Monday, May 4, 2015

A Great Week, another ghost story

So the buzz of the little reminder on my computer's calendar just made me aware that I was supposed to be running the Long Island marathon tomorrow. [I started this blog post on Saturday morning and now here we are.]

Wah. I'm not doing that.

But I have had a really great week, y'all! A REALLY great week. Including physically - as I walked around NYC for two days and had three hard PT sessions and feel signs of my 'greater trochanter' injury getting better.

Which I was starting to think would never happen.

[you know how dramatic we actresses get.]

Speaking of actresses, I saw a few of them this week as well!
Let us now praise Susan Sontag image by Ilan Bachrach
The musical I've been working on for a year and a half finally premiered at Abrons Arts Center downtown NYC. Sibyl Kempson, the writer, has really put together quite a show.  It will be running for three weeks, GET TIX HERE. It leaves you wondering what art can it can be a vehicle for something more/altruistic or selfish, in the bettering of many people or perhaps only one.

Well this week, I am definitely that one.

I'm trying to get through this story for you, but because it's been so long since I've blogged I feel like I have so much to tell you and don't want to make this entry too long! Let me start with the quick & dirty, that always helps:

Quick & Dirty: A Great Week
  • the musical premiered, had my hubby & parents with me
  • chatted at the after-party with many artists, feeling collaborative
  • walked two miles through the city with hubby afterwards, chatting about life
  • had a night off from the twyns thanks to another twyn mama [my bestie]
  • saw Chita Rivera in The Visit on Broadway the next day, one of my idols, with my mom [girl date]
  • sneaked in another lunch date with hubby before the weekend
  • had a universe-is-connected-via-yellow-shoes spiritual phenomenon
Ok so gush-gush I love my husband and since it is post-quarter-end we had a lot of time together this week and got to talk and mush mush. But let's elaborate on the yellow shoes.

A few weeks ago my mother had a dream about her parents (both now deceased), and that they were bringing her a box, and in that box was a pair of yellow shoes (which she remembers to be a pair of yellow shoes she bought in real life in 1968, and proceeded to love them so much that she built her wardrobe around them for a few years.) The only thing she remembers saying is, "these are my yellow shoes but the heel is wrong."

On that day, she texted me her dream. It was a Monday [April 6th I believe.] My mother didn't know that in the show I had been writing, there was a song and scene about "Yellow shoes." We actually wrote it in 2013, during our first workshop at Duke University, so it was nothing new. So I texted her that, and she freaked out a little.  I texted my friend Sibyl to see if they rehearsed the song that day and she said, no, but that they had changed the scene's location, and the character who is singing it, so that it is now assigned to the character of [spoiler alert] Susan Sontag. I actually really hated the song, the way it came out, and the delivery until this last change. It actually works now. Kudos to Sibyl for seeing it through. I really would not have the patience to keep tweaking and working the musical the way that she has. But it is her full-time job, so I guess it makes sense that she does!

My mother came to see the premiere of the musical with me last Tuesday night, and we laughed and marveled again at the yellow shoes reference.

The next day she surprised me with tickets to a Broadway musical, The Visit, with Chita Rivera. I had told her I wanted to see it, and she didn't know why, other than the fact that I loved Chita Rivera. I reminded her that one of the first Broadway shows I ever saw, in my teens, was another Kander & Ebb musical starring Chita Rivera: Kiss of the Spider Woman. It was probably amongst the moments in my life where I can identify wanting to be up on that stage as my profession. My mother remembered only that one of the last musicals she saw with her mother was with Chita Rivera, called The Rink, in 1984. So, clearly, Chita Rivera, in a musical written by Terrence McNally, with music & lyrics by Kander & Ebb, has been in our lives at many important moments.

You know, Chita Rivera has been in musicals written by other people!

We sat down at the show for our girl date, and walking onto the stage are two eunuchs [bizarre enough] in... yellow shoes [TOO bizarre.] We elbowed each other. We couldn't believe it. What is this about?! Weird.

We proceeded to watch the show and about thirty minutes in, the townspeople begin a group number called...wait for it... "YELLOW SHOES" because it has become a symbol of wealth in the story, and every one of the townspeople would like to claim their share of the wealth by choosing their own favorite pair of yellow shoes. They sing this group number, an ode to yellow shoes, whilst pulling out of a box their own pair [specific to each character] and performing a soft shoe dance in said yellow shoes.

