dawn_felagund: Ainulindale--star photo from hubblesite.org. (ainulindale)
Well, when it rains it pours, in a good way this time. Some of you might remember a few weeks ago when I had mad deadlines for things and was biting my fingers till they bled (how I react when stressed out!). Both being due simultaneously meant that they were both published within the past two days.

My article "Fictional Scholarship: How the Peter Jackson Films and Fandom Archives Make Tolkien Fan Fiction Writers into Competent Critics" is out in Mythprint 52:1. It is a shortened version of my Mythmoot paper (which will eventually be available for free online in the proceedings) but does introduce some new data and expands on some of the points I couldn't really delve into in my Mythmoot paper because of time. Unfortunately, I don't have a link for this one, but Mythopoeic Society members will get it as part of Mythprint. There were no strings attached on this article, so I can reprint it wherever and whenever I want, and I will post it on the Heretic Loremaster in a couple of weeks. I just want to give Mythprint the courtesy of having it first for a while.

And my article In a Stone House by the Sea: The Founding and Governing of the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild is available in Signum University's Eagle. (Here is the entire March edition of the Eagle.) The timing on this was perfect because, believe it or not (and I am still having trouble believing it), the SWG's tenth begetting day* is tomorrow.

*Just like an Elf, the SWG has a begetting day and a birthday because I set it up on March 15 and then chickened out about doing anything with it until later in the year, having been utterly unqualified to start anything of that scope, even as I imagined it then. Uli pushed me in the summer to try to actually, um, get people to join, so I count the end of July as its birthday.

Finally, I wrote an essay, We Are Fëanor? Thoughts on Reading Moral Ambiguity into the Characterizations of the Fëanorians, which I posted to the Heretic Loremaster and also Tumblr. (Also a reminder that [syndicated profile] heretic_lore_feed will display HL posts on your friends page. I don't use the HL very much these days but it [and the entire Midhavens site] will be getting a facelift and some renewed attention once my MA is done and then I hope to have regular updates from me and People Not Me.)
dawn_felagund: (brainz)
We left Liberty at around 12:30 today. Bobby had been talking with our friend Dawn, who lives in town and was watching the Goldens, for the two days while we were gone. Last night, she informed him that the town had run out of salt and so wasn't able to salt the streets. We live within town limits (barely), so the town does our street. We also live at the top of a huge hill; continue up our street past our house, and you look out at the mountains from the highest point in Carroll County. So getting home with the Yaris if the roads were not salted could prove treacherous. Given that, we decided to wait till later in the day, to let the town hopefully get their hands on some salt and, at the very least, let the sun do its work.

Once we were off Route 140, the roads weren't great: still snow-covered in places and a slushy mess in others. This seems to be the MO lately. I don't know what's going on and why it is lately taking so long to clear big roads after a snowfall. Bobby saw something online where a lot of plow drivers were commenting that they hadn't even been called out for this storm; apparently, the state is trying to save money. Wonderful ... because Marylanders aren't perilous enough on the roads when it snows. Ironically, for all of our worry about Manchester, once we crossed into town, the roads were beautiful. I guess they got a hold of some salt. They always do a good job on the roads, and this is definitely one of the perks of living in town. (They also vacuum up the leaves in the fall and pick up Christmas trees, brush, and bulk trash for free.)

Our driveway was, of course, completely inaccessible, since it had a foot of snow as well as a nice pile from the plow at the bottom of it. We parked in Neighbor Bob's driveway while Bobby went to get the snowblower going. And guess what wouldn't start? It is not our luck, it seems, to have motorized things start as they should when we need them in inclement weather. Bah. So we both grabbed shovels and went to work. Luckily, it was a light, powdery snow, and we quickly cleared enough space to park the car and a path to the front door.

Of course, once we were inside, Bobby went to start the truck, and naturally, now that we don't need it, it started right away. And today is much colder than it was on Wednesday; my only hypothesis is that it wouldn't start because of the rain. I don't know enough about cars to know what might be affected by rain that would cause a car not to start, but it's the only thing different between Wednesday and today that makes any inkling of sense.

