Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bring On Da Loot!

Happy Boxing Day!  And for those who celebrate, Happy Kwanza!
We had a lovely holiday.  On Monday I was able to get to a yoga class in the morning.  The sun was out, so we took the kids to the city to play at the beach and take turns riding a bike.  It's my S-I-L's old bike, so they're learning to use hand breaks.  LG picked it up right away, WG is getting more and more confident, and they both had a great time.
We were hoping to get to the park for more bike riding Tuesday morning, but the weather was atrocious.  So we stayed in, watched the "Doctor Who" marathon, and gave the kids bubble baths.  In the evening we had dinner & opened presents.
And, of course, watched the "Doctor Who" Christmas special.  ;).

Today Hubby went back to work, so I'm trying to figure out what to do with the kids.  The weather is odd; sunny one minute and pouring rain the next.  We're going swimming later :):):):). but in the meantime we may need to go for a drive or something, just to get out of the house.
It's particularly hard on WG:  LG can find tons of ways to amuse himself, but WG gets upset when her schedule is disrupted.  Luckily, her school is hosting swimming parties today and tomorrow, so there's that. And we play and sing and tickle.  But it's still hard. And sometimes, like right now, LG gets upset, too. It's 10:20 AM, and we've had a meltdown from each of them.
*Sigh.*  Poor babies.  It's fun to be a kid, yes, but sometimes it's really hard, too.
I'm hoping to find day camps for them next summer.  Especially for LG, since he has SO MUCH time off in the summer. But it'll be good for WG too, even if it's only a couple of weeks. (And it'll be GREAT for Mommy, lol!)

In holiday gift news, I got a Kindle Fire!   I'm so excited!  But I've been using it in the box it came in, as I haven't yet received the protective case.  It's REALLY nice!  I have to hide it away from the kids.  I also got a 10-pack of yoga classes (cue heavenly orchestral music), so Mommy is one happy camper!
As far as gifts given, they consisted mainly of gift cards, with some bottles of wine thrown into the mix.  Although we did finally get my mom a San Francisco coffee mug from Starbucks, which she's been asking for for about, oh, 12 years.
What I like is that Christmas is pretty mellow around these parts. Well, except for the idiots who set off firecrackers at Midnight on Tuesday, freaked out the poor dog and nearly woke the kids.
Poor pup: His mom & dad were in Sacramento, so he was sleeping in our room.  Add the firecrackers, and he needed A LOT of cuddles & coos.  I'd like to introduce him to everyone who's afraid of pit bulls.  They'd get over their fear in no time!  :)
I awoke Christmas morning not to the sight of eager young faces wanting to race downstairs and open presents: No, the kids were still sleeping; instead, I awoke to a pit-bull face staring me down, wanting ear rubs.  And then, about 30 minutes later, wanting to be let out to do his business.
Yeah, not exactly a killer dog, lol!

Anyway, right now the kids are pretty mellow, playing happily in their rooms.  I may leave them be for a bit, then take them out when they start getting antsy.  School vacation is often lived minute-by minute, I find.

This Saturday I teach my last regular Pilates class (!!!!!!!), then we're leaving for Yosemite.  There's a hotel just outside the park that has dirt-cheap rates this time of year.  It's the same place we stayed last February, when we were able to skate on Tenaya Lake.  No such luck this time; the roads are iced over and closed.  Of course, we knew last time that it was a rare opportunity. But it'll be nice to get away fro a couple of days before the new year, do some sledding & hiking. Get them out of the house, away form the everyday, and into nature.
And sleep in a hotel rather than a tent.  :)
I love camping, but it's such an uncontrolled environment.  Last time we went LG wandered off to go to the bathroom at night without telling us.  Took a few years off both my and Hubby's lifespan, I'll tell ya!  But he came back as soon as he heard us calling.  My fear is that WG might do the same, but not be able to get right back to us.  At least in a hotel room we can put the lock and bolt on the door.

Wg is a smart, tough cookie.  But she's also non-verbal, and her autism is a bit more severe than her brother's.  I worry incessantly about both of them, but especially her.
It's a fine line between wanting to give them independence and adventure and keeping them safe.
Such is the life of a parent.  Doubly so for parents of kids with special needs.
But we soldier on, and are thankful for every night in which we're able to tuck them in and kiss them goodnight.

So, once again, I hope you all had a great holiday.
And if I don't blog before then, have a very Happy New Year!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stinky McStinkalot

2 Days in and already Hubby and I have had a fight.
Sort of.
We don't yell or get into shouting matches.  We rarely even argue.  So when we do, it feels like a bigger deal than it actually is.
Sometimes his Being Who He Is and my Being Who I AM just don't mesh. Because we're human.  Sometimes he wants things from me that I don't give, and vice-versa.  But that's marriage.  Or any relationship, really: Sometimes, you're just gonna drive each other nuts.

But I've learned a few things over the past couple of days.  One of which is that, at this point in my life, I'd rather be seen as a bitch than be a doormat.
Taking a stand is hard.  Putting my foot down can result in People Being Mad AT Me.  But trying to make everyone happy only makes me miserable, and then everyone blames me for their unhappiness, as well.  Lose-lose.

Some people are the way they are, and nothing will change certain aspects of them.  So either learn to tolerate it or leave.

It's not always me, or something I've done.  In fact, it rarely is, these days.

Guilt trips don't work nearly as well on me as they used to.  And since I now have over a decade of Jewish Mother Experience under my belt, I can give at least as good as I get.

I have sacrificed a lot.  I give a lot.  I expect some sacrifice and give in return.  Sorry, but the whole "give without expectation" may work in the broad, general sense, but when it comes to a relationship, it can make things hugely unequal.  Which leads to resentment  Which leads to arguments and anger.

I have a good deal of responsibility for things being the way they are.  But I am not SOLELY responsible.

I cannot, and will no longer try to, compensate for others' lack.

I can love someone and not always like them.  And vice-versa.  But we get over it and move on, hopefully stronger and smarter.

Not a bad list of stuff to learn, all in all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

T Minus 4 Days and Counting...

Until winter break.
For the kids, of course.  Not me.
2 weeks.
2 weeks of no school.
2 weeks of not being able to go anywhere on my own, including the grocery store. Of having to keep the kids entertained.  And fed.  And out of trouble. And trying to get them to keep their pants on.

I used to look forward to Christmas SO much!  I mean, I still do, just not with the breathless anticipation of a kid who will have no school,  some new toys, and good buddies to share them with.
(I still remember the year my parents bought toy light sabers for my brother and I.  I think those lasted about 20 minutes.  But the bruises lasted MUCH longer!  Seriously, WHAT were they thinking?!?!?!)

Hubby will be working.  I'm thinking that when he gets home, I might just have to race out the door to the nearest yoga class.
If I have any energy left.
Because my mom is coming to visit, too.  Just for a week.  But still...

I'm going to yoga this morning.  It'll probably be the last daytime class I can get to until the new year.  I have my trusty yoga DVDs, and I'm hoping I can get through them during the upcoming weeks without the kids breaking anything/getting into mischief/sitting on me.
I'm also meal planning.  Rather than going to Trader Joe's and mindlessly throwing the usual stuff in the cart (pasta, pizza, chicken, veggies, blah blah blah), I actually made a list yesterday and stuck to it!  I even got LG to eat the ground turkey I put into the spaghetti, which was a momentous occasion!
I'm trying to be a bit more organized when it comes to mealtime.  And a bit healthier, too.  I was looking at a cookbook I used to use all the time (Jamie Oliver), and I realized that I missed it. I hadn't used it in 6 years.  So I bought ingredients to make a couple of the recipes from the book. I figure we can start introducing the kids to some new flavors and textures, and then I won't have to either make the same ol' stuff every week or make 4 different dishes every night.  'Cause that way madness and boredom lie.
When we moved I ended up donating a bunch of my cookbooks to the library.  I hated doing it, but we have very little space, and I hadn't used many of them in a long while.  It still makes me kinda sad, but then I remember I can, duh, go to the library and check them out!

I'm also seriously considering hiring someone to help with the kids on a regular basis.  I'm looking at applying for a full time teaching job, so we'd definitely need someone if I were to get it.  But even if I don't, we have, I think, the resources now to hire someone at least part time.  Which would mean I could work more hours, have help when the kids are on vacation, and not have to rely on my in-laws. They already watch my niece all day, and I think, as time goes on, they'll spend more and more of the winter months in Hawaii.  Which is good for my father-in-law, with his heart condition.  He recently had a bad cough that lasted 4 months and didn't go away until they went to Hawaii for a couple of weeks.
And, to be honest, the fact that the kids have vastly different vacation schedules (other than Christmas) is a huge pain in the butt! I've spent the past decade planning what feels like troop movements on a battlefield, carting one or both kids around with me almost everywhere, making schedules that Martha Stewart would marvel at, and basically being exhausted.  I've been a one-woman childcare machine, and it's time for some reinforcements.
And maybe get a little bit of time for me.  :)

So, we'll see.
In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy these last few days of freedom.
(Which brings to mind the trailer for the new "Star Trek" film. Have you seen it?  Sooooooo excited!!!!!!)

Saturday, December 15, 2012


So, yeah, I was going to write about seeing "The Hobbit," and how much I loved it, and that Richard Armitage rocks as Thorin, the cast is great, and Martin freeman made me cry (again).
But after the movie let out I saw the story on a TV in the food court about the shooting in Connecticut, and the bottom dropped out of everything.
Because this was the nightmare come true.  Every time there is a shooting in this country, and there have been a whole hell of a lot of them, someone brings up the Worst Case Scenario: that of a gunman walking into a school and opening fire.  And it's happened.  6 adults and 20 tiny, very young children are dead. And we're all wondering how in the hell ANYONE could look at a classroom full of kindergarteners and open fire.
So now what?  Are we supposed to just accept the fact that we're not safe anywhere?  That there will be a mass shooting like this every couple of months? Do we put our kids on the school bus and simply pray they come home?  Do we dress them in body armor?  Give semi-automatic weapons to 6 year-olds?
What the hell has happened to our common sense?!?!?! Why is it easier for someone with a mental health issue to get a Glock than it is to get their medication? Does this finally, FINALLY mean we can have a REAL discussion on how to prevent this from happening, or do we retreat even further into our corners, continue to call each other names, and cling to our opinions like a lifeboat?
Both sides in this issue need to come together and listen.  Not the "pry my gun out of my cold, dead hands" or "the right to arm bears" BS, not platitudes, but genuine discussions, in which people actually listen to one another.
How many more dead kids will it take before we wise up?!?!?!
I have my own, very strong, opinions on guns.  Just because my opinions are strong doesn't mean they are all correct.
I will say this: If more guns equals more safety, we SHOULD be the safest country in the world.  But we're not.  Far from it.
I think responsible gun owners have a lot to teach us, but their voices are drowned out by the NRA leadership.
I think we can find a happy medium that most of us can agree to.
I know we can't stop every crime, every incident of gun violence, but we sure as hell don't have to make it quite so easy.
We also need to take the stigma away from mental illness and get people the help they need, before they resort to something like what happened yesterday.

