Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yeah, You Don't Need to See That

I was cast in a couple of plays that open in January (yay!) at the theater where I took all sorts of classes about a year ago (yay!).  For the most part, I am very excited about it.  It is an evening of short plays, six in total, and I appear in two (which doesn't happen often - they don't like to double cast these shows because they want as many people working as possible).  I really enjoy both scripts and both directors and both writers and both casts - I think it is going to make for a really fun night of theater.

In one of these shows, though, I will be wearing clothing that a woman of my age and body type really has no business wearing.  That's kind of the point.  And on the one hand, I know it's a sort of sight gag (not quite the right term, but I can't think of a better one), and I'm totally on board for that.  Having been a costume designer, I know that the clothes do a lot to tell the story of the character and when I'm only on stage for three pages, there's a lot of story that needs to be told in not a lot of time, so whatever the costume can do to help is great.  But on the other hand, I have body image issues.  I think we all know this by now.  I think we also all know by now that I don't have washboard abs or a cute, pert little rear end.  I'm curvier and squishier than that.  I take comfort in the fact that my cat likes to sleep on my curvy, squishy tummy.  And I try to be an advocate for non-lollipop women in the arts to get more screen time, so to speak, so this would seem to be a great opportunity to showcase an extremely talented woman with a less than Hollywood-perfect physique.

But it's still freaking me out a little that I will be seen wearing...that.  Like people will love me less if they see my exposed, fish-belly white, curvy, squishy tummy.  Or like they will be so blinded by the stark whiteness of my legs that have not seen the light of day in years that they won't be able to focus on my performance.

I will do it.  I will wear that costume on stage and I am sure that once I am in the scene, I won't even be thinking about it.  I usually don't, once I'm in the scene.  The anticipation of it is freaking me out a little.  Almost motivating me to stop eating for the next two weeks and do lots of crunches, but I know that doing that would then fly in the face of the aesthetic of the piece.  That wouldn't be true to the character or the director's vision or the writer's vision.

Anyway.  I hope people come see these shows and enjoy them.  I hope people are able to focus on my performances instead of my tummy.  Though if you do come see them and stick around to talk to me after, I may need you to tell me that I'm pretty and you still like me.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Big Happy, Little Happy

I dream big.

I think anyone who knows me at all knows this by now.  I can't help it - it's what I do.  It could be an overactive imagination or some coping mechanism for dealing with disappointments in the real world, but I dream big.  I dream of the day when I no longer have to worry about money.  I dream of the day when all I have to do is be an artist.  I dream of finding my life partner.  I dream big.

Thing is, the big things don't happen very often.  That's why they're the big things.

Often times, I find myself getting annoyed with the fact that the big things don't happen often.  I know I've posted before that I sometimes feel like I need that "blow your face off" exciting thing to happen - like I'm owed some enormous debt by the Universe.  I'm sure that's not true, but sometimes it feels that way, and then when all of the other little annoyances in life pile on top of that, I get grumpy.

What I need to remember is that there are a lot of "little happys" that happen all of the time.  Getting a hug from my niece.  Snuggling with my cat.  Making someone laugh.  I think I'm usually pretty good about recognizing these things and appreciating them for what they are.  I was on the train not too long ago (I think it was when I was in New York) and this guy on the train sat next to me and ate these sour candy straws one by one out of their little package and it struck me as so beautiful that this man was enjoying his sour candy straws on the train that I almost started crying.  So I think I'm good at recognizing the "little happys."

This time of year, though, is one wherein we're sort of taught that the big happys are supposed to happen.  Movies and television shows pump us full of the idea that the holidays are magic and magic things happen just in time for Christmas.  And when they don' can be disappointing.  When the object of your affection doesn't suddenly pull you under the mistletoe for a quick kiss that you know in the movies means the start of a long, beautiful relationship.  When the Christmas bonus doesn't happen at all.  When you discover that all of the little holiday treats you've been enjoying really weren't calorie-free and you don't fit into your favorite trousers anymore.  It can be easy to be grumpy.

But I got a little happy today.  Maybe even a medium-sized happy that came with a nice side of ego boost.  So I'm going to smile for a little bit and maybe even hope that it does snow because the world looks pretty when covered with new snow and I got enough little happy today to let me enjoy that.  So go enjoy some happy - big or little - today.  Maybe even spread it around.  Today is a good day for happys of all sizes.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Another Day, Another "Thanks Anyway"

An actor's live is full of rejection.  I knew that going in, and anyone else who considers this career path should know that. For every fifty auditions you go to, you may get one role.  It is the odd lucky streak when you get to work consistently.  Even amongst our big movie stars - from the time a movie is shot to the time it is released can be a period of anywhere from six months to two or three years.  So when you don't see someone in anything for a while, just imagine how long it has actually been since they worked.

But I digress.

An actor's life is full of rejection, for all sorts of reasons.  This morning, I got another, "You were great, but we're going another direction" email.  On the one hand, I like that theater companies are sending these emails now.  It used to just be if you didn't hear from them within about a week, you cross that one off your list.  At least now they let the non-cast people know they weren't cast so we can stop thinking about it.  That's nice. But it is still disappointing to not get to work on certain projects.

Which brings me back to my feeling that I need something to happen in my life that is so amazing it blows my face off.  I feel like I need to define that a little better, because I am surrounded by lots of little things that go right and are lovely and I am thankful for them, but none of them blow my face off.

I have an amazing family and some really wonderful friends.
I love it that my apartment has been warm so far this year.
I love it that my cat is super snugly.
I'm thankful when I find parking on the street so I don't have to pay for parking at work.
I'm thankful that I have one of the all time great heads of hair.
It still makes me smile every day that I get to drive a little green bug.
I have been getting a lot of compliments lately on this one ring that I wear that I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull off in the first place.

All of these things are amazing and humbling and they make me smile and I am thankful for them on a daily basis.

The thing about the "blow my face off" thing is that I feel like it needs to be a game changer.  It could start with something small, but it needs to produce some big end result.  It would be best if it was also surprising.

For example, I got a phone call from a theater company with a bit of a reputation for putting on good theater, inviting me to come audition.  That's pretty cool.  Didn't blow my face off, though, because unless I get the part, nothing really changes.  Now, if I get the part and we get really good reviews, that could be a bit of a game changer and maybe it will turn into the blow my face off thing, but it isn't there yet.  For now, it's just really groovy.  I do appreciate the awesomeness of some cool random thing in my day - like when I get to see a really amazing sunset, or when a puppy I've not met before licks my face - but my face is still in tact.

What I would really like, in terms of my face being blown off, is, like I said, some surprising game changer.  David Tennant showing up at my door with a cupcake for a chat.  Someone deciding to pay my rent for me one month (or one year).  A significant bonus at work.  Finding my life partner.  Suddenly waking up twenty pounds lighter.  Some movie producer using one of my songs in a blockbuster film.  Landing a role on the BBC.  You know - the big goals.  Not the daily awesomeness that surrounds me.  I love the daily awesomeness.  I'd just like to mix it up a little, you know?  Because there's a lot of daily crap, too.

So anyway.  Someday.  Someday my face will be blown off and I won't know what to do with myself.  But it will be amazing.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Tired and Ready to Move On

I've been thinking for a couple of weeks now that I want to make a vlog about this, but I just have yet to sit down and do it. So I'm writing about it, too, because it's sort of important to me and I don't want to forget about it. I may also need help sticking to it, but here goes.

I still fit into my high school prom dress.

I have told a couple of people this tidbit and their jaws kind of drop, like, "Oh my gosh, you're so lucky that you're still the same size you were in high school!" Thing is, it's not a tiny dress. I've never been the sort that fits into the tiny dresses. But I do still fit into my high school prom dress. Which means that even though I'm not tiny, my body hasn't changed all that much since high school.

