celticdragonfly: (Maggie Xmas 2006)
So I have been busy and not getting around to posting much, and I should.

Maggie's been taking Irish dance since last fall. April 19th she attended her first feis. I hadn't thought she'd be ready to compete for a long time, but her teacher wanted her to, and pitched it as mostly a chance to get used to how a feis works and be used to them so that it doesn't intimidate her when she's older.

So we did. Went Friday evening and got her gillies and the socks - she's been dancing with ballet shoes to start, but she needs the gillies to compete. Her teacher had contacted the shoe vendor to make sure she had some small enough, but they're still a bit big, she can grow into them. And they'll stretch, so she will be wearing those for a long time. She was excited, and spending time with her teacher's daughter, who's a good bit older but likes Maggie and is the type of girl to take younger girls under her wing. They were practicing together, and having a lovely time. Jamie wanted to get up on the stage and dance, too - I am so looking forward to when he's caught up enough to start dance classes.

Saturday was crowded and a bit chaotic for me, but we got through. Maggie's age group danced very early. She was only entered in beginner reel. She wasn't really doing her choreography, she was following the other girl who was up there with her, sigh. But, she went through the process well, quietly and did what she should, was in good positions, was good "on the line" before and after, and it's her introduction to a feis. So that's good. She wants a fancy outfit and the curly wig SO so bad. I told her no - repeatedly - that's for when she's a more advanced dancer in the future.

I entered the vocals competition, and found out last Thursday from her teacher that I'd tied for 3rd. We'd left before results were posted, as Maggie and I were exhausted and hungry.

Maggie'd had a lot of people who love her there to watch her dance - myself, her brother and sister, Karl, Miles, and her godparents Mary and Bruce all came. But the others had left earlier.

Here are pictures of Maggie before the dancing - you're not allowed to take pictures or video during the competitions.
Read more... )
celticdragonfly: (Default)
Update: I got a phone call, Maggie's dance class for tonight has been canceled due to weather. She won't be pleased, I expect. But I'm grateful that I don't have to go out. I shall stay home, take it easy, make myself some of that lovely hot chocolate Karl put in my Christmas stocking.
celticdragonfly: (Maggie Xmas 2006)
Maggie went to Princess Ballerina Camp today at her dance school. Kids her age, for 2 hours - they did dance choreography, snacks, games, and crafts. Parents were to return about 10 minutes before the end to see their performance.

It was cute. I tried out the video function of our new digital camera. Looks like it cut off before the end, but still cute. I didn't get the best angle - but then, I wasn't looking through the camera, I was busy watching with my own eyes, and just keeping the camera pointed that way at chest level.
picture of our Princess Ballerina with her crown and wand )
Here's the video. Maggie is in the center of the line.
celticdragonfly: (Firefly - going mad)
Only parents with several children close in age will understand how exhausting a day of errands with three kids is. Only a few things take all day, what with the diaper changes and nursings and other stops. (One diaper change today involved going through three new diapers and a new onesie, with the baby in the front passenger seat and me twisted sideways in the driver's seat. No wonder she was crying, with that going on in her system. Trust me, you don't want to try that.)

In quick summary - the bills have been paid and mailed off (Saginaw REALLY needs another post office, or at least a drive-up box somewhere - I couldn't park within a block and ended up driving to the regional one one Mark IV Parkway), Maggie's dance clothes were found, Jamie's glasses have been fixed, I have bought a new kit for my Medela Lactina, and new and much improved storage bags, confirmed once again that there just isn't a standard nursing bra that can fit me, returned home, and Maggie was bathed, dressed, and taken to dance class on time.

I am highly ANNOYED with Bath and Body works. [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct took us in there once when we were up doing errands in that Southlake area with all the cute shops around the park. He was getting more shower gel, and convinced me to try some. He uses a nice masculine juniper scent stuff, nice but not my style, but I found a raspberry that smelled really good, and was convinced to try it. And I liked it. And I ran out. And hey, Jamie's optician is all the way up there in Southlake, so I was very close. After going to all the trouble to get a parking spot only a block or so away, get three kids out of the car, get Alanna into the carrier, and walk across to the store in the sun and heat, they don't have the raspberry shower gel. Out of stock, and well that's an 'old' scent, so now they're only going to have it during the annual sale, except they're out of stock for this one. Well, they just lost a customer. I do not understand the whole drive to New! Different! stuff - if I find something that works I like to stick with it.

I would like to go collapse now - except in a bit I have to go back out and get Maggie back from dance class. We'll see if it's raining then or not. It's been alternating between pouring rain and hot hot sun.
celticdragonfly: (Maggie Xmas 2006)
photo of our dancer )
Maggie started her first dance class today. Alanna and I dropped her off.

