Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Comment: The Definition of Passion

So I'm fascinated by a young dance who's actually not on SYTYCD: Silvia Moreno. I found her by accident when I wanted to show my kids what flamenco dancing looks like. Check out the clip. The kid is FIVE. There is also a clip when she is nine posted as well.

This is the most intense five-year-old I've ever seen. Watch her face. Watch her footwork.

How can anyone in their right mind say the arts aren't vital for kids?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comment: Word

I've decided that anyone who genuinely uses the word "grand" to describe how they feel or an event they've experienced is all right with me.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Comment: Compare and Contrast

I'm finding it interesting that the two TV shows about which I am currently obsessed are "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Sons of Anarchy".

At first glance, they certainly appear to have very little in common. The former is a spunky reality show about sprightly young dancers with stars in their eyes. The latter, a raw, gritty drama with crusty bikers who kill anyone who's not deemed "an innocent" in their eyes, always involving copious amounts of blood and gunfire with occasional maiming.

But upon closer examination....well, they're both about people who move around a lot. And about tight-knit groups of ambitious people who have their own way of dressing, speaking and behaving.

However, the main area in which these two seemingly disparate shows overlap is in the following: the hugging.

The adorable and talented little dancers of SYTYCD hug EVERYBODY, all the time. They hug when they win, they hug when they lose, they hug when they meet their choreographers, they hug before they dance, they hug after they dance.

And "Sons of Anarchy"? The bikers hug before they go out and slaughter bad guys. They hug after they go out and blow shit up. They hug before meetings, they hug after meetings. They hug when they arrive at the clubhouse, and they hug when they leave. The few who are committed to one woman hug them, too, but mostly they hug each other, multiple times a day. They sure are hearty huggers.

So maybe that's what draws me to both shows: the incessant expression of physical affection interspersed throughout exciting comings and goings.

Or maybe I'm just really wierd.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Comment: Organize NOW!

That's the title of the book that's sitting on my desk right next to this laptop upon which I am typing.

I really should look at it some time.

This book is supposed to take me through organizing my life week by week. But really, do I really need (or want) to spend an entire WEEK organizing my email?

Sure, I could understand it if I were a CEO or a journalist or something (though that's something I'm pretty glad I'm not, at the moment) but I'm a teacher and mother and writer. I just don't get enough email to bother organizing.

But I did buy this book for a reason. I mean, who doesn't want to be more organized? (Baboons, maybe. Dogs and cats. How organized do you have to be to fling poop, sniff butts or pee in a box?)

I should be more organized. My mother-in-law is so organized. Her back patio looks like a spread from Martha Stewart Living. She's way organized.

Should, should, should.

I have to tell you that my personal happiness level has gone way up since I stopped reading so much about how to improve myself. I was trying to figure out what changed in the past month, and one of the variables is I went back to reading fiction instead of constant relationship, self-exploratory, I'm ok-you're ok type of books. Does organizing fall into the category of self-improvement? Probably. But I've found I'm happier when I'm not analyzing myself to death.

Maybe I should write a book about that. Ha!

Still, I would like my desk to have some cleared surfaces. And I do have a basket of crap on my desk that could be streamlined. Maybe I will look at that organization book. Maybe not.

But at least I know where it is.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Comment: JJacked Up

So today I got home to find 6, yes, SIX, catalogs from various stores I frequent, all of them online. Had a little sit down and perused, I did.

Have you seen the jjill catalog? I really liked their clothes for about a month last year. They make lots of drapey things, which, given my ever-changing middle-aged body, is helpful.

But, as my sister pointed out to me some time ago, their color scheme is super-lame. They have about fourteen shades of antique rose (gah!) and just as many of subdued blues (yawn). Oh, and they have a thousand different shades of clay and grey and dirt and cement-like colors. They are thus COMPLETELY impractical if you spill anything on them EVER, which I do. I ruined a perfectly good muted grey sweater with one lousy stinking spot and now I can't wear it in public. The jjill models clearly don't have kids, or, if they do, they're off at Bennington discovering themselves.

