Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cat Food, Lost Voice and Undies

This morning I gave Jackson a little bit of coco pebbles cereal to eat. No milk, he eats his cereal dry for some reason. Anyway, this was his first taste of coco pebble goodness and came running over to ask me, "what is this cat food? It's gooood cat food!" Now I have to worry about him getting into the cat bowl and getting a nasty surprise when it doesn't taste at all like coco pebbles.

Last night was our final vocal rehearsal for the show. We cemented some harmonies, I hope, and went through some of the biggest chorus numbers as a group. I have been fighting a little chest cold and probably shouldn't have sung. My voice is totally gone. I have to take it really easy on my voice for the next few days so I have it back by Saturday for our all-day marathon rehearsal. I can't believe we open May 16th and we are only just now starting to run acts and then full show on Sat. Very scary indeed, but I know with some awfully long rehearsals between now and then, we will get there. We have no other choice.

Tonight we run act I and then I will see what kind of shape we are in really. Maybe we are farther along than I think we are.

I don't much care for the Wiggles. Just saying.

Mary Ellen decreed early on in rehearsals that Miss Mona's girls will all have signature colors. This created a frenzy of ladies vying for their favorite colors. And as it became apparent that Mary Ellen would not be assigning these colors as planned, the women chose for themselves. Except me and maybe one or two others. I didn't want to pick randomly; I wanted Mary Ellen to be free to choose the best Ball Gown for me and not have to choose based on color. The undies are supposed to be the same color as the ball gown that has velcro down the back and gets removed in a big reveal onstage. So I didn't pick a color and when all the other girls went ahead and started buying lingerie in 'their' color I started to feel a little left out. But I am not going to go spend $140 at Frederick's for a corset and pair of panties. I don't have the time for that and I certainly can't justify the purchase. The others want to keep their stuff and they are younger and/or don't have kids and cancer bills. So that is fine for them. Plus I don't know what I am supposed to do about fricken colors. I am not interested in costuming myself. Besides, I don't want the underwear before I know what the gown looks like. How do I know what kind of 'support' or cut I will need? Strapless gown? Princess neckline? See what I mean?

So I missed the color/undies boat. But I told Mary Ellen how I felt a couple of days ago and she said she was more than happy to get lingerie for me since she loves to costume me and is dying to get out and find cute stuff. So I left the color choice and purchasing in her hands. I know she already bought some stuff that I will probably see today. I just worry because she didn't seem to care what colors were already 'taken'. I just know she is gonna bring me stuff in a color someone else has already chosen and I will look like an asshole. This is all so very high school and I don't want to play. So I leave it up to her and if there are hurt color feelings I apologize and accept little responsibility. I will wear what I am told - within reason. I don't want to compete and I don't want to spend a bunch of money. Is that so wrong?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Publicity shots

Here I am at the ill-fated relay. I am pretty disappointed that the event was cancelled, but what can you do? It was one helluva storm.

So here is an update on what has been going on lately. All the ho's at the chicken ranch got all dressed up for some publicity shots last week. It was pretty fun to play in the costumes with the girls. Mary Ellen pulled out the theatre's supply of wigs and everyone did their best to find something that wasn't hideous. There are quite a few wigs, but they are all in need of a serious washing and setting. I took my own wig, since I have such a nice one. The other girls has serious wig envy when they thought I had found the best wig in the trunk. But then they realized it was my cancer wig. It did look good and it felt really good to put it on again. So nice to have hair, I instantly felt pretty and sexy and everything Miss Mona's girls should be. This one is me (Angel) with Danielle (the blonde) who plays Ruby Rae.

I really can't wait until I have good hair again. It sure makes a difference in the way I feel. I am now in the Elvis sideburns muttonchop phase of hair growth which is really attractive. I pretty much hate it and don't anticipate that changing any time soon.

Here is a shot of all the girls, Mona and the Sherrif.

