Monday, December 30, 2013

Amaretti di Saronno pffft

I bought a box to introduce the new generation to the lit paper trick, but they will not fly!
One website says, "We all light them and the one that flies is good luck."
Another "will not comment."
Years ago, every paper wrapper rolled in a tube, placed on a dessert plate, and lit would form a beautiful "cage" of flame that made a funnel of heat to send the last bit of flaming paper into the air.
So far this year, zero out of seven. I have lost heart!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Functional Family 2013 Xmas

Dysfunctional families get all the press.
We pulled together and got Christmas tree cutting, great meals, downing of a pine tree shading the garden, a bonfire, and carol singing as well as the stockings and presents.
I was angling for an outing - dancing with my creative family, but in the Berkshires, venues seem to be holding off until New Year's Eve.
A family trek to Middle-Earth, the new Hobbit movie, in 3 D, happened at 5 PM yesterday, but Joe had his tennis, so we went back to Falmouth and 3D in Mashpee for us.
Luckily, I got a dancing evening after all. After all that hanging around the house, I was ready!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merrily we roll along

"Over the canal and through Massachusetts
to Great-big Grandma's we go.
I was ready at 9:30,
but Joe had to go to town-oh!"

Hopefully we'll find dancing on Friday - my sibs are usually up for that sort of thing.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The little boy

He's two. Maybe because of a bad cold? -he did not want to dance.
A freezing day, so we weren't going out, but we always need to move, so I put on the music that his sister loved at that age.
I will try again. This is going too far in the gender typing that those two display! Okay that when she got trucks for a present, she played with them by lining them up to watch her perform.
Do I need to choreograph a truck dance?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fall River Dancing

The old mills in Fall River are full of interesting businesses, Like a downtown or a mall.
I went to Heron Studio on the ground floor with a great dance space run by Jessica, dancer friend of my daughter-in-law. They sublet space for many things - Alice's Solstice Tea Party, Spiritual Guidance, and a huge room full of lovely hydroponic lettuce, Urban Acres. For ballroom classes, only a card directing one to Dancing the Dream in Westport (or maybe Tiverton, according to an internet search)
Ian and I went to the children's library and the music store where harmonicas are priced at $45! The salesman offered me a plastic one for $10, but I pulled out my old battered D flat harmonica and said plastic would not do. Ian is only two, so a C hamonica will be for me to find notes with and try singing - more fun than a pitch pipe.
He liked playing with the drums for a bit. I liked the Latin Beat Box best.
Then it was time to go back to Mama and eat lunch while they finished rehearsing. One dancer is Shura Baryshnikov; you guessed whose daughter she is. Amanda Narisco is Miss Massachusetts. Meghan, who carpooled with me from Sandwich, appeared at the Wianno Club the year Naomi Turner presented a Swing showcase.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Historical Costumes

Putting stuff back in the attic. One goal is to get rid of half.
What about the box of dance costumes - silk chiffon and leotards?
My best clothes from my adult life are costumes now. The dress I made from an Indian bedspread after seeing the movie "Woodstock," stuff that was second-hand when I got it, or from my mother the hoarder's storehouse, clothes that I bought that cost more because China wasn't making all of our clothes, fancy dresses worn once, including the dress my mother-in-law wore at her daughter's wedding, my wedding dress, made by my sister, which fit until I started Pilates and strengthened my back, etc! I could go on and on - maybe I will make a catalog that is a history, tying together the story of my life, sort of like the books that have the recipes.
If I keep all these clothes, I'll have to seriously cull the quilt scraps, much of which are history as well, being pieces from clothes that ripped or got stained.

Friday, December 13, 2013

FACEBOOK takes over much of our connectivity.
I posted a picture of a Hindu Monkey God from my friend from 1970, and then a huge engine from my brother-in-law - sort of balance each other out. Both pretty impressive and funny.
Facebook, another reason to do very few Christmas cards. Mine this year, for those who have kept up the tradition, a re-issue of linoleum block from my first years living on Cape Cod.  Swirls to represent the wind that now was a bigger part of the weather. North wind, especially, in December, but I also think of a 16th century poem (anonymous).
Oh Western wind when wilt thou blow
The small rain down can rain
Christ that my love were in my arms
And I in my bed again.
Before the New Year, I'll find the ones I made as a child and teen. I'm pretty sure I know where they are.
Next year - a retrospective

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Several classes in my development program:
Laughter Yoga was improved since they have got some leaders in training in the group - nice to have people with good ideas. Rec Center 9:30 Mondays
"Strength, Balance and Flexibility" with Amy Sellars was a nice, well attended work-out at Uptown Body. We went around to different stations (TREX, squats with weighted ball, steps, balance half-balls, and exercise bands for the shoulders) that had been set up for "Anything Fitness" the previous hour while I was at Laughter Yoga. Good instruction for weights, then we stretched on the mat, no quad stretch.
I took Tuesday off while my quads recovered. Maybe I'll try the Fitness place at Kenyon Plaza next week.
Wednesday is Laura Faria's notable stretch class, a meditative experience  -10 minutes on each leg for the hamstrings. No quad stretch.
Then I went to the Conservatory for a voice class. Christmas carols are big at my parents' house. I need to do my 10 minutes of exercise soon. I am an alto, as I thought, with a range of one and a half octaves. Perhaps I have some damage to my vocal cords - nodes, she called them.
Also, if I can get the grandson Ian to sing, I need to be able to get a pitch. I have a recorder, and pitch pipes are cheap, but I think a "C" harmonica.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I don't have to title every blog, I just realized. A new look, more like a journal. My old ones are in the attic, for my memoirs? Or should I try to create a book based on ballroom dance?
I recently got a list of ballroom dance books. Mostly the fiction is murder mystery, a genre I don't read any more. I even wrote one, years ago, with a writing group. It's in a drawer.
These are "Dying for a Dance", "Dying to Dance", "Quickstep to Murder",  "Dead Man Dancing", "Codename: Dancer", and "Cat in a Topaz Tango: A Midnight Louie Mystery".
Then there are 42 instruction books, one free online with these bits of advice not usually taught.
The first is obligatory changing of partners - hmmmm.
Guys in Florida who said they hadn't asked me to dance because I came with Joe hadn't heard that one.
The second rang a bell. The pouncing part. Pretty funny.

