Archive for the ‘Lindy Hop’ Category

How does one begin a blog post about one topic when another’s firmly on your mind?  I write, not because I have an abundance of time, rather I write because it’s important for me to do this, now, today.

Arizona. For me it holds many memories. I was there the other week, as readers of this blog will know, and I was there several years ago (2005 I believe). That trip, in 2005, was the beginnings of some challenges I’ve alluded to in this blog in the past.  This trip was much different. It was on my own terms, and I did what I wanted to do.

There were many highlights:

  • My first trip to a rock climbing gym! I had a great time! It may not be very ‘touristy’ but I loved the mental challenge as I clung to the holds trying to figure out how to get to the next level and eventually to the top of the route I was climbing. It was great exercise, but like all my favourite exercises, it didn’t feel as such.  I was visiting a friend of mine, and we went together. As I finished one climb my friend exclaimed “Wow you’re fit!” — it was my first time up the climbing wall and I spent probably 10 minutes in one spot just hanging out thinking about climbing, how I’m doing it and how to get to the next level.  I wasn’t tired and was certainly able to just hang there. I loved it. I don’t know when or how to fit this into my insane schedule but eventually I’ll try to fit it in.
  • Hanging out at the Hohokum Historical Monument. It was relaxing, hot hot hot and very quiet and this small historical site captured my imagination. I could picture what it may have been like to live 1000 years ago in that community that was built. It raised questions for me regarding how this history shaped the region and the culture — and how it played a foundational role in the culture that certainly exists there today, particularly among the aboriginal groups.
  • The impression of the priorities and the lifestyles of the residents. I don’t know if this is a ‘highlight’ or more of a profound thing. But as I stepped onto the airplane, I was surrounded by bleached blonds sporting jewels and fake nails. It felt like I was on the wrong plane. But no, that was the community of travellers heading to Phoenix. Phoenix struck me as a ‘car’ city. One where a person simply cannot choose alternate methods of transportation. Following this is that RECYCLING doesn’t seem to exist. I couldn’t believe it. With all the talk of sustainability, and with all the volume of bottled water that each person goes through in a day — or even in just a morning — one would expect that recycling would be paramount. But it simply didn’t seem to exist. That bothered me.
  • Eager sales people — I went shopping and I have never had such eager sales people approach me. Perhaps it’s the recession, perhaps it’s that I was at a huge mall on a Wednesday. But, I had people running out of the stores to try to entice me in to look at their products. Ironically, at the one store where I wanted to try shoes on (for nursing), they ignored me. So no shoes for me. That trip, at least.
  • Pool — it was hot, sunny, relaxing so I certainly spent a great deal of time at the pool relaxing.
  • Dancing — I loved it there. The people were friendly, full of energy and excitement in their dance and they easily recognized that I wasn’t local and grabbed me for a dance. It was a dance culture very unlike here, it didn’t feel flat and uninspired and I didn’t feel like I had to work to get dances as I sometimes have to here, or even in (my beloved) Seattle.

And this brings me to the Goodbye part of this post. I had some delightful dances with several leads. One lead I remember watching as I was standing to the side of the dancefloor. A friend of my host, we were all hanging in the same area — but I hadn’t yet been introduced to him and we hadn’t danced.  A ballroom instructor came up to me to talk dance, and we chatted for a bit. It seems his idea of what makes a great lindy hopper and mine are quite different. While I was watching this one lead, he pointed out several leads that he like (because they were so smooth).  It was funny, I danced with those leads by the end of the night and the reason they looked so smooth is a lack of pulse, and well, inexperience. So while this one person was watching some forgettable leads, I was observing this one lead who was inspired in his dancing.

He certainly had pulse, was able to mix in Charleston at ease into his dancing and the follow he was dancing with had a look of delight on her face — and why wouldn’t she — it was obvious he was a lead well worth dancing with, and he knew how to make her look wonderful on the dance floor.

