Thursday, November 10, 2011

I have a lot to say...

...about this week's headlines. Well, one headline, actually. You see, I went to Penn State. So yeah, I'm talking about the Sandusky crimes. Which brings me to my first beef. I'm fed up with hearing or reading media outlets refer to the "Penn State Sex Scandal". To me, it makes it sound like some scurrilous, sensational, titillating, juicy story. It couldn't be farther from that. It's a story about the sickening, horrific, monstrous rape and abuse OF CHILDREN!! If you must put "Sex" and "Scandal" in the headline, please at least have the decency to also include the word "abuse".

My feelings have evolved over the course of the week. When I first heard about it, I was mainly confused...details were coming out in bits and pieces and I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I suppose that was largely denial on my part. Sandusky got a lot of credit for the Nittany Lions success during my years at PSU - he was almost as big a deal as Joe Paterno, himself. So to hear of his crimes was really difficult.

 Of course, everyone knows how beloved Joe Paterno is. That's true across college football, but at Penn State, it goes above and beyond. He's widely admired for taking the high moral ground on many issues: making sure his players focus on academics and graduate, not putting their names on the backs of their jerseys because football is about the whole team (not glorifying individuals), he eschewed the helmet stickers many college teams use for the same reason, and he is a big philanthropist. If anyone could be expected to protect children on his turf, it would be him. So, at first, I assumed JoePa was not aware of Sandusky's crimes. Then, I heard he had been told when a grad student saw Sandusky raping a 10-year-old in the football facility showers, but I also heard that the details had not been spelled out for him. So, I was able to rationalize that he didn't understand the seriousness of the situation. Plus, he did report it to his superiors, right? So, he didn't just let it go...

 Except he did. So did at least four other people. That grad student? Why didn't he scream at what he saw? I'm not even talking about heroics here - what about a natural, involuntary response to the horror being played out in front of him? Why didn't he go to the police instead of Paterno? Why didn't Paterno go straight to the police instead of the Athletic Director? Or, barring that - why didn't he follow up when nothing happened? Even the sketchy details he was given were indications that a crime had been committed. Why didn't the Athletic Director go to the police instead of just taking away Sandusky's keys to the locker room? As far as I can tell, the only person who ever reported any of the crimes was the mother of one of the boys - and she got blown off. The district attorney didn't file charges. Why?

 Nobody was looking out for these boys. Somehow, Sandusky knew nobody would be.

 And now they're being victimized all over again. Much more attention is being paid to JoePa's dismissal than their plight. Riots? Really? I get that JoePa is beloved and that he's done a lot of good for a lot of people (both on and off the football field), but he also screwed up in this case, and it's a BIG DEAL. Should it wipe out all of the good he's done? No, but I can understand the Board of Trustees decision to let him go. And to his credit, he's not arguing or making excuses. Even HE knows he made a huge mistake. So, why are so many people defending him? I honestly don't know. Maybe they're black and white types, who can't accept the fact that a person can be good and still do bad things, make bad decisions. Maybe defending him keeps them from facing the terrible nature of Sandusky's crimes. I wish I understood. My heart breaks for those boys and I'm enraged at Sandusky and everyone else who let this happen to them. I wish I could go back in time and somehow stop it. But I'm powerless in my anger and frustrated with people who want to make excuses instead of sharing my outrage.

 There, I feel better. Not a lot, but better...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Random, scattershot update

Hi there! It's been a while, eh? (<-No, I'm not Canadian but I grew up in Erie, PA - which is pretty darn close.) So, since there's so much that's happened since blogged last, I thought I'd give the Reader's Digest version.

Back in June/early July, we went on a SCUBA trip to Saba, N.A. Wow, was that place beautiful. Some of the best diving I've experienced yet, and a tiny, unspoiled island from which to enjoy it. The residents are friendlier than any I've ever come across, as well. Maybe because the main activities are hiking and diving - so the tourist influx isn't overwhelming enough to annoy them. Regardless, fabulous trip. The kids stayed with Grandma and Grandpa - they also had a great time being spoiled by their grandparents and playing with their cousins. So it was a winning week all around.

