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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.

1. Parking lots here are the equivalent of the 405. There is no rhyme or reason to the way people drive and once people get INTO the parking lot, they drive faster, with more intent and on their phones. Lines on the pavement? Don’t pay any attention to them, they’re probably for hopscotch. Which would infer that children are around which the aren’t because they have been killed in collisions. Really, sir? You REALLY need to get to Plucker’s Wing Bar THAT fast? Sheesh.
2. I have been disappointed in the amount of cat fur that my feline children are shedding. I had convinced myself that once we moved, they would shed less or even stop. They haven’t. And they still don’t try to clean it up themselves. I have asked multiple times and they usually just turn over and go back to sleep. Or drink my bourbon.
3. I sometimes have moments where I can’t remember where I am. I think it comes from seeing certain familiar things (Starbuckses, Floyd’s Barbershops, McDonaldses) next to unfamiliar things (Randall’s, Town Lake, Mopac) and then I become disoriented. It happened this morning. I was driving on Bee Caves and visualizing unloading my groceries at my North Hollywood apartment, and suddenly, I was genuinely frightened. It probably lasted less than a second, but it was a true moment of panic.
4, This disorientation also applies to listening to the radio. The Texas School of Culinary Arts was having a gingerbread house competition during the holidays and EVERY time I heard it in my car, I thought (or said out loud to myself), “Why are they advertising in Los Angeles? What a waste of money.” And then I looked up and saw the top of a cowboy hat driving a huge, shiny pickup truck in the lane next to me and I remembered where I was.
5. Living in Los Angeles, I had become accustomed to NOT checking the weather. At all. That particular habit has bitten me in the pants quite a few times here. Yesterday there was ice on the car when I woke up. Today it rained a little bit. And last week it was 70º. I don’t get it. My routine of wearing a t-shirt with a light sweater and jeans is not going to fly here.
6. My skin seems to be changing. It’s not as dry. I may have to replace my entire skincare regimen. The HORROR.
7. I have never met so many people who like breakfast tacos.
8. Okay, that last one is just about me.

Well, I’m living my last 72 hours in Los Angeles. Here are the haps: packing, hangnails, misplacing my scissors, cursing how much crap I have, eating odd meals of left over food (V8 and applesauce, anyone?) and trying to make sure that everyone feels okay about me leaving. That last one is the most exhausting. At the risk of sounding conceited, I’ll say this: too many people want me these last few days. Any other time that you move, people (myself included) back off for about 2 weeks. But right now, at very the point where I am getting my most stressed, it appears that everyone else is, too, and I feel tugged in a million directions. I love my friends so much and I know that they care deeply about me, but people are treating me like I’m dying. They gaze at me for a little too long and their touches linger. I console them on their loss like a funeral director. Maybe they know something I don’t. I was venting to Karen about how many people have wanted to make their last interaction with me “special” and to be frank, that’s exactly what I don’t want. I want just normal whatever time. I don’t want some experience with a good friend that I’ve never had. I want to do the things we always do- like sitting at Starbucks and chatting it up til we both yawn with satisfaction. Last night I went to Gillian’s and saw her, her sister and their 4 kids. It was wonderful because it was just life. Kids playing, wine drinking, laughter and pie. And I didn’t have to take a shower. That’s my kind of night.

In talking to my friend Monica, we came to the conclusion that I am in Tech Week. Anyone who has done a play knows what I am talking about. The show I’m producing is called “My Big Move” and it opens on Wednesday and right now there are a lot of things to do. And as one knows with tech week, you have to disconnect emotionally in order to get the job done. I feel that way. I have no tears left. About two weeks ago, my tears were right under the surface ready to make a break for it with nothing more than a mention of a Sig Alert. Now I can’t work tears up for anything or anyone. I try to squeeze them out, but end up feeling foolish and acting like there is sleep in my eye. When I’m saying good bye to someone now my brain is already on to the next thing. This morning I saw my friend Thomas and as we were hugging and saying we would miss each other, he said, “You’re thinking about Bed, Bath and Beyond, aren’t you?” Um, yes I was. And God Bless him, he sent me on my way. On Thanksgiving, David Iserson, the host with the most, simply waved to me and said, “I’ll see you later.” I appreciated it immensely because I start to feel like I’m dying when people treat the parting as so IMPORTANT and FINAL. And that’s not what I want to feel when I’m so excited about this new adventure. A different David stopped by for 5 minutes to give me some fantastic coasters that he made for me, like it was no big deal and my apartment did not look like a storage unit. That felt good. And Dave (I know a lot of Davids…..) and Ben had me over to their place to drink wine on the couch while some football game was one- no, I don’t know which one and neither did they. Those are the moments I want. Nothing fancy. Nothing IMPORTANT. Just you and me and me and you. Cause we can do that anywhere. Even Texas. And nobody has to shower.

