Wednesday, November 30, 2011


You don't know me.  I don't know you.  Our kids go to the same school.
Maybe you were just trying to be helpful.
Maybe you WEREN'T being judgmental when I told you that, no, we did not sell any cookie dough for the school fundraiser.  The fundraiser that, despite our non-participation, still managed to exceed its goal by $3,000.

So maybe it makes me a bad School Mom.  Maybe I don't have Puma Spirit.  But I'm certainly not sending my autistic 10 year-old out to sell cookie dough, and no one in our family can eat it.  His grandfather had a triple bypass last year, his aunt is pregnant and trying to keep herself and the baby as healthy as possible. His other grandmother lives 3,000 miles away.  I cannot sell cookie dough at the gym, to my Pilates clients, nor can my husband sell it at the hospital where he works.  Maybe we can make a donation to the school, we'll have to see where we are once the bills are paid.

And again, maybe you were just trying to be helpful and NOT trying to make me feel badly.  But I have to wonder why you didn't bring it up with any of the other (many) parents, parents of "typical" kids, who also weren't carting tubs of cookie dough around as they left the school.  Why did you zero in on me?

It's possible I'm blowing this out of proportion.  I do that.  Like, 1,000 times a day (and, yes, it IS exhausting).  You have no way of knowing that I take everything personally, or that I'm in the throes of a raging case of PMS, or that I'd had one of THOSE mornings.  You don't know about my 2 autistic kids, my 6 jobs, and my pending foreclosure. You have no way of knowing that selling cookie dough is WAAAAAAAAY down on the list of my priorities.


But, really, and with respect, please leave me alone.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


We had our Thanksgiving early this ear: my S-I-L, her husband, and their son were in town (from Hawaii) but had to leave on Wednesday, so we had our big wing-ding on Sunday.  On Saturday, we took a hike near the Sutros Baths and had lunch at the Cliff House (my first time there).  It was SO fun!  And a bunch of other family came in from Sacramento on Sunday, so that was nice.
I took a walk after the meal.  I needed to help my digestion along and REALLY needed a bit of quiet and fresh air.  I didn't eat a huge amount, just some things I haven't had in a while.  Like gravy and chocolate chip banana bread.
Which gave me trouble the next day.
At first I was worried that it was actually stomach flu, but as the day went on I started feeling better.  But I canceled my class, just in case.

TMI?  Sorry!

Tuesday I picked up the backdrop for the little urchins' play, picked my son up, then picked up my in-laws, who were sans car for the day and watching the kids (and getting WG off her bus) so I could go to work.  It was the last day for that class, and the performance.  When I got to the school I realized I didn't have leaves for the actors playing trees, so I went to gather some.  Right next to the school there's a house with a paddock, and a very friendly horse who hangs out there. He saw me and walked right over. I thought he wanted to say hello, but it turns out he wanted my leaves.
Which I discovered too late.
After he ate the leaves, he tried to eat the buttons off my shirt.  Then he gave me a nuzzle and let me snuggle him a bit.
I finally found more leaves, and went back to the school, where 3 parents had shown up to help me set up (thank you)!  Too bad the backdrop wasn't in the bag with all the poles.   Ah, well.  We still had a curtain.  And the show went quite well.  Everyone helped me clean up afterwards, and I was able to leave a bit earlier than usual. And, I got my iPhone!!!!!! Which I LOOOOOOOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday I got mad at Hubby, and spent most of the morning that way.  But there was a potluck at LG's school, and that was nice.  In the evening, Hubby & I talked, and all was well.  Then I went to teach my class.
Thursday was AMAZING!  We left in the morning to pick up the in-laws, then headed out to an oyster farm in northern Marin, near Point Reyes. Thanks to my tiny bladder, we stopped at the visitors' center and ended u spending some time there.  There's a museum and such stuff.  We made plans to camp there in the spring.  After the oyster farm we decided to visit Stinson Beach, a really cool coastal town (that used to have a Shakespeare Festival) and let the kids play at a park, where I met a speech pathologist who told me her son's class was fully integrated with both autistic and typical kids.  Pretty cool!  Everyone was so mellow and friendly.  Even the dogs were friendly.
After the park we went to the beach, where dozens of dogs ran free (including one chasing a low-flying seagull, which was hilarious!  That bird was TOTALLY taunting the dog!)  We hung out there for a couple of hours, running back and forth, before heading home for dinner with the in-laws.  And another quick walk for me.
I think we've created a new Thanksgiving tradition: why slave over a hot stove all day when we can go to the beach and have a picnic?  We don't have to have turkey et al.
Oh, and I want to live in Stinson Beach.
Friday was mellow: Hubby was at work, the kids were home,and I was SO TIRED!  Like, couldn't-keep-my-eyes-open tired. I actually fell asleep TWICE.  Luckily the kids didn't do TOO much damage while I was out.

