Friday, August 31, 2007

Sad.....

Last night I went to practica and strapped on my favorite red suede Comme il Fauts... and noticed that they have begun a very slow vals towards death! I have worn them into near tatters.... the inside of the shoes at the sandal have been worn down past the red to the heart of the fabric, the heels have been rubbed into nubs and the sole is getting really thin..... And yet they still feel perfect (although I can now really feel the floor through them) and I won't wear any other shoes.... I just hope that they last a few more months.... when I will refresh them with other CiF's from BsAs.... a good friend is going there and has agreed to buy some shoes for me!!! Yea!!! But for now, my sad shoes will have to suffice.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

funny sweet moments

Been having a blast with my goddaughter. She's a riot. At 6 she not only has an amazing vocabulary but she just says the most honest and pure things. Here's some highlights...

*We are on the T, heading into Boston, and she looks across at two teenagers sitting directly opposite us and states "They are very pretty, too bad they wear so much make-up. Some one should tell them they would be prettier without all that make-up." Uhm.... I think someone just did.... ;-)

*We are walking to the bus and we walk past someone who is smoking. She looks up at him with all the indignity of the world on her face and states "Don't you know that smoking is bad for you? Doesn't your mommy worry that you smoke?!?!"

*She is telling me about one of her cats at home and states "She's a pretty cat, but she is not a good listener of me."

And my favorite compliment she has ever given me
*You smell really good, just like a fairy godmother should smell."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The weekend that wasn't

Food Poisoning. Really possibly one of the worst experiences ever. And on top of having food poisoning, I got it the weekend of the LongaMilonga when Robin Thomas was DJing. Really, it could not have been worse.
And yes I survived. Mostly.... poor Sorin though..... he got it much worse than I did. Poor guy. I made mention at one point while we were groaning in unison that I preferred different bonding moments, and could we please move on to more pleasant ones..... ;-)

This morning I had to drag my tired butt out of bed, just as I had gotten comfortable enough to sleep, and drive 2.5 hours west to pick up my goddaughter who is staying at "Camp Debbi" for a few days. Getting up was rough, but seeing her happy smiling face made it all worth it.

We went food shopping when we got back to Boston as I had no food in the house and although my stomach was not interested in food, I knew that her little body would be. So we agreed to make pizza for dinner, and then I let her chose what fruit we would buy. I just about had an accident in the aisle from laughing when I told her to pick the fruit. Her little face became very serious and she climbed out of the monstrosity of a child's shopping cart (you know the one, where the front is a car and there is no possible way to steer the damn thing around any corner without taking whole displays down), and she walked up and down the fruit displays. Looking at all the fruit. Little hands on hips, deciding what looked good. Finally she announced "Plum, Peaches and Pears". Apparently our shopping trip was brought to us by the letter P. I also was talked into Pop Tarts. I am not sure how this happened. But I was talked into Blueberry Pop Tarts. But I tried to make a stand and would not buy the frosted ones.

Then the "What's this?" and "This looks interesting" started with cookies and sugar cereal. My new response to those questions is "Yes, and we are not buying it."

Once we got home I pulled out the pizza stone and prepped the pizza dough. Pulled up a chair, and she climbed up next to me, and explained how much sauce to use. You'd think she was a wizened little Sicilian the way she talked about how bad too much sauce was. In went the pizza once it was properly put together, then out came the crayons as we waited for it to be done.

I have to say, the kid knows her pizza sauce proportions!

After dinner we took a walk to Target to buy stick glue as she has an activity book that she wants to work in and some of the activities include glue. After grabbing the glue, she looks up at me with innocent eyes and says "Well, while we are here, we might as well check out the toy section. You never know what you might want to buy me." HA!!! Brilliant kid!!!
And yes, she did leave the store with a new toy. Although I did tell her she could not spend more than $10. So she had to choose wisely. One Pound Puppy and $9,98 poorer, we left the store. Her elated, me shaking my head in wonder at the power of a 6 year old who has intelligence and cunning.

