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

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

Add
2 eggs, one at a time...

Combine
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.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Catching Up with Kickin' - Bag, Wish, Free Association, Songs. Days 19, 18, 17, 16

Day Nineteen – 10 Things in My Bag

I am trying my best to get caught up with the posts from the few days away at the secret location for my birthday. Ah yes, the City of Lights, the one with the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. Travel takes lots of energy, and the last day there was so chock full that I could not post, nor did I in the next two days. I will now attempt to cram in a bunch of posts into one!
 

Day Nineteen's prompt: ..."inspired by one of Jamie's most popular videos in which she shared what's in her purse, we thought we'd ask... What are 10 Things Currently In Your Bag?"
  1. Cell phone. Essential, of course. Mine is not a smartphone, but I can flip it open for text messaging.
  2. Keys. To our home, the cozy nest I share with my cherished man.
  3. Wallet. A simple black, leather wristlet that works great for me. Most importantly it has a little pocket on the outside, perfect for the all-important Metrocard for the subway and buses. When I don't want to carry a bag, I can tuck my cell phone and keys right into the little wristlet. VoilĂ , ready to go.
  4. iPad. A shared item, but I took it for the long wait at the post office. I spent a total of 3 hours standing in line to pick up a package today. During that time I did a lot of catching up on my Kickin' It blog-a-thon writing.
  5. iPod. I usually carry this for music and some other apps. The ear buds help with noisy subway rides, but I never use them out on the street. I want to stay aware of my environment.
  6. Moist towelettes. Hm, I didn't even know they were in my bag, but it could come in handy...
  7. Music business cards. But of course.
  8. Marketing strategy business cards. You never know...
  9. Tissues. It is the season to be prepared.
  10. Travel mug. Today's is filled with tea with milk, and helped me get through my thirst in the stiflingly hot purgatory of the post office.
And my the catch-up "teensy bit of writing each day in December":
And when they say "stick to your knitting" what if I have more than one project on the needles? Am I really sticking to it? When I'm cheating on one project to work on another, a state of constant anxiety if I let it be. Do I work on the sweater for me, or the scarf for him?

 

Day Eighteen – Make a Wish

Today's prompt "in honour of the first meme that Jamie ever created: Wishcasting. There is magic in wishing together. Today, make a wish. Support those who make a wish with the words, 'As you wish for yourself so I wish for you also.'"
 
My wish is for each precious person, in Jamie's circles and participating in this blog-a-thon, to have their dreams come true. It is with that simple thought and much gratitude for the support, joy and connection I receive from being in this tribe that I lit the candle in Sacre Coeur a few days ago.

My teensy bit of writing is a note to self:
It is easy to get lost in our small shut-off worlds but only a little effort is needed to enter the circle. In that circle we can sing together, dance together, wish together, laugh together, cry together, and rise up together.

 

Day Seventeen – Free Association

Today's prompt was "We're drawing on that old chestnut, free association.
Only we're planning to get to know you - not analyze you!
We share some Inspiration Words. You share what they inspire in you."
  1. River
  2. Fresh
  3. Escape
  4. Moment
  5. Night

My "teensy bit of writing" will use these words as inspiration:
A river runs here. Jump in.
Make a fresh start to
Escape from a muddy-banked trail they made, unknowing.
Take a moment now to breathe in the
Cool night air of possibility.

Day Sixteen – Favorite Albums (not songs)

Today's prompt was "It was so much fun sharing our movies last week. In fact, we're sure many of us have filled our wish lists and our Netflix queue's with all sorts of fresh options! Let's do the same with our playlists. Share with us some of your favourite songs!"

