Monday, August 29, 2011

Brave or Foolish?

We're taking the kids camping this weekend.  At Yosemite. On one of the busiest weekends of the year.  WG has been to Yosemite but has never been camping (unless you count the trip we made in '03, when she was in utero.  Have I mentioned how bad an idea it is to go camping when you're 7 months pregnant?  Sleeping on the ground in a tent when you have to pee every 17 1/2 minutes and there are hungry bears nearby is NOT fun!), and LG is still emotionally scarred from his camping trip last year, which he generally didn't enjoy.
But we're going.

Part of me is REALLY excited!  I haven't been camping since the '03 trip, and I LOVE Yosemite!  But another part of me (that would be the Jewish Mother Part) is terrified.  All sorts of worst-case scenarios are running through my head (shocking, I know).  I'm pondering getting one of those GPS tracker devices for the kids. I can't find their I.D bracelets.  I'm also just thinking of chaining myself to both of them for the entire weekend.  Sure, it'd make swimming and the aforementioned peeing difficult, but it might just be worth it...

We went to REI yesterday to stock up on supplies.  That place is so much fun! The kids even enjoyed it, which, perhaps, bodes well for the trip?

We thought about bringing the dog, but since she just turned 13 and has that arthritis in her hips we've decided to leave her with the in-laws. All that walking and hiking and swimming would be hard on her.  Because she's part Corgi, she follows the kids EVERYWHERE and tires herself out.  This way she'll be able to lounge in the sun, hang with her goofy pitbull buddy, and enjoy home-cooked meals.  (My M-I-L not only spoils the grandchildren, but the granddogs, as well.)

Of course, if the kids are having meltdowns, we can always leave. There's no law that says we have to stay the entire weekend.  And since Monday is a holiday we'll have time to decompress before going back to work and school.  So I'm going to try and Have Faith that All Will Be Well, and focus on enjoying the trip.

Oh, and may I just say, Anusara yoga is like therapy.
That is all.

Good night.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

HIIT Me Baby One More Time

I started doing HIIT workouts this week.  So far I've done two, and have one left for the week.  I'm also, of course, teaching my Pilates classes, doing yoga, and taking the kids to the pool.
Those HIIT workouts are only 35 minutes, but they're KILLING me!  They talk about how much fat you burn even after the workout, which is great, but they don't tell you that you'll also turn into a zombie!!!!!!!
I fell asleep at about 12: 30 this afternoon.  Luckily I had the day off and didn't have to function much beyond getting the kids to and from school, because if I'd had to be alert all day I would have been in serious trouble. And I didn't even do the workout today!  I did it yesterday, then taught my class in the evening.  I've decided I'm going to avoid doing HIIT and Pilates on the same day whenever possible.
Please, someone who has done these types of workouts, tell me it gets easier?  Not the workouts themselves, but the after-effects!  I have to teach 4 classes in the next 3 days, and kinda need to be awake!

I also have another job interview tomorrow.  For Peninsula Youth Theater, in Mountain View.  Which is kinda cool, since I just emailed them my resume last night.  Before my computer crashed.  The same computer which needs a new hard drive.  Fortunately, I have an extended warranty and don't have to pay for it.  Whew! (I'm currently using Hubby's computer.)

And in more breaking news, I'm taking a few days off for Labor Day Weekend!  I'll have almost an entire week off! We might go to Yosemite.  I'm kinda thinking a day trip, but Hubby wants to stay overnight.  We'll see.  He's also taking a couple of days off, and we're going to lunch next Thursday, just the two of us! I'm so excited!
And I still have a spa weekend to plan...

And finally, my geeky little heart is swelling because this Saturday is the return!  Yes!  "Doctor Who" comes back for the second half of the 6th season!  I have so many theories about who's who, what's what, and who does what to whom.  So I'll see if I'm right or, as usual, waaaaaaaaay off the mark.  In the meantime I've been watching some classic "Who" on Netflix and YouTube.  Including "The Web of Fear" from 1966, starring my former boss, Tina Packer (who went on to found Shakespeare & Company). Yes, it's a small world, my friends!  Hubby and I often see our friends on TV or in the movies, and it's always so nice!  Because they're talented and work hard and deserve it.  (I saw one such friend in 3-D the other day.  It was a but unsettling.  I mean, yes, I see them in  3-D in PERSON without any side-effects, but seeing them that way on screen, well, we've talked about the effect 3-D has on me.)

Anyway, I'm now gonna sign off & listen to the radio (or Spotify on the computer.  Do check it out if you haven't; it's pretty cool!) and play footsie with WG, who's sitting here with me, fresh from her bath and comfy in her summer PJs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Schools Are Open...

And I am free!
(Said in the voice of The Creature from "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit", season 2 of "Doctor Who.")

Yes, today is the first day of school!!!!!! And it's gonna be a great year!
WG was a bit fussy this morning (tired), but as soon as she saw the bus, she got a BIG smile on her face!  Then she crawled right in and sat in her usual seat, rarin' to go.  It was so cute!
And LG ran around his classroom like he couldn't believe he was actually back.  It's so NICE when the kids actually want to go to school! (Not that I blame them, I want to go to their schools, too, lol!)

But I'm sitting on the bed, blogging, and not having to worry about whether LG is playing with the food I just bought yesterday (to make "crabby patties."  Dude, I love Spongebob too, but that bread isn't cheap!), or if WG is going to have a meltdown at any minute, or if either one of them is getting into anything they should be leaving alone.
IT'S SO NICE!!!!!!

I'm gonna play on the computer and maybe take a nap.
Have a great one!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Will Walk for Kale Chips, Plus a Movie Review

A few months ago my brother and S-I-L were in town.  She later posted on Facebook that, as they waited in the airport for their flight home, she snacked on a bag of kale chips.  My brother, not known for the variety in his diet or willingness to Try New Things, took one look at them and asked "Are those lawn clippings?"

I LOVE kale chips!  I bought a bad today and already plowed through 1/3 of it. I put kale in my smoothies.  I just don't particularly like kale on its own.  But I'm trying to be a grown-up and learn to like it.  Or at least tolerate it. 'Cause it's SO good for you!

You know what else is really good for you?  Walking.  The other day I brought the van to a service station to get the brakes fixed and then walked to my in-laws' house the next town over, where I'd deposited the kids.  It took me about an hour, and I was carrying about 20 pounds of stuff in my backpack.  It was fun and a great workout, and reminded me of how much I used to love taking walks!  Our last house was at the bottom of a hill, and it was an instant workout.  Plus, fresh air (or at least as fresh as it gets in L.A.), time to myself, and endorphins.  Perfect!  I decided I'm going to walk more once the kids are back in school. My sanity and my waistline will thank me.

The kids start school in 2 days.  WOOOO-HOOOOO!!!!!!!!  I love my kids, but the fact that I'm outnumbered, have to find a sitter so I can work, and can provide only so much structure/fun activities/stuff to keep them busy and engaged and, ultimately, make them tired without burning out myself is challenging, to say the least. I'm SO looking forward to putting her on the bus, dropping him off, and getting a few hours of peace and quiet! Maybe even a nap, as LG has taken to waking up at 4 or 5 AM and ensuring that no one else stays asleep by providing loud re-enactments of favorite "Spongebob" episodes. Verbatim.  Using many voices.  He's certainly talented.  But did I mention he's LOUD?  At 4 AM?
Meanwhile WG has decided that she's ready for school, and is letting us know with many (also loud) meltdowns.
Ah, Monday!  When the kids are going crazy, the landscapers are working across the street (#$@%&-ing leaf blowers at 7 am WHY?!?!?!?!) and Hubby won't be home until 9:30 PM because he has an audition after work.  So no yoga class for me tonight. No sleep for the past 5 days.  Many meltdowns, from BOTH kids and, I'm guessing, from ME, fairly soon.

