Thursday, April 26, 2007

Our oral hygiene plan seems to be working ok so far. Last night, David held him and kept his hands out of the way and I attacked his teeth with the brush and a dab of toddler toothpaste. It seems to me that when I have been trying to get in there, his fighting me has been sorta unsure. Like he doesn't cry, he just fusses and he will open up and let me in and then laugh nervously and push me away. Well last night, with David's help he couldn't stop me and he pretty much giggled the whole time. It seems like it might tickle or just feel funny. He isn't sure about the feeling somehow. And today, I brushed his teeth myself by laying him down on the bathroom counter, leaning over him and holding his hands in mine. Same reaction. Kinda wants me to do it, kinda doesn't. But hopefully with repetition, he will get used to it and accept it as just one of those things we do. Like the carseat.

And I got to thinking how lucky I am after his bath, when I asked him if he was ready for bed and he got himself a toy and headed to his room. I put him in the crib and he said "night night" like I always do. And he was so excited to say it. "Look what I can do, Mommy!" So sweet. And I get to punch out for the day.

Which is good since I had a killer migraine after work today and am still battling the vertigo. Went back to the doc today and she changed my meds. I wonder if I am ever going to be well again. Seems like I have been sick in some way for a year. It is getting old for sure. I wish we could figure out the cause of the vertigo and some way to fix it. If it continues for another week, they want me to see an ENT specialist. I hope it just goes away. I am tired of throwing money at doctors. I know I am lucky to have health insurance and access to care, but it seems like every time I go to the doc it costs me $100 I can't really spare and I am still feeling sick anyway. Blech. Tired of being sick.

But at least I have a sweet toddler who tells me 'night night' and sometimes gives me kisses. Sometimes, when he is feeling particularly generous.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

So I am a little less annoyed this morning after my google advice breakdown. It was just for me, the last straw in the parenting advice realm. David and I were discussing it and how it seems that for every toddler problem, the internet has one solution - make a game out of it. Can't get your kid to help pick up his toys - game. Won't eat? Game. Won't dress? Game.

I guess I just got fed up with the pervasive idea that I have to be my son's 24 hour entertainment director instead of his mom. When do we stop playing games and simply enforce acceptable behavior? Why does everything have to be fun - at my expense? I shouldn't have to do things that I don't want to do just so my toddler can have fun doing the things he doesn't want to do. I am an adult and I have earned the right to make my happiness come first. And what would make me happy is to get dressed and brushed and changed quickly and efficiently so that we can get on with the real fun in life -those things outside the realm of hygiene.

Sigh. I guess I am not less annoyed after all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I defy you, modern parenting!

O.k. So maybe I am a bad mom. What brought this on? Toothbrushing. I am having a difficult time getting Jackson's teeth brushed and barely manage to get the brush in his mouth before he goes into wrestling mode to make it stop. And I have let it go on too long.

This is not what makes me a bad mom. I am good in that I have spent an hour or so googling to get advice on how to brush a physically resistant and determined toddler's teeth. I am a bad mom because I don't like the answer. And I may be unwilling and unable to do what the majority of parents are doing.

The overwhelming advice of parents? "Make it fun!" It seems that twice a day parents of small children are making fun, theatrical, multi-faceted entertainment extravaganzas out of the simple necessity of tooth brushing. And I am not going to farking do it.

I am not exactly sure why I can dance around the living room singing and playing with Jackson but won't do the same to accomplish a hygiene goal. Actually, I am sure why. Because there is play time and there is hygiene time and tooth brushing isn't supposed to be an entertaining endeavor. It is a habit you develop to avoid social and physical pain. And I don't want to make what should be a few minute ritual into another event that must be made fun so that your child will decide to go along with your idea of brushing their teeth. It isn't an option and I am balking at the idea that you must beg, plead and trick your kids into doing what you want them to do.