Before you hit the dance floor, you will need a partner. It is considered rude to dance with
the same partner all night, even if it happens to be your spouse! If you came with a partner it is generally accepted that they shall have the first and last dance. It is also considered rude to dance more than two songs in a row with the same person.
Once a song is over, men should escort women back to their seats or to wherever they were
standing prior to the dance. If someone has just finished dancing, wait until they are completely off the dance floor before inviting them back out again. Do not pounce on someone as they are leaving the dance floor.
Vaughan Liddicoat Founder of

Monday, December 9, 2013

Self Improvement

Singing, fitness,
At the end of the month, everybody will be thinking of this.
I'll get busy with classes I teach, so how about a singing lesson before the Christmas Carols!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Here we are at the Cape Cod Conservatory with Camilla, Brazilian post-doc candidate.  She was great at Salsa - young, athletic and South American are great credentials.
Here, she wondered how West Coast Swing worked. Not as easy to pick up!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nightclub 2 Step

Beata Howe says," Just channel your salsa dancing!"
So I went to another site to try to figure out the music - Not Salsa Music.
In fact some of the most uninspiring music ever. George Strait ballads.
I let one playlist run while I made Christmas cookies, and culled out some choices, mostly older songs: Easy like Sunday Morning, Still the One, Time after Time, Every Rose has its Thorn, In the Air Tonight, Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

from Salsa Dancers Missing Manual by Raul Avila

“In Africa, and throughout many parts of the world, the drum and dancing is a meditative type vehicle for bringing down the spirits of gods and ancestors, and for healing and creating balance in life…
Dancing alters our consciousness. In its own way, it helps to heal us and balance us. It lifts us out of our mundane, everyday life. ..
Dancing salsa is a way to celebrate life.”

Raul goes on to explain a bit about the Clave, the instrument that beats two against three in alternate measures of music, using 5 beats that are arranged as rest, beat, beat, rest:  beat, rest, beat, rest, beat. 

“Clave (meaning “key”) is a relatively simple rhythmic phrase, and yet it is the heart and soul of salsa rhythms and music. It is the matrix and archetype from which springs forth the logic and structure that is salsa rhythms. Clave is the reason salsa music exists the way it does. It is a primal rhythmic force that
generates the infectious swing that inspires bodies to movement…
An interesting correspondence is a vibrating string. When held down at a point that divides the string in a 2:3 ratio, it will produce the interval of the perfect fifth. The perfect fifth is known as the perfect interval of nature.
The point to all this is to realize that the clave was originally conceived as a rhythmic device that reflected the order and process of universal patterns of creation.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Awesome concert

Alison Lissance had a nice bass player and drummer besides a hot shot saxophone player, and the four of them rocked the house, a sparsely attended house, but appreciative. She kept telling us we were too quiet and needed to talk amongst ourselves like we were at a bar where she usually plays.
Dancing on the side or the back was great. I love that floor, ancient maple, super smooth though cupped. The Polka got the most people on the floor - maybe it was a Cajun Twostep, Lisa said. Joe was going for Samba, but the Brazilian woman who came with friends didn't know our style.
Next Love Dogs gig, Chan's in Woonsocket, too far, plus the food is terrible.
So I looked on their website - The Strange Brew in Manchester NH. How about the NYE Back Bay Gala at the Copley Plaza, early discount only $169 PP?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Alison Lissance in Woods Hole

with "Sax Gordon" Beadle.
Woods Hole Community Hall hasn't offered much dancing lately for me.
Not like the nineties when I was there Mondays for Klara Koenig's modern, then Bill and Ellen's Wednesday Swing. A Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish concert sometimes. Maybe a Latino band with WHFMS Woods Hole Folk Music Society.

Stage Door Canteen couldn't make it work.
Buzzard's Bayou was there for a while.
Last year, Flipside was sparsely attended.
Hope Tom Renshaw likes this one.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Heating up

The month looks busier and busier.
Tuesday, we'll try the Woods Hole Community Hall venue. JazzFest Falmouth has brought in what looks like a very good swing band.
Wednesday is my day with the kiddos. This year we are decorating our own gift bags. Glitter! Glue! tape, marker and whatever. 
Thursday, I'll start in on Christmas cookies to get a few made before Saturday.
Friday, back to sorting stuff for the attic?
My little dance this Saturday may be eclipsed by Falmouth-by-the-Sea, etc.
Treme started again, final season, so our Sundays at 9 PM are booked.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 1, 2013

Third family party last night, Chanukah in Jamaica Plain. Now a rest before Big Christmas in Stockbridge.
Jacob, our youngest son, and I were born at the end of November, so there's some chocolate cake from NYC to give me strength.
Some turkey will become turkey pot pie, but I didn't get much of those leftovers. Joe got green bean casserole which mixed great with veggie stuffing in a re-fry.
On the way home, Plymouth Parish Hall with John Peters was fun. The floor was superbly smooth, the new  lighting very clever. Friends and music blended for another dance evening to remember.