Journal 2003

August 10, 2003

Well, I've been updating things a little more often: adding a link here or there, updating my journal here and there… I must be bored and wanting to "play" with stuff and since I don't really play video games I guess I view other programs as stuff to mess with so to speak. LOL!

Friday night a friend of mine in Denton, Cathy (a bellydance teacher who is also part of Leil Nahar), had a little hafla and had originally invited me to do a solo there. Since I don't have a costume finished and I've been a little stressed with other things I decided to pass on it. Usually when she has a show or her husband, Rodney, has a show (he's a juggler) the other will do a little performance at it. Rodney opened the night with a juggling act that was cute and my husband Christopher got up to pass clubs with him for a bit. That was cool. I brought the video camera but couldn't really zoom in or do much because the battery is old and was about to die (time to replace it I guess). Still, Chris was happy to be able to watch it. The three ladies of Leil Nahar each have their own classes apparently and they got up and danced for the audience with their students. One of the teachers had a segment in the middle of their act where her dancers start dancing freestyle with each other and the other two teachers ran through the audience pulling out dancers they knew who were watching, so we got to dance a little. That was fun, and a cute way to involve the audience a little.

Saturday class has been mainly focusing on preparing for the Ya Halla event and since I'm not attending I've been either dancing with 2 others (which is hard to do when this particular dance involves a long line of people LOL) or watching. I especially didn't mind watching this Saturday or trying to help them do some last minute things (running to get something to mark the edge of a stage or find a cd). It was neat to be able to watch the craziness that goes on before a big show without having to feel the stress. Hey, at least I'll know what to expect if I do it next time. It was also great to be able to watch the dancers and check out the costumes they're going to wear. We also had to pose for a group picture - even those of us not dancing. LOL! Unfortunately, Isis told us we need to come in for the class before ours and try to get some extra dancing in after YH - she felt bad that things had been so oriented towards the show, but I totally understand.. this was the only time many of them could practice together and Advanced II's Saturday class has a pretty intricate one that they kept fine-tuning.

The only downer was of course knowing I wouldn't be at Ya Halla myself, but what could I do? I don't have a costume that I'd want to wear and I couldn't afford a workshop even though I'd love to take one. Ah well, maybe next year.. still… it stinks because when I'd taken my private lesson to learn a few tips on dancing freestyle to a longer song than we usually use, Isis had asked me to audition "again" (as she put it, referring to my private lesson as an audition) for a solo at Ya Halla. Wow! What an honor! - and what a shame I had to turn it down. D'oh! Ah well.. I try to look at it this way.. hopefully in a year I'll have learned a lot more, have a nice costume and even be in better shape.

Anyway, is it winter yet? Ugh….

July 28, 2003

I had a bad Friday (long story I really don't want to get into) and decided to skip class Saturday to kinda relax and regroup so I can start the week a little more refreshed. Sometimes class is really good help for that but othertimes it's best to stay home - I'm glad I'd decided to sleep in. I woke up with my lungs hurting. I guess allergies hit me overnight. Blech. I hate allergies.

Anyway, I was feeling a bit bored and almost regretted missing class after awhile so I poked my head into the room my hubby writes in and asked if he wanted to try some juggling. I'd been having cravings to juggle a lot recently. See, my husband and I met at a comic book company but ended up being friends from juggling and once we started dating we juggled a lot at some of our favorite parks. It's too hot to go outside to juggle right now, but there's a club in the area we go to sometimes that's indoors. Since things've really quieted down up there (not as many people) I end up juggling by myself for a few minutes, spinning poi a few minutes and then sitting and spacing out the rest of the time while my husband juggles with the guy who heads the club up. I would pass clubs with them but for some reason I always end up hurting my hand somehow. This past week, a friend said he would meet us at the club since it's been so quiet and just 2 or 3 of us and he didn't have anything else to do. He ended up learning how to do the regular 3 ball cascade and I had fun juggling 3 balls (tried four but I don't like the size of these stage balls and sometimes the lighting really messes with my eyes. I can do four but I still need better conditions, sadly), and juggling some rings that I really want to order since our old rings are outdated. I also did some club juggling, even passing and being part of a feed - believe it or not I actually didn't have any trouble even when some wild throws were being sent my way, my hands must be getting used to these clubs finally (we'd bought some new ones a while back). It was such fun that I'm now in "wanna juggle" mode, so getting back to my original point, I grabbed Chris from his writing to do some juggling.

