Posts Tagged With: dancing

Not Giving Up On Us: The Middle of A Strange Love Story

Friday letter to My Kids – 11/21/14

Dear J, J, L and L,

Remember the New Mexico camping misadventure? (Okay, I suppose little L wouldn’t remember since she was still in utero then, but you’ve heard the tale.) I’ve concluded that New Mexico, from what little I recall of it, makes Arizona deserts seem like lush tropical rainforests in comparison. Remember the windblown rock covered weird ramada reservoir campground we stayed at? Remember the scrambled egg in the dirt fiasco? Well guess what? I found a photo of those very eggs.

Trying again.

Trying again.

I’m only sorry there’s no video or audio to include. The dialogue and sound effects of cursing, tears, yelling and incessant forty-mile an hour winds would add so much to the scene. The lesson I learned? Don’t use lightweight backpacking equipment when the winds exceed most speed limits. Oh. And never, ever, no never, go camping in New Mexico.

That’s the only time I remember a camp breakfast going completely south. Normally, your Dad produced cuisine worthy of kings on that tiny burner. He always managed to keep all the food warm when cooking over a fire, too. He’s got some skill on the grill!

Another talent your Dad possesses, quite frankly, probably acted as the hook that pulled me in initially. The way he could spin me around on the dance floor, ultra-klutz that I am, left me feeling graceful and dizzy. I was giddy with the high he got me on swirling, swinging, and moving that night. (If guys knew the real way to a girl’s heart was on the dance floor, really dancing, they’d be lining up to take lessons. But they’re slow to learn this one important detail.)

Each of you girls have enjoyed Dad and Daughter dates, with that same thrill of being led around a dance floor, feeling every bit like a princess. Not too many Dad’s can do that, so count yourselves extra blessed for those experiences.

Of course there was that one time he wasn’t so graceful and debonair. I came home to a story about a failed grand j’ete over the couch. That horrid bruised toe left him limping for weeks afterwards. Luckily he laughs about it now.

To look at him you’d never guess at his wry sense of humor. He loves to laugh. That’s something he’s refined over the years. I think it’s one of the good ways I influenced him. I certainly gave him plenty to laugh about. And cry about. But then, the reverse proves true as well. We make interesting music together.

Your Dad’s piano playing, I hope, holds a sweet place in your heart. Beethoven’s Fur Elise always reminds me of him since it’s a song he played often over the years. And his version of Mason Williams’ Classical Gas still lights up the house with energy and fun. Just a couple of months ago two of my favorite little people danced up a storm while your Dad rocked the piano with some fun tunes.

His love of music drew me in when we first got to know each other. I’d never met anyone who preferred classical music to rock or pop. That placed him high on my list of classy guys. Imagine my surprise when I found out he liked The Moody Blues. Once I learned more about that group and their classical beginnings I understood his selection.

One of our backpacking adventures in North Carolina, I think.

One of our backpacking adventures in North Carolina, I think.

Your Dad mellowed in some big ways over the years. A little less perfectionistic, more flexible and way more fun. I like to think I influenced him in those good ways, but I’m afraid I wasn’t always good for him. The guy I met in college never cursed, that’s for sure. But then, the guy I met wouldn’t have gone camping or rock climbing either. So I suppose it balances out some.

We’re still a major work in progress, your Dad and I.  And that’s okay. At least the work still happens. I mostly credit your Dad with the fact that we’ve stuck it out. You know that Jason Mraz song, “I Won’t Give Up”? Yup, that one. It caught me by surprise when I heard it. Why? Because it sounded like something the two of us might say to each other if we were poetic and musical. We’re an odd team sometimes, polar opposites I often think, but we keep plugging away together anyway.

He’s a good, honest, kind, generous man. I’m a lucky woman.

Here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on. Each of you started out light years ahead of us in your own marriages, which means I have high expectations of marital bliss for you and your sweethearts. I envy that in you. I know you’ll hold on tight and enjoy the ride when it’s good, just as I know that you’ll make the best of things when the road’s scary and hard.

I just wanted you to know this one thing for certain because you saw it in writing: I love your Dad.

Yup, dirty scrambled eggs and all, I love that guy.

 

With love,

Mom

*~~~*~~~*

This is a link to that Jason Mraz tune I mentioned. It’s not the studio release version, but a pre-release of the song done in the UK. Just him and a couple of backup singers and a box. Yes, a box.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturevideo/musicvideo/live-music-sessions/10938389/Jason-Mraz-performs-I-Wont-Give-Up-music-session.html

Or, you can click on this one. But I think the video gives the song a different flavor and feel. So, close your eyes and listen. How about that?

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Few Fab Finds and Some Fun

Found myself in serious need of ramping up my energy levels and changing the mood this past week. So I’ve tried a few different things to shake up the routine and shake off the blues.

DANCE

First, I mixed in more music with my days. The best way I know to ramp up the tunes involves that lovely free app called Pandora. I tapped on something new called Bossa Nova. Much more than the simple label Brazilian Jazz, it’s music that makes you want to dance but leaves you feeling mellow and laid back. Perfect while prepping or eating dinner. I think MSH and I need to learn some new dance steps.

ROAD TRIP

Turns out Pandora also has this thing called “Browse All Genre Stations.” It lists thirty-six genres, or types, of music you can explore. So I tapped on Road Trips. That gave me some options like Country Road TripFamily Road Trip, Road Trippin’ and Classic Commute.

So far I’ve only tried out Family Road Trip. Instantly addicted! I didn’t want to try any of the other stations because this had EVERYTHING!  Fifties to this year, Elvis to One Republic, Billy Joel to Rascal Flatt.

Can’t wait to explore the rest of the Road Trip stations. Then I plan on making my way through the other thirty-six genres and all those possibilities.

TAYLOR

Taylor Swift doesn’t fill everyone’s teacup, but I stumbled on her latest music video. What a bunch of fun! She dances and sings her way through all sorts of trends in “Shake It Off.” Mostly she’s laughing at herself, not taking things too seriously. But there are some seriously good dancers highlighted in the video. Made me want to dance, and  I laughed out loud. My favorite thirteen-year old laughed, too. That’s a good sign. Best of all it kind of makes me feel younger, which I consider a major plus!

DOG POETRY

Have you heard of Billy Collins? If you’re the kind of person who says they don’t like poetry, then you just need to spend four minutes with this video of Billy Collins in a TED talk sharing two poems (the second one is my favorite) about dogs. Yes. Dogs. Hearing his dry wit makes all the difference if you’re iffy about poetry at all.  Turns out I checked out one of his collections last week at the library without realizing who I’d stumbled on. What a great find!

TWITTERPATED

I think I might have gotten hooked. For those of you still fresh from the womb, i.e. forty years or younger, you might not recognize the term twitterpated. It’s a word that debuted in the Disney movie “Bambi.” It means infatuated or obsessed or smitten. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Twitter, the social media app.

Although, oddly, it’s how I’ve found myself feeling about Twitter recently. There’s something about “tweeting” that feels different from posting status updates. Maybe it’s the challenge of a limited number of characters. There’s a sense of immediacy on Twitter that I find fascinating as well. Whatever it is, I’m tweeting, like a newborn baby bird, uncertain of my wings and voice, but willing to learn to fly.

NOT INTERNET ADDICTED, HONEST

Lest you think all I do involves the internet, here’s evidence to the contrary.

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  • Thursday I danced with my favorite three-year old and favorite one-year old while MSH played the piano. We’ve all got some sweet moves. Really!
  • The desert sage burst into bloom overnight! Check out those purples in my slideshow above. And while you’re at it, take in the yellow blossoms, too. And don’t forget the neon orange Bird of Paradise that brightens the view outside one of my windows.
  • The sunrises this past week left me breathless and glad I got out of bed more than a few times.
  • Enjoyed a candlelight dinner in the cool (yes, cool) evening air outdoors with MSH, music wafting out to the patio from the stereo inside. Tasted better than any five-star restaurant. Nothing tops the view of the night sky either.
  • Did I mention the mile and a half walk home last week in a rare morning rainstorm? I’d recommend it the next time you have a chance. Ditch the umbrella, point your face towards the clouds and let the sky wash life’s dust from your shoulders.
The view just before the downpour.

