A healthy shift

This past week was a little rough for me.
I’m not sure why I was so affected by the events that happened.  Maybe its because I don’t do well with passive aggressive behavior (like my old roommate Pat used to be)…maybe I still just care FAR too much about other people’s opinions of me.

Long story short, without causing more issues:  someone I thought I was fairly close to was apparently talking about me behind my back, and people were making passive aggressive statements to/about me on a forum I used to participate in quite frequently.
As of Friday, I deactivated my account there, and “unfriended” the vast majority of the women I knew from that site.  Not all.  But the only ones I kept are either: not active there much anymore, or women I actually interact with on FB.  There were a few that I probably could have kept on FB, but in reality…I was upset and didn’t know who I could trust anymore.  (If any of you happen to see this, know that I didn’t intend to hurt anyone’s feelings…I just seriously was unsure of who all had participated in the gossip.)

My anxiety and depression have kicked in pretty hard core.
I don’t like that I’ve allowed myself to become so upset over a handful of internet strangers opinions of me…but then I’ve always cared just TOO much.

I’ve decided, however, that this is a blessing in disguise.

At some point, we have to just move on.  At some point, we realize that not everyone we meet is a friend.  Not everyone who says they love you mean it.

What I can do right now, is I can focus on the people in my life who actually do care.  I can focus on myself, and on making my life better, without worrying about being judged.

On that note, I’ve found a spark of inspiration this weekend.  After feeling extremely low for two days, I had the opportunity to kind of immerse myself into the dance community this weekend.
The Tribal Massive is an event that takes place in Las Vegas every year.  I know the organizer/producer, but haven’t ever really done much with the event, because tribal/fusion isn’t my forte.  I do more Egyptian style, and folkloric dance, even though I do love and appreciate good fusion.

This year, I opted to volunteer at the Festival stage and the Fission show.  I was a “Stage Kitten,” meaning I helped out if costume bits/props, etc were left on stage/fell off/exploded.   It was the most fun job, even though people kept picking up their own stuff.  I had a blast.  I got to see all of the Festival performers on Saturday, and I got to watch the Fission show from the wings on Saturday night.  It was really great!  So many awesome performers.

Its put a bit of a fire under my ass to start working on more pieces.  One of my goals this year is to perform more often.  I have a Khaliji piece that I want to do in April…although it will be mostly improvised, I definitely have to start working on practicing, and work on the hair tossing…

I’d like to work more on the duet that Nina and I have put together…

I also want to put together a couple of fun pop numbers for shows put on by friends/should the need arise for a fun, peppy number.

I also desperately want to do a gooey, beautiful, classical piece.

Then, I had the brilliant idea for a double assaya piece.

Add to all this my desire for appropriate costuming, I’m actually going to be looking at asking friends for sewing lessons so that I can make my own costumes.  (the easy ones, like Saidi dresses, etc)

I definitely have my work cut out for me this year.  I just have to be diligent and not allow myself to get sidetracked.  I need to spend any free time I have working on improving my dancing instead of playing stupid games on my phone.  I need to work on conditioning, and exercise.  I need to work on strength training, and endurance.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like its possible.  But I know it is.  I know that its worth it.  I know that all the hard work, the dedication, the tears, the frustration, the elation, the pain…its all worth it.

If I can make just one person smile with my dancing.  If I can touch just one person…its all worth it.

Life is too short to allow yourself to be brought down by things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

While I’m here, I’m going to dance.

Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive 2015

Me dancing at the LVBDI in 2015.  Photo by Lee Corkett

 

furious-dancing

The Journey Woman Exercise/Notes

*This is another exercise for the book club book “This is Woman’s Work.”  This exercise was fun for me, as I’ve dreamed of traveling the world, to some specific places, for my whole life.  In this exercise, we were asked to actually put ourselves somewhere:  a real, geographic location or a place in our imagination, and compose postcards from those places.  Here are mine:  

 

