My new ride!

Just to make life even more interesting, our car died.  Technically, it’s an alternator issue.  We have a Mazda Tribute with a Ford engine which means you practically have to disassemble the freaking car to replace the alternator so the cost is about $400.  There are other issues wrong with the car so we’re really looking at putting $1500 in to put the car safely back on the road.  We have decided that we don’t want to throw any more money into the pit.  The car isn’t worth $1500.  Luckily, our friend has given us the use of his vehicle for as long as we need.  I have sat in his vehicle precisely once before actually driving it.  I can’t even parallel park it.  It’s a Ford 150 Harley Davidson pickup.  Yup.  I drove it to set.  Straight highway driving and then parked it in a huge gravel lot!  F150-Harley-Saleen-Supercharged.02It’s not really my cup of tea but when it’s free, I’ll take it.  Yes, it holds 1 booster seat and 1 dog (rather awkwardly) but it’s been about a week and I’m afraid between the dog hair and the kid crap, hubby’s dear friend won’t want it back.  We’re also experiencing a heatwave and with its leather seats and black interior, it’s friggin’ hot.  I plan on using the air conditioning on long drives.

I’m going to need another gig…or 10.



On set again!

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but my mind has been on other things lately, namely my friend’s stepson. Luckily, there’s been some incredible news there.

I landed a supporting lead in a movie.  Now, now before you get all excited, it’s not that big a deal.   Well, it is —  to me.  It’s for a H.allmark TV movie and I play a nanny in a community where there’s been a recent spate of robberies and a dashing and handsome detective goes undercover and meets the charming and beautiful lead nanny and together they solve the case.  The good news is that I got 6, count ‘em 6 days on it and puts me in the category of breadwinner this month!  The not so good news is that the money was not that great, no front credit and I also got stuck in a crappy trailer.  The even better news is that I didn’t get too crazy over that and have been having a wonderful time with a terrific cast and crew!  They are amazing! My last day is tomorrow and I’m going to be very, very sad to say goodbye.

I managed to keep my insecurities in check (we had a little tussle and some bitching slipped out but Buddhahood prevailed) and allowed myself to enjoy this time.  I prepared my big scene with a friend so I could be cool, calm and collected (and it’s been stinking hot here) and felt connected and in the moment when I needed to be.  I had been feeling ignored, unappreciated and undervalued in my home life, but when I am  at work, I feel so different.  And I don’t mean because people are kissing my ass either.  The costume designer, hallelujah, has managed to find me some clothes that I can actually feel good and look good in.  When you’re not a size 2, it’s amazing what uninspired tents they can find for a fuller figured woman.  This woman found me some super cute, colourful outfits(though not my personal style of dog hair covered Lulelemon), I would actually dare to wear outside. I have amazingly talented hair and makeup people.  They are experts at what they are doing and I feel calm and serene.  I feel pretty.  Pampered.  We’re talking about all sorts of things and I thank them profusely for their efforts.  On the day of my big scene, one of the ADs gives me a bigger, nicer trailer, and I thanked him cause it made me feel great to just have a door to my toilet.  I had a chair and  a table to eat lunch with and I didn’t feel penned in and “small” for once.  I don’t actually spend much time in trailers anyway, but it’s a nice perk in lieu of a bigger paycheque.  I remind myself that it’s about my work and not the place where I get dressed that matters.

It’s been a bit crazy trying to juggle Boo with sitters and hubby take time off work and the in-laws were supposed to come and help and then they didn’t.  Arghh!  In the midst of all this, our SUV breaks down.  It wouldn’t start and then I called roadside assistance only to discover it was an alternator issue and had to tow it to the mechanics.  And with it being a Ford engine, replacing the alternator was really expensive and intensive.  Then we found out even more was wrong with it.  Our mechanic actually advised us not to bother pouring more money into it. Hubby and I finally decide to let it go.  It’s presently sitting out back awaiting its fate.  DH had been using a friend’s vehicle on the weekends and now I had to drive it to set the next day.  I have never driven a pickup in my life.  In fact, I’ve only sat in this truck once.  Can you picture me driving a black F150 Harley Davidson?  Yeah, I couldn’t either until I did.  I’ve yet to try to parallel park it.  Or get it in and out of underground parking.  Grocery shopping should be interesting.  With hubby’s job winding down, buying a car tomorrow is not in the picture and I can’t even buy a reliable vehicle with what I’m going to make this month.