My mother grabbed my hand and we started to cry.

This is no longer a coincidence.

What could this mean?

The characters kept chanting "Yellow Shoes" and every time it was like a pounding on my chest and a fist to the jaw.

Who is bringing this message to us, and what exactly is the message?

Is it about money? Broadway? Self-indulgence?

You know, Kander died September 11, 2004. So this is the last musical to be produced by this team.

I wrote this song in 2013, without any knowledge of their song. I got the idea because the image that Sibyl had written about in the script was very powerful to me. I thought, yellow shoes, that is such an interesting reference, I have to write a song about it.

Susan Sontag happens to be deceased as well. December 28, 2004.

I left NYC in 2003, got married there in 2004. It was around that time that I left Sibyl and our collaborations. I've blogged about that before.

To top it off, and I'm stretching here - a recruit of mine from my days as Director of Music Admissions at the University of Maryland - Chris Newcomer - is performing in The Visit as well [one of the eunuchs, the original yellow-shoes-wearers] and he is from Moorestown.  On the same day last week that his hometown paper published a piece on his Broadway appearance, my husband was touring Moorestown for his job, and came home to tell me about the town and what may be a big deal for him. A stretch, I know. But a lot of connections here.

I also got a promo email the next day from a business built by my high school friend Kelly Rae Roberts featuring an image of - you guessed it - yellow shoes.

I'm just feeling those connections - I have not been looking for anything new in my life but I am always open to possiblity [like that last ghost story, and that other one] - and when something like this happens - I try not to ignore the signs.

And I'm definitely, FOR SURE, going to buy a pair of ... yellow. shoes.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


"Was that something you always wanted to do?" he asked.

"Well, yes," I immediately said. "I couldn't have not had children."

I was catching up with a friend from the theater days, whom I hadn't seen or heard from in ten years. He had joined the army as a medic, and had been to Iraq and Afghanistan, amongst other endeavours, since I'd seen him last.

I had gotten married and had babies. My favorite ending to all novels.

But here we are, in the second book of our lives.

Certainly when my husband and I were going through our trying period and diagnostics, I became even more ensconced with the idea of having children. We joked that we would get seven dogs, one for each day of the week, but, in truth, we would have tried to foster or adopt.

I would have always missed not having babes in arms.

Of course I also miss a theater career, but that's temporary. Well, at least the career part.

Theatre is a BIG FAT TEASE.

Always was, always will be.

Why do you always tempt me? Why do I keep running back. We are never to be a full time commitment.

I keep thinking if I start contacting agents again, if I really put together a nice monologue, if I set up a website...

Why do I keep getting in bed with you.

And then you don't call for five years.

I always say to young girls, the two times I've had the opportunity to do so, that you should write your own stuff. I just finished Mindy Kaling's book, Is everyone hanging out without me?, in which she corroborates my advice. If you want to "make it", the only chance you will have is to be Charlize Theron, or have your own stories to tell. And I really like my songs, but I'm not a very good writer.

Ha ha, I know, you see me writing right here.

But I mean like dialogue and stuff. Melody, I'm pretty good at, I think.

So I watched my friend launch herself into the canon this week with her own theatre company and I'm very excited for her. I see her fellow playwrights lead the way for her and I realize: these are their babies. Never again will they be able to retreat to the couch without thinking about them. Without investing in them. Without thinking about how each move that you make and each line that you write, how it will affect your babies years down the line.

It is an interesting life. Let's watch.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Running is unhealthy

For me.

Right now.

Don't get your panties in a wad, I'm usually one to force through the pain, but I either have: 

Don't worry; I've pinned all my research for you in this one convenient place

I did experiemce sciatica during my twyn pregnancy so this third one is sounding about right, right now. Also, some kind of bunion-like thing has appeared on the side of my left foot. Sexy. Reminds me of the time I wore crop tops in college and no one told me that I shouldn't, even though I definitely should not have. Gross.
The good news is that I think my daughter knows how to dress.
No, I haven't sought outside help yet. I did try a spin class. I waited a week, then I tried gentle yoga.

Nope and nope.

I don't know if this is entirely related, but this is all making me a mess again.

Well, it's probably related.

