Monday, February 13, 2017

Potties and Hotties

Today Theo's preschool teachers asked if I'd be willing to send him to school in underpants starting next week. Woo-hoo!

Truth be told Theo has been peeing and pooping on the potty for some time now, but I've been pretty inconsistent about keeping it going, partly because every time I ask if he wants to try he says no, and I don't want to force it, so I just leave it alone. But the babysitter has him on the potty every time she's here and he does great. I need to really commit to making potty training happen. I want to make sure he's able to advance to the next class at school which can only happen if he's out of diapers. Here we go! 

The craziness of my opening night settled pretty quickly - a few days of intense paperwork and all 340 people were manually typed into the system by me, and now I can go back to focusing on preparing for this year's taxes which is going to be extremely complicated. 

So tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I have a singing gig so there will be no big romantic plans, but I'll say things are really good between me and the BF and I'm really pleased with the way things are going. This time last year I was not in such a great place - I was seven pounds heavier and none of my clothes fit, I was fed up to the gills with his smoking, and not feeling very good about us. I never would have imagined a year later he'd be a non-smoker, living with me, and that I would feel really good about it all. So for that I am truly thankful.

 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Opening night, part XX

So I opened for registration on Wednesday night.

The good news is, as opposed to last year's record of 125 people, this year I got over 300 people, about 200 in just a couple of minutes.

The bad news is, I was offering tiered pricing (as I have for the past few years), and the first two tiers sold out in about a minute. And people freaked out. I spent the entire night until about two AM fielding furious emails, phone calls and Facebook messages accusing me of running a scam, because "there's no way they sold out that fast". The meanness and conspiracy theory nature of these people seems to be coming from our general political environment. I had to offer several refunds, and offer many explanations and some apologies. About 50 people were happy (they got the big discount), and then another 300 or so were pissed off. And all I got out of it was a loss of $5,000 in how cheap those early prices were. So what, exactly, is the point?

Next year I think I'll offer a "24 hour sale" - think of a price I can live with, and offer it for the first day only, which is something people grasp a lot better than a tier that sells out. That way I'll get the money I need up front and people won't feel cheated. Win-win. 

So opening night was great and it also fucking sucked. Which I think is going to be the mantra for this difficult, giant year I have ahead of me - my big 20th anniversary - it's going to be huge, and it's going to be insanely stressful. 

I went to a march for healthcare on Saturday. Is there a chance California could enact its own universal healthcare? It's a long shot, but I am interested in the possibility. I met some interesting people, and one weird woman who hated the women's march and thought our pink hats were stupid. Pffft whatever, lady! Nobody asked you.

Today we had a fun day at a kid's birthday party. The boys' party s set for April 1st, since every weekend is booked at the space I want until then. Luckily the kids are too little to understand when their actual birthdays are, so hopefully they won't mind. Here's a pic from the party today that the boyfriend took while spinning him around. It's pretty much my favorite picture of him ever.

 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Backlash

I think a lot about how radically our lives will change in just a few months. Bobby starts kindergarten in August - his elementary school should have their annual tour in about a month or so. I need to double check with their preschool, but last I heard preschool technically ends for Bobby in June, which means for me finding a summer camp for him. I could keep him there but I'm quite interested in the local YMCA's swim camp. But all this means a radical lifestyle shift for us. We'll all be required to wake up about four hours earlier than we have been, which also means going to bed a lot earlier, too. It's going to be brutal. No more long leisurely mornings. My kids, like every kids on the planet, are the masters of procrastination. The other day I had to tell Bobby, "the answer to I need you to do something isn't yeah but I need to do this first, it's yes, mommy dearest!" Needless to say this fell on deaf ears. I shudder when I think of waking up at the crack of dawn and hustling kids into clothes and breakfast and teeth brushing and shoes...and both of them adjusting to spending full days somewhere instead of just afternoons. It's a lot. 

It's been a difficult week, returning from the march. I rather naively thought it would be nothing but awesome reports of how well everything went - and there was some of that - but there was also a massive, infuriating backlash, mostly from women. Yes, all those awesome white women who voted for Trump. Against my better judgment I found myself engaging in endless ugly confrontations on Facebook - something I never would have done before, but I suddenly find myself completely intolerant of people's ignorant, hateful bullshit - which were both fruitless and utterly demoralizing.

