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After our night's stay in a gorgeous hotel, Jameson and I went out to explore Savannah GA!

First stop, brunch at Funky Brunch. This place looks like a breakfast-y Mellow Mushroom.

(photo courtesy scaddistrict.com)

A unique feature of this restaurant is the tables, some of which have built-in griddles so you can cook your own pancakes! The kitchen mixes your batter and includes any fruits/toppings you'd like, and you assemble everything yourself. Neato!

We didn't get pancakes, but enjoyed some mildly alcoholic treats along with our breakfasts.

After that we wandered.
Savannah is a very pretty riverfront city, so just walking and enjoying the scenery was a big part of our day.


We visited Colonial Park Cemetary and learned about some of the inhabitants:
- Button Gwinett, signer of the Declaration of Independence
- Edward G. Malbone, a famous miniaturist
- More than 700 victims of yellow fever
- A bunch of ridiculous men who got into duels over insults to their honor :P

The cemetery was beautiful and well kept. Many of the larger crypts were made of brick.

At some point a walking path was installed, and gravestones were relocated to a portion of brick wall surrounding the cemetery.

While we were looking at the stones, peddlers were hawking these "rose of Savannah" woven palms. I made a donation and was given one :) (For the supposed story behind the Savannah Rose, CLICK HERE)

The cemetery was also a hotbed of Ingress activity. After we'd enjoyed the beauty of our physical surroundings, Jameson and I went digital. All of the portals were green (our "enemy's" color) and high level, but we did a little damage and earned a few points toward leveling up.

For the rest of the day we explored candy shops and art stores, public squares and points of interest along the riverfront. Jameson got blue ice cream and had a blue tongue for HOURS.

For dinner we joined members of the Gold Unit at Fiddler's Crab House for all-you-can-eat crab legs! (They were playing Savannah this week, go figure). Lots and lots of people showed up...there wasn't a table big enough for everyone! Most of us ended up in the same room but at separate booths. Because of this, and because I was seated deep in the middle of a booth facing a wall, I didn't get a group shot :/ But it was a lot of fun. Everybody was pretty rowdy, and crab shells and juices were flying everywhere as people dug in. Crabs are a messy business!

I was in the mood for gumbo, and although it looks a little weird it was delicious. Spicy and rich with fresh crab, clams and shrimp on a bed of wild rice and legumes. If you're ever in Savannah, Fiddler's had some good eats!

Sadly we had to leave the gathering early for a 3 hour drive to Atlanta, our second hotel stay. We arrived late and went straight to bed. The next day we found brunch at The Pecan restaurant. I had only glanced over the food reviews before choosing this place, so the upscale atmosphere was a big surprise. Luckily they didn't mind our t-shirts and jeans. Here is my salmon croquette on a bed of pepper jack grits drizzled in dill hollandaise. Yeah.

We drove another hour, picked up groceries, and returned to the train.

Opening day was on Wednesday this week. Normal day, nothing to report :P
Thursday was similar. We had our first kiddie show which was great because you always want to know how kids are reacting to the acts. We got lots of screaming when the lights went out, lots of screaming again for the tiger act, lots of rowdiness and jumping up and down when the elephants came out, and lots of dancing during the dog act :) Kiddy shows are early in the morning, but because it's such an energetic crowd it's usually a really awesome fun time!

During the split I stayed at the arena to practice. If anyone is surprised that I'm practicing lately, first of all :P and second of all it's because I'm taking an orchestra audition after Greenville. No, I am NOT leaving the circus. The audition is over a train run, and I think it will be a good experience for me. Wish me luck!

After practicing I checked the mail and found a few packages for me! A color-changing mug that I had ordered for tea a while back, and a late Christmas gift from my sister Kate...the Centenary Berlin Philharmonic collection!!! I CANNOT WAIT TO LISTEN TO ALL 50 CDS!!!

At the end of the evening show we returned to the train yard to find the Blue Unit train sitting next to us!

They weren't allowed to disembark like last time, and by the time we finished the show they were getting ready to leave. But Kathryn the keyboard player over there left us a note! She was really excited to see the trains together.

We will be in North Carolina around the same time, so maybe there will be time to see their show!

On Thursday morning I got a call from my Aunt letting me know that my Obachan had passed away early that morning. She suffered with dimentia, and had been in a home for many years. For those who don't know, my mother also passed away over a decade ago, and so my aunt is now the "matriarch" of the family. I loved my grandmother and wanted to support my aunt and the rest of my family, so immediately requested bereavement leave. There is a clause in our contract for such things, but I also needed to find a sub (I would have been allowed to go without one, but felt wrong about doing that).

On Friday we had another split. I got through the morning show (another great crowd of kids!) and spent the break packing and booking two flights and three hotels in three different cities. I found Chad Fisher, a local trombonist who was willing to sub for me on Sunday. After packing I went through my book and tried to clean it up a little for him, marking cuts and cues so that someone sightreading might be able to understand.

Saturday was a typical three show day. We had excellent crowds. Chad sat in on the second show so he could get a feel for how we do things. I did everything I could to make sure that he'd be comfortable and have fun.

I'm typing this from a hotel near the airport. I've got an early flight tomorrow to Newark to meet family for the funeral. I'd like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to attend. So many circus folk, especially those from other countries, are unable to go home for important family events. I'm very grateful that this time it worked out for me. Thank you everyone for your support and understanding, from the bottom of my heart. <3

Other stuff:

Some awesome photos of an elephant brunch here in Birmingham (CLICK HERE to view).

Jameson, Tom and I. I'm like the tasty trombone filling in a keyboard sandwich :D

One of our Mongolian dancers learning to handle a snake. "The less she moves, the more comfortable she is."

I got to play with the snake a bit too. She seemed to like my shoe.

Two stray puppies were found in our train yard. One will be kept by Ryan (sound) and the other by Mustafa (high wire).


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 25th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry for your family's loss. My grandmother had been in a home for quite some time with dementia.

On a completely different topic, that puppy is adorable! Can puppies or animals be kept on the train or will they have to be homed elsewhere while the owners are on the road?
Jan. 26th, 2015 12:52 am (UTC)
Thank you. The last time I really saw my Obachan, like, while she was still "here", was back in 2007.

In spectacular style, I failed to make it to her funeral. After all the trouble of getting bereavement leave and finding a sub for a three show day, my first flight was delayed 2 hours because of a mechanical problem. In a panic, I got a rental car and drove two hours to try to make my connection in Atlanta. About halfway there I realized I wouldn't make it, so called Delta and booked a later connection. But there was construction right outside the airport, and by the time I got there and returned the rental and got to security I was running late. Then my aunt called and told me not to come because there's a huge nor'easter coming (they're calling it "Juno"?) and they're expecting at least a foot of snow.


Anyway, to answer your question, "pets are not permitted on the train". A rule that is rarely if ever followed. Both trainmasters have dogs. Last year some kittens were found in another train yard and were kept. These two puppies were taken to the vet and given a clean bill of health. Ryan and Mustafa both travel overland so it shouldn't be a problem :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )