Hi everyone who still reads this throughout the various domains it’s had. While I’ve been inactive over here for quite a while, I’ve decided to get back into regular blogging, but to do it through setting up a blog I can use both personally and professionally. I probably won’t delete this blog (although I’ll definitely take it out of the google search trawling), because there’s a lot of history here, but the ten year old ramblings about exboyfriends aren’t exactly the kind of material I want associated with a more professional site.
So, if you still like me and still want to read what I have to say (now that I have something more to say than “Waa, so and so broke my heart”), please come over and follow me on my new blog That Girl Crystal (thatgirlcrystal.com). Yes, I had that domain name before, but I let it expire a few months back. I finally got around to reregistering and getting some hosting and setting up WordPress all on my own. It’s pretty and shiny and not too pink, so please follow me there… pretty please?
, originally uploaded by That Girl Crystal.
Daily, semi Daily… whatever. Elphie likes to claim my reading chair.
I’m thinking of going more public with my blog (it’s mostly just old school WDers and a handful of locals reading it), so I’ll be running an inventory this weekend, redacting anything that could be embarrassing and just cleaning up the archives. So, if you want to get dirt on me to use in the future, you should go ahead and archive trawl this weekend [wink].
While playing around with my tumblr theme…
Tangent for a second… I really like tumblr for some things and serving as a stylized portfolio is one of those. However, changing between themes is the most awkward process. Maybe I’m spoiled by WordPress, but the fact that the tumblr preview doesn’t actually show your content combined with complete lack of description about themes is frustrating. At least a search directory that allowed you to narrow down the thousand themes by what they include (custom colors, font options, disqis, Google Analytics, following, pages, etc) would be helpful. Anyway.
So, while I was playing around with my tumblr, after trying about 15 themes, I finally found one that’s 99% perfect. I looked at who it was made by and decided to check out their website. It’s a Web design and management firm in the city my best friend lives in. In the state that Chris and I have been talking about as an option for him maybe finding a new job in.
And they’re hiring an Internet Marketing Specialist.
What are the chances that I would stumble on a company in the city I could move to that’s hiring for the job that I want to be doing?
I think I’ll definitely be applying.
I know I’ve not been updating this blog very often, but I’ve actually been writing a weekly column for a semi-local social media company. You can find links to all my articles there at my social media tumblr if you’re into that kind of thing. I also share the other projects that I’m working on there, too.
I finally got around to watching the Canadian show Slings and Arrows this weekend. It’s an hour long, six episode season, three season show about a Shakespeare festival in Canada. I haven’t finished it all yet (two episodes into the second season), but I really like it. The only bad thing is that I think it sent me into a funk and I only just realized that it’s the cause of the funk.
Since morning Sunday, I’ve been really down. Not quite depressed, but pretty down. I teared up at the season one finale of S&A. I teared up at pretty much every bride on Say Yes to the Dress. I couldn’t shake the gloom all day and it was still hanging around yesterday. And this morning I realized:
I miss acting. I miss directing. And dear god, I miss the classics.
I think I can pinpoint the moment that caused the funk. In the season finale, Rachel McAdams character, Kate, the ingenue, the understudy ascended to Ophelia gushes to another cast member that she saw her as Ophelia when she was 12. The character, Ellen, expresses some surprise at this and Kate reveals that she first read Hamlet when she was 10. Ellen regards this as completely odd. I think most people regard that as pretty odd. I mean, what 10 year old reads (and somewhat understands) Hamlet?
When I was 10, I read (and somewhat understood) Hamlet.
The love has been in me since then. The love for Shakespeare, which grew to a love of the Greeks, which grew to a love of Jacobean and Medieval and Shaw and Ibsen and Chekov and Miller and O’Neill and all things theatre. The classics brought me into it. For more people who love or work in theatre, the moment they wanted it was the moment they first saw that big musical opening number. It brought them into the experience and they wanted to be a part of it. It was nothing but the text for me. Words on a page. Sullied flesh and rosemary for rememb’rance and more things on heav’n and earth and the rest is silence. The words made a story for me and I loved that story.
My middle school had no drama program, but I picked Shakespeare for an independent study project (making a model of the Globe). I took an acting class at another school and picked a Juliet monologue. It wasn’t until I was 13 and saw Guys and Dolls at the high school that I’d be going to that I saw (and fell in love with a) musical. Once I went to high school, because I was in chorus as well as drama, I was pegged as a singer… a musical girl. Two problems: a) I couldn’t dance and b) I wasn’t big enough for musicals. I had a quiet stage presence, one meant for drama and classics, not for spectacle. I tried to force myself in the round peg for three years and got frustrated with my back of the stage chorus parts. My senior year, my teacher gave me two challenges: he named me student director for the fall play (and drama aide, directing my own one-act) and he asked me to put together competition monologues.
