Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mama's math

First, I can't believe I have a son who walks at 10 months.  Not just "steps"....this kid walks.  I always thought parents who bragged they had 9 or 10 month old walkers were just blinded by parental pride. But apparently it is possible.

Last week I got weighed and measured....and had my picture taken in my skivvies.  I think it was mostly for the sake of self-encouragement.  I am still dedicated to the exercise, even despite my number of injuries.  I am also revamping my eating, with my sisters partnership.  I am eating "paleo", which I think sounds lame, but is certainly low-carb.  No dairy and no grains!! Imagine!

I was raised by a professional dieter--my mom.  For the most part of her life, she's been a Ali, healthy woman, and is now.  I was a chubby kid, on one diet after another,but all with mom's math...calories in, calories out.  No matter what my eating program, I am counting calories,  but as I get older, I am much more drawn to having a less neurotic way of eating.  35 years of counting calories (I figure I started around 5) and I can do it well, but I also find ways to cheat.  I hated the hunger that went with all those years of calorie counting.  And I feel like I failed it.  So now....is it actually possible to eat only good foods...lower in carbs, no sugar dairy or grain, and then just eat without the running math? Is it possible because I so want out.

I am tired and my ankles and shoulders hurt, and my weight loss has been stagnant since my husband lost his job....but here are the amazing results.

I weigh about 70 pounds less than I did at my sons birth last May.
Since I started kickboxing last July, I have lost 30 of that.
I have lost, since July, 2.5 inches off each arm, and 5 inches off each thigh!
I have lost 4.5 inches off my waist, 3 inches off my chest, 3.5 off my hips.
It's amazing, and if I get grave enough to share the pics, they're amazing too.

More math....hubby's been unemployed for 4 months, 1 week.
This month, for the first time, we start to deplete what little savings we have.
We have been living off of 35% of our previous household income.  I do not know how, and we have.a fair amount of medical collections, but somehow we are sustained.   I hate living with this canopy of stress, but we are alive.

I am tired of the math...of putting off everything until he has a job....of worrying if I'll be stuck sustaining myself teaching home lessons forever.  I wonder if I'll ever be able to sing a bit more...teach in a salaried position, feel like there was some reason for my years of working at it.

Smaller, apparently, but tired.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Secret of my Success

Well I feel silly, but I am about to blog about a blog I read a week ago.  I am kind of angry.

First let me say that almost everywhere I've ever worked there were a lot of people saying that they were the person at their business/theater/office who worked the hardest.  We all have a sense of being under-appreciated.  Even the bosses, the wealthy, the "uppers".  Something about American culture (and maybe others, I'm not sure) +human DNA says "it never gets good enough for me, while it's far too easy for others."  So I forgive you, all of you out there who think that every good thing comes from hard work.

So, someone I like re-posted a blog written by someone I have generally respected about "the business"...the opera business.  In this blog, she described how those generally who we're not having careers, who had chosen a more "normal"life (what the hell is normal?), honorable though that can be (thanks, we all appreciate your validation), gave up because we couldn't see it through, we couldn't make the sacrifices.  At the end of the day no career, to this relatively successful singer, meant not enough passion.


Hahahahahahaa.  Sorry, I'm choosing to find this humorous over the preferable emotion of  outrage.

This really reminds me of a guy I flirted with, a tenor I met in NYC.  One day, while on the phone, I bemoaned doing hundreds of auditions, spending half of every paycheck on lessons and coaching a, head shots and new music, he said, "you know why you're not more successful?  That washer/drier you bought". Soooo he was suggesting that my desire for the "comfort" of washing my jeans at home was what explained my lack of gigs.

This guy had wealthy parents who were thinking of buying him an apartment in Yonkers, and a toddler aged son he never saw.  The whole world was sacrificing for his career, and he criticized me for not sacrificing enough for mine.  Sometimes this reminds me of politics...a bunch of people struggling to pay doctor bills yell at each other about ideologies while people who can't remember how many houses they own make all of the decisions for everyone.  There's a lot of blaming at the bottom.

