Saturday, December 31, 2011

Love's in the Sky With Diamonds!

By Amy Baranski

Yesterday I had the honor of taking photographs at Jen and Josh Diamond's wedding on the top floor of the municipal courthouse. It was awesome. I'm not a professional photographer and barely know how to use my camera but Jen and I had talked about that.

I met the Diamonds through this blog, well really through Melissa, one of their good friends. They are a fun family. My husband Bob keeps a beehive at their house as part of his Urban Bee project. So there are lots of connections. I don't know the Diamonds too well, but I hope to get to know them more because they are radiant people.

Here are my top ten favorite things about the Diamonds.
  1. Their last name is Diamond.
  2. They have flames painted on the side of their mini-van.
  3. They like honey and have the empty jars to prove it.
  4. They decided to get married after having three children.
  5. Elijah, Gabriel, and Miriam (their kids) are awesome people.
  6. The Diamonds have fantastic smiles.
  7. Jen and I both have gay moms!
  8. They planned their wedding in 5 weeks or less.
  9. Their friends really love them (and so do their fams).
  10. They are just easy to be around.
Congratulations Diamonds!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve Karaoke

posted by Melissa Baumgart
Our friend, Jen, rocking out some fine karaoke.

For me personally, Christmas came and went in a fog of allergy induced sneezes that turned into coughing and yellow snot.  I could barely get the tamales finished, and after making three different fillings the night before, thankfully Dina and my kids helped to accomplish assembling all 80-some tamales.  Yes, Dina and my brother and the girls all made the trip over from Switzerland to the holidays with us!!!

I didn't even photograph any of the festivities of the evening.  Luckily I got this one shot of Jen singing karaoke.  We hooked up the machine and instead of the usual adults picking songs from the 70's and 80's, the kids took over and were belting out every Christmas carol available.  It was super fun to watch them all come out of what looked like shy cautionary faces to standing tall, singing loudly and smiling ear to ear.  

I sang my usual, Bryan Adams "Summer of '69", with the help of many background singers.

And for now, back to family, Xbox Kinect, cooking, and hopefully kicking this cold.  ANd maybe some karaoke in public before the new year is up.  Hope all of your holidays were bright and merry!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Country Santa

Day One of Country Santa.
posted by Melissa Baumgart
This month started with lots of karaoke.  Mid-month has brought more Christmas caroling and puzzle making.  Some friends of ours had their annual Christmas carol party this past Saturday, and it was a lot of fun as usual.  She hires a piano player and has books with the music and lyrics and a fluctuating group of about 25 -30 people and kids join in to belt out some well known carols.  Kinda like old fashioned karaoke, perhaps?

Then there has been the puzzle.  My mother-in-law sent us a box of gifts, and a couple things to start out the season.  One was this puzzle, called "Country Santa."  Levi and I started the puzzle Thursday morning, and many hours have gone into it since then.  I often have Christmas music playing the background, singing merrily along.

But puzzle making can be also addictive.  Today, I didn't get dressed, I didn't brush my teeth, I didn't even look in the mirror and barely fed my kids lunch.  My back hurts from being hunched over this puzzle all day.  I am now showered and taking a break, but I am determined to finish this puzzle by tomorrow.  I think I hit the tipping point this afternoon, and with any luck I might meet my goal.

I better, since I still have more Christmas preparing to do, you know for the real thing, not just a cardboard Santa that's been taking up the dining room table for a few days.  He'll have to go before the Baumgart Family Christmas Eve Party, or there won't be room for the tamales at the table.

I do suggest trying a puzzle, especially if you haven't done one in a while.  It is very satisfying.  And when you're unemployed and not in school, it kinda gives you a feeling of accomplishing something at the end of the day.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yes, I admit to Keeping Up

posted by Melissa Baumgart
Yesterday I watched the Kardashians.  It was mid morning and I wrapped up in a blanket, sat on the couch, and watched Kloe's wedding.  I experienced a myriad of thoughts and feelings.  They ranged from satisfied, relaxed, pathetic and embarrassed to apathetic, justified and lazy.  I had cramps, and it seems like lately (since I am unemployed and not in school) it's my monthly excuse to plop my butt on the couch and do a little "Keeping up", if you know what I mean.

I know I said in a previous, inspired post, that I would never ever watch that show about the 1% again.  And yet, there I sat, guiltily subdued by the drama and bling.

I could have been working on finding funding for school. (NOT, because every time I go talk to the person they send me to, that new person has no idea why they sent me there in the first place.  It is a hamster wheel of educational and government bureaucracy and all I want to do lately is jump off and lay in the smelly cedar chips that make up the cage called my life.)

I could have been singing karaoke, but then I would have had to plug in the machine.  And get dressed, because the TV is right in front of our big window.

I could have went to yoga with Jamie, but I would have had to have drank a lot more water in preparation.  I hadn't.

I could have cleaned the house.    

Instead, I did nothing.

Why do we feel so bad about doing nothing?  Or about going back on passionate declarations about what we will and won't do with ourselves.  Isn't it human to do these things?  Isn't it after all just one day out of our life, or a couple hours?  And then a new day dawns, perhaps like this morning with an amazing sunrise over the mountains.  See, I knew it was over the mountains, even though I couldn't see them because I live in the first floor dark dungeon apartment, not the airy and open, light filled third floor apartment.

But anyway, a new day does come around, no matter on which floor you reside.  A new list of things to accomplish gets drawn up and you just get to work.  It's 10:20am and I already have four out of the 12 things crossed off.  Not too shabby for a girl that sometimes just can't resist that temptation to Keep Up. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You put the Boom Boom into my Heart

posted be Melissa Baumgart
The Baumgart house has been rocking the karaoke.  I have to say a huge Thank You to our friend, Kenny, for loaning us the karaoke machine.  It has been so fun to sing and not be all in front of people, or at a bar every night.  And yes, I have karaoke'd everyday since December 1st!  I like finding songs that are "in my range", if I can even say I have one.  It's very humorous how good one can think they sound singing along to the stereo, and then hear the harsh slap of reality when their voice is piped through a mic for all to hear.  Loudly.

