Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 30 - Changes

Today is the sort of day where I find myself thinking that if someone had told the five year old me that I would do the things I am doing now, she would not believe that person. But for different reasons than the last time I posted about how I have changed. 

I've been having a bit of a problem lately that I am not going to provide lots of specifics about because the specifics don't belong on the interweb. I stood up for myself. I was given a forum in which I could talk about the issues I'm having, so I took it. I asked questions. I talked about the roadblocks I feel like I've been facing. And the response was great. Things got sorted, guidance was provided, and we started as a group to figure out how to avoid these same kinds of issues moving forward. It was a very adult thing to do, and I'll be honest: as an introvert, it took a lot out of me. Afterward, even though the end result was positive, I really needed a bit of a cry. I didn't have one, but I needed one. 

The extension of this, though, was that two people who were witness to my standing up for myself (and participants in the ensuing conversation) thanked me afterward. They have encountered similar issues and were too timid to say anything. One of them even said I inspired her to try harder moving forward to ask the questions that need to be asked, even when they are difficult. So I find myself not only a working actor in New York within two weeks of moving here, but an inspiration to my peers in the non-theatre world when it comes to standing up for oneself. Who am I and when did this happen?

I'm proud of the person I am becoming in New York, and what's more, I like her. Change can be a good thing, a very good thing, if you are open to it. 

Be open to it. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29 - Patience

Probably the best thing I have learned from my cat is patience. On the really tough, really long days when I get frustrated with people in general, I need to remember to come home and hug my cat. He is so happy to be in the same room as me. He'll follow me around the apartment just so he can be near me and it melts my heart. It makes me slow down and remember what a joy it is to spend quiet time with those you love and who love you. The look of contentment on his face when I scritch him behind the ears is bliss. The rest of the world, the minor annoyances, the major frustrations go away when I realize that the best thing I can do with a certain chunk of time is just be there for my cat. 

Thank you, Owen, for teaching me patience and the importance of calm. Now, can we keep the quiet, calm thing going through a whole night?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 28 - Gender

We had our first read through today for a play I am working on that is based on interviews with transgender people from all across the spectrum and it got me thinking.

I am female. I am biologically female and spiritually female. I tend to find myself more attracted to men than women, though that's not to say I haven't had the odd girl crush. For me, I have always known that I'm female - there wasn't a moment in my life when it hit me, "Wow, I'm a girl." It's just always been this way. But in looking back on my life during one of the exercises in rehearsal, I found myself remembering times when I resented the fact that I am female. I don't think the resentment ever went deep enough that I found myself truly wanting to be a man, but I distinctly remember resenting being female from time to time as I was growing up. Often times, it was because my brother and his friends were doing things that were more fun that the things I was doing and I wanted to be able to participate but they wouldn't let me because I was a girl. I remember being jealous of the fact that my brother and his friends called each other by their last names, when my friends and I never did that. And even now, as an actor, I sometimes resent the fact that I'm female because there are so many more roles out there for men and significantly fewer men to fill them. At just about any given audition, you'll get two to three times more women showing up to audition than men, but so many shows only have one or two female characters, versus four to six (or more) men. So I get annoyed with that and think things would be easier for me if I was male. But I think my career will be that much more rewarding if I am successful as a woman because of that fact. So I'm happy being female.

I do feel a little dull sometimes, being a mostly straight mostly girl. Like I would have more interesting stories to tell if my sex, gender, or orientation was not in line with societally accepted norms. But then again, I have to be me, just like everyone else does, and I'm a girl who mostly likes boys. Dull as it sounds, that's me.

But my biggest takeaway from this first read through is that I am so beyond lucky to be part of this project. The dialogue happening between actors, directors, and the playwright today was really lovely. Very open, very honest, very accepting. Everyone in that room wants desperately to tell these stories. And everyone in that room is open to loving and accepting everyone else in that room exactly as they are. This is why I do theatre. This is why I love theatre. I have been blessed to be able to meet the people I've met and touch the lives I've touched through theatre. And the best part is, I'm just getting started.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September 27 - Tired

So tired. So very very tired. 

I started putting things in storage today. Little by little, I'm getting there. I'm building a home. 

I read the script today for the show I am in in November and it made me cry three times. I'm so excited for this piece. 

So I'm doing good things and staying busy and making friends and stuff. But I'm tired. So very very tired. Which is why I'm going to lie on my bed and do nothing of importance for two more hours. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

September 26 - Tattoos

I've been seeing a lot of tattoos lately. I don't know if it is that I am out and about more in New York than I was in Chicago, or if there is a greater concentration of tattooed persons in New York, or if I'm still just in that "getting to know you" phase with this city where I notice everything (i.e. the color of white paper, a la David Byrne), but I've been seeing a lot of tattoos lately and I have to say, I love it.

I know there are parts of the world (and parts of this country) where tattoos are still frowned upon. I'm sure there are persons in my life who disapprove of the fact that I have them. But I think you can tell a lot about a person by the tattoos that he or she has (or doesn't have). It's funny - just like I was terrified of cities when I was a kid but have grown to love them, I used to think certain things about people with tattoos that I have now found to be largely false. "Tattooed person" does not automatically mean "degenerate" or "drug addict" or "danger to society." It means someone had something to say that was so important to them at some point in their life that they wanted to write it on their body forever. That's it. Like my Hamlet quote on my foot - I think it is a good indicator of who I am, what I believe in, and where I hope my life goes. And while I have tattoos, I have still had "responsible person jobs" and paid my taxes and performed random acts of kindness in the general direction of people around me. I just happen to like having this design that my friend made and this quote from Hamlet with me at all times. That's all it is.