I don't want to make tooth brushing fun. I just want to make it mandatory and second nature. Do I have to put on the purple dinosaur costume in sacrifice of dental hygiene? I don't think so. Jackson will just have to learn that he doesn't get his way all the time and this is one of those times that, just like getting dressed and diaper changes, he can protest all he wants, but I am still going to do it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Routine is so important to small children. Tonight I said "Jackson, are you ready to go night night?" His response was to run to the TV, turn it off and head to his room. Just like I do in the morning at nap time. After sesame street and before doodlebops... Morning is time for a bit of TV - Playhouse Disney mostly - after work is an hour or so of outside running around time and evening is bath time. He doesn't watch TV except in the morning, but he knows that turning the TV off is a sleep signal. Or he doesn't want me to search for CSI re-runs all night.

Here I am signing programs as Maid Marian on Saturday. Robin Hood opened well this week/weekend to scores of happy kids. Tuesday and Wednesday were the shows for schools. Local private and pre-schools brought their classes those days and this weekend we opened to the public. Things went much better than I expected after our single dress rehearsal - in which any and all costume/props mishaps that could happen, did. Wigs fell off, keys fell off their key rings at inopportune times and we were just generally distracted by the costumes as most casts are the first time they wear them. I had to adjust my way of moving to accommodate the train of the dress. But I have worn gowns in shows before, so I'd had a little practice with it. Of course, this show involves much more running around than past period pieces I have been in.

But the shows were well attended and well received and I am glad it has turned out so well. But that doesn't mean there aren't parts I sure would like another shot at as the writer. There are a few bits that are simply not funny enough. For instance when Robin Hood comes out and rummages in his bag for a proper disguise, I knew he should pull out a few items that wouldn't work at all. And I didn't spend much time thinking about it as I was on a deadline. So the first things I thought of were (1) a clown wig and (2) groucho nose/glasses and (3) a giant pair of granny panties. I remember at the time that I wrote it that it wasn't really silly enough and that I wanted to go back to it. But during the editing read-thru at my house, no one raised objections to it and I was focusing my re-writes on the things that came up then. So it stayed in as written and now that we have an audience, I realize my initial thoughts were right. It just isn't funny - except the panties, those are funny. Panties are always funny. The rest isn't painful or anything, but I can clearly see how the moment could be improved. I chatted with Elaine a bit about it and she immediately suggested a snorkel and a tutu. Man, I wish I'd workshopped that bit because a snorkel would be much funnier than the groucho glasses. Instead of saying the groucho glasses were too cliche, he could say "I could use this snorkel to swim to the jail where they have Little John..." and the kids could object that there isn't any water. That would be much better. And the tutu could be tiny and wouldn't fit him. Or any number of things. I just wish I could go back and solicit better ideas of unusable disguises for him to pull out of the bag. I am just not happy with the bit as written.

I guess every playwright finds things he or she wished they had written differently. But overall the script is funny and I am ok with it. I will definitely go in for another editing round before I shop it to publishers though. I know what needs tweaked -and I'm not afraid to do it...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The daily CNN Poll today asks "Are campuses more dangerous than other public places?" I voted with the 90 percent that said no. That is my gut instinct. I feel that safety is an illusion and danger in the form of accidents and sickos is always closer than you realize. Not a cheery outlook, I know.

But upon thinking about my answer, I considered whether I would want to be a middle school or high school student today and I have to answer "Hell no!" I think the relative safety I experienced at my small middle-of-nowhere school district were a sort of end of days. Graduated in 94. After Waco. But before Columbine. I don't think I had ever heard of a school shooting while I was there. I never once went to school in fear for my life. I feel lucky. And terrified of what the next 20 years will bring as I think about how best to school my own children. I can only imagine what the families of the dead in Virginia must be going through and I hope against hope I never have to do more than imagine.

