Meeting Up

“Meet yourself where you are.” 

Have you heard that phrase before?  Until recently, I never had, so it’s a concept I enjoy wrapping my brain around.  I have this image of walking down the street, seeing myself at a corner, and going up to myself and linking arms.  Sometimes the corner is a café, and sometimes the arm link is a hug.  Other times the corner is the edge of a cliff and the hug is a shove.  It’s never the same image, but it always makes me smile (even when I am pushing myself off a cliff).

It’s not an easy thing to do, this meeting self where self is, especially for someone like me who has really specific goals and high expectations for self.  Why can’t “I” meet “ME” where “I” AM?  Does that make any sense?  Of course not.

One major internal struggle I have is whether or not I will do any acting again.  Now, I know that I cannot actually answer this question, and I don’t really HAVE to because it is an art and I believe it is always available to me.  (Hollywood producers that think women over 35 are “old” will disagree with me, but they are lame and I wouldn’t want to work with them now, or over 35.  So there).

But being that I moved out to LA to pursue a career in Acting, the fact that I am NOT doing that, despite finding a career that fills me up with joy and feels RIGHT, it does feel like a failure.  But like that saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” couldn’t failure also be in the eye of the beholder?  Just because someone may look at my path and say, “Oh man, Kate has totally failed as an actor” if I do not feel that way, does it mean I failed?  If a tree falls in the woods….What is the sound of one hand clapping?  (Another awesome image!)

So, in times of  feeling like a “failure,” I ask myself this question: Do I want to succeed at making sure other people think I am a success, or do I want to actually succeed?  The answer is obvious, but until I can remind myself of the difference, I actually get caught up in the feelings of failure.

I am not a religious person, but I do believe that things happen for a reason.  Moving to LA was not something we would have EVER done if the right situation hadn’t come up.  And if you asked me 1 year ago if that particular situation was “the right one” I would have told you without hesitation “NO.”  I might have even told you, in a moment of extreme drama, that those circumstances ruined my life.  But that would have been a lie, and the reality is that those circumstances led me to where I am today.  And today I am on a path to something I NEVER would have found back in Chicago.  I miss home SO MUCH.  I can see our lovely little Andersonville apartment in my mind and hear the hum of the radiator and my eyes fill up with tears because I miss it so much- even 1.5 years later!

BUT, if I am doing the hard work of “meeting myself where I am,” I am embracing that self, and letting her cry when she misses Chicago.  I am giving her space when she wants to rage against the frustration of not knowing where the path is going and why.  And, most of all, I am not EVER judging her when she changes her mind- about anything- because that is her prerogative.

And it’s yours too.

So make a plan to meet your “self” at a cozy cafe and hug it all out.  Everything feels better after a good hug, right?  Right.

Where I was

Where I am now

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August 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Hollywood, Home, LA. 2 comments.

List #10 (a week late)

Last week was strangely busy, yet unproductive.  I was craving personal contact, and so every time I sat down at my computer, it felt like the enemy- the opposite of the thing I wanted.  So I didn’t get much done, and I certainly didn’t blog.

So, I planned to post both lists 10 and 11 together in one post, but it would be super duper long, and you’d probably get sick of reading.

List #10: My 10 Favorite Spaces and Places (in no particular order)

(this list took me some time because I am really sentimental and I was worried this would make me homesick.  It did, but I got through it)

1.  In bed with my husband  Here are a list of my favorite beds: fancy hotel beds (specifically: the bed at The Conrad Hotel), the first bed we every bought together (a queen Sealy with a pillow top), the bed in Annie’s guest bedroom, and the guest bed at my In Law’s house.  Comfort is really important- more important than space.  We had a full size bed for most of our relationship and I used to joke that we were going to downgrade to a twin so we HAD to snuggle.  Moving up to a Queen changed my mind about that…it’s awesome!

