Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Inspiration Page

An annual practice for me which has been taking place for longer than I can remember, I wrote my New Year's Resolutions today. Ever year, I go back and look at the old ones, which were formulated by evaluating my success on the previous years - kind of a positive vicious cycle. I then think through my year and decide which ones must be kept on next years list, then proceed to read all my journal entries from the last year to create some new ones. Kind of an extensive process, I must admit, but one I enjoy quite deeply. Each year, I sent out my new list to a couple of trusted and respected friends for their perusal. This year, in an effort to look back even further, I am going to post resolutions from the past three years in succession.

New Year's Resolutions 2007
-Be conscious of writing, speaking and packing
-Money should not get in the way of experiences
-Rather than buying a bunch of cheap things you want, save for and make those expensive purchases
-Retain consciousness of the world around you
-Embrace spontaneity with intention; experience life
-As it happens inside and outside your control, work with change to make it positive
-The choices you make are defining, but not limiting; they are just pockets out of a world where similar things are happening everywhere
-Let not assumptions interfere with your outlook
-Convention does not have to get in the way of acting, reacting and feeling the way you truly want

New Years Resolutions 2008
-Give each action the amount of time and resource it deserves
-Respect the need for unscheduled time each week; maintain a weekly day off
-Allow general interests, personal goals and to-do's to operate with as much importance as work
-The choices you make are defining, not limiting; they are just pockets out of a world where similar things are happening everywhere
-Resist the temptation to see life in chunks; everything is a fluid stream of happenings that need not be separated for judged ahead of time
-Life as a whole can be informed by art, which in turn becomes a part of your whole life
-Let not assumptions interfere with your outlook
-Embrace spontaneity with intention
-As it happens in and outside your control, work with change to make it positive
-Retain consciousness of the world around you

New Year's Resolutions 2009
-Allow personal interests to operate with as much importance as other commitments
-Be willing to dedicate time and resource toward living the way you wish
-The choices you make are not limited, but defining; they are just pockets out a world where similar happenings are occurring everywhere.
-See life as a fluid stream of happenings that may not be judged or separated ahead of time
-Life as a whole can be informed by art, which in turn becomes a part of your whole life
-Let not assumptions interfere with your outlook
-Trust your instincts
-Show your gratitude
-Retain consciousness of the world around you
-Relationships do not have to be life-long to be life-changing

Notice a pattern? I do.

Now, for other random inspiration;

-"Average American living standards have risen to such an extent that material goods no longer confer the status they once did." - Richard Florida, "Rise of the Creative Class"

-"Just people-watching is arguably a valid form of cultural exchange." - Richard Florida

-"Eclectic scavenging for creativity is not new." - Richard Florida

-"As much as the body requires balanced intakes, so does the mind." - Ray Oldenburg, "The Problem of Place in America"

-"Guilt's just your ego's way of tricking you into thinking that your not making moral progress. Don't fall for it my dear." - Elizabeth Gilbert, "Eat, Pray, Love"

-"We have hands; we can stand on them if we want. That's our privilege. That's the joy of a mortal body. And that's why god needs us. Because god loves feeling things through his hands." - Elizabeth Gilbert

-"There is almost a quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads. Large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts, new places." - Alan de Botton, "The Art of Travel"

-"If we find poetry in the service station and motel, if we are drawn to the airport or train carriage, it is perhaps because, in spite of their architectural compromise and discomforts, in spite of their garish colors and harsh lighting, we implicitly feel that these isolated places offer us a material setting for an alternative to the selfish ease, the habits and confinement of the ordinary, rooted world" - Alan de Botton

-"Art cannot single-handedly create enthusiasm, nor does it arise from sentiments of which non-artists are devoid; it merely contribute to enthusiasm and guides us to be more conscious of feelings that we might previously have experienced only tentatively or hurriedly." - Alan de Botton

Happy 2009.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Passing Time

I often think of this when I go to bed early. Why am I going to bed early? I am generally not fan of sleep, so it is not because I want to gain extra. I think sometimes people's actions are motivated by, a wish to pass time, either to get away from something that has already occurred, or to get to something they wish to occur faster.

Right now, I am wishing Friday to come quicker, so I can hop on a plane for home. "I'll Be Home For Christmas"-style, ya know? Though I seem to have a good reason for the time-passing, I hate it none-the-less. I hate the feeling that I am trying to quickly whittle away hours in favor for ones that might be better. The hours being whittled are just as valid, and have waiting just as many light-years to present their unique place in time. So why do we do this?

I think a simple answer is that we humans are often driven by emotion and not logic. With logic speaking, we should be just as present in the hours we wish to whittle as we are in the hours to which we are trying to arrive. However, that pesky little emotional center likes to put its two cents in, causing us to frequently stray from the mandates of logic.

I guess what this comes to is that it is a reasonable and balanced goal to try and achieve a wedding between these two standpoints (like the jam and peanut butter swirl jars. Wait. That was in fact ridiculous and is NOT a good analogy. I digress). While I cannot deny that I wish today, Tuesday, were Friday, today is not Friday. It is in fact Tuesday (how's that for logic, huh? HUH?). And I also cannot deny that some pretty darn good moments could happen on this here Tuesday, if I just let them.

So there it is. Equal weight on time to get to the other side. Friday, that is.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I find myself feeling odd about what fits into what time and when it does it's fitting.

Canada/ Home/ Gone Back to Canada/ Leaving Canada for Home again Very Soon/ Wanting Canada to be Home/ Not Wanting Canada to be Home/ Wanting to Follow Set Plan/ Wanting to Run Away from Set Plan

Good thing there are a lot of plans, and none of them (seemingly) set other than returning home for the summer for an onslaught of weddings. Seems simultaneously a great and silly reason to be returning home.

I see myself so transient. I can see pieces of a life accompanying such a transient self (life-long friends, family, love for the Twin Cities, dancing, desire for randomness), and now it is just a matter of figuring out how these pieces can fit when transient is not just a feeling. I suppose this move to Canada was the beginnings of transient, and it certainly is not as hard as I expected it to be, because I know now, more than ever, that home will always be there and I will probably always find ways to go. In talking with Bri last night, I also realized now, even more than ever, that I am not the only person in my life whose path has strayed from home (right now or whenever). Sarah did, Bri did, the list could go on. But we are still friends. We may be different for it, I know we are different for it. Different friends to one another, different people to overselves. Regarding this, there is truth in the idea that life naturally is a series of changes, some bigger and some smaller than others. To fear their effect on your life will only stiffle your relationships, because change happens in and outside your control.

These words could be looked on as the contents of a big pill to dissolve worry, but I do not look at them so. I see these words as the layout of a menu with several (hopefully) yummy selections.

More concretely; I want to come back to Calgary next year. I want to go to grad school next year. I want to be home for the summer. I want to go to Chicago next year. I want to be home all next year. Some of these desires are stronger than others (in fact, I would venture to suggest that they subconciously organized themselves in order of strongest to weakest in desire, but the difference in their order is quite small). One thing that can be said for sure; Any of these inside and outside of control changes will certainly keep me on a path of figuring out how my body digests the choices I have made from the menu.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This post isn't going to have much for eloquent words or deeply-thought out ideas. Rather, it is just going to celebrate that, after many a roadblock here in Calgary, some of said blocks have lifted to give me some really great opportunities!

- Writing for Fast Forward, Calgary's version of the Citypages. Check out my article at
This one was not that difficult - I emailed the editor expressing interest in writing, he asked for samples, I provided them, he liked them, I wrote, it got published. Sometimes, it is just nice when things work out the first time!

- Calgary Arts Development Internship: Basically Calgary's Springboard for the Arts, I am helping CAD develop their websites and Christmas arts campaign. It is great to have another place and other projects to be involved in. Check out some of my work at

- Live and In Synch: This is the touring kids show for DJD. After so many stumbles trying to find legal work in this city, it is amazing to finally have source of income (well, I will in February), making me feel a bit more at ease with the financial situation. But the money is not nearly the most exciting part - the most exciting part is to have the opportunity to perform professionally for a company I respect so much.

- Alberta Dance Explosions: I found out today that the festival to which I submitted a piece of choreography a few weeks back accepted me for their show in February. Alberta Dance Explosions is a tradition here in Calgary, put on by dance institution Dancer's Studio West. I am so excited to have the opportunity to show my work here in Calgary!

To sum it up, things have gone well here the last few weeks, dictating the fact that the next few months should also go pretty fantastic! I am honestly relieved to be returning a bit to my more scheduled self, but not at the rate that I had been before leaving Minneapolis (I think I have learned my lesson. At least I say that right now!) I am so fortunate and grateful to have opportunities that give me things to think about, care for, and spend time on, pushing me further within the things I love.

Happy day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day of Inspiration

Yesterday was quite the day of thought, inspired from many different sources.

Instead of attending our regular Friday class, me and my fellow DJDer's attended a conference called 'On The Move,' a seminar for emerging dancers and graduating dance students about how to launch their careers. Put on by the Alberta Dance Alliance and held at the Alberta Ballet studios, the day consisted of several different workshops and a yoga class at the end.

While the classes ranged from a psychology of loving oneself and one's work, to injury prevention, to contracts and legality, the session I enjoyed most focused on creating and producing work. Though I was expecting from the description something other than I got, this worked in a positive way. I was expecting a class on the steps to self-producing a project, and ended up with an open-ended discussion with the artistic director of the Alberta Ballet and a well-known independent dance artist here in Calgary who works quite a bit with video. It was truly inspiring to get a chance to ask questions of these two people who had been through so many stages and ups and downs to get to their success points as choreographers. We discussed their thoughts on the point where one goes from 'emerging' to 'established,' and I asked about their thoughts on how you know or find out whether or not your work is 'worth it' when you are still in such an early stage that you have not yet applied for a grant.

