Good News!

March 3, 2009 at 1:55 AM (Happenings) (, )

My grandfather was discharged from the hopsital this afternoon!  Oh, happy day!

Here’s to his continued progress on the road to recovery!

Tonight’s Tune
“Dreamworld,” Robin Thicke


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A Lucky Lass, Indeed

February 8, 2009 at 7:08 PM (Friends, Musings) (, )

I’m always reminding myself of how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many people who care about me and support me, and the recently renewed concern for my grandfather has only amplified that awareness.  I have two coaches who will provide me with advice, hugs and attentive ears over a beer at any hour of the night.  I have a studio full of friends who always ask me how I’m doing, and actually have an interest in hearing my honest answer.  Among those coaches and friends are people who have on countless occasions been willing to drive me home from the studio because I missed the last bus or train and couldn’t afford cab fare . . . even if it meant they would need to drive for another hour in the opposite direction before they got home.  I live with three people who not only tolerate my antics, but occasionally seem to welcome them.  They feed me, booze me, listen to me, sit with me, watch dumb TV shows with me, and generally spoil me as needed.  There are people who are hundreds of miles away (or in some cases, fewer than 10), who will drop everything to spend time with me on the phone (or in person) to get my mind off of whatever is eating me.  I have two parents and a brother who have done so much for me that I’d probably destroy the WordPress server if I tried to list it all.

I don’t know how many of you read this, but if you do, you probably know who you are.  Thank you.

Today’s Tunes
“Dramastically Different,” The Beastie Boys
“Think For Yourself,” The Beatles
“How Can I Keep From Singing?” Enya
“Fall For You,” Secondhand Serenade
“Breathe,” Kylie Minogue
“Blind,” Hercules and Love Affair
“London by Night,” Frank Sinatra

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A Little Appreciation Is Greatly Appreciated

September 29, 2008 at 9:06 PM (Happenings, Musings) ()

I’ve been a regular at the chain coffee shop across the street from my apartment for four years.  I began working at one of its locations almost a year and a half ago, but of course I visit the shop across the street just as faithfully as I did four years ago – perhaps even more so, now that I frequently get the “insider discount” (read: “free”) deal on drinks.

A couple weeks ago, one of the supervisors stopped me and asked if I could work at all this past week.  After discussing some logistics, she later called me and asked if I could work for the majority of Monday and Thursday mornings.  My stomach turned a couple cartwheels as I agreed to work at 8.00 A.M. on Monday and 7.00 A.M. on Thursday.

On Tuesday night, I didn’t sleep.  At all.  I had a paper due at 9.00 A.M. the next day, and I refused to fall behind with my classwork.  I was busy all day Wednesday, and was practising at the studio until around 11.00 P.M.  For whatever reason, I didn’t get to bed until around 2.00 A.M.  Bearing all that in mind, it should be easy to figure out why I REALLY dreaded working at 7.00 Thursday morning.

It was all worth it, though.  I really am easy to please.  I was pulling shots left and right in an effort to whittle down the mile-long line of drinks during a mid-morning rush when the store manager walked over to the bar, stood behind me, and enveloped me in a bear hug.

“You are amazing.  Thank you so much for coming in; I really appreciate it.”  As he broke away and continued about his business, he added, “That was probably really awkward for you, but I’m sorry, I had to do it.”

Mind you, this guy has only been at the shop for maybe three months or so, I don’t know him as well as most of the other employees, and I’ve only actually worked at that store two or three times.  In short, if I was a little more Type A about personal space and all that sort, yes, the scenario could have been quite awkward, indeed.

Luckily, I’m quite a cuddly person, and am usually pro-hugging.  For whatever reason, after the unexpected display of gratitude, my mood went through the roof.  Suddenly it didn’t matter that I was running on not nearly enough sleep, or that the customers were getting really prissy about making sure that their super high-maintenance beverages were as carefully crafted as they were.  The fact that someone had gone out of his way to make it clear that he appreciated my taking time out of my schedule to help him and his store out meant a lot.  It doesn’t take much to let someone know that (s)he’s appreciated, yet too frequently, we take others for granted.  Too often I need to convince myself that going out of my way for people is worth the effort when they don’t even remember to say “Thank you.”  That said, I know I’m not without fault, and that I take people for granted more often than I should (which is never, by the way).

To my temporary store manager, thanks for reminding me that we can always do with more thank yous.

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Speaking of Roomates . . .

September 9, 2008 at 7:11 PM (Friends, Musings) (, )

“Bashing” my roomate last night reminded me of the wonderful company I’m keeping in this apartment.  For those of you who were wondering, the star of my last post was laughing hysterically whilst I read the post to her as I typed it.  Maybe it’s because this is the first time I’ve REALLY gelled with my roomates; maybe it’s because last year’s situation was less ideal; maybe it’s because we actually decided to live together, rather than having met via the coincidence of Craigslist or a similar medium.  Regardless, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that I thank my lucky stars at least twice an hour that we all get along so marvelously.  Some social stuff I appreciate:

Apartment dinners.  We cook for each other.  Not only does it make life easier when we’re putting together one meal for the four of us versus each of us preparing our own meals, but we’re all decent culinary artists, if I do say so myself.  In addition, it’s much more enjoyable to dine in company, rather than dining alone.  We’ll probably have dinner together at least twice a week.

