Archive for the 'A Life Outside of The Acting Biz' Category

The latest…

June 16, 2011
  • Today I booked a commercial.  THANK GOD.
  • Web Series is 2/3 of the way shot.  Just one more weekend to go.
  • Today I met with a very good commercial agent my manager set me up to meet.  It turns out my sort of famous director (who is a hot young actor) is with them and we (the agent and I) started talking about him.  The meeting went very well and they totally dig me.  But then I freaked out and emailed my director and asked him NOT to tell them I was married with a kid.  I don’t think I’m paranoid.  I think this is how it is in the biz.  I even ran into one mother (who had her daughter with her) and when I told her I had a 2.5 year old she exclaimed:  “You look so young!”
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The latest…

May 16, 2011

The Artist’s tools:  Post It Notes and a dry erase marker.

Baby M creating art...The Artist displays her works.

We pulled Baby M out of day care.

Among other things, Baby M was given junk food if she didn’t eat her lunch.  When Baby M was a tiny infant she was pretty much potty trained.  Now we need to retrain her to potty train.

My husband and I were not crazy about the daycare.  They meant well but they weren’t really able to care for all of the kids.  The caretakers “read” books by blasting a CD on a radio and turning pages on the books while talking on their phones.

The final straw was when I had a conversation with one of Baby M’s primary caretakers:

Me:  How have you been?

Caretaker:  Oh, I’m great!  I just went partying last night!  Had a great time!

My heart sank.  This caretaker thought she was my friend and she was confiding, in a sense, that she was cool and hip.  This daycare thing wasn’t really her gig.

Of course I had to go on auditions and have meetings but at what price?  To have a diabetic kid who isn’t potty trained till she’s 15???

I decided that when summer hit I would take Baby M out of daycare and have a mother’s helper for a few hours at my home.

It hasn’t been entirely easy.  My mommying skills are a bit rusty.  Baby M requires a LOT of attention and engagement.  I have to relearn where all the cool spots are for her during the day (story time, which playground’s sandbox is cool, dance class etc…)  I still don’t talk to a lot of moms and it’s easy to feel a bit isolated.

That said, I’m grateful for this opportunity where I can spend time with my daughter. My career, while not perfect, allows me down time where I can change my entire schedule.  (Actually it should be the same for all vocations.  Shouldn’t all parents get to spend more quality time with their children?  Not matter what their occupation is?)

Baby M and I have a special bond and she is very attached to me.  I feel she is a vibrant yet sensitive soul and hence my reason for wanting to stay with her.  As long as I can be with her and provide a warm, happy home (code for me not going batsh*t crazy), I’ll keep the arrangement.

That’s all parenthood is:  it’s arranging your life the best you can to serve your family the best you can.

7 Tips Overcome Sleep Deprivation & Wonkiness…

May 10, 2011

We flew back from California on the red eye this Sunday and my sleep has been a bit screwy.

I had a hard time falling asleep.  Baby M stayed insisted I take the mattress off of her crib and put it on the floor so she could sleep on it.  (She pointed to the matress screaming “OFF OFF!”)  Around 10:00 she probably rolled off of it and began crying.  I scooped her up and put her back in our bed (I KNOW, IT’S A MISTAKE)

I have a web series to produce, a cranky actor to deal, a crisis with a key member of my team…and what the heck is for dinner?

Since I’ve been hit with many many sleepless nights, I decided I had to come up with some rules of how to deal with it or I shall lose my mind.  I’ve found that “giving up” and “losing my mind” doesn’t really help anyone.  Neither does bucking up and just steam rolling through.  There has to be a happy medium.

1.  Acknowledge that changes with your kid’s schedule is bound to screw things up.  Plan for it.  I knew Baby M’s schedule would be a wreck when I came back.  Mentally I prepped myself for it.  I didn’t plan any rehearsals or meetings for this week.  The goal was to make sure Baby M has a consistent week of Mom time.  This is better for all of us.

2.  When in a major major pinch, there is Thomas The Train, Elmo etc.  I’ve taken Baby M out of daycare because I want to spend more time with her.  It’s a bit of a transition because I spend more time with her.  On nights I have no sleep, I must get SOME rest.  There is time to plop on the couch and rest while Baby M watches some TV.  This is NOT ideal, but sometimes absolutely necessary.

3.  Exercise.  I always feel a lot better when I either walk, run or do weights.  A new yoga studio has opened up in my hood and I’ve committed myself to do yoga everyday.  

4.  Meditate  A perfect way to combat the mind junk and stress.  Sometimes you can even fall asleep when you meditate.  This means you are probably very tired.