In the meantime, I'll be hugging my kids a little more tightly.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Off To Middle Earth

I have the day off, the kids are in school, Hubby's not interested in seeing it, so while he's at work I'm going to see "The Hobbit."  It's a 10 AM showing, which means it'll get out around 1:00, which leaves me 2 hours to grab lunch and chill before picking up the kids.
Assuming, of course, I can actually get a ticket.  Which means I'm leaving momentarily.  But I figure, 10 AM on a Friday morning in the 'burbs, I stand a better chance than, say, the IMAX in San Francisco at 8:00 tonight, right?
I have been waiting for this!  More because of the fact that Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage are in it than for anything else.  But I'm still excited for the whole thing.
This is also assuming I can actually get my car out.  The neighbors are having construction done on their house, and there are lots of trucks.
Wish me luck!
I shall return anon and let you know how it all goes.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yeah, That Last Post

Was written over a week ago.

The play with the urchins was on Thursday, and they did a GREAT job!!!!!  The yoga workshop was yesterday, and it was fan-flippin'-tastic! Probably the most fun workshop I've ever done, and the most challenging.  Especially since I'd taught my mat Pilates class in the morning.
The best thing was that it wasn't about sitting at the feet of a guru as he imbued us with his vast knowledge.  He swore a lot, and he told us to not take it so seriously, and kept us laughing even as we sweated, fell out of poses, and fought a constant battle between the body and the ego.
It was, in a lot of ways, the exact opposite of what I was expecting.  TRULY non-judgmental, consisting of folks of many ages and body types, and so, SO much fun!
I've been processing it today. It was, again, a message from the Universe.  Or part of a message.  I recently re-read 4 novels that I originally read about 16 years ago, and got a different take on them this time.  About being unique and reveling in it. And then I (finally!) saw "The King's Speech," which is SOOOOOO good, and I especially loved the bit where he got angry and said "I have a voice!"  And his speech therapist said "Yes, you do."
It reminded me of when I used to teach Voice.  It was very empowering; helping people, especially kids, to find the power of their voices.  Not just so they could be heard in the back row of the audience, but so they could be heard, period.  And they learned that, yes, they have a voice. Something I often forget, myself.

My favorite quote from yesterday: "Yoga doesn't want to make you strong, or flexible, or thin.  It really doesn't want to keep you young.  Yoga wants you to do what you do, and do it consciously.  Yoga wants you to wake the f*** up."
For the first time in a fitness class, I didn't feel self-conscious about my body or my lack of ability to twist my leg around my neck.  I didn't feel I had anything to prove.  I didn't feel envy for the younger, prettier, leaner bodies. I DID feel appreciation for my experience, my wisdom, my ability to back off when I needed to, or to know when I could go forward safely. I felt grateful for my strength of mind and of purpose, my ability to take the class even when I was feeling under the weather, and even though I was a nervous wreck beforehand.
I think I'm finally beginning to practice yoga: not the physical practice, but the mental, emotional practice. It's really NOT about how far I can go in a pose, or how thin I am (or am not), or whether I'm a vegan or a carnivore, or something in-between.  It IS about how I think, what I believe, whether or not I judge, or gossip, or say nasty things to myself or someone else.
How dare I believe that the most important thing about me, or anyone else, is the physical?  What business is it of mine if someone is fat or thin, muscular or pudgy, hirsute or clean-shaven? So what if a girl dresses like a boy, or vice-versa? Why do we care so much?  How does it affect our lives?

I saw a terrific documentary the other night called "Naked on the Inside.'  The filmmaker talked to 6 people about body image: One is a man with no legs who is a professional dancer, one is a young woman living as a man, there's a wife and mom whose body is riddled with cancer, another is an obese woman who performs with a synchronized swimming group, and another young man is a former gang member with scars and tattoos that tell quite a story, and the last is Carre Otis, the former model/actress who finally left the biz and lives happily as a gorgeous size 12. It was amazing and inspiring, and brought home the fact that we make such harsh judgments about people while knowing absolutely nothing about them.  That seems to be our favorite pastime, and some people make a lot of money off of it.

Finally, I re-watched the series finale of "Extras" today.  In which Andy finally realizes that fame isn't really a goal, after going on "Celebrity Big Brother."
This world we live in, the world of celebrity gossip, fashion, diets, reality shows, the worship of wealth and youth, of ads telling us constantly that we are lacking, of politics, of "winners" and "losers"... It's not real, is it?  I mean, there's so much more out there that is so much more important. There is so much to be grateful for, yet we spend all our time thinking about what we don't have, or how we ourselves are lacking.

The night before the kids' show, I was awake & worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong.  Finally, at around 4 AM, I mentally kicked myself: I reminded myself that this was supposed to be FUN!  Yet there I was, lying awake (for the second night in a row) obsessing over all the ways I wasn't a good enough teacher, or thinking that the parents would be disappointed, or whatever.  I had to remind myself that most of the parents would be thrilled just to see their kids up onstage.  And seeing them performing Shakespeare?  That's cake!
This wasn't Broadway.  We weren't betting millions of dollars, and the livelihoods of hundreds of people, on a positive review from "The New York Times." This wasn't, in the end, about the performance at all.  It was about the kids. Helping them to develop confidence, to have fun, and, oh yeah, to find their voices!
Oh yeah, that.

So I hope I can keep all of this with me.  It's a practice.

And now, I must go to bed.   need some rest.  :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'll Get You, My Little Pretty

Seriously, it was so windy out all night I thought I'd open the front door this morning to a yellow brick road and a gal in a big pink dress waving a wand at my feet. Instead, we had some knocked-over plants and a deluge of rain.
But a few hours later it was sunny and bright, with that clean feeling you get after a rainstorm, like everything dirty and yucky has been washed away.

On Thursday I did my first Dailey Method class.  Holy cow!!!!!  The pain! The burn!  The feeling of "Why in HELL did I sign up for 3 sessions of this absolute torture!"  Of course, as soon as it was over I was all "That was great, I can't wait to come back!"
It's sorta like childbirth: Painful, torturous, horrible, but worth it in the end.  And then you forget just HOW painful it was and come back for more.
Later, I hopped on the Spin bike for 30 minutes.  Needless to say, I had a bit of a hard time walking on Friday.
I'm planning on going back Tuesday.  Just to shake things up a bit.  This is our final week of Midnight Shakespeare, so getting out and exercising will be, I think, a necessity in order for me to stay (relatively) sane.
I've also signed up for a Power Yoga workshop with Bryan Kest next Saturday!!!!!!!  His were the first power yoga workouts I ever did, back in the 90's (on VHS), and I loved them.  I often thought about taking a class at his studio in Santa Monica, but never did.  So when I heard he was going to be in town, I jumped at the chance.  It's a 3-hour workshop, and I have a Pilates class that morning, so I'm a little nervous, but also excited.
Although there's one little nagging detail:  I'm feeling self-conscious about taking the workshop While Being Fat.  Silly, I know.  But that was also one of the things, I believe, that kept me from taking his classes when we lived in L.A: I'd been to other popular yoga studios and was intimidated by all the other young, bendy, svelte, coordinated-yoga-outfit-wearing students.  Even though, at that time I myself was young, svelte, and fairly bendy, I wasn't as young, svelte, and bendy as everyone else.  And I certainly didn't have the cool outfits.  It was like high school all over again, and I let myself feel inferior.  Of course, ALL of L.A is like high school.  I can't help but wonder, if I ever HAD gone to one of his classes, would I have felt badly, or would I have been able to hear his message of non-competition, being in my own body, and not giving a fig about anyone or anything else during the time on the mat, which is MY time?
That's what I'm hoping will happen on Saturday.

Because one of the things I love most about yoga is feeling myself move.  It's very freeing! And the fact is, everyone else IS more concerned about their own form to be focused on me. We're no longer in L.A., where everyone is so insecure they need to show off during yoga! We're in San Francisco, where folks proudly display round bellies, gray hair, and snaggle toes!  Hopefully some of them will be there on Saturday.  :)

I'm very much looking forward to this week being over.  I hate to say it, and I hate to wish time away.  I'll miss our Shakespeare kids, but I will NOT miss driving to southern San Jose 2-3 times a week!

The good thing is I feel like I'm getting my Drama Teacher Groove back.  The classes I taught last year were more like babysitting, and the one I taught the year before was more of an assistant job.  I can feel my confidence coming back, little by little.

Anyway, gotta run.  Laters!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just in case I Forgot...

My body is reminding me that I am no longer in my 20's.  Or my 30's.
I have not done a workout since Saturday.  Granted, Saturday was an hour of Pilates and 2+ hours of walking uphill, but still...
This week I've been driving to and from San Jose every day and taking on the teaching/directing duties for one of the other teachers, who's having car trouble (AND she lives in Oakland, so public transportation would take about 2-3 hours each way.  Zoiks!) That plus, of course, taking care of the kids is letting me know, in  no uncertain terms, that I'm not a kid myself anymore. My mornings have been filled with errands and appointments, and Hubby and I have overslept 2 days in a row. Add PMS to the mix and, well, I'm one tired, grumpy so-and-so.
Today it's raining.  Not a big deal, but Californians don't know how to drive in the rain, which makes me nervous.  And the "Maintenance Required" light in my car just came on.  Is it too far out in Fantasyland to hope that it's simply referring to the oil change I need to get?