Some of my personal favorites thus far have been:

Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go) by Wham - I think song this might have been my all time high score of 96!  There are so many, songs that is, not high scores, that it's hard to remember.
Summer of '69 by Brayn Adams
Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones
Edelwiess by Julie Andrews
Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
Live to Tell by Madonna
It Ain't Over Til It's Over by Lenny Kravitz

Some songs I am real bad at:

Saving All My Love For You by Whitney Houston
Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree by Tony Orlando
Endless Love by Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie
(I know there are more, I am probably just blocking them out)

One not to sing with kids around:

My Name Is by Eminem (Have you ever heard those lyrics, whoa!  This karaoke is does not include the "clean" version apparently.  And we learned this the hard way, with kids present.  Ooops.)

Keep on Rocking,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh, thinking about our younger years

 posted by Melissa Baumgart
I kicked off karaoke month family-style.  Of course my kids were not into the idea when I brought it up during the day.  Tallulah said I was embarrassing.  "But no one will be here, just us."  I rebutted.  "Well, they might be walking by and hear you."  She thoughtfully added.  Levi never wants to do anything I ever suggest, so that was no surprise.  And Lily thought it was weird.

Love the graphics.
After dinner, we set up the Filipino karaoke machine.  It is a microphone that has buttons for selecting your song after you have chosen it from the menu of options in the little book it comes with.  You just plug it into you TV and you have instant karaoke.  Song choices range from Elton John, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Debby Boone, the Kinks, and Gene Autry.  A wide range of choices.

I started out the fun with a moving rendition of "Heaven" by Bryan Adams.  Man, that took me right back to middle school.  I desperately wanted to go see Bryan Adams at the Wheeling Civic Center, but my parents thought I wasn't old enough to go without supervision.  And supervision would have been so un-cool.

Levi grabbed the mic next and did, of course, "Thriller."  He loves to dance like Michael Jackson and I think he does a pretty good job for a 10 year old white boy.  Lily jumped up from her homework to join us, and she always does Beatles tunes.  She scores very high with "Let it Be", so she usually starts there.  Next Tallulah popped over for her favorite song, "Blackbird."

Yes, in the end all three kids were fighting over whose turn was next.  And no one seemed the least bit embarrassed by my singing, only frustrated that they had to wait.  There were lots of smiles and time spent snuggling on the couch while someone else sang.  Lots of "I love you, Mama."
Levi singing "Thriller", I should have video taped it.

Kids are so odd.  Mine never want to participate in "family" things, and then, when they do...they always have a good time.  You'd think they would get it by now, that, Mom and Dad are pretty cool.

But then again, I wouldn't have been caught dead with my parents at the Bryan Adams concert.  I chose not to even go.  I remember being on a bus going to a football game and hearing the older kids belting out "Summer of '69" and I sunk lower in my seat, feeling sorry for myself that I couldn't go to the upcoming show.  I guess kids just are who they are.  And maybe it's really all part of growing up and becoming an adult.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Once I was happy...

posted by Melissa Baumgart
It's not that I'll miss jumping off of a 23 foot high platform, or that I'll miss being bruised by silk, but I definitely feel like I am moving on reluctantly this month.  I was listening to more versions of "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" today (and now again) and I felt forlorn.  Abandoned by the circus, by the magic, the quirkiness of it all.  But it's me that's leaving the circus behind, I feel like I am running away from the circus.

I really adored learning more about the circus by watching the documentary, and learning more about the circuses right in my back yard.  There's SANCA, School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts, and the Emerald City Trapeze, both of which offer not only classes, but also performances that the public can come and see.  We heard that on December 10th, SANCA is having a show highlighting their Junior Fly Team.  I definitely want to catch that!  (no pun intended, not even a high one.  OK, that pun was intended.)

With the calliope music in the background, and the Chimpmunks singing sharply in my ear (maybe it was their album where I first heard the trapeze song), I must move on.  On from the child-like awe that the circus brings, taking with me that feeling of knowing that we have it in us all to be extraordinary.

And I also must move away from the computer and all the You Tube videos of circus music, accordion music and watching trapeze performances.  Trust me, there's a lot of good stuff out there.  I'll leave you with this, and while it is certainly not the best video I watched in the past hour (yes, HOUR, I am unemployed, so what), it does bring together the circus and karaoke in a unique way.

"Circus life
Under the big top world
We all need the clowns to make us smile "

Who doesn't love a good Journey song for karaoke?


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trapeze Party!

posted by Melissa Baumgart
It went off without a hitch.  Well, I mean, I didn't get my legs hitched over the trapeze bar...but the party went off without a hitch.  Yes, I was disappointed in my less than average flights with everyone watching.  But I had a better time than I thought I would.  It sure was fun to see my friends facing their fears, meeting their hidden circus talents, being super excited and filled with adrenaline, and choosing to climb that ladder again and again. (BTW...random videos are embedded throughout the post!  Beware!)

Here is me, almost getting to the knee hang at the party!

Some quotes I heard throughout the night and notes I received after are:

"Thanks for inviting me to feel so alive!"

"Thank you, Good Luck With That!"  (this was pure sarcasm, and the kind that is meant to hide the fact that you really mean every word of it)

"Trapeeeeeze!!!" (a text from Lily on her way home from school)
And here is Lily in flight:

"That was terrifying...and nice." (from our youngest flier)  "I may do a second try."  (and he did!)

"We are the dreamers!!!"  (Said with both hands raised in the air, and I still do not know what they were talking about.)

"I really appreciated the opportunity to feel full of my terror of heights, and to actually do it anyways! It was really fun as well to see all the nimble acrobats hidden inside the average person emerge and take off!
Viva the magic in the average person!!"

"I didn't think it would be scary, but I almost cried up there.  I was like not able to grab that bar.  It is so heavy."

And now, a long time reader, and many times a commenter, my dear friend Matt getting caught!

And as always, so many cheers from everyone watching, no matter what your feat.  Just jumping and swinging would elicit hoots and hollers from everyone present.  And forget about it, if you managed the knee hang, wow!  People go crazy!

Nearly all the first timers faced some fears.  And even if they said they weren't afraid up there, I think their faces said differently.  Somehow what I read as facing a tiny bit of fear (you know, healthy, adrenaline producing fear) registered as "I was very focused" to one of my fellow fliers.  But it is true, while some eagerly anticipate their turn, other people really are feeling a lot more fear up there than others.

Being someone that had been there, dreading and regretting being at the top on the platform, I felt a kinship with those that truly looked faint-hearted.  And yet, I have to say, I was thinking that they should just do it.  Just do it and move through that despair.  I was standing, not only protected by the ground on which my feet were planted, but also from a perspective of knowing how safe this really was.

