Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gearing up for 2009

Hello all,
Greetings from my easy chair with my swollen, vasculitis ravaged legs and feet perched on an ottoman for as much comfort as I can muster. That along with pain medication is helping me to get past the hitch in my get along.

As 2009 creeps up on us, I wanted to be the first to wish everyone a very Healthy, Happy, Wealthy and Wise New Year. We've had some weirdness in 2008, but I'm hoping for better things to come in '09.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, I am posting my newest Presskit trailer. I'll be posting a bit more regularly now that I am not incapacitated in the hospital.

Cheers Everyone!~

Monday, December 22, 2008

Parkinson's has a new playmate...

I have to say in the last several months or more, I haven't been feeling myself. I am not one to focus on things like that unless it knocks me for a loop. Consider my loop thoroughly knocked. Now, when my Young Onset Parkinson's disease being my only malady, my body said, "Nah, I think you can handle one more..." And so it goes. I have what is termed as "Churg Strauss Syndrome," which is a disease that falls under the general heading of "Vasculitis".

This isn't me, but close enough. I broke out in the worst case of rash, sores and other grossness all over my body a couple of weeks or more and it landed me squarely in the hospital for a week. I took every blood test known to mankind (literally) as well as had a biopsy of my rash, steroids on drip and more.

Oh, and did I mention that I was and am on so much steroid that I have to take 2 forms of insulin to keep my blood sugar from skyrocketing from all this? Needless to say, this isn't fun. I go to the dr tomorrow to see how I am doing...the rash, sores and other grossness are not quite so "pronounced" but still having trouble walking and so on. Bleh.

Oh well....I guess my Parkinson's will have a new playmate. Parkinson's, meet Vasculitis (Churg Strauss Syndrome). Where shakiness and bad balance meets neuropathy and pain.


More Freaking Musings Later-

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Uncanniness of Theosophy

I've always considered myself a Theosophist rather than Christian or a subset of religion such as Methodist, Baptist etc. For those who wonder what the heck a "Theosophist" is, it is one who embraces all religions and feel that each has a truth. It's always made more sense to me.

It's funny, I've been on this earth 46 years and counting and it just dawned on me for some reason. I asked Alan Solomon, my co-writer what my name would look like in Chinese and what it meant. I always wonder about that. Hey, Kevin Costner wanted to know what his name was in Native American tongue, didn't he?

Well, it made me think back to my mother telling me the story of how she knew she was going to become pregnant with me. She hadn't even been pronounced pregnant yet by her doctor! She had been praying for a child for a long time and during her prayers, she said she heard a voice that shook her to the soul. "Thou shalt have a Deborah."

At that time, (early 60's) she had never heard of a woman called Deborah in the Bible. Her and my grandmother scoured the Bible and finally found a mention of her. Actually, I found a great site that gives more info about her. Here is a snippet:

The popular prophet Deborah is one of the few female role models in the Tanakh, where she exemplifies a Hebrew woman possessed of respect, authority, leadership and decisiveness. To some of the rabbis such strong character in a woman was very threatening. Rabbi Nahman, in his dislike of "strong women" twists the true translation of her name from "bee "to "wasp" (Genesis Rabbah 18:1).

This resistance to women in an active role by male commentators is one factor that makes it difficult to uncover the true memory and significance of the first biblical Deborah. Let us proceed to examine this first, decidedly overshadowed, Deborah.

And Dvorah, the nurse of Rivka died, and she was buried below Beth-el- underneath the oak, and he called the name of it the Oak of Crying. (Genesis 35:8) Here is the webpage for more info: The First Deborah

Here is what is interesting; the Chinese version of my name and meaning is similar to the Bible's meaning of "Deborah". See below for the actual Chinese spelling and explanation from Alan Solomon:

My New Name: 辛 丽军
I had wondered about the Chinese writing that appeared next to Alan's name one day and I asked him, "Hey, what would my name look like?

What does 'Taryn' mean in Chinese?"Ask and you shall recieve as I always say. For some reason, I can't post the Chinese writing into this post, but at least it is showing in the title.

Xin is my surname and LiJun is my first name. Taryn is seen here as being a young pretty soldier, so your first name is LiJun which means beautiful army .... Xin is the nearest meaning to Simpson.

Don't even get me started about numerology, black holes, dimensions and the like.
God, there is so much we don't know...
More Musings Later-

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Nocturnal Musings and Such...

Well, another Thanksgiving gone by...I thought I would blog about a few things tonight that I am thinking of for some reason or another.

On the lighter side of things: Are you as hooked on "Dancing with the Stars" as I am??? I can tell you there is one dancer on there that tells me if I were 20 years younger, I would be doing some serious swooning. His dancing shoes would replace my Peter Frampton poster for sure.

I'm speaking of Derek Hough. Not only is he a tremendous dancer, he is a musician as well. In Showbiz, this is what is called "A Triple Threat". Dancer, Actor, Singer. For those who don't know his background, he grew up in Utah until the age of 12 and then moved to London to study with his dance teacher. He became a world champion dancer and danced and sang in "Footloose" on London's West End. Derek is very accomplished and is only (gulp) 23 years old. I'm feeling very old......

Did anyone watch "Rosie Live"?

