Thursday, April 17

in the works

Something came up this week that I can't help mentioning here. You may remember that I got to meet one of my contemporary heroes last fall when I visited Manhattan...Heidi Latsky, the artistic director of Heidi Latsky Dance. The very same called this week to say she'd like me to be in her movie.

On Monday, the New York Times announced that Ms. Latsky is the first of three choreographers chosen to participate in a dance and short film project funded by the Carnegie Mellon Foundation. Her film will be called "The Beauty of Dance: Redefining Virtuosity Through Dance."

Multi-tasking with drying jeans, Keeper and Dragon Boy
Lest you think I am in the habit of scouring the Times for the latest in the Manhattan dance scene, know that it was Heidi herself who informed me of this fact.

I am thrilled; just that something like this is happening, regardless of my participation. Even though she wants me to be a part of the project, Heidi is not sure flying me to New York is in the budget. But I have a feeling it's gonna work out, one way or another.

I went to rehearsal last night with renewed energy and we pounded out the last connecting bits of our fabric double--and I didn't even fart in Zach's face this time. I'm hoping to record a version of our piece that I can send to Heidi tonight. 

In processing this news, I found an article that Heidi wrote some time back in connection with TED Talks. Thought I'd share it because I really identify. You can click here to read it.

Or, you can go sip a cup of tea and relax for me.


Thursday, April 10

fractured days and dog DNA

I'm thinking about getting a DNA test for my dog. Does anyone know how to do that? Can I send her saliva somewhere online?

It's just getting tiring, all the guessing about her heredity. Is she part beagle, dachshund, heeler, and the list goes on. I've had it. I want answers, dammit.

And that's the feisty mood I find myself in today. There's a lot going on around here, and nothing gets a girl worked up like opening her email in the morning when she still has dirty dishes left over from last night.

It's almost 3:30 and the dishes are still dirty, if you are wondering. I've been trying, and I use that term loosely, to get a query sent off to a book agent for two weeks now. Just one little email asking a total stranger to represent my poor little book.

And I still haven't stretched today.

I cleaned my hair, and let me tell you, that's no small feat when you've got the bulk of curl I'm sporting. I've taken the aforementioned dog of ambiguous ancestry on two outdoor outings, one of which was a poorly disguised Starbucks run. I've managed to put on some clothes and makeup...

Ever have one of those days where you have so much to do, but the more you think about it, the less it gets done? And then sometime in the early afternoon, you get so stressed out by your non-accomplishment, you eat a whole carton of ice cream and then take a nap.

I probably just lost most of my male readership right there.

I've also decided recently that I am going to do some standup comedy. No, for real this time. I need more material, which I will write after I finish this post, and send off the agent query, and write a screenplay loosely based on some priests I know. I think I need a nap first.

But seriously, how does one get results for canine DNA?


Thursday, April 3

the heart of the issue

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you probably know I have a thing for horses and what they can do for people. And with my recent employment as a therapeutic riding instructor, I've become even more of a proponent. 

A learning moment
But my exuberance was muffled just a bit this morning when I spoke with a woman who wants us to come speak about therapeutic riding at an organ transplant awareness organization.

"I'm hoping to get a kidney by the end of this year," she said.

Uh, yeah, sure we can come talk about riding horses; it's almost like needing a life preserving organ.


I feel like I've been cursed all my life with this need to save the world, to do something meaningful and important. It's probably why I could only tolerate selling donuts at Krispy Kreme for one summer.

I find myself constantly asking, Is what I'm doing really worthwhile? Is waking up at 5am on Saturday mornings to put people on horses really making a difference?

Another call hit home for me this week. I spoke with a woman who's looking for riding lessons for her 13-year-old daughter who is about to have spinal surgery for scoliosis. There in the mid-morning of a Tuesday, I was whisked away to my thirteenth year when I, too, was faced with the eminent possibility of spinal fusion. That is a heavy thing for an adolescent (heck, it's a heavy thing for anyone).

I really wanted to help the woman on the other end of the call, to reach out and make things easier. But all I could do was share my own experience and pray that the weight might be lifted soon.

Last week, a volunteer mentioned how a rider was helping him learn the proper way to tack up a horse. It reminded me of one of my favorite phrases: Teach to learn; Learn to teach.


I'm nearly asleep on the couch when my sister calls last night. Although we live in the same time zone, we almost always hold opposite hours.

She told me that the studio director where she teaches dance had had some constructive criticism for her teaching style--a director who is five years her junior.

"I was immediately defensive," she said. But taking a breath, she started to really listen to what the woman had to say, and realized it was actually helpful advice that, if she took it to heart, would make her a better teacher.

So, I'm reminded lives are always changing, everywhere. I guess I'll keep on teaching, and keep on learning...


Friday, March 28

biology v. biology

"I have to poo!" she said, coming around the corner.

The toddler stopped in her tracks when she saw me standing there, amidst a sea of saddles laid out for spring cleaning.

"What happened to your arm?" she said, apparently forgetting completely about her intestinal destination.

"I was born with one small arm" I stuttered, after realizing I was not being called upon to locate the whereabouts of the port-a-potty she had just passed in her haste.

"But why do you have a small arm?" she countered.

"I don't know, I just have one big one and one little one" I said with a definite sense of inadequacy.

"But why do you have one little one?"

"I don't know."

"But why?"

