You guys, wow.  Things are cookin’.  I have had a great spring and there is no reason to believe it won’t continue into the summer.  It’s been challenging but The Hustle suits me.  Not the dance, the lifestyle.  I’m still teaching improvisation at the State Theatre School of Acting and I finished teaching two kids classes, too, at another theater.  Those kids classes were a challenge.  WHOA.  I thought theatre kids were all well-behaved geeks who are hungry for theatre history knowledge and skills.  Guess what?  They’re not.  Don’t get me wrong, some of them were absolutely delightful, vulnerable, hilarious kids, but some of them want to BE STARS.  Or more accurately, they already know they are stars and I’m just up there wasting their time in not telling them which freeway exit to take to get to the Beverly Center Bebe so they can buy a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards dress.

I just finished subbing two performances of The Laramie Project II last night.   It was such a positive actor experience for me because I really had to put on my big-girl pants and just do it. Meaning, I had to learn lines, blocking and all that and then just do it when the time came.  It was very rewarding.  Last night, I wanted to celebrate my own mighty accomplishments, but the rest of the cast was “tired” and so they “went home.”  So I did the only thing a girl could do:  I went to Randall’s and bought a piece of butter cake from the closed bakery and a $4.99 bottle of champagne.  The cats and I really did it up when I got home.  No, wait.  I fell asleep reading Once is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann. (true story)

A super nice girl at the theatre mentioned that she was reading this blog and that she enjoyed it but reading it made her feel like a “creeper.”   Anyway, she was working backstage on the show and I was too embarrassed to ask her name because I thought I should know it.  You know, you should always make a point of learning all the wonderful crew folks’ names.  But like I said, I AM AN ACTRESS!  I mean, she’s going to read this entry and know that I wasn’t sure of her name, but she might not get to it for months. right?  And by that point, we’ll be super close and we can just laugh about it over chai lattes while I ask her to tighten my corset.

Speaking of Corsets (and who wasn’t?), I got cast in a production of The Importance of Being Earnest at St. Edward’s University next school year.  HOORAY!   It’s an Equity contract and I’m very happy about it.  I’ll be playing Miss Prism.

Speaking of Prisms, I joined a writer’s group.  It’s called the Writer’s Workshop and it’s great.  It’s a really inspiring and nurturing group.  I’m happy I took the leap.  Also,  I’m going to Paris. WHAT THE?!?!?!  Irene, how can you just slip that into conversation?!?!?!?!  I know.  I’m going with my parents and my niece at the end of June.  I’ve never been in the summer so it will be a whole new ballgame.

Speaking of whole new ballgames, I AM AN ACTRESS!!!!! (again)


Yeah, so, um, I’ve been AWOL.  I’m back now.  There’s really too much to detail here without it sounding like an online dating entry (which I did recently, by the way.)  Here goes: I bought a townhouse (!) and I lovelovelovelovelove it, I was in a fantastic production of August: Osage County at Zach Scott Theatre, and I celebrated my 2 years here without any fanfare.  I guess my big news is that I’m no longer working at Whole Foods.  I’m really happy about it.  I don’t know if you have ever had the experience of wanting something so badly and then when you got it, it wasn’t quite what you thought?  Well, anyway that’s what happened to me.  I think that Whole Foods is a great company for someone, but that someone ain’t me.  I don’t have the passion for the subject matters that matter at Whole Foods. Like whether raw organic buckwheat groats are gluten-free or not. Are they?  I have no idea because I support a diet that is gluten-full.  Anyway, I got sucked into the maelstrom of Natural Foods Corporate America for a bit, but I jumped out of it into nothing secure or natural.  It feels great and terrifying at the same time.  I haven’t re-read any previous entries because I don’t want to remember how certain I was about leaving the business, but I will say that I am surprised to say that I miss the hustle of being an actress.  I know!  SO….I got new head shots, have gotten back into improvisation, and had a callback for a commercial.  Just like Old Times! (not the Harold Pinter play.)

I’m now doing what I term “joblets” for moolah.  I am teaching acting classes at two different theatres, working in an office part-time, and possibly delivering casseroles in a party dress.  All of which thrills me.  Also, I just found out that I got one day of work on a SAG Ultra Low Budget movie that films in Houston.  I shoot in two weeks.  I’m staying with my parents and I think I get paid in BBQ sauce, but don’t quote me on that.

This afternoon, I took a powerful nap with my large cat where I dreamed that I couldn’t wake up.  Maybe I just did.