It made me all the more thankful for Kelly's (the woman at the top, holding our safety belts and talking us down from panic) compassionate nature.  Here is someone to whom trapeze is second nature, and she is able to be gentle and caring to those of us facing our first jump.  Facing perhaps one of our greatest fears we hold as truth.  And then, with her tender voice and reassurance, jumping into a new person.  Becoming more than we thought we could be standing safely on the ground.

And what's more?  My darling Lily is signing up for trapeze classes!  She hopes to soon be invited into the Junior Fliers Troupe at SANCA.  So, you never know, maybe being inspired to choose trapeze was simply a mother's intuition.  More on that to come....


A Lesson in Comparisons

posted by Melissa Baumgart
I found a few videos online of a song I remember from my childhood.  I don't recall where I know it from, but as soon as I heard it, the chorus came rushing back.  Here are a two I want to share.

This one is like Lily on the trapeze...well, minus when Bruce drops the F-bomb:

And this one is like me.  Now, may I remind you, I don't think this one is bad per se, just different.  but very special nonetheless.  Like seeing your kid at his first middle school band concert kind of special:

I love it.  Both of them.  And there a ton more on You Tube...lots of beautiful versions of this magical song, "The Man on the Flying Trapeze."  And tonight it is inspiring me (Bruce's version) to pick up that accordion again!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

She's a natural!

posted by Melissa Baumgart
The title of this post is NOT about me.  While I look awkward and bent in all the wrong ways, my daughter, Lily, has superb form.  Her body naturally arcs back exactly like they instructed us to, her eyes remain on her hands, her toes are pointed and then she lifts her feet up through her arms and onto the trapeze bar with ease and grace.  It is beautiful to watch.

When I am up there, standing with my toes over the edge, feet spread apart and knees bent in the "Ready" position, I envision myself jumping off and looking just like Lily.  (Reminds me of poker...and I quote, "I feel like a winner, but I just keep losing.")  In my trapeze fantasy, my legs are straight, my tummy taut and I fly above the net with agility and poise. In my trapeze reality, as evidenced by many photos that I will not be posting,  my legs are bent at the knee, they are dangling apart and my belly is hanging over my somewhat fallen pants after my ill fated attempt at performing the knee hang.

That's now become the hardest part of trapeze for me.  We are going to the big Trapeze Party tonight, the one that I organized and may end up paying more than I bargained for, and I don't want to go.  It's not that I am afraid to climb back up that ladder, I mean, I am still afraid, but not like the first time.  It's that I am embarrassed.  That's totally different.

I know it's OK to not be good at things.  And, when it was just me and a few people, I felt proud to have simply stood up there and had the balls to jump.  But now that so many people I know will be watching, I want to be good at it.  I know they will all be good at it and I want to be a part of that crowd.  High-fiving and confident.

Lily hugging me after I finally got the knee hang.
Being insecure is like being afraid.  It doesn't feel good, you want nothing more than for it to go away, and yet, there it is...stuck to you like pine sap on your hands after looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  Not that I am picky about my trees, for real, I am not.  Just been thinking about Christmas trees.

So, there it is.  Airing out all my "dirty laundry" so to speak.  
Putting myself out there, hanging myself on that trapeze bar like my stained kitchen tablecloth that never gets clean is out hanging for all the neighbors to see.

So, I guess that is saying I am going to do it tonight.  But I am not saying I'll like it.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Adrenaline Balancing Act

posted by Melissa Baumgart
It's been about a month and a half now since I stopped going to school.  This morning as I laid in bed, I heard Jamie opening the back door with a rushed purpose.  I assumed he was taking out the trash, after washing the dishes, and trying to quickly get it all done before heading out to work.  And it hit me, I have been taking everything slower these days.  I have not really had a reason to scramble through my morning, trying to get everything done in 15 minutes.

It has become more and more clear that I get less done with more time.  Having all this time leads me to a slower pace, which leads me to not getting as much done.  Something about shoving everything into a short period of time lends itself to frantically industrious days.  I have always thrived in last-minute scenarios and crisis inducing time lines.  So, while I am treasuring this slower time...I think I miss the rush.

Today I will be spending my day writing my "letter of intent" to Seattle University's nurse midwifery program.  It is due this Thursday, a self imposed procrastination to bring about a last minute (hopeful) spark of brilliance.  I find it hard to write about myself in a way that "sells" who I am to someone else.  This blog style writing where I can be self deprecating and frank about how life can really suck sometimes, and through that honesty find inspiration comes much more naturally.

It's funny to reflect about missing being busy.  Especially since when I am busy, it seems like all I do is complain about it.  Or use it as an excuse for not being better at keeping in touch with people or getting my chores done.  Or maybe it is simply the culturally acceptable way to be, so I share and commiserate with all the other unfortunate souls with whom I share this frenzied state of being.  Busy.

Is that where I get my adrenaline rushes?  Through running all over the apartment picking up laundry, wiping up spilled maple syrup on the table, squeezing in a blog post between dropping the kids off and vacuuming?  While others jump off trapeze platforms or catch big waves to get it all going inside, to feel alive.  I have to say though, after experiencing the rush of the trapeze vs. a busy mom rush, they don't compare.  One is more succinct in its aliveness, the other feels chronic and never ending.  Maybe I don't miss it after all.  

Perhaps it comes down to balance?  Rest/Work/Play.

I am so not good at balance.

And lately, I just stop and wonder...if we are not good at something, why do we often assume that we need to be?  I wonder if just living strongly into who we are, right now, is just as "good" as becoming a "better" person by changing what we are not good at.

Have a great matter how it shows up.  Slow.  Fast.  Or the just right balance of the two.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bruised by silk

I did it!  All by myself! 
posted by Melissa Baumgart
After too much "Holiday Cheer" and a nightcap of karaoke on Thanksgiving, I spent most of my Black Friday not wanting to go to the aerial class that Amy and I were signed up for.  It was getting closer to 6:30pm and it was getting very dark outside, all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and watch a movie.  As I ate my turkey leftovers with gravy so amazing I ate a small bowl of it late night while my family all had bowls of ice cream, I knew class was going to suck.  I would be full, and I had to take Tallulah with me.  She was tired and whiney, and possibly hungry...bad combination.

The three of us got into the van, and drove to Emerald City Trapeze.  Amy and I both realized we had left our smart phones at home when we also realized we forgot exactly where the trapeze place was.  (Resisting the urge for a "I guess we're not so smart" joke right now.)  We drove around SODO for a bit, knowing we were going to be late, and not really caring too much about it.  We knew what we were missing: a stretching session so physically challenging that Amy and I often glance at each other with silent expressions of pain that want to turn into fits of giggles because we can't believe how non-flexible we are.

