September 7th, 2021


My name is Megan, I'm a trombonist currently on tour with Tootsie the Musical.

I've also done a tour as trombonist with the Ruby Princess cruise ship house band,
and spent five years as a circus musician with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Red Unit band.

This blog starts with my very first day in the circus.
Please click the link in this text or look for the tag "first entry" to read about my five years with the circus.

To read about my time on the Cruise ship, click the link in this text,
or click the tag "cruise ship" in the tags menu on the main blog page.

Posts related to Tootsie the Musical can be found by clicking the link in this text,
or clicking the tag "tootsie" in the tags menu.

I hope you enjoy this little peek into my nomadic life.

Thank you for reading! - Megan O


Quick note that I am changing some things about my blog.

The last two times I went out on tour I experienced a surge in viewership, so this is preparing a little for that.

  • As much as I love the little elephant layout I've used for years, it is not mobile compatible, and this new theme is. Plus it's a bit cleaner to look at.

  • I've changed my tags to make sorting and finding entries from the circus, the cruise ship, and the musical a bit more distinct. Because tags like "opening day" could apply to any of these performance types, and I don't want there to be confusion. I will probably also reduce the overall number of tags...a lot of them are just for my own convenience.

  • I've added a sticky post with links to my other social pages, as well as an "about me" copy/paste of my LJ profile bio. This is meant as a convenience for people who've not been following me and may not be familiar with LJ.

  • When I start posting specifically about Tour Stuff, my posts may become a little less personal and a little more PC. You may also see a disclaimer at the top of some posts, like "These are my own thoughts and views, not my employer's, blah blah", so that I'm not creating problems for my tour managers.

  • I will continue to post more personal thoughts and things, as this blog is still my "diary". But those posts will almost always be friends-locked.


More weird days at work.

I spent my days poaching captionists to monitor from the Absent Supervisor list, or trolling those who fell behind in their captioning by 120 seconds or more. I captioned as well sometimes, and I did other tasks like walking the floor to check on people and cleaning some cubicles and such.

To fill the lulls between monitors I started a spreadsheet of things around each theater and/or hotel on the tour that I might like to check out.

Some of the things that I like to map out in advance are grocery stores, bakeries, museums/aquariums/points of interest, restaurants, thrift stores, antique stores, and Asian/international groceries.

Many of these cities I've been to before, and looking at the maps and seeing all the old hangs is pretty nostalgic.
Especially beloved cities like Kansas City, MO; Greenville, SC; or Baltimore, MD.

One thing about living and traveling with the circus was that even though we spent some time in the fancy downtown areas, the majority of our time was spent on the train, which was nearly always parked in some noisy dirty industrial area on literally the wrong side of the tracks.

(view of Atlanta from our "home" for the week while performing in the city.)

So we'd do these extravagant shows, and eat out at the fancy restaurants around the arenas, buying expensive drinks and strolling or Uber-ing around town, seeing the sights. But each night we walked or rode the company bus back to our home, the train. And the further we got from downtown, the darker it would get. Until there were no more street lights...until the smooth paved streets gave way to potholes, and gave way again to gravel and dust and rusted rail ties and broken glass.

(an underpass at the train yard in Hartford CT.)

And we stepped over rotting trash and dead animals, and passed quietly by homeless encampments or solo hobos sleeping under the overpasses. And we half-listened as a car backfired in the ghetto (that WAS a car backfiring, right?) and kept a wary eye on the stray dogs wandering the train yard, as we tramped together in the dark, through the dust and rust and stones, and climbed onto our grey-silver train, and felt at home.

(walking back together after a show)

This time will be different.

I loved the circus and everything about it. But I must admit, as romantic as the idea of living on a 1950s passenger train is, there were times when it was Big-Time Inconvenient (not to mention unsafe by nature of the environment.)
Because I spent a solid five years touring this way, and because it was such a huge part of my life, I think I've conditioned myself to think that
"Touring" = "The lifestyle I had with the circus".

And I am finally realizing that that is not true at all.

Looking at where we'll be staying on this tour, nearly all of the hotels are within walking distance of each theater we play.

When that finally sank in, I felt a wave of emotion.
Good God! What a blessing!!!

You guys may never know what it's like to walk miles and miles to get from a train yard to a grocery store, buy all of your groceries for an entire week, and then have to CARRY THEM FOR MILES to get them back home. In the blistering summer heat in Houston, in the cutting cold of a Long Island ice storm.

(no I was not kidding about the Long Island ice storm. There are inches of ice under that top layer of snow.)

I have fought through FEET of snow to get groceries two miles away, and carried them two miles back.
Pretty much any time the train was parked less than two miles from the nearest grocery was cause for celebration.

You guys, on this tour I will be able to walk BLOCKS to get groceries.

I won't have to lug my food and necessities over rocks or through cut fences.
I will be able to buy them and carry them back, maybe not even sweating! Like a regular human being!
Oh my god!

I don't know if I've effectively described what a big deal this realization was to me. But it was a BIG deal.