2The Dumich kitchen table  Kate (Dumich) Sollmann has been my best friend since we were 10 years old and her family took me in as one of their own.  Both of my parents worked outside the house, so I spent many days and nights over at the Dumich house, sitting around the kitchen table.  It’s nothing fancy- just a solid wood table with plenty of seating- but it is a lovely, safe place to be.  The kitchen has a half wall that allows you to see into the living room so that everyone can talk and listen.  I always admired the way their family would talk over dinner.  No topic seemed off limits and the debates were always exciting.  I have shared laughter and tears at that table; Kate wrote out all my wedding place cards at that table; together we wrote out all of Amy’s wedding place cards at that table!  It has seen a lot and has been there for me in the same way that family has always been there for me- solid, simple, and not requiring a lot of fuss. 

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Kate working on Amy's placecards (what a good friend!)

3.  “The Middle of Nowhere”  When Buck and I stated dating at ISU, there weren’t a TON of options for fun.  We often had to make our own.  On stormy days, we hoped in his car and drove out to the fields to watch.  One day we found this concrete slab on the side of a remote country road.  We jumped out and watched the sunset and stayed up late talking and watching the stars.  We called it “The Middle of Nowhere” and would return to it when we needed some space.  It scared the crap out of me to be in the middle of a field at night, but I think that’s just the city girl in me who has watched too many slasher movies…

4.  Independent coffee shops  Some favorites: Aroma Coffee and Tea Company, Joey’s Cafe, Groundwork Coffee, Intelligentsia.  Okay, I know that last one is not independent, but I love their brew so much…and their cafe’s are always so cool and clean.

5.  The Ostello della Pace  translates to Peace Hostel in Italian, and I stayed there when I backpacked through Italy in 2003.  Located in Assissi, it’s one of my favorite places on this planet for one really simple reason: it was the first time I was fully living in the moment.  I found myself there after meeting a girl (Kristen from Boston) during my travels and we took a train out.  The hostel is made of stone and brick and has really comfortable, affordable rooms.  Our first night there, a few other travelers showed up (Colin from Canada and another guy from Spain), as well as an Italian scouting troop made up of roughly 20 eight year old kids (both boys and girls).  We all became friends and stayed up until the wee hours singing and dancing around a campfire with the scouting troop.  They sang camp songs in Italian and I had no idea what they were saying, but it was bliss.  There was a song about a “kiss train” and all the little boys kissed my cheeks.  I was 21 and alive in my skin for what felt like the first time.  It was very powerful.

6.  Craft rooms  I love all craft rooms.  They make me feel inspired.  Here is a picture of mine:
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7.  The radiator in the living room at The Paulina Palace #2A.  Buck and I moved up to Chicago after I graduated and found our perfect apartment in Andersonville.  Buck says I have rose colored glasses now that we don’t live there anymore, but I really did love that place.  In the living room, there is a long radiator, and during the summer months when it was off, I would perch on it and read, or just look out the window onto Paulina Street.  When Buck proposed to me, I was sitting on that radiator (until I tackled him on the floor after saying yes!), and when I got the call that I had been hired to my dream job, I was sitting on that radiator.  It wasn’t super comfortable to sit on, but it was always comforting to be there. 

8.  The Start and Finish lines at a marathon The Chicago Marathon.  The Chicago Marathon changed my life so many times.  It is so empowering to finish a marathon, and if you ever think you may want to do one, call me.  I truly believe that anyone can do it (yes, even you who says “but I only run if someone is chasing me!”) and I love talking about it.  The start and finish lines of the Chicago Marathon in particular are amazing.  When you are at the start line in Chicagoit’s still pretty dark out, the city lights are twinkling, they play inspiring music, and then the National Anthem, and you and the 30,000 runners around you share in the excitement of beginning a race.  The finish line has stands filled with people and a balloon arch and you know that once you cross it, there are likely going to be donuts on the other side.  And you are going to eat them.  A LOT of them.  Cuz you earned it. 

9.  The ocean  I have always been inspired by and terrified of the ocean.  When I am feeling overwhelmed, I like to drive out to the beach (it’s nice that I can do that now that I live in California!) and remind myself that the world is very big and my problems do not have to be. 

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10.  CW301  CW stands for Centennial West and 301 is a room in that building, which is located on the campus of Illinois Sate University.  This room housed my first college Acting class (with Kim Pereira), many rehearsals for the Improv Mafia, some Mafia shows, rehearsals for The House of Blue Leaves (one of my favorite roles), and it’s the room I sat outside of listening to Buck rehearse for a play, and where I allowed myself to admit that I loved him.  We weren’t dating yet, you see, and things would be complicated with our group of friends if we did get together.  I would take a walk to the building at night and sit outside on a bench to listen to him in rehearsal and dream about a day when he would tell me he loved me too.  Lucky for me, that day came and we’ve been telling each other that for over 10 years now.

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Mafia misfits in CW301 circa 2005

August 15, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . 52 lists, 52 weeks, Crafts, Friendship, Home, Husband, LA, sisters. 1 comment.

Water

On Sunday Buck and I went down to Long Beach with Zac to celebrate his last weekend in Cali before he heads off to do super smart stuff at Harvard.  We had dinner with one of Zac’s long time buddies, Luke, and his girlfriend, Jessica, who are both doing neat stuff here in LA.  Luke is a film maker and made a really beautiful spot for Patagonia.  Check it out: Our Common Waters

From their site, I visited the National Geographic Water Calculator page and took their water survey to find out how much water I am using per day.  At the end I made a pledge to reduce my water consumption by 116 gallons per day, which is 12% of my consumption, by doing the following:

  • Reducing the time I spend in the shower to 5 minutes (I think I’ll put a timer in the bathroom to help)
  • Only running the dishwasher 4 times per week (using the dishwasher uses about 10 gallons per load; hand washing uses 20 gallons!)
  • Don’t flush for pee (Buck gets totally grossed out by this, but he’ll need to get over it.  Luckily, our toilet was just replaced with a low flow one, so we are ahead of the game on that!  Each flush in a regular toilet uses 2 gallons of water, whereas a low flow toilet only uses 1.5 gallons)
  • Drive less (we’re already doing pretty well with only one car and we take the shoddy LA public transit as much as possible, but it’s still not great)
  • Buying recycled clothing (aka: thrift stores, Crossroads Trading Post, etc)

And here’s something: vegans consume nearly 600 gallons of water less per day than meat eaters!  It takes a lot of water to produce meat products, and that was pretty surprising to learn.

So, while 12% doesn’t seem like a lot, I am hoping that by making these changes in my own life, it leads me to discover other ways to cut back.

Check out the sites and learn about how you can make some simple changes to preserve the rapidly disappearing water we have left on the planet:

Our Common Waters Campaign

National Geographic Water Conservation Tips

Find out how much water it takes to make food you are eating

 

 

August 2, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Environment, Home. Leave a comment.

List #9

Things I am Looking Forward To

1.  My next birth. And by that I mean the next birth I get to Doula on, although I am also excited to have my own birth experience (someday).  This weekend I was on call to be the back up for a Doula I haven’t met yet, which was a brand new experience for all of us!  We spent a lot of time talking on the phone, texting, and sending good vibes toward one another.  She was back on the scene for the birth yesterday, and I wasn’t able to go support her, but it was nice to know that we were only a text or a phone call away any given point.  Missing out on the birth experience only made me more excited to meet my next mama!

2.  Visit from my In Laws.  I am blessed with having some of the best In Laws ever!  Jan and Dan, my husband’s mom and step dad, are coming out for a visit at the end of October and we are so excited to see them.  We are still forming the list of fun places we want to show them, so if you live in the LA area and want to make suggestions, please do!

3.  Celebrating my 3rd Wedding Anniversary.  Buck and I got married on September 7th, 2008.  In case you are wondering, the wedding gift theme for year 3 is leather.  Being a vegan, I won’t be giving or receiving real leather, and according to Wikipedia there is another, modern gift alternative: glass or crystal.  I tend to like homemade gifts best, but my glass blowing thingie is in the shop…

4.  A visit from my sister Amy (someday!).  Amy got married in June and then took her fancy honeymoon to Mexico, so I don’t expect a trip out to LA anytime soon, but I keep it on my list of things to look forward to!