Tomorrow we head to the Aquarium and the IMAX movie theatre.

But I refuse to buy her a penguin!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Finding the groove again

Last night we went to the Wednesday night milonga, I was reticent to go as this is not one of my favorite milongas, the music is usually not to my liking and the level of dance is generally more beginner level. But there was a tango god in town teaching the class before hand, and Sorin wanted to dance with her, so we went. And I ended up glad that I did.

One of my favorite leaders has not danced with me in quite a while, and when I said hello to him the other night, I got a rather cool reception. And I was not sure why on either count. I decided that I would ask him if I had upset or offended him in some way, as I really missed dancing with him. And tonight was the night to ask that. We arrived and found a table and sat down. Sorin immediately started watching for the god in order to invite her as soon as she was free, so I knew I was not going to be dancing with him any time soon. I was a little put out by that, but what can you do, I knew he really only came to dance with her. So we were sitting there for a few minutes, and the leader in question comes up to the table with a big smile and invites me to dance. Yea!!! I was thrilled. And off we went. After the first song ended he asked me where I had been, he had missed me, and I told him of my working out in the Berkshires for the past month. He told me that for not having danced in 5 weeks, I was doing exceptionally well. Ahhh, the ego boost! I knew my balance was still not where it should be and that I was still not where I was before I left, but it was still nice to hear that I did not completely go down the drain dance wise! Turns out the lack of dancing between the two of us was just logistics, neither of us being free when we looked for each other. What a relief! And what a maroon I felt like for thinking it was something else. But you never know unless you ask. Lucky me, he made up for lost time and danced with me four times over the course of the night for two tandas each. It was great, he dances milonguero style, which I adore, and when a milonga set came on, I was in heaven.

I also danced with a lovely older gentleman, Russian, who is just a wonderful person. As is his wife. The two of them crack me up as they are just so very Russian, as in they are very blunt and honest when they talk with you. We had a lovely vals tanda and at the end he said to me "We danced a while ago, and you were ok. But now, it is like you are a different person. So lovely to dance with!" Ha!! I love the Eastern European complement. It is not one jot more than what they mean, but they mean what they say so very sincerely.

I had more good tandas, which made me happy. And a wide range of leader styles. All of them leaders that I like very much. There is one leader whom I will always dance with as he was so kind and patient with me when I was beginning, who has a wonderful way of asking me to dance. He will approach me and ask to be added "to my dance card" for the night, and when I was free to come find him. How on earth could you possibly say no to that?!?! I usually will dance a milonga set with him as he loves milonga and is really fun to dance with.

So for not wanting to go, I ended up very glad that I did.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Oddity Tuesday

Well, it certainly shows that I have not been dancing much these past 5 weeks. Although in the weirdest ways. Which is upsetting really. I want to go back to the days when just dancing made me happy. Now if I don't dance well or connect well with one of my favorite leaders, it upsets me.

Last night was my favorite milonga, Odd Tuesday. And it was both great and not so great. I got there for the practica, which I am glad that I did. I had a great conversation with my friend P about using your heel when you walk backwards. Sorin and I had a discussion the other night at PT about walking with your heel, and I am gathering info from the more advanced dancers on this as I almost never put my heel down. But that is a whole other topic....

So, practica first... there was a beginner leader, a puppy leader really as he had been dancing 2 weeks (!!!) and stayed for the practica after the lesson. He asked me to dance, with the caveat of being a beginner, and I said sure. It is so odd and funny to dance with beginners as I remember so very clearly when I was beginning and how great it felt to practice with someone who knew what they were doing. We walked through half a song and then I asked if I could give him some feedback, which he wanted, so we talked about embrace and presence and leading with intent from the chest, not the arms. It was rather lovely to be able to talk about these things and see the little lightbulb go off when he got what I was saying. It was also lovely that he took my feedback and immediately incorporated whatever I was saying. That was gratifying and showed promise. I even led him through a couple of steps so that he could feel what I was talking about. Not that I can lead, I can't. But I can show the difference in embrace as well as leading with intent and without. After a half hour, his poor head was swimming, but he said that it was very helpful and he plans to stick with tango. Good for him! We'll have another addict in our group soon! :-)

