Monday, December 15, 2008

"It's Christmastime in the city..."

What's the deal with the time whizzing by, it's less than two weeks away from Christmas!!! It is getting a little chilly too. We hit a record low of -4 here in Denver last night. Yikes!
We just got our tree up, a tiny one that fits perfectly into our apartment. It is super cute and making our place so cozy. We went to the local supermarket to find it:

We choose tree number two...

He's so tiny!

It was very easy to load.
I (Gina) am back from tour and about to embark on Nutcracker madness. We open at Lakewood Cultural Center December 18th-23rd. Tickets are already selling out so if you want to come you can call them and order tickets or do it online. I enjoyed the tours, it was a great thing to get some shows in before we open on the big stage here in town. I got to know my co-workers better (how could I not, with hours upon hours in a 15 passenger van?) which was really fun. It really is a privilege to do what I do for a job, even though it can be physically tiring. We got great reviews from all three of the places we performed which is a great feeling as well.
Above is our director helping the mice in Sheridan (we had local kids there dance these roles) find their way onstage with all the props. Sorry no photos of me, it's hard to take pictures when you are dancing :).
During the tours I missed Casey a lot, so it is nice to be back together and doing Christmas-y things together like Christmas shop and decorate our tree and bake Christmas cookies :).
Here's the bad news: Casey is sick again and on antibiotics :(, prayers are appreciated (for him as well as for me, that I won't get sick for the shows)! Also, it seems God is taking us on His own journey for us at the moment as far as employment goes for him. Please keep praying for that as well. In this economy it seems everyone is struggling to find work. We both know He will continue to provide for all our needs regardless, and I can see how He is working in both of our hearts through this hard circumstance, but it would be great for Casey to find something he likes to do soon.
Love to everyone and we hope you are having a wonderful, joyful, cozy Christmas season so far.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sooooo tired...

Hey all. I just wanted to say how much I respect my fellow dancers who dance all day long then go teach little ones at night to pay the bills. I just taught for 2.5 hours after work today and I am beat. So kudos to all of you. I don't know how you do it. Today (and most of this season actually) I feel just like this little girl above. (I love this picture for a couple reasons. One: I relate to her. Two: Lately God has been showing me more about how He sees me as His little daughter, even when I dance, and this gives me much happiness to know He is pleased and delighted with what He sees...)
We had a dress rehearsal today in the studio to practice the costume changes (I have six). Being a dancer all day long is so much more exhausting then I ever thought it would be. It IS my first season, and we are definitely in the thick of things now, we are leaving for our first tour on Wednesday. But still. GEEEESH! I am surprised I can even walk. Seriously.
We open on December 18th in Lakewood, Colorado (our home base) and it will be fun to get onstage to do this Nutcracker thingy. And I am quite proud to say my stamina has gone way, way up. Although I still feel tired, I am basically dancing through the entire show. Hard work, but worth it in the end.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Casey!

So, Saturday was Casey's birthday. Yep, the big 32. (Ok, so I am catching up soon... but we won't talk about that right now.) He had a two-part celebration, one part on Thursday and one on Saturday night. Since I had the day off on Thursday, the first thing I did was surprise him with Starbucks and Krispy Kreme for breakfast. Then, I took him to the Denver Art Museum where he'd been wanting to go for a while. We saw some really cool stuff, some modern paintings from a german artist and some amazing sculptures as well.

We had lunch at a place called Mad Greens (if you have one nearby you, I highly recommend getting your booty to one asap). It has gourmet salads, panini sandwiches, and awesome soup, all for a good price. We ended the day with some nice red wine and chocolate.... Yummmm chocolate.....
On Saturday night, we were joined by several of our good friends here at Rio Grande Restaurant, a really good mexican place only about 10 minutes from our apartment. Awesome chips and salsa, good food in general, and delicious yet dangerous margaritas. So dangerous, they say, that they have a "three margarita limit," which I can't imagine even getting close to. I finished about half of one strawberry margarita and that was enough for me. Casey was given a birthday sopapilla, topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. Very delicious.
Needless to say we were stuffed. It was an extremely successful birthday celebration. Having only moved here just a bit ago, I think Casey and I can both say that God has truly gone overboard on making us feel loved and surrounding us by people who bless us by their friendship. Thanks guys.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


It's Nutcracker time once again... As I write this, I am counting up the many times I've performed in this particular ballet. I began as a "Tiny Tot" or as others call it, "Gingerbread" under Mother Ginger's skirt when I was seven years old, the typical starter role for a baby ballerina. I then continued on every year until I was eighteen years old. Let's add on last year's Nutcracker in Portland, where I danced the roles of Snowflake and Dewdrop Fairy, and that makes a grand total of... (drumroll)... twelve Nutcrackers for which I have donned pink tights, ballet shoes, and costumes .

