It’s official. I’m in love with chickpea flour. The stuff is awesome. Also called Besan, or Gram flour, I get mine from the wonderful (Haven’t heard of GO THERE NOW. Seriously, if I got some kind of kickback for everyone I refereed there, and who subsequently got just as addicted to their site as I have, I’d be rocking right now. I don’t get anything. I just LOVE them. Try their spicy black bean sticks. Or one of their many trail mix blends. The dried strawberries! The unsulphered, less sugar pineapple! I could go on for ages….)

I originally bought my chickpea flour to make an Indian flatbread. I never got to it. Instead I made some chickpea cookies to use up the flour. They were… odd. An interesting texture, but hard to tell when they were done and a little bland. I wasn’t sold on the magic of chickpea flour yet. I still had flour left though, and came across a recipe for chickpea flour pancakes on Oh She Glows. It sounded amazing. But I couldn’t get it to work. No matter what, the pancakes I made ended up a combination of not fully cooked with crispy and stuck to the pan. I couldn’t get a single one to flip properly. The parts that I salvaged? They were great. I looked up other recipes, tried different pans… nothing worked. UNTIL NOW! I recently picked up the cook book Teff Love. I was looking for some info on the author and came across her website- and a whole section devoted to Pudla! (Plus a great tip I’d never tried to use an onion to help season a cast iron pan.) The Pudla was thicker than my previous attempts. I was patient and let it sit long enough to cook. It flipped beautifully. At last! Crisp crunchy outside, savory inside. Alas, I have no photos, I inhaled the thing super fast and didn’t even think to take one.


Butecha from Teff Love

Chickpea flour doesn’t just make amazing savory breakfasts though. While at our favorite drinking spot getting to know the locals, Chris and I ended up chatting with Rob, a chef/owner of a few local restaurants. We talked about being vegetarian in a very meat-heavy neighborhood, and he asked if we’d ever tried Burmese Tofu. What now? THIS STUFF IS MADE FROM CHICKPEAS! Soy free ‘tofu’? Sign me up. With my huge bag of flour taunting me in the pantry, it was only a matter of time till I tried to make some myself. I had a few recipes bookmarked, but sort of forgot about it for a while. Then my Teff Love cookbook showed up in the mail… included inside, a recipe not only for a quick chickpea tofu, but also some suggestions of what to do with the stuff. I bookmarked the Butecha and grabbed my chickpea flour. Making the stuff was fascinating. Stirring over a low heat, the watery powdery mixture of chickpea flour, water and spices hits a point where it just solidifies, like a custard.  I may have overcooked mine before spreading it out in a pan to solidify, it wasn’t ‘light and pillowy’ like some of the recipes suggest, but it sure was interesting. Solid and bright yellow. I diced it up and stirred in a mixture of oil, onion, salt, garlic, jalapeno and lemon. I’M SOLD. Mashed up on some toast? Delicious. In a wrap with diced cucumber, tomato, pickle and sirracha? Yum. (Ok, the pickle may have been overkill, but whatever, it was delicious.)


We went back to Iceland! My twin sister and I decided that we didn’t want to spend our 30th birthday on the separate coasts that we live. We came up with various plans, but when it came down to it realized that we actually wanted to go back to Iceland and do it right this time. Not time our trip to the end of Airwaves, when the good citizens of Reykjavik have had more than their fill of tourists. Get out of the city and see more of the landscape. Interact with more people, avoid the paid tours and stay in a variety of places. We shuffled days and planned work absences and managed to get 8 glorious days driving around the ring road. Inspired by the rather fantastic tourism campaign Inspired By Iceland (and particularly this video) we thought it’d be fun to make a goofy video while we drove around the country.

We took a ton of photos, too. The whole album is up over on flickr, but here are a few of my favorites.

So…. weather getting nicer here in NYC means we can finally have some fun exploring the neighborhood! Woohoo! Oh and we finally hung a bunch of paintings and pictures, put down the rug we bought for the livingroom… guess we’re finally New Yorkers. Philly, I love you. And I’ll be back to practice with my ladies, but now I’ve got to embrace the new town. And gotta say, Governor’s Island a $2 ferry ride away makes that a little easier.