Cute little row of pale-pink-clad little girls sitting cross-legged in a row. I stuck my head in and asked which shoes she should start out in - ballet, apparently - I was going to go change her shoes but the teacher invited her to come sit by her and she'd help Maggie change shoes. Probably because I had the baby strapped to my chest.

I *wish* Jamie could have started class, too. Not least because of the fun of breaking up the incredible homogeneity of the row of little girls... Well, hopefully next year he'll be verbal and behaved enough to think about it.

Hovering mothers in the hallway with camcorders. We have More Dignity than that. Okay, I took a picture of her after class, but here at home. [livejournal.com profile] selenite picked her up on his way home from work, and says the teacher reported she was a good listener.
celticdragonfly: (Maggie Xmas 2006)
I mentioned on Tuesday that we were out and about doing a whole bunch of errands. Well, one of the things on the list was signing Maggie up for her first dance classes. She's taking the preschool tap and ballet classes at a nearby local dance school in the summer session.

We'd originally planned to put Jamie in the classes, too - they're for 3-5 year olds - but after more thought, we regretfully decided he's just not ready yet. He is 3, but he is still behind what a lot of 3 year olds can do, especially verbally. Hopefully next year.

Maggie's been VERY excited about the prospect of classes. So we went in and signed her up. 1 hour, once a week. While we were there, we started buying some of her supplies. We got pink ballet shoes there, and pink tights. They're going to order the tan tap shoes in her size, as they were out, but those should be here in plenty of time. They didn't have the short-sleeved leotards in her size either.

So later while we were out, we stopped at a dance supply store. Oooh, she was so excited. Oooh, all the pink stuff! It's lucky for Maggie that the dress code for that class is pink leotard and tights, pink ballet shoes, tan tap shoes. When I was a little girl, IIRC, it was black leotards and white tights. That would have broken her heart. I let her select which style of short-sleeved leotard we got for her. A skirt was optional, and she wanted one. I was suggesting a plainer one that matched the color of the leotard better, but she really wanted the 'sparkly' one that had the handkerchief hem, so I gave in. She was insisting that the other one couldn't possibly fit. Heh.

(They had an adorable leotard with a built-in petal skirt and rosebuds around the neck, so tempting, but not in her size)

She got to try it all on later, and was ecstatic. Adorable, too. I've explained to her that I'll need to put her hair up for class, so she must NOT cut it herself any more, and she's agreed. I'll need to go buy bobbypins.

I need to find her or make her a nice bag for her shoes, since she should go in regular shoes and change into her dance shoes in the studio. There's tons of dance bags out there, but I haven't seen anything that seems just right yet.
celticdragonfly: (Laura - 12-10-05)
Saturday night was another planned contra dance - in the new location, the brand new Arts Plaza in Carrolton. The webpage had been saying that it was still unfinished - and apparently the floor was done but would have to be REdone later - and they were waiting to see if things would be on or not depending on whether the city building inspectors okayed them to have people inside. If not, the dance would be cancelled. The mailing list got an email Friday evening saying it was okay, we were ON. (I love being able to get my mail at any computer, yes I do)

So Saturday we were all set up to go. I picked up the babysitter, driving through some pouring rain and thunderstorms to get her, took her home with the kids, met up with Karl at Brandy and Miles' place, changed into the brown ruffly skirt of Dance! Brandy decided she wasn't coming, but the three of us headed out, found the place, found close by parking even. Yay. Nice little old-fashioned town square with a gazebo, antique stores and such around the square, and they were just closing down various 4th of July activities, like the pony ride. We found the Arts Plaza - it is apparently going to be an arts gallery, except with a dance floor and stage in the middle. A small one. Oookay. The seating areas are raised galleries up stairs with railings and cafe-tables and chairs - so to sit down between dances you have to go upstairs. Eh. The railing still had "wet paint" signs but it wasn't wet anymore.

Karl and I did a first dance - which was a fun one, I got to play a bit with Jim, he's fun to dance with, always turns it into flirt/interaction. But by the end of the dance I was so hot and so wiped out and my chest hurt. After 1 dance? I'd been planning to dance the next with Miles, but he said I looked like I needed the rest, why didn't we wait one out. He was looking all hot and red-faced and he hadn't even danced yet. We ended up all three going outside and watching the oncoming thunderstorm for a bit, then going back in for another dance.

