August 2017

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Aug. 9th, 2017

Kodak rolling stone

A friend treated me to dim sum at Hei La Moon earlier this week, and amiably agreed to share a plate of black sesame rolls among the other dishes I pointed at (turnip cakes, Chinese broccoli, and har kow).

I didn't really manage to explain how the dessert inspired a fic I wrote seven years ago, but we agreed that it was delicious.

Also in Boston: Friendly Toast with [personal profile] marginaliana, tea with [personal profile] okrablossom, and more radish/turnip cakes at Gourmet Dumpling House and Bubor Cha Cha. Diversions included four hours of paddleboarding on the Charles and an evening with two good-with-children cats named after Jabberwocky terms (plus the children and their parents).

Prior to Boston: a week in Plymouth. Much dancing (and paddling, and a bit of swimming, including some skinny-dipping under the nearly full moon). Much to digest. Much more to learn. But first, unpacking (and getting through more of the 350+ emails that had arrived in my work inbox while I was off the grid).

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/411354.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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Jun. 7th, 2017

pretty Paula Jane

I am near to howling with frustration and anxiety on multiple fronts, but there has been massive progress on others, and splendid things do abound. My hands are scented with the coriander I accidentally harvested tonight. (I'd forgotten planting it in its quadrant of an herb pot, and absent-mindedly assumed the out-of-control fronds belonged to some weird variety of parsley until I took a closer look at them inside. Some experimenting with the berries is now in the cards...) Some aging onions and carrots have been simmered with bay leaves from my big sister for later-this-week soup, and tonight's salad included a slice of preserved lemon, also from big sister's yard.

I spent last weekend with my honorary big brother, which was absolutely what I needed holiday-wise. Hot yoga, smoked bourbon, Blue Stallion Radler with Bavarian pretzels and dinner at Kentucky Native (where the rest of the table was amused at my selection of kale salad as one of my "pick two" orders and cinnamon rolls as the other), a movie (with a "bourbon cocktail" that turned out to be straight bourbon, which provoked further amusement), brunch, plant-shopping at Louie's Flower Power (because big brother is getting ready to sell his house and the realtor wanted him to raise the curb appeal by Tuesday), and plant-fluffing back at the homestead. I naturally couldn't resist picking up a few things for myself, including a rosebush ("The Sky's the Limit") and two Paula Janes--fuschia plants that have since delighted me with their bubble-to-trumpet groove:

Paula Jane

Paula Jane

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/410779.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

May. 31st, 2017

"a trail of desire through the dark'ning dawn"

[The subject line is from Carly Simon's "Let the River Run"]

My lunch reading today: Rivers of London - Body Work (graphic novel)

What introduced me to that world: Philomytha's enchanting Of a Feather, a fic in which a character from Rivers is key to a scene in Sayers's Murder Must Advertise.

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/410472.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

May. 29th, 2017

wanted a Barlow knife

[subject line is from "Shady Grove," which The Ripples meld with "Water Under the Bridge," and which they played Sunday afternoon]

[Here's a clip of them and some of the other dancers in action. I danced most of the dances, but I don't see my turquoise tail twirling in this segment, so I'm guessing I'd gone for water or leftover waffles and bacon, having skipped the scheduled part of brunch in favor of some writing that didn't want to wait.]

Three nights in two cheap hotels = exactly the right length of time away from home. I needed the break from housework and paperwork and work-work, but I am so very glad to be reunited with my own sheets and towels and kitchen.

I wasn't expecting the tub in the second hotel, but was immensely grateful for it after the four hours of waltzing on Saturday and twelve hours of contra on Sunday, at Contrathon XXI. There really are people who make a point of dancing every dance (I danced the final contra with one of them, Jay, an older gentleman who has accomplished that feat several times and this year was determined to do so because it would confirm for him that he had fully recovered from surgery), but that was never within my sights. I mainly went because I want to waltz more and to waltz better. This was the second Scott Baxla workshop I'd attended; it was great to watch Jan Luquire in action this time, and to dance the first open waltz with her. Another goal of mine is to become confident dancing both roles, so the next workshop I attend, I'll probably make a point of practicing lead.

