The Unlikely Baby of fringe, NYC

One of the best things about being a writer and theatre producer is that people randomly send me things to read. 
Also, one of the worst things about being a writer and theatre producer is that people randomly send me things to read. 
Let’s be honest. Most of the things we write are mediocre at best. That’s why those things don’t get read by the masses. We save the good stuff for people outside of our private circle of readers. But when you’re INSIDE a private circle of readers, you end up reading a lot of really awful stuff. But you do it, because people will read your awful stuff and tell you it’s awful except on the rare occasion when it’s not and then you know you really have something. 

In the winter of 2009, my friend Tom sent me his script for a play called “The Unlikely Adventure of Race McCloud, Private Eye.” And I knew he really had something. 

“Race” was funny and smart and colorful and something I wanted to spend time with. So I offered to do a reading of it with my company. The day of the reading, Tom found out “Race” had been accepted into the NYC International fringe festival. I don’t know if he asked me to produce it, or if I asked if I could produce it (although it’s likely the latter, as I’m fairly aggressive about these things. I may or may not have taken my engagement ring out of the box myself and put it on my own finger.) but regardless of how it happened, it was established. I would produce Tom’s show in the fringe.

And it was great timing. I had lots of free time those days, as I had just left my job teaching music theatre at a local college. We were in the adoption process, and we didn’t know when we might get “the call.” So I was free as a bird. 

You know. As long as we didn’t suddenly get a phone call saying we were going to become parents. 

But that was highly unlikely. We’d only been approved for 3 months. 

(You see where this is headed, yes?)

A few weeks after that first reading- yes, just a few weeks later- the phone rang. My life changed forever. I became a Mom. And I can’t think of those first few months of Motherhood without thinking of Race McCloud. 

Tom gave me an out. He’s a Dad. He knows what it’s like to have an infant. But I knew we could do it as a family. And so, with the help of my husband, I produced a show in the fringe with a baby strapped to my front. 

It started with rehearsals. Lily had lots of great ideas. 

  
Then, we had some photo shoots. Her PR rep was very demanding. 

  
We hit the streets of NYC to pass out postcards and meet the fans. She had a lot to say.  We called it the No-Shame Marketing Campaign. 

 
She was famous. My husband was carrying her down the streets of the East Village when he overheard someone say “hey! That’s that baby from the fringe!”

And after a highly successful run, we were able to relax and enjoy some time together.  

We even took in a show!  

Cute pictures aside (but come on. They were pretty cute.) Race McCloud will always have a special place in my heart. It was part of my baby’s first summer. It helped plant theatre seeds in her heart that are really starting to bloom. (She’s appearing in her first show at the end of August. She plays one of Snow White’s dwarfs. Her character name? Nin-com-poop.) And it gave me the confidence to know that I am not “just” an actor. I can do things. Even big scary difficult exhausting things. 

The thing about theatre experiences is that they end. Even long-running Broadway shows end. It’s the toughest part of the process for me. But there’s exciting news for me and Race McCloud fans everywhere. You can now read about his adventure in a series of novels available on Amazon. Ok, so the books may not weave their way into your own personal narrative the way they did with my daughter. But they are an awful lot of fun. 

 The Unlikely Adventures of Race & Cookie McCloud (Book 1.1): Awkward Introductions by Tom Hoefner et al. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XVI8USW/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_64.Nvb4MV8ENS

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XVI8USW/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_64.Nvb4MV8ENS 

The Fog

My first year of teaching I had this principal who was kinda goofy. One time he stopped me in the hallway- called out my name from fairly far away- to tell me he loved fish sandwiches. He was just… goofy. But he used a phrase that has stuck with me throughout my teaching career.

The Februaries.

Any teacher knows what I’m talking about here. Christmas vacation is long over. Spring break is far away. (Although here on the East Coast we get February Break too. Probably so we don’t kill each other during the Februaries.) The weather is awful. Everyone is sick. Skies are grey. Kids are grouchy. Teachers are grouchy too. And parents. Everyone is grouchy.

The Februaries are ROUGH. And we’re dealing with it big time at our house. Lily and I have been sick for two weeks. If we have another snow day I’m gonna scream. She gets angry and throw things. I cry. Ugh. How long until spring?

But for me, there’s a lot more going on.

I call it “The Fog.”

