Today I ponder my latest adventures in life and in eating and think about, ‘What do I REALLY want?’
The selfie above captures this morning’s unexpected moment of reflection as I awoke super early, grabbed a coffee and a banana and found a cozy pondering spot at the hotel’s fire pit. Again at a hotel? Weren’t you JUST at your voice acting lesson near home? Wah? Well, as I explained in a blog post last week, Mark and I are on a series of mini-breaks to get in enough stays at our favorite hotel chain to maintain our current loyalty program level. I also explained that I am more of a fan of this than Mark. So this weekend’s mini-break was me, staying solo, for the most part, in a property in Burbank that I love, even though is it only 15 minutes from our home. In short, it is kind of like me having an apartment in Burbank again – except I don’t have to clean it!
The Start of the Solo Adventure Break
Mark and I have been really trying lately to define and communicate with each other what we really want. I got some free tickets to a movie and Mark opted out. So I decided to combine seeing this film with my solo hotel stay. I checked into the hotel then drove back to downtown Burbank, parked in the Media Center Mall where the film was shown and thoroughly enjoyed the film – even though its reviews are not the best. Hmmmm, maybe that’s why they were giving out free tickets? The movie was Hector and the Search for Happiness. Now this topic suited to me down to the ground as I have been pondering that much myself lately. Whilst enjoying my free film, I considered a small traditional popcorn. But I wasn’t hungry, so I decided if I didn’t indulge in a treat I don’t really like that well except as a habit, I would be hungry enough to enjoy dining ‘Al Fresco’ at my favorite restaurant nearby after the movie. I noticed that almost without thinking, I had decided to forgo the lessor treat, for something I truly did want. A dining experience on the patio with a view of the Christmas decorations and a side of people watching combined with some yet to be determined fine glass of wine.
What’s for dinner?
Now a big part of intuitive eating is actually getting in touch with WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT! Sounds easy, no? But after years of eating emotions, or eating by habit, or eating because food is there, it can be tricky to learn the inner cues that tell you the food that will make your body and your spirit happy and content. I admit, it is a luxury to try and do this every meal. Sometimes you just need to grab a sandwich because you are hungry. But, for occasions like this, it is an excellent time to try.
On my way to the restaurant I determined that I ONLY wanted to sit on the patio, not inside, nice as that is. I wanted to people watch and to be in the air. As I approached the restaurant, I didn’t see any customers seated outside. It has been chilly of late for Southern California, so I thought they may have closed that area. So the next act I undertook to be true to what I really wanted was to ask the host if the patio was available for service. I had decided to find another restaurant if it wasn’t. Success! No problem to sit outside by the toasty space heaters and to enjoy whatever I wanted to eat.
Next, I had thought on my way to dine that I KNEW I wanted pumpkin ravioli. I LOVE pumpkin and this restaurant does a wonderful job with handmade pasta. But my gaze was drawn to the holiday specials and the description of Roasted Chestnut Soup intrigued me. Since it is a cream based soup, I knew that it would be too rich to have with my beloved ravioli. So another decision. What do I REALLY want? The soup! So out goes the ravioli for another time and in with the chestnuts.
I also felt that I was too hungry to only want soup – so to what did my wandering eyes appear? A delicious roasted beet salad. The only problem is it contained goat cheese. I think I may possibly, be the ONLY person on the planet who does not find goat cheese a tasty gourmet experience. Again, what do I really want? Salad without goat cheese. Knowing that the goat cheese had a role in the balance of the flavors, I requested gorgonzola, usually a safe substitute in recipes containing goat cheese. Success! I could order such.
Next the important discussion of wine to accompany this feast. Pinot Grigio with a slight hint of pineapple and berry was decided upon. Delish!
The end of my adventure meal approacheth. The age old question: To Dessert or to not Dessert…
Checking in with tummy, it felt satisfied. Checking in with spirit, it wanted something to cap the meal.
Back at the Casbah…
I spent a lovely night watching HGTV and Food Network shows from my deluxe bed without worry about how Mark would feel since he was safe at home watching whatever he darn well pleased. I was happy and content with my evening except…
CHARACTER VOICE DAY LOOMETH
One reason I was here in the property near my home was that I still needed to attend my voice acting class. It is located nearby in a Burbank recording studio. Luckily, my room was next to the ice-room and so I had no neighbors. I informed the hotel I was working and didn’t need housekeeping and proceeded to warm up my voice using a handy pillow to muffle my mouth when my sounds got up to my carrying pitch.
Then I worked on the subtext of several character voice monologs, researched ways of creating voices and basically tried to analyze my way out of actually DOING any character voices. Time was ticking…tick…tick…tick So I bit the bullet, picked one, and whipped out an old southern voice I had learned in drama school years ago for a production of Look homeward Angel. I practiced with my stopwatch and noted my mistakes and polished the sucker as best as I could. I actually rid myself of fear and went to class.
Things aren’t always as we’d like
Confident as I can be given my traumatic outing LAST character voice day, it was my turn in the booth. I took a deep breath, and SWALLOWED BY FEAR AND STAGE FRIGHT F’ED THE WHOLE THING UP HORRIBLY. Oh Lord, not freaking again! Here I was moth pinned to the wall as I heard my director explain in graphic detail, as only he can, that my accent was too much, my articulation was no good, and my acting the very opposite of good choices. Fudge (not what I really said) I KNOW I am better than this. On character voice day, my director made me DROP ALL CHARACTER VOICE to see if I could act at all without it. I did better take two without, but having practiced WITH the accent, my timing was shit. He gave me direction about the irritation my character was supposed to feel. Even changed a line to ‘Hell no’. Take three I ran with THIS and scared the Bejeezus out my class with my torrent of anger. Hmmm, maybe too close to home? Then the director gave me some line reads to better communicate the direction of this part. By now I’m sweating bullets I feel like barfing and ALL I WANT is to escape the damn booth. But, “What do I REALLY want?” I want to do the piece as I had practiced it. I ask for permission to try the accent again as I had practiced that way and had been nervous first take. Director gave the nod with the strong caution, “Just a little”. By now, I had already proved my incompetence so what did I have to lose? Take four, unheard of to have to do four takes in class. Hit it. Did my accent, did the part. Was declared good. I was wrung out, and never so glad to leave the booth. But I could have escaped after take three and it was me who asked to go again. I’m proud of that, though I still have a fear of character voice and even in my dialog that followed, heard from the director that my French accent, sorry Stéfanie, is not good. So far, every voice except my own, and the stuffed nose voice, has been declared not good. So what do I really want? I want to keep trying. I’m not convinced I CAN’T do voices. I’m convinced I haven’t found my way yet. I’m convinced I’m glad I’m emphasizing bravery on this show and blog as I NEED IT.
Mark comes to dinner
After class I had arranged to drive home for Mark as he loves the restaurant at this property. Trying to be supportive, he asked, “How was your class?” ARGH. “Ok”, I said and ordered some wine. We ate and drank in silence, me not wanting to tell him how I’d fared. This was supposed to be a nice, companionable dinner, not a Laurie gets to bitch session. But finally I sighed. What do I really want? Authentic relationships, including one with my husband. I told him the story. He said, “Well at least it was better than last time!” I laughed and enjoyed the rest of my meal. What do I REALLY want? To live my life to the fullest, good, bad, in-between. I want to feel my emotions and not eat them away. By the way. Why did I have just a banana for breakfast? Despite the trauma of the day before, my tummy wasn’t hungry.