Monday, July 21, 2014

Blessings

Friday night, Hubby and I went to the California Shakespeare Festival for the first time.  It's a BEAUTIFUL outdoor theater in Orinda, in the East Bay. Very woodsy and lovely.  We'd been meaning to go for a while, and finally went to see my friend play both Antipholeses (the Antipholi?) is "The Comedy of Errors."
This is a fella with whom I was in "Hamlet" 20 years ago.  The last time I saw him was 1999, when he did "Metamorphoses" in Berkeley.  He lives with his family in Chicago, so, needless to say, we don't see each other often, lol!

The show was AMAZING!  There were 7 actors in the cast, and they were all brilliant.  3 of them, including my pal, have a strong background in Clown work, and that was abundantly on display in this show.  The Hubs and I were so amazed and inspired by it all.

We almost didn't get to meet up afterwards, as we'd taken the train and there was only one shuttle going from the theater back to the station.  Luckily, he called me and we were able to meet up in Oakland at a cafe, where we bought him dinner and chatted until after midnight, when the staff turned off the lights and kicked us out.  :)

This man is an absolute mensch.  Even more inspirational as a human being than he is as a performer/teacher, and that is really saying something.  I'm so glad we got to spend time with him while he was here (the show closed Sunday).

And it got me thinking: I sometimes get depressed because my life feels so small. I'll see one of my heroes onscreen or (if I'm very lucky) onstage, and get down because it is highly unlikely that I will ever have the chance even to meet them, let alone work with them.

And then I meet up with a friend.  I get to see them do their thing, and to spend time with them, and I am reminded how very lucky I am to have so many good, loving, kind, talented people in my life.  People who inspire me, and who also believe in me. People whom I can go 20 years without seeing face-to-face, but then contact and immediately fall right back into our rhythm with, as if no time has passed at all.
And there are MANY folks who fit that bill!

A couple of weeks ago, when I was preparing to teach that acting class, I messaged another such friend.  I asked him if he had time to give me a quick rundown of a class we both used to teach, but I haven't done in a very long time.  He took the time to give me a full description, despite having worked all day and then having to drive for over 2 hours.

Another friend and mentor once spent over an hour on the phone with me describing his work as a director with patients in a mental healthcare facility.  It was after midnight where he was, and he'd already put in a full day.

Another friend runs a Shakespeare festival AND is raising 2 young twin boys (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), but always, ALWAYS has time for my (often trite and silly) questions.

How did I get so lucky?  And how is it that I sometimes forget these things?  (OK, yes, to be fair, regarding the second one, I often forget my own name, so...)

I am so very, truly blessed.  And I need to remind myself of that.  Particularly during that time of the month, when I'm feeling misanthropic and downright homicidal.

And remind myself, as well, that maybe, just maybe, there is a reason why they are still in my life. That maybe they get something from our friendship, as well.  Otherwise, why would they hang around for so long, eh?

Talk about a change in perspective!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pity, Party of One

Sometimes I see, hear, or read about something wonderful happening for someone, and I get depressed.  I'm glad for them, but the Wonderful Thing that has happened, in these cases, is something I dreamed up for myself.  I thought of it, nourished and nurtured that dream, imagined it, tried to make it a reality.
and it worked!  Just...for someone else...
This has occurred more times than I like to think about.
Usually it's something small, nothing earth-shattering.  Just something I would like to happen.
Over the years I've told myself many things: That this is a Life Lesson, that I shouldn't look for validation outside of myself, that I should learn to be happy with what I have, and not always be wanting more.
All of which are true, and good to learn.
Up to a point.
Because I've also berated myself for being selfish, for not DESERVING these things, for being such a total f*ck-up that OF COURSE I'm NOT going to get what I want!  Why would the Universe reward ME?!?!?!
Of course, seeing some of the folks the Universe DOES reward makes me rethink that last bit...  I mean, REALLY?!?!?!?!

So it has me wondering: WHY does this happen over and over and over?

Because I BELIEVE I'm unworthy. I always have.
I know I've been over this before, but this is becoming much clearer in so many ways.