The result? I can sing the entire score of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite" to you if you ask me to. And I still remember all the steps I danced for eight years in my hometown at Ballet California and Academy, even though I haven't danced that particular choreography in over twelve years! Funny that I can't remember what I did last weekend, but I remember Mr. Martin's "Waltz of the Flowers."

But I digress. This year I have been given the opportunity to dance six different roles, some technically challenging and some that give me the chance to ham it up a bit: Clara's Friend, Mouse, Angel, Snowflake, Chinese, and a Flower. We will be doing two tours (one out of state and one in Colorado) and then coming back to perform twelve shows here in town.

In other news: Last week Casey, while fixing a car, got two pieces of debris in his eye and had to make two visits to urgent care... Poor guy. All the while fighting a bad cold and sleeping a lot. He is better now after getting the debris removed and taking eye drops for several days...and much happier to have a less-red eye and strengthened immune system. Please keep praying for a job for him, as he is still searching.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Can Someone Shut That Window!!!!

It sure was windy on Halloween here in Denver! Ok, so that's a lie, but here's something that isn't... Casey and I dressed up as a "windy day duo" this Halloween. This costume idea was extremely cheap, because all we had to buy was wire to make our clothes look like they were flying in the wind. We attended two parties (count 'em, TWO) this weekend. We really aren't usually this party animal-esque but we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly at both parties. It was nice to get out and socialize, despite the fact we were both feeling a bit under the weather starting Saturday afternoon. Thus, we spent today hanging out at home, resting and (Gina) making chicken soup and (Casey) sleeping his sickies away hopefully. I (Gina) also spent much of the day taking echinacea and vitamin C pills to prevent catching Casey's sickies.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Show Must (and Did) Go On...

My (Gina's) show with the company (" 'Medusa' and other haunting works") went well the other night-- we basically had a full house and a great audience which included some friends from in town and out of town (even a friend, and surprise arrival, from bella Italia!), and my parents in law. Everyone agreed it was a wonderfully "creepy" show, and it was great to get onstage again-- although I always get quite a lot of butterflies before I go on, even after all these years onstage. I will post pictures when I get ahold of some.
Casey did not get that job he interviewed for-- BOOOOO! We are still waiting and trusting God to lead him to the perfect job for him. Please continue to pray for that. He is very excited lately about the coming of snow in Colorado-- meaning ski season is almost upon us. There's always that extra sparkle in his eye when the subject comes up...
Next on the list: Starting Nutcracker rehearsals Wednesday with the company and other dancers hired on for this particular show. I am praying for fun and challenging roles, and that God will allow me to see improvement in my artistry, technique, and stamina during this next part of the season. (pictured below: snow scene from DTDT's previous year's Nutcracker)

Monday, October 13, 2008

God answering prayer!

Today Casey got invited back for a second interview at a private equity construction loan company (they lend private money to construction companies)!! He interviewed there for the first time last Friday and will have a second interview tomorrow at 3 pm. This is very encouraging and we are very excited. Please pray for him, that God would guide him through the interview and that they would see what a catch he is :), and above all for God's will to be done. We have been praying for a good job for him to come his way for a long time now.
Speaking of prayer, thank you to those of you that prayed for my foot/ankle!! It worked! I am able to wear my pointe shoes (aka "toe shoes") all day now. The problem now is that an old knee injury has come back, not in full force, but there is definite soreness and pain. I would love more prayer for healing and general protection from injury for my body because we have a show this weekend, and a couple more the weekend of October 25-26th... Despite all this, I am enjoying my job as a dancer, though days are long and I am very tired by the end. I can see that aches and pains will be a daily "norm" for me for as long as I do this. However at the end of each day I drive home grateful for the chance to be a professional dancer (a dream of mine since I was about seven) and hope to continue for as long as God allows me to.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Something you'll never hear in Portland...

