Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update on "Dancing With the Jerks."

"Big Fat Deal" has a post today about the whole thing, and she says it better than I could. My favorite quote: "Your penis does not give you the right to dictate my relationship with my body, you douchebag!"

Sorry if that offends anyone, but I gotta say I love it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

When I Was Younger...

I wished I could be one of those naturally thin girls who could eat whatever she wanted and not gain weight. But as I got older, I realized that I probably would not have found my love of working out if I had been one of those women. I started working out in my teens, right after puberty hit, because I suddenly had boobs and hips and wanted to lose weight. I wanted my pre-pubescent, non-threatening body back. The one that let me look my age, and not 10 years older. The one that let me sit in the corner, unnoticed, rather than the one that made me stand out and get unwanted attention from men on the subway.
I didn't consciously realize all this at the time, I just thought I was fat and ugly, and didn't look like the girls in "Seventeen" magazine.

But not being one of the pretty, popular girls was a blessing in disguise. It made me work harder, find something I was good at, and I knew who my real friends were. After all, who but a true friend would hang out with a neurotic nerd like me, lol?

Then I got older, and the only thing that mattered was being a "brilliant actress!" (Insert mental picture here of Jon Lovitz, from his days on "SNL," as the great act-or.) It was a different kind of neurosis. I wanted everyone to like me! If I was in a room with 100 people, and 95 of them were fawning all over me (hey, it could happen!), I'd be focused on the 5 that weren't.

And I still thought I was too fat.

Which led to Bulimia, then Anorexia, then over-exercising, along with every diet known to womankind.

Lately I find myself falling into a diet-y mindset again. It started, surpirse, surprise, when my dad was dying. But now I know that this would be THE WORST time to start a diet (not that there's ever a good time, since, um, diets don't work), but it would take focus away from what I need to do right now, which is grieve.

So I ate a lot of pasts tonight. And it's OK. I'm not going to stuff my feelings down with food. I'd just taught a Pilates class, will be teaching another in an hour, and I was hungry. Plus, if I do say so myself, it was GOOOOOOD!!!!!!

So, there are things we want which may not always be what we need. Or, y'know, what the Rolling Stones said.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dancing With the Jerks

First off, sorry I haven't posted in so long. (It's been a little crazy these past two weeks!)

BUT, I saw something on the internet today that really pi**sed me off. Apparently, two of the male dancers on "Dancing With the Stars" (one of whom is not actually ON the show this season) are complaining about two of the female dancers' weight.
Cheryl Burke, who has admitted to putting on a few pounds because she had the gall to go on vacation over the summer instead of working, has been getting a lot of negativity in cyberspace because she isn't as twig-like as usual. And a new cast member, Lacey Schwimmer, was also slammed by a costar for her supposed weight problem.
Louis (the one who looks like Harry Hamlin, but to whom I refer as "Louie the Loser")) and Maksim (hereafter to be referred to as "Makshole") have been very vocal, both to the ladies AND to the press, about the fact that they think these women are too fat. Loser goes so far as to say that people watch the show to be inspired to get in shape, and that seeing 2 dancers who are NOT in shape (according to him) is discouraging. For the viewers.
How generous of him.
Makshole went even further, saying he could barely stand to look at them!
I watch the show. I don't watch it so I can be "inspired to lose weight." I watch it because I love watching people dance, since I myself cannot. Dance, that is. Is Lacey too fat? Um, no! Has Cheryl put on a couple of pounds? Sure, but she looks amazing! She has even more "voom" in her "va-va-voom." And they are both incredible dancers.
(And I could be as fat as they are. If I lost 35 pounds!!!!)
If you ask me, those two guys should be permanently booted off the show for lack of tact.

Seriously, is it really they're business? If the producers don't care, why should they? Are they more interested in insulting their co-workers and driving even more young girls into disordered eating and exercising? 'Caue that's what they're doing.

