Sunday, June 27, 2010


(Gotta love David Bowie!!!!!)

So, since Hubby is going to work full-time, it's time for Mommy, AKA me, to cut down on some hours.  The fact is, I've been thinking of doing so for a while, but didn't feel I could as we needed as much income as possible.  But I'm stretched kinda thin, working at 3 different locations and trying to do everything I can for the kiddos.  And I think the kids are paying a bit for that (can you say meltdowns?)  I've even been fantasizing about becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom again.  Not that that's going to happen; I really enjoy my job and make some decent coin.  But there are days when I imagine having some time to myself when the kids are in school, not having to worry about getting a sitter, etc.  Of course, then I'd have no excuse for not cleaning the house...
But I've also noticed that, over the past week, spending more time with WG while she's out of school, that we're having an easier time understanding her needs, and she hasn't had a meltdown in almost a week (I probably shouldn't put that out there, lest she have a HUGE one, lol!). If the kids were typical I wouldn't worry about them as much, obviously.
(Oh PUH-LEASE!!!!!  Who am I kidding?  I am the Worrier QUEEN!  OF COURSE I'd still worry!)
But they're still so young, and still in vital stages of development, and leaving them with a sitter so often makes it harder on ALL of us.  Never mind the planning that goes on!  Some days I feel like Eisenhower plotting troop movements! "At 0600 Private WG will awaken and require breakfast.  Major Hubby will dress and feed her while General M (yours truly) prepares rations for the school day.  At approximately 0705, Pvt. WG will then proceed outside, where her conveyance will load her in and take her to basic training/school.  At 0730 Maj. Hubby will awaken Pvt. LG, and leave for the V.A.  Gen. M will proceed to dress and feed Pvt. LG, then load him into conveyance #2 for transport to school.  They will be accompanied by Lt. Dog, who will need to relieve herself before boarding said conveyance."
And when we add sitters into the mix?!?!?!Fuhgedaboudit!!!!! (Usually my in-laws watch them.  They're retired.  But I think they're both considering going back to work; they need a rest!)
To top it all off, I am bloody tired!  I'm exhausted ALL. THE. TIME. And I'm no good to anyone when I feel like this. Not the kids, not my clients (I feel like I've been teaching on autopilot the past few days), not Hubby, and not myself. Even the dog suffers; she doesn't get a nice long walk through the neighborhood, or a play date at the doggie park; she gets the bare minimum!  Outside, go do that doodoo that you do so well, than back in. 
So now I have to tell the workout studio I got hired at 2 months ago that I can no longer work there.  Oy, the guilt!  I'm the only Pilates teacher they have right now.  They had another but she moved away.  But I just CAN'T do it anymore! And since I've been working there the shortest amount of time (and it's the hardest on my schedule), it's the one I have to leave. I left a message for my supervisor asking her to call me, but haven't heard from her yet.  I wonder if it's REALLY bad form to quit via email? 
I'm also hoping that once I complete my re-certification I can redo my teaching schedule so that I teach most of my hours while the kids are in school, so I'm home when they are. 
Because I am finally realizing that my family and I come first.  Yes, I owe it to my clients to be as good a teacher as I can be, but doesn't that mean being fully present?  And I don't think adding more and more hours to my teaching schedule necessarily makes me a better teacher. As it is, I'm one of only 2 instructors who are willing to sub other classes, so now I'm EXPECTED to!  I don't seem to have a choice!  So, if I keep up my current schedule, I will teach 40 classes in July, with 5 days off the entire month.  That's kinda crazy, isn't it?!?!?! I CANNOT do it! Maybe 15 years ago, when I was in my 20's and childless, but not now.
At this stage in my life, my main job is that of mom.  Teaching is secondary. Some people may not like it, but that's how it is.
Now I gotta go lie down.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be "an actweth!"  Or, as we so-called adults call it, an actress.  I was passionate about it.  I LIVED and BREATHED my ART!!!!!! It was such a NOBLE CALLING!!!!
Until I got sick of it.
