🎼 Tell Me A Piece Of Your History That You’re Proud To Call Your Own… 🎶

My dad and his brothers and someone that one is dating

Hello Gentle Reader!

I hope you had a really fun Halloween!

It is my most favorite time of the year! Rehearsal time! 😂😂😂 I am sorta kidding.

I know it has been a while, but I wanted to write a post tying in my recent trip to see family with my latest project. First though, I had to make sure that my day job was staying on track and we had a lot to do! I am learning a TON of stuff and sometimes my head swims with all the information but then my brain dries out and I have to refill it again. LOL. It is a pretty great problem to have.

Early October, I took my dad to go and see his siblings. It was a really fun road trip! I hadn’t seen him so animated and smiley in a really long time. His memory is going and he is totally aware of it. I think that makes it harder when you know you aren’t going to remember what you used to know. I stress about that all the time. Seriously, I worry because I forget stuff more often than I think I should. If it happens to be important, it will stick. Everything else? Slides away like it was on a non-stick pan.

My dad was worried that he wouldn’t get to see his brothers and sisters before he couldn’t remember them anymore. I had the time and I haven’t seen them myself in over 35+ years so I planned it out with my mom; and off we went!

My Dear Reader, I cannot express how incredible the transformation in him was. His walking pace quickened and he used his cane a little less. His speech was less halted. He literally brightened. I don’t know if it was because he was smiling all the time or what, but it was contagious. He still fumbled on his words because sometimes he forgets what things are called, or he can’t get the word to travel from his brain to his mouth.

One of the things that I noticed was that he had a lot of stories to share and he was a Talkie Thomas (I hate that only women’s names were used for talkative people.) Even when he couldn’t get right words out or he repeated phrases, my aunts and uncles paid attention. He is a natural born story teller, and to be honest, my whole family is. I learned so many things in that one weekend that I never knew. It wasn’t because I had forgotten them, which was shocking. I laughed so much hearing about parties they had while they were young. I was saddened learning about those that have passed not only recently, due to Covid-19 but in the past.

It wasn’t just the stories they told, but how they told them. The pitch in the voice when something funny was supposed to land. The sighs that broke through sentences that showed how deeply they still hurt or the senselessness for the loss. The excitement they had sharing something that was unbelievable.

I think that is a lot of what my dad is missing now. With everyone working and him being stuck at home because he might get lost or have a seizure or something, he doesn’t have someone to talk to or do things with. I try to go over when I can but I forgot how much time you surrender to rehearsals and research for shows.

The other thing I noticed was how similar the communication dynamics are at my immediate family functions as well as extended. Did my siblings and I learn this from our parents and their siblings?

In my current project, A Nice family Christmas by Phil Olson, this family unit is all about avoiding emotions, and their communication skills are pretty terrible. Is it a learned thing handed down from parents to children? I don’t think it is just about them wanting to avoid issues, but the complexities of life and time that prevents them from communicating and bonding more.

My character is the oldest and favorite son, a doctor, self sabotages, loves his mother but keeps her at an arm’s length so she doesn’t see his faults, has an addictive personality, 5 months sober after 2 stints in rehab, prone to emotional outbursts, in the middle of a separation and may or may not have OCD.

He’s has a lot going on, AND this is a comedy, so finding out how to bring all of that together has been challenging! It is a great challenge but I am struggling to find that perfect balance of being able to be funny while maintaining all of those other layers bubbling under just enough to show through. So, as you can imagine, writing this all out had to sit on the back burner for a hot week or six. 😳😳

So, My Lovely Reader, I look back on that family visit and try to recall all that my dad was working through. Joy, camaraderie, excitement, sadness, forgetfulness, hope, love, avoidance, and anger. He went through so many feelings but it always came back to that happiness and contentment.

Our opening night is the Friday after Thanksgiving! I just hope I found the right formula for this character by then. He is the most complicated character whose story I have the privilege of sharing. I don’t want to look back at him and say, “sorry buddy, you were not as fully realized as I wanted to make you.” That would make me really stop and question my skills as a storyteller…😔I would wonder if it was just because this was the first show back after so long. Or could it be that there were issues of my own that I haven’t resolved yet, so it is preventing me from accessing those feelings out of self preservation.