On the plus side, I did get out for a couple of hours on Saturday.  Went to see "Fright Night," which was OK.   Turns out David Tennant doesn't appear until about 45 minutes in.  It also turned out that the screening I showed up for was in 3-D.  UGH!  I've never been a big fan of 3-D, it makes me dizzy.  And, quite honestly, I have no burning desire to see blood spatter in 3-D, which there's quite a bit of in this movie, as you can imagine.  I ended up taking the glasses off through much of it.  I'd rather it be a bit blurry than have to hurl into my cup holder.
The cast was good. DT was great, as always.  And there was a fun cameo, which only makes sense if you're familiar with the original.  I really liked the original.  For me, it had a heart and spirit that was lacking in this version.  Too much time following the characters as they tiptoe around creepy, dark places, and not enough dimension to them the way they're written.  Chris Sarandon, in the original, was so compelling and sexy and even sympathetic at times.  Colin Farrell is fun, but creepy right off the bat (sorry, no pun intended) and doesn't get much of a chance to be anything else.  The girl (Imogene Poots) is, well The Girl, and the single mom (Toni Collette) is The Single Mom. Although it was fun to play "That Actor's Not From There But Does A Perfect Accent."  David Tennant is Scottish {but uses an English accent here}, Imogene Poots is English, Colin Farrell is Irish, and Toni Collette is Australian. Anton Yelchin was born in Russia but raised in the U.S., so I guess that doesn't count.
Still, I hope it does well.  Especially as I've heard rumors that if it DOES, there might be a sequel focusing on DT's character.  I'd like to see him get more work on this side of the pond, for purely selfish reasons: it's not like I can hop a flight to London and catch him in "Much Ado About Nothing."  Plus, as I've said before, I really like watching good actors act.

OK.  Looks like the sun might be peeking through the clouds.  Gonna take the urchins to the pool for a bit, then for a walk later.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Obsession (Gettin' Personal Here)

No, not the overpowering Calvin Klein fragrance (seriously, I cannot even stand to pick up any fashion magazines: the photos and articles are bad enough, but the perfume inserts are HELL!!!!).  This is about some of my personal obsessions and the death of dreams.  Or maybe pie-in-the-sky fantasies.  Ones that, even as I concoct them, I KNOW will never, EVER come true.  But confronting that reality head-on is still painful.

I'll never be on Broadway.  I'll certainly never be a Rockette.  (OK, letting go of that one wasn't NEARLY as painful as continuing to pursue it would have been.  Especially for anyone within a 50-foot radius of me as I flailed around in my spastic-giraffe impersonation of dancing.)
The fact is, I will never meet, let alone work with, the many, MANY actors and directors and writers that, to this day, I want to work with. I'll probably never find the same kind of working environment I had in my early 20's at Shakespeare & Company.  It was crazy and stressful at times, yes, but it was also the most creative, exciting, and supportive place I've ever worked.  I've been trying to recreate it ever since I left. (Except, of course, for the zombie years when the kids were babies/toddlers and I could barely string a coherent thought together.)
I know that I could go back and work there, but my life is in a place that won't allow it.  I live 3,000 miles away, in a city I adore and with my family, whom I thank G-d every day for.  We NEED to be here.  The kids wouldn't get the same kinds of services anywhere else, and we have an amazing support system here.
Oh, and that lack of snow and ice thing is pretty cool, too!

Yesterday I decided to take part in an improv workout that will happen every Sunday in the City starting after Labor Day.  Pay $15 and improvise for 3 hours.  I did improv in New York 20 years ago, and I loved it. (And, to toot my own horn for a minute, since no one else is gonna toot it for me...wait, that sounded kinda dirty...anyway, I was REALLY good at it!)  Plus, there's no pressure.  Just go and have fun for 3 hours.  I'm not trying to get on SNL or be the next Tina Fey, I just want to be creative and have fun.  And get the ol' juices flowing again, after being dormant for 8 years!

When I see something, anything, be it a film, a TV show, or a play, that is well-written, beautifully acted, directed with care and produced by people who are passionate about it, I want to be a part of it.  During my best times on stage, I felt as if all of us in that room, actors AND audience, were all part of the experience.  It was communication on a grand scale, yet still intimate.  There is no other feeling like it.
I lost that in L.A.  Of course I did: it was all about who got the job and could lord it over their friends, and who was the hottest chick in the room. Very few people cared about process or communicating or the absolute need to say something.  Theater was a ticket to getting an agent, getting on TV, and clawing one's way into film. If they taught classes, it was usually only a way to make money until they got their Big Break.  it was rarely about getting students to find their voices, to dig deep and be brave.
That's not to say it doesn't exist in L.A., it certainly does.  But you have to really look for it, and it's often found in unexpected places.

