Paquita, Pirouettes, and a Parade of Children

Where do artists, directors, writers get their inspirations? When the 2019-2020 ballet season was posted last Spring for the Kennedy Center two coveted companies jumped out at me. Bolshoi  Ballet  has not toured in Washington DC in over 10 years and the Mariinsky Ballet which comes every year to the Kennedy Center. I saw Paquita yesterday afternoon and momentous would be the first word to come to mind. It brings back the Russian nobility in its heyday and that money cannot buy one happiness. Paquita is a nobleman’s daughter taken as a small child by a band of travelling gypsies. They train Paquita as a dancer to make money. She meets  Andres, the son of an officer who falls for Paquita. She tells Andres to prove his love for her he must travel with them for two years performing which he does. Andres is taught the customs and way of life that Paquita grew up with unbeknownst to either one Paquita is actually from nobility. In the end love conquers all and yes the couple get married.

Besides the acrobatic style of dance from both the men and women in this repertoire were the ten girls and boys who practically steal the second half of the show as they dance together so poised and mature at 10 and 11 years old that we the audience just gazed in amazement at how in unison, disciplined, and professional these children performed a circle dance. I loved that most of the girls were several inches taller than the boys! The ballet had a 15 minute standing ovation at the end and as I told my friend last night when she asked me “how was the ballet” I said I got emotional ala Queen of the Mist. This story may seem trite and old fashion to many but I think the purpose of this selection was to celebrate old world love of romance. It made me long to jump up on stage and pirouette.

 

 

 

Butterfly

It’s finally cooler where I live. The oppressive heat of the East coast summer seemed to stretch into infinity this year. I am not a fan of warm and hot temperatures at all although I am a June baby. I am delighted that I am going to see Uncle Vanya in February next year because it will be cold in London (hopefully). I’m someone who likes to bundle up: scarves, hats, sweater(jumpers), tights, boots, bulky socks, gloves… I grew up in four seasonal weather regions. Where I live we normally have at least 3 1/2 seasons with Spring seeming to get cut short more and more each year. This year though I feel like Fall is getting cut out. Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love to watch the leaves change into intricate shades of brown and yellow and orangey patterns, the air is crisper, the sky is less moody and the heaviness of summer seems to fade. But this year a month ago we had temps in the upper 80s to 90F (26C to 32 C). Normally in August or early September I get out my winter gear. My winter jackets, boots, and put away beach towels, shorts, sandals, lawn chairs.. but not this year.

I saw this week a picture that jumped out at me because it was a welcome desk at a hotel and had butterflies plastered all over the entrance. I told my travel mate that’s it! I knew that’s where we would be staying. See butterflies are survivors. They go through a rigorous process to come alive. They start out as caterpillars who pulpate in a chrysalis and then through metamorphosis climb out as a butterfly, expand their wings and fly away. Buterflies are smart too: they are polymorphic and can use camouflage and mimicry to evade others.

A butterfly symbolize rebirth and perhaps rejuvenation. In many ways Uncle Vanya reminds me of a butterfly. The characters are all caterpillars looking and  spinning their silk around themselves, wanting their old skin to come off and fly away. I find much comfort in that. I can relate a lot to these characters especially Dr Astrov.  I see why my celebrity crush decided to partake in Uncle Vanya. It is more than time for him to shed his old skin, spread his wings and fly off. But please keep the beard and full hair…

 

 

 

Tea for Two

I’m normally a coffee drinker not instant coffee mind you but two creams two sugars.  But lately ever since my magical time in London I have grown fond of tea. During my stay in London my UK friend took me to The Wolseley for afternoon tea. We dressed up in our Sunday best even curling my hair, and we sat and ate finger sandwiches, scones, and a plethora of tiny desserts. I felt transported to the Regency romance era or to a Jane Austen book. The venue was elegant, effervescent, and exciting. Alas no 6’2 or 6’3 (these days I guess he added an inch) Handsome Stranger was seated near by but we did feel well posh. I confess I was gawking and dumbstruck by the sophistication of the place. And it felt quite nice and relaxing to partake in well… eating and doing nothing in particular but wiling away for an afternoon.

I saw Downton Abbey  the movie version this past weekend eagerly anticipating a fun frilly movie. I got much more than I bargained for. I found it elegant, classy and timely. It had no violence, no sex scenes, no super heroes, no zombies, no real villains, no killing, no blowing up stuff and no really happily ever after. It did contain commentary on self-identity, family loyalty, trust, work ethics, employee value and love. See for me love was everywhere in this movie from the love of a family to the love of staff banding together for a common goal to the love of a matriarch who was the heart and soul of the family to really the love of a country. I found myself for 2 hr 3 min lost in lush countryside, gorgeous costumes, British mannerisms and of course Dame Maggie Smith’s Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. She’s why I drink my Earl Grey  with just a dash of sugar.