Lists of favorites are in general really hard for me, as I'm positive I will forget something that I love and I abhor culling lists. It is especially impossible to name favorite songs, so instead I am going to name some of my favorite albums. Of course, I am sure I am forgetting some but here goes...
  • Peter Gabriel - So
  • Loreena McKennitt - The Mask and the Mirror
  • Henri Salvador - Chambre Avec Vue
  • Astor Piazzolla - Zero Hour
  • Los Zafiros - Bossa Cubana
  • Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club
  • Morelbaum2 & Sakamoto - Casa
  • Bobby McFerrin - Circlesongs
  • Jane Siberry - When I Was A Boy
  • Soul Coughing - Ruby Vroom
Now for my "teensy bit of writing":
Mundanity. Insanity. The line and the waiting seemed to stretch beyond my patience but I am apparently more well endowed than I knew. And today, joyfully, a moment I had hoped for finally came. I was at the pickup window at the US Post Office in my neighborhood, ready with pinkish slip and photo ID, to find out what that package from an illegibly scrawled sender was. The above is a dream. I am still standing in line, have been here for 45 minutes and will be here at least that long. I look at the time again, even if I hate to. Only 15 people have gotten their packages in 45 minutes of wait?
(We've come full circle. By the way, the total time waited turned out to be three hours. Is it possible to take action to improve a local post office's service? What can one do?)

Phew. I don't know if anyone will read even a part of this, but I feel a bit like a champ for getting this posted. How could I reward myself? Hm...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Who Do I Love?

It is Day Fifteen at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is "Who do you love?" There are plenty of people I love, including my friends and my family. But there's one person who pops up first in my mind and he is the reason I am writing from a wonderful birthday weekend away from home. Here's my guy and I am immensely fortunate to have him in my life. He is thoughtful, caring, fun to be with, positive, good-natured, silly, creative, generous and loving. Loving is the word that encapsulates all of what he brings to my life, and I consider myself blessed. Here we are having some fun sharing a cup of hot spiced cider at a Christmas market.


Here's today's entry for my "teensy bit of writing each day in December."
Another angle on the city, now from the top of the museum. We celebrate as the hill we stood on just yesterday is painted lavender by the sun slanting behind us. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

One Sentence Saturday - From A Book

It is Day Fourteen at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is "We're making it easy today! Share one sentence from a book. Okay not quite that easy. Grab the third book in on your top shelf of books. Share the first sentence."

Well, thank goodness it's an easier one today. I've been having a great time in my secret location and not much time is left for blogging for the next couple of days. And since I am not near my bookshelves, I will have to go for whatever is in my Kindle app. The third book in my virtual bookshelf begins thus:
"There's so much I want to do... and so little time."
How true. Non-fiction. This is from The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast! by Josh Kaufman.

Here's today's entry for my "teensy bit of writing each day in December."
On top of the hill rested a luminous basilica. We entered in a buzzing silence and for the first time in my life I felt moved to light a candle.

Friday, December 13, 2013

My First Solo House Concert

It is Day Thirteen at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is "My first... A first attempt, your first souffle, your first rodeo, your first job, your first pet? Share a first."

I have been whisked away to a secret location for a fabulous birthday weekend, and I cannot tell you where I am until I return home. So until then, my writing on this blog and reading others' posts might be a bit sparse, in the interest of more fully enjoying my time here.

Therefore I will be brief. This summer I accomplished a first. In the spring I was offered and accepted a challenge: to perform a solo concert. Was I a little nervous about that? Hell yeah. But to make it a softer and cuddlier proposition, we made it a house concert – a gathering in my dear friends' home with one set of music followed by a bit of mingling and refreshments.



Here is one of the final pieces on my program that night, Orchestrope. The house concert, which happened to fall on the hottest day that summer, was a success. I really enjoyed the creative process of writing and developing a full set of material, something I'd long thought about but had never done before. It was great to take this bold new step in a room full of supportive friends. I felt some nerves, but it calmed down and then I could surrender myself to the music making. The feedback during and after the show was really heartwarming and will continue to propel me forward. I know there will be more in the future!

Here's today's entry for my "teensy bit of writing each day in December."
Perhaps we will sample
Andouillette, do you know what it is?
Reconsidering now, making not so fresh choices,
Instead we order the chicken, the duck,
Soup will save the day.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Things I Know for Sure


It is Day Twelve at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is "A Truth? A Constant? A Wisdom to Share? Your Superpower? What Are Ten Things You Know For Sure?"

Since I don't have much time today to write or read, I'll make it My Five Touchstones. Here they are in no particular order

1. My dear honey. Each and every day of my life with him is fun and enjoyable and real. He is steady, he is loving, he is caring.

