSY! I WAS SO EMBARRASSED!”
“Honey…..” My mom said trying to calm him down.
My dad had not come from much and having strangers see his house messy always got under his skin. However, we didn’t know we were going to have company. My dad continued, “GRACIE, HOW COULD SHE! I ALMOST SHOT HER! I WASN’T PREPARED FOR COMPANY. THERE IS THIS FUCKING THING CALLED  A PHONE. YOUR MOTHER COULD USE A FUCKING PHONE! OR BETTER YET, A FRONT DOOR!”
My mother said nothing expect, “Sorry, you know how she is.”
“Dad the stranger was probably homeless, it’s better than he normally lives.” Wendell reasoned. We all nodded in agreement.
“Nuni is hardly a housekeeper.” I said. It was true. And if Bob had been to Nuni and Pop Pop’s house, our place would have been the Palace of Mr. Clean in comparison.
“It doesn’t matter what you think or feel at this point.” My mom said trying to smooth things over.
“You almost shot grandma!” I informed him. “How we feel completely matters.”
Skipper ran over and gave our dad a hug. He probably needed one after that. “How about this, lets red off the table and forget this ever happened.” My mom suggested. I thought she was in good spirits seeing her mother almost got shot. (Red in Pittsburghese means clean off).
My dad shook his head. “Okay, but April has to vacuum the basement and Wendell has to pick up first.”
“Why do I have to vacuum?” I protested.
“Because I said so.” My dad snapped.
Wendell and I marched down to the basement to clean. After that, my dad calmed down and the gun was returned to the undisclosed location. We watched some stupid Adam Sandler movie and the incident became a piece of the family’s woven fabric.