It was great to hear, from their experiences, that you have to keep reinventing, remain curious, and continue questioning yourself, because when you stop doing that, you stagnate. Even for well-established people such as themselves, they admitted openly to failures, even recent ones, suggesting there is no such mark as 'unstoppable;' even the established continue to have ups and downs. I had some really nice chats with many of the presenters after their workshops, and the whole day left me feeling all-around warm and fuzzy. It was so nice to get a chance to immerse myself a bit deeper into the community here. Though much of the information I had heard many times before, the value sprung from the fact that it was coming from new people in a new place, creating for me new perspectives.

Similarly inspiring yesterday, surprisingly, was my late-night trip to a bar near to our house. Cale, Rebecca and Steph got off work while I was having a glass of wine, and were attending a going away party for a friend from work at this bar across the street. I figured 'what the hell, I have no excuse; money is ok, I can walk home, and I have nothing to do tomorrow. Can't really back out!' On Friday and Saturday nights, they hire in a DJ and the bar becomes more like a club, so needless to say, there was much dancing to be had.

I ended up spending most of the night on the dance floor (which does not stray from the usual for me), but quite a bit of that time running around like a loon and insisting that everyone sitting in relatively close proximity to the dance floor would have to get up and join me. And guess what; it worked! Most everyone I approached gave in, including two black gentlemen that appeared to be from elsewhere. I could just tell they wanted to dance, but at first could not decide if they were avoiding the dance floor because they thought they were better than everyone else cutting it, or if they were self-concious in that particular setting. Turns out it was self-conciousness. When the Bob Marley came on (stereotypical, but I am just telling it like it happened), they busted out the moves.

I was happy to see that they had joined me, and made sure to let them know by coming to jam with them. Turns out, they in fact had moved about a year ago from Africa. There was a bit of a language barrier, and that may be part of why they hung back, but I found out in a bit more time that they are living with two dorky, awesome Canadian guys who were also there that night ( and who I also eventually got on the floor!) They were all-together just a cool bunch of guys, and when they got going, they got going and blew everyone else out of the water. Except for me of course, and that was soley because I am not afraid to be ridiculous and move huge. All in all, I stirred the dance floor up a bit and I think a lot more people left feeling happier because of it.

Ah, The Power of Dance. Not Cheese. Dance.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

In hopes of insisting this day exists as much more than just a day off work, I took myself out to one of Calgary's many Remembrance Day observances. In the time leading up, I found myself thinking that this day must be looked upon with more intention than back home, even just if for the higher quota of poppies-to-people I have seen in my own country.

Needless the say, my assumptions were proven correct - at just one of the celebrations in the city, the one I attended in Memorial Park at the intersection of 4th St SW and 12th Ave SW, there were about 2,000 people in attendance. I overheard a conversation surrounding the fact that the observation at the Military Museum on Crowchild was expecting to draw 60,000. I couldn't help but feel awash with pride; that is, until I remembered that I come from a country where this day, our Veteran's Day, often IS looked upon as another day off.

Listening to the bagpipes bring in group after group of different service-men (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, EMS Honor Guard, Korean War Vets, etc.), I could feel the importance of this day surging through me. Despite the large amount of time and brain power I have spent trying to understand the idea of trading in human lives to solve conflict, I do not know if it is a concept I will ever be able to comprehend. However, regardless of your outlook on our current situations and the theoretics of war, these people need to be looked upon with respect, and remembered and honored for what they have been willing to sacrifice as people.

In reading the Globe and Mail today, I noticed a comment on a story regarding the holiday (nonetheless, the front page story) that noted the poppie as 'an outdated icon that stands for wars past, which should be abandoned in favor of focusing on the ones happening now.' I was appalled a such a suggestion. While I consider myself a relatively progressive person with some opinions and ideas that one might even called radical from time to time, I have an important place in my heart for the observance of tradition (which was probably bred by heavy involvement in marching band, years of 4H, and a family that is absolutely Christmas crazy.) That is not to say that I am in favor of blind observance of tradition, but rather, the kind of purposeful and thought-through observance that serves to pass along histories and ideas that are important to a culture and to the cultivation of people to lead it. Today's observance fit this description, and the amount of people there to be a part of this exchange was truly inspiring.

This sense of inspiration carried me to further thought regarding the condition of the United States' armed service celebrations. In witnessing such an ourpouring of attention, observance and thought here in Calgary, Canada on Remembrance Day, I was at first ashamed by how Veteran's Day seems to go unnoticed by so many. This train of thought did bring me to the realization that the United States has both Veteran's Day (November 11th at 11:11am, a celebration of what it recognized around the world as Armistice) and Memorial Day - one day to celebrate those who are still with us, and another to remember those who have passed on. While this realization DID make me feel a bit better about the seemingly smaller amount of attention given to Veteran's Day, it also spurred me on to the thought that there would be no harm done in celebrating BOTH of our days with the passion and dedication akin to what I witnessed within our Northern Neighbors today.

So take these days as opportunities to say a prayer to those who have served, and while you are at it, lace up your shoes and hike on out (or drive if you must :) ) to an observance event. Though 'another day off work' is always nice, it is because of these people that you are free to try and work whatever job you fancy. You will end up being really glad you took the time; I know am.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mmm Hmm 2

Our Hotel in Lake Louise

Dessert at the ridiculously amazing Walliser Stube Restuarant

Consuming above dessert

And amazing food below

Said food below

Friday, November 7, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Visit from Familiar

It has been awhile since a screen has witnessed my typing fingers creating updates or musings to send into the cyber world to reach those who wish to find them, one of the more familiar feels I can identify in my being here. In the past several days, my sense of familiarity here in Calgary was interupted by the introduction of former-familiar in the shape of a visit from home, jumbled together with a healthy helping of the unexpected through pursuit of new opportunities and places. Here is an account of this jumbling;

In regards to the internship situation, I had my interview with Calgary Arts Development today, which went very well and more like what I was expecting. It sounds like I would be doing primarily website content research and copy writing, which would be awesome! Thanks very much for the advice regarding the other internship. I told CAD that I would get back to them by Wed of next week (same day I am to get back to Arusha) so I would have time to find out about the show and decide which org I liked better, but I can already tell that CAD would be a better fit. I think social justice is something I am interested in injecting into my daily personal life as much as I can, but my working passion lies in the arts. Plus, CAD feels much more organized and as though I can better adjust the projects according to my time availability - I am here primarily to dance, and as much as I want to use my time well outside of it, I do not want to be bothered by other commitments making me feel too stressed out to enjoy dance - I can see this happening at Arusha. I am still going to wait to hear about the show (hopefully tomorrow), and then better make a plan for how I can help, but I think I am pretty set on CAD.

I am REALLY hoping for the show with DJD - it is a rehearsal period of two weeks for a kids show on jazz dance and music history that tours to elementary schools throughout the Calgary area. It would be professional pay and professional level work with the company - both amazing things. The only problem - my work situation. I do not have a work visa, which would make it very hard to find a way to pay me. I have been very worried about that factor keeping me from being cast. We find out tomorrow, so I guess I can stop worry then. I have just been trying my best to remain optimistic in light of the difficulties I have had finding both legal and illegal work, and I am having a very hard time continuing my optimism, considering that being selected by audition seemed like a really solid possibility for legal pay here, and it has seemed within this last week after auditioning that it would not be simple to find a way to pay me. I really want to be in this show regardless of whether or not I get paid, but it has been another reminder of how difficult the work situation has been. I was actually also being considering by another studio to teach adult jazz classes, and they ended up not hiring me because of legal implications, even though they pay in an independent contractor relationship and do not interface with taxes. I have pretty much given up on the job at the theater - I emailed last week to check in, and my boss said that his boss still hadn't signed the papers and that he would remind him. I have been strung along for about a month and a half now, and cannot take it anymore. This week, I am going to email my boss there to tell him that I would like to be reduced to volunteer level, and no longer want to waste my time hoping that a job will pan out. On the brighter side, along with the possibilities of internship, I have been accepted as a dance writer for what is basically their version of the Citypages, called 'FFWD,' (Fast-Forward). My first article is a preview of a show at the University of Calgary in a few weekends called 'Dance Montage,' and is due on Friday for a Nov 13th publishing date. I am very excited about it!

On the roommate situation; Jayla She said she would move out by October 31st, which actually turned into Nov 1st, but I luckily avoided most of the moving out situation, in the fact that Kris was here this weekend and we went out of town - what timing, hey? She (Jayla) did start moving stuff out last Sunday when I was home just lounging, which was quite awkward. Luckily, she had a friend there helping her, so it was probably more awkward for me than it was for her.
But alas, apparently everything is finished because we left on Saturday to go to the mountains, and when we got back, she and all of her things were gone, and our new roommate Cale (a friend of ours from my roommates work) was moved in. Sweet. And I am assuming that everything has been figured out with deposit and what not - Rebecca has been the one dealing with house business, so I am assuming that its all gravy. I am just glad it is all done. I like Cale quite a bit. I just hope that the house stays relatively clean. Jayla's desired level of cleaniness was quite high, even I, a clean-freak will admit, but I do like to have a general feeling of cleanliness. I think it will be fine! I have kind of been wanting to send Jayla a text just to say 'Hey, hope the move went alright, stay in touch because I would like to see the new place and grab a coffee,' but I have not yet had a chance to talk to my roommates about how it all went, and I want to do that first before I say anything.

