Photo by Emily from Pexels
We've been at this shut down/stay at home/what am I doing with my life for roughly 2.5 months now. In many ways it has gone by super fast, and yet, in others, it feels like several years have transpired.
Over the last week, I've been musing about comical book titles for books that I could have written during this time.
Today, I decided to write them down, and solidify some that have been bouncing around in my head.
Maybe you can relate?
Feel free to share your possible book titles that wrap up some of your consistent experiences (here or on my social media). I'll circle back to share here too!
Books I could written between March 13-May 31st, 2020:
The Exponential Power of Naps
How Can I Nap This Much?
Family Time...All the Time
I REALLY DO Care About Animals, but My Brother Made Me Try His Cooking
So Many Ideas, and So Much Time
Turns Out You Can Teach Dance Online
The Pain In My Neck Won't Go Away
I Miss Going to See Movies
The Gym Was My Best Friend
Alone Time, What Is That?
How Much Time and Money Does My House Actually Need?
I Love My Child So Much it Makes My Heart Ache
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Every now and then I surprise myself.
In a good way.
The kind of way that opens up channels, and brightens unknown lights inside my mind and spirit.
As if I'm walking into a dark cave where the fog clears and I can clearly see what is inside.
Perhaps the cave appears without light, without air, and like a deep vacuum at first.
But then, shapes on the wall become clear. The cave drawings that were always there start to take form.
All of a sudden there is electricity wired inside the craggy tavern, and the best decor is already staged.
I sit down in a comfortable designer chair and find a cappuccino already made for me (with soy milk, of course).
I'm happy, content, and ready for change.
This is how I felt recently when I started applying for jobs outside of higher education. The shift away from teaching arts and media in academia has been one that brewed for a long time. Actually, probably for longer than necessary, but lasting changes take time. Just like eating well, taking care of oneself, and developing positive habits, permanent change (delightful oxymoron) takes effort, action, and consistency.
The act of change can also mean discovery. This is another aftereffect that I've felt personally. I've discovered that all of the talents I was taking for granted, are the ones that will actually propel me into my future. For example, in my world of higher education, I was tasked to do my own marketing, public affairs, recruitment, event sales, manager duties, administration, and so on. These skills that I've picked up are now furthering my career more than my training as a professional dancer ever did. That training does carry forward, but in ways that I couldn't have predicted. I crave success (stage time), teamwork (being in a dance company), health (physical fitness), and creativity (art-making).
What talents are waiting to be revealed to you? What happens when you start digging deep into the hard and soft skills that you have been accruing throughout your career? Head into the cave and let the lights come on.
Photo by freestocks.org
This is my favorite smoothie to have in the morning when I really want to kickstart my day! The cacao is a great way to wake up without several cups of coffee, and the agave gives it a nice little sweet punch. The recipe is an adaptation from www.littlegreen.me developed by Christy Halvorson Ross.
1 Frozen Banana
1 Cup Kale (or Spinach)
3 Tablespoons Cacao (or Cocoa without added sugar)
2 Cups Almond, Oat, Hemp, Cashew, or Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seeds
1 Teaspoon Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Agave
Other add-ins could be:
1 Tablespoon Acai
1 Tablespoon Hemp Seeds
Photo by Monica Silvestre
I've always been a huge comedy fan. Ever since I can remember...
In elementary school I can recall a scenario very clearly. We had what was called "Career Day." They asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I honestly recall having great confusion with this question. I couldn't quite figure out how I was going to change, or what I would become. My sense of self up to this point was my name (which I still thought sounded and spelled oddly), that my first pet Jake had died and maybe went to a place called Doggy Heaven, and that I really liked Root Beer and Cheese Smokies. So to me, the question of what I wanted to be was hard to wrap my head around. I remember thinking that this word , career, seemed off-putting. What did it mean exactly? Our parents came to school and talked about what they did for their jobs. I was still confused.
When it came my turn to answer in our classroom, I panicked. Everyone had raised their hand and told what they wanted to be with an assurance that astounded me. I was called on. I spoke. The words came out slowly, but with a confidence that shocked myself.
I said, "a clown."
I'm not sure why. I liked to laugh. I liked to perform. I was a genuine ham, but also quite reserved and shy at times. We had just gone to the circus at the coliseum in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. I had dressed as a clown for Halloween recently.
The other students laughed when I announced my future career of choice. I felt myself get embarrassed. The teacher frowned at me. I guess this was a great start to a comedic career.
I'm now thinking I chose the wrong college major of dance. I often made funny dances, comedic pieces, and searched for irony in my work. In grad school, I branched into Performance Art, Filmmaking, and Theater. All the while, I surpassed my inner desire to study comedy, and became a HUGE fan of watching it. I prioritized watching comedy when I lived in New York, traveled to cities, and had an extensive DVD Netflix cue. I remember having a friend come to visit me when I was teaching at Iowa State, only to have to remain silent while I watched Last Comic Standing. In short, I waited way too long to actually cross the line from spectator and closeted comedienne.
