Wednesday, December 31, 2008


(New Year's Eve Thai Style. Lighting the Khom Loys or hot air balloons)


A few pithy thoughts to usher in the year.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

Mark Twain
New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.

James Agate
New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.

Bill Vaughan
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

Oprah Winfrey
Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

A movie not to be missed!!! This incredible movie tells the story of an impoverished Indian teen who becomes a contestant on the Hindi version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." But how is it possible that he knows so much? He must have cheated, but how? He's arrested and tortured for the answer. Each of the show's questions intersects his life in some way and leads him to reveal a part of his story growing up in the slums of Mumbai.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Light My Fire

A light connected and sparked to life in my brain the other day. It was an epiphany; the cartoon version of the light bulb that goes off in the brain. An item appeared on TV the other day that opened a floodgate of nostalgic memories. My synapses hadn't even fired before over this hot story but it ignited and crackled across the media. CBS was consumed with thousands of complaints and worried emails about it dying out or worse yet, update it. It sparked a center page article in the New York Times.

Was it because it was normal for me; a part of my growing up, as common as trees? Was it because I took it for granted and assumed it was ongoing? Was it because as an adult I no longer needed it because I already had a real one?

But I am on a burning mission now. I must have one. A "real" one. I MUST have a Yule Log DVD. It MUST be as "original"as possible. Only the burning log with the old classic songs by Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole. Not that cartooney updated version with the old holiday radio programs playing underneath.

You see, I grew up in New York. Since 1966 I watched the WPIX Yule log burn away on my TV screen, at first in black and white and then in color, every Christmas. As a teenager I was the night owl that turned off the TV in the family room after my mother had long fallen asleep in front of the burning log.

I grew up, moved away, bought a house with a fireplace and never thought of it again except to wonder at the foolishness of people who were buying roaring fire DVD's; until this year.

The CBS Morning Program did a story about the WPIX inspiration for the Yule log. I think the juxtaposition of the words WPIX and YULE LOG is what fired up the synapses. So a warm wave of memories wafted over me. WPIX cancelled the show in 1989 amongst a firestorm of complaints but in 2001 they fanned the embers and brought it back to life. After CBS aired the story the other day, panicky New Yorkers were woried that there were plans once again to exstinguish the fire. CBS put a damper on their fears but as the New York Times says, "Still, if the current financial crisis has taught us anything, it's that it is wise to hedge bets."

So hedging my bets I am. Unfortunately, WPIX never produced an authentic version on DVD but there are others that are close, namely "The Original Christmas Yule Log Fireplace".

So I'm on a mission. Anyone have one they want to dump? Anyone know where to get one?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Let There Be Peace on Earth"

(St. Peter's Basillica, Rome, 2008, (c.) Jane Falion)

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

(Mother Theresa)

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Peace

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bailey the Unknown Reindeer

Thought I'd share this You Tube video.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowed In

14" of it! Larry was up north so it was "my" 14" to shovel with a little help from Katie and John. It was one of those eerie snows where no one ventured out and the roads were almost empty. We had to. Katie had a hair appointment and you don't mess with your stylist.

But the best part is that feeling that there is NOTHING pressing to do. The "snow day effect" a day off that is unexpected and leaves you with nothing you have to do.

So we snuggled in; hot tubbed and watched an old Audrey Hepburn movie, my request, Roman Holiday. Ah, what joy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Man's White Elephant, Another Man's Golden Goose

It's that time of year again. The annual theatre get together and white elephant exchange. So I am digging deep to find an appropriate gift. The white elephants have been losing their luster lately so I want to be up to the challenge. In the last 30 years we have had some GREAT white elephants. Elvis busts embellished as they are passed on year to year, local artistic talent, a statue of George Bernard Shaw, an elephant, African carvings to name a few. Even the singing Billy the Bass was a hit the first year it was around.

When the kids were little I would buy them their "white elephants" and sneak them into the mix and amazingly they got some really good stuff. Of course they probably don't have a clue as what a real white elephant is, metaphorically speaking. (See description below)

In years past I was a little racy with my choices until one ended up in the hands of a 14 year old boy who is now well into his thirties/forties? and a dear colleague of mine. Somewhere in my house there has to be at least 2 (Larry and I) really good choices if only I can find them. Any ideas?