On this trip, I was in a phase a bit where I didn’t feel like doing work to dance (IE chasing leads to dance with them), and fortunately I didn’t have to. This lead and I did dance that night and it was a delight. It was full of fun, energy, I was given the freedom to play within the confines of the music and he was willing to push things a bit. All things I love. We danced again that night, and it too was a dance that will stand out as a ‘memorable-delightful’ dance.

Sadly, however, this morning I had some terrible news. This same, delightful, lead from Phoenix AZ passed away very suddenly early yesterday morning (Sunday September 13, 2009).  Our meeting was brief, yet I am still saddened for him — also, his friends and his family.  So, for now I’m going to leave this post with a video that highlights another talent of this young guy who’s gone much too soon:

Next post will be the New Mexico Portion of the trip.


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Well, not literally, but it has seemed like I’ve dropped of the blogosphere lately. I’ve been feeling sadly uninspired in my blog posts — if my purpose of this blog is to talk about the stories of my life as I seek to live my life well, I am seeing blog post  topics that fit this idea. How does a person live their life, and do it well — all while having a ‘normal’ life?  And really, for me — what does it mean to live my life well?? All key questions.

I’ve been thinking about some posts, none of which I’ll touch on in this post, but hopefully the inspiration for the topics will remain so that I can come back to them:

  • community and fostering a healthy balanced and growing community
  • sustainable living and how the culture of a region plays a role
  • thoughts on adoption, identity, and further explorations into this topic — what’s the next step?

For right now, though, I’ll leave it there. I’m currently on vacation in Arizona and not really that connected to the internet. I’ve been mulling around blog posts in my brain (if I have time I’ll journal them and transcribe them) and I will try to post some posts when I’m home. Some upcoming topics:

  • My first experience at a rock climbing gym
  • Dancing dancing dancing
  • Exploring a historical monument

Upcoming plans: SHOPPING (this is afterall Arizona –> great shopping), more relaxing by the pool, Tuscon, Grand Canyon, New Mexico, more dancing hopefully.

I’ve definitely needed this vacation and I’m feeling mellow and relaxed. I may not have gotten everything done before school starts, but I will definitely be ready to hit the ground running once I’m home!

So, even if I don’t post again on this trip, I haven’t permanently disappeared. Stay tuned!

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The insanity has been mounting lately, and it’s reduced my energy to post long posts here. Last week was particularly crazy as I spoke again with my manager. She’s not sure she can fit me in, come fall, so I may not have a job, or it may not happen immediately.  That’s created focus and a bit of worry — though I must admit that I feel so sure about UBC Nursing is the right direction that I’m not flipping out about money as much as I expected I would be. It will all work out.

Anyhow, so yes, crazy to do lists. It’s going to be a recurring theme this month.  Friday, I headed down to Seattle. After the ‘Crossing Borders’ episode, I decided to use Nexus to cross (alone as there wasn’t another nexus holder available), and leave my car in Bellingham. It was nice, I had lots of time to relax, hang out and talk on the phone while I waited for my friends to catch up with me. It helped to relax me before the weekend really began.

I must admit to being so tired at the moment that I don’t know if I have much specific that I want to say about the weekend. It was wondeful — full of fantastic dances, meeting a few new people, getting to know some acquaintances a bit better, and a weekend that was in general a boost to my self confidence.  The bands were all amazing, the feats of acrobatics at the picnic were wonderful (Pics to follow), dancing at Westlake was warm, fun, and always makes me smile. The annual traditions of dance at night, sleep in the day, a group of us skinny dipping in the lake at midnight (for those friends and family who are shocked at this idea, RELAX, it’s pitch black, no one can see anything anyhow — besides, it’s fun and refreshing), all continued as in other years.

All in all, I had a great time. The end of the weekend’s been a little bit intense.  We left without sleeping so I could attend a funeral, and then after that, I went up to UBC to check out textbooks.  I was not really surprised, but slightly annoyed at the price differences between the UBC Bookstore to buy texts when compared with Amazon or Chapters.  So, I bought 7 texts from these two sites (all at least $10-20 cheaper) and 10 others I’ll get as a package (that includes hard copies, electronic copies — VERY handy — and journal subscriptions).  The last few I’ll check into this weekend — I wanted to take care of the ones I’d need in September now, and for January I’ll order in the next little while.

