Journal 2002

December 28, 2002:

Well, it was a fun holiday for my dancing habit! I got two cd's I like a lot, and another snakey armband (I got the first one as a "graduation" gift). I have to admit tho' - the best gift was one my husband got.

You see, ever since Christopher was a child, he's always "drummed" on things. Furniture, steering wheels, his leg or stomach (and sometimes even his head LOL!) - you name it, he'll most likely drum on it. When I first started dancing, I met up with another dancer through a local juggling club and she put a drum in his hands (not knowing his nervous habit) insisting he learn how to drum. She also gave us a tape with the rhythms on it (very sweet of her!). It's always fun for a dancer to join in with their spouse whether it be dancing with them or… accompanying them on an instrument! I'm sure that's what she was doing - helping me find more opportunities to practice as well as finding ways for him to get involved. On one of my many trips to Isis' boutique, I caught him looking at the drums and one day he finally said he'd love to take a drumming class when he had time. I of course loved the idea. I also want to learn the rhythms, but I don't want to take a class or buy a drum just for that. So.. my mother-in-law helped us out there.

She was snooping around the boutique after graduation and walked up while Susan and I were looking at some veils (Chris was somewhere else - I'm not sure.. although he *almost* saw what she wanted to get him). She showed me one of the smaller doumbeks and said that she'd really like to get it for his big gift. I thought this was wonderful! It's a bit small but it's a *great* beginner drum for someone who isn't sure he wants to drum too much yet. He's a pretty big guy and his hands took some getting used to positioning to get the proper sounds out of it, but he's enjoying it. If he can get into a class I'd love to get him another one eventually, too - especially once he's learned more about the various kinds. This one will be perfect for learning, for a backup, for practicing in "quieter" places and even for me to accompany him if we have two.

For now however, he's learning some rhythms (as am I), and I'm trying to do more varying zill rhythms and getting used to doing that while dancing. We mess up here and there but that's to be expected. It's a blast to know that instead of practicing alone, I can see if he wants to drum and it's a great way to spend some time together while learning something. I hope he continues to have fun with it!

December 22, 2002:

This is a fairly long entry, but I wanted to record all of my thoughts from the event. I also apologize if some of the sentences are really long and babbly, but it's amazing I can even put down a coherent word about that morning - I was really out of it :D

Well, yesterday was the "big day". I graduated from beginner bellydance and will move on to advanced I. I must say, we all had a *blast*. When Isis says "it's your day" she intends to make you feel special. It was very simple, but still something that I'll always remember. We were to come in an hour before graduation time (I was so nervous I woke up at 5 am to start getting ready and I got there about 20 or so minutes earlier than "warmup" time). Some of us finished makeup and getting our costumes together, others just chatted and took photos and had some fun before things got started. We did a quick warmup to loosen up the muscles, and then we had a few finalizations of how and where we'd line up. We ran through the dance a few times (we actually had two different groups: one a fast Karshlimar, the other slower - I chose to do the slower one so I could really focus on the flowing movements) and then did a "follow the teacher" veil dance. Then our families and friends came in.

My husband Christopher, his mother and my friend Susan (who'd gotten me into bellydancing) came to see me dance. I think it really dawned on me what was happening when I saw them walk in and put their chairs down front and center, eyeing me to see if that was where I'd told them to try to sit. It's funny because earlier when I'd seen other people I didn't know walking around waiting to come in it didn't bother me, yet I'd done this dance a dozen times for Chris and his mom (Susan's from out of state so she hadn't seen it yet). I just kept eyeing the photo on the other side of the room that my line was supposed to be even with (our group was staggered two lines to give enough arm space and although I tower over everyone else somehow I managed to be front and center). I kept taking deep breaths and flicking my skirt back and forth to keep my arms and wrists from going stiff on me. We were all crammed back in the far corner waiting for the signal to move up into our starting positions and I momentarily panicked when I thought the music was about to start before we were ready but she shooed us forward first so we could position ourselves. I don't even remember if I looked at my guests to give them a last smile before we started, in fact - I don't remember too much at all.

