Little things that feel good

by Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I've been a bit off the wagon in my home organization and healthier eating with the whole Shitpocalypse 2010 this spring and summer, so things haven't been as clean and pretty as I was keeping them. But I am getting back on all those wagons, and trying to clean, organize, and eat healthier once again. So as when I began this promise to myself all those months ago, I am taking tiny steps, doing little things which add up to larger emotional, physical, and mental rewards.

One thing I did to inspire myself to get back to it was to treat myself with some new bedding details. We haven't had a headboard on our bed since we got our King size Tempur-pedic (years), and between that and the anemic little memory foam pillows we now use, the bed looked kinda limp.  I have gotten in the habit of making my bed every morning--something I never had to do growing up and never saw a purpose to all my life--and enjoy how good it feels to walk into our bedroom during the day and see it made up nicely, and even nicer when crawling in at night. Made it feel...I dunno...just nicer.   So a few weeks ago I took it a step further and became One Of Those Women: I now have decorative pillows that live on my bed only during daylight hours.

I always thought it was a silly practice, moving pillows on and off every morning and night just for "looks". But whenever I stay in a hotel, there is something so beautiful and inviting about big overstuffed pillows and crisp linens to greet you. I wanted to feel like that at home.

So I hit up the Macy's sale, used a couple gift cards I had been saving for the right time, and here is what our bed looks like now. The pillows stay pretty much the same (they go with almost every color palette we have on the bed at any given time), the duvet changes every few weeks, and if it is solid then I fold the red quilt right side out to reveal the lush printed side with the saturated colors my Mom incorporated in the design when she made it for us (but which clashes when put on top of a printed duvet). So we have lots of "looks" out of a few little additions, and my bed just feels more lush and welcoming!

It's a smidge more work every morning to make it, but it is one little thing that makes me smile and feel pride in my home. So it's worth it. :)

Q&A: Workshops don't "do it" for me.

by Monday, August 30, 2010
"I have tried some workshops. They don't really work for me. Reason being there is too much being thrown at me in a short space of time. Now, I am not young, not old, but this older brain needs to have the lessons pounded over and over."

You are not by any stretch meant to absorb everything in a workshop, and what you do absorb, you should not expect to get into your muscle memory or master at any level.

It is like a big delicious buffet. You are overwhelmed with choices, and will taste a lot of things you maybe never tried before. You will like some things, and not others, and you never walk away with a recipe list of the things you like. Just a rough idea of what foods, ingredients, and spices you enjoyed most. Then you can take that information home and apply it to your overall diet in some other way, by experimenting with the bits and pieces of culinary details you gathered from your experience.

If you go in hoping to walk out with a complete set of ideas and concepts, wholly in your body and ready to go, you will be disappointed every time. But with patience with yourself, looking out for what really resonates with you, taking some decent notes, and being willing to let go of what isn't really turning your crank, you can come away with some really valuable new information and a gateway to new skills and ideas that will generate WITHIN YOU as a result of attending.

And remember that workshop teachers vary WIDELY, and their topics do as well. Some workshops are about cramming as much data into one two hour timeslot as possible. Others are about more subtle techniques that you will get to drill with over and over in different ways to explore possibilities. You end up kissing frogs in the process, but even the ones you don't appreciate fully give you some scope to your preferences, and helps guide your personal style.

Lost something? Here's how to find it!

by Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is "Professor Solomon's 12 Principles"-- way to help you find ANYTHING you lost. Well, except maybe your dignity. :)

I am one of those "organized piles" kinds of people. So these principles really help me on occasion!

Recipes for A Farewell to Summer

by Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Last night I treat myself to a little farewell to summer indulgence. I thought I would share the recipes I made: Mini Apple Tarts and Ginger Basil Lemonade.

Mini Apple Tarts

- 1 package pre-made pie crust (comes with 2 crusts)
- 4-5 small-medium apples of your choice (I used Fuji)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 tsp (or to taste) apple pie spice or cinnamon
- a dash of vanilla extract (1/4 tsp maybe?)

