This is Halloween, everybody make a scene Trick or treat till the neighbors die of fright

Trick or Treat!
Here's the thing with scary movies: They scare me. I love them, I watch them, I sleep with the lights on. How do the Michael Myers movies still scare me? I mean, as much as I enjoy Josh Hartnett's very youthful face in this movie, he clearly has puny arms. This was 1998, long before Pearl Harbor. If only he'd watched the 19 preceding Halloween movies, he'd know that his weak right hook is no match for Michael Myer's boundless strength & large machete. I'll never understand how he always manages to be 3 steps behind Jamie Lee Curtis after a 20 mile drive, 4 hour boat ride, & 16 hour plane ride, when he's incapable of moving faster than a lethargic waddle. What's he so angry about? (Maybe he had to clean Group A off the bus again too...;)
Never fear, I have "The Nightmare Before Christmas" here on DVD...It's been one of my favorite movies since it came out in 1993. I've had the VHS tape since '93 & it's been played so many times it squeaks...long, long, long before it became a hipster staple...

I love, love, love Halloween. It's the one day a year it's perfectly acceptable to dress up as crazy, gory, glam, scary, silly, sexy, & out of this world as your imagination can fathom. (& not get funny looks from strangers) It's the one day a year you can go crazy & be who ever you want to be. (or perhaps let a different side of you shine a little bit more brightly than usual) I fully endorse celebrating Halloween once a month, at least. I totally punked out this Halloween unfortunately...There was just no time to put together an outstanding costume. Keltie & I wore cat ears to the mall today, that's about it. I even skipped the Halloween party in the hotel bar last night, I opted for a quiet dinner with Sam & Ging, & sitting in bed icing my poor, busted body & watching late night Food Network programming. (It was a good night.)
Thursday was another Media Day, but at the last moment Linda decided that instead of the usual black tight, black bottom & black Rockette tee she decided to bring back "bigger & brighter is better" day so we all got to give the news cameras some bright, bold, funky Lady Danger style. Of course, I don't own brightly colored dance wear, (I'm a balletrina, I wear all black, what can I say) the original Lady Danger, Schoppe, brought me a sassy tye-dyed tank to wear. I don't know if it was my hair, or my make-up, the tank, or the red lip, but I got tons of compliments on how pretty I looked. Everyone was so sweet :) I loved it!!
The most incredible thing about that day came when Linda announced that instead of having rehearsal today from one until four, that we were in such a good place that she was giving us all of Saturday off!!! What? Radio City history, again. That's never, ever happened. That means we have today off, tomorrow we travel to Canada, then Monday off...THREE DAYS in a row off...Unheard of. So instead of a run through, I went to the mall & Joann Fabrics with Keltie for some retail therapy & delicious Cinnabon :) Although, all I bought was stuff from Sephora & Apple that I needed. I could spend ages & millions in Sephora. Which is what I did today. There are just so many pretty colors!!
After yesterday, I needed the day off. We all did. We had two full show run throughs with clean up rehearsal after each run, I would say it came out to about a 2.75 show day. Man was I tired, by the end of the day my legs felt like they were made of lead. Our first run was a little less stellar than our fearless leaders had expected, they said it wasn't bad necessarily, but they knew we were capable of much better. We were all a little bitter & tired & wanted to nap. Before the second run Mark took a minute to inspire our attitudes & encourage us to work together, to feed off each others' energy...The reality of the situation is that we will be that tired once we open, probably quite often, & that's the only way we will get through the shows. We wound up pulling it together for a great run last night, I hope once we get into Hamilton we will all be 20 times better with our fresh legs & fresh minds.

Tomorrow we will be taking our first bus ride of the season, I stocked up on knitting supplies for the trip, I enjoy the bus rides much more than flying, they're pretty stress free. I will be in Canada for 18 days, almost a month. It's going to be fun, although I have a terrible time figuring out their money system, the loonies & toonies confuse me. I'm going to need Keltie's help on this one. On that note, I have a 7:00am bus call & haven't even started packing....See you in December, Hershey! Onward to the Land of "eh!"


When life gives you lemons...

Do you ever wonder when life throws you those devastating, gigantic life changing, jaw dropping, I never saw it coming, surprises, that maybe they wouldn't have happened if you had been paying closer attention? That if you weren't looking the other way, maybe things would be different? It's just not true is it. Some things you just can't foresee. Sometimes your problems yesterday fade into the shadows of a mountainous tragedy today. All of a sudden yesterday didn't seem that bad. It happens. That's life, we can say, & really, really try, to be thankful for what we have & focus on the positive, even in the worst of times. But who are we kidding, sometimes those valleys in the landscape of our lives collect a lot of rain water.
Much earlier today, I sat looking out a rainy window of Panera Bread with Keltie, Beth & Howie, contemplating a unique, witty ending to the phrase, "when life gives you lemons..." We laughed after going through a long list of cliche & silly answers, & finally realized we had nothing better. Little did we know that one of us was going to have a dump truck full of lemons unloaded on us hours later.