It was actually a very bizarre sensation dancing there. I'd done choir and band stuff, I think I'd even done some plays when I was much younger (nothing too "big", however) and I never experienced what I did then. At first I was terrified. I was convinced I was going to forget what step would come next or do it wrong or something. There is a section of the dance early on that once I get past when I'm tired, distracted or out of it I do fine (I usually nail the dance right, but sometimes the brain "turns to mush" as Anne calls it and it's time to stop). I'm sitting here as I type this trying to think if it felt like forever before I got there or if it came quicker than I thought it would, but I can't remember. I honestly feel like it was both - whatever *that* is. I remember looking at my mother-in-law and seeing her smiling so big I thought she would cry (which she doesn't do a lot), I remember seeing my friend Susan's face and seeing how totally awestruck she seemed (she didn't really have any expression at all). I think it was a lot to take in for her. I haven't seen the places she'd taken classes at, but she might have just been so overwhelmed by all the stuff around her - this place is *packed* full of goodies to buy, photos, costumes... everything. Plus it was early and she'd driven down the night before LOL! I remember thinking to myself that I better not look at Christopher's face. I didn't know how I'd react to his expression (whatever it was), so I didn't want to risk messing up or losing it if he was all teary-eyed or something. So I looked at Susan and my mom-in-law a lot, as well as other people I didn't know.

Suddenly, I don't know what hit me but it hit me hard. I think it was during this one section where we move toward the audience playfully and then do some skirt swishing - but it suddenly hit me how freaking wonderful this was, how well I was doing, how well my body was responding and especially how happy I was dancing. Suddenly I noticed my cheeks were hurting and I realized I was grinning like crazy. I even heard one gal's little girl talking "that's my mommy! How'd she learn that!" - cute stuff like that. That set me off with a few laughs and more smiles. I didn't realize it at the time but when I saw the photos later I noticed that my form was better than ever before on a lot of my moves and I had really gotten into the dance. Maybe it was just the adrenaline, my placement in the line and my own subconcious trying to give me confidence but I literally felt like I was walking on clouds and that I had everyone's complete and utter attention. Whether or not this was true, I'll take that feeling any day! :) When we did our final "pose" before moving "off-stage" and the audience applauded us, I realized my arms were shaking from the adrenaline. The photo from that is one of my favorites from that day - my pose was perfect and my grin huge. As our two lines moved off and out of the way, the front line was on a direct course for the bathroom/changing room area and we kept on going.. LOL! We got in there, looked at each other... and said "we did it! we did it!" and started hugging each other until someone looked up and realized the mirrors on the front of the classroom gave the audience a view of us in hysterics.. LOL! Fortunately I don't think anyone noticed. We came back out and stood out of the way to watch the 2nd group do the faster Karsh. I hope they had as much fun as we did - they sure looked it! :)

After they were done, Isis went to talk to the audience again (and I knew this was coming) she was telling them some of the things we learn in beginner class. She told them about "follow the teacher", where the students grab a veil, she puts on a song of her choice and leads us through random movements. It teaches us how to quickly go into the different movements in a smooth transition while giving us practice and it's actually relaxing to me. She then looked over at us and said "Girls... grab a veil" (and a few moans replied - "what.. more??".. heheh!). She led us through that and she happened to be standing right in front of my husband - so he was the victim of a few playful smacks from a veil from one move we do. It took everything I had to keep from laughing at that one :D Sorry Chris ;) You have to watch it when you're on the front row with dancers who're known to include the audience! Hahah!

We were then given our diplomas - Isis said something to me when she hugged me but I really can't even remember what exactly she said (I was still on an adrenaline rush). After that, we sat down to enjoy some other dancers who came to entertain us! :) Then Isis came out dancing! I was a little disappointed she didn't do her trademark double swords plus zills, but her rainbow-colored silk veil was very flashy, too. Then while I was happily sitting there clapping along to the music, she gestured me with her finger to get me to join her. I got up (trying to re-adjust my skirt and sash that I'd stepped on while trying to sit.. d'oh!) and stood up there wondering what on earth she wanted. See, I'm used to juggling and magic shows where some poor soul gets picked on to be used for a trick or something like standing between two people passing clubs. I'd heard of dancers who pull people up to dance with them but never seen it (I've actually not seen much bellydancing and hadn't until I was already in the class for a few months) and it didn't really occur to me at the time that I was supposed to dance (in fact, I remember thinking "darnit! They've already seen me! I want my mom-in-law and Susan to see YOU dance!" LOL!!!!). Isis stopped dancing and playfully looked at me like "well?..." as I looked back at her with this puppy-like "what're you wanting *me* to do?", and then she started doing some dance moves and I mimicked her. I can't even remember the first one she did but it was pretty simple. Then she went into a hip-drop-kick which had I been thinking I could've added a full turn to (she probably didn't know I already knew how to do those really well). After that, I honestly don't remember anything else except her clapping and coming up to hug me and she said something else to me but I think I was too busy turning red and kicking myself to remember what it was. She went around to everyone else and made them dance with her - they either mimicked her or did their own thing. I have to admit, I really wish I hadn't gone up there first. Had I realized I could've just cut loose and done whatever I wanted, I would've been able to have fun and do all sorts of stuff including bellyrolls and other things I knew from outside her class, but unfortunately - being the shy, "no, please.. you go ahead" type person I am I thought that seemed a bit rude like I was showboating or something. It never once occurred to me that this was all part of the "this is YOUR day" theme of the party . I mean afterall.. she was the one dancing, right? Well, in my mind anyway she was.. I was still wanting her to do a lot more since only my husband had seen Isis dance out of the three of my guests. Don't get me wrong though, I had a blast laughing and clapping along while others got up and hammed it up or danced something quick and ran away before Isis could stop them :D Ah well.. I'll have to tease her about it when I see her next.. hahah! :)