I have spent I don't even know how much time dieting since then. I've tried Weight Watchers and SparkPeople and plain old calorie counting and some weird thing that was supposed to help me lose eleven pounds in ten days and I've tried various pills and cleanses and various workout programs and spent I don't even know how much money on gym memberships and supplements and other assorted associated crap. And for all of that, my body hasn't changed that much since high school.

Yes, there was probably a time between then and now when I was smaller than I am at this very moment. And there may have been a time when I was bigger than I am at this very moment. But the net gain/loss is about zero since high school.

The net gain/loss is about zero since high school.

So you know what? I'm done with it. Or, at the very least, I want to be done with it. I want to stop obsessing about how much ketchup I put on my soy dogs. I want to stop counting celery sticks. I want to stop berating myself for eating when I'm hungry or skipping a workout when I'm sick. I want to stop doing these insane things to my body chemistry that will ultimately end up leaving me with a net gain/loss of zero. I want to stop wasting the energy hating myself.

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to totally let myself go and let my health deteriorate. I still like going for walks, and I'll still do squats in the ladies' room when nobody is looking. I'm still vegan, so I'm still going to get my six or seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But I'm tired of limiting myself to twelve grapes when I want a snack. I'm tired of feeling guilty for eating! I'm sick of it. People need to eat to live. People need to eat carbohydrates for proper brain function and fats for proper nutrient absorption. I'm tired of not eating mashed potatoes because white starches aren't good for you. I'm tired of not having spaghetti for dinner because my lunch was kind of carb heavy if my body is really, really craving spaghetti. I'm tired of berating myself for having a snack at 10:00pm when I get home after a show and my stomach is growling. I'm tired of restricted calorie diets that leave me grumpy. I'm tired of hating myself for my food choices which are 80% of the time very healthy.

There are those who would argue that as an actor, I am acutely aware of things like this and that there is extra pressure on me to look a certain way so I can get certain types of roles. Thing is, I have come to the conclusion in the last year or so that I wouldn't get those roles anyway. I'm not an "ingenue type." I never have been. The closest I got to an ingenue type role was one I played in college because the girl who was originally cast got really sick and they needed someone to fill in and as the costume designer, I already knew the whole show so I did it. I would never have otherwise been cast in the role of the sort of flighty girl looking for her best friend's approval of her new boyfriend. I'm usually cast as the best friend from whom the flighty girl is seeking approval. Which is fine. Those characters are much more "me." So why am I killing myself to look a certain way so I can try to get roles I'm completely wrong for? It just doesn't make sense.

And how sad that it has taken me this long to figure that out?

But I am figuring it out. Which is the good part. Thing is, I have a pretty face. And I'm not obese. I am a very healthy person - good blood pressure, good cholesterol, all of that stuff. There are men out there who find me quite attractive, just the way I am. Not all of them, but that can be said about stick-thin women, too.

Being thin won't make me smarter.

Being thin won't make me a better actor.

Being thin won't make me a nicer person.

Being thin won't increase my contribution to society.

So why do I do all of this shit to try to be thinner?

I'm tired of it. And I want to stop. I want to eat when I'm hungry and listen to my body cravings to tell me what to eat. My body is pretty smart - if I need more protein, it will tell me - and if I listen to it, I'm pretty sure I'll get what I need. I want to enjoy a slice of cake on my birthday without feeling like I've failed as a person. I want to stop getting angry when I eat a meal that is 400 calories because that is too much food to be eating in one sitting (even though I'm perfectly happy to eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting). I'm just sick of how much time and energy I waste worrying about food and exercising because the majority of it is negative energy. Really negative energy. And I would like to be done with that.

I'd just like to get to a place where my body can kind of self-regulate. So far, it seems to be working, too. I'm not spending time hating myself for eating, which is actually getting rid of some of the urge to overeat.

So I'm going to stop worrying about my cravings for Fritos. When I want Fritos, I'll pick up a bag, eat a few until I don't want them anymore and put the rest away for later.

And I'm going to stop worrying about days when I don't work out. There are days when I walk six miles, and there are days when I spend the evening curled up with my cat on the couch.

What it all works out to is I am still a healthy person, a nice person, a talented person, a kind person, an intelligent person, an attractive person and a lovable person. Regardless of what size dress I wear.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho

And so begins my work trip to Italy. I made it from my front door to the gate with detours through a Jamba Juice and a currency exchange in an hour and a half. Which means now I get to wait here two hours for my flight. But it's fine. I'd rather be early than late.

I'm nervous about this trip, in part because it is for work and people are depending on me, and in part because I don't speak Italian. I've done a little bit of research on Milan and I should be okay - its not like I've never traveled internationally on my own before. I'm just nervous. My mom thinks that's normal for overseas travel. She's likely right about that.

I should get some time to walk around while I am there, and that should be fun. Probably just what I need. I will keep you posted (kind of) and will likely have pictures and video to share when I get back. Have a good weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dream a Little Dream

I have been in desperate need of DTWAC for a while now. Maybe a month? I don't know if it started around the time my grandmother passed, or if it has anything to do with the fact that I've not yet really said goodbye to my friend who passed away from ALS while I was out of town at a wedding or if any of it is residual crap from this character I'm playing at the moment who is very...put upon? But I've been feeling, in general, very put upon lately and in need of DTWAC. Or something good. And surprising. I would like someone to be overwhelmingly nice to me for a minute without me having to ask for it. And now that I've typed that, I've asked for it, which means I'm going to feel ooky if anyone is overwhelmingly nice to me in the near future. So if you have any plans to be overwhelmingly nice, hold onto them for a few weeks and get me when I'm not expecting it so I can fully appreciate it. Deal?

But then last night, I had this completely lovely dream about Liverpool. I dreamed I was visiting a friend in Liverpool and it was absolutely gorgeous there. He didn't live in the city proper, but sort of on the outskirts, so when we wanted to go into the city to go exploring, since he doesn't drive, he rode a Big Wheel. While wearing a helmet and goggles. And he didn't have to pedal it for some reason, so it actually sort of looked like he was luge-ing on a Big Wheel down this twisty, gorgeous, remote mountain road. Because in my dreams, the space between the Liverpool suburbs and Liverpool proper is mountainous and forested and gorgeous. Like the opening(ish) shot in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (which is brilliant, by the way. If you have the means, I highly recommend checking that movie out. It is extremely funny and very well done). And I thought he was crazy for luge-ing down this road on a Big Wheel, but I was keeping up with him somehow, without being on the Big Wheel. I guess I was flying? I did get some nice aerial views of his trip down the mountain into town, so I must have been flying, and laughing most of the way, too. When we got into the city, it was the kind of place where there was a Barnes and Noble on the corner, but there was also this tiny one-room shop full of all kinds of crap and some books that served both as a store and a kind of library. He grabbed a book and tossed it to the proprietor (a nice little old lady) and said, "Sign that out for me, would you?" I have no idea what the book was, but I thought it was cute that he could borrow a book from this tiny shop. And we went to get lunch somewhere that must have been like a food court or something, and while we were eating, he kept moving closer and closer to me - he started out across the table, but with every bite, he would scooch around the table until he ended up sitting right next to me. Which was kind of nice in and of itself. Nothing unseemly happened, it was just a nice day spent with a friend in a beautiful place.

And I woke up feeling better than I have in a really long time. Not grumpy. I'm kind of amazed at how much my dreams can affect my moods. Bad dreams can leave me in a funk all day. But this good dream has me feeling somewhat optimistic today. And I have no idea where it came from. Yes, I'm traveling next week, but not to visit a friend. The scenery came from Tucker and Dale. But the happy? No idea. I guess I should just be thankful for it and enjoy the dream time I got to spend with my friend.

Keep on dreaming, kids. It's good for you.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Happy Mug Is Happy

When I was in Pennsylvania for that wedding, we had breakfast one morning at a place with this very happy coffee mug (I'm going to try to post the picture, but I'm not sure if my blog is set up to do that).