And from that point forward, we all remembered to close the garage when we were done for the day. That way, if someone got shot it was a burglar and not grandma.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Growing up, your aunts tend to date the darnest guys. This was no exception in my family. When I was about 9, my Aunt Rachel dated a guy named Rick. File Rick under what parents don’t want their daughter to come home with.
Days before my Pop Pop met Rick for real, Rachel showed up to our house with her newest flame. The reason for her visit was because Aunt Rachel had just been fired from another job. It wasn’t her fault. Most employers don’t understand vacation at will. It was a flower shop, and apparently she wanted to hang out with Rick and didn’t show up. Now she needed a few bucks to get through the week and she knew my mom’s door was always open.
Rick was a sight for sore eyes. He had dirty blonde hair, an AIDS era mustache, and a wife beater shirt. While he told us he usually styled his hair in a mullet, an admission that no one anywhere should make at any time, the Navy made him dawn his current do.
When Aunt Rachel brought Rick, I still remember the roaring of his pick up truck waking our quiet suburban block. Rachel, my mom’s kid sister, walked in with her conquest on her arm. His too tight jeans made him look more like the LGBTQ comic book star Tom Finland than the tough man he aspired to be, but why tell Rick.
Aunt Rachel wore a low cut shirt, a short skirt, and had terrible posture. All made my gym teacher mother gasp. Yes, her kid sister who struggled in school with severe dyslexia before it was understood. This same kid sister who had low self-worth. This same kid sister that my mom always had to keep an eye on. And this same kid sister who was now shortening her lifespan.
“This is Rick. The dream boat I have been telling you about.” She informed us as he walked in.
“Dream boat I am, so dreamy the United States Navy can’t even certify me.” Rick chimed back in his Southern accent.
My mom told Rachel she wanted to speak to her privately, probably to exchange twenty dollars and to confront her about her latest in a string of bad decisions. Our mother instructed us to show Rick our backyard gym. Our dad had installed a chin up bar and a rope because he felt it would be good for our upper body strength the previous summer. Wendell, who dreamed of playing football, was on their faithfully day in and day out trying to tone his muscles and get fit for the upcoming season.
 “They make us do chin ups in the Navy.” Rick said to Wendell, “And a man has to know how to do chin ups.”
“I can do 5.” My brother Wendell said. While he was strong, his body was still pudgy and growing. Wendell jumped up on our backyard chin up bar and did 5.
“Well in the Navy they make us do 20 or more.” Rick said. And then he jumped up and did several. Skipper and I stood in awe of Rick and his strength.
Just as this was happening, my dad pulled in the driveway from a long day of work. Rather than enter his garage, he stopped his car. It wasn’t to watch. No, like a hungry Great White he was lurking and wanted his prey to know he was there.
Stopping his car engine, he exited his Buick and walked down to the jungle gym. Sure, he was a lawyer off the clock but was ready to kill if need be. The look in his eyes indicated that he already disliked Rick, possibly because he knew my mom was going to give Rachel a few bucks and these two would have not stopped by had he been present.
Wendell also made the proverbial kill list. He was tardy with his room cleaning and the deadline was today.
Skipper and I ran over to hug our dad and Wendell stood in shock. Sensing the silence as we were no longer cheering, Rick jumped down from the chin up bar.
“Why aren’t you cleaning your room?” My dad snapped as he saw Wendell standing there.
Instead of butting out, Rick obliviously chimed in. Gosh, he was dumber than the grass under our feet.  “Hi, are you the man of the house?”
“Yes, I own this home, my wife is inside and those are my children.” My dad said putting his arms around us. His glance never left Rick.
“And where have you been?” Rick was now proving to be the brain trust he was. I wanted to tell the dumb ass to shut up now but it would be of no usage.
“Working.” My dad replied. His eyes not moving. I could tell he was freaking Rick out on purpose.
“Do you ever use the chin up bar?” Rick was now curious as my dad was in excellent shape. Meanwhile, I was curious as to how Rick was still alive.
“No. I don’t have time. I have a job.” In not so many words, my dad called Rick an idiot and a loser. At that moment, Rick got it. He gulped. And that’s when he found my aunt to make his exit.
