Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Faith, Family, Friends.

As soon as I started this blog, I planned on having something to say today.  I just knew I'd be inspired, inspired and ready to write.  I figured I'd have to edit carefully, making sure what I really wanted everyone to know and think, and what I didn't want people to know were carefully separated in the end result.

Instead, all day long, I haven't known what to say.  My mind has been blank, and my ideas. . . almost hollow.  Then I decided I would pop something up on facebook about how speedily time goes by and how much the world and our lives change in twelve months.

So I opened a new tab and went on to facebook.  As I was typing my status, I realized that not everything changes.  Some things, a rare few, do stay the same.  And so I included that in my status as well, how there were three things that endure. . . at least in my world.  Faith, Family, and Friends.

✳ Faith - specifically, I'm Roman Catholic.  The belief system I have makes me strong: I rely on my God for everything.  I find comfort and strength in the Traditions of the Church.  But that isn't all I mean by Faith - I mean my belief in the human spirit to rise, to endure, to overcome.  I mean my belief in myself - this time last year, that wasn't something I really had, though I thought it did.  This year taught me Faith in myself - I really am strong.  I am capable.  I am brave.  I am worthy of being treated right. 

✳ Family - Family is something that never goes away.  That doesn't mean family members don't leave, or disappear entirely.  But I believe in a more sociological definition of family - it doesn't just have to be what we as a Western civilization consider it to be (mother, father, siblings.  The closest blood relatives thereafter).  I believe "Family," is a group of people, people who love us most and know us the most deeply.  It doesn't always have any connection to biology, or who we grew up with (though both of those things can be huge influences).  Otherwise, no one would ever get married, because only people they grew up with and shared biology with would love/know them enough to share their lives with!

✳ Friends - You find who your real ones are.  Everyone talks about it, everyone knows that your true friends are the ones who stand by you.  The ones who, when everyone else fades into the background, seem to come forward, more vivid and true than ever before.  It doesn't always have to be a grand sweeping gesture a traumatic time when Friends reveal themselves, either.  It's the person who can always make you smile, with your tears still wet on your face.  Even if they don't know why you're crying.

So, even though so many things have changed, I take comfort (and find grounding) in these three things:

Faith. Family. Friends.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Best. Physical. Therapy. Session. EVER.

Today I went in for one of my twice-weekly, hour long physical therapy sessions.  At first, the sessions were little more than heat, deep-tissue massage/soft-tissue work, and then ice/estim (electrical stimulation.  You know, the machine with the wires and little sticky pads on the end?  Makes your skin tingly and your muscles jump around?).

Slowly, range of motion and stabilization were added in.  Then a few more exercises were introduced.  I started doing a little bit of strength training last week.  Finally - finally, finally, finally!! - today the emphasis was shifted from "passive" to "active."  Meaning, I spent as much or more time working on strength training and unassisted range of motion as I did having deep-tissue massage, assisted range of motion, and ice, etc.

Of course, I'm not going to lie - my favorite part of physical therapy is still the massage part.  Especially now that things are improving enough that every time someone so much as touches my shoulder, I don't writhe in pain.

But the important part is, I'm improving - I'm really starting to get there!  Today I was even cleared to do weight training, to my delight!  Poor James, the intern - he practically had to jog after me when Hayes told me what was on today's agenda!  I was at the gym section faster than you can say "dumbbell."
Of course, "weight training," was only five pound dumbbells, but still!

Even more exciting, I was cleared to start working out at home - as long as I promised Hayes I would only do 1/3 of what I wanted to.  Some of the things I'm allowed to do:
*walking/power walking
*ab work (non-sit up/crunches/twisting)
*using a boogie board, i can "swim"
*stretching is in, even for my arms and shoulders
*some light-weight strength training.

All of it to be followed up (as ever) with ice, ice, ice, ibuprofen!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

La Mia Famiglia/Mina Familia

"La Famiglia," means "My Family," in Italian, and "Mina Familia," means the same thing in Portuguese.  Clearly, this post is going to be all about family!  The reason I chose to put the title in Italian and Portugese was to pay homage to my heritage.

