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October Contemplation

I had my last two Evita shows, and they were fun.

Although there was some awkwardness with the contracting for this show, I'm very glad I ended up doing it because I got to meet some really great human beings. Josh, who had to step up to the plate at the last minute to music direct AND play keys, was amazing all around. Sam was, well, a trumpet player, so that says everything doesn't it? ;P Ciara is the goofy friend I didn't know I needed. And the rest of you...well what can I say. Y'all crazy. And I love it :)

So that was that, and Clayton (the actual trombonist for this show) paid me my bread, and all was well with the world.
Who knows when I'll get to perform again. Christmas? 2020? We'll see.

Jameson is working hard. He doesn't have a single night off this week. He does get to sleep in, but his evenings are not his own.
Lately he's been thinking over a lot of things, which I think everyone has to do at some point, but I can't help but worry that he's OK.
Everyone's battles are their own and I don't want to get pushy or interfere, so I'm just trying to be here for whatever life brings him and whatever decisions he makes. Lord knows he's already done this for me over the past two years.

Anyway, the weather this week was surprisingly fall-like. It was rainy and a little windy, and while it was still over 80 degrees it was at least cooler than it's been all summer. Wednesday was the 18-year anniversary of my mom's death, so I found the weather comforting and appropriate. Sometimes her anniversary passes and I feel the same as I always do. Other times I really "feel it". I don't get to choose when I feel sad or not, it just happens. This time I felt it...but it's good to have those feelings, and it's good to remember.

To help mitigate those feelings, I took a trip to an asian grocery and bought some ingredients to make simmered kabocha.
I had been worried about being able to find a kabocha pumpkin, but they were immediately apparent in the produce aisle, a big mound of them stacked next to the turnips and sweet potatoes and such. Screaming "pick me, pick me!"



My asian cooking experience is essentially stir fry, and as someone with actual asian blood I'm starting to think that's kinda pitiful.
Thinking about my mom this week, I wanted to try making a traditional Japanese dish in a traditional Japanese way.
Even if it's just a side dish. Even if it's just basically boiling a pumpkin.

And even though my Obaa-chan despised pumpkins. I can hear her soul rising up to tisk and curse and be horrified :P

I found this site that's entirely traditional Japanese cooking for beginners, called Just One Cookbook, and used their recipe for simmered kabocha.



Following the recipe, I used bonito flakes to make a broth and then chopped the kabocha and lined the bottom of a pot with the pieces. I mixed sake, sugar, salt, and soy sauce together and it all went in the pot with the pumpkin. I then made a sort of DIY "drop lid" since I hadn't been able to find one at the asian grocery. Drop lids are supposed to help temperature distribute evenly and reduce large bubbles from boiling.




As you can see, the pumpkin looked pretty lovely when it was finished. Unfortunately I do think I overcooked it, because the texture was somewhat crumbly. Still, the flavor is interesting and I won't throw it out. Pumpkin is pretty good for you! And it was fun cooking something in the nimono style. I learned something new :)

If you clicked on the nimono recipe link above, you might have noticed that it only calls for half a kabocha pumpkin. What to do with the other half?

While working for Princess Cruises at the beginning of the year, there was one night in the crew mess where roasted pumpkin was served. It was so delicious, I immediately noted it down as something to try making at home! And lo and behold, when I look back on that pumpkin's appearance, I realize that it was definitely a roasted kabocha!

So I took the other half of the kabocha, this time slicing it thin and laying it out on a sheet pan.



Having never done this before, I wasn't sure of the seasoning so did one quarter pumpkin sweet with cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar, and the other savory with salt and pepper. They went in the oven just like you'd roast vegetables or french fries or whatever. Now these, I liked! Jameson enjoyed them as well. he preferred the sweet seasoning, I liked the savory. They had a texture more like sweet potato fries.



This was a fun little experiment and didn't take a lot of time or effort on my part. The pumpkin was only a dollar, and I had almost all of the seasonings and equipment at home. The only thing I needed to buy extra was the sake (and I ain't complaining!)
Sidenote: The plate that I put the pumpkin on belonged to my Obaachan. Love you Grandma :)

In addition to the pumpkin adventure, I made two pretty simple meals this week.
The first was salmon with a teriyaki glaze. I let it marinate in the glaze and cooked it in the sous vide for about 30 minutes. The rice was precooked, the salad took two seconds to throw together. Easy peasy.



The second was a Harvest Chicken Skillet recipe from Well Plated. This one was prep-heavy, but after everything was chopped you pretty much just threw it in the skillet and waited. I chose this recipe because it had a lot of interesting ingredients--chicken, bacon, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and Granny Smith apples--and each serving is under 500 calories!

