Thursday, December 31, 2009

Apparently the posts will now be short, and they will be sporadic

I have just returned home from a New Year's Eve celebration at the home of two friends and their young lil baby girl (she's two months old -- hurrah!) and what do I do as my first act of the new decade? I get a shoe and kill the enormous giant insect crawling around my kitchen floor.

I've heard a legend that whatever you do on NYE portends the arc your next year will take. If this is true, my 2010 will consist of:

1. Spending time with small people who makes great faces but screams a lot

2. Drinking


3. Continuing to solve my own problems ie. the bug.

I have a rom-com-esque fantasy wherein there is a guy somewhere in the world who would find it charming, not idiotic, if I were to call him to come over and slaughter bugs for me. It's along the same lines as being woken up by a suitor who has managed to scale the courtyard fence and find my second story window, only to gently throw tiny pebbles at it. Or the one where all of my friends and loved ones throw me a surprise birthday party. Or the one where people Just Drop By the apartment, as always happens in movies, just to share some aspect of their day. (Has anyone else noticed that movies are full of people Just Dropping By? How does everyone know where everyone lives in movies? Does no one else who lives in a big city have a temperamental buzz-gate system?)

But it was not, is not, and will never be. I will continue killing my own spiders and bugs, people will not Drop By in the middle of the afternoon (the lucky ones are still at work), and the sooner I drop these ideas, and my other fantasies from my head, the better. So it is. That will be my motto for the next year.

So It Is.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

International Job-Search-Related Quickie

I find it kind of hilarious that, when I asked the French Paralympic Team for a job, I received a multi-page explanation of why what I do is not a recognized profession in France, coupled with an explanation of the fact that, even if I were a physician or a PT in the States I still would need lots and lots of paperwork and hassle in order to even get into the same tour bus as a French athlete. "Actually, it's Docteur Awesome to you, you damned colonial heathen!"

My email to the New Zealand team was returned immediately with a note from a lovely woman who said, "Great! Sounds just great! Call me Fiona!"


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Just a schmupdate.

Hey all,

The new job is progessing nicely, and despite my being the new girl within a cohesive and well-adjusted team of medical and surgical professionals (ie. the person who wanders the hall sure I've forgotten to do something and asking, "Where's the bathroom? Who are you? Where does this door go?") I am starting to feel at home.

It's odd the way I miss my former patients. Spending a full hour with someone alone in a room every week for a few months has a way of turning into a bonding experience. I also miss knowing what I'm doing every second of every day, but I know as well as anyone that learning 700 new things an hour, while exhausting and a little nervy, is about the best thing for my brain. And after 3 1/2 years of doing what I was doing before, it did become possible to phone it in from time to time.

The temptation with the new job is to do neurological experiments on myself to try and feel my synapses stretching and growing in new directions, and one way I can do this is to test my memory all the time. Which is lucky for me, because I'm in a hundred shows right now and two of them want me off book rightfuckingnow.

Here's the scoop:

Unsung Stars, with Moving Dock, performing June 5-6 and 12-13 (I'm only in it the 5th and 6th)
at the Fine Arts Building in the South Loop.

The Pigeons, a staged reading with Stage Left Theater, Wednesday, June 10th, 7pm. I play a real-estate agent in a new play about gentrification. She's pretty hilarious. Ask me sometime what SLiPEWiPr means. Heheh.

And, finalemente, I'll be in a show with the newish Lights Out Theatre, performing July 17-August 9 at Oracle Theatre, located at 3809 N Broadway, between Grace and Sheridan. It's an evening of short plays all to do with connection, lack of connection, human foibles and quite a lot of the ridiculous. We started rehearsals last week and have been having a total blast so far.

That's the scoop for now. I have other news, of course, but it's pretty outside and I feel like a criminal being indoors. I'll be at the park. Come find me if you like, and please bring a dog and a bottle of wine.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aaaand, we're back.

After taking some grief from everyone -- for good reason -- about not posting a blog entry in about 15,000 million years, I think it's about time for an update.

I didn't want to write for a while because I couldn't really stand to think about the present, or the past, or the future. That sounds incredibly pretentious, but it's kind of true. There has been a lot going on these past few months, and at times it's been heartbreaking or exhilarating or just plain scary or sad. I couldn't put a lot of it into words, though at times I wished I could.

Here are the Cliffs Notes:

1. I almost went back to school to be an RN. After determining that that path was pretty near-impossible while being single and self-supporting in Chicago (see the previous 900 harping blog entries), I contemplated moving back to Dallas. My parents graciously offered to let me stay with them rent-free.

