28 July 2005

redesigning my backspin

hey, that's me on the right in the yellow shirt. ron brown's class, american dance festival, 1998.

there was a period in my life when I lived in baggy sweats, cut-up leotards and a pair of deliciously decayed shelltoe adidas. my world was about movement, about teaching, about kids (not my own). my nights were filled with classes and rehearsals. I devoted large chunks of time to developing original curriculum, seeking out fresh music and researching the importance of arts in education. I remember feeling like I would exist this way forever and could imagine no other way of living. and now here I am, in a completely different place.

and this is a good place to be, it's a great place. but there are times when it feels slightly foreign to me and I experience a sort of achiness thinking about my old self. I'm fairly certain she still exists, it's just a little more of a challenge to find her these days. a while back, I wrote about my quest to pick up where I left off. it has been one steep hill, people. I feel as if the world that I worked so hard to create is passing me by. this past weekend, I happened to pick up a weekly arts/happenings guide only to discover that a dance company that I have been waiting for EIGHT YEARS to see here in atlanta had come and gone. I am sick to my stomach over this gross oversight on my part. folks, I AM SLIPPING. normally, I am aware of any and all upcoming performances way in advance. ronald k. brown/evidence is a phenomenal company out of brooklyn that I first happened upon in 1997 at the american dance festival. on a whim, I snuck into his class the first week of the festival. ninety minutes and a couple of buckets of sweat later, I was hooked and continued to slip into his class each afternoon (and I have mad love for mr. brown for pretending not to notice my sad little charade). then I saw the company perform and I'm here to tell you: that is some moving and dancing that will make you want to lay down and cry like a happy little baby. ever since that summer, I have been whining and complaining about the dance scene here in atlanta, wondering what it would take to bring a great company like this to the ATL. where are all the fresh, new modern companies? (yeah, I know exactly where they are and it's not here). I'm so sick of the atlanta stinking ballet. there is such a world of goodness and art and movement out there. I am tired of having to pick up the village voice at the bookstore just to keep up on the latest companies/performances. but I digress. my point is that I missed out on seeing ron brown, something that would've refueled me for days, for months, FOR YEARS in the juiciest, lovliest ways. thing is, I was wrapped up in ava's big birthday party. I don't regret this (not by any means), this time spent organizing and throwing her the big fifth birthday bash (I admit, I went overboard again and will be writing about it soon). I'm just unsure of how my two worlds will merge, if they will merge at all.

this fall, I will begin to teach for moving in the spirit again. neither my mind or body is even close to being ready, though I think just by writing this, I am taking some sort of step in the right direction.

26 July 2005

birthday girl

for the past five years, that girl of mine has turned my world upside down in the most wonderful ways. today, we are celebrating. and I am celebrating her life in my own little way... click here for a little looky at all my favorite photos of ava taken this past year.

happy birthday, sweet girl.

25 July 2005

I'm fixated

more scraps from the rolls of old wrapping paper recovered from auntie's basement. I'm sorry. I can't stop.

20 July 2005

princess of coolness

ava gets lost in her pollies. she creates elaborate worlds with the tiny polly pocket dolls and all their microscopic accessories. actually, she will use anything that is in keeping with her vision of a pollynation... any little thing (marbles, rocks, straws, happy meal toys) that will further enhance the story of what she calls a 'set-up'. these elaborate scenes usually start out with a couple of items and then grow into expansive and highly detailed sets, with all sorts of goodies precariously balanced and placed carefully and intentionally. last night, we asked her about her latest masterpiece.

"so, what's the story on this one?"

"well, this girl here at the top is the princess of coolness and she is the one who will help to make all the other ones cool."

"oh... wow."

and I wanted her to explain what she meant. as in, what is your definition of coolness, li'l girl? should mommy be concerned? should mommy worry that this may be the beginning of a neverending pursuit rooted in everything that is wrong with our empty, image-obsessed society? but we never got that far and I don't really think that. it was bedtime and we were all tired and just beginning the long, long process of putting the kids down. as she was jumping into bed, she made this dramatic declaration:

"mommy, please don't touch this set-up because in the morning I have A LOT OF WORK TO DO."

you and me both, kid.

