Sunday, January 31, 2010

What I'm Getting Myself Into

Alrighty, fair warning, this post contains streams of throught that having been rolling around in my head. I promise pictures of doggies and snow will be back, so, if you would like to skip this post and wait for the puppies I understand.

I have experienced two two hour classes of Irish dance and boy have I become an addict! I've been stranded since Thursday afternoon because the ice and snow are not a happy combo in my big ol' tank of a car. In that time I've worked out and practiced to get more strength and get back in shape quicker. Motivation has come! Not to mention I've been looking up everything I can about Irish dance online.

Now this sounds pretty nerdy I know. I'm the type of person who fixates on something and needs to find all I can about whatever subject I have on my mind. As I've gotten older and hopefully wiser I've learn to try to find a balance, but, balance is challenging when you have so much time to sit around! I have done the laundry, taken care of the dogs, cleaned up the house, so I have been productive in other areas. But, what has been and is on my mind is Irish dance and what I can possibly do with it.

My primary goal is to get moving and find a healthy, fun, and challenging outlet. However, I am actually thinking to myself, "I can do this- and well!" This mentality is not common for me when I start something, it was even worse when I was younger- thank goodness life and experience has tapered the down self-doubt/depreciation somewhat, living that way wasn't fun by any stretch. The fact I am not intimidate by the Irish dance competitions I could attend and levels I could work my way up towards is a big deal for me. I usually stray away from competition as I tend to put way too much pressure on myself. I'm a perfectionist and I have not dealt well with that trait well in the past especially in competitive activities. Over time I stayed away from activities I thought would bring out that overly perfectionist competitor in me. Just didn't seem I could keep a healthy mentality and it was better to keep my distance than try to throw myself into the fire and see how I do.

I guess I've really locked on finding information about Irish dance because of these thoughts and emotions towards not being intimidated by performing and competing. I wanna know as much about it so I can see if this is the 'real deal' for me, so to speak. To be honest, it seems what I'm getting into is fun, challenging and perhaps I can work towards getting over some issues I have with putting too much pressure on myself and all that. I don't want to avoid the competition thing, I'm actually intrigued by it. So I guess I'll work towards learning the steps to this dance form first and perhaps after that dabble into being in a Feiseanna. Guess I'll have to keep at it to see. To sum up I'm really not sure what all of these musings really equate to, but, I'm willing to find out and see where this little activity can lead me to. Worth a try right?

Friday, January 29, 2010

We're Doing Fine...

The ice came and it was bad, but, not so bad we lost electricity. Now the snow if falling on the iced over world and predictions are saying it'll come down all day. No work for me nor Jon so it's like Saturday and we're on the couch just chilling out. There is power, we're warm, and all of us, dogs included, snuggled up. Nice to slow down and take it easy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bracing for Impact

When you live in Oklahoma you get used to a wide array of bad weather, tornados being the most obvious example. Three climate zones intersect in this area so things can get interesting in a matter of hours. All Oklahomans are amateur meteorologists because of this.

Tomorrow we are supposed to get ice, then it's supposed to turn into snow. It is likely I will be stranded because of this, but, that's not my concern. Apparently this ice storm has the potential to get as bad as the icestorm of December 2007 where we had downed power lines, over half a million out of electricity- you get the idea it was bad. So, if this storm does come in and we happen to loose electricity I will drop off the face of the earth blog wise. If that happens I want to say I will miss you all very much and please pray for my sanity. I don't know how long I will last without the internet. ;-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Michael Flatley Eat Your Heart Out

I am one of those people who do not idle well at all. Last year I was pretty much a lump, which was kind of needed to recooperate from the college burnout. During that time I began French lessons for the intellectual side of things and have continued since. However, physically I wasn't doing much- walking here and there, Pilates/Yoga every now and then, nothing consistent at all though. I don't know what the holiday break did to me, but, I decided enough was enough. I was tired of sitting around. I began to search for dance classes in the area.

