Sunday, July 30, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
The Interview MemeUp and coming novelist, Kelly Parra, gave this meme to some friends, so I thought I'd join in too. It's called "The Blogger's Interview."
1. When did you first start blogging and why?
I started my first blog (My European Adventure) on Thursday, January 15, 2004. My company sent me to the UK on business for five months. Living as an expat was one of the most exciting things I'd done. Rather than send emails to a ton of people I decided to start a blog. January 15 was the day I left Milwaukee for Altrincham, and even the trip there was so much fun.
When I returned to the states, I changed the blog to "My life's not an adventure, but it keeps me awake. Sometimes." But that's probably not true, because I do keep having adventures.
2. What don't you talk about?
I don't say bad things about people. And not for legal reasons. First, I don't want to hurt people's feelings (well, except for my five brothers). Secondly, if I'm mad at someone I know I'll get over it in a minute and a half, but the words stay forever.
I don't talk about my sex life (or lack of it).
3. Are you and your blogging persona the same person?
Absolutely. In person, my sense of humor is more bawdy, but I don't write that way. Even as a comedian, my humor tends to be clean. I don't think people want to pay to see Grandma saying the f-word. That might be funny once. And then it's just stupid.
I'm a Pollyanna in real life. The glass is always half-full. Except for those occasions when I get homesick.
4. How do you use blogging to build friendships?
Well, back again to the UK, I met Bron through her blog (and email) and she took me under her wing when I lived there. I got to rehearse with her ComedySportz troupe, and even performed with them once at an outdoor event at a pub. We continue to monitor each other's blogs. And see each other once a year when she comes to the states.
There are several people that I "met" through blogging that I consider friends--or at least close acquaintances. And other folks whom I would never have even known about if it weren't for blogs. (Okay, I'm writing this when I'm at work on a Saturday, so can't take time to make my sentences correct, or even sensible. Live with it.)
Gretchen, I met through a comedy forum and we've been pals since I was in the UK. Anne, I met through a writers' forum and we've become friends. Jeff is a sweetie and we met via our blogs (but probably it was anne's blog where we first started talking). Sorry for all the folks I'm leaving out, but these are a few highlights.
Throughout the years, I've met TONS of people f2f that I had first met on the internet--not my blog, but through writing forums et al. So the internet, forums, and blogs have definitely increased my list of friends.
Now my son, daughter-in-law, niece, and brother have blogs. Cool.
5. How would you describe your writing style?
Although I'm a licensed clinical social worker, my full-time job is as an editor and writer. My published work appears in journals, newsletters, and magazines that aren't readily available at bookstores, but are professional in nature. That writing is more clinical, but still a lot "friendlier" than normal research articles. I write very conversationally.
My comedic writing (stand-up and sketch) is silly stuff. I aim to entertain. If people walk away thinking, well that's even better. But my primary purpose is for them to enjoy.
The manuscripts (cozies, if you must know) have been untouched for several months. Since comedy took over my life I haven't made time for mysteries. But I'll get back to them.
The bit of flash fiction I write can be dark, but always has a humorous or heartfelt edge. Guess that's it.
Bron, dear, I'm tagging you. I know you're currently doing a comedy tour of the states, but when you're safely back in Manchester, give this a whirl.
Friday, July 28, 2006
But it felt so good to have part of my family there.
During the night I felt little tiny arms go around me. Kayla was giving me a hug. What a sweetie.
This morning, she got up bright and early and came to my office with me. Hunter was still tired and didn't want to get up. So Kayla and I stopped at Starbucks, where she picked out hot chocolate and a huge M&M cookie for her breakfast. I got a bagel and decaf Americano. Sharon, one of the workers there asked, "What do you call Jeri?" Kayla answered, "Grandma or Grandma Jer." Sharon said, "We call her Americano Jeri." Made me laugh. Jovita and Rhonda both told K how beautiful she was, and she said, "Thank you," very sweetly.
At work we enjoyed our breakfasts and she drew while I worked. This is an unfortunate time to have visitors because conference is keeping us so busy, but Kayla behaved perfectly and I got to show her off a bit.
Then Jill, Todd, and Hunter arrived around 10:30 AM, and Hunter was acting too shy to talk to anyone, but he did manage to flash those dimples. They went off for a day of sightseeing, and trying to keep cool. We'll meet for dinner later.