At the end of the summer, we took another trip, this time all four of us. Hubby went on a business trip to London back in May and the pictures he sent back enthralled the kids so much, they wanted to go, too. They've become big Doctor Who fans over the past year, so they really wanted to go to The Doctor Who Experience. But it closes in November. So we needed to find a time to go before then. Rather than jump through the hoops of getting approval from the school to take them out for more than two days, we just put the trip at the end of their summer vacation. Spent the first couple of days staying with friends in Derby (which is pronounced Darby, and is a couple hours north of London). Then a few days in Cheddar - exploring the countryside, visiting castles, hiking Cheddar Gorge, visiting my ancestral hometown and on our way from the country to London - STONEHENGE! Coolness everywhere; it was amazing. Then we continued on to London, where we hung out with friends, saw a show (The 39 Steps - hilarious!), enjoyed London's gorgeous parks, historical sites, museums, restaurants and one big shopping trip to Harrod's. Took the tube just about everywhere - which was one of the kids' favorite parts. Oh, and of course, our trip to The Doctor Who Experience - which was lots of fun.

Then the school year began. Both kids are in elementary school now - in school all day, taking the bus together, the whole shebang. And while you'd think with all of the extra solo time, I'd be all productive and'd be wrong. *sigh* Oh well...

Still doing the QVC gig. My weekly Tuesday morning Denim & Co. slot is ongoing - but I've also got some other work recently, which is great! Recently, I've been modeling for Stan Herman. He primarily does pajamas and loungewear. This stuff is outrageously comfortable! Also, I did a couple of stints for a brand called Women With Control - which is basically clothing with the shapewear built in. Pretty neat idea, huh? I think I may have to do some of my Christmas Shopping with QVC. After all, I have them to thank for having my own spending money - not to mention getting out of the house and being an actual grown-up with social interactions and everything. How cool is that?

So, there you're pretty much up to date now. What should I blog about next time?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I have a job!

Hey all!

First off, allow me to apologize (again) for neglecting this space for so long. I'm not so good with the regular posting, yeah? I do what I can. Hopefully, when I do manage to get something up here, you find it interesting.

Anyway, one of the reasons I've been too busy to post is that I have a weekly, paying gig now! Yay me, right? Now, before you get all excited, I must admit that this windfall is only one hour (sometimes two) per week. You see, I've landed myself a gig as a petite model on QVC - the Tuesday morning Denim & Co. show, to be precise.

This is all a bit surreal to me. I did a little bit of modeling when I was much, 25 years ago. That never quite went anywhere, so finding myself in a position where I'm actually getting paid to look nice after so many years (and at least ten pounds heavier, to boot) is a bit of a shock.

I got myself a new agency last year, just before my knee surgery. I'm now represented by Expressions Model and Talent agency - and while I went there to get representation for my acting, I ended up getting work for modeling, instead. You see, they're one of a handful of agencies who provide talent for the lovely folks at "the Q", and to my surprise, their model agent started sending me to go-sees (the model's equivalent of an audition) fairly regularly. They started out being for skin care products, mostly. Every time I showed up, there would be 20-30 other women there for the same gig - and most of them seemed to have modeling as their primary goal, so I'm guessing they had a lot more experience than I did. So I wasn't thinking much of my chances at getting the work. But then, I got called for a go-see to be a petite clothing model. And this time when I showed up, I was one of four. That's right, my odds had just improved at least five-fold! Since I already told you I got the gig, I guess I kind of spoiled the punch-line on that one, huh?

Ah well...anyway, I've been doing the Denim & Co. show every Tuesday morning since the beginning of March and am really enjoying it. Everybody is so nice, from the other models to the stylists, the crew and host extraordinaire, Carolyn Gracie. I'm still new at QVC and hadn't really been a TV shopper beforehand, but I'm told Carolyn is one of their most popular hosts. She's so relaxed and friendly on-air, I can see why. It's also fun to see how the whole thing works. I've been in studios before, but mostly news or talk shows, and even that was quite a while ago. I'm amazed by how little hands-on work is being done in there. With the exception of the one on a boom, all of the cameras are remote-controlled. And my theater lighting friends would just go nuts looking up at the ceiling. There are so many instruments, of many different shapes and sizes, but most of them smaller and all of them certainly newer than the stuff our community theater works with.

