Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Twas The Night Before Christmas - A Rewrite

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse;

My stockings, they hung in the shower with care-
In hopes that my kitty cat wouldn’t scratch there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Wii Games danced in their heads;

And ma in her 'kerchief, and I in my sweats,
Had just settled down and were feeling no frets,

When down by the tree there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away from my husband, I flew like a flash,
Tore open the mace and hid all the cash.

A glare in my eyes at the new fallen lamp
Gave fire inside me more than a camp,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
A miniature grin and a cat with no fear,

With sharp little paws, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment this cat was so slick.

More rapid than bunnies his running began-
And he traveled and sprinted like he wasn’t a friend;

His little round neck was wearing a bow-
And the drool on his chin was as white as the snow-

His eyes how they twinkled, his whiskers quite merry-
His claws were like daggers, his teeth were quite scary-

As trinket of mine, he held in his teeth-
And I noticed our kitty had knocked down our wreath,

He had a smug face and a big fat belly,
That shook when he ran like a bowl full of jelly.

He was the chubby and plump, the feline from hell-
And I screamed when I saw him, in spite of myself-

A look in his eye and a twist of his head-
Soon let me know that I was better off dead.

He spoke not a word, but went straight for the couch-
And he scratched up the corners while posing a slouch-

He sprang to his feet and cried and meow’d-
And away he had run to the bathroom quite loud-

I crawled back in bed and said to my spouse-
Go back to sleep dear, it was only a mouse.

copyright- Theresa Donahoe

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why I Never Believed in Santa Claus

Hello. My name is Theresa Donahoe and I never believed in Santa Claus.

As a little girl, my parents didn't play the Santa game. When I became an adult I asked my mother why she and my dad didn't do the Santa thing and she responded:

"It was the 70's and you didn't lie to your children."

And let me tell you something.

I never missed it.

You see, children don't really care about Santa Claus. Not really. They care about getting stuff and we don't really care who it comes from as long as we get the stuff.

I remember my dad one year opening up a department store catalog, handing it to me and said, "circle what you want".

I was thrilled. I circled a lot in that catalog! I didn't necessarily get everything I wanted but I was glad I had a vote.

Another year my parents decided it was too much work to wrap the presents. They both worked full time and they had four kids. So, instead, they simply numbered the gifts and then gave each of us a list of corresponding numbers and we would match up our numbers to the presents. So if I got numbers 1 through 10, I looked for gifts numbered 1 through 10. Again, as long as I got the stuff...

Another year we had a money tree. My parents put money in envelopes with our names on it and decorated the tree with them. All four of us tore the tree apart looking for our individual envelopes and afterwards we counted our loot. And we loved it. Off to the mall!!!

As a little girl in the 70's I don't ever remember being asked in school by my teachers "What did Santa get you for Christmas?" Instead, the question we were asked was,"how did you spend your Winter vacation?"

I don't recall talking about Santa in the schoolyard with all the other little girls.

We all knew it was a scam.

I never wanted to sit on Santa's lap in the mall. The thought of sitting on some creepy old stranger's lap terrified me!

These days my extended family only buys presents for the under-18 year olds. This means I only shop for my two nieces. This gives me plenty of time to not stress out over the holidays. The adults simply enjoy eachother's company.

Santa Schmanta!

My name is Theresa Donahoe.

And I never believed in Santa Claus!!

but I do believe in Jesus...

Monday, December 20, 2010

My World According To Spam

According to my email spam account, the world promises me that:

*A beautiful Russian bride name Veronika is hot for me!

*Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim wants me to call him immediately for funds that await me!

*Tis the season to be merry, I can meet my match! Calling all singles!

*Making my male appendage bigger is easy!

*I can become a certified ultrasound technician!

and last but not least...

Another beautiful Russian bride named Tatiana could be mine!

Well, quick! What am I waiting for?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Operation: MESS

They say when organizing your living space, "everything has a place". 

I've never been good at this. Growing up, I would leave a trail of stuff behind after using it.  I might as well have left a sign that read: "Theresa was here". My mom would constantly tell me: "put it back where it belongs!"

But where does it belong?

How does this happen to me?  I spend a weekend cleaning and by the following Wednesday,  the MESS angels are back to greet me. Hello.

They say, "when cleaning your home, to go through each corner and work your way through."

IN THIS CORNER......weighing in at 5 pounds, is a box full of stuff that was brought up from the storage room (for some reason).  But now it just sits in the corner.and has become part of the decor. I believe old shoes are in there and I am scared to see what else I might find.

AND IN THIS OTHER CORNER.....weighing in at approximately 3 pounds is mounds and mounds of old bills that need to be filed away...please, before the year is over!

I take a quick look around and from my bed I see the following:

*A window fan leaning against the wall that I took down in September. I should probably put that in the closet.

*A chair with coats and sweatshirts hung over them.  You mean that's NOT the equivalent of a hanger?

*Another chair with misc.stuff on it like another sweatshirt, old diaries (meant to write a memoir blog with them), old movie call sheets (meant to write a short story with those), and some file folders (that came with a side table I bought for 5 dollars at a garage sale).

*My desk piled high with junk mail, magazines and books I mean to read completely covering the top. Who needs to dust when you have clutter?

My sister even bought me a year's subscription to "Real Simple" magazine once, which had a lot of tips on how to organize my stuff.

Too bad it was added to the paper pile growing on my desk.

I should have a fireplace, because I have alot of kindle.  Er uh, I mean alot to recycle that is.  Save a tree and all.

Okay, enough writing. Let's start cleaning!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Anyone Speak French?

Someone left me a comment in French.  What does this mean?

Il ya évidemment beaucoup de choses à savoir à ce sujet. Je pense que vous avez fait quelques bons points dans les reportages également. Continuez à travailler, excellent travail!
Is any of it profanity?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

One Night In The Hipster District

On a Monday night one of my 20-something year old friends, M, asked me to stay over at her place because she was in the mood for company. I said “sure”, grabbed my toothbrush, changed into my sweats and headed out.

10 minutes later, I arrived in her dimly lit quazi-urban-business-district-neighborhood and parked my car outside a Korean restaurant at a meter that would go into effect at 8am the following morning. Across the street was a tall cement building with a neon red sign that flashed the misspelled word “Phychic”.

With pillow in hand and an overnight bag, I rang the doorbell to M’s old apartment building. She answered the door and led me up the steep stairway to the second floor, where I got a whiff of that “old building” smell.

