I’m a Maybe girl, swathed in a Yes girl’s clothing.

(This is a combination of excerpts from unpublished blogs “Tales from Hong Kong”/”Skating in circles”/”I’m a “Maybe girl”, swathed in a “Yes girl’s” clothing”.)

In true nomadic fashion, despite having an apartment and some* (at best) local work, I uprooted myself and joined a new ice show, this time overseas. The best laid plans of having an orderly and efficient move-out day was, of course, nothing but frantic, disorganized, and ridiculous. A lot of furniture remained collateral damage in the hurricane that I created. I have done a lot of shows overseas, but since the end of 2010, my shows have remained stateside – easy jaunts out to Los Angeles for a few months at a time. For this contract, not only was I sending myself on a 3+ month international journey, I was also having to move out of an apartment that I had only lived in for 6 months. It goes against logic and concrete reasoning. But truly, that pegs the majority of performers, particularly as it pertains to humans of the show skating variety. (We are an unusual breed.) With every career, there’s a journey and as many a book, poem, and movie has indicated, it’s never straightforward. Show skating can be likened to skating in circles, which can be both positive and negative, depending on where you are in the intersecting circles of life that are attached to that skating journey. There’s no “point A to point B” path. There are only abnormally-shaped curves that straighten out every once in awhile. And then they just loop back to where they started. In a concerted effort to reach a different life circle after the Hong Kong skating show contract, I made two New Year’s resolutions: 1) to be less flakey 2) to minimize purchases of frivolous little things. (Believe me, during my time in Asia, where Hello Kitty reigns supreme and cutesy is beloved, it was time for me to limit my spending on adorable, but essentially useless items.) Since being back in the States, I have broken both of those resolutions. No big surprise, right? I mean, nobody keeps their New Year’s resolutions. However, it made me realize that I’m a “Maybe girl”, swathed in a “Yes girl’s” clothing.

What does that mean? The first part of the resolution – to be less flakey – addresses my instant willingness to help out, go out, or visit a friend, etc., even if I can’t really help out or I have limited cash resources and therefore, shouldn’t go out or visit. But the amenable side of me shouts YES, with no further thought. It’s only later, when it becomes apparent that I cannot do what I’ve agreed to, that I have to renegotiate my terms or just cancel. Which ends up looking flakey. So I wanted to be less flakey this year, which would mean giving considerable thought to requests before saying YES, in other words, to look before one leaps. I guess one could say at least I’m cognizant of this flaw. But has it minimized my YES GIRL, followed by embarrassing MAYBE or NO GIRL moments? Not really. I have successfully (at least a month long success) started a new circle tracing in the film world. I have a fairly consistent gig for the better part of a year in North Carolina. YES! So, even though my parents live in the area, I decided that I needed to have my own place. (So I can get a kitten.) YES! to the apartment contract. Followed by the internalization of, is this the right move? Is the apartment too expensive? Do I really need my own place? My parents love having me around.* (Doesn’t every grown kid think this?) I continued to shout YES! Yes to a kitten! Yes to a Craigslist sofa! Yes! to a new physician. (Because my usual doctor was booked for another three months.) Yes to, well, pretty much everything. And then the serious contemplation/buyer’s remorse set in. A yearlong contract for an apartment is serious business! A kitten is a long-term commitment! Great price for the couch, but I don’t have a place to store it! I cancelled the new doctor’s visit because I was nervous about switching doctors! Now what? I have internalized so many decisions, renegotiated on them, lost $50 in the process (thus blowing resolution #2), and still won’t see my doctor for three months. So much for that “be less flakey” resolution.

