Friday, December 31, 2010


Happy New Year, everyone!
Wishing you all blessings and peace!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


In the nearly 16 years that Hubby and I have been together, we have moved 5 times.  Before that, since leaving for college, I had moved about  9 times, not including all the temporary housing I'd had for work and all the hotels/motels I stayed in on the various tours I'd done.
So the fact that we've been in our current home for over 4 years is quite astonishing, actually!  When we first moved in, it was with the idea that we'd stay for a couple of years and then upgrade to a single-family house (we live in a townhouse).  Then the market tanked.  Not only did the value of our home go down, but Hubby, who was working in real estate, lost his job.  I started working part-time, and Hubby began training to be an EMT.  He graduated, but an administrative job at the VA hospital came along, and that's what he's doing now. It doesn't pay all that well, but he will eventually have great benefits and (hopefully) a pay raise. Plus, this place feels like home.  We moved here because it's one of the best school districts for kids with special needs, and we haven't been disappointed in that regard.  Our daughter goes to a private school specifically for kids with Autism, and the district pays for it.  Our son has had the same (Amazing!) teacher for 3 years, and is at a terrific school in the district.  The kids love our home, and are very comfortable here.
But now we may lose all of it.
Our mortgage has been increased by $1,000 a month.  We were just barely treading water financially before that, and now we may well be in over our heads.
We are luckier than most: my mom has offered to help us out financially until we can either re-finance or sell the house, and my in-laws have offered to let us move in with them.  They have a beautiful, big house, with plenty of room and a nice yard.  They are all being incredibly generous!
But they live in a different school district.
Our son would be in a new school with a different teacher, there's no guarantee that he'd get the same services he gets now (speech, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy), and there's ABSOLUTELY no guarantee that the new district would pay for our daughter's school.  She is FINALLY in the right place, after having gone to 3 different schools in 3 years.  She has stopped her tantrums and meltdowns almost completely, she is communicating more, and is so much happier than she was before.  I cannot stand the thought of having to take her out of this wonderful school, where they know her, understand her, and love her!
There is a possibility that another relative would set a up a scholarship fund so that she could continue to go to her school.  And maybe, if my in-laws are around, they can watch the kids and I can work more hours.  Plus, if we're not making mortgage payments, that will be a HUGE help.
But will it be enough?
If our kids were typical, we could live pretty much anywhere, and we'd both be working full time.  Hubby and I can live anywhere.  But the kids?  It would be yet another transition for them, even if it's to a place they already know and love.  There's a big difference between visiting the grandparents and moving in with them.  And my in-laws?  They've worked hard all their lives and have earned their retirement.  How fair is it to them for us to move in? (My mom is giving us A LOT of her hard-earned money as well, no strings attached.  Like I said, we are definitely luckier than most others who are finding themselves in the same situation!)

So I find myself asking what, exactly, does "home" mean to me?  Is it a townhouse with access to a pool (a lifesaver during summer break, lol)? A single-family home with a yard, like we had in L.A? A place where the kids feel safe and secure, definitely!  (We've thought about renting an apartment so we can stay in the district, but my kids can be loud, and I don't want to have to deal with annoyed neighbors.)
I know that keeping our daughter in her school is the #1 priority.  The district where my in-laws live has good classes for my son.  If I could guarantee that our kids would be well taken care of, school and services-wise, I'd put this house on the market tomorrow and move in with my husband's folks. Because as long as we're together and safe and the kids are taken care of, then we are home.

But everything is up in the air right now, and I am really scared.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Is It Worth It? REALLY?

To the woman in the parking lot who gave me a hard time because she had to wait all of 3 seconds to get past my cart:  was it worth it?  Was it worth trying to make me feel like crap because you were inconvenienced?  You saw that I had my kids with me, that I was trying to put my groceries in my car as quickly as I could.  You saw that it was crowded in the parking lot.  Did you REALLY need to start an argument with me about the placement of my cart?  Did you REALLY need to try and get the last word in?  I can tell you are at least as old as I am, probably a couple of years older, which means you have been on this planet for at least 40 years.  Have you REALLY learned nothing in all that time?  No one ever taught you manners?  Or is it that you are wealthy and entitled and used to people bowing and scraping and moving out of your way, so when someone doesn't, you have to try and demean them?  In front of their kids?

Perhaps I should thank you.  You gave me a teachable moment for my kids:  that there are many rude people out there who don't give a damn about anyone other than themselves. That in this time of "good will toward men," there are many who Just. Don't. Get. It.  And never will. Who build themselves up by cutting others down.  Who are selfish.  And are complete jerks about it, to boot.

And that, for the most part, people are NOT like that.  People can be kind, generous, and patient.  Even if they are annoyed, they will NOT take it out on someone else.  They WILL wait, even if they're seething, and go on their way because they understand that we are all just trying to get through the day.  As for the others, well, always remember that what goes around comes around.  As you reap, so shall you sow.  That karma is real.  The way you treat others will come back to you, eventually.

So I ask again:  is it worth it?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas/Happy Chanukah/Happy Kwanza/Blessed Solstice/Happy New Year!!!!!!!

I think that's all of them.  If I missed any, I do apologize.  (See Fox News, THIS is why people say "Happy Holidays!"  Because the alternative just takes too darn long! NOT because of some "war on Christmas!"  And if there IS a war, Christmas is definitely winning.  So, Yay!)

OK, I'm not trying to get all political again.  I just want to wish EVERYONE a joyous holiday season, no matter which (if any) you celebrate!

Once again, the year has flown by.  It seems like we were just gearing up for the Olympics, and here we are awaiting 2011.
January 2nd will be Hubby's and my 10th wedding anniversary (?!?!?!?!), and we will have been together for 16 years.  Yeah, we dragged our feet to the altar.  We wanted to BE married, but we didn't want to GET married.  Especially after going to/participating in about a thousand weddings for family/friends.  I think maybe because we were poor, but also because we spent most of our lives on stage already; we didn't feel the need for the drama of a big, formal wedding.   (Plus, I'd had the chance to wear some GORGEOUS wedding gowns in a couple of plays, so that desire was satisfied.)  So when we DID tie the knot, it was small, informal, and with family and close friends only.  I wore a dress I'd gotten at Marshall's a couple years earlier, and Hubby wore his Barong (A Filipino mens' dress shirt).  We gathered with a JP in my in-laws' living room, with the dogs just outside.  Afterwards we went to dinner, then came home and played "House of the Dead" on Playstation.  Our honeymoon was in Hawaii with all my in-laws: my S-I-L graduated from college that month, and we all went to her ceremony. My favorite moment was when we were having a barbecue and a tiny little baby gekko crawled up my arm and stared at me. The locals told me it was good luck! (Plus, he was REALLY cute, and I had a crowd of kids gathered around me to see him.)  We named him Gekki and put him back in his tree. And it was perfect, for us.

These past 10 years have flown by so quickly, and so much has changed.  We're now parents, homeowners, and have (almost) entirely new careers in a different city.  We're no longer 30-somethings, but 40-somethings.  2 of the dogs who were barking at our wedding have now gone on to the great doggie park in the sky, and the 3rd is a lot slower and grayer than she was then (and also a bit arthritic, but still playful and incredibly sweet). Our circle of friends is much smaller, but also much more precious. Sure, we keep in touch with the others through Facebook and such, but we really know who the true ones are.
My dad was at my wedding.  Of course, he's no longer with us, at least physically.  But I feel his presence constantly, and I know he's watching out for my kids.  I like to think of him sitting there with all the various family pets that have also passed on surrounding him, jostling for position in his lap (including our Malamute who, despite his size, never really got over being a puppy).

Finally, I know I am not quite the same person I was a decade ago.  Thank G-d!!!!!!!  I feel as if I'm coming into my own, discovering what works for me and my family and doing away with the rest.  Spending less time in my head and more in my body and my heart.  Knowing that sometimes ya just gotta say "The heck with it" and move on! It's funny; as I get older and society begins to ignore and even reject me, I am finally finding mySELF.  And it is so freeing!!!!!!

How about you?  What do you think about as one year ends a new one begins?  Do you make resolutions?  Do you ring in the new year with friends and family, or quietly with those closest to you?  Or, like me, do you TRY to stay awake, give up, and wish everyone a happy new year at 9 PM because it's midnight on the east coast, after all, and go to bed?

Here's to a wonderful, joyous holiday season, and a fantastic New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010


That'd be a HUGE sigh of relief, from me.  The show is over, the kids were GREAT, and it even turns out that one of my students is the granddaughter of a woman I used to take Pilates with (and even taught Pilates to)!  Small, small world.
Both kids are back in school.  At least for this week.
I have a couple of days off here and there over the next couple of weeks.
My mom is in town, so I have an automatic babysitter. And we're having a "Doctor Who" marathon so she can catch up before the Christmas special.

I am also PMS-ing (still!!!!!), eating way too much, and worrying about finances.

But the other day was an interesting day.  I learned a lot of things.  I won't go into elaborate detail here, because, well, that'd be BO-RING (trust me!), but between my therapy session and a show on PBS, I learned a lot about perspective.
For example, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I'm a highly-sensitive individual.  For a looooooooooong time I tried to take the advice of many and "stop being so sensitive!"
You can imagine how well THAT has worked.
So I've decided to look at the positives:

I am quite empathetic.

I can see many sides of an issue, and find myself interested in different points of view.

Animals and small children love me!

Friends know that if they need to talk, I will lend a sympathetic ear.

I can see beyond political/social beliefs to the human being underneath.  Eventually.

I don't like offending people.  This is good, because I don't like seeing people hurt, and I REALLY hate being the cause of that hurt! This may be a negative in some eyes, but it's quite positive for me.

Because I am accepting my hyper-sensitivity, I can stop bottling my feelings, defining myself by what others think of me, and can recognize the vulnerability beneath their bluster.  I can care about them even when they don't give a fig about me, and that doesn't make me weak.  Quite the opposite.

I am realizing that I am HARDLY the only hyper-sensitive person on the planet!  There are MILLIONS of us!  (Maybe we can start a movement!)

I am realizing the meaning of unconditional love.  Not that I've mastered it (except where my family is concerned), but I know that it DOES exist.

I feel closer to G-d.  I am His creature, after all.

I recognize how deeply flawed we humans are, and also how magnificent we are. Yay us!

I feel the right to my emotions and thoughts.  My overly-active self-censor is getting weaker.  Which is good.  It must be quite tired after all these years, and it's time to retire.