I'm avoiding talking about last night. I got lots of laughs, but for some reason I didn't feel good about the experience. Probably because I went over. I was told to do four minutes, then they had to change it for all of us to do three minutes, and I ended up doing six. I don't know how it happened! They're supposed to flash a penlight at us when it's time to stop, but I didn't see it. Saw a flicker, but when I looked at it, it appeared to be one of the candles on a table, so I didn't know it was time. What a dork!
Eric, the guy who went with me, did really well and stayed on time too. :) There was a really nice-sized crowd there.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Right now it's storming like crazy. I don't relish driving to Madison in rain so thick I can't see the white line, so am sure hoping the rain slows a bit. Well, I'm not actually driving...Eric Vallee is. Patrick can't perform tonight after all. He has inflamed tonsils. Poor guy.
Just talked to Jill. She, Todd, and the kids were eating somewhere on the way south from Eagle River. I think they were in Waupaca. They'll be with friends in Delafield for dinner, then they'll stay at my house tonight. I'm hoping I'll be able to bring the kids into the office for a little while tomorrow. Don't know what Jill and Todd have planned for the day. I just know they told me not to take the day off, so whatever it is, it doesn't include me.
Tomorrow night I hope the storms will have abated. Would love to take the kids swimming. They leave bright and early Saturday morning, so tomorrow night will be the only chance we have. I'm sure they swam up north with Todd's family, but they love the water so much that I'd love to take them again.
Okay, back to work. I'm looking forward to getting more tasks completed.
Oops, forgot to write this: Dick from CSz contacted me and asked if I was hosting stand-up tomorrow night. I said, "Nope, we hadn't talked about how often we'd be doing this." Well, he does want it weekly, except when we have a sketch group or something else booked at that time. So I'll talk to him more when I get back from conference. Sounds like a fun deal.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
But I've decided that this will be my last complaint post. No more of that stuff. Am going back into Little Mary Sunshine mode. It's where I'm most comfortable.
Last night's Open Improv was fun. Didn't go out afterward, needed some sleep.
Tonight we'll have BroadMinded rehearsal, which always makes me smile.
And tomorrow night am going to Madison with two cute young men. Ah, life is good! We're doing a showcase at Comedy on State. If it goes well, any of us can be brought back as a featured act--not headliner, but the one right before that person. And the big news is that--the pay starts then. Yay.
This picture comes courtesy of Michele (thanks, Michele, for taking pictures). The pic is from the first open mic night at ComedySportz. It was such fun--and now I have a photo to prove I was on stage. :)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Last night was fun. We had Mary Jo, AJ, and Clare as audience members, and Maria was there taking care of props, while Marcy was there to check out the light and sound board. The rehearsal went pretty well, and we got a lot of really good feedback, although some of it was contradictory. So we know we have to think about what was said and then make our decisions based upon what we think will be best for the scene.
Tonight is open improv. I'm going to try to go to it. It's always so much fun.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Don't get me wrong. I love conference. What I don't like is what it does to people. We're crabs. We're tired. We're territorial. We're not nice to each other.
Upsets me. I love how we usually are here.
Rehearsal tonight from 6-8 and then at 8 we'll have a mini-audience to watch us perform. Just to see how it goes. Should be fun. And I'm in the mood for fun.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Went shopping and got my costumes for the sketches. A "duster" for my old lady poem, a man's hat for One Fine Day, a white shirt for The Grade, and a few other things. All I need now is a white wig, and I'll have everything.
When I got home I made dinner and finished the laundry. Also I took all the unneeded software off my old computer so I can give it to my sister. Made sure I deleted all my financial information. :)
So even though the house needs work, I still accomplished a lot today.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
And I think I did a good job as the MC/host. Got a lot of laughs, which of course pleased me.
And before our showcase, the UK team played Milwaukee. It was one of the best matches I've seen all year.
All in all, a wonderful night.
(I know there's something I forgot to write about, but hell, I'm just grateful I remembered my routine.)
Friday, July 21, 2006
Comedy tonight indeed. I'm very excited about the line up we have for our open mic night.
Ben (comic magician)
We're going to have a great time. And that's good, because it was really difficult saying goodbye to Jill, Todd, Kayla, and Hunter this morning.
Luckily I'll see them next Thursday or Friday before they fly back to Los Angeles.
I met them at the airport at 5:30 yesterday and as usual, the sweetest sounds to my ears is the word "Grandma" screamed at ear-splitting levels as two beautiful children run toward me. After picking up their rental car we went out to my place and the kids and I did a quick turnaround to get down to CSz for dinner and the show. Jill and Todd took the opportunity to go out alone for dinner. They ended up at the Water Street Brewery and said they had a nice time.
