Friday, December 25, 2015

Memories and Magic

"OK now be quiet and sit still," my mother said as she instructed us to take a place on the couch. "He'll be here any minute." We were so excited. The biggest and most important celebrity in all of kid-dom was paying a visit to our house.

My mom had to be very creative during the holidays. As a single mother of four children, we didn't have much and resources were limited. The holiday season was a special time for my family because my Mom found a way to make the magic of Christmas come alive in our home. This year we were going to get a special visit from the Big Guy himself.

"How come he is coming early," one of us asked.
"Well," Mom replied, "He is trying to get ahead this year I guess. All I know is that
I heard he was coming early so I put in a call to his elves and we got lucky."

We sat patiently as Mom put the cookies and milk out on the dining room table. She used my grandmother's good China and a fancy napkin; nothing but the best for our special guest. We whispered with hushed excitement to one another. The possibilities of what we might get were endless. Mom checked the peephole one last time to make sure that he hadn't arrived yet. Everything, including the four of us, was ready.

Like a mist creeping under the front door, he appeared. "Ho, ho, ho!"
There we was in a glorious red suit. He carried a large bag and and had an elf following closely behind him. Santa arrived at our house and he was more than jolly. He was the first and most important celebrity that I would ever meet in my life and he was delivering presents to us personally. Wow!

After we settled down, my Mom escorted him to the dining room table. He ate the cookies and milk while he answered all of our questions about the elves, the sleigh, and Rudolph. No matter what we asked, he had the right answer. His eyes twinkled and his laugh filled our home with love and magic. He was enchanting and everything that my six year old mind had dreamed of. Santa had come to town and we were among the privileged few who had a quiet visit.

He reached into his big bag and pulled out a present for each of us. Laughing with excitement, we opened them in a flash. We each got identical sweatsuits with E.T. on the sweatshirt; my brother's was blue and ours was red. E.T. was very popular then so we were over the moon with joy. Then Santa had to leave. We said "Goodbye" and "Thank you soooo much!" "You're welcome and be good. Remember, I'm watching." With a wink and smile, he was gone. I am sure that I heard the bells from his sleigh as he made his way to the next house.

Years later, I asked my mom about that night. It turns out that Santa and his elf was a nice couple who wanted to reach out to their community. They put an ad in the paper saying they would deliver presents for free. My Mom wasn't sure who they really were but she trusted them anyway. She left the gifts by the door so that he could bring them in when he made his grand entrance. Anything could have happened that night but instead it was a night where two people gave their time and love to strangers. They wanted to make Christmas special. The magic I felt that night was real. Miracles happen in all kinds of ways.

I miss that time so much. I can remember the last time I had Christmas with all of my siblings. I'm sure my mom can't remember either. I love my family and in spite of whatever we have done or said to one another, I miss them and hope that the next miracle is all of us together on Christmas one more time. 

Peace and Love to All

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In Loving Memory...

It's been three years since my father-in-law passed away. He left quietly on the morning before Thanksgiving. We had all been taking care of him around the clock for three weeks. Cliff and I drove in every weekend to relieve his mother and his aunt. Hospice came in and helped but I didn't realize that they weren't there all the time. This wasn't my first experience with death and losing a loved one, but it was the first time for me to see "the light fade". I know this is going to sound crazy, but that holiday season and that time are something that I cherish.

I met my father-in-law when I was twenty. I had been dating Cliff for a few months and I was nervous about meeting these people. I already knew that they were different from anyone I had ever met. They were country folks and I was a city girl. I had talked on the phone with Johnnie ( later he was Dad to me ) only once. He seemed funny and he liked to talk...a lot. He told me that when Cliff was a little boy, Cliff screamed with terror before he got a spanking. In fact, that was how he got out them. I almost didn't understand him through his laughter as he recounted the story to me. I was already struggling to make out what he said. He had a crazy Cajun/East Texas accent combo that made it hard for me to understand him. I don't remember much about the first time I met him, only that he was funny and I laughed a lot.

On our wedding day, he wore his first tux ever in his life. He smiled and strutted with pride, He looked good! During our first kiss, he told Cliff to, "Give her the tongue boy!" Dad was always saying something off the wall. That's who he was and he didn't apologize for it. He just let it all out. He had already been through so much in life that he probably thought, "What the hell?" He was the recipient of heart surgeries and back surgeries. Over the years that Cliff and I were married, I witnessed many episodes of hospital stays and moments that we thought were his last. That stubborn old goat pulled through every time but it was clear that he was on borrowed time. We all knew it but he understood it. Looking back, I suspect he knew when he was in the last year of his life. I wish he would have clued us in but death is funny that way. It's quiet and sneaky. Death can lurk for months and whisper, "I'm here," while we are all busy living life.

I had an amazing relationship with Dad. He had become another parent to me. Whenever he and my mother-in-law stayed with us, he and I would sit up late at night chatting away. In the morning, he made sure we had coffee. Whenever we went to visit them, he was usually my first hug. It as customary for me to climb into his lap like a little kid and hug his neck. When we took road trips, he was my co-pilot. My dad is far away from me so to have another loving dad close by was a blessing.

The weeks leading up to his death, I read over the literature that the hospice care people left behind. I wanted to make sure that I understood what was happening for my family and for myself. That literature gave me the strength to keep it together. Dad knew he was leaving and I wanted him to see that we would be OK, that I would be OK. It may seem unusual for a daughter-in-law to cling so closely to a family she married into but you have to understand, I was 20 years old when this man came  into my life. I had been married to his son for fifteen years at that point. Dad watched me and his son become thriving adults together.

Now don't get me wrong, like every family we had our issues. It wasn't all sweet memories with roses and butterflies. If I was reading a book, he got frustrated with me. He didn't understand why I would want to do that instead of spending talking to him. He used to give me lots of shit because Cliff and I had not had children. It made me angry that he continued to abuse his body with cigarettes and bad eating habits. But that's family. That's what happens and I had to accept him for better or for worse too.  At the end of the day, he was my buddy. He was my other dad.  He is still part of my heart.