5.  Create an evening ritual.  I don’t really have an evening ritual but I’ve decided to reinstate one.  In a way it’s telling yourself that you are to be taken care of and resting your mind and soul are vital.  Ritual is defined as: an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite.  For all my joking and smart assery, I don’t believe it’s far fetched to treat yourself in a reverent way.
Here is my [re-established] ritual:

Plan next day
Meditate
Shower
Writing Gratitudes

6.  DO NOT LOOK AT THE COMPUTER AT NIGHT.  This was my mistake last night.  I probably could have gone to sleep a lot earlier. 

7.  Be gentle to oneself.  Instead of saying what you SHOULD be doing or how you SHOULD be sleeping, just be curious and kind to yourself as you would a friend.  No need to self castigate.  In fact, a warm bath, aromatherapy and a nice pair of pajamas might make sleep more fun.

Sleep is one of the best anti-aging and anti-depressant remedies.  It’s one of the most important things for our mental and physical health.  Unfortunately as parents, it’s seen more of a luxury.  It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity and it’s important to remember that in order to be a good wife, husband, mother, father, doctor, steamfitter, taxi driver, politician, etc you have to take care of yourself.  And if that means hanging out on the couch for a little bit to catch some Z’s…so be it.

Extreme self care – starting NOW

March 2, 2011

I’m tired of being tired.  I’ve been exhausted for the past two years and four months.

Yesterday we had a reading of our web series that my writing partner and I are developing.  It’s very exciting because we have great actors reading and a potential director that I am gaga for.  But before the reading my thought was: “All I want to do is sleep!”.

I decided to go to  Zen Palate near Times Square.  I don’t eat meat and or poultry and I am a huge fan of Asian vegetarian cuisine.  I ordered wonton soup and the delicious broth reminded me of the meditation place I used to go to.  The recipe must be very similar to the Chinese vegetarian cuisine prepared their by the older Taiwanese ladies because it brought me back.

It reminded me of the meditation practice that I learned there.  Meditation always allows me to calm my mind and be more present.

It reminded me that I needed to relax and take care of myself. How can I show up to auditions let alone perform when I’m exhausted and about to fall asleep all the time?

Currently I am:
Not sleeping well
-Not exercising
-Not meditating
-Scattered and doing too many things
-Putting massage appointments off
-Text and or use my computer till 11:00 or later

I need to:
-Exercise – Call the dang Tae Kwon Do place and bite the bullet – TODAY
-Sleep – TOMORROW
-Make an appointment for a massage – TODAY
-Focus on ONE project – Drop the graphic novel, drop other random businesses – SIMPLIFY
-Make appointment with acupuncturist downstairs – TODAY
-Guard myself from draining/toxic people – RIGHT NOW
-Go to the meditation temple – THIS SATURDAY
-Self imposed ban with the computer/phone at 5:30 PM

I will make it a conscious effort to care for myself more.  It’s vital not just for myself but for those I love.  Is it really living if I’m grumpy and tired all the time?  It’s just getting by.  It’s doing the bare minimum and just existing.  I’ve been using being a parent as an excuse for too long.  I’m excited to get back to being healthy and am determined to be more like my old self.

Money and Mommying

February 27, 2011

I just came across a post from Ramit Sethi’s blog about failure and just had to share it.

I’ve had many, many, many many jobs. Aside from acting, most of them I’ve been pretty shitty at:

Waitress
Taxi dispatcher
Host at a restaurant
Bartender
Personal Trainer
Marketing Associate
Flash Developer
Graphic Designer
Web Designer
Shoe Salesperson
Actress

Since I’ve become a mother, I’ve always wanted to start a BUSINESS.  Something that would give me a sense of autonomy and control of my otherwise pretty insane life.  There are a few things that I’ve tried and failed at and I have to admit I felt pretty cruddy about it.

Then I came across this video with Ramit Sethi and Tim Ferris and it’s great. The gist: You’ll fail a LOT and it’s what you’re supposed to do. Have the important things unshakable: Family, health, friends etc. and then go out and try whatever your heart desires. Because the only way to improve, learn and grow is by doing.

Update and Gloominess

February 10, 2011

For some reason I’ve been tired.  Maybe it’s due to the drama with my mother and brother.  (I don’t feel like getting into it).  Maybe it’s due to the weather.  All’s I know is that I want to go to sleep for at least a week.

A few weeks ago we went to Florida to visit  my mom.  You think:  “Oh, Florida!  Awesome!  The beach!”  RIGHT.  Well, vacation with a child is NOT a vacation.  It’s work compounded.  It’s stress times two:  screwed sleep schedule  The last time we went to Florida I came back very sick.  This time I didn’t get sick but I definitely feel lousy.