My Aunt Rachel departed along with Rick in the roaring pick up. Actually, fled was more like it. While Rick seemed too stupid to be evil it was funny to see him sweat like that. But my mom was not holding her tongue over dinner.
Aunt Rachel said Nuni had seen him in McDonalds looking all handsome in his Navy Uniform. Nuni, my mom’s mother, was a character. Friendly and outgoing, she made friends everywhere she went and talked to everyone. She had fixed my parents up initially, and thought she could do the same with Rachel. This was a fail.
“Wendelin, what was she thinking!” My mom demanded. “This guy is a loser!”
“Gracie, your mom never thinks. That’s the damn problem.” My dad said shaking his head.
“She wants to move to Alabama and live in his trailer after he’s discharged!” My mom bemoaned. “Two years ago, when Rachel dropped out of college my dad called me crying. I said let her work. Let her get it together. Now she is dating THIS LOSER!!”
“Let it go Gracie, it’s not our problem.”
“But he could do a ton of chin ups.” Skipper said.
“That’s what unemployment looks like.” My dad informed her.
“In all fairness unemployment was kind of good looking.” I told my dad.
“It won’t be when he makes you a single parent.” My dad cautioned me.
Wendell laughed. “He was seriously jacked Dad. I could only do 5 chin ups…..”
“And so that’s why your room wasn’t cleaned! You were screwing around with that redneck!” Wendell gulped. The table went silent. My mom changed the subject to the fact Wendell’s science project was a finalist in the contest at school. The uneasy transition proved to work as my dad quickly forgot about Wendell’s room.
That evening, I had a dream. Rick came to our house, except his pick up truck was roaring and jumping over fences and people’s houses. The dream was pretty cool actually. And Aunt Rachel was yelling with joy the entire time as Skipper and I were in the truck bed. So what they were risking our welfare and breaking several laws? It was awesome.
The next morning my mom woke us up. As it was late spring we still had school as summer had not quite come. My dad was getting ready for work. Seeing him I said, “Dad, I had a dream. Rick came with his pick up and was jumping over houses and fences. Aunt Rachel was in the truck, and Skipper and I were in the back of the pick up.”
“That wasn’t a dream.” My dad said shaking his head.
“What he is saying is, your aunt made a terrible decision.” My mom shared.
Two days later, my grandparents had a party in their backyard. My dad was unable to come as he had a huge case he was working, and there was a filing date with federal court that Monday. The party began as usual, my Nuni telling colorful stories as she flitted in and out like a butterfly looking for a new flower. With white hair and a plethora of pastels, she stood barely five feet tall and was akin to a tropical creature each time you saw her.
“Mom, what were you thinking?” My mother said confronting my grandmother as people came in. “Rachel is dating a guy who has probably been voted most likely to go to prison!”
 “He’s handsome and Rachel needs to meet men.” Nuni said.
“She would be better meeting men at the food stamp office.” My mom was now livid.
“They aren’t getting married. Relax Gracie.” My Nuni said. “I never thought you would marry yours. Besides, he’s in the service. He has a job of some sort. It could be worse. He could be like Phyllis and Rob.”
My mom rolled her eyes. Phyllis was my mom’s other sister who was dating Rob, a man who fearlessly lived off of women. He had a glue on rug, glue on chest hair, gold chains, and announced that he was training to be a porn star. Phyllis and Rob would have been there, but Rob had been beaten up in a street fight and was currently in the hospital.
“Anything is better than Rob.” My mother seethed.
Just then, the rest of the cousins entered and we found ourselves in the backyard. My Pop Pop, a quiet, gentle man, put out bread crumbs to feed to his pet squirrel Jinx. Well it wasn’t really his pet, Jinx was sort of a pest my grandfather adopted. In many ways, my Pop Pop was the antithesis of my dad because he would have just killed Jinx.
Pop Pop was an the type everyone loved. Because my father had lost his own dad young, Pop Pop adopted him at times. My Pop Pop had been a college man and then World War II broke out. After graduating from The University of Pittsburgh, he enlisted in The Navy. Because of his engineering degree, he went through officer training and at the time of his discharge was a second lieutenant. My Pop Pop never spoke of the war or his Navy days but always remained friends with his shipmates. The war ended and life went on.