I leave here in a week and a half. WHATTHE?!?!?!?!? It’s true, y’alls. After a year of theoretical dreams, it’s now happening. Lots going on. I got an apartment in Austin. I’m living in boxes. I think I have a mouse. I’m auditioning for “Our Town” two days after I get to Austin. I’m freaking out and can’t cry anymore (isn’t that a song?). And finally, one of my cats has epilepsy.

Yes, I got a place in Austin! I really think I’m going to love it. It’s walking distance to both Barton Springs and Zilker Park. It’s a one bedroom and it comes with a washer/dryer. And a dishwasher. I feel like an EMPEROR! While I was in Austin, I had a bit of a freak out. I mean, MY LIFE AS I KNOW IT IS ENDING. I know, I know, it’s really just CHANGING. Yeah, but it’s also ENDING. I also realized for the first time that I am going to have to find a new grocery store. I know that seems pretty obvious, but it hadn’t occurred to me. I’ve gone to Ralph’s for 13 years! What am I going to do?!?!? But then I got over that and freaked out about how far away I’ll be from a Target. Which is silly because earlier that same day, I was freaking out about how small Austin is (1,000,000 people vs. 10,000,000) so chances are, I’ll be CLOSER to a Target. I also recognized, for the first time in my life, that I have been living in a state of URGENCY for about 17 years (since I graduated from college, basically.) My life here is DEFINITELY mired in urgency. That needed to be done YESTERDAY and by the way, you need to be at that audition NOW. And that particular sensation was missing in Austin. Kind of refreshing, but mostly disorienting. Nobody there seemed to be urgent about anything. Not about my apartment application (which took 5 days to process,) not about getting breakfast (almost 30 minutes after ordering,) not about getting through that red light (pull OUT into the intersection when you are turning left!) Nothing. I know I will get used to it, but right now I feel very “Uptight City Girl goes to the country and has a fish out of water experience with the po’ folks.” Of course, we know that after milking a cow or helping some bumpkin have a baby, Uptight City Girl recognizes her Uptight Ways and starts to Slow Down. So, I have to be patient. Which I’m trying to do Urgently.

I just wrote a new post and then in my excitement I deleted it into the internet ether. I may never be able to recapture that glory, but here goes.

Basically, as my personal life is winding down here in ye olde Los Angeles, my professional life is winding up. I have been auditioning more than just about ever before and I have been getting callbacks and producer calls. I had three producer call (a callback where the producers are present) in a week and a half. They were for the shows Rita Rocks, Rules of Engagement and Desperate Housewives. I didn’t get any of them, but it gave me the chance to be on three Studio Lots in quick succession. I got to go to CBS Radford, Sony and Universal. At all of these lots, I have pleasant working memories, so that was really nice for me. Studio lots are one of the things that I will definitely miss about being here. There’s such excitement, energy, pressured dreams and hurried people running around together. It’s a lot like New York City. Except that there are no homeless people and golf carts replace cabs as the vehicle that might hit you. I’ve also had 3 commercial avails (the step beyond a callback where they are , in theory, deciding between you and another person for the role.) One I did not get, but two of them I did actually book! I shoot them both next week. I think I must have an air of “What up, jerks?” when I enter the room to audition. Maybe I should try that with dating. But seriously, folks, I think I have an air of, “Hi there. My mind is in another city and…what? You want me to take off my clothes and just wear my pantyhose? Sure. That’s fine. Oh, and here’s my headshot.” Maybe I should try that with dating.
I’ve been doing SORTING. Some of it is only mental. I’ll walk around my place and think, “um, I don’t need to take that. I’ll sell that. And that goes in the dumpster.” But some of it is real sorting. I went through my CDs the other night. I have a bag of them that I will take over to Amoeba. Does anyone need 3 copies of Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits? I didn’t think so. I gave my notice at my apartment. It was giving me agita. Not actual heartburn, but just general upset. Once I did it, I felt so free. So free, in fact, that I started crying. So that happened, as my friend Alex likes to say. I’m trying to go with the flow and not judge it. I guess it’s natural….What? You need me to change my entire life and stand in the middle of the living room weeping while my cats look on dispassionately? Sure. That’s fine. Oh, and here’s my headshot.

