Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Father Is Probably Dying

Because of the airport snafu in Georgia, I can't fly out until tomorrow. I'm home alone right now (hubby, kids, and dog are at the in-laws: I'll be joining them after rush hour) with my thoughts. After talking to my brother after the CT scan, it looks as if our dad is not doing well at all. There are some treatment they are going to try, but he is 70 years old and there is A LOT of swelling in his brain.

Fucking cancer.

It took my grandmother, and my brother-in-law's dad, and one of our dogs. My mother, so far, is doing well. her breast cancer doesn't seem to have come back (knock wood).

The thing is, and this is going to sound weird, but I had a dream about my father last night. It was a good dream, but I woke up feeling that all was not well with him, and that I needed to prepare myself. And then my brother called. See, a few years ago, I had a dream about our dog. Right before he was diagnosed with cancer. It was, again, a good dream, but he was gone a few months later. That dream, and the one last night, were very symbolic. I won't go into details, but they were telling me things. Like i said, it sounds weird.

I'm most worried about my mother. This is going to devastate her. She'll get through it, but she is going to have to GO through it, first. I want her to come and stay with us, or at least with my brother and his family, for a bit.

I'm also torn. My kids are starting school. I just found out an hour ago that my daughter is going to a new school, not the one we thought she'd be going to, that we had planned on, and that she has been going to for over a year. I don't know how she will react to the transition, and I may not be home for it, which is REALLY freaking me out. My daughter needs me here, and my parents and brother need me in Massachusetts.
I wish I had a tele-port!

I wonder if my kids will remember my father. My son, who is 7, might. But my daughter is not yet 5.

I'm also freaking out about flying. Once I'm on the plane I'll be fine, but anticipating it drives me nuts, lol! But I'm flying on Jet Blue for the first time, which should be kind of fun. And hey, I'll get 6 hours to myself. that's something, right?

And my in-laws are AMAZING! They've been calling all day to wish us well, and to offer all the help they can give.

OK, I'm off. Take care, you guys!

Off For A Few Days

Got a call this morning from my brother, who is on the east coast with my parents. Our dad isn't doing too well. He's had cancer for a little over a year now. He was doing well, but 2 months ago a CT scan revealed lesions on his brain, so he was signed up for an experimental treatment. But lately he's been having seizures in his leg, has been confused, and fell down the stairs a couple of weeks ago. The call this morning was to let me know that I need to go back east, just in case. I'm trying to find people to take my classes for me, and to figure out the kids' schedules so hubby and his mom can take charge while I'm away.
So there may not be a lot of posts for the next few days. I'm debating whether or not to take my laptop with me.
And I'll post when I get back. Take care, everyone!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

So, Read Any Good Books Lately?

I LOVE blogs! I just love 'em! And I REALLY love that you can get in touch with people that, before the internet, you would never have thought to get in touch with. Or, if you DID think of it, you probably wouldn't 'cause it involved sitting down to write a letter and mailing it. And you were (and by"you were" I mean "I was") just too damn lazy.
Some of my favorite blogs are by writers. Which makes sense 'cause, um, they WRITE for a living, so their blogs are probably gonna be good. But what I mean is that because I basically devour books (they're my vacation), I love that I can go online and go to an author's website, learn more about them, get titles of other books they've written (or are in the process of writing), leave a comment to let them know how much I enjoyed their book, etc. Not in a creepy way, just in a "Hey, love your work, can't wait for the new book" kinda way.

We live right down the street from a brand-new library. Actually, it's so brand-new they haven't finished building it yet! There will be a grand opening ceremony on September 6th, and I'm so dorkily (yes, I know that's not a word) excited I can barely sleep at night! All those books, just a stone's throw away! And I think there's going to be a cafe! Books and coffee! These are just two of my fav-o-rite things! And the kids will be spending more time at school, so I can spend more time at the library!

OMG!!!! I am SUCH a NERD!!!!!!!!!

