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!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I want to blog more often. But then I usually remember that nothing unusual has happened and figure no one wants to read about the same stuff. Again. And again. Especially without pictures. Routine is good, but can make for a boring blog post. Lucky for you I've done some things outside of my recent routine. Yet that doesn't mean my post won't be boring.

This week I had the opportunity to be a production assistant on a live-action short that was written and being produced by some friends of mine. The film is a touching story that focuses on childhood depression. We filmed outdoors along some cliffs next to the ocean, and it was beautiful! We watched some of the raw footage at the end of the day and I was amazed at the scenery and the acting done by my 12 year old student (I've taught her aerial arts and am currently tutoring her in Spanish). I cannot wait to see the finished product!

Monday morning I was up bright and early to teach a 6am Old Testament seminary class to the high school aged kids from my church. Along with a co-teacher, I have been asked to teach this class for the entire school year - we will be trading off every other week, which will be nice to catch up on sleep. I've enjoyed my first two days teaching and think it's going to be a great experience! We have 4 students who come every day, 1 student who comes part time and does the rest of the course through home study, and 1 other who hasn't figured out if he's coming or doing home study. They are all great kids.

I've made some progress on my 32 goals I posted about a few months ago, but I haven't been perfect at all of them. I have checklists hung on my bedroom wall to keep the goals in the forefront of my mind, which helps, but isn't foolproof. I've struggled the most with getting to bed by 1am, but I think my stats with that one will improve as I adjust to the 5am wake up time for seminary. My ASL vocabulary is expanding, I'm reading a ton of books still (I've been great at this since January), and have significantly cut down the time I waste on social media and watching television. It's nice not to feel like I need to be online to connect with others. I have time to plan my seminary lessons in advance. My room is starting to look less cluttered. I feel more content. It's nice.

On another note, my business partner and I dissolved our circus company. It happened rather quickly, but in the long run I feel like it's best for the both of us. I still teach aerial arts at two studios, and may be picking up some extra work at my friend's flying trapeze rig. I occasionally dog/house/kid sit on the side. And later this month I'll have the opportunity to sub for another friend for a couple of days at the LA County Fair doing a solo silks routine. Circus, clearly, is still my life!

California is still nice and warm, and I'm grateful our house has air conditioning. I'll keep looking for stuff to blog about that isn't in my typical routine. And one day I will once again have pictures! Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Zombie Apocalypse

When I moved in to my first apartment in Los Angeles I lived next door to a group of girls from my church, one of whom is Sarah. Sarah is one of the first friends I made in LA, and has become one of my closest friends in the city. We talk about EVERYTHING! One subject we often approached while neighbors was that of the impending zombie apocalypse. Or rather, emergency preparedness... It was just fun to blame it on zombies. 

We decided that since we lived far on the west side of Los Angeles, should a disaster strike be it a zombie apocalypse or earthquake, we had little to no chance of making it out of the city safely. Since neither of us had family in the area we hatched a plot to help each other out; comparing supplies and planning the best way to block up our windows and punch a hole between our two apartments to reach each other. It was done pretty light hearted, but at the same time was comforting to have a plan of any sort in place.

Although Sarah and I are no longer neighbors, I have continued to try and be prepared for emergency situations. I carry a few emergency supplies in the trunk of my car, and usually keep extra canned goods in my pantry.

This week, I learned a few more survival skills! I surprised most of my family by flying to Colorado to go on their camping trip, and had a fun four days spending time with my parents, 3 of my 4 siblings, and 11 of my 12 nieces and nephews. Our first stop in the mountains was to a small lake where we went fishing to catch our dinner. I had fished before, so that skill wasn't new, but this was the first time I gutted what we caught! This was an important step for me to take - the last time I had fished my mom did all the gutting, and had sliced one open that wasn't quite dead when she started. Seeing it's little fins flare out when she made the first cut freaked me out a bit, and was quite the deterrent for me to want to try it myself. I decided that this time I was going to learn, and thankfully, all the fish were dead by the time we started gutting. It turned out to be an easy skill to learn! They were SO tasty.

Our last day in the mountains several of us went on a hike where we saw large mushrooms growing all over the place. We pulled out a bag and filled it up with several different varieties; stocking up on one kind in particular that my sister was sure was edible. For my entire life my parents have lived next door to a family who went mushroom picking nearly every year, so we consulted with the neighbor once back in town and it turned out that my sister had remembered correctly! We had a couple of edible varieties, and only a few poisonous ones. We tossed out the inedible ones, and the rest were cleaned, sliced, and put in my mom's food dehydrator.

