I typically listen to podcasts when I run, something to keep my mind busy while I do my time on the pavement. Usually I listen to WTF with Marc Maron, which is a great combination of humor, introspection, and intellectual conversation. If you haven't tried it out, do so immediately. Anyway, I was sitting at my desk just now after a long and productive weekend, with my mp3 player on shuffle, and one of the WTF episodes came up. Immediately I perked up and had this instantaneous and visceral reaction that I don't think I've ever had before in my life. All of a sudden, I wanted to run. How in the world did that happen? When did I become one of those annoying people who talks about how great running makes her feel? I am not a health nut by any stretch of the imagination, and running so far has been a struggle. It's been something I've had to make myself do, something I've had to talk myself into. Now, magically, after about two months of sweating and asthma attacks and sore joints and tight muscles, I *want* to run! I did my last one on Saturday and I felt a twinge of disappointment that I probably won't have time to go again until Wednesday unless I become one of those even more annoying saintly people who gets up at 5:30 every morning to bound off into the dark before work. Guess I'll see just how much I want to run...

I had a good weekend of baking, spinning, garden planning, spending time with my sweetie, and watching the new baby chicks in our kitchen fight over their first worms. Gets me every time. Yesterday I spent all day at my yarn store of choice helping them do inventory in exchange for yarn. I was there from about 9:30 to 6 and let me tell you, I have a whole new level of respect for the ladies who work there. I was exhausted and sore by the end of the day, and I had NO IDEA how much yarn was packed into that little shop. It was a fun day of bonding with some of the other regulars, fondling lots of delicious stuff, eating good food, and singing along to a lot of pretty awesome music.

Today will be a quiet day at work since it's spring break at the university. Plenty of time to knit on my stripey sock (the current desk knitting), listen to podcasts, and poke around on the internet. Tonight is the last dance class of the current session so we'll have a little party with finger foods and do extra dances instead of having a set class. Should be a really good time, and I'm hoping for at least two four-couple sets. Fingers crossed!
Last night was our Scottish Country Dance Valentine's Day party and because I had the night off of teaching duties I had a chance to be a fly on the wall and be a regular student.  It was not a very demanding class and all the dances were ones we had learned before.  There was not a huge focus on technique since there were brand new dancers and it was, after all, a party.  What surprised me was how inhibited people seemed.  I think most of us spend most of our time trying to take up as little space as possible in the world, apologizing for bumping into each other or brushing shoulders, but what I love about dance is that those rules don't apply any more.  In dance we are encouraged to use the space, to carry and use our bodies with energy and vigor, and to truly connect with the people we dance with instead of shuffling past them. 

When Scottish Country Dancing is at its best, to me it feels like what I imagine trapeze artists experience.  I feel as if I fly from person to person, swooping in graceful arcs, catching hands with the other dancers only to be flung off in a new direction.  I have never had dreams of flying, but I've had many dreams where I dance and my leaps gradually become longer and higher until I could bound over buildings and trees.  In order to dance like this dancers need to be present in every inch of their bodies right to the tips of their fingers and toes.  There is no room to curl in upon yourself and try to hide among the others in the set.

I know my experience is different from that of other dancers because I have been dancing my whole life.  My childhood modern dance teacher, Helen, is still someone whose voice I can hear inside my head.  She encouraged us to laugh, leap, run, stretch, and emote.  For a disassociated and shy child like myself, this was pure magic.  With the exception of one or two others in the class, the students in my Scottish dance group did not have the benefit of growing up learning to use their bodies as paint brushes, loom shuttles, kites.

I want to encourage the students to stretch their limbs, look up into each other's eyes, grasp each other's hands, breathe to the deepest parts of their bellies, and hold their heads up high.  This is our one chance each week to not hold back, to not apologize, and to not hesitate in our steps.   I know not everyone in the class can be a perfect stellar dancer.  Some have physical limitations, others find it difficult to learn the complex dances.  What I do know, however, is something every band and choir teacher I ever had repeated ad nauseum.  If you're going to play a wrong note, play it beautifully, play it loud and clear and pure so that even if people hear it and know it's wrong, they are touched by its beauty and grace.  Be brave in the face of inevitable mistakes and let yourself bloom. 
unaspenser: (sacred fire)
( Sep. 22nd, 2010 09:17 am)
Life has been so busy lately that I keep forgetting to write, or I assume people will be bored with all my Diane-centered chatter.  Whatever, it's my blog!

First I should say that the Treasure Valley Celtic Festival and Highland Games went well, the dance I wrote looked great, and people really seemed to have a good time.  There's a video on facebook, though I'm not sure if it's up on our fan page yet.  We start dance classes back on Monday the 27th, so if you're interested, give us a try!  There will be lots of new students, and we are gearing up for our St. Andrew's ball and dinner in November.

That same day, Saturday, was Worldwide Spin in Public Day, so I brought my drop spindle and cranked out some of the corriedale cross that was my very first handpainted roving.  Needless to say, I'm so addicted.  I also carded some of the fleece I'm working on, and now that I've made a few mods to my wheel (added some leather bushings to the crank shaft to keep the footman from moving when I treadle and wiggling the wheel, which causes the drive band to move around) it is much smoother to spin, though it doesn't keep its momentum as long.  I will continue to play around with it.  Need to take some pictures to share.

I got another order for a bonnet last week, which is perfect because I'm just about done with the ones for Mark & Margaret Lethbridge (a pair of bagpipers who are giving me some publicity on their links page).  Anyway, this necessitated a yarn order from Knit Picks (I like using their yarns because it makes it easy to let people pick their own colors.), so I bought myself a new size 0 circular needle (couldn't justify getting 1s as well, since I have perfectly functional set of bamboo DPNs even if they are starting to get bent from use and the finish is a bit sticky requiring them to be periodically waxed... 0s will make better socks anyway, less of the dreaded waffle-foot) so I can finally try some of the patterns from my Toe-Up Two at a Time book.  I plan to use that lovely yarn I won a couple weeks ago and posted about here.  I also bought some of their ridiculously cheap Peruvian Highland roving $2.69 for 3 ounces.  There is a sale on Wilton's Icing Dyes at Joann Fabrics right now (1.49 for half an ounce), so I will get some of those to hand-paint the roving.  I'm planning on making a fractal-spun two-ply for a pair of pretty winter knee socks.  Maybe they'll be ready in time for winter 2011!

The visit from my grandma and her husband went really well.  I always enjoy my grandma's stories and her ribald sense of humor, which shocks Arlen every time.  Grandma told us about when they came to Idaho from Kansas when she was 8 or 9 and they got their first house with running water and electricity, and what a novelty that was.  She was thrilled to be able to go to the bathroom indoors.  Her husband, Jim, is a real interesting character, and I loved most watching Grandma's face as she listened to him B.S. on and on.  Such a combination of affection and annoyance.  Don't you just love family?  Three days of their visit was plenty, but we were sad to see them go.

Anyway, life rolls on as usual.  Today is the equinox, Arlen's built a Sukka in the yard, and we'll try to do something special to mark the day, I'm sure.  Time to finish reaping the bounty of summer and to start pulling inward for the darker times of the year.

.

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