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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

 

 

It’s been a little while since an update so here goes (and where to start??).  I believe in my last post I had mentioned how I would be soon starting to work for a new dog walking company.  Due to my work related injury (all the way back last December!), this plan got scratched.  In the end, it is so obviously for the best it would have been a committed Mon.-Fri. day job, which would make it difficult to do films, have day rehearsals, and go on many auditions, and many other necessities towards my acting career.  What I WILL be doing instead is freelance babysitting, cat sitting, background work, and doing freelance errands.  I have taken actions towards all of these and have plans and appointments laid out for the weeks ahead, and am excited about doing work I enjoy that also gives me the complete flexibility needed to continue building my acting career.  I won’t be going back to waiting tables as I am physically unable, but even if that were a current possibility, I wouldn’t as I don’t want to ever risk this type of injury through that work again. It has been a LONG 5 months of recovery;  I’ve been going to PT consistently since February, and my physical therapist is GREAT (wonderful positive energy), but quite frankly I’m over it!  I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon on the 14th, so I’ll give a further update after that.  I am certainly not bed ridden (by any stretch of the imagination); it’s that certain actions (lifting, carrying, specific range of motion) will still bring pain after a short period of use (or sometimes immediately).  So I keep doing my PT sessions, at home stretches, etc, but I have long mentally and physically moved on to “OK, what can I do with where I am at now.”

 

 

Speaking of, my classes have or are coming to an end (one more Alexander Technique class left for the quarter).  My monologue audition class was fantastic in so many ways, not just with the technique but even more importantly in the details that most don’t think about.  How you walk in the room, when do you say hello, how do you close the door, how you smile, don’t step back at the end when saying “thank you,” etc.  My classmates were/are AWESOME, and with some I have joined a weekly rehearsal group to meet with so that we can get feedback on what we are currently working on, which is SO HELPFUL–and  I especially love supporting these truly wonderful new friends of mine in the same way.  While the class was still in session, it required a fairly large time commitment and so I was selective about what I was submitting for (castings wise).  Now, however, I’m submitting for any and all that I could possibly fit for and interests me, as is Jack.  Last Sunday was particularly great because Jack and I both had 3 auditions each (all of mine were theatre based and his were all film based).  It looks likely that Jack will be doing one of the films, in which case he will be shooting on location in New Jersey for 4 days in June.  One of my auditions  granted me membership into their theatre company, which  does consistent work year round (full plays and one acts, etc); looking forward to working with them and learning a lot!  Jack has also been going on EPAs, which haven’t given him a chance to audition yet, but he is persistent.

 

 

My plan is to join Jack in going to EPAs as soon as I update my headshots;  I asked the advice of an off-Broadway casting director that I know, and they are truly in DIRE need of updating since they just don’t look like I do now.  I want my first impression at the EPAs to be that of a professional who takes my work seriously, thus the waiting until I have the new headshots.  My “official” goal is to have them by September 15th, although I’ve already gotten the ball rolling so it is likely I will have them much sooner.  As they are pretty costly, I am gathering a list of those that are recommended and whose work I like, then setting up appointments for consultations/interviews before making my decision.

 

 

Let’s see, what else??…the steriods I was on for my herniated disc added a nice (not-so-nice) sack of potatoes weight to my body, so I am working out on a regular basis now.  Regular means at least 5 times a week at the gym, and on non-gym days, at least a 30 minute walk. At the gym I am only doing the elliptical as it provides a good cardio workout but is also low-impact on my body and so doesn’t effect herniated disc.  The Alexander Technique work I’ve been doing has helped a LOT in this regard, too, because I am constantly checking in with my body:  where am I touching the earth, am I holding my breath, is there any tension in my body, where is the back of my head (critical for me as it helps me to allow it to go back rather than forward, which puts strain on my neck and shoulders); release, soften, head up an out, etc.  The exercise has been GREAT for my spirit and daily perspective.  Jack and I are both focusing on eating *mostly* vegetarian (he has actually swayed this way by no prompting by me), although there have been a few rare exceptions but only with “organic, humanely raised (MOST important!), properly fed, hormone and antibiotic free” eggs and beef.  Mainly dark green leafy vegetables and multi-colored produce remains the goal.