Of course, this only represents a small portion of my heritage.  To truly represent it, I would also need to say "my family," in Swedish, Celtic, Gaelic, English, French (if you go back far enough). . . 

I just stuck with Italian and Portuguese, though, because thats the same ethnic blend that I share with my wonderful extended family - my paternal second cousins.  It was so much fun seeing them again, the first time in two years.  And the circumstances, of course, were much more pleasant considering the last time we were together, it was for my Great Aunt's memorial service.

Yesterday was a different story though, fun and casual, full of laughter and hugs and seeing my own mannerisms in extended family, watching my little brother's facial expression flash across the face of a 50 year old man living in California, hearing stories I could barely believe when my mom told them repeated verbatim from someone else.  Who laughed just as hard as she did!

 The whole evening reminded me that family is not  the same thing as biology.  Family isn't how closely you're bloodlines match up and how often you see each other.

It's about the people who make you laugh, the people who have your back.  It's about shared experiences and a certain kind of understanding - whether that understanding stems from similar relatives or something else.  And there is no such thing as the perfect or the ideal family - not everyone society says are our nearest and dearest necessarily are.  And the opposite can be true, when a friend becomes closer than your brother, a cousin like your mom.  Family is really, mostly, about one thing. . . above all else it's about Love.

Yes, thats a cliche.  But you know what, folks?  Most cliches have at least one foot settled firmly in the truth.  So Amo la mia famiglia.  And I hope you love your family too - whoever they are, wherever they are.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm Trying Something New, Again.

Here goes nothing, everybody. Or, maybe more accurately "here goes nothing (my wonderful) mom and (darling) christy."

The point is "here goes." Meaning, I'm going to try something new. This blog itself is new for me: but I believe in new. I believe in trying things, and experimenting. I believe in challenging yourself and not being satisfied with the status quo.

Not that I dislike "the old." I'm a Catholic, for pete's sake! Talk about tradition out the whazoo. And I love making Grandpa's Easter Rings every spring. But you know, those traditions were fresh hundreds of years ago and that recipe was new once. Someone had to make it up, do it differently, experiment. Thats what this whole blogging thing is for me: an experiment.

Which reminds me: I'm off track. This was supposed to be a quick post about me tweaking the blog, not a rumination on change. You wonder why I blog? See above. No matter how patient my friends and family are, I take "talks to much," to an extreme no one can handle alone!

Anyway, what is this "tweaking," I intend to do to "Say What You Mean To Say,"? I'm going to try Bloggers new - ha! the old one is new to me! - editor. Supposedly, it will allow me to manipulate pictures better, have more control over the look of my blog, etc. Here's hoping!

I figured why not try it out now - even for folks who believe in love at first sight, I doubt there've been enough sightings for anyone to be in love with this blog!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So It's After 1:30 Am. . .

. . . And I'm still up. It's not that this is so terribly strange. I mean, even at school when I had morning classes, I'd often be up to this time or a little bit longer. The difference is, since surgery, I haven't been able to sleep almost at all. Ever.

I figure why not capitalize on these extra hours? Get some quality blogging time in, for instance. The only downside? My brain doesn't seem to be quite functioning well enough for a coherent post. So instead, dear reader, I offer you a jumble of thoughts.

I cannot stand the daughter, Carmen, on the George Lopez Show. Can. Not. Stand.

I hate being hungry late at night: it's such a test of willpower.

Absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder, but it does make it stronger.

Jack went to a wedding and had Turducken. He's obsessed, and I really want to try it.

Duck is delicious. Also, so are moose, buffalo, shark, goat & venison. I've never had bear, but I hear it' really greasy. On my hit list? Rainbow trout, rabbit, ostrich, goose, partridge.

I know the reasons why it would be bad for us (humanity) to be able to see or know our futures (collectively or as individuals). I'm just wondering if it would be so terribly bad if we could have a sort of. . rough outline? Vague idea? Impression? Of what the future will be like. Especially what it will be like if we stay on our current paths.

The Greeks had the right idea about love, about how there are too many kinds and they are too different to all be classified under one word.

I have decided I like jewelry. I'd like to begin building a big-girl collection of it. This will take awhile. . . student budget + no job + parents who can't help pay for school = jewelry being in the future. But still, it's beautiful, an investment, and can become an heirloom (if you treat it kindly and have at least a minimally discerning eye).

