So I Think I Can Dance (and you can too)

Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson, Health, Media, Pop Culture | 11 Comments

Flash Mob Victoria Station

Connie Stetson mixes it up with inspiration, perspiration and dizzy dancing feet.

Dear readers, we have become so close now, I feel I can tell you anything. I know you won’t judge me harshly when I confess to you how very much I love the “reality” game show. The contestants, the competition, the prize—the whole format, well, it’s all just so darn much fun.

I love Survivor, The Amazing Race, American Idol, The Bachelorette, Top Chef, Project Runway and even the great American cheese-fest, Dancing With the Stars. But by far and away, I love So You Think You Can Dance. Partly because at one time I did think could dance, and partly because I now wish I could dance as well as I once thought I could. Watching these beautiful, talented, athletic young dancers sends me into a pulse-pounding frenzy of vicarious joy; and I am with them every soaring step and heart stopping stumble along the way. I am hooked and I am also impressed.

In 2009, producer Nigel Lythgoe, actress Katie Holmes, dancer/choreographer Debbie Allen, and a host others, began The Dizzy Feet Foundation . Its mission is to support, improve and increase dance education in the United States, provide scholarships, set standards for dance education and insure that disadvantaged children have access to dance. The Dizzy Feet Foundation has also declared Saturday July 31st, National Dance Day. View the cool choreography that Napoleon and Tabitha have created to get America off our collective asses and onto the dance floor. They have made it easy enough for anyone to learn and I’m getting down right now with my very bad, very funky self. Read more

Cruising at an Altitude of 37,000 Feet

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Reinvention | 16 Comments

Photo by M.A. Howden

From high in the sky, Melissa’s perspective brings change into focus

I am above the clouds at 37,000 feet, coming back from a trip to peer into my future which, in an odd twist of fate, actually might take place in a place I thought was my past.

A week or so ago someone dear said to me, “I never thought my life would look like this at 54.” Some days later I heard myself echoing the sentiment to someone else adjusting the age down by a year.

I don’t have any idea why I said that though because I don’t recall ever imagining the age of 53 at all. In fact I don’t think it ever occurred to me to think about what life would be like at the age of 53. When my mother was 53, I was 30 and I have some sense that at that time I was still kind of thinking life was about to happen, or rather thinking that whatever I was doing, and wherever I was couldn’t really be it.

It is easier to recall what I know I would not have imagined; I would not have thought that by now my best friend would already be dead. I never would have believed that someone I respected, trusted and looked to for inspiration would let me work for him and then simply not pay the thousands of dollars owed to me. A scenario in which the person I loved with my life betraying me and humiliating me even as I celebrated her, would not have flickered in my imagination. I could not have imagined then that a “bad hair day” now would entail more worry that my hair looks “middle-aged” rather than simply out of control. Read more

Hey Big Spender!

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Environment | 9 Comments

Christie explores a modern dilemma: is time saved actually time well spent?

The whole idea started when I was standing at my kitchen sink washing a badly blistered finger and cursing enough to make Snoop Dog blush. I had spent 30 minutes yanking the pull rope on my gas mower. The grass grew another half-inch while I over-exerted myself, sweat stinging my eyes and puffs of blue-reeking smoke burning my lungs. Enough! Gas mowers are supposed to save you time and effort. I dragged the dying beast to the curb, wrote “FREE” on a piece of cardboard and went inside to clean my wounds. The truck pulled up while I was at the sink. Sayonara El Toro.

I was not quite prepared for the clothes dryer to give a screech and die. Shall I buy another? Or shall I try and do without another time-saving machine of post-modern living?

It was about this time that friends passed along a wonderful read, Drinking The Rain written by Alix Kates Shulman. Ms. Shulman writes about her life and of her self-imposed exile to an extremely basic Maine Coast cabin. After a particularly stressful and difficult visit to the local store for food supplies she muses on “saving time/time-saving.” Her muse visited me. If I am saving time, who and what am I saving it for? Can time actually be saved? If you have been following the progression of quantum physics from string to membrane (or brane) theory to parallel universes you know we could go a lot of places with these questions. Read more

Coming of Age: It Takes a Village

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Parenting | 12 Comments

Cathy ponders the question, “What did you wish you had been told when you were 12 years old?”

Lovely Lily, my best friend Leslie’s daughter, turns 12 and becomes a Bat Mitzvah this weekend. The Bat Mitzvah (Bar Mitzvah for boys) is a Jewish rite of passage. The classic joke goes something like this: A Bar Mitzvah boy stands at the podium having just recited a passage from the Torah, he begins his speech, “Today I’m a man. Tomorrow I go back to the 8th grade.”

To paraphrase the description from Temple Bet Alef:
The Bar and Bat Mitzvah represents a coming of age for a Jewish young person. On a physical level, it represents the age when young bodies become capable of reproduction and young people need to become responsible in a fuller way for their behavior in the world. On a mental and emotional level, it reflects entering the transition period between childhood and adulthood. On a spiritual level, the young person begins to reflect on the Torah’s teachings in regards to their own identity and journey.

To celebrate Lily’s milestone, I have been invited to partake in a tradition new to me, but grounded in ancient ritual—the “Women’s Circle”. Comprised of Lily’s mother’s friends and relatives, the discussion zeros in on this one question:

“What did you wish you had been told when you were 12 years old?” Read more