30 November 2005

dance class

photo by david olivari.

class was so good the other night that I slept in my leotard and sweats. walked in the door of my home and crashed, deliciously exhausted yet strangely energized and ready to take on whatever the world might be dishing out. with as much as I have been squawking about getting back into it, I finally felt like my foot was in the door of a place I have not been to in some time. oh, I have been going to class but really struggling to find my way back.

just getting myself there every tuesday night feels like an impossible feat, one that I am continuously attempting with what feels like several large rock-filled bags attached to my body. slow and deliberate and just a little bit agonizing. ava takes creative movement at the beam right before my class and so there's a whole special tuesday night routine that must be carefully followed lest things fall apart at the seams and wreak havoc on the entire evening. it starts with dinner (which must be served early) and is then followed by a drawn-out potty time that absolutely positively must take place. then comes a whole mess of dance clothes that have to be squeezed into while ezra runs amok. there's the hurried round-up, the packing of everyone in the car (which often feels like I am collecting marbles that are rolling in all directions). there's the trip to pick up ward at work downtown whereupon I try not to race and swerve and pass and speed. we sing along to 'they might be giants' here come the ABCs (at the top of our lungs, natch) and we do this to get excited about dance class. but also to keep ezra from falling asleep. if he sleeps early then there will be hell to pay and we might be in for an epic struggle at bed time involving relentless whining that will feel a little like chinese water torture and will make us want to whine and cry too. so I feel like I am tormenting ezra by tickling him, singing loudly or rolling down the window a tad for 'a little bit of cold air' to keep him awake but it must be done. normally, I would not have him in the car at this time of day, but it is unavoidable. why don't I just prod him with an electric stick? I feel like a horrible mother. and nine times out of ten, he falls into a deep sleep by the time we pull up to ward's work. then there's the fight to make it through traffic the short distance to moving in the spirit, where class takes place. we struggle to make it on schedule and by the time we pull up, I am on edge. I hate being late. after ava's class is over, ward takes both of the kids home while I stay to take (the oh-so-fantastic) wayne smith's 7:45 modern technique class. but by 7:45, I am depleted of about 98% of my energy. my reserves are low and I wonder how I am going to make it through class. I'm tired. I want to go home and cuddle up on the couch with ward. but I stay. I stay because I remember how important it is for me to stay, how good it feels to move, to sweat, to dance. I stay because I can't give up on that part of me. and I try not to think about the times in my life where class was an everyday occurrence, late night rehearsals were the norm and I try not to think about how much I took all that for granted.

and so I am there. I have been getting myself to class for a while now but this tuesday night felt different. oh, I was still tired but once we started moving, things started to feel electric. when you are dancing and everything is working the way it should be, it feels a little like your body is taking you for a ride. everything you have is engaged- brain, muscle, skin, bone, organs, nerves, cells, blood, breath, EVERYTHING. muscles expand and contract, the back widens, shoulders relax and drop, the chest opens up. your movements are weighted but you feel like you are floating. mad energy spirals up and out of the core of the body, out through the fingertips, the top of your head and every part of you feels like it is alive and buzzing. you are moving through space fully and effortlessly and it feels exactly like it sounds. it feels AMAZING. it's glorious, such a thrill. it's a little bit like flying and yes, a lot like a good ride at the carnival. don't get me wrong, you are working and thinking and (best of all) sweating (oh, the sweating) but it feels more like the natural, automatic rhythm of breathing. which is where I found myself the other night.

my chica danette says that dance 'shakes things loose and free' and I think there is no better way to say it than that. which is why I keep dancing. and why the fight to get there is worth it.

(check out this photographer's beautiful work on flickr. he is responsible for the stunning photo above and best captures what movement really feels like, I think. I am especially taken with this set. oh yes, and thank you wayne.)

