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!