Tuesday, January 31, 2006

You're fired!

No, I didn't lose my job (although there are some days when I think that would be A OK with me). The other day, we fired A Girl's first agent. It wasn't pretty. In fact, she reacted like a snotty child which, instead of making us feel bad, simply reinforced our decision to fire her.

A lot of actors (and, for child actors, their parents) tend to think that if they aren't getting any jobs, it's the agent's fault. But if they are getting jobs, it has nothing to do with the agent and everything to do with the actor's charm, talent and good looks. We aren't like that. A good agent can get an actor in front of the right people at the right time and a good actor/agent relationship is important to the development of a successful acting career. In the best case, you want to "stick with the horse that got you there." It isn't nice to have one agent start you out, get you your first (often lower paying) jobs when no one knew who you were and then leave for no good reason once you start booking more and higher paying jobs.

On the other hand, this is a business. There are a lot of agents to choose from - at least for successful actors. Just because a particular agent gave you a chance when, perhaps, no one else would doesn't mean you need to stick with that agent forever - no matter what.

So here's why we fired her agent:

1. Her agent was not the nicest person around. She had her moments when she'd be friendly. But most of the time she acted like she was doing us all a favor by taking our calls. It's not like we were calling all the time asking stupid questions. We always responded to her calls in a timely fashion. We turned our schedules upside down to make A Girl available for auditions and jobs. We were available at the last minute for several things - which most people simply can't (or won't) do. All in all, we were pretty good clients.

We dealt with her bad bedside manner by just chalking it up to her being busy. After all, A Girl was getting auditions and that's all you can really ask for from an agent. But the straw that broke the camel's back for me happened right after A Girl came back from Asia. We went to the agent's office for a voice over audition and all A Girl could talk about was getting to say hi to her agent. When we got to the office, she went up to the agent and said hello. The agent barely looked up from the piece of paper she was holding, said "Oh. Hi." and walked away. She didn't even smile! It's one thing for the agent to be snippy with stage parents but to be mean to a child? That's just wrong.

2. We dual listed A Girl last year (which means that two agencies where submitting her for jobs). The second agency had a strong modeling/print department and that's something A Girl wanted to do more of. Granted, I didn't handle the dual listing very well. I was so afraid of pissing off Agent #1 (and, true to my nature, I felt guilty about it) that I put off telling her for several months. Finally, I got up the nerve to tell her and, as I feared, she was angry. (And that could be part of why she was snippy to A Girl although she's the one that booked A Girl in Asia and got 10% of the nothing she made while she was there. But that's no excuse to be mean to a child.)

But instead of trying to show why we should go back to being exclusively with her, Agent #1 got meaner and snippier. She still sent A Girl on auditions and there were still times when we had nice conversations. Both she and Agent #2 were booking A Girl on jobs. But, when A Girl came back from Asia, Agent #2 made an effort to see her. Agent #2 also spent nearly an hour one day talking to my husband about A Girl's career and what her next steps might be. She explained how things work in L.A. Based on her personal experience having done tons of musical theater as a child, she explained how that business works as well. And then she came in with an offer we felt we couldn't refuse - if A Girl signed exclusively with her, A Girl would then automatically get an exclusive agency arrangement in L.A. which is almost a necessity in order to get television and film work. Agent #1 has no connections in L.A. and has never even offered to talk to us about A Girl's career development. It's not that we expect her to manage A Girl's career. That's not her job. But if she wants to maintain successful clients, she needs to be more than just a booking agent.

This isn't a decision we made lightly. We thought long and hard about whether it was fair to leave Agent #1 but without an L.A. connection, she just isn't able to provide the kind of access to bigger jobs that other agencies can provide. However, her agency is very strong in voice overs. Although those jobs are not generally high paying, A Girl is well established and is starting to book jobs without auditions because producers know her and have been happy with her work. So we decided to go with Agent #2 with everything except Chicago voice over work. We knew Agent #1 wouldn't be happy but I wasn't prepared for her response.