I've got to say I was surprised at how empowering it feels when you learn to provide for yourself out in nature; I may have to play mountain woman more often! The zombies can't stop me now!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Girls Camp

In my church during the summer the girls ages 12-17 get to go to girls camp. This year I got to go up for the first time as one of the camp directors! The girls are divided up by year, and each year has different requirements to certify in their level and progress to the next year's activities. For each of the six years I went as a youth the adults planned and directed all of these activities, but that has changed! Once the girls are 5th years they now become Youth Camp Leaders (YCLs). Before camp they help plan the theme, activities, crafts, spiritual devotionals, etc., and once at camp they are largely responsible for directing each day's events. Even though I was assigned to the 1st years with another adult, our main assignment was to drive the girls to camp, sleep in one of the cabins with our level, and be available as backup/enforcers for the YCLs if they needed anything.

Originally we had been booked at a camp a couple of hours away; not too far from Big Bear. The YCLs were going to go up on Monday the 6th and decorate cabins, set up crafts, and prepare for the rest of the week. Everyone else (including myself) would be coming up the next morning and we all would stay until the afternoon of Friday the 10th. With only 4 days until our departure we were told that the forest service would not be opening any of the camps in that area for at least another week! There had been recent fires in the area and they needed to visit each location to clear it for use. We were suddenly sent scrambling for another camp location.

Luckily, a camp only 40 minutes away in the Santa Monica mountains made themselves available to our group, and plans were changed. We would all be starting camp Monday morning, and would have to be packed up and gone at 8:30pm Wednesday night. They also said we'd have to provide our own certified lifeguard for any pool activities as their camp staff would still be on break. We somehow managed to cram all of the same activities into the 3 days, and even though we had been trying for days, we were struggling to find a lifeguard. 

But miracles happen! Late Monday evening I found a lifeguard through a friend of a friend while battling with my phone for service. I was able to connect to the camp master's wifi and get a message out on facebook, and my friend responded through their messenger app. I was getting an occasional text message in too, but couldn't make or receive calls. The lifeguard wisely tried texting me AND sending me a message through facebook, only one of which I received (fb!). We had her email her certificate to the camp master, agreed on times, emailed her directions to camp, and told the girls over dinner that yes, they were going to swim the next day, eliciting quite the cheer of joy. They REALLY wanted to swim! After finishing my correspondence with the lifeguard my phone never let an additional message, text, or facebook alert come through my phone until we left camp, even with the wifi. Like I said - miracles.

It was a fun three days with (mostly) happy teenagers, and hardly any drama. Several girls asked if I was coming back next year (not really up to me), and I would be happy to. My 1st years were generally sweet and helpful and very inclusive with others. I think my biggest frustration was a girl a few years older who constantly refused to have fun, or participate in ANYTHING. She always tried to sit far away from everyone else, and complained whenever we asked her to join the group. During one activity that was designed to have each girl receive a compliment from another camper she sat out saying "I'm uncomfortable with that." You would think she didn't want to be there, but I was told she signs up for multiple camps with our church groups in the area every summer. I don't get it. At least she wasn't in my year or cabin. Teenage angst is irritating.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Spoon Full of Sugar?

I'm starting to dislike the grocery store. Over the last couple of years I've progressively avoided super packaged and prepared foods for various reasons - too much salt, everything is processed with soy (which makes me gassy), I just don't feel good when I eat it, etc. Overall we all know stuff like that isn't very healthy for us anyway. Not to say I haven't occasionally bought a package of pop tarts! Hey, no one is perfect.

It's come to a point where I now only walk down the same 5 aisles in the store before spending the remainder of my time getting fresh fruits and veggies. Today shopping was even more difficult. Because of my 32 goals I spent extra time looking for more vegetarian meal options, and looking at sugar content. Guys - sugar is in EVERYTHING. While my goal is to cut out the candy, desserts and processed crap I use to feed my habit, I decided it would be wise to check out the sugar content in other things I'll be eating as well to really clear my diet of as much sugar as possible (fruit is still okay!). I looked at some gourmet vegetable soups - the second ingredient listed was sugar. I looked at "plain" cereals like rice chex and all-bran flakes - there was just as much sugar as frosted flakes and honey nut cheerios (which contains more sugar than honey). Eventually I found ONE box of cereal that had no sugar, so I bought it. Some type of shredded wheat. It will be great with bananas or strawberries on top.

