At first I was a little intimidated. She had quite an impressive list.
And then I started to review the year.
I tried, I really did to keep this list to the top ten events/experiences.
But last year was one of those years, a pivotal, I think. Certainly a very full year, dare I say an epic year.
So instead of 10, I give you 13.
There and Back Again, is a fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, set in a time "Between the Dawn of Færie and the Dominion of Men", which I might argue is the age we're living in.
AKA The Hobbit.
One of my favorite books growing up and one of the most influential and a fitting title for the first "experience"
The first leg of a crazy road-trip year.
"Countdown to the Road
Cindy leaves tomorrow, to work in LA.
We won't be far behind. We have some clues as to where we may end up, but there is much more unknown with loads of variables.
This year looks to be one filled with surprises"
A facebook post that was more prophetic than imaginable.
Skye and I drove out of Atlanta towards los angeles in early January.
We would end up driving thousands of miles and having many adventures before ending back in the Big A.
I really don't know where I'd be if I hadn't hooked up with Cinders way back when I suppose at this point that's neither here nor there.
But honestly, what a trooper.
We've had quite a run, with lots of ups and downs; and this year is one for the books, even for us.
Not so much an event or experience, but I can't imagine this year without her.
On our way back towards Baton Rouge, we revisited the "Ostrich Farm" just outside of Tucson.
This time around I was able to get my hands on one of their eggs.
We cooked it up the next day at our friends house.
I would end up ordering them on two more occasions and sharing them with friends on the Maze Runner and out in the desert at Burning Man.
near Jackson, LA via mobile
A few year's ago, after swapping my Local 44 Set Decorator classification for that of Property, a card which I still maintain (for anyone looking for a lead, gang boss, buyer or set dresser who is more than willing to travel), I allowed my SDSA (Set Decorator Society of America) membership expire. After joining Local 479, I have since been able decorate again and have, once on the pilot, Revolution in Atlanta and now on the feature, The Maze Runner, in Louisiana. Thusly as of today, I have again joined SDSA and will help promote the craft here in the Southeast, or where ever that next job may take me.
I kind of thought that would be it for the year.....
Driving through Texas, I got a call to be the decorator on 2nd Unit of Fast and Furious 7.
It would be my third time working on the franchise.
near Smarr, GA via mobile
On the road again off to Savannah to decorate a commercial
Financially speaking, it would be my best year in over a decade.
Not too bad career-wise as well
After finishing up on The Maze Runner, we high-tailed it to Mammoth Lakes, California so that Skye could participate in a 2-week long Shakespeare Camp.
We would also visit one of the Shakespeare Meccas of the US, Ashland, Oregon and take in a modern-day retelling of the Taming of the Shrew.
I started off the year running back to back "Super Spartas" in California.
Skye and I did a "Sprint" in Georgia.
I would round off the journey with a "Beast" in Monterrey, California, completing a "Sparta Trifecta"
After going to Burning Man in 2012, I never knew if I'd ever be back.
And I was OK with that.
Not only did I make it back to the Playa, I managed to make it to the New Orleans regional burn, the T-Bois Festival, as well as the Decompression down in the Big Easy, as well as Santacon in Atlanta which was hosted by "burners"
Little did I know when I camped out up in northern Georgia at the Alchemy Festival a couple years back, how much of a "Burner" I would become.
Oh did I mention that I ran my first Ultra out there on the Playa;
yep 31 miles in that flat desert.
Loved it; can't wait to go back.
We did a lot of driving and saw a lot of amazing things, including 5 National Parks(Big Bend, Redwoods, Crater Lake, Mount Rushmore, and of course Yellowstone)
She had been there before, but she was too young to remember it. I promised her that we would go there if we were anywhere close.
So we did
Ah, But A Man's Reach Should Exceed His Grasp
September 4 near Philomath, OR via mobile\
Oregon to Ohio, Ready set go
According to Google Maps, a direct route is 2519 miles or about 37 hours of driving.
Throw in Yellowstone and Mt Rushmore and it only ups it to 2675 and 41 hours of driving.
After another mad-dash across the country, Skye and I decided to explore a bit and add to our collection of state high-points.
In fact with the trio of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia allowed us to pretty much check off all the south eastern states and start to ease into the New England zone.
We really thought we'd end up working in Atlanta again.
But fate had other things in mind.
I got a job that put me in Baton Rouge for 4 months and Cindy's job landed her in New Orleans.
My family visited New Orleans when I was around 15.
It fascinated me then and to this day I find myself drawn to the city.
Its food, its history, its music, its culture.
It was amazing to get to explore this part of the USA.
Or loving bugs.
I am beyond curious as to harnessing the potential of the insect kingdom.
And as fate would have it, New Orleans has an incredible Insectarium
It became a regular haunt of Skye and mine while Cindy was bringing home the bacon.
We were eating bugs and loving it.
I have been training in Brazilian jujitsu for a long time now.
Almost 20 years, which freaks me out to say the least.
When I started, there were only schools in Los Angeles and New York, so when I went on location, I had to be OK with a Judo or wrestling studio.
And I was fine with that for a while. But it became a drag and I eventually gave it up.
For a few years and then I went back at it. And even then it wasn't easy.
My semi-nomadic life meant that I was never at a studio long enough to earn a belt.
When I bounced down to Baton Rouge, I ran into a Machado Bros, completely by accident. I had been given the name of a different studio, but a google-search and gut-feeling prompted me to go to AFC, American Fight Club.
As it turned out we were both "Old school Machado Vets" , so when he put this brown belt on me. It felt good. It felt deserved. The Atlanta crew I had been training with had more than hinted at giving me one.
At the end of the day, it really made sense to get it from Joe.
After almost 3 years of being nomads and sometimes having little idea where we would lay our heads, we buckled down and inked a deal.
Yep, we committed to a year in Atlanta.
So far so good.
I got Fast and Furious 7 and a commercial in Savannah.
Cindy is set to decorate a show here in 2014.
And we've reconnected with so many friends and co-workers.
Hip, hip, hooray,
Hip, hip, hooray