Sometimes I Adult

(OR)  Randomly on Friday

Randomly on Friday – I am proud of myself for my mad adulting skills.  (Also, I honestly appreciate that “adult” has become a verb.  I know there is the camp of people who dislike it, but I think it is more accurate than calling oneself an adult.  We are not truly, completely, “adult” – we have moments of childishness and immaturity, and moments when we buckle up and take care of business.  I have moments of being an adult, but I am not one every moment of the day.  Therefore, “adulting” more accurately describes my pattern.)

Randomly on Friday – I completed my daily French lesson early, in the time I had between getting the child on the bus and getting myself to work.  I felt really productive first thing in the morning – and that rarely happens.

Randomly on Friday – A friend added me to a Denver based face and body painters forum, at which I squeed audibly because this blows my mind.  I am constantly surprised by how connected this community is, how supportive, and how there is a group of people that do everything I want to do.  Cyr – yep, there’s a group jam.  Juggling – group jam, preceded by game night.  Dancing – so many groups for that.  And now, face painting.

Randomly on Friday – I have been networking my little tush off, putting in bids for gigs and sending out promo material – kicking butt and literally taking names.

Randomly on Friday – a Chicago blues dancing friend is in town for an audition, and tonight we are going dancing.  I have been excited about it for days.  I need to dance – not the choreographed group stuff I have been working on, but the deep and soulful, intimate dancing that I miss about Chicago.

Randomly on Friday – one of my best friends booked his flight to Boulder for my showcase next month.  I may have jumped around the house for a few minutes when he confirmed his plans.  One thing I dislike about being an adult is having my friends spread around the world.  While it means I have friends in cool places that I can visit, it also means I don’t see the people I am close to very often.

Randomly on Friday – I still need help funding the tail end of my tuition and gear payments.  If you have anything to spare, I would appreciate it so much!  I have literally been scraping the bottom of my bank account for the past two weeks just to put food on the table.  Visit my GoFundMe page by clicking on this link:

Randomly on Friday – Tickets for our showcase have gone on sale!!  If you are in the Denver/Boulder area, you should come.  Buy your tickets now, because we are going to sell out.  There are eight aerialists each with iron wills and amazing routines – we are totally selling out.  Here’s the event page, and this is where you BUY TICKETS.

Randomly on Friday – April has been kind of a crummy month for me.  Anything that could go wrong did.  I’ve been struggling to pick up the pieces, create some semblance of order, and continue moving forward.  And I mean really struggling.  I’ve plastered on a smile when I’m in public and broken into tears as soon as I get home, or as soon as someone has been nice to me and asked me what’s going on.  Yesterday was a fairly good day, and it feels like today is going to be as well.  Chin up, Buttercup.

Definition of Insanity

The commonly accepted definition for insanity is to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result each time. That, umm, may be me right now.

See, I have some really amazing friends who have really stepped up to help me recently. They helped me pack and move, they gave me a place to stay, they helped with my child. Really stellar folks who asked for nothing in return. I have one friend in particular who has been amazing this past year – watching Ellette every week, sending me texts to check in, giving me what for when I was being an idiot, creating laughter, perspective and warmth. She’s really made of awesome, and I always ask her how I can show my gratitude. And she always asks for:


Yup, handmade, warm, knee high or higher socks. I made her one pair and she loved them so much she wore through the heels in less than a month. So, the terrible friend that I am, keep sending her images of scarves and sweaters and hats and purses. “What about this??” I ask, because I want to make her anything except for socks.

But the guilt wouldn’t leave. She’s been a much needed rock, even when we were getting frustrated with each other at times, and I couldn’t make her the only thing she wanted. I felt like a horrible person. There is absolutely no way I could refuse the big blue puppy eyes as she handed two balls of worsted weight yarn and asks “Can you make them stripe?”


Sigh. Yes. Yes, I can make them stripe. Yes, I will make them knee high or higher. Yes, for you. So, Caitlin, the start of your socks. And if you find me under a bench, busily squirreling away yarn for a nest, chattering to myself, and possibly chewing on the ends of my needles, you will know why. It is the result of love and appreciation of you, combined with my complete irritation for making socks.

