Monday, December 29, 2014

I, Lorelai

I've compared aspects of my life to Lorelai Gilmore from the TV show Gilmore Girls before, and I'm about to again. Don't worry - I don't actually think I am Lorelai, or that my life in some way parallels hers, yet, with any long running show one is likely to find situations or sentiments that resonate with your own.

Christmastime is known for family time, and every year I am blessed enough to travel back to my parent's house and open gifts with a large number of nieces and nephews. I always end my vacation spoiled and content; this year was no exception. I am so surrounded by people who care about me at Christmas I could never feel alone. 

And then I go home for New Years. Maybe it's because of the traditional midnight kiss, or the abrupt change of being with a large family to once again being far away from almost every blood relative, but New Years makes me acutely aware that I don't have a family of my own, or even a significant other on hand (most years) with whom to count down the hours. To quote Lorelai:

"There are very few times in my life when I find myself sitting around thinking 'I wish I was married'...but every now and then, just for a moment, I wish I had a partner. Someone to pick up the slack, someone to wait for the cable guy, make me [herbal tea] in the morning."

I feel you, sister. I am happy with my life - I've started my own business, I work several other wonderful jobs on the side, I live in a good place with good roommates, and have made good friends along the way, but sometimes, about this time of year, I feel that longing for more, to be headed into the new year and into new adventures with someone by my side.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I created a circus. I created a circus with a partner and it got booked at the LA County Fair - a fair that often takes acts several years to get in to - before we ever performed a show. We perform 3 to 4 shows a day, 5 days a week, for 23 days over 5 weeks, totaling 84 performances. We passed the halfway point of our run on Saturday the 13th, while performing outside in 100+ degree weather. These are all things to be proud of! We have and are accomplishing something great.

Several times now within the last few weeks I have become an emotional mess of a human being (mostly in private), but couldn't put a finger on exactly why I keep having these breakdowns. Maybe it's the heat, I thought, and the long hours, and the driving 40 miles each way to the fairgrounds, and being the leader all the time, directing people where to be and what to do, and trying hard to be a good example by not complaining about the heat, and the long hours, and the driving while everyone else is. While all of these could contribute I don't believe they are the main source of my problem. It's vulnerability.

In the past I have held jobs that were pretty basic. Positions that were very plug-and-play; nothing that required me to put myself out there in a creative sense to be watched and judged by 2 million people. But this show - it's my baby. It's not just my routine and how well I perform each day that reflects on me, it's every single performer, every single routine, every potential success or mistake, it's all mine. I'm putting my creative and managerial talent all out there at one of the biggest fairs in the United States and hoping that it's enough. Enough to draw in and entertain a crowd, enough to be rehired by the fair, enough to get further work from other fairs, corporate, and private events, enough to interest performers in our vision and future work opportunities. It's a lot. And it's scary as hell.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Birthday Week! Part 2

Wednesday - I share a birthday with several friends, and it's become an annual tradition to go out to lunch with one that I met while living out here in California. This year we managed to get together BEFORE our birthday; last year we were a couple months late when we finally coordinated schedules! We ate at a tasty Brazilian restaurant and enjoyed catching up with each other.

Thursday - I got to sleep in, I fed the missionaries from my church one of my favorite home cooked meals, and met up with my friend Sarah for dessert. We went to The Ice Cream Lab in Beverly Hills and I got my favorite - peachy cobbler ice cream. We talked for hours, and Sarah ended up sleeping on an air mattress in my room. It was another nice evening of catching up!

Friday - I had the house mostly to myself in the afternoon so busted out 3 or 4 loads of laundry (sounds like a lot, but our washer is REALLY tiny!), and watched more TV shows I had saved on the DVR. My friend Veronica picked me up in her convertible and took me to a birthday dinner for me and another gal (Angelica) at the Cheesecake factory in Marina del Rey. We had a rather large party of about 16 people, so we were seated outside overlooking a little beach area and part of the marina. Everyone was really sweet and bought dinner for Angelica and I, and my friend Holly had already told me she was buying my cheesecake. Definitely a great place to be treated to! Since it was my last night as a 30 year old I chose their 30th anniversary cheesecake - it was delicious. After returning home my friend Chris came over and watched half a movie with me - we were both so tired we had to turn it off so he could go home.