It seemed like everything I looked at had sugar in it; it's kind of shocking to realize just how much sugar is being snuck into foods. Anyway, my options at the store are looking incredibly limited. I know I can meet my goals, but it will be an interesting six months or so! Maybe I'll go check out Sprouts or Trader Joe's and see if their options are any better.

On the plus side, California strawberries are fantastic right now.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

One Week!

One week guys! My birthday is just one week away! I kind of wish it were already here so I could start checking off the little boxes on all of the goals I set in my last post. I have already started cutting back on the candy and desserts in preparation and have been pretty good about it! Except for today when I came across Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 on TV and got all emotional and ate all of the cherry chocolate chip cookies in my kitchen. At least they're gone now, right? I've also been trying to get ready for my 1am bedtime and am getting better at it.

This week my roommates and I said goodbye to one of our group for the next three months; she's on her way to Panama for an awesome summer internship with grad school. In her place we are getting a male roommate. We haven't met him yet, but so far he sounds like a decent fellow who is coming to LA to work for the summer. I don't really know what he'll be doing; when I checked out his twitter page everything he posted was over-my-head technical jargon. So he's smart. Hopefully he can fix things around the house if needed. It will be different having a man amongst our midst (one roommate freaked out that she'll need to wear a bra when she's lounging around the house; hashtag FirstWorldProblems), but it is temporary. Hopefully some entertaining stories will come from this change.

Speaking of men, I have been doing the online dating thing again fairly recently. I'm always skeptical of the men who I "meet" online, but online dating has worked for several people I know, so I re-visit the option once in a while. Surprisingly, I've had several decent and funny conversations this time around with men who live in the greater LA area, and for the first time ever one of these online men has asked me out on a date. Poor guy has to wait almost two weeks for an opening in my schedule, but it's happening. I hope it turns into a chill night and not an awkward "this-is-clearly-an-awkward-first-date" situation. Which is possible, because he's quite young (enter cougar jokes here). We shall see.

Happy Sunday!

Monday, June 8, 2015


June is my birthday month! I'm turning 32. Recently a friend of mine celebrated her 33rd birthday and wrote out a list of 33 goals she wanted to accomplish in the next year. Taking a page from her book, I'd like to create 32 goals that I can work on when I turn 32. Some will take time or be ongoing, and some will be one-time things.

1. Cut out desserts/candy/processed sugary foods for 6 months.
I have done this before, but never for 6 months. Basically, my aerial training is semi non-existent right now, add my sugar consumption to the mix, and I've gained back all the weight I lost when I was training 3x a week. Maybe even a little more. Since my current budget for taking classes is zero dollars I need to do other things to halt this trend. I've been trying to decide if I'd allow myself to cheat once a month, but I think I need to say no to that. If I start this immediately I can begin to reintroduce small amounts back into my diet just before Christmas.

2. Go out to eat (on my own dollar) no more than once a month.
My budget is tight. I can do more to ease the strain. If someone wants to take me out on a date however, I'm happy to accompany them wherever they want to spend their money!!

3. Go for a walk once a week.
Fitness. Sunshine. Fresh air. Meditation. Enough reasons.

4. Put a minimum of $25 dollars in savings every month, and keep it there!
It's not much, but it's savings.

5. Donate old clothes to a charity.
My closet is full, yet I don't wear half of what I own. I've also had a box of clothes sitting in my room for the better part of a year that are meant to be donated, but I haven't done it yet. I have a hard time parting with clothes! I need to get rid of what I don't use to see what I really need.

6. Evaluate and update my emergency supplies.
I keep several things in the trunk of my car; an emergency camp stove, air mattress, sleeping bag, toiletries, bottles of water, old shoes, etc., but I want to go through my supplies every 3 months to make sure I'm ready for anything. I'll do these updates in July, October, January, and April.

7. Write in my journal/scrapbook at least once a month.
I do better when my journal's are a little more informal. I tape ticket stubs, programs, and other tidbits in with a quick written entry. I want to focus on adding more details - people's names, spiritual experiences, things that would matter to future generations.

8. Eat meat no more than 3x a week. 2x a week being ideal.
I find I have more energy when I'm eating lots of veggies and fruits. I know this sounds like common sense, but it's been recent that I have really noticed it make a difference in my body. I also feel better when my animal protein is mainly fish. I hardly ever buy beef anymore, chicken and pork only occasionally. I decided to give myself a little wiggle room with the number of times I eat meat per week simply because I am one person, and cook enough food that I usually end up with leftovers.