The morning he took his last breath, we were all exhausted. Another thing I learned about death is that while it's on its way, the soul it's coming to get doesn't keep regular hours. They are up and down often and they need pain medicine. They need support to go to the bathroom. The body shuts down and everyone has to be there to help it. Some nights, I just held his hand while he slept or hallucinated. Believe it or not, there was laughter and love through the whole process but it was exhausting. I'm not a nurse and now I appreciate what they do.

He drew his last breath around 8:00 AM. My mother-in-law, Cliff and I were quietly talking and joking to try and lighten our spirits. There were no lights on. The sun barely cracked through the curtains giving just enough light in the living room.  The living room was the only space big enough for the hospital bed that Dad slept in. My sweet niece, Jessica,  was in the shower. I have to give a shout out to her. She was 20 years old at that time and she had been there every weekend taking shifts to help care for her Grandpa. She showed more maturity and love than I ever could have at that age and I am so proud of her. I can't imagine what that experience was like for her and she did an amazing job stepping in.

Dad breathed in and out one last time. We all looked. It was like we didn't know what to do. Cliff got up first and went to Dad's side.

"Dad?" he said quietly. Then Mom got up and went to his side. I sat in the chair just to the side of him and watched, holding my breath. Cliff felt Dad's chest first and then lay his head down to listen.

"He's gone," Cliff breathed.

"I love you, baby," Mom whispered.

Just like that, death had carried him away. There were no tremors. Trumpets didn't sound. It was just quiet. There is nothing more silent than when a soul has left and the light has gone out. Of course in those moments after, the scene from a dark comedy played itself out. Dad had requested that his false teeth be put back in after he died. He wanted to be buried with his teeth.

"I'll do it," Mom said.

Cliff helped open Dad's mouth and mom started to insert them. Cue the comedy...

"You're putting them in sideways!" Cliff exclaimed.

"No they go in this way!" Mom informed.

"Are you sure?" Cliff asked.

"I'm sure" she answered. She should know, she had her own set as well.

This moment was Dad. Dad loved to laugh and I'm sure he was somewhere laughing at us. Only this crazy family would be debating over how false teeth were supposed to go in. Dad was a funny guy so why wouldn't he have a last laugh at our expense? There was still sadness but at least the tension had broken. That's how this family works. In spite of sadness, they all get through it. When they were planning for the funeral, my husband asked about a used casket so they could get a better deal. I know this all sounds morbid, but the one thing I have learned from my in-laws is that you really can laugh through your tears.

Yesterday when I was driving into work, it hit me that it was the anniversary of his death. How could I forget? He left this world at a time of year when we're all supposed to be thankful for what we have. I cried so hard I couldn't breathe. I would have pulled over but  I was on the freeway. That's the funny thing about grief. You don't get to decide when you're going to do it. Sometimes, it just happens. I allowed myself to cry and let it all out. After that, I went on with the rest of my day and celebrated life in honor of Dad.

I miss the old fart. I miss him terribly. He was the father I didn't know I needed. He was loud, funny, annoying, and goofy. I will always remember his laugh and I will miss hugging his neck. My advice; hug your loved ones. Love them with every fiber of your being. We're not promised tomorrow and today is we all have. Happy Thanksgiving!

I love you Dad Frazee.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Wow! I can't believe we are halfway through November. The holiday season is upon us and I find myself in a funky way. In the last few months I have tried and worked my tail off trying to grow as an actor. I have also spent time growing my business and promoting my book. I have been busy. I had hoped that one of these posts would find me bragging about another acting job booked or that I had become a best selling author. However, I'm still successful even if I feel like I'm not.

The acting thing is something I will never figure out. I am trying and I study my craft hard. This month I am doing a character study on the late Ann Miller, a famous tap dancer who made her way into Hollywood during it's Golden Era. As part of my study I have been watching hours of footage. I have also been taking tap lessons from Kate Evetts, owner and instructor at Lonestar Dance Studio in Pflugerville . Tomorrow I will present Ann to the class. So even though I am not booking and I haven't auditioned in a while, I'm enjoying the work and all that comes with being an actor. I still get sad about not being on set more but that is life.

My book is selling well but I learned that Amazon is blocking some of my good reviews. That's annoying. I had a reader reach out to me with her review because Amazon wouldn't  post it. Oh Amazon! You are the devil we know. Of course I am still pleased that I published a book and that I will have another one on the way.

In the midst of busy salon life, the owners of the salon I work at parted ways. One moved on and one kept the place going and I am so grateful. The last thing I wanted to do was change locations during the holidays with my crazy schedule. Without going into details, the split has been emotional. Things have been said and feelings have been hurt. The only thing I can say is that I am grateful for my salon family. Change is good even when we can't see it. My biggest take away is that if I allow myself, I can be spiteful and angry. These last few weeks taught me that I need to breathe and let go. I also need to respect the people around me no matter what. This too shall pass.

Mom and I are making progress. Every day I try to make sure that I am talking to her and having good conversation. I once had a friend tell me that she wished she could have one more conversation with her mother after she passed. I'm trying to do that now, you know, fill each day with love and a chat with Mom.

This season I am going to be grateful. I am blessed and I am lucky. Life is so much out of our control. The only thing I can control is myself and what I choose to watch on Netflix. Plus I can hug Cliff. These past months have taught me that I am susceptible to wallowing in self pity. I need to let that go and take life one day at a time. Yesterday is over and tomorrow does not exist. I only have today.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Good Daughter?

"You are such a good daughter," I heard from a client the other day. In conversation it came up that my mother lives with my husband and me. Most people don't know that about me. Mom's been living with us for the last three years. I could go through the laundry list of why she is here with us but the only thing that really matters is that she needed me. In American culture we don't like to deal with family, especially parents. And rightly so. Family can be a pain in the ass. Family can be toxic. They can take advantage of you. They're the one group that you can love and hate at the same time. Sometimes you just hate them.

When I first realized that I needed to have Mom here, I was barraged with a multitude of opinions. Most of them were negative. "I can't believe you'd want your mom to live with you!" or "Just get her an apartment nearby!" However, there were also words of encouragement. "You're doing the right thing," they would say. I'm not sure what the "right" thing really is. I don't have a disposable income so getting an apartment was not an option. All I understood was that she needed me. Cliff and I braced ourselves and moved to a bigger space to accommodate her. 

Having a bigger space was just the beginning. We secured a storage for all of her stuff, and I mean ALL of her stuff. My mom is a Baby Boomer and they like to keep their stuff. They think it's super valuable ( I looked on Ebay at several items. Let's be real Baby Boomers, you all saved your stuff so it's not worth much now ). My heart strings pulled at me. Many folks gave me advice. They said, "Just give her a room and whatever she can fit in there is what she keeps!" The logic in me agreed with that advice. The heart side of me felt the sadness and loss of a life that once was. In that storage unit was 64 years of a life that had been lived. There were boxes of memories and totes full of years gone by. 

In an argument about her stuff one evening she said, "That's my life in there! That's me. It's all I have." My heart sank and my throat knotted up. Yes it's just stuff. It's junk really. But to her, it was all she had left of an independent life. Now she had moved to Texas to depend on her daughter. She was living with her kid. I'm sure  most parents don't want to live with their children. 

So the adjustments continued. I had to learn to deal with this person in my house. In the years we had lived apart, I had become a grown up. With acting, daily salon life, writing, and trying to be a wife, my schedule had no time for the old lady my mom had become. We would have to adjust everything. Privacy became a word that sounded like a magical kingdom in a land far away. Our "married" time became limited. It was like having a kid, only bigger and more cantankerous. Poor Cliff gets resentful some times.  But he handles it well and with grace. 

Six months after she moved in, something happened that made me grateful to have her here. There were no words of wisdom and Hallmark moments. Three weeks before Christmas, I was showering on a late Monday morning. It was one of the days I had off and had the luxury of taking my time. I was going to meet a friend for coffee and enjoy my day. Cliff had just left for work and I was basking in the glow of a hot shower. I was running conditioner through my hair when I heard heavy breathing outside of my shower curtain. I pulled the drape back and looked into the face of my mother. She looked pale and slightly green. Her eyes were wide and she had a slight grin. In her hand she held her vapor device. 

"Yes? What do you need?" I asked her. 
"I'm supposed to go blah ble blah," she replied. 

I asked her again and she repeated the same phrase over and over. Then she said she needed to lie down. I noticed her legs were a mess as she left the bathroom. 

"Mom! Have you been outside?" She didn't answer me. She kept on muttering and collapsed on my bed. I jumped out of the shower and threw my bath robe on. With out giving all of the gory details, I realized that she had lost control of her bowels and she had no idea where she was. She wouldn't even let me touch her. I called Cliff and told him to come back and then made the first 911 call in my life. 

"I need an ambulance," I said with calm confidence. "My mother collapsed and she's still breathing."
Before I could tell the operator what was happening, she went into a series of questions that had nothing to do with the situation at hand. I got desperate and started to panic. Then the operator said, "Mam, I need you to be quiet and listen to me."

Full panic mode set it in. This bitch as asking me questions and I needed an ambulance. I cried and started a series of swear words that is probably still hanging in that apartment today. About that time the paramedics arrived and Cliff showed up too. 

As soon as the paramedics carted her out, I ripped my robe off and got dressed as the last paramedic realized he had been flashed heading out of the door. I braided my goopy hair ( Remember I hadn't rinsed my hair ). I cancelled my coffee date and called family while following the ambulance to the hospital. In that moment the small child within realized that my mommy was mortal. She could die. I cried the whole day. I will spare you the details of her hospital stay. All you need to know is that she was septic and had to stay in ICU for a week.

So you would think that this incident would make me more patient. It did for like 10 minutes. Once she got out and things went back to normal, she got on my nerves again. Some days are a huge effort to be nice. I have seen more doctors and specialists on her behalf. They talk to both of us as they diagnose and treat every medical situation that she has. In my hectic life, I have become a care taker at 39. There are many days that I resent her. I get angry because she won't eat healthy. When she texts or calls me to pick a prescription up, I get pissed off. I shouldn't but I do. There are many days when my patience wears thin. 

Then the guilt sets in. This is my mother and she won't be here forever. I will regret every harsh word and every moment that I didn't spend with her. I marinate on those thoughts and then I get a phone call that we need butter and coffee. That woman drinks way more coffee than any one human being should. She could go get it herself but why leave the house? Who cares that I spent the day working? I'm again. See? It's a vicious cycle and now I feel guilty again.

My reprieves are nights away from home with Cliff every so often, my acting class, and the fantasy that Rob Thomas and I will sing a duet one day.  ( One day it will happen, I've seen the man in concert 5 times! ) It's the little things that get me through.

I love my mom and I wouldn't change the decision I made to have her here with me. And Cliff is a saint. I don't want to be told I'm a good daughter. I'm not. I'm just trying to pay my bills and get through life like everyone else. I'm taking care of my family. I'm not a good daughter. I'm just me. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Do I hear a bear?

It's 4:18 in the morning and I'm up! I hate it when I wake up! I love sleep. I don't relish in insomniac behavior the way some people do. I love sleep! There is something magical and calming about the way my soft pillow feels against my cheek. The covers wrap around me with love and the sheets feel soft and amazing on my legs. My mattress is the perfect blend of softness meeting firmness. I love sleep I tell you.

So what has me up this fine EARLY morning? A few things really. A trip to the bathroom, a roast in the crockpot, and my sweet darling husband who sometimes snores loudly. Yes I said it. My pillow is just not soft enough for the rumbling and roar of the bear next me? Do I hear a bear? No! Just the growling and grumbling of my darling husband as he sucks in the ceiling. I know he can't help it. I get it. Sometimes I talk in my sleep and I can't help that. But it is disconcerting to hear a bear in the bed next to you. Some nights, he snores right into my hear as he cuddles me to the edge of our comfy bed. Then I have a hot flash and I have to kick him off of me. I'm not a body pillow for crying out loud! Get off me!

So now you are asking yourself, "Val, I thought you love that Cliff guy? After all, you even based a character on him and his great demeanor." You're right! I did. I have been married to this man for eighteen years. We got married at birth and we have managed to stay together and make it work in spite of the hardships that drive most couples apart. We work hard at this marriage thing. It's not easy and anyone who tells you it is is probably signing papers really soon. We are a team. I wouldn't trade hime for anything in the world. I really wouldn't.

This is marriage folks. It's not just a wedding party with all the frills and great cake. It's not about buying your first house or picking out a new couch together. It's bills and family members. It's waking up and taking the dog out in the middle of the night or changing that beautiful child's stinky diaper. It's having your parent move in with you because now it's your turn to take care of them. Marriage is a constant game of compromise, ups and downs, and a spouse that wakes you in the middle of the night as he shakes the whole room with his snoring.

So what's my point? Well I'm up for one. But that's not really my point. Life is precious. Even nights like these are something to be cherished. I wouldn't trade my life for anything in the world. Sure I wish I booked more acting work. I hope that my book becomes a best seller some day. I want a lot of blessings to continue to come my way. I wish I booked that show I auditioned four times for. But  these desires don't change what I have already. This gift I have that I call my every day life is what inspired me to write Unrequited. So while I'm up, I will complain but behind that complaining is gratitude. After all, bears are warm :)

Monday, September 7, 2015

I'm Lazier Than You Think...

I don't even know where to begin. The past month has flown by. My salon life has totally taken over. It's a good thing and I'm super grateful. But it has caused me to be a bit lazy in my other endeavors as an actress and a writer. Don't worry I haven't been completely lazy but I have noticed enough slacking that it has caused me to make sure I give myself a schedule. So this month I have been really exploring all the times that I waste on my phone or in front of the television. I'm not a big television watcher and some of what I do on the phone is for the work I do in all capacities. However, there are times I'm just diddling. 

I attended a hair show this past weekend in Houston and I learned a lot. Not just about new hair techniques and the benefits of social media. Don't worry, I made copious notes on the aforementioned. I also had an awakening. A reality check if you will. I learned that I can do better.  I can give more to all of my crafts and still have time with my family. I know it sounds like I am creating more work for myself. I am. But it's work I enjoy. I love being creative. Everything I do is creative including coming up with marketing strategies and ways to promote myself. What I realized is that utilizing the time I waste diddling, I will actually give myself more time to hang out with family and friends. I will give myself more luxury time. The secret? What we have all learned and what I must do even though it's the one thing frightens me. I have to go back to getting up early.

 I love my bed sooooo much. The pillows are amazing and my blanket feels fabulous hugged up around me. Laying in my cozy bed, I feel relaxed, at peace. Anything is possible. It's there that I have a lot of great ideas and moments of inspiration. The problem is that I lay there and sleep through all of that. One of the reasons I finally finished my first book is because I got up and utilized that creative energy in the morning. I also fit in more gym time. I got just as much sleep as I do now. I just got moving faster than I do now. Moving is the key to getting anything done. Move out of your comfort zone. 

I am also utilizing technology a little more. I am not only blogging from my phone now, but I have made all the tools I need accessible from my gadget. I don't know why I didn't do this before. My headshot and resume are on my phone, for example. I am able to submit to myslf for projects that my agent may not be able to every time. I can even access my demo reel link for your tube. I keep notes about my story ideas on the notepad. I make notes about color and hair/inspiration for photo shoots and for work in the salon. 

What can I say? It takes me a while. I was already starting to catch on and implement some of what I have been talking about. The awakening at the hair show has driven me to take it to the next level and to refine my work ethics more. I needed a nudge. See, I have heard that I am diverse and that I am hard worker several times in the past weeks. I need to make that ring true I my heart. It hasn't for so long. 

I'm still just me. I am going to slip now and again, but when I have moments of clarity, I get more done and I move forward. I am grabbing life my friends and taking advantage of stolen moments.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Making it through....

Some of you read my last blog and reached out to me. I was feeling blah and discouraged. It happens to the best of us. Every art form is subjective and sometimes that's hard for us artists to take. Whether you are a painter, a singer, an actor, or writer, you put yourself into your work. You have to or it's not truthful. You spend hours researching, watching the world around you, and inspiration is derived from your surroundings. As artists, we absorb so much of the world. We live in it and breathe it in. Then we transfer it to whatever medium we work in. For me that is acting and writing.

Art is also a business. The logical side of us gets that but the heart side is still bruised every once in a while. Being an actor can take an emotional toll. Being a writer can too. Someone is always watching and deciding whether or not you measure up. I am a confident person. I find strengths I never knew I had, but I still get mired down in the, "Why not me?" syndrome. It's human to do so. My reason for blogging about it last time is because I wanted to reach out to my fellow artists and to give my friends that don't express themselves in the way that I do a view point. I love my life and I am so blessed to pursue my passions on a daily basis. However, sometimes that pursuit can be exhausting and from time to time I get drained.

I haven't book an acting gig in a year. I have had several auditions that I would consider successful. What I mean by that is I know I put the work in. I learned my lines, I prepped my emotions and I went in with an open heart and mind for direction from casting. Just because I didn't book those roles does not mean I was not successful in my task. This is something I have to wrap my head around sometimes. The arts are very unpredictable. The time and preparation is key. I have to remember that there are a whole bunch of people like me floating around this community and this planet. Writers and actors are everywhere. With the dawn of self publishing and print on demand, I now know four authors, one of whom is very successful, the others are like me. They're getting there and making  it happen one day at a time.

So if I alarmed anyone, I didn't mean to. It felt right to get it off of my chest and to be truthful in my blog. That was just a snippet of what it's like to try and juggle your passions while working a day job ( that I love thank God! ). So my chin is up and my head is being held high.  i am on fire!

