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I was going to write about my boring week. As it turned out there was more excitement in my week than planned. I got fired. Whether it's because I was at the end of my 30-day trial period, or because I did something wrong, or because I was making tons of mistakes...I don't know. Maybe all of those.

It shouldn't have come as a shock, but it kind of did. I frequently asked for feedback, and was told every time that I was doing fine and "it takes at least six months" to get used to the work. So I plugged along and did my best, and didn't think anything of it. So yeah, I was a bit surprised to be fired. Maybe also because I've just never been fired before. But there's a first time for everything.

I'm sorry to have wasted so much time training for something I'm no good at.

Anyway, with that, I've decided not to write this blog any longer (for the forseeable future). After the circus ended there were people who wanted me to keep writing. Why, I've no idea. No one is entertained by reading about my sorry life. It was interesting when there was a journey to share, and that's over now. I had promised to transfer the circus parts of my blog over to WordPress, and with one thing and another I just haven't had the time or patience. Maybe that will happen in the future, maybe not.

The bottom line is, I need to step away for a while, for me. This blog was made for a very specific purpose: to share an adventure. So, if I am fortunate enough to go on any more adventures, I will come back here and share them with you again. But until that time, I'll be switching back to my older, private, diary-style LJ account (the username is in the comments below if you'd like it). I won't be leaving LJ, but I won't be posting here for a while. I'm sorry to end it this way, but I need some time to myself.

Thank you for reading, whatever your reasons. Best wishes.

Good and Bad

Oooooh let's see.

Monday was a pretty normal day, I think. I got something nice in the mail, a handmade coffee scoop from my hometown, made by a former classmate. It's bigger than I expected but that's great because I like my coffee strong! Haha. His shop is called That Old Thing, and he makes a lot more than just coffee scoops!

On Tuesday I got to leave work early for a performance at Epcot with Encore! We had three shows at 5:30, 6:45, and 8pm. All of them went very well. The group was much larger this time, with a 40-member orchestra and 100-voice choir! Wow! Here is a video of a whole show:

Some photos from the event. We had a lot of fun. I enjoy playing with this group.

(photo courtesy Daniel L)

(photo courtesy Encore)

(photos courtesy Mike Thomas Imagery)

And I really enjoy getting to play a gig with my Jameson! Our styles of music are so different, I figured after the circus ended we'd just go our separate ways musically. It's great that so soon afterward we were able to enjoy being on stage together again <3 Cam (cello) took this picture of us as we were preparing for the first concert. Isn't Jameson handsome!!

After the final show we packed up and stuck around to see the Epcot fireworks show. It was awesome.
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Blah week

Monday was just a normal day. Back to work! I cleaned up all of the birthday decorations except for two of the balloons. Something for me to play with.

Jameson has Hunchback rehearsals all week, and it's a very difficult book, so he's coming home tired yet wired every night. I remember what that felt like with the circus...you're exhausted from pouring two hours of your full effort into a show, but your mind is racing from the adrenaline. And then you're supposed to go to sleep. Good times.

Tuesday, I had Encore rehearsal after work. It's a much larger group this time. Last time we had four brass musicians; this time there are nine, plus a huge string section, the woodwinds, and the electronic stuff.

Rehearsal was "ok". In some ways I appreciate the smaller group a little more because it's easier to agree on stuff and easier to play in tune. Last time I felt like our group of musicians was really tight. This time...less so. Still, I'm glad to be a part of the next performance, which will be at Epcot again next week.

Wednesday, work and the gym. Thursday, work and then rehearsal with the Orlando Concert Band. They're doing a sort of Hispanic-themed concert in April, so the music is nice and brass heavy with a lot of interesting meters and rhythms.

Friday, my department got bombarded with reports. After probably the 10th email we all threw up our hands a little bit and just took a mental break to chat with each other. Which is nice, because my cubicle is in a place where I can't see anyone except my supervisor, so it has been hard to get to know my coworkers. After work I got groceries, came home, did some chores and watched tv until Jameson got home.

Saturday, I was supposed to play duets with a local friend but ended up declining in order to work on other things. It was a really slow day and nothing much happened. I went thrifting in the late afternoon and found a few shirts. Back at home I was greeted by a package from LaRena, a former Ringling clown and current clown with Kinoshita Circus. She's been battling cancer (and has been victorious!) and part of the way she's paying for chemo is to raise funds through her handmade crafts (here is her Insta-shop.) Here is the bag that she made for me.

