This summer was less like a relaxing vacation and more like getting onto Kingda Ka at Six Flags and balancing precariously at the top for three months before zooming back down at breakneck speed. If you have no idea what Kingda Ka is…Google it and stare in wonder at man’s technological advancements, as well as the advancements of American GI systems because if I went on that thing, lunch would be a pale memory.
This summer, I held a grand total of three jobs. I also decided to participate in our local theater’s 25 year musical retrospective, which took up three of my days as well. So if you’re keeping track, I had four activities to juggle this summer.
1. This one was the most important to me. I work as an assistant director at the children’s theater C.A.S.T. in Manchester, CT. In addition to working there during the fall and winter under that title, in the summer I give up my mornings to them as they work on their big musical production. Under the careful tutelage of Donna Mercier, the artistic head of the company, I help write promotional material and got an article published in the Journal Inquirer summarizing the show and quoting the various staffers and cast members. It ended up being a phenomenal show and I was so pleased with how it turned out. That was at 9-2:30 on most days of the week.
2. In addition, once or twice a week I worked at a casino as a hostess. The reason I held this job, and will probably continue to hold it at least once a week this fall despite graduate school, is pretty simple: Money is awesome, and the money I make down there is worth coming home with aching feet and pants covered in coleslaw.
3. On Tuesday nights I worked the desk as a staffer at the local yoga studio. I practice hot yoga about 3-4 times a week when I can and trust me, without the calming 75 minutes of sweaty vinyasas I really don’t think I would either as calm or as non-murderous as I was this summer. I owe a lot of that to yoga.
As well as all of that, I am participating in the Little Theater of Manchester’s Second 25 Years musical revue, which closes tomorrow after 7 performances. Today is a blessed day off aside from going into the studio a bit early today, so I plan to take a mild Mental Health day today. I slept in until 8 when I usually get up at 6, had eggs for breakfast, and am currently blogging from my backporch. The cicadas are feeling the end of summer and while I can’t say I’m happy about it entirely, there’s a bite to the air that feels more than welcome after never ending heat waves.
Did I mention I’m also training to run the Hartford 1/2 Marathon?
Clearly someone puts acid in my coffee.
The 1/2 Marathon training, when I had time to train for it, went great but is now proving to be a bit tricky considering all of the work I’m doing. But one of my graduate professors said training for marathons helps to keep his mind on things other than work, which is good for mental health. But my ankles are currently quite mad at me due to all the dancing in the show I’m doing, so we shall have to see what happens. Also, when you get home from performing in a show at 11:00 at night, the last thing you want to do is lay out your gear for a long run in the morning. So I’ve been taking advantage of the sleep when I can. There’s always another day to run. I got my 8mile training run in two weeks ago, and I feel comfortable at that distance, so when the time comes I’ll start racking up the mileage again. But if it doesn’t happen because I’m busy with school, it doesn’t happen. End of story. I’m not going to be upset about it. It was a game try but there are always other marathons, after all. My self-respect and health trumps fueling and Gu Chomps.
Yesterday I started working towards a job that will probably take over all of my other jobs in terms of importance. I began orientation at UCONN for my Master’s in English Literature program. I will be focusing on Children’s Lit but I also want to concentrate in Mythology/Folklore and Arthurian and Celtic myth. In addition, I’m going to try to take a history course sometime in my 2 year career at UCONN to see if they have anything in that area for me, as well as a few American Lit courses despite there already being a big glut of new American Lit grad students. A few of yesterday’s points were rather repetitive to me, as I went through an entire year of graduate work last year before getting into the program; I know what it takes to get through one of those classes, as well as what it takes to write a really good 25-page, submission worthy seminar paper. I wrote four of them, and got A’s on all of them (shameless, I know). The real meat of my learning process will occur next week when I start working on my Teacher’s Assistant Orientation. The lesson planning/syllabus constructing/paper grading part of teaching terrifies me. I was really comforted to hear one of the heads of the department, a PHd holder in her field, confess that she feels the urge to vomit before she teaches. This is coming from a woman who has published two books and is working on getting a third book accepted for publication. If she feels panic attacks like that, so can I.
Another woman I met yesterday in my class asked me what my undergraduate was in. I blushed a little bit and told her it was in drama, and that I had switched careers quite abruptly about two years ago (you can read about that agonizing decision in this post). With a vigorous nod, the girl exclaimed, “Me too! Undergrad in theatre, and once I started making it my entire life, I couldn’t do it. I need more structure.”
Like staring into a mirror.
Yes, my summer was crazy. There were a few days where I ran on nothing but fumes, Diet Coke, and Larabars. There was a day last week where my Nonna watched me zoom around the house like a woman possessed, screaming I needed to wash my body stocking for the play while simultaneously trying to figure out a long run for the week, folding up my yoga mat to take to the studio with me, burning a CD for a friend, reading some chapters out of my how-to guide for Humanities graduate work, and going to rehearsals from 6-11 every night.
How does one get through a summer as cracked out as I did? Well, here’s my survival guide.
1. Coffee. And a multivitamin with guarana in it. Seriously.
2. Maintaining a level of physical fitness. Getting up to run or do some other form of workout not only helps you make good choices throughout the day, it immediately requires you to focus.
3. Really awesome friends and family who try to accomodate you and listen to your bitching when they can.
4. A nephew who makes you smile. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that.
Now, off to enjoy my morning before heading down to the theater this afternoon. Taking advantage of my day off before this week and the craziness begins…
PS. I’m also participating in a staged reading of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia On National Themes to be presented September 17-18th at Cheney Hall in Manchester, Connecticut. I’m playing Harper, and Part 1 will be shown on Saturday, Part 2 on Sunday. You owe it to yourself to check this out, it’s one of the most brilliant plays of the past 30 years.