Friday, November 29, 2013

Fix up, Clean up, Re-do

A fall flurry of projuects has kept me busy with house stuff.
The attic got extra insulation, meaning I had to move everything out. My quilt scraps are still in the guest bedroom, formerly Jacob's, waiting to be sorted. The goal is one-half goes out the door.
Last weekend, we went to my parents' house and met all the kids. First, we cleared out our living room for a floor refinish project. We're almost moved back in there after refurbishing furniture and art work. The TV goes on the wall as suggested by the daughter-in-law. I'd never have thought of that!
Tomorrow, we look at cabinets in Boston. Can a thermofoil kitchen cabinet door look good enough to suit me? And what about the color?
It's like moving, which I haven't done in thirty years. I find cool stuff, but then I lose it in the shuffle.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ok it's over

DWTS seemed to generate more mainstream coverage this season. It was close, at least. And deeply felt. I know I'd be crying if I lost - when I lost, as if I would be on the show. I still didn't vote. I should have as a message of support for the show. OK, here I come.
I guess Amber was the best choice. Corbin was excellent, but had less to overcome. Good knees, no extra inches that just wouldn't go away - that is her build! Jack's effort and joy and tears made him a favorite, and God knows MS is a cross to bear. I want to do those points where he stuck his foot out to the side, turning.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Too Much!

A weekend with my family - Brodsky Pre-Thanksgiving (!), unfortunately (?) preceded by setting up to have the floor sanded while we were at my parents' house. A turnover in propane delivery service complicated the departure.
Freezing weather in Stockbridge with lots of food and games for all, then a visit to see how Joe's mother is doing in Jamaica Plain.
Now moving back into the living room, you don't think we can just put everything back the way it came out, slightly dusty and perhaps needing a bit of repair.(sigh)
Then, once I cleared a path to my computer, getting back on line included replacing the modem.
What's next?

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I had vertigo for 2 days last week, a different experience, but not too awful.
I only had to cancel one lesson. Sometimes I wonder if I save the illness for the slack times, like my third child who only got sick on weekends for an entire school year - perfect attendance!
Anyway, lying on my back cured every symptom, so that's what I did.
It started at 9:30, suddenly, like a flu. When Joe came home for lunch, he gave me a blanket. Evenutally, I got hold of the remote for the TV without throwing up. By evening, I discovered I could eat something as long as I didn't hardly move.
The next day, surfing the web, I found labyrinthitis, an inflammation of the inner ear, often appearing after a  cold. Not much of a cold, but now another friend has had the same symptoms. She went to the hospital. A cold that tends to travel to the inner ear.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Football again

The DVR was not as smart as I had hoped - couldn't find Channel 22. I went to a search function in order to see the last half hour.
So now I'm "watching" on In fact, the streaming is not good enough, so I'll just listen, except for the routines. The judges are mostly better with just audio.
Leah and Tony's Paso Doble showcases a fabulous skirt, and the poses are pretty clear even with the uneven streaming. Maksim Schmerkovskiy says, "Tony does all this stuff with his face, so you need to, or else he looks crazy."
Corbin and Karina full of fire effects. "Hot" says Carrie Ann. Max says three routines worth of material, and it's ok if his butt sticks out, "I have a similar issue". Len said too hot for Tango.

There's another jazz number - Jack & Cheryl. The pros must enjoy getting to do more than those standard dances, and they are the real stars of the show.
Bill Engvall - well, Maksim says, "I don't believe in talent - I believe in hard work." He's sexy and he knows it. I guess the middle aged women vote. Wiggle wiggle wiggle.
Amber Riley - Chuckles Goodman asked she do it again. I watched it three times which is like watching twice if I could see it right. Carrie Ann said it was like a long math equation that Amber solved. Why did Maks give her only a 9? For once, I preferred watching Derek's partner!
Leah in Argentine Tango is still not that interesting. Maks gave it a "different 8" than Carrie Ann and Len's 8. Also, I know because I saw the end, she's the one who goes home.
Corbin & Karina look gorgeous. Then Maks watches Bruno performing his judgement - pretty silly. Maks also calls his ex-fiancee one of the top 5 female dancers of all time, and gets a kiss.
Then we get to the part I saw last night. Jack was great, Bill was better and Amber was still good, but not mesmerizing like the first white glove routine.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Paso Doble Part Two

