Monday, August 2, 2010

Goodbye, sweet Charlotte

Goodbye, sweet Charlotte!

Friday was our last day in the Queen City and we were running. Running to and from banks, dry cleaners, stores. I was exhausted yet still had a ton to do, like pack. Kevin had done most of the packing/purging and was ruthless. I'm sure a bunch of my stuff will have gone missing and some other hipster will be enjoying my things.

Thanks to my friend Melinda, I managed to round up the last of place, plus get some cleaning done too. She directed me when I was too overwhelmed to know what to do next. A little of this, a little of that and a lot of wine and we wrapped it up by midnight.

Poor daughter had a far too teary goodbye with her bestest friend and stormed off to bed. Would she ever forgive us? I sure hope so. I want this move to be good for all of us and so far, she's convinced it won't be. Wait til I drop the uniform bomb!

After an unbelievably restless night, it was time to get up and get moving. We frantically picked up our temporary bedding, did some more vacuuming, cleaning and primping of the house and closed the doors. Our neighbors Russell and Dee Dee came out to say goodbye, take some photos and wish us well.

We were off.

Now that we are NOLA bound, another blog will follow. Stay tuned...

Love to all our wonderful peeps in Charlotte. You know who you are.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summertime, and the Living Ain't Easy

Okay, it hasn't been too bad. But, it's going to get a helluva lot crazier this next month. As any of you who read my blog (all five of you!) know, we are moving to the Big Easy. The countdown is on and we now have exactly 25 days to get ready to go. Thankfully, we aren't taking our furniture quite yet so the actual moving of things is postponed until we sell our house. But, we're moving just the same and that is never easy. Even if it is going to the Big Easy. Sorry. I just wanted to say that again.

It would seem wise to take a couple of weeks off work to get prepared, but current finances don't really allow for that and our company is smack-dab in the middle of a complete web redesign. As the web editor, it's kinda my job to make sure it works. So, I'm working to the very bitter end. Keeping the balance of staying motivated at work and at home is tough and I've been a little tired and cranky as of late. Plus, it's summer vacation.

I want to say at this point, thank you to the folks at Zenith Gymnastics for making summer camp exciting and entertaining. If it weren't for your program, I may just be bald. I, nor anyone who knows him, cannot imagine what Keller would be like if he had nothing to do for 74 consecutive days. Hell, he can't go 74 minutes without stuff to do! Keller's summer has been a good one so far. IF we can keep him occupied until the day we leave, things will be much easy to maneuver and I will stay sane. And, he'll master the front flip.

As for Cyre, she's having a completely different vacation. Up all night, sleep all day... sounds like a Robert Johnson tune to me. Until this week when I forced her to take up tennis lessons, she's been a lazy lima bean. Except for the fact that she has a regular babysitting gig. Next door. With time off and flex hours. The Uslans might need to be nominated for Charlotte Parent's top 50 family-friendly companies! The regular pay and freedom to pay for movies, new clothes and accessories has been completely exhilarating and I'm not sure she'll ever be jobless again. Yeah.

Kevin continues to deliver mail to residents of Charlotte, hating every last second of it. However, it gives him plenty of time to think about things (he now has a plan to single-handed save the US Post Office millions of dollars every year) and he knows there is an end in site. The gigs he has are sweeter than ever, knowing he'll be blowing his horn into the soft winds of the Mississippi soon.

Plans for NOLA are coming along too. We've landed a place to stay on a month to month basis which fits our budget and our moving plans. We're hopeful the kids have been accepted into a very prestigious school there and will get the education they deserve. I've had a couple of interviews for jobs there and feel hopeful I will land something great soon.

Though everything is somehow working out, ("you two could fall into a bucket of sh*t and still land on your feet" according to Jo) I've still hit some bumps along the way and wonder if it will always be this way. My clumsiness never seems to go away, despite great balance and coordination. I fear I'm permanently distracted and need constant distractions to keep me from being too distracted...

