Basics

10 a.m. Well done, me! Now I’m getting into the ‘sleeping in’ range.

My brother found a choral group singing in English that meets Monday nights. I half reluctantly went along. While I’ve spent years singing in choirs and enjoyed it, it takes a different kind of singing voice than the one I’ve developed. Ah, be honest! I went along so my bro wasn’t so nervous. And to check it out for myself. But mostly for the comfort of my bro. It’s almost an hour on the metro to get there, so that’s a minus. It’s a very small group, only ten people at most when everyone (including the choir master) kicks in with singing. And the music! Yeesh. I spent years mastering Latin, German, French, and Italian singing. I’ve done near impossible masses and stuff so tricky most professional groups don’t even try it. What I got last night was pop medleys. And not even pop songs I like. All of that’s negative.

Now, for the positives.

I’ll admit the director’s enthusiasm for my skills and voice has to be put in the positive column. Yeah; I like getting the attention. What part do you sing? I responded in my best purring contralto voice: alto. I can hear that, she said. Then later: Can you read music? Yes, I can. The director’s face literally lit up. Visibly. It was there for anyone to read: Thank you for sending me someone with some talent! To say my voice was rusty is an understatement. I have to relearn how to sing with a group. I’m so used to belting things out, and now I’m being asked to keep it light, keep it airy, pull it back. It’s actually damned tough for me. There was only one other alto, so they need me. And when we finally pulled the warm-up scales down into my comfortable range, the director heard my fog horn voice and tremolo. Hell! I heard it come out of me, and she stood me directly in front of her.

Was upfront about the play and my commitments. Mentioned I didn’t want to let anyone down. Still I was encouraged to come when I could. And I think I may.

Yesterday was also my first day back to language class. I messed up a few times. REALLY messed up. But I laughed it off, and said my brains weren’t quite on Dutch yet. A lot of the people in the class aren’t coming this year. Either they’re in another class (really surprising) or they’ve just dropped out and not returned. We’re down to 4 students and two teachers. I’m sure we’ll pick up some more people as the semester goes on; seems we always do. Good to get back to it. And my teachers are upping the anti; we worked on dictation from group 6 (a level up).

Seems we have a bit of an Indian summer going on. The days are back into the 20s, the skies are sunny, the breezes warm. Would like to get to the gym today, but I’ll have to see. My laundry piled up to mountainous heights and today’s the first day I can start on it. Plus there’s shopping to do, garbage and recycling to pick up, and 6 pages of Dutch homework. Plenty to keep me busy.

…Ah. So my brother slept in even later than I today. He’s up now, and one of his first comments was: I’m going back to the choir; I need the rehearsal. I don’t know if you will, but I’m sure you’ll be the one everyone asks about… *wince* Yes, that happened, too. I got the lion’s share of praise and attention and he was sort of shunted to the side. I told him that was the director’s problem. There’s only one other male singer, and the director should have been more enthused to see my bro than me. But, yeah. That little tidbit falls into the negative category. I do not need outside forces trying to pit my brother against me. That happens all too often.

I’ve gotta just get serious. Stop dilly-dallying and get down to it. Ugh! Metaphorically it feels like I’m putting on a pair of hygienic gloves to clean out the Universal toilet. An ugly job if ever there was one. I just don’t want to do it.

Well… Let’s try to remember what we want, shall we? First thing: stay healthy so your projects keep on track. So getting to the gym or taking a walk in the sunshine is priority. The laundry can be squeezed in around taking care of yourself. The choir…that will depend on your mood and energy, as well as the weather. Cold, wet nights in November will not be the time to ‘go and sing a bit’. The director will send the sound files to your bro. Listen to them; you practically picked up everything last night. A couple of times thru and you should have it. Play all that by ear. You’ll get to your homework, no problem. Remember to keep working with make-up, checking the various inboxes, staying in touch with everyone. Keep on top of what day it is, the medicines you need to take, make sure you eat regular meals, and sleep as much as possible.

Stay on the basics. The rest will take care of itself.

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Ow! My ass – !

There is nowhere below my midriff that doesn’t hurt. Butt, thighs, stomach… My back’s been snapping and even my shoulders are popping every night.

Two days back. Back to the gym, back to the dreaded cross trainer. Thought about walking myself into it. Building back up to it. Decided I just needed to power through that first wall and went for it.

Ow! My ass – !

And this is a good thing.

Today is an off day. Give my body a bit of time to heal. Plans were to head out, find the theatre supply shop. At the moment, I’ll be lucky if I just stay awake without a nap. Everything else gets shelved into next week. I have to retrain my body, get it used to the push and exercise, before I let myself do anything else. Any reluctance on my part is totally destroyed by my shaking my butt. Feel that jiggle. Get to the gym and do this. Period.

Have not responded to my uncle. Keep thinking about it, but haven’t done it. Chicken! I know what I need to say. I just don’t want the fall out. Seems to me just holding everything in place and not responding for a bit is my best option. At least until I see Dr T again. Run it past him. Getting a little outside support telling me taking care of myself is the best thing I can do.

Posted D’s write-ups about his plays. Need to add the new graphic to the site. I’m not thrilled with it, so again it’s something I’m dragging my feet on.

Yeah, yeah. Maybe I’ll just fuck off today. The weather is iffy, and promises showers throughout the day. I deserve it, right? Two hard days at the gym, sweating up a storm. …Yeah, I deserve it.

