A choice

If you had to choose between extremes in emotions (i.e. feeling super happy over even little things or terribly sad about a tiny slight) or feeling just middle of the road about everything what would you choose? What would it be like to not have all the ups and downs? True it would mean you wouldn't get the highs when something amazing happened but you also wouldn't have to go through the tears and heartache when life was cruel. You could still do things like laugh if you heard a funny joke or saw someone trip over themselves, you just wouldn't feel it deep down to your heart, it would be surface level only. You could perhaps feel empathy if someone was upset but you would walk away from it without being affected for hours afterwards. If it meant you wouldn't have to go through hours crying alone, feeling as though your heart was trying to escape, clutching your fingers together cause the pain has no where else to go...would you give up the laughter in exchange?

 I've been thinking about this a lot tonight since lately I have been feeling a lot, and then today after getting my feelings hurt again I started in on a wish that maybe I just could shut up my feelings for a while. (Especially since saying I got my feelings hurt makes me feel like a five year old.) The more I thought about it though I realized that I've been through a section of my life where I felt in between emotions, I wasn't ever truly happy and I shut myself off from sadness, so I floated in between. Not really feeling, not really living.
All that to say: I pick my feelings. I know that they can sometimes be a lot to deal with, that I feel things deeply and intensely but having been through the alternative I can tell you it's not really a way (for me) to live. So, I'll take all the highs and all the lows and just hope that I continue to have more highs than lows. Even from just a year ago I smile a lot more, tell more jokes (that are at least funny to me), and I laugh (sometimes even when I'm by myself.) Yes, that means that I have to go through the lows by myself too - the downside of having big feelings is that sadness can be overwhelming - but having been reunited with the finding joy in the little things I wouldn't give it up for anything.

A little thing that gives me loads of happiness.


A peek into my crazy mind

****Here it is, continued from my last post, a list of songs I'm connected to and why. This is in no way a complete list of songs that cause an immediate reaction but that list would be never ending and I need to go out and share myself with the world.

I listen to music basically always.
My Musical Emotions:
I've tried to group songs by Artists since so many of my emotions are tied to Artists as a whole with certain stand-out songs carrying even a heavier emotional tie. I'm going to attempt keeping it to just a couple songs per artist so as not to overwhelm you, we'll see how that goes.

Ani Difranco- My relationship with Ani started in 1998 and has been a constant in my life ever since. I've heard people say that she's angry or bitter, but I whole-heartedly disagree. Yes, I use some of her songs when I'm feeling pissed off or wronged but I also use them to feel like a valuable woman with all the strength I need already inside of me.
Untouchable Face- The first time I heard this song was at the University of Puget Sound in the car with Greta before starting camp as a UDA instructor. The first song of Ani's that I'd heard was Amazing Grace but I fell in love with her during Untouchable Face. It is basically my go-to song when I'm angry and would like to give a verbal throat punch to someone (even if it's just in my mind).
Joyful Girl- I have used this song so many times over the years if I'm feeling down and need a reminder that little things matter and that things get better. It's one of the songs that I use as a replacement for someone holding and rocking me, telling me it's all going to be okay.

Tori Amos- If you've met me and have spent more than 10 minutes in my company I have probably found a way to reference Tori in some way, I worship her (not literally, but "love" didn't seem to carry the right amount of weight). Sometimes I have no idea what her lyrics mean but for me that's part of the beauty because I can fit them inside me and make them be what I need them to be.
Baker Baker- This song instantly calms me. Because I fell in love with this song outside of a break-up I can listen to it at anytime to soothe my nerves. But it's also been in heavy rotation after a few break-ups accompanied with silent tears and the sound of my shakey voice. I've sung this song softly into the ears of more than a few babies urging them to fall asleep, it's never failed.
Jackie's Strength- I can not have a Tori Amos list without this song. It's the first one I ever heard. I was sitting in the backseat of my sister's car as we were pulling away from her apartment building. She later gave me this CD and an obsession was born.

Over the Rhine- I can remember with distinct accuracy where I was when I first heard OtR, I was sitting with Rachael on her bed, in her and Rob's apartment in Seattle. We were sharing a set of headphones listing to...wait for it....a walkman. It was love at first listen and one of my only regrets is that I have never seen them live with her, and although I've seen them three times it is a dream of mine to share a live experience with her.
Bothered- The first song of theirs I heard, and it was love at first listen. This is another song that holds and rocks me.
Born- I wish I could put you in my heart when I listen to this song, it's probably the only way you'd ever understand what it does to me. It usually always makes me tear up, but it also gives me hope and gives me comfort in the fact that who I am is pretty amazing.

