Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dance Nostalgia...again.

First, Happy Birthday, Carrie! You rock!

I was watching my old dance recital videos from 2000 and 2001 today. Basically, while I was home helping at this year's recital I noted that two things had changed in the cancan choreography, and wanted to confirm that I was right. Of course I was. I did that dance for ages, and even though I hadn't danced that particular cancan in five years, muscle memory doesn't lie. In fact, that's what I was known for back then, an almost uncanny ability to remember dances exactly as they were taught to me. I was wrong once in a while, but if I had conviction about something, best to go with Abby's version.
Anyway, I watched the cancan and ballet from each tape, and jazz and modern. I skipped the tap and opening numbers, which would have involved too much fast-forward and rewind action. I remembered little things that went on during the shows, and some big things. On reading in someone's blog today that she was having calf problems, I remembered the year my calves caused me to collapse as soon as the final curtain went down. I had to be massaged by my teacher and a doctor...I actually can't remember if that was the year I pulled my hamstring, the last year, or the year before, or what. I noted in a survey recently on myspace that the worst pain I'd ever felt was a bad cold/flu ache, but I lied. My calves were really bad that year, and when I was in Evita they were so bad--tight and painful-- I couldn't put my heels down for two days. I know 2001 was the year I pulled my hamstring in two places, because I remember my dread when it happened, my very last recital ever, not knowing if I'd be able to dance. If you look really hard you can see my Ace wrap under all my tights. 2000 was the year Alina had a bad ankle, and almost collapsed in the final cancan kickline; I don't know how she didn't fall, but the line was strong that year and probably helped pull her up.
And I remember other things, like the quick change from jazz to cancan, from a three piece costume to a ...oh, thirteen piece costume. I was the first one off the stage and I remember stripping as I ran behind the back curtain to get to the senior dressing room, changing into my top on the fly. I remember that 2001 was the first time I'd done jazz in the recital, but I was front and center anyway.
2000 ballet was a really pretty one. I got to dance with my teacher and my dance husband both, and I contributed by making little sleevelets and flower garlands for our hair. The costumes were very pretty white and blue and the dance was particularly well composed. In 2001 my partner Dan and I made up most of the partnering work, and to this day we always talk about what we could have done differently, even though it was pretty.
As I said, I've always had a pretty good memory, and it's funny how much of the backstage stuff comes back just by watching a simple tape. As frustrating as it sometimes was, I actually miss the tiny little senior dressing room, with eight girls crammed into a closet with an expansion curtain, and all our costumes, at least four apiece, sometimes as many as six. How well I remember touching up lipstick or fixing eyeshadow between acts, the year my toe shoes kept sliding off my heels, all the moments when we'd make eyes at each other when we couldn't be seen. How all the little girls would ooh and ahh as the cancan girls made their way through the backstage rooms to get out to the lobby, where the dance began (we ran down the aisles to make our entrance). That perfect combination smell of sweat, face foundation, leather, theater air, and flowers. How excited that smell still makes me whenever I'm backstage anywhere.
When I go home I hope to find some time to watch some of the older videos. We have tons, and are only really missing 1990 (the Circus year), I think. I have big plans to make a scrapbook someday of all my dance stuff, with pictures and programs and mementos. Someday being the operative word.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A little from column a...

In elevator news, I almost got stuck in the elevator this afternoon. It was pretty thrilling. There we were, between the third and fourth floors, and the 4 light went off and we stopped. And by we I mean the elevator and me. I pressed the button again and the elevator moved an inch and then stopped. I tried this two more times and finally got to the fourth floor. I will not be riding the elevator again today.

In pain news, my hip problem mysteriously vanished. There I was, in literal agony a few hours after I ran on Monday because (I think) the muscle was swollen and pushing the tendons around uncomfortably. Now, it feels fine. Ice is really a miracle drug in and of itself.

In beverage news, I've tried Dr. Pepper berries and cream, and can't decide quite what I feel about it. It's not going to replace Dr. Pepper for me, but it makes a nice addition sometimes in the evening. I got a 2-Liter of it so I actually drink it out of a glass.

In hospital news, my Dad is having thyroid surgery next week. Prayers/thoughts are appreciated.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

An open discussion about breasts.

