Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Great Aunt's Neckerchief

Isn't that an awesome word?  Neckerchief?  It's sort of old-fashioned and silly, but perfectly descriptive.  A neckerchief, in case you were unfamiliar with the term, is much like a cowboy's bandana.

But it's generally not paisley, or cotton.  And it's usually worn by ladies.  You know, those silky squares of fabric, pinned around their necks?  That, my friends, is a neckerchief.  And I happen to own one.  I admit, I tend to wear mine as a bandana, over my hair - which is how I'm wearing it today.

Because lets face it, I don't have power.  And my hair, while carefully washed in the sink, is not looking touchable-fabulous-hair-model good.  While this little square of fabric is bright and beautiful, with it's orange and teal pattern and white edges.  Obviously, it is the preferable option to look at!

Before it came into my possession, it belonged to my Great Aunt, on my mother's side.  My Great Aunt Jan was my Grammy's sister, and a highly educated and independent woman (before lots of pop stars were singing independent-woman anthems every summer).  She traveled the world as a lawyer for the United States Government: I've always imagined her to be eloquent, self-sufficient, and strong.  A little firey, quick with a quip and we know she could hold her drink and her own against any man out there.  My mom had a precious few of Great Aunt Jan's rather exotic "knick knacks," like a silk painting of a tiger she picked up in Vietnam.

I don't remember how old I was when I first inherited this scarf: which is fitting since I've no recollection of when I decided I wanted to travel the world too.  I've always intended to travel the world, armed with this square of fabric, to cover my hair, and wipe my brow, and liven up my drabbest outfit, and shelter me from the sun.  This past spring I took my first international trip, and you can be sure this kerchief was there every step of the way.  Nestled securely in my carry on aboard the plane, tying back my hair in the streets of Trinidad, shading me as we paraded all through the first day of Carnival, wrapped securely around my wrist on the second day.

In fact, somewhere in the Caribbean there is a picture of Carnival Tuesday, where you can see a pale tourists arm, wrapped in a teal band of cloth, reaching for the sky as confetti rains down.

I like to think my Great Aunt saw that moment from Heaven, and knew I was waving up to her - strong, independent, and ready to see the world.
(Me with my bandana and my friends at Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2011)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Post Irene (The Adventures)

"Luxury is not a necessity to me, but beautiful and good things are."
-Anais Nin

I was looking for a way to express how I felt about the power being out, and I stumbled upon this quote.  It so elegantly stated what I was trying to tease from my brain and to my tongue.

You see - aside from this foray into the outside world which brought us to the library - we haven't got any power.  And it's already been more than 24 hrs, with a day or more still to go.  At first, being without power always seems like a great adventure: forts! books! card and board games! conversation! candles!  

Then a few hours tick by, and you want to flick on the tv.  Or eat something warm.  Or shower.  And the adventure gets a little boring, because real life power outages do not have the sentimental soundtrack of movie power outages.  It can get tedious, especially for a generation raised with computers, MTV, and gameboys/PSPs.  

Lucky for me, I had just reread my beloved copy of "Pride & Prejudice," this week, and was well into my other favorite novel "The Three Musketeers," when Irene hit.  What does this have to do with a lack of electricity?  Well, P&P and Musketeers are my two favorite novels.  For most of my life I've known and admired the characters in their pages, and wished to live in a different time.  A time of refinement and and romance, or adventure and passion.  The older I got, the better I understood things like vaccinations, hospitals, literacy rates, and women's rights, but these essentials never quite drove away my wistful admiration of times gone by.  Times without power.

Which made me realize how very new  and modern a convenience electricity really is.  How recent the lightbulb, let alone the laptop, is to society.  The very novels I love, populated with characters I deeply admire, were penned by sunlight, candlelight, and maybe an oil lamp.  Like the Declaration of Independence.  And the Holy Bible.  The works of Socrates, the Magna Carter, Wuthering Heights, and anything/everything by Shakespeare.  Just like the Pyramids, the Great Wall, Notre Dame de Paris, and much of  Vatican City were constructed without electricity to ease the back breaking labor.  Some of mankinds greatest accomplishments were achieved without aid of something we now consider a basic need.

I'm not exactly excited to be without lights, hot water, or phone.  I don't live in a house set up with a stove or oven or fireplace workable without electricity, so much of my food is no good and I will incur either hunger pains or high costs for prepared food.  My packing will be slower, but overall I will have what I need.

Games to play with my family by candlelight.  Useful things (packing, sorting, tending my garden) to occupy my hands.  Someplace safe to sleep.

And always, access to the deep creativity that lives within us all, that spark of Divine that lit thousands of years without electricity.  

Here's hoping the power comes back soon, and that I never loose the appreciation of what is beautiful and good again.

Post Irene (Thanks and Prayers and a Tiny Rant)

This post-storm Monday leaves so much to be thankful for.