But to dwell on that now may only solidify the future and bring that to fruition. So I banish those thoughts and say bring me my challenge!

Until the next time, Kind Reader, stay safe and alert. Treat your self and other with kindness… AND WISH ME LUCK!!! 😂😂😂

🎼 Get It Cracking If You Like, Must Be A Full Moon, Feel Like One Of Those Nights…🎶

It kind of looks like a backdrop with a large spotlight shining thought the fabric. She so pretty!😊

Hello Gentle Reader!😃

Last night, there was a big beautiful full moon!🌕 (Does that ⬅️ look like a ball of cheese to anyone else?) I have always had a bond with her. I don’t know why. I always greet her with a “Hello, Bright Lady” when I see her in the skies.

Sunday night, I had the hardest time getting to sleep. I don’t know if it was subconscious energy that kept me awake for all but three hours of the night but when I got out of bed this morning, I wasn’t tired. I am not saying that there is any thing to tie the two together, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wondered if there were.

To me, a full moon is a perfect time for reflecting. I think of it like the moon is a big spotlight in the night sky asking you to share your thoughts about what’s happened since the last time you were in that light. The moon isn’t going to tell anyone. Your secrets and plans that you are too afraid to tell people are safe with her. In sharing those parts of yourself you may not feel comfortable sharing with people, you kind of let go of that energy that was bottled up. This is a great thing! Think of that energy as a sparkling water. Over time, all those bubbles eventually leave even if the can or bottle was never opened. The drink was never tasted and enjoyed. Now, my Dear Reader, think of the enjoyment that happens when you get to take that drink. Maybe even finish it. And who knows, perhaps restock with another?

I did a sort of meditation today for no reason whatsoever with all of this in mind. I really do think it was spurred on by the lack of sleep, because I don’t really meditate, although I always say I should. 😂 As I laid in my bed waiting for sleep, I began to read a book called Milagros by Helen Thompson. One of the big take aways she has written about so far (since I haven’t finished reading it) was that when something is bothering you pay attention to that thing. Then it talked about charms, but that is a little more involved and it tied those things together… Anyway, I am getting off the topic…

When you have a headache, you try to figure out why. Stress, dehydration, hunger, iron deficiency, caffeine addiction… you go through the check list to see why your head is bothering you. If these aren’t the culprits, you keep digging. This is like a total DUH! moment, right? Well, I decided why not try and go through the same process with insomnia? Where did this energy come from when not an hour earlier I was falling asleep on the couch? I wasn’t stressed. I definitely wasn’t dehydrated. I wasn’t uncomfortable with the room temperature or the bed. I didn’t have anything on my mind. Or so I thought.

My Sweet Reader, I had looked up when the full moon was going to be at it’s maximum just before I went to sleep. I don’t know why. I get these random urges and energy spurts occasionally and just have to go with the flow. If I don’t, I become cranky. Like I am fighting a prime objective or something. I got in bed and turned to my routine of looking up YouTube ASMR videos to mellow out my brain. As I watched, I began to fall asleep. Once I took off the headphones and prepared to fall into dreamland, I couldn’t keep my eyes closed. I noticed that my heart rate had quickened slightly, so I tried to adjust my breathing to get it back to normal. It seemed to have worked, but by that time, my body felt like it was awake. So I laid there for hours waiting.

After what felt like forever, I had began to read, got up and walked around the apartment, tried to knit and scrolled through social media (which I know is a bad thing because of the blue light in the screen) I decided that I was going to place my stones to get charged by the light of the full moon. I began to think about the moon and watched the moonlight on my floor under the window. Somehow, watching the slow movement of the light finally got me back to feeling like I would be able to rest. I thanked the moon for her help and finally began to fade away.

Don’t know why I have this fascination with her.