Anyway, it occurred to me as I'm in the middle of a silly picture text message exchange with a friend of mine while I wait at the airport for my flight that this could be a wonderful thing to see first thing in the morning or something actually kind of horrifying.

See, on the one hand, you have your coffee telling you that you're awesome first thing in the morning. Most people could use a compliment first thing in the morning, so yay for that.

On the other hand, you are about to consume the contents of the mug, exhaust the mug's entire purpose in life, and then either leave it sitting in a sink all day or scald it with boiling water and soap before relegating it back to the dark, non-ventilated cabinet. And it is telling you, with a happy smiling face, that you are a very important person. Isn't that a rather unhealthy relationship?

Happy mug is happy. And sadistic.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Hotel - Part 2

When I stay by myself in a hotel, I don't necessarily think the room needs to be cleaned every day I'm there. Factor in the water savings and all of that "green" stuff, but I'm also not that messy. They might need to empty one carry out container from my trash bin and that's about it. I mean, think about it - do you change your sheets at home every day? Do you scrub your bathtub daily? So is it really necessary for them to do that in a hotel?

Anyway. I'm out here for four nights, so after the second night, I hung the "service please" thingy on my door. When I got back to my room last night, I found that they had given me a top sheet for my bed. On top of the comforter. Which, again, kind of seems to defeat the purpose. And they took my damp bath mat (damp from me showering wrong with only half of a door), folded it up, and draped it over the edge of the tub. So it was still soggy when I replaced it on the floor so I would have to stand barefoot on cold tile. Instead, I got to stand barefoot on soggy bath mat. Yay.

And one final side note - the thermostat in my room tells me that I have to put my keycard in a slot by the door to adjust the thermostat. Even when my keycard is already in the slot by the door. But it's kind of moot because in New York City, they can only provide heat or air conditioning one at a time, not both. So with the nighttime lows in the forties, they've kept the air conditioning on. Good thing they put that sheet on my comforter.

Monday, October 03, 2011


I don't understand some things about hotels, and maybe it is because I don't stay in them very often and I've watched too much "Hotel Babylon," but there are some things I just don't get.

I am currently staying in a hotel in midtown Manhattan that normally charges upwards of $300 per night for it's cheap rooms. I understand the room I am in is one of the cheap rooms - no frills, basic amenities. Well, basic for midtown Manhattan. I was in another hotel in rural Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago where a hair dryer was not a standard amenity in every room. Where I am now, it is. And it's a pretty good hair dryer, too. But mine is not the sort of room where rock stars would stay and trash the place. It's nice for the business traveller who needs a bed, a shower, and a TV before going to work in the morning.

And yet, there are no sheets on my bed. There is a fitted something over the mattress, but no top sheet. Just a comforter and blanket. It would seem to me more sanitary and easier to clean sheets than comforters, but what do I know? And there is a huge crack in my bathroom sink (and I keep seeing the shape of the crack throughout space and time...kidding). And the elevator is unreliable at best - I don't mind taking the stairs on occasion, but I'm on the seventh floor and it has almost made me late a couple of times.

But the biggest thing that baffles me about this fancy-schmancy hotel in midtown Manhattan is that it only has half of a shower door. And this is the second time I've stayed in a hotel in midtown Manhattan that only have me half of a shower door! It is literally a piece of glass that has been caulked into place that is only half the width if the shower. Which makes it awkward to turn the water on and off unless you are already in there, and it also means the bathroom floor gets soaked any time I bathe. Am I showering wrong? Are other people able to maneuver in this half-shower in such a way as to keep all of the water in the tub? Are they trying to be semi-European where they don't have shower doors or curtains at all because they bathe sitting down? Because the last hotel I stayed at with half of a shower door didn't have a tub, so sitting down wasn't really an option, or at least not an appealing one. And at this place, the shower head is mounted to the wall, so I couldn't sit down with it, so to speak. I just don't get it.

This is why I would either be an awesome hotel reviewer or a horrible one. I'm just not trendy.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Flying High

I'm blogging on a plane. In a plane, according to George Carlin, but you know what I mean. With my lovely iPhone Blogger app, I am writing a blog post while 30,000 feet in the air. Give or take. Of course, I'm going to wait until I land to publish this because even though I'm on a wi-fi plane, the wi-fi rates are ridiculous.

But seriously, when did this happen? When did our world become the sort if place where a) we can connect to the interweb from ANYWHERE and b) we feel the need to do so?

The other fun thing about this flight (well, "fun" is subjective) is that it is a 6:00am flight headed east, so we're flying into the sunrise. I do like that this is the time of year when I get to see more sunrises, but it's pretty cool to watch one from this high up. I took some pictures out the window, though I don't think they can quite capture the beauty of it.

Does anyone else sing "Movin' Right Along" from "The Muppet Movie" when you're trying to remember where the sun rises and sets? "Hey, I never saw the sun come up in the west? Movin' right along (buddy dum buddy dum)..."

Anyway. Not too much else to say from up here. It's going to be a long five days in New York at a trade show and I've been up since about 2:00am, so maybe I should try to sleep. Happy October!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Life, Death, and Marriage

This was sort of an intense weekend that reminded me very much of the cycle of life.  For very good reason.

The first event was the birth of a daughter to a friend of mine with whom I have recently sort of reconnected, thanks to the interweb.  I think it's lovely that he and his wife now have a little girl in their family, in addition to their adorable twin boys.  Congratulations, and welcome to the world!

The second was a wedding, between two friends of mine who might be the cutest couple I have ever met.  She is certainly one of the most adorable people I have ever met, and I think the two of them have a very healthy attitude toward their relationship.  They are partners in life, and are still fantastic individuals.  Their wedding was gorgeous, too - on her parent's property in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania.  It was very "them."  It was friendly and earthy and welcoming and fun, with all sorts of people pitching in to help out in whatever ways they could. And dancing.  Lots of dancing.  Which killed my knees.  Honestly - my knees are really hurting two days later (probably from all of the jumping), which is making me feel very old.  As is the fact that for most of the wedding weekend, I was being hit on by a twenty-year-old.  What is it with me an inappropriately young men I meet at weddings?  Apparently, according to him anyway, I'm still hot even though I could practically be his mother.  But a lot of fun was had at this wedding by a lot of people who came from all over to celebrate the love that these two share.  It was gorgeous.

And the third was the passing of a dear friend of mine.  She had been diagnosed with ALS in late February of this year and now, seven months later, she is no longer fighting.  She was surrounded by friends and love when she passed, and we all know that wherever she is now, there's a huge party happening filled with love and laughter.  Always. 

I haven't really started mourning my friend yet.  She was the woman you wanted in the audience at your shows because her infectious laughter would encourage everyone else to laugh, too.  She was an amazingly talented designer and seamstress.  She had a heart bigger than anyone I've ever met and was beloved by everyone who met her.  I'm sad for all of the things she never got to do - she never married or had kids, so there are no little Vickys running around.  I can't really say she never found her life partner because I think she did in some of the friendships she had.  She had a beautiful family and beautiful circle of friends with her always, though it is a little sad to me that she never got to start her own family.  And from a professional standpoint, she was adored by the theaters for whom she designed the costumes, but her name never got "out there," you know?  And it should have because she was so talented.  On a personal level, she was the one friend from my circle of college theater friends who came to my shows after graduation.  Not all of them, but when she could, she came and that meant the world to me.  For as thick as my heart can be sometimes, I believed her when she said she loved me, and I am forever in her debt for that.  I used to dream that if I ever got married, I would ask her to make my dress.  Or that if I ever went to a big award ceremony like the Oscars or something, I would ask her to design something for me so as I walked down the red carpet, I could tell people I was wearing an original Vicky Strei.  I will miss her smile.  I will miss her laugh.  I will miss her hugs.  Life dealt her a lot of shit.  A LOT of shit.  But she will always be known amongst her friends and family for her tag line "Love and laughter."  Even when she was diagnosed with ALS, she kept smiling, she kept laughing (as best she could when she could no longer speak), and she kept loving the people around her.  We should all be so lucky to be that positive, and to know someone that positive.  The world needs more positive energy, and the world is a poorer place for the loss of Miss Vicky Strei.  I love you always, Miss Vicky.  Always.

