On The Other Side

April 30, 2013



Yesterday at rehearsal I dipped my toe into the really hard part-- structuring, ordering, and otherwise piecing together the dance I'm working on.

It wasn't until afterwards that I realized, much to my relief, that I felt anxiety-free while doing it. In fact, I haven't felt the daunting pressure to make it good(!) in several weeks. For a solid three years I felt so anxious during creative projects that I couldn't sleep the night before I rehearsal, and so paralyzed during rehearsals that I couldn't figure out a logical next-step when I hit a dead end. To say that this was dreadful is a total understatement. It was the worst. It was like being tortured by the thing I love the most.

It's strange: it's not that I'm a better dance maker right now. It's just that I am able to make more intelligent decisions because I'm not focusing on the worst possible outcome. And, I can entertain that outcome without letting it fill me with fear.

Maybe you're in a creative rut, or overwhelmed with big fear, or daunted by the unknown in what you're building and working on. Be reassured: it won't last forever. Just keep going. I know that you'll make it to the other side.

I'll Be Over Here With My Zucchini Noodles

April 29, 2013

Happy Monday! THERE ISN'T SNOW ON THE GROUND! It feels so novel-- it was just there! Over the weekend I was thrilled by a lot of things: going outside without a coat on, buying seedlings, grilling. There is hope in the air and the wait was worth it! With warm weather comes patio season. And my favorite: Hendrick's season. Except that it turns out that Hendrick's is not a part of the Whole30. So, bummer.


Still, it's day 23 of my Whole30, and I have mostly positive feelings about this thing:
I feel good--even with high stress levels. My acne-prone skin is clear, my blood sugar is stable, and the sleep I have been getting has been really good sleep. I have lots of energy, even with long days. These are all good things.



But I've realized that eating good food isn't everything: You can eat really well, but if you aren't getting enough sleep, and you're eating meals in your car while stuck in traffic, your body will still look tired and stressed.





I've also been reminded that eating is emotional. Last week was really long and (like I said) stressful. It all initially seemed more daunting without comfort food and drink. I didn't exactly get a thrill thinking about coming home to meatballs-- I wanted pizza and beer. But the food I cooked myself actually helped me deal with the stress much better-- probably because it led to steady energy and good sleep. It was also totally delicious and incredibly satisfying: I cooked zucchini noodles twice (made possible by a julienne peeler!);  I ate this amazing Paleo Pad Thai (I added carrots and broccoli, jalapeno, and extra lime juice); I made these almond butter pancakes, which I intend to eat even after these 30 days are over. I'm happy about all of this food.



I've remembered that eating & drinking are how I socialize, and my socialization has been a bit cramped with so many eating/drinking restrictions. Still, I've eaten out a few times, and even cooked for friends without complaints. I don't feel deprived, but sometimes I feel like others feel bad for me. Cut it out, dudes-- I'm fine: enjoy your beer & cheese.

Still, there are things I can't wait to eat: I'm particularly excited about eating pho, sushi, tacos with corn tortillas, pizza, hard parmesan, and maple syrup. I might go nuts and eat them all in one day. Just maybe.

[Food photos from top to bottom: Paleo balls; almond butter pancakes; paleo chicken pad thai (pre-sauce); zucchini noodles; avocado salad and meatballs.]

How do I get the sh*t done?

April 25, 2013


I am currently experiencing self-employment adolescence: I'm not fully self-employed (I work at a restaurant about 20 hours a week), but I'm steadily moving in this direction. My self-employment hat includes a variety of projects. I have my own art-making and grant writing (right now I'm rehearsing twice a week with dancers, plus putting in my own time pretty much daily to prepare for these rehearsals). I'm also working as a movement director for a couple of other projects, and will be doing a little teaching throughout the summer. My work for McGinley Motion includes client consulting work and plotting out video projects with Ben, but my role in the business focuses on a lot of other things, too: writing, long-term planning, our accounting, devising better methods for working with clients. I also am trying to eat good food, see other people's art, and, you know, rest and avoid playing the 'busy' card.

