Yesterday, Vader (my dog) and I left Indianapolis around noon Eastern time. We stopped briefly at the library to get what turned out to be a boring audiobook. I’m actually still in the middle of listening to Dune by Frank Herbert (and it’s AWESOME!) but it’s on cassette and I wanted to take the good car this time, and it only has a CD player. The plan was to drive up to Milwaukee, stop at Lynn’s house (my mother-in-law), drop off Vader and then head off to the gig at the Milwaukee Zoo. Unfortunately, leaving later than we should have (my fault, not Vader’s), coupled with unusually bad traffic in Chicago (we lost an hour), meant that we had to drive straight to the Zoo, and Vader had to wait in the car for me while I did the gig. For lunch I had packed a sandwich, some blueberries (that I got on Saturday when I performed at one of the Indianapolis Farmer’s Markets), some carrots and two cookies. Good thing too, since there was not time to stop for dinner before the gig.

I was hired to perform at the Zoo by the Milwaukee Zoological Society for their annual Memeber’s Kids Nights. Each year they keep the Zoo open late for three nights (Tues, Thurs, and Fri.) so the members can come and enjoy the Zoo without all the non-member riff-raff getting in their way. It’s a really nice event. It’s evening, so it’s not so hot, the crowds are entirely managable, and they have special things like entertainers and free pickles. This is something like the 6th or 7th year they have hired me in a row. I really like this gig, and I know that someday my luck has got to run out.

The shows went as well as could be expected considering that we were in a basically undisclosed location due to the rain. Normally I perform in the outdoor theater that they use for the Bird of Prey Show. In the time I have worked there I have performed solo, alternating with a ventriloquist, and this year I’m alternating with a sound effects guy in his 80s named Wes Harrison. He’s awesome.

In general I always try to get to a show about an hour ahead of time. It’s not as critical to have that much time if I’ve done the show before, or if I know in advance that they are really organized, like for a library show. On the other hand, gigs like Summerfest, or the WI State Fair require that I get there several hours in advance because there is a lot more ground to cover, and I can’t drive right up to my performing spot.

After my two shows were finished at the Zoo, I headed back to the car in the rain, and let the dog out for a very brief stretch before we headed off to Lynn’s house. At this point it was about 8:45 and I was starving, so I stopped at good ol’ Taco Bell for a Crunch Wrap Supreme with beans (no meat). Taco Bell and Subway are the saviors of the travelling vegetarian who’s in a hurry.

Lynn was already asleep when we got to her house, but that didn’t stop Vader from going up to her room and licking her until she woke up. Lynn and I are on nearly opposite schedules. I’m a night owl, and am usually up until 1 am or so, and Lynn usually is up at 4:30 am, 5:00 if she decides to sleep in. It can be a bit tricky, but it’s worked out so far. One side effect of being a performer is that you get pretty good at changing your sleep schedule. I read for a bit and went to bed.

As usual, Lynn, Vader and I were out the door at 7:40 am to go on the dog walk with a bunch of other dog owners. I usually wait to eat breakfast until we get back, when I am fully awake. By 10:00 I was reading in bed, and well on my way to a nap. Today I don’t have to work, but tomorrow I will have to leave for the Zoo at about 5 pm. The plan for the rest of today is to write this article, and go practice juggling with my buddy Marcus Monroe in a raquetball court. Tonight Lynn and I are going to eat her awesome marinated mushroom and green pepper sanwhiches, and watch the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.

I will leave Milwaukee Saturday morning to head home, with a brief stop in Chicago to pick up some of my wife Lenore’s artwork from a gallery there. I get to be home Saturday and Sunday. We have some friends coming into town to look for an appartment, and then on Monday I am off to Portland for a week for the International Jugglers Association annual convention where I will practice, learn new tricks, network, socialize, sit around, and be the MC for the Cascade of Stars Public Show. After that I will be home for a few days before Pierogiefest in Whiting IN on July 29th.

Vader travels with me whenever I am going somewhere dog friendly for a few days. Mostly that means Lynn’s house in Milwaukee, but he comes with me when I go to my Mom’s house in Madison WI, to my friends Jeni and Adolfo’s house in Green Bay WI, or to my sister-in-law’s house in Geneva IL.

That’s pretty much how I live when I’m working. Winter is less busy, and there is more doing stuff around the house, doing office work, seeing friends, going to the dog park, and working on computer projects. I hope that this was interesting for you, if not, then you are not the audience I wrote it for. ;)