12.24.2004

Merry Christmas to All

Another year has come and gone and very quickly I might add. In Approximately three and half months I will be venturing out. When I say out, I mean out. I am going to Egypt. Yep, that is what I said. I have been planning this trip for months and months and now the time has arrived. There is still much to do. I checked with the Egyptian Consulate and found out that a visa will not be issued if there is less then 6 months validity on the passport; I checked my passport and guess what, when I apply for my visa, there will be approximately 5 months left. So, now I have to send my passport out and have it extended; pretty annoying ;(

I have purchased two Hijabs (Khimars); these are head covers; as the old adage goes, “when in Rome do as the Romans do.” Covering my head is a sign of respect and I am also protecting myself; since I look Middle Eastern, I do not wish to attract attention to myself by walking around bare headed; that includes keeping my mouth shut when in public.

Besides that, I am very, very excited; I learned of this trip through Ancient Explorations. This trip is for belly dancers. It is a 10-day trip, which includes a 4-night cruise on the River Nile and on the cruise; we dancers will perform on the ship. My first, I will dance on the River Nile; now there is a story to tell my grandchildren! With current events, many of the dancers dropped out and now there are a total of five of us, this includes our guide and excludes our escort. You don't think 5 women will have the audacity of walking through Cairo unescorted now, do you?

Anyway, stay tuned for more of this glorious vacation and the preparations!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

M

12.22.2004

M.A.D. (middle aged dancer, mad middle aged dancer!)

OK.....I'm frantic.....as I said before, I'm O.L.D.! Hate it....my arthritis in my knees is really bothering me to the point that I can put hardly any weight at all on my right, (read "lead") leg. And we are dancing on Saturday at my Art Co-op's Christmas show. AARGGHHH! if it doesn't calm down I'm not going to be able to dance. And I LOVE to dance. Am going to try and get an appointment with my doctor for some magic! And we have new costumes... and I have to alter the skirt I want to wear... and I have to pack for a week long trip... and I have to set up my artwork for the show....and of course work 8 hours a day..... all this with a sore knee and two days to accomplish this in.

12/22:

I started this entry on the 1st of this month and yes....my knee is still a problem. Went to doctor, got cortisone injection had one good day, Saturday.....performed, carefully...even did a "work in progress", my tribute to the muse, the "Wine Dance", balancing wine glasses (with wine in them of course!)......then back to the same old hurtin' knee. Called doctor, told to try physical therapy first. Did that; 3 visits with strengthening exercises, ice, electrical stimulation, heat rubs, did it help? NO....back to doctor last night, more cortisone injected, slightly better. Along with referral to a specialist, my next step. Jeezzzzz! Will I ever get better? Worse yet are my fears of never dancing again, dramatic I know, but very real fears! Thank goodness there hasn't been any class or performances due to the holidays....at least I don't feel like I'm missing out! Will keep you posted, faithfull reader!

On another note, we had our annual Bellydance Christmas party at Sultana's. Was fabulous! Aside from the great food and champagne (you outdid yourself, Miss S!) the best part is always the "priate gift exchange". There was much stealing going on....most of it by the Tempest herself, from me! And whose gift do I eventually end up with??? Why the one supplied by the Tempest, of course!!!!!

Quick note to my sisters: Both of you did great solos....they were "works in progress", just like mine. Neither one of them sucked, now mine, on the other hand......! My point being, we are so ready to beat ourselves up, insecure beings that we are. But we are great! We always get many compliments and are asked back time and again to perform. We should learn to take the compliments for what they are.

Happy Holidays!

Trying to dance like Rachel Brice.

Oh my goodness! I am still sore in my shoulders from this wonderful workshop with the Divine Miss Brice. Boy, what a flunkie I was. She is a tribal goddess. She makes everything so effortless and smooth. The troupe Sirens in Sanity hosted the workshop in the town of Benicia. It was a good turnout and a great workout. I think all there were humbled. I'm not worthy!!!! Anyway, I learned some really great choriography and moves. Now, if I can only do them myself again, just once, maybe twice, maybe not. I'll keep trying. None of my sisters could make it due to injuries, but several were there that I knew. We all had fun. If I could only move like Rachel............