In an odd sense, it has become a bit more than that for me, too. I find myself drawn to people with tattoos more and more. Maybe not head-to-toe tattoos, but a few. I like hearing their stories. I like looking at the art. I like being able to see this snippet of a person's soul and character right there on his or her arm, leg, foot, neck, or back. Tattoos honestly make a person feel more approachable to me. Which may be weird, but it is what it is. I find myself really liking tattoos, and really enjoying being surrounded by so many people who have participated in this art form.

Can you tell I didn't sleep much last night? Sorry about the not making sense word thing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 25 - Waking Up

It always takes me a little while to get used to sleeping in a new space. This is why I don't often sleep well at other people's houses or in hotels - I need some time to get used to the noises and smells of a new space before I can let myself relax enough to fall into a deep sleep. The fact that I am the world's lightest sleeper doesn't help either. But this means that in my time in New York, I've only gotten a handful of decent nights' sleeps.

Things are looking up, though. I slept well last night. Well enough that I had a trademark Crazy Kitty Dream. It started out innocuous enough. I was sitting on a bench in a park on a lovely, sunny day. But all of a sudden, it looked like the moon was taking a nose dive to planet Earth. I thought it was a meteor or something - it left a brilliant tail as it fell and looked large enough that it would survive falling through the atmosphere. But then, of course, once it was through, it looked to be about the size of a volleyball and had the coloring of an inflatable globe instead of the moon. And it floated. With direction and intention. I had a pencil in my hand and when it came near me, I gently stuck out the pencil, tip forward, to touch the thing because I was afraid to touch it with my hand. It sort of cringed away from the pencil tip once it made contact, turned black, and developed bubbles on it's formerly smooth surface. Someone else near me also made less-than-friendly contact with the thing, which made more of the surface turn black and bubble up. By this point, I figured out that this thing didn't like pointy stuff, so I reached out to it with my hand and touched it very gently. The surface smoothed out and turned blue again.

And then I woke up.

Stupid, stupid alarm! Yes, my alarm is David Tennant shouting at me so it's not all bad, but still. I want to know where my brain was going to take this dream. I made contact with what was probably going to turn out to be an alien life form and figured out within ten seconds that it preferred peace to war. I want to know where that was going. In part, too, so I could get better insight into what personal issue my brain was trying to work out for me, or let me know I need to work on.

On the up side, maybe I am heading towards more restful sleeps. But there are some morning when I really wish I didn't have to wake up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 24 - Doctor Who

Okay, I think I figured out what is bothering me about this season of Doctor Who. This may contain spoilers up to and including the episode "Time Heist," so if you're not caught up, you might want to stop reading. Fair warning.

One of the things that bothered me about the Amy Pond years was the fact that she wasn't really the Doctor's companion during a lot of it. She was this girl he would go pick up from time to time to go on an adventure and then he'd drop her back off on Earth and go do...who knows what. Couple this with the lack of investment in each other as characters and I found myself wondering why he kept going back for her specifically to go on adventures with him. It's like taking your weird Uncle Reginald with you when you go skydiving. Sure, you might have fun, but why not take your fun Aunt Charlene instead?

Now, when Clara joined the show (and the Doctor was still Matt Smith) there was better chemistry, so it made a little more sense to me that he would keep going back for her. And now, with Peter Capaldi, the chemistry is fun and odd and you get the idea he goes back for her for familiarity sake as much as anything else. But he pulls that off, effectively, if it was his choice to go that way with it. So it still irks me that he has to pick her up at the start of every episode and then drop her off at home again at the end, but I can deal with it. I know why he goes back for her.

But now we've introduced a boyfriend for Clara. Granted, the season still has a ways to go, so the boyfriend could turn out to be of importance later. But where the season stands now, the boyfriend pisses me off. Not the actor, not the character - he's really kind of cute and endearing. Not as much as Rory, but he seems like a decent guy. But the fact that the show runners felt it necessary to include a boyfriend for Clara pissed me off, initially because I wanted to yell at them that we, the audience, would watch the show even if there wasn't any romantic tension on it. Remember series 4? With Donna? And they were just best friends? And how amazing that was? Yeah, we'll still watch if there are no sex scenes. So why are they dedicating so much time to showing Clara's life on Earth? This is supposed to be a show about a time traveling alien and his amazing adventures with his friends. Why do we care if Clara is getting some?

And then today, it hit me. As I was watching "Time Heist," it hit me. At the beginning of the episode, when the Doctor is picking Clara up, he's trying to entice her to go with him to amazing places to see amazing things and she doesn't want to go because she has a date.


Do you know how many millions of men and women all over the world would forego going on a date in a heartbeat if the Doctor offered them a chance to go traveling in the TARDIS? I would! I would forego a date with Tom Hiddleston to travel with the Doctor. I'd forego a date with Moby to travel with the Doctor. I'd forego a date with David Tennant to go traveling with the Doctor (unless the Doctor looked like David Tennant, in which case I'd go on a date thought time and space with my David Tennant Doctor). Again, going back to Donna, if there is one thing we learned from Donna, it is that when the Doctor invites you to go along, you go! Now! Without hesitation. Drop everything, jump in that ship, and take off to see things you would never otherwise get to see. How often does a madman in a box offer you the chance to see the whole of creation? And who would pass that up in favor of going on a date?