Also, jjill is massively overpriced for what it has. I got one thing I really liked from their catalog: a long, grey (again with the grey) corduroy blazer that is actually fun. And I waited until it was on sale (natch) but when I got it, it HAD NO LINING. That's super-lame.

And their TALL sizes are not messing around. I have one pair of pants from them and I have to roll the waistband up otherwise I literally fall all over myself in them. And I'm no graceful swan to begin with.

I guess the thing that most irks me about jjill is the way everything is toned down and bland. Is that the message we want to be receiving at middle age? Hell to the no.

I like me some rich saturated greens, purples and intense pinks. What's the point of only wearing colors you find in a concrete facility?

I will not go gently into middle age!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Comment: Suddenly Superfluous.

It's come to my attention that my children do not require very much of my attention these days. It feels like it came overnight, but of course, it hasn't. I was too busy to notice, working at three or four different jobs (I can never remember, she sighed breezily) and going back to school.

Now that school's out for all three of us, and work is out for the season, I'm kind of walking around wondering what to do with myself. Have you ever seen the Simpsons episode where the family moves to the swanky suburbs for Homer's job for an evil corporation and Marge has so many tools and machines that do all her work for her that she has nothing to do, and she takes up drinking fortified wine?

I'm feeling a little bit of that right now.

Except I'm also a little bit scared of wine right now because I associate it (rightly or not) with the last MONSTRO migraine I had two weeks ago. I don't think it was the wine, but who knows? (It wasn't red, which is usually the culprit, apparently.) But I've been reading about triggers and menopause (fun!) and it looks like I could be hitting the jackpot these days. Alert the media. A middle-aged woman is irritable and would like to drink wine, if only she knew it wouldn't result in a tremendous butt-kicking headache.

Such a glamourous life.

Speaking of which, what do you think Sheila E. is doing these days? Did she run away to suburbia and if so, does she beat the pots and pans in her kitchen to the sounds of an ancient Casio keyboard? Does she regret her tryst with Prince? Did he support her after her breakout success or was he too busy making up new names for himself? Did he drop her like a hot potato when she developed a muffin top? What about Appolonia? Does she have a muffin top? Is she bitter? I'd be bitter if the only movie I was in was Purple Rain. Not exactly Oscar-winning acting, that.

But I digress.

And there are actual muffins (with tops) in the oven right now. So PEACE, I'm out, people. (I'm co-opting that expression, mainly because annoying Candace uses it in Phineas and Ferb and I like it even though she drives me batshit.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Question: Is it hot in here?

I think it's just me. Wait, I'm okay now.

Just watched the most recent episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" and found myself tearing up when Robert and Miranda were sent home. Is this hormones, or simply the depth of my humanity showing through? (Wow, it's definitely hormones.)

There's something so genuine about the show, and I find myself anxious to watch it every week. Even with the silly fillers they have, it's primarily about young, super-talented people chasing a dream. I find that I put myself in their place, but, increasingly, put myself in their parents' place. How proud would you be if your child made it to that show? How exciting would it be? I get so thrilled for these young adults, kids, really, who are already making it big merely by being on the show. They're so sincere and excited and pure, somehow. That's what gets me. They shriek with delight a lot. They cry a lot. I can relate.

I'm not a dancer myself. In college, I was put in "Movement for Actors", not real dance class. It was just a euphemism for actors who could stagger around to rhythm, at least some of the time. And still I had the humiliation of wearing a leotard but not looking hot in it. What I did for my art.

But I love to watch dance. It's powerful, beautiful and beyond my skill set.

Fox may be a lame network and their news may be as unfair and imbalanced as they come. but I love, love, love SYTYCD.

And that's not the hormones talking.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Comment: Baby, you are NOT a firework, nor are you anything like a plastic bag.