Saturday - THE BIG DAY. I got up early and drove to Long Beach to teach my first aerial class at my new job. Since I was a little early I drove up signal hill for the view before heading to the studio. The class went well; it was small with only 3 students, but they were wonderful to work with. I'm excited to go back next week! After returning home and grabbing some lunch I headed out to Santa Monica beach and spent hours sunbathing, swimming, body surfing, and chatting with my friends who were able to join me. One of my former aerial students came out with her parents as well to celebrate. The day ended at a cast party for This End Up (yes, we're a little late getting together), where I was spoiled with some gifts, balloons, and a cake that had a circus tent drawn on it. By the end of the night I could barely keep my eyes open!

Overall I had a FANTASTIC birthday week. I felt like a lot of people went out of their way to make me feel special, and it really meant a lot! It was a very great way to turn thirty-1-derful!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Birthday Week! Part 1

My birthday falls on a Saturday this year. THIS Saturday, in fact. I LOOOVE when my birthday is on a Saturday, but I have no real reason why Saturday would be my favorite day for my birthday- my birthday is obviously in the summer, so it's not like I ever had to go to school on my birthday.

Anyhow, I wasn't planning anything super huge for my birthday, but wanted to take time to notice something positive about each day this week leading up to my big day, since lately I seem to only been noticing the obvious negatives/challenges I'm facing.

Sunday - Father's Day, and my dad's actual birthday. Nice start to the week - remembering and honoring my father for all he has done for me in my life. He is super supportive of my crazy dreams in recent years, and definitely couldn't be doing what I'm doing without his help. In the morning I trekked out to our favorite Baptist church in South Central LA with members of my church congregation to strengthen our interfaith relations, as well as eat good barbecue (we visit them every Father's day, and they in turn visit us sometime in the fall). It's always fun to worship with the Baptists! I also attended a dessert party that evening and had free cookies.

Monday - Hung out with some church friends at FHE, watched some films from last year's film festival, ate more free cookies, and got in some piano playing time before they locked up the church building.

Tuesday - Spent some time with one of the performers in my show, then sat on my couch watching episodes of TV shows I only watch when no one's home so no one will judge how cheesy I am. Later I showed up to my friend's "girls night" a little late and walked in to a surprise party! For me! Seriously spoiled with cake, good company, and homemade sushi.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

That's A Wrap! Or Is It?

My circus show "This End Up" wrapped things up on April 27th after two awesome weekends of shows. It was SO fun! We had a cast of 8 performers and 1 tech guy, and let me tell you - everyone poured a little bit of their soul into this production! Many of our performers hadn't met before rehearsals began, yet everyone fit together quite nicely and enjoyed bonding with each other during our time at the warehouse. Just a week after our last show we were in full break-down mode; disassembling the truss, scaffolding, lighting, cleaning, packing, moving, etc. When everything was cleaned up and power washed it looked like we had never been in the warehouse at all! Kind of sad, but satisfying at the same time knowing we had completed the project Mike, Krista, and I had set out to do last year (sad that Krista was unable to stay with us to see the final project - she's traveling the USA with another circus!).

The doors to the warehouse may be closed, but our circus will go on!

Throughout the process of setting up the warehouse and running the rehearsals Mike and I were approached and in negotiations for a show contract, and by the time we finished breaking everything down Mike and I had officially formed our LLC and signed the contract to bring our show to the LA County fair this fall! We are over the moon for this opportunity! We open labor day weekend, and will be performing 3 to 4 shows a day for 23 days between August 29th and September 28th. Now come the production meetings, budgeting, the restructuring of the show to fit into a 30 minute time frame, wardrobe updates, scheduling of performers (we only need 5 there per day instead of the full cast of 8), requests for permits, etc. We are going to be TIRED by the end of this, but a very satisfied, happy to be doing what we love kind of tired. I feel so blessed right now!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Guess I Better Blog Today

I have so much to say and no time to blog! BUT I needed to post something before April disappeared without a single post. I have something like 6 drafts saved and waiting to be worked on and I still can't seem to get my thoughts in place to finish any of them. I guess I've been pouring too much creative energy into my show, WHICH WAS AWESOME BY THE WAY, and didn't have any to spare for a while. Maybe now that we've finished our first run I can re-direct some of my creative efforts here and make this blog semi-readable again. Wouldn't that be nice?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sewing A Kabuki Drop

Wait, what? It's been a month since I blogged here? Geez. I didn't realize how long it had been with all my posting over at my sock blog. Although I'm behind on my posts over there as well.

Let's see...update. Between my two paid jobs I'm working somewhere around 28 to 32 hours a week. My franchise is still moving slowly, although I was able to email a bunch of information off to the parent company a couple weeks ago. I'm still looking for land and investors. Slowest part of the gig I think. 