Here's an example. Twice this past month I have screwed up at the bank drive-thru. Yes it's made for convenience, but I somehow manage to make it the most inconvenient process on the planet. Late one day I rushed to the bank to make a deposit to cover off checks coming out. I was elated to arrive with 4 minutes to spare. By the time I got home (minutes away) I had already received a phone call from the bank, requesting I return their tube. Oops. You would think I would have figured out what that "rolling around" sound in the car was.

Fast forward a few weeks and it's an early morning drop to once again deposit money into both Kevin and my accounts. I'm careful to leave the tube in its place before driving off. Thing is, I left my bank card and statement in it too. Once again, I arrived home to listen to yet another call from the teller, asking me to come back in and pick up my card. How can someone be that distracted??? It's easy when you've got a million things on the go, I guess.

This weekend we say goodbye to many friends at a farewell party on Burtonwood Circle. It will be extremely bittersweet but the right thing to do. Saying goodbye ain't easy. Even if it means going to... you know where. So if you're around, join us in a toast to the town that has been so good to us.


Monday, May 24, 2010

If you love... then you should buy our house

People, we need to sell our house.
Help us get the word out so we can move forward. Here's a hint on the kind of person who will get it. Not everyone will love our little jewel of a neighborhood with muscians, artists, school teachers and even politicians. But, if you know and love us, I'm hoping you might know someone else who's kinda like us and would love our home.

If you like fiesta ware, then you should buy our house.

Wish you could take a trip to the Pacific Northwest and see the magnificent Redwoods? Then you should buy our house.

If you dig on trying new foods, eating at South American restaurants, ordering sushi as take out and own your own chopsticks, then you should buy our house.

Shop at the farmers market? Then you should buy our house.

If you appreciate turned wood, artisan jewelry, North Carolina pottery and craft shows, then you should buy our house.

Volunteer to help the homeless? Then you should buy our house.

Love playing disc golf? Our neighbor across the street is one of the country’s leading designers of disc golf courses. You should buy our house.

Do you listen to NPR? You should definitely buy our house.

Have jazz and blues on your iPod? Our house is currently owned by a Grammy-nominated jazz artist. You should buy our house.

Think David Sedaris is a genius? Can you recite even a smidgen of one of his monologues? You should buy our house.

Read Creative Loafing? Our house is currently owned by a contributor to Charlotte’s edition. You should buy our house.

Do you appreciate mid-century architecture? You’d love our neighborhood. You should buy our house.

Have you ever attended a Pecha Kucha event? Both owners have participated in one. So, you should buy our house.

Would you stop and admire a deer in the yard, without wanting to get out a gun? You should buy our house.

Are you a dog person? You will love our neighborhood. You should buy our house.

Have friends who play for the other team? Some of our neighbors do (and it’s not a secret). You should buy our house.

If you love…then you should NOT buy our house.

If you love manicured lawns, you should NOT buy our house.

If you love the suburbs, you should NOT buy our house.

Belong to a prestigious country club? You should NOT buy our house.

Go to church because it’s a great way to network? You should NOT buy our house.

If you love sitting on the board of a HOA, you should NOT buy our house.

If you believe in volunteering as a mean of resume packing, you should NOT buy our house.

If you believe Glenn Beck makes perfect sense, you should NOT buy our house.

Tell your friends, relatives, neighbors, people you sit next to at work, chatty friend at Zumba class...

Thanks for your help. We'll keep you posted on the next phase of our journey!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bright Lights, Big Cities - Toronto

It doesn't matter how often I go or what time of year it is when I arrive, a trip home to Toronto still gives me butterflies. Our visit was planned around the kids' spring break and a series of gigs Kevin put together. It was like the travel gods and the gig fairy met at Starbucks up in the heavens for a latte and decided to smile down at us. It all worked out!

The drive to Canada was relatively smooth, considering we got a late start. I was needed at work and had a bunch of things to get ready for an upcoming event. Had anyone in the office known our server was going to temporarily blow up while I was gone, I'm sure my PTO days would not have been approved. Anyhow, we arrived at our friend Chris' house quite late but managed to find her key in its secret hiding spot and tumble into bed by 2 am.

It was so strange to wake up in someone else's home in another country! Know what that's like? You have to stop and mentally recount your voyage just to make sure you aren't hallucinating. At least I do. It's probably leftover from my college years...

Up early, we didn't waste a second meeting up with friends and family. That's how it always is. Every trip we SWEAR we aren't going to over do it, over schedule ourselves and spread the Clark love too thin. And, every year we do. But, this time it didn't feel quite as crazy. A trip to Kensington Market was first on the agenda. It's one of my very favorite hang outs. The plan was to look for some cool tees, buy something fresh to eat and people watch. I'd never seen so many people in such a small radius!

Seeing as this was also Easter weekend (I guess the holiday muse met up with the other two at Starbucks!) I was prepared for weird weather. There were many times I traveled home from New Orleans at Easter with sandals and shorts on, only to be greeted with falling snow. This time however, I brought sweaters, jackets and boots. But, for absolutely no reason. It was hot in Toronto. So hot in fact, I was convinced I was witness to the effects of global warming right there in the market. Unbelievable!

I know I'd spent far too much time in the bible belt that is North Carolina cause I had forgotten that Toronto is a region that celebrates many holidays. And, stays open for them too. I knew Charlotte was going to be a virtual ghost town on Good Friday, except for church parking lots. Worried that stores might not be open, I was hesitant we'd find anything to do. Ha! The place was jammin', with grilled seafood being served up right on the street, musicians everywhere and people packed in the park. Again, hadn't seen so many people side by side in quite a while.

After lunch and visiting with friends and family, it was time for another adventure. I was going to meet up with a few friends from high school at a restaurant in the next town. Thanks to social media, I had learned that another friend living in the US was also traveling to TO and we decided to grab a drink together. She let others from high school know and before long, we had ourselves a mini reunion. It was great fun. Bizarre, but fun. You know how some people never change? Sometimes that is so true, as is the case of the friend from the US. She was as nutty as ever. Hilarious, outspoken, warm and outrageous, but still capable of eliciting a jaw-drop at any time.

We were racking up the miles on the car and had dinner plans with more friends at the other end of the city. Though it's definitely not my favorite restaurant, no trip to TO is complete without spaghetti at the Tulip. Our friends Job and Zarica and their daughter Ava joined us and Chris for dinner. The spaghetti was exactly the same. So were the super smelly washrooms. The place is always packed so they cannot be hurting for money. Someone ought to tell them to invest in a new sewer system!

Though I was exhausted, I had promised my brother we'd meet him for yet another drink. Kevin had also made plans to sit in with a few friends at a club downtown so it was going to be another 2 am night. I can't even remember the last time I'd done that in the past YEAR, and here I was pulling two late nights off in a row. I met my brother and his "friend" at a pub in our old hood, which was great. I was glad to see that she was quite good at poking fun at him. He definitely needs it. Again, another person in my life who remains consistent. He too is outrageous, hilarious and outspoken. The warm part, hmmm... jury is still out.

Now it was close to 11 pm and I was so ready for bed. But, Kevin really wanted to see some guys he used to play with, so off we went to the Pantages hotel. It's a chic little lounge, where pianist Robert Scott and drummer Great Bob Scott (no relation) did their thing. They were thrilled to see Kev and have him sit in. I settled in with a soda water and enjoyed listening to my husband play. He's a different person when he's got his horn... Just as he was getting ready to say goodbye, in walks man-about-town and jazz DJ, Jaymz Bee, with 20 or so jazz fans on one of the infamous Jazz Safaris. Watching Jaymz's reaction to seeing Kevin playing was priceless. His eyes bugged out and he furiously starting whispering to all the jazz fans. I knew at that exact moment that we weren't going anywhere!

