Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy New Year


so this year, pray for enlightenment and a collective freedom from fear

for a continued sense of humor and joy in the midst of confusion

pray for real clarity as we move into the continuing challenges of ultimate health for us all

pray for a wisdom for each of us and an ability to stay steady in the midst of much tumult and to stay grateful for the connections we value

for loved ones who witness our lives and give depth, breadth and perspective to the journey.

for true courage to grow inward and give outwardly to really see and grow more creative in the way in which we harmonize with what is here and what we have ahead of us

all of this is to say blessings to us all on the head of this new year courage and strength and joy May you be written for a good year and may it be sealed so.

Sweet smell of sage

About a week ago, my hubby had the 3am urge to reach out and touch me in that half sleepy kind of way and I kinda half responded to it and then changed my mind. I felt it was better that we talk about things first. He promptly fell back asleep and I was left awake for the remainder of the morning as I analyzed the whole situation. I got up and went to my spin class and when I came back from my WW weigh in - lost 2 more pounds - I felt ready to talk. He begged me not to analyze it, we were married after all, but I still felt confused. I may have lost weight, but I still felt that I wasn't that much different than I was a month ago. He was reaching out, half asleep or not, he was trying. How did I feel? A little closed down.

My waistline is shrinking, but I was still holding onto the pain and rejection that I had been feeling. And what I wanted to hold onto deep down inside ... was my husband. And something else.... I wanted to hold onto victory. I've learned a lot lately. Once I took the time to really take care of myself and my health, I found that being a little selfish with my time (instead of being there for everyone else) was not a bad thing. If I had to visit my mum a little less, I could spend more quality time with her instead of squeezing her into my day and feeling harried and emotional and guilty. Hubby could eat my Weight Watchers friendly dinner or not eat at all, and I could get up before dawn and go to spin class. And you know what, my blood pressure was already good, but it went down 2 points.

And finding a lump under your breast really makes you appreciate your health a little bit more. I had been feeling that my body was just this thing that had let me down, the whole adoption homestudy process has left me feeling not in control, I was feeling that I was constantly trying to prove that I was worthy. And I just wanted to quit.

Had a chat with an old friend last week and he suggested that I "clear" my house of negativity with sage. It's a Native ritual/new age thing, but I thought it was a brilliant idea. So I ran out and bought some sage and then told my hubby about it. Needless to say he looked at me like I was crazy, but I explained that I was doing it for the both of us. And he should like it as it smelled a bit like pot. So we actually negotiated the time it would take and I had 4 minutes and 15 seconds. First he bagged up the smoke detectors (they're really sensitive, last year a BBQ set it off and the whole building was evacuated thanks to us) and then we stepped out and walked in with the smoking sage and I chanted all around the apartment and we "bathed" ourselves in the smoke.

He took a shower and then he runs out naked jumping around like Barishnikov exclaiming, "I feel so free! I feel so free!". I laughed and laughed.

I guess it worked, cause I took control the next morning and we both felt a little freer, if you know what I mean. I think I'm going to "clear"the house again soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's all about endurance

Okay, I just did a 90 minute "fight club" class at the gym. It was a small class as the holidays are upon us, but I made it through. They almost lost me during the "warmup" section where we went from pushups to squats, to jumping jacks and stars, not to mention "suicide" runs. You run to a ball and then back to the wall and then to another ball placed further away and then back to the wall and then to the opposing wall and then on to ....... yes, I did want to kill myself especially since I was so slow, I was causing a backup. Everyone else was almost half my age, so I get brownie points for not throwing up.

I also made it through a MRI today. This is done in preparation for my uterine fibroid emobilization next month. I took an Ativan prior because I'm claustrophobic and I did feel a pang of panic as I was being slid in to the machine. It was quite noisy, I don't know why they bother letting you listen to music, you can't really hear it over the noise. It only lasted 20 minutes and as far as tests go, very easy as all I had to do was lie still and try and listen to my soundtrack from City of Angels through a cacophony of clanging.

Are you ready for Christmas? Yes, I do celebrate Christmas, just not in the religious sense. I mean, I was raised a Christian, so I know whole meaning of it. I love Christmas trees and decorations and good cheer and all that. Christmas is about hope and birth and sanctity, don't you think? Of course, these days, it seems to be more about gifts, gifts and more gifts. I always found that a bit overwhelming. Yes, it's nice to give, but my husband's family used to have lists and they fully expected to get everything on their list. And they demanded a list from me as well. I grew up making a wish list as well, but it was accepted that you'd be lucky if you got one or two things off that list and you were more likely to get things like socks and underwear. Then my dad would go hide in the basement and be depressed and cry and ignore us. Then as soon as I was a teenager, I'd get quietly drunk and lay underneath the Christmas tree my mother stole from the church parking lot because they charged too much.