Oh my God. I watched it while partially covering my eyes with my hands. The first part of the show featured Liza Minnelli. Now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Liza. Ask anyone. I know everything about the woman. But it pains me to watch her try to dance and sing as she did 20 years ago. I say this with a heavy heart....RETIRE ALREADY. You have sung and danced about your last "Money Tree", "Blue Skies", "Cabaret", and "Liza with a Z".

I know every song in her catalog by heart. Now take your fedora off and peel off your eyelashes. Atta girl.

Rosie - Shame on you...the first rule in the Homo handbook is to always make the gay icons look fabulous. Even if they don't.
George McIntyre - No, he isn't famous. I guess in his own way, he was famous to those of us who used to frequent his bar, "George's Pub".

When I first met George, I was asking directions to his place while on the road. My partner and I showed up and walked in and there was a very handsome young man with blond hair smiling at us. I smiled back and thought to myself, Wow, the owner of George's knew what he was doing when he hired this guy...he was gorgeous. Definitely a draw for a gay bar.

Imagine my surprise when this good looking guy tells me he is the owner of the Pub!

I remember one year in particular, alot of his regulars had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. He knew what that was like as he was originally from upstate New York and drove until he "got sick of it" and landed in Nashville. He lived in his car for awhile and finally got some jobs and saved money until he bought this beat up old bar. I remember he would call his sister in Vermont and wish her happy holidays but that was the only family he really had. His being gay just didn't go over in a small town.

Anyway, George asked if we would like to have Thanksgiving at the Pub and bring a covered dish? Sure! Before we knew it, everyone heard about it, and those who weren't welcomed by their families went to George's. There was a tremendous amount of food and everyone was in a great mood. He and I share a favorite song from "The Color Purple" and he and I would quote lines from that movie like it was an addition to the Bible.

He put on the CD and began singing along to "God is Trying to Tell You Something," and if you saw the film...the same message applied on the big screen as in a little Pub in Nashville, TN. Where being yourself wasn't always so wonderful. But, that Thanksgiving, it was.

He died from cancer in 2006.

Happy Thanksgiving, George.

"...You ugly, Miss Celie, you sho' is ugly.../Dear God, I may be ugly, but I'm still here..." The Color Purple

More Musings Later-

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Moments in this Life that shaped ME

Dancing as Donny & Marie with my sister in our kitchen when we were kids.

When I was a kid, I was told that I was "beyond my years" as a musician. Everyone seem to know my name.

When I went with my father to run some errands, he bumped into a coworker who smiled at me and asked, "And who is this little lady?" My father told him my name, but didn't know anything else he was asked about me. I felt embarrassed and didn't know why.

Growing up with my cousins, we were as close as brothers and sisters. Holidays were so much fun.

When my mother told me when I was 13 years old, she and my father were getting a divorce, I told her, "I guess it's time you did something for yourself."

Going on errands to the mall with my father and somehow bumping into my aunt each time. The moment "I figured it out".

March 3,4,5, 1980 - Auditioned at Juilliard in New York City. First plane ride, first time to New York. I auditioned, took a piano barrier and a theory test. Was I prepared? Hell no.

The night of March 3rd, I was in a diner across the street from Lincoln Center/Juilliard. I had auditioned that day amid thousands of others. The naive Texas kid. I suddenly hear a knock on the window and see the man I auditioned for...He gives me a thumbs up and waves as he moves back into the crowd. I couldn't say anything. How could he possibly remember me? I didn't quit smiling for a week after that.

The life I led after the divorce.

Watching my sister cajun dance with my grandfather.

As a kid, I looked into my aunt's eyes and knew she wasn't "quite right."

Denying who I was for so many years.

The day I faced it and accepted it. It nearly broke me.

The day Hank died.

The day Fred died.

The first time I admitted to myself that I was in love with my partner.

Dealing with all the "crap" that seems to come with the tag, "gay".

Climbing out of my bedroom window to get away from my step-father.

Confronting my father about the divorce.

Moving to Nashville, TN
Office politics and how I let it take too much from me. Never again.

The day I was diagnosed with Parkinson's and feeling so fragile about it.

The day my partner and I went to New York City and celebrated ourselves.

The day I swam in the West Indies ocean (Turks & Caicos).

It took all of the above and more to become...ME

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TV Commercials & Shows and the Eye Roll Scale

Ok, perhaps "hate" is a bit too about really, really dislike? I'd have to say that the first commercial that comes to mind is no...wait, let me give you clues. She's a well-known actress and she only has to take a pill once a month.

Sally Field and Boniva
If I see or hear Sally Field yammer on about "only" having to take one pill once a month for her osteoarthritus, I will scream. Don't get me wrong, that's a painful and terrible disease. BUT, the fact that she is saying it is a hardship to swallow one freaking pill a day kills me. I suppose because I swallow a fist full of pills a couple of times a day.

I also can't stand it when she pretends to "exercise" which is comprised of stretching, lame lifting of weights and then sitting on the floor laughing while flipping her hair.

I like to rate the aggravation level on a scale of 1 - 5 "eye rolls".
Rating: This one is a 5 eye roller. *****
Extreme Makeover - Ty Pennington

If I see Ty Pennington anywhere NEAR a bullhorn, I will personally force it down his throat. I don't like yelling and I especially don't like it when this guy is running all over the place shouting into an amplified sound device.