The fog is my most difficult, and most common depression symptom. I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while. The problem is that when I’m in the fog, the last thing I want to do is write. And when I’m out of it, I don’t want to think about it.

So this may be a little more stream-of-consciousness than I usually like. But here goes.

When I’m in The Fog, communication is difficult. I’m thinking about a lot of things. All at once. But they’re big concepts or dreams. Details are tough. So I start ignoring them. I abandon my calendar. I have trouble answering or even reading emails. I feel just slightly removed from the world. I CAN break through. But it is very, very difficult and completely exhausting. Sleep is comforting because I can lose myself in dreams completely.

But here’s the important thing about The Fog. When I’m there, I don’t feel “depressed.” Honestly. Nothing is wrong. I’m not sad. Just sort of lost in thought. In fact, once I’m out of The Fog, I’m often ready to take on one of the projects that was brewing. I’m guessing that an awful lot of artists spend a significant amount of time in The Fog.

But it can really be a problem after a while. Because I don’t want to deal with day-to-day details. Routines go out the window. I stop doing the things I KNOW I must do in order to fight depression. Check my calendar. Shine my sink. Declutter every day. Yes, those are to keep the household running well. But more importantly they keep ME running well. And then I’m sitting there in a mess with stuff everywhere and no clean clothes to wear and missing appointments and bills that need to be paid.

Routines are key to getting through The Fog. And they are the last thing I want to think about.

I’ve been in The Fog for a few weeks now. I was doing so well with shining my sink each night (over a month straight without missing a night) and running nearly every day and updating my blog. And then it all just…. Stopped.

We’ll be in Florida next week. My hope is that the Florida sunshine will break through The Fog and I’ll be back. Back to cleaning, back to blogging, back to life. I’ll have pictures and videos for Lily’s Challenge and entertaining, informative Disneyworld stories and I’ll tell you all about the 5k and show you all the things I’ve decluttered.

But today I’m going to eat some cookies and see how far I can get in Candy Crush.

Follow-Up Friday: My Two Healthy Lungs

Boy. Accountability is important- Amiright?
Earlier today I was thinking about my follow-up entry for this week. I thought about all those rejections and how I still had so many agents I hadn’t queried. And then I realized I had managed to avoid it all since last Friday (aside from the rejections I got throughout the week, which were promptly deleted). I didn’t want to tell my tens of readers that I’d been a gutless slacker. So I sent out a few. Thirteen, to be exact. Queries are so easy to send. And they are also very hard.
My query count now stands at 113. Just keep swimming.
My Shiny Sink Streak, on the other hand, is a little more encouraging. I have shined my sink every night for seventeen nights. It very nearly feels like a habit. In fact, I am really looking forward to starting the next habit: decluttering. I’m so anxious that I’m going to start a bit early. More on that on Monday.
But what I really want to talk about today is my c25k progress.
For some reason, the five-minute intervals intimidated me. It’s so silly. Five minutes? Really, Mindy? You can run for 5 minutes.
And I’ve run much longer than that before. It just felt like a random scary barrier. It’s the interval that tests my lungs a bit. Makes my breathing a little more difficult. Makes me fight to keep my breaths measured.
I knew this would be the week I’d either bust through it or give up.
Between snow days and holidays, my schedule has been sort of a wreck since last Friday. I only ran twice. The first time was Tuesday, when I ran Day 3 Week 3. Easy peazy. But I knew that five-minute interval was coming. Then on Tuesday night I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. I saw a post from a friend. He shared his workout from MapMyRun. No biggie. People do it every day.
Except.
Wait. Didn’t this dude just have a double lung transplant?
Yes. He sure did. I don’t know him well at all. We met at a party and become connected on Facebook. But I prayed for him during his surgery. I was so relieved to see a post the next day that was from him. He was alive and breathing. With two new lungs.
I remember reading his posts during the holiday season. It is January. Dude just got two new lungs, and he’s running. Not fast. Not far. But he’s running.
Um, what was my problem again?
Absolutely nothing.
I may only have this year and next year to run before I am in the Masters Division. (Seriously. Seriously? Seriously.) But I healthy. I am a former college cheerleader. I am a professional singer with healthy lungs and excellent breathing technique. I weigh 110 pounds. (Yes, it is about 10 more pounds than I prefer. But it is not a lot to carry around. Also, if you don’t know me personally, I am 4’10” so if you have any anti-skinny comments you can save them KThanxBye) I am young and strong and healthy and have no excuses. Seriously, none.
So I ran on Wednesday. And I busted through that five-minute interval. And it was no big deal. I will do it again tomorrow. And four weeks from today, I will run a 5k at Epcot Center.
Because I can.