I called her and, as usual, she was too busy to talk to me. But I had to get it over with so I said "There's no easy way for me to say this. We've decided to sign an exclusive arrangement with Agency X." Before I could get another word out she said (in her usual snippy voice) "Well, good luck with that." I jumped in with "But we'd like to have A Girl continue to work with you for voice overs." Her response was "Well, we'll see about that." When I reiterated that we'd like to stay with her she said "We'll take it under advisement." WTF? I can understand being pissed about losing the business and maybe saying "Can we talk about this another time? I'm upset at losing such a good client and I'd like to collect my thoughts before we continue this conversation." That's professional. It's not like we don't have other options - A Girl has done something like ten voice over jobs since returning home in November. It's not like her agent has to work real hard to get stuff for her.

Since then, she hasn't called us. When they needed A Girl at the last minute for a booking, she had someone else from her agency call me. When she had another booking for A Girl, she sent an email. Is it really a good idea to continue to work with someone who can't bring herself to pick up the phone and talk to you?

So now we're switching to another voice over agent who is so excited to be representing A Girl that she's already started making calls to her industry contacts. She's also talked to us about keeping her posted with A Girl's schedule promising to try to schedule things around her other commitments as much as possible. She's even trying to work out a situation where A Girl can work from L.A.

What I've learned (that my husband knew all along) is that although this is a relationship business, it is a business first and foremost. While it's good to have a friendly relationship with your (or your child's) agent, it's important that the agent work FOR you and not just expect you to do all the work. If you aren't getting good service, there's nothing wrong with testing the market to see if you can find something better. Although I do feel a little bad about firing Agent #1, I know we did it for all the right reasons. And if she ever decides she wants to understand why she lost our business, she can call anytime and we'll explain it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Another quicky

Thirteen Things about Jessica

1. I'm gonna make this quick because I have Board meetings starting in about an hour. It's finally a beautiful day here - sunny and not too cold and I'll be spending the better part of the day in a stuffy conference room. I suppose I shouldn't be complaining about the job that pays the mortgage, though . . .
2. As you can see from my last post - I got my yellow belt! And I broke the board! With my foot! And didn't really injure myself or anyone else!
3. I've been reading a lot of stuff about writing but haven't been doing much actual writing except in snippets. It is so hard to find the time.
4. We got a Schoolhouse Rock DVD awhile ago but the kids hadn't really watched much of it. So we broke it out one night and watched all the old favorites - Conjunction Junction, The Preamble, I'm Just A Bill, Figure Eight - and the kids loved it. They've been playing it a lot (and arguing whether they should listen to Multiplication Rock or Grammar Rock or America Rock.
5. A looooong time ago, I memorized the Preamble to the Constitution from listening to the song The Preamble and I can still sing it to this day. I think it will help A Girl a lot because she's so musical. She can memorize pretty much anything if it's set to music!
6. I'm going to L.A. in February. Even though it's on business and I'll spend all day in conference rooms, I'm still glad to be there and not here. I really don't like Chicago in February. I'm soooo done with winter.
7. Boy, I really don't have much to say today. Sorry to be so boring.
8. There are things going on at work that I'm not thrilled about but there are people from work who might read this so I can't really talk about it. Suffice it to say that this organization could use a lesson in communication skills. (My husband is probably laughing right now given the whole "pot calling the kettle black" thing going on in that sentence).
9. Although I talk a lot, I'm not a great communicator. My new mantra (especially during PMS) is "Less is more." I need to talk LESS. I'll let you know how that works out.
10. I think I'm a better communicator through writing than I am through speaking. My mouth tends to run ahead of my brain too much of the time. I do type faster than I think but at least the delete button works! I haven't found a way to unsay things I've said, though.
11. When my husband was a kid and he wanted to get better at something, he would practice and practice and practice - on his own most of the time. We taught the girls how to play Crazy 8's last week and M Girl has really taken to it. She's been home from school for awhile due to the scourge I promised never to talk about on this blog again and (in addition to watching way too much tv) she's been playing Crazy 8's. Her dad plays with her sometimes but most of the time she's been playing by herself. She deals the cards as if two people are playing and then plays both sides. She has spent HOURS doing this. Her attention span is incredible for a five year old. Her incentive is that she really likes to win and she's willing to do what it takes to get good enough to win. We gotta get that kid into competitive sports - she'll probably love it.
12. I like to win but I'm not really good at practicing. When I was a kid, I just wouldn't play games that I couldn't win or I would simply resign myself to losing and not try very hard. I like Big D's and M Girl's attitude better.
13. Have a good Thursday everyone!