Nothing from the director about getting started. No rehearsals, no messages, nothing. Meh. Might have to poke him to get him going. Set up the calendar dates, at least. He always does that online sign up to see where everyone’s schedule is at. Get it going!

My bro is headed out to a taal (language) cafe this morning. I should be going, too, but please reference my above rant(s) about my ass pain. Me, me, me. Maybe I’ll go next week.

*sigh* Integration is heavy on my mind. The tv is talking about it, and I feel for the first time it’s really in my face. In the last six months, there’s been a lot of turn over in the building. Most living here are immigrants. Smoking on the common ways – halls and stairs – has become a daily pastime. Cans of cigarette butts litter the halls. Arguments and phone calls are held in the halls so everyone can hear them. This is not Dutch behavior. Neither are the open doors, pumping out incense and music. I have not felt truly threatened in my own building, but I do find it intimidating to have to ask several men to move out of my way just to get to my own front door. And on at least one occasion I’ve had to yell at people holding arguments in the halls late at night. Add to that the slamming doors at all times of day and night, and the very loud call to prayer music that’s played every week, and…well. Like I said: it’s in my face.

I guess I just have a very unique mix in my background. Where I grew up, we had something called a Folk Fair every year. It celebrated cultural differences through dance, music, and food. It wasn’t just okay to be proud of your cultural heritage, it was something everyone was aware of. I’m Italian and Scandinavian. I’m German and Polish. I have 10% Cherokee on my mother’s side. Just the way it was. But things here are muddled. So many immigrants still feel their home country is their land. They haven’t truly taken the Netherlands into their hearts as their home. It’s their home away from home. You can sense it in their closed communities, the way they lapse into their native language when they’re grouped together, their utter lack of courtesy as they move around in large masses that shove everyone else off the walkways, their refusal to meet your eyes or return your greeting.  Make no mistake: I feel for these people. I sense their fear and wariness. I even understand their desire to return to the land they consider their true home. But there’s a basic cultural clash here at work. I think it may be based on the way Europeans think about guests and the way the immigrants think about guests. In some lands, guests are sort of kings. Anything they say goes, because they are the guest. I was brought up that guests should be considerate to their hosts. It feels like that’s what’s going on. That some of the immigrants coming in consider themselves guests, and as guests (in their culture), they get to call the shots. To me, they appear brash and uncouth. Lacking any common decency to the point where I wonder what the fuck is going on in their heads.

In that sort of clash, no one is right and no one is wrong. It’s just a culture clash. If we could really talk about it and get down to the point, we might be able to clear things up. Instead, I see resentment building. In all sorts of right wing fanatics. And it’s not just here, it’s everywhere.

Everywhere.

That sort of knowledge hurts as much as my body.

Ow! My ass – !

Whatever that is

Yeah. I bought the popsicles to balance out the cake. I can have a treat if I’m feeling good and I can have a treat if I’m feeling bad.

I felt bad, and had the cake.

My stomach shows my time off from the gym (as do my butt and thighs) and my sighs are that tell-tale sign of me knowing I have to get back into my routine while simultaneously not feeling ready to start.

Amazing at how fat you can get. And so quickly. My shortened summer holiday is almost at an end.

NL has still been in drought, despite the occasional shower. One of the big growers in the area is losing all their tomatoes. Drought hit at the wrong time and none of their crop developed ‘correctly’ (which means perfectly shaped fruit), so they’ve been giving away the misshapen crops. I’m grabbing tomatoes to dry in the oven. For a few euro I can buy a ton of fruit, slice them up, and dry them at home. Been thinking of buying a few long term storage jars to can up some good tomatoes. We use a lot in the house, so why not? It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than buying what you need when you need it.

In between racks of dried tomatoes, I’ve been sitting on my arse. Literally. Going thru Desperate Housewives again because our system has it for free. Playing hours of solitaire with the tv on. It’s wonderfully relaxing. My mind can hover between a simple game on my computer and the narrative on tv. Telling myself it’s okay to take a few more days like this. I rarely just chill on this level.

Was contacted by a Board member of an international women’s group here in Rotterdam. She wants a talk on the theatre group, and the email was passed on to me. Guess I’ve become the public face of the group. The go-to person to take care of this or that. Personally, I find that a bit intimidating. I’m not a founding member and haven’t been involved that long. But I’m the ‘writer’ now – even the board member who sent the email my way said that: ‘…since you’re the writer…’. Yeah. Okay. Guess that’s the jack of all trades in the theatre world. But what the hell. It gives me a chance to talk up the production, which I can do like no one else. The women’s group is on top of things and said my talk would be taking place next year. Wow! They’re scheduled that far in advance. I don’t even know when I should expect the first email from the director saying it’s time to start rehearsals.

Sketchy weather has meant I haven’t had full sunlight to shoot any vids, so the backdrop remains up, the furniture is moved, and I’m waiting for the damned sun to come back. Still haven’t figured out what I’m doing for the wounds. Found a couple more do-it-yourself suggestions online. Thinking more and more that I should just take that field trip to the theatre supply shop and look around. Thinking even more that I should take the time to talk while I’m there. I mean…I could run the October meeting and offer up my meager make-up skills. Or I could ask some of the professionals to come in for a demonstration. Three guesses where my head is at.

