Sunday, May 29, 2011


Here are a few of the pictures from today's photo shoot.  Not professional at all, but better than what I had, and they show the clothes to advantage.  The goal is to put them up on Etsy in the next couple of days.  Thanks to Lexie, Megan, and Kezia for modeling for me.

The skirt is 100% mine.  The jacket is second-hand, which I then attacked with the scissors and filled with lace from someone's ex-table-runner, thus making it "Zombie-chic"

This dress was the result of a spell of winter blues and a longing for summer clothes

And hey!  I had extra fabric from the dress, so I made the skirt also, which, I might add, is super comfy.  I did not make the shirt, sadly.  That was someone else's genius creation.

This skirt I had already posted on Etsy, but I wanted better pictures of it.

Another one of my jacket makeovers, though slightly different from the attacked-by-zombies look.

This is the result of my excursion into the world of hat making.  I made it by braiding strips of fabric cut from second-hand lingerie, which I then wrapped, sewed and starched.  I was fairly pleased with the result.

This jacket I had also already posted, but I got much better pictures today.

This is my "Scarlet O'Hara", so-called because I made the skirt from a curtain I found at Value Village.

This butterfly greeted us on our way back to the car, and cooperated wonderfully with having its picture taken.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Moment

It is cooler today, with a light rain.  Inside, the house smells of freshly baked bread.  Outside, the breeze brings the scents of rain and lilacs.  I've been gathering up my sewing for Sunday, when some of the girls are going with me to help take photos for my portfolio.  I like looking at the fabric, lying in a heap, all the colors together.  It's been an idyllic, dreamy sort of day.  I've been alone since Aaron left for work, and it's been one of those days when I think sometimes I will forget how to speak.  The silence goes so deep that I don't like to break it.  In a moment I will leave for class and there will be music, life, movement, laughter.  That is a dream of a different kind.  Just as pleasant, but as alien to this other as the fresh-baked bread to the lilacs and rain.

Monday, May 23, 2011

We had a good show last night, with a full house of delightfully noisy people.  It's amazing how much a good audience can help sometimes.  I admit, I'm a sucker for applause.  I swear it makes me jump higher.  All of the girls danced beautifully, and the little ones were adorable.  This is Lexie's last year with us, and she received mountains of flowers from her adoring fans.  All in all a very satisfying day.

And now I feel a bit like Cinderella after the ball.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flooding, And A Motley Collection Of Thoughts

The sun is shining, and I've just come in from a glorious lunch and iced coffee on the deck with a good book for company.  I'd like to think it's my reward for spending yesterday stressing about the hot water heater (we had no hot water at all yesterday and I was terribly afraid we were going to have to replace the whole tank, but luckily it was only the thermostat) but my more sensible self is pretty sure today was going to be lovely whether I paid my stress-dues yesterday or not.

I did find time yesterday, however, to walk down and look at the flooding in the park.  The creek hasn't flooded the park since the mid-1990s, and even then I don't remember it being this extreme.  There was water running down both sides of the highway as well, and Lincoln St. was completely flooded.  Luckily it seems to be subsiding somewhat now, and the dry weather of the past two days is helping immensely.

I have, without question, an extraordinarily good life.  Sometimes I feel rather guilty about it... that I have what others do not, that I can spend an hour absorbing sunlight and reading delicious prose, that I have a good husband who encourages my various obsessions and thinks it's cool that my dancer's feet have serrated edges.  I feel guilty for having what others lack, and I feel guilty for wanting... other things.  True, wanting is part of the human condition.  Everybody looks for the perfect life that is free from any sort of longing; yet longing, striving, craving, is so much of what it means to be human.  Healthy striving makes us grow.  Unhealthy striving distorts and shrivels us.  I think mine is the healthy kind, mostly.  I want to succeed in my various creative endeavors.  I want to not be dependent on others.  I want days spent in the sunshine with a good book without feeling that I should be doing something more important.  I want to travel.  I want to help people.  Sometimes I want pie, or a massage, or red shoes and a striped ball gown.  But is it healthy?  Or is it reaching for the ridiculous?  Ought I to be content to share my creative endeavors with my friends, sans fame and fortune?  I've already traveled more than many people my age.  I can bake my own pies, paint my old shoes red, and sew myself a striped ball gown.  (Here my mother's voice calls in my head, "Where would you even wear a striped ball gown?")  I already spend days in the sun.  Is it so important that they come without remorse?  Perhaps I should be striving more in the material sense, picking up more work, but I come from the school of thought that says if you spend all your time toiling for the perfect life you miss the good one you might have had.

So, for now at any rate, I shall enjoy my hours in the sun, and use the twinge of guilt as a motivator to keep me from abusing the privilege.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

We had a warm-up show of sorts last night, as guest performers for another group's show.  Performed two of our pieces and had a chance to get used to the stage again.  Today is our actual stage rehearsal, so I'll be spending the entirety of this afternoon and most of this evening at the auditorium.  Day off tomorrow, for which my feet will be most truly grateful, then regular classes and rehearsals Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Dress rehearsal Friday night, day off Saturday (except for my actual job) and the show Sunday.  It's crazy, but I love it.  Also, it's doing a great job of keeping my mind off the fact that they haven't yet announced the winners of the short story contest I entered.

And I love my girls.  Anyone who's ever performed with a group of any sort (music, theatre, dance) knows the feeling of camaraderie that comes of pulling off some sort of artistic feat together.  Over the rehearsal months I practically live with these girls.  They are wonderful people, dedicated artists, and true friends.  They are also some of the toughest people I know.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dancing, Other Stuff, And More Dancing

Finally, a day that feels like Spring!  It's been such an odd year.  Generally it's fairly safe here to plant your garden after May 1, but we've had frost at least three nights a week until this one.  Then today it's been in the 70s and gorgeous.

I have at last finished my work for the costuming, (I think) with two weeks left until the show.  This may sound like cutting it close, but I have known years of being sewn in the dressing room on performance day, so I feel pretty good about it.  We're having photos taken the next three days, then we're doing two of our pieces for another dance group's show this Friday, so I'll be in slicked-back dancer mode, going through copious amounts of hairspray, until Saturday, then of course again next weekend.  Then I'll wish I could do it all over again.  Not the hairspray and the slicking so much, but the dancing certainly.  I'll try to get some of the photos up on here as soon as I get my hands on them.

The writing has rather taken a back seat to all this lately, but things have been moving in my head, so I'd like to think that once life slows down again I'll be ready with a rush of inspired prose.  The PNWA Conference is coming up in August, and I'd like to have something more to show for my year's work before then, but we shall see.  I do still, at least, have a complete novel to peddle.

Side note: yes, I have been raving endlessly about Alicia Alonso and the Cuban Ballet, but I do so with reason.  I searched and searched for a DVD of one of their performances, and at last came up with their 2007 performance of Don Quixote in Paris.  I own two performances of Don Quixote: this one, and Baryshnikov's.  Notwithstanding Baryshnikov's undeniable charisma, and the excellence of American Ballet Theatre, I have to say the Cuban production is by far my favorite of the two.  The two leads dance with a wonderful passion and obvious enjoyment, and the same extends to the corps, who have much more meaty dancing roles in this performance.  If there is one ballet DVD worth owning and watching over and over again, it would be this own.  It amazes me every time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Alicia Alonso

Interview with the founder of the Cuban National Ballet, Alicia Alonso. I know I've mentioned her before but I cannot say enough about how she inspires me with her artistry, her strength and her determination.

Below is a video of her dancing the White Swan Pas de Deux in 1977.  She was 58 years old.