Friday, May 28, 2010

*DIGNITY?* I laugh in the face of *dignity!*

'Which on of these things doesn't belong here, which one of these things just isn't the same...?'
{whoa, i (sort of) quoted lion king and then sesame street...}

Correct answer: the crazy kid in a tutu!

Yup, that is me, and if you are wonderin' why I am wearing such a thing, let me just tell you!

My youth group, Merge Ahead, is pretty big. Something like 150 kids. So we break everyone up into small groups, called CREWS (gender/age specific), that meet on other nights of the week, so everyone is part of something smaller than the Sunday night whole.

That is my CREW. We meet on Thursdays and normally do Bible/book studies, eat food and pray but..sometimes we branch out. Last week when we learned one of the girls (Lindsay. Far left.) was having a 22nd bday, we decided to celebrate last night. Obviously having cake and the usual. Then the leader, (Jeri, far right) said something along the lines of "Haha, you're going to be turning Two Two! That is fun to say..." and I blurt out "GUYS! WE SHOULD ALL WEAR TUTUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (first thing that came to my mind. I will take any chance to wear any kind of costume. But it took them just a minute to make the mental connection.)

Longer story short, I am the only one with access to tutus. My dear friend Emily is a beast of a point ballerina; she has a closet stuffed with past costumes. That tutu is hers (and though I am a very unlikely candidate for wearing something as girly as a tutu, I adore that one because it is red and black and awesome. Not the first time I've borrowed it...).
Basically they concluded *I* would show up in a tutu for Lindsays 2_2 party.

And oh yes, I did!
First, we made a list of 22 places to venture in a tutu...a park, a baseball game, New York city, old folks home, insane asylum with Ace Ventura, mosh pit, etc...

Original plan was to hang out at Jeri's apartment but when "a park" appeared first on our list, it was all too convenient that Jeri lives next to one. So off we went!

One of my life motto's: "Dignity? I don't believe in dignity..." so yes, I went to a park in a tutu. (Where there was a little league baseball game going on...meaning PEOPLE were there...)

We played on the "sway fun" (this giant, rocking benchy thing) which we, because we are so punny, decided was just "tutu much fun for us."

Tutu on a corkscrew thingy...

I am the scariest "ballerina"...ever...and I can play on playgrounds a lot better than I can dance ballet. (Emily talked me into a couple years of was interesting...)

I can even side saddle green rhino's in a tutu, my skills are so ...unique.

Me, Jeri, Katie W, Katie S and the birthday girl Lindsay.

It was a once in a life time experience. Never before has anyone gifted a 22 year old the gift of dressing in a tutu. Never again, either (although my the 19 year old Katie W might request that gift when her 22nd comes around.)

I'm not gunna lie, I was having a blast. Not everyone can rock a tutu, especially outside of a dance recital, but I sure as anything can. So I do, as often as possible.
Anyone having any parties the want me at!?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

'Chicken Little' Goes Literary.

I while ago I had posted a first draft of a short story I had written. After posting, that story just hung out in my documents file, just waiting for a reawakening.

It got one.

I wasn't all that pleased with the first draft (Typical. No one likes poor, little first drafts...or seconds, or thirds...and I usually don't like fourths either.), so I just left it chillin' in the memory space of my computer until I felt inspired enough to take it on again.

 Last week draft five was born. The word count leapt up by almost 400 more words, the metaphors/symbolism became much more defined, and the overall piece became more polished. I like it a lot better now, so I will let you take a look at it again.


You know the story, the one about the chicken who thinks that the sky fell on his head? I’ve heard that story; it’s nothing like the real thing. I was there the day that the sky fell down and I’m telling you, it’s nothing like that story.

The day before was a typical day in the summer of 19--. A light breeze blew and the sun tickled your cheeks. It was one of those days that called you out of doors and held you there for hours in the magnificent seasonal sunlight. A perfect day for a boy of my size to start making his fortune, so I, along with my neighbor Frankie, started up a  lemonade stand. By noon we had made one dollar off of our product- which sold at twenty cents a cup. By supper time we had a whole dollar and twenty cents. The two of us went home that night, Frankie with 40 cents in his pocket and the rest jingling in mine, being as they were my lemons that we squeezed the juice out of. The next day we were going to do it again; we figured if we kept it up, by the end of the summer we have enough money to buy a boat for sailing out on the lake. We had it all planned out; our futures were upon us and we were ready.