Cindy still has her apartment and, at the time of this publication, she still has the kitten. 🙂 

Foodie Remorse

As I landed back on the East Coast, I was met with the usual feelings of excitement and giddiness. I would be on “vacation” from the grueling schedule of a summer show contract (4-show Saturdays – ARGH!). I would have plenty of time to do nothing for a few days or even weeks (such is the life of a freelancer/show skater). Nothing to regret, right? But leaving Los Angeles means I no longer have amazingly authentic food, particularly of the Asian distinction, at my fingertips. At any point this summer, I could pop over to a Chipotle-style restaurant called Gogi Grill, but instead of getting Mexican prepared to my specification, it was Korean barbeque with fresh sides such as kimchi, pickled ginger, and pasta & potato salads. It was Korean barbeque without the sweatiness of having to cook it yourself. Another regular dining spot was Pokinometry. It was a poke bowl (sashimi over rice), but so much more. You had an endless array of decisions to make: white rice, brown rice, salad, chips or half and half? Then you added crab salad, avocado, white onions or any combination of those three. Then how many types of fish do you want (tuna, spicy tuna, scallops, octopus, salmon, etc.)? What sauce do you want your fish mixed with? Do you want sesame seeds, ginger, masago, wasabi, or spicy mayo? The choices were endless. Every bowl could be different and every bowl just as delicious as the one before it. (I obviously spent most of my time here.) Or if I was in the mood for soup dumplings, a Taiwanese delicacy? No problem. There were several Din Tai Fungs you could go to – the beautifully-crafted soup dumplings were always available, as long as you were willing to wait for a table. And if you were patient, you were eventually rewarded with the chewiness of a gentle dumpling wrapper holding a succulent ball of meat and soup inside. The top of the dumpling was always swirled so perfectly, I couldn’t help but think of a pretty bun on the top of someone’s head. (Of course, my hair never looked that neat.) My friend Mary was so enamored with these soup dumplings that she dropped her chopsticks three times and that still didn’t stop her. Towards the end of the summer, I hit a couple dim sum places: tapas, if you will, for Asian people. I realized after awhile, the various dumplings or shu mai tended to have the same glutinous flavor and lumpy consistency. But as the waitress opens tray after tray of food, you can’t help but order more. And the cool part about dim sum on the West Coast? You didn’t have to travel far. For my friend Nina, it was in her backyard. For me in Greensboro, NC, there just isn’t a dim sum place (that I know of). Sure, you can get gyoza or dumplings (generic kinds) at sushi restaurants or Chinese take-out spots. But it isn’t the same as getting dim sum in East LA. And in Cary, NC, there is ONE dim sum place. But I know not to fret. For a nomad like myself, it is only a matter of time before I’ll be reunited with some authentic Asian food. I’m not worried. A necessity to travel (for work or pleasure) will soon afford me the opportunity to get my Asian on.

Reaching out

Tonight I watched the documentary “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”. And whoa. That is some heavy stuff, to put it lightly. (Ha!) My boyfriend Wil has a passion for researching the more fundamentalist religions. As an atheist, he is intrigued by the mechanics that cause people to abandon all individual thought and contribute instead to the greater group. He is the reason I watched P.T. Anderson’s “The Master”. It paints a vivid picture of how people are continually seeking redemption in some higher power, and the lengths to which they will go to achieve any sort of salvation. I am not an atheist like Wil. I was raised a Christian and still hold on to some of those core values. But through my travels and adventures, I have opened my eyes and heart to other religious concepts: Buddhism, for instance. Or even the Native American concept of spirituality. (“Pocahontas”, anyone?) It would seem that my buffet line of religious ideas could never co-habitate. But really, why does one concept have to be the end all, be all? This blog post is NOT meant to dissect any one’s ideas about religion and I hope that I will not be persecuted for freely discussing this train of thought. (Lay off me, Miscavige!)