 

 

 

Don’t Shed A Tear……

When my family lived in Germany in the 1970’s we went to the on base movie theatre for Saturday Night movies. We saw Saturday Night Fever, Grease, The Omen, and Bambi. I only cried during Bambi. Then E.T. came out and we saw that back in Washington DC and I cried all the way through the movie. I always was pretty stoic growing up. I’m what is called a bottler. I repress my emotions, blow and then try to repent or replay a situation that I have guilt and shame over. Bottlers like me used to see crying as a weakness. I thought if I cried in public or in front of my friends I would look pathetic or meek. And as a people pleaser always the new kid in town I wanted to fit in, belong. To this day I find myself wanting to belong. I “joined” my celebrity’s crush fandom last year to meet new people, to socialize, come out of my shell. For the most part I have met some wonderful people. In fact I venture to say I’ve met some incredible people who are honest, humble and happy. Our interests go beyond the 6’2 Brit actor with the blue-grey eyes and mole behind his ear that I am obsessed with seeing. I’ve cried over the phone with a couple of them. I’ve gotten very emotional in emails to them. Not once have they said “stop it Michele! Don’t cry, it looks bad on you.”

What prompted today’s blog post was a wonderful two part post on another blog which was so raw, honest, genuine that the minute I started reading her thoughts I cried. I cried sentence after sentence because I could identify with what she was conveying. She doesn’t know me at all and I don’t know her but I felt so connected to her words about grieving, mourning a loved one and the process of dying that I felt relieved in a way. Relieved that what I am thinking and constantly anxious about are normal and cathartic. And that to me is crying.. it is to release, remorse, repent… Lately I cry at a television commercial. One of my dearest friends lost her beloved cat recently and I cried for days about it. I never met the cat, I saw pictures of him, I saw pictures of her and him looking happy and I felt there with them. Perhaps that is true empathy or perhaps it’s just comforting to know how much love a person has for their animal.

Another friend told me recently I am a nurturer. I smiled when she told me this because for all my worrying about fitting in and being  liked I care when people are hurting or attacked or sad. I know what all three of these emotions feel like and I was alone for many of them wishing I had friends around me to lean on. I do now but I didn’t almost 6 years ago. I didn’t do any research for this piece today on crying. Do women cry more easily than men? What do women cry over vs men? I mean crying is natural, your body’s way of expunging negative thoughts and it shows sympathy, empathy and compassion. I had to look up when my celebrity crush has cried in a series or movie. You Tube came up with two results. The first is controversial and the second is real.

 

 

 

 

Epistemology Anyone?

After suffering a debilitating migraine on Saturday yesterday turned out to be pretty bad too. My original thoughts today were on Brexit looming 1 month and 1 day away and how my American Commander in Chief  is well a hypocrite. But I began to see parallels between the political environment happening around the world and my celebrity crush’s new Audible project Meditations. See awhile back I got hit hard in the gut. I realize now it was actually a blessing but I didn’t know then that it’s okay for some to denigrate, besmirch, mock others unprovoked but these same people when it happened to them cried wolf. But as with DT not giving a hoot who he denigrates, mocks, defames so this lack of civility seems to be happening more frequently politically, socially and globally.

I don’t understand  why  Brexit is really happening. Is it an foreign invasion issue? Is it an economic issue? Is it “we don’t want to play in the EU anymore”? There’s no back up plan, there’s no amelioration. I kept hoping someone would come to their senses and say “let’s just all get along.” Those same thoughts ran through my head with DT and the whole Ukraine drama now.  For me it upsets me that he attacks a former two term President so freely when the former president isn’t in office anymore.  How about focusing on keeping the economy strong and getting along with our neighbors to the north and south of us instead of plotting against a would be presidential contender.

It’s the same with Brexit. Do you know how many people in the UK and Europe will be affected by this monumental decision. I think after three plus years of trying to come up with a flexible plan nothing has really been accomplished. Doesn’t that tell you something. And why exit? Were the EU so awful? In any situation there’s always an underlying issue going on. My blog is no different. I may be talking about political civility but it bleeds over into what I see happening in my life and my surroundings.  Our celebrity crush I thought yesterday was a bit presumptuous about his latest Audio book Meditations. I’m so far back on his audio list I’ll never catch up. But ok sir here’ s mine borrowed from Audible and hopefully many others: “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

 

 

 

A Better Route

A fork once stood in the bustling road

Which way to turn we pondered out loud

Right toward the West or

Left toward the East

A crop of trees wavered in the warm summer wind

Inviting clues to these lost travelers

A faint sound reverberated as the wind picked up speed

Which way to turn no logical solution to be found

The traffic lights a few miles back

Oblivious were we to its red blinking lights

Many told us not to head in there

A pack of hungry wolves were waiting for our arrival

But heed no previous warnings we proceeded on

Have to rid the landscape of a disease that did not exist

Perhaps that thick rich cake was the ultimate prize

Not so lucky in the West for us to capitalize

But a hasty entry on this highway only spread the smoldering fire

The fork beckoned us to think so very carefully

But not in our nature these days to share the plate

Only reap what is to our own benefit

The fork now gone

Molded together with sand and rock

Which way can we turn

A better route will surely follow.

