It’s not what I imagined

My brain never seems to come up with anything that looks like reality. Yesterday I spent many hours thinking about the backlash from me quitting the other group. What I received wasn’t even close to what I imagined.

First comunicado was from our missing board member who’s off playing new Daddy for a year. It included a thanks for my work, a wish of success to me, and a last minute try to sly question about what I’m doing. My one sentence reply went through about ten re-writes before I sent it: I’m working with a film group to produce my work. A safe and truthful answer that doesn’t need more. Later on I received a request from L to send her the website password. I told her before that I signed in using my email, not theirs. I don’t know their password and I never changed the site password. But she’s still asking. So I sent her the info and hope she can figure it out so she doesn’t continuously sign in as me. Tho that’s a long shot. I actually doubt she’ll change it; she doesn’t do that type of thing. But that’s been it. Seems to me they were expecting this. Their response does not match people to whom this is a total surprise. It matches the response of people who half expected this, who heard rumor, who were ready for it. …They’re being civil; gotta give them that. At least to my face.

My bro was out performing with the choir yesterday. Some big event downtown. I skipped out; it kept raining. About 2 in the afternoon I looked in the ‘fridge and realized two things: one, nothing was prepped for dinner and two, I’d forgotten to make a quiche with the last of the Mexican like I said. Checked everything and headed downstairs to pick up what I needed. Then it was cook, cook, cook. Ended up timing it perfectly, getting the quiche in the oven about 15 minutes before my bro got home. He was happy he didn’t have to make dinner and that I’d remembered to do what I promised in the kitchen. I don’t begrudge it, but it did take up my entire afternoon when you add in cleaning up after myself. No tidying up around the flat, no shower. All needed this morning.

Sleep was interrupted by what sounded like a white trash argument in the street. Six a.m. A couple. Back and forth they went, their voices ringing off the buildings lining the lane. I lay in bed, contemplating filling up one of the water guns and shooting them down while screaming at them to shut up. A perfect plan but for one thing: I gave the water guns to M for safe keeping. They finally trailed off, either getting in a car or just walking out of the area. But, DAMN! Annoying shit made doubly annoying by the time of day. I really have to contemplate keeping a bowl of water balloons or something by my window. I’m in the perfect place to teach idiots like that a lesson – especially when, nine times out of ten – they’re arguing right under my window. My bro warns me off that type of behavior, but I don’t know. I think I’d rather like being the old woman who’ll shoot a water gun at you or drop a water balloon on you if you’re being a dick.

Cherry season is here. I grew up and lived in Wisconsin, a state that liked to boast about their Bing Cherry season. Having sampled both, I can truthfully state that Wisconsin’s boasts are empty. I’ve never had cherries like the cherries here: black with ripeness, and so much flavor in your mouth it lasts and lasts, the vitamin C slightly burning your tongue. Unbelievable. Probably need to go down and buy another batch. I ate most of the first batch last night.

Language tomorrow and I haven’t even opened my homework to look at it. Bad me. Two weeks ago I thought I’d get to it quickly. Then came the mania burn, the loss of evenings as my mind churned. Never did get to it. Worse: I’ve been reading English. I’m at the lowest point with Dutch as I could be. Ugh.

At least I feel relaxed. Not wound up, but prepared. I really do want to hear what others have to say. Put out my ideas and allow everyone to work with them. Hoping for a good back and forth.

Have to say, I’m not expecting anything. I just learned (again) how limited my imagination can be. Good lesson to have right in my face as I head into this meeting. I like to flatter myself that I come up with every possible outcome, but I don’t. I weigh and judge, throwing out those possibilities I think aren’t likely to happen. That’s a mistake. I see that now. And, learn from it: those judgements I make are my prejudices, not theirs. I deem them unwilling to do things differently and forecast an outcome based on the underside of their characters. Don’t buy into it! This could just be another subterfuge, some false niceness that covers up a meaner intention. That’s the shit I get lost in: the layers of lies some people use.

Good thing is, I don’t have to deal with it. I’m out, without anyone whining. I’ll take it – without complaint. But…

It’s not what I imagined.


Time to jump

First message this morning: quit the other group. Today’s the day I send out my notice. Saw an email come in from the venue yesterday; they want info on the upcoming production. Not answering it. For one, I don’t have that info because no one in the group talks. For another, I’m out. I’m out, I’m out, I’m out! *crazy laugh* I’m finally done. After writing here I’ll head out and sign out of all their accounts on my computer, then send the message. Fini.

Do not know what I’ll find most upsetting: getting loads of messages back trying to get me to ‘talk about it’, or getting nothing back because they communicate that slowly. Trying not to think about it.

Fast clean around the flat today, then shower. May bake something; don’t know yet. I’m too busy making sure I’m chilled.

Headed out for sunshine and fresh air yesterday. Walked up to the lake, taking pix of possible forced perspective locations as I went. It was good to get out of the house. Headed to a new local cafe that serves a Friday evening pancake dinner. Again, I good idea. The place is bright, neat, and very cute – perfect if my group needs a cafe setting for a few scenes. Plus, their pancakes – bigger than the platter sized plates given to us – were really good.