15 July 2005

flower power

my great aunt louraine saved everything. rolls and rolls of these vintage wrapping papers (circa 1960s? 1970s?) were found in her basement last week and I fell in love with them. there were also polka dots, butterflies and tripped-out bridal shower and birthday patterns. I think that we are going to be very happy together, me and my new papers.

14 July 2005

free flow

last week, you could find me in a small town in illinois. I packed up the bambinos and spent a week at grandma and grandpa's house (while freedom-boy ward feasted on brown sugar pop-tarts, attended numerous midnight movies, slept peacefully through the night and ran recklessly through the house in his most rancid and ragged boxers, yelling YEEHAW). I could write for days about so many little adventures and have been stuck for several minutes now over the very thought. I want the words to flow effortlessly and form lyrically descriptive sentences that speak of cornfields and peaceful small-town nights, but I am so tired. and what is coming from my mind is this: it was good. it was not always easy, but it was good.

ava spent hours playing with my old barbie dolls (cher with her hair whacked off and the lovely and decaying farrah fawcett). she has been talking about this trip, salivating over these barbies for weeks and weeks. and when it came time to pack up and come back home, she did not want to go. who could blame her? we visited mema's best friend out in the country where we saw the most beautiful horses. infinite cornfields and aging red barns, it all really does exist. and yes, there was fresh air to be taken into the lungs.

the fabulous grandma that my mom is, she had cookies with pink icing and lucky charms cereal on hand. she read many, MANY books, dragged out countless old toys and helped ava to set up the mother of all barbie homes. we had a delightful time catching lightening bugs in the front yard to take with us at bedtime. and she stayed with the munchkins while I visited my favorite local thrift store (best find: little black vintage clutch for a dime. THAT'S TEN PENNIES, PEOPLE). she tirelessly followed ezra up and down the stairs while I grabbed moments of alone time in the cosmetics section of wal-mart. so many little acts of kindness, mom. too many to name. thank you.

ezra drove me a little nuts. actually, he drove me to a place of craziness inside myself that I have not visited in awhile. he was into everything and going full-speed at 73,000 m.p.h ALL THE TIME. the nights were the worst and I have not experienced such sleep deprivation since the first days he was born. I was jarred from sleep several times each night and often found myself standing and holding him at four in the morning. sitting/reclining in any way was not acceptable and often met with high-pitched screams and full-body protests. only when I was standing perfectly still did his little body relax into sleep. this is such a torturous thing to do when you're in that drunken half-asleep state that is usually so delicious. too tired to cry, I felt it necessary to devour as many little cupcakes as possible while watching the magic bullet infomercial in the dark. I've decided that everyone should own a magic bullet. and if you have to ask what the magic bullet is, then you are missing out on a world of goodness.

the ez had his moments, though. they were so ridiculously sweet that all the dark hours I spent in sleepless frustration must be forgiven. on one of our nightly walks in the neighborhood, he learned that if he held the pinwheel up in the air, the wind would make it spin. his little squeals of glee upon this discovery were almost more than I could take. we continued to walk through the quiet, my cheeks wet with tears. everything sounds different in a small town. I can say this because I grew up in a very small southern illinois town. it really is quiet, there really are the sounds of crickets. and people sit out on their front porches.

every moment seemed so full of some sort of something going on, something always happening. I'm having difficulty believing it all went down in the course of seven days. there was a lovely lunch with my best friend, such a rare luxury that I could cry just thinking about it. there was a visit with my great aunt louraine, one of the most fantastic women I have known in my lifetime. there was the momentous occasion of ava placing the stamps on her birthday party invitations and then the big walk across the street to the post office where she dramatically mailed them herself. there was ezra imitating mema and papa's dogs barking, learning to say 'thank you' and feeding himself (and everyone around him) ice cream for the first time. I never got tired of the sight of the old downtown movie theatre marquee lighting up each night. and my dad and ezra-- they were amazing together.

there's so much more. there was a trip to ryan's buffet that needs to be addressed, the discovery of some splendid vintage gift wrap (courtesy of my great aunt lo-lo) and my inability to allow ward to guiltlessly experience a little bit of freedom. oh, there's so much more but I'm feeling the need to stop here and possibly do some sleeping. it was good. it was greatness.