And then there's TV.  While most of it is a vast wasteland of crappy reality shows and dumbed-down dramas and sitcoms, there are some gems.  Not necessarily the critically lauded stuff:  I don't watch "Mad Men" or "Breaking Bad," though I'm sure they're terrific. I just finished watching the first 3 seasons of "In Plain Sight" on Netflix.  It's a show I've watched once in a while, but never regularly.  Because it's on at 10-freakin-o'clock at night and, as you all know, I've usually done a face-plant into my pillow by 9. (Which also impedes my theatrical career.)
But it's a show that is SO well written, and has, at it's center, 2 actors who can do pretty much anything, who move from TV to film to stage with ease, and play off each other like the Williams sisters at the Wimbledon finals. (Oh yeah, and they're both gorgeous!)  They're surrounded by universally good supporting and guest actors.  It's the kind of show that has you laughing hysterically one minute, crying the next, and thinking about All Kinds Of Stuff.
In short, it's the kind of show I always wanted to do.  Y'know, back when I was young and there was a whole world of possibilities open to me.

And I guess THAT'S the Big Issue:  The closing doors.  The end of the Possibilities.  The thing that happens as you hit middle age and have to start saying goodbye to some of those dreams.  It happens to us all, eventually. But knowing that doesn't really make it easier, lol!  After all, we all have to live our own lives, have our own experiences, and own it all.  So maybe, for example, my body issues aren't just about the 30 pounds I've put on, but about what they represent: the loss of youth, of beauty (such as it was), and possibility.

I made my choices.  Perhaps I could have stayed in the business, left L.A., gone back to Western Massachusetts or even made another go of it in New York.  But then I think of all the things I'd've given up.  And I realize it wouldn't have been worth it.  I was meant to be the mother of these two amazing, gifted, special kids.  They need me, and G-d knows I need them.  I'm not the same person I was 10 years ago, and that's due mostly to my kids.
I cherish my husband, and the relationship we have.  It takes a lot of work, and we've both bled for it at times, and it is SO worth it!

So, I'll never get to Broadway.  I'll never be on an amazing TV show.  I'll never play a superhero on screen (maybe not life-changing, but it sure seems like fun!).
And I'll never be a Rockette. That much was clear from about the age of  5.

Sometimes that realization hurts. But then I look around and realize that not having what I do have would be so much worse.

So, I'll watch my friends, and, more often, people I don't know, create the wonderful work.  I'll raise my kids, teach my classes, and maybe actually become a drama therapist.  I can still make a difference, just in different ways than I thought of 20 years ago.

And I will live my life, owning every precious second of it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Updates and More Confessions

Hubby went to the ER on Wednesday and it looks like it's all good.  Everyone is pretty amazed at the lack of injury. Still keeping an eye on him, though. Oh, and yesterday WG ran her shoulder smack-dab into the very spot that's sore.

It has been a hell of a couple of weeks! Between the hacking, the accident, work, summer break, and my mom in town, I've been running around like crazy.  Hubby's going to Yosemite for a couple of days next week, and he REALLY needs it.  The accident has him stressed out, and he put a lot of work into his bike, which is pretty much totaled. (Oh, and he hasn't taken a vacation in over a year, and is doing the work of 3 people at his job, even though he's still considered a temp and gets no benefits.  And he's training the folks who will take over from him, who are being hired on as permanent, full-time with full benefits.)

I'm just SO THANKFUL that he's OK, and praying he stays that way.

But I do have to confess something: I'm getting a bit annoyed at the fact that everyone else's vacation means more work for me, and I don't get a turn.  So I made a deal with Hubby (before the accident): if he gets to go camping, I get a spa weekend.  On my own.  Well, with my S-I-L.

I'm also going to ask for more help with the kids.  My M-I-L is retired, and can help out.  We have a bit more money for a sitter now.  I'm going to take advantage so that I have room for more than just work and taking care of the kids and the house. I've started taking an Anusara yoga class (my favorite kind!) once a week at a new studio that just opened up nearby.  I also ordered two Anusara DVDs, so I can do it at home and apply the principles I learn in class.  And I'm writing again.  Just fun stuff, for my eyes only.  At least, for now.
I've also re-discovered the joy of going to the movies. Having broken my 5 year sabbatical with "Harry Potter," I'm now determined to go to a movie every once in a while.  There are a couple of caveats: it has to be something I REALLY want to see, and most of the time I will go on my own. I don't want to have to talk anyone else into seeing it with me, and then worry about whether or not they're enjoying it.  'Cause that's what I do.  Instead, I'll go myself, and enjoy some time alone, with a good story told by good actors. It's relaxing and fun, and I think I've earned a little bit of that.
I saw "Captain America" a few days ago (fun!), and will go see "Fright Night" after the kids have gone back to school.  Because David Tennant is in it.  Otherwise I wouldn't bother.  But I'll pay $10 for DT!!!!!!