Saturday's festivities included a wedding -- Bethany and Ben. The bride's father was the officiant, and there were mountain flowers and roses in her hair and her hands and around the cake, which had been baked and decorated by a fellow dancer, and another dancer played fiddle. It was short and sweet and I sat through it next to another Nashville dancer who had officiated at her sister's East Tennessee wedding the day before.

There may well have been the highest concentration of Asian American dancers I've seen in some time -- my guess is that three of the guys I danced with were Indian, one was likely Japanese, and I chatted with one who was half-Korean. At least two gentlemen of Middle Eastern descent as well.

As with other gatherings of advanced dancers, there were quite a few men in skirts, and little overlap between that subset and that of men choosing to dance the follower's role with other men or women, and zero fuss about any of it within my sight or hearing, other than the occasional query to mixed couples to verify that they were role-switching on purpose. (I've learned not to assume, but given the presence of newer dancers, collective sleep deprivation -- many of the dancers had camped overnight on the farm, and there had been a heck of a frog-strangling thunderstorm the night before -- and complex figures, I can't blame anyone for double-checking.)

I got to practice lead during a couple of dances, including one where my partner and I deliberately switched roles several times during the dance. There were several no-walkthrough dances, including a medley with four or five different callers taking the mike. One dance had same-sex balance-and-swings in the choreography, which amplified the chain-yanking between some of the dancers who go way way way way back. (It occurs to me that contra has been a good fit for me lately because it calls to (so to speak) both halves of my wiring: my left brain grooves to the precision required to end up in the right spot at the right time, and my right brain lights up at all the room for improv and clowning and sass.)

During the evening's last band/caller change, both Clinton and Charlotte stood at mics, with four sets -- Clinton calling for the two at stage right, and Charlotte the two at stage left. The method behind their madness became clear several phrases in -- the two halves of the room were dancing different figures to the same tune, and Clinton and Charlotte synced their calls so that when the instructions happened to be identical, they spoke together.

Charlotte cheerfully told terrible jokes, including one about what Star Wars and church have in common, and two about equines walking into bars.

I learned a bunch of new-to-me holds and spins from more experienced partners, and my heart damn near melted all over the floor during poussets with a young man named Michael. Clinton tried to teach a hands-eight dance that didn't survive the walkthrough, even with demos. Some other dances were ... messy. Fun as hell anyway, and it's satisfying to have learned a dance quickly enough to recognize exactly when the trains will veer off the rails and to allemande them back on. My reward for attending dances more frequently is manifesting itself in more partners on the floor (from both TN and NC) and more conversations on the side.

The intersection of dance and progressive interests was visible on some buttons and shirts (one of my partners wore a beautiful "Water Is Life" tee), and I introduced two environmental scientists to each other (having met both just the day before, and liking each enormously). While I packed my favorite dance dress, I ended up wearing an orange yoga bra and long shorts under a beach dress and long shorts, which handled the hot day and night than the dress would have.

A Johnson City Kroger had a sale on heirloom cherry tomatoes, which were accepted with alacrity when I offered them to various picnic-table companions. An economist shared his sugar snap peas, and there were crackers and cheese from I think a Virginian, and another brought to me a slice of the wedding cake.

I recognized some pop hooks within some bridges and medleys, and the next-to-last contra was to Prince's "When Doves Cry." One of the medleys included a tune named "_____'s Chaturanga," in honor of the composer's wife. And there was a waltz that I eventually identified as Jonathan Jensen's "Candles in the Dark."

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/142452.html.

May. 27th, 2017

lingering in Lenoir City

Well. My Astrotwins horoscope urges me to sleep in and then declutter, and as it happens, an insufficiently screwed-on cap resulted in nail polish remover dousing most of the toiletries I hurriedly tossed into a grocery bag in my haste to hit the road before sundown. Which clarified right quick what I truly wanted to keep, which was not the too-chemical SPF lip balm or the solid organic sunblock that like too many other sunblocks stays too white and sticky on my skin for most professional or social situations. I forgot to pack insect repellent and itch cream, but the antihistamines are in tow.

