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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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Don’t you be wasting all your money
On syrup and honey
Cause I’m so eaten up(Cause I’m sweet enough)
Don’t you be using every minute
On making a living
Because we’ve got our love
Listen to me, 1,2,3
Baby, baby, baby spend your time on me

Don’t you be out all night long
Leaving me all alone
Because I, I need your love
Don’t you be spending everyday working away
Because I’m waiting for you
Listen to me, 1,2,3
Baby, baby, baby spend your time on me

Spend it, spend it, spend your time on me
Please baby
Mmmm
Please baby

This is a song that was played at late night at the Seattle Lindy Exchange and it’s one that speaks to me right now.

Just a brief post for the moment with a video for your enjoyment. Perhaps there will be more later.

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Last night I had a dance. With a dance friend, not someone I hang out with outside of dance, but someone who I would describe as a genuinely good guy. Someone who, if any of my friends said they were interested in or dating him, I would applaud that and support it wholeheartedly. This dance was quiet, reflective, and I would describe the dance as one where I felt completely ‘safe’, ‘safe’ in all areas of my life and world. I loved that feeling.

I am color…blind
Coffee black and egg white
Pull me out from inside
I am ready
I am ready
I am ready
I am
taffy stuck, tongue tied
Stuttered shook and uptight
Pull me out from inside
I am ready
I am ready
I am ready
I am…fine
I am covered in skin
No one gets to come in
Pull me out from inside
I am folded, and unfolded, and unfolding

I am
colorblind
Coffee black and egg white
Pull me out from inside
I am ready
I am ready
I am ready
I am…fine
I am…. fine
I am fine

Ready… Fine… Safe…

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I’ve spent this weekend making sure I’m pretending H.D. doesn’t exist. I’ve had amazing times at the dances, the mask was easy, because I am so abhorrent of H.D.’s lies, gossip, the things he’s thought and said about me. It makes it easy for me to not care how much he does the pouting, the puppydog moping look.  That it’s been 2 weeks and he hasn’t had the guts to at least approach me.  I realize that I’ve been a bit well B@$#%@# towards him, but you know what? I don’t care because he disgusts me. He walked into the dance Friday night, while I was working the door and said to me very quietly and contritely “Hi, how’s it going?”. I calmly looked him in the eye, used my professional “dealing with customers” voice, and responded with “That will be $8, please”. He knew exactly that I was pissed. He got all confused and uncertain “Uhhh… I need to borrow $1.25, uh, I’ll be right back” — you see, normally I’d be the one to lend him the money. I waited, he paid, I ignored him all night. He even followed me around — intentionally dancing near me (not always controllable, but some of it was intentional) — following me around, trying to stand in my only pathway to my bag forcing me to acknowledge him (a friend who knows the score distracted him so that I could slip past).  He even followed us to the door, I didn’t acknowledge him.

Tonight at the dance, I was ready to say to him what needs to be said — that I’ve heard the gossip and lies and horrible things he’s said about me, from multiple people. I want to tell him that he needs to seek professional counselling from some sort of licensed psychotherapist that isn’t his best friend (who can’t be objective). That I don’t want him to talk to me until he can come to me and outline all the ways he’s screwed up with this over the last months — from the first moment he moved things from Friends to ‘Other’ (because, frankly, if he truly wasn’t interested he never should have made a move in the first place — not with me or anyone he’s been close friends with for years), and talk about what he’s doing to learn how to be a real man. I want to say to him that unless I know that he’s gone and done some serious counselling I do not want to speak with him. At all.

So back to tonight’s dance. I planned to keep my distance, I didn’t want to make it easy for him to find me. I didn’t want to ‘invite’ him to come up to me.  But I was ready, so there were a few times when I looked directly at him, half caught his eye, and almost ‘dared’ him to come up.  As I was leaving I was talking with a friend of mine “A” (who’s good friends with him), and with another friend “B” who I was driving home  home. H.D. came up to us, I kept up the light banter I had going with my friends. We were ready to go, so I gave “A” a hug good-bye. “B” gave H.D. a hug, then I turned around, he looked at me tried to say goodbye and half waved. I will admit that I was a B!#@$@ and looked him in the eye, didn’t respond and walked away.  But after being treated like dirt or trash, I have no qualms about throwing up walls.