We didn't want to go outside because it's so hot so we tried passing in the living room. Well, we ended up putting the clubs away (not enough room and I hate the sound of these clubs hitting the floor and fireplace brick etc LOL!) and using balls instead. He taught me some stuff I hadn't worked on before: ultimates, passing 7 and tried to teach me how to throw and catch a weird trick but he couldn't explain to me how to catch it so we'll work on that another time. We dragged out the video camera to record some of it and see how we looked. I didn't realize the poor guy has never seen himself do some of the 3 ball tricks he does like behind the back stuff. I also had never seen myself swing poi, really. I can't wait until we can get more space to juggle. What I saw of both of us looked great (well, to me anyway!) :D It was a blast and now I can't wait for summer to be over for many reasons… I hate the heat and frankly I prefer dark, cooler/colder days… and now I want to be able to juggle outside for awhile without having heatstroke. LOL.

We've also hauled out the bikes and put lights on them so we can ride some of the trails (paved for now) around the lake without the sun beating down on us, too. That's been something else I've missed a lot.

July 12, 2003

Whew! Well, today I moved into Advanced II at bellydance class. I had to take four choreography tests and perform a solo in front of my class (and since I did it at the end of class the next group - Advanced II - got to watch me as well). We were only supposed to perform a 1 minute solo I think, but we're allowed to do however long we wanted. I chose a song that's about 5 and a half minutes long. LOL! It wasn't on purpose! I'd just heard a clip and fell in love with it.

I was already hot and tired from class but for the last few minutes I stayed at the back of the room and instead of doing what everyone else was doing (some fun "follow the teacher" drills) I just kinda spaced out in my little corner with my own mirror and started dancing and getting in the mood to solo. I must say it was a great experience running around the entire floor of the classroom to dance in front of people lined up all around the walls - some were a few rows deep, too (where did they all come from! It seemed like there were tons of people! LOL). At home I don't really have much space to let loose and dance. This in itself is good training because from the sound of you it rarely do have enough room to dance in the "real world" but this particular song I wanted to really do some walking around and fast movements and long slow movements. I was worried because while practicing at home I only had maybe two days where I felt like I'd done good enough and that wasn't even for the whole song, either. Anyway, it started off a bit slow and I took things careful for a bit and then once the music picked up someone started clapping. Others started clapping along and I think they really seemed to like the song I chose (I've seen it written so many ways but I go by the site I discovered it on, Shira's page lists it as: "Doubti Doub"/"Barely Melted" by Ehab Tawfeek). Next thing I know I was dancing like a woman possessed and couldn't stop having fun.

I barely remember anything except it just felt like I was going from movement to movement smoothly and anything that normally would've felt like a messup at home was probably not even noticeable to most people including myself. I also remember seeing the faces of those watching me - good friends like Amunet who also just moved into Advanced II and wanted to watch my solo, along with others from my class or that I'd seen here and there the past year. They were all just smiling and watching me and it felt so good to have this sort of positive attention that I really have been needing badly (it's been a really rough and stressful time for me). I honestly don't know if I did everything I was wanting to do (some parts of the song I had very short things I wanted to do but really only about 2-3 things together in three separate sections and the rest of the song was all freestyle movements threading everything together), but I definitely had fun and that's what was important. It felt like a big party and the energy was just insane! I need to check with Amunet to see which moves seemed to get the best response and to check on other things to make sure I didn't do them too much. One of the things I really enjoyed with freestyling was the freedom to dance up to someone who'd caught my eye, smile at them and do something fun in front of them before moving on.

My poor husband didn't get to see it, however :( Only folks at the studio were allowed in (unless I'm mistaken) and I do understand that… sometimes there is more than one person doing a solo and they might be shy and not appreciate some strange person watching (some students prefer not to dance in public and I totally understand.. I'm sort of in between.. while I don't totally want to avoid dancing in public I also don't really seek it out right now and love hamming it up in class.. makes for a "Fun! Party!" atmosphere). It stinks tho', because he's usually the one who tells me every little detail he can remember since I don't see everything at once nor do I get to "see" myself. Drat! If only I could have videotaped it!