Donning the walls in the living room were a mish mash of multi-colored wall blankets, grandma’s old stitch art and something that looked to be a paper mache eagle that hung in the corner above a small television set equipped to only play DVDs and VHS tapes.

Leaning against the walls were a cello and some random acoustic guitars belonging to her 23 year old hipster phantom roommate who was never home.

“I haven’t seen her around lately,” M told me. “Thanks for coming over.”

M heated up some macaroni and cheese for me in her kitchen. I took my bowl of late dinner into her living room and chatted with her as she folded laundry.

As M talked about the trials of loss she was recently experiencing she mentioned that she wished for more people around her these days. When I asked her if her roommate had been there for her at all during this rough time in her life, she responded:

“Yeah, well, she gave me a hug and then made me a playlist on her I-tunes called, “Get Well M.”

When we were ready to call it a night, M pulled out a futon for me from her roommate’s bedroom that was right next to the living room where I would be sleeping. We gathered blankets to ensure my comfort and warmth, especially since most of the rooms in the apartment had a window opened a slight crack so that M could enjoy the fresh air. Her fresh air was my igloo.

“There’s also a heater here,” she showed me assuredly, pointing at the manual wall heater.

As I got ready for futon, I brushed my teeth in her “old, but isn’t it cool?” bathroom complete with fading floor tile and a scratched up bathtub. “Landlords must love this generation,” I thought, “they won’t insist at all on upgrading this place.” As I flossed away I noticed some cassette tapes and a tape player sitting on a shelf. These had to belong to the hipster roommate. I asked M about it.

“Your roommate plays tapes?”

“Yeah,” she replied sarcastically, “isn’t it ironic?”

Well, that all depends.

i•ron•ic ˌ(ī-ˈrä-nik ) also i•ron•i•cal:

“Poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended.”

The hipster-critic online dictionary describes cassettes being as ironic as:

“…another recycled toy for a bored generation that otherwise stands for nothing but faux-nostalgic brand uber-consumerism.”

Alanis Morisette describes ironic as: “rain on your wedding day.”

Curled up in my blankets I laid there staring at the street light reflection that spilled onto the living room walls. I thought about the day for awhile and as I tossed and turned my 40 year old body, I begin to drift to sleep.

Not long after that at about 11:30pm I heard the slam of a door below me. Half asleep I thought maybe it was the neighbors. Then I heard the shutting of a door to my right and saw the lights go on underneath the bottom crack of the door.

It was the phantom hipster roommate.

I pretended to be asleep as she opened the door again and tip toed over me, through the hall and into the bathroom. A few minutes later she tip toed back out, walked past me and shut her bedroom door again. There was a pause for a moment. And then I heard singing.

“Oh no,” I thought. “Is this what it’s going to be like all night?”

It wasn’t. Phantom open her bedroom door again, turned off her light and skipped past me, huddled down the front stairs and slammed the door into the night. I peaked outside through the front living room window, but Phantom was gone. I missed her. I never saw her face.

The next morning M asked me, “was she here last night?”

“Yes,” I said, “she came by.”

M went to the bathroom and then came out.

“She took her toothbrush.”

Ah, just another Monday night in the Hipster District.

It was a rather cold morning that I wasn’t prepared for. I thought about borrowing a coat from M for the ride home when I noticed a bag of old clothes next to the wall heater. They were left there from Phantom to be given to Goodwill. Inside it was a big green long coat lined with a furry cream colored fabric. I tried it on in front of M and we laughed.

I looked in the bathroom mirror at my reflection. It was too big for me, but very warm, so I took it.

We said our goodbyes and while M got into the shower, I packed up, folded the blankets, rolled the futon up, and walked down the steep set of stairs. Wearing my new oversized hipster coat, I walked to my car just in time before the street meters started working and drove off to my boringly normal residential neighborhood to get ready for work.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Life at 40- The Holidaze

"All this year's been a busy blur, don't think I have the energy.." - "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses
This is how I feel right now. Except for me, it's just been this week that has been a blur. The first official week of being 40 years old and I have been greeted with:

*A cold and other ailments that are still lingering.  My throat started hurting last Friday (my actual birthday) accompanied with cramps.  The cramps are gone, but the blowing of my nose every 5 minutes lives on....

*A brochure in the mail from John Muir Hospital that read, "Problem With Bladder Leaks?"  No, but I am having a problem with the mailing lists I have been put on.

*North Korea possibly trying to start WW3 - I will always remember my 40th birthday with this current event

Well, at least I got to spend last weekend celebrating my 40th birthday on the coast with my family (official blog pending).  Then I came home and stayed in bed, away from work, for two days.   When I told my mom this, she reminded me I get this type of flexibility in the workplace because I work for the Government.  I gotta admit- working for the State has its perks. It doesn't always suck.

I arose on Wednesday to go to work for a couple of hours and still felt light headed.  Later on that night I met up with some friends from dance class to have another 40th celebration dinner.  I requested garlic mashed potatoes from the chef and he did not disappoint:

After dinner, Tati insisted on putting all forty candles on the cake Peggy made me. Someone call the fire department:

Tati also made me a birthday hat. I know you can't tell from this picture, but the hat has a kitty on it and it reads my 40 year old birth announcement: IT'S A GIRL!

So nice of them to whip up a dinner for me so close to Thanksgiving. I was surprised that people were around during the holidays.  I also received scented candles from Newman, chocolate from Tom and Rachel and flowers from Tati/David & Cynthia:

And that was my Thanksgiving EVE...

On Thanksgiving Thursday, I picked up my 86 year old grandma (who lives 20 minutes from me) and we ventured out into the snow to the town of Antioch to my brother's house.  

After being in the car for about an hour and 15 minutes we arrived.  We I lounged around until the turkey and (more mashed potatoes!) were ready.  The Dallas game hummed in the background as teenagers occupied the upstairs for most of the day and only came down to greet us adults when necessary.

I love teenagers. I wish I still was one. They are like cats. You have to let them come to you.  Here kitty kitty kitty:

After our bellies were full and our conversations were satisfied, my grandmother and I headed out of Dodge Antioch only to be stuck in the snow traffic for two hours before we were arrived home and safe in our beds.  Darn the holidays can be rough! You know you live close to your family when a measly two hour drive can ruffle your feathers, instead of say, a 7 hour plane ride (TSA pat-down time not included).

I woke up this morning and started blowing my nose again.  I haven't lifted a finger all day.  Well, except to type this.

Happy Holidaze!

Friday, November 19, 2010

In Loving Memory

“39” breathed her last breath on November 19, 2010 at 12:00am when she lost her long-fought brave battle with 40. May “39” rest peacefully.

“39” was born November 19, 1970 in Oakland, California and was the youngest of four children. “39” worked as a State employee in the Management Services Division for the Regional Water Quality Control Board in Oakland.

“39” is survived by her nieces, “9”, “13” & “19”. She also survived by her cousins, “26” & “30”.

“39” is preceded in death by her parents, “66” & “68” and her siblings, “41”, “43” & “45”.

Private services will be held on Friday, November 19, 2010 at an undisclosed location along the coast of hwy 1 in Santa Cruz County .

Please send virtual flowers and Starbucks gift cards to Theresa Donahoe’s Facebook page.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Well, I already forgot to write in my blog every day. So much for NaBloPoMo - "National Blog Posting Month".

Is this why I did poorly in school? My lack of follow through?

"Does not live up to full potential. Sometimes I think Theresa is not with us" - 4th grade report card

In Ms. Smith's 4th grade class is when my grades started slipping. Up to that point I had received straight G's in elementary school. That's right- we got G's instead of A's.

G= Good
S= Satisfactory
N=Needs improvement.

I got my first "S" in Ms. Smith's class.

The problem that year was that I had a seat by the window. Rule #1 - never put baby in a corner and  Rule #2 - never, ever, under any circumstances put little Theresa Donahoe by a window.

I would daydream incessantly as Ms. Smith rambled on and on about something or the other and then one day my drifting attention span caught her attention.

It was just like any other day, school started, I sat down and at some point stopped listening. I gazed out window yonder to escape the mundane-ness of  fourth grade. Soon Ms. Smith's voice became a blur and was about as intelligible as the school teacher in Peanuts. "Waaa waaa waahh waah..."

As her mumbling got louder and louder, it didn't occur to me that she was coming right at me...louder and louder...I still stared at the window. Nothing would break my gaze with nature and sunlight. "Waaah waaah waaah"...louder and louder....

Finally she was right in front of me and SNAP! She abruptly pulled the blinds down to the window and I jumped slightly in my chair.

"Sometimes I think Theresa is not with us..."

Ironically, that was the same grade I started developing my writing skills. That was the same grade that Ms. Smith told me, "Oh Theresa I just love your stories."

But she didn't like my daydreaming. She didn't realize that the same imagination that wrote those stories was the same one that caused me to look out the window to keep myself from being bored in her class.

Here's to you Ms. Smith. May I reach my full potential.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Confessions of a White Mexican

“Habla Espanol?” I was asked the other day.

I always give the same answer.

“Un poquito.” (“a little”)

It still surprises me when I get this question, because you see, to most people, they only see my fair skin. Only those of Mexican descent seem to sniff me out.

“You are Hispanic, aren’t you?” A young woman asked me.

Shocked, I nodded. “Yes, how did you know?”

“I know my people,” she said confidently.

I was born a Carlos Murphy. I am part Mexican, part Irish and other things white. But all this really means is that I can celebrate Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day. With genes like mine I should be a devoted Catholic with a drinking problem. But I’m not.

As far as showing any true signs of “mex-nicity”, I cannot tell a lie. You see I wasn’t really raised en el barrio. I was raised in a two-story house with a swimming pool.

I’ve never been to a quinceanera, I didn’t grow up eating mole, and, much to my boss’s, (Senorita Torres) horror, I have never had a tres leche cake before. She learned this soon after she hired me.

“You have never had a tres leche cake?” She gasped.


“You are such a white Mexican!” She declared.

“Do you subscribe to Latina magazine?” She prodded.


“You are such a white Mexican!” She repeated.

“Do you want my latest copy of Latina magazine?” She tried again.

I paused.

“No.” I decided.

“Theresa, you are such a white Mexican!”

What can I say? It was my great grandparents that came to this country from Mexico. Mi familia has been in the Estados Unidos for quite some time.

And it shows.

My grandmother was born in Southern California and learned English in elementary school. Her family moved to the Bay Area where she met my grandfather, also of Mexican descent. They got married and then did something totally illegal and against Mexican law.

They only had one child. My mother.

I am surprised they didn’t get kicked out of the Catholic Church for their sin.

Even though, growing up, I was told I was half Mexican, I didn’t really know what that meant. I even told my mother, “but you don’t look Mexican.” She replied, “that’s because I am your mother.”

I think I thought the term “Mexican” meant “different” and to me, having a mom with a darker complexion than myself was normal. It was all that I knew.

One time she brought home two dolls for my sister and me to play with. One was white and the other one was brown. I grabbed the brown doll because she reminded me of my mother. I named the doll Heidi.

Not “Conchita”, or “Rosa”, or “Consuelo”. But Heidi.

My grandparents didn’t teach my mother Spanish and the only reason why I know any Spanish at all is because I took two years of it in high school. But I can do the best Nacho Libre accent around. I can say the following sentence in perfect dialect:

“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

My only true “Mexican” memory I have growing up is of my great grandma Ortensia making tortillas from scratch. They were sooooo good. I do remember my other great grandma Lupe, sitting in a wheel chair and speaking no English. But they both died when I was quite young.

My sister and I had ponchos when were little. Does that count as Mexican? But it was also the 70’s and I think everybody had ponchos back then.

Why do people give me grief for not being Mexican enough? What about the rest of me? How come no one has ever asked me, “Theresa, you don’t play darts and drink whiskey? I thought you were Irish!”

Now, what’s that all about?

It is what it is. I will not apologize for not liking spicy food that burns my tongue and upsets my stomach. Or that I converted from the Catholic Church to a non-denominational Christian one. Or for the fact that when I use the word “cousin,” I really only mean “my first cousin on my father’s Irish side.”

My name is Theresa Ann Donahoe.

And I am a white Mexican.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Birth Order Predictor Quiz

I took a Birth Order Predictor Quiz and these were my results.  Although, not entirely accurate, I was tickled that they got me on my first try:

You Are Likely A Fourth Born

At your darkest moments, you feel angry.

At work and school, you do best when your analyzing.

When you love someone, you tend to be very giving.

In friendship, you don't take the initiative in reaching out.

Your ideal jobs are: factory jobs, comedy, and dentistry.

You will leave your mark on the world with your own personal philosophy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's That Time of Year Again!

The best television reality show of all, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, is having auditions right here in Oaktown!

This is me outside the Paramount Theater while others are on the inside getting their groove on!