5.  Getting back into a workout routine.  I love routine.  I thrive BEST when I have a routine and a schedule.  Give me a day with nothing on the schedule and it is likely that 5 hours will be destroyed by Real Housewives of Any City, or whatever else is on Bravo.  This is why I have been attempting to schedule my day hour by hour.  I make a list of what I need to do during the day and then I write out the schedule.  I set an alarm on my phone to tell me when my time is up and I have to move on to the next task.  I even schedule in lunch, cleaning, and reading because they just won’t get done otherwise.  Working out has yet to make it on my list, but I blame the awesome friends I have had visiting in the month of July (and by blame I mean thank).  I’d like my routine to include yoga at least twice a week ($5 yoga with Daniel at the Women’s Club of LA every Monday and Wednesday!), walks in the canyon, and eventually some boxing.

6.  The next time I can get an iced soy vanilla chai latte from Joey’s Cafe.  Dang, I had the BEST chai last week!  I actually do not order chai very often because it doesn’t have espresso in it, and because it’s often too sweet for me.  But last week I stumbled upon Joey’s Cafe on Santa Monica and Sweetzer in West Hollywood while I was waiting for Buck to pick me up.  I ordered the chai and chatted on the phone with Amy.  This chai was Ah-May-ZING!  It has vanilla in it and I think that makes all the difference.  Anyway, I can’t shop thinking about it and trying to plot reasons to go past Joey’s again…

Side note about getting organized: I really like making lists, but I don’t love making them on anything other than paper.  Is that weird?  A million years ago, Kate gave me this awesome note pad:

My favorite notepad

I don’t think the company makes it anymore, so I savor the pages, but they make all sorts of great notepads.  The company is called Knock Knock and I spend a lot of time on their site trying to decide which note pad will replace this one.  Maybe this one or this one.

August 1, 2011. Tags: , , , . 52 lists, 52 weeks, Home, sisters. 1 comment.

List #2

List #2 coming to you from humid Chicago!

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June 20, 2011. 52 lists, 52 weeks, family, Friendship, Home. 1 comment.

A Place for Everything

Do you “have a place for everything?”  I don’t.  I have a place for books (ie: bookshelf), but they usually only stay on it if I don’t touch them.  I have a place for my yarn, but “place for my yarn” be damned when I am in the thick of a project!

I can’t be the only one with the inability to keep things where they should be, right?

While I was home, my BFF Kate had a book from the library about de cluttering your life and even though I don’t remember the name of the book right now (chime in here Kate!), the idea of de cluttering and finding a place for things is really sticking with me.  Whenever I am feeling frantic (now) or like I can’t focus on something (most of the time) I can usually look around and figure out why: every surface in my home is covered and I can’t find anything.

I REALLY want this to change.  Like, now.

I have been cleaning for the past hour, but I realize that I just don’t have the actual tools to help me organize.  For the longest time I had this plan to make fabric containers because I wanted less plastic in my life, and I thought it would be less expensive.  Sure, it costs less money, but it costs more of my time.  Time I can’t seem to find, or rather, WANT to find.  When I have free time, I want to hang with my husband, or read a book, or catch up on shows, or be with friends.  Making a fabric container to hold my husbands socks (we don’t have a dresser) is not high on the list.  Yet every time I open his closet and the mound of socks spills out, I want to punch things.  Someone said to me recently that you have to have a place right by the front door to catch your bag and keys because those are the most important and we’re most likely to lose them if we don’t have a spot RIGHT by the door.

What is the solution? Are there steps to take or rules to follow?

That’s it.  It’s actually a question for YOU, reader and friend.  What do I do?  How do you organize?  What is the name of that friggin’ book (or any others you like)?  And don’t tell me to go to The Container Store and drop a small fortune, cuz I don’t have that.  You CAN tell me to suck it up and just make the freaking boxes!  I would deserve that.

May 19, 2011. Tags: . Crafts, Home. 3 comments.