So kind of a lot to process in one weekend, and a very immediate reminder of the circle of life and death and celebration and mourning.  Life is weird.  Sometimes it sucks and sometimes it is gorgeous.  And I guess the best we can do is love with all our hearts and keep laughing always.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Just Need a Little Motivation

I think y'all already know I'm a geek.  I'm proud to be a geek.  I like being a geek.  And a geek I am.  Not in the "bites heads off of chickens" way, but in the Lisa Simpson is a geek kind of a way.  Geeks are cool now and I dig that.

So in a rather large "geek" moment last week, I downloaded an app to my iPhone from a radio station in the UK for the sole reason that is has an alarm clock that you can set so that David Tennant is yelling at you to wake up in the morning.  I thought it might be funny to have Mr. Tennant wake me up.  I wasn't sure if it was going to work, though, as often times, I sleep through my alarm and usually the horrid, horrid alarm clock buzzing sound is just about the only thing that will get me.  Which is weird, because I am a terrifically light sleeper.  Anyway.  I didn't know if David Tennant's voice shouting, "Wake on up!  Wake on up!  This is David Tennant telling you to wake on up!  Come on, move!" would do the trick.

It does.

It completely does.

I start to anticipate him yelling at me two or three hours before the alarm is actually set to go off.

And when it does go off, I feel guilty snoozing it and making him yell at me again ten minutes later.  Which means I've actually been waking up when my alarm goes off.  And not just waking up, but getting out of bed and going on about my day.  I've done quick little 10-minute yoga workouts the last two mornings before work because I've had the time to do them.  Crazy, that.

The sad thing is, I sort of decided that I feel guilty snoozing him because it's like I'm letting him down if I don't wake up when he tells me to.  WHICH IS REALLY FRIGGIN' SAD, I know.  It's a friggin' iPhone app with a recorded voice! Nobody except maybe my neighbors would know if I snoozed it and made him yell at me again.  But it's true - I feel like I am letting David Tennant down if I don't wake up when he tells me to.  And considering he is the sort of actor I aspire to be, and the sort of actor I would love to work with one day, I don't want to let him down.  Not even his yelling, pre-recorded voice.

It then occurred to me that there are other areas in my life where maybe a little bit of this sort of guilt trip would come in handy.  For example, when I start mindlessly snacking in the evening, wouldn't it be nice if I had a little alarm in David Tennant's voice to yell at me saying, "You don't need to eat that.  Come on, you know better.  You're just eating 'cuz you're bored!  Put the snacks down and read a book!"  Or when I don't feel like exercising, a little alarm in David Tennat's voice to yell at me saying, "Get up off your arse and move!  It'll make you feel better, you know it will.  Move your arse!"  I think it would work; I honestly do.  I just need someone who I look up to like that to yell at me on occasion to do the things I know I should be doing for myself anyway to keep myself on track.

Just a thought.  There's money to be made here, Mr. Tennant.  'Cuz, ya know, I know you're sitting around twiddling your thumbs at the moment, wondering how you're going to make ends meet. Tee hee.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

To Tweet, or Not to Tweet

To Tweet, or not to Tweet; that is the question
Whether 'tis cooler on the net to join the
Throngs and masses of shortened conversations
Or to stand strong against peer pressure
And by boycotting, maintain individuality
To join, to Tweet with them; and by a Tweet
To say we reduce the thought process to
One hundred forty characters; 'tis a limit
Strictly to be followed.  To Tweet, to chat
To chat, perchance to meet - ay, there's the rub
For in that chat of Tweeting what friends may come
When we connect on the interweb
Must bring us joy; there's the conflict
That makes the sign up process such a conundrum.

Friday, September 02, 2011

My grandmother passed away today.

In a way, it was sort of a relief - she has been suffering so much for so long, it is good that she won't have to suffer anymore. But it's always a sad day when someone you love dies.

I think she knew that I loved her. I told her as often as I could, but in her mental state, I'm not sure how much of that got in. I'm not a terribly religious person, but I did get the image today of her in a happy place, where it is light and warm and she is back to her normal self, the woman I grew up with. A smile on her face. A warm, inviting house with the radio on in the background. I picture her with my grandfather, and how happy that reunion will be. I know she believed in those things and I hope they came true for her. I'm taking comfort in the fact that they did.

I love you, Grandma. And I would like to remember you with a smile on your face, arms outstretched for a hug, with the "WARNING: These premises patrolled by an attack grandma" sign on your door. I'll miss you. But I hope you have found some peace. God knows you deserve it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm trying to remember the last time I asked someone out when I really cared whether or not he said yes.

I think we all know that I have relationship problems, as in, I'm not sure how to have one, so the last few times I've asked someone out, it has been through an online dating site where I sort of had the attitude of, "So what?" or "This could be fun, or it could not, and I'll never have to see the person again, so what have I got to lose?" And in their defense, those dates didn't turn out that well (no second dates), so I really didn't have anything to lose but one evening. No biggie.

But when was the last time I did the asking out when I was actually invested in it? The guy from college who re-found me asked me. The hot drummer asked me. The clown asked me. Was it Fucknut? I know I have expressed interest in guys since then (the musician, but in his defense he lives a bajillion miles away so dating isn't really that feasible), but when was the last time I asked a non-online-dating-site guy out and cared whether or not he said yes? Am I only able to do this via email?

Which I guess begs the question, if you are actually invested in the answer, what is the best way to pose the question? Should one make one's investment known (i.e. "I think you're gorgeous and would like to get to know you better, so how about a cup of coffee?") or should one play it as if one is not all that invested (i.e. "Dude, coffee later?")? Which is more likely to get a positive result? Functioning under the assumption that one knows the ask-ee is not completely repulsed by the ask-er's existence, but not knowing if the attraction is at all mutual.

Now, I know there are those of you out there who would say, "Honey, you're a girl asking a guy out, which is hot to begin with, and you're kind of attractive so he would have to be stupid to say no." To which I can only reply, "Thank you, but there are a lot of stupid men out there."

I'm probably way over thinking this. And it is also possible that blogging about it is a mistake, for which I will apologize right now. But I think we all also know that I'm the sort that likes to do the research and find out the best way to go about something before I do it, especially if it is something scary. I'm not sure how to research this one, though, other than to ask other people what is the best way to ask someone out? What was the best way you ever asked someone out that yielded the best result? What was your favorite way that you were ever asked out? Can I borrow that?

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm curious as to when "standing up for oneself" became "being a bitch." They seem to be synonymous in our society today and frankly, it's kind of pissing me off today. Two separate incidents, one common thread.

I was walking home from the theater last night, crossing the street with the green light and the walk signal, and this guy making a left turn almost hit me. Now, most of us know already that this has happened to me before. I was crossing the street while training for the Avon Walk in 2005 (I think) and a car turning left felt it was more important he turn left in this little open space in traffic than it was to avoid hitting a pedestrian and he hit me. I managed to jump up a second before impact, so it was kind of like I jumped up and landed on the hood of his car, and he slammed on the brakes and I slid off into the gutter. Well, last night, the car was coming at me from the opposite direction and when I saw him turning despite my presence in the crosswalk where I totally had the right to be (and the right of way), I thought to myself "Oh, no. Not again," just like the bowl of petunias, followed by "I'm not as good at falling on this side." I wasn't so much afraid of getting hit because it has happened before and I survived, but its really undignified. There is no graceful way to slide off of the hood of a car that just hit you into the gutter. Fortunately, he stopped just short of hitting me. His window was open so he laughed a little and yelled at me, "Sorry, I couldn't see you," so I replied, "You're supposed to look." At which point, he started calling me names. Because obviously, I was WAY out of line for being upset that I was almost hit by a car. I'm the bitch for pointing out his error. What did he expect me to say? "Oh, no worries. Wherever you are going must be much more important than my ability to use my legs, so it's perfectly understandable. Tee hee." Really? Really, dude? You're pissed at me for being upset that you almost hit me? Really?