No idea how I am going to pay for school. No idea at all. And my tuition is due. . . soon.

Cola is disgusting, be it Coke or Pepsi. But I'm still a Coke girl, because Grandpa was. How random is that?

I guess of all the things bouncing around in my brain, the ones above are all I'm going to document tonight.


Here is the part that might be hard for me. About blogging, I mean. This is the part where I have to choose. Should I actually write what I'm thinking? Or should I hurry up and hush, before I get myself in trouble.

Alright, we all know where this is stop, Trouble Station!

So here's what I've been thinking. I went away to school last September, and among other things, I met some incredible people. I found myself blessed to be a member of a freshmen class full of incredible talent and beauty - and I'm not exaggerating. There were freshmen everywhere you looked - making Dance Team, the hip hop team, the step team, performing in and choreographing for shows, excelling in classes freshmen rarely even get placed in. Making Company right there with upperclasmen. I think you get the picture.

As far as beauty goes, holy cow! The girls I shared this year with were a collection of pure beauties.

Now, I say all of this with affection and admiration. I love my girls - that they make me better, more competitive as a dancer. That they helped me loosen up a little, surprised me on my birthday, shared Chinese with me, watched So You Think You Can Dance together all season, walked to church in the snow.

But right now, there are a lot of them I envy. Thats because on Monday, tons of my freshmen friends were at placement auditions for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Summer Intensive, having been accepted into the program back in the spring.

And I was proud of them at the first audition, as they were accepted into the program, bragged about the ferocity of my freshmen class to my dancer friends, and prayed for those who things would be tight for to come up with the funds. I don't begrudge them . . . but I wish I was there with them.

Alvin Ailey, the Ailey School, Lincoln Center. These comprise long held dreams of mine. To be in Lincoln Center, affiliated with the best, in halls and studios I quite literally consider sacred.

The toughest part of knowing I wasn't going wasn't the not going part (hell, it was my first Audition for Ailey anything! My first purely modern dance audition!). That part I understood. No, the hardest part probably came with what my modern teacher told me a week after the audition - that in her opinion, I had been the proverbial "this close." If I hadn't been injured. If I had looked up more. If I hadn't made that mistake going across the floor.

If. If. If. If. . . almost. I think if I had walked into the audition and bombed, I'd have at least been forced to look in the mirror and say "Shit ain't for you, sweetie. Shoot lower." Or maybe "You blew that. Thank heaven you're a freshmen, and we don't have to try and find your sloppy butt a job!"

Instead,I looked in the mirror and saw the bright red of my mom's grading pen, from when I was a kid. That bright red ink across my forehead, spelling the word "If."

Because I was "this close." That's a frustrating place to be - the looser of the Super Bowl, the fourth place sprinter, the alternate for a show with a lead that never ever gets sick.

At the same time, it's inspiring because you know what I discovered? I can do better. I can be better. I was not, am not, ready - and it was hardly as though I was alone in not going this summer - there were certainly dancers I admire who, for whatever reason, were not selected.

I think maybe, this "almost" was the best thing that ever happened to me. I know what I need to do -

Make my body into an Ailey dancer's body.

Immerse myself in modern technique like a fish immerses itself in the ocean.

Look the hell up when I dance. I'm good - there is no reason for me to look at the floor like I'm ashamed.

Most of all, I need to heal. Need to allow my "deeply traumatized," (in the words of the physical therapist's new intern) body time to repair itself, and give it offerings of ice and ibuprofen.

So here's to this summer: I'm going to cheer for my girls when I stretch, miss them while I ice and imagine next summer, maybe together in the city, when my body is well and strong.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lady Glee, Hip-Hoparina

Seriously, the things that go on in my head. Today as I was in the car, my mom's ipod's shuffle mode (say that three times fast) selected "Paparazzi," by Lady Gaga. The greatest part was seeing my teenage brother do his best imitation of a dog on the freeway. You know, head out the window, pretending like he can't hear us.

The second greatest part was the music video/premonition/bolt of inspiration/mini-trip that struck me.