12.09.2004

Perspective

It's funny how we as middle aged belly dancers are so hard on ourselves. I myself thought that my new solo was horrid. I am not a good dancer, yet I love it. I continue to dance because it pleases me and I need to remind myself of that as I'm having a self-lothing moment. Other people who see us dance think we are beautiful and why don't we listen to that. I know I'm to busy chewing myself out for forgetting this move or that sway step to hear anything else. Why is that?? When did being so self-judgemental take over from just the sheer love of the dance? I cannot put my finger on the date or the event. Could I just be burned out? When I go to the festivals, I am inspired to see all the other dancers performing but when I get home it's "who am I kidding." I guess I need to just kick back and take a deep breath and remind myself of who I want to be out there on stage. From audience perspective, they seem to enjoy the show. I have yet to perform and have someone walk up and say "You really sucked out there. You should go home and never show yourself on stage again." Nope, never has anyone said even a bad comment, lewd maybe, but never bad. I just need to remind myself to not take this all to seriously because I do this for fun. Right??? See you next performance. Tempest Sultana

Look at us now!

Are we hot or are we hot!!!! Posted by Hello

I mean it in the literal sense; we had just finished a hopping 12 minute routine.

I was organizing the pictures on my lap top and came across many pics. I like this one; what do you think of our costumes? Pretty cool huh.

sisters in dance and a very, very cool friend who is part of Genie Dreams Dance Troupe. To reach this stage in the troupe where we do not look like wanna bes took a many hours of rehearsal. It must have been too much for some of the dancers, many have dropped out. Too bad, you would think after all the committment, rehearsal, classes and work one puts into a routine one would stick to it. Then again, this is... what is that old addage? The work weeded out the soft at heart? or is it, "Only the strong survive"? No matter, we go on.

It is pretty early now and I need to get to work, even if it is my last day here, sigh ;(

M

City of Vallejo

It is difficult to describe the City of Vallejo. You have many a transplant here and quite a diversity of residents. On the one hand you have the "City", be afraid, be very afraid. The characters here can really get on your last nerve if you let it; or scare the s__t out of you.

On the other hand, you have a quaint little town. I guess it all depends on where you are and the people you surround yourself with. Being an ex-New Yorker, I can deal with the "City" and kind of step back and watch the "Mayberry" scene. For instance, due to the mis-management of our City employees and the city budget; Vallejo is broke.

The Christmas tree for the city was actually donated by a few residents. The tree lighting ceremony was quite the home town setting; Christmans caroling, hot apple cider, benches to sit and hear a few of our City Officials speak... I felt all warm and fuzzy being surrounded by these gentle folks. Is it the holiday season or are people this nice all year round? Okay, now I sound like a true cynic, time to go.

No matter my experiences here, I do like this town. There are very nice people here (they out number the creeps and waste of human flesh) and the weather here can not be beat.

Well enough of my one and a half cents. Gotta go.
M

12.07.2004

Class. to be or not to be there?

My little big guy when he was just a babe :) Posted by Hello

Just thinking about my little man. It was three weeks yesterday of his demise. As you can tell, I am missing him terribly. Just wanted to share his sweet little face.

I am debating if I should go to class tonight or not. Not many will show; Estefania is in Las Vegas; hope you are having a blast! If anything it will be me, Tempest Sultana, Loa and maybe two others. Because we are not all there, we will not be working on the routing for Rakkasah.
The question is, should I or shouldn't I.

I thought about it and decided not to. I'm still fighting this gosh darn cold and my tummy is not feelin so well. I will stay home to take some cold meds.

M

12.05.2004

The Day After

The dance troupe performed yesterday afternoon at the City of Benicia's Women's Art Coop.

Considering the crappy day I had and how unhappy I was about my costume, it all turned out okay.

