Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

We don't do the whole Santa-Claus-Christmas-Morning thing.  The kids don't really understand the concept, and my in-laws have never made a huge deal out of it (Hubby never had a tree growing up).  Which is kind of a relief: we get a few small gifts and have a nice dinner.
Today, however, Hubby's parents went to Vegas, so Hubby and I (and my mom) went back to Stinson Beach, where we'd had so much fun on Thanksgiving.  And we brought the dog this time, to let her run around and play with the other pups. And we had a GREAT time, again!
We started with a picnic, then went to the playground.  WG started to fuss a bit, so we went to the beach, where she immediately cheered up.  LG made a run for the water, but it was a bit too cold, even for him.  And the dog?  She got so excited she pooped (which was immediately cleaned up and disposed of), then proceeded to run around like a puppy rather than the arthritic 13 year-old she is.  (She's now sound asleep on her ergonimically-supportive dog bed, where she'll probably stay for the next 3 days).
We then came home, where I proceeded to slave for many minutes heating up food traditional foodstuffs bought at Whole Foods the other day.
Plus some spaghetti for the kids.
And then we watched the "Doctor Who" Christmas special. Which I thought was merely sweet and charming until the last few minutes, when I started getting weepy.
So now we're all relaxing in various ways, and I can truthfully say this has been the best Christmas I can remember.

I hope you've all had a wonderful holiday, whichever one(s) you celebrate (if any).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Just Say It!

People aren't mind readers.  You get back what you put out there, good or bad, right or wrong. After years and years of letting fear hold me back from asking for what I need, I have reached my limit.  I truly believe that internalizing everything for 40 + years is the root cause of my anxiety, weight/food issues, self-esteem problems and depression.  (And even occasional indigestion, lol!)
I agonize over stuff, envision worst-case scenarios, rehearse difficult conversations in my mind, and then find out that all the stuff I was worried about simply doesn't exist.
This morning I discovered that what I see as one of my least-favorite traits is what draws others to me.  They actually LIKE that about me!  Who knew?!?!?!
And that when I express my fears/needs/wants, the people who love me don't, in fact, run away screaming or act as if I've asked for their left ear.  Quite the opposite: they give me a hug and tell me they'll give me whatever I need.  And if they've done something that has upset me, they don't lash out and blame me, or tell me I'm being too sensitive. They apologize!!!!!
I'm a bit stunned.

But there's been a transformation happening recently. Inside me.  A shift in attitude.  A lot of my old beliefs are starting to drop away, and that's a GREAT thing! All the negative crap that was multiplied when I moved to L.A is finally, FINALLY, getting left behind and replaced with new, kinder thoughts.
Most of the time.
It's a process.

And speaking of processes, we're speeding up the process of moving:  we received notice that on or around February 29th (it's a leap year!) our house will be auctioned off, after which we will have 10 days to vacate.  So we want to be ready before then.
I almost said our "home" will be auctioned off.  But, really, it's the place we currently live.  Our HOME is wherever we are together.
Sure, we've lived here for 5 1/2 years, but we moved many times before this.  And it wasn't meant to be our "forever" house.  When we bought it, we figured we'd live here for a couple of years, sell it, and buy a single-family home.  But then the market tanked, the economy went south, Hubby lost his job, our mortgage went up, and the bank refused to even consider a refi.  So now they will sell it for far less than it is worth, while we go live in a beautiful house with our extended family.  We are truly, TRULY blessed.
And, hopefully, whoever buys this house will enjoy it and have a good life here.
And, yes, the closer we get to the foreclosure, the more I'm convinced it's happening for a reason.  Many reasons, in fact. Some are becoming clear now, but others won't materialize until later.  One good thing: getting rid of a lot of crap.  I have books sitting in boxes in the garage that have been in  those same boxes for 6 or 7 years.  They're all going to the library.  I kept them because I enjoyed them.  but they're not currently being enjoyed by ANYONE right now!  Books are meant to be read!  If they go to the library, they'll be enjoyed by many.  I feel kinda badly that they've been sitting untouched for so long!
There's all this other stuff we don't use.  But maybe other people WILL use it.  So we're donating it.
The rest of it will be thrown away or, even better, recycled.
Because we don't need all this STUFF!!!!!  We can live much more simply than we currently do.
And that'll be a huge relief.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Keepin' it Clean

My food, that is.  Not my language.  And certainly not my house! Oy!
I've been on a slow process of eliminating certain foods from my diet & seeing how I feel. The latest are 2 of my faves, bread and cheese.  And darn it if I don't feel better without them!  I suppose my days of toasted sharp cheddar on freshly baked sourdough are, well, not finished, but limited.
And you know what?  It's OK!  Because it will be a treat from now on. Which will make it special, and I'll appreciate it more.  Like my beloved white-chocolate-with-whip mochas or dark chocolate salted caramels. Eat (or drink) too many and they become boring (and my dental bills go through the roof!), but save them for a once-in-a-while treat and I will savor every bite/sip. And maybe avoid dentures in the future.