I feel as though I should write something about it being the fourth of July. (Am I supposed to capitalize the f?) But I didn't write anything on Canada Day (July 1), and I swing both ways in terms of nationality, so technically I don't have to write anything about this country today.

I feel wierd about celebrating this holiday since I didn't grow up doing it. Yet I've been in the States for almost 20 years, so it's only a matter of time before I'm in the US longer than I was in Canada. Does that make me less Canadian? No way, eh! Does that make me more American? Maybe. Sorta. I don't know.

Frankly, part of why I'm writing about this at all is so my good friend and fellow blogger, The Solipsist, will respond in some smart-assed, New Yorker acerbic, way.

Have at it, Sol! Happy Fourth!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Comment: Drip, drip, drip.

I've spent the afternoon lying in balmy Mid-Atlantic heat, on a leather couch (what was I thinking?!) reading about night sweats, irritability and hot-flashes.

It's kind of gratifying to know that some of my more, ahem, challenging behaviors, can now be attributed to perimenopause.

What a relief! And I thought I was just a bitch.

I'm reading a book called "Menopause Sucks", which I had to buy, just for the title. It's kind of awesome. It's not all overly medical, but it gives you some idea about all the fun things in store for the relatively-newly middle-aged. (Sidebar: what number, exactly, constitutes middle age? 40? 45? I can't believe it could be 35, because that's the new 25, so it's got to be 40 or so, doesn't it? Let me know, would you, please?)

But back to the hot flashes and night sweats. I've been having the latter for YEARS. Does that mean I've been in perimenopause since I was 30? Doubt that, since I've given birth twice since then.

I do own some of those awesome moisture-wicking jammies made for sweating women. I got them about two months ago, before I was ready to face the fact that I'm in peri-men. Frankly, I don't care what level of pause I'm in, I've been sweating for too long and nobody likes to wake up with thigh sweat unless a partner is involved.

And amazingly, these things actually work! For years, I'd worn allegedly moisture=wicking athletic wear to bed, to little success. So maybe I should be wearing my wonderjams when I work out. Though that might garner a little more attention than I'm after at the gym.

At this time of year, everyone's having hot flashes, so it just doesn't matter. We're all sweaty, sunscreened balls of flesh at this point. Pass the popsicles, I've got more reading to do.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Complaint: Transitions Suck!

This summer marks a major transition with my kids. They've just hit that point where peers are more important to them than parents, and where play is more important than anything else.

This is overall an excellent thing; it's developmentally appropriate, and it's healthy.

But if you've stayed home with your kids for a chunk of time, to suddenly feel irrelevant is a bit of a buzz kill. Especially when you deliberately said no to job opportunities so you could be home all summer for your kids, when they, in fact, are never home.

I'm honestly really happy that my children are developing more depth in their friendships, as well as more independence. I want that for them.

I just have to get used to it first.

Today I found myself a little broken up over the fact that the kids stayed for supper at their friends' house. (They'd been there all day.) I know, it sounds like nothing. I should be glad!

And for them, I am.

But I guess I feel a little bit lost at the moment. I spent most of the day wandering around like a lost sheep, feeling a bit distraught, to tell the truth. Transitions aren't just hard for kids.

I've gotten so used to being needed. It's almost a like a detox, what I'm going through. Lovely.

And let's not discount those raging, ever-changing, deranging hormones of mid-life. I'm sure they're not exactly helping the situation any.

Damn you, estrogen! And your little dog, too!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Comment: It's Official.

For awhile there I was too busy to write, and on the rare occasion when I sat down to try, I felt like I had nothing to say.

But that appears to have changed.

Enter: MIDDLE AGE. Aaahhhhh!

It's not like I just became middle-aged. I've been middle-aged for awhile now. But today I hit a milestone, because I broke down and bought......

reading glasses.

Yup, that was me in the back of the store, surreptitiously trying on different levels of magnification and seeing what I could read on the little chart that Foster Grant provides for my elucidation. I naively thought that since I have great vision in a family clad in glasses that somehow I would escape the fate.