Why don't I audition? Cuz I'm too old and even when I was in my prime, I couldn't do all the fancy tricks the youngsters are doin these days!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Last Will and Testament

When I was in my early twenties, I asked a 50-something co-worker the question, "at what age do people stop describing you as being young?"

This question did not sit well with her and she refused to answer.

But another middle-aged co-worker overheard our conversation and leaned over and whispered to me:

"When you turn 40."

As my thirties come to a close next month, I feel the need to mourn the death of my "youth". How will I do this? Will I wear sackcloth and ashes as they did in biblical times? Will I give away any clothes left in my closet deemed "too inappropriate" for my more mature age group?

I know. I will start the mourning process by writing a will.

Last Will and Testament

I, THERESA DONAHOE, residing at OAKLAND, CA, being of sound mind, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament and do revoke any and all other Wills and Codicils heretofore made by me.

1.1 - I leave my "how to have youthful skin" secrets to my female friends that are still in their thirties. In the wise words of my Mexican Grandmother: "moisturize, moisturize, moisturize." And don't forget to moisturize your neck.

2.1 - I leave my "dance all night at the club" energy to Brandileigha Stracner, who, at age 25, still has a lot of good clubbin years left in her. Stay out as late as you want and don't come home till 3am for as long as you can. Don't believe you have to work a 9 to 5 in order to be a grown up. You don't.

3.1 - I leave all of my cute shoes that absolutely have no arch support to Christine Beitsch. That woman can walk in anything. Of course I only maybe have one pair of cute shoes left.

4.1 - I leave all of my size four pants to Goodwill. Come, take them away before I try to pathetically muffin-top my way back into them!

5.1 - I leave my "I don't have to worry about anything because I am too young to be in charge" attitude to my 19 year old niece, Brittany. How I envy you.

6.1 - I leave my "I don't have to worry about anything cuz I'm the baby of the family" attitude to.......well, one. That one's a keeper and continues to serve me well. Muuhaahaaa. Maybe I will leave that one behind when I turn 50.

OMG. Am I really gonna turn 50 in 10 years??


Friday, September 24, 2010

The Girl Who Fell Off Bikes

When I was about 4 years old, my mother put me in tumbling classes and I loved it. What was not to love about rolling your body all around the floor? Those were the good old days - having my feet and body firmly planted on the ground.

When I graduated from tumbling however, the class that was the next level up was gymnastics, and I will never forget that first day.

A giant balance beam stood before me and all the other little girls were doing it. The instructor took each girl by the hand and walked them across the beam. I cringed a little, but I wanted to try. I wanted to fit in.

When it came time for me, I got on the beam and immediately became dizzy. As the teacher walked me across, step by step, I could not stop shaking. I thought I was going to fall off at any point. It became apparent to all those involved that I was not going to become the next Mary Lou Retton and I quit gymnastics immediately.

When I was 6 years old, like all little boys and girls, I got my first bike with training wheels. But unlike most little boys and girls, I could not ride the bike without the extra set of wheels. I kept falling over. This was a traumatic experience. I could overhear the other girls in my first grade class exclaiming, “Theresa Donahoe does not know how to ride a bike!” It was humiliating.

During one hot summer day when I was 11 years old, a friend of mine brought over a couple of bikes. I don’t know where I got the courage, but with nothing but my one piece swimsuit on my body, I decided to jump on a bike and take a spin. Next thing I knew, I was doing it! I was really doing it! I was riding a bike! I felt like I was flying like a bird in the street! Yipeeeeeee!! But with my new found courage I got a little over confident and hit a curb. The bike went flying off my body and I landed flat on my back on the hot sidewalk cement. My back was now bloody, black and blue. My new injury came just in time for summer camp that year, which was the following week. I still went to camp, but I did not get back on a bike for a really long time.

I didn’t need to. As I got older, bikes soon were replaced with cars and the social stigma of being “the girl who fell off bikes” had been lifted from me.

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to age 26 when I got a call one Friday from a casting assistant named Nicole, to do some photo-double work for actress Juliette Lewis on a movie called “The Other Sister” filming in San Francisco. I had done photo double work before and it had always been easy so I said yes.

(An example of a photo double is someone who is in a movie and is usually filmed “from behind with a wig on” or “filmed from a distance with a wig on” and looks close enough to the principal actor. Photo doubles are used because they cost less to employ for small scenes that require little of the actual actor).

I arrived to set that one rainy day at the Palace of Fine Arts with a cold, but I was determined to work. No cold was going to ruin my day. Turns out a cold would be the least of my problems.

As I sat in a chair inside the Make Up and Hair trailer, waiting for my wig to be put on, I noticed an older woman sitting in the chair to my right, with rollers in her hair and her face buried in a magazine. She looked familiar and I stared at her until I realized she was Diane Keaton and then I immediately looked away. I wanted to play it cool. After I got my wig on, Juliette Lewis walked in to the trailer, saw me, and said in her laid back voice, “oh cool, a double” and then walked out.

As a photo double, I would be working with the “2nd Unit” crew. (Some movie sets have more than one camera unit so they can film scenes simultaneously at different locations to save money and time) I worked the first half of the day sitting on a park bench overlooking a pond with my back turned away from the camera that was shooting from several feet away. In the scene with me was another actor, who at the time, I thought might also be a photo double. He stood up and fed the ducks in the pond and talked to me like a little boy. I thought maybe he was mentally challenged or something, because if he was acting, he never broke character. In his little boy voice, he asked me if I was an actress and I said yes. He kept rambling on and on while continuing to feed the ducks until the crew got their shot.

(Some time later I was watching television and recognized this same actor as being the guy who plays Phoebe’s brother on the TV show FRIENDS. It turned out to be Giovanni Ribisi, and no, he is not really retarded).

The second half of that day the crew moved up North to Marin County to film more scenes in a suburban neighborhood. Giovanni’s photo double arrived and he and I hung out in a car waiting for the crew to call us.

One of the crew members peeked his head in to our car and asked:

“You two know how to ride bikes, right?”

The other double nodded. I sat there for a second, and then, like a little girl wanting to just fit in all over again, I nodded too. What was I gonna do? Tell them no?

I was scared, but I did remember that I did once jump on a bike back when I was 11 years old and I was able to do it for a little while. “I can do this,” I thought, “Theresa, face your fears!”

Two bikes were brought out and the other double immediately hopped on his and took it for a spin. I just stared at mine.

Our 2nd unit director Scotty Marshall, the son of Gary Marshall (who was director of the 1st unit camera crew and also movies such as Pretty Woman and the TV show “Happy Days”) was ready to do a rehearsal.

