Sunday, August 30, 2009

Like the Dinosaur in "Toy Story"

LG was watching one of his favorite movies the other day, and it got to the scene where Woody is being threatened by the other toys for "accidentally" pushing Buzz out the window. Woody asks the dinosaur if he believes it was an accident, earning a glare from Mr. Potato head. The dinosaur eventually says "I don't do well with conflict!
I know EXACTLY how he feels.
I've never been good at conflict, either. Growing up, I was often the peacemaker in my circle of friends. I would leave the family room at precisely 7:30 every night, because my mother would turn on CNN and watch "Crossfire," and I just couldn't take it! (I always thought they should have sat at a bigger table; I was convinced that Pat Buchanan was gonna snap, grab Michael Kinsley's tie and try to strangle him with it.) Heck, I can't even watch basketball, it makes me too nervous! I was always intimidated by people who had very strong opinions, and refused to take part in discussions with them. Sometimes, that was just the wiser course to take. I wasn't gonna change their minds, and arguing would only raise our blood pressure.
So you can imagine how I reacted, just a few moments ago, when I received an angry email from my boss telling me, basically, to get my act together when it comes to payroll because she wasn't gonna waste time looking things up in the computer anymore. And I TOTALLY get it, it's part of my job, she'd responsible for paying the ENTIRE staff, and she doesn't have time to look up every little discrepancy. And I sent her a nice, even-keeled, apologetic (but not TOO apologetic!) email back.
But now I'm having a minor freak-out. Like, I'm shaking. Partly because I HATE being dressed down like that, but also because the payroll system has been changed AGAIN. This is the 4th or 5th change in the past year. I work at 3 different places, with 3 different payroll and scheduling systems, all of which keep changing, and I get a little confused! I understand it makes perfect sense to the people who implement it, but it doesn't make perfect sense to ALL of us. And every time, it seems like there's something to add, or to change, or something I needed to do that I didn't do because I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT IT!
She's not a bad boss; quite the opposite. And I know she's overwhelmed running not only this entire gym, but also another brand-new one. But I'm also trying to implement all the changes that keep happening, not only at this facility, but at the other two. AND raise 2 kids with special needs. None of this is her problem, I know. But many of the mistakes made have not been mine, and I'm getting a little tired of getting phone messages and emails detailing all the things I've done "wrong."
And, OF COURSE, this comes at a time when I'm premenstrual, coming off a rough weekend, and trying to get myself and the family back into the swing of the school year.
Sometimes it feels like I'm bearing the brunt of a whole lotta responsibility by myself, and it's overwhelming. I will NOT be taken for granted again, and I refuse to be guilted into taking everything on by myself, or being an afterthought. Or letting people assume that they can do whatever, because good ol' Alyssa will be there to watch the kids/clean up/take of of whom or whatever needs taking care of.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


(A little David Bowie to get us started. LOVE Bowie!!!!)
OK, they are at school! It took a bit of doing to get them up (WG woke up in the middle of the night. otherwise she's an early riser. LG, not so much!). WG's bus was a bit late, and I had to enroll LG in school (even though he's been going there for 3 years?!?!?!), but now they are settled. Lg has an abbreviated day, but starting tomorrow, they will BOTH be going THE ENTIRE DAY!!!!!!! It's a like this whole new worl is opening up! Hubby and I can go to lunch! I can go to the pool BY MYSELF! I can actually clean the house.
OK, no exclamation point for that last one.
I haven't had this much time to myself since the first half of 2001. It feels...strange!
In a good way.

I also have a new Pilates class on Wednesday evenings., and another Friday mornings. So if all goes well, I'll be teaching 3 classes on Wed., and 2 on Fri., plus subbing and private training, as well as continuing my yoga teacher training (next one is the 18th...can't wait!!!!). I also signed up for a year of Bikram yoga, and will go as often as possible. Like, for example, when the kids are in SCHOOL!!!!!!
Finally, food. This may be TMI, but I GOTTA ease up on the cheese, lol! And dairy in general. A little bit is OK, but too much is NOT a good thing! Maybe I can try that rice cheese, y'know, to put on top of pasta and such. Not to eat by itself...Yuck! I'm also going to try smaller, more frequent meals. So I don't walk around like an extra from "Day of the Dead." (BTW, slightly off-topic, if you haven't seen "Sean of the Dead," you must! And then rent "Hot Fuzz" and "Run, Fat Boy, Run." Simon Pegg RULES!!!!!!!) I'm cleaning house, in more ways than one!
Sorry. Like I said, TMI.
Finally, having grown up in Massachusetts, I want to say R.I.P Teddy! You will be missed, and an era has definitely passed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Little Discovery