Monologues were the most competitive competition category at our school. While we got 8 entries in other categories, we only got 6 in monologues. Add to that the fact that our school had placed highest in monologues in the district in the past three years and a monologue slot was coveted. I went to work picking mine. Each person had 5 minutes to do two contrasting monologues. Part of the challenge was in picking monologues so contrasting that they showed an immense range (and talent in switching gears within two seconds). It didn’t take me long to find the perfect ones: Electra by Sophocles and Workout by Wendy Wasserstein. One, intensely dramatic (and classic, which NO ONE tackled for competition) and one frenetic and comedic. I was issuing myself a challenge: the Greek would be cake… the physical and vocal comedy of the other… that was the challenge. I did my monologues at competition and got highest ratings (was runner-up for best in the room to another kid from my school). I rocked both. I made people tear up *and* laugh out loud in a five minute span. To add to that, I finally got a named role in a musical. My teacher cast me as understudy (there were some messed up politics and we all believed that the understudy cast was his true cast) Frenchy in Grease. Yes, Frenchy. The only Pink Lady without a song. Most people saw this as an insult… a slight. I didn’t. I knew what it was about. It was my teacher, telling me that I could be big. That I had the talent to immerse myself into a character and act. That I was more than a pretty singer, more than someone who could harmonize and keep a chorus in tune. One of the parents photographed the show and caught a picture of me during the “you look like a hooker” part of “Beauty School Dropout.” It’s one of my most cherished pictures. It’s amazing. I have a face that could be seen to the rafters (not that we had rafters). I always kept it posted to remind me what I could do.
I went to college out of state, far away, where no one had preconceived ideas of me as a singer or classic girl or anything at all. One of five theatre majors in my year (all girls), I landed the lead in the freshman show (over my roommate, who filled a similar niche to me: curvy, redhead, pretty voice). I scored another lead my sophomore year in the fall musical and in the spring, got to perform in assorted classical pieces in a showcase (including Viola, Goneril, and Iocasta). It was a great year, finally getting to study classical drama and getting to perform it. It was also my last year in college.
I took a break after that year. I don’t even remember all my reasons why. Money was surely one of them. Wanting to travel, too… there were plans for a study abroad semester (that fell through last minute). During the Spring of my second break year, I visited my college to see one of my good friend’s senior thesis show. I told my advisor that I would’t be coming back in the fall. He told me “you don’t need a degree to do what you want to do.” I’d realized in this break year that I didn’t have that all encompassing need to be an actor, that need to be on stage. And I’d decided, in the wisdom of my twenty years on earth, that in order to be a professional actor, you had to have that. To put up with the stress and the lack of money and the rejection and the lifestyle, you needed to be incomplete without those hours in front of an audience. Otherwise, you’d just crack and give up.
Like I had.
I auditioned for a local production of my favorite musical (one I’d seen three times professionally), Cabaret. The director was so terrible that I got myself passive-aggressively kicked out (translation: I just stopped going to rehearsals citing transportation issues). That was the summer or fall of 2002. I really did give up on theatre after that. I focused on work and my new dream of being a travel agent, maybe owning a bed and breakfast one day. I fell in love over New Year’s 2002/03 and spent my days working so that I could travel and see the boy.
In 2006, I started to get the itch again. A small theatre nearby was doing my favorite Christmas show, It’s a Wonderful Life. I auditioned and got cast as Violet. I spent nights driving half an hour to rehearsal with a castmate, rehearsing for hours with a great cast, and chatting until the next morning in the Waffle House. I remembered why I loved it. I still didn’t need it, but oh, did I love it. And oh, did I miss the other end. The directing end. I thought that maybe I was confused those years ago… I didn’t need acting, but directing on the other hand… maybe that’s what I needed. I threw myself back into theatre, assistant directing and directing, getting a job as an office manager at the local professional theatre, being around theatre day and night, looking into programs to finish out my degree, changing to non-profit management. I knew it, finally… this is what I wanted to do.
And then I got fired. And the subsequent depression that I didn’t even completely understand (or admit to understand) at the time. The next spring, I didn’t get a directing slot at the theatre that I’d busted my ass for to direct the Christmas show. The theatre dream was officially dead. Officially just a hobby. Yeah, I still run the social media for a company (on a committee and everything *shudder*) and I had fun in a chorus role this summer. Hobby.