28 November 2005


remember that the most beautiful things in life are also the most useless. peacocks and lilies, for instance. -john rushkin

24 November 2005


happy birthday to my lovely lovely boy. had you not been born on that 24th day of november, who knows where I'd be. I've been thinking all week long about you and all the fantastically quirky and lovable things about you and how you embrace your age like a proud teenager. I want to write about you forever, you are so good. even when you are driving me batty and making me pull my hair out and everything feels wrong, you are good. so I bake the chocolate cake with ava and we get crazy with the sprinkles. we make your card together. I wrap your presents, wishing I had more to give you, wishing I had some sort of spectacular surprise that would take your breath away and make you squeal with boyish glee (yes, that's right- BOYISH GLEE). because what I have to give you seems sort of ordinary and humble (even though I know you'll really like it). it's not the keys to a charming old villa in the middle of tuscany or a shiny new turquoise vespa scooter or even a huge box filled with every single item off your amazon wish list (just a few of the things I would slap a big red bow on and give to you if it were at all possible). does the fact that I wish I could give you these things count as anything? thing is, you'll read this and you'll tell me yes. yes andrea, it does, it counts.

and this will make me smile. which is why I am so glad you were born and why I married you in the first place, homeboy.

it's all about the mashed potatoes

and (lest I sound ungrateful), giving thanks.

happy thanksgiving, y'all.

22 November 2005

self portrait tuesday #14

yes I am a girlie girl. I'm not afraid to say it. there's no shame in my game here because there seems to be some balance. yes to pink and red, to glittery, sparkly things but also yes to getting dirty, to swimming in my own sweat. yes to sexy kitten heels and fab wedges but also yes to crusty old (beloved) shelltoe adidas sneaks. yes to smelling nice (like lemons and roses and sugar, please) but also yes to knowing that you are occasionally going to smell bad and then, you know, being okay with that. yes to curves for days and lovely skin and endless softness but also yes to power and muscle and strength beneath those curves.

yes, I say.

(more self portrait tuesday identity explorations here)

21 November 2005

with electric brains

the other day, as we were getting out of the car to go into the book store, ava says this:

"this place smells like robots."

and really, I just want a mind that works like that.

17 November 2005

that tooth fairy, she can fly

ava lost her first baby tooth on monday at school. that sweet little tooth. it's been hanging on for a while now, threatening to flee the scene. hung around long enough to get a taste of the halloween candy goodness and then it must've decided it was time to give up the fight. so tiny, that sweet little baby tooth. which got me to thinking about how tiny that ava-girl once was and well, I don't think I can stand to think about that for too long. I start to feel all mushy and soft and sentimental inside and there's just no time for that today, no time for the weepiness.

we spent monday evening excitedly discussing the tooth fairy. is she small? or is she a giant? how does she know when all the kids lose their teeth? what does she wear? does she fly? and if so, how? we have come to the conclusion that she is very tiny and that she travels with a tiny computer where she receives emails from all over the world from parents of newly toothless children. we're pretty sure she can fly and also believe she has sparkly wings that change colors. we decided we needed a special box for the tooth and so out came the paints and brushes and crayons and an old jewelry gift box that was just begging to be reincarnated as something more fabulous and important. I had to hold back my gasp of mama-like horror as ava placed that FRESHLY PAINTED little box under her pillow. one look into those eyes all lit up with excitement and possibility... I just didn't have the heart to point out how the gloppy wet paint might make a mess. bedtime was a breeze that night, you would have thought it was christmas eve. and true to christmas-morning fashion, ava woke me VERY EARLY the next morning to show me what the tooth fairy had left in the box: a plastic purple heart ring with a dollar bill attached and a shiny new fifty-cent piece.

and that big kid tooth is already pushing its way through, the first of so many. when ava went to show off her 'new' smile to daddy, he said, "wow. you look like a real kid!"... and it breaks my heart a little, but she does. she really does.

(ava drew a picture of the whole thing and it is lovingly featured here on loverboy's blog... and there's a little more of the toothless wonder here)

15 November 2005

self portrait tuesday #13

I look at this photograph and and can't help but remember how idealistic, how optimistic and free-spirited I was at age twenty-four. I was a newlywed, therefore I walked around in a perpetual state of bliss. I was also knee-deep in the joyous trenches of dance-- teaching, working with kids in the inner city, performing and finishing up a degree in dance education. I was so on fire to change the world.

so, I'm a little different now. ten years will do that to a girl. I'm a little less optimistic, a little less free-spirited, a lot less idealistic. a little broken maybe. but so much stronger and smarter. and seasoned in ways I never thought possible. I know who I am. the barefoot girl whipping her skirt around in the photo still buzzes around inside my head. she is occasionally called upon to breathe new life into the beat down part of me that hangs on by a thread. and she represents a sacred facet of my identity I hope to hold onto for the rest of my days. though I keep this photo around as a reminder. just in case I forget.