I feel like I missed so much in one weekend away (Jayla moving out, Cale moving in, big Halloween party), but I will just have to get the update from my roommates when I presumably finally see them all together on the way to dance tomorrow. Kris came in on Wednesday, and my friend Lisa from dance was kind enough to lend me her car to go up to the airport and pick him up, which was certainly faster that public transit would have been. In exchange for the favor, we picked her up a caramel latte on our way back into town after dropping off Kris' stuff at the house. That afternoon, we went to a pub I wanted to try, walked all over downtown so I could show him around, stopped in at a jazz and wine bar for a glass, and then had dinner at the rotating resturant in the Calgary tower - very touristy, but awesome and also highly recommended by Joanne, one of my favorite instructors and a trusted opinion on Calgary. I usually take night classes on Wednesday and Thursday nights (well, every night!) but I spoke with my teachers and opted to skip them while Kris was here because I wanted as much time as I could have. It was not a big deal, as several people in my program have had significant others visit, and it has been established that that is a good reason to miss class, especially when you never do miss (like me!).

On Thursday, he came and watched the last hour of morning class, and then we went walking in the Kensington neighborhood, another one of the trendiest (alongside the area where the studio is) areas in Calgary. We had lunch out, and then went back to my place to have people over to carve pumpkins and drink. We were going to go to a haunted maze, but never made it. I was sad we missed that because I usually go to something like that every year, but the good times had pumpkin carving totally made up for it.

On Friday, I met up with him downtown after morning class because he picked up a car for the weekend. We stoppped for lunch (we had been using this book on cheap, great eating in Calgary written by the Calgary Herald food critic, lent to me by my friend Kaja, to find most of the places we went), and then I showed him the Farmer's Market and Glenmore Reserve, a park that reminds me of Lake Calhoun with mountains. That night we just chilled, watched movies, caught up on email and handed out candy to trick-or-treaters, until we went out around ten. We hung out wirh my friend Andrea from dance and some of her friends till about midnight, then drove back to the house to cab over with my roommates to a house party of someone who they work with. Needless to say, we never made it out to the bar, which was what I really wanted to do for Halloween, but it was fun nonetheless. We ended up at this party until about 3:30, and really wanted to leave but could NOT get a cab no matter how hard we tried. We ended up deciding that it really wasn't that far from our house (and in actually, it was VERY close. Close enough that I kind of wish we would not have even cabbed in the first place!) and ended up walking ('We' being Cale, Rebecca, Kris and I). Kris and I got ahead of Becca and Cale, and ended up deciding, after walking for about ten minutes and being about ten minutes from the house, that we needed to stop for another beer. We sat down in the CIBC Bank parking lot and cracked one open, and when Cale and Becca walked by, we convinced them to join us. Despite the fact that it was quite cold, we were tired and QUITE drunk, we enjoyed that beer and randomness immensely!

On Saturday, we got up and stopped at a truck-stop for breakfast (the Blackfoot Diner, amazing and so cheap!) and then continued on to Banff National Park. It was amazing! We stopped in Banff for a bit and did a quick hike up an easy mountain to see the surroundings, and then continued on to Lake Louise, where we were staying. That night we went to dinner (Kris was super-excited and had had it planned for quite awhile) at the Walliser Stube in the Chataeu Lake Louise hotel at the foot of the lake. It was one of the coolest dinners I have ever experienced. It was a Swiss fondue restuarant - I guess fondue originated in Switzerland, but it basically indicates the fact that each bite of food is prepared separately - dipping chunks of things into sauce is not the only kind of fondue, apparently. We had the 'Racllette,' which was originated by Swiss mountaineers in Canada who melted chunks of cheese on rocks in the sun, and scrapped the cheese, just as it was getting drippy, onto plates of pickles and potatoes. We had a full, several course option, which included two salads, to appetizers (smoked trout and a rabbit tart), the main course (which was the dripping cheese - made to drip by being placed under this big contraption where you place the block of cheese on a wood paddle underneath a heater, served with a platter of veggies including pickles and potatoes, a basket of bread, and a platter of air-dried beef, pork and ham), and a dark chocolate dessert fondue. In short - AMAZING. I have never experienced a meal like that before, and it was seriously all-together too much food - we could not take it all down!

The next day, we got up for the sunrise, which was too fogged-out to be seen, and ended up going back to the hotel to sit in the hot tub instead. After we checked out, we went back to the lake to do a half-day hike around the lake and up one of the mountain ranges toward the 'Plain of Six Glaciers,' which looks exactly how it is described. We did not make it ALL the way to the prescribed destination, but we did see the glaciers, and decided to respect our bodies getting tired. The hike was about four and a half miles total (we only cut out the last half mile), so we felt accomplished nonethless, especially considering that the whole hike was rainy and mildely icey, dangerous terrain. However, the temperature itself was quite pleasant and bearable. The hike was really fantastic - whenever you looked up, back at your stared a ton of huge, snow-covered mountain peaks. I had never been that close or that surrounded, and it was truly an experience that I would like to repeat. We headed out of the park that night about made it back to Calgary around 7. After a crammed weekend, we decided to just stick at home and make chili, drink a bottle of wine and watch a movie - all good choices.

He flew out at 1 today. I do have to admit that I miss having him here already, but we had a really great time and I am so glad he visited. I will be back in three and a half weeks for Thanksgiving, so its not that long until I get to see him again and get to see my family for the first time since I moved :)

All in all, though I do miss people from home, Cannukland has been an adventure, which is exactly what I was looking for and not regrettable for an instant thus far. After all, familiarity must be tinged with the unexpected to retain and develop it's flavor.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Creating Inspiration

It has been doing it for itself. In other, more intelligible words, I mean that the outside sources I have been cultivating have been creating inspiration themselves, so this creation has not been an outward act, but more of a happenstance. It is nice when it is like that.

I just finished reading two books - "Pontoon" by Garrison Keillor on Saturday, and "American Myths: What Candians Think They Know About the United States" today. "Pontoon" got me all Minnesota-reminiscent, a lovely feeling. It is good to ponder on what it is about home that makes it so. I have been exchanging thoughts with Nikki (the friend recently relocated to Australia) about what makes a place what it is, and she suggests that it is the people. I have found that to be both true and untrue in the last few weeks. In thinking about it, indeed, Minnesota is as mystical as it is for me largely due to the people that make the surroundings what they are. However, the starting place for Calgary is just the opposite - dance, the thing, the action, is making Calgary what it is and is giving it a reason for existence in my life, and the people have worked as enriching forces. In thinking about it that way, I am certainly getting my share of people suppliment up here - I have been fortunate to have amazing people at DJD and pretty great roommates. We have our rough patches, but we remember and remind each other that we would do just about anything for one another, and everything is ok. It is interesting to wonder, if put in a different set of circumstances with certain people, would they develop the same kind of importance to you? To be honest, had I gone to high school with them, I do not really know whether or not I would have gravitated toward any of my roommates. But out of circumstance, we ended up living in a house together, and for that, we have become important to one another. But I do know that their ridiculousness and openness sure has made it easier. Back to topic; I guess I am finding that places really combonation of actions and people - it is all just a matter of circumstance and perception; all the same, action/ people are two good ways to analyze this.

I have been having occasional thoughts recently of important people in my life whom I do not have regular contact with. I think the creation of seperation has pushed my mind to think in different patterns, and has brought my thoughts to these people. It is nice to take occasional checkpoints with these kind of people; the ones you know will be around forever, despite the amount of time that passes between contact. I sat down to write Kim McAndrews and email, and several huge paragraphs just spat themselves out. I could have gone on with each topic much longer than I did (not that I am longwinded - ever - No sir), but I did not feel it as a necessity - Kim and I can provide thoughts on things, that is enough, and we can jump in where we left off. Yup. She is a lifer. Another lifer - Bri. Bri called me at 1:20am here on Friday night/ Saturday morning. As I had been in the middle of a deep sleep, it would have been easy for me to ignore this call, but I thought better of it because it was Bri - that is saying something! We talked for an hour, and it was so nice to chat with her again. The reason for her lifer-status - we can tolerate each other like no other. We know when we annoy each other, but accept those things as personal habits that are a part of the whole of the person we really like. Another lifer - Sarah. Talked to her for an hour on Saturday, and the last time I talked to her was the beginning of the week. I notice that there is really no pattern here regarding frequency of communication - sometimes you can just feel effort.

Back to sources of inspiration - the books, music, news, etc, that I have been immersing myself in lately have really spurred me to create connections between thoughts and feelings and desires and observations. The more knowledge I take in, the more I realize that everything I care about is interconnected. Politics = dance = social critique = human interaction = push toward justice = fair consumer habits = discussion = thought. All full circle. I have been feeling really modivated to lay foundations for all these interests. I have been doing an especially large amount of thought on communcating the validity of jazz music and dance. I feel as though leaving here, I will have a gamut of well organized and supported thoughts I can use to support this art form I love so dearly, and to use these thoughts to lay a groundwork for bringing them back to the public of Minnesota.

Now I am just spurring random thoughts. These writings today seem to have no thesis, just as my brain did not all weekend - jumping from this program to this song/ cd to this movie to this book to the next thing that caught the frenzy of my brain - not a feeling I am used to, particularly in phase where I have plenty of process time. Could be good.

Could be good.

Went pumpkin shopping with Rebecca and Steph and our future roommate Cale on Saturday afternoon. I talked them into hauling ass to the Farmer's Market, rather than just going to the SuperStore. I think they were pleased we made the journey (it does not take a Harvard physcologist to notice that the Market has quite a bit more charm than a big-box retailer such as the SuperStore), but it was a shame that we did not have more time, as Steph had to get to work. None the less, we had a wonderful time enjoying the fall sunshine and good temperature, picking out the most endearing pumpkins that, despite their positive qualities, would still be subjected to the point of a carving knife, and making fun of each other. This, to me, was a perfect activity for a waning fall afternoon, and it made me happy to be enjoying it will my housemates. Fall and early Winter have a kind of active nostalgia that no other time of year can boast. Well, I stand to correct myself already - Summer has its moments, but the moments are of a different quality. I am looking forward so greatly to Thanksgiving with my family, beers with pals at Town Hall, Christmas shopping, putting up the tree, peppermint patties with dad, making gumdrops. Within all this foward-looking, I am simultaneously enjoying the present that is being created here in the great place of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, North America, Earth, World.