9. Write a hand-written letter to someone once a month.
Right now my grandfather is sick and not doing well, and it made me think about all the times he wrote to me while I was in Uruguay. Getting mail from a loved one was one of the best parts of the week! Now that we may be losing him I feel like I need to let people know more often how I care about them by taking the time to send them a letter.

10. Read at least 2 books a month.
I started doing this back in January and want to keep it up. I've also joined a book club, which I don't need in order to fulfill this goal, but it gives me opportunities to discover books I may not find by myself. (PS - I have already completed 14 books this year, and am halfway through my 15th. None of which I have read before. I'm ahead of my goal!)

11. Buy a paper shredder.
I've wanted/needed one for years. I have old bank documents and the like that I'd rather shred than just toss in the garbage. This will help with my clutter problem.

12. Donate old magazines to a retirement home or library.
Again, the clutter.

13. Go to the temple 1-2 times per month.
I got to speak with my grandfather on the phone last week. He said go as often as possible. I'd like to honor him by following his advice.

14. Fix my bike tire.
I ran over a nail sometime last summer on my way back from the beach and never got it taken care of.

15. Take my car in for regular oil changes.
I am so bad at this. I think I'll see if the place I go to can set up several appointments in advance so they're already in my calendar every three months.

16. Grow something.
I have a few little seed kits I've been hesitating to get started on; tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, etc. I don't think I have my mom's green thumb skills, and I'm afraid to prove myself right. Time to experiment!

17. Do my visiting teaching every month.
I haven't been too bad, but I can always improve.

18. Learn one new word in ASL every week.
I've wanted to learn for most of my life, and know a few words now. I have a great ASL dictionary thanks to my friend Sarah, and another friend who is learning (and knows so much more than I do!) so I have no excuse!

19. Find a cheaper cell phone plan.
I'm spending too much money and use nowhere near the amount of minutes and data I pay for.

20. Practice the piano once a month.
Doesn't sound like much, but I can't do a lot of practicing on my keyboard because it's not a full 88 keys, the keys aren't weighted, so I need to plan on taking music to the church building or similar to get the real experience

21. Practice the guitar once a month.
I'm just lazy and haven't learned anything new since....I don't know, high school?

22. Read the Book of Mormon in Spanish (out loud) in its entirety.
I'm forgetting things in Spanish. This is a good way to practice my understanding, and pronunciation, as well as study the scriptures. This is 53.5 pages per month, or 1.75 pages per day.

23. Practice handstands once a week.
Who doesn't want to spend more time upside-down?

24. Be in bed by 1am EVERY NIGHT.
Very few exceptions should/will be allowed. But they better be good. Sounds like it's a late bedtime, but my sleeping habits have been worse and are still all over the place. Time to regulate.

25. Organize my bathroom drawers.
Clutter. Again. I want little containers/dividers to keep things from sliding around.

26. Write 2-4 blog posts on this blog every month.
Because I know you're dying to read more about me. Obviously.

27. Write a post for my In Depth Gilmore blog every other month.
With all the books I'm supposed to be reading I can read one for this blog every other month.

28. Do one creative writing exercise every month.
I miss writing short fiction. I think I was once good at it. I mean, I did made my mom cry with a story that was less than 2 pages long...titled The Sock.

29. Throw out old socks.
Speaking of socks... I have way too many, and don't wear them all, and some have small holes. I think I can let the weakest links go.

30. No more than 1 hour of social media (facebook, twitter) per day.
I get sucked into articles people post and can waste hours. I don't need to leave completely, but I can waste less time.

31. No more than 1 hour of television or 1 movie per day.
I have to pick one or the other. It's easy to get sucked in when I'm home during the day. I have DVR. I can space things out.

32. Hug someone at least once a week.
Because trying to hug someone every day might be too awkward for my life situation right now!

Now that my goals are set I'm going to print off some sort of checklist to hang on my bedroom wall to keep track of my progress. I'm kind of amazed I came up with 32 goals! Keep me honest, people. Randomly ask me about one of them every once in a while. Care to join me on any?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Cold Water

I am deeply grateful that I live in a day and age where hot showers are possible. Even taken for granted. Our water heater broke this weekend (hashtag firstworldproblems); the second time that has happened since moving into this place just over a year and a half ago. The first time we had to have the entire thing replaced, luckily that was not the case this time! However before the repair was completed I did end up having to take a cold hobo-style bath by crouching in 2 inches of freezing water in my tub. Sorry for the visual.

