Monday, September 20, 2010
In addition to it being the first full weekend of shows for me at the theatre, I had a jam-packed weekend of activities planned, making for a very busy couple of days this past weekend!
After a decent performance on Friday night of "Sunday In The Park With George" I opted to head home early so that I could have a clean start on Saturday's activities. For those of you who don't know this Sondheim musical, it's a fictional telling of the life of the French painter Georges Seurat who created the masterpiece "Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte" that hangs in our very own Art Institute in Chicago. The play is all about "Color & Light" as Seurat started the Pointillist movement that uses coloured dots side by side to create a larger colour palette. The eye optically fuses the coloured dots together to make a new colour in the brain. This is exactly how televisions, computers and digital cameras work today. Seurat was ahead of his time and essentially set up the artistic science that drives our pixellated world today. I really like this show. Not something I can say about every show that I work on, but something about this one is special. Unfortunately, the critics trashed us this week, so that makes for a poorly attended run, which is really sad because I think this play needs to be seen. Alas - you can't please everyone. I'm proud of the work we've done on this one and so we'll plod on and play to small houses until the end of October. Here's a picture of our fantastic cast recreating the painting in a real-life still:
Up early on Saturday and out to help with Chicago Canine Rescue Foundation's Annual "Mutt Strutt". I love this event every year - lots of time with the puppies and puppy-parents. CCRF is a no-kill shelter and I love the work they do. I try to swing by when I can with supplies and will walk dogs if I have the time. I don't get over there often enough - trying to figure out how I might be able to work dog-walking into my running schedule. But anyway - for now I sign up to do these big annual events when they come up. I was scheduled to work the kid's area this year, replete with face painters, midway-type games and a huge air castle shaped like a big dog. I was excited!
So I showed up and met our volunteer coordinator at 9:30am. She greeted me and another girl and immediately said "so we actually need two people to dress up as Blue's Clues and Clifford The Big Red Dog - would you girls be willing?" WHY NOT? Since I was the shorter one of the two of us, I opted for Blue while she jumped into the Clifford costume. And then I started to panic. I have charactered in the past. I played Dino (the other big, purple dinosaur) a couple of times when I used to work at Canada's Wonderland. But Dino was the only character I COULD play because the other costumes were too small for me to fit into. I remember being so upset about it at the time because charactering is so fun - especially when the kids come running up to you to give you huge hugs and high fives. What if I didn't fit in the Blue costume? Well - only one way to find out. One leg at a time, then the foam body piece, and the big giant head - and TADA! It fit!
It wasn't the most comfortable thing in the word for sure. When I charactered in the past, you'd wear a sweat-wicking body suit under the costume that we changed out of every 30 minutes, and a bandanna to stop the sweat from getting in your eyes (nothing more terrifying for young children than to see a headless character while you try to wipe the seat off your face!). On Saturday I arrived in jeans and a t-shirt, which is what I ended up wearing under the costume. They didn't have bandannas, so I ended up wearing my CCRF hat backwards under the head to keep my hair out of my face and a handle on the sweat. Those costumes are bloody hot. But it was worth it for sure - having children call out "Blue!" from 15ft away and then come running at you for hugs and pictures is priceless. I even got to pose with a couple of doggies. One doggie mom said - "This is totally going to be my Christmas picture this year!" - haha, awesome.
But not one hour later, it started teaming down rain and the event got called early. We were supposed to walk in the doggie parade, but it never happened. I was so disappointed. There is a scheduled rain date of October 24th now, but I can't make it that weekend as my parents are in town. Too bad - I could have been better prepared the next go round and would have rocked that costume big time! I just hope that it doesn't rain on that day too. These guys need and deserve the money that they raise from this event - so I hope the next go round is a success!