Are you really sure I couldn’t make a sweater instead?

Austin and an Art Car

Or: “Finally Catching Up”

I went straight from Austin to sitting in front of a sewing machine and packing to 5 days of an amazing burn, and now I home, with a full night’s rest on my own bed.  I woke up to the prospect of cleaning, packing, and getting down to business.  So, I put my big girl pants on and poured a cup of coffee.


Austin was all about the bus.  This was my third trip to Austin, and probably the most entertaining.  I’ve seen the sighs before, I’ve met some cool people and did a bit of street performing.  We went swimming in the river, window shopping on South Congress, and that was enough.  This time, I met up with 13 other people to convert this little bus into an art car for Burning Man.  They got the roof deck started during a different build weekend, and that is where I spent my entire weekend.


Everyone in the group had something to offer – sculpting, building, sewing, organizing, etc.  And everyone was excited to be a part of this project.  No one rested until we were called to lunch/dinner/etc.  The drive to work was infectious.  Saturday morning, I was handed yards and yards of coarse rope and instructed to lash the railings.  I spent so much time with that rope and the drill and the glue that my hands were red and raw, my knuckles had been worn away, and I had transitioned from cursing at the pain to shedding quiet tears under the Texas sun, pulling as hard as I could on my knots.  But the end result was entirely worth it.


We didn’t finish – not even close.  But, the bus is closer, and following another build weekend, it will be ready for the Playa.  There are miles of fabric left to be sewn to the bus and more molding to be done.


These guys – they were absolutely amazing.  Thank you for letting me be a part of the build and a part of your burn.


Talking To Strangers

As a traveler, it is difficult to be shy.  There are so many people you encounter along the way, how can you resist making friends?  With social media and faster technology, it becomes even easier.

Having grown up in theatre, talking in front of people has always been natural for me.  That has translated into being able to create small talk at the drop of a hat; elevators don’t get quiet, train rides become entertaining, and I come away from these encounters with interesting stories and sometimes small tokens of the accidental friendship.

Last night, I left my cyr class and walked to the bus stop.  There was a fella standing there when I arrived, and he asked if I knew when the next bus was coming.  I replied “Nope, but at least it’s warm tonight.”  This seemed to spark something in him, because he replied about how cliché it is to talk about the weather.  I laughed and asked if he would rather talk of something else.  This was the beginning of a conversation that lasted the entire bus ride.

In the middle, he pulled a box out of his backpack and asked if I would like a paper crane.  Delighted by this, I selected a brightly colored one from the box.

I was on the bus heading towards a Couchsurfing meet-up.  Couchsurfing is my preferred method for traveling – you search ahead for a couch to crash on with a local in the destination town; it’s free and opens up a side of the city you may not have seen otherwise.  My network has grown over almost every continent because of Couchsurfing.  The Chicago meetups happen regularly, but I rarely get to attend.  A few beers, an amazing cashew butter and jam sandwich, and belly-aching laughs later, someone dumped a handful of origami on the table and offered them up for grabs.

Amused, I extracted the tiny little crane I had gotten on the bus just two hours earlier and showed them.  The gifter chuckled and plucked a large turquoise crane from the pile, offering it to me, a mate to the little one.  I don’t even remember her name, but I remember her face and smile, and the smiles on the faces of other giftees.


Now, the two little cranes sit atop my computer monitor, brightly colored and about to take flight.  Each reminds me of the people I met with a simple salutation.

Explore Chicago: Turtle Racing

Yes, turtle racing.  It is exactly what it sounds like.  This was a discovery that one of my roommates led me to.  She goes turtle racing almost every Friday and nagged and nagged like a bitter old housewife until I relented and joined her and her rugby team for an evening.  My roommate is pretty awesome, so I trusted her judgment.


There was so much excitement in the crowd!  Everyone was amped up to watch, to join the raffle, and to cheer on the turtles.  It was quite infectious.  Then again, to race a turtle, you have to first buy a drink, from which you then get raffle tickets – so the more you drink, the more likely you are to race.


The team was very gracious about letting the newcomers have a turn racing.  We pooled our tickets for better odds.


This is the table they were racing on.  The red circle is the starting point.


If your ticket is called, you randomly select a number, and that number corresponds to a numbered turtle.


Once all of the numbers have been assigned, the turtles are set up for the race.  There is so much anticipation at this point.


And then they scramble as soon as the lid is off.  I was impressed with just how quickly those little guys can move.  It didn’t take very long at all for the first turtle to reach the outer ring.


If you have the first turtle out, you win a t-shirt.  If you’re turtle is the last one to leave, you get a free beer.  The slowest turtle is always the same – Yolanda.  Some say she has stage fright, others that she is just lazy.  I think she may just be too dignified for us primates.

Halfway There

Back in January, I created a list of Resolutions meant to help me find my footing while my life went down a completely new and difficult path.  I wanted to recap yesterday, but as it was my first day in which I didn’t *have* to do anything, I didn’t.  I got home from work, turned on cheesy 1990’s sitcoms, opened a beer, and started knitting.  And I didn’t stop until I was feeling droopy.  I didn’t clean, I didn’t move, I didn’t answer my phone, I didn’t even cook – I just reheated Sunday’s dinner.  The house was quiet for much of the evening, and I was ok with that.  In fact, I was happy about that.  My world has been so incredibly busy lately that having a night off was heaven.

I did have a lot of time to think.  The past month has been a time of reflection for me.  Now, we hit the halfway point for the year and I’m looking at what I’ve done so far, and what I have left to do.

Specifically – those resolutions.

  • Knitting a Dress – Hasn’t happened yet, and it kind of worries me.  But, there are projects on the horizon that I think will resolve this before the year is out.  I have decided to go with my own personal design, since there are several I can make happen (and one or two that *must* happen).
  • The Yarn Diet – I have been weak lately.  I bought yarn over the weekend.  I kept saying that it was for hair falls – it’s costuming – it doesn’t count!! And indeed, one skein was used up last night during a craft activity, but I still feel bad.  The yarn diet was as much about money as it was about space.  I have noticed a difference, though.  I have either used up more yarn than I realized, or I’ve gotten really good at storing it.  I have almost reached my goal of fitting it all into one dresser, but there are still boxes here and there.  One of the projects I am working on, however, should use up quite a bit of that.
  • WIP Wrap-up – I haven’t done much with this.  I did finish the shawl I started in DC!  However, I haven’t even touched the Tech Square Afghan or those Christmas socks…  On the other hand, I have been fairly diligent about not creating more lost projects.
  • Explore Chicago – Roaring success so far.  We haven’t been consistent, but we do get out at least once a month.  It has been incredible.  I have discovered a lot about this city, and I think that reaching out for suggestions has opened up conversations that bloom into friendships, and that was part of the goal for this endeavor.  We still have a lot to explore!
  • Finances – I have a plan – really, a spreadsheet – for saving money so that I can participate more intensively in aerial acrobatics.  It is right on schedule.  For probably the first time since I moved out of my parents’ house, I feel pretty stable.  I don’t worry about making rent, don’t have to get creative with food because I can’t afford groceries this week.  we can even spend some time doing frivolous things.  I feel much stronger than I did, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m very proud of myself for developing this discipline.  Granted, it still needs work, but I think that is more in the department of impulse control than in financial judgment.  I can tell myself that buying a bag of yarn is a bad idea, but I still do it.  But silk on sale is kind of hard to resist – I don’t care who you are.
  • Aerial Dance Festival – I will be in Boulder, CO attending this at the end of July.  I’m taking 3 classes – Aerial Burlesque, Cyr Wheel, and Intermediate Trapeze.  I am super excited, a little nervous, and I sincerely hope I don’t make a fool of myself when I’m there.  I’m still trying to figure out my housing situation, so if you’re in the area and willing to let a knitting, flying, manic pixie crash on your couch, it would be much appreciated. 😀
  • Be More Social – This is where I have seen the most improvement, and it constantly amazes me.  We hosted a party over the weekend, and the turnout was mind-blowing.  It warms my heart to have so many people in my circle, people who look forward to the events I host.  I have put myself in awkward and uncomfortable situations.  I have taken a deep breath and stood up tall, introducing myself to people I know nothing about.  And I have been rewarded every single time.  I have become so social that I need to take a few steps back every once in a while so I can breathe and re-energize.  I love every minute of it!
  • Try not to be a Control Freak – This has been a challenge, but I think it will always be.  I have seen improvement, though.  My house is not spotless, and I have learned to be ok with that.  People I interact with daily move to their own rhythm, and I have learned to appreciate many of their unique nuances, and let go of the rest.  It has made for a harmonious cycle.  I have also learned how to better communicate when things are bothering me.  There is still so much more that needs to be done, and I am constantly reminding myself to slow down and consider the situation from all angles before opening my mouth.
  • Designing – This is the most exciting of all.  I have not only been inspired greatly by my adventures this year, I have also acquired an outlet for them.  It will remain a bit hushed for the time being, but you can expect a lot of fun things to be emerging from this blog.


6 months is not a long time, but I am amazed at how much I have accomplished.  The last two months have been especially enlightening.  I feel stronger and more secure than I did in January.  Most importantly, I am excited and happy with who I am today.  I know that I have the strength and determination to accomplish everything I want to, and I’m watching the pieces fall into place as I work.  Seeing everything I’ve accomplished in such a short amount of times makes me eager to see where I will be in December, and next summer when I plan on taking the next leap of faith into an all new adventure.

Wrapping Up a Story

While there is still so much more to share, I didn’t want to keep blabbering about the past weekend.  Hopefully, this post will cover the last lingering memories I feel compelled to share and tomorrow, I can write about something new.

To everyone at LoF with a themed camp – you were great!


I love watching the colorful facial hair walking around!


This was a sweet and refreshing surprise.



LOF13 - 13

I had the most relaxing, lackadaisical rest here.  From where I was sitting, I could people watch people climbing all over Freakeasy.  It was nice.

LOF13 - 15 We enjoyed this, but somehow missed going back for the other games.  I hope they are there next year!


Tick Town, thank you for making me laugh, and dance, and play fun games!


To Alisha, with the ball pit – I can’t believe how long it has been I hung out in one! Thank you for the idea, for the repose, for the conversation.

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Tramp Camp – The girls and I had an absolute blast.  We spent so much time bouncing and laughing and getting wet.  The girls couldn’t get enough of it.

LOF - 7

I could never remember the name of the island, and I’m sorry I missed the dance party, but it was fantastic utilizing it as a launch pad into the water.


To Junicorn Sparkles, thank you for the crafting!  I had a total ADD moment walking by your table.  I love the unicorn horn I made!  My daughter wore hers into my office on Monday; refused to take it off!


Syncidium, you made my weekend.  Thank you for letting me fly for a bit!

And lastly, on Friday, I brought out my face paints.  I was so inspired to work, and I loved the energy people were bringing into the gazebo.  I wish I had had more time to work, and I loved that people were asking if they could paint, too, and there was a big painting party.  I was stoked at the creativity bouncing around.  To those who let me paint, and gave me the freedom to paint whatever I wanted – Thank you!  Because of you, I think my abilities and confidence as an artist really took off!







I have a million ideas, and I can’t wait to implement them.  I want to pull out my paints again and go crazy.  I wish I had more time to see everything and talk to more people, but I’m grateful that the time I did have was spent around so many lovely, creative, and welcoming folks.

To the crew that put together Lakes of Fire – thank you! See you next year. 🙂

Creating Community

Community.  At it’s heart, what keeps these fire festivals burning, is community; people coming together, working, imagining, building, and playing together, to create something entirely outside of themselves.  It is an experience to share, so that it can grow and reach toward others.

Lakes of Fire (and other burn festivals) have “themed” camps – people coming together to create an experience following a theme, and they have something to share and explore with the other participants.  This isn’t something to share within their group.  Rather, it is something that as a group they are able to share with others.  I probably would not have attended had it not been for our camp.


Gothee House – a gothic themed 24 hr coffee house turned industrial dance club in the evening.  Together, we created a structure, an ambience, and a community that brought people from all over the festival to us.


We all contributed, in every way we could.  I made decorations, others built the “gothedral” which sadly did not make it completely standing, but we all learned from our mistakes and figured out what to do instead.


The moment when we erected the frame, and not only the people who organized the camp, but people drinking coffee and walking by, all stopped and rushed in to aid us.  For me on the edge, holding up a steel pole as high as I could and watching everyone around me doing the same, as still others came rushing in with the support beams – it was the most extraordinary rush of emotion.  There is a Native American story about pushing up the sky.  The sky was so close to earth that the inhabitants had to crouch to walk around.  Banding together, they took long poles and pushed the sky as far away as they could.  Where the poles poked through the sky, a brilliant light could be seen shining through.



Working as a community, they created something wonderful.  Watching this group, being a part of this group, as we banded together in a similar way to erect a communal space, was one of the most beautiful things I witnessed.  Instead of stars, we strung LEDs, and we all danced together.


A member of the camp turned the fallen spire into an interactive art display, and I hadn’t actually looked inside for most of the weekend, I just saw it being worked on.  But even when things went wrong differently than planned, we found a way to make it work.


The important things, we understood, were music, and coffee.


The coffee flowed freely.  People came and went.  In a clever effort to get them to hang around a bit, and ease some of our workload, the rule was in place that, to receive coffee, you must grind it yourself.  People who wanted to continue chatting gladly continued grinding.  And we continued brewing.


LOF13 - 10

LOF13 - 9

As we were packing up on Sunday, I was nearly brought to tears.  Chicago has not been what I would consider a friendly city for me.  It has been difficult for me to reach outside of myself and meet people, to feel like I belong anywhere.  Had it not been for Gothee House, I would not have attended Lakes of Fire.  This whole experience would have been lost to me.  As it is, it took one person inviting me, and the courage (and restlessness) to say yes, and I ended the weekend on an incredibly high note, feeling stronger and more secure.

To my Gothee Baristas, thank you.  A million time.  Thank you.  For pulling me outside of my comfort zone, for pulling me into your fold.  The acceptance, appreciation, and peace you gave me is not something I have ever felt.  I had no doubt that my presence was desired and enjoyed, and my absence felt, and as I stood in our camp Sunday morning, watching everything being taken down, packed up, and a few last cups of coffee brewed, I felt the community that we had created together, strung between us and its tendrils reaching for more to bring in and hug.  Thank you for helping me be me.

A Lazy Crafternoon

This Sunday, I hosted a “crafternoon.”  This is a concept inspired by another blogger (and for some reason right now I can’t hyperlink to that blog).  I have been wanting to host a craft party for some time, and I finally set a date and invited people over with no real plan in mind.  The only caviat was that you had to be working on your own personal “craft” at the party – bring something creative, inspiring, helpful, etc. 


I finished and blocked the baby skirt for Jeana and Ellette’s birthday vest.  Then, I wandered around a little aimlessly, so engaged in conversation and laughter that crafting was difficult.


Granted, I was also distracted by my adorable goddaughter – here you see our cat Pyggy being introduced to a tiny human for the first time ever.  He was very curious.


Jeana’s mom worked on the baby bodice for this summer’s impending Renaissance Festival.  I think her outfit is going to be irresistable!  What a lucky girl.


Craft was defined fairly loosely, so people brought snacks to prepare (culinary crafting), music to practice, and someone even took apart my hand crank espresso machine to find out what was wrong with it (what we thought would be a $15 fix is quickly become a $200 one….hmm….)



The kids had a blast, as well.  There were tons of projects for kids to work on – from drawing to beading and anything else they could wrap their imagination around, but they decided that playing dress-up would be the most fun.  We have the perfet house for it, too, because my fairy costumes kind of litter every room.


