Seeing as I am leaving for Italy and Spain in about four days and won't return until after the New Year, this is most likely going to be my final blog entry for 2007. I don't have much to say or anything insightful to share; I just figured I should write down a couple of random thoughts to neatly sum up what has been an incredible year.

This year, above all, signified growth. I've been at my job for about a year and a half now, and the past few months have taught me so much about the world around me, what it's like to be a working adult, and the kind of life I want to lead. Looking back to when I first started, it's hard to believe I've gotten as far as I actually have. It has been a wonderful experience.

Aside from work, my performance skills have grown leaps and bounds. I've taken a lot of risks this year, and though it has required a lot of hard work, the pay off has been amazing. There are so many people I owe a great deal of thanks to for believing in me and constantly encouraging me to reach my potential. This huge part of my life, of myself, has been given a lot of attention this year, and for that, I am so grateful. I cannot wait to see where this will take me.

I had the wonderful fortune to meet and befriend so many inspiring people. I sometimes wonder how I got to be so lucky.

There were so many things I had set out to accomplish in 2007, and I actually surprised myself by getting around to every one of those things. Some turned out better than others, but being able to mark everything off my list is extremely fulfilling in itself. I'm proud of what I've done.

Yet, there is so much more to be had out there in this world, and I'm really starting to feel like I've exhausted all the opportunities my home has to offer. Everything thus far has sort of built up to this moment of realization, and I think I'm ready to take a huge leap. Now is the time to move on to bigger and better things. I've been contemplating moving for close to a year now, and I think it's time to put those plans into action. I'm starting to apply to jobs that will take me out of the Bay Area and into some place new. I'm hoping that something will change for the better and the growth I've experienced this year will continue to flourish. But if that's not where life is ready to take me at the moment, I'll be okay with that. I can deal. I'll find something to make me happy.

Onward, then. That's the only way to go.



Admittedly, things have been really tough at work lately, for a variety of reasons. Last Friday, I received the following letter via email, and it was enough to remind me why I chose to do this all in the first place.


A Letter from the CEO

Dear KP colleague,

What are the issues that children face in school these days?

We all know some of the more challenging issues that show up on the macro list for children – peer pressure, bullying, drugs, being new, adolescence, food choices, sexually transmitted diseases, prejudice, intergroup conflicts, personal episodes of anger, remorse or grief, being victimized, being sad. It’s a long list.

So what does that list of challenges and issues for elementary, middle school and high school students have to do with Kaiser Permanente – and what exactly am I celebrating this week?

I am celebrating the fact that we have members of our Kaiser Permanente staff who, in every one of our Regions, go from school to school putting on plays, skits, training sessions, and musical events that deal directly with that set of issues.

This is not a small effort.

Our Kaiser Permanente theatre team performed for over 589,000 students last year alone. The number will be even higher this year.

We don’t just put on plays; we meet first with each school principal to discuss the issues to be presented to the students at each school. We then meet with the teachers. We have handbooks, posters, follow-up materials and we even arrange for follow-up contact resources for individual students.

We target each issue, tee-up the agenda, and then our teams of actors go to each school and entertain the heck out of the students. We did that in more than 1,800 schools last year alone.

The energy level of our teams of actors is a delight. Skilled, personable, talented, entertaining well trained and well prepared actors act out the stories of peer group rejection, anger control techniques, wise food choices, emerging sexuality, venereal disease prevention, and other extremely relevant topics in ways that help students better cope with and handle their own lives.

Over half a million students see those one-hour presentations every year. Every Region has its own teams of presenters. I’ve seen several of the teams. You would be proud to see them perform in the name of Kaiser Permanente. They are really good. And they love doing what they do.

The plays have names like Zip’s Great Day, Play HEALS, The Best Me, PEACE signs, Give Peas a Chance, Mumferds Safety Tales, Uncle Ghergins Magical Show, Swashbuckling Adventures of Jamie in the World of Red, The Reading Pirate, The “R” Files, IF, X-Change, Secrets, Fragments (Impressions of Grief), and Voices. Several of the plays have been used for years.

Secrets has actually been on stage continuously since 1989 in one Region or another. Secrets was developed initially in response to a rapid increase in HIV/AIDS/STD’s in the communities we serve. Secrets deals with resistance to peer pressure, the risks of being sexually active, and the actual consequences of behaviors. The actors make the medically solid point that abstinence is the only 100% effective way of preventing the transmission of HIV. Those are not easy topics to deal with. Secrets does it really well.

Audiences – both students and teachers – give the plays very high satisfaction ratings.