2. I flew to Dallas for two days to audition for the Shakespeare Fest there. It was really good to see some of my Dallas theatre friends again, but I flatlined the audition and never thought they'd cast me. It made me really sad that these people, these awesome theatre professionals, hadn't seen my work in a decade and now their only taste of it had been mediocre. They didn't cast me, and I wasn't surprised based on the audition I gave, but I felt in a sense like I had grown up to disappoint one of the families that truly raised me.

3. After the audition in Dallas and a lot of thought and very little sleep, moving back to Dallas just started to feel wrong. I started to imagine my life in 30 years and the different ways it could go. I wondered what would happen to me if I dropped out of the life I've made for myself to go make another one. My insomnia, pretty chronic for the last ten years or so, became the worst it's been in a while. I would lie there partly awake for most of the night, waking up every ten minutes with my eyes red and irritated and my heart pounding. It got old.

4. I decided to pursue jobs in Chicago again, as well as investigating the bodywork scene in North Texas. To my way of thinking, massage hadn't been the most generous career to me thus far, but if I opened myself up to opportunities in both Chicago and Dallas, my life might choose me, in a sense. I've generally tried not to be passive about my life, but this was a decision I had been marinating in for what seemed like forever without making any headway, and I felt like by continuing to waffle without progress I would eventually either drive myself nuts or have the kind of life that comes from waiting for everything to start instead of actively walking through the world.

5. I discovered that to do what I do in Dallas would be relatively simple; I'd pretty much just have to fill out a form and send a check and a copy of my Illinois license, and my licensure would be honored because requirements in Texas are much less strenuous than they are here. But when I started looking at bodywork jobs online in the Dallas area, they were almost overwhelmingly illicit or underpaid (or both). I got really tired of reading, "Attractive massage therapists wanted" or "Blonde? Redhead? Asian? Willing to work in lingerie?" I know that some good opportunities exist down there, but it turned my stomach and exhausted me to think that I would have to constantly fight not to be perceived as some kind of sex worker if I moved back.

6. I applied and interviewed for a position at Chicago Podiatric Surgeons. They were looking for a massage therapist to take over for another Soma grad, and last week, after two interviews, they offered me a full-time job with benefits. By this time I had thought more extensively and realized that what really attracted me to nursing was the stability, the set hours, the health insurance, and the promise that I could use what I'm good at to really help people in a concrete, recognized way. Suddenly I had a chance to do all of these things within the career I already have and love. It made perfect sense, and once I figured out that I wouldn't have to start my life over again and leave Chicago it was like the knot that had been around my heart and stomach and lungs since January finally loosened. Around this time Chicago started to get snaps of warm, sunny weather, and it was like the city was smiling at me and welcoming me back.

So that's where I am now. The idea of not moving again this year, of not uprooting myself and starting again, of not stepping over the last decade like a crack in the sidewalk, makes me really happy. And I think this new job will be wonderful. So I apologize for not writing sooner, but I'm finally happy and feeling free.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Pygmy Tarsier

Today I happened upon a short news story about this critter, believed to be extinct since the 1920s, recently found on top of a mountain covered in mist in Indonesia. Apparently scientists were setting rodent traps hoping to catch rats, and ended up catching one of these muppets. Since then they've changed their status from 'extinct' to just 'very very shy' or something of the like.

I guess in a way it just goes to show that, even though sometimes the options are few and circumstances are sort of lame or depressing, one never knows what's out there. Not that the world is overrun suddenly with tiny homely tarsiers that look like rejects from a Jim Henson audition, far from it, they're still very rare. But for a long time science and everything rational closed the book on them, and turns out they were still just up their tree, assassinating insects and looking down at the world through giant creepy eyes the whole time. Huh.

I take this as a sort of reminder these days that there are good options about right now, even though pretty much all of the world's economies are tanking and at times Chicago is like living in a frozen pit of despair (it is winter, after all -- what did we honestly expect?) and people are out of work and businesses are going under and lots of people are desperately unhappy. All of these things are true. But you never know what's out there. I'm not necessarily an optimist (I think of myself as more of a hopeful realist) but it's neat to think about something good existing in the world that we can't see yet. I like to believe that we live in a world full of things we can't see but need to survive. Like oxygen molecules or irony or the way we unconsciously grin when we remember a great conversation we had late last night when we should have been sleeping. Even when we've given up on something, that doesn't mean it stops existing. Science teaches us that nothing really ever goes away -- things change form and become unrecognizable at times, but they're still around in some form to keep the natural universe on an even keel.

Hence the Pygmy Tarsier. There it is.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's. Only. Wednesday.

This week just keeps on ripping through me like a pinecone someone just made me eat.

