... dance, fitness, food, health, life...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quick check-in

Today was hella full of dance classes, rehearsal and an audition... I'm tired, already sore and definitely icing bruised body parts. But you know what?? All of this is worth the happy-go-lucky mood I've been in ALL. day. long. I'm so glad I'm back.

I will post a more detailed update of the week's dance adventures soon. And I'm SO behind in reading all your lovely blogs... that's what Saturday morning is for! So until then, my lovelies...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Title? I got nothin'

I am so. exhausted. So tired I can't even come up with a creative title for this post.

I played hard this weekend. I needed a break from all the emotion from last week. I needed to not think, just do. And did I do... pool, sun, generous helpings of uzo, baklava and Greek dancing (and cute Greek guys, wink wink) all contributed to my weekend of letting loose. In order to free yourself, sometimes you need to get a little crazy.

Today was rough... lots of water, coffee and ibuprofen, and oh lordy, hip hop class was not a fun time... but playing hard was so worth the pain. Opa!!!

Time for bed. I anticipate tomorrow being a long, exhaustive day. It's the first day of classes for the fall semester, as well as Grandpa's funeral and memorial services.

Nighty night.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday and the lowdown on the Diggety

I'm slowly starting to feel like a normal human being again. The fact that it's Friday and only minutes away from the weekend doesn't hurt a bit. I escaped the office cave this afternoon and worked from home. The day has been deliciously hot, and the entire weekend is supposed to be, too. That's good news, as sun is a BIG therapy for me... and that works out well since most of my Saturday and a good part of my Sunday will be spent outside. Hot diggety!

Speaking of diggety, let's throw back to 1996, shall we? Let's give a listen to a little ditty by Blackstreet, Teddy and the original rump shakers, kicked off for us by the Doctor himself...

This, my friends, is the jam that inspired my nickname. My hip hop teach and mentor, D, still loves to sing his version when I walk into the room... "I like the way ya work it, J-Diggety..."

And P.S.? I had never seen this video until this summer, and when I saw that they have puppet versions of the Blackstreet boys, I giggled like a little girl. That freakin' entertains me to no end... and it doesn't take much, folks...

Peace out and happy Friday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The week that... just... won't... end....

Oooo-wee. I'm not only wearing my crabby pants today, I'm ROCKIN' the crabby pants.

I'm pulling another "I'm a day ahead of myself"... yesterday I woke up thinking it was Thursday, and today I woke up thinking it was Friday. I still feel like it's Friday. I kinda just need it to be Friday.

Last night was rough. Tears and bad dreams all around... not only because of my gramps, but everything else in my life... money... I've made pathetic progress with my choreography... I'm second-guessing my ideas for choreography... loneliness... the fact that I have zero junk food in the apartment... or wine... yes, I officially got bitch-slapped by Aunt Flo yesterday, so it's been a rockin' good time the last 36 hours lemmetellya. And counting. Schmeh.

Oh, and get this... all the symptoms of Aunt Flo, but no actual period. Oh, she's here, that beyotch is around... but not. It's phantom Aunt Flo. This is the second month in a row, and it's happened sporadically before... my doc tells me this is normal because of how active I am. Great. I think that if I'm going to have all the lovely symptoms, there should be something to show for it... OR, if I'm going to skip a period, let me just skip out on all the other BS and make it a package deal. Yes?!? No? Okay.

I just want Monday to be here so we can have Grandpa's funeral and start the closure process. I want school to start so I can throw myself into projects and get out of my crazy li'l head. I just want this week to be over!!

Where is the girl who found such confidence and determination and faith in Chicago??? WHERE?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The waiting game and big hair therapy

To continue the "little things that make Jessi happy" theme for this week, I give you more 80's goodness.

On my home from work last night, one of my favorite Duran Duran songs came on the radio and gave me another burst of sunshine: "Hungry Like the Wolf."

For whatever reason it reminded me of the spring Student Dance Concert when I had to have big hair for one of the pieces I was in (it was very tribal and animal-like). Despite my straight, somewhat fine brunette locks, I can rock the big hair... just give me a crimping iron, a fine-toothed comb, a full can of hairspray and some Duran Duran playing in the background, and we're in business...

Hungry like she-wolves

K definitely had bigger hair the first night of the show (that's her on the left), but not to be outdone, I got it bigger - Texas big! - the second night. It was fierce.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The waiting game and 80's aerobics therapy

My grandpa's funeral and memorial services are not until next Monday. I was surprised that it wasn't planned for a day early this week - I thought it might happen today or tomorrow - but I assume my dad and two aunts decided on this so our out-of-state relatives (Cali, Florida, Pennsylvania) can get here. That only makes sense.

