31 December 2005

seek and ye shall find

it's true: I've done more than my fair share of complaining. it's so easy to do. it just sort of wears on you, the everydayness. dirt and the rocks, that's what it is. the everyday dirt and rocks of a foundation you work so hard to build, and you get lost in it and then it becomes near impossible to see what you were working so hard to create in the first place.

and then all of the sudden, it is the last day of the year and you find yourself looking back. if you're lucky, you really see. you are able to look beyond the daily gritting of teeth, the sweating, the steady application of much elbow grease, the inconvenience of 365 days of living and you see your life for what it really is. people, I am an expert whiner, I am superb. my skills in this area are unmatched (it may surprise some people to know that I am the pessimist, the realist and ward is the eternal optimist in this marriage deal). I am not so dense though, so steeped in my ways that I can't see the beauty in my life that is spilling out all over the place. I am so rich, I am rolling in it, I'm drenched and saturated. love, love, love. I see it, feel it even when I don't want to.

this year: watching ava and ezra grow up in a million heart-breaking little ways (too many to name), playing in the ocean, dancing again, teaching again, celebrating eleven years of marriage, and wow, the writing I have done. this blog gig broke open a world I didn't even know existed until about a year ago. and the people I have met along the way have inspired me in the most divine ways. I'm humbled by the creativity and support my new friends have so willingly offered up. sitting here writing this, I feel something crazy and alive bubbling under my surfaces and I am excited to think of where it will take me. I have been laying in bed at night, eyes wide open. thinking clearly and slowly untangling threads of ideas in my head. the possibility of art, of painting, drawing, of photography, of choreography, of more dancing, more writing, it's too much. I feel good and green and bursting with colors, seconds away from eruption.

2006! here it comes. to my friends, my family, the world-- happy new year.

22 December 2005

it's the thought

ava has really gotten into the spirit of things. she has taken to wrapping up tiny little found objects to give to all her school friends. I haven't had the heart to tell her that her classmates might not be so excited about receiving a piece of an old pencil eraser. frankly, I was thrilled to see her focus shift from getting to giving. it's an exciting thing to witness, it's what you hope for as a parent. even if it has been breaking my heart on the daily. any little thing that caught her eye (which included the cracked half of a plastic pink bead she found on the floor of the thrift store the other day) was lovingly wrapped in a minuscule piece of red tissue paper and a whole mess of tape. she held them in her hands the other day, all those tiny little red packages. she held them carefully, as if they were jewels and her eyes shone with pride. she could not wait to give them to everyone in her class and I said a small prayer that her friends would somehow see the love behind the odd little gifts. and then in the car on the way home from school the other day, she told me that she had given out all her presents. she looked out the window and said nothing else. and of course, this worried me but I did not pry.

yesterday, we had lunch with ava at her school to celebrate the grand opening of the new cafeteria. as we sat eating macaroni and cheese and fruit cocktail (naturally), a little boy eyed me from across the table. I could tell that he was working up to the saying of something. then finally, "ava gave me a present," he said, grinning generously. oh, he was so happy about that little gift, he was. and then ava, she smiled too-- a smile as wide and as open as the whole of the sun.

kids, man. they can be so cool.

19 December 2005

fa la la la la

I am currently in a state of super-crazy-holiday-momminess. I'm not screaming at sarcastic sales people or swiping parking spaces from nice old ladies in oldsmobiles or anything like that but I am feeling completely spent. super-mommy wants to make everything extra-special for everyone, but andrea (the real live human-being) is unable to do so without some sort of superhero powers. and so I am letting it go. which is why I decided to post the above photo of the ava girl because I look at this and I think that I'd like to be all wrapped up in her glowy happiness and earnest anticipation. so I am going to try to let go of all the lists and the urgenturgenturgent need to cross all items off said list and I am going to get all wrapped up in the spirit with ava and ezra and ward and my family and friends. maybe it's corny but goodbye to all my caring about what's corny and what's not because we are going to sing and bake cookies and dance around the house in our pajamas and wrap presents and celebrate the birth of christ and revel in the love.

I'm off to revel. I'm wishing you the same.

13 December 2005

self portrait tuesday #16

more self portrait tuesday loveliness here and here.

