Friday, July 24, 2020

100 Random Facts About Me - 10 Years Later




Facebook Memories alerted me that 10 years ago I published a blog post: "10 Random Facts About Me", and I thought it would be fun to revisit the post and offer updates/comments on what has changed and what has stayed the same the last 10 years. 

So, without further ado, here are my 100 Random Facts from 2010, with updates for 2020!


1. My name was almost Colleen. It was my parents’ 2nd choice, and coincidentally, the nurses at the hospital randomly assigned me that name to me via the bassinet name card. But Erin won out. 

2. My middle initial is Q. Stands for Quinn. 

3. People always think I am taller than I actually am. And yet, I am almost always too tall for my musical theater scene partners. Murphy’s Law. (I’m 5’5“)

2020 UPDATE: I *just* got my height measured at the doctor's office, and I HAVE SHRUNK. I am now 5'4". I'm so sad!

4. I was born a super dark brunette. With a widow’s peak. I looked like Baby Dracula. 

This is me with my older sister.
My widow's peak is fashionably sideswept.


5. I’ve owned 5 businesses, and been a mid-high level manager at 3 different companies. 

6. I’ve owned 2 properties, the first before the age of 25. 

7. I get really excited when the mail comes. And if my mailbox is empty, my heart sinks. 

8. I often sing songs to my dog, and put her name in the song. Like, ”Sweet Denver Dog, (bah bah bah!) Good Times Never Seemed So Good (so good so good so good!)"

2020 UPDATE: Alas, Denver passed away in 2012 and it took years before I was ready to get another dog. But happily, Feste came into our lives in February 2018, and yes - I put his name in songs, too...

9. I have an irrational fear of grasshoppers. 

10. I adore alphabetizing. And sorting of all kinds. 

11. I am really good at hanging pictures perfectly straight without a ruler or tape measure. 

12. I have a crapload of family I have never met.

2020 UPDATE: I recently sent in my Ancestry DNA kit, so I'm sure that very soon I'll have other family coming out of the woodwork...

13. I love buying cosmetics. Doesn’t matter how many bottles of lotion or tubes of mascara I have, I always want to try more.

14. I have been a Mac/Apple user since 1995 (thanks, Brent!) and I am a diehard fan. I don’t yet have the iPad, but I have an iPhone, MacBook and an Apple TV. And my old iPod, which I still use. 

2020 UPDATE: I am still a Mac geek - add to my "owned" list: an iPad, an Apple Pencil for the iPad, and no more iPod. (Remember when they first announced the iPad and how unpopular that name was?) I don't yet have an Apple Watch, because I don't wear a watch...

15. I am extremely introverted, which no one guesses because I can be very personable, expressive, and attentive. But I then disappear for days because I have to recharge. This is why some of you have yet to receive return phone calls and emails and texts. Oops. 

16. I’ve finally realized that I have been lying to myself all of my life - I DO want to be swept off my feet like in the storybooks. 

17. However, I don’t want kids. 

18. My dog is nearly 15 years old, and I have had her since she was 10 weeks old. 

2020 UPDATE: See #8. We rescued Feste and his estimated age was 1 year at the time. If that's true, he's 3.5 years now. 

Dear, Sweet Denver

Dear, Sweet Feste 

19. I feel things very quickly, and very deeply, but have a huge wall that appears when I am with others. Over the years I have slowly been able to lower the wall bit by bit.

2020 UPDATE: I have been working on this a lot, and nowadays I think I'm much more open.

20. Spaceballs (Mel Brooks) is my favorite movie. Ludicrous Speed- GO!

21. I had a basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) removed in Oct 2009.

2020 UPDATE: Oh boy. So, in May 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage IIB Breast Cancer - I had the cancer surgically removed (lumpectomy), 16 rounds of chemo, and 32 rounds of radiation. I was cancer-free for 2.5 years, and then the cancer came back as Stage IV (terminal) in November 2018 and spread to my lungs, brain and bones. I am currently in weekly chemo treatments to reduce the tumors and (hopefully) keep them from growing. I look back on the 2010 post and think about how simple life was back then...