Can’t wait to see what the new renovations will bring, but its still pretty great even as a work-in-progress. Though next time I’ll remember to put on sunblock. (I brought it for Chris. Who used it. But for some reason I didn’t. UGHHHH….. SO RED….)

Was it really Halloween season last time I posted? I don’t even know what happened. Well, that isn’t strictly true. The huge thing was uprooting and moving from Philadelphia to the great big NYC. Moving is such upheaval. Downsizing from a two floor, full basement and small backyard house to a two bedroom railroad in Brooklyn is an adjustment. Starting a new job (for Chris) and working to find new clients (for me) means all regular routines go out the wayside. Downtime means crashing on the couch. Work during the day is a balancing act of trying to get paid work finished and fighting with landlords and construction companies. (Who tries to bully someone into having a radiator installed??) I’ve hit some low points, enjoyed some parts, and am ready to move along. So. New start. Hello Brooklyn. Winter is over. We may have a few cold days ahead, and maybe even some more sprinkling of snow to come, but in the main- its done. Spring and time for new adventures.

That isn’t to say the winter hasn’t had some fun bits. We actually performed quite a bit for what terrible weather we had. We’re on track to have Lux Arati be a real business. We’re registered, working on contracts for all members, its in a good place. Of course now I’m two hours away from the business I helped start, but we’ll find a way to make it work. The ladies said I wasn’t leaving, I was expanding our territory. I’m going to work on that. Try to make it out to local spin-jams. Make some friends in this new city in this community I’ve found myself in. The world trundles on.

I’ll leave with this video that I put together for our group. It’s a short little bit highlighting the events our ladies performed at this fall/winter. Here’s hoping there is more fun in store.

Last year Halloween was a bust. I rushed home from work to dress up for our trick-or-treaters and sat around waiting. And waiting. And waiting. We didn’t get a single doorbell ring. I even had a carved pumpkin glowing outside to show my Halloween friendliness! This year I didn’t even bother with trick-or-treaters. We had circus class, so wouldn’t be home anyway. Yet somehow, I managed to wear three costumes over the course of Halloween celebration. I finally made myself a Princess Leia on Endor costume.


I should have spray painted the blaster black…

The costume itself is pretty simple- I bought some blue pants, sewed a yellow stripe up the side and bought a tan button up that I altered (cut the sleeves in half and used the extra to make pockets). I tried to make a costume-appropriate vest, but ended up grabbing something from one of the cheap clothing stores in town. Wore the costume out to a party, barely anyone got it. What a drag. I even braided my hair over my head, but I guess it wasn’t enough of the look. Oh well. On actual halloween, the lizard dress made another appearance.

Halloween Handstands

I was getting work done at home, but wore it around all day, and to a brief jaunt to the coffee shop. Low stress costuming is the way to go! Then last night my fire troupe had a performance, and what better theme than Day of the Dead? We all looked different but there were enough thematic similarities that it all pulled together. The Halloween weekend isn’t over yet, but I don’t anticipate much costuming ahead.Instead I’m going to take a crack at some vegan baking with an interesting pumpkin bread recipe I found… we shall see.

Day of The Dead

Day of The Dead

PEX Summer Fest

Wow. My last post was in June. Where has the time gone? I’d love to say I spent the summer traveling and was just never near my computer, but that wasn’t the case. Sadly, I think it was mostly work. Which is funny to say, coming from a freelancer. But now that the upstairs second bedroom is my office, if I’m not booked for a client, work is just a step away all the time. Working on a feature length documentary requires a slow and steady progress. I guess I did get away a few times, though. We had a great show at PEX Summer Fest, one of our best- for Thursday night anyway. We had some technical difficulties for the Friday night show but the overall reaction was amazing. This was the first year I actually had FUN at PEX, too! Camping with the Luxie ladies made a huge difference, and I ended up wrangled into helping in various ways- including being a safety for the conclave right before the burn. Wow, did I get some good practice putting out huge flaming props.

Beachy Skeleton!