Last night I busted out my "Chalene Extreme." I had stared it a few months ago, got into the second phase, but couldn't continue. Partly because I was teaching so much, partly because I was (and am) doing Bikram yoga, but mostly because I was SO FREAKIN' BORED!!!!!!
I bought it because I kept hearing how women should lift heavy weights, and that it leads to greater fat loss, and that it was a good stepping stone to P90X (which I had also tried multiple times but kept injuring myself). But...
It was SO BORING!!!!
The SAME EXACT warmup for every workout...all 16 of them.
Having to do the same 3 workouts every week for 3 weeks.
And an instructor who, um, likes to chat. A lot. About how good you're gonna look in that swimsuit! But ONLY if you give it 100%
And, OK, the biggest turnoff? Inside the studio there are multiple video screens showing continuous images of very fit people, mostly women, POSING. So you HAVE to see it during the entire workout, every workout.
Last night I did one of the interval workouts. it was a very good workout, but I knew right away that it was gonna be a LONG 40 minutes, because right off the bat I was annoyed. And I kept on being annoyed for the entire thing. Which just reminded me of how annoying I find the entire series.
It's not Chalene's fault, really. And I DO enjoy her Turbo Jam and PiYo! It's just that I've realized that I don't want to be part of this whole working-off-the-calories mindset any longer. (And she DID mention that, at the very beginning. "We're gonna work off kunch! We're gonna work off dinner! We're gonna work off some of tomorrow!" Probably why I was so annoyed to begin with.) And I DEFINITELY don't want to be part of the "Lok at me! I'm hot! I'm also REALLY insecure, so I want you to SEE how hot I am and TELL ME how hot I am, dammit" mindset. It's just TOO L.A./"Real Housewives of Orange County" for me.
The ENTIRE time, she was talking about the physiques of the other exercisers. There's one woman who, apparently, recenly had a baby. Which is wonderful! But she's very thin and cut, and the instructor kept going on and on about it. Plus, this exerciser would look DIRECTLY into the camers whenever it came remotely close to her, and it just gave me bad memories of being an actress and all the desperation tat goes along with it.
But that's just me.
What's really important here, for me, is that I am no longer going to waste my time on things that aren't useful/important to me and mine. Some people find that buying a bikini or a pair of utlra-skinny jeans is a good motivator. Fine, terrific, good for you. Me? I don't give a crud about skinny jeans or bikinis. I'm not trying to look 25. I wouldn't want to be 25 again for all the riches in the world! (And at 25 I was anorexic, so I'm not gonna look that way again, regardless.)
Yes, I want to lose weight. Yes, I want more energy. But I'll look to my diet for that. I exercise because I enjoy it, it keeps me calm, it keeps me happy, and it it keeps me healthy. Pilates will help prevent a lot of age-related disorders. Yoga does the same, and also quiets my mind (NOT an easy task, lol!). Spinning is just plain fun, while walking does all of the above. I lift weights, but I'll stick with lower weights/higher reps, because that's what works for me and I enjoy it. Besides, Pilates and yoga use my own body weight AS WELL AS resistance, so I'm stronger than I've EVER been.
I refuse to work out in order to "burn off dinner." I'm human. I have to eat. If I don't, I will eventually die. Hunger is a natural human response. It is not something to fear. Food is not the enemy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tweets and Geeks

Actually, the only geek in this post is me.
Just wanted to clarify.

I have signed up for Twitter, and actually remember to tweet once in a while. I'm also following some folks, like the indomitable MizFit, who just totally rocks, no matter which format she's in. And also Brent Spiner. He's best known for playing Data on "ST:TNG" (or "Star Trek: The Next Generation" for all you non-geeks out there), but in the early 90's he released an album of standards called "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back" that I listened to All. The. Time. 'Cause he's got a great voice (he's been on Broadway a few times) and I LOVE the songs he chose.
Unfortunately, my copy of said album was on cassette. (Like I said, EARLY 90's.) And it eventually died. I almost bought a CD copy a few years ago, but didn't have the funds. Now, alas, I cannot find it anywhere. OK, yes, on ebay, but I can't afford the asking price.
So, while I search far and wide for a new copy, I will follow Mr. Spiner on Twitter. 'Cause it turns out he's REALLY funny and kinda mean, but only to the people who deserve it. Like the ones who say mean things to him.
Highly entertaining.
I'd tweet him, but I haven't figured out how yet.
Yes, I am a geek without the technological know-how.
In other Twitter news, Marissa Janet Winouker (LOVE her, and I really hope I spelled her name correctly!) is using Twitter a s a sort of diet journal. Rather than write down what she eats after the fact, she tweets what she is PLANNING to eat.
I guess it's working, and I'm happy for her, but I think she's perfect just the way she is.

So, going back to La Miz for a moment, she has a great post today on how she cleaned up her diet. And there are some terrific, very helpful responses, as well. I gotta do SOMETHING to get my energy up and my weight down!!!!!!!
But I refuse to give up essert, lol!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summertime, and the Livin' is...