Okay, sure, there probably are those who would because the person they're going on the date with is THE ONE and they don't want to pass up that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity either. But if it was me, if I was the Doctor, and I invited someone to go with me who chose not to go in favor of staying on Earth in the hopes of getting a goodnight kiss from some other person, I'd find someone else to invite and never go back for that first person again.

Now, that's if this was real life. In the context of a television show, this is telling us that Clara only travelled with the Doctor because she thought he was cute when he was Matt Smith. And now that he's Peter Capaldi, she's not so keen on it. She's a woman who would rather have a romantic relationship than all of the adventures in the multiverse. What is this telling young women who watch the show? That travel is only fun if you're with someone you're attracted to? That relationships are only worth pursuing and/or maintaining if there's the chance of schmecking? I have very much enjoyed the character of Clara Oswald so far. She brought out things in Matt Smith as an actor that I didn't think he could do. She kept up with the Doctor and was never a wilting flower sort. She didn't get all moony over him as Matt Smith, even if she was supposed to think he was hot. Their flirtation was more subtle. A flirtation between equals. But now that the Doctor has said he's not her boyfriend and he's not going to flirt with her, she loses interest in all the other amazing things a relationship with the Doctor provides? Going on adventures with him has to fit in between teaching classes and going on dates? Since when did traveling with the Doctor get relegated to chore status, right below doing laundry but just above scrubbing the toilet?

I really hope I get to be the Doctor someday. I will have friend who travel with me through time and space and our friendships will be magical and completely platonic. My companions and I will recognize the amazing things we have to offer one another, and the relationships don't have to be muddied with all of that "will they/won't they?" nonsense. We won't. But our adventures will be...


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23 - Right Now

I officially have too much going on in my life at the moment. Though, if you have learned anything about me from reading this blog over the years, then you know I thrive on having too much to do. I think it is also helpful that I still have lots to do after having moved to New York, because if I had spent all of that time planning and organizing beforehand and then had nothing happening when I got here, it would have been too much of a shock to my system.

Along with the too many things going on in my life come all sorts of thoughts, though. Thoughts on how to best plan and prepare for each event. How to best solve each problem. Thoughts on conversations I need to have, and ones I've been putting off for too long. And sneaking in between all of these thoughts are memories of people's reactions when I got to tell them this past weekend just how well New York is treating me (for the most part). So a mix of plans for the future and thoughts of the past.

Where I am lacking at the moment, is in paying attention to what is happening right now. This is a rather common disease. Lots of us forget to pay attention to the right now, especially when there is a lot coming up. But the Earth will keep on turning, whether or not we plan for what tomorrow will bring. And all of the worry and the stress that may exist in the right now because we are not yet in the future is counterproductive. So as I have been stressing about juggling three rehearsal schedules, a work schedule, a finding-space-to-put-all-my-crap schedule, and hopefully a sleep schedule, I have been taking little breaks every now and again to remind myself that it will all work out. Things will get done. My performances will be amazing. My stuff will find somewhere to live. I will focus on work projects while I am at work so that they all get done on the proper schedule, too. It will all be okay. Whatever the outcome of this crazy couple of months, I will continue to live. The Earth will continue to turn. I may wind up on a completely different path than the one I think I'm on right now, but it will all be okay.


In the right now, the most important thing is to breathe. The rest will happen after that.

It will all be okay.


Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22 - Haiku

So much on the plate
Eyes wander in search of more
Don't forget to live

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 21 - Mixed Feelings

It was great to be in Chicago this weekend, and to see my family. I am truly blessed to be part of this group of smart, kind, loving, talented people. I loved being able to see them and hug them. Especially after being away for just a couple of weeks, it was good to see that they're still there, you know?

But it was also hard to be in Chicago this weekend as a visitor, not a resident. Chicago was my home for so long, and in many ways it will always be my home, but it is different now. I don't think I realized just how different it would feel after being gone for just three weeks. Chicago feels small now. And cleaner. It smells better than New York and looks shinier. But I think the biggest difference I noticed is that I am not the same. 

I have more confidence now, in myself as a person, in my acting abilities, and in my physical appearance. I know now that I am the sort who can get things done. I've turned into the sort of person who introduces myself to the people who work in establishments I know I will be frequenting. And as much as I have always been a very independent person, I feel even moreso now. 

These are not bad changes, not by any stretch of the imagination. They are great changes. But because I am different, the place I called home for so long is different. Like I said, it feels small. And this weekend, I found myself mourning  the loss of the glitter of my home. Yes, I spent my childhood in the suburbs, but I grew up in the city. Having moved away, I guess I wonder if I've outgrown it, which is a thought that makes me really sad. I'm excited for the adventures ahead of me. Today, I'm just missing the past I'm leaving behind. 

I love you, Chicago. I'll be home soon again, I promise. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 20 - Short

Really quick - I am so blessed to have the family I have. 

That is all. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

September 19 - Update

My things were delivered at 9:06pm last night. No discount given, no empathy shown. One leg of my dresser was damaged, and at least three boxes had holes in them where they shouldn't have had holes. The things I transported in a Space Bag (comforter, pillows, etc) arrived in a torn Space Bag, meaning the vacuum seal was broken and who knows what could have gotten in there. I have not unpacked everything yet, but in one box labeled "Fragile - Glassware & Dishes," I found one broken plate, one broken martini glass, and one broken teapot. Fortunately it was not my TARDIS teapot. But still. Three broken items in the box marked "glassware."