And now this weekend and I’m crying because a simple line in a television show makes me profoundly sad about what I’ve given up. What I’ve left behind. I know I have great things in the life that I do have (my wonderful husband and amazing puppy chief among them). I just didn’t realize that I’m deficient in the things that I thought I didn’t need.
The subject of arts and passion and whether artists need fall backs came up at work today. So I told my boss about my sadness. She suggested I find some children to teach the classics to. A local group is doing Much Ado early next year, which is my favorite Shakespeare. I want so badly to audition, but after my last experience being in one of my favorite shows, I’m wary of ruining it for myself. And I worry that I’m not as good as I used to be. I don’t know how to move on from here.
When Chris and I got Elphie, there was one solid, carved in stone rule. Elphie would not be allowed on the bed. As I mentioned in the post about searching for a puppy, Chris is allergic to most dogs. With Elphie, he’s not so bad, but if she licks him right after he’s had a shower or if he rubs his eyes after petting her, then he can get a reaction. Chris wanted to insure that there was one space in the apartment that was puppy-free. The bed made the most sense, so I respected this, even though I longed to cuddle with my puppy one night.
Occasionally I’d ask if she could sleep in the bed if he ever had to go out of town, provided I washed the sheets before he got home. I’d ask if she could sleep in the bed if she was freshly back from the groomer’s. Not insistent, mind you… just clarifying the procedures.
Slowly, though, Elphie insidiously wormed her way into the bed. It started once when she was fresh from the groomer’s. As a special treat to her, we let her hang out on the bed a little. We were getting a new bed soon anyway, so what harm could it do. I think I decided to take a nap (I love weekend naps) and so Elphie stayed on the bed for that. You can see… she’s even got the bandanna from grooming on still. She’s clean! Practically sterilized! This is a one time treat! This will NOT be a regular occurrence! And she’s definitely not spending the night with us!
When we went to Myrtle Beach for a few days and our neighbors watched her, they said that they might let her sleep on their bed, since their dog does. We said that was fine, but she’s probably be happier in her crate (where she normally sleeps) and it turns out we were right. They tried it the first night and she was fussy and fidgety and they put her back in her crate.
After our very strange labor day weekend of football games and ER trips, Elphie had a grooming appointment on that Monday. As a very special treat to her because of such a weird and stressful weekend, we let her sleep in the bed on Monday night. She was a perfect girl… didn’t fuss around, just slept at the end of the bed in between Chris and I and was wonderful and sweet. But, again, this was a very special circumstance. A very special treat not to be repeated on a regular basis.
… Well, maybe every time she goes to the groomer’s. Then, she knows that she’s going to get to sleep in the bed and she’ll associate the groomer with good things! Not that she’s bad at the groomer’s… they actually love her and think she’s the cutest thing ever.
… Well, maybe right after we give her a bath at home in between groomer’s visits. I mean, she’s clean!
… Well, maybe right before we’re going to wash the sheets. I mean, she’s dirty, they’re dirty, what harm can it do?
… Well, maybe just because we feel like it tonight. Or because she was chilling there before we took her out for her last walk and she looked so cute and comfortable. Or because she’s not feeling well. Or because I’m not feeling well.
I think you can guess where we are now with her.
So Elphie sleeps on the bed whenever we feel like. Not every night. Some night’s she’s really good and last the whole night without fussing. Some nights, she gets moved to the crate in the middle of the night. There are still some rules. She only sleeps on top of the covers… she’s not allowed inside the covers (so that Chris doesn’t get bothered). And we try to keep her away from the pillows for the same reason. But as far as having a dog-free place in the house… yeah, that’s pretty much been thrown out the window now. Except for our dining room chairs. And that’s only because she can’t really stretch out on them.
I just spent 20 minutes explaining to my boss and co-worker (mid thirties and late 40’s) how menstrual cups work. With visual aids (I had a spare one in my purse). My boss was astounded. And especially astounded that I’d been using one for four years and that she’d never heard of anything like it.
Since, despite drowsy anti-histamines (and possible because of my 8pm bedtime for the past three nights), a rambunctious puppy is keeping me awake, I figured I’d write out the story of what happened last weekend for posterity. Spoilers: It starts with fun and ends with a night in the hospital.
