Monday, April 26, 2010

Golden Slumbers

Ever have one of the those really, really good sleeps? The kind that's so wonderful you don't want to leave your bed? It's like reading a great book - you can't stop reading it but you don't want it to end.

I had a good sleep like that last night, full of weird, funny dreams. Or, maybe they were all separate dreams that I've just confused together, I'm not sure. I have no idea how dreams work. It doesn't matter - the sleep was so good and it had been a while since I slept so well!

This past weekend my daughter had a dance competition about 2 hours away. I had to get her there by 8 am on Saturday so we got up early! Luckily, friends of ours offered to have my son, Jorge, sleep over on Friday night so he wouldn't be dragged to the competition. My husband, Brian, was away for the weekend. Since it was just the two of us on Friday night, I let Clara sleep in my bed. No matter how big a bed it is (and I have a king sized bed), Clara manages to find her way over to me and then proceeds to sleep on top of me. It's times like these that I can't wait for her to start NOT wanting to be around me.

This was Friday night after Thursday night cocktails. Okay, maybe I should not have stayed up so late on Thursday but I go into rehearsals this week so it was our last cocktail night for a while.

Despite the lack of sleep on my part, I did manage to get us to the competition on time on Saturday. I can't understand why dance companies want to attend these competitions but I try not to ask too many questions. I will say that some of the moms at these competitions scare me! I saw moms with sequined, pink jackets that said "[Name of Studio] Mom." One sweatshirt read, "Dance Mama," and had a picture of the woman's daughter on it. I'm all for supporting my kids and their activities--(hey, I got up at 5:30 am to drive 2 hours didn't I?) I have a NAME! Also, between us, I think Clara needs a shirt that reads, "Kate Hanley's daughter." I mean, why not? Her time will come!

Well, that competition took all day and I still can't figure out how they judge it and I'm not really sure I want to know. Don't get me started on 8 year olds shaking their booties all over the place. On Saturday night I tried to get the kids in bed early but it was a struggle:

"It's the weekend! We always stay up late!"
"But you've been up since 5:30 am!"

"So, I'm not tired"

Finally, I resorted to: "You're going to bed at 9 pm and if you argue your bedtime will be 7 pm for the rest of the week." Not my finest parenting moment but I was tired. Of course, then I couldn't sleep because I was so happy to be alone, I got restless: Hey, no one needs me to do anything, I can do whatever I want. Does that ever happen to you?

Sunday morning, I planned to sleep in but my daughter surprised me at 8 am with breakfast in bed. Pancakes and coffee that she made all by herself and it was delicious! So how could I be mad about getting up early?

Luckily, I got a short nap in while watching a French flick in the afternoon and then a long and glorious sleep that night. As my grandmother always said, "One good nap leads to another."

It's a great start to my week: I begin rehearsals tomorrow for Sunday in the Park with George; a Sondheim musical about Georges Serrault's "Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jatte." I'm nervous because it's only my second big musical and excited for the challenge. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime Happy Slumbers!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For Your Entertainment

Yesterday's blog post seemed so sad when I re-read it, although I do appreciate the comments. So difficult to take it slow again - it feels like I'm returning to start.

Anyway, to lighten the mood I'm posting a video from YouTube - in case you haven't seen it yet. After watching 55 performances of Romeo and Juliet you begin to see the holes in Shakespeare's script and it gets a bit depressing: Death? Again?! So here's how her fate may have been avoided:

Monday, April 19, 2010


I've been avoiding writing a blog post on running because well, I've been avoiding running.

In December, right before our first big snow storm, I ran 20 miles one week; 9 on one day and 11 on another. It felt so good. I had run the half-marathon a few weeks earlier and I was still keeping up with my long runs.

Then the snow came and the holidays and well, I didn't have time, there was too much snow, I might slip and hurt myself, I was too tired, I had too many things to do, etc. etc.

I had been reading some books about running, most notably, The Perfect Mile, about Roger Bannister's and John Landy's attempts at breaking the 4 minute mile. These guys ran in all sorts of weather. So I laced up my shoes and started running again.

But more snow came and as did rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet. Tired and cranky, I drank more coffee hoping I could still run.

Sneaking in a run one day while my kids were playing at home, I got about 1/2 mile from my house when I thought someone had taken my calf muscle and cut it in two with a scissor. I nearly fell on the sidewalk and barely managed to limp home.

After soliciting opinions from everyone ("too little potassium" "too little water" "shin splint?") I went to a Physical Therapist who knew exactly what it was; a slight tear to my calf muscle caused by dehydration. Happens a lot in older runners. At 41, I had no idea I was an older runner but if the shoe fits (or the calf hurts).

The PT guy iced my leg, gave me exercises and sonogrammed it (supposed to help with healing). At first I was royally depressed because of the show and not being able to run. I did a lot of running during History Boys in training for the half-marathon and I really loved the show so I've forever linked fun shows and running in my head.

