Monday, June 27, 2011

Learning to Like Myself

For years we've been hearing about learning to love ourselves.  And it's definitely important.  But what about LIKING ourselves?  'Cause it's possible to love someone without liking them all that much, right?
Over the past decade, since our son and then our daughter came along, I've spent much more time at home.  Before the kids came along I was ALWAYS crazy-busy: due to the nature of my work, I'd drive from one job to another to another, teaching here, rehearsing there, then going for an audition or job interview somewhere else.  In the Spring of '98 I drove from the San Fernando Valley to Pomona on Mondays and Wednesdays to teach all day at Cal Poly, then to San Diego on Tuesdays and Thursdays to teach at UCSD.  After my Thursday class I'd drive to West L.A in rush hour traffic to perform in "Romeo & Juliet," which we performed 5 times over the next 4 days.  Sunday nights, after the last show of the week, I'd chill for a bit, then start all over again the next morning.  I'd had a similar schedule since graduating from college.
So when the kids came along and I became a stay-at-home mom, it was a bit of an adjustment. Especially when Hubby went off on tour, and it was me & the kids 24/7.  However they were very young, and I was very busy.  So the days (and nights) were taken up with preschool, diaper changes, cleaning, cooking, their therapies, and all that other mom stuff.
Nowadays the kids are in school most of the day, and when I'm not working, I find myself, well, by myself.  And, as much as I groused about how busy I was until recently, I think subconsciously I did it on purpose.  But then reality hit: I'm not 25 anymore,.  I don't have the same time and energy I had back then, and I need to to ease up a bit and learn to stand my own company.  Even when the kids are home, Hubby often isn't.  And the kids are able to amuse themselves now without doing permanent damage to themselves or the house (unlike the Great Sharpie Incident of '06), so I'm still left to my own devices.
I've thought about taking up a nice quiet hobby.  Like knitting.  But I'm too hyper for that, I think.  I don't know that I have the patience to learn, and I get frustrated easily.  I COULD try being adult about it, but where's the fun in THAT?!?!?!
So maybe I'll go back to writing.  Just for myself.  Putting down on paper all the stories in my head.  I used to really enjoy that.  And knowing that I'm the only one who will ever read any of it takes the pressure off.
But I STILL have to learn to be in my own skin.  To take my own advice and take a deep breath, close my eyes, and chill.
To pay attention.

I really think it'll solve a lot of my issues!!!!!

OK.  So now, I need to get some sleep.  Have a good night!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hitting the Bar(re)

I've been loving my ballet barre-type workouts lately.  I have a bunch of them: Bar Method, Cardio Barre, Dailey Method, Squeeze, and a couple others.  (I also have Yoga Booty Ballet, but haven't done it in a while. Might be time to bust it out again.)  I love how such tiny, focused movements can be so challenging! I don't have a portable ballet barre (I know, all the COOL kids have one!) so I just use a chair.  Or the kitchen table (don't worry, I don't put my feet on the table, lol!).  I also love how it gets my heart rate up and even sometimes makes me feel less klutzy and almost, ALMOST, graceful.
There are Bar Method and Dailey Method studios nearby, but seeing as it costs $20 per class and WG is home on summer vacay right now, I'm going to stick with the DVDs.  I did try a Bar Method workout at the studio once.  The class was great; really fun and challenging, but I felt disturbingly like a Stepford wife; all the women were white suburban moms, ALL wearing head-to-toe Lululemon.  Except for me.  I was wearing LUCY pants with a Lululemon top, lol!  Plus, they were all so SERIOUS!  It was like competitive barre work or something!  It was really freaky and made me not want to go back.  I know some people like to be serious and focused during their workouts, and I completely respect that.  But I like a bit of fun and humor injected into mine.  One of the best Bikram classes I ever took was with a really flamboyant teacher who was constantly cracking jokes and making us all laugh. Sure, it made the poses that much more challenging, but it was also more fun!
Anyway, doing these workouts at home also gives me the freedom to fantasize that I'm warming up for my duet with Baryshnikov at Lincoln Center.  I took ballet as a little girl, and again for a bit in grad school (it was part of the curriculum), but it was pretty clear early on that prima ballerina was not going to be on my resume.  No regrets, really, but it's fun to pretend.  Plus, I don't have to go through all the nasty stuff, like bulimia and anorexia, bloody feet, intense competition and severe lack of self-esteem.
OK, wait; I DID go through all of that (except for the bloody feet).  But it wasn't always enforced and encouraged by instructors and directors.  (I've mentioned the rumor about the pipes at Julliard having to be replaced every few months, haven't I?)  Because as much as I went through as an actor, I have a feeling it was nothing compared to what ballerinas go through.
Luckily, I don't have to suffer ANY of it anymore, because I'm just working out to a DVD.