And I've been impressed with the clothes, too. Many of the pieces in the line are different from my own personal style, but there's no denying their quality. Everything is very comfortable - many of the fabrics are so soft I could easily sleep in them. And you can just tell when you put them on that they're made well. Plus, I'm helping to show the other short girls out there how the stuff fits on one of our stature. So, that's my latest adventure - I'm getting paid to "play dress-up" on TV. How fun is that?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hey! I thought of that!

So, every once in a while, I think I have a new idea and then - lo and behold, it's already out there.

For example, I invented...ahem, women's sanitary products with "wings" before they were out on the market. At least, I did in my head. Seemed so obvious to me, so why did it take the marketplace so long to come up with them? I mean, I thought of it when I was still in high school for crying out loud. You're telling me the sanitary engineers of the world couldn't come up with an idea that a 16-year-old thought of before, what? The late 80s-early 90s?

I also thought of goggles for dogs to wear so they can stick their heads out of car windows without their owners worrying about them losing an eye to flying debris. I even had a great name for them...Doggles. Turns out, they exist - name and all.

Today I found another one. See, I've been suffering with plantar fasciitis for about four months now. If you are unfamiliar with the condition, it's heel pain - worse first thing in the morning and common to runners. Guess what I had just started doing again after my knee surgery when the pain in my heel started? You got it - running.

This happened to me once before, about ten years ago. Seems that when my orthotics wear out, my main indicator is this ailment. So, I went to a podiatrist, got cortisone shots (ouch), new orthotics and a set of exercises/stretches to do at home. Plus, I have been wearing this brace at night, that I still have from my first bout with PF. It's like half a boot that goes down the back of the calf and along the bottom of the foot, and holds the foot in a flexed position, so that the ligament doesn't heal in a shortened position while sleeping. But this brace I have is problematic - it has these big soft straps that go across the front of my foot, shin and ankle to hold everything in place. But if I pull the straps tight enough to disallow movement, they're uncomfortable. If I wear them comfortably, my foot has some wiggle room - so when I'm asleep, I'm not really getting as much stretch as I could otherwise.

I was thinking that a better approach would be to somehow tether the foot in a flexed position from the front, rather than bracing it from behind. Today, I was annoyed enough with my lack of progress on the healing front that I started doing some research and low and behold, I found these: and,price,target_com_primary_color-bin,target_com_size-bin,target_com_brand-bin&searchRank=salesrank&frombrowse=1

The sock thing is more like what I was imagining, but the Futuro thing seems like it would be more comfy, too.

Now I just have to get one...

So, what's up with you lately? Any thoughts on what I should write about next?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's for dinner?

So, I like to cook. I'm pretty good, but still learning. Sometimes, I have a big hit on my hands - like last week when I made sausage gravy over biscuits for dinner. Other times, the kids both turn up their noses...I tend to forget those meals, since I don't repeat them. Tonight I had a hit-or-miss. I got some brussels sprouts on the stalk in my last CSA box of the season and roasted them tonight to go with the panini sandwiches I made for dinner. N loved them, A couldn't stand them. I thought they were pretty tasty - and really easy, too. I just tossed them in olive oil, salt, pepper and grated garlic, then roasted them in a hot oven for 30 minutes. Salty and just slightly bitter on the outside, with an earthy sweetness on the inside.

The night before, I had a hit with chicken and broccoli burritos. That was just chicken that I ground up in the food processor, sauteed up with a whole mess of broccoli (also processed to within an inch of its existence), then threw in some black beans, salsa, smoked cheese and rice. Fill a tortilla with the stuff and voila, an easy, healthy and fun meal.

Tomorrow, I've got burgers on tap. I plan to serve them with slaw made from red cabbage. I'm not generally a fan of cole slaw - but that's because most slaw dressings are too sweet for me. If I'm making it myself, that shouldn't be an issue. I found a recipe online with an Asian-inspired dressing - so I'm thinking of trying that.

What are you cooking this week?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apparently, I live in a red state now

And I have to tell you, I'm not so happy about it.

I admit it, I'm a Democrat...a REALLY liberal Democrat. Seriously, if they had any political traction whatsoever, I'd probably be Green. But since I don't relish throwing my vote away, Dem I am.