I (Gina) was leaving work the other day, and I noticed some grayish/blackish rainclouds virtually covering the sky. I guess I've been getting used to seeing the sun here because I was staring up at them for a few seconds, taking them in. While I was doing this, a woman was walking toward me, and as she passed she smiled and said, "Looks like we might be getting some rain soon... Hopefully!" My brain instantly logged this comment as "unusual."
Yup. Something you'll never hear in Portland!!! (You Portland-ites know what I mean.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

First day... Prayer needed...

Well I had to share something about my first day, especially because I need prayers-- at the very end of the day, I VERY slightly twisted my ankle due to being tired from dancing more than I am used to. It is a little puffy, not really that painful, but my physical therapist recommended taking it easy the next couple days which I am NOT happy about but will do. If it means getting better I will do it... My point being... PLEASE send up some prayer for me and my ankle (technically the left outer side of my foot), that it would heal quickly and I would be able to do everything I am asked to do. Thank you :).
Other than that, it was a full and fascinating day! Our director's choreography is amazing and DEMANDING. We worked on Carmina Burana (requirement: legs kicked up to our ears at least 70 percent of the time we are onstage) which is fast and furious, and tiring. But also really striking and beautiful, and to top it all off I am working with some extremely talented dancers, which is humbling me greatly.
I am hoping my dancing will measure up to what it should in this company and am praying to have a full, quick recovery of this blip so I can see what God is going to do in and through me here!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

If you can't stand the heat...

Casey and I have been cooking lately!! For a girl from a half-italian family, you'd think this wouldn't be novel for me. Unfortunately, up until now I (or Casey) haven't learned as much about cooking as we'd like. So, we recently subscribed to a little recipe magazine and so far have made tater tot casserole, bbq'd artichokes, homemade chocolate chip cookies, pork tenderloin, and our latest accomplishment, shepherds pie! (see stolen photo above... not our creation but it kinda looked like that...). I have learned a few things along the way:
  • Cooking isn't that hard, just time consuming (I was kinda scared of the more complicated recipes for a long time).
  • It's a good way to spend time together (when we aren't bumping into each other in the smallish kitchen).
  • We are usually quite pleased with the results!
Another bit of news... Casey just had an interview with a placement agency specializing in finding people jobs in the construction field, and his interviewer seems very hopeful that she can find him a job! God is taking care of us for sure! And, I am feeling MUCH better from my virus/infection (whatever it was, I am glad it is mostly gone).
On the dance front: I (Gina) start rehearsals this week with the company. I am excited to see what it all will be like and if I will even have the energy to drag myself home after each full day of rehearsing. I assume I will eventually get used to the physical toll on my body but these next couple of weeks should be...ummm... interesting? Photo below of the company last year (no that's NOT me) in "Carmina Burana." I am pretty stoked for the opportunity to dance to this amazing piece of music in particular, by Carl Orff.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


As promised... more pictures! The handsome gentleman with me above is my dad, Dave, sitting in our new living room with me. He was a great help and great company to ease our way into our new home. If he hadn't come out with us, I am sure most of our boxes would still be piled up in our living room, bathrooms, hall, ... ok, everywhere. Shortly after he flew home back to Oregon, Casey and I had our one year wedding anniversary! Casey surprised me with a dozen red roses (awwww...) and a surprise trip to Boulder for the evening, where he had made reservations at a romantic french restaurant.

The food was amazing! And the candlelit table for two was so nice!

After dinner we strolled through the downtown streets lit up with twinkly lights, and came upon a fierce tiger that tried to maim Casey. Although it was scary, luckily both of us got away without a scratch.

Here's some before/after pics:
The above picture shows us (ok, Casey) packing our stuff in Oregon...

And this picture above depicts what our stuff looked like in our new living room a month ago.

Stella "helping" unpack the packing paper...

What our living room now looks like. Cozy but comfortable (ignore the two boxes in view... I swear we are moving those soon...).

Last weekend we got to visit my hometown and meet our new nephew and godson Alexander Klaus (Casey holding him above), just one week old! What a sweetie. I also had the privilege of being a bridesmaid in my cousin Alanna's wedding (see below-- back row, third in from the left). She was certainly one of the "beamiest" brides I've ever seen! Congrats Alanna and Shane!

Now back to life in Colorado... I am still feeling quite "virus-y," so prayers for health are MUCH appreciated, especially because my dance contract starts in exactly one week!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Rocky Mountain High... Colorado."