Also in said horoscope:


Later in the day, when the moon shifts into Cancer and your social third house for the rest of the weekend, you'll be eager to connect with friends and shift into party mode. Your festive mood stretches into Sunday, when expressive Mercury in your sign connects with compassionate Neptune and gives you entree into a variety of groups. You could widen your social horizons by hanging with a different crowd tonight.


Good thing I'm heading to a waltz workshop and then a contrathon. Though I was up late sipping from my thermos of Whirling Dervish cider (which turns out to me Not My Thing, but finding out that sort of thing is a thing I love about deliberate downtime) and reading Teen Vogue (to which I subscribe -- just $10 for a year -- because they are doing way, way better than most of mainstream media in speaking truth to power, and I want writers like Lauren Duca to keep doing that), so the odds of me hauling myself to tonight's contra and blues sessions are slim to none.

Oh, and I was making Roland Garros picks, of course. My selections for the "wooden spoon" contest:

WTA
1. Quirine Lemoine
2. Ana Bogdan
3. Irina Khromacheva
4. Risa Ozaki

ATP
1. Ricardas Berankis
2. Quentin Halys
3. Alexandre Muller
4. Daniil Medvedev

At the forum I frequent, conventional wisdom seems to be favoring Halep and Svitolina, with some votes for Stosur. Being the proven specialist in "out there" selections, my answer to the poll: "Pavlyuchenkova for the win; exacta box with Bacsinszky and Mladenovic." On va voir. Now to finish touching up my nails (new coat of Indulge My Whim on top of Secret Agent and Alter Ego) and filling out a full bracket...

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/410244.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

May. 24th, 2017

fic meme - 5 final lines

Via [personal profile] el_staplador: Share the final line of five of your fics ...

[Yes, it's been a while. These are neither most recent or most favorite - merely what comes first to mind tonight.]

[Yes, I do intend to write some more someday. And to record more audio. Which reminds me that I have been horribly remiss in not-yet-mentioning Rhea's podfic Ten Hats and Gallon (FAKE). Podfic! Wheeyay!]

In the meantime - meme!

And since he was alone - the rest of his family already asleep, as he himself should have been - Alexander buried his face in his hands and silently wept.
Everything Necessary to Procure (Political RPF - Hamilton/Laurens)

"Let us begin, then."
D'Accord, D'Accord (Harry Potter - Snape/Lupin)

And as the other man leans into him -- eighty-five kilos' worth of affection, passion, and challenge -- Roger begins to fingercomb the exclamation points out of Rafa's thick, dark hair.
Interrobang (Tennis RPF - Fedal)

She pours herself another bowl of cereal while I punch the button on the hot cocoa machine, and once we're sitting across the table from each other, we're exactly where we're supposed to be.
The Cafeteria's Got Everything (Dar Williams's "Alleluia")

The light fades.
One is One and All Alone (The Dark Is Rising)

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/409992.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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May. 23rd, 2017

*bows to Brancusi*


There's a funny story in John Richardson's biography, A Life of Picasso. Pablo Picasso was notorious for sucking all the energy out of the people he met. His granddaughter Marina claimed that he squeezed people like one of his tubes of oil paints. You'd have a great time hanging out all day with Picasso, and then you'd go home nervous and exhausted, and Picasso would go back to his studio and paint all night, using the energy he'd sucked out of you.

Most people put up with this because they got to hang out with Picasso all day, but not Constantin Brancusi, the Romanian-born sculptor. Brancusi hailed from the Carpathian Mountains, and he knew a vampire when he saw one. He was not going to have his energy or the fruits of his energy juiced by Picasso, so he refused to have anything to do with him.

-- Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/142248.html.

May. 20th, 2017

from Austin Kleon's SHOW YOUR WORK!


The technique of barbecue is actually very simple, but it takes years and years to master. There's an intuition that you only gain through the repetition of practice. Aaron [Franklin] told me that he trains all his employees the same way, but when he cuts into a brisket, he can tell you exactly who did the smoking.


This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/409525.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

No lovelier spot in the dale

The subject line is from "The Church in the Wildwood," a hymn Ann Green apparently used to sing whenever she went back to Mississippi. Made a cheese ball with pickled peppers for her service (because, by the time I got around to figuring out what to pull together on a school night, it was too late to get started on benne wafers, and I have in fact lived long enough to recognize that), and brought sweet potato crackers to go with it.