The waiting, though, the waiting... augh!!!! I'm anxious for the closure the services will bring, so I'm playing the waiting game with a certain degree of impatient blah.

In the meantime, two things...

One, I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all the words of encouragement, prayers, thoughts and love sent my way from all of you!!! I really, really appreciate it. I got choked up when reading your comments - they touched me. I'm truly grateful for this little cyber-community we have!

Two, I want to note the little things that make me smile and give me little rays of sunshine. Today it was this article that I found on The New York Times this morning. I got such a kick out of it! And I totally want to fly to LA to take the class!! Calling my LA bloggy lady friends... Maegan, Jen, Lizzy Marie, Gabby... you should go take this class! I'm so excited about it!! Can't you tell by my annoying use of exclamation marks?!?!

Omg, neon spandex? 80's tunes? All while learning some authentic dance moves? Yes please! And it looks like I'd fit right in...

Yep, I'm for hire if you need a 80's jazzercise instructor for a birthday party. Work it, feel the burn, baby!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saying good-bye

My grandpa passed away last night. I got the call around 9:30 last night and made my way to the hospital to say farewell to him and to gather with my family.

It will be a little quiet around here for the next few days... or maybe the week... I don't really know, it all depends on if I feel like writing or not. Right now I'm not feeling up to much. I just wanted to let you all know.

I stopped at Walmart after church this morning to buy some waterproof mascara. Good-bye's are hard.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wishful thinking

It's Friday, right??

I just want to make sure. Because last night I was convinced that it was Friday and today was Saturday. Thinking the weekend was upon me, I excitedly started making pool plans with a couple girlfriends. This began at about 5 o'clock when I left work.

So, the three of us text back and forth throughout the evening, establishing time and all those little details. Then at about 10 o'clock, mid-text, my jaw dropped and I realized that it was only Thursday night. And that I had one more day to be chained in the office-cave. I was so bummed. And embarrassed that I had made plans for the wrong day. Wow. Oh wow. I texted my gal pals to let them know that I wouldn't be at the pool until Saturday, the REAL Saturday. They thought this was hilarious. Which it was. I obviously was willing with all my might that the weekend was upon us!

But now it really is!!! (If I'm wrong, please someone break it to me gently...)


Oh, how I adore being at the pool. And how sad I am that I've only spent one day at the pool this summer. SO lame. This is the last weekend City Park Pool will be open. Since most of my pool plans were thwarted by weird, anti-summer weather this year, I'm buggin' to get my booty to the friggin' pool at least one more time... to the point where if I don't get to put on my bikini, smell like chlorine and get some sun, I'm going to lose my noodle. For reals, yo.

So, weather? God? Mother Nature? Whaddya say? Want to throw me a bone this weekend? It can rain and pour all it wants on Sunday, really. Please, please, PLEASE bring sunshine galore tomorrow! PLEASE. I need to be at the pool. It makes me happy, way deep on the inside.
So, happy Friday to everyone... happy REAL Friday, ha!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It hurts so good

Tonight was the most productive I've been at the studio since I've returned from Chi-town. And it felt so good. It hurt, but in a good way [grinning]. My hamstrings are already sore, and I have a feeling my calves and my entire back will be screaming at me tomorrow. Good. No pain no gain.

I think yesterday's little inspiration explosion set the wheels in motion... I'm starting to have a game plan for my swing choreography, my Student Concert piece is taking shape in my mind (I'm still looking for music, but I think I might have it) and I was incredibly focused at the studio tonight. That is kind of a big deal, as it really is harder for me to be focused and disciplined when working on my own. The more structure I have, in the form of a teacher running a class, the less chance for me to get distracted. Which isn't hard. My attention span sucks.

I discovered the modern technique that feels second nature in my body at the intensive this summer, so I'm really focusing on honing that technique. This is Horton technique. I love it. It stretches and strengthens my body in a capacity I've never experienced before. It hurts like hell. But in a good way [bigger grin]. I just keep going back for more [Cheshire grin].

Someday when I have more energy to write a more detailed post, I'll tell you more about it.

But for now, bed is in my immediate future...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

BAM! A sudden burst of inspiration

So, in addition to really needing to get my arse into the studio [um, fail last night... *blushes in embarrassment*...], I also need to get on the ball with some choreography. Like now! It's "strongly suggested" that us dance majors choreograph a piece for each semester's Student Dance Concert. This is the concert I did my "Love Lockdown" piece for last semester (more about that here and here). So, I have that to get busy with that. AND, I have instructions to choreo a li'l swing ditty for Tour Company this year.

Most the summer I've been putting off the Tour choreo, saying I'll do it after Chicago. Welllll, it's well after Chicago and I don't even have a song picked. Cripes. Similar song and dance for the Student Concert choreo. Having a song to choreograph to is kinda crucial for me. Some people can start putting movement together and then put a song to it, but not me. I can only choreograph when I'm moved, and music is what moves me.