Two weeks ago I went to Los Angeles for a visit. It was the first time I had been back since I had moved in December 2009. I had only been gone about 13 months and that’s an amount of time that felt pretty much as if not much had changed. Everything felt….familiar. When I landed at LAX I felt that familiar anxiety creep up in my tummy. When I stepped outside of baggage claim I was greeted with that familiar smell of exhaust. The weather was perfect….and familiar. As I drove my rental car up La Cienega then to Fairfax and on to the Farmer’s Market (where I had a Voiceover audition- how familiar) I thought, “Oh, I need to get over a lane because this one is going to disappear.” And it did. It was eerie. I had gone back in time but only 13 months. Who chooses to do that? Marty McFly went back 30 years to change his life. What would I have been able to change in going back only 13 months? There were things that had changed, of course. There are about 5 more babies in my close circle of friends than there were when I left. Three friends had moved to new places within the city. That Thai place on the corner of Hollywood and Ivar is now a hamburger place. But aside from that? Not much. I had this feeling that I could slip back in and no one would notice that I had been gone. I could, too. I saw my commercial agent and she suggested as much. How weird. I mean, to be gone for a year and then realize that you could act as if that year had not existed and slip right back in to a previous life. It’s an exciting prospect. That’s the seductive thing about Los Angeles. It’s timeless. Really. Time stands still there as you continue to slay dragons that keep getting slightly bigger and bigger without you even noticing. One of the reasons I left is that I felt like I was treading water. I realized on this trip that I could get right back in and the people in the deep end would just think that I had been treading water in some other part of the pool for a while. Should I?
It was SO GOOD to see my friends. As much as I love my life here in Austin, I recognize that I have not replaced those friends. Not that I ever could and not that I want to. I was there for 13 years. I’ve only been here for 14 months. Aside from the lingering déjà vu that I experienced the whole trip, I was also exhausted because there were too many people to see. You can’t see 13 years worth of friends in 5 days. I know. I tried. And I ended up feeling frantic and a little disappointed. But despite that, as I drove around and saw the Hollywood Sign, the Bodhi Tree, even the 405, I felt a flicker of the excitement that I had felt when I moved there in 1996. (An excitement that had been replaced by anxiety and discouragement for the last 5 years of my life there.) You know, when 213 and 310 were the only area codes, “Caroline in the City” was still on the air and when I was a temp on the switchboard at Paramount Studios? After taking phone calls from people asking to speak to Tom Cruise, I would take my lunch break and walk around the lot. I was giddy and completely so full of hope that I could burst. And oddly, I felt THAT when I was there just two weeks ago. Maybe I went further back in time than I thought?

On December 5th, I celebrated my one-year anniversary here in Austin. I can’t believe it. And I can. Lots of stuff has happened since last December, that’s for sure. Lots of growth, which is good. That’s why I moved, right? Yes, it is. I felt stagnant in Los Angeles. The past year of my life has been anything but that. Sometimes that has been overwhelming. Lately it has, for sure. First of all, let me say this: I don’t like the Holidays. And I haven’t for a while. There is so much PRESSURE. Pressure to eat. Pressure to have a good time. Pressure to love everyone. Pressure to resolve things before the end of the year. Pressure to find someone. Ugh. Sigh. Blargh. Recently I was dating someone. We’ll call him Dustin. I met Dustin at Kerbey Lane one morning when we were each eating breakfast alone. We ended up eating together and basically falling in like. Romantic, no? Yes. Things progressed and prospered and then suddenly they didn’t. One night Dustin couldn’t wait to see me and the next he stopped returning all communication from me. I love a good mystery if it involves Jerry Orbach and a morose voiceover but when it involves my precious love life, I don’t like it so much. Let me make this clear: I think Dustin is a good guy. Still. I just don’t understand what happened. I guess the most logical thing is that he decided he didn’t want to see me anymore. But something feels off to me. I’m hoping he’s in a coma because I would take that a lot less personally.

Not speaking of plays at all, I got cast in one! I’ll be in the Zachary Scott Theatre production of “August: Osage County.” I cannot wait. Cannot. Wait. It’s a virtual Who’s Who of Who is Who in Theatre here in Austin. I’ll be playing Ivy. If you know the play, you know that she’s a 44 year-old librarian with man troubles. Hmmmmm. Anyway, it opens March 31st and runs until May 22nd. Somebody is gonna be TIRED.

And finally, my New Year’s Resolution is to get off of Facebook. I was going to stay on it through the play so that I could use it for publicity, but really it’s a relationship that has run its course. Maybe I should just not get back to it even if it contacts me and see what happens. Facebook might cry. Facebook might stop eating temporarily. If Jerry Orbach were here he would have the right thing to say, “I guess that application has TIMED OUT!” [exiting frame in a khaki trench coat.]