The view just before the downpour.

Hoping for more rain later today and tomorrow. Either way, dancing’s gonna happen because I’ve got my new tunes on.

~~~~~

Have you found anything new and fun that adds energy to your day?

Categories: Fun, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Like Nobody’s Watching

 

Feeling a bit sluggish I click on over to Pandora for some tunes to rev the old engine.

 

Serendipity does one of those “ah ha” kind of things. Kenny Loggins starts playing “Footloose.” Exactly. Yes, exactly what my body, brain and feet needed to kick start my day.

 

Dancing Feet

Dancing Feet (Photo credit: JPott)

 

Power resides in certain arrangements of notes, rhythm, timing, lyrics, beat, and style. Power to lift. Power to lull. Power to move and change and motivate.

 

Why should I be surprised when a song changes my mood? It happens over and over and over.

 

Yesterday on the road I cranked on the radio, it’s crackly speakers rattling with the shimmy, buzz, hum and squeak of my old truck. Three Dog Night started in with ‘Joy to the World.” Y’know, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog…da da daaa!” Happy crowded into the cab of the truck and road along, tapping its feet to the beat. Man, we were rocking it. “Joy to the world, All the boys and girls now, Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea and Joy to you and me.”

 

Moments like that can carry you through some crazy times.

 

I can’t get through a month without a bit of Santana’s “Smooth.” I also love moving it to “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller. And who can leave out Counting Crows “Accidentlly in Love.” And the Beatles “Twist and Shout.” And of course, “Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band. And the quintessential  disco album from the movie “Saturday Night Fever” especially “Stayin’ Alive.

 

Gotta admit here that I’m a kitchen dancer. Yes, me. I can bust a move, boogie, disco and cut a rug like a pro, at least when no one’s around.

 

 “Dance like nobody’s watching.”

 

It does something for your mind and your heart and I’m not talking cardio, either.

 

spatula

spatula aka a microphone if you need one on the fly (Photo credit: jmcunnin2000)

 

Maybe you’re not a secret dancer, maybe you’re a spatula-microphone or toothbrush-microphone kinda person. If so then James Taylor is your man, with “How Sweet it is to be Loved By You.” You too can be a star when you ramp up your day with a few sweet songs. Try listening to the kicky tune by Dave Barnes “Little Lies.” Or “Clouds” by Zach Sobiech, there’s an upbeat song. Kat Edmonson has a sweet one called “Lucky” that’ll get your toes tapping.

 

Looking for something different? Try Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Love Changes Everything,” or “Simple Gifts” by Aaron Copeland. And who doesn’t love Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wondeful World.”

 

Music makes a huge difference in my life from Sunday to Saturday. I need more of it, more often! So I’m building a new playlist titled:  Feel Like Dancing.

 

I’m open to any suggestions ya’ll wanna throw my way. Current stuff, oldies…I’m open minded and ready to dance.

 

Categories: Happiness, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Hot Pink Satin Heels

My mother wore hot pink satin heels. I kid you not.

That image has been in my mind the past few days and won’t go away. So I’ll give it my full attention and then set it free.

Why would Mom wear hot pink satin heels? Because the shoes matched the hot pink satin dress she wore. And that matched Dad’s hot pink tie and cummerbund.

Hot Pink Heels

The two of them danced in a performance group when I was young.

The hot pink outfit was my favorite. The waist of that dress cinched in tight to Mom’s tiny tummy and then flared out in a wide swoop of flowing fabric when she twirled. There was some crinoline or tulle underneath to keep it fluffed and full when she wasn’t spinning.

Oh how I loved it when they got dressed up and ready to go out dancing. Seems like Dad wore cuff links and smelled like Old Spice. He tried not to smile, but it crept onto his face anyway. Mom clipped on round hot pink earrings as the perfect touch to her bouffant flip. The soft silky smoothness of the pink satin felt decadent and mysterious, luscious and exciting. They both glowed with something besides the reflection of the nearly fluorescent color. Joy? Fun? Anticipation? Relief at getting away from us kids? A night out alone?