I'm just happy to contribute in a small way to her recovery. The bag is beautifully made, and turns out it's the perfect size for sheet music!! Thank you LaRena :)

Sunday was another day of nothing much. Jameson and I both had a little work to do, and I had to get my clothes and food ready for the work week. Other than that we just enjoyed relaxing. On Tuesday we'll have the concert at Epcot with Encore. Next Sunday I'll start rehearsals with the Brass Band of Central Florida for another concert out in Titusville. That's about all the excitement for this week.

Some weeks are more interesting than others.

Adventures with Jameson

Hmm, let's see.

Monday, normal. I went to work. Jameson went to rehearsal. For once I didn't have anything scheduled at night so I spent it enjoying a little down time and making to-do lists.

Tuesday, more of the same. There's really nothing interesting to say about work at the moment. The big excitement was getting access to the company gym, and getting an oil change during the lunch break. After work both Jameson and I had rehearsals, so we didn't see each other until late.

Wednesday...more of the same. After work Jameson and I had pizza and salad, and played The Room: Old Sins until Jameson had to teach his online courses. Have you played The Room games? They're just so stinkin' awesome. If you love puzzle games, mysterious-looking boxes, and gorgeous game design, you really need to check this series out.

On Thursday...you guessed it, more work. Jameson was at the office today, so after we were done he offered to take me to dinner. He's such a sweetheart...I am lucky <3 He took me to Tibby's, a restaurant known for NOLA food. Especially the po'boys. I got an oyster po'boy with the house remoulade, while Jameson went for a chicken-and-waffle sandwich that looked fantastic and tasted even better. The food and the atmosphere were great, just what we both needed after a stale old work week :)

Finally Friday came. I went to work expecting another day of fretting at my desk.

Look at this!! Our department has a "fun committee" that decorates employees' desks on their birthdays! Balloons hanging from the ceiling, happy birthday signage, confetti EVERYWHERE. How nice!!

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Fitting In

Monday, work. After work Jameson and I were treated to sushi by two of his friends, who wanted to thank him for giving an Xbox to their sons. The sushi was delicious and the company was awesome :)

Tuesday, work. Our department was treated to taco bowls for lunch...not sure if there was a specific occasion, but does there need to be for tacos??
That night Jameson and I had rehearsal together for the first time since the circus ended. I never thought we'd get to play together again!

The group is called Encore, and it's made up mostly of Disney cast alumni. They put on cabaret-style performances of Broadway medleys and hits, and the ensemble ranges in size from small chamber group to full orchestra and theatrical cast. This weekend they've been contracted to perform a set of shows for Disney, at Epcot. Jameson has been a longtime member of the group, and got me involved when I moved here (fortunately they were in need of a trombone).

Probably the only type of music that comes close to circus music, is theater music. Playing along with something happening on stage/in the ring has so far been my favorite way to perform, and where I feel most confident and happy. I had a great time with these awesome performers at the first rehearsal, and am really looking forward to the shows on Saturday!

Wednesday was a little blah. Jameson wasn't feeling well, and I was struggling at work (again, as usual). After work I stopped by Sam Ash to return a mute they sold me for the wrong trombone size (didn't even know that was possible, thanks Harmon -_-), then went home to squeeze Jameson and enjoy the dinner he made for us :)

Thursday was just a get-through-it kind of day. I worked, and ran some errands, and practiced a bit.

On Friday after work I enjoyed another rehearsal with Encore, which Jameson couldn't attend because he had a gig. After rehearsal I got home and started preparing for Saturday. Encore would be performing at Epcot as part of the Festival of the Arts series. Our call time was 8am to set up, then a sound check around 10, with performances at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30. I gathered my trombone, mutes, black clothes, water, and snacks, and made sure that my music was in order. I added a black jacket in case it was chilly on stage, and clothespins in case it was windy. Jameson got home around 1:30am, and we went to sleep right away.

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A Blur

This was another week where there was a lot to do, and I didn't keep track of it all.

Jameson had rehearsals and gigs, and I had rehearsals for an Orlando Concert Band concert at the end of the week. We were both very busy, and I didn't get home until late most nights. In addition to playing in the concert band, I have also been elected Operations Coordinator. I was very nervous about the concert because of the setup inside the host church. I've never done this sort of thing before, and wasn't sure if I had the right idea.
Seating chart that I ended up making (99% based on last year's seating chart in this same church):

Seating as it turned out in reality (thanks to one very hardworking harpist who showed up early and did everything by himself):

Seating was tight and uncomfortable, but I've been told it always is for this venue, and there just isn't a whole lot to be done about it. So I was heartened when we had our dress rehearsal, and no drastic seating changes were required.

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It's Been a Year

This week went by so quickly.

