I haven't blogged in 3 years. Y'all forgive me, if there's anyone out there still checking. It could happen again, but not today. Gotta go live it so I can try to share it later. xoxoxo
I haven't been able to blog about Sandy Hook. I've wanted to and I haven't. Something about blogging about Boston is helping me to do so.
I need to purge these demons the world keeps tossing into my house. And when I say my house, I mean the house of me.
I still can't really talk about Sandy Hook. At least not directly. And not for very long.
I co-op at my daughter's nursery school. I work in the classroom as a teacher's helper about twice a month. It's all kinds of wonderful. I get to spend time with my daughter (and observing my daughter) at school. I meet and get to know her classmates, teachers, and other parents. I help out and learn a whole lot. I also get a discount on tuition. Win-win-win-win-win.
Not too long ago, while co-oping, the director came into the classroom. Silent. Unobtrusive but fast. Ninja fast and stealthy. And she locked the doors. She then whizzed to the next classroom, I assumed to do the same. The kids playing missed it. I almost missed it. My daughter's teacher, calmly, smoothly, and very quickly locked the windows. The other co-oping parent and I rose like meerkats. Like the meerkats with the babies. We looked at each other. We looked at the teacher. We looked at the teacher's assistant. They told us with their eyes to be calm. To be alert. To stay calm.
I thought about Sandy Hook.
I watched the director pass outside the classroom windows behind a police officer. My lady J announced she needed to go to the bathroom. One of her friends strolled by me, humming. The blood pounding in my head made everything sound muffled and slow.
If anything goes down, put them all in the bathroom. They will barely all fit in there, but put them all in the bathroom and take as many bullets as you can.
That's all I could think about. I thought about you Sandy Hook.
Put them all in the bathroom and fight. Fight. Throw chairs. Don't give up. Take bullets. Protect the babies. Put them in the bathroom.
Our menace was a man who was gazing too long into the swimming pool down the road. He was taken away. No harm.
We were back to normal again in minutes. We all went home.
I thought about you Sandy Hook. I think about you Sandy Hook.
I'm so sorry. I promise I will never forget.
The morning of the Boston Marathon tragedy was the day I took my first run. Ever. Well, outside of being forced to in high school. I exercise on the treadmill but I've never "gone for a run" outside. I decided to out of familial logistical necessity. My morning schedule was going to change drastically for about five days. I didn't want to lose my treadmill time. I didn't want to change my husband's and daughter's morning routine which takes place in the room with the treadmill. I started thinking ahead to lady J's new preschool routine for the Fall. A routine quite similar to this five day change and thought - "Ok, I'll go for a run these next few days and see if it's something I can then implement in the Fall." I'll get up early. I'll get out of the house. I won't disrupt my family's routine. I'll get my exercise.
I went out and ran. Well, I did a lot of walking too. I kept making these basic discoveries about running and I kept thinking about how one day when I am an experienced runner these memories will be amusing. Don't carry all of your keys. The moving belt of the treadmill offers great motivation to keep running, frozen pavement does not. The air has smells that change. Misty rain feels good. There are muscles in your ankles you will meet for the first time. They will be testy about being awake. They will be excited to be called to duty. You breathe and sweat differently outside. You don't have to start fast.
I enjoyed my first run so much. It was about 6:15am when I started and although the sun was up, the sky was still gray. There was a bare tree ahead of me. Dark against the lightening sky. There was a bird sitting on a large, lone, branch. Dark like the tree. The bird could have been a gnarled bump if not for its distinctive, fowl, shape. It was like a living postcard: one of those you buy and consider framing instead of sending out. A part of me wanted to stop and just take it in for a moment, but I didn't want to stop running. Not stopping excited me forward. I enjoyed navigating the cracked and uneven pavement and not tripping. I'll be able to run and not look down so much eventually, I coached myself. I was starting to invest in the future of this already and that gave me a very satisfied feeling.