So, I've been thinking a lot about time management. It was a big topic of conversation at our last small business meeting, and I think it's a major concern for most freelancers and small business owners. I wrote a post about it (complete with nearly illegible graphics!), deciding that the answer to getting things done was accomplishing the big, important work during your peak productivity window (for me, this is between 10 and 2). And that is helpful. But I'm discovering that I'm not always free to sit down and do my most important work during this peak time, and that even when I do, my time often gets lost to other things. I really want to feel like I'm getting better at getting the shit done! Have a constantly growing list just leads to anxiety, when I'm really very excited about the work I've been doing.
I've been thinking about these questions: 

  • What does a full work week (including all of my various projects) look like?
  • What makes me feel productive (because feeling like I'm productive causes me to be even more productive)?
  • How do I get efficient about the small stuff (emails, scheduling, accounting)?
  • How do I create a work week that gives me a feeling of spaciousness and creativity (rather than pressure, and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach)?
  • Where is my time going, and do I want it to go there?
I did two things that have helped me start to figure this stuff out.

#1 At the end of my work week (Saturday usually) I make a list for the upcoming week. I separate tasks into four columns: Small tasks (things that can get done in 15-30 minutes, like emails), big tasks (project planning, writing, rehearsal work that need a significant chunk of time), personal/family things (laundry, errands, socializing, shows, etc...), and future things that I need to plan for. The list helps me keep track of things so I can focus on the big tasks, and avoid getting sucked into the small stuff.

#2 I've been keeping track of where my time goes. I write down what I get done in a day and how long it takes me. At the end of the first week I could clearly see that I was overwhelmed because I was trying to do too much. I could also see that what made me feel productive was getting the larger stuff done, without interruptions. This has caused me to cut back on meetings, daily friend dates, and my twitter feed.

I have been reminded that I'm only 1 person. The juggling of multiple jobs means that I need to be extra patient. Surprise, surprise: I can't do it all.

How do you feel productive, but still find space in your schedule to breath, be creative, and enjoy the work?

Gaga (not the lady)

April 23, 2013



A few years ago I fell in love with Gaga. The dance technique. It's a vocabulary and approach to movement invented by an Israeli choreographer, Ohad Naharin. The movement style appealed to me because it lends itself to so many movement possibilities-- stomping, shaking, stretching-- rather than more traditional modern dance technique. If you want to see some dance magic, go check out New York company Gallim Dance's youtube page. They're a Gaga-based company. It's breathtaking.

About six months ago I started taking the occasional Gaga workshop at TU dance in St. Paul. The class consists entirely of instructor-led improvisation. We work in a room with the mirrors covered up, and there are no distractions. There's nowhere to go but inside your body, jumping from smooth movement led with the hips to jerky movement that's initiated in the hands. The instructors words push me to move in an entirely new way, as if a stranger is temporarily inhabiting my body.

Gaga class was one of the few things that gave me the impulse to start making a dance. Suddenly I felt all these ideas brewing, and the capability to do something with them. Which is a great reminder-- getting into the analytic side of my brain rarely leads to creative fabulousness. Moving does. My body is where the ideas and breakthroughs reside. It can happen from a walk, some yoga, or Gaga class. I'm trying to remember that as I sit here puzzling over my dance, list in hand.

[Gaga class is not just for dance folk! It's designed for anyone, and if you're an physical theater maker, an improvisor, an actor, a musician, or just trying to work through creative blocks, I highly recommend it.]

You Have Superpowers

April 22, 2013

Hello! Here in Minnesota we've regressed a bit into winter. You know, the six-inches-of-snow-when-you're-expecting-tulips kind of regression. The kind that makes most conversations revolve around the weather: what the weather was like this time last year, what it might be like next week, etc...
Personally I've been thinking about all of this like abstinence: the wait is going to make it so worth it, people! But actually: damn it Spring, just happen already. Meanwhile I bought more flowers.



Last week I found myself in the sterile meeting room of a corporate business office (someone should look into decorating those places for increased productivity). I was there to talk to an investment company about a "creative" project they're working on. It's not quite dance improvisation-- more like they're trying to make a document that presents a property they need investors for. This type of thing is certainly outside of my comfort zone, but I gave feedback on the way the material was presented and formatted. You know, asking is the message effectively presented? Anyway, this gentleman validated the hell out of my creative skills, because I had the insight that he (amazing at crunching numbers as he is) was lacking. This meeting reminded me: creative people are really valuable to the world. And usually better decorators. Remember that.

About two years ago I came to the conclusion that I needed a new skill set. After eight years as a freelance arts educator, teaching theater and dance throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, I was really burned out. Even though I was teaching at some really reputable institutions, it wasn't leading to greater security or even a certainty that this was my calling. Mostly I doubted everything. My Saturn was returning. Don't believe in Saturn Returns? Read up. (Or read about how to survive it over here). Essentially it's the idea that it takes Saturn about 30 years to orbit around the sun, and when Saturn comes back to the same place it resided when you were born, you go through a huge transition. I've heard it put this way: everything in your life becomes a totally chaotic mess, and you get to reevaluate what's important to you. It usually happens between ages twenty eight and thirty (and again between 56 and 60, and once more at 84-90). Saturn returns brings transformation! And maturity! And turbulence! All of this was cause for going through a huge scary point in my life: WHO WAS I GOING TO BE IF I WASN'T A TEACHER/ARTIST PERSON!?!?!?

I found this Instagram from the summer of 2011. It was from a day where I wandered into a bookstore hoping to find the answer. Do you ever do that? I was hoping that the right self-help guide or inspirational memoir would help me figure out my dilema. I saw this book and had a good laugh:

I didn't figure out what I wanted to do with my life on that day (or buy the book). But the answers to the questions that I persistently asked gradually came into focus over that summer and fall, slowly moving from fuzzy-edged to clear. Over time I had a few realizations:
  • That I love people. And that I wanted to help creative people who were feeling as stuck as I was find and use their superpowers, and get their work done.
  • That I didn't need a new skill set-- I just needed to think about new ways of packaging and sharing the skills I already had already honed: a knack for identifying other people's creative strengths, killer long-term planning and organization, a decade of experience teaching and putting together creative content, clear writing, astute feedback. 
  • That I thrive when working for myself, putting a variety of clients and projects in my schedule.
  • That if I wanted to build a career around doing something different, I better get going. Only practice (and failing) would make it work. 
All of this led to writing more. And envisioning a method for working with creating people. And collaborating with Ben. It also led to changes that I didn't predict: returning to choreography and teaching with a fresh perspective and direction, hobbies, a search for more life balance, and new friendships. I realized the other day-- almost two years from that summer-- that I'm the happiest I've ever been! Isn't that a nice realization to have? I'm truly excited for projects that are taking shape, and I'm ok that there are still plenty of unanswered questions about my creative endeavors and making it all work. The point is: I'm enjoying the process! As a horribly impatient person, I've worked a long time to enjoy process.

I was sitting next to an actor buddy at a performance a few weeks ago at a show and telling him about the work I've been doing to help artists and small businesses make plans for themselves. His first question was pretty understandable: Do you have a business degree? Ha. No. I certainly don't. I can't tell you about your stock portfolio or extreme marketing strategies. But what I have is smart perspective (that I wish someone had given me). As my friend said: think of it as life coaching for artists, but without the hippie dippy you equate with 'life coaching'. Fine. I'll take it.

Finding direction hasn't come down to reading a bunch of business books (though I've taken to doing that) or even taking classes (though I've done a bit of that, too). It's come down to identifying what I've excelled at in the past, and what I'm crazy passionate about, and building on these things. It's been about identifying my superpower, hokey as that sounds. You could call this 'expertise' too, but 'superpower' is more fun. I promise that you have several. It's all about answering these two questions:

What makes you come alive? 
What can you offer that people need?

Find the overlap between the two and you have a vocation. The rest can be figured out-- just remember it takes time. Save the money on the What To Do With My Life book and buy a journal. Ask people you admire out to coffee. Pick brains. Observe things. DO SCARY THINGS. Don't get overwhelmed by your ideas. Keep going. But mostly: have faith in your superpower, and be willing to make lots of mistakes. This is what I keep trying to remind myself.

Whole 30: Days 1-10

April 17, 2013

On my March road trip to the U.P. I was able to catch up with my sisters. I really like them! One is an athletic badass, and the other is a health and business badass, and they are both tall hotties (shrimpy over here would like some of that height). As I've written about before, my family has a boatload of food allergies. Last month my sisters were bragging about feeling really great, thanks to avoiding gluten and a whole bunch of other fun things. My general approach is to eat gluten in small doses, although it generally makes me tired and puffy-faced. But pizza! And Surly beer! It would be wrong to give these things up 100% of the time, right?



My sisters each did a Whole30-- 30 days of Paleo eating where you avoid grains, dairy, alcohol, sugar, and anything else you might truly care about (except coffee-- THANK YOU PEOPLE). My body had been taking a bit of a stress-induced beating, so I decided to hop onboard the Whole 30 wagon. 11 days later, and I'm still alive. For real.

There are people who write a lot about planning and eating Paleo-- google and you'll find a boatload-- so I won't go into much detail on that front. The guidelines are very doable if you menu plan, and if you're ok giving up your social life for a month. It's actually not too far from how we normally eat-- lots of veggies, eggs, fish, and meat. Sure, I do gaze a bit jealously at Ben's beer. But it's fine.





Do I feel amazing? I feel good. But I'm waiting until day 30 to come to any real Paleo opinions. Here's what I know, though: the best part of this has been making the time to cook myself really good food three times a day. It sounds simple. Maybe you're great about eating consistent meals, but I'm not. And I'm certainly not great about eating meals in a calm environment like the program suggests. In fact, it's crazy challenging for me. I'm so much more likely to shovel lunch in while driving, or at my desk (dinner I'm better about). On the Whole30 you have to eat at least 3 meals a day, and you are supposed to eat breakfast first thing-- not at 10:30 after you realize you're starving. It takes a good amount of preparation. But let me tell you-- cooking for yourself is a pretty fabulous way of practicing self care. 3 times a day! Whole30 or not, I think it's a good plan. 




As you can see, I haven't been suffering: this food is pretty and delicious. Most of these recipes have been coming from Well Fed and It Starts With Food. Thanks also to Kathleen and Katie for their great Paleo eating suggestions. Perhaps the best thing I've eaten was a Ben discovery- gyro meat!  Ben got a craving for gyros one night and did some research. Here's what he came up with. On the Whole30 you can substitute Italian Dressing (recipe from Well Fed) for yogurt, and still make a cucumber sauce (add mint, cumin, lemon, garlic, and paprika to taste). It's delicious. And if you're not eating Paleo, stick the meat in a pita! 

Ben's Gyro Meat
(adapted from an unremembered internet source)

3/4 pound beef
3/4 pound lamb
1 onion
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground rosemary
3 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Food process the onion until it's finely diced. Take it out and dump it on a paper towel to wring out the excess water.
2. Put the onion back in the food processer with the herbs, meat, and salt. Process until it's well mixed- this will take a few minutes.
3. Put a 1/2 inch of water in a metal sheet pan (or cookie sheet with sides). Place a 10 x 15" glass dish inside the metal pan, so that the water surrounds the glass pan. Spread the meat mixture in a layer inside the glass pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

[Food photos (starting at the top): Homemade olive oil mayo/ coconut flakes with roasted almonds; gyro meat with roasted squash, italian dressing and kale; spinach salad with roasted almonds; brussel sprout hash and basted eggs; lunch plate with chicken sausage and Genna's homemade mustard; salmon cakes and spaghetti squash; whipped coconut milk over strawberries and mangos with toasted almonds and caramelized coconut chips.]

Monday!

April 15, 2013

Today is a great day! It's the first day I haven't worked a double shift at my part-time money job in months and months, and I'd like to report that this makes Monday seem so sane and do-able. I am practically zen over here!

In other news, nice people are running my writing today. Over on A Practical Wedding (the sane wedding site!) I've shared the story of changing my middle name. And over on Minnesota Playlist I've written a list of 10 things I learned from interviewing and watching the work of local artists (you can check out these interviews here).

Happy Monday. Kick it in the pants!

It Is / It isn't: Lessons In Creative Process

April 12, 2013


Wednesday I had my first rehearsal with dancers! And being in a rehearsal room with two talented, generous folks was pretty much the best. Getting down to work led to a million questions, many of which I don't yet have the answers to. The questions are good. The answers are the process.

When I work on a piece, I like to do my version of what Twyla Tharp recommends in The Creative Habit. When Twyla works on a dance she gets a shoebox out and puts everything in it that has anything to do with the dance: newspaper clippings, movies, music, thoughts. When I work on a piece I like to make lists of all of the ingredients I'm working with-- what I know about the dance. Maybe I write down that I think apples should be in the piece, or there's a specific movement I'm intrigued by, or a character choice, or a movement device like repetition or speed. More and more I like to create confines for working. I've been inspired to do this by Miranda July's Learning To Love You More process, and by Kate Bingaman Burt's daily prescriptive drawings. It's easiest to make things when you have some kind of parameter. Otherwise, there are just too many options. And when there are too many options, I think art can become really general and diluted. It's everything instead of something.

So I made two lists. For one list I made two columns. At the top of one column I wrote 'It IS' and at the top of the other I wrote 'It ISN'T'. I wrote down what characteristics I know the piece has/will have so I remember what I'm chewing on, and I wrote down what the piece isn't, so that I don't feel like the possibilities are endless. I want to stay specific. For the second list, I wrote all of the questions I still have about the piece/what I need to explore. The goal of the lists is to keep me focused and prevent me from overwhelm...to feel like I'm making progress.

And the It Is / It Isn't list can be helpful for so much more than just making a dance-- it's helpful for finding your edge in whatever you're doing: talking about what you make; figuring out what sets your business apart; finding the ideal audience to connect your work to. Sometimes it's easier to figure our who you are by first figuring out who you're not. The list helps you avoid being too general, which I think is a trap for businesses and artists alike.

There are two perspectives on this:
"Our dance performance has something for everyone!"-- a publicity statement I read.
"I'm not for everyone, but I am for someone."--Levi Weinhagen

I prefer the latter. Trying to provide something for everyone, or make art about everything is...ineffective. It means that you can't be just right for your SOMEONE-- or make your very specific SOMETHING. 

Rant aside, try the list: it's helpful.

[Photo from my Instagram feed. You can follow the dance-making process there.]

Sugar Was Right

April 10, 2013

The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people's diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.
--Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things-- 

Creative non sequiturs

April 9, 2013

It's raining in St. Paul! It's perfect weather for romancing productivity-- cuddled up in flannel, with a candle, and Martha Wainwright crooning somewhat angstily in French. My working style today is a bit fuzzy, as I'm on day 3 of a month-long whole foods cleanse of sorts. Day 3 is when you're past the Hooray! I'm doing something great for my body! and onto the 27 more days is a lot of days....

And fuzzy thinking means a lot of non sequiturs...