Yesterday started early again with a company meeting for the theatre, followed by another show (our best yet) and then a quick change into my workout clothes and a cab ride back to my hood for the "Party In Pink" Zumbathon for Breast Cancer at DanceSPA! I was exhausted, but really excited about this event. I had plans to meet Kathy (LOTUSFLOWER) and her sister and cousin, who all live close-by in the suburbs. I got out of the cab and walked down the street (pretty early still for the event) and saw Kathy right away with her cousin parking their car. I ran up to the vehicle like a crazy-person waving. It was so cool to see a fellow Sparkie in person. I recognized her immediately. She looks so wonderful! We exchanged hugs and introductions before heading inside. My Zumba instructor Christa was so excited that I had brought people with me - the studio was already packed with tons of people and other Zumba instructors from the area. There was definitely a buzz in the air. Here's Kathy and I pre-sweat:
I've never done a class that big before. Normally I'm up at the front (cause I'm short) but we had to settle for spots at the back. Christa lead most of the class, but 3 other instructors got to strut their stuff as well and each lead for a song. Christa is definitely hard core I figured out as Kathy said her class in the burbs is a lot more tame than this one was. We were SWEATING by about the third song in - so many people in the room that the A/C was having a tough time keeping up! But we propped open the doors and kept rocking it anyway. So much fun! At the end of the hour, names were drawn for door prizes, silent auction gifts and the 50/50 draw. We had fruit and veggies and punch and just hung out to chat for a bit and cool off. A couple of after-shots of Kathy and myself:
I am so excited to run the Hot Chocolate 5K in November with this awesome group of women. I have figured out that meeting Sparkies is such a great experience and I am SO grateful to have someone so wonderful so close to home. She has been such an inspiration for me and she is so supportive of everything I do. Thanks Kathy!!! You rock!
I ended the night last night with a nice hot shower, a delivery of Peapod groceries for the week and a dinner of tilapia, baked potato, sugar snap peas and a glass of wine. YUM! I deserved it! I crashed half-way through a movie and just dragged my butt to bed. Slept like a baby last night (slept a little too long this morning...whoops - but it felt great). New week today. Looking forward to my run tomorrow morning and my swim on Wednesday.
I love that my life is so full of colour. Colourful friends, colourful activities - it's going to be a colourful fall! My favorite time of year.
Friday, September 17, 2010
My first gain this week :( Boo hiss. It's only 1.4 pounds. It's not going to kill me - but it's been a wild ride having never seen that scale go up yet on this journey. But today it did. And it sucks even more because I worked my BUTT off this week with exercise. Back to Zumba on Saturday, a 20 minute run Tuesday, swimming Wednesday and another 20 minutes of running this morning. I'm actually wondering if maybe it's BECAUSE of all the additional exercise that I gained. It's possible, but I doubt it. TOM's in town which always sends the scale in weird directions, my eating this week has been off with opening the show and being out of groceries in the house, and let's be honest - I had a HUGE loss last week, so how could I really expect it to go down all that much this week? It still smarts a little.
But on the flip side of things - I'm smaller! Took my measurements last night for my 5 month Sparkversary and I'm down in almost every category! Not a huge surprise since I bought much smaller clothing only a week ago, but here's a look at what I've accomplished in inches since April:
April - 53"
September - 47"
Lost - 6"
April - 58.5"
September - 52"
Lost - 6.5"
April - 17"
September - 15.25"
Lost - 1.75"
Bust (Rib Cage)
April - 48"
September - 42"
Lost - 6"
April - 33.5"
September - 27"
Lost - 6.5"
April - 20.75"
September - 19.5"
Lost - 1.25"
April - 20.5"
September - 16"
Lost - 4.5"
If I add all these up and multiply the limbs by two, I have lost almost 45" off my body. Wow. 45" and 45 pounds. That's pretty outstanding. Definitely makes me feel a little better about my "up" day.
I'll be back on track this week for sure, so the scale better watch out cause I'm ramping up for another big number next week! Just watch me! :)
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Back in the pool tonight after four weeks away and it's like I never missed a day! The water felt SO good tonight, my bathing suit was a little looser and I still managed 55 laps in 55 minutes. I'm beyond thrilled. How I have missed that feeling!
It still astounds me that I am capable of missing exercise. Me - the same girl who swore a year ago that I would never love any form of physical activity - craving the pool like I used to crave bacon cheeseburgers. The times they are a changing.
Of course the pool had to welcome me back heartily with a mouthful of water that choked me up for a minute or two. But you know what? I missed that too! Haha.