Let me say this; I admire good, dedicated actors.  I like people who put their focus on the material they're working on, rather than how good they want to look on camera or on stage. I LOVE going to a live show and watching people fully inhabit the lives of their characters.  I know how much work it takes, and then how much you have to trust that work and let it go once the curtain goes up.
A mistake I often made as a young actress (and it is a very common one) was to work hard during the performance.  There was a definite lack of trust in myself, and I thought that if I wasn't emotionally spent after a show, I'd failed.  Then I worked with some folks who knew a whole lot more than I did, and, while they gave it their all onstage, they left it there.  After the show they were happy, hungry, and wanting to go somewhere and socialize.  Tired, yes, a bit, but also full of adrenaline.  From them I learned that it wasn't actually all about ME, but about the story we were telling and, oh yeah, those people sitting out there in the dark who'd paid money to watch us.
Those were the days when I REALLY enjoyed performing.  Then I moved to L.A. and it all changed.  Because, as I've written before, it wasn't about the audience, or the story, it was about how much money you could make, what kind of car you drove, how hot you were, and how rich and/or young your significant other was. They actively looked down on those of us who cared about the craft.  The prevailing attitude was, and remains, thus: do theater only so you can get a good agent, who will then get you on a series.  From there, you get a better agent who will get you into films.  Do films for the Rest Of Your Life.  Because to go "back" to TV or heaven forbid, theater is to go BACKWARDS!!!!!!
And then there's the theater scene, which these days is all about having film stars trod the boards, thereby guaranteeing a decent-sized audience every night and a return on the investment.  See, for example, this years' Tony Awards; featured actress in a play, Scarlet Johansen; best actor in a play, Denzel Washington; best actress in a musical, Catherine Zeta-Jones.  Don't get me wrong, all these folks are talented and worthy and Denzel and CZJ both started in the theater. (And Scarlet gave a lovely tribute to her castmate Liev Schrieber, who is awesome.)  But were they really the best, or was this the Tony committee trying to get more folks to come to New York and see a Broadway show?  What about all the "unknown" folks who have sweated and starved for years, who haven't made it to the "A-List," and whose only crime is that they are incredibly talented? Don't they deserve some kind of recognition?  yes I know; being on Broadway IS a huge recognition, and the dream of every stage actor ever. But the Tonys used to recognize these folks, not just the celebrities.
And this is pretty far off my original topic, which was originally about work.  Not my work in articular, but work in general.  Jobs.  Employment.  Y'know, that thing that is pretty hard to find these days.
See, Hubby just got a full-time job at the VA clinic in San Francisco!!!!!  It's pretty much entry-level stuff, basic administration, but it's full-time, probationary for a year.  If he decides to stay (and they decide to keep him), he will be an official federal employee with...federal benefits!!!!!!! He's also on a salary, rather than hourly, and he has fixed hours M-F, with weekends and holidays off.  It's pretty sweet!
When he applied for the job I was worried that he'd hate it.  But it FINALLY occurred to me that maybe our jobs don't have to be filled with drama.  After so many years of auditions, uncertainty, almost-but-not-quite-getting the role, and then the hard but TEMPORARY work that followed once we DID get a role, it's kinda nice to have something sturdy, stable, and sane.To go to a job every day and not have to bring it home.  To have work life and home life be separate entities. To, maybe, have the same job for years, rather than a few months at most.
Plus, it's nice to know that we'll have steady income.  To maybe NOT worry about the future quite as much.  It's not a huge salary, but it is, well, a salary!
I'm hoping I can get a bit more stability in my own job.  That when I finish my next round of teacher training I can work in a studio as well as the gym.  I'd like to teach knowing I have a job from month t month, and not worry so much about whether my classes are going to be canceled.  If I can be in a studio and make myself indispensible, there'll be more of that stability we so desperately need at this point in our lives.  We've both had good runs as actors.  We did good work, met great people, and had a terrific time.  Now we're in our 40's with 2 kids.  It's time to grow up and buckle down.
And you know what?  It's kind of a relief!

