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January 5th, 2019

Ringing in 2019

(**DISCLAIMER**: The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer!)




12/29 cont.

Later in the afternoon Molly and Nia joined me at Hojas. Molly was annoyed because she tried to ship a package home, and had to jump through an insane amount of hoops to make it happen. While this was definitely frustrating for her, I was grateful that she’d found this out today, because I had also planned to ship a box home if needed. Sorry Molly! Thanks Molly!

Too soon it was time to head back to the ship. I packed up and enjoyed the walk back, went through security, unpacked my things, chatted with Stacey. Had a quick lunch before the drill. Did the drill, then started on some laundry. Another nice day in San Pedro.

This week the company VP is on the ship, so we’re all going to be dotting our t’s and crossing our I’s :p


12/30

Just another day at sea.
I had breakfast, then practiced “Ain’t Misbehavin’” in my stairwell. Last night before going to bed I’d listened to the first act and made lots of notes…there are stylistic things happening that are not written on the page, and I want to make sure I get them right. I’m very grateful for technology, the ability to have an entire part in front of me that I can mark and annotate without fear of permanently damaging it.



After practice I had a nice lunch and after a little digestion time I went to the gym.


12/31

Wow. Is 2018 at an end already?

It’s been…a weird year. Not my best, for certain.
I was difficult to live with. Difficult to work with. Difficult to be around. To everyone I’ve hurt or offended this year (and there are many of you), I hope you can accept my apology. Things were not going well for me, but that’s no reason to take it out on others.

2018, for me, was marked by the pain of losing my job…but as I’ve said many times, it was more than a job. It was a family, a life…practically a living thing unto itself. After five years with the circus, I thought I’d finally found a place where I belonged, and a place where I could stay. To me, losing the circus was the equivalent of the universe saying, “There is no such place.”

That was a hard pill to swallow. It was painful to think that nothing could ever compare to this experience, and the time to have and to hold it was already past. I didn’t know how to cope. When I applied for jobs, or took auditions, I had no passion for it and no goals in mind.

I got on this cruise ship at the end of the year not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to. After applying to 300+ jobs this year, I had only heard back from a handful, and of those only one or two extended job offers. One of those was a kennel. I learned a lot working there, but I was bitter to be working entry level at base pay and my pride told me that my resume should be getting me more than this. Even when I was offered the cruise ship contract I remained bitter, thinking that this was some sort of gimmick band and the only reason I’d been recruited was because of my gender.

But Jameson encouraged me to do it. He said it might be good for me, to get away and reset. I grudgingly agreed, although I dreaded leaving him for four whole months. I was also honestly afraid…afraid to be at sea, and afraid to be out of touch with the people in my life. But in the end I said yes, and packed my things, and did it anyway, because some opportunities should not be passed up.

And I’m glad I did it. Is the ship life for me? Probably not. But the experience has been worth it, meeting some amazing musicians and learning so many new things and finding out what ship life is like. I got to do so many things that I never thought myself capable of, and I was able to grow a great deal as a musician. I am thankful to William, the trombonist who recommended me for the job, and to Doug for deciding to hire me…to Jane for being an incredible boss, to Nia and Stacey and Rebeca and Paula and Molly for being wonderful human beings and stellar musicians who have taught me so much.

Most of all, I’m grateful for the perspective that ship life has given me. There are things more valuable than income, and more important than the type of work you are doing. There are things in the future worth looking forward to. Being out here has given me time to prioritize and get some direction.

Moving forward in 2019, I already have so much to look forward to. I have a fun theater gig coming up, and THREE job interviews! I am grateful for the opportunity to interview, no matter the outcome. My sister will have her first baby, and I will be an aunt for the first time. I’ll get to visit my parents, sisters, brother, aunts, and possibly even grandparents this year, family time that has been neglected while I was touring with the circus or chasing desperately after employment. And best of all, I can look forward to another wonderful year with my Jameson, who has been my rock through all of the turmoil we’ve experienced. I feel like I can face anything when we’re together!