Saw my shrink, Dr. T. Staying on the levels we’ve got right now, but he’s watching me for higher levels of mania. Good. Everyone is on the same page with me. Watch me! When I go it takes me a while to realize I’m there. And by then, it’s too late. I’m in it and need a flipping sedative.

My uncle is obviously feeling better these days. Have received several right-wing messages from him. The latest is about kneeling during the anthem. I’ve just been hitting the delete button. What else is there to do? Reply? To him? He’s so stuck in his ways it would be like talking to a brick wall. That’s the way my family gets. And they’ve no experience with ‘the other side’. They know no people of color, they know no Muslims, they’re friends are not disabled. They may all be on heavy prescription medication for various ‘ills’, but they’re not disabled. Nor mentally unbalanced. Everyone drinks. A lot. But no one has a drinking problem. And anyone who has an alternate view on life is a liar, a loser, and someone to be vilified.

Wish they would just leave me alone.

There’s still a second piece of tempting cake in the fridge. Hm. Suppose it’s no surprise that my mind moves to food the moment I begin thinking of those people related to me via DNA. That’s an old habit and defense mechanism.

As is sitting on my ass getting fat during summer.

Well. All good things come to an end, and this weird fat-inducing summer holiday of mine is no exception. When I’m done with all of Desperate Housewives, I’m back to the real world.

Whatever that is.

Is it me?

The roads are melting. That’s how hot it is. NL has deployed gritters to try and keep asphalt on the streets. Sweden is burning, Greece is burning, and we are sitting in the middle, the grass now so dead and brown it might need replacing in some areas.

Watched some heat lightening strikes yesterday. Good ol’ Mom Nature teased us. Brought in some huge black clouds, rumbled around and made a lot of noise, lit up the sky for over an hour of huge jagged strikes, but we only had rain for about 2 minutes. Enough to make the earth gasp, enough to make the streets sizzle, but not enough to really do anything. Today is forecast to be 37C.

Saw my very cute physiotherapist yesterday. He’s getting to know me. First thing out of his mouth in a teasing manner: Okay, what did you do to yourself this time? He pulled my legs, pushed my back, wrenched my hips around ’til he found the tender spot. Then he pushed in with his elbow (OW!) and manipulated me in a new stretch that really targeted my side pain. I feel better than I have in weeks.

Naturally, the building’s lift is out. Well…not quite out. I tried it yesterday. It came to the appropriate floor, and the doors opened. Then they slammed shut and opened and slammed shut again, for a total of four hard slams. I wasn’t gonna trust it; the stairwell was hot, but no way as hot as getting trapped in a small box with no air ventilation. Ended up doing the stairs twice, in rather quick succession. Strange thing: both times I miscounted, or forgot to count. Got the top thinking I still had one more flight to go. My bro thinks that’s just my body adjusting to the climb up. I wonder if I managed to ‘move’ a flight somewhere. I know how crazy that sounds; I also know it’s not impossible.

Doing loads of not much. Staying cool, eating popsicles. Drinking water, watching tv. Getting up earlier than usual, like today, to drag down the garbage and try to get shopping done before 10 a.m. Can’t even do much on my computer. The whole thing weirded out yesterday while I was playing games. Froze up; had to restart. I coulda fried an egg on the screen it was so hot.

Ventured out with my bro the other evening. We needed smoke, and wanted to buy the full Grimm DVD set. Summer tv is here and there is jack shit on. So off we went: first to the big mall by us, where we picked up the DVDs for ten euro less than downtown. Then off to eat in Markthal: fish from the fish guys. We stayed indoors to finish off cans of soda (our table was in the shade), then gathered up our things and headed into the heat. Down to the coffeeshop, get in the queue, pony up funds for smoke (I got a freebie; hoorah!), and back to the metro. Home by 6:30 with smoke and entertainment plus a really good meal under our belts.

Need to just ride this heat out for a few more days. Then it’s supposed to break and the temp should return to the 20s. It’ll feel like autumn after this…

Received a reply about the robot text for the theatre site. Ugh. Basically they walked me thru the same instructions that were online (which I’d already read). I think if I go to the text page and just change ‘Disallow’ to ‘Allow’ it’ll work, but I want to check with my bro. He’s been doing SEO coding for years; he’ll know.

Hope to drop off the fabric I use for a video backdrop at a dry cleaners. Get it brightened up. Tried yesterday but the place I stopped at wasn’t going to open ’til later. I wasn’t about to go back in the middle of the day. I’ll just find somewhere that’s open in the mornings.

Have not taken the time to just write, and maybe that’s a mistake. Once again, I find my head mulling over diverse story lines. Some scenes are crystal clear in my brain. I am editing up there. Cutting things down to the basics. I keep thinking: No, I don’t need to show all that. It’s unnecessary. Just do this and you’ll get all of that plus more in one scene that the audience will understand. Excellent. Now, tell me what the full story is, please…

August is literally around the corner. I’ll have a short breathing space, then I’ll need to dive right in. My goal is to release the first newsletter in September. Thought about beginning with the first release in October, but that makes things tricky with advertising for the new production. Better to push a little on the first issue and get it out quick so my months line up: September, December, March, June. I’ll be able to churn out three whole issues before our first performance. That allows time and space to whip up interest and showcase any sponsors I manage to snag.

Am very ready to get going on all this. Keep imagining a very large gathering for my October make-up/general interest meeting. Keep seeing in my mind people who will take the extra time and effort to learn what I have to teach because they want to help. Focusing on those positives; I won’t get them if I don’t put it out there.

