Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Early to Bed....zzz

I'm actually quite content tonight. It's 8:00 p.m. and I'm all dressed and ready for bed. And I'm really really tired so I'll fall asleep within a couple hours and wake up at some ungodly hour tomorrow morning.

What a trip though. Monday and Tuesday were pleasant meeting friends and enjoying the company of new and old friends alike. Then today I got up early and hopped on the Amtrak at 8 a.m. only to sit at the same stop for another two hours before the train started. We were waiting for a person to come check the track further up the way. Then the train had to stop for clearance, then it had to stop for a bridge, then it had to stop for another train. All in all it took so long to get to Vancouver that I was 3 hours late. There were two Frenchmen traveling in the same car and they said in France if the train is over 2 hours late you get reimbursed. Wish it was like that here.

My afternoon had been shot and I was so tired and stressed from my friends waiting so long for me and me not having wifi nor phone service to communicate with them that my evening has been fairly lackluster as well. Didn't help that it poured for the majority of the evening. But I am with good friends with good food and good wine so despite the days occurrences I'm still happy and sleepy.

Tomorrow is my only full day here so I'll be up early to try to make the most of it before heading out Friday back to the USA. Traveling is much fun, but I nearly always wish I had more time. Even now, while I'm on vacation there is not enough time because I have to be back for a concert in the US.

So after a long day of train riding, several dark and dreary and rainy days, and after getting all snuggled up under the covers I'm ready to call it a night and get some sleep.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Redemption and Espresso Shots

The title might be slightly confusing but let me explain.

I'm not a coffee drinker. Not for health reasons, or beliefs, or weight control, but because I simply don't like the way it tastes in any fashion.

Today, however, I was so tired on the way to morning dance and knowing that I had a solid 3+ hours ahead of tearing up the dance floor I decided to give espresso a try. Now, I've had it on the rare occasion before and I know it works but I wasn't sure how it would work considering my current downer health status. But I purchased a latte with 2 shots anyway. Downed it (luckily they didn't make it too hot) and started dancing. Boy, I tell ya, now I know why people get addicted to this stuff. I danced and danced and danced and spun and dipped and spun myself and others and got spun out and jumped around and flailed and just was my usual crazy dance self. It was wonderful.

Now I'm so tired I can hardly move but I wanted to share how much fun contra is to me. My face aches from smiling and laughing so much. My legs ache, my core aches, my arms even ache and of course my feet are killing me :)  But it was so worth it. What a trip. Fabulous dancers, fabulous band, fabulous callers, and fabulous dances make my life a super trippy place to exist in right now.

Yesterday was a roller coaster ride of emotions and hormones and today I'm on the crest of the hill. Hopefully there is not a downward spiral waiting on the other side. I sincerely think there is a nice coast just around the corner and I'm so ready.

Tonight is relax night. I'll try to catch up on sleep and enjoy a movie and hot chocolate curled up on the couch. Now that the contra weekend is over I'm sad but all in all I'm so glad I came, so glad I danced, and so glad to have lived in those moments.

Thank you to all who were a part of the weekend!

The espresso made it possible for me to redeem my weekend dancing glory :)

Hormones: a difficult day

Hormones....I have some issues with them.

Yesterday was the third day in a row of contra dancing and boy was I out of energy. After dancing Thursday night and Friday night (and forgetting to eat much on Friday) I had nothing left for Saturday.

For a girl, known for her wild antics and enthusiastic dancing, I was saddened by having to sit out dances and reserve energy on most dances I did dance. It stole the smile from my face, the blood from my body, the energy from my legs, and the love from my heart. Several times friends came along and spoke words of concern since I was not acting my usual self, but even the process of saying, "I just had surgery" was all consuming to the point of tears.

Hormones...damn you.

In all reality I shouldn't be mad because technically, I'm not even supposed to be working out and exercising yet. It's been two weeks since the surgery, but rumor has it I'm supposed to wait a month. Now obviously, there are different levels to exercising and I'm sure the docs don't intend for you to not do anything, but I'm pretty sure intense multi day contra dancing marathons is on the list of donts.

Ah well, I'm here among friends, with live music, happy dancers, and good energy all around. I should not complain. I should be thankful to be here and thankful I can dance any dances at all.

Pep talk...pep talk.

Ok, so today is one more four hour dance session. I do not expect to dance all the dances and I will be exuberant in the dances I choose. Wish you all could be here. But by all means, since you can't, get out there and contra dance where you are! And think of me for just a moment while you're out there on the dance floor!! I'll be thinking of you :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

A short stay in Seattle

After leaving the NCL Gem, I flew to Atlanta, then to OKC and then to Seattle where I've been the last few days. I'm not usually here this time of year and after being here now, I'm ok with that prospect. It's the rainy season (yes, I realize that's year round in Seattle, but it's actually get wet rain during this season) and it's cold. I highly dislike cold. Right now I'm sitting in an enclosed room with two computers running and the thermostat set at 68 and wearing booties and a sweater dress and a long sleeve shirt underneath and I'm still absolutely freezing. I've been drinking hot tea but I think my red blood cell count is so low at this point that my body simply cannot sustain its own heat to my desirable temperature.

Irregardless of my internal and seeming external temperature, I am enjoying my stay in Seattle. I've been dancing and practicing my violin, researching and catching up on emails, eating and over sleeping, and failing to get together with all my friends like I should. I will soon change that though because starting on Monday it will become a friend frenzy. I'll run myself ragged again going from one destination to another, meeting for lunch, meeting for dinner and meeting for drinks. Don't get me wrong, it will be lots of fun and after I leave, so exhausted I fall asleep before the plane takes off, I'll wish I had more time to spend here and I'll do what I do every time I leave Seattle/Vancouver BC, and that is to promise myself that next time I'll plan more days to spend here so I don't feel rushed. It never happens though so I should take the hint and quit telling myself it will.

The other day I had a nice chance to walk (in the rain) for a few miles. In a brief interlude between the clouds the leaves were sparkling with color and the sun was shimmering off the rain beads. It was simply breathtaking. I only took one picture, but I was probably walking down the street in a daze because I couldn't decide where to look and which picture would represent the view best. In this scenario I usually just don't take a picture at all. But I did take one...see below.

Still more dancing and dining to come. Still more rehearsing and researching to do. Still more friends and folly to engage. And as always, I'll do my best to keep you updated :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Almost Home

Well, I had every intention of writing a blog entry about being back at "home" with my car and belongings, but as fate would have it, my flight was over booked and so I'm staying in Atlanta for the night. Nice experience though. Free stuff, good hotel, free wifi and an easier flight back now that it's split over two days. I was going to be one very exhausted girl by the end of today (not that I'm not really tired right now), but at least I get to go to bed a little earlier and didn't have to travel extra tonight.

So the entry I was planning on writing tonight will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day. Until then, I'm safe and sound in mid travel plans :)

The Last Days

The last days are the best nearly always. And this ship was no exception. The audience was wonderful, the trio worked the best together musically, friendships were cultivated more fully, and the world just seemed to smile.

Today I leave and head "home".

I'm always sad to leave a ship. The new friendships, the performing, the audiences, the care free life is so nice.

The most laughs, the most memories, the most of all that will forever be with me is The Last Days. Farewell ship. Until we meet again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Autumn in Quebec City

Now I understand why people love it here so much.

There was a couple brief hours yesterday that were so beautiful. The air was crisp, but not too cold. The wind was pleasant, and not too strong. The sun was shining, but not too bright. The leaves had started falling, but many still remained on the trees. It was like walking through a post card world. There were cobblestone streets like in Europe that wind their way through small neighborhoods; people ice skating in an outdoor square, buskers with hats and scarves singing away under the archways, the wind slightly whispering through the brightly colored leaves, and the clip clop of people's shoes as they briskly move about their day all bundled in their cold weather gear, seemingly oblivious to the beauty surrounding them.

And then it started to rain...

Thankfully I had thought ahead (didn't take much thinking since it rains in every single port for the majority, if not entirety, of the day) and brought and umbrella. It was awkward to carry for a while, but definitely was worth it after the rain started pouring down and I could barely keep any part of me dry. So then it was back to the ship for a nice hot shower and cup of hot cocoa before going to work.

