Thursday, June 30, 2011

Full Disclosure

I am an overly emotional person.

I laugh, I cry, I laugh until I cry and cry until I laugh.  I can love or loathe until I do both.  There was even that one time Clif sneaked so silently into the bathroom that when I pulled back the shower curtain I screamed then immediately burst into body wracking, gut twisting, completely uncontrolable sobs brought on by terror-induced adrenaline.  What I'm saying is I can be a little intense in the feeling department.

Have you seen this yet?

Show of hands, (be honest, ye be not judged here) how many of you ended up misty eyed?

The song is Somewhere Only We Know by Keane and for reasons I can't explain it always nearly makes me cry.  Now Disney has paired it not only with one of my all-time favorite collection of Disney characters, but a Classic Disney version of them.

When I was young Disney was wonderful and catered to the entire family with wholesome goodness.  I fully admit I was, am and ever will be a tremendous fan of movies like The Parent Trap, The Ugly Dachshund, Polyanna, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Sword in the Stone and so forth.  Those were movies from the time before Disney was all about obnoxious neon colors, overly-exuberant children hopped up on pixie sticks, cheap looking computer animations and tweens so sickly sweet they make your teeth ache.  Even the Disney Store lost its charm since when it opened and offered treasures and collectibles for Disney lovers of every age.  Now it's a joke for anyone above the age of 8.

During my very first glimpse of this year's Winnie the Pooh movie I held my breath and prepared for more atrocities to be done to my favorite childhood friends.  I can't explain my relief (or the glassy eyes) at reaching the trailer's end and feeling an overwhelming sense of coming home.  I want to see this movie.  I want to relive a piece of childhood joy and shamelessly shed a tear at the emotion it brings.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rainy Day How-To

Step One: Wait for a day like this - gray, hazy, threatening a glorious downpour.

Step Two: Light some candles, pour some wine.

Step Three: Play this song

Step Four: Find someone special and slow dance *Swing Style.

*Swing Style: 
- Get close.  I mean really close.  Even closer than that.  The only thing between you should be fabric.  
- His left and her right hands placed as usual on the small of back and shoulder, respectively.  His right and her left clasped and either hanging lazily down to the side or pressed between heart beats.  
- Him: take control and be her safe haven, her comfort zone. Her: close your eyes, relax and find complete peace and comfort in trusting him to lead you.  Lean into him, it's easier to follow.
- Now, just move.  One foot than the other, always alternating feet as if you're walking but with absolutely no direction in mind.  Simply sway back and forth or travel in linear or twirling fashion, quickly or slowly.  Mix it up and do a bit of both.

Step Five: Rinse and repeat for as long as you are moved to.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guarding the Colors

Today's post is dedicated to my friend Kate, she tells me this is her favorite of my crazy dreams.  Also to Mr. N., just because.

Let me start by saying I'm not a very athletic person.  I played basketball for a while when I was in middle school in a church league.  Church leagues and, oh, let's say middle school basketball teams, are entirely different monsters.  Needless to say the one and only time I ever tried out for a school athletic team was a bit of an embarrassment.  In fact, that audition and the freakish disaster we loosely called an audition for my 8th grade musical stand out as some of the most embarrassing moments of my life that I, unfortunately, remember vividly to this day.  Even more embarrassing than the time I fell down the stairs on prom night...

Point is I sucked at sports, a then well-documented fact amongst some of my more popular school mates.  If you remember anything about school you'll know that's not good.

When the Yorktown high school color guard came to give our 8th grade class a self-promotional assembly in our gym I was spellbound by the show.  I'd never seen a color guard before (I mean the flag and weapon spinning kind, not just displaying the colors kind) and loved everything about it.  They were dancing!  Gracefully and joyously while spinning and throwing long pvc pipes, solid wooden rifles and metal sabres!  I don't care if they're dull those suckers can HURT!  I was impressed.

At the end of the assembly the members of the guard came up to the bleachers and asked for volunteers to come to the floor and try their hand at some flag spinning.  You'd think I'd have remembered my previous attempts at trying something new but no, my hand SHOT up into the air and I grinned like a fool as I was picked and handed a flag.  If memory serves it was one of the more senior girls who taught me my very first basic spin and I got the skill immediately.  She seemed impressed and taught me something a little more advanced which I also got the hang of rather fast.  I was then greatly encouraged to come at the end of the school year for color guard tryouts.  Since I was strongly encouraged by my parents to belong to -something- during high school I saw this as an opportunity.

Talk.  About.  Excitement.  From the very first moment that flag touched my hand I was hooked, line and sinker!  I could not WAIT to go to guard tryouts and counted down the days.  I knew that the auditions would be difficult.  Color guard was incredibly competitive when I was an upcoming freshman and I knew a lot of people who tried out got cut.  I tried not to get too excited, fully anticipating that my complete lack of previous experience would be a huge count against any slim chance I already had of making the squad.  I swallowed my nerves and focused hard during 3 grueling nights of workshops, desperate to learn and absorb every movement I was taught as quickly and solidly as possible.

