Boo. Fucking. Hoo. Hey, if you're stupid enough not to vaccinate your kid, and selfish enough not to keep him at home, thereby endangering those in the general population who cannot get vaccinated (the very young, people who are undergoing cancer treatment, etc.) and furthering the recent measles outbreak, you're going to hear some things you don't like. Not vaccinating out of principle is NOT a personal choice. Let me repeat that: Not vaccinating out of principle is NOT a personal choice. It doesn't just affect you. It affects all of us. I will continue to post article that underline the public health cost of your stupid and selfish actions. And if my elderly mother or my aunt who has cancer contracts measles because of your stupidity and selfishness, you'd better believe I'm coming after you with both hands. Sorry if that hurts your feelings.
I honestly wouldn't care if they just quarantined their kids. Keep them out of school, don't go to fucking Disneyland. It would still be stupid, but not selfish. But no, gotta have your cake and eat it too.
So I'm heading a class on Wednesdays--last fall I was the assistant for this class, now I'm heading it. It's a class with a lot of challenges. 1) The space is small and weirdly-shaped. 2) The age is disparity is huge--we have several 3 year olds, a few 4 year olds and several 5 year olds, including one big boy who is nearly 6. Big Boy is named Vicente and we had him last fall--he likes to KICK, which is a problem when you have several 3 year olds toddling around, barely able to connect their foot to the ball with any consistency. So I've been trying to figure out appropriate, fun lessons that are more than just daycare, that actually teach soccer, but that won't either: knock down the babies or: bore the older ones. To make it more challenging, two of the girls just DO NOT WANT to engage. One is 3 and she basically just doesn't want to do it. (And it looks as though she's not coming back--she's a sweet kid but this is for the best.) The other is 5 and she's more frustrating. Because she doesn't just not want to engage. What she really wants is for us to make a fuss over her. I've told her if she doesn't want to play, she can watch from the sidelines, but she doesn't just withdraw--she crawls all over the floor, she sticks her legs out, she does everything she can to pull the attention onto her and away from either the lesson or the game. And if I had just one more coach, we could indulge her drama queen antics. But we don't--there are only two of us leading this class. I've tried talking to her, trying to convince her, trying to sell her on the game but she just doesn't want to be there. Two weeks ago the class literally STOPPED--we'd started the Big Game and she kept wandering through it, dragging on our hands. Wouldn't sit down, wouldn't play. Very, very frustrating. But last week's class and today's actually went very well. I talked to my assistant and put him in charge of her--I said we're not going to fuss over her too much as long as she's out of the way. She didn't like that too much, as we weren't fawning over her, but the other kids in the class had a good time and they learned about (last week) Offense v. Defense and (this week) Passing.
So I had a long talk with the after school coordinator today saying I didn't think little girl should be in the class as it wasn't fair to the rest of the kids. She agreed. Who knows what will happen but the last two classes really have gone well, and I feel good about them.
Now, for recent news...
A month ago, pretty much everyone who reads this blog knows what happened: the apartment where D***** lived was completely devastated by fire. We all found out via FB, and D***** posted that it had started in A*****'s room. For those who aren;t aware, I know A*****. A***** was the director of the Scottish Play in 2010/11--he asked me to be on his team "in any capacity you like." I said sure, I'd like to be dramaturg. He then asked if I would also be assistant director. And he proceeded to fuck up the entire production to the point where he got FIRED. And then begged me not to accept the job if it was offered to me. Another A story--he wanted to read for the Nurse when Jason and I were casting Romeo and Juliet. I allowed him to read but there was no way in holy hell I was going to take away that great role from a woman and give it to a man. (He actually wasn't bad but the concept itself is so effing campy and cringe-inducing.) After the audition he said he wanted to work on the production anyway, and asked to design costumes. Thereafter, for about a week, followed a shitton of emails from him. Like, 405 emails a day about costumes. I kept saying "please keep it simple, this is outdoor drama in the park." And then I got this stupid dramatic email from him saying he had to drop out, he couldn't do costumes, he was going to have to move back to Baltimore. Then the kicker--unless I could lend him [I can't remember the exact figure but it was well over $1000--I think it was over $2000, in fact] so he could avoid eviction. I was so disgusted. I mean, really, absolutely disgusted. How completely classless, to put me on the spot like that. I wasn't a good friend, I wasn't family, I hardly knew him. GROSS.
So I have no great opinion of A*****. Everything seems to overwhelm him, he's always so aggrieved and beset and there's always some basic living skill he can't seem to accomplish. Working on Macbeth was annoying as hell--he tried to pick my brain for ideas, "how would you direct this scene? This bit?"" Fucking do your own work, A*****! YOU'RE the director, come up with your own ideas! Stop trying to mine mine, I might get the chance to direct it myself someday. As it was he lifted the entire concept of his show from the BAM production. Classy.
So when D***** said the fire had started in A's room, my hackles rose. Then someone started a Go Fund Me for A, because he'd incurred injuries fighting the fire--and of course, of course, OF FUCKING COURSE he did not have insurance, even though he was required by law. (Apparently he's lost his job--yes, that does suck but there are affordable options now. The ACA is specifically addressing that. There are solutions--even if they're expensive, it's a hell of a lot more expensive to go to the hospital without insurance.) And the language on the Go Fund Me was weird--it vaguely blamed "a faulty space heater." Then later that day (or the next day), similar Go Fund Mes were set up for D and the third roommate, K**. D's took off right away, and even surpassed A's. By the end of Thursday (the day after the fire) both were up to nearly $7,000 and people were planning a joint fundraiser for the three of them.
Thursday night I met D at Marie's. After quite a few drinks I pulled him into the staircase and spoke plainly to him. I said first--DO NOT commingle your funds with his. Maintain your fund separately, get your own account, because if this fundraiser happens, people are going to be giving money to all three of you and I think that's a bad idea. Second, everyone is talking as though you are all going to move in together--PLEASE tell me you are not going to live with him again. (Duncan shook his head violently at that point.) I said I'd been thinking about this--the fire started in his room, right? A "faulty space heater"? Unless the thing spontaneously burst into flames and immediately incinerated his room, he is to blame. Space heaters are notoriously top heavy and dangerous, which is why many leases prohibit them. But it's not like they're an open flame--if they're knocked over you have at least 30 seconds to pick them up. So somehow he wasn't paying attention to the heater. Either he was out of the room (D said he was naked when the EMTs came--the mind reels but he may have been in the shower) or he was incapacitated. And somehow it was knocked over and started a horrific fire that destroyed most of their belongings, rendered them homeless and killed their cat.