Chris and I had planned a weekend of lounging by the pool, drinking daquiris and grilling assorted meats with our neighbors. On Friday, they got tickets to the football game (opening game of the season), and invited us along. Which was awesome. I can’t emphasize this enough. It was a noon game, so I knew I had to stay hydrated. On Thursday and Friday, in the effort to get into shape again, I’d actually made my 8 glasses of water a day, which I was very proud of. On the walk to the stadium, I had a full bottle of water. As soon as we got there, I had a bottle of Gatorade and during the first half, I’d filled it up three times with water. It wasn’t even a particularly hot day, but I was sweating like crazy. We were in seats all the way at the top of the North end zone, and there was no one behind us, so at least we had a chance to stretch out. During the second quarter, I started getting a really bad headache and since I was definitely hydrated, I figured I might need caffeine or food. Chris got some and I had a few sips of the drink and a couple bites of the hot dog when suddenly I felt really nauseaous. I bolted down the stairs and into the bathroom. When I got up, my legs felt really shaky and I told Chris that I needed to go to first aid.
After about an hour of re-hydrating, we tried to watch some of the third quarter, but my head was getting even worse. As we made plans with our neighbors to go home (a little difficult when your car is over a mile away), I went back to first aid. The headache kept getting worse and the nausea returned. Thinking that I just needed something on my stomach, one of my neighbors found me an apple. One bite and the floodgates opened. After that, and the fact that the headache, nausea, and lightheadedness only got worse if I tried to stand or walk, we realized that I needed to go to the ER.
The ER is kind of a haze because they were giving me medicines to settle my stomach that made me really sleepy, but I do remember that I had one of the worst headaches of my life. After a few hours in the ER, my fluids were still low, so they admitted me into the hospital for the night to keep me on IV fluids. Fortunately, by this time, my head had started to get better, so I was able to get some rest and Chris was able to go home and get some, too. By the next morning, I was feeling much better and that afternoon, I got discharged. I came home, showered and crashed. Our neighbors, who had taken Elphie for the night, had us over for dinner (and made chicken soup just for me). I spent Monday relaxing (and visiting my parents, who’d just returned from hiking out west).
In the aftermath, I have fluid on one of my ears (probably allergies), that’s making me dizzy, low white blood cell count (which I had for about a month before) and anemia. So, I kind of feel like my body’s falling apart. Other than that, I’m awesome!
Plus, it was a really terrible game.
So, Amy, you know how you said that you looked forward to hearing about my next theatre gig in real time? Yeah, well, I totally failed at that.
This weekend, we closed “The Producers” at the local community theatre that I’m active in. I was in the ensemble and had a bunch of fun being a First Nighter, a Little Old Lady and a scantily-clad Valkyrie. It was fun, and I met a lot of great people (and got to know some existing people better), but I’m very glad it’s done now. I don’t know if it was all the downtime backstage, starting a full time job during the run or the fact that we didn’t even start “Springtime for Hitler” until 10pm (from an 8pm start time), but this show absolutely exhausted me. I’m still recovering (and probably will be until next week when I spend three days at the beach). I would have liked to blog about the process, but, see above re: exhaustion. One nice thing was that the theatre finally got wifi hooked up, so I was able to get some work done while I was there.
Oh, hey, that full-time job thing! Yeah, after interviewing and being offered a job with another department, the department that I was temping in didn’t want to lose me and quickly got together a full-time position for me. I’m still not on benefits, but hopefully should be later in the year (once they get some repositioning of jobs done). We’re still catching up financially and paying off some debts, but it’s been really nice to get to breathe a little easier again. We even treated ourselves to a Water Park Day on the day before my birthday. We were invited by a group of friends and rented a cabana and it was an absolutely fantastic day (even if I came back a little sunburnt).
I also got a job with a social media firm as an Account Manager. I’ve been account-less for the past month (which has been partially by choice), but should be starting on another one soon. I’m also applying for a Board position at the theatre to get a title for all the social media work I’ve been doing for them for the past year or so.
So, that’s all the good things. Being busy is good. Not getting to spend enough time with my husband and puppy, not so much. Being at work all day and getting bagels for breakfast and fast food for lunch, definitely not so good. My apartment complex has started a Crossfit Boot Camp type thing, bringing a trainer in, and while I missed the first class due to a show, I’m going to try and start going to get myself back into shape.
Also, in connection with my Epic Life Story (in progress), I’ve found out more details that pertain to my grandmother’s death. When I get all the information, I’ll continue the story.
That’s where I am now. Vowing, yet again, to be better about blogging and to get myself into shape. We’ll see how it goes this time.