Category Archives: Writing

What Mid-Forties Feel Like

Last month was my birthday, I am officially in my mid-forties. Here are some of the things I’ve pondered:


According to my last check-up all is good. I am at a healthy weight and all my lab Low Res -0010results also got a thumbs up. With that said, I have noticed that keeping the weight off is not as easy as it was even a year ago. The other thing I noticed is that cardio just doesn’t cut it anymore. If I want to see a change, I have to definitely implement strength training and that is as fun as having my teeth pulled or a cavity filled, you choose.

Although I have maintained my weight, my clothes don’t fit like they used to, every thing is a little tighter.  Which of course leads me to even a bigger mystery, the mystery of the distribution of chubbiness.

Back fat, I mean really, why does that exist? Some people say you are wearing the wrong size bra but all I know is that it has magically appeared and taken permanent residence.

Not sure what to call it so I’m going to say side fat. It’s on your hip, you can pinch it. Something that was never there before is there now. Why does it exist? What is its purpose? Is there a higher meaning? Maybe it is there just so you have to buy wider pants; either way, UGH!

Deep down in my core, I know what I have to do to get rid of it: eliminate processed sugar and add strength training to my weekly workout routine. The latter is painful because I dislike strength but I can say with 100% certainty that I love processed sugar. Cookies, cakes, ice cream, all of it! Why is the universe taking away the answer to any surprise stress situations? I have started to buy fruit and dwindle the treats from my pantry. So hard when Halloween is around the corner and sets off the trifecta of holiday sugar: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.


Low Res -0014Nothing has taken over so much of my time and energy as caring for my Mother. My Mom has gone from being an independent individual to two hospital visits and rehabilitation. It has led to many moments of stress and fear. Helping her adjust to her limited mobility has been hard. Nothing prepares you for that moment when the woman that gave you life and took care of you is the one needing care now. The road has been rocky, and there have been many a days where I meditate and pray for her to be well, be happy and free from suffering. This transition has been scary but just like anything unknown in life, the path is here for a reason and the new dynamic of the relationship we forge will lead to more care and love.

Being a Mom of two middle school aged children has been very interesting. I love that my kids still talk to me, I mean really talk to me. There are days when feelings overwhelm them but the fact that they know I am there and still ask for my opinion has been great. Do they know it all, of course. Hopefully they just realize that a second pair of eyes will always be an asset.


I have taken a challenge this year that has been hard. I started 2017 with the intention of meditating and journaling to help out with my stress. It took me a bit of time to really find my groove with meditation. I tried everything and what seems to fit is two wonderful apps that let me meditate on the go.

Buddhify and Insight Timer – these two apps have been so wonderful for me.  A great feature of Insight Timer is that it allows you to see how many people meditated with you, so many people out there being mindful makes me happy. Buddhify categorizes the meditations into different groups so that you can listen to whatever you fancy at the time.

Self-help audiobooks – another great resource for me is OverDrive. This app has partnered with my local public library and lets me access audiobooks that I can listen to in the car. Some of my favorite books have been The Book of JoyExponential Living and Big Magic. I’ve had so many “A-HA” moments while driving, it really has become one of my favorite things to do.

Does this mean I’m a Zen master? Let’s just say I woke up before 6 am this morning Low Res -0012because I couldn’t sleep, had a mini-breakdown using Word with my son last night and lost the document, and after taking the kids to school this morning I dropped an entire cup of hot coffee on me. All I can say is, there are more moments of mindfulness in my life now and I know it’s a work in progress.


For the first time in a long time, the kids are in the same school which means I have an even amount of downtime. I was hoping to get a part time job or work on my photography. My Mother’s transition means I need to dedicate some of that time to her appointments. In between that, carpooling, and my household duties, my creative work has been put on the back burner.

Finding the balance of working on what I love is hard. Instead of acting in shows, I try to see a show. I carry my camera with me so I can take stock photography until I can start to work on my headshot photography again. As for blogging, I try to get it in when I can, that means using the WordPress app in my daughter’s orthodontic office and editing my blog pics on the go.

I try to dedicate all my focus and energy on the kids when they get home from school and I’m hoping to implement some time for outings with friends, I miss that aspect of my life soooo much.