Hubby was getting all discouraged and miserable about how we seem to take one step ahead and then get knocked back two.  I went for a long walk with the dog just to clear my head and realized that we could not afford to get all down and miserable and turn on each other.  Life is still good.  We have so much to be grateful for.  (Not the least of which is good friends who give us their cars to use.) I just made up my mind that we will get the perfect car for us, maybe not by tomorrow but soon!

Meanwhile, I’m just going to enjoy summer with its long days and an icy cold Corona!

House envy

Sometimes I wonder what it would like to be a homeowner.  And by that, I mean just settled in a place where I am in control of  the paint colours and landscaping.   I’m getting on in years and retirement age is closer than I’d like it to be and one of the things I had assumed when I was 30 is that I would own my home by now. Of course, I had also assumed I would have given birth to a couple of kids before I was 40 too and be starring on a hit show. Maybe it’s because my parents were immigrants who placed owning a home as being the number one symbol that one had achieved success and stability.     Or maybe it’s because I’m idealizing what it would be like in the same way I did about having a child.  Everybody else has got one, why don’t I?  Why am I always the late one to the party?  I get to look on FB and see postings from others about their new places and even hubby was all depressed because his stoner buddy just bought a place in Squamish.  Like, even THAT guy can somehow manage it.  Of course, his mortgage is more like our rent, but we’d have to move an hour up the highway and that’s just not us.  Sometimes it’s just a bit much, you know?

Years ago in the TTC days we got pre-approved for a mortgage and went looking for a place. We looked at one development and talked about how many bedrooms we really needed, how the elementary school and day care was conveniently located across the street, etc.  It was pretty exciting.  It was a little off-putting to look at a place from a model, but that was the trend (and still is).  We even found a house that we thought was just perfect for us except the yard was super narrow and it was way out of the city.  Unfortunately, a couple months later, hubby was laid off from his so called secure government job and that was that. Better jobs came along, but IVF treatments and adoption expenses took care of our little nest egg. I didn’t really need a house if I didn’t have children, right?

I’ve often blamed myself for not having a more thriving career or even a regular 9 – 5  job to soften the landings from the economic blows.   However, I did make it clear from the beginning of our relationship that I would always be in a creative field whether it was acting or directing or whatever.  Trust me, sometimes I would pray to wake up wanting to be an accountant but it never happened.  I still had my p/t notetaking business that paid well but it was never steady.  And I disliked it enough to never try to build a f/t business out of it.  I’m a highly social person and typing for hours one end in silence is a little stultifying. Living with an actor  is always cool when you’re working but not so much when you’re not.   I had fought long and hard and sacrificed so much to not be like everyone else.  We have had many fights conversations about this over the years and at one point, I was willing to give up my career for a more stable full time job.  Oddly enough, I could not seem to get a regular job.  I remember filling out retail applications and never even getting called for an interview.  And when I did find one, it was for minimum wage and it involved shift work and hubs told me to forget about it.  He enjoyed having me around too much for our spontaneous trips to the movies and whatnot. Yeah, mixed messages for sure.

Once I realized that Boo would start school soon, I just felt that ache to want to fit into the community and put down some roots.   Maybe I’m just watching too many home renovation shows, it kinda gets to me.  (I also used to watch all those parenting/baby shows too. I’d imagine the terrible things I’d utter once in labour and the first moment I would get to hold my baby.) Even when we were in our first long term apartment, I wanted to paint and put in new lighting fixtures and hubby would have no part of putting our money into someone else’s property.  It’s tough living in this city.  Years ago, I lived in a condo and this lady would ignore me just cause I was a “renter”, not an owner.  Right after people ask you where you live, it’s do you rent or own?  It’s quite common for people to ask you how much you pay in rent!  A few years ago, one snooty neighbour actually said, “Oh, this is Deathstar, she lives in Ms. Blank’s apartment.”  Seriously, you ass, that’s not how you introduce someone!   shouldn’t call him an ass, but he’s dead now and I found out his family owned his condo, not him.

