Monday, July 08, 2013

Take The Long Way Home

 "The ocean is about 10 minutes from here,"  Tati informed me that one late morning on the 5th of July as we chilled at her mom's place by the Russian River on a mini-vacation.  I think she might have kept talking after sharing that bit of important information with me, but I didn't hear anything she said after the word, "ocean".

"Which ocean?" I asked excitedly.  I was already recalculating my plans for the day as the still heat of the Villa Grande air was started to get to me.  I was wilting.  And you know what they say, if you can't take the heat....get out...

"Um, the Pacific Ocean," she responded quizzically.

I laughed at my error.  "I mean, which BEACH?"

And that was that.  It hadn't even occurred to me to visit the coast initially during my stay at her mom's place during our Fourth of July holiday.  But all of a sudden I had a new plan to hit up all the beaches South of the town of Jenner off Highway 1 in that very moment. 

"You might want to come back this way on your way home.  If you drive down the coast, it will take you much longer" she warned me.

Yes, I thought dreamily, it will take me much longer... .. all the better to see the beaches with my dear...

Shortly after, I said my goodbyes to her family and I hightailed it out to my first destination.  About 15 minutes later I had arrived.

Goat Rock Beach

As I stepped out of my car I felt the cool breeze usher me in.  I inhaled in the crisp air and let it fill up my lungs- but it wasn't long before I started to notice that the air was a little too cold, a little too windy, and my black hoodie sweatshirt didn't seem to insulate me enough from the big gusts that whipped my hair all around.  This beach doesn't have a cliff to shield the visitors from the wind, so it just lets it rip.  After walking the shore for about seven minutes, just when I started to feel this beach visit was a total bust, I saw an older couple carrying sticks and looking for something amongst the pebbles in the sand.  They were up to something.

"Whacha looking for?" I probed.

The man looked at me and held a small piece of light green rock in his palm.  "See this?" He said.  "It's sea glass.  Pretty rare to find, but sometimes it just jumps out at you."

Sea glass, don't say. Now, up to this point I had only be known for my obsession with looking for the perfect seashell, which is almost impossible to find out here on the West Coast, but sea glass?  Now, that could be a new obsession.  Especially since it's rare.  It's like looking for buried treasure and I just love me a good buried treasure!   So I joined them.  About 15 minutes later, when I couldn't take the cold anymore (Goldilocks anyone? Theresa is too hot, Theresa is too cold), I had managed to pocket a few small pebbles of sea glass myself.

Buried Treasure

Needle in a Haystack

Feeling accomplished I walked back to my car, emptied out the sand in my shoes and waved goodbye to Goat Rock Beach.  For this was only the beginning.

I made a right turn and headed South on Hwy 1.  I wasn't getting wifi out in these parts so I decided to let the road signs direct me.  It wouldn't take long before I would arrive at my next destination.

Shell Beach

Now as pretty as this place is, don't let the name fool you.  There were no shells to be found.  Merely tide pools that didn't offer a lot of scenery in the way of wildlife but instead just contained small children who were splashing themselves around in them.  However, the main reason why I picked this beach as my next stop was not only because of its deceptive name, but also because its trail was clearly the shortest distance from my car.

Choices Choices
Um, the Middle One Please...

I took one more snapshot after walking the 1000 meters up the hill and back to my car.  It's much prettier from the parking lot.

1.5 Miles to the next beach walking? No thanks, I will drive there.
That will be seven dollars.

That's right, you read me.  Seven dollars to visit this beach because it was a campground.  I slowly backed out of the parking lot, shook the dust off my sandals, wished them well, and sped off.  See ya.

The next stop was literally only a parking lot and not a public beach at all.  I did a drive by.

And then eventually ended up here.  I dug the vibe.

I parked myself here for awhile and just chillaxed.   After 30 minutes or so I got restless and was anxious to see what other beaches were around and the next one in this leg of my trip turned out to be my favorite one.

Now, this was a popular one and I could see why.  Out of all the beaches I had visited on this section of the coast it reminded me most of the kind of beaches my family would go to when we were little kids.

Rule #1- Make it accessible for those of us who don't like to walk far or steep distances.

Rule #2 - Have a shallow part of the water where kids can play.

Rule #3 - Have really cool sand

This was where I stayed the longest, but after maybe 45 minutes in, I was hungry.  My breakfast of two Atkins bars and a bowl of cereal just wasn't sustaining me and my stomach would have to lead me to my next stop.

I waved goodbye to North Salmon Creek Beach in search of food.  I was confident that I was now very close to the town of Bodega Bay and surely there would be something cute and quaint there.

I should have known by the word "bay" that my beautiful run with the ocean scenery along the highway would now be ending as I headed more inland towards the bay towns and not the ocean towns- but I didn't realize until it was too late.  I finally entered Bodega Bay grumpy.  My ocean views were gone... hidden.. buried.  You mean now if I had to stop and eat, I can't look over at the ocean waves, but the bay instead? I live in the bay area, I see bays all the time.  I even live by a lake--but I don't care.  Give me the ocean or give me nothing.  I blasted through Bodega Bay disappointed and unwilling to stop until I found a vibe that suited me.  A few long winding miles later and now in the middle of nothing but old fields of dead grass, I started to second guess my routing choices.  Uh oh, what have I done?  Am I ever going to see another ocean again?  Should I turn back or press on?  Can my blood sugar level take this heat? It was heating up again as I drove further and further away from the coast.  But just when I thought I would never make it back to civilization I came upon the little town of Tomales and I knew I had been given one more chance.

I pulled up across the street from a Restaurant/Saloon called "William Tell House".  It wasn't as small town podunk as I wanted it to be, but it would have to do.  It was now 5pm and I was the first one to arrive for their dinner hour and I had the place all to myself.

"Sit anywhere you want," the waitress informed me. 

Well I live for moments like these, where I can pick a seat with a view, or in a corner, or most an outlet.


As Carl recharged, (that's right, that's the name of my smart phone-it's a boy) - I opted for the Chicken Marsala and it did not disappoint.

I inhaled my dinner and inquired the staff about the location of the nearest and final beach of my mini road trip - Dillon Beach.  I had visited here a few years ago, but the weather was gloomy and overcast and I did not have a very good time.  Now here I was, it was the end of the afternoon and the beginning of the evening and I was hoping for one last ocean stop and a chance to redeem my last memories there.

I paid my check, walked through the bar and went to the bathroom.  I was starting to feel fatigued.  A part of me wanted to see if I could make it to Pt. Reyes Station after visiting Dillon Beach or should I just head East on Tomales/Bodega Road and head back to the freeway?  I fully knew where I was now being only a quarter mile away from the location of a movie that I worked on for an entire month of night shoots back in 1996.  Maybe I would try and squeeze in a visit to the house where they shot the original Scream movie on my way back? Maybe?

I washed my hands and brushed my hair.  In the bar I heard Supertramp's "Take The Long Way Home" come through the speakers.  It spoke to me.

I got back on the road and about 15 minutes later I arrived at Dillon Beach.  Now, I had been warned, via Yelp, that I would have to pay for parking and this time I decided it would be worth it, but when I pulled up in the parking lot, the girl in the booth informed me that they were no longer charging, but just make sure "your car is out of the lot by 8pm."

No problem.

Now it was becoming sunset and I would be here just in time to snap a few final shots before heading back.  I snapped away.

After getting a bunch of post card shots, as I walked back to my car I looked down in the sand and I couldn't believe it.  I never see these anymore.  A sand dollar.  Granted, it was broken, but still...pretty cool.

I pocketed the sand dollar and headed for the Dillon Beach CafĂ© to load up on coffee for my ride home.  In the bathroom were inspirational quotes by Thoreau.

Launch yourself on every wave.  Pretty cool.

I made it home by 9pm.  It was just now getting dark. I collapsed into bed.  It wasn't a day I had planned at all, but I lived in the moment and took the long way home.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Fourth Born on The Fourth Of July

I haven't been writing much lately.  But I figure if I put something down, anything, it will jump start my creative juices.

Seriously, I don't know how moms with young kids have the energy to write.  The discipline to write.  I get up and go to work and then go to the gym and then I am done.  But that's not an excuse.  I must write.

I guess I should try setting the alarm earlier and actually getting up when it goes off.  I owe that to myself.

What's been going on in my head lately?

