Dancer in the Family

Us at Izzy's Dance Recital

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Today I am grateful we have a dancer in the family.  Besides me.  Who has always loved dancing, yet that ship has sailed.  I still love it.  I have been watching the growth of this young woman since her birth 14 years ago.  What a trip.


She is the one who loves theater and dancing and performing.  She’s not a big “play sports” fan, as her dad, her coach, can attest to.  Often on the field of any given game she would be daydreaming as the ball whizzed past her without her even knowing I had.  Or what game she was playing.  Also like her grandma.


She is like me in so many ways that it’s scary.  Probably more scary for her than me.  She can be a bit melodramatic.  See what I mean?   She is the wicked one of the evil saran-wrap-on-the-toilet-seat debacle.  I know.  I wish I had thought of it.  She talks a mile a minute and when we face time together she’s jumping around and flipping that hair so much that I get vertigo.


At her dance recital, she was in five numbers with each being a different dance style.  Her arms are a choreographers dream. . .long and lean. . .with legs the same.  She looks great on stage.  Something was different at this recital.  All of a sudden, the somewhat awkward girl has turned into a graceful swan.  She was totally in step in each number, never pulled focus with arms out of sync, or sloppy footwork and wore the perfect facial expression each time.  Flawless.  Okay I’m biased but I don’t care.


We are very proud of all of her accomplishments, but I am especially happy to have a dancer in the family!

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Shut Up!

a no talking slogan

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Today I am grateful I know when to shut up!  I know I should be polite and say “be quiet” but I am beyond being polite about this subject.  I love to talk and I make no excuses for that passion.  But when I am at a movie theater, or even more important, any LIVE event, I shut up.  You will barely hear a peep out of me, I swear.  Maybe a titter during applause but otherwise NOTHING.  I SHUT UP!


We went to our granddaughters dance recital last night and the dancing was brilliant.  Really, really good.  She was in five dances and I didn’t even know she was taking tap, my favorite.  It was clear by the costumes, choreography and lighting, that enormous effort was taken to make this a good show.  And it was great.


That said, I swear I was ready to choke the life out of a few morons by the time we left.  Not only did all of the people in the row behind us talk while children were performing, they talked in a full voice!  No whispers for these folks, who are obviously the most important people on the planet.  And they weren’t the only ones.  Almost everyone was talking and texting and otherwise being rude.


“Ya got any gum?” one guy asked.  Then they asked it down the row, “Ma, you got gum?” next one, “Hey Jen, Joey wants ta know if  ya got any gum?” “No, ask Danny”, “Hey Dan ya got some gum?”  I had gum.  And I was ready to shove it up their collective asses!


Look, I know I should have probably said something, but I was giving them the evil eye and that did nothing and these folks looked like they coulda been packing.  I made a judgement call.  What is the protocol at something like this?  Are parents and kids just supposed to be allowed to run wild?  The dancers were in and out.  The parents were in and out.  It was chaos.  There was as much activity in the audience as there was on stage.


Then. . .oh no, I’m not done, yet. . .I’m barely getting started.  There was a seat empty next to me and we were in the second row up from the wide cross aisle in the theater.  Sort of a balcony.   A man came in and sat against the wall in the seat next to the empty one.  Great, I thought. I love the extra room.  Fugetaboutit.  Soon his wife was handing their two daughters over the people in front and when the first dance number started she had to sidle in to the end of the row and sit in the seat next to me.  Four people, two seats.  I might as well have been on a flight from Jakarta because she kept flipping her hair enough to brush my arm and face.


Look, I’m a large woman and theater seats are not always friendly to my ass, so I’m very conscious to let the arm rests go to others and keep myself, TO myself.  Not this skinny bitch.  She was rude and all over my personal space.  She was also talking out loud and so were her kids. . .and hopping up and down.  It’s a live performance nimrod!  Shut the hell up!   I elbowed her, nudged her and moved my leg over so her kid would stop kicking me but she didn’t pick up on any of it.  Totally clueless.