Then this morning, I got an email message forwarded from someone I don't know containing some random bit of spam saying cell phone numbers are going public and if you don't call this number, you're going to get charged for incoming telemarketer phone calls. I did a quick Google search to verify that this is hogwash and emailed back the link saying, "Please check your facts before forwarding spam. And please remove my email address from your distribution list, as I don't know who you are." So they emailed me back saying, "U don't have 2 b rude." Which honestly made me want to reach through the monitor and slap them. You spammed me! And you don't know how to spell real words! You are a complete stranger and you spammed me. So I asked that you please refrain from doing so again, and I'm the rude one? Really?

Granted, in that second case, you miss out on the whole "tone of voice" thing since it was an email, but still. Two instances wherein someone did something that I don't appreciate, so I asked them to stop, and they get pissed at my reaction. Am I in the wrong here? When did it become not okay to ask people to either not hit you with their car or to not spam total strangers?

I need to get back to my I'm-About-To-Go-To-Comic-Con happy place. Because in my fantasy world, I'm allowed to stand up for myself without being labeled a bitch. I know. I ask a lot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So the events of this past weekend mean I didn't cook for the week like I normally do on Sundays, and the events of my evenings this week and coming weekend and next week and next weekend mean I probably won't cook for myself for a while. So I'm whittling down the food I have left in my house and buying lunch at work as needed until I come back from San Diego (Comic Con!) and have the time to once again, make myself a decent meal.

I went out at lunch today thinking it would be nice to get a salad from that make-your-own-salad place, with perhaps some chips (crisps for our British friends) on the side. Granted, I realize that nutritionally speaking, the crisps cancel out the salad, but I do like a bit of a crunch with a salad, especially when the base is spring mix because a lot of those lettuce leaves are really not crunchy. Anyway. I picked up my salad and went to get the crisps and could barely find one bag of regular corn chips. I wanted Fritos, specifically, in all of their original glory. The first store I went to DIDN'T HAVE THEM. They had Super Mega Tornado Blast Pizza Cheese Wow Fritos, but not regular corn-flavored Fritos. They have Garlic Jalapeno Whirlwind Storm Cheetos with a Twist, but not regular corn-flavored Fritos. And all I can say is what the hell? Does nobody understand the simple joy of a corn chip anymore? Do snacks have to be as ADHD as Saturday morning television in order to get people to eat them? I don't want some foreign-colored fake cheese product dust all over my hand. I don't want a list of ingredients I don't recognize. I want a packet of crisps that says, "Corn, oil, salt," on it and that's it.

In the end, I went to another store and found them in the back corner, somewhat sequestered from the rest of the snack foods. I can't be the only person left who likes regular corn chips. Or if I am, I weep for the state of snack foods in America.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

So I had kind of gotten into the mindset that I'm a pissy person. I've spent a lot of time griping about things that don't really matter in the long run and being grumpy over things that I cannot control and getting irritated by the behaviors of others who don't do things the way I think they should be done (particularly bicycle riders in the city who feel the need to cut me off, not signal, and not stop for stop lights or signs and then get pissed when cars almost hit them). Admittedly, it's not really fun to think of yourself as a grumpy, irritable, pissy person.

But in the last week or so, I think I have come to the conclusion that in truth, I am sort of an inherently nice person. Most of those icky feelings are just thoughts that I have from time to time, but from a behavioral perspective, I think I come off as a genuinely nice person. And I like that. I like that I could be a genuinely nice person. Or a nice, genuine person. For example, there are several dietary restrictions amongst my Hamlet cast mates, so I made cookies that accommodated all of them and brought them to rehearsal one day because I wanted to. I made a birthday present for my mom that I hoped would make her smile because it was fun and I wanted to make her smile. I had a moment wherein I thought bringing flowers to the cast and crew for opening night might be a bit much considering the recent cookie episode, but then I remembered that I like to do little things like that for other people so that they know they are appreciated. I like celebrating other people. Those who deserve to be celebrated, anyway. I like doing nice things for other people. I like saying please and thank you. I like giving compliments when they are appropriate. I like greeting the people around me with a smile and a friendly, "Mornin'," regardless of the time of day. I like being positive. I like making people smile.

But then, of course, the voice of my high school English teacher pops into my head, saying there is no such thing as an altruistic act and he would accuse me of being a nice person because it makes me feel good. Is that really a bad thing, though? Did I give my cast mates flowers because I wanted to make them smile, or because I wanted them to thank me, or because I wanted them to think I'm a nice person? Was I really being manipulative about the whole thing? Do I celebrate other people because they deserve to be celebrated, or so outsiders will say, "Look how well she celebrates others. She must be a good person?"

Honestly, I don't know. Does that make me not a nice person anymore? I do feel a little weird classifying myself as a genuinely nice person. It feels egotistical or something. But I think I would still rather tell someone that his haircut looks nice than not. I believe that people like to hear that stuff. I like to hear that stuff, so why wouldn't others, right?

I'm stopping now.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Hamlet opens tomorrow. I'm starting to get nervous about it. I've been working on this project for, what, two months now? Three? And finally, we are going to have an audience come in and judge us, and I'm sure there are those who will judge us harshly. There will be those who think the cuts we made to the script were excessive. There will be those who think Gertrude should have been a conspirator. There will be those who think our sparse set and modern costumes don't make enough of a statement. There will be those who just think Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are funny and walk away with only that. And I know this. I know this is true of any production I put up - everyone who sees it will have an opinion and they are not always positive. Hell, remember the one I shaved my head for?

But this one feels different to me because it is such a KNOWN play. There will be people coming in who have seen seven different film versions of it, or five stage productions, or there may even be audience members who were in a stage production of it themselves and it is very possible that our interpretation will offend them for whatever reason. Our Hamlet speaks too fast or our Claudius is too young or our Gertrude is too nurturing or whatever. All I know is that I have worked my butt off in this show - we all have - and it is one that I am proud of. I love the cast, I love the crew, it has been an extremely positive experience for me start to finish. I just hope the critics don't crap all over it. Which they have every right to - it probably looks different to us than it does to them. I just...I dunno. I like this show. I want other people to like it, too.

Though it did occur to me that opening night is kind of a sad occasion, too, because it means we're almost done. Only six more weeks with these people who have become so dear to me and then we'll all go our separate ways again. There is always the hope that we will work together again on some other project, but I know from experience that you're lucky to stay in moderate contact with one or two people from a show once it closes and even then, it takes a lot of effort from all parties involved. So a delightful four or five months is drawing to a close and that makes me a little sad.

But in the meantime, we still have a few shows to put on, and people will get to see the fruits of our labors starting with our final dress rehearsal tonight. I'm excited and scared and sad and nervous and I hope the cute boy in the cast doesn't just disappear from my life once this is all over, though I know it would probably be better if he did. So lots of mixed emotions surrounding opening night tomorrow. Let's all break legs!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

So I've been thinking about lust lately and trying to understand where it comes from. I'm not sure why I've been exploring this concept, but I have so let's just go with it, yes? Okay. So, lust. I think my biggest question is whether it comes from a desire to make oneself feel good or from a desire to make another person feel good or whether those desires have to be mutually exclusive. If they are not mutually exclusive, is the thought that bringing desire to another person will bring desire to oneself what makes lust such a strong feeling for some?