2. I am an artist. I was when I was a kid, drawing, singing, making music, making crafty stuff. Even though I tried to make it a side dish for many years this essential part of nature wanted to be more fully claimed. Today I can claim this and know I don't have to be perfect or complete to do so. Life and art, a work in progress...

3. Love and compassion are natural for me. The wisdom part of this is that I have learned I must practice directing just as much of this toward myself as I do toward others.

4. Regular practices of introspection, connection with spirit, and self care are necessary. These days I've been doing movement/meditation practice, and I've been on and off with journaling. I think I need to up the journaling so that insights and little messages are harvested rather than flushed through my brain sieve.

5. My surest way through a creative block is to take out the tools and commit to the tiniest amount of time. Five minutes? Ten minutes? I turn on a timer and then I usually wind up wanting more. That is the feeling you want to leave with. Rather than dread and blockage, you feel there is more you want to do and can't wait till there is another chance to go back to your creative work/play.

My teensy bit of writing will have to be the above. Simple prose counts, right? Oh, and as to the symbolism from an earlier post – of the small, white, five-petalled flower, and the blue concentric rings I found nothing conclusive. So many interpretations exist for white, for blue, for the number five, for white flowers, for circles, for concentric circles. I concluded that I need to continue to seek inner guidance and look for signs to follow up what this means for me. The quest continues.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When Crying Comes Up


It is Day Eleven at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is "What makes you weepy?" I know exactly what makes me weepy, but putting it into words is so hard. But here goes nothin' – I'll begin with my "teensy bit of writing each day in December" but sticking to this theme: 
The Pixar movie, Up made me cry. Why?
That opening scene where the old guy
Looks back on the years with his wife
The hopeful and beautiful years gone by
The love that was and the dreams denied.
Being reminded of dreams, is why.
When I think of what makes me cry it is a revelation of deep truths. Some people get goosebumps when something said rings true. When an insight is revealed at a deeper level that touches at the core of who I am, I feel the tears come. The dammed river of a dream long held inside, when unleashed, spills out in tears of relief and joy. Why did I cry at the beginning of Up? It must have touched a tender place, the place where dreams can tragically be thwarted and still remembered. There's hope dreams can still come true.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Show and tell: a cardigan in the works

It is Day Ten at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is to show and tell. We're back in grade school!

Today I am sharing my current work in progress, a cardigan I am knitting for myself. I'm close to finishing – just adding more length to the body and then figuring out what bands and cuffs I want to use.  I'm not working from a pattern but more a recipe that is based on my own measurements. The recipe is from a Craftsy class: The Perfect Fit Seamless Crazy Lace Cardigan. Even though they call it "Crazy Lace" I'm not exactly going nuts with lace patterns. I wanted a simple sweater that I could wear easily and often. This is the first sweater I am making for myself, but the very first sweater I made went to my guy. If you are on Ravelry you can see my other projects here. I've got to finish up this post because I want to get outside. It's snowing today!

And now today's entry, part of my "teensy bit of writing each day in December." This is just an image I got while moving and meditating.
I receive a single flower,
small, white, five-petalled.
Encircling it, concentric rings

glowing and blue.
I am intrigued by the specificity of the images and want to look up the symbolism of a five-petalled flower and of blue rings. Maybe later.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Favorite Movies and a Dance

It is Day Nine at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is to share our favorite movies.This is a terrible question for me. While I enjoy movies occasionally I don't watch a lot of them, and when I do I can't remember much about them. I need the help of people I've seen movies with to recall much about them. That said, I might mention a couple of guilty-pleasure, old-fashioned movie musicals and also some random ones I happen to think of right now. My list would for sure be different a week from now, and not because I'd seen a new film, but because I can't remember what I've seen!

Movie musicals
Singing in the Rain
Funny Face  (Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire)

Only now, while putting up the IMDB links did I find out these were by the same director, And, I just learned that he directed the movie musical version of The Little Prince that I recall from my childhood! I must put that on my Netflix list pronto.