I also discovered something interesting, after banging my head against a brick wall all week. These so-called caring, interested women asking why we marched because they just want to understand - yeah, that is a giant, steaming pile of horseshit. They know why we marched. They don't listen when you explain, and deliberately pretend to not get it. They don't want to hear from us. They want to have a giant gang bang with all their little conservative buddies just for the purposes of confirmation bias, so they can go be all smug and self-satisfied, while we stupidly forward links and articles and give heart-felt personal stories. They don't give a SHIT. 

They're too busy bitching about how we left signs behind. Let's talk about millions of people marching peacefully with zero arrests. Leaving trash is the best you can do? Seriously? Meanwhile that monster rapes our country and the world and everyone cheers. Fuck off.

Anyway, wise to their ploys after falling for it all week, I devised this handy meme I'll use the next time someone pretends to give a shit about our causes. It will save lots of time to just post this instead of trying to have an actual conversation. 

 

Monday, January 23, 2017

And we marched

Recovering from the Women's March in Washington this weekend. I'm proud to be able to say, when asked, that at this terrible time, I was on the right side of history.

The march was so huge and overwhelming that I can't say I ever had that catch-in-your-throat, "I feel so invigorated!" feeling. I had this more at the first LA march because it was new to me then. Mostly this march was a logistical nightmare - trying to circumvent the massive crowds at the Metro station (Uber was our hero all weekend), trying, and failing, to meet up with various groups of people, leaving behind water and food because we weren't allowed to have large bags, only to sorely regret this decision later when we discovered there was nowhere to get food or water all day long, waiting for hours in port-a-potty lines, missing the speakers because we couldn't even get close to where the rally was happening and instead standing around freezing in the mud and cold with no idea what was happening, where we were going, or if the march was even going to happen or if we had managed to miss the whole thing.

Such is the experience of a massive march like this. Doesn't mean it wasn't important, meaningful, and galvanizing. But I think this whole thing was just so much bigger than anyone had imagined - as an event person, I sympathize that not all of our needs could be met and everything didn't run like clockwork. It went, it was safe and positive, and no arrests. The signs were awesome and creative:

 

 

 

And of course there was me:

 

And in the airport on my way. I got over 300 "likes" on this picture on FB:

 

...and...I can't believe LA beat Washington!!! More than a quarter of a million more people marched in my hometown. Apparently it was complete pandemonium - subways so packed they just opened the gates and let everyone in free; many of my friends (including the BF) couldn't find each other; some freaked out in the subway and just had to turn around and go home. CRAZY.

And yet the right wingers think we "should have voted", "don't know what we're marching for", "left behind tons of trash" (um, hello, like after every sporting event...?), are a bunch of snowflakes. Well, guess what, motherfuckers?

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ceci n'est pas un président

I leave for D.C. on Friday to protest the Mango Mussolini. Thankfully I got a free hotel room using points and also two free flights for me and my bandleader's wife (flights not using miles were all really inconvenient and terribly expensive). I haven't marched on Washington since 1990, my senior year of high school, when a busload of us went down from NY to support women's rights. Proud to be - sad to be? - doing this again almost 30 years later.

Abby asked how the move in with the BF went. It went fine - I think the reason I neglected to mention it was nothing really changed; he is rarely here (leaves before we get up, comes home late at night, works most weekends unless I ask him to take off for something specific). Some women would be resentful of a man being so absent, but not me. I actually kind of dread the day he changes his schedule - if this day ever comes - because I enjoy my evenings to myself (and often use those hours for work) and sometimes weekend days alone with the kids are easier on me (he always wants to do a lot of exhausting stuff like go to loud, crowded places and restaurants and keep the kids up way too late). Also, he's spent nearly every night at my house almost the entire time we were living apart anyway. So the only difference is now he gives me money. Yay. But yes, everything is going well. Thanks for asking!

Lots more drama in my dance world. More Facebook accusations of sexual assault by a dance teacher, and everyone is up in arms. I had to join in and ban a guy from my event who was supporting the assaulter - not because of that, but for that and the time he was made to leave the hotel where my event is held for being drunk and fighting, and various other Code of Conduct violations. We're all starting to get serious about banning these guys - always guys - who are just bad eggs. Honestly this should have happened years ago, but without social media we just didn't have the evidence/support/forum to do these things. My feminist group has been a huge part of this. The worm has indeed turned. All of us who are pissed off about Trump are channeling that into confronting problem men in our lives and businesses. 