I was taught I was unworthy by people who believed THEY were unworthy.  It wasn't malicious, it was their way of trying to protect me.  When they told me I'd never make it as an actress, I believed them.  And I think a part of me was afraid to prove them wrong.  So when I DID make it, it was only for a short while.
Because I sabotaged myself, in many ways.  I made choices that pretty much guaranteed failure.

So many of the choices I have made in my life have been based in fear.  And that makes me really, really sad.  Of course, at the time, I didn't know any better.  I had NO IDEA I was living in constant terror, I just thought it was Life.  The way Things Were.

I'm still afraid.  SO much of the time. Of big things and small.  Stuff that often wakes me up in the middle of the night.
When I remember to, I tap on them, and they're not so big and scary anymore.

An issue for me is coming to terms with my fear and anxiety.  I first tried to ignore them, pretend that I wasn't fearful and anxious.  And depressed.
Guess how well THAT worked?  :)

Then I tried to get rid of all of it.  To become someone who had NO fear/anxiety/depression.  I thought if I faced it all head-on, it would eventually just Go Away.
Nope!

The fact is, this is a part of how and who I am. There's no shame in it.  And there ARE ways of dealing with it, so that these emotions don't overwhelm me and take over my entire existence.

Maybe if I think of them as well-meaning friends: Y'know, they come along and say "But what about...?" or "Be careful of..."  and instead of ignoring them or shutting them down, I can put my arm around them and say "Thank you for pointing that out.  I know how much you care, and it's all going to be OK.  Better than OK.  You've made me aware, and now I can deal with it. Thank you!"

Because the fear/anxiety/depression has been trying to tell me something all these years.  And I think, maybe, FINALLY, I'm getting the message.

Go forward.  Take the risks.  Just know that there are dangers.  Be aware, but also be bold.  Make mistakes.  Fall down.  Pick yourself up.  Shit happens, but your track record for surviving it so far is 100%.

GO! BE! HAPPY!

Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just Shy

of 10 pounds down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I've hit the 5% mark: I've lost 5% of my body fat.

Last week was CRAZY!  Very active, and exhausting.  :)  I'm taking it a little easier this week, especially as Aunt Flow is here and sleep is a rare thing.
I've pulled out my Slim Series workouts again. I hadn't done them in at least a year (longer, probably), and I'm so glad I re-discovered them!  The workouts are fairly intense, even without a lot of impact.  And these are the ones that got me back into crazy-good shape after WG was born.  Of course, that was 10 years ago, and I did them 6 days a week.  This time around, I'm aiming for 2-3 days, plus my yoga, bike intervals, and walking.

At our WW meeting last week, our fearless leader made a suggestion.  But let me back up to my first meeting, different leader, who suggested leaving the Flex points be, as much as possible (we get 49 extra points per week to use as we will).  So I tried that, and it worked.  I've used a couple here and there, but not many.
Last week the leader mentioned that she usually leaves her ACTIVITY points alone, as well.

And off went the light bulb!
Because one of my big concerns about WW is that I will get back in the mindset of using exercise as a way to eat more.  Which, in and of itself, isn't necessarily a bad thing.  But in the past, it has become a form of exercise bulimia with me.  I would work out beyond the point of exhaustion and even to injury just so I could eat more.  Or binge.

In Intuitive Eating, it is recommended that exercise be separate from diet.  That working out is something we do because we enjoy it and it keeps us strong and healthy.  And I COMPLETELY agree with that way of thinking!  And now, keeping activity and food points separate, I can continue with that.  It's a much healthier mindset.  Yes, I will use a couple of activity points here and there, and that's OK.
Everything is OK!
There's no such thing as perfection.

The result?  I have FAR less guilt, I'm listening to my body before deciding which workout to do (or maybe not working out at all!)
Oh, and I lost nearly 2 pounds.  Which is a nice side effect.

All in all, this has been a week of some pretty big revelations.  Life-changing stuff.  I'm still processing it, so it's hard to put into words.  Perhaps in a future post.
In the meantime, gonna go take the kiddoes the park.

Hasta la vista, babies!

