Nine More Fridays

On the ninth Friday from today I will walk into my office, sit down at my desk and turn on my computer for the last time. Holy Crap! It doesn’t get much more real than that, eh?

excuse me while I remove my sweater…the sudden surge of adrenaline and happy dancing has brought on a mega-watt hot flash…

And in other news:

September 27

 

 

 

Looks like fall is arriving in Salmon Arm, too. 🙂

Random Thursday & Beni wa Benak

Today is Random Thursday. Since I don’t have any quilting news, I thought I would finally get around to posting this choreography. This is my former dance troupe, Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble, performing Beni wa Benak at the Yukon Arts Centre in March 2011.

I originally choreographed this piece as a tool for the advanced class to learn and practice particular movements & combinations (among other things such as being aware of facial expressions, theatricality, embellishments etc).  The choreography itself is not performance art, but it has its place. As a performance piece it is best suited to an outdoor event such as a street fair or other event where the audience is milling about and stopping to watch the dancing for awhile before moving on. In this type of venue it is a perfect piece. Lots of movement, lively music, flash & glitter and the audience loves it. However, I included it in the Rockin’ the Casbah show mostly because I needed a filler piece. I adapted the dance to suit the theatre stage as best I could by having dancers join in from the wing mid-way through, adding variety and interest. Someday I’d like to revisit this piece with a troupe – I have ideas for the choreography that I simply didn’t have time to play with when getting ready for this particular show.

These costumes were well-suited to the piece and I love the way the skirts flare out when the dancers twirl.  And get a load of Doug, our MC in the beginning of the piece. The audience loved him!

Linking in with Random Thursday over at Live a Colorful Life.

Just Write {7} Two pairs of boots

At the end of the day today, when work is finished and I am back home, I am going to kick off these shoes which hurt my feet even though they are Romikas and cost a fortune 10 years ago.

Every now and then I forget and put them on (they’re still practically brand new though they are a decade old, after all) and wear them to work, as I thoughtlessly did this morning.

In honor of my retirement, I am going to toss all of my uncomfortable office shoes and buy myself a pair of beautiful leather boots – the kind that barely come to your ankle. The kind that feel like gloves on your feet, so when I go walking around my new town, to the grocery store and the library, meandering across the railroad tracks and down to the wharf, my feet will carry me in elegant comfort: practical and proud and damn fine looking.

And I am going to buy myself a second pair of boots – sturdy hiking boots so that my feet can carry me in safety and comfort up hill and over dale, on hidden forest trails and across high alpine meadows. Working boots for my working- gal feet.

Damn right.

 

This is my 7th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. I am linking up with The Extraordinary Ordinary.

what early retirement means to me

“You think you can. You think you can’t. Either way you’re right.”

I came upon this quote on Tamara Reddy’s blog, Early Retirement Journey and it jumped right off the page at me. I’ve been feeling some trepidation lately…worries that the small budget we’ve set for ourselves won’t be adequate, worried that I will be bored, worried that I won’t make new friends. People keep asking me what I plan to do in my retirement, which sends me into a bit of a panic because I haven’t been able to formulate a coherent answer.

But today I feel good, and I’m reminding myself that these are normal fears for someone who is making such a big change – leaving my daily routine, moving to a new part of the country and all that that entails. I would have to be crazy if I didn’t feel nervous about it! Phew! I’m okay! I’m normal!

And I know that it will be okay because, really, it is only my circumstances that are changing, not my attitude. I have always lived a big life, and now I will have the time to explore and enjoy the things I love to do even more…live even bigger!

What do I plan to do with my retirement? Well, I am a healthy 52 year old woman and my husband is a healthy 55 year old man and we both look forward to being active together. We both enjoy walking with the dog, and look forward to living in a climate where we will be able to do these family walks most of the year ’round.

We don’t do much hiking these days because of time constraints, but when we spent a month in Australia a couple of years ago we went hiking almost every day, and we hiked into places that I had no idea I was physically capable of going. And I loved it!  Both of us are looking forward to throwing the camper on and driving into nearby provincial & national parks to check out the trails. I’ll start off slow and train up to the steep hikes, getting stronger and fitter with every outing. And then there are our bicycles, and believe me we have plans for using those!

I love yoga and Pilates, and I’ve included classes into the budget. I figure I can meet some new friends this way, too.

And as you read in my last post, I would like to do some teaching or coaching in the local dance community (assuming they’ll have me, of course!)

I also look forward to having time to write, and get involved in a writer’s group. In fact, I’m taking another creative writing course right now and loving it.

I would like to do some volunteer work as well, and I’m interested in working with children. Maybe I could be part of a food-for-learning program and help prepare & serve breakfasts in the schools. I’m sure the volunteer possibilities are endless.

And music, of course. We will definitely be involved in music – I almost don’t even need to mention that one, it’s so obvious!