— 1-15-2005

 

This week was exciting and enervating. Tickets for the London play Uncle Vanya were released/promoted/advertised depending on who you ask and I grabbed two of them for late February. My celebrity crush is costarring in this play about crossroads in life. I can relate to this angst, anxiety, apprehension, and approbation because it is inevitable for many of us in our mid years. When I turned 40 in 2007 I went to Paris with my sister to celebrate. I hurt my back and was on muscle relaxers the entire trip. I found out I had a pinched nerve between my L4 and L5. But I loved the trip anyway because I saw Paris through the interests of my sister. (ie catacombs, Jim Morrison’s grave, Sorbonne, Notre Dame Cathedral). When I turned 50 2 years ago I went to Hawaii with my best friend and her daughter. Back was fine and had the time of my life. I seem to associate my travel with my state of affairs. The first time I travelled solo was in October 2000 when I went to Dublin for a marathon. I loved and adored Ireland. I was apprehensive about travelling alone but in the end I learned to talk to strangers, took my first train tour to County Cork and nubbed my nose on Blarney Stone and ran next to a woman from Belfast from mile 13 to mile 26.

The downside to mid life crisis is of course feeling drained, zapped physically and mentally and looking back. I admit lately I have looked back a lot. I majored in Political Science in college. I had hoped to be a judge. When I was little I wanted to be a vet until I found out animals die and the thought of watching an animal die or not saving it crushed me. I wanted to get married and have three children like my parents did. I wanted a nice house, a car, wanted to marry Han Solo, wanted to teach, wanted to sing, wanted to become a ballerina, wanted to move to  NYC and wanted to fall in love. What we want and what we have are for some the same thing and for some of us vastly different. Our choices.. our fork in the road play pivotal roles in what is to come.

I see much of myself and what I have yet to accomplish in my celebrity crush. I think this play for him is a turning point. He’s accomplished quite a lot  but still has a professional list of roles and subjects and directors he wants to work with. Personally maybe he is happy maybe he is lonely maybe he is moody maybe he is  an anti socialite. Maybe just like me and many others he is looking for a better route.

 

 

 

 

Manic Monday

Not really the Prince written Bangles song that sprang into my mind this past weekend as I was catching up at home on various projects. More a subject I hesitate writing about let alone chatting about but it reared its ugly head on Saturday. I know NOTHING about cars. Any mechanical subjects, terms, devices, tools I am blissfully ignorant about. I choose to be ignorant because I am dumb really dumb on the technology topic. That I can share videos here now is a breakthrough thanks to the kindness and patience of  a few dear friends of mine leading me by the hand. So my car which for many is a sanctuary is my Linus blanket. It gets me to work, to the grocery store, to my brother’ s house, to see my friends, to the metro, to the vet, to the hairdresser, to the gym class and anywhere else I need to go. So Saturday morning at 6:30 am on the way to my gym class a light beeped on. Luckily I recognized it was my tire pressure light which indicates one or several of the tires needs more air. So I thought ok I’ll swing by the gas station on the way home. I get into my car after my workout and the tire pressure light pops on and then disappears. Out of sight out of mind I ignore it. The same thing happened yesterday tire pressure light pops on then disappears. Anyone who knows me knows I do not like mind games. Just give it to me straight and honest so my car playing tricks with my head caused me anxiety.

I dread this word. I do not like the word fat or diet or the C word or less invasive words that others use but anxiety gives me well anxiety! I used to have anxiety attacks in my twenties not so frequent in my thirties and in my fourties they came and went like Hugh Grant’s career. Now I seem to be anxious quite a lot. Anxiety for me stems from  a lack of control. I am the type who needs control. I need structure and I need to feel well needed.  When any one of these three topple or crumple I panic. I’ve had family and personal stress this year that rivals 2013. I never thought that year could be topped in feeling  vulnerable, depressed and demoralized but it did this year. But then two wonderful things happened yesterday. I had pep talks from two people who didn’t even realize how much love and support they gave me. One was professionally related and one was personal. And that is what it is all about. Nurturing each other through thick and thin. Taking the time to ask “how are you doing?” works wonders. My anxiety has not gotten to a point where it is uncontrollable. I know those warning signs all too well but I overthink constantly. Even when I write comments now on other blogs I’m thinking “is this going to be construed positively?” I know the bloggers are sweethearts. I know they are funny, smart, compassionate and welcome comments. I don’t comment where I am not welcome anymore. That has caused me massive anxiety as a people pleaser. Being a people pleaser is anxiety ridden. For me it’s being on a ferris wheel stuck at the zenith deathly afraid of heights. I’m not one to wear a mask. If I don’t like something you will see it on my face. I gravitate toward people very similar to me. Perhaps it is the nexus of honesty, humility and harmony or just we get each other.  I see these same qualities in my celebrity crush. I get the moody, anti-socialite. Perhaps part of it is anxiety part is shyness and the other part is control. When I got in the car for work this morning nothing lit up except stay in your lane.