Tuesday, February 21, 2006

One week round-up

I have had many complaints about no new posts, and I'm sorry, but if you were me and having the workload I have had this last week, you would stop whining. Otherwise, you'd be talking to yourself. If you were me.
But actually, I have had many adventures this past week, with which I will now regale you; happily, I will be finishing the stack of essays I have today and will be free for a whole week. Free meaning, I can maybe write something, and do a knitting project, and watch Olympics without having to do anything at the same time.
So, Wednesday was better than Tuesday. I was still a little shaky and tired, but I got a damn fine hug that day and got to play around with my camera a little bit, which was fun. I need to practice with that a lot more.

Homeward Bound
Things started getting crazy on Friday. I went home because my college dance teacher and director is retiring, and Friday night was the concert at which they were to surprise-present her with a memory book and video. She's a truly great lady, and I wanted to be there, and I also wrote up a little essay that I'd sent for the book. Basically, she's responsible for several of the decisions I've made in the last six or seven years.

A story
When I was a junior in college, I gave up Classical Studies as a cognate and needed another arts cognate, so I picked dance (duh...don't know why I didn't think of that before, except that I had a full load of dance classes at the studio). I had choreography with Dr. Dixie Durr, and learned more in that class than most of my other classes combined. Dr. Durr has a great way of making learning about living, about being a person. I loved that class, and was encouraged by her to take modern that summer with Whitley Setrakian. I did, despite never having summer class before, and once again was staggered by an amazing dance and choreographic experience.
Fresh from these events, I decided to try out for Evita in the fall, despite a crazy course, dance, and library workload...see how this is getting good? I had Dr. Durr for several courses that year, including dance history and an independent study in Labanotation, and...Evita was directed by Dr. Durr. I had yet again a phenomenal learning experience, and felt like I was really contributing to the world as a dancer. Despite twisted feet and the need to eat while I was walking places, or else no eating at all, I was in heaven.
Whitley (remember her? Awesome modern in the summer?) was doing a piece for the rep company concert the following year; since I was graduating, I didn't try out, but she asked me to be in the piece, and so I agreed to dance it at the American College Dance Festival in the spring, and then my friend Liz would do it in the fall at the rep concert. Yet another smart decision...now here's where things get tricky.
The ACDF was in Bowling Green, OH, that year, and my mom recently reminded me that that wasn't even the ACDF region MSU would normally go to, but our normal region was full or something. So we went to BG, which coincidentally, I had applied to for grad school. On our first day there, I went and met some faculty, and got acquainted with campus.
Then, we danced, were adjudicated *well*, despite many other schools being heavily criticized, and, surprise of all surprises, we were selected to close the gala concert. We were ecstatic, we were in heaven, we were amazing. We really were! The piece ruled, the dancing was so comfortable for all of us...it was just, once again, everything coming together. Dancing in Kobacker Hall was pretty sweet.
Then, about two weeks later, the creative writing program called me and offered me a grad school place! How crazy is that? And I'm still here, I have a full time job, and I have publications.
Certainly, there are a lot of twists and turns we take in our lives, but it's amazing how, in such a short time, Dr. Durr became an absolute force.

The Concert
So anyway, back to the weekend. I went to the concert with my Mum, which was fun, because we got to chat and walk around the auditorium a little and reminisce. The concert was very interesting, and there were several things I liked and several things I didn't; part of my education via Dr. Durr was making thoughtful critiques and owning my opinions about them. The video after the program was very funny and sweet, and reminded me of a lot of things that Dr. Durr always has done in class, like call us her "little birds" (name of Whitley's piece? "Birds in the Air.") and spell words...D-O M-O-R-E. B-E S-T-R-O-N-G-E-R. My Mom thinks that is great because it slows down your thoughts enough to actually absorb the message. She also says, "Never apologize for being alive."
She was genuinely surprised and moved, and as my friend Kim said, someone finally was able to make her cry. She's an amazing lady, and it was my very great honor to be there, along with several others of my dance generation and others, to support her life's work.

The Game
Saturday, for some reason, is sort of a blurr to me at first. I rolled out of bed ridiculously late and then watched Olympics and did some essays. I think. Yeah, I remember something about the biathalon where they ski and then shoot guns. And the guy I decided to cheer for won.
But THEN, my parents and I went to the MSU vs. Miami-Ohio hockey game! It was bitterly cold out, but the game was, as they say, hot. MSU beat no. 1 Miami, rather emphatically, actually. It was the last home game of the season, so it was senior night, and it's always great when they win on that night. Many years ago, on Chad Alban's senior night, he scored a goal. He was MSU's goalie. We cheered until we cried. Saturday was more low key, but still amazing.

Sadly for me, the UUMC pastors back home are moving on. Methodists do that, move pastors around a lot, and we've been lucky to keep Frank and Carol for so long. I am glad to be able to see them a couple more times, I hope, before they go.
The choir and bell choir did some spiritual pieces, which was really fun. They sang Siyahamba, which is one of my favorite pieces of all time. It's so pretty, and it always gives me a warm and sunny feeling.

And that's it! Then I came back, have been grading like a crazy lady, and am finally catching up.
And now I have to go teach.


Paula said...

Fun post--wow! Fun to read.

I'm SO glad you had a chance to come up for air after grading those piles and piles of papers.

I'm so glad I no longer have to deal with piles and piles of papers.

Your tribute here to your teacher is delightful...and doesn't this connect to why we love teaching so much? It's easy to lose track of the fact of touching lives (because we're so often buried by the papers!) but that is what we do. It is appreciated much more often than we know--though sometimes not for years after our connection. I don't mean in terms of somebody finally throwing us a great retirement party, I mean in terms of that freshman who, five or ten or twenty years down the line suddenly says, "My God! That's what she was talking about!"

Teaching comes back to haunt you, in wild and wonderful ways. You don't always know about the epiphany moments of students who sat in your classes, years ago, but to survive in this job, you have to believe, and to KNOW, that they are happen.

Yours did. Mine too. Lots of them.

Paula said...

Don't you hate it when you leave a typo behind?