Warm up twisting.
We found the place and still with a good twenty minutes of crucial stretching to spare.  After which we headed to the silks.  I thought that this class wold involve other aerial equipment, like the hoops and the static trapeze.  It did not.  Our teacher did inform us though, that it is best to start with the silks due to their soft, stretchy is less painful than metal.  Made sense to me.

Our teacher was great at teasing out all the details of where to place hand, how to lean your body certain beneficial ways and what not to do to make the tricks easier.  Due to her thorough descriptions (and maybe the sticky rosin I put on my feet as well as my hands this time), I was able to achieve getting my foot hold on the silks in the L-sit Climb.  Basically, you have to wrap the silk around one foot and hold it in place with the other foot from the top.  The last class I went to, I could not get a good grip and the silk kept slipping right through my feet, leaving me no option for any sort of climbing.  Now, I am not saying I did any climbing this class either, but I did get my feet to hold tightly together without the silk slipping through from between them.  One small step closer to the task of climbing those damn silks.
A culprit of the bruise.

One of the fun parts of class for the beginner is that even if you cannot climb very high, or at all, you can still do some upside-down tricks.  The teacher ties a knot into the silks, from which you get to contort your body into various forms and shapes that give you the feeling you must look like you're a Cirqu de Soleil preformer.  And actually, you look like what you are, an out of shape nearly 40-yr old stuck between two pieces of silk...and in pain.

The silk, while soft to the touch when it is hanging, becomes taut and digs into your skin with the force of your weight behind it.  So, if you weigh more, the silk is probably breaking more capillaries, creating beautiful bruising along your inner thigh or upper arm.

This morning I interrupted Jamie's conversation about yoga when I realized I was very tender on my thigh.  "Ouch, I  think I got a bruise" I said, cutting into his dream of our future he had been discussing.

"What?  What did you get bruised by?" He asked.

"Silk!"  I replied.

He started laughing, "You got bruised my silk?" he said sarcastically and with disbelief.

Totally, I did.  And the funniest part about it, with all the dread about going and all the attempts of jumping into the knotted silks with both knees landing in the silks left unattained,  even with the tired muscles and bruises the next day...I kinda loved it.


Monday, November 21, 2011

I am going to do it again!

My first jump off the edge.
posted by Melissa Baumgart
I have been busy trying to organize a Flying Trapeze Party.  Can you believe it?  I am going to do this again!  I am going to climb that ladder and jump off the platform again!  And this time it will be with a bunch of our friends.  After my experience, I really wanted to share it with everyone.

I am nervous to do it again, of course.  But I am also excited.  I am looking forward to "hopping" off the platform without bending my knees.  I am looking forward to keeping my toes pointed and legs together and actually getting my knees up onto the bar so I can hang upside down.  And getting to see a bunch of my friends try their hand at the trick too!

Perhaps I am working through this fear of heights thing.  I guess we'll see next time I face that ladder and the tiny platform with no railing.  I wonder if I will have that familiar tension throughout my body, that urge to cry and wish myself away from where I am.  Or, if I will feel that tension release a little and feel a bit of joy swell in my chest instead of dread sinking down.

I may have a couple of chances to find out.  Here's what we have lined up...

Upcoming aerial and trapeze happenings:

Friday, 11/25:  Beginner Aerial Class at Emerald City Trapeze.
I will learn more on silks, and hopefully be able to climb a few feet up the silk.  I have been going to yoga almost everyday, in the hopes that my strength will be increased before class.  I will also get to try tricks on the static trapeze, the hoop, and the rope.

Saturday, 11/26:  Flying Trapeze at SANCA.
I am not sure if it will be me or Lily joining Jamie, Amy and her husband, Bob, in class that day.  I want to do it again, but I also want Lily to give it a try (before she has to do it in front of our friends.)  I am just nervous that she will chicken out.  I wonder if she does, if I can take her place...

Tuesday, 11/29:  Flying Trapeze Party at SANCA!!!
Like I mentioned, even if I don't get to fly on Saturday, I'll get to go again on Tuesday.  Me, Jamie, Lily and Levi will all get to give it a go.  Unfortunately, Tallulah is too young.  She'll get to watch everyone, which I am sure will be very entertaining for her!

The only thing we didn't try that I was thinking about was aerial yoga.  Maybe I can squeeze it in somewhere.  Maybe.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Facing Fear

posted by Melissa Baumgart
A Fear of Heights
I say a little prayer to the trapeze gods.
I am afraid of heights.  I don't know when it started.  I don't remember this fear when I was younger.  I recall photos taken of me on top of the Twin Towers in the 1970's, right up near the edge, NYC stretching out behind me.  I remember climbing playground equipment all the way up to the top.  I used to love walking across the old suspension bridge that crossed the Ohio River, only 5 minutes from my house in Bridgeport, OH.  I remember looking down and how could see right through the metal grate beneath your feet to the cold water far below.

Then in college, in my early twenties, I grew to have a fear of dying.  Period.  Not in relation to anything in particular, just a general fear of death.  It ranged from thinking a strange smell was a poisonous gas in the air to being convinced the ceiling of my house was going to certainly fall down on me in the night as I slept.  Looking back, it makes no sense to me now.  But it was very real at the time.  Never once do I remember my fear being in relation to heights.

I grew out of that stage of near constant panic attacks and have been fairly anxiety free for the rest of my adult life.  Or so I thought.  Maybe I just created a life where I didn't have to face things I was afraid of.  Thinking back a few summers, I remember a feeling of dread due to the steepness of a hill I was attempting to hike down.  The other five women I was with were joyfully trodding down their own paths through the knee high grass, while I cried my way very slowly down the hillside.  

"Don't you feel better know that you did it!"  my friend offered, in a you-faced-your-fears tone of voice.

"No.  I still hate it."  I replied, bluntly and with the intent to imply I had no desire to continue the conversation.  Everyone was silent.

Since then there have been drives in the backcountry that scare the shit out of me, as we drive on a road with only a 3 foot high guardrail and 2 feet of gravel between me and the steep cliff that would surely result in death for all.  There was the hiking trip in August, who could forget that trauma?  Even walking up flights of stairs, I get dizzy and feel like my legs are going to turn to jello.