(take a little looky at what others doing for the self portrait tuesday identity challenge.)

14 November 2005

when disaster strikes

oh, it was to be a weekend filled with much goodness, a weekend that held fantastic possibility. there was to be a visit from parents, a trip to the fleamarket, a double date (to the movies), two birthday dinners for friends (one to include dancing, OH THE DANCING), a chili cook-off and a trip to the newly re-opened high museum of art (for FREE). ah, but the weekend gods had something else in mind, something more in the vein of disaster. the parents were here less than twenty four hours before being called home for a family emergency. and before we could salvage the weekend, the sick children were called in. yes, there was public vomiting and a high fever, the kind of fever that reduces mothers to tightened little balls of nerves and forces them to curl up on the couch into fetal positions. no, I could not enjoy a saturday night viewing of disc one of season two of arrested development, could not even enjoy that golden time when the kids have been put down and you know that the evening is yours. there was worrying to do and of course, more vomiting (this time by ezra). and all of this sickness, this paralyzing maternal fear cancelled out the fleamarket, the double date, the birthday dinners, the chili cook-off and the high museum of art. and essentially any chance we had of recovering from the unexpected and quite disappointing departure of my parents.

I love this photo of my mom and dad holding me and my brother nate, have loved it for so many years now, for so many reasons. but now I love it because I can relate. because this could just as easily be a photograph of me and ward holding ava and ezra. sort of speaks to the kind of weekend we had and I am strangely comforted by it. I am reminded that it is just going to go down like this sometimes, things are going to fall apart and sometimes all you can do is hope to make it through. and that's what we did, we made it through. we took care of the kids and tried to hold it together and sometimes that's all you can do.

09 November 2005

like peanut butter and chocolate

the beatnik and the butterfly. excuse me, butterfly fairy. ten days after halloween and we're all finally coming down off a legendary sugar high, the kind of sugar high that people write songs about. and the good candy is long gone. I know it's gone because I broke down the other day and finally ate the mounds bar (why? because SOMEONE HAD TO).

for more photos of the fairy in flight and the beatnik that looks more like a french thief, clickety-click here.

it's the magic number

two is the magic number. well, no. we all know it's three but let's just pretend like it's two for the sake of the title. the oh so lovely poppy would like for me to do this and since I think she's the BEE'S KNEES, I'm saying yes! yes, I will do this. like anyone would have to twist my arm. hello, my name is andrea and I'm addicted to memes and questionnaires.

two names you go by:
1. hula/girlhula
2. and this

two parts of your heritage:
1. italian (predominantly)
2. german (vaguely)

two things that scare you:
1. heights
2. and these

two of your everyday essentials:
1. this
2. lip gloss in 'love nectar' made by these people

two things that you are wearing right now:
1. my brown leather wrist cuff
2. a pair of these ...though mine don't really look like that. they're black leather (and wooden) and made by BP and I love them. I've also been known to clunk around in brown ones and would like some in red, please.

two of your favorite bands or musical artists (at the moment):
1. mum
2. mars ILL

two favorite songs (at the moment):
1. 'trapeze swinger', by iron and wine
2. 'I've been thinking', by handsome boy modeling school (featuring cat power)

two things you want in a relationship (other than real love):
1. fun
2. passion (the gloriouslyreallifemessyrollercoasterridemakemecrazy kind)

two truths:
1. I would drink ice cold coca cola for breakfast every morning if it wasn't just the most horrible thing for my health
2. I believe in kicky little berets

two physical traits in the opposite sex that appeal to you:
1. lips and eyes like these
2. personal style like this

two of your favorite hobbies:
1. making stuff like this
2. photography

two things you want really badly:
1. a holga
2. an airline ticket to new york

two places you want to go on vacation:
1. here
2. and here (yes, I'd like to go back, would love to take ava and ezra)

two things you want to before you die:
1. see the world with this man
2. watch my children grow up, watch them raise my grandchildren in happiness and health (thank you jan, rhonna- can't put it any better than this)

two ways you are stereotypically a dude/chick:
1. I'm such a girly-girl who loves to shop and look at sparkly girly things like clothes and jewelry and shoes and make-up
2. I love fresh flowers

two things you are thinking about right now:
1. I need to brush my teeth and wash my face before it is officially wednesday afternoon
2. where can I buy a pink wig?