But I didn’t account for what would happen next. There was no way I could have. Stuff just isn’t supposed to happen like it did then.

The day after, I walked out onto my front lawn to set up our stand once more, but the lawn wasn’t there. Well… I suppose it was, only it was covered in this flakey, blue mess that looked like someone has thrown sheets paper all over the ground. The road looked the same. I looked up at the clouds to check and see what the weather was looking like…only there were no clouds. There was no weather. There was nothing.

The sky was...gone.

Now, it’s hard to explain what nothing looks like, but I tell you for sure, I saw what wasn’t there. The blue expanse that was dotted with clouds and warm rays of light the day before was now emptiness. Above my head was an eerie vacancy that shouldn’t have been. Instead of sky there was…well, it is hard to say what it was. Sort of a hum, more sound than a sight, something you felt but couldn’t touch. It was like there was a wild wind, but with no movement. It was like the sun’s glow on a blistering day, only without the light and warmth coming down to touch you. I looked up again. Horror began to set in.

The sky was scattered on my front lawn.

I leapt backwards onto the safety of my doorstep when I realized the truth of the situation. The sky was on my front lawn and in its place was nothing.

I screamed for my mother like I usually did when I was having a nightmare, so she would come and tell me everything was alright. But the sound hissed out of my mouth, fell off my lips, and filled the bareness around me, my voice blending with the hum. Nightmares are always worse when you have to face them alone.

I looked for my neighbors. The houses were all there. The trees, the cars, the whole deal, just like it should have been! Only, everyone had pieces of the heavens strewn across their grass.

No one saw me, no one heard me, and probably no one cared. I was alone and desperate, so I did what any boy of my size would have thought to do if given a situation such as mine. Carefully, I snapped a branch off of the little piney shrub next to our doorstep. I poked the ground, or the sky rather, with the branch. Nothing happened. No sound. No feeling. No sudden explosions. I edged one toe off the step and gingerly stood on what was once the sky. Again, nothing. Emboldened, I bent and picked up a piece of it; it was flimsy like a sheet of the Sunday newspaper, but soft like the flannel pajamas with big, red, clown-like buttons that my grandma had given me on Christmas one year. Though thin like paper, when I shook it, it didn’t crinkle, it didn’t rip. So I threw it- HIGH. It didn’t suspend itself back where it belonged, instead it floated noiselessly back onto the lawn, covering up the patch of green that I had exposed.

I ran inside, slammed the door, and leaned my back against it. After counting to ten with my eyes squeezed tight, I opened it back up again, popped my head out, and sure as anything the sky was still there, right where it didn’t belong, scattered on the ground like confetti left over from a surprise party we hadn’t had.

I bounded up the stairs screaming my dad’s name. He was a smart guy, maybe he could fix it. Dads generally know a lot about problems and sometime they even know enough to be able to fix them.

“DAD! The sky! It fell. The sky is on the front lawn, Dad. I tried to put it back but….”

“What?” my father asked, as he rolled over to face me. The space next to him on the bed was empty; the sheets were neat and tucked in. Mom was sleeping on the couch again.

“The sky. It’s on the lawn. It’s all blue and everywhere and it feels like my P.J.’s from grandma and it won’t go back up where it needs to!”

He rolled the other way to look out the window, but the faded, floral curtains were drawn shut. “Prob’ly just fog, son. It’ll pass. Go on downstairs and turn on the coffee pot. I’ll be down in a bit.”

I kicked the side of his bed with my slippered foot. “THE SKY FELL DOWN, DAD AND COFFEE ISN’T GUNNA FIX IT!”

“Yes, yes, I understand.” said my father as he tied his robe on and then rubbed his temples with heel’s of his hands.

I stomped down the stairs, scared and infuriated, and peeked out the window. Sure enough, just as I had said, there was no sky in the sky. I opened up the front door and jumped on the mess that had found its way onto my lawn. I jumped and stomped around in a fit. I jumped on what was supposed to be the sky.

I heard my dad’s footsteps on the stairs; I flung open the door and cried, “LOOK!”

He did. He blinked a couple times and ran his left hand through his hair, like he did after having a fight with my mother. Then he chewed on his lip a bit and said nothing.

“That’s the sky, Dad! All over our grass, just like I told you. That’s a whole bunch of sky!” My voice sounded hollowed, like I was in a cave, only with no echo.

