DIY Relationships At Home Depot

My mother taught me if you’re lost: Stay where you are. It’s where people will look to find you. My Hubby has stormed off. I am alone. So, here I am sitting on the ‘I’m lost and tired in Home Depot bench’; aisles and lifetimes away from where I was. Both literally and figuratively. For those of you who can read beyond my dramatics, you may have guessed I’ve moved. I changed my address, postal code and state of mind.

It is commonly acknowledged that moving is among the top 3 most stressful events in one’s life. I mean, it’s weddings, funerals and moving. STRESSFUL! On the upside, it’s a chance to take stock of where you are and where you wish to be. What you have and what you need. It’s an opportunity to shake things up. But it’s stressful. I long for simpler times with someone to take care of me. A grown up to take my hand and make decisions and pay for everything and make it all better.

On my first neighbourhood coffee run, I find myself surrounded by the local high school students; which means the Starbucks is rammed. Each one of them falls somewhere between awkward and all grown up. I’m happy to be walking amongst them. I can feel the freedom. I want to go back, back to before responsibility and student debt. But I can’t. I am trapped in a Home Depot with a Hubby who’s decided not to make a decision. Except to be angry with me for asking too many questions and not having enough answers.

I love my new hood, it’s nice. I mean its a nice place where the people are nice. I can see a future here. But I can’t decide if I want blinds or curtains. If I need a sectional or chesterfield. What colour should the powder room be? Important questions! Stressful. So, I sit here with furrowed brow. Alone under the florescent lights, listening to paint shake and keys being cut.

Suddenly, I’m forced back to reality by a handy guy with a pony tail, asking if I’m alright, cuz I’ve been typing on my phone like a woman possessed. Stressed or not, it’s probably a good idea for me to go back to where I got lost in the first place and find the Hubby who’s nothing but mad at me. But just as I write this, he comes around the corner with a door mat and a smile. And I realize somebody wants to take care of me and hold my hand. Aw, Home Depot, you really can fix anything!

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Being Happily Whelmed

In one week from today I move. Have I packed? Nope. Well, that’s not true, I’ve packed 2.5 boxes of knick-knacks. I have a big time performance on Sunday, you may have heard, #TBFStripSearch . Am I ready? Nope. I have 3 group acts and 2 solos to work on in the next three months. Have I finished them? You guessed it, Nah! And what did I do yesterday? Well, I watched 7 episodes Nashville. Oh, and for the last 2 weeks, I have been working 13 hour days, trying to recover/prepare for my lifestyle/burlesque obsession. Am I overwhelmed? Nah, what’s the point? I have made the decision to be happily whelmed.

I bet no matter what time it is where you are, that you’ve already seen, heard or sensed somebody complaining about being too busy. The overworked and under appreciated first world masses posting in resounding harmony: “It’s all too much! All the things! But I want more!”. Online media outlets have become passive therapists. A place to air grievances. A safe-haven, encouraging the Jones’ to exclaim just how busy they feel. Honestly, I know that if I did a little less creative posting and little more actual creative work; I’d be much further ahead and way more willing to pat myself on the back for my accomplishments. Though, I am happy with the knowledge that I made the choice, even if sometimes it’s not the ideal one.

Throughout the day I find myself waiting for something to happen; and by something I mean my Facebook newsfeed to refresh. The time I spend waiting I could use for more beneficial endeavours. Like writing this blog. Or inspiring all the sparkling show ponies around me. Or maybe even planning total domination of Tiny Town, as a preliminary measure to total Burly World. With time being at such a premium; one would think, I’d avoid wasting it. That I would get my task list in order and stick to it. But my creative/lazy/distracted/self-destructive sides prevent me from really digging my heels and buckling down. It needs to be free to flow, to ebb and flow and even spend 5 consecutive hours watching Sherlock. You cannot change the things you’ve already done. You can only change the things you will do. And here’s a key for your life ring: Self satisfaction is knowing that you have the opportunity to attempt achieving your goals everyday. Stick that in your lock and turn it! You can choose to be under, over or happily whelmed. You have the power, I mean, if you can tear yourself away from Netflix.

Ode To Doughnuts

This poem was inspired by my Valentine’s dinner; which was 6 assorted doughnuts followed immediately by a sugar coma. A delicious, delicious sugar coma.

Boston Cream

Ode to Doughnuts

Dearest Doughnuts, you are the perfect food,

With flavours baked for every mood.

Crueller, Fritter, Sour Cream glaze,

I could eat you for days and days.

You’re circled love, wrapped round a hole,

Or bitty bites to be eaten whole.

So close to cake and also pie,

And sometimes cookies and tarts, oh my!

Dusted with sugar, filled with cream,

You tasty pastry, dessert dream.

Honey dipped and even Old Fashion,

You inspire my food porn passion.

I lace my mouth with glaze and goo,

Delighted to savour each mouthful of you.

Your sweetest treatest candy crumbs,

Licked off my fingers; loved by my tongue.

Chocolate glazed or double dipped,

You had me at Doughnut, I’m happily whipped.

I love you doughnuts, I must admit,

Please never change, or I’d commit,

Some Harry Caray or heinous crime.