Lawd, this week.

Transplanted the geranium from Desire to my front yard a week ago. Three days later, every leaf but the smallest one looked infected. Can't tell if that corner is fungally cursed -- last year's results were wildly, weirdly mixed -- or if said geranium just doesn't like Tennessee clay, even though I aerated the hole and mixed in some compost and tried not to get its feet too wet. The French hollyhock a few feet away survived the winter and now looks glorious. Perhaps it's yet another chapter in the universe's attempt to school me in not trying so damn hard that I get in my own way. (Which, not incidentally, is what a waltz partner told me at the Orange Peel a couple of months ago.)

Lawd, this week.

Anyway, I binned all the leaves except for that sweet little leaf at the tip of one stalk, and we'll see if what emerges -- if anything -- looks better. My car reeks of pine chips because I've been too busy to unload eight cubic feet of mulch from it. I would probably do best to compost the mallow seedlings in my sunroom because I waited too long to transplant those, but it's nice to know that the dozens more in the pet food tub are likely still viable.

I am sipping Hild Elbling Sekt and snacking on Milano salami at this hour, because a gal's gottta unwind. Some good dancing tonight. I was tempted to road-trip to Blue Moon later today, especially since there is a waltz workshop on the schedule, and because Jed-who-drives-up-from-Huntsville is a favorite partner, but there is too damn much to do right here at my kitchen counter (so much that I'm going to have to skip a choir thing already on my calendar). Maybe next year...

A singing thing that did happen this week: singing backing vocals on a video, at Jeff Coffin's studio, and chatting with him about his upcoming trips to Tuva and Myanmar. And he's the second person I talked to in person in Nashville this week about Tuvan singers. I do like my life.

My Garden & Gun subscription has kicked in (read, frequent flyer miles from an airline I don't fly that frequently on), and Roy Blount Jr.'s column has beautifully paired opening and closing sentences. The opening sentence: "I'm walking up Dauphine Street in New Orlenas when a man turns the corner carrying a tuba and walking an enormous hairy dog, simultaneously."

A message I sent to a friend in Asheville yesterday: "PUT THE PHONE DOWN and go ogle art at Blue Spiral or eat a marshmallow at French Broad Chocolates or pet the crocheted coats on the cats near Laughing Seed Café."

Wall Street, Asheville

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/142045.html.

May. 15th, 2017

Cat in the Window

An unexpected milestone tonight: I called "Cat in the Window" during tonight's English lesson, after learning and dancing it one time through the recording. We were a small group tonight, and me calling the second pass [with one other dancer wanting to rest] allowed two other people to join the set.

It was not a flawless call -- for some inexplicable reason, my default was set to saying "right-hand turn" instead of "two-hand turn," and mixing up waltz vs. single steps here and there, but I'd noticed that the cues the dancers most needed were the middle-couple casts over left/right shoulders, and those I did have down. I also now realize that I'll want to know other dances cold before attempting to call them, because trying to read the instructions -- to a dance I'd just danced! -- resulted in brain cramps.

That said, I was looking up some possibilities later (specifically "The Pharmacist's Pleasure") and came across a piece called "P.S. Nobody Likes You," which includes a figure described as "Partners gypsy meltdown." I might be giggling.

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/141683.html.
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May. 13th, 2017

messing up good

Something I really enjoy about adulthood is being as messy as I want while cooking. The frozen blueberries the BYM bought some months ago weren't quite right for what he had in mind, so this morning I folded some into pancake batter, and afterward admired the swirls and gradations of color left behind:

after the pancakes

I've started the rice for tonight's effort, an adaptation of an okra casserole from Southern Living. First, though, there's a bathtub to be scrubbed, and weeds to clear out of the way so that I can transplant the mallow seedlings currently in the sunroom. The plant that survived the winter is doing well. Here's how it looked on my birthday:

French hollyhock (mallow) French hollyhock (mallow) French hollyhock (mallow)

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/409108.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

May. 7th, 2017

the long reach of fandom

Seeing these cookies at a Starbucks after today's workout reminded me of time spent laughing and drabbling with y'all -- especially [Bad username: valis2.livejournal.com]. ;)

octopus cookies at a Starbucks

And the recent "36 hours" feature on Tokyo in a mainstream US newspaper brought to mind fics shared with [personal profile] geri_chan, [personal profile] lysanatt, and the rest of the Harudaki deep-divers.