Saturday we took Jackson to the Red Poppy Festival and parade in Georgetown. I had rehearsal at 11:30 and David was holding auditions for his show at 1:00, so we decided to head in early and check it out. Jackson enjoyed the parade, but was a little confused by the concept. When the marching band came into view he was excited and then they got to us and kept going. He kept asking "where are they going?" Very cute. Of course our camera ran out of juice before we got any good pics. Sorry.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Relay for Suck

I got my speeches, one for the survivors dinner and one for the fight back ceremony, all ready and felt pretty good about them both. I got into the red dress which zipped and looked fabulous. Andrea brought me her Miss Georgetown crown which fit nicely on my head and clipped into my short hair securely. Because the relay is an all night event spent walking the track, I wore my high heeled black and white sneakers with black and white striped stockings. Andrea pinned her crown-shaped sash pin on me to hold my Miss Chemo sash into place. It was awesome.

We got there to find the field full of tents and booths and people everywhere ready to have a good time. They opened the relay with a prayer and the national anthem and a couple of survivors spoke. They announced the survivor lap would begin in a few minutes time and then told us that after the survivor lap everyone had to go home because there were tornadoes on the ground in the area and were heading our way.

So David and I walked the survivor lap with everyone and then we picked up our shit and went home. Sigh. What a huge let-down after spending the whole day filled with nervous energy and excitement for the relay and getting to speak. I imagine the folks who spent months planning this and hours setting it up are feeling even more crappy right now. Boo.

On the way out Elaine grabbed a plate full of bbq meat they were going to serve at the ill-fated survivors dinner. So we at least got to eat a little. But I wonder what they are going to do with all that food. Very frustrating!

Thanks to everyone who contributed, I raised $1005 for the American Cancer Society.

And we didn't get hit by a tornado.

That is all the silver lining I can take right now.



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sorry Dad

I haven't blogged much this week and my Dad called to complain. Says he thinks there is something wrong when I don't check in all the time. So I'd better post to let everyone know that I am doing well.

I stopped by the costume shop last weekend and tried on the red gown I want to wear to the Relay for Life on Friday. And to my surprise, it zipped. I haven't really lost weight according to the scale, but I think I have become a bit leaner since rehearsals started. The dress is still very tight through my ribcage, so Ronni is going to see if she can't ooch me and inch or so out of the zipper. Ooch. I like saying that. Ooch...

I took Jackson to get his hair cut today at Penny's. He did so well. He sat in the chair and let them put the cape on him. The lady who did the cutting has a two-year-old herself so was wonderful in talking to him and working with him. He wiggled too much, but held still when it really counted and even let her use the clippers around his ears. I really wanted to get it done today since he gets his picture take tomorrow at school and I didn't want to immortalize his hair in his eyes.

I don't really feel like blogging right now. I feel like having some ice cream. So that is what I am going to do. (Ronni, you workin on that dress?)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Time Filler

Only requirement: one word answers.
1. Where is your mobile phone? Here
2. Your significant other? Significant
3. Your hair? Short
4. Your mother? strong
5. Your father? giving
6. Your favorite thing? family
7. Your dream last night? huh?
8. Your favorite drink? margarita
9. Your dream/goal? security
10. The room you're in? den
11. Your ex? expecting
12. Your fear? failure
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Alive
14. Where were you last night? rehearsal
15. What you're not? tall
16. Muffins? lemon
17. One of your wish list items? Thing
18. Where you grew up? Andice
19. The last thing you did? read
20. What are you wearing? capris
21. Your TV? awesome
22. Your pets? cats
23. Your computer? lap
24. Your life? full
25. Your mood? content
26. Missing someone? sure
27. Your car? washed
28. Something you're not wearing? bra
29. Favorite Store? Target
30. Your summer? healthy
31. Like someone? sure
32. Your favorite color? red
33. When is the last time you laughed? recently
34. Last time you cried? today

Great News

I sent an email to the Round Rock Relay for Life organizers introducing myself as the Chemo Queen and asking if they were interested in adding me as a speaker. The lady in charge checked out my blog and story and called me to enthusiastically invite me to speak both at the Survivor Dinner and again later on the field! She said they were really excited about showing how you can get through this and keep going and living and continuing to laugh at it all, even when things suck and the Chemo Queen fits right into that.

She said there may be as many as 2000 people at the main event. That makes me nervous as hell, but I asked for it and now I have to deliver. Ronni at A Cut Above Costumes is going to see if we can't get me into the red dress I wanted to wear the last time I talked. If I can get into that dress, I could give a speech to the United Nations if I had to. So wish me luck. Both with the dress and the speechifying.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Relay for Life

I signed up for the Relay for Life today. This is an all-night American Cancer Society fundraiser event held all over the country. Mine is next Friday 4/25 at the High School near my house. People walk the track all night in shifts and they have live bands and food and movies and a tent city and all kinds of stuff. I doubt I will take a tent and stay all night. I at least I want to go to the opening ceremonies and the survivor lap and remembrance ceremony. I have a kid at home and a Whorehouse rehearsal the next morning so staying out all night is probably not a good idea. Maybe I can stay till midnight or something. If anyone wants to go with me, let me know. Unless I get a sitter David has to stay home...