But age has a way of fucking with you like nothing else. Hence, the glasses.

I mean, I can't read the damn writing on the ibuprofen bottle and at 2 in the morning that's pretty annoying.

I haven't even used the glasses yet. I just got them this afternoon. And I wonder if anyone will notice or care, or if I'll end up making a big deal out of it because "Oh my god, I wear GLASSES now, look at me, I've over 40!" I do tend to skew on the dramatic side.

But I kind of leaned into it today, and at the same time bought some moisturizer for "mature" skin. I don't know how exactly they determine what mature means. My skin is probably more mature than me, but that's not saying much.

Somehow I ended up subscribing accidentally to Women's Health magazine and on the cover there are always twenty year-olds on the cover, baring their midriff, with the heading "Chrissy Celebutastic shows you her secrets to staying fit!"

And the secret is? She's TWENTY. She doesn't EAT. Not really much of a secret, people.

I'm more than twice that age, and I love to eat, so this magazine does me no good. I've just got to figure out how to unsubscribe. There's no tab on the bottom of the magazine to click on!

As I like to say to anyone who will listen, and especially to my best friend, we're not 20, and we're not 80. So being in the middle is pretty much where I'm going to be for awhile. So get set for more ranting about the middle ground.

If you're strong enough to take it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Question: Boundaries?

Why is it so easy to set boundaries with groups of children, but not with grown ups?

You'd think the grown-ups would be easier. They're more reasonable and allegedly more mature.

I just went outside twice in the last half hour and read the riot act to the neighborhood kids who were doing stupid and dangerous things on our lawn. I had been alerted by my generally rule-abiding daughter. I had no hesitation to scare the crap out of them and warn them if they didn't shape up, they couldn't come over.

NOBODY else on my street talks to kids that way.

Now let me say, I love kids, and not just my own. I do not want anything bad to happen to any of them. Which is why I was yelling the first place. I happened to read about the tragic death recently of an Emerson undergrad who fell off a roof to his death while making a film. Horrible.

So when I saw three little girls hanging carelessly over the edge of our raised (and I mean RAISED) back deck, I knocked down a chair and a music player to get out the door and raise holy hell in order to stop them.

Anyway, that kind of thing is a no-brainer. Keep safe, be nice, rock on. Pretty simple.

But when it comes to dealing with's so much harder to stand up for yourself. It's been called to my attention on more than one occasion in my life that I am "too nice". That I "give away my power" and try to please people more than myself. Sadly, this is true.

I can't get airlines to give me vouchers in a situation where they would if you asked the right way. I can't get hotels to give me deals when the person right in front of me gets one. I don't know how to be demanding or forceful with other adults. I often apologize in a veiled or overt way when I do something, ANYTHING. Like I need permission to take a whiz. Honestly.

This is something I really need to work on. I believe this is a chronic condition in many, many women. I need to take action.

Because I feel like if I don't, one day I will just blow a gasket in an inappropriate situation and wreak havoc unnecessarily.

I'd like to learn to say what I think and fell WITHOUT APOLOGY, CAVEATS or ENDLESS PARAGRAPHS of JUSTIFICATION. Which is what I do now.

I'll let you know how it's going.

Is that okay with you? (Yes, I'm aware of the irony here.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Comment: The F Word

Do you ever have an experience which, even while you're in it, you swear it will change you deeply? Where you're sure it's going to alter your perception of certain things for the rest of your life? At least, that's what you hope, and think, at the time?

That's where I am now.

When you have a minor medical scare, your life flashes before you. You're reminded that you're mortal, and that as a middle-aged person, your life is, arguably, half over. (or half begun, for you optimists out there) These things happen all the time; scares, concerns, unknowns.