He coached my mom as well as the rest of her siblings in swimming, owned his own life insurance business and played tennis religiously. Of course as my mom bemoaned my Nuni’s bad decision making ability to her sister Magdelene, who’s children were dancers, Rachel entered with Rick.
I knew they were coming from the Duke’s of Hazzard roar of his pick up truck. Rick entered carrying Rachel. As soon as they saw my Pop Pop he set her down. Some of us laughed. Some of us gasped in horror.
 “I bet she’s pregnant.” My cousin Starboard said.
Starboard was Magdelene’s younger daughter. Mindy, a dancer, was in New York for the summer hoping to become a professional ballerina and Starboard hoped to join. She had a head of dark, springy curls and always dressed like Blossom. Like Skipper, she had been named for my Pop Pop’s love of ships and the water. While he said nothing else about his time in the service, he taught his kids all about boats because he felt it was important.
“Hello Mr. Wallace, pleased to meet you.” Rick said extending his hand. My grandfather, gray hair and Mr. Rogers sweater, looked confused. He looked very scrambled. My Pop Pop was sharp, this was a whole new thing. Seemingly disinterested, he continued to throw crumbs hoping Jinx would catch them. Was he getting dementia? My friend’s grandmother had that and it was nasty.
“Good to meet you too.” Pop Pop said, seemingly not focused as his big task was feeding Jinx.
“Rick’s in the Navy.” Aunt Rachel explained. “Just like you, Dad.”
“Oh yes, that was a very long time ago.” My Pop Pop said looking up laughing.
“Mr. Wallace, you would be pleased to know young men like me are making the US Navy strong!” Rick declared.
My mother marched over. Ever ready to micromanage a shit show, the oldest child in the family had to let Rick know what time it was. “Dad wasn’t just any Navy man. He was an officer, weren’t you, Dad?”
“Yes, Second Lieutenant. I was aboard a military aircraft carrier.” Pop Pop said. “We were in the Okinawa for much for the war and near Japan. But it’s over and I don’t like to talk about it.”
“I didn’t realize I was in the presence of an officer.” Rick said. He stood up and saluted my grandfather.
“Please, sit down. That wasn’t necessary. I haven’t been a member of the military since 1946.” My Pop Pop assured him gently. But Rick was standing there with complete salute.
“I hope she isn’t knocked up.” Starboard said again.
“What does knocked up mean?” Skipper, age 6, asked.
“Shhhhh……” I said as Rick continued to stand with a complete salute. At first it seemed he was mocking my grandfather, but he was tragically such a simpleton it was no longer even funny.
“At ease.” Pop Pop said. Rick relaxed his salute and sat down. He yammered on and on about something stupid and his thick drawl didn’t help. As Rick talked and Rachel chimed in, my grandfather’s eyes closed.
“He always falls asleep at parties.” I observed as Starboard stood near me.
“It’s because he’s old.” Skipper said. “Old people always sleep.”
“Maybe he’s dead.” Starboard offered. “My neighbor died like that.” Yes, Starboard, age 8, had all the answers.
“He’s not dead. His hand is moving.” Skipper observed. Her sunkissed strawberry blonde hair sporting ringlet curls from a perm my dad suggested she get to give her hair more volume.
“Also, if he was deceased his color would change.” Skipper educated us. “When there is still some red, you know there is blood moving.” Skipper had been reading a medical book she got for Christmas and announced her plans of becoming a doctor.
After my grandfather had been out for sometime my Nuni entered the backyard. Carrying a tray of something that resembled shish kabobs, she called to my Pop Pop, “Wake up Mike and stop being an old man. The kids inside think you are dead.” Yes, she never had the filter.
“Shut up Loretta. You are going to kill me one day.” Pop Pop replied.
“I would have done it already but I spent all your money.” Now we were all roaring. Yes, my grandparents were literally a comedy duo at times and today was one. Rachel laughed as Rick now looked confused. The two braincells he had were doing an awful lot of thinking.
“Being married to you is like life in prison. Except with life in prison I would have a chance at parole.” Pop Pop said now giving the zinger that finished the routine. We all applauded. How could we not?
Rick and Rachel than said they had an errand to run. We didn’t want to ask, and we prayed they weren’t going to get eloped. As they exited, Pop Pop perked up and went back to feeding Jinx. Murmuring to himself he lamented, “Enlisted men, they never change.”
Pop Pop had not been asleep. He had been tuning out an idiot in the most effective way possible. In the days before the block button this innovation was genius. For his bravery in the line of stupidity he was to be commended.

