Friday, October 21, 2016

Below the Surface

I often house and dog sit for a friend of mine to pick up some extra cash. I like to think of it as a staycation in a way - I get a house and yard all to myself, raid their collection of puzzles for something to do, occasionally do some of my laundry in their machine, and as a plus my commute to work is cut nearly in half. I've been to their house so often as a guest and as a sitter that it kind of feels like home. I've been there so often that they even gave me my own key.

Each time I house sit I make sure I clean up after myself and have all of my stuff gone by the time they get home so they can easily fall back into their routine. However, recently I had been staying at their house for a few days and had gone to work in the afternoon, leaving my stuff out in the room where I stay, probably with a few dirty dishes in the sink from breakfast and lunch, and fully planning on staying another night. Somehow we had gotten their return dates mixed up, and my friend and her family arrived home that evening - one evening earlier than I had in my calendar! It wasn't a big deal to them, but I was slightly embarrassed that my mess was still there.

I stopped by after work to pack everything up, and chatted with my friend while stacking my folded laundry into my suitcase. She made a comment on how organized my suitcase was, and I had to laugh! Just out of sight beneath the neatly folded clothes was an entire load of clean laundry laying in a jumbled mess. 

And that got me thinking. How many of us seem to have a neatly organized facade while lurking beneath is a wadded up mess that we hide? How many times do we present our best selves while concealing our true situation, emotions, or needs? I think this was a good reminder for me to not take everyone at face value. There is more to a person's story than what they present to the world. It reminded me to pause before judging, give the benefit of the doubt, and be kind even when wronged, because I don't know everyone's story. I just hope the world does the same for me, because we're all just one crazy mess underneath.

Not my friend's house.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Birthdays - Sushi and Camping

My roommate Mary and I both have June birthdays. Mary's birthday falls a few days before mine, and this year she decided to have a sushi party. I was asked to help since I am the resident sushi master; I did all the shopping for the dinner and taught all of her guests how to roll their own sushi. Handing me all dinner responsibilites freed up Mary's time earlier in the week to figure out how to make dessert sushi: 

I did help out one evening by peeling fruit rollups off their plastic and separating the green sections for the "seaweed," and shaping starbursts into various shapes for the "nigiri." I now can tell you how many seconds you need to microwave said starbursts to make them maleable. And yes, some colors require different times.

Overall I think they turned out rather cute!

On the day of the party (Saturday) I ran to the grocery store for some last minute items when I got home from work, and learned that Mary's birthday is international sushi day! We had no idea - I sent her this picture from the store and we had a little freak-out-because-we-couldn't-have-planned-Mary's-party-better moment.

I think there was between 20-25 people at the party; we stuffed our faces and even ended up with leftovers!

The next day (Sunday) I packed up my car after church and headed out on the road to start my birthday celebration. This year I decided I wanted to get away from the city and go camping. I drove about 3 hours north to a campground I had booked online a few weeks prior. The most awesome thing about going up on a Sunday afternoon was that the campground was already emptied of weekend partiers, and the place was nearly empty - nice and quiet! I grabbed the best campsite which was only a 2 minute walk away from the river:

I had invited multiple people to join me, but because my days off aren't Saturday and Sunday like normal people, only one friend was able to make it. Lynette was driving up to join me for the first night; she couldn't take more than a day off of work. After checking in with the site manager and setting up the tent I borrowed from Lynette, I hiked to the top of the hill to try and get some signal on my phone to check on Lynette's status. I never could get through. I waited around for a while hoping I could see her car coming over the bridge before the turnoff. I got bored and took a makeup-free selfie. Go nature!

Lynette arrived before sunset, got her tent set up, and we quickly set off to do some fishing; hoping to catch something for dinner. It's a good thing we each packed extra food, because we didn't catch anything then, or on Monday when we went upriver. I'm definitely a novice when it comes to fishing (though I can gut them without help), but got some tips from a lady on Monday on river fishing. I need to pick up a few doodads she recommended and will try again sometime.

After returning from the river on Sunday night we cooked the dinner we had brought up, and watched a nearly-full moon rise brightly over the mountains. The weather was honestly too hot for camping, but I still slept really well even without being able to use my air mattress (I blew the fuse on my cigarette lighter in my car when I plugged in the air pump).

Monday we were up with the sun, made breakfast, and headed out to explore. We checked out a trailhead for some natural hot springs, but decided almost instantly to pass on the hike since hiking and hot springs aren't very enjoyable when the temperatures were already climbing into the 90s. We instead drove upriver where we explored part of a small town, fished, and waded. I got mildly sunburned (of course) before we headed back to the campsite around 3. Lynette had to pack up and head out so she could work the next day, and I stayed at the campsite to spend my first night in the wilderness alone.