  • Peel, core, and cut apples into small cubes (smaller than you would for a regular pie 1/4 to 1/2 in).
  • Throw into a bowl along with brown sugar, flour, spices, and vanilla. Stir with your fingers until coated. Set aside. Lick fingers. Yum.
  • Roll out pie crusts on flat surface, roll a little thinner (no right or wrong here, IMO). I have used a wine bottle, but if you have a rolling pin, that's an obvious choice.
  • Using some item with a circle about 4" across (I had a big mug that was just about right), cut out 8 circles from the two crusts.
  • Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray, tuck a circle of crust into each of the cups, stretching gently as needed so a little bit sticks above the rim and it is tucked well into the cup shape.
  • Spoon some of the apples into each cup. I fill right to the rim plus a little bit.
  • Take the remains of the dough, mush together, and re-roll out. Fun, it's like Play-Dough!
  • Slice into thin strips (1/4" wide?), and criss-cross six across the top of each tart, pinching it along the edges to connect to the bottom crust.
  • Brush tops with a little melted butter, if you so desire.
  • Place in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 18 minutes.
  • Let cool in muffin pan, remove carefully, and enjoy with Ginger Basil Lemonade!!

Ginger Basil Lemonade

Basil Lemonade*
Yazi Ginger Vodka

*How to make Basil Lemonade:
- 6-7 medium-large lemons (or twice as many small ones)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves

  • Make basil simple-sugar by putting sugar and water into sauce pan, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. (BTW, this can be done with any herb of choice. Rosemary and lavender are also popular choices, and would go great in this drink)
  • Remove from heat, throw basil leaves in and stir gently. Let sit until it comes to room temperature. You can muddle the leaves gently if you want stronger basil flavor.
  • Meanwhile, juice lemons and add to a pitcher.
  • Add basil simple sugar to pitcher
  • Add cold water to taste
  • For a virgin version, add a little fresh ginger at the same stage as the basil, making a ginger-basil simple sugar.
Fill tall glass halfway with ice, fill most of the way with basil lemonade, add a shot of Yazi ginger vodka, stir and enjoy.

I enjoyed this on the back deck by candlelight, watching the bright moon and stars on what is close to one of the last "warm" nights we will have in Seattle this summer.

My interview on YIP Podcast

by Sunday, August 22, 2010
Did y'all hear my interview on YIP Poadcast? I realize I didn't post a link, as it aired during a time I wasn't posting very often. The YIP gals, Mary and Tammy, are so wonderful, and I had fun talking to them. Hope you enjoy the interview! (I think it starts after 20 minutes in? I don't recall just now...)

And click around for other great interviews. I of course adore the one with Carolena and Megha (they even got to be interviewed in the evening, and with WINE! I had earlier in the morning with TEA. WHIIIIINE!), but there are tons of great interviews with people throughout the dance community. Mary and Tammy are very conversational, and you can tell they have a fun time doing their show. Enjoy!

Jane of all trades?

by Friday, August 20, 2010
Trying to be everything to everyone can be exhausting. I know! I've tried!

Looking back on the evolution of my dance, I can see a sort of wave-like motion. That is, like a wave coming into shore which swells and swells and swells....and finally breaks and crashes and eases upon the shore... Yep, I kinda feel that is what my dance has done.

I started out so simply--much like we all do. Just an image of dance that felt natural and came naturally from my combination of instincts plus research into many different styles which appealed to me. My roots were in cabaret/folkloric, because really that's all there was around here at the time. "Tribal" was not yet a household word, and though I knew of group improv and had the videos, that wasn't what I was trying to do, per se. I just liked dancing, especially with other like-minded women, and I enjoyed exploring all the bits and pieces of theory and aesthetics that my teachers and friends brought into my field of vision.

Read more after the jump...

As I learned more, and added new ideas to my bag of tricks, I wanted to bring them all together somehow. I liked that I was a fusion dancer working among other fusion dancers, and had that freedom. My teachers and friends encouraged me to blend and follow my bliss, and I was not shy about doing so. Of course it was all with an eye toward what would be most effective and appropriate on a given stage, but even with those "soft limits" on my creative output (maybe even partly because of), things began to fracture a bit. That is to say, I understood that doing a dark, moody sword piece at a sunny afternoon faire wasn't really going to be effective, and nor was my folky costumes and music going to have the intended impact at the goth club. So naturally, I felt the need to divide these diverse portions of my dance into some kind of categories. There was costuming for this venue, and music for that venue. And even a vocabulary of movement and treatment which rocked over here, but wouldn't really work over there. So every time we staged a piece, we would pick and choose from these many different components to piece together the ideal setlist for the show we were intending to do. And taken at face value, that sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Being able to adapt and adjust in such a way that we could present several really different bodies of work based on the venue and the audience is a valuable skill.