On Monday I had a half day at work, and in the afternoon an audition for Disney. No, not for a job, just to be on the call list. A call list provides the employer a fast and easy resource for booking musicians...for example if a guitarist gets sick and they need a sub, they just consult their list of auditionees, all of whom they've heard and whose abilities they've scouted. And for the musician, of course, it provides a cobweb of hope to cling to that one day you might get a call.

My audition was "ok". Playing has been weird lately, as I'm maniacally switching back and forth between three completely different horns every week. That kind of thing takes a while to get used to. Excuses aside, it wasn't the best but it wasn't terrible either. I won't hold my breath.

The rest of the week was busy and tiring. Jameson especially had a difficult week, what with trying to replace the broken dishwasher and trying to get someone to fix his broken keyboard that he needs for upcoming gigs. On top of other things. It was a frustrating and challenging week for both of us. But we got through it, and things will get better.

I'm learning more at work, but always feel like I'm not doing enough and just going too slow. My trainer assures me that I'm doing fine, but I worry. My desk is starting to look more homey. I've set up a hot water kettle, the box of teas that Jameson got me for Christmas, and the stuffed "this is fine" dog of course, and Raven's book of poems. I've also brought in a few circus pictures and scattered them around. But until I get my desk lamp it's too dark for pictures. They like to keep the lights out in our office...on one hand it's a bit annoying and on the other I appreciate not having fluorescent bulb-induced migraines.

On Saturday I enjoyed waking up late. In the afternoon Jameson and I went to the Amway Center to see Marvel Live!, as Rebecca (former Ringling Head of Wardrobe and our roommate) had gotten us tickets. It was very strange to be back at the arena after all the time spent there with the circus. As we parked the car, I recalled all the times we'd waited in line to get out of that garage after a day of shows. As we passed the loading docks, my memory seemed to overlay a circus film onto everything I looked at...I could see the black Harlans parked on the ramps, and Dima standing nearby supervising with a watchful eye, and the white Ringling wagons lined up neatly on the street and just inside the doors. And huge grey figures shuffling into the arena on silent ninja feet.

Inside was even more nostalgic, because this was still a Feld show and the concourse was set up the same as it would be for the circus. We walked past the FCP vendors and tried to see if we recognized anyone. Jameson had invited some of his friends and their kids, and together we made our way to the seats Rebecca had gotten for us. Turned out they were in the section behind where my side of the bandstand used to be. This is a pretty typical place for the box office to seat employee guests when it's a full house.

Although the show was definitely geared toward young kids, there was a lot to enjoy. Marvel Live! nearly closed after its first year, but since then more characters have been added and noticeable improvements have been made. The costumes are absolutely excellent! I loved the Hulk suit/framework at the end, and also the alien creatures in one scene. The pyro, lights, and lasers were all coordinated to fire off at very precise moments in the show (i.e. a character shooting a gun = pyro where he pointed it, or SpiderMan's webs rocketing out from wherever he pointed his wrist). It was really very good...better than I was expecting for sure. One of our favorite parts was a motorcycle chase scene. Just extremely impressive and skillful riding!

Afer the show we got to see Rebecca for a brief moment up on the concourse. She's super busy lately (being the boss woman and all ;) ) and we were glad she found time to come say hello! She told us a bit about the costumes and props, and before she was called away again Jameson and I got big hugs <3 We hope to see you again soon Rebecca.

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Visit Home

On Monday, the morning after New Year's, Jameson and I wanted pancakes.

We drove all around town, literally for an hour. Every single breakfast place had a line out the door. Finally (around NOON for Pete's sake) we gave up, went to the grocery, got pancake mix and some blueberries and bacon, and went home and started cooking. We wolfed our breakfasts and felt a lot better :) Didn't do much else that day that I recall except relax.

On Tuesday I got up at 4am and drove to the airport, and flew home to PA to visit my family. One of my layovers was very long, so I had brought along Cozmo to play with!

My sister Kate picked me up from the airport, and on the way we got caught up and talked about all the things going on in everyone's lives. At home I hung out with my parents, and we ate a delicious home-cooked meal together while we waited for my sister Kayle's work day to end in California. When she was ready she FaceTimed us, and we opened Christmas presents together!

I received many wonderful gifts, including a book of memories from Raven and an adorable kitten-in-a-box bank from Jonah! My parents spoiled me as usual with gift cards (they kept apologizing for the "lame" gift but personally gift cards are my FAVORITE!). Kayle and Skylar got snorkeling gear for some of their upcoming trips, and Kate and Pat received inflatable kayaks for adventures on some of the local waterways. And each of us got a stocking packed with candy!

Roux seemed to think that the best present of all was the Christmas tree...