A white elephant


A burdensome possession; creating more trouble than it is worth.


white elephantWhite (albino) elephants were regarded as holy in ancient times in Thailand and other Asian countries. Keeping a white elephant was a very expensive undertaking, since the owner had to provide the elephant with special food and provide access for people who wanted to worship it. If a Thai King became dissatisfied with a subordinate, he would give him a white elephant. The gift would, in most cases, ruin the recipient.

References to Indian and Thai veneration of white elephants dates back to at least the early 17th century. The first reference in English to the idiomatic meaning of the term 'white elephant' comes in 1851 G. E. Jewbury's Letters, 1892:

"His services are like so many white elephants, of which nobody can make use, and yet that drain one's gratitude, if indeed one does not feel bankrupt."

"Synecdoche: A Part of Life That Makes Us Whole"*

Synecdoche. What a great word! Almost as good as proclivity.

I have just been reminded of the clever William Safire and his On Language column in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

His wit and pen turn this week to the confusion between Synecdoche and Metonymy. Now I know the word synecdoche but didn't realize it had a cousin, metonymy.

So a little elucidation.

Metonymy- identifies a person or a thing by something closely associated with it. For example "the brass" in the military, "the crown" for royalty and "the suits" for business executives.

Synecdoche uses the part to refer to the whole like "wheels" for a car and "head" for cattle and "troops" for individuals in the military branches.

So, at your next cocktail party toss those tidbits into the conversation.

*Headline by Philip Kenicott of The Washington Post

Missing Mike

Mike Hughes, long time Lansing State Journal entertainment writer was "downsized" right out of a job a week or so ago. We've all noticed how the paper has been shrinking in size, paper quality, local stories which no longer look so local, and now a talented writer!

Mike has been the performing arts writer since at least 1972 when I first moved to Lansing. He wrote about my shows and everyone else's. He reviewed them all; some we liked others we didn't. We may not have always agreed with him, we might not have always gotten the coverage we hoped for but he covered everyone! He wrote thousands of preview articles for us all. Not just theatre but art, music and of course, TV. He wrote about my wedding and even put it on the from page of the What's On section. He has hosted the Journal's Thespies Awards for just as long as I can remember. He will be missed.

All of us in the arts will feel the impact. It's not the ads that bring people into our venues but the human interest stories told about our events. It's the hook that makes people want to come to theatre, or attend a dance concert, or go to the symphony.

Please take a moment to write the Lansing State Journal and tell them what Mike meant to your organization.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thinking Outside the Box

Which leads me to ask, When you buy a Box Set aren't you buying a set of boxes? But if you are buying a Boxed Set the boxed becomes the adjective describing some noun or object such as a boxed set of Harry Potter books or a boxed set of Star Wars DVD's.

Macaroni Grill Comes to Lansing

Well not exactly. I'm a huge fan of Macaroni Grill but there is not one anywhere near my home in the Lansing area. How can that be? So when I have to go out of town I always Google to see if there is one in the area in which I'm traveling. Even then my schedule is so crazy that a meal there usually doesn't work out.

So the other day as I was browsing the shelves at my local Meijer and there is was! A boxed dinner. Not usually a fan of the boxed dinner but it was worth a shot. Surprisingly it was excellent. Certainly not as good as the restaurant but this is a pretty sophisticated packaged dinner. You add the chicken that you saute in olive oil. Pasta, seasoning, tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese are all the components as you put this fabulous meal together.

We had the Tomato Herb and Garlic Penne.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Winter Storm Warning

Our first BIG snow of the year.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The "Face"* that Launched a Thousand Words

*for further explanation of the use of the quotation mark check out Kate's very funny take on it at drkatie...(linked here)

FACEBOOK, that is. I've finally been pressured and guilted into creating a Facebook account; this, the woman who has had a blog for the past two years and has talked others into starting their blogs! So, a little late to the game but fully engaged now.

And I thought being a part of the blogosphere was time consuming. You could get lost for weeks in the Facebook world. But such fun.