Activity or People? Why not both? . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thoughts on Idle-ness

There ARE things to be said for idle-ness - relaxation, checking back in with oneself, accomplishing those tasks that have been missed out of busy-ness, etc. However, there is an extent to which idle-ness is productive. Beyond that extent, it is just plain frustrating.

I have never been one for much free time (or sleep, really), so it is not surprising to those who know me well that I am beginning to get frustrated with the amount of time I have. However, it is not so much the amount as how I have been using it, as I have recently identified within my mind.

I look upon myself as someone who needs an amount of time dedicated to helping others, even if it is just serving them food or a cup of coffee. As of late (aka being in Calgary), almost all of my experiences have been self-centric - dance classes, reading up on my interests, writing. These are all fine and good (great actually), but there is only so much I can do of each in my 'free time.' Instead of letting this sinking feeling set in as boredom, I have decided to re-evaluate, and have come to the fact that I could be using this afternoon time I have every day at an internship that I have always wanted to have, but have either needed the time to get paid or to do dance-related things. Now, with a heavy load of dance-related things going on and an inability to get paid, it seems to be the perfect time to take advantage of such opportunities. Today, I sent inquires to FFWD (like Citypages) about doing dance reviews, and to Alberta Human Rights Commission, Calgary Slow Food, Calgary Square Dance Club, Ashuna (community organizing org), and several other orgs around here about volunteering. I offered up my 1-5 daily, hoping that someone will bite and I can feel better about my time while simultaneously cultivating an interest.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bouts of Nostalgia

Zac Hanson's bday is in 2 days. I have been having some serious bouts of nostalgia as of late. I think it has mostly been triggered by music, which speaks to its power. Listening to Coldplay's "Rush of Blood to the Head" album and Jack Johnson has catapulted me back into my freshman year of college. It seems equally so close and also distant.

I have had very vivid images, daydreams, of the moments right after my last final of my very first semester of college, my Poli Sci bluebook final. One of the last to finish, I trudged my way down to the bus stop. It was quietly dark for so early in the evening, fivish, and the snow glistened just moreso for this and the orange glow of the street lights as it fell softly, but even more notably; consistently. I remember thinking that the world could not possibly get much more enchanting than this, with not only snow, but the promise of warm, familiar home and warm familiar people hanging in the air. I rememer feeling a painless confliction of wondering what I wanted more; to stay in that same spot for hours, or for the bus to come and carry me to the car that would carry me home. I think I wanted the best parts of both to suspend in that percarious moment in time.

This memory must have been only a few days previous to the last; once again, a slight chill in the air (nothing that mittens couldn't cut through), snow on the ground and in the air, and painting the window panes in a way that transports you, if they are wood, back to some simpler, unidentifiable time in the 1800's, feeling slight warmth against your back from the fire burning. Or maybe it is the people in the room? Regardless, my math flashcards had me glued to a big wooden bench-booth, all alone in the old Purple Onion, drinking a K-Chai (chai with a shot of espresso). Chai was a newly-discovered delicacy, introduced to me by my new frien Britt, formerly Brittany. I enjoyed hearing the muffled drift of speech from the booths in the front and back of me, and to either of my sides, including the severe amount of open space to the left, the part of the shop that opened as a void to the counter from the door to my kiddy-corner right. Beyond that were a set of stairs that led to the narrow next room. (Listening right now to a Radiohead track off "Hail to the Thief," another extreme-nostalgia inducing CD. It is on the 'Dot' compliation from Adam, which I may switch from because it causes memories, but I will hold off. Right now, they are just feeling pleasant and somewhat far away). The narrow room held a conversation with someone important to me at the time, I believe it was Adam that following Spring. While the chatter broke up my studying, I didn't mind. I seemed to be able to drift between that and listening bemusedly to discussions, some presumptuously academic, which were equally as enjoyable as the discussions of last night's drunk and high-ness. I remember feeling strangely content, despite the massively-frightening math test ahead of me. At those moments, I just seemed to know that it would come and go as all things do, and it being gone would mean me being home to enjoy what seemed to be a promise of endless-feeling days of abandoning the responsibility that I had began to gather in the past few months.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The creation of thoughts in a supposedly-simple life

It has been interesting in the last few days to be exchanging words of advice and encouragement with my friend Nikki, who has recently moved to Australia to work for a year. Funny enough, I have met three people here within the last week who recently took a year to just go and work in Australia for the hell of it. I mentioned to them all that I currently have a friend there doing the same! It seems as though it is quite easy for Canadians to get a simple work permit that just allows them a certain amount of time to go do money work - ie, pub, restaurant, etc. It is too bad Decidedly Jazz Danceworks isn't in Australia - It sounds like it would certainly make it easier for me to get a friggin job!!! It is interesting how connecting to someone else in a similar situation can help you figure things out - after reading Nikki’s blog about realizing how places attain the character you see in them by the people that occupy them, I ended up being more social on the weekend than I planned. An opportunity on Monday came up to go out to lunch with one of my roommates and a friend of hers from work. I was going to say no because I had already eaten, but remembered your words about people and palce, and decided 'what the hell. I will just go have a cup of coffee.' It was a really fun, nice and casual time, and it was nice to spend some time with others on a 'holiday' (Canadian Thanksgiving was yesterday). They even bought my share! And then, in the evening, I ended up accepting an offer from a girl I am in the dance program with here to go to the house of friends of one of her friends from high school. She only knew one other person there besides me and I only knew her, but we ended up having a mighty good time, and I was so glad I said yes. I feel I should thank her for the wise words on people - I have a feeling establishing a sense of home will come even easier the more I allow myself to expand my people horizons.

The grad school process has been frustrating as of late. I feel like, with Mills, that I am trying to get a hold of an irresponsible teenager. They have been sooo terrible with calling me back and emailing me back. I emailed them what was now a week and a half ago about the possiblity of changing one of my references, and I have STILL not heard back. It is an extreme turn-off to me to feel like I am chasing the school down. I also have not yet heard back from the reference who I accidentally assumed would be able to write a letter. I think I emailed her back about three weeks ago and have not heard anything, so I have made NO progress in that arena. It is just frustrating when you are waiting upon the efforts of others, and not out of your own procrastination. Now, I am starting to feel somewhat paranoid about the idea of an incomplete application. I realize that it is not due till Feb 1st, but I just want it done, and to know it is done. On top of that, to Mills I have to submit a technical modern sample, I which I feel I cannot obtain a good one until I go home in November to take class with a specific teacher there. So I am waiting on some letters from other people, and on myself to get this technical sample done. Oi.

I am VERY excited for Kris to visit. It will be nice to have a piece of home come here. I am am already crazy with the list of things I want to do while he is here, and I am sure we will not be able to accomplish it all. We are both trying to figure out what the hell we are going to dress up as for Halloween. He thinks he wants to be a Texas Oil Man. I find it hard to figure out how he will distinguish a Texas Oil Man from a Calgary Oil Man, as they sure have plenty of those here.

Bad news about my job - it turns out that we are not even at the 'government phase' yet - my papers have not even left the desk of my boss' boss. Frustrating. He told me this on Friday, and I ask him if he thought it reasonable for me to ask to be taken off the schedule until the papers have at least been sent in to the government. From there, then I know that I am only waiting on the government, but to be waiting on my own company seems ridiculous. I do not feel up to this point as though I am being used, but I do not want to even let it get intp that territory. As it stands, I have been working there about 15 hours a weekend for a few weekends now, enough to have made several hundred dollars. So I told my boss that if he gets in a major scheduling pinch, I will of course come in and help, and that I feel a committment to the place and fully intend to volunteer even if the papers do not go through, but that until I know which way it will go, I cannot be coming in at a level that can be deemed part-time. When I am simply voluteering, I do not intend to give 15 hours a week. He saw this as totally reasonable, and hopes that this will possibly light a fire under his boss' ass. His boss is the managing director of the theater, someone who I guess consistently overlooks the importance of the Front of House, so he is not surprized by this, but definitely frustrated like me. The first show of the season just closed this weekend, so next weekend they are dark anyway, so hopefully something can be done about this in time for the next show to open, so I know my status. I did, however, clean for the artistic director fo the dance company Friday afternoon, and additionally, I am babysitting my teacher Joanne's kids on Saturday night. Hopefully the word will spread that I am the 'odd job' girl, and I can make my money that way.

As for my classes; I would have to say that my favorits have come to be Joanne's Monday and Thursday night jazz classes, and my African class on Tuesday nights. Joanne is just the wonderful mix of modern and classic jazz that I love, and the set of live drummers in the African class are just incredible. I had taken African before for a semester at school and a few classes here and there (including at DJD when I went a few summers ago), but never got real deep into it. This time, I feel like after a few consistent weeks, I am latching on, letting go of some of my upright Western dance habits, and really just connecting with the music and the ground and my classmates. It is a definite treat. And it is nice that the class is the 6-7:30 slot - I have class from 6-7:30 and 7:30 to 9 on Wednesday, and leaving that late can be hard on the body and mind, especially considerin that I do not then get home until 10, as my commute is nearly an hour. I have actually also really enjoyed taking two tap classes a week as well - I kind of forgot how much I like it! It is like riding a bike in a way - you do not forget how to do it (it comes back), but it is easy to forget how enjoyable it is until you try it again.