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Perspectives

Have you ever had a string of eerily truthful horoscope predictions?  Are you even the type to read your horoscope? If so, do you take it seriously, or is it for entertainment?
A few weeks ago my horoscope in the Sunday paper said that, basically, I was in for a rough patch.  Especially at work, where my ego would take a few hits.  I read it, thought "Huh. Bummer" and promptly forgot all about it.
Until 2 weeks later, in the middle of yet another in a series of fairly crappy days when, yes, my poor ego, no stranger to battery, was being assaulted from all sides.  But nowhere more so than at work.  I won't go into detail, but between missed emails, honest payroll mistakes, and the fact that it's summer and classes are being canceled left and right, I was left feeling more than a little down.  And  I suddenly remembered that horoscope and thought "Crap!"
So I read the next Sunday horoscope, which said that lots of people will be giving me unsolicited advice, and I should listen intently, nod agreeably, and then do whatever the heck I wanted. Passive-aggressive? Sure!  But sometimes it's the only way to get through the day.
Then, as you know, we came upon yesterday, which was another Sunday.  Let me tell ya, this weekend has been ROUGH!  The culmination of a very cruddy few weeks, ending with me curled on the bathroom floor, sobbing into a towel and feeling like the most useless creature on the planet while Hubby went outside in search of the garage door opener that had flown out of the van while I was returning home, (don't ask me HOW it happened, I'm not entirely sure myself!) and I was convinced he'd get run over while riding his bike on that particular stretch of busy road looking for a stupid, crushed garage door opener.  But he made it home in one piece.  The door opener?  Not so much.
But we have another.
And we'll buy a new one.
But the BIG deal was that WG has been having GARGANTUAN meltdowns over the past few days.  Kicking, screaming, tearing at her own (and our) hair, scratching, and showing off just how healthy her lungs are.  She doesn't mean to hurt anyone.  What I need to keep reminding myself is that while she may be physically 6 1/2, developmentally she's somewhere between 12 and 18 months.  She cannot speak. Her communication is basic.  She gets SO frustrated and stressed out, and reacts, really, in the only way she can right now. 
We had a meeting at her school a couple of weeks ago and we all decided that communication is THE most important area for her right now.  She's had speech therapy, on and off, since she was 17 months old.  But when she started school, the district told us she didn't qualify because she cannot talk.  This was after 2 1/2 years of us begging them to give her a speech assessment.  I could have told them that, DUH, we KNOW she doesn't talk, we want you guys to work on ways to communicate!  (The psychologist from the school district was embarrassed when she heard about this, and actually apologized, which was not necessary but nice, nonetheless.) Luckily I received this notice 2 days before she started at her new school, where she gets speech every freakin' day!
So we're looking into things.  She has a couple of signs, but her impulsive gesturing makes sign language difficult for her.  We also have little pictures that we're teaching her to give us; things like food, water, books, etc.  She has trouble with the concept still.  But she'll get it.
There are also speech assistive apps for iphones/pads/pods, etc.  Not that we have any of those yet, but we'd get one if it will help her.  They have one at school, and they're going to try it out.  So there are LOTS of options out there.
And who knows?  Maybe she'll even learn to speak one day.
This new perspective came to me this morning as I sat by helplessly while she had her meltdown.  I could see the frustration in her, REALLY clearly for the first time.  Eventually she calmed down and just wanted to be held, and I didn't feel so helpless at that!
I also looked at yesterday's horoscope:  "Issues confronting you are merely a matter of fine-tuning.  Address health concerns. Learn a new skill. Restart a fitness program. Your image, energy, and adaptability on the work scene are all-important."
Kinda freaky, as I'd been thinking about ALL of that stuff just yesterday!  Like the fact that my weight gain has put stress on my joints, and is probably due to lax cardio, that I really needed an attitude adjustment, I'd like to learn how to knit, and that work is all about being present, energetic, and willing to go the extra mile.
Not that I'm gonna start living my life by the astrological chart, mind you.  But sometimes a girl needs all the advice she can get!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2nd Post Today!

I think I'm gonna keep posting.
So I've been sittin ghere thinking about things I'm tired of.  They include:

-Internet trolls (people who basically live to post mean comments on others' blogs.  I've been lucky in avoiding them thus far, but they're EVERYWHERE!)
-Subbing classes for everyone else while they go on vacation.  I want a vacation!!!!! A REAL vacation! One in which I actually get to do a little vacating, instead of ALWAYS taking care of the kids while everyone else goes off and does their thing, sleeps in, etc.
-Getting ripped a new one for not complying with (yet another) change in policy when I was never notified of said change to begin with.
-Mean, angry people.  If you wanna be angry, fine.  But don't take it out on me, or there WILL be consequences.
-Getting ripped a new one after trying to defend someone.
-CANCER!  (Our dog MAY have it in her bladder.  We're waiting for the lab results.)
-Being fat. 
-Being sad, angry, lonely, depressed, afraid, anxious.
-Being tired.
-Feeling as if I am not enough.
-Wondering what I have done "wrong."
-Feeling judged ALL THE TIME, and coming up short.
-Being taken for granted.
-All the Noise.

There's more, but I need to go for a walk.

Need Some Advice (or, My Neuroses are showing)