“Alright,” he said, “let’s do a test run with the bikes. And ….ACTION!”

I jumped on my bike and started pedaling down the street. It wasn’t long though until I started to feel dizzy and then I started to wobble, and then I knew I was headed for a crash landing.

BAM!! I fell over to my right side, totally banging up my thigh, as the left handle bar went flying off into the street.

The set medic came rushing up to me.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” I was so embarrassed.

“It’s not your fault, alright? That bike was totally defective,” he said while showing me the missing handle bar.

The medic walked me off set and had me fill out some worker’s compensation forms. I was wondering why people were being so nice to me about the fall and then I realized, they just didn’t want me to sue them.

With a huge bruise on my right thigh, I was done for the day. I got in a crew van and was sent home.

Turns out, good news travels fast. That following Monday, all day long amongst show-biz friends, I heard jabs like, “hey, we heard you couldn’t ride a bike!” and “oh, that’s easy, it’s just like riding a...…do’h!”

Ha ha. It’s like I was 6 and 11 years old all over again.

Thinking the worst was behind me, I brushed it off, I mean, what are the odds of that happening again?

Two years later I got a call from Michelle from the same casting office asking if I wanted to do some photo double work on the movie, “The Princess Diaries”. I said yes and then she asked me one question.

“You know how to ride a razor scooter right?”

Razor scooters had just come out that year and were all the rage with little kids. I mean, how hard could it be?

“Sure,” I said.

I arrived on the set of  The Princess Diaries ready to work. I was put in a private school outfit and wig. I would be doubling for Heather Matarzzo who played the best friend of the lead actress’s character, played by Anne Hathaway.

Anne Hathaway’s photo double and I were given a scene where we had to ride razor scooters side by side, downhill on a street in San Francisco. Panic started to set in.

“It’s all about balance,” the other double told me.

“Uh huh,” I said.

I hopped on my scooter, but could not get the hang of it. I tried and tried and then finally, the stunt-coordinator came over to me.

“It’s easy,” he said as he started walking along side me holding my scooter. Then he would let go and I would tip over.

“Try it again,” he said as he walked me through it a second time.

I tipped again.

“It’s not hard,” he insisted as he started to get impatient with me. I still couldn’t do it.

“Wow,” he said, “you are really having a hard time with this.” He looked at me intensely and then his eyes widened as realized:

“Hey, did you work on “The Other Sister??”

I wanted to die.

I looked up at the camera crew and locked eyes with yet, again, Scotty Marshall. What were the odds I would be working with the same freaking director two years later?? I couldn’t believe it. Mr. Marshall must have thought, “HER AGAIN? Is she the only double that we can get in San Francisco?”

I turned to the stunt-coordinator and fired myself.

“I am just gonna get in the van.”

I got out of my double’s clothes and into a crew van. Once inside I called the casting office.

“Hey Michelle, it’s me. Yeah, turns out I couldn’t ride the scooter. You know this isn’t the first time this has happened. I once fell off a bike on another movie set.”

“That was YOU?” She asked.

Turns out, in Bay Area film circles, I had gained a reputation. Michelle hadn’t worked on the previous movie and didn’t realize I was “the girl who couldn’t ride a bike”. Had she known, perhaps she wouldn’t have sent me to set.

She said she heard that through the grapevine, that after my first incident, crew had made sarcastic comments to casting like, “hey, next time make sure you send someone who can walk- okay?”

In 2009 I was doing stand-in work on the television show “Parenthood” that was filming in Berkeley. The girl I was standing in for was portraying a high school senior and everything was going smoothly until I saw her rehearse a scene where she got on a bike and rode away.

This time I acted quickly.

I grabbed one of the production assistants and gave her a warning, “I am not too good on bikes if they expect me to ride one during a rehearsal.” She calmly responded back, “don’t worry, I will do it for you if they really need to see that blocking.”

Turns out they didn’t and I learned a lesson that day. From now on I would speak up more on sets, and in life, and not be ashamed of having been the girl who fell off bikes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Secret To Not Getting Sick!


My ex-boyfriend turned me on to this a few years ago and even though the relationship didn't work out, the Wellness Formula did.

Just a few drops under your tongue every morning and you are good to go!

You will never get sick again!

Well, maybe not NEVER, but the odds of your getting sick are greatly reduced...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Day I Kissed a Celebrity and Got Paid For It.

In 1994 I decided to re-start my acting “career”. (Is it really a career if you don’t make a living off of it?) I had taken a break from theatre in my late teens and early twenties and was strictly working on my singing voice. Then at age 24 I decided to get back into the acting game. I didn’t know where to start so I went back to what was familiar.

Now that my voice was much stronger than it had ever been, I started auditioning for musicals. And while I was nailing the singing and the acting part of the auditions, my dancing had become a bit rusty as I couldn’t do a double pirouette. This eliminated me from any lead roles and I was demoted to smaller parts.

Down, but not out, I decided to also sign up with casting offices in San Francisco to do extra work in movies and television. In March 2005 I got my first call to be an extra in a Nike commercial starring Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

Now, even though I had never watched a tennis game in my entire life, I knew who Andre Agassi was….. but who the heck was Pete Sampras?

The day of the shoot, in the Financial District of San Francisco, my friend Kristen and I joined a crowd of about 300 extras who had gathered around a huge roped-off downtown intersection that contained a long net in the middle. Andre and Pete came out and started playing a tennis match and we were to be their adoring fans behind the ropes.

With at least two cameras rolling simultaneously and never cutting, a man with a megaphone instructed us to keep cheering these tennis players on and not to stop. He was looking for authentic crowd reactions to the game. It was a call for improvisation on behalf of the background artists.

One female extra decided to really get into it and climbed under the rope, ran towards Andre Agassi and gave him a hug. This would normally be a huge no-no on most television and movie sets, as background is always instructed to “never approach the talent unless they approach you first.” (It always bothered me that principal actors were the only people on a set called “the talent” when others who working just as hard, were also “talented”, but that is beside the point).

However, in this case, the director loved it because there was quite a response from the crowd. I happen to be standing to the right of him when he turned to me and said:

“Go out there and kiss Pete.”

I did not hesitate.

Under the rope I went as I ran towards the man who wasn’t Andre Agassi. I threw my arms around him and kissed him on the cheek. He responded with an “awww” as if he thought it was sweet that this perfect stranger had planted one on him, and he hugged me back. Next thing I knew all these other extras had dog-piled on top of us and the moment was over.