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Yellow Belt!

So I had my test on Saturday to get my yellow belt and I passed! During the testing, everyone gets an opportunity to break a wooden board (or boards at the higher ranks). Breaking the board isn't required to advance in the lower belt ranks but it is required in the senior belt ranks (and to get a black belt, you have to break concrete with your hand!) And much to my surprise and joy, I broke the board! As soon as the board broke, I looked over at M Girl who was beaming with pride. Words can't begin to describe how much that meant to me. The last thing I wanted to do was disappoint my baby.

Don't get me wrong - I wanted to break the board for myself if only to prove that a 40-something, slightly plump, female corporate lawyer can do something generally considered macho. (Am I dating myself using that word? Because I don't think I've heard that word used in the last decade.) But being able to show my five-year-old daughter that I could do it meant even more. Hopefully she'll be testing for her yellow belt next month and maybe she'll be able to break the board, too. My success will help her believe in her own ability to be successful. I was concerned that if I failed to break the board, she'd carry that failure with her to her test. Or maybe I'm giving myself way too much importance here. I have a tendency to do that.

Moving right along . . . as promised, here's the essay I wrote as part of my test.

What is your motivation to study Tae Kwon Do? What goals have you set for yourself? How do you plan to achieve your goals?

I've been interested in Tae Kwon Do for years but always had lots of excuses why I couldn't sign up for instruction. There's not enough time. I'm out of shape. I'm too weak. I'm too old. There was some truth to the excuses. With two little ones at home and a full time job, I didn't have much extra time. Without taking time to exercise, I was weak and out of shape. And I wasn't getting any younger.

When I turned 40, I decided that it was time to make some changes. I realized that I wasn't setting a good example for my daughters. I needed to make time for myself. I was physically weak and mentally weak. I wanted to feel better about myself and take responsibility for my health and well-being. I also realized that if I was ever going to achieve my dreams, I had to actually do something now instead of waiting for that day when conditions are perfect. A day that will never come.

I decided to study Tae Kwon Do because it has both mental and physical components which will help me become stronger in both areas. I could never stick to a fitness routine that involved exercising for the sake of exercising. When I do push ups in Tae Kwon Do, I know that it will make my punches stronger and my blocks more effective. When I do sit ups, I know that it will improve my balance and someday, I'll be able to stand strong in my app kubi stance when my instructor tries to push me over. I'm not just exercising because it's "good" for me. I'm exercising because it helps me achieve my goals within Tae Kwon Do. The fact that it also happens to be good for me is icing on the cake.

Tae Kwon Do, like other martial arts disciplines, is both goal and process oriented. I like having a goal of reaching a higher belt rank. I also like the fact that success is not solely determined by belt rank. Instead, success is in the smaller achievements of learning each new technique and gaining consistency over time.

Outside of Tae Kwon Do, my goal is to become a published writer. I plan to achieve that goal through making time to write, studying the art and business of writing and taking classes.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Multi-tasking edition

1. If I go grab the code for my usual purple table, I won't have time to actually write my list so I'm going "naked" this week.

2. We're almost done nit-picking. As Mike points out in his comment to that post, the nit-picking is not actually the worst of it. It's all the washing, scrubbing, vacuuming and double-bagging of stuff (for TEN DAYS!) that's actually worse.

3. Under the heading of "Motherhood isn't always what I thought it would be": Last night, I sat on the floor of my room, picking nits out of my daughters' hair and watching Skating with Celebrities. Now THIS is the life . . .

4. I apologize to everyone who had uncontrollable urges to scratch their head after reading yesterday's post.

5. This is hopefully the last time I will discuss head lice. Ever.

6. I'm still planning on testing for my yellow belt on Saturday. I have Tae Kwon Do tonight and hopefully I'll be able to work on some of the things I'm not sure I have down pat yet. I'm fairly confident about passing the test but I'm still nervous.

7. I went to kickboxing on Tuesday night. I haven't been there in a month so I was afraid I'd be dead by the end of class but it was ok. I was only half dead.

8. The reason I named this the multi-tasking edition is because I'm typing this while I'm (sort of) listening to a conference call. Actually, I'm only listening to every other word so I have NO idea what's going on.

