Is it December already? Ohhhh my goodness, please forgive my lack of updates recently! The last three months or so have been extremely busy... and now the holidays are approaching, and that is never a formula for lower stress-levels. :) But I am very much looking forward to this holiday season, and time spent with friends and family. The nice thing about living so far away from the home I grew up in, is that around Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is even more meaningful to be able to connect with friends you don't see any longer on a daily basis.
Okay, quick recap? I can't fully describe all events in detail (unless you're up for a short novel... except it wouldn't be a novel, really, because this all DID happen, I can assure you!)
OH, and please forgive any spelling mistakes. This entry is just way too long to catch them all, and life is too short to correct all the mistakes. We more FORWARD!
SEPTMEBER! After a great night at home in MI for the Celebration of Life (our first fundraiser), it was on to-
Chicago, IL- I was invited to speak at Windy City Community church. Pastor Steve and his wife Denise have an awesome ministry there. I was able to sing with their worship band on Sunday morning, speak briefly in both services, and have a luncheon with the middle and high school girls and their leaders. It was hilarious, as a joke, they all dressed in evening gowns (like, halloween costume-Salvation Army style, it was RAD!) to greet me at lunch.... we had a good laugh. Because, didn't you know, Miss America wears an evening gown EVERYWHERE? At all times! Yeah, bugger, I didn't know that either. Guess I was underdressed.
Sunday evening was a program offered to the whole community, I was able to speak, and then answer questions alongside two professionals (nutritionist and therapist) from the Chicago area. It was great to be able to have those resources available for the attendees. We did a long autograph signing and photo session afterward, and it was heartwarming to meet many of the people who came out, several of them being individuals with whom the Foundation has been corresponding with via email, trying to connect them to resources. How great to meet them, face to face, and share a hug. :)
Washington, D.C.,- where I bunked with my dear friend Kathleen MacDonald, policy assistant for the Eating Disorders Coalition and invaluable board member of KHF, for Lobby Day training and work day! It was my Mom's first time to Lobby on the Hill... what a learning experience it was for her! Go MOM!
Back to LA- The Friday morning after Lobby Day I was up bright and early to get to Venice beach, for an IAEDP (International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals), Los Angeles Chapter event. It was actually REALLY neat; they had a photographer come, for whom I 'posed'... we did a before (NO makeup, no touch-ups), and after (hair and makeup) shot, after which he put them both up on a huge monitor. He then demonstrated how photographer and editor view and change, re-touch and sharpen images, deleting lines and wrinkles here, raising a hairline there, eliminating a blemish there and there and there, lightening the skin, etc., etc., etc.,... in order to 'finish' the image, fit for print. It is always so helpful to see the journey of the photograph from when it is taken to when it is all "Done." Continuing to remind us, that the images we are bombarded with everyday from the media, television, and advertising are simply not real. And that may not ever really change, but it is important for us to know that and be able to tell the difference: Images, two dimensional. Human Beings, 3-D. He also showed the editing journey with a photo of Jane Fonda... which was excellent, and of a young actress on Entourage, whose face was full of breakouts (he said she was extremely self-conscious), and yet she was transformed to a clear-skinned beauty. Amazing, isn't it?
Then I flew to New York- to be a guest on FOX News, Sean Hannity's Great American Panel. Besides my driver from the airport to the hotel (the Muse... gorgeous!) getting pulled over, and me walking the rest of the way to my hotel in the rain... at 11pm... it was a great trip! :) As is protocol with these shows, I received the 'topics' for discussion for the evenings show the morning of, and spent my day researching and writing my opinions. Of course, as fate would have it, 10 sensational things occured in the world before lunch time, and so the topics changed by mid-morning. But I love to research and analyze and write, so I had a fun day holed up in my hotel room studying. It ended up being a great show, Sean is really a wonderful guy. How neat to meet Rick Santorum (former Senator from Pennsylvania) as well, fellow panelist, who was all open ears about my Foundation and our work. It turns out that he empathizes very well with those struggling and recognizes the seriousness of the issue. Wish he was still fighting with us on Capitol Hill! The FREED Bill needs him! Fox is always a great time, and Sean invited me back! I'll be on again Monday, 21 December... looking forward to it!
I forgot to mention... Did I tell y'all that I'm making a Golf Workout DVD? I shot it at Warwick Hills the day after my fundraiser with PGA Golf Pro and Instructor Jay Golden... its going through the final editing process right now... I'll give you updates as they come along. :)
Back to LA... La Ventana (ED treatment center and transitional living on several campuses around LA and Malibu) was kind enough to host a fundraiser for KHF at Westlake Village Country Club, near Malibu. It was a BEAUTIFUL venue, great food, and wonderful silent auction items! My friend Paige (founder of Paige Premium Denim) donated too, to our silent auction. And did I mention I saw our jean, that will be going into production soon? I can't say too much, but I saw the distinctive pocket design, and all the washes it will be offered in; we're looking forward to a February 2010 launch, in time for the Spring line and Eating Disorders Awareness Month! I'll keep you posted! I spoke and Mom sold merchandise... it was a lovely event.
Germany! I really could write a book about this trip. Especially the fiasco that preceded it, upon realizing at 5am the morning of our flight from Detroit to Atlanta to Stuttgart, that I had quite conveniently left my passport in my quilted laptop bag. In Los Angeles. 3,000 miles away. To make a long story short, I have an angel of a friend who awoke at 2 am to meet the locksmith at my apartment as they drilled out my deadbolt. He rushed my passport to the Delta Dash at LAX and sent it off on a plane to meet me in Atlanta during our short hour and a half layover. I could hear the William Tell Overture playing in my head as I sprinted off that first plane, through the ridiculous amount of terminals at Atlanta airport, past security, OUTSIDE the building to the Delta Dash counter to pick up my little blue book. Made it back through security JUST IN TIME. It was truly nuts.
In Germany, I stayed with a lovely host couple in Renningen, outside Stuttgart. After a grueling two-hour press conference in the city the first morning, I realized that this whole "speaking with an interpreter" thing was going to be much more difficult than I had imagined. After a few of my many planned speaking engagements though, I began to get the hang of it. You have to speak two sentences at a time! And sometimes the Europeans just don't get my sense of humor. And other times, they really did, when my American compatriots were looking at me like I was crazy. No worries. I guess you can only be funny in one culture at a time.
I was able to speak at several schools, both high school and middle school, at a huge youth event in Karlsruhe, at a city event in Stuttgart, and in Fussen (South in the Alps, right on the border of Austria). It was a great lesson in letting go of control, in that you can say what you will, but ultimately your words and your message and sincerity are in the hands of the interpreter, and you cannot control that, at all. I just had to trust that God was going to make clear what he wanted to make clear. It was truly an amazing trip though, the people were wonderfully warm and engaging, the country itself is so beautiful, rich in history and culture, and I didn't want to leave! The food and wine were excellent as well. :) I can never get too much pumpkin soup and Wellness Flakes (like Kashi... but better!)
At the end of our trip we visited Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of Eastern France. I was in heaven. For those of you that know me, you know I am a total Francophile, and speak a bit of French. What a surprise and joy when, I swear it was something in the air, all my French came right back to me! I visited Nathalie (a French young woman my age who stayed at our house for one summer during high school) and her parents; they took us to see the Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, took us on La Bateau-Mouche to see the city from the river, we dined on Tartes Flambees, and had a simply marvelous time. I adore that city. France is everything you would ever think it would be; from the art lining the cobblestone streets, to the garlands hanging along the street fronts; the accordian players serenading passersby, a love song in the air, renaissance architecture all preserved, and yet very modern health conscious bikers and runners taking advantage of the sunshine. It truly is magical.
The great thing about Europe is there relationship with food and mealtimes. Not that any culture or country has a perfect 'food ideal' (NOBODY'S perfect, remember?), but it was so refreshing to dine without labels of FAT-FREE, no calories, and eat whole, fresh foods, milk from the farm down the street, no preservatives, and no comments of guilt and shame related to the food. What a pleasure not to have to rush during mealtimes, even when you're on a 'schedule.' It was very very nice.
I then flew to New York City to visit my brother and his fiancee, Nicole for a few days. I stayed in their charming but teeny Manhattan apartment, and we caught up and prepared for our auditions! Since getting a theatre agent out here in LA, I've been going back and forth to NY for auditions/callbacks. After great showings and callbacks for both A Chorus Line (National Tour) and the Broadway revival of La Cage... I'm starting to feel like this is where I belong. I had kind of a heartbreaking situation with Chorus Line... that I can't talk in detail about. But it was going to be good. But... God has a plan!
Los Angeles- where I spoke on a panel at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. There was a showing of Diane Israel's film, BeautyMark, and then a panel discussion including Diane, myself, and two other ED specialists with Q and A. We had a great turnout of college students... at least 300! A great Love Your Body, Rock the World message going on there. :)
I rounded out the month in Sacramento, CA- I spoke three schools, middle and high schools. This was around Halloween too, so I was met by audiences full of Scream villians, Sponge-Bob Squarepants', and fruit (I swear, one guy was dressed up as a banana). I did local media, television and radio related to Eating Disorders (great message at Halloween), and spent the evening at a community event where I spoke briefly, but mostly signed autographs and hung out with kids in their costumes (I wore a black witches' hat. Good enough.)
Sunday morning I spoke in both services at Bayside West Covenant Church, and following the services, spoke at a luncheon for the church's young women and their mom's. THAT was a great talk, as we spoke not only about the pressures they face related to body image, but also discussed that in terms of spirituality and what it means to be a Christian woman in today's culture; those pressures, realities and struggles. A REALLY great day.
NOVEMBER! Almost done, I swear.
This month thankfully, slowed down a bit. Whew!
I flew back to New York for a few callback, and then to Atlanta, GA- I helped out my good friend, Genie Burnett for her weekend of MANNA Fundraisers (her organization, the Manna Scholarship Fund, has the same mission and purpose as KHF). It was a weekend of beautiful art (at a lovely auction), more speaking and sharing with several audiences, and good sushi. This was also my first time in the Buckhead area, I stayed at the Mansion across from Lenox Square, and I LOVED it! Autumn leaves were falling and the air was crisp... it was truly beautiful. Not to mention, my Mom and I got some good shopping in. :)
Ann Arbor, MI- I flew back home to speak at St. Joseph/Mercy hospital for an educational/women's outreach event on Eating Disorders, offering stories of home and connecting women to resources. It was great to see my good friend from the Academy of Eating Disorders, Judith Banker, again, and again, many of the young girls/women who have contacted me via facebook and email were in attendance.
I was then in Philadelphia, PA for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, was able to perform ( "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus") and not freeze my tail off (unlike last year's cold, it was a mild 55 degrees! Go Philly!), and catch up with my DEAR traveling companion from my year on the road as Miss America, Julie Hoffman. I was home by Thanksgiving evening though! So I didn't miss turkey and potatoes. :) It was as good a feast as ever.
And now I'm parked back here in sunny California. I had a director's callback for the Toronto original cast of Rock of Ages yesterday, Jersey Boys audition Monday, so lots of work to keep at!
The Foundation is also so very excited to make a big announcement... which, while details are being finalized, will have to wait for next entry. Now that I got all of those updates out of the way, I can from now on pledge to offer more concise and more witty patter. Enjoy this holiday season, and I'll talk (or write) again soon.
Much love and peace, (I sound like the Dalai Lama)