Lined up for that one with Miles, Karl had a partner a couple spots down. I'm glad we danced that one - the caller said Bernie had requested it (He's one of my favorite regular dancers, him and Jim - Bernie's a sweet guy, a nice dancer, and cute), because he likes the gypsy. Gypsy and gypsy meltdown are some of my FAVORITE dance steps (that, and hays), so I was pleased indeed. It had gypsy meltdowns with both partner (for the active couple) and neighbor, whee. Miles and I became active couple almost immediately and headed down the hall, and after a couple repeats I suggested we switch to the gypsy swing and explained it, and we switched next repeat and stuck with it for the rest of the dance. That was FUN, also helped block more of the view of things spinning around, which was good because it was a dizzy dance. Again, by the end of the dance I was hot, exhausted, my chest hurt, and I was lightheaded.

Went to get a drink. Others were talking about the heat and the lack of ventilation too. Miles and I went outside to sit and watch the rain, and discussed just how wiped out we were. I felt awful to be wiped out by two dances, even if it was hot, but we talked about giving up and heading back to air conditioning. Karl was just starting another dance, so we waited for that. He came out happy, having enjoyed his dance with a good partner, and I mentioned he seemed less wiped out than I was. He pointed out I am more sleep-deprived than he is. Then he had a realization - they'd just been renovating, there was probably lots of sawdust in the air, and in the past that's messed up my breathing and made me really miserable. I remembered right, the fresh paint, which would still be outgassing - no wonder I felt lightheaded and my chest hurt. Yeah, bad idea. In theory I could have figured this all out earlier...

So we gave up and went home and played card games. I'm glad, I had been really feeling awful there. I'd hated to think that somehow I was just in much worse shape - when only a month ago I'd danced almost every dance. Sadly, there's going to be a lot more renovation work in that building, and I don't know if they're putting in better cooling/ventilation or not. Possibly I may have to give up on contra for the hottest months here and until the renovation is well past. We'll see.
celticdragonfly: (Default)
Saturday night [livejournal.com profile] selenite and I went contra dancing with [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct and [livejournal.com profile] kattelyn again.

The old location that the dance group used has closed. The new location is not ready yet. So this was an interim. Rather than a standard dance, it was actually a 10th wedding anniversary party-dance thrown by Ray and Martha. How very lovely of them!

It was at the Sons of Hermann hall in Dallas. No, I'd never heard of them either. It made me a bit twitchy going up the stairs to the upstairs dance room in the back, but I later realized right, these are the reactions of someone who spent over a decade in southern California earthquake territory. It was nice to dance on wood instead of tile. (the *new* location will have a sprung wood floor!!) The hall was really too crowded though.

The music was FANTASTIC. A group called Nightingale, from Vermont. (Sample! go listen!) Oh, they were GOOD. We ended up buying 4 CDs between the two couples, three of theirs plus one of solo work of a member. The caller was also really good. She said she'd called the dance at Ray and Martha's wedding too. Awwww.

Dancing was mixed. It was interesting dances, more interesting at the beginning than the usual beginning stuff at a dance - but then there was also the "wet noodles", newbies that don't get it yet, in a higher proportion than usual. Which is exhausting to dance with. I got in several dances with Karl, then tried to get a dance in with Miles - but about 3 repeats into it, somebody stepped HARD on the toes of my right foot. This sort of thing happens now and then, I'm not upset about it, it just hurt and I had to drop out and get out of the way and sit on the floor in the vestibule. I hate having to do that as it can really mess up the dance. But OW, worst it's ever happened to me. Nothing broken, though, just aches. I sat out a few dances, the break, the first contra after the break, and then tried to dance another - had to drop out when I reached the end of the line, swings hurt too much. I think I may have also wrenched a muscle in the ankle in the process. Also it was a sad slow song, which didn't help. The poor guy who stepped on me came over to check on me and apologize twice - I hope I got across well enough that I wasn't mad at him, these things happen. It was worse for me because I'd been wearing very thin dance shoes with no protection on top, and have been having pain in one of those joints already.

You know, I remember [livejournal.com profile] rlseiver had steel-toed sneakers when I was a kid. Do you suppose I can get steel or even copper-toed dance shoes?

Oh, and watching Kilt-Boy twirl was fun.
celticdragonfly: (Firefly - Kaylee - Yay!)
So, I'm up to Saturday, right? Saturday. Groceries. Picking up Maggie's birthday cake for Sunday's party. [livejournal.com profile] selenite picking up our babysitter. Then - heading out for contra dancing!

We stopped to pick up [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct and [livejournal.com profile] kattelyn, since they were coming with us. This was their first time and introduction to contra dancing. At least, that's what [livejournal.com profile] kattelyn thought. Certainly it was her first. Little did she know... see, she'd been challenging [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct to get in better shape, and I'd been helping him PLOT. This was actually his third time at contra dance. He was learning how and starting to build up endurance.