So, finding music for both has been on my mind, but I haven't had much luck... until this afternoon!

I was looking for something to listen to on iTunes while working, and noticed that a few people here in the building had their iTunes libraries on "share". So I jumped on one gal's library and started scrolling through. I was enjoying a lovely smorgasbord of AC/DC, Gnarls Barkley, Duran Duran, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, En Vogue, etc., when the Flobots came on. Ooh, the Flobots! If you don't know these guys, check 'em out on YouTube. For one, they're sweet; secondly, they're local to Denver; and C, one of the guys in the band is a hip hop dance friend from years ago... but I digress...

So, the Flobots' album is playing and one song in particular strikes a chord for me: "Anne Braden". The song is about a woman from the South who talks about fighting against lynchings. This piques my curiosity, as I'm ever-interested in anything related to Civil Rights... so I Google Anne Braden and find out that she was a real lady. She was a southern white women who fought against racism in the 1950's, at a time when it was very unbecoming of any white southerner to speak up about racism, much less a southern lady.

Then I suddenly remembered something I saw at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago. Again, I'm very interested in Civil Rights history in this country, so while at the museum I told my friends that I had to go see the Civil Rights exhibit, to be sure to see displays about "my homeboy", Martin Luther King, Jr. (My friends thought this was hilarious, coming from their white friend). Well, while checking things out in the "Tracing the Civil Rights Movement" exhibit, I saw a display about the event that ignited the entire U.S. Civil Rights movement (according to my findings on the Internets today): the murder of Emmett Till.

Oh. My. God. The pictures in this exhibit were the most horrifying things I've ever seen. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I suddenly got hot, my head felt light and floaty, and I started crying right there. My friends had to steer me away because I was so traumatized. I won't outline the details here, but go look up Emmett Till on Google Images and see for yourself.

Long story short, I've been inspired to choreograph a piece for the Student Dance Concert based on my views about racial prejudice, hate crimes, civil rights and social justice in the great, noble US of A. Hearing that Flobot song, which triggered the memory of the Emmet Till exhibit and how profoundly horrifying it was... is the trigger I needed. Something that triggers an emotional response from deep inside is a creative catalyst for me. I have a really hard time creating something that doesn't have much heart behind it. It feels trite and fake. And I want to be proud of what I put on stage and what I do on stage. I don't know exactly what this piece will entail or how it will look yet, and I have no idea what music I'll use, but the ideas are starting to flow and take shape from the indecisive "I could do this... or this..." fog, a place I was floating around in just this morning.

Once the creative juices are let loose, it's like whitewater rafting on class-4 rapids... hold on tight, y'all!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Night Blog Buffet

Welcome to the Monday Night Blog Buffet! Just like a real buffet, you get to sample all the juicy morsels in a variety of choices... bon appetit!

Humidity-D, the allergy cure
There are things I miss about Chicago... like how happy my skin and sinuses were, *le sigh*. I'm a native Colorado girl. Carrying around a Nalgene water bottle, lip balm and lotion are as necessary as oxygen to prevent withering up like a prune in this dry state (and I don't mean liquor - umm, Colorado breweries??). Any "humid" day here causes all of us natives to whine and moan like spoiled children... I thought the humidity in Chicago would near kill me. The opposite actually. My skin LOVED it, and suddenly my allergies were nonexistant. Gone, cured, nowhere to be found! That's nothing short of a miracle, considering I have the worst allergies known to womankind. Well, sweet. I guess the sinus surgery I discussed with my doc back in May can be put on hold... indefinitely. Apparently I just need to move to a humid place. I don't even want to discuss what my skin has been doing for two straight weeks. FREAKING the F out, yo!! No amount of lotion or oil is soothing it. I've been drinking water by the gallons (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but still...) Hey, um, skin?? I don't graduate for another year and a half (if I'm lucky), so we're kinda stuck here for a little while longer, so throw me bone, huh??

No excuses!
At some point over the weekend I decided that it's time to step it up and get my little behind into the studio every night after work. The semester starts in two weeks! I'm not going to stay in shape and maintain my sweet physique (haha) by sitting around all day and night. Enough lollygagging around and no more excuses for me... "I do better in a formal class... I have this and that to do... I'll go tomorrow..." If I could crank out 6+ hours each night in Chicago, I can get myself into the studio for at least a couple hours. One of the many lessons I learned in Chicago was, where there's a will, there's a way.