My dad said nothing. He just stood there blinking his eyes, chewing his lip, and rubbing his gray-streaked hair.

A couple minutes later my mother, in an adjacent room, lifted herself off the couch and shuffled in, robe on, hair in a disheveled braid, looking down at her slippers.

“Boys, would you shut that door! The …” She stopped short and made a little sucking noise as she drew air quickly into her lungs. Her mouth quivering, she walked out onto the step and stood next to my father. Her eyes just kept getting wider or maybe her face was just getting smaller.

“It’s…the sky…” I tried to explain, hoping they would somehow, in their parental understanding, be able to make it right again.

But neither said anything.

“WHY IS IT ON THE GRASS? WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?” I yelled at my mute parents, aggravated that I was the only one feeling the need to take some sort of action on this problem. I was the kid! How was I supposed to fix it? Stuff like this wasn’t supposed to happen. The sky is supposed to always be the sky, but that day, on the front lawn of our home, it wasn’t! Someone had to fix it, but my parents just stood gaping, waiting for it to right itself.

My dad just shook his head and stared at the lawn, as my mother stood beside him and pulled her robe tighter. “Sometimes things are just out of our control, son…”


Writing this was a bit out of my comfort zone. Not only was it a SHORT story (see orginal story post), but it was a literary piece, aimed at adult readers, with unresolved conflict and an almost depressing ending. Not really my cup of tea. I generally like young adult/youth fiction, and most specifically the fantasy genre. I like imagination and whimsy mixed with the clash of swords. Well defined, good verses evil and the evil always loses type plots.  I also like sharp wit and unusual humor, and would love to someday write a really goofy, bizarre children's book. My comfort zone is basically anything BUT adult...they just aren't very fun.  So this story was a stretch. While it was written from a child's point of view, and seems to contain elements of the fantastical, it is very much so geared toward adult readers, in that it is REAL LIFE in meaning.

This story is now waiting grading from my online school. Then the plan is to actually freelance it out into the big, wide world. I have a couple ideas as far as short story publishing consumer magazines, so I will whip up a query for this little baby and send her out. And then wait. Then I either get denied or I become famous...oh the glories of being an author!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Confessions, Creativity and Calling all Customs!

I, Isabella Kiss, creative beast, have something to confess. I had not created anything in at least 2 months up until 2 weeks ago. I had gotten so busy I hadn't made ANYTHING. Nada. No notebooks, no amigurumi, not even a pair of earrings! And that for me is huge, because one of my passions is creating...stuff. I was made by a creative God, I am his daughter, and one of His traits that He passed onto me was his love of CREATING. I have tried (and will continue to try) just about any artist medium. I love it. I thrive on it. But I had been slacking...

But in the last 2 weeks, I made not one, but two new purses.

I also have to confess, I don't actually *LIKE* sewing. I really like the concept of taking some flat, square fabric and other materials to make something. And I really, really like the end result of having something that is one- of -a- kind, made by me. But the middle process (cutting, ironing, sitting at a machine) isn't my favorite. At all. But I am always so happy at the end, that I go and put myself through that process again and again. I have made (am making, will make...) some pretty sweet stuff, guys.

The latest and greatest in the line of Bella Bags.

The blue-ish one was for my mom for Mother's Day. She had requested another bag, because the first one I made her was stolen when some mugs smashed in our car window on last year's Pennsylvania vacation.

Shot up close. Machine appliqued flower. 
Most the stuff I do involves applique and buttons. Tedious details, but I so love the end product that I work through the extra amount of time it takes to make them look that great! The bags would be pretty boring otherwise. And I am 100% against BORING.

The other bag is mine.
It was due time I made another one for myself. I was actually carrying around a bag I had purchased. Whole. Not made by me. From a store! And I found that rather mortifying. When I found an obnoxious orange/blue shower curtain for $3.99 I looked deeper, saw its inner potential (okay...lies... I just liked the orange and bold stripes) and brought it home to be turned into a bag. Why I am wearing it like a cloak is another story entirely... I think I was trying to show you how much fabric there is in a shower curtain. I have a bunch left.