The kids loved the ComedySportz show and behaved very well. Hunter was thrilled that he "made friends with people on stage." It was so cute. Kayla and Hunter both went on stage after the show was over to jump and run a little while. By the time we got home I thought they would be sleepy but they stayed awake quite a while.
I didn't sleep well on the couch with Kayla, but it was a joy nonetheless. Then at 7:30 AM she and I got up and went swimming even though it was really cold. The water was 85 degrees and felt great. Hunter changed his mind about going.
After everyone took showers we went to a late breakfast and then I went to work. It was hard leaving them, but I know they'll have fun with Todd's family in Eagle River. And I'll see them next weekend. So life is pretty darn good after all.
Tell me to break a leg tonight, okay?
Gee, thanks. I will.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
And I wonder—did I do such a poor job? Or are other people stressed too, and viewing things through different lenses than they normally do? Probably a combination of the above.
So besides preparing for the conference, with all of my interview questions, a few more interviews to schedule, and a fairly scholarly journal to publish, I now have to redo something that I thought was already completed.
Stressed? You bet.
Good news is that I’ll have my grandkids tonight and nothing else will matter. Nothing.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I wrote such a long post today. Took time that I really don’t have. And blogger failed. Damn. Every word is gone except the stupid title. Now I’m quickly writing a note in Word and will paste it into blogger.
I chilled out at home last night. Too tired to go to Open Improv. That’s cool because it’s not rehearsal or anything. I’d go to rehearsal no matter how tired I was. It felt good to stay home. EXCEPT I didn’t chill out quite as much as I thought I would.
Another computer problem. This one with installing software for my digital recorder. Computer said that the software wasn’t up to Windows’ standards or something like that. Crazy, huh? So I’ll have to bring my laptop into work because I need this software installed for the conference in
Nah, not too much chance of that. But I sure am getting a bit frustrated.
Tonight is BroadMinded rehearsal, then Friday is open mic night. I’m the host, so the success/failure of the evening is squarely on my shoulders. When I volunteered to help I didn’t realize it would be like this. It has to be separate from CSz because some of the stand-up material isn’t family friendly. I do understand—it just feels odd. If all the comics show up it will be a good show. More like a performance than an open mic, because I know everyone (except one guy Dick told me about today).
Next Thursday I’ll go to
Guess that's it for now. I need to get back to work.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Still working hard at my regular job too. Tonight is Open Improv. For the first time I may skip it because of being tired. Wish it was 7-9 instead of 8-10. God, I'm old!
Monday, July 17, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Talked to Lee on the phone about stand-up. He said it sounds like I'm too busy. I admitted he was right, but that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. After our performance in August things will slow down a bit, and I can concentrate on stand-up. Then in September Rec League starts again, so I'll be working on comedy on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and every other Wednesday. With gigs on weekends--I hope.
Right now, it's working on conference stuff at work, and there's no time for anything else. My publications are going to be late which saddens me. I have a reputation for meeting all my deadlines.
Comedy-wise I have BroadMinded Monday and Wednesday, open improv on Tuesday, and am emceeing an open mic night at CSz on Friday. Luckily, this is all fun for me. So the stress is a lot less than it would be if it weren't so enjoyable.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Will try again tomorrow.
I worked tonight at ComedySportz. And my friend, Bron, came in. She's the leader of the CSz troupe in the UK. It was so great to see her. And she recorded one of our sketches for me so I can hear my part in a British accent. I think it will definitely improve my accent. Cool.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
That went well too, and as usual was so much fun. I made some stupid choices I think, but hell--it's improv. And we're not always going to do things "right." Guess I'll have to just keep trying.
Tonight I'll be home, so will work on memorizing my lines more. I had them, but when we started the sketch I lost them, so will need to really CEMENT those damn things. Also, I'll turn on my new computer for the first time and will begin the process of transferring stuff from my old computer. What a pain.
Good news. My friend from work, Bill, may be in LA on business when I perform in Hollywood. If so, he'll attend. That'll be nice.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
My friend, Debbie, is bringing a crowd of about 20, so that will make it even better.
My performance schedule actually looks good. I have "gigs." Oh god the anxiety has started. I'm not nervous performing, but this is a really good chance for me. I've never bombed (yet), so I shouldn't be anxious. But it's creeping in.
There's only one thing to combat it. That's PRACTICE! Knowing the material so well that I dream about it. Yep. I'm going to have to study hard.
And everything will be great. (And I will live happily ever after.)
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Secondly, I really hope I don't have to work at CSz this weekend. Want to play with the new computer, transfer files, and all that stuff.