Tomorrow, 2pm, here. My film posse, tried and true, are coming. They know what this meeting is and they know how important it is to be there. S and F are celebrating Father’s Day with their dad. L and K rarely say much during the week but usually show. I’ll have a decent sized group here, that’s for sure. Plan to sit behind my computer for a lot of it so I have access to my calendar and the internet for quick reference. Haven’t looked at my storyboards; will do that when I present them. Want to hear what other people say. Their ideas. I’ll take and spin whatever; I just need something to start.

…*sigh* Tell me something: Is it ruder to send out your notice early in the morning than to leave it later in the day? Seems to me it is. Sending it out before 9 am just says ‘I couldn’t wait any longer to quit your horrible organization’. Guess I can wait ’til after 9. …Sitting here, chiding myself. This is stupid. I made my mind up ages ago. I wrote my goodbye note weeks ago. But here I am, on the brink, doubting. Second guessing. Worrying, for pete’s sake! Oy! Beeps! Look at your damned calendar. It’s going on 6 weeks since you’ve heard from them. Fuck it. This isn’t your mess. – And your note is truthful: you’ve got too much going on to dick around with them. Proceed as planned.

Right. Don’t run away from it; this is your issue. This torn into two feeling. Doubting my choices. Shrinking away from the task at hand. Truth is, all I have to do is go out to FB, copy my already written goodbye, paste it, send it, and sign off. No thought required. But thinking is all I’m doing right now. Too much thinking. I guess I was looking forward to this for so long it kind of took me by surprise by actually being here. Again, that’s silly, right? But true. We spend a thousand hours more expecting something than it actually takes to go thru that experience, so when the true experience happens we’re not ready for it. Still in that anticipation mode: nerves stretched a bit too thin. Then the experience passes in sort of a surreal dream feel and we never truly think we were totally present for our big moment. So we become disappointed with ourselves and try again, only to repeat the entire fiasco from front to end over and over. Or is that just me?

An old thought has been kicking around in my head lately, and damn if it isn’t spot on. I remember when my parents took us to Disney World. We drove down in the family car. For two days of driving through the US, I anticipated getting there. I was excited and full of dreams. But when we finally drove up to the gate, all my excitement vanished. We were camping, and I was well versed with that: it took ages to set up the campsite, and everyone was expected to help. Getting to the gate was like getting to the venue of a performance. Great; you’re there. Now there are hours of preparation before you can have fun. I remember my sister asking me why I wasn’t excited anymore. Didn’t have the language or knowledge to explain it when I was nine years old. I do now, tho. And I still react in exactly the same manner. Tons up build up excitement, then a surreal calm during the moment. It’s my attempt to be there, to experience it. Calm down, I say to myself. Never really works. Dr T has made me see it’s the manic build up before the moment that’s my problem.

In that respect, I’ve been on that manic side in my head about quitting. For more than a month. Which means I’ve built up a lot of expectation and nervous anxiety. Can definitely feel it today. Wish the sun was shining! It would be so much easier to do this today if it was sunny and warm, and the moment I hit ‘send’ I could leave the house on a lovely walk outside far away from my phone.

That’s so me. Do it and quickly run away before I can experience any backlash. Guess I can’t call myself gutless; at least I do it. Not looking forward to the jumping pulse and quicker heartbeat experienced with every notification coming from my phone over the next few days. That’s sure to happen.

Nothing for it. I’m committed.

Time to jump.


Officially begun

Eager beavers! My phone started going off around 8 last night, with people asking where Sunday’s meeting is. Got a note out to the director, asking him about his building. No longer a viable option for us, so it’s my flat again. Happily, it’s still really clean. Won’t take much touch up this week.

Sadly, this means that future meetings are either here or in a rented room. Since rooms are getting full quick, I imagine that means we’re basically working here at my place over the summer. I was surprised at how everyone saw my place: You have so much room! Really? I’m used to spreading out over an entire house. Having a room just for the studio stuff. This still feels small to me. But I do have room to cram everyone in, and we can always go outside and work in the small grassy area out back. Upside: I’ll be spending much less on my metro card than anticipated if all our meetings are here!

Forgot this weekend is Father’s Day. One of my group reminded me. Oh, the things you forget when you’re an orphan! Mother’s and Father’s days just don’t register anymore.

My bro got up this morning with an accusatory ‘You’re up?’ Today is his language class. Oh, man. Please don’t come home and lecture me about how I have to be your second Mommy and make sure you’re up and ready for class! You have an alarm; use it! Pretty sure I’ll hear something about it, tho. Can’t seem to get my bro to learn the lesson of self reliance in issues like this. *sigh* But if I’m honest, he doesn’t really help with the housecleaning, either. If I die before him, he’s gonna live in total sloth and dirt with one clean track where he’s used the damned broom to sweep up. I mean…he’s the one with terrible allergies. I work to keep the dust down for him. Went into his room the other day and saw the PILES of dust everywhere. He’s about 2 years overdue for a major room cleaning. And just like his laundry, that’s a job I won’t touch.