Here is an interesting blog/article about Bosoms, or more specifically that women are finally starting to get the message about bra sizes.
I have a complicated relationship with my bosom. I like that I have one, finally, after years and years of a dancer-sized bust, which is virtually invisible. I don't like that its new size signals the absence of the intense exercise I used to get as a dancer, because really, I'm not doing enough, despite the jogging. I don't like that the breasts in question have decided to be slighly different sizes, nor do I like the new pain I feel each month when they get bigger. That never used to happen. I like that my bosom is still small enough to be properly squished into a leotard without taping or binding, as a few of my friends had to do in the studio. I like that I can go braless if I want to, but that there are a wide variety of bras suited to my size, including, at last, the beauty that is the balconet. Sometimes I wish that I were able to wear dresses that required me to be taped into them, but in the long run I'm glad that I probably won't start to sag for a long time, that my bosom will remain firm and young-looking. I don't like that I now spend so much on nice bras, but I like that I am able to find nice bras, and God bless the gal who measured me into my proper size. She was a 34B, too. I'm glad I have need of a bra tree, though I still don't own one. I'm glad that I can answer Alex Means' question (from, oh, fifteen years ago, on the school bus) "Do you wear a bra yet?" with a Yes, thanks. Do you?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Things I Am Newly Addicted To

  • Cruncheros

For some reason, this taquito product appeals to me. I don't eat them very often because more often than not, I'm like, what the h was I thinking? And I eat them late when I do eat them, which is even more dumb. They're bad for me, and really, they probably aren't the best representation of their kind. Why keep eating them? Addiction, duh.

  • Puzzle books

Variety puzzle books are amazing. I get the Penny Press ones, and I don't have a subscription because when I have them I waste too much time on them as it is. But here's the thing: I am almost incapable of watching TV and doing nothing else, unless the program is really amazing or new to me. I have to have something to do with my hands, and frankly I can only take so much hand-held Yahtzee before I start to go bonkers. It turns out it's not just my hands, but also part of my brain that needs appeasement, and crosswords, word finds, cryptograms, in all types of arrangements, take care of me just fine.

  • Flavorice

No one in his or her right mind can say no to Flavorice.

Things I Might Soon Be Addicted To

  • X-Files on dvd. Eight episodes per two-disc set, three sets for the first season? Come on. EIGHT HOURS STRAIGHT OF X-FILES. Love it.
  • Grilling. I made some pretty sweet burgers last night.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Had a fantastic...
no, that's not it...
I mean, dismal 24 hours in which I was repeatedly scared by lightning and tornado sirens, and liberally hid my head in some blankets. Fortunately, Bowling Green did not get smeared like it could have and my sanity and apartment are still intact.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Anthropomorphizing in the News

Hilarious tidbit from a local news website about a recent earthquake in Cleveland probably resulting from the Akron Magnetic something-or-other:
"It was formed when North America tried unsuccessfully to split a billion years ago."
It's OK, North America. We all fail sometimes.

So my eyes sting today because it was storming this morning and I was awakened at 7:20 am as opposed to remaining obliviously asleep until 10:30. Boo. It was the type of lightning/thunder that makes me cringe and cower a little, but then a particularly shocking flash will come along and I have to open my eyes, I just have to, to make sure a bomb didn't just go off.
We're supposed to have more storms today, but the sun has been "reluctant to participate," so perhaps we won't get hot enough to make anything happen.

Frankly, I need to get some sleep tonight so I can get up fully charged for the US vs. Ghana footie game tomorrow. That's right, I said footie. Not the kind that you put on before you try on shoes at the shoe store, but the kind that we so stubbornly call soccer when no one else does. I don't really care, I just want to see good looking boys run around and kick a ball.
Speaking of which, did anyone else find the ESPN headline "France Blow It" disturbing? We can argue about whether France is a collective noun, but wouldn't it have been easier to write, "French Blow It," which ultimately sounds better? It's the same number of letters, and is more consistent with the announcers, who would have said "France blows it," and have in fact said similar things all World Cup long.
Furthermore, I have finally identified the Irish voice I was hearing in some of the World Cup matches; his name is Tommy Smyth, his accent is mad fun, and did you know there is an entire organization for Gaelic games?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hot Monday