The official snowfall for Manchester was 11.8 inches/30 cm. Bobby showed me a chart from the National Weather Service last night that ranked the reported snowfall in various locations. Check out who's sitting pretty at #6.

 photo March5snowfallNWS_zpsuzrbuw2s.png

Boo-yah, Manchester, in the top ten! I did see an unofficial report from the NWS with a report of 12.5" from Lineboro, which is the next town east of us, although they share our zip code. I'm not sure if they weren't included because of that or because the report came via CoCoRaHS and not from an NWS-trained spotter. (I am an NWS-trained spotter, yo. Although I haven't actually done anything with that for a couple of years now. After my MA, yaddayadda.) But then there's our friends in Westminster in eighth place! (I don't know where Funkstown is except that it is west of us--in Frederick or Washington County, I think; I used to know when I still assigned parole retake warrants and could tell you where every one-horse town in Maryland was located but that knowledge faded pretty fast--but I always imagine everyone there walks around in bellbottoms and platform shoes.)

My dad swears that Manchester is the coldest place in central Maryland. He insists that when Manchester [rarely] gets a spot on the evening news' weather map, it is always the coldest. I don't watch the evening news, but Manchester does have something of a microclimate. It is colder here, and we do get (and keep) more snow as a result. Not only are we pretty much as far north as one can go in Maryland--I like to joke that I can stand on my front porch and spit into PA--but we have a high elevation relative to the surrounding area. Our house stands at 1040 feet/317 meters above sea level. As noted above, the highest point in Carroll County is just up the road from us; to offer a point of comparison, my parents also live adjacent to the highest point in Baltimore County (the next county east of us), which is 505 feet/154 meters above sea level. Driving west on I-70, you have to go quite a ways into the mountains before the elevation signs show that you're above where our house sits. So it is not unusual, when driving from the bottom of the hill to our house near the top, to watch the thermometer in the car click down 2-3 degrees F as we drive.

With the driveway clear, we enjoyed the nicely cleared town roads as we drove into town to pick up the Goldens. We had a pristine backyard to let them out into; I took a video because they're funny in the snow. Apologies for the jiggly camera work; I was very often looking at something other than the camera.

In summary, these past two days have been awesome, despite first the truck and then the snowblower not starting. I was a good girl the other day and did download the syllabus for my next class, and I got one book read (Frankenstein) and two pages of notes typed up on it. I also got to play around a lot online, so it has not been all work and no play (for which I would get in trouble with a few people around these parts). And Bobby snowboarded for literally 15 hours, which seems ridiculous to me but makes him so very happy.
dawn_felagund: Sad cartoon spider saying, "Love me?" (spider love me)
Here it be, arrrr. )
dawn_felagund: Lamppost in the winter snow. (winter lamppost)
Bobby is a bona fide meteorology nerd as well as a snowboarder, which means that he starts tracking winter storms sometimes a week or more out. I don't remember when he first told me about the developing possibility of a storm today; he updates me more or less daily, and they all run together after a while. Some fritter away, some come to pass (but usually tend toward the more modest accumulations), and the rare one comes to full, spectacular-as-in-major-accumulation fruition.

As the week progressed, this storm looked more and more promising. Bobby watches all of the different models (although, like an meteorologist, he has his favorites), and what was interesting in this case was that all of the models were in agreement, which is uncommon.

Tuesday night, we were eating supper (spectacular fried pork chops, garlic-cheddar mashed potatoes, and sauteed Brussels sprouts) and Bobby said, "If the storm is still looking good by tomorrow afternoon, I think we should hedge our bets in a major way."

We have a tradition several years running of staying up to watch cheesy '80s dance movies the night before we think we are going to get a snow day. Sometimes the school system calls it the night before; other times, we "hedge our bets" and trust that a storm is not only going to come to pass but that the school system will have the good sense to close if it does. If we think we might get a snow day, we'll start asking each other in the afternoon, "Do you think we ought to hedge tonight?" We watch (in this order) Footloose, Dirty Dancing, and Flashdance, one per night, so that our progress through the lineup becomes an odd metric of the severity of the season's winter weather. Last year, we ran through our cheesy '80s dance movie collection very quickly and had to come up with alternate plans.