Okay, so those artists up there? Those are my favorites, my loves, the ones who - should anyone speak negatively of - will cause me to kick some ass and throw punches. Now we'll move on to some randoms and possibly funny ones. Starting with:

I am a Child of God- Yep, a children's hymn from when I went to church. I sing this song to myself ALL the time to calm down especially in the middle of the night when I wake up from a scary dream. There is no other song that can bring my heart rate back to normal faster than this one.

Walk Like an Egyptian- When I was younger we weren't really supposed to listen to the radio, but Kareen and I would sneak it anyhow and our favorite song was Walk like an Egyptian. We would sing along (I'm not sure what words we were saying since I'm pretty sure I still have no idea what the lyrics are) and choreograph dances, which I'm sure were super amazing. This song always puts me back in our basement bedroom in front of our double sliding mirrors.

Reba McEntire, Fancy- The first CD I ever bought was by Reba, except I told my mom that my friend Andrea had given it to me because I didn't want her to know I'd spent my money. All of her songs take me right back to High School, and give me a youthful feeling. I can remember singing this song and feeling a little naughty and tough.

Dave Matthew's Band, #41- For a long time I had a hard time listening to Dave Matthews Band, most of the songs and even the sound of his voice reminded me of my first love and I couldn't get past it. This song in particular, at one point he'd written out the lyrics and given them to me (see? a boy after my same heart), I still have them somewhere in a notebook. I can listen to Dave now without problem, but this song is a different story but it's not because it makes me sad. No, it makes me happy and makes me glad that my first love was such a good one. Even if it did maybe ruin me for anyone else.

Beautiful Liar- This song always makes me smile because it reminds me of Stephanie and the photo-shoot we did in the stairway at the dorms. She was Beyonce and I was Shakira, and we were awesome at being them.

Fidelity- This song makes me feel like I'm walking around in Portland again, a skip in my step surrounded by trees and things that are green. It's always springtime with this song and there is always a smile on my face.

Bulletproof- I'll never get sick of this song. I taught to it at Vega and then I taught it to the Rosebuds and both experiences were wonderful and made me feel valued and good at what I do. And even though I taught it at Vega first it instantly takes me back to the Group-X room in Bally's with the wonderful group of women that I danced with and that always builds me up.

Jem (whole album but linked to They)- When this album first came out I used it to warm up my class for week after week after week. I can't listen to it without being taken right back there, it was winter time so it always reminds me of the cold and the dark and I wish I could get past those feelings because I really like the songs but they feel like winter to me.

Circle in the Sand- This is a weird one because I feel like the memory doesn't, or shouldn't, belong to me. Every summer we would take a vacation with our family friends and my older sister's friend was singing this song one day on the beach and drawing out circles and hearts in the sand. I was off to the side pretending like I wasn't eavesdropping but I so wanted to go over there, sing the words and draw shapes in the sand with them.

There are so many more that I could put on here and probably later tonight or tomorrow or weeks from now I'm going to think of a perfect example with a great story and wish I'd put it on this list but for now this is going to be it. I need to get myself ready to go babysit some adorable girls tonight, which needs to include changing out of the clothes I'm wearing- I biked for 16 miles in them today. Try not to be grossed out that I didn't immediately shower and change.


Rhythm is gonna get ya

I love music so, this week's Pod Club pick (it's not too late to join in, we - Rachael and I - like new members) caused me to have so many thoughts and feelings I don't really even know where to start.

I used to think that everyone felt the same way I do about music, that life would feel empty without it, but then, at some point, I realized not everyone does. I realized that some people will look at me as if I'm a crazy person when I start talking about my love for this song, or that artist, and then I have to trail off and find something more dull to talk about. But, today this whole post gets to be about music and there is no one to stop me from saying anything or everything I want to.

