Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lovey Dovey

I'm in a lovey-dovey mood. Who knows why. Maybe it's because I'm getting married. Maybe it's because I spent a lovely weekend with my fiance celebrating the upcoming nuptials of two other love birds. Maybe it's because the seasons are changing, I don't know. I just flipped to my iTunes yesterday and found myself completely immersed in romantic tunes.

Music plays such an important part of my life (Hello, dancer!). It would seem impossible for me not to scour the web each week for more tunes or have a million different playlists to match every little mood I have. I love how a search leads me down a trail of wonderful songs, opening me up to new artists and genres, sparking new ideas for storytelling through choreography.

Anyway, I started looking up all-time classic wedding songs yesterday. Slowly I've been putting together a list of songs that make me think of my up-coming special day, any song that evokes a feeling of love, pure joy, and excitement. So far I have an eclectic mixture of things ranging from Phil Vassar to the Weepies, Louis Armstrong to Old 97's, Miranda Lambert to Frank Sinatra, even a few musical theater pieces. It doesn't really flow very well and the only thing in common with any of these songs is the way they make me feel. Doesn't matter though, playing these songs just makes me so stinkin' happy, I could care less about fluidity.

My search yesterday got me wondering what other love songs I'm missing out on. I want to know what everyone else considers as the ultimate romantic tune. Everyone has one. You know you have at least one song that when it plays, you automatically begin to swoon. The melody brings that perfect person to mind and slow smile spreads across your face as you imagine that special someone smiling back at you. There's a romantic scene that rolls through your head just humming the tune and as you sing the words softly, you feel your heart swell with feeling.

Gushy much? I know, but be honest, there's a song out there that has that same or similar affect on everyone. So what's yours?

Me? I have a few favorites I'll share for you before I hope off here. A little Frankie Valli, "Can't Take My Eyes off of You," Miranda Lambert's "Makin' Plans" is just plain wonderful, but my most favorite of all, Patsy Cline, "Always."

Tell me your favorite love song! Find your inner sap and let your romantic side show! Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Practice What I Teach

Ever had a moment when your mother turned to you and said, "Do as I say, not as I do." Well, I'm having a "motherly" moment, so to speak.

Since I've started teaching this Body Conditioning class, I've had to really take a good look at how I'm keeping up with my own personal body conditioning. It's one thing to have a personal regime to keep up with, one that only you know and follow. Now I'm somewhat under a microscope. I really need to step up my game, make sure I'm not slacking, and start following my own good advice. 

Uh-oh. Know what this means? No more cheating. No more skipping workouts. No more indulging on the sweet tea and Chik-fil-a sandwiches. OK, I sometimes eat their fries, too. I can't lie, I love them! *Sigh* Time to get tough. 

Not like I've never tightened my belt before, of course I have. It just means I have to resist the ever enticing giant red "C" that calls to me. Gosh, if that ain't a difficult enough, now I have to be conscious about it. So, where do I start with all this?

First thing is first. Diet. OK, now I've already got some pretty decent habits to work with, but I really struggle with lunch. It never fails that at lunch time I struggle to find something I want to eat. Let's be honest here, I like food and I want to enjoy every meal I eat. There's nothing worse than wasting calories on something you don't love. CanI get an "amen?!" (Amen!)

 This week I'm really going to try and make an effort to spruce up my lunch meals. So tomorrow I'm going to give this one a try: 

Peanut Butter & Fruit Wrap 
(Perfect for me, no?)

1/4 cup of peanut butter
2 whole wheat wraps 
1 banana & sliced (or apple or mango slices)
4 dried apricots (or any other dried fruit)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Spread two tablespoons on each wrap and then evenly distribute the fresh fruit and dried fruit. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the fruit and peanut butter before rolling up the wrap.

Supposed to be a great meal for on the go or a leisurely lunch. I'll let you know how my quest for better lunches turns out. Hope you all have a happy Hump Day! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Autumn, Is That You?

It finally, finally cooled down a bit here in Texas. After so many sweltering days over 100*, one begins to worry if they will ever feel a cool breeze again. Naturally when the weather drops, I begin to day dream of warm sweaters, beautiful scarves, and gorgeous leather boots. And as usual, my day dreams about two months ahead of schedule. Silly girl, real fall weather doesn't hit Texas at least until October and true to it's nature, we're back up in the 90's today.

*Sigh* A girl can dream, right? In the mean time, I'll get myself prepared for the seasonal change with pumpkin spice lattes, apple spice scented Scentsy bars, and fall fashion magazines.

The wedding planning continues as Pyro Man and I search for the perfect honeymoon spot. This is becoming a real challenge for the both us as we work within our set parameters. Really we want to find a beautiful beach, enjoy the sand and sun, savor meals at delicious restaurants, try a few outdoor activities and relax for about so amount of money. So simple and yet so hard. He's been working pretty hard to find the right spot and we've got some good choices. It will all work out.

I'm on the hunt for just the right invitations. There are plenty of options out there but I'm pretty sure I've got an idea of what I want. I just haven't found it yet. The same goes for bridesmaid dresses, wedding shoes, flowers, table decorations, and so forth. I believe my mother is finding me to be a wee bit picky on some details. I prefer "particular" to "picky." Hey, it's a special day. You get out of something what you put into it! I want it to be something I look back on with a twinkle in my eye and a sigh of utter satisfaction.