Today: Ah, today!  I was a bit grumpy when I woke, still tired, grousing about having to teach a class which, let's be honest, probably no one would show up to on a Saturday morning after Thanksgiving.  However, 15 people DID show up, and we had a grand time!  Then it was time for my appointment at the weight loss center and a quick walk to get some coffee (soy lattes with stevia are my new obsession.  But it has to be at Peet's, because Starbucks used sweetened soy milk, and it's not as good).  Home for lunch, then off to the park with the family.
We brought LG's bike and his and my rollerblades.  WG rode the bike to the park with Hubby assisting.  LG did the same once we got there, for a while.  Then it was on with the rollerblades.  Let me tell ya, LG is a GREAT trainer: ever time I tried to slow down he'd say "Catch me!" and off we went.  For about an hour.  So between the class, the rollerblading, and walking to and from the park, I got a nice workout in today, lol!

We ordered some sushi for dinner and watched "Cars 2."
Now I'm listening to "Selected Shorts" on NPR.

All in all, a good week.

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you all have a wonderful day!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Opening to Grace

This is a phrase used often in the Anusara yoga class I take.  Most of the time I use it as a physical cue to relax my shoulders when moving from one pose into another.  Of course, there's more to it than that, and I'm finally getting it.
As you probably know, I don't subscribe to one particular religion.  I believe that G-d has presented Himself to us in a number of ways, and continues to do so. I was raised sort-of Jewish, with some Catholicism thrown in the mix.  Being the nosy-er-curious sort, so I've learned bits here and there about other religions and spiritual practices, as well. I've been lucky enough to have been able to attend services at many different churches, temples, etc.
But despite all of that, it's taken me a REALLY long time to understand what grace truly is.

What I'm discovering is that G-d has been trying to show me my path for quite a while now, and I simply haven't been paying attention. Being the perfectionist control freak that I am, I have spent years trying to please others, not realizing that it was completely unnecessary. Because He loves us all, regardless.

And He's given us these bodies to house us.  Ourselves, the true Self.  The part of us which is connected to everything and everyone else.  So when I abuse my body, I'm abusing not just my physical self, but my spirit and my connection to everyone and everything. I'm cutting myself off from grace, rather than opening to it.  When I focus on the worst-case scenario, or the end result of an action, how can I see other possibilities?

I remember watching a documentary about the Holocaust.  A survivor spoke of standing in the camp one evening, watching the sunset.  One of the other prisoners said "How beautiful the world could be."
If someone in a concentration camp has the ability to see the wonder and beauty of life, what is my excuse for not doing so?  Back in September, when we were in Yosemite, I got to see a glimpse of what the world must have looked like before human came along.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to strip down, give away all my earthly possessions and go skipping off to live in a cave. I'm WAY too fond of running water and central heating.  But there is SO MUCH in the world that I fail to notice because I've got my nose to the proverbial grindstone, or I'm worrying over What Happens Next.

Can I let go of outcomes?  Am I able to focus on doing my part and then letting what happens, happen?  Can I focus less on guilt and more on love?
These are my goals.

To appreciate what I have, and, yes, be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Step Away From the Pizza

Not because its pure cheesy, greasy, carb-y goodness is too tempting.  Not because it's "bad."
I'm sitting here in front of a pizza I made for the kids.  Sure, I took a couple of bites, but then I had to turn away and focus on my turkey & veggies.  Not just because I'm trying to lose weight, but because I FINALLY understand the consequences.
Heartburn, reflux, and stomach cramps.
Not things I want to deal with tonight as I teach my Pilates class.  Or ever, if I can help it.
For the past year or so I'd come to believe that all those things were side-effects of my weight gain, getting older, and genetics (both of my parents have had pretty severe reflux).  But it's not any of the above. At least not entirely.
As you probably know, a big part of Intuitive Eating is finding out which foods your body wants, and learning to tell the difference between what the mind wants and what the BODY wants.  I may want to gobble up a bunch of pizza, but I know I'll pay for it later.  Big time.
It kinda feels like growing up, lol!

In other change-of-perspective news, I had coffee with some of the other moms in my son's class today.  The school is putting the kids in a different classroom, on the main campus (right now they're in a portable away from the main building). I was against it for a bunch of reasons I won't get into now, but talking with the other parents and the principal I've changed my mind.  And there are issues in the class itself which need to be addressed.  Which scares me, because my son has been in this class for over 3 years, and I consider everyone who works there to be friends.  They've done SO MUCH for my son, and I respect them a lot.  But these issues have to be resolved, for everyone's sake.
We're also going to form a support group.  Just a place where we can vent, listen, offer advice and sympathy.  Because we all feel overwhelmed, we're all in the same boat, and we all understand each other.  It'll be especially helpful during those times when we feel like we want to kill ourselves or someone else, lol!
But truthfully, it'll be good to have some structured support. And to offer some. To know that we're not alone.

Finally, I can't remember if I've already posted this, but I've decided to hold off on going back to school.  There's just way too much going on.  And I've been so busy this Fall that I've missed a lot of it.
So it's back to being Mom and a part-time Pilates teacher.  Everything else will just have to wait.

Until I'm a grownup.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Buh-Bye! (Warning: Language!!!!)

After looking through my journal and placing me on the scale, she said "You have issues with stress, don't you?"
She ignored the number on the scale, telling me she wasn't 'going to worry about it." Which seemed a bit strange, as she is a weight loss counselor at a weight loss center.  She then told me about the 20 years she spent training continuously for triathlons, teaching 3 fitness classes a day, every day, and eating 700 calories per day.  Needless to say, she didn't lose weight.
We know now that starving the body often just makes us hold on to fat stores stubbornly, as the body believes it will not receive nourishment for a long time.  Add compulsive over-exercising into the mix and your body will dig its feet in, refusing to let go of a single pound.
Add stress in, and, well, you'll not only maintain weight, but probably gain a few LBs.
Because, as I do, I was trying to be "good."  Even though, mentally, I know there are no "good" or "bad" foods, just foods that either make me feel good (energized, focused, satisfied) and those that make me feel bad (sluggish, mentally foggy, bloated, sick), I still wanted to be That Good Girl.

Stupid, fu**ing Good Girl.
The Girl who let everyone walk all over her, let people take advantage, took their cruelty in stride because she didn't know better.  Who let others' opinions and needs be more important than her own. Who learned to be calm on the outside, even though inside she was screaming, because it felt easier to go along to get along. The girl who didn't know when a boy was flirting with her, because she couldn't imagine anyone ever would want to. Who panicked when the boy she'd likes for so long walked her home one night and gave her a kiss.
The Girl who spent years cultivating her own company because she couldn't figure out how to be in others'.  She had friends, good friends, but she wasn't always there for them when other, seemingly "better" friends came along.
And was so grateful when, years later, those true friends showed up at her father's memorial, despite the fact that she and they lived 3,000 miles apart and hadn't been in the same room in nearly 15 years. Yet it seemed as if no time had passed at all.
The girl who became a wife and mother, and tried to do it all perfectly.  Who decided it was better not to make waves, to take on everything alone, never complain, never ask for help, and listen quietly to "advice" and criticism.  To believe others who told her she wasn't ENOUGH.  Didn't make enough money, didn't have a clean enough house, didn't sacrifice enough for her kids: wasn't pretty enough, thin enough, sexy enough. Who took it all in, took it to heart, and believed all of it.  Because, after all, it was all true.
Wasn't it?
She felt powerless. As if she had no say in her own life.  She'd felt that way her WHOLE life.