My weekend definitely had its moments. I was supposed to be going to Edmonton with my roommate Rebecca who is from there, but I could sense that she wanted some family time, and I can totally understand that. So I picked some shifts back up at work that I had given away and worked Friday and Saturday night. I had Saturday day, and Sunday and Monday all day to myself - quite the chunk of free time I mist say. Saturday, I went back to the farmer's market and had a fantastic coffee, took the bus back to my area library and picked up some new materials, and then had to set out to find a particular postal outlet to pick up a package my parents had sent me with my witner coats and things (which I am so glad to have gotten, because it is getting chilly up here!). I ended up stopping in a wine shop to ask for directions, and it just so happened that they had a big ole' tasting going on, complete with some delectable appetizers. Needless to say, I left 45 minutes later quite a bit tipsy. Now that I actually have some free time in my life, I figured it makes sense to embrace such random experiences, yes?

Saturday night after work, I ended up going out with my roommate Steph and one of our friends from DJD whose sister was in town for Thanksgiving. We took a cab out to a 'pretty people' club (at least that is what I call it) downtown called The Roadhouse. It was definitely a good time and we danced up a storm, but by the time Steph go off work and we took a cab there, and then waited in line outside in the shivering cold for 20 minutes, it was 12:30. The club only stayed open until two. So, after adding up cab fare, a couple drinks and coat check, I spent $35 bucks that night. I am not used to having a night out be so costly (and I did not even buy my own cover) so that kind of outing is going to have to be a once a month kind of thing for me. It is just that there is so much money floating around these parts from oil that it seems people have no big problem dropping a couple hundred bucks on going to the bar a few nights a week. Crazy people. Anyway, we ended up sharing a cab home with three lacrosse players who were in town for a game that weekend, because their hotel was literally two blocks from our house. They were a bit crazy, one of them got in a fight over our cab and ended up dripping blood a few places around our house. Charming, really. This was the same one who, after I went to bed because I was sick of dealing with him, asked Steph if I had a boyfriend, and then if I was a virgin. Our house has quite thin walls, so I could hear every damn thing he was saying, and being the person I am, could not just let if fly. I busted out of my room and called him out on it, after which he informed me that 'dancers are the best lays,' and said 'come, on, if your boyfriend isn't serious, why can't we have some fun?' I proceeded to slap the bitch, tell him to fuck off, and went back to bed. Steph and I, a few minutes later, gladly rounded them up and walked them back to their hotel. Ahh, peace at last.

On Sunday, I went to breakfast with Kaja and Meredith for Kaja's birthday, and spent the great majority of the day then reading, catching up on some email, watching movies, that kind of thing. I also spent some time dealing with a dramatic roommate – the shit hath hiteth the fan. I sent an email to my landlord and an email to her, now it is just a waiting game. The long into short of it is that she told Rebecca Thursday that if things do not change in two weeks, she has already found a place and is moving out. After chatting the best we could (being that Talia and Rebecca were home this weekend for Thanksgiving), we have all basically decided that we will never be able to appease her, and think it best if she just packs up and leaves. We already have a lead on a roommate - a guy they work with who we all like quite a bit and hang out with quite a bit already.

Oh, amazing how life can create so much to think about when it should be realitively simple – eat, commute, dance, eat, dance, eat, sleep.....repeat.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Adding up of days

An adding up of days has occurred since I last typed in this space.

Since that time, the same thought has occurred to me several times; the world really is a beautiful place, and the life you use to navigate it is as well. This happens to me mostly when I am walking home alone somewhat late at night. I realize that my body is a bit chilled, and I look up to the sky to keep my soul from doing the same. Usually, what I find is a mass of red, yellow and orange leaves bustling in the wind, set off against the damp sky in strangely electric shades that do not correlate with the backdrop's naturalness. That is the best part about it - these two entities of natural sky and tainted leaves coming up against one another is a sickly fascinating allegory of the interaction between what is and what should or shouldn't be.

Ok, I am done being all Robert-Frost. . . for now.

Upon request, I have posted a pic with some of my roommates - it from a night we went out for a goodbye party for one of their managers at work;

Talia is not in this picture (nor is Jayla), but Rebecca is the one in the purple shirt with her arms spread, and Steph is to her right with the black shirt and long blond hair.

I have been doing a lot of writing in my normal journal this week, and at one point, I spent some time thinking about the roommates. While it is nice to be able to control your own space when you live alone, and it can be difficult to adjust to other people's habits, I must say that on the whole, I am very glad to have moved in with these ladies. It has been great to have a built in support system, and I think we have come to care for each other's well-being quite a bit. When thinking about this, I realized that I often do not outrightly express my gratitude for people - it is much easier, for most people, to express negatives rather than positives without even realizing this. Upon realizing, I made a note to myself that I wanted to be sure to counter the negatives by remembering to tell them that I really am gratful for them. And I did - what timing, Thanksgiving and all.

Some thoughts from the week (as tracedin my journal);

"Guilt is just your ego's way of tricking you into thinking that you are making moral progress. Don't fall for it." - 'Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.

"We have hands; We can stand on them if we want to. That's our priviledge. That's the joy of a mortal body. And that's why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through his hands." - 'Eat, Pray, Love" - This, folks, is why dancing IS an expression of humanity, spiritual or not. Silly Baptists.

Hobo is short for Homeward Bound.

I have resolved to be more free with my money when it comes to artistic enrichment. In the past year or so, I have convinced myself that all spare dollars must be saved, and that kept me from jazz concerts, auditions, etc. In retrospect, this affinity for saving is what helped me be able to be here, but nonetheless, me being here has helped me realize that there are great things to experience that sometimes need a bit more ka-ching. And if you have it, you should be able to use it once in awhile.

I can see why people plan for and enjoy their weekends - not because they do not like their job necessarily, but for want of variety. It seems that no matter how much I change up my schedule (for example, my schedule before moving here was different every day of the week, but the weeks were the same, and that still was not good enough for me!). What comes out of this is realizing that it is ok to look forward to weekends as long as you do not dread your job, and that I may just have to be prepared for a lifetime of switching up my schedule when I recognize that I have found a pattern.

When noticing that I still have been pulling some items out of a suitcase each day, I pondered if not having little things to make this place feel like home, such as a dresser, is keeping me from feeling solid here. I arrived at the idea that it does not take purchase of goods to create a home (which is good, considering that I quite do not have the budget to purchase such things). It takes the finding of elements such as places (DJD, ATP, Purple Perk, Cafe Beano, Calgary Farmer's Market, even the Safeway grocery!), and people/ support system (roommates, Joanne, Vicki, classmates) to really create a sense of orientation and identification with a space. I am glad to report that I am filling in those blanks, and I am feeling as though I do belong here for the purpose it is serving right now. And for that, I am thankful (once again, what timing - Thanksgiving).

There is only so much you can do with your time, even when you have a lot of it. Sometimes, when you have a lot of it, your brain gets fried up from trying to fit in too many things. I have felt guilty about not spending mroe of my 'free time' trying to do more research about jazz history, grant possibilities, background info for the projects I would like to start in the near future, etc. But I have been doing quite a bit of it, and quite a bit can have a mental limit. Additionally, there is often only so much you can find out about something until you have to just do it. So this is not complacency, but processing the amount I can to remain productive and balanced.

It is dually frustrating and exciting to not know where I am going to be next year - DJD, JRJP, Surrey, at home.....who knows. But I guess this all comes full-circle back to the sickly fascinating allegory of the interaction between what is and what should or shouldn't be.

Those are the thoughts backlogged from the week. In terms of new thoughts since I last journalled; my brain is pretty emptied but still slightly fried from all of the above. Processing these and other little businessy details. Big news not touched upon; Jayla wants to move out. I have already spent so much time trying to process this that I do not have the desire to process it more. But more to be said when action is taken - right now, the whole issue is just stalled. I am trying to get my brain as empty as I can, so I can approach with a clean slate when I sit down next to write her a letter - the only way I think I will be able to communicate effectively.

One last thing - I went to the house of the Artistic Director, Vicki, to clean for a few hours for her. It was quite a treat to hear some great jazz (she has a full speaker system wired through her house), see her literal walls of books and music on jazz and dance, and to get to chat with her. It is nice to know that I have support here - she asked if I would like to clean for her here and there when she heard that I have been having a difficult time making money. I thought it was extremely thoughtful of her to consider that. I look forward to my next cleaning date!

And so goes the adding up of days.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Stir Fry

I can now see why cooking can be a nice thing to do, now that I have enough time (too much time!) and the need to do cheap things that accomplish more than just entertainment! I went out to a pub across the street from the studio last night with my friend Kaja (she is in the program as well). I would consider her one of my best, if not my best, friend here. Anyway, we just wanted a beer and did not want to buy food because we are too poor, but we were both very hungry because we had just had class. Long story short, there was a party there that was clearly wasted and had forgotten about a whole table of food behind them (we are talking chicken skewers, veggies, quesidillas, buffalo wings). We stared for the longest time, and then decided to take some action and move to a closer table. We vulture-like monitored that food. They started gettting ready to leave, and we thought we for sure had it in the bag until one of their servers suggested to them to remember to bring food home with them. Kaja and I were at the point of hysteria! Luckily, they only took a few things, and one of the other servers said 'I am gonna pitch the rest. Anyone want it?' The 'anyone' we was referring to really was just Kaja and I, as we were basically the only ones left there. It was amazing! We ended up with two boxes of buffalo wings (one which we polished off right then and there), two boxes of veggies, and a box of chicken skewers. I walked home with the skewers and a box of veggies - therefore, stiryfry. Yes, there WAS a point to this story.