So what do we do when life gives us lemons?

The best I can do right now, is imagine you have to just start clearing a path to move
forward, one lemon at a time. I'd love to have some lofty, profound answer, but I'm only human, & not arrogant enough to pretend to be enlightened. You cry, & cry & cry & feel bad. There's nothing wrong with feeling bad. Sometimes really shitty things happen & you have at least my permission to take a moment & be sad. Life isn't fair. I DO NOT believe that every bad thing that happens in your life is karma paying you back, so don't feel guilty. Sometimes life just sucks. I guess you can do whatever makes you feel better with the lemons....lemonade, lemon bars, lemon meringue pie, lemon drop martinis...as long as you're making an effort towards getting to a better place. It's all you can do, I think, & these things take time. Life experience builds character & I do believe God only throws situations at you that he knows you can handle. Things will get better. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. It's not easy by any means, but there is no shortcut.
Usually it takes something big to remind us all to be thankful for what we have. Unless.....unless we make a concerted effort to remind ourselves constantly. Time heals & things eventually progress in the direction you take them. Do your very best & things will get better. Even in the bleakest of times, cultivate le petite bonheur....even if it's just lemonade.


I don't belong many places, but I know I belong here.

The past few days have definitely had their high highs, low lows & fair shares of craziness. I guess when your days are this long, there is a lot of time for twists & turns. Friday wasn't my favorite day ever...It was a textbook example of how powerful our minds really are...unfortunately it was incredibly painful. One of my favorite parts of the show happens in NYAC, (New York at Christmas) when we dance on a double decker bus...so cool. Less cool was learning the exit off the bus...Grab the pole in the door with my right hand & swing out of the bus on 1, 2, 3, 4....My sassy big moment! Wheeeeeeee!......?.....No?......$#%@...Ow. Why can't I do this right? It's simple. Why do I keep smashing my shin on the door of the bus? I'm so awkward. I can't do it. We ran Group A off the bus on the upside of 20 times...Still no success. (Mind you no one is correcting me or telling me I look bad...it just feels awful. & Yes that is my battered leg on the right with the black boots...The other girl is the girl opposite me getting off the bus...We decided we must not be doing it right.) I was having such a good day before that too.

Eventually we moved on into the number, Deep breath, here we go. Until we went back to run the number from "Group A off the bus" again. It was about 8:30 @ night, hour & a half to go. We get back on the bus, we're waiting for the music to cue...I loose it.....tears. Merry Christmas Meltdown...It happens. (Thank goodness no one saw, except my bottom of the bus girls :) Took a deep breath & 5, 6, 7, 8....Holy crap, I was a mess...the harder I tried, the worse I danced. All of a sudden I was hopping a left double pirouette, my center was gone, my depths were unclear & I imagine I was dancing like a damn fool. And I swear, I was trying so hard to be positive & let it go. Just move on...but every time someone addressed me, I could feel my eyes well up again...even when Andrew, one of our Stage Managers asked to take my NYAC gloves that I apparently had been wearing for an hour after everyone else has already given him theirs...I managed to barely keep it together for the remainder of rehearsal until I immediately bawled my eyes out the entire car ride home. How embarrassing.
Here's the thing, in actuality, the people watching said I looked perfectly fine, good in fact. I have no idea why I felt like the worst dancer that's ever lived for that hour and a half. I'm sure it wasn't nearly as bad as I felt. (Well except for my shins...we're work shopping new ways to swing ;) In tech, we work long hours, we get tired, we're all crazy perfectionists, things just layer & layer until you feel like a can of coke that someone shook up. Sometimes you just have to cry, it cleans your soul. Trust me, I get that some people may not understand, that's okay. There are aspects of my job, my life really, that may sound completely illogical, & crazy. I'm definitely crazy, so that makes sense to me.
Saturday was so much better, despite the grey skies & endless downpour. How could I not be happy on bigger is better day? I put on a pair of my garish, over sized earrings & some equally as large rings. (I love gigantic jewelry. I always over accessorize, it's kind of my thing.) Little did we know, bigger is better day had so much more in store for us. About two hours into the day, Santa & the little boys were on the stage working some lighting, giving
us a rare moment to relax. I grabbed my book (The Book of Laughter & Forgetting by Milan Kundera) & sat on the floor near the hallways with our dressing room (the locker room) & a load in door for some light. About 10 pages into my reading, (I'm so close to being done with the book, I just keep going back & re-reading. Kundera is so epic it takes a lot of re-reading to fully absorb) one of the security guards addresses me, "Excuse me...miss...you may want to move...ummm...." I look up & there is a steady, fast moving flow of water coming in from under the load in door.
The arena was flooding. I couldn't believe it...A couple of the other girls & I took off running into the dressing room, pulling everything up off the floor. LaDuca rehearsal shoes are not cheap....By the time we had finished the hall was flooding, we had to run through backstage & jump to higher ground in some of the arena seating. By then nearly the entire stage/backstage/entry way of the arena was completely flooded a few inches deep with yucky dirty rainwater. There is a lot of wiring & electronic stuff backstage...power down time. After a quick meeting up up in the dry second bowl, in catering, we were released until dinner...@ 6:00. Three hours to get paid to play? Thank you very much janky, busted, soggy arena. Keltie, David (our Santa swing) & I wandered through some nearby outlet stores & eventually made our way into three cozy armchairs in the