I ate a snack in my tent, then decided to try fishing one more time before making dinner. Wanting to get my line out before the sun sank too low, I left quickly not thinking to put my bag of groceries back in my car. When I came back from the river I was walking toward my tent when I saw something inside of it move! "Ha!" I laughed - "There's a SQUIRREL in my tent!" And then quickly my amusement turned into concern... "There's a squirrel IN my tent." The darn thing was so determined to get to the loaf of bread in my bag that he/she had climbed up the side of the tent under the rain fly and chewed it's way through a seam before dropping down inside:

It (or the rest of it's crew) had also attacked a few other areas of the tent:

The squirrel couldn't get back up to the hole to leave and was madly flinging itself against the screen door trying to escape when I got near. I opened one door, then walked around the back to scare it out. The thing had obviously been stuck in there for a while - it had pigged out on the bread, pooped on the floor, left squirrel hairs all over my pillow, and peed on my blanket. The picture doesn't do it justice - it looked like someone had spilled a bunch highlighter ink on it. Did you know squirrels pee neon yellow? Thanks for the present...

I grabbed some tissue to take care of the poo, chucked my blanket in the corner (I didn't need it anyway because it was so hot), cleaned up and threw away the crumby bread mess, hid the food back in my car, stuffed the empty tent bag in the hole of the tent, and flipped my pillowcase inside out so I wouldn't rub my face on the hair. 

I made myself dinner, watched the shadows creep down the mountain and a full moon rise above them. I wasn't nervous to be on my own, really, but decided to be smart and have my hunting knife in my tent with me anyway. I read for a little while by flashlight, and then went to bed. 

Thus ended the last day of my 32nd year.

I woke up the morning of my birthday, packed up in the hazy early morning sun, ate some yogurt and left for home before the air could get too hot. I stopped at an REI once back in the city for a tent repair kit, then spent the majority of the day by myself (this happens a lot on my birthday in recent years) before Mary got home from work and took me to dinner as a happy birthday/thank you for making sushi for her party.

On our way out the door we saw a hawk sitting in the tree by our driveway. You may not be able to tell, but he had a smaller - dead - bird in his claws and he was systematically ripping it's feathers out and raining them down on my parked car (I'm starting to think wild animals don't like me). I think you can see one of the feathers falling below the branch.

I spent the late evening hours trying to patch Lynette's chewed up tent, but ultimately I'm just buying her another one and keeping the squirrel-marked one for myself.

Camping by myself that last night got me thinking. For years I haven't gone places or done things I could have; usually because I think I need someone else to take part in the adventure. I've often thought 'when I have a family I'll (insert activity of choice here).' Since there's no sign of family happening any time soon I've decided I'm tired of putting things off. I'm working hard now to pay off my debts (I paid off my car in September - hooray!) so I have the ability to go and do the things I want to do more often. Hang on world, I'm coming for you.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Aerial Antics

This summer has brought about some fun aerial adventures. I learned I can base two people at the same time (and was told that I have thighs of steel):

I also came up with a fun way to fit three people on a hoop:

I followed a drag queen's youtube makeup tutorial for a showcase...

To look like Cher. I mean, come on, it was only a matter of time until I portrayed her in the aerial world!

I performed in another showcase as Mighty Mouse:

And revamped my doubles hoop routine with my aerial partner Cynthia for a special show in her backyard for CAbi clothing.

I'm now working on choreography for two pieces my students will be performing in an Alice in Wonderland themed showcase at the end of October. Fun, fun, fun!

Friday, June 10, 2016


It seems as though I've lost the ability to blog without complaining, or sounding like I need attention. I used to have fun with blogging, and often feel the desire to write something, but I sit and start draft after draft and don't end up posting or saving any of them! When did I stop being so carefree and fun? When did I stop feeling like people cared about what I write, or what my life is like? When did my trials put joy in the back seat? When did I become speechless?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ranting Regret

Sometimes I just want to rant. I get the urge to make a list of everything that bugs me, or that has recently made me angry, and at times I want to take that rant to an audience - i.e. this blog. But then I remember I'm not 2 and don't need to throw public tantrums that can result in hurting others' feelings.

I let myself slip a little recently. I let a post on facebook get to me; I took it as a direct insult to my experiences and where I'm at in life, and kind of lost my mind. I responded and I wasn't nice. I then walked away from my computer for several hours trying to tell myself I was justified in responding the way I did.

Guys, that kind of behavior is never justified.

I flipped out over something that I really should have ignored, or better yet, something that I should have taken the time to understand better by putting myself in their shoes. I went back to my computer and pulled up my comment and deleted it. No one had responded. To be honest, I don't know if it was seen by anyone at all. But even if it wasn't seen that doesn't make up for what I felt and how I acted.

