Sunday, January 31, 2016

No week for the weak


I'm in bed with a cup of tea after a positively grueling week.

Here's the bad, let's get it out of the way:

- I stubbed my right small toe badly and since the initial injury have bumped it maybe 5 times.  It's       never going to heal, is it?
- I lost my great headphones.  In the midst of one of the more ridiculous days I had this week they         just got swooshed away while I tried to juggle things.  So now I have crappy ones from Duane             Reade.
- A dear friend ended her long relationship and that is sad, and I'm sad for her sadness.
- Three other friends wrote to me asking for advice and support so apparently everyone was having a    shaky week
- I dealt with a situation in which I was clearly being taken advantage of whether consciously or           unconsciously, and it was unpleasant to have to address it knowing exactly the reaction I would get.   I dealt with it, and it sucked, but it's better to come out on the other side.
- I had four 3-or-more-job days.  Example: Friday, rehearsal in the am, rush to Chelsea to run errands   for Troy, rush back uptown for babysitting, rush to feed a cat
  PS I'm feeding a cat for a couple of weeks.
- My phone is possessed and randomly takes screenshots and interrupts me to type whatever it               wants...very annoying and slightly alarming
- Worked 7 days

In fact, here is a map of my Friday.  See the key at the side to follow my journey - part 1 is blue, part 2 is red, part 3 yellow etc etc.
1 - Home to rehearsal
2 - Rehearsal to Troy, tasked with picking up some wine
3 - Troy to wine shop
4 - Wine shop to other wine shop
5 - Wine shop back to Troy to bring him the wine I'd picked up
6 - Troy's to babysitting - Yahli's school
7 - Yahli's school to football practice
8 - Football practice to Tribeca to Yahli's friends house
9 - Tribeca to cat
And finally, FINALLY to a bar to meet Anel.  And then home.  Holy jeebus. I genuinely made this pathway through the city in the course of one day. Isn't that absurd??

I also barely had a second to do anything this week so laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning all fell horribly by the wayside.  Meaning I ate less healthily than I would like but without the stuff to bring lunch from home I was at the mercy of whatever babysitting had in the fridge or whatever food establishment was nearest and cheapest.  Oyy.

So it was a long, rough week during which I felt drained, exhausted, burned out.

Here's the good:

- The dear friend's break up was the right thing to do
- My 10K time
- My dance classes
- Rehearsals were great this week especially today
- I babysat Saturday night to help out at Itamar's surprise Birthday sleepover and it was so much fun to gather his friends in the lobby of the building as they arrived, take them all quietly upstairs and see the huge grin on Itamar's face when he answered the door to all his friends lying on the ground (don't ask, they came up with a lot of different plans) shouting SURPRISE.  So sweet.  They had a lot of fun and they are a really nice group of kids but oh my god - eight 12/13 year olds! Madness.  They feel the urge to wallop their friend with a pillow or jump from the sofa to the mattress to land on someone's legs, and there is nothing in their brain that says 'hmm, maybe better not'.  You can see it happen, the sudden desire to be violent and the immediate decision to act on that desire.
I feel a bit like Mr Wilkins from the Jennings series, perpetually perplexed by the whims of schoolboys.  Great kids though.
- Catching up with the effervescent Anel, we had frozen margis and laughed a lot.
- Spending time with Lauren and Isabel on Wednesday evening
- Standing up for myself and also for what is right and fair
- Had a huge clear out and tidy up on Saturday morning, nothing like a newly decluttered room to         declutter the mind.

This week had good and it had bad but mostly it had tired so I am going to SLEEP and I couldn't be more excited!

Happy Birthday Poppaxxxxxx

RIP Sir Terry Wogan

Thursday, January 28, 2016


I had a wonderful ballet class today, and a wonderful tap class yesterday.
Dawn Hillen is an almighty teacher.  She is constantly making jokes and laughing.  She spoke today about the importance of doing this, in order to 'take it seriously and then let it go' instead of taking it seriously and dwelling on it.  It being a mistake or something you haven't worked out how to fix yet.
She is refreshing in New York - this is the kind of dance teacher I am used to and the best kind.  She is helping me an incredible amount and I look forward to ballet all week and feel great during and after.
Tap with Derek Grant is also both life-affirming and -changing.  He's revered in tap circles.  His class is also the perfect level for me; - hard enough that I'm constantly challenged and my brain and my feet are working hard, but not so hard that I'm left a gibbering mess with no confidence.  It leaves me with a lot to consider and practice and it's really stretching my rhythmic capacities.  I also got a huge boost after class when Derek came out into the hallway where I was taking off my shoes and shook my hand, asked who I was and where I learned to tap.  It's really nice when teachers who see hundreds of students a week take the time to do things like that, and in my hopes and dreams it's the start of an empowering relationship with an inspiring teacher.  (Likewise Dawn Hillen.)