Rating: I give it a 3 eye roll. ***
Extreme Maker - in general
This show does great work on a philanthropic level and I think that is fabulous. BUT, I am so tired of watching these designer do-gooders getting choked up every single week to the point of tears on every job they do. The blond do-gooder has been on every home and decor show on television. She is the worst about boo-hooing and if there is a little girl involved with remodeling her room, she always reiterates, "I'm gonna give her the most awesome room any little girl could want. She will feel like a princess." All the while, she is crying about it. She irks me the most I wait, the guy who is a carpenter and wears glasses. He's the worst cryer. I sometimes wonder what he must be like when he's at home. I mean, can he really cope in every day life?

Rating: 4 eye-rolls ****
The commercial for dental services puzzles me. It seems that it is a commercial for someone needing to go to the dentist for routine services such as fillings, caps, pulling a tooth, etc. But every person that is talking about it on this commercial has false teeth. I realize a dentist is needed to convert to false teeth, but jeez....aren't you done with the dentist after that?

Rating: 2 eye-rolls **
Bart Durham TV Commercials

For those not in the Nashville area, Bart is an attorney specializing in personal injury. You get the picture. He can come up with some pretty creative ways to get attention with a commercial.

I particularly favor "The Soap Opera" which never said it was a soap opera, it just appeared on screen as a commercial in mid-story without prior notice. So, it always seemed that it was a mistake by the programming guy at the tv station. The actors were awful and if I were looking for an attorney for my injuries, this commerical wouldn't make me feel very good about choosing Bart. That's just me.
Rating: 1 eye-roll and groan. * 0 (I call'sem likes I see'sem)
The View - Elizabeth Hasselbeck
You knew it was coming, didn't you? I like this show in general, but I have to say that Elizabeth irritates the life out of me. Particularly on the "Hot Topics" segment. Everyone knows she is a Repub...Repub...I'm sorry I can't say it. I'm too much of a Democrat. Having said that, she feels the need to screech and shout above everyone else on the show.

There is more to her than her "conservative" rhetoric. She presents herself in a smug, judgemental and viscious way that is not becoming to her. When her and Rosie were shouting at each other that fateful day, (no, I don't condone Rosie's behavior either) she seemed to revel in the furor and upheaval.

I'll be honest, I don't like her. She brings nothing to the show. Get rid of her. Oh, and while you're at it, get rid of Barbara Walters too. (Why would a much respected journalist stoop to such a level and publish her account of an affair with a married man? and other sexual conquests?). I'm with Rosie, she needs to retire.
Rating: 5 eye-rolls, 2 groans and click of the channel. ***** 00 !

(I can make up these ratings if I want...)
More Musings Later-

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Watching Until My Eyes Were Filled with Tears

I've written about growing up in the South many times before this post. But as faithful readers will know, some things about growing up in the South were painful.

I grew up in southeast Texas where the weather was so hot, that it took considerable effort to move about. The humidity was so heavy that it was like breathing water. The only thanks for enduring the weather and conditions was the fact that living in such a tropical climate insured everyone a youthful appearance. Although I wasn't concerned with issues such as these.

My days were spent playing outside, throwing a ball around with a friend, or riding a bike up and down my street. That was my youth, carefree and void of the harsher things in life.

The first time I remember becoming an adult, I was by myself and bouncing a ball on the driveway. The sun was almost ready to set and cicadas were just starting their screeching for the evening. I stopped bouncing the ball and listened to them. In the distance, I could hear what appeared to be an old, rattled truck coming down the road. I didn't know if the City was spraying for mosquitoes are not. The act that I believe brought on my Parkinson's disease. As the noise got closer, I decided it couldn't be a government truck. It had to be a flatbed truck.

Finally, the truck slowly came down my street and on back of this truck were huge pieces of lumber and several men standing up, holding on to the cab for stability. 2 of the men saw me and began shouting propaganda that was overwhelmingly filled with hate. It burned my ears as they continued shouting. I noticed all my neighbors quickly went inside their homes. They were such a sight. Their white robes billowing in the wind and their masks carefully hiding their faces. Either from shame or blame. I knew they would be building crosses and burning them in a black family's yard. Later that evening, I watched the news and saw the crosses burning against the sienna sky. The glowing images danced across my face as I sat in the dark.

I continued watching until my eyes were filled with tears.

Quite a few years later, I visited Memphis, TN. I stood on Beale Street around twilight and noticed that tv stations were gathered and crowds of people were in the streets. I checked the date for a holiday. It was April 4th. The day Martin Luther King was assassinated.

I watched the crowd of mostly black people fill the streets with heavy hearts. The images I saw on tv years ago were again in front of me. The young man was now an old man carrying the same sign hung from his shoulders. "I Am A Man." I watched him walk Beale Street with eyes so sad that when he saw me staring he looked at me and tried to muster a respectful nod. I nodded back wondering how he had the determination to keep walking. Surely he must be tired, I thought. I watched him continue to shuffle down Beale against the sienna sky.

I watched until my eyes were filled with tears.


Last night, I silently mused about how warm it was for November in Tennessee. The heat isn't as bad here as it was in Texas, so I was thankful for that. The humidity just wasn't as intense as I remembered it in Groves, Texas. I sat in my easy chair and watched the news. It was another election year where I told others that I "held my nose" and voted Democrat as I always do. I just didn't know much about this man and I really wanted a woman to win the presidency. She had more of a chance than him. She was white, experienced and well....white. Sad to say, that is what it comes down to these days. I continued watching tv that night in the dark waiting for election results. I expected it to be the next day before we knew the winner. I was wrong.