It’s the strangest feeling to want to pull up bushes and plant something else or put up a fence.  We have conversations like, “Well, if this were ours, I would get rid of that and put ___ there” or “I’d never put in such cheap, flimsy tile…”  Renting certainly does give you some insight on what NOT to do in home renovations.  We don’t foot the bill but we certainly live in the consequences.  We’ve moved 3 times in 4 years and it’s been financially tenuous since the recession.  DH’s job situation continues to be precarious and certainly if we did own a home, we’d be SO screwed.  I am so grateful we don’t have to deal with that!  The median price for a detached house around here is just under a million or maybe $800K for a fixer upper.  And I’m not talking about a fancy estate either.  If you want a modern space with fancy appliances that will cost over a million for sure.  With both of us being self employed, there are no guarantees.  And if hubs is stressed out now, imagine how much more he would be if he did have the responsibilities of a homeowner.  We would have killed each other by now. Right now we are spared the property taxes, maintenance costs, plumber fees and renovating costs.  We just make a call when there’s a problem.  And right now, none of these things are OUR problem.

I think it will happen one day, somehow, some way. I think I’m more motivated now to really make that happen.  I’m more realistic now about life in general.  And I do realize that nothing is permanent, things come and things go.  It’s just stuff.  I already possess the best things in life. My health, my practice, my family and my friends.

Riding solo

Boo has been in bike camp all week – and yay, he has learned to ride a bike!  It’s a bit weird that he’s in such a program at all.  When I was growing up, your dad taught you to ride a bike on the weekend.  End of story, who is the hell would pay someone to teach your kid that?!  Also, I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn to ride a 2 wheeler until I was much older, like 8 or 9.  Yet, that’s what a lot of people do around here when their kid hits 3 or 4.  And hubby has been going on about it for a year or so and so finally with the purchase of a new bike this spring, that was the plan.  And then he asked me to video it.  Well, when I saw my baby take flight, “Push me, mama, just push me!”, I had to choke back the tears!  I just watched him, my heart bursting with pride.  I did not take a video.  I just wanted to watch him without a lens between him and I.  I tried to video him later, but apparently I did not hit the button until the end and so ended up with 8 minutes of footage of my back pocket and me cheering on the other kids. He cycled back to the car (with me running behind him) and told me that in his heart, he knew he could do it.   Later that day, we took Dad to the local school field and showed him in person.  (Even then we drove 2 blocks cause we live on a hill and there’s no way in hell we’re going to let him solo and then push him back up hill.  Boo still has to be on his tiptoes to hold his bike up.)  Hubby got a tear in his eye, too!  I wish we had just taken the time to teach him ourselves. 

I have noticed since becoming a parent that there is an insane pressure to just enroll them in courses to keep them busy. Maybe it’s because I came from a poor background, but I did diddley squat growing up.  I was not in Brownies or Girl Guides or gymnastics or dance.  I was lucky to get weekly piano lessons from an old (probable) pedophile in a community centre for 6 years off and on.   I went to music camp once for a week when I was 11.  I even remember my mum begging my dad for the money to go. That was it.  (It’s where I found out white people ate cold cereal for breakfast.) Those were the only extra-curricular activities they could afford.

Of course, we all want better for our kids so I’m right up there with credit card in hand, buying myself 2 hours of freedom at a time.  With an only child, it’s on me to keep in entertained and engaged.  And you know what?  I can’t always do it.  I get pushed to the brink sometimes when I can’t even take a shower or go to the bathroom without someone banging on the door or screaming for something.  There were days when getting dressed without someone giggling and trying to poke my vagina were few and far between.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m living for kindergarten where I will have what looks like an insane amount of time to myself to do whatever I need to without the whining.

I just think that when I saw him riding away from me, I got that sense of “they grow up so fast” thing I keep hearing about.  He didn’t need me right there by his side.  He was too far away for me to come to the rescue if he should fall.  Riding away from me and all I wanted to do was keep him close. 

What the hell is wrong with me?

