Little Mary Sunshine


Still two more weekends to catch this delightful musical at The West Valley Playhouse in Canoga Park, California. I’m late in posting information here but better late than never, right?

If you love old musicals you’ll love this spoof. It’s great fun for the audience but probably greater fun for this performer. This is the second time I’ve played Little Mary and I love her more each time I do this show.

Hope to see you there!

Paul Nieman and I in Little Mary Sunshine.

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Shameless Indiscretions


My Abandoned Readers


While I’d like to believe that you are all sitting around just waiting for the next blog entry on Planet Tracy, a small quiet voice inside reminds me that once a blog is out of sight, it may very well be out of mind. Yet for all the faithful and curious readers that check in from time-to-time I have a confession to make. I hope you don’t take it the wrong way.

I started an Etsy Page


At first it was just something I flirted with, a fling. I told myself it was a chance to post art prints my husband wanted to sell. Yes, I hid behind that excuse in order to fulfill something in myself that had been lacking in my life.  It didn’t really mean anything. That’s what I told myself, at least. It wasn’t you. It was me. What was I lacking you might wonder? Oh, probably the thrill of selling handmade items. It was the thrill of the post, the thrill of conquer and sell. I had it completely under control.

Shannon Shea’s homage to The Land of the Lost

But before I knew it, there I was sneaking around on the internet, looking to see how many views my Etsy page had each day, each hour, each moment. I was a stats junkie, only letting up from time-to-time for surreptitious tête-à-têtes in local Michael’s hide-a-ways and back alley craft stores. I barely recognized myself anymore. My fingers were marred with tacky glues and I was high on resin fumes.

I never believed it was going to go anywhere and  I knew there was no future in my new preoccupation. Eventually I’d lose interest and return to the comfort of my own blog. I sincerely thought that was the case. But then something incredible happened: I sold something on Etsy.

The pyramid in question

That’s when things started spinning out of control. A woman from the U.K. with a chic name like Zoe, purchased a small orgone energy pyramid I made. That was all the encouragement I needed to start mass-producing new pieces. The frenzy of photographing and postings items  in my store TwoChez was alarming to behold I am sure. It took me away from my blog. And for that, I am sorry.

I hate to sound so cliché but I really think you’d like each other. I mean, if you like what we’ve shared together, I think you might actually like what I’ve done outside of our relationship. I hate to sound trite and modern but perhaps we can have one of those open relationships you hear about. Maybe it’s not such a great idea.  Is it too soon for such talk? It’s just that during the time we spent apart I started to miss what we had. I feel bad about neglecting you and I want to take steps to fix this situation and restore what we once had, if that is possible. I’m willing to add more content, write more blogs and up-date my static pages. But it’ll help if you meet me halfway. We need to remember the things we shared.

Meeting you halfway on the straight and narrow.

Remember how we laughed about The Miracle of the Bunny Sweat Stain? Or the time I told you about the Famous Chairs in Entertainment History? You couldn’t believe it the time I told you about the huge Pain in My Asphalt I had with the city. Good times, good times… but I really think we can create some new memories together soon.

So now I’m really ready to recommit myself to this relationship. But first, I feel I must update my Facebook status about our renewed commitment and start a Twittter account so everyone stays up-to date on the issue. Then, I think we’ll be good.

Twochez- (Again, in case you were curious.)

That’s what I call a Shea-mless Plug.

Categories: Creative solutions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Pain in my Asphalt


A reenactment of events. Actors and toys were used to simulate circumstances.

After two months of the City Works department dumping asphalt dirt on the street in front of my house, I had to do something. Numerous calls to the city had produced no results. My requests to dump the dirt elsewhere were diverted to this and that office and were ultimately ignored. They had found a good dumping spot and usually as soon as the workers went through one pile of dirt, another one would arrive.

I don’t know why they picked my house but one day a giant dump truck came, found a space where no cars were parked and dumped the black stinky dirt in a giant mound. As they dumped the dirt, particles floated up into the air, dusting my rose bushes and my newly washed car. Perhaps I was making a mountain of a molehill but after weeks and weeks of this it was getting very annoying.

The proverbial molehill.

There was a constant petroleum smell that hung in the air and I couldn’t help wonder how the asphalt fumes were affecting my health and the health of my family. So I looked it up. provided this information:

Breathing asphalt fumes is the most common method of exposure. The acute (immediate) health effects of asphalt fumes include; headache, skin rash, fatigue, eye and throat irritation, and cough. Exposure to asphalt fumes (and the solvents in them) over long periods of time (chronic exposure) may cause lung and stomach cancer. Long-term contact of asphalt with your skin can cause pigment change, which is made worse by sunlight exposure.