So check me out on Facebook; friend me, write me, call me, follow me, whatever.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Favorite Things

"Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, warm woolen mittens. (Seriously??)

No, no, not those favorite things. I'm talking about the security questions your bank or credit union asks you to answer before you can log on. So on the surface they seem reasonable, a good way to prevent unauthorized users into your account, a nice sense of security knowing my bank is trying to thwart identity thieves. But lately I've been locked out of my account so many times because I couldn't answer the security question.

I mean really, who could, when you're asked such inane questions as your "favorite" food, movie, song, book or restaurant? What happened to those old standbys like your mother's maiden name, the name of your pet, the town in which you were born, the high school you attended. Now those answers stand the test of time.

My favorite restaurant? Hmmm. I really like Grand Traverse Pie Company but I go to Paneras a lot. I also like Cosi, Chipotle, and McAllisters. But do they qualify as bonafide restaurants? Maybe I should say Glynn's Inn the fabulous restaurant in Huntington where we dined every week or The Mont D'or who had to die for veal piccata and crisp puffy potatoes that I've never been able to find anywhere else.

How many chances to do I get to answer this question before I'm locked out?

Ok, so let's try favorite book? So do I list the book I'm reading now? My favorite childhood book? The other dozens of books that I say, "Oh, I loved that book."

Movies? No. Songs? Just one? How about a genre like Broadway. But will I remember I said Broadway?

So now I'm getting frustrated. Why don't I get to choose my questions? Not just choose someone else's choices as questions? You know this is only going to get worse as time (read age) goes on.

So maybe the solution is to keep a copy of your answers by the computer and on you at all times in case you forget your favorite things. So do they qualify as "favorite" things anymore? And isn't that a huge breech of security?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Change of Address

One of my dearest friends is moving....FAR, FAR away.

She just sent me an email with her new address. But, I refuse to change her address at least not yet. If I don't change her address I can make believe she's still here in Michigan. After all we talk on our cell phones, and who knows where we catch each other, and we email, could be from anywhere but I prefer to think from her HOME in Michigan.

I know at some point I will have to change her address if I want to send her a real card, although those e-cards are pretty darn cute or when I send a gift. I could probably hold this one at bay for almost a year since we will absolutely get together in Michigan to celebrate Christmas and her birthday isn't for another 9 months! Maybe by then I will be OK. Her husband's company is based here and he, and of course she, will be back every 6 weeks or so. At least that's their story.

So I'm going to bury my head in the sand and blithely go about my life picturing Wendy here in Michigan. Maybe that will help me not miss her so much.

Funny No Matter What Side You Were On

I received this hilarious video from Carol Guest, our tireless Obama field director, that is so spot on I thought I would share it. It doesn't matter if you are an Obama or McCain supporter you will find this amusing.

What IS sad is that I so readily identify with the feelings expressed. In fact, right after the election, I wrote about the feeling of being at loose ends after the campaign as identical to what we in theatre call Post Show Blues. You spent enormous amounts of time day after day working with others on achieving a collective goal; electing a new president or putting on a show. When you reach that goal and the candidate wins or the show opens then closes there is a euphoria followed by a sadness and a sense of loss.

Fortunately I WAS in the middle of doing a show so the day after the election I had a rehearsal and a new purpose in life to help me get over it!

But.....I still haven't been able to delete my Obama Supporters group from my email list and I sometimes find myself secretly whispering to acquaintances, "Were you an Obama supporter" before I launch into another ancedote or suggesting a new video to Watch

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tis the Season

Join me at the Holt Cheerful Holidays Sale

Saturday, November 22, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Holt High School, 5885 W. Holt Road.


I'm very excited to be using KAZURI beads in my jewelry. They are made by women in Kenya and through the sale of their beautiful beads they are able to support upwards of 20 family members.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Glitter and Glow

The holiday season is upon us. Start it off with a delightful Christmas Home Tour and Craft show in historic Mason.
I'll have jewelry and many new designs along with Helen's antiques, collectibles, yard and garden art, Christmas trees, Snowmen, clocks, tables, bath products and lots of gift items.
1 Mile E. of Meridian Road
NOVEMBER 13, 14 & 15
Thursday and Friday 9 am. to 9 pm.
Saturday 9 am. to 5 pm.
Look for the numbered house signs...We are House # 6. Maps are available at all houses.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Our Moment is Now

In Barack Obama's words, "There is a moment in the life of every generation when, if we are to make our mark on history, the spirit must break through. This is the moment. This is our time."