That’s what friends are for

Well compared to last year, this year`s birthday was a little underwhelming.  The day progressed as any other day would.  My friend of 40 plus years sent me flowers.  Yay!  Oh, such a delight to receive flowers.  It`s just an awesome feeling.  Hubby had been texting me on and off all day about some other matter and finally I had to remind him that he hadn`t wished me a happy birthday.  He has been very busy taking a course, and he was overwhelmed to say the least, so I wasn`t all that upset.  I had already lowered my expectations, so the wave of Facebook birthday greetings was going to have to do.  I had also helped out a preschool mum friend by taking her kid and so I had two crazy boys in my house and so really, the day had that feeling of WHATEVER.  Hubby came home with a huge bouquet of flowers which almost made up for the rather humdrum day.  But not quite.  I like being made a fuss over on my birthday.  My kid sang happy birthday to me and blew snot out of his nose.  Who could ask for more?  We did dash out to White Spot for dinner, hubby as usual never announces it’s my birthday to waitstaff, and for the first time ever, I couldn’t be bothered.  I’m always willing to choke down a free dessert.  But I’m on a diet, right?   I settled in for a nice, big glass of pinot grigio and fried chicken. 

My dear friend however did the most spectacular thing for me on the weekend, however.  She took me to a spa for an incredible pedicure.  Now I know she had something like that planned, she told me to meet her at her place and to bring flip flops.  I thought oh, goodie, we’re going to a local place for a pedicure.  Oh, no, we took a cab to the spa in the Georgia Hotel.  Omigod, fancy schmancy!   We waited for our estheticians with hot tea and water in the coziest chairs ever with hot neck wraps and hot towels.   We reclined in zero gravity chairs together and enjoyed waterless pedicures with ginger salt scrubs and creamed honey leg treatments.  Oh, yes, a glass of prosecco for me and handmade chocolate and turkish delight on sticks.  We blabbed and blabbed.  It was delightful!  We hung out for an eternity in the lounge reading magazines in peace and quiet.  I would have liked to lie down for a nap.  Then we finally roused ourselves (and our delightfully painted and pampered toes) and walked to a local izakaya for my favourite lemon drop martinis and half price japanese tapas.  Heaven!  We blabbed and blabbed.  Then we moved to a tea place and had mango roobois lattes and blabbed and blabbed.  Okay, we had a lot of talk to get out.  We laughed, we cried, we consoled, we encouraged one another. 

She made me feel really special when I was feeling most unspecial.  That’s a true friend.  So thanks for the beautiful flowers from one of my oldest friends that made me smile when I thought I had been forgotten and thanks to my Buddhist friend, who just knows how to lift my spirit with the touch of glamour she knows I love. 

Crazy birthday lady

So in 45 minutes, it will be my birthday. My 51st birthday!    Ta da!  I’m not in Mexico, I’m home.  I don’t have anything special planned really. I didn’t even tell Boo what tomorrow was. Hubby is on a course for the next couple of weeks.  He will be super busy in class all day and still trying to catch up on work and homework, etc.  Another career change is looming.  It’s nice to see him excited about it and I’m hoping the second half of the year will be better than the first half.  Both of us had hoped our middle years wouldn’t be as “interesting” as they have been. 

I’ve been so emotional lately.  Part of it no doubt to my wonderfully fluctuating hormone levels:  I’m still getting my period, scant, but apparent.  My PMS is BRUTAL I used to get a bit out of sorts about a week before my period and now I’m just plain crazy for 2 solid weeks.  I think I’m going to start a chart just to keep track of symptoms.   Anxiety attacks come and go, I’m super irritable, I crave salty and sweet like a madwoman and there is just no OFF button to the chattering monkeys in my head.  Luckily, chanting always works or I’d be in psych ward by now. 

When I don’t get to walk the dog and listen to music or a Buddhist podcast or something, I feel like a penned up animal.  I’m good when I can get Boo out for a playdate or just chatting with another adult so I can just stop feeling like my kid’s handmaiden.  When time allows, I go see my mum, usually with Boo, but last week, a friend took Boo for a play date and instead of going to visit her, I spent 2 solid hours trying to construct a custom photobook for Father’s Day.  And once when Boo was not with me, I went to see my mum and took her out to Starbucks and just sat with her having tea on the patio on a sunny day.  It was nice.  But hard, too, you know?  I chat with her as best as I can, but often I feel guilty cause I just want to be able to have a normal conversation with her but that is not possible and hasn’t been in a decade.  And then I feel ungrateful and selfish and I miss the days when I could go shopping with her and she could at least…..sometimes I just wish I had my old mum back. 