Which brings me to yet another awkward transition:  Makeovers.
If you are a female, chances are you have been reading about/watching makeovers since you were old enough to sneak a peek at "Seventeen."  Lord knows there have been a glut of makeover shows in the past decade, for better (Carson Kressley's "Look Good Naked") or worse ("The Biggest Loser," Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition").   And then there are the sabotage makeovers: unsuspecting women are accosted on the street, dragged into a TV studio, photographed, then plucked, snipped, dyed, twirled, highlighted, painted, and have brand-new clothes thrown on them before being paraded in front of a studio audience and compared to their "before" photos to the wild applause of the audience.  As if to say "Wow!  You actually walked around in PUBLIC looking like THAT?!  Thank goodness we found you and saved you!!!!"

What about a voluntary makeover?  Going to the cosmetics counter for advice and maybe a free makeup session.  (Well, the session is free, but you often end up walking away with a heavy bag of new supplies and a much lighter wallet.)  Or simply getting a new haircut, or a wardrobe consultation.
See, I used to see some of these makeovers as a passive-aggressive way of saying "You weren't good enough as you were.  NOW you are worthy."    But I find myself stuck in a rut.  the last time I updated my makeup style I was in my early 30's, my hair just sort of, well, HANGS there, and my wardrobe consists of my black, gray, and dark blue workout clothes.  I feel tired, but does that mean I have to LOOK tired?  DO I have to keep looking like the exhausted, chubby, frumpy hausfrau I've become?
No, I don't believe I do.  Except I don't even know where to begin.  I don't have a lot of money to spend, so the cosmetics counter is out (I'm weak). I'm thinking of throwing myself on the mercy of the cosmetology students at the local community college.
We shall see how it all goes.

In the meantime, it's time to go get lunch ready for the kids.  When daddy comes home we'll go swimming. And later, my favorite activity: sleep!

Have a good one!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


First of all, happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!  Regardless of the fact that the media would have us believe that all Dad wants/needs is a polo shirt, a drill, and a set of BBQ tongs, we know how awesome and amazing you are!

Zombies. (Yes, odd segue, sorry!)
There's been A LOT of talk about zombies lately.  Some of it in jest (check out the book "How to Speak Zombie: A Guide for the Living."  It's hilarious!)  and some of it, not so much.
What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
Personally, I'd hand the kids off to my husband, since he runs a whole lot faster than I do. And I think the zombies would probably leave me alone, as I'd most likely be mistaken for one of them.  Heck, I'm halfway there already!  Everybody wins!  (The eating of brains would take some getting used to, however...)

Facebook.  Let's face it, I'm lonely.  I don't have friends in my immediate vicinity (so sad and so true), so I rely on the internet to keep in touch with people.  I realize how pathetic that is, and am trying to rectify the situation.  But, quite frankly, it can be hard to make friends with other moms/parents because their kids are typical and they just don't want to hang around us, and the parents of other autistic kids are just too dang tired! Heck, I'M tired. So for the time being I'll socialize electronically.

Finally, today was Ride A Wave, the day that a group of AMAZING volunteers take kids with special needs out on the water.  I wish I could describe how amazing it was, but there really are no words!  It started with Annalise, WG's "Beach Buddy," the volunteer who took care of her during the event.  They connected right away, and when WG wasn't in the water, she was wrapped around Annalise.  It was SO SWEET!
They also offered to let LG participate, even though it was for the students at WG's school.  He'd been running around in the (really frickin' cold!) water, but as soon as we put the wet suit, helmet, and life jacket on, her started throwing a fit and refusing to take part.  Ah well.  Maybe next year!  But it was so wonderful of them to offer,  and the fella assigned to be his Beach Buddy was REALLY nice and very patient.
WG ended up spending 2 hours straight in the water, smiling and sqee-ing the whole time.  Last year she did the boogie board a couple of times and went out on the kayak, and that was it.  This year she boogie boarded about 12,000 times (even wore out the volunteers, lol!), went on the kayak, and then on a surfboard, where she was able to get up on her knees on her own, and onto her feet with help.  Before falling in, which was her favorite part.  But they finally had to take her out of the water when she started shivering uncontrollably and her lips turned blue, lol!  She would've kept going if we'd let her, though!  She spent more time in the water than anyone else, and we were all amazed.  She's still in a great mood, and I think she'll sleep really well tonight.  (Plus, I see some possible surfing lessons at some point in her future.)
I'm so flippin' proud of her and amazed by her I can barely stand it!  And LG loves the beach, he just doesn't want to be constrained, if ya know what I mean.