Confessions of a Late Bloomer

I need to write another solo piece (not an extension of Cat Nanny) and eventually write it up to 60 minutes.   Tales of a Fourth Born.  Something like that.  The humor of birth order and how our perspective is shaped by it.   I think I need to go through all my old blogs that are late bloomer themed and see if I can weave them together.

Solo Workshop at The Marsh in SF

Considering taking this workshop at the Marsh in August.  I think it's like 10 weeks or something and then there is a performance at the end.  Hmmmm, maybe.  Will check out their class performances in late July.

Audition for Another Show

Don't know if I am right for Rachel Bublitz' Babies: The Ultimate Birth Control, but I might as well give it a shot.  I sure know that the sound of loud crying babies does the trick for me.

Online Writing Workshop

I am taking this online writing class, but I am not as active on it as I should be.  Not all the writing prompts turn me on, but I think that's okay.  It's about weeding out all the other stuff and getting to the good part.

Fourth Born at the Fourth Of July

Going up to a friend's place for the Fourth of July.  Maybe I will get a funny story out of it.

Here's to hoping for a creative explosion!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Where Were You This Week?

Writing Prompt #2  in my online writing course.

Where Were You This Week?

Downtown Martinez.   It takes an important event to bring me back to the place where I grew up.  And even though Martinez is only a half hour away from Oakland without traffic (aka the Caldecott Tunnel), it’s like a different world when you finally arrive.  I went to the Martinez Marina this past Saturday with some of my family to celebrate Father’s Day.  It was something my parents wanted to do, and so I picked up my 89 year old grandmother in San Leandro, (the only other Alameda County resident in my family), and hightailed it out to Contra Costa County.  Past the tunnel and six freeway changes later, Grandma and I arrived at my parents' doorstep.

My mom, dad, grandma, sister and I all piled in my mom’s white van and rode the 10 minute drive to the marina.  The air conditioner went on and the suntan lotion came out.  Martinez may only be a half hour away from Oakland, but the Bay Area’s micro-climates will cost you.  Another reason why I moved out of the town I grew up in-  I could never handle the heat.  And neither could grandma. 
Once at the marina, we carried out lawn chairs and umbrellas and begin to look for shade.   We found a tree to park all of our stuff under and weren’t seated five minutes when my father decided he wanted to get up and look at the vendors that were set up for the Barbeque Festival that was happening right across the way from where we were sitting.  No one seemed to want to go just yet, but it was Father’s Day, and like a fourth born who takes after her father probably more than anyone else in the family, I got up and walked with him. 

It wasn’t long before my dad was schmoozing with a Martinez local about the Carnival Cruises he was selling.  My father with his blunt Archie-Bunker-like Irish temperament was going to tell this young, thirty something vendor all the things that were wrong with cruises.  My father should know, he has been on plenty of them (probably all  my mother's doing and if it wasn’t for my mother those two would never go anywhere).  My father would be content to just sit in his den in their three bedroom townhouse with the air conditioning blasting, sucking on his sugar free orange popsicles while watching some old movie.  And he had a belly to show for his inactive lifestyle.  So the fact that he actually wanted to get up and walk around and look at vendors I saw as a good thing.

As we continued to peruse the other vendors it was now my turn to chat it up with some women who were working behind a booth that was promoting the Martinez Youth Football program.  I let them know I first got my start in cheerleading through this program back in the 80’s.  It was such a fun time.  So when they told me they were having a hard time finding girls to try out because costs had gotten so expensive just to be a cheerleader, I bought a Martinez Youth Football tank top to support their cause.  And this was the town I had run away from so long ago.  Yet there I was, going back to my roots, trying to keep the cheer program alive.  Keep the change.

My dad and I finally finished walking the plank and headed back to our shaded area on the lawn across the way to join the rest of our family.  We sipped on overpriced tropical punch and ate corn dogs and curly fries.  I played games on my smart phone.  We chit chatted for a bit. Then finally when we were all finally bored and couldn't take the heat anymore we relented, packed up our stuff, and sought refuge in my parent’s air conditioned house for dessert. 



Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The Litterbox....


I did a solo piece back in April, along with five other women's solo peformances that sold out every weekend of our run, so now we have added two additional dates for next week!

I hadn't done theatre in 17 years so my stress level and adrenaline was up pretty high.  I am hoping the second time around I will not be so stressed out. Energy up, but not to the point of fatigue.