9. I hope they don't ask me a question.

10. Update on A Girl's career - we've decided to sign her to an exclusive arrangement with an agency here in Chicago which will also give her an exclusive arrangement with an L.A. agency. She and Big D are going to spend three weeks in L.A. next month during "pilot season" which is when they cast for the pilot episodes of next year's new shows. We realize that it is rather insane to turn our lives upside down for an eight year old's career but she really loves doing this and while she's getting some interest from the agencies, we might as well see what happens.

11. A Girl has a great attitude about it all. She enjoys auditioning and works hard but doesn't put an unhealthy emphasis on getting a job. And she loves performing - whether it's on camera, voice over or (especially) singing. We try to down play the career aspect - we emphasize that it's for fun and that it could all go away tomorrow. She knows that she may never book a job again and though she'd be disappointed, it wouldn't be devastating. Taking her to L.A. certainly heats things up quite a bit but we're of the mind that it's a time to meet new people and explore new opportunities. If nothing comes of it, they got a nice long visit to L.A. during Chicago's suckiest month (weather-wise).

12. I really believe that doing this stuff will help her down the road. At eight, she can already talk to anyone and isn't intimidated by unknown people or places. She's developed great confidence (but not ego) and that will help her as she grows up. Ok, I know I sound like one of those scary, big-haired mothers who puts her overly-made up five year old in freaky "beauty" pageants so "she'll develop confidence." But really, I'm not like that. Really.

13. Yeah! American Idol is on again! Do not ask me why I love that show. I just do. A Girl and I watch it religiously. M Girl would much rather watch Fairly Odd Parents. But she told me that if I wanted her to, she'd watch American Idol with me. Oh, the sacrifices that kid will make for me!

Thanks for reading. Now go visit some other Thursday Thirteeners - just check out the blog roll on the side bar for links! And all credit for the Thursday Thirteen concept goes to Leanne, the mother of the Thursday Thirteen. Be sure to stop by her blog and say hello!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Nit-picking. Literally.

That's right, folks. We have been visited by that scourge of childhood - head lice! Fun times. Not only do both girls have it. I have it and I am totally skeeved out. And I can't stop scratching my head. We probably wouldn't even know it yet if it weren't for the fact that M Girl has an ear infection. I took her to the doctor this morning for her ear and while we were there, I had them check her scalp.

I had a sneaking suspicion it might be lice but I was hoping against hope that it wasn't. A Girl has been scratching for over a week. But she's always bitching about paper cuts, bruises and other minor ailments so we just figured it was dry skin and she was being overly dramatic about the scratching. On Sunday, Big D said "Why don't we just take her to the doctor? Maybe there's something they can give her for the itching" We looked closely at her scalp and didn't see any crawly bugs. We saw little white things that we figured were just flakes from her dry scalp. So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided NOT to take her to the doctor. Now I know - your kid can have lice even if you can't see crawly bugs on their scalp. And the little white things are not "flakes" unless they actually flake off. If you jiggle the hair and the little white things don't move, they're nits.

Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. (Major points to anyone who can tell me where that phrase comes from).

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thusday Thirteen - Late edition

Thirteen Things about Jessica

1. I admit it, I'm late with my Thursday 13 but I'm doing it anyway. Thank goodness for the ability to "back post" a post! If I didn't admit it here, no one would know! (But I'm too honest for that).

