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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcome to Chicago! Part 2

Yesterday was the first day of the Summer Intensive at Deeply Rooted Dance. All my classes and rehearsals are in the evenings from about 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. Last night was registration, placement and orientation.

I was SO nervous for the intensive all day yesterday. I was convinced that I didn't do enough before leaving to prepare physically, and I anticipated getting my butt served to me on a platter in the placement auditions. It didn't help that I've had this little cold, and yesterday I was feeling dizzy and loopy because of stuffed up sinuses. I think, too, that I was expecting this competitive atmosphere like the So You Think You Can Dance auditions I watch on TV. That scared me, too, because my nerves sabotage me bad enough without the added pressure of other dancers acting snooty and competitive.

I made my way downtown (D lives northwest of downtown) to find the studios. I left really, really early to give myself time to find it in case I had trouble or got lost. Glad I did, because I walked up and down Wabash Avenue looking for the darn address. I remembered something about DePaul University, but couldn't remember if the studio was near or inDePaul, so I went into the School of Law building to ask the security guard. When I asked him if there were dance studios on the third floor, he laughed and said no. I then asked where 218 Wabash was, and pointed in the direction I had started from. Back up Wabash to search for 218. I finally found it and made my way to the third floor.

Deeply Rooted shares their space with Ballet Chicago, so when I arrived, there were ballerinas everywhere. I asked the lady at the desk for Deeply Rooted, and she directed me down the hall and to the left in the back. I got there and told them who I was, and K, the education coordinator for the Intensive, came over and gave me a big hug. I felt SO much better! I couldn't believe the warm welcome - she didn't know me beyond my name and the handful of emails we've exchanged since January. It was just what I needed to calm my nerves.

As other Intensive students trickled in, I met some other students and we chatted as we stretched and prepared for the placement. We were all nervous, but we tried to relax because we were already in the Intensive. The placement was just to put us in a level that matched where we each are, since Deeply Rooted's Intensive is for all levels.

We started the placement with ballet, and it wasn't too bad! The instructor is trained in the Russian Vaganova technique, which I study at school. That helped me relax because I was familiar with it. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt good about my ballet performance! Then we did modern, which had African movement to it, which is what this company is about, which is why I was interested in them in the first place. It was fast and challenging, but I LOVED it and I felt good because I could do the African movement. I'll find out what level I'm in tonight in class.

After placement was orientation, and it was during this time that I was reminded why I chose this company for a summer intensive. Let's see, how do I sum it all up...??? They have a very holistic approach to dance, and they couldn't stress enough that our time here (and in all our dance experience, really) is a process. Being present is so important, and if we remain open, we will learn so much about what we can do rather than what we can't. We will each grow as dancers, as artists and as members of the community at large. The artistic director emphasized the importance of bringing open, positive energy to the studio. One of the teachers told us to relax... they don't view us as cattle or dance-bots that they're trying to make all dance and look the same. They see each of us as individual human beings, each with something to bring to the group and to give onstage.

WOW. I LUV this company... I love their approach, their aesthetic, their philosophy... it's what first grabbed me about the company when they taught a master class at CSU last year in the spring, and it's still exciting me. I am SO excited to be here!!

On the flip side, they also stressed that while they consider us to be part of the Deeply Rooted family this summer, that doesn't mean they aren't going to make us work, challenge us, ask us to reach deep inside to give more than we thought we could. So, the potential of my butt being served to me on a platter is highly likely. Guaranteed, really. And with that, it's time to get ready for six hours worth of class and rehearsal - gotta gather my tights, leotard, ballet shoes, and snacks and water galore. Wish me luck!

Welcome to Chicago! Part 1

I'm here!!

Saturday's packing and errand adventure was... well, an adventure. Despite my list, packing for a month was still the longest process of my life, ugh. Errands took longer than I expected, and I had to run out more than once because I kept forgetting things. I was wiped by evening, so at that point I stopped caring and just threw stuff in the suitcase. If I forgot something imnportant, I can get it in Chicago. They do have stores, after all.

I barely slept Saturday night, thanks to a combination of nerves and coming down with a cold. Of course I get sick the night before my month-long live-and-dance-in-Chicago adventure... why not a week earlier? Because that would be convenient. But thankfully the cold has been mild and despite still being stuffed up, I'm feeling better.

The flight to Chicago went relatively smoothly... I got to sit next to a couple who were fighting. Talk about awkward. After a nap for the two of them, though, they suddenly got lovey dovey and apologized with kisses and cuddles. More awkward. It was windy coming into Chicago, so there was some fun turbulence which made my stomach do flip flops. And good grief, they don't call it the windy city for nothing - I've given up on doing much of anything with my hair because it just gets blown around. I'm sportin' ponytails or the wavy beachy look if I leave it down, which works out perfectly because my hair dryer crapped out on me right before leaving, so I don't have one with me. The wind is doing a good job standing in for a hair dryer, lol!

When my friend D picked me up from Midway and we hopped onto the El to make our way to his apartment, he informed me that I arrived in Chicago during Gay Pride weekend. That explained the hoards of people getting on and off the train with rainbow everything from clothing to accessories to crazy costumes. I totally wanted to check it out, so that was the plan after dumping my luggage off at his place and eating lunch. And so we did...

That was my welcome to Chicago! Luv it!!

My first day of dance adventures will be coming soon in Part 2...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Stick a fork in me

Wow, my day of errands, laundry, planning, lists, etc. has kicked my butt. This trip planning business is exhausting. I'm so glad I took today off. I don't even want to think about what tomorrow would be like if I had crammed everything there. I could do more tonight, but I'm done. Well done. You can stick a fork in me now. Nighty nite!

SYTYCD Top 16 Review - FINALLY!!

The review you've all been waiting for!

Just kidding... I'm sure no one has been sitting at their computer hitting "refresh" on my blog, hoping that I've posted my review. But a girl can entertain such fantasies, right?!

I'm sorry it took me so long... Work got hectic yesterday as I scrambled to tie things up since it was my last day before my Chicago adventure. Today has been full of cleaning, errands, more list-making, laundry, etc. Laundry is still in the works, but there's a glimmer of hope that I'll be done with laundry tonight!! If I can pull that off, the stress-o-meter will be in the lower ranges tomorrow. Here's to hoping.

As usual, I digress! On to the review of this week's SYTYCD shows...