Once again:
Book me for work and buy my book :)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I get discouraged

So my week has been a long and good week. I sold some books, I was busy at work, and I had an audition. Yet, I still feel discouraged. I am trying to market myself as author. I am trying to get my agent to pay attention to me. I am working my tail off at the salon. I am succeeding in many ways but I am also failing. I have wrestled with moments of doubt. I was encouraged when I was asked to audition for a local film maker. I had hoped to get a call back but alas the business side of film has prevented me from moving forward. it's hard to say why we don't get called back or why we don't get chosen.

I work hard but I know we are not rewarded. So I am now trying to move forward once again. When I check my email, I hope for an audition call from my agent. When I check my book sales, I am hopeful that I will sell one more. It's a tough world out there and it's saturated with actors and writers. I am so grateful that I get to try every day but there are times that I am exhausted by it. There are days when I think there must be something wrong with me. In fact there are a lot of days when I feel like something is wrong with me. Where is my IT factor? Maybe I never had it.

In the mean time, we just adopted a rescue dog named Benny. He is sweet and he is trying to figure out his life. When I see him, I know that I have to keep plugging along. Benny was abandoned and then rescued by a wonderful foster family. Then he was brought to us and now he has to feel his way around again. I suppose if he can do it I can too. Benny reminds me that I need to live in the moment.  I need to be grateful for what I have an know that life is full of turns.

I'm going to hang in there and I am going to give my book another shameless plug. By Unrequited.
I'm going to give my acting career a shameless plug as well: cast me, I am awesome.
Shameless plug for my hair career: let me cut your hair, I am awesome.

Now I will post a picture of my book cover and another head shot.
Here is a link to my webpage too:

Monday, July 27, 2015

And it's here...

So my book has been out a few weeks now and it has been pretty cool. However, I read somewhere that I would put a ton of work into marketing and it will seem more tedious than writing the book itself. Man they were right. I have mostly been using social media and word of mouth right now. This week my project is to talk to some indie book sellers and set up some book signings. I thought that somehow my life would change but it hasn't. It's been exciting getting the book out there and not readers' hands but I have so much more to go.

In the mean time I am hard at work on my next one and I am hoping to at least have first draft fleshed out by the fall. I am working pretty hard and I am diligent in writing almost every day. I am also reading everything that I can get my hands on as it relates to my subject matter. I feel like I'm in college working on a term paper.

But I love reading and I am learning so much from reading as much as I do. However I have so many things to work on. Next month I will work on a short film doing hair and make-up. I am also starting to dip my toes back into the education realm. I can't seem to help myself when it comes to giving myself as many tasks as I possibly can. I can't seem to relax. Now I hope to have some auditions thrown in there and a little acting work to round out my schedule. I am in class after all studying South Africa:) Working the grind stone my friends...

P.S. By my book on Amazon!!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

AHHH! The Challenge...

My book has been out for exactly 24 days. I have received two positive reviews thus far. It's becoming quite journey, this whole author thing. I am totally on the social media route right now but I am exploring creative venues to market my work. While I'm trying to market my work, I'm also trying to finish my second project. Books don't sell themselves that's for sure. I am on it though. I have just joined the Goodreads author group. As soon as I get my email approval I will start doing giveaways. I have already done one on Facebook and as soon as my shipment comes in, I will send it off. I also have little cards on the way to give to people who ask about my book. My next plan of attack is to get the book to BookPeople and Malvern Books. From there I will start researching other indie book sellers so I can get my book in there as well. Fingers crossed.

The acting front is slow for me. I keep hoping for the next big audition that will land me the next big job. I got new headshot and I updated my demo reel. I have been updating all of my actor stuff on all those sites that they say you should be on as an actor. I have emailed my agent with my new stuff and this week I will order new head shots to carry around and a new actor postcard.  Some friends and I have begun getting a project together so we can stay busy and I have signed on as a make-up artist for another film. It's one day at a time and nothing is guaranteed. I am remaining positive my friends.

My next tackle is to find more bloggers to follow, get more to follow me. I love the blog. I feel like this is my second outlet next to my journal. I get to send the word out and hope that someone listens...

Monday, July 13, 2015

So far so good...

So my book has been published and now I am pounding the pavement to sell it. So far so good. It's not a best seller...yet. It has been a journey and now I am starting another one. This next one is very close to my heart. All of my writing is but this next novel takes on a different approach. I am trying to focus on a subject that most people don't focus on. I'm not re-inventing the wheel by any means, but I noticed that the topic I am writing about is not discussed very often. What started out as a story that I heard some time ago about a person I admire has since become a quest. Obviously I am not going to give away what I am working on but rest assured, I am on it and working every day.

In the mean time, I am really proud of Unrequited. With my crazy schedule, I never thought that I would get it finished. What's amazing is that it was very healing for me. It helped me to address issues and things I never thought I was holding on to. So by writing a work of fiction that I could relate to I was able to heal a part of my soul. That's what I love about writing. Writing can be cleansing.

On a sad note, I learned that someone very dear to me passed away several years ago. I had a teacher in junior high that lit the fire in me to write. Carole Slotemaker-Ryland was more that just a teacher. She was a mentor, a friend, and the ultimate cheerleader for all of her students. I had hoped that she would be able to read my book but after many google searches,  found out that she was gone. I cried and felt guilty for not staying in better touch with her. The last time I saw her was at my wedding. I will miss her dearly and to honor her memory and the time she invested in me, I will continue to write and publish. It was my first love before acting and hair dressing.

If you haven't purchased my novel, please do so. You can find it on Kindle and it will be available as  hard copy by next week.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's here! It's Here!

When in the course of one's life, they finally achieve something they have been dreaming about, Their heart has been longing for the day when hence it finally arrives...

OK enough poetic junk! My book is finally published. Unrequited is here and arrived with a lot of heart and formatting issues. But, she's here.  It is a story that has a lot of meaning in my life. I have been striving to be present and be grateful of the things I have in life. I haven't been in the past and this book explores what that can do to a person and the life around them. The grass may be greener on the other side but that doesn't mean you need to go there. The story is about woman stuck in her past. Because of her unwillingness to let go and move forward, she stands to lose the life she has built.