And you know what, I’m still smiling. Because he’s crazy, the lies he’s said about me are untrue and those he’s told know the truth.  And you know what, I feel free. I’m excited about next weekend, I’m happy to finally have some semblance of control over things, and I’m so disgusted with him that I’m 100% emotionally available — though I’ll readily admit to being very bruised.

Friday night there were two songs played that struck me and spoke to where I was at:

Janiva Magness — You Were Never Mine

I saw someone again today who remembered me and you
They asked all the same old questions, I gave the same excuse
They said, “What a shame, what a shame, to lose a love so fine”

But I never lost you, I never lost you
I never lost you, you were never mine

I kept on believing what I wanted to believe
The unspoken promises that you could never keep
But it’s a sin, oh, it’s a sin to tell yourself a lie

I never lost you, I never lost you
I never lost you, you were never mine

Did you give me all that you gave me just because I needed you
But when I needed, all your love completely was it more than you could do

Sometimes deep in the night when I hold you in my dreams
I get lost in your loving touch, baby, I can’t believe how real it seems
And I know, yes I know, I’ll have you till the end of time

‘Cause I never lost you, I never really lost you
I never lost you ’cause you were never mine
I never lost you, I never really lost you
How could I lose you, you were never mine

Because really, I was used and played, and he was never mine. So I will move on and find a guy who will treat me well.

The second song from Friday night is by my favourite artist: Ruthie Foster, Walk On (I can’t find a video for that at the moment). Because I just need to keep on walking ’till I find my way. She’s worth googling.  This is one of my (MANY) favourites, not the one from the dance but it’s still relevant…

Today I had my running clinic — so I can feel my voice being a bit raw — and I’m tired. Yowza this is intense — I was behind in my training because of my injury. It was great to hang with my friends and I’m happy I have this community. I’d miss it if I left.  Then I went with a girlfriend to look at rings, and I FOUND ONE. more than a year after my break in (that’s covered in my old blog, which I haven’t yet moved to this blog). I can hardly wait until it’s ready. 3 weeks. Since the ring is being made, I don’t have a specific photo, yet, but I will be getting one. This is quite similar in style to the one I’m getting  (though there are minor details different):

A style quite similar to the diamond ring Ive ordered.

A style quite similar to the diamond ring I've ordered.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m ready to move on. Though I may have one more conversation relating to H.D. before I will be released from this frustration (because I don’t think I’ll ever have one with H.D. because he’s not man enough to bring it up and I’m going to take Mel’s advice and not go there). So it’s time to sleep, dream of sparkling, plan my to do list for tomorrow and get ready for next week’s fun and delight.

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Rachel Yamagata, Be Be Your Love

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I am an old woman named after my mother
My old man is another child thats grown old
If dreams were lightning thunder was desire
This old house would have burnt down a long time ago

Chorus:
Make me an angel that flies from montgomry
Make me a poster of an old rodeo

Just give me one thing that I can hold on to
To believe in this living is just a hard way to go

When I was a young girl well, I had me a cowboy
He werent much to look at, just free rambling man
But that was a long time and no matter how I try
The years just flow by like a broken down dam.

Theres flies in the kitchen I can hear em there buzzing
And I aint done nothing since I woke up today.
How the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening and have nothing to say.

This is one of those songs that gets me. Every time. I’m not even sure I can pinpoint why. Actually, in some ways I can. The line in the chorus (as Susan Tedeshi sings it — the video link to her performing is above), “Just give me one thing, Lord, that I can hold onto”. It gets me. I guess because that’s an plea that resonates with me these days.   It’s a song that can make me cry, particularly with To believe in this living is just a hard way to go”.  Tonight while dancing, the performers covered this song and did a superb job.  There was no one I wanted to dance with. No one who could meet me at the heart level there at that moment and who could also break out and dance at the level I needed.

So I sat at the table and watched the band, the song, it hit me in the core, and I felt it. And I had to move. I enjoy solo blues — I don’t do it often enough, and don’t always want to, but when I need to it’s right, and it’s part of what blues dancing was and is — it’s part of the history. Most people in Vancouver don’t know what solo blues is, unless the’ve travelled. But it had to be solo. I had to get stuff out and I’m glad I did. That solo blues danced to that song might have been the best song of my night.

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