(I have not cancelled my subscription to said paper, primarily because access to its archives remains essential for my work, but the defensive condescension displayed by various staff members -- see analyses at Fusion, Esquire, American Orthodox if you need context -- has me irritated enough to cease linking to or quoting from said paper for the time being. As I said in my note to its executive editor, "In publishing writers whose claims wouldn't make it beyond a New Yorker fact-checker, and headlines that not only soft-pedal but normalize the Trump administration's crimes, [your paper] has plummeted in reputation to the point that I can no longer link to or tag [any piece from the paper] -- even nonpolitical ones -- without asking myself to what degree my own credibility will take a hit.")

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/408969.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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Apr. 22nd, 2017

Down down with wrong quotations / Up up with source citations!

The subject line is a chant from Chicago's March for Science. This photo is from this morning's march in Nashville:

March for Science Nashville

It was taken by a woman whose mother had knitted the hats; she was there with her grandson, who worked toward getting a selfie with the dog as we chatted:

boy at March for Science Nashville

I've posted a cross-section of photos to my Twitter account (@zirconium). I'll add some more later, but I actually do have a grant application deadline to meet.

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/141379.html.

Apr. 15th, 2017

"from deep despair and perished things . . ."

My dear, dear friend M R B (@MBDigital001) sent to me French marshmallow candy drops earlier this week, and also some beautiful photos, which I am re-posting here with permission. (She sometimes moonlights as a photog for hire, btw - mainly NY state and DC area.)



They reminded me immediately of Alicia S. Carpenter's "A Promise Through the Ages Rings," a hymn in Singing the Living Tradition I have posted about before (in 2008, 2013, and elsewhen), and which I have been singing to myself again and again through the past few days:



A promise through the ages rings,
that always, always, something sings.
Not just in May, in finch-filled bower,
but in December’s coldest hour,
a note of hope sustains us all.

A life is made of many things:
bright stars, bleak years, and broken rings.
Can it be true that through all things,
there always, always something sings?
The universal song of life.

Entombed within our deep despair,
our pain seems more than we can bear;
but days shall pass, and nature knows
that deep beneath the winter snow
a rose lies curled and hums a song.

For something always, always sings.
This is the message Easter brings:
from deep despair and perished things
a green shoot always, always springs,
and something always, always sings.




This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/141308.html.
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Apr. 12th, 2017

sun's shining, I have cute yet comfortable shoes...

... and I had an entire lane to myself at the pool last night. Reminding my broody self of happy things, I am.

"Mile of Smiles" and "Wa' Is Me, What Mun I Do?" are still occupying a sizable section of the earworm bed in my brain. Here's "Mile of Smiles" at the April 1 Playford Ball. I'm not visible in most of it, but what a fine tune it is, and I did enjoy that nice set-and-turn with Joan around 4:13:



I reread my Lessons from Country Dancing sermon from 2009 a few days ago. Methinks it has held up pretty well, and reminded me of some things I'd forgotten.

Autumn Sky Poetry published Reading the Sky - a "quasinelle" I wrote for [personal profile] okrablossom last month. One of these years I'll regain some semblance of systematic self-promotion, but in the meantime, the sun is shining, my shoes...

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/140968.html.

Apr. 8th, 2017

complicated subdivisions

Listening to Minneapolis musician Dessa's "Matches to Paper Dolls" after re-reading her fabulous essay on New Orleans, which includes this:


Ninety minutes later, the Maple Leaf was full and moving. I stood near the wall with my beer. There were people who couldn’t keep time, people who could really dance and jazz dudes who could keep time so well, and in such complicated subdivisions, that it just looked as if they couldn’t dance. My little corner of the floor was populated by tourists in Velcro sandals, club girls in banging four-inch heels, a slim woman in suede loafers, a middle-aged guy dancing in hiking shoes. That seemed like an unusually wide array of footwear at a concert; I pretended to drop my pen to get a better look. This club is like Noah’s ark from the ankle down, I thought. Shoes are flags of cultural membership; shows I’d played were usually dominated by black boots and Vans — hipster standard issue. But maybe a city run by psychics, hustlers and jazz gods wouldn’t breed too many hipsters; there was no mainstream to rail against.