I walked back in the house kind of cocky. I went for a run. I went for a run. I recalled my husband's face when I told him the night before of my plan. There was a raise of one eyebrow. A slight smirk. A look of admiration? Yes, that was admiration. What is it about that idea? That phrase? Going for a run. Something about it. Seriousness. Focus. Endurance. Lone Wolf. Strength. Determination. Dedication. Drive. Olympiad.
A few hours later. Boston. I, not being a runner, did not know the marathon was scheduled for that day. That day that I got up and said to myself "This is a lame idea, I'll figure out another way to exercise." Then immediately chastised myself, got up, and went for a run.
I haven't been back for a run until today. This morning before apprehension of suspects was even beginning, I ran. And tonight with the second suspect in custody, I'm thinking about that coincidence of my first run and this last Boston Marathon.
Run Boston. Run runners. Run. Train. Train to come back. Run to Boston again. Run for those who can not return. Run for those who can not run. Do you see the sky? Don't you love that gray? Do you see that bird and that tree? Run. Run to, not from. Run. Glance down for the cracks and the uneven spots. Don't look down for long. Look up. See where you're going. Run. Run. Run. I'm running behind you. I'm here. Beginning. I'm beginning. I'm watching you. I see you. I'm with you. Run. My eyebrow is raised. I am smiling with a smirk. You are running. I watch in admiration. Run, Boston. Run. Do. Not. Stop. Running. Ever. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go for a run. Go for a run. Go for a run. Go for a run. Run.
So, today I took my little one to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Just me and my four year old. In very long lines, and then we were in! No, wait, another very long line. Now, we're in, and then there are the lines to do everything. And during the time we were waiting, mommy was texting and emailing and calling people, trying to put the 2013 - 2014 season together (which I hope to finalize and announce soon), rescheduling sitters, trying to schedule them for new gigs that were coming up and, and, and, and,..... At one point, I wanted to cry. I didn't want to have four-way-split focus, I didn't want to feel like I wasn't experiencing anything but stress.
So, I stopped and I didn't. I'm pretty sure it was Lady J. We were waiting in the second wrap-around-theme-park line just to get in and I noticed her pleased, quiet, patience at a time when I was losing mine. Then I noticed how blue the sky was. How the air, although still pretty crisp, was starting to feel like Spring. And then I stopped and thought about the fact that I was emailing and texting and calling people because I had work. It was working out that I was going to be an employed actor. And um........yeah, the line I was waiting in was to go and play on the White House Lawn. So.......the stress was real, is real. The tears, that never quite flowed, were justified. I stand behind them. I caught a lucky break in my own mind, if that makes sense. At least that's the way I can express it right now. I caught a lucky break and a glimpse of light. Light from my little one and I grabbed it and I came up out of the dark. Wow, this is too dramatic....oh well, gonna keep with it.....
I came up out of the dark and had a lovely, stressful, exhausting, wonderful, frustrating, exciting day with my girl. A great adventure. And I got a pix with my favorite super-hero, WordGirl. Score. I would post it, but I am cheesing more than Lady J. Love the pix, but no.
It is always complex, isn't it? It's accepting the complexity that's the trick, huh? I think, yeah. I think.
Just added a new page to my site - "off stage photos". The process of selecting and uploading those pictures has jolted me. I am grateful for my life, right now, as it is, as it has been.
One should probably not drink and blog. That seems like a good rule.
Well, I feel it's high time, I break a couple of rules with my goody-goody self. Besides I can always remove this later.
First, I think it's important for me to say there will be all kinds of typos and typo-like shenanigans as I'm typing while tipsy. There. That being said....
"The Convert" was one of the most amazing theatrical and personal experiences I have ever had. Ever. Eeeevvvvvveeeer.
I won't be able to articulate it. Sorry. I know that's what you were probably expecting since this is a blog. But, I can't. What I will do is just list some random thoughts, epiphanies, memories, etc. Some of which, perhaps many of which, may make no sense to you.
Pretend you're reading one of those poems that you think is just too deep for ya, but ya still hope you're gonna get something out of it.....or when you're listening to the classical music station and you want to change the channel with a "what the fuck IS that???" but you sit and listen, because maybe it's just beyond your grasp right now, but if you give it a chance........