It was in this moment that I was reminded of a few other times where I had to decide whether to wash myself in ice water or go on smelling like a neanderthal. I thought I'd share these lovely experiences with you, starting with the most recent and working my way backwards: 

The most recent experience was when our water heater broke the first time. I'm pretty sure it was in the summer, because I don't remember my shower being completely unbearable. I sure didn't waste any time in there though.

On my mission in Uruguay I was in one apartment that had an electric shower head - it plugged in to a power outlet (safe, right?), and when water ran through the coils inside would heat up and warm the water as it came out. Deep in the middle of winter one day I turned on the water to activate the coils before jumping in the shower, and immediately the shower head sparked and caught on fire! I turned off the water and the switch on the wall that correlated to the outlet, unplugged the shower head, and the small fire put itself out. We contacted our landlady who said it would take a couple of days to replace. Did I mention this was our only form of heated running water in the apartment? Because it was. I tried toughing it out for a day or so, but eventually I felt so grimy that I decided I needed to shower no matter what! The water was SO cold I could barely breathe!! I would jump in just enough to get wet, and have to jump out again to lather up my hair and wash. By the end of my very short shower I was gasping, my whole body shaking, and my head aching from the temperature of the water. No bueno. After that we decided to use a bowl system with water heated on the stove or heated with another small plug-in device meant for use in a thermos for mate (the loose-leaf tea-like drink). This typically produced water that was way too hot, so we'd fill a second bowl with the cold water and try to use water from both without getting scalded.

The first experience I remember was when I went on a rock climbing camping trip with some friends in Colorado. We spent several days getting sweaty and dirty on the rocks, then sought out a way to get cleaned up. Since we were out in the middle of nowhere our only option was the river. Even though it was summertime the river was cold from the snow melt coming off the mountains. We definitely were a little short of breath while in the water, but looking back it definitely wasn't as bad as my South American experience.

I am so glad our water heater is working again. It's the little things.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My Little Dancers

Last Saturday evening I trekked down to a high school many miles away to attend a dance performance. I had already had a full day and was exhausted, but I absolutely wanted to be at this show! 

Back in November I started teaching private silks lessons to a small group of these high school dancers; nearly every Saturday they would show up to the studio at 8am, some of the girls having crawled out of bed only 15 minutes before we began, to learn what they needed to incorporate silks into their year-end performance. They worked hard! Many of these girls attended extra classes during the week to try and improve even faster. One girl had been coming to my classes longer than the rest and was assigned by her dance coach to choreograph their aerial routine. I guided, instructed, and corrected as their routine began to take form, was changed and polished. We ran that routine over and over and over.

The results were beautiful! A smoke machine created a cloud-like effect on the stage, and dancers dressed in blush pink tulle moved between the white silks as my girls wrapped and climbed up and down the silks in sync. I watched as each girl put her best effort out on that stage on Saturday; the audience cheering, and my heart bursting with pride. They had learned so much in a few short months, and conquered what they set out to do! It really is the best feeling ever to see my aerial students wowing an audience and thinking "I taught them how to do that!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Trade Places With Me. Anytime.

The older I get while I'm single, the less some married people seem to understand me. Or even try to understand me. Tonight gave me a couple of examples.

I attended a meeting to discuss the needs of various women who attend my church. Along with another single gal (we'll call her A), I was asked to come prepared with ideas and suggestions to help meet the goals and visions that had been established at the beginning of the year. Since we don't normally attend this meeting, A and I met a couple of days in advance to talk and prepare.

During this pre-meeting A and I discovered that we both had similar feelings about the way some assignments are made within our women's organization. Within the church's women's organization we are assigned to visit a few other women on a regular basis to check in on them and offer support where possible, whether that be emotional or spiritual. We noticed that the women in our congregation were most often assigned to visit each other based on what they appeared to have in common, meaning women with husbands and families were assigned to others with similar family structures, and single 30-something aged women were assigned to visit other singles. While I understand that this was probably to help establish friendships, A and I were feeling a little pigeon-holed. We already have activities and events that the church creates and supports just for single people in our age group, and we have a good network of single friends. But on Sundays we attend a congregation with families; families we would like to get to know and be friends with too. A and I wanted to share our feelings during the meeting, but weren't quite sure how to bring it up. The opportunity ended up presenting itself nicely.