Yep, that's right. He fucking murdered an animal. Why? Because he's an epic fuckup. And yet in all this time he hasn't give out his story of what happened, hasn't taken responsibility, hasn't said ANYTHING to the roommates whose home he destroyed. (I know he hasn't said anything to D & K because I asked D.)
And he's had all this money given to him, money that very generous and thoughtful people have given him, and I promise you he will fuck that up. He will forget that he owes all the huge medical bills and will blow the money on stupid stuff. And then he'll freak out about that, and then even more when the landlord sues him, as he will almost certainly do when he finds out A has all this money. So he'll be sued by the hospital, sued by the landlord and probably declare bankruptcy in a year or two.
And even worse--K, the third roommate, received overall (after one month) some $3800. Do you know how much A got in his Go Fund Me? The last time I checked nearly $18,000. Eighteen fucking thousand dollars for the fuck up who was stupid enough to leave a space heater unattended and who killed a cat and destroyed his roommates' lives. If he had an ounce, one goddam ounce, of human decency he would give some of that money to Kim. I just feel sick about the whole thing.
For the record I gave money to both K and D (equal amounts actually) but nothing for A.
When I got home I added the Russian keyboard to my phone and texted her по-русски saying what a great time I’d had. Now all I want to do is add a Russian channel to my cable setup! It’s amazing how inspired I always am when I force myself out of my comfort level—I get nervous but then I’m like “hey, I can DO this. I can learn Russian, I can become fluent in French.”
Anyway, so today after classes I had picked up a Meetup soccer game with a group with whom I've played before. But not in a while--I think the last time I played with them was sometime last spring. Between classes and my league team, just haven't had the time (and frankly, until mid-November or so, didn't really have the discretionary income. But now things are much better financially).
So the game was down in the Bowery at one of the worst fields in the city, cement covered with a thin coating of turk with big patches in place. But whatever, it was great just playing. However it had started to snow about an hour before the game, and the snow, alternating with freezing rain, continued throughout the whole game. So--challenging, cold, but fun. We ended up playing full field and I acquitted myself fairly decently. No goals (I was really inhibited under those conditions--I'm terrified of getting hurt again) so my touches weren't that great but neither were anyone else's. I did have several solid, pretty assists so I was happy--one of my assists had like five guys, including several on the other team, complimenting me. I'll take it :)
Afterward we all went to a nearby bar to quaff beers. I had an awesome time shooting the breeze with a bunch of guys, about "where are you from" and "you're a SOCCER COACH, that's awesome!" and Peruvian cuisine and whatnot. One of the guys even asked me if I wanted to go dancing with him (I'd been talking about my club days in DC--oh the memories!--and how much I loved dancing) and another at one point said to the group about me "she's beautiful, she's intelligent, she's got good soccer skills..." and then another guy said something to him in Spanish which made the guys smile. Anyw, lots of fun. Now here's where it got--annoying. There's a girl who's attached to this group--she's listed in the meetup as "assistant organizer" and I've seen her at pretty much all the games. I'm not sure how she got attached because she's not a good soccer player, but you know, sometimes you just like hanging out with a group. That's fine. What's weird is how...hostile she always seems to be toward me and, as far as I can recall, other women who've shown up for these games. (There aren't many, I'm one of the few. In fact today there were only two of us amongst 18 guys.) She's always been cold, unfriendly and as I realized this, I just gave her a wide berth. Today we get to the bar and she's already there--she left halfway through the game because of the weather. We sit down and there's a menu in front of her. After a few minutes I ask her if she's still looking at the menu (because I'm hungry and would like to look it over). Remember, she's already been there at least 20 minutes, with a menu. She says to me curtly "yes. I am." Okay, whatever--you could've been friendlier about that but I'm not going to go out of my way to take offense.
But a little while later the guys and I are talking about religion--most of them (being South American) are Roman Catholic and we start discussing the difference between Roman Catholicism and Episcopalianism. I start saying "well, the main difference is political--we do not follow the Pope, we're part of a different power structure and have our own head.. But the structure of the mass is essentially the same and we have very similar styles..." She cuts me off "they're not similar, we don't talk about the Virgin Mary at all."
Okay, an academic aside here. Not having the Hail Mary as part of your Mass vs. "not talking about the Virgin Mary" are two different things. For one thing, I don't think the Catholics say Hail Marys during the Mass, I think that's a private--albeit very common--prayer, said as a penance after confession. Second, we DO "talk about Mary" in other ways. She shows up frequently in the Gospels, and the Magnificat--Mary's response to the Annunciation ("My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior....")--has been set to music many, many times in the Anglican tradition. I could sing a whole setting to you right now that I learned as a child, I remember it so well. For that matter, the Hail Mary has also been set to music many times in the Anglican tradition, the Bach/Gounod setting being one of the most well-known. Mary is certainly not ignored in the Episcopal church, although she is given more prominence within the Catholic church.
Anyway. I responded "what? Yes, we do--some parishes do at any rate." She took umbrage at this and started "I'm a lifelong confirmed Episcopalian--" Me: "As am I." "And I'm telling you we don't talk about the Virgin Mary!" I paused and said carefully "Well, it sounds like your parish does not. But Episcopal styles of worship vary greatly across the US--some are low church and some are high church, it's not as uniform as Roman Catholic services are. Very high church parishes often DO talk about Mary more because those types of parishes prefer the Catholic style even if they don't want to be part of the Catholic structure--" She got REALLY annoyed at this and kept trying to impress me with her "lifelong Episcopal" street cred. I got so annoyed, I was tempted to say "Yes, and my step-grandfather was an Episcopal priest who founded St. Andrew's school in Boca Raton. And my cousin was the Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, who also baptized me--AT the Cathedral. You want pictures?" Luckily I resisted that urge because argument by authority is weak. You're not right because you have a degree in a subject or because of your personal background--you're right because your argument makes sense or your facts are correct.