Merry Christmas, y’all!!!

It feels like Fall is coming! It’s only about 90º here. Perfect weather for Pumpkin Ale. My birthday is about 2 weeks away. WHAT THE?!?!?! How does it seem to sneak up on me every year? This year it is a “big one” as people are fond of saying. I guess it is: 40. WHAT THE?!?!?! Anyway, I’m lucky to make it to 40. Here is a brief list of people who didn’t: John F. Kennedy, Jr., Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger, Lindsay Lohan, Mercutio and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. I think we can all agree that I’m pretty similar to all those folks. In any case, it’s happening. My birthday, that is.

A couple of weeks ago was the Out of Bounds Festival here in Austin. About 25 friends (no exaggeration) from Los Angeles came in to perform. I got to do two shows. Both of which were very good. It was 4 of the most fun days I have had in a long time. One of the things I really liked about it was all the different permutations of people that I got to spend time with. Sometimes it was just me and Karen. Sometimes it was Karen, Levin and Annie and me. And then Eric. And then Dave, Josh, Jon, Rachel, Shelley. And then the Nicks and Jessica and Allen and Graham and BBQ. And then back to Karen. And then just Eric. It was just a really good time for me. My heart hurt a bit when they left but it didn’t make me want to move back to Los Angeles. I recognize that I’m still looking for soul-like connections like those here, but it made me hopeful in a way. Everyone is doing so well and I’m happy for them. But I’m also happy that I’m not in that environment any more. (I believe that I might’ve had some sort of breakdown had I stayed in California. That’s not hyperbole. The amount of anxiety I was feeling on a daily basis combined with the (possibly, perceived) weight of being single and 40 would have driven me to a depression.) I think it also helped that I booked a day of work on Spy Kids 4 the day after they all left. YES, I DID. It was one of the loveliest jobs I’ve ever had. Robert Rodriguez was kind, smart and distractingly manly. I had lots of lines. The crew was great and I only had to deal with an annoying Stage Dad giving me notes for a few hours. He WAS from “Los Angeles” (sherman oaks) after all. I had a new viewpoint when he was telling me how I might handle my props in the scene, “Oh my god, he thinks I’m some small-time local actor!” My ego was starting to boil but then I thought, “Who the hell cares? I’m in a movie. I’m gonna go stand near Robert and smell his fertility.” Ahhhhhhhhh.

Wait, Lindsay Lohan is still alive?! WHAT THE?!?!?!

I am shocked at the amount of time people in Austin spend outdoors during the summer. I guess they’ve got to get on with their lives no matter the weather, but c’mon. I mean, when it was 0º in Chicago, never once did I say, “Hey there, I see your mustache is frozen. Care to take a walk?” But here there are so many events planned outside during the hottest and most mosquito-y time of the year: concerts, festivals, art walks, bike rides, half-marathons, farmer’s markets. I could possibly manage to avoid all of those if I were willing to spend the entire summer with my cats (which I am), but then friends invite you to take walks around the lake or come to a BBQ when the sun is up. I don’t get it. What about heatstroke? Anyone heard of sunburn? You guys know that people sweat, right? The tar in the street is bubbling and it’s 102º in the shade but you want me to come to your apartment and stand around a fire while you cook veggie dogs? Super idea. Yesterday I changed my clothes ENTIRELY twice. I’m talking underpants (I don’t say panties) and bra, too. I feel like when I was in Los Angeles, no one did anything when it was really hot but complain about how really hot it was. But I guess it’s just the Texas spirit. Nothing scares a Texan. Except a Democrat. (snare drum!) I am the least political person you know, so that is the first and last even vaguely political joke I will ever make. It’s not even a joke, it’s a quip. Anyway, don’t mess with Texas, Sun. We can take it. And if we (I) can’t, there’s always cold beer.

Hey all. It’s been a while. So long that I forgot how to log into WordPress. YIKES. Obviously I figured it out. A bottle glass of wine helped.

I’m still working at Whole Foods and I still love it. I’m now on a cash register and I have lots of produce codes to remember. Most I’m fine with, but red onions and kale just won’t stay in my brain. Shallots and cilantro (gross), on the other hand, will. And Baby Bok Choy? Forget it. Never gonna happen.

The guys who come into Whole Foods are gorgeous and polite. A dangerous combination. I fall in love every day with some new gent. I have this pheromone perfume stuff that’s supposed to attract the opposite sex and I’ve been wearing it, but my friend Lisa says that it’s making me fall for all these guys rather than the other way around. Whatever, Lisa! Clearly, the line at my register indicates that I am a desirable cashier and that my cheap pheromone perfume is attracting people to the Salad Bar.