All in all, the movers I paid a lot of money to screwed up at every step of this moving process, from being late to being discourteous, to breaking/mishandling my stuff. If I could give them a negative star rating online, I would. And I will be telling the full story online in the weeks to come. 

But for right now, I'm on my way to see my mom and the rest of my extended family at a wedding. I have stories to tell them and hugs to give them. And when I come back to New York on Sunday, I will be able to slide into a bed with clean sheets on it. An actual bed. And I'll be able to get dressed from a dresser in the morning instead of digging through a suitcase. It feels like my New York life can start now, for real. 

Which is a good thing, because I have a lot lined up for the next three months already. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 18 - Time

Time is relative. It is a man-made construct that allows us to keep track of things and to plan for the future. Because we, as humans, are terrified of the unknown and of being forgotten. But if we have a way to keep track of when things happened, we can allay the fear of being forgotten. And if we have a way to plan events to come, we can allay the fear of the unknown. So we invented time. This time, with seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. All rather arbitrary groupings of time passage, but they are the ones we have adopted to help us make our lives and the lives of those around us run smoothly. 

Side note: because these units of time are specific to this planet, it amuses me when science fiction writers apply things like "age" to characters traveling through space and time. Ended was eleven when he did his thing, but he was so far from Earth, how could he tell? The Doctor is now supposedly over 2000 years old. What sort of year? Gallifreyan years? Earth years? Why would a Gallifreyan measure his age in Earth years? And with all of the bouncing through time and space, is he keeping a special calendar to track how many days (of how many varying lengths) he has spent in all of these various places so he can adjust for different units of time measurement to figure out how old he is in Gallifreyan (or Earth) years? Seems like an awful lot of hassle. But anyway. That wasn't the point of this post. 

We have units of time measurement to make things easier - so you know when the train is going to show up, so you know approximately when to plant the corn, so you know when it is appropriate to start hating the blind date who stood you up. 

The movers I have been fighting with seem to operate on a wholly different time schedule than the rest of the world. My stuff was supposed to be delivered by September 14. It isn't here yet. It was supposed to arrive between 6 and 8 pm today. The driver called at 5:13pm to make sure I was home. I wasn't - I was on the subway on my way home and there was no cell service. So, figuring they had plenty of time, they went to do another job first. I called them back at 5:53pm when I was off the train and got notification someone had called. No answer. They called at 6:03pm to tell me they were doing the other job and would call me in an hour. They just called at 7:34pm to say they are finishing up and are 15 miles away, so they hope to be here in about half an hour. I'll be surprised if they show up before midnight. 

I understand that things change and times need to be adjusted for things outside of our control. But I also know that some people have no concept of time as it exists in this culture. It is my wish to not have to deal with that sort ever again when it comes to paying someone for professional services. 

It is also my wish that my stuff shows up today and is not damaged or broken. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 17 - Happy

It was so nice to see my nieces' faces and to talk to my brother and sister in law on FaceTime today. 

It was so nice to not be soaking wet when I got to work today because the sun was shining instead of the rainy commute from yesterday. 

It was so nice to get into the sound booth in VoiceOver class yesterday and  get a feel for what that kind of work is like. And the feeling that with more practice, I could be good at it. 

It was so nice to get a third offer today. I hope I can accept it!

It is so nice to feel like I am building a life for myself here in New York that has not required me to completely abandon my life in Chicago. I'm really happy here. Yes, there are some things I would change, but they are minor. The positives are outweighing the negatives to the point where I'm almost afraid of how well things are going. But I'm going with it. Positive begets positive, right? So I'm going to keep helping strangers who need it, saying hi to people I recognize on the street, working hard, and being a nice person and we'll all get to see just how positive things can get. 

And as an aside, thank you to all of my friends and family who have been so supportive through this transition. You are a constant source of inspiration to me and I love you more than you know. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15 - Theatre

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Theatre cures everything. 

Today was my first day at work and it was a first day of work. Making sure I had access to all of the things I'll need, trying to balance asking questions with not interrupting other people while they are busy, trying to figure out when it is good to interject and when it is best to shut up, trying lots of things, failures outnumbering successes. And I was cast in another show today. Not in the role I was expecting, though, and I'll admit there were conflicting thoughts of do I want to put in that much effort versus this could be a gateway opportunity that I would be stupid to pass up, and I reminded myself that I am not a small actor so I took the part and will play it to the best of my ability. And the movers still don't know what is going on with my shipment. The driver may or may not still be sick, the other crew coming back to Chicago may or may not arrive this week, and they may or may not be able to turn around and head right back out with my stuff. So my things may or may not be showing up on Thursday, just in time for me to pile boxes into my room and go to Chicago for the weekend. And I'll tell ya, by the time I left work, I felt like I could really go for a bit of a cry. Just an "I'm exhausted and need these tears to wash away the tired" kind of cry. But I had a callback audition to go to. Which means three callbacks from the three auditions I went to on Saturday. 

Even sitting in the waiting room for the callback, I found myself wishing I was elsewhere. But as soon as I got in the room in front of the director...I was me again. Full of energy, full of ideas, willing to try things and play. I was supposed to read three scenes, but one of the other actresses had to leave early, so I ended up reading five or six and I loved it. Any day wherein I get to act is a good day. So bring it on. Be it audition after audition or callback after callback or background role after background role, I am the luckiest woman in the world every time I set foot onto a stage. Because this is what I love to do. In whatever capacity, in whatever volume, in whatever venue. I love to act. Any day I get to act is a good day. 