It just...really pissed me off, I have to say. It was so pointlessly antagonistic. First, her jumping in to correct me like that, then to try to shut me up by citing her "lifelong" status. Stow it, girl. You have no idea who you're talking to, and you're inarticulate. Because I thought about it and a big part of the problem (besides her rudeness) was her wording--"we don't talk about the Virgin Mary at all." She should've said "we tend not to have the Marian emphasis that Roman Catholic churches do, although that varies by parish and region." THAT would've been nuanced, would've opened up the conversation in a new direction, would've been respectful.
So, because I was SO annoyed, I started explaining to the rest of the table what I just said above in my little academic aside. I talked about the Magnificat, about low church versus high church, about the similarities between RC masses and Episcopal masses [certain prayers MUST be said or sung, in a certain order--the Kyrie, Gloria Patri, the Agnus Dei, the Sanctus/Benedictus, etc.--if you've ever seen Agnes of God, they sprinkle the prayers throughout the script in the proper order]--plus you have the sacrament of Communion (with the elevation of the host), the lighting of the candles--in order for it to be a proper mass, both churches have these structural similarities. THEN I started talking about the difference between transubstantiation (Catholics believe during the elevation of the host an actual, literal miracle happens--the bread is turned into the flesh of Christ) whereas Episcopalians believe something happens, Christ's presence is in the Host, we're just not sure exactly how.
THEN I talked about St. Mary's in Times Square, the church I used to attend, which is ridiculously high church. I was explaining how during the Adoration of the Cross you actually kiss it, which is so Catholic I felt uncomfortable. I mean, I'm pretty high church but the next step after that is kissing the Pope's ring! I said how they frequently featured Marian tradition within their services.
So basically I opened up the floodgates and vomited all this onto the table and directed it all to the guys with a sweet Southern smile on my face. And mission accomplished because it SHUT HER THE FUCK UP. There was nothing she could say to that, I too obviously knew my stuff. And I hope she felt stupid and I don't feel bad. If she hadn't been so obnoxious and rude I probably would've made it more of a conversation as opposed to an impromptu lecture but...ugh, I was just so annoyed!
And what it really comes down to is territoriality and...well, I'm going to come right out and say it, only because at my age I've seen this enough times that modesty be damned. She's jealous. She's not a good soccer player, she's not attractive and a lot of these guys were being friendly to me. She could've been cool--most of these soccer groups are super cool--but no, she had to try to make me feel unwelcome, like I was intruding. And honey, that will backfire. I know exactly how to treat women like you. I become even nicer, smile even more, ignore your rudeness and chat the guys up even more. (THEY were friendly as hell to me--THEY were nice.) Women like that absolutely HATE it when you refuse to play on their terms, because it makes them look petty. Kill 'em with kindness, that's the Southern way. Honey, you've just triggered the heat-seeking missiles ;)
|You Should Stay Home|
You don't like to get too spooky during this scary night. You're more of the festive type.
So a few days ago Ryan asked me if I wanted a comp to the opening of a musical he's in--Liberty, down at Theater 80 in the East Village. Liberty is actually a heavily reworked version of a musical called Lady of Copper I did back in '01-'02. When Ryan texted me I thought long and hard about it, because my experience with this show was not one of unmitigated joy. I auditioned in fall of '01 and I could tell at the auditions they were singing me for Emma Lazarus, the ingénue. They even joked about how unsuited I was for Moskovitz (the character role, a comic shtetl-type) so when they offered me Moskovitz I was surprised but took it. We did a couple of performances up in Washington Heights that were filmed, and apparently this producer dude, whose parents were VERY well-connected (they founded one of the very well-known actors studios in the city) saw it and wanted to take over and take this thing to Broad-way! So they allowed it and this guy just ran roughshod over the show and me in particular. They immediately switched me to playing Emma, which was fine by me, and then booked us at the Cherry Lane. (Again, fine by me.) But this guy was a TERRIBLE director--I mean, truly a joke. Absolutely terrible direction, and he insulted us, and really seemed to have a problem with the questions I would ask him to try to understand what he wanted me to do. (At one point I remember asking him how do I justify that Emma walks up to a complete stranger and initiates a conversation when it's been established how shy she is? And he got upset and was like well YOU wouldn't do that, but SHE would. Like he didn't understand at ALL what I was saying.) Everyone detested him. It got so bad the rest of the cast started sticking up for me, both privately and to his face. It was fun working at the Cherry Lane though.
Then they had me doing a bunch of the school tours which were ROUGH. The audiences were fine but I had to get up BEFORE the crack of dawn to get into Brooklyn by 6 am, load in, and then drive to wherever we were performing. I bonded quite a bit with my Lady Liberty who was awesome and funny--she was a former Miss Kentucky and Miss America contestant so she had the dish. We had similar senses of humor :) At one point the people who'd written and composed the show sat us down and told us they were hoping to take the show to Broad-way but they couldn't promise us anything casting-wise but we would get our Equity cards out of it. Needless to say none of this happened. But imagine my frustration years later when I discovered they'd ended up doing EQUITY TYA TOURS UP AND DOWN THE EAST FUCKING COAST. Where was *I* when you were doing this? Why didn't you call me so I could at least get a goddamn Equity card to make up for the shit I suffered under Avram and the incredibly hard work I did in the local school tours?? I was, and remain, genuinely pissed off about that.
So I wasn't sure if I wanted to go but in the end I said yes. And I'm really glad I did. The brother and sister writer-lyricist-composer team, Dana and Jon, saw me and actively sought me out and were extremely gracious toward me. Dana was reminiscing about my audition and just raving about my voice. "That gorgeous soprano voice! I knew right away she was our Emma." (It got a little awkward when I reminded her they'd originally cast me as Moskovitz :) She did not remember!) And Jon was VERY nice to me (I always thought he had a tiny crush on me, not enough to act on but he always seemed to respond to what I was saying or doing. Just a hunch :)
They've retooled the show into something entirely different and...I'm not sure it works, exactly. It's definitely less of a children's show but it's not quite a nuanced enough show to engage adults. I think it wears its heart on its sleeve--nothing wrong with that but it still has a junior-ish feel to it. And I think recasting Liberty as a young girl, instead of a woman, emasculates the give and take even more. Now the villain, Commissioner Walker, literally towers over this girl and looks like even more of a bully--there's no subtlety to his portrayal. It's an interesting idea but I don't think it quite works.