Plus, let's be real. I'm jonesing for fall real bad. Maybe if I do enough fall junk it'll BE fall. Yeah?

Nah.

Anyway. Harvest chicken skillet. You chop all the ingredients. You cook the chicken with salt and pepper. You render some bacon fat and use that to cook the veggies. Add the apples and spices last, then throw the meat back in to integrate. Jameson described it as a "Thanksgiving skillet" and I think he's not wrong.







After dinner Jameson had to get to his gig. Busy man. I feel bad that I'm not working just as much. But that's why we're a team. I do other things that he doesn't have time for. And eventually, I'll be working more too. Guaranteed!!

Tomorrow is Saturday. I've got work, and Jameson will have another gig at night. After work I get to grab dinner with a circus friend...and at a place where another circus friend works as a chef!! Pretty excited about that!

And Then There Was Cooking

I've really got nothing to report this week overall.

I played two more Evita shows, they went well.
Jameson has been working through some things, so it's been a little quiet on his end. But sometimes we all need a little time to work ourselves through...look at our internal maps, and try to find the thin little thread of happiness that tends to get lost in the dark.

Buuut anyway, he will be very busy next week, so it's good that he's got a little down time now.
Personally, I was thrilled to once again have Thursday and Friday off.
I've never had the inclination to cook, but I gotta admit that's changed a bit. I'm excited to try making things that Jameson will enjoy eating!

This week's big excitement in cooking: Cacio e Pepe and sous vide cheesecake, both recipes from Alton Brown's Good Eats!


I made slow-roasted herb chicken breasts to go with the pasta, and a caprese salad.
The pasta was actually more complicated than it looked, and I made some mistakes that kind of resulted in an overpeppered, broken sauce. But hey, I tried and it was certainly edible! I think next time I will spend more time stirring the sauce as directed, and use less pepper.






The cheesecakes were the star of the show. Cream cheese and sugar whipped in a mixer, then you add some sour cream, eggs, and lemon juice/zest. Fill some 4oz canning jars with the results and immerse in the sous vide for 45 minutes. While that was happening I crushed some graham crackers, sugar, salt and butter, dumped it onto a sheet pan, and cooked it in the oven for 20 minutes to make a crumble to go on top. I was amazed at how well they turned out! Incredibly light and silky smooth. The "crust" crumble was wonderful. Next time I'd like to try making a key lime version!




After dinner we watched The Haunting of Hill House, the first two episodes. It's getting to be spooky season y'all!

On Friday I continued my cooking streak with buttermilk biscuits. The last time I made them with Jameson's mom, so I was a little nervous about going it alone. But they turned out fine! Remembering a sandwich I'd had while on tour with the circus, I layered my biscuit with ham, brie, and apple cider jam. It was AWESOME.




After that was done I worked on my online class and enjoyed a little chill out time while Jameson had student meetings and played some video games. Later on he went to a friend's house to help her move some things, and then they went to Haunted Horror Nights at Universal. While he was out I washed our sheets, cooked some chicken, did my laundry, and vacuumed. When all that was done, I finally felt it was time to crash. I poured myself a drink and watched the first episode of the new Dark Crystal series, then played a few rounds of Castlevania. I'm so close to beating that game! But it's so hard!! Argh!!

It was a nice week, clearly I kept myself busy. Next week Jameson starts a bunch of rehearsals and gigs, so I'm glad there's at least some leftovers in the fridge for both of us to dip into as we go about life. Today (Saturday) I have my last two shows with Orlando Shakes. I'm grateful that I got to perform on this show, but if I'm being honest, there was some weirdness during the hiring process that both Jameson and I were questioning (he was supposed to play it as well but, weirdness. I'll explain after I talk to someone at the theater about it.) Anyway, it's a good show with good people and I'm looking forward to two more shows with them :)

Next week I've just got work and extra work to make up for the time I had to take off for the shows this weekend. I still expect to have Thursday and Friday free again, so maybe I'll come up with something else exciting to cook!

Little Things

Let's see, Sunday I worked and then played the Orlando Shakes fundraising gala.
It was fun and interesting...lots of money in that room. Which was great, because you know, fundraising.
Anyway, it was a very fancy affair and I felt underdressed even though I wore a suit jacket. No matter, I still made sure to get some fancy hors d'oeuvres!

I would have also liked to have played better, but sightreading a piano/vocal chart has never been my strong suit.

Anyway, on Monday I went to work and after work hit the library. I'm still speeding through the Wings of Fire series and am actually kinda sad to realize I'm beginning the last arc of it. Soon it'll be time to find another series to follow...

They didn't have the next book in the Wings of Fire series, so I tried Endling by Katherine Applegate instead. She's better known for the Animorphs series and a big long list of teen romance novels. I swear I'll go back to grown-up books eventually y'all.