What I tried to do differently this time is not panic at a 300% level, which is what I usually do. I tried to just kind of take things day by day and not flip out. I've spent so much of my life at maximum drama, and frankly, it's exhausting to me and everyone else. So I kept it (relatively) under control. I avoided thinking about writing my own obituary or fearing for my children's future. I rationally thought about odds and statistics and precedents. And then, for now, I was taken off the hook. Sweet relief.

And I was struck by how much fear we all carry around in our lives. Fear and anxiety are our M.O.s, and that has to stop somehow. I already talked last post about how we wait for everything; implicit in that waiting is anxiety and fear. If we weren't stuck waiting, we'd be anticipating, because we'd be looking forward to something positive. We wait for things, often in agony, because we fear the worst possible outcome, which, natch, rarely happens.

Humans sure do fuck with their own heads.

I for one would like to try to live with less fear and anxiety. A tall order, granted.

But one worth striving for.

Because if we're already in mid-life, isn't it time we started trying to enjoy what we have, as opposed to what we don't? Isn't it time to kick fear OUT of our lives for good?

I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Comment: Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

You know in "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss, there's this part where he talks about "The Waiting Place", and how you really don't want to spend time there?

That's where I am.

It's uncomfortable.

I'm sure you've been there, too. We all go there. It's one of those parts of life we have to deal with, like it or not.

What do we wait for? Exam results, both educational and medical, job offers or rejections, phone calls, gestation, paying for groceries, mail and deliveries, that coveted novel you're in the queue for at the library, life to somehow magically "begin" with the onset of that perfect house, partner, promotion, hair cut, job.

Damn, we wait for a lot.

So how do we make the waiting place a productive one?

I think it's a mindset, really. It's the whole living in the moment thing.

Which I'm kind of waiting to get good at.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Comment: The Power of the Sun

Not to keep flogging a dead horse here (which, by the way, is sick and disturbing and would smell TERRIBLE), but this overcast scene is really OVER.

Yesterday, the sun would come up for five minute increments, and every time it was out, my mood was lifted; every time it fell, so plummeted my mood.

It's not fun to be a slave to the sun; my mental mood ring just kept crashing from black to green, black to green. Enough!

Complaining doesn't serve any purpose, though, does it?

I've long ago sought my light by artificial means, in order to prevent myself from yo-yoing for an entire two seasons.

However, sunlight and artificial light are not the same. And they never will be. One is a pale substitute for the other, no pun intended.

That's about all I've got to say right now. I also smashed my head quite hard on the open door of my cabinet, which did not help my nascent migraine, I have to say.

Here's hoping Little Orphan Annie is right.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Complaint: Oh Come ON!

Okay, it's hilarious. I'm laughing. Ha ha ha.

It's still before noon, so I understand the humor. But if this snow continues past noon, I will no longer be laughing.

Why is it that you can only pull an April Fool's joke before noon? Did I dream that? Or is it just Canadian? And is there really a difference between the two?

I'm also having a memory that my French Canadian neighbour growing up, Sylvie Toulouse, said that in her culture, people put fish on people's windshields. Was this a French-French thing, or a French-Canadian thing? I never found out. But on April 1, there was indeed a paper bag cut-out fish and a note in broken English on our windshield sayings "We hope you are not mad!" (We weren't. I mean, it wasn't a REAL fish.)

I know that happened.

Anyway, this snow is decidedly not funny.

And speaking of feeling foolish, I spent the morning suffering the minor and unpleasant indignities of the American health system. Nothing like wearing paper sheets, gowns that don't tie properly, getting your boobs smashed to the thickness of a placemat, and ultrasound wands probing the depths of your body, and, I'd add, your soul.

But hey, at least I'm writing about it!

I hate getting mammograms. I mean, they are always scary. I had a scare a few years ago and it turned out not to be a big thing, but now every time I go, I feel sort of dreadful and queasy. And then they don't TELL you anything! They said they'll send a letter, or call you, but they add, "Don't panic if we call you"! That's like saying, "Don't PEE!", after you've downed 32 ounces of water at 8:30 in the morning for a pelvic ultrasound.