Got to a place of rest yesterday. Real rest. Just watched tv, played games, chilled. I was happy my head could follow the stories presented to it. Thought about what I may want to tinker with over summer break, but it was only a passing thought: nothing is jumping out at me. Headed out with my bro downtown to pick up more smoke. We left early and visited a coffeeshop for a joint in public. Simple talk, nothing heavy about his SIM game. He let me take the lead on topics, which was nice. I mentioned my anxiety, my concern for D whom I haven’t heard from in quite some time, and my core belief that my project will move forward even if we gain or lose actors. Found just getting out of the house was pleasant; I’ve been inside for days now, recouping. The rain cleared up, the sun came out in the last hour of the day, the air was fresh without being chill, and if felt good to walk slowly along the pavement downtown while my bro and I chatted. Seems like some gossamer web of ick got lifted from me in the evening air.

Wound up my evening by stumbling upon the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages. I’m a MST3000 fan and love terrible films. Found an old western on one of the channels: ultimate stereotype of cowboys and indians. But it was dubbed in German! More; it was a spaghetti western – so it was originally an American story told in Italian and then dubbed into German. The First Nation peoples were all white people in heavy make-up and the outfits made them look more like a football team than First Nation. Oh, but to see a ‘First Nation’ maiden come out with perfect German was too funny! No sooner did my bro make a comment about taking some video of it on his phone than I had mine out. Captured a perfect 30 second clip; a tiny side-story that was funny as hell. Found out how easy it was to post that directly to FB from my phone. Watched the rest of the film; just couldn’t get past how wrong it was to hear perfect German in the old West.

Still struggling with feeling a bit of a heel for leaving the other group. Shoring myself up with remembering all the slights, set-backs, and delays. Gotta admit that it feels more and more like they already know I’m gone. Haven’t heard word one from anyone about anything: upcoming meetings, a WhatsApp group, even a cast list. Maybe they’re just procrastinating like they always do. But it’s 5 weeks since their first read through. I can barely believe – even from them – that they’re this unorganized. Guess I should be thankful I’m not getting hounded to come to this or that meeting for them. And I am! I’m just…suspicious of this long and heavy silence. Considering I’m talking about the group that’s into double entendres and hidden agendas, I can’t help but think that something is going on. It’s too much to be coincidental.

In August we have to reapply to immigration. Hoping we can get thru it without a hitch – or spending a lot of money on people to fill in all the forms. Not really the time for us to come up with a thousand to pay a group of experts who do little more than hit ‘print’ on standardized forms. Gotta admit, tho: it’s intimidating. Will be by my bro’s side while he does it. Support him as much as possible.

Hope to walk away with a clear agenda after Sunday. A place we agree to shoot in, a rough time schedule for the ads and the script, and a group name to start organizing social pages.

Ding! More messages. My day has officially begun.

Pickle Rick

It is wet and grey and rainy today. My thoughts have turned inward.

I’ve been screaming in my head at my siblings, telling them that their childhood was not mine. Well do I remember the enforced US testing in grade 7, well do I remember my parents’ flat out refusal to share the results of said exam with me. But from then on out, all I heard was ‘You’re too smart for that’. You’re too smart to pursue acting. You’re too smart to make such stupid mistakes. This was counter-balanced by my older sister’s insistence of my stupidity. You’re so stupid! You think you know everything but you don’t!

Many years later I found the results of the exams. They included an IQ test. Don’t know if my older siblings had these enforced tests. I assume so, because it became unspoken knowledge in the household as to where all our IQs sat on the scale.

My older siblings hated me for usurping the lead role. As the baby, I was expected to remain the last in all things. My mother enforced that rule: I was in my teens before I was allowed to choose my own hairstyle or clothing. I was not consulted about skipping grades, as Lily in Modern Family was. I was never even told about it until years later. I operated blind, trying to please everyone. Everyone whom, it seemed, spent all their time yelling at me for this or that. My intelligence attracted the worst kind of attention: a call to perfectionism. I was never good enough; I could always have done better. My efforts were slighted and discarded, meaningless drivel that I was shown by example that I should lend no creed to.

How does one come to terms with parents who purposefully held you back and refused you medical care when you most desperately needed it? I mean… I’ve come to understand that despite their shortcomings, my mother and father tried to do what they thought right. They just made all the wrong choices in my case. But… *sigh* Maybe it’s the dark and dreary day, or maybe it’s the swish of the cars as they pass by on the street outside; I really don’t know why my mind is stuck here today. I find myself sitting behind my desk, bemoaning in my head what might have been. As silly an exercise as any: it’s all supposition on my part. I look thru rose colored glasses, ignoring all the side issues. Regardless of what I might have been, RA would get me. Regardless of what might have been, I’d still be bipolar. I’d still have my issues, and they’d seem just as big and unapproachable in that glamourous life I imagine for myself as the ones I face right now.

I guess I just wonder, more than anything, what it would be like to have real self confidence. I’ve been faking it ’til I make it. Pretend to know what I’m doing and when I get a few kudos I congratulate myself for pulling off my lie so well. I ain’t confident at all. Don’t know if real self confidence is attainable for me. I get there thru repetitive mantras and feel weak the entire time I’m doing it.