Big Day. Dance Teachers Club of Boston in Woburn. At least I got driven so that Joe could visit his mother in Boston and then we had lunch with her. Jeff Allen gave us a (good) lecture for 3 hours. Gotta break it up!
Supposedly they got steps in the afternoon, but I was gone.
I really needed to dance, so it was lucky I had scheduled a party for the evening. No extra ladies, just my friend Yvonne Courtney, a fellow Flamenco fan. We enjoyed the stirring Spanish music and Ron's encouragement to go ahead and dance without too much worry about competition form even though taht is the only place you see this dance.
I will play a bit of it from now on at all dances.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Italian Shoes

Where did they get my email address?
What a cute shoe! Look at the patent leather/stuffed shirt pump!
And their social dance shoes look fabulous, too, though I wouldn't buy one without trying it on. Not Zappos, free shipping both ways.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Family Work Weekend

Just two days in Stockbridge, but a good solid visit. Ann and I worked on clearing out common space, a back hall that includes the second staircase to the third floor - kind of a safety issue in one way. Long ago, it was the Ironing Room. An ironing board was set up next to a window, and we teenaged girls could clear it off when needed.
Then, when our kids were small and Christmas was a big gift orgy, it was the Present Wrapping Room. An ironing board is a good surface for wrapping a gift. This led to piles of recyclable, shiny, beautiful sheets of slightly wrinkled paper. You can iron it flat. Ann put some in a large dresser that also holds ribbon, gift tags, tape, scissors, tissue, etc.
It used to be you had to schedule time there so you wouldn't be watching someone wrap a gift for you.
When gift bags came in, they seemed to have copied our father's idea. He wrote our names on tissue paper wrapping and put the whole thing in a plastic bag. Now, gift bags from the dollar store have an entire shelf. Fewer gifts and hardly anyone spends the time constructing a presentation piece. Ann still makes a few works of art.
Most recently, our mother took over to try to organize her boxes of stuff. She believes she can find the proper, best home for many an otherwise unappreciated thing. Her brother, who is still religious, might get a box with lovely framed portraits of the Virgin Mary, St Joan, and Galahad, several rosaries, and assorted religious books and pamphlets. No matter that he and his wife have recently moved into assisted living. After all, they still have their house, as well, and their children are good Catholics.
That box, along with several others, went into the bedroom just beyond the hallway, the "sleeping porch" that she and my father occupied for decades.
The wrought metal child's doll sleigh and the heavy rolling chair went into the attic.
We found a stack of pillowcases in a small cabinet otherwise filled with new bedspreads.
And when we were finished, we brought a stack of lightly used calendars down from the attic for her. 
2003, 1997, 1986, 1975, and 1969 (none a leap year) start January 1 on a Wednesday, as does 2014.

Friday, November 8, 2013

"Fifty Years"

Big Band Album 50th Anniversary, song for Ken and Donna's big party.
They thought it was a Waltz, but then they counted the timing - 4/4.
Maybe a Foxtrot? Except really it's to slow to take one step for two beats of music.
The old standby! (One that can always be relied on, as in an emergency. A favorite or frequent choice.)
Onestep - leave it simple for the wedding couple (KISS) 
Or dress it up when you need a flowing, charming couples dance. 
This will be fun.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

dull DWTS

I can't get any interest in those stars this time. All is not lost because I watch the pro dancers.
Cher did not add any pizazz. And why did they never mention her child Chastity/Chaz? I have to look him up - oh he looks good - finally lost weight. DWTS didn't do it, but the Doctors did, his website says.
Brant is now gone, oh well.
Elizabeth's eyes, I finally figured out, look like Archie and Veronica cartoon eyes. Hated her dance.
Amber is ok, but maybe she could leave due to knee problems. Who would be left? Korbin is good.
Jack Osborne is at least gaining confidence and skill. Bill Engvall needs to show some depth. Leah is improving, but Tony is no Derek.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Another Paso Party, November 17

