Thursday, November 03, 2016


I don't remember the exact moment when I fell in love with the Cubs. The same way a person doesn't remember learning to love their parents or learning to chew solid food. I know that logically, there must have been a time in my life when I didn't know what the Cubs were, but I don't remember that time at all. I only ever remember being a Cubs fan.

I remember the little white transistor radio my mom had that only got AM stations, that she would use to listen to Cubs games. I remember Harry Caray and Steve Stone calling the games, and I remember being sad when Harry died, but relieved that he would never have to try to pronounce "Grudzielanek" or "Samardzija" backwards.

I remember going to my first Cubs game with my grandmother, my mom, and my brother, and letting the magic of Wrigley Field wash over me. That magic still exists there, every day, every time I walk into the stands. That first view of the field sets everything right with the world. Time stops. We are all made equal. We are all there to enjoy our time watching baseball, eating snacks we otherwise wouldn't allow ourselves, and cheering for our boys in pinstripes.

I remember my first Cubs crush on Shawon Dunston, soon to be followed by Kerry Wood, Mark DeRosa, and after a year of not allowing myself to like him because he had been with the Marlins who beat us the year before, Derrick Lee. I remember feeling a special bond with Keith Moreland because of the similarity of our last names, even though we've never met.

I remember getting excited in 1984, in 2003, in 2008, and in 2015, when it looked like we might finally win it all. I remember thinking that we were the best, no matter how many errors we made, how few runs we scored, or how the stats stacked up against us. I remember being devastated each time when what looked so easy for everyone else turned out to be so hard for us.

But mostly, I remember the love. I've been asked many times what the big deal is about the Cubs. They don't put on the offensive show that a lot of American League teams do, with fireworks going off for every home run. Wrigley is an old stadium, falling apart in places, that is missing the state of the art food courts and LED banners that tell us when to stand up and make noise. "It's just a baseball team." Except it's not. It is hope. It is a dream. It is a light that lets us know that no matter what happens today, there will be a tomorrow. There will be another chance. From Harry Caray to Pat Hughes, the fans are always brought into the games, welcomed as if each and every moment of each and every game could be the turning point that we've all been waiting for for 108 years. We lose, and we brush ourselves off and come back and play again. It has to take a lot of love for players like Kerry Wood and Greg Maddux to want nothing more than to come back to the Cubs to finish their careers, for men like Ernie Banks to dedicate themselves to the team and the organization long after retirement. It has to take a lot of heart to still show up to the ballpark and to still play as hard as you can every game for over a century without getting the one thing millions of people are hoping, dreaming, willing into existence - a World Series title. Because if we have the title, then maybe other people will finally listen when we say the Cubs are the best team in baseball. They always have been.

For my grandmother who lived her whole life without seeing the Cubs win it all.
For my mother who filled our house with baseball even before I knew what baseball was.
For Harry Caray who assured us that this day would come, as sure as God made little green apples, even though he's not here to see it.
For Ron Santo, who I'm sure would have had a heart attack in the booth if he had tried to call this series.
For Ernie Banks, who taught us all to be kind and gracious and to keep playing no matter what.
For Wood, Prior, DeRosa, Dawson, Lazzeri, Gossage, Sandberg, Maddux, Durham, Sutcliffe, Lee, Jenkins, Dunston, Dempster, Zambrano, Johnson, Barrett, Alou, Williams, Dean, Lindstrom, Zimmer, Wilson, Sutter, Boa, Smith, Moreland, Pappas, Brock, Ramirez, Kelly, Hornsby, Grace, Davis, Cey, and Brown who gave it their everything and never quite got there.
For Tinker.
For Evers.
For Chance.

This one is for you. This is your win. This is your year.

Thank you.

I don't remember the exact moment I fell in love with this team. I know I will never love another team in the same way. I will always be grateful that I got to see them make history, even from afar. Because if the Cubs can win the World Series, what else is possible?


Thursday, September 01, 2016

Seven Thirty

Two years ago today, I drive into Brooklyn with an address and a car full of crap to start my new adventure. One year ago today, I wrote a basic recap of how things went in the first year. In my second year in New York, 

• I got a promotion at work, went from supporting seven people to seven and a half to four to seven and will soon (hopefully) be just supporting three. 
• I did shows in rep for the first time, which wasn't as odd as one might think, since I had done different shows at the same time before. 
• I did my first Shakespearean history play, and was a guest on a YouTube show about Shakespeare.
• I went through another bout of depression that nearly kicked my ass. 
• I worked really hard, and continue to work hard, to climb out of that depression and I'm proud of the progress I've made. 
• I gave great auditions and was not cast; I gave great auditions and got cast; I got lambasted for being cast; I got praised for landing certain roles. 
• I sang at an audition. 
• I spent lots of time with friends and saw more of the city. I even saw more of New Jersey and Boston and Connecticut.