Then, slowly, she began to realize that it wasn't true.
Any of it.
She DID have power over her life, she just had to speak up. She also had to realize that the judgements of others didn't have to affect her.  They didn't live in her house, weren't affected by her salary (or lack thereof), and she certainly didn't want to sleep with any of them, so who gives a flying fig if they thought her fat or ugly? For a long time she'd heard the phrase "Don't give away your power."  She'd thought she'd understood what that meant, yet she was doing exactly that: giving it away.  Often to those who didn't deserve it.  She learned that she was filled not only with self-doubt, but perhaps also with self-hate.
And that made her incredibly sad.
WHY should she hate herself?  She's a good person!  She loves children and animals, believes in fairness, is often willing to give the benefit of the doubt.  She's honest, compassionate, sensitive, feels things deeply, and she is loyal. She loves fiercely and truly, is a good caretaker, and has a sense of humor. She also works hard. Yes, she has a temper, can be a perfectionist and impatient.  She is far from perfect, but so is every other creature on the planet. Why should she hold herself to a higher, no, impossible, standard than she holds the ones she loves?
Does she stop loving her kids when they're cranky?  No.  Why should she go unloved for the same?  Why is she the only one not allowed to make mistakes or feel unhappy/angry/frustrated?

She finally realizes that all the extra weight she's carrying around is more than physical.  It's unexpressed emotions, shame from all-too-human behavior, and beating up on herself.  Feeling stuffed and sick is more tolerable than feeling alone and scared and overwhelmed, or hating herself for yelling at the kids. Or guilty, over the billion-and-one things she THINKS she has to feel guilty about.

But the truth is slowly seeping through.  She deserves good things. (Like compliments. Why is she ALWAYS so surprised by compliments?)  She's a better mom when she takes care of herself, first.  It's the airplane analogy:  put your own oxygen mask on first, then help those around you.  After all, you can't help ANYONE if you're unconscious.  And stuffing herself beyond fullness, eating food that makes her sick, is just like being unconscious.
She is entitled to her opinions, moods, and emotions, even if they're not the same as everyone else's at the moment. They don't make her stupid, or a bitch, or a drama queen. And she is entitled to NOT take on everyone else's. She is entitled to buy a few things for herself, like books.  She is entitled to some time off now and again.  Yes, even a few hours away from the kids. And, absolutely, she is entitled to HAVING SOME HELP!!!!! She doesn't have to do it all alone!

So here she is, at another crossroads.  Perhaps the most important one.  Certainly the first one she's seen so clearly.  She can continue the status quo, or she can take back her power.  Her voice.  Her control.

She can STOP being such a damned Good Girl!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And Away We Go...

Well, it's happened.  We got the official foreclosure notice.  At least, the first one.  With more to follow.  We're not sure how much time we have until we need to be out, but we're guessing about 3 months.
So there are a lot of mixed feelings going on.  On one hand, there's relief: we've been waiting for this shoe to drop, and here it is.  On the other, moving is a HUGE pain in the arse!!!!!  Especially with kids, and especially in the middle of the school year.  I'm holding out a bit of hope that the new school district will allow LG to stay in his school until the end of June, as he'll be starting middle school in September and 3 huge transitions in a matter of months will be very hard on him.  He LOVES it here, and moving in with his grandparents will, I think, be harder for him than it will be for WG.