Adelaide ballroom dancing

Hearing the swish of her skirt and seeing the light in their eyes brought a sense of wonder and contentment with it. Why? I had no idea then. Now I know that those shared times, getting dressed up and going out together, were part of what got them through the tough days and often long nights of parenting and responsibility. Those brief moments of fun built a bridge over the difficulties of life.

Some days, when Mom was busy elsewhere in the house, I snuck into the closet and just let my hand run along the fabric as if I were petting a rare animal. I don’t remember ever trying on the shoes, although I can’t believe I didn’t. Wouldn’t you?

Somewhere, surely, there’s a photo or some 8mm film of the two of them dressed up and dancing. I’m making a mental note, and a written note, to see if I can find such sweet evidence of their younger dancing years together.

I learned early on to idolize, fantasize and dream of dancing as the most romantic of adventures. Little wonder that years later dancing swept me off my feet and into a whirling, silly, illogical relationship that became MSH.

Dad and Mom later joined a square dancing group. I’m sure they had every bit as much fun do-si-doeing and as they did waltzing.  But for me, nothing else carried the mystique of their hot pink satin nights.

Categories: Family, Memory Lane, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For My Dancing Daughter

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful that we’re adding to our family tomorrow. We’re getting a son-in-law! My youngest daughter gets married on Wednesday!

As predicted years ago, this happens before my oldest daughter ties the knot.

Not that it was ever a contest. It’s all about personalities and differences. They’re both unconventional in completely different ways, so we all knew it would play out this way. It’s kind of fun to watch things unfold. This daughter getting married is the very one I wrote about in my Beanie Baby post.

This daughter loves dancing. She always danced her own steps and made up her own moves. She’s been that way with her whole life. Free spirited, wanting to do things her own way, confident, independent, persevering, determined. What a beautiful young woman she’s become. What a stunning bride she’ll be!

Since there isn’t a mother-daughter dance at a wedding, I’m taking a moment here for a mother-daughter song. So here it is:

“When you get the choice to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance!”

You might be saying to yourself, wait a minute, didn’t you just marry off a son a couple of months ago? Yup! Sure did! What vitality and light our new daughter-in-law brought with her. Lucky us! And my son? I’ve haven’t seen him smile this much since he got his Big Wheel at three years old.

Fireworks

I suspect something similar of my daughter, once the jittery, excited, nervous, busy, chaotic ride of the wedding day events unfold, I’m pretty sure her smile will be unending and blissful. For now, she’s holding it all in, like a firework, keeping things in check and under control until the last possible moment. Once she lets that smile break out, showing her real emotions, we’ll all bust out in contagious laughter and smiles.

I have to admit, I’ve definitely let my emotions run amok lately. Lots to do to prepare, plenty of everyday stress mixed in, plus the record-breaking heat we’ve had.

I’m sure I’ve been motherzilla-of-the-bride lately.

But, now that I think about it, I’m sure I can blame it on the denial I’m in about her moving out and moving on. Sure, I’ve been ready for it, praying for it, happy for her, for this next big step in her life. But at the same time, she’s my baby!

What’s next?

Holy mackerel, what isn’t next? It’s not like, once she leaves I’ll have nothing to do, hardly so.

But there’s this sense of loss when children progress, and this one I haven’t really addressed, until now, strangely out loud and in public. But I’m only acknowledging it briefly, to remind myself to think about it later. After all, Thursday will be just another day.

Wedding cake.

(Photo credit: THEMACGIRL*)

Or not.

Sigh…

Sniff…

Until then…

Wednesday is Wedding Day, a joyous occasion, a new beginning, a day for laughter.

A day for cheers.

A day of dancing,

A day for tears.

Here’s wishing my daughter a beautiful marriage with the love of her life!

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Joy, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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