30 June 2016

Keep Calm and Tap Dance

After my fortieth birthday, and a few months after the beginning of the school year, I was lured by the sound of tapping feet.

The perpetually closed door of my youngest daughter's dance studio meant that it was impossible to watch her class while in session. Sitting on the floor outside the studio or in the waiting room soon paled to the sound of the class in the studio next door. I joined other parents and family members standing outside in the hall to watch the tap class, but soon watching wasn't enough. Despite never having tapped before, I demonstrated an anemic shuffle, and with the support of a class member, joined the tap class.

Not ever tapped before was a challenge. The classes were difficult. What helped was that one of the teachers, Kira, was willing to stay late, after the class had ended, to work with me. I would literally sit on the floor and study her feet as she demonstrated the various steps as well as explained them to me. I would watch the positions of her feet and ankles, then try to replicate them at home.

Gradually, I got better and better, and was able to keep up with the class rather than lag behind it. And I danced with my class members to Dancing in the Rain in the recital at the end of the school year.

There were three more years of tap classes, with the last being the Advanced Tap class. It was wonderful to be part of the recital experience, not only participating, but watching my daughters dance with their own classes.

Time passed. Homeschooling ended as the girls went to public school and I returned to working full time. Gradually, life regained its equilibrium. Then, one day I saw the "Cups" tap dance on YouTube and realized I could still identify many of the steps. Soon watching tap dancers wasn't enough and I wanted to start taking tap classes again.

A few months after the beginning of the school year, I got permission to join the Advanced Tap class. One of the best parts was not only did one of the classmates include a fellow dance mother and good friend, but the teacher was Kira!

It was not until talking with some of my fellow classmates before class that I realized that not just a few years had passed--but six.

Being in the class was a little like starting over again. To catch up to the class, I watched videos posted by Kira and a classmate and danced along with them, breaking down the steps until I could do them competently (perhaps not smoothly). Finally, during the bulk of May, I substituted the tap videos of our recital piece for my other work-outs before going to work in the morning, And, at the end of the school year, I danced with my class in the dance recital. My girls even paid me the highest complement by saying I didn't stand out and even looked pretty good.

Will I do tap again? Yes!

But I won't six years to do so...

28 June 2016

A Birthday Bookcase

After a hiatus due to preparing for a tap piece in a dance recital (all of May) and my youngest daughter's participation the nationals for National History Day (the beginning of June), I am blogging about one of the best birthday presents ever for a book lover: a floor to ceiling built-in bookcase complete with a window seat built by my husband. Because we have a dog, the window seat had to double as a nook for him--large enough to accommodate his dog bed and tall enough for him to access it comfortably.

The bookcase began as drawings on the wall: possible designs as well as dimensions used to create a materials list.

One of the designs included a bump-out pictured above which was rejected. With the exception of the window seat, the rest of the bookcase would be straight up and down.

Construction went rather quickly.

During construction, Butch and I tested out the window seat and found it satisfactory, both above and below.

After the shelves were installed, filling in the nail holes and any anomalies with wood filler and caulk came next. This we sanded and cleaned, readying the shelves for paint.

As the walls in the living room are white, I chose Whisper White as the paint color for the shelves. We painted the interior of the Butch nook a light tan to give it a subtle contrast.

Shelving came next, with the non-fiction books shelved using the Dewey Decimal system and the fiction books in alphabetical order by author,

including my book...

What a fabulous birthday present! The only downside: what's shelved is only a portion of my collection.

We'll have to build more shelves....