"I don't know. Why do you have two arms that are the same size?" I attempted a different approach.

She was not deterred. "Why do you have one little...?"

It was a stalemate.

"Don't you have to poo?" I asked desperately.

She appeared to have forgotten everything from her existence before seeing my little arm.

Thankfully her dad, who had been standing back observing the whole situation, stepped in and redirected her to the portable poo place. 

[This has been a peak into one of hundreds of similar encounters.]

Please resume your previous activity, and have a lovely weekend.


Thursday, March 20

the human dance

I was reminded of my mortality this week whilst hanging upside down [aerial term: inverted] on the fabric, clinging to partner Zach's neck, trying to disentangle my leg, which was becoming more tightly snagged. For a moment, with the rest of my body free and inching toward the floor, I imagined my leg snapping from the pressure. It was terrifying.

I've never had a sport injury. Bumps and bruises yes--I was stepped on by a horse just this week--but never an honest break or tear from extra-curricular activities. As the fabric tightened around my knee, a future of surgeries and casting flashed before my mind's eye. Then something moved, body part or fabric I can't say, and I was free.

And I thought I was clear until 3am the next morning when I woke to throbbing pain whenever I moved my left leg. I started plotting brace buying and doctor visiting before the sun rose.

I braced myself, and wore one on my knee as well. I studied google images of human knee anatomy while elevating mine, and diagnosed myself with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Unfortunately I was not able to prescribe treatment.

There have been a number of aerial injuries sweeping through the company of late. Only last week, following her second joint setback, "Dar" left the studio wiping hopes for the upcoming show from her welling eyes.

Yesterday I received a New Republic article about how our culture is increasingly unwilling to be uncomfortable for any reason, attaching trigger warnings to everything. The author Jenny Jarvie writes, "Bending the world to accommodate our personal frailties does not help us overcome them."

But what does help us?

I got good news from the chiropractor this morning who assured me that six weeks of bed rest was not in my future. Apparently I'd just over-extended a muscle or two. He gave me some exercises and sent me on my way.

I went to Target and bought a card for Dar. Getting back into my car, I tried to imagine what I would write in the card. There's such a fine line between expressing sympathy and being trite.

How does one say, I'm so sorry for your hurt, but the good news is, you're human and not alone.


Thursday, March 13

peter pan was onto something

When I asked six-year-old Maryanne what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said, "I want to be myself."

It struck me as the best answer I've ever heard to that question.

I spent yesterday night in my hometown with childhood friend MaƱana Mama, who not long ago became mama for the third time. We spent a well-deserved evening (on her part, at least) catching up and drinking bourbon.

We play an old high school friend round of Do You Remember?; discuss love disguised as compromise; and mourn the lack of money (read: respect) in any of our preferred vocations.

And then I drift off to sleep atop a down comforter and beneath an adobe skylight. I decide, when I grow up, I want a skylight in my bedroom.

It was nice to get away. It seems to help one get a look into her life from the outside.

I must say, from the outside, things are looking pretty good these days. I'm about to start teaching riding lessons again, and get paid for it. I'm making connections in the horse community that may lead to any new adventure. 

I'm also preparing for the spring show with AirDance NM. I'm partnering with one of the two guys in the company for a piece. And even greater, he's actually excited about working with me-- Me, the girl that started learning aerial dance a mere year and a half ago. It's very nearly a dream come true.

Things are good.

But have I grown up to be myself?

When I was a wee girl, I wanted to be a mommy. Watching Maryanne and her little sister done fairytale pinks and purples for another day of spring break adventures, I think if we are to discover what befits us, we ought to look back to our childhood.

"I'm a gem-hunter," Maryanne declares brightly, finding what she deems special rocks in the gravel landscaping.

"A geologist," her mama corrects gently. But Maryanne is undeterred: "I'm a gem-hunter."

When we were children, Maryanne's mama and I embarked on various vocational explorations. When we realized we could make things from chicken feathers, rocks, and beads, we opened a handicraft business, even compiling a catalog to display our wares. 

Later, we started a (very) local periodical covering breaking neighborhood news and events, accidentally initiating adult forays into the world of journalism for both of us.

Sitting on sofas, scotch in hand, we both now agree we hate journalism. But she has badgered the editor of her small town rag into letting her have a column. And I, well, I'm still looking for an agent.

"Don't let the grumpy gate-keepers get you down," she calls after me when I leave the next morning.


At aerial practice two company members discuss the origins of circus. One muses if joining the circus might once have been an alternative for women with limited career options.

"Teacher, nurse, or trapeze artist," I join, laughing at the sound of it.

But why not?

It seems we might do any number of things in a lifetime; but why waste any more time not being ourselves?


Thursday, March 6

two mysteries revealed

It seems the mystery woman has been identified as Deborah Gardner of Spokane (Thank you reader, G.B.). Not only is she a lovely young woman, but from the brief research I've done (i.e. reading an email sent by a researching friend), she also has an encouraging story of adoption into a loving and supporting family.

Now on to the other mystery: the identity of the artist. This was kept under wraps not due to lack of information, but from lack of permission to reveal. But he has kindly granted me permission.

He is Duncan Sawyer of New Zealand, formally educated in physics and self-taught artist. 

Here is another taste of his work:

Sophia Hummel plays the violin


I know that girl!

Mr. Sawyer paints on commission and you can find him on Facebook by name.