I am the way I am.  That doesn't mean there isn't work to be done, or that things can change, but I am through trying to be someone completely different.  I will never be fearless, ruthlessly efficient, a risk-taker, the center of attention at parties, or naturally skinny.

And that is A-OK with me!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hell Week

That's what we used to call tech week, back when I was acting.  Tech week is the week just before performances of a play start; it's when all the technical stuff gets put into the show, like lights, sound effects, etc.  We have to go through every single cue, usually multiple times, so the stage manager can tell the crew when to do what during the performance. Also, the designers need to make sure that everything is as it should be, and to the directors' approval, as well as safe for the performers.  It is a long, complicated, tedious process, and everyone hates it.  The days are long (including 1 or 2 "10 out of 12's" in which there is a 12-hour day and the actors work at least 10 of those hours.  This is the week when, invariably, everyone gets sick.  Between working long hours, a usually chilly theater, nerves,  and lack of sleep, someone will get sick and then spread it to everyone else.  Just in time for previews (the performances before the official opening, when there are still rehearsals during the day for last-minute tweaks) and opening night.

This week is tech week for our show at the synagogue.  Granted, it's only 3 days, and 2 hours at a time, but it feels a whole lot longer! We had our first tech rehearsal (such as it is; it's basically lights on/off, curtain open/shut) yesterday, and it felt a bit like pulling teeth.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is not only NOT a professional show, it is actually a Judaica class with some acting thrown in.  We'll have had a grand total of 10 hours of rehearsal by the time the kids perform this weekend.  It is a show for family and friends, and NO ONE expects perfection!
The entire point of the whole thing is that it's a Hebrew studies class for kids who cannot focus during a regular, sit-down Hebrew studies class. These are kids who are considered somewhat special needs.  Not really on the Autism spectrum or anything like that, but more behavioral issues. They are fun, energetic, and adorable, and sometimes they drive us right out of our minds!

But aside from that, there is the fact that both of my kids have been sick.  LG missed school all of last week, and he's NEVER been sick that long!  He still has a cough, and was tantruming and crying in school yesterday.  Exhibiting behaviors he has never exhibited before!  If he does it again, we're going to have to take some serious action, because a couple of the things he did are not acceptable, at all, ever. (Although he did try to make up for them, in his way.)
WG has missed school all this week, so far.  I think (hope!) she might be able to go back tomorrow.  She's been sleeping a lot and really taking care of herself, and I am SO PROUD of her!  Because before, she would cry and cling to us.  She's becoming more independent and more aware of her body, and it's amazing to watch!
I am PMS-ing (of course!) and not sleeping.  I'm also trying REALLY HARD to stay healthy, even if only through the weekend!  But I'm also having quite a bit of anxiety; Hubby had a staged reading the other night (along with the rehearsals that went along with it), and is coming up on finals, so he hasn't been home as much.  I have 2 job interviews coming up, and, of course, have been taking care of my poor, sick little ones.  There was a mini-crisis at work, which had to be dealt with on my only day off this week, and then there are my regular Pilates classes.  It's all a bit overwhelming, to say the least.

Part of me doesn't want to take on these 2 new jobs if they're offered to me.  It's quite a bit of work, as well as driving, and I need to find someone who can pick my son up from school and get my daughter off the bus 1 or 2 days a week, as my in-laws are going out of town for a while.  But we need the money, especially since I just lost my best-paying Pilates class.
It's just that I'm already so scattered, and spread so thin!  It feels like I spend half my life in my car, and I REALLY don't want to spend TOO much time away from my kids!
But we need the money.
And I'm starting to feel resentful.
Because, as I've mentioned (about a billion times) before, I have no life.  I work, I take care of my family and our home.  And that is it.  I'm already exhausted, and I feel like I'm juggling about 100 balls as it is.  Because there are weekly therapy sessions for the kids (Floortime), meetings at the schools, supplemental Floortime at home (with Hubby and I and the kids), my 4 part-time jobs, and all the myriad things that go along with just getting through the day.
The fact is, these 2 extra jobs would require quite a bit of travel, A LOT of prep work at home, and would bring in an extra $100/week.  Granted, every little bit helps, but I also have to wonder how much I'll spend on gas and babysitters.  It may end up being that taking these jobs will cost more than I will be earning.
And THAT just isn't worth it!

I'm at the point, tonight, where I had to take an Atavan.  It's an anti-anxiety pill that my doctor prescribed for me at the beginning of the year, when I was weaning off the anti-depressants.  He prescribed them to me just in case I started having withdrawal symptoms.  I used them a couple of times, and that was it.  But I have been lying awake and anxious for the past few nights, and figured I may as well take advantage of these little white pills.
Just one. Just for tonight.
And then we'll take it from there.

It's doing it's job: I feel MUCH calmer (of course, writing this all down helped with that!), and quite drowsy.  Time to try and sleep again.  Good night!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Getting It

No, not THAT (although that is still very important, IMHO, and part of a happy marriage/partnership and now, according to a bunch of studies, REALLY good for one's physical well-being!), but the bigger It.
Life.  The Universe.  Everything.  (And thank you again, Douglas Adams!)
OK, maybe not that much.  But in terms of my own health and well-being, I'm starting to understand things more.
Yesterday we were in the car staring at the literally hundreds of santas running around San(ta) Francisco.  (More on what the heck exactly THAT was about later.)  I noticed that many of the females were sexy Santas, while the guys were more funny/creative santas.
And that made me sad.  Because, yet again, the guys were having fun while the gals felt they HAD to be sexy.
But I also caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror, and was a bit shocked; how did I get so TIRED-looking in 5 years?
I mean, I KNOW how it happened; there are 2 main reasons, and they are very adorable and energetic.
But there's another part of it.
Somewhere along the line I bought into the idea that because I am a mom, and post-40, I am no longer attractive.  Granted, I DO NOT miss the days of catcalls and subway gropes, but that doesn't mean I had to buy a ticket for the express train to Frumpytown, does it?
I think it started as a healthy rebellion: I was pregnant with WG,  LG was not even 2 years old, I was exhausted, and I quit acting.  I had an excuse to NOT pursue the Unattainable Hollywood Beauty Ideal. I had reasons for not being a working actor.  I didn't have to deal with ALL THAT CRAP anymore, and it was liberating!!!!!
Then, for a few years, I was genuinely, truly, too exhausted to make an effort.  I didn't go anywhere, so why bother with new clothes and makeup?  For 6 years I didn't sleep through the night, sat up with screaming, crying children, schlepped them around to all their various schools and therapies, and didn't work outside of home.   I had no friends, no social life, no LIFE beyond the kids and their needs.  Who had the energy to figure out personal style?  I just wanted a nice long nap!
But now the kids are a bit older, they spend most of the day in school, and I not only have jobs, I have job INTERVIEWS coming up!  And nothing to wear! My makeup style is from 1992, my hair sits on my head like Medusa on a bad snake day, and my face looks like something out of "Dawn of the Dead."  I live in workout pants and hoodies.
I looked at myself and saw someone who had given up, and that made me incredibly sad.
I don't believe that how we look is the be-all/end-all of who we are.  But I DO think that we ALL have the right to feel good in our skin, and if a new pair of jeans or a jacket or a different hairstyle helps, then why not?   This is not about getting a boob job so I can "feel good about myself."  (If you think you need a boob job for that, you're better off spending your money on a good therapist.  Just my opinion.)  This is about NOT wanting to disappear anymore.
I'm tired of trying to be invisible. Of pretending that my thoughts and feelings don't matter.  Of making everyone else so much more important than me.
Of being afraid.
It's time to be BOLD!

It's also time to take care of ME.  Yes, I want to lose weight (still!), but I want to have ENERGY, dammit!  And if that means avoiding certain foods and gravitating towards others, so be it!  That's EXACTLY what IE is about (that was a bit of a light bulb for me).  Finding the things that are going to make me feel GOOD!  Yes, I CAN eat a huge bowl of pasta, but if it gives me the worst acid reflux of my life, do I really WANT to?!?!  Do I want that chocolate that's just OK, or do I hold out for the really good stuff?  Eating that bagel with cream cheese is totally fine on my day off, but before I teach, I should probably go for the egg, egg whites, spinach and avocado.  It's YUMMY, and it'll keep me going a lot longer.
Do I really need to work out 12 hours a week?  No!  In fact, that's probably one of the reasons I put on all that weight.  It's time to shake things up a bit.  Go for shorter, more difficult, more intense workouts that will pep me up and make me strong.

And RIGHT NOW, I need to give a HUGE shout-out to my girl Charlotte form The Great Fitness Experiment:  her book is out (available at!) and I received my copy just a few days ago.  I'd also just started reading "The Female Body Breakthrough" by Rachel Cosgrove and following, both of which I read about on Charlotte's blog.  And they all say the same thing; long, steady-state cardio workouts can do more harm than good.  AND they cause weight gain!  Which is why all those loooooooong-a** bike rides I went on no only didn't help me lose weight, but helped lead to the gain!  I think from now on I'll ride my bike, swim, and hike for FUN, and stick to interval and weight-training for help with re-shaping my body.
(And Pilates and yoga?  They are, for me, preventative medicine. It's what will help keep my muscles and bones strong, my posture tall, and prevent injury. I wish EVERYONE would do Pilates and yoga!)
(Oh, and Charlotte writes that the Step-Mill is the modern-day equivalent of Sisyphus; LOVE it, lol!!!!)

So this is me, back from the dead.  No longer accepting that exhaustion is my natural state of being, or that this extra flesh is inevitable AND makes me a less-worthy human being, or that a pale face with under-eye circles the size of a galaxy is just How I Look Now.  I'm not gonna run out and pay exorbitant fees on a makeover; I'm going to talk to People Who Know About These Things.  Like my sisters-in-law, and the ladies at the makeup counter at the mall, and others I can find.

Because the only thing I'm giving up on now is giving up!

OK, so the Santa thing: Turns out there's this (apparently) worldwide movement called Santa Con.  some cities around the world choose a day, and whomever wishes to participate dresses up like Santa and goes on a citywide pub crawl.  hubby and i were wondering why all the santas seemed to be converging on the bars, and now we know.
There are some rules and guidelines.  It's OK to be a bit naughty, but not downright mean.  Treat other pedestrians and the bar staff well.  be courteous.  Take cabs!!!!!
They also recommend comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of ground to cover and much walking to be done.  At least, in the beginiing.  Some folks looked like they were ready to be poured into a cab.  Taxi cab, not cabernet (Waka waka!)
So if you're interested, google Santa Con and see if there's one in your city!

