So, it turns out I accidentally went a super long time without writing anything new over here. Stuff kept happening that I kept wanting to write about, but then other stuff happened and I got distracted and then I couldn’t decide what to write about and then suddenly it had been 2 months. Ummm…sorry about that. Anyway, who’s up for a quick recap? Ready…set…bullets!
- To pick up where we left off, SangriaBaby still has the same name he did 2 months ago. I think it’s safe to say we picked a winner. But we’re still not telling what it is. Luckily, he has about a million nicknames already, so we are not without adorable things to call him around other people. My parents usually call him Tiny Tim (for obvious reasons), but lately have started calling him Zachariah (kind of an inside joke). At the dance studio, he’s Baby Mack (our performing group is called the Mack Divas, and we each have our own “Mack” nicknames…mine is Big Mack [again, obvious reasons]). My boss calls him Fred Astaire Jr. Another woman at work just calls him Junior. To my sisters-in-law, he’s Pablo. Tim’s parents alternate between calling him Little Peep and Tiny Dancer. I can’t wait to see which nicknames stick after he’s born and what new ones we come up with once we finally get to meet him.
- I’ve been so focused on all things baby lately that I totally forgot to tell y’all when we finished landscaping our back yard. And, you guys. It is so gorgeous. 90% of the credit goes to Tim, who spent his entire summer vacation digging and planting and sprinkler system-ing and mulching and sodding. I helped with the sod a little, but he and a few of our very generous friends did most of the work. After fighting for 6 summers to make our mess of a yard at the old house somewhat presentable and still not being satisfied with it, I can’t tell you how nice it is to have this yard finished and beautiful and requiring only basic maintenance in the summers to come.
- In also-yard-related-but-totally-deserving-of-its-own-bullet news, we also managed to build a spectacular deck this summer! And when I say “we,” I of course mean “Tim and my parents,” because once again I didn’t help much beyond providing moral support. We weren’t anticipating being able to build a deck until next summer, but we managed to find room in our landscaping budget this year, and I am so glad we did. Spectacular as the new house is, the one thing it was missing was a nice place to sit outside with a cold beverage and good friends. Thanks to about a week of hard work from three of my favorite people, we now have the nicest deck (and yard, in my humble opinion) in the neighborhood.
- Tim finished the bulk of the yard work about a week before his summer ended, and he spent that last week of summer playing with his new grill that has a built-in smoker. That week, I came home from work every night to a different smoked meat, and every day was more delicious than the last. We’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year and seriously considering smoking the turkey.
- I am having a small love affair with Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.
- We had a couple of truly wonderful baby showers thrown by the most amazing family and friends. This child is so loved and spoiled already, and it warms my heart to know he’s going to grow up surrounded by so much love.
- One thing about pregnancy that has caught me by surprise is how uncomfortable I am going to the liquor store. I feel like I need to walk around announcing “It’s not for me! It’s for my husband/friends/deck builders! Stop judging me!” I can’t remember the last time I felt so self-conscious, and I don’t like it.
- We’ve been working hard on the nursery, and it’s officially the cutest room in the house. But that’s a topic for another (picture-filled) post. Which I will hopefully write sometime after we get all the finishing touches in place but before the room explodes from having an actual baby in it.
- I’m still dancing a couple hours a week, but I’m officially done performing until after the baby arrives. I danced in my last show about a month ago, and it was pretty much the best thing ever. We dance at a lot of local community events, so there’s not always a guarantee that we’ll get a decent stage or an enthusiastic audience, but this particular performance was in a real theater, on a real stage, with the most incredible audience. They were there to see live music in tribute to the woman who ran the local Cotton Club 50 years ago, and we got to come on stage during a 30-minute band break. We had no idea what the audience would think of a bunch of white girls tap dancing, but (excuse me while I brag a moment) they freaking loved us. It was the best performance we’ve had in a long time, and it felt incredible to go out on such a high note.
- Remember the dogs? They’re still adorable (laser eyes and all). And completely oblivious to the fact that their entire world is going to turn upside-down in about a month. (And here they thought moving to a house where they’re not allowed on the couches would be the most traumatizing event of the year.)
- In conclusion, here’s The Baby Bump at 35 weeks. At my last appointment, I was measuring about a week ahead of schedule, so either the boy child is going to arrive a little early (we’d be okay with that), or he’s going to be rather large (less okay with that). Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the former, shall we?
It turns out that this Saturday I’ll be tapping at an event called Urban Jam.
Yeah, you read that right. This suburban white girl, and two of her very suburban white friends, will be lacing up the tap shoes and trying not to look too ridiculous at an event called Urban Jam.
I could try to impress you with the fact that we found out about this performance 4 days ago, had nothing “urban” in our repertoire, and put together a pretty bad-ass new piece of choreography in just 3 hours of work over the weekend. Or I could try to be cool and talk about how the hoofin’ style of tap that this event calls for (think: less bouncy and show-y, more grounded and awesome) is my very favorite kind of tap. But the reality is that the only reason the three of us won’t be wearing something sparkly on Saturday is because we haven’t yet decided on a dance company name good enough to bedazzle onto a hoodie.
And really, when it comes to white girls dancing, “bedazzled on a hoodie” is the new “set in stone.”
Several weeks ago, three things happened:
1. I performed in my first-ever tap duet.
2. I won my first-ever platinum medal for the duet. (Platinum=highest score possible.)
3. I won two more platinum medals for group tap and jazz dances.
It was a good day!
Would you like to see my award-winning dances? Well, you’re in luck because for once I actually managed to upload the videos. (I figure since I never blog anymore since I spend most of my free time dancing, it’s only fair that you should get to see just what exactly is taking up all my time.)
“Jack and Scottie” (a/k/a “You and Me and the Bottle Makes Three”)
My tap duet, performed with my fabulous friend Colette. The stage was not the best for tapping, so you can’t hear the taps over the music, but you can see us in all our sassy glory.
“Puttin’ on the Ritz”
The group tap dance. Since there are more of us, you can actually hear the tap sounds in some places. I’m second from the right through the majority of the dance. Keep an eye on me when we do a fancy cane toss and I narrowly avoid taking a cane to the face. Of all the times we’ve performed this dance, this was the closest I ever came to dropping my cane onstage. Good thing it was our last performance so I’ll never have to worry about dropping that cane again.
Jazz, Fosse-style. I start out third from the right, then finish up in the back/center. Since I only recently got back into jazz dancing after several years of nothing but tap, I am going to drop all pretenses of modesty and just come out and say that I’m proud of how far I’ve come in the last couple of years. For example, in the middle of this dance we all do a double pirouette, something I wouldn’t have been able to do six months ago. Hell, I could barely make it all the way around a single pirouette without wobbling, and now I’m consistently nailing my double turns and even thinking about working toward a triple. Tap will always be my favorite, but jazz is awfully fun too!
So, there you have it. This is what I do for fun.
What follows is a brief summary of some awesome things that have happened in my life lately (and awesome things that happened not-so-recently that I just never got around to writing about ).
1. This one time, my friend RA came to town and we had dinner together. She is every bit as adorable as you’d imagine. I was pleased to be there to witness her husband’s first taste of New Belgium beer, though I was sorry to have missed seeing her shoot tequila out of a hollowed-out lime peel.
2. Another time, my friend Gary came to town, which is always awesome. Making this visit extra awesome, he helped Tim and I recreate the moment we first met. It went a little something like this:
Top row: Cheers!
Bottom left: Mmmm….cheap vodka!
Bottom right: Several shots later, we are too drunk to hold our own heads up.
3. A couple weeks ago, my niece came to visit, and Tim and I got to test our toddler-chasing skills for an entire weekend. We learned a lot that weekend, mostly that slides at the park are fun, but few things are funnier than having your Aunt Audrey hold you so you can reach to turn off the light switch every time she turns it on. Over. And over. And over. Man, was that light switch trick hilarious.
4. This past weekend, I had a dance competition. I was in a tap dance and a jazz dance, and we took home gold medals in both. I was hoping for platinum, but gold is pretty darn good. Like last year, though, the best part of the weekend was the full day of classes the day after competition. They went so much better than last year. I’m not sure if the classes were easier this year, if my skills have improved, or some combination of the two, but either way it was awesome to survive four hours of challenging classes without feeling completely out of my league. Plus I can walk today, which is not something I could do (at least not well, owing to the excruciating muscle pain) at this time last year.
I have another competition next month, where, in addition to the two dances I did this weekend, I’ll also have a tap duet with my good friend Colette. We just started working on it, and it’s shaping up to be a really cool dance. Here’s hoping it’s cool enough to bring home a platinum award!
5. By far, the awesomest thing to happen recently was making a deposit on the most amazing vacation. This fall, we’re going on an incredible Mediterranean cruise with stops in Italy, Croatia, and Greece. And for three days before the cruise…..drumroll please….we’re going to Barcelona!!! I am so excited to go back to Barcelona and revisit all my favorite parts of the city with Tim. It’s been over a month since the details of the trip were finalized and I still get so excited thinking about how great it’s going to be that I can hardly sit still. It’s going to be amazing.
So, that’s what’s happening in my life. Maybe, if we’re lucky, I’ll manage to post a couple more times between now and the big cruise.
When I was in college, every Halloween there would be an event at the rec center where students would teach the dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to anyone who showed up. Every year, I heard about the event and thought it would be a blast to go, but every year I either forgot what day it was happening or had other plans interfere. I’d be lying if I said that missing the “Thriller” night every year at the rec center wasn’t one of my bigger regrets from my years in college.
This past summer, after Michael Jackson died, we spent a couple weeks in Jazz class learning the “Thriller” dance as a sort of tribute. Lisa, our teacher, found the choreography at Thrill the World, a project seeking to break records with the world’s largest simultaneous dance of “Thriller.” We learned all the steps, from Zombie Booty Swim to Oh Snap Rock On. We had a hell of a good time lurching around the studio like zombies in the middle of the summer.
Last week in tap class, someone mentioned that she’d heard on the radio about a Thrill the World event happening at a local bar. The event here in town was just one of 400 simultaneous performances of “Thriller” in over forty countries, and once again the goal was to set a new world record.
And so last night, I went downtown with a few of the girls from dance, and we Thrilled the World.
Since we already knew the dance, we skipped most of the instructional time in favor of having a few drinks to improve our zombie skills. Since we’d only be doing a condensed, three-minute version of the dance rather than the full fifteen minutes, however, we did jump in for a few practice runs between drinks to learn the modified sequence of the steps.
When the clock struck 6:30, it was show time. We pushed away all thoughts of what might be lurking in the cracks of the bar parking lot we were dancing in, laid on the ground, and waited for the music to start, signaling us to rise like zombies from the grave and get our undead groove on.
It was awesome.
(Check out the full video from the people who sponsored the event. Occasionally the camera pans over to the right where we were dancing.)
I don’t know yet if we actually helped break any records, but I do know that we all had a blast shaking our zombie booties. And I’m pretty sure this was way more fun than it would have been back in college on the rec center gym floor.