taz_39: (footprint)







On Monday I did absolutely nothing. Had not slept well, and neither had Jameson, so we decided to stay at the train.

I was bored. I cleaned my room, boiled some eggs, and did a little research on U-Hauls. I finished watching an anime series called Shinsekai Yori. It's pretty dark subject matter but a great story and great art. I really enjoyed it and am sorry to have finished it.

Later in the day I ended up getting an honest-to-goodness job offer. I haven't officially accepted yet, so more on that later. I spent the rest of the evening researching apartments and sublets near the job location, and reviewing the company's website.

At some point during the day it started to snow.



On Tuesday I borrowed Jameson's car to run errands. First I went to U-Haul to look at their smallest trailer (which is the only one my car could pull) and to get an estimate for installing a trailer hitch. I hope that this won't be necessary, but it's good to be prepared.


Then I hit a nearby Kroger, because the train run from Cincinnati to Norfolk is sure to be long and I want to be fully stocked for the trip. I know it's early, I could have taken an Uber to the grocery on Sunday night, but somehow I doubt I'll be in the mood.

Back at the train I unpacked and made a few calls related to housing in my potential new city/state of employment. Again, it's too early to know what I will need, but may as well give myself some options and know what's available.

Wednesday the weather was fairly crummy due to winter storm Stella. Although we didn't get accumulation here in Ohio, it was cold and wet and windy. I would have liked to go somewhere and do something, but there just aren't many options around here. Instead, I researched apartments and made appointments and tried to figure out what kind of furnishings (if any) I'd be able to afford for a new place.

Later in the evening Jameson and I drove out to our boss Brett's house for dinner. We arrived a little late, and were surprised to see so many circus people there. People from production, the band, wardrobe, the school...it was a big ol' get together! We had burgers and pasta and beans and other treats, enjoyed good conversation, had intense air hockey competitions, and sat around looking at old circus programs that my boss has collected. We had fun looking for our friends in the old programs...some of these people look very different now, or perform different work on the show. For example, it was awesome to find a program with Brian French on the high wire! I've always known him as an elephant handler.

(photo courtesy Chaz C.)

A big topic of conversation was of course "Have you found anything?" or "What are your plans for afterward?". Many people still aren't sure what they'll be doing once the show closes, while some have found jobs or are using the travel time between cities to hunt for work.

As it got late, Theresa (Brett's wife and a former Ringling dancer) handed out her famous chocolate pumpkin loaves as we said our farewells. I gave her an especially tight hug, knowing that we may not see each other again for a long time. It occurred to many of us that this might be the last time all of us would gather like this. With Jameson leaving, the band will be very different from now on. Others will certainly be leaving early as well. Everything is changing and will continue to change, up to the very end when this community, and this lifestyle, will fall apart and be no more. Not to be melancholy, it's just the truth.

Jameson and I talked about it on the drive back, about all the things we love about the circus community. I will miss being able to look around in any city and see at least one circus person among the crowd. I will miss the complete disregard for language barriers, and the deep trust that exists between people who have never exchanged a word. I remember being startled and amused the first time a non-English-speaker whom I'd never met thrust a phone at me in the train yard, with a frustrated Uber driver on the other end. Or the times I've been out sightseeing in a city, and a Chinese or Mongolian or Russian person grabbed me and thrust a map into my hands, knowing that as a member of this circus family, I would help them no matter what. And all the times I've needed help myself, and found it offered without reservation and often without even having to ask, simply because I'm a part of this amazing community. I will miss the cheerful greetings exchanged on a one show day, or the good-humored exasperation that we'd share at the start of a six pack weekend. I will miss seeing people breathing fire or flying through the air or riding elephants in my daily life, as natural as breathing. I could go on, but better save some of this sentimentality for May. The bottom line is, there is more being lost here than a job. I will miss these people and this life.


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Jameson and I spent the night in Duluth, so that he could rest up and fight off the flu. The train would take a long time to reach Cincinnati, so we were in no hurry.

On Monday morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast, then went to a shipping store so I could mail off my spare trombone slide to a buyer in New York. I hope he'll enjoy it! After that we hit the road, reaching our second hotel in Knoxville TN around dinnertime. We decided to eat at a nearby Outback Steakhouse, and although the food tasted good both of us felt bad after eating, so we spent the rest of the night lying flat on our backs in the hotel room.

On Tuesday we began driving to Cincinnati, and got there in time for dinner again. We found a good pizza place for some oven-fired margherita. After our meal we saw that the train was still not in the yard (we are always late to arrive in Cinci due to the high volume of rail traffic). We decided to see a movie and if the train wasn't spotted or close to it by the time we got out (10pm) we'd get another hotel. We chose M. Night Shyamalan's "Split". It was really creepy, and at the end there was, of course, a twist! We really enjoyed the movie. By the time it was over the train still wasn't in the yard, so we decided to cave and get a hotel. It turned out to be the right choice as the train ended up officially spotting sometime after midnight.

On Wednesday there was another round of severance negotiations in the morning, so Jameson took us back to the train and waited while I sat in on that phone conference. We are making progress, and I'm excited for the day when we'll be finished negotiating. After the meeting we went to get some groceries. As we returned to the train and began unpacking, I was surprised by a visit from Brian Miser, a former Human Cannon with Ringling and a current Human Cannon in his own right. Mr. Miser is thinking of purchasing one of the Ringling train cars for a project he's putting together. Cool! I invited him into my room to look around and take some measurements. He also took a look at Jameson's room, since it's a different size and shape. While I'm sad that the train is being sold off, it does make me happy that a circus person is considering purchasing this piece of circus history...I'd like it if this car, which I consider to be "my home", ends up in good hands rather than a scrap yard. I was too shy to take a photo while Brian was in my room, but snapped a quick pic as he went outside to inspect the undercarriage and such.