I thought nothing of it and went back to doing my usual background duty of cheering the game on for the rest of the shoot.

Two weeks later, my friend Kristen caught the 30 second commercial on television and told me she couldn’t find us in the crowd.

Six months later I got a call from a woman who worked for the ad agency Nike had hired. She told me that Nike had just extended the original 30 second commercial into a 60 second one, and I was now officially in it, and they were going to pay me for it. I had been upgraded from background to principal.

“This is your lucky day,” she told me.

The ad agency mailed me a union contract for a principal part and I signed it and returned it to them. Every time the commercial aired, I got a residual check.

I had requested a copy of the commercial from the ad agency, but never heard back. However, my friend Liz who worked in sports television and had access to all sorts of editing equipment, taped Wimbledon that year, found the Nike commercial and put my short on-screen time of running towards Pete Sampras in slow motion. In actual real time, the clip went so fast, I couldn’t believe they paid me for it.

I am the girl running in a purple sweatshirt about 22 seconds in. Don't blink!

And just like that, I was eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild. In a day and age where every year, hundreds of aspiring actors flee to Los Angeles to try and get their SAG card, I had become eligible by kissing a tennis celebrity during my first day of doing extra work in San Francisco. Seeing that it cost $1200 to join at the time, I decided to wait for another big-paying union job to come along that would make it worth my while.

And as it turned out, Pete Sampras was a good kisser:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are You A Supertaster?

I am.

I took the test:

And came out this:

You are a supertaster!
*Supertasters have lots of papillae that are closely packed together and small.
*Perceive all tastes as more intense than other taster types, particularly bitter tastes
*Tend to be fussy about their food and have strong food likes and dislikes
*Usually don't like coffee, grapefruit, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and spinach
*Have lots of papillae, the tiny bumps on the tongue that contain taste buds
*Around 25% of people are said to be supertasters

Other factoids:

*Women are much more likely to be supertasters than men (35% of Women vs 15% of Men)

*Caucasian males have the lowest rate of supertasters of any known group.
*In The Simpsons episode “Father Knows Worst”, Homer eats a stick of burning coals and becomes a supertaster.
*The alternative rock band They Might Be Giants has a song called “John Lee Supertaster” about John Lee, a supertaster and the bass player for the rock band Muckaferguson, who “can’t drink coffee or beer” and “loves ice cream and pie”.

So...are YOU a Supertaster? Take the test! It's short, I promise:

They are, but for entirely different reasons:

(Jazz Mafia Band SUPERTASTER)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Making of Madonna-hoe, Part II, by Theresa Donahoe

Madonna’s Blonde Ambition World Tour
Coliseum Arena - Oakland, California
May 18-20, 1990

High off of her “Like A Prayer” Album, Madonna was coming to town in the Spring of 1990, and I, of course, was going to be there.

Those of us in the Bay Area were fortunate enough to not only get three concert dates in a row for her show, but our local dates fell on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday sequence. It didn’t get any better than this.

When tickets went on sale, a group of my friends did our best to procure awesome seats, but by the time it was our turn to purchase in line (this was before internet), only nosebleeds were left. We took them.

We bought tickets for the Friday night show, but my friend Jimmy and I (the diehards) bought an extra set for the Sunday show as well. Saturday was sold out.

When that magical Friday finally rolled around, our enthusiastic group headed out for the Oakland Coliseum Arena. I wore my “Boy Toy” T-shirt, jeans and big belt, in Madonna’s honor.

We showed up in enough time to find our crappy seats before opening act, “Technotronic” hit the stage. From our view, Madonna would be so far away from us- she would be a dot on a stage. I was sad, but what was I gonna do?

Pump up the jam!

I don’t even remember Technotronic’s set. I might have sat through some of it, but at some point, we got up and started walking around the outskirts of the arena where the merchandise and food was being sold. We split up for awhile and Jimmy and I were shopping around when my friend Patty came running up to us proclaiming:

“Theresa! Theresa! I found this guy who will give us front row seats!”

Jimmy and I ran over to “this guy”. “This guy” was working for the tour and looking to trade crappy tickets for front row tickets as long as fans “promised to dance”. He had us sign our names on a list and we swapped out our tickets. I couldn’t believe it. I stared at his name badge. His name was “David Land”.

“Look!” I told him and pointed to Jimmy and me, “We are going to be back on Sunday! We are going to look for you on Sunday!”

He was rather dismissive, but I was adamant to find him again during Sunday’s show.

And just like that, a group of six of us were in the front row on a Friday night watching Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour.

She had about as many costume changes as she did songs.

Come On- Vogue!

You Got The Moves, Baby, I got the Motion...

What the heck song WAS THIS?

Her set list included:  Express Yourself, Open Your Heart, Causing A Commotion, Where's The Party, Like A Virgin, Like A Prayer, Live To Tell, Oh Father, Papa Don't Preach, Material Girl, Cherish, Into The Groove, Vogue, Holiday, and Keep It Together.

With my ears so close to the speakers, my thoughts went back and forth between, “Wow this is so cool," to “Hey, she is off-pitch!”

At least she wasn’t lip syncing.

I was in heaven. But I started wondering, with Sunday’s show around the corner, would our good fortune strike twice?

When Sunday late afternoon came around, Jimmy and I entered the arena once again and found our old crappy seats. I just couldn’t do it. After sitting in the front row, I would never go back to nose bleeds again. I was too spoiled now. Jimmy and I were now on a mission to find the man named David Land from Friday night.

We just about went up to every person who looked official and was wearing a badge. I asked them the same question over and over again, “Do you know David Land? We must find David Land!”

At first, nobody knew who he was and this was probably because I didn’t know how to distinguish between a backstage pass and food vendor badge. If someone looked remotely like they were employed for the night I was on them.

Finally we found a man who gave us our first clue.

“Yes,” he said, “I think David is down at the Box Office.”

Jimmy and I flew down to the lower levels of the arena to find this “Box Office”. At this point Technotronic had started their set and I began to panic.

“Nooo! We are running out of time!”

We found the box office. The door was locked so I banged on the door. Finally somebody opened it.

“Yeah?” A man asked.

“Is David Land in there? We told him we would be back to trade tickets again for Sunday!”

“Uh, hang on,” said the man and he slammed the door.

Well, that door did not reopen for what seemed like an eternity.

Finally the door opened again and it was Mr. Land.

“Yeah?” he said.

“Hi! We were here on Friday! We said we would be back to trade tickets again!”

He obviously didn’t recognize us, but paused for a minute.

“Hang on,” he said as he slammed the door.

