Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chipping Away

The great reorganization fest of 2011 has begun. A day late, but, things are rolling along.
Initially I was going to sort through just the tubs I received from my brother. But, Jon caught the bug and started going through the garage yesterday. Unfortunately, he stepped on a nail and it punctured his foot (after going through his shoe), so, a visit to Urgent Care was called for. Jon got a tetanus shot, a prescription for anti-biotics, and we were good to go. Poor thing needed to take it easy for the rest of the day, so 'difficult' for him to do especially after working hard in a hot garage. ;-)
Since Jon started to go through everything in the garage I decided to talk to him, today, about going through more than just the tubs of old stuff I've acquired. I wasn't sure he'd go for a mass purge of junk as he comes from a looooong line of pack rats from both sides of his family. In the end, much to my relief and surprise, he agreed that we will go through the entire house, top to bottom, shed the unnecessary, and reorganize everything else. We've never sorted through stuff, though I have sorted my clothes and donated some every now and then. With Jon's mild hoarding tendencies, my old crap that landed a month ago we really do need to organize and sluff off the junk that serves no other purpose than to accumulate dust. Oh yeah... It's time. Time to let go of the old stuff that holds no more meaning, put away the things that do, and clear some space for new things.
Pictures coming soon of this process. It's going to get a bit messy, literally, but, I can't wait to see the finished product!

Friday, July 29, 2011

News On The Horizon?

You guys haven't had a reminder of the cuteness I'm surrounded by everyday. Here you go. You're welcome.

How can it be, that in a few days, I have done so little, yet so much has happened? I'm almost disoriented by it all. Good stuff seems to be happening folks. I'm not at liberty to share all, but, I'll at least clue you in. Jon may have finally found an area of law he'd love to work in and would be great at. As in, he actually is motivated about something and is will to pursue it. This. is. HUGE. He has spent three years with his current firm and lately has acknowledge the lack of satisfaction he gets from it. I could've told you that two years ago, but, he's come to this realization and may just be on the verge of taking a leap of faith and go after something he wants to do.
I'm thrilled, to put it mildly. I hope I can share more with you all soon!
In the meantime, I have been offered to head up a couple of volunteer positions with my Irish dance studio I shamelessly promoted the other day. I will help take and archive photos, run a private share page for the school, and put together a yearbook at the end of this year. I'm also looking at helping out with some public relations stuff- can we say COOL!?!
I'm also on the verge of making some big scheduling decisions. First, I need to hear back what my school schedule is officially (yes, I'm still waiting to hear about that!) but I have decided to cut back on my private lesson hours. The last two-thirds of the school year I worked from 8am-6pm, four days per week, with children, on top of caring for Leo's needs, all of which made for long and draining days. Too long and much too draining. I need more time during the work week to decompress and do things around the house and practice. And if Jon is going to do what I'm thinking he'll do and I'm helping with my dance studio that extra time is all the more precious.
That's where my life stands at this point. The week has been crazy, but, exciting. Many things aren't set yet, but, I'm keeping my head up, working to get things settled and organized around the house, and bracing for new and wonderful things. I can't wait to share more with you guys soon. Say a prayer, send good vibes, thoughts or whatever you want that it all works out please! Thanks in advance!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Le Sigh

Chaos and nostalgia and an allergy nightmare
I knew it was going to come to this... one day. I could deny it all I want, stuff away stuff in storage, but, you can't get rid of it until you actually do. About three weeks back my brother came to visit. He was driving into Tulsa from my parents home that is the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. He said he had some of my stuff and I was a little overwhelmed at the thought of getting some items back.
Overwhelmed didn't begin to cover it when he brought nine large plastic tubs [seen above when I first began this sorting process] of stuff I left behind when the mutual disownment between me and my parents occurred. I sorted through the mold infested boxes pulling out precious photos, stuffed animals, and old schoolwork. These items are priceless to me and one day I will have to put them in some kind of scrapbook. That's some ways away though. The daunting task before me is to sort through everything, donate what is salvageable, throw away what is covered in mold (and there is a LOT), and safely store away anything else I find of value.
I would rather just throw these tubs into the garage storage and forget about them. However, I realize that that maneuver wouldn't really solve the problem. I hate, hate sorting through stuff, much less stuff from a life I left behind, but, if I don't do it now it'll sit there, getting grosser, and in the end it'll need to be done one way or another. It will be emotional, but, hopefully it'll be a good catharsis too.
My upcoming weekend is dedicated to sorting, organizing, and hopefully getting rid of the all this stuff that is taking up space. If this sounds like I'm trying to pump myself up about this, you're totally right. I'm also hoping that maybe Jon will be inspired to go through his 15 year old t-shirts and donate them. That maybe stretching it though. If you don't hear from me in a couple of weeks though assume the stuff got the better of me and we had to call the producers of "Hoarding Buried Alive" to stage an intervention.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Usually I Don't Ask These Things...But....