I am not a religious person. But I don't discount the possibilities of what may be after we die. And I had a moment while watching the news that I started to imagine the time just after the shooter had taken his own life. I imagined a scene where the souls of the victims stood over the carnage waiting to see what the afterlife held for them. And amongst them came the shooter. Dead himself. What would that moment be like? The victims and the perpetrator all standing as spirits among the carnage together. Waiting. Wonder if they would have anything to say to him. Now that the power of his guns could not be held over them, now that they were all on equal footing. What would they do? It would have to be a moment of pure honesty, him to them and them to him. I wonder if they would ask him why. Or if it simply wouldn't matter to them at all.

Immediately, my thoughts turn to theatre. And how, as in The Laramie Project, theatre is uniquely suited to exploring such powerful and painful questions. My mind is buzzing.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I went to a swanky party this weekend as Andrea's date. It was a benefit for Planet Cancer, a group that helps 20/30 somethings who have cancer. The theme was pink flamingoes and they handed out feather boas at the door to everyone. It was held at a penthouse loft on 5th Street. Probably a $2 or $3 million dollar home. But it was one of those places that is so swanky and trendy that they didn't bother to finish out the place and called it done. The cement floors were nicely stained, but the concrete pillars here and there and the fact that there weren't doors between rooms or walls that reached the ceiling was a little too modern for me. It seemed ultra-cool and coldly unlivable. It would be nice to have the rooftop patio and the view of downtown, but other than that it felt like a really really nice, modern hotel suite, and not someplace that anyone actually called home.

The place was jam-packed when we got there and I could tell I was not going to be comfortable enough to relax, have lots to drink and party with everyone. But I knew it was going to be fabulous people watching. A friend and I sat watching the impeccably dressed social elite and tried to decide who did what for a living. It was probably the best people watching I've had in years. And though the people were obviously hipper and/or younger and much richer than me, I didn't feel out of place or anything. Plus there was an open bar all night, so it isn't hard to feel confident in yourself when you are the only one sober. And my group behaved pretty well, even though there was much to drink. Though Andrea' and I did get our picture taken in the swimming pool of the bathtub for fun. And the crowd kept inciting us to 'kiss! kiss!' - you can imagine. And the drunken Andrea' puckered right up and there is photo proof that I took her up on the invite. But you won't see that here.

She didn't even remember the bathtub scene and called me the next day when she downloaded the pics. "We kissed in the bathtub? OMG!" I assured her there was no tongue involved and nothing remotely 'girls gone wild'. Heh, All I could think at the time was about the Miss Nevada who just got canned for such pics ending up on the internet. Wonder what I will get fired from. The PTA in 8 years?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The title of this blog is "Biggest load of shit I've heard all month" or "How many times can I use the word 'menstruate' in one post?".

I was not very seriously researching amenorreah - when really skinny women stop menstruating - because a friend asked me if I knew how little body fat you'd have to have to stop menstruating. Her daughter asked her and we were casually discussing it. So I looked around online and found this guy.

Ron Brown - not a doctor. A fitness trainer "who doesn't have an inch of flab on his body" believes that these female athletes don't menstruate, not because they don't have enough body fat for their body to function correctly, but because they are healthier than the rest of us. He postulates that female athletes with amenorrhea can get pregnant because they haven't really stopped ovulating as the lack of menstruation would suggest. Then he says this:

"One proposed explanation is that the extra blood that drains out of the uterus following ovulation is reabsorbed back UP into a fit woman's general circulation. On the other hand, in a relatively unfit woman with poorer pelvic circulation, less pelvic muscle tone, and more pelvic weight from stored abdominal body fat, extra blood draining from the uterus following ovulation hemorrhages DOWN into the vaginal canal. Pathologists point out that hemorrhaging in any part of the body is never a sign of a healthy and normal physiological process.

Could it be that the ovulating fit woman with less vaginal blood flow associated with periods is actually healthier and more normal physiologically? If so, this would override any apparent need for a woman to raise her body fat level in order to stay healthy."