They really seem to enjoy all the gifts, but last year looking at all the presents under the tree, well, the amount seemed a little obscene. No one really need anything that they can't buy for themselves. And of course, there were no children. Sigh. People kept asking me what I wanted, and I'd say, "a baby". We got a set of knives.

This year, in the in-laws are coming over and my mum, so it will be small. There will be lots of phone calls, I'm sure, and since the tradition this year, is surprise gifts (no lists), it should be interesting as to what people get. I will try to decorate this place in record time, and cook up a great spread for everyone to enjoy. Things just seem a little weird this year.

Our homestudy is done, and now what?

Monday, December 17, 2007

On happiness

I enjoyed my time on set last week despite the cold and rainy weather. It was great. The director was great to work with and had very specific direction for me. As I read the script, I realized that there were just a few parts for women on the show, so I was really fortunate to get the gig. Everyone was kind and very professional, so it was a good environment for an actor. You have no idea how many sets I've been on where people are cold and bitchy and disorganized and you pretty much have to fend for yourself and when you are a day player (you're just coming on for one day) you have no idea why people are miserable or who to talk to or how to get what you need. So sometimes you think you're messing up a take, but if you know who to ask or what to listen for, you find out there's something wrong with the camera lens or there's a background noise they can't control or the lighting is off. And if you don't know the right questions to ask, you can end up repeating technical mistakes over and over. For example, if you're walking and talking at the same time (an every day occurrence, but can be difficult for an actor), you have to start at a certain place (marked on the ground) and walk a certain trajectory (to be in the correct lighting and not block another actor) to another marked placed on the ground (without looking at it) and make it look perfectly natural and carry through with all your emotional intentions and dialogue. Over and over and over. And if you are a non-famous actor, you had better get it right. They will accomodate a star to incredible lengths, but not Little Miss what's her name.

I was happy to see the first A.D. was someone that had directed me years ago on one of the most fun projects I've ever been on. I did an episode of The Outer Limits starring a former Saturday Night Live star. I invited him to come see the play I'm directing (which opens in a couple of weeks!). I told him to hurry up and direct a project I can be in. Always nice to see a friendly face.

So true to my health karma, I've got another concern on my plate. I get a call from the cancer agency, my mammogram last week showed something they need a second look at, so I've got an ultrasound appointment next month. The next available appointment fell on the day I'm having the uterine fibroid embolization, so I scheduled it for the following week. Sigh. And I actually do those breast self examinations, and I didn't catch it. It's like a long fibrous lump deep under my breast. My family physician felt it during my yearly checkup as I was laying on the exam table. Sigh. Yes, she told me that in most cases, it's nothing and not to worry about it. Still. Remind me not to do a mammogram right before the holidays. I told my hubby that it should have paid more attention to my breasts while he had the chance. Just dark humour. I'm not particularly worried about it, I've had a couple of friends go through the same thing. You know I'll be putting in some extra daimoku (chanting) in over the next month.

There's something about going through transformation that really stirs up the dust in your life. It's apparent to me just how important it is for me to have unshakable happiness in this life. I went to a Buddhist meeting last night, and welcomed one of our members' first child. As I held in my arms and smelled his silky head, and listened to the other mothers, I fought in my heart to just appreciate this new life for what it was, and not to feel sorry for myself. To hope that one day.... one day.... I would be bringing my own bundle of joy into my community. It seems so far away. And would it truly bring me happiness?

Faith enables us to receive the eternal joy derived from the Law. So let us
engrave in our hearts this point: We ourselves receive this joy. Because we
receive it ourselves, our happiness does not depend on others. No one else can
make us happy. Only by our own efforts can we become happy.

Therefore, there is no need to feel envious of others. There is no need to bear a grudge against someone or depend on another person for our happiness. Everything comes down to our state of life. It is within our power to take our lives in any direction we wish.

To be dragged around by other people or the environment is not the way
of life the Lotus Sutra teaches. True happiness is not feeling happiness one
moment and misery the next. Rather, overcoming the tendency to blame our
sufferings on others or on the environment enables us to greatly expand our
state of life.

----Daisaku Ikeda

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Working it out

I'm so excited!!!! Today, I am going to be working on set with Charles "Roc" Dutton. It's rare that I get to work with a black director, so I'm all excited that I have a cool part. I play a woman in the projects with information the police need to catch a suspect in a shooting. I have to watch my American accent on this one, though. Yes, it's true, Canadian blacks don't sound anything like American blacks. At least in TV land anyway. You have no idea how many times I get the "you don't sound black enough" comment. Sad, but true, it's something Canadians (black or otherwise) have to mimic in order to get parts on American shows. Though years ago, I made the decision that I would not do any degrading or stereotypical roles in my work, those roles are still out there. I just hope this pilot airs so I can make a bit more money.

