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Posts Tagged ‘sad stuff’

Aside: Sad news

We found out yesterday that Craig’s cousin Donnie passed away. We are on the road to East Texas right now for the funeral. Please keep his family in your thoughts & prayers during this time. Thank you.

I’ll update again when we get back.

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There’s been some sad news in the dance community this week. Monday morning I woke up to the news that inspiring and inspired ballet teacher David Howard had passed away. He was really, truly an amazing teacher, and I regret that I didn’t have more classes from him. He was such a force in the dance world– he helped many dancers improve not only their technique, but their performance, bringing them to, as Cynthia Harvey put it, a higher place.

This happened on the day Houston remembered Jeremy Choate on the anniversary of his death.

Then, on Monday night, six performers from the musical Texas were in a serious accident with a tractor trailer. Five of them were killed, and the only survivor– a Houston dancer/choreographer and friend of mine– is in the ICU. It’s terrible and tragic and sad, sad, sad. My heart goes out to the five families who are suffering a terrible loss right now. And everyone in Houston (and in Portland, and many other places) are worrying about and praying for Tim. Tim is an energetic, talented dancer and choreographer who makes brings a smile to everyone he meets… and right now he’s sedated for 72 hours after surgery. I’m praying for his speedy recovery (he’s a strong guy, I have faith he’ll pull through….).

* * *

In happier news, Monday was the first night of dance classes and it went really well. My Contemporary class of 9-12 year-olds is wonderful; the dancers seem really excited to learn and eager to work. I’m excited about the year with them.

* * *

Until next time, enjoy this dance that Tim choreographed for my ensemble in 2008.

Hang in there, buddy.

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F—ed Up Friday

My heart went in my throat this afternoon, when I read about the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.

“Heartbreaking” is the only word I could come up with. Those poor, innocent children! They had their entire lives ahead of them! And even worse than that….they died in terror. Good Lord, now I’m crying again.

I can’t stop thinking about those parents. Parents who woke their kids up this morning and got them ready for school, not knowing it would be the last time. Parents who have Christmas presents that will never be opened and stockings that won’t be filled. Parents who ere given the precious gift of a child only to have it ripped away from them, senselessly and violently, after all too short a time.

It’s even more obscene that such a thing would happen during “the most wonderful time of year;” a month that’s supposed to be all about joy and family. Now families have been destroyed and “joy” feels like a four-letter word.

My heart aches for all the family members, the students, and the staff who were affected by today’s violent events. Cloud Cuckooland is morning right alongside you.

 

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Tuesday.

When I was studying dance in high school, classes usually didn’t start until the mid(sometimes late)- September. The first week or two of school was always hellish without ballet classes to look forward to.

My sophomore year of high school, I was looking forward to September 11th– the first day of ballet. I’d been counting down the days! I remember that I just wanted the school day to go quickly so I could get to the “important stuff.”

And then.

It started with a rumor in second-period math class, something about a plane hitting one of the twin towers. I knew how my classmates were about rumors (and how rarely any of them were true), so I pretty much ignored them and so I could go back to ignoring my geometry. The next period– ironically U.S. History II, where we were studying war— it was all confirmed. Our teacher told us what was going on, then turned on the TV and we spent the next 45 minutes watching everything unfold.

About an hour after that my Mother came and got me from school. She took me to church and we prayed, then we went with my aunt to pick up her two boys from elementary school. My Aunt couldn’t believe that the kids didn’t know what was happening– the country was under a terrorist attack, and they didn’t tell the students? I gently pointed out that since it was an elementary school, they probably just didn’t want to scare the little ones; but I don’t think she heard me.

We went back to her house– two aunts, three cousins, Mom and me– and watched the news. Mom sat on the couch and read the Book of Revelations. My littlest cousin had the advantage of being two years old and having no clue what was going on, so he played and laughed and at least made us smile a little bit.

(Funny aside: I remember that day that the news stations were so overloaded that the tickers had some amusing typos in them. For instance, the mayor was going to address New York City “residence,” and firefighters were struggling to put out “fries.”)

Eventually we split up, and I did go to ballet class after all. On my way there I thought about the irony, of how I’d been looking forward to this day for weeks and it ended up being the worst day of our country’s life. Inside, my classmates were talking solemly about what was happening, instead of chattering and giggling like teenage girls normally do. All our ballet teacher said was “Well, ladies, dance is a healing art. Now, plies.”

***

One year later, two of my friends and I did a dance at my church to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. Eleven years later, I will be heading to the dance studio once again on Tuesday, September 11th (to teach, this time). My students will be chattering and giggling before class, and I will be happy to hear it (until my class starts, then it’s time to get quiet and get serious!). They were all too little to remember that sad, sad September Tuesday.