During tonight's meeting a new assignment was being discussed, and the ladies in charge immediately started suggesting one woman visit another because they were both married and had kids. A and I looked at each other and knew this was the moment. I spoke up and explained our viewpoint as kindly as I could, sharing that the single women would probably love an opportunity to get to know someone outside of their single social circle, and that not having everything on the surface in common can work out well. It's nice to have someone to talk to who isn't in the same walk of life; I said I could sit and commiserate with other single people about our singlehood any day, but often I want to step out of that bubble and see what the rest of the world is up to.

I thought I was getting our message through, until I was suddenly interrupted. One married lady with two small children (who has never shown any interest in getting to know me) butted in and tried telling me how much easier our lives were as singles and that we don't really have a right to complain about anything because we're not married. She was simply brushing off our concerns that we felt were important enough to bring up. Maybe it's because this last Sunday was Mother's Day - a day I struggle to attend church as I battle feelings of jealousy and loneliness while watching the young children sing about how much they love their mother, wondering if I'll ever get the chance to have a family of my own, but what she said stung. I looked straight at her and said those 5 words titling this post: trade places with me. Anytime.

At this point I finally thought I had an ally as another woman spoke up saying she agreed it would be good to assign a single woman to check up on a woman with a family...because then she could babysit! And that's where I gave up.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


Once upon a time when I moved back from South America I went to the dentist. I had been living abroad for a year and a half without dental care, but wasn't concerned - I made sure to get an exam and cleaning before I left the country, and took extra good care of my teeth while I was away. While I was gone my parents had switched dentists.

I got a cleaning and an exam done, pretty typical. Until this new dentist pulled out some machine I had never seen before. He used this hand held tool to "scan" my teeth, and every time it beeped he explained, it indicated I had a cavity. It was beeping. A lot. Like, 12 times. He didn't confirm these cavities by comparing the spots that beeped to the x-rays, either. I was wary. He knew I was heading back to school out of state soon, otherwise he was going to try and book me for multiple appointments to drill the heck out of my mouth. I was grateful for the excuse not to.

Fast forward a few years... I never went back to that dentist. I offered myself as a candidate for a dental student's final exam at UCLA thinking that maybe I could get one of those supposed 12 cavities taken care of for free. The dental student did a preliminary exam, took x-rays, and only found one cavity. That's right - ONE. And it was too small to qualify for his final exam. I was immediately grateful I hadn't returned to my parent's dentist.

That first exam back in the states however had left a bad taste in my mouth - so to speak; and I slacked on visiting any dentist regularly afterward. I just couldn't trust them! Trying to conquer my fears (and realizing I had a very likely cavity), I finally caved this year and went to a dentist I had met through a friend. Turns out that cavity (and one other) were bad enough that I've been to the dentist 4 times in the last month to do 2 crowns, and I still have one more cavity to fill in about a week. I do trust this dentist, but I am looking forward to not seeing her again for six months!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Travel Wish List

Occasionally I check the map app I have at the bottom of my blog, as it's fun to see where in the world my blog has been read. Tonight I opened it up and discovered that someone had visited my blog from Casablanca, Morocco! Let me just tell you - Morocco has been near the top of my travel to-do list for many years now, for no particular reason really. I just want to go! That's how it was with New Zealand while I was growing up, and it turned in to the best trip I could have imagined when I went in 2009. So, since I spent the next several moments daydreaming about travel, I thought I'd post the places highest on my travel to-do list.

1. The Mediterranean - Greece, Turkey, Spain, Egypt, Morocco. There are a few more countries nearby that I wouldn't mind seeing as well, but these countries are the main draw for me.

2. Alaska - I think I'd prefer a cruise with maybe a couple of days in a row on land. I need to go in winter to see the northern lights, but don't want to completely freeze my butt off.

3. Oregon and Washington - In the fall to see the leaves change near the coast. I also need to stay in a tree house motel. This is non-negotiable.

Okay, I thought I would be making a bigger list of top contenders here, but as I continue to ponder I realize that these three are really the trips that would be my priority if I had the means to up and go right now. Everywhere else I can think of all fall at the same level of desire for the moment. I'm sure they will make their way up the list when I get the chance to check others off one day. So, in no particular order, here are a few more places that are milling around waiting for their time in the spotlight:

India, Australia (hiking Uluru would be cool), somewhere in Africa (I can't decide if I'm intrigued or petrified by the Congo, or if I want to see the bigger cities down south or go on a safari, etc. SO many options), Buenos Aires, Sweden (for their summer festivals), the rest of the 50 states I've never been to, Central America (Costa Rica, Belize and Panama), Peru, New Caledonia.