Current earworm is a tune from around 1695 titled "Wa' is me, what mun I do?", which can be heard in this 2014 video of a dance in Atlanta. My "someday" list now includes learning to teach it so that I get to hear it more often.

The videographer at last Saturday's Playford Ball has been putting clips online through the week -- I think the first half of the ball is now all up. I'm wincing at some -- I have so very much to get the hang of, let alone improve on -- but I look decent in others, and I did really enjoy the evening as a whole. At the start of "Smithy Hill," Priscilla -- a straightforward, down-to-earth woman with a firm grip (i.e., my kind of gal) -- said to me, "You look happy." "I am!" "Good!" ... and I acquitted myself well enough that she claimed me for "Good Man of Cambridge" the next afternoon. (There won't be official video of that one, but it was ridiculous fun, especially with Bare Necessities getting ever more faster and wilder -- to Mozart's Turkish March, y'all. I was cackling aloud at their riffs, and at one point said to Priscilla, "Now they're just showing off!")

The ball itself opened with "Mendocino Redwood," which I danced with Wendy from Charlotte (whom I'd met in Durham last month):



This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/408759.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

Handel-ing and hoping with care

Free e-anthology (with my sonnet "Continuing Ever After"): Bouts-Rimes for Hope

"Handel with Care," from last weekend:



This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/140617.html.

Apr. 2nd, 2017

thumbs to the right

Lunch yesterday was at Anatolia, which turned out to be the destination of choice for the caller and the band and several other groups of dancers as well. Because pretty much everyone else at the table had more English country dance experience in their left little toe than me in my entire body, I made like a sponge and soaked up as much advice and anecdotal knowledge as I could, especially about gender-free calling and global terminology, and I asked specifically about how to position my hands, which has been an ongoing trial, and has become more urgent to get a grip on (so to speak) because I want to become fluent enough on both sides of sets to wear the "I dance both roles" button with confidence. (I'm at the advanced beginner level where I still screw up regularly and sometimes mortifyingly spectacularly -- just ask the gent into whom I barrelled full speed yesterday after yet again brain-cramping on whether to pass right shoulder or left -- but am now experienced enough to steer or cue other dancers out of jams, of which there were a-plenty throughout the weekend. Among other things, I have "dolphin heys" down -- go me!). Maggie Cowan, a founder of QuickSilver, advised "thumbs to the right," and while my muscle memory hasn't gotten the hang of that yet, my brain was regularly repeating that throughout the rest of the weekend, so I daresay that will be my enduring takeaway from the 36th Nashville Playford Ball.

It was a grand weekend. Wendy, my first partner on Saturday evening, quipped that she was glad she'd left her tiara in Charlotte since I was wearing one. The draft program got adjusted as programs do -- something with a name like "Fiddler's Feet" replaced "Childgrove," if memory serves, and there were some other swaps -- but we did end with "Old Wife Behind the Fire," after a "Smithy Hill" where Priscilla and I were having so much fun with it (especially after we got the hang of "swat the flea") that at least two other couples commented on our silliness, and a lovely bloke spun me around expertly through the final waltzes of Saturday and Sunday.

IMG_0074

As Honorary Mama observed during my phone call to her, the variety of dance names can be highly entertaining. I told her that I wore her prep school class ring (Class of 1946) through the final session, at some point realizing how appropriate that was, given her stories of social dancing lessons at that all-girls school.

There were cameras at the ball, so I imagine there will be video soon (as there was last year). It seemed like more people made an effort costume-wise this year (perhaps because last year's postings took some by surprise).