A couple of seasons ago, Maksim left the show, saying he couldn't deal with "divas" like Marie Osmaond anymore, and he wanted to pursue "other prjects."
Yeah. That worked real well.
Now he's back on the show, and still being a jerkoff.I'd like these two to go into a sal sa club, sit down, and just watch. They'd see people of all shapes, sizes, and ages moving beautifully and gracefully across the floor. Maybe, just maybe, they'd realize that dancing isn't just for the beautiful, "perfect" people, but for everyone.
Even those of us who can't dance.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Uh-Oh. Been Thinking Again.

I know it's a bit cliche, but losing Dad, going to his memorial with 500 of his closest friends, and seeing friends I hadn't seen in 14 years has got me thinking about Life, The Universe, and Everything.
The last time I saw some of these friends, we were 25. Now we're 39 and most of us have at least one child. But once we were together, it was as if no time had passed. There were just a few extra, smaller folks running around.
They all look beautiful. Sure, there are a few more laugh lines, a little extra flesh, but they are real and gorgeous women. Many have moved back to the same town we all grew up in. They have homes of their own, and send their kids to the same schools we went to. For a split second I imagined what it would be like to live there with my own family. Until I remembered winter, and that was the end of that. (We live in San Francisco, we don't do winter!)
So I started thinking: do I REALLY want to spend the rest of my life obsessing over my post-babies tummy? Or do I want to focus on, y'know, the important stuff. Like my kids, and my husband, and the dog, and my job that I really enjoy.
Yesterday I had my first training session with my supervisor/friend/former instructor. She's taking an intensive Stott training, and is passing it all along to us, gratis. (She's also given me a bunch of Lululemon clothes that don't fit her!)
Pretty cool.
Then I went to Gold's to teach my next class, and my supervisor there came over to give me a hug, and said some really sweet things about losing her own parents.
Last week, when I was in Boston, we kept talking about how we all felt dad's presence (see previous post), and I still feel him. When I start worrying about the small stuff, I can hear him telling me to relax, chill, it'll be OK. (Which is kind of ironic, because that's what I used to tell HIM.)
And it's working. Yes, the economy is in the toilet, we're at war, the country is deeply divided over political issues, it's cold and flu season, and the Raiders couldn't win a game if they were playing against a Pop Warner team, but my staying awake at night worrying about it all is not going to help. So, like the guide says, Don't Panic. All it does is raise the blood pressure.
So, it's OK to feel all the stuff that's going on inside of me. But I just won't get stuck in it. If I just let myself REALLY feel it, deeply, then it will pass.
Finally, in these past two weeks, I've had a chance to see Dad in a new way. He wasn't just the guy who got his finger caught in the mousetrap when he tried to set it (we ended up getting a cat, who didn't get along with the's a long story), or the man I had a sometimes rocky relationship with (but could always count on for a good pun or a bad joke). He was also the guy who was a mentor to his younger colleagues, a second father to our friends, and a guy who helped stop Logan Airport from expanding into a local neighborhood. I heard so many stories about him, and about the difference he made in peoples' lives and in the city itself. So I'm sad he's gone, but I know that he lived exactly the life he wanted.
And the next time I hear "Don't do that, you'll take out an eye!" I'll know he's nearby.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And The Sandwich Is...