The real point of this blog post is to release some anxiety surrounding my mom’s surgery this Monday. She has had a really rough year and the operation this Monday could put her back on track to being the cheerful and active person that she once was. Not to say that she hasn’t made leaps and bounds since her initial hospitalization in August 2014. I had just finished a summer skating contract and flew home immediately to see my mom in the ICU. She was the sickest I had ever seen her and the past 11 months have had their major ups and downs. She went through the ringer, but still got herself home, walking on her own, and eating like her old self. A part of her though had no interest in really getting back to her former self. (That was my interpretation of it.) In no particular order, I experienced anger with my mom at her seemingly slow rehabilitative progress, frustration with my dad and his caregiving techniques, and then heaps of self-loathing over not being able to help in the way that a “dutiful” daughter should. For obvious familial reasons, I moved back to North Carolina to offer what assistance I could. My sister, who has really been the shoulder for my family to lean on, has aided my mom and dad in ways I couldn’t or wouldn’t. And so, here I am again, being across the country, while my mom prepares for a surgery that will hopefully improve both her and my dad’s quality of life. I was told that I did not need to fly home and I pray that this is the case. I am reaching out to my various religious beliefs’ higher powers in seeing my mom through her surgery successfully.

And in this regard, I relate it back to watching the documentary tonight. It was an extremely interesting film. In general, I fault no one for their religious convictions. Everyone has a compass for what is right for them and what provides relief for their souls. It is when the religious text is taken out of context, impedes one from thinking on his or her own, that I have issue with its deeper purpose. Whether you believe in aliens or nothing at all, make sure it is what YOU believe and you alone.

An Old Showgirl and her musings

Today is the day: “Blockbuster Beagle” and its hotly-anticipated soft opening for our Friends & Family happens tonight. It marks my 11th summer show and begs the question, is it my last professional skating show? When I think about when I started doing professional shows, like so many fellow performers, I said: eh, only for a year or two. 10+ years later, I am still pulling up those fishnets, lacing up those skates, and smacking my M.A.C. red lips in the mirror. Show skating stopped being a hobby after a couple years of being on the road. It became a lifestyle and a career, albeit an unconventional one. In 2010, I went to graduate school for filmmaking because it had always interested me, that century-old practice of telling stories with pictures. But I also knew that retirement for my show career was possibly nearing. Once we started rehearsing “Blockbuster Beagle”, I started to suffer from insecurity and self-doubt. Was I too old to do tricks anymore? Were my nerves not what they used to be? Would my fellow skaters, choreographer, etc. see through my “fake it til you make it” attempts? But then a wise friend said: audiences do not care about what I was solely focused on (the tricks). Somehow, in a short 2-week period, I had lost my showgirl aura and had been reduced to nerves and anxiety. And truly, Karen’s shows are about the entire experience: a little bit of humor, a lot of elegance, etc. (Even though this show is more trick heavy than others I have done, it’s still about the flow of the show.) So thank you to my supporters for making me realize that. I’m definitely the type of person who, when the going gets tough, I fantasize about an easy escape plan. But most of the time, if I just get through the uncomfortableness, the escape plan is easily forgotten. It was the same with a show I worked on this spring. I disliked the mundaneness of the work, but once I stuck it out, I was appreciative of the experience. Funnily enough, all I could think during that project was excitement about being BACK in the ice show and getting to be “the star” again. And then to be blindsided (once I was learning the show) with a feeling of – maybe I’m not all that, anymore? It was just a necessary reality check. Not that I’m not “all that”, but just that it’s a job nonetheless. And I have to work at it. Today’s the soft opening and I’m excited about it. All this anticipation about: how’s it going to be?, etc. will all be answered tonight. And I have a good feeling about it.

Back to my original question: is it my last? It’s far too daunting to label this my last show. A showgirl never really retires anyway.

I am a terrible blogger

I logged in to my personal website to share some fun news about my graduate films and I realized – I haven’t blogged in two years! How am I ever going to gain admirers and go viral if I blog every two years?! Thus, I will *try* to blog at least once a week. I’m paying for a premium account, damnit. I ought to make it at least worthwhile. (But there you have it: the queen of excess.)