corner of Starbucks with a soy chai latte. I finally found time to read the news paper!! By dinner they had managed to clean & dry everything so we had three hours of working through Santas on stage. Even more exciting was that one of my very good friends was pulled from a different cast to come replace a girl we lost. Brittany had really bad Achilles tendinitis, I had really bad Achilles tendinitis once, I almost had to leave my cast. It's such a painful thing, I'm very glad she is taking good care of her body. I'm also very glad Sam is here. Welcome back to the A-Team Sam:)

I was in such good spirits Saturday that I even went downstairs for a hot second to be social! Yesterday was a day off, & boy did we all need one! Nothing too terribly exciting: mandatory Target shopping trip, of course. I love Target, they sell so many things I didn't realize I needed until I wandered every aisle. Adventured with Keltie: Michael's, Joann Fabrics, & Marshalls...needed some crafting supplies. Then laundry, days off go by waaaay too quickly. I always feel guilty for staying in bed all day, but when I'm a busy bee I just feel like I should be sitting in bed relaxing. I just can't win!!
Today there were no crazy, facebook status update worthy events. It was just a good day:) I had a moment sitting in the dark of the arena listening to our DC, Hannah giving notes, looking up at the ensemble working through a piece of choreography in the bright lights of the stage. It sort of balanced all the negativity I was feeling only a couple short days ago. Sometimes I wish I had a camera in my left eye. When I blinked it would take exactly what I was seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, & file it away in neat little compartments in the back of my mind, that I could pull out & relive whenever I needed them. They'd never fade, or fuzz around the edges, I could still feel it just as strongly as I did in that very moment. (I honestly wish this a lot, about a lot of different things..this would be my superpower if ever I had a choice.) But this was one of those moments, I don't know what it was that triggered it exactly but I was elated to be exactly where I was. Most times & most places I'm never sure if I exactly belong, I'm a hard puzzle piece to fit, but I know with every fiber of my being that I belong here.

New project: I was so focused on getting the slipper I was knitting finished that the day sort of flew by. It's cute right? Coming soon to the feet of a Rockette near you!!! I'm really proud, I just started the sole of the left one. Once I start something I get incredibly motivated & don't want to stop, in fact, as soon as I finish this post I am going to go right back to knitting. I need someone here to pry it out of my hands so I don't stay up all night stitching away...


If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic bean buyer...

Home sweet home. (for the next 10 days at least)

Sometimes I have these out of body moments where I step back and marvel at the sheer ridiculousness of my life. I got home from work at about 20 after ten o'clock at night. I'm always hungry after work. Normally, when you're hungry, you head for the kitchen, open the fridge, take a quick peek, grab something, & have at it. I, however, had to take the elevator down to the lobby, elbow my way through a crowded restaurant/bar full of strangers in business suits, people on vacation, & a handful of my Radio City family to pick up my carry out order. Pesto pizza. (not vegan. :( Shame on me, but there is a very limited menu this late at night) It's loud, karaoke night...People look at me funny...Hey, I may be wearing flowery boxer shorts & slippers but you're wasted, singing the worst rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" that I've ever heard. How cliche.