The newsman began to tear up a bit and announced, "Ladies and Gentleman, we have just elected the first African American as president of the United States." I never thought he had a real chance. I voted for him, but I never thought it would actually happen. The camera moved away from the newsman and began to show people gathering at a park in Chicago, Illinois waiting for this man to speak.

The sky was clear and the wind was cool. The evening sky was bathed in silky soothing colors. Far removed from sienna which reminded me of dirt which sometimes soils our hands from the journey we have taken. But not tonight. The images of the news danced across my face in the darkness of my living room and the people I saw were wondrous to me. They showed New York, Ohio, Chicago, Indonesia, Kenya and other countries across the world. People of all colors, creed, and religions hugged one another. Because they had hope.

I thought back to when I saw those men of the KKK in my hometown.

I kept watching until my eyes were filled with tears.


If I know one thing; it is this: YES WE CAN.

More Musings Later-

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Remember When?

It's amazing when you get a bit older, just how much things change....for instance:

Remember when:
Every store had Layaway?

When there wasn't credit cards?

When the pharmacy delivered to your home?

When there weren't any malls?

No one had a computer in the home?

The internet didn't exist?

Microwaves were the rage and were HUGE?

People started buying dishwashers?

Kids played outdoors after school and on the weekends?

The average rock concert was approximately $7.50

Everybody had a VW bug?

You filled your gas tank according to the last number on your license plate?

You had to type your term papers on a typewriter?

You felt like you were in a bad Jetson's movie when you got your first huge computer.

Your first cell phone was the size of a duffel bag?

You emailed someone for the first time?

That people's phone numbers started with letters and then numbers? (YU5-1111).

You rode on an airplane for the first time?

You had a drink of your first beer or cocktail?

You suddenly realize as you've gotten older, that your family is growing older too.

You learned the truth about Santa Claus?

you had your first date?

You read a book that wasn't required for school?

You came to realize you are all grown up, yet you feel like you should know more. Oy.

More Musings Later-

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ever had South in Your Mouth?

Some of my favorites:
SIM (South in Mouth): Don't give me the labor pains, just give me the baby!
Translation: Don't tell me every little thing that happened. Just the facts!
SIM: Land the plane!
Translation: Get to the point!
SIM: We're in a Mell-uva-Hess!
Translation: Code for "We're in a Hell of a Mess"
SIM: (If you have a cold, snort) Get up there, dang it! 'Fore I eatcha!
Translation: I shudder to even think about it. Moving on.
SIM: Laripin good! (sp?)
Translation: That was extremely good!
SIM: "Bless Yore Heart"
Translation: You're a Moron.
SIM: Lipstick and Paint makes you plenty of what you ain't
Translation: True beauty is not found by wearing makeup
SIM Honorary Southerner - Dolly Parton

"It takes alot of money to look this cheap,"
Dolly Parton to Zubin Mehta at the Kennedy Center Honors
"If I couldn't beller for a living, I don't know what I'd do..."
Dolly Parton on her singing career
More Musings Later-

A Two-Fold Musing

Okay. I look at the hits on this blog every so often and I see the numbers increase from month to month. Surely, someone is a regular reader? If you look to your right - you will see a widget that asks if you read this blog regularly and to be a "follower". See it? Please sign up...I'm feeling awfully lame with a big fat zero over there. Moving on.

Yes, I'm probably one of the only females that watches ESPN religiously (especially during football season). The other night, I was watching it at a restaurant (an event that has become rare lately) and I noticed that my beloved TITANS were listed as one of the talking points within 60 seconds. I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn't seeing things....WOW, I'm used to the sportscasters smirking about how bad our team is?

So, now we are getting some respect...but wait, just when I thought things couldn't get any better, they announce THE TITANS ARE THE ONLY TEAM IN THE NFL THAT IS UNDEFEATED. Yes, you read that correctly. The team that won the super bowl recently lost a game (Giants).

Our team is rock-solid thanks to our incredible defense
I'm stunned. Does this mean...? Could it be an indicator....? Are we Super Bowl bound?

I'll keep ya posted...

More Musings Later-

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Politics and Other Ugly Business

Can we all say loud and proud, WE ARE FREAKING SICK OF POLITICS!!!
God, I know I am. The catch phrases, the whir of photo ops, shaking of hands, pointing fingers, mud slinging, slogans and such are just flooding my head. It seems everyone thinks YES WE CAN when others feel they want a straight talker. I'm going to throw my 2 cents in on this race and I'm sure no one will think it is profound but me....but enough already.
Barack Obama: I think of his entire family, I like his wife, Michelle the best. She seems to be a straightforward, thoughtful person. Barack? He's a passionate speaker and I don't doubt that he is very sincere. But, he's a politician. He's got questionable associations (in my humble opinion) professionally and personally. I feel like the teacher in Charlie Brown's clas room, (Wah Wah Waaaaahhhh). Nonetheless, it concerns me.

Is he a Jimmy Carter that was truly a decent man and just surrounded himself with bad people? Who knows? We won't know until he becomes president and see what the other side reveals when they start digging for dirt. I'll be voting for Obama with my nose held. I'm a Democrat and always will be. I might add that it truly pisses me off that he is the first black man to run for president and I hoped I would feel...well, better about it than I do. I don't get warm fuzzy feelings from him. I may be totally wrong, but I don't think so. YES WE CAN! So Barack, Can you?