That's not to say I am not still exhausted. And wishing I had my futon to sleep on instead of an air mattress. But I got to act today, and the director enjoyed my work. Today was a good day. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14 - Side Note

I think one of my favorite things about the New York theatre scene so far is that there is actual diversity in the talent pool. A call for "all ethnicities" in Chicago might yield one or two African American actors. Here, "all ethnicities" yields all ethnicities. I love it. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 13 - New York

I New Yorked today. I New Yorked so hard. 

Two of my very lovely friends back in Chicago sent me a copy of Joss Whedon's biography. I'm not very far into it yet, but it starts out talking about how many failures he has experienced and how all of those setbacks inspire him to appreciate the little successes. Today was a day of little successes for me and I am going to share them here because...because it is good to take stock of the wins, no matter how small. Especially when I'm in the middle of the whole moving debacle that will be continuing into next week because the driver got sick so my stuff won't be here tomorrow. Anyway. 

I New Yorked. 

I woke up stupidly early, in part because Owen got the crazies and in part because I was thinking about too many things. I filed a complaint with the BBB against the movers, and then set out about the rest of my day. Which was...auditions! Today was audition day. Three scheduled auditions between 10am and 2:30pm. I don't know that I've ever done three auditions in the same day before - win #1. Multiple auditions made me feel like an actual New York actor. 

Win #2 - I actually feel like I did well at all three auditions. One was a monologue, one was prepared sides, and one was sides given to me when I got there. So three different techniques, three different methods to prepare, and I felt like I did good work at all three. 

Win #3 - I got called back for two of the three. Which means I wasn't the only one who thought I did good work at the auditions. Two out of three callbacks. I think that's a personal record. 

I also got my favorite New York sandwich and had a beer when I got home to relax and deal with the mover frustration before running back out to the library to print sides for one of the callbacks tomorrow (they're both at the same time).

But what all of this means to me, regardless of whether or not I am cast in these projects, is that I do good work, and my work translates from Chicago to New York. It means I wasn't jumping the gun coming out here before having my equity card. It means I do have a future here. My biggest fear in moving to New York was that I would not get cast in anything, and here I just landed two callbacks in the same day. That means I will get cast in something at some point. Hell, I've been cast in one play already. This can't be a fluke. I'm good at what I do. Other people can see that, too. 

I will always love Chicago, and there are many things I miss. I miss them more the longer I am away. But today, it felt so good to New York that hard. Now I have to prepare for my callbacks tomorrow (that I can go to since the movers aren't showing up).

Friday, September 12, 2014

September 12 - My Response to Golan's Moving

This is the response I sent to Golan's Moving and Storage this morning, following four days of headaches trying to figure out when my stuff will be delivered. Please share this with as many people as you can, especially those considering a long distance move.

I am choosing to email you instead of calling in part so that I have a written record of everything that has transpired in my dealings with Golan's and in part so that I can try to remain calm and rational.