"Just another day @ the office"

Work today, was 10 hours of lighting & working through the technical aspects of maybe the first 30 minutes of the show. Yes, 10 hours of tech = 30 minutes of a smooth running show. (& we're teching really quickly for a new show) It's tedious. Every one's balls (of their feet ;) hurt. It takes forever, but it's part of our J.O.B. & totally necessary. We can stand on stage in one spot for 15 minutes at a time while they light us, not incredibly exciting. Then after hours of standing we have to kick it into gear and run a full number with track, at tempo. 5, 6, 7, 8...We just get more tired & more slap happy...by the end of the night we're all on stage telling jokes, playing telephone, doing the wave & saying the most random things.
Keltie: " you know how before the fall (in Soldiers) the cannon comes out and shoots?'
Me: "Yea?"
Keltie: "What if instead of the flag coming out of the cannon, Fergie came out & sang 'Boom Boom Pow'?"
I love my friends. Tech is painful, being surrounded by wonderful people makes it so much better. I mean, it's going to happen, like it or not. So we may as well make the best of it. We really haven't gotten a moment to breathe since we got here. We traveled all day, got in late last night & started fairly early this morning. My room is a mess, I'm just now finding time to read my news paper. (ps - This article is super interesting, if you want a good read: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/opinion/20brooks.html?_r=1 )
Walking back into Hershey Arena after a full year was so strange. It's always exciting to see the stage for the first time, & super fun to see guys working on the crew that I made friends with last year. Another branch of my big, beautiful Radio City family. Coming back here, to the same hotel & arena, inspired some unexpected emotion. Dragging my luggage into my room for the first time in a year somehow reminded me of the place I was in emotionally & mentally last year. (PS- Hershey, PA is on Food Network right now! How crazy!) I was not in a good place at all, I was incredibly unhappy & equally unhealthy. It took me almost the whole night & all of today to figure out what to do with this awful deja vu. I realized it wasn't that difficult. Reliving that unhappiness made me check in with myself & appreciate the great strides I've made in the past year, leaving me feeling very grateful. It's amazing how much can happen in a year.
I'm thankful, slap happy, accomplished, achy, proud, caffinated (I needed a diet coke.) & kind of exhausted...All things considered, it's not a terrible place to be. Goodnight!


Farewell Waccamaw.

Today marks the completion of phase one of Operation Christmas Across America. Our last day in Myrtle Turtle. Road boxes are packed, Ragdoll blocks are painted...Hershey, here we come! It's curious, I feel like we only just got here & at the same time feel like we've already been rehearsing forever. This is my last entry coming from the corner of my tiny bed, with a giant bottle of orange Gatorade sitting on the windowsill beside me in Keltie & my cute little condo. Farewell Plantation Station. It's been real. Thanks for the daily internet fiasco & the stinky fridge.

The last two days of rehearsal may have made Radio City history for me. I've never had the first three studio run throughs go as well as they did. I've never seen Julie happier with a cast. It's been INCREDIBLE. A-Team = cast of the century. I can only hope once we get to Hershey, Linda is equally as impressed with our work. So far (knock on wood) we've managed to push further & further without taking a single step backwards. I know the first time on the stage in a giant arena causes a bit of vertigo & a lot of nervous energy but I will just have to focus super hard. Teching a brand new show is a tedious process, especially when I have a sneaking suspicion Linda is going to change a ton of stuff once
she sees it from further away. Yikes.
During our second & final run of the show today we had some guests from other casts (in company management & stage management) watching. I had almost forgotten how much more fun it is to preform for people. (other than the ones with the eagle eyes watching for our every mistake ;) I was lucky to have some very good friends sitting & watching right on my line-up number. So, despite my tired legs & achy back, I was dancing for my life. It felt soooooo good. I love my job. I'm starting to embrace the pieces of choreography in the show that a couple weeks ago I found tedious & more challenging, the parts of the show where I can breathe deeply & gather energy (it's amazing how easy it is to forget to breathe....not good) & those brilliant little pieces of choreography I just live in. The ones I look forward to all show. I'm finding more of them every day. Julie told us today that one of our J.O.B. requirements is to have fun!!!! Amazing.
I know the next few weeks, before we open, are going to be jam packed with hard work & maybe some minorly unpleasant situations. (It's never fun when we're just standing on the stage lighting a number for 2 hours then have to run it top to bottom with cold muscles) But it's my j.o.b. I'm ready for it & I'm really excited for the next step in the process. It's not all bad...considering the arena is next to a theme park! (We're going on Halloween...which reminds me...Kelt, we need to figure out what we're going to wear for Halloween.) These next few days have been incredibly inspiring, how could I not be madly in love with life?
On that note, Myrtle Turtle Beach...I bid you adieu.


le petit bonheur

It's been a couple days. Big, productive, happy, sad, slap-happy, slightly sweaty days.

So you remember on the 14th, when I said, "Oh I hope our directors lighten up a tiny bit?" The next day, they didn't. It was one of the most difficult rehearsal days I think I have ever been through. Ever. However, it was a positive day, started at 10:05am with the same kickline 5 times in a row for a camera crew...I tried to keep count of how many more kicklines we did that day, but I think once I got to ten and it wasn't even 2 hours into the day, I just stopped counting. By four fifty, I don't think I had a single box accent, bell ring, jingle bell clump, jump split, myrtle turtle dove, shine out, or group A off the bus left in my soul. It was one of those days you feel proud to have survived.
Incredibly enough, the next day, they gave our aching legs a rest. It was a productive day without a single eye high kick! Imagine that?! A gift like that from the directors is a huge acknowledgment of our hard work. It doesn't happen often, so I was so thankful. On the rehearsal deck there are two large cardboard tubes opposite each other near where we enter & exit the stage that simulate the huge light towers that are on our actual stage. Keltie helped me climb into one. (I knew it was inevitable the moment I first laid eyes on them) I danced around, everyone laughed. The environment in rehearsal is so much more enjoyable when our directors are pleased with us. If we're doing our job properly & making them happy, rehearsals can be so much fun, but as soon as we being to slack, that goes right out the door. Way less fun.
Yesterday was our first full cast show run through!! I start to get excited when I see everything coming together. It doesn't seem that long ago, we were just getting here & learning our first numbers... Yesterday was also our first time dancing without having the mirrors to use as a crutch. We had to rely solely on our own retention of the choreography & feeling each other dance & breathe. It went really, really well!!! I made a couple silly mistakes, so did everyone, but the overall impression was that we're in a great place. We even got out five minutes early. Five minutes doesn't seem like much until you really think about how many eye high kicks you can fit into five minutes. We're going to be so prepared when we step onto our stage for the first time in Hershey, on Thursday. We're going to need it, teching a new show is a tedious process.
Needless to say, today was a perfect day for a day off. I went to a gospel brunch at the House of Blues with nine other Rockettes. I had such a wonderful time, I love being able to work & befriend such cool girls. We even sang "This Little Light of Mine" with the singer of the gospel band that was playing!! The past week definitely earned me a fun social outing with lots & lots of food. (ugh...so much delicious breakfast food...it's my favorite)
There were a couple days in the past week that I found I was really harping on myself, something I have been trying not to do. Old habits die hard. There have definitely been some tears, rehearsal is always a very exhausting process, no matter how many years I've been doing the show. (Merry Christmas meltdowns are perfectly normal) It's just a reality that comes with the job, but you have to remember, it's only a Christmas show. Friday I was dancing in a brown & golden bowler hat with light up reindeer antlers on it at eleven in the morning, after that, a giant orange wig with a big green bow, how seriously can I possibly take myself?

There are times when it is hard to believe in the future, when we are temporarily just not brave enough. When this happens, concentrate on the present. Cultivate le petit bonheur (the little happiness) until courage returns. Look forward to the beauty of the next moment, the next hour, the promise of a good meal, sleep, a book, a movie, the likelihood that tonight the stars will shine and tomorrow the sun will shine. Sink roots into the present until the strength grows to think
about tomorrow.

-Ardis Whitman

There were so many things to be happy about in the past seven days...A- Team hair bows. Lemon white chocolate chip cookies. Old friends. New books. Love beads. Nativity lanterns. Bad ass warm-up playlists. Starbucks green tea presents. Ugly E.T. cakes. Text messages from lovely people. Hair flowers. Screaming jump splits. Slap happy Rockettes. It's the little things people. The little things make life so much more fun, pay attention. They can save your life & your mood. Sometimes it's all you have & if you're too busy looking the other way, you're just going to be a big pile of cranky. There is something to be said for the simple things. Every day won't be good but there's something good in every day, even if it's simple as a red & green hair bow. I choose what holds value in my life, & I would much rather enjoy wearing my new A-Team hair bow (from our assistant dance captain's crafty momma) than be irritated because I didn't want to run box accents in Ragdolls again.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves 'who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?'

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; its in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Williamson
(from her book Return to Love)

I may not have it all figured out, (that's an understatement...I have no idea what I'm doing) but I'm fairly confident I have all of the pieces, I'm just slowly figuring out where each one fits...


If people were rain, I was drizzle, she was hurricane.

