Thursday, June 26, 2008

white girls can least once in a while

Live, love, dance. That's the title on the journal I'm currently using. I do the first two pretty well. I venture the last activity about once or twice a decade. Really, I have no rhythm, and very little constructive experience, so when I do, it tends to be an awkward and self-conscious act.

So I was at work Thursday night, finishing up a very long day. Started at 6:45am. Groggy from late night beforehand, I then developed a stiff neck in the shower. Waved my husband off at 8:30am so he can spend 3 days up in the cool pines "working" at my parent's cabin. Spent 3 hours on a playdate through lunchtime. Booted sleepy Jude and Audrey to rooms for early nap and balanced 3 checkbooks and 3 budgets (1 home, 2 biz). Ran aforementioned kids to my kind friend who agreed to watch them, and arrived 10 minutes late to work only to find my new supervisor, whom I hadn't met until that moment, standing at the gym desk. Fortunately she wasn't tapping her foot. Spent next several hours chatting it up with her and various gym patrons (I know, this is work??), led a killer abs class, and realized at 7:30pm as I waved the last lingering patrons out that I had 30 minutes to fit in my own weight workout before closing. I usually take an hour. At least I'd already done abs. I rattled through a super-fast version of my usual session and went to shut off the sound system. We keep the radio playing all day at the gym, and I tune it out after a while. But suddenly one of my favorite top-10 songs comes on, and I pause. I turn up the volume. And then I start dancing.

Now, if someone else is writing this, I start to think at this point, Whoa, she's lost it. She's definitely lost ME. This is one goofy chick. Do people really act this silly? Normally I don't. I like to mess around with my kids, but I don't dance, and I certainly don't dance in an empty gym after closing time. Well, I can't say that any more. I don't know if it was the headiness of having accomplished a difficult day without cracking, or the fun of flouting my usual workout routine for something new and shorter, or just the attraction of the beat of the song itself. But I couldn't have stopped if I tried. And why try? What was another couple minutes. I gyrated and swung my arms and I would have pirouetted if I knew what that was supposed to look like. And when the song finished, I shut it off before the station could intercede with the next raucous advertisement or less-loved song. I suspect I was grinning as I grabbed my stuff and headed out the door to my car. Hey, at least now I can write in my journal that I do live, love, AND dance. At least once in a while.

But get this: that's not the end of the story! I get home to my two wide-awake kids and proceed to put them to bed. Our tradition after the teethbrushing and pajama stage consists of prayers and a psalm, sung acapella with the traditional psalms-for-singing psalter that I grew up with. They love this part. Jude prefers the maudlin 22A, whereas Audrey likes the grand finale, 150B. That night, I picked one I've particularly liked since childhood, Psalm 54B. You Reformed Presbyterians out there know this one well; the beat is catchy. So my five-year-old son Jude climbs down the bunkbed ladder while I'm singing, eyes me to make sure I'm not about to toss him back in bed, and starts dancing. I have to dance to this one, he explains after the first verse. This is not part of the bedtime routine, but I can't blame the boy. I'm about to join him. He hops about, adding that he's dancing the Peter Pan Indian Dance. He's pretty good. So naturally 3-year-old Audrey can't be left out, she slides out of the bottom bunk and she starts in. She has no rhythm yet, but she's swaying all over the place, tossing her hair and arms with abandon. Let's just say that despite the fact it's way past their bedtime by now, I only wish there were more verses to that psalm. Maybe, just maybe, I should dance a little more often.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

it's true: a 21st century swordswoman

Ok, I wasn't going to do it. I really wasn't going to add a post this soon. I also wasn't going to bore you with fitness training notes. But remember how I said that a swordswoman was a stretch? It may be...but I got the Sparq digital magazine in my inbox(" performance training for the serious athlete" - sign me up!) and the first thing I see? An article on Rebecca Ward, Olympian fencer. I mean, you can't get much cooler than being a swordfighting chick. And although she's only 18, she seems to be at least a renaissance mom in the making: "Fencing at this level is equal parts grace and focus, not to mention a Herculean juggling act - school classes, travel, fencing practice, training, and events all over the globe. Ward started this adventure when she was just 9 years old, and [her coach], for one, is in awe, 'Watching this kind of dedication and work ethic at such a young age, and to see where it's come, it's pretty cool.' You'd better believe it's cool, buddy. Just watch how cool she becomes a decade from now when she's juggling Olympic fencing and motherhood. You go, swordsgirl!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

ode to the renaissance mom

This blog represents my ode to the renaissance mom (in prose form, of course; I wouldn't torture you with my poetry. At least, not yet). Like the Italian "Renaissance Man" of the 14th to 17th century, the Renaissance Mom strives to, or can't help but, become proficient in multiple arenas of life. The original Renaissance Man was a poet, artist, swordsman, scientist, linguist, horseman, musician, and so on. The Renaissance Mom of the 21st century might be a poet, artist, and swordswoman (okay, that's a stretch); or a writer, a runner, a chef; or a scrapbooker, a teacher, and a caregiver. My own mother might deny it, but she is a true renaissance mom. Many of my friends and sisters, not all mothers, are nevertheless all renaissance women.

The trouble with the renaissance life is that the learning never ends, and while the renaissance man typically had both wealth and leisure sufficient to pursue endless excellence in his studies of choice, the renaissance mom fights tight budgets, narrow deadlines, sick kids, red tape, late nights, entrepreneurial spouses, and other challenges along her path of learning. In that respect, I hold the renaissance mom in greater esteem: she achieves excellence in the face of great obstacles. Further, I think we renaissance women need quite a bit more encouragement in our efforts. So this is to you, women of many hats. May you become the beautiful, multi-talented, well-rounded, fulfilled women that God designed you to be. In other words, you go, girl.

Check out this incredible YouTube collage of women in art spanning hundreds of years and artists!