Finally, a few years ago, I stepped into an Improv class. I was so nervous. But it turns out, I'm pretty good. I love taking class to learn writing tactics, how my brain problem solves, and the use of my voice. After so many years of training in nonverbal communication, it is a shock to the system. And, I love it.
During this Covid lockdown, I've been writing my own material, and happy to find online streaming content that keeps me inspired. I'm hunkering down to make my dreams of becoming the best clown in the world finally possible.
If comedy inspires you too, check out all of the current best options for live-streaming here! (courtesy of Vulture)
Overview: Every May since I can recall, I get in a funk.
History: I blame the school year. When I was in school, I was tired in May. When I taught in higher education, I was tired in May.
Overworking: I have been doing too much for too little reward up until now.
Change of Routine: I just taught my last semester in higher education. I am changing my "May-laise" from here forward.
I will no longer be tired, unmotivated, stressed about the endings and new beginnings, fidgety or sleepy with extra time on hands.
Stressed about endings and transitions
Needing to go to the beach to "find my Zen"
Make this transition work for you.
Make this transition work for me.
Work to have better relationships with all transitions.
Take the high dive, bite off small bits at a time, and face the large challenges that lie ahead.
For most of us who are freelancers, we are now part-time teachers too. This can be super nutty if you are like me and already have 10 other part-time jobs. Some of which are real paying gigs, but others that include house keeper, laundry doer, snack maker, dog walker, playtime companion, house organizer, etc. I will admit that some weeks and days have been more successful than others over the past two months. These tips may not work every day, as every day is constantly changing. However, I've put together a list of some ways that have helped me (and those in our house) manage the stresses of homeschooling. If they help, let me know! Also, feel free to add your own tips as well.
1. Get plenty of rest. If you stay up late, make sure to get a siesta in, or go to bed early the next night.
2. Make sure the children get plenty of rest too. Watch for irritability.
3. Stay hydrated. 64 oz of water per adult per day. Encourage a smaller amount for kids.
4. Eat a good breakfast and be open to offering morning and afternoon snacks.
5. For little kids, get the work done in the morning; as much as possible before lunch.
6. Provide great outdoor and creative activities in the afternoon.
7. Do innovative ideas like fort building, cooking, crafting, movies, etc.
8. Read at night together.
9. Get and give plenty of hugs and say "I love you" more often than you think is normal.
10. Have fun and enjoy the time. Be grateful for health and happiness.
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini)
Over the past several years, my family has been working on finding the BEST taco night foods for healthy and delicious options. So far, we are up and down on the faux meat products. I do recommend the Morning Star and Gardein crumbles as options. However, I've really found the most delicious nights for vegan tacos to be all real food + tacos and tortillas.
Here is what we have found to work for ALL of the members of our family (man, woman, man-child):
Vegan cheese (Follow Your Heart)
*Not listed any particular order. Feel free to mix and match per serving!
I would also love to introduce you to SPOON TACOS! When you have leftovers on the table, avoid scooping them up with chips or making another taco/tostada. Instead, literally use your spoon to have the remaining foods all together. It may seem a little low brow at first, but I'm telling you, I've taught many friends and family this trick and I still get random text messages with pictures of the hilarious and fun to eat spoon tacos at the end of the meal. Trust me, you will love it, it will make you giggle, and then your belly will thank you too.
For this week's #mondaymusicvideomoves I bring to you...Tequila! I loved this part of Pee Wee's Big Adventure when I was in middle school, and I adore it just as much now. Such a funny mix of freedom, body control, wardrobe, spacing, and social dynamics.
I'm working on creating my first Tik Tok video with a Pee Wee's Tequila Dance Challenge. Please join in when it gets released!
Photo by Fuzzy Rescue
I'm so excited to launch a new feature of my blog...bah bah bah...Featured Articles by guest writers! Up first, I have Rebecca Burnett from Adelaide, Australia with a piece about why the vegan lifestyle matters so much. This lady is a viable super vegan! I met her in Southern Maryland at a film group via Meetup. We ended up working on many film projects together, became friends, and chatted a lot about plant-based diets. She was instrumental in me beginning my journey with this kind of eating and lifestyle. Although I have been known to eat full vegan (I recently did that for Lent 2020), I do also have meat on the side at times.
I think it is important to at least try to cut down on animal product and bi-products in everyone's choices. And I get it, sometimes beef jerky can seem like it will be the only thing that can make you feel whole. But really, it has been shown time and time again that a WHOLE FOOD PLANT-BASED diet is the best basis for health.
To read the full article go here.
To learn more Rebecca is currently working on, check out the Vegan Festival in Adelaide!