After all that ruckus we lined up for photos with the gals who'd danced for us. I was glad because I was a little too uncomfortable asking my classmates to line up for photos - I wasn't sure if they all wanted to be photographed anyway (in fact, I won't be posting any of the photos from that day). Finally it was all over and I saw Isis and jumped up to ask for a photo with her personally. I remember her saying stuff to my family like "See? I'm still posing with her even though she's so beautiful!" (or something like that) and complimenting me on how I looked and how well I danced. My mother-in-law and I think Chris heard her say something like that was why she picked me first to get up and dance with her. LOL! I didn't even catch that - I swear, it was all like some bizarre dream and I wasn't really there. I told Isis I'd definitely be back for advanced I and then pulled Susan over and introduced her (I'd been wanting to do that - so glad I got to!). I told Isis that she came from out of town to see us dance and that she was why I was even there. Isis said she wished Susan could join us and I felt really sad that she couldn't :( That was the one thing that saddened me about bellydancing - she would've LOVED the class and she lived too far away. We would've had a BLAST if we'd been able to take it together, making a day of bellydance I'm sure! My mother-in-law had wanted to sign up with me too but at the time her schedule wouldn't allow it. Maybe she'll be able to sign up sometime in the future.

I walked away from my graduation with tons of compliments from my teacher and others, and I have so much confidence to carry me into the next segment. I had started feeling a bit nervous about it - everything from "how will classes be now?" to "will I be able to handle it ok?". Six months worth of weekly classes really had me set on a schedule and although I'm sure I'll see at least 90% of these gals in advanced, I felt sad like I wouldn't see them again. Too weird :) I definitely had to bombard Christopher with questions about "How I looked? How'd this gal dance? How'd we all look? What happened then? What were the families doing? etc" because I honestly either didn't catch it or I didn't remember it. Chris was telling me about his adrenaline rushes from juggling performances he's done so I guess that was pretty normal. In ways it was very cool, in other ways... eep! LOL! He really enjoyed himself, too. I think he was on a bit of his own adrenaline rush as well - he got to spin poi (the dance kind at that) for Anne while he waited in another room, and he thought it was one of the neatest and most fun things he's done in a long time.

On another note, on the 20th, I was practicing doing backbends and decided to do a kneeling backbend while balancing something on my head and was amazed that I could! I balanced a big metal ruler, and then I grabbed a hockey stick (yeah yeah... I need to get a cane or a sword... ya use what you have, y'know? LOL!). I'd also touched my head to the floor a week or so ago with an arched-back version but it kind of freaked me out a little (I wasn't expecting to feel the floor and once I did I was like "now what???") and I haven't gone back that far since. I'll get back there eventually though. I just need to keep building up the strength.

Anyway, so it was quite the experience and I definitely enjoyed myself. I can't wait to start advanced!

December 8, 2002:

Yikes! I just realized how long it's been since I updated and I need to update with a few things I've been keeping in a Word document. Whoops… oh well. LOL!

I don't know what's up with this season, but I've been getting nailed with colds etc a lot. I get the achey, tired "oh man, just let me sleep" stuff, the allergy and cold stuff and then Saturday in bellydance class I literally got so out of it towards the end of class I forgot the dance when we did our last practice of it. Ugh! I got home and just literally felt numb and out of it. I couldn't think straight and all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep - which I did for several hours. Sheesh! Crazy! I hope I get through this without anymore trouble. Gee… how I'm looking forward to spring and more allergies (not!).

My unitard came in so hopefully graduation will go smoothly. Not sure I'll be able to wake up even earlier (who can sleep when they're excited about something happening the next day, anyway?), put on makeup and walk like a zombie into class to do graduation but we'll see how it goes.

Speaking of that darned achey, out of it feeling.. I can't remember what else I was going to write about so I guess I'll go ahead and cut this short. :)

November 21, 2002:

I got my skirt! I had to go in to chat about something that was mentioned at the end of class last Saturday and see if I needed to sign up for it, and Anne told me it was ready. It's gorgeous and turned out *perfectly*. It also was not a bad price all things considered. Since I don't have room to cut out a lot of fabric and I don't own a serger, it's tempting to do this again when I need a new skirt. It's long, full, and it makes doing the skirt movements in the dance we're doing for graduation *much* easier than the tucked in veil I'd been using. I ordered the unitard on the 19th I think it was, so it's not in yet but I think I'll go ahead and start using the skirt in class. I want to get used to wearing it and using it.

We got to Isis' studio a little early and they weren't open yet so we went into pet shop to wait. I'm a bird lover so I can't resist "chatting" with parrots, I miss the amazon parrot I used to have. Anyway, to make a long story short we discovered a little parrot (think lovebird shape on steroids - I really didn't check to see what kind she was) who liked to take a nap… on her BACK! She burrows a little hole into the bedding at the bottom of her "playpen" and then crawls in on her back, feet in the air, and sleeps. No kidding. I'd never seen that before - sure, I've seen birds who'll do it for short periods of time while playing with their adult "parents", but never on their own like that. She was perfectly healthy, too. Playful and alert. At one point I seem to recall her on her back playing with a toy that was beside her, like a dog or cat would do. It was adorable, but I just had this image of a family taking her home and not knowing about this habit and having a heart attack seeing her like that first thing in the morning or something. I hope they remember to tell whoever buys her that she does that. Too funny!

Anyway, so I'm just waiting for my unitard to come in and then my graduation outfit will be ready. I still would like to go get some fabric for a new veil, but I'll have to wait on that a little while still. Hopefully I'll be able to get that ready for when the next class starts up (I'm not even sure when that will be - I need to ask).

Gee, can you tell what's on my mind more often than anything lately? LOL!

November 16, 2002:

Oooh! I'm so excited! Today after bellydance class I got to try on my circle skirt so Anne could get the hem ready to go. She thinks it should be ready in a week. Woohooo!! I can't wait to get everything together. It will be a simple costume (mainly for classes since I'm tired of sweats and t-shirts), but it will be a nice way to end my beginner class. This is for the graduation that's coming up mid-December. My sash is a dark green (forest green-ish), with white and gold beads and gold coins. I liked it because it was a nice color, but also because the beads really show off my hip movements which I need when I practice at home. I don't have any mirrors so I use dark reflections in tv's and picture frames to be able to see my movements when I practice at home. The skirt is a pine green color that's a little lighter than I'm used to seeing that shade normally. It wasn't what I originally wanted, but I couldn't pass it up. Plus when I laid the two together with the color material I'd love to use as a veil I loved the combination. My outfit will consist of the sash, skirt, I won't need the veil just yet, and then I need to order a black unitard (one of those dance unitards with the sheer panel in the belly so you can see hip and belly movements a little better). I can't wait to have it all together! I have no idea how Advanced I will go - when we can start it, what day/time. I've gotten so used to my normal time for beginner classes that it'll probably throw me off. LOL!

My parents just moved out of state and they won't get to see me graduate, so I thought I'd go ahead and perform the dance for them. My mom was thrilled - she hadn't seen me in a while nor had she ever seen me dance before. I think she really loved it when I let her wear the sash and taught her a few steps and shimmies. Hahah! She also enjoyed playing with the veil. That was so cute. I also got to spin some poi for them, it'd been a while since we've done that. I guess we've been neglecting juggling and poi for a while. Just been preoccupied with other things I guess. We'll have to get back on track. I have a feeling a lot of it has to do with the holidays and things like my dance graduation coming up. The holidays tend to throw people off their schedules a lot. I can't wait until things go back to normal tho'.

November 11, 2002: Man, it's just not my year for colds etc. The previous entry talked about how I was sick for a few days. I had some flu-like thing that makes you tired and achey. Then a few days ago I had an actual cold that I just finally got over. Ugh! LOL.

Well, I still haven't had a chance to really update my page. I have a photo I need to scan (an autographed photo of Darth Maul that Ray Park signed for me - Thanks Tonya!!!), and I guess that's keeping me from updating (my scanner isn't really hooked up right now). I guess I better update soon or I'll have a novel to post on my journal. I've been keeping my "journal" in Word for a while so if it sounds weird reading this online, that's why. LOL! It's not that I don't want anything to do with my page, I guess I've just been a bit stressed (ok, a lot stressed) and haven't felt like setting things up to update files. I have been enjoying reading one of my friend's journal. She tries to update it daily but it's mostly just little notes about her day. Even still - especially since she's so busy and we don't get to chat as much as we used to - I enjoy hearing about her day.