I would like to review my dealings with Golan's from start to current date:
  • On August 8, I requested an estimate through your website. After several missed phone calls (despite asking for the quote to be emailed to me), I was finally able to get an estimate from Scott on August 12.
  • Golan's was not the least expensive (nor best reviewed) option, but Golan's was able to fit the dates of my move. In an email from Scott Berman on August 13, when I asked, "If I were to use Golan's, can you guarantee pick-up on August 30 or 31, with delivery between September 1-14," Scott replied "That is correct."
  • Based on Scott's guarantee of being able to pick-up and deliver when I needed a moving company to do so, I booked the move with Golan's. I provided a $200 deposit and was told to prepare a $1000 cashier's check to be given to the driver when my items were picked up. I asked for an email confirmation of that information, which I did not get. I did get an emailed estimation of services, but nothing with the detailed dollar amounts as they applied to my move.
  • On August 28, I received a phone call saying that the movers would be at my apartment in Chicago to pick-up my items between 8-9am on August 30.
  • On August 30, at 8:45am, I received a phone call from the driver saying he was just leaving and would be at my apartment in approximately half an hour.
  • On August 30, at approximately 9:30am, the movers showed up to pick up my goods. Upon entering my apartment, one of them remarked, "We're moving all of this?" He was apparently told it would just be a couple of boxes - he was not notified that it was a one-bedroom apartment move, including furniture. As the one man set to work itemizing my belongings, the other man began carrying things out, complaining with every trip about how heavy things were. This second man also proceeded to lecture me on proper packing techniques so as to avoid heavy boxes. The man doing the itemizing said they would prefer a larger quantity of lighter boxes to a smaller quantity of heavier boxes because it would make their job easier.
  • On August 30, after approximately two hours of moving my items (and complaining about moving my items), the men left and told me I would receive an email on Tuesday, September 2 detailing the remaining amount owed.
  • On Tuesday, September 2, I received an email stating that my shipment was 400 pounds more than estimated, so the remaining amount due would not be $893, but instead $1443.81. This same email said that Golan's would notify me 48-72 hours before delivery. I prepared a cashier's check in the stated amount so that I would be ready when Golan's showed up.
  • Having heard nothing further from Golan's on September 8, which was getting close to the 48-72 hour advance notification deadline to ensure delivery on September 14, I sent an email inquiring about the delivery date of my shipment.
  • On September 9, I received an email from you, Renata, informing me that that your truck was broken and my shipment would not be delivered until sometime after September 14.
  • On September 9, I replied stating that a delivery date after September 14 was unacceptable, as to delay this shipment which Scott had guaranteed would be delivered by September 14, would cause a significant inconvenience to me including lost wages and lost future earning potential.
  • On September 10, I called to once again state my position, that I expected Golan's to meet it's guaranteed delivery date and ask what would be done to rectify the situation. Renata, you told me you would have to speak to your manager and would get back to me in a couple of hours.
  • On September 10, five hours later, I received a call from your manager. He was rude, condescending, and patronizing as he tried to hold Golan's blameless the situation, and saying that Golan's would let me know as soon as possible IF my shipment was going to be delayed. I informed him that I had already been notified that my shipment would be delayed, and that said notification followed my inquiry, meaning Golan's did was not proactive in keeping me informed, but rather reactive to the situation. I asked for some assurance that the situation was being worked on, which he was unable to provide. Instead, in a snotty tone he told me he could call me every hour if I wanted to tell me he had nothing new to say, he could call me on Thursday, September 11 to tell me he had nothing new to say, or he could wait until Friday to call and maybe have some new information then. I asked him to call me on Thursday, September 11, just for my own piece of mind to know that the situation was being worked on, not forgotten. When I spoke about the inconvenience of having to take time away from a brand new job to await the delivery of my goods, the manager replied that Golan's would work around my schedule, including delivering at 9pm on a weeknight if necessary.
  • On September 11, I heard nothing from Golan's. I sent an email on the evening of September 11 to inform Golan's of this fact.
  • On September 12 at approximately 9:40am, I received a call from you, Renata, in response to the email I sent the evening before. You informed me that my goods would be delivered on Sunday afternoon, September 14. I informed you that Sunday afternoon was inconvenient - information also sent to you in a previous email. You proceeded to tell me that you have no control over when the delivery would show up. I remarked that your manager had said you could work around my schedule, given the hassle, delays, and failures on the part of Golan's in just about every step of the process thus far. You replied that delivery on Sunday fit within the agreed upon terms. You are right, it does. By the narrowest of margins. Please forgive me if I fail to give Golan's a pat on the back at this point for finally doing what they promised to do.
  • In this same phone call, you informed me that because of the size of the street on which I live, there will be an additional charge of $350 (a $100 discount from the regular price) for a smaller shuttle truck to be employed. In frustration, I said I would call you back later and hung up on you. I have chosen to email a response instead.
Working with Golan's has been a headache from start to finish. I find it ironic that Golan's tag line is, "Who said moving isn't easy?" as this has been the worst and most complicated moving experience of my life. I find it ludicrous that Golan's solution after all of the emails and phone calls I have had to make to get Golan's to do what they guaranteed they could do despite Golan's best efforts to avoid doing so, is to charge me an additional $350, bringing the grand total for my move to $2993, after an initial estimate of $2126. The $100 discount for the shuttle, while it shows a modicum of humanity on the part of the otherwise completely distasteful manager to whom I spoke, is laughable at this point.

However, I want my belongings. Golan's is legally not allowed to hold them hostage, which means delivery has to happen. If paying exorbitant fees and disregarding Golan's offer to "work around my schedule" is what it will take for me to never have to deal with Golan's again, so be it. Deliver my goods on Sunday. Please give your drivers a heads up that they will not be getting a tip.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11 - September 11

There is part of me that feels like this day needs to be treated differently, reverentially or something. There is part of me that was sort of hoping that when I went outside today, my first September 11 in New York City, that I would feel something. A sense of loss, a sense of camaraderie, a sense of something. But I didn't.

Today was a day. People went about their lives as they always do. Some guy said hi to me as I walked past him - I'm sure he's been on that same corner most of the days I've been here, probably works in that store or lives in that building. I said hi back. I went to the library, got a library card, took advantage of some of the amazing services offered by the library, drooled over the collection of plays they have, and then came home to read for most of the afternoon. It was not a day of solemn remembrance; it was just a day. And while part of me feels bad about that, part of me thinks that's the way it should be. Something terrible happened on this day many years ago. And we all know that. We all remember it. But it is no longer all-consuming. We've gotten back to living our lives. Which means the something terrible did not defeat us.

Or something. Feel free to tell me to shut up because I've only lived in New York for eleven days and have no idea what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 10 - Update

The moving saga continues.

I called the movers this morning to again express my dissatisfaction with their delayed announcement that my shipment would be delayed, and spoke with a woman who, while not particularly helpful, was at least polite. She told me she would have to speak to her manager and would get back to me in a couple of hours.

Five hours later, a man called who I am guessing is her manager. He said they would let me know as soon as possible if my shipment was going to be late. I told him I had already been informed that it would be late and asked for clarification as to whether or not it would be and what sort of restitution they were prepared to offer for the inconvenience if it is. I then went on to explain (even though he tried to interrupt me several times) exactly how much of an inconvenience a late delivery is in terms of lost wages and lost future earning potential if I have to take time away from a brand new job to wait for the movers to show up and then the staffing firm that placed me in this position (my first position with this staffing firm) decides I am unreliable and doesn't want to place me again. I also explained to the man on the phone that letting me know four days before the deadline date, and only after I had inquired, does not constitute "letting me know as soon as possible" if there would be a problem. They have thus far been reactive, not proactive. I asked him to proactively fix this situation. And yes, by this point in the conversation, my voice was raised, in part because he kept trying to interrupt me, and in part because I am just really angry about the whole thing. To be clear - I did not shout. I raised my voice. There is a difference, of which I am acutely aware. I did not shout, but I did raise my voice.