22. People actually pay me for guidance and direction, but most of the time I am just making shit up. 

23. I have a tendency to fold things when my hands are idle. Give me a napkin and I will fold, unfold and fold again without even noticing it. 

24. Shows/movies about redemption makes me blubber like a baby. 

25. I write 2 blogs, and am a contributing writer to 4 more.

2020 UPDATE: I do considerably less writing now. I still write for two blogs (this one, and my theater company's blog) but beyond that I only write articles for Backstage.

26. I’m really behind on those blogs (see #15.)

27. My mother knows just about everything about me. 

2020 UPDATE: Sadly, my mother passed away this year at the age of 70, on February 11, 2020.

Me and Mom back in 2010


28. I don’t like to leave things unfinished, so I will probably write all 100 of these things in one sitting. (Postscript: It took me 3 hours, but I did it.)

29. I want to donate my organs, because those who outlive me will be able to see me live on in others, and it is the only way I can guarantee that I will make a difference in this life. 

2020 UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to the fact that I have Stage IV cancer and my body has been ravaged by it and chemo, I'm no longer eligible to be an organ donor. This makes my heart ache.

30. My left eye is much more dominant than my right eye. (Here's how you find out.)

31. You can’t see it in most pictures, but my eyes have a brown ring around the pupil, and depending on my mood or what I am wearing, the rest of my iris can be green, blue/green or a hazel. 

32. I am incredibly intuitive/empathic and take on the feelings of those around me. Thus, people who get really angry or upset can inadvertently make me feel those things too. It makes me a good coach and director but bad when I’m near people who are fighting. 

33. It makes me so sad that that my father never got to visit me in New York (his birth place and my home) before he died in 2006.

Me and my Daddy.


34. I was horribly unpopular when I was a child. I was routinely bullied and often beat up. By both boys and girls.

35. I find filling out surveys like this strangely therapeutic. 

36. I’m a lot older than I look.

2020 UPDATE: And I no longer like talking about my age like that. 😳

37. I don’t believe in God, but I love that other people do. 

38. My sister always had big boobs and it was devastating when I realized I hadn't grown up to be like her. 

39. I love camping, but only where there are outhouses. I will not do my “business” in the woods. It’s just about the only high maintenance thing about me. 

40. I dated someone with kids once - I am not sure I can do that again. 

41. I always paint my apartments with bright colors. 

My current apartment


42. One of my acting jobs is as a standardized patient (SP) - I do improvised scenes with medical students to help them practice their clinical skills. These SP exams are required elements for medical school, and I’ve been doing this for more than 7 years. 

2020 UPDATE: I'm still doing this work, and I've expanded my work to the corporate world, where I work as a trainer/facilitator and use improv/role play to help train executives on leadership skills including emotional intelligence, flexing management styles to each employee, and having difficult conversations. I love this work!

43. I’ve never had a nickname, but I’ve always wanted one. 

2020 Update: This is still true! Leave one for me in the comments!

44. I taught myself graphic and web design in the late 90s, and now I offer these services to actors. 

45. “Groove Is In The Heart” (Dee-Lite) is my theme song, and would be in the opening credits of the movie of my life. “Happy Phantom” (Tori Amos) would be the closing credits. 

46. My brother and sister both have intense ADD. So does my nephew. I do not.

47. I enjoy reading astrology descriptions. Not predications, but the personality outlines. (PS: I’m a Scorpio.)

48. Red meat gives me massive stomach ache, but I’ll suffer it for a good Philly cheesesteak with mushrooms and cheese whiz. 

2020 UPDATE: In 2016 I finally visited Philadelphia for the first time and had Pat's. cheesesteak "Whiz Widout"

49. When I was a kid, my sister and I used to sit with coffee cups and cherry pie and watch "Twin Peaks." 

50. My sister (see #38, #47 & #49) has disappeared, and no one knows where she is at. Worse than that - her disappearance is intentional. 

2020 UPDATE: She has been found! I got back in touch with her in late 2015, and after our mother died she, my brother, and I have had weekly Zoom calls with one another. It's pretty awesome.

Our "Siblings Unite!" Zoom Call - 
my brother and I show off our dogs, and my sister, her cat.


51. I HATE the sound of people eating. Chewing, slurping, smacking of lips. It gives me all-over body convulsions and it makes me want to get violent. 