Everyone was so wonderful afterward - Isis takes the dancer back out to "meet" the audience and they get to tell the dancer what they liked, thought and sometimes what they would like to see more of. I was happy to hear that folks really liked how much of the "stage" area I used (something that I'd worked on in a private lesson with Isis to see what to fix with my freestyling since I was feeling so disgusted with it). Some mentioned that I really knew my music which was nice to hear because at home I'd been getting so sick of the song that I'd lose track of what was going on (it's very repetitious and sometimes I get lost when I'm not paying attention). So that was nice to know - I did feel much more in tune with the music and it was almost like I was hearing it for the first time again.. I guess I just needed to do my solo and get it behind me :) Another kind lady pointed out something else that I'd added to my dancing recently (I wasn't sure if it was acceptable until Isis told me at my private lesson… unfortunately I couldn't remember how many times I'd done it so I didn't do it enough at my solo) - she thought I had such lovely long hair that I should turn away from the audience and dance.. it makes a nice change and also is neat to see the movements from behind my hair (my hair is very long - past my waist - but thankfully isn't so thick that it would obscure much). A few folks said I should do a hafla which is actually kind of funny because Isis had said I should do Ya Halla. Sadly there's really no way I can afford to do it right now so I'll be sitting this one out. It was just so nice to see people talking about it and helping me by encouraging what I did and telling me what more they wanted to see. I really appreciated it and I also told them they were a wonderful audience because they *really* fired me up and I'm not joking either. Something clicked with that music and when I saw they were enjoying that I really started going crazy and then it was just back and forth. I can't wait to chat with my friend a little more in detail about it.

Sadly, I shouldn't have done my 4 tests so quickly afterwards, however. I was so tired from class and a long solo not to mention I was so fired up with adrenaline that I had trouble with choreographies that I normally can breeze right through! D'oh! Fortunately for me, Isis knows I can do them just fine and only pointed out things that she could tell were things that needed fixing. That'll teach me tho' - this whole ordeal does. Next time, I get off my butt and get things done so I don't have to cram them all into one day so I can move up to the next level! Advanced I was getting so crowded tho' that she wanted some of us to hurry up and get out of there because frankly we needed to move up (I must admit a few of us were getting so bored we constantly considered skipping class even though we have to make it back up) and secondly she needed more room for the next group that had graduated. LOL! That's fine… now I can just keep up with old choreographies, learn new ones and learn new skills :)

I know I've been terrible about updating my page and journal but it's been "the same" and would've been boring to read... I thought even though I post often about class that it's one of the more positive things that's happened recently and I'd love to collect these into a little scrapbook or something especially if I keep at dancing for a long time. Anyway, I'm so tired but couldn't nap.. argh! I hate that... you get so wired that no matter how tired you are (and despite drinking tons of water I feel so dehydrated!) you just can't sleep.. ugh!

March 17, 2003

My husband has been wanting some juggling bags for some time as have I. I finally decided to try making some, I'd even had some material lying around that I was going to use but hadn't had a chance until yesterday. Christopher wanted 7 so we did those last night and then filled and sealed them today. I'm not too happy with them. He loves them but I'm not pleased with the job or shape of them (he claims this shape isn't supposed to be perfect, but I can't help wondering if they couldn't have been a little better at least). Ah well, I'll do some more another time. LOL!

We also juggled a little in the living room. We did some passing (with the bags, not balls or clubs) and I did some three-ball tricks that I hadn't been able to do before. I even tried them with regular stage balls and had some luck. I definitely need to get smaller stage balls than he has. I think his are the 3 inch size and it's hard to do numbers and even some contact style juggling for me especially. It was still fun and although these weren't as good as I'd hoped they'd be they will work for now.

I also want to try to sew some dancing stuff, can't wait to get going with that and give some of those pieces a try. Not sure if I'll be able to but it'd be fun. I'd love it if my dance studio did a few more workshops tho' - maybe they'll get one going. That might help ease my nerves a little so I can have more confidence to try. Regardless, with as much money as costumes can cost, you might as well pay the price and get what you want. It's so hard to be able to find what you want (color/style etc) that when the items come in (which isn't very often) they're snatched up before you even see them much less have the cash handy to buy it. So it'd be a skill that would come in handy a few times for me. Plus that would be a nice feeling to know I made the items myself… so who knows. It's worth a shot! I just need to brush up on some skills and do a little research first!

And isn't this typical? I'm back to enjoying juggling and swinging poi outside and it's "rainy season" now. LOL! Maybe I'll just have to hit some of the other juggling clubs in the area during the week when I can't get out and juggle because of weather. I should enjoy it for now though (I love rain), it'll be summer before I know it!

