well, that didn't last long.


Just in time for the holidays. Join me, FRIEND, as I write about my old family, my new one, my estranged one, my in-law one, and all the other ones too.


You know what? We're good here.

You could say quitter or you could say overachiever. I'm ending this blog 6 weeks early because it told me what I wanted to know when I started it in the first place.
Success is not always the same thing as happiness.

Happiness is always success.

Everything else is just worrying about what people will think of you. And you could always use more money.
Sure, it's oversimplifying, and sure I still have a lot of questions left over. How genuine is that happiness, for example, and how do you master the art of not caring what other people think (hint: don't check your blog's SiteMeter obsessively).

Last night I hung out with my friend, who is the happiest she's ever been now that she's a stay-at-home mom and waitress. Far happier than when she was doing back to back productions at Steppenwolf and world premiere musicals. She's dreading her college reunion and explaining to people why she's chosen this life instead of the other.

I say courage and following her heart. Here's to it.

I'll start up a new blogspot soon enough. If you have any ideas for future themes, lemme know. And really really and truly truly, thanks for reading.


that's fine, Baby, I'll - I can take the corner.

TV and film work doesn't come to Chicago that often. When it does, the larger roles are often pre-cast, so we get the scraps. That's okay with me.

Today, for my audition for a project with Patrick Swayze, my total lines are:
"You look stressed."
"You're not, are you?"*
*note - these are separate scenes.

I hope they're impressed that I'm already memorized.


progress report

Back in May I wrote about almost kicking a kid out of our afterschool program.

My whinging from that post:
The point of the program is that it's a supportive place for kids who probably don't have many supportive places. A positive place, a place where every idea is a good idea and you can express yourself any way. Kicking someone out is practically an anathema to the entire mission statement.
I'm not teaching the afterschool program this year. Different structure, different teachers (read: stronger teachers than me).

But she's back. That student. I talked to one of my friends who is teaching her this year.

Friend: So you had her last year?

Me: Yeah. I spent a lot of time with her and went to bat for her a lot. Honestly, I'm surprised we let her back into the program.

Friend: Was she hitting people last year?

Me: ... no.
My friend later said, "I don't have the tools to make her better," and if WE, Barrel of Monkeys don't have those tools, if SHE, badass teacher, doesn't have those tools, I don't know who does.

It makes me blue.

On the upside. First day teaching another residency today. You know what's awesome? Fourth graders. They are awesome.
Kid: Hey.

Me: Hey.

Kid: You country?

Me: Um, a little bit?


I didn't find a way to work Jane Austen into the post but she's entirely relevant here.

  • 1987 Demon Rumm
  • 1988 Slow Heat in Heaven
  • 1988 Tidings of Great Joy
  • 1988 Hawk O'Toole's Hostage
  • 1989 Best Kept Secrets
  • 1989 Long Time Coming
  • 1989 Temperatures Rising

A short selection of novels by New York Times Bestselling Author Sandra Brown.

Sandra Brown, in case you haven't seen her billboards, is one of those mass market authors whose name is always in a font eight times larger than the title of the book. A very commercially successful author - no easy feat.

Does Sandra Brown, anywhere in her heart, give a shit that, as far as the literary world is concerned, she writes nothing but dreck? Does she meet Ann Patchett and Audrey Niffenger at publishing functions and wonder if they're secretly making fun of her? Does she sink into periods where she loathes every book she wrote with "silk" or "whispers" somewhere in the title?

Or does she just cash her checks, pose for the publicity shots, pour a martini and flip off the New York Times Book Review?

My voice-over career is going pretty well. Not full-time income level JUST yet, but it's growing. I feel proud and optimistic. Stage career, not so much.

Am I going to end up a Sandra Brown of Chicago Actors? Would I be okay with that, if I did?


all you have to do to win is say you won

Thank you, David Rees (Get Your War On, My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, and much more), for providing the bridge between my narcissistic blog of ambition and world politics.

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.


a nice kind of success

I'm taking this moment to continue avoiding the impossible task of pause while making this week's picks for the football pool (New England at San Francisco? Redskins at Philly? I DO NOT KNOW! HARRRD!) to holla at my girl Larissa.

A few months ago I wrote about how my friend Tutaj, after losing an award to a puppet, posited that a good mark of success is earning the respect of people whose work you admire.

Well. One of Larissa's favorite/formative/influential authors, Kelly Link, found a YouTubey music video Larissa made, posted it on HER blog, and loved it for all the world to see.

Larissa. That's boss.

You know what else is boss? The music video. Um, especially at 3:21.
Now somebody tell me if I'm right in picking Jacksonville over Pittsburgh.


brush, floss, gargle

In 20 minutes, my friend Kate is bringing her 2 year old over for me to watch. What on earth am I going to do with this kid. She's going to hate me and cry for 4 hours, then Jamie will come to pick her up and wonder what I've done to his lovely daughter.
Me: (over email) I'm only slightly terrified. Did I mention I've never changed I diaper before?

Kate: Dude, I hear you, I had never held a baby before Delia was born. Seriously.
I've been trying to think of how to prepare for this. My best plan is to brush my teeth, floss, and gargle. The baby will surely hate me less if I have fresh breath.