In mid-December I'll have finished my beginner bellydance class (6 months), and then I move on to Advanced I. We get to do a graduation dance for family. The dance we're doing uses a skirt as a prop and tucking a veil into my sash doesn't always work well (it falls out and I'd rather concentrate on dancing instead of worrying about tripping on the veil), so I figured I should get a circle skirt to match my sash. I didn't want to worry about trying to mess with chiffon on something so important that is coming up kind of quickly, so I got one of the ladies at Isis to make one for me. I can't wait to see it! I'm sure she'll do a lovely job :D I also hope to grab some more chiffon to make a lighter colored veil. Everything is a green color, but different shades. Then I'll just get a simple black unitard to wear since I can't afford any of the fancy costume pieces right now. It'll be fun, I just hope we get everything done correctly and in on time.

October 24, 2002: Since starting my bellydance class in early July, I haven't missed a class yet. This past Saturday however, I was not feeling very good so I stayed home. We have to make up the class in order to move on to the next level and since our Saturday class starts the week, I had two chances to get into a following class to make it up. I decided to go with Thursday night and boy… I am going to try to never miss another class again!! I couldn't believe how crowded it was! Don't get me wrong, they were all nice ladies, but we weren't even able to hold our arms out properly. Instead of focusing on steps, we were trying not to trip the other gal beside us. Several times, the ladies closer to the wall next to me walked into the drapery and couldn't finish up some of their steps. Yeesh! One lady admitted to me it's never been that crowded - and it was even raining. Usually some people skip class when it rains.

We finished up one of the dances we were learning, so that was cool. We also learned a few new moves and a new shimmy (she calls it the running shimmy). I kind of wish I hadn't missed last Saturday's class. Why couldn't I have been sick on a day we didn't learn much? LOL! I can't wait for this Saturday, though… so at least it helped jumpstart me from being sick. Being sick is horrible. It gets you behind on everything: schedules, chores. Even your mind is still napping for a while. "Ugh, I don't wanna do this… don't make me". I think it sees the body feeling down and thinks it deserves a break too or something. LOL

Speaking of breaks - I've got three journal entries and haven't added any of them to my page yet. I need to scan a photo and update my merchandise page, and I haven't been able to yet. That's what's holding things up - our computer setup is a pain to do things like that and update. Ah well. I suppose we'll get things rolling smoothly someday. LOL!

October 13, 2002:
Whew, am I tired. I had a busy weekend - which isn't the norm for me. Friday night I had a stage makeup seminar at the Isis studios. That was a blast, but I got out of there pretty late (and also didn't get much sleep, either). The next morning (Saturday, the 12th) I had bellydance class and then I ran out to the Plano convention to see my friend Tonya. Ray Park was a last minute addition so we got to see him again. This was the third time (once in Austin and twice here.. the last one was only a few months ago). Ray now recognizes us. He told me I looked familiar and when he realized he was right said hello to Tonya (who tried hiding behind me - she was in costume.. LOL! He even complimented her on her costume) and Christopher. I wasn't going to make it to this convention, but Tonya offered to pay my way in for my birthday. The ATM machine was out of order, so she also bought the autograph. We treated her to a nice lunch and I'm hoping to be able to buy her some things as little thank you's when I get a chance. It's just fun to do - besides, she sends me little packages of goodies. ;) Anyway, since this was in a sense a birthday present (even though my birthday is on Halloween), I had Ray sign this picture "Happy Birthday". Maybe I'll eventually get all the Maul photos… who knows! LOL There were two left on his table that I don't have, it's just a fun way to collect the photos, I guess :D

I met a prop/costuming fan who goes by PlanoJedi. He was dressed as a Ghostbuster - very cool costume. Christopher and I have always loved the movies and cartoons. Next to Star Wars, GB's was probably my next fave movie subject. We'd both love to have at least the basic costumes and try making a few of the gadgets. We've really never made stuff like that so who knows how they'll turn out. Just something to do eventually when we're bored I guess!

I didn't really get to wander the con like I normally would. We couldn't really buy anything so I didn't want to look at the dealer's room too much and my main goals were to see Tonya, Ray Park and PlanoJedi as well as see if I could see any other prop/costuming fans I know from online. After that, there wasn't much else to do, so Tonya grabbed her stuff and we went to a vegan restaurant we usually hit when she's in town. Sorry they didn't have any bread pudding, Tonya! Augh! What bad luck, eh?

Anyway, it's been a long weekend and I was so glad to see my friend again. It's also always hard to say "goodbye". Hopefully we'll be able to chat a little more if she's not hitting many conventions anytime soon - hahahah! ;)

October ?, 2002:
Have you ever been impatient? I mean to the point where you have zero patience, pace the floors, wanting something to happen "now" that you have absolutely no control over? It gets so bad that you have trouble falling asleep because your mind is going a million miles a second thinking of every possible way to speed things up or make things work better (not to mention thinking of all the other things that have nothing to do with the main thing that's driving you batty to start with)?

This has been happening to me a lot lately. Now, normally I'm pretty patient - I can get very excited and anxious about things, but I usually try not to let it get to me if I have to wait. I won't go into details (this entry is more about how it feels rather than what causes it), but it's just funny how annoyed one can get when they're wanting things to happen that they can't really control that well… no matter how hard you work at something.

I think the worst part of it (other than having a hard time falling asleep), is trying to "find something to do". I've not been able to do art or sewing for a long time because I really don't have the space for it lately (as I've mentioned a million times - I know, I know), and it's hard to get the scanner working. Messing around with the digital camera is fun for only so long - I've driven the birds who visit my front porch crazy. There's only so long even I can handle playing the few rhythms I know on zills, and while I'd love to work on some of the choreography that we're learning in bellydance, I am missing a song (which I hope to get this week) and some steps so that I can practice smoothly. There's my website, but it's like "so what do I update with?". There's only so much "interests" stuff I can do before my site gets cluttered and my organization alarms go off… LOL! Don't get me wrong. I'd LOVE to work on my site - for some reason I've been dying to add some content (not necessarily art), but I really don't have much to add right now except this journal. I'm not sure why I don't update my journal more often, but maybe it's because I feel it's not worthwhile to. I especially feel this way when I read fun entries like my husband's journal (he actually writes about things - kind of like I'm doing right now but with more of a goal). I normally just babble about what I've been up to lately - which was the original purpose of my page and journal - but sometimes I feel like being a little more creative. I could go on, but it'd just remind me of all the things I also need to do much less want to do!

The point is, it's a continual cycle. You get impatient, look for things to do to occupy your mind, find that you really can't do anything right now for a mix of reasons (some including the very problem you're getting impatient about), get annoyed about that as well, then get annoyed you got annoyed to start with. LOL! Heck, I haven't even been able to finish reading a novel my husband bought me months ago! I can't even remember when he got it for me. It's a Star Wars novel (New Jedi Order, which isn't my favorite but I knew there was something more to my not reading it when I realized if it were a Darth Maul novel or a pre-NJO novel I'd still have trouble reading right now). In the past I've always grabbed those and just read them quickly. Don't even get me started about replying to emails and posting to boards I usually visit… my friends and family know that I'm slower than I used to be at replying.

Hopefully I can just concentrate on what I need to do, not let things get to me and find ways to help keep me occupied until I can get things rolling like I want. Then again, hasn't that been what I've been *trying* to do to start with? Augh! :)

September 20, 2002: I haven't had a chance to sew a stitch in a long time. There just hasn't been room to spread out and work not to mention I haven't felt optimistic enough to give it a try lately (I'm very, very new at sewing). I needed to finish a project before Saturday, however, so I had to give it a try again. Thursday night (last night), I got brave and pulled out some chiffon I'd purchased a while back to practice veil work with. The edges were all tattered and I needed to use it for Saturday (the veil I work with in class was missing last week and since I'm so tall I need one long enough), so I had to hem it. I didn't want it to get caught in my coin sash. I've never hemmed chiffon in my life and I'd tried to mess with it a few months ago. That didn't work so I tossed it away and swore I'd never touch chiffon again. Unfortunately, I can't afford to have one custom made right now (I'm not about to buy something that doesn't match the things I've already got just so I can have one long enough) not to mention I *do* already have some material here. I figured.. it couldn't get much worse than it already looks. So I sat down and tried out some hemming techniques. I'd read about one way of doing it where you sew a straight line and use it to fold over. That didn't work too well. So there was one short end that was a bit icky. Ah well.. at least it wouldn't get caught up too badly in my sash while I twirled it around. Then I dug through the sewing machine's booklet (I borrow the machine - it's not mine, so I've not had a chance to really learn all about it). I found that there was a foot for narrow hems that I could put on it. I shrugged and figured it couldn't be much worse. I did the other short end. 'Ok', I thought, 'a little better'. The foot helps guide the hem to roll up correctly and sew it so you can focus on folding the material over. I realized I really need to purchase one of those cutting wheels and a cutting board - I just can't cut straight with scissors. So I made a little note about that for future reference. Then I got to the long ends - these were straight edges thankfully. They went a little easier and I figured that if I really took my time, replaced the lightbulb on the sewing machine that went out (it helps if you can see, LOL!), bought something to help me cut straight lines and practiced, I might not be so intimidated by chiffon in the future. :) I'm just happy I now have a veil for class. It may not look like much, but at least it's long enough for the moment. Who knows.. someday I may try to make my own circle skirt!