Follow-Up Friday #1: Shiny Sink, C25k, and Queries- Oh, My!

It’s been a rough week. We’ve had financial struggles and I have PMS and I’m grouchy. And getting a handful of rejections every day doesn’t help.

But you know what? I’m calling this week a win. Because I’ve reached my goals so far. Here’s the update.

Shiny Sink Streak

10. Going on 11 in a few minutes 🙂
The shiny sink has been a huge success so far. I’ve taken it literally and only worried about shining the sink. But just as Flylady intended, it’s pretty easy to do the dishes when the sink is empty. And it looks so clean. I want the clean to spread. So I clean. It’s been ten days, and I have a pretty well-functioning kitchen. Shiny Sink Streak. Eleven days of winning.

C25K

Speaking of winning….

I just finished Week 3, Day 2. I’ve done 8 workouts of the 24- 1/3 of the way there! I’ve found it pretty easy to work into my schedule. Every day is too much. I know I want to spend Saturdays and Sundays with my family. And I know my Wednesdays are cray-cray. But Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday I can find time pretty consistently. This is the first time in my adult life that I have found a workout schedule that feels sustainable. And that is HUGE.

As for the workouts themselves, they also feel manageable. I’m sweating and working hard and feel a little challenged but not overwhelmed. C25K. Eight workouts of winning.

Queries
Rejection is hard. It’s really hard. And it makes me want to quit, even though I’m less than halfway through my list. (Things I also know: I only need one “yes,” and a “yes” takes longer than a “no.” Still sucks.) I pushed through, though, and sent a few more so I could say I reached a milestone. Queries. 100 sent. Feeling meh.

Off to shine my sink!

Also, this happened two nights ago.

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It has nothing to do with any of the above except that it has everything to do with everything. Happy Weekend, everybody.

13 Lessons from 2013

Happy First Monday of the New Year, everybody!

I’ve never been so very into celebrating the new year. Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher. So to me, the new year happens in September. But this year, I’m participating in the reflection. Maybe that’s because I spent two days in the car driving from Connecticut to Alabama to see my sister and nephews. (And three days driving back. See “Why My Daughter is Crying.“) Long car rides are excellent times for reflection. Whatever the reason, I present to you…. Thirteen lessons I learned in 2013.

1. Lists are an excellent way to cover all of the topics I meant to cover over the past few weeks but couldn’t because I was busy with holiday prep and a kid with a broken arm.

2. I really need deadlines and accountability to get any writing done. I made my goal public when I wanted to finish my bookby Easter. And it worked! I need to keep doing that. So hey. Guess what. I’m going to start submitting it to agents next week. Ask me about it, K? I’m also participating in a writing group in NYC. Time to start one of the two books I have brewing in my head.

3. My kid really can’t have artificial food coloring. Not at all. Not even a little bit. I wrote about it here and here. And then I promised a follow up called “I Heart the Kardashians.” And. Well. I think I’ve already established that I’m behind in my blogging. So. Operation No Food Dyes Ever continues to be a success, even through the holidays. Lily just doesn’t want them and won’t eat them, even if Mommy and Daddy aren’t around. (She was offered a blue cookie at school and told her teacher she couldn’t have it. She was given applesauce instead. Thank you, Lily’s school, and thank you Lily.) But we did hit a snag when we realized it was in make-up. That might not seem like such a big deal for a 4-year-old. But she likes to play with lip gloss and chap stick. It’s not that she’s allowed to wear make-up. She likes to play with it. And Chapstick is like, a dollar. So it’s an easy reward. You can imagine the drama, then, when I tried to buy her a cherry Chapstick, thought to check the ingredients, and yep, red dye. UGH. Lily and I then spent the next 45 minutes or so checking the ingredients of every “mouth stick” (her word for it. Cute, right?) at CVS. And they all. Had. Artificial. Dye. And she was getting more upset by the second. (Because she was also tired and hungry.) I get that I could have said sorry, no mouth stick for you, scooped her up, and forced her into the car. But I was frustrated for her. She’s a kid, and this was even more of a restriction than I ever imagined. Finally. FINALLY. I saw the Kardashian Beauty line. I should make it pretty clear that I have very few opinions about the Kardashians in any way. But they made a drugstore line of make-up with natural ingredients. And for that, they have my thanks and respect. (And yes. I know all about Burt’s Bees. They didn’t have any.)