A ballerina. The "Glee" version of "Poker Face." A guy. Fabulous lighting. The Gaga original of "Paparazzi." A sick female hip hop dancer. A love triangle. Dancing so aggressive it borders on violent. Classical lifts, interspersed with popping. At the end, one girl is standing.

Okay, let's try that again a little bit more coherently. I imagine a graceful routine, vaguely cheeky, performed by a female dancer to the first verse or two of Glee's cover of Gaga's "Poker Face." A male dancer enters, does some basic partnering. The "biggest fan" of paparazzi turns out to be an amazing female hip hop dancer, whom we're introduced to as the music swaps to the original.

A dance battle for the heart of the male dancer ensues, with him proving himself a capable hip hop dancer. I imagine a group element as well, as girls perform as the "paparazzi," and muddle the interaction between the hip hop girl and her conquest. Maybe a group lift with the "ballerina," in a split over the "paparazzi's" heads.

I refuse to give away the ending, except that the song will switch back to the final notes of "she got to love nobody," being belted by the ladies from "Glee."

This is my brain, not on drugs.

Goals Are When Dreams Put On Work Clothes

Hello again, to all my friends, I'm glad you came to play. . .

The title of today's blog is from a poster that used to hang in the hallway of my dad's dojo/my mother's daycare (if you're new to my blog. . . or you know, my life, and have no idea what I'm referencing, it's cool. I'm sure I'll get around to explaining it. For now just know they were two separate entities and no children were harmed in the making of this blog.) The poster was of the "25 Most Inspiring Quotes" variety, and included many cheesy motivational lines. The reason why I titled today's post after one such line was because today's blog is about goals.

Make that "Goals." The capital "G" is important. It's also about Motivation. Goals and Motivation and Productivity.

Essentially, I have a To Do List for this summer, chalk full of goals I'd like to achieve. I'm not sure why I decided to post this list up here. Maybe it's because writing it formally makes me feel more organized, and this is supposed to be an outlet for any writing I do. Maybe because there's a chance someone might read this aside from my mom - which makes me feel more accountable (not that I don't feel accountable to Mom. It's just that she's probably already heard me whine about everything on the List for weeks now). Maybe it's even because I like the idea that it will always be here, somewhere in cyberspace forever. There is no escaping these are the thing I needed to do, and I knew it.

So, here's the list.

1.) Get Back In Shape
a.) loose weight from fat and sloth
b.) put the tone back where it belongs
2.) Read 6 books (not including the ones I already finished)
3.) Figure out how I'm funding sophomore year of college
4.) On that note, how about finding a job for a one-armed wonder?
5.) DANCE again
6.) Choreograph at least one piece
7.) Complete two short stories from my collection
8.) Blog at least twice a week
9.) Organize my room and my stuff
10.) Keep a plant alive.
11.) Buy new clothes, this is getting ridiculous!

Until next time, folks!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'Cause the World Really Needs One More Blog


So, pretty much anyone who is reading this right now knows me (hi mom). Maybe someday this will spread to people who don't know me. . . or at least aren't biologically obligated to love me (still hi mom). That being the case, lemme explain what it is I think I'm doing, polluting the E-tmosphere with yet another useless blog from another self-important young adult.

Basically, I like to write. I won't say "I'm a writer," because I haven't produced the quantity or quality of work to do so. However, I have been writing for almost as long as I can remember - and before that, I was telling myself stories and making up games to play in daycare.

I guess I have some aptitude for it. The writing/story telling. I'm way to old to be telling the other kids how to play in daycare. . . according to a handful of people who love me (and one English Professor from college) I have a talent for this and they think I should be writing more.

On a related note, I've had several suggestions about how to get more writing in, how to expand myself as an artist, etc. One of the top ones was "start a blog."

So here I am, obediently doing so. At first I was really nervous about this. Who is going to read this thing? What am I going to say? Should I be aiming this towards family and friends who are far away and want updates about my life? Or towards a general public that doesn't care about half the details aunties and long-distance-best-friends do?

You know what I finally decided? It doesn't matter. I have a built in audience of one (I love you mom). I pretty much always have something to say. And most importantly, I'm doing this because it's something I love to do. And that's what it's all about.

That, or maybe the hokey pokey.