Barefootblogger: thoughts on dance

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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am a dancer with Minneapolis based James Sewell Ballet, a small, contemporary ballet company. I also choreograph independently.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Weird Food

As the year winds down I sit sleepy on my bed, just home from visiting family.

The end of my year, December in general, was busy and yet filled with lots of joyful moments: spent Thanksgiving cooking for three close girlfriends, toured four states in 2 weeks with JSB, and did a Nutcracker gig w/ Nic that couldn’t have been more fun. (It was SO fun, and I’m so happy to be able to say that! I’m so proud of us. I let the fullness of that experience penetrate my soul, and for that I am thankful.)

I visited my mom and other family for a week in Charleston, SC, a great place to visit in late December when one lives in Minneapolis. My mom takes care of my Grandpa Bill, in his nineties and my dad’s step-dad. G. Bill is therefore my mom’s former father-in-law. How cool that she takes care of him! I think he sort of forgets who she is technically speaking; he just seems to understand that she’s “family” and that that’s enough. It’s nice to have this reminder that family can be chosen, like all my adopted family here who cared and cared for me pre and post divorce.

A sweet theme that keeps emerging from this past month and a half or so is food, like in cooking it, sharing it, prepping to take a dish somewhere or sharing recipes through email. Lots of roasted vegetables: my improvised roasted Brussels sprouts w/ fresh cranberries and also Sally’s roasted gold beets served steaming w/ goat cheese. Then there’s my usual tuna (broiled w/ special lavender infused salt from Saltzberg!) and even last night’s Cincinnati chili recipe served over spaghetti w/ grated cheddar and, of all things, oyster crackers to soak up the juice. (Any Ohioans recognize a “Skyline” 3-way?)

It’s basically archetypal to bond over food, from spontaneous bites to long-planned coursed meals. So this attention to food detail should come as no surprise to me. It’s just fun to note that I get a sweet thrill from exchanging recipes w/ colleagues and then with family. It’s fun to feel fairly competent and yet a total novice all at once in a kitchen. (And I love that I can have a guilty-pleasure trip to Taco Bell with my mom then turn all esoteric a few hours later in G. Bill’s kitchen.)

Tonight Jack and I will wind up the year at the home of some of his best friends. I think we’re having pasta, and I’m so up for that. I’m still working on coffee however and thinking about all the “I shoulds”: I should be cleaning for my party on Friday. I should be catching up on email and other computery things that need to get done. I should be doing something toward the wedding other than reading fiction that takes place where we are honeymooning (Florence)…

Instead I contemplate a fresh cup and nibble on Jack’s mom’s peanut clusters. It’s the dark chocolate that gets me. I must get that recipe.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Losing (Almost) Everything and Other Gifts that Keep on Giving

On tour in Kearney, Nebraska last week my hard-drive crashed. I lost everything: photos, essays, an old email folder from when I had a visi account with, like, a phonebook long collection. I could go on and on, and my brain does. I was up for two hours in the wee hours the other morning remembering more lost things: Rebecca's poem about the pain of loneliness after her divorce, my writings about Nic's visual art, Jack's and my Europe doings including the details of when he first proposed.

As a Buddhist I've been hip to the notion of non-attachment and other such lofty concepts. And you know what I've discovered? I still am!

In early 1999 while on a trip to NYC my back-pack got stolen. It had a ton of stuff in it and so I cancelled all the usual things. Jim was staying at my place in Minneapolis at the time and was able to send my passport so I could at least fly home. Along with my passport came a lovely note explaining this non-attachment thing (Jim introduced me to Buddhism), and all of a sudden his sort of glamorous/popular spiritual practice became practical and utterly sincere to me. And so I let it all go. Goodbye great book that I was in the middle of. So long favorite sporty sweat pants. Farewell perfect red back-pack given to me by my dear friends at Gaynor Minden. I think there was also a fair amount of cash and an uber personal journal. Anyway, adios!

The good folks at the computer store in Kearney (pronounced "carney") hustled me a new hard-drive and dryly explained that they weren't able to retrieve a thing from my old one. Ouch. A pin prick of pain followed by a growing pool of blood like the last scene in Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge". (As recently seen at the Guthrie. Magnificent!) It hurt like hell, was dramatic as all get-out, but somehow, like all good theater, there was a gift in there...

Of course I didn't lose any pertinent emails. I was just stalled for a few days. My METRO editor re-sent my latest piece so I could edit it. And during that wee-hour mini meltdown I remembered that about two months ago I actually put the latest version of my resume onto my zip-drive.

As I sit in my soon-to-be home (Jack's house) I am so grateful. It's three in the afternoon, and after my all-nighter driving home with Em and Steph I am on my second cup of coffee. I sprawl on the perfect little red velvet couch that Jack surprised me with in the fall. Geko curls up at my legs. Scented candles burn, and a live tree stands at the ready to be decorated tonight, it's imperfection suiting our needs perfectly as it nestles into the threshold between living and dining rooms. And check this out: it's snowing! I am carless, housebound, still unshowered and I count my blessings on every finger and toe.

I send up joy and prayers to Ellen Marie and her beautiful mama who just passed away from this life. May they both have a smooth transition.

Life is beautiful, hard, bitter and so sweet it hurts. That sweet hurt opens the heart, like a break. Break open