All in all a hectic day, but I’ve ended with baking Amish Friendship Bread (Link to the recipe to be included later). Partly for stress relief (helps me think and relax), partly because of the timing of the recipe, and partly since I wanted a treat! For now, though, it’s time to crash. Work’s going to hurt, especially as I’ve had energy drinks with caffeine this weekend. No coffee, but I’ll still have to deal with the withdrawal.

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I made myself dance last night. At the main lindy hop night.  I’ve been pretty busy, so it’s been challenging to get there anyways to get there. But, to be honest, I’ve been hesitant to go due to some challenges that I face. So it means I’ve been doing a lot of blues, balboa and travelling to Seattle. But little dancing in Vancouver on Saturday nights. But I decided that I needed to go last night, because if I didn’t, then eventually it would become impossible to go back.

I was pleading with God that last night would be a great night. That I would leave the dance smiling. I was hoping against hope that I wouldn’t have a stressful night like the weekend in Portland was stressful.  And it wasn’t.  A brief moment perhaps, but a look stopped the stress and I had a great night overall so it’s pretty easy to leave that behind and focus on the rest of the evening.

I had great dances, fun dances, humorous moments with friends. One ‘friend’, okay, more of an acquaintance, but he’s the best friend of a friend, was there. We had a very awkward dance. This dancer thinks he’s much better than he is, and unfortunately it’s not the ‘beginner who can be developed’ awkward. It’s the social kind. This acquaintance needed a place to crash, so borrowed my sofa. After the awkward dance (very awkward, in the hard wood should only be for the floor sense), I was not comfortable with this.  But I knew he was safe as he’s the best friend of a friend of mine, but I still didn’t want to be alone with him. Fortunately, a close girl friend needed a place to crash too so it wasn’t just me staying at my place.

The rest of the night was filled with awesome dances. There was a steal dance — those are always fun, when I’m the one being stolen I feel very much ‘wanted’ — and I ended up making a wise crack to the lead from whom I was stolen (he didn’t really fight back) ‘thanks for fighting for me’.  In the end we finished the song together (a follow had jumped in to dance with him — she didn’t understand the dynamic of what was going on that it had become a 3 person dance — they did a double steal to switch back to the original), with the lead saying ‘sorry it took so long to get back’. Heh. It was fun.  Another birthday dance was fun because a girl came in to the circle to steal the lead from me (it was the lead’s birthday — so that was normal), and her fiance came in too to grab me away from the lead. Quite funny.

There was one dance with a lead. I always love dancing with him.   We had, an awesome dance. It was fabulous. We finished the song and he gave me a hug and said ‘that was simply beautiful’. It was. It was a beautiful dance. Fabulous.  Beautiful.

So my night was both Beautiful and Weird. But I left smiling. My plead was answered. I had a night that yes, was both Beautiful and Weird. I needed that.

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A crazy epic weekend…

I don’t even know where to begin. How does one summarize a weekend such as the one I’ve had?

I’ve had a challenge writing this post of my experience at SFLX ’08. It was an amazing weekend, filled with amazing dances, meeting great new people, getting to know old friends better, cuddling and awesome food.  The late night snacks were unparalleled at this event. 😛

But, the frustrating thing is I’ve tried writing this a few times and it keeps getting lost. So suffice it to say, it was epic. Dancing at the 9:20 Special and Lindy in the Park, exploring Haight-Ashbury (sp?), sleeping with a mass of people – it’s like a giant cuddle pile! 😀 I had some amazing dances, met some fantastic people (perhaps I even have a teeny crush on one of them) and generally had a blast.