Karla and Jonathan started the night off with a hip hop routine choreographed by Dave Scott. OMG!!! When the judges said "Dave Scott", I shrieked with excitement. Yes, I literally did. I really like Dave Scott, so I was excited to see what K & J would do with his choreo. They did okay, but not hot. *Sigh* Another lukewarm hip hop routine, which made me sad. Karla did better than Jonathan, I thought, but it wasn't fabulous. Nigel called it a "Sunday School picnic outing". Ouch. Toni Basil was the night's guest judge, and she has a long history in hip hop, from it's beginnings (she learned from the founder of Locking, Don "Cambellock" Campbell). Toni's two cents was that hip hop should have funk and hard hits. Amen!! But K & J did not.

Asuka and Vitolio danced a jazz routine that was just okay. Parts seemed slow to me, like they were hesitating or unsure of themselves. Not good onstage, y'all. I wasn't in love with it, and neither was Mary, but Nigel thought it was great. I don't know, I'm losing the love for Vitolio a little bit. He's talented, yes, he's hot, fo' sho', but his stage presence is feeling forced... really, he just needs to let himself go up there and just dance. His facial expressions will follow.

Ade and Melissa... Oh, these two are quickly becoming my favorite couple!!! They did a very HOT rumba. Melissa is a force to be reckoned with, and she may be a classically trained ballerina, but hot damn that girl can move with hip rollin' sensuality. She is strong but still moves with grace. Ade held his own, rockin' the rumba with solid partnership and connection with her. His booty didn't look too bad in those tight pants, either. The judges loved it.

Next up were Brandon and Jeanette, who also got to perform a Dave Scott piece. As they began, I crossed my fingers - I just wanted to see a decent hip hop routine. And when I say decent, I mean something that would make me jump up off the couch. Did they get it done? Oh HELL yes. Not only did I jump off the couch, but I also dropped the F-bomb, more than once. It had attitude, they hit it hard, it had energy, it had groove... I even danced along with them at one point, copying one of Brandon's moves. FINALLY a jammin' hip hop routine!

Another great piece followed with Kupono and Kayla's Viennese Waltz. First off, this was their first week dancing together, as they both lost their partners last week. They have a great connection. It just clicked for them. And the waltz was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. As in give-me-goosebumps beautiful. My own personal dance preferences are things that are fast and hard hitting, but the Viennese waltz is my softer side. It makes me melt if done right. And these two did it right. It was so right for the judges that Mary put them on her Hot Tamale Train [enter Mary's infamous scream].

The fun didn't end there. Next up was Randi and Evan dancing a Mia Michaels contemporary piece. Mia's style is definitely unique and all her own. I like it, myself. I would love to work with her. The focus of the routine was Randi's butt, which I thought was awesome! The piece was very jazzy, but in a vernacular, earthy, raw kind of way. MY kind of way. It was the blues, it was sex, it was some speakeasy in the 1930's. It was HOT and I LOVED it. End of discussion.

Then came a paso doble number with Jason and Caitlin. Their outfits were some kind of I Dream of Genie and Gladiator (or 300) hybrid. It had good potential, but it didn't quite live up to it. Their dancing didn't match the passion of the music - Carmina Burana (sorry, but you have to wait 'til 3:12 to hear the part that everyone knows) - but to their defense, that song would be a difficult one to live up to. Mary and Toni thought they did a great job and that it was a strong performance. I was left a little disappointed.

Last but not least were Jeanine and Philip. They got a Tyce Diorio Broadway routine and I got VERY excited when the music began because it was "Moses" from Singin' in the Rain, my favorite scene in one of my favorite movies. The piece was a lot of fun... Philip didn't do too bad, but he didn't as much personality as Jeanine, so she stole the show. Nigel told Philip that he needed more from him. I agreed.

That's my rundown from Wednesday night's show. Thursday night's elimination was predictable: Vitolio, Jason and Jonathan were the bottom three guys. The judges said good-bye to Jonathan, and gave Vitolio a warning he has one chance left with them to step it up. The bottom three ladies were Asuka, Karla and Caitlin. This week we said good-bye to Asuka. Next week Vitolio and Karla will form a new partnership, and hopefully they click as well as Kupono and Kayla did.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Life: 10, Jessi: 0

Yesterday was finally a good day. I woke up feeling good after finally getting some sleep, I was productive at work, I started kicking into high gear for my trip and generally things started looking up. I thought my week was finally turning a corner and the little cartoon cloud hanging above my head was dissipating. Then last night's adventure (see my last post) knocked me right back down. Okay, okay, shake it off... sleep on it and pick back up in the morning. Oh no. Then I have the morning from hell, involving a curt email, a missing camera, frantic search for said camera, no time for a shower, a lame attempt at making myself presentable for public [fail], no breakfast, no coffee, no time to pack lunch, and getting to work VERY late.

I came this close to calling in sick at work. But then I remembered that today is my last day this week because I'm taking tomorrow off for Chicago trip-prep so I don't leave it all for Saturday. [Exasperated *SIGH*.]

At one point in the middle of the morning scramble, my eyes started welling up with hot tears of absolute frustration. Then I started the weird hybrid cry-laugh that happens when you don't know which to do, so you do both. At this point everything is starting to be funny. I mean, you've got to be effing kidding me - one thing after another, really? Obviously life has it in for me this week and I'm not really sure what to do anymore other than laugh and let myself get smacked around. What are a few more upper cuts and right hooks, right?

My post this morning was supposed to be my SYTYCD review... it is on it's way, I promise...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm all shook up

Well, I was quite excited for tonight's SYTYCD Top 16 Review. I had notes that I scribbled during the show to make sure I remembered my thoughts during each performance and the judges' responses. I had to go deposit a little money that my mom sent me (thanks Mom, you're the BEST!), so I couldn't sit down right after the show, but I started "writing" in my head what I would write for you all when I returned.

But then I had a jolting experience on my way to the bank that changed my plans a bit.

I had just left the apartment. My building is only a couple blocks west of CSU's main campus and I was on the stretch of road that goes toward campus. Along the way there are a bunch of small restaurants, bagel shops, bars, coffee shops, churches and other small businesses. It's perfect for this part of town, which is very student-heavy.

I was just coming out of the slight s-curve of the road when I heard someone in the distance behind me gun their engine. I rolled my eyes thinking someone was showing off. I didn't see the vehicle at first, but when I looked again in my rear view mirror I suddenly saw the headlights of some truck approaching me rather quickly. Too quickly for the 30 mph that is the speed limit on that street.

The truck started going through the s-curve and I suddenly had a very bad feeling. I said "God, please don't let him hit me!" and gripped my steering wheel tightly. I heard the tires skid before I saw it in my mirror. The truck was getting very close to me at this point and I began to get worried. My initial reaction was to slam on the brakes, but in the next nano-second my thought was "oh my god, get the hell away from him NOW", so I downshifted my little Civic and gunned it. My four little cylinders put the needed distance between me and the crazy truck to get me out of the way.

As I pulled ahead, I saw the truck fishtailing back and forth violently, and then it lost control, spinning and crashing up onto the sidewalk before it stopped. I thought it hit the Catholic church sign, but maybe it was just the bushes in front of the sign that stopped it's momentum. I started slowing down, wondering if I should stop and call the police. People sitting outside on the patio at the bar next to the church came running to see what happened and probably to see if the two guys were okay. And then the asshole put his truck in reverse, pulled away from the curb and sped away. The people standing around stared in shock. I did, too, from my rear view vantage point.

I pulled up to the red light and sat there trying to process what just happened. Then it dawned on me that I could have been hit by that guy! Had I not sped away from him, or if I had left my apartment building just 10 seconds later, I might have been hit. When I realized this I began to shake. And then I began to cry. I have never, ever felt that much adrenaline. Ever. It made me sick to my stomach.

I know I'm fine and maybe it doesn't seem that dramatic as you read this. Maybe it sounds silly, but I have never been so aware of and grateful for my life and well-being. The whole thing probably happened in a matter of seconds from start to finish, but it was enough to shake me up and make me feel very, very fragile.

I don't know if drinking was involved or if it was just an overdose of big-truck-induced machismo. This area is very pedestrian and bike-heavy, and if someone had been walking on the sidewalk right there or biking on that part of the road, I have no doubt that they would have been killed. AND, not only did the driver gun the engine to purposely drive way too fast through that curve, but then he ran off at the end of it all. I hope to God that someone at that bar got the truck's license plate number.

So, I'm sorry to postpone my review, but I just don't have it in me anymore. I'm sporting a killer post-adrenaline headache and I'm exhausted. I think it's time for some ibuprofen and [hopefully] some sleep. Dammit, today was such a good day, too...

The List

Chicago is four days away!! Now that the countdown can be done on one hand, I'm finally getting down to business figuring out all that I need to do in the next few days before I leave.

I don't know about you, but if something is too far out, even by a week, I have a really hard time motivating myself to start checking things off the to-do list. I won't even have a list established. Sure, I'll think about things - "I need to do this" and "don't forget to do that" - but I don't act on any of it until the running-out-of-time-pressure starts to mount. I'm not sure how well this will serve me when I'm planning a wedding someday... the thought of planning a wedding for a year or more overwhelms me... I'll be tickled pink if I can get 'er done in a handful of months (I've known people who have done this and have had beautiful weddings, so I know it's possible)...

But I digress...

There are errands to run, things to buy, apartment things to straighten out, laundry to do... All of these have their own sub-list.

I started compiling my packing list a few days ago, and it's steadily growing. I must have lists. I'm a list girl. I cannot function at the grocery store without a list, even for a quick trip. And I know that if I try to pack for an entire month away without establishing some kind of organized process (via The List), packing will be a nightmare. Of epic proportions.

My goal is to find the fine balance between packing enough but not too much. Yes I want to be cute and I have to leave room for my shopping spoils (look out H&M, a Colorado girl starved for H&M is heading your way), but I also hate overpacking. I learned from my last trip to NYC how much it sucks navigating the airport and subway and buses with too much crap. I remember trying to maneuver myself and my luggage into a corner on the hot, stuffy M60 while the bus was moving (a small-scale circus act) and the bus driver screamed at us all (nerve-wracking) to keep the aisles clear. OMG. I want to be the stylish-and-cute-but-efficient-and-low-maintenance kind of traveler. I'm still learning how to do this.

What outfits do I pack? How can I mix and match? Which shoes do I bring and which do I leave? Do I bring my seashell bikini or my cherry-print one? What hair and body stuff do I bring, and what do I just buy there since I'll be there a month? Since this trip is more than just a fun vacation, I also have to think about all my dance gear, including the rehab goods - athletic tape, Epsom salts, band aids, heating pads, ice packs, massage balls and rollers...

Dance gear
Dance rehab gear
Night on the town gear
Day at the beach gear
Day at a Cubs game gear
Exploring Chicago in heat and humidity gear
What else, what else??

Seriously, this is overwhelming. Must consult The List!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekend schmeekend

Ugh, this weekend was a bust, despite my intentions to decompress and re-center myself. I know, I know... life doesn't always go as planned and you have to roll with the punches, blah blah blah... And no, the weekend's frustrations weren't catastrophic... But none of that makes me feel better.

Oh, there were little sunbursts of goodness over the weekend... hangin' with friends at the apartment barbecue Friday night... wearing my new sundress today thanks to our first real day of summer weather, finally... getting my makeup done at Sephora... hip hop this evening...

I have no doubt that the pending arrival of Aunt Flo is compromising my coping abilities, so I'm trying to take that into account. I'm not going into any detail because, 1) I don't have the energy to write it all out, 2) I'm feeling protective of myself, and 3) I have a feeling that in a day or so, I'll think I was going a bit overboard and being too emotional. Maybe not, but we'll see. I just want to say that the weekend sucked and I'm ready to move forward.

Tomorrow is a new day. And I'm leaving for Chicago in seven days, thank goodness.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy [belated] Birthday!

Today my blog is one year old! Well, one year and one week old, technically. I'm not sure how I spaced it, but last Saturday was the actual 1-year birthday of my blog. I somehow had it solidified in my mind that it was today, and all week I've been thinking ahead to what I would write about. I had it in my calendar for the right day, but I still had my heart set on today. Oh well, no matter.

So! It has been a year since I joined the blog ranks! My original intention to starting this blog was to chronicle my adventures in dance, for fear that my experiences would get lost in the abyss of my mind, eventually to be forgotten (see above paragraph for how easy this can happen to me) unless I wrote it down.

It was a slow start... I didn't post too frequently at first, being rigid in thinking that every single post must be about dance since that is the foundational theme of my blog... but then I came to my senses and realized that since it's my blog and there really are no rules around here, I can write about whatever the heck moves me. So now I throw in the occasional non-dance related post for some flava... and I like my blog better for it.

I just read my first post, and it made me smile. Here it is:
Hi. I'm finally joining the masses of bloggers in cyber-journal space.

I'm here to write about my adventures in my pursuit of a career in dance, however that may evolve.

Some people think I'm nuts to start this endeavor so late in life. They're counting in dance years, mind you, not normal human years. Dance years are kinda like doggie years. I'm 29 years old, which in dance years means I should soon be sunsetting my dance career. But oh no, not me. I'm just beginning!

I've never been very good at accepting "no" when I really want something. And, baby, I want this.

So, Happy [belated] Birthday, Better Late Than Never! Here's to another year of all kinds of adventures and mishaps and shenanigans, recorded in the annals of Blogland forever!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Say what?!

You know those little rain clouds that follow a person around in cartoons? My own little cloud descended upon me this sunny Friday.

A friend said something to me this afternoon that hurt - BAD - and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. It definitely ranks up there as one of the most hurtful things anyone has ever said to me. I've spent the afternoon trying to focus on work to distract me from it, but I haven't been very successful. It's raising all kinds of thoughts and feelings that I'm trying to process.

I have some fun, social things going on this weekend which will be good for me, but I also need to find some time to myself so I can journal and think and process and figure things out...

I'm not angry at this friend and I have no intentions of changing the dynamic of our relationship. She was sharing her honest thoughts with me, and I fully trust that she had no intention of being mean or hurtful. I much prefer someone being completely honest with me rather than not... but yowza, this one was a doozy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Top 18 SYTYCD Results Show Review... and some thoughts on ballet

This is going to be short and sweet. A dance friend who came over to watch the show with me just left, later than expected (he and I can talk shop for hours and hours), so I don't have much left before I pass out to sleep.

Anywho, on with the short and sweet review.

Vitolio wasn't in the bottom three, woohoo! That made me happy. The other couples I voted for last night were safe, too.

The two voted off tonight were Max, the Russian ballroom dancer, and Ashley, a contemporary jazz dancer. I was bummed for both of them. I mean, I'm always a little sad whenever anyone is voted off because it is disappointing for them, but there are other dancers that I would've been a bit more indifferent to their leaving.

I thought Max had been doing well and was holding his own. You could see the disappointment in his face when they said his name. I liked Ashley - she was in the crash test dummy piece from last week that I LOVED - but her solo tonight didn't have enough oomph to it. It didn't show her full potential. There's no time to lose in this show, so that was not wise on her part. It's sad, too, because her audition for this season was her fourth try, so it sucks that she's leaving so soon.

It's the nature of the show, though, so we must say farewell to Max and Ashley. Good luck to the two of them in their future dance endeavors! And now we are down to the Top 16...

I had a rough night in ballet last night - I left in almost-tears - but tonight was much better. What it all comes down to is me getting in my own zone so I don't even have time or space to worry about what others are thinking about me or how I'm doing in class. I have to remind myself over and over and over that I'm not there for them, I'm there for ME and my own career development. Period, end of discussion. It's an ongoing process for me... During the drive from work to class tonight, I had a little pep talk with myself about all this. And wouldn't you know it? Class was a huge improvement. My legs and feet felt strong, I remembered combinations, I held my balance, I accomplished turns, and I let myself just chill and dance. It wasn't perfect by any means, but it was better. And that's better than worse.

Top 18 SYTYCD Review, Part Deux

Okay, so I just watched the two couples that I missed last night thanks to Emergency Broadcast System storm warnings, and here are my thoughts...

Ade and Melissa - LOVED them again this week. The piece was a quirky jazz piece choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, and while it was a very out-of-the-box little ditty, I thought they rocked it. And I like Sonya's quirky style. They were in sync and sharp with their movement. And that Melissa... she's very strong and keeps right up with Ade, who's not a small guy.

Kupono and Ashley - they did a hip hop piece choreographed by Shane Sparks. It had its good moments, but it had it's just okay moments, too. I think Ashley hit it harder than Kupono, and they weren't always together. I won't say that it was terrible, but it could have been better. I think these two are liked enough that they won't be in danger tonight, but we shall see.

I don't know, I've been really disappointed with the hip hop numbers so far this season. Granted, this is only the second week, but I've loved the other pieces. The hip hop pieces have all fallen a little flat for me, and I've been left wanting more.

Tonight's group piece is choreographed by Mia Michaels, so it should be interesting. And let's all cross our fingers that any looming thunderstorms just chill until the show is over so there aren't any interruptions!

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top 18 SYTYCD Review, Part Un

Thanks to three different "Emergency Broadcast System" interruptions during the show, there were a couple routines I didn't get to see. (I know they serve a good purpose, such as warning me that a tornado is heading my way, and I know the weather is out of the TV stations' control, but my blood boiled just a little each time the picture flipped from dancers to a storm warning screen... c'mon now, this is the highlight of my week, *SIGH*...) So, this review is going to have to be done in two parts. When I watch the missed routines tomorrow on YouTube, I will add Part Deux.

I'm exhausted, so this review may be a little rough around the edges. Bear with me...

Evan and Randi did a fun little Jive number. I caught myself shaking my hips and wiggling to the beat while they danced. The judges told Evan his kicks needed to be a little snappier and his triple steps a little less jazzy, but overall I thought they did a great job and the routine was fun. Dancing is supposed to be fun!

Melissa and Ade... the judges' reviews were good, but I missed their routine, thanks to the thunderstorm warnings. To be continued tomorrow.

Jason and Caitlin danced a hip hop routine which was okay. I think Jason did better than Caitlin - she was a little too soft, or reserved, or something. I wasn't totally sold on it.

Brandon and Janette's disco routine was fabulous! And another fun one. It was SO fast, but they pulled it off. There's no way that was easy, so huge kudos to them!

Vitolio and Asuka... They did a Waltz, and to be honest, I was nervous about it. During the interview segment before performing the routine, when they talked about the week's learning process with the new choreography and we see clips of the process, it hit me why I was nervous for these two. Or, nervous for Vitolio, as I'm indifferent to Asuka. I think it's her. I'm not sure if they're the best match and I feel like she's the weak link in the partnership. If a couple's connection is off even in the slightest, it can affect each person's dancing and performance. But they surprised me! The choreographer created a story that really tapped into Vitolio's personal story so he could bring honest, raw emotion to the stage. Achieving such a task asked by a choreographer can easily go either way; it's such a fine line to walk... But he did it! I got choked up and teary-eyed, surprising myself! Mary cried, too, when she gave them feedback. It was simple but powerful.