Today, I wrote out a promise to myself with the moon watching overhead what I wanted to do during this next moon cycle and once I finished it, I felt a very real shift in my energy. I am much calmer. MUCH calmer. I have more focus. I was able to complete another project that I kept procrastinating with. I began my character development on the next show I am going to be working on. I can’t say that writing the promise and the energy shift are linked, but again, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wonder…

I mean, we all know that the moon affects the tides and the ocean and since our bodies are mostly water, it makes sense to consider that the all mighty moon just may be that influence that helps you to reach out to those stars in the sky.

What a nice thought to ponder as I lay my head down for the night.

🎼All The Things I Would Do If I Had A Little Money, It’s A Rich Man’s World…🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!!

The timing of this is quite interesting given that Abba recently announced a new album and tour. LOL! Oh, and they released 2 of the songs. I really like one of them

I had logged onto our Teams link early and had my camera and mic off when I got a notification from a friend that this release had happened. Since I was waiting for others to sign on, I was sure that I could read up on this more. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there was already videos on Youtube for them. So of course, I watch them.

As I listened to “Don’t Shut Me Down”, I happened to have caught my reflection in the empty black part of the screen and it really struck a cord with me.

“I believe it would be fair to say
You look bewildered
And you wonder why I’m here today
And so you should, I would
When I left I felt I’d had enough
But in the shape and form I appear now
I have learned to cope
And love and hope is why I am here now

And now you see another me, I’ve been reloaded, yeah
I’m fired up, don’t shut me down
I’m like a dream within a dream that’s been decoded”

I don’t know why my brain always seems to make things seem like small magical moments. I mean what are the odds that this just happened to be what I heard when I saw myself. And I was actually happy with the position I am in. I can be hyper self-critical and sometimes landing this job still feels like it isn’t real. OR more appropriately, that I don’t deserve it. I recalled a report that I read somewhere a few years ago that was in regards to low income families and finances.

Dear Reader, it said that children who grew up in a low income household where money was always an invisible stressor (never spoken about but acknowledged) can get imprinted with the idea that this was supposed to be the norm. Some that don’t, find that there is a subconscious fear of surpassing the income level that your parents had because you won’t know how to “handle” it. It was this fear that potentially leads not only to self sabotage but could lead to fear of success.

I spent the last few days trying to find the report, but I can’t find anything like it. And I know I am not smart enough to dream up something like this, so I can only say “I solemnly swear that I did read this!”

I have always dreamed of having a job that will afford me the opportunity to travel without having to basically cut out all expenses… well literally EVERYTHING… just to get to my destination. Now, I can!

It was always a fight to keep my head above water because of the need to work on my theatrical endeavors, (Yes, I said need. NEEEEED! There is a home-ness I feel that I do not get anywhere else regardless of the self doubt and imposter syndrome that creeps in.)pay my obligations, and still have a roof over my head in the Bay Area, which is expensive AF! And I never minded the fight. I enjoyed my survival job because of my coworkers and I love the area because it is usually gorgeous outside. At least, when the whole state isn’t on fire… Then, of course, there is my hilarious family and beautiful friends. I’d also like to take a hot second to point mention this new work feels right. Feels like I can grow in the corporate world and the creative since I will be able to use both together.

For the last three decades, my acting teachers and mentors would say that traveling is such a great way to learn about people and find more of yourself by exploring the outside world to bring more to your inner world. That’s been one of my quiet wishes to do so I finally started to dare to look at places to travel.

I can’t wait until I get that first stamp in my passport! But first, I need to find somewhere to go. Choices! As this little world that is now globally connected through technology continues to shrink, I look forward to expanding my experience in it.

Thank you, Kind Reader, for connecting with me in this digital world! Maybe one day we’ll meet, if I don’t already know you. And for those that I do know, I will be cheering you on from the wings!

What was the first stamp in your passport? Are you like me and stampless? Then, let me ask, what do you want it be? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for your time. I adore you for it.

Be safe and alert whilst taking care and remember to share kindness.

🎼 …Then You Shoulda Put A Ring On It🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!!!

It’s been a long time.  

I know in the last post (from a million years ago) I had mentioned that I started a new job. While it is a pretty stale excuse… YES that is my excuse for not getting back to the postings and what nots. But I am loving it. There is a TON of trainings that I have to do, seemingly nonstop, but it is a really fascinating.