How are we feeling today? Your pigment is changing!

It’s never a good idea to read symptomatic medical information of any kind. I then started experiencing asphalt fatigue, asphalt cough and asphalt fume toxic exposure syndrome, all probably the result of my active imagination. As I continued to note any changes in pigment in my skin, I knew I had to come up with a plan.

I live in what I call an iffy part of town. It’s the kind of place that artists and students flock to for the cheap rents but know they have to remain alert to the criminal element in their midst. You just know that you can’t leave things out without expecting someone to take it.  I thought I’d just use that to my advantage.

So one dark night I crept out my house with a sign offering “free dirt” and planted it on top of the mound of dirt.  Within five minutes a pickup truck drove up and three darkly clad men started shoveling the dirt into their truck. They took all the dirt and I didn’t do anything to stop them. I have no idea what they did with that dirt, but I hope they put it to good use.

My solution.







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Our Thanksgiving Turkeys


Something to give thanks for: Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall in Mannequin

Every family has its own traditions during the holiday season. Somehow embracing the yearly rituals gives everyone a sense that all is right with the world and a cozy feeling of security comes from repeating traditions year after year.  Although I don’t consider myself very traditional in the classic sense of the word, I do recognize that over the years, without being aware of it, traditions emerged.

Thanksgiving is one  holiday that has suffered much controversy. Issues ranging from what is being served, how it is prepared, who sitting at the kids’ table or the yearly argument about the pro and cons of canned cranberry sauce pepper the atmosphere, regardless of how hard you try to keep the peace.  The very history of the holiday is questioned by some for all its social implications. There are even those that choose to boycott the holiday for political reasons or simply because they have a hard time getting along with their families. (Or perhaps they use the former as an excuse for the latter.)

That’s why in my family we come together each Thanksgiving in a spirit of agreement after discovering what works best for us. In general we all like to watch a movie after Thanksgiving dinner since we don’t follow sports. Years ago we discovered that while it may be difficult to all agree on what is good, most people can agree on what is bad. So each year after dinner we watch our annual collection of what we call Thanksgiving Turkeys.

A cornucopia of choices.

What is a Thanksgiving Turkey? Simply put, it’s a painfully bad film. But it’s more than that. It’s bad on such a level that it provides a certain amount of entertainment. It’s so bad it’s good. It’s that little taste of bitterness you need after the three kinds of pie you just ate. It’s that thing you watch as the tryptophan coma lulls you in and out of consciousness and makes you ask, “Did I really just see that?” It’s also the perfect device to motivate those guests that don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon or to inspire help in the kitchen.  A Twilight Zone marathon would be considered child’s play in our home.

This one sent guests fleeing from the house.

Some of the turkeys from Thanksgivings past have included: Mannequin with Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall, The Pirate Movie with Christy MacNichol and a real doozy, Goin’ Coconuts with Donny and Marie Osmond. You Light Up My Life and Ice Castles were other memorable turkeys.

The great things about turkeys is that there is always a plethora of choices but due to some time constraints, two or three movies is really the limit. This year with the aid of some clever Facebook friends we came up with this year’s list. While some suggestions were really great, there is always a problem in actually locating the films. I had wanted to see Liz Taylor in There Must A Pony. It would have a beautiful companion piece to the highly anticipated Lifetime Movie event Liz and Dick. I may have to put that one on my turkey of Thanksgiving futures wish list.

Here are winning selections for this year’s Thanksgiving Turkeys:

All of these films were found only on VHS tape, which I think adds a bit of pluck to the turkey. While I’m sure that I’ll be roasted for saying so, in many cases I actually love some of these films. Either they take me back to a time I’d like to remember or remember a time that I like to forget . Or sometimes they are so bizarre, I admire them for their unique strangeness. Most of all, I just enjoy sharing these gems with my family and friends or whoever else can take it.


Happy Thanksgiving!





Categories: Holiday Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My New Best Friends


I had no idea when I started this blog that I would be making so many new friends and receiving such diverse and interesting responses from people I have never met before. I’d like to take a moment to share some of the comments I have received from my most supportive readers in the blogosphere. Here is a sampling of some of the messages sent to me.

My friend, Ugg Boots UK Cheap says in regards to my post Best Seat in the House:

I really wanted to type a small note to thank you for those fantastic guidelines you are sharing on this site. My rather long internet look up has now been recognized with professional concept to go over with my colleagues. I would believe that many of us readers actually are unequivocally endowed to be in a superb place with so many lovely professionals with valuable tactics. I feel very much fortunate to have discovered your web pages and look forward to some more thrilling minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once again for a lot of things.