Speaking of kicking. . .I warned you I wasn’t done. . .the obnoxious row of jabberwokies left at intermission (prayers answered-albeit also rude) and were replaced by an unescorted boy of about eight years old.  When a dance number started, he kicked the back of my seat hard enough to make a noise.  Okay he was in rhythm or he’d be dead, but by then I’d had enough.  I foolishly thought he might not be packing so I said, “Please stop kicking my seat!”  Out loud. He couldn’t pretend he hadn’t heard.


So he kicked the one next to me.  I still have power in my evil eye with a kid and he stopped. Where have common courtesy and manners gone?  If I can shut up anyone can!  Act right!  Teach your kids!  Or stay home!  Would a jury of my peers convict me?

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Writer’s Retreat

toilet paper roll

Monday, June 19, 2017

Today I am grateful for the writer’s retreat.  I usually don’t name people in my blogs, but today a big shout-out goes to Kathryn Craft, the hostess with the mostest!  She opened her family summer home up to us like we were, well, family.  And boy can she cook!  Healthy and tasty food helped me to not go crazy.  (We are not counting the meal of chips, where each of us went a little nuts!)


I had no idea what to expect from this retreat and no real expectations, except to have fun writing and swimming, two of my greatest passions.  With 50 pages of my new memoir on living in Indonesia done and a swim in the cold water each day, both were met and more.  My favorite part of was hearing others work and reading my own.


I had never met any of the other four women who attended, except Kathryn, but I usually don’t have too much trouble getting to know new people so I was only marginally concerned.  They were all fantastic, offering sound critique in kind and humorous ways.  It is always fun to “make new friends. . .and keep the old,” like the old girl scout song says because “one is silver and the other gold.”  What fun!


I confess I was more concerned about the one who was making the six hour trip with me in my car.  What if she doesn’t talk?  What if she sleeps?  What if she’s boring, or negative, or rude?  What if she isn’t a laugher?  What if she supports the local administration in Washington?  That last one is a biggie.  Huge.  I figured in that event we would just have to agree to disagree and talk about other things.  There are a lot of other things besides the ever present elephant under the rug in the Washington.


When she called in the morning, frantic because of some early morning glitches, to say she’d be late, I knew we’d be okay on the humor part.  When she got to my house and we packed the car, she started a monologue that would last 20 minutes before she took a breath.  No worries on that count.


As we were nearing the tunnel, she got a little more quiet and said, “I don’t know what your political affiliation is, but. . .”  I told her and the air sucked out of the van like an atomic explosion that was aborted at the last minute.  We were on the same page.  And laughed about how I might have pushed her out of the car. . .or she might have jumped. . . if we weren’t.  It was a blast.  Six hours flew by like one.


So why am I posting a picture of a toilet paper roll?  Because with six women sharing two bathrooms for two days and three nights, I never once had to replace the toilet paper!  Not once.  No one left it empty.  No one got out a new roll, then let it stand on the counter  because there was still a one-inch piece on the hanger.  They replaced it!  That’s what women do!  And that’s a biggie!  Huge!

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What’s for Dinner

a dinner at Kathryn's.jpg

Friday, June 16, 2017

Today I am grateful for what’s for dinner tonight!  And Writing. Doing yoga and noticing a mama deer take a swim in the lake I have been swimming in, then taking a U-turn, and paddling back to the island where we’re sure she has a baby.  Great conversations. Camp for grown-ups!  Having a blast!

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Writing in Paradise

a lake view from Kathryns

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Today I am grateful to be writing in paradise.  I am a writer.  Saying those four short, simple words still shocks and amazes me.  Even though I write nearly every day at the computer and every day for sure in my head, sometimes I still feel like I am a fraud.


I have no novel.  I’ve published a little, but not very much.  Yet there is so much to say that I am never at a loss for words.  Blogging has allowed me to exert my voice whenever I want.  And people read my words.  Sometimes they comment, but even if they don’t I allow myself the fantasy of picturing strangers at their computers, or on their phones; a smile curling the corner of their lips, or a chuckle rumbling in their belly and exploding from them like fireworks; or that feeling when your eyes fill up because some sentence, some phrase tugs at your core.  Yeah that.  I picture them.  I picture you.  And it fills me up like sand in an hourglass, waiting to turn over and fill me up again.