Rachel would later break up with Rick after he was sent to sea on a submarine, had a nervous breakdown, and spent time in a psych hospital. It wasn’t the time in the psych hospital that drove her away, but the fact she fell in love with his best friend, Josh. She figured Josh was more soft spoken, better looking, and had a better double wide I suppose. I dunno, that story is for another blog……

Monday, November 27, 2017

Posters, Calendars, and Books, Oh MY!

December is the time for ho, ho, ho. And there are some folks that are going to be calling me that. All shitty jokes aside, Cyber Monday is here and why don't you unwrap some of me this holiday season:

Here is a calendar of yours truly. Perfect for the hardy heterosexual male who wants to keep track of important dates and times. And perfect for any of my ex boyfriends. However fellas hide it from your wife. You know she doesn't like me. 

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April in the morning, April in the evening, April at supper time. When you can have April on a t-shirt you can have April anytime

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Maybe you need to accessorize your college dorm room or man cave. And if you are a wife or girlfriend who doesn't like me, your dartboard. What I am trying to say is, I sell posters, too. Also, this poster would be okayed by any prison warden anywhere. What I am trying to say is, send one to any of my ex boyfriends that might be guests of the state or federal government this holiday season. No one ought to be alone on Christmas. 

Perhaps you are aware I wrote a body positive book. If you want a woman who thinks out of the box you have both book and poster options for your pleasures. Note, this is not prison approved, so if you want to send one to an ex of mine, send it to one who's currently a fugitive. 

Do you like President Donald J. Tramp? Well you can be liberal and conservative at the same time by wearing him on a t-shirt. 

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I work as a singing telegram girl in the Big Apple. Want to sip some whiskey and read about my adventures/bad decision my holiday season? For the record, this is my mother's favorite thing on the list because I am fully clothed. 

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Basic Needs

When I was about 8 or 9, I forget which, I was in the third grade. My dad's mother, Mema Ralph, was babysitting us. She was a character to say the least. Mema Ralph was probably not the best parent to my dad let alone any of her children. She was terrifying in her own way with a brutally honest streak. In between she was also a tad of a shit stirrer, but it added to her charm. As a babysitter, she was a combination of every child's worst nightmare and every comedian's greatest wet dream.

Her greatest charm was she didn't give a flying fuck.

Looking back, she was a Great Depression and War era kid. Her husband worked long, strange hours so she was essentially left to raise a house of kids on her own. He died when my dad was 19, and she still had four young kids at home after her oldest three flew the nest. She worked and was a single mom even though most days she was overwhelmed.

My Mema Ralph was a survivor with her clip on earrings, fire engine red hair, caked on makeup, nails with multiple coats on, perfume so strong she could kill an animal, faith in God, and most of all her foul mouth. Yes, she was a survivor, as in she would knock you out and would ask no questions. As she hit her 70s, her eyesight was bad too, so she might actually knock you out if you were walking on the sidewalk because she was starting to drive there......OOPS.

Mema was babysitting. My parents were somewhere, I think my mom's father, my Pop Pop, was in the hospital for some reason. Probably prostrate or skin cancer, he had both quite a bit unfortunately for some time there. This would have meant my Nuni, his wife, would have been with him. Either way, Mema Ralph was always last on the list to babysit and with good reason.

Much of it had to do with the circumstances around my brother Wendell's birth. At the hospital, my Mema Ralph told my dad to get some food as my mom was in labor. My mother told my father he was not going anywhere. And then when Wendell was finally born after 24 hours of rough labor and C-section, my parents carried her first grandchild out. Mema responded by informing my parents, "Don't expect me to watch that kid."

She caved in and watched us a few times. Each being a bigger disaster than the next. Once, my brother broke a box lid and she made him tape it together and kneel in the corner until my parents came home. Needless to say my mom was beyond pissed and said to my dad, "Wendelin, I do not care if she is your mother. She is not watching my kids ever again!"

My dad tried to defend my grandma of course, but it fell flat. He knew she was crazy. He never tried to hide it. But on this particular night, my folks were desperate for a babysitter and Mema Ralph was called. My brother hid in his room, and my sister was no where to be found. It was just me and Mema.

So here we were in my parent's kitchen. It was a Thursday and I had social studies homework. The only crinkle was I forgot my book and that's where the answers were. So I figured I would rely on my grandmother's knowledge, age, and expertise. After all, she was near 70 years old. She had to know a few things. Whenever I forgot my book my mom knew most of the answers. My Mema Ralph had to work the same way.

This is how the conversation went:

Me: Mema Ralph, can you help me with my homework?

Mema: Yes Dear.

Me: What are the three basic needs?

Mema: Air, water, and God.

Me: That doesn't sound right.

Mema: Nonsense without air you suffocate and die! Now back to your homework and let me help you.

Faithfully, I scribbled the answer down. My grandmother went on to help me with the rest of my homework and without question I continued. Mema gave information with authority, and I didn't argue. She was my grandmother. She had to know.

That is, until I got my paper back the next day.

It didn't have any wrong. It just had SEE ME PLEASE in big, red, nicely written teacher handwriting. The woman I had for class had been teaching a long time and was nothing short of an angel. With a bemused look on her face, she wondered what happened to me, perhaps the best social studies student in the class, because this was not typical.