If anyone is reading this, I could use some advice.  I've been blogging here (irregularly) for a couple of years now.  When I started it was just for me, a way to purge my feelings.  A journal.  Because I had trouble writing in an actual journal and, for whatever reason, it was easier to type stuff out.
Then an interesting thing happened; other people found this blog, and read it, and started commenting and even following it.  Didn't expect that, lol! 
Seriously, I figured that with so many blogs, so many people online, I'd just get lost in the ether and type away in obscurity.
Which was totally fine.
But when actual people started reading and commenting, I must say I got a little spoiled.
Which brings me to my neuroses: see, I'm one of those annoying people who assumes that no one will like me.  Why should they?  What do I have to offer, after all? If things change, I assume it's because I did something wrong.
Believe me, I KNOW this is paranoid, and I'm working on it, lol!  But I'm also wondering if I should continue.  What, exactly, is the point of a blog?  Is it really just a journal?  Should I be trying to inform? Entertain? Does it need to be more than just me spewing my thoughts and feelings all over these interwebs? And what happens if I offend someone?  'Cause I don't ever mean to, it just happens sometimes.  I know in my head that I'm not "supposed" to worry about offending people, but I do.  I don't like making others upset.  I HATE confrontation. And if someone else is unhappy, I am too.
Yup.  I'm THAT girl.  The one who is SOOOO sensitive, lol!
But I must admit to feeling especially raw lately. Part of it is the work I'm doing in the Geneen Roth retreat, and part of it is stuff going on in my professional life.  Combine the two, and my emotions and self-confidence have taken some pretty hard hits over the past few weeks. And I'm wondering if posting here is helping, hurting, or neutral.  I have actually been writing in my journal lately, which helps.  but I also have to put a semi-hiatus on therapy due to financial issues, and that is really scaring me.  Because it's incredibly helpful and I've made a lot of progress.  But I also don't think it's fair to put my issues on whatever readers venture over here.
'Cause there not even that INTERESTING, lol!
So if you're here, would you mind throwing your 2 cents in?  Are you a regular reader? Do you enjoy my rants? Have I offended you in the past (or now)? So you wish I'd just shut up, already?
PLEASE be honest.  It's better that I know the truth.
Thank you!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nothing More Than Feelings

That's from a song that was VERY popular in the 70's.  It was hokey, it was corny, and it was EVERYWHERE!  Even Jamie Somers, the bionic woman herself, sang it on an episode.

But that's not what this post is about. (BTW, if you don't know the song, consider yourself lucky, lol!)  What I want to write about are, well, feelings.  The ones I've been experiencing these past 2 weeks.
There. You've been warned.  Feel (hah!) free to stop reading now and click on over to the daily online crossword.
Still here?  Well, you are a brave soul, indeed!
I won't go into details about the circumstances surrounding these feelings (cough* WORK*cough), suffice to say that between crazy goings-on, mean people who won't let their "normal" kids play with my "weird" ones, PMS, and this whole feel-your-feelings-rather-than-suppressing-them-with-food stuff, I have been feeling A LOT.  Oh yes!  And it SERIOUSLY stinks!
But there's good news, too; I haven't been throwing down with the body hatred quite as much!  That's something, right?
Sure, I had a bit of a binge last night.  But I didn't vomit or try to exercise it away, or sign up for the latest online diet program.  Instead, I sat and was curious about it.  Why did I feel the need to keep eating, even after I was stuffed?  Did I REALLY want that food?  What DID I want?
And I woke up this morning feeling...fine.  [Until WG started melting down, but that's another story.  (She has another tooth growing in, and she REALLY doesn't like it!)] I went to work (different place than the crazy-making work) and had TWO clients!  On a Saturday morning!   I usually have ZERO!
Son I will take the kids to the pool.  Then we'll come home, eat spaghetti, and watch "Doctor Who."  maybe we'll go for a walk later, in our lovely downtown area.  By then, hopefully, they'll be tired enough to go to sleep, lol!
Tomorrow, after I teach a private session, I will have THE ENTIRE AFTERNOON TO MYSELF!!!!!!  Hubby and his dad are doing some landscaping, so the kids will hang out with their grandmother at her home while I...gosh, I don't know WHAT I'll do!!!!  Besides go to a book signing, which I'd already been planning.  Maybe I'll...take a nap?

In other news, completely unrelated, I have to take the dog in on Monday for an ultrasound.  Please keep a good thought?  I'm hoping it's something easily treatable.
Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Old Friend, and More Preggo Madness