In that same post, I had mentioned that I was triggered by something in the In The Heights movie and that it was a planned upcoming post. Well, guess what? That post is finally here. LOL! 

Now I know, my Dear Reader, you are most likely thinking, “like your last post, that movie is long gone” to which I would begrudgingly concur.  Firstly, can I just say how bummed I am that it did not do as well in the box office as I had hoped? Even with its flaws, it was still a celebration of an under represented culture on the big screen. But, I digress. 

Yes, ITH has been out of the cinemas for at least 6 weeks, but what has reignited the issue was the newest Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

While I am not Chinese and have no Chinese heritage in my ancestral tree, the same thing popped up as I sat in the auditorium watching this REALLY great movie. (Before I go further, YES!!!! YOU SHOULD GO SEE THIS FILM!) 

Anyway, the thing that both films made me aware that I was craving deep down in my marrow was this sense of belonging to something older; something wiser.  I can only call it culture or traditions, but personally, I feel it is something much deeper.  It is those old philosophies and histories that formed these groups of people that share this deep connection. It is deeper than simply knowing your nationality.  Disclaimer:  before you drag me for this, I KNOW IT IS A MARVEL MOVIE, so the cultural references may be inaccurate as all get out. LOL!

I think back to that impactful interaction I had with the middle eastern lady in my store in the Before Times. She spoke of her culture and the need for human interaction with inviting strangers into her home for coffee. 

(It must be nice to live in a place where people are that rational that you know this stranger isn’t going to bring harm to your person. I cannot fathom the idea in this country.) 

I think that woke up the idea in my subconscious because I take note of it more often than I used to.  In a previous survival job, an old coworker would always ask me where I thought this or that person was from when they walked by our office.  My response was always the same.  Why is that important to you? Isn’t it more important if they are a kind/good person? I think it was something in her culture that made her want to connect on a deeper level, and it doesn’t get much more deep than diving into your ancestry. She tried to talk to me about it, but I only had a superficial connection to not only my heritage but also my family. 

Growing up, I was told a lot of things that were contrary to who I knew I was inside. Even as a kid, I knew exactly who I was, most gay kids do.  I wasn’t macho or tough in the way the typical Latino male was “supposed” to be. I didn’t have role models to show me there was another way.  I’d like to believe that my family thought they were helping to toughen me up when they would put boxing gloves on us kids and have us fight each other.  However, I know that it was just for cruel amusement. The religion that my family was supposed to have marked people like me an abomination (talk about dramatic).   So I severed that cord. What was the point of holding on to something that didn’t value people like me? 

I have often voiced regrets about not taking pictures of or with dear friends during events or parties. This is very true. I don’t know how I feel about not having pictures of over half of my family. Half I don’t even know who they are, like names, ages or how we are related. The memories I do have are dark for a lot of them, like the forced boxing. 

The last time I saw my Nina aka Godmother (to me that is her name not the religious title) she pulled me aside and said I’m sorry for not treating you the right way. I was completely surprised by this and caught off guard that I nonchalantly told her it was okay. No worries.  I’m a such a dummy LOL! While I appreciated it, truly, I would loved to have had a really in depth conversation about it. I now I was a bit of a brat.

I have been wondering, if I had been more open than they were, would I have that connection that I am currently in search of. It is one thing to know where you came from, but as I watched those movies and hearing the tiny tidbits of philosophies or historical events, it seems like it is another thing to be a part of them. 

Now, Kind Reader, since this is supposed to be a theatre blog, I have to do the tie in! LOL!

This brings up a new journey for me. More like a new way of thinking about my character choices and how I build characters. Instead of merely going by the events of the script that motivate me or the ideas of what I think the rest of that character’s life up until the point of the play has been, I have this new factor that I can play with.  How did the events of his culture shape him? Was it a positive or negative impact? I am really looking forward to layering this new texture onto upcoming characters I play. 