The man on the phone decided to take the patronizing approach and spoke to me as if I was a petulant child. Which, even if I was acting as a petulant child with my raised voice and calls for them to either uphold their end of the bargain or offer some sort of restitution, is exactly the wrong way to treat an angry customer. Patronizing an angry customer does not calm the customer down, nor does it inspire rational discussion. And the man's patronizing responses that he could either call me tomorrow to tell me he has nothing new to say, or call me every hour to tell me he has nothing new to say, or wait until some undetermined time to call me to give me more information did little to calm me down or inspire rational discussion. I even asked for, at a minimum, some assurance from him that he would be proactively working to fix the situation, which he was not able to offer. In the end, I asked him to call me tomorrow whether or not he has new information because at this point, I want to be the squeaky wheel that keeps everyone up at night until it gets some grease. He was so condescending that yes, I choose to be the thorn in his side making his life more difficult until this gets sorted out.

I realize that this is very much a First World Problem kind of thing. I know that. I apologize for the distastefulness of complaining about this as if it was the end of the world. I know it isn't.

But I start a new job on Monday. I'd like to have access to all of my office appropriate clothing, including tights or pantyhose or other shoes in case it is colder outside on Monday and I want to dress a little warmer than the clothing I have with me will allow. Not to mention the fact that as kind as it was of my friends to let me use their air mattress, sleeping long-term on an air mattress is annoying. It makes a lot of noise and isn't conveniently used as a piece of furniture other than a sleeping spot, whereas a bed can also be used for sitting on and storing things under. I would really like to get dressed in the morning by pulling clothes out of a drawer instead of a suitcase. I would like to be able to do laundry and put things away when I'm done instead of just putting them back in the suitcase. I would like my things to arrive here at a time when I have some time to actually unpack and go through them, to play Tetris with the boxes fitting them into my room, so they don't have to sit in the living room, inconveniencing my roommates for a couple of weeks while I try to squeeze unpacking time in between work and class and going home for the weekend. And perhaps most of all, I would like to start feeling like I actually live in New York instead of like I'm on vacation here. Living out of a suitcase, eating food that I can grab on the go because my cooking utensils aren't here yet, sleeping on an air mattress on the floor, they all make me feel like my time here is very temporary. In one way, it is - I will not live in this apartment forever. But I do plan on being in New York for a couple of years at least and it is hard to feel like that is an actual thing until my things are here with me. Until I can set up my life. Until I can set up my home.

I don't think moving companies get that. I know the guy I talked to on the phone this afternoon did not get that. If he understood the feeling of being in limbo, waiting for weeks for your belongings to show up so you can build a new home, he would not have been as snotty as he was on the phone, regardless of how angry I was. And I know I'll be fine when my stuff gets here. I would just really like to put an end date on this period of limbo in which I feel I've been living for not only the time I've been in New York, but the last month or so in Chicago, too, when my life was all about packing and selling things and giving things away. I want to be done with the logistics of moving so I can move on to bigger and better things.

Please let my stuff magically show up tomorrow. Please?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

September 9 - Annoyance

I was going to write a good fun happy post today about fun new developments, but then the movers emailed to say their truck broke and my stuff won't be here until next week. 

A) How is a moving company dependent on only one truck? Even one truck dedicated to certain shipping routes? How do they not have a backup truck?

B) Why did it take them TEN DAYS to figure out the truck was broken?

C) Why does it take over two weeks to bring my things 900 miles? I drove it in two days. I've done it in one before. Even if they just drove 100 miles per day, they should have been here by now. Seriously, why do they need so much time and why did they wait until the last minute to find out the truck is broken?

In all honesty, worse things have happened in the world and I have no right to complain about the fact that this company to which I am paying a rather large sum of money (co-funded by my mom and her partner) is failing to uphold their end of the bargain and perform their services within the timeframe they laid out. But I just got a temporary office job and we chose Monday as the start date so I wouldn't have to miss a day right at the beginning of my time there to sit and wait for movers to show up. 

Shame on you, movers. I am very disappointed. And I would very much like to say that for every day you are late in making my delivery, I am deducting $100 from your fee. 

(I know it won't really work that way, but I would like it to.)

Monday, September 08, 2014

September 8 - Moving Right Along

Things continue to progress in a generally upward direction around here, which is good. It is encouraging and it helps reinforce the idea that this move was a good idea. I still feel like I'm working my butt off, too, at largely things that are not yet bringing in any money, but will have the potential to do so later. After a very good job interview this morning, I've been submitting to auditions, working on an actor website, and taking care of other odds and ends this afternoon. I'm feeling like it is time to indulge in some Chex Mix and junk television, just for a little while. After I check the audition boards one more time...

One thing I am trying to keep in mind is that I should be open to all sorts of possibilities. It is entirely possible that I could be happy in an office environment again. It is entirely possible that connections I make now will allow me to not need a day job in the future. It is entirely possible that my priorities could change at the drop of a hat based on some other external need that will need to take precedence over my long-term dreams. Things change. Life changes. And I think the best way to handle that is to be open to it.

So I am going to keep plodding along, making the choices that feel right at the moment, but knowing that at some point in the future, it could all be turned on its head. Kind of makes life exciting, don't you think?

Okay, back to work...

Sunday, September 07, 2014

September 7 - Haiku

Fun, full day outside
Meeting with friends new and old
Ready for bed now

Saturday, September 06, 2014

September 6 -Try All the Things

Since it is finally Saturday, I thought I should have sort of an easy day - run some errands, do laundry, take care of a few odds and ends that needed attention. Those things done, I found myself quickly drawn back to the job hunt, on both fronts.