2. It looks like I'm going to test for my yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do on January 21st. Yeah! I'm really excited. I've been working my butt off (unfortunately only figuratively, so far).
3. The only thing my instructor was concerned about was whether M Girl would feel bad if I got a yellow belt before her. She only goes once a week and she isn't quite ready yet. He thinks she'll be ready next month. Big D and I think that it's part of life that people advance at different rates and we're not worried about her being permanently scarred by my advancing quicker than she does. At some point, if we both stick with Tae Kwon Do, I'm sure she'll pass me up. And I'll just have to deal with it!
4. Whenever you test for a new belt, you have to write an essay that's at least 125 words. For this belt, my essay is supposed to be about why I'm taking Tae Kwon Do and what goals I'm setting for myself. I'll post it here when I get it written. I'm excited - I have a paper to write!
5. I got an iHome iPod Docking Station from my hubby for Christmas. I use it at work so I can listen to my iPod all day. I love my iPod! I love my iHome! If I wanted to take a nap at work, I could set the alarm on the iHome and wake up to my iPod tunes. Not that I would do that . . .
6. I'm working on my writing goals. It's slow going. I guess I'm scared to commit to anything. Maybe I'm afraid it will be another promise to myself that I'll break. I've been thinking of lots of ideas for writing and reading my Writers Magazine (which is great) so I'm feeling pumped up about it. I just have to dedicate more time to it. And not at work!
7. In February I get to go to L.A. on business and I'm staying at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills. It's only 3 minutes away from our good friends who I'm dying to see. They had a baby girl in November. This is what I made for her - this blanket (but in a different color) and this blanket.
8. Now that I'm done with those baby blankets, I'm going back to work on a blanket for Big D (a nice soft, thick dark blue basketweave) that I started more than two years ago.
9. I think I should officially be named the queen of unfinished projects. I have a crochet blanket that I started working on over ten years ago. (!) I was going to do gardening on our three balconies. I bought some books on container gardening and we bought a large container with a trestle (that we've yet to set up). There are still no living things on those balconies (except the spiders and as long as they continue to eat the mosquitoes, they can stay).
10. I'm not even talking about the stories and stuff I've started to write but never finished.
11. Maybe finishing what I started should have been one of my resolutions for 2006.
12. Or not.
13. At least I'm doing Thursday Thirteen regularly. I gotta have some discipline in my life!

See the sidebar blog roll for links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. ItÂ’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, January 09, 2006

The ex-friend

This is my entry for this month's Blogging for Books. Because the guest author is Lani Diane Rich who wrote Ex and the Single Girl , the topic is to write about your Ex, whatever that means to you. I'm happily married to my one and only so I don't have an ex-husband. My ex-boyfriends (as few as there are) didn't stick around long enough and weren't interesting enough to provide good fodder for this entry. So I started thinking about the only ex I have and that's an ex-friend.

An ex-friend is different than a former friend or an old friend. When a friendship ends because of distance or busy, separate lives, a friend becomes a former friend. When a friendship fades for those same reasons but you'd still call the person in a heartbeat if something came up, that friend is an old friend. But an ex-friend results from a friendship that is terminated on bad terms. This doesn't happen often - at least not to me. I have quite a few former and old friends and, in many cases, there's always the possibility that those friendships could be re-ignited under the right circumstances. I have one ex-friend (I'll call her Bev). The strange thing is that I don't for sure know why the friendship ended; I only know that it didn’t end well.

It was really a "couples" friendship - my husband and I became friends with Bev and her husband (I'll call him Doug) when mutual friends got married. Bev and I went to the bachelorette party, Big D and Doug went to the bachelor party and the four of us drove out of state to the wedding together. At the time, we lived one block apart. We were good friends for years - they were the first friends we told when I got pregnant with A Girl. They helped us bring her home from the hospital. We got season tickets to the theater and went on vacation together. Even after they moved to the suburbs, we managed to visit each other fairly regularly. After they had their daughter, we brought them our baby swing and other gear. We emailed, we talked on the phone and we went out to dinner. We were good friends.

And then Big D's mom died. She had a stroke and other serious medical problems. Big D was his family's rock - helping them understand what the doctors were saying, helping them make the difficult decision to let her go. It was agonizing for Big D and all of us who loved his mother.

I called Bev and Doug to tell them about Big D's mom. They were on vacation in Europe but I left a message. They didn't call back. A week or so later, I called again. Bev answered the phone. Before we could barely say hello, she said something like "Tell Big D I'm going to send him a condolence card." "Oh, ok." I said. Then she ended the call. And that was it, I never heard from her. I called and left a few messages. Nothing. A while later we got a condolence card from them. I don't remember what it said but I remember feeling like it had all the warmth of a form letter. It was the kind of card you send an acquaintance, not a good friend.

Big D and I racked our brains trying to figure out what we might have done to piss them off but we couldn't think of anything. For our part, we never called to try to make amends. Mostly because we didn't think we did anything wrong but partly because we were hurt. The only thing we could think of that might have led to the end of the friendship was that Big D and I thought about voting Republican in the 2000 Presidential election between Al Gore and George W. As friends often do, we talked about the election one night at dinner. We told them we were thinking about the possibility of voting for Bush because we weren’t sure we liked Al Gore. In all honesty, it was a lesser of two evils thing. By their reaction, you would have thought we told them that we robbed a liquor store. I thought Bev was going faint into her linguini.