This morning's program was chosen from requests made to the caller during the previous two days. It included:

* Knives and Forks
* Candles in the Dark
* Red House
* Hambleton's Round O
* Trip to Provence
* Shrewsbury Lasses
* Sapphire Sea
* An Early Frost
* The Good Man of Cambridge [to Mozart's Turkish March]

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/140460.html.

Mar. 18th, 2017

getting Austen-tacious

Having absent-mindedly dumped the half-clove of garlic I minced right into the trash instead of the avocado/bokchoy/cilantro/hummus/rice bowl I was assembling, I am scrapping my more ambitious plans for the evening in favor of getting sheets onto the bed and getting me into said bed sans mishap.

The Sun Assembly DanceFest was wonderful, as were the evenings preceding it (SA's regular English country dance night on Thursday, and Triangle Country Dancers' contra on Friday). And on my way back, I made a point of getting to Asheville's Orange Peel in time for Waltz Night.

I am now in withdrawal, which I have been dealing with partly by going to other dances in town (blues on Thursday, contra yesterday) and partly by researching dances, workshops, and colonial/Regency/Jane Austen balls I could maybe add to my calendar/budgeting. I went to Goodwill's wedding gala in hopes of scoring something more period than my usual Saturday evening frock. There was nothing empire-waisted on the fancy racks that fit me -- my legs are shorter than average, and my torso wider and longer than average, which means zippers tend to stall out halfway up my back. This is annoying when I am trying on something deliciously intricate and fouffy for which I am unlikely to develop the requisite sewing skills to make for myself, but then again, intricate and fouffy weren't part of the original mission. On the regular rack, I found a plain brown maxi-dress for $6 that will do for the afternoon dance at Vanderbilt's central library later this month, and the trinkets table had a tiara and some earrings that might go with some other costume.

I also stopped at Designer Renaissance and Performance Studios. At DR (a consignment shop), there was a Sleevey Wonder that I was thinking might work spencer-style (I'm sure there's a precise term for what I have in mind) over a sleeveless light green dress I bought for $.99 last year (likewise as a Playford Ball possibility, though it is the right level of dressy-but-not-over-the-top that would also make it acceptable to wear at my day job). The sales associate and another customer perked up at the mention of Jane Austen -- I e-mailed the Vanderbilt flyer to the associate when I got home. (And, the sandals and bag I'd eyed a few days ago were still there. The sandals fit, and I felt a distinct pang of disappointment when at first I thought the bag had been sold, which tells me that I was right to go back for it.) At Performance Studios, I peeked at some of the rental gowns, which are magnificent but out of scope for my likeliest options. (Though I will be exceedingly tempted if I end up trying to get to the Salem 18th Century Ball...) The hose selection is nice, and I did pick up a pair with a low-key tattoo for workshop/afternoon wear ($8). (A lesson from the first DanceFest session: I cannot go sockless for long in my current most-fun pair of shoes.)

After hitting one more store (Dillard's moving sale -- I'd chosen not to buy anything during my first visit, but again, DanceFest convinced me to go back for the tights I'd put back), and the pool) and the pool (I will master flip turns someday...) and the gas pump and the supermarket, I stopped at Woodland Wine Merchant. This week's tasting was hosted by a Stolen Rum representative. The smoked rum is quite good, and I may pair with the red sticker as a future host gift:



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Mar. 7th, 2017

from Grace Burrowes, LADY LOUISA'S CHRISTMAS KNIGHT



"When I can see problems and solutions others can't, it makes other people angry. I realize that it's not enough to identify the difficulties and know what must be done. One must convey the proper course to those who have the problem, so they might see the way as if they had discovered it themselves. [My sister] Jenny explained it to me, but I lack the ability to accomplish her ends, try though I might."

He gentled his hold, because she'd guessed correctly: he was angry, but not at her. "And if you cannot defer to those of lesser insight, Wife? Are you to keep silent and do nothing?"

Another sigh followed by a silence. Silence at least suggested Louisa was considering Joseph's question, and it meant he could hold her a while longer.

"I used to wish I would wake up one day and be less intelligent," she said, sounding very weary. "That is, of course, blasphemy, but I don't like making people feel angry and stupid, and I like even less when they must try to impose those emotions on me in retaliation."



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