Monday, November 29, 2010


A few nights ago I lost the TV remote.  The one for our 16 year-old TV/VCR combo in our bedroom. The one that now has a digital converter cable box and can ONLY be controlled by remote (no old school getting-up-and-changing-the-channel here!).  I eventually found it under WG's bed (she likes to play with it), but for a couple of days we had no TV access in our bedroom.
And it was pretty darn nice!
I rarely watch the main TV downstairs.  Usually I reserve it for "Doctor Who," since that's the only TV that gets BBC America. I watch the smaller TVs when I'm cooking dinner or just chillin'.  But I'm beginning to wonder why.  WHY was I watching "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" last night?  These ladies were the same girls (not literally, but you know what I mean) I avoided at all cost during high school, and again when my kids were toddlers and I was thinking about joining a mom's group in L.A (thank G-d, I dodged THAT bullet! I once overheard a conversation at a coffee place by one of these groups who were sitting at the table next to us.  One of their members was absent that day, and they spent the entire hour ripping not only her apart, bur her 3 YEAR-OLD CHILD, as well!)  All I could think was "My G-d, these women are SUCH BITCHES!!!!! Why the hell am I watching this?!?!?!" before I FINALLY turned it off.
Because TV does that: it sucks you in.  It's like a cult. Or the Mob.  Before you know it you're DVR-ing shows about former Playboy bunnies and rocker wives, pledging your life savings and future favors to them.  (Luckily, we don't have a DVR.  I shudder to think how much MORE time I could waste if we did!)
To be fair, there are some things definitely worth watching.  The aforementioned "Doctor Who," of which I have been a fan for over 20 years (and has been running, although not continuously, since 1963), as well as things like "Sherlock"  on "Masterpiece."  It's a 21st-century version of "Sherlock Holmes," and is quite fun. There's also a local show called "California's Gold," which delves into the history of California landmarks.  Everything from the Golden Gate Bridge to the La Brea Tar Pits to Yosemite and even In-n-Out Burger (YUM!).
And "30 Rock."  Because Tina Fey just Gets It.
Also, my guilty pleasures : "Gilmore Girls" reruns (no real guilt there), "So You Think You Can Dance?" (less guilt) and "Dancing With the Stars" (HUGE guilt!)
Then, I must admit, there are the times I will turn on Nickelodeon or Sprout just because Mommy needs a break.
I'm not proud.

But getting sucked into all that other crap?  I don't think it's very good for me.  It's like junk food for the mind.   Not that I want to be one of those "I only watch PBS" types (although I do love me some PBS, especially when they do shows on dog researchers.  I think I've found my new career!), but MAN!  962 channels and 845 of them show 24-hour "reality" shows, while the others are talking heads screeching at each other!
Do I REALLY care if Perry Farrell's wife in an insecure ninny?  Isn't that his problem, and not mine?  And do I need to know the hardships of a bunch of wealthy celebutantes who whine and complain and only work when the cameras are rolling?
(Speaking of which: I was watching a rerun of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" the other day [less guilt for that, because it's still awesome!] and they had an episode with an alien race called the Cardassians.  They're REALLY mean, and they had captured and were torturing Capt. Picard.  It just made me wonder; this episode was made in 1990 or '91: foreshadowing?  Did they somehow know that the Kardashians would come along and torture all of humanity? Should I start my own spoof show and call it "Keeping Up With the Cardassians," about a group of whiny, annoying, mean aliens and their daily tribulations? Will it make me rich?  Would my karma be forever screwed?)
So I'm going to watch less of it.  I'm going to make a list of the shows I REALLY like (that don't spike my blood pressure) and stick to those.  If there's a movie on I want to see, fine.  But these "reality" shows are OFF MY NICE LIST!!!!!! Persona non grata! Unwelcome, uninvited, and will be asked, forcibly, to leave should they somehow sneak past the bouncers.
I've been cutting the junk out of my diet, and now it's time to cut it out of my brain.

Maybe, at some point, I'll even deal with the closets!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just want to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday!

It's cold here in the Bay Area.  I mean COLD!  20-something degrees this morning, and the heater is wonky (yeah, good tining, Heater!).  But today I get the kids off to school, teach 2 hours of Pilates, go to a potluck at my LG's class, run a couple of quick errands, get WG off the bus, and I'm DONE!!!!  Hubby doesn't have school tonight, and I have the next 2 days of.  Woo-hoo!!!!!! *
My tooth is doing great; I have a follow-up on Friday, but I haven't needed a single pain pill since Sunday night.  I'm teaching 3 classes on Saturday morning, but on Monday the kids go back to their regular school schedules (again: woo-hoo!!!!)
Wee took a walk last night, and folks are starting to put their lights up.  I love the holidays! Yes, it was quite cold, but we bundles up and stayed warm, even when we walked by the water.
I love the water.  My room in my parents' house was right on Boston Hahbuh-um-harbor.  (Right across from Logan airport, so SPEAK UP SONNY, I CAN'T HEAR YA!).  For many years I lived away from the water, but never TOO far. Although when we were in L.A. it took us at least 45 minutes to get to the ocean (and don't get me started on finding parking!), which was just too far.  Now we live  about 15 minutes away, and we have lagoons all around the house.
I think we'll stay in the Bay Area.  I HOPE we will!
Anyway, that's all for now.  Have a wonderful holiday, and talk to ya soon!

*(OK, scratch that:  I DO have my regular class tonight. But I'm still off tomorrow and Friday!!!!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I'm guessing it's because it's That Time O' The Month, and because I had a root canal yesterday, but I am CRABBY today!  And it's only 10:30 AM!
Of course, looking at the balance in my bank account didn't help.
Or the fact that my mini-vacation is over and it's back to work, starting tonight,  or that I have 8,000 items on my MUST BE DONE, NOW!!!!! (said in a Schwarzenegger, "Terminator"-type voice) list, or that even with the economy the way it is it seems EVERYONE is at Target at 9 AM, or that my paycheck wasn't ready even after I spent 20 minutes looking for parking near the gym, or that I can't find my birth certificate to give to the synagogue so they can FINALLY pay me, or my health insurance "forgetting" that I just made an $800 payment and refusing to pay for my painkillers (curse you, Anthem Blue Cross!  But bless YOU, CVS, for giving me a discount prescription drug card!) or the fact that apparently I need to work another 90 hours a week so we can get the bills paid, or the fact that everyone is so stressed out about the holidays that they're driving like idiots and tailgaiting ME.  Grrrrrr.


Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the holidays!  The lights, the decorations, the excitement, the fact that we no longer have to travel (hee!).  But everyone seems to get a little bit nuts and a whole lot mean this time of year.
I guess it's easier for us; we simply cannot afford to buy gifts this year.  So no crazy shopping sprees for us, no running through the aisles, tearing our hair out trying to find the perfect gift for Uncle Saul.  Because Uncle Saul will be getting bupkus from us this year.
I also can't help thinking about the people who are on their own this time of year, or of the ones who can't afford any kind of celebration.  Food banks are way down on donations and way up in terms of need.  And I can't do a damn thing about it because, well, like I said, I got a look at my account balance this morning.
I'm trying not to get pulled into the morass (heh-heh; "morass!") of it all, but old habits die hard.
So I guess I just need to let myself feel it all, then let it go.

And have faith that it will all work out.

Oh, and maybe eat a cookie.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Once Again, "DUH!!!!!"

Sometimes I REALLY wonder what is up with my brain!
I've been grousing about the fact that I haven't gone on vacation in almost 1 1/2 years, right?  So WHY did it not occur to me that a vacation doesn't necessarily mean going somewhere? I'm always talking about a staycation, but it never occurred to me to actually TAKE one.  That taking a day off now and then and staying home is as much of a vacay as going away is.  More, even, because it's MUCH less stressful; no finding a dog-and-house sitter, no vacation mail stop, no crazed house cleaning frenzy, and, best of all, no packing! (Last night we took the kids for a walk.  It was SO fun, and the kids got to play at the playground for a bit.  THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!)

Because it FINALLY penetrated my fog-covered brain that I haven't taken a day off from work in that almost-a-year-and-a-half.  Not only that, I've added 4 MORE classes and have been subbing whenever possible. Plus all my duties as Mom.
And then I wonder why I'm feeling burned out!

Um, hello, brain?  Anyone home?

This week, except for today's drama class, I am taking a break.  It's kinda been forced on me, 'cause of my tooth.  It's not the ideal situation, but, well, beggar, meet no-chooser.
At first I felt really guilty.  But then came The Realization (see previous paragraph) and I thought "Screw THAT!"
Plus, I'm on those fabulous painkillers.  It's hard to teach Pilates when you're lightheaded and loopy.  (I won't be taking them this afternoon: I need all my faculties when dealing with my fuzzy bunnies AKA 6-11 year-olds. Plus, well, I'm driving.)
The lovely folks at my gyms will be teaching my classes for me, and I am eternally grateful.

I've also decided that, along with the Pilates, I need a job with a salary.  And some benefits.  Flexibility.  I need  to have a say in my work.  I did a big ol' (very angry) post about this yesterday, but deleted it today.  I didn't want it here.  Some of you may have read it, and know what I'm talking about.  But it was written in a fit of pique and, while I stand by it, I just don't want it staying up here.  It was making me feel itchy.

So that's that.  Still not sure when the root canal will be, but that's OK.  (Painkillers!)

Have a WONDERFUL day!  I fully intend to do just that!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I got a temporary crown put on my right lower molar on Thursday.  It was doing really well!  A bit of pain now and again, but a little ice and some Orajel and it was gone.
Then, at 3 am today, I woke up with a head full o' searing pain.  Like NOTHING I'd experienced since childbirth, people!  As I said on my FaceBook page, it felt like someone was trying to pull my tooth out with a fork.  And it went all the way up into my head, and all the way down into my neck.  I started crying like the baby I am because it HURT!!!!!
I came downstairs and rinsed with warm salt water, put more Orajel on it, and finally caved in and took another ibuprofin (I'd taken one before bed, just in case).  Then I went online and realized that my symptoms coincided with someone who needed root canal.