(OK, just to qualify, NO I am NOT pregnant!!!!!!!!)
I was reading Leslie's post on iVillage (which STILL isn't letting me post comments!  grrrrr!) about the press hysteria regarding spotting non-existent baby bumps.  The big trend for the tabloids these days is all about reporting, falsely, which celeb is pregnant this week.  As Leslie points out, the "baby bump" is usually nothing more than a teeny-tiny bit o' food bump.  In other words, said celeb ate something, and now her flat stomach has a barely-noticeable air pocket.  Of course, websites and entertainment shows pick up the "story" and run with it, causing the celeb to come out and say moronic things like "I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat." (Thank you, un-fat Khloe Kardashian.  Oh, and thank you, for real, Leslie, for the story and the links!!!!).
So, apparently, the big trend now is body shapers to "hide" a pregnancy. (I saw one of these in the Spanx catalogue.  Yes, I sometimes wear Spanx, shut up.) Lesli is horrified by the idea, and rightly so.  Let me just say that during my pregnancies I wore a support belt UNDER my belly to help alleviate the pressure on my back, and that thing was a godsend!  I COMPLETELY understand and support (hee!) a garment like that!
But garments that go over and constrict a pregnant belly?  Nuh-uh!!!!  Yes there are experts who believe it does no harm to the babe (see again Leslie's post), but I don't trust it.  Plus, the very idea of HIDING a pregnancy is SO, like, 19th century, hel-lo!
Of course, back then the pregnancy was hidden for different reasons; if you were unmarried, your life was basically over and you would most likely end up as a streetwalker because no "respectable" person would have anything to do with you.  If you were married, and a member of the "upper class," then you'd either be stuck inside your luxurious townhome or shuffled off to the country estate once you began to show.  Because seeing a pregnant woman made "respectable" people think of sex, and we cannot have that!
These days we equate pregnant with fat.  Look at the celebs who refused to appear in public during their 3rd trimesters and only re-appeared once the baby was born and all the weight was gone.  Now women are not only expected to drop the weight 5 minutes after giving birth, their supposed to have flat stomachs DURING pregnancy?!?!?!  Uh, sorry, but that is anatomically IMPOSSIBLE!!!!! 
There's also a disturbing trend of smaller babies.  Some celebs have babies that are barely 5 pounds at birth.  These are the same ladies who refused to gain much weight during the pregnancy.  Unfortunately, this little tidbit is not widely reported.  Instead, we have the toothy grins of entertainment reporters saying"congrats to so-and-so, who gave birth to a healthy 5 pound girl!!!"  Sorry, but 5 pounds is not usually considered a healthy weight for a newborn! Are we REALLY willing to put our childrens' health at risk in order to be a hot mom?!?!?!
Finally, I just have to say that I'm rather tired of the robot clone moms.  I live in the suburbs, and see TONS of new moms pushing their babies in trendy, overpriced strollers, all while sporting perfect bodies, nails, and hair.  Y'know what this says to me?  That their kids are usually in the hands of a nanny, while they go off to the gym/spa/salon.  Am I being judgmental?  Yup.  But why not?  After all, the rest of us, who don't have the luxury of 24-hour nannies, personal trainers, etc. are CONSTANTLY being judged.  For not being perfectly put together, for the spit-up stains on our clothes, the circles under our eyes, and ESPECIALLY for our chubby, sagging tummies.  You want to go to the salon?  Fine.  But keep your mouth shut when your standing in line at Starbucks behind the mom who doesn't have the time, money, or energy to do the same.

All right, enough of that.  Let's talk about an old friend of mine. OK, I don't actually KNOW her personally, but I have worked out with her many times.  Her name is Denise Austin.  And if you know who she is, you probably either love her or hate her.  I definitely fall into the former camp. I like working out with someone who is kind, optimistic, and cheerful.  Don't get me wrong, I love me a good Jillian Michaels workout now and then, but on a regular basis it gets to be overwhelming, that boot-camp style barking.
So yesterday I was thinking about my favorite cardio workouts.  Because lately I've been having a really hard time getting motivated to do the cardio.  It used to be my favorite but lately I just can't seem to get my mojo working.  So I started thinking about the workouts I used to enjoy.  Aside from walking and cycling, I really loved a Denise DVD called "Blast Away 10 Pounds."  It's a 30-minute kickboxing workout, and I did it a lot after LG was born.  It was on VHS, and I wore that tape out. (Yes, this was back in '02.  Yes, we've covered that I'm old. Shush, whippersnappers!) So I went on to her website and, lo and behold, it is on DVD AND on sale AND I can get a FREE walking DVD with my order!  Free is good!  Who doesn't like free?
Plus, I kinda need to leave my ego out of it.  Sure, I'd like to "master" workouts like "Insanity," but if I don't enjoy it, what's the point?  And I must say that the trendy workouts, with the young, beautiful, sweaty people and their perfectly coordinated outfits and their "I'm so intense, look how hard I'm working" faces are kind of a turnoff at this stage of the game. The nice thing about people like Denise Austin, Kathy Smith and Karen Voight is that they are fairly mellow and VERY encouraging, so you don't realize, during the workout, that they are, in fact, trying to kill you.
What I'm saying is that it is perfectly possible to get in a killer workout without the killer attitude.  Don't scare me.  Don't make me feel bad because I am not one the beautiful people, or because I sometimes need to make a move low-impact rather than jumping 12 feel into the air. I can pretty much guarantee that when you're my age, sonny, you'll want to protect your joints, too!
So I'll stick with my old favorites, thankyouverymuch (and, BTW, 2002 was only 8 years ago!).  And I'll add new ones that interest me, like Cathe Friedrich and Zumba and "Disco Abs." And I'll keep riding my bike, walking my dog, and running after my kids. 
And playing with them in the pool, which is SO much more fun than swimming laps!
Because I've finally realized I have enough Insanity in my life.