Dr T tells me there is no pill I can take to fix my mental state. It’s just work. We can control the depression and the mania, but how I see myself is all up to me. Lately I’ve been acutely aware of my inner self image. It’s one that exaggerates all my faults, as it’s always been. Right now my inner image has bags under my eyes the size of shopping carts. The skin is paunchy and loose all over, and as usual, I’m too fat. I’ve just added in all the trappings of age to my fat self image.

It’s getting ugly in my head.

Thinking that I’ll take time off from my new group. Call a summer holiday for myself. I’m not going anywhere; no money for that! But summer is usually a writing time for me, and I want that. Take a week or two off for myself. I haven’t spun any new tales for quite some time; too busy writing this or that for the other group or my group or my brother. First sign of build-up: shit like this self image crap. Second sign: bemoaning my past. Definitely getting time to write.

…*sigh* No wonder I wished for a lobotomy, or some accident that left me brain damaged. Harassed from both sides, I never really saw being intelligent as something that was good. In that, I agree with Rick from Rick and Morty: intelligence is a curse.

Oh, gods. I’m pickle rick.

Overdrive effects

Doing my best to slow down. Got ready to head to the gym yesterday; dressed and got my stuff together. As I was telling my bro I was headed over there, I began to feel more and more tired until I could barely keep my eyes open. T was all over that: You’ve been manic for a week now. Better take the day off. Sat back in my chair and put on Ugly Betty. Lost consciousness for a while. When I finally got up, my knee hurt like hell: more storms moving in. The evening was filled with lighting strikes and thunder, adding an extra 3D element to our viewing choice. Exhausted, I turned off the lights at 11 and promptly fell asleep so hard I never heard any of the commotion this morning as my bro’s CD racks fell over in his room at 7:30 am.

Can hardly get over the house; I really super cleaned it. Yeah, that was mania. Spread out over days, but mania nonetheless. I even cleaned the inside of the ‘fridge. Not that I expected anyone to see that! I just noticed how dirty it was and took care of it. Have to say: a clean house makes ‘taking it easy’ much easier! I don’t look around and think of all the stuff I haven’t done. I can close my eyes because I know the place is spotless.

Worried about my group. Not much talk on WhatsApp, and that concerns me. T keeps telling me I am MORE than prepared for next Sunday, and he’s right. I know the q’s I want to ask and the topics I need to address. Hoping more than just my film students show up, but… If their minds are only on acting, I can see them skipping it. Well. If it’s just me and the director, we still need to meet and hash thru all this. And honestly, if some people don’t show up that’s their thing. I think they’re cutting their opportunities and chances, but I can’t make them do it. The more we know about how film operates, the better we’ll do when we audition for roles.

…Man! I still feel tired.

Gods, and I hope everyone is into just spending time together. I can’t write for people I don’t know inside and out – and I want to write for them. Truth is, I never get to spend the amount of time with anyone that I want. We get to chat a little bit but never enough. Well. Still early days, as I keep saying. Let it go. You’ll get there.

Sent out the newsletter for the other group. Just a few more days before I quit. Looking forward to that more as a mental thing than a physical thing. I haven’t been doing much for them over the past few weeks. Sick of dragging their asses around. In effect, I’ve already left. They just don’t know that yet. Feel a bit trepidatious. Not just for the possible backlash, but also for ‘putting all my eggs in one basket’: I’m counting on my group to move forward. But I’d rather struggle with my own shit than shovel the other group’s. And I’ve a sense that certain members of my group – the director included – will continue to work with me no matter what. We may lose or gain actors as we go, but the core project will move forward.

Oh, Beeps! Remember that one, please.

I’m changing again. Singer to composer. Composer to writer. Writer to actor. Actor to whatever this is I’m currently doing (producer?). Guess that’s a sign of my mental agility: adapt or die. When I hit a roadblock, I adapt. Spread out, find out what I can do to help myself get past the blockage. Frankly, I find it fun. I like to learn, and I keep learning. *sigh* It does make for long explanations, tho. I never know how to answer when someone asks me what I do! Um…everything? If I’m low on cash, I’ll even clean your house for money. It makes me almost envy those people who’ve held one job all their lives. I’m a fill in the blank for the last 20 years. Even worked for the same firm. So concise! My answers usually elicit more questions, and before I know it I’m spilling an abridged version of the last 30 years of my life just to answer ‘what do you do?’ Yeesh!

Soon I have to fall back on my business school training and start to put together some release agreements. Yuck. Not really where my head is right now. Maybe my film posse has stuff that’ll make it easier. Better check with them first.

Today: chill. Whether that’s gym time or just watching tv, I don’t know. Just know I still need some down time to get back to 100%.

You know… There’s an effect in our musical equipment that can put an overdrive on vocals. It sounds kind of the way I feel: a bit raspy and distorted, raw and edgy. Need to dial that down. It got me through a lot of work. But now I feel like I’m coming down from some chemical high. Hate that! Antsy feeling while still being too tired to do much. And just like when I mess around in the studio, in real life my overdrive has reverb effects that keep echoing thru my life. I gotta give my system time to let that go.

Pfft! Overdrive effects.


Just what I wanted

Put your ego where your mouth is!

Had my first bitter pill to swallow, made all the easier by my team members. The director walked in yesterday and began to explain that my video ad ideas were old and not what would appeal to younger millennials. Ouch! He pulled up some examples of newer ad campaigns that have gone viral and said: this is what we’re looking for. After looking at some of the vids I realized he’s 100% correct: my approach would not work on younger audiences. Spent some time brainstorming just with the director. Told him about some of the very short ideas I’ve had, including a forced perspective idea that he liked. He suggested next week we have a brainstorming meeting to discuss the video ads and locations. He also suggested to me to let other people pitch in and help: You know, S is really good at location scouting. Loosen hold on those reigns, Beeps!

I’m afraid my actors felt a bit let down yesterday. It wasn’t the full on fun of running scenes and being silly. It was the time to learn about instruments from my brother, who’s ADHD and autistic. He spoke too much and too long, and didn’t let them play long enough. I could feel it in the vibe in the air. I could also tell from the after talk: not much at all, and no enthusiastic I loved it! comments.

However, I learned what I needed to learn: they can hold instruments and look like they’re really playing. L actually was playing, and playing well; my bro hopes he wants to continue. That’s good. First, we’ll need a bit of it in some of the ads. My approach may be older, but my bro wants to do at least one of the original ads I wrote up for those 30-40 year olds who played a bit on the guitar when they were younger and now want to pick it up again. Second, there’s a possibility of doing a music video for some of the music in our catalogue. That would take some air guitar. Third, there’s a long shot possibility of going into musical pieces. I’ve enough material to sketch together a loose story strung along with songs we’ve written. After all, that’s how those ABBA musicals got started.

Ah…I expected to get schooled in film work; I didn’t expect to get schooled in advertising! But S was correct with everything he said. My head started working and kept working all evening long. I’ve now eight snappy, funny, and extremely short ads storyboarded out. Cool. Still want input from the team; this is where we can pull out the strangest incomplete ideas and make them work.

Just hope we can get everyone together for a logistics meeting. We need it. I know it’s boring if you’re just an actor, but I’m hoping everyone is gonna step up and do more than just act. We’re not a big group and all of us have to pitch in with behind the camera stuff. Plus, we need to get thru the planning stages in order to achieve our goals. S brought up the idea of just breaking into an abandoned building to shoot GI until we get caught. I’m worried about that. Native Dutch and European members don’t need to worry about a misdemeanor; I do. Plus, my instinct says it’ll take several days of filming to get it all. We need a place we can crash in, do make-up in, and work for several days in a row.

Talked to K about turning her into a man: full on make-up, beard, outfit. She loved the idea; how her eyes glowed! Still not sure about F. She’s S’s sister and they’re obviously related. S is playing the psychic, so where do I put F? Thinking I want to gently approach F and find out if she’ll let me change her coloring. The two sisters are of Indian descent; I’m thinking of turning F into a sort of valley girl. It would take a lot of foundation to make her look lighter skinned, but I think it would work and end up funny. Especially if I can teach F that sort of dragged out manner of speaking that sounds like she’s running on very low batteries. Yeah.

Need to finish up a note to everyone and get it out. Time for me to rally the troops and get their enthusiasm back up. Not the easiest thing to do when I’m also saying we need an entire meeting to discuss what’s going on. Already I have a sense that F and L aren’t going to do much more than act. They get impatient when they’re not acting or moving and rarely take part in logistics conversations. Want to hold the next meeting in Den Haag and make it easier for the people living there to make it. S is checking on room availability in his building.

Got a note from M about dates she can’t make it. Summer! Too much going on to get a lot done. We may go over plans next week, then hold off on things until after summer is over so everyone can participate. I’ll still hold weekly meetings and let them run thru script bits; that’s important and fun for everyone. But we can shoot the ads in early September and plan for the GI shoot sometime before the end of the year. Schedule for when everyone is available.

Learning my posse is better than I thought at all aspects of this project is wonderful. Intimidating for me: after all, I had to get past the ‘oh, no!’ I felt when S told me my ad ideas were too old. I’m going with it. Trusting their judgement and knowledge. Relying on their schooling and experience. And youth.

Finding I’m not as inflexible as I’d been led to believe. I can cooperate, bend, and give up control. I can allow others to criticize and correct. I can take a hit and get back up with better ideas to present to everyone.

Just what I wanted.

Cluck, cluck, cluck

Shine. It’s so bright in here I could really use my sunglasses. Took multiple days and a lot of work. I still have to clean up the WC this morning before everyone comes and make sure my bro doesn’t pile up 10 empty soda cans in front of the garbage because for some reason he won’t just throw them into the bin and every damned week there’s a big pile of shit that should be in the bin sitting outside the bin… Breathe. No one will care if the place isn’t perfect.

Less than a week before I can say goodbye to the other group. It’s now 6 weeks since they had their first read through. No auditions for act 2 yet.  Tempted to just send out my notice now and get it over with, but I’ll hang in there ’til Saturday. Really think they’ve got wind of my work by this time. It’s strange – even for that slow moving group – that they don’t have a WhatsApp group created or another read through scheduled. Maybe they really are that slow and stupid; maybe there are things going on I’m not being included in. In six days it won’t matter either way.

