It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. There have not been a lack of post worthy stories.
I could have written about Roan’s CRAZY 8th birthday party, at which a baby rattlesnake was discovered by the kids (one kid touched it) and the ranger had to come and very dramatically take it away. (The Ranger behaved dramatically, not the snake.)…
I could write about the dreamy experience of working on the TV show Parenthood last week… Or the strange sexiness of the Monk who teaches my new Buddhist Meditation class.
But I haven’t.
Overall this has been a terrible month.
Roan started 3rd grade 4 weeks ago and it was … horrible.
On the first day Roan had some separation anxiety. Ok. A lot. He had the same teacher for 1st and 2nd and this was someone very new with a very different personality. Still, we were excited for him to experience a diverse new teacher who we were sure had great qualities despite her emotionless demeanor.
During class Roan raised his hand and said “I miss my mom.” The teacher replied “I miss my dad but he’s dead. And I will never see him again. So don’t be sad.” (The kids are 8 year olds)
Roan didn’t tell me this. 4 different students told me. “Did you hear what the teacher said to Roan?” Having lost my mom at age 3 it troubled me that this was her response to a sad kid. A couple days later Roan said, “I will miss you when I can never see you again.”
We went to the principal. We met with the teacher. She apologized in a rote way. The cogs went in her brain. She hadn’t realized this wasn’t something she shouldn’t say to kids. But why? Why wouldn’t someone who works with kids realize this wasn’t the right thing to say?
She said she meant “he should be happy, he can see you.” True. I suppose.
The teacher told them “You will have homework EVERY DAY! On weekends and HOLIDAYS!!” (nothing wrong with homework but it was the way she said, no yelled it. Finger pointed. Angry.) She didn’t smile and she never once said, “We will learn! We will have a little fun.” (isnt’ a LITTLE ok? They’re 8) She told them “No nail polish! Your fingernails will be inspected every day” And she did. Inspect their fingernails.
Then Roan’s best friends mom told me the teacher wasn’t sitting well with her. They left the school two days later. They were accepted at a Charter. We hadn’t applied to any charters. Why? We ADORED our school. Why would we leave it? Still we tried to make it work. She’s just different. And I believe she is a good person, this teacher. A good person inside. She runs a tight ship and that is GOOD. Roan can learn so much from this. She just doesn’t have emotional intelligence —but surely she can teach well and there is something to learn from her stern demeanor. “Stick it out” “Persevere”. And day by day Roan’s light dimmed a little more. “Don’t teach your kid to be a quitter” Other parents said. “Don’t leave this school” They said.
And we didn’t want to leave our Beloved DREAM elementary school. The school he has been at since kindergarten where he has amazing friends. Best friends. Where I met some of my favorite women. My friends, these women. Where SAINT Ms. Cain rules the library and knows every student by name. Where beautiful vegetables grow in our garden, where I’ve adored the PTA, where Steve has cooked for 3 years EVERY single festival Fall and Spring. Our home. Our community. The most loving smartest parents and children. Our center.
The ONLY thing wrong was this teacher. Later, the teacher had heard about 7 parents were upset with certain things about her. Then some kids went home and told their parents “Ms. X told us NOT TO TELL OUR PARENTS WHAT HAPPENS HERE”
Parents were ourtraged again. Because that’s what child molesters say. “Don’t tell your parents.”
OF COURSE SHE DIDN’T MEAN IT THAT WAY. She meant “Come to me first.” Of course. But then two days later she said, “Don’t tell your parents bad things about me.” … Just didn’t sit well with me. Felt weird. But still, bless this poor woman, getting so much bad feedback. Let’s give her a chance. She’s got to be good inside. And I still believe she is. But not every teacher is the right fit for every child. And what were we GAINING by trying to navigate her lack of warmth, lack of communication. But still we persevered.
4 weeks of Roan becoming more and more depressed, withdrawn- his whole personality changing. The light going out of his eyes. Four weeks of me driving EVERYWHERE in Los Angeles looking for a new school for him all the while Praying to God there was some way we could fix the situation and stay at our school. (She was the only teacher in this grade.) Meetings with the Principal, the district, the teacher. Hearing stories from other parents that their children were “not happy either” but they were going to learn to stick it out.