Music is able to touch something in me deeper than words alone, it can make me feel connected and less alone even when I'm by myself. Songs can heighten my happiness, get me pumped up, make me feel sexy, strong, peaceful...well you get the idea. But they can also have a very negative effect on me as well, which is why I don't listen to any of that angry screamy type music or rap because most of it can leave me feeling anxious, angry, and irritated. So for me, the statement that "music is auditory cheesecake" -Steven Pinker was offensive. Music is not secondary to language, it isn't just the dessert part of the meal, something you can wave away if you've eaten too much; no, it's much more than that. It can say things that words alone can not and I would never ever wave it away.

I don't know how many times I've wanted to send a song to someone to express exactly how I was feeling because not only did someone else say exactly what I was feeling but they set it to music and made it sound amazing.
On a side note, in high school I would do exactly that whenever I had my poor little heart broken. Except I didn't send the song so much as I would just write out all the lyrics to the song and then present them to the boy who had wronged me. I was sure that someone it would shame him into feeling some sort of guilt and sorrow over what he'd done. Now that I'm older, I'm pretty sure all 
it did was make him feel glad that he'd broken up with me in the first place. Live and learn.
I use music all the time in my regular, everyday life to enhance or change my mood. What else can do that? Is there anything else as capable as music at this job? I don't believe so, I am fully addicted to music, I am in love with it, it's always been there for me; I fully intend to keep and grow my addiction through the end of time. I think that's maybe why this video was so moving and made me decide that should I make it to an age where I can't remember much I want music in my ears at all times. I know that music can instantly pull me to a certain time or place, it can recall emotions and people, no matter how long it's been since I've heard a song the memory associated with it is always there just waiting to be picked up and remembered. Sometimes the memories are painful but most of the time the remembering is welcomed and fun and even better than looking at a photo-album. At the end of this post I am going to include a long list of songs and the memories they evoke for me, that way if you are even in charge of choosing the music I listen to as an old lady you'll know what to pick and what to stay away from. You'll be controlling my emotions, you'll be so powerful. 

I am a lyrics person, I don't often listen to music that is strictly instrumental which isn't to say that I don't enjoy classical music because I do but it's really hard to sing a long to. I used to listen to Yanni every night before going to bed and I'm pretty sure if someone started playing it randomly I would be asleep within the first two songs. One time I took a class on the arts and a professional cello player came in and spoke to us about the power of music and then he suddenly started playing, without warning my eyes filled with tears. I put my head down and let the music do it's magic, I went along for the ride and then tried to clear my eyes when he was finished. I was sitting in the back of the class so I'm pretty sure I got to keep this moment to myself, I will never forget the way that one man could make that one instrument move me to tears with just the sheer beauty of sound. Something definitely beyond words.

I use music all the time, not just for personal use but it's also how I make my living. I teach dance, without music my movement would mean nothing, I would have no inspiration, no where to start from. To say that music moves me is an understatement. I anguish over my song choices every time I choreograph something new because I need the right song at the right time to get the right message across, to do my job right, and to hopefully inspire other dancers to listen to music closely and carefully and then learn from it. I hope to teach my dancers more than just moves I also hope to teach them about the power that music can have if you really listen to what it's saying.
Here's another related side story, a few years ago while going through another painful break-up I
 chose to choreograph and teach to an Adele song that spoke the words I was feeling. It felt so amazing to dance it out but then, seemingly out of no where, during one of the run-throughs with music I started bawling. Not just pretty little tears sliding down my face, no, it was the kind where I could barely catch my breath I was sobbing and making loud gulping/gasping sounds right there in front of my class. I danced my feelings right out of me and into the world where everyone could see them. It would not have been possible without the song, without the words, without the music.
Everyone goes through break-ups, triumphs, loneliness, anger, defeat...(again, you get it) and there are songs to express those things. I am going to wrap up this portion of my post with another video:

After watching this if you still have doubts about the power of music you should let me know so that I come over to your house and check to see if you have a heart. 

***Okay, here is where I was going to start my list of songs and the emotions/memories tied to them but I ran out of time to get to them before I have to leave for the day. I won't be home until pretty late and I'm not sure I'll feel like writing more tonight. So, I'm going to post this and then hopefully by tomorrow I'll write a separate post with all my songs on it, cause I know you're dying to hear about them.