Somehow we managed to get ourselves back home and to bed, but this time it was past 2 am. Thankfully, I didn't have to get up too early. Chris had shopped for us which meant we were going to feast that next morning. We had a lazy breakfast, then made our plans for the day. Cyre was going to spend the day and night with her friend Ava and Chris, Keller and I were driving to Guelph to meet up with Lydia and her daughter. Kev had a gig in Waterloo and was looking forward to all the accolades he was due for.

It was a long haul but great to see Lydia and Evelyn. She still has the same dry wit, wicked sense of humor that I so depend on. We managed to find ourselves some excellent Asian cuisine in town and cruised a few vintage shops while there. I never seem to have enough time to spend with Lydia but I am content to steal them whenever I can. She and I have been through so much together in our personal lives and I know we'll always remain friends.

As the afternoon faded away, I was glad to be back on the road to Toronto and was ready for a little down time. We planned dinner at a nearby restaurant with another super close friend, Deb and her son Henrique. Derrick was also going to join us. I just couldn't imagine a trip to TO without spending tons of time with my man! It was fantastic to catch up with Deb, watch Keller laugh with Henrique and eat delicious tapas. I try and eat as much ethnic food as I possibly can when I go home cause I just can't get as much in Charlotte. After dinner we went back to Chris' place for more wine. It was an awesome night and I managed to get in bed by midnight.

Sunday morning we dropped Kev off at his gig at the Distillery and headed to the One of a Kind Show. I had forgotten that the shopping gods were also with us!!! Yes, I was going to be in town for my absolute favorite retail experience!!!! Tickets to the event weren't expensive but the $3.75 bottle of freakin tap water was a shock to my system. "I hope it's from the bloody Nile" was all I could come up with when I was given the bill. The poor girl working behind the counter apologized, like somehow she was responsible for the gouging. Whatever.

Birthday gifts were found for both Kevin and Keller, and Chris and I drooled over all the gorgeous handmade clothing and crafts. Of course no trip to the One of a Kind show could ever be complete without sampling a chutney, a veggie dip or a handmade piece of chocolate something-or-other. I just couldn't believe my luck! Thank you, gods.

We picked up Cyre and Kevin and headed north to see my brother and sister-in-law which meant more fantastic food, lots of laughs, a comfortable bed and a walk in the woods. Now this is the part of the trip I never prepare for. You would think I'd know to bring one crappy pair of pants and some totally un-adorable pair of boots. But no, I always end of borrowing clothes and footwear from someone else. Jo-anne joined us and she and Sharon planned a dinner that included presents and birthday cake for the boys. It's at these moments I miss my family most; when we're sitting around the dinner table swapping stories and laughs.

As always, it was too soon before we said goodbye and headed back to the city. We had made plans to spend a night with our good friends Chris, Leigh and Jasper. But, before we made it to their place, we stopped in to see Steven and Mary Frances. Mary looks totally different every time I see her. I guess that's the beauty of being a teen. You can change your look, your music, your muses and your identity at random without anyone thinking anything of it. If only adults had that freedom!

It was starting to feel a bit nutty at this point and I was ready to stay put for at least one day. We planned on spending at least 24 hours with the Lamonts. They had just been to Charlotte a couple of months before and we couldn't wait to see them again. Their son Jasper is the cutest thing with a totally serious side and a wacky toddler sense of humor. It's a delicious combo! We had another great meal, set the kids up with some TV and built us a fire in the backyard. To be sitting outside at night in early April in Canada without freezing our asses off was very, very strange. It made me a little nervous. However, copious amounts of wine helped.

The next day we took a walk around Etobicoke and stopped by the lake for a view. That's one thing about Toronto that makes me sad. The lake always seems like an afterthought, not an integral part of the city. You know, "let's have a look," rather than "OMG look at that magnificent body of water!" I really cannot imagine it ever getting the attention it deserves. Not in my lifetime.

Chris and Leigh live close to High Park and we always try and spend time here so we can eat at our favorite Polish restaurant. Cyre's second most favorite food is perogies and Polonez makes some of the best. I ordered Borscht, which pretty much grosses everyone else out. I do love beets but it's the idea of ordering something that's readily not available anywhere in the south which secretly makes me happy. After a lovely lunch and a trip to a couple of vintages stores (score on the groovy blue leather boots!), we bid adieu to the Lamonts and headed over to our friends Benj and Pascale's place.