 

 

We are currently in our last three months in this apartment!  Seems strange although I am READY for us to finally have our OWN place, where we will not move again for quite a while.  I’m ready to paint and decorate and build our own home.  We will stay in Astoria although we are flexible as to what exact street/area.  I would kind of prefer Ditmars as it seems a bit quieter, plus the trains are always running there (whereas there has been a lot of construction and rerouting at our current stop).   I’ve been periodically keeping a lookout, although we won’t start seriously looking until probably the middle of June.  We would LIKE to avoid using a broker, but are not limiting ourselves to owner-rented only, as we have pretty specific desires for what we want and thus want to have access to all of the options possible.

 

 

Alright, that’s the update!  Kind of an informal post (I’m not going to go back to reread and edit), but it’s been a while so I wanted to just get it out.   Maybe for June I will do another 30 day challenge where I post at least once a day…the last time I did that in January, it really inspired me and evoked a lot of big changes and positive action that were REALLY good for me and my life.:)

 

 

OK I will send you off with a couple of pictures from Jack’s 46th birthday dinner in April!  We ate at this beautiful little place called Locale in Astoria.  Amazingly delicious food and surprisingly inexpensive (another good reason to live in Astoria!).

 

 

PS–I lied, I had to edit (or actually add to) this post!  I completely forgot to share about the theatre AWESOMENESS that I have been so blessed to see lately!  First, we saw War Horse the day after Jack’s birthday (it was a gift that I had bought tickets for back in December).  The crazy thing about that show was that I bought first row mezzanine…like that is what I specifically selected and paid for.  I don’t know what the heck happened, but we ended up in our own personal row, FIRST row (as in FIRST first) center!!!! We literally had THE best seats in the entire theatre (even one of the ushers commented on it).   I cannot do this show justice by even attempting to give it a review, so I will just say that it was worth EVERY single penny.  I also get offers for free shows when I am registered at ESPA, and so I got to see Primary Stages, “Morini Strad,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Neil Simon Theatre, and Second Stage’s, “Lonely I’m Not” thanks to ESPA.  My absolute favorite out of all of those (that I just saw last night in fact) was “Lonely I’m Not.”  I’m so impressed and inspired with everything that I’ve seen Second Stage put up.  In addition to being a member of TDF (through which I can get discount tickets), a lot of my acting friends have been sharing other resources, one of which gets me tickets almost for free.  Thanks to this particularly awesome resource, I got to see Tennessee Williams, “In Masks Outrageous and Austere” at the Culture Project in the Village.  Only in NYC can I see 3 shows in one week for almost nothing, one of them being a Tennessee Williams world premiere!  How incredible is my life!  Not only that, but my seats for both “In Masks” and “Lonely I’m Not” were BOTH 2nd row!!!  Hot damn, knock on wood, I’ve got some serious theater seat karma lately…maybe I should play the lottery!

Happy Birthday, Jackie!

My incredible pasta dinner–that’s a beet sauce!

Dylan says, “Chow!”

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“To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.”

–Pearl S. Buck

Jack and I have had a pretty fun full week!  Above is him in costume (before make-up) as a Texas cowboy for his Nokian Tires commercial shoot in Burlington, VT.  He had a blast and said that the cast and crew he worked with were all really great and that they said they definitely want to use him again in the future.  This was Jack’s first visit to Vermont (I’ve never been, either); he said the town was absolutely stunning and, according to the ad agency he worked with, when you plan a trip (as opposed to last minute flights), it is extremely affordable to visit.  Looks like perhaps a little get-away may be in our future!

Below are a couple of pictures he had taken during his time there.  The one in the bar was at the lodge where they did the shoot.  The next picture is him in front of the lodge, and the last is him exploring downtown Burlington shortly after arriving.

 

In other good news, I booked the Epix Cable promo!  I’ve been very selectively submitting right now because I have 4-5 weeks left of classes that I want to be fully committing to;  however a casting call came up looking for someone who knew Sign Language, and being that that really doesn’t happen very often, I really couldn’t pass it up.  I went for the quick audition on Friday afternoon and then got the call that I had been cast on Monday night.  So yesterday I spent all day in what felt like an awesome rendition of the Howard Stern Show.  The promo is going to be for the comedian Jim Norton who, if you know any of his work, can be pretty raunchy and over the top in a no holds barred kind of way.  It was a ridiculously fun shoot, Jim was super nice,  and it was  just a really great group of people  over all to spend the day with.  The crew was incredibly nice and fantastic to work with and I met some really interesting and fun actors and learned a lot.  Bonus that it was a paid job, my first paid gig in NYC (I previously did a PSA that was deferred payment, but that didn’t pan out).  I just have to add,too–since I’m such a foodie– that the catered food was really good; my favorite item they had on the buffet was the artichoke, potato and leeks soup–YUMMM!