I went back to the dentist today and it turns out, for once, I was right.  (It would HAVE to be about this! My one time?!?!?!)  So tomorrow the office will call me and schedule the dreaded procedure.  Although at this point, I can't wait; they take out the nerve from inside the tooth, so you can't feel anything anymore. And I wanted them to do it RIGHT AWAY!  JUST RIP THAT SUCKER OUT! But I suppose there are correct procedures for this kind of thing.
*Big Pitiful Sigh.*
I've also had this irrational fear of root canals for as long as I can remember.  Is there some term for that?  Rootcanalophobia?  Probably not.  But it's always been something I'm deathly afraid of.  Now, though, I just want it done!!!!!

On the plus side, I have a bottle of prescription Tylenol/Codeine in my hot little hands.  Not sure if I'm going to use it ; I'm also taking 2 Aleve every 8-10 hours, so we'll see how that goes, first.  But just knowing it's there is making me weirdly happy.  I've never taken codeine before.  Could be an interesting experience!
And it IS my own fault.  I neglected to go to the dentist for a long time (no insurance, poor, starving, struggling actor, wah wah wah), so let this be a lesson to ya, kids!
I also have been whining about wanting a break.  Except I was hoping to be lying on a massage table, not in a dentist's chair.
Ah well.  Be careful what you wish for, eh?
And, heck, with all that codeine, it might just FEEL like a massage!

Also, it has been GORGEOUS here, weather-wise!  Yesterday we drove along the coast into the city, parked on a hill overlooking the Presidio and took a nice hike. It seemed like everyone in the Bay Area was out and about, walking, biking, hanging out with their kids.  And we drove home as the sun was setting; everyone had stopped and was watching it.  It was beautiful!
And apparently today a lot of people are calling in sick to work.  I was standing in line at Starbucks and the woman behind me was describing to her friend the various phone calls she'd received that morning, including one from a guy who said he couldn't come in because he had no hot water & couldn't take a shower.  She wanted to tell him "You pay $1500 a year to go to Equinox.  Go take a shower there and come in to work."  But she couldn't.
And I thought "Holy cow, $1500 a YEAR?!?!?!"  'Cause I worked there, so I didn't have to pay, and had no idea how much a membership cost.  (Technically, I still work there, as a sub, and can still work out there...) And it's a very nice place with great classes and facilities, but $1500 a year?!?!
Although I will say that it's probably the cleanest gym I've ever set foot in.  They are CONSTANTLY cleaning that place!

OK, time to go lie down.  And try to ignore the drilling coming from next door (they're fixing it up to sell) that makes me think of painful oral surgeries.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Was that Hippocrates?

Lately I've been looking at my ongoing food rut.  Because I'm so busy, I'm not nearly as creative, food-wise, as I was a few years ago.  Granted, I was plenty busy then, but I was a full-time SAHM, so I was, well, HOME.  I could cook.  I also had a working oven and dishwasher, which made things a whole lot easier.  Right now I have a broken oven and dishwasher (broken as in there's a hole in the bottom of it, so we REALLY can't use it. Unless we want to recreate the story Of Noah's Ark.  Then it's perfect.), and a very nice toaster oven.
But I'm also working outside the home which, while good for my sanity, leaves me much less time to cook.
So I've been going with a lot of staples, things I know everyone will eat, that are quick and easy.  Whole-wheat or quinoa pasta with extra-lean ground turkey or veggie protein and red sauce.  Pizza with wheat or cornmeal crust. Turkey or veggie burgers.  Sandwiches. 
Only because I make them over and over AND OVER AGAIN.
I refuse to make 3 different meals every night.  My kids are notoriously picky.  I don't want to be stuck washing a ton of dishes.  But I REALLY NEED to expand my repertoire!
I like the idea of cooking something new, offering it, and if the kids refuse it, letting them have lots of salad. I have a billion cookbooks lying around, and I never use them.  I used to use them all the time, now they are languishing pathetically on the shelf. 
I also think I need to switch things around so that I can have more energy.  I am SOOOOOO TIRED!!!!! WAAAAAAHHHH!!!!

*Update:  It is now 3 days later.  Last night I made a seafood pasta, a recipe I hadn't used in about 5 years.  Hubby & the kids ate it up (the kids ate around the seafood).  Tomorrow I'll try zucchini lasagna.  Tonight?  Not sure.  Maybe tortilla or pasta soup.  I ended up buying a copy of "The Sunset Cookbook"  (Sunset as in the magazine, not a pretty setting of the sun, double-rainbow kind o' thing) after reading a wonderful (and very timely) review in the "Chronicle."  1,000 recipes, all tested by chefs and again by home cooks.  Quite inspirational, actually.  But I'm always open to suggestions!

In other news, it was quite a weekend.  Saturday was spent teaching and then cleaning the house, picking up the birthday cake, etc., getting ready for WG's 7th birthday!   It was a small but fun party.  Her teacher even showed up!!!!!!  It's just hard to believe that 7 years have gone by since the night she was born.  The night of the Full Beaver Moon, which is, apparently, what the November moon is called.  The fact that my OB-GYN informed me of this as she walked into the room where I was lying naked from the waist down and in stirrups didn't help the pushing-the-baby-out process.  It only made me laugh really hard.
Sunday was raining and blah.  It kinda matched my mood.  I won't go into details, but Hubby and I had a wee disagreement, which led to me getting out of the house while he watched the kids (and the Raiders) until I could cool off.  And I stayed cold.  Sometimes it's better not to say anything until you have calmed down completely, and that took me until this morning.  So, yes, I went to bed mad.  And hurt.  And confused.  But I'm better now, and we will talk (calmly) tonight.

I also took the pooch to the dog park today, which also cheers me right up!  And met a woman who was only too willing to swap funny/cute dog stories.  So I'm feeling MUCH better.  Plus, it's been a beautiful sunny day here, reminding me of a perfect New England Fall day, only without the horrible allergies and the knowledge of the coming snow, sleet, and months of gray.

I love Northern California!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Haven't Got Time for the Pain

That breeze you feel is the collective sigh of relief many inhabitants of this country, including me, are expelling now that the elections are over.  Regardless of results, I always feel a HUGE sense of "Thank G-d THAT'S over" the day after the election.  (Except for 2000, when the hanging chads left us all twisting in the wind for 3 months!)
I used to get all caught up in election fever; glued to the TV watching results, cheering on my home team and booing the visitors, exultant if we won and bereft if we lost.  But now?  Not so much.
Partly because it seems like the last few elections have been reactionary; we don't like what's going on, so we vote against the party in power.  But also because I realize I HAVE to stay hopeful.  It takes too much energy (and I lose too much sleep, and heaven knows I don't get enough as it is!) to wring my hands and worry about the future all the time.
Am I crazy to hope that a divided congress will force the parties to work together?  I realize it may not happen, but a girl can dream, right?
But the BEST part of the day after the election is knowing that, for a little while anyway, THERE WILL BE NO CAMPAIGN ADS!!!!!!!
Seriously, I feel like I can breathe more freely now than I have in months, just knowing I can turn on the radio and TV without being bombarded by useless, information-less, nasty political ads.  (And they come from both sides.)
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to vote! I think it's a duty we all have, and many people fought, bled and died for the right.  A lot of folks all over the world still don't have this right, so I am very grateful for it.  (And the lovely volunteers and free cookies at our polling place don't hurt, either.)  There is a sense that (to quote "High School Musical") we're all in this together, expressing our opinions and giving voice to our government.
"We the people" indeed.

Plus, well, the parade for the Giants is about to start, and it's hard to be TOO upset over anything when your team has just won the World Series for the first time in 54 years AND the first time in this city!

So, yay us!  To everyone who voted, who got involved in any way, and who cares about where we're headed. To all of us for surviving another election season, regardless of our political leanings.

And now, I must clean the house.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!!

Enjoy the night, and get lots o' loot!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

By George, I Think I Get It!

So let's see: I'm FINALLY getting the hang of normal/intuitive eating.  I feel happier and less stressed than I did even a few days ago.  The fitness/diet magazines no longer sing their siren song to me in the checkout line at the grocery store (although "People" magazine still holds me in its sway.  Curse you, short, gossipy articles that are easily read while my produce is being rung up!), and I can fit into my jeans once more.
Which is REALLY nice, as it's finally getting cooler and I like having warm clothes and REALLY didn't want to shell out more money for new pants!
But the jeans are just a part of it.  I feel a new acceptance not only of my (more roly-poly than it used to be) body, but of ME. And of others, as well.  Even people I vehemently disagree with, like, say, {gasp!} Sarah Palin! Because I can hate her politics without hating HER.  Because she's a human being, and a mom, and had to deal with the prospect of Levi Johnston as a future son-in-law!
And there's still a part of me that  fervently hopes we can get over this insanity and stop demonizing each other and just be Americans again, rather than left wing/right wing/tea party/green party/commies/bible freaks/Yankee fans/Red Sox fans, etc. etc.
(Although I must say I love The Rent is Too Damn High party!)

But I'm digressing, as usual.

See, by listening to my body, I believe I can prevent some issues from happening.  Or at least nip them in the bud.  It's the same thing I learned when I started doing Pilates. I started 'cause I wanted that perfect Pilates body I saw in magazines, but kept with it because it made me stronger than I'd ever been, improved my posture and breathing, and will, I'm convinced, stave off some injuries and effects of aging.
But listening to my body has benefits that go beyond the physical.  It makes me more confident, less self-conscious, and chills me out.  I don't get as defensive as I used to.  I'm not as scared as I used to be.  I realize I have a right to take up space and oxygen in this world, that I don't have to cower in a corner or make myself seem nicer than I am.
And if you and I have a disagreement?  That doesn't make one of us wrong and the other one right.  It just means we have different, equally valid opinions.  Unless you're just a hater.  Then I'm just gonna walk away.  'Cause I've had enough of that.

OK.  Now I'm gonna log off, 'cause my brother is in town and is on his way over as we speak!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Gotta Be Me!

Does anyone remember that "Far Side" cartoon, where there's a group (herd? pride? gaggle?) of penguins and one of them is standing apart singing "I gotta be me?"
Dang, I LOVE "The Far Side."  We could use some of that NOW, I tell ya!