Another moment that I loved was actually a few short moments. While I was working with the beginner leader, both J and Sorin grabbed me at different times to demonstrate what they were talking about. It made me laugh to be the tango dummy. Or the Tango Model. J grabbed me, pulled me into close embrace, and took three steps. Then he said "See, you can not get too close." I laughed out loud and said "There is no such thing as too close!!" The couple J was helping laughed at that and they went back to working on embrace.

Later Sorin grabbed me to show something, and lead me in open through a few phrases of music. I am not sure what he was showing, but that moment felt really good, the connection was there and it was playful, and it made me wish for the milonga to start so that we could dance. And having that taste of really lovely became bittersweet. Once the milonga started, and I got my wish, it did not happen. I could not find the connection with Sorin. I tried everything I could to find it. I grounded more, I pushed up with my chest more, I blocked out the world, but it was not there and we were not moving well together. At all. And it was upsetting. Of anyone, I should be able to immediately connect with, it is him. But I couldn't, and it made me sad. We did dance a milonga set at the beginning of the night in open embrace, and it was pretty good. But I could tell he was not feeling it and the crowd was cramping him. But despite that, I really liked it and I have realized that milonga is really my favorite.

I had other dances through the night that were good and made me very happy. I got to dance with S2 and S3, both were great fun. I also danced near the end of the night with a young leader, Y, who was just a blast and really good. His dynamic changes were fantastic, and so much fun. I really had to concentrate as he would slow down to what seemed like a snail's pace, but still infused with musicality and grace. I thoroughly enjoyed dancing with him. I believe we had danced one before in the spring, while I was still a "mixed bag" (to steal a phrase from Sorin). But this time I was able to follow whatever he led at whatever pace he set, and we had a great time.

So it was a night of oddities. Which helped me decided to sign up for an intermediate series or a private to help me get back up to speed. Losing ground is no fun.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Pleasant 2 hours

I had to go to the DMV this afternoon to renew my license. Fun. While sitting there waiting, an older gentleman sat next to me and struck up a conversation. He is a Canadian, living in both Massachusetts and Quebec. We had a great conversation while we waited, we covered Montreal, Quebec, Ireland and Irish pride (that would be me), Native Americans and the true history you don't read in American History books (that would be him), US government, religion, the situation in the middle east, people on the whole and as individuals, Calgary and Vancouver, Romanian men (heh heh), and life in Canada. We covered a lot in 2 hours, and I was sad when my number was called and had to leave my seat to take care of my license (which I could not as I apparently have a parking ticket from Newton on my record and I had to go there and pay that....grrrrr.... had I but known.....).

All I can say is it never occured to me to strike up a conversation with someone sitting next to me while I waited. But this gentleman had no problem with that, he just sat down and asked me what I was there for (ha, kind of like "what are you in for?") and the conversation bloomed. Yet again, proof positive that Canadians are possibly the nicest people in the world. And that every once in awhile, I am glad that I try very hard not to be a typical American, otherwise I would not have had this great conversation with such an interesting person.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back Home

Arrived back in Boston Thursday, and pretty much collapsed. I was so tired and worn out, but it felt really good to be back. And of course, despite my exhaustion, there was a practica that night! Sorin was DJing, so of course I was going. ;-) So after a quick nap and dinner, we headed to the practica and I danced for the first time in a few weeks. I felt off and a little stiff, but moving was good. And Sorin's music was, as always, great. i may be a little biased, but there were others who second my opinion that his music is really well crafted. It was a good night and I slept really well that night!

Last night I went to the Saturday night milonga with Sorin, and it was really lovely to go back after being away for so long. I felt so very rusty though. I began the night dancing with Sorin, which is the best way to open the milonga in my mind :-). But I just did not feel like I was really there and on. It showed that I had not danced in awhile. I was not overly grounded, and every once in awhile my feet would do something other than what I wanted them to, and I had to laugh as it had been awhile since that had happened. But as the night went on, I warmed up, and the rust fell away.

Last night there was live music at the milonga, Tito Castro. It was really, really good. I am not usually a fan of dancing to live music, but I have to admit that I really did enjoy Tito's music not only to listen to but to dance to as well. His entire first set I danced with S2, and it was just amazingly lovely. Of course, being one of my favorite leaders, I knew I would have a great time, but Tito's music was just exceptional. I am not sure how many songs were in the set I danced with S2, but it was most likely about 30 or 40 minutes that we danced. It really was lovely to be moving again and dancing. I had missed it so!

The night itself was good, I had some great dances, chatted with some people I had not seen in awhile, and danced with some leaders who always danced with me when I was starting out. I really enjoy dancing with them, as I remember how kind they were to me in the beginning, and they are always so complimentary when we dance now, how could I possibly ever refuse them?!? I ended the night dancing with Sorin, and although I was certainly moving better than I had in the beginning of the night, we were both tired, and giggled as we became silly dancing to Tito's La Cumparsita. But it felt good to be that tired at the end of the night from tango, and not from working a 13 hour day after 5 hours of sleep.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer ending......

My work in the back woods is nearing an end. It has been a lot of work, a lot of fun, and a long time away from tango! I dreamt about tango last night, and this morning was practicing boleos as I made pancakes, much to the amusement of my roommate who wandered in and could not figure out what exactly this pancake flipping technique was that I was using. Heh heh heh….

Here are some snippets of my daily interactions from the past few weeks that I thought were amusing.

The diva who behaved like a toddler – if she did not want to wear it, she hid it. Behind the mirror, under her own clothes, behind the props table backstage, under props…. Funny, I always found it and brought it to her, saying how strange it was that it was misplaced, and made her put it on. How did I find it? I thought about where my 5 year old goddaughter would have hidden it. I never accused her, the ensuing argument was not worth it, but I did take perverse pleasure in the deflated look she would give the hated item/s when I would hunt her down and put it on her.

The clueless chorus member. We don’t dress the orchestra chorus, they are supposed to arrive in their concert blacks. One chorus member came into our little costume shop opening night and asked for her outfit. We stared at her blankly for a few seconds and then explained that we don’t supply her clothing, she does. She then points to the preset costumes that are hanging in our room and asks to borrow “One of those”. At this point our shop manager explains that those are for the show and she can leave now. “But what am I going to do??? Maestro will be furious with me for forgetting my concert dress!!” Hmmmm…. Not our problem. Good luck with that!

The other diva who behaved badly – “But I could not possibly wear that!! It will make me look fat!!”. I hate to tell you darling, but the costumers are not here to make you look fat and ugly, unless of course you are playing the fat, ugly stepsister in Cinderella. We are here to make you look as best as we can and as close to the designer’s vision as possible. And yes, that does mean that you have to wear the control top pantyhose that we purchased for you and the dress that we altered to fit your body perfectly. We don’t care if it is “Something I would never buy!!” You don’t have to wear it off stage, only on stage. And just because something is not your style, does not mean that you look fat in it. It just means that it is not your style. And whining about it every time I have to dress you will not endear you to me or make me sympathetic to your plight. It makes me tired. Just put it on.

The quick change wonder – one of the quick changes that we had in the show was an entire change of clothing, from civilian to soldier, including shoes to boots, in 53 seconds. And the tenor I was assigned to was phenomenal. He moved quickly, he stayed focused, and he did not wiggle around. We always got it done in 48 seconds. He was great, and tonight he is getting a toy soldier as a present for being my quick change superstar.

In opera the “extras” are called supernumeraries, or supers for short. I had the super women to dress, and I barely had to do a thing. They were always dressed on time, they picked up after themselves, and they always hung up their costumes at the end of the show. I love them, and they all got presents opening night to show my appreciation for their professional and friendly demeanor. They rock.