Anyway so during the game on Wednesday I was nervously doing vocal warmups which one of my teammates asked me about--this then led to our discussing voice lessons. My teammate Adam wants to take voice lessons from me! So we worked out a fair price, $30 per lesson--I think most voice teachers are outrageously overpriced, it's ridiculous you can take a dance class for a third of what you'd pay for a voice lesson. But that'll be fun! And extra dinero :)
Also my Mom is visiting starting on Monday!
And the best news of all--I'm being promoted! Yay! When I was first hired they'd told me that the first promotion comes pretty quickly, within 4-6 weeks but they actually were a bit slack on this. Some of the other coaches told me to push for it, that the office needed to be reminded that I hadn't made taken the next step yet, so I emailed them and got bumped up (with an accompanying ride in pay grade) to Junior Coach. This was back in August and I honestly thought that the next promotion would take much more time. But yesterday I got a notification that I'd been staffed to additional classes--and I noticed that I was listed as the Head and only coach on the classes. I emailed for clarification and was told that they'd received "great feedback" and they thought I was ready to lead my own classes now. And of course I'm paid more for these classes! *And* I get to invoice additional money for picking up and dropping off the equipment! So it's all pretty exciting stuff. I spoke to the guy on the phone today and we went over stuff and he reiterated he'd been hearing really good feedback about me. I will say, I get along great with kids and am very good with them. One of my classes on Saturday is just jam-packed with cuties who want to sit in my lap, including this one little boy who is--I don't want to say challenging because he's not, he's just a little bit less-behaved than the others, Just a bit. So I figured the best way to tame him was to sit down and pat next to me, like "come sit with the coach." And he decided he wanted to cuddle and then the others wanted in, and I ended up with three kids on me! One in my lap and one on each knee. And two more on each side. TOO CUTE. I was saying "Am I a wedding cake? I thought I was a person when I woke up this morning, but I guess I'm a wedding cake...it's kind of hard to kick the ball when you're a wedding cake but I'll do my best."
In addition to the fact that I genuinely enjoy working with kids and of course I love soccer, there's kind of a--shall we say, a corporate element to the job that I think is working out for me. For one thing, I'm not just good with kids, I'm a female who is also good at soccer. You'd be surprised at how many of the coaches here don't really play the game. This is why they staffed me for so many of the Premier clinics this summer, because I can work with the select players and actually improve them. And my being a woman is a rare commodity--the vast majority of the Premier coaches were guys, and they have to have at least one female there to escort the girls to the bathroom. The Premier clinics are for the summer and those same coaches then go on to coach the travel teams for the fall. They wanted to staff me for one of the travel teams but the practice slots interfere with my evening work at L***** so I had to turn them down. HOWEVER--the games are on the weekends and the head of the Premier division encourages us to attend the games (even if we're not staffed for them). I interpreted this as "make an appearance at the company holiday party" kind of thing, so I walked over to Randall's Island on Sunday to watch a game or two--and of course to have it noticed I was there. And I was noticed :) And now I'm wondering if that impressed them enough that they decided to fast-forward my promotion to Head Coach? There is a corporate/political element in nearly every workplace environment, nothing wrong with playing the game. (Oh, I can be so Slytherin sometimes!)
In the afternoon I crossed the bridge to Randall's Island and FINALLY got a chance to ride again! The lesson, which was in the ring, went FANTASTICALLY. They gave me a quirky little mare named Rosie who was docile enough on walk and trot but took some convincing to bump up to canter. The instructor, a Barnard student named Christina, was terrific, giving me a lot of specific instruction on how to get her to canter and finally we did it 4-5 times, yes I canteredcanteredcantered. SO AWESOME. Christina told me the first time she'd ridden Rosie she had not been able to get her to canter so that made me feel even better.
After I dismounted Anna told me that DB had said if I wanted, I could ride another horse (Magic, I've ridden him before) out of the ring, in the small patch of grass and trees near the gate. Naturally I said yes! So Magic and I had a nice little 20 minutes or so which was a lovely end to the afternoon. Afterward DB and I talked--he said if I liked I could take Magic out into the big pasture next time and work him there (much more room). And said that any time I liked I could come over and work the horses for free. FOR FREE AAAAAAUAGH Riding is so expensive, the phrase "for free" is never heard. And the honor of being asked to work the horses! It really is an honor and I am so excited.
Me on Magic
HOW CUTE IS THIS It is seriously cute, that's how cute. I had a lot of fun with them last week, I felt as though I were getting into a good groove. The most important thing is to connect with them so they enjoy it but this is sometimes difficult when little kids, 5 and 6 years old, are at camp for 6 hours. That's a long time for a little kid to be doing the same thing, essentially, so the more they connect with you, the more they'll like it. But at the same time they are there for a specific purpose, to become better soccer players, so you can't neglect the skills and the drills. The funny thing is, I'M becoming better as well--I instituted a new practice wherein every time they go to the bathroom (it's a five minute walk away), they have to dribble a ball so they can get more touches on the ball. I try to take them as often as possible, and when I do, I will practice various kinds of dribbling--pullbacks, rollovers, tick tock, etc. It's important to practice skills like this so it gets into your body, becomes part of your body vocabulary.
One of the kids last week was awesome--this skinny little black kid who was far and away the best all around player I had all week. (And yet not at all arrogant or showoff-y, he had a terrific attitude as well.) I had to choose teams very carefully because whichever team got him automatically had a huge advantage. The Big Game (every afternoon we had The Big Game after lunch) would start and he would go to town. Not only did he have phenomenal ball skills, he had an amazing shot--his favorite move was to take the ball, work it around behind the other players to his right, and then BAM--his right foot would strike. His team would rack up a 4-5 goal differential so then I'd have to step in as goalie for the other team (whenever I played I made it so that I couldn't score, I could only defend). So THEN it became this mano a mana situation, where the kid's taking shot after shot after shot and it's only because I'm obviously much bigger, older and more experienced that I'm blocking them! He would nail this amazing shot and I would grab it but was he disappointed or angry? Nope, he would just grin and say "Clara stops it AGAIN." Just a great example for the other kids. (I talk about that from time to time, how one of the best ways to learn is to watch those who are better and model yourself.) At one point I pulled him aside and said when you get a chance, start developing your left foot--you're obviously an amazing right wing but at this point I know what you'll do every time you get the ball. Become ambidextrous and then you're a bigger threat and less predictable. (Which is what I did in my teens--I trained my left foot and now I usually play left wing.)