My ovaries are in overdrive now. Hey there, 40! Every baby I see I want to eat. That’s normal, right? The true sign of a good potential mother? Today a guy that I work with asked me my last name (White) and then started laughing and said, “that’s awesome.” Maybe I said “Boobs,” “Breast Pump” or “My Eggs are Degrading and My Biological Clock just went Off” by mistake.

I got some new glasses. They are very Kyra Sedgwick from “The Closer.” Black-rimmed and all. I thought to myself, “my whole life I’ve gotten frames that disappear into my face, but you know what? I wear glasses, people. Deal with it.” I also have short Bettie Page bangs now. My descent into Austin/Silverlake is almost complete. All I’m lacking is a sleeve tattoo of a mermaid, an apple and something that requires a lot of explanation and I’m 100%.

In September, I have a bunch of friends coming in town for the Out of Bounds Festival. I. Cannot. Wait. I’ll be performing with King Ten and there are several other troops coming this way. It’s going to be so much fun. I got to see The Mighty Regis when they were down in San Antonio for the Warped Tour. I had a great time despite the 623% humidity. I also got to see a lot of friends over Memorial Day because The Friday 40 was in town for the Austin Sketchfest. I had a wonderful time with Dave, Dave, Scott, Julia, Brandon, Ben and Nick. I was tipsy and full of queso and/or refried beans most of the weekend.

I was offered an audition last week for a SAG movie in which I would be paid…..patience….in food. FOOD. How does SAG calculate health insurance from food payment? I politely declined. I have eaten all the Snackwell’s I ever need to eat, thank you very much.

That seems like about it. Hormonally yours, Irene

Okay, let’s see. Factual update first then on to all the emotional stuff. I GOT A JOB!!!! AT WHOLE FOODS!!! Isn’t that great? Yes, it is. I really love it so far except that my entire body is usually screaming at me at the end of a shift. Right now I’m a bagger, but I will learn the register soon! Why am I so excited about this? Because unlike the life of an actor, there is a set of steps to follow that make sense and that lead to success. Additionally, when I go home, I’m not thinking about all the Bagging Networking I should be doing. Hooray! Yesterday I bought some very expensive work shoes that I’m hoping will make my feet happier when I’m lifting bags full of wine bottles and organic flour. I’m so relieved to have a job. And so once again, my focus shifts in the brief 5 months I have lived here. First it was The Holidays, then it was The Dying Cat, then The Car Accident, then The Job and now? The Emotions.

These are things I have not found here yet: a good car wash, a convenient branch of my bank and a dry cleaner. I would add hairdresser to that list, but I went to a girl a couple of weeks ago that I like so that seems good. So much of my life is about replacing things I had become accustomed to in Los Angeles. I find that I am trying to replace them faster than I think is possible or healthy. This is a segue into the emotional stuff now.

These are things that I miss about my life in Los Angeles in no particular order: Heaven Foot Massage on Ventura, my dentist, Shannon, Menchie’s, Karen, Brooke, Book Club, smog, Gillian, seeing the Hollywood sign, Marypat, You’re Killing Me Larry, Hollywood Boulevard circa 2000, Yoga Blend, the cute stretch of Magnolia in Burbank, Matt Rose, The Canon, Marie et Cie, Studio City Committee, Fresno times, Marilyn, iO West, Dave Holmes’ parties, Aroma or Priscilla’s (if not too busy). But mostly I miss My People. I haven’t found My People here yet, probably because I don’t have history with anyone here. Thank God for Martin (who was one of my best friends in college and who I have stayed in touch with the past 20 years.) I have met some wonderful folks here who probably WILL become My People, but right now we don’t have that shorthand that People have with Their People. To paraphrase/misquote “When Harry Met Sally,” I can’t say to anyone, “let’s meet at that place where we ate that thing that one time.” And I don’t do Nothing with anyone yet. That’s not a double negative. I’m saying that I like having people in my life with whom I can do Nothing. It’s one of my greatest joys. Meaning, I go over (or he/she comes over) and somebody reads to himself/herself while someone else folds his/her laundry and talks to his/her cats while watching a CSI Miami marathon.

Things take time. Goddamn you, “Things.” I know I sound down in the dumps. That must be because I am. I talked to Douglas on the phone today and he said that maybe I should just let myself be down in the dumpers. Good advice. I just wish the conversation had happened while we were at that place where we ate that thing that one time.