Yeah, I've revealed too much. Anyhoo......
My slightly sloshy but will somehow be profound (hopefully) Convert thoughts:
Jesus must fall off the cross on impact
Google, really? really?
Ish! Ish! Ish!
Desks that break away
Chairs that roll away
He's absolving, let's go
movement piece in the wings
that damn necklace
mommy, don't go to work
mommy, i might miss you
mommy, are you going to work or not
circle of love on an empty stage
longing and missing
So, in my last post I mentioned I should blog about Julia and "Over the Hedge". It's a Dreamworks animation. I think it's Dreamworks.
So, one evening a few weeks ago. Julia picks up the DVD jacket, looks at the picture and says, "You're her, mommy."
Me: Her who?
J: (pointing) Her.
Me: Who, Julia????
Frank: Stella the skunk?
Me: Who's daddy?
Frank: The squirrel.
Frank: And who are you, Julia?
**RJ is the star of the film. He is a rascal of a raccoon, voiced, pretty perfectly in my opinion, by Bruce Willis. I gave birth to the animated Procyon lotor version of Bruce Willis. Go figure.
Frank & Me: Stunned, amused, deferential, silence.
Frank: Well, Stella is a smart and sassy skunk. And she cleans up well.
Frank: But Hammy is the one who gets manipulated all the time.
Me: (In my head: Deep) Aloud: Hee-hee.
So, there ya go.
Talk amongst yourselves.
Driven to blog about today. Truly not sure where this is going to go. Maybe some connections to acting but none guaranteed. Kind of feels like the few times in my life that I've been driving and impulsively turned down a road I had never been on. Glancing down to make sure I had enough gas, feeling secure I had a couple of bucks in my pocket and time to kill, I would reassure myself that if I got lost I could always just backtrack.
I hope to do that more in my car one day. For now, let's metaphorically do it here.
So this morning was tough and fruitful. Mommyhood seems to have that as a mandate. If you are fruitful, even simple fruit, you are going to lose some hair, skin, blood, and parts of your mind. Metaphorically (sort of).
Phone calls, emails, appts made then unmade then remade, text messages. Creation of random to-do list of things I know I'm not going to forget mixed with things I probably will once the to-do list is misplaced: pot roast, email Jackie about play, ask hubby about nasal spray, mammography appt, toothpaste, orientation on the 19th, check on Misty, skype with Erika?, buy calendar for 2013, use damn calendar on droid, flu shot, Vilma....
Somewhere in there was also a shower, breakfast and a lot of shushing Lady J. Then there was a moment. I looked at the clock. It was close to 10 am. Lady J was in my bed entranced in PBS kids. I mention the PBS kids because I have to. It's the only way to manage the guilt. The guilt. Across my upper back, about two inches below my shoulders, I feel heavier. Like my muscles took on water. This is followed by a tingle in my nose. Then pressure against my chest, right below the collar bone. Pushing in. My legs feel unsure. She's been watching tv since 7am. She looks like a sweet angel zombie. Thanks to Super Why, then Martha who speaks, Curious George, The Cat in the Hat who knows a lot about that, Word Girl, the gang in Word World and now Mrs. Pteranodon on the Dinasour Train, I have been fruitful. I have been fruitful and my child has been watching tv for 3 hours. Correction PBS kids tv. Lady J learned the word "downtrodden" from Captain Huggy-Face, this keeps me from removing more hair, skin, blood and parts of my mind. Not metaphorically and not really.
10 am turns into noon in 15 minutes. We are running out the door to get to preschool. "Mommy, are you staying at my preschool today?" Yep. It's time to co-op. Plus, sixteen three-to-four year olds and four adults are walking to the grocery store for a special Thanksgiving Day shopping field trip.
I could write a teeny book on this trip alone. Wow.
I will share this: - and hey it has an Acting Thingy!
