Week #6–The Party

WAY back in the day, I worked for StageSource, as a part time administrative assistant. I remember the parties well. In the Next Move Theatre, reborn as Zanzibar, now Estate. They were big, bold, and fun.

Eighteen months ago, I became the ED of StageSource. Last year we combined two events into a party. This year we decided to just have a party. And so we did. Complete with an excellent DJ, a theater prom theme (“Back in Time”), fun food (made by the committee, very prom like), a photographer. A good crowd came out, and I think they had a good time. And we raised a little money, which is always a good thing. Running a non profit is the hardest thing I have ever done. Ever.

Adding to the party, I went to three plays (par for the course during the season). And all of them celebrated our community in one way or another. Also fabulous. Sometimes running said non-profit doesn’t let you remember why you are doing the work, and why you care so much. Then you see the work.

Life is good. Work is great. Challenging, but great. And sometimes there’s a party.


Week #5 Tace Baker!

Behind, but still collecting fabulous moments. Week #5 was Tace Baker’s book launch for SPEAKING OF MURDER. Tace, aka Edith Maxwell, is one of my Sisters in Crime. I read SPEAKING OF MURDER in an earlier version, and gave Edith some notes. She was kind enough to mention me in the acknowledgements, which is really cool.

Edith had to change her pen name for this book because she has a series coming out next year from Kensington under her own name, and get this contract afterwards. It is confusing, but it happens a lot.

So, the event deserves more, but I am behind in the blog. Suffice it to say Yay Edith/Tace!!!

Week #4–The Pie Project

During week #4 there were a couple of options for my Fabulous Project. I saw GOOD PEOPLE at the Huntington Theatre Company–a wonderful show. Had a couple of meals with friends. But the winner? I started my Pie Project.

Over Labor Day weekend my nieces spent an overnight. The next morning we baked scones. Since they are almost ten, baking is more active and less passive than it used to be. We talk about measurements, and the importance of cutting butter into dough correctly, and the value of the pastry cutter to do just that. I talked about my grandmother, and how she passed down recipes. I showed them one of them, a well worn recipe card with a yellowed recipe from “Confidential Chat”, annotated by Grandma. She always “fixed” recipes. “Add more cocoa”, “use half butter, half Crisco”, “may need more milk, but be careful”, “increase cooking time”, “decrease temperature for the last half hour” and on and on.

While we were mixing, I talked about Grandma’s pies. My father loved her pies (she was his mother-in-law, so this was an earned love), especially her apple pie. I can replicate it–or come very close. My father asks that I make the Christmas pies, which I do.

“Is is a secret recipe?”

“No, not a secret. I’ll show you some time.”


And so the Pie Project was born. We decided that during this school year we would get together and make a different pie every month. And since we visited my parents over the weekend, and the girls had gone apple picking the prior weekend, we decided to start with Grandma’s specialty. Apple pie.

Baking a pie is a great opportunity for conversation. We talked about math. We talked about chopping v. slicing v. mincing. We talked about Grandma. And we talked about spice. And in between we caught up on school, friends, fourth grade fashion, and curly v. straight hair. And I told them the secret. 2t of cinnamon and 1/2 t nutmeg. Overspice the apples.

The pie was great. But baking the pie? Fabulous.

Week #3–Billy

This week there were a few contenders for fabulous. I saw a couple of shows, went to an event for RAGTIME (which is going to be at the Strand later this month). But my fabulous event of the week was going to see Billy. That’s Billy Drummond. Not the musician. My hairdresser.

I have been going to Billy since my freshman year of college. That makes it 32 years. Thirty. Two. YEARS. It scares me to even type that. We’ve known each other during a lot of life. Good, and bad. I’ve strayed a couple of times, trying to save some money, or go closer to work. But I’ve always gone back. Billy gives a truly great haircut.

About five years ago I decided to stop dyeing my hair. Now, Billy taught me how to dye my hair way back in the day. Working in the arts, having him dye it wasn’t in the budget. He has talked me through different colors. Applauded the burgundy. Cautioned the red (which turned pink at the roots). Talked me through the difference between ash and golden colors. Gave me tips on mixing.

I wear my hair very short, since it doesn’t grown down but rather grows out. (He also talked me through trying to grow it long a couple of times, and even one attempt at straightening it. It lasted two days.) When your hair is very short, your roots show quickly. And I was getting sick of touching it up. I also wanted to know what I looked like with white or gray hair. My father’s mother, whom I never knew, had stunning white hair and blue eyes. I have the blue eyes, and decided to test the hair.

Billy wasn’t thrilled with the idea. I didn’t tell him at first. I just dyed it lighter a couple of times. And then I let my hair go for a bit, and decided to get it cut REALLY short during the summer, to try and avoid the awkward growing out stage. And then keep it really short until the ends were clear. When we discussed it, he just shook his head. “You’ll look older than you are.” “Is this a good idea while you are still single?” “It is going to wash you out.” “White hair can yellow.”