My feet won’t stop moving. I sit, but my foot just goes and goes, whipping back and forth in a tempo that has to be locked in my subconscious ’cause it sure as hell isn’t in my foremind (suck it, spell check; I’m making that a word). I wonder if my spirit is running that road, back and forth, fast as a hummingbird. I wonder if my unsettled foot is evidence of that. If, somehow, I’m creating this heat.

Is it me?

A change I like

“Talking to your mother is a great stress reliever.”

The above is a quote from an FB meme that showed up on my feed. You can tell it’s a meme: generalized statement, zero proof or links to studies to back it up, and it’s couched in language guaranteed to alienate a certain percentage of the population.

*ahem*

FUCK YO-O-O-OU!

One: my mother is dead. Two: talking to my mother was never a stress reliever, it was a stress adder. Three: most of my ongoing stress and problems were caused by my mother. Four: this blanket know-it-all attitude really pisses me off. It assumes my childhood and your childhood were similar. It assumes the reader comes from a loving family. It even manages to throw a bit of guilt at those of us who do not feel so comfortable with our parental units. Go talk to your mother like a normal person. What do you mean you can’t talk to her? What’s wrong with you?

Guess I’m particularly set off by considering it came from a person I think has HUGE mother issues. She just keeps posting this shit in an attempt to convince herself that things are okay. And…she reminds me of me. She’s in her 20s, struggles with depression and poor self-worth. I see so much of myself in her. And just like me, she isn’t ready at 20 to hear what I have to say. She won’t be ready for quite some time at the rate she’s going. I don’t know how to convey to her what I see. I feel quite helpless to help her.

*sigh* Focus on what you can change, not what you can’t.

My mind is finally quiet(er). Not totally shut off, but I managed to hammer out a master list I’ve called Breakdown of Jobs that’s got everything in one place: website, newsletter, videos, production notes. That seemed to be the thing driving me; my inability to list out everything on one sheet. Now I’ve got it. Now I can rest a bit.

‘A bit’.

Been hitting the website hard. Removed all references to our old production and put them in their proper place on the ‘Past Productions’ page. Changed the ‘Current Production’ page to information on the trilogy. Updated the ticket sales page (we were still ‘selling’ tickets to our old performances) and redirected it to the Current Production page. Tried to turn the entire site on for robots but my old browser doesn’t seem to do it, so I sent a note out to the help center asking them to do it for me. Asked my bro for advice on the vids – good move, there. He ended up in the same place I  was: gotta move furniture around to get it right. But it was his idea, not mine. I didn’t just do it and irritate his life. Now he knows what’s happening and expecting the change.

Went to class on Monday. The heat is above 30C every day. I know that’s kiddie shit for a lot of places, but here it’s damned hot. Did really well on the first section of homework and bombed on the second section. Oh, well. That’s what I’m there for: to learn. My teacher is stressing Dutch turns of phrase. She wants us to incorporate these idioms into our daily language. I’m all for that. I know languages live in their idioms, and that’s where I want to be. Had a conversation with my teacher before class. She asked if I’m still reading anything. Yes, I said, every night before sleep I read for 30-60 minutes. I told her about Dahl’s autobiography. I’m around page 180, almost half way thru. Soon I’ll need to search out another author to go thru. Dahl’s autobiography is the last book of his I’ll read. This time, I’d like it to be a native Dutch author.

The entire country is on heat alert. I’ve had notices from the government to stay indoors, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid physical activity. Using it to cop out on exercising. I know the gym has air, and I know going there would be fine for me. I just don’t want to make the walk to the gym. Yesterday’s alert included a warning that just 15 minutes of sun exposure would cause burning. It takes me 12 minutes to walk to the gym, so that puts me in the danger zone.

Tomorrow I see my physiotherapist. Good thing, too. My right side is still painful – that makes two weeks. It’s slowly getting better, but I need some attention. The heat is forecast to continue, so I’ll make a follow-up visit with him sooner than I normally would. Summer is horrible for my RA.

Today I’ll move the furniture around. Hoover under the bookstand when I finally move it. If I’m gonna hurt myself, it’ll be doing this. Since I’ve an appointment tomorrow, do it now. That way I don’t have long to be in pain. Will take the time to do some homework, too. Might as well do all those things I don’t like to do in one day. Get it over with, and reward myself.

Began working yesterday with GarageBand. It came on my Mac. I opened it once to take a look at it long, long ago – didn’t like it. Give me a real instrument and real studio, please! But I want to do some roughs of the recordings we’ll need so the group can use them in rehearsals. Found how to record in my voice and do some effects on it. Pulled some sound effects from my system and will try to do some layering today. The more playing I do, the better of an idea we’ll have over our needs. Plus if I can give my bro a good rough and say ‘Here’s all the layering and stuff, it just needs to be perfected’, his job is much easier.

I always heard if you do something you love it doesn’t feel like work. They’re right.

And that’s a change I like.

It’ll get done

Despite the thunderstorms, despite the flooding, even despite the roof leak in the building, auditions went well last night.

The skies opened up and poured as I got on the metro. There was the lightening and thunder I wanted, and there was the torrential rain we’d been promised for days. By the time I reached my stop, the shower had largely passed – but it left a swath of water in its path. I was flummoxed several times, and had to search for the driest path available. Very glad I wore my sandals and casual harem pants. Ended up pulling up my trouser legs and wading thru several spots.