Since the premiere clinics are on Randall's Island, all this summer I've been meaning to stop by the barn and reintroduce myself to the Blairs. DB is pretty old (84) although he looks much younger, so I was hoping they'd remember me. I didn't get a chance to walk over until last Thursday when during lunch I told one of my rugrats, this 6 yo girl named Lucy who followed me around like a puppy :) that I was running an errand, if the other coaches didn't mind if I stepped away. She asked what kind of errand so I explained it to her. She then asked if she could tell the others and I said "don't say anything until you actually see me walking across the other field--that way you'll know the other coaches don't mind my stepping out." Anyway, so the other coaches were cool and I jogged over to say hello. DB remembered me right away--he said "who could forget Clara! Now when are you coming over to ride?" We set up a time for Saturday and I jogged back to THE cutest thing ever--lunch had just ended and my kids were running across the field to me, arms flung wide, and when they got to me I was surrounded by moppets hugging me, all asking me "Did he REMEMBER you? Are you going to RIDE again? What HAPPENED?" It was like the soccer Family Von Trapp.
I can remember his career going all the way back to Mork and Mindy--I was in 6th grade when that came out and it was a big hit. I remember being so aware of that show I wrote a short story and named a character Morkimonia (who was otherwise not at all like Mork--not an alien, for example) and got twitted by my teacher for unoriginality. (I wrote a makeup story about a girl who couldn't fall asleep one night because it was too hot so she held her breath to make herself pass out.) I remember those rainbow suspenders everyone wore, that was from M&M. (God, did we love rainbow-anything in the late '70s/early '80s.)
And Dead Poet's Society! To this day that movie gets me. That gorgeous cinematography, the liberal quoting of so many of my favorite poets. That magnificent ending, when Neil struggles to do what is right and finally surges to his feet and onto the desk, knowing it will mean his expulsion. And the other boys joining him (including the one who'd written the doggerel "the cat sat on the mat" earlier) as that brave Scottish music swells louder and louder, drowning out the obnoxious teacher as he impotently tries to get them off the desks. And that last perfect shot from Keating's POV, looking up at these young men, now grown. I'm struggling not to cry right now. I just love that movie. I love its message, its themes and actors, its lushness and its beauty and its heartbreak.
It's interesting to note how many times in his work Williams confronts or deals with suicide. Neil in DPS kills himself; What Dreams May Come also dealt with suicide and the Oscar-nominated songwriter for Good Will Hunting, Elliott Smith (he wrote "Miss Misery") also killed himself.
Good Will Hunting
Aladdin--oh, so upsetting. My favorite movie of the Disney Renaissance, and he was a huge reason why.
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
These are what we stay alive for.
Make your lives extraordinary.
Thank you, Genie. thank you.
But I am enjoying the classes more and more--for one thing the kids are really warming up to me. No greater feeling for a coach than when a parent says "are you Coach Clara? Anna can't stop talking about you at home." AWWWWWW. (Anna is my personal challenge, she has an amazing foot but doesn't really have a game face, just kind of spaces out in the scrimmages. But one on one she's great. I want to teach her aggressiveness.) I love all my precious lambkins. And when the super shy kid who sits out most of the classes finally decides he likes you and follows you around. There's another kid too who has his good side and his bad side--he is a bit of an antagonist (not quite a bully but he can't seem to stop singling out one of the other kids for attention). But he is also super helpful setting up the goals and picking up at the end of the day. He pranked me the other day, stuck a FIFA World Cup player sticker on my back. So I vowed to tickle him as punishment and now that's our "thing" and he giggles like crazy when I chase him.
I am good with kids. I may have a learning curve for the nuts and bolts of coaching, but at least I've got the kids down.
*I have this weird need to prove how sick I really am if I ever have to call in sick. I rarely do anyway, I have many faults but I do have a strong work ethic. But it's also--this is going to sound weird but I have this worry they won't believe me, they'll assume I'm faking it. Sorry to say, this goes back to my dad and stepmom who were great in many ways but did a number on us that way. They were always trying to test us and trick us in weird ways and the assumption was that we were always lying. I remember when I was 7, someone had broken or stolen something (can't remember what the misdeed was) and none of us owned up. (Realistically it was probably the middle brother who was ALWAYS the one who pulled crap like that.) My dad called the three of us (my youngest brother was an infant at this time) up to the bedroom on the second floor and pointed to the window and told us we had to jump out the window, and whichever of us broke our leg, that was the one who was lying. I was horrified--I remember protesting we're ALL going to break our legs, what does THAT prove?! (Even as a kid I was logical.) This terrified me--are you kidding, I'm going to have a broken leg AND be blamed for something I didn't do!!
The worst "we assume you're lying" incident was later on in 7th grade. Some guy I didn't know in my grade called me up and wanted to talk to me and I'd told him I had a sort-of boyfriend. For some reason he looked up the phone of that SOBF in the phone book, called the house, SOBF's mother called and I guess he used a lot of foul language on her and then named me. SOBF's mom called my parents who confronted me. I had no idea what they were talking about and said so. To this day I remember my stepmother saying "why should we believe you?" To this day.
I should've said "because I'm not a liar and you should know that. Because I would never misbehave like that. I don't steal, I don't bully, I don't damage the neighbors' property--I don't do really bad things. In fact whenever I have messed up in a major way, I would go to them and tell them myself. Acting in such a sly, creepy way would be completely out of character for me. And you should know that."