Sun Tea

Yesterday I walked from the High School to the studio. It was a beautiful afternoon and I was loving it up until the point when I noticed that there were yellow, dead leaves on the ground and even more up on the branches waiting to fall. The seasons are changing again, this time from days spent in shorts sweating in the heat of the sun to days spent in sweaters cuddled up sipping tea under blankets. Both kinds of days are lovely but I just don't feel ready yet to make the transition. I want those leaves to hang on a little while longer, I want the sun to stick around so I can spend more days sitting in my backyard. I don't need an endless summer, I just want a little more time before I transition into shorter days, longer nights, and bundling up.


Blame it on the train but the bus is already there...

I hope some of you took the time to listen to last week's pod club pick but if you didn't you have a new opportunity this week. This week our pick comes from one of the more popular podcasts on iTunes:

(it's also free on iTunes)

It's a little bit longer but between now and Friday I bet you can find some time to listen to it. It will be worth it. I promise. (And so does Rachael.) 


A story with a lot of pictures

 I got a call this afternoon from Kyle to see if I could do them the favor of watching Chloe at my house for a little while so they could go on a golfing date. (They had a babysitter for the other two girls.) I said that of course I would love to watch her, so a little after 4 they brought over this cute little lady:
She is blurry because that girl does not stop moving.
This is how she poses before getting her diaper changed.
I wasn't quite sure how Elliot would react to a baby in the house, since he's usually not a big fan of small humans. I think it's because they are louder and faster than I am and he's just used to having me and only me around. He's apparently spoiled and not very social. But he did just fine, they sniffed her car seat for a while, sniffed her head and arm, and then Emma laid down by her and Elliot went and laid in the bathroom sink.
The inspection.
 Then Emma did this:
Not quite how you sit in there girl but really good effort.

 As much as I wanted to hold her on my lap all her squirming around let me know that she would much rather be on a blanket on the floor. Being able to roll over is a lot of fun and as you'll be able to see from the following pictures made her quite happy.
Baby smiles.

Action shot. Waving her little tab blanket around is good entertainment.
Emma checking out the tiny person. I don't have a picture of it
but this made Chloe laugh.

She loved being on her tummy, and luckily the blanket was clean
cause she also loved putting it in her mouth.

 At this point I decided I wanted a picture of me with her since she was being so happy and smiley I figured I could get a good aunt/niece pic to prove that I am a fantastic babysitter and aunt. However I had Harry Potter playing on my tv (not a rare occurrence at my house) and Chloe was much more interested in watching that than playing photo-shoot with me.
Youngest H.P. fan, probably.
Also something I got to do was give her some food. I'm not exactly sure what the flavor of the mush was, sweet potato maybe? I don't know, it was something orange and she loved it. She loved it so much I had a hard time getting it into her mouth, she kept dancing around all over the place and I had to be very quick with the spoon. She ate every bite I could scrape out of the container and when it was gone she was not amused.
What? The food's gone? Well, there go your chances of being named
best aunt.
 All the rolling over, playing, eating, and crying wore her out so I wrapped her up tight and bounced her around until she fell asleep. I then got to cuddle with her for about ten minutes until Kyle got to my house to pick her up again.
It was such a wonderful unexpected afternoon. I had her for only a couple of hours and I would have called and told Kyle not to come pick her up until she woke up again if I hadn't had plans I couldn't get out of. My plans? I needed to go to Sausage Fest (yes it's a real thing) with the dance team. I was the one on the mic tonight announcing them. I did a good job for the most part and then at other parts I said things like this:
Up next we have another Pom routine. I like Poms, they're sparkly. 

All right, who out there has swagger? (no response from crowd) Really? No One has swagger? (Then some people finally speak up and say they do) Okay then, I want to see you guys dancing along and for all the rest of you, you can watch these girls and learn about it.

Okay, I think two examples are embarrassing enough. I had the mic for a half hour though so basically everyone watching got to hear me say a lot of things that they could probably use against me in the future. I wish I would have gotten some pictures of the dance team, they looked so pretty and even though I only got to watch them from the back they did an awesome job.

Today was another successful, happy day.