Lets see, what else? We had one brief vacation, to Rehoboth beach. Good people, but terribly humid and hot weather. Lots of swimming. We also went to Boston, which was a lot of fun. We rented kayaks and hung out with Chris’ sister, and then drove all the way home. Long day. My sister came to visit from Seattle for quite a whirl-wind trip.

Performing in AC

Performing in AC

Lux Arati had an on-going gig in Atlantic City over the summer that started out a little crazy, but turned out to be a ton of fun. I was rather anxious about going, not sure what I would do to entertain the crowd for 2 hours without fire (the venue found out that they needed to have a fire marshal on scene the whole time if we preformed with fire, which was out of the budget for the event). I bought some long veil fans, practiced with my sword and dug out my silk veil that I think I’d used once previously. It was awesome. The gig included 3 dancers a night from 9 to 11 on every other Friday and Saturday night for about 6 weeks. We rotated the schedule, filling in around everyone’s availability. I think it was pretty well received. We had everything from glow hooping to feather fans and belly dance. Fun fun!

And now? Fall is upon us. Everything moves along, working some days on location, some days at home, trying to practice with my sword and my fans and maybe even through the staff in there. Working on my cable-full sweater is progressing slowly, and I have another monster in the queue…. everything keeps going.

Monster! The family I gave him to named him Scaramino Mingo

On location again with #bmcc #blackmagic. Felt like I was on set for #gameofthrones ! (stolen image and tweet from Craig)

Well, its official. My work/professional life and fire spinning have completely collided. One of the companies I work with a lot recently got a new Black Magic Cinema Camera. I had shared some of the footage from our recent shoot with them (we also shot on the Black Magic, as well as a Red) and had previously babbled on and on about fire stuff… Well turns out we’re going to be featured in their upcoming project. From what I gather, its all about celebrating the spirit of Independence in Philadelphia through various independent people. My favorite bartender Clark (who also happens to be good friends with one of the guys at the company) is featured in it, as well as Philadanco and various other small business owners and artists. We’d been trying to get the ladies together with the crew, and scheduling was a nightmare. When we finally got everything locked, massive thunderstorms and tornado warnings cancelled our first go-around. We rescheduled for this past Monday. Beautiful weather, four dancers, solid location.

Showing up in full costume to see folks who hire me pretty regularly as a normal person waiting on the sidewalk was rather amusing. Wave “Hi”, grab my fire dump box, costume bag, speaker and extra fuel and tromp over to shake hands. We did some portraits first (UG I’m awful in front of the camera being told to smile) and then lit up. I always love the reactions people have when they first see fans on fire. Photos and videos don’t really do it justice. There’s something primal about the flame, and the fact that decked-out ladies are manipulating it and drawing shapes in the air is fascinating. In this world of instagramming everything, I’m always pleased when people take out their phones to try to capture the moment. Yup, we’re one of those “OMG can’t believe where I am right now” experiences.

We’ve got some stills from the footage up over on our site, I can’t wait for the final piece to see how they work us into the rest of the stuff they shot.

Chris' Dad takes his stitches out after lunch and before the hockey game...

Chris’ Dad takes his stitches out after lunch and before the hockey game…

This has been a rather stressful few weeks. Chris got 9 stitches after a rough encounter with our shitty can opener and the subsequent can lid. There were some clerical errors that led to stress over at the Circus school. It is all fixed now, thanks to the managing director who called me directly to apologize for the way some of his staff handled the situation, but there was about a two week period where I thought I would no longer be able to take classes. Well, I could sign up for classes, but on principle of the way the whole thing was handled, both Chris and I were going to stop supporting the school. I’m very glad that Marc cleared everything up and classes can continue. As Chris pointed out- its a hobby. It shouldn’t be stressful. Challenging, sure. Push your body to the limits. But it should still be fun. Once that stops, it isn’t worth the money. (My man has a good head on his shoulders, what can I say?)

Super Sad FitFit

Super Sad FitFit. Yes, that is my bumper.