Talk about a major #GrownUpFail.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

All the Insomnia

My body doesn't like sleeping this week. Well, that's not exactly true, because when I go back to bed around 7am after I get back from teaching seminary I fall asleep quickly and can't drag myself out of my covers again until somewhere between 10am and noon. But trying to fall asleep at a normal evening hour is next to impossible. I lay down, get comfortable, and  then my eyes just pop open and refuse to give up their vigil. My mind thinks about things I haven't thought of in years, or of things that just aren't important in the middle of the night. When I do eventually sleep I dream.

My dreams are vivid. I've kept a dream journal off and on just to remember how crazy some of the adventures are, or to keep track of the way they made me feel. I also go though times where I have bad or incredibly scary dreams; they seem to come for a week or two at a time before leaving me in peace again. I don't write these dreams in my journal. Most of the time I don't think that dreams mean anything, but occasionally they carry some weight. A couple of dreams I had foreshadowed the end of a job. Another told me I needed to serve a mission for my church.

These insomnia dreams I've been having recently kind of have a feel of their own. They're not bad dreams, but they're not necessarily good ones either. They are still vivid, but perplexing. I find my dream self often confused and unable to respond to situations in ways that would make sense. They bother me, and have woken me up several times because of them already. It's getting to the point where I don't know if trying to fall asleep is worth the energy- I fight my body to sleep, and then it fights to wake me up again just a few hours later. One dream last night was so bizarre (and quite a bit disturbing) that I woke up with my mouth salivating the way it does right before I toss my cookies. I had to grab the water bottle by my bed and take a few drinks before I felt I had things under control.

I really hope this wave of insomnia goes away soon and takes it's crazy dreams with it- I'm tired!

Saturday, December 12, 2015


I bruised my calf of my right leg. This is not a large bruise, nor a very dark or weirdly-shaped bruise. BUT - this bruise is important to me.

Since losing my full time job a few years back I haven't been able to take aerial classes regularly (they're not cheap). Yes, I teach aerial arts, and have had many performance gigs since then, but at times I feel like the spark and excitement I once had for training has died out; I haven't been improving or adding to my skill set much. Often I find it's hard to feel motivated to train when I can no longer afford to have awesome instructors that push me to be my best and challenge me to try things outside of my comfort zone.

Last Saturday a student of mine (who I now regard as an equal in the aerial world - she's so good) showed me a drop on hoop from a move I already know. She then demanded that I try it. Something about the way she insisted resonated with me and I pulled myself onto the hoop to give it a go. It was simple to do, yet I ended up grabbing my foot too tightly as I rolled over my inner thigh to drop into a single knee hang, which caused the hoop to slam into my calf. It was painful! I dismounted and over-dramatized my pain a little by curling into a ball on the mat - while laughing. Yes, it had hurt, but it also felt really good. I had forgotten how satisfying it is to accomplish a new pose or trick while parts of my body scream at me for making it do something new. 

And there it was. Not just the beginnings of a bruise, but also a glimmer of that spark and excitement I had lost; that desire to learn and grow as an aerialist.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Today I'm thankful for my family, friends, a warm house, and good food. For technology that allows us to connect with others when we're far apart. For teeth that no longer hurt, and sunny Autumn days. I'm thankful for hugs and smiles, long sleeved sweaters, reliable transportation, and skilled doctors who have recently guided two of my grandparents through surgery. For hand written notes and letters, music, and crayons. I'm thankful for washing machines, automobiles, and airplanes, for fuzzy socks, and legs that can carry me anywhere I want to go. I am thankful for movies, long conversations, and studios where I can share my knowledge of aerial arts. I am thankful for animals and nature, for paper to write on, and good books I can get lost in. I am thankful for electricity. For love and faith, and my contoured pillow. Today I am thankful.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Dental Drama

Remember how I posted back in April about needing to get two crowns and a filling done? That was supposed to be the end of it, right? Sadly, these issues have turned into a long and painful saga.

I started the process of getting the crowns done, and had metal temporary ones put in while waiting for my porcelain ones to be made. The metal ones didn't feel good. My gums weren't healing, and the very back one seemed to be pushing into my cheek in an uncomfortable way. I mentioned my discomfort to my dentist the next week when I went to get the permanent ones put in and she didn't seem concerned, until she pulled off the temporaries. "That's something I haven't seen in a long time," she voiced. "It looks like you've been having an allergic reaction to the metal." She proceeded to fit one permanent crown on, but the other wasn't creating a good seal, so she sent it back to the lab and stuck that darned metal temporary back on the back tooth for another week.

After getting the updated permanent tooth back and glued to my skull I went in to have my filling done on the other side of my mouth. Time passes, the crown in the far back refuses to feel good, and I learned to chew all my food on the left side of my mouth - the side with the new filling. Until one day I was chewing eggplant and a shooting pain sliced up through my tooth. Something was wrong.

I went back for a 4 month check up at the beginning of September (the crowns are in with temporary glue to make sure I don't actually need root canals) and talked about the uncomfortable crown and pain I was having while chewing on the filling side - pain that by now has brought me to tears at least twice. I'm not really a sissy when it comes to pain, either. She filed down the crown a bit to adjust the bite, and looked at the tooth with the filling but couldn't see an issue. She wanted me to wait and see if there is any temperature sensitivity before planning the next step.

Even with the adjustment the crown still didn't feel good, and I still can't chew on the filling side. Then, near the end of September after eating lunch one Sunday it felt like there was a small piece of food stuck behind my troublesome crown. I reached back with a finger to push the food out, and with the slightest touch of my finger my crown fell off! The dentist is closed on Sundays, but she did respond almost immediately to a facebook message I sent her. She told me to try and stick it back in with Vaseline (which I don't have), and that she'll call me in the morning to schedule me an appointment. I left the tooth out because it just felt better that way (minus a little temperature sensitivity on the exposed tooth-stub), and got scheduled for an appointment that Tuesday morning (the 29th).

This time, finally, after the dentist took her time to fit, file, and re-fit the crown, it felt like it was in the right place. For good measure she took some x-rays of the tooth with the filling to see if she could spot a crack in the tooth or an abscess that would cause my pain. She couldn't see anything, but the filling is large enough that a crack could still exist out of sight. She tells me to start saving my money - it could lead to another crown (shudder!).

I went home and was living life normally for a couple of days, and was enjoying the ability to properly chew food on one side of my mouth. Then I noticed by Thursday my jaw and area under my cheekbone on my right side (crown side) were getting a little achy. I assumed it was just the trauma of having my crown put back in, so I took some ibuprofen, and moved on. But the pain started getting worse, and ibuprofen wasn't cutting it anymore. By Wednesday night I knew without a doubt this issue wasn't going away on its own, so I called my dentist again yesterday morning and explained my symptoms. Not convinced it's an abscess (there's no visible bump) but not ruling it out she called in a prescription for penicillin. I've been on the antibiotic for 24 hours now, switched my pain meds to naproxen, rotate through ice packs, and keep praying this does the trick. The pain was so bad last night I was in tears again - hopefully the antibiotic works, and soon.

Can I say I am SO ready to be done with the dental issues?

Monday, September 28, 2015


This month I was asked by a friend to fill in for a couple of show dates at the Los Angeles County Fair with the Venardos Circus. If you've been reading my blog for a while you may remember that I performed with my own show at the same fair last year. The fair decided to move things around a bit this year, so the entire circus street was relocated to the northern end of the racetrack and grandstand (there are no horse races during the fair).

The new location had potential to draw bigger crowds straight from one of the main entrances to the fairgrounds, but ultimately left some show owners a little frustrated that they had to compete with the noise from the evening concerts inside the grandstand. While in the circus ring I was able to tune out the concerts, but when behind the tent waiting for my next cue I had to try hard not to get caught up in the music of ZZ Top or Jake Owen. One night I went to the fair to watch the circus show and could hear the Beach Boys doing their thing. Good music, but I understand the show owner's frustrations. Part of me was grateful my show hadn't been re-contracted based solely on the high temperatures this year; last year we had one week that was above 100 degrees while this year that seemed to be the norm. Yuck!

For my first performance date I performed a tissu (fabric/silks) routine to an instrumental version of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. Not typically being a silks performer, the routine was challenging and exhausting. I made it through all 4 shows that day but could tell I was really working for it - I downed a couple litres of water throughout the afternoon and evening. Last year I'd barely get through one litre in the same amount of time!

Rex the Impossible (clown), me, Faeryn (fire hoop), and Anton (juggler)

Sometime during the next week my friend told me that the part had been changed to a lyra (hoop) routine with an entirely different song to boot; Mindy Gledhill's All About Your Heart. I'm not entirely sure why the change was made - I speculate it was due to high winds and/or the fact that no other show on the street had a lyra routine, but I took on the task of familiarizing myself with the new song and learning the new routine. Even with only two days to work on it in a studio the routine was easier for me to get through and was fun to perform.

The cast (including ringmaster Kevin) with my Uncle John and Aunt Helayne

I was happy to see many of my performer friends again, meet a bunch of new ones, and I was glad that several friends and family members made the effort to come see the show. They even saw me dance a little during the opening and closing numbers! Now to get some video up for y'all to see... Maybe!