But I'm actually adjusting to the pace rather well. My feet don't hurt so much at night and I've been sleeping almost enough. (ALMOST. Last night I fell asleep unexpectedly before 10:00 and then woke up at 3 am.) And I think I'm doing a decent job with the little ones. When I first started with the clinics I was assisting one of the other coaches but last week they just handed the little ones over to me. I was flailing a bit at first but started coming up with drills and exercises and fun games that also taught skills. The website for the coaches lists articles that teach coaching skills but when I checked them out, the links were expired so I mentioned it to the head of the premiere division. He said they were having a coaches' camp in late August and he'd make sure I'd get invited to that. I also asked them for a premiere tee-shirt so I didn't have to wear the regular one--I wanted this for several reasons. 1) I already stand out--I'm the smallest coach and the only female, and I don't want to wear what the kids might think of as the uniform for the "baby" classes. 2) The regular shirt is REALLY getting worn a lot, I've had to hand wash it several times already! Anyway, got my premiere tee-shirt and it's too big but still--I don't stand out, yay! I can shrink it anyway :)
Also when I was speaking to the head coach, I saw him typing up some kind of list of names of all the coaches in the premiere division and their responsibilities and I saw my name. Yay, I've proven myself! I really do love this job (exhausted as I frequently am!).
But it wasn't always this intense. Not sure what's going on, maybe I've just had more time to think about it. I have always had a very hard time swallowing pills--I just COULD NOT as a kid. I dreaded having to take any kind of medication in pill form and one time I got in trouble for hiding my vitamins behind the trash can instead of taking them. (And I remember when I was 6 I was on some kind of week-long medication regimen and one morning the pill went down--I literally jumped for joy, I was so happy.) Most of the time I'd just chew them up--you can imagine how great that tasted. And then in 8th grade I remember trying a new trick--I just shoved the pill as far back as I could and gulped a ton of water and voila! Now I could swallow pills, yay! Still didn't help with the bodily fluid revulsion though. I have an elaborate coping system though--I look away and either take ginger (not ginger pills, just straight ginger spice) or I can think of ginger and that helps. Thinking of lemons also helps. But I have to get the picture out of my head.
Anyway so I have another weird anxiety thing--I really, really do not like talking to certain kinds of strange people on the phone. I'm fine calling someone up in, say, customer service or making a reservation or whatever, because those people's jobs are to speak with strangers. But when I have to call someone who's not expecting a phone call and try to explain who I am, why I'm calling--ugh, I just want to die, I can't explain it. I'm fine with email or texting but the dynamics of a phone conversation with a stranger literally makes my heart race. My dad is the same way, maybe it's genetic!
I had brought water of course but I've never spent that much time outside in the sun and really did not realize how much more water you needed to drink when you are directly in the sun. By Tuesday night I had a raging headache that simply would not go away. I realized I was technically overdosing on ibuprofen since I'd taken more than the recommended 6 tablets per diem regimen. And the headache wouldn't stop. I was weak and trembly and confused and just EXHAUSTED every night (like seriously, I had to nap before I went to bed, if that makes sense) and honestly wondering if I shouldn't go to the ER. Finally Thursday morning I started woozily thinking about it and it occurred to me I'd hardly gone to the bathroom at all out on the island, despite the water I was drinking. And how when I got my motorcycle license, the instructor (who spent all day out on the course) guzzled water--whole cups of water--every chance he got. Then it hit me--I think this is severe dehydration. So I tripled my water intake and just kept drinking throughout the day, every chance I got. I didn't really recover until Friday or so and the headache crept back a bit but today I didn't feel it at all. Yay! Lesson learned.
Which, well, brought and is still bringing tears to my eyes. Dad's not really an apologizer and he can definitely hold a grudge. I'm really glad he said something. And language like that is not like him at all (in a good way--I've never heard him say anything like that). I kept marveling over this vitriol, this stupid, stupid fight over the F-word? What the hell? I haaaaaaaaaaate family fights. It's just not worth it. Really, really glad he said something.
A few weeks ago my stepmother sent out an email to my two stateside brothers (Bart and Erik) and me, inviting us up to MH to spend the 4th. She and Dad even offered to pay. I replied that I wasn't sure if I could get off the time, given that I was starting a new job, but I would definitely try. By last week I knew I would have off at least that Saturday (the 5th) and emailed back I think I can come, just working on the logistics. Didn't hear back anything.
Sunday I watched the USA/Portugal game and live-tweeted my reactions on Facebook, and used profanity (at one point I posted "HOLY FUCKING SHIT"). My Dad posts "Nice language" and this irks me for several reasons. 1) He's used language like that on many occasions, he is no choirboy, 2) I'm an adult, it's inappropriate to scold me, especially in a public forum, 3) it's passive-aggressive, and 4) it's a GAME. People get excited. It's not as though I talk like that all the time. But I'm trying to keep it light, the last thing I want is a public fight with my own dad so I post back something like "I know I've heard worse from you! Age has its privileges."
My friends are commenting on my various posts about the game and then someone else voices her opinion--a friend of my stepmother's whom I don't know at all, some older lady, but she friended me awhile back. She has never ever said anything to me before this--not online, not in person. This is literally the very first thing she ever says to me. And she posts something pretty awful, like "Ignorant. Your deplorable vocabulary and shameful ignorance is apparent in what you post," something awful like that. THIS is how you introduce yourself? The hell? I wrote back "Excuse me? Who are you and why are you being so incredibly rude?" And then blocked her/unfriended her.
Dad then posts this LONG post about language and how it's different online. Basically it's okay for him to swear in conversation but not for me to swear online because "it's different." And how employers might find this post and yada yada yada. I mean, it went on. Oh, he also brought up Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic rants as an example of how speech could be used against you. Uh, there's a big difference between swearing while you're excited watching a game, and what Mel Gibson said. Seriously, there is no comparison. The reason Mel Gibson's words continue to held against him is because he's ANTI-SEMITIC. Not because he called a cop "sugar tits." MG also has a history of anti-Semitism, from his creepy interviews where he endorsed his dad's weird AS views, to his movie The Passion of the Christ which set off many people's triggers.
I refused to engage in a long riposte to my dad because I thought the whole thing was a complete overreaction. It's a GAME. A moment of excitement in a GAME. Jesus. It was all basically a joke, I'm making fun of my own excitement. Which is what I said.
My friend James K. from high school posts "wow, your dad wrote a book!" and I couldn't--just could not--resist responding "no shit!" which frankly still makes me laugh. I'm sorry, I shouldn't've poked the bear but I did think that was the perfect coup de grace.
