and on to miami

Well, less than 24 hours until take off.  Right now I’m sitting at my kitchen table watching dark clouds roll in.  The really dark ones that actually somehow make it darker outside even as it should be getting brighter.  High winds, the rain should be starting soon.  I could seriously watch weather like this for hours.  It’s meditative and exciting at the same time.  Not necessarily looking forward to flying in it tomorrow but I’ll take it nonetheless.  This afternoon I’ll either be downtown shopping for enough big girl clothes  to get me through my longest work trip yet or I’ll be churning out gallon ziplock after gallon ziplock of fake soft serve to schlep across the country.  

I was just thinking…you know how sometimes sad, lonely people that find validation and identity in their gadgets tend to line up shamelessly outside the Apple store in the morning?   All my inner restlessness and anxiety behaves that way sometimes. Waiting outside locked doors for my heart to open up and let it in cause it has nothing better to do and nowhere else to be.  I can see and somewhat hear it through the glass that would shatter at first stone’s throw.  If that anxiety had it’s own device it’d be impatiently and repeatedly checking the time.  But early mornings with tea and Jesus are mine.  Particularly this morning.  Quiet.  Still.  My own space to think and breathe.  Life and stress will fight it’s way in soon enough but I need a minute to prepare for the battle with the only one that can truly equip me for it.

I’m so beside myself at the two weeks ahead.  Like a professional, I’ve been trying to make sure I’ve got every base covered.  Pastry tips and handheld steamers, electric kettles Amazoned (yes, that is a legit verb) to the hotel.  Wait, I just remembered that I can’t pack my torch…or butane fuel for that matter.  Can I get on without it?  Should I Amazon one to the hotel?  I’m waiting to find out if an additional job – a commercial spot for the same client – will be tacked on to the end of the week.  Amazing, right?  At times I feel like a girl who runs the world (cue Beyonce, please), a tiny boss blessed out of her mind and crushing it on a daily basis.  It’s the craziest, most fun adventure ever.  Most of the time I feel that.  But sometimes I feel like a little girl, completely overwhelmed by my life and the responsibilities and the opportunities in front of me because I care so much.  I care so much about being worthy of the opportunities and I’m overcome with the reality of my finiteness.  My friend Julie has this thing on her wall that says, “I know the Lord isn’t going to give me more than I can handle.  Sometimes I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”  It’s time to get my game face and my head on straight.  

I was supposed to have Lasik surgery on the 17th.  Now that I’ve got this possible extension and two other jobs on hold if it doesn’t come through, I’ll obviously be rescheduling my miraculous vision correction procedure.  This is why it’s near impossible to take vacations.  Plan it and they will call.  And they’ll likely be calling with your biggest opportunity yet.  Maybe I should plan it.  “It” being the most epic things I ever did.  Could be a surefire way to keep the work coming in.  

It’s pouring now.

austin to la

I’m still on LA time.  Which means that I was wide awake without an alarm before 5am and now that it’s just past 7:30, I’m barely human.  Is work lag a thing?  

Austin was a blast.  Maybe a little too much fun.  I’m 10 percent foodie but I’m 90 percent eatie.  I just love to eat.  And I eat a lot.  I basically just want to be eating all the time.  And when experiencing a new place, the idea of wasting a meal opportunity sounds like just about the worst thing that could happen. We landed at 4, dropped our bags, and proceeded to the nearest barbecue restaurant.  Brisket.  Creamed corn.  Potato salad.  Baked beans.  Coleslaw.  That’s the standard served with a side of the whitest white bread, house made pickles, and white onion.  So much spice and not a lick of pretension.  Admittedly nice to have a break from that for awhile.  I had BBQ (with a breakfast taco or two or seven in there somewhere) oh, about five times in less than forty eight hours.  When in Rome…

That first night we went for a late happy hour walking from one historical house-turned-bar to the next along Rainy Street taking advantage of uber-cheap drinks (characteristic of a college town and very uncharacteristic of San Francisco).  