And then a couple of movies I can remember adoring:
Smoke Signals and Moonrise Kingdom

And a movie I found gripping and human and complex:
Black Book


And now today's entry, part of my "teensy bit of writing each day in December." I went dancing yesterday afternoon and...
First Dance

He invited me to the floor, and I didn't know him, nor did I recognize his face as familiar in my years of moving through Argentine tango salons. I was barely aware until we began that the music would be the uptempo and energetic milonga. Had I known, I would have hesitated. It's a good thing the way he invited me felt reassuring, and with the first steps he removed the worries I have of dancing a milonga with a partner before I know how he dances the tango. Milonga is a tricky dance to make enjoyable. Most leaders have a less fluency in this dance, limited vocabulary of moves and even less the musicality of phrasing in their bodies, legs, feet. I could feel his thin frame moving, hear his breath in my ear. That's what I noticed first. When I write these things it makes it seem the tango is a very intimate dance, and while two human bodies are very close it is not about that at all to me. It is about the collaboration and improvisation: how two people can listen closely to the music and to each other while navigating through a crowded room.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

From Where I Sit


It is Day Eight at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is to share where we blog.

There is a desk in my home but it is tucked away in a corner not near the windows. I sometimes work from there, or the kitchen table, but not lately. This is where I prefer to create and write and, as you can see, knit.

Today, I began my day with meditation and movement, and as I danced some gestures caught my attention and inspired this bit of writing. Here is today's little piece (as I continue my teensy bit of writing each day in December):
I pull them out, out of my mouth, and they keep coming. My arms working hard now, clutch the words in my hands, yank and let them fall around me. Like entrails, turning myself inside out, I keep pulling and ropes upon ropes of thoughts made into words lie at my feet. How much is in here? How many feet, yards, miles? This was what they wanted to hear, what I held muffled and dark inside, and I am pulling it all out of me. I look down to find piles around my feet and my angry feet kick them away. No more. Give me space to dance some new light.
What's really weird is that as I typed "new light" a lamp bulb blew. I find that when I am going through phases of dramatic new learning and growth, or more intense emotions, lights have blown out in my home. Coincidence?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

One sentence

It is Day Seven at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt is to capture my day in one sentence. And in the spirit of economy this sentence will also serve as my teensy bit of writing each day in December. Here it is:

Today is to be luxuriously filled with relaxation, and capped by delicious dinner with a dear friend.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Looking back at my first blog post

My first blog post in 2009

It is Day Six at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt has us share our first. Blog post, that is... "Whether you've been blogging for 5 years or 5 days, share with us your first post and what you've learned or how you've changed since then."

Here is my first post (from July 8, 2009) in its entirety which was accompanied by the photo above:
"It caught my attention at the flea market. Something about that repurposing of an obsolete machine spoke to me. As time marches on, fewer and fewer of us can count ourselves among those who have used a manual typewriter and know its particular quirks. I searched through the trays of jewelry, all embedded with recycled typewriter keys, wanting to find something that told a story. No, a simple letter wouldn't do. Who would know where that nugget came from? It would have to be @ and ¢ stacked, or 1/2 and 1/4.

And then I saw it. I've declared it my talisman. As I begin exploring the world of blogging, of following my inner creative urges, it urges me on. To color outside the lines. To let go of the bounds of old patterns. To be free."
I don't think I've learned much over the years about how to write for a blog, because all along I've assumed my blog is something very few people read. My writing was and is not targeted at any particular audience. It's for myself. Occasionally I'm proven wrong, particularly when I'm participating in a book club or blog-a-thon (like this!). I get a chance to know that others actually read what I write, and the visiting and commenting back and forth is so much fun.

Primarily, I remain motivated by writing for myself and nothing has changed in that department. Maybe it has to do with my recurring assumption that I have nothing to teach anyone, no new insights, no new information, nothing of value to offer others. I still write as if I am writing privately in my journal, even if I am aware that what I'm writing is made public. Four years into blogging I still feel like a newbie, but then again newbie-ness is a constant anxiety of mine. I'm always feeling that I'm not quite ready for primetime. Has that changed in any way? Now I know my patterns, so at least I have a chance to see them and move on. It's okay. Right now, I don't have a great need for a huge blog readership. Maybe someday it'll be more relevant, maybe not. What else has changed in my blogging? I'm less hesitant to dig into the HTML to make the post look better. But it's been a haphazard learning process -- someday I hope to more systematically learn HTML.