Dad then posts another, even longer diatribe and here's where the issue really comes out. "Is it a joke when you post about Trayvon Martin? Or your anti-gun views?" AHA! I knew this had nothing to do with profanity--this is about my political views, which are very much to the left of my dad's. Sad to say as he's gotten older he is turning into the stereotype of the angry white male conservative. [And again, he is being hypocritical--he posts on Facebook some pretty creepy anti-Obama stuff. He used to send out a lot of emails like that--anti-Clinton, anti-Obama, etc. and finally I had to tell him "please don't send them to me, I just delete them. I'm not the audience you want for that." Notice the distinction--I did not tell him not to send them at ALL, just not to me.] And he's going on about how he's "worried" that employers are going to find my Facebook posts and judge me and I don't know what all. I didn't read it because I was getting pretty angry. I just posted back "STOP. Drop it."
Dad, allow me to educate you. You have been retired for over 10 years, and before that you worked at the same job for 30 years. And it was not any kind of "office politics" environment, you were employed because of your valuable skill set (he was a pilot). I on the other hand have worked many jobs over the past 20 years, and have stayed at one particular one for 14 years. I think I know the lay of the "office politics" land a lot better, and can negotiate boundaries much better because I've had to. I know exactly what I can and can't get away with. I'm not posting inappropriate pictures. I'm not bragging about running a meth lab. I'm using the occasional swear word. I don't even do it that often, that's what kills me! Generally speaking I don't swear that much. But I do sometimes when I get excited, it's a kind of deliberate over-the-top reaction. There is no company in the entire US that would give the slightest crap about someone who gets excited and swears while watching a World Cup, unless they were extremely religious or something. And may I remind you, I JUST GOT HIRED for a job, one that entailed a strict background check. So this is about my politics, not my language. Again Dad, I know more than you about this. The firm where I work, the office culture is definitely to the right of me. But we don't talk about it much. To the extent that we do, everyone is pretty respectful. My political views are not extremist in any way and for him to express "concern" is way out of line.
Allow me to educate you again--this time about Facebook. Dad does not understand really how Facebook works.
[As an example, last summer my uncle--Dad's oldest brother--had some kind of breakdown or something. Uncle's oldest daughter, my cousin Nancy, sent out a group Facebook email to all her aunts and uncles and cousins sharing what had happened. Every one responded with "that's awful, what can we do to help?" etc. I slept in, got up late, saw the email trail and was the last to respond. "That's awful, what can I do to help?" Dad goes onto Facebook, sees this email trail in his "messages" notification, reads it and for some reason thinks I'M the one who sent this out in the first place, and that it's a POST, not a private email. He then puts me on blast in full view of everyone, "yelling" as it were at ME for violating Uncle's privacy "where everyone could see it." AT ME. At fucking me. I was flabbergasted. One of my cousins emailed me separately like "wow, he really went off on you, sorry about that." Frankly I wish Nancy had straightened him out! I tried to explain to him that 1) it was not a public post "violating Uncle's privacy" but a private email sent to family members, and 2) I didn't send it. Uncle's own daughter did. But he refused to acknowledge he'd messed up. No apology, nothing.]
So yeah, that's one way he doesn't get how FB works. Here's another--I have strict privacy settings on my FB feed. I've gotten way too many weirdos trying to friend me, not here for that shit. My settings are so strict, it's actually very difficult to friend me unless we have a friend in common! So it's unlikely any company would stumble across my feed. Also Dad doesn't get that you can hide people's posts, you can "unfollow" them so their posts don't show up in your feed. In fact I think I did that already with him, because he posted too many anti-Obama rants. Love you but I don't want to read that stuff. He sees it as me FORCING my views down his throat. Then hide it, Dad. Not a big deal. I wouldn't be offended or hurt if you did that, not at all.
He thinks of FB as some kind of after-church social hour. It's not. It's another way to have a conversation, that's all. You can keep it light, you can use it as a social or political platform, it's pretty adaptable. No one's forcing you to be part of the conversation--you don't have to read what I write. But he'd rather get angry and insist "that's not what Facebook is for"--last summer he posted this angry rant about two weeks after the Zimmerman verdict where he threatened to start unfriending people if they didn't "calm down" and stop posting about it. I mean it was so nasty, so ugly. Can you imagine? Dad, I know you don't give a shit about that case. But I see that verdict as a profound miscarriage of justice. Sorry my social conscience bothers you so much. Go ahead and unfriend me if you need to because I'm not going to stop talking about things like that. Jesus.
So, to wrap this up, two days ago my friend Allyson sends me a link, a funny "here's a doctor's note to get out of work tomorrow so you can watch the USA/German game." I responded "FUCK YEAH GO USA!!!!!" Dad comments on the link "check your email." I do and he's sent me this angry email, DISINVITING ME to come up for the Fourth. He says he "can't have that around the twins" as though I were just some Tourette's person, swearing all over the place. And snidely comments that he hopes I don't use language like that when I coach soccer and work with little kids and he can't imagine how I got the job. It was truly unbelievable--unbelievable. I'm stunned he's reacting this way to a few f-bombs.
But that's my dad. He looooves being angry, he prioritizes his anger over family. He and my other uncles stopped speaking to all his sisters--all four of them--after my grandmother's death. [As I said to my Mom, "it must be nice having so much family that you can turn your back on half of it."] Over the years the aunts tried to reach out, make amends, but he refused even when it looked like my aunt Nancy was dying. Can you imagine? It's more important that he nurture his anger than try to come to terms with your DYING sister. [She actually did recover but we literally were told she had just a few more days.] He'd rather deny me the chance to spend time with my niece and nephew so he can tell himself he's right.
The irony is, my uncle (not the one above, but the other one, Son #2--Dad is very close to him) LOVES me. He has posted many times on Facebook how proud he is of me, how special he considers me to be, how he loves hearing about my soccer and my acting and my life in general. He's actually in town right now and he and his son (my cousin) and I went out for dinner Saturday night and had a GREAT time. Uncle is so much more supportive of me than my own FATHER is. Dad has always been incredibly hard on me, alternating between distance and contempt. Examples:
*Didn't come to either my HS or college graduations (and I'm the only female cousin to graduate from college).
