Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Smartphones, Uggs and Mid Life Issues

I am smart!  Well, at least my phone is.  I succumbed to the lure of shiny lights and GPS and upgraded to a smartphone yesterday.  It all came about because we don't have a landline and since I work part-time I'm not always home when my kids come home.  My son needed a phone to be able to call me when he returned from school.

Last night was spent with both kids nose deep in keyboards taking pictures and deciding who deserved what ringtone.

Not being hip, I only have a vague idea on how to use my smartphone.  I can't seem to figure out how to add contacts, let alone assign them ring tones.

It cracks me up that I have this phone.  I rather prided myself on my backwards technology:  my old phone only made phone calls and texted; I couldn't get a picture message or an e mail.  But in a moment of wanting to be cool like everyone else...

Which brings me to Uggs.  Those boots are so ugly and yet so ubiquitous.  My daughter has been begging for them for years and I refuse to buy them for her.  There seems to be this uniform worn by every girl between the ages of 13 and 30:  leggings, Uggs, and a North Face fleece.  I wonder why everyone wants to look like everyone else.  Where's the uniqueness?  Where's the individuality?  Where's the humanity?

I'm getting carried away.  I think I just want my daughter to find her freak flag because sometimes I feel like I don't fit in and I want company.  I worry that others are judging me all the time.  No one understands me!  It's probably because I'm going through the "what do I want to do next?"  phase.  I refuse to call it a mid-life crisis because my husband says I only get one and I'm not wasting it on a smartphone.  And, who wants a mid-life crisis at 43?  But, I do need to get over myself and since I refuse to go the Uggs and leggings route, I need to find some more friends who accept me for who I am.  Hmmm, I wonder if there's an app for that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Experiencing Some Viral Issues

I de-activated my Facebook account.  It was a rather arduous process with several questions to answer and even a last-minute emotional, blackmail attempt by Facebook:  They put up pictures of some of your friends saying that these people will miss you.

Seriously?  Because if they are my friends, really my friends, they know how to get in touch with me.  I'm just saying.

I originally joined Facebook to promote my blog and I recently discovered that my friends on Facebook actually read it.  That was a pleasantly surprising discovery because I don't even look at people's pictures.  When I would check out Facebook, I breezed through posts wondering why I cared that someone was excited to watch the new season of Mad Men.  I do want to keep in touch with people but I prefer a nice long e mail or phone conversation or, better yet, in person over a beer.  It's probably why I like blogging because I get to know people through them.  And, you can drink a beer and read blogs:  truly a win win.

I know, I'm so old-school, I should be tweeting my life in a 140 characters except that I have a LOT to say.

Another reason I felt the need to get off of Facebook has to do with my daughter.  She tried out for competition dance at her dance studio.  The owner of the studio moved her up to a higher level team for this year.  The people on the team didn't think she deserved it and said so all over Facebook.  It pissed me off and my daughter off.  I also think the owner missed a teachable moment, although not about Facebook.  She reprimanded the girls and said, "We don't do things like that at this studio, we have to support one another."  What she should have said was, "I made the decision to put Clara on the team.  I own the studio and it's my choice.  If you don't like it you need to speak with me."  But, alas, like everyone else, the owner wants to be liked.

Which brings me to another reason I'm not into Facebook right now.  We tend to, in our little posts, present an exaggerated picture of ourselves, maybe a polished version, not an authentic one.  I think, as I'm trying to figure out the next step of my life, I want to stay away from the noise of all that.  You could say that blogs can be inauthentic but I don't feel like the people I've met through them are. Plus, there is room for more creativity.

All of this may sound like a pretentious excuse, I'm not sure.  Of course, I'm about to get a new smartphone.  Not so old-school now am I?  But without Facebook, what am I going to use it for?  I suppose I'll have to download one of those games everyone is playing like Dirty Birds.  Or is it Angry Birds?  Maybe I am too old for this.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Did Ya Hear the One about the Farmer's Market?

Farmer's markets make me want to do yoga.  Earlier this evening, I was explaining this to Brian at the same time I was talking about cling wrap.  I like to multi-task.  He said that the sentence, "I want to talk about cling wrap," would be a better opening sentence but I don't actually want to talk about cling wrap.  It's really not that interesting.