Ok. So really all of us menstruating women of the world, past, present and future - why, we're just fat and out of shape. Otherwise we would DEFY the laws of fertility and gravity and use our toned abs to push the menstrual blood back UP into our systems. What a fucking moron. We don't menstruate - we hemorrhage. Thanks, Mister Ron Brown - Not a Doctor. You really showed me the error of my menstruating ways. "Pathologists point out" ass!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I went to the doctor today. I have been having symptoms of vertigo since Friday, sometimes really bad. And at first I just assumed that it was because I stopped taking the Pamelor that I have been on to prevent headaches. But it has been 12 days since I stopped taking it and this is just too much. I confirmed that with my headache doctor who said that though people do sometimes experience withdrawal from stopping cold turkey, it would have started within a day and would be done by now. So I went to the GP to see if they could help me.

Sometimes I think that going to the doc is pointless unless you are really really sick, and then it is best to just go to the ER. My visit today didn't change my mind any. The ADC clinic by my house is wonderful about getting you in same day and they are usually not very busy when you get there. But the nurse had me diagnosed before we got in the room. I am going to steal a construct from Travis to tell you how it went.

Nurse: So what are you here for?
Me: I'm dizzy and queasy and feel like I am going to fall over most of the time.
Nurse: Hmph, under a hundred pounds. No wonder. Are you eating?
Me: Yes.
Nurse: What. What did you eat today?
Me: Um, bowl of cereal...chicken sandwich for lunch...
Nurse: Mmmhmm
Me: Goddammit I am not anorexic, I'm dizzy!

Ok, so I didn't say that. I let her just assume that the anorexic girl doesn't feel good and just needs to eat. She must have said something to the doc though, because he asked me about my weight loss. My chart has me a few -like 2 pounds- heavier on my last visit. He said 'Are you trying to lose weight?" Noooo! I'm dizzy. I'm in a show, I'm busy. I often have no appetite. When I do make myself something to eat, my kid eats it half the time. But I am not anorexic.

Of course, denying it does no good. Just like if you ever say to someone "I am not an alcoholic," pretty much everyone assumes that you are. But dammit, really. I do not push food around on my plate to make it look like I have eaten. I don't lie and say I've eaten when I have not. I don't stuff my face and throw up. I do not have a eating disorder. I have vertigo. The doc even got around to deciding that. I think the fact that he was like a 100 pounds himself helped. He knows that sometimes being small just means that you are small. And being dizzy is just dizzy.

I don't know if I have vertigo or not. He did this head tilt thing on me to see if my eyes moved in a certain way, but they didn't. He decided that I have it anyway. It seemed the appointment only consisted of (a) rule out anorexia (b) rule out recent head trauma (c) diagnose vertigo and if it doesn't get better in 2 weeks look for something else.

He called in a prescription for meclazine - the standard. So I guess I will get that and see if it helps. I just am trying to get off of all the drugs so that we can thing about sraby #2. The thought of taking another pill is off-putting. But maybe it will only be for a few days.

Monday, April 09, 2007

When Mommy is away....

Here is the email my husband sent out to several family and friends while I was out at rehearsal the other night:

"Jackson discovered the smoker opens today and decided to play with the ashes. I suppose I was supposed to stop him, but ran and got the camera instead. Kind of unfortunate, as it doesn't show how nice and smudgey his face really got. Marsha goes to rehearsal and we play with ashes and rusty iron doors. Yay! David"

He even included several pics of their not very healthy adventure. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Been meaning to do this one from Julie.

Wedding Meme:

1. Where/How did you meet? At Sam Bass Theatre auditions for "Chicago" the original stage play, not the musical. Coincidentally (or not) I met my best friend and several more of my core friends on the same day. February, 2001.