The fun news is that my second year practicum “Degrees of Lucky” was selected to screen at the Barefoot Bijou Summer Film Festival in Greensboro, NC this Thursday, June 4th, 2015. The screening, which includes 15 other films by local NC filmmakers, will begin at dusk at The Forge, located at 115 W. Lewis Street. This festival is free, so make sure you bring your friends and family! Many filmmakers will be in attendance for a meet & greet afterwards. Unfortunately, with my show skating schedule, I will not be able to make it. But support NC filmmakers is my main point!

Stay tuned for when “For the Love of Food” will screen during this awesome summer film series!

Shameless Self-Promotion

While my film never seems to make the trailer, I swear it’s playing at these festivals!

See my thesis film Friday October 18th at 1:30pmLocation: CineArts Theater, Santana Row, 3088 Olsen Drive San Jose, CA 95128. Trailer below.


Another opportunity —> Sunday October 20th from 11.00 am – 1.25 pmLocation: Edwards Westpark 8 Theater, 3735 Alton Pkwy, Irvine, CA 92606. Trailer below.




There’s a phrase that becomes relevant every Tuesday in the summer. And that word is “Fruesday.” It’s Tuesday + Friday. Once the summer ice show routine begins, the coveted day is Wednesday, the lone day off. It’s amazing how many things you will cram into a Wednesday that is essentially a Saturday and a Sunday. Waturday?

  • massage/facial/pedicure
  • laundry
  • visiting friends
  • shopping
  • cooking/cleaning
  • theme parties
  • day trips
  • interning
  • sleeping

It’s a list that could go on and on. The one thing that can never be fit in on a Waturday is a wedding. No one really has weddings on a Wednesday. So, with regret, I had to pass on Mariah & Ryan’s wedding extravaganza this coming Saturday. Overall though, I can’t complain. A summer show gig is a pretty lovely job, filled with great coworkers, laughter, and a totally hilarious (and often inappropriate) work environment.IMG_1345

Sunday Funday

This is my first blog post on my very *own* filmmaker website! If you’re a frequent reader of blogs (and admittedly, I am not. Sorry wordpress!), I suppose the first blog post is either exceptionally exciting or quite the opposite: a metaphorical speed bump that you force yourself to go over. Go slow and once you get the hang of it, maybe you can put the car into second gear. Speaking of cars, in taking the plunge and moving out to SoCal, I purchased my first automatic vehicle. For two decades, all of my cars have been stick shifts. The perk of driving a stick shift, aside from the obvious economic standpoint, was mainly a cosmetic one. People are generally impressed when you reveal you can drive a stick shift. Especially being a girl!

But, I decided if I was going to endure Los Angeles traffic, I needed to have an automatic. Furthermore, I had been told, there were detrimental health concerns when one is stopping and starting in a manual car. Thus, I introduce to you my first automatic car, which is a pretty sweet ride, if I do say so myself. (Thanks Sally & Sean!)

But I digress. Today was Sunday Funday: technical rehearsal at the Charles M. Schultz Theater (known from now on as “CMST”). We managed to do two run-throughs of the show, sans costumes, but with almost all the set pieces and props as prescribed. While there were a few precarious, near-collisions with aspects of the set, it was overall a good day and one that really prepped us for the upcoming dress runs. Released in time to watch the Tony’s (entertainers must support fellow entertainers), I unfortunately missed the opening number because of my commute. That’s essentially the only reason I tune in to the Tony’s. I am not a frequent Broadway musical-goer, so a lot of the categories/stars are quite lost on me. I watched a few Tony’s get awarded and was excited to see so many female recipients. I then tuned in to “Food Network Star” and salivated over the contestants’ gourmet burger competition. I did happen to catch Neil Patrick Harris’ closing rap/act, which was pretty fantastic. Finally, I settled in to finish my very own website. And now, I have completed my speed bump of a first blog post. Ta-da!

Haven't thought of a catchy name for "her" yet, but she's awesome.

Haven’t thought of a catchy name for “her” yet, but she’s awesome.