Let's hold hands and listen to each other

How hard is it to listen? Seems like it should be easy but is it really? I'm not convinced, and after listening to the Pod Club pick of the week I believe even more that listening is an art and not something everyone comes to easily or readily. How open are we to really listening to what someone is saying to us? What expectations do we carry into interactions and how do they color what we actually hear? Do we listen to what people are saying or do we hear what we expect them to say?
I don't have answers to these questions, but they've got me thinking about the kind of listener I am. I like to think of myself as a good listener, but I know I've done the thing where I am thinking about what I want to say while someone else is talking. That's not listening at all, that's just waiting to talk. And how many times have groaned inwardly when someone out in public will try to start a conversation with me? Countless times, and who knows what sort of experiences I've missed out on because I'm convinced a stranger who wants to talk to me is either crazy or attempting to hit on me. Gah! Am I really that self-centered? I don't want to be and I don't think I always am, in fact last week I had a very nice conversation with an older gentleman at the bus stop, but I think that I have a lot of work to do.
One of the other points that really struck me from the podcast was the idea that sometimes we don't want to listen to other people because that might mean we agree with what they're saying. Why does it seem so impossible to try to hear people who have differing views than our own? I think it's partly because it's uncomfortable, and then I think a lot of times we feel the need to defend our own view and then the differing view points could turn into a debate or argument. Why can't we just hear what they are saying without a desire to change, alter, or convince them they are wrong? For me, I find that because I am passionate in my beliefs it's difficult for me to hear an opposing view point without wanting to jump in with my own thoughts but I'm not doing it with an attitude of acceptance and I need to realize that just because someone has different ideas than I do does not mean that they aren't just as passionate as I am. (Even though they're probably wrong. haha just kidding, mostly.)
I want to be a better listener. I want to really hear what people around me are saying, what they are meaning, without my preconceived ideas already placed upon them. I want to practice being in the moment during conversations without wandering into my thoughts trying to decide what I want to say next, how I'm going to bring the conversation back to me. And mostly I need to get over the idea that people out in the world who want to strike up a conversation with me are out to get me in some way. I want to smile more, listen more, and learn more.
Let's try it and see what happens.


Endless Love

I had one of my favorite kinds of days today. I woke up at the right time for me, rode my bike to Fred Meyer (because only bad part: I was out of coffee and creamer), made coffee then sat on my couch watching last night's Colbert Report while drinking said coffee, took my current book out into the backyard and sat in the glorious sunshine while listening to music. Then, after getting my fill of vitamin D I came inside, showered, got ready and then went and taught dance.
Can a day get better than that? I'm sure many of you are thinking..."uhm, yes" but for me, this day was perfect. And to top it all off, like having a brownie on top of another brownie, my kitties were especially hilarious and crazy today.

Clearly, no one is happy about having this photo taken.
Now, this may be too much information for you but that picture up there is one I had to take as proof of girl kitty's obsession with jumping on my lap every. single. time. I go to the bathroom. EVERY TIME. And then she meows as if I am ruining her life in some way. I'm glad that she loves me so much she feels the need to follow me wherever I go, I just wish her love found a limit at the toilet seat.


No Expectations. An Introduction.

Are you ready for something new? Super Friend Rachael and I are going to do collaborative thought sharing on our blogs. Each week (or every other week, we're still figuring this out) we are going to pick a podcast of the week or POTW and then later in the week we are going to post our response, feelings, thoughts on what we listened to. Like a book club for our ears, and online, and for anyone who wants to be a part of it. So, here is the first installment of our Pod Club:

Please listen with us and then play along if you'd like. I'd love to hear your thoughts afterwards either in my comments or on your own blogs.

Now for some regular things from me. Last week I decided to tackle a new dance trick, one that many of my classes had voiced interest in learning but that I wasn't quite sure I knew how to do myself. They called it the "jump/fall thing from Dance Moms" but I'd seen it on So You Think You Can Dance so I knew what they were talking about. It's where the dancer does a little jump/leap facing the front, lands/drops over one knee and rolls to the floor. If you have no idea what I'm talking about here's a little tutorial I found on Youtube: Knee Drop Jump. Anyhow, I figured it out, easy peasy, and put in my dance for Adult Contemporary last week. It wasn't bad and barely even hurt but I ended up with a scab on my knee from where my leggings kept rubbing against the skin. On Sunday night while watching TV I busied myself with picking off the scab. I do not know how to leave things alone. Then, in class last night after doing that move again a few times I realized my knee was getting dangerously close to bleeding so I excused myself and went and found the biggest band-aid I could find out of the supply closet. A little while later one of my students said in the the sweetest voice I've ever heard "are you bleeding through your pants?" And you know what? I was. I had bled right through that band-aid and then kept right on going through my pants. One of my other students (who is also a teacher) ran off down the hall to get me better supplies. She came back with gauze and two more big band-aids. I patched myself up and kept going. Those supplies made it all the way through class but I realized when I assessed the situation at home later that I had indeed bled through all that business as well. I do not know how to take it easy apparently. And, as pointed out by aforementioned BFF, that includes most everything I do in life. I throw myself full force into things be it love, friendship, or dance I have a difficult time going at half-speed even if it means getting hurt sometimes. I think that's okay, as long as I keep getting back up and have people who can help me find band-aids big enough to stop the bleeding.