The thing about being an actor, a full-time working actor, is that you don't really get time off. Or shouldn't. Or something. There are always new auditions being posted that need to be submitted to, new articles to read of do's and don'ts that could help you at your next gig, new opportunities that will just float on past if you don't reach out to grab them. And honestly, I don't know when to stop.

Let me clarify - I know what kind of actor I am. I know in my heart of hearts, as desperately as I would want to play Girl in Once, I would likely not be seen for that role because I'm too old or too Irish looking or whatever. But I want to crash the audition for it anyway and just try it. I am stopping short of submitting for auditions where there are no roles for me - stuff casting only men or only hooker-types - but there is so much going on out here that it is hard to not just submit to everything. Cast a wide net and hope something sticks. I don't know that that is the best way to go about things, but that is the way I am going about it at the moment.

To some extent, I am behaving in a similar manner when it comes to looking for day job type work. I could be an administrative assistant or executive assistant just about anywhere and they would love to have me because I am a good employee - responsible, reliable, blah, blah, blah. The trick is getting them to see that from a brief cover letter and my resume. And honestly, my cover letters are starting to suffer. Both for admin jobs and acting jobs. Which is maybe an indication that I should stop looking for work for a little while and, I don't know, eat some grapes or something. Read a book.

But I'm here. In New York. With a lot of people in Chicago rooting me on, cheering for me to succeed. If I don't keep trying all of the things, how will I ever succeed at any of them?

Friday, September 05, 2014

September 5 - Ups and Downs

The first four days I spent in New York were busy and productive and a lot of really good things happened. The big down thing that happened is that I haven't really been able to sleep because my cat wants to play with me at night. I'm glad he's getting more adventuresome in exploring the apartment; I just wish he would do that during the day so that we could both sleep at night like we used to. But I got some good advice from friends on how to help him adjust and we'll see how that goes.

But what it means is that I spent the day in today, to try to get some sleep. Which I did - little naps here and there - but it has also left me feeling a little sad and lost today. It was bound to happen. The kind of person I am, we all know I'm not going to be over the moon happy all of the time. But yeah, today I am a little bit sad and missing home.

I have good things to look forward to, though, including a job interview on Monday, a picnic this weekend, my class starting on Tuesday, and an audition next weekend. So there is still a lot in the works; things still moving along. Today just gets to be a bit of a down day. Tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

September 4 - Step One

I got seen. 

I went to my first Equity audition today and I actually made it into the room to read. It was not my best performance, but I got seen. That's step one. 

Step two: Get a callback.

I'll get to work on that. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

September 3 - Here We Go

I auditioned today. 

Not for Broadway, not even for anything that would pay. But I auditioned in front of a room of MFA directing candidates, and even though I was not necessarily my best, it felt great. It felt so good to be back to doing what I do. My last audition was in, what, March? I've been not auditioning in anticipation of the move, but now that I am here, I can audition for everything. And audition for everything I will. Everything appropriate, that is. 

I do not know when or if I will hear back from these directors. A lot of them seemed to have a positive reaction to what I was doing. And I think if I was given the chance to work with them, it would be a great opportunity to meet people and show what I can do, to start building my reputation out here into what it was back in Chicago. So while not Broadway, this could be a step in the right direction. 

Fingers crossed. But at the very least, I got to act today. That makes today a good day. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September 2 - Day Two

Day two and I did a lot. I played the street cleaning car shuffle game. I found Whole Foods. I got a MetroCard and took the train to Target to get some essentials. I put up a curtain on my window and some poster board on the windows on my door. Owen came out to explore a bit - he ate, drank water, and cleaned himself, so I think he's getting more comfortable, though he's still not snuggly and he's cautious around the roommates. I applied for jobs. I made note of auditions I want to crash and submitted my information to ones I would like to attend without crashing. I got to work on sorting out a kerfluffle. It was a busy second day in New York (first full day). 

The thing is, I like to be busy. Since my things aren't here yet, I can't busy myself with unpacking or getting things into an appropriate storage space. I can't figure out yet how much of my stuff we can squeeze into this apartment. So I have to try to squeeze other things into my time. Things like looking for work and moving in the general direction of making my dreams come true. Those are the things that will really make me feel like I'm not just on vacation here. When I have income and I have been cast in something, this will really start to feel like home. 

But I'm still happy I made the move to come out here. I'm going to go dancing later in the week and I start a class on Tuesday, so I'll start to widen the circle of people I know. In the meantime, I know it is only eight-thirty on a Tuesday night, but I'm ready to call it a day. So I can get up and have a very full day again tomorrow, going to at least one, if not two, open casting calls. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 01, 2014

September 1 - Brooklyn

I made it! I'm in Brooklyn, in my new apartment!

It's actually a really nice place. I was a little afraid when I walked in of how small my room is and how full the rest of the apartment looks, but I think it will all actually work out okay. Worst case scenario, I get a storage space and put some things in it until I have more room of my own.

The best part is, I'm comfortable here already. I'm walking that line between not wanting to disturb what my roommates have already established and realizing that I'm paying rent, too, and have just as much of a right to have my things in the bathroom as anyone else does. In the end, all will be well. And if it is not well, it is not the end. Or something like that.

I'm happy. I'm happy to be here. Now if only I could get Owen to come out from behind the couch...