Wait! I can hear it already. “As an actor, that is what you are supposed to do anyway!” Yes, this is true. However, every character I have played was always a kind of “every man” kind of character. There were layers to the characters, but because I, me myself, had no real connection to a heritage, it wasn’t one of the layers that was applied.

I am glad that there is so much to learn about what it is to be human. The complexities are so vast and it is what keeps my love of acting so strong.  

Thank you, Gentle Reader for taking the time to help me heal a little bit of my soul that I didn’t know needed it. 

So, let me ask you… Where are you from? What is one thing that you love about your culture? Let me know in the comments.  I have started to read up on history and looking into folklore but like literally an hour before I began writing this, so don’t quiz me yet. LOL!

Thank you again, and I look forward to learning more about you all. 

Stay safe and alert and share the kindness in your heart. 

🎼Just Let Go, Let It Flow, Let It Flow, Let It Flow, Just Let It Go…🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!!

Wow! June and half of July flew by and I didn’t realize how intense it would be. Between the last post and now, I got offered an incredible new job, had a family vacation for the first time EVER, and had a birthday. Then I saw In The Heights three times. 😂. That gave me all sorts of feels and things to think about that I froze up from writing because it was a lot of personal things that I realized I wasn’t dealing with or hadn’t admit that I haven’t dealt with.

But this particular post is a review of the Celadon published book, Love People Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works. I love books that talk about creativity, like where it comes from and such.

What intrigued me was that this was a book about “minimalizism” not creativity. However, it did have a chapter on how it can influence creativity and it did not disappoint.

This book immediately drew me in. For something that seems like such a dry topic, the book is filled with not only useful information, but shared the emotional and psychological attachments that come with letting go of things that clutter up not only your home but your mind. It even talks about the not so obvious clutter distractions, like technology. There were so many nuggets of gold that I mined from these pages.

The minimizing of the clutter itself is obviously a big part of the book but the other chapters speak to the different aspects that get freed up if we were to remove all of those distractions, like our relationships with others, our perception of what we value, money, and facing our personal truths (no matter how hard it can be.) The experience is never quite the same for people because we are “… three dimensional beings living in a world of two dimensional expectations.”

What I loved about the book was that it challenged my idea of what creativity was. To me, creativity is the making of something new out of something that already exists or out of nothing at all. They propose that creativity is the asking and answering of questions presented by a problem or concern that needs to be addressed. Up until this point, I would have only considered that problem solving. But, what do you need to solve problems? Ideas!

It also made me rethink about the types/amount of work I do. I tend to try and do a little bit of everything and make little progress on each of them, which makes me discouraged and eventually end up creating things that are way, WAY below the quality that I had hoped they would be. “It is not enough to be busy; so is everyone else. What are you focused on?”* I would take on different work projects in addition to all the theatre stuff I would do and find that I would say ‘I’m too busy’ to friends or family inviting me to do stuff. I love the notion that I can say no to stuff and focus on only what makes me super happy to work on. This would allow for a more healthy work/life balance as well.

While the main reason I was interested this book was the creativity aspect, I took away so much from each of the different sections. Someday, I would LOVE to do the project where you pack up your entire home like you are moving and only unpack the things you need as you need them (including furniture) for a month then donate the rest of the stuff. I don’t think that Perry would let me. 😂

Anyone that feels like they can/want simplify their lives more will definitely find this book useful. I hesitate to say to go minimalist because that isn’t quite necessary. But hey if you want to give it a shot, by all means… I know I will still have a lot of things as I get rid of stuff but I am prepared to toss or donate a lot of things that I was keeping because I thought I could repurpose them. To jump back to that busy versus focus point the book made, I know I won’t be doing any repurposing anytime soon, so I can focus on doing other projects. So all that repurpose stuff is just clutter. Thanks to the authors, collectively known as “The Minimalists”, I am looking forward to this project and all the great things that will be a by product of it.

Have you ever wanted to declutter your home? Or have you decluttered already? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below! Give the projects in this book a try! Once I get to actually do the projects, I will definitely post about the whole process.

Big thank you’s to Celadon Books for sending me this book!

*Millburn & Nicodemus. p. 228