Mutual love-hate relationships with the fitness centre.  Commonly heard phrase: “Yeah . . . definitely not waking up at 8.00 to go to the gym tomorrow.”

The above may possibly be a result of late nights watching TV and movies.  Everything from Scrubs to the VMAs to, yes, The Cosby Show.  We’re a somber group here.

Laughs, and a good many of them.  I’ve been reduced to tears a couple times over the last few weeks.


Ladies, cheers to these and many more delightful times to be had!

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Good v. Nice

August 4, 2008 at 2:22 AM (Musings) (, , )

I don’t remember who said it.  Whomever it was, I agree with him or her, and I try to be mindful of it: being nice doesn’t necessarily make one good.

I suddenly recalled that it’s one of the few intelligent things that Goldilocks says in Sondheim’s Into the Woods (“Nice is different than good.”).  Back on topic!

It goes hand-in-hand with “Actions speak louder than words,” a cliché that, as nagging as it may sound, is still true.  A person may say the most flattering things to my face, but if that person turns around and speaks ill of me, then how could I possibly count on that person to support me for any given reason (personal gain, maybe, but that doesn’t so much make a person good)?

A good person, I feel, is one who may not have the kindest of things to say, but rather be truthful with and respectful of others.  I would prefer to keep the company of the blunt person who will will support me unconditionally than that of the hollow yes-man.

Luckily for me, my brother is the former.  Of course we get into snarky tiffs over absolutely nothing, but at the same time, I know I can count on him for anything.  Over the past few days, I’ve been under the weather pretty consistently.  I don’t know if it’s because he has a sixth sibling sense or he just has great timing, but he’s been determined to spend time with me for three out of the last four days.  By no means would I say that my brother and I are great friends, and we certainly don’t have too many common interests, but he’s still been a welcome escape from everything else that’s been bugging me as of late.  He’s not even had to say anything sympathetic.  In fact, he’s probably teased me more than anything else over the past few days, but it has been good-natured.  Everything is so down-to-earth with him; I know he will be the LAST person on this planet to bad-mouth me (or try to flatter me, for that matter).  It was refreshing to spend time with someone who is the paradigm of genuine goodness, even if he isn’t a total ray of sunshine.

Thanks, man.

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July 22, 2008 at 2:46 PM (Dance) (, )

We finally started working on Standard last week, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled.  Like many people who began ballroom dancing in college, I competed in every style for which I could convince a guy to tolerate me a few days a week for a couple hours at a time (read: “practise”).  Being the charming lass I was, I managed to compete in all four styles, International Latin and Standard, and American Rhythm and Smooth.  It was all good fun for a while, but eventually, finding a college student who wanted to take the dancing a little more seriously proved difficult, and finding a partner who wanted to seriously compete in more than one style proved almost impossible.

I realised that if I ever wanted to seriously improve my dancing, I’d have to look beyond the college students . . . and that I’d probably have to drop at least two, if not three styles.  Although initially displeased with the thought of dancing in only one style, I hoped that I’d find a partner who would at least be interested in expanding his repertoire to 9- or 10-dance (dancing Standard & Latin, or Smooth & Rhythm).

When I asked Carlton if he was looking for a dance partner, I knew he only danced Latin, but I figured I’d ask him about Standard, anyway.  I explained that although I knew competing in all 19 dances was beyond unreasonable, would he be completely opposed to eventually competing in Standard.  Although he didn’t seem ecstatic about the idea, he didn’t rule it out.  After further discussion of goals and objectives, we decided to dance Latin together.

That was over a year ago.

One year, 13 competitions, several lessons, countless practises, and too many last-minutes performances later, we have come a long way . . . and we have finally taken our first Standard lesson.  I was ectstatic to be working on the most basic of Waltz figures last week.  Johnny had nothing but wonderful things to say as we went over the fundamentals of Standard technique (aside from telling me that if I want to take it seriously, I should wear an appropriate skirt — it’s in the mail!!), and I’ve been anxious to start dancing again.  Maybe it’s because it’s been over a year since I’ve touched Standard.  Maybe I always liked it more than Latin in the first place.  Maybe it’s because the dresses are so stunning and every girl has the opportunity to live out her childhood fantasy of looking like a princess.  Maybe it’s because our coach was ecstatic during our first lesson and said, “You guys are gonna be amazing” about a million times.  Maybe it’s because I see dancing so much more differently than I did when I confined myself to the collegiate circuit.  Who knows?  Regardless, I’m thrilled to have my second chance to DANCE Standard.  I don’t know if Carlton really wants to dance Standard, or if he’s only doing it to humour me.  I hope it is the former.  Either way, Carlton, thank you!

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