Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Celebrating this month and kickin' it

Ah, what can I say? This month has been filled with energy and surprises and gifts.

Let's start with what I'd love to celebrate about our time together in the Kickin' It crowd:
  • Regular posting - I don't know if I can continue this without the prompts the blog-a-thon provided each day, but I found myself enjoying the extra nudge to write.
  • Connection - I loved reading others' posts, got some great suggestions to add to my listening and watching lists, and I loved reading your blogs and actually seeing comments on my posts.

And what I want to celebrate this month?

I got through what is usually a hectic and crazed and anxiety-ridden month for me with a minimum of fuss. Of course, it didn't hurt that my honey surprised me with that birthday trip.

The teensy bit of writing:
She opened the new book and turned to the first page. Her pen hovered above the neatly lined sheet, ready now to drop new seeds into expectant rows.

That's all folks! I have loved participating in the Kickin' It Old Skool Blog-a-thon, and I wish you all good health, happiness, and an abundant and fulfilling new year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Catching up with Kickin' It with a Recipe

Photograph by Daniel Talonia

We are nearing the end of our fun at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon and the holidays have thrown me off of regular posting. So, here I am, rushing in under the wire to post on the second to last day of the year!

Day twenty-eight prompt: One Sentence Saturdays ~ Your Word for 2014
I am not sure what this will be yet. Words or phrases I'm still considering include Possibility; Contribution; Devotion; Dream. Act.

Day twenty-nine prompt: Sunday Selfie - Future You (I really enjoy this photo, and in the future I hope to have even more beautiful artistic experiences and performances.)

Day thirty prompt: Kickin' Recipes

Here's one of my favorite desserts, originally posted on Chowhound quite a while ago and known as "Galleygirl's Pear Tart" or "Laurie's Pear Tart":

Laurie's Pear Tart

3 or 4 ripe juicey pears....
Peel,core and cut into sixths, or eighths

1 stick butter
3/4 c. sugar
1teasoon vanilla..

2 eggs, one at a time...

1 c. flour
1 teasoon baking powder
1/2 t. salt...

Add to butter mixture.

Spray an 8" (important) spring form pan with Pam...Spread the batter in it..Now, in a pinwheel pattern, press the slices of pear, peeled side up, into the batter...Cram in as many as you can; since the batter rises and covers the pears, there's no points given for style here(g)...The more pears, the moister the cake will be.

Bake at 350 degrees til a skewer comes out clean, about an hour...If you have any doubts, UNDERBAKE....This is a whole different animal if it dries out...Then it's just a cake; correctly done, you'll love it...It's just one of those recipes that is greater than the sum of it's parts. really.

I've substituted other fruit with wonderful results including, this summer, a combination of peaches and blueberries. Trust me, this is one delicious and moist cake!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Looking back at 2013

It is Day Twenty-seven at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon and today's prompt is: "Here on our final Friday of the year, let's share a little bit about the year that was 2013." I started this process of looking back on the year yesterday, so this prompt appeared right on time. I'll be asking myself a few more questions, but this was a great start to a few more days of looking within before thinking about about what my dreams and plans are for the coming year.

1. What will you remember about 2013?

I will remember the wonderful creative collaborations I was part of. This year I was fortunate to contribute to three theatre productions, and I even got a chance to travel out of the country for one of them! I love the inspiration and camaraderie of working together on creating a work of art. In some ways I feel much more creative when I am called upon in the moment to deliver something. Perhaps it is the pressure, perhaps it is the fact that I don't need to begin with an intimidating blank slate. Having some need or challenge to address artistically gives me a starting point, and the creative juices seem to flow almost effortlessly. On the other hand, another thing I'll remember about 2013 is that I also went in the other direction, dipping my toe into the world of creating and performing a solo concert. It was the first time I finally took action on this, and I had some helpful prodding in that direction both from my guy and another friend. I am so very glad I took this step and look forward to developing more solo work in 2014.

2. What are you ready to leave behind?

I am ready to leave behind financial lack and limits. I want to dream bigger and act bigger in the coming year, creating greater prosperity and abundance in my life.

3. What's something you learned  in 2013?

I learned at a far deeper this year how to love and trust myself, and to forgive and have compassion for myself. This involved deep spiritual work, but now I understand that this is the work that's worth it. Before this year I knew but had not experienced what a difference it makes to have this strong foundation of self love. And I've also learned that a spiritual/movement practice can be combined, and maybe NEED to be combined for me. I started following Christine Claire Reed and her Girl on Fire Movement Studio.  She did a 40-Day Dance Sadhana and participating in this changed my morning routine. Now I begin my day with movement and I find this gets me in touch with my body and how it is -- in that day, and in that moment. This body-centered approach to my physicality and also my spirit is an ongoing practice, and like other practices such as meditation I have my good days and my bad. But in my newly found compassion for myself, the bad days don't really bother me much. There's always the next moment and the next breath. What a gift.