Now everyone wish for a bunch of money to fall in my lap so I can make it all happen! Ha - right. I'll be happy if I can save enough to see even a few of these places.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Surviving "Fridays"

My bad sleep pattern has continued throughout the week. It didn't help that I checked out new books to read from the library, started a new puzzle, and attempted to binge watch everything on my Netflix queue that was on their March 1st removal list. I may or may not have tried participating in all 3 activities at once.

Last night I was looking for some additional material for my part of the Relief Society (women's organization) lesson I helped teach in church today. I got started later in the evening after attending a friend's game night and didn't think it would take me long to find the type of information I wanted; I had the basics of my lesson but wanted to add a personal touch - a story or thought that would make the subject of the lesson resonate a little better. During my search I pulled a thick binder from my bookshelf full of letters that I received during the 16 months I lived in Uruguay while serving a full-time mission for my church. I started flipping through the pages scanning here and there, and quickly found what I was looking for. I jotted down my notes, connected my disjointed thoughts on the paper by drawing arrows between paragraphs and underlining certain points I wanted to make sure I highlighted, and felt content that I had enough bullet points to complete my task the next day.

The binder was still sitting open on my bed and I continued to look through its pages. I quickly noticed from the beginning that the vast majority of letters I had received from friends and family all included happy messages meant to lift me up; they talked about how they knew I would be a great missionary and that they knew I'd have a lot of success, and how they knew that I would return feeling blessed and happy at the end of it all. They knew. Or maybe that's just what you say to someone who suddenly moves away from everything familiar to them for a year and a half, and you expect them to probably encounter a few difficulties along the way. A few words of encouragement. They sounded so sure that I would come home with nothing but love for the country and people I served, and a few handfuls of nothing-but-awesome experiences. I wish they had been right.

I then came upon the letter I received about six months after I had arrived in the country that flipped my entire experience upside down. I remember the day I opened it after our weekly planning meeting. I remember my vision fading to shades of black and white and tunneling in as I read what was written, stumbling backward until my knees hit a bench and buckled, collapsing me onto its seat and quite possibly saving me from a concussion had I hit the ground. I'm not ready to talk about the exact contents of the letter or the details of what had happened in such a public place, but I remember feeling like everything I had been working for was a waste. I felt my efforts were hurting rather than helping people find joy and happiness. I struggled with those thoughts, doubts, and guilt for the remainder of my time abroad; I have struggled with them since I have been home. Over time I have slowly gained some understanding and some peace about the situation, but that's not to say those feelings and thoughts are completely gone. They occasionally resurface, and rereading the letter last night sent me back through a wave of those emotions.

I couldn't bring myself to get through many more letters after that; I was now both physically and emotionally wiped out. However, one last letter from a friend serving a mission in Cambodia caught my eye as I cleared the binder off of my bed. He referenced a talk given by an apostle of our church; one which I had heard before, but couldn't quite remember it's take away. I pulled it up on my computer and read through its message, and was amazed by the timing in which the letter had been sent to me. My friend knew nothing of my current situation; letters we wrote to each other took over a month to reach their destination. I'm pretty sure the message helped in the moment, and it was a great reminder for me last night as well. My favorite part:

"Each of us will have our own Fridays - those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

"But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death - Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

"No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come."

-Joseph B. Wirthlin

Life gets tough at times. Reading letters at 3:30am that bring up bad memories doesn't help. Hang in there, take things one step at a time and we'll get through our "Fridays." Even if it doesn't seem like it right now.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Nearly every day of my adult life requires me to wake up with the use of an alarm. Waking up with an alarm is normal for me; I even tend to use an alarm on a day off to make sure I still get up and do something productive. The only time I find an alarm annoying is when I fail to get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep - my body seems to function semi-normally as long as I get 6 hours a night, but it really wants 8 or 9 hours if possible.

Remember how I said I was subbing classes for another instructor? I was originally supposed to sub for about two and a half weeks, but just wrapped things up this week after subbing for four weeks! I definitely loved having the extra work and seeing my students more often, yet my body is ready for a break!

Tomorrow I have nothing on my calendar until 8pm. I can't tell you how excited I am to snuggle up in my bed tonight! And I will NOT be setting an alarm for tomorrow.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Magic Castle

On Tuesday night I had the opportunity to go to the Magic Castle! This was my second time visiting the castle; and it's not the cheapest night out. The Magic Castle is a private magic club in Hollywood; housed in a Victorian style mansion. In order to attend you have to have an invitation from a member of the club, pay for valet parking and a cover charge at the door, and on top of that you must meet their strict dress code guidelines or they will turn you away. Magic is serious business! My friends Mike, Blaine, Tess and I had been given an invitation from a magician member last month at a circus meet up, and were excited for the opportunity, though Tess ended up not being able to attend.

