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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

 

 

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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Dylan has it all figured out. His goal in life is to feel good. Here he is showing me he’s ready for some belly rubs. (Warning: might want to turn your sound down, my voice is pretty high and loud in this).

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After reading a friend’s latest thoughts on this weekend’s Occupy Oakland protests and arrests, I started searching on the current happenings and came across this article about the damage done by the anarchists.  He and I have talked before about Occupy’s refusal to stand up to the anarchists but rather this idea of respecting everyone’s rights to the way they protest.  Which IMO is bullshit, especially at the detriment of the purpose of the movement itself.  (But that’s a whole other post.)

 

What I look to then is a creation like Reddit, where the community DOES so easily self govern, and those that try to cause nonsensical havoc are quickly smothered out.  Which leads me to think then, why does this work so easily in an online community but not in a current in-person revolution?

 

This is something I’ve been pondering on and accessing  for quite some time–this idea that current technology that “connects” us also disconnects and dehumanizes us in so many ways.  There has been a shift where people are freer and more apt to communicate via technology than in person, via technology losing the human aspects of eye gaze, voice intonation, and body language.  Certainly anonymity plays a part in this; there is the  freedom to say whatever you want if nobody really knows who you are (or where to find you).  Or even for those that are completely forthcoming with personal information, but know there are no real in-person consequences to whatever one might say.  I’ve been both disgusted and fascinated with comment sections in various forums (news, FaceBook, entertainment sites, YouTube, etc) where people will say the most astounding things; and you know full well if someone were to actually have the balls to say such things in person (they wouldn’t), retaliation would not be deemed unreasonable but perhaps even cheered on.

 

In light of all of this and now the recent Google privacy changes, I have to ask is the internet becoming (or has it already) the new television, aka  the means of propaganda control by government and the 1% corporations?  While we, the 99%, are certainly beginning to figure that out and using it to our advantage, how much are we awake and aware to how it influences us as humans in our everyday, interactive (or non-interactive) lives?  Certainly the governments and corporations (same thing) see the big picture and are well aware of how to both use it against us as well as how the people are using it to fight back; hence SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and the likes.  But are we, the people, seeing the big picture and fully at choice in our daily lives in the use of the internet and modern technology and how it might be influencing our in-person interactions?

 

 

 

I don’t have any answers and not necessarily expecting any in return, but rather am presenting food for thought, as it is something that has been mulling around in my head space for quite some time.  I think it’s more than worth considering and being brought to awareness and discussion to the public at large.  Even today so many of the people do not get that the TV is being used against them as a propaganda machine and a means of control.  I would guess that even though the internet is a prosperous means of information  and idea exchange, even less of the people realize that the internet is being used for this exact same thing and in a much more intrusive way.  Is newer, more advanced, smarter, faster, and more more more better?  Is it helping or hindering us, or both?  And what can we do with and about this information?

 

Lastly, I’ll live you with an excerpt from this great interview with the film maker, Terry Gilliam, on this very subject:

 

“Would you ever make a satire about the world we’re living in today?:
Well that’s the part… I don’t know how to get at it. I mean, how do you get at it? I think if there’s anything, it’s about how people are becoming so disconnected from reality even though we live in a time when everything is connected. And that’s the irony of it. And that’s why I’ve got this house in Italy. When I’m there, I just do manual labor. Just physical work, and dealing with trees, birds, bugs, rocks.

And then I start talking to younger people and I realize that they don’t understand where things come from. They don’t understand how the system works. This is terrifying. They just are consumers, and that’s it. And that’s like the dream if Orwell had written the dream. We don’t live in a socialist or capitalist society; it’s a consumerist society, and nobody cares, as long as they’ve got their goodies. And if it’s well-designed, it’s even better [points to an iPhone on the table].

And yet at the same time we’re supposed to be getting cleverer and thinking. What may be happening is, I just think people are becoming neurons, and they’re just part of this big thing. Hollywood was always like this. A new idea pops into the system “Boom!,” all these neurons start firing, synaptic gaps are being leapt. And then it dies down and the next idea comes. It goes like that. And the world is becoming like that now.”

 

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In lieu of making this post all about how sick and crappy I feel, I thought I would spread some happiness.  This here is my first ever batch of vegan double chocolate chip cookies.

In keeping with promises to myself for the month of January, I am doing at least 1 new vegan recipe a week and at least 1 Artist’s Date.  Given my current health status, going out adventuring unfortunately wasn’t in the books, so Part One of the Artist Date was whipping up these bad boys.  (Part Two, since I know you’re dying to know, was watching The Tree of Life, courtesy of Netflix…I am on the fence on this movie…not what I was expecting, which isn’t necessarily bad, but way over board with the in your face, drive it home symbolism…still, worth watching and good food for mind/body/spirit.)

This recipe comes from Lindsay Nixon’s The Happy Herbivore, page 203 and brilliantly titled “Chocolate Chip Cookies.”  The recipe is below, and the only variations I used were (1) her suggestion option of unsweetened cocoa (to make it double chocolate chip cookies), and (2)instead of the called for 1/2 cup of (vegan) chocolate chips,  I added (quite) a bit more.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (WORTH getting the organic kind here rather than the generic crap)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I use So Delicious organic coconut milk, and the name doesn’t lie)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I suggest Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • a few dashes of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used the store brand bittersweet chocolate chips, which uses soy lecithin; I don’t remember where, but some vegan cookbook or website suggested Ghirardelli baking chips for vegans, however it says right on the back of their packages MAY CONTAIN MILK.)

DIRECTIONS: (Again, this is directly from Lindsay Nixon’s The Happy Herbivore, page 203..this is NOT my recipe)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper (I used parchment paper as you can see in the picture).
  • In a large bowl, combine applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and non-dairy milk.
  • IN a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cornstarch, and cinnamon (actually found I needed a big bowl for this).
  • Transfer the dry mixture into the wet mixture in three batches.  Stir until almost combined.
  • Fold in chips.
  • Drop spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes for a soft and light cookie or a few minutes more for a firmer cookie, being careful not to burn.

When you are spooning them, they will be gooey/slightly liquidy–not the consistency of non-vegan cookie dough, so fyi that is normal.  I set the timer for 5 minutes, then put them on the higher oven rack  to bake for about 2 minutes more.  These are very light and fluffy, so not a lot of density and could burn very easily.  If I had cooked mine for 10 minutes, they would have been toast, so keep a close eye on yours and don’t get distracted.

Variation:  Double Chocolate Chip Cookies–Replace 2 tbsp of flour with 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa (powder).

 

This recipes says it makes 16 cookies.  As you can see, I got  11 medium sized cookies, so for 16 you would have to make them a bit smaller.  They are pretty light and fluffy tasting, almost cake like, and very moist.  The apple sauce  I think is what really makes the difference.  I am thinking you could use coconut extract instead of vanilla for chocolate coconut cookies as well (maybe mix in some coconut flakes, too).

 

I gave them the “Jack Taste Test,” letting him know ahead of time that they’re vegan (which I realize can be a  mistake as it often creates a bias), and he gave me a medium-enthusiastic “they’re good.”  Of course he ate half of the batch, so somehow he managed to get them down.  They were good, not mind blowing, but I will likely make them again.  Super easy and quick to whip up and a heck of lot cheaper than the $2.50 each vegan brownies that I am addicted to at my local health store.

 

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