Tuesday and Wednesday, not a lot to report. I worked, I ran errands, I came home. I'm about halfway through my online course and it's going pretty well so far. Jameson has had a few days to rest up from his mom's visit and all the work he's been putting in lately, but come October he gets pretty busy again with gigs and such. He's got a lot on his mind lately. I mean, it's been a crazy year.

Thursday was finally, finally, a real whole day off. Woohoo!
But there's so much to do! I wanted to at least get caught up on the cleaning, and cook some nice food for Jameson and I. There are so many recipes I want to try. And I've definitely got Fall on the brain...I'm already thinking about carving pumpkins, and roasting seeds, and whether or not trick-or-treaters will come to our house. I think Fall in this house would be amazing :) We'll see!

But for today, just getting caught up is enough. I vacuumed and dusted and cleaned the bathrooms. I worked on my online course, and revisited the library because they got the book I wanted (that was quick!). I drove aaaaalll the way out to Trader Joe's for their Cabernet Pot Roast, which I've made for us many times before but wanted to try in the sous vide to see if it would make it more digestible (it's a poor cut of meat, a benefit of sous vide is it can tenderize cheaper cuts.) Sadly I didn't have enough time to try sous vide after all of the running around, so ended up just cooking it in the oven as usual and roasting some asparagus to go on the side. It was "just ok". I need more practice!

After Jameson and I ate, we just chilled. How nice it is to do nothing, to just relax and enjoy relaxing.

Friday was much the same. I spent time on my online class, Jameson played Red Dead Redemption and took a nap. We hung a new piece of art in the guest bedroom. In the evening I thought I'd try making something new for dinner: shrimp po'boys! They're very simple to make, I mean it's just marinated shrimp on a roll haha. But they were very good, and I'll definitely be bookmarking this recipe!




There are a few small changes I would make next time, such as marinate the shrimp before sticking them on skewers to ensure full coverage, adding some dry spices during or after grilling, and using a bread that's less hard than baguette. But still, very enjoyable.

Today is Saturday, and I'm not at work. It's weird. That's because I took the day off to do two Evita shows for Orlando Shakes.
I'll have to make up my work hours in order to stay full time, so I've got longer days this week. Oh well..at least I like my job!

September Going Fast

Sunday was more work for me, and an Epcot visit for Jameson and his mom!
We enjoyed BLTs in the evening :)

Monday, more work for me and Jameson's mom made coconut curry and chicken meatballs!
We watched the Cubs game and I did my online course and prepped for work.

Tuesday, I worked and a guest bedroom set was delivered to the house! Jameson's mom was responsible for this awesome gift. I mean, if she's gonna visit, she needs somewhere to sleep, right?? It's awesome. I can't get over how generous this is.




This was his mom's last night at the house, so we celebrated with dinner at Sette! The food was delicious as always.

Mussels entree:



Mrs. Boyce's fish of the day:


Jameson's clam linguini:


My lasagna (it's ugly but it was SO good!):


Mrs. Boyce has cooked, cleaned, and bought household things for us all week (and she got to relax and enjoy the pool too!).
I'm glad we got to treat her to a nice dinner tonight :)

The next morning we were all up early, me for work and them for the trip to the airport.
We said our goodbyes and went on our way. Work was fine, and afterward I audited Evita with Orlando Shakes for the second time. Hopefully I'll do a good job when it's time for me to play.



While I was doing that Jameson was at Universal Horror Nights getting scared with some friends!
I'm looking forward to going to this too in October when I've got a little more free time.

Thursday was my first free day in a while! Magical!
I spent a great deal of time working on my online course and dealing with the joys of requesting transcripts.
I did a small amount of cleaning, and practiced a bit. I'm a little nervous about playing Evita tomorrow, but I will do my best.
Jameson had school work and programming to do, and later on he watched the Cubs game and played Borderlands while I did laundry
We had BLTs again for dinner, and ice cream for dessert. I finished reading Darkstalker just so that I have an excuse to get more books as soon as possible :)

Friday, I got up early for the morning Evita show. I was nervous, but I did OK.

It could have been better if I had practiced more. It's been almost six months since I've practiced seriously. You retain some skills but a lot of control and sound quality go right out the window. Anyway, it was "acceptable" to me.
Between shows I came back to the house and ate lunch, did my online class, and chilled a bit. I wanted to go to the library but forgot they close early on Fridays :p Got back to the theatre in plenty of time for the second show, which went better for me than the first in a lot of ways but in other was wasn't so great...I stepped in a hole and had to lay out for some parts because I just couldn't figure where the entrances were. Sigh. Sam (the awesome trumpeter) saw that I was getting down on myself and reminded me that I haven't had a single rehearsal with the group to get the cues I need, and that it's only my second show. Deep breath. I just wanna do a good job you guys! Maybe next time will be better.