On top of that… my car was hit by a USPS truck driver. I won’t go into details since the “case” is still pending, but no one was hurt and my car no longer has a front bumper. So its in the shop. Did you know that the accident investigation division of the USPS is open from 3 PM to 10 PM? I sure didn’t. Really tough to get the whole process moving forward when by the time someone finally calls back, everything else has closed for the day. I ended up calling my insurance to have them help with the situation. They’ve been great. This is the second time I’ve dealt with Geico about an accident. The first was when I was doored on my bike a half block from my apartment a few years ago. I thought everyone was being nice because they didn’t want me to sue them. Nope. Turns out the Geico customer service people are just really awesome. Every person has tried to help as much as they can and to get the situation dealt with in the best way possible. I think their ad campaigns should axe the dumb Gecko and just have testimonials from people like me… I can’t be the only one who has had a great experience with them.

Not having a car has been terribly annoying. Of course I got booked for in-house editing.  I forgot how much Septa smells like a barn, particularly in the hot humid weather. Totally awful. I don’t save any money taking the train, and it takes twice as long. Of course I can bike around town for social things, but I usually do that anyway. I didn’t realize how much I count on my car in a professional setting. I know that people deal without having a car, and count on Septa for their transit. I did it for a long time. It was still awful then. But once I bit the bullet and bought a car… taking Septa sucks that much more.

So yeah, all this has made me very cranky. None of it was life threatening, pretty much all is being resolved (well, time will resolve the cuts, but they are healing well) but I just can’t shake the crankiness of it all. As we head into this three day weekend, I hope some sun shines and accidents stay away.

Wow. I feel like a truck hit me, but its a good kind of exhaustion and sickness. What could be a good kind you may ask? I’m run down and feel like death because yesterday was insanity. My fire troupe, Lux Arati, teamed up with crew from Drexel’s Film & Video program to shoot a promo. It was a win-win shoot for everyone- the Drexel folks had some new cameras they wanted to test and run comparisons of, and needed some interesting footage for their color correction class. Plus all the young folks get some GREAT footage for their reels. What’s better than hot girls on fire?  Of course, I managed to schedule us to start at a park on a beautiful Sunday that also happened to be Cinco De Mayo. Oh, and Equality Forum, a block or so away. Yeah, parking was a NIGHTMARE. Then we moved to a warehouse to do some rooftop stuff for magic hour. The warehouse was under construction. When I talked to Kevlar about the location, he said there was a ‘lift’ to get to the roof. I thought he was being British…. and was picturing a large elevator. Nope, when he said lift he meant this kind of lift. It was worth it though.

Lux Arati and the Philly skyline

After the warehouse we headed over to Michelle & Tim’s for a food break and some night shooting. We got to use Tim’s awesome tank to add interest to the background. It was a super long day for everyone, but I’m so pleased with everything. You know its good when the camera guys are high-fiving after a take. We shot a TON of stuff (about a terabyte and a half!) so I’ll have a lot of sifting, but I can’t wait to get started on it. Now to drink some tea and get myself feeling more human!

Geri at practice, with some palm torches

My fingers are crossed for nice weather tomorrow… Lux Arati will be performing at the Rotunda as part of the Poet-tree EnMotion series. We did a gig for the series last year, and it was a lot of fun. The location is beautiful, and our set was nice and casual. We were supposed to have drummers, but there was some sort of family emergency, so a few people grabbed some things to bang on- it was a little bit all over the place and tough to dance to, but still fun.  This year we’re a bit more organized, and I’ve told pretty much everyone I know in the Philadelphia area about the show. Which means I’ll actually know quite a few people in the crowd. Eeeep! Time for stage fright to kick in! I’m really excited about it, though, because we have a nice line-up. Its a mix of fire and non-fire, solos, duets and group pieces. We’ve got our intensive practice tonight, so I hope the rain holds off. Another fun bonus? We get to use the new speaker thing that I bought for the troupe… its pretty awesome. Basically like a guitar amp on wheels, battery powered and iPod friendly. We’ll have to test how loud it gets tonight, but I think its going to be really great for our shows. Definitely relieves the “Where the hell is our music supposed to come from?” anxiety. Now we’ll always have a backup ready! So yeah, if you’re in Philadelphia, come on by! Its a free show, in West Philly at the Rotunda. We’re set to go on around 8:30 or 9. It’ll be fun!