Low Res -0017So it’s true, you are a little softer. Not in a bad way, just in a different way. I don’t mind my laugh lines or crow’s feet, it just means I have laughed a lot in my life. I find that I’m thankful for the little things even more now. The stuff that used to bother me or that I would worry about what other people thought of my appearance, don’t even concern me anymore. As they say, it’s amazing how little people really think about you and what you think they are thinking about you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one admiring the youthful glow of women who don’t seem to age, but it’s not something that I worry about so much. I moisturize and try to nourish my body with the food it needs. At the end of the day, that is all you can do. As an actress, aging can be difficult but you are also given the opportunity to embody characters with an amazing amount of layers and depth. There is nothing more interesting than who you are, so go find and be it.

Mid-forties has been interesting, can’t wait to see where it continues to move me down this journey called life.

What do you ponder about, don’t hesitate to share it in the comments.

Keep on!

Acting Out Mama!

A Humbling Pain

Sunset Girl by Leon Biss

One of the reasons I have gone incognito for the last couple of months is I had an ovarian cyst rupture and was completed incapacitated for four very long days.

Technically, ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacs within or on the surface of the ovary. On occasion, one of these lovely sacs may rupture and the act of rupturing can cause some serious symptoms.

It’s funny, depending on who you talk to; the symptoms can be slightly bothersome or extreme pain. Unfortunately, mine was the latter. I was picking up a box and all of a sudden I was hovered over in pain. By the time I got home, there was no getting comfortable and if I moved too much I felt like someone was trying to slice me through my midsection.

That weekend, I literally laid around; my husband was Mr. Mom taking care of all the household chores and planning a mini-birthday party for my daughter. At one moment, I was sitting in our recliner looking out the window, I noticed the beautiful oak trees and how the sunlight shone so beautifully through the branches. I had such a longing to get up and get out and was completed humbled by the pain.

Needless to say, I have recovered; it doesn’t happen overnight and actually there is some tenderness for a couple of weeks. Because of the 4 days of recuperation, I am officially a week behind in chores and activities. As I go about my day I will sometimes cause the discomfort and am reminded of those four days, I take a breath and remember how much I longed to go outside and am grateful to be able to do so.

Acting Out Mama!

Back to School

Back to School

Off they go, a little excited and a little sad.

Along the way, they walk side by side, two pieces of my heart holding on.

Happy to see that they are growing up, although sometimes it seems to happen so fast.

I will have time to shop and run errands on my own, but will miss at times, the “Don’t touch that,” and “No, we are not buying that.”

Be well, learn, and know that I will be the Mom who gives you a great big hug when you get home.



Children-free vacation
French Quarter
Friends and new acquaintances
Rainy and steamy
Music on every street
Wedding of friends
Second-line parade
Some of the best food in the states
Time together and then goodbye
Nothing like NOLA in July


A letter to Papi

By Robin Benad

Happy Father’s Day, Papi;

It is hard to believe that you would have been 75 years old. I won’t lie, I miss you like crazy and it still surprises me that you have been gone 22 years now. I wanted to take some time today and thank you for the many lessons you taught me in the 19 years I had you in my life.


After you passed away, I really didn’t want anything to do with love. Watching you struggle with brain cancer and having the forethought that it was not curable and that you only had months to live, was just too much for me. As a Doctor, I could tell that you knew just how long you had and made it your mission to see all your family and friends. I was so young and my first thought was it hurt too much to lose someone you love, than it did to take the time to love and let someone in.

Years later, I met someone; he changed my outlook on life and what it means to truly love someone again. He takes care of me, Papi, and he loves me for who I am.


You have two wonderful grandchildren. My daughter looks so much like me, that I know you would be nostalgic if you were here to see her. She gives the best hugs and is definitely Daddy’s girl. You finally got your boy, that is right; my second child was a bouncing baby boy. I always knew that you wanted a boy to share your love of baseball and when you had two girls you were a little disappointed. I don’t blame you for that or  feel like I am psychologically scarred, I understand the value of namesake to you. I also know that at your funeral many, many of your patients and co-workers came up to me and my sister and told us how you would tell them about how wonderful we were and how intelligent. They said that you were shocked about it and that we wanted to go to college and have a career. Your girls would have a choice in their life that wasn’t limited to finding a Husband.


Imagine my surprise when your brothers and sisters told me that as a child you lived for baseball. You would pick up sticks and rocks, set up a baseball diamond and play the day away. You had aspirations of being a baseball player but as a son with 8 other siblings, you felt you needed to be responsible and studied medicine. I know you loved being a Doctor but I also know it took a toll on you. It was a tough job, and your creative outlet was playing baseball. I look back now and remember how you used watch baseball on Sunday afternoons and if you had time you would watch little league games.