I'm with Kelt on this one. Sometimes we both sit beside one another, separated by 15 feet & a wall, in our respective bedrooms, doors open, the smell of our candles & music pouring out of each one. We're both so tired we communicate through the wall by reading each others' blog & text messaging. Not every night of course, for example, Dancing With the Stars nights find us on the couch knitting together & discussing how frightening Donnie Osmond is, especially when he talks in third person...
Today was a rocky day. I went to the dark place a couple times mentally, but didn't allow myself to work any less than 100%. It's a bad sign when my legs feel this heavy and it's only Wednesday of week three. (We leave a week from today for Hershey, PA to start tech! Bye dirty Myrtle Turtle & Plantation Station!! Hello 11 hour tech days) Our directors keep telling us what a wonderful job we're doing & we keep praying for them to let up on us a little. It's not necessarily their job to be easy on us, but it's the compassionate thing to do. It's going to be a long, rough tour if we're already exhausted. We still have almost a month before we open!!!! Although I must admit it is rather exciting to be putting scenes together with the entire cast now. We have an incredibly talented ensemble of singers & dancers, who make rehearsal so much more agreeable by cheering us on while we're dancing. We, of course, do the same for them. We have so much fun together, I am a firm believer that casts who get along as well as ours does perform better. It also makes tour 200 times more enjoyable, considering we spend about 20 hours a day together! Monday I got to do an interview for Women's LifeStyle Magazine over my lunch break, it went really well! Tomorrow we're going to have news crews filming rehearsal all morning, I've had to turn the charm on all week.
The past couple days have left me a little frustrated. I have been feeling kind of like the harder I try to implement a more positive outlook, & be more accepting, & all of those things I've been talking about, the more I've sort of been feeling like things are falling apart, or like I'm losing control. A little defeated maybe? I try to dance harder, I make stupid mistakes. I spend more time focusing on treating my body properly, & my spine seems to get more screwed up & painful. I try to fix & rebuild relationships with people in my life, & I feel more neglected, or confused, or unhappy. Every dog has his day I guess...
I need to start being realistic about which of these things I even have control over. I was on a yoga retreat in August, & part of an exercise we did, involved all of us in a single file line, holding onto a rope. At one point, the woman who placed us in the order we were standing in, explained that she put us in certain places for specific reasons; the people towards the front were people who tried to control everything in their life. There I was, right in front. At first I thought to myself, she clearly doesn't know me...I'm nobodies control freak. Wait...am I? Ah ha moment. I am nearly incapable of just letting things happen around me. I can be so uptight that I can't even trust the universe to work in it's mysterious way. Instead I self inflict this giant burden of trying to control every aspect of every tiny thing in my life because I'm terrified the outcome won't be what I want if I don't. I have had such a white knuckle grip on so many things that it's difficult to let go, no wonder I feel like I'm getting carpal tunnel. How can I enjoy life's little suprises when I refuse to let them happen? It's impossible to manufacture life to be exactly how I want it to be. I can sit and pound away all day at that square peg but it's not going to fit into the triangle shaped hole, no matter how much I want it to.

It's about time to kick back & let the universe take some of that burden for me. What's meant to be will be. I've got enough things actually in my control to worry about. I can get so worked up about one aspect of my life that I completely neglect everything else, more often than not it's something negative that I've blown up to an epic proportion. Maybe if I stop trying to take responsibility for all the things I have no control over, I will have more time to enjoy the things I do. That almost sounds like a mental vacation. These are all such seemingly simple concepts, now why do they come so difficult to me? I feel like I have these brilliant epiphanies, that are common knowledge to everyone else. "What's meant to be will be?" Yep, I'm sure millions of people have that cross stitched on a throw pillow on their couch, & I'm acting like I just discovered a new galaxy. Better late than never I guess...:)
Tomorrow is a new day & I look forward to it. Everyone has a bad day, & everyone gets a little overwhelmed...that's life. What matters is how you move on from that point. I'm going to continue on this new little path I'm making, I'm sure there will be many more epiphanies fit for throw pillows in my future.


And the man said, "I'd like to replace your cat." And the lady said, "That's all right with me, but how are you with catching mice?