Schools in states we don’t even serve have also used “Secrets” to help educate their children. It is a powerful story, told in terms of well-acted scenes that students can relate to very directly.

Even though every Region has at least one acting team that presents these messages and even though we have been doing Educational Theater for a very long time, a lot of us inside Kaiser Permanente do not know that these programs exist – or that they do so much good.

So I thought I would celebrate the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater Program this week.

I’ve had a couple of people from other health organizations ask me why we have such an extensive theater program. They want to know what is the basic “business” purpose of the program? They want to know why we invest millions of dollars in entertaining and educating grade school children and high school students – most of whom are not our members.

“Business” is not the point.

We don’t do Educational Theater because it increases sales. We also don’t do it to get a “Return On Investment.” I don’t know how we could ever calculate an ROI from helping school children deal with bullies or create inter-cultural friendships. It’s not about ROI. It’s about “RTTD”.

We do this program because Educational Theater gets a high “RTTD” score. “RTTD” means “Right Thing To Do.”

Helping a half million children each year deal more effectively with their lives is very much a RTTD.

So let me thank all of the wonderful and dedicated actors and writers and support staff and health educators and counselors and logistical folks who make our Educational Theatre program a success.

Well done. You make us proud.

Be well.


iGen // do you hear what i'm saying?

I just completed a two-day offsite training for work, which introduced our company to two important topics: generational diversity and assertive communication. I went in with an open mind and came out bursting with knowledge and the desire to change my own world. Part of be finds it a little bit crazy that a seminar could have so much power on me. But I guess that's how motivational speaking works.

Anyway, I wanted to record my thoughts here, for preservation and to remind myself of a time when I felt incredibly empowered. A feeling as deep as this can move hearts and mountains.



At this moment in time, four separate and distinct generations can be found within the workplace. There are the Traditionalists: those who experienced both World Wars firsthand; those who stood in endless breadlines during the Great Depression; those who knew a world before television and specialized radio. Next, and largest, are the Baby Boomers: the ones who wept for the death of John F. Kennedy; the ones who fought for our Civil Rights; the ones who protested the war in Vietnam. Then comes Generation X: they feared nuclear war; they became latchkey kids because of the rise in divorce across the nation; they were our country's first techies. And here's where I come in:

I'm a Millennial.

Generation Y. Echo Boomers. iGen. No one really knows what to make of me. From what the other generations can tell, I'm a lazy college graduate with the attention span equal to the width of a teaspoon who has no idea what I want to do with my life because I spend my days glued to the couch watching reality TV while listening to my music collection playing on random on my iPod. Truthfully, many fellow Millennials generally fit this description. On the other hand, appearances can be painfully deceiving.

Since the Industrial Revolution, our country, and our world, has been propelled forward by technology in ways we would have never imagined. In just four generations, we have advanced to being paperless, wireless, timeless... Maybe, some could even argue, a bit mindless. And a lot of that is reflected in the youngest generation, which includes me. We are inundated with so much external simulation, we've forgotten how to use our imaginations. The media strips our heroes of their credibility and idolizes the celebrities that habitually exhibit the kind of behaviors that may, admittedly, be morally corrupt, but hey, it gets them their fifteen minutes of fame and sells millions of copies of trashy magazines. In turn, we don't know who to trust and we've lost our social graces. With so many choices for electronic devices intended to assist us, it's a miracle we still know how to eat, sleep, and pee for ourselves. We've developed carpal tunnel from all the texting we do. We are fickle, we can't decide, we have three hundred and seventy two flavors of the week. The thing is: we are the future of this country.

But think about this. We have always known a world in which technology is the norm. Where information can be gathered effortlessly and instantaneously. So we have been expected to know it all, read about it all, understand it all, by the time we are ten. Children as young as seven and eight are taught to turn on a computer, start Microsoft PowerPoint, and develop a full-fledged presentation, complete with animations and sound. Teachers expect that, employers search for that. What happened to playing four-square and learning how to share? Our environment has turned us into human robots. Processors of information. Quick processors of information. We move at the speed of light because everything around us does. As intimidating as that may sound, think of all the possibilities.