My phone interview with Surrey Thursday morning was fantastic. Funny thing - I was wrong about the time difference by two hours, and we had arranged for the head of the MA program to call me noon his time, and what we presumed to be 7am my time. Not so - it is a seven hour difference, so he called at 5 in the morning! It woke me up and I ignored it, as it was my intention to get up at six to prepare for the interview. I laid there and tried to decide if I would go back to sleep or call back, and I ended up choosing option number two - I was already awake. So I made some coffee, prepared myself, and called back. I ended up talking with him for about an hour! I was really appreciative that the program head (yes, THE person I wanted to be talking with) took a whole hour out of the middle of his day to talk with me. We talked about my research interested (which he thought were really interesting - score!), my background, my intention for my degree (he was impressed with my choice of Riverside for a PHD, and thought it was great that I already know where I want to go), why I chose to apply at Surrey. In turn, I asked him about his background - I always find such things super-interesting. In short, it went extremely well. I finished and submitted my application that morning, and ordered another transcript to be sent there, as well as postal mailing my GRE scores (which they don't need, but I figured 'why not?'). I sent a follow up email to Stuart (the program director) to say thank you, reiterate that I would be happy to send any other kind of materials they would like (choreography sample, technical sample, writing sample, etc). I also asked the one question I forgot to ask - if they allow deferrment. I received an email back from him today, noting how much he enjoyed talking with me, and that deferrment is certainly no problem. I was soooo happy to hear that - it makes me brain rest a bit easier in the 'future' section.

Beyond that as of late, I have been worrying about money. Now that a whole month of being here has passed (which occurred to me on the way home today is crazy - this month has passed SO fast; I feel like I have only been here a few weeks), I realized that I spent a bit more than I budgeted more, and that I am going to have to be a lot more careful about it. I felt like an asshole yesterday when I had been planning to go out with my roommates and program mates for Rebecca's birthday, and I ended up bailing out because it turned out that the club they chose had a 7 dollar cover last night. I am sad I missed a good time and was not there to celebrate with Becca, but I just cannot continue spending this way, or when the end of my time here hits, I will not have enough money to get through! I have always disliked when people use 'I cannot afford it' as an 'excuse' to not go out, but I can obviously see now that it is not just an excuse. I think I knew that before, but not this closely. I feel like telling people here that it is NOT because I do not WANT to go do these things (well, sometimes it is, like tonight when they were going to a movie and I wanted nothing more than to sit on my ass by myself at home, to have alone time, relax and get some stuff done that I had not gotten to this week), but because I made a choice coming here - I knew there was a chance that I would not find a job, and that things would be really tight financially. Well, turns out that scenario is the case right now. That is ok with me, but I feel like I will have to explain that every time something like this comes up. I hope my roommates and people in my program can learn to understand.

I had thoughts again today on how much I dislike 'Big Box Architecture' (for lack a better term). I do not think this is a 'Western' thing, as I would call England and Ireland and such other places as 'Western,' but these places do not have the ridiculous waste of land like the US and Canada. It is so upsetting for me to constantly look around and see wastelands of consumerism. I know this sounds so clique, but it truly is frustrating. To think that you pick up and move to another country, just to see much of the same thing visually, is frustrating. This is further evidence to me that I need to get out and see and live in other places - ie London for school - to feel satisfied for hope that there are better ways to use land. Oh, if only our history allowed us to be so efficient early on.

I am recognizing now, sitting here, that I have listed to many things for myself to do, when I simply and truly wish to just sit on my duff, shut my brain off a bit, and watch a friggin movie. So here I go. . .

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Much/ Not Much

I feel like it is really easy to respond 'oh, nothing,' when you are asked what is new. There is always something new, but it is just a matter of whether or not you think the person asking will care about the response. I realized this as I was about to type an email to Kim, unsure of what to update with, until I started writing, and noticed that the email was about two pages long. With Kim, I know she is interested in whatever I have to say. Not so with everyone, so I often find myself subconciously passing over thoughts in conversations. Kris is also like Kim - I actually found myself wondering what I would update him with when he called yesterday, and once again noticed the words flying out of my mouth. I guess it just really depends upon the person.

I am excited at the prospect of visiting family. I hope to be in touch with Tim and Connie (in Montana) shortly, so as to set up a visit for dinner over an upcoming weekend. It has been so long since I have seen them that it would be great to see a long-lost, yet familiar face.

I have spent some brain energy lately hoping that everything will pan out with le job. I have already worked twice and been to a meeting, and my boss called today to respond to an email about getting me on the schedule for the rest of the run of a current show, but I cannot help but wonder where the paperwork is at. It has not been mentioned of the theater's own accord when I am there - I have had to ask. And when I do ask, I am told that it is taking a bit longer because my bosses boss must sign the paperwork as well. I just do not want to end up having worked several shifts, several hours thinking I am going to receive a pay-check and not have it pan out. This is not to say that I do not intend to volunteer there if it does not work out (I do intend it), but I do not want to get caught up thinking I have earned money when I really haven't. I just hope this sorts itself out quickly so I do not need to waste more thought on it.

Just finished 'Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill' by Jessica Stern. An extremely interesting read. In light of another book that I have read recently ('The Great Good Place'), I have found a Third Place - Cafe Beano, down several blocks on the same avenue as the studio. I had actually been before when I came in 2006, and the title of the shop stuck with me because my dad's nickname for my mom is 'Beano.' In fact, I think I took a picture of it for that reason. Anyway, I ended up having three random conversations within a span of about half an hour, and enjoyed them all, so I figured this comes down as fair assessment that this is in fact a Third Place (and they have kick-ass coffee). Though it is not within walking distance to my home (a qualifier), I can overlook that in light of the other factors. Fantastic.

I had an interesting club experience on Sunday. I will not go into huge details, as I have already done so in my own journal, but I will say that it was an interesting combination of positives and negatives. Positives; crazy dancing, time outside of dance and house with roommates, genuine strangers willing to dance crazy, dressing slightly ridiculous on purpose and loving it (and the looks it got from the pretty people), etc. Negatives; racist, bitchy, full of themselves pretty girls on the dance floor (everywhere, really), objectification of women bartenders via a catwalk contest and manditory underwear and bathrobes as a part of their 'Rehab Sundays' promo, skeezy male bartenders, people trying to hard to impress one another. Nothing super out of the ordinary, but interesting all the same.

I got some plans for the rest of the week/ weekend; surrey app, talk to surrey MA program director on the phone tomorrow (whoop!), letter to mandy, Dance Explosions app, choreography, library, (work?), call Tim and Connie, finances, election research, Be's bday celebration, conference with Jamie.

Oh, lists.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Despite my already-heavy class load, I actually added one on this week, the advanced hip hop class on Thursday nights. I was told that the class was at the level and speed of people who are/ want to be professional hip hoppers, so I avoided the class. A few of my roommates and friends take it though, so I poked my head in the other day - it looked super-fun and like something I could handle, so I took it this last week, and it was awesome! The summer between HS and college, and between freshman and sophomore year, I actually took a lot of hip hop, and wasn't bad at it. There was a lot of stuff that was super new to me in this class, like house dance (basically super-funky and energetic movement to house dance music). I had never heard of such a thing and people thought I was crazy - I thought it must be an up here thing, but it turns out not - I was looking at the Zenon fall class schedule, and they now have house dance classes - definitely going to have to take them! I feel like I handled the class really well. It was really kind of hard energy-wise to add on a class at the end of the week, but I am so glad I did, and I am definitely going back.

As for the job, I started on Sunday with an orientation. Our theater is within the Epcor Center, a complex that has within it six different theaters/ organizations and is located downtown - pretty sweet! I left resumes several places in the complex, and got my job with Alberta Theatre Projects, a producing theater that focuses mostly on contemporary works that focus on Canadian history, issues, etc. They also have a big family holiday show and a new works festival - quite varied. I had orientation on Sunday, which was for paid front of house staff as well as volunteers. We got a tour of the evac routes, and the rest was just reviewing policy. I had my first shift last night, and I arrived 45 minutes early on my own accorded because I was worried that I had not yet seen the theater or know the seating chart, where the bathrooms, are etc! The head usher, Andrea, is super sweet and showed me around, oriented me with the seating chart, answered all my questions, and I felt a lot better about being let loose on the patrons that night to provide customer service. It has been so long since I have done anything customer-service oriented (about tw months!), which has felt strange considering that for the last year, I dedicated hours to the stuff. I was surprised to find last night that I had really missed it - I enjoyed seeing people to their seats, making small talk, handing out programs. It was nice to see that I actually really do like to give people an enjoyable experience, when it comes to something that I appreciate myself. Another sweet part about the job - we get to watch the show. So basically, for the majority of my hours, I am being paid to watch theater - awesome. I pay insn't so great (minimum wage), but it is the arts, and it sure it better than nothing. I had a great time last night, and I am looking forward to/ already feel welcomed into a community other than DJD, so it is nice to have somewhere else to go, to belong, to which to contribute.

I just finished another FANTASTIC sociology book - "The Great Good Place" by Ray Oldenburg (PHD Sociology from the U!). The book is about what he calls 'Third Places.' IE, you have home and work as two main places in your life, and there was a time where it was quite common for people to have a 'third place' like a pub or coffee shop or bistro, within walking distance to home or work (most likely home) that would serve as a wind-down, but mostly a chance to be connected to your community in an informal yet deep kind of way. He describes how the onslaught of suburbia, whose structure and ideology does not allow for such third places or for them to be walked to, as a major player in the disappearance of these places and this kind of lifestyle. It was a super interesting read that I just plowed through. It certainly made me further wish to not have a car when I return home, and made me realize how much I have appreciated having a pub, gorcery store, liquor store, all the necessities, within walking distance. When it comes down to it, having a car can often be much more of a hassle than a convenience. I mean seriously, why hop in your car, park, then walk to the place you are going when you could just walk?