So, we're walking back with our groceries. I'm bringing up the rear with Lana and Johnny. One on each hand. My Lady J is off ahead. She's running. She's testing to see how far off to the side and how far ahead she can venture before getting called back. That's my girl. Oh! - to do list addition: blog about her analysis of the central characters in the movie "Over the Hedge" as attributed to members of her family including herself.
Ok, so walking back with the groceries. Lana, Johnny and I are strolling. Stroooooolling. It is a beautiful Fall day. What do we have to do really? We're just going to the playground until our caregivers come get us? I felt myself give in to their peacefulness. It was nice.
Lana said, "Look at that big tree." It was big. It was really big and all that other tree stuff, like majestic and beautiful. Its branches were spaced just right and I truly had an urge to climb it. Johnny said, "We need ladders to climb it." I was kind of quietly gasping from this wonderful connection between these two little people holding my hands with such trust and camaraderie when they both dove into an acting exercise!
Ha! Ha! They both started talking to me at the same time about the tree. Two completely different and separate conversations. They did it soooooooooo well. They never got distracted by each other. They never tried to drown each other out. They just spoke, evenly and peacefully, about the tree. I was looking straight up at the blue sky. I could feel that my mouth was open in a huge silent laugh. I didn't want to distract them or interrupt them. I was marveling at how funny and surreal this was.
Then I realized this was the best experience I had ever had with this exercise. I was hearing them both. I was actually hearing, not listening to, but hearing both conversations simultaneously. Easily.
The moment soon passed as most moments do when you're 3. So did the rest of the day, and now this night.
Tonight, I let Lady J brush my teeth for me. A whole other blog entry should be devoted to that experience. She was so delighted to do it. I like being eye to eye. No zombie in her look tonight, just bright, mischievous, happy, angel. PBS kid angel. Fruitful angel.
Ok, it's after 11:30pm. I think about 16 hours of fruitfulness is good. I'm not really sure where we went tonight, but I'm glad I turned down this road.
First, I hope all fared well through Sandy and a quick recovery for those still going through the challenges.
.....so....."the bunny" (formerly known as chef) with tissue wad still encased in derriere decides to do a little dance. Seems appropriate.
I wait, patiently, for about 7 seconds before proceeding to encourage her to wipe her damn behind and move this process along. I just thought the word "damn" didn't say it and tried not to express it in my tone.
Unfazed by my prodding, she takes her time bringing her dance to a halt and reaches back to grab the tissue.
Here we go........
It's, of course, soiled and looking a little tired. Probably wondering if its predecessors normally spent so much time.....wait, am I really being anthropomorphic with poo-poo toilet tissue?
Acting reminder: Don't stifle your own creativity. If your mind wanders into strange territory, why squash and judge it? What glorious (albeit disgusting) ephiphany might you have?
Julia looks at the abused wad and proceeds to "fly" it over top the toilet seat. In a delightful, fairy-like, squeal she makes the tissue cry, "Oh, nooooooooo, Mommy, Daddy, save me........ahhhhhhh.......the tornado!"
Acting reminder footnote 1: Now, see.
Unfortunately, I do revert to mommy mode. Some of these acting lessons, admittedly, come in hindsight. I do believe my inner clown was holding mommy mode back a bit (S.C. Jr. for those of you who have met her but forgot her name) because I didn't lose it completely. "Juliaaaaaa..." I offer a melodic, half-amused, warning.
I was to lose it soon.
She switched from a bad, natural disaster movie to basketball. She missed the shot.
"Julia that is it!" My tirade included very important life lessons like: "Wiping your butt is serious. It's not a game." and "The bathroom is not a playground." The aforementioned S.C. Jr. wept a bit.
But, Julia didn't. She turned her back to me. Very seriously and incredibly slowly gathered another piece of toilet tissue. Very seriously and incredibly slowly wiped her behind and put it in the toilet.
I almost drew blood from my lip to keep from laughing.
Acting reminder: You know how mad you get when a playwright has a character go from furious to giddy in a split second because real people don't do that? whoops.