So far this year, we have watched Footloose and Dirty Dancing (the latter was our Sunday-night fare before Monday's closure). I thought Bobby was going to suggest that we watch Flashdance. Instead, he said, "If the storm is still coming by Wednesday afternoon, then I'm thinking about reserving us a room at Liberty so that I can have a powder day on Thursday."

More and Photos beneath the Cut )


Mar. 1st, 2015 08:20 pm
dawn_felagund: Lamppost in the winter snow. (winter lamppost)
It is presently icing/sleeting outside and has been for now going on 12 hours. Schools are already delayed two hours tomorrow morning with "morning reevaluation," which means that they're at least considering closing altogether. I can always use a snow day; I always have stuff to do. I finished the short article based on my Mythmoot presentation and turned it in yesterday; today was the SWG newsletter; tomorrow could be revising and turning in my article on the SWG for the Signum University Eagle. That would put me in a really good place. So ... *crosses fingers*

It's March One, so ... B2MeM! I think probably everyone here who is Tolkienish has heard about it, but if you have not, check it out. It's a great event this year, which I can say without feeling like I'm tooting my own horn since I am not running it this year and had almost nothing to do with planning it: a marketplace format, where participants "sell" and "buy" prompts using imaginary coin. There are many, many excellent prompts. As a mod, I get an email for every comment left on mod posts, and I was reading all of the prompts as they came in but stopped because I was wanting to buy everything that came in.

I went to register for my last class before the thesis (Romantic and Industrial Revolutions) on Friday, and it doesn't start till April, so I have another month off from for-credit coursework. This means that I should be able to get a big jump on my reading. It will probably mean that I dick around with B2MeM, thesis research, and other fannish things instead. I should at least download the syllabus so that I can at least pretend I'm going to do something with it.

Because there's nothing better to do on an "ice day" than play with green, living things, I showed some love to my houseplants today, and Bobby and I started the year's tomato and pepper seeds. My succulents are all throwing off baby plants since I've been doing better with fertilizing them properly; I need to re-pot these and then find new homes for them. Otherwise I'll be like the Duggars of succulents; I already have several baby aloe plants that I was supposed to give away years ago. I just get attached and don't want to give them away.

All in all, this was a pretty dull weekend, but productive. I'd love to extend it to a third day!
dawn_felagund: (art lives)
I started doing this last year, since discovering the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg means that I do actually get the opportunity to see many of the Academy Award nominees each year. (We live just far enough from Baltimore and DC to make it impractical to go there just to see a movie, and our local theaters don't tend to show them. Good movies being one of my great loves in life, this was one of the grievous facts of living in Carroll County.) I actually managed to see all the Best Picture nominees this year except for Whiplash, which is being ridiculously released on DVD/On Demand on Tuesday, two days after the Oscars, and as far as I know, it wasn't even at the Majestic.

What Dawn would have voted for if she were in the Academy. Spoilerish. )
dawn_felagund: (happiness)
Last week, when Bobby and I were sitting at the bar in Pie-casso, there was a giant slalom event on the television. I told him that it looked cool. "Oh, that's giant slalom," he said.

"Funny, the people look like they are of ordinary stature to me, not giants at all."

"No, it doesn't mean that giants participate, it just refers to the kind of event it is."

Well, this was timely, as we returned from Vermont to discover that Bobby had a chance to participate in a giant slalom event today at Liberty, the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge. He wasn't initially sure that employees of the mountain would be allowed, but it was decided they were. He is tall (6'2") but not a giant.

There were 700-some participants overall and 28 in his category (male snowboarders ages 25-35; as he noted, there were some "pretty young dudes" he was up against). He texted me when he was getting into line, and I wrapped up in my cold-weather gear and schlepped out to the end of the course in my inappropriate-for-snow shoes. It was snowing quite hard; we are under a winter storm warning in north-central Maryland today. I arrived right as he was coming down and got to see the end of his run.