Our final group consisted of 6 people; Blaine, a catcher in the flying trapeze world and aerial performer, his girlfriend Leia who is also an aerialist, my business partner Mike and his date (her name is escaping me right now), and myself with my friend/date Chris (not in the circus world at all). We arrived early and entered the castle for our dinner reservations, whispering a magic word to an owl on the bookshelf to reveal the secret door. Once everyone had met each other's dates we sat down in the lounge to listen to invisible Irma (a ghost) play the piano. If you ever get a chance to visit with Irma be sure to ask her what the scariest song she knows is - it cracked us up!

When our time to dine arrived we headed upstairs to the restaurant. Everyone visiting the castle is required to make dinner reservations and order an entree, and they start around $35/plate. With the main course, a few appetizers, and desserts to share, and gratuity included, our bill for 6 people was just over $400! We did know what we were getting into and splurged a little anyway - we were already there, why not enjoy the experience?

Wandering the castle after dinner was the best part of the night. Because we went during the week the castle wasn't very crowded and we could easily get in to see various performances. We saw shows in three different rooms, such as the Parlor of Prestidigitation (say that 5 times fast!), and the Close-Up Gallery, a tiny room that seated about 25 people, where the usher had me sit at the front table next to the performing magician! Because of my viewpoint I could figure out some of the illusions that were being done, but there were many I could not! A few other magicians performed in little alcoves along the hallway as well, and a couple of them even offered us their business cards with an invitation for us to come to the castle again in the future.

It was a fun night filled with good food and entertainment, and it was even more satisfying to have everyone in our group just enjoy each other's company, even though walking into the evening some people didn't know each other well, or at all. The conversation between everyone never once felt awkward or forced; a perk of growing up I guess?
Chris, me, Blaine, and Leia outside of the castle at the end of the night (photos aren't allowed inside); Mike and his date left later.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Happy Tired

It's only 4:30pm on Saturday and my eyes are drooping and my head is starting to do that bob to keep it from dropping as I start to doze.

I'm a week and a half through my subbing duties at work, and let me tell you - I'm exhausted! Not to mention I let myself fall in to a bad sleeping patten this week, and I feel as though I could say goodnight right now and sleep the whole night through. Hopefully blogging and grocery shopping will help me fight off the zzzz's so I can go to bed at a more normal time tonight and reset my internal clock.

To recount a little of my week I drove hundreds of miles, taught 11 classes, trained with a friend on hoop, and took a flexibility class. It's a lot (physically), but I am happy. Happy to be working, happy to be training, and happy that something I love is providing my income. Even more, I'm happy to see my students progressing, getting stronger, and recognizing the improvement in their own abilities. It's rewarding to see the direct results of my efforts. I'm one lucky gal to be able to follow my dreams.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Little Blessings

Working as an aerial instructor is not the same as a 40 hour per week office job. Obviously, I don't work in an office and I definitely don't work 40 hours a week! In fact, I don't think I've ever met an aerial instructor that teaches 40 hours a week - besides the job being physially demanding, studios typically want to offer a variety of classes and instructors that fit the many different needs of their students.

Right now I have a rather light teaching schedule of 5 classes per week between two studios, totaling 5 hours and 15 minutes of teaching time. Even though I get paid competitive wages for my classes, 5 hours a week is not quite enough work to afford any sort of California lifestyle (hello, rent!). Because of the need to pay my bills I often pick up side jobs: foreign language tutoring, house sitting, dog sitting, kid sitting, floral set get the picture. As it is, there are some months where I worry that I won't be able to pay all my bills on time.

This month was starting to look like one of those worrisome months; I had even put off grocery shopping and was making do with what I have in the cupboard to save money.

!!Side note!! 
I'm not starving by any means, I just can't splurge. I try to stock a few extra supplies in the pantry during the more profitable months for occasions such as this one. I'm good. Honest.

A few days ago I was very happy and grateful to be asked by one studio owner to sub a LOT of classes for another instructor when she goes out of town later this month. I didn't take every class I was offered (I turned down the Sunday classes to attend church), but I am doubling my weekly workload for nearly three weeks! I'll be doing a bit more running around between studio locations, but I am totally jazzed that the studio owner reached out to me first.

Worrisome month? Gone. Someone is totally watching out for me.