Dorothy the dancer…

We spent last week down in Orlando, visiting Jon’s family for a big celebration.  His grandfather turned 90 years old and his grandparents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.  There was a big party filled with all sorts of relatives in a beautiful garden.  Let me tell you, nothing makes you appreciate your youth more than spending New Year’s Eve with a bunch of octogenarians.

Photo by Melanie Holtsman via Flickr

Photo by Melanie Holtsman via Flickr

Since we were down in Mickeytown, we hit up some parks, but avoided Magic Kingdom because we’d heard the crowds were ridonkulous with the opening of the new Fantasyland.

Lest we let our kids suffer character withdrawal, we compromised by making a reservation at Cape May Cafe for a character breakfast our last morning in town.

Say what you will about buffets, but I love the food here.  Little mini-waffles shaped like Mikey Mouse!  Five different types of egg dishes!  Buttermilk biscuits so rich they’ll give you a coronary!

The kids loved stalking Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy and went nuts every time one of them passed by.  I feel fairly confident that Miss P goosed Donald in a effort to get his attention.

But my favorite part of the experience?  Meeting our waitress.

Dorothy. photo-2This little old lady with a hearty New York accent who bent over backwards giving us refills and letting us know when a character was on his way.

As I got to talking to her, I discovered that she was a retired dancer.  And the former nerd Specialist in me jumped out and started prodding her with all sorts of questions.  Hearing her story. Wishing I could have lived that life.

Working in the stacks of one of the most prestigious dance collections in the world, I came across some pretty amazing people.  Sure, I ran in to some crazies too.  But the older dancers had such fantastic backgrounds.  Some of them came in to volunteer, and once they’d start in on their tales, I couldn’t help but listen.  Even if I’d heard that story a few times already.

The dancers of that generation seem to have had a blast.  There was more work.  Work that took them places.  Places more exotic than the L train to some sketchy loft-turned-studio in Bushwick.

Living here in Ohio, the dance community seems so spread out, so sparse, so disconnected.  I long for that feeling of community.  That satisfaction of working.  And, to some degree, the aches and pains that come with working your body too hard for too long.

One day, I’ll finally be able to let go of this feeling that I’m a shell of a dancer. An imposter.  A fake.  A phoney.  Either I’ll find motivation to jump back in to the studio, or I’ll feel ready to say goodbye.

Whatever happens, whenever that is, I hope one day I’ll come across a stranger 30 years younger than me and find out we have this art form in common.  That she may want to ask me questions about my career.  And that I’ll be able to answer her with a smile on my face, a fond look in my eye, and have the warmth to take a photo with her.

What are you doin’ New Year’s Eve…

Hello all!  I thought I’d sneak in one last post in here before 2012 rolls around.  We’re back from our travels.  It feels good to be home, although I feel a massive purge of toys coming on as I look around our cramped house.  Santa was good to us all!  And despite my fears over Mr. B’s gift, wouldn’t you know it, that boy LOVED it.  Not at first, mind you.  It was kind of quickly discarded after it was opened.  But then, we I started to put it together.  I even went so far as to Elmer Glue that thing together, because I’ll be damned if I spend hours of my life assembling this massive police station for Godzilla Miss P to come over and pick it apart brick by brick.  I do want to emphasize the word hours though.  It took about four of them.  And I have the achy lower back from bending over to read directions and glue tiny plastic pieces together to prove it.  Once it was fully operational, Mr. B went nuts over it.  I have to admit, it’s pretty cool.  Lots of little nooks and crannies for the mini-figures to play in, lots of fun things for the crooks to achieve mischief.  And Miss P had a great score too, getting lots of “beautiful” dolls, tiny animals, dress-up clothes, and all-around girlie gifts that make me throw up in my mouth just a little bit.  But I’m staying strong, for her.  My girlie girl.

And as quickly as Christmas came, it went.  Now we’re staring down the end of the year, and Mr. B is determined to stay up until midnight tomorrow.  He’s FIVE AND A HALF.  A good 75% of me wants to see him do it.  But the other 25%? The percent of me that knows what a let-down midnight on New Years Eve can feel like?  That part wants us all to be in bed by 11pm.  We shall see.  I believe the plan is to have some good friends and their kids over again.  We’ve done it the past couple of years, so it feels like tradition.  And this year marks the last. 

As we get closer to this monumental move, I keep feeling like time is slipping away.  This past Halloween, as we took the kids down to our favorite street festival, I had a moment where I thought “Wow, this will be the last Halloween we’re here.”  And this kind of check-marking keeps hitting me with every major holiday that comes our way now.  Thanksgiving was mild, but still tinged with bittersweet nostalgia.  This Christmas?  Man, it hit me hard.  Not a day went by where I didn’t think things like “This is the last year we’ll have our stockings on this mantle…this is the last year I have to try not to break my neck hanging lights on this gutter…this is the last year I’ll have to ship mass quantities of gifts to relatives all over the country…this is the last year I’ll have to fly for Christmas.”  My mind keeps trying to take as many mental photos as I can, but honestly, I feel like I’m running out of memory space.  Do they make 1G memory cards for brains?

Okay, I’m off.  See you on the other side of things…2012.  As I sign off, I leave you with perhaps one of my favorite versions of the song What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve.  I know there’s an adorable version of this song floating around the internet with the sickeningly-cute Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but this one still holds a huge place in my heart.  It’s by Rufus Wainwright.  Sure, this clip is only 30 seconds long.  Ignore the fact that it’s for a freakin’ GAP ad.  This came out in 1998, the fist time I had ever heard of Rufus or listened to his voice, and I fell in love.  Man, that dude can sing.  I’ve seen him live many times, even stalked him on the street in Manhattan met him once, and he can still invoke goosebumps.  What I love about seeing him live is that he’s not afraid to take risks, nor is he satisfied with giving a messed up show.  I’ve seen him halt songs a few bars in to it because it didn’t sound right, and I admire that.  Sure, there’s a little bit of control-freak in there, but I can see how you’d want to get it right.  Everyone can use a do-over every now and then, right?  Perhaps this should be the theme of the new year.  2012: The Do-Over.  Have a safe, healthy and Happy New Year everybody!