The director eagerly took down notes on the horror films I picked out for the actors to look at. The original Night of the Living Dead, to emphasize the story is about everyone’s reaction and not the monsters. The Fourth Kind for genuine fear reactions. If they feel it, the audience will feel it. Yes. Communicated that clearly.

Had a couple of ughs. A couple of people who speak so stiltedly I’m shocked they thought they could audition (I have not yet auditioned for any Dutch production because of the language barrier). Also had a couple of real gems show up. Heard eagerness in the actors, saw smiles and laughter. Funny to sit as a fly on the wall and hear other people talk about character motivations. I recognize how they put themselves in the roles, imagine how they’d react. Letting that happen without comment. Breathe life into it! Make it real. You’re teaching me every minute about how people interpret my words.

*sigh* And contrary to most years, we have more women showing up than men. Already talking with the director about gender flipping some roles. I’m not opposed to doing a female heavy cast, it’s just that I worked my ass off to tailor it for the group and of course it still needs some adjustments.

But I’ve got three core members involved now. We’ve enough good actors to fill critical roles. Still could use a few more to fill out the cast, so we’re scheduling round 3 of auditions. Back to relaxing into the behind the scenes roles: writer, marketing guru, make-up artist, props master, sound direction. Decided I’d like to make an announcement prior to each performance. A little addition to creep the audience out: tell them that yes, what they’re about to see is based in fact and if they choose to search or google for any information they do so at their own peril. That’s a great set-up. Weave that mythology a little tighter.

Loving this whole process. Taking it all the way, having a hand in the production. It allows me some control, yet I’m not totally on the line for everything. I can take some of the burden of it off my shoulders, but still shape aspects of it to my satisfaction. Yeah. I’m all for this.

And I mentioned that when the production hub-bub has blown over, my bro wants to produce a pod cast of another script. Get the actors excited now.

Time has kind of stopped for me. I’m not writing, other than this blog. I’m not really getting to the gym or getting regular exercise. Everything is hot and sticky, and I just can’t find much oomph to accomplish anything. Dutch has become a real chore. Anything other than existing during the hottest part of the day is a chore. The only energy I really feel like expending is towards the production: walking thru flooded streets, staying on top of the auditions, communicating with the director. Cutting myself slack on that. I know where my priorities lie. Everything else – exercise, the language work, even housework – that’s all just means to an end. I’ll exercise so my back doesn’t bother me. I’ll work on Dutch because that’s the language here. I’ll clean up around the house so the general filth doesn’t make me sick. But that’s it. Get it done to the minimum level. Everything else goes into the play.

Today: exist. Try not to sweat too much. Monitor the windows for when the storms hit. Should probably open up my homework and take a swipe at it. The gym would be a great idea…but let’s face it: I probably won’t go. If I do, I’ll be as surprised as anyone else.

This stillness… It runs so deep in me I’m shocked. Shocked, yet grateful. I thought I’d have to be dead to experience this type of relaxation. And even then, I figured I’d be a restless spirit. Mmm. All those years never feeling like I ever had any time off. And I didn’t; I had zero time off from my fear and anxiety. Holidays, work days, birthdays, school: didn’t matter. The anxiety and fear were always there with me.

So take the time off, Beeps. Enjoy it. Roll around in it, wallow in it. You can trust yourself to chill and not fuck off on everything.

It’ll get done.

Time travel

There is one thing I am eternally grateful to my computer for: it automatically changes the time twice a year. I cannot even count the number of late or early mornings, my schedule thrown off entirely because, oh yes! It’s that human-created time jump that’s so damned nonsensical. *scoff* Who says we don’t time travel? We do it continually (moving forward) and then twice a year we jump thru artificial worm holes in hour chunks (tho not the entire planet; some chunks stay behind…or ahead…).

Whatever.

…Hmmm. Had to admit to being poor, darling. Poor, poor, poor. Too poor to even afford a metro trip to Den Haag right now poor (that’s less than 8 euro). It’s true. I can ill afford 8 euro right now when things are so tight.

Have yet again heard the ‘you really need to slow down’ speech from my bro. Ah…it’s not really a speech, and it’s not said pettily. It’s a reminder to take it easy because I’m barely on my feet again. It’s a ‘I care about you, so please take care of yourself’. I hear that. And he’s got reason to say it. Took more than 24 hours after the script meeting to begin to settle, begin to be able to draw a real breath in, not a half breath that I can’t quite open myself up to (I’m still working on it). Been having headaches again, too. Blowing them off because they’re ghost headaches – there, then gone, only to return.

Proud of myself. Managed to get downtown for errands yesterday, and squeezed in a trip to the library to return Matilda and find a new Roald Dahl (I picked up The Witches). Came home, did my laundry, took out garbage and recycling. Ran downstairs for groceries, did the dishes. Despite feeling so strung out I managed to get quite a few things done. Still gnashing my teeth at night, still waking up biting on that damned mouth guard.

Have to tackle my homework. Already put in time, but I want to do a bit more. This week’s subject is: politics. I’m not pleased about that because the topic winds me up. My bro suggested a very funny story line, which I might write out, but in the end I decided to give the topic a serious try. I know part of the assignment is to attempt handling a more difficult subject. This is a writing assignment for a teenager, not an eight year old. It’s not easy. I choose a side tangent; the subject of representative systems. I can address it cerebrally, dispassionately. I can’t do that with other political topics. And I’m not upsetting myself unnecessarily.