I explained frankly, "My grandmother helped me with my homework."

She laughed and agreed to let me do it again. The second time around not only were all my Mema's answers wrong, they werent even close. Turns out the basic needs are food, clothing and shelter.

Moral of the story, never forget your book. Never ask grandma to help you with your homework. And maybe grandma's do know something because without air you suffocate.

All that aside, I know she would have mixed feelings about this photo but she would agree some hot guy with money might want to extract my digits. Miss you, Mema.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017


The last several weeks have been busy. That's why I haven't been around. During the weekends I was in Sleepy Hollow working with puppets at a haunted house. On week days I delivered my telegrams. In between I applied and was accepted into Antioch University's Low Residence MFA Program in Los Angeles. Then there was the line of merch I released. And I also readied and debuted my show in the Solocom Festival. This was after completing my workshop for The Onion. And I also take acting class once a week.

Over extended? Yes. Insane? Oh absolutely. Tired? Fuck yeah.

I love all of it every second. I loved each train ride to Sleepy Hollow even though the rides back got tedious with the late nights and milk runs of the local. I loved each crowd that came into my tent from the young kids who thought I was real, to the kids who wanted to be scared, to the tween boy who proposed to me in corpse bride full body puppet gear. I loved the adults who were either screaming surprised or had a witty comeback. I loved the drunks who were eager to dance. I loved them all. It was bittersweet when Halloween ended.

Although the weekends literally drained me most of the time, I loved each person I delivered telegrams to. They were all amazing. My favorite being a Marilyn Monroe to a man who had a son with special needs. His son who was ten and physically as well as developmentally handicapped sang along with me. It was amazing. It was awesome. It was a why not moment.

Applying to the low residency MFA Program in Creative Writing nearly killed me. I love to write but when you have to write it's different. The reason I chose the program was because it was a responsible way to familiarize myself with LA and to network. And if I ended up not liking LA I am not locked into a lease. Straight away I loved the people I spoke to, and because of the program model I don't have to put my career on hold and can tour. They just own me for 10 solid days straight each semester. And they love writing as much as I do.

As for the line of merch, that is the coolest and craziest thing I think I have done to date. Yes, I have a gift shop. Yes, it is crazy. Yes, I love it. Wow, I can't believe I did a gift shop in between everything else I had to do. Yes, I had some help with it. Yes, you should buy my merch.

The Lady and President Tramp debuted at Solocom. It was a wonderful night and I made a new friend with the very talented Scott Kremer who was my hour mate with Character's Unleashed. My only regret is that I was under the weather but tis the season. Either way, it was an amazing experience.

The Onion Workshop was incredible. My teacher was adorable. It also helped me see through some of my own bullshit. For the longest time I had a resentment against a comedy theatre in NYC. I saw them as preppy white kids who wanted to be on SNL and would slit your throat to get there. I saw them as snob who didn't like anyone who wasn't on the farm like them. I saw them as that obnoxious high school clique that you were chronically trying to escape. This workshop made me realize that perhaps some of that had been my own bullshit and the bullshit we all fall into. I saw them as young people like myself with dreams. I saw them as people who loved comedy and performing to the point where they were obsessive. I saw the good and together we all had an awesome experience in this workshop because of our shared love.

And yes, I am in acting class once a week. Ironically, my teacher is from said theatre and he is very knowledgeable and very objective about the work. I have really come out of my own skin and am actually really nipping my bad habits onstage in the bud. I also feel safe to create and perform my own work there, which has never happened to me before in an acting class. And I don't feel stupid when I make mistakes either. I don't feel resentful because I am not a part of the clique in this comedy school. Again, we are all young folks trying to go to the same place.

Either way, I am exhausted. I still have to clean. Today I have a monologue coaching session because why not? I also need to pack because this week is Thanksgiving and my dad's birthday. Tomorrow I am doing an event where they have food. Why not?

No rest for the weary.

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