I don't get why so many people think of being liberal as a bad thing. The Merriam-Webster definitions of liberal are:

1 a : of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts (liberal education)
b archaic : of or befitting a man of free birth
2 a : marked by generosity : openhanded (a liberal giver)
b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way (a liberal meal0
c : ample, full
3 obsolete : lacking moral restraint : licentious
4 : not literal or strict : loose (a liberal translation)
5 : broad-minded; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms
6 a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism
b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives

The only one of those definitions that I don't associate with myself is considered obsolete. I happen to think being called generous and broad-minded is a good thing. I like the idea of government as a pooling of resources to make everyone's life better.
People complain about taxes (and associate those taxes with Democrats, even though both parties apply them), but the fact is, they allow society to do things that individuals can't. After all, while my family is comfortable, we certainly don't have the means to build roads, fight crime and put out fires. I know some people home school, and more power to them, but I have neither the skill nor the patience - so I'm glad some of my tax dollars go to educating my children and the children in the community.

I believe that when someone's down and out, the answer isn't to kick them to the curb, but try to help them lift themselves up. Do some people take advantage of that social safety net? Of course, and I think that's wrong. But I wouldn't do away with the system that helps so many just to punish the few who take advantage. I hate the fact that it seems like conservatives look at welfare as theft. But I digress...

The thing I find so frustrating about yesterday's election is that it seems that the Republicans gained seats because people are frustrated with President Obama. Why? The economy isn't recovering fast enough. Actually, it seems as if he's being blamed for the economy going bad in the first place, which really baffles me. The housing crisis crash happened during George W. Bush's presidency. The TARP bill (that bailout people associate with the Dems?) was signed into law by President Bush.

And I knew this would happen. I knew that when President Obama was elected, people were expecting too much of him. Intelligent, talented and charismatic as he is, he's still just one guy. Granted, the most powerful individual on the planet, but our government structure has checks and balances for a reason. Much as he might like to - the President doesn't get to govern solo. Look at how long it took the health care bill to pass.

As for the health care bill - I can't tell you how many times I've heard that while it's statistically unpopular as a whole, people generally approve of all of the individual provisions. Which means, they don't like the idea of a health care bill, because the Republicans have framed it as a government takeover. But the bits and pieces are all things that people can support.

Why are the Republicans so good at making Democrats look bad? The cynic in me says it's because they have no compunctions about playing dirty and taking advantage of people's weaknesses. And then when the Democrats try to correct the misconceptions, they sound like whiners.

I'm almost disgusted enough to run for something myself...almost.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Well, hello there!

Um...hi...sorry to have been neglecting you.

I have no good excuse. I've been busy, sure, but that's pretty much status quo.

Do you forgive me? Pretty please?

Okay, so now that I've crawled back onto this blog, what shall I write about?

How about my latest acting venture? Sound good? All-righty then!

I had the great privilege to play the role of Catherine in The Foreigner. A fun role in a hilarious comedy! But the best part is I got to be part of the centennial season of my home theater, The Players Club of Swarthmore! Actually, to call it my home theater implies that I work at others, which I don't. But that's because PCS is a convenient 5 minutes from my house and is one of the most well-respected community theaters in the region - so I don't have cause to wander.

Anyway...the premise of The Foreigner is that this guy, Charlie, is depressed, so his friend takes him to a backwoods fishing lodge to get away for a few days. But he's also painfully shy and doesn't want to talk to anyone - so his friend tells the innkeeper that Charlie doesn't speak English. The comedy comes from him understanding everything everyone is saying, when they think he can't.

As always when I work at PCS, it was a great bunch of people. All super talented and fun to work with. I get to flex my creative muscles and make new friends at the same time - what could be better?

And the role of Catherine was especially fun because, well...she's a bitch. Most actors will tell you that it's more fun to play bad than good. Well, to call Catherine bad is not quite accurate - she's basically someone who hasn't found her place in the world and takes it out on everyone around her. Still, as much fun as it is to yell and stomp and pout, I had a hard time doing it. I kept getting direction to be meaner. I felt like I was really pushing it, but I guess my idea of nasty doesn't come across on stage. Thankfully, the Director and AD didn't give up on me and I finally got Catherine where she needed to be. Even got a decent review! So, that was tons of fun.

Now I have to read scripts to try to find a show I'd like to direct next year. Any suggestions?