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No, it's not a list of ingredients for a weird recipe, just a list of things I have to remember to maintain, and all of which start out with the best of intentions, ending up in a few straggly brown plants, an algae-covered tank, and a bad case of writer's block.

To explain how these odd ingredients actually do connect, I'm borrowing a line from Alan Jay Lerner, the lyricist & playwright (for My Fair Lady, Camelot, etc.). In his memoir, he wrote that he became a theatre writer ecause of "a cigarette, a left hook, and a wrong turn on the way to the men's room". (The cigarette got him kicked out of prep school en route to a diplomatic career, the left hook in a college boxing match damaged his vision & kept him out of the war, and the wrong turn was taken by composer Fritz Loewe, causing him to meet Lerner and launching a very successful collaboration.) I always loved that elegant combination of seemingly unrelated events (even though the memoir also contains lengthy descriptions of the writing retreats Lerner & Loewe spent at their various country homes, complete with a full complement of servants catering to their every need, taking 2 months to write one song, and I want to yell, "Okay, let's see you write a song while shelpping 2 kids around, running a home, teaching voice lessons, and doing all your writing at 5 a.m. before the kids get up!")

Anyway, my serendipitous combination of circumstances may not lead to a successful career, but it has shown me I need to slow down a bit and take better care of myself, as well as take better care of the tomatoes I planted with such optimism but occasionally forget to water. Meanwhile, the fish tank was a well-intended gift from the boys' godfathers (my best friend from college, Andy, and his husband-until-Calif.-figures-out-what-to-do-about-the-gay-marriages-performed-before-Prop.8, Bob, who has proclaimed himself to be the boys' 'fairy godmother'). The idea of the tank was that the boys were totally responsible for it* and I was to do nothing but watch and enjoy. I guess I missed the asterisk . . . *until they both get really busy with their respective activities and mom caves in and cleans the tank . . . . and since I teach my voice lessons in the room with the tank, I have to look at the algae on a regular basis.

Then there's the lapses in blog entries. I had all these noble intentions, to post twice a week, to cross-post to other more popular sites so I could follow in Diablo Cody's footsteps (she's the Academy-Award-winning screenwriter who got her start blogging about her work as a stripper . . . not that I'm stripping, but I figured someone out there is reading these blogs . . . oh, never mind). Anyway, it meant I stopped writing for my own enjoyment and was thinking of my blog as a promotional activity, which pretty much took the fun out of it, and sure enough, over 2 weeks have gone by where I didn't even realize I hadn't been posting, I just got busy with other things.

So - I hereby resolve to water plants, clean the fish tank, and write blog entries purely for my own enjoyment, and if my efforts produce edible tomatoes, a beautiful aquarium, or a screenwriting contract, that's icing on the cake. Meanwhile, after I get myself more serene and then become an overnight success after 35 years, I can use this series of events to launch my own memoirs, and make Alan Jay Lerner look lazy by comparison.

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