Friday, January 27, 2012

Go Team!

By Team I mean Josh and I! You see, he went on a huge grocery trip on Tuesday, which is of course what all normal functioning adults do, but with out kitchen under construction, our trips to the grocery store have become infrequent and uncommon. When I came home from school the other day, the fridge was stocked with good stuff, and sitting there on the shelf was...Brussels sprouts. I have only tried brussels sprouts once in the last like... 27 years, and it was because he made me. We were at a restaurant, and I actually liked them, so instead of gagging at the sight of them, I decided I would give them another shot (while I liked them the first time, I still wasn't entirely convinced). This is what I ended up making, and honestly it was delicious. And easy.

Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Oven. Bam. 
So like I said, go team.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Anywhere else but here

The name of this post applies to my life in every way you could imagine. I started to explain that thought, but then I realized I was just complaining and that really isn't my intention. Honestly! I just mean that this is a really busy, difficult time for me and that I can't wait until it is over. And me thinking about what it's going to be like when it's over is actually a positive thing, not a negative one since it is sometimes what gets me through. I had to laugh at myself because I'm sitting here working on an Excel spreadsheet of my schedule for next term (which doesn't start until April), which includes work, teaching and dance class. Since it's my last term at school I can pretty much take whatever classes I want, so that is a huge burden off my schedule. See, that is me looking to 'anywhere but here' in a positive way. I also think that I'm going to have a car, which means I can schedule things a little closer together and get home earlier. That was another example, in case you aren't catching on. Then of course I looked at my current schedule and, yep, now I'm complaining.

Anyway, I am very excited because the weekend is ALMOST upon us. Friday Abby and I are going to see Twilight (yes, I've already seen it three times in the theaters)! The fun thing about this showing is that it's playing at the theater down the street from my house, where they serve beer/wine along with pizza and sushi!

I'm sure I don't have to tell you, but it was Robert Burn's birthday yesterday, and this weekend some of us are performing at a dinner that benefits the Portland Metro Pipe Band. I can't say I'm particularly excited about this, so I just won't say anything at all.

All in all I'm just ready for a couple days of semi-relaxation, and I hope you all do the same!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Good lord, I think it is a curse to make promises via your blog. Seriously, any time I say I'm going to do something on here, I fail. I swear, I am very productive and DO finish things, but there is a Blogger Curse going around- you've been warned. I have not finished my previous craft project, but it's only because I left one of my tools at the in-laws and have failed miserably to get it back. What would it take for me to get it? Ask. Geez.

Anyway, someone once told me that January 23rd is the Worst Day of the Year. She was a meteorologist and a psychologist, and something about the weather and the lack of any holiday/vacation time adds up to a horrible day. I wouldn't say that today is my worst day of the year, but I am definitely feeling like I need a vacation! It is only the third week of the term, and I am already OVER IT. I'm sure this is just a temporary feeling, but at this moment it feels very worth mentioning. 

I titled this post dance because I had two dance performances this weekend. The first was Saturday night and it took place at the Oregon Piper's Society meeting. Once a month they meet up, host a guest piper, and I believe they even host a competition. They invited some Highland dancers to come out, so several teachers got their students together. This was really fun for me because one of my younger students performed along side me. It was really fun to be dancing a group Fling at the end and look down to see my own student jumping around. 

The other performance was last night, where we had the honor of performing with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas. Alasdair is a professional fiddler (Natalie plays the cello), and he is amazing. So talented, warm, friendly and passionate about what he does. He has four fiddle camps (2 in California, one in Scotland and one in Spain!!), and travels the world "following his fiddle". The goal of his show is to take his audience on a journey, and he does a fabulous job of giving them some history and insight into what and why he is playing. Sitting in the audience, I was reminded why I do what I do, and how truly amazing Highland Dance is. We often get so focused on competition (and who am I kidding, I love competition), and the technical side of dance that sometimes we lose focus of the amazing history and culture that we are a part of. And as much as I love and respect bagpipes, dancing to something else is a great feeling. It reminds me that I am a dancer first and foremost; a competitor second. 

The first dance we did was a choreography number that a couple of my friends choreographed and posted online for anyone to learn. Alastair agreed that if he toured somewhere where there were dancers, they were welcome to perform that dance on stage with him. So we learned (and tweaked) the dance, and ended up at his show. We closed out the first half with that number, and during intermission he mentioned how much he would love if we popped up on stage and improvised. So during his final number, we did it! We just jumped up there and I shouted out steps for everyone to do. We ended with a Jig step and incredibly, our last STOMP was the exact moment they finished playing. It was SO meant to be!

On a side note, I would like to mention that when I danced with Nancy Mandish, she had an entire warm up routine created to several of Alasdair's older albums. If you have ever had a dance lesson with Nancy you would recognize Alastair's older music in a heartbeat! Trust me, listen to a couple tunes on iTunes (The Road North and Dawn Dance were the albums she and I use). When we showed up he said "do any of you even know anything about my music?" (mostly in a joking way) and he was really pleased to hear that I knew his albums and had been dancing to them for almost twenty years. 

Later I realized what a "full circle" moment I had last night- when I was ten years old and stretching on the barre, chatting away with Colleen or Joy, I had no idea that almost twenty years later I would be dancing on stage with Alasdair himself. It just goes to show the amazing journey that dance can take you on, if you allow yourself to follow it. Below is the choreography number, posted by an awesome audience member.

Dance Performance- Choreography
Needless to say I am exhausted today and am ready for the weekend already. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

How did this happen?

I am not sure how this happened, last post was a month ago! For shame! I will admit right off the bat that I didn't read a book each week of my vacation. Ha! And honestly, I don't even feel that bad about it (except that I posted on the internet that I was going to, but whatever!). I just had so many other things going on, some important, some not, some productive, some not.

The holidays went by so fast this year (is there ever a year when it doesn't feel like that?), and I have to admit that I didn't get into the spirit as much as I normally do. Yes, we had a pretty tree (that I bought down the street and carried home all by myself, which I'm sure looked ridiculous), and yes I made those adorable stockings. And yes, we spent time with family, and it was really fun. But it was also a transitional year; we are still trying to establish traditions as a married couple, and as the grandparents get older, some of those traditions change. We didn't even put up lights on the house this year (not that I didn't ask, mind you!). Also, the New Year's day Josh headed off to San Francisco to help brother and his wife move and he was gone an entire week. This meant extra dance lessons for me, and a couple of girl's night slumber parties which consisted of Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (for the third time in theaters), some pizza, and four hours of What Not to Wear. Niiiiiiice! It was kind of nice to be on my own, and it was even nicer to have Josh come home.

I am very excited to be able to say I have a craft project of my own going on right now. I really want to post some pictures but I will wait until its finished. I might be able to get it done today, so cross your fingers!!