As a generation, Millennials are the smartest and most educated generation in the history of man. We have been exposed to an incredible and endless amount of information, which we can, and will, use to our advantage. We have become accustomed to multi-tasking, and thus, we work smart and effectively. We understand the true value of life balance because it is hard to achieve. When there is so much to choose from, we elect to take the time to find out what we are truly meant for. We are open, accepting, and idealistic. We grew up with divorced parents and broken families, and as a result, many of us will wait to get married and start our families because we want to do it right. Because the media brings people up only to bring them down, we lacked the role models we needed as children. So we turned to our parents, who became our heroes, and we look to each other to inspire our communities to action. It has been said that Millennials have the strongest relationships with their parents and are the most civic-minded people in society today. We have seen our environment deteriorate before our eyes, and we know what we can do to save it. We fight to end world hunger, we walk for cancer, we search for the cure for AIDS. We have seen the effect of selfishness among older generations, and we want to be leaders, proponents of social justice, because we need to fix the world we all live in.

I feel like I'm holding the world in my hands. And I feel confident that I have everything I need to take care of it.


do you hear what i'm saying?

The funny thing about our culture is that we've been taught that it's nicer to be rude than to be truthful. Remember, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?" Well, that's okay, for the most part. Until it comes back to bite you in the ass.

The trouble is, everything we're expected to do as adults conflicts with all those lessons we were taught during childhood. We were told not to speak unless we were spoken to, but people are always looking for someone else to make the first move. We bite our tongues when we go against the majority or the authority. We would rather lie than spare someone else, or our own selves, any amount of embarrassment.

And that's where conflict arises. With all these mixed messages, how are we supposed to be able to communicate clearly and honestly, all the while maintaining the strength of all our relationships?

It isn't an easy task.

Through a variety of communication exercises, I learned that my style of communication is very self-deprecating and at times, apologetic. This struck me as odd, initially, because I like to think of myself as a strong person. But when I reevaluated myself, I realized a lot of things. I have been simultaneously taught to fear authority and believe that what I say is valuable enough to be heard. I am supposed to make clear what I want, but I should also be considerate of others. The outcome of that is a weak and passive style of communication.

I had assumed this was an issue that manifested itself only in the workplace. But a mere two days later, I had someone comment on my nervous disposition, which was extremely disconcerting because I had thought I was acting poised, confident, and self-assured. Clearly, this was not the case.

Thankfully, I have been exposed to new ways of communication, ways that are assertive without being offensive. I now understand that what I want is valid simply because it is what I want, and there is no need to apologize for how I am feeling about any situation. I am open to others' opinions, and I must remember that that notion will be reciprocated.

My hope is that I can utilize these skills to enhance those I already have. And sometime soon, someone will really hear what I'm saying.


our greatest moments

Alameda Civic Light Opera presents
Broadways Greatest Moments III
Saturday, November 3, 2007
8 pm @ Kofman Auditorium, Alameda


It's our reunion

We spent the whole summer together... and then some


Cinderella pals

Feels just like summer... and we're sad it has to end

Chillin' at LP

We're happy we're here


the happiest place on earth

Life was getting difficult to manage. So I took a break, called up my friends, hopped in a car, and went to Disneyland for the weekend.


Friday, October 26: Left Sacramento at 5:30 am. Arrived in Alameda at 7:00 am. Left for Glendale at 7:45 am. Arrived in SoCal at 1:00 pm. Continued to Irvine at 2:45 pm. Arrived in Irvine at 5:00 pm. Traveled north to Anaheim at 7:30 pm. Checked into our hotel at 8:00 pm. And this was the first thing I did when we got there.

SoCal = In-N-Out, plain and simple.

Excited for Disneyland!


Free tortillas at the Mission Tortilla Factory in California Adventure.

I'm not that great at shooting games.

Hollywood Backlot. Note the costume change, due to an unexpected snag in my shirt.

We livin' a thug's life.

Splash Mountain, my favorite ride at Disneyland.

At this point, we've been at the parks for nearly 12 hours. We're tired, but happy.

Cinderella memories.

We're All in This Together!

We love roller coasters!

Soaked, cold, exhausted, and all around awesome.


what now?

Summer has come and gone, and I have, regretfully, returned to my "real life." It's not so bad really, but when faced with the prospect of not performing for the next nine months (with the exception of a brief stint with ACLO's fall fundraiser show), I can't help but cling desperately to memories of long summer nights, stage lights, and the sound of applause.