Now it's Saturday and I'm up typing this before work. After work I've got to hit Toyota for some basic service, then should have the rest of the evening pretty free. It's been a busy week. I'm hoping I'll have more free time in the evenings again soon, to practice cooking and spend time with Jameson and enjoy the little things around this awesome house :)

Good Gravy

Another week where I was too busy to write!

Well, we went to see Shin Lim and Colin Cloud, courtesy Jameson's friend Terrance!
If you don't know, they're magicians and they're both AMAZING.



We got to chat a bit with Terrence during intermission, and it sounds like he's doing well. Tour life keeping him busy and all that. Very cool! It was a really fun night. I love our little adventures together :)

The rest of the week kind of flew by in a blur because I was working and Jameson's mom came to visit! She's getting to enjoy the pool and all the fun things about our new house, but I also feel bad because she's doing a lot of cooking and cleaning. I know she likes it (you guys, she really does, I'm not kidding) but a lot of what she's cleaning are things that I've not had time to do because I foolishly took this second job. So I kinda feel guilty, you know? But I am helping where I can, and at least the things are getting done! Also Friday is my last day at Music and Arts, so after that I'll have evenings to tear it up around here!!

My weekdays were pretty normal, just work followed by work and more work. I was pretty exhausted by the time we hit Thursday! After breakfast Jameson's mom and I went shopping for various things for the house, then she showed me how to make buttermilk biscuits! Oh my gosh, they were so easy and good! They look a little pale in this picture, but they really were just right. We had them with butter, and later while I was at work she made some chicken to go along with them. Awesome! There are literally only four ingredients, I can't believe how easy they were to make (recipe HERE).



On Thursday night I drove over to Orlando Shakes to audit the show Evita. I was originally supposed to play the whole run, and would have loved to, but contracts were sent out too late for me to make schedule changes at work. So I ended up only able to sub in for a few days. Still, I'm glad for the opportunity and enjoyed following along with the trombone part last night. There are definitely some bits I'm going to have to work on before performing the show!

On Friday while Jameson's mom painted our door I typed most of this up and weeded some of the bushes out front. Later on I worked on my online course, then went to work. My last day at Music and Arts! I was only there for about a month, but it was worthwhile in several ways. I was glad for the extra money, and the new friends made :) But I will also be glad to have that time back, to work on Future Things.

And now it's already Saturday again, another week swept past, and I'm getting ready for work while typing this. I got an email recently about the all-girl cruise ship band getting back together for a contract in April/May/June, and I don't know how to feel about it. As I mentioned in a past post, I'm trying to move away from music a bit because the opportunities are drying up, and I need to think about the future. This gig would be nice, and it might enable me to see some interesting parts of the country/other countries. But I'll need to consider how it could interfere with recertification and things. For now it's only just been brought up, so we'll see what happens as details emerge.

Work Week

Let's see. On Saturday I went to work, and it was fine. On the drive home I made sure to stop for gas as many stations are out because of the hurricane frenzy. Even though they're saying it may not hit us directly any more.

Back at home, the dishwasher had been installed! Yay!!! I'm still bummed that once again, we find ourselves having to hire a third party (happened with the dryer, and also with the dishwasher in the apartment) which is more expensive. But hey, at least now we've got all of our new appliances! They look beautiful and are working great so far. I'm very grateful to have the money saved to be able to get these things.



Jameson wasn't feeling great that evening, so we just stayed home and relaxed.

Sunday, more of the same. Dorian is rocketing along at 3MPH soooo...whatever I guess!
CapTel will be open (pretty sure they're required to be as their services could be lifesaving) but Music & Arts will be closed on Tuesday in anticipation of stormy conditions. We'll see what happens. In the meantime I picked up some pizza on the way home, we ate it, and chilled. It's nice to have a little time to chill lately.

Monday, more CapTel for me and more chill time for Jameson. Dorian still wasn't here yet, so my day at work was rather slow; they overscheduled thinking people might call out. After work we got a few things at Target and had dinner, then I had planned to chill but my stomach had other ideas. Something I ate.

Tuesday and Wednesday, not much to report. This was when Dorian was supposed to either come ashore or not, and it ended up being "not". So we got a little rain, a windy day, and about 50% of all businesses and schools closed. Oh, and suspended tolls, that was nice! Lol. It was nice to have time to relax in the evenings. I did some cleaning and watched Jameson play video games.