I haven’t even mentioned my love of handwork, and you know that knitting and quilting are going to be high on my list.

I  am going to have a fabulous garden, including fruit trees (apples, cherries, plums anyone?)

I want to experiment in the kitchen and make interesting meals together with my husband, and share those meals with new friends. I look forward to reading a good book from cover to cover. And if I want to do something I will, and if I don’t want to do something, I won’t.

Whatever I end up doing, it will include participating in my new community. And, hopefully, I will make a positive contribution.

And if we get homesick for  the Yukon, we can drive the truck & camper up whenever we want and stay for as long as we like.  The cabin at Fox Lake will be there waiting for us.

I am falling in love with the endless possibilities.

Bellydance after Retirement: the beginnings of a plan!

I have been pondering my upcoming retirement and what I want it to look like. Who do I want to be? What do I want to do?

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Ironically, it was my illness that gave me the opportunity to examine these questions. It was a devastating time for me.

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For a while, I couldn’t even go to work, and I had to give up every single thing in my life in order to concentrate on simply getting up in the morning and getting through the day.

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Dance felt like a raggedly amputated limb, and it hurt so much to lose it that I actually packed up my gear and put it away where I didn’t have to see the dust raining down on it like tears.

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Gradually, though, creativity began to clamor for an outlet and I began to quilt and knit and write and explore avenues of creative expression that I hadn’t had time for when I was dancing.

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Fortunately, part of my wellness journey has been re-learning to pay attention and listen to my body and to my heart. And, happily, what my heart is telling me is that the dance is still there, just not in the same way as before.

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I’ve discovered that I love quilting. I love knitting. I love baking and hiking and gardening, and I no longer want to pursue dance to the exclusion of all else. In future, dance will be only one of many ways to express myself instead of the only way.

Nita-5

On another happy note, I have been thinking lately that I would like to teach when we get to Salmon Arm. Did you see that coming? I didn’t.

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Ideally, I’d like to focus on teaching women my own age. Middle-aged women who have “been there and done that” and have women’s bodies; luscious or lean with bellies full of life experience and stories to share simply because they have lived half their lives or more already.

Valerie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I can eventually direct a little troupe of 4 or 5 women, dancing with the assaya, baskets or zills… dancing joyful, dancing our stories in the old way.  A small student dance troupe like the Allspice dancers of Arabesque Academy: “dancers who celebrate the female spirit at its most glorious time in life… a group of Bellydancers who have lived a bit and revel in their wisdom, uninhibited sensuality and zest for life.”

Group01I could also hire out to work with other troupes… teach a choreography or perhaps come into the studio and rehearse them in preparation for performance. I could do that on a charge-by-the-hour, workshop style basis.

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I am very good at troupe direction, if you don’t mind my saying so.  My dance troupe Saba and all the accolades we received over the years is proof of that. I’m tough but fair (and a helluva lot of fun). Just ask these gals, lol!Saba 1 by M.Collins

As far as teaching goes, my preference is to work with intermediate and advanced students. Because I don’t want to tie up my time year-round, I envision teaching occasional themed master-classes and workshops instead of on-going classes.  I’d like to revive the Special Topics classes that I had started to develop before I was interrupted by illness.

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It can be a tricky thing to carve out a niche in a new dance community, but I’m not a political person, and I’m generally easy-going. I’d really like to be a positive-minded contributing member of Salmon Arm’s dance community, if they want me.

Nita walking back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also come to understand that while I will always be a student, I have also stepped out onto that first rung as a master instructor. Yes, I dare to say that out loud. My peers and my community have designated me as such, and it is time for me to acknowledge it. I am still an affiliate instructor with Arabesque International, and that means something.

Arabesque Reception, 2008

As for my personal performance practice, I have come to understand that my dancing heart lies right in the roots – the very guts – of Egyptian dance. In the baladi.  My mentor, Yasmina Ramzy, saw it in me when she called me “little mama baladi” and urged me to pursue that direction several years ago.

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I look forward to finding myself back in the bubble of joy that always overtakes me when I am truly dancing without care.

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This is Baladi. This is the rich flavor that sets my artistic taste buds on fire.

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This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

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Walking in Whitehorse: the Millennium Trail

Take a walk with me today!

The Millennium Trail is my favourite Whitehorse walk. Starting at the S.S. Klondike, it follows the Yukon River in a 5 km loop, crossing the river at the Whitehorse Dam. It takes about an hour to walk the dog, depending on how active the “pee-mail” message boards are. 🙂

If you’re reading this on your tablet, you will need to go directly to the website to see the slide show as movies don’t seem to work on tablets or phones.

Music by The Big Band (and you can clearly hear me on bari sax, lol!) Enjoy!

Linking up with Lily’s Quilts Small Blog Meet