Last night was euphoric. I am so glad I acted on my feelings and dreams and got involved with the Obama campaign. It was an amazing time.

The hooping and hollering and tears of joy have been shed replaced by a weird sort of floating feeling. There are no more phone calls to make, walk packs to complete or doors to knock on. Sort of like post show blues. Now it should get really exciting!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Don't forget to VOTE today! Your VOTE does count. So grab a chair, some snacks, some good reading material and head to the polls. Right now is a great time to go to the polls.

Remember; as long as you are in line by the time your polls close you can still VOTE!

Also, it is still not too late to volunteer for a few hours. Yes! Today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Afternoon of the Fawn

A view from the window the other afternoon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Les Mis Obama

For theatre loving fans of either persuasion!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Knock for Barack

11 Days to go! It's not too late to volunteer in your state for the campaign. Volunteers continue to phone bank and canvass. To find out how to get involved in your state Go to and click on to your state and region to find out how to volunteer. If you've always wanted to get involved in a campaign but think that it's too late to do anything, this is YOUR time.

Also, hundreds are people are needed the last 4 days of the campaign for the Get Out The Vote!

To quote Carol Guest our enthusiastic field director;

"This is it. You are now engaged in the greatest voter mobilization effort in history. It was a campaign founded on the idea that an engaged electorate is the driver of progress. Every last vote for Barack Obama on Election Day is one more person dedicated to the success of this candidate and this presidency. I am asking that you take nothing for granted and get out there to help win this thing.

We have 11 days. Make each one count."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back "Home" in Indiana

I missed Homecoming this year and I had a yearning to get back to Indiana so Dan and I took a road trip to Shipshewana, a delightful Amish community with wonderful unique shops, and yes, a lot of tacky shops but they can be avoided.

Friday, October 17, 2008

So Many Divas, So Little Time

Community Circle Players known fondly as The Barn and now Riverwalk Theatre is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In honor of that great accomplishment we have gathered an ensemble of well known stellar performers for a night of entertainment. Relive those blockbuster memorable shows like Sweeney Todd, Company, A Little Night Music, The Robber Bridegroom, 1776, Man of La Mancha, Oliver and many more.

The show is directed by Jane Falion with John Dale Smith as musical director and starring Emily English, Janine Novenske Smith, Colleen Bethea, Ellen Brennan Campbell, Laura Stebbins, Eric Dawe, Dale Powell, Bill Henson, Doak Bloss, Ken Beachler and special featured guests.

Saturday, November 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets for this fundraiser are $20 with a reception following the performance. Call Riverwalk Theatre for reservations at 482-5700

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Autumn in Italy

So I posted this because, of course, I love Fall. But more importantly, I have just begun to work with some of my photos in photoshop and I'm playing around with color, contrast, brightness, sharpness etc. So this is an experiment.
I love the contrast between the rounded bunchy shape of the maple and the long horizontal reach of the evergreen branches. The color contrast, seeing them side by side is quite interesting as well.
This photo was taken at quite a distance from the 4th floor window of a room at the Hotel Oasi.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Rainy Days

The blue pod people

It's Monday and it's raining. How appropriate. Rainy days and Mondays in the Fall are a bonus. Rainy days slow us down; they stop us in our frenetic daily pace and make us rethink our options. A perfect day for "nesting" and cleaning closets, or making art, or writing on the blog, paying the bills, or cocooning. I propose that every rainy Monday should be a day off. Thankfully, I do have Mondays off but if you don't, consider taking a rainy Monday off and reward yourself.

It rained quite often in Italy and in fact the last day in Cortona it rained all day. There wasn't much we thought we could do photography wise but Jeff, my photo class buddy, and I took cover under a second level covered balcony cafe overlooking Piazza Republica and shot a series of "umbrella" photos.