Back on May 7th, when I posted Last night was contra dancing again, first Saturday of the month. Sadly, I struck out on finding babysitters. But [livejournal.com profile] selenite was kind enough to send me on my own - well, he SENT me on my own, knowing I was meeting [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct to teach him. He took to it like... like a very out of shape duck to water! He did 4 contras with me the first night. Those video clips I posted of me dancing? He took. By partway through the dancing I could see him doing minor flourishes, and then he was picking up mine - like spinning the do-si-dos. By the end of the evening he was introducing/leading flourishes with me! I was very impressed. The last dance they did was a called dance, where they don't teach it to you first - they just call it, and then they change the dance several times during it - and he kept up!

Again on May 14th, when I posted We went contra dancing with friends - that was [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct. The music wasn't so good that night, but he was still learning more, and managed to do more dances, building up endurance.

He'd have kept it secret longer - but they're switching his work schedules. It had been that until the beginning of August, all the contra dances would have been on Saturday nights when he works, when he could just go after work, and [livejournal.com profile] kattelyn would be out elsewhere. But that's changing. So he decided to bring her and surprise her. I like being part of surprises, it makes me giggle!

Last night the music was great, they had a big circle of musicians and it was good. [livejournal.com profile] selenite was helping teach a newbie and encouraging her, I was so proud of him. I only sat out one contra dance all evening, and that was because I couldn't find a partner. [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct didn't do that well, but he was dancing more than he was sitting out. I got to dance several times with [livejournal.com profile] selenite, including a lovely dance that had a long swing with your partner :-) We had a dance come up with a Gypsy Meltdown, my very favorite contra bit.

It was fun watching [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct tell [livejournal.com profile] kattelyn the secret. I've been assured that those sounds mean she's flabbergasted.

Last dance of the evening, I'd had dibs on [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct, because I was hoping it would be another called dance, like the last two times, and that would REALLY show off how good he is. Nope, it wasn't. The caller started teaching the contra - and realized wait, this was not working out. Said forget it on that dance. Which I appreciate in a caller! Was trying to find another contra dance, but couldn't - so heck with it, had everyone balance and do a really long swing with your partner, and then they went to a waltz.

So there I was, no last contra. [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct hadn't waltzed before, but hey, he'd promised me a dance, he said, and was willing to try to learn. So off we go to a corner, and I'm explaining, and starting to show him the steps - wait, don't try to do it first, just watch my feet - um, wait, you're DOING it. Yes. That. Okay, let's go. And there we are waltzing off - okay, a slightly lumbering newbie basic waltz, we weren't adding flourishes and I'm explaining the details of leading as we're going, and we're putting in some basic turns, and hey, waltzing!

So here I am, not only a BookPusher, but a DancePusher. [livejournal.com profile] kattelyn was extremely sore the next day, but assures me that she'd do it again if it was on that night. We talked to Tom and Sarah about it on Sunday, and explained and demonstrated and such, and Tom at least sounded very interested. Whee!
celticdragonfly: (Oh Good God)
Last night [livejournal.com profile] selenite and I actually had a babysitter! So we went out on date. We went contra dancing with friends.

The being out with Karl part was lovely. Being with friends was fun. The actual contra dance - not so much.

Sigh. It comes down to it, it can't be denied - I'm a perfectionist. This is no surprise to anyone who knows me. I'd proabably be all sorts of more contented if I was the type of person who could just say "Oh, it doesn't matter, I'm just going to have fun!" But I'm not. There's the phrase "does not suffer fools gladly" - I do not suffer incompetence gladly. It *does* matter.

The caller - well, we've had him before, I think he's a nice guy, but his communication skills are lacking. Figuring out what he means can be rather difficult. He'll get numbers messed up - tell us allemand left 3/4 where it's really more like 1/2. Or one dance last night, there was a part where it was "gentlemen allemand right 1 1/2" - and a lot of the time he'd call it as "allemand right 1/2". Big difference! (especially considering I've been told he's a math teacher) And I feel awful letting it bother me - after all, the guy's presumably a volunteer - but gah, one should succeed in dance partially because of the caller, not in spite of him.

The music - last time it was much better, fiddle and bass and more, bouncy and good. This time - piano and a drum set, the latter alternating with flute. And ... it was not bouncy. It was slow and ponderous and Thumpa Thumpa Thumpa Thumpa. It sounded and felt like what you'd expect for kindergardeners to be taught to. The tempo was too slow. I did ask after the first couple of dances to have a quicker tempo - because it wasn't just me, others were saying it was too slow. It may sound wrong, but it's harder to dance to slower music. Contra should be a matter of forward momentum, inertia and trading weight, and when it's too slow you keep losing the momentum, and having to put more energy in. And it was depressing, too. I feel like I shouldn't mind - it's not like I could play contra music. But I did mind.

