Thursday, May 31, 2012

An Ode To My Father

My dad passed away February 1, 2006, and this time of year always brings up a ton of memories. First, because his birthday was May 26. Second, because Father’s Day is coming up, and third, because he was in the military, and though he wasn’t lost in battle Memorial Day always held such a reverent place in our household.

Last year, I wrote An Ode To My Mom on Mother’s Day. Some of you have wondered about the other half of my parentage, especially given that I don't really look like my mom. :)

I've already written a post about my dad called, "Words To Love By," but I thought it might be fun to revive the idea of my mom's post to introduce you more deeply to my dad.

75 Facts About My Dad

1.         I gave my dad the nickname, Pappy, long, long ago. He signed off letters, cards and emails that way to me until the day he died.

2.         He was definitely the #1 Member of the Erin Cronican Fan Club.

3.         He retired from the Air Force as a full Colonel after 25.5 years of service.

4.         He hair turned fully grey in his late 20s. I never knew him with his naturally dark hair.

5.         He was 6’2”, but he always described himself as 5’14”.

6.         He thought he was really funny. (See #5)

7.         He used to pull up to stop lights pulsing the brakes of the car to the beat of the music.

8.         His favorite singer/artist was Rod Stewart.

9.         Every time I would call home and he’d pick up the phone, I’d say, “Hi, it’s me,” and he’d exclaim, “Hello, Me!”

10.         For breakfast, he loved sunny side up eggs with ketchup, and he would use a spoon to scoop out the contents of the yolk in little, bitty segments. I think he loved to savor it.

11.         My dad worked at NATO in Belgium, as well as NORAD within Cheyenne Mountain (think: War Games)

12.         Every Father’s Day for about the last 10 years of his life, I took him on a Father-Daughter trip to see a San Diego Padres game.

13.         Each time we went to a game, he’d point at the advertisements for Carvel ice cream and say, “Do you know where that’s from?”

14.         Carvel originated in Yonkers, NY - where he was born.

15.         My father and I never got a chance to be in New York together. I moved here in August 2005; he died 6 months later.

16.         He once severely injured himself by jumping over the net on a tennis court.

17.         Before a car accident injured his back, he used to be an amazing (perhaps pro-level) golfer.

18.         He owned a fountain pen and liked to write in a sort of calligraphy.

19.         He fancied himself the master of other languages, including German, French and Spanish. He would often try to talk to us in these languages and invariably mix up which language he was speaking mid-sentence, which always cracked us up.

20.         After each member of the family had a dog to call their own, he finally got his own dog: a pocket sized poodle** named Molly, who was the sole litter from our dogs Roger and Rosie. She was a surprise litter, so he nicknamed her "Spuppers" (short for surprise puppy.)

21.         **This is funny because he always talked about wanting to have a “man’s” dog, like a German Shepherd.

22.         I taught him the wonders of the Kahlua and Cream cocktail.

23.         He absolutely loved sitting outdoors after work, watching the sunset over the valley.

24.         Every night he made gin martinis with lemon peel, which he would peel off in small sections with a special little tool. I don’t remember him ever using the lemons, only the peel.

25.         He used to always say, “No one can ever embarrass you. You can only embarrass yourself.” He would normally say this after doing something really embarrassing.

26.        My father and I shared a very similar, corny sense of humor, with lots of innuendo and word play.
Let's not talk about the overalls. 
27.         I don’t think he missed a single performance I had, until I moved to NYC. This includes a cabaret at a gay piano bar in San Diego. You've never seen a father's face turn so red. 

28.         His favorite sports team was the Redskins. Yankees were second. Chargers & Padres tied for third.

29.         He, somehow and wonderfully, loved the “Les Mis” and “Phantom of the Opera” Broadway Cast Albums.

30.         He loved, loved, loved creamy food - ice cream, sour cream, cream cheese, cream sauces, etc.

31.         He had really pale skin with bright pink overtones, like me.

32.         He held two degrees - in engineering and business administration.

33.         He was a die-hard PC fan, and constantly poked fun at me for being a die-hard Mac user.

34.         Unlike other parents who wanted their kids to be doctors or lawyers, he always wanted me to be in sales.

35.         After visiting home, my dad would walk me to my car and stand in the driveway watching me until I drove away. That was my last memory of him alive (December 30, 2005.)

36.         He had this funny way of standing, with his legs spread more than shoulder width apart and his arms crossed - my guess being that it helped him with back pain.

37.         When I was in high school, my family went to an old movie set/tourist attraction called Old Tucson in Arizona. My mom, dad and I decided to get an "Old West" portrait taken where we got dressed up. You can totally see our personalities in the photo. 

Dad (gregarious), Mom (hates having her photo taken), Erin (melodramatic actor)
38.         When he died, we got an outpouring of emails from old colleagues and classmates who described him as a mentor, confidant, and dear friend.

39.         He LOVED Italian food. Especially linguine with butter and garlic.

40.         He was a pretty good tennis player, but he had a terrible temper. McEnroe, eat your heart out.

41.         As far as gift giving, he would always say, “I only want two things: A porsche, and good kids. And since I’m not getting either of those, I don’t need anything.” Ha ha.

42.         He was extremely gregarious and loved to talk to strangers.

43.         He was ultra-conservative, politically. Ultra. Conservative.

44.         Death to anyone who stood in front of the TV when a game was on. “Down in front!” was a common warning.

45.         He would always choose the green playing piece when playing games.

46.         He was a pretty volatile person when he was younger but started to mellow as he aged. Yelling was replaced with a calm, “That is not appropriate,” which kind of made us giggle.

47.         He worked in the field of electronic & information security most of his life, but being adept at common electronics completely eluded him.

48.         He joked that he had a religious typing style - “Seek, and ye shall find.”

49.         He had this huge dictionary with indented tabs for each letter. He also had 3 shelves full of National Geographics. (I wrote most of my school paper on topics that could be found in those, because those were the pre-internet days.)

50.         When decorating the Christmas tree, my mom and brother would hand the ornaments and my father and I would string all of the lights. 

51.         He’d sometimes crack himself up with his own jokes, and his laughing would make his face turn red.

52.         He wore two rings that he never took off - his wedding band and his class ring from Manhattan College. When he died, my mother gave me my dad's class ring and my brother Sean his wedding band. 

53.         He was incredibly independent and, like many men in his generation, refused to talk about his feelings.

54.         Before undergoing triple bypass surgery 2003, he did express one regret: “I wish I had instilled more of a sense of pride in your Irish heritage, like what was shared with me as a child.”

55.         He had the same name as his father (who I never met.)

56.         He really loved telling blonde jokes, probably because neither his wife nor daughter were natural blondes and he knew he could get away with it.

57.         He was opinionated and idealistic, which made his bosses either love him or hate him. I inherited that trait, and I've learned to love it.

58.         The last physical moment we had together was me stroking his hand while on life support. I will never forget how soft his fingers here, yet his hands still felt strong to me.

59.         He gave great hugs.

60.         If he were to come to a show of mine, it was guaranteed by the end of the night that he would have told everyone around him that he was my dad.

61.         After he passed away we went to his office to clean out his desk and take home personal effects. On his wall he’d hung my acting postcard and a promotional card from when I did “The Last Five Years."

This was one of the walls of my dad's cubicle. 

62.         He was really, really smart.

63.         I made him a huge batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies for almost every birthday. He was a Gemini.

64.         He had the ultimate white man’s overbite when dancing.

65.         We went on a weeklong father-daughter trip to Europe after I graduated from college.

66.         His nickname for me was, “The Kid.”

67.         He used to always joke that we all talked so much at the dinner table and he “could never get a word in edgewise. There are foot prints on my tongue.”

68.         He refused to let people touch his hair.

69.         He liked to answer the phone in funny voices when my friends would call.

70.         He took up stamp and coin collecting after his mother passed away and he inherited them. When he died, I asked to take them.

My family's going away party, before moving to NYC.
71.         He used to joke that if I didn’t get my act together, he’d take me out of the will. But it turned out to be a bigger joke than that - because I was never actually in the will to begin with. After he died, we discovered that he rewrote his will when he married my mother, but had not revised it since having children with her. (Oops.)

72.         For my Sweet 16, he bought me Dr Laura’s “Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives.” (See #43.)

73.         He liked to wear short shorts. And they got shorter and shorter the older he got. (I know.)

74.         He would always ask me to be his Valentine.

75.         He was a student of life and incredibly inspirational. After he died, my mother gave me this card that he had written:

I love you, Pappy, and I miss you. Thank you for making me who I am today.

Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Physical Reality

Does laughing count as exercise?
I talked a little bit last week, in my re-entry into blogging, that one of the things I committing to is a better regimen of taking care of my body. It’s not just because I’m “supposed” to, and it’s not just because I’ll be shooting love scenes this summer and need to be in top shape (though, now that I typed that, I think that should be a top reason.)

I’m committing to caring for my body because there are all kinds of signals tugging at my shirt sleeves, begging for my attention:

• Friends of my mother are being rushed to the hospital, and/or are dying unexpectedly. 
• I’m starting to “feel” old. As in, sitting cross-legged for a few hours results in me looking like a comedy act when I try to stand up. 
• My boyfriend (aka The Boy) is extremely athletic, and can eat whatever he wants. I want to keep up. 
• I feel in better mental health when I’m paying attention to wellness. not because of endorphins (though I’m sure those help) but because I’m at cause rather than a victim of my circumstances, which makes me feel powerful. 
• As an actor, I work for Mount Sinai Medical School as a standardized patient, and playing characters who are ill patients is a HUGE wakeup call to take care of my health. 
• My father died of a heart attack in 2006, so there are at least some risk factors for heart disease.

• I drink a fair amount of alcohol, and don’t really want to stop - and those are some seriously empty calories.

• I also like cheese. Lots of cheese. And bread.

The list goes on and on, but you get the idea.