As the ACLO 2007 season came to a close, I started to wonder what life would have in store for me next. Previously, I had been so determined to leave California in a year's time, with the intent of going to grad school and pursuing a masters degree in public health. But now, I really don't know. The last few weeks have changed me. In an email to a good friend of mine, I addressed these fears and uncertainties:

So I had a long chat with [my roommate] last night about grad school, and I think I might not be applying anymore. Like you know, I've been having a lot of anxiety and reservations about it, and we were able to narrow down exactly why during our talk. If I go to grad school, it should be with the intent to pursue executive positions in a specific concentration of a particular field, and I'm really not ready to do that right now. I do enjoy public health, but I realized that the capacity in which I am working in the field is so unique, and I don't know if it's the theatre aspect about my job that I love or if it's the public health aspect that really grabs me. Knowing myself, it's probably the pull of the arts. And what would happen if I found out during the middle of grad school that I actually hate public health? I need more experience before I decide to put all my eggs in that basket, whether it be experience in other parts of public health or work experience in general to help me determine what I really want to do. Also, I looked at some student population demographics for both Columbia and NYU, and the average student age is 27. 27! I'm so young! I should still be exploring and searching for myself, not cooped up in school. I'll go back once I've tried a lot of things and once I've gained the wisdom of knowing what I'm really meant to do.

I feel like I need to stop being afraid and just trust my instincts (woah, hi, Elphaba). I mean, my whole life, I've loved to perform and I've always dreamed of being a performer, so why don't I just suck it up and do it? I've got a base talent, and I know that I'm a hard worker. I'm thinking that in addition to taking voice lessons and dance classes, I want to take an acting class, either at Berkeley Rep or A.C.T., and I'd like to attend the musical theatre summer conservatory at AMTSJ next year, which my sister did this summer and loved. But I guess that will depend on my job situation. I think I'm gonna keep auditioning for Disney on the side because really, it wouldn't hurt, and I could use the occasional getaway to SoCal (or New York, yay). And next year, I think I will most likely audition to be a performer at Kaiser. Of course, that kind of puts a damper on my plans to leave California, but if it means pursuing performing, then that's what I have to do. I'll go wherever I can find a job. I don't know how to tell my parents about this, but I figured that I'm so independent at this point that if they get upset with me, honestly, there's nothing they can do about it. I mean, the worse thing [that could happen] is that they stop talking to me and tell everyone I'm a disgrace - but hey, that already happened when I was in college and didn't get into the business school. Truth is, I've never truly failed at anything; I've always managed to get by and do better than average, at the very least. So if I try this and fail, okay, that's a lesson I needed to learn, especially while I'm still young enough to do it.

Why, then, is it so hard to take that next step?


I wish my dreams didn't sound so stupid.


another op'nin', another show


A show within a show: Kiss Me, Kate and The Taming of the Shrew

The All Star Team: We did all three ACLO shows this summer

All smiles before show time

Downtime in our dressing room

Me, sans wig, showing off the chocolate-covered cheesecake slices Chris, Danny, and Peter made for my birthday

Birthday toasts and wishes

Target-sponsored backstage tour

Me and Cathy, posing for the camera


Alameda Civic Light Opera presents
Kiss Me, Kate
September 9-23 // Friday and Saturday @ 8 pm, Sunday @ 2 pm
Tickets available at www.aclo.com


ten minutes ago


Taking a break from rehearsing

Your Majesties dance

Cinderella and the Prince in the garden

Construction of the carriage

Our dressing room

A drawing of me in the opening scene of the show from Gabby (kids ensemble)


Alameda Civic Light Opera presents
Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
August 11-26 // Friday and Saturday @ 8 pm, Sunday @ 2 pm
Tickets available at www.aclo.com


steam train

steam train chuggin' down the hill
if you don't move now then you never will


I’m busy.

Ha. That’s the understatement of my life.

I can’t remember the last time I was at home for more than two hours on end. I can’t remember the last meal I made from scratch. I can’t remember the last sitcom I watched to kill time. I can’t remember the sound of popular music. I can’t remember the last time I talked to my best friend. I can’t remember the last time I had a moment to myself.

I also can’t remember the last time I felt more energized. Or inspired. Or just plain happy.

God, I love to perform.

It’s interesting spending your days in the company of actors. These are people who are required to wear every possible emotion on their sleeves and call upon them at a moment’s notice. That can lead to dynamic interactions as well as explosive confrontations. It’s a little bit crazy, living life on a stage. But mostly it’s fun, having the opportunity to draw yourself away from the mundane realities of everyday life.

Despite our differences in age, background, and experience, my cast mates and I have been able to quickly and successfully create intimate friendships, many of which I hope will last years from now. It is inspiring to be with people who feel as passionate about storytelling and personal connection as I do. And when I’m with them, I feel like the real me – the one without any insecurity, any judgment, or any fear.

I am dreading the approach of our final curtain call, when the seasons change and I must let go for the sake of my job. Summer is the time of year when I feel most alive; the rest of the year, I’m just waiting.