Max and Kayla did a contemporary (I think?) piece and it was okay. The judges raved, but I wasn't that impressed. Not because their technique wasn't good - Kayla is AMAZING - but by the piece overall. It just didn't move me.

Jonathan and Karla also danced a contemporary piece, and it was very well done. I think Jonathan redeemed last week's flat solo performance and did exceptionally well in a style that he's not familiar with. Karla was beautiful in this piece.

Philip and Jeanine danced a tango, and it was... well, it was alright. Nothing to write home about.

Last was Kupono and Ashley... but I didn't get to see them because of a storm warning interruption. To be continued for them, too.

That's all for tonight, folks. I bid you adieu and guten nacht!

Surviving, $2.80 at a time

I'm in "gotta make some extra money fast" mode, as the finances have, well, reached a scary level. I'm trying to sell old clothes, accessories and some other things of mine via eBay, Craigslist and local consignment shops. I'm a newbie at this selling/consigning thing, so it's been interesting so far. I took two full bags of clothes to Plato's Closet (is this a national chain?) last night, hoping for about $20 in return... uhh, it didn't exactly go as planned. They bought one thing from me - one! - and I made a whopping $2.80. So frustrating. While the clothes were name brands they take, the store clerk told me that they are a bit too old (they want things that have been purchased no more than about a year ago) and too "sophisticated", as in my clothes don't cater to the teen/young adult clientele Plato's Closet focuses on. Alrighty. Never thought I had sophisticated style, but whatever...

That was only Round One, so I'm not giving up yet... I have many more clothes and a bunch of accessories that I'm going to take back there for Round Two tomorrow night. Heck, maybe I'll make another $2.80???? And I'm going to attempt to sell the clothes that are "too sophisticated" at a local consignment shop here in town. If that doesn't work, then I might make like a crazy person, set up a table on some street corner, and sell my stuff garage sale-style on the corner. It's kinda hard to have a bonafide garage sale when living in an apartment, so...

I went to my dad's for dinner Monday night, thanks to a night off from ballet, and since he's moving his house is in pre-moving disarray. He's getting rid of stuff and giving me and my brothers our stuff that we've stored there. He sent me home with my golf clubs, which have been sitting in his garage for who-knows-how-long. I will be selling those bad boys on Craigslist. The only reason I bought them in the first place, many, many moons ago, was to appease my dad by playing golf with him, but I don't really like golf and I will most likely not golf again anytime soon, so they should go to a home that will use them... and give me money in exchange.

Lastly, there's eBay... I have a bunch of repro, "vintage" Coco-Cola stuff that I will attempt to sell as well. Hopefully that puts more than $2.80 in my pocket.

Somehow I'm going to survive these next couple weeks, $2.80 at a time...

And stay tuned later tonight for this week's Wednesday night review of So You Think You Can Dance... dance... dance...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tag, you're IT!

As I dashed from the office to my dad's for dinner earlier this evening, I realized that when I posted my 10 random tidbits, I forgot to tag another bunch of lucky bloggers to pass on the fun.

So, Maegan, An Explorer's View of Life (if you feel up to it), That Baldy Fella, Baking Epiphanies, Joy the Baker, lemette world, Just Jules, Steaming Pile, trippin' through life, W.O.W., and Working Girl - have at it!

10 Juicy Tidbits

I was recently tagged by Jen to list 10 random things about me. I'm not sure how juicy they really are, but I got your attention and got you here, didn't I? So, without further ado...

1. I'm fanatical about making my bed. I don't like going to bed with the covers all bunched up and messy - I love the feeling of slipping my legs between two smooth, cool sheets after a long day. Bunched up sheets and blankets don't feel good and I actually have a hard time relaxing if they are! I will even make my bed right before going to bed at night if I didn't have time to make it in the morning. Crazy, I know!

2. My favorite word in Spanish is mocos, which means boogers. I love it!

3. I speak a tiny bit of several languages... Spanish, French, German and even a phrase in Ukrainian. I wish I were fluent in French, Italian, Russian and German. I love languages and actually pick them up fairly well, I've just never spent enough time with one to learn it well.

4. I'm not buying that Lady Gaga is this hot new pop artist, and I think I may be one of the very few. Seriously people, she's not that amazing. Oh, and while we're at it, I feel the same way about The Pussycat Dolls. Sure they're hot and sex sells, but any talented music producer can edit the crap out of someone's singing and make them sound a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Their live performance on SYTYCD last summer was awful.

5. I'm an absolute pain in the neck when I'm hungry... moody, emotional, impatient, distracted. My blood sugar crashes and so do I - I lose all ability to function as a normal adult. It's stupid, yes, but I don't have a ton of control over it, other than making sure to always have snacks around me. I've acquired the nickname "Jessizilla" by my friends. Just feed me NOW and no one gets hurt!

6. When my body craps out on me someday and I can no longer dance, my next career will be the host of my own cooking show on Food Network. I will call it something like "Cocktails and Confections" - martinis and desserts! [If anyone steals my idea, I will hunt you down and you will be very, very sorry...]

7. I'm not allergic, but wasps and hornets and yellow jackets scare the crap out of me (but not honey or bumble bees, strangely), and when one is flying around me, I run away screaming like a little girl. I know you're not supposed to do that, but I have no control over it - it's a panic reflex.

8. I've wanted to be a wife and mother since I was old enough to realize that boys didn't have cooties and they were actually kind of cute. I mean, whenever I would play Barbies, Ken and Barbie would get married, get it on on their honeymoon(yep, my Barbies made out), and live happily ever after in their house. I'm getting rather impatient for that phase of my life to begin, but that's a sensitive subject, so let's move on...

9. I melt in the presence of chubby babies with curly hair - they are the most adorable EVER, so I hope I have chubby curly-haired babies. (I'm not worried about the chub, especially if they get their mama's appetite, so let's hope the future Hubs has curly hair or it's in his genes...) Wait, I was supposed to move on from this subject...

10. I hate celery. Loathe it. It's disgusting... the crunch, the flavor, the strings... ugh [*shudder*]...

Friday, June 12, 2009

From ballet to hip hop

Ahhhh, another Friday. Not only do I wake up in a happy mood because of the day, but today had a little extra pep in it because when I peeked out the window to assess the weather situation, the sky was blue and sun was out! I was amazed. And pleased to be reminded of what Colorado is really supposed to be like... I was starting to forget...

Ballet has been a little... I won't say "easier", as ballet is never really easy... less panic-inducing with each passing day this week. I finally felt like I was getting back into the dance class groove last night - thank goodness! Class was physically hard on Monday, yes, and taking a month off was not smart, no, but part of Monday's reality check was not just the physical aspect, but also the pace and level of the class. The professor who is teaching this class is CSU's ballet mistress (read: advanced) and I am not used to this level. She moves fast and the exercises are not simple. Not only did I feel out of shape on Monday, but I also felt like a discombobulated deer in headlights. Learning combinations and remembering the sequence of exercises is something you learn to do better the more you do it, just like learning the movement itself. The sinking feeling I had earlier this week as class time approached is dissipating.

I get a three-day break from ballet (no class on Monday), but not a break from dancing... Tomorrow is the hip hop crew's monthly practice-at-the-gym rehearsal (LOVE the bouncy gymnastics floor!), and then we're going out dancing after! I'm excited - I haven't been out dancing in Denver for a long time. Then normal class/rehearsal on Sunday.

And in honor of my weekend of hip hop adventures, here's my latest song obsession: Boom Boom Pow by The Black Eyed Peas. I cannot get enough of this song... seriously. I was pretty jazzed that the SYTYCD Top 20 opened last night's show with it (I jumped off of the couch in excitement, no joke). It makes me want to hit it pretty hard and LOSE MY MIND in a dance club. Maybe I'll get my chance this weekend... This song should only be listened to loud and with some solid bass... so crank it and ENJOY!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

SYTYCD Thursday Results Show

WHEW! All five of "my" couples were safe tonight!!! Vitolio, whom I was nervous about and kind of had a feeling would be in the bottom three to "dance for his life", pulled through. Okay Vitolio, you gotta bring it next week with the personality that we all know is in there, no screwing around. Again, whew!

Tony and Paris, the couple who did the not-so-great hip hop last night, were eliminated. I was sad for them, as I always am for the eliminatees, but not that surprised. I didn't think Paris' dance-for-her-life solo was that hot, so I just had a feeling the judges would say goodbye. I thought it was a fair toss-up between the two boys, Jonathan and Tony, though... Jonathan's latin number was fun in spots, but not caliente enough I didn't think... Tony did a locking routine for his solo, which wasn't too bad actually. In fact, I thought he did a decent job (I disagree with Nigel's comment that he didn't lock that well, but since Nigel's getting paid the big bucks and I'm just a b-girl-in-training, what he says goes, lol). Decent isn't good enough in this competition, though, so the judges will have Jonathan stay and say goodbye to Tony.

So, goodbye to Tony and Paris, and best of luck... don't let this keep you from both pursuing your dreams in dance! Like Cat said, it's just the beginning. And really, it is - I mean, how many people can cay they danced in the SYTYCD Top 20??

And now I must wait an entire week until the Top 18 strut their stuff on stage... SIGH...

SYTYCD Top 20 Wednesday Follow Up

** I'm going to try to post my own li'l review each week about the SYTYCD episodes. *Try* being the operative word here. And my attempts will be with the goal of posting on the same evening the show airs so it's so-fresh-and-so-clean in my mind... we shall see how this goes! **

Auditions have wrapped up, the Top 20 have been selected in Vegas, and now it's time for the dancers to get down with their bad selves in hopes of winning the hearts of viewers to become this season's "America's Favorite Dancer".

Overall, this season is going to rock. Granted I said that last year, but that's beside the point. This group is fantastic, from talent and skill to personality and charisma, which is going to make it hard to vote. Case in point: I voted for five couples last night. Five. I'm not even sure if that's kosher, but I couldn't help myself - I couldn't decide! Yowza, it's going to be an exciting summer for us SYTYCD-ophiles...


The dancers who are starting to make their way onto the "Jessi's Favorites" list:

Evan Kasprzak - this kid's style is classic Broadway. Think OLD-school, like Gene Kelly. Love this kid, he's adorable. Not only can he get it done onstage, he looks like he's having fun up there. I'm a big fan of dancers who look like they're loving what they're doing (believe me, I've seen dancers who look bored or miserable on stage... sad). AND, he showed us last night that he has talent and skill to do more than Broadway. I have a good feeling about him.

Ade Obayomi - I don't have much to articulate about him at this point, but I just have a feeling. I really enjoyed his dancing in the piece with Melissa. They were a great match and had good chemistry together. So important for partnered dance.

Vitolio Jeune - his number with partner Asuka was not one of the best last night, which was sad. I will admit that I think he's HOT, but that's not the only reason I'm rooting for him... c'mon, now... I sense that there's more inside him than what we got last night, more dance skill and fire, so I hope that America gives him enough votes so he doesn't go home tonight.

Melissa Sandvig
- LOVE this girl. She's 29 and rocks it, calling the other dancers "kids" and says it with a smile and that she can hang with 'em. Represent, girl! She acquired the nickname Naughty Ballerina during her audition and joked about that during her bio segment last night. She's fun, has a sass and a sense of humor and reminds me of me - my friends said the same thing [*grins*]. Oh, and since she's a classically trained ballerina since age 5 or so, she's quite good. (That's where we she doesn't remind me of me...)

[Check out the link to the Fox page with the Top 20's pics].

And what about each dance number? There were several that I enjoyed... the first hip hop piece with Phillip and Jeanine... Wade Robeson's quirky crash-test-dummy piece - LOVED and reminded me of the Katie Elliot haz-mat suit piece I danced in this spring... the Bollywood piece... the modern piece by Mandy Moore, danced by Ade and Melissa... the Foxtrot danced by Brandon and Janette... And of course there were a few pieces that fell flat for me... sadly, Vitolio and Asuka's Broadway piece, which needed more pizazz... OMG, the last hip hop piece was NOT good - just like the judges said, Tony and Paris did not hit it hard enough. AT ALL. Seriously.

And I can't write a review of the show without commenting on judge Mary Murphy... Mary, Mary, Mary... does anyone else who saw the show think maybe she had something more than just water in that cup of hers? She's always a bit crazy, and maybe she's just really high on life and the excitement of the show, but good LORD she was out of control last night. I would love to meet that woman.

And that's a wrap. Tonight will be the first elimination show. I hope to the dancing gods that the five couples I voted for are all safe for at least another week...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reality Check Monday

* I intended to post this Monday night, but was too exhausted to finish it then, so I left it until today...

Last night my summer ballet class started. I was really looking forward to it, excited to have another dance class added to my schedule and help get rid of the Bad Funk. I've also been worrying about staying in shape for Chicago, so I knew this would help me stop fretting a little bit. I was also a little nervous since I haven't done ballet in a month. I wasn't too worried about being out of shape... I've stayed active with hip hop, conditioning exercises and my Tae Bo videos for cardio. My concern was that I'd be slightly out of practice technically, plus I was (and still am) hella-uber sore from hip hop on Sunday, so I knew I wasn't going to do stellar. But it was only the first class back after a mini-break, and the teacher knew that so she shouldn't be too hard on us, so how bad could it be?

Let's just put it this way - I got bitch-slapped by ballet.

The hip hop soreness did not help, of course, but I'm pretty confident that my experience would have been no different had I felt fine.

My legs felt like they weighed 5 tons each. My turnout was, um, a bit lacking. I apparently left my brain somewhere else, because I couldn't remember the combinations to save my life. I was so discombobulated it was as if my brain and body were separate entities. My brain: "demi plie into releve, another demi plie, then grand plie... okay, got it." My body: "what's a plie? what is this 'ballet'? why am I wearing tights anyway?"

It was pretty pathetic and I was rather embarrassed. And I am SO GLAD that Professor C is offering these classes this summer, because I don't even want to think about what it would have been like getting to Chicago without taking technique classes beforehand.

Our professors are always telling us that dancers do not get to take time off. The Artistic Director of Diavolo, Jacques Heim, told us the same thing last fall when he and his company came to CSU to set a piece on us. He said that while everyone else with "normal" jobs get vacation time and weekends off, dancers don't. Ever. Not if you want to keep your job.

Time off to rest and rejuvenate is important, yes, and they do tell us to make sure we give our bodies downtime, but what they mean is we can't take huge chunks of time off and think we can come back and pick up where we left off.

And we all know this in our heads, but we quickly forget so getting a reality check every so often does a dancer good. While I had good intentions doing what I've been doing to stay in shape, and they have helped keep me in general condition, I was naive in thinking that they would keep me in dance condition.

I definitely was not the only one in the Reality Check Boat. One girl told me she has been biking, hiking and running, thinking she was doing such a good job of staying in shape. She mentioned her surprise to Professor C at how not in shape she realized she was during class despite all her activities. Professor C told her about some study done years ago to find which sports/activities required the most stamina, strength, flexibility, mental focus, comprehensive use of all the muscle groups, all at the same time, and only two won the prize: fighting (I assume this means martial arts) and dance. And so therefore, the only way to stay in that caliber of shape is to do the activity itself.

Silly, silly Jessi.

I have my excuses/reasons/justifications for why I wasn't doing ballet to stay in shape for ballet... the never-ending reason being money. "I can't afford to take classes at other studios, blah blah blah..." This limitation is very really for me, there's no doubt about that. But I can't let it keep me from moving forward and working at my craft - not if I want to succeed. I realized last night that it's not excuse enough. Okay, so I can't afford to take class besides what I've planned for, so then I do ballet in my kitchen after work at night. Its not ideal, but its better than not doing it at all. I also know that since I'll mostly be doing modern in Chicago, that means I also find a way to work on modern technique in the next three weeks.

So I accept the very humbling lesson learned here. I get very frustrated with my financial situation, but I have a choice: I can either fester in the frustration and work myself into deeper frustration, or I can use the frustration as fire to fight. I'm a fighter, so it's time for the gloves to come off.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Friday feels sooooooo good, and it's especially sweet after my week of Bad Funkiness. I won't claim that the Bad Funk has dissipated, but at least my spirits are a couple notches higher than they've been recently.

The appearance of the sun helped a lot... I was surprised to see it this morning, and was even more [pleasantly] surprised that it stuck around as long as it did today... the work lunch barbecue at work was a go and boy was I happy that I got to eat lunch outside.

Other little nuggets of goodness that are helping lighten my mood:

* LOTS of social time this weekend, starting with [another!] barbecue this evening, and then I'll head downtown for this month's First Friday Gallery Walk. Besides getting to walk around and enjoy the galleries in Old Town FoCo, the Imagination Fair is also taking place. I must say, for a small city, FoCo has some awesome arts and cultural events. Tomorrow I'll go watch my swing crew perform at our Pride in the Park festival (ranked #5 in the country for small-town Pride events by - woot, woot, FoCo!). Then to a friend's graduation party, and then to another friend's cocktail party. I can't freakin' wait.

* Between all my social play time tomorrow, I get to get my hair cut, f-i-n-a-l-l-y! I'm a couple months overdue, and since my hair doesn't want to do anything beyond a ponytail anymore, I'm not feeling the prettiest these days. My cute bangs shall soon return!

* I plan to bike to most of the above activities, defiantly armed with my rain jacket. Suck on it, gloomy weather!! Let me add that I HEART my bike, and I'm trying to save money by driving less, if possible, now that it's summer and the weather is [supposed to be] nice.

* Hip hop hooray on Sunday! Even though every Sunday night I get my butt absolutely whooped by the hip hop teacher, I LOVE Sundays. I'm getting stronger, my arms are nice and defined, and those two-and-half-hours of intensity are pure CHURCH for me. I leave excited for life and being a dancer.

That's all for now... Time to get my barbecue on.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Funk is good paired with soul, not with the blues

Monday's stress and anxiety over money matters have settled into a bad case of funk. And not the good kind of funk. Good funk is James Brown, Earth Wind & Fire and Funkytown. Bad funk is not brushing your teeth, not showering, or ignoring all general rules of hygiene. Bad Funk is this cloud of vomity BLAH that I'm stuck under.

My bloggy friend Maegan coined it perfectly in a Twitter post (I know it's technically called a "Tweet", but I personally don't like that term) this morning: she called it the "June Gloom". Granted she was referencing the gloomy weather that has a death grip on Los Angeles - here in Colorado, too! - but I think June Gloom is a perfect way to describe the funk that is pinning me in a half-nelson tighter than a testosterone-overloaded teenage wrestler.

