Thursday, September 22, 2016

Things Kicking Around My Brain These Days

October is looking to be a crazy busy month for me, and I can already feel the energy gearing up. I'll have a lot of plates spinning, so to speak. On the one hand my Type A organization gal is all YES!, but my peace-loving hippie chick is all "I just want to chill and drink apple cider while laying in the leaves." I'll have to find a way to make both happy, I suppose.



1. I think the biggest thing on my mind these days is my business. September has seen the best month to date for me, and it has been incredible being able to tick off goals on my list. It is also bringing change, as I will be losing my current space as of November 1st. It throws a wrench in my plans, but I can't say as I was particularly suprised or upset by it. As much as I truly loved working in that space, I knew going in (it was a sublet, after all) that it was a jumping off point and I wouldn't be there for very long.

The good news is, I have already found an incredible new space that will allow me to expand my hours and have a wonderful community around me at the same time. I'm looking forward to eventually giving out more details, but it is still early days yet. Details to follow.




2. My dance troupe is performing three out of the four weekends in October, and then again in November. I will also be doing solos at two November events, as well as a full day of dance workshops... if I can ever remember to sign up for them. I really need to do that.

I am so incredibly excited for our first performance on October 1st, as it will be to live music, and Best Guy is one of the musicians! This particular venue really allows us to flex our theatrical muscles and we always come up with something fun. It will be our first anniversary of our troupe, so coming back to this spot has special meaning to all of us.




3. Cultural Appropriation and Middle East Dance... it's on my mind. There is a hafla coming up in early November and the call for dancers was very specific. The organizer is putting this event on with an eye for education, which means MED styles, folkloric styles, traditional music, the works. Which is awesome. I know this organizer and I know she has probably thought about this very issue and is working toward bringing understanding towards a larger community. And yet.... this is Vermont. My local city's diversity has exploded in the last fifteen years, but it is still a predominately white (pale? see-through?) state. It is in my mind that no matter how culturally sensitive we try to be, a white-wash of belly dancers trying to "educate" other white people with nary a cultural native in sight is not exactly representative of anything except our own privelege.

In the last two or three years, I have really strayed from the Egyptian/Cabaret style to focus on American Tribal/Tribal Fusion. Our dance troupe intentionally left out "belly dance" in its description. While we draw from it, our style is definitely American-based with a strong theatrical influence. I know personally that straying from my original style was never intentional; it was more a combination of what I had access to and the thrill of something new. Which is essentially the same reason I got into Egyptian/Cabaret. I was following my love of dance and movement more than any affection for the culture from which it came.

But after dancing in that style very minimally for the last few years, I worry about the ramifications of returning to it and claiming I somehow represent cultural knowledge and understanding. I love it, but what is this redhead saying, she who gets up to dance solely because the drums - any drums - call to her? She who prefers Western music over traditional? She who has never been to the Middle East, she who has no real desire to go? She who can't speak the language, can't identify any of the different drum rhythms (even though she knows they exist)?

I don't know what the answer is. But it's on my mind.



4. Beck the cat. Our poor girl is deteriorating. Slowly, but we are noticing it more in the last week or so. Yesterday, we had to start watering down her food so she could eat it better. The drool has come back in full force, and she has become much more tentative in her movements. Her personality is still there, she still cuddles/grooms her brother, and she still asks for cuddles. But the idea of a misdiagnosis has been swept from our minds. We've had two really good months with her; more than we thought we'd get. But if we still have two kitties by Halloween, I'll be surprised.

......................

I was going to type more, but I went on about cultural appropriation way longer than I thought I was going to. If you're still reading cheers mate because I probably would have given up several paragraphs ago. So thanks, and in closing, here is a picture of me wearing a cowboy apron from the fair a few years ago.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Prozac Puppy

I never thought I'd be saying thank god for Prozac, but here I am saying just that.

Toby has been on it for a little over a month now, and we are seeing the affects. One of my biggest concerns was that he'd start acting all stoned and dopey but that is not the case. He still has his good days and bad, but over all we're seeing improvements.



1. We're using far fewer treats during our walks these days. He still perks up when he sees someone walking or in their yard, but usually a treat or two will get him through. He's also been "missing" more people in their yards lately so we can walk past without incident. It is making morning walks before the coffee has kicked in much easier. Other dogs we still need to avoid. And also our neighbor Sylvia. Poor Sylvia. It's embarrassing.



2. Much less lunging after the cats. He will still do it, usually when he's exhausted or has otherwise been pushed past his toleration level. But we have been able to co-exist with the cats in our laps while watching television in the evenings again. Something we frankly thought we wouldn't be able to do anymore. It can be an uneasy acceptance sometimes, but it is there. Bauer's incessent yaowling seems to be the thing that sets him off most often. Neither of us can really blame him. It gets on our last nerves as well.