My bro’s ready to take the group person by person thru the guitar and bass today. Hope to see a few good air players; really, that’s all they gotta do. Pretend to play the piece. It should be fun, relaxed, and easy today.

Ready to show everyone the short term apartment I found in Den Haag. Need to spend time with S, the director. Went through the GI script and began marking scenes in pencil. First cut was simple: every time the topic of conversation changes, the scene changes. I realize some of the passages will have multiple scenes to get the right camera angles. What I’m doing now is simple and basic. I don’t want S to feel like I’m dumping a lot of work on him. And, I really want to talk with him and the rest of the group. The script in GI will be adapted to whatever location we have to film in. Since it’s looking easiest to get a short term stay, I need to think about making it a ‘haunted’ house. Change the workers interviews to owners and friends. I’m keeping the psychic and the historian no matter what. It’s the other two that’ll change. Want everyone to be in on that idea; no need to memorize this or that passage because I’ll write something new. The skeleton of the story, the crew and their interactions, stands easily. I wrote it to work no matter what the location.

Future work: get to know the history of the area we’ll shoot in. Weave that into the story as much as possible.

Feel a bit tired but pretty good. The stormy weather has blown over and my joints feel better. No school tomorrow for me; it’s another Dutch holiday. Need to keep reminding myself of that! Glad for the timing; I can get the newsletter out tomorrow as scheduled. The other group may not like the little I’ve written about them, but they can hardly blame me for that! Been several weeks since I blogged for them. No time, no desire to spend my faculties on their shitty group. I find myself more than busy working with my group: communicating with them, staying on top of rehearsals and ideas, and sourcing out how we can accomplish what I want to do. Still haven’t managed to find a good balance between my group and exercise. Working out has been slagged off all week as I’ve prepped for today.

…Time is slipping away as I type. Can’t let that go on; I’ve little enough time to clean up the last spots and get myself ready. Gotta be Momma Hen today.

Cluck, cluck, cluck.

Karmic benefits

Sunday’s meeting is coming up fast. Got to another very dirty corner yesterday and made it shine. Had a WhatsApp note from M who can’t make it. Another deadline she’s gotta meet. Good thing is she’ll come early the week after to learn the instruments. My bro wants her on the bass; she’s got the look of a real bass player. For me, she’s quickly becoming my star. The person I can turn to in any situation because I know she can do it. M is the one actor who really got the nuances of the entire GI crew last week. She’s strong in any role. And I gotta agree with my bro: she looks like a bass player. No one else has that appearance; she can literally just hold the instrument and sell the idea that she can play.

Thinking about how I’m gonna arrange the living space. We have to turn the chairs around from the tv to the equipment corner. I think I’ll take out the big plants so we have more floor space. Our computers are the real issue; may have to unplug and haul them down to our bedrooms.

And, oh! Must calculate in at least half an hour for people to get lost in my bro’s room. Fifteen thousand comics and several hundred figurines posed in various scenarios: no one can see it without walking in to experience it. Have this feeling the director is gonna be particularly immersed in the room. He wants to do animation and alternative stuff; here! Look at what’s possible. I’m guessing my bro and the director will spend a good deal of time talking about using some of the scenes and figures in a stop-action short. 🙂

Been doing exercises my physiotherapist gave me for that pain in my hip. Easy enough to do in my bed just before sleep, but challenging! Or, should I say, butt challenging! He’s making me strengthen the outer muscles on my hip/thigh area so I stop squeezing the bursa and having pain. And it’s tough. Truly tough. I’m working on the painful side right now, but I’ll incorporate these exercises for both sides into my regular routine. Good ass movement, and it works that area on my upper outer thigh that usually has a bit of flab on it.

Gave up on reading Dutch right now. Indulging in Villette, one of my favorites and, in my opinion, the best from the Bronte sisters. My head isn’t into struggling right now with a foreign language and I had to return the Agatha Christie I was reading to the library because it came due. Got through it, but… Wasn’t really my thing. Found it to be a collection of shorter stories. Much more difficult to read: everything was told in 30 pages. Christie had to be concise. Wonderful with a good handle on the language, I’m sure. I struggled. Less words to figure out the meaning of things. More difficult words because there were less in each story. I prefer full length works. Give me more description in the tales; I need it, and it helps me figure out the passages I don’t fully understand.

…And let’s face it: I’m on holiday. Part of integrating into Dutch society is going with the flow and celebrating when they celebrate. This weekend is a holiday, and even tho I’ll technically be ‘working’ with my group, I tend to think of it more as play than work. These days, my ‘work’ is learning Dutch. And that’s what I’m taking a holiday from. As much as that’s possible, living in Rotterdam…

My bro was out last night with his friend. They met up around 4 and kept talking ’til after 8. My bro finally came home around 9:30 last night. Wow! What a difference in my bro’s mannerisms. When he comes home from band rehearsal or choir he’s almost always wound up because someone ticked him off. Not so last night! In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him that calm. He just walked in, acknowledged my greeting, and happily began watching tv. I didn’t have a lecture about this or that, or a large emotional spill of words from him. He wasn’t angry or withholding, just content. He’d talked and been heard and felt all the better for it. I’m real happy for him! …And for myself.