Kev had a gig at the Old Mill and I was going to take Cyre along. Keller was thrilled to be spending the evening with boys, doing boy things like playing soccer. My oldest friend Klara (I'm talking years, not age) and her beau were going to meet us, as was my brother Michael. I was looking forward to hearing some more great music. The show was a CD release party for a female singer. The band was great but the leading lady was not. It was like watching "April" from Glee get bombed and putting on a variety show; only Kristen Chenilworth can really sing and this babe could not. There were moments that were absolutely cring-worthy, and they had nothing to do with the band. Oh well. It was great spending time with my big brother and one of my bestest girlfriends. And, it was so exciting to take Cyre along, to a very adult evening. She behaved magnificently and managed to not be too bored.

We managed to get home by a decent hour and to bed almost early. which was a nice change. Kev had to be up early for a clinic and the kids and I had plans to head downtown to spend the day with my sister Jo. We were going to have breakfast together and then hit the mall for some shopping. It was amazing to walk past my old university and see how much it's changed. But, nothing prepared me for Dundas Square. It really is trying to be a mini Times Square and it's succeeding. Even the all-cross traffic lights were something to marvel at. It just didn't feel like the Toronto I knew.

Unfortunately, by mid day I started to feel ill and we wound day our big day. All the dashing from one end of the city to the other must have caught up with me and I was in desperate need of a nap. After many hugs, we said goodbye to auntie Jo and headed back west. Thankfully, Benj and Pascale have a ginormous house and I was able to get some rest. We had planned a dinner together with our friends which again always includes amazing food. Thank god our friends know we are total foodies! Waheeda had just arrived back home after an amazing trip down under and managed to sneak over for a few hours. Before I knew it, I was parked in front of subway saying goodbye to my buddy way sooner than I wanted to. But, I know she'll be down to see us before long.

We packed our bags that night and prepared for the second part of the trip, to another big city with bright lights... NYC. That, however, will have to be another blog entry.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Only Gay Eskimo in my Tribe

My heart is a little broken. I knew this day would come, I just didn't think it would get here so suddenly, and I'm a bit confused on how to deal with it. Finding one's own identity is tough. Just ask my eight year old boy. He's a brilliant, funny, obsessive weird little dude, and I say that with the most love a mother can muster. Despite the fact that most adults absolutely love him, most kids do not get him. It never bothered him until now, when the awareness of who we or he in this case, are in relation to others. It has finally sunk in. He is not like the others.

Every parent wants their kid to shine, to be a bright star in their own world. Who doesn't want their child to be loved, have a butt load of friends, be asked to all the birthday parties and called on to play on someones team? I do. Keller should have all of these things, and yet, does not. It's certainly not for lack of trying. He isn't mean, a disgusting booger eater, or a jerk. Well, on occasion he acts like a jerk. He marches to his own drum and lots of kids don't hear it.

First of all, he looks different. His hair is longish, and usually not brushed and stringy because he spends so much time outside chasing after imaginary Dutch soldiers. Keller's favorite outfit consists of a pair of blue khaki pants that are too short with worn out knees, his old dress shoes a.k.a. "hobo shoes", a grey army shirt with tiny holes around the neck from chewing on it, and a dress jacket that makes him feel like James Bond. And, a belt. He ALWAYS has a belt on, usually pulled too tight. He likes the outfit cause he can stuff toy guns, lucky charms and his M6 identity card in all the pockets. He is happy when he wears this outfit, so I let it go. He isn't allowed to wear it to school or church or out in public, really. But when we're home and he's just going to save the world, I let him have at it.