... can suck on it. I'm so frustrated. Just like before leaving for Chicago, I'm trying to sell some things for some quick cash. Cash I really need. Like now. Well, out of the blue, I've been getting spam email about my items... LOTS of it! Each time I open my inbox there are 10 or so emails, and each one of them is crap... "Did you lose your job or are you in debt? I can help!" "Do you need help with your bill?" "Do you need assistance with your financial situation?" OMG!!!!! Not one email has been a bonafide person interested in buying my stuff. Awesome. I'm pulling my ads tomorrow and going to sell stuff the old fashioned way... putting up posters in my apartment building. And eBay. Take that, craigslist!

Scholarship hunting
... is as much fun as the dentist. For a non-traditional, second-bachelor's candidate performing arts student, it's slim pickin'. I always hear about the thousands upon thousands of unclaimed scholarships out there, but I'm starting to think it's just an old wives' tale made up to sucker us. My usually positive self gets realllllly discouraged when it comes time to hunt down financial aid... it's like going to the dentist to get fillings without drugs. Good times!

Time flies
Work zipped by today, which was positively glorious! I'm praying/crossing my fingers/making sacrifices to the 9-to-5 gods that the rest of the week is the same...

School shopping
I'm not talking leotards and tights here people. The fall fashion in the magazines and online have pulled me in hook, line and sinker. I'm enamored with some of the trends for fall... as I usually am, I LOVE shopping at this time of year... AND I'm inwardly gloating that some of them are my old stand-bys... um, grey eye shadow? Been there done that. Grey the "new" neutral? Oh honey, been rockin' the grey for years... And the rich, jewel colors are deelish and a good balance to all this grey... I'm not quite ready to give up our hot summer weather, but a part of me is excitedly anticipating when I can bust out some fall fashion goodness.

Well, I'm stuffed. Check please!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sweet nothings

I'm craving a cupcake, a sweet, moist, heaven-in-your-mouth cupcake, from Molly's Cupcakes in Chicago... Oh Molly's, why are you so far away from me?!?

(red velvet, my go-to flavor)

Um, and hello??? A portion of cupcake and other-yummy-treats sales is donated to Chicago schools! Molly's, you rock my socks. And my sweet tooth.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Trust and jump

So, I've been writing blog posts in my head all week, but somehow never got it down on cyber-paper. A summary of what's been on my mind this week...

On Monday I stared ahead at the work week with dread... 5 whole days, are you serious?!? Yes, yes, I know... at least I have a job, and it's a flexible, decent-paying-for-being-a-student-hourly-job at that. But I'm struggling. I've been struggling with it since I've returned from Chicago. REALLY struggling. I'm stuck between boredom and guilt and paying my bills and fear and feeling like I'm going batshit crazy in the cave all by myself. I'm trying to be grateful, I'm trying to stop complaining, I'm trying to get motivated by finding new projects to keep me busy and distracted... Epic fail this week, schmeh.

And then there were the glimmering rays of inspirational sunshine that shone through the office-cave gloom... I attended a small business networking event early in the week to spread the word about an arts and culture group that I'm a member of, called Articulate City (the website will be up-and-running soon!). I also passed out business cards for my dance company, The Rhythm Company. Not only did I get all jazzed about the two businesses I was networking for, but I was also incredibly inspired to think about me and my own future business... being a li'l entrepreneur has always been what would just naturally happen "someday". I've always envisioned working for myself in some creative, artistic capacity... or several, really.

The problemo, however, is myself. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this here, but my first degree is in English/Creative Writing. I've fantasized about being a freelance writer for the big glossy magazines for years... YEARS. Article ideas pop into my head all the time... but then so does the doubt. And the whole, "oh, I can't shoot for the moon right out of the gate, so I better start small and safe..." There is another writing project, too, one that I allowed myself to start outlining and brainstorming about five years ago, before I freaked out that I might be full of myself to think that little old inexperienced, insignificant me could dream so big. (Omigosh, just thinking about this project gives me the butterflies...)

Now, hold on right there, missy... I thought you wanted to be a dancer?!?

Yep. I do. But I also want to write. Choreograph on the page, if you will. And design. And craft. And cook (have I mentioned that when my body craps out on me, I want my own cooking show on Food Network???). Alongside being the Artistic Director of some dance company. Oh, and I haven't even added being a wife and mom in there... Oh, I have a whole cache of pipe dreams.

[I'm curious - are they called "pipe dreams" because the dreamer is seen as crazy, like she is smoking something?!? 'Cause I'm sure some of you may be thinking I am smokin' somethin' gooooood with all these crazy ideas and dreams... My head feels like it could explode thinking about all I want to do!]

If I can go after my dance dream, why can't I go after the others?? Why do I listen to the fears and doubts?? I feel like I'm on the brink of something big when I start thinking about all of this... things start buzzing and stirring inside, like the engines are firing up and getting ready to rock and roll... and all I need to do is trust and jump... trust and JUMP...