Seeing as I am currently, and irritatingly, housebound by my stuffy nose and sore throat, I finally have time to give an update on our life in Colorado. The last month has been full of ups and downs but happily, we feel as if we are right where we are supposed to be. Casey and I both feel a sense of peace from God as we settle in although there are so many things that are new to us.
As I previously mentioned, my dad came out with us to help move us into our new home and stayed with us several days afterward. The three of us had a lot of fun together. We did our own informal tour of the town in between emptying and shuffling boxes around the apartment. The above photo is Casey and I before our tour of the historic Arapahoe County Courthouse.
We like our apartment! Definitely smaller, but I think it will feel bigger when the last of the boxes go away. Unfortunately I still can't find the box containing my camera/laptop USB cord so I can't show you any photos of the inside of the apartment just yet. But here is the view of some of the complex from our smallish "porch" (we are on the second floor):
On Saturday mornings and most afternoons between 3:30 and 6, we are serenaded by the excited voices of children playing outside on the play structure. It is actually kind of nice to have some cute kids around... We have been grilling out on the "porch" a lot lately too, since the sun makes its appearance almost every day here!
Quick update on other life stuff:
  • I (Gina) started taking class with my dance company this Monday. I am very pleased so far-- I can already tell I will be challenged as a dancer and artist here and most everyone seems really friendly. I am excited to start rehearsals in a week or so and see what is in store! The first production will have a "scary" Halloween theme and then on to Nutcracker.
  • Casey is currently hot on the job trail. He's zeroed in on which part of the construction industry he would like to work in, and is making lots of calls to companies he'd like to work for. I am so impressed by his work ethic and blessed by how seriously he takes his role as our provider in this stage of our life.
  • Some sad news: Oscar the betta fish, who survived the drive out and also the recent cat attack, passed on to fishy heaven a couple weeks ago. He was pretty weak after the attack, not really himself. We are both really sad to see him go.
So here we are... More news and pictures to come when I find that box :).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We are here! And Oscar lives!

After a long trip (about 30 hours on the road with Stella, Lane, Charles, and the amazing Oscar-the-fish) we are finally here in Colorado. We were blessed with five strong guys helping us move all our boxes and furniture into our cute apartment on Saturday morning (thanks Chris D., Chris P., Micah, Matt, and Dave (my dad!)). We are a little less surrounded by boxes today but still have some unpacking to do. We were also blessed to have the company of my dad until this morning, who helped us settle in.
Top story of the week: Stella (our cat) got ahold of Oscar, our betta fish on Sunday morning. Casey found him on the bathroom counter bleeding :( and immediately scooped him back into his home. With advice from a wise worker at Petsmart, we changed his water and put four drops of medicine in the bowl that was supposed to heal fish wounds. I texted people asking for prayer because he was bleeding so much and we waited to see if he would make it. Well, today is Tuesday and he is still hanging on! He is a little weak, but who wouldn't be after bleeding so much! He gets the Toughest Fish in the World Award! Thanks for your prayers :).
More to come on our new home with pictures as we get settled in. We miss everyone in Oregon so much. We send many hugs and kisses to those we had to say goodbye to.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

LOST fans check this out!

Any LOST fan who ever watched Full House will think this is hilarious...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Laughing Yoga?

Casey and I just ran across this video on YouTube the other day after hearing about a unique way to relieve stress... Laughing Yoga! I for one am not sure how this qualifies as "yoga" but it really is entertaining to watch this one (very happy) laughing yoga guru. There are classes you can take during which a yoga instructor will lead you in giggling, laughing, etc. What do you guys think?? "I'm happy, I'm relaxed, I'm happy, I'm relaxed..." He's such a cute little yoga man!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Babies everywhere!!!

This is a time of lots of hellos and goodbyes for us. A few weeks ago we took a road trip to Northern and Central California to visit family and friends., which included my sister-in-law's (and self-proclaimed "incubator" for my little niece and goddaughter Kaylee!) baby shower. Pictured below is Bianca with a new onesie that says, "If you think I'm cute, you should see my mom!" I can't wait to see little Kaylee in it. Below that is me, my mom, and my aunt at the shower.
We also took a trip down to San Luis Obispo to visit one of my best friends Andrea, her husband Bret, and her 1 1/2 year old daughter Natalie (aka Nataloo). It had been almost a year since I'd seen them, but it's one of those friendships that seems like you pick up right where you left off... It was such a treat to be with my dear friend and see her (bigger) baby girl, and to see them get to know Casey.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"... Methinks a Rose is Best..."

