Month: June 2012

Mary Ellen Mark

Prom: Awkward Teenagers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

For all the hullabaloo of my Senior Prom and the associated hoopla of the central New Jersey homeschool community, I’m not sure that going to prom is an experience I’d ever like to repeat.  Sure, it was fun helping my mom with the centerpieces and dragging my long suffering Canadian boyfriend with me but between the dress (which I made myself), the actual event (which I spent moping around in anticipation of missing my boyfriend when he returned to Montreal) and the after party (which consisted of A Knight’s Tale and a dozen friends crashing on the living room floor), the entire experience was rather anticlimactic. But old habits die hard.  I went to not one but four proms in high school and ended up in tears over so-and-so not asking me to dance more times than not.  In college, I joined the Social Planning Committee about seven minutes after I arrived on campus, thus earning myself the distinction of the only freshman able to score two tickets to the annual Goucher College Gala, and …

tap shoe supplies

A Dance Teacher’s Guide to Parenting

You might be wondering what happened to the fieldwork portion of Fieldwork in Stilettos (and by “fieldwork,” I of course mean dating).  Well don’t worry: even though I’m no longer scouring the internet for single men, I have a plan.  I’m going to become a Mommy Blogger. That’s right: me, Kat Richter, Parental Unit Extraordinaire, Supplier of band aids, moral support and tough, tough, love. Of course, in order to be a Mommy Blogger, one has to be a mommy, but I’m dating a man with kids and if that’s not good enough, I also happen to have approximately 200 students under my care so as far as I’m concerned, I qualify. On Monday night, for example, I drove over to my boyfriend’s house (that would be The Wedding Date to you long-time readers) and made dinner.  Not wanting to repeat the mistake of last month’s adventures in vegan cream cheese (which left his oldest scarred for life and forever skeptical of all things tofu) I made chili.  Thick, hearty, chock-full-of-meat chili.  And let me …

Bedazzled umbrella

You Can’t Stand Under My Umbrella, its BROKEN!

With just a few days till my final student recitals of the year, it’s time to put the finishing touches on all of their pieces before they hit the stage.  It’s time to practice without the mirror.  It’s time to get those extra accessories and rhinestones glued into place.  It’s time for every entrance to be polished, every exit to be spot on.  It is not—I repeat NOT—time for the props to start spontaneously combusting… And yet combusting they are. Admittedly, last week’s umbrella disaster wasn’t exactly spontaneous.  It happened when one of my graduating seniors realized she was spinning her umbrella in the wrong direction and tried to switch back too quickly. The main shaft cracked and when I tried to tape it back together again, it fell apart leaving me with half an umbrella in one hand and the handle, plus two or three inches of umbrella shaft, in the other. It would have been okay if this had been the first umbrella disaster of the season—or even the first umbrella disaster of …

paddle boarding in Poconos

Swimming with Snakes in the Poconos

We’re lounging on the beach in Dingman’s Ferry covertly sipping wine, sangria and various rum concoctions from our water bottles when my friend suddenly announces that there’s a snake in the water. A freakin’ snake. In the same water that we’ve just canoed across to get to said beach, and the same water that we fully intend to go swimming in just as soon as we’ve finished our drinks. Experienced naturalist that I am, I run up to the water’s edge with my camera and sure enough, there’s a snake: “Come rescue it!” I shout to The Wedding Date.  “You can just tap it on the head to see if it bites, like you did with the turtle.” He promptly informs me that he’s a turtle whisperer, not a snake charmer, which in turn prompts my friend’s fiancé to announce that it’s a copperhead.  And that copperheads are perfectly good swimmers.  And that their venom is also poisonous. So we go back to our “water” bottles and our paperbacks and take bets on the survival …

rescue turtle

My Boyfriend The Turtle Whisperer

The Wedding Date is not an animal person, which is why I thought I was dreaming when he pulled over en route to Hooper’s Island to rescue a turtle. But I wasn’t dreaming.  He stopped the car, walked into the middle of the road and tapped the turtle on its shell.  (Evidently that’s what you’re supposed to do to make sure that the turtle isn’t an ungrateful little creature who is going to turn around and bite you finger off.)  He then proceeded to carry the turtle to safety and sent it off with a stern “Now stay out of the road, little guy!” I was so touched that I could have kissed him.  Actually, I’m pretty sure I did kiss him.  I love animals, you see.  When I met one of The Wedding Date’s co-workers and his wife earlier this year, I spent the whole time playing with their dogs instead of doing the whole goo-goo ga-ga thing with their baby like a normal person. But The Wedding Date isn’t a big fan of …

make your own business cards

The Idiot’s Guide to Making Your Own Business Cards

Seeing as the entire point of my trip to Colorado for the TBEX conference was to network, it kind of sucked when I ran out of business cards on Friday night. Actually, it really sucked.  The conference hadn’t even started yet!  And yet there I was, on the top of a mountain with nary a Staples in sight.  To make matters worse, I hate networking.  Most people think I’m a natural extrovert but the truth of the matter is, I’m painfully shy and there’s nothing that frightens me more than entering a room full of people I don’t know and having to introduce myself. I realized I had two choices.  I could be that lame-o who walks around ripping pages out of a notebook scribbling her info as she mutters her apologies.  Or I could make a statement.  And make my own cards. I opted for the latter. Unfortunately, as lovely as my room was at Vail Resorts, it wasn’t equipped with a craft room.  And I hadn’t brought any scissors with me, let alone …

Continental Divide

The Highest I’ve Ever Been (Denver, obviously)

It’s a good thing that I don’t harbor any secret aspirations to climb Mount Everest.  Firstly, my mother would probably kill me.  Secondly, a weekend in Colorado has forced me to admit that high altitudes do not agree with me. Actually it might be all of the complimentary champagne that doesn’t agree with me.  And the wine.  And the chocolates.  But what was I supposed to do?  Say “no” when the nice man from Vail Resorts offered me a glass of champagne to take with me for the second leg of my gondola journey to 12,000 feet?  I don’t think so.  In fact, I helped myself to a cookie as well and it’s a good thing I did because the cookie came with a napkin and I got my first of several nose bleeds a few minutes later. Nonetheless, it’s been a fantastic weekend.  I’m in love with Denver.  And Vail Resorts.  And road rallies, especially road rallies in which the winners gets free iPhones. (Yes, I got a free iPhone.  And a free Scottevest.  …

King deluxe at the Oxford

Heaven is a Down Pillow- Or Six

I have officially died and gone to heaven.  And by heaven, I mean Denver, Colorado.  Specifically The Oxford Hotel, a luxury “boutique” hotel in the heart of LoDo (which I now know means Lower Downtown—the epicenter of all things cool in the Mile-High City). Having never spent the night in luxury boutique hotel before, it took me a little while to get the hang of things: yes, the water bottle they give you when you check in is free.  And yes, the town car that’s going to pick you up in the morning is also free.  The entire staff is so nice that I’m convinced they’re on something and don’t even get me started on the pillows. Oh the pillows. The Oxford actually has a pillow menu but the standard down feather model was pretty darn good as far as I was concerned.  Especially as I had six of them, plus a bolster, plus a down comforter and an entire king-sized bed all to myself. Given that the Oxford was built in the 19th century, …