I've thought about my life and thought about times when I've lusted, if I have lusted, and I realized that I don't lust very much. I think it has been fairly well established here that I don't have crushes on people the way that other people have crushes on people. I'm usually attracted to the person and don't really factor in the "gettin' jiggy" part of it, especially if it's a famous person I'm crushing on because who knows? He could turn out to be a jerk in real life. And I think we all also know (or if we don't, we're about to find out) that I get kind of weirded out by men who are physically attracted to me because a) I've had plenty of bad experiences in that department and b) I think I have a lot more interesting things to offer than my physical being, so I kind of mistrust those who focus on that. Maybe it's because I'm weirded out by men who are physically attracted to me that I started thinking about this. What is it about me that would make someone lust over me? Is it a desire to make me feel good, or does that person think I could make them feel good?

So then I meet this man. Kind of a man - he's young, so maybe more of a boy? He's old enough to drink legally, but the age difference is enough that I'm kind of beating myself up for finding him attractive. But it's only happened to me a handful of times in my life where I meet someone, just see him from across the room, and am instantly attracted to the point of distraction. One was a boy I met in Spain. One was the gay man I loved for ten years. One was the musician I loved for six. None of whom I actually dated. And then this man. I want to touch his hair. I want to touch his chest. I can't stop looking at him. I don't know if he falls under the "typically handsome" category or not, but I find him so physically attractive I can't look at him. Is this what lust is? I would think that the desire to play with his hair comes from the thought that it looks really soft and would feel good, but also from the thought that it is fun to have someone play with your hair so hopefully he'd enjoy it, too. Though to be honest, I have no idea what his sexual preferences or relationship status are, so it is entirely likely that a random woman playing with his hair would not be at all enjoyable, which is why I do not qualify as a sexual predator, because I realize that my advances may not be welcome so I do not advance them. But anyway.

Hey, cute dude? Hi. You're friggin' gorgeous. Just so you know. And I'm sorry if I just smile like an idiot when you're in the room. I'll try to stop that. If you could be not so hot for a little while, that would help. Or if you were a jerk. Which I've not yet seen any indications of, so maybe just let your inner jackass out a bit so I can make it through this project like a professional, that would be great. Thanks!

Monday, June 06, 2011

It's been a while, huh? Sorry about that. For some reason, I seldom feel the need to write in here when things are going well. It is only in times of frustration or unrest that I feel the need to post. I'm not really this unhappy. Or maybe I am. I don't know.

So I thought perhaps the big "blow my face off" happy thing had arrived, but as quickly as it came, it went again. I will not be playing Hamlet this summer. I am still in a stage production of "Hamlet" which I love and am intimidated by all of the time, but I'm Gertrude in that one. The production in which I was to play the Dane has been put on hold until who knows when, if ever. Which is disappointing in part because I was looking forward to tackling such a huge, complex, well-known role and trying to bring something new to it, and in part because it was a perfect motivation for me to get myself in shape. So I've lost a bit of my workout mojo. I need to get that back because I'm feeling lumpish and unattractive.

And I have a dear friend who was recently diagnosed with ALS and she is not doing well. She was diagnosed in about February or March, had lost the ability to speak by May, and is now confined to a wheelchair. It's just...progressing really fast. And if there was ever a person who did not deserve to watch her body fall apart while her mind stayed sharp, it is this woman. She is cheerful and friendly and loving and brilliant and beautiful and what a horrible diagnosis to get in her early 40s. On the up side, she is surrounded by people who love her and support her and can help her. On the down side, she'll never have children. If anyone from that group of my friends should have been a mom, it was her, and I mean that in the best possible way. So that's been weighing on my mind a bit lately. I love my friend and don't want to dwell on the negative with her, but it's hard to watch her wither away. I know it's hard for her best friend, too, and I'm trying to be supportive there as well. It's just not a good situation.

I do have a couple of theatrical projects to work on at the moment, though, so that's good. Like I said, I'm in love with this production of "Hamlet" and feel kind of unworthy every time I show up to rehearsal. There are so many talented, creative people involved; I hope I'm not the weak link. And I'm rehearsing another show that will go up in October that has just a brilliant script and I actually get to play the lead in that one, so here's hoping I don't muck it up too badly.

But I'm seeing all of these "blow your face off" wonderful things happen to people around me. People getting married. People having kids. People finding new jobs. People getting to go to London to see my hero on stage. And I can't help but wonder if that was my "blow your face off" wonderful thing that is no longer happening, can I have another go at it? Do I still have a shot at some mind-numbing amazingness?


Friday, April 01, 2011

Rabbit rabbit! Happy April!

Today is, in many ways, a happy day. It is new contact lens day, pay day, and Opening Day for the Chicago Cubs. Hooray! Baseball is back! I listened to a couple of spring training games on the radio and it's not quite the same without Ron Santo, but it's still nice to have our boys in blue back on the field.

But I have to admit, I'm also in a fair amount of pain. On Wednesday afternoon, my jaw started to hurt, at sort of the corner of the jaw bone. I was a little freaked out because jaw pain can be a sign of heart attacks in women and my job was driving me particularly nuts on Wednesday so I would not have been all that surprised if I had a little stroke or heart event. But seeing as I did not collapse or lose control over my extremities or forget how to speak, I figured it wasn't that. And the pain moved down to below my jaw and I could feel the glands or possibly lymph nodes were swollen and tender. So I went to the doctor yesterday. She diagnosed me with a TMJ, which is an acronym for a few very long words that basically mean there is swelling in the tissue between the bones of my jaw.

Thing is, if you look at a picture of the human skull, the jaw is sort of U shaped - it attaches to the rest of the skull kind of under the cheekbone, goes around to form the chin, and attaches again on the other side under the other cheekbone, yes? The ramus is part of the mandible - they're not two separate bones with a joint in between them. The mandible connects to the skull at the temporal bone where the condyle forms a sort of ball and socket joint. I can see pain developing in the condyle-temporal joint. But that's not where my pain is located. My pain is under the mandible where it turns into the ramus, and then down into my neck, not so much up towards my ear. And I don't hear a clicking sound when I chew like some other people with TMJs do. So why, if there is inflammation in the tissues between the mandible and the temporal bones, is the pain manifesting under the mandible and in my neck? That's about an inch away, with no pain at the actual inflammation site. Is that normal?

My doctor gave me a medication to, I guess, help with the pain. Reading the information that came with the prescription, it is an anti-seizure/anti-epileptic drug that is also used to treat pain after someone has had shingles. So I'm kind of confused. Fortunately, even with my craptastic insurance, the pills weren't dreadfully expensive, so I'm giving them a shot. So far, they're not helping very much. She said I could up the dosage after a couple of days if it's not helping and I should call her if it's not better in about ten days.

It's kind of funny what hurts my jaw. Opening my mouth too wide hurts. Lying on my back hurts. The tension that happens when I'm lying on my back and go to sit up hurts (tensing my neck). Yawning hurts. I tend to talk out of one side of my mouth anyway, and this is making that more pronounced because I keep trying to talk without moving my jaw too much.

I am a little afraid that it has something to do with the tumor behind my ear and that I might have to actually do something about that in the near future. I'd kind of rather not have surgery on my head just now, thanks. So I sent an email to my cousin who does cranial sacral work to see if she has ever treated TMJs. If she wants to work on me, it would mean probably a few trips up to Madison. Which could actually be really nice - I love my family that lives in Madison so it would be an extra excuse to spend some time with them. But we'll see.

I don't like being in pain. And as an actor, I particularly don't like not being able to talk. In rehearsal last night, I was just shouting through the pain and went home really hurting. I don't know that I'd be able to turn off the acting enough to protect my jaw - I'm not that kind of actor. I will always act through the pain instead.