Last little update; my neck and back have flared up a bit during the past week and I haven’t completely figured out what is causing it.  It started last week, but then seemed to improve, and then, for some unknown reason, came back again with a vengeance Saturday night.   I had so much fun during the shoot yesterday but my body was DONE by the end of it. The only thing I can think of is that my normal Physical Therapist has been out of town (he got a 2 week gig working with the Olympics team in California), and so it’s basically been the assistants that have been working with me.  Which means I haven’t had my normal traction, and to be honest I’m not very confident that they(the assistants) fully know what they’re doing. I think he is back today-I really really hope so!  I also saw my orthopedic surgeon  this past Monday and we decided the next step is cortisone (oral, not injections).  Currently I am on a 6 day pill pack  (I took 6 pills throughout the day yesterday, today will be 5, tomorrow 4, and so on).  My doctor said I should be feeling a lot better pretty quickly with these and I go back to see him again in 6 weeks.   My neck/shoulders/upper back area basically feel just really constricted and compacted and what I really wish is that I could get done is some good chiropractic sessions.  I may look into seeing if workman’s comp pays for this kind of treatment and if not I may just go out-of-pocket and make a few appointments to see if that helps to speed the recovery along more.  I’m also keeping track of my overall daily routine (what I eat, certain stresses, exercises, stretches, etc) to see what might be contributing to flare ups and what calms them down and creates openness and flexibility for my body.  I’m determined to keep moving forward and to be, in the not-so-distant-future, completely pain free.

 “You could stand here sick with ten illnesses today, and tomorrow have no evidence of any of them. Your body has the ability to replenish itself that fast. But most of you do not have the ability to change your thoughts that fast. So the amount of time that it takes between sickness and wellness is only the amount of time that it takes for me to figure out how to let it in — for me to figure out how to feel good, when I’m looking at something that makes me feel bad.”

–Abraham Hicks (quote of the day….fitting!)

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I started PT last week for my shoulder/neck injury, of which (as stated in my last post), I was terrified.  Turns out it’s actually totally freaking absolutely awesome in just about every sense of the word.  Mostly because they are not yet making me do that ugly word (re: exercise), but rather I go in for an hour, get these ginormous body heating pads placed on and around me.   After I’m all warmed up,  my physical therapist comes in and pulls my neck in weird ways and directions (aka, traction) which feels AMAZING on my entire spine, then works on pressure points that make my mind temporarily want to explode, but then is followed by such incredible relief it’s unbelievable.  Through these sessions I’ve learned just how much pain I have been and tend to tolerate, which is sadly a lot.  I had no idea until he started working on these points exactly how much pain I was carrying around, but I’m pretty sure it’s enough to make even a heartless soul like Michelle Bachman cry.

I also had my first (of two) MRIs last Friday afternoon, this one being for my shoulder.  Apparently workman’s comp has bureaucratic rules that make complete and total sense, like not paying for two MRI’s in one day, so I get to enjoy this awesome experience again on Thursday.  And this time when I say awesome, I mean the worst way ever to spend 30 minutes in the history of spending 30 minutes.  If you’ve read earlier posts, you may recall my high sensitivity to things like sounds, and let me just tell you that the sounds that the MRI machine makes is quite possible numero uno.  I was doing okay until the last 10 minutes or so, when suddenly the sound became this pulsating repetitive WHA-WHA-WHA that quite literally made me question had I died and gone to hell and this was it and how I would be spending eternity.  I came “this close” to slipping off the deep end into the joy that is the anxiety attack (re: NOT joy), but somehow managed to talk myself off of the ledge and hang out until the muddy waters passed.  This equivalent of Chinese water torture did finally conclude  and I realized I wasn’t, at least for the moment, doomed to eternal insanity.  I will get the results of this MRI (for the shoulder) when I go in on Thursday for the the same fun test of my neck.  Seriously considering taking a Xanax for that one.