Caire

Greetings from Cairo! There is ancient magic here, I feel it penetrating my soul. The sun is hot, it beats down on me, making me sweat, but I don’t mind. Gazing around me, I see so many colors in the souk, and look there…pyramids in the distance. Sitting at a small table, I can smell spices and coffee. The taste of hummus, REAL hummus makes me smile…the perfect hummus, not too much garlic like back home. Smiling, I sit here, eating my snack, listening to Oum Kalsoum drifting over the air…her songs tug at my heart.
I’m excited to be here, finally. My lifelong dream of seeing the pyramids, my 15 year dream of learning real Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, real folkloric dance, from Egyptian dancers…to immerse myself in Arab culture, music, movement, food…I love it here. I feel like I don’t ever want to leave.

uk-london-night-multi

Cheerio from beautiful England! Wandering through the streets, I can smell the storm approaching…its going to rain again. Grey skies, red phone boxes, although you know I’m searching for a blue Police box! I swear I can hear the TARDIS around every turn. I’m exploring at my own pace today. Popped into a little chippy for the most delicious fish and chips I’ve ever eaten. London is beautiful, even on the grey and rainy days. Rain is falling lightly on my skin…it feels more magical than a rainstorm in the states.
I could live like this…grey skies, a hot, steamy cuppa with milk and sugar, maybe a good book…Traveling all over to see the amazing historical sites…there’s magic here too. Deep, magic. Faery mounds, too. I could explore forever.

argentina

Hola from Argentina!  I’ve dreamed of coming back to Buenos Aries for a good 10 years.  Returning to Zarate to visit all the old restaurants, to taste the delicious fish empanadas.  Its humid here, I’d forgotten.  The humidity feels heavy on my body, and my hair…what a mess!  Wandering the flea market, I look at all of the beautiful colors: the blues of the flag, the dusty rose of the Rhodochrosite jewelry.  I can smell the mate, brewed hot and fresh, its bitter and delicious.  I’m so glad that I finally came back and experienced the wonders of the city at my own pace…siestas, and late dinner by the water…

chicago-2

Ah, Chicago.  I’ve missed you SO much.  As the bumpy train pulls into the station, I can feel the anticipation already.  My home.  My favorite.  Can I do it all in one day today?  I step off the train, the fumes from exhaust assaulting my nose with a loud “welcome back.”   Walking down Michigan Avenue, I hear the street musicians playing their hearts out.  The skyline is just as majestic as I remember.  All my favorites:  The Field Museum, The Art Institute, they’re all welcoming me back with open arms.  Finally, dinner at Pizzeria Uno, the cheese burning my mouth, the amazing taste of home filling me.

ireland

Is this real?  Am I here at last?  Oh Ireland, I’ve dreamed of you my whole life.  As far as I can see, rolling hills, greener than anything in the States.  The scent of fresh air and the faintest scent of heather are all around me.  I lay in the green grass near the cottage, and feel the earth beneath me…my roots.  My ancestors.  My history.  All here.  I close my eyes and I can hear the birds singing to me.  My neighbor pops in…her beautiful accent bringing the biggest smile to my face if she asks if I’d like to join her for tea.  I’m delighted.  The tea is sweet and strong. My heart is content here.  This is my home.  This is where I’ve longed to live out the rest of my days. In my beautiful cottage full of books, tea, and a crackling fire.

Random Musings for mid January

The first two and a half weeks of the year have passed.
So far, I have to admit, its been pretty awesome!

We spent New Year’s Eve drinking margaritas, eating delicious food, and playing games with some of our best friends.  Its the first NYE that Morgan hasn’t had a karaoke or DJ gig in 4 years, so it was really nice to be able to just relax.

I participated in a “Decadent Desires Challenge”  through Life Transitions for Women on their Facebook page, and not only did I win some cool prizes that I can’t wait to receive, but I have an actual plan of action to start achieving some of my deepest desires this year! It seems so simple when you sit back and make an action plan.

So, the next big thing on my agenda is surgery tomorrow.
I have an 18mm kidney stone in my right kidney.

I know.

After a year and a half of not having any kidney pain or problems, almost 2 months ago, after going running one day, I came home, and when I went to the bathroom, there was blood in my urine.
Now…I know this isn’t normal, and I probably should have had it checked a bit sooner, but, I don’t have a primary care doctor, and the urologist I had been seeing for my surgery no longer takes my insurance, so I didn’t have a urologist either.
Morgan suggested that it was my cycle.  And while I know my cycle, and knew that it wasn’t that, I convinced myself that it was.  It went away after a day.
A week later, my cycle came, the way it always does.  And then a week after that, after running again, there was more blood in my urine.

