Thursday, July 28, 2011

Update of Sorts

This is not the post I meant to write: I meant to write to you about the joys of my summer job.  The adorable children.  The feeling I'm doing something at least a little worthwhile.  Every weekday for the past two weeks, I've thought "I have to sit down and write a blogpost about this."  Every weekday I've come back and had other things to do and then suddenly it was very dark and I was very sleepy and I figured I could just write it tomorrow. . .

Unfortunately, today is another one of those weekdays.  However, I'm holding out hope for tomorrow night, since I've got tomorrow off (well, at the moment I have tomorrow off.  That could change at any moment) so while I have a full & busy day planned, I intend to slip some blogging in there!

Tomorrow features errands in the morning, lunch with members of Boyfriend's family, hitting up the local (relatively speaking) Borders closing sale (say it ain't so!), running into the mall (whopee, gift cards!), and maybe seeing Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  I know I'm terribly late on the whole "must see movie of the decade" thing.  But such is life when one works quite a bit and is living on a budget.  I'm so excited.  I just know I'm going to cry. . .

Till tomorrow!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On A Rainy Sunday

"I want to think again of dangerous and noble things
I want to be light and frolicksome
I want to be improbable
and afraid of nothing
As though I had wings."
-Mary Oliver

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What A Week

Things have been a little crazy around here.
To make it brief (because I'm tired and therefore selfish) so far I have gotten absolutely sunburned.
Cheered on Brother's baseball team in the playoffs
Made enough cookies to feed said baseball team
Began redesigning my blog (clearly I'm only partially done)
Gotten so angry at an umpire, I briefly considered the pros & cons of fist fighting in a dress
Cheered for the boys in their Championship game (it was a heartbreaker, folks.)
Saw one of my close friends for what will be the last time for several years (unless he gets stationed somewhere in New England before I graduate from college?
Attended a cookout wedding
Wrangled more than half a dozen children under the age of eight for an entire day of camp
Nearly finished reading "Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone" for the 1,000 time
(And nearly wept for my childhood when I read an offhand line about a "VCR" which I didn't blink at as a 10 year old, whereas Boyfriend's 10 year old sister doesn't remember them)
And of course there was the incident where I chased my dogs through the neighborhood . . . barefoot.
In boxers.
For a 1/4 mile
With glass in my foot.

One final thing I just have to mention, before I try to sleep: one of the boy's from Brother's team had to be escorted off the field and to the hospital today, in quite a lot of pain, frighteningly pale, and seeming dizzy/somewhat disoriented.  He's a very good kid, and any prayers you could offer or good energy you could send his way would be much appreciated.  

Please enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I'll be back with details soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This Blog. . .

Suffers from my mood swings.  The poor thing has undergone more changes than Joan Rivers face.  Ok. . . maybe not that many changes, but pretty close.  And now, my friends, it's that time again.  Time to nip and tuck and poke and pry and fidget and make something new.  Although I must confess. . . this is my favorite layout so far.  However, I want to add some new tabs/buttons/pages, refresh some of the information, maybe change up the color scheme a little. . .

What do you all think?  Input would be wonderful!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Weekly Gratitude 7/9

Hell (my little corner of the blogging) world!  I know Weekly Gratitude is usually on Fridays, but I've had a busy week!  So I apologize for my tardiness - better late than never, no?  So without any further ado, here are somethings I've been blessed with this week:

*Childhood friends.  I know my friends are often mentioned on these lists, but this week I am grateful for that handful of beautiful individuals who have literally been with me my entire life.  We don't talk as often as we should, and we see each other less.  But when we do speak, we understand each other.  And when we do see each other, we truly see each other, for the people we were (even as babies!) and the people we've become, and the people we've always wanted to be.

*Warm days!  Woohoo with the nice weather!

*Thank you for such an awesome boss.  We're really working together to make our summer schedule a success and bring healthy habits, fun, and new chances to our kiddos.

*I'm so grateful for the chance to be part of such an amazing, beautiful, and love filled wedding.  To the Artist & the Marine:  all the love I have and all the blessings I can ask for are sent with you into your new life.

*Thank you for a Boyfriend who remembered which girlie movies I just had to see, even when I forgot.

*I'm grateful for a day in the pool and the sun with some of my favorite boys, and a night of fireworks to follow it up.

*Fireworks!  Beautiful wonderful fireworks, all week long.