Here I am in my office eating a gigantic ham and munster sandwich. I just dropped ham down my dress by accident. I also ate some cottage cheese because I can't get enough dairy. I love lunch.
I also love Bing cherries, and yesterday I got some at Meijer and ate too many last night. It's hard to stop eating Bing cherries. My mom used to get them a lot and she'd put out a bowl on the table, and they'd be pretty much gone by the end of the day. It's a good system.
Today it's hothothot, and we're under a storm warning; at this point a storm might be a blessing (and I can't believe I just said that) because it'd probably cool things down a little. My apartment is absurdly warm. I almost--ALMOST--got out of my bed last night to take a cool bath...considering my love for my bed and my dislike of cold water, that was something to think about.
So far I'm doing a really great job avoiding writing my book review. I don't know what the fuss is; I usually do a decent job, and it takes me no time at all once I get going, but for some reason starting it is so hard. I even have notes, like always, of poems I could talk about and lines I particularly responded to. No dice.
I plan to grill this week. I got some thin t-bone steaks to experiment with, and I have some ribeyes in the freezer, along with burger, so I have some options. I can't explain how much I enjoy a fairly cheap, well-marbled ribeye steak on the bone. I've really only ever had one bad one, and that was my fault, because I bought one where the fat was sort of grainy and disintegrating off the steak. Gross. And dumb. But a nice one with some soy sauce, Accent, pepper, and parsley rubbed in there and broiled...awesome. I've never grilled before, so we'll see what happens. My neighbor, who I said could break in the new grill while I was home, said it works great, but he's probably grilled before. I am a grilling novice.
I have eaten too much for lunch and I believe I will be going for a walk before I settle in to work.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hello, children.
I'm back from Lisa and James's wedding in Hobart/Valparaiso, Indiana, the first wedding I've been to where I've known the groom for longer than the bride, but also where I know both bride and groom equally well, as do many of my friends.
The wedding was lovely, the bride and groom relaxed (at least they looked it) and clearly a handsome couple. I love weddings where there isn't any nervous or tense silence. Even when people make mistakes it should feel normal, or just comfortable and familylike. At this wedding, there weren't any mistakes, and even the silences felt natural. It was a good wedding.
The reception was a good time for everybody. We ate buffet, and even before we ate they did the toasts. The cake was even cut right away, without a lot of fanfare. Same with the couple's first dance. It was sort of like, ok, let's do the wedding stuff while we are calm and unsweaty, then relax more and cut loose and spend time with people without having to be pulled away for duties. A lot of times they space that stuff out through the reception, and it's hard to get everyone together, especially when they're talking to people. Here, everything was all done and we could dance, and early-to-bedders didn't have to miss those moments.
I'm throwing a shout-out to The Safes here. There was a DJ for the first part of the reception, then the band played, and they really got the dance floor working, with a good mixture of songs from different times. I got very sweaty, the strapless bra ended up about two inches lower than it should be a few times, and I got told by the dance superstar of the evening, who is four, that since she did such a good job dancing, I owe her money. It was hilarious.
I have some nice pictures of people, but I feel leery about posting without their permission, so instead, here's my room at the Courtyard Marriott:

Thursday, June 15, 2006

More stitchery adventures

So I'm nearly done with dress number two for the week. It's made out of this blue patterned crinkled fabric, not the ordinary crinkled cotton, but...well, it's hard to describe. It's a bit heavy, sort of like that material you see demi-pleated satiny pillow cases made out of. I had a very hard time trying to figure out how on earth to cut it and sew it, and selected a pattern I thought I could work with only to decide another was better and cut out pattern pieces twice.
After discovering that this fabric would NOT sew as is, I decided to treat it sort of like a knit, so have produced stretch seams with a ball-point needle. Thing of that is, the dress would then be slightly too big (and it is), but oddly enough that problem can be mostly fixed by eliminating the zipper and just stitching a tighter seam in the back. The fabric and seams will give enough for me to get it on without a zipper, which actually eliminates some work. It also may give me enough fabric to make straps out of, because I'll be able to cut off some of the extra (I bought all of the fabric of this type there was, which wasn't much. Straps were going to have to be ribbon).
Sewing this stuff is insanely hard, though, because the machine skips stitches, or makes really long stitches intermixed with normal knit-style stitches. Basically, the machine hates, hates, hates this fabric. I've gone over seams multiple times (which you ordinarily do with knits anyway, just not because of stitch gaps) and hand-stitched a few stubborn spots.
Basically, I'm winging it. Probably Tim Gunn is rolling over in his Parsons School desk chair, but I think I'm doing pretty well for fabric I have no idea how to use and a pattern that really doesn't go with the fabric. I think it will look pretty good once I get that back seam in and some adjustments made. Really, I am actually sort of enjoying the obstacles...I'm frustrated, but it's keeping my mind and hands busy. My knee isn't really enjoying the sewing positions on the floor, but the rest of me is enjoying the design challenge.
Speaking of which, Project Runway 3 starts JULY 12! MARK YOUR CALENDARS! I think that's the date. Maybe don't rely on me to mark your calendars.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Finished in Two Days

If you're wondering how cute I am going to be this weekend, here:

What's that? You want to see the dress more closely?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hair - 4 inches

Do you love my haircut?

Here, why don't you look at it in color?