Thursday was supposed to be a day off, but my schedule got shifted around due to the hurricane. Before work I did a little of my online course, then went out to enjoy the pool with Jameson. It seems like lately we're never home at the same time, so it was really nice to enjoy the pool together :)



After that, work was work, I did it and came home.
The next morning we got to enjoy breakfast at Keke's with LaRena, a former Ringling clown who currently works with Feld Entertainment in a production capacity. She was in town for a vacation that she'd been planning for months...and then Dorian came and ruined it :( But at the very least we got to enjoy a meal together, and get caught up a little over stuffed French toast and giant pancakes, and that was wonderful. She seems to be doing really well. I'm still amazed every day at how all of us former circus people are getting by.

There's a heaviness in my heart as I type that, because this week we lost Ian, one of our Pie Car chefs. He died unexpectedly in a car crash that's still under investigation. Everyone, please be careful. Please. I don't know what else can be said or done...it can happen to any of us at any time.

After a great morning with LaRena, we went back home where Jameson practiced some audition materials and I worked on my online course, then headed out to work. I forgot my phone -_- so the day went a little slowly, but I was able to help some customers and also practice some materials for my course, which was nice. At night I came home and finished the coursework and headed to bed.

Today is Saturday and I'm about to head out to CapTel. I'm finishing the final Harry Potter book and am starting Deathstalker, so pretty excited about that (at CapTel you're allowed to read a book between calls). I know this is middle school material but it's ideal for my work situation, where interruptions are frequent. Tonight after work Jameson and I are going to see Shin Lim!

A Storm of Appliances

This week being a little less bonkers, I made time to really actually try to write this time instead of slapdashing from memory later on.

Over the weekend Jameson had gigs with Barfly, and I had CapTel during the day and my evenings blissfully free. I cleaned the house--like thoroughly cleaned it--for the first time on Saturday. Vaccuming, dusting, mopping, bathrooms, etc. It took about two hours. A lot more ground to cover here. Jameson also organized and swept the garage and put 90% of the artwork up on the walls. It's lookin' good around here.

On principle we went to see the Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark movie. The book is so great...well, the book art is so great. The movie, unfortunately, was a pretty big disappointment. A poor and unnecessary storyline, a massive number of plot holes. But most of all, they completely ruined the story of Harold the scarecrow. That story is so disturbing, it could have easily been the highlight of the movie. But no, they had to work it into their halfhearted plot, so it ended up totally different and extremely watered down. Read the original story HERE.



To sum it up, it would have been much better as a retelling of the actual tales in the book. I hope someone would consider making a movie or series like that in the future.

Anyway, I spent the week working both my jobs and eagerly awaiting Thursday, my first full day off in a while!

Finally Thursday came. yay!
I got up earlier than I should have but later than usual, so there.
Had a nice breakfast and explored a free online course that I'm taking...an attempt at deciding a new career path.

Music has been awesome. And I'm still planning to play when/where I can. But the thing is, I just gotta move on from it. A gig like the circus is never going to happen again. It's no longer possible for a trombonist to tour on Broadway. I'm not nor will I ever be good enough for a major symphony (that's not a put-down, it's just a true fact learned over time.) Most of the gigs that can be pieced together with any regularity for the trombone are jazz-oriented, which was never a genre I enjoyed. I learned last year that cruise ships are not for me. It's still possible to do theatre gigs, or community bands, holiday/one-time events, etc., which I will be happy to do when the opportunity presents. If any openings start appearing at the theme parks again, I'd be glad to audition for those too. But you guys, that's not enough to live on. To base a future on.

I'm at a point where my enjoyment of playing music is running dry because the money factor is in the way...and that's a bad thing. If I have to look at every gig and make a decision based on money, rather than how much I'd love to do it, is it really any different than any other job? I went into music because I loved it, and if I find myself approaching it grudgingly or with dollar signs on the brain, it's really just not right.

Over the past two years of feeling the stages of grief in relation to music, I've finally accepted that it's time to put it down and pick up something else. It was hard to admit, it's going to be hard to do. But here's the thing. We now live in this nice house that Jameson has bought, and we have a chance to start our lives here. I want to be a part of that. I want to find something that will make me happy AND pay the bills. And yeah I know I said all this last year when attempting to become a vet tech. Things don't come together on the first try for everyone, so I hope I can be excused. It's taken a long time for me to understand and work things through and come to acceptance. At some point I will find a fulfilling career, and if that means I have to keep looking then I keep looking.

Oooook, so back to Thursday, I did laundry and checked out the online course and printed some things off for it. Then I went to the library and got some groceries. Jameson made our first meal in the new house on Wednesday night, our usual chicken and roasted brussels sprouts! I wanted to follow that up with enchiladas, since Jameson has to work all day it'll be nice for him to come home to an awesome meal! I also picked up some minor "hurricane supplies": a case of water (which we like to have around anyway), a loaf of bread for Jameson, and some peanut butter for both of us. I see no reason to buy a zillion loaves of bread or all the batteries in the world.