I need some chocolate. I'm sure that will help.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to start Script Frenzy today, which is like National Novel Writing Month, only scripty, not novelly.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Comment: Still here.

Howdy, Readers.

I'm still here. Just got very deep into my multiple jobs, plus for the first time in over ten years, I performed in a show. It was awesome and got that thespian itch going for me again. My friends and I each wrote a monologue that we literally and figuratively strung together, with some rope. It was so much fun.

But I don't want to be one of those bloggers who write about how great their life is because if you're having a shitty day you'll feel like kicking my teeth in. Actually, I'm mixing up what I'm trying to say. The brilliant improv guru Keith Johnstone says that "Every time you tell someone something good about yourself, it's like kicking them", which I have found to be true. It's like when you go on Facebook and everyone's seeming to have a better day than you and you feel like the lyrics to a Morrissey song and you just feel very very sorry for yourself for no particular reason.

The things to remember are: (1) Facebook is not reality, (2) The person could be lying, either to you or to her/himself (3) People hide behind vacuuous statements and shallow pursuits to quell their inner fear that life is meaningless, groundless, or just plain terrifying.

Jesus H., what's got into me today?

Actually, I just finished working on some gigs that had high highs, low lows, and creamy vanilla frosting middles. I saw my high schoolers yesterday for the last time. I was attempting to teach them playwriting. This was a group of urban, disaffected, angry, resistant and apathetic students who didn't find me as charming or hilarious as I had hoped. But I connected with a few of them, and most of them did write something, so it was not all for naught. Damn, high schoolers are challenging. The state of education in this country is sorry and depressing. But I'm not going there right now...

The preschoolers were a lot more fun and a lot more gratifying. Since last I wrote, I have enrolled in and am about to start another grad program; this time, I'm getting focused and practical: early childhood education, baby. That's where my heart is, and that's where I can get away with being the creative and freaky/goofy person I really am.

So I'm on a path. And that's probably why I haven't written in so long. I used this blog as my constant (just like Desmond on Lost!) as we moved from one side of the country to the other, and now that I am more settled into my life, I don't need it as much. But I don't want to just abandon you. My friend and fellow blogger, The Solipsist, reminded me today not to leave my readers in the lurch.

So exit the lurch, dear ones, and stay tuned for occasional postings here about art, life and being a middle-aged college student (again).

Rock on.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Comment: Persistence in the Face of Challenges

The work I have chosen to do can be fraught with paperwork, scheduling nightmares, red tape, irritating grown-ups with bad manners, hoops to jump through, and cancellations.

And yet I persist. Many of us persist.


I asked my mother this today. She is in the hospital minus one appendix, and sounding as fabulous as ever. (Did I mention she's my role model? Hi Mum!)

She said that no matter what, we just have to keep doing, if we believe in what we are doing. (I'm paraphrasing.)

This has always been her mantra and it has brought her enormous personal satisfaction as well as external kudos/recognition to boot.

So when I feel like what I am doing is disappearing into a black hole of disorganized programming, paperwork and logistics, I must remember:

The look on Dominic's face when I remembered his name (even though he didn't have his nametag on); the enthusiasm with which Riley answered my questions about dancing and tutus; the serious getting jiggy with it dancing that Jordan exhibited upon our first meeting; the way the children greet me like a returning rock star, ready for our next adventure together.

Those darn kids.

THEY are why I do it. THEY are why I care. THEY are all that matter.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Complaint: Enough is Enough is Enough

I'm tired.

And not just because I'm still getting over this nasty-ass virus.

I'm tired of self-improvement.

I'm tired of working so hard, reading, writing, researching, making lists, raising my awareness, assessing my skill sets, checking my personal growth, questioning my self-actualization, mindfully modifying my behaviors. It's exhausting. And I don't even know how much good it does.

But I've done so much of it, I should have a Ph.D. in Self-Improvement. (You can probably get one at Antioch University.)