And then I picked trapeze.  Brilliant, Melissa.  Yes, I picked it!  Why?  I have no idea now.  I guess I like to confront my fears, as long as I am sitting at my table writing possible adventures down that won't happen for months to come.  But then November came.  November was here, in my face.  I was facing the trapeze, in all of its reality, not just scribbled on a piece of paper between poker and macramé.

Facing the Fear
Regardless of where it came from, this fear of heights has manifested in me without my liking it in the very least.  I find it embarrassing, and not an honest representation of who I feel like I am.  On the occasions when it pops up, I deal with it and then walk away hating everything about it.  I hate that I have it, I hate that I had to face it, and I hate having to be coddled and taken care of like a child.

So far, that has got me nowhere.  In a way, I am facing the fear because there it is in front of me, but my body and mind are resisting every bit of it.  And so it lives, unwelcome and inconvenient, to say the least.

Yesterday, I was anxious all day about our evening class at SANCA on the flying trapeze.  I paced.  I barked and quipped at my kids and husband for hours beforehand.  When we arrived at the enormous white tent where I would face this rogue fear named height, I was trembling and smiling.  Sometimes I smile, uncomfortably, when I am afraid.  But, still, I was prepared to do this.  I was going to get myself up there and swing on the trapeze and then drop softly to the net.
I made it to the top of the ladder!

Then everything in my false foundation of facing my fears was rocked to the core.  It was announced that we would be doing a trick!  Hanging from our knees upside down, hands-free, and then doing a backflip off of the trapeze.  You have got to be kidding me!  And to top it off, everyone else seemed OK with this.  It was all I could do to keep my face from breaking into that ugly crying face that we all have our own version of.  And mine is bad.  Real bad.

When we practiced on the stationary trapeze close to the ground, with the help of an instructor, I was the only one that couldn't get my legs up to the bar to do the knee hang.  Great, not only was I the only one deathly afraid and likely to cry if I ever got to the top, I was also the only one not fit or skinny enough to get my flipping legs up through my arms and onto the trapeze bar.  Shit.  This was not looking good.

As I waited my turn to climb up the 23 foot metal ladder, I took on a stance that resembled a person in prayer.  I don't pray, but maybe somewhere inside I was searching for something to hold onto besides the cold metal rungs with my clammy, wet hands.  I ascended the ladder, sans safety rope, and near the top my eyes met Kelly's.  She was the instructor at the top, on the platform from which we were to "hop" off.  She was understanding and gentle and reminded me to stop and take a breath.  Sage advice.

The Back Flip!!!!!
There I was at the top grasping onto anything I could.  Breathing.  I was barely keeping my cool, my face was quickly twitching back and forth between the forced fake smile and an alternate face of anguish and regret.  My legs were wobbling beneath me and when I finally caught the trapeze bar that Kelly tossed back to me with her long metal hook, I thought I would fall off the platform from the weight of it.  I didn't.  Nor did I fall when she instructed me to take my left hand off the secure metal pole it was clenching and out onto the trapeze bar as well.  Kelly, somehow, tiny as she was, miraculously held me from falling by holding onto the back of my safety belt.  

"Ready" she commanded.  

I bent my shaking knees.

"Hop" she commanded.  

And I did it.  I jumped, somewhat awkwardly, and not at all like we were instructed.  But nevertheless, I jumped.  My hands held tight to the bar as I swung out and higher than I ever thought I could swing.  In my memory, I let out a little shriek of relief and joy.  Joy?  (Wow, I can't believe I just typed that word.)

I never got my feet up to hang upside down, but I didn't care.  I held so tight, in fact, that when it came time to let go and do the back flip, I couldn't let go.  I just hung there, and finally dropped slowly (thanks to Spencer, the safety line guy) to the net, feet first, with my hand swept across my forehead in what Amy called a "damsel-in-distress" kind of motion.

The second ascent was no less frightening than the first.  Well, I did know that Kelly would be there to help me at the end, which was a comfort.  "Hi, Melissa" she said when I got near the top, "you're smiling!"  I couldn't speak well enough to tell her it wasn't a real smile.  But I did manage to tell her I would not try the knee hang this time, I was just going for the back flip.  I managed those words through a crackling voice that nearly broke into full blown tears.  

And I jumped off the platform again!  This time, after Spencer called "Front, back, front" for me to swiftly move my legs...I LET GO!  I tucked my legs up toward my chest and I flipped backwards down to the net.  It was amazing!  I was so proud of myself.  Even Spencer's accolades for my attempt were well received by me after that one, after all the others I sorta felt like he "had" to say it.  You know, as a teacher and all.

And there you have it.  I did something I was so afraid of.  I did it four times.  The last time I took flight I almost got my legs up for the knee hang.  What you can read into that is that I wasn't afraid to try it.  HUGE.  I feel a little more like I faced my fear, and less like I rolled my eyes at it and walked away.

Here's the video of my flight ending with the back flip:


My First Time on Flying Trapeze

By Amy Baranski

Note to reader: Video of my very first flight is at the top. Scroll down for the video of my last flight: incomplete knees up, hands off, catch.

What's the Big Deal?

Last night Melissa and I headed to SANCA, the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts, for our first ever flying trapeze lesson. About an hour before class Melissa texted me something abut pacing, checking Facebook obsessively, and being really nervous. I casually replied that I was blissfully unconcerned by the fact we were going to shortly jump off a platform and hang from a bar some feet in the air. I wasn't nervous because I thought it was a joke. There was no way that I'd be able to hang on for even one swing. And that's all we'd be doing anyway, is jumping off the platform. Flying on the trapeze and doing tricks seemed totally absurd. So what's there to be nervous about? I was just watching old episodes of Gossip Girl and making Chicken Mulagatawny--a recipe Melissa handed to me.
Me taking off.

Melissa and I arrived to SANCA in Georgetown (an industrial neighborhood in South Seattle). We saw a large and brightly light tent. "That's got to be where the flying trapeze is." Dear God it was outside! We went into the front office, which is a separate building. There were two gyms with aerial silks and ropes. I saw a balance beam, hula hoops, brightly colored jump ropes, harnesses with people hanging from the ceiling doing back-flips  There were people of all ages there too. It seemed fun, less intimidating than a gymnastics-style gym. But, intimidating enough!

I Thought She Was Joking

We walked out to the tent. There were five total beginners. Three students had taken more than one class. We were separated into the appropriate groups  Our instructor, Orville, led us through some warm ups on the ground (it was freezing in the tent). Then Kelly, a very petite woman, told us what we'd execute today on the bar. She said we'd start with a trick "because I think you can all do it." [Insert hysterical laughter].