(Quoted above: "Of all flowres methinks a rose is best" -William Shakespeare)
Since we have only about a month left in lovely Portland, it is our quest to visit all the favorite, distinctly Portland sights and places. Last night we went to the famous Portland Rose Gardens in northwest Portland. I (Gina) had never been there and was blown away by the beauty and variety of the roses there-- they have literally thousands of different types growing in what they call their "rose test gardens." It was so relaxing to stroll through the rows of beautiful blooming flowers on such a pleasantly warm night. After seeing all there was to see, we drove downtown Portland to eat at our favorite Thai restaurant, Typhoon. As we were enjoying our drinks at an outdoor table, Casey opened up his heart and shared his great sorrow over having to leave his favorite beer behind when we leave Portland: The Black Butte Porter (see proof below).

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stella and the Birds

Did you all know Casey and I actually have four children? Here's one of them: Everyone, meet Stella Eslinger. A little over a year ago our friend's cat had kittens and was looking for good homes for them. Casey and I were planning our wedding and were hoping to pick a kitten out to bring home with us after our honeymoon. We watched her and her siblings play for over half an hour and finally decided on Stella, because she seemed playful but not too wild, and fell asleep in Casey's hand!!! So cute. This is a picture of her at a couple months old when we first brought her home- she is a lot bigger now but I couldn't resist posting her kitten cuteness! Here's a little more about her....
Splashing all of her water out of her water dish, watching the toilet flush (water fixation???), treats, watching the birds, sleeping, chasing her fluffy green ball on the end of its string, buttery toast.
Being moved when she is comfortable, not being given a bite of buttery toast, loud scary noises,
getting her nails trimmed (those of you who have seen this can vouch for it), being trapped anywhere.
These two handsome parakeets are Charles DuMar (left) and Lane Meyer (right). Before we were married, Casey and I had joint custody of them but they lived with me (Gina). At first we only had Lane in the one cage, but we thought he looked lonely so the next day went back and got him a friend. They typically get along, but sometimes one of the two will keep the other from the food, so we were forced to separate them and now they live in separate cages. They have their daily "visiting time" where we let them out and fly a little.
Broccoli, seed, spray millet, seeing each other out of the cages after a "long" (more than day) separation, flying, chirping, refusing to learn any type of word or phrase.
Stella, loud scary noises, being in the cage for too long, anyone at all "hogging" their food while visiting their cage.
The sixth member of our family is Oscar, a grey-black beta fish. Unfortunately we do not have any pictures of him, but hopefully in the future we will and I will properly introduce him to you all.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm Official!

I (Gina) was just stopping by my company's website and I noticed the director just posted all the new company members' bios and headshots... Check it out (Ok, I'm at the bottom, but I'm official!!!):

Monday, June 30, 2008

On the road again...

I (Gina) have been doing a lot of dance related stuff in the last six months or so. I've trained in ballet since I was seven, and for many years dreamed of being paid to dance. In December 2007 I decided to give a professional career one last shot (ballerinas have very short shelf lives-- most don't dance full time past 35).
So I got myself into class a little (ok, a lot) more often, did some research on ballet/contemporary troupes, and proceeded to audition for about ten companies that fit this description:
  • Not huge (between ten and twenty dancers)
  • Exists in a state that Casey would be willing to move to/live in
  • Repertory contains both ballet and contemporary styles
  • Might possibly hire me!
In a nutshell, the whole experience for me was a very mixed bag. Lots of nerves, lots of excitement, lots of hope, lots of disappointment, lots of encouragement, and lots of learning about the current dance world. Then about a month and half ago, right when I began to have peace with the possibility of nothing happening, a light at the end of the tunnel appeared. I got an email from the artistic director of David Taylor Dance Theatre in Colorado offering me an apprenticeship. After much discussion and prayer, Casey and I realized God was dropping this opportunity in my lap-- and I accepted. This means we are moving from Oregon to Colorado in August and we will embark on one very exciting (and a little intimidating!) adventure. We will miss so many people here in Oregon but are convinced this is God's invitation to us for an adventure to grow with each other and in our relationship with Him. And from my (Gina's) point of view, Casey gets the "Husband of the Millenium Award" for being willing to move so I can fulfill a childhood dream. :)
Below are some favorite pictures I used for my resume portfolio.