This has been a journey over the last few years that i thought would never get done. I was either not writing enough or I was writing too much and then my schedule got crazy. Life got hectic and I had to slow that shit down.

Then came time for final edits and formatting issues. I went round and round with my computer. I went round and round with myself. I am not tech savvy in any way. The fact that I or my computer hasn't exploded is amazing. This was truly a labor of love. Right now the e-book is on Kindle. The hard copy should be soon to follow in the next couple of weeks.

 I'm not going to lie, I have googled myself and done searches on Amazon just to see if it would pop up. And of course it does. I don't think it's set in yet. I haven't had a review yet and I still haven't seen the actual book itself. It would be cool to be a best-selling author, but I am also grateful and proud that I got this done. I finished:)

So if you want to grab copy on Kindle and read to your heart's content, do it now!

I am working on another one that I hope to have completed by the holidays. Well at the very least, I would like to have a few drafts in.

I do need to thank Margaret Schwartz. Not only was she an amazing editor, but she laid out my book cover, and she dealt with my incessant need to have help. God bless her.

Opal Galliano was the cover artist and she did a phenomenal job.

It takes a village...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Oh man has it been a while!!!!

Hello World!

It has been such a crazy time these last few months. I have been a busy bee. I will have to make list with commentary in order to get it all in one blog.

#1. My crazy business has increased. The hair gig is a lovely thing but man it has been exhausting. I inherited a few clients from some ladies that moved from salon. That added to the clientele I was already growing. I am grateful and my feet hurt. ON the plus side, we hired an assistant for the salon and she is awesome!

#2. I finally decided to leave L'ANZA Healing Haircare after five years of devotion, many plane rides, and frequently delayed flights. It was a big decision in my career but it was necessary. Sometimes you have to step back when ethics just don't line up. I still love my people and I will always send them love.

#3. I finished the book!! I should have the cover uploaded and then it will be on its way. I am so excited and I can't wait for you all to read it. I have already started on my second one. Hopefully I stay on track and I get it done.

#4. I have been auditioning and even called three times for three different roles for one tv show and still no luck It has been frustrating but I am hanging in there. I  just need to book it! The life of an actor I suppose .

#5. We moved into a new house. That has been hectic and rewarding. I love two things about moving; getting into a new place and getting rid of junk. You always get rid of crap when you move. At least I do. I'm not a huge fan of too much stuff and moving is very cleansing. We also have space and privacy. Most of you don't know that my mother lives with us and that is a novel waiting to happen.

#6. I am also planning on producing a play or a short film in the near future. I just have to see which one pans out first.

#7. My mom and my husband's mom decided that they would have heart issues at the same time. So I have been here in Austin taking care of my mom well my husband makes the long trek to Beaumont for his mother. It's what has to happen right?

Life has been one big ball of busy for me. I am checking off my list of goals this year. I would say I am half way there. There is more to do. I have plan and a destination. Let's hope I get there. That's my story and I am sticking to it. In the mean time, I will be thinking about how I can get you guys to read my book! Take care friends and I will be keeping you posted.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Finally...My Big Debut

March 19, 2015 will be one of those days that I hope to never forget. I made my first prime time television debut on ABC's show American Crime. As you know from my previous blog, I was on the show and had a scene with Felicity Huffman. It was so cool to finally see it and to see it on the small screen. I had so many people blasting my Facebook and text messaging me. My best friend from my hometown even managed to get a video link for me.The support and the love sent my way was such a gift. It still is. It has now been uploaded to my web site and my You Tube Channel. I also made a couple of discs. I plan on making more of course. I have a step-dad in California that needs to see it.

When I watch the clip, it takes me back to that day. It was an amazing experience. Felicity Huffman treated me like a fellow actor and in turn became my mentor for the day. I was already a huge fan thanks to her Golden Globe and Oscar nominated performance in TransAmerica. Working with her in that short amount of time made be an even bigger fan. She was kind and she was a the professional I aspire to become. It was another day at the office for her I'm sure. For me it was a dream coming true even if it was only for a day. The crew, the director, and everyone that day made me believe that I belonged on that set. What a gift.

SIDE NOTE: You need to watch this show if you haven't already. John Ridley is a genius. I am hooked to this show!

The very next day, my husband sent me over the edge. He sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers to congratulate me on my big debut. Let me tell you I turned into a blithering idiot. I was not expecting that one. What a lucky day for me. Now I have that clip on disc. It will be the best thing on my demo reel to date. It will also be something to send to casting directors. I plan on sending it to the casting director for Grimm. I have friends to stay with there. How cool would it be to have a spot on that show. Maybe one of the vessen can eat my face off!!! I am dreaming of it now friends.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Almost There...

I have been a busy bee. I have editing and polishing book. Putting the finishing touches on a first novel can be daunting. I have a generic cover uploaded while I wait patiently for my friend to finish designing the cover. It has been three years since I started this project. Man has the time gone by. I have also discovered that you can now copyright online. That is convenient. It's been a journey and my birthday is coming up. I am hoping to have the book published by the month's end. OK I was really hoping to get it done by my birthday but I am going to be glad to have it published during this month.

Meanwhile on the acting front, I am agent free as of today. That's right. I have no agent. On the plus side, American Crime starts this Thursday and I am supposed to be in the third episode. Here is to crossing my fingers. I had a scene with Felicity Huffman. She is awesome. I had to up my game when I was on set with her.

If you don't know who Felicity Huffman is, let me school you a bit. She is most recognized for her role on Desperate Housewives as Lynette, the say at home mom that used to have a career. I remember her most from films. One in particular was Transamerica for which she won a Golden Globe and received an Oscar nomination. That's right people! I had a scene with an award winning actress. Transamerica is a touching film about a transgendered woman trying to get to know her son. So you can see that I was beyond excited. Oh yeah! And her husband is William H. Macy. Another favorite of mine.