Hey all! My little Irish dance school has a new website and has a Facebook like icon on it. If you are cool with it, please click on that so we can finally get on the top of the Google search for Irish dance schools in Tulsa. Pretty please? Also, I took a bunch of the pictures on this site, so you'd be liking me too in a way. ;-) Thanks a million!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rotting My Brain With Reality [TV]

I'm house-sitting this week, the same house and dog I watched back in March. I'm enjoying the change of scenery, the pool, and relaxing. However, I do miss the lack of streaming Netflix, and ok the dogs...oh and Jon, of course. ;-) So, I've been going through the cable here recording various reality tv shows that I don't get around to watching at my own place thanks to Netflix and our dvr recordings provide more than enough 'quality' entertainment.
As I watch some of these reality shows I am coming to the realization that reality television is like candy or a really large bag of salt and vinegar potato chips. One is not enough. And once you get started it's hard to stop!
I will give you the list of what I'm watching and tell you about the specific effects it is having on me. Warning, this may seem more like a confession or stuff I'd be better off talking to a therapist about. Are you all up to the job?
'Cake Boss': I actually saw this guy at a Food Network Cake Challenge that was filming the Tulsa State Fair. I could actually find myself when that episode aired, which was pretty cool. Anyway, this guy makes amazing cakes, runs a bakery that has pastries left and right. Serious yum. Watching a couple episodes of this show make me want to run to the pantry and get some sweet treats. So, not only am I worrying about my brain rotting away, but, I am working hard on not letting my teeth rot as well!

'Say Yes to the Dress': Ohhhhhh man I knew it was NOT a good thing to click on this show on the guide menu. Jon and I have been talking about the big M and starting our lives together. As a little girl I obsessed over getting married and the wedding, but, as I aged I became a LOT more cautious about tying the knot. So, I watch this show and see these beautiful gowns, the stories, the ceremonies, think about Jon and I going to the chapel, and now I'm on Kleinfeld Bridal's Website looking at these extraordinary gowns and getting ideas. No good can come of this, can it?

'Dance Moms': Mothers who are living through their child's competitive dance careers, a large demanding dance teacher who will do whatever it takes to win, snide remarks, bitchiness to the tenth degree... This show is horrid to watch and yet I'm riveted. I know it does not represent the dance culture as a whole, but, I will say watching these women (some way, way worse than others) tear one another down, complain about the hours their kids are working (yet they keep coming back for more), all make me feel better about being an Irish dancer and our competition culture. We all like to feel a bit superior don't we? lol And now I feel as if I need to go to confession for saying that. Ugh.

'Toddlers & Tiaras': Little girls, fake tans, teased hair, competitive mothers, pageants and enough rhinestones to make a raccoon have a seizure. Need I say more to what I'm loosing in brain matter to this show? I didn't think so.

'Dog the Bounty Hunter': This is a guilty pleasure. I mean, people who were in jail, turned their lives around, began hunting down criminals, and are very successful at it. Only in America!! I don't have any guilty feelings though when I watch this show. I'm thinking this is probably a problem... a big problem.