So, it came down to politics. Apparently, they were so put off by the fact that we would even consider voting Republican – ever – that they decided they couldn’t be friends with us anymore. If that’s the case, I feel sorry for them. It must be hard holding onto convictions that are so frail they can’t withstand a little debate. Big D and I have friends from many different cultural, religious and political backgrounds. Hearing their varied points of view expands our knowledge even if we disagree with them. Besides, if we only made friends with people who agree with us on all major issues, we probably wouldn’t have many friends.

Baby butt shot

We had a little crisis with M Girl yesterday about a framed picture we wanted to put up in her room. When she was a baby, we had professional pictures taken of both girls at Classic Kids Photography. They do a compilation they call "Baby Parts" which consists of nine small pictures of different parts of the baby - full face, profile, feet, belly button etc. (To see an example, click on the link, click on "enter" and a new page pops up. Click on "Gallery" at the bottom of the new page and then click on "Small" (the button right above the Gallery button). The first thing you see is Baby Parts.) As you can see, one of the essential parts of Baby Parts is the butt shot.

When M Girl was having her Baby Parts pictures taken, she did not like the butt shot - she screamed the entire time we had her on her tummy. It was hard to get a good picture because her butt was all tensed up - not like the cute bubble butts babies have when they're relaxed. Fast forward four years . . . we love M Girl's Baby Parts picture and we finally got around to hanging it up in our "new" home this weekend. We decided to put it in her room but when she saw it, she had a fit. "I don't want people to see my butt!" she shrieked. Her dad and I tried to convince her that it was cute but when she started to cry and stood, sobbing, in the corner of the room, Big D came up with a compromise. "Will you let us put it up if we cover the picture of your butt with a piece of paper?" She sniffed, blinked back the tears and nodded.

The thing is - I remember Big D and I having a conversation about the butt shot and guessing that it would be embarrassing to M Girl at some point. But we figured that it would happen in her pre-teen years when everything is embarrassing. We didn't expect it to happen so soon!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - New Year's Resolution edition

Thirteen Things about Jessica's resolutions

1. I know it's totally overdone, but I can't resist writing about my resolutions for 2006. Not because they're so special or anything and only partly because I'm hoping that making them more public will motivate me to keep them. I'm writing them down mainly as a historical record of what I'm thinking right now. It will give me an opportunity to beat myself up publicly next year for not achieving my goals this year.

2. My first resolution is to get organized. I've been making this resolution for years and I recently blogged about making this resolution before January 1st to get a kind of head start on it. The results have been mixed. My office is fairly clean but not necessarily organized the way it should be. My desk at home - not even close.

3. I think I have trouble getting more organized at home because when I'm at home, I want to relax, hang with the hubby, play with the kids, blog etc. Organizing is work and I don't like to work outside of the office if I can help it. (Hell, if I'm being honest I'd say I don't really like to work even when I'm in the office!) But I'm trying to change that problematic attitude. I want to set a good example for the kids - I do not want them to follow in my disorganized footsteps, that's for sure.

4. Resolution number 2 is to write more. I realize that's not very specific and, if I really want to achieve anything, it should be more specific. Hubby and I had a chat the other day about this issue. When it comes to my creative endeavors, I tend to have very amorphous goals - if I even have goals at all. It's hard for him to help me achieve something that's so vague and ill-defined. He asked what I want to write and I couldn't really say. I know I want to keep blogging but that's not really what I mean when I say I want to write more. I guess I want to write more fiction or maybe I want to write a screenplay. A magazine article would be nice. I could write a novel or perhaps a short story is better. See what I mean?

5. Which leads me to Resolution number 3: Spend time thinking about my dreams and set goals that will help me actually live my dreams. I like this resolution. I wish I could keep it. It's the scariest one for me. I'm so not good at setting goals. Well, I can set goals. I just have a hard time not procrastinating them away.