So now there’s the brief summary. I still need to post photos, and get that organized, but for now I am going to relax. Think about the amusement of getting ‘phone numbered’ last night by an airforce pilot and generally plan my evening — which will involve more Seattle. I think I’m addicted.

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This weekend has been all about ‘choices’. Making the choice to enjoy myself is something I need to remember. The ‘intensity’ of Wednesday is still there, and I had to directly face it tonight.

That meant dinner out. I was pretty tense and nervous in the preparation but it felt like all was ‘normal’ though the intensity hasn’t gone away.  After it was over, I did something I find very difficult relating to this specific ‘intensity’: I asked for support. This meant calling one of my friends who knows the details about the intensity.  That friend was busy and already had plans to go dancing. That was tough because most people don’t know the ‘intensity’ story and those other people who do were unavailable.  So, I did some thinking and realized that A) friend didn’t get the message I’d left earlier B) that I had to suck it up and meet my needs — which was to be busy and around friends — and invite myself into the GASP. Carpool. Yes that’s right a dancing, mini roadtrip. AND it meant I invited myself along, which is something I generally DON’T do, as I don’t want to impose where it may not be welcome (they also may not care, but one never knows).

I’m glad I did take the risk. I would have been a mess at home and dancing was great again tonight. Sometimes, it is all about choosing to have a good time. I was in a bad place when I arrived to the dance, so I took a walk, did some thinking and cleared my head. I had a fun relaxing night. Some more uptempo songs, yummy blues (sigh…), fun lindy hop and more bonding with another follow who I haven’t really known extremely well in the past but who I think could become a good friend (and who’s dancing I greatly admire).

So now I’m home, after running out the door of the dance, because my carpool was literally driving away (but yummy blues was worth it). GRIN.  And it is time to sleep, but first some organizing for work early early in the morning. But first, I’m going to load a song that’s been in my head since the Seattle Trip. I apologize to my faithful readers if sound is not welcome, but I want to try the feature. Maybe this will induce more than One in 36 Million to comment (you don’t have to have a blog here to comment). So feedback please: the occasional media or no??

WAIT. I thought I could add audio, but apparently clicking on the music notes didn’t work. Does anyone know how to upload audio to this blog? Oh well… would have expressed some of where I’m at, quite well…

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So I made the decision to have fun tonight and I did. I had a number of great dances. Even danced with a guy named bill from San Fran. He’s more beginner-ish than anything but I let him know that I’ll be in San Fran — along with a bunch of other dancers.

I had lovely dances with a number of Vancouver leads, several that would include that elusive ‘yumminess’, a crazy fun solo dance with one of the other follows and apparently it was necessary to speak in a British accent (badly, I might add) with another friend — I have instituted that the next time we see each other it will be ‘pirate themed’. There were great dances with NMDF, and a solo disco dance with one of my other friends.

All in all, an evening of delight, confirming what I suspected — sometimes it is about choice. Thursday I was definitely messy, and realized the value of friends when I had 3 separate guy friends all sitting or standing around me, making sure I was okay as I sat away from the dancing (I didn’t specifically ask them to come, they just came). I definitely needed friends and especially cherish that they came up, to me one by one (until 3 were there), and this on a follow heavy night. I felt very valued.  Thursday night I wasn’t in a place of being able to make the choice to have fun, but Friday I could and I did. I was able to set aside the personal crises and I was truly having a great time — I was truly ‘me’. Tonight it was the same thing. Another evening of yumminess and delight.  And it was a conscious choice I made. I have to remember that.

Then I went out to my car. Someone had jimmied the driver’s lock and broken into my car. They got a loonie. Yes, that’s right one… the one I keep there for shopping carts.  That and my sleeping bag and foamy. I keep (er kept) them there because I go to Seattle often, so it just seemed easier. Now that needs replacing earlier than I’d planned.  They messed everything up, and I am more annoyed than  anything, at least they didn’t smash the glass like the car ahead of mine.

Thankfully a friend was with me, support is always good. Apparently I need to not park there anymore.

Now I have to shop and get my lock fixed…

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