Are my eyes usually this gi-normous?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Busy Weekend

My weekend was pretty busy; I was at home working the dance recital of the studio I attended for 18 years. It was good to see everybody, and to participate backstage in a routine I know so well. I miss being onstage a lot. I was sort of the mother hen of our group, since I was older than most of the girls, and now I've just been applying those skills to assisting the stage manager with all the needs during the show. For instance, we had one dance in which to "quick change" four girls from a tap costume to a jazz costume.
I also got to spend some time with my parents, though not a whole lot because I was running around so much during the day and at the theater at night. It was nice to sit down to a family meal with them on Sunday before I left, and to eat some dinner leftovers Friday night. My Mom is a great cook and I needed a little fattening up. My parents were amazed that I was drinking so much milk. In the few days I was home, I drank over a half gallon myself.
And now I'm back. I watched the US lose to Czech Republic in World Cup today, which was a shame. They weren't playing the fiery footie of which they are capable, that's for sure. Everyone says this is a great team this year, but they sure didn't look the way, say, the 1996 team did, with energy and panache. Those players had charisma. These guys probably do, too, but they weren't showing it. I'm hoping for better luck with Italy.
I also have to sew rather a lot this week in order to have my dress (or dresses...I need options) ready for my friends' wedding this upcoming weekend. I guess I better go home and do that.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

American Girls

When I was young, I wanted desperately a Samantha doll from the American Girls collection. I saved up for her, and relatives sent me money for her at birthdays and Christmas. Then, I decided that if I was going to have the doll, I wanted all her stuff (over a thousand dollars worth), so I kept saving. Then, I decided that having the money was pretty great, too, and I never got the doll. Possibly some day I will still get Samantha...if I can get Nintendo 64 for nostalgia, a doll is not out of the question.
Today, I was perusing the American Girl catalog. They still have the historical dolls I remember, and the prices are pretty much the same. Much of the stuff has gone away, now that they have a lot more dolls, both historical and otherwise. They've had to balance the stuff with the variety of dolls. One of the cool things back in the day was that they had dresses you could wear to look like your Kirsten doll, or your Samantha doll. I always wanted Kirsten's prairie dresses and Samantha's birthday dress. Mostly they only have the nighties now, and other, less historical wear if you want to match your AG doll. But, oh lordy, have they added stuff. There are more historical dolls, for sure, but also dolls that look like you. They have one that looks like me, with light skin, brown hair, and blue eyes, but they also have a doll that has (get ready for it) light skin with freckles, blue eyes, and brown hair with HIGHLIGHTS! Highlights? Are you kidding? Sun-bleaching, natural style, I can understand, but these look dyed in. Are there eleven-year-old girls out there with dyed-in highlights? Why?
Not only that, but the pure abundance of whatnot you can get for your doll is crazy...Irish, African, or Native American dance costumes, ice skates, soccer uniforms, a whole schoolroom, canopy beds, three different horses, a brocade ballgown, fake lunch money (5 dollars! where do you go to school, American Girl?)...I thought it was pretty great when they had an accessory set for each historical doll for each book they wrote about her. Now, they've replaced that with hair salons and sleepover gear. I feel overwhelmed, but I also wonder about the state of imagination for kids today. I remember making caps and tents for My Little Ponies out of wallpaper samples and milk caps, thanks to my sister's craftiness. Do kids *make* stuff anymore? Certainly, this American Girl stuff is pretty amazing, but I have to ponder how much is too much.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Today I Ran....

TWO MILES. And then walked another mile.
I had a break of several days, there was grass being mown, my allergies are going nuts, but I ran two whole miles without stopping.
Who am I and what have I done with myself?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Don't need no lullaby

Today I am that unbelievable kind of drowsy where, no matter what I do or how many naps I take or how much fresh air I get, I can't wake up. My good buddy Michelle has come and gone from Colorado, dance recital is on the near horizon, at which I will help, but today I have just done absolutely nothing and I can't even care.

Friday, June 02, 2006

el futbol

Sabres lose, Tigers win, Pistons....well, we'll just wait and see.
But in other sports news, the World Cup is just around the corner.
Why do I love soccer? Here's a few reasons:
  1. The boys are, on average, cuter than in any other sport, except perhaps baseball.
  2. It's like hockey on grass; slower, maybe, but only because the field is huge.
  3. When I was catsitting with my sister, we used to watch the 1994 World Cup on cable when we visited, since we didn't have it. We actually timed our visits to watch big US games. This was the first big year when there was a lot of fuss over the US team, and it was on US turf. I remember the People magazine article about it, with pictures of men like John Harkes, who is one of the most handsome men in the world. I had a crush on Claudio Reyna at the time. Ah, the 90s.
  4. When I was in Italy, I went to a Fiorentina game with my friend Jelena, since a relative of hers, Pedja Mijatovic, was playing with the club at the time. Pedja had been a crazy-huge star in Spain and was still with the Yugoslavian team at the time also. I have one of his jerseys. The game was intensely crazy, even I started yelling "Vai! VAI!" (Go! GO!) and even though Fiorentina lost, it was hella fun to watch the players getting stripped by a mob of fans after the game. Those Italians love their pallone.
The only thing that no longer appeals to me so much about soccer is that the US team has a whole cadre of players who are younger than I am (10) or about my age (6). I've reached that point, friends, where pro athletes are younger than I am and, if they're my age, they better start looking over their shoulders.