In the meantime, I dust off my script, pull the props out of my cat-bag and get back into character.  It will be interesting to see how I feel afterwards.  I would like to work up to a 60 minute show eventually (my current piece is only 11 minutes)  and I want to learn how to not fry myself mentally. 

So, if you haven't already seen the show...come out next week if you can!

NOTE: I go on first, so if you plan on attending...don't be late! But again, one should nevah be late for the theatre! Nevah!!! Hope to see you guys there!


Directed by Rachel Bublitz

The show features female solo performances in honor of our quirky obsession with cats. This show, which was produced in association with the International Home Theater Festival, is All Terrain Theater's second showcase dedicated to promoting the work of female Bay Area theater artists.

Mon, June 10 & Tue, June 11 @ ...8pm


This performance will be held at a private residence in Central Berkeley. Reserve your tickets for the address to our venue. Please note that there are cats and a dog on the property, though pets will not be present during the performances. The show is approximately 90 minutes and is wheelchair accessible.

PUSSY: TEASER EDITION - Written & Performed by Maura Halloran

CAT NANNY 911 -  Written & Performed by Theresa Donahoe

KITTY'S PRESCRIPTION - Written by Patricia Milton Performed by Martha Rynberg

THE METAMORPHOSIS - Written by Carol Lashof Performed by Heather Kellogg

IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME - Written by Rachel Bublitz Performed by Ramya Vijayan

MISSING: A CAT PLAY- Written by Susan Sobeloff Performed by Colleen Egan

THE LIBRARIAN WHO WAS ALLERGIC TO CATS- Written by Tracy Held Potter Performed by Colleen Egan

Stage Management by Chelsey Little

Produced by All Terrain Theater and The Downward Dog in association with the International Home Theater Festival.

Thursday, May 30, 2013



This is mobile phone game crack.  I am on level 191 I think. I don't know anymore. I have lost count.  This is a serious time suck.  An intervention might be at hand.

In other news, my wireless mouse arrived for my new laptop, but the actual computer has not arrived at Best Buy yet and I am still waiting to bring her home.  My new baby girl.  When will the stork deliver?

And in other other solo performance "CAT NANNY 911!" is back for two encore performances in Berkeley June 10th and 11th.  This is in conjunction with our show from back in April, "Women In Solodarity: CAT LADIES!"  More on that later.   I must look over my script again.

As I re-enter the theatre scene after a 17 year hiatus, I am relearning something about myself that I had disovered back in high school:

I love to act but I am not a drama person.

Does this make sense?  It means I have interests outside of theater.  I don't live and breathe Shakespeare, I don't sing the score to Gypsy all day long and I don't hop from one show to the next one.  I write and act, but also take hip hop dance classes and like to hang out with friends from the gym and from church.  I spread it out a little ya know.  I don't go from one play into the next one. 

I am realizing that within the Bay Area Theatre Community there are all these cliques and not everyone knows each other like I thought they would.  You got your Equity actors who also pursue film.  I know them from working in film casting.  Then you have your independent theatre people who live and breathe non-union art and are playwriting all the time and don't know all the union people.  Then you have those people who say "F*** Berkeley Rep!".  Then you have the Berkeley Rep people.   And not everyone knows everyone. 

And then you have all the solo performers and the solo performer workshops-- this seems to be another clique.  This is what I am gravitating to the most right now. 

This sort of "streams of conciousness" blogs will be happening here until my brand new baby girl Lenvo Idea Pad arrives.  Then I can take her home and get back to story writing. 

Until then...


Friday, May 24, 2013

In Not So Loving Memory....

I realize I have been writing less and less because my next-to-worthless of a laptop, the refurbished Gateway from hell, has been acting up, and then finally a few days died.

I wasn't totally sad to be honest.  It was a beast of a thing. It weighed too much and I had to lug it around to coffee shops when I didn't have wi-fi.  It also gave me an excuse to put the search out for a new writing companion.

After weeks and weeks of research, I finally bit the bullet and bought a Lenovo Ideapad 15.6 Z585.  I pick her up next week at Best Buy.  I feel like I am going to the hospital to bring home a newborn.

From the photos, I see that it will be an adjustment getting used to the keyboard--let's hope she's a keeper.

R.I.P. Gateway.  You were an okay starter machine, but it's time to move on.