Instead of applique (it would have been reallyyyyy not boring if I added to the crazy print. People's eyes would have bleed from too much awesomeness.) I did a hand-stitched swirly. (The white stuff is the chalk I used to draw it on, not part of the bag) Lime green, to match the lining (made of a curtain. Yeah for up-cycling!)
For some weird reason I enjoy hand-sewing a lot more than sewing on a machine (Sometimes I am really old-fashioned with stuff like that. I try and avoid machines and "the easy way" as much as is modernly possible). I actually hadn't sewn in so long that I rubbed like 4 layers of skin off my right thumb, while holding the needle. It was all red when I was done and didn't feel so great when I went to play keyboard the next morning. That is just sad...proof I need to make more stuff, more often.

I feel much better now having released some creative juices. And hey, I'm looking to release more! I've offered custom Amigurumi's before to raise money for the upcoming (July 9-17!) mission trip to Costa Rica. But I do custom bags too! Last year I made a bunch of money off of custom orders, and I am now throwing that offer out there again! The bags are all one of a kind! And I love doing customs because then I get to make the bag to fit you and your unique tastes!

 If anyone wants their very own, custom BELLA BAG, comment/etsy convo me!

Depending on what size, and amount of details (like applique), you want for the bags, they run from somewhere around $30-$45 dollars. The are generally between 12 and 18 inches tall, and are a similar number in width. The bags are very sacky, with big handles. Inside pockets optional. All of them are lined, and also interfaced for lasting durability.

Past work, just to give you a visual idea of the awesomeness I am capable of...


As you can see, a lot of the stuff I have previously done involves flowers, but I've also done musical notes, (simple) Celtic knots, butterflies, letters, skull and cross-bones and...stuff.
If it can be cut out of fabric and stitched down, I can pretty much do it.

Anyone interested!? Let me know!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Today's quote-able. A Bible Verse. A song. Some rantings which will no doubt bring forth some opinionated comments. Lets get down to business.

First the verse:
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."- Psalm 51:10

There are a lot of Bible verses I love, but this one comes pretty high on the list of my personal favorites. It is one that I memorized as a kid and I bring it up in my mind quite frequently. And by frequently, I mean more or less every time I take my eyes off God and put them somewhere else. And by that I mean more or less everyday.

Now the rantings:
The band Switchfoot and front man Jon Foreman.

I don't think I can actually say I am a Switchfoot fan. I am not against them in any way, I just don't love their music. Good band. Good message. Good lyrics. And they've been around forever. They have just never been on my list of favorites.

And yet, I know almost all their songs...!?

Why? My life contains several Switchfoot fanatics. They are the favorite band of my sister, as well as the favorite (and by favorite I mean...almost to the point of idolatry...) of 2 of my close friends. The 3 of them lecture me constantly on why Switchfoot/Jon Foreman should be MY favorite. (No. NEVER!) Thankfully I have other friends who and those 3 are out numbered by a bunch of anti-Switchfooters. Praise God for diversity in friendships!

Anyway, now to segway into the song portion of this quote-able.

Last summer, I heard my friend (the nameless, but #1 ranking person on the fanatic list) play/sing a nice, little song called White as Snow on a acoustic as a bunch of us sat a fire at a graduation party. I liked the song a lot and it was stuck in my head for quite some time. The lyrics were all taken almost directly out of passages of the Bible, and the chorus echoed the Psalm 51 verse I mentioned above. At first I thought my friend had written it, as he is a talented musician and song writer, but no! Of course, it was by none other than JON FOREMAN (I really, really should have known) off of his solo Winter EP.

The lyrics:

(Verse1:) Have mercy on me, oh God

According to Your unfailing love,
According to Your great compassion
Blot out my transgressions

(Chorus:)Create in me a clean heart, oh God
Restore in me the joy of Your salvation

(Verse2:)The sacrifices of our God are a broken and a contrite heart
Against You and You alone have I sinned

(Chorus:) Would You create in me a clean heart, oh God
Restore in me the joy of my salvation

(Bridge:) Wash me white as snow and I will be made whole"

Regardless of who wrote the song, I really, really love it. It is very simple, quite repetitive, and musically not something I would normally be drawn to. And it is by Foreman. And still, despite all that, I find myself listening to it often. Give it a listen, you might like it. You might actually be surprised, as I was, and find yourself wondering if you could possibly be turning into a Switchfooter...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Refridgerator Goobleygook

**Sharing this link because I know it will amuse some (I have around 5 certain people in mind. You know who you are!) of you as much as it amuses me.**

This morning I opened my Gmail to find an email from my mother reading thusly;

You're welcome...but finish your book too!-Mama"

Oh yes, that is correct. Online REFRIGERATOR POETRY!!!!!!

