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[personal profile] taz_39

On Monday I packed and made other preparations to go back to the circus. My Mom's friend Tracy came over for a bit, and we played cards. Later in the day they went to the grocery, and I took the opportunity to finish packing and relax a bit.

On Tuesday my sister Kate came to pick me up for the ride to the airport. I said goodbye to Mom and the cats. An hour later Kate dropped me off and I hugged her goodbye. It was great to spend so much time with family. That doesn't happen too often with this job.

Into the airport I went. I was the only one going through security, so was able to take my sweet time and chat a bit with the TSA agents. Once through to the gate, I saw maybe five others waiting for their flights...otherwise I had the terminal to myself.

My flight arrived on time. It had begun snowing, but as long as it didn't delay the flight I didn't mind.

Soon we were up in the air, and in no time at all we were in Philly where I caught my flight to Orlando. Somehow on a crowded flight I ended up having a whole row to myself! Wow!!!

It was a pleasant flight. As we were approaching to land I was struck by the difference between PA and FL at this time of year.

Jameson was there to pick me up when I landed. He took me to the train so I could unpack, then repack, because this week I'll be staying at his Orlando apartment. I watered my poor plants, which were still alive but looking rather wilted. The flytraps needed some trimming as well, some of the leaves were rotting off (this is normal).

Once everything was taken care of, we hit Moe's for dinner and hoofed it to Jameson's place. I was exhausted and slept well.

The next day we went to the gym. For me, it was the first time in about two months. I took it easy and did a basic workout to get back into things.

After that we got cleaned up and went to Keke's for breakfast. I love Keke's! Never gets old.

Then we did a little running around trying to find a desk/lap table/shelf/thing for Jameson's train room. He's reorganizing so that it'll be more comfortable for him to play keyboard and possibly record in his room. We tried several options that didn't work out. What ended up working was a site called ikeahack.com, where someone suggested buying a shelf from Ikea and attaching four couch legs to achieve the correct height. It worked! To celebrate we went to BJ's for dinner :)

Thursday was opening day. We had a full run-through of the show. I noticed several new clowns, new camel riders, new strongmen, all kinds of new people. Some new choreography and lighting have been added. But otherwise, I'm sorry to say, it's the same show we've had for the past two years. I have to wonder what crowds will be like this time around, as we'll be revisiting cities that have already seen Circus Xtreme. It's still a great show of course...maybe people will want to see it again!

Getting back into playing was tough. Overall the thing that suffers the most when I take a long break is control. Control over dynamics, range, breathing, etc. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the show went for me personally, but I did feel pretty tired afterward. It will take a few more shows to get back into the swing of things.

After rehearsal Jameson and I went to Hamburger Mary's for lunch. They had a special on a peanut butter-slathered burger with potato chips and pickles. We both got it, but Jameson added bananas to his. Impressive! I know it sounds weird but it actually tasted pretty darned good!

On Friday we had a split. The morning show was great, lots of screaming kids!

Afterward Jameson and I went to Panera for lunch, then he dropped me at the train so I could unpack a box of Christmas presents I'd sent myself from home. I put everything away, cleaned up, and relaxed until the evening show.

Saturday, three shows. The morning show was David Shipman's last performance as Ringmaster. I hope he had fun. We'll miss him!

And then, as you know by now, things took an "interesting" turn. We were called to an all-employee meeting, where we were told that both Ringling shows would be shut down, by May 2017. For the Red Unit, that means our last day is now May 7th, and for the Blue Unit, May 21st.

That's a heck of a bomb to drop on everyone right before bedtime. I'll bet few of us slept that night.

Sunday was very, very difficult. We got through the shows, I managed to numbly write a blog post recounting what happened. Then Jameson drove us home to his apartment, and I cried pretty hard and eventually fell asleep.

Today, Monday, we had a show for Martin Luther King Jr day. Ironically, shows have been sold out ever since the announcement. I'm glad that people will get to see the circus one last time, but a part of me is annoyed that NOW the crowds come out. But really, I know that most people just want one last circus experience. So we're working hard to provide that :)

During our shows on Sunday and Monday, activists were standing near the box office, celebrating. Now they're holding signs reading, "THE CIRCUS IS ENDING" and such. There was a tv-covered PETA truck driving around playing "Celebrate Good Times" (I didn't see what was on the tv screens), and from what I've heard protesters are still trying to get people to stay away from our shows. I'm sure they're very excited about the "victory", but c'mon...show a little class...

The other funny thing is that while PETA is claiming responsibility for ending the circus, they seem truly unconcerned about what will happen to the animals. For those who care, the answer is we don't know. I've heard that the camels have been sold to one of our animal specialists, which is great because he'll take wonderful care of them. The dogs are owned by the Emelins, so they'll probably go back to Russia where they'll continue performing (in other words nothing will change for them). The Felds have said they'll continue caring for the elephants. The tigers, though...I have no idea. Alexander Lacey on the Blue Unit owns his cats, and since he raised them himself there's no question they're in excellent hands. But the tigers on our show are privately owned, not owned by Ringling or the trainer. If I find out what's going to happen to him, I'll let you know.

As I said in yesterday's post, I will be blogging through the last day of the circus. After that, I will maintain this blog for you to read at your leisure. Once I have the time, I'll go back and fix the parts of the blog that are broken.

As you can imagine, during days off I will be searching for jobs. Next week we will hopefully find out more about incentives for staying through to the final shows. I wonder what I will end up doing next?

Now that there are really limited consequences to writing about what happens around this joint, you'll probably begin seeing more images from backstage, and hearing more raw nitty-gritty from me. I was never censored in my posts, but did always try to keep things positive and cheery of my own volition and to show respect to my employer. Now I will remove that filter (unless I am specifically asked not to).
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March 2017


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