Later that evening I made the enchiladas, which were finished just as Jameson walked in the door.
Ok, it's more like a burrito. Because I got the wrong size tortillas. Oh well...still tasty.



We caught each other up on our respective days, had dinner, and chilled out. Jameson sat by the pool to read and watch the Cubs game. I got another set of transcripts ready to send, and prepped the kitchen a bit. Because on Friday....

NEW APPLIANCES!!!

About a week ago I purchased an appliance package from Home Depot, including a fridge, oven, dishwasher, and microwave. Our appliances that came with the house are nice, but they are a bit dated. Since I couldn't contribute to the actual house-buying process, I wanted to do my part in other ways, hence this appliance package. The stainless steel definitely makes this feel less like a vacation rental, and more like a home.



Unfortunately we have the wrong water attachment for the dishwasher, so I had to hire a plumber to come out and install the dishwasher tomorrow. Hopefully that'll work out all right. But hey, 3 out of 4 ain't so bad!

We spent some time fussing with the fridge...it's so big! It has an ice machine and dispenser! I'm gonna pack that freezer with stuff! :D
I don't currently make a lot of money. But I save money very carefully. And it makes me happy to be able to help make this house amazing for BOTH of us.

Later in the evening I went to work, and Jameson went to a friend's birthday party.
Work was slow as most people are prioritizing preparing for Hurricane Dorian.

Today (Saturday) we've got a plumber coming to install the dishwasher, I work at CapTel, and we may go to Rock n' Brews.

Busy Week is Busy

Last week's post didn't really get finished due to it being SO BUSY.
Jameson was finishing up his final week on the Guardians show. The cast and crew had an awesome year, got along really well, and put on an amazing show every day! Congratulations!

I just had a lot going on and not a moment to write, but that's ok! All good things!
Jameson and I went to see Queen in Tampa! Of course they were absolutely amazing. I'm not even a "real" Queen fan and I had an absolute blast.
(Again, use the little arrow to the right to click through video clips)

https://instagram.com/p/B1VJHaigZBC
I also had the chance to visit with one of my Ruby Princess band ladies!!
Rebeca was in Tampa rehearsing with Norwegian Cruises for an upcoming Alaska-to-New-York tour, and she had a free night. So I drove down, and we went to Seasons 52. We had a great time getting caught up and enjoying a delicious meal together :)



Fun stuff aside, I spent several days working from 6am to 10pm, at CapTel in the morning and Music & Arts in the evening.
I did end up giving notice at Music & Arts. I took the job for the extra money, but with the goal of possibly going full time or being a manager again. It kind of didn't take long for me to realize, that's just not what I want any more. My heart is not in it, it doesn't pay the bills, and I need to be pursuing other things. My manager was really understanding, and was just glad I'd be helping through rental season (their busiest time of year). So at least it wasn't a total wash. I'll stay on through mid-September.

Then throughout the rest of the week, we had a bunch of stuff to do on top of work. Jameson's piano finally arrived and was set up and tuned. Jameson's mom sent us a mattress and sheets for a guest bedroom set, and we also got two more dining room chairs, a garage door opener, lounge and deck chairs for the pool, and ordered all-new appliances. Phew! I'm poor haha. But it's worth it. There will be a lot of moneysaving after all this, but hey. We've got a sweet house.

Funny story, Jameson got a flat tire this week. I got one last week! What the heck! To "celebrate", or to express exasperation, we visited Yeoman's Cask & Lion, a chain British pub with rockin' desserts. That sticky toffee pudding is swimming haha.



I finally got to take a dip in the pool! It was glorious. You guys, it's been extremely long since I've been swimming. Probably 5+ years. Now I can't wait to hop in there at every opportunity! What an amazing thing, to have your own pool! I can see why Jameson wanted one so much.



It's been a good week. Maybe I'll have more time to write next week.
The plan for today (Saturday) is to come home and clean the house while Jameson is at a gig.
The plan for the work week...get through it!

First Week in New House

This week was a lot of work and house prep for both of us.

Jameson got a new motor for the pool pump--or maybe it was a new pool pump, not sure--but anyway, he took care of that so our pool is almost ready to use! The next step is to clean it and get the pH balanced.

Firehouse Pressure Washing was finally able to seal our pool deck, which is amazing considering all the rain we've been getting. The deck looks great and is under warranty for three years, I'd highly recommend Firehouse if this is something you need done!



Jameson has been working on setting up the studio and getting our landline phone working, between going to work at Epcot and doing his teaching from home. Pretty soon the Guardians show will end for the summer, giving him a bit more free time.