I ended up waiting longer than I should have, but after the 4th time seeing blood after a run, I decided that something wasn’t right, and that I needed to go to the ER.

After my CT, they told me I have an 18mm kidney stone.
That’s the size of a dime, in case you were wondering.   Most kidney stones are the size of a period or smaller.

So, I have to have another Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (or ESWL) procedure done tomorrow.  Its non invasive.  My recovery time should be short, and then I can get back on my C25K training, and weight lifting.
This happens tomorrow, and I’m hoping that by January 31st, that I’m feeling up to exercise.  Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve actually worked out, and I’m dying over here.

Besides my health, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and research about dance.
As a student of Arab dance for the last almost 15 years, it blows my mind how much I still don’t know.  I don’t say that out of arrogance.  There is ALWAYS something new to learn.  I’m a big fan of remaining a student for the rest of my life.  The moment I think I know everything is the moment I need to quit.

However.

Sometimes I feel like I’m LOSING information I used to have because I’ve been out of classes for so long.  I have days when I listen to a song, and I simply cannot pick out the rhythm, and I should know what it is.  I find myself pondering what maqam a song is in, and even though I’ve only studied a handful of the maqam in 3 workshops….I still beat myself up when I can’t pick it out.

I think sometimes after watching my videos on Facebook that I’m a mediocre dancer.  All I can do is pick out the trouble spots.  My arms suck.  My turns suck.  My musicality has suffered by not dancing.  I feel that I’ll never be as good as I want to be.  That I’ll never travel and teach.  That I’m not as good as some of my peers.

But then I think about some of the compliments that I’ve received on my dancing, recently for one of them…how I’ve been told by 2 of the teachers that I HIGHLY respect and admire, who are in a class all their own…who are actually Arab…one has told me that I’m a classy dancer, and the other commented that I dance “very Arab” which is the highest compliment I believe I could ever receive.  These people aren’t the kind of people who will simply compliment you just for the heck of it, or to stroke your ego.

Not saying that my friends or husband would say that I’m a great dancer when I’m actually  not…but its different coming from people who are of the culture you are representing.  I want my friends to know that I love and appreciate their support and compliments too.  I always have and always will.  This is by no means a slight.

I’ve also been told by 2 strangers at different points in my dance life, just while social dancing (the “get up and dance” portion of a set at restaurants where my friends are dancing) that I must be Arab.  So I must be doing something right…

Its hard to not be in my own head sometimes though, to be honest.  Dancing is all I’ve ever wanted to do, since I was 22 years old, falling in love with the dance.  I’ve wanted to travel to Egypt to study.  I’ve wanted to travel all over the US, studying, performing and also teaching.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have taught 2 workshops at the beloved Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive before it died.  I taught a handful of extremely dedicated beginner students before I started having all of these horrible kidney troubles.
I want to get back there again, and surpass it.  I want to be able to dance full time, and actually make a living at it.

I know it can be done.  I have friends who are doing it now.
But here comes that insecurity again…they’re so much better than I am…even though I might have more years of Arab Dance under my belt, they’re able to put in the time and money to continue taking classes where I can’t right now, and haven’t been able to for several years (because of my health, mostly.)

But guess what.
I can still do it.

I just have to make getting into classes a priority this year, and I’m going to. Whether its a 5 or 6 week session, or 1 hour long private class a month, I WILL get back into class.  I WILL work my technique and improve.  I WILL perform more often, and more varied styles (Khalji anyone?  Coming up soon!).  I will make it.

Because I have the drive, and the DESIRE to do it.  To share my passion with people.

I just have to prioritize and commit…and I’m doing that right now. Insha’Allah, this year will be the year that some of these dreams come true.

Yalla!

 

Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive 2015

Me dancing at the LVBDI in 2015. This photo SO captures how dancing makes me feel. Photo by Lee Corkett

 

 

So long, 2016. You will not be missed.