Pastrami! Of course! How could I not have known that? If anyone ever gets to Brookline, MA, and goes to Kanter's deli, you can order a nice, thick pastrami sandwich called "The Lupo." Bon appetit!
There were 500 people at the memorial the other night. And it went off without a hitch. Almost as if we'd planned it, or something! There was a loose outline, but it ended up working out really well. A musical therapist from the hospice came, and she played her guitar and sang between speakers. One fellow read a cloumn dad had written about driving in the rain and listening to my mother sing (off-key) to Howard Keel, who was singing from "Oklahoma." So Evvie (the musician) played "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" and we all sang along. And kept singing, each time she got up to play.
Then the rabbi got up to speak. The service was in Marsh Chapel, part of Boston University, and a Roman Catholic church. So the rabbi said "Al would get a kick out of this; the big Jew standing in front of Marsh Chapel 2 days before Yom Kippur."
It was an evening of some tears, but mostly laughter. A couple of friends of mine and my brother's got up to speak, and we hadn't seen them in years. In fact, there were lots of people we hadn't seen in a very long time, and were able to get back in touch with. Including some of my very best friends from childhood. That's Dad, bringing people together.
He's also made his presence known in other ways: I've been walking artound my mother's house, the house I grew up in, turning off lights and opening windows, just like Dad used to do. My SIL woke up the other night complaining (to herself) how hot it was in the house, just like dad always did. And my niece, who's only 20, got up to use the bathroom 5 times that night! Just like dad always did!
Yesterday we went to the Berkshires, in western Massachusetts. We saw some foliage, visited Kripalu, a beautiful yoga reteat, and then went to Shakespeare & Company, which was the first real, professional job I had as an actor, in my early 20's. I'd gone to spend a summer, and stayed for 3 years.
They have a new space now, and I wanted to check it out. As soon as we pulled in the drive I saw Kevin, one of the actor/directors and head of the education programs. I'd worked most closely with him during my time there, and there he was, out walking his dog! I got out of the van, and he recognized me, gave me a big hug, and told me that he and Jonathan, one of the other guys I'd worked with a lot, had been talking about me that morning. Hmmm.... psychic messages?
Anyway, he then spent the next hour + giving us a tour of the new facilites. It was so nice!
After we left, we drove to Amherst to visit UMass, where both my brother and father had gone to college. My brother bought some T-shirts for himself and his family, then we went to dinner and drove back to Boston.
It was a lovely day, perfect Fall weather, and really fun. It was also one ofdad's favorite places, so he came with us.
I'm heading back to California on Friday. I miss my husband and kids. But it has been a wonderful time here (OK, ecxept for the nearly 24-hour CNN-athon that Mom likes to indulge in
- this morning we woke up to "Breaking News: Stock market tumbles 500 points! Investors have lost 2 Trillion in 401(k) portfolios! Banks around the world in a panic! Good morning!). We've been with family and friends, seen people we haven't seen in 14 years, and bought some genuine-article Red Sox gear.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Yes, I'm Sad. But...

The best way to deal with my father's death, and to honor is life, is to laugh.
Because that's how he lived. I get my sense of humor from him (puns, anyone?), and all the tributes that have been pouring in talk about his humor. (If you google his name, Alan Lupo, you'll see an online guestbook and some newspaper articles about him. He was a reporter in Boston for about 40 years.)
Dad and I had a sometimes difficult relationship. We butted heads A LOT, but, at the end of the day, there was love. And respect. And above all, a shared sense of humor. I always knew I could tell him about something I found hilarious, and he would get it.
Even as he was lying in his hospice bed, barely able to speak or move, he would smile at our jokes, or stories about his grandkids, or the pictures my son drew that I put up on the wall.
We're having a memorial for him on Monday evening in Boston, the city he grew up in and that was in his blood. (He has a sandwich named after him at a deli in Brookline, and his image is on a mural at a bar in Jamaica Plain.) I'm flying there on Saturday. My brother is there now. (He lives in Texas, and yesterday he had to buy a sweatshirt 'cause he didn't have any warm clothes, lol!)
There won't be a funeral. He didn't want that. So, instead, we'll all gather together and tell our stories, laugh and cry, and, of course, eat. 'Cause what kind of Jews would we be if there wasn't something to nosh on?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dr. Susan Love...

Has a new project. It's called An Army of Women ( that seeks healthy female volunteers to donate blood and tissue for breast cancer research. She was the first person in the medical field to connect hormone replacement therapy with breast cancer, and was almost universally reviled for it. Now, of course, we know that she was right.
The amazing thing (though not that surprising) thing is that when she proposed this project, the response from most of her colleagues was "No, we can't do that! We can't ask healthy women to donate blood and tissue! And even if we could, where would we find them?"
Sometimes smart people can be a little, well, not-so-smart. (And I put myself at the top of that list!)

In other news, the San Francisco Chronicle has an article today by their food writer (Marlena Spieler) who, in the last year and a half, has lost about 150 pounds by learning to savor and enjoy her food more. She writes "Loving good food and everything about it is a cherished part of my life, as well as the way I make my living. There is no place in my kitchen or life for mediocre food, whether junk or dietetic. I need the joy factor."
Sounds good to me!
Life is too short to eat crappy food.