Anyway, I may have mentioned that I'm generally considered to be one of those creative, artistic types.  Personally, I think EVERYONE is a creative artistic type; some of the best, funniest emails I've ever read were written by IT guys, for example.
But I am one of those folks who earns her living by doing artsy things.  I have been forgiven, in the past, for erratic behavior.  But then I had kids and thought it was time to at least TRY to act like an adult.
Or to at least THINK about it.
So I put some things aside and focused on taking care of my kids.
Then about 2 years ago, I saw a documentary called "Autism: The Musical" about a woman in Los Angeles who runs a theater company for people with Autism.  They do a show every year, and every kid in that show has their moment to shine.  It may be a scene from the original play they've written, or a song, or a musical solo.  Basically, each of the kids' talents in put in the show somewhere. 
And the woman (whose name I cannot remember at the moment) got the idea from her actor friends.  See, when her son was first diagnosed, she brought her friends over and they would play with him.  They'd basically follow his lead; if he jumped around in circles, they jumped around in circles.  If he banged on a drum, they banged on a drum.  It was basically the same idea as Floortime therapy, but not quite as formal.  And because theses folks were actors, they weren't as self-conscious as other adults might have been.
One of the things I always loved about acting was the idea of always being playful.  This was especially true when I was doing comedy improvisation; the basic rule of improv is "Always say yes."  In other words, if I'm onstage and a fellow actor comes on and says "Hey Bob!  Congratulations on your promotion to head clown at the circus,"  I CANNOT say "Huh?! What the heck are you talking about?  I'm an accountant, and my name is Phyllis!"  No.  I HAVE to play along:  "Thanks Jerry!  I KNEW getting that Master's degree from clown college would pay off someday!"
One of my other favorite things was stage combat.  If you see a play or a film or watch TV and people are fighting, it's (almost) always very carefully choreographed.  (For a while I even thought about becoming a certified stage combat instructor/choreographer.  Hmmm...maybe I still will!) When you first learn the moves, it's done in slow motion, with A LOT of distance between you and your "opponent."  Gradually the moves get faster and you move closer together.  If you're doing a stage show, there is what is called a "fight call" before EVERY performance, in which every fight is rehearsed before the curtain goes up.  There are some hard and fast rules here, as well: the combatants MUST make eye contact before EVERY move, and the "victim" is always in charge.  So if a man is pulling a woman across the stage by the hair, he is actually just making a fist and placing it on her head.  She is holding on to his arm and pulling HIM across the stage.  This way everyone stays safe, and trust is developed between the actors.
I've always thought that this is how ALL acting should be done.  Because I wasn't one of those actors who needed to truly fear my scene partner in a dangerous scene.  Quite the opposite: I needed to TRUST my fellow actors implicitly in order to go deeply into the scene, physically and (especially) emotionally.
Now I think I need to live my life that way, as well.  I've always been a fairly cautious person.  I wouldn't get into cars with people I didn't know VERY well, or accept a drink from a stranger at a club (not that many were offered), or give my number out (to the few who asked). (I always got theirs, and never called 'cause I was too wussy.)
Of course, some may see this as common sense. 
But that seems to be severely lacking these days.
What I'm coming to realize is that I NEED creativity in my life in order to balance out all the maturity and adult-like behavior I'm trying to acquire.  Which, I think, is a big reason that all my favorite performers are people who aren't afraid to act a little silly.  A bit nutty.  To set aside that self-consciousness and go a little crazy in their performances.  In fact, the best actors I know are extremely well-adjusted people who "save it for the stage," as it were.  They don't need drama and insanity in their everyday lives, because they let it all hang out when they're performing.
(That's why we're so drawn to/repulsed by "reality" TV, I think.  When we see other people acting like psychotic drama kings and queens, it releases that part of ourselves.  In a safe way.  WE don't have to color ourselves orange and bitch-slap our so-called friends, because these reality stars do it for us. We can sit in judgment of them while sitting in our living rooms.  As long as we don't model our behavior after them, we're all good.  But then, some people DO model their behavior after them...)

So, one of my creative outlets is storytelling.  I make up stories in my head.  Sometimes I even write them down. I play them out in my imagination, with me as the star of course!  'Cause, hey, it's my brain, and I can do what I want with it!  In my head, I am brilliant, kind, funny, beloved, gorgeous, whatever I want to be. And I surround myself with whomever I want, as well!  I cast my own stories, and why not?
I've done this for as long as I can remember.  I used to be ashamed of it, but now I truly appreciate this ability. I LOVE my imagination!  And it's not as if I'm some Walter Mitty, letting my imaginary worlds take over reality.  Because my reality, warts and all, is pretty much rockin'.  But having that creative outlet, well...I really think it has save my sanity, on MANY occasions!
So what's your creative outlet? 'Cause you do have one, even if you don't know it. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Dreams

All my life I have had very intense, bizarre dreams.  In college I bought a dream dictionary to try and interpret some of them.
Hoo boy, was that a mistake!  I finally had to get rid of that book, because I was convinced I was either on the road to becoming a psychological case study or a serial killer.
But there is another interpretation that I've found quite helpful: everyone and everything in our dreams is US.  We dream about ourselves.  Yes, our subconscious is trying to tell us something, but if we dream about a cat it may not mean that a long-lost relative is trying to reach us, or whatever.  We need to figure out what cats mean to US.  If I were to dream about a cat, it could be that I want more affection, for example.  Because when I see a cat, I get all silly and gooey and want to pet it and hold it and make kissy faces at it.
(Huh. So THAT'S why the neighborhood cats avoid me!)
The other night I had a dream that someone I love was being REALLY nasty and mean and snarky to me.  When I woke up I had to remind myself that a) this person didn't REALLY behave that way and b) it was a dream, so I was being  nasty and mean and snarky to MYSELF.
And that I frequently am, without even realizing it.  I am SO MEAN to me!  I'm like the popular kids from every high school movie ever made, before the big John Hughes-type self-realization, I-don't-have-to-be-like-that moment. The guy who agrees to kick the Karate Kid on his wounded leg because his sensei told him to, but really doesn't want to because EVEN HE realizes how evil and non-sporting that is!
I have been figuratively wrapping myself up in athletic tape and stuffing myself into a locker for YEARS!

That dream the other night, with all the hugs?  Yeah, pretty sure it was telling me to stop being so hard on me and start treating myself with love. 
(I also think it was telling me to get back in touch with my creative side. Hence the two [of my favorite!] actors.)
Remember all that talk in the early 90's about getting in touch with one's inner child?  Anyone, anyone? Bueller?  Well, maybe you're too young, but a the time we made fun of it a lot. Now, though, I think there's something to it.  Learning to re-parent ourselves the way we wish we had been parented.  Because many of our parents did their best, but they're only human, and mistakes were made.  For me, it's about going back to those moments and re-working them the way I would have liked them to have played out. Being the kind of parent to myself as a little girl that I hope I am with my own kids.
And realizing that a BIG part of parenting is about the things we unknowingly pass along; our fears and strengths, our beliefs and behaviors, and NOT just the things we say.  I am most definitely my father's daughter, for example. And the more I learn about myself, the more I understand him.  And wish he'd had access to the things I do now!
Also realizing that I DO deserve things like a vacation now and then, some time to myself, and even a new robe!  It's silly, but I have been wearing this disgusting, tattered robe that I've had for YEARS because it didn't even occur to me to buy a new one!  That I DESERVE to spend the money on myself and buy a nice, new, soft, CLEAN bathrobe without bald patches on it, fer cryin' out loud!

Interestingly enough, right now my back is completely pain-free, and I'm not worried about losing sleep. I'm not particularly worried about ANYTHING right at this moment, (which has to be some kind of miracle, lol!). In fact, I think I'm about ready to go back to bed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Anxiety and Hugs

Even though I don't have panic attacks anymore, I am still riddled with anxiety.  For a long time I told myself that I was THROUGH with anxiety, that it no longer plagued me, I was FREE! 
Except I wasn't, and I'm not.
Don't get me wrong; not having crippling panic attacks multiple times a day is a HUGE relief, and my anxiety level is WAY lower than it used to be, and that is GREAT.  But I am not completely free of it.  It is one of the (many) emotions I have stuffed down over the years.
So now I'm feeling it, which totally sucks, but is part of The Process.  The thing is, I have to wonder if all this anxiety is over current events or a kind of emotional rewind.  Am I anxious because of all the crap that is currently going on in my life, or is all that gut-churning, repressed anxiety making its way to the fore after all these years? Or both?
I can ask the same question of all the others; depression, anger, sadness, etc., etc., etc.
And does it matter?  Because, at the end of the day, it still sucks.  I still feel awful.  I still want to do rash things, like hunt someone down and bash them over the head repeatedly, or tell someone I really do love to go away and not come back, or something that I will most certainly regret later.

I read something the other night that just hit me in the head like a cosmic punt: "Feeling trapped is one of the main reasons for overeating."
On went the ol' lightbulb!
So I asked myself when I have felt trapped in my life.  And it turns out that I have felt trapped more often than not.  And that I often create my own prison. I have been repeating patterns over and over and over. 
And, again, isn't that the definition of insanity?

So, I will try and refrain from acting rashly. Like an addict finishing rehab, when they are advised not to make any huge life decisions for a year. I will refrain from hitting people, unless it is self-defense or in defense of another.  I will not ask certain people to get the hell out of my sight.  I won't even post on Facebook until I've had a good while to calm down!

Perspective is key.

