Sunday, December 31, 2006

Solid Gold Dreamer

When I was young, I just knew that I was going to be a dancer or a singer when I grew up. Most likely a Solid Gold Dancer. I took dance classes from the time that I was 5 years old. And every June we had the big extravaganza up on stage, where each class would perform a dance in their little matching costumes.

I had no doubt that I would be a dancer someday, because that’s what I really wanted. And back then I had the power to really believe in myself, and believe in my dreams.

Somewhere in middle school or high school, my dreams changed. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to be anymore. My grades were fabulous – off the charts. But I didn’t have direction anymore. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do.

After high school graduation my uncle stopped by our house, and he noticed some sculptures in the kitchen that I had made. He was fascinated. “You made these?” “Yeah.” “You know, you have a real gift,” he told me. “A talent. Not everyone has a talent like that. I know you get good grades and everything, but you should consider using your talents. You might want to take some art classes in college.”

I listened to him, but only in part. I did take art classes, but I also entertained the possibility of being a chemist, or maybe an engineer. I needed to translate all these good grades into a career of some sort. I was afraid that being an artist wouldn’t make me any money. No one aspires to be a starving artist. So I didn’t follow my passion with true conviction.

College was cut short by the birth of my daughter. And staying home for a few years and taking classes here and there, I went back to work and started climbing up the corporate ladder. And so here I am, working for a big corporation but entertaining dreams of doing something else. Something creative.

I am trying now. I’m a photographer on the side, and hoping to cultivate it into a business that can replace my 9 to 5. But it’s so easy to doubt myself.

I wish I had the certainty and the confidence that I had back then, when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was the best dancer up on that stage.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Moth In A Green Jar

Once, when Sean and I first started dating, he came to pick me up to go see a movie, and I wasn't quite ready. No surprise there - I’m perpetually late. But this occasion was unlike all the others, where I had just lost track of time and miscalculated how long it would take to get my long luscious locks looking “just so.” Oh no, this was different. This was important! I was taking pictures. For the past half hour I had been focusing my lens on a moth inside a green jar. Yes, that’s right – a moth. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.

When I noticed it, I naturally dropped everything I was doing, grabbed the camera, set up the tripod and started firing away. I know what you’re thinking: a moth! Too good to be true! I know, right? But there it was.

Okay, maybe you don’t get it, but my dear husband-to-be, he understood. Well, maybe not entirely, but he sure gave it the ol’ college try. In fact, he has often said that that's when he knew he loved me, but he never really knew why it was that particular moment. Funny, I thought it was the day he’d finally gotten me to say dirty words in bed.

Just recently, though, he told me he had it figured out. He said he knew he loved me that day because of my ability to see beauty in all things. That, my friends, is probably one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me. Damn, I love that man.

So I’m adding my Moth Inside A Green Jar here at the beginning of my blog. I like it. I also like the memories and the sentiment my husband has associated with it. And since we are at the cusp of a new year, I want it to serve as a reminder to me to follow my passions. A new year is a blank slate, full of potential. Some of it may not be so obvious, but a keen eye can unlock it and make it dance.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Checklist of Good Ideas

Well here I am, in the final days of 2006. The blank slate of an entire year is beckoning. What do I want to do this year? To see? To accomplish?

I find New Year’s Resolutions a little daunting… they are usually about diet and exercise and they are usually trashed long before Valentine’s Day. I think last year they met their untimely demise a few days shy of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in a afternoon-long frenzy that included Toll House chocolate chip cookies, Strawberry Glazed Dunkin Donuts and a McDonald’s Number 9.

I have a slight aversion to ultimatums.

Perhaps I shouldn’t use the word “Resolutions.” It sounds so final, and so highly unachievable. Like I’m suddenly supposed to be some unholy combination of Martha Stewart and Carol Brady.

Maybe I’ll just refer to it as my Checklist of Good Ideas. And I will post it in blogland and refer back to it when I need to be reminded.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Spend more time with family and friends
- invite someone over for dinner once a month
- make plans to go out with friends on the weekends instead of just going out the two of us
- go see Dennis’ band

Keep in touch better via email or phone calls
- on the first of the month (or soon thereafter) go through the address book and send a real email (not a “forward”)
- call a relative every Saturday morning

Exercise regularly
- walk during lunch hour
- walk around the lake
- exercise that butt and those abs
- maybe buy a fun exercise video for the weekends, one where they’re dancing (something not so boring)

Keep the brain sharp
- Learn something new - maybe a “how to” video? Play guitar? Or piano? Bellydancing? Hee hee... yeah, maybe bellydancing
- Brush up on Spanish
- Crossword puzzles
- Read more books (when I can’t sleep, lunchtime, etc)

Put all my photos into albums
(this will take all year)

Cook more real dinners
- family dinner night once a week
- cook something big on Sunday night to be leftovers for the rest of the week
- try some new recipes, and try out the crock pot and the quesadilla maker

Be creative every week (creating something… anything!)
- Drawing
- Collage
- Painting
- Scrapbooking
- Altered books

Get those war letters into the computer
(four years of correspondence between my grandparents circa WWII)

Take photos every day!

Aggressively pursue photography until it becomes a full-time gig and I can quit the 9 to 5...

Well that looks like enough to keep me busy. Wish me luck!