Luckily, I had just enough time to pull it together. Julia turns to face me. Remember now, I'm sitting on the edge of the tub so we are eye to eye. Now, also nose to nose because she leans in.....seriously and slowly....and says, "You make me so unhappy." My face is trembling.
She continues..."I am so unhappy for you." "FOR!" Why did she have to use the wrong preposition!?!?!?! Face trembling, I was still holding it together but the "FOR" sent me over the edge. I guffawed. I guffawed hard.
Acting reminder: try to remember what this joy is like.
But there's one last bit to the story.......
Acting reminder from Julia: learn how to ride the laughter. When you know you've got the last killer comedic line still coming that's gonna slay them.... hold through their guffaws....wait for it....wait for it....then deliver it clearly, concisely and with all the serious intent in the world you can muster:
"Mommy. Go. Have. A. Time. Out."
So, a few people have mentioned to me that I should blog. Close friends and family. You know the same people who say you should absolutely try out for American Idol.
But, seriously, there are some folks who think that I should write about my experiences as an actor and especially, especially as an actor/mommy/wife.
I'm gonna start gently as an actor and actor/mommy and will probably add some wifey things unintentionally. Out of respect for my husband who has no idea that I'm even blogging, I will try hard not to reveal anything he may not want known. New entry on top of to-do list: tell hubby I'm blogging. My daughter, she's 3. She can sue me when she's an adult or put me in a really crummy home.
So, yeah, let me tell you a really crappy story about my daughter which is actually quite relevant to acting. When I say crappy, I'm being literal.
Lady J, that's one of my many nicknames for her, is learning how to wipe her own bottom when she does number two. I sit on the edge of the bathtub and "supervise" this process.
Acting reminder to self: Don't forget the build up. The audience needs the setup as much as the payoff. You rush through the setup the joke doesn't land. You whisk past the plot points the gravitas of the crash is weakened.
Lady J has no concept of time. As I sit there acting patient but waiting anxiously for her to attempt to wipe her malodorous bottom, she eyeballs me while she rolls tissue off the roll. First too much, so she has to roll it back, then too little so she pulls off a piece that would just get a mouse clean. She wants to use that tiny piece. I stop her just in time.
Nice little fake out in the setup. I like.
Finally, tissue wadded she starts to wipe. She removes her hand but leaves the tissue in her behind. Smiles and claims she's a chef.
I'll give you a moment to read that again. Go ahead. I'll wait................................................................................
I ask her calmly, "A chef?" Acting appreciation: Thank you, Lady J, for these wonderful acting exercises. When you need to hide something or lie to someone just do it. You don't need to play the circumstances for the audience. They just heard her say "I'm a chef" with tissue up her butt. If your objective is to protect her incredible, imaginative, bubble and uncover more and you do so by smothering the desire to holla "What the fuck?!?" do that. Do that. The work of the bizarreness of the given circumstances has been done. No need to redo it, just live in it.
"A chef?" She affirms. I calmly ask her again and also inquire if she knows what a chef is? She twists her head to glance at her bottom and says, "I'm a bunny."
Acting note: Yep. Sometimes the script doesn't make sense. When completely befuddled, try just doing it simply, with complete unforced confidence. I have a piece of tissue in my stinky behind because I'm a chef, no wait, I'm a bunny. If Lady J can do it. I can do it too.
Ok, folks, or folk, or whoever has lasted this long to read this. I gotta go. There is much, much more to this story. I leave you in great anticipation......what happens next???
Does a cliffhanger make this a terrible first blog? Sorry, mommy gets 1 quick break four times a week when the J is in preschool. I can't use it all here. I gotta go be an actress, a chef (ha ha), a laundress, a business tycoon (really ha ha), and a few other titles.
So, this is blogging........hm.....I may try it again. Ya think?
I have in the past been anti-blog, the way I was anti-text, the way my mom was anti-microwave. I think she still is. But, I text like a fiend, now. So, seems natural I should try blogging. Besides that, folks say that as a "maturing" actress of color, with a hubby and a kid, I have some interesting things to say. And since I write the way I talk....