As I adjust to my new life here in Austin, I am reminded occasionally of how difficult that can be. Right now, I am dealing with waiting. I had a great interview last week for a job at a place I would love to work. The last thing I was told was that they would do a background check and then I would be hearing from someone in HR. It’s now a week later and I’m still waiting to hear anything definite. Here’s the thing: maybe that’s not weird. I mean, it’s only been a week. But for the past 13 years of my life I was living in a world that was constantly mired in URGENCY and SERIOUSLYGETITDONENOW. If I didn’t hear about an audition within a week, I didn’t get the callback. Believe me. And in the case of a callback, if I didn’t hear anything by the end of the day, I probably didn’t get the job. Occasionally, I would hear about an avail or a booking a day after a callback, but that was rare.
Anyway, I’m tempted to blame what I consider to be lollygagging on slow….southern…ways, but really, I think I need to blame my anxietyriddenrushed habits more. I’m embarrassed to say that I am pretty comfortable sitting on the freeway in the middle of the day trying to get across a huge town in 25 minutes. At least on the freeway, I feel like I’m going somewhere- even if it’s just another freeway. I’m saving lots of time in traffic by living here (because you really CAN get across town in 25 minutes) but using that saved time to worry really doesn’t make too much sense. Now I’m worried that I’m worried too much. I’m not good at being sedentary. Or patient. Time to get into the car.

My car debacle turned into a car triumph. My insurance bought my car from me for FAR more than I would have gotten in a normal trade in and with a little help from my parents I was able to get a 2008 Prius. I love it. LOVE IT. It’s the same color scheme as my old one (so it feels familiar), but it has more features and stuff on it with a lot fewer miles. It even still has warranty left. So that is super duper. The best outcome. I know people are saying things about Toyota right now, but I really love Toyotas. This is my second and I would still buy another one. I’m not going to get all political or conspiracy-y on you right now, because frankly, I am the least political person you know and I’m going on intuition here, but I think something is afoot. There’s more than meets the eye in this sad situation and I think it involves more than Toyota. Every year there has to be some sort of hysteria (SARS? Bird Flu? Y2K, anyone?), and this year Toyota got stuck with it. I feel for them. All I can do is drive my Prius with pride, confidence and happiness.

Once again, I have to mention the weather. Eventually, this fascination will end. Recently, I realized that having been in Los Angeles for so long, I had become desensitized to beautiful days. You know how they say that kids can watch a bunch of violence now and it doesn’t faze them? That’s how I was in relation to pleasant 72º days. The didn’t faze me. I could nap through them without a second thought in the same way that a teenager can kill or maim someone and then go back to checking Facebook. Now, things are different. My internal weather clock has been reset. Yesterday was GORGEOUS. It was a Spring day unlike one I had ever seen, I felt. I got out and took a walk, as did the rest of the city. I spread my arms out and let the breeze hug me. I looked up at the sky and let that sunshine kiss me on the cheeks. It was glorious. I know it’s going to get hot (VERY HOT) but yesterday, I didn’t care. I just wanted to feel all that Springtime in my blood. And the best part? The BLUEBONNETS ARE COMING!!!!!

South by Southwest, (hereby referred to as SXSW) started this week. I am volunteering at the main registration table. On Wednesday night we had a mandatory bag stuffing. I had more fun than should have. Part of it was looking at all the weirdos. Boy, there were a lot of them. I have heard people worry that the unofficial slogan of Austin, “Keep Austin Weird,” is coming undone. Those people were obviously not at Bag Stuffing. Believe me, Austin, you got nuthin’ to worry about. Bald, sweaty man in roller skates and teeny tiny shorts? Check. Young woman with fuschia hair and tattoo sleeve? Check. Tallest man I have ever seen wearing rainbow tie-dye shirt and a blank look? Check. Last night I worked the actual festival and I have one thing to say: CUTE BOYS WERE EVERYWHERE. Seriously. Maybe I need to turn the volume down on my ovaries, but I could not get over the massive manliness of the whole place. I was giddy my whole shift. I did some sleuthing on a guy that I met when he checked in only to discover that he is 24. Excuse me, what? You were born in 1986? Oh, dear. Does he even understand the language spoken in a John Hughes movie? He had a full mustache so I had assumed he was at least 30. Then on the bus ride home an EXTREMELY drunk man on his way to AA seemed very taken with me. He had no mustache and I would put him at 45. Apparently, I need to get a new identifier.

My mom wants me to bring back Radio Plays. “Like Fibber McGee and Molly,” she said. Hey, SXSW 2011! I can see the T-shirt already…..