So yeah, it should be a good day today, but my face hurts and I'm kind of confused as to why.

Happy April, everybody!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My grandmother has been very not well for a very long time. She is the only living grandparent I have left and she has had a very rough go of it for the last four or five years. She has been living in assisted living facilities for a while and the hospice people came to see her yesterday and they figure she has about one to three weeks left. She has given up and at this point, I can't really say I blame her.

My mom called to tell me this last night, and let me know that if I want to go see my grandma one more time, I should probably do so in the next week or so. And last night, I was fine. My mom told me, we chatted about some other things, and I went about my evening like it was any other Wednesday night.

But this morning, on my way in to work, I remembered this sweatshirt I painted for my grandma for Christmas one year and how I thought it was kind of cheesy but that she might get a kick out of it, so I gave it to her. And every year after that, she wore it for Christmas. Just because I made it for her. And I remembered playing with the Winnie the Pooh dolls and the poker chips at her house. I remember so many holidays at her house when I was a kid and how if you were lucky, you got the seat on the couch by the fireplace where it was so nice and toasty warm. I remember when the 17-year cicadas came out when I was a teenager and how my brother and I collected them in a paper bag from my grandma's backyard so we could try to transplant them to our own neighborhood. I remember her one pink bathroom always had pink toilet paper in it. I remember coming back from our family reunion in Arizona and she and I were on the same flight, so we sat in the airport just talking for a while and it was probably the best conversation I ever had with my grandmother. She listened and was supportive and non-judgmental. I know other people have had different experiences with her, but I felt very close to her then, like I actually started to get to know her as a person and she was a pretty cool person. I remember she used to string up Christmas ribbon across her dining room and hang her Christmas cards on it every year. I remember watching Cubs games at her house. I remember being fascinated by her skin when I was little because it was paper-y thin, but also really soft. I remember how her lipstick used to get kind of clumpy by the end of the day. I remember that she always had lots of pictures around of all of her family and that made her house feel very home-y to me. I remember the matching rust-colored recliners she and my grandpa had. I remember her piano and the bookshelves that covered the wall and the deer head hanging over her basement stairs. She used to play the organ at church, and for a long time, she was very active with the MDDA because she herself was bi-polar. I remember when the doors fell off of my car and it had to go in for repairs, she let me borrow her car for a few days and she was so pleased to be able to help me with something. My mom always made sure that Grandma was part of our lives and I'm glad she did that.

My grandmother has not yet passed away. But it will happen soon. We've all known for a long time that it was coming and she has suffered so much for so long. She doesn't have some dread disease like cancer or congestive heart failure that will ultimately do her in. She's just been wasting away for a long time. Over-medicated. Losing her mind. And finally, losing her will. It is sad. It is very sad. I will be very sad to see my grandmother go. But it will be good for her to not be suffering anymore. The last time I saw her (this past Christmas), she was spending her days watching the clock, waiting for it to be bedtime. She had eliminated all things from her life that used to bring her joy - music, books, all of it - and believed it was too late to have any of those things anymore. She has been depressed and joyless and hopeless for four or five years, but also absolutely terrified to die. We think she has finally given up and decided that maybe death isn't so scary. And while nobody wants to see a family member die, nobody wants to watch them suffer like this, either. We will all be sad and we will all miss her terribly, but we will all be relieved for her, too.

I love you, Grandma.

I love you.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

You know, if I ever get to the point in my life where I am sharing my bed with another person on a regular basis, I feel kind of sorry for that person having to wake up next to me every morning and deal with my random dream-inspired ramblings like, "But I don't know what kind of cheese is in me" or "I'm not done downloading yet" as they try to get me out of bed. Whoever that person may be, I apologize in advance.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hi. Happy Tuesday.

I apologize, but I need to be whiny for a minute.

I know I have no real reason to be whiny, because when I sit back and take stock of the things in my life, I really have it pretty good. I have an amazing family and brilliant friends and a job that pays my rent and I'm basically healthy and I have a cat who brings me almost unspeakable joy and I managed to get Comic Con passes before they sold out and I am involved in a couple of shows at the moment, so all in all, I don't really have the right to complain. I know that. But I feel the need to complain anyway, and my friend in Texas agrees with me.

I need something big and mind-blowingly brilliant to happen to me. Soon. Or I'm gonna lose it.

I think at least part of my problem is that I have a tendency to dream big. I dream about making a living being an artist and about getting to work with my heroes and about meeting an absolutely wonderful man who I can share my life with. Big dreams. But the big stuff doesn't happen to me. I don't think I'm a big stuff kind of person. I don't think I'm the sort who would ultimately get cast in some film that will go on to garner seventeen Academy Award nominations. I am the sort who gets cast as a supporting character in a community theater production. Which is brilliant and lots of fun and I get to meet fun people and learn stuff. But when you're dreaming of Italy and you get to make your own spaghetti dinner at home instead, yes the spaghetti is tasty, but it's not quite what you were hoping for. And I feel like I've been hoping for a lot for a very long time and getting lots of little joys that are kind of Italy-adjacent, but they're not quite Italy.

I have no idea where this whole Italy thing came from. If anything, I'm fantasizing about a return trip to London.

So I think I have two choices in this situation - I can continue to dream big and constantly feel that my full potential has yet to be reached, or I can try to teach myself to dream smaller. So that when chocolate I can't eat arrives at my office courtesy of some vendor I work with, it's enough to make me feel acknowledged and appreciated. Instead of hoping my super secret admirer would send me flowers or vegan chocolates I can actually enjoy.

My friend thinks, though, that I'm due for something big, and I'd like to agree with her. I think it is about time my idol shows up at my door with a vegan cupcake so we can have a lovely chat and he can offer advice on how to further my artistic career. And then so I can give him a hug. Because I'm due. I'm due for something so amazing it blows my face off.

Of course, knowing me, I will be so incredibly grateful when said face-blowing-off incident occurs that I won't feel worthy of it and I'll probably screw it up. Like if the idol/cupcake thing happened, I'd probably forget to invite him in for a chat. Note to self: always invite your idol in for a chat.

Okay, I think I'm done for now. If you see me in real life and I'm snippy or less than my usual polite self, I apologize in advance. I'm feeling a bit trudged upon at the moment and it has nothing to do with you but it is making me a bit pissy. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Rabbit, rabbit, happy February!

Or happy blizzard, is more like it.

Yes, Chicago is due to be hit with a blizzard sometime around 3pm today. Forecasts are saying there could be up to two feet of snow by the time it ends tomorrow around 3pm. Plus winds and cold and general ickiness (I went to military school with General Ickiness - not a very pleasant fellow). And I have to admit, I'm kind of scared by it.

I'm not afraid of snow. Snow, in moderation, can be a very pretty thing that brings peace to the world. But two feet of snow when I have to be out and about in it is not fun. It makes travel difficult, it means an extra ten minutes of prep time to bundle up appropriately, it means you're dripping everywhere you go, parking is a nightmare, but the alternative is walking in the ick, or worse - taking the bus. I may have to take a bus. Where I live now, the train station is about a ten minute walk, so depending on how bad the sidewalks get, I may have to take a bus to get there. I don't take Chicago buses; I just don't. I don't like them and will avoid them at all costs. But I may have to take a bus. At the same time that the rest of the city is taking the bus, so it will not be a pleasant experience. It will be my nightmare of taking the bus, thus enforcing my position of avoiding the bus at all costs. And even then, there is no guarantee that the bus will be running any better than regular traffic and I might get places faster if I just walk there.

But yeah, it's the prospect of having to be out and about in the cold and the snow and the ick that is freaking me out. Will I still arrive at my destinations on time? How much earlier will I have to leave to allow for crowded trains? Once I'm able to dig my car out again, will the doors just plain fall off?