And on a MUCH happier note, last night I dreamt that Matt Smith (the current "Doctor Who") and David Tennant (the former "Doctor Who") were both hanging out with me and giving me lots of nice hugs. You know, the kind where you are fully enveloped and squeezed just hard enough; not too little and not so much that you can't breathe?  The kind of hug you give an old, dear friend you haven't seen in a long time?
It was just what I needed!  A night full of perfect hugs!
The same kind I am sending to you guys, right now!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Here I Go Again

Wondering whether or not to take a blogcation.  Blog hiatus.  A break from blogging.  This time it's because I seem to be in a constant bad mood and don't particularly want to subject other people to it, even over the interwebs.
Because there's not a whole lot of new stuff for me to blog about.  I'm going through The Process, and seem to be in the Quagmire section of it.  I'm stuck feeling all the negative emotions I never used to let myself feel.  I'm not sleeping.  I'm cranky. I'm hating my job,  and all the stupid campaign ads, every politician who ever lived/is alive now/has yet to be born (to be fair, I feel like this EVERY election year).
I feel like I'm withdrawing from my life, in some ways.  The things I used to enjoy are now just meh.  It feels kinda like depression, except that I still take great joy in being with my family (most of the time, lol!) and things like being outside, socializing (when I'm actually able to), and more basic human stuff.  So I don't think I'm any more depressed that usual (and it IS that time of the month), I just think things are shifting.
I went through something like this in my 20's, while in grad school.  I was dating my husband and realizing that this acting thing, on which I had hinged my entire existence, may not be what I wanted anymore.  It would take me another 8 years to give it up entirely, but that was when the first stirrings of doubt began, and I didn't know how to handle it.  I had sacrificed so much for it, invested time, energy, and money not only into the profession, but into the school I was at at the time.  I felt that if I quit, I'd be letting everyone down.  Besides, I didn't have any other skills, or so I believed then.  So I kept going, to the point where I nearly had a complete breakdown.  I finished school, moved to L.A., and started doing the unemployed actor thing.  My saving grace was teaching.  I was lucky enough to get a few part-time teaching jobs, which I loved. And every once in a while I'd work on a show that was just fun and fabulous, and my love for acting would be re-kindled for a while. But it never lasted long.
I finally had a good excuse to "take a break" from it when I was pregnant with our daughter and our son was very young.  Everyone understood.  I wanted to be with him and take it easy as much as possible for the rest of my pregnancy.  Focus on staying healthy and being a mom.  Later, when the kids were still very young, I could say (truthfully!) that I was (and am) just too tired.  Most shows start at 8 PM, and I like to be in bed by 9, if possible!  But, again, that is partly a convenient excuse. 
Taking that voiceover class earlier in the year convinced me that, right now, I have NO desire to get back on stage.  And, to tell the truth, as much as I love teaching, the Pilates is getting a little old for me. As much as I love it and believe that it does a lot of good, I am still in an industry where physicality and image are important. Fitness instructors are "supposed" to look a certain way.  Pilates teachers "should" have the flattest abs around!  And, well, I just DON'T, lol!  And it seems the longer I stay in the industry, the more weight I put on.  Because I put so much pressure on myself to be thin, and I stress out, causing myself to eat emotionally and gain even MORE weight!
Then there's the fact that I'm starting to dread going to work to teach my classes.  Once there, I'm fine.  More than fine, I'm happy and excited!  But I know it won't be long until it feels like drudgery, and my clients don't deserve that!
I will stick with it for now.  Eventually I may phase myself out, finding others to replace me.  There are so many great teachers at all the gyms I work for.  I'm hoping to get back to teaching more acting and drama, to coaching actors, and maybe even, as I've mentioned before, drama therapy.  Plus, I've always wanted to direct a show at a community theater!  And why the heck not? 
So I'm figuring a lot of things out.  I will most likely continue to post, but it may not be all that interesting, and might even get downright depressing at times.  But I guess that's partly what a blog is for, right?
Plus, it helps me clear my mind and figure out what the heck is going on inside me. 
And I REALLY need to stop feeling like I have to entertain everyone all the time! 
Ah, the curse of the insecure artist!

Friday, October 8, 2010

You Know You're Getting Old When...

A police officer pulls you over and tells you to "just be careful" when you're driving at night.  AND, rather than being offended, you think "What a nice young man!"

The idea of bootcamp, running, or any other high-impact workout makes you think "Oy, my back!"

The assistant in a class you are teaching was born in 1996 (!!!!!)

You are no longer the young, cool, totally-relate-able-in-her-20's teacher.  You are now the same age as the kids' PARENTS!

Your own kids are no longer toddlers.

You find yourself choosing sleep over sex more often.  (!!!!!!!)

You stop caring so much about what others think of you.

You're tolerance level for bullcrap goes WAAAAAY down.

Mall walking doesn't seem like a bad way to work out!

Golf gets more appealing.  Wait, OK, even I'm not there yet! (And never will be, thanks to my complete and utter lack of hand-eye coordination!)

You find yourself relating to you 12 year-old, arthritic dog.

You realize you wish you'd knwn in your 20's what you kow now, and saved yourself a lot of time and angst.

You also realize that what you used to believe was "old, " isn't.

You think about a 3rd (or 4th or 5th, etc.) career.

You begin to appreciate senior citizens more.  The things they have seen!

You catch yourself thinking (or saying) "When I was your age..."

You start to appreciate your body more.  Maybe realizing that you don't HAVE to look the same at 41 as you did at 21! (Unless you are in Hollywood or one of the Real Housewives.  But they are nuts.  And you're thankful you are not one of them.)

You realize that 41 is actually NOT old at all! And that you are happier now than you ever were before, and wouldn't go back your 20's or even 30's for anything!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not in a Happy Place!

OK, so I don't intend to be one of those bloggers who writes about  what"my therapist told me..."  But yesterday's session was a doozy, and I AM going to write about some things I have learned.

It's not exactly news that I have devalued myself for as long as I can remember.  What IS news is the extent to which I've done it.  In my last post, I wondered, in essence, why people have a tendency to walk all over me.  Well, when you make like a doormat, people are gonna wipe their shoes on ya.
There's a big difference between being nice and being a patsy.  The problem is, when you see yourself as completely unworthy of anything good, it's hard to TELL the difference.  You want so desperately to be liked that you let people treat you like crud.  And, of course, none of it is conscious on your part!  It seems so obvious as I sit here typing it out, but it wasn't, at all.
Now I think to myself "OF COURSE I became an actor!  What better profession for someone who is used to-nay-COMFORTABLE being yelled at, hyper-criticized, and crapped on ALL. THE TIME! Someone who believes she will NEVER be successful because WHY would she be? OF COURSE I'd live paycheck to paycheck, because who in their right mind would pay ME a decent, living wage?  I don't deserve that!"

Except, the thing is, I DO.  I DESERVE to be paid well for my skills.  I deserve to be treated with respect, to be spoken to as a colleague and a professional, not as a child servant. I DESERVE things like a REAL vacation, time to myself, help with the kids and the house and all the crazy scheduling I have to do; scheduling that would make General Petrais beg to be sent back to Afghanistan!
And just because I work part-time doesn't mean I have all this other FREE time!  Because if I did, I'D BE WORKING FULL-TIME, YOU IDIOTS! (Not YOU, Gentle Reader, but some of the folks I work with.) The fact is, I have 3 part-time jobs and 1 FULL-TIME job.  Because if ANYONE thinks that being a mom, especially with kids with special needs, is anything less than a full-time job, I'd like to see them try it for a day without running away and crying for their mammas!

So here's the thing: I Am DONE.  I'm done taking the bullcrap.  The next time ANYONE questions my abilities, commitment, or professionalism, they are going to get an EARFUL at the least.  They may end up minus a few layers of skin, depending on the day.  And if they don't like the way I work, they are free to hire someone else.

But good luck finding someone as good as me, Mother*^+#ers!!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh Inner Donna Reed, Where Art Thou?

For those of you who are younger than I, Donna Reed was an actress who starred in her own TV show, playing the ultimate housewife.  (She is also Mary in "It's A Wonderful Life, one of my personal favorite movies). However, behind the scenes she was also an uncredited producer and director of her show.  She may be best remembered for cleaning windows while wearing heels and pearls, but she also kicked some major Hollywood booty!
And it's times like these when I could use that combination.  There are days when I wish I was still a full-time SAHM.  With the kids still going to school, of course. These are the times that try my soul, and I think that I would willingly wash the windows with vinegar and newspaper if only I didn't have to go to work and deal with a*&hats!!!!!
I mean, WHAT is it about me that makes people believe they can talk down to me?  Do I come off as stupid?  I don't think so! Am I the nice, quiet one who won't fight back when you dump all your frustration on her, until she gets so fed up she poisons the punch at the office holiday party?  HARDLY! I think I'm a failry intelligent, very loyal, hardworking employee.  So WHY?!?!?!
WHY is my time treated as less important than others'?  Why is my commitment to my work questioned, when I am the FIRST person EVERYONE calls when they need a class covered? Is it MY fault that my F-I-L had to have EMERGENCY TRIPLE BYPASS SURGERY, throwing my childcare situation out of whack, and didn't I work my BUTT off getting another sitter?  Why would you question my commitment because of that?!?! Aren't I the one who hasn't taken a vacation, who has covered EVERYONE else while they took theirs, and hasn't asked for a sub in over a year?!?!
And when I interviewed for this new job, I TOLD you I have 2 kids with special needs!  But you offered me the job anyway, I accepted, and I covered my childcare on the days you told me I'd be needed.  Now, out of the blue, I'm needed ANOTHER day. And I HAVE to be there, oh yes! No choice for me! But if the two 14 year-olds can't make it, well, that's OK then.
All I can say is, these jobs better be worth my time. Or else they're gonna see the butt-kicking side come out!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ready, Set...

I'm ALMOST ready to go!
With the new teaching job, I mean.  Yes, I have found not only an AMAZING sitter, but help with paying her, as well!  She is my kids' former behavioral therapist.  She has sat for them before, but never on a regular basis.  Both kids love her, and she ADORES them!  She's reliable, experienced, and , best of all, excited to sit for them!
All I have to do is arrange payment through the Regional Center, which pays part of the cost. 
I met with my supervisor/co-teacher today, and I am so excited (and nervous) to start this class! Right now we have 12 kids signed up, but will probably end up with 15 or so.  Thankfully there will be 4 of us to wrangle them, lol!

Yesterday I took a yoga class in the morning at the gym.  Afterwards I took a shower and sat in the sauna.  I hadn't done that in years, and I'd NEVER done it at this particular gym, even though I've been going there (first as a member, now as an employee) for 4 years.  It was like a mini-spa day, and I decided I'm going to take advantage of it more often.
As well as the hot tub at our place.  The pool will be closing for the season at the end of the month, but the hot tub stays open.  I'll just bring the kids with me! Why not? They love it as much as I do.
(And speaking of the pool; we went swimming on Wednesday, and LG decided to take off his swimming shorts.  I looked in the pool and saw this cute little tush surfacing above the water, at which point I dove in and helped him put his shorts back on.  Luckily there were ONLY 12 OTHER PEOPLE THERE AT THE TIME!!!!!!

In the coming weeks we're all going to be quite busy.  I'm subbing a bunch of Pilates classes as well as starting this drama class, the kids have their big Halloween outing coming up in a couple of weeks (at a local pumpkin farm.  It's their big Halloween celebration, since they don't have any interest in trick-or-treating), Hubby's doing some readings at a local theater, and we're taking both kids to a new pediatrician.  On top of that, WG will be going in for her neurological assessment soon.
Funny, I thought that once the kids were back in school I'd be a little less busy.