Anyway, these are the thoughts I’m having as 2018 draws to a close this evening. I know that many of you out there are having similar thoughts of what has been and what is to come. All the best to you in the New Year. <3

Today we are in Cabo San Lucas, and I have IPM duty. I also woke up with a scratchy throat…am I really going into the new year with a cold?! Good grief.

I spent a lot of time relaxing today in the hopes of easing whatever virus may be trying to sneak up on me. We had no performances during the day, so I spent some time reading, watching anime, writing, and napping.

Nia and Molly were also killing time, so we played a few music quiz games together. I vacuumed our cabin, and went upstairs for tea time, and chatted a bit with people online since the signal was good. As it got late I made some green tea hoping that it would keep me energized for our 11pm set, then ran through some of the music for our performance.

It was packed when we got to Explorers lounge...mostly with younger people dancing along to the track playing. When we started playing our old-school dance music, it kinda cleared the floor for the older folks (don't worry, there was a DJ upstairs for the young drunks to continue their party!) Our older crowd enjoyed us so much that they kept clamoring for more, so we kept adding more and more songs! As the clock struck midnight, we paused to play Auld Lang Syne and ring in the new year. We kept playing until we ran out of songs...until after 1am!

Well...I had come down with a cold, and I was awfully tired. So I was a loser this New Year's Eve, and went straight to bed. Tough!

Tomorrow is Mazatlan. I'm hoping things will be open!


01/01/19

Wow, the first day of the new year!!

It was hard to get up this morning, but I had to do my job hunt. I want to start 2019 employed, thankyouverymuch.

I got off the ship and enjoyed a nice quiet walk to the main tourist square. It was pretty quiet, and everywhere you looked there were spent fireworks and cups and bottles, evidence of some awesome New Year's partying.



In the square I was disappointed to see that most places were closed. Allegro too. But as I rounded the corner, I heard talking and the sound of dishware. Dolce Mami was open! And they were the ONLY place open. I tried to order crepes again, but must have gotten it wrong because the server came back with pancakes. Oh what a tragedy! Hahaha. They were delicious of course :)

It was more busy here than I've ever seen it, every table was packed. I took a tiny table in an awkward location to try and stay out of the way. I think it was smart of the owner to stay open!



I didn’t stay as long as usual, partly because I didn’t want to take up space and partly because there just weren’t many jobs to apply for this soon after the holidays. I did what I could and packed up. No other coffee shops were open, so I enjoyed a leisurely walk back to the ship.

Mazatlan is probably my favorite port of the three Mexican ports we regularly visit. I like it because it’s a Real Place. Cabo San Lucas feels very “spring break”, with lots of booze everywhere and tacky tourist junk and people getting up in your face trying to sell you tours or water taxis or random knick-knacks. I’ve heard Vallarta is nice in the residential areas, but you need a taxi to reach those and meanwhile in port there’s a Walmart, Sam’s Club, and a big mall…it’s my favorite port for wifi and supplies, but it’s not really all that interesting.

But Mazatlan is residential. You need to walk through real neighborhoods to get to anything touristy, and even then the tourist area is pretty small compared to the other ports. And when we were here for Christmas few businesses were open; in other words, these people value celebrating the holiday over catering to tourists. That’s so awesome. Just strolling around here makes me feel more at ease, and less like a stranger in a strange land.





Back at the ship, I went to the mess for a quick meal. I was surprised to see that once again we had a special menu for New Year’s Day! I was only a little hungry so kept it light with a halved avocado filled with baby shrimp salad, a few pieces of rainbow trout, and a small slice of panettone. Full and tired, I went back to the cabin for a quick nap.

In the evening we had a sound check and two performances of Dwight’s Motown show. It went very well, as usual. I was very tired afterward and went to bed right away. Gotta fight this cold.


01/02

Today turned out to be insanely busy. We had a crew drill in the morning which ended up lasting an hour and a half while our muster station leaders nitpicked about how we point out emergency exits. The problem wasn’t the nitpicking, it was that they opened the floor to opinions from the rest of us. So of course several people felt the need to voice their opinions, and argue, and debate…anyway, it took a lot longer than it should have. Let’s leave it at that.

By the time I was able to go ashore it was almost noon. That’s ok, I wasn’t feeling great anyway. I got to the mall and had a few hours of internet time, applied for a few jobs, and walked right back to the ship. I had a nice lunch and a shower, then tried to relax for a little while before our busy night.

First we had back to back sound checks, one for Paul’s Broadway show and the other for the Disco Deck Party. Then there was some time to eat dinner and get changed, then we did two of Paul’s shows. The second show started at 9:30, with the Disco show starting right at 10:30 up on deck 16. After Paul’s last show we had to pack up, run to our rooms, change very quickly, and get up to deck 16. Poor Paula had three or four instruments to pack up and move in addition to getting changed, so Nia and I waited for her. The whole band isn’t there until all of its members are there after all.

We arrived upstairs just in time. We don’t usually have the Disco show that late, and it was pretty clear why: the wind was INSANE. My music stand almost blew over, and the wind kept grabbing my bell and forcing me to grip my trombone tight. We all struggled to play with our hair whipping into our eyes and mouths, despite all of us tying and pinning it back. Ah well. We got through it, and there were lots of people dancing and enjoying themselves, so it ended up fine. Again, I went right to bed afterward.


01/03

I slept in today. It was needed.

I took my time waking up, but eventually got dressed and went upstairs to the guest buffet. The sea was calmer than usual this morning, and I was very grateful. I hope it lasts.



After a delicious meal and a nice chat with Jameson, I went back to the room to gather my things. I warmed up in my stairwell before heading to Voice rehearsal. Rehearsal was fine. I had lunch and some chill time, and practiced a bit before our evening shows. We did a jazz set in the piazza that went pretty well, and then the horns got to play with the Mariachis again!

The Mariachi set went well, although I think afterward we all wished we had rehearsed it one more time. It’s been a while since our first attempt, and we’d forgotten a few things. But still, the dance floor was packed, and we were happy to play with Mario, Juan, and Ray one last time. They’ll be leaving next week in Puerto Vallarta. I can’t believe it’s time for people to start parting ways already.


01/04

I was very tired today, but got up early for breakfast and did some laundry. We had Voice sound check and show in the afternoon, both of which went well. Afterward we got to enjoy a few snacks that had been brought to the dancer dressing room, that was a nice surprise! And then I took a nap. I don’t know why I’m so tired lately, but I can only guess from having a cold.

In the evening there were two jazz sets, but I was not involved in either of them. Nia and Molly suggested that we all have dinner together before the sets in the Wheelhouse. We enjoyed an awesome meal, possibly one of our last together as a group :( I had some amazing calamari sticks, a mushroom salad with a crispy poached egg on top, and some sort of amazing brandy chocolate concoction for dessert. Yum!





Both sets went well, although imo the second one went on longer than totally necessary. I recorded most of the first set...we could all use more promotional material, yes? By the time the second set finished there were only one or two guests left, and the rest were employees. We all went to bed. Stacey, who had been playing bass for almost two hours straight, was exhausted. She said her fingers were burning.


01/05

I was off the boat right away at 8am in San Pedro. I went to CVS first to buy a luggage tag and a few small toiletries to get me through the last few weeks. Then I went to Hojas of course! This is one of my last times coming here. I had the Chef's Special, ham and cheese on an everything bagel with lots of veggies and homemade chipotle sauce, yum! And I had the ginger vanilla black tea, which was delicious. Gonna miss this place!



I worked on my various online projects and my job hunt. Somewhere in there Molly joined me and we had internet time together :)

In a little while I'll have to go back to the ship. Just two weeks left.