Four days later, the toner is finally starting to fade. By the time the weekend rolls around, my highlights should be turning heads. And that’s when we’ll get the party started.

A recap on this past month’s news:

playing hooky
I flew down to Southern California for a two-minute Disney Cruise Line audition. There were about 50 people in attendance, and all of us had the opportunity to perform 16 bars of one song. Some who were lucky enough to receive sides stuck around to read lines or perform additional songs for the casting directors. I was not one of those lucky people. But that did not leave me in poor spirits. I knew from the beginning this was a tough shot: the company was looking to create a repertory cast of 18 actors who would perform three shows, which meant that any actor they cast had to meet a stringent set of requirements for not one, but three roles. It was, as the staff said, “a difficult puzzle to piece together.” I was nervous, but knowing that my chances were slim to none, I decided just to enjoy myself. I sang “Waiting for Life” from Once on This Island, and I performed quite well. As I was leaving, the casting director thanked me for auditioning and said, “You have a beautiful voice.” Though I didn’t get invited to call backs, his comment was just as good as if I had been! Typically, the staff leaves you with a curt, “thank you,” and usher you out the door. So all in all, the audition was a fantastic experience.

back to basics
I’m still considering grad school. I’ve requested to have information sent to my home. I hope that seeing it in paper will help me make a decision. But in case I do decide to take that route, I better get a move on my applications. Um, can I seriously handle going back to school?

that's a laugh
Okay friends, before you go and freak out about my Facebook profile, please do me a favor, and (1) think about the company I keep, then (2) check out my latest set of pictures. Let that sink in for a moment… Right. How could you have really thought otherwise?

my passport's in the mail
The family booked a flight to Europe for the second half of December. Dear Lord, this is the vacation I’ve been waiting for. The itinerary: Italy, Spain, and anywhere else we can fit in between. Holler!

One more thing: today’s the day I celebrate one year of employment with Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Programs. I’m so grown up!


twenty four hours of lovin'


Rehearsal - Hooray!

We sing barbershop a cappella

Don't mess with Texas

Marching in the Alameda Mayor's 4th of July Parade

Cary's our Music Director and the only real Texan in our cast

ACLO publicity

Kofman Auditorium

Texas Aggies

Chris calls me his Fairy Godmother

Guadalupe Maribel Consuela Arellano-Marquez and Juan, the sad-faced ethnics

We're good at being cheesy

Melvin P. Thorpe Singers

Mugging with Melvin


Alameda Civic Light Opera presents
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
July 14-29 // Friday and Saturday @ 8 pm, Sunday @ 2 pm
Tickets available at www.aclo.com


investing in the future

I've come to learn that the most difficult thing for me to manage as an adult is my long-term future. For the first 21 years of my life, I had a lovely road map to follow, laid out by my parents, which focused primarily on schooling. I reached my final destination in record time and in good standing. Since the end of that journey, I've had little success in determining where exactly I want to go from here. My heart says to the stage. My head says up the career ladder. So which one am I supposed to listen to?

One thing is still for certain: come next year, I am leaving California. I'm continuing to lean toward New York for its performance opportunities and its alluring life style. But today, over an impromptu lunch with my parents, yet another opportunity presented itself to me.

I have never seriously considered going to grad school. Three and a half years at Berkeley were enough to last me a lifetime. And being the quick learner that I am, I always assumed I'd build a career for myself on experience alone. That's how my parents did it, after all.

But things are changing. In order to be a competitive job candidate, education is quickly becoming a necessity. And my parents want me to be a stakeholder in the future of our society.

We talked about what I could pursue; I immediately disregarded business, which I don't believe suits me and having been burned once, I don't plan on doing it again. From a personal standpoint, I would love to delve further into vocal performance but really, where is that going to take me? Then coincidentally, my mom and I simultaneously offered public health - an obvious choice considering it's the field I currently work it, but something that had never crossed my mind before. Once it did, it really started to make a lot of sense considering my undergraduate degree and my own interests in sociology and community health.

Then other ideas started popping into my head. During my sophomore year when AiR toured the east coast, I fell in love with Columbia University and lamented the fact that my parents didn't let me leave California for my undergraduate degree. During lunch with my parents, I remembered they had a school of public health and mentioned it. My parents agreed and offered some other schools back east. We had fun thinking of all the possibilities, none of which included California. As I made my way back to work at the end of the lunch hour, I thought about how great living in New York would be with the freedom of an academic schedule and my proximity to 42nd and Broadway.