I don't have much to say right now because I'm too wiped out, but my folks re-proposed the idea tonight that I move home and do nursing school in Dallas while living with them. It would be great financially (on one hand) because I wouldn't be paying rent. But it would mean leaving Chicago, which has been my home for 6 1/2 years. This would extend to leaving my friends, the first apartment I've had since Fullerton that has been a cool place to live, the theater scene I moved across the country for, my brand-new voiceover agent I spent 6 years trying to get, seasons, my 24 jobs, doing massage in general, independence, autonomy, and quite possibly everything that makes me me.

It would be temporary. But who's to say my friends would even still be here when I got back? What if I came back and went to an audition and people looked at me like, "Wow. You're 30. I've never seen you before. Go do some student films at Columbia College and then maybe I'll give you the time of day."

What's more, I've never only done one thing at a time. I've always gone to school and worked, or worked and acted, or worked, worked, gone to school, acted, and interned. My life is nutty and crazy overbooked, and that's how I like it. If I didn't have time to work, or because of differences in licensure I just worked like 2 hours a week at Starbucks in my parents' neighborhood, and my only obligation was to school, what would I do to keep from going batshit insane? It's a real question.

I'm so tired right now. Despite the wonderful support of my family and their incredibly generous offer I can easily picture myself alone in Dallas, depressed out of my mind, rethinking this and realizing I've made a huge mistake. Or in Chicago in ten years, wishing I'd just done the smart thing and done nursing school in Dallas when I'd had the chance.

See what I mean?

Monday, January 12, 2009

And...we're back.

Or, not so much back as rethinking everything again. To recap, here's what I thought when I woke up this morning:

1. I'm enrolled in Bio and Chem 101 with labs (dissections and test tubes, hooray!) to start in a week.

2. I'm considering using the credits from these classes to transfer to the accelerated 1 year nursing BSN at Loyola. This would start in June 2010.

3. I am still considering the 2 year Associates degree nursing program at Truman, but it would take longer and they don't give ANY financial aid to people who already have bachelors degrees.
Also, there's a rumor going around (several nurses and hospital-types have confirmed it) that nurses with Associates degrees aren't treated as well or given the same chances for advancement as those with BSNs, so if I went to Truman I might have to go back to school again in a couple years to make a good wage or get promoted, etc.

The woman who runs the Loyola program responded to my email from almost three weeks ago this morning (I'm willing to believe that she got sick, or schools take long breaks for holidays, or whatnot, but I was starting to get antsy). She told me two things that made this afternoon markedly less fun than this morning:

1a. Loyola sure does accept transfer credits from Truman College, but they have to be for a couple of specific classes for which the ones I'm now enrolled are PREREQUISITES. Thus, it'd be another year maybe before I could even apply, and it'd push the number of required classes I'd have to take just to qualify to fill out an application to Loyola to 8 or 9. Sheesh. Good thing I don't have to pay rent or bills (or, lest we forget, loan payments on my FIRST bachelors degree). Or allow time in my schedule to work.

2a. Loyola likes me just fine, but they sure do dislike my BFA. According to Loyola, as is the case with Truman, I should be able to work 70 hours a week and pay my rent and bills and still put myself through school sans scholarships because I must surely be rolling in money what with my Acting and Literature Degree. She said financial aid is incredibly limited for the ABSN students because ABSN students already have bachelors degrees. I wish everyone would just come right out and say it:

"You had your chance for an education, and you wasted it on something decadent and useless".

At least it feels like that's what they're all saying.

Now I need to decide (again) whether I want do all this work and pay for it all without financial aid if maybe it won't even be worth it in the end. It looks like, just based on this email, Loyola is out of the running. I don't want to rack up another $30k in college debt at this stage in my life, and even if I did, I don't want to take a ton of prerequisites. The Truman degree is possibly financially doable ($5000 is a lot of money, plus books and fees and time off work, but it's no $30K). But I don't want to get a degree that will have me coming back in a few years to turn it into something more viable. I want to be done with school yesterday.

Part of me wants to drop my classes and just try even harder to get a massage job that pays better -- either a combination of teaching and clinical work, or just take this time to rethink the whole thing. It just seems like pursuing this career with everything I know now doesn't make any sense. And taking these classes is costing me time and money -- time I could be spending doing a play, or seeing patients, or continuing my Spanish, or doing something I know will be rewarding.

I spent some time this weekend considering my life choices and my future. I thought about whether at a certain age it becomes pathetic to be doing storefront theatre without any pay worth speaking of, without health insurance, constantly fretting about next month's rent, spending five months of the year wishing I could go for a walk without the wind tearing my face off. I love doing massage, but it's hand-to-mouth and I'm afraid it always will be. I had a fantasy of my life once being filled with travel, adventure, great parts to play, and things I just couldn't wait to do. When I was about ten I came up with my definition of how to be happy and avoid depression: "Always having something to look forward to."

I hate to be maudlin, but right now I'm hard pressed to come up with a list of things like that.