Austin2

Friday we took the obligatory Capitol Building tour and roamed South Congress which is the only respectable place to get yourself a pair of cowboy boots.  There was a welcome reception at a local bar and music venue that evening and afterwards we went in search of a place to two-step.  We ended up on “Dirty 6th” where three city blocks are barricaded off to allow inebriated college students to stumble safely from one bar to the next.  I was duped into The Blue Wave at one particularly filthy location (thanks Jules) the highlights of which will live in infamy thanks to the ever-present GoPro documenting the entire weekend.  I’m excited to see that video in its entirety.  Saturday evening before the wedding reception I went for one last BBQ experience, this time at a longstanding BYOB joint called The Salt Lick located 22 miles outside the city limits.   There were hundreds of people inside and out with coolers in tow.  More brisket plus blackberry peach cobbler served with an entire pint of vanilla ice cream.   It was a good way to go out.  The wedding was beyond anything I think any of us (including the bride and groom) could have envisioned.  At one point someone said, “I feel like we’re at a celebrity wedding.”  It really did feel like that on all counts.  I mean, 4 bands plus a DJ for the after party?  350 guests dressed to the nines?  Individual wedding cakes for all?  Midnight dance party snacks?  A PINKBERRY BAR??  Come on, Texas.  Steaks are bigger, food is spicier, weddings are OTT.  We danced hard for a solid 4 hours.  I kinda feel like if you can have that much fun and dance with that kind of abandon for so long without the help or need of alcohol, that’s kind of awesome.   Even if there were three open bars plus a craft beer counter at our disposal, there wasn’t a lot of time for alcohol…too much dancing.  Amazing.

Austin

What I thought were allergies on Saturday afternoon at the UT basketball game turned out to be the start of a full blown cold and fever.  I landed in LA at 10:30am Sunday morning and went straight to the studio from the airport.   By 4:30pm I could barely stand.  With no drugs on hand I wandered through the super sketch neighborhood to the nearest 7-11 to secure some NyQuil.  Thankfully I wasn’t mugged for it on my way back.  I ended up with a welt the size of a golf ball from slamming my thigh into the tub faucet whilst climbing into a cold shower (the hot water was conveniently not working) which is the worst when you’re already running a fever and freezing.  I cranked the heat to 85 degrees, downed the drugs, and attempted to eat cereal with two coffee stir sticks because I’d forgotten a spoon.  Again.  Like I always effing do. 

The next morning was brutal.  I was so nauseous and every moment that passed that I didn’t throw up I counted as a tiny win.  The day dragged on and at lunch it was revealed that they had us scheduled for 12 hour day minimum.  Awesome!  In the end it was a 13 hour day.  The last day of pre-light.  

build day

Tuesday we went live.  I was still so sick and hopped up on cold meds that the day was a blur.  Wednesday was another marathon.  My fever faded and gave way to a horrible cough.  Half-cooked hamburger patties and melted cheese, bits of bread and lettuce were everywhere.  Layers of grease and oil and grossness covered every exposed surface.  The picture above was taken on pre-light day.  It was the cleanest that station looked all week.  That’s what I do.  Build hero food on top of boxes of baby wipes using dental tweezers in the middle of an airplane hangar.  It’s the best and on this level, the scariest in the most exhilarating way.  At the end of the day on Wednesday when they called wrap I started laughing and simultaneously crying from joy.  Clearly I was losing my mind but I’d handled the day like a boss despite feeling (and looking) like death warmed over.  It was cause for tiny meltdown/celebration.  Thursday we wrapped earlier than expected and the production team changed my flight to get me home that evening.  

This past weekend was Super Bowl Sunday.  I’ve been working on this post for way too long.  It was all I could do the first couple of days after I got back to just try and catch up on life.  Running errands, taxes, dry cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry…you know…the grown up stuff.  There’s a simple pleasure and unexpected satisfaction in days when I’m just living in the city and nothing particularly eventful is happening.  Doing life in all it’s routine-ness amongst the throng of tourists and temporaries, quietly aware of the fact that I’m home, long term and with intention, in this amazing place.  That feeling is magnified all the more when I’ve been gone for awhile.  

I’m finally feeling caught up and settled only to leave again in a couple of days. This time for a lot of days.  I really need to figure out a way to travel better.  I lose all semblance of my normal routine when I’m on the road for work and clearly it takes a toll.  Til next time…likely from the other side of the country!