I came across this photo from our March Small Art (March Men!), which featured Levi Weinhagen, Blake Nellis, and Toussaint Morrison. Three very talented, handsome men performing in my living room! The night deserves a post of its own, but for now I will say that this photo captures what Small Art is for me in a nutshell: an intimate setting where performers from difference disciplines get to share the barebones of who they are and what they do. And, in the case of this photo, Blake Nellis is showing his love of playful movement experiments-- performed in a yellow jumpsuit. He took a roll of masking tape and, with the assistance of an audience member, used it to propel his five-minute improvisation. Never has tape been so thrilling to me!

After that performance I was committed to being Levi, Toussaint, and Blake's biggest fan! I felt like I knew each of them and their work that well. And that's what I'm thinking about these days: how do we put more of ourselves into our work? How do we connect our mission to our audiences? Because I don't doubt that you have a mission-- whether it involves taking photos or connecting people together or changing the relationship people have with their food!

Those are the extent of my scintillating thoughts on this rainy Tuesday. I hope your head is clearer than mine.

PS-- You can read my thoughts on the creative dilema of dealing with TOO MANY IDEAS (!) over on the McGinley Motion blog. I hope you are less horrified by my lack of Photoshop skills than Ben is...
[Photo by Steven Cohen.]

On My Bookshelf: Art & Fear

April 6, 2013


I continue to work on my dance WITHOUT FREAKING OUT and/or having a self-defeating melt-down! Next week I start working with my dancers. I'm grateful to have others to hold me accountable to my timeline, because even though I'm excited about this project I will find any excuse to procrastinate rehearsing. It's as if I'm waiting for the sky to open up and provide me with the perfect hour of time where I'm in the absolute genius headspace. Guess what? It doesn't actually work like that. Once I start rehearsing, I have fun! I make progress! Like with so many things in life, it's the moments before starting that are awful.

This performance is relatively low-stakes, for an audience of people who celebrate artistic experiments. I know full well that this 7-minute dance doesn't have to be my opus-- comforting. Still, I'm tiptoeing around, wondering if THE FEAR is going to set in. I've written very openly in this space about facing major artistic paralysis in the past-- the kind of fear that made me want to permanently stop creating. It stemmed from several places: a concern about what others thought; confusing my own identity/self-worth with my art; a lack of self-trust; analyzing too early in the process; over-commitment and a lack of life balance.


I believe that the best time (and money) investment you can make is in investigating your demons and sorting through your Own Personal Baggage. The past two years have been pretty full of that for me. Making this dance has made me aware of the subtle changes that have resulted. I felt it a lot this week: lots of inner monologue about what if I get to the first rehearsal and realize that none of it looks very good? And then a response to my own pondering: you're smart and you'll figure it out. You'll figure it out. You'll figure it out. And, if you can't figure it out, you'll ask the question again and keep working on it. I've worked hard to create a part of myself that's separate from my work, so that if and when the work bombs, I don't too. It's fair to note that this system and separation isn't flawless. But, I'm working on it.

All of this led me to pick up my copy of Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making, one of the many books on creating that Early 20's Laura went into credit card debt over (along with many Mark Morris and Twyla Tharp biographies). Sometimes I have to hand it to my younger self: although she wasn't necessarily great at honing her craft, that girl made plans. She booked performances and deadlines, spent all of her free time shopping for props and costumes, and was all I am dedicated to being an artist! with very little fear, but a much bigger sense of calling. Almost duty, dare I say? So maybe I didn't really need to read the book then. But diving into it now, I see myself and challenges I've faced in much of what the authors-- David Bayles and Ted Orland-- write. Just like Steven Pressfield writes in The War of Art, we are our own greatest artistic challenge. Or, as quoted in Art & Fear:

We have met the enemy, and he is us. [Pogo]

We get in our own way when making our art, and we let others get in our way. All of this prevents us from doing what we need to: learning to work on our work. So, while the book doesn't necessarily present neat solutions or points that haven't crossed my mind once or twice, it's so helpful to read these reminders. Oh! Shit! That's totally a flawed thinking pattern that's messing up my ability to do what I'm trying to do! There are lots of artists, but there are only so many who are able to make the work happen without driving themselves nuts. And I don't want creating to be the thing that drives me crazy; it's the thing that makes me feel the most in my skin. So I will stick to re-reading Art & Fear for reality checks, while channeling a bit of Early 20's Laura-- but now with more experience and better money management skills! 

