Friday, November 28, 2008
I am going crazy! CRAAAAAAAVING mom's pumpkin pie! I've had all kinds of pumpkin pie shoved at me from every angle this season, and have tasted it all. NASTY! All I want is mom's good old homemade-from-the-can pumpkin pie. I could eat three of her pies in one sitting, but I can harldy stomach the taste of any other. Bleh! Isn't that strange? All she does is double the spices. mmmmm....... spiiiiiiceeeeeeessss..... EAT PIE!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving, family and friends. This is the least Thanksgiving-like Thanksgiving I have ever had. I've been quite sick since Sunday. Not wanting to infect mom, dad, a pregnant sister, or several small children, I decided to stay in Fresno for the holiday. I switched shifts at work because I thought I would rather sleep in and get paid to work through the evening than to wake up at 5 am, work a dull morning, and sit around an empty apartment all evening. I was right. However, I am quite hungry. Poor planning and preparation on my part. Didn't bring food. No food here. No place is open. Laura is therefore having her first foodless thanksgiving. There is a vending machine down the hall. I will probably buy a snicker's bar later.
I haven't been this sick in a long time. I have lost 15 pounds! I don't know if that is due to the illness or my heavy workout week during the performance. Either way, none of my pants fit anymore. I'm sure this will remedy itself in a matter of weeks. Kinda hoping it won't, though. I've been feeling quite thin and loving it! I know I'm still a chunky monkey, but I sure do like consistently feeling like a skinny minnie!
My cousin Wendy posted several great videos on her facebook of her family being interviewed during the holidays last year. They asked a number of questions of each person. Over the last few months, I have developed a strong admiration for Wendy and her family. I so enjoyed the videos that I would like to take part in the interview process. Having yet to successfully post a video on this thing, I will simply type out my responses. Mine, however, will be for this past year.
1) What are you thankful for this year?
So many things... I am thankful for my healthy body and mind. I am able to dance and work and learn and make a life for myself. I am so thankful for my chance to be in school DEBT FREE!!!! At least thus far. I am attending an excellent school and learning so much every day. There are so many obstacles for me to struggle past, but they only make me stronger. I am thankful for my professors, for the opportunities I encounter at school, for my many many friends and good associates, and for the energy the Lord allows me to get through each long day! I am thankful for Scott and for the lessons I learned alongside him. I am thankful for this perpetually confusing time in my life, because I know that in future years I will look back and see that the only consistent force in my life was love from a wonderful family both on earth and in heaven. I am thankful for my parents who are ever present in my heart. At the moment, I am especially thankful for a mother who has overcome everything the world has ever tossed at her, and continues to have a grateful heart. I am thankful that I will be able to tell my children stories about my mother's "gratitude journal" and how she influenced my life every day with her powerful love and positive attitude. I'm thankful for my fantastic roommates and wonderful home. And more than anything right now, I am thankful for my new boss!!!!! She is a good person!!!!!
2) What has changed since last year?
Um.... Scott and I broke up. That kinda stinks still. But I'm a senior at CSUF. About to do my preliminary work to get into grad school... YAY! I love to run, for some reason. Never thought I would say that. But I LOVE running. Many of my Indian friends have come and gone. SO much has changed at work, but that's aviation for you. My evil boss was fired and a wonderful woman has taken her place. Glory, hallelujia! I bought my very own new laptop, which has been a lifesaver! I'm finding more and more that my degree is doing everything in its power to make it impossible for me to graduate. But I will succeed yet! My ballet technique has substantially improved. My five year plan has fallen apart, but I am working on creating a new one. I got into rock climbing this summer, and have all my own gear! Never thought I would do that! I live in another condo with new roommates, but that is always changing in my life. :) Aunt Jeanne passed away recently. I had not seen her in a few years, but I miss her greatly. She is a very dear friend and family member, and I don't recall a single day when I did not hear my mom chatting happily with her on the phone in the next room. We love and miss you, Jeanne.
3) What do you predict will change next year?
I predict that I will GRADUATE!!!!! WAHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And be accepted into the MA Kinesiology program at CSUF. I predict that I will remain single another year, if not much, much longer. I predict that many things will change for good and bad. There will be tears and laughter and I will maintain my love for this funny little life I lead. Oh, and I will buy a new car!!!!! I'm a big kid now!