Let me set the scene, we went to the Elkins Park farmer's market this morning.  Last night, our kids had a sleep over with friends, so we were alone.  We went out for a drink and a bite then home for a movie:  The Company Men with Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, and Kevin Costner--highly recommended.  This morning, after breakfast at a diner (complete with the New York Times), we hit the farmer's market.  It was so very metro chic of us.  It also gave me a glimpse into my future when my kids are off at college.  I felt slightly guilty at enjoying it all.

For some reason, seeing all those vegetables, organic honey, and homemade bread laid out made me want to do yoga.  It may have had something to do with the peasant omelet I had for breakfast.  Sausage, potatoes, eggs, and onions can weigh a person down.  But I think it's the farmer's market itself with the glorious colors and the feeling of eating locally and supporting the organic movement.  It's not the first time I've wanted to hurl up every greasy burger I ever ate and clean my palette with free range eggs.

Plus, the pickle man was there.  This guy only sells pickles but man, they are good pickles.  He is the embodiment of the idea that if you do one thing, make sure you do it well.  His half sour pickles are so light and clean tasting, I could have done a sun salutation in the middle of the lane.  He doesn't look like what I would picture as a pickle man; he looks more like a frat boy business major.  Just don't judge this book by it's cover until you've tried his pickles.

Glenside, the town I live in, has a farmer's market but it seems to me to be all jewelry and coffee with very few vegetables.     Some of you may remember when I wrote about the french class I took last year.  A woman in the french class was very free with correcting everyone else's french.  One night we were all out and the Glenside farmer's market came up.  When she found out I didn't go to it, she exploded with, "You live in Glenside and You  DON'T go to the farmer's market?!"  She never, of course, bothered to ask why, she preferred to berate me in front of new found friends and show the world how much better she is as a human being because she goes to the Glenside farmer's market and she doesn't EVEN live in Glenside.  What can I say?  It never made me want to do yoga.  I didn't tell her that though, she isn't the type of person who would understand that.

I don't know how you feel about farmer's markets but there's my take.  Next time, maybe I'll chat about cling wrap, you never know.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pouring Rain

I've written recently about wondering if I should find a full-time job, or stick with stage managing or win the lottery.  And, sometimes, these thoughts get answered in mysterious ways.  Well, except for winning the lottery part.  Although, we recently had a fun family dream session where we all sat around and talked about what we would do if we won the lottery.  Brian, my husband, wins with "I would set aside money to help my friends out when they are in dire straits."  What do you say to that?  I'd go to Paris.

After my stint with New Paradise Laboratories, (doing that 3 part, multi-media piece that I wrote about), I took the managing director out for coffee to pick her brains.  I love to chat with people about their lives, how they got where they are, etc.  Anyway, she mentions that she needs help in the office (it's just her running things and the Artistic Director).  I tell her that I was free, stagnating at home and I could help out if I could learn about budgeting and grant writing.  Deal.

So I help out 15 or so hours a week.  It's very flexible; not only am I learning stuff, I'm figuring out how to work and get stuff done at home.  That last sentence may ring false because when I do a show I work 50+ hours a week.  Here's the difference: when I leave for rehearsal, I don't return until after the kids have gone to bed or are going to bed so I've missed homework, dinner, baths, etc.  I schedule little or no appointments during that time unless it's on a Monday (the day off).  Now, I'm in the baby steps of balancing a job with all that other stuff.  It's like dipping the toes in the water before jumping in full-time.

Okay, so then I run into Jorge Cousineau who has an office next door to NPL's.  He is a local sound, video, all-around brilliant artist who did the set, video, sound, and filming for Extremely Public (the multi-media show we did with NPL).  He has a dance company with his wife called Subcircle.  They needed a Stage Manager for their gig and he saw me and thought, "Look there's a stage manager!"  So I spent a week working on their dance piece.

Dance is vastly different from theater.  They have been working on this show for a couple of years.   I came into the process 2 days before they opened.  I have done dance before but not for years and it was great to re-visit it.  We set light and sound cues by skipping to that point in the dance and Jorge telling me:  "When she does this, lights and sound should go."  Of course, I didn't know what came before that cue so I had to have laser focus the first few times we ran the show.  In a 50 minute piece there were 30 light cues, 30 sound cues and 4 fly cues.   At the 4th and last show, Jorge was setting up for their fund-raiser and I was perusing the beer selection to see what choices he had made.  He asked if I wanted one and I had to tell him, "No, dude, I need every ounce of concentration for this piece."  So you know it was difficult if I had to refuse a beer!

What a long post but that's what I've been up to:  working in an office and stage managing, I've got 2 out of the 3, now I just need to win the lottery!