Wait, whoa!!!! The kids start school in 3 days?!?!?! Other kids have already started? But what happened to summer?
OK, I know the kids went to 4 weeks of summer school, so their break was a little shorter than others'. And WG had therapy all summer, and our vacation didn't happen until mid-August.
But still...
Summer is my favorite time of year. Sure, I love spring, and autumn, with the crisp(er) air and even some foliage in these parts. And winter here isn't too tough. But summer is, and always has been, my favorite.
I guess part of it stems from childhood, when summer meant no school, long days full of play, and camp. I LOVED camp! (Day camp more than overnight camp, and, yes, we did both.)
Usually when summer came to an end I fell into a depression. Probably 'cause I absolutely hated school AND my allergies were at their worst in September.
In my 20's, the end of summer meant the end of performing outside (and getting paid for it!) And that was a bummer. Summer stock was SO MUCH fun, even more so than camp!
Nowadays, however, it means that the kids go back to school, which is a GOOD thing, lol! But it still means that the days get shorter, the pool will soon be closed, and another summer will be history.
Plus, it's almost the first anniversary of my dad's passing. September 29th. I'm hoping to fly back east for it, just for a few days.
I had a dream about him the other night. We were talking on the phone and my dog, who died 6 years ago, was running around my house. I wonder if it was truly a dream, or if the ones who have passed on can speak to us while we sleep. Like in that movie "Always."
It's nearly the end of summer, and I'm feeling sad.
But hopeful, as well. Because there are lots of new, exciting things going on. More on that another time.
SO, enjoy the rest of your summer, and talk to ya soon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

With Friends Like These

OK, first of all, off-topic, I am SO not watching "Dancing With the Stars" this season! Tom DeLay?!?!?! Aaron Carter?!?! WTF?!
The guild is off the rose for me. Actually, since Christian didn't win last season (and other than him it was so freakin' BORING), I think I just won't watch anymore. I'll stick with "So You Think You Can Dance," with people who have REAL talent.
Yeah, I'm a snob. Sue me.
'Course, you won't get much, 'cause I'm a BROKE snob...

Anyway, I've come to some more realizations over the past few days. There have been a couple of people that I've been trying to stay in contact with. One is a friend since 2nd grade, and one is a friend from my 20's. I had deep, profound friendships with both. Or so I thought. I have reached out to both, and have heard nothing back.
I understand people are busy. I understand that time and distance can make people who were once close lose touch. But one of these folks found me on Facebook and friended me, then disappeared. The other I sent an online birthday card to (our birthdays are close together). I got a message that my card was received and read. The next day, on my birthday, nothing.
OK, fine. Never mind that it was our 40th birthdays. But I think I know what happened, that this person has taken offense to the fact that I sent an email and not a "real" card. If that's the case, well, the hell with it. If you're that easily offended, screw it. I don't need to have you in my life. If you can't accept that I have 2 kids with special needs, a job, a husband, and money issues, and that they take priority,then I don't have time or room in my life for you.
Of course, this may not be the case. It may all be a big misunderstanding. but when I have been trying, quite literally for YEARS in one case, to get in touch, to no avail, then even I can take a hint.
And that goes for other aspects of my life, as well. I have spent SO MUCH TIME trying to please people that I lost myself. So, guess what?
Screw it!!!!!
You don'y like the way I parent? None of your business. I'm a DAMN good mom! Don't like the way I look? Don't look at me. Don't like the way I teach? Don't take my classes. Don't like my opinions? Don't listen to me. I. Don't. Care.
There are people in my life whose opinions matter. Everyone else, meh. There are people in my life who have been and will always be there for me. So I will always be there for them. the others? Screw 'em. I have a life. A full life. I have NOTHING to apologize for, and if you're pissed off at me for some imagined slight I supposedly committed years ago, then that's YOUR problem, not mine.
Oh, and by the way, just because I do something DIFFERENTLY than you, doesn't mean I'm WRONG.
So from now on, I live my life for me, my kids, my family. Take me as I am, or leave me the fuck alone.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Am NOT My Weight!!!!!!