I have just started a second job near Mall at Millennia. I feel pretty grudging about doing it, but with all the house stuff going on and Secret Plan Part 2 in the works I'm going to need the extra money. I love working at CapTel but it's an hour commute from the house; my second job splits that commute and it's something I already know how to do so I think it'll be good for a while. We'll see.

Once again I didn't get to finish this post before it went live. There's just not enough time in the day!
Here are some pictures of the house still kinda in progress.




Double Post

Without getting into too much detail, I done f***ed up.

As mentioned in the previous post, Jameson and his realtor have been having a crazy amount of trouble selling Jameson's condo.
Well, one morning we got the news that our HOA was dicking the deal even further in a variety of ways. Mostly by being corrupt and unorganized.

This information seemed to have a serious impact on the ability to sell the condo.
Feeling helpless and frustrated, I made a very poor choice. Even though I am in no way involved in any part of this process, I was so angry and upset that I got on facebook and sent a very nasty message to Jameson's realtor. The worst part is, I didn't even tell Jameson I was doing that.

So Jameson had to hear about it when his realtor called to warn him that if I continued to behave inappropriately toward him, they would not be able to move forward.

As you can imagine, Jameson was livid. I'm not sure I have ever been more embarrassed or ashamed in my life.
I'm supposed to be a rock for him. I'm supposed to be a support to lean on, a light to keep negativity away, someone who lifts up my partner. And instead I was the opposite of all of those things. I was supposed to be the one constant in all of this, and instead I was just another thorn in his side.

Anyway, I had already done it and could not take it back. It seemed like things were moving forward anyway, although at great cost to Jameson financially and emotionally. I didn't know if I could be forgiven, that was some pretty serious damage I've dealt to our relationship, and this isn't the first time it's been me who's been the weak link. But all I could do is keep trying. All I could do is try to be a better person. I wished so badly that I could undo the damage I caused. I want so badly to be the type of person that others can rely on. But clearly, I'm not there yet. And I don't know how much patience there will be in the world for me to become that person. I can't expect others to tolerate my failings or wait for me to be a better human. But at the same time, genuine change often doesn't come as fast as we'd like. So I don't know where that leaves me, us.

I made a mistake. Moving on.

We moved back into the condo on Tuesday. On Tuesday night I got to attend the wedding of two awesome circus clowns, Dean and Taylor. Jameson couldn't come because he had to work, but I made sure to give his regards to all of our friends :) It was great to see so many circus people again and see how everyone is doing!

Circus-themed wedding decor:




They set up a little "SugarFest" station where you could load up on junk foods!


Of course it's not a circus wedding without circus acts! There was a hoop performance that was really spectacular, followed by an acrobat who balanced on stacked chairs and then made a touching wedding speech from his perch.




A few close circus friends asked about Jameson's house situation. I answered as best I could without going into too much detail, although I did spill the whole story for Dustin and Brandon, two clowns who seemed sincerely concerned. I am extremely grateful that they took the time to talk with me, actually, because they've had a lot of the same hurdles as our relationship is facing (having to do with one partner not being as strong as the other in a variety of ways/situations). They listened and offered advice and encouragement, then suggested a few books that I might like to read to help address some of my personal shortcomings. I am so, so grateful for circus family. For people who can see all of the horrible things about me, and still hug me, encourage me, and give me a chance to change. I dont' deserve it, I never have, and I am so grateful for the grace and patience of others.

Back to the wedding, the whole thing was just really wonderful. For the cake cutting, Dean and Taylor pied each other, hilarious!


(photo courtesy Dean & Taylor)

Then for their first dance, they did a juggling act! It was so cool and so "them" :)

(photo courtesy Dean & Taylor)

Everything was perfect. Many circus attendees commented that it felt like a "real circus party", and questioned whether a venue had even been necessary, because even on the street or in a barn we would have had just as much of a great time. Because all we needed for that, was each other.

I really wished that Jameson could have been there, but he did get to go out with the Disney crowd the very next night and blow off some steam. I think both of us needed that a lot, just a chance to loosen up with friends and not think about things for a while. Thank god for entertainment, yo.

On Thursday Jameson had to go to the office, and as of this writing we are supposed to move into the house on Friday. Don't ask me how, I'm not asking and have pretty much forfeited any right to the details at this point. But yes, supposedly this is still actually happening. So I stayed home and re-packed, gave everything a quick wipe-down, and generally made sure we'd be prepared for movers to come in the very next day.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You guys. It happened!

Last Friday, the movers came. We STILL did not know if we'd actually be moving into the house! The person buying Jameson's condo came for one last walk-through while the movers loaded up the truck, then she went to go sign papers. It was weird to see the apartment get more and more empty.