4. Speaking of my daughter ‘s beauty routine. I’ve written and spoken quite a bit about our struggles with her hair. Things got even more complicated when she broke her arm and it was hard to take a bath. But we have discovered a solution that works for her. I call it… THE FAUX FRO. Lily likes to wear the style she calls “Lily Hair,” which is just out and free. It’s really cute and matches her personality. She hates braids and other protective styles. But she can’t wear it free all the time. It would get way too tangled and lock up. So. Here’s what the Faux Fro looks like. Yes, the picture is blurry. Because my kid is never still. Ever.

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It looks basically just like her hair is out and loose. But really it’s about 20 small ponytails.
It’s not perfect. But it works for now.

5. The Battle of the Hair is a part of transracial adoption that we “knew about” but couldn’t possibly have understood. It is one of the tough parts. But this year I experienced a beautiful part as I read Lily the book “Born From The Heart.”. I saw it at a bookstore by chance, and a few minutes later was crying like an idiot. I bought a copy for Lily, one for a good friend of hers who is adopted and had a birthday coming up, and one for each set of young cousins. I read it to Lily when I got home that night and we had the following conversation.

Lily: Did he come out of her belly?
Me: No he came out of someone else’s belly which makes him…?
Lily: Adopted! Oh! I was born in YOUR heart!
Me: That’s right sweetheart. You sure were.
Lily: I wish you could have a baby in your belly.
Me: You know what? Me too. Some mommies just don’t have babies in their bellies. But it’s ok, because I have you.

“Born From the Heart.” Go buy it.

6. And speaking of adoption and never having carried a baby in my belly. I am realizing more and more that baby showers and pregnancy announcements are still difficult for me. They might always be. And I am trying to give myself more grace in that. You might have a friend who has struggled with infertility. Maybe that friend eventually became a parent through adoption. Her difficulty with pregnancy announcements and baby showers doesn’t mean she doesn’t recognize that she is a mother now. And she doesn’t need you to explain to her thar she is a mother now. Please just extend her the grace I am trying to extend to myself.

7. And speaking of extending grace to myself… I have been attempting to fly with Flylady for seven or eight years. Sometimes I feel like I really am flying. And sometimes, I am such a mess I can only describe myself as grounded. A few weeks ago I had one such grounded morning. I needed to take Lily to school and there wasn’t any clean laundry and there was nothing to pack in her
Iunch and I couldn’t find anything to wear myself and I was tripping over things and I was just a mess. And I cried.

I’ve been trying to figure out how this happens when Flylady’s methods are so clear.

But I know the problem.

I am a perfectionist.

It’s part of my depression. An all-or-nothing attitude. But that doesn’t mean I have to give in to that attitude.

I am tired of hurrying. And. I am tired of things needing to be perfect. In 2013 I realized that I need to Keep Calm and Stick to the Routine. And in 2014, that’s what I intend to do.

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8. And speaking of depression… One thing I’ve learned in the first few months of having this blog is that I generally get the most hits when I write about depression. (Well, depression and the Marching 110.) This tells me that I need to keep writing about depression. Not because I am trying to get more readers (although that’s always nice!) but because people must need to read about it. I find it interesting that people are often reading those posts in particular late at night. (Isn’t technology neat? The fact that I even have that information just blows my mind sometimes. But don’t worry, I don’t know WHO is reading my blog! Just which posts are being read.) Night time can be tough for people with depression. I will keep writing about it. And if you are a person with depression reading this right now and it’s late- go to bed.

9. And speaking even more about depression…. My Facebook friends know that we had a ridiculous battle with our apartment management a little while ago over our cat. We got it worked out, and I made an Epic Stories video. And I never posted it. I speak at the end about making a video the following week for Christmas. Whoops. Never happened. But here it is. My Epic Story about Dexter and how he is now a Certified Emotional Support Animal. Card-carrying. Literally? Yes. (Well, no. He HAS a card. But he doesn’t carry it. Cuz. No thumbs.)