Monday, June 7, 2010


OK, so we've lived near San Francisco for nearly 4 years, and I'm just now starting to get to know my way around the city.  Because we don't live IN the City, and because we have kids and jobs, etc. and that means the bulk of our lives happen down here on the Peninsula.
I have lived in many places. Grew up just outside of Boston.  At 18, I took off to the Big Apple for college.  Because I was a theater major, most of my classes were held off campus, in the actual Theater District in Midtown Manhattan.  So I got to know the public transit system very well.  I also spent weekends walking through the city, which, IMHO, is the BEST way to get to know a place.  OK, cycling is great too, but no way in Hades was I gonna ride a bike in Manhattan. I have too strong a survival instinct, lol!  (I think I've mentioned that I drove ONCE in Manhattan, for about 6 blocks.  The six scariest blocks EVER!!!!!)
From there I spent a summer in the UK, going from London (perhaps the best walking city in the world) to Oxford to Edinburgh (another great walking city), and learned my way around.  Then it was off to Western Massachusetts. Beautiful scenery and nice walking, but hard to get from pace to place without a car (which I eventually got).
From there it was a HUGE change of pace, to San Diego.  I was living and going to grad school in La Jolla (I know, poor me, cue violins) and, unfortunately, didn't have much time to really explore the rest of the city.  But then I met my husband, who knows it well.  He not only took me all over the city, but we drove east to Julian and Anza Borrego, and north to San Fransisco (my first time), as well as Carmel, Tahoe, Yosemite, Monterey, Big Sur, San Simian to see Hearst Castle, and on and on.  (He even drove me to L.A. one night to go have dinner, driving home afterward.) Up until then, I was fully planning to return to the east coast upon graduation.  After that summer, I knew California was home.
When we first moved to L.A. in the spring of '97, it was with great excitement and optimism.  Hubby got a job right away.
In Singapore.
But it was only 6 weeks.  In the meantime, I was performing in one show in Culver City, rehearsing another (to be performed at the La Brea Tar Pits), working days at a summer theater camp in Topanga, and, in the evenings, training for a teaching job in East L.A.  Suffice to say, I got to know L.A. and its environs REALLY well, really quickly.
When I think of L.A. I tend to think of the last few years, when things were difficult.  I forget the first few years, which were actually quite heady and fun and definitely a learning experience. Our first apartment was very nice, with hardwood floors and lots of space, as well as a lovely landlord who didn't mind our gigantic furry dog.  It was in the Valley, and it was HOT!  The building was quite old, so there was no A.C. and the pipes kept bursting.  But the neighbors were mellow and there was a park right across the street where people let their dogs go off-leash.
Oh, and the drug dealers left us alone.
In '98 we bought a condo in Los Feliz, a GREAT neighborhood!  Our first night there, we walked down the street to get some Indian food to go.  While waiting, we ambled over to a nearby bookstore.  Tim Curry was inside, doing a reading of "A Wrinkle in Time." (One of my favorite actors reading one of my favorite books; how cool!)  On the way home a small kitten followed us for a bit.  I thought this all bade well.
And it did, for the most part.
We moved 2 more times before leaving L.A. By then the kids had come along, and we needed to change our lives a bit.  So here we are.
The kids were 5 and not-quite-3 when we moved here, so you can imagine that our days were busy.  Hubby was working full time with his dad, so I was with the kids all day.  Eventually LG started school and WG strated in-home therapy, so I had a bit more time.
Nowadays, the kids are in school a full day.  I work, but only part time.  And because the kids are older, we can take them to the city more often.  Or, Sometimes, Hubby and I can go on our own.  He, of course, knows the city very well, having grown up here.  But I am in discovery mode, and it is quite exciting!
I just finished reading a book called "Secondhand Spirits" (the second in a series) about a Texan witch who lives in the Haight, owns a vintage clothing store, and solves otherworldly mysteries.  The author mentions a bunch of  landmarks and businesses in her books, and all of them are real.  Tomorrow I'm planning on checking a couple of them out.  Coco Luxe (handmade chocolates, mochas, and marshmallows!) and Coffee to the People, to be exact.  With, perhaps, stops at Booksmith (the new Meg Cabot novel comes out tomorrow) and Amoeba Records.
A recent study came out stating that San Francisco has the happiest people in the country.  And I believe it! And I DON'T believe it's due to the, um, higher-than-average levels of controlled substances.  There are MANY of us here who don't indulge, and we're quite content!  Personally, I think living in such a beautiful place with clean air, the ocean, the Bay, tons of parks, plenty of family and dog-friendly areas, and mild weather will do that to ya.  Plus, it's a short hop the the mountains, the Redwoods, and all sorts of gorgeous, fun destinations.  I knew, during my first visit back in in 1995, that this was the place I wanted to call home. It took 11 years, but we finally made it.
And now I'm gonna enjoy it!!!!!!.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Yesterday, at my daughter's triennial (a meeting held every 3 years to determine whether special needs kids still qualify for the services they are receiving) we got the official word from the school district: WG has been given a diagnosis of mild mental retardation, along with Autism.  We were first told of the possibility 3 years ago, when she was in preschool.  They're saying that with the intensity and duration of her services that if it were just Autism she'd be further along, developmentally, than she is.
I took the news well at the time.  It doesn't change her eligibility, her school placement (thank G-D!!!!!), or any of her services.  In fact, they are adding an extra 15 minutes per week of O.T/Floortime, which was requested BEFORE the diagnosis.
Most importantly, it doesn't change HER.  She is who she is.  My ZayZay/Godzalea, Li'l Bunny, thighs/abs/arms/buns of Steel (she is buff and STRONG!!!!!!).  We talked about ways to hep her communicate, to empower her to get what she needs (which will also cut down on the hair pulling, scratching, etc.).  We collaborated, brainstormed, and dished about how cute/funny/smart she is.
And this morning she woke up in a GREAT mood!  It's amazing how that little smile just lights up the universe, and how much we miss it when it's not there.  They're bringing out the kiddie pools at school today, so that will make her VERY happy, as well.
I also noticed, just a few minutes ago, that yesterday I was feeling particularly fat.  After the meeting. 
And that I ate more than I was hungry for.  And started thinking about all the stuff I had to do today in order to "make up" for my mini-binge. 
Part of that was my ol' buddy PMS, but I also think a big part of it was not only hearing the diagnosis, but having to be the one to tell Hubby and other family members about it. It was REALLY HARD.  And a couple of folks are in complete denial over it.
Which, I have to realize, is NOT my problem.  They will deal with it as best they can.  I have my own crap to worry about.  I CANNOT take on other peoples' emotions. I've done that for too long, and it is SOOOOO not healthy!  I can be empathetic, sympathetic, and lend an ear.  But I CANNOT "fix" other peoples' emotions or lives, and I refuse to take that on anymore.
We have such a negative connotation of mental retardation.  We equate it with stupidity.  Just look at how we use the words "retard" and "retarded." We say "He's such a retard!" or "That's SO retarded" when we want to insult someone or something.  My kids are actually quite intelligent, and I resent the implication.
But I guess I also have some grieving left to do.  For the IDEA of what my kids would be.  Granted, the reality is pretty awesome, but there is a part of me that wishes they could be typical.  Their lives would be easier.
I also have to deal with the fear of what WILL happen.  The future.  I was talking to the O.T about this yesterday, about the fact that we are in the midst of a autism boom; kinda like the baby boom, but with a twist.  There are SO MANY kids being diagnosed with Autism!  Most of them are under 12 right now, but they are growing up.  And we are going to need support systems in place for the adults that they become.  The good news, she pointed out, is that, unlike the baby boomers, these kids have people to advocate for them; us.  The parents, teachers, caregivers ans therapists of autistic kids.  WE are the ones who have to pave the way for them.  And we will!!!!!!! 