 

Today I am thinking of everyone who was in New York City on that terrible day. The ones who were lost, the ones who responded and helped, the FDNY and NYPD, and the people who survived but are forever scarred (physically or emotionally). Sending you peace, love, and prayers.

God bless America.

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The Houston arts community suffered a horrible tragedy last Sunday, when lighting designer and gentle spirit Jeremy Choate was killed in a traffic accident. He was an amazingly talented lighting designer, and just about every dancer in Houston has been lit by him at some point (he lit a piece of mine, Building Nothing, in 2008). He had such a peaceful spirit, too– many dancers have spoken of how he remained calm in even the most tense tech-week situations, and how his calm was contagious.

He was at a traffic light on his motorcycle, on his way to a cast party, when a drunk driver plowed into him (extra-cruel irony: the cast party was for Hope Stone’s WRECK-WE-UMMM). He was 33, with two young daughters. Hearts are very heavy, and the city is mourning (well, the arts portion of the city…which is really the only one I pay attention to). This whole thing feels like a cruel prank by a heartless God. The loss of this man, this light, is felt so deeply by so many.

***

On Monday night I went to an audition for a staging of Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Necropolis. It’s a dark work, about death and grief, and it felt very appropriate. Everyone was in a somber mode, and we talked a bit about Jeremy (and how the sadness and loss related to the material). It was cathartic in a way.

***

When someone wonderful passes, I usually invoke the Bill Hicks* line “Have a spiffy eternity.” While it might seem trite by now, nobody deserves a spiffier eternity than the late, great Jeremy Choate.

Rest in peace.

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“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out and proclaiming. “Wow, what a ride!” 

…this sentiment was expressed on a sign outside my Grammy’s apartment. Oh, Grammy. What a great lady.
****

I really should have called her yesterday, while I was thinking of it. Momma says she was pretty much sedated yesterday, but still. I should have called.

****
Craig met her at Christmas last year, and he just loved her. When we took her home at the end of the night, and she said something about needing to get her walker, he told her “I’d think a walker would just slow you down.”

The sign outside her apartment really amused him. More than once he’s mentioned it, saying that “she really lives those words to the fullest.”

She did, too. She had a great ride.

****
Oh, Grammy. I miss you already.

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Some scattered notes from Saturday into Sunday:

Getting up at 5:30 on Saturday mornings is not the most fun thing in the world. On the other hand, getting up at 5:30 on Saturday mornings means I get a lot more stuff done before noon– like a head start on cleaning and laundry; and beating the big rush at H-E-B.

And frying a fish at 6 am. Because I wanted my husband to have a (non-fast-food) meal for his long workday, and we were out of already-cooked fish and meat (and pan- fried flounder seems to be Hubs’ new Favorite Thing Evar). I should mention that I did all the boiling-oil stuff *before* I had my morning coffee, and I still have all my skin. I think I deserve a high-five

***

Hubs’ new job is going well. So well, in fact, that he got a promotion on Thursday. *pause for happy squeals and high-fives.* He works five days a week; off on Friday and Sunday (hence our early start on Saturdays). In honor of his promotion, I baked him a celebratory pie this afternoon.

***

Yesterday was my Nan’s birthday. She would have been 82. I spent a lot of the day thinking about her and reflecting on fond old memories. Many memories have faded in the nearly 17 years since her death; sadly, the memory of finding her dead on her kitchen  floor will never leave me.

Let’s change the subject!

I also realized, early yesterday, that in exactly one year we’ll be swearing in a new president. Or (I’m hoping) re-inaugurating an old one. I’m really hoping it’s the latter. Those GOP candidates scare me.

***

Speaking of birthdays, my 26th one is this Wednesday. I would like a pony, or at very least a guy to gallop behind me clapping coconut shells.

***

Political highlight of the week: Our state’s biggest embarassment since Bush governor finally threw the towel in on his bid for presidency. Liberals across the state cheered.

Political lowlight of the week: Hairhelmet Gingrich won South Carolina, which begs the question: what the hell, South Carolina?

***

Before I went to bed [freakishly early] Saturday night, there was word around the internets that fired Penn State Coach Joe Paterno had  died; similarly, there was word going around that those death reports were not true.

He’s dead for real now. I learned this after I posted “Joe Pa’s not dead, you guys” on my facebook page (excuse me: timeline). *facepalm*

***

It’s Sunday now. We’re relaxing at home, doing some Bible readings and getting ready for some foot-ball. We observe football just as religiously as religion on Sundays. It’s cloudy and windy outside; a good day for staying in and laying low. We go out on the patio every so often because the wind feels nice and the air smells sweet. We bet it’s going to rain again today.

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