On the health front, for the first time in my life, I'm interested in healthy food not as a way of losing weight, but as a way of making myself feel better, be healthier, and (hopefully) live longer. 
I'm finally realizing that maybe, just maybe, I don't have to feel sluggish all the time.  I don't have to have headaches 15 days a month.  I don't have to learn to live with the aches and pains and twinges and sleeplessness, and I definitely don't have to rely on ibuprofin to get me through it all! There are things I can do, and one of the biggest is to look at how and what I eat.  Not just in an emotional context, but in a physical one.  Not with calories in/out, but nutrients.  How do I feel after I eat?  Do I LIKE feeling that way?  If not, maybe I can tweak it. Eat something else, something that makes me feel GOOD, physically AND emotionally!
Because I DESERVE that!  Food isn't something to be shunned.  It's not the enemy.  It's also not the answer to my issues.  It's nourishment and, yes, enjoyment.  But not the ONLY enjoyment in my life!
I'm not morally bankrupt because I've put on weight.  I'm not a lesser person because I'm not (and never have been, never will be) Hollywood skinny. And I need to stop being ashamed of myself!
That has always been such a big issue; shame.  When I really look at it, I have nothing to be ashamed of.  I am a good person.  I'm a good mom, wife, employee, and citizen of Earth.  In my heart of hearts, I want everyone to be content. I'm not perfect.  At all.

And I like it that way!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Emotional Vomiting

Well, things came to a head yesterday.  In the morning I brought LG to school, then took WG to Floortime therapy, where I spoke to her OT about the head shaking she's been doing lately.  Then I drove her down to San Jose to her school, went to my therapist (how in the world did I ever get by w/o my therapist?!?!), went to the bank to pay the mortgage, came home for a quick lunch and a bit of "Doctor Who" on BBC America, picked LG up from school, got WG off the bus, gave her a bath, made dinner...
And found out that I have NO ONE to watch the kids while I do my new teaching job.  Was talking to Hubby about it over dinner, and he made a comment that struck me in a certain way, that wasn't meant in that way, but still made me feel even worse than I already did.  Then, via email, I got a message from the OT (how did I ever survive without her?!) who had done some research on the kind of head shaking WG has been doing and told us we need to see a neurologist, just to be on the safe side.  Because that kind of movement is often (but not always) related to SEIZURES!
So by this point I was feeling the old anxiety creeping in.  I haven't had a panic attack in years, but if I were still prone to them, this one would have been a doozy, lol!
We then went to my in-laws' house.  My F-I-L is home from the hospital and doing well, but needs to convalesce for the next 4 months.  My M-I-L is taking care of him.  And she's a retired VA nurse, so he won't be able to get away with ANY bunk, lol!
I babysat my nephew, and kept an eye on my little monkeys. For a little while there I felt a bit like a zoo keeper during a full moon. But it was fun, and got my mind off of things for a bit.
AT bedtime, once the kids were asleep, Hubby and I had a talk.  I told him all the things I've been feeling lately, and I mentioned how hurt I was by his comment about my job.  He truly didn't mean ot the way it sounded, and was horrified that he'd hurt me.
See, THIS is what I NEED to remember when I'm feeling this way!  If I just TALK to him about it, he understands!  We clear the air! No, he's not perfect, and sometimes he gets defensive, but who doesn't?
I'm also FINALLY realizing, deep down where it matters, that the happiness of others is not my responsibility!  Yes, my kids are my priority, but I cannot always ensure that they will be filled with unending joy.  And, well, they don't have to be!  Because they need to learn to deal with their emotions now, not when their in their 40's.  I think a BIG mistake a lot of us parents make is trying to keep our kids happy ALL THE TIME.  It's just not realistic, and doesn't prepare them for the world.
But it's especially true that I'm not responsible for the emotions of other adults.  I was with someone once who drank a lot.  I blamed myself for his unhappiness.  Isn't that typical enabling behavior?  I didn't confront him about his drinking because I didn't want to be a "nag."  I thought that if I were a better person, he'd be happier and wouldn't drink so much.  Textbook stuff.  And you know what?  He blamed me, too. I was there, and I accepted the blame.  I didn't value myself AT ALL.  And neither did he.
I was thinking about this the other day, and I said to myself (because this is how my brain works), "Alyssa, if you had THAT much power over other people, the world would be run by ducks.  Because you'd have all the control, and you like ducks more than you like people, so you'd put the ducks in charge.  But the ducks are NOT in charge, therefore it stands to reason that you DON'T have that much power over other people, and their emotional well-being IS NOT YOUR JOB!!!!!!  So there!"
It makes sense to me, anyway.

Today is the second anniversary of my dad's passing.  I kinda feel like he's up there, guiding me along this specific path.  Like I'm doing the things he wasn't able to do, emotionally.  He was of another generation.  And while he never hid his feelings, I think he had trouble recognizing the deep-seated issues in his own life. I know he wouldn't want me to live like this; a walking, talking, tightly-wound bundle of anger, anxiety, insecurity, depression, and deep. DEEP sadness.  And he DEFINITELY wouldn't want his grandkids to learn to live like that!
So my job is to take care of myself.  To find a new way of living, to be a better example for my kids.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dragged, Kicking and Screaming, Into the 21st Century. Oh, And a Tangent.

So we broke down and bought an iPod Touch, 4th generation.  We did our research, figured out which iThingy we wanted (iPhone? Too many monthly fees.  iPad? Not quite ready for that.  Ah! iPod Touch! Everything we need in a small enough package for the kids!)
Because there are so many great things for the kids available in an app, including assistive communication tools.  I was sitting between LG and my nephew, who is all of 2 1/2, and both of them were effortlessly navigating iPhones.  Meanwhile I couldn't even figure out how to turn the darn things on!
Today, however, Hubby gave me a little tutorial, so now I can at least download stuff onto our new iPod. I was quite proud of myself, for about 20 minutes! Until I realized how much  I don't know about all this new-fangled technology.
I also realized I needed a break, and left the kids with Hubby while I went off to Barnes & Noble to read magazines and have a Frappucino.

Hubby is watching HBO.  LG is repeating all the bad words.  I think it's time I brought him upstairs.  More tomorrow.

Well, it's tomorrow.  Unfortunately, it's 3 AM and I've been up since 12:45, having finally fallen asleep at 11:30 only to be awakened by WG's wails.  Hubby calmed her down, but she stayed awake and started wandering.  I put the gate up in her room, and have been awake ever since.
This is after my "day off," which included me making 3 meals, washing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk, grocery shopping, and getting my monthly allotment of a whole hour to myself.
This MUST change.
Am I the only person here capable of doing laundry?  Of washing a dish? Of preparing food?  Of cleaning up messes?  I think not! 
I need to start just taking more time for myself.  Like Hubby does.  Men are better at that than women are.  (It's the ONE thing I will say they excel at over women.  OK, and beard-growing, for the most part.) They don't seem to ever feel guilty about it, whereas we tear ourselves to shreds if we dare sit on the couch before the house is spotless and everyone else is blissfully happy. ("Spotless" being a relative term in our house.  Basically, it meansbeing able to navigate a path upstairs without fear we will fall over some kind of clutter and hurt ourselves.)
It seems we are going in circles: I take care of everyone and everything until I realize I am doing it with very little help.  I get angry and tell Hubby I need more help.  He agrees, and helps for a bit, until I start doing it all, again, and getting angry, again.
This past week was INSANE!  Hubby was in Yosemite last weekend, so the rest of us were helping his folks get the house ready for when his dad comes home from the hospital.  Monday was the surgery.  All week we have been driving down to Santa Clara to be with him.  Meanwhile, his mom and sisters are staying at a hotel nearby.  (Actually, his mom had been pretty much living at the hospital, until the doctor ordered her to go back to the hotel and get some sleep.) And, of course, we're all working and/or going to school.
Needless to say, by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around (I taught Saturday morning), I was in desperate need of a break.  Didn't really get one, though, until Sunday afternoon. 
And now it's the wee hours of Monday morning, and I'm wide awake.  Which completely STINKS!  Because everyone else is asleep, and even if I am able to fall back asleep, I have to be up in 2 hours.  And WG will NOT be happy in the morning, because she was up for 2 hours tonight. I will drop the kids off at school and try to nap when I get home.  But I also have to do the laundry, clean the house, take the dog out, and bring the kids back down to Santa Clara to visit Papa.  Hubby will be working then going to his motorcycle class. 
There are times, and this is one of them, when I feel like a single parent.  Hubby has agreed not to take any classes next semester, because I am working more hours and need help with the kids.  He also goes to the rock gym with his friends every Friday night.  And I'm glad!  It's a good thing, and he needs it!  But I am still in the isolated, new-mom, I-have-no-friends, I-hardly-leave-the-house-except-for-work phase 7 years after the fact.  It is very difficult and extremely lonely.
There are times, and this is one of them, when I feel I am being taken for granted.  I cannot count how many times I have told Hubby this over the years.  I don't understand why we keep falling into the same patterns.  I guess that's part of life?  If you don't stay vigilant, history will repeat itself.

So, here are my new resolutions:
I am NOT solely responsible for keeping the house clean!
I REFUSE to feel guilty for asking him for help.  Yes, he works full time.  But guess what? So do I!  I just don't get paid for all of it!
I need a social life just as much as he does.  I would also like him to carve out some time for just the 2 of us.  I am NOT solely responsible for this relationship!
If this insomnia keeps up, I WILL go to the doctor and see what I can do.  Preferably without sleeping pills.
I will NOT feel guilty for having him take care of WG when she wakes up in the middle of the night.  I did it every night for 6 years.
My work is no less valuable than anyone else's.
My TIME is no less valuable than anyone else's.
I am NOT the maid, the cook, the chauffeur, the therapist. I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, and, first and foremost, I am a PERSON!
I will NOT feel guilty for sitting down and reading a book.  I don't get vacations, I don't go out, as we've already established.  Reading is my vacation. If I can't have that, then, trust me, you do NOT want to be around me!