Found an incredible short stay apartment in Den Haag for only €160 a day. This place is open, the architecture is fabulous, and it’s furnished. That kicked off a day long search thru Air B&B and any other short stay place I could find. WOW!!! Thrilled to see so many beautiful spots available. Naturally, we’d need a release from the owners to film there. But the idea that we could rent a place for a long weekend, head out, film and crash overnight is really exciting! Found spots with great gardens and some in the woods. Even found one that can be my log cabin in UVB-76. Gorgeous!

Been having rain on and off. We need it and I don’t begrudge it, but it is making my pain level higher. Gout in my big toe (so painful I limp a bit when walking), pain in my hands, and pain in my hips. May pop one of my last oxycontin pills on Sunday just to make sure I’m okay.

You know, I don’t know what term to use for all I’m doing right now – other than leader. Guess I’m kind of figuring that out as I go. All I know is I feel happier and more hopeful than I’ve felt in a very long time. That scares me. I got used to feeling like shit about myself. I got used to dissing my own work and experience. Looking into the eyes of everyone, seeing them laughing and enjoying themselves, getting hugs after every meeting…It’s like all the shit I put up with for decades is now coming due.

I’m reaping the karmic benefits.

It helped

Managed to tackle one of the butcher’s racks yesterday. Top to bottom cleaning. My bro didn’t help with it, but he did have the decency to notice and say ‘Wow! Looks great!’. Definitely a step up from simply ignoring my work. More tidying today. Everyone’s piling in here on Sunday and I’ve gotta get the place decent.

Spent the evening thinking about my actors and their abilities. I know I want L and M on the GI team; they’ve both been great no matter where I put them. Don’t yet know the third member of the team or who’s my ‘leader’. Haven’t found the correct body language/improv/attitude yet. Thinking I want to see K as my male history expert. Received the vids from our director last night: oh man! Funny stuff, especially with everyone cracking up at the dialogue. Need to work the first interview; it’s the shortest and the driest, but I’ve a few ideas to up the comedy. Planning right now on taking the role of Jim, a semi-bum caretaker character who’s supposed to be kind of dirty looking and very unintelligible. But if someone shows me a great Jim and wants to get into full make-up for it, it’s theirs. Gotta say: the make-up will take a long time but I think it’ll be worth it. Need to look at creating hairy legs, like a guy. Not sure how I’ll do that. Maybe something created with a pair of tights? That would be best: something I could put on and take off. But I may end up getting hairs glued to my legs for the shot I want. Messy! Pegging F in my first interview; she’s got these huge eyes I think will work well in the role – tho I haven’t seen her read for it yet. Need to look at A and K in the GI team, too.

No real idea how my bro is gonna do this on Sunday. He’s being autistic and not explaining himself to me, just getting frustrated by my suggestions and questions. I tried to gently remind him we have no guitar or bass players in the group, and they’ll need more than a chart showing them the chords. He got snippy with me and told me he’s been teaching for years and he knows what he’s doing. *eye roll* I left it at that. I’ll just have to go with the flow on Sunday and do my best to help communication on the spot.

Began looking at release forms. *sigh* Something I’ve just gotta do. Ugh. Did find a site with tons of film releases available for free. All from an American viewpoint, of course. But at least it gives me something to start from.

Went out to the other group’s email and added in the new subscriptions to the newsletter list. Tried to add it to the Google doc I uploaded but couldn’t. Nine days before I quit and I couldn’t care less. Modified my goodbye note to say I couldn’t modify the doc and left it at that. Noted but did nothing on the other messages in the inbox; L was clear that she wanted to be in charge of all that. Not my problem if she can’t get it together enough to answer anything – especially if I don’t get a note asking for help.

Started listing out name ideas and searching them out on the internet. Anything that’s already out there gets ditched. I’m getting no suggestions from the group; seems they’re content with me coming up with something. Have about half a dozen names to run past them. So far, my favorite is NTAOF Productions (Never Trust Anyone Over Forty Productions). Double joke on me: technically I’m over forty, tho anyone who knows me would say my mental age hovers somewhere between 15 and 20. I’ll see what the group thinks. But with the vids we’re already getting, we need a YouTube channel soon. It would be great to step out with a logo, a name, some good write-ups about our group, and a handful of early videos.

Found some stunning short term rental apartments in Den Haag that look absolutely amazing. For a couple of hundred, we could rent out a flat and film there. Plenty of space to crash, too. The architecture looked great, and we could get some stunning shots. Really want to plan on what venue we’ll be using so the ghost stories can be modified accordingly. Recorded and watched an old Ghost Adventures episode to remind myself of what the original looks and sounds like. No great musical stuff needed, just horror hits and a low sustained keyboard note that sounds menacing. That’s what I was figuring on. Looked at the interviews, the shots, the dramatizations. We may be able to do this on a long weekend. Gotta get a note out to the director…

Big storms last night. Lots of damage to trees, some houses burnt down from lightning strikes, and apparently there was a tornado in a small town to the east. Needed the rain. More showers expected throughout the week and cooler weather. Excellent! Do not need another 30C day when everyone piles in here.