I want to strike mom from my title. I don't want to give up kids, mind you, but I want to stop writing about mom things;  looking like a mom; acting like a mom; and I definitely don't want to be like every other "mother runner" and work towards a huge mom goal race like Ironman.
[Although I have really really investigated within myself if I want to complete an Ironman, which would include the thought "would I want to still do this if I couldn't share it with anyone, and I just had this knowledge for myself, within myself?" and the answer is a resounding YES. So I do know that I do genuinely want to complete the race for my own person accomplishment-within-me-self-ego-SELF.]
I guess for starters, this is precipitated- no that's not the right word- this was spurned by a phone interview I had last week where the interviewer was very kind, but also very blunt. My "mommy gap" is looking bleak. I have been busy, as you are well aware if you follow this blog, but none of it looks good in print.

The good news is that the twyns do. This is at the Radnor Art Show, the first showcase of their works :)

But *I* don't look good in print. I don't look that hot in person these days, either, especially with a hip injury keeping me couch-bound, but I certainly do not look good in a social-media-centric-job-world that grew up in the last 6 years since I've been out. I kind of wanted to not only go back to my former types of positions in higher ed (admissions), but I also wanted to expand upon one part of my resume, development and fundraising, and I don't know if it's going to be possible to reinvent myself at this stage in my life. And that thought had never occurred to me. I always thought you could reinvent yourself at any age. I love leafing through stories of people starting careers at 50-60-70; winning Ironman races in their age group; starting foundations when a passion emerges later in life, etc. etc.

Since I've been home with the twyns I have been trying on a lot of different hats. I'm always passionate about these things, but nothing fits for very long.  I once had a very close friend tell me that I probably can't do one thing at once, and that's my 'one thing.' That was very kind of her to say.

I'm frustrated.

By myself. My lack of focus. How I look to others. My inconsistency. Where I am going.

Where I am running to. 

So I've stopped running.

The project that has been consuming my time as of late, which started in 2013, is very exciting, but also a big fat tease, because I get to compose music again and be a part of the theatre world but again, be reminded that it is a huge world where many create and few are heard through the masses.
The good news is that the boy likes it.

It is called LET US NOW PRAISE SUSAN SONTAG. But I do really like it. I think it is sounding really, really, amazing. Sibyl is having me publish the music with the script, so I'm working on editing and making the score look right for musicians I may someday never meet but who would want to play my stuff. So I want to share the details with you, in case you are in the NYC area April 28 - May 16th. Click on the picture for details:

 Abrons Arts Center
465 Grand Street
NY, NY 10002

Also, the writer, Sibyl Kempson, is launching a much-awaited theatre company of her own (she is kind of a big deal), and will host readings on April 6th at the Martin Segal Center to promote it and her campaign to fund it. Click the pic for the facebook page.

See/share IndieGoGo campaign here. I would really love it if you could share it, and/or the Facebook page.

Also, Thanks.


And if you know what I'm supposed to be doing right now, let me know.



Monday, March 9, 2015

Tour of the training cave

Oh my goodness, where to begin. 

I know you are frustrated, like me, when you are benched for a whole week. I don't even know if I'm going to make it to tomorrow, but I wanted to give myself a full week off. We actually went to the Franklin Institute with the whole fam on Saturday, and I'm looking forward to posting about that, but my hips did not like the walking and standing around. 

I'm super. frustrated. 

So yesterday I started thinking of another kind of solution. Lose weight? New shoes? Take some kind of supplement? Before I start calling doctors. I took Ibuprofen before I took the twyns to a birthday party, and two hours later, nada. Zilch. Didn't feel a damn bit of relief. I didn't know it was a drop-off party, so I searched around the area for a store that would magically remove twenty pounds from my body and the inflammatory fire I was feeling in my hip joints. 

Poof! GNC appeared before my very eyes. 

I bought a Glucosamine product called "TriFlex" [ummm, it had Tri in the title?] a one-day cleanse, and a nighttime herbal supplement that is supposed to shed pounds in my sleep. 

I never said I was patient. Or rational. 

I have also signed up for a spin class at a new joint near me, for tomorrow. So I will not start running off the bat. Back to basics. Back to me. Back to tri-training. Back to what I know works for me.

I thought I could get away with not losing weight before this season started, but I'm guessing that's my number one problem right now. Oh, also, that I've only been running. 