It is the day after and I am in excruciating pain. Let me explain, I have had two back surgeries in my time and I am in constant pain; some days are better than others. I have tried everything, from accupuncture, accupressure, massages, yoga, physical therapy, medication, etc... Nothing helps. I am stubborn and refuse to let this pain get in the way of my life.

So, to make a long story short, I always end up doing moves that my back really, really resents and it takes a couple of days to recoup. Don't care, I love the dancing and I love sharing this beautiful art with others. I just take it easy for a couple of days after.

By the way, I did try out my new solo yesterday and guess what, no one liked it, but one of my friends in the audience cheered me on when the solo ended. Geez, I did try and the solo is a bit rough around the edges; but a little encouragement would have gone a long way. Maybe I am just asking for too much; maybe the routine does blow. Who the heck knows; I am far from a professional and far from looking like young hard bodied belly dancer. Aging sucks.

Tell me, why am I doing this again?

M

12.04.2004

How does one become a belly dancer?

I have been inspired for many, many years. I started when taking classes at the early stages of 20 years of age. At twenty-four I was pregnant with my now 27-year-old daughter. When I became a mom, my dancing took the back stage.

When the children finally left the nest and I am on the other side of the continent, I began looking for a new place to take classes. Unfortunately, my experience here is CA was not a very good one. Like many middle-aged women, I really resent the way young girls treat us; you know what I am talking about. Therefore, my search for a dance class became a chore and I left it alone.

Then the City of Vallejo's Diversity Day came along and I had a vendor's booth. While selling my unusual wares, I heard phenomenal music and my girl friend and I just started dancing in the booth. I was fortunate to have my booth by the stage and I watched in awe of the belly dancers, unaware that I was to become part of that troupe. The dancers were good and they varied in age and sizes.

A couple of months later, I received the community events magazine and found the belly dance classes that were held once a week at the cultural center in the City of Vallejo. Wow, how cool is that! That was when I met the most terrific women of all shapes and sizes and a wide range of age. Finally, I place I felt most comfortable and that my friend was how I became a very proud Middle-Aged Belly Dancer!

12.02.2004

Having a good time

Clowning around before a perfornance ;) Posted by Hello


This picture was taken a couple of hours before going on stage at Rakkasah West 2004. We had a sort of picnic before going in and getting dressed. As you can tell, we are not in costume. Surprise! :)

The beautiful dancer in the middle was part of the Genie Dreams Dance Troupe a couple of years back, in the City of Benicia. She performed with us that day; long story, I kind of dragged her into being part of the routine. She is totally awsome; due to her work schedule she is unable to participate in many of the performances. Hopefully her schedule will change and she can once again join us.

Well, can you guess which one is me? Come on, it is not that difficult. There you go, I am the one with all the gray hair ;)

The beautiful blonde on the right is a member of Sisters In Dance, guess which one.

Any hoo, it is past nine and I need to get some rest. Tomorrow we are perfoming and afterwards is the tree lighting ceremony on the Waterfront in the City of Vallejo.

Need to rest up for the three hours of preparation and to work on a new solo, eeeek!

Good night all.

M

Odd Question

Like any middle aged dancer, we like to have pictures taken with every costume we own. Therefore, we try to have someone in the audience with a camera at every performance. More times than not, we get some decent pictures.

I like to download the decent pictures as a screen saver on my lap top. I like the not so mundane screensaver that I can actually change whenever the mood hits. While at work yesterday, one of my co-workers came into my cube and asked a question. When I had gone into the PC to see if I had the document, she saw one of the pictures taken of me when the girls and I were clowning around before a performance. The question posed to me after she viewed this picture was, “You really love yourself, don’t you?” Needless to say, I was astonished at first then replied, “Yes, yes I do.” I guess this was a response she was not expecting and changed the subject immediately.

<>So, tell me, what is so wrong about loving oneself? I feel that in order to share love and give of yourself to others, you have to love yourself. It’s really funny that people think I should feel guilty about this; not going to happen.

Why did she ask that questions?

M