You know, like those little magnet sticky word that you form into dramaticatic, eloquent, or plain ridiculous sentences/poems/stories.
I love those.

In the first two minutes I came up with this.
"Understand the summer butterflies and their magic whisper,
For the story they tell is an old song of peace."

Utterly absurd, but fun!

Someday, when I finally have a file cabinet in my room (New they are like $80 and up! WHAT? Why? They are so ugly!!! I wanted a used one, 2 draws would be best, cool looking, preferably vintage, that I can spray paint shiny red and then SPLATTER PAINT. Quest is proving difficult. If anyone has a awesome cabinet that you want to...send me...for free...that would be great. K? Thanks.), I will purchase a whole bunch of those cute little magnets and write all sorts of wonderful nonsense.

One of my youth leaders has some fantastic ones on her apartment's fridge, including some great Old English words like "methinks" and lot of food product related words, that I greatly enjoy playing with. Endless possibilities. I may or may not have attempted to write phrases in Shakespearean iambic pentameter once. Hours of fun, I tell you (I like to fixate on things and little word magnets are great for long-duration fixation).

So the site above *MIGHT* just be for children, and the words might be obnoxiously stacked on one another and not layed out in nice neat lines like I would want them to be, but it is fun to mess around with until I complete my file cabinet quest.

Have fun, my friends, have fun!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Anthro gone Brit.

We all know I am infatuated with all things British. I might geographically be placed in CT, New England, but my heart thinks I am in straight up LONDON, England.

*New British Find: Jack Wills.*

It is like Anthropologie back in the day as a British University student (metaphorically. No such reality). Younger style, with British flair. It makes me pretty happy. Unfortunately it is (over)PRICED like Anthropologie so I would never actually buy anything (stores like these serve as inspiration for my hunts in Savers and similar locations). Also, most of the locations are in the UK. The closest USA locations (to me) are in Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, and I haven't be there in years so...

Fun stuff from their online store;
Yes. Though I do not wear anything with a clear and obvious brand/label on it, I WOULD wear a shirt that says "Jack." Mostly because Jack is a favorite name of mine (and for those of you who know me and are about to mock me, NO, it is not just because of Capt. Jack Sparrow. Always loved that name.). And anyone who reads my mom's blog knows I sometimes go by Jacky.
A water bottle that says "Fabulously British"...uh...YEAH!

Nothing else says "British uni. student" quite like a cardigan!

Splatter. Painted. Bag. 'Nuff said.

And of course, I like the guy version of the 'Jack' shirt better. Eh, none of the guys stuff is ...manly ...anyway, so a girl might as well wear it. Better off for everyone that way.

While we are at it, I would add this tie (yup, men's) to my tie collection (yup, I have one.) Ties are fun.

And some Wellies, or galoshes, if you will. Either way, ugly to wear, but fun to say.

Hope you enjoyed my overpriced adventure through British style. Cheerio!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Red leather, yellow leather...

 Hello happiness.
New 100% leather jacket. $19.99. Savers.
It is RED (where in the world DO they get those red cows...?).
It is the right length so I don't look any shorter than I already am.
 It looks good with my fedora.
 Love. Enough said.

Pretty happy with my find. I am still waiting for the day I find a really cool, really rough BLACK leather jacket in some second hand place. I've been looking for a while and cannot find anything that suits me. And I absolutely refuse to buy some vinyl, yukky fake from the mall. The day will come. But until then I will wear this one and keep looking.

*title from a random tongue twister/tongue warm-up thing I learned back in my acting days.
"Red leather, yellow leather, good blood, bad blood,
Red leather, yellow leather, LAVENDER leather."
Go ahead, say it. Lots of l's and vowel sounds. Good for your annunciation and...stuff.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I don't watch a lot of TV, I confess. I have too much to do to give any large portion of my life over to a big, black rectangle and a remote. People will ask me "Do you watch *_________* (insert words like American Idol, Lost, 24, etc)?" and I say "Nope." This usually gains me a shocked face or several questions. TV is a life sucker, so I avoid it as much as I can.

But some week nights, usually after the hour of 9:30, once my brain cannot really produce anything intelligible with written words, and all my fingers want to do is to crochet/knit/sew/create something, I tend to end up in my (as in, not really mine, but anyone who sits there gets lifted out and carried away to another place of seating) green chair in front of the telly.

I don't really have a favorite show, and the shows I do like don't ever end up on normal people's favorites lists so... we will skip to what I really want to talk about here.


Oh the things I could say about commercials. Some are fantastic. Some I cannot stand to the point of muting the TV and then doing voice overs.
Some of my current favorite commercials are the Old Spice ones (okay, I know, little weird, but...that are just so random it makes me laugh) Hillshire Farms *GO MEAT* (and yes, that did just come out of the mouth of a vegetarian. That, my dear children, is what we call irony.) and...


This cracks me up, every time. I may or may not have the YouTube link on my desk top. I don't wear contacts, I don't like contacts (Me, touch my eye? NO thank you!). There is just something wonderful about the intentionally cheesey acting, the weird way that man says "BRAAANNND!" , and when the woman says "look, look with your special eyes!"

Totally ridiculous! Every time I hear her say it I cannot control myself. I find it absolutely hysterical and I really don't know why. So that is today's quote. Watch the video. Just "look, look with your special eyes."

Does anyone else think this is worth laughing at? Will anyone else be walking around telling people to "look with their special eyes" today? Anyone else like commercials? Which ones?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rinceoir Le Aman, Lords and Warlords and a Brief Look at Irish Culture.

Last night I went to see Lord of the Dance.

My uncle Peter took  my cousin Sarah,  her friend Shayla, and I to go see it in Springfield, MA. Shay and I were last minute additions when Sarah's 2 older sisters couldn't come because of school-related engagements. But I am really grateful that I got to be the replacement. We had a great time.

I was the only dancer of the bunch (*going on 12 years, babayyy!) and for me, this show has extra special meaning.  Back in the 90's when Michael Flatley, dance legend, created the show, my dad somehow heard about it and brought home a VHS of the performance live in  London's Hyde Park. He thought it would be a cool thing to expose me to, culturally, musically and all...

But it did way more than that. At seven years old I became OBSESSED with Irish Step Dancing. That videoed performance is to blame. After turning it off I spent hours 'dancing' around my house, and any flat surface I could find, begging my parents to get my some lessons. I had heard of the stuff before, my friend Alanna was a dancer and her mom owned a studio in my town, but I had never really had an interest in dance. But when we popped that video in our VCR, the first song, Cry of the Celts, began and the story of Lord vs. Don Dorscha began to unfold, I was changed.

At seven, I thought Michael Flatley was not only 'Lord of the Dance,' but a real, live super hero.

Wow, I have come a long way.

For those of you who have seen  Lord (or Riverdance, or Celtic Tiger) you can probably just imagine shirtless, sweaty Flatley and his "feet of flames" rhythmically making his way across the stage, doing crazy stuff with his arms and kissing his glittery girl. For those of you who haven't seen it, I just gave a pretty decent summary of the parts including Flatley.  Lord of the Dance and its creator are greatly accredited for the widespread rise of Irish Step in the 1990's. Michael Flatley became the face of Irish Step. Still, now 16 years after the show first appeared, when you say any sort of sentence involving "...Irish step dance...", most people  immediately bring up Flatley.

But...that is a very inaccurate picture of Irish Step. The true Irish don't so much love Flatley. They don't so much like the way that he modernized their traditional and beautiful form of dancing. They don't so much like that the pompous, American born/Irish raised man messed with their culture. They don't so much like the fact that when people think of Irish Dancing, they imagine a full-of-himself, sweaty guy with his chest painted and arms waving about, and girls with less clothing than necessary clinging to him.

 I promise you, NONE of that is Irish. I know and love Irish and that is a distorted image of what it truly it. I have learned. I have competed. I have performed. I have danced on a big, bad stage in Ireland. I assure you, I have done NONE of that above mentioned shenanigans. But when Flatley did it, it turned the world's eyes to Ireland. Suddenly what they had been doing for centuries was a world wide phenomenon. Thousands of kids like me, suddenly wanted to learn what this guy knew. He more or less single-handedly changed the globe's view on Irish Step!