This year has been a rough one for a lot of people.
From the death of legends like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher , to the presidential election that still has me praying that I’ll wake up and this terrible dream will be over…a lot of folks have had a rough time this year.

We have too.
Long time friends have vanished, without so much as a “Fuck you.”  We moved and are struggling to pay things off, with car repairs, old bills, and new.  (We are getting there though.  Thankfully.)

This year has also been pretty damned amazing though, and that’s what I want to talk about today.  Dwelling on the negative side of life will never be helpful.  Acknowledging negativity, and allowing yourself to be in your feelings is one thing…but to dwell.  To let the bad fester…that’s not helpful.

What amazing things happened this year?
Well.
I got to spend some amazing time with friends this year.  Whether we were going to see The Cure, VNV Nation, exploring Disneyland, fan girling over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, gothing up a good friend, playing poker, playing D&D, playing disc golf, painting, dancing, drinking, eating cheese, seeing each other for the first time in 5 years, singing,  moving, laughing, crying, or visiting the Goddess temple and sharing struggles and successes…2016 was an incredible time for being with true, real friends.

I celebrated one year of marriage with my amazing husband.  That right there feels like a huge accomplishment, even if it was the easiest thing that either of us did all year.  Being with Morgan is easy.  Even when we disagree, argue, fight, or completely misunderstand each other.  With the things we’ve gone through this year, I love that our relationship only grows stronger every day.

I embodied 6 of the 7 CDFs (core desired feelings) I set for myself this year.
1. Bliss:  I was able to find a lot of good in many things this year, many of them simple pleasures.
2. Resilient:  This year has thrown me some curve balls.  But here I am.  Bouncing back.  Coming back stronger.
3. Sparkly:  I danced  A LOT this year!  I performed at 2 haflas, Steam-A-Thon Steampunk convention, and a fundraiser hosted by a dear friend.  I took a workshop AND was able to take a 6 week long raqs sharqi class with Aradia!
4.  Abundance:  This one was hard, because my focus was always on financial abundance, which…to be honest…we don’t have.  And we haven’t found it yet.  (I’m convinced 2017 will be the year we get to catch up AND save, but more on that later.)  This year, I was reminded of the abundance of LOVE and COMPASSION I have…I’m surrounded by friends and family who love me.  Who help me.  Who listen to me.  I am, in that aspect, abundantly blessed, and rich beyond measure.
5. Uncluttered: This one started at the old house after Pat disappeared.  We cleaned up.  We organized.  We threw things away.  We had a house that was fit to throw parties in!
Then we moved, and we got even more uncluttered.  The apartment is small, and while we do have SOME spaces that are a little cluttered, its nowhere near as bad as it used to be in the house.
6.  Healthy:  I’m most proud of this one.  Since my surgery last year, I’ve been mostly healthy this year.  Minimal pain, and that’s just been recently.   I haven’t had as many colds…I’ve been eating better, and exercising too.  Health is SO important to me, now that I have it back, I intend to keep it, and work hard for it.
(*side note, the one I didn’t really get to much was “steamy” but I might keep it as an honorary CDF for this year…embody my sensuality and sexuality a little more this year.)

I also set several goals last year that I actually met!!  There’s nothing better than reaching a goal.  Here’s what I accomplished last year:
1. Found a primary care doctor
2. Had my tubal ligation
3. Set workout goals, and started working out 3 times a week.
4. Set up and use planning time in the mornings (bullet journal)
5. Keep up with household chores
6. Eat more veggies
7. Take 1 local dance workshop
8. Take 1 session of raqs sharqi classes
9. Collaborate with local dancers for fun.

I’m really proud of myself and my progress!  So, as 2017 approaches, I am preparing myself for a stellar year.  I am visualizing and manifesting greatness and success for myself and for Morgan, and all of my friends.  I have 3 categories of goals again this year, and I’m excited to get started!

Life Goals:
1.  Find a better/better paying/more fulfilling job.
2. Save money.
3. Repair my credit/pay off medical debt.

Personal Goals:
1. Lose 62 pounds.
2. Get fit, strong, and healthy.
3. Observe and celebrate solstices, and holidays: Samhain/Yule, etc.
4. Read AT LEAST 1 book per month
5. Attempt to read 1 book a week (52 books this year.)
6. Continue to keep up with chores.
7.  Run a 5K/7K
8. Finally get memorial tattoo.

Dance Goals:
1. Daily/3 times a week practice
2. Take 1 local workshop
3. Take a workshop/private class with an OOT dancer (example:  When I go to San Diego, take a detour through L.A. to study with Aubre, Courtney, Princess Farhana, etc)
4. Perform/record the duet that Nina and I have choreographed, and send to VNV Nation.
5. Perform at least 3 times
6. Try to attend the Arab Dance Seminar

I’ve set my Core Desired Feelings for 2017 as well, and I’m really excited about them.  Here’s how I want to feel this year:
2017cdfs
1. Cultivated: I love this word.  This encompasses so many feelings that I want to experience.  I want to feel cultured.  Intellectual.  Intelligent.  Rooted.  Earthy.  I want to read books, I want to experience new music, see art galleries, sing, dance.  I want to explore my roots and my spirituality.  I want to learn more about my spiritual path, but in a grounded way.  I want to be more cerebral, but keep my emotions in tact.  Cultivated, for me, has all of those feelings and emotions and plans all wrapped up into one.
2. Magical:  This means so many things to me.  I’m exploring actual magick, and learning about witchcraft.  I know that magick is real, and I want to have magick in my life.
I also want to be amazed by life.  To find sparkly wonder everywhere.  I want to take people on a magical journey with my dancing.  I want to spend time with my head in the clouds.  I want to be entranced and enraptured by life itself.
3. Connected:  I want to feel more connected to my family and friends.  I want to spend less time with my phone in my hand, and more time face to face.  Laughing.  Talking.  Singing.  Eating.  I want to connect with people.  I want to connect with music when I dance. To connect to culture, and spirituality.
4.  Strong:  Strength is something I desire in all areas of my life.
I want to be physically strong.  To do pull-ups.  Push-ups.  Weighted squats.  Lift heavy things.  To be able to run a 5K or 7K.
I want to be mentally strong.  To be able to lift myself out of my depressive times.  To deal with stress in healthy ways.
I want to be strong when it comes to my resolve:  to find a new job.  I don’t want to be complacent about this anymore, and this is going to require a TON of strength to move outside of my comfort zone.
I want to be financially strong.  Bills are paid, in full, on time.  Debts are repaid.  There is money in the bank for a rainy day.  I live abundantly, all my needs and the needs of my husband are met.  We are strong and successful.
5. Cozy:  Cozy brings to mind comfort.  I have a tendency to put off self care and self love.  I don’t take down time until I am completely exhausted.  Cozy, to me, is curling up on the couch with my love and the dogs with a hot cuppa and a good book.  Cozy is a nice, long, hot bubble bath with more tea or wine.  Relaxing.  Blankets, and sweaters, and snuggles.  2017 I will take better care of myself.  I will not be afraid to say “No thank you” to plans, and to just stay in and relax.  To have a night in where I read one of my 52 books.
6.  Playful:  We, as adults, don’t play much anymore.  I feel very stressed, and tired all the time because of work.  I want to find a job where I can be playful.  Where I don’t have to be serious all of the time.  A job where I can have a bit of  fun.
I want to take the dogs for walks and to the park, and play with them.  Throw balls, chase them, run with them.
I want to play with my husband…he likes to be goofy and playful, and I tend to be cranky and old.  I don’t want to do that.  The key to a long life is laughter and fun.  And I want to play.
I want to play games with friends.  Game nights, poker nights, disc golf.
I want my life to be playful.  My dancing to be playful.
Let’s Play!

As the new year arrives, and we release the crazy year 2016, I want to thank you all, each of you who read this, for coming on this journey with me.

May your New Year’s eve be fun, filled with joy and laughter.
Be safe.

And may 2017 bring you closer to your goals, and leave you feeling the way YOU want to feel!

Happy New Year.

Journey into Bullet Journaling…

Yes, its true.