That’s about it regarding the shoulder/neck injury update.  Just continuing PT and at-home stretches I have been given, as well as pain meds as needed.  Due to sensitivity, I have a hard time with the meds as well.   While many people would be like hellyesVICODIN, I have to take a half pill at a time and then wait a while to take the other half (if at all).  I was prescribed a new anti-inflammatory last week called Indomethacin  which very quickly became an ABSOLUTELYNOT with the side effects (fun stuff like dizziness, racing mind, nausea).  I see my orthopedic surgeon again on March 5th (I would see him next Monday but his office is closed for the holiday and the following Monday I will be in Arizona visiting family), although I should have at least some feedback regarding my MRIs before then.  Despite all of this slow moving and somewhat torturous progress, I do feel like I am moving in the right direction towards health.

 

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“Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.”

“Truth and love will overcome lies and hatred.”
Vaclav Havel

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
John Newton

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Albert Einstein

 

“I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before anyone, even at the cost of your life.”

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”

“God has no religion.”

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

 

“A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability. That is the only true courage.”

“Sometimes you have to lose your mind before you come to your senses.”
Dan Millman

 

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
Eleanora Duse

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It’s been a while coming and not at all a quick and hasty conclusion, but today I found myself in the first steps towards permanently departing from Facebook.  The reasons are hard to sum up into one neat little package and any attempt to do so results in far off tangents all over the place.  The biggest draw to NOT do so is the obvious, which is losing the quick easy and instant connection with friends, family, and loved ones.  But that’s actually one of the biggest reasons TO do it; the quick and easy instant “connection” with friends, family, and loved ones.

 

We live in a culture that thrives on instantaneous gratification, and we accept posts of what someone ate for dinner, a check-in at the local gym, and a gif with some inspirational message that gets posted a million times by every friend we know as just that.  I walk down the street and I see something beautiful and inspiring, and my gut reaction is to take a picture with my phone and immediately upload it to the world.  What happened to the simpler times, where I could just take that beautiful whatever and drink it in with my entire being and experience it all just for just me, or at the very least with the person I’m with.    Sharing is caring, but somehow in this high-tech fast-paced world of ours, we’ve begun sharing to the extreme that we miss so much of the beauty and truth in what it is we are sharing.  Then there are these political posts where someone somewhere has done something really terrible and the original poster is pissed off as hell.  Then everyone starts sharing like crazy, completely outraged and about to lose their minds…but how many of those sharers read beyond that tiny article (or worse, even read the full article, or any of it, at all) to research it to make sure they actually have all of the information to justify their pissed-off-edness?  I have no doubt this happens more often than not.

 

I have a million ideas and thoughts about how modern technology and internet globalization is adversely affecting  humanity;  a group of friends go out to eat and everyone has their head in their phone.  On the train nobody knows how to interact with each other because there are no “like” buttons or upvotes/downvotes to read “behavior”, so everyone just avoids eye contact of any kind.  And now every part of the internet is oozing with advertisements (you can’t escape it, and you probably don’t even consciously noticed half of them) which leaves me to have to wonder, how much is the general public at large even ABLE to think for themselves anymore ?  Google’s no privacy policy and Facebook about to go public is surely sealing the deal.

 

Myself, I am a billion times G-U-I-L-T-Y of all of the above and much, much more.  I recently was talking with a friend about this trend where people will comment on the internet when they think they are “anonymous” (facebook groups posts, at the end of news stories, youtube comments, reddit, etc) and the ugliness of humanity that comes out as a result.  There have been times when I’ve gone back to comments I’ve made in such places and noticed how I fell right in to that trend, appalled  and asking myself what is THAT about?

 

Social networking sites like this have their goodness.  You find long lost friends and relatives, share pictures, stories, life events.  But they also create this somehow inescapable time sucking vacuum that can and does lose facets of humanity and eats up creativity in ways that only the computer and internet can do.  And somehow I just know that disconnecting from the madness and reconnecting with the juicy life in the present-right-in-front-of-me world is the only way to  truly heal.  At least for me,  this is truth.

 

Sociology and culture trends aside, for me personally, this is about getting back to basics and simplicity in my life.  Letting loose the distractions and procrastination tools I use as my excuse to not step fully into my artistic life that longingly and without rest pulls me forward.  It’s about being more present in the right here right now, allowing focus, noticing, and being more engaged and connected.  It’s about where am I putting my attention.  Mixed with these ideas of integrity and authenticity that continue to monopolize my head space.

 

So there it is.  And now here I am.  Open, present, grateful,  humble.

 

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