So a couple days ago, while I was having a rehearsal for the play I'm directing at my place, hubby goes out to hang with a friend. So of course, he comes home and he's semi-baked. I'm totally pissed and go to bed practically shaking with anger. I explained to him that he was either deliberately pissing me off or ignoring my feelings. Blah, blah, blah. The next morning, I discover him asleep on the couch waiting for me to get up so he could talk with me. He told me that he took my "I'm doing this for myself" attitude too personally. (Even though he had said I should be losing weight and moving forward in my life for myself and not him.) Hence, he responded by doing his own thing.

So we went all through this and other things in our therapy session that afternoon. We're on the same page about a lot of things. Now that I've dropped trying to figure out his shit for him and focused solely on myself, he seems much more interested in investing in our relationship. And he wants to find out our next step in our adoption process. We don't have another appointment for a month or so, so our homework is trying to do things that help us feel close again. Teendcoc has given me a book suggestion, so I'll check it out. I'll let you know how my day on set goes . Currently, it's actually snowing/raining out at the moment and I have to be outside. Brrr!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A poem for all you beautiful women out there

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

An ode to my self

I had a massage last Friday evening. It was heavenly, and as I was having my body kneaded and pulled and stroked, I thought about how wonderful I felt to not be judged by my body, just have it attended to lovingly. (As an actor, you are judged all the time, trust me, you just walk into the waiting room for an audition and the comparisons start to fly.) I was asked if I had any particular areas that needed attention and how much pressure would be good. With every efficient stroke, I thought this was how I was going to treat myself as I lose weight. For every five pounds, I will reward myself with a massage and not a piece of cake. Or a pedicure or reflexology or something like that.

It reminded me that though it is far from perfect, it has served me (for the most part) pretty well. Thinking of PJ's post about self esteem, I actually composed a poem to my body as I lay there in bliss. I don't remember most of it, but it went something like this.

Feet, you have withstood so much pain in order to fit into sexy heels, been bruised by careless people, misplaced items or the wheel under my bed. But you carried me on and on. You ached and complained, but you did your

Legs, when my lungs wanted to quit, you did not. You carried me through miles of cement and miles of trails, you carried me 10 km to the finish line without seizing, without tiring. You have more power than I ever gave you credit for. You were born to dance, to move, to run, to strut, to jump.

Arms, I've thrown you up in despair and down in surrender. You've held other people's babies, and groceries, and hope and leashes and lovers and friends. Parts of you are waving more than I care to admit, but you are strong and would never let a friend down.

Shoulders, knotted deeply with stress, but you have carried your burdens as
best as you can. You still look good in with nothing but a shawl around you.

Back, still smooth and soft, you let me know from time to time when I am
not taking care of you. You crave strength and discipline, you have
allowed me to live my life with grace and dignity. You are courage and
perseverance, wisdom and solitude.

Hubby is noticing my weight loss, and compliments and encourages me. But you know what, that's nice, but I wonder at what point do the compliments become actions? When do I become worthy of his affections? How do I stay open to that possibility? This is so weird, but I will continue to try and stay connected, to stay focused on what I truly need to be happy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A trying week

I poured some Pepto Bismol down my throat and gussied up a bit to attend my agency Christmas party. It was a tame affair but a couple of male friends commented on my fabulous looks (always nice),I had fun, managed a couple glasses of wine, saw plenty of friends, and I stayed away from the buffet table. A first for me, I might add, but I had eaten before I left.

The stomach thing is still going on, though I have upped the dosage as I had gone back to the clinic to tell them it wasn't working. But I was told to stop taking iron citrate and Pepto bismol to see if my BMs would return to their usual colour. (Sorry, that was gross. But hey, if you've had your ovaries pierced with a needle through your hooha, you can take it.) And they haven't to date. Sigh. And I have a cold now. So if I have any more problem, I'm just going around the corner to a walk in clinic and tell them to give me a test for ulcers. A friend of my husband's had his ulcer overlooked and he ended up in emergency surgery.