Finally, everything was packed up. Jameson signed his papers, and then he and the movers had to wait until we'd be allowed in the new house, hopefully around 3pm. Meanwhile I got to work dusting and vacuuming and cleaning the condo as best I could for the new owners. It was strange to be the only one there. I did the best that I could, and locked the door behind me for the last time. Goodbye Holden Heights.

Then I drove over to the new house. Jameson and the movers were there already, moving everything to the garage.

Soon the movers were finished, and Jameson and I were left standing around. We waited and waited. There was still a possibility that we'd be getting a hotel for the night if the money didn't go through. It started to rain.

Then...a knock on the door!
It was the realtor!
The house belonged to Jameson! It was all over!
YAAAAAAAY!!!

In the midst of our excitement, I got the opportunity to apologize to the realtor for my behavior. He was very gracious and forgiving, and I was extremely grateful. While I was delivering my apology, I felt Jameson come up behind me and gently rub my back. I can't tell you how this made me feel, after spending the past week terrified that I'd ruined everything.

I'm still going to be staying off social media for the most part, because that should never have happened. But I think now that it's all over and we have moved together, we can start fresh.

And then...what a beautiful house!!!







We spent the whole week unpacking, setting up utilities, and making plans for making a home.
Every day I've been going to work, running to Home Depot or Target or Lowes, and running home to work on the house.
It's actually kind of fun, something to look forward to every day!

On Wednesday Jameson's dad came to visit, watching Jameson's show at Epcot and then having pizza with me in the evening.
We found a great brick oven pizza place very close to the house! It's been really hard to find good pizza in Orlando. Yay!



We gave him a house tour of course, and he loved it! He also gave us some awesome artwork for the new home. We can't wait to start decorating! Thanks Mr. Boyce!

On Thursday we got a Nest thermostat and Ring doorbell, and someone came to hook up our cable and internet services. It was nice to finally have internet in the house!

In the evening we headed over to Hollywood Studios for a very special cast-exclusive event: a preview of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge!!!
Jameson was allowed to bring one guest, and he brought me!!!
You guys...it was incredible. Like, I didn't even feel like we were at Disney at all. It was completely immersive, from the castmember costumes to the food to the landscaping and rides. Even the bathrooms were themed! When we saw employees moving dumpsters, chairs, or other equipment, it was all made to look like Star Wars cargo materials!! Insane!

We didn't get into the Cantina because there was a huge line (and we could only sign up for certain events), but we did get to pilot the Millennium Falcon Smuggler's Run ride! I get motion sickness and have particular trouble with simulators, but I was OK as long as I focused on my task in the ride. There are two pilots, two gunners, and two engineers for each compartment. I was a gunner, so I did a buttload of shooting haha. I did my best to watch the main screens where the action was taking place, but could not look at it for more than a few seconds. I would say if you are sickness-prone, just be prepared to miss a lot of the immersive element. But you can still participate! Which I really appreciated :)

It was just such a fun experience. Here are a few of my favorite things that I got to see! For those unfamiliar with Instagram, you can hover your mouse a little to the right over each image and an arrow should come up, click it to see more pics and video!


https://instagram.com/p/B07W8GCA_Fs

https://instagram.com/p/B07Z0KWgMd6
The green drink in that one video was supposed to be "milk" from Bubo Wumba Family Farms, haha. It's a smoothie-type drink made with coconut and rice milks. Jameson got a blue one that tasted sort of like cotton candy and was spiked with rum. Mine was green and citrus flavored, with tequila. Not everyone will like these because they are not very sweet and they're pretty thick, but I was glad to try them!

On Friday there was a lot going on. I had someone coming over to power wash the pool patio, and another gentleman to install our new washer and dryer. Unfortunately it rained partway through they day (because Florida) so the patio did not get finished, and then when the new dryer didn't work we had to hire an electrician to find the problem (a bad outlet). While I was glad to get some things done, I was a little put out by having to reschedule the deck sealing...now it will happen on a day I'm not around, and Jameson will have to handle it. It was supposed to be a present from me, so it irritated me that I couldn't get it done hassle-free for him. But as Jameson so aptly put it, "Life doesn't work that way." Ain't that the truth!!

So along with all of that craziness, we had a nice day. I tested out the new washer and dryer, they're great! Jameson played some video games for the first time in like a month, and we watched Food Network together while eating dinner. Jameson installed a Ring doorbell so now we can scream at anyone trying to break in or steal packages. And we also cleaned the bathrooms and unpacked a bit more. In the evening Jameson had a gig. All in all a good, productive day :)

Saturday it was back to work for both of us. I took some excess moving trash to the dump and picked up a few things for the house, then went to work, then came home, ate dinner, cleaned up a little, and had a little Me Time. In a few days I start my second job, and while it won't take up all of my time it will certainly take more. So I want to enjoy my free time when it rolls around!

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