Eventually he came around. And now admits that he was wrong. Of course, he helps me by giving me a fun, funky, spiky cut. When you have gray hair, you need to keep up with the cut.

But I was well past my expiration date on the fun, funky cut. Even though Billy’s cuts last a long time, my hair is so short that when it gets too long I look like a cross between Carl Perkins and George Washington. And I have to use a ton of product so it doesn’t take over. Saturday morning (the last day of week #3) I woke up, and called Dellaria. Did he have an opening. He did, at 1:30.

And so I went over to Kenmore, and visited Billy for the umpteenth time. We caught up on each other’s lives. And he cut, and thinned, and razored my hair into a new and fabulous shape.  And I remembered, as I always do, the miracle that is a Billy cut.  I felt lighter, younger, and prettier.  I had a weekend with work events, and I was more than ready for it.

So Billy wins my fabulous event this week. I won’t nominate him every time I visit him, but he would win.

Week #2 Celebrating Success

Week #2 had a few contenders for my Fabulous Project. I went to a stunning production of a new play, Marie Antoinette at the ART, and a revival of one of my favorites, Crimes of the Heart at Gloucester Stage. And I spent some time with friends afterwards, which definitely makes them contenders.

But I also went to Brookline Booksmith on Wednesday and the Concord Bookshop on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the book releases of two friends. Both of them are mentioned in this picture.

Hank Phillippi Ryan is an Emmy-winning reporter who has created a second career for herself as a mystery novelist. She is very good at it. She has a three book series about report Charlie McNally. But this week she released The Other Woman, the first in a new series. It is getting wonderful reviews.

Hank is also one of my Sisters in Crime. We are both on the board of the New England chapter, and she is the president elect of the national chapter.

Ilie Ruby and I took two Grub Street classes together years ago. One was wonderful. The other, not so much. I was just starting to take myself seriously as a writer, and Ilie was a great cheerleader, especially during the not so much class. She does not write mysteries. She is a literary writer, with magic realism tones. We lost contact, but found each other again (via Facebook) when her first book, The Language of Trees, came out. And on Sunday I went to her reading at the Concord Bookshop to celebrate the release of The Salt God’s Daughter.

Though I am a Kindle user, I bought both of these wonderful writers’ books. And had them sign them. There is nothing better than celebrating the success of a friend. Or two. Definitely fabulous.


Week One #1 Codzilla with Friends

In 2010 I checked off a bucket list item. I went to Egypt. It had been a dream of mine, and the trip did not disappoint. Making it even more special, I traveled with a group from Harvard, lead by the fabulous Sue Weaver Schopft. Sue is a professor and bon vivant who regularly ties spring break trips with a class. So, in addition to the trip itself, we had an Egyptian guide who traveled with us and gave us lectures.

As if the trip itself wasn’t enough, I made new friends. Angela, Deb, Meghan, Rhonda, and I keep in touch, and try to see each other every so often. They are all on my “theater date” list–since I go to so many shows, I have a group of friends I invite to go with me. On occasion we have group dinners or outings, but more often someone sends out an email asking “who wants to” and one of two of us say “me!”

When Deb asked who wanted to go on Codzilla, I said yes. I had no idea what Codzilla was, but I learned. And it became the fabulous item of the week. A high speed boat with loud music, doing a passing “tour” of the harbor, and then doing donuts around and around. I spent my actual birthday at Canobie Lake Park (another fabulous day), and I do love rides. And this was a ride. Happily, we all had rain ponchos (which worked well enough for me, though Megan got soaked. And we wore seatbelts.

Afterwards, we walked over to the North End and had dinner. It was really, really lovely. I don’t even remember the name of the restaurant. Honestly, in the North End it doesn’t much matter. But it was a wonderful way to end the week. And a great way to start the Fabulous Project.

The Year of Fabulous

At the end of August I turned 50. I have a wonderful life, am blessed, and very grateful. But, 50 gives a girl pause.

And so, pause I did.

And I decided to use the pause to refocus my blog. Every week I am going to blog about something fabulous I did, or experienced. I am going to celebrate my fabulous life, mindfully.

I am taking this step for a few reasons. First, I want to work on this blog, but since I write for work, and for Sisters in Crime, and for NHWN, I needed to find something new.

Second, I got three “fabulous” gifts for my birthday.
One from my cousin, a book called “Fifty and Fabulous”. Two from my sister, a pink sash that read “Another Year of Fabulous”. And three, a stunning cake from another friend, also pink, that looked like a wrapped gift. The “tag” said “Another Year of Fabulous”. And so I took the hint.

Third, as someone else said, the days are long but the months fly by. A weekly meditation on how my life is fabulous can only be a good thing. My friend Ruth has been writing a blog for 830 days and counting called “All That Can Happen in a Thousand Days”. Her journey has been huge. And reading about it has been inspiring, to say the least. We had a long conversation about how much she has changed over the course of this journey. Logging my journey on this blog will be a reminder of the blessings of my life.

I have two weeks of fabulousness to catch up on, and then I will be back on track with Sunday posts.

Thanks for reading.