Cutting a Rug

I love watching people dance.  Ballet, tap, hip-hop, breakdancing, ballroom, I really don’t care as long as the person’s decent.  I was on a huge Dancing With the Stars kick for awhile there, and because I was freshly postpartum and breastfeeding I spent a goodly portion of my viewing time crying.

I used to watch the Classical Arts Showcase (I’m not sure if they have that in your area. It was on channel 80-something and was 24 hours a day of classical arts programming. Operas, ballets, that kind of thing) and look forward to the ballets.  I still enjoy dance movies like Save the Last Dance and Center Stage.  I just like watching people dance, and as long as the storyline’s not too hideous I guess I’m not too picky.

Anyway, that was 100+ words all to lead up to my new thing, which is called The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.  It’s only on Hulu (which, if you don’t know what Hulu is, it’s only TV on the Internet, which is to say it’s awesome), and it’s essentially a story broken into short episodes.  I’ve watched a few episodes, and from what I can glean, there are bad guys and good guys.

The story’s not the important part, though.  What’s important is the dancing.  The dancing is incredible!  I’ve seen three episodes, and each episode features dancers who can do extraordinary things (hence the name I guess).  They have a guy who can do The Robot in such a way that he barely even looks human, and breakdancers who do things I had no idea a human body could do without benefit of wires and pulleys.

Definitely check it out if you want a short break and find yourself on the computer with some spare time.  If you hate it, you never have to take a recommendation from me again.

Inspired by all that dancing, I rented a few workout DVD’s and tried one of them out yesterday.  It was, and I quote, a “Fat Blasting Dance Workout” and I’m fairly certain the only thing that got blasted was my self esteem.  They just go so freaking fast through the instructions, how is a barely coordinated, long-limbed, rarely mobile person like myself supposed to keep up?

There was one move I mastered, however, which involved throwing both my hands in the air.  You better believe I mastered that one.

It looked a lot like this, only I was bigger.

It looked a lot like this, only I was bigger.

All this to say, you won’t be seeing me on featured among The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers any time soon.  I’m good at a lot of things, but my rug cutting abilities are only extraordinary in that they are exceptionally clumsy and funny-looking.

Inception of a Busy Week

I wish I could re-live yesterday.  Just for the sheer relaxation of it.  Wes’ parents loaded Aidan up into their car and took him home with them after church on Sunday, thereby liberating Wes and I to spend the whole day together.

We ate brunch outside at the Cheesecake Factory and we spent a whole solid hour and a half doing so.  We languished.  We luxuriated.  We ate with both hands.

After that, we strolled around in the sunshine.  We stumbled across a local arts festival, and spent an hour perusing the booths.  Some people are seriously talented, you guys.  One of our favorite artists combined different kinds of wood in alternating patterns to make large multi-hued sculptures that made it look like the two trees had chosen to twine together to form shapes like 16th notes, treble clefs, and others.

We also found an artist who painted brilliantly-colored abstract paintings accessorized by tiny little stick figures dashed off in black.  The effect was enchanting, and I found myself wishing I had a few extra thousand dollars lying around with which to purchase armloads of his paintings.

I would’ve taken pictures to share, but they all had pretty stringent NO PICTURES ALLOWED policies and I was loathe to get on the wrong side of a well-aimed painter’s pallet.

After the arts festival, we took in a showing of Inception.  We’d heard from numerous friends that the movie was mind-blowing, and thought it sounded like fun.  After all, it kind of seems like Leonardo DiCaprio can do no wrong lately.

I wasn’t disappointed.  I tried not to go into the theatre expecting sheer brilliance, because that’s a one-way ticket to failure, but I was expecting something pretty good.  And it was.

I thought the acting was deft, the visual effects mesmerizing, and the pacing suitable.  My only quibble with the movie is with the storyline, because I feel like the storyline is almost too insignificant to carry the heft of the intellectual implications and spectacular visuals.  But really, that’s a very small quibble indeed, because it never got in the way of my ability to enjoy the movie.

So there you have it.  I’m refreshed, relaxed, and as ready as I’m going to be for this week, which culminates in a gigantic party I’m throwing for Wes’ 30th birthday.  There will be fresh mini donuts (I found a local vendor who’s going to come out and make fresh mini donuts), a pinata (which Wes will hit with a samurai sword), and tons of BBQ food.

If posting is a bit light this week, that’s why.  Rest assured, though, I’ll be back next week with pictures!

Didja Know?

Aidan and Grandma Ro 15 weeks oldI’m not sure if any of you know this, but my mom is a writer too!  So is her mom!  It’s genetic!

She recently published a book (this is not her first book by a long shot, but the other ones are out of print or else technical manuals most people wouldn’t want to read {no offense mom, but technical manuals are not for public consumption}) and I just thought I’d share the book with all y’all.