The other side of the ticket is John McCain: Everybody says this, but ya have to take your hat off to the man. He has been through hell and back as a POW. I didn't realize to what extent of torture he went through and all I can say is, God Bless you, man. Two long years of solitary confinement, maming his shoulders and I'm sure alot more. You can't tell me that when these men went to war and especially endured this type of treatment, that they are mentally sound. They're human...they've given too much already. That's one reason I feel he shouldn't be president. After going through all of that trauma, pain and mental/physical abuse...why put yourself through a very stressful job such as president when you are in your 70's?

You're probably thinking, "Well, Ronald Reagan did it." point exactly. He was a flipping actor...and, he played his part beautifully.

Also, McCain is scary...he wants to invade any country he can think of...see? I think the abuse he suffered as a POW is at work here. He's also has bad judgement. Be serious...Palin? She is a joke, and she gets the most laughs every Saturday night on NBC. I guess she has taken over as "Republican Babe" from Ann Coulter.

What I would have given to ask a very blunt and pointed question to both of the candidates when they were in Nashville.

Here's what my question would be: "WithOUT all of the bullshit spin...what is on your agenda for the first 100 days? It better be the economy, send our troops home from Iraq and healthcare." And, the minute Obama or McCain start with the "My Friends" or "Thank you, Taryn for asking this question," I would grab Tom Brokaw's buzzer and remind them. "NO Bullshit! Answer the question! And don't give me crap about healthcare is too expensive...Other countries manage to do it, we can too."

I'm Taryn and I approve this message.

More Musings Later-

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Mother Cracks Me Up...

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you've no doubt noticed that I'm opinionated. (stop laughing.) Yes, I know that I am opinionated and headstrong (a nicer word than stubborn).

How did I get this way? Well, I think you are born with these qualities to an extent, but I also think your parents help you to cultivate your qualities so that you are the best individual you can be. So, I'm blaming my Mom all the way! LOL. There are lots of qualities that I love about my mother, but one of them is her practical advice and the other is her wicked, sarcastic sense of humor. It makes me chuckle for days afterward when I think about it.

You're probably wondering what types of advice she has given me over the years that I have taken to heart:

Money: Save it. Enjoy your money, but don't spend every nickel you have. If you're buying a home, don't overbuy. Keep your house note within reason. Use the envelope system if necessary. I learned about this long before dear ole Dave Ramsey had a radio show. The envelope system is simply, putting cash into an envelope earmarked for budgeted items such as groceries, prescriptions and so on. It keeps you within budget and keeps you away from credit cards. This money advice has been passed down from my grandmother who was also good with saving money.

Working: Do your best. Pure and simple. I've tried to do this each day of my working life. ***Also, this pearl of wisdom: Learn a trade that will allow you to make a living. Don't rely on a spouse or anyone else to make your way for you. Whether that trade was bricklaying or working in an office, she was insistent that it was the first step of reaching for your dreams. Me? the thought of going back to Corporate America makes me nauseaus, but you know what? I could do it if the writing thing were to go sour. This wisdom she gave me gives you a sense of power within yourself. Make your own way...

Okay, enough serious stuff. My mother is hilarious. I remember when we were watching "Mr. Belvedere" on television one day (the older version) and there was a scene where Clifton Webb was trying to control the children at the kitchen table. He gave all the "parental" discipline in front of the parents and then when the parents left for work, he reduced himself to the childrens' level by behaving exactly as they were. You had to see it to get what I'm talking about, but my mother howled at that scene! That's when I knew that she would have loved to do that with me as I was growing up! Then I began to cry I was laughing so hard!

Mother's Day: My sister and I took my Mom and my grandmother to Houston one Mother's Day for a surprise celebration. Well, we decided to take them to a Chippendale show. Somehow, my mother knew before hand. So, we made sure that no one told my grandmother. She had very poor vision and my mother took her glasses from her so she wouldn't know where my sister was driving. We kept describing the scenery during the drive hoping to throw her off and it worked beautifully. She thought we were in Lake Charles, Louisiana instead of Houston, Texas!

When we got to the club, my mother led my grandmother into the club which was dimly lit with loud music. My mother roamed around checking out the mostly naked men dancing on tables and picked one out. She guided my grandmother to stand right by the table where he was shaking his tush. She gave her a fistful of single dollar bills and then slowly put her glasses on. "That's a man's butt! Oooooo!" She squealed and began tipping almost immediately as she sipped something with fruit juice and rum. Just as she recognized that it was a man's butt, the camera began clicking. My grandmother looked like a kid in a candy store!

A Cacophony: My mom loves the country and when we moved to that setting, she began decorating and acquiring everything "country" motif. She even owned a basset hound and I, a beagle hound. As we were standing outside one evening, we heard a sudden outburst of dogs barking in our neighborhood which set the cows off and they began mooing in response. My mother thought aloud, "Fred (my beagle) has set off a cacophony of sound," she said with a very serious, observant face. I laughed as I looked at the other women in our neighborhood. I seriously doubted if that was their first thought! Did I say my mother was incredibly smart?

Ban-Pu-Ding - We were driving around one day near Austin, Texas some years ago, and on the way back home, we spotted what looked to be a very old business that was vamped into a Dairy Queen chain. We decided to get a cone for the road. As we pulled around to the drive-in, A big sign advertised, "BAN PU DING - TRY SOME". My mother read the sign and was puzzled. She turned to me and asked, "Since when did Dairy Queen carry Asian desserts?" she wondered. I shrug and say I don't know.

We pulled around to the drive through and she decides that the BAN PU DING is what she wants. So she gives her order and their is silence on the speaker. "Ma'am, can you repeat your order?" the window clerk asked. So she did. More silence. Then, the clerk made sense of it all, finally.

"Ma'am, we runned out of letters, that is all we could spell of Banana Pudding," I still hoo-ha over that.
Music - My Mom was the "cool Mom" in my growing up years. So, we had alot of friends from school over to our house. She was always on top of the music scene. I remember when my sister and some apartment neighbors got together and her neighbor played a tune for her to see if she knew who it was. She wasn't sure. My mother, however had a knowing look on her face. Most kids worry about their mothers throwing out old timer names and "embarrassing" them. Not my mother...she kept me abreast of the latest in my culture.

Finally, the neighbor asked my mom, "Do you know who this is?" And my mother nodded yes. "Kid Rock, I love him! He can rap, sing, play instruments, he's very talented." The neighbors were dumbfounded at our hip mom. He slaps in another CD..."Who is this?" testing her again in disbelief. "Easy one! Metallica, "Sad but True," Again, I learned about this tune from my mom.

Lighten Up! My mother was seated in front of her makeup mirror in our bathroom, putting on makeup. I was sitting on the edge of the tub talking to her. I glanced at the toilet paper holder and noticed there was writing on our toilet paper. I walk over and someone in our house copied a commercial on TV by writing on the toilet paper with a magic marker. I made a face and remarked, "This is downright wasteful!" My mother continued putting on her makeup and said, "Lighten up, kid...are you sure you're not 40 instead of 18?"

MS: Yep, my Mom has Multiple Sclerosis. Just call us the "Neurological kids". Anyway, a few weeks ago, she fell in the yard and couldn't get up. My sister was trying to think of a way to get her up without pulling on her, cause she just went through chemo and wasn't supposed to lift anything. (Hmmm, MS, PD and Cancer, we're a healthy lot). Well, some little kids from across the street came over and in their innocence, offered to help my mother up. When she was relaying this to me, I thought of Mr. Belvedere. She was nice to the children, but commented to my sister, "Oh give me a break! I would crush their little heads into the ground if I used them to get up!" Cue the sticking out of the tongue.

The grooming of a Writer: My Mother should have pursued writing for a living. She is the one that introduced my sister and I to the library at a young age. She read to us as small children. She bought the hard cover book to "A Long Cold Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder which began my journey in the writing field. She was my sounding board for my first book and countless poems I had written. She inspired me to write and to read. My sister and I were reading long before we entered school. I think it developed our intellect and our vocabulary.

Example: When my sister was in 1st grade, she marched herself up to her teacher and asked politely, "May I have a tissue? I have tenacious mucous." A clear indicator that her brain was throbbing from knowledge at an early age.

Me? Not so cerebral of a quote. But, the most important quality of a writer: When a friend of my father's asked him, "And how old is this little princess?" I responded with a deadpan, "I no lady, I Taryn."

That's damn funny on a multitude of levels. Thank you, Mom. Bravo.

Anyone hungry for some Ban Pu Ding?
More Musings Later-

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Last evening, I watched a show on how mega-millionaires live. I was mesmerized at how everything these people had. And, you could tell they took alot of time thinking up these things to do, play and enjoy.

So, I've done the Bucket List....I'm not planning on croaking just yet, so I am making a "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" list for myself. This is my blog, so some things will be listed that aren't really possible. Imagination is a good thing.

1. I would continue writing, but would concentrate on my own books at my own pace.

2. I would purchase a small, private jet. No airplane seats...LazyBoys and overstuffed chairs will be secured to the floor with applicable seatbelts and so on for takeoff/landing.

3. I would purchase a big yacht: Onboard would be available: several bedrooms suites for friends and family. Psychic readings by Lisa Williams in the afternoon, 24-hour casino (gotta get that dopamine fix), a jacuzzi in my master bedroom, a giant tv and stereo w/CD that would pipe in to all rooms if I wanted. Several swimming pools, My restaurant, "The Ghostwriter's Den" for elegant, rustic dinners and theme nights, and my pub, "The Writer's Pub" offering soups, sandwiches, burgers, salad bar, Tex-Mex, a huge offering of finger foods and appetizers. Oh, and a full bar with daily drink specials.

4. Those games that they have in the bars....with 11 ball, block'em up, Castle Bandits and more!

5. Purchase a helicopter that could fly to our yaucht's destination at any time and take me or whoever to wherever.

6. We would sail around the world...also visiting The Amazon.

7. Some of the places we would travel to: Sail to Bermuda, and then on to the U.K., steer clear of all the countries starting with the letter "I", then travel to Chiang Mai, Thailand so I could actually walk upon Loi Kroh Road (the most mystical road in the world), then moving on to Beijing, Hong Kong, Manila. The Asian countries have my attention at the moment!