Monday, July 7, 2014

I Feel Like a Growed-Up!

Saturday morning I was a sex-obsessed toddler with Tourette's.  And a ballerina.  And a member of a hip-hop dance crew.  As well as a panicking airline pilot and a sad, homicidal, ultimately suicidal cruise ship clown.

Because I went to my first improv workout.  My friend, with whom I took a class last year (and for whom I subbed thus past week, more on that later) has a group who gets together every Saturday morning to improvise, and I was able to join them today.
MAN, was it fun!  The group consists of of folks who have a lot of experience and A LOT of talent, so it forces one to up one's game quite a bit. It's very physical, often confusing , and always, always entertaining and enjoyable.  And I will go whenever I can.  Which, I hope, will be every Saturday.  :)

Let me tell you about Wednesday, when I subbed her Acting 1 class.  I was
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO nervous!  As I may have mentioned, I hadn't taught a class like that in about 15 years.  And y'know what?  It was just like riding a bike.  It all came back to me, like I'd never left it.  The students were FANTASTIC, and we all had a great night.
I'd like to do THAT.  Work with adults, whether they're professionals, thinking about becoming professionals, or just doing it for fun.

I wonder of it might be something I can set up around here, outside of the city, where there is a dearth of acting classes for adults.  There may be folks who don't wish to, or can't, travel into the city, but are still interested in learning.  I may propose a class to our local rec center and see what happens...
And perhaps I could coach.  I mean, why the heck not?  I've met with PLENTY of coaches who are, quite honestly, horrible.  I have a lot of experience and, if I may be so bold as to say, quite a lot to offer.

In the meantime, I will keep writing (when I have time.  Difficult during summer vacation...) and finding my way out of the self-created Box O' Fear I live in.

It's work, but definitely worth it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Definitely Hormones. Oh, and Stupid People.

My suicidal, full-of-despair, no-hope-for-humanity thoughts definitely come out to play when I have PMS. In fact, I'm thinking of writing a modern day fairy tale: "Blood Red and the 7 Premenstrual Dwarves;  Crampy, Pimply, Bitchy, Weepy, Angsty, Needy, and Homicidal."

Yesterday was a weird day. Nor only was it Monday, but the national news was full of stuff that made many of us want to bash our, or, actually, others', heads against a brick wall. (It also illuminated the fact that a lot of people on Facebook are, quite frankly, stupid.  And act like spoiled, petulant 9 year-olds well into their 50's. And have no compunction referring to a woman as a c*nt simply because she disagrees with them.
Ah, social media!  Bringing the world together!)

However, I also got an offer to sub an acting class on Wednesday night.  As in, THIS Wednesday.  As in, TOMORROW!!!!!!!  But my friend who teaches it gave me the lesson plan, so it's all mapped out.  And it's for grown-ups!  At an actual, professional theater!  So no babysitting!!!!!!!!
I'm very excited and EXTREMELY nervous!  I haven't taught a class like this in nearly 15 years!  And that was BC (Before Children), back when my brain actually functioned.

But between my notes and my gift of bluffing, I think I MAY just get through it.
Hopefully.
Please G-d!

Had mt WW meeting this morning.  Up .8 of a pound, thanks to the aforementioned PMS.  Hopefully down again next week.  Seriously, one more pound and I'll have reached my first milestone of losing 5% body fat.  I get a charm for my keychain!
2 more pounds and I'll be at the -10 pounds mark.  Nearly halfway to my goal.

The nice thing is that I can feel it.  My nice-n-snug pants are a lot looser.  And the other day I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror at the yoga studio as I walked in and didn't realize it was me (the mirrors were mostly covered...long story).  Had a fleeting thought of "I kinda wanna look like HER."  Except "HER" was ME!
:) :) :) :) :)

So I'm definitely getting there.

One of the great things about the meetings, is that they are COMPLETELY non-judgmental.  It's the exact opposite of what I was expecting.  During my weight-in, before I even mentioned the PMS, they were so blase about the gain.  Because they gain a bit of weight too, here and there.  And then they lose it again.  Our leader made it a point to mention that, which I thought was cool.  I can also go to as many meetings as I like (Only one weigh-in per week, however).  It's a very safe, welcoming, warm environment, and everyone is not only friendly and lovely, they're FUNNY!  I really look forward to the meetings.
Which, again, is not at all what I expected when I joined.

And now...Confession Time:  I brought the kids to the pool today, and turned into That Mom.  Judgey McJudgerson.  The one who sits in silent-yet-smug superiority and thinks "I'm SO glad MY kids aren't like THAT!"
Yes, folks; I became what I most fear.

But honestly, those kids were OBNOXIOUS!  And spoiled!  And the adults responsible for them did NOTHING!

So, yes, dammit, I AM glad my kids aren't like that! In this case, it has nothing to do with autism or any kind of special needs, it's just, IMHO, no consequences for bad behavior.
And that's just wrong.

So I will sit here and be not-so-quietly judgmental.  Of those parents, and of stupid people who spout what they hear on TV as their own opinions and don't bother to do any research, then act like spoiled children when anyone questions them.

So there.

Pththththtbpt!!!




Friday, June 27, 2014

(Not So) Sweet Dreams, Small Worlds, and Can't We All Just Get Along?!?!?!

I had a dream the other night that I was completely broke.  Not my family, just me.  Hubby still had money, as did my in-laws, but no one would help me out.  The water was turned off, but only for me.  I couldn't bathe or wash clothes or dishes or even drink (I couldn't afford to buy bottled water).  I woke up dehydrated and thoroughly bummed out.  :)
I had to keep reminding myself that, despite what was said in the dream, being a stay-at-home mom does NOT make me a moocher!
I guess that's what happens when I go on Facebook right before bed.  I'd been reading about all these poor folks in Detroit who've had their water turned off.  Last summer it was the electricity, right in the middle of the worst heatwave in the city's history (and it stranded a pregnant woman in an elevator).  Now it's the water.  Detroit has become a third-world country.  It's horrifying.

We are a nearly 2 weeks into Phase 1 of Summer Vacation.  LG started summer school on Monday, and WG is off until July 7th.  So far, not horrible.  I mean, other than colds, runny noses, meltdowns, and complete exhaustion (for all of us).  On Tuesday the kids were so tired they didn't even want to go swimming!  That was a first, seeing as these are 2 kids who would swim in the arctic at 3 AM if given the chance.
We'll try to get to the pool today, even though the weather isn't great. Maybe we'll have it to ourselves, mwahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another 1/2 pound gone this week.  I was kind of surprised that I lost anything, to tell you the truth. Last week was rough, and I certainly didn't work out like I usually do.  I DID, however, take a really nice, 90-minute, heated power yoga class on Sunday. Hopefully I can get there on a semi-regular basis.

Aaaaaaaand...in yet another case of small degrees of separation (which seems to happen a lot), my mom's colleague had lunch with Benedict Cumberbatch the other day.  Why, you may ask, was this man afforded this privilege?  Because he wrote the book "Black Mass" about Whitey Bulger, which is being made into a film, and is currently shooting in Boston.  BC is playing his brother Billy. Who, in reality, is short and bald.  But, hey, it's Hollywood!
By all accounts, he (Benedict) is a really nice guy, and is pretty close to perfecting his Southie accent.  He's also been reading the Boston Globe quite often, which is the paper my dad wrote for.

Small, small world.

OK.  I started this post 2 days ago.  This morning I clicked on one f my most favoritist blogs in the whole wide world, "The Great Fitness Experiment."  Charlotte is an amazing person and a TERRIFIC writer.  She is also thoughtful, sensitive, empathetic, and thoroughly researches the topics she writes about.  Today she wrote about a weight loss system that is apparently very popular.
And, boy howdy, did the trolls come out!

She made it very clear that the opinion stated in her blog was just that: HER OPINION!  And that she read the research that was available to her, as well as talking to a friend who sells the product.  But did any of that stop the personal attacks?  Of COURSE not!  Because we now live in an age in which it's not enough to disagree with someone, we have to belittle them, as well.  One poster said "I hope you understand that the only thing at stake here is your reputation and credibility.  And OH BOY did you ever put those on the line today...Better luck next time!"  While others accused her of misusing her friendship with the woman who sells the product, and of being classless.