And gah, I got so frustrated by dancers who didn't know what they were doing. Better music would have helped them, and more clear calling. But gah. They did a "mixer" dance that was starting with lines of three, and then trading at various points - not that hard a dance, really. But it was a total and complete cluster$^#&. So many people just did not get it, that no, you weren't dancing as a couple, or as a man in a man's part or woman in a woman's part, just dancing the pattern by the spot in the line. It was awful awful awful, made me want to quit.

I'm sure there are people out there who would tell me "oh, it doesn't matter". It *does* matter. When it's good dance with good music, fun patterns flashing through and the momentum, it does wonderful things to me, makes me feel so good. When it's done poorly, it's uncomfortable and distressing.

I kept trying to get into it and enjoy it, but didn't. We left before the last dance and went out for a snack. That was fun.
celticdragonfly: (Firefly - Kaylee - Yay!)
Last night was contra dancing again, first Saturday of the month. Sadly, I struck out on finding babysitters. But [livejournal.com profile] selenite was kind enough to send me on my own.

I had a great time. I tried out my new dance shoes for the first two dances - by the end of the 2nd I was very glad to take them off and switch back to sneakers. They need more breaking in and I need to add padding. I danced 7 dances - one ring dance and 7 contras! I was totally sweaty, tired, and sore by the end of the evening, and I had a great time. I love this!

I was given a couple of video clips that were taken that included me, and I thought I'd share them. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] fordprfct for helping me with the technical stuff and getting them online for me. They had sound before, but don't now - he'll see if he can fix that for me later, I'm stumped.

I'm the one in the blue skirt and purple top.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcjzzMK4EG4

this was during a lovely complex dance with contra corners and a diagonal hay. Well, it would have been a lovely dance, if more of the people could have GOTTEN it. I'm in an inactive couple at this point, but at least this was during the part that it was WORKING. I do love dances with a hay.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI3gYrTK-Sw

Yes, you can see me make a mistake during this one. I had a great time anyway!

Hmm, or was that one of the times that the caller suddenly called what we weren't expecting, leaving out a couple of figures? That happened during that dance, I remember it. Not sure if that's one of those moments or not.

Hm, I shall have to get a contra dance icon sometime.

Contra!

Apr. 29th, 2006 11:37 pm
celticdragonfly: (Laura - Atltanta)
I have been saying lately that I need to get more active. I'm not generally all that worried about losing weight, as long as I stay reasonably healthy - and I had been in the past, but recently I could tell that I was not. I suspect my lack of activity was contributing to my recent bad bout of depression. Now that I'm getting out of that, I want to get more exercise in my life. That's a lot harder than it sounds, with two small children and a tight budget.

Well, I've wanted for ages to get back to contra dancing. I've done it with friends in Atlanta when visiting there, but never here - because it's allllll the way over east of downtown Dallas. Well, I realized they were doing it this weekend, and I really wanted to go, so I sent a begging email to [livejournal.com profile] sandy_tyras and she agreed to come watch the kids for a few hours, and [livejournal.com profile] selenite and I went.

It was great. Nice friendly people, good music. We got there a bit late, and had to leave early - I actually only ended up dancing two contra dances and half a waltz with [livejournal.com profile] selenite, but it's a good start. He hasn't done contra dance in something like 3 or 4 years? Or maybe more? But nonetheless he did very well. I feel good, energetic, exercised! And it's a kind of exercise I like doing, I enjoy the movement and the music and the patterns are wonderful and make me feel so good. I don't *mind* that I get all hot and sweaty, and there are very few forms of exercise that's true for.

We really need to do more of this. Seriously, this is going to increase my lifespan. I need this.

One thing that will help is that they're changing locations - someone actually bought an old theater and they're turning it into a dance hall, with a sprung wood floor!!!. It should be done by early July. It's also about 25 minutes closer to us, they say. This will help a lot.

But we are going to need babysitters. I told [livejournal.com profile] sandy_tyras to think about what could we do for her to make it worth her time to do this for us more, and maybe we can find other people who can babysit too. I really need that. And hey, maybe other people would like to come dancing, too.

(Note for those who haven't done it - contra is a lot of fun, and honestly, I think a lot less intimidating than most forms of dance. You don't have to make up some sort of dancing and hope you look cool, like in clubbing - it's more like programming code dance, there's a set pattern to follow, which they walk you through to start, then keep calling with the music.)

Update: Here is the website for the dance organization

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