Honestly, aside from the guilt, I think it's OK to skip a few workouts now and again.  Especially when one is truly physically exhausted.  I mean, even the thought of walking downstairs and getting on the bike right now makes me wanna start crying.
Sad but true.
So, I'll give myself a break.  Tomorrow is my first Dailey Method class, and I have a feeling it's gonna kick my tuchas.  Then I have yoga on Friday, and Pilates again on Saturday.  Maybe on Sunday I'll climb back onto the bike.  It really is fun...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Climbing Out of the Primordial Ooze

Otherwise known as Getting Out Of The House.  Not always easy with 2 young, active, curious offspring.  But I did it today. I had to, otherwise said offspring, plus their male parental unit, would have witnessed the Ultimate Mommy Meltdown.
Hubby worked on Friday, then went to his rock climbing gym.  The kids were off, and WG decided to channel LG when he was 4.  Suffice to say I spent the entire day chasing after her and getting there just a little too late, followed by my cleaning Stuff up off the floor.  (Water, dog kibble, shards of various broken things, and, in the highlight of my day, poo.)
They have a 2-week vacation coming up.  I honestly don't know how I'm going to survive it.

Yesterday, after teaching my class, we took the train into the City and hiked around for 2 hours.  Mostly uphill.
We all slept REALLY well last night!

Today I took the day off.  I left the house at about 9:45 AM, sat in Starbucks and read, then did things I wanted to do.  All at a very slow pace. Including signing up for a series of 3 classes at The Dailey Method.  Which is similar to Bar Method, which is similar to Callanetics, which is similar to Lotte Berke.  I have some DVDs by all of the above, but there are some exercises that are done in class not done on the DVDs.  Plus, I REALLY want to get out and see other grown-ups!
The next 2 weeks will be quite busy: Dec. 6th is the performance for Midnight Shakespeare, so we have quite a bit of rehearsing to do.  Much time will be spent in San Jose. I'm also in the final stretch of my Pilates classes.  So getting out and doing some barre/yoga classes with other people will be a good thing.
In 3 weeks, the kids begin their above-mentioned vacation AND my mom is coming out to visit.  I'm going to need all the calming, deep-breathing, stress-reducing stuff I can find.

On a completely different subject, last night was my (gulp!) 25th high school reunion!  I didn't go, as I'm on the other side of the country, and traveling 5,000 miles on Thanksgiving weekend less than 2 weeks before a performance AND leaving the kids with Hubby was just not feasible.  I'm sure a good time was had, and I look forward to hearing stories/seeing pictures.
I also realized yesterday that as of Jan 2nd hubby and I will not only have been married for 12 years, we'll have been together for 18!
18 years!!!!!
Where the hell did my 30's go?
Oh, right.
Spent in a sleepwalking haze of diaper changes, 3 AM feedings, baths, preschool, therapies...
All TOTALLY worth it, it's just that I kinda feel like I lost a decade of my life.
Literally.  Because I can barely remember it.
And it seems like time is speeding up.  There's no way top stop it or even slow it down.
Well, I suppose I could crash a faculty meeting at a university somewhere.  That'd make time go slowly.  But I'd just end up gnawing my own limbs off from boredom (thank you, again, Douglas Adams, for that visual).
So I'll take the usual path.  Just living every day as it comes, and trying to be a decent homo sapien.  Time, after all, waits for no one.

And on THAT cheery note, I'm gonna go rassle up some grub for the fruits of my loins.
G'night all!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Wasn't it August, like 2 weeks ago?  And if Thanksgiving (the U.S. version) is on Thursday, doesn't that mean that Christmas (yay!) and the winter break (boo!) are right around the corner?!?!?!

So far it looks as if the weather will hold, which means we can go to Stinson Beach and play.  Then we'll come home and barbecue.  Because we live in California, and we can. Plus, that's what the Pilgrims and Native Americans did, right?  Rolled out the Kingsford and fired up the grill?
My New England family members and friends are appalled.  But I think they're secretly jealous.  'Cause I don't have to spend the entire day by the oven, looking out at the November gloom. No field trips to Plymouth rock for our kids (although, to be fair, those were FUN!), and no dressing up as Puritans.  In fact, LG drew a Pilgrim hat in school, but it was pink and purple.  No brown and gray and black for this California kid!

I also like that Thanksgiving will be about spending time with my family, and not about shoveling boatloads of food into my (pumpkin) pie hole.  We'll be outside, playing at the park and chasing waves, instead of inside waiting for food, watching football, and washing loads of dishes. Because what I am truly most thankful for in my life is my family; my amazing husband and incredible, sweet, smart, fun kids.  I have hit the familial jackpot, I tell ya!

The only sad part will be the absence of Luna.  She came with us last year, and had such a great time!  There are tons of dogs on that beach and, because it's a mellow, close-knit community, they're all off-leash. She spent her time running (sort of) with the kids, walking in the waves, and generally letting her hair-um-fur down.
This year we'll have to have a toast to her memory.  And know that she has an unending beach on which to frolick, along with all her canine compatriots, and none of the hip pain or age to slow her down.

Finally, on a completely different (and fairly self-indulgent, but, hey, it's my blog!) subject, I've come to realize that, while I can commit to working out, I cannot commit to one particular workout long-term.  I need to mix it up.  Walking one day, Spinning & weights the next, followed by yoga, with a barre-based workout after that.  I can't even do the same workout 3 days a week, apparently.  Every time I say I AM going to commit to something, it falls apart.  I find myself craving variety in my exercise, and I don't necessarily think that's such a bad thing.
For a long time, I DID do the same workouts.  Day after day, month after month.  I not only got bored & stopped seeing results, I started hurting.  Repetitive stress, apparently.  From being stupid and never changing it up. I don't know of it's exercise ADD or simple rebellion, but just the the idea of doing one single exercise program for a month (or 6 weeks, or 90 days) makes me wanna run screaming out of the room.  Even a program (like P90X) that has different workouts nearly every day. (I tried it.  I like Tony Horton, but the workouts just weren't all that interesting, and I kept hurting myself.)
So I'm going to practice Intuitive Exercising.  I'll do what my body feels like doing.  I won't weight train the same way 2 days in a row, but I'll listen, pay attention, and give my body what it needs.  Today, for example, I was planning on going to a Vinyasa class, but I ended up taking a walk, instead.  I needed the fresh air and time alone with my thoughts. I ended up walking through the hills for an hour and 15 minutes, and it was perfect.
I probably won't end up doing the world's most difficult or punishing workouts, but that's not really my thing. Not anymore, anyway.  I value my knees too much to continue doing that. I'm not all that interested in looking like a fitness model.  I want to be healthy, energetic, and, yes, in better shape.  But let's face it: My days of being a leading lady are behind me, and I've NEVER been model material.  It's time to stop focusing so much on the results, on the outside, and shift that focus inward.
It's time to be a little less vain and a bit more selfish.
Time to take care of ME, as well as everyone else.

And on that note, I'm heading to bed,  Because WG will probably be up in couple of hours.

Wish me luck.
I just might need it.  :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Too Shall Pass

At least, that's what I keep telling myself.
It's a growth spurt, maybe.  Or a phase.  Maybe it's the time change.
WG is not sleeping.
And she's hungry.
All. The. Time.
Last night she fell asleep at 7:30, having awoken at 5 AM that morning and raided the fridge, which Hubby forgot to lock.  (We don't want a repeat of the Chicken Incident.)
She then woke up 3 hours later, and stayed that way.
All night.
Hubby stayed in her room, but he's a deep sleeper.  At 3:30 I heard her go downstairs.  I followed, and she was sitting in front of the fridge, looking at it.  I unlocked it and gave her, what else, some chicken.  Which she gobbled (sorry) up, and then went back to her room.  I then put the gate up, knowing it probably wouldn't stop her, but hoping I'd at least hear it crash if she decided to escape again.  Luckily, she decided to stay in her room and play.
We figured she'd be exhausted by noon.  That her poor teachers would have to deal with her cranky tiredness.  But no!  She had a very good day, came home happy as a clam, and stayed that way until 7:00 PM, when her little eyelids started drooping.  Not wanting a repeat of last night, I drew a bath for her, which woke her up for a bit.
It is now 9 PM, and she fell asleep about 15 minutes ago.  Hopefully she will sleep through the night, and we'll be back on track.

Luckily I had the day off.  After dropping LG off at school and running a couple of errands, I came home and slept.
Until 1:00.
And I am already thinking about going back to bed.
Because, hey, all the cool kids go to bed at 9:00 on a Friday, right?
And I wonder why I no longer have a career on stage...

On a better note, I used our Spin bike again yesterday.  I found a Johhny G workout on YouTube (he invented Spinning), and off I went.  I then did 30 minutes of Ballet Beautiful workouts.
I think next time I'll reverse the order.  My legs were so wobbly from Spinning I could barely stand, let alone actually LIFT them.
And Swan Arms for 15 minutes?  Holy cow!!!!!!!  No wonder ballerinas are so strong!

Tomorrow morning I teach Pilates, but then I'm off for a week(!)  I'll do my yoga, Spinning, and Ballet Beautiful.  But I also think I want to nap while the kids are in school. Today felt so indulgent, like I was Getting Away With Something.
I LIKE it!
Naps are highly underrated, if you ask me.

And with that, I will bid you good night.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spin, Spin Away!

The Spin bike is here!!!!!!
It arrived yesterday.  While I bathed the offspring Hubby set up the bike. I immediately hopped on, logged onto YouTube on my iPhone, and away I went.
It was awesome!
I then picked up my weights and did some lifting, along with a few Pilates exercises.  This was after a 2-hour walk along the beach with Hubby & the kids.
(On a side note, I think we saw every breed/combination of dog known to humankind.  SF is a GREAT city to be a dog in!)
It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and we all had it off.  So we went to Crissy Field, hiked over to the beach, and made our way to the pier.  It's so beautiful there, right by the GG Bridge.  I also took a picture of a pelican, who I swear was posing!  He was gorgeous, and if I can figure out how to do it, I'll post the photo.

Today it was back to school/work.  A VERY busy day, ending in a near-coronary for me when I went to check in on WG and couldn't find her.  She'd been in her room, but when I went back in I didn't see her.  After searching the house & yard, my S-I-L found her curled up in the corner of her bed, under all the blankets.  Which was odd, because I re-made the bed and swear she wasn't in it!  Of course, she can't answer when we call, and it's a big house, which makes it all the more difficult.
We have one of these scares every few months, it seems (see earlier posts about LG getting out of the townhouse.  Repeatedly.), and I'm not sure how many more my heart can take.  It's been over an hour and I'm still shaking a little bit.

