End of Year is Near

Hello, my blog friends! It’s been a while. What better time than the end of the year to update you all on life, the universe, and everything!

I apologize for my reticence in the last year or so. The pressure of coming up with something brilliant to say often gets in the way of publishing anything! I have recently taken my writing to a more serious level, which is both exciting and terrifying. But more on that later!

Here is my list of outstanding events of the year:

1. Cleansing Diet – I started the year by researching and then commencing a month-long arduous diet consisting mostly of vegetables, including fermented and ocean-based types with just a garnish of protein and limited grains (quinoa) along with kefir (fermented milk). The book, Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates, was recommended to me by a friend as a guide. I followed it as closely as possible, even ingesting probiotics and digestive enzymes and apprehensively using an enema bag for the first time ever. The diet was to clear my system of yeast, which was built up over years of sweets and bread consumption. Ultimately, my goal was to help rid myself of cancer. I believe the diet was to good effect, but the stringency was too much for me to continue or return to. I am hoping to find something else out there that I could stick to. I am definitely open to suggestions!

2. Comedy Class – I took a 10-week comedy class through a local high school continuing education program. This was a fun and exciting venture, which included two attempts on stage at an Open Mic in downtown Albany. The first time, I went WAY over – almost 9 minutes. The second time,my jokes were more contained and polished. I had a wonderful time and really loved hearing my voice through a mic!

Open Mic @ Savannah's 3/1/12
Open Mic @ Savannah’s 3/1/12

3. Crocheted Mermaid – I have been making amigurumi – cute little crocheted animals – for a few years now. My mom showed me a picture and corresponding pattern for a beautiful, detailed mermaid around Christmas of last year. At first glance, I thought, no way I can make this! But then I became too intrigued. So I ended up undertaking the task as a gift for one of my wonderful nieces and was pleased at how it turned out:

Amigurumi Mermaid
Amigurumi Mermaid

4. Basket Weaving – I like to dabble in different creative arts, and try new ones, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend a basket weaving workshop at the local Capital Region Art Center. It was so wonderful to become “in the know” about how baskets are made and I felt a real sense of accomplishment in the completion of this lunch sized basket:

Woven basket
Woven basket

5. Bellydancing – A friend I had met through another friend of mine announced that she would be offering bellydancing classes in February! I had indicated an interest when I had met her the previous summer, and now was my opportunity to give it a try! So for eight weeks, I learned to shimmy, undulate, and manipulate a veil in the dance. It was hard work but also great fun! And if it hadn’t been on the same evening as my beloved tango practicas, I would have liked to have continued.

6. Throwing a clay bowl – Early in the year, I ran across a bunch of Groupons that seemed particularly intriguing! One of them was for creating a clay bowl on a pottery wheel at the Broken Mold in Troy, NY. I went with a friend, and learned the basic process of building up the clay and pushing it back down with my hands from the patient Bianca. It seemed my friend was able to follow the instructions the first time, whereas I needed more hand holding! I loved the feel of the wet clay, (had to constantly add water to keep the material pliable) slippery in my fingers. Our creations turned out different – mine squat and thick, his narrow and higher:

Pottery Bowl
Pottery Bowl

7. Hang Gliding – Another groupon was for a hang gliding class! Since this was something I had longed to do since I was twelve or so, I jumped at the chance to learn to glide! Dan Guido at the Susquehanna Flight Park was both drill seargent and coach in teaching us safety and proper techniques for getting the glider up and off the ground. The hill was not very high, but the thrill was!

Hang Gliding!
Hang Gliding!

8. German for Everyone course – I had the pleasure of creating my own materials for a German continuing education class at Hudson Valley Community College – my first teaching venture at the college level in New York State. My class was a nice mix of young, college aged, middle aged and retired folks who warmed up to me and to each other very quickly. The class was very interactive and lively and the participants  were willing to field trip it to the Bavarian Manor, a German restaurant in the Catskills an hour away: http://www.bavarianmanor.com/. It was a great opportunity to taste German food and practice German vocabulary!

9. The Veil – My friend, Julie Casper Roth, (who instructed the two documentary filmmaking workshops I took two years ago) was looking for actors for a short film she was producing. I audtioned for the part of the mother of a young, gay Mormon man and got the part! The scene was shot in an office setting with another actor portraying a Mormon official. The process was a blast and I had a breakthrough moment where I realized the best way to act (heck, do anything!) was to be in the moment and have fun with it. And not worry about being perfect! The screening, months later, revealed satisfactory results. Thanks to Julie for making me look good!

10. Tango! – Over a year ago, I started taking Argentine Tango classes and this has created a great shift in my life! Never before have I dedicated so much time, effort, and funds towards perfecting my dance skills! What has made the difference? The Albany Tango Society, under the leadership of Kevin Magee! http://www.albanytangosociety.org/. Kevin’s passion for the dance and commitment towards spreading the joy of tango as much as possible in the Capital Region has been very catching! The tango community is a close one, full of intelligent, sensitive-minded individuals who enjoy the intimacy and the connection of the dance. Indeed, the embrace of tango, the feeling of connection to another human being, the freedom to express one’s emotions, are the most tantalizing aspect of the dance. And the like-minded people I have met, have given me such warm friendship and encouragement; it has been a life dream I never knew I had come true!

There have been many other life-validating events in 2012, a trip to England, the grueling task of finding new digs in a satisfactory setting, brilliant performances by Marc Cohn and Bonnie Raitt at the Palace among other enjoyable shows, food and travel writing as well as chocoloate making workshops, to name a few. The general trend this year was to stretch and to grow by putting myself out there in new ways. But also, to accept myself as I am, warts and all. In fact, I continually come to this point – whenever I am struggling, it is because I am not respecting my true nature. But more on this at a future date! For now, I wish you all a very blessed holiday season and the chance to shine in the New Year!

2 thoughts on “End of Year is Near

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