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November 17th, 2014

01:01 pm: Farewell to Oba.
Sadly today Oba, who's had some issues that turned out to be Wobbler's syndrome got to the point where she couldn't walk and was very uncomfortable. Our beloved kennel put her down this morning. We both got to talk to her on the phone, and poor Cathi and the rest of her staff were as miserable as we are. They were a second family to her, thank the gods, so she was petted and cosseted and loved the last couple of months.


I hate this move.

And I miss my dog.

 photo oba_zpse130d0a8.jpg

Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: none
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April 30th, 2014

11:14 am: Supernatural - old school (spoilers if you haven't watched seasons 1-6)
Supernatural is a show that reminds me of the old days of high school and college - admittedly without the guns, cool car and credit card fraud. It was an old home week show for me; kind of like a cross between comfort food and reliving the glory days. I quit after season six I think, due to the plots just getting dumber and the bad guys getting so uninteresting. I stretch for about 50 minutes every morning and I've been re-watching it on Netflix. Re-watching the series has been fun but the most interesting realization came about with yesterday's episode which is one of my favorite episodes ever. "The Monster at the End of this Book" is hilarious for so many reasons; the writers making fun of themselves with some serious nods in a good and gentle joking way about Supernatural fans. Favorite quotes:

Dean Winchester: [Reading on the computer] There's Sam Girls and Dean Girls and- What's a slash fan?

Sam Winchester: As in Sam-slash-Dean. Together.

Dean Winchester: Like "together" together?

Sam Winchester: Yeah.

Dean Winchester: [Horrified] They do know we're brothers, right?

Sam Winchester: Doesn't seem to matter.

Dean Winchester: Oh, comeon, that... that's just sick.  
--
PUBLISHER
(getting very emotional)
Oh, my god! That was one of my favorite ones, because Dean was so... strong... and sad and brave. And Sam... I mean, the best parts are when they'd cry. You know, like in – In "Heart," when Sam had to kill Madison, the first woman since Jessica he really loved. And in "Home," when Dean had to call John and ask him for help.
(she turns away)
Gosh... if only real men were so open and in touch with their feelings.
--
CHUCK
Did you really have to live through the bugs?

DEAN
Yeah.

CHUCK
What about the ghost ship?

DEAN
Yes, that too.

CHUCK
I am so sorry. I mean, horror is one thing, but to be forced to live bad writing... if I would have known it was real, I would have done another pass.
---

Dean Winchester: [about Chuck being a prophet] Him? Really?

Castiel: You should've seen Luke.




Anyway it's a hilarious episode - but I also realized that it's a suprisingly deep episode; it's the evil version of the Jesus' moment of doubt in Gethsemane. The demon Lilith comes to Sam to make a deal, to end the up coming apocalypse since she learned that she won't survive it. Taken in order, you can't see it since you don't know that Lilith has to die to free Lucifer from the pit. They treat the demons who want to free Lucifer as the demons of faith - since they're humans that have been...tortured into demons. They want to free Lucifer their god, and it's going to take the death of Lilith the first demon to make it happen. Instead of a lonely moment in a garden it's a deal in a by the hour hotel room with sex to seal the deal. But both of them have to decide that they are willing to go through a torturous death for what they believe in.

Nice little grace note of writing that you can't see until you re-watch it.

Current Mood: coldFreezing
Current Music: Carry On My Wayward Son - Kansas -

April 26th, 2014

06:06 pm: Photo shoot
Today was my first photo shoot, and I was there as the makeup artist for the husband's next book cover for Amazon. The make up requirements were simple, I brought two train cases and an extra bucket of stuff and until the last model's last part of the shoot I had only used four items. Then there was a call for bruised knuckles. YAY! The students who were there learning photography stuff said "Wow, that looks really good. How do you know what that looks like." LOL! Bonus that I did it out of eyeshadow alone.

It went swimmingly, and fast.

It felt really good to go do something, feel productive and competent and have a blast with a bunch of people I just don't' get to see very often. While absolutely no drama happened. YAY!

And then there was ice cream and flat bread, and it was glorious.

I'll maybe show some photos when we get the proofs....if I get the OK.

Also I'm going to try and write here once a week. Wish me luck.

Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied
Current Music: Crescendolls - Daft Punk - Discovery
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December 12th, 2013

05:32 pm: Decisions, decisions - now that I'm thin, here's where I'm going now and why.
Once I lost most of the weight I realized I could go back to other dance classes, now that I was no longer obese, and was just chubby I wasn't afraid of the leotard anymore, not happy mind you, but it was doable. I added Ballet and modern into my weekly routine. I wanted both twice a week, but ended up at first with Ballet once a week and then added modern twice a week. Ballet was (and frequently still is) humbling. Modern is mostly good, but since they are both visual led dances, I'm slower than I'm used to being. Now I'm doing three hours in Ballet and still only two in Modern. Group classes are hard to find and are all over the damn place. I'm in Redmond, Bellevue, Greenlake and Cap hill.

Doing the summer showcase at the studio and having Grant let me build out the story arc, and help choreograph brought back very fond memories of the dance I choreographed and danced with Sam back in the day at Western. So many mental doors flew open. So many stories I wanted to tell...but ballroom is kind of restrictive. It's really taught and used as social dancing for fun or competition for perfect technique. There really isn't any call for story based performances for ballroom, unlike Ballet, Modern, Jazz....pretty much every other kind of dance on the planet. During the choreography for the summer showcase I was listening to a song called Sail by AWOLNATION while doing dishes and started dancing around with a bread knife (you know like you do). A story of a serial killer and her victims popped up. I worked on it for a bit, and then put it on the back burner. It simmered there, and every time I heard it, it became more defined, and more complex. I now need a company of dancers, and a complex remix of the song. Technical stuff pops up like UV lighting, cords, and props. But the more I focused on what I would want in the actual steps, I realized I just didn't have enough knowledge. Then Grant was leaving and I was getting tired of the drama and money crap at the studio, and I realized that I had put off dance once when I was 13 when I was told that I was too old to take Ballet, there was no point since my bones had fused. I put it off again when I was in early my 20's because Evergreen didn't work out on the first try, and they said to go to Cornish anyway. Then I got fat - and the dream died until Ballroom popped up. Sure I took Hula, and that was great - but ballroom is where I found that passion and a place to express it, but now I'd out grown what it had to offer creatively. I wasn't going to let this slip past me again, and if my body sabotages me again, well it'll happen while I'm out getting my dream goddamn it.

So I started looking for ways to get all the pieces and knowledge I wanted. I looked into getting it piecemeal in classes. I talked with my Modern instructor, and looked around. The answer I got everywhere was I can just go to a studio and start making shit up on my own, or I need to get a dance degree. I already know I don't know enough to wing it past maybe one or two small pieces here and there. Then I looked for schools, and there are only four:

Evergreen - which tells you right off that if you want a degree based in the classical forms you should go to Cornish. Also an hour and a half away.
UW - which doesn't give a shit about you at all, and only has three classes total for Choreography for the entire degree (and I'd have to go through the whole AA portion) or Audit for the same cost, with no labs ie studio time.
Western - Comprehensive, but you have to complete the basic AA, and then you can be nominated and audition for the BFA in your Junior year..Also an hour and a half away and don't really want to go home.
Cornish - A four year program all dance all the time, with a choreography track and is so small you must audition to get in.

Realizing that the only place that really works for me is Cornish was scary. Looking at the audition requirements was enough to make me realize that there was no way I could get in. I'm old (by dancer standards I'm approaching the end of my career, and if I was in Ballet it would have been over for roughly 9 years) and I'd be competing against 18 year olds that have been doing this since they could walk, and I must have intermediate Ballet to even audition.

I had a bit of a breakdown. Actually I had a pretty big one, the "just kill me now I'm too old for anything obviously, why get thin and get the dream if I can't have it - too old, too goddamn late" kind. Then dthon who is a fucking Cheerleader Pollyanna of Stubbornness pointed out that he knows the head of the dance department of Cornish, and he thinks she'll remember him. I wailed and whined and then had him ask if there was anyway I can get what I want anywhere else maybe. Do they Audit? Other Schools that I don't know about? Private programs? Ultimately she said that I could totally go to Cornish - if I get Intermediate Ballet, and that while my age won't disqualify me the thing that drives out most older students is the "sustaining the energy demands of 5-6 hours/day of dancing, and tolerate studying with immature 18 year olds.". Add some more wailing time with a side of fucking horror because for me Ballet is HARD and how long is that going to take? I started thinking really hard about it and how bad I want it.

I ran the idea across a couple of people - a few strangers, and a couple close friends over the last two months. While I'm explaining that obviously I'm batshit crazy, I'm really thinking doing this. So far everyone's reply has been "THAT'S AWESOME!" I keep explaining that I'm insane, and that it's hideously expensive, I don't know how long the ballet is going to take, and dude I'm already old and it won't become a paying gig. Everyone still thinks it's awesome and I should go for it. One person who has a dance degree told me that she thinks that with all my creativity I'll be awesome at my long term goal (more on that later.)