School is going well and it's keeping me busy. I can't explain how satisfying it is to have a full calendar again. There's a sense of purpose every day I get up and make a to-do list rather than a lost feeling of "what am I doing?" I hate feeling a blue cloud of frustration linger over my head when I've got too much free time.

Before I sign off here for a quick pilates session, I do want to wish my mother a belated Happy Heart Day! She's going on 14 years since her open heart surgery! Yay Mom!

After the big day! The whole family came to wish her well! (Can you believe that tan, blond-headed thing in the cheerleading uniform is me? Goodness!) 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Monday and a good start to the week! Yesterday's remembrance reminded me to counting a few blessings and saying a few thank you's, hope it did for you, too! 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Open Eyes

I just finished my first week of school, but this time from the other side of the table. I'm teaching at a local community college here in Dallas and so far I really like what I'm doing. They gave me two classes, Ballet I &II and Body Conditioning. I'm so lucky and"lucky" doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about having this job.

Due to budget cuts, a great deal of schools have been more interested in retiring rather than hiring. Add in the fact that I'm fairly new to the collegiate teaching world and it makes for a hard time landing anything. I keep plugging away though, searching online, sending resumes, writing cover letters, and saying a special prayer before each application goes out. I thank my lucky stars I got this job and that all my classes made. It always seems that things happen for a reason and most often they work out just the way they're supposed to. Thank goodness for that.

Anyway, my first week as a collegiate educator. How was it? Fabulous. Nerve wracking. Wonderfully terrifying. Exceptionally challenging. Though provoking. Blissfully satisfying. Definitely eye opening.

When I was offered to teach Ballet and Body Conditioning, I tried to keep in mind that I would be working with a variety of students. There would be high school students earning dual credit in class. I'd also have adult students taking for no credit, just for the simply fact they want to dance. I also have students who want to be dance majors, many who don't. My Body Conditioning class? Out of fourteen students, two of them have taken dance class. The majority of that class is full of people who just want to know how to live a healthier lifestyle

All that to say that these classes will be very different from my college dance class experience. There's nothing wrong with that in the least bit. Fortunately for me, I had some practice with adult beginner dance students. While teaching at a local dance studio in Oklahoma, the director gave me an additional adult lyrical class to teach. It was an enormous challenge and I couldn't wait to get started. I had two students to begin with and by the end of my second year, I had about five students. That may not seem like a lot, but for an adult lyrical dance class at a tiny studio in the middle of Oklahoma, this was a big deal.

I loved that class. Adored them. They were the sweetest ladies and so incredibly hungry to learn more, be better, work harder. They would beg me to challenge them more and if something was too difficult, they worked that much harder to get it. I looked forward to teaching them every week and I miss working with them very much. To them, dance was a privilege and taking this class was a dream come true. One of my ladies dreamt of dancing her whole life and having the opportunity to perform was a major accomplishment.

I don't know if those ladies realized that although I may have been the teacher, I learned more from them in that two year time frame that I thought possible. They reminded me how much I took for granted in dance. Performance, class, costumes, make-up, lights, what have you. These were elements I skimmed over after a I time because I was so used to it all. Seeing class through their eyes was a whole new experience.

So now I'm working with a new group of students, some younger than me, a few older. Knowing that I'd have a smorgasbord of students at different levels with different backgrounds, I thought it would be beneficial for me, as their instructor, to learn a little bit about them. So, they were assigned to write a short one-page journal entry telling me about their background in dance, a little about themselves, and what they hoped to get out of this class.

I'm amazed at everything I've read. The reasons why some are in the class are all so different, ranging from a harbored childhood dream to needing a sense of expression. A few are taking for the joy of moving and some just want to continue to be better. Their stories are inspiring, each one describing to me what events lead them to the classroom. I feel a bit humbled after each one.

I guess I've felt as if I've been in a bit of a bubble when it comes to dancing. The classes I take, those I take with, we all share that same passion and desire for dance. We know a great deal about it, this world is nothing new. We're a whole driven society that revolves around the arts and everything we do, read, or see seems to always connect back to dance. It's breed into us to keep going, dance harder, and continue to push towards that goal of always moving. Not to say that we don't have other hobbies or interests, this is just a strong part of the life we lead. It's a inner calling I believe we'd find hard to deny. I love that pulse that beats in a room full of high-powered dancers. It's such a rush.

But this is a rush, too. Reading entry after entry, I'm inspired by them, awed by the backgrounds of these students. The courage it takes to step into a class they've never had and try fearlessly to learn something new is amazingly intoxicating. I find myself more eager to get in there and work with them, help them, explain, demonstrate, fix, praise, and encourage.

This job, if I can call it that, is a gift. It's a gentle reminder how blessed I am to do what I love and have a job that allows me to keep dancing. I hope things continue as positively as they've started. On a side note, I'm ecstatic that I don't have to use the threat of a "time out" on any of my students. It's the little things.

Anywho, hope you all had a wonderful back to school week! Have a good Labor Day Weekend!
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