Reason number 460 I love my job: I am surrounded by artistic, beautiful, talented, strong people. It would be a tragedy if I never took the time to observe & appreciate them. Their talents, quirks, style, personalities...everyone brings something uniquely theirs to the table. That's what makes what we do so special. Like, remember when the planeteers put their rings together to make Captain Planet? Earth...wind...fire...ect. (Wind was always my favorite) It just wouldn't work without all five of them, in the same way our line wouldn't work without each one of us bringing our own unique gift to the table. (Unfortunately the pay off isn't a giant green magical eco-maniac superhero...It's a Christmas Spectacular of epic proportion)
Wait one second...Hallmark is showing some kind of I Love Lucy marathon...Oh my God, & she's in a tutu in a ballet class...Magnificent. Lucille Ball was one of the most charming, gifted women to ever be in show business, God rest her soul.
I'm always looking for inspiration. Under every rock & behind every door. The world is filled to the brim with interesting, wonderful things, all you have to do is look. I find it's something that gets me through those six hours a day I spend in an abandoned mini-mall rehearsing when my elbow is flat & which count my bevel is open...I get tired, my mind starts going to the dark place, & one of the girls catches my eye, living in an eight count of choreography. I take note of it, why the hell am I not dancing like that... The thing about dancers is that we're very competitive in nature. It's how we get work. In rehearsal, competing with each other would be counterproductive. We, in fact, feed off each other in order to progress. It takes a lot of talent to put up a show of this caliber, it takes a lot of people giving 110%. I love to watch the other girls dance, I draw inspiration from the way they move. When I see someone doing something beautifully I try to incorporate it into my show. We drive each other, we push each other, motivate each other, inspire each other. We all use each other as tools to become better.
I am a dancer. I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living.... In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.
~Martha Graham, c.1953
The same can be said for life in general. If you allow yourself to, you'll be amazed every day at the beauty that surrounds you. I try to pull from all of the things I love. Put my own twist on them & incorporate them into my every day life in my own special way. I collect things that make me happy in my closet, my iTunes, my iPhoto, on my bookshelves, in my journal, I weave them together into intricate patterns in my mind that make up the fabric of who I am... Music, friends, art, nature, family, surroundings, the way my beautiful friends dance...The world can be a pretty magical place, it's all a matter of how you look at it. If you choose to, you can see the world in bright bold colors too.


What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.

We all need a place so we can go,
And feel over the rainbow.

I made it! A day off couldn't be more in order. I don't think I have a strut kick, bell ring, block accent, big wheel or shine out left in my body. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, but sometimes you just need a day to recuperate with a good book, knitting needles, tea, some television, good food & perhaps some freepeople.com. (Retail therapy. Yum. :)
So, my first year as a Rockette. I was just 18 years old, one of 12 new girls in a line of 18 women. I w
as the only new girl who, aside from having to learn a whole brand new show, had to also be a bear in the Nutcracker scene. (In the first act, there is a Nutcracker scene where Clara dances with big teddy bears. I was one of three big panda bears who dance the Chinese dance.) The way the bear costumes work, you put on a gigantic bear head, it secures with a chin strap, & you see out the nose of the bear, which is made from foam. But you can hardly see anything.
There are three colored lights at the edge of the stage, & asides from those three lights, you can't see much else. The feet are gigantic furry bear feet, maybe 2 or 3 times bigger than your own, with jazz sneakers inside them, that you put on & Velcro the bear feet closed over the jazz sneakers. At this point in time we were in tech rehearsals on stage at the Fox Theater in Detroit & there were tons of cameras everywhere because Fox was filming us for a documentary on the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Detroit.
This was my very first time in my bear head & feet, on the stage with the big set pieces & the lighting. The stage is set so that we look very small, we're dancing under a gigantic Christmas Tree, surrounded by big, beautiful gifts. I was incredibly nervous because of how little I could actually see from within the giant panda head. (I mean these pandas must have been sumo wrestlers in their off season...) So, we scurry on to the stage from between two of the enormous gift box set pieces, & do our cute little panda dance. All I have left to do in order to successfully complete Operation: Panda is to scurry back upstage between two different gift boxes & off of the stage. Simple enough...right?
CRASH! (not simple for me) I turned upstage & ran directly into a set piece so hard that I bounced off it & landed on my back. & if that wasn't bad enough, I had ran into the set so hard that I had knocked my chinstrap lose so that the bear head had turned 90 degrees & was now looking over my right shoulder, leaving me completely blind, wriggling around trying to get upright like a turtle on it's back...Good one Shu. Keep in mind, Nutcracker is continuing around me, I'm in complete darkness, & all I can hear is Dance of the Mirlitons. (reed-flutes) So after what seems like an eternity, I manage to make it to my feet. I'm sure at this point, there's a small army of confused bears in tutus & pointe shoes trying to dance the Waltz of the Flowers while avoiding the disoriented, skinny little girl with the sumo panda head.
If I had any brains at 18, I would have simply turned the head, or better yet, removed it completely and exited stage left as fast as possible. Unfortunately, I did not do that. Instead I chose to leave the big bear head on, cockeyed, so I was still blind, & attempted to scale the large set piece obstructing my get away, like a mime. Until I found the edge, pulled myself around it, falling for a second time as soon as I got off stage. Only then did Dennis, our director, stop the scene to come over the microphone, gasping for breath in a fit of laughter, to ask if I was okay. Fortunately, that little incident didn't make it into the documentary.
It wasn't necessarily funny at the time (to me at least) but now it's one of my favorite stories to tell. I was 99% sure I was fired. Dennis was 99% sure that was the funniest thing he may have ever seen, but nope, here I am, seven years later. Still making ridiculous mistakes every so often. What can you do? I think as long as I don't keep making the same mistake, I'm doing pretty good. You fall down. You get up. The tough part is just letting go & moving on. (on & off stage) Your never going to give a perfect performance, there will always be something to improve on. Take note of your mistakes, don't dwell on them, & keep moving. Don't let those devastating "I wish the floor would swallow me whole right now" mistakes get the best of you, chances are, they'll make great stories later on. (& maybe prove useful to someone else. That story always makes an overwhelmed, frustrated new Rockette laugh. It also still makes some of the girls who've heard it over & over laugh. :) I don't mind people having a laugh at my expense, I do silly stuff all the time.) Being wrong & strong is better than not being anything at all.