The other day I decided not to continue with my voiceover classes.  As much as I LOVE the people there, and will miss them terribly, I just can't do it anymore.  I'm done with trying to perform professionally.  It makes me very unhappy, and there's no reason for me to get back into that cutthroat competition.  Besides, I'm going to need that time and energy to advocate for my kids, and everyone else with special needs!

And, on a somewhat shallow note, I'm thinking I'm just gonna have to grin and bear it: if I wanna lose weigh, then along with changing my relationship to food, I'm gonna have to do some intense cardio, most days of the week.  When I look back at how I lost the weight after giving birth, it was cardio-rama.  Time to get back on that horse (yeah, I WISH I had a horsie!).  Or bike.  Or walking shoes.  Or HiiT DVDs.
Wish me luck!!!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


By my daughter, at least.  Yesterday she came home from school and crawled right into my lap, where she spent the remainder of the next 6 hours (when I wasn't at the pool with my son...more on that later).
I just want to clear something up; I don't say "shut up" to my kids.  I will lock myself in the bathroom and say it quietly, but mostly I say it inside my head.
Just wanted to clarify.
(There was an incident, when they were REALLY small and Hubby was out of town, when one started to cry, which set the other one off, which set the dog howling, which set ME off; I started to SOB. I was exhausted and overwhelmed.  Both kids stopped crying, the dog stopped howling, and all 3 of them looked at me as if to say "What's YOUR problem?!?!  Why the heck are YOU crying, weirdo?!?!)
This morning we turned on "Baby Einstein" as soon as WG woke up, and I think that helped keep her calm.  She even ate breakfast!
Learning curves.
So, anyway, yesterday afternoon I promised LG I would take him swimming, but that we'd have to go after dinner, because I had my tele-class at 6:00.  OK, I didn't say ALL of that, I told him we'd go after dinner.  At which point he proceeded to go into the cupboard to try and wrangle up something to eat.  Hubby put a stop to THAT.  Then LG saw I had a glass of iced tea, which I guess he thought was part of my dinner, because he kept trying to force it down my gullet.  When THAT didn't work, he went upstairs and put on his swim trunks, came back down and wrote "Let's go swimming!" on his doodle pad, and spent the next couple of hours alternating between trying to get us out the front door and exclaiming "Let's go swimming" about, oh, every 4.2 seconds.
Eventually I took him to the pool, and he had a great time.