Boo is actually awesome.  4 is a good age.  He still believes in Santa but other than that, he  think he knows everything.  Even his letters.  Which he doesn’t.  He is quite the bugger lately with his dear mum, all oppositional for the sake of being oppositional.  And then he flips and he’s funny and charming and loving and helpful.  And then he flips again and he’s raging about something, not getting his way or dragging his heels  as slow as molasses through every request (order) I make.  We’re late for most things unless he’s motivated to go.  He’s thrilled to hang out with kids his age and I do my best to keep his active self moving.  We forgive each other a lot these days. 

I’m fighting to stay present and in the moment.  It’s a battle I lose a lot, but I keep trying.    Both Juju and I are fat.  I got on my mother in law’s scale on the weekend.  OMIGOD.  It wasn’t a surprise.  I’d been eating my way up there for months despite knowing I shouldn’t.  I just wouldn’t, couldn’t stop. I eat my emotions so as long as I can get a bag of licorice or chips, I’m all calm.   Caught myself on a show I was on recently the other day.  Mmmm.  No wonder they call me for the full figured character roles.  And though I still look super cute, I just don’t feel healthy and the day I had to chase my dog (cause she heard a skateboard) I felt like I was running with a fridge on my back.  Except I was the fridge, if you know what I mean.  So I’m on a diet.  Except for the candy I just ate.  Besides, that, I’m on a diet.  I started walking the dog on a more challenging walk when Boo is in preschool.  There are some seriously in shape seniors and middle aged people around here.  These people don’t fool around here. 

DH says we should get back into shape, the both of us.  I agreed. (Though all he has to do is mind what he eats for a week and he’s down 10 lbs. Hate him.)   He thinks we should do the PX90 or whatever it’s called.  I said sure.  Ahem, I don’t think he read the warning yet. I can’t even do 10 proper pushups! And who has 90 minutes to work out?  I don’t.  I live my life in 2 hour increments and that’s about to cease, preschool is done this week.  But instead of cramming my free time with errands, I’m going to start putting myself  on the priority list.  I have been known to walk the dog, do grocery shopping, grab a coffee and BAKE A MOTHERFUCKING CAKE in 2 hours! 

Hey, no one told me about preschool graduation ceremonies!  WTF?  Okay, it was cute.  Boo had a paper grad cap and everyone took pictures of their kid, but really.  He grudgingly shared a piece of cake with me.  Okay, okay, I got a little misty eyed, but seriously, my friend’s kid goes to a private preschool and they rented a room in a hotel and the kids had real gowns and caps and a BRUNCH! 

It’s late, I gotta go to bed.  Oh, look, it’s after midnight. Happy Birthday to me!   Would it be cheating if I had a DQ Blizzard on my birthday? 

Rest in peace, Maya Angelou

The first time I saw Maya Angelou I think I actually cried when she came onstage.  When she spoke in that beautiful voice of hers, you could hear a pin drop.  The tickets were really expensive and hard to get and I was thrilled to be there. I couldn’t afford the limited meet and greet VIP tickets but after the show, I peered at her through the barriers. I felt like a commoner trying to sneak a peek at a queen or something.  The 2nd time, I saw her at the Vogue theatre,  I ran into an actress colleague of mine and we went around back of the theatre to see if we could catch her coming out.  We did, and I did get a chance to tell her how much I admired her and how I really appreciated her.  On stage, she seemed larger than life, but here she was 80 and frail, sitting in a wheelchair, she seemed small but exceptionally powerful. Tired, I think.   I just wanted her to see me, really see how much I loved her, her words, her very being in this world.  I just couldn’t seem to find the most eloquent of words to express to her how I felt.  There was this other woman there, who was just blabbering on at her, not going away, not ceding her space up to me, and grasping at her and I wanted to slap her.  Really, really?!  You just don’t reach out to touch a cultural icon.  But I spoke to her, she spoke back.  I don’t even remember what she said.  Of course I don’t.  Honestly, I was just trying not to sound like a lovesick fan.  Tried to play it cool and professional. Not gush, not crowd her. Not embarrass myself. I wish I could remember.  Probably she said thank you.  Stupid blabbering woman who would not go away.  I wanted to choke her.  And then someone helped Ms Angelou on the tour bus and she was gone. 

The baby girl I thought I would have?  I named her Maya. 

Years ago, I performed this poem for a spoken word evening I had produced for Black History Month.  She made me proud to be a black woman. 

And Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.