This was his first competition, and I don't think either of us knew what to expect, but at 2:30, we stood to hear the winners announced ... and he took bronze in his category! Which means that he is now eligible to race in the finals at the end of March, at Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire. It is a televised event! So it looks like we will be back on the Vermonter and headed northward again sooner rather than later.

Photos and Snoooow! )
dawn_felagund: (beer wine beer)
Sunday was a wickedly cold and windy day. Remember how I posted that we got in the hot tub on Saturday night, and I was all proud for walking barefoot in the snow? While Bobby and I were in the hot tub, we were talking about what we thought the temperature was and whether this was the coldest weather in which we'd ever been in a hot tub. "Oh, it's probably about 7-8F," we figured (-13 to -14C). Which would have been the coldest for me but not Bobby, who got in the hot tub in Deep Creek Lake once when it was 4F/-16C. Well, the taxi driver who took us to the train station this morning was the same who picked us up on Saturday night, and we were talking about the extremity of cold compared to home and how it was -20F/-29C in Stowe when Bobby woke up this morning, and the taxi driver was like, "Well, that's nothing considering that it was -24F/-31C when I picked you up on Saturday!" OMGWTFWHY WAS I IN A HOT TUB WHEN IT WAS -24F. It does make me feel less wimpy for my reluctance to strip down to my swimsuit once I was outside in the apparently -24 temperatures and much more badass for my barefoot dash through the snow back into the B&B clad only in a bikini. And it's an item I can check of my to-do list of stupid-things-that-done-once-one-has-no-need-to-repeat. (Actually, it really wasn't that bad!)

Randy the innkeeper at our B&B makes a pot of homemade soup every day at around 4 o'clock, when the mountain closes and all the skiers/boarders start to come back. The soup is complimentary, and pretty much everyone gathers in the common room at 4 o'clock or so to thaw out with a cup (or in my case, to just eat it because I'm hungry and love soup). Sunday, it was black bean soup. Bobby and I were eating soup and debating where we wanted to go for supper. We wanted sushi, but there was a sushi bar within walking distance of the B&B and also the Matterhorn, which is considered one of the best ski apres bars in the country. (THE WORLD!!! ... okay, I don't actually know if it is in the world; I just wanted to yell THE WORLD!!! and wave my hands about on my journal in a dramatic fashion.)

We asked Randy, and he couldn't really choose one as better than the other, so we decided on the Matterhorn, even though we'd need to take a taxi to get there. (Well, initially, we tried to stand out and wait for the free Stowe shuttle, but the wicked cold and winds was just a little too much to bear for me.) We just couldn't pass up the chance to try one of the best ski apres bars in the country. I'm glad we did; the food was incredible, and we had the best time. We ordered three sushi rolls to start, and Bobby ordered Buffalo wings for his main while I had the "Matterhorn bowl," which was pretty much a blend of different sushi chopped small over rice with "yummy sauce." I had wanted to try real sushi (not just rolls), and this was a good way to do it since the pieces were small and mixed with other things. I really liked it. We washed all of this down with several Switchback Ales, one of the local beers. We tried it, I liked it and didn't have an allergic reaction to it, so I drank it for the remainder of the trip with nary a wayward itch. (A sign that I'm potentially allergic to a beer is itching in weird spots, like behind my elbows.)

More and Pictures below the Cut! )
dawn_felagund: Lamppost in the winter snow. (winter lamppost)
[personal profile] heartofoshun gave me the letter S for this here M-type thing. If you would like a letter, please ask!

I started this on the train to Stowe, and it took two full days to finish it. Wow.

Something I hate: Stop sign shenanigans! By which I mean the people who, upon arriving at a four-way stop, dispense with the rules of right-of-way that are designed to keep traffic moving and decide to be all "helpful" and wave other cars through ahead of them. All this does is hold people up! No one wants to plunge to their death into the intersection, so everyone ends up staring at everyone else, trying to figure out who is waving the most sincerely and is therefore least likely to say "fuck it" and just gun it through the stop sign. It drives me crazy. Just follow the right-of-way rules and let everyone be on their way as quickly as possible. That's why someone bothered to come up with the rules in the first place! If they didn't mean for them to be followed, we would just leave four-way stops a matter of etiquette, like holding open doors. The only thing worse is people who do the same thing in traffic circles. Horror.

Something I love: The sea. When I first read Tolkien, I absolutely understood the concepts of the sea-longing and of hearing the Great Music in the sound of water. There is no place where I am happier and more inspired than on the seashore. I haven't seen the ocean for almost three months now, and the sea-longing is upon me. (Bobby knows it: We'll be going to Ocean City the first weekend that Liberty is closed.) The closest I have to the numinous is on the edge of the ocean, hearing and touching the water. (Next is the forest. I feel a part of something larger in those places, both insignificant and timeless.)

Somewhere I've been: Scotland, twice, while visiting my sister and her wife in the north of England. My favorites of the places we've been were Stirling and Edinburgh, in that order. Bobby was researching his thesis (on the Scottish Wars of Independence) when we were in Stirling, and we were on and off the little tourism bus going to different historical sites so much that the driver got to know us and waved us goodbye when he saw us walking to the train station to leave. Edinburgh was beautiful and a very knowledgeable server in a whiskey bar we went to turned me on to Quinta Ruban Scotch, for which I remain extremely grateful!

Somewhere I'd like to go: This was the hardest one to answer. Let's go with Sweden here. I'm interested in medieval Germanic literature and history. It's as good a place as any to geek over that kind of thing.

Someone I know: Sharon/[profile] ssotknapsack, my sister and second best friend in the world. I am so happy that she found such a wonderful wife and has such great in-laws but I do miss her every day!

A film I like: I'm going to kind of cheat and say short films. Because I am a short film addict. I use short films a lot of times when teaching literary concepts to my students, and this is a time-consuming undertaking for me because I end up on a short film archive and watching things that I know really won't work for the lesson but that I find interesting. Last weekend, Bobby and I went to the Majestic in Gettysburg to see the nominees for the live action short film category at the Oscars. OMFG. I loved every last one of them and managed to go from feeling like I was being punched repeated in the solar plexus from the inside and maybe even crying JUST A LITTLE don't think I'm going all soft now to laughing so hard it hurt. Okay, since I'm kind of cheating in this category, I'll recommend one for the letter S: I use the darkly humorous Spin to teach theme to my students; it's one of my favorites and they always love it too. I've watched it twenty times now if I've watched it once, and it never gets old.

A book I love: The Silmarillion--a no-brainer here! This has been the book that has had without a doubt the biggest impact on my life. It knocked me out of my narrow little literary world and made me realize I wanted to devote my life's work to literature and writing. Besides, association with the Silm fandom has kept me entertained for over ten years now and made me many wonderful friends.

Other life-changing books: The Scarlet Letter was the book I read in eleventh grade that made me realize I was allowed to like the books we read in school. I think I was the only person in my class who liked it, and I think I had something of a literary crush on the Reverend Dimmesdale in all his angst. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was the first work I read that made think I might want to learn more about and study medieval literature. It is still my favorite work to teach (yes, even more than Beowulf!) and the only work I've taught to my students where we reached the end of an assigned section and they begged to keep reading.

An Author: Stephen King. I haven't read him in forever and am not sure how I would feel about him now, but he was one of the authors that first coaxed me from the YA to the Adult section of the library. (Which probably partly explains my proclivities as an adult reader and writer!) I remember seeing a TV ad for a collection of his books; the ad described his books as terrifying, which was all I needed to hear to know that I wanted to read them. I'd worked my way through the R.L. Stine Fear Street series and everything written by Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan, and I was ready for an upgrade. Some of his books that are considered classics didn't do much for me (Carrie, Pet Sematary, Cujo), but others stuck with my for years, and I probably read them a dozen times (It and The Stand, as well as the novellas The Long Walk, The Body, and The Mist). He wrote interesting characters (including young people) who transcended the popular-nerdy-quirky triumvarate of stock characters familiar from the YA fiction I'd been reading. Go figure, his characters attracted me the most.

