Paramour: Cirque du Soliel on Broadway

I have always enjoyed Cirque du Soliel. My first experience was seeing Varekai on PBS. I recorded it because it was different and aspects of it were really cool. There was a story tucked in there and it was important to really pay attention in order to see it. I used clips of that show during a skills class I taught early in my career, trying to fortify inferencing skills of my students. I challenged them to tell me what the story was about from watching scenes of the show.

From there, I started going to shows and I’ve seen a bunch of them now. I doubt I could list all of them and a few I saw twice because they were so good, I wanted to bring others to see them too. Kooza was great and I listen to the soundtrack when I’m doing a hands-on project like painting a room or hacking together a bookcase. Ovo was interesting with an insect theme. I also saw Amaluna, which had some amazing feats contained within.

Nothing has compared to . The power of that show is astounding and I would love to see it again, except it requires a trip to Vegas. If I take trip this year, I want to see Universal and Harry Potter world.

One Cirque show we saw was a bit different. Wintuk had a more direct story told through song. There were still cool tricks and acrobatics and wonderful things to see — dancing dogs come to mind. It was unexpected. Zarkana was also a bit more story and show with less emphasis on the sheer power of Cirque du Soliel, though the sand artist was incredible.

Enter Paramour. It just opened in previews last night and you’d never know it. The show was masterfully done and it truly felt like a Broadway play. And for me, that was its only downside. When I go to see Cirque du Soliel, I want to see the amazing things the performers can do. I want to be transported into an alternate world where everyday humans are performing extraordinary things and it’s all happening live. And there were certainly some phenomenal scenes throughout the show that did just that. I just wanted more of it.

If I had realized going in that I was watching a play that had some acrobatics in it, rather than the other way around, I would have felt differently because my expectations were something else. Funny how our minds work like that. But I guess I didn’t look enough into what the show was about, so that disconnect is on me. It reminded me of the reboot of Pippin on Broadway, if that helps as a reference.

The actors were terrific. The performers were outstanding. The music was catchy and rich. The scenery was wonderful. The story was good. And there were some very creative ways they incorporated the singers/actors into moments with the performers/tumblers. One scene in particular stands out to me as wildly creative and it was really cool what they were doing — I won’t spoil it.

So if you want to see a good show with great performers and some phenomenal acrobatics, then Paramour should be added to your list. Just keep in mind that it’s more story-centered than Circque-centered and you’ll love it.


Photo Courtesy: Christopher Campbell via

I keep saying it: I need to exercise. It’s something I really don’t enjoy. (The word “loathing” comes to mind.) I need to stop surfing the Internet and surf into an exercise routine. I need help with it. I need someone knocking me over the head saying, “Hey, let’s do this!” When I’m left to my own devices, I get caught up in so many other things, I never get around to it.

Seven years ago, I hired a personal trainer and we worked well together for five years. Some days we kept things very light because I’d had a difficult day already, but I needed the support he gave me. Talking with him led, eventually, to the inspiration for what became my Red Jade book series. In the beginning, I couldn’t even do a single push up, I was so out of shape. By the time he moved away, I was capable of 80 within an hour. Oh, I hated them (and lunges!) but I could do them.

Two years after he moved, I had only had some sporadic moments of exercise. I bought things like Zumba DVDs, Wii Fit, Just Dance, tried YouTube videos, iPhone apps, fitness trackers, and so on. And here and there I would try to motivate myself to get something done. I just couldn’t stay motivated.

It doesn’t help that I feel so clunky that I don’t want to be seen flopping around. So going to the Y or a gym isn’t an option for me. I had done LA Fitness for a few months an eternity ago and even though no one ever really looked my way, I felt totally out of my element and eventually stopped.

This past summer, my immobile self was trying to mobilize and I found another trainer. The sessions were good and we also talked a bit about nutrition. I’m not a big snacker but I do love bread and pasta. I also have a number of food allergies and disinterests that make food choices a bit limited, but I still made an effort. For various reasons, the sessions lasted only through the summer and then the school year began.

It has been a busy school year and of course the first thing to go by the wayside is any form of exercise. I get about 5,000 steps daily just from teaching but it isn’t enough and I know it. At long last, I caved in again and asked my friend for a helping hand. He came over Thursday and we worked for an hour through things I’ve done before. But it’s been a while.

And I am sore.

I had forgotten how sore I would be after starting anew. Sure, I pushed a little hard but I was careful not to strain anything and this is all just soreness from using muscles in ways they haven’t been used in a while. Stairs have been a funny challenge as I slowly stagger downward clutching the wall as I go. I do have to remember to keep stretching, though. That’s one thing I’ve been forgetting and I’m sure that’s part of why I’m still so sore today.

But I feel good about it. And that’s also what I’m trying to focus on. I like that I’m trying to do better for myself. I feel good about it after the fact. It doesn’t work as motivation to get started, though. I only wish I was able to put the horse before the cart on that one. Instead, I need someone else to be the stablemaster and lead me on.

I’m not one to really track my weight. The Wii Fit does that and it always irked me when the weight wouldn’t go down for a time because I was on a plateau. Instead, I just want to keep positive about the whole thing. I want to lose some weight, sure, but I can’t track it so much. 

I want to look better. I want to feel better. I would love if it would help me to sleep better too, but that’s never been a benefit for me before, so I’m not holding my breath. I want to not feel embarrassed looking at myself sideways in a mirror. And I don’t want to feel like I’d blind people if I took my shirt off at the beach. I would need a lot of self-motivation and drive to earn the physique of any of the guys who’ve helped me to exercise and that’s an unrealistic goal for me. 

But if I can find a way of staying active several times a week for any kind of extended time without really faltering, I know I’d feel better all around. So though exercise has always been my bane, with help I can try to fight back. Like my games and stories where the hero does not quest alone, I need my battle party on my side. And so, it’s time to gear up and get ready…

To battle! 

And squats, push ups, curls, presses, jumping jacks, planks……….. (Fade to Final Fantasy victory fanfare music.)


Sea of Clouds

Photo by Joshua Earle

Let’s face it… Lately, I’ve been in a funk. The to-do list is miles high. Emotions are running everywhere. And it feels like I’m staring at a sea of clouds, rolling in, intangible, dark and brooding.

There is a lot going on and I haven’t had a lot of down time. It’s not all bad stuff either. Running through two rooms at Mission Escape Games was pure delight. But I guess I’ve always needed a bit of reflection time and I haven’t taken enough of it. In the times I’ve had to myself, I’ve been so overwhelmed by the list of things to do that I’ve opted instead for distraction. That in itself can be therapeutic. It just doesn’t get things done.

It’s been four months since my last haircut. I have my taxes still to do. There is clutter everywhere. Laundry too. Oh, food? That’d be nice. I need to read through book three once more so I can hunt for typos and release it. Make another book shirt. Keep up with the blog here. Keep getting the word out on books one and two. And try a crazy activity like vacuuming.

There is, of course, a lot to do for work too. And keeping up with family and friends. Starting up an exercise routine. Working through my sleep issues. And having time to unwind.

So right now I’m sitting on the edge of a sea of clouds, overlooking a murky mess, my heart tugged toward sadness. Yet I know that in the distance the sun is there, shining strong, guiding me to walk through the clouds and reach the brilliance beyond.

It’s okay to feel the gray wash over me. Life is such that we are full of emotions and we can’t deny them to ourselves. We shouldn’t wallow for long, of course, but day is not a day unless it is truncated by the night. And though we often sleep through the darkness and avoid it, still it completes the cycle and cleanses us. It prepares us for the day, for the light.