I took adult ballet classes in college and I decided to see if any adult classes would agree with my schedule. Much to my surprise many didn't and I began to realize that maybe I shouldn't go that route. I love ballet, I really do, however, I have always wanted to take Irish dance. Yes that stuff they did in Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Not going to lie, Riverdance inspired me years ago and while I tried to take a class some time ago (it was canceled last minute) I never got to it. Now seemed like a great time to see if I could do it

After a search on Google, a few emails back and forth, some rearrangement of a few of my piano students, and what do you know I was enrolled!! I began last Wednesday, in a more advance class, with two other adult dancers, two teens, and two younger girls. To sum it up- I had a blast!! I learned three types of steps and boy did it kick my butt! I didn't do half of what my fellow classmates were doing, but, I was sweating like a pig on rotisserie. It was an intense, but, fun workout and I love being around people who know more than me. The adult students helped me out, everyone talked to me, and I found the atmosphere welcoming. Watching everyone else is a great motivation and I hope I can do what they can one day.

I am hooked. It's fast paced and uses muscles I never though I could get in shape. What is also neat is I can go as far as I want with it. Irish dance is a competitive performing art, there are different levels and several age groups including those who are above, even well above, 21 years of age. If I want I could go to a feiseanna (Google can better define that word than I can) and be judged amongst my peers and try to move up in levels. Or I could just do performances with the school I am taking from, or both! This is something I couldn't do as an adult ballet dancer (without being a pro or teacher of course) and I am really excited and intrigued as to what I will learn and experience in this unique art form.

Yeah I know, like I really need something else to do right!? But, really, why not? My schedule is flexible and it's better to try it out and not like it than to never try at all. Truely, it's better late than never!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Boys

Since Leo's arrival not even a week ago people have been asking about how Louie is dealing with his arrival. To my surprise many have expected that Louie would be jealous of the little guy.

Louie, however has been great. There was an adjustment period for him- like he was trying to figure out his role in all of this or something. I don't know how else to describe it. There has been no agression, just lots of sniffing that quickly evolved into lots of play.

Louie is acting like a big brother, playing with Leo, watching out for him when we took a walk, and other little things. They really seem to be hitting it off and forming quite a bond.

Leo tires out easily as puppies tend to do. He naps a lot and Louie never bugs him to play more. Usually, Louie takes the opportunity to get in a nap too. Sometimes, however, Louie will come up to Leo and give him kisses. I'll need to get a photo of that sometime. But that's the extent of the 'harssment' Leo has to suffer. To be honest, Leo's the one initiating play by pulling on Louie's ears, jowels, and tail.

To be honest, I wasn't worried about bringing in another puppy. Louie knows no stranger human or dog. Adding another critter to the pack has added a nice dynamic to the house IMHO. Oscar on the other hand... well, he's taking a bit longer to adjust.
I'm sure that dymanic will get figured out in time too. In the meantime, I get plenty of smiles and giggles watching the boys, Louie and Leo, go at it. I am looking forward to plenty more in the future.

Friday, January 22, 2010

His Name Is...


Sorry this is a day late, my camera was taken for a couple of days (for a good cause though). Yesterday I recieved word that the donor who had the honor of naming the puppy thought he looks like a little lion and thought Leo would be the perfect name. Now I have a Louie and a Leo- yes, name confusion has already happened a couple of times!

Little lion? Maybe, but, lions have nothing on this cute guy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Quickie

No not that kind of quickie! ;-) Just letting you all know that much to my surprise today I recieved a call from Therapetics asking me if I was ready to raise a puppy as they were testing a few puppies today. Sure enough one puppy passed with flying colors! When I got the call telling me the puupy is a boy and asking if I wanted to see him I nearly fell over grabbing my keys and running out the door!

So without further adieu here is the little guy!

Isn't he just precious?! OMG that face!
He doesn't have a call name yet. We're working on that. After I teach my lessons we'll (yup draggin Jon along) pick him up. Yes, he's coming home with me tonight! So brace yourselves people- more dog oriented pictures to come! (I can hear you all scream w/excitement now! lol)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Airfare Frustration

Last year I finally got my passport with the intention on making it to France that same year. I had been searching cheap airfare sites and was encouraged- tickets ranged from about $500-600 (USD) and I figured I could save and make it work by fall.

If you've been following my blog for any period of time you would know that so didn't happen. I recieved a promotion in fall making it difficult to leave for a week as so much needed to be handled (my position was created when I recieved my promotion). At the same time I took over rent and payment on one bill as my roommate had reached a high level of frustration with keeping her account balanced as our landlord tends to deposit checks up to a month after we give him a rent check.

All of those added up to a delay of savings as I had to catch up with rent. It seems while all of that went on new fees, taxes, something were added onto airplane tickets. I've been checking out the airline prices- OMG!! Now tickets are over $800 dollars on average. I found a $710 dollar ticket on AirFrance's website, BUT, because I would be flying out of the US they had to charge me $119.00 in fees/taxes (mind you this is not near as high as US airline taxes, typically those are about twice the amount for the ticket which makes the total price over $800) so again a ticket for over $800 and that in the off-season folks!

Obviously I'm frustrated. If the price were just a couple hundred dollars less I could manage that. As of right now I am trying to figure out some creative budgeting to save up in expectation of seperating with that amount of mula. Frankly I don't know what else to do! I don't have a major credit card so that's out. And honestly, I don't want to have to rely on a credit card too much as I have a general adversion to being stuck in credit card debt. On the flip side I really want to go to Paris and see my friends who I haven't seen in so very long. I'm not too picky on when I go- Ideally I would like to go to Paris in the spring, preferably mid-March or early May as it won't be filled with so many tourists and one friend who's attending a university there won't be entangled in finals and those times agree pretty well with my schedule.

I just want to go! I would love, LOVE to travel more especially around Europe, but, I'll take a week long trip in Paris for now! Anyone have any ideas, advice, words of wisedom? Or am I just screwed?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Missing the Snow

A blog entry from my Lovely blog friend in Luxembourg reminded me how much I LOVED the snow from our Christmas Eve blizzard. I know my friends probably think I'm a wee bit touched in the head, but, I wish there was more snow on the ground!

Feeling the wind, the cold takes me back to being a child in Michigan and Iowa. Snow stuck around all winter long and it was always a source of fun. Seeing a snowy landscape today whether in person or in a picture I still feel that little child inside get excited at the prospect of playing in the snow. In a way I become a kid again.

Naturally snow is a lot more fun with friends. At the same time there is a peaceful, still feeling that takes the world around you over when there is snow falling. I love that as well.

And of course snow is best tolerated when there is a cup of warm hot chocolate waiting for you when you come inside, peel the cold wet clothes off, and enjoy the company of those you love.
That is what snow in winter means to me. And that's why I don't mind when the flakes come down, slowing me down, and reminding me of the beauty of the moments from the past and ones being made in the present.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Almost Human

All was going alright the first week back to the world after the break. I was feeling motivated, checking multitudes of to-do's off of my list (don't get the wrong impression- still had/have TONS to do). Work got a bit hectic Wednesday, but, despite some stressful moment got through it and knew the next day there would be more to get done and it wouldn't be so bad. Then after all that I could decompress for a nice, calm weekend. I was feeling positive, motivated, and effective.

I should've known then things weren't going to go the way I wanted them to.

Thursday morning came and I did not wake up with the surge of 'let's get stuff done' energy that had been carrying me. Oh no, instead I had stomach cramps which led to me rushing to the bathroom. Oh yes, I had been stricken with a wonderful stomach virus. Believe it or not I actually dragged myself to work to teach; okay technically I had Jon haul me there as I wasn't sure what my stomach was going to do and the thought of driving and dealing with that was not appealing at all. Somehow, I made it through what felt like two days worth of two hours of lessons. I practically crawled out of the studio and spent the rest of the day either on the couch or in the bathroom.

Since coming home from work Thursday afternoon I've done a whole lot of sleeping while slowly trying to integrate 'real' food back into my now hypersensitive stomach. Good news is I was able to handle some dinner last night and I'm not as sick as I was Thursday or Friday (Hallelujiah!). However, I still am not feeling well. (Cue big boo! now).

Alright, fine I can deal with a snag in illness form. This is the time of year when being around young children because of my job and the wacky weather that is Oklahoma bring about a bug and/or infection or two. That said can I just feel better already? Things are beginning to pile up and I don't like this whole feeling bad thing. So I will end this 'I hate being sick so much' rant with I hope some more real food and sleep will do the trick. 'Cause when it does watch out world here I come!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Making An Impression

Really, this face gets under your skin. Even after one day of being all over the place and loosing a sock [those fuzzy keep your feet really warm types that I LOVE] Annie won me over big time.

Even after I removed a couple of pounds worth of fur and another pound or so remained on the carpet and the floors I couldn't help but really like her.

Annie brought in ice, gave us shoes, and a varity of other things. Really though she wanted to do something and if you asked her to bring whatever she had to you she was more than happy to oblige.
I went to a comedy club with friends and decided to take Annie along. She was amazing. Only one bark during a routine, but, that earned her a spot in the headliners routine. Many laughs were had and Annie oblivious to being part of the routine napped during most of our time at the club. After we had our fill of laughs, my friends and I ventured to a bar and once again Annie decided it was a perfect opportunity to nap unless I had to get up and do something. How cool is that? Seriously, I need to get Louie one of those vests! lol
All good things must come to an end though. Last night I took Annie back to her raiser. It was a wee bit tough, especially on Louie who whined for a couple of hours after we returned Annie. Annie's raiser, Tawnie, was amazed at how well Annie did and was happy to hear that our little outings together were so successful. She then asked me what kind of dog would I like to raise and I told her a golden, because if they are anything like Annie I would definitely be more than happy to raise such a good dog. Annie definitely left an impression.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bonne Année!!

Ahhh the New Year! Specifically 2010... writing/typing that is going to take getting used to, I've developed a 9 year habit of writing more zeros whenever I date something. First prediction of 2010 is I will incorrectly write or type 2010 more times than I will care to 'fess up to.

How's that for a New Year prediction? ;-)

I hope the New Year was fun for you all. It was for me. I went over to a friend's and laughed and ate and drank in the New Year. I even took Annie over to my friend's apartment which went pretty well considering she's an 11 month old mammoth who has no clue as to her size. Despite a beer spilling incident she was quite the star of the party. I don't think she's been exposed to that kind of situation before so I am glad I was able to provide something new for her in her training.

So New Year... usually this is the time of year when people make resolutions. When I worked at a health food store they told us to brace ourselves for the New Year as it was the busiest time for them thanks to New Year resolutions. And were they ever right! The store turned into madhouse for most of January. However, I am not one of those who makes resolutions the first day of the year, as in the past I have disappointed myself over and over again in my failure to keep them. On the flip side I do like to set nice wide open goals before the New Year happens- usually in early December after things settle with my student's school year and the break begins.

The goals/resolutions/whatever you'd like to call them are pretty simple.
-Walk Louie more often
-Get back my flexibility (I missed my calling as a contortionist! Still can do some cool things if I work on it though)
-Take more pictures
-Blog with those pictures more often
-Volunteer and/or get involved with a good cause (managed that already with Therapetics!)
-Try to find a not so expensive ticket and get my butt to Paris (Not going to be easy it seems as tickets are going for 800 dollars and up! Stupid fees and taxes)
-Maybe start dance again

That's it so far. Of course this list is subject to modification, but, the idea is to just do somethings to improve myself, to get more out of life, etc. No stress if life gets in the way, if that happens deal with the problem/situation and go from there.

Here's to you 2010! May it be full of many new lessons and many more experiences and may I end this year better, wiser, and a bit happier.

Do you have any resolutions or aims for the New Year?