I also bought some nice zills (finger cymbals) last night. I splurged a little, but figured it was worth it. I wanted something a little bigger than the small types that are cheaper. I love how they feel - can't wait to use them! We start those Saturday and I've already had a class elsewhere on them so I'm looking forward to it.

I've also been diving into some genealogy stuff. I'm sure my parents are getting bombarded with emails from me asking about details and "I can't make out these notes you sent.. what does this say?" type stuff. LOL! I'm having a blast, though and I'm finding some information that will help point me in the right direction I hope. Two big tips I've found so far (and too late): Even if you're not wanting to at the moment, ASK about family information. You may want to learn about your ancestors later when it's too late to ask a lot of them :( And also.. be organized. I have a folder full of notes sent to me that are strewn about and it's hard to go through and get all the information organized. I think half of the work I've done in the past has just been trying to understand what the notes are and finding more information out (stories that I'd heard and who they refer to on the charts I have). Still, it's a lot of fun and it's neat - like reading a mystery but you get to be the detective! :)

September 12, 2002: It's been a little while since I last added a journal entry. I've been taking a break from the webpage - it's not perfect, but it works for me (for the moment anyway). I knew search engines were picking up my inner pages (like this one) and I don't include "return to" graphics on my pages. Since my pages were designed to be used with frames (something I wanted to do for a change as a break from my old way of laying out pages), I decided to do some frames forcing. I've never worked with javascript before and I really don't want to do much more with it in the future, either. It works for the most part, but the code I use tends to mess things up unless you enter the site via Ah well.... it was an attempt and I banged my head on my desk long enough to get this far. LOL! Maybe someday I'll sit down and see if I want to fix that or create a graphic to put on all my pages. For the moment.. I just need to get back to doing some content on my pages.

My husband bought some lightsticks (the cheap kind you can get at Wal-mart) and he got some photos of me swinging those as poi (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go to my husband's page and look at the photo on his main page.. the green swirls? That's what I'm talking about - but that's him). I haven't added any of those photos to my page yet because I don't know which one I like best. LOL! It would've been nice to get some video of it but it doesn't show up very well on our camera, sadly. Ah well. Perhaps another time.

I've been having fun dancing at Isis' studios. We've even gotten to where we're starting to build up to backbends and splits. I have been practicing doing the backbends standing, but Isis is having us start on the kneeling version. I can do bellyrolls now, too, which are fun. It's a great workout and I've found that it, like poi, help tone up muscle which I love.

Anyway, really not much is going on outside of poi and bellydancing. I'm trying to take it easy with online stuff understandably. I don't have much more to post with Maul art.. one last sketch that probably won't be finished, and the rest is stuff I wanted to finish before I posted. I may not get around to posting art for a while after that one (roughly a month to a month and a half from now is when I'll post it), but I'm not giving up on art. It's just not as important to me at the moment like it once was (that and I really just don't have the ability to do any especially for webviewing). Then again, this new site is more a site for me than just an art gallery like my old webpages were.

August 9, 2002: You know it's funny that I enjoy poi so much. I was using my husband's poi which have chains and metal bolts connecting the tennis ball to the ends and I had a few mishaps when I was first learning. The chains got wrapped around my wrists (literally tying my hands together) and the end would smack into the bone - talk about sheer pain. A few other times I got smacked so hard I just threw the things down and screamed that I'd never touch the darn things again. Then he got me some streamer poi that don't have the metal and have a soft cord instead of chains. It was amazing how fast I started picking up tricks after that (I guess because I knew I wouldn't do much more than an occasional whap to the head with the tennis ball - which was much softer because of the lack of a chunk of metal in it).