I am notably not listing Shakespeare for this one. Kick me out of the profession of teaching English if you must! Shakespeare is enjoyable but hasn't impacted me in the way that many other authors have. At the school where I student-taught, the English faculty fought each year over who would teach "Brit lit" the following year because everyone wanted to teach Shakespeare and Jane Austen. I would have had a dog in that fight but because I would have wanted to teach Beowulf and the Middle English poets!
dawn_felagund: (alex eek)
Last night, I lost a toenail. The rest goes beneath the cut out of respects for fellow blood-injury phobics!

Gross, Foot-Related Stuff; Not for the Squeamish!!! )
dawn_felagund: (hermione)
Bobby sent me a really interesting article that breaks down how one's college major translates into various measures of intelligence and academic aptitude. The hard sciences come out on top in every single measure and no surprises there. And on the bottom?

Education majors.

Dawn Talks Shop )
dawn_felagund: (hermione)
(Yes, I am probably the only person on the planet still doing the Fandom Snowflake Challenge, but I am determined to finish it this year if it takes me all month ... and at the rate I'm going, it might! That is why I am posting this, even though it makes me so uncomfortable. This fandom has shown me so much love in truly life-changing ways. I feel like I can't ask for more. But in the interest of checking them all off the list, I am swallowing my discomfort and posting it anyway.)

In your own space, create a love meme for yourself. Let people tell you how amazing and awesome and loveable you really are. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so. Surf the comments and find people to give love to.

I'm drawing the line at posting it on Tumblr, though.
dawn_felagund: (hermione)
Over on the post about my paper presentation this weekend, the issue of genre was brought up because I didn't address it in the paper but I definitely asked about it in the survey. I decided not to include it in the paper because it involved defining and explaining terminology (genfic, het, slash) that I just didn't have time for, and I wasn't sure I could introduce the topic in so short a time in such a way that I could impress upon a non-fanfic audience all of the significance and sometimes emotion that accompanies these genres. However, it certainly interests us, so I'm going to share some data here. (I did post some data in the conversation on the earlier post, but the comments are becoming convoluted enough that I worry that it's going to become difficult to find and discuss it, and it is worth breaking out into a place where it is easier to find and talk about.)

I am going to share the data sets for the four genres for readers and writers from my survey and also from Centrum Lumina's AO3 Census. It is important to note that the questions I asked and she asked are not identical and, in fact, measure slightly different things, but I think they are similar enough that we can at least look at them side-by-side to see if there are any trends between the Tolkien fandom and fandom as a whole, at least as it exists on AO3.

Data and Discussion below the Cut )
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
I had to let the video upload on YouTube run overnight because of my current Internet situation but--at last!--the video of my presentation on Saturday at Mythmoot is finally ready. The full title (which is too long to fit in the title field) is "Transformative Works as a Means to Develop Critical Perspectives in the Tolkien Fan Community." The paper covers the history of Tolkien fan fiction, the development of online communities, and the use of Tolkien fan fiction as a means for writers to not only learn more about the texts but to become more analytical and critical readers. This is probably not news for anyone here, but keep in mind that I was presenting to a general (and not necessarily fanfic-friendly) audience at a fantasy studies conference.

The handout for the presentation can be found here. An audio-only version of the presentation can be found here.

Thoughts and reactions are most welcome, of course! :)
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
In January 2015, I will be presenting a paper about the Tolkien fan fiction community at the Mythmoot III conference in Baltimore. While other fandoms have been studied in depth, particularly television fandoms, very little study has been done on the Tolkien fandom, and my ten years of experience in this community have caused me to conclude that, while we share some similarities with other fandoms, we also differ in some important regards. I hope, through my Mythmoot presentation, to provide not only background on our community, its history, and its practices for an audience that may not be familiar with the fan fiction community, but also to begin to identify and examine some of the ways that our community differs from how fandom has been understood and presented by scholars.