But the result wasn't quite so simple or ideal.

The fact is, while I consider myself primarily an entertainer, I am also an equal part artist. In my experience, the strongest artists have a distinctive voice of their own; and the most impactful pieces I have seen came from the artist have a strong sense of the message they wanted to convey. Now, sometimes that message revealed itself backwards--the artist began to work on a piece with one idea (or maybe no idea!) in mind, and as it progressed, a message revealed itself with the piece, which then guided it to a conclusion. But regardless of the process or the order of revelation, that finished product was the result of a creative hand guiding it with purpose, and is fed from an energy within the artist which is unique to them. At least that is what I have found to be true.

So back to where my dance was leading me, I found more and more I was trying to be all things to all people. I was working from without instead of within. I was concentrating so much on what the audience would expect of me/us, and trying to develop a repertoire which would fit into every niche we could possibly shoehorn it into. Costume A and Music B with Movement Family C here, then Costume D with Music A and Movement Family Z over there, and then... We were playing with ideas and experimenting with the elements, and were certainly having fun. But in the process, our voice was becoming fractured, and our message was becoming more an over-practiced speech than the extemporaneous pure communication in the moment that we have always striven to express. We were trying to be all things to all people, and we were losing the sense of who we were at our core. Who were we, anyway?

We had reached a critical mass. The wave had swollen and was now ready to break upon the shore, to then be pulled back and be ready to swell again. That is the cyclical nature of creation and destruction, life and death, and so too with the creative process. It sounds a bit like Sisyphus, doesn't it? Always pushing that big boulder up the hill, only to have it roll back down and begin again? But truly, in my experience, it has been enlightening and empowering to push and push and push and make it to that peak! Then we get a few moments to rest while the boulder "resets"--what a glorious view it is from up there. And maybe this time I will push it up a slightly different path...ya get a different perspective.

I am trying to avoid taking that same path--of trying to adapt all the time and develop so many different voices to speak to different audiences. I want to find a middle ground, and embrace the idea that not all performers are for all venues, and that being recognizably yourself in all situations is a virtue, not same-old boring as we are made to believe in the information age. I am relearning who I am as a dancer, and who my troupe will be as a collective. I want to be free to experiment with many different ideas and aesthetics, but simplify overall. Pare down. Pull back. Turn inward. Look in new directions, evaluating if that is the road we really want to take in the long term. Some of the tweaks and changes may not even anything most people on the outside would recognize right away. It's in the details, and the subtlety of these elements is where the greatest overall impact is found.

Who am I as a dancer? I am a fusion tribal bellydancer, this much I know.

Your 2010 Wish List: how's it going?

by Saturday, August 14, 2010
At the beginning of the year, I created a 2010 Wishlist, which you can see HERE. It was an anti-resolutions way of listing goals for myself for the coming year, and I challenged you to do the same. Did you make a list? If so, how is your list going? We're a bit over the 6 month mark for 2010, so it's a good time to see what progress we have made.

For my list, my weight is down about 11lbs. I was down as much as 15, but gained some back over the summer with all the stress. I am back on the wagon and working toward the goal of better health once again.

Re-evaluating dance in my life is one I have had no choice but to stare straight in the face. And to be truthful, I don't have any answers there, yet. But I am on a continuing journey right now that is taking steps toward greater understanding of this question.

I am definitely more organized, but have a loooong way to go with regard to that. Case and point: my desk as I type this message. Ugh. But in other areas of my life, home and business, I have been cleaning up and taking stock, which is good.

So how about you?

Web design and what it means to me...

by Friday, August 13, 2010
Web design has been at the forefront of my work this past week. With the dissolution of my troupe, and the lengthy hiatus from my dance over this summer, this fall is an opportunity for a little reinvention. Nothing too drastic mind you, but definitely a re-branding is in order before the Tribal Dreams Festival in November, and Tribal Revolution next year. Taking down the old websites will be hard, but cathartic perhaps.

The tricky part to my dance as a business over the years was compartmentalizing the different dominant aspects of my experience. I was a teacher, but was a director of a troupe which was shared with another person. Technically our troupe was born before I was teaching, so when I began to teach was when the roads diverged strangely. When we taught workshops, sometimes it was as "Shay" and sometimes it was as "inFusion", and more often than not the person hiring didn't understand the difference. When I sold merchandise, some was mine, some was the troupe's, and people would have to write two different checks if they bought items from each. This was very confusing for students and promoters. After all, when you take a workshop with Carolena, you don't wonder if you're getting a workshop from her or from FatChance. It's not either Paulette or Gypsy Caravan. It's understood that these two entities are inexorably entwined. Not so with me and it was a source of tension for many years.