Granted, applying to grad school terrifies me, let alone attending. Subjecting myself to that abstract mode of thinking is not something I will easily do. Moreover, there are the requirements I'd have to meet that I never previously thought of preparing for: the GRE, personal statements, letters of recommendation, not to mention getting a loan for my tuition. So is this really something I want to do?

Let's just say I'm doing my research.

where are you?

I've been awake for a while now
You've got me feeling like a child now
'Cause every time I see your bubbly face
I get the tinglies in a silly place

It starts in my toes, makes me crinkle my nose
Where ever it goes I always know
That you make me smile, please stay for a while now
Just take your time where ever you go

The rain is falling on my window pane
But we are hiding in a safer place
Under the covers staying dry and warm
You give me feelings that I adore

It starts in my toes, makes me crinkle my nose
Where ever it goes I always know
That you make me smile, please stay for a while now
Just take your time where ever you go

What am I gonna say
When you make me feel this way
I just...

It starts in my toes, makes me crinkle my nose
Where ever it goes I always know
That you make me smile, please stay for a while now
Just take your time where ever you go

I’ve been asleep for a while now
You tucked me in just like a child now
'Cause every time you hold me in your arms
I'm comfortable enough to feel your warmth

It starts in my soul and I lose all control
When you kiss my nose the feeling shows
'Cause you make me smile, baby, just take your time
Holding me tight

Where ever, where ever, where ever you go
Where ever, where ever, where ever you go…

-Colbie Caillat, "Bubbly"


the surreal life

To say these past few weeks have been flown by in a whirlwind would be an understatement. In addition to regular rehearsals, my social calendar has been overstuffed, and I've been going out waaay more than I ever have in the last year and a half. I'm starting to remember what it was like to be in college, only this time, I'm smarter and more organized about it. For the most part anyway. I got this past Friday off from work, which was well-deserved and much-needed, but I made some poor decisions in regards to my sleeping schedule. But you only live once, right?


Now that our season has ended, work has been growing progressively more boring. My eight-hour days have been devoted to accomplishing administrative work, forcing my mind into a lazy sort of haze as my wrists regress back to the year when I developed carpal tunnel syndrome. Gmail chat reminds me that there is a world outside the three walls of my cubicle, and I'm tempted to ask my supervisor if I can listen to my iPod while I drown myself in the paperwork needed for the preparation of the coming season.

If it weren't for the fact that I have rehearsals to look forward to each night, I might have just jumped off a bridge by now.


Reasons why I love rehearsals:

  1. I get to play every night after work.
  2. Castmates.
  3. Singing. Dancing. Singing and dancing.
  4. Regular and intense exercise.
  5. I have dropped a dress size in less than a week. Holler.


I've had a number of conversations with a handful of friends over the past few days, all of which left smile on my face. I learned about positive change in a high school friend, who now looks forward to an optimistic future. I spoke with an old friend about what we both wanted to do when we grow up, and I understood more clearly that nothing is ever decided and that anything really is possible. Over dinner with a new friend, I learned that my experience is not only valuable to me, but to others as well. While in Berkeley, a friend validated the quirks in myself that I find to be negative but are actually, according to him, indicators of a strength in character.

As cheesy as it sounds, I know I am incredibly blessed. My friends are amazing.


i can't...

...I have rehearsal. And all my time has become consumed.

The singing for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is far more difficult than I originally imagined. Maybe it's because I'm out of practice. Maybe it's because I haven't sang choral or a cappella music for nearly a year now. Likely it's both of those. Regardless, I am loving it.

Having been recast as a dancer for Cinderella is also not turning out to be the way I would have assumed. I'm reconfiguring my body into lines I've never seen on myself, and I'm being told to perform dance moves I've never heard of. Yet no one in the dancing ensemble can tell that I've only done little more than a pivot and jazz hands on a stage before. My hips are bruised, my muscles are sore, but my heart is leaping. Now if only I could get my legs to do the same.

It's true that I'm very tired and my time is very limited. With two shows in currently in progress, my calendar is filling up with rehearsals faster than I can write them down. Between now and the end of July, I only get six days off, five of which are in June. I will spend Independence Day inside Kofman Theatre, and my holiday actually will fall on July 6. It will surely get crazier once my third show begins at the end of this month. The trade off: I'm happy, I eat less junk food, I'm exercising more in one night than I normally would have in three, and I have a limitless amount of energy, despite the time and effort I am putting into rehearsals. I've spent the last few days with a ridiculous grin on my face, similar to the one Keri Russell wore in the movie Waitress, and people are noticing.