Parents understand it.  They know that while one is cleaning the damn kitchen and the other is given a bath, asking for a diaper, a tissue, a towel, a new outfit makes you want to go insane.  You feel rubbed raw to the point that putting water in the Brita feels like it’s going to kill you.

Sometimes it’s easy and then it’s an anti-joy.

I had lunch with a buddy of mine who I really respect and think is a terrific person.  He told me that his parents were very successful professionally and not really present in his life as parents.  He said this affected him a lot of ways including going a little wild.  This he told me as my little Baby M is in daycare.

Then there the other extreme: my mother in law, God love her.  She devoted herself 100% to my husband.  She worked at home to care for him and passed professional opportunities to be a mother to him.  To this day she dotes on us and to a degree, is very unhappy because she has nothing to show…except a very together, terrific son.

It hit me.  The balance that we try to strike.  To do our own thing but maintaining a good relationship with our family.  Sometimes it feels a little overwhelming.

more = less, becoming a minimalist…

August 15, 2010

I’ve decided to become a minimalist.  Let me explain.

My producer and I have been staying in the flat of a physics graduate student in Edinburgh.  The place is very simple and not huge.  The front door is beat up and the turquoise paint is chipping.  There is no dishwasher or dryer for our clothes.  I miss my daughter and husband very much, yet I feel very content.

This is in contrast to how I’d been feeling in New York: stressed, trapped and hot.  This was probably due to the heat wave and also due to planning this Scottish endeavor.  But I also feel that it was a bit deeper.

Lately, my husband has been very grumpy and his feelings affect me.  He works VERY HARD at work and  it is VERY STRESSFUL.  This made us unhappy.  On paper, we have everything going for us:  We live in a great apartment, we love each other, we find each other attractive (after a kid, that is no small feat).  We have all material things that we could possibly want.

But contentment alluded us.  The cycle starts with someone pointing out something that isn’t quite right in the house and then the whole thing gets blown up into a stupid argument.

I demanded that my husband needs to take breaks from work.  He’s not innately a grumpy person.  He’s the most handsome, wonderful, funny, sexy man in the universe.  But when stress gets to him, it’s a bummer.

And I came across this website:

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

And it confirmed everything that I’d been feeling.  We have too much stuff.  Buying stuff doesn’t buy happiness and I believe it actually increases unhappiness and clutter.

Instead of going faster we need to go slower.

Instead of complaining, we need to give gratitude for everything we have.

What’s important are the things that are invisible:  love, friendship, compassion, laughter, experiences…

Here’s the original article that I came across:

http://rowdykittens.com/2010/08/becoming-minimalist/

Lissa Rankin – Inspiring FB info…

August 15, 2010

I met Lissa at Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts and came across her inspiring FB profile:

I am an OB/GYN, an artist, a writer, and a workshop facilitator. I am also a mother, a practitioner of yoga, a wife, a chauffeur, a sister, a candlemaker, a jeweler, a hiker, and a cook. First and foremost, I am a woman, and like many women, I once thought I had to put myself in a box and choose who to be. But I now accept that, while I am all of these things, no single identity defines me. I am more than what I do. As women, we all struggle with who we really are and whether our lives reflect our truest selves. I now strive to be authentic, in all aspects of my life, whether I’m writing or painting or healing or teaching, and I encourage others to do the same.

Update

July 26, 2010

Long time no speak.  I’ve had three successful solo shows here in New York City.

I’m headed to Scotland Aug. 3 for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will be away from my daughter and husband for 10 days.  I feel terrible about it and regret entering into this festival.  That said, I feel more aware of my love and moments that we, as a family, are sharing together.

Sometimes I wake up with a dread and wonder, why am I doing this?  I don’t want to go to Scotland!  I don’t want to direct these people to film my trailer or get a marketing plan together.  All’s I want to do is relax!  But I force myself to switch my mind and focus on the moment.  Not on the future or the past.  When I refocus, I realize it’s the fear that has been beating in the background that is the source of my dread.  The fear of leaving the most precious thing to me in the world:  my family.

The way I’m dealing with this is meditating, taking care of myself and breathing.  If my mind wanders, I take a breath and focus on exactly what I’m doing at that moment.

Mind is elsewhere…

October 27, 2009

Haven’t had much thoughts on acting right now.  I’ve been drawing a lot.  Not really scared about it just noticing it and going with the drawing.

I realized that I’ve been going nonstop for the past year.  I’m not complaining, I’m absolutely grateful for the wonderful work I’ve been lucky to do and folks who’ve helped me.  I just want a little break from acting right now.  I am savoring being with Baby M.  I’m taking it easy!

I met with my agent last week and she was very enthusiastic about sending me out for legit stuff.  My manager in LA is psyched to meet with me in January.