Every day hoping we would rectify the situation OR find a new school that was either Accepting new students (NONE were. Everywhere is booked. I called 50 schools. No room at the Inn…) Dozens of appointments with new strange sounding schools on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
A school where there are only 4 students, total, and they make bread and weave baskets? No. No go. A school where everyone was from Malaysia (nothing against Malaysia but Roan doesn’t speak Malaysian.) A wonderful Montessori school that was full. That we visited twice in one day just to BEG to get into. “We’re a great family, we can be an asset to your school!” Jewish Schools, Christian Schools, Waldorf Schools, and even an unaccredited school in the boondocks.
And still. WHY do we have to leave OUR school? It’s OUR school? HOW can we make this work? We don’t want to leave. Why should we have to leave?
Meetings with Roan’s previous teacher who is an angel. Who describes Roan as wise beyond his years, having a super vocabulary, clever, funny— one of her favorites. “We can’t lose you.”
"Roan can’t you just enjoy the GOOD things about your school and just deal with the teacher? There is SO much good!"
"Yes, ok I will try!"
But the withdrawing. The sadness and slow drain of his personality continued.
When Roan said, “I get so frustrated. When I don’t understand something I need help but… THERE IS NOBODY TO HELP ME.”
At that point I realized that as much as I loved the school something had to happen. I stopped eating (Weight loss YAY!) I couldn’t sleep. (The Meditation Class I was taking didn’t help AT ALL)
WHY was this bothering me so much? I had a roof over my head, food and my family is healthy. Then WHY Does this feel sooo bad? Because we were losing our community. Our home. And we did not want to leave.
And miraculously a school appeared I hadn’t ever considered before. The principal greeted me with a genuine smile and a handshake. He said his philosophy is that children “learn best when they are relaxed and happy. The curriculum is challenging but a child must trust their teacher.” I finally felt like someone was taking helm of a ship that had hit a horrible storm. A balance of happiness and hard work. An education. Someone there if Roan was frustrated and needed help.
Roan had his last day at his old school this morning. I picked him up early as he was to spend 1 hour at the new school in class. He seemed happy and told me it was “a good day.”
"Ms. X was better. I could stay here if I had to. I mean. I could. I don’t think I would learn anything but we did a poem today and it was better. "
Oh Geez after ALL THIS? Ok. YES!!! This is a dream come true. PLEASE let’s just make this work Roan! Yes. And I believe we could have made it work. He could have made it. It would have gotten better. We may have even grown to LOVE the teacher. We could have.
But then he spent an hour at this new school. And he didn’t want to leave. And he whispered in my ear “I love this school. When I needed help I got help and the teacher smiled. And it was a REAL smile.”
THIS IS GOING TO BE HARD.
There are going to be bad days.
Although Roan has always had friends I worry he won’t make any new friends. The thought of that makes me want to hurl. Why is this affecting me SO MUCH? This isn’t a war or a hurricane. Why can’t I eat or sleep? I just want my little boy to be happy. But Fuck I need to relax. Life’s not perfect. You can’t make it perfect. There are hard times. I survived my mom dying and many other hard childhood things but one thing I always had was loving friends and schools I loved. I wanted this for Roan.
So he starts Monday.
Through all of this it has been previews for my new show. Tonight was the first preview show at 10pm. How on EARTH after this week would I memorize 10 scripts, find costumes and wigs and do a decent performance.
I managed. Surrounded by my cast I felt at home and let go. During a scene that particularly tickled me I began to break character and laugh. Obviously this is unprofessional and bad. My director was judging these scenes. I couldn’t afford to blow it. But some of the lines my scene partner said combined with the audience’s laughter made me lose it 100% until I had completely broken and stood there in a wig and crazy costume with tears of laughter streaming down my sweaty smiling face- that feeling like your insides are getting massaged and you’re walking on a cloud. Just so much joy bordering on exhausted hysteria you can’t contain it.
I ruined my scene but I hadn’t been that happy in months. It bubbled up from the tiredness I had. My brain finally let go.
I can only hope Roan gets to experience this kind of joy in his life and with the change to our new school… although it will be hard at first…I think he has a chance.
** For more fun happy go lucky posts check my blog www.talesofarealhollywoodmom.tumblr.com
Auditions have been slow this summer. I did have one *fabulous (not) one I’d like to write about, though.
It was for a drama, which I now hear is horrible, but at the time I was super excited for. It was to play a paraplegic. In the audition notes it stated, just so there wouldn’t be any confusion, “We are considering both paraplegic and walking actresses for this role.”
So Roan had Martial Arts camp last week and for some reason I volunteered to “chaperone” the day they were going to this fun recreation-area pool. It makes no sense because the whole point of camp is to free my time so I can work while he is entertained / educated. But anyway, my life doesn’t make much sense, so I found myself there with a handful of other parents applying sunscreen and such.
When I look back on Summertime 2014, perhaps this photo will stick in my mind as most memorable. It’s not just the sack— it’s the little guy behind him with the yellow bag. And when I say little I mean reeeeallllly realllllly little. Hey these people were in public and seemed to love being photographed so don’t blame me! And the cavalcade of HUNDREDS of naked people who followed…
Roan and I had a strange experience at the dentist today.
There was a new hygenist who spoke with a super sugary sweet syrupy “I’m talking to kids” voice which drove both of us crazy. She kept saying, “And if you don’t brush right you’ll get SUGAR BUGS and SUGAR BUGS THIS and SUGAR BUGS THAT… Sugar Bugs Sugar Bugs Sugar Bugs…”
I had to get a biopsy of my thyroid. Which people told me was no big deal and common but still, the idea of needles in my neck wasn’t too great. Needles going in and retrieving things.
You know when a hot dog is super plump and juicy and the skin gets all tight and you stick something in it and it makes that “pop” sound? That’s what I imagined. Which wasn’t good.
In addition, although it is extremely rare, there is a chance I could have Thyroid cancer. Or a number of other things. I won’t get the results for another few days (WAITING!) But I did get the blood test results and all of those were perfectly healthy so whatever it is can’t be that bad!
My friends have been so supportive of me during this time I can’t believe it. The night before the procedure I got to swim in a friend’s solar heated pool which was about 98 degrees and I swam for 2 hours feeling like I was floating around in a warm ocean.
Thank You!! But that night in bed I was up until 4 am googling the procedure I was going to have and of course reading all the terrible things that can go wrong.
Anyway, the morning of the procedure Steve and I arrived at Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank. This particular hospital is quite creepy to me. I had my appendectomy there and as the orderly was rolling me on a gurney to the surgery room it got very cold in a particular hallway. He said, “It’s cold here because we’re RIGHT ABOVE THE MORGUE BELOW and you gotta keep those dead bodies cool, you know?” Ummmm yes?
That same day, while recovering from my appendectomy a Nun came to visit me in my room and in my post operative haze read me a passage from the Bible that I can only remember having said something about the “death freeze of winter.”
This time I waited in the waiting room directly underneath a painting of this
Let’s be honest. Not the happiest of women. Scary. Ominous. Chilling. And what immediately entered my mind was the story that recently broke about the Nuns in Galway, Ireland, who ran a “home” for women who got pregnant out of wedlock where 800 (EIGHT HUNDRED) CORPSES OF DEAD CHILDREN (not just babies some as old as 5) IN A SEWER. To hide the truth of what had happened there. I’m sure there are many a wonderful Nun but this story gave me the CHILLS.
It just seemed creepy and although a good friend of me sent me an article on that exact Nun and her group, showing me all the amazing good things she had done, I did not know that at the time as I was about to get my gullet pierced. (I also wondered why this wonderful woman who had done so much good wasn’t smiling and spreading God’s joy which surely must be bubbling up from her soul, on her face.. .I know God encourages smiling.)
ANYWAY… I went into the surgical room and I had to be awake for the procedure. I had had it explained as no big deal but because they couldn’t find the deep nodules in my thyroid it was a very painful uncomfortable terrible big deal. They used an ultrasound to see what was inside and that guided the needles.
And as they jostled me around like a stuck pig I imagined the happy Jesus smiling down on me as I breathed through the weird feeling. “Wait, is that it? No, that’s a shadow, you have to get deeper, wait, harder, no push it in further.”
Afterwards I cried a silent, violated cry. The past few days I haven’t been able to really speak and my gullet (I love that word) is swollen and bruised and sore.
But today I had an audition and I had to go. Because it was for a big TV show. It was to play a paralyzed woman and on the audition paper it said “We are considering real paralyzed women and actors portraying paralyzed women.” OK.
So last night I went to sleep and had the following dream.
I’m in the audition waiting room but the same art of the scary Nun is on the wall. I go into the audition and all the sudden my mouth is full of thick viscous pink bubble gum that I keep trying to scrape out of my mouth. They ask me for my head shot and resume which I had forgotten. I say, “You are living in the dark ages. Most people use a digital photo these days and obviously you don’t care about the environment either.” Then my iphone shatters in my face and my face is covered with needle sized pieces of glass. And I’ve lost everything on my phone.
Today at the actual audition things went quite differently. My throat is still sore and I had to sneeze which was incredibly painful. But I did a good enough job to be called back for a producer’s session this evening at 5 pm. Then I’ll have to wait all weekend not only for my biopsy results but also for the results of if I have a job or not.
In the meantime I get to go to my home town with some good old friends and swim in the ocean. So I’m not complaining. I just hope I am healthy and that there are jobs in my future and that there aren’t any more needles in my future.
"MOM! YOU’RE ALWAYS GONE!!!"
"ROAN, I HARDLY EVEN WORK, I PICK YOU UP FROM SCHOOL EVERY DAY AT 2:30 AND SPEND ALL DAY WITH YOU HOW IS THAT GONE???"
"AT NIGHT… AS I FALL ASLEEP. YOU’RE GONE."
"BUT YOU’RE FALLING ASLEEP"
"BUT I NEED YOU THERE."
"BUT DADDY’S THERE!" (and they are like BEST BUDS)
"BUT I NEED YOOOOOOUUUU"
I was sick last month with this painful terrible sinus infection. I spent a LOT of time on my couch which is not normal for me. Cabin fever. I had no choice though. Up at 3 am with hot shower on my face and a zombie all day.
Yesterday Roan and I went on a twilight walk. Lately there have been many coyotes walking around the neighborhood, especially at dusk. So Roan decided to protect us he’d dress as a Ninja on our walk. He would have probably dressed like this anyway, coyotes or not.
As we walked I had two thoughts. Well I had about a billion thoughts but two I’d like to write about. The first was that I was slightly embarrassed when we ran into people because the costume was SO elaborate and it’s not Halloween. But then I looked down and saw that I was wearing my HORRIBLE “swim shoes” from Target, because I couldn’t be bothered to find my tennishoes.
And because I often walk around town looking really unkempt and embarrassing. And I myself wear costumes on a daily basis at age 40.
The other thought I had was how fun and nice and how much I was enjoying walking around with my son, in costume, in our neighborhood. I thought, “He’s 7, someday soon he will NOT want to walk around in a costume with me and I will miss THIS him.”
I thought about how our kids will always be OUR kids but each time they grow into a new phase and age we LOSE that person. I have lost that baby, that toddler, that four year old.
And soon I will lose my 7 year old companion who asks me so many fun questions that I love answering and who loves cuddling with me on the couch while we read and tells me he loves me 100 times a day. ROAN isn’t going anywhere but THAT ROAN most definitely is. I will lose this BOY. He will be a man someday. A man I will of course love, but this human being as I now know him will not last forever.
Then I thought that at least I won’t ever want for people who like wearing costumes to hang out with though. Because that is my life. I mean, here’s me and my adult friend Alex just last week… Here’s more costumey fun and another new post: http://talesofarealhollywoodmom.tumblr.com/post/85976340985/on-stage-with-my-kid-the-groundlings-kid-show
Last Saturday was the first ever Groundlings Kids’ show. There’s my photo on the wall with the “refreshments” we provided the kids below…
I had decided to do a song improv. That’s where you make up a song on the spot from information you get from an audience member. I knew the song “Let It Go” from Frozen was a huge hit because for the past few months I had heard everyone from tiny 2 year olds in grocery stores to middle aged women in Starbucks singing it. Our audience was going to be full of kids age 3-10 so I wanted to make them happy and do something they recognized.
Ironically my own son strongly dislikes that song. I mean Roan has a very wide appreciation of music. It’s just that song grates on him in a dramatic way. I myself was not a fan of the movie. If only because it was about a girl who’se parents told her to “Conceal and not feel, don’t let them see” her special talent, locked her in a room and then died on a ship. If it’s Disney, the parents gotta die! This time it wasn’t just the mom. Of course she finds herself and reunites with her sister. Yada Yada Yada, great message. It’s just really weird to me the millions of little girls are watching it and somehow relating to these HARDCORE THEMES while wearing plastic high heeled boot replicas of Elsa and fake braid wigs and polyester dresses. It’s like, ummm, pretty HEAVY story. But great merch!! Of course here I was about to dress up as a princess too, only my costume had to be pieced together from the old Groundling’s costume attic… cobwebs included. “A kingdom of isolation… and it looks like, I’m the queen!”
So I made up this whole thing that I was “Chelsa” Elsa and Anna (From Frozen)’s cousin. But instead of turning everything into Ice like Elsa, being that I was the Californian princess, I turned everything I touched into … SAND.
I would be sad and sing “Do you wanna build a Snowman?” Only I changed it to Sandcastle. I Changed all the lyrics of the first part of the song- had a whole little scene that even involved Roan coming up on stage with a ball for me to play with.
I came up with a little “magic trick” where he would toss me a real ball and I’d toss it back, after quickly switching it in my cape, with a sand ball made of this stuff… It’s awesome. It’s made of 98% sand and 2% polymer so it sticks together like play dough.
It worked. Here he is throwing me the ball
Then here’s me throwing the sand ball back (it’s on the floor)— Note Roan’s mad face that I ruined his ball.
It was a big laugh as I threw the “ball” back and it went “THUD” onto the stage crumbling into sand. Then I went into the audience and asked the kids if there was a bad habit they had that their parents told them not to do and I’d sing “Let it Go” but I’d turn the lyrics to change to whatever they said was their bad habit was… So like if they said they picked their nose I’d say that was basically ok and they should keep doing it or if they didn’t like vegetables I’d sing “Sugar never bothered me anyway!” The problem is… it’s all MADE UP on the spot. Now I do that for months at a time in Groundling’s shows but I was particularly nervous for this because about TWELVE Families from Roan’s school- my friends- and their kids were coming.
Often on my Adult Improv show nights I swear. Or go blue. Or do an improvised scene about someone’s balls. What if I accidentally said “Shit!” or something off color.
Or what if I COMPLETELY failed and just stood (FROZEN) silently as Willie played the music
and I couldn’t think of anything to say! And I couldn’t really rehearse because it was improv.
And then it would be like “Wow so THIS is what you do?” and the kids would say, “Roan’s mom was the WORST!” Performing for STRANGERS is EASY. Performing for your sons best friends and half his school is NOT.
Anyway. I did it. A great kid named Bobby who was wearing a baseball uniform said his parents always tell him to stop complaining. I made a song up on the spot! It wasn’t perfect but I did it.
"The squeaky wheel always gets the grease anyway!" The kids CHEERED and were the best audience we’d ever had. In fact it was pretty fun performing to screaming yelling droves of kids. Roan and his two buddies were in the front row and LOVING IT. And Roan’s performance was Stellar! It was so fun to have all my friends kids there! I love them all. And to see some of their moms performing. The rest of the show was hilarious. Farting Grandmas and a Robot who threw bread at the audience. And two housepainters who launch into a full on modern dance in black unitards. Actually I think the kids liked the bread throwing Robot the most. Laughter is a powerful thing. And I love what I do. The video will be up on my Facebook page if you want to see it.
But so is Martial Arts. And performing in the kids show was a mere snippet of what Steve, Roan and I had done that day. At 9 am that morning I attended Roan and Steve’s belt testing. They were testing for their Purple Belts at their Dojo. It’s taken VERY seriously and they would have to do a number of tests culminating in breaking a board.
They both PASSED! And I was impressed with their dedication and skill.
But that wasn’t all. After this and after the kids show and after a 1 hour break…
We found ourselves BACK at the DOJO for the TEA CEREMONY
where the Master was wearing a tux and passing out everyone’s belts. Followed by a banquet at which Steve made a speech about how much his Dojo means to him. After which Roan and his buddies went totally crazy
chasing KJ, the Master’s son, who they all have “talent crushes” on. I mean, honestly, Roan is obsessed with KJ. He’s an 11 year old black belt so I don’t blame him. The epitome of cool.
The rest of the week was full of teaching at the Groundlings and writing my book, writing my screenplay and working on the two Webseries pilots I have going on. It’s been a fantastic and busy time in the best way. However with temps in the 100s and allergy season I got really sick. The sickest I can remember being in quite some time. Swollen and painful face due to a sinus infection.
So I have to add what happened last night. I was laying with Roan before bed and I said, “You are so cute.” and he said, relaxedly, “You’re cute too, I can really see why Dad married you” And I said, “Ha! What? Really?” And he said, “Well it’s not like I have a CRUSH on you, that’s NOT what I’m saying, it’s just you are pretty.” (which I wasn’t if you see the photo so he was being kind) and I said “Wow that’s SO nice Roan” and he said, “I would think you would hear that all the time!”
Soooo funny and sweet.
Well that’s it. A little slice of this past week. More funny stuff to come! There’s lots on it’s way.
Over the past four years Steve has become super into Yoga. And because of it, super strong, fit and in shape. So that’s great. I don’t really like Yoga personally but I like the body and happiness it gave my husband. In writing this post I wanted to put some pix of him doing his poses. Shirtless. Because he looks REALLY good. Of course he would NOT allow that. He’s not that kind of guy. So here are pix of other guys doing some of the kinds of things he does.
And his body looks like this:
Except MUCH BETTER, a little stronger and with no Tattoos. So yeah. I am happy he does yoga.
Anyway last week we were driving home from breakfast with friends when he said, “I think I’m going to do… Nude yoga.”
The way he said it was as if he’d thought a lot about it. Read about it, researched it and had finally come to the decision. “… Nude yoga.”
I lost my breath a moment then swallowed. It totally caught me totally off guard. It just didn’t seem like Steve would be into Naked Yoga. Which has been in the local press lately, a few places opening up. I mean, how crazy ridiculous. Who would want to bend over naked with a bunch of sweaty other naked people?
Apparently my husband did. Apparently things were changing in our little world. And who knows what was next?
Was there something about being naked that makes the yogic experience better? Can you move more freely? I trust Steve’s choices 99% of the time. He makes good choices. He’s a smart guy.
Maybe he was bored. Going to the same clothed yoga place for years… was nude yoga the next step?
And then I felt sort of like he had just told me he wanted to cheat on me, but the other side of my brain that knows that’s just not him told me I was being silly. I’m really confident in our relationship and as far as that stuff goes I’m super low maintenance. I’m just jealous enough to know that I am really into him, after 20 years, I’m actually “into” him in that way. Which is great… but I’m not some naggy wife.
But as “Cool” a wife as I thought I was, the image of him staring at some gorgeous perfect bodied NAKED woman doing YOGA really bothered me. I saw her there, glowing and sweaty and naked. And here I had just indulged in French Toast. Ugh. LA sucks. Everyone has perfect bodies anyway and now my husband is going to see them up close and personal naked. He’d probably make a whole batch of fun new friends too.
And we’ve all been to strip clubs in our pasts and that doesn’t bother me at all because Steve’s said he’s not exactly attracted to those kinds of women who do that for a living, just his personal taste, not judging strippers—
But naked YOGA women are athletes he may really admire. Or ask help doing a particular pose.
And he couldn’t help himself from looking at every inch of her body doing the perfect “downward dog” with her completely open “hoo hah” staring him in the face. Yes, that’s exactly what I saw. In my mind’s eye.
So I said, “Wait, WHAT? Are you serious? What? I’m surprised you’d be into that.” And I felt myself sweating and feeling weird.
"Why?" He casually said.
"It just doesn’t seem like you to want to do this and I don’t really like the idea of you being around a lot of naked women."
"WHAT!?" He said, "I said I think I’m going to do NOON Yoga. Today, If that’s ok with our schedule for today. Yoga at NOON as in 12:00 With my clothes on.”
"I thought you said Nude Yoga!" I said. Relieved.
"That does NOT sound appealing to me at all. I mean, Yoga is sort of the last place you want to see a bunch of naked men or women all bent over. At least I don’t."
And that was that…Namaste.
If you are left needing a palate cleanser after this post check out the one below this or click here http://talesofarealhollywoodmom.tumblr.com/post/83160147228/supernatural-spring-break