Keller acts different, which is the biggest reason why kids don't always relate. He obsesses about many things including Egypt, mummies, weapons, wars, littering and whatever television show his sister is into. Hie is very sensitive and his feelings are easily hurt when he is slighted. I know how hurt he is because it usually ends with him whispering in my ear about a not-so-nice situation. Bedtime means plenty of snuggling and serious talks about school, troubling encounters with classmates or a specific scene in a Batman movie that I've seen a bazillion times and don't really care to hear about again, but which totally gets him going. It's much.

If you didn't know him, you would think he is nothing but a know-it-all. Sometimes he acts like an annoying smarty pants, but mostly he's just a walking encyclopedia who is dying to share new things he has learned with anyone who will listen. I often think he just needs to get it out so he can make room in his brain to fill up with more knowledge. Some kids in his school slot him under the annoying know-it-all category. Others think he is a bore or too smart for his own good. Some are in awe of his brain, but they usually don't say much. I think he has a tough go at school.

I know he does. There are a group of kids, boys and girls, who have been making fun of him for the past few weeks, telling him he is worthless and that no one wants to be his friend. He is, of course, priceless. But the truth is, he doesn't have too many friends at school. He has one buddy in a higher grade with whom he hangs with. But their friendship is somewhat dictated by the fact that his parents and grandparents are friends of ours.

Last week as I was tucking Keller in bed, he told me about the kids telling him he was worthless. I of course wanted to march to school and flick them in the side of their heads, but refrained. What I did tell him was that tons of people think he is cool. And then, it came out out of his mouth, like a sad truth we never want to face. "No I'm not; I'm a geek," he answered. As much as it broke my heart, I knew it was sorta true. He is weirdly book smart. He dresses strange.

"Not everyone will get you. Not everyone will be your kind of people," I answered. "And, you cannot worry about them. Just know that many, many people love you that will grow as you get older." It's the best I could come up with on the fly and it is the truth. Thankfully, he sort of accepted that. It's going to be a little lonely for him but he'll manage. He'll learn from it and something great will come out of it.

For example - there's a hilarious song from a defunct Toronto band named Corky and the Juice Pigs, that sums up this feeling. "The Only Gay Eskimo in my Tribe" is one of the saddest, funniest songs I've ever heard. Every time this band played this tune, it would send the audience into hysterics. I loved it too, but not just because it was so weird, but because it was sung with such conviction, I had to believe there was some true feelings behind it. I do not think my son is gay and he is definitely not an Eskimo. He is often lonely and misunderstood. But one day he will laugh with the world ,and honor loneliness and being different. I cannot wait.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Tween is Like, Almost a Teen. Seriously.

Today my daughter has taken another skip toward teendom. Toward the era of darkness, as my boy so wisely predicts. Her 12th birthday is exciting for her, bittersweet for me. I've had an entire year to consider her maturity, the changes she will experience, the excitement, the agony that begins for both her and her parents. And yet, it snuck up on me. Damn.

I spent the week thinking about how to celebrate this birthday. Should I take her out for a nice meal? Should we do the typical trip to the mall? A meal at home with the family wasn't in the cards. Hubby was gigging and I had an appointment around dinnertime. I wanted it to be special. She had talked about a sleepover or a night time party, but her best buddy was out of town and so the party would have to wait.

As the day neared, we scrambled to get her the most important gift of all, a cell phone. As much as I dreaded the foray into triple digit texting frenzy, she was now of the age where she could stay after school for football games. This meant another step toward independence for her, which means we had to find a way to stay tethered without her feeling or knowing it; a cell phone, unfortunately, is a solution. Let the texting begin! I am afraid. Her best friend sent over 100 messages HER first day. What on earth could they say???

I soon found out. Immediately after picking her up from school I was told she'd been invited to a movie with her friends. We would go pick up her phone so she could text, not call, and get the details. We headed out to her favorite bakery where we indulged ourselves with pastries and text messages. Yes, we sat directly across from each other and texted our plans for the rest of the day. As ridiculous as it was, I went along with it. Kids today! As weird as it seems, it makes her happy and feel connected. To me it seems like a total disconnect but what do I know?