I hope all of this leads to a better dance world because we're now woke AF and are calling out sexism, racism and homophobia whenever we see it. 

And I wouldn't be surprised if I end up in court again one of these days. Sigh.

Sometimes I feel like my life is just starting to get easier with the kids getting older, and then I think about how miserable life is going to be under Trump (goodbye, awesome healthcare) and I feel like the hard times are just beginning, and I didn't know how good I had it under Obama all this time.

Here is part of the sign I'll be carrying on Saturday (because I can't resist a little Magritte):

 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sisterhood

Shortly after the election I noticed an explosion of ill will on Facebook - mostly women I knew through dancing expressing their disgust and then being trolled/shut down by mansplaining opinion bullies. So I started a secret feminist dancer group with the intention of being able to discuss our rage, sadness, and fear without being told to stop whining. What's happened to this group in the ensuing two months has been nothing short of incredible.

It's become a place not just to share sadness and anger but also talk about sexism in our dance scene - the last thread I started about two guys I've been having a problem with now has thousands of comments, and I've really learned a lot about narcissists, control freaks and bullies and how easy it is to overlook and misdiagnose these behaviors, i.e., "oh, that's just so-and-so" or "they're just kidding around." It's been a fantastic place to share stories from the past that otherwise never would have come to light - the time that guy danced with a girl and told her she was doing everything wrong; the time that other guy kept "accidentally" brushing his hand across a woman's chest while dancing, etc etc. I never knew the power of these secret groups where you can say things you don't want your Aunt Tilda, your brother-in-law's Tea Partier cousin, or your boss to hear. 

Even though many of the people in the group haven't actively danced in years, so many of them are encouraged to go out again because they know their "sisters" will be there to welcome them; many people are thanking me for the group (one said "it's the only reason I get up in the morning"), many are saying they are excited to finally get to know other female dancers (normally you talk more to the guys you're dancing with). It's amazing when you can do a small thing that ends up having such a big impact.

I sang at a big event this weekend and was pretty nervous because I knew one of the guys I was at odds with was going to be there. I was feeling pretty unsafe, but I knew a big contingent of my secret group were going to be there and they promised to have my back. The whole night we ran around hugging each other and exchanging knowing looks. It was awesome. We snuck out to the lobby to recreate this photo:

 

 

I think we did pretty good. The person taking the picture asked what modern women would do in that kind of photo, and we all spontaneously did this:

 

I'm surrounded by some pretty strong, angry, terrific women. I'm really proud to be in their company and look forward to sharing the outrage of the next few years - and protesting the fuck out of it!!!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Don't let the door hit you...

I'm reluctant to be one of these "2016 was the worst year evahhhhh!" people because people always say this at the end of the year, and rarely does everything magically change when midnight tips over into 12:01 January 1st.

Yes, we lost many of our childhood idols. But guess what - we're old. This is going to start happening a lot more frequently. For me, Paul and Ringo are still here, as are all of The Rolling Stones and The Who and Morrissey and Robert Smith and countless others. I'll take some small comfort in that.

Yes, Fuckface Von Clownstick will be sworn in which makes me so ill I feel like I'll never stop throwing up. But I'll never stop fighting him, either. And so will many people I know. So...there's that. 

Personally, 2016 rocked. It was the first year I made any significant money and could kind of exhale. My children drove me nuts but also stayed healthy and safe and grew and thrived. I managed the ups and downs in a relationship with a very cool person who loves us all dearly. I made many awesome upgrades to my house. The election of Fuckface Von Clownstick caused me to seek out and nurture some new friendships which could end up being very significant in my life. It's pretty awesome.

I had a VERY unpleasant lunch with a person who is part of a group I've been trying to extricate myself from for years - just some crappy bullies in our dance scene that caused me a lot of issues at last year's event. The lunch was not instigated by me - they wanted to further their argument that I don't "give them the respect they deserve". Basically they're a bunch of malignant narcissists (familiar much???) with zero self-awareness. Let's just say I stated very clearly and angrily that I was fed up with their fucking bullshit* (*exact words) and wouldn't be putting up with it anymore. And then stormed out. They are now boycotting my event. Good riddance!!! I am so relieved to have them out of my life. Nothing but good can come from this. It's been about twenty years coming.

Onward and upward to 2017!