Now it is 7:30 PM and I'm ready for bed.  Have a good night!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Get Out the Leg Warmers!!!!!!

I have found a tap class!  It's 4 Mondays, at 8 PM, and it's practically right down the street!  I could ride my bike there if I weren't such a terrible street rider (I tend to stick to trails).  I've also found a discount dance supply shop that will sell me ready-made shoes for $30.  But I don't even need the shoes right away; they ask that we start off in athletic or jazz shoes until we decide we want to continue.  How cool is THAT?!

I'm also going to be teaching another mat Pilates class, on Thursdays, at a community center nearby.  It'll start in September and will be at 5:30 PM, so I can be home in time to get the kids fed , bathed, and into bed.

I've also proposed a specialty class at work.  Every month we have Free Bring-A-Friend-Fridays, which culminates in a class offering that isn't on the schedule.  My boss sent out an email asking for suggestions, and here is mine:
"Pil-80's!  A combination of standing and traditional Pilates incorporating light weights, all set to an 80's soundtrack.  Come dressed in your best 80's gear: leotards, headbands, leg warmers, etc.  Sequins are optional, spandex is awesome!"
(I was going to say that sequins are optional but DESIRED, but we're trying to get a mix of men and women into the class.  Even in Nor Cal, the sequins might turn off the dudes, unfortunately.)

My boss says she loves it, but I think she needs to hear other options before deciding which one to go with.
When I was training to be a teacher, I imagined having theme nights.  One, of course, would be 80's, while others could include heavy metal, country, goth, even science fiction and various eras.  But it's not really allowed; it is, after all, a gym and not a theater.  And I kinda wanted to be taken seriously and keep my job, lol!
This would allow me to live the dream, if only for one night!

So let me get your opinion: would YOU go to an 80's-themed Pilates class?  Even if you've never done Pilates?  Would it turn you off if you're a regular Pilates attendee?
Let me know what you think.

In other news, I finally heard from a couple of folks at the synagogue.  They were both very supportive and understanding.  Also asked if I've spoken with my co-teacher and immediate supervisor.  But still not a word. Maybe she's on vacation (Like Geosimin suggested, because she's waaaaaaaay smarter than I am).  Either way, it's done.  Hopefully they can find someone who will be a little less scattered than I was.

Finally, did anyone watch the Tony Awards last night?  I always watch, even though I no longer live in New York and am not part of the "in" crowd.  (There was a time when I'd seen almost all the nominated shows; these days I haven't even heard of most of them, lol!)  Neil Patrick Harris hosted again, and did a terrific job. The opening number (It's Not Just for Gays Anymore!") was hilarious, and his rap at the end was brilliant.  Hugh Jackman sang and danced, which is always a highlight, and the horses from "The War Horse" were AMAZING!!!!!!  Plus, hey, Joel Grey, "Anything Goes,"  Chris Rock, and just getting to see hugely talented, deserving folks get their due is always a good time.  And the speeches by Nicki M.James and Norbert Leo Butz (who mentioned his sister, who was murdered 2 years ago) were very moving.  Mark Rylance proved once again how wonderfully nutty he is, while Daniel Radcliffe showed off some serious hoofing skills.

I must say, though, that even as a U2 fan (and former rabid fan), the "Spiderman" musical looks pretty bad.  Sorry.

Anyway, I'm off to lift some weights and resurrect my dram of tap dancing on Broadway!
And take LG to the pool, if it ever warms up.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dare I Say I Made the Right Choice?

So I decided not to continue my drama teaching gig in the fall.  It just wouldn't be fair to anyone; not to my kids, the kids in the program, or my fellow teachers, with everything going on.  I'd be too distracted and spread too thin, and of no use to anyone.  I came to this decision after thinking long and hard about it, and I did not make it lightly.
I emailed my supervisors about my decision, and apologized for not being able to continue, and that I'm happy to sub or help out any way I can.  And the response?
I'm not waiting for (or wanting) them to fall on their knees and thank me or beg me to reconsider. I just want an email telling me they got MY email.  I'd settle for a "You suck and I wouldn't have you back in these hallowed halls for all the tea in China!"  I just want to know they got my emails!!!!!

