Diva in the Sky with Redmoon Theater and The Great Chicago Fire Festival.. Feeling Good.

Diva in the Sky

It was the most wonderful performing experience of my life. There I sat on a swing suspended some twenty feet in the air over my audience singing a song that I first sang as a teenager in a high school production of “Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd.” “Feeling Good” is such a simple song but thanks to Nina Simone’s arrangement, it has plenty of room for drama and dynamics.

And then there was the Full Moon in the night’s sky shining down on me, Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Sitting Up and down in a chair. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

It’s been awhile since I have reported on my actual workouts. I guess that’s because I have been busy writing and singing, going to France and talking about that. Going to the gym and working with my trainer has become less of a novelty which I guess is a good thing. It is part of my lifestyle now. It is routine like putting on my glasses or brushing my teeth. BUT because I work with a professional trainer it has not gotten easier, in fact Jeremy the Devil slave driver comes up with subtle ways to kick my ass, and I am not even aware of it until I am in the midsts of these seemingly innocent exercises that I realize: Damn! He got me! Again! Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: France, July 2015, Heat, Pain, Endurance and how I got through it!

Time to get real with you. The Chateau de Blandy Les Tour was wonderful. The Opera “Don’t Worry, Be HaRpy” was gorgeous and a great collaboration. I don’t want to sound like a whiner but my last trip to France was tough! Heat, exhaustion, knee pain and obesity made it a real test of endurance for me. I KNOW that my fitness journey made it possible for me to persevere. Up until I started my fitness program, I was almost totally sedentary. All of the things that I mentioned above (except for the heat) had pretty much kept me in my bed watching TV for years. However since I started this journey, I have gotten my ass up and out of the house to go to the gym despite the pain and weariness. I know that I have to get up and move. I have to get up and live. I ain’t being no fool – I know my limitations – and I know that I have to rest, but resting and inaction are two different things. Pain is an obstacle, but for months I have pulled myself up and out to get healthy and that has given me the strength – and more importantly – the faith and belief that I can do this. It is mandatory. And that is exactly the attitude that I took to France.

I KNOW that I could not have survived that trip if I hadn’t been working out and building up my endurance and strength for the three months prior to my departure. And it wasn’t solely a matter of me being in better physical shape – it was an attitude and a confidence that all of this work has given me. It’s a lifestyle change for the betterment of my remaining existence and it must never stop. I got a lot of work to do and I have made the committment to do it for the rest of my life.

France: July 2015 Don’t Worry, Be HaRpy – The Whirlwind Adventure!

The Chateau de Blandy Les Tours – what a setting! It is fairytale-like, and very hot. There is a heat wave happening in the region with temperatures reaching Ninety-eight degrees Fahrenheit! We arrive in Paris and are driven immediately to the castle for the first of two nine hour rehearsals. This is no tourist trip. We get right to work. We have a show to do. Continue reading ›

France: July 2015 Don’t Worry, Be HaRpy

It was a whirlwind. A quick weekend to France to perform the original Jazz Opera: “Don’t worry, Be HaRpy” by French composer and harpist Isabelle Olivier. This particular weekend also happened to be my birthday weekend. It was not an easy trip but it was a wonderful one. High temperatures in the hot Sun, hours of rehearsal and my knees never add up to much in the way of comfort but it did make for a thrilling adventure. The show is wonderful, Isabelle is genius and the players and crew were fantastic. Then there was the setting! We performed in a Medieval castle called Chateau de Blandy les Tours. Talk about magical surroundings!
Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Performing the Fat Piece

It’s been a couple of weeks since the evening in which I performed a reading of the Fat piece from my solo show. I was nervous, I was uncertain. It had only been a fantasy for so long, a work in progress, my biggest obstacle in the long running marathon to complete my solo show. The writing is the hard part – until you think of performing it live in front of people. The many drafts have been edited, critiqued, undone, reconstructed within an inch of its life and still it seemed “not ready,” but when called upon to read as part of the Story Jam series, I decided to jump in. It was time to take her out and stop fooling around. Time to make a commitment to this piece. Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Straight from the Woodshed -The Fat Monologue

Tonight’s the night! I’m going to do my first ever reading of the “Fat Piece” in front of a live audience – ever. I am reading as part of “Story Jam”, a story-telling live music show produced by singer, performer, writer Stephanie Rogers and held at The Wilmette Theater. I’m a bit frightened in an excited way. I’ve been working on this particular piece off and on for decades, steadily for months. I have had invaluable guidance from solo show writer and scholar Arlene Malinowski who has been helping me for years. But this version is still kinda raw. Well, it’s as raw as a piece can be that has been written and edited for years! Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Showing Up Is Half The Battle

I didn’t think about it. I knew I had to go. Even as the pain in my back and knee hampered my every move in bed, I got up slowly, cautiously. I thought to myself:

“How the Hell am I going to the gym? I can’t even go to the toilet!”

In the old days, I would have cancelled this session and stayed in bed all day.

Still I had an appointment with Trainer Jeremy and I said to myself:

“One day my pain may keep me from it, but not this pain, not this day!”

The folks at the Spa at Trump Chicago reception desk looked up at me with concern as I slowly hobbled past them to the locker room. As usual I have the locker room to myself so no one sees my slow labored movements. I know I look far worse than I feel as some of the pain has lessened since I got up this morning. This gives me hope that the work out will help even more.

Trainer Jeremy sees me coming and as always I can see him noting my gait and posture. Usually he is smiling with encouragement when I do my arthritic version of a breezy skip into the gym. But today his brow was furrowed with concern. Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Documenting My Weight Journey for My One Woman Show.

I’ve been up for ages this morning writing the hardest piece ever for my show. It has always been the one story that I knew I had to tell yet the most difficult to complete. The topic of weight is so multifaceted for me. There are so many approaches I can take. Every time I think I’ve nailed it I find yet another level to explore. My fitness program has led to yet another approach to the telling of this story.

Do I keep the story as is with the fitness thing as a mere mention, or do I insert how this new venture in my life has changed my view on weight and weight issues? Do I flesh out that aspect of my vision or keep it as a footnote? I was going to just keep what I had (it was almost done) but now I see that to tell the truth I have to incorporate this new attitude into the piece which means a whole new set of rewrites.

That’s life – it’s always changing and when you’re writing a piece that’s autobiographical you gotta report the journey. And my weight has always been a journey that keeps evolving. It’s a challenge to document it all in one cohesive monolog but I won’t give up! It ain’t easy!

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Feel The Burn And Don’t Throw Up!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That is one way to describe my session today with Trainer Jeremy. This is the first time in nearly seven weeks that I actually want to say:

I have to stop! I can’t do this one anymore!

But I don’t say it and I don’t stop.

The day starts off innocently enough. I hobble down the long hall past all of the windows and the beautiful city views to the fitness center at The Spa at Trump – today known as the Chamber of Torture. And we get right to it. Continue reading ›