Trying to keep my heels back. They say to do that.
She proceeded to describe the trick, which was swinging out, turning upside down by putting our knees over the bar, LETTING GO OF THE BAR WHILE UPSIDE DOWN, turning back to our starting position, and dismounting with a series of back-flips onto the net.

Then she continued the little charade by walking us through each step: how to grab the bar from the platform; how to jump off the platform; and how to move our bodies while in the air. Too funny. I almost asked when class was going to begin because surely she wasn't talking to me. I cannot hang upside down from a bar and let go of my hands. I've never done that. I don't even think I did that in kindergarten--you know that magical time when you're super short and flexible and monkey bars seem really fun. I slowly started to realize the instructor was not joking.

Not quite sure how I'm doing this.
But it felt easier than I thought it would be.
Some Like It Closer to the Ground

My fears about flying trapeze stem from an old Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis flick called Trapeze. I watched it when I was little (my parents were big into us watching old movies). There's a fall involved. So, I'm mostly scared of a technical malfunction with the net and breaking my back, or strangling myself in some of the rigging. I have a fear of heights in the sense that my blood races a little when I'm higher. I feel a bit dizzy. I don't like to smile much. But I've always been able to overcome these challenges.

My friend Melissa however, has a more genuine fear of heights. I've witnessed it. This is the kind of fear that can turn a person into weeping stone. You may recall that Melissa cried on our hike up to Lake Caroline during hiking/backpacking month. Now, she needed to climb a ladder 23 feet in the air, jump off a platform, swing out, and let go. Would she do it?

Broken Safety Line

To get up to the platform--which floats 23 feet in the air--you have to climb a very tall ladder. It's a painter's ladder. A harness is fastened above your hips and below your ribs. It's cinched so tight you can barely breathe, but your posture is great.

Once the student before you jumps off the ladder you ascend.But before you climb you hook yourself in to the safety line. This will stop your fall in the event that you slip off the ladder.

Just as the first beginner student approached the stairway to heaven the gear box to the ladder safety line broke. The instructors tried to fix it and then decided to move on. We would climb the ladder without a safety. I could see that the instructors thought it was a bit shady. We went forward. I thought for a second that Melissa might not climb the ladder. Okay it was more than a second. That's all she has to do. Once you're up the only way they let you down is by jumping off the platform and falling into the net.

I started to get nervous.

Next in Line: You

Stairway to heaven.

Kelly reminded me of the positions: grab the stable wire by the left of the ear with your left hand, step to the edge of the platform so that your toes are hanging off, widen your stance beyond hip width, lean your hips over the platform, reach for the bar with your right hand extended at eye level, move your left hand to the bar, "READY" bend your knees "HOP" jump off the platform, straighten your legs and keep your heels together. Wow. I was on the bar in the air, I could feel the swing.

Then the command from the safety, "KNEES UP!" I crunched my body and barely got my legs high enough to scramble over the bar. "HANDS OFF." I let go. I'm not falling! "REACH BACK". I correct my posture. "HANDS ON." I grab the bar again. "FORWARD, BACK, FORWARD." I whipped my legs then bend me knees and let go of the bar. I feel suspended in air and then I loose all orientation--I am somersaulting in the air. My eyes are closed. I reach my hands up around my head to instinctively protect it. I'm on the net. APPLAUSE.

So...did Melissa climb the ladder....stay tuned for her story.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Your ability to be extraordinary

"Le Cirque" by Georges Seurat
posted by Melissa Baumgart
"We each have the ability to be extraordinary as human beings."

This was one of the last quotes said on the documentary, "Circus."  It was said to sum up what the message of the circus is to the people that come to be entertained by it all.  I would agree.  I feel totally inspired by the circus; the trapeze artists, the jugglers, the tightrope walkers, the clowns.  They dedicate so much time and effort to their craft, and the payoff is incredible.

This is the same feeling that inspired and continues to inspire my commitment to this blog.  We get to try so many new things, so many things that in the past I would have only given lip service to.  I can just hear myself saying to others at a party or sitting around a dinner table, "Oh yeah, I totally want to try the trapeze.  We should take a class one day.  Let's do it."  And then sadly, it would never happen.  Either time or money or both would become my excuse.  

Now here I sit, nervously anticipating, yet again, another attempt at something I am terribly afraid of doing.  But still something that, at one point of time, I thought sounded exciting and fun.  Probably because it was a thought, not likely to manifest in any real tangible future.  Because of the blog, because of my promise to  myself to follow through with every month to the best of my ability, I will be hanging from a high trapeze in little more than three hours.

You never know what new thing might just be the thing that you want to give that kind of dedication to.  For me, it could be yoga.  Sure I leave, but so far, I always come back.  And when I am in that room, I (almost always) give it everything I have.  Or it could be circus arts, after our aerial class Amy and I were very excited about trying it again, maybe practicing and getting better and better.

Maybe you already are extraordinary.  Or maybe you are still searching for a way to surpass limitations you have chosen to put onto yourself in this lifetime.  I say join us.  Find a friend and start your own "Good Luck with That!"  Pick things that you are afraid of, that excite you, that inspire you, that fill you with joy.  The best part is that you'll be trying 6 new things you may have never thought of.  And what's more?  You might just LOVE one of them.  After all, Dina picked yoga!

If you take on the pledge to join us, please let us know.  We love to hear your stories too.

And now, off to worry about the trapeze and how high it is for the next 2 hours and 50 minutes.

For real, wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Take the leap

posted by Melissa Baumgart

When I read Amy's last post, I was immediately struck by her words, "I like thinking that the body (like ones vocabulary) can be altered and improved no matter what age you are. There's always a starting place."

It brought me back to a Bikram Choudhury quote that I have shared before, I really love it and find it inspirational.

"You're never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from the scratch once again."  
The view from the top of my impossible hike.

Which leads me to another Bikram quote, one that I live up to every once in a while,
"If you can, you must."  
It's just that with my self-critical nature, that particular quote can get me into some mental trouble.

I decided to search for more inspiration to share, hoping that one of them would resonate with you.  They encompass thoughts on taking risks, taking that first step toward something you might think impossible, and on having the courage to keep going when all you want to do is quit.

Here you go...

 “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Elliot

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tzu

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
"  -Mark Twain

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C. S. Lewis

“You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.”T.S. Eliot

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage." -Anais Nin

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
" - Eleanor Roosevelt

"Well done is better than well said." 
 - Benjamin Franklin

"It's always too early to quit."Norman Vincent Peale

And in honor of our next class, the flying trapeze...
"Leap, and the net will appear."  - John Burroughs 

I plan on picking one at random and bringing it into my yoga practice today, and see what happens.
Let me know if you choose one for your own inspiration today.

Bees, Booty and the Circus

By Amy Baranski

About a week ago or I was at the Urban Bee Co. happy hour. Urban Bee is me and my husband's adventure into urban agriculture. One of the hive hosts - Jessica - was there. I actually installed her hive this year. She has an embarrassing video of me shaking the bees out of the package (yes they came from a package) and getting stung. After watching the video I realized I was really stressed out and am now really calm around the bees. Anyway - I forgot what Jessica does and so asked her again at happy hour--somehow thinking she was involved in the circus. (I live in Seattle people, these kinds of things are totally in the realm of possibility). It just so happens that her sister was involved in the circus...a local circus (no longer together) called Circus Contraption. They were local, small, gritty, melancholy, flexible and real.

And for our next trick we will fly on the trapeze!
Circus Contraption was one of my favorite local acts in the early-mid oughts and headlined one of the best Halloween parties I've attended. It was in the hangar at Sandpoint--the tall ceilings were splendid for their aerial act. That year I dressed as a "Twister Sister" with my friend Karen. We wore Twister boards and bed sheet skirts (hey we were on a budget) and played Twister during the party. People loved it. The costume idea spawned from an epic game of twister Karen and I had once played at the Sky Gypsy Palace (an old farmhouse where a bunch of Slam poets and artists used to live located behind Broadway). Karen's twister style was more yoga while mine was more b-girl, as someone described.

Anyway Circus Contraption played great gypsy circus style music. I've always wanted to learn a concertina or an accordion (must be my Easter European roots). Maybe next year (even though Melissa and Dina already picked "learn to play a musical instrument" as an activity last year). But, as Melissa said the other day, with this blog we can really do whatever we want.

Back to Jessica. She runs Southside Booty Camp. I've heard of this but had never gone, or even on Facebook. She mentioned that there was a free intro class (this morning). So I signed up with Melissa. We got back not too long ago. I slept really fitfully last night and have been awake since 2 a.m. afraid I would miss my alarm at 5 a.m. and not feeling too great from the Mexican food I ate last night.

The booty camp is at 6:15am and is typically held in the park, but on the colder days of the year it cozies up in the Russian Cultural Center on 19th Avenue, just a skip from my house. It's a physical fitness regimen that focuses on cardio and strength building. Typically each day (it runs Monday through Thursday) is focused on a particular area: upper body, lower body, or cardio. Today we focused on lower body with cardio. It kind of reminded me of gym class, or sports practice. I felt totally awkward and uncoordinated. Five days off of yoga and I'm am oddly shaped smurf again. But I really liked it. I guess I typically like anything that is physically challenging. I like thinking that the body (like ones vocabulary) can be altered and improved no matter what age you are. There's always a starting place.

It looks like a first full session for the booty camp (which is a four week period Monday-Thursday) is $240. I wonder if I can swing that. The aerial and trapeze classes are so expensive. I'd be more likely to go to Booty Camp becauase it's outside, it's personal (smaller classes) and it's not a gym. When we start spending money (which we have a lot) on activities realted to this blog it really gets my thinking about what I will choose next year. More on that me needs food.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Family was in the Circus!

 posted by Melissa Baumgart
I got an email from my Mom the other day after she read my post on my aerial class.
It read:  "Melissa, don't forget you have a cousin by marriage that worked the in circus, he was one of the Wallenda Family Tightrope walking human paramid, I beleive Eddy Harrigan was the lead guy."  
The Wallenda Family?  Holy Cow!  I  had just heard about them on the Circus documentary I was watching the night before I received this email.  As it is with all the claims of my family's history of heroics, like on my Dad's side with a Congressional Medal of Honor from the Civil War or pirates in my blood, I was a bit skeptical.  (Those both proved to also true, by the way)

Ed Harrigan (far left) leading the seven-man-pryamid.
I immediately googled "Ed Harrigan Wallenda Family."  The first link I clicked on was an article written by someone else that was related to Ed Harrigan, Mackenzie McAninch.  Turns out he is his great uncle.  He wrote a very thorough article, with information he gleaned form a phone interview with Ed, all about his experience with the Wallendas and the circus.  Sure enough, my Mom was correct, and it was fun to see that most of the comments left on Mackenzie's blog were from family members I know personally.

I learned that Ed Harrigan, my mom's cousin by marriage, joined the circus in Wheeling, WV (just across the river my hometown of Bridgeport, OH) when he was about 14 years old.  He worked the ground crew and after trying the high wire after hours, without permission, he eventually gained some tutelage from Karl Wallenda, the leader of the Wallenda family at the time.

Ed, at the age of 17, went to Oklahoma to train with the Wallenda's.  By the time he was 19, he was working on a three man pyramid across the tightrope high wire.  After only months of training and leading the three man pyramid, Ed began to lead the seven man pyramid!   He even got to perform this act on the Ed Sullivan Show.

In his blog post, Mackenzie quoted Ed as remembering leading that pyramid by saying, "Oh, it’s a lot of weight! You wouldn’t believe that weight on your shoulders! You have to walk really slowly and when you hit the pause point in the middle, we all would spread our feet a little more to get a better stance. That trick probably lasts about seven to ten minutes."

Wow, I can't even imagine!  Thanks, Mackenzie, for your amazing and well written piece on this inspiring member of my family.  And thanks for letting me quote your article and share the photos you found.  I encourage you all to check out his post.  

Off to sign up for that trapeze class.  I promise, I will do it before the month's end.

This also makes me think:  I wonder what I will be remembered for?  I wonder if, when I am old, what will younger generations be inspired by through my life?  It is that kind of question that keeps me inspired to keep trying new things at time.  That keeps my forging forward to make something good of my life for the sake of others.  What do you want to be remembered for?  And if you aren't doing that thing now...what are you waiting for????


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let's join the Circus!

Photo by Amy Baranski
posted by Melissa Baumgart
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be in the circus?  Have you wondred if, since the days of your youth when you went to the Barnum & Bailey Circus, if there even was a true circus out there anymore?  I know, there's Cirque de Soleil, but I am talking more real, nitty-gritty circus folk.