OK, so it took 40 years, but I think I may FINALLY be coming to fully realizing this fact. I'm not my weight. Gaining weight doesn't mean I am immoral. Losing weight doesn't make me virtuous. This is something I've known intellectually for a while, but it's taken my heart, soul and guts a lot longer to get the message.
I am who I am. I can (and have) change my behavior, my beliefs, and the way I react to the world around me. I can also change my weight. (Of course, that last one gets harder and harder to do as I get older. ) But losing weight won't change the fear.
The fear that I've held onto for so long: that I'm not good enough, that I never have been and never will be, no matter how thin I get, how successful I become, how much money I make, or how "talented" I am.
The deep-seated, up-until-recently mostly unconscious fear that I am un-loveable and will ultimately be left alone.
I've done a lot of digging, soul-searching and therapy, and I understand now where these feelings come from. I'm learning to let go of the anger at the people who helped put them there, because I now know what they DIDN'T know, and they couldn't help it. They did the best they could. Now it's my job to understand, forgive, let go, and move on.
I've got my own life to live, and my own kids to nurture, support and, yes, worry over.
When I look over the weight patterns over the course of my 40 years, I notice that I get chubby or really thin during difficult times. Seems obvious now, but at the time it REALLY wasn't, lol!
I got fat during high school. I HATED high school (surprise, surprise), and got thin during college, when my acting professor took an instant and deep disliking to me and made my life hell. Took a year off from NYU, went to Boston University for that year, became bulimic, stressed out over the path my life was taking, and put on about 30 pounds. Went back to New York, lost 20 pounds. Went to work at a Shakespeare festival in Massachusetts and lost 30 pounds in a very stressful, ridiculously low-paying (but still enjoyable) environment. Fell in love, got my heart broken, fell into a deep depression, lost more weight.
Then grad school. Started out thin, started having anxiety attacks and got REALLY thin, went to therapy, put some weight back on. Moved to L.A., put more weight on 'cause I HATED Hollywood (shocking, I know, lol!). Got married, had baby number one, huge strain on marriage, went back to therapy, put on antidepressants, lost a ton of weight. Marriage back on track, baby number 2, eventually lost weight. Hubby went on tour for nearly a year, leaving me home alone with 3 yr-old and 1 yr-old, both diagnosed with Autism. More marital strife, more weight loss. Hubby came home, marriage back on track, we moved out of L.A.
HUGE weight gain!!!!! Cannot figure out why: marriage great, kids great, living in our dream city.
Then, finally, I realize that no matter the external circumstances, I cannot run away from myself. 'Cause wherever ya go, there you are, right?
It doesn't matter how many hours I work out or what I eat. OK, yes, that matters, but in terms of coming to terms with myself, it's MUCH deeper.
I started this realization a couple of weekends ago, during my yoga teacher training. And after reading Charlotte's post a few days ago on how yoga saved her life, I am reminded of not only how much I enjoy yoga and how good it makes me feel, but how good it is FOR me. For my mind, my body, my spirit and my soul. That the things that are valued so often in this life are meaningless. The things we take for granted are to be cherished. And this body, MY body, is one of those things.
This is who I am. I am a mother, a wife, a teacher, a student. I have a goofy sense of humor. I'm a 12 year-old in a 40 year-old shell. I love and am loved. I am NOT alone. Iam NOT "bad" or "unworthy."
ANd anyone who thinks I am anything less than awesome can go to hell.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I Am Woman, Watch Me Bleed

They're at it again. Barney's Manhattan recently took down a display of female mannequins being murdered (including fake blood spattered on the windows) after customers complained. (I won't link to the photos, 'cause I find them repulsive, but you can see them, along with more intelligent commentary than I'm capable of at the moment, over on "Shapely Prose.")
Meanwhile, previews for the new "G.I. Joe" movie have been airing. Once again we have buff young guys in full body armor and skinny young women in push-up bras, body-hugging leather, high heels, and seemingly no protective gear whatsoever.
Seems like kind of a raw deal, to me. I mean, the guys get to work out and get strong AND wear armor, while the women have to take their chances. And have you TRIED running in heels?!?!?! I'd say those ladies are at a distinct disadvantage. (Oh, and they apparently fall into bed with the guys, as well. 'Cause everyone knows we simply CANNOT work with men without sleeping with them.)
Even once reputable shows like the "Law & Order" franchise are stooping to repeated and unnecessary shots of women, alive and dead, in various stages of undress. Usually in lacy underwear, often talking on the phone. I don't know about you, but I have never sat around my home in expensive lingerie just to chat on the phone. Even when I was in my 20's and lived in New York.
Go figure.
(But then, I've never been to a slumber party where we wore lingerie and had slow-motion pillow fights. Usually they consisted of flannel jammies, too much sugar, and seances.)
And don't even get me started on those "hot girl eating a burger" ads!
Finally, we have the online game "Evony." (Again, linked on "Shapely Prose.") Apparently the original ad, featuring a knight in full armor, wasn't cutting it (no pun intended). The site "Sociological Images" has the de-evolution of the ad campaign, which ends up just being a pair of lace-encased breasts. And the tagline "Play in secret NOW!" Apparently, there aren't even ANY female characters in the game, let alone underwear-clad ones.
Such a disappointment, I'm sure.
Honestly, ya go online at work for a bit of porn, and end up with a video game full of fully-clad men!!!!! What is the world coming to?!?!?!
OK, enough. I'm gonna stick to books.