I wasn’t aware that my guidelines would contribute so much to Ugg Boots UK Cheap’s life and to the experience of their colleagues as well. It’s a pleasure being in contact with those unequivocally endowed. I, too, am looking forward to more thrilling moments here!

Ticker to Heart

Another new friends, Cheap Air Jordans says in regards to The Miracle of the Bunny Sweat Stain:

There are some interesting points in time therein article but I don’t comprehend if I make out all of them ticker to heart .

Alas, whereby, I too don’t always therein comprehend everything, I make out all of them ticker to heart as well.

Another new friend, ElPasoJams writes:

I am also writing to make you understand what a beneficial encounter our princess gained browsing your blog. She realized a wide variety of details, including what it’s like to possess a marvelous coaching nature to make other people without problems understand some hard to do subject areas. You really did more than her expected results. I appreciate you for offering those productive, safe, edifying and even cool tips on the topic to Julie.

Rubbing Elbows with Royalty

I had no idea royalty was reading my posts! I’m glad I can even enlighten Julie and those who have no problems. Princess Julie, please keep reading. May your subjects benefit from your marvelous coaching nature. I’ll keep providing cool tips. writes:

Thanks so much for giving everyone remarkably spectacular possiblity to read from here. It is usually so pleasing plus stuffed with amusement for me and my office fellow workers to search your blog at least 3 times every week to read through the fresh things you have. Not to mention, I am just certainly contented with all the special tips served by you. Some 3 ideas on this page are unequivocally the most efficient I have ever had.

I’ll be there for you.

It is pleasing to me that I have the opportunity to offer tips to so many colleagues, co-workers and loved ones.  Generally there are 3 unequivocally efficient ideas that my readers seem to connect with and they read my blog 3 times. Three must be the magic number. I also noticed that many of my readers have a lot of concern about my lack of cheap shoes and my financial well-being. That’s what friends are for, right?

Since it’s Thanksgiving week, it’s the perfect time to give thanks for all that we receive. Friendship is not something I take for granted. There have been so many new friends that I don’t have the space here to list all of their kind remarks. But as I help prepare the Thanksgiving meal with my family I will take a moment to give thanks to all of those who have taken ticker to heart and been inspired by my unequivocal tips. I look forward to the comments that this post may provide. I do not have the words to express my gratitude. So perhaps I’ll leave you with the profound and touching words from

I must show appreciation to this writer for bailing me out of such a setting. Right after surfing through the world wide web and obtaining tricks which are not powerful, I thought my entire life was gone. Being alive without the presence of strategies to the difficulties you have solved through your good post is a crucial case, and ones that could have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I hadn’t encountered the blog. Your personal skills and kindness in touching all the things was important. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t encountered such a subject like this. I’m able to at this point relish my future. Thanks a lot very much for this expert and result oriented help. I won’t think twice to suggest your blog to anybody who would need counselling about this subject.

Another link in the daisy chain






Categories: Reader Feedback | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments



“who knows if the moon’s a balloon, coming out of the keen city in the sky- filled with pretty people” e.e. cummings


I posted a story today on entitled Balloonacy. From what I can tell it’s a site where other writers can take a look at what you do and comment. I’m not sure what I am in for but it seemed a good place to let my story set a spell until I get it published.

Just click this word:  Balloonacy

That should get you there safely. Enjoy your  trip! Tracy

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The Best Seat in the House


I don’t like admitting that recently I made the choice to watch the 1970 film Love Story. But if I am to go forward with what I want to say, there’s no getting around it and I better just come clean now. If you haven’t seen it, it’s the one where a rich Harvard guy, played by Ryan O’Neal, falls in love with an inappropriate free-spirited woman, played by Ali MacGraw much to the chagrin of Ryan O’Neal’s stuffy Father. Ryan O’Neal marries her and spoiler alert, she dies tragically. I don’t think I’m ruining much by telling you this.

In one scene where Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw are having an intense conversation, I happened to notice this chair in the back of the room. I had to go back a few times to make sure of what I saw. The chair, as you can see here, appears to be smiling in this scene. I replayed this scene several times and I decided it was my favorite actor in the movie. It’s performance had me sitting on the edge of my seat. While O’Neal and MacGraw chewed up the scenery, the scenery seemed to have its own thing going on.