So, yeah.  That bell idea is seeming better every day.

It's now nearly 11:00 PM and time for me to go to bed.  I will post further on my indoor cycling adventures. The way I see it, if I hop on that puppy 3-4 times a week, the remaining extra fat on me doesn't stand a chance!

G'night, all.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm Grumpy!

What's the point of a 3-day weekend when
A)You have to work on the weekend
B) You have to wake up at 6:30 AM all 3 days
C) Your child does things like sneak into the kitchen at 4 AM, take a rotisserie chicken out of the fridge & give it to the dog, who eats the entire thing & SPENDS THE NEXT 2 DAYS VOMITING IT BACK UP.  Or sneaks into the kitchen & dumps water all over the floor & herself, leaving the dog with an empty water bowl?!?!?!?!

I need a vacation.
By myself.
Where I can sleep & not worry about the nocturnal kitchen happenings.
And I'm gonna put a bell on WG.
Or an invisible fence in front of the kitchen.
Definitely a refrigerator lock.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Birthday to my Wee Girl!

Who, at 9 years old, is not quite so wee.  Especially since she'll probably be almost as tall as me by the time she's 12, and I'm 5'9"!
But she'll ALWAYS be my li'l princess.

In other news, I voted this morning.  Hurray!  I hate campaigns, but I LOVE voting!  The best part is that little sticker they give you that says "I Voted."  This year we the get fancy-schmancy Presidential Election version.  I always wait until my ballot is confirmed, and THEN I put the sticker on.  And wear it proudly.
And I'm not the only one: There was a discussion at the coffee shop this afternoon about this very subject.  One man said "Why vote by mail when you can go in person and get a sticker?!"
There's just something about stickers.
And balloons. Who doesn't love balloons?  Sadly, balloons are NOT given out at polling stations.
 But it'd be REALLY cool if they were!

I'm trying not top get too anxious about the results.  I keep telling myself that, regardless of the outcome, my family and I will be OK.  It feels a little selfish, but it's about not giving in to panic and possible despair at this point.
So I went for a walk.  I've been meaning to tackle this particularly long street in our neighborhood. It's all uphill one way, then, of course, downhill back, running right into the above-mentioned coffee shop, where having, if not tackled the hill, then at least made it, gasping and panting, to the top and back down, I practically crawled in, guzzled a bottle of water, then sat to enjoy my  iced soy latte.  Then it was a 12 minute walk home.  On legs that felt like lead pipes. A bit of yoga/stretching, a bath, and now I'm nearly good as new.
As I was walking all I could hear in my head was Hugh Grant's voice saying "My god, it's the longest street in the world!"  You probably know that "Love, Actually" is one of my favorite movies.  It's been playing on cable quite a bit lately, which makes me very happy. But that description fit this street to a T.  Except I wasn't searching for My Natalie, I was looking for signs of the Chevron station at the top of the hill.  When I finally caught sight of the blue and white stripes, I thought "The end is near!"  But in this case, that was a good thing.

My walks with Hubby have been on the back-burner, at least until his show closes.  He now uses his lunch break to nap in the car.  :) So I'm doing my yoga and my workout DVDs, along with my walks.  Still teaching one Pilates class a week, and expending LOTS of energy with the Shakespeare kids.
As well as my own.

So now it's getting close to the time when the Birthday Pizza will arrive & we can do some celebrating.  Because regardless of the election outcome, my girl's birthday is DEFINITELY something to celebrate!

P.S., I'll just say that tonight, with the election results in, I am breathing a HUGE sigh of relief.
Feel free to disagree.

P.P.S., Hubby just ordered us a low-priced but well-reviewed Spin bike!!!!!!!!  WAAA-HOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Damn, Were My Parents Write, er RIGHT All Along?!?!?!

My parents are/were writers.  Journalists.  My dad was an old school, notebook-toting (that's an actual notebook, not a computer. Y'know, those books with lined paper inside them that you write in with a pen?), on-the-beat, in the neighborhood, interviewing people in person reporter.  He got to know the people in the neighborhoods where he journeyed to write his stories.  He did his research the old fashioned way, with microfilm, books, and going to the library.  When he started writing for the first of many newspapers he would work at, they still had copy boys and presses.  The reporters, mostly men, would sit at their desks, banging away on typewriters, smoking like chimneys, and answering their phones grumpily, as if they couldn't bear to be interrupted.
When computers and email came along, it was far too clean and quiet for him. He missed the days of alcohol-and-tobacco strained voices yelling out "Copy!" at which a boy would come running, pick up a mimeographed or carbon-copied bunch of pages, and race them to the editor's desk.

My mom tunes out everything when she's writing.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  And don't think for a second that my brother and I didn't take full advantage of that when we were kids.  Caught inhaling an entire pint of ice cream with chocolate sauce? "But Ma said we could!"  And she did!
She just hadn't realized, at the time, what she'd agreed to.
I imagine our voices, when she was working, sounded like the adults in the all the "Charlie Brown" TV specials.
We'd also test her:  "Ma, I'm going out."
"OK hon."
"I'm gonna meet up with Annie and Jane * and we're gonna go rob the savings bank."
"That's nice, have fun sweetie."
"Then I thought we'd go liberate a few nuclear warheads and start WWIII."

And so on.

My brother and I were basically wise-asses.

Our parents tried to get us to follow in their footsteps.  And for a while, when I was quite young, I figured I would.  Because, at the age of 9, one's career path tends to be a bit vague.
Then, the following year, the Acting Bug bit, and that was it.

But my parents never really gave up their quest, at least as far as I was concerned.  When my brother went into law enforcement, I think they realized that the only kinds of writing he'd be doing were police reports and traffic tickets.  But there was hope for me; after all, I was in a creative field, and writing was something I could "fall back on."
Yeah.  Most parents of aspiring actors tell them to take accounting classes.  Mine told me to write.
Because it's such a SECURE profession!

My rebellion was to do the opposite and avoid writing whenever possible.

When my kids came along, my parents told me to write down their exploits, which would make great fodder.  I refused.  Having been the subject of such fodder for many years when my dad wrote a column (and worse, when both parents got together and wrote a book about their marriage and kids, the Title of Which Shall Not Be Spoken in my presence), I was not about to turn around and do that to my offspring.

But lately, writing has been a bit of a saving grace for me. I'm sitting and writing a few days a week.  Not anything that anyone will ever see.  Not yet.  I'm just enjoying the process.  And, it turns out, it's good for my sanity.  Sitting in a cafe with a cup of coffee and vomiting words out into a notebook (yes, the kind with lined paper inside that you write in with a pen) is fun and therapeutic.  I guess that this apple didn't fall so far from the tree, after all.  Not that I ignore my kids or chase down politicians, mind you.  I'll never have a byline, a sandwich named after me at a local deli, or be painted into a mural at a local pub.

But I AM writing.  Who knows, maybe someday I'll actually show someone something I've written.  Actually, I did:  I dug out a very short play I'd written about 12 years ago and submitted it to a local theater for consideration in their 10-minute plays festival.  It didn't get chosen.  I wasn't really expecting it to. And last year I helped write a play with a group of students, which they performed for their families and friends.

Many of my own friends have become writers.  One wrote an entire season of "In Treatment" for HBO, as well as contributing to "A Gifted Man."  Another developed, writes, directs, and produces "Last Resort." And yet another has a play that will open on Broadway soon.  I'm not trying to be in the same league with them.

At least, not yet.
(Cue evil laughter!)

But I was just reading an article about writers who also meditate, and how the practice informs their writing.  The columnist spoke to 5 or 6 mystery authors, and one of them said that it's important to enjoy the writing process, and not just think about the finished product.
Which is what I'm doing now.  It doesn't have to be perfect. Heck, it doesn't even have to be GOOD.

It just needs to be written down.
In a notebook.
With a pen.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What a Difference a Week Makes

Last week I was wondering how much longer I'd continue to teach Pilates.
Now I know: Until the end of the year.
I'm giving up my classes and private clients.  I've told almost everyone: I haven't told my boss or students at the gym where I teach my Saturday class yet.  I know they'll be bummed.  And I'll miss them, but I also know I'm doing the right thing.  I'm a big believer in following my instincts (once I've gathered up my courage to do so, which can take QUITE a while, lol!) and also in signs.  Not, y'know "Stop" and "Yield" and "Caution, Wet Floor,"  you don't really have to BELIEVE in those, they definitely exist, and I definitely pay attention! But SIGNS.  Messages from the Universe, or G-d, or my dad, my grandparents, or whomever is watching out for me and mine (and someone absolutely is: I have done some DUMBASS things in my life:  Let me tell ya, whoever got assigned as my guardian angel has been working overtime!) that I don't always pay attention to.

I believe I've written before about the Cosmic Duh?
Yeah, sometimes I don't do subtle very well. I need the celestial equivalent of an ACME anvil dropped on me before I get it.
I am the universe's Wyle E. Coyote.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that things usually happen for a reason, and that reason may not become clear right away. It's VERY easy, however, to get caught up in the day-to-day stress of life.
I was thinking about this last night: When we bought our first piece of property, a condo in L.A., we weren't allowed to bring our dog with us.  He was a Malamute, and the previous owner had had an untrained husky who'd wreaked all sorts of havoc.  We tried: begging, pleading, cajoling, brownies, letting the board get to meet him so he could charm the pants offa them (which he did, but, thankfully, not literally).  They were very apologetic, but rules were rules, and big dogs simply weren't allowed anymore.
So he came here, to live with my in-laws.  Which, in all honesty, was better for him. L.A. was hot, we didn't have a yard, and the condo was quite small.  Here he had milder weather, a big house, a yard, and his best doggy friend in the world to live and play with.  And we visited frequently. I even took jobs that kept me here for a month or two.  For their own sake, yes, but with the added bonus of being near him. He was my baby before I had babies.  :)  He lived out his days here quite happily.
As a result of all this, we frequently visited the Pasadena Humane Society on the lookout for a small dog.  And there was where we found Luna: 6 months old, adorable, sweet, and, ultimately, ours.  And we were hers.  If the condo board had let us keep Tundra with us, then Luna would never have been a part of our lives, and that would have been tragic. She was meant to be with us, and we with her.  She was an amazing pup, and she was loved by so many people.  Last night LG asked again if Luna was sleeping, and I told him that, yes, Luna had to go to sleep forever.  But that she's happy and with her canine cohorts.
There are still moments when missing her is a physical ache, but I had a dream about her the other night.  I think she was telling me she's OK. Probably getting her butt rubbed by Dad.
And Chopper, my S-I-L's pit bull, comes up to our room every day to visit and cuddle. He misses Luna, and he knows I miss her too. This would be a lot harder without him. He's a big, goofy bundle of pure love.