Yesterday was awful. I needed a vacation away from myself. I was definitely sportin' my crabby pants. I could not figure out what the heck was wrong with me... I initially blamed it on exhaustion, which is a perfectly reasonable explanation considering I'm not sleeping well again, accompanied by some crazy dreams. Yes, I'm exhausted, but the root of the problem is not lack of sleep. I'm not sleeping well because of this funk I'm in, so its all a vicious cycle that keeps perpetuating itself. Today as I drove to work, scowling at the rainy gloom hanging heavy above us, I came to the conclusion that I'm hella bored and lonely and restless and depressed. Bad F-U-N-K, y'all.

Yes, I have friends and we hang out here and there. Sure, I have things to do... work, working out, my little projects at home, my TV shows... but none of this really does the trick, which in turn makes me feel guilty. I feel like a jerk who doesn't appreciate her friends or her job or the fact that I actually have time to watch TV. Guilt = feeding the Bad Funk monster.

I'm bored because I'm not in dance classes or rehearsals, the things that fulfill me and give me a sense of purpose. Even though I work all day, I feel totally unproductive and lame. I don't feel like I'm doing anything. I HATE sitting for 8-plus hours a day, staring at a computer, all by myself. My body gets all hunched over and feels like a pile of mush. I feel like I'm turning into a hybrid of Quasi Moto and Jabba the Hut. Hot.

The loneliness is a bit more sinister and its a subject I'm very hesitant to broach on the World Wide Web for all the masses to read. Let's just say this: the mocking little demons who whisper mean things like "you're 30 and still alone" aren't easily ignored.

I'm restless because I feel stuck. I feel like I want to run forward and get the show on the road with my life and career, but I'm frozen. Remember the early 90's movie Joe versus the Volcano? Joe (Tom Hanks) goes to work everyday at this gray factory, to do a gray job, and the only sign of life or color is a flower that sprouts up between the cracks of the gray sidewalk outside the factory, which gets stepped on. Those early scenes in the movie always pop in my head when I feel like this.

I'm depressed because... well, because of all of the above.

The weather is NOT helping matters... as mentioned above, Colorado is stuck in this never-ending, Seattle-like hell (sorry L, but there's a damn good reason I don't live up there) of constant rain and clouds and totally depressing gloom! The sun will peek out here and there, but is soon reclaimed by heavy, hazy clouds. Temperatures don't really get above 75 degrees and the normally clear blue sky is a memory. I'd like to stop wearing jeans and scarves and wear my cute new sundress. The weather people tell us there is no sign of it letting up any time soon. Awesome. It makes me want to vomit.

I crave to do, to move, to create, to have adventures... I remind myself that I will soon have adventures in Chicago, and that should help ease some of this, but I also have a grip on reality and know that my time in Chicago won't be the end-all and be-all cure for my Bad Funk.

But maybe it will. Maybe I'll get to learn some amazing choreography. Maybe I'll finally figure out how to correctly jump and turn. Maybe I'll be inspired in my own choreography. Maybe I'll come back to Colorado and impress the hell out of my teachers and classmates at school. Maybe I'll fall in love with Chicago like I did with New York. Maybe I'll fall in love. Maybe future Mr. Hubby is kickin' it in Chi-town, waiting for me to get my butt there already. Maybe, maybe... as I've learned from the twists and turns and surprises in my crazy life, anything is possible. And anything has to be better than a case of Bad Funk.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Checking in

Despite my intentions to write something everyday, my poor blog gets neglected anyway. I wish for more followers, but passers-by are not going to linger for long if regular updates are lacking. So for the umpteenth time, I'm claiming that I will try to do better.

So I thought I should check in. What's happening in my world these days? Here is an at-a-glance update... (and please forgive any incoherence, as I slept terribly last night and have been in a very thick, exhausted fog all day... I'm surprised I'm still awake, honestly...)

Daily life is much less eventful (hectic?) without school demanding this and that. I go to work at my desk job in the morning, arriving sometime between 8 and 9, then leave around 5 p.m. I do various things in the evenings... workout, cook dinner, watch SYTYCD, work on various projects... It feels so slow, even boring, after the go-go-go pace of the semester. But I'm trying to appreciate the calm, as the go-go-go storm will be back before I know it.

T-minus 28 days until I'll be in Chicago for my dance intensive! I'm excited and nervous all rolled into one... I can't wait to eat Chicago deep-dish pizza, ride the El (Chicago's train), and see my friend D, whom I will stay with for the month. Dance-wise, I'm really looking forward to learning A LOT and getting to know the company better (networking, networking). I hope to return home a better, stronger dancer, ready to rock it at school in the fall. On the other hand, a constant stream of questions roll through my head... am I working out enough to stay in shape? Am I going to suck in the intensive classes? Are they going to regret inviting me to the intensive? What's the El like, anyway? Similar, better or worse than NYC's subway? Will I have enough time and money to sight see? Clubs? Lake Michigan? Gifts for family and friends?

And then there are the BIG questions that caused me to jolt out of bed this morning in a panic... I only get paid once this month (something the University does each year that coincides with it's fiscal year-end - long story that I don't even fully understand), so can I afford everything this month??? Plane ticket? New leotards and tights? Ballet classes to keep me in shape? Gas money? Groceries? A haircut? Father's Day for my dad? My normal monthly bills??? I'm stressing, there's no doubt about that.

[Good lord, no wonder I didn't sleep last night.]

I scoped out Craigslist again today to see if there are any part time jobs on the weekends, but no dice. I'm very hesitant to find a part time job in the evenings because then my training/conditioning/ballet classes get compromised, and that's not a very good idea at all. Asking for money, whether through "sponsor letters" or setting up some kind of donation thing here (I know people have done this)? Ugh, that gives me serious anxiety. Donating plasma even crossed my mind, but the thought of doing that just makes me want to throw up and pass out, so I don't think that's a wise choice. [I'm not a good needles/blood/body fluids person, especially when done to me - and to think I considered a career in nursing twice upon a time.]

I'm trying very hard not to let my stress cross-over into freak-out territory, but it's difficult holding on to my sanity when teetering on that edge in an exhausted state.

If anyone has any suggestions, ideas or words of encouragement, I'm all ears!!