*Speaking of fireworks, thank you for my blessing of being born in this country.  Yes, it is flawed and young and headstrong, like the international teenager it is.  But America is also free and strong and richBlessed beyond measure and protected by some of the world's finest troops

*Thank you for the birth of this nation, which we celebrated this week.

*Thank you for another nation joining the ranks of freedom: congratulations to the people of South Sudan!  And happy birthday to the world's newest country: We're very excited to meet you.

*Thank you for the chance to see one of those fine troops again: one of Boyfriend's best friends (and in many ways, his big brother) is home for a visit until he and his are shipped across country to their new base.

And with that I say goodnight moon, goodnight stars, and goodnight fellow bloggers. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mover & Maker

Today, I Am This:

A Dancer.

Like most people I'm many different things in life.  A blogger, for instance.  A sister, daughter, cousin, friend.  An actress.  A would-be cook/baker.  Sometimes, I'm even a poet.  Today though, I am a dancer.

That statement is actually vaguely misleading: I have always been a dancer, before I was even born.  You'd have to ask my mom about it - but that's a separate post.  The point is, I have always had two things I've felt compelled to do - to  move and to make.  More than a "dancer," (a word which gives people one of two images: flat-chested girls in tutus & tiaras, spinning pink & glitter with ribbons tied to their knees, or enhanced-chested girls in hotpants & extensions, also spinning glitter. . .) I am a mover & a maker.

I can't sit still for long: even as I blog, one of my legs is bouncing rhythmically up down to my Pandora station's latest selection.  I have to fidget, to clean, to work in my garden, to get up and stretch, to practice my relevees as I brush my teeth.  To fall into my bed at the end of the day, sore and drained and empty, ready for the night to fill me again with energy as I sleep.

By the same token, I feel a constant tug to create.  When I was little, I loathed board games (in fact I still do).  I far preferred to make up games: the characters, the rules, the locations, all original and new.  I was obsessed with modeling clay and inventing new worlds for my dolls.  I didn't like coloring books: I wanted to draw my own pictures.  I hated the chicken dance, the macarena, the electric side.  I could make up my own dances, thankyouverymuch.  As I got older, the need to make something new became half finished sewing projects, a closet full of beads, more polymer clay, and a deep love of music.  I still preferred making up my own dances. . .

One of my best moments in dance was the pinnacle of moving & making. I was sixteen, and my dance studio was doing purely student choreographed showcase.  Me and the only boy, my friend Russell, teamed up for a Pas De Deux.  He wanted more contemporary.  I wanted more classical.  We butted heads.  We stayed late at the studio, with classes that got out at 9:45 pm already.  We sweat.  He must have lifted me a thousand different ways. . . then I got injured (I know, I know!  Literally the story of my life!)  I had blown out my entire left ribcage.  All the muscles that were supposed to hold it together were some combination of torn or strained (to this day my left ribcage is longer than my right. It was the kind of injury that doesn't heal).  And we worked anyway.  We'd both grit our teeth and try again, with sweat and sometimes tears on our faces.  He trusted me more than anyone ever had before: that I was able to do this.  That I was strong enough, capable enough, that his choreography & mine would have the debut it deserved.

And I quite literally put my (very broken) self in his hands.  That he wouldn't drop me, that it wouldn't hurt too much, that when I jumped, he would be there.  When I had my back to him, we were counting the music the same, so when I turned back 'round, we would match.  I wouldn't fall again. . .

The end result was something I am still proud of - yes, our technique needed work.  Yes, I am a much better dancer now than I was then and he is in fact a professional.  No, it will not be anything I include on audition tapes.  But we moved - Oh, how we moved!  My favorite moment was when I simply an at him (this was, I assure you, more impressive than it sounds.  I run rather fast.  And am rather curvy. . .) and jumped with all my strength into him.  He caught me, pressing me above his head and spinning in a circle as I moved my legs - the effect was that I was running down an invisible staircase as he rotated.

I will never forget curtsying after, him lightly holding my hand in his.  The feel of the lights on the back of my neck as I dipped my head.  The smell of the rosin.  The sound of the applause, thunderous and muffled all at once.

This is what I need, right now.  This, this is who I am today - I am a dancer.  I need to run and leap and trust that someone's hands will be there - or that my own legs will be strong enough to catch me.  I need to pirouette so fast, the world blurs away and I am a stable, solitary point in these rotating heavens.  I need to work until I gasp for sweet, heavy air - not winded from running to nowhere, but from creating.

This is who I am. . .