What I loved the most about that day and my time with her is that she treated me like an actor. For those of you who are not in the acting community, there are stories of walk-on characters being treated poorly. Not on this set. Felicity introduced herself to me in the make-up trailer with a hand shake and a smile. I have been a fan for a long time and yet she extended her hand and said, "Hi, I'm Felicity." We ran the scene three times and then met back up on set. ( note: every time something happened, I sent a text to my sleeping husband. I had to be on set at 6:00 AM )

The director, Gloria Muzzo was also amazing. She made sure that I felt comfortable. She even greeted me with a hug. If that wasn't enough, the crew treated me with the same respect as Felicity and Gloria did. Some of my friends that booked the show also had the same experience. Hands down, that was one of the best acting experiences of my life.

During the shoot we improvised a little and tried it many different ways. It was surreal. At this point in my life I had not expected to work with someone that I admired so much. You can tell by the cheezy grin on my face that it was the best day.

American Crime begins March 5. I am challenging all of you to watch.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Oh the Memories!!!

So what does one do when they are stuck in an airport? This is a question I often ask myself because as an Advanced Healing Artist for L'ANZA, I find myself in a lot of airports. In fact, the last time I counted I have been in over forty airports through out the country in the last year. This past Tuesday I had the privilege
 ( trying to keep it positive ) of being stuck in Chicago O'Hare for an entire day. I have the winter storms on the East Coast to thank for that blissful day in Chicago.

I should have known that I was not going to make it to my destination. The whole week before my trip, I was dreading it. I didn't have any strange danger premonitions. Like I knew I wasn't going to fall out of the sky or get lost in Detroit ( my destination ). I just knew it wasn't going to be a great trip somehow. It's my psychic ability. Or my psycho brain thinks I am psychic. Either way, I had a feeling. It was a feeling of dread or doom. It was more like a, "I'm not sure if this is a good plan," kind of feeling.

I landed in Chicago early which never happens with American Airlines. I was stoked. maybe my premonitions were wrong after all.  I made it to my connecting gate in plenty of time to see that is was delayed. No big deal. There delays to be expected because of the storms. I was different from other passengers. My flight was going to take off as planned. Sometimes I forget that I'm not special and I am just like everyone else, especially when it comes to the diabolical nature of airlines and cancelled flights. And so the saga began...delayed, stand-by, cancelled flight, stand-by and so on until I realized that I was not going to make it to my destination. I wish I had known I was going to spend the day in Chicago. I would have caught a cab and hung out. Maybe I would have eaten a hot dog. The possibilities would have been endless. Instead, ticket agents were mean and I was a blithering idiot and a cry baby by the time I was able to get a return flight home. During the time I was in good spirits, this is what I did:

1. I bought a book that I may or may not read called The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I love the title and it is on the New York Times Bestseller list. I am sure I will eventually read it because I do love the book cover and the title is brilliant.

2. I bought a t-shirt for my husband and my niece. I love to buy t-shirts in the airport. That and key chains.

3. I bought Starbucks coffee. They are everywhere!!!!

4. I walked from gate to gate as they changed and cancelled my flights through out the day ( with all of my crap! I carried on my luggage for this flight because I would only be gone for a night ).

5. I used the 20 minutes of free WiFi I had available to me and watched most of an episode of Friends. That Joey is a crack up and Phoebe is a genius. Plus, wasn't it great when Chandler and Monica hooked up? Good times.

6. I took pictures of the snow outside. It was snowing. Don't judge me. We hardly ever see snow in Texas.

7. I wrote in my journal about nothing. OK I babbled. Same thing.

8. I read two chapters in To Kill A Mockingbird.

9. Facebook entertained me a little. Then Pinterest. I pinned until I could pin no more! I am an expert pinner my friends.

10. I discovered that Chicago O'Hare has the best toilet seats. There is a plastic cover over the seat that changes out when you waive your hand over it. it literally rotates the old one out and puts a nw one on. I was so amazed that I shared a video on Facebook and I will share it here. I'm telling you it was amazing! Oh the wonders of technology. Will it ever cease to amaze me? I think not!

So that was my day in the airport. Who says it has to be boring?  I'm just saying!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Did you miss ME???

Sorry Friends, I have been away and crazy busy the last week. I made a trip to LA for another much needed training with L'ANZA Healing Haircare. For those of you that don't know, I am an artist or educator for this company. I travel around the country helping other stylists like myself to learn and grow in their profession. It was a crazy trip. We stayed at the W Hotel on Hollywood and Vine. Let me tell you that it was weird to be in such a beautiful hotel and then step outside to see a myriad of homeless people. Hollywood has a bizarre combination of wealth and poverty all there together. Here are a list of things I did and enjoyed:

 1. The training was awesome and we donated our time and hair services to women who were a part of the organization Dress For Success. My hope is that we empowered these women to go out and grab their dreams and life by the horns. What a rewarding and humbling experience.

 2. Grauman's Chinese Theatre- this is where all of the foot and hand prints of celebrities are in the concrete. My hand is the same size as Judy Garland. Seeing where Robin Williams's hand and feet had been was also very moving.

3. The Hollywood sign is always an inspiration. It stands for so much more than movies to me. It's about dreams and knowing that they can come true.

 4. Getting to spend time with my L'ANZA family, especially Sue Dicky and the Teals. I love you guys!

 5. Witnessing a crazy person yell and scream in the Starbucks and then completely wipe out the coffee creamers, sugar, and straws. The door had been busted out the night before. Makes you wonder what the liability insurance is on that place.

6. Seeing my friend and fellow actor, Dave Harper and his wife Bond. I am so proud of them for making the move out there.
 6. Taking the lovely head shot that you see here.

7. Of course I need to send a shout out to the flight attendants at Southwest Airlines. They were very helpful when I freaked out on the plane. They are my favorite airline:)

 Update on my novel and it's progress: I am currently waiting on reader feedback and input from my editor. Cross your fingers. I am looking for a release date in March sometime.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I have been a busy bee...

