Monday, February 8, 2016

A Yucky Cold and a Lovely Warm Puppy

I'm getting over another cold.  We've all been sick 3 times over the last 3 months, and, really, enough is enough.  First there was the flu in November, then the stomach virus at the beginning of the year, and now this.  And we've all had all of it.  Well, the family that vomits together...

Tuesday night was the height of it, for me.  (The worst of the stomach thing was also on a Tuesday night.  Curious.)  I was worried that it was turning into a another bout of flu, as I was suddenly sore and achy all over, and very fatigued.  I was sprawled on the bed, and Avery came over and lay down on my tummy, promptly falling asleep.
It was just what I needed: I woke up the next morning feeling MUCH better.  Luckily, after getting the kids off to school, I was able to go back to bed for a couple of hours.  Avery kindly sacrificed her time to cuddle up and nap next to me.

I've had a few dogs now, and a couple of cats. I'm always amazed at how quickly they give us their unconditional love. Avery had already been abandoned, brought to a shelter, adopted out, and returned to the shelter by the time we met her.  And in just over a month, it's like she has always been part of our family. She snuggles up with me at night until Hubby comes home, at which point she relinquishes her spot and goes to sleep on the lovely, soft dog bed at the foot of our human bed.

She's very gentle with the kids (including our 3 1/2 year-old niece, who isn't always so gentle with HER, lol), and she will bark at anyone or anything outside that isn't part of the norm.  She'll also chase squirrels, raccoons, and (yikes!) skunks out of the yard.  She is agile and lithe, and keeps me in shape by walking me twice a day for 20-60 minutes at a time.  And she watches me while I do my home workouts.  She is particularly puzzled by the bike that goes nowhere when I pedal it.  I'm sure she'd come to yoga with me if I let her.

Because she has imprinted on me.  I am her human.  She adores everyone, but I'm the one who's with her the most, and from whom she has separation anxiety.  I HATE leaving her, even to go to my beloved yoga classes.  :)  Yesterday I had to teach in the morning and then run some errands, and I worried about her the entire time.  Of course, she was fine when I got home, sleeping in "her spot" on the window seat.  But she greeted me at the door as soon as I came in, and we went for a nice long walk.  She is sleeping next to me as I type this.
I suppose I have as much separation anxiety as she does.  :)

I miss Chopper.  But I think he led us to Avery.  He wanted us to adopt another shelter dog in his honor, and I like to think she was waiting for us.  That she was meant to be ours, as we are meant to be hers.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

DVDs, Weekends, And Separation Anxiety

We've just received A BUNCH of DVDs from the SAG Awards Committee, as we always do this time of year.
But this year we seem to have gotten more than in previous years.
And I haven't watched a single one.
Hubby watched The Revenant.  I did not.  Too violent for my taste.

But at least he has an excuse, between work and rehearsal.  I have ZERO excuses.
Other than the fact that I'm not particularly interested in most of them.
OK, except for "Straight Outta Compton."  But I want to watch it with Hubby.
I don't know why, but I don't have much interest in the others.
(Well, OK, I'll watch "Spotlight", since I know all the characters. My dad wrote for The Boston Globe, and Mike Rezendes, the title character, was his protege.)

I think my attention span is getting even worse.

Or maybe I just don't want to spend time on things that don't interest me anymore.

Anyway, here we are, on a lovely Sunday afternoon.  It is a rare sunny day here.  We've been getting lots and lots of rain, although we are still in a drought.  And, fortunately, we are not on the east coast, so the freezing temperatures and seemingly endless snowfall are not affecting us.
However, it is still quite wet, so it's hard to take the kids anywhere.
And if we DID go out, we'd probably have to take the dog with us.  :)
She has separation anxiety, poor thing.  She's only been with us for 4 weeks, and I think she still doesn't trust that we will come back after we leave.  I've been teaching this past week, and leaving her home has been a bit rough.  Luckily, my in-laws have been here.
But she's my little shadow.  Follows me everywhere.  :)  I think, in time, she'll feel more secure.  I hope so. In the meantime, she is my nearly-constant companion.  Which is nice.

I think I may have found a 2-week summer camp for LG.  It's in Palo Alto, and is fairly pricey, but I'm supposed to have some money coming in for some consulting work I did.  It sounds like a perfect program for him, and 2 weeks is probably just the right amount of time.  It'd be nice for him to be around other kids in the summer, and not just me.
And maybe WG can go, sometime.

Now, if I may revert to my geek girl status for a moment, there is news.  For one thing, "The X-Files" returns tonight.  Woo-hoo! I want to believe!!!!!!!

"Doctor Who" will begin filming in May, so no new episodes until NEXT spring (aside from the Christmas special).  I was a little bummed when I read that, until I remembered that "Sherlock" only appears once every 2 years (season 4 will begin filming in April, BTW), and if it sees its shadow, we get 3 episodes.
Or something like that.
And Steven Moffat will be stepping down from Who after the next season, to be replaced by Chris Chibnall. No word on whether Peter Capaldi will stay or go. The fangirl in me wants him to stay, but the fellow actor/human/family person/knee pain sufferer completely understands why he may not want to.

Time will tell.
No pun intended.

Meanwhile, there's lots to do.  I'm subbing for the next 2 weeks, and then...we shall see!  Hopefully more consulting work, some time for museums and yoga, and possibly a show in May.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I Have Come to a Momentous Decision!

OK, not really MOMENTOUS...
But I have finally decided what to do about my Equity (stage union) status.

I spent YEARS working towards my union membership, and was a very proud member for a number of years.  Then the kids came along, followed by the autism diagnoses and full-on burnout, and, well, you probably know the rest.  2 staged readings in the past 13 years is all I've done onstage.

I've decided it is definitely time to get back into the game, and that I am ready.
But on my own terms, this time.
As a non-professional.
For the time being, anyway.

The truth is, I'm not entirely sure what, exactly, my Equity status IS.  I haven't paid my dues in years.  I think it's similar to my friend's situation; she also stopped paying for a while, but was able to get back into the union by paying her past dues.

But I'm not going to.  At least, not yet.  I'm going to, in a way, start at the bottom.  Not quite from the beginning (which, in my case, was at the age of 9 doing kids' theater), but close to it.  Build my confidence (and my resume) back up.  And, for the first time since my teens, NOT worry about the professional side of things.  I just want to have fun and do what I love, what I'm good at.  And not always be worried about when the next job will come along.

It may be that Equity will come calling and say, hey, this isn't kosher; technically you're still in the union and you cannot do non-union work.  In which case, cool!
If not, I will continue on.

Who knows what may happen in the future?  Perhaps I will, once again, turn pro.  Maybe, just maybe, I can start working again in the regional theaters and get paid well.
Or not.
I just want to perform.

I'm working on letting go of how I WANT things to be and accepting them for what they ARE.  This includes myself. I'm not a Hollywood leading lady, or a Broadway star.  I will never be the Doctor's companion.  Or Sherlock's pal or nemesis.  I'm no Judy Dench, Helen Mirren, or Maggie Smith.

I'm not even a working actor.  And I haven't been for quite some time.

I will probably never meet my heroes.  (This one stings the most, but what can I do?)  Meaning I will certainly not get to work with them.

I have to stop waiting for impossible things to happen, and start making other, possible, things happen.

And mourn the loss of the things I cannot have.

Because maybe, just maybe, there will be even better things to come.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

I Know, I Know...

I suck.  I'm sorry!  I was out of the country, and then run ragged over the holidays.  Then my entire family got a stomach virus, from which WG and I are still recovering.

The past few weeks have been a mix of awful and great.  Along with the shared virus, we also had to put our beloved pit bull down just before Christmas.  He'd had some tumors removed in September, but they came back (and then some).  During the week I was away, he lost a lot of weight.  Eventually he was at the point where he couldn't hold anything down, even water, and he couldn't stop scratching.  He was in pain, and it wasn't fair to try and keep him with us.  He went very peacefully, but we miss him terribly.

However, in his honor, we went to the shelter and adopted another pup.  She is a beagle/basset hound mix, and very sweet.  She'd been through a lot, so it feels good to be able to give her a forever home. And we adore her!