This End Up is moving along nicely; we finally have all of our cast members and we run rehearsals as often as different schedules allow. I'm working on choreographing my routine for the show, purchasing final apparatuses for the aerial numbers, selecting/ordering/making costumes for most of the cast, and am in the middle of a large sewing project to make the main curtain for the set. It's a lot, but it's all coming together. I mean, it better come together - our first show is on April 18th! We've already had several people purchase tickets through our website. Will you be coming??

I recently saw Totem by Cirque du Soleil while they were in Santa Monica, and I didn't have to pay a dime! I won tickets back on Valentine's day by following a twitter lead and hunting down the Cirque street team at the mall in Culver City. On the evening of the show my friend Elizabeth came with me and we had a fun time catching up. A few weeks later I visited Las Vegas for a bachelorette party and found a cheap ticket to Zarkana at the Aria. I had been wanting to see that Cirque show for a while since they have a flying trapeze act, and I ended up really enjoying the entire show.

In other news, Los Angeles had a bigger than (their) average earthquake (a 4.4) the morning of St. Patrick's Day. It was the biggest earthquake in LA since 2008, and yes, I felt it! I was in the back/storage area of work about five minutes before I had to clock in when it hit, and it lasted longer than other earthquakes I've felt. I ended up walking out of the back room into the main part of the coffee shop to be out of the way of our heavy shelves in case they toppled if the quake got worse. I realized this was the third earthquake I've felt on a holiday - Christmas Day 1994 in Colorado, Easter Day 2010 in Los Angeles (the quake was the big one in Mexico, but we felt the sway when sitting down to Easter dinner at my sister-in-law's family's house), and now St. Patrick's Day. Very strange.

Alright that pretty much covers it for now! I need to sleep a little so I can work on sewing more curtains tomorrow! COME SEE THE SHOW!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Weekly Scheduling

My schedule is out of control! I'm busy all the time, I stay up way too late for no good reason (like right now), and therefore I am not accomplishing everything I need to in a timely manner. I have decided I need to get my evenings back on a normal-ish schedule so I can guarantee that I'm getting enough sleep throughout the week, and allowing time to get some work done! 

Rules I'm going to start implementing to help me do this:

1. Lights out by 11pm when I work an early shift the next day; midnight on other days.
2. Electronics off at least 30 minutes before lights out. This means I need to set the alarm on my phone for the next day before the electronic curfew.
3. Up by 8:30am on days/mornings off.
4. 10am-11am on Tuesdays and Thursdays are specifically dedicated to working on my business. I must be dressed and fed before this time so I can give this work my undivided attention for the entire hour. No social media may be used during this time. Email is okay only if it's directly related to business. I can work longer if I want to, but I cannot work less than this hour.

I may add to this list if needed, but I think it's a good list to start with. Please feel free to check up on me to make sure I'm following through!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Swing Turn Around

I know we're in a pretty severe drought, but it's really hard not to enjoy this sunny California winter! I get to drive up to Simi Valley about once a week to fly at the Cotton Candy Club and soak up the sunshine. 

This week I finally got the nerve up to try a swing turn around. This is not an incredibly difficult move to do, but for me it was a little mental battle. Last year before I left my old studio I had attempted this trick one time, and it was not good.

When you first start learning this trick the cheater version is to begin with your hand gripping the fly bar from underneath so that you can turn your body 180 degrees at the front end of your first swing to return to the pedestal immediately. Once you get the hang of the turn around you progress to beginning with your hand gripping the fly bar the way you would for a regular take off. You do a full swing, this time switching your hand grip to grab under the fly bar as you're in your "seven" at the back end of your swing, turning around at the front end of your second swing.

At the old studio I had been comfortable doing the cheater version and was ready to move on to the two swing version. I took off fine, but when it came time to switch my hand at the back end of my swing I let my legs get into more of a six o clock position instead of keeping them in front of me in a seven. This resulted in slamming my left foot down HARD on the pedestal. I kept my head together and didn't do anything else stupid like letting go of the bar - I just adjusted my hands and did a face-off to the net to come down. Have you ever jammed your finger? That's what it felt like I did to my ankle; it was sore and stiff for months! I half wonder if I may have fractured something. Anyway, after that I never felt confident enough to attempt it again. Until this last Wednesday. Below is my first attempt. It's about time I got back on that horse!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sock It to Me!