Only four more days of work left. We'll be on the ship a total of 5 sort of, but the last day we'll leave sometime in the morning and the band replacing us will have to work that day.

Then it's off to a couple day rest and relaxation in Oklahoma City before heading off to Seattle for a week of dancing and a week of visiting. Can't wait! Keep it coming!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Time flies on the high seas

Time truly has been flying by. Yes, much of it has been super fun, but much of it has been work too.

A cruise ago (10 day cruises), our violist injured his wrist and was unable to play for several days. This brought about a panic of music hunting, music printing, music practicing, music researching, music rehearsing, and music performing. It was exhausting to understate my condition. I was so focused and worked so much that I lowered my immune system enough to not quite catch a cold. Now that I'm back to sleeping, eating, and normal playing schedule my body is fighting back slowly, but it's an uphill battle. The reason being...

I've just had outpatient surgery for a very early form of cancer. Now, I'm hoping that they got everything this last NY and that I'll be fine and dandy, but in the interum I'm a bit weak and my body is trying to decide whether to ward off the cold (which it's been mildly successful at for the last few days), or to quickly heal my surgically destroyed body part.  I'm very lucky that they found this early and I've been able to follow the preliminary steps in order for the cancer not to continue or spread (fingers crossed).  Now I just have to be patient for the next year and pray all the test results keep coming back negative and the job results come back positive!

Ah, still do not have another ship contract lined up yet. I've been trying to push for one, but so far there is nothing on the horizon, let alone in my lap. The good news though, is that when I get off this ship I won't be destitute as was the case last time I disembarked. I've got a few land concerts lined up over the following months. No, they won't pay rent or even food, but they will pay the bills that I'm still consistently paying down.

This contract really has been a bright ray of sunshine on my rather cloudy year.  The schedule has been good, the food has been good, the passengers have been good (our ratings have been good), our bosses have been good, no great :), our trio has been wonderful, and I feel pretty!...ok, couldn't help myself :)  The only thing that has sucked this contract is the weather, which has kind of surprised me, because no matter where I am in the world, the sun always shines. Seems Canada doesn't much care for me; or maybe this is it's bright side?.

This is our last cruise :( sob, sniff, sad face   
I'm trying to fit in very little now. Tomorrow and the next day are Quebec City so I'll be heading out into town both days (if it's not pouring rain), and also partying away the night at Largo Jazz Club. Otherwise, though, in order to heal my body and to save money (not looking forward to the out of pocket expenses of the following checkups since I have no insurance) I haven't been drinking at the crew bar, or partying at the nightclub, or buying snacks at the store, or shopping in town. I go to bed early for me (before 2 a.m.), and spend the day writing set lists, getting organized for the trip home, wandering around the ship, staring out the window (or lounging on the balcony if the wind dies down), or practicing. It's the most lackluster ship existance ever I think; for me that is. But I'm ok with it for now. Next ship...

Cruising along

Happy days are here again....

Truly, sea life is so enjoyable to me. I just can't get enough. I'm sad this contract is only for a short time, but in this short time I've been trying to make the most of it. I've already made a couple really good friends, found the best hang out places, enjoyed tea on the outside deck,  ate sushi after an afternoon concert, performed on the main stage to a live audience. I've still to dance wildly at a crew party, go bowling after midnight, tour the bridge or engine room, get lost in the bowels of the ship, eat at the steakhouse, have a room party, or explore every port. I'm definitely working on all these things but time is fast running away from me.

Plans are made for ziplining this coming cruise. I'd also like to go spelunking but I'll have to work on that one.

It rains a lot, no really, people think it rains a lot in Alaska, but it rains so much more here. So far I've gone out in the rain 3 times, but it's not the most desirable for excessive outdoor walking and picture taking activities.

Recently the trio ventured out in the pouring rain to walk to a local jazz club in Quebec City named Largo. They had a jazz group playing along to a silent movie and then they performed alone. It was a lovely evening and a nice club. It also has fabulous martinis!