2020 UPDATE: No joke - my dog is eating and drinking right now and I'm having to meditate through it.

52. I could eat eggs at any hour of the day. I love breakfast!

53. I stay up until 3am most nights (mornings?)

2020 UPDATE: It's 2:07am now...

54. I am rather addicted to thrift store shopping. 

55. I lived in Brussels, Belgium for kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grade while my father worked at NATO. 

56. I have a strange affinity for marketing, and have lots of creative ideas for promotion. These ideas often keep me up at night (see #53.)

57. I inherited my observational humor and penchant for puns from my father. 

58. Being from SoCal, I should have taken Spanish in school but instead I took French. (see #55)

59. I avoid most political conversations, but the issue of gay rights makes me nearly militant. I endorse love between consenting adults. 

2020 UPDATE: My oh my, have things changed. I consider myself an activist and am in what seems like daily fights on behalf of #BlackLivesMatter and other BIPOC causes, causes for the LGTBQIA+ community, as well as rights for the disabled, women, and immigrants.

60. I adore singing in harmony. 

61. I giggle every time I hiccup. The more I hiccup, the more hysterical the giggles get. 

62. Unlike many actors, I like to watch myself on film and listen to myself sing on recordings. I will no longer feel bad about this.

Here - you can enjoy this, too. 


63. I have had braces twice, had my jaw realigned, and had 10 baby teeth pulled when they wouldn’t fall out on their own. I don’t heart the dentist. 

64. I won the high school talent show singing, “Somewhere” from West Side Story.

65. Unless I am on stage, I hate having the focus on me in public. HATE. So, please never sing Happy Birthday to me or propose to me with people watching. 

66. Alec Baldwin, on the set of 30 Rock, once told me I have beautiful eyes. 

67. I am close friends with most of my ex-boyfriends. I chose them for a reason - they were good people then, they still are now, and they're worthy of keeping in my life.

2020 UPDATE: Still true!

68. I am particularly sensitive about people being taken advantage of (especially me.) I am normally pretty low-key and easy going, but if I think someone is trying to use/disrespect me or my friends, my blood boils and I get into fight mode. (see #59)

69. I love spicy food, and am afraid for the day that I get too old to eat it. 

70. I own a lot of DVDs that I have never watched. 

2020 UPDATE: I still have the DVDs plus SAG-AFTRA screeners, and I have no idea what to do with them.

71. I did a 2 month European tour when I got out of college. 

2020 UPDATE: I took myself to Italy in 2017. It started when I was hired to be the assistant of a woman who takes a group of opera singers to Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, each summer. Part of my work agreement was that she would repay me with room/board in Italy for a week. I opted to stay for 11 days, taking an extra 4 days to travel by myself across the Amalfi Coast - as well as Florence, where I had visited after college. (See above.) 

On a boat from Ravello to Positano
 

72. I’ve been engaged, but never married. Thank the baby Jesus. 

73. I adore watching baseball, but have backed off following the game since moving to the East Coast because I can rarely watch my Padres and it depresses me. 

74. In my first play (at age 9), I played a Gander in “Charlotte’s Web.” Then I played Grumpy in “Snow White.” I went on to play many, many more male roles until well after college. 

75. I look better in skirts and dresses than I do in pants. 

76. I named my dog after a character in the book, “Beloved“ by Toni Morrison. Her name is Denver. 

2020 UPDATE: Our new dog, Feste, is also named after a literary character. Feste is the clown/fool in Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT.

77. If there is cheese dip on the menu, I’m ordering it. 

78. The first inspirational quote I ever put to memory was the Chinese proverb, ”Talk does not cook rice.“ It really speaks to me about motivation and action. 

79. I have an OCD tendency -- I really, really like things to be even. Like, if things come in pairs, do not separate them. Eggs from a carton - I wilt 2 or 4, but never 1 or 3. I skim ice cream evenly across the top of the container. And I’ll straighten anything that is askew. 