While it is a modernized form, it sure looked to me when I was seven! It wasn't so much the show, or him, or the costumes that enthralled me back then. It was the music. And how their feet sang the words to the songs. It was like a bunch of performers in musical, telling the story with their feet instead of mouths. I found, and still find, that fascinating. As much as I have come to love Irish music, what I love more is that WE ARE the music. Sometimes at shows my teacher (*yes, the aforemented Alanna's mom) will have a dancer perform an impressive solo, in hard shoe, to music. Then she turns off the music and the person does it again. And the feet sing the same song. 

That is why I love Irish Dance. Soft shoe feels like flying and Hard shoe feels like playing a rhythm instrument. I have never lost that feeling. I remember my first class, back in the summer of 1999. The feeling I felt then, I still feel every time I go to dance. There is nothing else like it.

So while I can look back and say "You liar! That isn't Irish. Please put a shirt on and stop flailing your arms." and also can look back and see the huge affect that it had on my life. Last night I listened to that music, hummed it all by heart, danced the steps in my head, and thought back to the first time I watched the show, on my living room TV. That day quite literally changed my life. Yup, I've come a very long way.

So thank you, Uncle Peter, for taking me to see it live, for taking me back to that moment where Irish Dance captured my mind, my heart, and my feet. Thank you for reminding me of what I love. And thank you sweaty, feet of flames Flatley! Thank you for introducing me to what I love. I owe you one.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Declare nothing to be impossible!

In a previous post, titled Chipmunk Whispering for Dummies, I mentioned how I think a chipmunk would make a fabulous pet. And how I think one should sit on my shoulder and do back flips. And how I have tried this several times and have failed miserably.


Well, not the back flipping bit, but the training, and even the trick doing. A random google search produced this result; How to Teach a Pet Chipmunk Tricks. And it is listed as Moderately Easy! Here, take a looksie. I know you, like me, are dying to try this on your very own pet chipmunk.

Teach Your Pet Chipmunk to Eat From Your Hand

Step 1- Sit very quietly near your pet chipmunk's cage. This will allow him to become accustomed to your presence while he feels safely enclosed in his cage. I did this! Just like a REAL chipmunk whisperer...

Step 2-Let your pet chipmunk become accustomed to your hand by feeding her a peanut while she is still in her cage. This is where things went down hill. My hand was in the cage, all nice and still. The door was cracked open, obviously, because my hand was attached to my body, like it normally is. Fifer sat there all nice and calm (little liar) and then he *VOOMED.*  On my hand. On my arm. On my head. Onto the deck railing. Off and into the the woods. No more chipmunk, so you can skip the reading of the rest of the steps if you want.

Step 3-Take your pet chipmunk out of his cage and put him on a tabletop. Make sure he is accustomed to you and is unafraid of your hand.

Step 4-Lay your hand on the tabletop near her with a peanut resting in your palm. In time, she will want to investigate the goodie in your hand.

Teach Your Pet Chipmunk to Come When You Whistle
Step 1-Make sure your pet chipmunk has mastered his first trick before attempting to train him to come when you whistle.

Step 2-Whistle a simple tune every time your pet chipmunk comes to eat a peanut out of your hand. Be sure to whistle the same tune each time so she will connect that tune with the treat. What tune would you whistle, if you had a chipmunk to whistle to? I'll have to think on this one... it would probably be some ridiculously complex piece of classical music...but that would mean I would have to work a lot on whistling,  as I am pretty awful at it right now.

Step 3-Stand a little further away every day. Gradually increase the distance between you and your pet chipmunk. Eventually he should come running across the room when you whistle.

Step 4-Try adding a new tune once he has successfully mastered coming when you whistle. If you are patient and persistent, you may succeed in training him to come when you call his name. *ohhh Fifer of Worchestershire the 3rd...*

This all sounds great, right? Now you want a pet chipmunk? Well, unfortunately it is mostly not so very legal in most states. Darn.
MY PERSONAL STEP ONE: before I try and take this intense quest on again, before I get me a magical flippin' rodent, I need to find a new state to live in...

Oh technology...

If you give a two year old a web cam, she is going to want some more technology to go with it.
So she will take your cell phone, open it up, and say "HI PEOPLE ON THE PHONE."
Then she will open up your inbox and try and send a respond text to your friend Sam.
But you should stop her before the nonsense it sent, lest the friend think are insane.

Then she will make her "shock face."

 Then you will scowl at her, and she will laugh hysterically at your horrendous looking face.