4) What is your greatest concern?
My greatest concern is that I will fail.
5) Do you think your ass looks big?
Y'know, it did this past year, but now I think it is becoming quite appropriately sized. :)
Yay for a$$ shrinkage.
6) What else you got?
Really? You should never ask me this question. I can go on at great length....
The only aircraft we have had through here today came around 2pm as I arrived. My Thanksgiving day was made when three small children came running through ahead of their parents and grandparents. The father, close behind, was heavy laden with three disassembled bicycles. The grandfather had his arms full with three large cases of wine. The mother stayed behind to assist the grandmother through the facility. As the women walked, the sweet little grandmother chuckled to herself, smiling after her posterity. She caught me watching her, winked, and said to me "Bicycles and wine, darlin'! That's all we need to make our holidays merry!". With that comment, I felt completely connected to a family and was filled with a little holiday cheer myself. The loneliness faded for a while.
I am especially missing you all this strange, lonely, hungry, quiet, sickly thanksgiving. Here's hoping that I can be with you all soon. Thank you for being my wonderful family. I love you. Namaste.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Water Pipes in Cooma
It’s much different now, the world.
All around me are things I remember:
the textbooks I bought and never really
read, photographs of places I had hopes
of visiting, and even the computer’s obnoxious
fan that seems to never
stop making that rattling noise like the
water pipes in one of the flats I rented
when I lived in Cooma. There was a
sleepless night I spent in that flat, listening to
those pipes crying for the help of someone
who could fix them and I thought of
Jacob, a man I had come to know who was
homeless and hungry, crying for the help
of a God who he thought had abandoned
them, a God who he had once called
Father, Abba*. When I think of him, my
abandoned books offer little solace or
explanation. The photos of distant corners
of the world seem startlingly more real.
It’s much different now.
The Death of the Three Muses
(The Three Graces—Clement Renzi)
Beauty, charm and creativity
were the gifts given to these
three to aid, inspire and uplift
the minds of feeble men.
Beauty is much loved gift of women
throughout time. But, its sweet taste
leaves a canker in old age this
goddess did not design.
Charm is highly esteemed among
the noble in history’s pages. But
who wants to be charming when
talking with an ass or a
snake in these ages?
Yet Creativity could not live
without her sisters’ grace and so
the three sisters danced until
at some point stood bronze
and still in their place.
(Inspired by the statue of the Three Muses outside my dance studio at Frenso state).
Monday, November 24, 2008
I think I'd like to curl up under something very dark and read a great book with a flashlight. Probably something like The History of Love or Martha Graham's "Blood Memory". Over the past few months I have been seeking to be extremely social in LDS crowds every chance I get, thinking it would help me in many ways. I'm a little worn out from it all. Maybe it's time to just chill out and enjoy the company of myself and no others. Until further notice, I am an introvert. I'd like to play my violin more now that I have a little time. 'Tis the season.
Friday, November 21, 2008
In our show, "PULSE" by University Dance Theatre, there is a piece by the Maddox sisters called "They Weren't There". What a cute little lyrical modern/jazz number this is. The sisters, Jessica, Lindsey, and Malorie Maddox, all look so much alike and have all been dancing for Fresno State through their entire college careers. I love to watch them negotiating costumes, makeup, and movement specifications backstage prior to their number. They follow my solo in the first half of the show, so I get to spend preparation time with them in the wings before we go on. The girls get along so well in public. But catch them in a private moment like that - swapping bras, tights, or clarifying movement at the last second - and you get an entirely different picture.
Suddenly it becomes a tiny, silent cat fight (can't have noisey cats in the wings during a performance!). Upon interviewing the girls about their relationships and how it has affected their dancing together, they made it clear that it has been much easier with all three sisters present (the eldest girl was a guest artist, as she graduated last year. Usually there are only two Maddox girls in the program at a time) because if they have a disagreement, it is easily solved by a majority vote. As I watched, I saw lots of bossing the youngest around. Maybe I'm biased ;P
The relationships reminded me greatly of mine with my wonderful sisters. The Maddox girls had their little bickery moments, but the two older girls were obviously very close friends, and the youngest was eager to please the other two. Each is so different, but all agreed on fundamental movement style and timing. Watching them made me miss my sisters so much.