So, yes, I went to London for a week.  And it was fabulous!  I even took a day trip to Cardiff (in Wales) to see The Doctor Who Experience.  So I can scratch that off my bucket list.  And since they weren't filming, we were able to go down the street to the BBC Cymru studios and take a tour of the TARDIS set.  It's  BEAUTIFUL!  A full 360 degrees and 3 levels.  As I stood on the top step, I though to myself "I could totally be on this show!"
And then proceeded to trip on the bottom stair.
But, apparently, I'm in good company.  Matt Smith tripped on that same stair repeatedly.
We also got to see the TARDIS painted in memory of Clara, as well as the inside of a Dalek.  And I'll say this; whatever those Dalek operators are being paid, it couldn't possibly be enough!

Back in London, I met up with my friend who lives there, and some of HER friends.  All of whom are fellow artsy types, American, and living in London.  Well, except one.  She lives in San Francisco.  We joked about how we had to travel 5,000 miles to meet each other when we live about 30 miles apart.  :)  We went to dinner one night, then met up a few nights later to see the holiday light displays at Kew Gardens.

I stayed in South Kensington this time, which is a great neighborhood.  And I did lots of exploring, including a trip to a cool North London neighborhood called Crouch End.  I needed to get out of Central London on the day of the Santa pub crawl, lol! so I googled London neighborhoods, and this one came up.  And it's a great area!  With a nice library.  Can't go wrong in a place that has a good library, IMHO.

I hope to go back again this year.  If I travel off-season, I can get a flight/hotel package at a very good price.  This one was through British Airways, and it was perfect.  I hope to stay at the same hotel again.

But I'm back home, and happy to be with Hubby and the kids.  Even with this stupid virus.
And I'm REALLY glad the holidays are over!  I don't know about you, but I always end up overextended and exhausted. It's good to be (almost) back to a regular schedule.

And now, I need a bit of a nap.  Getting this thing out of one's system is exhausting!

I'll post soon.  Promise!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Witching Hour

I want to apologize for the abrupt ending of my last entry, and for not blogging since.  I have been completely overwhelmed for the past couple of weeks, and not in the best frame of mind.  The in-laws are out of town, which means we have the house to ourselves (yay!), but also that we have no babysitters for the time being (boo!).
(It also means, however, that they get a much-needed break, and that maybe my father-in-law's nasty cough will recede.  They are, after all, in Hawaii.)

I have started my new (part-time, temporary) teaching job at a local high school.  I'm teaching Intro to Drama to freshmen 3-4 days a week.  The classes themselves are great, the kids are fantastic, but the technology is driving me insane.  Everything is online: the attendance sheet, which has to be sent in straightaway, as well as payroll, faculty email, etc.  And technology and I have a somewhat sketchy relationship.
I'm also trying to juggle my schedule with Hubby and the kids.  Luckily he's usually able to leave work early if I'm teaching when the kids get home from school.  And his show is still running, 8 performances a week. They recently moved the Sunday evening shows to Wednesday matinees, so I'm scrambling to find subs for my Wednesday classes.  Luckily, I don't have many of those, and teach mainly on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

The first couple of weeks have had a few bumps.  I'm hoping things will run more smoothly from here on out.

High school freshman are a lot like puppies: Cute, a bit awkward, energetic, and enthusiastic.  Sometimes I forget that my son is the same age as these students.   And other times I have to remind myself that ALL of these concepts are new for these guys, and to teach accordingly.  The rules that apply to (even slightly) older, more experienced students/actors don't necessarily apply here.

I must say that it's nice to work in a place that has amazing amenities.  After working for so many years in public schools, where budgets are severely limited, it's quite a concept to work in an environment in which resources are readily available.  And, honestly, to be paid well.  It makes me sad and angry that most schools have to beg for arts funding, if they get it at all.

OK, better get outside and keep an eye out for the school bus.  Hope everyone had a very happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Holy crud, I've done it again.
But I have good reasons!
Hubby is opening his show tonight at ACT in San Francisco.  He's been working his regular job AND rehearsing AND performing 8 shows a week.
And, this week, I started a temporary, part-time job teaching intro to drama for high school freshmen.
Very ROWDY high school freshmen.
And one of the tires on my car burst.
And the brakes need adjusting.
Also taking care of the kids, the house, the dog (who had 4 tumors removed 2 weeks ago and had the stitches taken out today) and all the usual stuff.
Plus all the in-laws are going on vacation.  Lots of stuff to do.

And, to be honest, the past 3 weeks have been...overwhelming.  I can't even point to too many specific things (other than the new job and all the paperwork that goes along with it), I just know I've been feeling overwhelmed and more stressed out than usual.  And little things have been going askew.  Nothing major, but, taken all together, they make life more difficult.

And now, today, another school shooting.
I seriously, truly, want to move.
To a country that hasn't completely lost its mind.
Where I don't have to wonder, every day, when I send my kids off to school, if they will come home safely.

And I'm realizing I just can't blog right now.
But I will soon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Light at the End, and an Unexpected Letter

LG started school a week and a half ago.  WG goes back in 2 days.  My mom is back home, after a nice (if busy and somewhat crazy-making) weeklong visit.  Hubby is back from Yosemite and has started rehearsals while taking a semi-sabbatical from his regular job.
Oh, and the new season of Doctor Who starts in just under a month.  :)
AND, there's a distinct possibility of a bit of teaching work here and there (acting and voice).
Things are lookin' up!

So, the letter. Last Monday I was waiting for LG's bus to arrive (Making sure I wasn't late, as, after the first 2 days, I was already on the transportation department's sh*t list.  Which was TOTALLY unfair, seeing as the bus came at 2 different times on 2 different days, AND I was originally told that there wouldn't even BE a bus the first week, AND no one told me that the schedule had changed, AND no one ever picks up the phone in that office. AND the school schedule is REALLY CONFUSING!!!!!!  But I digress...) and I checked the mailbox, hoping that a T-shirt I'd ordered had arrived.  It hadn't  but there was a letter with the BBC logo on it. From Wales.  And my family's name and address handwritten on the front.  Inside was a handwritten note, from a certain actor I have admired for over 20 years.  Thanking me for a card I'd sent, wishing us all well, and, get this, APOLOGIZING for the delay in writing back!  I'd sent the card in December, with ZERO expectation of a reply.  Just as a way to reach out during a difficult time.
So there I was, basically a melted puddle of goo on the sidewalk as the bus arrived.  I got LG off the bus and floated back up the hill to the house. (Hmmm...floating goo...not the nicest image...)

I showed the letter to my mom, who also melted a bit.  Then to my sister-in-law, who got mushy.  Then I took photos and texted them to Hubby, who was mightily impressed. I wanted to carry it around with me everywhere, but was afraid of losing it. So it's in my Drawer Of Things To Be Saved and Cherished.

I am so amazed and touched that he took the time to do that.  A man who, by all accounts, receives over 1,000 letters a week, and spends up to 18 hours a day on set, 5 days a week, only seeing his family on weekends.  It speaks volumes (as if more confirmation was needed) of what a complete mensch he is.

Oh, and the T-shirt arrived the next day.  ;)

Switching subjects completely, on the nutrition/exercise front, I've been following our local PBS station's airing of Classical Stretch workouts 3-5 days a week, and walking, along with a yoga class here and there.  And the Spin bike, usually for about 20 minutes.  I've also found a great Chris Freytag workout on YouTube that combines indoor walking and weights.  It's low-impact, but challenging. 'Cause nowadays I'm ALL about the challenge-me-but-please-don't-kill me fitness regimen.
I'm also taking advantage of Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, when the in-laws are at church and the kitchen is free.  This past week I've made sweet potato and corn chowder (courtesy of Karma Chow), healthy chocolate banana bread muffins (Chocolate Covered Katie), granola (Healthy, Happy Vegan Kitchen), and lots of variations on a Buddha Bowl, courtesy of a bunch of different sources.

If only I could get the kids to eat any of it...

OK, gotta go do some of the (neverending) paperwork for said kiddoes.  Have a good one!