Sign on the dotted line

I was listening to a podcast today from Stuff Mom Never Told You about matchmaking; the final section of it was about matchmaking in terms of arranged marriages. There was a statistic on there about how arranged marriages actually have a higher success rate than those made out of love (I could go find the actual stats on the internet somewhere but I don't feel like it right now) and it got me thinking...is there a way that I could set this situation up for myself somehow? I mean, I'd want to put some regulations on it for sure...like who could even do the arranging in the first place. Here are the people I would trust with my future in love:

Evie (or her super husband Joe)

It's not a very long list so if you're on it you should feel honored...or worried that I would honestly trust you more with my love life than my own self. So if any of you want to just arrange my future life for me I would be okay with that...draw up a contract and I'll be there. And, just so you know, I would not be disappointed to show up and find this guy waiting for me:

But, you know, no pressure.


Chocolate Milk and naps, solving problems since...well, probably forever

This morning started off right, with a cup of coffee and last night's Glee. I knew it wasn't going to last forever because today was moving day for my grandma and I'd agreed to help at 9 but even so I was determined to start my day off on the right foot. Just after I'd poured my second cup of coffee and right in the middle of getting ready (during the commercial breaks) there was a knock on my door. Apparently when my parents asked if I wanted a ride at 9 out to my grandma's house what they meant was that we need to be there at 9. My second (and much needed) cup of coffee went in the fridge, I hurried to brush my teeth, put contacts in and rushed out the door. I was feeling...tired, resentful, and irritated.
In a word, I was GROUCHY. Oh so very grouchy. A grouchy Jill about to hang out with her family all day doing a task no one in the world gets excited about. It did not bode well for anyone, luckily I am not 15 anymore so no one got their head bit off and all eye rolls were done when backs were turned or no one was looking.
I knew that I needed to help and now that I've been home for a while (and had a nap) I can say that I'm glad I helped. But at the time, knowing that I was doing the right thing was not helpful what-so-ever. Should we stack things in a single layer in the back of the van so we have to make extra trips? No. Are you kidding? Should we stand around and talk about decorating ideas when there are still more things to move? Absolutely not. Now you really have to be kidding me. Is this the right time to talk about my love life in complete detail? Oh please, no. Should we stop for lunch and chocolate milk at Mom and Dad's? Definitely.
I can't remember the last time I had chocolate milk, but today it was exactly what I needed. That, and the two bowls of chicken cacciatore I ate. Did the combination magically put me in a good mood? Well, no. But once I worked through the desire to fall over into food induced slumber I was able to push through the last couple hours. And, I even took the time to unpack a couple extra boxes and hang pictures on my grandma's new fridge.
Back at my house, after just over seven hours of moving, I changed into my pajamas and cuddled into the couch to finish watching Glee. I barely made it through the end of the episode before falling asleep. I love naps and I woke up feeling like a new person. A new person who does not have to move anyone tomorrow.


Just some things I did...

I had a fairly productive day. I started off by mowing my yard. I'd waiting a little to long to do this so my grass was very, very longish and my lawnmower kept stalling. It is NOT an easy mower to get started so it took extreme patience (and the promise of an afternoon cocktail) to go slow enough to finish the job. After mowing I went through my garden and picked some zucchini and spaghetti squash so they could get stored properly before growing into monsters.
Then I went inside and hung up/put away clean laundry that had been waiting for me on top of my dresser for probably a few weeks now. I also finished up a couple new loads on top of the old ones so my closets are a lot more full now, and a lot fresher smelling. While putting away one of the loads I decided to attempt a simple syrup for my awaiting afternoon cocktail. I've never made simple syrup before and I didn't really bother to look up a recipe I just boiled some water, put in some chopped up plums, added some sugar until I thought it was enough and let it simmer for a little while. Then I transferred it to a clean mason jar, let it cool down, put the lid on and put it in the fridge for later. While that was happening I was also baking a spaghetti squash whole in the oven. Do you want to know what I planned on eating with that squash? My homemade spaghetti sauce. Wanna see what it looks like?