There are times I feel deprived, but I have to look at the big picture: like IE and Geneen Roth point out, this is about feeding, loving, and nurturing my WHOLE self, as well as my body.  If there are things I like but they don't serve me, am I really treating myself?  Certain foods are like bad ex-boyfriends: the ones who were gorgeous and great kissers but treated you like garbage. Or maybe weren't so bad, but you just weren't right together.  Cheese is my personal "Brokeback Mountain:" for the longest time I just didn't know how to quit it.

And I need to keep reminding myself that I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING.  (Remember the post about ducks ruling the world if I were in charge of it all? Yup. Still hasn't happened.) I do what I can to the best of my ability, and that's all I or any of us can do.

Remember that Simon & Garfunkel song "Slow down, you move too fast?"  Yeah, that's been running (or, um, strolling) through my head lately.  Every time I start feeling guilty for not doing more, I sing it and remind myself I just finished a completely CRAZY few months in which I was completely overwhelmed & overextended. And I'm not doing anyone any favors if I keep that up.  My kids certainly deserve more from me.

And then there's faith.  That things, for the most part, happen for a reason, and the Universe will take care of me and mine if I let go and let it.
Which is a whole lot easier said than done, lol!  I'm holding on to my illusion of control by my fingertips!

So we'll see how it goes.  I'll let you know!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Drama Mamas

Just when I thought I was out...
The other day I drove to the beach and went for a nice walk.  Which turned into a power walk when, suddenly, I REALLY had to pee, and the nearest restroom was oh-so far away.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the restroom: after petting some nice doggies and enjoying the view, I noticed some familiar-looking sights: teamsters carrying lighting equipment, catering trucks, honey wagons... I'd wandered onto a film set!!!!!!
To be honest, I started getting butterflies, and not the good kind.  You may know that for a long time I did work as a background actor in L.A.  What they call "extras."  The people in a scene who don't speak, but make a scene more realistic by being there. They're the people in the background, hence the name, lol!
It's not a bad gig, and pays pretty well if you're in the union. But it's also a bit of a lottery: some sets are wonderful and the extras are treated well, while others...not so much.  And even if the folks on set treat you well, the casting agencies are pretty awful.  They know there are thousands of actors willing to do the work, so they don't have to treat any of those actors respectfully.  Basically, you take what you get & be grateful, 'cause there's always someone willing to take your place.
So I put my head down, kept walking, and focused on my personal pot o' gold, the public restroom.  And after I did my business and could think of something other than "gottapeegottapeagottapeaHOLYCRABCAKESIGOTTAPEE," I remembered that this particular movie is called "Of Men and Mavericks," which is a true, sad story about a young surfer named Jay Moriarity. (And Mavericks is a famous beach for surfers in Half Moon Bay, where I was walking.)  And the star, who plays his mentor, is Gerard Butler.  I don't know about you, but I'm quite the fan, especially after "Phantom of the Opera."  So I took a little look-see around (just with my eyes: I didn't snoop, honest!) for him, but he wasn't around.  I think they were setting up for a night shoot.  Seeing as it was 1:00 in the afternoon, they probably wouldn't start filming until 4 or 5. So I continued on my merry way, empty of bladder and full of contentment to be on the beach on such a gorgeous day.

Two days later (also known as "yesterday") I was dragged into a different drama.  Have I mentioned that there's some unhappiness among some of the other moms of kids in my son's class?  The classroom move was a result of that.  Unfortunately it didn't end there.
I understand the concerns, although I don't share them.  Maybe because my son has been with this teacher for 4 years and she has worked wonders with him.  Plus, he adores her and the feeling is mutual.  I also consider her a friend, so maybe I've become a bit biased.  However, I also believe that I am as entitled to my feelings and opinions as they are of theirs, even if I'm not as vocal about it.
Anyway, I got an email saying these parents would be meeting with the (new, this year) principal that morning.  I had an appointment so I couldn't go.  Which was a good thing: I've decided I'm NOT going to get involved.   I did write an email to the principal today, letting her know that I support the teacher and her team.  (I hope it helped; the teacher was scheduled to meet with the principal this afternoon.)
There's one person who is leading the charge.  She's a great mom and a former special ed teacher, and she has very strong opinions about how a classroom should be run. They're all great moms and lovely people, and I really like them all.  We go out for coffee once in a while, and we have a great time.  But I don't agree with how the situation is being handled.  To be fair,one of the moms has spoken  with the teacher and told her of her concerns, which is how all of this should have been handled, IMO. But it's starting to resemble a Queen Bee situation, and I cannot get behind that. Especially when it's affecting the classroom environment and all the teachers' ability to teach.
It's all very upsetting, for everyone.  And there's a part of me that wants to say "If you're THAT unhappy, explore other options!"
But that would only add to the drama and, I'm sure, make life more difficult all around.
Sometimes it's best to pick one's battles.

So I'll do what I can.  And may have to avoid going out for coffee for a bit.  Yeah, it sucks, but I REALLY want to save my sanity.