After watching their piece a few times, I began to daydream about choreographing a funny little dance show with Roo and putting it on for the fam at Christmas. Then I began to miss Roo, too! And Emma and Kaitlyn and Chance and Brandon and Kelli's Jason-belly, and... well I don't know how one goes about missing nephews she doesn't really know, but believe me, I miss the next generation of Blacks too! I miss my whole family! I always get a little blue at the holidays. Probably ever since the magic was lost for me a few years back. I enjoy it much more now with Karly Roo and Emma around, but it's not like it used to be. I feel so lonely, and guilty for feeling so, what with my family all around.
These feelings are exacerbated by my roommate's constant playing of Christmas music.... for the last month.... it's not even thanksgiving yet....
It's like my old boss used to say at Office Depot every November: "Christmas?! It's almost EASTER!"
Miss you guys. Can't wait to see everyone next week!
Oh, I saw Scott today. A group of people went out for sushi the other night, and I saw him there, too. We don't talk much anymore. If our conversations were becoming dry before we broke up, they are downright parched now. "Hi. How are you?" "ok. You?" "good."
Enthralling. Makes me sad. but...
I needed a massage today. Hurt my neck halfway through my show last night. Strained a muscle somehow. Couldn't even move my head when I woke up. So I asked Scott to go with me. We both got 60 minute full-body massages and then went shopping for a while. We had a nice time. Mom, he thanks you for the invitation for Thanksgiving, but he will be going to Arizona to see his parents, since he will probably be going to Portugal sometime around Christmas for work. Besides, he doesn't even ask me to cut his hair anymore. Somehow I think a Thanksgiving with out family would be a little awkward. It's really difficult to be around him sometimes. As we shopped, I found myself reaching for his hand every few minutes without thinking. After a while, we laughed about it and I just linked elbows with him while we walked. It has been two months - seems like much longer - but everything feels the same when he's around. Oh well.
I've got to get ready to dance again. Wish me luck and please say a little prayer that I don't sustain any serious injury to my neck. See some of you tomorrow!!!!!!! :) Jubilation will ensue!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I'm far left. Second row.
I'm having some issues with my hair in this concert. I am dancing in 6 pieces, each of which has a specific hair style. first it's straight, then wavy, then rainstorm-walk wet, then bed-time half up, then pigtails, then low bun. Awesome. I have about ten minutes to do each style. We haven't even opened yet and my poor hair is fried! I have SOOOOOO much hair, and when I treat it well, it is gorgeous. I was looking forward to getting it nice and long and beautiful again, but it doesn't look like this show wants me to do that. I was rocking out to DANCE PARTY 2008 in my room earlier today and did a little chasse past a mirror. I happened to notice that my hair was... unbelievable... Mom, remember those pictures we took of my 'fro after I cut my hair short for the first time and tried to put it in curlers? I think I was 14... You know you remember. You have the picture sitting in a frame on your desk in the office. You stinker. Yeah, my hair was worse than that. I decided to document it while I continued to rock out.
Hmmm... how big can I make my forehead look?
Oh. Apparently I was busy striking a pose one day this week. Don't remember doing this particular movement... ha!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
If you were so unfortunate as to spend some time alone with me during my mello-dramatic, sordid pubescent years, you certainly heard some talk of one special crush of mine. At an extremely young age, I was devastatingly smitten by one boy I knew only through my sister's dating life. Kelli had a certain boyfriend for one summer or so, and he had brothers (cue heavenly chorus). Being the thirteen-year-old I was and wanting so badly to be just like my super cool big sister (don't laugh. Kelli has always rocked her nerdiness in a very cool, confident way. Ok, now even Kelli is probably laughing), I fell as in love with Kelli's friends as an overly dramatic baby-teen can. I was absolutely nuts about them. Especially the age-appropriate brother. :)
We'll call him Amos. Amos was dazzling in my eyes. Simply gorgeous, brilliant, hilarious, and slightly mysterious. He fed every idealistic movie-matched dream I ever had about what a first love should be. I hung on his every word, though few, and lived my life, for a time, by what I thought would fit to his interest. There was just one problem. Amos didn't know I existed.