Thirdly through Seventhly, I have so much work to do with the first open mic night at CSz on the 21st, memorizing my lines for the sketch festival, writing new sketches for October, writing new material for my stand-up routine, and working on the LA Avon Breast Cancer Walk (as a team leader I have some organizing and contacting to do).
Work is so busy (and interesting), but more stressful than it needs to be.
Last night's rehearsal with BroadMinded was so much fun. I love doing sketch comedy. Tonight is Open Improv and that will be fun too. Okay, back to work.
Monday, July 10, 2006
When I got home I relaxed a bit and then started working on cleaning out my computer. My new one should arrive tomorrow. Tonight I have BroadMinded rehearsal, tomorrow night Open Improv, and Wednesday night longform improv. So it will be Thursday or the weekend before I can dig into the new laptop. Depends on when or if I work at ComedySportz this week.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Last night was wonderful! As usual I laughed so hard at the other comics. I was third out of seven. And that's as it should have been since I'm so new compared to others. I knew everyone there except Tony B. Miller. I'd heard his name since he's a very well-known comic around the area. Here's the funny thing. In my act I mentioned that I was from Quincy IL, and when he got up there he said he had just played in Quincy the night before--at Backwater's, right on Front Street on the Mississippi River. How cool! So we talked afterward. He is such a nice guy. And I'm confident we'll work together again.
Patrick, the guy who teaches long form improv on Wednesday, did stand-up too, and it was the first time I saw him perform. Excellent. And funny stuff. He gave me some good feedback after the show, telling me that one of my lines was really funny and I should expand on it. (It was about my daughter Jill being a size 2, and how I hated her for it.)
My set went over really well. I was confident and relaxed, and people seemed to enjoy what I did.
Everyone else did a great job too. But the funniest part for me was when Tom Clark (the headliner and birthday boy) had Tyler and Patrick come on stage and do improv with him. They basically did Tom's life from start to present time and it was hysterical.
Two of my friends from BroadMinded came to the show--Maria and Megan. So that was cool, too. Maria had taken stand-up classes too, and we've performed together in the past. I think she'll do the stand-up open mic night at CSz on the 21st.
Gotta run. More later when I return from Aurora.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Spent time in the pool today. Swimming laps is a good place to practice your routine. Not out loud of course. I tried that and nearly drowned.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Sad News: My brother Jim's wife, Karen, emailed to say her mom is in intensive care and not expected to make it. Katie is a retired schoolteacher, and because of bad scoliosis she's been more and more bent. This has compromised her breathing to such an extent that she's been in the hospital six or seven times in less than a year. It's been really hard on Jim and Karen and Karen's dad Frank. K is an only child, so definitely has become another sister to us during the past 13 or so years that we've known her.
I'm going to cancel my plans Sunday and drive to Aurora and visit Katie. Karen said they're very lenient in this ICU about visitors.
Happy News: This doesn't even begin to cancel out the sad news, but it's the best I can do. BroadMinded is scheduled to perform at ComedySportz on Friday, October 13th at 10 PM. I'm thrilled by this, but it's hard to be "up" right now.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Last night, longform was cancelled at the last minute. I was disappointed, but that's life. So I came home, read a little, and watched junk TV.
Found out that the Open Mic night is definitely a "go" at CSz on the 21st, so I have to get the word out about it. My preference will be to get everyone signed up ahead of time, at least this first go-around. So I'm going to be emailing and calling friends. I've got my fingers crossed.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Right after work I'm going to Alterra Coffee for a while to work on my stand-up material. The 8th is awfully close, and I need to nail down the routine.
Then at 7, we have longform class with Patrick. I learn a lot, but mostly I have such fun in this class. There will be four of BroadMinded's members there (me, Meg, Maria, and probably Mary Jo) so I can get pictures of Maria and Mary Jo to add to the mix. That will leave only Stacy. She's going on a mission to Africa for a few weeks, and I don't know the date she's leaving. Haven't heard from her in a while. Anne and Mel are both working at Summerfest tonight. I'll miss having them with the group.
Guess that's it. Sorry so boring.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Anne and her enchiladas--Yum to both!
We needed some more pictures for our webpage, so I took these at Anne's house. We'll get some "stage" pictures in a few weeks.
Also, we'll get pictures from Mary Jo, Maria, and Stacy, to round out the group.
Problems with my computer order. The wireless router I ordered has already been shipped and the customer name says CPI, my company. Just talked to someone in India who isn't celebrating the 4th of July and he gave me another number to call tomorrow, because I ordered under the "employee program." He's right. Everytime I signed on to the Dell website it kept directing me to the "employee and affiliate program." My company does buy TONS of Dell products, but I never said I was a representative or anything. I put CPI as my shipping address though, because I'm never home for delivery. I do that with everything. Guess I'll have to try to clear it up tomorrow.
Okay, am getting hungry, so will get some breakfast. More later.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Had a lot of fun rehearsing yesterday with BroadMinded. We were at Anne's house and I took some silly pictures. They're posted online at BroadMinded's MySpace page, but I'll post them here as well for those of you who don't frequent MySpace. They're on my home computer, so will post tonight or tomorrow.
Speaking of computer--I ordered a new laptop today and it will function as my home computer too. Will get rid of my 5-year-old PC, and my 3-year-old (heavy) laptop. Got a little docking station so I can connect it to all my peripherals at home. I hate making a new bill, but need a new computer desperately. And since I need a laptop for business travels, I decided to go that route, rather than use a company-supplied laptop. That would just add to my fear of "oh god where is that file."
I'm hoping for some good weather tomorrow. Would like to use the pool for the first time this year. My schedule has been so hectic that I haven't been able to swim. Got my fingers crossed. I need to work on my stand-up routine, write some more sketches, and memorize the current sketches, so I have lots to do. Luckily the cleaners came today, so I'll have a clean house and won't be moved to do any work--except laundry.
Writing sketches isn't too difficult for me. Whether they're good or not I'll leave to others to decide. But I'm having fun doing it. Finished one yesterday called "Charity at Home." It's about an "old folks home" and Charity is a retired prostitute who lives there. I think it's pretty darn funny.
Any family want to come to Milwaukee for the sketch and improv festival August 11 and 12? I'll buy you beer. Those of you old enough anyway. The show is rated PG-13.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
I was the first comedian up. I learned a lesson. Don't say yes to a gig that's going to happen a few hours in the future. I wasn't well prepared and stammered a bit. Aarrgggghh. That's the first time it happened. I hate it. It wasn't horrific, but it wasn't as good as usual. But I'm very grateful to Russ for asking me.
Tyler was up right after me. And I must say I laughed my ass off. He was hilarious. What a talented guy! He's only 28 and has a real future in the field.
Tom Clark was the headliner. He lives in LA, but is originally from Wisconsin. You can sure tell why he's been on national TV a lot. He's so funny and really puts his improv experience to good use. Makes an immediate connection with the audience.
I caught most of his act, but unfortunately had to leave before he was finished. My friend, Michele, turned 40 early in the week and her sisters threw a surprise party last night. I was really late and missed the comedy portion, but still was able to enjoy the band (and dancing) for about an hour before the music stopped.
First of all the location was about 45 minutes from my house, but it was worth the drive. Situated on a small lake, the home was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. Absolutely gorgeious. As soon as I arrived I needed to use the restroom, and used the one off the master bedroom. The bathroom was bigger than my kitchen.
The party was in the backyard near the lake. They'd erected a big tent and had a band. Lots of folks were dancing. So I spent a lot of time with CSz friends dancing to tunes from the 80s. Such fun. Two other members of BroadMinded were there--Maria and Megan. So that made it even better. There were maybe 80 people there at one point, but the CSz folks were definitely the life of the party. I said to Beth that when you get a bunch of actors together you know they are going to be craving the spotlight at the same time. The same thing happens when we go to karaoke. And I must say--I love the experience of lots of folks performing at the same time.
Michele had been suitably surprised it appeared, which made everything even more fun. So many details were apparent. There was a big tub of flip flops so people could take off their "good shoes" for dancing in the grass. Lots of beer, wine, and soda. And tons of food--all stuff that Michele loves. Again, the beauty was in the details.
I could go on and on, but you get the drift. It was a busy, but fun night for me. And it was great to share the fun with friends.
Congratulations to the bride and groom--Joel and Cassie. And happy birthday to Michele! What a day!
Tonight BroadMinded has rehearsal at Anne's house. I'm going to bring my camera because we need some shots for MySpace.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
I'm performing with Tom and Tyler next Saturday at Corner Pocket and thought this would be a fun prelude tonight.
Afterward I have a party to go to, so this looks like it's going to be a celebratory night.
Gotta run. Must rehearse a bit. And make minestrone. Minestrone is my latest food craving. I make a big pot of it on the weekend and eat it throughout the week. This is the third week in a row. Not too bad--cheap and low in calorie.
Next week I'll probably be craving french fries, onion rings, and chocolate.