I was really happy that I got to spend "Christmas" with my family. It was wonderful :)

On Wednesday Mom wanted to take Kate and I out for our "birthdays". Kate's birthday was late December and mine is in February, so we're splitting the difference I guess! We went to the mall and got mani/pedis, then went shopping to get me some much-needed work clothes! I found a bunch of nice tops. For dinner we enjoyed Thai from a local restaurant.

On Thursday Mom and I had lunch with an elderly neighbor named Jeanie. We went to a new restaurant in town called Jax's, and it was pretty good! They have a lot of bison meat on their menu for some reason, but no one's complaining! I got the bison chili and it was delicious.

On Friday I had lunch with my friend Shannon, then Mom and I took down the Christmas decorations and put up some "winter" decorations instead. When Dad got home we had spaghetti and meat sauce, and watched a movie about a Marine and her bomb-sniffing dog. This was my last night at home. This post doesn't really describe all of what we did every day, and that's because I was busy doing it :) I was happy and grateful to have this time with my family.

On Saturday I got up early for one final breakfast with Mom, Dad, and Kate. Then they drove me to the airport and I hugged everyone goodbye. The trip back to Florida was short and easy, everything went smoothly. At home there was so much to do to prepare for the work week! I got the car washed and picked up groceries, then came home and cleaned and unpacked and did laundry. After that I had time to relax, watching Game of Thrones until Jameson came home from his gig. He was still pretty energized when he got back, so we stayed up late catching up with each other.

Today (Sunday) I spent the morning working on spreadsheets for a local contemporary ensemble, and paying bills, and following up on any additional computer work that I've put off this week. My new work inbox has 20+ emails in it, most of which I have no idea what they're for, and I'm trying not to be anxious about that. I'm sure all will be addressed tomorrow at work. In the afternoon Jameson had a rehearsal, so I cooked food for the week, cleaned some more, ran various errands, and practiced. I have an audition for Disney tomorrow...nothing special, just trying to get on the call list. Since moving to Florida I haven't been able to practice as much as I'd like, so I'm not sure how this will go. I'll just do my best.

May This Year Be Better...

So on Christmas Eve, I played at St James Cathedral here in Orlando.

For the holiday service they had an adult choir, a small string section, two trumpets, two trombones, a timpani, and two organists. The primary organist, Adam Brakel, was also the guy running the show. The brass were placed pretty far back, near the organ pipes. It was loud, but fun!

We had a short rehearsal and a break, followed by the service. It was very nice and all went smoothly.

The next morning we'd been recruited to play the same music for the AM mass, so showed up and did it all over again. The strings had been cut for this one, so the brass got to sit a lot closer to the actual congregation.

And also a lot closer to the organist. I snuck this video of him just WAILING on those pipes. Sick!

Again, the service went very well. Afterward we all shook hands and wished each other Merry Christmas. It's always fun to make great music with great people.

Speaking of, did you guys see what Jameson got to do? Here he is playing piano for this Darren Hayes (of Savage Garden) tribute to Prince's "I Wish You Heaven". Incredibly proud and VERY impressed that he contributed to this project.

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On Monday I began training with my new mentor, Rob. He's a really nice guy, and although his style is different from AJ's I'm still learning a lot quickly. AJ's job was to teach me the basics of financial aid as a whole...the math, the terminology, the basics of the federal and academic systems I'll be using. Rob's job is to teach me how to do my actual job...financial aid packaging, verification, and more that I haven't discovered yet! So far it's going well.

I had planned to practice on Monday night but felt very tired, so went home and worked on other projects instead (like continuing to replace my entire contact list on my phone...sigh).

On Tuesday I learned how to read and verify an ISIR report. Most of the day was spent on this. I've noticed that many Full Sail people wear decorative pins on their lanyards, so thought I'd give it a try.

The "butt mug" is from an episode of Rick and Morty. The circus pin was sent to me by a wonderful and thoughtful person whose name I'm ashamed to say I can't remember at the moment...but she sent it to me because I couldn't make it to the Baraboo Ringling reunion event this summer. And now it has a place in my post-circus life.

After work I drove over to Valencia to practice, and was surprised to find the campus quiet and empty. Oh, wait. Christmas break. Crap! Everything was locked up tight. So I drove home (with a texted warning to Jameson, who had planned to wrap my Christmas presents). I got home and greeted Jameson and had just started to practice when the power went out. Really?? We waited for a bit, but Jameson had to do his online teaching. He decided to drive back to work and get into his office to do it there. I stayed home and finished practicing, because you don't need lights to play scales :P

Right outside our apartment door, this random dude built a fire. It's 70 F out here by the way...whatever.

Within the next hour the power was back on. I packed a lunch and laid out clothes for tomorrow and worked on various computer things that have been building up. Everyone tries to cram everything in before the holidays, huh.

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February 2018


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