Being a talented, fairly attractive young girl who knew darn well that she was talented, smart, and probably had a lot going for her, I was greatly hurt by the lack of attention from Amos and his kin. What was wrong with this kid?! There I was, a fabulous young girl, gloriously geeky, dying for him to look my way, making an absolute idiot of myself just to become friends with him, and he hardly noticed. Or if he did, he laughed quietly and turned his head (which is more than likely the case). Amos took up most of the space in my head most of the time. Silly girl that I am and have always been, I didn't think to change my mind about him. I let it eat away at me, confused at whose opinion was correct, his or mine. Self esteem being chipped away each time he didn't respond to my attempts, I spent far too much energy on this kid. He was polite, asked me to dance at dances, and even asked me on a couple of dates in our later teens, though I am sure that was attributed more to his mother's encouragement than to his interest (she knew me and my affections well through church and violin lessons, as he daughters had the same private teacher I did).
I tried to play it cool and act like I couldn't have cared less about Amos' opinion (or the opinions of anyone I associated with him). I wasn't fooling anyone. Certainly not myself. To this day, I still feel twinges of romance and butterflies in the tummy and "oh my gosh, he's here!" moments and magical, heart skipping a beat feelings whenever I think of him. Silly, yes, but enjoyable to have those memories, fruitless though they may have been. It was something of a music video in my mind, and everything fell perfectly into sync when I saw him or even thought of him... execpt for me. I became ridiculous. I fumbled over every word, I spit little embarrassing droplets of saliva when I spoke, I tripped on everything, I turned red no matter what, I made stupid faces, never said the right thing, and all the while I could see him losing what little interest he said he had when we were 13 (oh yes, we have discussed it since... More embarrassment...).
My final attempt at forming even a simple friendship with this wonderful young man (yes, he is still wonderful in my eyes... I am well aware of his flaws, but he is still my magical first "love") was over two years ago at a very low point of my life. You all probably remember this guy I dated named Nick. Yeah, I sort of had the blues, and was addicted to vicaden. So was Amos, as it turned out, though his was prescribed and mine was stolen. We spoke on the phone about twice per week for a bit. I enjoyed this very much. Apparently he didn't. He stopped answering and returning my calls after a few weeks. Got bored, I suppose. Irritated. Tired. Who knows? Who cares? It hurt. How stupid that it hurt after all these years of rejection, but it did.
Over the last few years, I have spent a great deal of time reminding myself to decide who I will be for ME, and nobody else. I like the person I've become. I didn't for a good long time, so this is significant. I truly do like the person I am, and I think I'm terribly interesting and great to be around. Some days I even think I am pretty dang cute.
Ever heard the phrase "chasing the skeleton"? Drug addicts "chase a skeleton" when they continue to use their drug of choice for years and years, though they can never achieve that same high as on their first use. They attempt to get that high every time they use. This is where overdosing can be dangerously easy. Some are so desperate for that "first time" feeling that they use way too much or way too often and end up dead.
Meet Laura, admitted romance addict.
I have always dated. Never stopped, really. Since my first boyfriend at age 13, just a few months before I met Amos. All kinds of boys. Every shape, size, and color. I just give off a really strong "single" radar, and they show up every time I'm not dating someone exclusively. Or perhaps I find them... Very rarely have I been "single" for consecutive months since I was a young teen. Talk about a romance junkie. Is my self-esteem that low, really?
Anyway, I have tried not to chase my Amos "skeleton", but it keeps happening. I keep searching for someone that I can go absolutely gaga over, rarely finding it and knowing full well that's not what a good relationship is founded on. It has happened once since Amos. That person turned out to be insane, and the whole thing ended rather sloppily. Laura apparently loves insane people. I was pretty crazy about Scott, but it took some work to get me there. I wasn't instantly nuts about him, nor him for me. We had to decide. Is it so bad that I don't want to have to decide? Can I pretty please have movie mushy first moment romance?
No, Laura. Grow up.
I love the ones that don't love me. I hate that about myself, but I just always seem to go crazy for the guys that aren't interested in me the least bit. But only the ones who SHOULD be interested in me. The smart, funny, slightly odd, colorful characters I meet once a year or so. The Amoses. Typically, the musicians.
Silly Laura. Stop doing that.
Well it's happening again. I'm doing it right this stupid second. I get those "favorite song swelling in the background", "feels like I could fly" feelings for NO GOOD REASON! Snap out of it, Laura. It's just a boy. And, quite clearly, "He's Just Not That Into You" (great book). Moving on.
I know what appropriate dating is. I'm constantly preaching it. It's time I learned to do it.
Well there you have it. Those are the things dwelling in the background of my mind this week. It has been an insane week! The show is fast approaching, and finals are close behind. It will all be worth it! The show is looking good! Come see it!
A side note; I hate it when my body doesn't do what I tell it to. This week, however, it has behaved quite nicely. Thank you, body.
Monday, November 17, 2008
November 2005, 6:45 PM, backstage at Fresno City College's main Theatre, Jana Griffin and I were excitedly applying our "beat" (stage makeup) prior to the start of the show. Jana's phone rings in, no doubt, some incredibly indie-band song (Jana is amazing, but the biggest "indie and obscure" music snob on earth). We peek at the text message with curiosity. Leon. Old boyfriend and current best friend of Jana Griffin. The text simply says "Scoop That Bloop! And I'll see you after the show!". Jana and I fall into a fit of giggles as we attempt to keep lipstick from smearing on our teeth and our mascara from running. What the heck?! Scoop that what?! What does that mean?!
Jana, oh Jana. How I miss you, my dear. "Scoop that Bloop" became a common phrase between us, often placed in conversation where nobody knew quite what to say.
I have left this phrase undefined for years, simply allowing it to be whatever I have needed it to be at the moment. Today, however, the meaning found me.
First of all, let me just say that I am feeling splendid today! Yesterday was much of the same, until I lost my patience with life and did something stupid. Something very, very stupid. Normal Laura would sit around regretting that stupid action for days, maybe even weeks, and never focus on the good. I read this yesterday, and loved it:
"You only see the bad in yourself. All people see mostly the bad in themselves. They become attenuated to the good, because it causes them no concern. - Truth." -Matt Burr.
I have been asked to let go of the bad, forget it, and focus only on the good. Let go of my mistakes. Yikes. . .
Am I allowed to do that? I have always felt and intrinsic sort of obligation to not only recognize my mistakes, but to make verbal note of how abhorish they are, and how I will avoid them in the future. I attributed my lack of success in these attempts to the fact that I am human, rather than to the fact that it is simply a really really stupid and self-degrading method. When I trouble another, I want to tell them that I am aware of my mistakes, why I made them, and how I will avoid them further. I just want to, ok?! Even if it doesn't help...
That is not forgiving oneself. That is holding on to the negative. Unless I were to go around equally noting my successes, and... well I just don't have time for that.
To increase the mount of responsibility and improbability, I was asked to let go of a mistake... no, several mistakes... I had made only MOMENTS before. My tears and red face were fresh and still coming, and I was asked to stop and forget about it. Uh.... huh?
This is something I have never attempted. Even when I miss a class, I spend all day justifying it to myself. And when that doesn't work and guilt overcomes me, I find a day to miss class for no reason just so that I can tell myself that I deserve a freaking day off now and then. You don't need to be perfect, Laura. Chill out.
All of this on my mind, we began another fantastic modern class today (after a kick-trash ballet class! Athank you! Yes! I'll be here all week! Tip your waitresses!). Ruth is so rejuvenating! She allows us to begin class on the floor daily, laying on our backs so that we can relate our weight and structure to the floor in order to be more stable in standing. We go through constructive rest, a bit of meditation, somatic discussion, pilates, then bits of yoga before standing. The second half of class is a wild ride of movement in standing. Occasionally, she will teach us some Tai Chi. I LOVE this study!
Back to my point... Focus, Laura!
At the start of class, Ruth likes to share what she has been reading that week. She spends most of her time outside of school reading up on... oh... EVERY STUDY IMAGINABLE! This woman is nuts! Seriously! I don't know how a person can read so much, but I thought I had the curiosity bug... HA! Ruth takes the cake. Today, it was psychology. Her suggestion to us was that we are beings who seek negative correction. Perhaps it is our culture as Americans or as dancers. Who knows? The difficulty is maintaining a powerful presence and an understanding of the possibility of improvement. In a dance studio, when an instructor calls out one correction for one particular person, it is understood that every student applies that correction to themselves as well. In this way, we as dancers are constantly correcting ourselves, always hearing a voice of criticism, never of celebration or affirmation. We are NEVER good enough. Never. Yet we carry this image of our perfect selves, as if we just have to save enough money so that we can run down to the local "Flawless-R-Us" and buy the latest edition of ourselves. And people wonder why I have a hard time taking compliments. . .
So when I say "Scoop That Bloop" to myself or anyone else from now on, in my mind it will mean that I am giving permission to let go of flaws and celebrate strengths. You have permission to roll your eyes after this next statement: I will be, quite literally, scooping out my bloopers. Roll eyes... now. Ok, stop. That's all you get.
So SCOOP THAT BLOOP, Y'ALL!!!!
Also, I need another root canal.... Joy.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I have choreographer's block. I've spent 5 hours in the studio today alone, and I can't get more than 30 seconds worth of movement solidified.
How does one cultivate creativity?
This has been a common topic of discussion throughout my college career. In recent semesters, my professors have been pushing the issue, wanting more directed answers than "just wait" or "clear your mind" or "you can't force creativity". The new question has been added: "What if you HAVE to create immediately? What if you have a deadline?" Silly professors. That will never happen.... We would find answers to appease them and ditch the subject.
I am performing my solo tomorrow night. Regina Spektor's "Lady" is 4 1/2 minutes long. I have already cut 30 seconds, making it only 4 minutes. As of right now, I have 2 1/2 on my body. Nice. 8PM the night before tech rehearsal and I can't think. All I want to do is go play and enjoy my night of freedom. All I can think about is other music, other pieces I'm in, my costumes, what my friends are doing on my night off... Not my dance. Not "Sink" (title of my piece).
I have recently made a great new friend. He is extremely uplifting, well spoken, creative, and candid. I must admit, my favorite passtime as of late is chatting with him. Of course, our schedules do not permit much of this. Still... Good things.
Anyway, this friend produces music, and has been pursuing this art for about 11 years of his life. I've heard bits of his work. Talented man. The other night, he mentioned that he often gets bored with his style, gets in a rut, etcetera, and has difficulty breaking out of it and starting fresh. I asked him his methods of finding his creativity. We talked briefly about that; I'd like to interview him further on the matter. He seems an intelligent person, able to clearly express himself, and it would be interesting to hear what a person with no formal "creativity" training has to say. How do people force creativity when they need to? The anthropologist in me gets so excited at this subject. Creativity is adaptation. It is how mankind evolved to the point of Adam. In order to survive, we adapted. Ever so slowly, we began to make tools that would allow for distanced kills of large, meaty animals. The meat provided necessary protiens for our human brains to develop fine-tuned skills such as communication, which allowed us to begin working as families, teams, units. The rest is history. Once we established that "no man is an island", things began to progress rather rapidly, all thanks to creativity and eating meat. Vegetarians. Ha.... (my apologies to all my vegetarian and vegan friends... no offense).
Oh! Wait!!!! I have ideas!!!! GOTTA GO!
In fact, I love myself today. I am so happy to be me, to be able to learn and grow... I love my life. It is perfectly flawed. Brilliantly designed. I am completely, peacefully happy right now. I want to feel this way more often. This is how I used to feel all the time as a kid. Let's get that back, Laura.
I feel beautiful and talented and loved and eager to share it all! And it didn't come from anyone telling me so!
Hey you. I love you! :)
I'ma go dance now!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
(the dates on the photos are WRONG! These were taken about two weeks ago.)
This has nothing to do with anything.
I just found it and thought I looked like Carin in it, which I like. Tada.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
University Dance Theatre
CSU Fresno Lab School Theatre (Room 101)
November 20, 21, 22 @ 8pm.
& November 22 @ 2pm
Tickets: $5 each
To order (IT WILL SELL OUT, IT ALWAYS DOES)
or order online at: