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I Hate/Love/Hate/Love My Life

February 18, 2011

This past month has been a rollercoaster of emotion, where I’ve teared up out of happiness and out of frustration, numerous times…

Where’s My Power Suit?

After seeing an interview of me on Beyond the Pedway, a guy asked me to be a participant in a project of his —

I convene a roomful of senior business folks.
On behalf of a non-profit or government agency.
For a 3-hour, full-contact, pro-bono strategy session.
To begin to solve a single intractable, fundamental challenge.

Innovative idea!  I was tickled to be considered “senior business folk.”  I can’t reduce a fraction, none of my clothes are by Italian designers, and I’ve never eaten at Gibson’s Steakhouse.  I’ll try to be business-y regardless.

On the Air

While I’ve been interviewed many times, for newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV, I’ve never been live.  I had my first “oh god, what if  I say Nazi or poo or reveal _____’s secret I swore I’d never tell” experience when I was interviewed on WGN-radio about being an entrepreneur.  The interview took place in the showcase studio, overlooking Michigan Avenue.  I felt bad for the passersby who saw the mics and headsets, and felt the 90 billion watt soundwaves emanating from the Tribune Tower, and thus eagerly pressed their faces to the windows to get a glimpse of Angelina and Brad only to see a 6′ frizzy-haired ball of nerves who finds it impossible to only make one piece of toast in a two-slot toaster regardless of how hungry or not hungry she is.  But overall, it was a very enjoyable experience.  All six minutes.  I slipped in something about Fear Experiment, which was my only real goal.  And I must not have sounded like a complete fool, as I got a bunch of new sign-ups for the Minglers, my newsletter, and my business, who said they heard me on the radio.

The Trouble with Turning Fun into a Job

While last year’s Dance Experiment was pure fun, this year’s incarnation has not been.  When I’m actually improv’ing, it’s wonderful; the other stuff?  Bleh.  Most of the stress is rooted in high-class problems, like an increased size and performing at the prestigious, and very expensive, Park West, but that doesn’t make the twenty-hour plus weeks spent on something that’s garnishing me financial peanuts easy to swallow.  If I do this again, it’ll have a higher participation fee to compensate me for my time.  And I’ll make sure to clearly state expectations of participants at a mandatory pre-adventure meeting.  Learning experience.

Due to the popularity, I added Improv Experiment to Dance Experiment, which resulted in Fear Experiment – forty-one adults, and fourteen students of mine from a high-poverty community, pushing themselves in dance and/or improv, in preparation for a show in April; that more than doubled the participant numbers, which has made for much more time spent on coordinating.  The annoying type of coordinating.  Like sending an email titled “Here’s the Date of the Show!”, and then getting nine “What’s the date of the show?” messages.  Or sending “please send me ____ by _____” messages once, twice, five times.  Being put in the role of a nag is not fun.

Hugs!  From Friends and Strangers.

One source of stress has been trying to find a printer who’ll donate the printing of our playbill; if we don’t get it donated, we don’t have a playbill.  After two months of many of us reaching out and getting rejection after rejection, I came up with the idea to make our need a Kickstarter project.  Kickstarter is an awesome website which gives little-fish a chance to get their creative projects funded.  You ask for an amount, you have a deadline in which to raise said-amount, and if you get enough people to pledge 100% of the amount by the deadline, you get the money and the pledgers get cool rewards; if you fall short, you get nothing, they get nothing.

The outpouring of pledge-love has been overwhelming.  It looks like we just may pull this off.


Mom On-Line!

My mom and I have had a consistent relationship since I was a child where I’ll suggest a genius idea, she’ll hear it but not be ready to embrace it – she’s a big “on my own time” person – and five years later, will follow-through on my genius suggestion and usually end up very happy with her decision [Exhibit A) switch from PC to MAC, Exhibit B) back up your computer].  After retiring from the landscape and garden business about five years ago, she became an “equitable food and farm economies” consultant.  While very rewarding, interesting, and much-needed, it’s proven tough to generate a consistent cash-flow.  A year or so ago, I suggested she create a simple website as a possible way to help increase income.  Four years earlier than tradition, with little help from me, my non-techy mother created a website!  And it looks great.


A Little but Much Needed Pick Me Up

I accidentally stumbled upon a recent blog post by one of the Dance Experiment participants from last year, which made me smile.  Thanks DJ Sparklebomb!


Really Universe?  Do You Hate Me That Much?

On a Sunday when I was up against multiple deadlines, and had already spent all Friday and Saturday working, I began working on my e-newsletter at 6AM.   Worked on it until 5PM-ish.  Was about to hit send and noticed that my logo was an old version.  I selected the logo and pressed delete.  Or so I thought.  I must’ve selected the text box of the entire email.  Everything disappeared.  And the auto-save that is usually a blessing decided right then to enact itself, saving the just updated version, so no undoing my last action.  In one second, I undid a day’s worth of work.


Helping Others Be Able to Shop at Trader Joe’s Tuesday at 10:30AM

There’s a huge tech conference this summer in Chicago and I was asked to be a part of a committee to put together a workshop for women entrepreneurs.  Fun!  Collaboration with inspiring people!  Helping others do what they love for a living!


Generosity Exemplified

An extremely-skilled photographer is driving into the city from Algonquin – it took him about two hours last night – at least once a week for three months to document Fear Experiment.  For free.  And sharing the photos with all the participants to do with what they please.  Improv rehearsal at one location, dance rehearsal at another location, the elementary school at another location.  Heartwarming.  Thank you Rich Chapman.


A Night On the Town

I went to the sold-out Decemberists concert!  Indian dinner beforehand, no reservation yet seated right away.  Arrived at the Riviera just as the opening band finished, and found two great seats.  They didn’t play Sons and Daughters which causes me to react in weird ways, and was the only song I really wanted to hear, but it was still a lovely evening.


A Week in My (Tired) Shoes

I was asked to be a guest blogger on my alma mater’s career center website, for their RealJobs project, where alum give insight into their professional life, blogging once a day for a week.  It couldn’t have come at a worse time as far as “I don’t have time for this!”  But I blearily typed up a post around midnight each night, recounting the days activities.  Now, looking back and hearing the feedback from others, I’m glad I made the time and glad I said yes.  Always have to remind myself of all the support I’ve gotten from others who are equally as or more busy than I am.  Not all about me, not all about me.


Reminder to Keep Plugging Along

And on that note of having perspective and realizing your life is pretty darn good, regardless of people who don’t follow deadlines and of drivers who block intersections so that you have to sit through three green lights before you can go, these two recent occurrences remind me, deep breath!  You’re fine.

One, the blog posts by my Fear Experiment students.  Adorable!

Two, my Fear Experiment students learning dance from their Fear Experiment partners.  Adorable!  Both the actual moves, and the bringing together of these two groups.  Busy adults taking time out of busy lives to give back.  Isolated kids opening themselves to new people and new experiences.

Let’s see what this next month brings —

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Rich permalink
    February 20, 2011 7:41 PM

    Through the good times and the tough times, your hard work and generosity are an inspiration and truly appreciated by all those whose lives you’ve touched. Thank you!

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