4. What would you like to celebrate about this past year?

I would like to celebrate love, in the heart and in action. I think I practiced this more deeply this year, and it began by the embrace of myself and radiated outward. I would also like to celebrate my loving guy who surprised me with a trip to Paris for my birthday. (Also deep gratitude for his travels and ability to get tickets using miles!)

Now for the "teensy bit of writing each day in December" (I may not be perfect but I'm keeping at it despite some missed days).

Love is my guide.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Turning a Christmas challenge into creative inspiration

 It is Day Twenty-four at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is "We thought we'd ask you to share a story, a tip or a strategy of a holiday disaster!"

I don't have a story of a disaster, but let's just say it was a challenge. One Christmas season we wanted to have a little tree, but the problem was where to put the dressmaker's form that normally resides in a corner of the living room? There was no other place in our small apartment to put the dressform. So creative ingenuity had to come to the rescue. Thus began the tradition of decorating "Our Lady of the Living Room" for all seasons, including Christmas.

Her dress for this season is a tablecloth, draped using a few pins, and she sparkles with fun ornaments and lights. The bonus? There are no pine needles to drop all over the place when we're done with the "tree"!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

When I Was a Wee One

It is Day Twenty-two at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is "We've gotten to know so much about one another. We thought we'd spin back the clock and learn something about you when you were wee."

When I was wee I liked to wear pretty dresses and pose for the camera. I liked feeling like a little princess. But also when I was wee, my dad used to cut my hair. One time, a kid I didn't know pointed at me across a parking lot and said to his mom, "Look at that little boy over there!" I rushed away from the window upset, more self-conscious than ever about my short, boyish hair. And then ultimately there was the traumatic, tear-inducing pixie haircut my dad gave me when I was about 12. From then I refused to let him near my hair and cut it myself up until my college years, when finally I discovered for myself the joys of going to a salon.

The above will serve as my "teensy bit of writing each day in December" for today. I'm in visiting-for-the-holidays mode, and being efficient with posting is important. I hope you'll understand...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A quote I love

It is Day Twenty-one at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is "Today, share with us a quote you love. "

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open… No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
– Martha Graham

Friday, December 20, 2013

My First ... (the Meme Edition)

It is Day Twenty at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is "Firsts are so much fun, let's share more in a meme-a-licious kind of way. Let's share the following firsts:"

Indeed, what fun! As I am writing this I am sitting on a train and headed out to see my guy's family, all of them in Pennsylvania. It means making the rounds, and to see everyone will require visits to four or five houses spread out in the middle of the state.

Your first job

I worked at a Chinese take-out restaurant a couple of towns away. It meant I had to ride my bike or take a bus to get there. My dad was instrumental in getting me the job. His friend's daughter about my age also worked at the place. What I learned? One important skill was packing the bags, and we perfected just how to pack the containers so that stuff was secure, compact, and wouldn't spill. Just yesterday M and I had lunch at a local restaurant and were packing up a couple of to-go containers with the leftovers from those huge portions. He thought the containers would not fit upright in the paper bag, and I joked that he was talking to an expert. It may have been a long time ago, but some things just stay with you.

The first thing to your left

Across the aisle from me, my wonderful guy.

Something you remember about first grade

Mrs. Robinson would mark our papers with smiley faces. Their faces were oval, and they would have one of three expressions: smiling, straight-across mouth, or frowning.

The first book you ever read

I don't remember! It could have been See Jane Run, or something like that. Or it could have been a thin, golden-spined Disney book with lots of illustrations. Perhaps Cinderella.

The first thing you do in the morning

I have a glass of water. Recently, for the past few months, I then begin my days by moving and dancing. I turn on some music, lie down, and warm up and listen to what my body needs. It has become a daily practice and a requirement. I really miss it on days I have to jump up and rush somewhere!

The first food you knew you didn't like

Sea cucumber. It's not a vegetable. It's a sea slug. They are sold dried, then rehydrated for cooking, and are considered a delicacy. I still don't like them and avoid them. But on the other hand, I love sea snails now and even as a small child. My parents have a favorite memory of me as a two-year-old sitting at the dinner table with tears streaming down my face, eating snail after spicy snail.

Your first memory

I used to love lying in bed and looking up at the ceiling. I would see something that was like a colored Milky Way galaxy twinkling in a moving stream across the ceiling, with random objects floating along in the stream. And I remember waking up from a dream where Frankenstein was chasing my family. Frightened, I went looking for mom and dad, and that's when I realized it was dad snoring.

And now for my "teensy bit of writing each day in December," a recent memory:
This morning I woke up in sunny Paris. A long flight is forgotten in a blink. And now I find myself in darkness on a local train, back in gritty and familiar New York, dusted with a light enchantment of snow.