I wish that my "real life" could be an endless series of rehearsals punctuated by opening galas, Sunday matinees, and closing performances. Oh, if only.



For the past few months, I have been seriously contemplating the current state of my life and the direction in which it is heading. I'm content with where I am at the moment: living on my own, steadily saving money, working a stable job. But, I wonder, will I be happy to keep things as they are a year or two years from now?


I've always hoped to be the kind of person who could find happiness in all that I have and have that just be enough. But that is not the truth. I've come to learn that I'm much more dynamic than that. I learn quickly, improve quickly, and feel the need to move on quickly - maybe much too quickly. For example, I thoroughly enjoy my job. And over the past few weeks, staffing changes have resulted in a huge shift, forcing a reclassification of job duties. I've been handed more responsibility and, consequently, more growth opportunity. Yes, I'm excited. But more than that, I'm excited to see how I can take this and apply it to something else. Somewhere else.

Working with in theatre, both professionally and as a hobby, has strengthened my belief that I belong in the performing arts. The performing arts, particularly theatre arts, has fueled and inspired me in a way nothing else in my life ever has. But where, exactly, do I fit in? I'm growing into a strong and creative theatre administrator. My past experience has shown me that with the right education and training, I could become a director. And all throughout my life, I've given my heart and soul to performing on stage.

During these last few months, the need to pursue this passion has grown large enough to propel me into action. I know now what I want to do with my life. Or at the very least, what I want to do for the next few years. So what are the tools that I need? Experience, which I'm gaining through my job. Education, which will require a lot of self-discipline, time, and money, all of which I am willing to give. Resolve, which I must build and hold on to. And there are the risks.

Having spent nearly 23 years of my life in the Bay Area, I believe I've finally exhausted all my opportunities. At this point, there is nothing new left for me to discover. And so, I've decided to bid my home farewell.

I'm leaving California.

Granted, there are several parts of this decision that are still pending. Primarily, where I am going from here. This will be determined by where I decide to work. Given that I want to work in the performing arts, my number one choice is New York City. The opportunities there are endless. And it is a place I've always enjoyed visiting. Orlando is another possibility, where I could work for Disney. My parents, who are very supportive of the soul search, suggested Boston or Seattle, places they both would like to visit and places I would least like to live. But I am keeping all my options open.

Timing is another thing to consider. I am planning on staying with my job for a full two years, at the very least, because two years in a theatre company is the minimum experience I need to get my foot in most doors. That being said, I'll be in Oakland until August 2008, if not longer. While I gain that experience, I'll be saving as much money as I can and actively keep my eye out for job openings. I'll also be auditioning for shows in the Bay Area, as well as larger performance opportunities all over the country. Later this summer, I'll be going down to L.A. to audition for the Disney Cruise Line; things like that. I'm going to continue dance lessons, maybe take a few singing lessons, and re-teach myself how to play the piano. I've got an ambitious itinerary for the year ahead.

Never before have I resolved to take such a life-changing action. Until now, the riskiest decisions I have ever made were choosing to go to Cal and auditioning for American Idol on a whim. And both of those turned out successfully. I give myself far less credit than I deserve. I know that now. So that's why I'm leaving.

All my life, I've wanted something big to happen. I can't expect to find my dream if I don't go looking for it. My fear has kept me rooted in one place for my entire life. But the more I think about all the possibilities, the more my curiosity begins to take over. And I'm in a place in my life where all those possibilities are within my reach. I have freedom without responsibility, risk without the detrimental consequence of failure.

It really is the time to take a chance.


keeping the cat in the bag

Big things are happening. I'm just not ready to talk about them yet.


Things I like: Following through on plans and promises. Courtesy calls. Strong hugs, real hugs. Laughter. Quietness at the appropriate times. Introductions. Music. Singing.

Things I dislike: Those which are contrary to the items listed above.


There's this someone. Each day, I kindly greet this someone with a hello and some small talk. I answer this someone's calls and return the ones I miss. I even ask this someone to relax and cajole with me outside our usual social environment.

What this someone doesn't know is that I'm really quite angry at them.

Moral of the story: I need to learn how to communicate my feelings.


While being busy preoccupies my time and prevents me from dwelling on all the things that are lacking in my life, I've recently found that it perpetuates the feeling of loneliness I've been trying to keep at bay. Sure, I'm doing these incredible things. But where's the fun if you don't have anyone to share it with? And what about the bad stuff that comes with it? Where do I turn when I need a place to vent, bitch, or worse - cry?