On the other end of the spectrum, I just got off the phone with a man who was kinda my mentor when I was in my early 20's.  The one who planted the seed in my head, many years ago, about drama therapy.  I had emailed him a few days ago, and he emailed me back the next day (See?!?!  It's not that hard, people!) and told me to call him anytime.  So I called him tonight.  And even though it was 11 PM on the east coast and he'd just gotten out of rehearsal, he spent 45 minutes on the phone with me, answering my questions, listening to my theories/experiences, telling me about his, and encouraging me to go for it.  He also told me to call, email, or text him "in a heartbeat" if I had any other questions or if I see/read something that I either want to share or get feedback on.  And it reminded me of all the amazing things I learned at that theater company, and what art CAN be, as opposed to all the competition and egotism and other crud I experienced later on.  And that rehearsal can be fun, a place to play, and to find our voices, and to feel safe to express.  That actors and students can and SHOULD be appreciated.  Not worshiped, just appreciated, instead of belittled and dumped on. And that there must be empathy, all the time.  Because people are baring their souls.
THAT'S the kind of work I did years ago, and what I want to do again.

Finally, a few words on WeinerGate:  Dear Politicians, privacy goes poof! when you publicly post pictures of your pecker!  (Ya putz!)
I'm at the point where I'm just gonna take it for granted that the majority of our elected officials will cheat on their spouses, hire call girls/guys, take and email nasty pictures of themselves, lie about hiking the Appalachian trail while running off to Brazil with their mistresses, and quite possibly have a penchant for deviant behavior.  It'll be news when one of them DOESN'T do any of the above.
As a guy on the radio said yesterday, "If we assume that 10% of the general public are knuckleheads, ya gotta allow for at least the same percentage in Congress."
So can we PLEASE get back to covering things like the economy and what's going on in Syria, and stop showing the pictures of these guys' pecs and, um, pecks?  'Cause I REALLY don't want to see that!!!!!!

Thank you for listening.  Or, reading.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Blues and Seeing Red

Maybe it's all the foggy, rainy weather (hello, climate?  Um, It's June!  In CALIFORNIA!!!!!!), but I've been a bit blue.  And seeing red.  Perhaps also a bit green with envy in some instances?
(And isn't it interesting how we attach colors to emotions?  Tickled pink.  Sunny, happy yellow.  Feeling gray and blah.  Etc.)
I've been craving chai lattes.  With soy or almond milk.  Very specific, that.  (And I really, really, really REALLY don't think it's a you-know-what craving.  Fervently praying it's NOT!  I REALLY don't think it is.) I've also discovered a new Godiva chocolate bar: Vanilla Sundae.  Dark chocolate with vanilla truffle cream inside.  And it is YUM-MY!!!!!!!!  Apparently they have a whole line of ice cream-inspired chocolate, and this is one of them.  The only one I've tried thus far.
And, can I say, a piece of that together with a chai latte?  Heaven, lol!

I've also been thinking about what to get Hubby for Father's day.  It won't be nearly as good as what he got me (my beloved Kindle), but I gotta do SOMETHING.  I was thinking of buying him the entire series of "One West Waikiki" on DVD,  which was the show he was on in the early 90's, but it's been discontinued.  One seller is selling it on EBay, but there's an episode missing, and I'd really like to get him the whole set.  He was in nearly every episode, after all.  (There was a contract dispute, and he was written out of one episode.  But all was resolved.  Um, well at least until the show was canceled.)
So, I'll keep searching.
I COULD bite the bullet and send him to Yosemite for a weekend.  With his climbing buddies.  As long as the weather is OK.
Not a bad idea, actually.  And the kids are a little easier now. Plus the pool is open...

OK, another random riff: David Mamet, the playwright, has declared he's no longer a "brain dead liberal."  Yes, after years of anti-capitalism riffs, taking grant money from the government as a struggling young writer and as a theater co-founder (including an NEA grant last year), he has decided that he shouldn't have to pay taxes, help anyone else out in any way, that global warming is a myth, and that liberals are all a bunch of anti-semites.
Let me talk about why I give a damn about anything this guy says: in college we were force-fed Mamet.  Told over and over and over again about his "brilliance."  Force-marched to his plays.  And if we deigned to say that we didn't like his work?  Well, LOOK OUT!!!!!  Guaranteed F in that class, let me tell ya!  His young acting students, most NYU graduates themselves, came to speak to us one day.  They were in their early-to-mid-20's and, as many of us are at that age, quite full of themselves.  They scoffed at us, telling us to leave the worthless university environment and strike out on our own.  (No one mentioned the fact that they had all GRADUATED from the very same university they were now disparaging and, oh yeah, they had been hand-picked by David Mamet, while at NYU, to run his experiment and start his company, and did not, by any means, "strike out on their own."  Many are actors who are now fairly well-known and recognizable.  I have met many of them in the years since and, thankfully, they have mellowed considerably and are now quite lovely, lol!)
But one of the points that was made over and over again was that it was possible to build one's own company because of ALL THE GOVERNMENT GRANT MONEY AVAILABLE!!!!!!! (This was the 80's.)  And we were fools, FOOLS, for not taking advantage of it (at the ripe old age of 18).
I was in the anti-Mamet camp.  Along with a lot of other female students.  We thought (and still think) that he is a ridiculous, angry-at-the-world-for-who-knows-why, self-centered misogynist.  And hearing him speak years later only confirmed that opinion.  I also have friends who have worked with him, and they are of that mind as well.  This guy, held up as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, playwright of his generation, was and is a gigantic di@#head.

