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February 2011


Happy, doesn’t even begin to describe it.  There are those times in life when mere words just aren’t sufficient.  This is one of those times.  xo

Emily and other things too

So much is happening.  It’s like one of those times in life where a million things hit the fan…

Okay, maybe that wasn’t exactly an accurate statement.  More honest would be, “It’s like one of those times when you fling everything at the fan.”  And I don’t know about you, but the image that sprung to my mind was ice cream.  All different flavors, some dripping with sauces, hot fudge, caramel and such, and me enthusiastically flinging them at a big industrial strength fan, causing a glorious, huge, impractical mess.  One of the ice cream cones in my imagination had a cherry on top.  Which totally doesn’t make sense, since I stopped eating maraschino cherries years ago when I found out one of the ingredients used was formaldehyde.

Hmmm… I wonder if that’s true, or if it was just an urban myth that I totally bought into? 

I’m going to check.  Be right back.

    * * *

This is what I found on a History of the Marichino Cherry website. (I found other things too, but am only cutting and pasting the two myth/fact things that were of interest to me.)

MYTH: Maraschino cherries are preserved with formaldehyde.

FACT: Absolutely no formaldehyde is used in make maraschino cherries. Carl Payne, who heads the research and development department of Oregon cherry Growers, suspects that myth got started when a writer for a national news magazine doing a story on maraschino cherries confused formaldehyde with benzaldehyd, a flavoring oil extracted from cherry, walnut, or almond pits, which is used in maraschinos. NOTE: It’s the same flavor you taste in Dr. Pepper.  The two aren’t even close, but the errors stuck, and the industry has been trying debunk it every since. More than anything else, this makes people in the maraschino industry want to scream.

MYTH: The red dye in maraschinos is the scary one that can kill you.

FACT: Maraschino manufacturers use FD&C Red Dye #40, the same dye used in Doritos, chewing gum, food coloring, and egg dye, say Payne. NOTE: He keeps a stack of examples in his office so you can read the labels for yourself. Red Dye #3 is the dye that caused concerns about cancer.

Anyway, back to the more important…okay, that sentence just made me pause.  Um… excuse me, Meg…more important?  Ahem…Like your ramblings about cherries were important at all?

Be that as it may.  What I’m trying to say is a LOT has been happening here!

First things first.  All of my long-time loyal blogger followers, remember my daughter, Emily.  Some of you followed her art as life project last year.  This year she is working with a rather unique and unconventional man who happens to be a director of commercials, music stuff and other things.  (Emily told me all about it, but you know how it is with us gray-haired, stout, jolly matrons, we get to a certain phase of life and can’t remember a gal-darn thing…)  She’s working on a website etc for him, and she is writing the stories about him, his life.  I knew that some of you would be curious, so here is a link

When you get to the page, you’ll see that the by-line is ez.  That’s my daughter!  She’s started, so you’ll be able to see it from the very beginning, help decide what bits about her boss you want her to explore and so on. 

Also, in her spare time, she is doing another website, with a woman who was in her graduate program.  They aren’t friends.  And the website is a series of letters that they write to each other exploring/explaining to each other, why. 

Check them out.  You will get a taste of the world through my talented daughter’s eyes.

  * * *

Now, back to my exuberant sundae flinging.

Several things happened over the Christmas Holidays.  There was the Christmas present I found under the Christmas tree, that was a bracelet from my sister, Jennifer.  Carved on it were the words, “It is never too late to be what you might have been,” a George Eliot quote. 

“Oh pooh,” I thought, sitting in front of my writing desk with the little unwrapped parcel in my hands.  “I am extremely happy with my life.”  And just as that thought meandered through my brain, there was another, more insistent voice that said, “You always wanted to do theatre.” 

I tried to push the faintly wistful, ghostly longing aside, but there it was, now fully formed, dancing in the air around me.

The next night, we were eating at a delicious Chinese restaurant and my daughter, Emily said, “Mom, I think you should think about doing some theatre.”  Just like that.  Totally unprovoked.  One minutes she is prying tasty crab morsels from a crab leg coated in a tasty, very goopy ginger and green onion sauce and then she drops this on my head. 

“Yeah,” my boy Will says.  “You should, Mom.”

“Hmmm…” I replied, pretending to be busy spooning some fried rice on my plate, but I could feel my face flush. 

Then, a few weeks later, my sister, Jennifer, takes me to a spa for a week to celebrate my 50th birthday.  And there is something about dragging one’s sorry ass out of bed at 5:40 am, to go on a six mile hike up a mountain, in the dark, that causes all kinds of things to spill out of one’s mouth.  “I want to do theatre,” I say, feeling sort of shy and embarrassed and hopeful all at once. “I flew to Toronto and bought a little condo, two days ago.  I don’t know what got into me, I have always wanted to and then I got your bracelet, two days later the kids were saying the same thing, and I thought, what the hell?  It almost doesn’t matter if I get in a play or not.  What matters is that I’m trying.”

Next thing you know, my sister has zoomed into overdrive.  She has sent out an email to undisclosed recipients, she is putting out feelers, she sets me up with Rich Caplan, an agent in Toronto, who also happens to be a ridiculously talented writer.  I’m supposed to call him.  I’m scared.  I put on the good-luck necklace she gave me, for my 51st birthday that will be in a week, and I call him.  He is super nice.  He says he’ll take me on.  The next day, he’s set up a meeting with Brian Richmond for Monday.

Once, Trina Allen, my Canadian West Coast agent, realized that I was open to doing things, she started sending me stuff and set up a meeting with Matthew Jocelyn (who was very nice) on Friday in Vancouver.  So, it’s been busy. 

Well, today is Monday.  I met with Brian Richmond and… it looks like I’m going to be doing a play with Blue Bridge Theatre in Victoria!

Hey, I guess I didn’t even need a little condo in Toronto!

Crazy, huh?  How fast life changes.  During the week at the spa, my sister kept saying, “You build it and they will come.”  And I was scared, but I held onto her words, and now here it is, one week later, and I’ve just committed to fulfilling a lifelong dream.  Not only that… but the part I am going to be playing is really wonderful!

Of course, I’m going to have to figure out what to do about the apartments we rented to spend June and part of July in London and France.  But really, I didn’t even have to think about it for a second.  It was a no-brainer.

Another thing busy time-gobbler I’m juggling, is that my literary agent, Laura, really liked the middle grade manuscript I sent her.  She mailed it back last week with all her comments and notes and a request for me to lengthen it by another 40 pages, which I replied airily, “Sure, no problem.  I should be able to get these changes done by the end of Feburary.”  Gulp… And I have been writing, but with all this other excitement, it seems to take my mind twice as long to settle down to the task at hand.

Speaking of which, I’d better get working on that manuscript.