As part of this, I have put together a survey for participants in the Tolkien fan fiction community. The purpose of the survey is to collect data on the habits, beliefs, and preferences of Tolkien fans who participate in reading and/or writing fan fiction. No identifying information, including IP address, is collected as part of the survey. You may skip any questions you do not want to answer or quit the survey at any time. I estimate that it will take about 15-20 minutes to complete.

If you have ever read or written Tolkien-based fan fiction, you are eligible to participate.

Click here to begin the Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey.

Please feel free to direct any questions, comments, or concerns to me via email (DawnFelagund@gmail.com) or private message. And do feel free to share the link to the survey or a link to this post; I would like to get as many perspectives as possible from as many corners of our community as possible.
dawn_felagund: (unicorn)
About a month ago, I was at dance class, stretching out with my instructor Jessica, and she mentioned an upcoming hafla (dance party) that she wanted me to consider performing in. I have been working with Florence, my fellow intermediate class dancer, on a raqs assaya* number for a few months. Florence, however, was going to be on her honeymoon during the hafla. Jessica said, "Well, I can dance the number with you." Then about five seconds passed, and she said, "Or you can dance it solo. You're ready for it."

*Raqs assaya is a traditional southern Egyptian dance that is performed with a cane.

I've skated solo many times in shows, but I've only been bellydancing for a little over two years, but why not? One has to start somewhere, and Jess assured me that this particular hafla was very casual and fun, and a mere intermediate like myself dancing solo would not be looked upon as inappropriate or weird. So I agreed. (Solo is actually easier than dancing with someone else because you do not have to worry about sticking strictly to the choreography, minding your spacing in relation to another person/people, or staying in-sync with them.)

I have been off-and-on regretful about that for the past month, not because I was worried or nervous about dancing solo but because 1) the very next week is when I pulled my piriformis, which took me fully out of dance for a week and very tentative for the week after that with some lingering effects even now, and 2) I have been ridiculously busy, so the time for regular practice, including videoing and critiquing myself, just wasn't there. Know when I finally got to video myself doing the dance in costume? Yesterday afternoon in our cramped, low-ceilinged basement. :^| Ah well.

Yesterday was ridiculously rainy, and the studio, which was located in a business park, was hard to find in the dark. We had to keep driving up and down the divided highway, trying one driveway after another and, when that wasn't the one, driving back down the highway, making a U-turn, and trying again. I will admit that, in that moment, as the clock crept perilously close to the time I was due at the hafla, I said out loud that I wished I hadn't agreed to it.

But that was short-lived. We found the place eventually, and I had an awesome time. I am nowhere near satisfied with the dance as it is, but as I watch the video, I am also not cringing in horror. I did a decent job for someone who has only been dancing (in this form anyway) for two years. And, yes, it was ridiculously fun. I love performing and always have. (Take that, tumblrites who think that introversion = social anxiety!) Jessica asked me if I was nervous, and I said, "Eh ... no." She laughed and said I was Zen. She insists I am the most laid-back person she knows. (Which is funny because I so rarely feel laid-back at all!)

Photos and, yes, the VIDEO below the cut! )
dawn_felagund: (charlie brown tree)
Several years ago, the Felagund family used to make an annual trek every December to New York City for the day. It was a nice day: time for a leisurely lunch, to wander around the city, capped off with the Radio City Rockettes' show, and followed by a walk back to the bus that involved an inevitable stop for sandwiches at Pret a Manger. Then, under the pretense of The EconomyTM, the bus company stopped running this trip. This year, they started it back up again (perhaps because The EconomyTM has supposedly improved).

Dad asked if we wanted to go, and the decision was instantaneous: Of course we did! To make matters even better, the trip was on a Thursday this year--it had always been on a Monday before, the one day of the week that the Met is closed--so I indulged a fantasy of meeting [personal profile] heartofoshun for lunch, taking the subway to mill about the Met for a couple of hours, and returning in plenty of time to see the show.

But then we got the itinerary. Read more... )
dawn_felagund: Natty Boh logo (natty-boh)
Bobby and I and my parents decided a few weeks ago that we wanted to go to Ocean City for the holiday weekend. It was a short trip--we left Friday around noon and came home today--but was very, very nice; I wish I was still there. Friday morning, Bobby left for Liberty Mountain to get first chair on their opening day of the season, which was--like last year--unusually early. (The Western resorts like Jackson Hole and Vale also opened this weekend.) He returned ecstatic, having spent the morning on snow that he said was more like January snow than November.

While he was gone, I rushed around getting things ready so that we could leave as soon as he came home. The Goldens knew that something was up as soon as the suitcase came out. As soon as their leashes and seatbelts followed, I had Alex on my heels for the rest of the morning. Despite having been thoroughly exhausted by the Thanksgiving festivities the day before, they managed to ratchet up some excitement for what they knew was an impending trip. Phil went to sleep in the car but Alex stayed awake for the whole three-hour ride.

We arrived in OC at around 3:30, only a couple minutes after my parents arrived. We were staying at the Fenwick Inn, which allows dogs in the wintertime. I took the Goldens to pee; they were both acting like wild animals and drove me crazy in just the short walk to the grassy spot where we take them and back to the hotel. We dropped them off in the room, knowing they were thoroughly exhausted enough to go right to sleep, and headed off to get a late lunch.

More and pictures below the cut! Including the tale of the old creaky hinge ... )
dawn_felagund: Lamppost in the winter snow. (winter lamppost)
I can't exactly say "winter" since it is still autumn for almost a month yet. I dithered when deciding where to put the picture of the snow in my files: chronologically correct (the Autumn 2014 folder) or where I'd be more likely to find it (the Winter 2014-2015 folder). I went with Winter 2014-2015, which is also where I put the pictures of the inch or so that we got the other week.

This was the view out the back door about two hours ago:

 photo 2014-11-26152502_zpsd919833b.jpg

It was still snowing like crazy at the time, which is hard to see in the picture.

We had a kinda sorta snow day at school: a three-hour early dismissal, which meant that the kids left at 11 AM, which officially made it one of the easiest days of my teaching career. I put on Home Alone and fed all comers leftover ice cream that I'd made for yesterday's Thanksgiving lunch. Get 'em nice and hyper and then send them home. >:^) The snow started mid-morning and, by the time I left school at 11:15, was already starting to stick on the roads.

The drive home was the worst close to school. Up our way, they did a good job of getting the roads salted, but there is one hill about five minutes from the school, and I did question if I would make it to the top and wondered what I'd do if I got stuck five minutes from the school and almost an hour yet from home. By the time we got home, we had about 4 inches/10 cm of snow already; the predicted accumulation for us is supposed to be around 8 inches/20 cm. I haven't looked to see what it is currently.

The last time we had a Thanksgiving snowstorm was in 1989. Bobby and I were eight years old; we both remember it. I feel sorry for people traveling today; this storm is going to create a major mess for them. I am grateful that it will be over and the roads will be clear in time for our guests to come out to our house tomorrow.
dawn_felagund: (alex awww)
This weekend was fairly mild with another dip in temperatures and potentially our first snowfall due for later in the week, so Bobby finished cleaning up the leaves in the yard. Yesterday, I was able to help him: raking up the last of the leaves and putting a good, thick covering on all the garden beds.

Golden Retrievers pretty much know how to do anything handy that you might find yourself doing around the house, and they are always right there and eager to help. Cleaning up the leaves was no exception. For example, it is very helpful if, when you rake up a pile of leaves, a Golden Retriever lays in the middle of that pile because it keeps the leaves from blowing away.

When Phil did that the first time, I responded by raking the next batch of leaves over top of him. He became indignant and got up from the pile. Later, Alex did the same thing, so I thought, "Well, it worked with Phil, so it'll probably work with him too."

Photos beneath the Cut )


dawn_felagund: (Default)
Dawn Felagund

March 2015

1234 5 67
8910111213 14


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Mar. 27th, 2015 08:08 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios