Thursday, May 25, 2006


When I was in college, I heard all about this jazz teacher named Charlie Banacos. He was legendary. He taught everyone. And then I found out that most of the big names from the Boston area (and more) had studied with him. He was hard-core and had a wait list of several years. You could be guaranteed of two things: 1) you'd have to work your ass off and 2) if you did, you'd be a monster musician.

I waited a long time to put my name on his list. Partially because I was too busy working and trying to pay my rent, but mostly because I knew I wasn't ready yet. In May of 2004, I put my name on his list. This past Sunday, May 21 2006, I got the call. I was terrified and totally excited.

I went to see him on Wednesday morning. He's a real character. He's got a really distinctive voice and way of talking - that begs for replication and imitation. He's also a genuinely happy person and it's very, very clear that he loves teaching. The minute we started working, I realized that everything I ever learned was about to be tossed out the window. He had me sing, he had me play, he had me do ear training stuff, and he gave me LOTS of difficult work that involves me practicing several hours a day. All in 30 mins.

He was able to sum up exactly where I was and exactly what I needed to be doing from the second I walked in the door. And the amazing part is that I didn't feel bad about it, I didn't feel like a dope for not being where I should be. I felt completely motivated to kick my own ass and get the work done.

I haven't practiced this much since college. And I love it. And I feel overwhelmed. And I love it.

My friend Jim Z (who also took lessons with him) said: "Taunia, this is going to be the best thing you ever did for yourself." And you know what? After one 30 minute lesson, I know he's right.

Posted by Taunia @ 4:06 PM :: (1) comments

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I consider myself lucky that I have a great group of friends from high school that I'm still very close to. Everyone's coupled off now - some married, some with significant others, some still single. We don't see each other often, but when we do, it's just like old times and there's a lot of love there. They're good people, and a hell of a lot of fun.

This past weekend, one of us got married. Brian T. We never thought it would happen, but he finally gave in. His wife Keri is a sweetheart, and we've been bugging him for years to marry her...and he finally did!

It was seriously one of the funnest weddings I've ever been to! I sang at the ceremony, and I'm always honored to be part of that - especially when it's a friend. The reception, though. SO. MUCH. FUN. All of us were there, in good spirits, having a ball.

Ben is usually my stand-in date for these types of things but he wasn't available this time. Lucky for me, Dan stood in instead! And he is the BEST. DATE. EVER. Talk about a good-time guy! He immediately fit in with my friends, everyone loved him, he danced, laughed, told jokes, and was just awesome to be there with. I really appreciated him going, even more-so knowing that he was having a great time and didn't feel forced to be there to help out a friend.

Here's us, playing rock stars:

More pictures on flickr. Click the little logo photo box on the bottom. Congrats to my friend Brian, thanks to Dan, and keep on rockin' in the free world!

Posted by Taunia @ 7:03 PM :: (0) comments

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Ok, I've done something to really tick off the big guy upstairs. How do I know this? Because a new CINNABON just opened around the corner from my house. It's literally walking distance...but let's be honest, if I'm eating a cinnabon, I'm not going to actually do any EXERCIZE to get it.

It should just be called SINabon, because I'll go in there and Lucifer himself will gladly hand me my gluttonous bun. I'll never be able to resist....

Posted by Taunia @ 4:07 PM :: (0) comments

Sunday, May 14, 2006


A little belated, but Happy Mother's Day to all those gals who do the toughest job in the world: parenting. Here's a pic of my mom, Cheryl:

She's nothing short of amazing and I love her. More pics (including a few of my dad - home from the hospital!) on flickr.

Hope all the moms out there had a great day!

Posted by Taunia @ 8:39 PM :: (0) comments

Saturday, May 13, 2006


My dad came home from the hospital on Friday, and he couldn't be happier. It's really remarkable how quickly he's recovering. Although he's not completely steady on his feet, he's able to get around a bit now with the cane. I mean, he's walking. The dude BROKE HIS BACK and he's walking around. My dad is fucking amazing. It's going to be at least another few months before he makes a full recovery, but I'm so glad he is getting back on his feet so much quicker than anyone expected. He still has to be on mostly bedrest and there's physical therapy person and a visiting nurse that will be coming to the house three times a week, but he's home. Yay!

The one good thing that might come out of this is that he may end up being somewhat forced into pursuing his dream of opening a doggy day care. He's seriously looking into it now and realizes that this is the time to do it if he's going to do it at all. It will be much safer for him, obviously, but more importantly it will be something he loves. My dad's love for dogs borders on obsession. I told him that I want to be involved and run the business with him. We'll see. I'm glad he's seriously pursuing it.


This is long overdue, but now I have to completely brag about my dear friend Susan!

A while back, I auditioned to be in a drag show playing the role of a "Starlet," which was one of the two roles playing the "conscience" of the fabulous Miss Nichole Pride. Right after auditioning and getting the role, I found out that I had a possible conflict that weekend and didn't feel right about staying on without knowing if I could truly commit to the dates. Instead, I recommended my friend Susan for the role. She auditioned, blew them away, and got the part.