I’ve hopped on “the bandwagon” and started a Bullet Journal.
Someone I know mentioned this lovely little system on a Facebook group I’m a part of, and I was intrigued.  I love journals!  I love planners!  I love keeping track of my time using fun, tried and true methods!  SIGN ME UP!

I have a mild obsession with planners, notebooks, school supplies…I thrill over new pens and markers, I swoon at the scent of new colored pencils, and notebooks?  Give me ALL of them!

I made the mistake of doing a quick google/Pinterest search about bullet journals, (or #bujo for Instagrammers)and was immediately overwhelmed.  So many beautiful pictures of art, doodles, trackers, spreads, layouts!  It was inspiring, but a little frightening at the same time.  I’m not artistic.  Do I need to be artistic to do this?

The good news?  Nope!  You don’t need to have an artistic bone in your body to be a successful bullet journaler!

I watched this handy dandy video, which set my mind at ease.  The actual process for bullet journaling is SO easy, simple,and minimal!  I hope you’ll watch the video, but you basically have monthly, weekly, and daily “logs” where you record tasks, events, and notes.

Bullet Journaling, like so many things, has taken off all over the world.  The awesome thing about it is, its completely open to interpretation and expression.

I’ve modified the set up several times now.  I’ve been using this system for 3 months, and its very helpful in making sure that I take care of things that I tend to forget about.  I’m still working out which layout is best for me.  I felt that daily logs weren’t beneficial, because I’m honestly  not all that busy, but at the moment, weeklies are feeling very small, and like I don’t have enough space for everything that I want to log.  I may have to find a happy medium.  And a bigger notebook!

That’s the other amazing thing about this system.  Unlike other planners you have to order and wait for, you can use literally ANY notebook for this!  Of course, the Bullet Journal website sells notebooks specially designed for this system.  The many Facebook groups I’m a part of (seriously, I’m in 3 or 4 groups JUST for people who Bullet Journal!) tend to recommend Leuchtturm, or Moleskine notebooks.  Some people recommend just a standard Composition Notebook.   Me?  Right now, I’m using this beautiful journal that was gifted to me last Christmas.  This particular journal feels too small for me, but its definitely getting the job done.

A lot of people have asked me “Don’t you have an app for all that?”  “Why not just keep your calendar on your phone?”  “Don’t you hate having to lug a notebook and pen with you all the time?”

The answers, for me, were simple.
1. I don’t have access to my phone all the time.  In fact, the majority of my day, I cannot take my phone out.  At work, I only get to have my phone out during breaks and lunch.  Plus, I really want to start unplugging more.  I feel like I’m attached to my phone when I’m out, and I don’t like that.  I don’t want to add one more thing to the list of reasons why I NEED my phone.
2. I’ve never had much luck getting my calendars to work on my phones anyway: reminders don’t occur, or the events just don’t save.
3.  I always have pens with me anyway, and have you SEEN my purse?  That thing is a bottomless pit of doom.  Carrying one notebook is definitely not going to make a difference in how heavy it is!  Plus, this way, I don’t have random post-it notes floating around my purse anymore.

I love the freedom I feel with this system.  I can keep track of my work schedule, what days I’m working overtime, when my husband has gigs and court dates, etc.  Plus, like many bujo users, I also use mine to keep track of other things like water intake, workouts, knitting projects, and my weight loss!  I’ve also done two monthly challenges that I track as well.

I’ve added a few pictures below, so that you can see the progress I’ve made in my bullet journal.  You can see that I’ve gone from daily logs to a more weekly approach, at least for now, and how things are working for me.  I’ve also included pictures of my tracker pages and challenge pages:  my “No Candy October Challenge” spread, and “No Coffee November” spread.  I had a Countdown to California page where I was able to count down the days before our trip to see our favorite band and go to Universal Studios.  And finally, the spread keeping track of my knitting progress on 6 projects I’m working on.

If you are artistic, you can decorate, draw,  washi tape, etc to your heart’s content. That’s the beauty of this system.   It can be tailored to your liking!

I’ll leave you with the photos.  If you have questions,  let me know!  Check out Instagram and Pinterest for some awesome ideas! please excuse my sloppy handwriting.

This is the “yearly” spread at the beginning of the journal, or the “future log.”