What I keep coming back to, though, is that in Chicago, I had a day job, did some theatre on nights and weekends, and hung out with my friends. In New York, I have a day job, I do some theatre on nights and weekends, and I hang out with friends. I am, essentially living the same life here that I did there, just with different people cast in the roles of boss, friend, and colleague. And my apartment in Chicago was much nicer (no offense to my current roommate - I love her to death - but my last place in Chicago had a dishwasher. We barely have kitchen counter space and don't have screens on the windows).

So what does this mean?

It means I'm a capable person. It means I'm a likable person. It means I know (at least to some extent) who I am. I have gotten more comfortable in my own skin out here. There's something about starting over with people who don't know your history and still being able to form connections, break down barriers, and build relationships, that gives a person a different kind of confidence. But I think it also means I need to up my game. If I'm living the same life in either place, why not live it closer to my family and closer to Wrigley Field? 

I need something big to happen; something big to change. I said I was going to give New York three years and I intend to do that. But without some big deciding factor keeping me here...

Things need to change. And I know I'm the only one who can make them change. 

So game on. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Seven Twenty Nine

Two years ago today, I said what was probably the hardest goodbye of my life as I packed my cat and the last of my things into my car and drove away from my heartbroken mother, sobbing my eyes out. My thought was that if I didn't give the whole "living in New York" thing a try at least once in my life, at least for a little while, I would regret it. So to leave a job that made me miserable, and to go in search of my dreams, I left my apartment that I loved, my family who I adore, and my friends who are dear to me as if they were family, and I set out for Brooklyn. 

Two years ago today, I think I stopped crying for real somewhere in Indiana, though I let the bouts of tears come as they needed to throughout the day. 

Two years ago, I stopped at a hotel in Pennsylvania to give myself and my terrified cat a bit of a rest. When I stepped out to get myself some dinner, he crept out of his cat carrier and hid behind the headboard so when I got back to the room, it looked like he was gone. I nearly lost it, and then apologized profusely for stuffing pillows behind the headboard, robbing him of his hiding spot, his safe space in his world that had completely turned upside down, so that I would know where he was. 

Two years ago today, I asked myself a millions times what the fuck I was doing. 

Today, I woke up to my cat and snuggled with him for a few minutes before getting out of bed. He followed me through my morning routine like he always does, and I kissed his head before I left the apartment, reminding him for the umpteenth time today that I love him. 

Today, I went to work at a job where the people value me and respect my opinion. I talked to colleagues about exciting things and challenges up ahead. I was tasked with another fun research project, and I helped welcome a new employee to the office. I didn't get everything done that needs to get done, but I did a lot. I was useful. I was helpful. I was kind and made others smile. 

Today, the cast for the show I am starring in this December was posted. I shared the news and pictures on Facebook to a slew of likes and loves from friends and family, both in New York and elsewhere.

Today, one of the dearest friends I have asked if she could borrow my car for a shopping trip to Long Island. Knowing it is good for my car to be driven more than I drive her these days, I said sure. 

Today, I am on the train back to Brooklyn after work to study Shakespeare and see if anyone wants to join me for dinner tomorrow night. 

Today, I have asked myself a million times what the fuck am I doing. 

My journey two years ago was split in two - one day leaving and one day arriving. For me, the anniversary of the journey should be split in two, as well. One day remembering everything it took to get me here, and one honoring what I've built. Tomorrow, I'll have more to say about where I am and where I'm going. But today, I'm missing my home and my friends and my family and the life I had in Chicago. Today, I'm thinking about what I gave up. Tomorrow, I'll be thinking about if it has been worth it. 

Friday, May 06, 2016


I'm not sure when it became a "thing," but I'm noticing a trend where people who, I presume, are trying to be politically correct, refer to women as "females." Probably most notably in the Kimmy Schmidt open titles, "Females are strong as hell." What I'm not seeing is a corresponding switch from "men" to "males." This bothers me.

It's semantics, I know, but words have power and carry weight and bring certain connotations with them. I know there was a movement a while ago to get away from the word "woman" as it contains "man," and I get it. But by the same token, "movement" contains "men" and we didn't change that to "movemynt," because at a certain point it all gets silly. There are only 26 letters in the English language alphabet and to try to avoid any and all combinations of "m-e-n" and "m-a-n" gets ridiculous.

What bothers me about replacing "woman" with "female" is that is takes the humanity out of the equation. "Female" is a very scientific term, used to define the member of the species capable of producing eggs and bearing children. "Woman" is the word used to describe a human female. The same as adult male chickens are roosters and adult female chickens are hens, adult male humans are men, and adult female humans are women. To call women "females," to me, takes away the specificity of what species we are, which is, in my opinion, even more degrading that the fact that the letters "m-a-n" exist in the word "woman."