2. How long have you known each other?: That would be a little over 6 years.

3. How long after you met did you start dating?: I was married to someone else at the time, so my attraction to him was not an option. We started an 'innocent' email friendship during rehearsals for Chicago in March. Then in May, when it became obvious to us that it wasn't so innocent, I went home to my husband and he started dating someone else (someone who is today, a dear friend to us both). David and I did not communicate at all for almost 3 months. I was trying to stay married to my troubled alcoholic husband and he was trying not to dwell on the married woman. And I didn't want to stick my nose into what could have been a long term relationship for him. But then he and his girlfriend broke up that August. I emailed him my condolences on the very day I found out and we instantly picked up where we left off, all illusions of 'just being friends' gone for good.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?: 1 year and 4 months. Got engaged on Friday the 13th of December 2002. Got home from work to a house full of flowers. He'd bought HEB out of pink and red carnations and had them in vases, and mugs all over the house. He'd cooked dinner, steak and shrimp, and even bought wine, though he doesn't drink. After dinner, he brought out the ring and asked me to marry him. It was amazing. Then we had fifteen minutes to get to the theatre for call. We were both in "Annie", as in little orphan. And we went on that night as usual. But what a great day it was!

Interestingly, until he brought out the ring I had no clue he was going to propose that night. You'd think the flowers would have tipped me off, but they didn't. See, the same day, my Christmas present for him was delivered to the house, sans gift-wrapping. And I thought he just felt bad for ruining yet another surprise. He is the man that can't be surprised btw - nother story...

5. How long was your engagement?:11 months

6. How long have you been married?: 3+ years

7. What is your anniversary?: October 25, 2003

8. How many people came to your wedding reception: About 80

9. What kind of cake did you serve? Honestly, those things are so unimportant to me I don't remember. I remember how they were decorated, but I don't remember the flavors, fillings. Whatever Andrea' told me to do, that is what we did.

The bride's cake was square, though and two tiers stacked on top of one another, but not in the same direction. And there were flowers on it. Very pretty. The groom's cake was chocolate and we did have the comedy/tragedy masks on top. Andrea' and David drew it for the decorator.

10. Where was your wedding?: The Inn at Salado. They had a tiny old chapel moved onto their grounds and restored and it is right next to their pavilion where the reception was. It was an open-air pavilion when we were there, but they have since enclosed it. I liked it open better.

11. What did you serve for your meal?: Um..nother one I can't quite remember. Andrea'? What did you tell me to get? Whatever she said to get. Turkey breast, I think and mashed potatoes and veggies and rolls and stuff. I didn't eat. I can't eat when I am nervous or emotional or there is too much going on. But Mom and Andrea' took care of me. There is a picture of me sucking down a slimfast in my wedding gown before the ceremony. Can't eat, but don't want to pass out = Slimfast and straw. Force fed if necessary, right Mom?

12. How many people were in your bridal party?: 3 bridesmaids, 3 Groomsmen and 1 Groomswoman. She wore a black gown of her choosing, though I tried to talk her into a tuxedo. She looked fabulous, though.

13. Are you still friends with them all?: Yes

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony?: Yup. I was fine till he started crying. Then it was all over.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?: Hmmm. We decided to take most of the pictures before the wedding so as not to waste any Guy Forsyth time afterwards. But Joni made sure that David and I had a special moment before since we wouldn't have that special 'reveal' monent at the ceremony. When I was dressed and ready, everyone left the little cottage and Joni sent him in. We hugged and cried a little and had our time alone, then we went out for pictures.

Also, dancing to Guy Forsyth singing "Children of Jack" for our first dance. Which we snuck in when no one was looking. I am uncomfortable with too much ceremonial attention focused on me, so instead of waiting for someone to announce a first dance and draw attention to us, Guy started singing a song I loved and I said, "Let's dance." And it was nice. Leanne had to run for Joni who was inside photographing the cake, since I hadn't given her any warning. Sorry, Joni. That is just how I had to do it. Uncontrived. And you got great pictures of it anyway.

16. Any funny moments?: The 50 person dance-line started by Kyle and Andrea' was pretty awesome.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon?: New Orleans. Glad we saw it pre-Katrina

19. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change? Hmmm. Not sure. It was pretty bad-ass. Kyle performed the ceremony, which we wrote. My dearest friends and family were there. Guy Forsyth played a kick-ass couple of sets for us. Free photography, florist, and officiant. We spent less than $7k and it was at the perfect location. Weather was great. Sunny then got chilly that evening.

Oh! I know! At the end of the reception, while David and I were on a carriage ride through Salado, Andrea' filled the huge Jacuzzi tub in our cottage for us. Except she put in like half a bottle of bubble bath. And ask yourself what happens to bubbles when you turn on Jacuzzi jets. Yup. We got back, got in the tub together and proceeded to be smothered by Andrea's well-intentioned bubbles. It took us five minutes to find the off switch in the mass of bubbles pouring from the tub. It was fun, but not quite the romantic ending you expect. So we got dressed and Crashed Kyle and Dave's room for some champagne and the left-over food the staff had wrapped up for us.

Heh, when Kyle and I went to the kitchen to heat the food, there was a group of little old ladies playing cards there who wanted to know if our wedding - Mine and Kyle's - had gone well.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?: Right. Even though I believe that is traditionally the man's side. Is it? Or am I just making that up?

22. What size is your bed?: King! Must have a King.

23. Greatest strength as a couple?: We know how good we have it. So know not to screw it up.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple?: Like Julie, I am going to have to go with gaming. The amount of computer gaming that goes on in this house can be staggering. I get jealous, because he is playing online with other people from all over the world. I sometimes whine, 'You have just spent 8 straight hours with a group of strangers and I have been by myself all day.' Whiiiiinne. But since Jackson came, Daddy is forced to stop gaming so often cause Jackson requires his attention. So I guess that it it. He games too much, I nag him too much.

25. Who literally pays the bills?: Me. Online banking is the greatest tool. Due to really bad experiences during my first marriage, I have to know how much money is there, what it is being spent on and that bills are actually being paid. I have to do it myself. And that suits David just fine.

26. What is your song? Don't really have one. We feel special about Guy Forsyth, though.

27. What did you dance your first dance to?: "Children of Jack"

28. Describe your wedding dress: Two-piece - floor length skirt with tiny bell train and a strapless, beaded corset bodice. On clearance, discontinued and on sale from there. $245. Yup, something I am so proud of. My gorgeous gown, $245. Don't ask how much alterations were though. They kind of fleece you there.

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?:Another proud aspect. I went to Sam's with Lynn, theatre friend and florist. We bought $75 worth of bundled flowers in fall colors. Baby roses, and such. And that morning, Lynn and Tara created the bouquets and boutonnieres we needed and they were gorgeous! $75, eat that wedding florists!

30. Are your wedding bands engraved? What do they say?: David's is. It says my name and our wedding date.
So married friends, tell us about your wedding. And friends of the same-sex persuasion, tell us about what your wedding would be like if the man ever decided to acknowledge your absolute right to engage in such legal, binding, and pro-family contracts.

Monday, April 02, 2007

My baby broke my slinky.

I have always loved Slinky's. They are kind of like stress balls or the like. I sit watching a TV show and just roll it back and forth making a soothing 'whoosh, whoosh' sound and it relaxes me. Knowing this, my dad usually gets me a new slinky every few years. I like the plain old grey metal slinky the best - cause it makes the best 'whoosh' sound. But I have also had the dual color plastic ones, the little tiny pocket kind, and I also have one covered in fabric with a snake head - it's a snakey, I guess.

Well, as inevitably happens with first-time parents, all of our toys have become Jackson's toys. My husband has way more toys than I do. I do mean toys literally. Rubber chickens, little figures from kinder eggs, matchbox cars, etc. So my slinky now resides in Jackson's toy box. A bent and mangled little mess that no longer makes the relaxing 'whoosh whoosh' sound. And as we have a kid now, I cannot count on my dad to buy me any more toys. So I am guessing my slinky days are over.

The sacrifices once makes for parenthood. Sigh.