(And to prove it,) do any of you remember that episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (See?!) when Q was turned into a mortal, but no one believed him? And he said "What do I have to do to prove it?" And Whorf said "Die." So Q came back with "Oh, hello Whorf. Eat any good books lately?"
Yeah. That was funny!

But I digress. See, a few years ago, a measure was on a ballot to provide funding for new libraries in all of San Mateo county. We didn't live here at the time, so we couldn't vote, but it passed, and now we're reaping the benefits. A couple of years ago a new library opened in Hubby's hometown, not far from here. I went in to take a look one blustery, chilly day, and it was BEAUTIFUL!!!! There were faux leather recliners in the main room, near a cheerfully blazing hearth. A gigantic kids' section, lots of friendly staff, and two floors of books. And, yes, a cafe. It was yet another reason why we wanted to move here: people actually vote to spend money on things like libraries and schools! (Didn't happen in L.A., let me tell ya!)

Anyway, what kinds of books do you like to read?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tea and the Art of Gratitude

I'm not a big tea drinker. Oh sure, I'll have the occasional iced tea, but when it comes to the hot stuff, not so much. Yes, I know it's healthy, full of antioxidants and all that good stuff, but the only time I enjoyed it was when I was in England. Of course, the tea I drank there was strong, milky, and accompanied by chockie biccies. Chocolate covered biscuit-cookies. Of course, for a chockie biccie, I'd drink hot molten lava.
But I was watching TV this morning, and they were doing a segment on tea drinking in China. There's a ritual to the preparation and drinking of tea there, and I can see why they drink a lot of it. When you are handed a cup of tea, you start with 3 sips; one to taste, one to drink, and one to remember. The rememberance is for all the good things, all the things in your life you are grateful for.
Kinda different than sticking a Lipton tea bug in a mug and guzzling it down, huh?

So it made me think of food, the way we eat. I've read about mindful eating, and incorporating gratitude into meals. But most of us don't eat that way. I certainly don't. I usually prepare food with two little ones hanging on to my legs, the phone ringing, the TV, computer, or radio blaring, rushing around to get food on the table before the kids' therapists show up, or I have to leave for work, or hubby has to go to school, etc. So sitting quietly, chewing each bite of food 100 times, and tasting every morsel to its fullest? Yeah, not gonna happen.
I take time, every once in a while, to do just that. To turn off the TV, let the answering machine do its job, and incorporate the kids, as much as possible, into preparing meals. Not every day, but maybe every once in a while. If I take time to be grateful that we have food to eat, and a home to eat it in. That we have each other, and all the people in our lives who love us and help out. The family members who come over to babysit at the last minute, and those wonderful therapists who teach our kids with so much love, and give us so much support. The teachers who love their job. Everyone!

Because we really do have so much to be grateful for.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

L.A., How Do I Miss Thee? Not. At. All.

I was looking through a magazine this morning that's published by AFTRA, one of the performers' unions. It stands for American Federation of Television and Radio Actors, and it covers everyone from newscasters to voiceover artists (the folks who do commercials and cartoon voices, among others) to soap actors to backup singers. And everything in between.
Anyway, they have some unusual ads in this publication. One is for West Virginia, which, apparently, has some great, and EMPTY, locations for filming. One area looks like D.C., but, as the ad says, "without the red tape!"

Then there are the ads for lipo, lipo alternatives, cosmetic dentistry, and...Toe Lengthening.

Finally! My self-esteem has been low lo these 39 years because of my short toes, and now, at last, I can finally break free from the shame!!!!! (Heavy sarcasm here.)

All I could think when I saw this ad was, "Really?!"

The tag has a photo of a woman (OK, part of a woman. She has no head, but plenty of cleavage. Of course.) in a party dress and fancy shoes. Underneath the photo it says "Pretty dress...ugly feet?" Followed by the before and after shots of women (natch) who have had their feet surgically altered.