So it's basically a time for transition.  The move, the 2 shows with my students coming up in a few weeks, and then figuring out what I'm going to do with myself.  I still have my 6 Pilates classes, and I need to think about whether to take on more again.  In the spring.  After the move.
Although I've already applied at 24 Hour Fitness.  Apparently I can't help myself.  And Whole Foods is looking for part-time, seasonal help in their Whole Body dept.
And then there's school.  Drama Therapy.  I've been thinking about it A LOT.  I could still take an intro to psych course and see if it's something I'm passionate about.  Because, truthfully, at this point, I REALLY DON'T want to go back to school unless I am truly committed.  I have 2 degrees, and spending more time/money on another one is not at the top of my list right now.
And writing that makes me feel like a cranky toddler.
I think I've written about this before, but I believe that the fact that I was so hyper-focused on being an actress from the age of 10 until I was 34 is partly what put me in this position now.  I didn't let myself consider any other possibilities. So maybe I'm going through my teenage rebellion AND a midlife crisis all at once, lol!

One of the things I've re-discovered teaching my Thursday class is how much I LOVE creative collaboration! We've just about finished polishing the play, and I've loved every minute of it.  I'm VERY proud of the girls and of myself, to pat myself on the back for a minute. So now my devious, spastic brain is wondering how I can parlay that into a career.  And whether I should also try to get certified as an Anusara yoga teacher. And can I do both?
See?  SPAZZY BRAIN!!!!!!!

Anyway.  It's good to have possibilities, right?
So there's lots to ponder, and lots to do.

At least it's never dull!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Not always my strong point, I must admit.  I certainly have more of it since the kids came along, and especially since their autism diagnoses.  And I'm still learning.
Last week I found out that my class of 20 adorable-but-feral bunnies (I kid) was supposed to have an intern, but she/he had to leave at the last moment.  And, as I've said before, that would have made ALL the difference!  However, I went in this past Tuesday with a slightly different attitude and, guess what?  It went SO much more smoothly!!!!  We actually got a partial run-through in, and it was great!  They're starting to realize that this is THEIR play, not mine, or their teachers' or parents', or anyone else's.  This is the moment I always look forward to (but worry will never come), because they stop trying to do it "right," stop resisting it, and realize that it's their moment.  They start being a little goofy with their roles, which is perfect as it's a comedy and they're playing chickens, ducks, and monkeys! They start being a bit braver, taking more chances, and realizing what they're capable of.  And this often bleeds out into other areas of their lives.
Which is the whole point: not to have a perfect play, but to hopefully give them the confidence to raise their hands a bit more often in class, or go out for the sport or activity they've always wanted to try but were too nervous.
Which is the whole point of doing what we do.  At least for me.

But I'm also learning patience with myself.  Finally.  Sometimes when I learn something not-so-ideal about me I either berate myself or stuff it under the overly-filled carpet of my subconscious.  Then I overeat or buy stuff, usually books or (ironically) groceries, in order to keep ignoring it.
Last week in therapy I cried a bit.  It's the first time I've cried with this therapist, despite the fact that I've been seeing her for over 3 years.  Because, while I have no problem crying on stage in front of hundreds of people, I hate crying on front of the people who know me. It's that vulnerability thing; it's REALLY scary.  And it doesn't help that, in the past, crying was often met with hostility.
So, yes, I cried.  And she had me stay with it, feel it in my body, breathe through it, talk about it, and guess what?  The world didn't end! No one died because I cried.  My head didn't explode.  In fact, I felt calmer and MUCH more relaxed.
So that whole "feel your emotions and let them go" thing?  Yeah, turns out it works.