Biologically, yes, I am female. Transgender women identify as female as well. But I think all of us would like to think of ourselves as more than a set of sex organs, which is what the term "female" implies to me, and which is why I prefer the word woman. It gets even stickier when we note that men are not being called "males," implying that men are humans with complex lives and thoughts and fears and language abilities - all of the lovely things that make humans humans. We are, again, widening the gap between men and women, allowing one gender to be human and the other to be defined exclusively by its gender.

Granted, this also doesn't allow for agendered individuals, as much of the English language was developed at a time when we thought of gender as more of a binary system as opposed to the spectrum we now understand it to be. But perhaps, instead of allowing men to be human, women to be sex organs, and agendered individuals to feel completely out of place, we need to develop three new words - or six new words, or twelve new words or whatever - that better describe the variations of human existence, as opposed to further alienating more than half of the population.

Just a thought. From a woman.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

What I Learned from Tonight's Academy Awards

They mentioned at the start of the Academy Awards this year that they were going to do things in a different order, to reflect how movies are made. According to the Academy, this is how you make a movie:

1. Write an original script. 
2. If you can't find one, borrow some source material and try that instead. 
3. Cast a woman to be in the background.
4. Clothe her. Preferably in period clothing. 
5. Bring in a production designer and set designer so you can figure out what the movie should look like. 
6. Find a make-up artist and a hair stylist for your supporting actress (who is the only performer currently attached to the project, and therefore the most important).
7. Find someone to shoot the movie. Preferably someone who knows where the most beautiful places on the planet are. 
8. Have someone edit the film. Which somehow has been shot with one actor and no director, but one hell of a production team. 
9. Fix and enhance the sound generated by your kickass design team, beautiful locations, and supporting actress. 
10. Go back and manipulate the sounds that haven't been generated yet, but should be there so your locations and supporting actress sound even better. 
11. Hire Andy Serkis. No, wait, sorry. Get a visual effects artist so nobody notices you only have one supporting actress.
12. Go back and fill in any tech gaps that might have made your filming easier. 
13. Say "fuck it" and animate the whole thing instead. But keep it short because animation is hard and takes a long time. 
14. Realize that it is easier to make an animated film than something live action with only one supporting actress, so make an animated feature. 
15. Find a guy who might look good in the background of the movie you were originally making and cast him to fill in some of the scenes your supporting actress wasn't in. 
16. Splice together your footage about making a movie with a design team and one actor (actress, excuse me) into a short documentary. 
17. Try your hand at a full length documentary because you have a lot of footage of beautiful places and sound clips lying about, so why not?
18. Realize that you have enough footage of your locations and background actors to make a short film, so give that medium a go before dedicating yourself to a feature. 
19. Outsource your movie to another country to see if that helps. 
20. Find someone to write the music that will set the tone for your film. 
21. Hire a pop star to write a song to play over your end credits. 
22. Find a director. 
23. Cast a leading lady. 
24. Cast a leading man. 
25. Find producers because bam! You have a movie! Win all the awards!

Now, I've not made big budget Hollywood movies, but at the very least, I know that nine times out of ten, the leading man is cast before the leading lady. And films are usually edited after the director, producers, and actors have been hired. But maybe it is my insistence on doing things a certain way that has stunted my career thus far. Maybe I'll try doing it Hollywood's way and see what happens. 

Congrats to those who go home with little gold statues tonight! Maybe if I play along, I'll get to join you someday. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016


There has been a lot on my mind lately, and a lot going on in my world, so I thought it time for an update, even if it is rather vague.

As happens often in life, the place you think you're going changes suddenly as a result of things that are not under your control. Relationships change, responsibilities changes, desires change. Generally speaking, change is good. I truly believe that. But change in one area of one's life can affect the things that one doesn't want to change in other areas and that's when things get tricky.

I feel like I've fallen off course. In some respects, it has been a gradual shift over, say, the past year, and I'm just now trying to right myself. I came to New York to pursue my artistic dreams. Some things that looked like great opportunities turned out to be the wrong opportunities for me. Some relationships that looked like they could have been beneficial turned out to be somewhat toxic. And one fantastic opportunity in my non-artistic life has started to pull me away from what I love most.

I'm taking steps to get back on track. I've been looking at what is most important to me and where I want my life to go. In a lot of ways, I feel like I started all of this way too late - what would have happened if I had come to New York in my early twenties? Where would my career be now? And that pressure has me thinking that I don't have time to fall off my path again. So I'm weeding out the relationships that are getting in the way of my goals, be they personal or professional, and I am setting out to reclaim me. Which sounds harsh, but I don't know how else to get my mojo back.

These are the things I know to be true, and the things I need to remember and remind myself on a daily basis:

I am a talented performer.
I am ridiculously smart and have valuable things to say.
I don't know everything, and that's okay.
I am loved and valued.
I am a complete human being despite my lack of a romantic partner.
In order to stay balanced, I need theatre, I need tea, and I need intellectual stimulation.

And just for fun, one thing I wish other people knew to be true:

Not all vegans are gluten-free. Gluten-free does not automatically mean vegan.

Here's hoping 2016 is righted soon.