'Cause it's not enough to starve yourself, bleach your teeth (as I write this there's an ad on TV that says "There are no more excuses not to whiten your teeth!" Um, how 'bout I DON'T WANNA!?!?!?), pluck and shave and wax, spray toxic chemicals onto your head, spend billions of dollars on makeup, clothes, and handbags, spend years in the gym, etc., etc., etc. NOW, you must make sure your toes are long enough.
Who the fuck keeps track of that?!?!?! Pardon my Yiddish here, but WTF?! I can honestly say, in all my years as an actress and all the whackadoo things I saw, heard and experienced, no one EVER said to me "We're not going to hire you because your toes are the wrong size."
Maybe it's because my toes are the "right" length. Maybe, just maybe, that was the ONE part of my body that no one had an issue with. Hmmmmm. I'm starting to re-think this whole move out of L.A. Maybe we should move back, and I could be a foot model!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No More Studio (For Now), The Swat Workout, Equinox Still Rocks, and My Arm Hurts

So, after a meeting the other night with all the Pilates folks from Equinox, I realized that putting all the time in at the studio was stretching me a bit too thin. No pun intended. ('Cause if i HAD intended a pun, it woulda been MUCH better than that one!) So I emailed the studio owner, who was out of town, and let her know. She's awesome. She told me I could still do the Stott training, then come back and work at the studio whenever I'm ready. How cool is that?!

I did the S.W.A.T. workout DVD for the first time the other night, and it is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO much fun, even though he's surrounded by skinny babes in sports bras and short shorts. They're STRONG babes! And there's no fancy footwork, which I greatly appreciate.
At the meeting I mentioned (see above), we were told that, as employees, we get a free personal training session AND...wait for it...A FREE SPA SESSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I almost fell outta my chair! I am SO going in for a massage! And that's on top of the free membership (and free classes that other members have to pay extra for) and free nutritional consultation! And I only work there one hour a week!
Equinox, I apologize for all those years when I thought of you as a snobby, hoighty-toighty, overpriced sweatfest! How could I know that when I emailed the group fitness director, he'd email me back with "Kewl! See ya then!"? If only I'd known you had a nutrition director who supports Autism research because his neighbor's son is Autistic? Or that everyone who works there would be so incredibly nice and supportive and patient? Or that the members would all have such a great sense of humor!
Forgive me, oh Equinox! You so totally rock!

Finally, my elbow is sore. It started, oddly enough, that week I taught 17 classes. Hmmm. Overuse, perhaps? I'm gonna have to get it looked at, 'cause it's not getting better. And it's my right arm. I'm a rightie. Boogers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I was in Barnes & Noble today (my drug of choice). I was actually going to run errands (go to the bank, post office, etc), but after a fairly intense therapy session my therapist told me to go do something relaxing. So I did.
And found a brand new cook book called "Cooking With Trader Joe's." EVERY ingredient in EVERY recipe in the book can be found at TJ'S!!!!!! And they even tell you WHERE the ingredients are in the store! (For example, a particular type of chicken can be found in the freezer section.)
It even has things my kids will eat. Which is kind of a miracle.
I'm a happy mommy!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I've Been Thinking (In Case You Smell Smoke)

Some Autism experts say they think it's best to aim to have a child speaking by the age of 5. My daughter will be 5 in November, and she doesn't speak. She's vocal and communicative, and HAPPY (except when the bugs bite. Stupid bugs), and she may or may not speak. Of course we hope (and expect, by her vocal patterns) that she will, but I'm not going to put a timeline on it. Too much pressure. And a lot of Autistic kids start speaking at age 7 or later.

Speaking of timelines, I WILL lose the weight I've put on in the past couple of years, but, again, no timeline. It took three years to put the weight on; it's not gonna come off overnight.

In my work at the studio I have clients who are coming back from injuries. Nothing life-threatening, but it definitely affects them, physically and emotionally. They see all the things that are "wrong." The lack of strength or flexibility, for example, whereas I can see how strong and flexible they truly are, even if it's not as much as before the injury.
It also makes me appreciate the human body. Most of these people are not "perfect" specimens, but they are real, and beautiful, and amazing.
The fact is, having a six-pack doesn't make you strong. You can look toned and fit, but not be able to move your furniture. Looking beautiful doesn't make you a better person. And yet we keep chasing after the superficial ideals: the "perfect" body, house, car, bag, jeans, etc. But what really matters? That's a question that, IMHO, no magazine article can answer. We each have to ask that question of ourselves, and be patient enough to wait for the answer.
And often the answer changes.