And perhaps worst of all, is all this panic for nothing? Chicago has a tendency to avoid the brunt of bad storms. I don't know if it is because of the extra heat generated by the city, but when the 'burbs get six inches of snow, we often get only two or three in the city. Will this be like that? Will all of this panic result in just a sprinkling? If so, and if they decide today that we should have a snow day tomorrow, will we still get a snow day?

It's kind of funny how freaked out people are about this. Even I can see that from my own panic. But honestly, I wish it would just start snowing already so it can be over with and we can figure out how to work around whatever sort of mess it all creates.

Be safe everyone, and stay warm.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I don't normally like cantaloupe very much, but I will say that it is one of those flavors that once you have it in your mouth, the only thing that sounds good is to get more of it in your mouth, so I always end up eating more cantaloupe than I planned.

Sorry. My brain is a little off today. I've gotten about five hours of sleep every night this week, so my thought processes are kind of random. Don't get me wrong - I'm enjoying how I'm spending my evenings. It just makes for a really long week when you get up at 6:20am, leave the house by 7:05am, and don't get back there until midnight. And then do that again. For five days in a row. You get tired.

It's interesting to me to sit in on these rehearsals as an understudy. I'm getting an opportunity to see how an Equity show works, and how Equity actors work and it's really fun to just sort of sit back and watch that. It makes everything just a little less scary. And hearing them talk about various opportunities and problems and things that go along with being full time actors is also interesting. I think we all have this mental image of actors as the people in Hollywood who don't really have to audition anymore and they are shuttled off to exotic places to make brilliant films and then somebody dresses them up fancy so they look great when they pick up their Academy Award. But that's not how it is for the majority of actors. We still have to audition all of the time. ALL of the time. And even if you are offered an amazing gig, it might not be in your best interest to take it for insurance reasons or because it doesn't fill your union requirements or because it means you won't get paid for rehearsal time so you'll be without a paycheck for a month and a half before the money starts coming in. And, you can have an entire season booked as of July, so you know where you're going to be and when through the following July. Or you can not know what you're doing once your current show closes, so even though you're pulling in a nice check now, you have to be careful with it because you don't know when your next gig will happen.

I dunno. It's not a glamorous life. Nobody is an actor for the money. We're actors because we love it. Because we have no other choice in the matter. Because we love to learn and explore and play. Really, I think being an actor is about studying. You study your character and your time period and human emotion and human interactions and life all around you and then you do your damnedest to recreate the important bits on stage in front of (hopefully) a full house. But it's the studying and creation and the process that is really fun about it. Everything from preparing for the audition all the way up to keeping the closing night performance fresh. It's a process and it's brilliant and I love this opportunity to watch how other people work. It helps me focus on how I want to work. What kind of actor I want to be.


I've also started "working out" in the bathroom at work. When I take my breaks throughout the day, I've starting doing some squats or wall pushups or other various strength training exercises while I'm in there. So far, nobody has seen me do this, which is why I use the restroom to do it. But it struck me as rather a good idea. I'm home for about seven hours a day at the moment, five of which are spent sleeping, one spent trying to apologize to my cat for leaving him alone all day, a half hour spent taking the day off of me, and a half an hour spent prepping myself for the new day ahead. That doesn't leave much time for exercise. But I don't like being completely sedentary. So why not throw in a few exercises during the biggest sedentary part of my day? While I'm at work? It doesn't take very long when I split it up through the day - fifteen reps of an exercise on each trip to the ladies' room amounts to an extra minute and a half spent away from my desk? Something like that. But it makes me feel like I'm doing something, so that's good. And every little bit helps, right? Who says you have to do all of your squats, leg lifts, calf raises, and pushups in a row to get some sort of muscular benefit from them?

Anyway. That's what's going on with me. I'm working a lot, learning a lot, and trying to still take care of myself while I do it. And I know what my next show is after this one and how I want to walk in on the first day of rehearsal. I'll be a professional actor someday yet, I swear.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy new year!

So honestly, I've been meaning to post something since about December 30, but I've just been to lazy to actually do it. I wanted to do the whole "year in review" thing and talk about how hard 2010 was for me, and I wanted to promise to say something nice about myself every day in 2011, and I wanted to talk about my frustration with my body at the moment, but none of that happened and here we are, seventeen days into January and I'm just now posting. This is going to be random. I'm telling you that up front in case you were looking for some hidden gem of the interweb or something.

I find myself kind of antsy lately. One of the reasons 2010 was difficult for me was due to a lack of creative outlets. Let me qualify that: yes, I can always play music in my living room; yes, I can always write; yes, I can always cook or bake or do a bunch of other things that many people consider creative outlets. I'm talking specifically about performing. I was all geared up to perform in 2010. After my bigger, more exciting plans fell through (and I wasn't really performing in anticipation of said plans), I set out to reinvent myself in the Chicago theater scene. Only to get called back for about a dozen shows, but not cast in any of them. And while it really is exciting to be called back (because that means they saw at least enough talent in you to want to see you again), it is almost infinitely frustrating to then not be cast in anything. ANYTHING. New plays, old plays, sketches, short plays, long plays, you name it. Yes, it is flattering to know that the directors liked me and saw something in me. But I then don't get to work on the actual project, which sucks. I like having projects to work on. And I know there are a million reasons why another actor was cast - they wanted someone taller or shorter or more blond or less blond or her eyes look better next to his eyes or whatever. A lot of it has nothing to do with my abilities. But to be good, and to know that I'm good, and not be working is hard. It's really friggin' hard. It's like the people out there pounding the pavement trying to get jobs that they are overqualified for, and they don't get those jobs because they are overqualified. Kind of. I'm not an "overqualified" actor - I don't think anyone ever gets to that point. But you know what I mean. I have the skills, I have the drive, I have the willingness to try things and learn and whatever, but I don't actually get a chance to show anyone that by working on a real project.

Which brings me to: I'm working on two projects now.

Which is exciting. I'm understudying a show on an Equity stage (I don't know if I get Equity points or not, but even if I don't, it's nice to be recognized by this company) and I was cast in a university production not too far from my house. Which is exciting. Both are exciting. They are very different roles in very different circumstances and I think both will be a lot of fun.

But it means I'm going to be insanely busy until about April. Which is good - I like being busy. But I've not been this busy in quite a while and that might take some adjusting. I had kind of gotten used to having a couple of nights a week to myself. I'm going to have to start actually taking care of myself so all of these late nights don't wind up killing me.

And the body issues thing - it's always there. It always will be. And there is part of me that would like to drop x number of pounds before we open, but there is a bigger part of me that knows that isn't going to happen. If I start obsessing about every little thing I eat right now and try to squeeze in three or four workouts a week when I'm running at full speed from 6:15am to 11:15pm, I'm going to make myself sick. So I think what I need to do is just be kind of mindful about it, do what I can, and most importantly, learn to love my shape just the way it is and be confident in it. There are plenty of actors larger than me who are consistently cast. And I am, by no stretch of the imagination, an ingenue. Women who are not the ingenue don't necessarily have to be lollipop girls.

Which brings me to my next point - I am not an ingenue. Yes, I still look like I'm in my mid-twenties (especially with my hair long like it is at the moment), but I am not an ingenue. I am strong and grounded and confident as a performer, which the characters played by ingenues seldom are. I, however, keep being cast (in class, and now in these two shows) as someone significantly older than I actually am - fifteen or twenty years older than I actually am. Which can be a little challenging because those types of women are typically in a different stage in their life than I am (i.e. I've not been married to the same man for twenty years and I have no kids), but it is also a little bit encouraging because it means that when my face finally catches up with the rest of me, there should be some good, juicy roles for me to play.

But it's still a little disappointing that I never got to be an ingenue.

But anyway, I'm busy again and that's good. And I have ideas for things to do in 2011 that I hope actually work out. So keep your fingers crossed that 2011 will be better than 2010!