It might not seem correct that chair would smile during such an emotional moment, but I decided that as an actor, it had its own motivation. Maybe it was happy to see them fight, wanting a little more chair time with Ryan. Maybe it was planted there by the Father, happy to mock them with its fixed grin. Whatever the case, it got me thinking about some of the other stellar performances by chairs. As inanimate objects they may be limited as actors, unable to move about and lacking basic humanity. But now and then, there is a stand out performance that is worth mentioning.

This chair cradled the ass of the beloved Archie Bunker.

I think the 1970′s must have been a good decade for chairs in entertainment. Not only is there The Love Story Chair but one other chair took its role to great heights and acclaim. Archie Bunker’s chair was such an icon that upon retirement from the business was moved to the Smithsonian, where it stays to this day. It set such a high standard for all other chairs in the business but it was not an easy road for Archie Bunker’s chair. There were rumors  of furniture polish abuse and a long-standing feud with co-star Sally Struthers. Archie Bunker’s chair became so despondent and insecure that it often threatened re-upholstering itself, which would have been tragic for the show and its career. History shows what can happen when you just decide to act professionally.

Lovable Chairy

The 1980′s brought us lovable Chairy in Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Chairy was a trail blazer in the industry as the first chair given a speaking role and a gender. However, in order to be equipped with a mouth and given the gift of speech, Chairy had to undergo massive surgery. While Chairy was grateful for everything she accomplished in her career, she always longed for meatier roles and do more hard-hitting drama and less comedy. Given the chance, she was sure she could play the throne in Hamlet, a role she felt designed for. But, it was not to be. She was eventually sold to a collector on eBay.

I hesitate to mention this last chair since there was so much controversy about it at the time. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the Frasier chair because it did make such a contribution to  its field. There was much speculation about how it had basically stolen the performance of Archie Bunker’s chair and there was a lot of commentary about how it landed the role. In Frasier’s chair’s defense, it had often said it wasn’t a stolen performance but yet an homage to a classic. Archie Bunker’s chair took offense to that remark and de-friended Frasier’s chair from Facebook.

Notice the connection between John Mahoney and the Frasier chair. Suspicious, don’t you think?

It was felt that Archie Bunker’s chair was too old for the role and  past its prime. Archie Bunker’s chair was even willing to get an overhaul and come out of retirement and leave the Smithsonian for the role. But the producers had found a younger chair who was willing to undergo an old age process for the part. Co-star John Mahoney had made a special appeal on the chair’s behalf and there were many rumors circulating about the casting couch practices of the producers.

I’m not at all sure why the industry has mostly recognized  living room armchairs for their performance capabilities. Many other types of chairs have been unfairly overlooked. There was the case of the lawn chair featured in Danny Deckchair, highly praised for doing its own stunts and commitment to the role and now the throne in The Game of Thrones. Both chairs are title characters in their respective shows and by all accounts should have top billing. But there is not any mention of them in the credits. While great strides are still being made for chair performers, we still have so far to go. One day, perhaps we’ll see a chair run for President of the United States.

If you see a struggling folding chair  or corporate desk chair trying to make it in the harsh world of entertainment let them know they have your support. Tell that rocking chair it rocks! Support that bean bag chair even though it doesn’t support you. But whatever you do, never tell a stool it’s a piece of shit.






Categories: Magical unrealism | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Miracle of the Bunny Sweat Stain



Jumping Bunnies! it’s a sweat stain!


I’m not sure if I’m a person that believes in miracles but sometimes things happen that make me consider the possibility of signs coming from some unknown sources. Now how does one determine if you are actually receiving a sign? It’s not always a clear cut case and a lot of it depends on whether or not you’re up to the task. In my case, I’m usually open to the experience and take great pleasure in trying to understand the more magical elements of life. Some may say I’m an escapist. I prefer to think that I’m quite the opposite. But I guess that’s exactly what an escapist would say.

Maybe I can offer you a case study and explain a bit of my process. After a nice long work out on the elliptical, I peeled off my t-shirt so that I could hang it to dry before stuffing it in the dirty clothes hamper. ( I know, it’s one of the few anal tendencies I have. Let me enjoy it.) As I held up my t-shirt to the light I noticed the image of a hopping bunny made from my own sweat. And it got me thinking.

Thinking can be a dangerous thing. I’m pretty good at it. You start asking one question and then it lead to another and another and so on and so on. That my body would produce a rabbit sweat stain made me start asking myself various things. Is this my animal guide? What is the significance of the rabbit to me and what is the message that the rabbit brings, if any? I immediately photographed my evidence and displayed it for my Facebook community and while many people “liked” it and were amazed, no one provided the answer I was looking for.

