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I got to spend Monday with my Aunt, who lives near Raleigh. We had lunch at Calavera Empanadas, a really awesome little place right in downtown Raleigh. The empanadas were AMAZING. I have never had dough so light and fluffy! And the fillings were awesome too. I got the Al Pastor (pork and pineapple) and it was really delicious. They also had dessert empanadas...one had bananas and nutella, the other was pumpkin pie. So stinkin' good!


After our meal we went back to my aunt's place where we just hung out and enjoyed each other's company. I helped her to grade some papers (she's a teacher) and we talked about my sisters and brother, and our plans for the future. For my birthday, my aunt and uncle gave me a huge bag of treats from Trader Joe's! Turkish honey, fruit leather, sprouted wheat bread, Belgian chocolate, and much more. They also gave me some very nice "dressy" shirts (which I will hopefully have occasion to wear now that I won't be living in a train yard!). I am spoiled. Thank you aunt C and uncle A :)

For dinner we went to a local Chinese place. After that, I had to start making my way to Atlanta. It was a six hour drive and the train had left early, so I wanted to get there as soon as possible. I drove partway through the night and finished the drive the next morning, arriving around noon (thanks to traffic).

This might have been Jameson's last train run. He's had his car on the road for quite a while, so hasn't taken many runs (when you bring a car it's your responsibility to drive it to each city). Since I'd borrowed his car this week, he used the time to enjoy the train one last time. I hope it will be a good memory for him.

I spent that evening unpacking and rehearsing for an audition video that I'd need to do on the fly.

Wednesday was opening day. Nothing extra-special happened, we had a surprisingly short rehearsal and a decent show.

Thursday we only had one evening show. I used the day to complete my audition video; because there were other events going on at the arena, it really did take me the entire day to get all of my things done. By the time it was time for the show I was exhausted. It felt good to sleep that night.

Friday we had a split. After the first show it took almost an hour to get back to the train thanks to Atlanta traffic. Putting that on the list of things I won't miss when this job is over. I used the few hours of my day to do laundry and apply for jobs, then we went back to the arena for the evening show. At some point in there the arena personnel presented us with a cake, but I think it was part of a PR event because we weren't actually offered any :P

Saturday and Sunday were three show days to make what we call a "six pack" weekend. I was exhausted before the weekend started, and it didn't get any better as the shows went on. I overhear a lot of folks asking each other, "What will you do after this?" and "Have you found anything yet?" I hear a lot of rumors about how things are going among the various troupes and departments, and see a lot of discouraged-looking people. I think it's starting to really set in that come May, we had better have our lives together. I think this weekend is especially hard since we have so many shows. Normally this would be exhausting, but at least we'd enjoy our work and appreciate the audiences. But with unemployment looming for a lot of people, I get the impression that it's extra-hard to get through a heavy weekend like this.

So...I'm sorry for the lack of pictures this week. It was just very busy, and there wasn't a lot of time for fun.

Monday, two shows for President's Day. I'm posting this blog before we finish because not sure how late I'll be out tonight. Some band folks are planning to go to Smoke Ring for some tasty, tasty smoked meats. I especially like their roasted brussels sprouts! Then we'll go listen to a friend of ours play at a local bar. Should be a nice way to end the week.

For the next two weeks we will be playing Duluth, and the schedule will be much lighter. I hope I'll have better things to share with you.


Other stuff:

This week we got some horrible news. One of our beloved aerialists, Nadia, passed away unexpectedly. She leaves behind an incredible husband and father and a beautiful baby boy. Her death is a painful blow to anyone who had the privelege of knowing her. Thank you for being such a wonderful person, Nadia. A light has gone out in the world now that you are gone.

Britney (former elephant crew, floor crew) took this video from the perspective of the Ringmaster float. Pretty awesome!



Happy Birthday to Jonathan (animal specialist)! Looks like the clowns got him good!

(photo courtesy Jon M.)

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