I was so consumed with desire to give a standout performance at my audition that I dreamed:

It it was my turn to audition and I stood with sweaty palms, one of 3 girls at a time demonstrating their ability to learn a routine in a short period of time.  I knew that routine, knew it backwards and forwards.  It fit with the music, accenting the crescendos perfectly and I stood ready, waiting for the opening chord of music.  

The music started and I flexed my arm to bring the flag up to sharp attention only to have it almost ripped out of my hands!  I looked down, confused, and saw I was standing on the very tip of the flag.  I lifted the pole, kicked the fabric out of the way and prepped  for a second attempt.  Again the music started and I lifted harder than the first time but again it was caught under my foot!  I couldn't fathom how since I thought I'd been careful about getting it out of the way.

Looking up I saw the furrowed brows of the band director as he tried to assess what exactly my problem was.  My cheeks flushed and I gritted teeth knowing I wouldn't get a chance past this one.  The music started again and I ripped that sucker as hard as I possibly could!  Good thing, it had gotten is freakish little self wedged under my foot again but it couldn't withstand my might.  I smiled so hard my cheeks hurt as I spun that flag like I'd been born with it.

It was about this time that my anxiety at having almost blown yet another embarrassing audition was enough to wake me up and I looked around confused.  I wasn't in the Yorktown gym, I was sitting straight up in bed and that hadn't been a flag in my hands but my sheet, a blanket, a quilt and an afghan, all clutched tightly in my fists as I'd ripped all four layers of my bedding out from the snug tuck job I'd just done when making my bed so I could flail them around the room.

100% true story.  Next time I might tell you about how not to fall down the stairs at prom.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gotta Dance

I need a new pair of Swivels (mine were black):

Laura and I tried our hand at Salsa last night which was overall pretty awesome, except for the fact that about 2.5 minutes into class I looked down trying to figure out why my shoes felt so funny only to find the heels were disintegrating out from under me!  I guess after roughly a decade of fairly significant use that is to be expected.

No worries, though, I popped on my split soles and took my position on the guy's side of the room.

Yes.  I said the guy's side.  It is not an unknown fact that the distribution of men to women at pretty much any and every partner-needed dance class you will ever go to is grossly unbalanced.

It is also a fact that most women would rather, or are more comfortable, standing around for a good half of the lesson waiting for the instructor to rotate the leads to finally give them a chance to dance for a round or two before being rotated back to the sidelines for the next available guy rather than take up the lead with another partnerless female.  Last night was no exception.

I, however, shared the bulk of my dancing lesson life with my loving and wonderful sister who is possibly one of the greatest follow-leads ever.  Early on in our swing dance lives she would frequently grab my hand, fling me around to the guy's position and start the steps we had just learned, leaving me to figure out how to do them in reverse in classic sink or swim fashion.

Times like those made me wish the ability to watch someone do a dance step once or twice then be able to repeat it with fairly decent accuracy was a marketable skill or else Laura might as well have been dancing with a post.

These days I pretty much expect to step into a lead role at most dance classes I attend (which is sadly too few), and am often surprised when there are enough guys to go around that I can learn the girls steps.

This brings me to my utterly confused point: what is WRONG with you guys?!?

I don't think very many men would deny their excitement at finding a woman who shared in their interests, the one who prepared a feast of game day munchies on Sundays or wore team jerseys to all the home games.  Moreso the ones who made an effort to enjoy those activities with their significant others, even if they weren't interested before.  So why is it that men have such a hard time learning to dance?

To add to our list of not unknown facts, I believe one of those is women find men who dance sexy.  Heck, men who even make an attempt to dance are sexy!  Not to remention the fact that there are almost always so many more women than men at dance gatherings, it's practically a buffet!  Why is it, then, that there aren't more men tapping into this opportunity?

Until logic and men meet on the grounds of suck-it-up-and-give-it-a-try I suppose I'll continue to exercise my left brain and fight muscle memory to play the guy role.  At least that way I won't spend half my lessons with sideline blues.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Full Disclosure

We have this tradition in capoeira where during our closing roda in the week before or after someone's Birthday we wait anxiously for them to buy into the game. Immediately we sing happy birthday in Portuguese, on repeat. They must stay in the roda while everyone else buys in with them, often more than once. It's sort of like hazing only with less booze, humiliating slave labor and a lot more kicking.

To top off the celebration we finish class with birthday cake. As you can imagine the birthday boy or girl by now has well earned their slice of deliciousness. Few things are as tempting as a gooey slice of triple chocolate gourmet goodness but for the las several months I have made a hasty post-roda retreat to facilitate my denial of sweets after my hard work.

Then, I head home and weakness kicks in. A combination of a late dinner time, being too tired and sore to even think about cooking when I finally get home and complete lack of willpower I (more often than I should admit to) stop at the drive through for a cheese burger and some fries.

Still, those brief moments when I can stare down a beckoning treat and tell it firmly I will not partake, not even a bite, I feel empowerment and strength. I may still make poor decisions, but any time my mind wins over matter I will keep as an accomplishment.