8. Religious places I would like to go: the Wailing Wall and place a prayer into the wall. The Lourdes and visit the waters where the reflection of the Virgin Mary was seen. Swim in the Dead Sea...spend the night inside a pyramid in Egypt. Camp out at Stonehenge.

9. On the way back, visit England thoroughly. See Buckingham Palace with a personal tour provided by Prince Wills and Harry. Talk to them about their mother...then, go drink beers with Harry! See the England countryside, eat some "real" fish and chips, see everything having to do with The Beatles...sit in front of a roaring fire with Paul McCartney while we drink snifters of Grand Marnier' talking about writing songs and music.

10. Finally, come back to the states and go to Key West, Florida and visit Ernest Hemingway's home and his cats. Spend the night inside the home, convince him to come back from the other side for a drink and some writing advice.

So many dreams, so little time....

More Musings Later-

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Corporate Greed Has Failed America

Yep, that's about the same face she had on today's airing of Oprah. Suze Orman was one pissed woman. Hell hath no fury like a financial guru when talking about a country's failed financial system. I'd hate to make her mad, I'm telling you.

Today's episode was very interesting AND timely. Today Oprah and Suze discussed the famous 2 words that everyone on Wall Street was asking: WHAT HAPPENED? Well, let me tell you that Suze told everyone why and what for.

After she was completely lathered up ranting about CEO's reckless management of their companies strictly to get their multi-million dollar bonuses, salaries and stock options. When Oprah asked, "How serious is this problem of our economy?" Ms. Orman still in full lather, glared at Oprah for effect and said emphatically, "This is as serious as the crash of 1929." You could have heard a pin drop in the studio.

She then began stating what life was going to be like for Americans as a result of this fiasco.
  • People won't be able to secure home loans (or car loans for that matter) unless they really can afford them. This means there will be alot LESS home ownership and much more rental properties.
  • Until the gas issue is resolved, bringing back the 1970's "odd and even" gas fillup schedule.
  • Eating out will be a rarity for most people, staying home will be the norm.
  • People will keep their cars for 10 years or more instead of buying new cars with any frequency.
  • Charge cards will be a thing of the past. Our society is already moving toward a Cash Basis.
  • Student Loans will be almost impossible to get.
  • Leasing cars will also be a thing of the past.
Today I watched a financial expert tell everyone that our entire financial world is being turned upside down. I saw her tell a family that was $90,000 in debt that "You can't afford to live in your home. Move into an apartment or stay with family." It's becoming scary out there...

Now, where did I put my $600 "stimulus tax refund?" I will probably need it to help pay with other Americans the $600 trillion dollars that Dubya allowed to spiral out of control.

Oh, and did you hear on the news that Nashville, TN is the only city in the entire 50 states of these United States to run out of gas? Am I the only one that knows that this is another crock of crap?

More Musings Later-

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm referring to getting older! Although, some say that even at the age of 12, I was really 40 years old! But, after talking to some people this weekend and listening to myself talk, "IT" has happened to me full force.

For example, you know you're getting older when:
  • You call your partner/spouse either "Mother" or "Daddy"
    Staying home on a Saturday night sounds comforting

  • HGTV has replaced MTV in your home.

  • A nap is luxurious, not a waste of time

  • Your bed is your best friend after a long day.

  • A night out on the town is having dinner and then coming home.

  • You get excited when you can go to Home Depot and browse swatches

  • You use birthday money to purchase paint to paint the house

  • You're looking for a new car, and buy practical over sports car

  • You'd rather take a BC Powder than a regular aspirin

  • You need a pill box with "Morning, Noon, Afternoon and Night" compartments to hold all your medication.

  • The Walgreens pharmacist knows you by name

  • You find yourself watching documentaries that would have made you yawn in your younger years.

  • You watch the news all the time

  • You refer to another person of your same age as "a girl" or "a boy" instead of woman or man.

  • The idea of going to a concert and battling the crowds for parking and so on, doesn't appeal to you any longer.
  • Your pets become your furry children.

  • You forget why you walked into a certain room in your house or you forget what you were talking about in mid sentence.

  • Your partner/spouse can finish your sentences when you forget what you are talking about.

  • You remember when there weren't computers in the home.

  • You remember when everyone learned how to use computers "on the job"

  • You remember dual disk drives and Enable software.

  • You remember when kids walked to school and played outdoors after getting home.

  • You remember doing your homework without a computer

  • Remember when there were computer labs in college because so few people had them at home?

    Sheesh, see what I mean?

    More Musings Later

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

You'd think I'd be used to this...

but, I'm not. What am I talking about? DISCRIMINATION.

I applied for a writing job not too long ago and the recruiter called me and was thrilled with my qualifications. Great! Offer coming soon, right?

WRONG. The editor of this publishing company wanted a spouse to write a book on "Loving a Man with XYZ condition". When I revealed that my partner had this condition, she cautiously asked, You ARE married to a MAN, correct? When I said, "No" and explained the situation, - Boom. I didn't get the job.

Why? Cause I'm gay. That's it. If I had submitted a writing sample and she didn't like it, okay. I understand that.

Folks, we are smack dab in the latter part of 2008. Can we please move on into the 20th century? Harumph.

On to a lighter note....The Olympics are over (and man! weren't they exciting!) and my best bro, Alan Solomon survived it! If you remember, he and I co-wrote the book, "The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road" (it's an award winner by the way!) Anyway, Alan lives in Beijing, China and assisted the Chinese police with security.