And now today's entry, part of my teensy bit of writing each day in December. This one appeared during my movement practice. I began with the first two lines as images and words, and during movement the third line came. I am a Sagittarius so it's interesting to think about that interpretation as well as others.
Take this child seriously, follow her.
And take down the dictator.
The archer appears.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ten Things About Me

It is Day Five at Kickin' it Old Skool blog-a-thon, and today's prompt has us tell ten things about ourselves.

I have to admit that this is pretty hard for me to do, and hence the late posting today. Anyway, here goes:
  1. My earliest childhood memories are of playing with my brother in the back of my parents' Chinese hand laundry
  2. One guilty pleasure of mine: classic movie musicals.
  3. I'm mostly a tea drinker, but I love coffee and indulge occasionally.
  4. About ten years ago I began my love affair with dancing Argentine Tango, and I only have five pairs of dancing shoes, two of them in red.
  5. It's hard to see my pupils because my eyes are a very dark brown, but when you can see them my pupils are tiny. Red-eye in photos is never a problem for me.
  6. I love being at the beach, and any photos of me at a coastline show me at my most blissful.
  7. I almost gave up playing violin, but being in a rock band saved me.
  8. Knitting became a part of my life three years ago, and my hand-knit tea cozies, gloves, hats, sweaters and scarves continue to find their way into the lives of my family and friends.
  9. I am an adventurous eater and love trying new foods and finding deliciousness from cultures of the world.
  10. I am an introvert and I love performing.

Now, for my teensy bit of writing each day in December, a note to myself based on two words on my dreamboard:
NEVER HIDE.
You are what you are, and that is enough.
Creation, flowers and fruit, potential.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Weather Wednesday


When I write about the weather I want to be dramatic. It is boring to write about a day that is mild with blue skies and light breezes, but that's just the kind of day we have in New York City. Boring to write about but wonderful to walk about in and enjoy!

I like living in a temperate climate, where there is always another season to look forward to, another change if you're getting tired of one thing. Perhaps that is the drama I'm looking for. When I step back and look at the weather from the standpoint of years of living in this city, there indeed is drama and change. We complain about the freak snow storms, and also about it not snowing like it used to. I remember blizzards as a child with huge piles of snow that were a few feet above my head. This year we've had pretty mild weather for December. That's okay, winter's bitter cold will come, even if it only visits us for a week.

What I love about the weather is that it changes. It gives me hope.

And now for my continuing practice of a teensy bit of writing each day in December, this one a memory:

Blue skies over my big city,
Perfect palettes for enjoyment,
Will always remind me now
Of the day when perfection was slashed,
Grey smoke, and the horrible tragedy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sharing Colors

I am continuing my quest to do a teensy bit of writing each day and participate in the Kickin' It Old School blog-a-thon for the month of December.

First, the tiny bit of writing:

She began to laugh, more from the heart than she had felt in a long time. Great ripples of vibration upon vibration shook her chest. Tears pooled in her eyes and her shaking grew so strong that the hill she sat upon began to shimmy and sway, bringing the last dry leaves clinging to branches to tumble down in a soft rattle.

Jamie and Shannon had so many color questions for us today!

RED

  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of red? Boldness, passion.
  2. Closest red thing to you? Christmas ornaments.
  3. What is the last thing that made you angry? Reading about another attempt to take women's rights to choose to bear a child or not.
  4. Are you a fan of romance? Real life romance and caring yes, storybooks no.
  5. Do you have a temper? Nope.

GREEN

  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of green? Living plants.
  2. Closest green thing to you? My knapsack.
  3. What's your favourite green environment? Fort Tryon Park's Heather Garden.
  4. Are you jealous of anyone right now? Nope.
  5. Are you a lucky person? Lucky, no. Fortunate, yes.

PURPLE

  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of purple? Grapes.
  2. Closest purple thing to you? The oxalis houseplant.
  3. Do you like being treated like royalty? I like being pampered, but I don't know what it's like to be treated like royalty.
  4. Do you like mysterious things? Absolutely, mystery keeps us interested.
  5. Are you intuitive? Perhaps mildly intuitive.

BLUE

  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of blue? The night sky.
  2. Closest blue thing to you? My jeans.
  3. Are you good at calming people down? I think so.
  4. What's your favourite body of water (i.e. lake, ocean, etc)? The ocean.
  5. What was the last thing that made you cry? It was recent but I don't remember, perhaps a video on youtube.
  6. Are you a logical thinker? Certainly, maybe too much so.