I remember when I told you that I got a part in the school musical and you thought I was joking. When I clarified that I really did get a part, you must have realized that this was “my baseball” and you supported me wholeheartedly. I still laugh at the recordings you made where you would fall asleep and the camera would record the auditorium’s ceiling. You were there after a double shift, no matter what.

I couldn’t give you, your namesake; but I have given you my stage name; I am always going to be “Natera,” because of you I am still actively pursuing my dream. After a long dry spell of auditioning and getting called back but not booking; my Husband plays your roll of being supportive and reminding me that getting up and getting back out there is important because it really does make me happy.

I miss you so much and won’t lie; my heart hurts when I think of all you have missed:

My wedding, I didn’t get to walk down the aisle with you. I didn’t get my Father/Daughter dance.

My husband and your grandchildren, you would have really enjoyed them. Sometimes I watch my son and he will grimace or give a look that screams of you; a little gift God has given me.

My life as a woman, I am much less anxious and very much at peace with everything. I love my life and I am grateful for most everything.

Today, we will celebrate all Father’s and the kids know you; without every really knowing you. You are Abuelo, and you are always loved.





The Letter


The Letter

A crumpled letter, accidentally thrown in the trash; no return address.

A letter declaring love for another and knowing that the other doesn’t feel the same.

The anguish, the acceptance.

Wishing the person well and slowly dying inside as they write.

A simple thought: was the letter discarded by the writer, or by the person who doesn’t feel the same?

Acting Out Mama!


Why I Write in a Journal

The other day I was going through an old bookshelf and purging some items that I just don’t need anymore. As I was going through everything, I found 3-5 journals. I started to peruse them and ended up laughing, crying and sympathizing with where I was at, at that time in my life.

When I originally started keeping a journal, it was so that I could Why I Write in a Journaldocument my life. What I did, where I went, what I learned, etc. When I was attending AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy)  in New York, I also stapled all the paperwork that I received, critiquing my vocal and stage work. I would attach pictures and postcards I received from friends and family that were excited for me and took the time to express it. I still own it and every now and then I scan a picture or two and post it on my Facebook page for “Throwback Thursday.”

In my late 20’s and 30’s, the reason for the journals changed. I started to keep a journal so that I could clear my head. A little hard to explain, but as I got older I let my mind wander and it started to get cluttered with dates, activities, concerns, to do lists, etc., etc, etc. I noticed that if I took some time in the morning to just write everything that was on my mind, I could relax and get on with my day.

Did I come about all of this on my own? No, I actually was inspired  by two books, that I read within those years.

The first book was none other than

It’s funny, “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy,” has totally evolved with me as a woman. When I originally picked up the book, I was an actress who was working full time in an administrative position to pay the bills and performing in theaters in the evenings. It was my first few years of being on my own, financially and I loved having all the time in the world, to write my “daily dialogue.” As my roles changed in life, the “daily dialogue,” changed. I went from a newbie adult, to wife/mother/caregiver/artist.

The second book that inspired me to write to clear the mind, so to speak, is

“The Artist’s Way,” calls them, “Morning pages.” The “morning pages,” are to be done every day  and it should be three pages of “stream of consciousness,” writing.

One more item that I would like to  include, is a website that I use when I don’t feel like, physically, writing in a journal. The website is

75o words really is my saving grace. After I prepare my children’s lunches for school in the morning, I sit down and check my emails. If I feel like my mind is backed up with excessive worry/clutter, I just go to and start to type.

Why 750 words?  Well, the creator of the site read “The Artist’s Way,” an found that 250 words is about the standard number of words per page.  Hence, if you are write three pages everyday, it would 750 words.

Do I write my daily dialogue/morning pages/750 words, everyday? No, but I definitely know when I need to and you can be guaranteed, that on those days, it is the first thing I do in the morning. The only time that I do write everyday, without fail, is when I am working on a show or trying to complete an artistic project.

In the end, the reason I journal is because it really does encourage me to create and focus on the present moment. If I clear the clutter in my head, I am able to live my life, as oppose to worry about it. It’s no coincidence, that when I take the time to sit down and write/type, I find myself more content in my everyday.

Don’t hesitate to share, why you love to write in your journal and what routine works for you.

Acting Out Mama!