As far as food and weight, this program I'm on now is actually helping me A LOT with figuring out why I eat, as well as what my body wants/can handle.  In the past I'd eat something that made me feel bloated and sick, then berate myself for eating "too much."  Well, turns out that it wasn't always that I'd eaten too much, I'd just eaten something my body couldn't handle.
I started the program and immediately lost 3 pounds, which had the unfortunate side-effect of getting me fixated, once again, on the scale.  Then I got PMS and the scale stuck.  While I obsessed about that, my counselor noticed that I'd written down feeling bloated quite a bit, so she put me on a very clean, 4-day program.  From here we'll start adding foods back in and see how they make me feel.  That way I can see what agrees with me and what doesn't, what my body likes and what it doesn't. It's shifted the focus from "gottaloseweightgottaloseweightgottaloseweight!" to slowing down, being mindful, and taking care of myself. To the realization that, just as I don't have to live with crippling anxiety, I also don't have to live with nearly-constant stomach pain.

Finally, exercise:  I started a new 30-minute walking program this week.  I have 2 walks: one is a steady pace and the other is intervals.  It's quick and challenging, but not so much that it's killing me slowly, lol!  Plus, along with Charlotte, I'm trying out a program called T-Tapp.  (I'm using the YouTube versions, adding reps when needed.)  Turns out there are moves I can use in a few of my Pilates classes, the ones in which hand weights aren't available. So, bonus!  Plus, it's quite a bit more challenging than it looks. And it only takes a few minutes, so another bonus.
I'm REALLY enjoying it.  I love walking outside and have missed it. I feel more clear-headed and much less stressed after a good walk.  In fact, I'm about to head out for one now. I was going to do a more strenuous, hour-long workout, but I realized that if I did that, then drove 30 minutes south to teach a drama class, then back north (60 minutes this time, thanks to rush hour traffic) to teach a Pilates class, then off to the store to get gluten-free cupcakes for WG's birthday party at school tomorrow (her actual birthday is Sunday), it might be a BIT too much.
So, a walk it is, before the rain starts.

Au revoir for now!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!!!

I'll say it again: this is my FAVORITE holiday!!!!!!  Sent WG off to school with her Ladybug costume (SO cute!) and got to see LG walk in his Halloween parade at school, dressed as SpongeBob.  He wasn't all that excited about the parade, probably because it's his 7th one and the novelty has worn off.  Plus it was hot.
Yes, it's been quite warm here.  Over the past few days, while friends and family were getting pummeled with heavy, wet snow, we've been hiking around in tanktops.  No, literally; we took the kids for a hike in the city the other day, near the Golden Gate Bridge.
It's supposed to cool off and start raining as the week goes on, but it's been wonderful!  I had to remind myself this afternoon that just because winter's coming doesn't mean I have to stop walking outside.  Even though I've lived in California for 17 years (?!?!?!), I still, in the back of my mind, expect snow and sleet once November comes around. And while weather patterns have gotten truly bizarre, we haven't gotten to THAT point yet!

In other news, you may have heard that Kim K. is filing for divorce, after a whopping 2 months of marriage.  Oh, plus a $10 million wedding, which the rest of us were forced to endure even if we don't watch their so-called reality show.  This after losing a $76,000 earring in the ocean while on vacation.  (Seriously, who wears $76,000 earrings while swimming?!?!?!)
Look, I don't begrudge wealthy people their money.  It's theirs.  But maybe, MAYBE, in a time when thousands are out of work and being forced out of their homes, when more people than ever (at least since the Depression) are relying on food banks, it's time for a REAL reality check?  Maybe instead of worshipping at the altar of the Kardashians and the not-so-Real Housewives we can start paying attention again to things that really matter.  (And maybe actors and writers can start getting jobs on TV again!) Personally, I think it's time to get the attention off of these silly, self-centered, ridiculous people and back on to the good stuff.
Like LOLCats and Dogs!!!!!!
SO much more fun!

Finally, some sad news: Gil Cates has died.  You may know him as the fella who directed the Oscars for many years, but he was also my boss for a while.  I used to work at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and he was the artistic director.  He seemed to know everyone, and everyone loved him. He was a down-to-earth, kind man, and even though I didn't know him WELL, he was always respectful of everyone, even little peons like me.
R.I.P. Mr. Gates.  You will be sorely missed.