Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

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I went back to archery with the main goal of not bruising myself and I succeeded! Progress people. My accuracy, however, was all over the place. My best grouping (2 bullseyes and one just outside the bullseye) was my very first set and it just went downhill from there.

In my very first class the volunteers/instructors made it a point to not give too much instruction on aiming. In class two, now that I’m an “old pro,” everyone made it a point to give me their advice. I totally appreciate their help because they are SO much more experienced than I am, but it got very confusing/overwhelming as most of their advice contradicted each others’. I would hold the bow one way and then and instructor would come up and be like, “What are you doing?” and then would adjust my stance. The next round I would try the adjusted stance and then another instructor would come by and be like, “Um…why are you holding the bow like that?” and adjust me to another stance. That continued for a few hours. It was crazy making. I even tried shooing with a heavier and right handed bow.

It goes to show that there are so many styles of shooting and it’s all about what makes you most comfortable. My goal for the next class is to improve my accuracy (while continuing to not bruise myself).

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The Bad News Bears of Barbershop: River Oaks Chorus

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but it sure was not septuagenarians singing and dancing off the stage to The Sound of Music’s “So Long, Farewell.”

Tuesday night I attended a rehearsal for River Oaks Chorus and, while I grew up singing in chamber choirs and a cappella groups and have even performed by myself in a few showcases, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. I found their rehearsal on MeetUp.com and didn’t look too closely at the post. Word to the wise: Read EVERY part of a meetup.com post if you want to avoid surprises.

The River Oaks Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International and the winners of last year’s the “most improved” award, is a living, breathing, show choir complete with “choralography” and costumes. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but it sure was not septuagenarians singing and dancing off the stage to The Sound of Music’s “So Long, Farewell.” I didn’t know what to think or what to say but I knew that I had stumbled on to something…special. I thought about turning around and walking right out but it was too late, they had seen me. At 25, I was by far the youngest person by give or take five decades, but I was immediately greeted like a long lost grandchild and given cookies and warm greetings.

They were preparing for their big competition in Bakersfield and, for the first half of the rehearsal, I watched from the audience as they performed: “In My Life,” “California Dreaming,” “Aquarius,” and “Fame.” Despite their dated repertoire and goofy dancing, their harmonies were spot on. These ladies were actually really talented! I was then asked to join them and jumped right in on stage trying my best to keep up with their harmonies as I clumsily mimicked their dance moves.

While these ladies were so sweet and vocally talented, I just can’t bring myself to don their purple sequins and jazz hands. I wish them all the best of luck at their competition! They are all so kind and so brave.

Lend a helping hand

Yesterday I had the honor of helping out with Face Forward’s annual gala. The charity, founded by the effervescent Deborah Alessi and her husband and top surgeon, David Alessi, offers pro-bono reconstructive surgery and emotional counseling for victims of domestic violence. It was a star studded affair, complete with a red carpet, exclusive auction items, and a powerhouse performance by Ms. Macy Gray (who is so nice and down to earth btw…). These glamorous events with all these moving parts don’t “just happen.” As I witnessed last night, it takes a whole team, a lot of patience, a ton of flexibility and a bit of magic to pull them off.

I was asked to help out by my friend (a seasoned road manager) who was asked to help out by her friend (a Face Forward board member) to help run talent at the event. It seemed that the the event planner, in my opinion, had bitten off a bit more than she could chew, and we were needed to lend a hand. My friend also called in four more friends to round out our rockstar team. For almost twelve hours straight we ran around making sure that all rider requirements were met, worked with volunteers, and wrangled talent and award recipients. We were thrown the extra curveballs of road closures (GLOW was going on two blocks away), swamped event parking, a delayed program start, and a program adjustment but we knocked them all out of the park. Oh, and did I mention that most of this was done sporting a floor length gown, headset, and (in my case) a freshly sprained ankle?

It was the most exhausting, frustrating, and exhilarating day that I have had in a long time. It definitely took me back to my days as a PA. And, while my legs are killing me today, I would absolutely love to help out again with future events.

Katniss, eat your heart out

Last night I tied up my best Katniss braid and headed out to the Woodley Archery Range for their FREE archery class. When I was a kid, I used to frequent this park to go bike riding but I had no idea that tucked back between the golf course, Japanese gardens, and cricket pitches is a rustic archery range. That’s one of the things that I love about moving back to Los Angeles, the chance to rediscover my city.

I read on yelp that the class fills up fast so I made sure to arrive early. GPS will only take you so far. Make sure to check out these turn by turn directions before you check it out. The registration process was pretty straight forward: show up, sign your life away, get fitted for a bow, etc.. but what surprised me was that since I’m left eye dominant, I have to shoot left handed even though I’m right handed. According to a few of the certified archery instructors, 1/3 of archers are cross dominant and the act of shooting an arrow is so awkward at first that it’s better and safer to go with the dominant eye rather than the dominant hand. Also, for us double jointed people, we need to make the extra effort to rotate our bow elbow in. Why you ask? Well, if you leave your elbow sticking out then it has a really good chance of getting smacked by the arrow and/or the bow string. Don’t believe me? I got lazy a few times and now have the battlescars to prove it. The more you know….

I have to give the Woodley Archers an A+ for their range safety. For someone as accident prone as myself, I truly appreciate their step by step instruction in arrow recovery and shooter awareness. They even went over park and bathroom safety. No joke. Apparently there are some “shady characters” who frequent the public restroom near the range and “vice squad is in and out of there weekly.” Welp. The more you know?…

The actual act of shooting was so much fun! I was lucky enough to have a small class and so, I got a lot of one-on-one instruction from an instructor who also happend to be a Michigan dad. Go Blue! He was really helpful, respectful, and informative. By the end of the class I had shot a few bullseyes!

The overall vibe of the crowd was eclectic: from the pre-teens to the corporate types, frat bros, to the tatted up Scottish man wearing, I kid you not, a purple kilt and combat boots, it goes to show that everyone appreciates a good deal and a good time. I will definitely be checking out this class again in the future.

Letting out my inner chameleon

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I had always been curious about going blonde and I’m really glad I took the plunge. However, it wasn’t without stress. The final product (above right) took two appointments (one scheduled and one emergency appointment) to complete at The Paul Mitchell School. The first attempt (by a beginner student) was HORRIFIC and after 4.5 hours in the chair I walked out with yellow roots and brunette ends with white, yellow, orange and brown spots all over. I wanted to cry. Maybe I wasn’t meant to rock the blonde? I came back the next day to see if they could fix the mess and they fit me right in. My student stylist (advanced this time) and her teacher discussed two options with me: go bright blonde all over (bold) or layer brunette highlights in (safe). You can see which option I chose and I’m so happy I did because while I love my brunette hair, I love how glamorous my new look makes me feel.

Take Away Tip:

Going to hair schools are GREAT ways to save $$$. However, if you are going for a BOLD change make sure you request an advanced student. While it may cost a few bucks more,  it will save you a lot of time and heartache.

Skeet Shooting

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I bought a groupon for Mike Raahauge’s Shooting Range in Corona and took my dad (above) for some quality father-daughter time.

My dad was an ace shot who rarely missed. I, on the other hand, was an absolute disaster! I think I hit 5 targets out of 50. Apparently, even though I’m right handed, I’m left eye dominant which made it nearly impossible for me to line up the shot. It was even harder when I instinctively closed my eyes when the gun when off. Not good. Seriously! I’m glad I tried it but this is definitely NOT my sport.