So as I stress out about jobs, money, the election, the MLB playoffs (go Giants!), I try to keep in mind that Things Happen For A Reason.

And the fact is, Pilates served a purpose for a few years. I made some money, got out of the house, got good workouts, and had a chance to talk to other adults.  I met people I wouldn't have otherwise.  I certainly don't regret it, it's just time to move on.
Even living in L.A. and feeling beaten down served a purpose.  I now know not to let other people determine my value.  I also was able to open my perspective quite a bit: Until that point, my entire life since the age of 10 had been focused on acting (with some teaching thrown in).  I was forced to discover other things in life.  And, of course, it allowed me to focus on my kids.
I come back to it now with a much broader perspective: I may be a little rusty, but I'm older and much, much wiser, with more experience not just as a theater person, but as a Person.

And, again, I take a good, hard look at the things I'm drawn to, whether it's a TV show, an actor, a painting, a book, yoga, whatever.  There's a REASON I'm drawn to it/them. They make life better, and they give me a clue as to what I need to follow my heart.
I'm also learning not to feel guilty for going after what I want. It will not only make me happy, I'll set the kind of example I want to set for my kids, I'll be a better mom, a better wife, a better everything.  Being a martyr never helps anyone, and, quite frankly, martyrs are annoying.
There's a reason they're celebrated only after they're dead!

OK.  So. A new day, a new week, and a new temperature (the heat has finally broken and we're actually getting some much-needed rain).  Hopefully Hubby and I can take our 3rd hike this week, and life will continue on apace.

Peace out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just finished an hourlong walk around a nearby reservoir.  I only did a bit over 3 miles, but much of it was uphill.  Plus, I was carrying a backpack.  That counts for something, right?  :)
It's very woodsy there, and there was a family of deer having lunch by the trail.
It's also RIGHT on top of the San Andreas fault, so it's never dull...
I have the day off today.  Spent some time at the bookstore and realized I may be (gasp!) losing my taste for my froofy-girly-coffee drinks.  I may actually prefer my iced soy lattes (made with unsweetened soy milk and VERY strong coffee) with a bit of stevia mixed in to the mochafrappawhippedcreamsugarbombs.

Whoulda thunk it?!?!

I AM trying to cut down on sugar, dairy, and gluten.

In other news, it is HAWT here today!   It feels like summer.  And summer kinda felt like fall.
I'm so confused.
But that may be due to the fact that I had four hours of sleep last night, and I'm starting to feel a little punchy. I figure it's about 5 more hours until I can convince the kids to go to bed.  In the meantime, there are baths to be given, dinner to be prepared, and a presidential debate which I will sort-of watch (tuning in for a minute or two here and there) like I did the VP debate last week.
Because they make me nervous.

Have I mentioned how much I HATE election years?
The good thing is I watch a lot less TV than I used to, so I'm not inundated with campaign ads. The bad news is my F-I-L is a news junkie, so the TV downstairs is on cable news. All.  Flippin'. Day.  When I go downstairs to make dinner I wear my headphones and listen to music so I don't have to hear the talking heads.

Yes, I have issues.
But don't worry, I'm in therapy.

And in still, I have a new workout buddy!  It's Hubby!!!!!  Last Friday I met him at his workplace and we went for a hike during his lunch break.  The VA clinic is right by Fort Miley/Land's End, which overlooks the Pacific, has great walking trails, and leads one to a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge. And he is, as you may know, quite athletic, so he knows all the fun trails.  We're meeting again on Thursday. I'm hoping it can be a weekly thing.
'Cause you know what they say about the couple that hikes together. lots of great stuff...outside.
(Like the fuzzy caterpillar we saw last week!!!!!)
I also broke down and ordered a new set of yoga DVDs.  Since I can't get to the studio, I'll bring the studio to me. I'm going to try to do those 3 days a week.  They're only 20-35 minutes, but they're pretty intense. I figure that's pretty doable.  Combine those with my walks/hikes, and the occasional swim/bike ride, and I will be a happy camper.

OK.  Off to cook dinner for the kiddos.
Have a good one!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sometimes I Forget

That my main job, my full-time job, is being a mom.  Not that I forget I have kids, but that raising them is, in fact, a more-than-full-time job.  A recent study published in "Real Simple" magazine showed that if a stay-at-home-mom were considered a CEO and paid what she's worth, she'd earn $112,000/year.  She works an average of 94 hours a week (although I think that number is low, especially if she has kids with special needs).
Because my kids are now in school, I forget how much energy I expend taking care of them.  Because it's not just about taking care of them physically, it's also about shopping for/preparing food, doing laundry, meeting with their teachers, scheduling their doctor's/dentist's/therapy (for their autism) appointments, getting them to and from said appointments, keeping the house somewhat sanitary, etc  Along with working my 3 out-of-the-home jobs, trying to fit in my workouts, and maybe, some time for myself and with my husband.
It's making me wonder how much longer I can, and SHOULD, hang on to my Pilates classes.

When I was in my 20's (and before I was a mom) I worked multiple jobs in multiple cities.  It wasn't uncommon for me to teach a class, drive 2 hours, stay overnight, teach another class, drive another 2 hours back, do a performance, go home, wake up, and do it all again. There's no way I can do that anymore, lol!
And as much as I want to get back onstage, I have to wonder if, at this point, I have the energy for it.

I also wonder if I'm holding myself back:  Right now I'm teaching Pilates mainly for the paycheck.  It's not fair to my clients, and it's not fair to me. It's absolutely not fair to the kids.  Maybe, if I were to give it up entirely, other opportunities would arise in the field I want to focus on.  That's usually the way it works, I've found.
Plus, there's the simple fact that I am spreading myself too thin. I am plum exhausted, and I cannot continue on this road. (Plus I really shouldn't be THIS tired after 8 solid hours of sleep.) I want to have energy, at the end of the day, to hang out with my kids, and right now I just don't.  I'm shirking my most important responsibility, and that feels awful!
This weekend I spent A LOT of time with the kids, and they really responded to that!  It was amazing!  See, the thing is, even though they're not toddlers anymore, they still need me.  And I need time to be with them. When I wake up every Saturday morning grousing because I have to go teach, that's PROBABLY a sign that maybe I'm experiencing a little burnout.  It's also more time away from my kids, time when we could be riding bikes or going on the train or taking a walk. Time for the four of us, which is a rare commodity these days.

Time.  As Voice of the Beehive says, "Time is a distance that you can't retract by miles."  The kids are growing up so fast, and I don't want to miss it.
So perhaps it's TIME for me to let go of what's not working for us, and embrace what is.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And Another Thing...

Expanding on a bit of yesterday's topic, which got me thinking.  I have FINALLY realized that I am a highly-sensitive person.  OK, I've known that for some time.  Except I used to think of myself as an OVERLY-sensitive person. That it was like a disease, and something I needed to get over or else I would never, ever be happy/successful/fulfilled/strong.
The thing is, it takes a WHOLE LOTTA STRENGTH to navigate this world with sensitivity, more so than it does without. If one is without large reserves of empathy, thoughtfulness, consideration, one feels less.  It's easier to get by without guilt, without caring.  Being selfish, not being thoughtful, not bothering to put oneself in another's shoes, all of that makes life a whole lot easier, I would imagine.
I made the mistake, for a long time, of assuming everyone felt things the way I did.  Of course they don't:we're all unique, after all.  And as I listened to the criticism ("G-d, you're so SENSITIVE!  Lighten up!  It's just a joke") I wondered what was wrong with me.
Well, as it turns out, NOTHING.  I'm far from perfect, but I'm also not the weak, fragile, not-living-in-the-real-world china doll that many have accused me of being.  In fact, I'd wager that if ANY of those folks switched places with me for a day, they'd run out the door screaming by the end of it.  They couldn't handle my life.
And, actually, a few of them have even told me that.  "I don't know how you do it" is a refrain I hear more and more these days.  It doesn't make me a hero, or special, or any of that.  But it DOES make me STRONG.  Resilient.  I've had a whole bunch of crap flung at me in my 43 years, and I'm still here.
The truth is, when people try to insult me, they're saying a whole lot more about themselves than they are about me.  I've said it before, I'll say it again:  Just because someone has an opinion of me doesn't mean I have to believe it. And just because I do things differently doesn't mean I'm wrong.
I spent way too many years trying to be what others wanted me to be.  To do things their way.  And ended up more confused than Sybil.  The harder I tried to make people like me, the less they did.
So screw it.  Like me or don't, I don't particularly care.  You have the right to your opinion.  But if you try to shove it down my throat, you're gonna find yourself covered in spit-up.
The simple fact is, most people are out for themselves first.  Putting their own interests ahead of everyone else, often including their own kids.  Fine.  But don't expect ME to be like that. I'm no martyr, but I'm also not a drama queen.  I save it for the stage!  :)

At the end of the day, I'd rather be who I am, sensitivity and all, than someone else. I know a good number of people who are successful, well-off, attractive, etc., but don't really give a rip about anyone else.  That seems like a pretty hollow existence, to me. I may be struggling financially, I may be fat, I'm definitely prone to anxiety and depression, but at least I give a sh*t.
For the time being I may have to live with the drama, the noise, the passive-aggressive complaining, the veiled insults.  But i DON'T have to let them shame me!  I have NOTHING to be ashamed of! And, finally, FINALLY, I realize that I am NOT someone to merely be tolerated, I am someone to be CELEBRATED. And whomever doesn't see that, well, that's their blindness, not a failing in me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Farewell, Facebook!