Dance classes ain't cheap in this here town.  But now that I've spent the money on a ten class package it feels like something that has to be done on faith.  I've put it out into the universe, and the means to make it work when I run out of classes will come, just as the means for new character shoes came, and the means for new running shoes came.

In other news for work yesterday I carried a super heavy sound system 8 and a half blocks from the shop back to the gym, and I still can't quite feel my arms.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ten Kay Tuesday

I pulled down another 10k in 2 minutes less than last week.  This is good.  If I can maintain that I'll be in good shape for an easyish time of it in April.

Bad juju today...bad energy.  I had to begin my day twice.  I went out to pick up a birthday present for Itamar - 13 today! - and after achieving that simple goal everything sort of went downhill.  Nothing huge but just one of those mornings where minor things feel too big and enough of them make you want to run for cover.  An audition that ended up as a bust left me with the time to begin anew so I went home, changed, unpacked some things, answered some emails, departed for attempt two.  It sort of worked...the things in my day that I knew were going to be frustrating were frustrating because well sometimes life requires us to do things we'd rather not.  But by starting again I was at least able to function with an adjusted perspective.

Lunch is a consistent problem for me.  I can prepare and pack all I want but usually the problem is finding a place to eat.  Like, a physical location.  Summer is a breeze, any bench will do.  Winter is tough for those of us floating constantly between locations.  And noone likes a Tessa who has got to 3pm with no good sustenance since breakfast.  Working on it.

Snow is rapidly depleting thank heavens - it's been mild all week so far which means the streets are very wet but increasingly clear and easy to traverse.  The worst part about New York snow by far is navigating the crossings, where the drains get backed up from all the slush and you're left with  huge puddles of unknown depth surrounded by four foot snow banks where it's been hastily shovelled to clear a pathway to and from the pavement.  So you either take your chances with the puddle or clamber over the snow.  It behooves you to be athletic.

Tomorrow, tap class.  Thursday, ballet.  Friday, rehearsal - in less than a month rehearsals will be no more as the workshop performance is on Feb 19th and 20th.  I'm going to miss them a lot, it's a great group of people to spend a few hours with every weekend.

Bad vibes for me were lifted by my triumphant run, unfortunately a couple of friends were also experiencing them and as far as I know still are so I'll go to bed thinking good thoughts on their behalf.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snow way snow how!


Last year when crazy snow was predicted, but failed to materialise.

Not so this year.

It's being coming down hard for 24 hours without letting up once.  I fortunately didn't have anywhere to be today except a dance class which anyway was cancelled, so I had the privilege of staying at home with Christina (girlfriend of roommate David).  We sat in the window looking out at the world and enjoying our warmth and comfort, while Dan WALKED to his girlfriends and David WALKED home from work.  We're up to about two feet now based on my bedroom windowsill.  I've gone out to shovel the steps and the path 3 times, and pour salt down so hopefully it'll be knee deep in snow again by morning by the bottom layer won't be sheet ice.

I began watching Mad Men today, very good snowy day fare with all the cosy vintage wallpaper and rich art deco and warm colour tones.
Before Dan left this afternoon we had a great long chit chat about this and that, books and music, people we've known.
I also added a LOT of music to my Spotify collection, and listened to as much as I could.
David brought home leftover pastries from work so we ate some of them.  I chatted with Jess, Jacob, Lauren, Sam and Ali.  And I did a little laundry, some reading, some reviewing of choreography.

Lucky me!

It's really, really snowy.  Really really.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Perfect 10

I have signed up for a 10K on my Birthday.  Birthday 10K.  Just screams 'put me on a tshirt', no?

So, I'm going to need to train a little bit for it since I've never run 10k before and it is in Prospect Park where I've run plenty which means I know the up and downhills.

I just tried my first 10k ever on a treadmill - there's ice on the ground and I'm not a lunatic.  Happy to report that I finished just over 10k in just 1 hour and 30 seconds exactly.  I'm pretty sure I can slice some time off that by the time April 23rd rolls around.

The cold I've been suffering from is on its way out, knock on wood.

