Saturday, September 7, 2013


"Eight shows a week -- it's too many  shows," Em says.

John agrees. He explains it's a tradition, and it is also hard on the actor.    

Though John understands why producers need eight shows to keep a show running, he explains why the schedule for Broadway, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees, is difficult for an actor, and why Off Broadway's schedule, with weekend matineesm can be even more difficult.

John suggests he might do better negotiating for a six show week -- if he's offered a part in an Off-off Broadway production.

That Broadway star Cullum can negotiate better working conditions for himself nowadays if he's in an off-off Broadway production gets the Cullums chuckling.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


How many times have you heard about wrinkles -- frown lines, dark circles, what you have to buy, to use, to do in order to look better, younger -- all those things you must do for hair, lips, legs, hands, feet, fingernails, toes, eyelashes, and cellulite.

Are they lies? Um ... uh ... well, they are ads. which are presentations of proven facts that will convince to you buy the product.

Do they work? Well, if you buttered your wrinkles, you might see improvement. You'd see improvement if you iced them, or covered them with makeup. If you did specific exercises for the area you want to improve they'd look better -- better if you are in a frame of mind to see "better." not worse.

And yes, the more you see -- the more you study -- the more passionately concerned you are, to maintain, to improve, to fix what looks older than yesterday.

A long short time ago, the day before my thirtieth birthday, I bought "Second Debut," a moisturizer that was hugely touted on TV -- green bottle for "normal" average skin, pink bottle for "mature" dry skin. I bought two pink bottles from Macy's.

Staving off "after thirty" -- doomful words that advertisements, friends, relatives, even doctors murmur, I used Second Debut every morning and evening for -- gee, how long? -- at least a year. A dancer friend  whose dad was a dermatologist, gave me a tube of Retinol  2.5, (stronger than what drugstores sell). I used it very sparingly -- I didn't have wrinkles but sometimes a frown line appeared on my forehead.

I still have a squeezed-out tube 2.5 Retinol, and an almost empty bottle of "Second Debut." I still look ... well ... I look um... not young, but my face and general shape are more than adequately okay.

Okay, here's the nitty-gritty: I ignore compliments or advice from friends. I ignore all "look younger" latest products, and aphorisms. I wear makeup only when I make videos, or attend my husband's show. I remove it with a few daubs of inexpensive Johnson & Johnson baby oil.

Remember the tooth fairy? One of her sisters resides in my house.

With her help, I pay attention to what I eat. I stay in shape by doing all my chores using my body as much as possible, the way I did when I was thirty -- bending, lifting, reaching, climbing, hurrying, standing tall. The fact is, most of the other doomful things -- dark circles, bags, cellulite, wrinkles, hair loss, and other un-prettifying things that come with growing older -- have more or less happened to me.

Boo-hoo, YAY! My eyes don't see as sharply as they used to. Therefore, when I  see a wrinkle, I race to another mirror, where I kind of chat, with the wrinkle fairy.

Comforting me with nice, gently truthful words that always make me feel better. that, the conversation with her is my wrinkle remedy.

If you're fretting, seeing all the things about yourself that are falling apart, close your eyes and think back to the days when you believed in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, and you can summon your own help-you fairy. It can be a he, she, or any kind of IT -- it's there, still in your house; it still lives in your mind. It will make you feel nicely, more than adequately okay. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


 Ah, the sweet smell of newly mowed grass ... it always gets to me....

It brings back memories of our lawn after Daddy mowed it. My older sister got to mow it sometimes, and then, finally, I was allowed to push the lawn mower. It was fun. It was hard to get the mower rolling, but wow, once I got it going I didn't want to stop -- I loved making a pathway in the grass.

I had to stop .A twig got stuck in the cutter blades. I had to figure out how to get it unstuck. Almost immediately, it  happened again, and again -- twigs, pebbles, more twigs.

With all the stopping and starting, mowing became a big chore. I was glad when my sister told me, "You aren't strong enough to mow the lawn, Em."

Even so, that sweet-sweet smell -- it meant summer, no school, long days with me free to figure out and do whatever I was in the mood to do.

Free -- what a feeling -- that feeling as if every day were Sunday. It made me aware of time passing quickly, grass re-growing so quickly, needing to be mowed, which meant soon -- too soon -- the summer would end and the wonderful green would turn yellow and brown.

Yes, newly-mowed grass means green, sun, sweat, blue sky, sleepy wonderful freedom. I no longer remember who said I had to learn to rake it up. Raking the remnants wasn't fun; mowing wasn't really fun -- neither was raking. Fun was in the precious, sweet smell.

I got too-too busy for a long time, and didn't see or smell any grass. And now, though I never see newly mowed grass, I remember -- oh yes, I do remember, that sweet, sweet, sweet smell and it still gives me a powerful feeling that has to do with loving nature for giving me the gift of grass -- taking it away -- giving it back to us every year.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Emily gets John Cullum to tell how he got involved with tennis when he was very young, and why he loved playing it in Knoxville, and in Paris. 

Could you have become a professional," Em asks?

John explains why he didn't want to play tennis professionally, and why it's his favorite sport.