So, I’ll share with you what I’ve been doing as a way of keeping myself motivated to (somehow) have you, my precious readers, hold me accountable:

• I run every other day with The Boy. I don’t run that far yet, only about 1.75-2 miles per run, but I can always increase my frequency or distance when desired. (I used to be a distance runner when I was younger - how many of you knew that?!?) 
• I walk as often as possible rather than taking subway connections.

• I take the stairs instead of escalators. I love stairs. It’s weird. 
• I’m looking into more fun activities that involve my body (that’s not dirty at all.) I’m a huge fan of dance classes but am on a limited budget, so I’m looking for music venues with dance floors to get my groove on.

As far as diet goes, I have an approach that’s oddly successful for me: I eat the healthiest thing I can stand to eat every time I have a meal. Normally that means: no meat, low salt, lots of fruit or veggies, lower fat, etc. This removes any guilt from having the food I love (cheesesteak, nachos, booze) because I have it only when I don’t want anything healthier on the menu. And, believe it or not, the law in NYC that makes chain restaurants reveal their calorie counts has been enormously helpful in my managing my health.

With drinking, The Boy and I are attempting to trim back our drinking to every other day rather than every day. Those of you who are not in NYC may not realize how difficult this is. When I lived in San Diego, drinking was tempered by the fact that I was a safe and conscientious driver and would only drive when sober. That limited how often and how much I would drink. In NYC, most business meetings and social gathering center around alcohol, so I find myself drinking most of my days calories without even knowing I’m doing it.

Funny story - last night, The Boy and I were grabbing a late night bite to eat at an Irish pub, and the guy next to me asked me from where I was visiting. I said I lived here, and he seemed surprised. He later revealed that he saw a glass of water sitting in front of me but no booze, and said that only tourists drink water at bars, because they forget that they don’t have to drive. Yep. That’s the culture we live in here.

How are you addressing your health? Any ideas that you can share with me to make my quest more fun or fruitful?

Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit

Thursday, May 17, 2012

No, I'm Not Dead

… But, I was sucked into the black hole that is SELF PRODUCING, and ENTREPRENEURSHIP.

It’s funny - you hustle for months to get work that is financially rewarding and artistically fulfilling, and when you finally do, all of the marketing and promotions you’ve been doing to cast aside and all of the sudden you’re like… holy crap, it’s been 7 months since I’ve updated this blog. […puts out hand, slaps own wrist…]

And the thing is - writing is one of my favorite things to do. It’s certainly in my Top 5 if you include singing, eating yummy food, playing my with my dog and canoodling with my boyfriend. (Yes. I said canoodling, and the computer did not try to autocorrect it.)

There are a lot of wonderful activities I’ve cast aside in my efforts to grow my businesses /endeavors (What are those, you ask? Why, I manage a/an: acting career, coaching business, theater company, open mic, musical theater collective, networking event). Some of the top activities I’ve been neglecting but am hoping to return to:

I love to read. I have about 50 books on my shelf that are begging to be read, including (but not limited to): In Defense of Food, Under The Dome, Getting Things Done (ha), The Good Soldiers, Odd Thomas (a suggestion from my brother), and A Deeper Darkness- a book by JT Ellison that I won as a perk for donating to the Kickstarter campaign of Jeanne Bowerman and Michael Bekemeyer.

I love to watch movies. I have to be honest… this is something I haven’t really given up in all of my busy-ness. It’s one great way to unwind at the end of the night. Netflix and Apple TV are my buds. I watch good movies and bad movies with equal glee. Recently watched: Religulous, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Giuliani Time, Primal Fear, Memphis, and Season 6 of Weeds. I’m also (finally) introducing my boyfriend (known hereafter as “The Boy”) to LOST.

Ehem… exercise. Most of the time, when I am working I tend to ignore my body and its pleas for exercise and relaxation. This, despite following the tweets of the amazing Gini Martinez, who reminds me daily to pay attention to my body. I now run every other day with The Boy, and am looking for other fun ways to keep me body, mind and spirit running in top snape (suggestions are welcome in the comment section!)

I love to shoot photos. I don’t have great equipment. I just have an old point and shoot. But I am so inspired by the word around me that take some sort of camera with me wherever I go. I especially like photographing cityscapes, nature, bright, shiny objects, and taking photos of ordinary subjects in interesting ways.

When I started this blog, it was a way for me to keep in touch with people back home (San Diego) after moving to NYC. I talked about my life here, and also talked about my career as an actor. Somewhere along the way, I stopped talking about life and just talked about acting. And then I stopped talking at all.

It doesn’t excite me to pressure myself with, “Ok, you said you were gonna blog. Now do it. And make sure it markets you well.” However, it DOES excite me to set aside time each week to express myself in writing, something that fills me with joy.

So, I’m committing now to creating a habit of writing for myself, and sharing that with others. I’ll write about what inspires me, including the awesome people and projects I come across in life and via my social networks. I also plan to write about what infuriates me, and what kind of action I can take to combat those things (I’m nothing if not action-oriented.)

And, hey, if you get to know me a little better through the process, that’s pretty cool too.

Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit

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