YELLOW
  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of yellow? A drop of golden sun.
  2. Closest yellow thing to you?  The cover of a book, Talking Music, Conversations with Five Generations of American Experimental Composers, by William Duckworth.
  3. What was one of the happiest times of your life? Being on tour with Invert for a month, driving across the US.
  4. What's your favourite holiday? I have a love-hate relationship with it, but probably Christmas.
  5. What makes you happy? Being in the moment of creation, with an audience present or not.

PINK

  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of pink? Little girls.
  2. Closest pink thing to you? My pajamas.
  3. What sweet things do you like? Dark chocolate, apple crumble, cheesecake, Chinese egg tarts.
  4. Are you sensitive? I don't think I am, but on the other hand I find it hard to watch scary or suspenseful movies or shows.
  5. What is your favourite flower? Right now, perhaps peonies are edging out orchids for first place.
  6. Does you have a crush on someone? I love someone, but no crushes right now.

ORANGE

  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of orange? Um, an orange. Sorry.
  2. Closest orange thing to you? The cover of a book, Creative Sparks, an index of 150+ concepts, images and exercises to ignite your design ingenuity, by Jim Krause.
  3. Do you dress up for Halloween? Very rarely.
  4. What gives you the warm fuzzies? Spending time with my honey.
  5. What would your superpower be? I wish I could blink myself from location to location, just like Jeannie in the old show I Dream of Jeannie.

BROWN

  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of brown? Earth.
  2. Closest brown thing to you? A brown bear plush puppet.
  3. What is your favourite type of chocolate? Dark chocolate, maybe with orange, ginger or raspberry.
  4. What makes you feel grounded? Lying on the floor, walking at the beach or in the woods.
  5. Paint the wood or always leave it au naturel? You stumped me here. It depends?

WHITE

  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of white? Purity.
  2. Closest white thing to you? The windowsill is white. Ish.
  3. Do you always try to keep the peace? Either that, or I avoid the conflict and walk out, depending on whether I am involved or not. I don't walk out if I am part of it, but I do if it's not my business.
  4. Do you like to play in the snow? For only a moment, before I get too cold.
  5. Are you afraid of going to the doctors or dentist? I put it off, so I guess I'm a tiny bit afraid, but I am pretty relaxed when I am in the office.

BLACK

  1. What's the first thing you think of when you think of black? Drama.
  2. Closest black thing to you? A phone.
  3. Are you sophisticated or silly? Absolutely both.
  4. Do you have a lot of secrets? Only a few. Period.
  5. What's the new black? I want to say fuchsia, but it's really brown that's the new black.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Time Capsule

Kickin' it Old Skool Day Two, and I am having a lot of fun with this. Today's prompt has us capture  this moment in time.

What are you reading?
I haven't figured out a way for me to carve out time to read on a regular basis. Long commutes are great for reading, but my city life right now doesn't include that. Don't get me wrong, I don't miss long rides on crowded subways but I do miss having an excuse to read. My bad habit: I have trouble finishing books. Last week I had a longish trip and not having to drive gave me a chance to dig into Vocal River, the Skill and Spirit of Improvisation (by Rhiannon). I have followed Rhiannon for years, and she is such a completely satisfying and magical artist, weaving together impromptu music and words. She is also a master teacher, and I've had the opportunity to be in several workshops over the years. I grabbed this book as soon as I could, knowing that her life's work and wisdom would be here. It has moved me to tears several times already, something I didn't expect. I'm halfway through this book, and I do intend to finish it.

What are you watching?
I've been catching up on Disney animations I missed as a child. I recently watched The AristoCats and Cinderella, and Snow White is on her way. My television guilty pleasures are Dancing With The Stars and Long Island Medium. I love seeing the stars' growth and learning, cheering them on from my couch as they create and express more and more fully each week. I've been watching Long Island Medium thanks to Netflix instant play, and she and her family make me laugh (I was born and raised on the island) and I also get the welcome reminder that there's more to this life than what we can see.