Still not back at the gym. Bad me. Telling myself I’m doing other things, and I am. I know it isn’t good for me, tho. I know I operate best when my body is at a certain point of fitness. Hm. My problem is I don’t want to build back up to where I was. I want to just go. Ah, yes. This is when I hurt myself. …Well. Walk it back, like it or not. Slow and steady. Get on the cross trainer for 10 minutes if you feel you must, but not 30. Drop back down on the arm weights, but do a few reps. Stretch. Move. I’ll only help myself if I work out the anxiety kinks and tight spots.

Today feels like a good day to start.

Langzaam. Rustig. Much of Dutch society lends itself to a relaxed pace, and for that, I’m grateful. Btw, if you’d say that to a native I don’t think they’d agree. I think most feel their society is quite uptempo and stressful. Comparatively, I find it a cakewalk. No one ever told me to slow down in the states. Just the opposite; they wanted to know how fast I could go. They’d pile on the the pressure, and watch me break. Bosses, lovers, friends…jump to it. The question was never if I’d jump, just how high I’d jump. And I felt I could never jump high enough. Never clear that bar. Here…here, they tell me that bar isn’t set as high as I imagine it. They tell me I’m jumping too high, and they’re worried I’ll hurt myself. Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are capitalists here just as single minded in their pursuit of monetary wealth as they are in the states. There is pressure to have wealth, to own things, etc. Definitely, and I feel it. But there is also an underlying layer of humanism in the culture, and that changes things for me (again, I don’t think most natives would agree with me, but that’s down to experience).

…Finding it difficult to commit right now. Difficult to say ‘yes, I’ll do this and this’ today. I want to get to the gym. I want to get to my homework. Definitely….no. Wrong syntax. I feel I should get to the gym. I feel I should get to my homework. That’s better. I don’t really want to do any of it. Been letting my id run a bit wild lately. Cookies for breakfast? Sure, at least you’re eating. PJs all day? Well, you got up and cleaned the house; that’s okay. Games rather than homework? You’re allowed. Problem is, my behavior adheres closely to Newton’s first law: once I’m ‘at rest’, I find it doubly hard to get moving again. And not moving creates its own set of problems. Ugh.

And it’s an hour later than I keep imagining. Yep. Better correct those antiquated non-digital clocks I’ve got around the house. I used to keep one clock at the old time, just to remind myself that yes, I’ve time travelled, here’s the evidence: a left over timepiece from that other world that’s just an hour off of this one. I found it confusing, because then everyone else jumped back into that old reality and I could never quite remember if the world was on the same time as me or not.

Confusing. Yeah. Well…that’s time travel.

Blend me

There. Downtime taken. Not easy. I was super squirrelly. Couldn’t actually nap, but I rested as much as possible and applied arnica lotion to my bruises throughout the day. Kept getting little jolts of excitement every time I went online, seeing posts from my film friends and friend requests and happily confirmed friendships and DAMN! I’ve never felt like I’ve had this many friends before.

Those feelings from the set are still oozing out of me. No longer from my hands; that part is over. Now it oozes from my eyes, as I tear up thinking about how much fun we had. I just felt so included and wanted. I still do, because of the continued online explosion.

But today it’s back to reality. The big equalizer: scrubbing out the toilet. Doesn’t matter if you’re King or Shit-Sweeper; scrubbing out a toilet brings everyone down to the same level. There’s dishes to clean, garbage to take out, a few items to pick up at the store, laundry to shift around. Get up and get moving again at the gym. Try to keep it all light, drink juice, take a break if I need it.

I still don’t have my holiday lights up yet.

Winter has come to the Netherlands. It’s been here for several days, but I’ve been too busy to pay much attention. Hail, sleet, and snow rain down from the cold skies every day. We might even get a little accumulation before the day is out. Almost hope for it; some of my new friends are from warmer climates and they talked about wanting to see a real snow. 🙂 I refrained from saying anything about ‘real snows’ or drifts five feet high when they said that. Dutch snow, I can handle. Even if a lot comes down, it doesn’t stick around.

…Have to admit, my deepest dreams are for family members to notice my posts about the film and show some interest. Maybe say ‘well done!’ I’m not holding my breath. They’ve had 52 years to tell me ‘well done’, 52 years to support me doing what I love, and so far all they’ve offered me are half-assed jokes at my expense. But I’d be lying if I said any different. I want that recognition from them. I want my mother to be proud of me. I want my father to acknowledge my beauty. Even with both my parents dead, and voluntarily cutting myself off from the rest of the family, I still want it. There’s the saddest thing of all, because I know I’ll never get it. Not from my mother or father. Not from my oldest brother or sister. Not from any of my aunts or uncles on my mother’s side. The extended family from my father’s side has always supported me from the moment time I met them. That was my very first clue: here were family members who took me as family, shared their lives with me in words and pictures, and supported me. Said ‘wow!’ or ‘well done!’ or ‘I’m so excited for you!’ They barely know me – we’ve never actually met in person – and yet they are so much more open and loving than my real family. It told me so much.

And it made me so sad. Oh, I’m done asking why. At least for today. The why doesn’t bloody well matter in the end, does it? The only thing that ends up mattering is what the hell you’re going to do with the mess you got dealt in life.