I wish I had someone to talk to.


casting call

Ask, and ye shall receive: I just got cast into all three Alameda Civic Light Opera summer musicals!

In July, I'll be playing one of Melvin P. Thorpe's evangelist singers, leading the fight to shut down the Chicken Ranch in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. For the month of August, I'll be gracing the stage as an ensemble member in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. And come September, I'll be staring in my first feature, albeit tiny, role with ACLO as Hattie, Lilli Vanessi's wardrobe lady in Kiss Me, Kate.

Beginning May 21, I will effectively surrender my summer to the stage. Part of me wonders whether I'll miss my free time. But the other, larger, and more truthful part of me knows that there's no other way I would rather spend my summer evenings than in rehearsal and performing on stage. Granted, this means I cannot take an extended vacation this summer. The once-tentative family trip to Spain and Italy is now non-existent. Or rather, delayed until further notice. I haven't taken a real vacation since the holiday season of 2004, when my family and I first visited Europe with a trip to London and Paris. Since then, it's been short trips to Las Vegas and L.A. Nothing more. I worry that my mental health needs a break from reality. But considering how depressed I've felt during my time off from performing, I honestly believe this is the right thing to do for myself at the moment.

Given that fact, I apologize in advance to all my loved ones for dropping off the face of the earth for the next four months. However, the next two weeks are wide open, and I would love to get together for lunch, dinner, coffee, a movie, or a good conversation. You know how to reach me.

Ah, it's good to be back in action!


is it may already?

The month of summer musical auditions has finally come to an end, and here I am, just waiting for final casting notices. And nursing a sore hamstring from dance call backs. My fingers are crossed for something - anything, really. I didn't get into any Woodminster shows. I'm okay with that. From the audition, I could tell the company was way beyond my league. Not really my style, either. My DLOC audition was okay; it's really up to the casting directors at this point. The ACLO auditions were better than average, though I'm seriously kicking myself for blanking out on both dance routines. It's over now, I have to keep reminding myself. All there is left to do is wait.

I'm hoping beyond all hope that I get cast in a show. Since High School Musical ended, I've been feeling blue. Despite the fact that most things in my life are going well, I can't fight off the sadness. Nick pointed out that for me, the measurement of my own happiness is not the issue. Performing is, simply put, the air I breathe. And right now, I'm very close to suffocating.


My parents' new house is lovely. Nestled in the quaint foothills of Mt. Diablo, it is my parents' quintessential home. My favorite part is the back yard, which includes a natural water pool (no chlorine!), beautiful landscaping, and actual redwood trees. I'm looking forward to spending summers by the poolside. I'm also glad to be rid of the wretched commute home on Highway 4. Woo!


As of next Monday, I will be an Oakland resident of one year. Having lived in the Bay Area all my life, Oakland was actually one of the last places I pictured myself living. Who knew it would turn out to be so much fun? Hopefully we can have a repeat of last summer's barbecue party bonanza. Because really, that was one kick ass party.


Album of the week: P!nk's I'm Not Dead. Hella good!


one hundred years of sisterhood

This weekend marked the Sigma Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi's centennial anniversary at UC Berkeley. The past three days flew by in a whirlwind, with a mocktail social at the house, followed by centennial Rose Ball, and and ending with a farewell brunch. I had been anxiously anticipating this weekend for a while now, knowing full well that I would be feeling exhausted from day one. And yes, that was certainly true. But I didn't know that I would feel as renewed as I did. Being so focused and committed to my job and my performance career, I sometimes forget about the other parts of my life, parts that have made equally large contributions to my history and personality. It was nice to have the opportunity to step away from my normal everyday life and submerge myself in my past life, reconnecting with friends from all over the west coast at a place we all once called home.

Centennial Rose Ball at Hs Lordships in Berkeley

Me and my little sis, Marisa

Farewell brunch at AOII


Another smaller reunion took place this weekend as well. I met with some fellow AiR alumni at the 3rd annual AiR Alumni Mixer on Saturday morning at the Hotel Durant. We played the hat game, sang songs, and laughed over inside jokes, both old and new. It's amazing how great a distance time can create. I was in the group less than a year ago but it really felt like lifetimes away. I recalled fond memories of my time in AiR, which included many of my friends who are now living halfway across the world. Did all that really happen?

Yeah, and it really was one hell of a good time.


Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I've been dreaming of?

Oh, simple thing, where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on.

"Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane - my official Berkeley theme song


Other random news: ginagloria.com is up and running! Check it out for sound samples and upcoming performance information. Yeah!