This is what my first two monthly spreads looked like. Simple.

This is the new monthly layout I’m trying.

This was the first daily layout i used.

Slightly different daily. Had some fun trying out a “hand”: the American Horror Story font/hand!

Daily spreads were a little too much, so i moved to a weekly.

My current weekly

Countdown tracker

October’s Challenge: a sticker for every day I didn’t have a candy bar.

“No Coffee November”

My weight tracker!

Random musings

Its been a while since I wrote last.
I’ll admit, things have been crazy, and I’ve had too much on my plate to think about updating a blog…I apologize, if any of you who read this missed me…although to be honest…I really don’t think anyone reads this very often.

When last I posted, Morgan and I had just moved into our own little apartment.

We’re loving it here.
There have been issues.  Our dishwasher is wonky, and has to be turned on with a wrench.  The washer broke, and we ended up getting a new (and bigger)one.  The refrigerator didn’t work upon our move in, and so we got a new (and bigger) one as well…and had to wait almost 2 weeks for them to change the laundry room door, as it wouldn’t close with the new fridge.

There have been 2 shootings since we moved in, which is never a fun thing…but oddly enough, I don’t really feel unsafe at home.  We’re on the 2nd floor, and we have a gun.  If anything goes down, I feel secure.  But our neighbors are polite, if not super friendly.  They keep to themselves, and we keep to ourselves.  I like it that way.

We’re pretty settled into a routine.  The dogs are doing great.
We finally got Phedra spayed, and also found out that she had pyometra, which can be fatal.  (Spay and Neuter your pets, folks, it could save their lives.)    She’s recovering really well, thank goodness.  She’s actually amazing off leash.  She knows “go home” and will run right upstairs when she’s done going potty.
Jack is learning to walk really nicely on leash, instead of pulling, and has recently discovered that he REALLY wants to chase cats.  He’s become a lot more vocal too: groaning and moaning when we’re snuggling, if we stop paying attention for a second.

We’ve celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary last weekend.  It was really a nice weekend.  We spent it mostly by ourselves…during the weekend, we played cards with some friends, and had a nice buffet with my family.  But the day of our anniversary, we spent together, with the dogs.  We went to the movies (Doctor Strange!  So good!), and then Morgan made a delicious steak dinner that was just amazing.

I have also started a Couch to 5K training program.  I’m almost done with week 3, and let me tell you, this is the hardest thing I’ve done since P90X.
I’m running a minimum of 3 times a week, and each week, the running time and intervals increase.

Since starting to watch my weight back in September, and since really watching my portions and what I’m eating, I’ve lost 4.8 pounds, and 3.5 inches off my waist.  This is without regular exercise.  Now that I’m exercising more frequently, and I’m also starting to add to the running (abs yesterday! Ouch!), I can’t wait to see the results.

I’m feeling better.  I feel stronger.  My joints hurt less, ironically.   I thought by trying to run outside on the pavement that my joints would hurt more, but they don’t.  I’ve also discovered the beauty of an Epsom salt bath!  So relaxing, and it really soothed my aching muscles.

There have still been some rough patches.  I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t keep it completely real.

I’ve been having some serious body image issues that are playing into my dance time.  Even though I’m making progress physically, I feel like my dancing is off, and I feel stagnant.  I know what I need is a good workshop or private lesson to get my creative juices flowing again.  I just don’t have the money right now…

Financially, its tight.  We’re still paying down old balances from the move/before the move, and are owed over $300 from a previous roommate.  We have people who helped us out before the move that we want to pay back, but haven’t been able to yet, because we can’t get the old bills paid off until we get this $300.  Its beyond frustrating.  Because of this, and because we owe people money, we don’t go out and do things like we used to.  Doctor Strange was the first movie that we’ve seen in the theater since WAY before we moved…and that was free from using points at Station casinos.   We went to a concert in October, and Universal studios, but only because Morgan donated plasma to get the money for the hotel and gas (the concert tickets were bought LONG before the move and the financial crisis) and our friends payed for us to go to Universal.
We wanted to go to the new Gordon Ramsay restaurant.  Its the cheapest one he’s got, at probably $30 per person without extras (fries, shakes)…and we couldn’t do that.