I see now, in hind sight… Ach! I was going to start saying I should have this or that. Fuck that. I did what I did. Chose how I chose. It taught me things, things I wouldn’t have learned any other way. I’ll embrace that. It’s hard to say thanks for it. Felt like a lot of shit to go thru, but maybe that’s because I’m bull headed and stubborn.

For now, I feel inspired. Fired up with standing up and being noticed. Moving forward for reals. Feels like my feet are firmly planted on the ground. I’m not building castles in the air. I’m not living on pipe dreams. I’m doing. I’m being.

And while part of me wishes I could take this knowledge back to myself and change things, let me make this abundantly clear to the Universe and anyone who’s listening: I DON’T WANT TO GO AROUND AGAIN. I want to see and be in the now, take the joy I can, love who I trust, do what I’m meant to do.

Holy fuck. Am I saying I want to…live?

That word has new meaning for me now. Live used to mean exist. I existed. I put up with the pain. But there’s a whole other dimension to that word. To truly live. Wow. It’s an immense feeling.

I want to keep that feeling, even when I’m scrubbing out the toilet today. I’ll live it. It’s just a tiny seed in the huge fruit of life. It’s hard, and tasteless. You might hurt yourself if you bite down on it too hard. It might be a bit bitter tasting, or slimy, or just gross. Don’t eat it. Consume the fruit. Spit the seeds. Everyone’s been telling me that, in their own words. Stop focusing on all the bad in life. Look on the bright side. Why can’t you take a compliment? But I didn’t have enough fruit. I was getting all seeds. My life was a pomegranate. And I don’t like pomegranates.

I’d been eating life raw. Very raw, and with no help from a cheery television chef telling me how to make this shit edible. Now, it feels like I’ve got a fully stocked kitchen with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Just hit a switch and all the work is done for you.

Go on; do it.

Blend me.

I love it

It’s done. Everyone is dead.

Three days of hard writing. Concentrated, like those frozen juices you can buy. It all came out in one big lump.

Part three is done. Now that the story is out of me, I realize that yes, I really did need to get that finished before I could move onto the rest. Start with the end. No matter how many times I try to write a script from the beginning and just power through, it doesn’t work. I get the opening scene done, generally…but then I’ve got to stop, and write the ending.

Ends and beginnings…I’m good at those. It’s all the in-between that’s a muddle.

But now it’s done. And it’s magnificent in its action. Plays can be…too much dialogue. It’s easy to do. Especially with so many rinky-dink groups around. They don’t have a lot of money, they don’t have a lot of skill – so it comes down to having them memorize dialogue to tell the story. But I asked! I asked. And the group said they’d be willing to give some physical acting a go – specifically, on-stage fighting. Did my best to give the story enough of what it needed without demanding too much of the actors. But someone’s gotta take a few punches in Act 3. And can I say, I envy the actors who’ll get the roles. I’ve people going insane, panic attacks, screaming arguments – the kind of roles I, as an actor, would like to have a shot at.

Well…maybe I’ll get a chance at acting in my own work. It is a small group….

Have this tickling kind of sixth sense that tells me I’m gonna create an entire report on this trilogy for the group in order to sell it. A list of props needed – with notes on what I think will work, how much I think it might cost, etc.; a list of sound needed – easily covered; a list of lighting shifts – messy to write but easily done; and a list of general things to think about, like the fight scene, or the fact that I really don’t think we should attempt to do this two days in a row because it’s so demanding.

Eh. There’s the twat in me. Write a bleeding report -! Though, considering I’m a woman who can turn yesterday’s errands and her stray thoughts into an easy 1000 word blog, I suppose it should come as no surprise to think I’ll write up a summation of the trilogy, and address every objection and concern before anyone in the group can voice it.

…Is that a control issue? I imagine it is. Already trying to take my fantasies down. Deflate the mania balloon. Anytime I imagine the play being done, the thrills, the chills, the applause – I shrink it. My head is going too far, too fast, and the last thing I want is for the group to do it and me to be disappointed because I built up this big fantasy in my mind.

And let’s. be. honest. I know where this is going. I’ve known from the start, tho I’ve been reluctant to admit it. I’m working it to a screenplay. My stories are too visual to begin with, and include lighting techniques, camera moves, and tight edits even when I’m writing for the stage (those elements are not included in the play, of course…but they do influence what I write). Not thrilled about the idea of learning how to write a screenplay. I’ve a fairly good idea of the elements needed. I did drive my brother nuts while he was in film school, asking questions, reading his homework, learning almost as much as he did. But I haven’t tried to do it yet, so I imagine my first attempt(s) will be slow and not my best work.

That’s okay. It took me almost a year of writing stage plays before this story came out of me. The screenplays may take a while. Hell! Maybe by the time I really get around to writing the screenplays, I’ll be able to do them in Dutch. Take them straight to the National Film Works right here in the Netherlands. And even if they’re in English, I’ll start there. If I could get someone interested, get the ball rolling here…

Yeah. Squash that thought before it takes hold. I’ve loads of work to do before I can start thinking like that.