80. I have never smoked cigarettes. Not a one. 

81. I find it immensely satisfying when a cat likes me... even though I am allergic to them. 

82. One of my favorite words to use is ”delicious.“

83. I have no tattoos, partly because I am deathly afraid of needles. 

2020 UPDATE: I *technically* have 8 tattoos now - very small, blue, pinprick tattoos on the left side of my chest to mark the outer areas of where the radiation would hit my body when I had Stage IIB breast cancer (before my current Stage IV diagnosis.)

Handy Dandy Radiation Machine 


84. My very first official job (besides babysitting) was at a double feature movie theater. 

85. I am an amazing parallel parker, but I am still terrified of rolling back on a hill with a manual transmission. 

86. It has never mattered to me how much (or how little) money my partner makes. 

87. The first thing people tend to notice about me are my eyes, and I really like that. 

88. In high school and college, I took summer school to get ahead - I wanted to take as many classes as possible. Super geek-dom. I also took a ”zero period“ weight lifting class in high school, which happened before school started every day, to support my varsity tennis playing skills. Super jock-dom.

89. I was the best girl’s tennis player in my high school for 3 years running, and the only freshman varsity player. It must have been all of the weight lifting (see #88.)

90. Italian food is my very, very favorite cuisine, but I crave smoked salmon or salmon sushi almost daily. 

91. I am super, super, super liberal, but came from super, super, super conservative parents. Strangely, my mother is more liberal now that she is retired. 

2020 UPDATE: My mother actually voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016!

92. I’ve never had a one night stand. 

2020 UPDATE: Very soon after the original blog posted, this was no longer true. 😂😳

93. I am right handed, but I shoot pool left handed. 

94. For my next big vacation, I want to take a road trip and not plan where to stay until I find a town that I want to stay in. It terrifies and excites me all at the same time. 

2020 UPDATE: I still haven't done this. Someday...

95. I am terrible at remembering jokes, but most people find me extremely funny. (See #57.)

96. I really, really love taking pictures, but I am afraid that if I get a good camera and learn how to use it, that it will be yet ANOTHER thing that occupies my time and I may never sleep (see #53.)

97. I think Twitter is just about the most amazing networking tool that actors have at their disposal.

2020 UPDATE: This is still true, but TikTok and Instagram are pretty fun for finding new friends/colleagues, too. Facebook is still the best, though, for deepening relationships you already have.

98. I have a ”Wizard of Oz“ Barbie in my living room because I once played Glinda. 

99. People LOVE my coffee-making skills. 

100. This list has just helped me formulate 100 things to talk about when I start dating again...


And here are 10 BONUS facts that have happened between 2010 and now...


101. I have been dating the same awesome person since November 2011. We live together with our dog, Feste, in NYC.

Here's Feste and Brandon


102. I am no longer deathly afraid of needles. (Having cancer will jigger your fears a little bit.)

103. I still talk to my drama directors/teachers from high school. 

104. Throughout 2017-2018 I was a "stand-by" for two Off-Broadway musicals, which means I would be called to perform if one of the leads was out sick or on vacation. Well, one day I was called to perform in BOTH shows on the same day - one at 2pm and the other at 4:30pm - and then I ALSO had a performance for The Seeing Place (my theater company) at 8pm. My brain practically exploded that day.

105. I spent my first time as an inpatient at a hospital in November 2018, for lung surgery after my Stage IV diagnosis.

Post Surgery Loopiness
 
106. My favorite list of cocktails has expanded past the margarita and dirty vodka martini to include straight up bourbon.

107. My favorite things to watch on TV/film are documentaries. Especially documentaries that are human interest stories or true crime. I absolutely love learning how the human mind works, and I love learning about what humans go through, who fights for them. and how they survive.

108. When I'm in between acting projects, I like to dye my hair with a funky-colored stripe.

Pink hair!

109. I lost my voice for about a year due to a mishap with lung surgery (see #105) which caused me a paralyzed vocal cord. Fortunately it was a problem that was eventually fixed, over time, by a glorious ENT and dedicated voice teacher. It was one of the most devastating things that has ever happened to me.

110. I got a blue checkmark on Twitter. Feels like I've made it...


Erin Cronican is a Stage IV breast cancer patient, whose career as a professional actor, producer, 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 and appeared Off Broadway with several plays and musicals. She is currently the Executive Artistic Director of The Seeing Place Theater in NYC. For more information, please visit www.erincronican.com.

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