…Some young girls laughed at me yesterday. They were on the damned lift, one of them primping in the mirror and delaying the entire thing. I was hauling out recycling. Got damned angry at them. What a couple of little shits. I am very sensitive to agism, and appalled at how readily accepted it is. It’s the soup de jour of comedy and totally okay. Old people are just so old. Like I said earlier, people who know me don’t think of me that way. My mental age is much younger. But for a moment I was just an old, worn out woman being made fun of by two pre-teen girls. They laughed at my unkempt hair, my lack of make-up, my casual clothing that did nothing for me. It hurt. I was judged and found wanting by people who didn’t even bother to say hello to me. And no, it didn’t matter to me how young or old they were. People are people, no matter what their chronological age. I’ve met old souls in young bodies and vice versa. My anger flared up, and I ranted aloud in the lift as I rode it to the 4th floor. Then I realized these kids were already cursed: they’d either live to see themselves old and being made fun of, or they’d die young. Cursed either way.

Morose? Maybe. But it helped.

Three, two, one…

That day I’ve been warned about has finally come: my computer is too out of date for some sites – including my script writing software and agenda creator. Damn the internet anyway! I’ve been able to sign in to these sites and then the page goes blank. Refreshing the view gives me a flash of what should be there before it returns to a blank page.

My bro has been looking for a replacement for me. He’s found a small laptop for €225. Best price so far. But, shit! I told him I didn’t need it this month so we won’t even be considering it before next month. I just gotta find a way to limp along on this system for a few more weeks.

Love. my. peeps. I’ve been looking for alternative venues for us to film in and found an 1880s stand alone home in the middle of nowhere that’s been converted into office space. It looks empty. Sent the pix to some of the group, who are now as in love with the place as I am. Going to work as a team to approach the agent/owner and see if we can get in there for a week or several weekends to film GI. If we come at it with ‘we’re a student film group’ and ‘we’ll use the real name of your building for free advertisement’ we may get a real deal. Let’s face it; if we were asked for €400 for a month’s use that’s only €40 for each of us. We could do it. And it’s big enough we may be able to crash in one of the rooms overnight. No, it wouldn’t be comfortable, but we could get a lot of work in.

Actually have extreme weather warnings today for R’dam. I even read a warning for possible tornadoes. Really? Holy hell! That’s climate change. The Netherlands isn’t a tornado type of country. Supposed to hit us this evening and go all night.

Gotta head to the pharmacy and get my pills. Ugh. Need to get a note out to everyone about Doodle and my old computer. Just ask them when they want to start: 13:00 or 14:00. We’re here. Ah…and maybe we’ll have enough of a stagger coming in that I could spend extra time with F and S on Hamlet’s speech. They both asked for something to help them improve their English, and that’s what I settled on. If you can say that without stumbling, you can say anything. I haven’t been able to sit with them for half an hour and work on it yet, tho. This weekend may be the time for that.

Also just gotta clean this place up. Caught my bro at it yesterday, running the broom around and complaining about the dust bunnies. ? Really? I don’t think I’ve ever heard my bro complain about dust bunnies before. He’s all over having the group come here this weekend, including preparing some wonderful food so everyone can eat while they’re here. lol! Excellent.

Yesterday’s language lesson was actually fun. Small group; Ramadan is still going on and we’ve several students who are taking part. I have to bring a sheet from our homework to Sunday’s meeting. There were a couple of tongue twister sentences in Dutch I really stumbled on. I’d like to do those for F and S. Make them laugh (’cause they’re both native Dutch speakers), assure them that everyone stumbles with language and they can get past it with practice. Plus, it’s that human touch. Last time I showed off with my iron stomach muscles and long stretches. Next time I can prove I’m not all that and that I have my own language issues. Yeah. I’m not perfect; here’s proof.

Mania. Watched tv last night but had problems concentrating on it. Also had problems going to sleep. Too excited, too many fantasies about success and fun and laughter. It’s getting worse the faster my group progresses. And what a lesson I’ve learned about trust. I did not trust the other group and felt super anxious the entire time they were working on my material. I trust my group completely and see so many possibilities because they’re all so good. They don’t question or fight me; they listen and work with me. My suggestions are not ‘restrictive’ and ‘controlling’ they’re ‘helpful’ and ‘fun’. Quite a difference.

Some part of me thinks it odd that I didn’t recognize the other group for what they were, but, I’ve a long history of stuff like that. Hungry for companionship and friendship, I’ll go to long lengths just to have people around me. I’m just happy I’m getting out soon and I haven’t been roped into some horrid fucking part this year out of guilt. Counting down the days ’til I can send out my good-bye and sign off from their email and website.

Would love to get to the gym today and burn some of this off. My lingering anger at the other group, my mania over my new group, my hopes, thoughts, desires and fears. Sweating would do me good.

Ah. Just had my computer reminder go off to tell me I’ve an appointment with my physiotherapist this morning. Okay. Good thing I put those alarms on my appointments. I spaced that one! Just enough time to get dressed, brush my teeth, and go.

Three, two, one…