I'm ending my relationship with Facebook.  Or, as I prefer to call it, Timesuck.  I seriously spend waaaaaaaay too much time there. And stuff that needs to get done falls by the wayside. I'm also a glutton for punishment, getting into political discussions with mean, nasty trolls, which I know will upset me, but I do it anyway.  And, being the overly-sensitive type, I don't handle it well when people who say they are my friend, people I've known and liked for many years, loop me in with groups of people they hate and say nasty things about us.  I know I'm not "supposed to" take it personally, but I do.  And I always will.  I try not to lump people into stereotypes, and I appreciate it when others do the same.  Unfortunately that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.
*Sigh*  I suppose I'm just a morally superior human being.  :)
As The Doctor said to Rose, when she warned him not to leave the TARDIS because there were soldiers waiting outside who had guns:
"And I don't, which makes me the better person.  They may shoot me dead, but the moral high ground is mine."
I'm debating whether I should first suspend it, or go ahead and just delete it.  I have some things on my wall that I really like.  We'll see.  Either way, in the grand scheme of things, it's not THAT big of a deal.  And I have a feeling I'll be a lot happier. Once I get over the withdrawal symptoms.

In other news, I've been a bit lax with my workouts the past few days.  As in, over the past 5 days I've worked out a total of once.  And that was only because I was teaching the class.  If I'd had my druthers, I would have slept in and skipped it entirely.
But it's OK to take a break sometimes.  In fact, I think it's necessary.  And it's not like I've been a woman of leisure: I still walk LG to/from school, teach Shakespeare to the 38 kids (which uses up A LOT of energy, lol!), do fun stuff with my own kids (yesterday we toured a lighthouse), and, oh yeah, things like vacuuming, sweeping, laundry, etc., etc.
Plus going up and down the stairs 438 times a day.

I'm also trying to do more Things I Enjoy.  Swimming for fun rather than counting laps.  Going for a walk in order to explore, rather than counting steps. Focusing on the quality of food rather than counting calories.
And, the biggie, as always, trying to stop OBSESSING over the things I cannot control!
Like elections.
I will vote.
At the moment, that's all I can do.
I cannot control who will win.  Either way, life must go on.  Granted, I'm planning on updating my family's passports, just in case, lol!

I also find myself dropping more and more into deeper and deeper periods of depression.  Some of them coincide with Aunt Flow, but many of them stem from anxiety.  Or from looking at our circumstances and wondering, sometimes, how we got here.
Not that here is all that bad, mind you.  It's just not where I thought and hoped we'd be at this point. And I have moments of wanting things I can't have; wanting them so badly it becomes a physical ache.  Not material things, but dreams.  The ones that never came true.
I know my life is so much better than I ever could have imagined 20 years ago.  But I guess when you get to a certain point and you realize that some things will just never happen, well, it's natural to wonder "What if?" It's part of getting out of denial, I think.  It's healthy to mourn the death of dreams, and then make room for new ones.
Feeling sad, even this horrible depression, isn't something to be avoided at all costs.  It's to be felt, then let go of.  If I were unable to come out of these bouts, I'd be worried.  But they come, and then they go.  And if I can remember that, then all will be well. And they have something to teach me. I just need to pay attention.
In the meantime, I'll be swallowing some St. John's Wort.  Because it doesn't seem to hurt, and it just may help.

OK.  It's 9:30 PM and time for this party girl to get to bed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oy to the Vey!

*NOTE:  The first part of this post was written a week ago.

I imagine it would come as no surprise to say that I am something of a luddite.  I STILL can't post a video or photo on this blog, unless I do it from my phone.  And even then...
Last night it took me 2 1/2 hours to email photos I'd taken with my iPad.  Of course, the iPad wouldn't let me email directly, so I had to go to my mobile email app, attach the photos a few at a time, email them to myself, and THEN email them to my coworkers.  And in the middle of THAT, our wireless, which has been faithful for months, went out.  I was finally able to run a diagnostic & get it going again, but it's a wonder I'm not bald from tearing my hair out.
Finally, one of my coworkers didn't get the photos, so after I taught my Pilates class this morning I sent them again.  So far so good, knock on wood.

Later today I have to create a spreadsheet.  I'm worried the computer is simply going to blow itself up when I do.

Watched the Emmys on Sunday.  Mainly to see if "Sherlock" or "Luther" would win anything.  Of course they didn't.  Most of the Emmy voters have probably never heard of either show.
I'm SO GLAD not to be in L.A. anymore!!!!!!  Have I mentioned that?

On a more positive note, I can feel my inner creativity beast (which, in my mind, looks like an 8-foot  muppet monster created by the Henson Company) is waking up. I find myself having far less patience with brain-killing content (like reality shows, entertainment magazines, or anything with the name "Kardashian" attached to it) and craving more of the good stuff.  Just as the body needs its vitamins and veggies, the brain needs things it can figuratively chew on, as well.  And let me tell ya, being prepared to answer a barrage of questions about Shakespeare from a group of 41 4th-8th graders will wake the mind up, pronto!  It's like a cold bucket of water inside the ol' noggin!

*OK, back to real time!

Right now, I have the entire house to myself!  Except for the dog.
This NEVER happens!  Not with 9 people living here, 2 of whom are retired.  But my S-I-L and nephew are visiting from Hawaii, so everyone who isn't working or in school is out doing...stuff. I don't know what..
I don't care!  It's QUIET!!!!!
Of course, I have an appointment in an hour, and they'll probably be back by then, but I've had 90 minutes of pure, unadulterated ME time.

Because this house is LOUD.  And sometimes a body just needs some quiet.

To find it I've been spending quite a bit of time at the cafe.  Drinking strong coffee and writing.  Which is NOT a bad way to spend the time!
I figure I've earned it.  I've had very little time to just sit and relax over the last 20 years.  I work a lot.  I have kids.  So when I have the chance, I am going to take it.  And milk it.  Like a poor, neglected cow that's been lactating for weeks.

I've also gone back, again, to my Slim Series/Slim in 6 DVDs.  They challenge me without my having to either work out for hours at a time or bounce around a lot, which I'm sure the folks on the second floor (including my 5 month-old niece) appreciate.

And then pleaseohpleaseohplease, it's back to the computer, back to Excel, and back to getting these #$&*-ing spreadsheets done!

To be fair, they never taught us this in drama school!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Going On

Yes, life does go on.  It has to.  I still find myself automatically checking the spot where Luna's bed was, in the living room, every time I walk in.  Or I hear a scratching noise and think it's her, scratching at the carpet before laying (lying?) down on it.  She was part Corgi, and they're known for arranging their sleeping spots just so. Or I'll hear Chopper walking around and, for a split second, forget that it's not Luna.

He was looking for her the other night.  Chopper.  He likes to be inside, but he stood by the door until my sister-in-law let him out.  Then he started sniffing the entire yard, and barking when he couldn't find her.  :(
At times I miss her to the point where it's a physical ache.  We knew her time was coming, but when I left for work that morning, I honestly had no idea that in a few hours I'd be holding her while she breathed her last.

Tonight I made pizza for dinner.  Luna loved to eat the crusts, and it was a small shock, again, to remember she wasn't there to beg for them.  I ended up throwing them away.

But...there are good things happening, too.  I started teaching the Shakespeare class, and the 3 hours flew by.  Always a good sign!  The fact that there are 3 of us, and not just me, makes all the difference. Plus, I'm a "floater":  I won't be responsible for any single group, but, rather, will help out wherever I'm needed.  It's very cool!

I'm a little nervous about tomorrow:  I'm babysitting my niece for the first time.  It's been a while since I've cared for a baby.  I hope I remember how, lol!
After that, I teach the Shakespeare class again, and after THAT, I race back up the freeway to teach my last Wednesday night Pilates Mat class.
Then I'll come home and pass out.

I am very much looking forward to it being 24 hours from now.

On yet another note, I've had insomnia, on and off, for the past 3 weeks.  So much has happened: the kids starting school, the new jobs, letting go of the old jobs, and, of course, the pup. I've been taking anti-anxiety meds to help me sleep.  Not every night, I don't want to come to rely on them.  I think that this, too, shall pass.  Once everything has settled a bit and I'm in my new routine, sleep will come more easily.
Plus, I've got to cut my caffeine intake!

So, yes, life goes on.
It's just a little bit dimmer at the moment.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Goodbye, Luna. We Love You!

My heart is breaking.

I just got back from the vet where we put down our dog, Luna.  She was 14 years old, and had had bladder cancer for a couple of years.  At the time of her diagnosis we were given the option of surgery, but declined. We wanted whatever time she had left to be spent in comfort, and her spirits were still high.  She was active and happy, if a bit arthritic and slower than she used to be.  She was the best family dog anyone could have asked for.
We adopted her from the Pasadena SPCA in early 1999.  She was 6 months old, and had just been brought in with her brother.  My husband saw her first, then motioned me over.  It was literally love at first sight, and as soon as we saw her, we knew she was ours.  And vice-versa.
We put out name on the list and, luckily, were the first to do so.  A LOT of people, as it turned out, wanted her.  But we got her.  And after she was spayed and given her shots, we took her home.
She was a spirited little thing: a mix of Corgi and Pit bull, she was curious, energetic, and loved everyone.  The one thing she DIDN'T like was being home alone.  One night Hubby and I returned from an evening out to find a pile of Ripped Up Stuff in the living room: books, shoes, photos, and even a role of toilet paper. I was convinced that if she had opposable thumbs she would have set the whole thing on fire.
She also tore up the bathroom wall, tried to dig a hole in the carpet, and took a while to house train. And was the sweetest puppy ever.

In 2000, when she was 2 years old, I got pregnant with our first child.  Luna became my guardian.  No one could get near me without her permission. Even, sometimes, Hubby!  When the baby was born, she became his sworn protector.  Same thing with our daughter.  She showed the ultimate in patience and tolerance with both of them, and watched over them as if they were her own. Once she got a know a person, or another animal, that was it, they were Pack.

One night, before we were to leave on a trip to Lake Tahoe, she showed signs of her recurring bladder infection.  I took her to the emergency vet to get her medicine. Another woman was there, with an old dog.  The woman started to cry, because she was going to have to put her dog down.  Luna walked over and sat by her, leaning against her leg.
Last year I took her to a dog park that was near the water. It was a hot day, so when she was done, I let her play in the water for a bit.  There were a number of other dogs there, many of them swimming into the lagoon to fetch tennis balls.  Luna's herding instinct kicked in, and every time a dog swam out, she would herd them back in.
Basically, she was the sweetest, most empathetic, and hardest-working dog I've ever known.  And I'm feeling guilty for putting her down, even though I know it was for the best.  I wish I'd taken her for a walk or something first.  But she was panting and trembling, and seemed like she was in pain.