6. Moving right along to Resolution number 4: Continue with Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing. That I can do and really want to do. I'm not off to a great start, though because I skipped kickboxing Tuesday night. My excuse is that I still have a cold and my nose won't stop running and I wasn't sure I was ready to go back yet. Fairly lame. I have Tae Kwon Do tonight and I'm gonna go no matter how I'm feeling. I swear! If I'm not in the hospital, I'm going to class.

7. Resolution number 5: Quit making resolutions I'm not going to keep.

8. I think that's all the resolutions I made. I'm more hopeful about my chances for success this year than I have been in years past. I don't know why that is or whether it's reasonable to be more hopeful. Lately, I've been living a bit more intentionally than I used to. Life is full of trade-offs. If I spend time doing one thing, I can't spend that same time doing another thing. Although I am really, really good at multi-tasking, even I can't write a novel, help the kids with homework, clean my desk, knit a sweater and have sex with my husband at the same time. Not that I've tried that particular combination of things all at one time . . .

9. One resolution I will never make again is to lose weight. That one has never, ever worked for me. I hope that Resolution number 4 will help in that area but weight loss for the simple sake of weight loss is not something I'm willing to sacrifice for. Whenever I even think about dieting, I eat more. Counter-intuitive and super immature, I know. But at this point in my life I need to work with myself and not against myself. I'm not obese so losing weight isn't really a health imperative for me. I like to think of myself as zaftig (the second definition - no one would ever accuse me of being "full-bosomed").

10. Wow - I thought I would easily have thirteen things about my resolutions. I was wrong. I guess this is a good opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year!

11. Since I have nothing else to say about resolutions, I'll spend the last three items talking about writing and reading. I haven't been doing any writing - except blogging. I want to do the Artist's Way program but I haven't done morning pages since Sunday. Mostly because I haven't been able to get out of bed in the morning. It's kinda hard to write in the morning when I'm running out the door for work. Excuses, excuses.

12. I've been doing lots of reading, though. Over the holiday, I finished Black Maps, a thriller by Peter Spiegelman who used to work on Wall Street before he quit to become a writer. I also read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd which is a wonderful book about a white girl in the 1960's South who runs away from her abusive father and ends up living in the bright pink house of a black female beekeeper. I started reading Artist's Way, of course, and Predator which is Patricia Cornwell's latest Kay Scarpetta book. I've read all of the Kay Scarpetta books - I can't get enough! Big D is always amazed at how many books I'm reading at one time. I'm not sure how I keep all the plots straight but when I pick up a book (as long as I haven't left it for too long), it just isn't a problem.

13. I'm also reading the first Harry Potter book which is surprisingly good. The movie was absolutely true to the book and I'm amazed at how good the casting was. When I read the book, I can picture the kids from the movie and there's nothing inconsistent or jarring. I like the way Rowling uses just enough description to help you see things but leaves just enough to the imagination (although having seen the movie, it's hard for me to really use my own imagination). A friend loaned us the book so I could read it to the girls but neither of them is interested! M Girl isn't into chapter books and A Girl is loving The Chronicles of Narnia which I'm reading to her and Wicked which her Dad is reading to her. Maybe she has my ability to keep multiple plots straight!

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What is the matter with me?

I am so damn chipper today. I'm so chipper I'm even annoying myself. I suppose I shouldn't complain but I guess I'm just not used to feeling this way in January on the first working day after a long holiday. The weather sucks, I have a TON of work. I've been sick, I'm totally out of shape and I have kickboxing tonight which is going to kick.my.ass. But I'm walking around with an unnatural spring in my step, brightly wishing everyone a "Happy New Year!" What the hell is wrong with me?! It's January, I'm supposed to be crabby. Or is it during February that I'm crabby and January that I'm just plain tired of winter?

Seriously, though, I'm just happy right now and I should enjoy it before the hormones kick in soon. My husband took great care of me while I was sick last week and we had a really nice, relaxing New Years Eve. We watched Alexander which sucked but it was nice to just be sitting next to each other for an extended period of time without a young child coming in and asking for our help to negotiate a peace treaty or fix the computer (again) or simply trying to sit in between us. Part of it is that, due to some excellent encouragement from my hubby, I came into the office yesterday (which was a holiday for us), cleaned my desk and got a head start on work. So today doesn't really feel like the first day back.

Bottom line - I guess I'm really ready to start a new year. Fresh, hopeful and happy.

Happy New Year everyone!