And who knows?  Maybe I'll even get to see some good theater again!

It's been a hell of a week, and I'm ready for it to be over.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

OK, Commence Freaking Out Now

So I was getting set to take Mom out to see "Captain America" when I got a call from Hubby.  He was on a freeway not to far from home when he was rear-ended by an SUV.  He was thrown off his motorcycle, but is THANKFULLY ok!  But we're staying home tonight.  His hand hit his chest as he fell, so he's a bit sore, but otherwise feels fine.
Still, not gonna leave him alone (with the kids) tonight.
The other driver stopped and waited for the highway patrol, which is good.  But his front tires were completely bald, so he couldn't stop or maneuver.  Not good.  He was also going way too fast on a MERGE in a construction zone!
Hubby is a good driver and very physically aware.  He moved to the left when he heard tires squealing, and that's probably what saved him from a worse injury.  He also wears all his protective gear, all the time.
But I can't help wishing we had a second car.

He's in a bit of shock, and so am I.  I think I need to take a walk.

If you don't mind, maybe send some good thoughts and prayers?  Thanks!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Remember (Before I Was A) Mama

Last night, for my birthday, Hubby took me to dinner in the City.  We went to a nice sushi place in the Richmond district called Sushi Bistro.  Apparently, it used to be housed in a smaller space a few blocks away, but then it was featured in an ad for (I believe) iPhone, and became very popular.
We made early reservations, partly because it gets busy and partly because, well, we're tired these days.  So we dropped the kids (and my mom, who's visiting) over at the in-laws' and headed north.  I hadn't been to the city in a couple of months, and haven't been there at night in a long time, so it was really nice.  I also realized that Hubby and I hadn't gone out alone together in over a year!  Between his job, my jobs, the kids and our (until recently) severe lack of money, we hadn't had a date night in waaaaaaay too long!
It was SO relaxing!  Just to be able to sit in a restaurant, have other people make and bring the food, then clean up afterwards was such a treat!  Add in the fact that we weren't constantly telling someone to sit down, use their indoor voice, stop poking their brother, etc.,  and it was like a vacation!  I'd forgotten what it was like to just sit and relax, like adults.  It reminded me of what life was like before it revolved around the kids.
Don't get me wrong: as soon as we got back to my in-laws' I was squishing and kissing my offspring as if I hadn't seen them in days rather than hours.
But it was REALLY nice to spend time alone with my husband.
After dinner we tried to walk around the Marina, but couldn't find parking.  So we tried Russian Hill, but couldn't find parking.  Finally, we went to the Potrero and to Whole Foods, where I was able to use the ladies' room and do a bit of grocery shopping.  Then we left to go get the kids. (And my sister-in law gave me a present: 3 CDs of 80's tunes!  SCORE!!!!!!!!))

It was a good reminder that Hubby and I are not JUST parents, but partners, as well.  After all, we fell in love with each other first, before we had kids and fell in love with them.  And the best gift we can give our kids is to love and care for each other as much as we love and care for them.

And in other news, today is the first day in which BOTH kids are officially on summer break.  So if you hear screaming coming from the left side of the country, it's probably me.  I will need my yoga class tonight, and perhaps a good stiff drink.  Except that I don't drink.  Hmmm...this might force me to start...
Tomorrow night I am taking mom top go see "Captain America."  Now that I've broken my 5-year movie sabbatical (with "Harry Potter,") and have been watching YouTube videos of last weekends' ComicCon (I WILL get there in person someday!), I have decided to once again fully embrace my inner geek.  Granted, I've been partially embracing her since "Doctor Who" came back on the air, but now it's time to go whole-hog.  So yes, I will be seeing "Captain America" in a theater.
Plus, it turns out that Chris Evans grew up outside of Boston.  Gotta go support the home team!

And the fact that Richard Armitage is in it doesn't hurt either, lol!