Month: November 2010

Tis the (Nutcracker) Season

I’ve spent the past half hour brushing, braiding, bobby pinning and—last but not least—bedazzling the rather matted mane of my American Girl doll.  Why?  Because tomorrow I’ll be introducing my preschool students to the work of Tchaikovsky and nothing says “Nutcracker” like a bedazzled American Girl doll. In truth, my handiwork is really just a vehicle for the miniscule wooden nutcracker I purchased at Rite Aid earlier today: Mademoiselle Accidental Dreadlocks has been transformed from “Molly” (Pleasant Company’s tap dancing heroine) to “Clara” (or “Marie,” depending on which version you read), adolescent star of The Nutcracker.  Unfortunately, her Nutcracker Prince is vertically challenged (the full scale version would have cost me twenty bucks so I opted for a quarter-sized model) but the odds of a wooden nutcracker surviving an hour and a half amongst thirty preschool students are rather slim— I’m already budgeting for mid-season replacements. Why am I introducing my preschool students to Tchaikovsky?  It’s rather complicated.  At the end of September, I was offered a position as a teaching artist in a school …

And… the Results Are In!

Once upon a time (1978), in a land far, far away (upstate New York) there lived a young princess.  In truth, she was not a real princess, rather, an Alpha Lamda Phi sorority girl, and she was determined to throw the greatest party in SUNY Cobleskill history. She called her boyfriend to tell him the good news: We’re having a toga party! But he, being a rather foolish creature, was too busy studying. But it’s a TOGA party! She insisted.  The best party Alpha Lamda Phi has ever thrown!  Did I mention you get to wear a toga? Despite his love of Animal House, he remained steadfast in his resolve (something about his physics professor excusing the top three students from their final exams).  He attempted to convince the young sorority girl that by studying for this exam, he could skip the next one, thereby earning himself an extra three days off for the holidays to spend with her. What he did not take into account was that she was studying horticulture, and that florists …

This Time Last Year

Exactly one year ago, I left London.  The night before my departure, my then-boyfriend and I caught the bus to Piccadilly Circus.  “Can’t we take the tube?” he asked.  “It’ll be faster.” “No,” I replied.  “The Number 9.  From Hammersmith.”  And so, for old time’s sake, we trudged from his flat to the bus station and caught the Number 9, just as we had the night he asked me to be his girlfriend and just as I had every week for nearly a year before I met him, clutching my tap shoes, my reading assignments and my trusty Oyster Card, elbowing my way through tourists and children alike to get to the front seats on the upper deck. We split a cranberry turkey pasty and walked from Piccadilly Circus up Regent Street, which was already glowing beneath its canopies of star shaped Christmas lights even though it was only November.  After sampling our fill of teas and coffees at Whittard of Chelsea, we proceeded to Covent Garden and I started crying almost as soon as …

He Who Took My Breath Away

Cardiovascular prowess is not my greatest strength.  This became abundantly clear to me a few nights ago about halfway into my solo tap performance, when, after a series of lightening speed triplets and one-footed wings, my life flashed before my eyes and a little voice in my head said, “Kat, if you don’t slow down, you’re gonna give yourself a heart attack.” I had, in my infinite wisdom, elected to dance to a flashy Count Basie number, and because I’ve reached a point in my career where I can improvise my way through a three minute piece, I hadn’t bothered to rehearse it—at least not full out.   I’d run through it a few times, just to plot the distribution of my crowd-pleaser steps, but I’d never actually performed the whole routine start to finish without stopping. As such, when I reached the minute-and-a-half mark, I found myself thinking (in addition to the whole “I’m going to have a heart attack” bit), “Well, wouldn’t it be nice to take a nap right now?”  But the audience …

Yoga Yuppies Part 2

A new post two days in a row?  I know, I know: I rock, even if it’s only at the expense of the magazine article I was supposed to be finishing tonight.  Consider the following a little Happy Thanksgiving gift, or rather the result of a few too many drinks at Monday Margarita Madness… Date #17 and I have already established that neither of us can do a headstand.  And no, this is not because we’ve been engaging in freaky inverted tantric sex practices, but rather because Date #17 mentioned that he enjoys yoga on our first date and the conversational progressed, for whatever reason, to inversions. “I can’t do headstands,” he confessed. “Don’t worry,” I assured him, “neither can I.” “Really?” he asked. “Really.” “And you’re a dancer!” he exclaimed in disbelief.  “That makes me feel a lot better.” “You’re welcome,” I laughed.  “Boosting the self confidence of yoga practitioners is just one of the many services I provide.” (I just crack myself up sometimes.) Despite our corresponding inabilities in this regard, I’m not …

Those Yuppie Yoga Couples

It’s not that I want to be one of those yuppie couples who spend their Saturday mornings carting their matching yoga mats through the sophisticated suburbs of Cherry Hill or Mt. Airy, discussing the merits of soy vs. almond milk as they head to their weekly “Couples Yoga” class.  It just that… okay, I do kind of want to be one of those couples, almond milk and all (although I’ll pass on the matching yoga mats—for now). As such, you can imagine my surprise and immediate delight when, after a week of studying, Date #17 emerged from the cavernous depths of his GMAT test prep and invited me to join him in his weekly yoga class. Actually, he didn’t really invite me.  Instead, he pulled me into his arms and whispered in my ear, “It’s such a beautiful day to skip yoga and go to brunch, don’t you think?”  To which I replied, “Absolutely not!  You’re going.  And more importantly, I am coming with you.” If I come across as a bit of a fitness …

(Dis)illusions of Grandeur

Author’s proofs suck.  It’s not enough that you’ve already spent months researching and writing your piece, and that you’ve responded to all of the editor’s queries or that you’ve wasted an entire week trying to track down the reference for a book you read nearly three years ago.  No.  Now that the editor has slashed apart and reassembled your piece, systematically ruining all of its good sentences, she wants you to proof read it. Hence author’s proofs. Sensible editors will generally just send a word document when a few last minute queries marked in bold, to which sensible writers such as Yours Truly can just respond using Microsoft’s handy little “Track Changes” feature.  Tech savvy editors, however, will send a PDF of the article along with an attachment entitled “All the Ways in Which You’ve Screwed Up.”  They will then send you the link to a secret, author’s only website and while the uninitiated might burst into a spastic celebratory dance at the sight of the words “author’s only,” I would strongly advise against this.  …

From Dating to D-A-T-I-N-G

Since Date #17 is still too busy studying (doesn’t he realize I have to go on dates in order to write about dates?) I’d like to offer a few thoughts on the strange and rather bizarre process of transcending the single life, or, becoming somebody’s girlfriend. As several of my readers across the pond have pointed out, there are major differences between dating in the US and dating in UK—so much so that I spent an entire month dating an undergraduate when I lived in London (or so I thought) come to find out that we weren’t actually dating.  We were going out every Friday, and making out every Friday, and as far as I knew, this was an exclusive sort of thing (until I got pissed off at him during our international Thanksgiving potluck and went storming off to Chinawhite in my new cherry red heels for a girls night out with my flat mates) but we were not, according to the Englishman in question, actually dating. Rather than attempt to untangle these transatlantic …