What I mean is, I spend a lot of time reading self-help books, in an attempt to curb my bad habits, strengthen my positive habits, make myself happier, be a better parent, person, wife, etc.

I'm plum wore out by it all. Sometimes, you just want to kick back and read a novel.

I'm sure that Oogla the Cro-Magnon Lady did NOT spend her days trying to be nicer, or swear less, or be more spiritual.

Maybe I should be more like Oogla.

Does she have a book out I could read?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Complaint: Glerg.

Irony, a definition: getting the flu in spite of having gotten the flu shot.

Why wasn't that in Alanis' song, eh?

You've got a sievvvvve
When you need a pot
Free air conditioningggg
When it's not very hot
Having the fluuuuu
When you just got the shot
Who would have thought, it figures

Monday, January 17, 2011

Question: A What Now?

Just home from tappa tappa tappa class.

At some point somebody said, "The theme is dreams."

The what is what now?

This could only mean one thing.

A show.

Dunh dunh dunh.

Crikey, a show?

My tappa class is doing a show?

My first instinct was to scream. Or laugh. Or say, hell no.

But my optimistic partner in crime, who also happens to be pregnant, said, "Come on, Emi, let's do it. It'll be great!"

You don't say no to a pregnant lady.

And even though I'm by far the weakest link in the class, as long as I have time to practice, I should be okay.

After all, the theme is dreams. So why not dream big?

Plus I may get a cool costume. Hope there'll be sequins.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Question: Why the Rage?

What is it about some music that makes you want to break things, or at the minimum, hurl them across the room?

The song that makes me feel that way is "We Built This City (on Rock n' Roll)" by some iteration of the band formerly known as Jefferson Airplane. The sting in this song is that the band used to be cool: "Go Ask Alice" is awesome (and so is the book). But there is something jarring and highly irritating about WBTC, and I can not, nay, WILL NOT, listen to it.

The other song that puts me on edge is the "Kokomo" song by The Beach Boys. Pretty much anything by The Beach Boys works my nerves, but the aforementioned makes me feel like breaking beer bottles. Why do I hate it so much? Nothing traumatic happened to me during the playing of either of these songs. I don't get it.

Do you have songs that make you mental? If so, what are they? Why do you suppose we have these visceral reactions to songs?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Comment: What a Feeling

Still not into this whole "winter" thing. What is UP with the snow and all the crap it entails? Not impressed.

But what can you do?

Join a gym!

Right. So we joined a gym, and we're actually using it. My husband works out, as do I, my kids take swimming lessons, and my daughter and I do the tappa tappa tappa thing there, too. Good deal.

Now I'm really more of an outside runner girl, but with this lame weather, it only seems sensible to take it indoors. I'm not really a fan of gyms, what with the whole hamster-in-the-wheel vibe going on. I mean, have you ever just stopped and WATCHED everyone in the gym, just for a few seconds? (Not in a wierd way). It's like watching little rats in a maze, endlessly and fruitlessly pursuing the out-of-reach cheese. It all just looks so, well, stupid.

We drive our cars to the gym, work out like maniacs without getting anywhere, then drive home.

And then there are the TVs! Must we have TV screens every place we go? Airports, doctor's offices, emergency rooms, gyms, schools, TARNATION.

But before I get too high on my horse, I will confess it: this gym has its own music video stations.

I had never heard of such things. My, the things technology can do nowadays.

And one of said stations is in fact...wait for 80s station.

Yes, I get to work out to The Romantics, The Go-Gos, Depeche Mode and OMD!


I even saw a Neneh Cherry video today. Videos were so simple in the early 80s. Now they have to be a multi-million dollar production. I saw Kim Wilde's "You Keep Me Hanging On" today and it has got to be one of the most BORING videos ever. She just lies in a bed, fully clothed, looking tormented (or possibly with a mild case of heartburn) and then she stands in front of a fan and confetti blows around her while a man stands ominously in a doorway. I mean, it must have taken at least an hour to make this video.

Anyway, it was a simpler time then. People were amassing small fortunes and spending it on blow. (Well, I wasn't; I was taking classes that guaranteed me a future of minimum wage frustration while simultaneously drinking my youth away while wearing neon-colored cut-up sweatshirts. Good times.)

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying, if I'm saying anything at all, is I still enjoy the 80s music and simple videos. Have you seen ABC's "The Look of Love (Part One)?" It was made in a studio the size of my garage! With nuns and clowns and balloons and sort of a hyper Mary Poppins-in-the-park homage.

Nostalgia is very powerful. If Proust had his damn cookies, surely I can have my vintage MTV.

When the winter outside freezes my ass off and puts a scowl upon my face, I can enter the warmth and retro fabulousness of the 80s as I run, on the road to nowhere, with Talking Heads and Men Without Hats.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Comment: Snow Day

The dulcet sounds of children shrieking their lungs out on mounds of snow outside. The plaintive "I'm boooooored"s of the children refusing to go outside. The ever-backward-moving clock.

Can't beat the snow days.

As a kid, it's a dream come true. As a newly-working parent? Yes and no.

The up side? I got to totally sleep in. BONUS.

The down side? My work gig got canceled, and now I have to try to find a place to cram it into an already-packed schedule.

Also, would I have to go OUTSIDE in the mild storm and sled, or watch while the kids sledded?

I'm sorry to say but I'm really not into that. Since they grew up in California, it's all still a novelty for them. Having grown up in Canada and spent years toboganning with cold and wet feet in smothering snowsuits, I can honestly say that I've had enough of snow, winter, and all that it entails. (I believe I've made that point here previously, and probably, more eloquently.)

Actually, our day has been going great. My daughter spent three hours at a friend's house, while my son and I got some quality time together writing and deciphering coded messages.

Then the friend came over here and all three kids had a very civilized tea party in the living room. Their pinkies were in the raised position, natch.

Meanwhile, I cleaned off the top of my dresser as well as my make-up drawer and a section of one of the more frightening hall closets in the house.

Not too shabby. Who knew a snow day could be so productive?

And I didn't even have to go outside.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Comment: Taking the First Step (Shuffle Ball Change)

Wow, how did a whole month fly by?

I've just embarked on a quirky adventure I never thought I'd be reporting here, or anywhere, for that matter.

I'm taking a tap class.


With the shoes with little silver taps on them (hence the name) and the whole leaping around with flailing arms magic that goes along with it.

I wouldn't be doing this but for two reasons:

1. My daughter just started ballet and tap, and it looked like fun
2. I told my friend there was an adult class starting and we decided impulsively to take it

Now, I have not taken a tap class in over 30 years. Yes. My tap friend wasn't even ALIVE when I was taking tap back in the late 70s.

So last night was our first class.

It was surreal.

There were only four of us, and our teacher, Raylene (not her real name). This class, it was immediately clear, was going to be different from any dance class we'd ever taken. Raylene is in a class all by herself.

She is an older lady with bright red hair, purple eye makeup, and quite a set of gams. She's one of the last of the original "show people". In between each dance step, she'd pause and tell us a story about her life. What a life! Young dancer marrying a tap master twice her age. Broadway, the whole shebang.

She doesn't so much teach as she does preach. She just talks and talks, and we tap a little, and I get confused, and then she talks some more, and then we tap. I sweat, I laugh at myself, and try to keep up.

See, it's an INTERMEDIATE class.

And like I said, it's been 30 years.

I think I got about 50% of the steps right.

Which actually is not bad.

The funny thing is, I almost didn't go. I really didn't feel like going out last night, to the first class. I was tired, bored, mentally atrophied from being home all day with a sick child. But after the class? Bubbly and content.

Stepping out of your comfort zone, is, literally, a good idea.

I can't wait to hear more about Raylene's life, to sweat a little, and work parts of my brain and body that have lain fallow for decades.

(Oh, and it's good to be blogging again.)