I had gotten to where I could do tricks pretty well. Some tricks took me a while to do like "thread the needle" (go to if you're not familiar with the tricks... there is a great section that shows animated photos on how to do them) while others came more easily. And then of course the reverse behind-the-back weave. That one drove me batty for like 2 weeks. I seriously focused on that one trying to get it down. I had matching bruises on both shoulders, a big one on the back of my lower leg (who knows where else - I was covered with them) and had whapped myself in the throat, collarbone and jaw enough that I started ignoring it after awhile. I finally managed to get it and it was so worth it to finally be able to do it. People *love* seeing that one. It still wasn't enough, however... my husband knew a trick or two more than I did (he can't do the behind-the-back trick, tho').. but he did something I wasn't able to yet. Threading them together. What we call "dancing with poi". All I could do was stand there and go "ok, I'm facing this way, I'm swinging my poi this way... I'll do this trick". I wanted to be able to just move to music and swing poi - not think about it. Well, this past Tuesday we were at a juggling club when I noticed I did something different twice. I accidentally swung the poi in a way I normally didn't. I thought it was a brainfart (yes, I use that term), but it seemed to work (in other words, I didn't knock myself out). I asked Christopher about it and he said that was when he started knowing to try threading tricks together.

So Thursday morning I got up and went into the living room, got a cool cd to listen to, wrapped the poi around my hands so they'd be a little shorter (I wanted to be able to do more tricks that long poi wouldn't work with plus I didn't want to take a tv or light fixture out), and starting dancing. I went right into it. Sure, I had a few moments where I "got lost" and smacked a leg, my head or tangled them up accidentally. But there it was! I called Christopher in to get his opinion and I was so excited to hear that I was indeed catching on.

This is a great thing for me because I enjoy expressing myself with juggling and dance, but I also wanted something to get my heart rate up during the day for some exercise. Something I could just randomly say "well, I'm tired of doing this so I'm going to swing poi for a little while". How awesome! It's also cool because now I can swing poi alongside my husband instead of doing a few tricks and sitting down wishing I could do more instead of getting bored. Now I'm no longer bored. I just hope I can learn some more juggling tricks (not to mention get a few new props - our old ones need replacing).

Man... isn't it Saturday yet? I can't wait for bellydance class either :( Augh! I wonder if I'll be able to get another class as well. I can't seem to get enough of it!

August 6, 2002: This is my first journal entry - it may go through some changes but I think I have an idea how I want to lay it out. I'll discuss various subjects but it's mainly something fun to do for me and a good way to be able to let the people in my life know what's up without having to email them all separately.

Anyway, last Saturday was my 5th belly dance class (second class using a veil). I really enjoy it! It's once a week for an hour, and that's probably my only complaint - that it's not often enough or long enough! I'm having some troubles with isolations (but then I think everyone is). During shoulder shimmies, you're not supposed to shake your hips at all. My coin sash is fairly quiet, but still has some motion and sound on it. I'm driving myself nuts trying to get it to quiet down, but hey... practice practice! I've also found that I'm not dancing as much. Before the class started, I had to wait a couple months. I'd purchased three videos (Neena and Veena's Sensual Art of Bellydance series), and practiced them pretty much every day for about 2 to 2 1/2 months. I realized that with this class not only does Isis teach us different things but she calls some of the similar moves different names so the tapes are on the shelf for a little while. At least until I'm more comfortable remembering what our class is doing and what's on the tape. Since I'm in an actual class, I'll do as Isis says... later on, maybe I'll ask her about some of the moves I've learned from the tapes. I still need to buy a veil, but I can use one from the school for now. I was going to make one, but like the art thing, I just don't have room and patience to spread stuff out to work. After August's classes I think we're going to start working on the zils (the finger cymbals), and that moves us into the beginner-intermediate section. The beginner class runs for 6 months and is broken up into 3, 2-month segments (beginner-beginner, beginner- intermediate and beginner-advanced). Then you can graduate and move on to Advanced I, I believe. I can seriously see myself sticking with this school for a loooooong time! ;) The teachers are *wonderful* and I have fun with my classmates. Sometimes it's hard to do some of these moves and exercises (especially the ones focusing on the stomach muscles) with Isis cracking jokes, though. Hahahah!

I've also grown to really *love* our new digital camera. I'm learning more things about it and just having a blast taking photos. It definitely comes in handy for things we need as well. When I finally learned how to do the behind-the-back reverse weave with poi, it was a treat to take a small video of me so I could see how it looked! The video feature isn't very good, but hey - with a broken video camera (hi 8 video at that - the kind with the "baby" video tapes), it's nice to have *something*. I do sometimes miss my other cameras but since we have no way to really scan photos and slides, this works wonderfully. I definitely want to get the video camera working again, and then eventually get a nice digital video camera. With all the juggling, poi, dancing etc that Christopher and I do... well.... it'd come in handy. Well, I guess that's all for now. If I think of more, I'll add to it throughout the day, but I think I'll just get this online for an update now.