Then she will go back to taking your cell phone. And then actually dial a number involving lots of 4's and 1's. Then she actually hits send, and you take it away and quickly hang up before your little sister starts conversing with random strangers.

But you love her, a lot, so you will give her that web cam and that cell phone all over again....until she demands that you open up You Tube and watch Sesame Street monster videos with her. Then you draw the line and say, "get off my computer, kid and go read a book."

Oh, what has technology done to the children?

Monday, May 3, 2010

(sort of kind of another) Quote-able.

I try to be diligent about reading the Bible. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love to read it. It AMAZES me how it is always relevant. Written thousands of years ago, and yet it applies to my life today! And tomorrow! and FOREVER! It is just another way God is awesome.

But sometimes I slack at the reading of it. Lately I have been getting back in the habit of Bible reading/praying on a more regular basis. I've made an effort to black my computer screen and place my cell phone out of reach until I give God and my cup of coffee the first of my day. And it has been SO good.

My NIV Bible is well-worn, extensively underlined, ink explosion spotted, and is about to lose its leather cover. While NIV is my translation of choice, I was finding that as I read it, I was skimming over stuff because I had heard it all before, so many times, and had quite often underlined it as well. Last year when I graduated, some youth leaders gifted me an ESV Journaling Bible (meaning on the side bars of each page there are lines for writing down thoughts). Since then I have been trying to do my devotional reading out of there. Slowly but surely each book is being marked up, and the little lines are becoming full of my notes. It is an ingenious invention. 25 points for the guy who came up with it!

One of my favorite books to read, over and over and over again, is Psalms. The Psalm were originally written as songs, and I, as a vocalist and musician, am always intrigued by a well written song with beautifully crafted lyrics. Sometimes I sit at my keyboard and try to sing the Psalms to some sort of melody. I usually end up wishing David had recorded the melodies to his song and posted them on his myspace...oh wait...

This morning I was reading Psalm 103. The whole thing ( 22 verses) is phenomenal, but here are a couple verses that stood out to me.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives your iniquity, who heals all you diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."- verses 1-5

"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." verse 8

"He does not deal with us according to our sin, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens above the earth, so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our transgressions from us." -verses 10-12

It just amazes me how...unconditional... the love of God is. He is faithful even when I am far from it. He is loving and steadfast when I am so not. He is good when I blatantly choose not to be. He is slow to anger when I am quick to be furious. He is ever forgiving and I am ever screwing things up. And he doesn't deal with me according to the mess that I am; he is GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL! How does he DO that!?!?

What are you reading in the Bible? If you cannot answer that quickly I think it is safe to assume you simply AREN'T and should get off my blog and dust your Bible off. It is powerful stuff.


The weather here has been really humid lately. Some days rainy, some days sunny and a good many days cloudy. Yesterday was around 80 degrees and sunny, with humidity levels of...I don't really know, but I am going to say levels similar to a sauna. Just...sticky.

I don't usually like to wear shorts. It is near impossible for me to find any I like and even when I do they certainly don't do my short, white, dancer-muscley legs any favors. I make it through most of the summer in jeans. But yesterday was an occasion well worth the wearing of some cut-offs.

When I got home from church (*I was at church all day. 2 services in the morning, missions meeting in the afternoon. Sound check. The youth group at night. This how I do Sundays) around 9:00 my room was toasty roast, to say the least. I am not fond of AC or any type of forced air, so I popped open a window, set the ceiling fan on high, and dealt with the sauna-likeness by sleeping in pajama shorts and a tee shirt and using minimal blanket coverage.

This morning I come downstairs to join in some birthday festivities for my now 9 year old sister still in these aforementioned pajamas. Everyone is gathered around the kitchen table watching Gianna open presents. Avi, the 2 year old genius and constant comedy act, is seated in her high chair, holding onto a giant, purple bouncy ball that belongs to the birthday girl. She looks at me a little funny and says,

"Hi Bella! Where's pants?"
(Grammatical Translation and Two-year old correction; "Hi Bella, why aren't you wearing any pants?")

This is a question I frequently ask her, when she is running around in just a onesie (which at two, is somehow justifiable). Apparently she hasn't really ever seen me in shorts (or doesn't remember last summer) and was greatly confused by why her 19 year old sister's legs could be seen. Thanks Avi. Guess my shorts weren't good enough for you. I'll go put some pants on for you now, so you can stop being afraid of my legs.
Kids. Funny creatures they are...


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