It’s called The Protected and you can read more about it here.  I finished the book a couple weeks ago and it’s a lot of fun.  It cracked the top ten bestsellers at her publisher’s last month, which is a big deal.  I think book 2 is also due to come out soon, so keep an eye out for that!

My Dan Brown Manifesto

I love Dan Brown novels.  Dan Brown novels make me want to tear my hair out.  I enjoy learning academic esoterica from Dan Brown’s novels.  If Dan Brown gets any more blatant with the subtext in his novels, he may as well skip the story part and just keep trying to convince everyone to agree with him.

Such is my love/hate relationship with Dan Brown.  The author of The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and a few others.

I’ve been reading Dan Brown’s novels since I was in high school.  I own three of his books, actually.  His earlier work had a fun way of interspersing interesting facts with the story, so I always felt like I walked away from the book having learned something (I also felt this way when I was on my Tom Clancy kick awhile back).

I finished his new book, The Lost Symbol, this weekend and I have to say…I’m disappointed.  The story was a ton of fun, and I learned a lot about Washington D.C. and the Freemasons, but he should have stopped writing that book about 30 pages before he did.

The story wraps up, and then he goes on for another 30 pages with his personal religious views and how the established religious authorities have got it all wrong.  He quotes the Bible numerous times, but only ridiculously out of context, and the whole thing ends up just being really obnoxious.

I know a lot of Christians rose up in outrage over the things Dan Brown wrote about in The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.  To be honest, I was never one of them because I didn’t really know enough at the time to know whether or not I should be outraged.  I just enjoyed the stories.

Either I know more now, or he’s getting increasingly ham-handed with his attempts to stir controversy, but the ending of The Lost Symbol just annoyed me.  It’s fine if he doesn’t agree with Christianity, or want to be a Christian.  I’m not about to brow-beat anyone for disagreeing with me.

But, he takes it too far when he quotes the Bible out of context so egregiously that I wonder if he even understands what he’s doing.  For him to try to put Jesus on a par with Buddha or Mohammad is laughable because Jesus left no room for Himself to be anything other than the Son of God.  He’s either the Messiah or He’s a lunatic, but there’s no way He was just some wise dude who left us a good example like so many other wise dudes.

Dan Brown is just so silly when he says the religious establishment has gotten the teachings of the Bible all wrong by asserting that their way is the only way to get to Heaven.  When Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the father except through me” He isn’t being coy.  He’s laying it out on the table, and there’s really no way to misunderstand that.

So this may be the end of the line for me.  If Dan Brown wants to write stories, I will read them.  If he’s going to keep getting up on increasingly larger soap boxes in an attempt to convince me that we are all gods, well, no thank you very much.  This mere human isn’t buying what he’s selling.

Book Review: Birthing From Within

Birthing From Within

I’ll be honest, I never really understood Birthing from Within.  I’d seen it recommended a million times over as the number-one-must-read-book-on-natural-childbirth, so it was actually the first one I checked out after I got my positive pregnancy test.

Then I opened it up and…I didn’t get it.  It was very focused on visualization of the birth.  My hopes for the birth, my vision of what it would feel like emotionally, that kind of thing.  It had activities in each chapter that required me to draw pictures of what I felt about birth and that is so not me it’s not even funny.

I was that kid in daycare who, during arts and crafts time, did the bare minimum creative output required so I could go back to reading books or pretending to be a horse running through the field (don’t laugh, it was actually a lot of fun, and since I didn’t have a real horse it was the best I could do).  I don’t really do drawing, my stick figures are so grotesque my four year old niece once remarked that she was proud of my good effort but that my drawing looked nothing like a human being.

For this book to expect me to express myself through drawing was laughable to begin with.  But then it took it a step further by asking me to sit and spend time contemplating what my hopes for the birth were, and imagine how I might feel.  How I visualized birth.

I’d never had a baby before, so for me to try to sit down and figure out how it might make me feel was completely unrealistic.  I have a fantastic imagination, but this was pushing it.  There’s no way I could have ever imagined reaching a point in my labor where time ceased to exist, where the gap between contractions would stretch for years, where I would cease to exist completely while the contraction hit me like a lightning strike.  I had no way of conceptualizing the incredible feeling of pushing Aidan’s head out, when it felt like I was literally giving birth to a planet.

As a childbirth newb, I was looking for boots-on-the-ground information about what labor would be like, what to expect, how to prepare.  This book was asking me to get in touch with the emotions surrounding birth, but I didn’t have any yet so I didn’t find it particularly helpful.

I discussed the book with one of my midwives once, and she nodded and said the book seemed most helpful to moms who had already had babies and were maybe recovering from a traumatic first birth experience.  This makes sense to me.  If my first birth had been traumatic, I could easily see wanting to sift through those emotions before embarking on my next labor adventure.