But how did this happen?  How did I come to be at this spectacular location on a lake with five great women.  Virtual strangers.  Writers!  One and all!  Talented people with books and stories and poetry. . .and me. . .the fraud.


What caused a retired hairdresser, actor, director, sculptor, artist, secretary to be writing in paradise?  “You should come!” the hostess wrote.   So I did.

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a napkin drawing

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Today I am grateful for entrepreneurs.  I love it when folks take matters into their own hands, even in the smallest, most seemingly insignificant way.


When we were kids we had a lemonade stand at least once a week.  We sold almost nothing, unless it was particularly hot and the mailman was generous, because we didn’t live on a main street.  Sometimes, after we’d sat at the card table on the curb for hours, old Matt across the street would come down his hill and throw us a dime for a Dixie Cup of tepid, watered down almost lemonade. But not every time.


The other day I was going to the post office to mail a package and noticed a couple of huge signs.  FRESH HOMEGROWN STRAWBERRIES!  Sure enough, in the blazing sun, sat two young boys with green cardboard quarts on a table begging to be sold.  Of course, after my errand I had to stop.  I wanted to get strawberries anyway doing a drive-by and for homegrown seemed the best of all worlds.  I asked if they were selling a lot? They were doing quite well, but they were on a busy street so I would have expected nothing less.  Most of the berries got home in the box, but plenty rode in my tummy.  Yum.


While I was away last weekend, I asked Himself what he had done while I was gone.  He yammered on about how he hadn’t done much, had barely spoken to anyone, but watched the TV shows I hate (war, sci-fi).  They he remembered.  “I went to that big neighborhood garage sale and didn’t find a thing.  But I did have one of those Heartprint moments.”  Wow.


Two little girls, probably much cuter and smarter than my sister and me, were selling lemonade during the neighborhood sale.  See.  Already smarter.  Timing is everything.  They asked if he would like some.  He said he didn’t, but gave them a dollar anyway.  One of the little girls said, “But you can’t just give us money without getting anything for it.”


She took a marker and drew him a picture on a paper napkin.  This child already has a better marketing sense than most managers I’ve dealt with.  No free rides.  Pay money, get product in return.  Make the customer happy.  Make a blasted on-the-spot-decision!  Himself is more than happy and I, of course, bawled when he told the story.


Watch for young entrepreneurs on your daily treks, too. They are everywhere!  Then stick a crowbar in your pocket and purchase their goods, whether you really need them or not.  It’s the best teachable moment of the summer!  BING!  Heartprint!

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Personal Library

a Annie-Crow-Knoll-Sunrise


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today I am grateful for my personal library.  Oh boy I have books!  Every time the local library has a sale I buy more.  So many books, so little time.  I’m a slow reader so it takes me forever to get through them.  And I’m a writer so most of the time I’m writing and not reading.  FYI – I write faster than I read, but then I already know what I’m going to say so I don’t have to concentrate as hard.  Didja get all of that?


Tomorrow morning I am heading out into an adventure the likes of which I have never experienced before.  No I didn’t win the lottery.  This might be better.  I’m going to a writer’s retreat in upstate New York, where five women will write, eat, drink wine, read their work, write, eat. . .repeat. . .until Sunday morning.


I have only met the host but that doesn’t matter to me.  People are people and women are women and writers are writers, doo-dah, doo-dah!  I’m bringing my computer, mini printer, some stuff I wrote, more clothes than I’ll need and all of the lotions and potions that seem to accompany my “mature” years.


And I’m bringing a book I received from Gail Priest, another wonderful writer, whose last book I read before it was released.  While I might not be on the Chesapeake Bay, where “Sunrise” is set, I will be on water and that seems appropriate.  Can’t wait to find out where Annie Crow got her start.  I’m glad I have a personal library with lots of choices. . .and happy with the choice I’m making for the weekend!


(I might not be posting again until Monday, because I’ll be working on a memoir, so don’t panic and call 911. Take a break from me. . .and the news!)


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