In the meantime, I’m pleased as punch. I’ve painted the floor with blood, and found it lovely. My brother has begun teasing me that I’ve finally let loose the killer in me (yes, I talked scripts to him and no, he wasn’t as closed down as I’d feared). He’s started calling me ‘Castle’, after the tv program (which we both enjoy). Hm. If I’m Castle, that makes him Beckett… Wow! That mash-up hurt my little brain in so many ways, not the least of which was a flash of my short-haired bro with long, flowing locks. And high heels.

For the record, I have not gone to the gym lately. Nor have I yet touched my homework (due today). Did manage to get some laundry done, but…the sinks are dirty, there’s clutter everywhere, and things are just a bit let go if you know what I mean.

I have managed to smoke a lot. Gee. Not a huge surprise, considering the trance-like state I was in. …My ashtray is a disgrace, no matter how many times I empty it.

But look at the bright side. It’s done. I’m dripping with blood. I stand here – metaphorically, of course – a Berserker Warrior, feasting on the hearts of the vanquished. And it. is. glorious. To mentally let go of every inhibition, every taboo, every law and just…destroy. I think I understand (a bit) that mad-dog mentality now.

Everyone’s dead.

And I love it.

I can feel it

Sent a prayer out yesterday around one in the afternoon. Please, Goddess, I asked, please help make my travel to and from the theatre easy and safe. And please help me remember my lines and do a good job.

Headed out. Checked at Centraal station on the late night bus; everything was a go and the bus still ran. Walked the five minutes from the station to the theatre. Greeted a few of my fellow actors and the director. Scoped the space – cozy is a kind euphemism. Spent most of the afternoon re-staging all four acts. We didn’t have wings, didn’t have a good off-stage area, didn’t even have a step UP to the risers the stage was set on. My acting partner told me not to worry about getting home; we were forecast for high winds, so he brought his car (ah, I thought, there’s part one of my prayer answered). Went thru the usual mish-mash that happens before curtain up and somehow fills the hours of waiting with things to do. My bro came and set up the camera. Then it was up some very scary stairs to a closet-sized dressing room to change.

Nailed it. From the moves, to the lines, to the new stage directions (thank you, Goddess, for answering both my prayers in one night).

We sold out. SRO only. Even the limited view seats went.

Afterwards, talk. A director from my neck of the world (Minnesota) attended the performance. I’d met him once or twice before; he worked with the group last year, but now he’s formed another acting troupe. He was eager to talk, and sought me out. First thing out of his mouth: I loved seeing you in Act 3, dancing at the party! That brought a round of loud laughter from myself and my acting comrades because I’d just made a comment on how everyone seems to comment on that tiny little cameo I do more than my actual acting. I could sense the underlying message in the director’s words. He, like many others (too many, in my opinion) seemed to have a low first impression of my abilities and was caught somewhere between surprise over my acting and desire to use it in connection to his own work. I get that a lot lately. Must have grown real good at hiding myself over the years. Mentioned the upcoming reading of my script, and ding! ding! ding! I could see the change come over the director’s face. More than interested. He wanted to come, wanted to hear what I can do, because I just blew his little mind and went up three notches in his book.

*sigh* That’s fun. To so turn someone’s opinion around like that. To really show them what I can do. But I don’t want to make it a habit, nor do I want to kid myself about the hard edge these people carry around – if they dissed me out of hand once, they’ll do it again. They’re only being nice to me because they think the can use me or my abilities.

That’s hard to remember because once someone decides to be nice to you, they can be really nice to you.

Almost seemed like some minor god became jealous last night. Jealous of the Goddess answering my prayers. Felt like the Universe was reaching out to hurt me – first I smashed my hand against a door, later my ankle gave out and I fell on the sidewalk. Both injuries are rather minor, but I’m bruised and hurting this morning. The hand looked bad last night – noticeably swollen on the side. In fact, when I saw it in the light I was a bit worried I’d broken something and not realized it. Have full range of movement, though. The ankle is another issue. Soft tissue damage. It hurts the worse of the two, but looks the best. Figures. Right on the eve of returning to my gym routine.

And it’s fall back change the clock time. Got up earlier than I thought. Shit. Well, it’ll help in the long run. Get me back on track to my regularly scheduled madness…

Today I have to push thru a little hangover and memorize these irregular verbs for my lesson tomorrow. And write that damned letter! Hell’s bells! I got work to do.

But this is what’s happening: I’m getting respect. Respect as an actor, and respect as a writer. Got to say, I have a hard time knowing what to do with it. Takes me a moment to realize that’s what I see in other people’s faces. It’s not an underhanded or sly communication style. It’s far more upfront. And it shocks me. I look for the hidden sting in people’s words. I expect them to be sarcastic with me. But I watch them closely. That half hidden anger fueled smile isn’t lurking in their eyes. Their eyes are clear, and looking directly into mine. Oh, maybe they flip their opinions depending on their judgment of my abilities, but they’re not being covert. Just the opposite: they can’t seem to hide their surprise or their eagerness to work with me. And it just feels so strange. I expect things to flip any moment, for people to stab me in the back. To suddenly be the butt of all jokes. And I get kidded, but it’s not a put you in your place kind of kidding. It’s a you’re a part of the group now kidding.

These people talk to me. Really talk to me, and with me.

…One other thing. I’m blurting out truths in their presence. Like, deep truths. Things I would normally reserve for this blog. They just fall out of my mouth, time and again. And I’m listened to, sympathized with, understood and above all not judged. It’s more healing than any therapy I could imagine. The Netherlands is healing me.

I can feel it.