Then as Grant and I choreographed and performed our last showcase (it went OK, not awesome but it was done in a freakishly compressed time frame) I realized this is really what I want to do - tell stories through dance. I just have to have the pieces to do it. Losing Grant - the one person I have who's willing to work with me to choreograph and do lifts, I was just bereft. I can't give this up. So on Tuesday I talked with a ballet guy who after his ballet career went to Cornish and got his degree and he thinks that I should be able to get through intermediate in a year, maybe a year and a half. This makes it doable.

So I'm going to try. I'll be auditioning for Cornish next year, probably February 2015 for fall of 2015. My ultimate goal? Build a Company and perform with them for as long as I can, and then keep on choreographing. I'm going to take all the pieces I have and make stories. One way or another. Thank the gods I'm a stubborn bitch with a high pain tolerance, right?

As Grant was leaving teaching, and one more unbelievable money issue at the studio (asking me to pay for the showcase I was performing in) I left the studio, Saturday was my last night. I'll be keeping ballroom - with Miss P, the occasional Nathan and a new studio when we get back in February, but it won't be my main focus. I'm doing three ballet classes and hopefully picking up two private instructors. My Pilates instructor is already starting to work with me on my feet for pointe work which isn't required, but once I hit intermediate it's the next step and I've always wanted to do it. So I am. I need to cram in another Modern class in too at least, since the audition is at the intermediate level for both.

So there it is. I'm going for my dream. No regrets, right?

Current Mood: determineddetermined
Current Music: Just Dance - Lady GaGa & Colby O'Donis - The Fame
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November 28th, 2013

09:21 am: Happy Thanksgiving, and my HWP goal probably achieved!
Happy Thanksgiving. I'm mostly thankful for the fact that I've got more calories to work with now. And for friends and family, for the lovely husband, the fuzzy maus, crazy dog, good books, good entertainment and most certainly dance. Virtue complete and I'm really glad that Zumba is no longer a daily requirement. My knees and I are thankful for this. Have a great day.

It looks that although I have not reached my number goal, until I get a medical opinion to verify, I've reached my height weight proportionate goal. I am now slowly transitioning up to maintenance over the next couple weeks. Gods know I hope my energy and mental acuity go up with the calorie count.

More on this later with the last post in the series on Weight Loss.

Have a great day!

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Raise Your Glass - P!nk - Raise Your Glass - Single
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November 19th, 2013

02:33 pm: The Ballet - Kylian + Pite
From the time I saw the first trailers for this, I was sold. You can see the trailer (which is all Kylian, actually) here and you can see a bit of Emergence (Pite) here for some context.

Let's take them in performance order we start with Kylian.

Petite Mort
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Piano Concerto in A Major [Adagio], KV 488; Piano
Concerto in C Major [Andante], KV 467


This is the ballet that I bought tickets for, and yes they did mean that double entendre. It's an interesting piece; taking dance, sex, swords and women and making for a lovely, and moving ballet. Some of the tricks of the piece were the lighting, and the rolling dress pieces, and the fantastic sheeting they used for changing scenes and partners; the men would take it from the back, running it fluttering over the dancers, out over the whole stage then back to find that all had changed. The light made them disappear, stand out and glow like they were lit by candle light, all gleaming and gold.

Six men, six fencing foils, and just barely visible pale silhouettes in the gloom in the back are six women in black dresses. This is a contemporary ballet piece, and it started in silence. Luckily about the time I was getting irritated by the lack of music, it started - well timed that. (And I just realized used to build tension. I have issues with silence and dance, but that's for another time.) The men move with and without their swords, and eventually the women join them, coming forward in black dresses, which turn out to be on rollers. Eventually leaving their dresses behind, they too are in skin colored minimal dance wear. This is mildly erotic piece, just south of overly polite ballet, lacking ballet's usual romantic air. All of that muscled glory on display and some of the physical feats were just breath taking. A woman laying her head on an extended leg, while being suspended by another man, or the woman who is laid across the man's legs and then slowly lifts her upper torso and over extends, arching her back and then going back to parallel on the floor, again and again like a wave was something that was so beautiful and something I wish I could do - the sheer control and sensuality was fantastic. This was a ballet to watch and to love, just the sheer physicality of it.

Sechs Tänze (Six Dances)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Sechs Deutsche Tänze [Six German Dances], KV 571, 1789)

This is a farce of a ballet and definitely meant to be comedy. A group of men and women run around in 18th century underwear and do the most absurd things. It is not however without meaning. Watching them run amok, while never being able to leave stress and fear behind unable to even recognize the environment that they are in, chasing one another and courting each other. One of my favorite bits of the piece was the gender swapping play and the black rolling dresses making a guest appearance, most notably rolling by the only door out with dead dancers impaled by the foils through a green apple. And while they are not always performed together, I see how they fit together. Not a lot more to say about it, other than it was hilarious, with meaning. The husband points out that it seems that some of the jokes are only funny to dancers, since a good portion of the audience didn't laugh in some sections which he was included in. I'm not sure but it seems likely, some of the gender swaps were all about the men doing the girl ballet parts.

Forgotten Land
Benjamin Britten (Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20, 1940)

This was a contemporary ballet piece, with a very strong ballet feel. This piece is about uncertainly, the loss of everything, where even the land is impermanent. Six color matched pairs, with white and red and black being highly prominent, dance against a stormy sky. This one made me uncomfortable, which I guess says that it hit home a bit closer and a lot deeper. These couples danced dreams, and hopes and the loss of them. It was a stunning display physically, and was full of grace. It ends with three of the women all alone. I got a lot of pagan overtones in the piece, knowing that it was made with the idea of a particular part of land being reclaimed by the sea and with every woman's costume other than the woman in white, having red between their legs - the image of bleeding was very there for me. While I'm always painfully aware that change is inevitable and so is loss and death, I'm not really a fan of it. It was a deep moving piece, and while I'd see it again I don't want to anytime soon and yet, I want to see it again now.

And then, to close Pite -

Emergence
Owen Belton (2009)

I'd actually call this a straight up contemporary piece if the girls hadn't been en pointe. This is a piece that is based on insect emergence the idea that simple agents following simple rules could generate amazingly complex structures. Informed largely by Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software by American popular science theorist Steven Johnson after the choreographer Pite wondered if there was a model in nature that paralleled a ballet company.

This was brilliant, amazing, awe inspiring, and more than a little freaky. The set while minimal is key, and the lighting is just as critical. The music and even more untraditional, the counting of the dancers (they had mikes set up on stage to pick up the sound) just sealed the whole illusion. It starts with a dancer as larvae being born, with the help of a fellow bug. Dude, the spasmodic, yet wave like movements, I could see her trying to inflate and unfold her wings. She was so committed to the character that it was unbelievably believable. At the Q&A after we learned that the birthing dancer is actually soaked before she comes on, I bet that helps set the mood. From then we see more of the hive, the communication changing forms in small groups with changes sweeping back in forth in waves until consensus, or emergence is reached. When the swarm goes in and out of the hive, the come out through a yellow light - this was the one place where being dead center kind of sucked, you are head on to the light, and it got a bit blinding at times. I also get an extra 10 points costuming for I found out that the tattoos that the men have are indeed makeup not costume, also every available member of the company is on stage at the end, which is awesome.

This is a ballet that took something I am SO NOT A FAN OF and made it scary, pretty, alluring and something I'd want to do. Being a hive of bugs was never really ANYWHERE on my radar as "hey, that'd be a cool dance thing." Um no. But now, it just seems so fucking brilliant. I was on my feet the minute it ended, and so was everyone else. I'd love to meet Pite, but I doubt that's in the cards. Maybe someday I can do something so radical, and moving. Although these days I'll take managing to pull off someone else's choreography without fucking up. But really you have to see this one and experience it.


So it was one hell of a trip to the Ballet, and PNB as usual was utterly fantastic and the pieces and choreographers they chose were excellent as well. I hope that I'll get to see Director's Choice and then either Midsummer Night's Dream or Giselle for the classical side before the season is over. Stay tuned I'm going to try and write here more often.

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: And The Angels Weep - Danzig - Black Aria
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June 26th, 2013

05:44 pm: Showcase follow up.
Man that was awesome. It was very well received; people were very impressed and excited. Dancing it was awesome, and I get to do it one more time. This Friday I'll be doing an encore for the studio's Grand Re-Opening dance party.