On the way to pick up her brother, we took a detour to a home decor/consignment store which was great fun. We found a dresser and a cool table for the foyer. And some great chairs, outdoor set and a pinball machine. We didn't walk out with any of those items, but instead purchased a $2 pair of purple earrings for Cyre. Happy Birthday!

Next on the agenda was a visit to the doctor. The kids were great. They played with toys, read books and played with cell phones Sometimes technology had its moments and this was one of them. If it could keep the peace for an hour, then I was down with it.

We grabbed homemade pasta and Chinese at the grocery, a movie to watch and headed home. We had only moments before the texting began. Where, when, how would she meet her friends? The constant beeping indicated a new text was just received was enough to develop a new tick. And this was day one...

As I pulled into the movie theater and saw her friends huddled together with laughter, it hit me. She had crossed into another time zone, another stage, the era of darkness. This was a huge moment. Remember your first "alone" movie with friends? I do. Westwood Theater, Etobicoke. That was hard to swallow.

At least I still had my boy. We celebrated the evening with a dance/military/marine party. After wearing me out, Keller suggested we watch a movie with a "hero" which meant I could request James Bond. A win/win for everyone!

Shortly thereafter Cyre came home and answered a slew of "Happy Birthday" phone calls. She has since spent the rest of the evening setting up voice mail, texting and celebrating her new found youth.

A happy birthday indeed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

She's a Dancing Machine

Dancin, dancin, dancin!!! She's a dancin machin-ine...

That's right, I'm back at it. It's been a long 15 years or so since I've attended a dance class or hit the floor in a serious manner and it's wonderful. Part of the new year, new world order is that I take care of myself and do something just for me. Some folks buy gym memberships, hire personal trainers or train for marathons to get in shape. I'm doing the foxtrot, the rumba, the cha cha and the west coast swing.

Sure, I need to tone up, drop some pounds and get fit. But truthfully, I'm taking dance classes first and foremost because it makes me happy. Not just put a smile on my face happy, but singing inside, dance around like Snoopy, happy. Why have I let it go for so long if that's the result? Have I just been a miserable person for the past 15 years? I don't know and no. I haven't been unhappy for the past 15 years, but I could have been happier. And now I am.

Since moving to our home on Burtonwood, I pass by the Fred Astaire Dance Studio twice a day, going to and from work. And for the last six months, I've told myself I'm going to stop by and sign up for a class. But, life gets busy, the holidays were approaching, money got tight, time slipped away...shit happens.

It took a really busy week at work and an even busier weekend for me to get grumpy enough to take action. After complaining about my schedule for the umpteenth time, it dawned on me that only I could change things and that doing something completely for myself that would make me feel good in every way, was the ticket. I called and signed up for class.

Most of the folks taking classes are either young couples working on learning to put on a decent show at their wedding, older couples looking for some new element to add some spice to their lives, or single guys looking to improve their chances of meeting a chick. Oh, and a couple of single ladies looking for...I don't know. I can only speak for myself. Happiness.

And, as luck would have it, once again I have a dance teacher who has a fabulous Latin name and hips that do some serious damage. I fondly remember Fernando, the Fred Astaire of Chile who was so hot, even extreme hetro guys had to stare. My current teacher doesn't have quite the same effect, but he's got some incredible moves and is excited that I don't step on his toes too often. It's a good fit.

My husband does not love dancing, and understands that these classes are really just for me. He's not at all interested in coming to class and I'm sure totally relieved I haven't asked. However, once I told him about one of the female dancers who was showing everyone the west coast swing and forgot (I hope) that she was wearing a full skirt and a thong, and gave us all a FREE SHOW, his ears perked up. He may show up one day unexpectedly...

All this time learning to dance is going to help me more than physically. It's going to help me mentally as well. I'm forever being told to do something for myself, be nice to myself, and enjoy life. Learning to spend some money and time on just me is tough. I'm used to putting the kids first. Their lessons/activities always take precedent. But, all work and no play makes for a grumpy mummy and that doesn't make for a happy household. So, I'm learning to indulge. Just a little. I'm a dancin machine once again.