I love socks! This isn't new, nor is it an uncommon fetish. Sunday I managed to do ALL of my laundry, and I realized that even if I hadn't washed any of my socks I would still have more than plenty for the next week or two. Or four. Who knows.

In light of this realization I decided that instead of doing the simple thing and just counting up how many pairs of socks I own I would start a photo project to see just how long it would take for me to wear each and every pair before I run out. Will this mean I have to wear Christmas socks out of season? Of course! It might make things more fun. Or maybe just add a spark of oddness to a boring project. Either way you can follow my project at Sock It To Me.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014 - The Year of Flying Improvements

It's 2014!! Let me tell you - I am SO glad that 2013 is over, it was a difficult year in many ways. This year has started off wonderfully, especially in regards to my aerial/circus world.

This End Up reached its goal on hatchfund and with some of the funding we have purchased our main set of trussing to start building the show's set in our performance space. We moved it all in on New Year's Eve and made friends with some of our warehouse neighbors - mostly artsy folks like us! It's exciting to see this project really get underway; we have a timeline in mind for when we expect to have our first performance, so stay tuned!

Nicolina, a gal I flew with in the OC Fair last summer, now owns her own trapeze rig about 45 minutes away from me, and I was able to visit for the first time on the 2nd. Yes, it's quite a bit farther from me than the studio where I started my flying trapeze training, but the positive, supporting atmosphere that she and the other flyers bring to her rig is well worth the time in the car! Such a breath of fresh air compared to the belittling and snarky attitude of the other rig's owner. Don't get me wrong - I'm grateful for everything I learned at my first flying trapeze studio (I'm leaving out its name on purpose - I don't care to spread negative energy), but it was time to move on. Nicolina runs her rig like a club rather than a school, so it's the perfect place for me to work on the little details like improving the height my swing, the position of my legs in a turn around, etc. especially since we didn't have a catcher out there that day. Everyone there is willing to help each other out; we all work together to be better flyers. One of the  absolute best things about her rig is that it's bright pink! No one has a rig like this that I have seen. I had to paint my nails to match; turned out pretty good!

The very next day I decided to finally use my groupon and go with a flying friend of mine (Carol) to Richie Gaona's rig in Woodland Hills; about a 25 minute drive for me. I had been wanting to go to his rig for quite a while now, but felt a little intimidated since the Gaona's are a multi-generation circus family with their circus blood dating back to at least the late 1800's (according to Many professional flyers spend time at Richie's during their off-time. I'm glad Carol convinced me to put on my big girl flying panties and get out there though, because it was AMAZING.
The rig

The belt (safety harness) I used at Richie's -
seemed very circus appropriate
Knowing that I was one of the least experienced flyers in my class, I worked my butt off! I was quickly tearing through the gauze grips I had made at Nicolina's rig just the day before (previous sets of gauze grips have lasted up to 8 classes before shredding or ripping apart), and the skin on my hands quickly followed. Every couple of swings I was applying tape to cover my wounds and adjusting the tiny pieces of gauze I had left to minimize any slipping the tape would cause on the fly bar. By the time class was over my hands were pretty chewed up, and several people expressed surprise that I kept going without complaint.
At the end of class before removing the tape and gauze

The damage - can you find all 5 rips?
I rinsed my hands a little in the sink before getting in my car (ouch), and managed to drive myself to a CVS on the way home to buy some bandages I could tape over the wounds. Let me tell you - cleaning those suckers hurt. BAD. I may have yelled and stomped my foot a little in the process. Luckily I had told my roommate what I was about to do so she didn't think I was having some sort of fit. Anyway, I managed to clean them, trim off the flaps of skin and bandage them up.
All bandaged up
Was all that pain worth it? Absolutely yes! What a difference a day flying with pros makes! Before I had been to Richie's rig I had never so much as caught a return bar. I had tried but would either have problems getting up high enough out of the catcher's hands (partially because I was impatient and would turn early instead of riding the swing up before pushing into the turn), or I didn't have someone on the pedestal who was experienced in dropping a return bar, or my instructor would have me move on to a new trick that I wasn't catching consistently enough to be able to attempt a return. After warming up and throwing tricks to the net several times it was time to catch. Richie took me aside and told me exactly what to do and when to do it in order for me to get back to the bar and told me to do my back end split - a very solid trick for me (I've taken this one out of safety lines for shows). I threw this trick to the catcher twice, and these were the results:

Attempt 1

Attempt 2

Success! Back to the pedestal on my second return bar. Couldn't have had a better day - war wounds and all!