3. He's barking less when we leave him alone. We think. We're pretty sure. He still puts up a fuss when we shut him up in the bedroom, but more times than not the barking stops when we close the front door. And when we come home and open the front door, we don't hear him barking either. Of course, short of putting a camera in the room we have no idea if he's barking the whole time we're gone or not, but we think not. He's also calming down much quicker when we let him out as well. He still freaks out when he notices we (well, okay... *I*) get ready to leave the house. But baby steps.



4. He's whining less when we drive somewhere. It used to be damned near intolerable, the whining coming from the backseat. Whether we were just garage saleing around the neighborhood or doing a 251 adventure, the whining would get exponentially louder for each second he was in the car. He still does it, but for the most part it is much softer, less intense, and he gets through it. He doesn't like being in the car; he's usually got this hangdog expression of abject resolution that this is one more thing he must endure. But he's bitching less so we'll take it.

There are still things we need to work on. For instance, we haven't had people over since well before the Prozac came into our lives. My dance troupe is getting together this weekend here so it should be interesting. But we both believe it's time to start training him on stopping barking when it's become clear that they're friends and here for a while. We've also come to the conclusion that he is always going to bark when he sees someone walking by on the sidewalk. He's a dog. That's what they do. At least, that's what all the other dogs in the neighborhood do. Why not him?

All of our work with Toby has made me realize how critical it is to socialize your dogs. They are social creatures by nature, and keeping them isolated from other humans and dogs does them an incredible disservice. Of course, each dog has their own personality and preferences and honoring those should also be important. But properly socialized dogs do not act like this. Unfortunately, at 8 years old, there is only so much socialization training we can do.

But when I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel him cuddled right up next to my leg, I know we're doing something right. Whatever else we're all struggling with, he knows we love him.

That's pretty damned awesome.

I was laying in Savasana when I got the feeling someone was standing over me...

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Project 251: Labor-Free Edition

We were very busy this Labor Day weekend. On Saturday, we gave the Master Bedroom a facelift. We chose two shades of gray for the walls, gray curtains, and then a vibrant purple coverlet for the bed. We also re-arranged the furniture a bit. There isn't a lot we can do in there since the room is so small, but we are loving what we've done. All that's left to do is re-hang the wall stuff and we're good to go.

Sunday we didn't do much; just purchased and hung the aforementioned curtains. I had a private client so it broke the day up. On Monday, we decided to knock some 251's out of the park. It was interesting bringing Toby along. We are starting to notice the prozac kicking in, but he's now suffering from one of the side effects: loss of appetite. We've also noticed that, much like a three year old, if he goes too long without a nap he gets cranky and starts growling at everyone. But we did it, and here is the proof! Best Guy was in rare form again, so blame him for the captioning.

81: Barre (Town). Vermont-style pronunciation guide: Barre rhymes with Larry. Finally!
We drove through Barre Town twice, before unable to find any signs. We did a bit
of planning this time (gasp!) and the three of us found a few options.

82: Orange. Vermont-style pronunciation guide: Orange rhymes with ... never mind.

83: Topsham. Vermont-style pronounciation guide: Don't pronounce the "h".
I think TMAs are some kind of snowmobile registration.
I couldn't figure out what the letters stood for, though.

84: Groton. Vermont-style pronounciation guide: rhymes with "rotten".
We did drive through Groton State Forest and it was frickin' gorgeous. Perfect day for it.

85: Peacham. We dipped our toes in Peacham Pond and even coerced Toby
into getting his paws wet. We don't think he has ever set foot in a natural
 body of water before. He was reluctant but eventually took to it. Then spent the
next 15 minutes licking the water off his legs. Yes, you read that right.

86: Marshfield. Vermont style pronounciation guide: "Cree-Mee."
The sign is way in the background but it's there. It counts!




87: Plainfield. Vermont-style pronunciation guide: Grak-sner-qobble-dork
A pleasant way to end our Labor Day excursion.

Groton was a tough one to tick off our list. Both sets of grandparents lived there for my entire life. They - along with my father, two uncles, and an aunt - are also buried in the cemetary there. We went to visit the mortally challenged part of the family and I got to introduce everyone to BG. It was a hard one, I'm not going to lie. Having half of your family knock off in a short period of time is a tough thing to get over, and sometimes it hits you like a ton of bricks.

Also, after being displeased with the shape of my form in these pictures, I've instigated a 30 day challenge for myself. For the next 30 days, I will be eating pescetarian (vegetarian, but with fish), bread only once a week, grains one meal a day, and exercising three days a week. Saturday is the "fun day", and chocolate can be included for emergency purposes. Onward and upward!


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