Friday, August 1, 2014

Ask The Dance Expert

"They have incredible technique, don't they, Mom? I mean, oh my gosh. Those turns are amazing. That last couple seemed a little wobbly and she sort of slipped and then pulled some weird faces. But look at that elevation! And those guys with the paso doble? That was really intense. It's going to be hard to vote tonight."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Will Remember

I set my purse down in the corner by the stage so I wouldn’t have to hold it while I was on the dance floor. The celebrity DJ was introduced and I was swept along into the middle of the audience as the growing crowd rushed the stage. I wanted to take photos of this: My group of friends, their faces, their unselfconscious moves. I could see them through my eye-lens and wished so hard for my camera. I watched as others took their group shots and selfies with the DJ in the background. My camera was in my purse, my purse that was nowhere near. I started panicking.

I have a faulty memory. I blog every day as a writing practice but I also blog every day so that I can remember my life. I make a lot of notes. I take a lot of photos. My phone, my camera, is an extension of my hand, my back-up brain. Without it, how would I recall this night? 

The party was outside, a large parking lot outfitted with tables and chairs, a DJ booth and a dance floor. Without a camera, I was on my own. I would need to remember this without a visual aid. I took a deep breath. I smelled night air and sweat, catered food and the scent of one hundred different perfumes.  It was hot. I was surrounded by backs, hips and elbows, clapping hands and waving arms. The dancing was serious. People sang along to the 80s music. “It’s tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that’s right on time it’s tricky…” I still knew all the words. 

Like a game of Simon Says, we did what we were told to do by the DJ. We jumped on cue. We raised our hands in the air like we didn’t care. We somebody, anybody, everybody screamed. I could feel sweat rolling down my back, soaking in to my blue dress. And I didn’t care.

I had forgotten about my camera. I had been forced to be in the moment and to actually live it without interruption, without trying to document it at the same time. It’s so much easier to dance when your hands are empty.

When the music ended and the crowd dispersed, I went to my purse. I pulled out my phone to take a picture but the moment was gone. I pressed that moment hard into my brain before it slipped away. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Look Fast

"Mom? Are you okay?"

"I guess so."

"That ball hit you really hard in the face."

"It did. It feels really bad."

"I know. Remember when that happened to me those two times?"

"Yeah. Well, whoever threw it, it was just an accident."

"Doesn't it feel like your nose is falling out of your face and that it's stinging on the inside and maybe you can kind of feel your own blood in there? And then your top lip feels all fat and warm but not in a good way? And then right between your eyes it's like when you get hit with a plastic light saber, sort of? I keep my hands up like this now to guard my face. You should try it next time."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Scary Monsters

"Mom? Mom?"

"Bob, you should be asleep by now."

"Yeah, but I can't stop thinking about this nightmare Adam told me he had about the lady who lives on his street who's kind of scary. In the nightmare she had black teeth and her husband had white eyes and he kidnapped Adam."

"That sounds like a really scary thing to think about when you're trying to fall asleep."

"It is."

"Okay, well I'll get you a glass of water and you can try and fall asleep again and think about something good, like swimming at day camp, or your basketball game coming up on Saturday."

"Mom? Can you just be here while I try to fall asleep? Just for a little while? I'll give you the cold side of the pillow."

Monday, July 28, 2014

The View From Here... And There

Friday night I had the great pleasure of reading one of my blog posts aloud, at the 2014 BlogHer Conference in San Jose. My post was chosen, along with eleven other blogger's work. The writers participated in a live reading called, Voices Of The Year. The post I read is titled "The View From Here," and I originally ran it on the blog last October. Since Friday's reading, a number of people have asked me to re-post it. Here it is.

The View From Here

Recently, Mr. Rosenberg was wondering aloud what it might take for him to become a Rabbi. He thought that first he needed to better grasp his world-view before he could counsel others. It made me question my own world view or as I like to think of it, my Miss America platform. 

I believe in the power of family and the many ways that they are grown and packaged. I also believe in the power of building a family of friends.

I believe in the power of prayer, good vibes, and mojo as healing balms. I also believe in the terrible power of disease, decay, and physical disrepair that cannot be helped, though we pray with all our might. I believe we can push for our will in a situation but God’s will is what’s going to happen anyway.

I believe in the power of a good dermatologist, a good psychiatrist, and rice pudding with raisins.

I believe in the power of a loving God. I do not believe that God is like Santa, rewarding the virtuous and punishing those on the naughty list. I know that sometimes terrible things happen to stellar people and that sometimes enormous good happens to those who seem to least deserve it. I don’t pretend to understand why this is true. God knows. And I believe that too.

I believe in the power of drugs and alcohol as an option to save people from themselves for a time, until they don’t. I believe in the powerful grace of recovery from those, and other addictions, that can be found in following the map charted by brave souls who have passed that way before.

I believe in the power of humor to get us through even the most excrutiating of times and that Tina Fey and Will Farrell and Patton Oswalt are seraphim zipped into people suits.

I believe in the power of animals. I believe that they, like all of us, are divine creatures and should be treated as such. I believe that the longer I think like this, the closer I am to becoming a vegetarian. 

I believe in the power of forgiveness especially when I am caught in the clenched fist of not forgiving. 

I believe in the power of compliments, giving them and also learning to receive them. I believe that compliments are a spiritual high five.

I believe in the power of time. I believe that time is relative and that someone we know for an hour can change our lives as much as someone we know for a decade. I do not believe that time heals all wounds, but it will at least scab them over if you allow it.

I believe in the power of help: Accepting it and also giving it without keeping a scorecard of who did what when for how long. I believe that kindness and attention and the offering of help to others can be our simple ministry to the world.

I believe in the power of music and poetry as communication and communion and that reading Rumi or listening to Nina Simone is a way God has of letting us peek behind the spiritual curtain.

I believe in the power of mystery to shape our days and keep us interested to see what’s next. We can have a routine and believe we know what to expect but it rarely goes that way, and that is a wonder and a blessing.

I believe in the power of teachers and that each person, each situation we encounter will teach us something. I believe that each day holds one sacred lesson for us and if we listen closely, we will hear God’s voice in some most unlikely places.

I believe in the power of the past and the importance of learning to look back but not stare. I believe in the power of this moment. And this one. I believe in the power of each of us to bring our unique story and brand of special sauce to this life and our ability to use that power for good instead of evil. I believe you are doing the best you know how. I believe today is a good day.