So when I asked myself recently what I most want? It's to be here. Alive. To see my kids grow up and maybe, someday, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

Yesterday my father, who is 70 and fighting cancer, fell down the stairs. He's fine, just a few bumps and bruises, but it was a wake-up call. Things happen, and sometimes in an instant. Our parents won't be around forever, and neither will we. Is a flat stomach the real focus of my life? No.
My kids have Autism, and their lives will not be easy. But I can, and want to, be here to help them as much as I can. And maybe see a day when there is a cure, or at least management, for Autism.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

WHAT Energy Crisis?!?!?!

Ever since my son started walking (just before he turned 1), I've been thinking that if we could hook him up to a generator, we'd never have to worry about the electric bill again. He's now 7 and, while he has, for the most part, calmed down considerably in the past couple of years, no one could ever accuse him of being a slug.
Every once in a while he reverts to old habits. And last night was one of those times. From 6pm until 10pm he was literally running and jumping around the living room, shrieking. We'd try to find tasks for him, or get him to sit with us, to calm him down, but NOTHING worked!!!!!! (Our daughter also had a huge case of the giggles. Mostly from watching her brother do his impersonation of a cat on catnip.)
Finally I brought him upstairs and tucked him into bed with me, turning off the light. This usually lets him know that it's bedtime and he calms himself.
Yeah, last night? Not so much.
He finally did fall asleep, at about 11:15 or so. I'm not sure, exactly, because I nodded off first. (Our daughter had already tucked herself in to her own bed and fallen asleep. She does that. LOVE IT!!!!!!!)
At about 7:30 this morning, guess who was up and running around, shrieking? He also woke up his sister, who was NOT happy. I made him come downstairs and sit at the kitchen table while I made breakfast (and only had to call him back to the table about 50 times in the minute it took to microwave his food) and got out some of his workbooks from school. Well, just SEEING those workbooks (on a Saturday morning?!?!?!) must have done the trick, because he calmed down enough to eat, and even helped me clean up a little without my having to ask!
See, he's what those in the occupational therapy world call "high arousal." (No, really?) His sister is "low arousal." He has very good body awareness, excellent gross motor skills, and is very aware of the world around him. She used to have very little body awareness, needed physical therapy to help with gross motor skills, and needs to be brought out of herself and into the world around her more. In a way it's kind of good; they both influence each other a bit. She's climbing all over everything, getting into whatever she can, and generally enjoys making a mess. Just like her brother when he was her age.
Oh God, I'm in trouble!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What the *&%$#@+! Is Going on in My Subconcsious?!?!?!

Two nights ago I dreamt (dreamed?) I was teaching a pilates mat class. My students were Dracula (in the form of Bela Lugosi), the Wolfman (Courtesy of Lon Chaney, natch), A Mummy (I have no idea who was inside those bandages) and The Creature From The Black Lagoon. (The original one. The guy in the rubber suit.)
It wasn't scary, it was just, well, odd. And the Mummy was having quite a bit of trouble. Not very flexible, those eons-ago, wrapped-up dead guys. The Creature seemed to be having trouble staying put on his mat (he was a little slippery). But Dracula and Wolfie did quite well!
Then I woke up.
Last night I dreamed I was at a lake on a mountain. There were robots there, along with serene, tall people who had no legs (VERY long torsos!), and sea lions. We found a sea lion who had been separated from the rest, and put him in the car to bring him back to the others. And my husband kept pouring bottled water on him so he wouldn't get dehydrated.
In the end, after setting the sea lion free, I jumped into the water. It was FREEZING! So I climbed back out, and that's all I remember.
Very strange indeed!
Any other bizarre dreamers out there?