REALLY?!?!?!?!

This is just MY opinion, but it seems to me there may be some astroturfing going on.  Which is when a person, a corporation, a political group, etc. sends its supporters to a blog or post to troll the comments.  I'm not saying the company necessarily did this, but they do have a number of independent contractors, and who knows what one individual can get up to?

This is the sort of thing that we're used to on Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc.  Charlotte's blog will get the occasional troll, but they are usually taken care of (gently).  I've been following her blog since almost the beginning, and I have NEVER seen anything like what happened today on it.
Charlotte and I have never met in person, but we have been corresponding for some time, and I consider her a friend.  And if someone goes after my friends, I am not going to sit by silently.  The folks saying nasty things to and about her, by their own admission, don't know her at all.  Yet they feel free to slam her.
Again, it's nothing new.  People will say things online they'd never dream of saying face-to-face.  It's cowardly and mean.  They, themselves, are exhibiting the very behavior they accuse her of.

Here's another of my opinions:  If the company has ANYTHING to do with this, they should be ashamed.  This isn't marketing, this is bullying.  If they're NOT behind it but get wind of it, they MUST denounce this behavior immediately.   And if it IS just a bunch of random individuals, then what a sad, sorry state we are now in.  And those individuals should be ashamed.
But I won't hold my breath waiting for them to know better.

In the meantime, I'm going to go watch some re-runs of "Doctor Who," and dream of a madman in a blue box who repeatedly saves the universe.

Even when we don't necessarily deserve it.






Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Welcome to the Sick House

WG, then, LG, and now, apparently Hubby and I have all gotten sick this week. Nothing too terrible so far (knock on wood), but enough to make us a bit unhappy.
And ruin all our best-laid plans for the week.  Poor LG had only been in the pool for a half hour on Monday when I got the call to go to San Jose and pick up WG.
She stayed home yesterday, and went back to school today.  But LG woke up all sneezy & snuffly, so no pool.  And now he has a fever.

Gah, I HATE it when they're sick!  Poor little bunnies!
Their eyes get all droopy and sad, and their noses run, and they can't breathe well, and their little faces get all red.

:(

Luckily, however, they seem to bounce back pretty quickly.

It's beginning to feel a lot like Summer around here.  Not that we had much of a Winter.  The other day, as LG and I were driving to San Jose, we went past the hills surrounding Stanford.  Normally they are lush, verdant, and green.  Right now they're brown and dry, and probably a pretty big fire hazard.
You'd think, by now, someone could've come up with a way to take the water from places that are flooding and bring it to drought-stricken areas!
But then, we still don't have flying cars, jet packs, or transporters...

This drought is quite worrisome.

But there's not a whole lot I can do at the moment, other than conserve water.  Which we're doing.  So, there is no point in obsessing.

In GOOD news, I've thus far lost 8 pounds since starting WW 4 weeks ago.  And, yes, I am MUCH more mindful of what, and, especially, WHY, I eat.  And I'm working out smarter.  I feel MUCH less obsessive about it all, which is nice. And not what I was expecting.
Because the last few times I tried WW, I DID become obsessed.
I think the meetings make a big difference.  And, perhaps, being a bit older and wiser.  Maybe.

In OTHER other news, it's official: Peter Capaldi is the Biggest Mensch In The World.  He's spearheading the campaign to rebuild the Glasgow School of Art, of which he is an alumni.  Much of it was destroyed in a fire last month, and many of the students lost the artwork they'd created for their show that would determine whether they got their degree.  PC made a video for them.  The best part is when he says "You are artists, and this will only add to your story.  You will be reborn, and rise from the ashes even stronger."
How cool is that?!?!?!
He also says "I wish I could turn back time but, unfortunately, I'm not Cher."  Before doing a little bit with the TARDIS.  :)

OK.  Gotta try and maybe get to bed early.  Gonna need my energy over the next few days.

Nighty-night!