Now I am given the opportunity to re-structure my dance as a business, and it's been hard to get excited about. Because committing to it means finally closing the door, once and for all, on a period of time that was so fulfilling and blessed. The ending was hard, and continues to be, but the years prior were the stuff of dreams. To write The End on that page is...character building, let's say. What I have to keep telling myself is that just because what has come before was incredible beyond my imagination doesn't mean the best is already behind me. There could be more ahead I can't imagine, too!

So designing a new web page is a fun creative venture that can be a tiny step toward these changes. I need to embrace the future, whatever it will be. And frankly, learn to enjoy the process of change as I experience it today.

And so it continues...

by Thursday, August 12, 2010
**Please note: If you are reading this on Facebook, I am on a FB cleanse right now and I am not participating much. If you want to comment on this post, please visit my blog at**

It's pretty nonstop here at the Moore household. Last week I got word that my eldest brother, Ken, was in the ICU with severe pancreatitis brought on by a gall stone that had become lodged in his system, blocking his liver function. His digestive system basically shut down, and he was unable to eat anything, subsisting on IV saline alone for about 4 days. My sister was down there helping care for him that week, and the day after she left, I flew down to take over. He was home, but not very mobile, so I was doing laundry, cooking meals, and generally keeping him company. By the time I left 5 days later, he seemed to be doing much better, but was still in a fair amount of pain, distended belly, and various portions of his endocrine system were still swollen and not working at capacity. The day after I got home, he was back at the doctor getting more tests and x-rays, and potentially re-entering the hospital. I have not heard from him since his x-rays yesterday and am keeping my fingers crossed.

More lighthearted bits and bobs after the jump, I promise.
Here at home, I am gearing up for starting classes again next month. Unfortunately, with all that happened this summer, I never could get the foot surgery I had planned to. And sad to say, my brother's home is an apartment with parquet over...CEMENT. So no cushioning at all, and my foot is really messed up in pain from walking on that all day every day. But the show must go on. So I am starting back with only two classes, and praying that I can hold out until the holidays and maybe take another hiatus around Thanksgiving (after the Nebraska workshops) and get the surgery and be done with this pain!

Also I am doing some nesting. Bought some new bed linens, including some lovely huge, colorful euro pillows to dress up the bed when its made, which makes me smile. Today has been about getting my yarn stash as moth free as I can. I have had some yarns in the bottom of a bin in the living room that got eaten up. So I am doing a freeze-thaw-freeze cycle to try and kill the buggers off. I bought some new plastic bins and cedar blocks to store them in once this process is completed, and hoped that will be good enough.

I finished my first colorwork project while hanging out at Ken's. I made Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts for Chris. He was long overdue for some new fingerless mitts--he asked for some last year, and I started a pattern I was making up myself, and I made one of them...and ran into second glove/sock syndrome. I didn't like how those were turning out, honestly. These, I LOVE. I plan to make some for myself. They were SO easy! And I learned how to combine Continental and English knitting! It was my first time doing English style knitting, actually, so doing it in combination on a colorwork project means I am pretty damn proud of what I accomplished!

The pattern is harder to see up close (like a camera held in one hand photographing the mitt on the other hand ;), but looks great with a little distance. Chris was thrilled, which makes me beam.

When I finished that, I started to get some more blocks worked on my Dianna entrelac shawl. This is a photo from before I got another row onto it. This one is going to take some time...but I am loving how the colors are revealing themselves.

The weather is improving as the week goes on, which is nice. Spent some time in the garden today, weeding, deadheading, and watering. I keep meaning to take some new pics to share here, but keep not getting around to it. Some things are really blooming beautifully (like the petunias are TAKING OVER THE WORLD), and others are struggling (like the creeping lady's mantle that squirrels apparently adore to no end and keep digging up), but overall the garden has been thriving. I especially love my heliotrope, in all its purple glory, and the coleus are hanging in there and looking firey and spikey. Pics when I get the chance.

For now, it's back to working on my new website and getting ready to announce the class schedule and get that ball rolling. I hope your summer is going well, my friends.


On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

I hope you will enjoy both my sites. Thanks for visiting!
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