Oh, yeah, and we had our final homestudy visit. Well, it went a little sideways at one point. Our conversation seemed loaded with landmines, so to speak. She asked me what sex of baby I would like. I said a girl, I'd love a girl. I'm a girl, I'm familiar with the parts, I was raised with sisters. Then she said did I realize that was decreasing my chances. I was asked if I had a preference, I told her. I didn't realize I was supposed to give the PC answer of oh, it doesn't matter to me. I mean, that doesn't mean that I don't want a little boy, but how much of that is in my control anyway? If I meet a birth mother and she doesn't know what the sex is (and these days, the doctor won't even tell you), and we decided to go ahead with it, I'm not going to change my mind because it's a boy. You know, when you start over explaining yourself, you're in trouble.

Then we discussed openness and full disclosure and all that. Hubby commented that if he didn't get a good feeling from meeting the birth mother/parents, he wouldn't be adverse to not going ahead with it. He did not want to knowingly deal with an unstable/addicted birthparent because the child would suffer the consequences. She called him intolerable of people being different. Uh-oh. She took the cause of the poor, downtrodden birth parents vs. the so called privileged adoptive parents. She envisioned us going through dozens of birthmothers turning them down because they were "different". We're a mixed couple for crying out loud. I tried to explain that though it may seem he was intolerant, it was coming from his protective nature. He wants to safeguard his family from unstable influences as much as he can. And I, being known for my compassionate bent, was there as the equalizing force. She said she wasn't sure how to write down what he said, so I just told her, write this, we are open and flexible in meeting any birth parents with direct and honest communication. I told her we weren't willing to sugarcoat our answers, this is who we were. While she seemed to side with "disadvantaged" side, she seemed incapable of understanding how adoptive parents can feel. We are not in control of a whole hell of a lot. First of all, it's already established we're not in control of our fertility. We've devoted considerable time and effort to begin adoption. We're not in control of when or whether we'll be picked to be adoptive parents. We're not in control of who will pick us or what they think of us. We're not in control of the health of the child. The birthmother can lie or withhold her involvement with drugs and alcohol if she choose to. And when asked whether I would consider a special needs child, I said no. We've got enough to contend with, thank you very much without asking for more challenges. So if we meet birth parents and things don't go well, that's a big "if", then we reserve to the right to determine if we can move forward with no regrets. We wrapped things up, shook hands and went on our way and she also let us know that there would be SEVEN post placement visits. Ohmigod.

Now speaking about big "if", hubby asked me how I was feeling about whether I could do what I wanted and remain married. He was referencing a comment I made a few weeks ago. I didn't have a definitive answer as I just don't know how I'm going to feel in a few months. I told him my intention was to remain married to him, but I can only account for 1/2 of the team. Which is why I asked him whether his continued pot smoking was helping our relationship. It's his way of relaxing, but it's also his way of checking out. And we've both done way too much of that in the past.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

He's ba-a-ack!

Can you believe we got into an argument on the drive back from the airport? I had been pretty quiet and he asked me what was new. I told him I had contacted a credit counsellor so that we could get started on a financial plan for the future. For free. Instead of a positive reaction, he was offended that yet again we needed a counsellor for something we were perfectly capable of doing on our own. That I must think we're too stupid or incapable of doing it on our own. My motivation was to have an objective person in there so we wouldn't get sidetracked. Which is what happened anyway. Sigh. Ohmigod, maybe we should just stick to IMing (instant messaging) each other from now on. There was a lot of that from Europe. Some good, some not so good.

Hubby has declared that he's not having a midlife crisis, as his issues are only with us. And if we're going to adopt, we don't have a lot of time. Fine. I'm done trying to psychoanalyze every bit of this and that, trying to put myself in his shoes. You notice women only do that? Or maybe it's just me. We did end up having a tearful and emotional heart to heart in which he assured me he has always loved me, that I didn't have anything to doubt. I was sincerely moved. We exchanged a couple of apologies about certain remarks. I felt better, but still sad. I'm supposed to be the positive one. Maybe it's because I only lost 0.6 lbs this week. Maybe it's PMS.

The next day he ends up asking for some tips from a financial officer friend who confirmed his negative opinion of credit counsellors. So he did end up asking for help, just didn't use my method. We agreed to stick to a budget starting in the new year, as Christmas is obviously not a great time as we'll be spending more than usual. We actually are pretty lucky, we have money to pay all our bills, but since my income fluctuates, it's hard to plan.

For the past two nights, I've been suffering from intense and painful burning in my stomach. At one point, I considered going to emergency. I've tried Zantac, Pepto Bismol, couple of herbal remedies. I'm exhausted, bone tired. My body seems to have shut down. Not now, body, not now, we have so much to do. I have an agency party to go to tonight, alone, as he has other plans with friends. I don't mind though. I just wish I felt better. Just want to get spiffed up, make an appearance, avoid the buffet table and then get back home into my flannels.