*When I lived with them, it was a huge struggle to get them to come to any of my games. Like I think overall they came to maybe 3-4? In three years, over 3 sports. The most hurtful thing is that I was a great athlete--I was a select soccer player (on a mostly boys team--I was one of 2 girls) and I was also nominated for a major local award, the Louise Gale Scholar Athlete Award. Of course they didn't bother to come to the ceremony.
*Over the course of my theater career, overall they've seen only 2 shows of mine. Missed productions include the 2006 (free) production of Midsummer in Central Park when they were in town already. They were already in town but just couldn't bother to come to see the production their daughter slaved over.
*Still haven't seen my new apartment that I OWN. In fact they haven't visited any of my apartments except for one in the 14 years I've lived here. They've visited Bart on Long Island many times though.
For some reason he just does not like who I am. I feel like I have to justify myself to try to figure out WHY he is so hard on me. Dad, I'm a good person. I have good friends who love me and support me. I haven't messed up--haven't done drugs, haven't been arrested, haven't done anything illegal. I try to do the right thing, I try to respect people, I try to live a conscious, questioning life. Every time I see them I am without fail enthusiastic and supportive of their lifestyle, their beautiful house, how nice it is to visit and spend time with them. Why the hell do you have such a problem with me? Why can't you love me and show that love?
I just don't get it. Very sad and tired right now.
Anyway. So since last summer (a year) I have been scoring 3 goals per season. So I expanded my personal ambitions to achieve one of 3 things--to score 4 goals per season, 2 goals in one game or score in the post-season. I achieved the latter two in the final, where we tied 1-1--I was our one and was bear-hugged when I gasped my way off the field after the score. (Scoring does take a lot out of me, I tend to come off right afterwards. Lot of concentrated energy.) Getting back to the theme of "wanting it," all game long whenever the other goalie would make a save, I would be right there as he bounced or dribbled the ball--I wouldn't just let him have his space. Finally he started getting annoyed but tried to cover it up. Him: "Ha ha, you sure are persistent, ha ha!" Me: "That's right." Him: "Ha ha, I just don't want to hit you when I kick the ball!" Me: "You let me worry about that." A few minutes later Sam shoots the ball, goalie saves it but it squirts out of his hand and I pounced upon it like a cat on the hunt. GOAL. Sweet, sweet satisfaction. It ain't pretty but it counts :) You can't EVER let them relax.
So we went to overtime--still a tie. Then it went to penalty kicks. Lindsay was sort of talked into doing the PKs (at least one kicker must be a girl) and in retrospect, I probably should've done it. I don't like doing them--too much pressure--but she didn't know how to shoot a PK so I quietly coached her (choose a corner and shoot for that, and keep it low). She ended up kicking it over the goal so it didn't go in. Now obviously I might've done that as well, anyone can make a mistake but I've trained them before. Ah well. A second place medal is nothing to sneeze at and we had a great season anyway, it's all good.
Afterward we went to Central park to kick the soccer ball around a bit. Ryan wants to get back into the sport and I of course am encouraging him! We worked a few drills--one-touches, give and go, trapping, etc.--and had a great time. (Last night Ryan sent me the cutest text: "Today was so much fun! Thank you!!!") This was actually good practice for me because...
I have a new job! Up til a week ago my assignment at Lazard was actually three assignments and one of them (two days a week) ended because the woman retired. So I had to make up those extra hours. Originally I was going to send out my resume--and I did spruce it up and write some killer cover letters--but one of the other people I work with her suggested to me that I apply at a company where her daughter takes soccer classes. I applied, went through several rounds of interviews and observing classes (and being observed) and such and well, got the job! I was very worried about the age factor but it doesn't seem to bother them--heck, maybe they think I'm more mature :) So I'll be working with kids anywhere from ages 2 or so up to young teens, teaching them soccer skills and basically encouraging them and indoctrinating them in the love of the game. Doesn't that sound perfect for me? I'm going to give them a shot for a season or so and see if I like it and want to stay on. If all goes well shortly I should be making even more money than I do at Lazard--most of which will go to my Roth-IRA, my savings and my mortgage, in that order :)
That said, Belmont Park is a disgrace. When we finally got there (we left around noon but traffic was HORRENDOUS, it took us 3.5 hours to get there), we were able to squeeze into a parking spot along the side of the road, facing against the traffic. We walked up to the entrance and once we got in, the crowds were unbelievable. Record crowds, they said, and they actually closed the lot after a while. The lines were so long for everything--15 deep for food and upwards of 30-deep for cocktails--and it was so difficult to move around, I said to hell with it. Our seats were terrific though, front row of the second tier. Time and I decided we would try to get something to eat or drink after Race 11 (THE race--there are two more races after the Belmont Stakes) to give the crowd some time to dissipate. It was hopeless, though. We walked around the facilities for a while, fruitlessly searching for something to eat. Every single booth was closing up and all these lazy shitty temp workers just shrugged. Remember, there are still two races to run so there is absolutely no excuse for their refusal. Finally we gave up and decided to brave the crush in the parking lot. We were able to find our car and then we sat there because it was way too crowded to try to turn around. Finally Tim sort of begged other drives to give him room and we were able to enter the packed mass of cars. With all that it took us nearly an hour to exit the lot because Belmont Park provided neither employees nor police officers to try to direct traffic. The truly hilarious--and by hilarious, I mean it makes me want to scream in frustration--part is that the Belmont has a DRESS CODE. UGH. This pretentious pile of bricks has the audacity to expect us to dress up and in return they refuse to feed us or help us exit the park in a timely fashion. By the time we got back to the city I was going on over 12 hours with no food! I was RAVENOUS. And at this point a lot of restaurants had stopped serving as well. Finally we found a 24 hour diner and I was able to eat. Interestingly a couple of customers came in who'd also been at the Stakes--they noticed our lanyards with our tickets and said hi. They told us that the train was even worse--they were waiting on the platform for [b]hours[/b]. Guys, you've had over a hundred years at this--you really should know how to handle the big crowds better than this. Triple Crown threats happen all the time, they're not uncommon at all. Get your shit together, especially if you want us to dress up.
Tim and I decided that if we go next year, we get there at the crack of dawn and eat at the Clubhouse. And park in valet parking so we can get out easily.