I have definitely been feeling the pull lately to go alot of places here in Los Angeles. Places that I won’t be able to once I live somewhere else. My birthday was last week and for it, I got to eat at two places that I have been wanting to eat for a LONG time: Jar and Pizzeria Mozza. Neither one was a disappointment. I went to Jar with 10 of my gorgeous lady friends and we just celebrated til the cows came home. We all dressed up and were at the restaurant for about 4 hours. It was elegant and grown-up and oh, so enjoyable. Very Mad Men without the cigarettes or infidelity. I went to Mozza two nights later with my aunt and two of my cousins. It was a FANTASTIC meal. Much more casual but no less delicious. Mmmmmm Mmmmmm. I love to eat! Which is why I have gone back to Weight Watchers. No joke, people. If I don’t have that structure I will get to the point where I am wearing formless skirts and leggings in no time. And I was already 10 pounds on my way to that.
I have also been feeling like there are certain “LA things” that I should do before I go. So this week, I had my eyebrows threaded, went to a Yoga Sound Bath and today I am having a Reiki session. I know I can probably do all those things when I move to Austin, but for some reason I feel like I should do them here in the “land of the fruits and nuts” as my father says. Eyebrow Threading is apparently very common and I really liked it. It didn’t hurt like waxing and it took no time at all. The Yoga Sound Bath was a relaxing, restorative class with big gongs, tuning forks and sound bowls being played for 2 hours. It was a very interesting experience. Ultimately, I really enjoyed it, but during the class I thought I was going to scream at one point. And then I got weird pains in my head like I was being brainwashed. And I had trouble moving my limbs. But other than that, it was great. Reiki today should be very low key. You know, you lie there and the person just places their hands on you. And I’m paying for it. (I have to admit though that I LOVE this stuff. I think I have a bit of hippie in me. I don’t know which side of my family it comes from, but I suspect my mother’s. I have an aunt who is regularly labeled as being “unique.”) As my psyche was being assaulted by loud gongs in that yoga class, I had a memory that I hadn’t thought about in YEARS, if ever. I went to Woodstock, New York in the summer of 1991. I spent 5 summers working summer stock for an opera company in Upstate New York called Glimmerglass Opera. I was a dresser and stitcher in the costume shop. One weekend, a group of us drove to Woodstock to see it. Here is the thing: I have only one memory of that day: going into a little souvenir shop that had a HUGE candle that had been burning since 1969. It resembled one of the trees from the Wizard of Oz that comes to life and throws apples at Dorothy. It was tall, gnarled, old and menacing. Clearly, people had just put candles on top of candles to make this happen because you could see old wicks in the huge, hardened, rainbow drips of wax that reached the floor. There was no containing it. As a 20 year-old, I stared at that candle and thought it was the coolest thing I had seen. I don’t remember anything else. I don’t remember who I went with. I don’t remember how long we were there. I don’t remember what else we did. Just that wild, not-to-be-contained candle. And as I thought about this on Friday night, I had a revelation: that thing was a fire hazard. They could have burned that whole charming village down. Silly hippies! But it also made me think about the first time I went to New York City. And here’s the thing: I can’t remember. I mean, it was either 1990 or 1991. But again, I don’t know who I went with. I remember being in a car with someone and then they dropped me off in mid-town somewhere and then in my mind I ended up in New Jersey seeing my friend Jenny Fisch. Did I take a bus? The subway? Gypsy Cab? I know that the following day we all (whoever it was) went to TKTS and got half-price tickets to see “Crazy for You” on Broadway with the chick who was Ariel’s voice. And that there was tap dancing in toe shoes. And that I ran into a guy named Bud Coleman who was a graduate student at UT where I was an undergrad. And that I kept my money in my shoe. AND THOSE ARE MY MEMORIES OF MY FIRST TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY?!?!?!?!?! What the hell?!?!?!?! And it worries me that my memories of Los Angeles are going to become just as fragmented. And I’ll end up telling people, “I don’t remember the details, but yes, that’s me on Friends.” Or “I don’t remember his name, but my goodness, I loved him.” Or “I don’t know how it happened, but yes, I’m fat.”

In 2000, in a fit of feng shui-inspired madness, I threw out all my journals. I’m still glad I did it because it’s not as if I have ever used one for reference, but right about now, I might be able to find out what year I went to New York City. And I how I got to New Jersey without a cellphone or a knowledge of the city. And what the name of the crazy hippie was who probably burned down Woodstock. Well, thank god for blogs.