And I'm missing her so much right now.

Our other dog has barely left my side since I've returned.  He knows his pal is gone, and that I'm sad.
Animals rule.

I have to commend the vet, and everyone in his office.  When it was time, the woman who cleans the office came in and stayed with me, petting Luna and whispering in Spanish, and crying with me.  The doctor, who is, I believe, Sikh, asked if he could say a prayer while he administered the injection.  First he gave her a sedative, and then, when she was calm, the stuff that stopped her heart.  It was quick and painless, and I was right there with her.  Then they left so I could say goodbye. It was the best way we could have let her go.  Everyone in the office was so kind, and everyone was so sad.

In some ways, Luna was MY dog.  I took care of her most of the time, took her with me to many, many places, and called her my puppy.  I told her, as I was kissing her goodbye, that she's STILL my puppy.
And she always will be.

Play in Peace, my lovely puppy.  Run around with your friends in that endless dog park, drink from the giant, never-empty water bowl, and eat as many treats (and as much cake) as you want.

And always know how very much you are loved.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Feeling A Bit Proud Of Myself...

I wrote 13 pages of a story today.  I left the kids with Hubby, went to my new favorite cafe, and sat for 3 hours, writing. And it felt SO GOOD!!!!!
I don't know if anyone will ever see what I wrote, but it still felt amazing.  And reading it over, I must say that it's not half bad!  The most important thing is that I did it.  I sat down and wrote something.  That's the first step.
I also have officially let go of the Wednesday night class, which means 2 Pilates classes are gone.  My boss was COMPLETELY understanding, and has asked me to teach 1 last session, as well as to stay on as a sub, both of which I readily agreed to.
Soon I'll start the twice-weekly Shakespeare class, and then the consulting  for the literacy-through-theater company that Hubby works with, to help develop a program for autistic kids.
And a little bit scary.
I'm giving up guaranteed income to take a chance on some POSSIBLE future income.  Granted, I'm getting paid for the new jobs, but there's no guarantee they'll last.
Maybe, however, they'll not only last, but blossom into new opportunities.  Which is why I FINALLY took these first steps, as well.  Better to fail than to look back and wonder what if.
I often think of myself as a female Walter Mitty: Staid and somewhat boring on the outside, but with a feverish imagination.  Seriously, my brain NEVER stops.  Which is a problem at 4 AM, but pretty awesome the rest of the time.
(It also makes meditation challenging, but I'm working on it.)
The main thing is to NOT let my imaginings become more interesting than my real life.  So far so good, but it was getting a little too close for comfort.  It was a sign that I needed to change things up.
So I am.
And that makes me pretty damn happy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Take A Risk! Huh?!?!?!

When I was a young lass, a freshman in college, my acting teacher (who, you may recall, despised me), told me, as we were beginning an exercise, to "Take a risk, for once!"  Being my 18 year-old, terrified, desperate-to-please self, I nodded.  Problem was, I had NO idea what she meant.
My life up to and including that point (and for a few more years to come) was all about NOT standing out.  Not making mistakes, not disagreeing with anyone, not making waves.
Kinda funny that I chose to be on stage, but I think there was a part of me that was already rebelling against the Good Girl.
The exercise, a silly game I can't really remember, went on, and my teacher was, as usual, disappointed in me. I soldiered on, managed to get my degree (and even get cast in a few shows along the way), and eventually made my way to the Shakespeare company in Massachusetts where I learned what it meant to take a risk, among so many other things.

There's a lot of risk-taking advice going around these days.  Some of it has to do with finances ("DO NOT RISK ANYTHING!!!!!!"  seems to be the order of the day), while sometimes it's about Life.  The latter is where we hear about taking risks, doing things that scare us, stepping (man, I'm sick of this phrase) "outside the box."
Well, many, MANY years after that freshman year (wow, a WHOLE lotta years!), I'm taking one.  I dropped one Pilates class, as I mentioned, and just told my boss that I want to drop my long-running evening class.  Part of me hates to do it: I've been teaching that class for 4 1/2 years, I love the students, and I'm a little worried about the lighter paycheck, but I REALLY need to take a step in the direction I've been wanting to go in, and that means teaching more acting and less Pilates.
Plus, it'll mean I won't have to teach 3 hours in San Jose, race up the freeway in rush hour traffic and then teach another hour. I'll be a lot less exhausted, lol!
What's funny is that it din't even occur to me to drop the class until a couple of days ago.  But as soon as I thought of it, I knew it was the right thing to do.  Hubby & I discussed it  (sort of; I mentioned it to him & he said "If you think it's the right thing, it's the right thing.  Go for it." How much do I love that man?!?!?!) and I made the decision.  And immediately felt a weight lifted from my shoulders.  So I knew it was the right decision.
But it still feels scary.  All the what-ifs have been racing around my brain: What if I hate the job?  What if THEY hate me? What if I don't get more work in the future?  Will I be able to make my student loan payments? And the other side:  What if it goes well and they offer me more work?  Can I do that AND be here for the kids?  Will we need to hire someone to help take care of them?  Will we be able to afford THAT?
I keep reminding myself that the kids are older, more independent, and can probably handle mom working more hours.  In fact, that's a goal for them, to be less reliant on me and more on themselves.  They may never be fully independent, but that's certainly the hope.  Is it possible I'm holding them back, even a little bit, by being home so much?

Is it possible to have more mom guilt?  I don't think it is!  :)

Anyway, I'm waiting to hear from my boss.  I was hoping to do this is person, but LG is home sick today, so I had to tell her by email.  Ugh. Easier on me, maybe, but still not the way I wanted to handle it.

I'm also reminding myself of another old adage, everything happens for a reason.  so, I'll try to keep the faith, look on the bright side, and stop speaking in cliches.

And I'll let you know how it all works out.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ms. Crankypants!

Yes, PMS is here.  But it's also been a helluva week.  Hubby is away on a 4-day trip, and I am, once again, taking care of the kids by myself.  And 2 dogs, one of which is like having a third child.
I finally realized that everyone else's vacations mean more work for me.  And I desperately need one of my own.  A REAL vacation; not a working vacation, or one where we go away and I'm taking care of the kids while everyone else goes off to have fun.  I realize I don't have to justify going away for a couple of days by adding in a workshop or meetings or what have you.  Because I work my butt off, and I don't get days off.  Plus, I'm preparing to start 2 NEW jobs.  Along with the ones I already have.

I also have another slight cold.  Nothing like what I had after the move, thank goodness, but enough to make me tired and irritable.  And I want a nanny to look after the kids so I can stay in be and rest! WAH!

But the main thing is that I want to give up my Pilates classes.  It's been fun and I love my clients, but I don't feel as though I'm serving them anymore.  It's also not my life's passion:  I see just how passionate my fellow teachers are, and it's just not there for me.  I'd rather put my attention and somewhat limited time into teaching my drama students and possibly performing again. I'm grateful for having been able to teach Pilates for the past 4+ years and to all my students, but maybe, in the next few months...well, we'll see.  Of course, it'll mean no more free memberships at the clubs, but there's always something.  The sad fact is, I don't workout there much, anyway. I walk, use my DVDs and weights, and go to the yoga studio.  And there are some nearby pools open year-round that I fully intend to use.  :)

Because maybe, just maybe, it's time to relinquish a bit of control-er-responsibility.  After all, hubby does have a full-time job.  We're not exactly reliant on my Pilates income. I've spent 11 years being the primary caregiver AND working. And for the next 2 months, I'll be juggling 4 jobs with childcare while Hubby rehearses/performs in a show.

I'm tired of feeling as if I'm invisible.  Of being the one who will take care of everything because, well, I always do.  It's time for some folks to learn some independence, and to ASK, not just assume. It's time for me to rediscover that artsy-type I once was, to express something beyond "Get down from there!" I LOVE being a mom, but in order to be the best mom I can be, I need to find parts of myself that have been buried.

And in the meantime, I'm gonna take some Zicam and go to bed!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For

So the day has finally arrived:  WG is in her first full week back at school (she started last Thursday) and LG started Middle School today.  For the last couple of months I've been looking forward to today, when both kids are back in school for a full day.
So why was I crying walking home from dropping LG off?
I didn't sleep well last night.  When I did sleep, I had anxiety dreams.
Surprise, surprise.
The middle school is HUGE, and there are SO MANY kids, and they're SO BIG!!!!!! And since the move, whenever I leave, LG gets anxious, asking after me and sometimes crying until I get home.  He seemed fine when I left his classroom this morning.  I hope he stayed that way (I'll find out in about 90 minutes).  If he didn't, he'll be fine in a couple of days, once he gets into the routine.  But he WAS excited last night:  He kept saying "Sleep, wake up, school!"
After I walked home I got into the car and left to run some errands.  I went to the grocery store for the first time by myself in 6 weeks.  I sat in a coffee shop.  I kept reminding myself that there was no rush to be anywhere, and it felt...odd.  I'm sitting here now trying to relax, but it feels strange to not be checking on the kids every 10 minutes, or herding them into the car, or taking them to the park.
And I have this constant, fairly high-level hum of anxiety.  Which I imagine will stay with me until I pick him up.

And WG doesn't get home now until 4:00!
They're growing up, and I'm not sure I like it!

Yesterday I was thinking (yet again!) about what I've been doing with my life.  We met up with some friends who are in town with the national touring production of "War Horse" (we're seeing it tomorrow).  They mentioned auditioning for the Broadway production, and we talked about our friends who are writing for HBO and the networks, have TV series they created coming in the Fall, and plays they've written being produced on Broadway.
To be honest, I was feeling a bit of a failure.  Granted, many of these friends don't have kids, and the ones who do don't have kids with special needs. This morning it occurred to me that, while I may never be a Broadway actor or playwright, I have two great kids with a lot of challenges who are thriving. And I'm so proud of them I'm surprised I don't burst from it.  And our friends who don't have kids tell me they're jealous of me, as well.  Because sometimes it's just not possible to have it all.

