Thirty Days to Create a Habit

 Q. What’s red, white and black all over?

I wasn’t going to write today.  Friday marked 30 days of blog posts and with the publication of number 30 I felt I’d accomplished my goal.  I told myself I’d still write, but only if I had something to say.  Well, it is 5:55PM and I find myself feeling unsettled with the fact that I didn’t write anything.  Not because I have something to say but because, well…I don’t really know why.

They say anything you do for 30 days becomes a habit.  I just realized how much I hate sentences that start off with, “They say.”  Just who the hell are “they” and how do “they” know so much?  Per usual, I’ve now googled, “30 days to create a habit.”

According to this Huffington Post article, the 30-day thing is kinda malarkey. And no, The Huffington Post is not necessarily the best source to site when trying to back up a scientific theory, but it sites an abstract from the European Journal of Social Psychology thus my source is in fact, totes legit.  According to the EJSP study it is too early to tell if I have created a habit and the bottom line is: Habits take a long time to form.

A. A nun in a blender!

OK, my joke was totally out of left field (possibly borderline inappropriate.) I’ll explain. When I was fifteen I played Sister Mary Leo in two productions of Nunsense.  First at Raleigh Little Theatre and then later at Triangle Dinner Theatre – which based on my internet searches no longer exists.  This bums me out because it was the first place I was paid to work as a theatre actress. But at the same time doesn’t seem at all surprising because I have memories of the theatre’s producer handing out checks on Sunday nights and asking us to kindly wait a few days before depositing/cashing the checks.  This was the first, but not last theatre gig I had over the years where this request was made.  Ahh, the glamour of show biz!

Back to explaining why any of this is even remotely relevant to a bad joke about nuns.  The show has a song with the lyrics, “Nunsense is habit forming, that’s what people say.” And thus, that song has been in my head since I first wrote the word habit in the post title. Fortunately, 99.9% of you will have no reference for this song, but for the .1% that do (I’m looking at you Erin) I apologize.  I know you too will now be cursed with it playing in your head for the remainder of the day.


Patti Thorp, 15 year old me, and Sandi Sullivan. {At the time these fabulous women seemed “so old.” Now I look at them and see babies.  Argh.}



Raleigh News & Observer clipping courtesy the scrap book my Mom made for me as a High School Graduation gift.





Penny Lane is in my Ears and in my Eyes

My favorite song by The Beatles is Penny Lane.

With so many hits to choose from I imagine it is hard for most people to definitively state one favorite song produced by the Fab Four.  And while many of their songs have helped create the musical backdrop of my life, Penny Lane was where it all began for me.

Let’s go back.  It’s the late-1980s and I am a member of Girl Scout Troop 351. (Best. Troop. Ever.)  Several of my fellow troop members and best friends live in the same neighborhood.  One summer afternoon we are all playing together outside.  For reasons that now escape me, we decide to choreograph a dance. In the back of my mind we are creating it to be performed during the talent show at the annual Jubilee held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Ha.  As I write that I realize just how weird it sounds.  But yes, a highlight of the year was an overnight camping trip at the Motor Speedway where we would spend hours walking around and around the track.  You can’t make this stuff up.  I digress…

I am certain Penny Lane was suggested by Emily.  At the age of eleven she had a love for the Beatles and their music that surpassed anyone I’ve ever met.  In fact, she was the first person I knew that really, really loved music.  Her love for music would inform my musical interests for years to come.  I remember listening to Penny Lane over and over that day. Learning the lyrics and figuring out how we would act out each scenario described in the song.  I remember working together as a team, excited as we came up with each new idea; feeling so grown up and accomplished.  It’s funny that I don’t actually recall ever performing what we created but I can’t hear the song without seeing this group of girls standing in the Decker’s driveway and having such a great afternoon.

I would later follow Emily’s lead and become a devoted Beatles fan.  The only posters I ever had in my room as a preteen were theirs and to my great fortune the first concert I ever saw was Paul McCartney.  Emily’s parents took us to see “The Paul McCartney World Tour” in the summer of 1990.  The show was amazing.  He hadn’t toured in ten years and Raleigh was one of the last stops.  Emily and I were, not surprisingly, some of the youngest concert goers sitting around us but we were just as excited as those that were allowing his songs to take them back to a time when they were our age.  I sure wish I still had the concert t-shirt.

It’s funny the things I remember about that night.  I specifically remember Emily’s mother, Bonnie, making and bringing fried chicken.  I can’t imagine being allowed to bring a bottle of water into a stadium now, much less a picnic dinner.  In fact, recently  I was busted at Madison Square Garden for having gummy candies in my purse.  And not so long ago my sister was asked to throw out make-up that was in her bag.  Something about drugs being smashed into powder compacts.  WHAT?  At the risk of sounding as old as my knees sometimes feel I can’t help but sigh and say, “Things were simpler when I was younger.”

I’m not sure if I’ve ever really said thank you to Emily (and her folks) for making “real” music a part of my musical education but I very am appreciative.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some pop music (the afore mentioned gummy candies were in my purse when I was going to see Madonna), but I feel super fortunate to have been listening to John, Paul, George, and Ringo on vinyl during my formative years.

And now for your listening enjoyment….

Penny Lane. 


Kardashians – Smardashians

I invented reality TV.

Long before The Real World, Survivor, Big Brother, or KUWTK (yeah, I used the initials) I was ‘filming’ reality TV in my house.  As a kid I played many games of make believe.  Some of my favorites included kid classics: school, office, grocery store, library, and restaurant.  But those all involved having a friend playing with me to really properly set the scene.

When I was on my own I pretended I had a movie camera following me around documenting my every move.  Sometimes I would talk directly to the camera (“confession cam” style) but most of the time I would just be going about my day as “they” followed me.  In a significant amount of this footage I was a dance teacher.  So they would follow me to my studio (aka, our playroom above the garage) and film as I choreographed or taught class.  I did most of this to the Bette Midler The Divine Miss M album.  If you are not familiar with this album you should be.  Seriously, she truly is divine.  I still have the album and listen to it regularly.

And now, for your listening pleasure, “Do You Want to Dance?”