The weather was sunny and windy, and since we're here for two weeks I decided to take my flytraps outside and keep them there until the weather turns. I'll be pretty ticked if anyone runs them over.


They have begun growing again since I took them out of the fridge, so maybe they'll be all right!


Later in the day Jameson finally got his offer of employment letter from LA Film School. It's official, he's leaving us. I'm very happy for him, but of course it's hard not to be sad, too. Neither of us wanted to leave this job yet. Neither of us wanted to have to think about living and working apart. But what we want never does have much to do with the big picture, does it?

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Aaaah Monday. A glorious day of rest :)
I woke up early out of habit, and after a nice breakfast, thought I'd take a look at my Tampa blog post from two years ago.

The photos were gone. ALL of the photos, in every post that I looked at :(


Probably 95% of the photos used in this blog are linked from my Facebook.
Sometime in the past month, Facebook archived all of my photos that are older than Sept. 2014...changing all of the image locations.



Yeah. So now I'm going back through each post and restoring. each. picture. one. at. a. time.
So if you notice posts without pictures...just be patient. I know about it, I'm fixing it. And I'm seriously considering getting a premium account so that this never ever ever happens again.

Anyway, after spending several hours replacing pic after pic after pic, Tim and Bill dropped by and offered to split an Uber with me to the nearest mall. I gratefully accepted. Got a haircut, picked up some white shirts, looked for some black flats but no luck, and hit Target for some groceries. Then back to the train for another FOUR HOURS of pic after pic after pic.


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On the way to the Hampton yard, the train passed Busch Gardens!

I was sitting in my room watching the scenery pass, when I recognized an intersection that I used to drive by on the way to work. I jumped up and managed to snap this one picture before the park disappeared behind some trees.


The train yard we are staying in is only five miles from where I used to live. It was only a little over a year ago, so I remember those times very well. Sleeping in an empty 10 x 10 room on an air mattress. Listening to the neighbors fighting in the parking lot. Working four jobs and keeping a color-coded calendar to keep track of it all. Driving past the Coliseum in December, when the lights outside were a festive red and green, and never thinking for a moment that I'd ever get to see the inside. And this week it's my second home!



This arena is right on the lake!


Circus folk enjoying the sun before rehearsal:


It's so strange to return to a place like this where I spent so much time working other jobs. It's like getting glimpses of a past life, seeing the streets I used to drive down, the places I used to go for walks.

The area around the arena has been developed a great deal since I was here last. There are lots of shops, including Walmart, Target, and a big outdoor mall. I strolled around on Tuesday and enjoyed the sun, window shopping, and frozen yogurt :)



That night there was a BBQ at the train. The weather was perfect and it was the first 'real' circus BBQ of the year :)

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We had a lovely train run from Ohio to Virginia.

The weather was finally warm enough to spend time on the vestibules.
Passing through the mountains, I saw many interesting houses half-buried in the woods.
Leaves are just starting to appear on some of the trees, and the grass is new.
The fresh mountain air was wonderful. For a while our train followed a stream where
locals were fishing or sunbathing. I saw donkeys, llamas, horses, goats, turkeys, chickens,
and cows. What a beautiful change from the city!!

Train going around a bend:



Snuggling up to a mountain:


Interesting houses:




White cliffs on the river:


These guys stopped working on the bridge to take pics of us :D


All week we had wonderful weather. Pity we can't do shows outside :P
Scope Arena (interesting building, huh!):


Throughout the week I spent as much time as possible outside.
On Friday we had split shows, so after the first show I went to a nearby
pawn shop with several of the band guys, then Brett and Catfish (latest trumpet sub) and I got
some really good sushi. After that they went to see a movie at the mall, and I
took two-mile trek to a farmers market!

On the way it started to rain, and I dove into a nearby shop for cover.


The owner was super nice! He roasts his own coffee right there in the store.
He gave me a bag for free! I was supposed to share it, but the production office
uses a Keurig and the wardrobe dept. had enough coffee for the week.
So I kept half for myself and gave the other half to Ashley (preshow host/equestrian).
It's very good! The flavor is rich and delicious.
Thank you, Chris, for your generosity!

At the farmers market I picked up some produce, and of course a loaf of bread.

0412131704b

It's from Sugar Plum Inc., an organization dedicated to teaching baking skills to people with disabilities.
As you can see from the website, these guys make all kinds of tasty treats!
The farmers market only carried their bread, so I got a 6-grain with molasses.
It's a small oval loaf, smaller than it looks in the picture, and it's kind of chewy. The molasses gives
it a really nice strong flavor. And it's the perfect size for poached eggs too :)

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Day 25

Two more mysterious boxes have appeared!



The one with gold snowflakes is shedding glitter EVERYWHERE <3
I had fun scattering glitter around in the rehearsal room. Not sure the boys appreciated it though :P

I also received some surprise goodies from my Aunt today!!



Along with this KAWAII geisha nutcracker, there was also a box of Botan Rice Candy
and some Starbucks instant coffee!! Instant good day :D
Botan rice candy is tasty, it's a citrus-y chewy gummy wrapped in rice paper.
Gave me a happy nostalgic feeling to eat it today :)
Thanks Aunt C! I love you!

We had a runthrough again today that went pretty well.
We played our new music, including High Wire which has a lot of cuts and cues.


I missed a bunch of cues...well I saw them, but when my eyes went back to the music they'd
go to the wrong place more often than not. I think learning cues is partially muscle memory, too.
Tomorrow will be better :)

Assuming there IS a tomorrow!

We had a heck of an apocalypse storm tonight. No thunder but heavy rains and high winds.

Merry Christmas! )
taz_39: (Default)

This post is for all the people who’ve asked me about applying for a job in the circus.


Read on )

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