I am trying to look at this as an opportunity; I couldn't run but I could do ab work in order to strengthen my core which I hadn't done in years. So I've been doing ab work and slowly trying to get out and run. One day I did 5 miles and felt fantastic but then allergy season hit and running felt like I had weights tied to my feet.

Yesterday I ran about 3 miles and was feeling great when my calf started screeching again. I can't seem to catch a break

It's such slow going. I feel like a completely different person than I was last fall and logging 20-25 mile weeks. Now, if I hit double digits or I should say when I hit double digits it'll feel like such an accomplishment.

I say I want to work up to a marathon but right now, a week of solid running would suit me just fine.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shoes! A Long and Frivolous Post

First, I want to thank everyone for their kind comments on my return to blogging, it was quite a boost after closing a show that wasn't so much fun. Of course not all the actors in Romeo and Juliet were annoying; I actually enjoyed quite a few of them, like Scott Greer who plays a supporting role in my shoe story.

Scott Greer is like the energizer actor; he just keeps on working, all over Philadelphia. The major reason is, of course, that he is a phenomenal actor. In addition, he's a wonderful cast member -- kind, considerate, and fun.
Mr. Greer played Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet only he couldn't make all the performances because right after we opened, he started rehearsals for another play, Shining City, with another theater company (incidentally with the same director who directed R and J). As part of his contract for R and J, the Arden agreed that his understudy would go on for 3 performances.
Enter Benjamin Lovell who was Mr. Greer's understudy. I had met Mr. Lovell when he understudied 2 roles during History Boys (now, that cast I could never complain about). Mr. Lovell was not always an actor. He began his life (or the the part of his life that I know about) as a shoe salesman opening up several shoe stores in the greater Philly area. The shoe stores, Benjamin Lovell Shoes, are quite well-known in the area because they carry some very nice brands--Clark's, Danskos, Naot, etc. I had no idea that he had these shoe stores until he brought us all coupons for the shoe store.
Mr. Lovell has said that when he meets a new person he doesn't look at his/her eyes, he looks at the shoes. He says he can tell everything about a person by the shoes. I wonder about that. I wished I had asked him but we were too busy going over lines and blocking.
I'm not a shoe person. I'm not even a clothes person. I hate spending more than $20 on jeans or shoes. Well, that's not entirely true. I do spend money on running sneakers but I don't buy new ones every 500 miles as suggested; it's more like every 3 years or so. Truth be told, I prefer thrift stores. Going into a department store and seeing the same item of clothing in 50 different colors and 52 different sizes overwhelms me. And, you can find the best stuff in thrift stores. Case in point, here's a totally cool pair of pants I found in a consignment shop recently:

Wait for it though, you HAVE to see the back:

You won't be finding those pants at Target! They fit me perfectly and were only $12. I call them my party pants.

But I digress. Yesterday, it rained all day, and I had some residual bummerness about not being the best of all possible stage managers on R and J, and not getting along with everyone--so I went shoe shopping. And, I spent money. I bought 2 pairs of Danskos because, well they were extremely comfortable and because everyone, I mean EVERYONE has told me how great they are. The salesperson told me that once I own a pair of Danskos, I'll always own a pair. I'm not so sure about that but I am tickled pink about my purchase. I can't tell you why I'm so happy but I am. Retail therapy I guess. Oh, here's a picture of them:

I wore the sandals all last night and they were the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. The clogs I have on right now so I'll let you know.

Who knew shoes could make you happy?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Return of the Cocktail

So I suspended my blog a couple of months ago because I felt it was stale and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. As I mulled it over, I realized that I wanted a blog to chronicle some new personal goals I have set for myself -- learn how to sing, run a marathon, and become a phenomenal stage manager. Not only will it be great to have a record of what I'm doing in order to reach my goals, I hope it also motivates me to keep trying, even on bad days.

While all this pondering was going on, I was also stage managing Romeo and Juliet at the Arden. The show closed yesterday and it was quite successful. A solid production with some great acting. Unfortunately, working on the show was incredibly difficult for me. The schedule was brutal, especially the performance schedule. We did several student matinees (which meant arriving at the theater at 8 am) as well as evening performances--sometimes in the same day. In between the shows, I had to go home, see my kids for a hot second, make dinner and then return to the theater.

In addition, I didn't enjoy all the cast members as I had during previous productions. I felt that several of the cast members had no respect for me at all. It seemed they just wanted me to stroke their ego and fetch them things. It was very dispiriting for me. I'm sure it didn't help that I stopped running for a while due to weather and a running injury. I do think exercise helps us keeps things in perspective.

But the show itself was good and hopefully as I reflect on the experience I'll learn something from it. Most importantly, it's over. Now, it's on to more singing lessons, more running (yup back on the streets, more on that later), and another show in a couple of weeks. I'll leave you with a clip of our production of R and J: