August 25, 2002 -- Greetings from the Upper East Side

Hi everyone:

Well, I've been a New Yorker for exactly one month. I must admit that I don't think I've ever been more scared in my life. I really have taken a huge leap of faith with this move. Here I am, 45 years old, moving to New York to become a struggling actor -- something normally done by people less than half my age. But hell, if I don't do this now, then when?

Titus and I are settling down for the most part, but as you can imagine, it will be a while before I really feel like New York is home. In the meantime, I still get the occasional pangs of San Francisco homesickness. Titus, on the other hand, is adjusting terrifically to being a New Yorker. We go for three walks a day. There's a great dog park six blocks north of here, and we go there every evening to mix it up with the neighborhood hounds. The walk takes us right along the East River -- a perfect way to end the day.

The big news is that I start school next week. I'm taking a full program of studies at the HB Studio in Greenwich Village: A singing class taught by Helen Gallagher (Tony recipient for "No No Nanette" and "Pal Joey", Helene in the original company of "Sweet Charity"), a fencing class, an Alexander technique class, a speech therapy class (gotta get rid of that sibilant "s") and a jazz dance class. I also have some upcoming auditions for some advanced acting classes: one technique class, one scene study class (taught by Anne Jackson), and one performance lab. Those come up next week -- pray for me!

I'm fighting a VERY strong urge to go out on "real" auditions (for instance, Paper Mill Playhouse is doing "Annie" later this year). I just don't quite feel like I'm ready yet. I want my first auditions in New York to be smashing -- plus, I want to be able to put all my new training on my resume. :) Perhaps by late December or January, I'll finally be ready.

I've taken myself off of the temp job schedule at the bank, where I had been working since February. Since I'll be going to school full time, and since I must leave time for the gym and for walking my dog, I'm giving myself the luxury of not working. Gotta keep an eye on those finances, though -- come February (end of the fall term), it's back to the office. Who knows, though -- by then, I might end up with a real live honest-to-goodness gig in the national tour of <insert name of show here>. To quote Lee Adams, "It should happen to me!"

The apartment is shaping up -- sort of. I'm completely unpacked and put away, but all of my pictures and bric-a-brac are still in boxes. I'm holding off on that until I can get a second pair of eyes to help with that. The frustrating news apartment-wise is that the selling broker did not completely live up to her end of the contract. Some issues: the oak windows in the living room remain unfinished, the paint job is horrible (I still can't properly close my closet doors because the paint is caked on so thick), and the bathroom tile looks like it was laid by a ten-year-old. Two words of advice for those of you considering buying in New York: a) ALWAYS hire a real estate lawyer, and b) if the seller want to include upgrade work as part of the sale, turn him/her down flat -- have them reduce the selling price, and do the work yourself. Experience is a very strict teacher.

The heat wave has finally ended! We were racking up some serious record-braking degree days for a while there. Titus did NOT adjust well to this weather (thank God for air conditioning). We're now having wonderful summer days in the mid 80's -- totally tolerable.

I found a cute little piano bar just a few blocks from my home. Rather rustic, very 19th-century New York in atmosphere, but the music is very upbeat and "pop"-ish. They serve a GREAT vodka martini for only $6, a real steal in New York. One drawback: On the night I was there, not a show tune to be heard. Rats. Guess I'll have to teach them a few tricks.

I sold Reynard, my wonderful little red Volkswagen Fox. The ironic thing is that I sold it to a guy who's getting ready to drive it back to California! He's pretty much taking the same route that I took, but will be ending up in Los Angeles. Funny how things end up.

Well, that's pretty much the scoop. The next few months will see me nose-deep in school, hopefully with the added benefit of making lots of new friends and contacts. If I keep quiet and pay attention, I may learn a few things. I may even end up with some honest-to-God acting work. Please keep me in your prayers -- I'm going to need them.

Peace, love and good wishes to you. It sure is great to have you all to write to.