Here it is:
Getting Started...... and ........Finishing up
Wanna know how I made it?
First I picked and onion from my garden, chopped up an entire head of garlic (not from my garden) and browned them up in the pot with a little olive oil. Then I cut up about a thousand tomatoes and put them in there. My garden this year has three kinds of tomatoes...big kind, roma kind, and then tiny cherry ones. I used them all. I let them sit in there on simmer for a very long time...they got very juicy and runny. During that time I added spices: sea salt, pepper, basil (I wish I had fresh basil but I don't), a tiny bit of ginger, a bit of garlic powder (I really like garlic)...and I think that's it. After it had been sitting on simmer for about an hour I chopped up some mushrooms and olives (both not from my garden) and added those in along with a big pour out of a bottle of Merlot and a few chunks of brown sugar to help cut the acidity. I then kept it on simmer for another hour or so. As you can see from the picture it is very chunky and way more delicious than the picture indicates.  
I did end up having some evening (not afternoon) cocktails. My simple syrup concoction was delicious, as were the chunks of plum that I left in there. 

Oh, also at some point today my internet modem broke. The place where the USB is supposed to connect to charge the device got knocked out of place somehow and so therefore was doing no good. After spending a substantial amount of time on the phone with my internet provider making sure I was getting a replacement sent to me, without having to pay for it, I was frustrated and irritated that I was going to be without internet for a few days. Then I decided, hey, this modem I have can't get any more broken than it already is so why don't I open it up and see if I can fix it. It took and absurd amount of packing tape and a very strategic and precarious arrangement of books and tissues (to hold and weigh down the cord and modem in just the right places) but I got it working again. And it's been working for about an hour now so i'm going to consider it a success!

I'm like a weird mix of Martha Stewart and Macgyver. But cuter.


Like a hug straight to my heart

Last night I started back with my regular schedule at the studio. It was nice to see all those dancers at night, in small groups. I, of course, did all the choreography for my classes yesterday, sometimes my procrastination stresses me out but other times (like yesterday) it feels amazing. I got to my first class filled with students new to me as of this summer...they crowded around me and asked "can we do that one dance we learned...the one that starts like....dance moves here..." " wait, can we do the one from the first week?!?" "oh! I was just listening to that song in the car..I've been practicing that dance!" I have to say that I loved everything about that interaction. I love that they were excited to be there to dance and I was loved, even more, that they wanted to repeat dances I'd previously taught them. I take that as proof that I am doing my job. The trick is to keep teaching them dances that they love just as much. 
It has taken me a looooong time to feel confident in my ability as a choreographer and there are still situations that make me nervous. But for the most part I know that if I create something I want to do, a dance I have fun doing, then chances are it will be a success. I have even gotten to the point where I can say "this dance is awesome."

What does this have to do with anything? Nothing really but I like it
and I am listening to music....


Love, Laugh, Read

The other day I ran into one of my dance girls at a coffee shop. I was on my way to another rehearsal (I had to slurp my coffee down out of a sense of residual guilt) and she was meeting some friends. One of the first things I noticed was that she was holding a book; I, of course, asked her what she was reading. It happened to be a book that I've had on my list for a little while after seeing it on some "banned books" lists. She too mentioned that one of the reasons she'd picked it up to read is because it is banned in high schools. We spent the next few minutes discussing the idea of banning books. She confirmed that the book in question does contain strong teen sexuality themes but that it didn't make her want to go out and throw her sexuality around. (not what she actually said but...I don't feel like typing out whole conversations.)
I don't understand he concept of banning books. I can't believe it still happens. I can't believe the smallness of some of the minds out there.
If you are an adult and you don't like the message in a book then here's a novel idea: don't read it. And if you're a parent and you're concerned about what your child is reading then make sure you act like a parent and stay involved.
And another thing about banning books is that really all it does is give that book more attention. I mean take this interaction as one tiny example; here are two girls who might not have read this book otherwise. The exact opposite result the banning was aiming for I'm sure.