The silver lining to this, as frustrated as I am, is that Morgan has 2 karaoke gigs this month (one was last night) that we can use to pay back 1 of the 3 people we owe.  I’ve started making and selling fingerless gloves, so I’m making a little extra money that way.  Morgan is still donating plasma to help out with extra money, and we finally have his resume set up, so he can find something part time while we finish the edit of his novel.

gloves1

the first pair that I made

They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest.  I won’t lie, it has been a ROUGH year.  But our marriage has been the easy part.  Knowing that we have each other’s backs through all the hard stuff makes it easier to get through the rough patches.

As Thanksgiving fast approaches, and the worst year of a lot of people’s lives draws to a close, I can only remember what I’m truly grateful for, and put out positivity to the Universe for a better year next year.

Stay tuned for my annual Thanksgiving and New Year posts!  I should have at least one more coming soon, about this amazing thing I’ve been doing for almost 3 months, Bullet Journaling.

…till next time dear readers.

The stars look very different today…

AMPAS Gold Standard Series

Jareth, The Goblin King, played by David Bowie

A great light has gone from the world.
Yesterday, I learned of David Bowie’s passing Sunday night, at the age of 69.

There have been a few celebrity deaths that have affected me deeply: Heath Ledger, Luciano Pavarotti, and now…David.

How can I explain the loss I feel?  Why should the death of a singer/actor/artist make me cry at work?
Because he was so much more than just a singer/actor/artist to me.

I remember seeing The Labyrinth as a child.  It was my favorite movie.  It still is one of my all time favorites.  My sister and I would watch it constantly, and recite the lines, and sing the songs.  And at the heart of it, was this beautiful man, Jareth.  The Goblin King.  David Bowie. I couldn’t have been more than 6 years old, but I was in love with this David Bowie.  I adored him.  I wanted to marry him.  I wanted to dance with him the way Sarah danced with him in the Labyrinth.

Later in the year, my sister and I saw a televised showing of The Glass Spider Tour, and I was hooked.  I was still too young to buy much music of my own, but as soon as I was, I got my hands on as much David Bowie music as I could.   It was because of Bowie that I got into much of the music that speaks to me today.

David Bowie is THE only artist that I learned of as a child that continues to enchant me to this day, almost 30 years later.  The idols of my pre-teen and teen-aged years have long since fallen, but Bowie is still there…and there he shall remain for the rest of my days.

Bowie was a genius.  A brilliant mind.  I did some reading today, and was reminded of some details about his life, his fame…and I saw a few things that remind me of me.  (I’m not by any means comparing myself…just noticing that some of his human qualities remind me of not only my shortcomings, but my triumphs over the shortcomings. )

David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” was the first song I ever sang in a public karaoke venue, back in Chicago.  I still sing it, only now I sing it with my husband: him on the lead, and me on the harmony.  I sing “Magic Dance.”  I sing “Modern Love.”

I count myself as extremely lucky to have been to a concert of his back in 2004.  My best friend Jake (who passed away last year) and I went to the Reality tour in Chicago.  It was the experience of a lifetime.  So many classics, and new songs…and when he sang “Life on Mars?”…my heart quickens just remembering how amazing he sounded, and what a great show he put on.

I owe a lot of who I am today to David Bowie.  He influenced much of the music that I listen to.  He was unapologetically himself, which in turn, showed me that its ok to be unapologetically MYSELF.  To live my life, and to be true to who I am.  To what I want to do.

As someone who is artistically inclined anyway,  knowing that this great pioneer went before me, paving the way for the unusual, the “weird”, the different…it gives me great comfort, and inspires me anew to pursue my dreams.

I started writing this yesterday, after learning of his passing, but found it quite difficult to articulate all that I was feeling.

Sadness, of course.  But also a tremendous amount of gratitude.

And so, a bright light has gone from the world:  it is now in the heavens. (“Look up here, I’m in heaven” he sang in “Lazarus”)  The stars look very different today, for there is a new, bright star among them.   A guiding star for all of us….

“Look out your window, I can see his light…
…There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile.”