Speaking of which,my second group of students did their show yesterday.  They got hit with a collective case of the giggles in the middle of it, which only added to the fun, if you ask me.  They were great!!!!!!
And now I'm down from 6 jobs to 3.  Which is a heck of a lot more manageable, lol!

OK.  Off to have a dance party with my kids!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

Follow my 20 year-old dream of becoming a Designated Linklater voice teacher?  Try to start my own Shakespeare company?  Take on a comprehensive Pilates teacher training, at a steep discount, and learn all the equipment I haven't trained on yet?  Go back to studying Krav Maga?
The options may seem endless, but, alas, the financial and physical resources are not.  Add the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and I'd like to spend at least a few of them with my family and, y'know, sleeping, and I have some decisions to make.
I'm still trying to decide what I want to do with my life.  I have an opportunity to take that comprehensive Pilates training, and it's a REALLY good deal. And since Pilates is where most of my income is from at the moment, it would seem like a no-brainer.  However I may not have the necessary child care available. And I'm starting to ask myself if I want to continue teaching Pilates for the next however-many years. I mean, I CAN, but is it what I want?
I honestly don't know.  I enjoy it, but it's not my number one passion. So I could combine it with other things, right?  Kinda like I'm doing now, but maybe in a way that's a little less... spastic?
And let's be real; the whole start-my-own-theater-company thing isn't gonna happen anytime in the near future.  Not with the economy the way it is, and with my kids as young as they are.  I've already decided that going back to school for drama therapy also isn't feasible right now.
I took a 2-hour Anusara yoga workshop today and it was WONDERFUL!  There was a moment, after the fiirst hour, when the teacher said "just remind yourself why you're here today."  And it made me think of acting: why I fell in love with it, when I enjoyed it most, and why I STOPPED loving it (when I was doing it for the wrong reasons, in a place that didn't value the craft or the talent required).  We were also focused on our breath, which made me think of all the breath work we did at the Shakespeare Company I used to work at.  It was there that I realized how important the breath is to performing.  Not just to be heard, but for EVERYTHING.  The moment you stop breathing on stage, everything stops.  It's no longer in the moment.  It becomes effort-ful, self-conscious, and false.
Oh, and you put yourself in danger of passing out.
Kinda like life!
I also remembered how much I enjoyed not only learning HOW to breathe, but teaching it to other students and actors. And I was really good at it.  But after grad school, when I had the opportunity to work with a master teacher toward my goal of becoming a designated instructor, I backed off.
For a number of reasons, many of them good ones.  She wanted me to work with her full-time, which I couldn't do.  I had to pay my rent, after all.  I also wanted to pursue my acting career, which wouldn't have been possible.  And frankly, she scared the crap out of me!  She's a brilliant,  intimidating person!
Then, of course, the kids came along, I became a full-time SAHM, and everything else went to the back burner.
Now I live in an are where there are no master teachers.  I could, in theory, fly down to L.A. or San Diego and work with one.  It would take time and money, but what doesn't?  It's also something I can potentially do until I keel over. AND, it would give me a skill above and beyond all the other MFA-holders applying for jobs at the university level.
And the fact is, I can't work full-time right now, so maybe it's the perfect time to focus on training and getting designated. Especially since we'll be moving out and paying rent, as opposed to a mortgage.
So, what to do?

Lots to think about.  Decisions to be made.
Stay tuned...

Friday, December 2, 2011


This morning I was a grump.  A whiner.  Annoyed. PMS-ing. Tired. Grouchy.
Oscar had NUTHIN' on me!
I was in Peet's Coffee waiting for my soy latte, and I saw a woman with her little boy.  And for a moment I missed having my kids at home, their being that young.
And then I got over it.
After all, there I was at the coffee place by myself, able to go to work, run errands, etc. without carting around 14 tons of Toddler Stuff.
But still, looking at that little guy...
I saw them again later, but this time the woman's dad was with her.  And because my emotions are so close to the surface this time of month, I started crying, thinking about my dad taking my son to the zoo when LG was a REALLY li'l guy.  About 10 minutes later, the song "Isn't She Lovely" came on the radio.  The one Stevie Wonder wrote for his newborn daughter. It was one of my favorite songs as a kid, and I still love it.  And I got the feeling it was a message from my dad.  Just telling me that everything's OK and he's still around, even if we can't see him.  And that he has a front seat to the kids' lives.

Then I went to my appointment at the weight loss center, and my coach was telling me some things I needed to hear.  Not "You need to cut down your carbs and walk more," but "You, like all of us, are perfect just as you are.  You don't need to try to get it 'right' or worry about what anyone else thinks.  Take care of yourself, and try to give yourself a break.  Enjoy your food.  Don't worry about calories, just think about how, every time you eat, you're nourishing yourself."

Pretty damn cool.

So I'm feeling less grumpy.  Enough to enjoy the warm weather (warm enough for a tank top!) and the foliage.  Enough to maybe take the kids to the pool, which is still open thanks to the warmth.

OK.  I'm gonna workout and get ready for the kids' return.  Have a GREAT weekend, everyone!