Our book, "The Mango Tree Cafe', Loi Kroh Road"
Here he is enjoying some bar-b-que in Beijing (Company picnic).

Alan chowing down on BBQ

By the way, A Message to the Editor: "To Thine Own Self Be True" allow others to follow it.
More Musings Later-

Thursday, August 28, 2008

With 1 Motion, HISTORY was made.

Ask anyone, I'm not an Obama fan. I have to say, I really really wanted Hillary Clinton to be the nominee. But, it wasn't meant to be. I have been grumbling about it for days and watched the Democratic Convention each night nonetheless.

I was impressed by Michelle Obama and she held my attention throughout her speech. Pretty good speaker since I'm not keen on the subject of her speech - her husband.

The next night I watched Hillary Clinton. She was convincing, inspiring, and convinced me to vote for Obama. Why? No vote = McCain vote. I continued watching her speak, feeling so proud that she was one of the first women to run for the presidency. Her speech turned my stubborness around...pretty powerful if you know how stubborn I am.

Then, the next night: Bill Clinton. As he was introduced, his list of accomplishments were announced: The lowest unemployment in 20 years, a bull market for 8 years, job growth, hell, let's just say unprecedented prosperity. Easily, the finest American president in my lifetime. Whether you love him or hate him, he is brilliant. I listened with interest as he reminded us of the parallels between Governor Clinton of 1992 and Senator Obama of 2008. It was familiar rhetoric.

As I watched Sen. Hillary Clinton interrupt roll call. I was spellbound. This was a moment they would be writing in the history books and I am watching it unfold.

One of the first women to run for president is asking to forego the delegate count in order to nominate the first African American for the Democratic nominee. The first female Speaker of the House, accepted the motion and so it was done. I watched as the cameras panned to audience members as black women and men shed tears of excitement and remembered the long hard road that was navigated initially by Dr. Martin Luther King and a host of others.

Now that a black man is in a position of power, I worry that those who are ignorant and those who are affiliated with hate groups will cause this historical event to run a short course.

Just as Hillary quoted Harriet Tubman in her quest to have women be able to vote, "Keep Going", I'm reminded of Alice Walker's "The Color Purple" when Celie recounts her hardships as a poor, black woman in the South and voices concern regarding her sister-in-law's lofty attitude of herself.
Sure enough, her sister-in-law is labled as "trouble" because of her inner strength and power and she is publicly beaten to the ground both physically and emotionally.

Celie merely offers this simple phrase as the cause of her beating. ..."People don't like it when you're too free..."

Keep your head low and "Keep Going," Sen. Obama.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I've Discovered that I'm a World Traveler

It's true. I began thinking about places I had been when I was watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. I also thought about it the last several nights in the wee hour of the mornings as my insomnia is particularly bad. It probably accounts for my pensive and somewhat blue mood.
I would have to say that thinking about it, not only make watching the infomercials more palatable at night, but caused me to reflect again how lucky I am. Of course, I'm from Texas, so I have been to all the big cities of Texas including Houston, Dallas and Austin, not to mention Fort Worth and every small town in between including the proud township of Fred, Texas. Salute! Once I made it out of Texas, I've visited virtually every state in these United States.

More of the noteworthy experiences have been where I've stepped in snow drifts up to my hip in Stowe, Vermont. Traveling to Bar Harbor, Maine to meet a woman I worked with long distance, but never met. She was battling cancer at the time and knew it was one of her last trips. A screenplay was born. It should be a book, but that is something I have on my "to do" list.

I've auditioned at the Juilliard School in New York City...was I ready? Hell no. But I did it. I also visited Studio 54, went to the Duplex and partied at Henrietta's (a Sandra Bernhardt and Madonna former haunt). I walked upon the eerily familiar cobblestone streets near NYU and drank beer in taverns and martinis at Sardi's.

I've also traveled to Turks and Caicos islands and stayed at an all-inclusive resort, I swam in the British West Indies ocean and snorkled. I saw some of the most incredible sunsets and matured that trip as fast as I was living it. I went almost to South America and revelled in the glorious weather of Aruba. I also drank Cabernet at a quaint Italian eatery near our hotel where the wine bottles were nestled in wicker holders and the bread was plentiful and crusty with a healthy dose of olive oil, cracked pepper and parmesean cheese floating nearby.

Once the airplane trips were done, I traveled overseas, all by the magic of my laptop seeing such exotic places as London, Paris, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Thailand and more. I saw where the elephants walked with elegance and grace with eyes that are saturated with wisdom that is still unrecognizable to most who gaze upon their countenance.

I've sat at a popular night spot on Loi Kroh Road and watched the crowds of people pass by unaware they are drowning in their own lonliness. I also saw a man who walked that road and caused my life to change from the silent observations he noted.

Once I came back from Thailand, it was difficult to let the memories go and travel somewhere else...but I did. I visited the deep south in America once more. Which led to the intrigue and mystique of Las Vegas. Suddenly, my travels are taking me to other Asian countries again; Manila, and Hong Kong to the fortune tellers.

The last couple of trips were courtesy of ghostwriting for clients. The dust is still settling upon my feet and the stars are still in my eyes. Everyone should try traveling, even if you never step outside of your home.

More Musings Later-