two stores you shop at:
1. here
2. and here (when I can)

two people you would like to do this:
1. lulu
2. m

06 November 2005

how to survive

all too often, I find myself on my hands and knees cleaning up slimy green peas. or chunks of watermelon. or cottage cheese. all foods that will never make it into ezra's mouth, foods that will meet with an unfortunate fate, foods that will end up in those doughy little fists only to be enthusiastically flung into the air. and it's my job to clean it all up. now, the ez is a fairly good eater but he is (after all) a baby and when babies are finished eating they like to to tell you. they yell, they squirm, they throw the leftovers. they just want those peas to GO. AWAY. which is where I come in and I've got to tell you, I detest the cleaning up of the aftermath. something about being on all fours, my face inches away from a sticky, grimy wooden floor that is screaming to be cleaned. nothing brings on such an unwelcome look at my everyday reality as this (and here's the part where I talk about that bath product called calgon and how they claim to take the average housewife far, far away but it's a lie, people don't buy into it because seriously, you need a plane ticket to tahiti and a private masseuse for that sort of escape). the thought of a hot bath only reminds me of yet another room in the house that needs to be vigorously scrubbed. and who wants to soak in a soup of filth? clearly CLEARLY out of the question. at least until the bathroom is clean. and so there I am, crouching under the dining room table, muttering complaint after complaint under my breath while the kids giggle above me, oblivious to my miserable state (thankfully). I can't help but wonder how my mom did it for so many years with three kids-- all those messes, those runny noses to wipe, the countless dinners to make, the piles and piles of laundry, the daily drama, the hardcore everydayness of everyday.

and I understand why she started painting. I finally get why she was often taking a class of some sort or learning how to make something or getting together with friends to make something. everyone needs to play. I am really understanding just how important that is in our big bad important world of adultness, what with all of our hang-ups and responsibilities, how essential it is to find the time to play. why does it always seem to be at the bottom of my list when it should be near the top? isn't it the the very thing that keeps us from going to that crazy place? to paint, to write, to make a collage, to chase bubbles with ezra, to spin around and around with ava until we are dizzy and laughing and on the ground. this is what keeps me from having a little breakdown under the dining room table with all the peas.

02 November 2005

it calls out, this dancing

"marcel duchamp said art is primarily an intellectual activity, right? well, that's not where I live. I want my art to be tender, brave, sexy, outrageous, seductive. I ask myself, is that being fair? yes, I say. yes, it's fair because I'm the one who makes the rules. so don't buy a ticket if you can't handle that." -bill t. jones

m, this is for you. and it's for me. it's for anyone and everyone. bill t. jones, I celebrate you. because you believe that all body types belong on stage and that amazing movers come in all shapes, all sizes. because you once said that 'modern dance was nobody's sleeping beauty' (amen and hallelujah to that). because when you conducted a master class with fifty nervous young dancers, you still took the time to come around and personally introduce yourself to each one of us, warmly shake each hand. because during that ridiculously nerve-wracking ninety minute class where everyone seemed to be watching everyone else, you had us whispering desires and screaming our names, you had us flying effortlessly through thick summer air. because you created a book about modern dance for children that I am proud to read to my daughter, my son. because you make breathtaking work, work that is indeed tender, brave, sexy, outrageous and seductive. because watching you perform, watching your company onstage can only be defined as exhilarating. because you make me feel like singing, like shaking, like jumping, like grinning, like crying, like dancing.

01 November 2005

self portrait tuesday #12

"when in doubt, overdress." -vivienne westwood

I am crazy about this month's 'self portrait tuesday' challenge. any excuse to experiment, to play, to think, to take on unfamiliar roles or gently expose facets of the personality that rarely see the light of day... I do believe this goes beyond wigs and sunglasses. and carnival/circus act headpieces, as pictured above, ha. though I'm not going to pretend that I am above playing dress up (oh yes, there's a reason ava has two giant old suitcases overflowing with feathery, glittery, colorful junk with even more in the attic and I can't stop). I'm not going to pretend that my initial attraction to the challenge was anything short of girlish glee (I have always always wanted an excuse to buy a bright pink wig). but in my attempts to overdress (loving this quote by brilliant designer ms. westwood), I'm also hoping to maybe find a little something. anything. or maybe nothing. I don't know. and the not knowing part is what I like best about this assignment. mainly, I'm just hoping for fun.

and a shockingly bright pink wig.