March 16, 2003

Geez.. ever have one of those days where nothing seems to be going right for you (especially emotionally)? Saturday was one of those days for me. I almost wish I'd skipped dance class and slept a little longer or something. I hope next week is much better. For some reason nothing clicked right and I had a miserable day (especially at dance class) - probably the worst day I've ever had there, sadly. I felt like an idiot with no grace, and I know that's far from the truth (but still doesn't help with confidence much).

It got better after I went home, had lunch and ran up to Denton for the Tejas Juggling Festival. I sat around for a little while watching other jugglers and cooling down from my crappy morning, and then I got up and had some fun. I juggled some balls, although I couldn't juggle 4 because of the horrendous overhead lighting that really messed with my eyes. AUGH! I tried out my new gloves and worked on passing clubs with my husband Christopher. I also of course spun poi. I was having a better day but it got TONS better when a really nice juggler named Ron came up and complimented me on my poi moves. That really made my day. He also wanted to know if I was going to perform in the show later. I wasn't sure about it because the past few months we've not been able to juggle much and I was a little worried about overdoing it. The show was at 7 pm (several hours after we got there) and I knew if I wasn't careful I'd pull something (laugh, but it happens… New Year's day I went all out and the force from spinning the heavier poi for so long ended up making me strain and pull a lot of muscles in my fingers which help me do a lot of the tricks). I said I'd think about it and carefully worked at my heavier poi and a lighter streamer poi off and on through the afternoon to keep up with the tricks but not overdo it. I'd originally been asked to perform poi with my husband who also spins poi, but we'd told them we'd pass this time. I guess it was inevitable we'd end up doing it. It turned out we felt confident enough to give it a go. We didn't choreograph anything.

They had some music there so we found something to spin to and I went out first with my streamer poi and did more "dancing" than tricks. After awhile (and when Chris finally was able to get away from some people who wanted to talk with him before he went out LOL!) Chris came on with his poi and I left and switched to my other poi (they're chain with no streamers… not as impressive looking but I prefer them for harder tricks and faster spinning). After he'd had the spotlight for a while I came back out and joined him. It was a blast and we both got some good applause for some of our tricks (we couldn't remember to do everything we knew… ah well) and especially my behind-the-back weave. It also threw me off because I hadn't performed for anyone before. I generally just go to parks or the juggling club and dance in circles (and if I have enough space I really move around) so it was a little hard to remember that I had one side to face most of the time. I did turn around a few times of course so people could see what I was doing behind my back, but I'd entered on a weird side for me and kept wanting to turn right and face the wall I'd been staring at all day. LOL! That would've had me facing away from the audience, so I had to keep reminding myself not to do that too much. I also had to think "ok, for my 5-beat weave I need to turn so they can see it from the side" and stuff like that. Had I been in the middle of a crowd (with enough room mind you) I would've really been able to just go crazy and have fun but I had to actually think about it for the first time. It was still a blast, tho' and I learned something from it.

I had a great time talking to all the performers. Everyone did great, even those who dropped or had troubles and I was happy I got the chance to speak to most of them and compliment them. All the compliments I got really made up for my earlier "klutziness" and made me feel tons better. We even got a little cash for our trouble too… very cool! I guess you could say it was my first "pro" performance! LOL

So I had a bad day, oh well. I know I'm a good dancer and although I'm unable to join in things right now (no costume and I can't really buy or make one right now) and prefer to work more solo than in groups I still have my strong points along with my weak points like anyone else. I just have to remember that and not let things get to me. I'll have my chance to shine and have fun and that'll be great. I also know I have to not get so wrapped up in one thing again. I need to get back to juggling with Christopher and having fun with that and other hobbies we both (or just me) love to do. I can still be serious about dance but it's not always going to go smoothly for me, so why not have something else to make me smile?