Oh dearest doughnuts, won’t you be mine?

PS: For Toronto’s BEST Doughnuts visit Glory Hole 

Get Show Ready With Gracie

Now, I’ve had a few showgirls ask me what my pre-show regime entails. Well, to really explore this, we have to start at the beginning.

One month before the show:  This is usually when I get booked. So, with nearly 30 days to prep, I think to myself how lucky I am to have so much valuable time. Usually at this point I have pitched a song for the act in question. So, I listen to it on repeat, until I feel like if I hear it one more time, my ears will start bleeding. And I think: What would Gracie Do? Then I come up with a story arch for the song. And plant some joke seeds.

Two weeks and 3 days before the show: I write up my Iva Handful inspired musical spreadsheet. It details all the musical hits, when they happen, what the lyric is, and what I expect to happen. Don’t be fooled- this is tedious work. It takes a lot of listening for flute solos and drum hits; being in touch with how the song naturally makes you move. But it pays off when you step away and actually start working it. A strong foundation is very important when you’re building your dream act.

Two weeks before the show: My costume is designed. Notice the italics. This means that I’ve picked the pieces. And made a list of those missing elements & necessary embellishments. Then I spend 2 days straight stitching, pasting and forcing all these parts into a cohesive costume. Then my Hubby gives me a lecture about how all the crafting items don’t need to be strewn across all the flat surfaces in our condo. I sigh, cuz I’ve heard it all before; put my headphones into my ears, and listen to that song again…and again as I clean and tidy. While I’m focused on the swiffer and wiping the mirror, I imagine my costume coming apart just right. **NOTE: This step has to happen a lot sooner for Showgirls relying on the kindness of strangers to build their costume. Luckily, I am a crafty little dancer.

One week before the show: Everything is ready, except me. I have run my act according to my spreadsheet. Now, I mod it. Of course, there are moments that just don’t work. Writing something down in Excel and executing it in real life are two very different things. The confines of time and space are the natural enemy of the dream act, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goal another way. Modifications are a showgirls’ BFF. And I still have time to rejig all those moments to fit. This is also when costume flaws are fixed. The music I’d started hating has become my theme song. And I find myself running choreo at the bus stop and giggling when I realize another joke I planted has grown strong.

Two days before the show: I decide that this is the worst concept I’ve ever come up with. That nobody is going to understand it, let alone like it. I hate everything about it.

The day before the show: I wake up early stretch and figure that yesterday I was wrong about everything and that I couldn’t be that bad, and even if everything goes horribly, horribly awry, I’m Gracie Klutz…and that’s kinda my thang. I give everything a once over. This is my last chance to get that shit tight. I make sure every stone is stuck. Every seam is sewn. And then I run it 4 more times -in show shoes-, before packing my showgirl bag- with checklist- in costume chronological order. ( Meaning from bottom layer up: ie: panties & pasties, stockings, bra..etc)

SHOW DAY: I pretend that my tummy is upset cuz I drank too much coffee. I pace and mark it in my mind. I tear my showgirl bag apart and  re-pack it. Then double check it again. Again. I leave early for the venue cuz you can’t rely on TTC to be timely. I arrive way too early. Run tech. Then I wait. There’s this long time between getting there and going on, so I pretend to be totally fine as I pace backstage. And I wait some more.

Performer Before Me: I hear the audience and think I can’t match that reaction. And forget how to breathe for a minute.

During My Intro: I stand in the wings. Straightening myself again and again. I hear my name. The host runs past me and I am alone and dizzy.

My Music Starts: Then I lose myself for 3 mins. I make myself laugh. I move through my dream act. With those movements and emotions I’ve planned. And maybe a few I didn’t.

The Music Ends: Then it’s over until next time. Unless you count working the crowd as part of your act, but I like it too much to think of it as work.

Rinse, Repeat to FADE or Infinity: I plan, pitch and proceed with my next act.

So, that’s how I do it. Did that help anyone, besides me and my OCD Showgirl brain? I sure hope so, cuz that was the plan. And I like to execute my plans. So, consider this plan on death row. And see you Feb 5th @ The Rivoli- Toronto*

*Side note: Throughout this entire process, I am promoting my show on all my social media- like a good little showgirl. Cuz what’s a show without an audience?

Tick Tock Time

Rush. Rush. Rush. Busy is the new good, and all that. And that, is terrible. Can you remember when you didn’t feel constantly pressured by ever looming- seemingly- life or death deadlines? When the time allotted to a project was uninterrupted by the tinkling alerts of a smartphone? When you were focused on the task at hand? Yeah, me neither. It’s as though being busy has replaced being productive. But who am I to complain? I am a busy-body*. I am a work horse. I have a hard time saying No, and I tend to stretch myself thin; in all the wrong places.

Gracie finds herself circled by stacks of acts.

Gracie finds herself circled by stacks of acts.