I am a mover.  I am a maker.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Wedding (Part 2)

After the group photo (such a sweet idea, no?) the whole wedding party scooted away for more pictures, and we all began to mill about while the trollies rolled up to whisk us away.  After a few minutes, the bride and groom again appeared, this time on the balcony for more pictures - much like Prince William and Princess Katherine of Great Britain.  We oohhhed and aaaahhhhed some more: cameras flashed, the newlyweds kissed, the sun shone, and I felt an amazing swell of peace in my heart.  Because I have known this particular princess my whole life.  And I have never known her happier than she is in the arms of her Marine.  As he dipped her in front of the cameras, she laughed and from two stories away we could all here her joy.

Back to the "carriage house" we went for the ceremony, where Mum was already busily smoothing things along (she was on the first trip down: I was on the last, typical).  The fiddlers played, and the candy was devoured: the guest book was signed, the bar was opened, and Mum and I went around lighting the candles/tea lights that dotted everyone's candles.  It was nice to hear everyone's comments on the ceremony: everyone seemed to find it as enchanting as I had!  The new couple was introduced, and shared their first dance, a moment as perfect as you can imagine.  He sang to her as they swayed.  She smiled and leaned into his chest.  I silently thanked God for their slice of joy, and prayed that it goes with them always. . .

Toasts - spoken tributes to her artistic spirit.  To his service in Iraq.  To all of our delight that they have each other.

Dinner was served: garden salad, pasta, the most tender and delicious fish.  Delicious potatoes, and sweet chicken with peppers.  Steak, and bread with cinnamon butter.  Heavenly.

They cut the cake with his sword (is that against the rules?  Should I not post it?  Oh dear. I'm sure it's fine, after all there are going to be all sorts of damning pictures.) and rather than mash it in each other's faces, she smeared his cheek with frosting, and he dolloped some on her nose.  He caved first, though, and hastily cleaned it off before stealing a kiss (I'm quite sure they forgot all about us for just a little while).  And who wouldn't want to save every bit of that cake?  Buttercream frosting, vanilla & chocolate cake, and fillings that included strawberries 'n'cream and chocolate-mint.  Cake not your thing?  Never fear!  There was strawberry shortcake and fresh whipped cream too.

Then it was time to dance.  The first person I was able to coax onto the floor was not Boyfriend.  He's not a fan of dancing, and absolutely not a fan of dancing in public.  But I digress: my first dance of the evening was of course with James.  And Sissy, and Brother both joined.  Then Boyfriend was suddenly on the floor too, and so was one of my other childhood friends.  In some combination, we all danced all night: silly, sprinkler style dancing.  Step-clap-step-clap dancing.  Laughing and spinning and holding hands like children dancing.  At one point, Boyfriend lifted me over his head, to my delight.  At another, Brother took on the bestman (also a Marine and veteran of Iraq.  From the bottom of my heart I thank these men for their service. . . but that is another post).  Mum said the moment that made her cry was seeing us all there: me, and Sissy and Brother and Boyfriend, the bride and her brother and his best friend.  Aside from Boyfriend, we had all grown up together, and under her watchful eye (at the daycare she used to run, which is how we all met).  First dance classes.  Paper dolls.  Pretending to be Power Rangers. Marching in parades. Cheering at football games, attending art showings, running races uphill at night, with glowsticks to guide us.  And now we stood in a circle, decked in our finest, celebrating our big sister.  In many ways, the first of my mother's babies to leave the nest, though none of her own children was getting married that day.

I will never forget hugging them both: kissing Shauna on the cheek and squeezing Jake's hand, before they descended the stairs and set off.  Into forever and a day - together.

My prayer for them is simple:

May you always look at one another with the same joy you did this weekend.
May God continue to bless you.
May you always be each other's joy & shelter, best friend & confidant.
May your love stay steady and bright
And your friends faithful and true.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Wedding (Part 1)

I wish I had the words to describe to you how beautiful the wedding was.  I wish I could convey to you how perfect the ceremony, the reception, the food, the music, the dancing, the laughter, the couple, the love was.  I was so sad and frustrated that I don't have a camera, to snap shots of the whole amazing day (bad blogger!  bad blogger!  bad!).  I was so grateful to share in the bride & groom's special day.  So inspired to witness a union I fully believe will last forever and a day.  So giddy to dance with my Boyfriend (he's not a dancer.  This was such a huge step in our relationship, silly as it sounds!) and my brother and my childhood friends all night.  Here, let me start at the beginning of the day. . .

After an argument with the GPS, we finally arrived at Castle In the Clouds (Yes, thats really what it's called.  Yes, it really is as beautiful as it sounds).  We headed to the reception venue in the early afternoon, hours ahead of even the earliest wedding guest as Mum was helping coordinate the wedding, and I had been asked to help with decorating & sundry preparations.  The bride's mother, who I have known my entire life, was at the top of the stairs, beaming and frazzled and sweet, while the bride's brother, James, and his best friend, roamed the hall arranging centerpieces.  Boyfriend and Brother joined them, while I helped the mother of the bride, and set out candy dishes (they had a candy bar, joy!).  After much prepping and oohhhinnng/aaaahhhhiiinnng over the bride (and several games of round robin, as we tried to get Shauna into her dress, do her solo/bridesmaids pics, and back into the room without her groom seeing her) it was time to polish ourselves up (I arrived in most unglamorous flip flops, tank top/jean short combo and a bright blue scrunchie) and get ready to board.

Board what, you ask?  Oh, well since this castle is on a mountain, the guests were all ferried up to the top in trollies.  Romantic times a thousand, I assure you.

We then traveled the flowery path around the magnificent building, out onto the lawn/balcony area where the service was to be conducted.  I gave the nervous groom my biggest smile as I went by, and proceeded to admire the view of the ginormous lake and rugged mountains provided when one looked over the balcony.  Boyfriend had this silly notion that I would fall down and roll to the bottom of the mountain. . . he seems to think I'm clumsy or some such utter truth nonsense.  Did I mention the rose bushes?  Or the fiddlers who serenaded us?  Eventually the ceremony began, and the bridal party/groomsmen made their way down the aisle to music written by James (He's one of the most incredibly talented people I've ever met).  Then it was the moment: the bride appeared.  The music changed, and now James played the song he had written just for this moment, just for his sister on her wedding day.  To call her a "vision in white" would be the silliest and most cliche understatement of the century.  Her dress was vintage, lace & rhinestones, with a slight, pooling train.  Strapless, it elegantly hugged her curves, extending her lines.  She wore a custom fascinator in lieu of a veil, and a single strand of pearls.  There may have been tears that required blinking away.  Her father escorted her down the aisle, and somewhere between very reluctantly and beaming with pride, he gave her away.  Her almost-husband took her tiny (seriously tiny.  the girl is barely more than five ft!) hand in his, and the ceremony began.  The whole thing, from entrance to you may kiss your bride, was over in fifteen minutes.  They had written their own vows, brief and sincere.  Her's rang of poetry and love and faithfulness, with all the flair an artist has.  His were solid and true and heartfelt, quietly passionate and resonantly fervent, like you'd imagine a Marine would be on his wedding day.

More tears that required blinking.  A request for all those in attendance to turn and face the main building, where the photographer stood on a balcony, to have a picture of all of us who had come to celebrate their union for the new bride and groom to keep. . .

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekly Gratitude 7/2

It's that time of the week again: time to take stock of all the things that make life good.  The things that nourish the min, body, & spirit.  I'm very happy to be a Weekly Gratitude participant: it reminds me to put into context all the things that happen over the course of the week, and see them through a filter of thankfulness, instead of greed/frustration/indifference.  There are so many little joys in life!

*I guess that's the first thing I'm grateful for: the reminder to be grateful!  All week I tuck little moments aside, thinking "this is something to be thankful for come Friday."

*Thank you for a few days of sun.  They're much appreciated in this wet, cool summer!

*I'm so grateful for the space to have a garden, and that this new house had raised beds already in place for me.  I'm also grateful for how successful my little garden seems to be, and for the little buddy who my mom watches, who has been diligently helping me tend it.

*Thank you to my dear friend, for inviting me & the family to her wedding!  I cannot wait to be a part of it tomorrow this afternoon/evening.

*I'm so grateful for my friend's true happiness at her upcoming marriage.  I've known her my whole life and never known her happier.

*I'm very grateful to be living in a country/culture where I can worry about what I eat so that I look/feel my best. . . and not what I eat to survive.  If I eat to survive.

*Ditto with the pretty clothes and shoes and jewelry I purchased.  Usually I would consider these big indulgences for me since I "don't buy myself much."  They're HUGE indulgences as a member of planet earth, where so few citizens can purchase anything - for anyone at all.

*Thank you for my family & friends.  As ever, they're my world.

I hope all of you wonderful people have an amazing holiday weekend!