Hello All! Did you miss me? I bet you did. I have been hard at work editing my book. I am so ready to publish but I have to make sure it is in the right kind of shape. An artist's work is never done. In the middle of all that I have finished reading three books. That's not too bad for the 13th day in the new year. I am hoping to catch up to fellow blogger, Austin Kleon. He read 75 last year. I don't know if that is the number I am going to reach but I am going to see how many I can get done. One of the novels I finished reading very quickly was Inspire by Cora Carmack. I have been following her for a while now. I really enjoy her work. She writes for the NA genre. So for me, that means it is a very guilty pleasure. Inspire follows the muse an Goddess, Kalliope. She had been around since forever and she is just trying to make it in the world. She never ages and is extremely beautiful. When she breaks ties with her latest artist, she feels guilt and remorse for hanging on too long in the relationship. In an effort to move forward, she tries to stay away from men. All of that changes when she runs into Wilder. Fate has them tied together and neither of them can deny the strings that are pulling them together. This was an exciting and heated read for me. I am not big into most romance novels, let alone paranormal but this one had me up for the last few nights reading. What a ride. I really enjoy the way Cora writes. The words flow in and of another as she had written parts of it in poetry style. At least it was that way on my Nook. I also love the way she goes back and forth between the perspective of each character. The ending threw for a, "What the ...." moment and now I am ready for the next book in the series. With all of these deity's mixing with humans, I can't wait to see what happens. Right now this is an e-book but it will be in physical form soon. In the mean time, enjoy yourselves out there. Don't get too crazy. I have a trip to LA this weekend for some training. My other life as a hairdresser and Advanced Healing Artist for L'ANZA makes me mobile sometimes. Talk at you soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

On the Road...

My husband and I are making a quick trip to Houston on this first weekend in 2015. We are hauling a$& my friends! As he drives I notice all of the people cell phone driving or as I like to say, drunk driving without the benefit of alcohol. Seriously people! That is like Mike Tyson trying to put lipstick on a pig while practicing an undercut. It ain't pretty. I'm just saying. I've been thinking about what a terrible driver I am and I am so glad I am not driving right now. Road trips are fun though. What has been more fun is singing along to the radio. There is something endearing about listening to a forty year old man song This Girl is on Fire and how he wants "to get the party started". This trip was an impromtu "let's go see Sherri" trip. Sherri is one of my best friends in the whole world. She is by far the most intelligent hill-billy I know and she has all of her teeth😁. We used to work at the same salon years ago. Instead of slinging hair she sells homes now. She is the only real estate agent I know that can give you moonshine as a housewarming gift and make it seem normal. Back in our hair slinging days together, she used to avoid cutting kids hair by charging $50. Someone asked her once if that price was for real and in true West Virginia style she answered, "You're damn right and if you don't tip me I'm gonna be pissed!" God love her. She is one of the few people in my world who can make me laugh until I darn near pee. When we were training to be Redken Educators together ( Hairshow people ), we each got up to introduce ourselves and talk about why we were there. One by one, each hairdresser got up and said, "Oh my God! I like love to do hair more than life itself. In fact I would like totally die if I was not a hairdresser. I eat, sleep, and breathe hair!!!" After each one, there would be clapping and cheering. They were so deep. Sherri was one of the last to get up. "Well," she started in that heavy accent, "I was in the Army and I guess I got tired of throwing grenades. I decided after many different jobs, I needed to do hair ( sounds like hay-air, two syllables )." It was so quiet after that, I thouht I heard a cricket in the distance. After the longest ten seconds ever, there were a couple of pathetic and confused claps. All I could do was smile. God love her. I can't wait to see my friend. Almost there now:)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January 1-Resolutions ( that don't get resolved )

You won't believe the day I had! It was full of chaos and mystery. The guy got the girl, the villain was slain and the day was saved!Translation: I woke up with a nasty headache that I am pretty sure was the wine from our big New Year's Eve Bash in front of the television as we watched Taylor Swift "shake it off." I knew I needed water and food. I actually made breakfast for my husband and myself. Thankfully we both lived. Then he went off to work to slay demons and dragons while I continued to nurse my new year headache. ( My husband is the executive chef at a retirement community and some fool didn't show up. I guess they had a headache too ) I muttered to myself that I had to make some changes. I was not going to make a resolution. Change seems more committed than a resolution. Or so I keep telling myself. And let me tell you I am almost convinced. The day went by in a flash. Between going to the gym ( yes I went ) and getting dressed for no reason other than to go to the mall to buy shoes, I was a busy girl. Change #1 was broken already. I was supposed to get working on my second novel. I have notes and I am already a couple of chapters in!!!Not to fear, when I went into the raped-and-pillaged-shoe-section of Dillard's department store, I was reminded that like most women I know, I needed shoes that were on sale. And indeed I got awesome boots for a bargain price. Now this was was not a part of my list of changes but it seemed viable to me that one must be fashionable as they approach change.Duh! And half the women in North Austin agreed with me as boots and shoes were tossed about the poor sales people and their beautiful shoe department. Dillard's shoe department is like walking through the land of what could be. Think about it, the right pair of shoes and you can accomplish anything. It's true. Shoes make the outfit. I'm just saying. The salesman told me that the morning crowd was rushing in under the gate before they could even raise it all the way. I bet he saw his death ( no pun intended ). I left happy and made a quick trip to the book store. I was able to read over some titles and relax in the cafe and read a few of my selections while a small child in the distance ( back of the store ) screamed at the top of her lungs and threw more than the average wall-eyed fit. It was enough to make me want to take my uterus out and step on it. I made it home, uterus unscathed. That was my day; gym, shoes, scary kids in public, and back home to actually try and make one of my "changes" happen on January 1. So the guy ( husband ) got the girl to make him breakfast, the villain was slain ( new shoes in spite of the poor soles that lay on the sales floor ), and the day was saved ( uterus in tact ). Now onto a little work.