Ron says in England, Paso Doble is played at social dances, "It's their version of Merengue - no hips!"
I'll be ready, though I doubt Joe wants to return. We were in London April of 1973 and found it a cold and stuffy place.
I loved our little piece of Paso at the Mary French Memorial. Several of us stood up to pay tribute to the music. Also, I had alerted Paul Hughes of the plan, so he and Judy brushed up on their great routine. Took the heat off us fumbling in the corners.
I meant to play Espana Cani at my dance Saturday, but my playlist was too long and it got cut off.
Next month for sure.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Beginners Welcome!

Remembering my great turn out last year for the November First Saturday, I booked the St Barnabas Parish Hall again. It's a bigger floor, and we miss it if we are at the Conservatory all the time.
I was right - second biggest group ever, only topped by last year, and we welcomed lots of beginners, newbies who cheerfully tried everything. The mood is more excited when new people arrive, nervous but happy that they finally made it.
"We've been trying to get here for years," said a couple who had 6 lessons as part of Bourne Dancing With the Stars. "The kids have a sleepover with their aunt and uncle."
Some couples, new to me, were very competant. A young woman who competes dislikes Tony Dovolani. He must be fierce on the competition floor - how else would you win International Rhythm on the Ohio Star Ball?
My new DJ policy is to print up a playlist and bring it along, so if someone asks for a Samba, I can say, "Can you wait for 3 songs, or shall I skip the next Foxtrot, Cha cha and Rumba?"

Saturday, November 2, 2013


The president of Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers called Thursday. Paul Lavalee who was to teach West Coast Swing at Betsy last night, hurt his knee.
Substitute teacher to the rescue.
A good showing - it seems to be a popular dance.
I went for steps this time. I prefer technique, but these Friday night sessions are more try it out and see if it works. I suppose that's one way to approach technique, circle around it with steps that work best if you have the skill and hope the style appears.
I found a new-to-me West Coast Swing syllabus - 2010, done by Skippy Blair, so I started with her first steps, a starter that could be universal and therefore very useful at Jack and Jill competitions.
I also liked her breakdown of the walking whip which I learned from Allan Gaskell at Dance Teachers Club of Boston. He followed it with a West Coast version of promenade swivels. Good choreography, especially since the swivel steps are popular but hard to lead. I wish I could have spent a few more minutes making them look better.
 Some people knew the figure already, a common occurance with such a mixed group, but it seemed to be a good choice as far as difficulty.

Friday, November 1, 2013


We got the Cape Light Compact people in and Rise Engineering has been insulating my house today. Much noise of the pump that blows in insulation.
Really the big thing was yesterday, the last day before they came, and I had to finish cleaning out the attic. OMG
Our family history in fabric scraps for quilts - twenty boxes? Children's books - 5 boxes. Children's clothes or fabric for childrens' clothes - ten boxes. Extra stuff for kitchens - when will one of my sons buy a house? Rugs and rug liners - several. Holiday decorations and cards old and paper for new ones. Lamps and lamp shades - 4 boxes. My vintage clothing and summer stuff - 15 boxes. Records from the events I have run 3 boxes.My old journals 3 boxes. Suitcases and two trunks, one marked LLN, Layton Louis Northrup, my grandfather. Sweaty work. Also my back is tired!
I did a bunch earlier in the week, before I made Sloane's Halloween bunny costume and went to Providence Wednesday, so it was about 4 more hours yesterday. Ian is a yellow truck, more easily controlled.