So there.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Bit Disappointed

I'll probably catch all kinds of flak for this, but I'm gonna write it anyway.
I was reading Tony Horton's blog (he's the creator of, among others, P90X.  A program that I tried MANY times, as I believe I've mentioned here, and had to stop because I kept getting injured.)  I LIKE him.  I think he's smart, and I like his goofy sense of humor.  I sometimes do his 10-minute workouts when I'm short on time. Or often before I go off to teach Pilates. 
Lately he's been on a no-caffeine, no-alcohol, ONLY natural substances in the body, no-immunization kick.  And, as this is my blog, and I'm entitled to my opinion (as he is to his, especially on his blog), I'm going to respectfully yet vehemently disagree.
9 babies in this state have died from Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough.  I used to think vaccinations were the prerogative of the parents.  Until I learned that they don't prtotect individuals, but communities.  The fewer people within a population who are vaccinated, the greater the risk to everyone, not just those without vaccinations.
I say this, as you know, as a mother of 2 Autistic children.  Because I would rather have them alive with Autism than dead from a preventable disease.  And many kids with special needs have compromised immune systems.  So coming into contact with a carrier of a disease is REALLY BAD for them!  And a carrier may never develop the disease, but can easily pass it on. 
I'm not going to sit here and demand that parents get their kids vaccinated.  But people my age and younger don't remember a time when everyone was deathly afraid of the water.  Not because they'd just seen or read "Jaws," but because Polio was rampant, and going for a swim could put you in a wheelchair, an iron lung, or a coffin.  This was REAL.  And Polio is making a comeback in other countries of the world.  With all the inter-continental travel that goes on, it is only a matter of time before it shows up here again.
We also don't remember when drinking unpasteurized milk killed people.  Painfully.  (I drink almond milk, so I don't worry too much about it on a personal level, but still...)
Are we, as a society, over-medicated?  Absolutely!  Should we take a close look at vaccines, how they are produced and preserved, and how many we give our kids at a time?  Definitely!  But isn't there a middle ground here?  Can't we protect our kids and ourselves without creating superbugs or leaving ourselves vulnerable to disease?
In all fairness, Mr. Horton (as far as I know) doesn't have children.  He doesn't know the fear a parent feels when their child is sick, or the absolute horror of even imagining the worst happening. I'm sorry, it's one thing in the abstract, something entirely different when it is YOUR child.
Yes, I have stayed awake nights wondering if my kids would have Autism if we'd refused vaccinations.  I have Mom Guilt over it.  But the bottom line is, my kids are alive and in good physical health.  And, with other family members with Autism on BOTH sides of the family, I tend to think it has more to do with genetics than vaccines.  Besides, I have friends who haven't vaccinated their kids, yet those kids have STILL been diagnosed with Autism.  So how did that happen, if vaccines are solely to blame?

As far as alcohol and caffeine, well, I don't drink.  I like my coffee. Sometimes I'll go a few days or even a couple of weeks without.  Do I have withdrawal symptoms?  I don't think so.  I feel fine.  No headaches or lethargy.  Well, no more lethargy than usual, lol!
The point I'm trying to make is that I am done with extremes.  I will no longer take on a behavior or give something up just because someone tells me too. I am done with gurus.  It is my choice.  My drinking coffee doesn't seem to have a negative effect on anyone.  And if it does, then I will stop. If It is conclusively proved that my life will be shortened because of the coffee, I will give it up.
Because my kids need me.
And they are my reason for everything that I do, or don't do.
I am my own guru.
But my kids are the boss of me!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


He's doing very well, knock on wood!  He's sitting up and responding to simple directions.  We're gonna go visit tonight.

In other news, the kids thoroughly enjoyed their swim.  As did I.  And I enjoyed my bike ride today. It's rather nice to have some time to myself!
OK.  That's pretty much it.  I'm going to go wash the dishes.  I know you're jealous!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Am SUCH a Jewish Mother!!!!!!!!!!

(I just logged in and I see that I have 22 followers!  WOWEEE!  How did that happen?!?!?!  And, oh yes, THANK YOU ALL!!!!!!)

As I write this my father-in-law is in surgery.  Open-heart surgery, to replace a completely blocked artery and deal with 2 partially blocked ones.  My M-I-L and 2 S-I-Ls are at the hospital, down in San Jose.  They're staying at a nearby hotel.  My S-I-L from Hawaii flew in on Friday with her 2 year-old to surprise them.  They were supposed to be in Hawaii right now, but, of course, had to cancel the trip.  So, if Mohammad can't come to the mini-mountain, the mini-mountain comes to Mohammad, right?
Over the weekend we fixed up a downstairs bedroom for Dad.  He and Mom normally sleep on the 3rd floor but, well, that's not gonna work right now.  So we cleaned out the downstairs and put a bed in, along with a TV, and he'll hopefully be very comfy there.
Meanwhile the rest of us are trying to stay busy and calm, and not freak out.
Which isn't easy, let me tell ya!

So, in order to keep myself from going bananas: have I mentioned that I've lost 4 pounds in the last couple of weeks?  I think this normal eating stuff might just work! I haven't been obsessing or counting calories. Of course, I DID weight myself, but not obsessively.  My clothes felt looser and I've had some comments, so I was curious.  I'm also trying to get my family to eat more healthfully.  Heart disease runs in BOTH sides of the family, so it's kinda important.
In a little bit I'll be taking the kids to the pool. We haven't been in a while, and it's beautiful out.  Plus, it'll keep us busy AND tire them out.  They love the pool, so it's a win-win.

OK.  Gotta go.  And I try to tell myself not to worry, but I am, after all, a Jewish mother.  Worry, for me, is like oxygen.

Have a great night, and I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Sometimes in life you just have to feel bad."

From a book I'm reading (that I mentioned in the last post).  Some of the best advice I've ever received.  Simple, straightforward, and true.  See, I've been misinterpreting things for a looooooong time.  When I heard about balance and equanimity, I thought it meant always being calm and never having "negative" emotions. 
Um, no.
It's actually accepting those moments of so-not-calm and NOT feeling happy! and living with them.  Feeling them. Truly feeling the emotion, then letting it go.  Emotions are like tantruming 2 year-olds; they want us to notice them and take care of them.  If we ignore a child all the time, they will try to get attention any way they can.  If we ignore our emotions, they will do the same. If we keep stuffing them down or shoving them aside, we'll either end up on a huge binge or at the post office with a sawed-off shotgun.  (This morning I wanted to hurt a postal worker.  Not with a gun or anything.  Maybe one of those big club-shaped pillow thingies they use in anger management classes.  'Cause she was being a BITCH!!!!!!)
It's like bravery; we tend to think of bravery as having no fear.  But that's not it at all, and is, in fact, the opposite of bravery!  The really brave people have A LOT of fear, but do the task anyway.  For example; both of my kids, at some point this year, have changed schools.  It wasn't easy.  But they have stuck with it.  They go to school every day.  Sometimes there are tears or tantrums.  Usually not.  They do their work.  They come home, go to bed, and go back to school the next day.  For kids who are young and have trouble with transitioning, this takes a whole lot more courage than it does for someone to hang glide down Mt. Kilimanjaro.  IMHO.  Because the latter is someone who NEEDS the thrill, while my kids are just trying to get through the day.
If something doesn't scare you, it's easy.  It's doing the thing that scares the pants offa you that is hard!

So now, I have another favor to ask: my father-in-law is going in for open heart surgery on Monday, early in the morning (around 5:30 AM).  If you could, would you send some prayers and good thoughts his way?  Thank you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thoughts at 3:30 AM on a Monday

I feel nauseous.  I think in a good way.  I went to a pretty intense yoga class yesterday with lots of twists.  Maybe it's all those nasty toxins moving out of my system?  Plus, Aunt Flo just showed up.  Oh yeah, and I was starving after class and ate too much.
That might possibly have something to do with it.
Plus nerves; today I'm doing a teacher-training for a group that teaches drama and playwriting to elementary school kids.  My husband worked for them before he got the VA job.  I don't actually have a position with them yet, but maybe sometime in the future.  Meanwhile, I'm doing the training today, and I ALWAYS get nervous before these, no matter how many times I do them.  And I've done them A LOT, lol!
And they're always fun, so I don't know WHY I get so freaked out.
Oh, wait.  Because I'm me, and that's how I roll.

Haven't heard yet about the other teaching job, at the synagogue.  I'm nervous that I won't get it and nervous that I will.
Of course.

Wondering if I should just stick with yoga, Pilates, walking, and riding my bike.  Those are the workouts I love the most.  I use weights in my Pilates, and yoga's great for EVERYTHING.  And it helps with all that worry!
And I'd probably sleep better.

Reading another normal eating book.  Called "Normal Eating for Normal Weight."  ALL of it it is directly applicable to me.  Others have issues with parts of it, which I understand, but, quite frankly, that's not my problem.  I got enough problems of my own, and the book is helping me, so that's what matters to me right now. 
Also realizing that what others have told me is selfish on my part is actually, well, not. 
At all.

It's not that I don't have energy, it's just that it's focused differently.  I came to this conclusion an hour ago. 
Because when I was 28, I was teaching at 2 universities (one in Pomona, an hour west of Los Angeles, and one in San Diego), PLUS doing 5 performances of "Romeo & Juliet" a week in West L.A. PLUS teaching 2 mornings a week in East L.A.  I couldn't do that today.  Because I didn't have kids when I was 28.  It's not that I had SO much more energy; believe me, raising kids takes more energy than ANY class or ANY play ever could! I've just focused my energy.  I'm not as scattered as I was back then.
Thank G-d!

Tried to watch the MTV VMAs last night. 
I'm just too old, and I just don't care.
Plus, remember when they were fun and irreverent and kinda dorky?  Now the popular kids have taken over and it's not fun anymore.
So I watched "The Tome Traveler's Wife."  I'd never read the book, and now I'm kinda glad.  'Cause when I read (and YES, I read, shut up!), it's an emotional investment.  And this one would have left me sobbing and bereft, at a time when I couldn't afford to be. (Kids were VERY young, Hubby was away most of the time, and I was already crying too much from being completely overwhelmed.)
Eric Bana is pretty awesome.  I like Rachel McAdams a lot, too.  But I'm a little sick of seeing 40 year-old men paired with 25 year-old women (who never age, even as their onscreen kids grow up).  (Like in this new movie "The Town?" Ben Affleck is one year younger than me.  Which means he's, yes, 40.  and Blake Lively is his girlfriend in it, I believe.  She's, what, 23?!?!?!  That's kinda gross, and I'm a fan of the Affleck.)  But I enjoyed the film.

Hubby's going to Yosemite next weekend.  Taking a long weekend.  This time I'm going to be smart and call in the reinforcements (aka in-laws) to help with the kids.  I'm going to yoga.  I'm taking time for me.  I'll try not to worry so much about everything. Or feel guilty about taking a nap on my days off when the kids are in school.
'Cause for the past 18 years I have run myself ragged.  I have worked 18 + hour days, often 7 days a week.  I have had almost no real vacation. I have taken care of everything and everyone else. I have worked and sweated and worried and tried to live up to everyone else's expectations while having none of my own.  I have put myself last, and it has been too much and gone on for too long.

And now, I must go back to bed.