I exhaled. I just couldn’t stand the thought of being in the nosebleeds for the Sunday show. We had come too far! Front row OR NOTHING.

Technotronic’s one hit wonder- “Pump Up The Jam” came blasting through the arena. My heart sank. I knew they were at the end of their set and Mr. Lands had not opened up the door again. Would all this exercise in stalking-the-ticket-guy be for nothing?

The door finally opened again, but only a crack just big enough for two tickets to pop through.

“Here,” he said non-chalantly.

We took the tickets and gave him ours and he slammed the door.

We looked at them. FRONT ROW BABY!

Jimmy and I quickly ran back down towards the front row and as the usher looked at our tickets he commented, “great seats!” and Jimmy responded, “we got connections!”

As Madonna came out we stood there staring at her, up front, once again, and Jimmy shook his head.

“I can’t BELIEVE we did this again!”

And we were happy.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Making of MaDonahoe, by Theresa Donahoe

Part 1

In October of 1983 I woke up to my alarm clock radio. FM 102 was playing a new song called “Holiday”. I laid in bed and listened.

“I know she sounds black, but she’s white, and her name is Madonna,” announced the DJ when the song was over.

At first impressions, I wasn’t in love with the song. I thought her voice sounded a bit nasally and I found the melody rather repetitive and annoying. I was embracing my “inner Simon Cowell”, even from a young age. I was picky.

There was no official music video to Holiday, and being of the original MTV generation, I blew Madonna off. But there was a music video to her next single – Borderline.

I liked the music video to Borderline. And I liked that I got to see what Madonna looked like as she danced around and played pool with a big bow in her hair. I dug her fashion as I was thawing out to her vibe. Still not a fan of her music though.

Then in 1984, her next single, “Lucky Star” came out and it was all over.

“I love this song!!” my sister declared as we sat down to watch Madonna’s latest music video in our living room. It featured nothing but her and two backup dancers against a white background. I was hooked.

Looking back at that music video, I realize now that I had fallen victim to clever editing as I thought she was doing more intricate dance moves than she actually was. But at age 13, I was officially impressed and a fan was born.

I soon begin copying Madonna’s style my freshman year in high school, as I too, showed up to school with a big neon pink bow in my hair, a thick white hip belt, neon pink socks, big dangly white star earrings and forty black rubber bracelets. I was a cool mess.

Some people in school thought I was “rebelling against society”, as this look was not the norm in the small town I grew up in where the standard required uniform was jeans and a t-shirt. But I wasn’t being rebellious and I wasn’t mad at anybody. Hey, maybe I was young and misunderstood….

Nah, I wasn’t that deep. I was just a freaky fan of Madonna. In other words, I was “expressing myself”.

I bought the “Unofficial Biography of Madonna” in paperback so I could study up on my latest celebrity crush. What was she really like? What did she eat for breakfast? How did she get to be so cool?

I read in awe as I learned that Madonna had left Michigan for New York City at age 17 with nothing but 35 dollars in her pocket and upon arrival told her cab driver to “drop her off in the middle of everything.” He dropped her off at Times Square.

I read that she survived on a steady diet of popcorn because it wasn’t fattening, yet ironically worked at Dunkin Donuts for a short time before she was fired. She struggled to make ends meet and took odd jobs while she pursued a career in dance. I thought it sounded glamorous.

In 1985 my friend April and I decided to make our own Madonna music video. I don’t know whatever happened to that blackmail-worthy footage, but somewhere out there is a home made video of me dancing around in a black fishnet shirt and pink bikini bottoms while lip sincing to “Get Into The Groove”. Ouch.

I was high on Madonna’s fashion circa her first two albums, so when she cut off her hair and bleached it platinum blonde in 1986, I cringed a little. Gone was her over-accessorized look I had grown accustomed to and now she was prancing around in a more grown up version of herself.

I didn’t like it. This was the 80’s man! I was not about to cut off my big permed coiffure I had worked so hard to achieve. Well, maybe not that hard. Okay, it was pretty effortless:

That’s me on the right.

Even though I could no longer follow Madonna’s fashion, I could still follow her music and performed a routine in my high school dance class to “White Heat” (from the True Blue Album) with my dance partner.

I have no video footage of this routine.

In 1987 I finally went to my first Madonna concert- the “Who’s That Girl Tour” and was stuck in the last row of seats at the Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountain View. Later on that week someone from the high school yearbook staff took a photo of me in drama class wearing my “Who’s That Girl” tank top with waist belt and ruffled miniskirt sitting on a desk pretending to rehearse lines. We were such posers.

During Spring Break ’89 my friend Lisa and I headed down the coast to Southern California in her white mustang convertible with the top down and our hair blowing in the wind to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” album. Wikipedia listed this album under the genre’s of “pop, rock and gospel”, but there was nothing particularly religious about this album unless you were into worshipping Madonna. This would be the album that would pave the way for her next concert tour and to my most fanatical obsessive MaDonnahoe move up to date.

To be continued.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Announcing The Umpteenth Annual Donahoe Domino Tournament!

Are you in?

Every Labor Day weekend my family on my dad's side gets together and dukes it out with the chips.  It's two days of intense competition.  I use to compete, back when I was forced to be my mom's driving companion when the tourney was held at my grandparent's place up in Nevada.  Every year we would leave the Bay Area at 5:30am to arrive in Gardnerville at 9:30am.  Then I played dominoes all day for two days and I sucked at it.

Now that it's in Sonoma County at my Uncle's place- I no longer am forced to make the early morning trek. Baby's all growns up.  I arrive and leave when I want.  That means strolling in on the second day around 3pm and just hanging out with all the other losers who already got eliminated from the first day of competing.

Happy Labor Day Weekend Y'all and remember to unload your double six as soon as you can!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Letter to the Editor

I will never forget the first time I was published.

In 1979 I was 8 years old and had a mad crush on Shaun Cassidy. I don’t remember how this crush began, (I am thinking it had to do with my steady reading of Tiger Beat Magazine), but the next thing I knew I was listening to his LP’s (Da Doo Ron Ron), wearing his tshirts, and hanging up his posters.

But like most crushes at 8 years old, it was fleeting. Eventually I found out that many of Shaun Cassidy’s musical “hits” were nothing more than covers of other artists. Now a typical 8 year old probably wouldn’t care about this sort of thing, but I grew up in a house filled with my father’s record collection of mostly “Oldies But Goodies” and it didn’t take long until I put two and two together. I was ashamed I had settled for a cheaper version of a song. Shame shame on Shaun Cassidy and the Tiger Beat machine! In disgust, I stopped reading the magazine all together. I quit cold turkey.