Today I had a commercial audition. Where I had to wear only my underwear. I mean, almost all the cast did, too, but still. We were supposed to be in an office so I put on my pantyhose and my heels and proudly auditioned in the control top. It’s a sight gag for sure. But if I get the job, hooray! It’s funny to walk into a room with 5 other strangers and everyone starts stripping. I know that essentially a bra and panties (I hate that word) are really just like wearing a bikini, but somehow it all seemed forbidden. I had brought a half slip to wear, too, but the session runner let me know that “just pantyhose looks better.” Better to whom?
On Monday night, the wonderful theatre that I am a part of, iO West, hosted part of an evening dedicated to me. It was so lovely and so awkward at the same time. I got to be the monologist for the Armando show at 10PM and then at 11PM there was a tribute. I sat in the audience and listened tearfully as dear friends stood onstage and said amazing things about me. It was like being at my own funeral and getting to hear all the eulogies. Except that at the end of each speech, I got to hug the speaker. That rarely happens at funerals. Even with an open casket. Everyone described this really cool girl and while I knew intellectually that they were talking about me, it was still as if they were talking about somebody else. At the end, I spoke. I don’t remember exactly what I said but I do remember mentioning September 11th. Timely. Everyone loves a reference to terrorism at a celebration. And then Karen gave me a medal that says “Winner.” It was great. I’m not so good at receiving, but it is definitely a night I will never forget. My initial discomfort and anxiety was pushed out of the way by overwhelming love. And that love was coming from me, too.
Speaking of overwhelming feelings, I’ve been having some. My emotions seems to swing from euphoria to melancholy pretty easily and regularly of late. I was at Starbucks and out the window I saw cars in the drive-thru. Each one contained one person. And each one of those people was on the phone. Ah, look at all the lonely people. I should have been wearing the face that I keep in the jar by the door. I started crying. And then today, as I was coming back from Santa Monica, I made really good time on the 405. And I was filled with calm and joy and ecstasy. Do you remember when we met [Los Angeles]? That’s the day I knew you were my pet. I want to tell you, oh how much, I love you.

This is a re-post from March 20, 2009. It was on a different blog that I had. When did I become someone who has 2 BLOGS, for Chrissakes? Anyway, I moved it to this one where I think it fits better. My other blog is about France. I’m going to make a bumper sticker that says that.

So, as I’m contemplating a move back to Austin, I decided to watch “Slacker.” Now, I saw “Slacker” at Dobie Mall when it came out. And I more or less liked it at the time. Part of the reason I wasn’t crazy about it was that I wondered why I wasn’t in it. I mean after all, I was in the THEATRE DEPARTMENT. All these people in this moving behaving so naturally were clearly NOT actors. I mean, what are their objectives? Have they had any speech training? I have created a memory that there was a posting about auditioning for “Slacker” on a bulletin board and that I opted not to go to the casting because I was too busy making a corset or playing a maid in “All’s Well That Ends Well” in a classroom. In truth, I don’t know that there was a posting about it, but there is one girl I knew who appeared toward the end of the movie and I was SHOCKED as to what she was doing in this film when I was certain she should have been memorizing a sonnet or something. I also remember thinking, “okay right. But when is something going to HAPPEN?”
But THIS time, I have fallen in love with this movie. I think it is so far ahead of its time. I do a lot of improvisation and this movie is one of the best improv shows I have never seen. One of the things I really enjoy about improv is the freedom we have to follow whichever character we find interesting and not feel the need to resolve anything. I have no idea if the film was improvised in any way, but it seems that way at times and to me, that’s good writing. And then there are things that I just plain LIKE about it: there’s a character who rambles on about what we have come to know now as Global Warming. His comments appear in a monologue about colonizing Mars (among other things), but they ring true in a way that Mr. Linklater could not have imagined. Unless maybe he is Al Gore. (A “Ron Paul for President” truck appears at about an hour in and my brother Tommy (who lives in Austin) is a supporter of him NOW.) I also appreciate that not a single person in the movie has a ridiculous accent. Too often now people from Texas are portrayed as idiots who drawl on about cattle and “little ladies.” But these Texans talk about the Kennedy assassination and Charles Whitman (two subjects that are profound parts of the rich history of Texas.) And, holy moly, the women in it are so natural. It’s shocking to watch with 2009 eyes and see how beautiful these girls are without all their fake boobs, hair extensions and botox. They look like aliens. It makes me sad to say that. Watching this movie is like looking at a moving (in both senses) photo album for me, because this is the exact time that I was in college at UT. Much of the area around the campus has changed, so it was like going back in time to see things like Les Amis, Quackenbushes, The Castilian, and oh my god, the Bagel Manufactory (where my friend Delicia worked) as I remembered them. I walked on those same streets near the Drag past The Varsity Theatre and The Bazaar as I went to my rehearsals and classes or my apartment in West Campus. Mr. Linklater gave me a gift that I didn’t even realize that I wanted. What a revelation. Thank you, sir.