Earlier this morning I accepted 2 jobs that were offered to me last week.  I'm going to help one company develop a theater curriculum for public school kids who have Autism, and I'll be the "head teacher" for the SF Shakespeare Festival's Midnight Shakespeare program in San Jose, which brings Shakespeare to elementary and middle school kids. It's a program I taught  in the City 12 years ago, and it's terrific.  The now-head of the program is a woman I know from 20 years ago at Shakespeare & Company.  We met up again at the workshop in March.
Kismet?  I'd like to think so.  20 years and 3,000 miles has to be more than coincidence.

So it may not be Broadway, but it's something that, hopefully, will make a difference.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sometimes You Just Need a Good Cry

Ever since my kids came along I have become something of a leaky faucet.  During my pregnancies I would cry at things like "Emergency Vets" on Animal Planet, I now cry at...well, whatever strikes my fancy.
Some of them make sense: Sad movies, sweet things my kids do, stuff like that.  Sometimes I'll cry even just THINKING about these things.
But other times I'll tear up for no apparent reason whatsoever. And I finally realized that it's OK.  Sometimes a body just needs to shed a few tears.
Sometimes, too, you need a good belly laugh, which is why I'm re-reading, for the umpteenth time, "The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul" by Douglas Adams.  It's tinged with a bit of sadness, however, as Mr. Adams departed this plane in 2001, at the age of 49 (6 years older than I am now!), leaving behind a wife and a young daughter.  I think we could really use his perspective today.  And, on a personal note, when this book came out I went to a signing he did in NYC, but was too nervous to say anything beyond "Hi" and "Thank you."  I wish I'd told him how much I loved his writing, how much it inspired me, and so many other things. As I walked out that day, I told myself that NEXT TIME I would tell him.
Except there was no next time.

I've since been to other book signings.  I make it a point to tell the authors, briefly, how much I enjoy their work.  I don't want to make a pest of myself, but I think we all like to hear when something we've worked hard on has affected another person in a positive way.  Whatever it is.

When I was 15 I went to see a show with a great cast that included Jeremy Brett, he of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" fame.  Afterwards I waited by the stage door to get his autograph.  He appeared and was immediately surrounded, so I waited my turn.  When it came, I said, very softly, "I loved you as Sherlock Holmes."  He smiled, thanked me, and signed my program.  Before turning away he looked right at me again, gave me another smile, and squeezed my shoulder.
And I drifted away on a moonbeam, having a very Marsha-Brady-"I'll-never-wash-this-shoulder-again" moment. My dad (who'd witnessed the whole thing, along with my mom) said "I think he really appreciated what you said."
I think so, too.  But even more, I think he recognized a shy, slightly terrified 15 year-old girl who'd dressed up for the occasion and was working up the courage to talk to someone she admired. And he treated her with great kindness.  And I will always remember and appreciate THAT.

Mr. Brett passed away in 1995.  (And before you start thinking that I'm somehow cursing the celebrities I meet, I'll have you know I've met plenty of famous folks who are not only still alive, but have reached a ripe old age, thankyouverymuch!:)) So I'm glad I got to meet him and tell him.

I think all of our interactions affect our lives.  Some in a big way, some in tiny ways. There are people without whom I don't even want to think about living.  Others I could probably gladly do without.  But they're all there for a reason.  Just as I'm in their lives for a reason.

As Dirk Gently would say, it is "The interconnectedness of all things."


Sunday, August 5, 2012

We're on Mars!!!!!

Just spent the last couple of hours watching the live coverage of the Curiosity Landing from JPL.  When we lived in our last place in L.A., we were about 5 minutes from JPL, and a number of our neighbors worked there. I'm sure many of them worked on this rover.
I have to admit that when they said "Touchdown confirmed," I started to cry a bit.
OK, a LOT.
When I was a kid I was fascinated with astronomy.  I wanted to be an astronaut until I was about 20, even as I was a theater major in college.  :) When I was slightly older, I kept a photo of the earth as seen from space on my wall, wherever I lived.   Of course, I stink at both math and science, so becoming an astronaut wasn't in the cards. But watching tonight, and thinking about all the years of work put in to the rover, and watching them sit through the "7 minutes of  Terror" between entering the atmosphere and the landing, it was impossible not to be moved by the successful landing and the almost-immediate first images that came through.  Especially the one of Curiosity's shadow.  On the surface of MARS!  Where it's late afternoon.
On MARS!!!!!!!!

Kinda puts things into perspective.
I just hope we keep progressing, encouraging our scientists.  It's kind of heartening that the NASA and JPL websites crashed because so many people were trying to log on. I heard a scientist say yesterday that it's a difficult time for science in the U.S. right now.  Hopefully this will help turn that around.

I'm of the opinion that scientists are our heroes.  It's not just about the big moments like landing on MARS(!!!!!!!!!), but the everyday science, as well.  My dad was on an experimental cancer treatment that gave him 2 more years of life. It's about electricity, and gravity, and driving a car or taking a train.  It's about my kids playing on a brand-new playground.
If you haven't seen it, go on YouTube and watch "Hawking."  It's a TV film from '04 about Stephen Hawking's days at university and his attempts to prove the existence of the Big Bang.   It has brilliant performances, but also explains the science in a way that even I can understand, lol!  There's a parallel plot that doesn't seem to make sense, until you get to the very end, and then your jaw drops.
Unless, of course, you've read your history/astronomy and already know about it.

Many years ago I read a book called "Einstein's Dreams."  It's a novel by Alan Lightman, who teaches at M.I.T., about the dreams that (in the book, anyway) led to Einstein's discovery of the Theory of Relativity. Shortly after, I saw a play called "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," which was written by Steve Martin and imagines a meeting between Picasso and Einstein.  They compare art and science, and talk about the parallels.
I believe there are many.  Artists are dreamers, but so are scientists, right?  Who else could imagine a way to get us to Mars? Who else looks at the world and wonders why it works the way it does?  Why does an apple fall DOWN from a tree? Are we the center of the universe, or just a teeny-tiny fraction of it? And is it possible to have indoor plumbing?  (Yes, and THANK YOU!!!!)

The director of  JPL just said this will "make the world better."  That's what science does. It's also what art does.
I may not have a brain for science, but, after many years of denial, I AM proud to be an artist.  And yes, I call myself an artist again.

As you can probably tell, I'm on a bit of a high.  :)  Gonna go watch the press conference.
Go Curiosity!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Busy Busy Busy, Yet Nothing Gets Done!

I wrote an essay the other day.  Actually, I wrote 3, but the one I'm referring to was written while the kids were splashing around in the pool.  I got to thinking about why our culture so undervalues parenting. And I believe it's because of the lack of instant gratification: There's not a lot to show for parenting on a day in, day out basis.  If the kids are very young, then chances are good your home will be a mess, you might not shower for days, and food, while available, will be either very basic or made somewhere else and delivered.  Often in a big, square, cardboard box.
Parenting young kids is a combination of catch-up and damage control.  You are trying to prevent your child from committing grievous bodily harm (to him/herself or others) and/or property damage. At the same time, you need to try and Teach Them Things, get the laundry done so everyone will be covered when (IF) you venture out of the house, feed them, often from your own body, put them down for naps, console them when they cry, kiss the inevitable boo-boos, and maybe, at some point, fit in a workout or a nap. (Good luck!)
The thing is, when raising kids, the biggest accomplishment is that, at the end of the day, everyone is still alive.

All of this must be done on little or no sleep.  Add to that the CONSTANT "helpful hints" (aka criticism) from other moms, family, friends, and complete strangers, and it can be a recipe for madness.  On top of it all, when you tell someone who doesn't have kids that you are a stay-at-home parent, their eyes immediately glaze over and they search desperately for someone else to talk to. They seem to believe that once you become a parent, you cease to be a person. That all you are able to focus on/talk about are feedings, poopy diapers, and spit-up.

Because the kids are on summer vacation, it feels like they are toddlers again.  I spend my days keeping them busy, entertained, out of trouble, and trying to read to them/do some basic math/etc. Our part of the house, yes, is a mess. I take them to the park, for walks, to our little pool.  I cook, do laundry, wash endless dishes, yet nothing ever seems to get done.
And then I go to my actual paying job.

I LOVE Summer.  It's my favorite time of year.  Except for the lack of school. They both have 4 weeks of summer school, but it's only in the mornings.  And it's only 4 weeks.
I'm freakin' exhausted, lol!
And there are still 4 more weeks to go.


I also recently realized that the last time I had any kind of vacation sans kids was a Yosemite trip when LG was a year old.
10 years ago.

Trying to find ways to remedy that.
There's a production of "King Lear" at the Shakespeare company I used to work for going on this summer. It's been 10 years in the making, and some of my favorite people are in it.  However, it's 3,000 miles away and closes in 3 weeks.  Plus I'd need transport and a lodging.
Can I get it done?  Hmmmm......

Finally, getting caught up in the Olympics (I LOVE the Olympics) but not so fond of the network coverage.  Instead of showing the (very moving) tribute to the victims of the '05 London attacks, they showed Michael Phelps being interviewed by Ryan Seecrest.  And instead of showing the VERY COOL, pre-filmed opening with Benedict Cumberbatch, they showed a different one highlighting American athletes. (Both un-shown clips are on YouTube, thankfully.)  It's almost as if they don't want to show ANYTHING that isn't 100% American, and it pisses me off.  We wonder why we're being dumbed down!  G-d forbid we should see/hear/LEARN something about a culture other than our own!
And don't even get me started on the glut of campaign ads they're running, or the fact that they'd rather focus on an American athlete tying their shoes than, say, a Russian actually performing their sport!


Finally, I am, once again, Ms. Crankypants.  Partly because of PMS, partly of having the kids home 24/7 (Hubby's been rehearsing for a reading, and barely home.  I DID however, get to read stage directions for a show last week: my first time on stage in 9 years!!!!!! It felt great to work those muscles again!) It's also living with 8 other people (and the 2 dogs), and the fact that LG gets VERY upset if I'm not here.  Still adjusting, obviously.

I'll need to learn to adjust, as well.  It'll certainly be easier once the kids are back in school.  At that time I'll be treating myself to some swimming lessons to work on my freestyle stroke.  I love to swim, but my freestyle leaves much to be desired.  A little birthday gift to myself.  I'll also go back to my yoga class, and look into some improv opportunities (finally!).
And I'm still thinking about Krav Maga.  So I'll be a busy bee.

And maybe actually get some stuff done.