When I turned 10 years old, I was having my usual supermarket ritual with my mom one day. As always, we separated, while she roamed the aisles for food and I checked out the magazine section. Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn in to my old stomping grounds and picked up the latest issue of Tiger Beat magazine. Old habits die hard, but this time there was a new crush in town, and I developed a new addiction. I wrote a letter to the editor. A few issues later, I walked back into that same supermarket with my mom, picked up the July 1981 issue and found my letter published:
Wild For Him

When I was 8 years old, I was in love with Shaun Cassidy, but the time finally came when I had enough of him. What happened? I guess I changed a bit. Then I stopped buying TiGER beat. When I turned 10, I saw TiGER beat on the newsstand so I picked it up and flipped through the pages. Guess what happened? I went wild for Matt Dillon! Comparing Matt with Shaun, Shaun was nothing.

Theresa Donahoe
Martinez, CA

I squealed with joy! (Never mind the insensitivity of calling Shaun Cassidy “nothing”)

“Mom! Mom! They printed my letter!” I found her quickly and we bought the magazine. I was so proud. And then in true 10 year old fashion, I quickly got over it and I was over Matt Dillon.

I must have thrown out that magazine when I discovered boys in real time, boys who were not part of a fantasy life. I stopped buying pre-teen magazines all together and focused on boys that were in front of me.

It wasn’t until January 2003, at the age of 32, where I started to wonder what ever happened to that particular issue of Tiger Beat Magazine. The internet had been around for a little while, so I started snooping on Ebay for back issues of teen periodicals. My investigative skills were out and I was on a mission.

I dug threw many listings of magazine nostalgia sellers. I couldn’t remember what specific issue carried my letter, so I started emailing sellers who had copies of Tiger Beat in 1981, because I remembered I had written the phrase, “When I turned 10” and I remembered that it had been many months after my November birthday, when I discovered my published letter.

After some heavy research, a woman named Linda from Connecticut, responded to my inquiry and emailed me back. “I found it!” she wrote. She found my letter to the editor in the magazine and sold me her copy. When I received it in the mail, it was in mint condition. Reunited and it felt so good.

Never, ever, will I throw you out again, Tiger Beat Magazine.


Theresa Donahoe, 39 years old.
Oakland, CA

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hey, That Was My Idea!

In doing some late bloomer research, I was a little overwhelmed how many creative projects have used the words "Late Bloomer".

"Hey!" I thought at first, "that was MY idea.."

Well, SORT OF my idea....

The Late Bloomer's Revolution

Movie based on book:

and then there was...

(Hmmmm, not really my idea)

and of course the....

and then the proverbial.....


At lastly I stumbled upon....

(Men can bloom late also)

Movie based on book:

Oh, this is going to be fun. I am not worried though. My story is unique.

And that's all I will say about that.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back To School?

Thornton Melon: Boy, what a great-looking place. When I used to dream about going to college, this is the way I always pictured it.

Jason Melon: Wait a minute. When did you dream about going to college?

Thornton Melon: When I used to fall asleep in high school.

- Rodney Dangerfield as the middle aged college freshman, Thornton Melon, in the 1986 movie "Back To School".

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

In 1988, during my senior year at Alhambra High school in Martinez, California, I sat in the front row of my Government/History class with my head down while my big permed 80's locks of hair dangled over the desk.

Mr. Jameison, the long haired, ex- hippie, Grateful Dead Fan and extremely patient history teacher kneeled in front of me and came down to my level and looked at this blasé, blue and gold dressed cheerleader while I attempted to take a nap during his class.

"Please listen. Someday you will actually want to know this stuff when you get older."

I didn't believe him.

"Don't bother me," I thought, "I'm sleeping."

You see, I already had big plans for the future. I had a pep rally to go to. And then I had a football game to attend. And then I had the dance to think about after. What did I need a lesson in Government or History for? Why did something that happened a billion years ago matter to my life now?

And I rarely studied.

Diane: Don't you ever read?

Thornton Melon: Read. Who has time? I see the movie. I'm in and out in two hours.

Fast forward to 2001. My pom poms were long gone and it was the year the World Trade Center was bombed by two airplanes. I was cat-sitting in an apartment that was located a half hour West from my hometown in the Oakland/Berkeley area. History was being made. Big words and deep thought were being tossed around. People spoke differently on the other side of the Caldecott tunnel. This tunnel separated my native suburbia from intellectual and politically correct urbia. I can't say I knew what the heck people were talking about half the time, but I wanted to.

Toto, we are no longer in Kansas.

I decided I wanted to become part of the dialogue. The dialogue of what was happening in the world, and, well, ... life. Like the late Mr. Jameison, may he rest in peace, said to me all those years ago, I did finally want to "know this stuff."

I had never finished college, for many reasons, and here I was now, in 2010, perhaps having my first "mid life crisis" as I contemplated all the decisions to be made if I chose to go back to school.

What would I major in? I have many interests.

"I say you should throw history in the hat," my friend Peggy told me one night after coming out of a movie theatre. As someone who has permission to view my Netflix queue, she has seen the growing list of documentaries on the aftermath of WWII and "The Rise and Fall of Communism."

"I don't know," I said, "it's really just a hobby."

Another friend suggested theatre arts, which is, by default, an obvious choice in some ways.

"But I really want to develop on my writing," I tell him, "not that I don't love acting...."

And how would I pay for it? I didn't want to be up to my neck in student loans if I couldn't ever pay them back with an artsy fartsy degree which qualified me for nothing but bragging rights.

"You can check the 'over forty' box when applying," my friend Cynthia informed me.

"I don't turn forty till November! What are you doing to me? Pushing me over to the other side of the hill already?" I spouted.

Is it true? Do they give more money to more "mature" returning students?

I was feeling overwhelmed.

My parents didn't finish college either. In fact, no one in my immediate family has, so does this mean I can check the "first member of the family to go to college" box? Can that also be part of my sob story? Don't Universities love a good sob story?

"In those days," my mother told me, "women did not have choices. We were not encouraged to pursue a career. We were supposed to get married and have children because that's what you did."

And when my father's grades were not the best in high school, he was told by a counselor to "not waste his parents' money by going to college."

So where does that leave me?

I emailed the head of the English Department at Berkeley City College and inquired, "how does one pursue creative non-fiction writing without having to read 18th century literature?"

She replied back notifying me of her office hours.

To be continued....