And THEN....I cleaned and spruced up the cave I have been living in for the last month, and I have to say it looks darn purty & welcoming. 

I finally applied the vinyl decals I bought last month, and set up my old hybrid bike on a trainer! 

I borrowed this idea directly from the ETSY shop I purchased these from. This one was easy! 
This one - not so much! Although I have to say if I had left it like this, that would be pretty funny.
I think the key to the vinyl decal is to keep cutting the overlay as you go, so that you can focus on one section at a time. 
Voila! I had this custom made. This is the last thing my husband says to me before any race. :) 

Below it: my sad little weight training area. A 12 pound medicine ball and two 5-pound weights.
Um....gonna need more weights!! 
To the side is the 'unfinished' area of our basement which turned out to the best place to hang my husband's birthday present. Imma use this more than him, watch! Also in this pic: yoga mats! And the "test" section the decal shop gave me. I kinda like it above the light switch, makes me feel like I'm in some sort of generator and that switch could make the whole place BLOW!
Of course I had to vacuum up all the sawdust first! I hung the gloves on little girly star hooks ;) 
My view from the dreadmill. I honestly try to watch TV but I don't know how you ladies do it. I need my music.
The more detailed view. Had to clean up the toy area that has been bothering me for weeks. Let's see how long that lasts...
While I was cleaning I dug up some old photos I didn't know I had. What a trip!

I'll add this to my "that time I was possessed" blog story about the little doll I made ...

I told you it was true!!
And this goes under the category of "when I was famous"... [*cough* Christian Borle, Francis Jue, John ClancyTim Cain and us two little non-eq's from Just So...]
Photographic Evidence I was the only girl in the cast these dudes could hang out with and
yes I was dating my sweet forgiving husband at the time!

Ok so if that little foray down the rabbit hole didn't inspire me and these hips to move I don't know what will! Happy Monday!

What's your training cave like?? 
Do you have to kick toys out of the way to get to it too?

Friday, March 6, 2015

BENCHED #marathontraining

Monday's run was sunny but splashy! I was ok with that. 

So I mentioned last week that I was experiencing some hip pain, and it has unfortunately gotten worse. I have spaced out a few of my runs to include more rest days, and I gave up at least one 4 mile run this week, but it is not getting better. The pain has spread to the other hip now. 

Spring "Mountain" last Saturday

Granted, I included a day of skiing post 10-mile run last week, and pre 7-mile run this week, but that should be nothing new to my body at this point. 

Granted, I also drove up and back to Sarah Lawrence College on Friday to see a workshop production of the musical I'm working on. You know, the one for which I went to Duke to write the music, and New Dramatists this January to see the first reading. Friday's trip may have been tiring (although entirely inspirational and I went home and immediately wrote two new pieces within 48 hours.) 

But oh I was so so SO happy to be outside for those two runs! I thought ditching the treadmill was the answer! 

So what's the deal?

My hips are inflamed. They are like, on fire. It might be bursitis, or tendonitis. My thighs feel like they weigh about 100 pounds each. Plus, I have a cold. Wah, me.

I'm reading a lot about 'over-training', and while my mileage and workouts are nowhere near the level of some most endurance athletes or marathon newbies, it still may be too much for me. Especially since running is my weakest skill. 

This is why I tri!

I know I did much better training for the Broad Street Run and even my first half-marathon by incorporating a few long-ish runs into my normal triathlon training, and that treated my body much better than the steady diet of running, running, and more running my body has been experiencing this past month. 

I signed up for masters swimming this year, promising myself that this would be a great winter activity to cross-train and I would, for sure, meet some triathlon friends who would steer me in the direction of a great bike group or tri coach,  but I have still been too intimidated to show up (or maybe too sleepy, as they meet most mornings at 5:30 or 6.) 

I know how my body trains at this point.

I know I'm super intimidated by the 140.6 that looms in front of me. 

I know I wanted to have a 26.2 under my belt before I began the serious summer of training I have planned. 

I'm going to let my ego go at this point, rest these hips, and start again in a few days. Tuesday will be a full week off for me. Let's talk then.

In the meantime, Happy Snow Day number...4? I've lost count.  Who hasn't?

Radnor got about 10 inches yesterday. The most snowfall in a single snowstorm all winter! In March!

In March!

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