I stayed on as in a vocal coach role, but was so happy Sue was going to be doing this. She's truly one of the most amazingly talented people I've ever met, and most things artistic come to her pretty naturally. She's a fantastic cook, she's a natural jazz singer and has phrasing and swing that took me YEARS to perfect (damn her! lol), and little did I know...she's also an amazing stage presence and actress.

Neither of us knew it, but the schedule for this show was pretty grueling. She'd go to work, eat on the subway, and then rehearse until almost midnight for about three weeks straight before the show. The girl barely slept! Her husband Habib made her swear that she wouldn't take on another role like this for 1000 days. lol

The show was absolutely NOT what I expected. Rather than the usual drag show with lots of laughs, lip-synching and out-landish costumes, this was much more of a drama. It was written by Tom (aka Miss Nichole Pride) and it was about his life and the discrimination he faces WITHIN the gay community for being a drag queen, gay, and black. There were at least three moments that brought me to tears in the show, but there were also some funny, uplifting, and intense moments. It was so well done, with a bare minimum set...and Susan was a big part of that.

I couldn't believe what an amazing actress she is. Her presence up onstage is huge, and people just immediately take to her and love her. She's fearless, she really is. She's the kind of artist who just bares it all for you - all the while being humble and almost unsure of the amount of talent she has. I can't say enough, she really just blew me away and I could not be prouder of her.

For a few more pictures, click here:


So now, I must attend to the 6 million pieces of clothing I have sitting here waiting to go up on ebay. Have a good weekend!

Posted by Taunia @ 6:21 PM :: (0) comments

Friday, May 05, 2006

Negotiations & Holy Grandma!

In my last post, I told you about the email I sent to my new boss to negotiate my rate of pay. Well, I have to give myself a little pat on the back because the first thing my boss said in his email response was that he was impressed by how well I articulated myself in the email.

Apparently, I was persuasive. He countered with a figure we were both happy with, and also stated that on August 1, we'd renew my contract and if we're both happy with the work arrangement, he'd raise my pay to a figure that's $7/hr more than he originally offered me. Not only did I get what I wanted, but I got MORE than I wanted. Yee-haw!

I'm working as a consultant, and I get to work from home and work as little or as many hours as I want and can work it around my teaching schedule and gigs. This really is a dream job, and I'm thankful that I got it.

I started my training this week, and we've been doing it online using SKYPE. This is a new messenger-type thing with crystal clear voice capabilities. I'm not kidding you, it's better than my cell phone. Best of all, it's totally free. Go and download that shit, yo. I'd rather my friends call me on that. It's better than the phone, and it's free!


In other news, this little cutie pie turned 128 years old yesterday:

Can you imagine living that long? She was born in 1878. HOLY CRAP. To read all about her, CLICK HERE. Thanks to Jeannie for passing that along to me. I don't know that I'd want to live THAT long, but God bless her for having a full and prosperous life. And she's cute as a button, you've got to give her that. She inspires me to live healthier and better and longer. :)

Hope your weekend is full and prosperous and that you live it to the fullest!

Posted by Taunia @ 1:30 PM :: (1) comments

Monday, May 01, 2006


It's amazing to me how exhausted you can become just from being emotional.

I cancelled all my lessons last week and spent all my time over at Lowell General Hospital helping my dad. Thankfully, he didn't need surgery for anything. That's about the only good thing right now. He's still in an incredible amount of pain and he's looks like he's lost about 20 lbs.

He was moved on Saturday to a Rehab, and he'll likely be there for the next two months. The doctors say he won't make a full recovery for at least 6 months, maybe even a year. It's pretty difficult. Here's my dad - this big, burly strong-ox of a guy, worrying about how he's going to make money since he can't work, and barely being able to move. It's depressing him and I can see it and it breaks my heart. Thankfully, my family kicks ass and we're all there all the time to keep him motivated and as happy as he can be in this situation.

At one point, I left the hospital to go on a job interview. I don't need a job, but I have a lot of free time, so I figured I could be making some extra money and putting it away. The job couldn't be more perfect: it's a work from home position doing tech support for a domain name registration company. I can make my own hours, and I'll learn a lot. I've been doing this sort of thing on my own for a while now, and I'm interested in technical stuff, so it's a pretty interesting job to me. Apparently, I was pretty interesting to them too, because I was offered the job. Now, I'm just trying to negotiate money. I just sent my new boss an email that I think was pretty strong (in terms of negotiating) and hopefully I'll get what I'm asking for. Now that my dad's not working, it would be good for me to be able to pitch in a little bit, so I'm hoping my email negotiating powers work for me.

So, fingers crossed for my dad's speedy rehab recovery, and for me getting this job with the money I deserve!

Posted by Taunia @ 7:55 PM :: (0) comments