Rabbits have always featured prominently in my life. I thought by delving into some of my own history of rabbits and my connection to them, I  might discover the message meant for me. I had raised rabbits as a child with my family. At the very height of the rabbit raising phase we had over 50 rabbits. We had various breeds of rabbits. However, as a child I saw them in three categories:

  • There were the Giant Chinchilla Rabbits, specifically for show.
  • There were the pets that were designated for love.
  • And lastly, there were those designated for eating. We referred to these unfortunate ones as four-legged chickens. It makes them easier to swallow.

When you raise a lot of rabbits there is one thing that you can count on having. Yes, more rabbits is one them but the other is poop. I thought it was particularly clever of my Dad to start a worm farm beneath the cages of the rabbits. These lucky worms could writhe around in rabbit poop all day and breed and do whatever worms like to do. In return, they aerated the manure for us, making for very happy plants in our gardens. We could then offer vegetables to the rabbits, who would in some cases then feed us. It was a win-win situation for all. How circle of life is that?

In deep shit

All of this may be very interesting but it does nothing to explain why the image of a rabbit would be imprinted on my shirt in sweat. Like any curious person, the next thing I did was turn to Wikipedia. According to them, rabbits are featured prominently in all sorts of folklore in various cultures. They are often seem as the tricksters or as a symbols of fertility. Carrying a rabbit’s foot is believed to bring good luck. In some Asian mythology, rabbits live on the moon where they make sticky rice.

As a girl, I read Watership Down by Richard Adams about a group of rabbits fleeing the imminent destruction of their burrow to the next home foreseen by a gifted visionary rabbit. Not the best message for me to fixate on. My sweat rabbit was clearly running from and/or to something. While I’m at it why not go into the rabbit nightmare scenario presented in the film, The Night of the Lepus, about mutant giant rabbits on a killing spree.

Mutant Killer Rabbits!

I don’t think I ever came to a decent conclusion about the meaning of the bunny sweat on my shirt. Perhaps it was just another instance of something that got me thinking about things. If rabbits are considered symbols of fertility, perhaps the rabbit miracle was just the thing to get my brain fertile and start asking myself some good questions. Or maybe they just provided enough manure to fertilize my blog.

Categories: Magical unrealism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Costume Contest Winner


I couldn’t be more pleased to announce The Sweet Banana Split as the winner of our 11th annual costume contest for our dog, Sofia. Here’s the breakdown of votes:

Sweet Banana Split- 82 votes

Capricious Clown- 48 votes

Clever Pumpkin Disguise- 24 votes

Fragrant Skunk- 22

Sofia received lots of emails in support of the winning costume. She was more than pleased to pose in costume in front of the quick mural paying homage to Edvard Munch’s  The Scream painted by her Dad, Shannon Shea. Many voters for Sweet Banana Split said they felt as if they had won as well. In fact, there were a few people that said they were going out for victory drinks to celebrate.

There were others who were not as pleased, but that is to be expected with any election. One voter was aghast that 48 people would actually vote for the clown. But judging by the history of elections in the U.S., it’s not so unusual.

Thanks to everyone who participated. Looking forward to next year.



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The 11th Annual Costume Contest for my dog, Sofia



Each year we hold a contest for my dog, Sofia, where it’s guaranteed she’ll win every time. It all started eleven years ago when we came across a number of Halloween costumes that we liked and we couldn’t decide which one we liked best. So we turned to our friends and asked for help. Since Sofia has four paws, it made sense to offer four choices.

It was always surprising to see how passionate and hilariously opinionated people became over what our dog would wear on Halloween night but we all enjoyed hearing everyone’s responses. Besides, it gave us a good excuse to reconnect with all of our friends. Eventually it became a little like our pre-Christmas card. And if we flaked out on Christmas, generally we were forgiven.

Most years we create two new looks for Sofia and for the other two we repeat two from the previous year, the 2nd and 3rd ranked costumes. Generally we retire the costume with the least amount of votes. This year we decided to pay homage to those retired looks that nobody seemed to like. Yes, it’s a little jab at our election year since the theme of this year is “The Lesser of Four Evils.” Also, it’s good to give those rejected costumes another go before they’re sent to the Isle of Misfit Costumes.

I invite you to leave a comment below and cast your vote. You have until October 30th when the results are tabulated. On Halloween I’ll post the winner.

Here’s a look back at last year’s winner.

Whoops! I think we meant 2011 and not 2001. Always a rush getting the winning photo out.

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