10. And speaking of my cat. He bites. Not often. But sometimes when he gets spooked. And this is apparently a problem, if it is a bad enough bite. You can read all about that here.

11. And speaking of going to the doctor. It turns out it’s important to find the right one. When Lily broke her arm, we saw the doctor that was suggested to us at the ER. He had no idea what to do with a four-year-old. He was honestly, legitimately confused that she wouldn’t be still while he set her arm. “Why didn’t he get someone strong to sit on her?” -Every parent I have talked with since. (And, incidentally, this is exactly what the pediatric guy did.) It’s amazing how we just trust doctors because they know things we don’t. But. As my 9th grade biology teacher pointed out. You know what they call doctors who just barely make it? Doctor. From now on, major research will be done before any of us see any medical professional.

12. And speaking of seeing medical professionals. Our family does not have health insurance. I’ve written about it a whole bunch. It is not a long-term plan. We were covered by the clinic at Greenwich Hospital until this past September, when we discovered that we will now “make too much.” Since we were dropped from the clinic, Mommy got a cat bite and Miss Lily broke her arm. Because that is how these things work. We are now eligible for affordable coverage (like, a third of what it would have been) through the Affordable Care Act. I understand parts of it are a mess. But at its core- the part where it offers coverage to people like us- it may save our lives. I really REALLY have trouble finding political fault in the idea of the ACA itself. Sorry I’m not sorry. You can post as many political memes as you like. Just remember. When you’re talking about “those people,” you’re talking about me.

We did have insurance for a long time. I wrote about the peace of mind that we used to have. You can read my feature here.

13. And speaking of being featured in the media. I’ve been really fortunate in the past few months to have tons of media exposure. My lesson in this? It is both awesome and super scary. Some of the forms of exposure makes me feel more….exposed… than others. But I get responses to all of them that they helped someone. So Imma keep doing it. (Yep. I said Imma. It’s to balance the fact that I spent so much time on my list making it lead from one subject to the next to the next. That took a lot of work. As a reward, I get to say Imma.) Some of the exposure has been so exposing I haven’t even posted it. But you can see all of it in one place on my News page. 🙂

On Facebook Arguments (and other ineffective things…)

My guest post was published today on Cheri Speak. Check it out!

GUEST POST: From a Thoroughly Modern Mommmy.

Throwback Thursday: The A to Z Challenge Edition

Remember that time I spent hours- HOURS- linking 26 posts to one master post, and none of the links worked?

Ugh.

That time is directly below.

I’m way too sleepy to fix it, but will fix it in the morning while I have a cup of coffee or four.

In the meantime, all of the posts are available. You just have to click through individually.

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OK so technically on the east coast it’s not Thursday any more. But since this was a 26- part series and none of those parts had been moved from my old blog to the new site, I suppose I can cut myself a little slack.

Last April I completed the A to Z Challenge. Here is the whole alphabet, in alphabetical order. (As opposed to backwards Z to A, which is how it appears on the old blog, since it lists newest to oldest.) Having it listed A to Z makes me happy. Here it is.

20130927-000555.jpg A is for Animals

20130927-000806.jpg B is for Bedtime, Budgets, and Beets

20130927-001557.jpg C is for Cinderella

20130927-001718.jpg D is for Dance Class

20130927-002026.jpg E is for Emissions Test

20130927-003854.jpg F is for Flylady

20130927-004611.jpg G is for Greenwich

20130927-004708.jpg H is for Hair

20130927-005024.jpg I is for Infertility

20130927-005141.jpg J is for Jump

20130927-005245.jpg K is for Kisses

20130927-005350.jpg L is for, well… L

20130927-005508.jpg M is for Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?

20130927-010205.jpg N is for Nia Vardalos

20130927-010311.jpg O is for Older

20130927-010404.jpg P is for “Progress, Not Perfection”

20130927-010529.jpg Q is for Quiet

20130927-010624.jpg R is for Routine

20130927-010722.jpg S is for Smitty

20130927-010822.jpg T is for Things You Can Never Ever Say to Someone Dealing With Infertility

20130927-010944.jpg U is for Unimpressed

20130927-011038.jpg V is for Veterinarian

20130927-011136.jpg W is for Words

20130927-011235.jpg X is for X-Ray

20130927-011332.jpg Y is for YMCA

20130927-011428.jpg Z is for Zebra

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