'House Hunters International': Can we saying living vicariously through others? This makes my desire to move abroad stronger. It'll happen one day!! In the meantime I watch this show and think, "Oh wouldn't it be nice to be in Slovenia?? Paris? Italy? Ireland?' so on and so on. I could waste a lot of time dreaming thanks to this show!
And there you have it. The list of my sinful indulgences. Hopefully, by next week when I'm back at home, actual reality will set in and I will be cleansed of these thoughts from my multiple 'transgressions'. But, surely, it won't hurt to watch one or two of these on occasion will it? ;-)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Floating Misadventures

Saturday was my very first, official, float trip. Floating is a very popular pastime here in the OK, that and going to the lake. What we lack in oceanfront we make up with rivers and man made lakes. That's just how we roll in this land locked state. Essentially, when you float down the river (usually the Illinois) you go with friends, grab a cooler or two filled with beverages of your choice, water, and food, rent a raft, and basically sit in said raft, let if float down the river, paddle when need be, and drink beer and chat with friends. I have never been on a float trip, which is a travesty as I've lived here since I was 11 years old. So you can imagine how excited I was about actually participating in this beloved Okie pastime.
Saturday morning at about 6:30am Jon and I grabbed breakfast at Whataburger (their sausage, cheese, and egg biscuit sandwich is SO tasty), filled the Prius up at Quiktrip, and headed southeast to Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Nearly an hour and a half later, we arrived at one of the many places you can go to rent a raft, and met two other friends there. As the excitement builds, and builds for me Jon goes in to rent a raft and promptly walks back and says they have rented out ALL of their raft. It's not even 8:30am and they're out.
Turns out it's good to have a reservation. These can be easily arranged online or by phone. But, did Jon or my other friend who's been floating loads of times think of this? Oh of course not! So we drive to three different places, each completely rented out. The fourth place we went to had a raft, but, only took cash. We get in our cars to look for someplace with an ATM. Five minutes into this search I asked Jon if they took checks, he replied that they do. Then I told him I had his checkbook in my purse. D'oh! So we call, turn around, and head back. At this point I was ready to scream, but, I chilled out. We got on the river about an hour and fifteen minutes after we planned, but, we were going and that's all that mattered. Or so I thought.
I had to be back in Tulsa by 3pm, 4pm at the latest, to feed the dog I'm watching while I housesit. This we all knew and my friend assured me we'd be done floating the seven miles by no later than 2pm. Mind you we didn't have a watch, which caused a few problems later on. I was really enjoying floating until we asked someone what time it was and they told us it was 1:07pm and we were far from the end of our river trek.
My manic control issues took the front seat then and I was begging everyone to help me paddle to speed things up. This wasn't objected to except by one, a great guy friend, who had one (okay more like three or four if not more) too many, and didn't want to be rushed. See the thing with floating at this time of year is it is HOT. Right now, we've been suffering from extreme +100 degree temps for the better part of three weeks with no end in sight. Worst heatwave since 1980 from what I've been told. That's how it is in Oklahoma, worst blizzard ever late winter, worst heatwave in thirty years in the summer. Our weather is bi-polar medicated with stimulants. Anyways, back to my friend. He usually can handle his beer, but, when it's THAT hot it hits your harder and faster. I stopped drinking around noon as I had to drive Jon and I back to Tulsa. But, my friend, he didn't stop drinking, nor did he really eat, nor did he work to stay somewhat hydrated. A deadly trifecta that resulted in his belligerence to my need to get back to my house/dog sitting duties.
Jon, me, and drunk friend's girlfriend all begin to paddle. It was getting hotter, the river was filling with more people who had nothing but time and an endless supply of alcohol. I shouldn't have been paddling as my burned hand is still recovering, but, I sucked it up and paddled away. Oh, should I mention that I'm horrible at any activity involving the need to row? I flipped a canoe over in summer camp once as a kid and decided I really shouldn't pursue a career nor hobby involving paddles and water. We went in circles, floated sideways, but, eventually we got a rhythm going, only to get stopped by a raft in front of us or my drunk friend doing something to slow us down. At this point, floating was not so much fun and I and the rest of the sober crew were getting extremely upset by the minute.
We finally got to the end of the seven mile course and to our cars. Water and pedialyte were immediately consumed, as it was HOT and I believe I sweated off nearly all my water weight. My drunk friend and his veeerrrryyyy ticked off girlfriend got in their car and Jon and I headed out without saying much to our friends. It was past 3pm and that was hauling it towards the end, imagine if we hadn't paddled at all. An employee at the raft rental place mentioned the float trips can take up to twice as long to complete when the river levels are lower due to the summer heat. Good to know! (I hope you can hear my dripping sarcasm- it's quite potent)
I made it back to Tulsa a quarter after four, yes, I was speeding, and the dog was quite grateful to get outside and do her business, not to mention getting fed. I have decided that while the last hour and a half or so really, really sucked overall I like floating. I mean your hanging out with friends, surrounded by water and neat scenery, eating and drinking to your hearts content (but, within reason or it is not fun) so what's not to like? That said, I think next time we'll a)Call ahead to reserve a raft b) In doing this head out earlier when it is cooler and less crowded c) I will NOT make any plans on the chosen day of floating and d) Get drunk friend's sister to come with us to threaten drunk friend with telling on him to their mother. Childish? Maybe. But, after going through the whole list of what not to do on a float trip I'm willing to concede that a little policing by a sibling maybe necessary to ensure a smooth float trip.
Lessons learned!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hard Work

Dancers practicing in Nashville during the Irish dance Nationals earlier this July. I love this shot. This is what working hard looks like. I saw so much of that during my five days in Tennessee, it really blew my mind. The dedication, the discipline, the amazing dancing... that's what goes into one's few meager minutes on stage at a major competition like this.
And that is why I've begun practicing until my feet can't take it anymore! More pictures to come!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So I Did Something Stupid...

Gotta love the comically large thumb there.
Six days ago, my last day in Nashville, I was in a bit of a blind rush. I needed to get everything in my room packed up, get ready for my day, get ready to leave Nashville, and get to my friend's competition by 9am. All was going well at 8:30am, until I reached for my curling iron. Normally, that action wouldn't be anything to write about, but, I didn't grab my curling iron in the 'non-interesting' way. I grabbed my curling iron on the hot end (obviously I wasn't looking). The hot end that was set at 450°. Yeah big a** whoops there!
Some of my burned skin, six days later. It looks a bit freakish.
So you all can imagine the scream, the tears, the running mascara, the tremendous pain, and the panic that came with all of that (and the amount of one handed last minute packing that I had no choice but to do). Fortunately, I had the state of mind to grab the aloe Lidocaine burn spray can and spray it all over my burned hand. I was also fortunate to be able to see my teacher's mother, an ER doctor who gave me great advice, and a medic was on staff at the resort hotel with the oh so miraculous silvadeen which he generously slathered all over the burn on my palm and the multiple burns on my fingers. I also had some anti-biotic ointment with numbing analgesics in it to keep the pain at bay (for the most part) during the 10 hour ride home. I have been pretty uncomfortable since that whole ordeal, but, thanks to some clarity of mind and better living through chemistry the moment it happened, things could have been a lot worse. I've had blisters, swelling, and the freakish loss of the lines on my thumbprint (the thumb got the worse of it) and on my fingers. But, I am healing and should be right as rain soon enough.
Just remember, it could always be worse! ;-)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Irish Dancers Kick- Even on The Fourth

Okay so technically speaking these pictures were taken yesterday, but, there's a lot of dancing going on today, and the kick and 4th title seemed fun, so I rolled with it. Yesterday I, along with my dance friends, [pictured above] helped to break a world record. 652 dancers in all lined up in a big room, held hands, and did a jig for five minutes. I showed up at the last minute, thinking it was over, and managed to get there just in time! Dancing that long on concrete really stinks, especially in bare feet, but, it was to break a record and now I have that as a bragging right. Go me!

I don't know who the guy next to me was, but, look at his kick! I did get a spray tan by the way; it's impossible for me to look like that without chemicals and space age technology. I figured it would be better for all if I had a tan when I wear my swimsuit here. I don't want to blind everyone! It's vain, I know, but, don't judge me. Us pale people gotta do something to blend in with the general population. Especially, when the majority of that population are spray tanned as well, bouncing around in wigs. It's an Irish dance thing.
Hope everyone is having a fun and safe Fourth of July!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Universal Truth

If there is a suitcase anywhere in the house, with or without stuff in it, a cat will find it and be in it. This is a scientific fact. At least, it should be.


I'm in Nashville watching and photographing my friends as they get ready to dance at the Irish dance North American Nationals. This competition is HUGE folks. I've literally rubbed elbows with at least three world champions and have seen some amazing dancing. More pictures to come!