In a New York Times interview, he was asked if he still stands by his earlier work and writings, in which he claims capitalism is the root of all evil (seriously, does this guy go to extremes or what?)  and he replied that yes, he stands by them.  It was what worked for him at the time.
And THAT, I think, is David Mamet in a nutshell.  Whatever works for him is what should work for everyone.  I don't believe he is or ever was truly either a democrat OR a republican.  He's just a selfish jerk.  When he was struggling, he was more than happy to accept grant money (and I don't see him refusing or giving back the money the NEA gave his company last year). And truthfully, I kinda feel sorry for the republicans, because now they apparently have to claim him as one of theirs.
Good luck with that.
They are going to need it.

OK, rant over.  Feel free to disagree with me.

Oh, and may I add that I have since tried the hazelnut Godiva ice cream-inspired chocolate, and it, too, is delish.

All right.
All that ranting has made me tired.
I'm gonna go chill.

Take care!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


So I got another IE type book last week, which also has an online course you can follow.  It's called "Skinny Thinking."  I just got it on my Kindle a few days ago, and am also using the online course.  I just finished chapter 1 last night.
But I noticed something interesting: it seems to have started working right away!  I'm not sure why, but of all the IE-type books I've read, this one is the one that clicks.  At least, so far.  I notice that I have MUCH less anxiety around food, even "trigger" foods like pizza.  We took the kids for ice cream the other day, and I was able to eat a little bit, enjoy it, and stop when I'd had enough, without gorging myself.  Same thing happened at the family BBQ yesterday, and again all day today.  There are still moments when I have a bit too much, but it's not nearly the same as it was just a week or so ago.  And I'm kind of amazed at how relaxed I feel at mealtimes.  It's what I've been dreaming of for years, and it seems to finally be happening.

I'm also realizing that I'm just not the type o' gal who loves to kill myself during workouts.  Challenge, yes, but push myself to the point where I'm gasping, breathless, and can barely continue?  Nope.  I know some people really thrive on that, and more power to'em!  But that's just not me.  I guess that's why I'm drawn toward things like Pilates, yoga, and walking and cycling.  They let me focus and think, and I ALWAYS feel better mentally after I do them.  In fact, I'm heading out for a walk soon (before the hail storms start.  Ah yes, June in San Francisco, lol!)

I also took a walk last night, after doing my new new YogaFit workout (YogaLean).  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, and the walk helped a lot.  It helped me come to terms with leaving our house.  Hubby and I are really feeling now that the move is a good thing.  If only we knew where we stood in terms of the kids' schools and HIS JOB!  There's a big question as to whether they are actually going to make him permanent, like they said they would when they hired him.  It was supposed to happen after a year, and now that it's been  nearly a year, it may not happen.
My brother, also a federal employee, told us there are many jobs available in intelligence, which pays better and would be more fun.  So we'll see.
I'ts just the transition/up in the air place that we're in now that's so frustrating.
But this too shall pass.

All will be well.

Alright.  Gonna go walk.

P.S.  It's now nearly 4: 00.  As soon as I got ready for my walk, the rain started.  No hail, luckily, but buckets of rain and gusts of wind.  So I figured I'd wait it out, settle in with my Kindle, and read for a bit.
And promptly fell asleep.
For an hour and a half.
When I woke up it was time to pick LG up from school (abbreviated day today), so couldn't take my walk.  I DID, however, just finish a nice cardio workout using On Demand.  And I'm teaching Pilates tonight, so it's a good combo.  As soon as WG wakes up from her nap (what is it with the napping today, lol!), she'll get a bath & I can shower.

And, of course, NOW the sun is out, the wind is gone, and it's quite warm out!