What are you listening to?
As we are a two-musician household there's always a large variety of music on the stereo: jazz, contemporary classical, tango, singer songwriter, classic R&B, classical, folk, world, and just weird music that defies genre labels. At this moment, however, I'm listening to my guy work out some more creative arrangements of Christmas tunes he'll be playing at a gig tonight.

What are you loving?
I'm loving the spaciousness of my life this week. I just came off a month and a half of solid creative work and practicing music, and I'm enjoying a little break and some time to tune into what it is that I want to create next. Plus my brother and family are in town and I'm happy to spend time with them and my little toddler niece.

What are you wearing?
Today is a dress down day, jeans and a tee-shirt with a monkey on it. I do love getting dressed up too, for tango or for dinner.

What are you creating?
I'm in the middle of knitting a sweater for myself, based on a Craftsy class: The Perfect Fit Seamless Crazy Lace Cardigan. In the past couple of years I've become a knitting addict, and I'm not happy if there isn't a project on the needles. But I've also slowed down, and it seems like this sweater is taking forever. I'm looking forward to having a sweater I'll wear a lot, in a very practical everyday color. Gray. Ha!

What are you looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to getting more deeply into creating music for solo violin and electronics, but also to whatever new collaborations and inspirations may pop up. Also, I'm hoping that this holiday season is more relaxed and spacious, giving me a chance to savor and enjoy more, and also dream about what I want to create next year.

And now for the teensy bit of writing:

Parfait

Long and tall,
you sit on the formica counter
countering all hipness.
Our hips balanced on round vinyl buttons
held high on twisty chrome stands.
My short legs dangle from the red stool,
thighs sticking to unbreathing faux hide,
shorts too short to stop sweat from merging with seat.
The tug of gravity pinches sticky skin.
The pull of your high, cool pile,
sweet colors and textures
stacked in fluted, gleaming glass.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Old Skool in December and writing every day this month

Jamie and Shannon are hosting a fun blog-a-thon this month, which I'm jumping right into. I had thought about doing a teensy bit of writing each day in December, and this helped kick me over the edge. The first prompt today at the Kickin’ It Old Skool Blog-a-Thon is to post a selfie. So here I am today, photo self-portrait taken with laptop camera placed on the floor. I'm still in my pajamas, because it's a lazy Sunday. My "violin hickey" is in the picture, a sign of my life as a musician.


And here is my first bit of writing for December:

She came upon the magical book under the great tree. As she cracked opened its mossy cover, wet earth smells wafted toward her open, curious face. Immediately an immense burst of light shot from the pages of the book, enveloping her tiny frame and shining also upon the trees in the forest and creatures great and small.

I have no idea where this came from. I am just letting my imagination guide me for a tiny bit of writing each day. It might be a poem, it might be a couple of sentences, it might be a reminder to myself. I'll just let this process gently unfold as it wants to, and keep watch to see what it might reveal later.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dreamboard for the Full Corn Moon



It has been quite a while since I've posted a dreamboard, and I've even missed making them for quite a few full moons. Often I want to create a new board but feel  the moon's cycle has gone too far beyond full to ride that lunar wave. This time, with a huge pile of magazines threatening to take over my home, it was necessary to make that time for myself and for the feng shui of the apartment.

I love my new board, and the first thing I notice is how much red is in it. To me red is a color of vitality and excitement. I know that this autumn is going to be quite intense in terms of creative projects, and this board shows me something of that. Creative output (the pen and scribbled score in progress), beauty (flowers and adornments), a hut to introspect within and also the need to "take the mic," and some key words to guide me: Harmony, Experience, Hope, Capitalism, Never Hide. I think my board is calling me to be confident in where I am: that I have experience behind me, hope within me, and harmony pulling me forward. It's also calling me to deal with that word that gives me the squirms. It's time for me to look capitalism in the face, and find out how I can succeed financially without giving up what I hold dear. After all, the statement in question is: "Capitalism works for me!" True or false? How can I make it feel it works for me rather than bullies me?


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dreamboard for the Full Wolf Moon



I hadn't had a chance to make a dreamboard around the holidays and new year, so I felt a strong need to make one for this full moon. I like that there are images that reach upward and also downward, the pull toward heaven and dreams and at the same time grounded and deep watery imagery. Also the comforts of warm wool, earthy and orangey tones, and wood.