Main Ramblings

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

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.

a move out of the elusive hip-key

I’m not really sure why I first decided I wanted to climb the silks. I think I saw people playing on them at PEX fest, and it looked fun. But there were always people watching and I was intimidated. I did some research, found the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, and put their intro workshop schedule on my calendar. I bought a cheap groupon for an intro circus session and let it expire. It took me about a year to actually sign up for a class. I didn’t take the intro workshop, just went straight for the full session. My body was so sore after the first class I felt like I couldn’t move for days. I was awful at everything. My first class had one other student, a really nice girl with years and years of gymnastics training. I was pretty discouraged. I thought I was at least a little bit stronger! But I kept signing up for classes, and getting stronger. Chris took a workshop with me, and though he was sore for days afterwards too, he kept coming back. Now we’re signed up for level 3, and both getting stronger and stronger, pushing each other to eat well, exercise and train to be able to do even more. We compare bruises and skin rash and talk on the drive home about the new skills we want to learn. We sign up for extra practice sessions, and I’m pretty sure if we owned our house I’d have convinced Chris that we needed to rig a set-up at home somehow. Circus makes us strong. Not only that, though, we’ve met some really great people. Our fellow classmates are from all sorts of walks of life. From PhD candidates to school teachers to pole dancers- anyone and everyone. We coordinate practice sessions and try to make dates to meet up for dinner or circus themed events. Though we’re all advancing at different paces, and may not be in class together from session to session, we clap for each other when we nail tough tricks and laugh when we tangle ourselves in stupid ways.

Yesterday night Chris and I took our first flying trapeze lesson. Fly School Circus is set up across from the Kimmel center for the month, as part of the PIFA festival. I organized a few friends from the circus school to get together and try it out.

Chris is caught mid-air

I’ve already signed us up for another session. I love this. I thought I’d be scared, but I just wanted to keep flying. Chris, of course, was awesome. That man is built for the circus. Though I’m jealous of his gymnastics-as-a-kid muscle memory, I love that I have a partner that will sign up for two rounds of flying trapeze without blinking an eye. I asked if they had a permanent location close to Philly, and got a side whisper of “we’re working on it… put the positive energy out there!” I’ll be in trouble if they do get one. I’m going to spend all my money and spare time learning how to fly.

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