And, yes, last night was the second part of the online retreat with Geneen Roth.  She talked about The Voice.  I think we're ALL familiar with The Voice.  We discussed how it is a necessary developmental milestone in our lives, that we all have it by age 4, and that it is part of our survival mechanism.  We internalize external cues; don't touch the hot stove, don't run into the street, pay attention in school, play nice, etc.  What The Voice does is try to protect us.  As we get older, The Voice wants to keep the status quo going, because that is what is familiar and safe.  Any type of change is, of course, a threat to the status quo, so The Voice tries to prevent it.  (BTW, she calls it The Voice, but it's also known as the Super Ego [Freud] as well as many other names.)  Part of the process is learning to recognize The Voice, and then to quiet it.  The main problem, for most of us, is that The Voice has become quite mean and critical.  Most of the time we don't even consciously hear it, it has become so ingrained in us.
Boy howdy, am I familiar with this!!!!!
A couple of other things that have stuck with me since last night:
If this is going to work, I have to want to get my life back.  My SELF back.  Even more than I want to lose weight, I have to want this.
The concept of living AS IF: as if I am worthy of my own time, attention, respect, and love.
Pretty tall order.  But definitely something to work on.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hard Times

The oil spill in the gulf (along with the 11 people who died), war, terrorist attacks, failing economies, coal mine explosions, riots, rogue nations going nuclear.
Sometimes I keep expecting to hear the hoof beats of four horsemen.
So maybe it's self-protection, this focusing on my weight.  Maybe it helps prevent me, the Worrier Princess, from falling into complete and utter despair.  Because if I can obsess about my weight, I won't have anxiety attacks over things I can't control, like the the way of the world, whether or not my kids will ever be truly self-sufficient, or what ignorant remark is coming out of Ann Coulter's mouth. (Like the recent "It's snowing in all 50 states, therefore global warming does not exist/only fat chicks who want to be cool still believe it" statement.
Because if I focus on my weight, maybe I can forget the rage I felt toward my daughter this morning as she screamed, scratched us, and pulled our hair. Because she cannot tell us what is wrong, and she is frustrated, and WE are frustrated, and tired of being hurt. Because sometimes I just want her to SHUT UP, and the guilt I feel over it is going to kill me.  Sometimes I feel like the worst mother in the world. When she has 3 or 4 of these meltdowns a day, when we wake up to this every morning, when we are covered in scratches and she yanks tufts of hair out of our heads, and I feel like NO ONE CAN HELP US!!!!!! NO ONE HAS ANY ADVICE FOR US, BECAUSE NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG!!!!!!!!
There are times when I dread being around her, and it kills me to feel that way!  Because she is a wonderful, amazing girl, and I love her more than anything except her brother. My kids are my HEART and my SOUL, and I feel ripped apart right now!

I often try to use humor, here and in my daily life, to, I don't know, just get through the day, I guess.  But sometimes it's a cowardly way out for me.  I use it to ignore what I'm really feeling, to keep things nice and pretty, because I am afraid of what will happen if I FEEL.  It's like a caged tiger, or a bucking Bronco, and I'm the rodeo clown distracting it when it gets loose until I can cage it up again. I am SO AFRAID of the depths of my anger, my grief, sometimes I just want to HOWL it all out, but I can't.  Because people would be afraid of me.  Or I might be punished.

I'm so tired of absorbing other peoples' emotions, nodding in understanding, all the while squelching my own.  I DON'T want to deal with the high-maintenance types all the time! Especially those who are supposedly adults! I'm SICK of being expected to cater to everyone else's needs while ignoring my own! Just because I can remain calm in the face of a "crisis" while others are freaking out does not make it MY problem!!!! And I am SO SICK of being PUNISHED for having feelings! For not being perfect all the time, for having negative reactions in difficult situations!!!!!  I'm only Human!  Cut me some freakin' slack once in a while!

And maybe, just MAYBE, I'd like a vacation.  Just myself. Just for a couple of days.