Working hard at not working

October 2014

Hey there,

Many people have asked me what I do in a week. Not having a typical 40 hour-a-week job anymore has left some of my friends curious as to how I am avoiding homelessness, insanity and boredom while inching my way closer to my goals of being a stunt performer. Here is a rough sketch of what I did this week:

Sunday

  • 1.5 hours of urban exploration, parkour on rails with my friend
  • 4.5 hours of gymnastics coaching
  • 2.0 hours gymnastics training at Delta gym (floor tumbling, handstand tricks, ninja kicks and some goofing around on the exercise balls)

Monday

  • 13 hours on set for a tv series, Motive (1 hour of stretching, many hours of sitting and eating)

Tuesday

  • 2.5 hours of circus training – maintenance day (1.0 hours of conditioning on the bars / straps, 0.5 hours of technical training and 1.0 of flexibility)
  • 5.0 hours of work on my laptop at a café (updating my acting profile, sending copious emails to people in the stunt industry / hoping for at least 1 reply back, managing my part of my friends and my website business AthleteConnect.ca, writing my blog)
  • a few hours of absolutely nothing productive (aka. Watching Netflix)

Wednesday

  • 3.0 hours of circus training (1.0 hours of core & handstand conditioning, 1.5 hours of technical practice on Chinese pole, 0.5 flexibility work on my splits)
  • 3.0 hours of work (created an account on CastingWorkbook.com to be submitted for commercials, picked music for my pole circus act)
  • 2.5 hours of parkour training at Origins gym (diving kong / vaults, wallruns & climb ups)

Thursday

  • 2.5 hours of circus training (1.0 hours of bar conditioning, 1.0 hours of technical training on the circus silks, 0.5 flexibility training)
  • 8.0 hours on the set of Supernatural

Friday

  • 2.0 hours of parkour training at Origins gym (worked on height jumps, 9’ wall runs, bar release moves)
  • 1.0 hour boxing lesson with the former Australian female champion (she’s intense)
  • 3.0 hours of acro dance coaching

Saturday

  • 8.0 hours of gymnastics coaching
  • many hours of relaxing on my couch recovering

And that about sums up a typically week of work / training. It is all over the place – 9-5ers need not apply or follow.

AthleteInspired

Circus performance virginity

October 2014

Dress rehearsal on the sky ladder

Rehearsal on the sky ladder (yes I’m hanging by my feet)

Hey there,

Officially survived my first circus performance! What an experience. Two weeks before the performance date the company owners asked me if I could learn a routine on the Sky Ladder. My first response was “yes, absolutely!” My second response, after the wave of over-eagerness left was, “what’s the sky ladder?” The sky ladder is essentially a type ladder hanging 35-feet in the air. The 8 rungs of the ladder are 4-feet long each, 3-feet apart, every other rung is turned 90 degrees and they are all held together at the ends by wire cables. The structure swings and sways like s ship at sea when you climb on it unless someone is holding the bottom rung and anchors themselves to the ground. Fun right?

Some of the bruises I have had for 3 weeks (I can't show them all...)

Some of the bruises I have had for 3 weeks (I can’t show them all…)

Needless to say it was quite the adrenaline rush and my gymnastics training served me very well for this particular apparatus. I had to learn the routine in a very short period of time. The prep was painful, both physically and psychologically. My body was bruised from head to toe from the repeated bar bashing. My shins looked like an angry chihauhua used my tibia as a chew toy. Tension was thick as the organizers worked out the last few details the day before and us performers tried to polish as much of the ever-changing routine as we could.

We showed up at the venue 7-hours before our performance was to take place. We double-checked our costumes and props, ‘blocked’ the whole thing (walked through the transitions between the various acts), and breezed through a final rehearsal. I got quite the shock when our organizers told me that I would need to wear this metal mask thing and be a part of the ambient ‘filler’ before and after my act. This was not something that I signed on for. Dangling 35 feet in the air, sure. Taking on the essence of a mystical seahorse between acts and through the crowd, not so much. But I bobbed and swayed my little aquatic mare butt all over the place with a happy but dazed look on my face.

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Then came time for me to walk out to the sky ladder to begin my routine. I had envisioned myself tripping over the smallest of obstacles on the way out, or getting to my position and forgetting every move in the whole routine. Terrifying thought. But as the music started I was transported to another place. I was so focused and so engaged in the performance that I wanted it to last much longer than 7 minutes. The high which performers get after something like this last for hours and hours. It kept a smile on my face for days. I definitely need to do more of these. The catered food and celebratory wine for the cast didn’t hurt the experience either. So with my circus performance cherry popped, I will heal my bruises and learn a new routine, hopefully in time for Christmas party season.

Athlete Inspired

A long weekend walk to remember

October 2014

Hey There,

I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend. I celebrated Thanksgiving in a fairly non-conventional way compared to my usual turkey eating, football watching family time. On a last minute decision, I hopped into my bar, Kobe, and made yet another brief 9-hour drive to Alberta for a weekend of hiking in the mountains. After 12-years of visiting the mountains, they continue to humble me and always make the drive worth while.

Iceline Trail, an attempt to blend in with the Inukshuks

Iceline Trail, an attempt to blend in with the Inukshuks

I met up with 3 other fresh mountain-air enthusiasts (driving all the way from Winnpeg) and we made camp in Harvey Heights. And by “made camp”, I mean that we stayed at the Banff Boundary Lodge. The leader of this expedition was a very experienced outdoorsmen friend of mine (long story short: we kind of dated for a while and the combination of distance, conflicting schedules and very ambitious individual goals led to…well you know how the story goes) and the rest of the pack included his son, an ex-downhill skier and yours truly.

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The first day we headed out early, picked up a bagel and a coffee and hiked the Iceline / Twin Falls trail in Field. We managed 24km, with 1000+m elevation gain over 6 hours. We made it high enough that it was snowing (rather than the rain that was coming down in the parking lot). As we walked along an ancient glacier, it only seemed right to build a snowman and do some handstands with the inukshuks. Being in such a beautiful and seemingly isolated place is a surreal experience for me. During our last 2 kilometers (where the trail was very wide and flat) we came across two gentlemen, armed with dress shoes, jeans and 1 bottle of Powerade between the two of them, were a little shocked to find out how improbable their journey had quickly become. Having heard how we managed the first 22kms and were jogging the few, I think we frightened them a little bit.

Twin Falls (well one of the twins is sleeping until spring)

Twin Falls (well one of the twins is sleeping until spring)

We wrapped up our day at the Truffle Pig where we stuffed ourselves with frog legs, pork tenderloin and ginger beer. The next day led us to the Canmore area and a hike called Buller’s Pass. A short 21km long, 1000+m elevation filled trek through the pass (which is actually up and over a mountain rather than a pass between them), landed us at Ribbon Lake. We passed by waterfalls, a female moose grazing near our path and a handful of other hikers who gave us odd stares due to our lack of technical gear, hiking poles and day packs (we travel pretty light). We ran all the way down the last quarter of the trail and an intense wave of euphoria filled my head and my wary legs. For some reason, I tend to struggle with jogging any more than 30 minutes in the city but I can bound down a mountain for 45 minutes straight without so much as a second thought.

Top of Buller Pass with Ribbon Lake down below

Top of Buller Pass with Ribbon Lake far down below

The last morning, with the previous days DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) beginning to kick in, we opted for a short but pretty hike up to Grassy Lakes before packing up our cars and driving back to our respective cities. What an adventure! Reaffirms just how many things I am truly thankful for.

Athlete Inspired

My week with the stunt doubles

Background role as a cop on Backstrom tv series

Background role as a cop on Backstrom tv series

Hey There,

Well folks, it happened. I got “the invite” I was hoping for. The first big step into the stunt world. The post-training coffee shop hangout with a leader in the stunt community and all of his students. After training at the Delta gymnastics club for three hours (and well past my bedtime) we all met up for an 11:30pm debrief. I am quickly realizing that this industry does not include many early morning risers. Oh well, it’s well worth becoming a quasi-functioning night owl for.

As my back heals and my positive energy returns I have met a lot of very cool people in the stunt world. All of these people are so excited about what they’re doing, about meeting other people and they’re passions / skills and the energy is just so infectious. I have met a former Australian boxing champ, an elite martial artist and a professional singer. All of whom want to skill trade with me (well the singer realizes there is no hope / desire to develop any sort of vocal talents but she has a vast knowledge of the industry, the process and an extensive network to boot). This process of skill sharing is so unique and contra-competitive. I expected people in the industry to be much more protective of their skills in their grind to the “top” but I was pleasantly surprised to find so many others who understand the value in the creative process of sharing, teaching and growing.

Chilling on set of The Flash with some very cool ladies

Chilling on set of The Flash with some very cool ladies

This past week I have also been an extra on some very cool shows. I was both a market wanderer and train passenger on Arrow, a café patron on The Flash and a cop on Backstrom. I had set a very specific goal this week of communicating with as many industry people as I possibly can. I focused all of my energy on starting to build relationships with anyone who would make eye contact with me. I have begun to keep a notebook of everyone I meet, how I know them, their skill background and any advice they have for me. I managed to interact with over 10 people in 1 week which is a number I am very proud of. Outside of the professional realm, I am also hoping that some of these people will become my friends.

Before I sign off I just wanted to give a huge shout out to my amazing godmother, my Aunt Jane. This incredible woman has read and commented on all of my blog posts. This lady is so many things to me and I love that she supports my dream and isn’t afraid to put me in check. Sassy, smart and kind (and an absolutely brilliant quilter I might add). Thanks Aunt Jane, you rock!

Athlete Inspired

Weddings, family & loose ends in Calgary

September 2014

ey There,

The past 10 days was a logistical work of genius. After circus training last week, I drove 1000km in Kobe (my little Toyota hatchback) to Calgary, stopping in Penticton for the night to visit with a close friend. Arriving in Caglary in time for a back-to-back meeting with one of the co-founders for the company we started a year ago and the sports society that I am on the board for, I took a redeye flight to Ontario for a slew of big events.

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I had the esteemed honour of being the ceremonial leader of my high school best friends’ wedding to the beautiful lady of his dreams. Never thought that I would “marry” anyone so that incredible experience is being added to and ticked off of my bucket list. The wedding was a stress-free and enjoyable affair, minus the fact that I was the only single lady under 40 there (a rant regarding the mistreatment of independently fabulous single people at weddings to follow).

The flower girl and I pregaming with marshmallows

The flower girl and I pregaming with marshmallows

The following day, I rehydrated as best as I could and picked up my other high school best friend’s fiancé for a 24-hour bachelorette party in Niagra Falls. We shopped, we dined, we drank, we danced. The perfect level of embarrassment for a bride to be. Getting back over the border (as we were on the American side) proved to be much more difficult and adrenaline filled than I had expected. Apparently, the border guards have little sympathy for 3 women who are too exhausted and depleted of electrolytes (let alone surrender the tight grip on their emergency barf bags) to explain where a gifted bottle of champagne came from.

Bridal crew 2014 (bride is second from the left)

Bridal crew 2014 (bride is second from the left) and my biceps look photoshopped haha

The next few days after that I got to spend with my family. My youngest sister is expecting her first child with her husband and my youngest aunt just gave birth to her petite and handsome son. Lots of baby talk and thankfully none in my general direction. I flew back to Calgary with enough time to cram my personal training certification test, 2 filming sessions for the new company, a parkour training session with my varkour ladies at the Breathe space and a handful of short but uplifting visits with most of my favourite people.

After that it was a 10 hour drive straight through the night with nothing but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on CD to keep me awake. Minus a 1-hour nap on the side of the highway after Kamloops and a couple thunder storms, it was smooth sailing. After being out in Vancouver for 3 months, there was 3 things that I could just not live without anymore:

  1. My long, white, fluffy housecoat (essential when sharing a bathroom between 3 people)
  2. My copy of Thomas Crown Affair & The Program (I already brought Princess Bride and an assortment of Disney classics)
  3. My mini frying pan that is perfect for a 3-egg scramble (and easy to clean)

Life just got a whole lot more comfortable

Athlete Inspired