There's always some sadness when you leave a piece behind, but I'm just very, very glad I got video. Unlike the vampire performance from back in the '90's - I'll never get to see that, all I have are the memories; this time at least I get to keep a recorded memory. This is the best piece of art I've done in so very, very long. Getting my body back and being able to do things like this are the greatest gift I think I've ever received. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. Lesson learned and I'm going to do as much as I can for as long as I can.

Now I just need to find another story that we want to tell....

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Lights - Ellie Goulding & Bassnectar - custom mix -
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February 10th, 2013

02:06 pm: The end of my birthday; the bodily harm episode.
So, my birthday has been really difficult since I became an adult. I had pretty much given up on it since it seemed cursed, but when the Scott and I got together he declared war on my birthday; and the first one we spent together was great, a night out at Entros a restaurant filled with games, puzzles, costume activities that was so awesome I can't believe it closed. Then he gave me my lost 8th birthday and that was awesome too. The others were good, but not horrible...and the best was three years ago when I had a Goth/80's Skate Party and the following day some of my girlfriends and I spent the day at Olympus Spa getting the full treatment.

Last year was bad everything went wrong, and was a mess. This year wins the Fuck You award though.

It stared with plans not getting set in advance due to unemployment, new job, sudden travel, a 25 day long cold, a  minor car accident and a plumbing leak. Finally deciding to do an all call to go to the local Skate King's Saturday night open skate we sent out an all call to friends and asked them to join us. By Friday we had two yes, fair number of no and a number of unknowns. And I was getting concerned about the birthday curse coming back. Friday night at the dance practice party Grant badgered me until I gave up the fact that it was my birthday the next day and the curse stuff. Then he was upset because somehow my birthday wasn't marked, and I should have told him a week ago. So then he had everyone sing happy birthday and a group hug from everyone there which got all awkward. Then there were problems with a couple of students and me and all-in-all it was a lame night, no matter how hard the teachers tried to make it a good one. By Saturday afternoon we were down to one yes, and a lot of nos and a number of unknowns. I was feeling down and less than awesome when the doorbell rang and someone had sent me flowers! rhienelleth had sent them to me knowing how unhappy I was about the whole birthday thing this year, and just because she's that kind of awesome. I wanted to just cancel and stay home but with all the unknowns, it wasn't really feasible. So after an indulgent Taco Bell crap food splurge (and the Doritos tacos are awesome - second highlight of the day) we got ready and headed to the Skate King.

Where I got out of the car turned and the door closed and latched on my right ring finger. I dropped the keys, opened the door and got my hand free. After that there was a lot of swearing, a little crying out of sheer frustration and pain, and a call to the one person we knew was coming. Ultimately we finally got the new insurance web page to give us a in network hospital 10 miles away - since at this point I was pretty sure it was broken. We get to the ER, and sure enough it's busted. The tip is crushed, but together. Then the husband gave me my present; tickets to Amaluna, third highlight of the day. There were a couple of priceless texts from a couple of friends. Eventually we found an open pharmacy and got the uber Advil prescription. Stopped and picked up a Veggie Mondo Burrito at Taco de Mar came home and had dinner with TV and then I went to bed with my first pain pill on board. And I still managed to be under my calorie count for the day.

The pain pill turned out to be useless. But I am so very glad for my high pain tolerance, and glad that the pain is already about half as bad. Managed my usual stretches and yoga with only a few exceptions. So now we go into the next four weeks figuring out how to live mostly left handed.

Oh, and birthdayless because even the husband gives up.

Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: Unwell - Matchbox Twenty - More Than You Think You Are
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January 7th, 2013

04:24 pm: Please sign this petition.
I very rarely post something that is horrific, triggering and asking for a signature on a petition. I am today.

This is an unspeakable horror, and these people need to be held accountable. All of them.

What has happened to this girl will color her life forever. Living right up to your scars is difficult, and many never make it that far.

Please, please sign this.

http://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/steubenville

Current Mood: infuriatedinfuriated
Current Music: Save Me - Queen - Greatest Hits
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May 4th, 2012

11:20 am: Help Us Support Planned Parenthood
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Join us in standing up for reproductive health and education. Planned Parenthood, the organization that delivers reproductive health care, sex education and information to millions of people worldwide, has come under fire in the U.S. lately, with many politicians on both state and federal level seeking to end funding (and in a few cases succeeding).

During the month of May, you can send a specially designed Planned Parenthood vgift to your friends to help support this cause. (And if you need someone to send it to, frank is always happy to receive gifts!) There are three variations ($1, $5 and $10) for you to choose from, but they'd all look good on your profile when your friends know that you stand by something so important.

                    

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