The most important thing (selfishly) I'm grateful for is Hurricane Irene became Tropical Storm Irene before crossing the border of my state.  And the damage, comparatively, has been slight and negligible.  I think this is due to the wonder of modern technology, the weakening of the storm, and the fact that New England (while not known for hurricanes) has certainly seen it's share of Northeasters, blizzards, and yes even tropical storms.  Our communities and government are used to bracing for and cleaning up after destructive weather.  Our citizens are hearty.   So mostly, we survived.
Thats not to say there is no damage.  Thousands of people are without power (thank goodness the local library is not!) and extensive repairs are necessary on homes and properties through out the state.  Schools canceled their first day in some areas, and there are many injured.  Our power company & fire departments have a very full plate. . .  I pray for the safety of all the workers out there.

I've heard more than one person complain that Irene weakening was "disappointing."  This sentiment frustrates and upsets me.  35 people (the last I'd heard) are dead.  35 people - and several of them were very young children.  While being without power is a very first-world-problem, some of those without power are elderly.  Or disabled.  Or the mothers of very young children.  Or ill.  Etc etc etc.

The United States as a whole is in terrible, shaky financial condition.  The cost of flooding, down power lines, road damages, fires, and other by products of natural disaster are astronomical.  If you are disappointed a tree didn't fall on your house, please remember it fell on an eleven year old boys.  He died.  If you wish you'd seen more rain, look at the states whose streets are flooded, where main street businesses may have to be shuttered for good because their owners can't afford repairs.  If the power only flickered, or was out a few hours, and you wish for more of an adventure, go help at a local shelter, or check on an elderly neighbor.

I enjoy a good storm as much as the next person - thunder has always excited and not frightened me.  But when a storm ravished an entire coast line, causes mass evacuations, and takes many lives (granted, some of those lives WERE foolishly endangered) I think it is wiser to be grateful it wasn't worse, rather than sigh over a lack of drama.


Friday, August 26, 2011

I Was Rather Excited

Thinking about how I've spent virtually my whole summer in sweats, leggings, or jogging shorts and some form of tank top.  I do, after all work at a Fitness and Fun Camp for children. . .

But soon I'll be headed back to school!  Where I can indulge in jeans, and layering, and varying my hair!  Then I realized I am a dance major.

So my hair will always be in a bun.  And I'll be endlessly wearing some form of leggings or jazzpants, with a sweater.  'Cept when I'm in rehearsal.  I get to wear Frye boots then (for the sword fighting.)

At least the sweater will be a change of pace, right?

Sigh.  That my friends is what we call a "fail."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yesterday Was My Best Friend's Birthday

 And we're taking it very seriously.

I must confess, the above picture is not from yesterday.  It's from exactly 366 days ago, when she celebrated her last birthday, here in the little slice of wilderness we hail from.  Charming, no?  Basically, that picture is our friendship summed up in a single flash.  This is us, moments later attempting to take a non-silly picture.  She translated "non-silly," as "seductive."  I translated it into "boring."  Thus, we balance each other out.

I wish I could properly sum Arletta up for you in a blogpost, but that is impossible to do.  Mostly, because there is no "summing," Arletta up.  She isn't one thing - she's a thousand and one things.  She is the loudest laugh in the room, and generally the funniest joke.  She's a bellydancer and choreographer.  For all my classical training, I don't think I'll ever be able to understand just how to make my body m o v e the way her's does.  

She's a singer: anything the average person says outloud, she sings.  Even if it's a list of things she's got to do that day.

She's a hopeless romantic, which rather nicely brightened my vaguely I-don't-give-a-crap-about-the-male-species attitude through HS.  

Arletta is the kind of girl who chases her dream, chased it all the way to India for a semester abroad.  Which makes perfect sense, since she is after all a tigress. . . 

She is this poem: improbable, beautiful, and afraid of nothing.  

She is my best friend in the world.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Two Years.

"I heard what you said.  I am not the silly romantic that you think.  I don't want the heavens or the shooting stars.  I don't want gemstones or gold.  I have those things already.  I want a steady hand, a kind soul.  I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe."
-Shana Abe.

Thank goodness that for the past two years, I've had just what I want.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This Picture

This picture right here, is why I can't wait to go back to school:
Thats me, backstage at last fall's dramatic production.  The gentleman lifting me is one of my faculty members.  And this is a candid - because this is how we behave backstage.  All of us.  All the time.  

I want to go back to school, because the opportunities are amazing: above, we're all in costume for a performance of "Medea," one of the oldest - arguably the oldest - intact plays from the Western world.  The richness of the material we get to explore is wonderful.  And the "we," is wonderful as well.  In this picture there is a faculty member, a Sophomore Dance Major, and a Freshman Theatre Major and a Freshman Musical Theatre Major.  