& as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

I am not a perfect girl. I am human. I make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. I don't always say the right thing. I get defensive quickly & have a horrible memory. I constantly contradict myself. I'm selfish, impatient & a little insecure. At times I can be dramatic, wild, & impulsive. Butterflies, losing my teeth & being taken advantage of scare the crap out of me.

"I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I'm one of those people."
John Lennon

I have friends who love me unconditionally. I am beautiful, wild, adventurous, strong, scared & a little untrusting. Sometimes too trusting, free, opinionated, ugly, sad, happy, & everything in between...I laugh at what I find funny, & I cry when I feel sad. I have skin & bones, muscles, a brain & an imagination that spans infinite galaxies. I'm artistic & at times a bit ridiculous. I believe in magic & I work for Santa Claus. I have intense emotion. I'm doing my best. I am like no one you will ever meet because I am me.

So if life was exactly like a choose your own adventure book (remember those? "If you decide to start back home, turn to page 14.
If you decide to wait, turn to page 22.") I may have cheated and gone back for the other option a couple times. Unfortunately, that's just not the way the universe works. Life is a series of choices of varying degrees of importance & there is no going back and choosing the other page. You make your decisions & you & the world around you change accordingly. Instead of looking for the rewind button, all anyone can do is make the best of the world they've created for themselves, like it or not. Make better mistakes tomorrow.

"Some stories don't have a clear beginning middle & end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, & making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity..."
-Gilda Radner

Between rehearsal & my personal life, this week has at least a month of living crammed into the past five days. Like I mentioned, there were a few times I wanted to go back for that other page & see what may have happened had I chosen it. Would I be better off? Or would that have been the catalyst for something even worse? Who knows? The silly thing is that no amount of worrying or wondering will allow me to know. Not worrying or wondering is easier said than done. I've been thinking a lot in this manner, because perhaps it's time for a change of perspective. I've allowed myself to think in a way that isn't entirely healthy or conducive to a really fulfilling, happy life. I'm putting my foot down. Worry less. Smile more. Accept criticism. Take responsibility. Listen, love & don't hate. Embrace change. Feel good anyway. Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect, it's looking beyond the imperfections. In one of my favorite Ani Difranco songs she says, "There's a crowd of people harbored in every person, there are so many roles that we play," It's really true right? (Ani is a genius) For example, I play a great victim, I throw a mean pity party. I'm sure if I met myself in that context I wouldn't like myself that much, so I'm working on not being that girl anymore. If I stopped being her all together, think about how much more time & energy I would have to put towards being the mover & shaker I am?! This has been an ongoing project of mine, I'm trying to simplify my life...I'm still a work in progress. Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps...(What About Bob...anybody? One of my favorite movies!!!)

Anyways, rehearsals have been tough. Physically exhausting. It's our J.O.B. as our director, Julie likes to remind us, & we love it. She's hard on us because we have so much potential to be an extraordinary line. We all know that but still sometimes it's difficult not to go to the dark place & be cranky because we have to go back and run a number all the way through again. I personally get a tiny bit impatient during the cleaning process, I'm working on it. I dance for the Radio City Rockettes. The Radio City Rockettes are the #1 precision dance line in the entire world. The devil is in the details & you can bet your space boots that we are given & drilled every teeny tiny detail down to where our elbow is on count 4 & how it's different than count 5. So I better throw that poor outlook on cleaning right out the window, it won't get me anywhere. In fact it will just make the day longer. What right do I have to do anything other than devour every blessed moment that I am getting paid to do exactly what I've dreamed of doing since I was a little girl? I don't deserve to if I'm going to take it for granted. I have a beautiful, brilliant, insightful, irreplaceable friend who has everything it takes to land her dream job, but she's still searching for that door...how can I complain? She deserves it just as much as I do. So do you.

"This is what you shall do: love the earth & sun & the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid & crazy, devote your income & labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience & indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons & with the young & with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, & your very flesh shall be a great poem & have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips & face & between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body..." -Walt Whitman