Now it's on to improving my time. I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow but I'm looking forward to my rest day. A 20 minute run and a 1.5K swim in two days - I deserve it!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
So it's been a LONG tech week and a huge build-up to last night's opening of "Sunday In The Park With George". But we survived, the show is open - we're still waiting on critical reviews, but we have already been Jeff Recommended (Chicago's version of a Tony Award), and quite honestly, the show was really great. It was the best we could have done for where we are in the process - a couple of minor blunders here and there, but nothing that would have been noticeable to an audience, and I think that everyone, genuinely, felt like it was a good night. So we'll see how it gets reviewed!
I had a really lovely day yesterday. I opted to take the day off work - something that I have never done before for an opening - and let me tell ya - I'm gonna do it again for the next one. I felt relaxed and refreshed and like I had my head in the game - which is exactly how you want to feel walking into a house FULL of critics.
I woke up yesterday morning - determined to run W5D3 of C25K - the first 20 minute run with no breaks. I wasn't sure I could do it, but was committed to at least attempting it to see how far I could get. Well, wouldn't you know that only one minute into my run I dueled with a piece of sidewalk and bit it hard :( The sidewalk won. But I got up, dusted myself off, walked a few paces to make sure I was ok, and then kept right on running. And I finished! The WHOLE 20 minutes. I think it was toughest around the 12 minute mark. The announcement broke in for the Day 2 runners to start the last 8 minute run and I honestly was feeling at that point like I wouldn't make it. But I persevered and just kept saying "Just keep going - go until you pass out if you have to - just get to the tree - ok now get to the end of the block - home stretch baby - you just gotta make it to the park" and bit by bit, block by block I just kept running. Wow. I am so proud of myself. I didn't even think about my injury until I reached home and felt the throbbing and stinging on my left leg. I looked down and realized that I was bleeding - I didn't even know I had scraped my leg, that's how focused I was. Here's the damage:
Owie! It hurts more today than it did all day yesterday. Surface scrape - you know how they can smart. Yowsa! But who cares? Cause I finished!!! I mapped it out when I got home and figured that I ran just over 1.5 miles in 20 minutes putting me at a 13 minute mile - way faster than I thought I'd be! So now I will start working on my mapped out 5K course and do Weeks 6-9 on the new route so I know how far I have to go to reach that 3.1! I'm feeling really confident now that I should be able to run my 5K in November without issue.
After such an awesome achievement I sat and had a leisurely breakfast at home, catching up on some Spark blogs and articles before heading out for a relaxing pedicure. Oh man - that hit the spot! The massage chair on my back, having my feet rubbed and toes painted - I felt awesome. I topped off the afternoon with a visit to my favorite brunch place for a club sandwich.
After a short nap and another shower I started getting dolled up for the evening. I decided to wear my hair down with heavier eye make-up. Since my face has gotten thinner, my eyelashes seriously look longer. It's kind of amazing that you can collect fat pockets even around your eyes! Glad to be rid of those for sure cause my peepers were pretty rockstar last night. (I wish I had taken a pic before I left the house!)
Because I have to do a lot of stuff during the show, including climbing up and down a ladder to get to the control booth, I packed my dress and heels in a bag for the after party and put on my skinny jeans and a sparkly, black tank top. I didn't want to have to mess with putting on my Spanx after the show, so I threw them on under my jeans and tank - holy crap, they do really suck you in in all the right places. I was pretty stoked that my muffin top was barely noticeable under my shirt!
Now here comes the best part - I got to the theatre, finished setting up for preshow and we opened the house. I had gotten a few compliments already, which made me feel pretty good, but as I was standing backstage waiting to give the actors their "places" call, one of my actors came up to me and started a conversation. Just normal stuff we were talking about - I thought it was to quell his nerves, and we were joking and laughing a bit. Then he sticks out his hand and introduces himself to me. Odd, I think - but maybe he's playing a joke - so I shake his hand and introduce myself back to him. Then I see his face drop. "OH MY GOD! JENN??? I totally didn't even recognize you! Here I am talking to this beautifully, voluptuous woman thinking - is she with the front of house team or the orchestra maybe? - I had no idea it was you!" I burst out laughing. I have seen this guy pretty much every single day for the past 3 weeks straight. And granted, it was dark backstage, but that had to be the best compliment that I received all night! I just winked at him and said "Yeah - I clean up a little for Openings". Tee hee. So awesome.
