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.)