Since 'Rise of the Creative Class', I have read 'The Life and Death of Great American Cities' by Jane Jacobs (this and the previously mentioned book came out of the biblio from Creative Class), and 'The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce,' fiction about a man who inherits a wine cellar and becomes consumed by its contents.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts from week 4

This is my first post in several days, probably my longest streak of not writing since having been here. I think a lot of my energy this week was poured into writing about a few new choreographic ideas, one for which I already have dancers, rehearsal time and a performance objective. Now I just need to find out when the audition is for said performance objective, 'Alberta Dance Explosion.'

I laughed to both myself and Kris yesterday when describing my own plan for my Friday afternoon. His guess; I pick up a sociology book of some sort from the library and a bottle of red wine, I go home and make dinner, then settle in with my wine and my book. It was quite a good guess, and somewhat close, but not entirely correct. I had just picked up a bunch of jazz CD's from the public library, after which I hopped the C-Train to ride it all the way to the South end, and then to the North end. I realize in thinking about it how lame this seems, but of the guesses of my Friday plans and the relative acurateness of them, I think it is pretty obvious that I am kind of lame (but also that I like it that way). It is already getting cold, and I wanted to be able to see as much of Calgary as I can before it really sets in. Plus, when hopping the train at the same stop, taking it to the same stop, and returning to the boarding stop every day (sometimes several times), one gets curious about what it beyond those stops. It took me quite a bit longer than I expected, about an hour and a half to get down to the bottom, up to the top, and back to my stop. It was also quite the chance to people watch. There were a ton of people hopping the train to my normal stop for dance, Victoria Park Stampede Station, which is where the entrance to the Stampede grounds, and the Saddledome (their metrodome, used for concerts and sporting events) to attend the Flames game. Apparently, they are in their pre-season games. Who knew? Apparently everyone but me! I was going to switch in downtown to hop onto the part of the line that breaks off and goes NE to the airport (the regular North line goes NW to the University), but it had been quite a bit of time on the train so far and I was hungry, so home I went. I made the mistake of letting the nice weather when I was leaving the house at 3 deceive me into not wearing a coat. Despite my freezingness, I caved and walked to the liquor store on the way home to pick up a bottle of wine.

Things have been interesting in roommate land. We recently sat down to have a 'roommate meeting' to discuss our general wishes for how the house functions. And general was what it was. In an effort to not sound too demanding, I think everyone made generalities about the things they wished to see happen, when peculiarities were in the back of minds. This week that made itself clear, when there was a big misunderstanind over the situation of the kitchen. It has come to be understood that we all have different versions of 'clean,' and that we should try our best to be respectful of others habits, but when someone has a pet peeve that they cannot overlook, it should be put into the open and allowed to see if others are willing to latch on to it, so as to not flare a nerve. When living with several people, you of course need to adjust a bit, and I think that goes both ways - moving toward being more flexible regarding your own needs to accomidate others needs, as well as being willing to state when there is something of yours you wish to not compromise on, and seeing if others are willing to adjust to it. Long story short, there is a roommate who wants all the dishes in the sink to simply be put in the dishwasher, because she feels as though she cannot use the kitchen efficiently if there are dishes in the sink. She also wants people to whip off the inside of the microwave when things they heat splatter. This makes entire sense to me, as the microwave belongs to her, and she therefore has ever right to dictate how it is used. When it comes to the dishes, while I do not feel like I cannot use the kitchen if there are a few dishes in the sink, if it is a pet peeve of hers she cannot get over, I do not think it is too much to ask that people get into the habit of sticking their dishes right into the washer, if it is going to make general relations around the house better. If accomidation of a pet peeve harmed another person, obviously that accomidation should be thought though, but if it simply requires a few more seconds effort from the other parties involved, it shouldn't be a big deal. The amount of drama this request created was quite unnecessary, and I am hoping that everyone can simply maintain a level head with this stuff. I feel as though I have been acting as an intermediary, but I have refused to pass messages between people, and that I think is the biggest thing to avoid. I have been trying to remind people that if they have their own pet peeves that they wish to have accomidated, we should all be open to discussing them.

I received an email from Lindsay this week with a choice for a bridesmaid dress. I am getting excited - yes, even I like to look all pretty and girly, just not on a regular basis! The amount of weddings I have to attend next summer/ fall is crazy! I am actually worried that I am not going to be able to go to them all. There are three in October, and if I am in school in London, I am pretty sure it isn't going to happen - I cannot very well take off the whole month to come home for weddings, but I also cannot really pick one to fly home for and not go to the others! Here are the weddings I have, I THINK in order?

Lindsay Nolan
Jenny Robin
Megan Vitally
Kim Kramer
Adam Hayes
Katie Wilbur

Craziness. I am really excited to be home for the summer though. I am going to live at home until I know better what I will be doing in the fall, and I will not be paying rent, which is quite exciting. I thought the lease on our house here in Calgary was a full year (as landlords who are not on a campus generally do not even consider shorter lease terms), but it turns out the Becca worked out having it only go through May! That means I can quell my worries about having to pay rent all through the summer. That will certainly help my squandered financial situation.

I have been finding great pleasure in things that I have formerly thought upon as aged and not for someone like me in their early 20's. Beyond that, I have been finding my tastes for what I used to like discintigrating a lot quicker than I expected. I get impatient with reality and pop-culture television, top 40 and pop radio, getting all dolled up just to impress strangers, etc. This kind of stuff actually annoyes me so much, and I have embraced my emerging tendencies much more in the light of realizing how little I now care for the above-listed things. *Sidenote: I have called and emailed Surrey twice with my questions about deferrment and when the hell they are going to put up their application for 2009, and have yet to hear back from anyone. It is annoying the royal fuck out of me. I am trying to not let this affect my opinions of the school, as I had such a great experience when they went out if their way to accomidate for my visit a few summers ago.

A few pictures I have taken recently;

.......................................... A view of my walk to the C-Train from my house; ....................................

............................................... Hertitage Park 'Aboriginal Encampment' ............................................

..................................................... This one's for you, Lindsay! ...............................................................

............................................. View onto Glemore Reserve from Heritage Park .....................................

Me in the General Store at Heritage Park (Further proof to Kris that I am in fact in Canada. Ha!)

........................................... Me and the 'Train Conductor' at Heritage Park ...........................................

.......................................................... A street in Heritage Park ..........................................................

I think that is all. Now, I am off to a supposedly wonderful, huge and cheap thrift chain called Value Village. From what I have seen of what people find there, and what I have heard of it, I am quite excited.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Hung over today.

Nothing really that intelligent to say about it either.

My house had a party last night for the people in our program, and though the crowd was small, we had a good time and drank our share - me, a bottle of red wine and a few shots of gin. Oi.

That's all.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reading = thinking = writing....= more reading

Reading = Thinking = Writing.

For me.

A student of life. I may have mused on this previously, but it has been interesting, even in just a few weeks of reading the newspaper and books of my choice on a consistent basis, for me to realize how much such activities make me think and allow me to produce my own thoughts on the subjects I am tackling. I have been writing so much, not only in this blog, but in my regular journal and, in my artistic journal. I have really enjoyed creating my own curriculum.

Maybe the reason why so many creative people, and people in general, like to drink coffee, tea and other warm drinks in general is because they are consuming thermal energy. Transmitting of energy, whether outputting or inputting, is always spurring.

Free time - It has been being used to read the newspaper, read books, find music, observe and talk to people - this is not time-passing, but life-living and inadvertent research. These activities have gotten me generally thinking, and at that thinking creatively, more so than I have in quite awhile. While it is good to be doing things you consider valuable with your time, disallowing yourself to experience free time or unstructured time is actually backwards for people who do creative work such as me. I have actually already been dreaming about what the summer will hold for me schedule-wise. Serve doubles Mon Tues Wed, make 600 a week - 2400 in a month - put away half of that for about half the work I was doing last summer. Then I have 4 days every week to do with what I wish - which will most likely be a combination of reading, writing, observing, listening, taking dance class, creating choreography, etc. However, one of these four days will feature having no plans at all. And if I want to turn the four days into a week to go somewhere on a whim, I will damn-well do it. And this is acceptable because there are different things beyond this - a grad degree being the first of them.

Some interesting quotes from the book I am reading, 'The Rise of the Creative Class,' by Richard Florida:

"They like indigenous street-level culture - a teeming blend of cafes, sidewalk musicians, and small galleries and bistros, where it is hard to draw the line between participant and observer, or between creativity and creator."

"...average American living standards have risen to such an extend that material goods no longer confer the status they once did."

"Eclectic scavenging for creativity is not new."

"Good conversation has creative possibilities. In my own work, I often learn a great deal from talking with people in coffee shops and other such venues. I pick up observations and anecdotes from people who feel free to ramble. I listen to their ideas about work, leisure and community and this stimulates my own thinking. The creative faculties are fed by meeting and talking informally, by chance, with a diverse range of creative-minded others."