But I want to go back because for the silliest, flimsiest, most frivolous reason of all.  Because it's fun.  Yes, I take lots of challenging classes and work very hard and rehearse everyday of the week.  I juggle multiple jobs, and a long distance relationship, and mounds of homework.  But I get to have fun while I'm at it.  

Lots and lots and lots of fun.  I miss all of my "college," friends, and even some of my Professors.  So while I'm quite sad my summer is wrapping up and goodbyes are in the works, I'm excited that my semester is soon beginning and "hellos," are around the corner.  
I have to go begin to pack (an arduous task I assure you).  But I've just stumbled across this photo, so I think I'll be able to do it with a smile.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Since Last I Wrote You:

I've been very very busy.  Isn't that always the case?  There was the weekend spent meeting Boyfriend's extended family, several days full of lobster, Apples to Apples (I'd never played!  It was so much fun!  Why had no one told me of this?), laughing, baked goods, and praying I'd remembered everyone's name/how they were related.

There was the panic when I realized how soon I go back to school.  Which is wonderful - I miss all of my amazing, ridiculous, talented, funny, and passionate friends.  I am ready for the push of gaining new knowledge, the challenge of mastering a new subject/class/task.  I miss my boss - I know, ridiculous right?  But you guys have never met him!  Awesome is an understatement.  I'm excited to live with a dear friend, in a tiny little school-provided apartment of our own, furnished with nothing but inventiveness and enthusiasm.  I'm ready to dance everyday, to have access to the (brand new!!!!) gym, to start the rehearsal process, meet the new faculty, try my hand again at choreographing, etc. etc. et. al.

But.  There is always a but, isn't there?  Goodbyes.  Long-distance.  No pets - no garden.  Homework.  Packing.  My Lord in heaven, the packing. . .

I've also been working - a full time job is, well, a full time job after all!  And what a job.  Kids and trampolines, emails and apples.  Waking up early and coming home with Goldfish-orange fingers, sunscreen scented skin, and grass stained jeans. 

Boyfriend & I celebrated our 2nd Anniversary.  We staid in and ate junk food and cuddled the dogs and watched movies.  It rained, and I was fighting a cold, so we had tea.  The best word I can thin of is "content."  With the moment, the relationship, the long-term future (because the short-term has some speed bumps ahead, sigh).

Oh, and he bought me a new camera.  To replace the one that was broken on my flight to Trinidad in the spring. 

So, since last I wrote, friends, I've been quite busy.  How about you?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

48 Hours Later

I've spent the last two days working on here: blogger.  I've never been 100% happy with the way my blog looked - although their have been a couple times I was nearly content.  I know, I'm a perfectionist - and this poor little blog just never quite felt perfect.  So for the past 48 hours - with the exception of the hours I was at work - I've done nothing but edit, change, tweak, revise, rewrite, picnik, and fidget.  To be honest, I'm really quite pleased with the end result.

No, it's not perfect (there's that stupid word again.  I really ought to stop using it.) and there are definitely bigger, better, and more beautiful blogs out there, but right now it feels really good.  Like I'm finally getting it right.  If you have a moment or two to spare, friends, I'd love it if you could poke around - check out the revised Pages, like The List & Lela/About Me.  Or maybe sneak a peek at the brand-spankin'-new areas (Survivor Never Victim, Booklist, and Blogs to Love).  Any opinion/feedback would be seriously appreciated and totally great.

Enojy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekly Gratitude 8/5

Ok.  I'll be honest (not that I could hide it, I mean everything is archived after all).  This is much more a "gratitude of the month."  Woops!  So here is a list of those things I am most grateful for this week - and over the past month!

-I am grateful for this new month.

-Thank you for the chance to be a positive influence on my Camp kids.  Some of them are happy, healthy, loved, energetic, clean, smiling.  Others coolly inform me their parents are only bringing them because they're sick of them.  Some come with healthy, filling lunches and bright waterbottles.  Others come with Little Debbies Treats and Capri Sun pouches (and I'm not talking for snack or dessert folks.  I'm talking for their lunch).  I'm grateful for the chance to run, play, nourish, and explore with them.

-I'm grateful for employment.

-Thank you for friends who I never miss a beat with, no matter the gap between speaking.  For friends who understand, and never kick me when I'm down.  For loyal and loving and funny people to fill my days with.

-I'm grateful for finally getting to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 this week.  I cried from the WB logo virtually to King's Cross.  In more ways than I can fully explain, and cliche as it may be, Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood.  Mischief Managed, friends.

-Thank you for a Boyfriend who not only went with me to see HP7P2 (and for someone who never truly got into the books, going with a, erm, "fan" like me is a less than thrilling prospect) but buying the ticket and patting my back when the tears started to fall and not laughing once the lights went up on my splotchy face.

-Thank you for the chance to write a post for my friend's (much bigger, and very popular) blog!  More on that soon!

-I'm grateful that somehow, by the skin of my teeth and my mom's sacrifice, I'll be scrapping my way into affording this semester.