January 20, 2003:

Well, it's been a little while so I guess it's time for an entry! I've started Advanced I in bellydance and I'm enjoying it except for one little thing: Since it's slightly crowded, I have a hard time seeing what's going on from the back row (I'm tall so I like to get on the back row out of habit and also to be nice to others who might not be able to see with me in front of them). In Beginner we were staggered enough so I was able to look up, see my teacher, her reflection in the mirror and my own reflection. That was *great*. Now it's so crowded that there's almost always someone in front of me and sometimes I can't even see my own reflection, my teacher's reflection OR anything but the back of her head. I got a little frustrated about how crowded it was on January 4th (our first class back) and since I was trying to let my foot rest up (I had a blister on my foot from the long walking we do, plus all the pivoting I'd been doing in dance) and I didn't want to deal with a crowd, so I went the following Wednesday for my 2nd class. Wednesday is typically a little smaller than most classes - in fact, had I been able to I would've had that for my class instead of Saturday but it's in the middle of the day. I wasn't sure I would always be able to get there. When I went this past Saturday for my 3rd class I felt like I had missed something (even though I'd technically not missed a class). On top of that I couldn't see very well at any of those classes and since we're moving faster on learning dances and moves I feel like I'm struggling to keep up even though I know I'm not a slow learner usually. Ah well… I'm sure I'll settle in and hopefully the classes will thin back out (unfortunately once another beginner Saturday class graduates we'll be going through this all over again.. d'oh!). I think that's my only complaint about my school - they really need to put a cap on class sizes.

My husband is putting the office back together. It'd really gotten disorganized lately with stress and lack of time to put into it. Also I wanted to get back to my drafting table and supplies. I still need to buy frames for some of the art on my table - one painting isn't done but I don't want to risk damage to it so I'll put it in a frame until I do finish it. I went through some of the boxes that were stored away in the office closet and pulled them out. I didn't do a super job cleaning the items up (anyone who has the Prismacolor marker racks - especially a lot of them - knows it's a pain to take the markers out to dust and then put them back the way you like them without the shelves falling back apart) but at least they're accessible now. Not to mention some items are just permanently ruined from use (marker, ink, paint, etc all over them). I have no idea when I'll get back to art but they're there for when I want to.

I've also started getting back to my minimalist phase. I recently put away a large portion of my Star Wars collection (98% of my hockey collection, which is smaller than my SW collection, was still boxed from when we moved 2 or so years ago. I didn't have room to display it so I kept it boxed for now) to give me more room and so I wouldn't go crazy trying to dust. I love my collections and stuff and don't really want to part with most of my it, but man… I can't wait until I have a better way to display it all. First thing I'll do when I have a "collection room" will be to get dust-proof display shelves. I only want to do an occasional cleanup on the items themselves and just do a weekly cleanup of the glass doors. For things like books, cd's, dvd's and videos Chris and I are wanting to totally hide them away. There was a time I loved the look of books on a shelf, now unless they're all of the same look (very nice bindings that are fairly uniform) I think it looks cluttered. So we definitely want cabinets to put that away in. I also want to do the same with my art supplies. I remember the art rooms in school and most supplies were in cabinets with doors so everything looked neat and clean but things were accessible when you needed them. That sounds nice.

Yeah… we need to either win the lottery or make a lot of money :P :) LOL!!!!!

January 1, 2003:

By the way, yes… if you look at my journal I talk about dancing a lot. There was a point where I talked about poi a lot, too. Unfortunately with the colder weather Christopher and I aren't able to do that as much - plus we have a long walk we love doing too (although *that's* cold, it's necessary). Add to the fact that we get so busy and next thing you know we've missed an opportunity to juggle or do anything else. We have a juggling club that we can go to but half the time I forget that it's even the day to go or we just get so busy. We'll get back to it - we always do. It's like everything else we're into. We love to do so many different things sometimes we have to rotate things around on the burners just to make time.

Like art. I'd taken about a 2 year break from doing art. I did some drawings recently and even bought a few more supplies, but I still need to clear off my drafting table (which has become the "unfinished paintings and drawings that need to be framed" table) before I get too involved in art. It's really going to take some situating before I get too comfortable with it again. I really just got burnt out on it, sadly. I'll also post some art here and there, but with no scanner easily accessible right now… well… even updating with art isn't very easy right now. Plus, part of the reason I got so burnt out was just the constant "rush rush! I must put up a new drawing!". That got old quick and I started doing more quantity than quality - and definitely more "work" than enjoyment. Above all else, I draw because I feel like it… and I'd forgotten that for a while.

Anyway, so yes… I will talk about other things here. This journal is, after all, about my life for friends and family to catch up on (my whole page is, actually). Part of the problem with a lot of our hobbies has been the economy. Like so many others, budgets are tight and we've been unable to do many of the things we want or need to do. I hope that changes soon - for *everyone*. Once it does, I'm sure to be babbling about a lot of different things.

Best wishes for everyone in the New Year!