****This must be why I do this. Take for example two situations that I have found myself in within the last week. #1 - I get to talking with a guy in a coffee shop because he commented on my bike bag. This spurred discussion, which I found to be valuable at the time. Beyond this, we are now getting together to see a movie. This follow-up does not often happen, and I am curious about it. I did a lot of thinking on these chance sort of connections with people in August, and it has been the main source of my creative choreographic thought as well. Why do we, when a connection is initiated by someone we do not know, often shun that meeting during its moment especially, but also beyond allowing human connection to happen? Though we are more connected than ever, we are slo more private and closed-off than ever, with our PC's between us and real interaction. It was these thoughts that spurred me to say 'yeah, let's hang out,' when prompted. Of course, a natural answer to 'why do people not take these opportunities' is that these opportunities have real human consequences, because they involve real human people with real human feelings. Sure, it did not occur to me that this could be being looked upon as a date by the other end. Since making plans to attend a film festival, it DID occur to me, and I awkwardly addressed it with Kris, because I did not know if I should address it, if I shouldn't etc. What it came down to is open-ness I guess. I am trying to experience open-ness in meeting people as I live, but in the same vein, I want and need to experience open-ness with the important people in my life that are not chance-happenings, but rather, a result of cherished life-history. In conclusion, I decided to try and invite some friends along, so as to encourage the idea of chance-meeting and open-ness, but also to maintain the importance of real human feelings.
***The #2 happening this week related to talking randomly with others; today, I waited for quite a bit for my Ctrain home from Heritage Park. Naturally, I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me on my bench, who happened to be here from the Phillipines for an internship. The conversation was all fine a good until her out of the blue asked if I am married. I was caught extremely off-guard and made somewhat uncomfortable. From there, he ended up asking why my boyfriend did not come with me, and asked if I wanted to hang out with some Phillipino guys. I responded no thanks, that I need to be careful as I am out, traveling by myself. The conversation went off in a different direction for the time being, which was just fine considering that we were still waiting for the train. However, it spiralled backward when he asked again if I had a calling-card. I said, no. He said 'You don't want any callers?' and I said 'NO.' At this point, I am thinking, 'how much more obvious can I be?' We went our seperate ways as we boarded the train, and it then occured to me - much of this could be a different in culture. Maybe it is a normal and acceptable thing within Phillipino culture to ask someone point-blank if they are married. In fact, maybe it is considered unacceptable to being talking alone with a woman who is married, I certainly have no idea. I did feel a little bad after being somewhat curt with him, because it seemed that he has been a little lonely during his time here and just wants to make some friends (other than the colleague he lives with). It is difficult for me to level with my actions considering the possiblity of cultural differences. Part of me says that it is really unfortunate that such differences are frequently what is keep people from crossing into one another's lives, and another part of me acknowledged that the greater part of the conversation was simply quite uncomfortable, and if I did not wish to talk further with this man, I should not feel obligated. Naturally, the personal-safety element within me dominated this situation and I did not exchange information with him (yes mom, nod a sigh of relief :) ), but I still have sadness, amidst the annoyance, within the dregs of my mind.

"Just people-watching is arguably a valid form of cultural exchange."

***I know my mom would like this one, as people watching is one of our frequent activities together. Thsis quote, and its subsquent paragraph, made me quite happy considering that so much of my artistic interest lies in the observation of people within their societies and what function them being themselves and being truly human has to offer to said society. Rack this one up as another validity point for social dance theory and jazz theory. By the time I am done with this year, I have a feeling that I am going to have quite a bit of such evidence to serve as a fantastic basis for not only my thesis ideas, but articulate ways to defend my artistic choices to a granting panel.

A side note that has come out my observation of my own choices for interest pursuits in my open time; I like read wine, newspapers, public radio, news television, historic sites, reading books, going to museums - I am an old women! Though, I find it funny to think that. When I meditate on why it is people spend countless hours preening to spend too much money on ridiculous drinks at 'my pretty-ness is my worth' clubs just to listen to shitty, American top-40 songs, I feel sad. And then I remember that I to am 23, and simply have different preferences. It feels altogether even silly to me personally to acknowledge my love of such things, considering how I used to look upon them as bench-marks of age. Maybe they still are, but I just have one too many cycles to go through for a life I will consider adequately interesting?

My time here so far as also caused me to do a lot of thinking regarding what I would like to do with my artistic thoughts, passions and drive. I have of course had several ideas, but a few new ones have come to light in being somewhere and doing something new;

- Production company. Two of the guys in my program have a 'production company' here in Calgary, and their business is to basically hire out their hip-hop dancers to perform at clubs, openings, etc. This seemed funny to me at first, until I thought about it a bit more in depth - I have spend countless moments advising my family-oriented colleagues and family friends against putting their children in competative dance, because it is a huge waste of money, when there are tons of community organizations who are always looking for such performances for free, or maybe even a little cash. if anything, children should not be paying to perform. Sure, I can certainly level with paying for instruction, but certainly not to perform. In hearing about this production company, I realized that such a thing could be something I could do my own way. I could get a big roster of dancers and choreographers together, listed by specialities, and keep them on the hook for events I find. Nursing homes, community festivals, business openings and parties. It would almost be like an informal agency, but not for the purpose of furthering careers - for the purpose of doing what we love to service our community. I would like to make a note to myself to talk to Joey and Cody about how they got it all put together, and how they run it.


I love to be entrepenurial, but it is sometimes difficult when you create a need for the performance and it only gets to live a few days. On the contrary, a model such as the one discussed above would allow for constant shift and performance. I could get different people to choreograph tap, modern, jazz, charater, and have different people to call upon to perform said forms. I really want to think about this one!

Another creative idea - in my time here, I have been thinking quite a bit about what I miss about home. Most of it has been rural and country-living oriented. I have filled many a journal page considering my feeling of pull between rural and city living, for my loves of what both have to offer. I also got to thinking about how much 'old-time' dance forms fit to my interests in research and performance. Further, I got thinking about how the MN Arts Board used to have 'Rural Arts Initiatives,' grants that existed for the specific purpose of bringing different art forms to rural MN communities. Going to Heritage Park today, a historical village featuring historical buildings to create a replica of a founding Canadian community and to communicate to modern people the way of life during that time, I realized how much I care for small-town living. The interconnectedness of the people, the hard work, the entrepenurial quality, etc. Though much of a rural life style is not something that I would choose for myself, I highly value said lifestyle, and like to contemplate it, further it and visit it. I had thought of the possibility of rural arts initiative before, but figured I would have to function as a teacher, and I was deterred. However, in thinking about it again, I was just thinking within the wrong teaching light. I do not love to teach technique (at least not to children), but I do think I would love teaching composition, or at its basis - creativity. I then also thought, 'why just children?' Such an initiative would NOT have to be just for children. It could be opened to all ages, and simply split into several sections for accomidation of age. Or even better yet, why split them? I have been getting really interested in ageism lately, and why not make it a point to make it an inter-generational class? It would take some planning, but why not? It could even be structured to be combined for some parts of the class, split for others, so as to encourage an efficient use of time. I would like to;

RESEARCH FORMER PROJECTS - Missoula Children's Theater?

I would form and title it as something like this; 'The MN Movement Creation Project.' Use 'Dance'? Use 'Choreographer'? I am not entirely sure, but I would want it to be a project that could involve all people, in specific all ages and genders, and would allow for people from rural MN communities interested in dance creation to get their hands wet in it. What would be even better would be low-cost (so as to accomidate for the needs of many rural people), and annuality. This way, people who are really interested in choreography and have no other resources, particularly children who have a deep interest and want to continue cultivating it, have an opportunity. Sure, there are plenty of dance studios, but not many of them offer composition classes or chances to showcase choreography. In other words, the need is there. The touring aspect is very interesting to me, because I love to be in transit, seeing things. From what I have heard of it from Shannon and Kris and Heather, I should really look into the organization of Missoula Children's Theater - a touring unit that seems to have a season. The sessions could last for a week at a time (maybe from 6-9 at night or something. though I would have to look into realistic it would be to think that people would dedicate that amount of time. I just do not feel like much could be accomplished in less time. Maybe it could be tues through Fri 6-9, culminating performance on Sat at noon or something. I would want to structure the experience as improvisation classes (intergenerational?), and then composition classes, with reading on the origin of creativity, and excersizes to develop it, and also - peer feedback? We would need a session within the first day about offering constructive criticism and observation, and then it would be lovely to integrate this into the classes, as an important part of being creative with movement is being able to process it, and to then communicate about it. The choreography sections would have to be limited to solos, duets and trios. Maybe even just solos, so we do not try to accomplish too much within too little a time. Although, creating units of people to work together (no more than three) with shared work time could allow for people to create larger pieces outside themselves, as well as people to spur off and share with. We may also want a session on music - how to find it, and what the presence of it entails. Costs would be minimal, mostly just staff. Myself, and depending upon the size of each group, between 3 and five additional teachers? We could try for homestays, or would just have to find cheap hotel housing. Beyond that, we could find a HS gymnasium for the performance and classes for free (most likely in summer than, yes? Particularly considering that we would not have to compete against kids school activities either). Other costs - hand outs for the classes. That is literally it. Wow, I am pretty much writing a business plan right now. Good thing it is documented - it will be easier to come back to when I am trying to write a grant, yes?

I am actually very excited at this prospect. And in regards to purpose - encouraging people to think creatively in a way that they normally do not get the chance to, and such creative thought spurs people into being more engaged citizens, friends, lovers, workers, people who live. In addition, this provides a much-needed educational element to kids in rural communities who are interested in choreography, who often have to wait until college for such an opportunity, if that even comes. There actually is a NEED for this. I just got my day planner to turn some of these thoughts into to-dos.

The other big thoughts of the day; In talking to Sarah, I cleared up something rolling around in my brain - why apply to all these schools in places where I may not even want to be? I do not want to live in Florida, I do not want to live in California (though I would LOVE to live in Frisco), etc. I WANT to travel, and what better a way than school? I WANT to be able to work while I am traveling - what better a way? I need affordable tuition, etc. So many factors have pointed me directly to Surrey. To the point where I think, 'why even apply anywhere else?' I have come to the conclusion that I am going to send my app into Surrey and see what happens. Seriously, why worry on it so much? I will have a PHD to get as well, and I can do that at yet another place (probably Riverside), so do what is right right now, yes?

Well, that was quite a bit of writing a quite a jumble of thoughts for one sitting. But I am relieved to have them out and documented....