And if you are feeling charitable and want to sponsor me, you can go to my page and donate online. Pretty worthy cause, I think.

I will probably bawl like a baby during the luminaria ceremony. You can buy a luminaria in honor of someone. (Click the link if you want to do so) This is what the relay site has to say about it:

"For many people who attend Relay For Life®, one of the most moving parts of the event is the Ceremony of Hope. As the light dims over campsites and team members complete laps, the night is brightened by the glow of lighted bags called luminaria, each of which has a special meaning. Some luminaria celebrate the survivorship of people who have battled cancer and lived to tell the tale. Many commemorate the lives of those who have been lost to this disease. All represent a person who has been profoundly affected by cancer and the family and friends who continue to be touched by that experience."

Are you tearing up a little bit reading that? If not you are a cold-hearted bastard. Kidding, I just really wanted to say that.

Anyway...I decided to go next Friday and celebrate cancer...or whatever. Oh, and the best thing is they encourage costumes and even give an award for the best one! So I will probably go as the Chemo Queen. Or a Pirate. Not sure yet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Editorial in the Statesman

I rewrote my 'Dear Polygamists' blog and submitted it to the Statesman editorial board and they accepted it for their online edition! Very cool. Of course it makes me a little nervous to have my opinion out there for everyone to read, disagree with and comment on. But since I have been openly blogging about my life, cancer treatment, trials and tribulations, I guess this isn't much different. They posted my blog address at the end so I may get a few visitors that way.

So welcome, anyone who found me through the Statesman. I don't always write ranting posts about politics, but I do tend to have strong opinions.


Best little Whorehouse rehearsals are going pretty well. The director told me this morning that, even though I don't consider myself a singer and I still claim that I am not a dancer, the vocal director and choreographer were arguing over whether I would sing in some numbers or dance in them. Apparently they both want me. Very cool to get such nice feedback, but I still doubt my ability to tap dance. And the tap number is also a lights-out flashlight dance. So I have to rub my belly and pat my head at the same time basically. And the flashlight will serve as a beacon; a beacon of suck held tightly in my both hands. "Look at me everyone! Watch as I screw up the choreography!" The scenarios I imagine are all pretty humiliating, but in the end I suspect I will learn it and perform passably both as a whore in the Chicken Ranch and as a Melvin P. Thorpe Doggette. As long as I manage the two very quick costume changes they require of me.

Jackson, the two-year-old, has been particularly difficult lately. He is really cranky and hard to please when he is sick, as he was all weekend. And I found myself at the end of my patience this morning when he crunched up his frosted flakes all over the carpet in the living room. My mom had been planning to pick him up from school today and keep him for the afternoon, so I threw in some extra diapers and a change of clothes and asked her to keep him over night. I found myself yelling at him this morning with less and less reason. Any annoying two-year-old quirk, like demanding to wear his belt even though his pants have no belt loops, put me over the edge and there I was yelling at him again. So it is best I have a break. Good thing my mom lives near enough to rescue him.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Counts and Taps

Jackson is sick. Running a pretty good fever. I always know he is sick when he sits still for any measure of time. Small boy not running a mile a minute and I usually know to check for a fever. I needed to get my labs done today and had a few things I needed to do at work, so I asked David if he could come home to be with the boy. Plus it is Friday and I figured he could use the reprieve from afternoon traffic. So he came home at noon and I went to get my brood draw. counts are good. WBC is 4.0 - low end of normal. But normal. I told all the folks at the Cancer Center about the show and they all planned right then and there to come see it as a group on May 30th. Even Dr. Bunch, who isn't even my doctor, though she saw me twice in the hospital, is coming. Very cool.

Rehearsals are going well. Though we are going a bit slower than makes me comfortable. I am afraid that taking our time now will lead to the time crunch marathon rehearsals later. But with a big show that seems to be inevitable and I have seen my share of shows come together at the last minute. I would just prefer to be right on pace.

The dancing has been interesting. Interesting because the choreographer seems to disagree with my assessment that my dancing is hopeless. She has put me in the Doggette number which has tap, sexy stuff and a flashlight dance yet to be choreographed. She chose six girls for the dance line and I was one of them. Ok, then. Our dance captain, Jessie, is incredibly talented and promises to help me learn the tap. She is a great teacher, really knows how to break down each step. She says she has taught harder choreography to 4-year-olds so she is sure she can teach me this stuff. Course 4-year-olds don't have a lifetime full of 'I can't dance' voices screaming in their heads so I am not sure that is really a comfort. I'll keep you posted on my progress. I may need to go tap shoe shopping as I am the only one in the group that doesn't have them. But then again, perhaps not putting taps on my shoes would make my mistakes less audible...hmmm.

Dear Polygamists

I wanted to write to say that I do feel some measure of sadness that your families in Texas are being broken up. I am sure the tears and grief you felt as the children were taken and your temple entered by police officers was quite real. I wanted to offer you some advice for the future of your religious marital policies.

I don't believe I am alone in saying that I don't care if you choose to practice plural marriage. I honestly feel that how two, or three, or four consenting adults choose to live is up to you and the rest of us have no right to tell you to stop.

The key words in that statement is 'consenting adults'. It is because you do not limit your 'marriages' to fully consenting, fully grown adults that you have law enforcement and social services tearing apart your homes and families. What you are doing when you 'marry' a 13 year-old girl to a 40-something man is making what you call a family into a crime. You make it all about sex and not at all about your religion. Those of us in the outside world will never and can never recognize your choice of lifestyle as legitimate as long as our picture of you is of lecherous old men fucking little girls in the temple and calling it good and right.

And when you toss aside your young men with little reason or provocation so more of your 40-somethings can have more of your teen girls without competition, you make yourselves into pathetic sex-driven monsters.

And I do want to say one last thing. Stop having children you can't afford to raise without government assistance. When you have 20 plus children and 4 wives who are all on food stamps you have made your lifestyle choice my burden and that isn't fair or right.

To sum up:

1. Marry other consenting adults only, no one will care.

2. Don't force little girls to marry and bear children. Ceremonially having sex with them inside your church is simply a sick fantasy that must stop.

3. Do not exile your excess young men. It makes you look pathetic.

4. Have only as many children as you can afford to raise. Birth control is a necessity.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hussy Dancing and Housework

I just got home from dance rehearsal. It went pretty well. We learned some 'hussy' dancing tonight and as I suspected, I am ok at this. From watching the mirror while we danced I learned an interesting personal fact. I discovered that I lead with my abdomen and if I simply pull my abs in and under, I look much, much better. Sounds easier that it is to do because the second I take my concentration elsewhere, there I go awkwardly leading with my belly again. I mentioned this to Lisa, the choreographer, and she told me that lots of women with young children do this regularly. And that makes sense if you imagine walking with a big pregnant belly. It starts there and continues with us carrying the kid on one hip, abs forward. Well, this might work well to balance the belly and/or the kid, but it sure doesn't look right for dancing. Especially hussy dancing. So that is my goal; fix my posture so I keep my abs pulled in and stand up strait. And learn to dance. Easy right?

So I totally forgot to talk about the most interesting part of my dinner at Benihana on Saturday. I ate my meal, including the rice, with chop sticks. Never before have I had interest in the chopsticks at an oriental restaurant. I always kind of chuckle a little, admire the couple of people using them and immediately head for the fork. But this time, I decided to try it and though it was not easy, I refrained from using the fork the entire meal. Why the change? I don't know. Maybe I have a need to try new things lately, having decided to be in a musical and learn to dance a little. Maybe I was drinking the fabulous margarita they served me and I felt a little adventurous. I don't know, but I felt like eating with the chopsticks and I did. I am impressed with me, aren't you?

Yesterday was another day of getting things done. Grocery store, lawn mowing and house work. In the midst of doing my third load of laundry, I got that little post-chemo giddiness I get occasionally when I realize I have been working for hours and can still (a) breathe, (b) bend down for something and stand back up without support and (c) do a little I'm not sick dance between loads. Such an accomplishment it seems to be able to clean my own damned house. I'm sure the fun will fade soon enough.

In fact, I have a sink full of dishes since I had to run out after dinner to head to rehearsal. So I guess I better get to it.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dinner and Del Castillo

Dance rehearsal today went better. I at least had more appropriate shoes on for the tap stuff. And I think I can get it - I can do all the steps, just not at the speed of the music yet. But I think with practice I will get it. However, I don't believe that high kicks are in my future and you know what? I am ok with that.

We had dinner at Benihana tonight with David's folks and their friends for his mom's birthday. It was really good, pretty much what Tokyo Steakhouse does, just a little more expensive. We'll stick with Tokyo Steakhouse since it is in Round Rock and as good or better on everything. But we ate too much and had fun. And it was nice to have dinner out without a two-year-old to care for.

Mary came and picked up Jackson at about 4:30 and took him with her to the Nutty Brown Cafe for dinner and the Del Castillo early show. Mary is friends with the base player and they had VIP Passes and got to hang out with the band. Apparently Jackson became a sideshow of his own because of his amazing dancing ability. Mary claims that he was dancing from the minute the band started to the last song and he was even breakdancing a little. She says a crowd formed around him to watch him. Mary took pictures and I will post some when I get them. My kid is so much cooler than his mom already - out with Del Castillo on a Saturday night at two-years-old. They are playing an early show next Saturday at Austin City Hall. Perhaps we could go with Jackson and he could introduce us to the band.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Small Set-back

Sometimes it is just so hard to act normal. By normal I mean, not a cancer patient(or survivor or whatever). I have little setbacks once in a while. Something will set me off and I have a mini breakdown.

Tonight it was my ears. My ears get bright red when I am busy, or hot or sometimes for no reason at all. Bright, neon red. In the olden days, the BC days, I would simply hide them in my hair.

This evening before rehearsal I was sewing the elastic on my new ballet shoes and was sitting under the dining room light. It was bright and hot and my ears turned red. When I went in to get ready for rehearsal I noticed and realized that with my hair like this I have nothing to hide my red ears behind. They are just right out there for everyone to see. And my heart beat a little faster and it hit me just how much of an armor my hair was to me. It covered me like a blanket and I could hide behind it. It protected me somehow deep in the recesses of my psyche. I feel so vulnerable and exposed with this short, short hair. I hate it. So there I was with red ears and I had no place to hide and I had a little panic attack. I found myself driving to rehearsal sobbing all of the sudden, like I had just lost my hair yesterday.

"What is wrong with me?" I thought. "Why am I freaking out?" I don't have an answer. I just lost it for a few minutes. When I got there, I sat in my car for a few minutes trying to gather myself and make sure I didn't look like an over-emotional idiot for walking into rehearsal looking like I had been crying. I mean, what was I supposed to say when someone asked me what was wrong? "Oh, I lost my hair 8 months ago and my ears are red and I am having an identity crisis." Somebody haul this girl off to the crazy farm, why don'tcha?

I managed to pull myself together and go in and participate in the rehearsal. But it was really hard. Not just because I am such a newby at all this and am terrified I may have bitten off too much with this show. But because there is this floor-to-ceiling mirror in the room and I had to watch my sucky dancing and red ears for two hours. And I felt like an outsider. A dancing outsider. I bought new ballet slippers yesterday because the ones I had been using were too big. I couldn't feel the floor with them on and they were hindering my balance, especially. So I bought some that fit and brought them to rehearsal only to find out we were mostly doing tap stuff and ballet slippers are a hindrance to that type of dancing. My character shoes would have been much better but I didn't have them with me. Several of the other girls are experienced dancers and pulled out their tap shoes and put them on and there I am the schmuck in the ballet slippers trying to learn tap combinations. Geez. I just felt like I couldn't win.

And we are still learning things that I don't expect to be performing in the show. The dance we are learning is for the guys Aggie football team number and the girls are just doing it for conditioning and to practice basics. The tap stuff is for the girls too, but mostly for the girls that will be doubling as the Angelettes (Aggie drillteam) and they will be doing a kickline. I say they, because there is no way I, who can not even kick waist high, will be a part of that number. And the tap is for the Doggettes who will be doing a tap number. And since I know I am most likely not going to be doing it in the show it is hard for me to get invested in learning something that is hard for me and makes me feel like a clumsy idiot in the wrong damned shoes. I lost my spirit to learn tonight. I did what I could but didn't have the heart to do more than half-assedly fake anything I found difficult, which was most of it.

Last night's vocal rehearsal, on the other hand, went well. We learned three songs and the harmonies are going to sound so awesome. My solo lines are well-placed in my voice and with a little practice I should be able to do them justice. The vocal director is so knowledgeable and easy to sing for. She made us feel relaxed which made it easier to learn. It was a good time and I look forward to more time with the music.

And the acting. I'd love to skip all the hard stuff I am bad at and get to the stuff I am good at. Let's sing and act. Sounds like fun to me!

I am making an effort to talk about some good things now because I know I am too hard on myself and I don't want to let myself wallow in the fact that I had a little emotional setback. I need to get over it and keep going.

When I took Jackson to school this morning one of his classmates was arriving at the same time. Her name is Emma and when she saw Jackson she came rushing over and they hugged and said hi. So cute. Course Jackson is a tiny guy and his head fit nicely on her chest for the hugs. Then Emma took him by the hand and lead him into the building. She kept saying 'I have my Jackson' and he kept turning to me and saying 'she holding my hand, mommy!' Such an awesome moment. I wish I'd had my camera.

I am really enjoying work lately because I am digging in and taking over duties to streamline the way we do things. This week I have been working on setting up an account with an office supply delivery company so that when we need things we order them and they are delivered instead of someone having to run to office depot or Sam's. So a new duty of mine will be a bi-weekly inventory to take stock of what we need in the office as well as toilet paper and coffee and hand soap, etc. This is blogworthy because when I started at the Palace almost 2 1/2 years ago it was a 3-man operation. Sonja did the box office, Mary Ellen produced the shows and Russ got the supplies. Now that we are growing and changing so much, there is no reason not to lighten some of the little administrative duties of these three and simply report to them as board members. So that is my goal. Figure out what needs done and the best way to do it. And not step on any toes in the process. If Russ, for example, wanted to continue going to Sam's to buy hand soap, by all means...but if he'd rather spend his time overseeing the renovation of the tin get the picture.

So work is good. I love working in the theatre and making things work better. Something so normal is just so precious to me. I love being back.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sleep is a precious thing

I have a little boy who can get out of his bed when he wants to. He has taken to visiting me in the wee hours. Every time he comes in he announces 'Mama, I get out my bed.' This makes me smile even at 2:00 in the morning. I have been lately letting him get in bed with me for a little while till he wants back in his bed, which is not usually more than 15 minutes or so.

I am not sure whether to try to end this behavior or not. I am of two minds. I much prefer this sleep disturbance to the alternative of him waking up and yelling for me to come in for 20 minutes till I wake up enough to drag myself into his room. And I will admit to being what I call a nightmare survivor. For as long as I can remember, I have always had vivid and real nightmares that wake me up and terrify me. Even now I wake David up several times a months with a nightmare. As a child I used to regularly go and get in bed with Daddy when I had a nightmare. If I stayed in my own bed and tried to go back to sleep, the nightmare would only return. I remember being 8 or 10 years old standing outside my parent's bedroom wanting to go in and telling myself I was too old for that and to go back to my own bed. Which I did. So now I have a hard time denying my son if he wants to get in with me for a few minutes for whatever reason. Sometimes you just need your mom or dad. Especially at 2:00 in the morning.

On the other hand, he also comes in regularly at about 6:00 or 6:20 a.m., almost the time David gets up for work. Jackson seems to know that it is almost morning and he comes to wait anxiously for his Daddy to get up. This bothers the hell out of both of us cause the last precious hour (or half hour) of sleep is golden and should not be ruined by a toddler who can't wait another minute for the day to begin. It is kinda funny, or it would be if I weren't trying desperately to sleep while it was going on. He is like a spring when he lays in bed with us, all taut and poised, ready to jump up at his Daddy's slightest move in the bed. When David does get up, so does the toddler. He springs up in the bed and announces, "I'm done sleeping!" This morning I made him stay in bed with me until we could hear that David was out of the shower. That wasn't easy to do. He kept asking me, "Is Daddy out the shower yet? Is he done yet." I was so amazingly tired this morning and this wasn't remotely funny.

Jackson also has been showing some sleep deprived behaviors the last few days. He isn't getting to sleep early enough at night, waking a few times each night and getting up too early. And then not napping long enough, or like today, running out of energy before the end of his preschool day. He was excited as hell to get there this morning and ran inside happily. He ate his lunch and behaved well, but apparently had his first paci meltdown at school. He has not asked for it at school before today. It has just been a fact that the paci does not go to school with him and he is fine with handing it over in the car. But he was tired today when I picked him up.

Cobby, the volunteer at work today, and I laughed a bit comparing the tired toddler to a belligerent drunk. Jackson was stumbling around, bleary-eyed, demanding, not really knowing what he wanted but pissed at you for not giving it to him. The little drunk boy was so tired, but was super-resistant to napping. Of course the timing was off. Nap time is generally between 12:30 and 1:00 and since school is over at 1:00, his nap is too late. But I got him somewhat appeased enough to nap. He was still sleeping at 4:15 and I had to wake him up to go home.

It was clear he wasn't done sleeping and his behavior showed it. He started right back in with the belligerent behavior. He demanded candy which I didn't have. I offered him a ginger snap and he scoffed at it and threw a small toy on the floor. Then when I put the cookies away he demanded one. I told him I'd give him a cookie if he picked up his toy and said please. He told me "No please!" and picked up his toy only to throw it on the floor again with a 'what're you gonna do about it' look. What did I do? I put the cookies away, gathered up a crying, kicking, screaming toddler and went home, dragging the child through the theatre where they were working on set, through a busy parking lot where the people either smiled at us or acted like I was beating the kid and to the car where I calmly (I am rather proud of how calmly) forced the struggling kid into his car seat. I explained what he had done wrong and why he didn't get a cookie and that he could try again later. I wanted to pull my hairs out it was so frustrating, but I could clearly see how tired he was and that this was fueling his tantrum.

An early bedtime was called for and we got him into his bed at 7:15, but I wouldn't say he was sleeping till 8:15 or 8:30ish. I think in general he needs to be in bed earlier. And I wonder if I need to pick him up from school early. Can he just not handle being up til 1:30? I dunno.

I don't know whether or how to curtail his visits to my room at night and how to and whether to get him to sleep longer in the morning. his behavior is so obviously tied to hunger and tiredness that I simply can't ignore the sleep factor in the ease of living with a toddler. He can be the most wonderful kid to be around, but if he is tired or hungry or both, forget it.

I do of course think he is a genius. Two things today make me say so. The first is his drawing ability. He is definitely left handed and he loves to color and draw. He has been working on drawing a car and today he did pretty darn well. He drew two circles for wheels which were almost the same size and then he drew an oblong shape on the wheels for the car. It really looked like a car! He brought it over and showed us all and then drew another one for us. What a talent, I tell you.

The other act of genius was when I was reading him his bedtime books. He likes a book that has pictures of babies dressed up in bug costumes; lady bugs, caterpillars, dragonflies, etc. He loves the butterfly picture and gets excited by it every night. Tonight he asked me what kind of butterfly I wanted which is his code for 'mommy, ask me what kind of butterfly I want.' He pointed to the picture of the small boy in the butterfly costume and said he wanted 'butterfly on his back' - the wings - so he could 'fly, fly, fly, everywhere, all outside.' And he acted out flying with his hand and asked me to buy him a butterfly. He thinks if he wears the costume he could fly like a butterfly. And although we all know the impossibility of this thought, my 2-year-old is a genius for putting it together the way he did. So says Mama.

Last night was dance rehearsal number two and I continue to suck, but not quite as bad as last time. I don't think there is much hope of me learning turns - pirouettes, and the like. The whole concept of 'spotting' so you don't get dizzy is not difficult to recognize, but is not actually easy to do. I did remember a number of combinations that were taught on Saturday, so that was good. I think I will do well enough in the end, but I can tell it is going to take a lot of work. And hopefully that work will result in a more toned physique to show off on the Palace Stage in May.

On that note, I took a SmartOnes lunch to work today. Larry had a Healthy Choice meal with him. After we both ate our health-conscious meals and were sitting in the office working on separate things, I couldn't ignore the fact that my stomach was still growling. I sighed and said, "Larry, I'm fricken hungry! I may have to break into the snack bar." Without missing a beat he replied, "I'll split a candy bar with you." So alas, the two Palace workers tore into a Twix bar and giggled the whole time.