I discovered, through the sweet little video rental place up the street, that such a thing does exist.  We started watching a documentary about the circus, aptly titled, "Circus"!  It is made by PBS and it is quite good.  I highly recommend watching it.

So far we have watched 2 and a half of the six disc season.  You get to see the high profile performers, the ones that don't make the cut and get fired, the behind the scenes families and the ones that go to jail for a alleged bomb threat.  This show has it all, if you are into that reality TV kind of thing.  Or, I have to say, if you are into human nature and sometimes dream of running away to the circus.

I could be wrong, you know, Amy and I are kinda known for our "all or nothing" penchant for living.  But I am thinking we could totally do this.  If we keep up with yoga, go to this booty camp work out thing that we signed up for next week, and do some more aerial this month and beyond....we could be the aerialist,  We could be the circus.

Or it could be just another thing that we get all excited about, make up $70.00 worth of flyers for (can anybody say OCCUPY?), and then decide that it isn't our scene after all.  And that's OK.  Because I think it is perfectly fine to try many new possibilities for your life, and discover that it isn't your thing.  Rather than to not try anything new at all, just for the fear that maybe you might end up looking like you gave up on this new thing that seemed sooooo cool.

Doesn't almost everything that takes tons of practice and dedication seem amazing from the outside?  Pianists, gymnasts, Olympians, actors, aerialists, yoga instructors, accomplished artists of all kinds.  It is all within our reach if we also choose to dedicate ourselves.  Did you know that Julia Child was nearly 50 years old when she published her first French Cooking book?  Or that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't publish her first book until the age of 65!

The world is still your oyster, no matter what your age, health status, weight, height, state of mind.  Grab it, make it what you want.  Or at least try something just might inspire you to become the next Grandma Moses!  (She was Anna Mary Robertson Moses.  In her 70s she began painting scenes of her rural life in upstate New York, and become one of the most revered American folk artists of the 20th century.)


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Excuse me, I am having an issue!

Me, upside-down!
posted by Melissa Baumgart
I had this idea in my head that if I was thinner, I wouldn't be nervous for the aerial silks class that Amy and I took this past Saturday.  On the drive to Emerald City Trapeze, I shared that with Amy and she shook her head "No!", apparently unable to utter any words at that point.  It turns out that Amy, although in appearances is fit and looks like she could hold her own in a silks class, was extremely apprehensive as well.

I hate to be all about the fact that I gained weight lately.  But it consumes me, well, when I am not consuming burgers, fries, pizza and poutine.  But for real, the fact is that I was the heaviest and weakest person in the class.  It reminded me of the Single Ladies class I took with Dina.  I felt so self conscious, with all these fit and capable people surpassing my every move.  But I handled it better this time around.  I attempted *almost* everything, and for that I am exceedingly proud.
Our teacher demonstrating a trick I may never do.

We did one silks skill where you learn how to climb up the silk.  Some people were getting 10 to 20 feet in the air.  I didn't even get past the first part where you get your foot in place, wrap the silk around it and hold it in place with the other foot, then use your arm strength to hang in that position while you attempt to lift your legs and do the same thing all over again.  I held myself in place for a few seconds while trying real hard to get the foot hold, and that would have to be where I am.  I am a true beginner.

At one point, I lost my footing while three feet in the air.  I thought fir sure I was going to tumble out, injure my neck and be stuck on the ground with my foot forever tied into the blue silk.  Our teacher was at the other silk, calmly helping another student.  How did she not see me struggling?  "Excuse me?"  I interrupted, embarrassed.  "I am having an issue!"  I voiced with more authority that I had acquired through sheer terror.  She, again, calmly walked over and help me out of what was actually no big deal at all.

Look, Ma!  No Hands!
I had fun doing the upside down moves.  The moves where we got to make a little knotted foothold in the silk seemed like it would be easier, but it killed my foot in the process.  It was all wrapped up in a knot of silk with all my weight bearing down on top of it.  Ouch.

With aerial class behind me, and feeling like it went better than expected, I was on track to get more fit so I could be more active in class.  On Monday, I went to Bikram.  And it felt like the worst class ever.  I had every amazing yogi in there's voice in my head; beating me up, putting me down and wondering why I even showed up to the studio since I was clearly unable to stand the heat.  Monday I wanted to give up on it all.

Then there was today.  And to be fair, my first cup of coffee in two weeks.   I went to yoga and it was awesome.  I didn't do every pose, but I felt stronger and my mind felt less swayed by my appearance and other's postures.

Maybe it all "really isn't any big deal at all"?  All of it.  All the drama.  All the worries.  All the stress.  All the weight.  Just start where you are.  And if you're not ready to start, don't be hard on yourself.  You will.  You'll wake up from the dream that you're not good enough.


Ramblings in the Air

By Amy Baranski

When I get nervous I don't talk much, I talk too much, and I get gas. All three of these things happened on the way to and during the warm up of our first aerial class at Emerald City Trapeze on Saturday. I was totally terrified. It turns out that being off the ground isn't all that scary, especially when you're only one foot off the ground, or at most three feet. You can practice the climbing methods, and some tricks in that distance. This is what makes the beginner classes accessible to everyone. Because you may not be strong enough to climb up ten or 15 feet into the air, but most likely you can step at least 12 inches.

The class started with approximately 30 minutes of warm up stretches that included cat-cows, bending to either side, hamstring stretches and shoulder stretches. Then we went downstairs where there were two silks hanging from the rafters. There were about eight of us in the class, so four students to each silk. You get to take turns, and that helps because you exert a lot of energy during each attempt.

One element that makes the class nerve racking is that you are with people you don't know, who have different physical capability--you know like better--than you. So it's hard to watch a student climb really high on the silk, seemingly effortlessly, and you struggle to take your second step.

But I did find it fun. I really liked it. We have one other class, a flying Trapeze class this month. I want to do more. It's challenging because the classes are expensive and I am traveling this weekend and next weekend and then there's the Thanksgiving holiday.

Melissa and I signed up for a Southside Booty Camp class (Free) that's near our apartment. We'll attend that on Tuesday. At least we can focus our time on strength building classes.

One of my challenges with this blog is the time commitment each month takes and the feeling like I'm not committing enough time or exerting enough effort to really learning something. With a job, family commitments, a social life (all things I adore) it's been hard to really focus. I need more discipline. Maybe I should check out a self help aisle or something...oh dear.