12 December 2005

hello, I'm 35

hello, I'm 35 years old

and I'm blissed out. check it:

1. adorable children and husband treating me to breakfast in bed (which would be a warm krispy kreme donut with birthday candles stuck in it and a glass of ice-cold milk).
2. an ava-girl original birthday card (best present EVER).
3. and more food: lunch with all my people at figo. butternut squash ravioli good enough to make the knees buckle and the eyes roll back in the head. chaotic and lovely and everyone together.
4. three words: RED. VELVET. CAKE.
5. and you know there were presents (and they were good ones).
6. a fabulously designed birthday card (jan, I LOVE it) and an inspired gift from poppy.
7. a little shopping spree at victory vintage (where loverboy is painting a mural in return for a nice little chunk of store credit).
8. a massage at my favorite local spa, natural body.
9. brown suede wedges that I finally broke down and bought myself.
10. and still, more food: dinner with ward at agnes & muriel's. working on my '35 things to do before I turn 40' list over fried green tomatoes and mashed potatoes. ward kept making me laugh thus preventing me from finishing this list (stalled at number 21).
11. lovely words from the man I love most (thank you).

people, it was a birthday weekend extravaganza. started off with a bang when we hit the scene at husband's work christmas party. no lie, there was a photobooth on site (free and unlimited use! I almost passed out, I swear). hence the above photo. AND there were fresh strawberries and a chocolate fountain. A CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN, PEOPLE. that's really just about all I need. saturday included a trip to the fleamarket with my momma and the purchasing (and setting up) of a fresh christmas tree. the house smells fantastic. and so today, I am on a post-birthday high. me likies birthdays.

09 December 2005

oh christmas tree

soon the house will be filled with the scent of fresh pine. we are headed to pick out a tree this weekend and when we bring it home, we will play vince guaraldi's charlie brown christmas music and sit on the couch and stare lovingly at it. we'll be breathing deeply, through the nose, taking in as much of that christmas tree smell as possible. eventually, we'll get around to stringing the lights on (a day or so later) and then finally, the ornaments. ah, the ornaments. sadly, all the vintage ornaments (so carefully wrapped in paper and just waiting to make their yearly appearance) will have to remain in the attic. ezra is completely and totally head over heels in love with and obsessed with balls. or anything AT ALL ball-like in nature. 'BAH! BAH!", he screams. or "BOON! BOON!" when he catches sight of a balloon. he dives into the refrigerator the moment I open it, hoping to get his hands on an orange or an apple or kiwi whereupon he will throw the poor fruit around until it is reduced to mush. I knew we wouldn't be able to hang the ornaments on the tree this year but thought at least maybe I'd be able to set them all out in clear glass bowls around the house (which is what we did when ava was two). but I just KNOW that once he lays his big brown eyes on all those sparkly little orbs (placed just out of reach), it will be all over. it will become his personal mission to get his hands on any and all ornaments and my time will be consumed with preventing him from doing this. there will be unbelievably wild acts of baby desperation: supernatural scaling of walls and furniture to get at said ornaments, crying, whining, baby-like pleading and begging. and you know, you just can't reason with a baby. which is why I have chosen not to bring them out (oh how I will miss you, glittery little ornaments). they will stay nestled in their old cardboard 'shiny brite' boxes. and we'll be cutting out many MANY paper stars to hang on the tree instead.

06 December 2005

self portrait tuesday #15

reflection all over the place, what with this month's self portrait tuesday theme and me turning 35 in like, less than a week. bring it, I'm READY. (shut yer piehole nate I am embracing my age and I am proud of it and OH YEAH YOU ARE IN YOUR THIRTIES TOO).

04 December 2005

keeping my head above water

clothes fresh from the dryer, the japanese maple in our front yard (currently a brilliant fiery red), ava's new pixie cut, music by the shins (chutes too narrow please because I cannot get enough), my husky/scratchy/raspy head cold voice (that I wish I could keep forever), freshly painted toes in crimson (thank you amy), sugar lemon soap , this birthday/christmas wish list (that was loads of fun to make), ava's super enthusiastic nightly discoveries of planet venus and all the stars, these bright colored photos (that make me want to lick the computer screen), strawberries dipped in chocolate,  paper snowflake-making (with the ava-girl), a dance class high, the promise of a red velvet cake, ezra walking around with boots on his hands, the scent of freshly cut christmas tree, the possibility of a tuesday night trip to star bar (whereupon I will dance with lovely dancer friends to the likes of double dutch bus and come home with clothes drenched in sweat), recently thrifted knee-high boots, a new season of project runway (I can't wait, people), ward's new beard (which I am weak in the knees over), this christmas album by my bro (original album cover art by this totally hot guy I know), the possibility of a road trip to see this art exhibit, the unconditional love heaped on me daily via sloppy kisses, frantic squeezes and much bum rushing.

I'll not front. the title here was indeed inspired by the good times theme song. ain't we lucky we got em? you know you want to sing the song now, don't fight it.

01 December 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.)