After the show we recepted with our friends, family and fans. I did a Superman change into my dress and heels backstage and arrived on the scene to more comments about how wonderful I looked. It was so nice. AND I lasted 3 hours in 3 inch heels - that's an accomplishment in and of itself!
At the end of the night I ate too little (good food - I ate plenty of bad food) and drank too much - and I'm certainly paying the price for it today, but it was worth it. It's been a long while, and a lot of shows, since I felt like I belonged at an opening. But last night I brought it - and I'll continue to bring it from this day forward. I was complimented, flirted with and genuinely appreciated all night, and that felt so darn great. But the best part about all of it is that I finally got around to appreciating myself - and I realize now that that's what was missing before. Being a stage manager is tough. It's not about the glory. The audience doesn't applaud for you. But last night's sense of accomplishment was about so much more than just the show. And that's all that really matters!
*As of right now I have no pictures of myself last night - but I know there were a few taken, so as soon as someone posts one on Facebook, I'll steal it and post it here!
Friday, September 10, 2010
Wow. I've had a good day today. Come to think of it, I've had a pretty darn good couple of weeks. And it's unfathomable to me that I'm managing everything that I am right now. This will be the first time I've survived a CLEAN tech week. No sugar, no caffeine loading, and no fried food. I feel amazing! I'm exhausted - but who wouldn't be with my schedule right now?
I dragged myself out of bed this morning after a week long schedule of midnights at the theatre. But I knew I had to run today, and I was GOING to do W5D2 of C25K. 8 minute runs. Two of them. (I don't even want to think about what comes next - the 20 minute run, but by the time I get to running it I will have talked myself into that too - cause I'm unstoppable!)
I've had 2 rest days since I ran W5D1. I didn't like D1 much. I felt sluggish and it was hard which I wasn't expecting at all. I thought since I was used to running 4 intervals, switching to only 3 would be a breeze. Not the case. So I was honestly worried about this morning. But it was only 2 intervals. I could do it. I laced on my shoes, stretched out my calves, and took off on my 5 minute warm-up walk. Then it was time to run. I straightened my shoulders, took a deep breath - and did it. Twice. I had to really push at the end, but today I ran a total of 16 minutes. Awesome #1 - check.
As most of you know I was holding my breath for the magical 269 on the scale this morning. I've been in the 270s for what feels like FOREVER. Most of it was superficial. I changed scales in the middle of the past 10 pounds, and the new scale weighed heavier, so it felt as though I had to re-lose weight that I had already lost. It kinda sucked. So stepping on the scale this morning was a little nerve-wracking. I wanted those 260s - and bad. I kid you not when I say that my first weight was 267.8. I had to get off and on again to confirm that it was so. I literally exclaimed "WHAT? NO WAY!" out loud and scared the bejesus out of my cats. I ran to get my camera, came back and it had gone up :( But then I realized that it went up because I was hanging on to my camera. So I put the camera down and managed to get 268. On the nose. Here's the proof!
WAHOO!!! I was (and am still ecstatic). I'm so happy to be here. And to have gotten here on the busiest of all possible weeks for me is a feat I never thought I could accomplish. Awesome #2 - check.
So of course I had to run to SP immediately to enter my new weight. 5 pounds! I haven't dropped 5 pounds in a week since the first week I started and was losing water weight. It's still a little unbelievable to me. I'll be anticipating next week's weigh-in all week for fear that it's not a real number. But I know it is, it has to be. I'm learning to love and appreciate my "plateaus". It may not feel like it to you guys, but I will often spend 2 or 3 weeks only losing about .3 of a pound at a time - and it seems to be happening every 7-10 pounds or so. But then my body just decides to shed and I drop a huge number like this week that makes up for it. I can't knock it - I'll take what I can get!
So I am now a grand total of 45 pounds down AND under a BMI of 50!!! Inching closer and closer to being out of Obese territory every day. Look at me go :) Awesome #3 - check.
So there you have it - A Trifecta of Awesome today. It feels so good.
Leaving you with a picture of my beautiful yellow bouquet that was a reward for 37.5 pounds that is still going strong!
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