A different kind of dress-up and craft took place at one point.  My friend Arielle, who is an art student, needed to do a particular type of project in which she needed a live model to sketch from.  Her theme was “urban legends” and she chose the razor blade in Halloween apples, and used Ellette as her subject.  Ellette thought it was mostly fun, until Arielle squirted her with fake costume blood.  It was a rather dark addition to the party, but we all found it interesting.  And then Ellette started glaring at all of us and we couldn’t stop laughing.


There was some knitting, but the most yarny thing happening was Caitlin – the friend every knitter should have – who wove in the ends on my Tech Square Afghan.  I have no excuse not to finish now.  It just needs a couple of embellishments and it’s done.


It was a wonderfully productive, inspiring day and I am so blessed to have so many amazing, talented people in my life.  I am hoping to make the crafternoons a reegular occurance, and maybe even create themes or tutorials for the future.

Bigger in Texas

The need to get out of Chicago sent us on a crazy road trip.  There were plenty of people who could not understand why we would spend 40 hours driving to Texas for only 48 hours of enjoyment when in Texas.  For us, the pleasure was as much in the trip itself than solely in the destination.  A road trip means we are not where we were, and there is something stretching out before us that could turn in to anything if we let it.  It is countless hours (really, it was about 38) stuck in a car with a few individuals, and hopefully those individuals are ones you really enjoy spending time with (they were) so that, together, you might experience something fantastic (and we did).

There are people who travel for the purpose of saying they have been somewhere.  We call them tourists.  I have been to this country and seen this monument and wasn’t that great.  There are people who travel for the destination specifically.  I travel for the journey.  I travel for the wisdom and stories it gives me.  Many people would think of 40 hours in a car as the worst thing they could possibly do.  But I found out that, somewhere in Arkansas, the Queen of those delicious dairy treats had a king:

Granted, it was less spectacular than Dairy Queen, and it was closed at 6:40 am when we stopped for gas, but it was amusing nonetheless.

Also, thanks to Madlibs, Odin coined the phrase of endearment: Cream of my Wheat, which he will never live down.

Even so, the simple fact that I was not in Chicago and I was not living this routine, were enough for me.  This was a break from my reality.  It was a reminder that there are so many amazing things out there – so many wonderful people (and how many of those wonderful people are my friends and are living those crazy nomadic lives I kind of envy).  Today, I went back to work.  I woke up before dawn and dealt with the tasks and the people and I came home and I worked on holiday knitting and thought about our next trip away (to spend Christmas in Virginia).

The driving portion of the trip took roughly 20 hours each way.  There were three adults, so the driving was pretty much endless.  I slept through most of it, and then took my turn driving.  I ended just outside of Texarkana, which is at the Texas border.  I swapped seats and started knitting.  The only knitting, it turned out, I was going to do on the trip.  This is how long it takes to get from Texarkana to Todd Mission:

The purpose of this particular road trip, besides being a road trip, was to travel to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, which I understand is somewhere near Houston.  For the entire time we have been together, Odin has told me that TRF is a different fair altogether.  It is one of the largest in the US, with it’s own special politics and history.  There is a permanent town that sprouted nearby specifically inhabited by the rennie folk.  That is where we stayed.

We arrived early evening on Friday, but did not have the tickets to get in to the festival at that time.  The weather was perfect, too – a breezy 75* F and sunny.  The rest of the weekend was cold and wet.  We waited for everyone to get done working and spent time exploring Toon Town, with Odin telling us stories about who lived where and where he worked and what he did as a child, when he was also a part time resident of the area.


Saturday, it just rained and rained.  It was supposed to let up in the early afternoon, which I suppose it did.  But the puddles of mud and rivers that continued to run down the lanes was a little disheartening.  Sunday was sunny, but cold.  We were all determined to have a good time, however.



And now I am home.  This doesn’t seem quite real anymore, even though at the time it seemed like the only way to actually exist happily.  I miss my friends that travel the road and wish I could see them more often.  However, 4 days constantly surrounded by people, with very little sleep, took it’s toll on me.  I definitely enjoyed having an afternoon to myself in my own home.

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