The male super who gave T.M.I. – he asked what was being done with the costumes after the show as he and his girlfriend like to “dress up and play roles.”
Uhmmm…. Ick. Too Much Info, and now we all have to think about that when we dress you. And you can not have anything, it is not yours, and we could not possibly give any costume piece to you knowing what you would do with it. Piece of advice, next show you are in where you want to take home a costume, simply ask what is being done with the costumes, don’t offer the added tidbit of info, we worked hard on these costumes, and we don’t want to think of ourselves as costume pimps.

The darling diva – there was one principal who was just an absolute doll. She always thanked me for helping her, she never mistreated her garments, and she always cleaned up her space at the end of the night. So when she asked me to place her lip gloss backstage for her so she could reapply between scenes, I did and along with it placed a cold bottle of water for her and a small hand mirror. Karma my friends. When you are lovely to people, it comes back to reward you tenfold. She is being gifted with her shoes closing night, as she always told me how much she loves her Act One shoes. She did not ask for them. So she is going to get them. Because we love her.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

It was the Worst of times, it was the Best of times...

Yesterday was an odd day. A tough and difficult day. But a good day.

The funeral I came back for was at 8am. Hideously early in the morning, but what can you do. So I was up at the crack of dawn and left a very comfortable bed and boy behind to go be with my family. It was an emotionally draining day, but also an uplifting day as family and friends gathered together and reminisced about the life of the person we will all miss terribly. That was lovely. It made everything lighten a little. It was also my mother's birthday yesterday, and I kept thinking how tough it must have been to share your birthday with the funeral of a loved one. Bittersweet day indeed.

Mid-afternoon I headed back to Sorin's and we decided to go to the milonga last night. I thought that some dancing would be wonderful after such an emotional day. I was right. Everyone was surprised to see me, which was a lovely feeling. And I danced all night. Even though I did not dance for two weeks really (I can not really count the alternative practica, as I did not really get to dance then), I felt only slightly rusty and missed a few things that I knew I could follow, and it just felt fantastic to dance again. The embrace felt especially wonderful last night. I am sure it was an emotional response to the day's emotional drain, but every time I settled into the embrace, it was just so soothing. I began and ended the night with Sorin, and as always, it just felt wonderful to dance with him. Most of my favorite leads were there last night, and I was able to dance with most of them. I had all three of the S's in one room, and danced with all three in a row, which was perfect. There is also a new beginner lead in town, B, who has only been dancing for two months, but it is amazing how fast he has progressed and learned in that time. Granted, he was a salsa dancer and teacher for 8 years before he found tango, but still, he is leading really well for only two months. And he aims high too! I noticed after dancing with him that he asked every teacher in the room for a dance! Ha! Now that takes some guts! Even Sorin was impressed. It will be interesting to watch his progression, and I am going to enjoy finding out how much he has improved every time we dance.

Today I head back to the woods and the lack of technology for two and a half more weeks. But I did have my kitchen tango Friday night, and I am sure I will have another before I leave today to tide me over the 10 days I have left away. :-)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Melancholy

There are bats in the eaves of the house I am staying in. They come out at dusk and swoop into the yard, enjoying an appetizer if mosquitoes before they move on to their nocturnal wanderings. Last couple of nights I have sat on the back porch with a bottle of wine and watched them swoop and chirp sonar into the night. I have been melancholy as death as touched my family again and I am headed home this weekend for the funeral. Funny how a little thing like watching the bats come out at dusk is actually a little theraputic.

As far as tango goes, I did make it to the practica Tuesday night, and was pleased with the welcome I received from the small community. And I do mean small, I think there was about 9 people there. Unfortunately, it was pretty much entirely alternative music. And open embrace. Not what I was looking forward to. But since I was the only face they did not know, everyone was very nice to the new kid in the space. It was not what I needed tango wise, but I do appreciate the welcome I received.