For now good night world, I am wooorn out!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hide and seek

Spent a little time with Maverick.  This love will never die! Look at that face.'s COLD.  Cooold.

Other things:

I went to see The Big Short (yes, loved, entertaining, fast-paced, informative, eye-opening) and Carol (too much 'lingering gaze over tinkly piano', not compelling, characters who made me go 'why is anyone into either of these ladies they're both terrible'...not my jam)

I enjoyed my first Pittsburgh-style New Year's pork and sauerkraut feast...ohhh MAN.  This was delicious delicious stuff.  Dan and his girlfriend Kirsten hosted some people on Saturday night and we enjoyed the aforementioned slow-cooked pork, sauerkraut, kielbasa sausages, potatoes, brussels sprouts, butternut squash gratin, peach and goat cheese salad, homemade olive bread, cheese and salami.  A plate loaded with kielbasa and sauerkraut washed down with a beer is pretty much heaven and I'm delighted that I have experienced this kind of joy.  Om nom nom nom.  Also had a lot of fun meeting some of Dan and Kirsten's friends and hanging out with David my roommate and Nate who lives downstairs.  And we played Taboo! Which is a fun game about describing things without using a prescribed list of words and your teammates have to guess the thing you're describing.  In case you've never played.

This was Saturday night.  On Saturday morning I also partook in a fantastic celebratory activity that I recommend to everyone.
It was my dear friend Charles' birthday and the night before, he sent this mysterious message:
Rules of Finding Me at Met
I will post on my Facebook a clue to where I am at the following times.
10:30 am 10:45 am 11:00 am 11:15 am 11:30 am
11:45 am 12:00 pm 12:15 pm 12:30 pm 12:45 pm
I will stay there for 10 minutes, and then move to a new location.
If a person finds me, he/she will join me and pick a random room number, which we will head for immediately. I will post who has joined me, and then a clue when we reach that room.
At 12:45 pm, I will post a room number so we can all gather together. Then, I may ask you to do something for me at the museum.

We were not supposed to tell him if we were participating.  Jacob and I conferred the night before and decided to meet at the Met and play Find Charles as a team.
This is such a fun game.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art is HUGE.  I've been many times now and I've yet to see everything there so this was no small undertaking.
The first clue we were faced with was a picture of a part of the museum - we knew there were sculptures, so we headed for that section.  By the time we had worked out where it was and found it, the next clue was up so we'd just missed him.  The next clue said 'somewhere in Egypt' - so we speed walked as respectfully as we could through to the Egyptian wing.  Which is a lot.  And at first we thought Charles might have hidden inside the ruined temple that stands in its own cavernous room.  He had not! So we hunted on through the relics and artwork and then -

A sighting! We thought we'd be clever and take a picture of him and upload it to Facebook so that he knew we'd found him but he wouldn't know where we were (because we hid after taking this picture)

Sadly this backfired because he skedaddled and we lost him again

So we waited for a new clue, and ended up with

Luckily Jacob brilliantly deduced that this was 'somewhere in Asia' so we headed for the Asian wing.  Or would've if we had known where that was - we kept finding where things were on our way to other things and then when we went back to the original things, they had somehow moved.  
I should add that we were giggling the entire time this was happening.  So much fun.  And I saw so much art I've never seen before, purely by accident.

Eventually we found the Asian arts section and lo and behold - 

One Birthday Charles!

But not before we tried to be clever one last time and blend in.

 And as stated in the original message Charles asked us to do something for him.  I stepped up to take on this challenge - he wanted me to sing Happy Birthday to him.  Except not to him, to a statue.  Which I did, loudly. To the Jewish Woman of Algiers.
The Jewish Woman of Algiers

You know. This lady.

This is how everyone should experience museums once in a while.  I think we might do a Natural History Museum version at some point.

I've caught a stinking cold somewhere along the way which I'm fighting with a full arsenal of remedies.  Rehearsal was pretty rough thanks to my blocked sinuses.  But the fridge is still full of sauerkraut which is super good for you and extremely tasty.
Also I just finished deliberately sad-watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II.  Sob sob...also not bad for clearing out cold related stuff!

Happy Martin Luther King Day.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Two weeks in

And what a two weeks.

First and foremost I want to address the two great losses.

David Bowie is directly responsible for most of my favourite frontmen and women from my favourite bands.  Thom Yorke, Shirley Manson, Morrissey, Matt Bellamy, Wayne Coyne, of course Robert Smith, Avey Tare, Florence Welch, Isaac Block, Brandon Flowers, Jonas Bjerre, so many more. These are artists on whom you can see an imprint of David Bowie if you care to look.  He blazed the trail and now I get to love all this wonderful music and for that I'm intensely grateful.  There will only ever be one.  Completely and thankfully inimitable.  He was and shall remain a beacon of light for weird children and adults everywhere.  No greater loss to music since Freddie Mercury (this based on my deep sadness that I'll never see either in the flesh) (and plain common sense)
The songs that have meant the most to me include
Heroes, Always Crashing The Same Car, Art Decade, Modern Love, Cracked Actor, Rock and Roll With Me, Lady Stardust, Five Years and Jean Genie...just for starters.

Alan Rickman has been with me since I was 11, watching Robin Hood Prince of Thieves at the Bradley house laughing at Jess squirm every time her mum Ali made a comment to the effect of 'corrr Alan Rickman yum!' And of course since the first of the Harry Potter films came out, also when I was 11 (as was Harry).  This might sound silly to some but it's significant.  Harry Potter has been with me since I was 7, and because Alan Rickman portrayed Professor Snape with such complete mastery as far as I'm concerned book Snape and film Snape are one and the same.  Everyone to whom the Potter series is beloved and precious is still reeling from how this character turned out, and will always remember how it felt to watch him on the screen in the final moments.  What Alan Rickman did in that role is very meaningful to me and countless others like me.  The quote, from an exchange between Dumbledore and Snape, is
'After all this time?'
And that's how it will be for Potterheads everywhere remembering Alan Rickman.

Well now I've made myself quite melancholy so I may save the rest of the account for tomorrow - thankfully the next installment is all about how full my heart and soul have been for the past couple of days thanks to the great people I get to call friends.  So that's a brighter note.  There's pork and sauerkraut.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy New Year!

It's 2016 yo. A round up of my excellent Christmas in England is due but I'm working from a phone on a train that is underground so I'll save that one for when I'm comfortably at a computer. A brief overview of my first few days back is easy though.
I had a decent flight, I watched two good films in my window seat and enjoyed a really quick and easy ride home on the Long Island Railroad followed by a quick $7 taxi to my house.
I had a rehearsal on Tuesday at noon which was a perfect way to get immediately into the swing of things and of course babysitting is back every afternoon. Yael has busted her knee very badly so I will be fairly full on for a few weeks I think - OK by me, post-hols is a good time to not slack off. We have a new dancer for ICNLA because Matias is going to be the lead in a play and the performance dates conflict. Very glad and proud, it's a shame we lose him, it's great that Eddy Lee was able to replace on short notice and he's fantastic so all is well.
Wednesday I was back to All Systems Go in the morning, nothing new there, followed by a trip to the Upper East Side to check the post at chez Lila - nothing new there either. I mention these as a matter of course, they will probably never elicit any kind of excitement or fulfillment but ASG is good for consistency certainly. More babysitting, caught up with babysitting pal Melinda.
Thursday I really started to feel like I was back and getting things done. I'm back into audition hunting and submissions and I went to ballet in the afternoon - had a really good class in spite of three weeks of idleness and rediscovered some of my jumping power - in terms of playing to your strengths that used to be one of my aces in ballet and I'm determined to get to full heights once again. Not far to go. I really love this teacher Dawn Hillen, she is the ideal teacher for me since she places and emphasis on what works for your body and uses her own real world experience to illustrate how to make adjustments, and she's very good with visualisation tricks to fix posture and balance. Also she makes jokes all the time and I always laugh because she's funny but hardly anyone else does and I wish they would!
Friday was audition submissions, I've got some extremely virtuous food cooked and stored and I went for a short but pretty well-paced run. In the evening I went with roommate David and his friend Joe to see the eye-opening and excellent film The Big Short, highly recommend.
Saturday I stayed in all day and did final bits of unpacking and tidying away and lots of calendar planning and music organising.
For now I'm feeling calm and collected like I have all things under control - I know this won't last so I aim to enjoy it while I can, before I have more things to do.

Today is Sunday, it's nearly 60 farenheit but rainy and I'm on my way to rehearsal. I'm so enjoying my new coat, turquoise boots and tartan scarf, also the homemade lavender candle that Rachel gave me. Tomorrow I'm going to do a couple of days Maverick-sitting - my favourite way to make a bit of extra cash.
Dance class money is officially in my budget now and it's totally doable by avoiding Starbucks and remembering to take lunch with me every day, simple as that. But a bit of extra never hurts!

That's all for now, 5 more stops and I'll be off the train.