So this blogger....ugh.  I know a few things about her.  I know right out of college she landed an incredible gig, paid, with someone who championed her.  That within a few years of that she'd sung a few well-paid, coveted gigs.  I know she's married, she owns a house, is supported by a husband, and though she has had years of struggle (of course she has, you can't be a singer without that), she has walked a charmed path in many ways.

I struggle not playing a tape in my head sometimes.  When I left the Santa Fe apprentice program, a director took my hand and said, "all your hard work here did not go unnoticed".  He never called me back.  I remember auditioning for a dream role for someone with whom I'd networked ad nauseum, who said to me, "I'm so glad to see you're getting some work".  He never called me back either....oh yeah, and that small company whose directors said, "you know, we really believe in you, and we'd like you to be able to come here, perform with us and build up your repertoire."  They laughed and toasted me, talked about how great I was at auditions and Never Hired Me Again.

It's tough all over folks.

The moral of this story to me....is not to be bitter.  It's to never forget.  Never forget that what you got was miracles.  You work hard, sure, but everyone else does too.  Success isn't yours, it isn't earned, it's always....ALWAYS a miracle.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March, Enough of this Lion Crap.

Ok, I have not written in a while.  I am not sure why--I actually think I don't write because I don't want to face what's going on in my head.  And good Lord, there is plenty.  Here are some brief, current facts:
1.  My husband has now been out of work for about 4 months.  In that time, we have been sustained by loving friends, by family, by miraculous bits of money that come in the mail, by tax refund, by my private teaching ANYONE who wants a lesson, by my little part time jobs, by my husband giving plasma for cash twice a week, and I am tired of eeking out a life where we earn enough to get through each day, but not enough to plan for 3 weeks from now.  THis sounds whiney, I mean, let's be grateful for survival, no?  But there's more than that, there's....being a good wife to an unemployed person.  There's that.

2.  I have a sick baby, a sick 4 year old, and I'm sure I'm a terrible mother.  I'm tired, I'm tapped out, my 4 year old purposely pushes my buttons, and I was recently told in a coffeeshop that I did not "control my kids" well enough by a mean lady.  I want to send my kids away until this is all over because I don't want to explain to the 4 year old for the zillionth time why we can't do this or that because we have no money.  I am also tired of breastfeeding all night long to make a sick teething 10 month baby feel better.  Tired.

3.  I am eating paleo.  There.  I said it.  I LOVE it.  Finally the weight loss has kicked back up....2 pounds in 5 days, and I feel better, and my skin is awesome, and I just love it.  I am not counting calories or writing down food or feeling hungry.  I have also not eaten sugar since I started and I don't even care.

4.  I am a wreck physically.  According to the doctor, due to my heavy kickboxing schedule, I now have tendonitis in my ankles, my bicep and both shoulders.  It is aggravated by picking up my rather robust baby.  So I crack and creak when I walk and I can't hook my own bra.  It's amazing.

Alright, that's off my chest.   So the good stuff is this.  How can unemployment be romantic?  It can.  My husband and I are bizarrely lovey with each other, rarely arguing, making out in the kitchen.  We are so happy together.  My children are so bright and healthy and beautiful it's ridiculous.  I believe there will be an end to all of this.  I am exercising and losing weight.  I actually think that this will be it....that I will find this lifestyle suitable to me (would be nice to feel confident enough to rest my horrid joints) and I will finally have the body I think is really mine.

I just read some STUPID article someone wrote blaming those who have given up a singing career as people who obviously didn't TRY hard enough.  As if the people who are richest in the country are those who worked the hardest.  The person who wrote the article is someone I know, who experienced significant success right out of college--sure, she fell on some little tough times here and there, but  has ALWAYS sung.  She is the very opposite of what most of us experienced "yes, I think you're fantastic but unfortunately I'm not going to hire you" gets old after 20 years.  IT GETS OLD.  And as I'm mourning tonight, again, how much I want to sing...I also kind of want to punch this lady in the nose.

I am a person who knows who I am.  I will not be bitter, folks.  Life is too short for that.  So for now, I focus on the possibility that dreams are never really gone, if you don't want them to be.  And God does work in His time...it's not just something we say.  Right?