On a (nearly) daily basis, my Hubby vocalizes how my time management skills affect our lives. Specifically our living space. There are piles of ongoing projects on every flat surface. The sad stacks of half-cocked ideas and nearly done nonsense, litter our tiny Toronto condo. Unlike many of my burlesque colleagues, who have a dedicated space to tuck their wares away; my open concept living quarters display my disaster for all to see. Now, I could blame this on architectural inadequacies, but honestly, if I didn’t have a to-do pile, nothing would ever get done. I am naturally drawn to disarray. It is a nature/nurture flaw/foible that I acquired from my ever lovin’ Momma. She too is a busy-body*. The house of my youth was stacked with all the diverse distractions she loved/loves doing. Then once a month, when those oh so special hormones would kick-in, she would hit the roof and callously cleanse the house…And by that I mean, fill the junk drawers and hide the evidence. I too have this monthly habit, although I don’t have a junk drawer, I have a serious collection of over-stuffed Ikea organizational elements. So, those projects remain. Stacked. Taunting me.

I submit this blog into evidence as exhibit XXX. I get pleasure from writing it. I receive pleasure from those reading it. But I often find myself with hands full, unable to type or afford a typist. So the ideas sit, stagnant in a doodle diary; until their interest for me expires or the topics become outdated. The time for action has disappeared but the pile remains and I am still too busy to finish it. But with what am I filling my time? My over active imagination has had me convinced that my piles could animate themselves. Becoming paper monsters that haunt me. And I’m scared. So, what does one do when they don’t have enough time to be so busy? Well, my little lambs, that is a question for the interweb at large. So, if anyone has a meme that clarifies life, I’d love to see it- especially if there’s a baby animal involved.

*Busy-body in this context meaning a hustler, a go-getter, a do-gooder and just an all around fun-time-seeker & joiner

This Is Not A Drill

Last night my fire alarm went off. Not in the, “I was busy over baking chicken fingers” kinda way, more of a “The Toronto fire services have discovered a fire on level P3” fashion. So, Hubby, forced me out from under my sewing machine and into the cold dark night, with dog baby in tow. (We left the Puss, cuz I think she’d prefer to stay and roast than have to deal with society…I know how she feels) So, we took to the stairs with our neighbours, who are also strangers. I hrumphed the whole time, wearing two sets of gloves. We stood outside watching the firemen, who know it’s a faulty alarm in a new building, mill around, until someone turns off the alarm. I was day dreaming about how beautiful and dangerous fire is, and what it would look like dancing. When suddenly it dawned on me: I hadn’t grabbed anything. My house is on hypothetical fire and I was more upset to lose the time working on my costume. I seriously didn’t grab anything but my keys. Keys to a house that is potentially on fire. I guess the point of this antidote is that when the mythical fire was burning my condo to the ground, it was all just stuff. And if I’m really honest, I could use the insurance money.

But all was safe and sound. I am blogging from underneath the sewing machine again. And I am on fire.

A Gracie For All Seasons

I want sunshine lollipops and rainbows everywhere! I stretch out in the warm nights and soak in patio weather. But I’ve noticed the busy bumbling bees have already lost their summer minds- transforming them into droning kamikaze nuisances; dive bombing my shady afternoon. You might say, I’m havin a hard time letting go of this summer lovin state of mind. Even today I find myself answering the siren call of the sunshine. I am drawn away from my computer and out into the big wide world. Cuz before you know it, it’ll be fall and before I know it, I will need to be wrapped up and winterized.

On this day of near-autum, I am taking stock of my life. Happy Hubby in year 2 of marriage. Healthy puppa & kitty. And then there’s Gracie. This summer is one for the herstory- no, my-story books. I have fallen into the world of burlesque. A community that has embraced, caressed and teased me on a regular basis. I am a happy camper. I mean, I’ve been a ship without a captain, floating aimlessly in the creative world. Now, finally, I have control over me. And I’m told that if I burlesque it, they will come. Though the rest of this year is going to be a gauntlet of picking, planning and pawning my acts, it’s the most fun part. I mean, just trying to choose from the overflowing concept fountain that is my under-stimulated, overly-warped mind (which- I hear are ideal qualities to have as a maker of art) has been a production. With oh so many crew members involved. I have become obsessed. It’s my sparkly addiction. And I can’t help myself.

They say time flies when you’re having fun. But I’m not sure that times goes faster as much as you’re not interested in looking at a clock. Unless, of course, like me, you’ve stacked your schedule to consume every nanosecond. When I stopped to look at the calendar I realized that the days are literally numbered. It’s already September. And I don’t know if you’ve realized, but there are some major holidays coming up. Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s and oh so many more and they all require an act. Sigh- showgirl problems. It is my hope that  take advantage of the inevitable shortening of days in the fall and utilize the long, dark hours of winter nights to come. I want to used that time wisely. I will be able to  glamorize, systemize and holiday-ize Ms Gracie, so we’re ready for a happy new year. So, I’m sorta happy it’s summer’s end & I won’t be sweating my guts out anymore in way too many showgirl layers. A happy showgirl hovers just above freezing and my A/C has been turned off.  But back to fall colours and chilly breezes . I’m excited to start a new season of wardrobe. But I am going to try carrying those sunshine lollipops and rainbows with me all year-long. Now, that’s what I call a beach blanket bingo!

PS- Tomorrow, I dance for money, but it’s not so private.

Class Acts: Vixen Recital