Spring Eating

April 3, 2013

I learned to cook as a kid, and have mostly practiced intuitive cooking. Meaning, I know what goes well together, approximately how long it takes to cook most things, and that everything (in my opinion) tastes better with a good amount of garlic. It wasn't until I was in my mid 20's that I realized that cookbooks aren't a crutch-- they're awesome! They teach you cooking techniques you wouldn't have thought of on your own, and push you to utilize new seasonings and ingredients.

I put the cry out on facebook for a good vegetarian cookbook to add to my collection, and my friend Candy suggested a new cookbook by a local nutritionist and chef, Anna Dvorak.  Anna's published it as an e-cookbook, and is releasing a section of it for each season. I bought the recently released Spring edition-- with over 60 Spring-inspired recipes (all vegetarian and gluten-free). The e-cookbook is called Nourish: Cooking With Love in Four Seasons.

I love Anna's idea of encouraging seasonal eating through her recipes. Spring means moving past root vegetables and brussel sprouts (even though I love them, it's time for something new). Last night we made asparagus with lemon aoili, and then a salad with carrot ginger dressing-- both Anna's recipes. They tasted like Spring, people.




Isn't that green stunning? I can't wait to see the trees the same color.

Do you have a favorite cookbook?

Lately: March

April 1, 2013

Walking around our neighborhood yesterday, I felt with certainty that this Spring thing might be real. Most of the sidewalk ice layers have melted, and the birds are waking me up. I am excited for tulips, getting my bike out, and for farmer's market produce. This Swiss Chard looked about as Spring-like as it gets.


So, happy April! March flew by, and it wasn't all road trips, closet purges, and getting on soapboxes about art and money:

  • McGinley Motion-wise, we have been scheduling new projects while Ben finishes editing the final episode of the snowmobile racing docudrama he works on every winter. We're excited to shoot a video in South Dakota ranch country. I can fantasize about living a very different life-- the kind where I wear cowboy boots, watch prairie sunsets, and drink whiskey from a flask. 
  • And, I continue to be surprised about all that this business endeavor is teaching me about accounting (hello, tax time!) and organization, clear communication, collaborating, and forward thinking. Bam!
  • I've been reading books that aren't about vulnerability or running a business. It took me way too long to discover Dear Sugar, after I read what can only be described as The Best Thing You Can Read If You're Undecided About Having A Child. Sugar (author Cheryl Strayed) knocked my socks off with her writing. Now I'm reading her memoir Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail. SO. GOOD.  
  • My little dance has dancers! I'm thrilled to involve collaborators, and move the piece forward (out of my head and onto a stage).
  • Ben and I got together with friends and tried our hand at Bibimbap (a Korean rice dish). It's delicious, but I was grateful that we didn't just make it for the two of us. The ingredient list is involved! We used bon app├ętit's recipe. Bibimbap confirms that everything you eat tastes better with an egg on it.
  • And, speaking of food, we've been planning our May foodie adventure to Seattle. We started by  making a list of restaurants we want to eat at-- my favorite way to travel. Obviously, Molly's restaurants are at the top of the list. We just discovered Air B&B, which is a listing of guest houses and rooms available in different cities. You can stay in a furnished apartment (with kitchen!), often at prices cheaper than motels. 
I have resolved to put at least one growing thing in soil this month. And, to spend more time cooking things (greatly needed to balance out projects, rehearsals, and desk time). What are you excited for in April?
 

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