Ode to Orange… and a Father’s Day Wish

Ode to Orange

Some would argue the best color in town is red, or blue, or green.

Others might say its yellow, pink, or purple… or in between.

But as a self-proclaimed color whisperer, i dare place one color above them all.

Orange, you have won my heart.  When I’m with you, I have a ball!

You are the color of my favorite soda, my favorite scarf, my favorite room.

You’re always warm and cozy, and in the fall you glaze the moon.

You are the color of Hostess cupcakes with that delicate white filling.

When red is too tired, and blue is too blue, you are always willing.

You are the color of so many of the delicious foods we chew.

Carrots, peppers, pumpkins, and Cheetos… just to name a few.

You are gentle when you need to be, always energetic and brave.

You are the color of the sun that brings us each new day.

You feed us, protect us, sooth our soul…   depending on your hue.

Flowers, butterflies, basketballs, and that fruit they named after you.

You’re a fashion diva, a style icon… all the bloggers say so.

You are right at home with any other color of the rainbow.

The love child of red and yellow.  They made magic…  and you were born.

And who could forget, that you are roughly one third of candy corn.

There are some that think you’re crazy, too bold and much too loud.

But there isn’t another color out there that makes me feel more proud.

So now you know my secret, I love you, Orange hue.

Orange you super glad I wrote this little ode to you.

***

***

Mini Ode to My Dad

There’s this guy they call Captain Orange… and everybody knows

that he and Orange go way, way back.  He and Orange are bros.

Captain Orange is my hero, my rock, my heart, my home.

He is the reason that I have been blessed with life.  So no matter where I roam.

He is always there to save the day, even if we are miles apart.

I hear his voice, he holds my hand, he encourages my art.

He’ll say say he didn’t do enough…  he’s a humble, hard-working guy.

But truth be told, he’s the one who taught me how to survive.

I see my dad in every orange sunset, flower or mushroom.

Past the sky… Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  As long as I have Orange, I have you.

xo skyblue

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, TO ALL THE DAD’S!

T’s Birthday Wish

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Hold a treasure close to your heart.

Close your eyes.

Then…

Make a wish..

Say a prayer.

Sing a song.

Twirl around.

Tell someone Thank You.

Tell someone I Love You.

Tell yourself I Love Me.

Believe in Peace on Earth.

Know that you are loved.

Then…

Go out into the world and follow all your dreams!

Happy Birthday Sweet T

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xo skyblue

An unexpected visit… is often the best kind.

***

Gliding, gently across the glass surface,

Trying not to disturb.

splish… splash… splish… splash… until I reach other side…

Only to find the quietest cove.

The crooked bridge smiles, and welcomes me.

A perfect frame to the delight that awaits inside.

I am a humble guest here.

Hello, old friend!  May I come in?

Please do, I only ask that you remove your shoes.

Morning light twinkles, tickles my skin,

dripping through spaces between weathered wood.

The deep lines on my brow soften and fade, the first time in months…years.

I only breathe in, and out…in, and out…

Floating there so bashful, just to my left

Five tiny lily pads and two curious blossoms.

They giggle and tug at my pant as I enter and kick my shoes off.

I know this will be a lovely visit.

Who’s eyes are those, peaking timidly through a shady curtain of branches?

Oh, they are adorable.

Hello, there.  I’ve brought you some delicious bread.

I hope you will have some with me.

Come, friend.  We will sit on the porch.

The breeze is so refreshing this time of year.

There is a swing, and sweet lemonade.

We will listen to music and catch up on old times.

A familiar tune plays, in surround sound, from the perches above.

I love this song. Where have I heard this before?

We remember, and laugh. Weren’t we silly back then?

The tall blades of grass swish back, and forth… back, and forth…

Upon several, I find the most delicate creatures.

Such tiny wings, I’d swear these are fairies.  Irridescent, light purplish blue.

They dance for me, spinning, spiraling, twirling.

Only one, a much fancier blue… Look what I can do!

Your children are lovely.  My goodness, where has the time gone?

Seems like yesterday, our future, a dream.

Here we are, in a blink.

How we’ve aged.  How they’ve grown.

No, I do not have any of my own.

Oh how I wish I could stay here all day, sipping and chatting with you.

This lemonade is the best I have tasted.

I have had the most fun.

We should definitely do this more often.

But I know as life goes, while intentions are good,

It may be months… years…

So long for now, dear friend.

Promise we will soon do this again.

We embrace with a pause, sweet little hugs at my knees.

as I place worn shoes back on my cool bare feet.

e.j.l.

They have been there for me throughout…The ups and downs, the ins the outs, the upside-downs… they have been there for all of it.  They have never given up on me.  They have never judged me.  They make gifts for me.  A blanket, a scarf, original artwork, soup, home-made jelly, and one of my favorites… a crocheted hat with a flower on it, given to me when i needed it most. They send letters, cards, and the most thoughtful presents in the mail.  One friend sends me my favorite incense sometimes…what a treat!  When we are together we discuss everything from art and religion, to old boyfriends, girlfriends and our humungous 80’s hairstyles. While i have other incredibly dear friends, these special friends… are my family.  They connect me to my childhood, my youth, my home.

We are different from each other in many ways, but i have always thought we are alike in all of the ways that matter.  My friends are insanely gorgeous and talented, and i am average… but they always make me feel smart and beautiful. Some of them live in much sexier homes and cities…but they never makes me feel inferior.  I have never felt like i am as good of a friend to them as they have been to me.  But they have never punished me for it or tried to change me in any way.  They except and show unconditional love for me through every dorky, dark, awkward, bitchy, quirky, ugly, lazy, crabby, clumsy moment i have ever had.

They are more than BFF’s.  Much more.

This poem (if we can call it that) was written from a kayak floating on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire.  It was less than a year from my diagnosis, chemo was finally over – and I never felt this good in my life as I did that day.  It was the day I woke up, opened my eyes, and realized I was going to survive. I made it through, and the loveliest light was just through the door… i just had to push it open, put my chin up, and walk through.

I crawled out of bed that morning at the lake house, before anyone else was up, heaved a kayak into the water and pushed off the dock with my bare foot.  The sun was just about to make its debut for the day.  I quietly paddled and listened and smiled.  Across the lake, overcome by exhaustion, I found a tiny cove, dripping in the most beautiful morning sunlight, framed by a homely little bridge… ‘oh, and you wouldn’t go in??’.

While I floated amongst the ducks, and birds, and dragonflies, and gazed in awe of the beauty i found here – i had thoughts of nature, and how rarely i stop to enjoy it.  I also had thoughts of my dearest family and friends…the people who i could not have done it without.  Often so much time passes in between phone calls, and visits… living such separate lives, babies arriving, and children having grown so much.  But when we do stop to visit, and listen, and smile, it is magical.  We laugh the biggest belly laughs, and cry the most vulnerable tears, and replay our youth with angst and delight.  We revisit decades of memories, good and bad.  In recent years I am doubly blessed to know many of they’re sweet children, which makes it much easier as I say goodbye to the dream of my own.

It was very difficult to leave that cove, and return back to shore that day.  But every lovely visit must come to an end.  I quietly paddled back to lake house… feeling strength, hope, and and happy thoughts of dear friends.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~marcel proust

skyblue XO

Come Dance with Me. The Story of Little Orange Studio

Exhilaration is…what happens when i come home from work, go straight to little orange studio, crank up my Pandora, forget about work and responsibility, and just go wherever the music takes me.  Literally!  This is how i exercise.

Will I do some belly dancing? or lift some weights? or do some step aerobics?  How about some Yoga?  Ballet?  Maybe some Pilates?  Maybe I feel like just putting on a pretty skirt and dancing like I was on stage again (is that wierd? oh well.)

And my husband?  What does he think of his wife in the other room practicing torso undulations and snake arms… busting out in hour long dance routines? It used to freak him out when I first started doing it no doubt… but it doesn’t seem to phase him anymore.  he usually can’t help sneaking into the studio to come stand beside me in the mirror and do his special guy-version of a hip shimmy… or he likes to tip toe up behind me and make inappropriate gestures when i’m doing yoga (hello? Downward Dog? we all know some of those poses clearly invite innocent spousal butt grabs).

My dance habits although a bit strange to others, are my most regular and effective form of exercise, and an endless source and outlet for creativity.  I go through constant ups and downs with regards to my commitment of keeping up a regular schedule.  I’ll start to feel really flexible and strong, and toned, and then i lose my steam.  I get lazy.  I procrastinate.  But ultimately, besides fair weather walking,  this is my main source of exercise. To understand this slightly odd hobby – dancing for hours in a special room of my house- and to understand why i do it and what it means to me, one must know some of my background.

image: First Lesson at Truempy Ballet School by Alfred Eisenstaedt

A brief (although wordy) history of my significant, but very humble, experiences in dance, movement, and fitness…

  • 1977 (I was 7, sure go ahead do the math).  I had known for “years” that i wanted to be a ballerina.  I had not learned yet that i was destined to suck at all sports and athletics.  I started going to ballet classes at a little school in Manchester. I Loved it, but I hated it.  I was addicted to the beauty of it and to the feeling of moving my body to music, but so incredibly challenged by the intensity of it all… so much pain…so competitive.  I couldn’t live without it, but I dreaded every muscle throbbing-toe bleeding class and rehearsal.  [How I loved you, Ms. Priscilla, even when you made me cry and made me do it 37 times, until it was perfect . I truly loved you despite the oozing blisters.]
  • My bedroom at the time becomes, part little girl’s room, part Grand Stage where my early “choreographies” are rehearsed, and performed for unsuspecting aunts and uncles.  I think I charged them each like one dollar.
  •  I did primarily ballet at my dance school, but i also did lot’s of jazz, and tap until I was about 22.  Tap and jazz were where i had the most fun (Who’s not having fun slinking around to Smooth Criminal, and tap dancing your heart out to 42nd Street!)… but ballet was still my first love.  The satin toe-shoes, the delicate tutu’s, the perfect pirouettes , the graceful arms and hands.  I was never the best in my class, and i only ever got a few solo parts, but i kept up with it…always knowing it was my foundation for being able to do any of the other stuff.  I spent many years performing in recitals and small town productions with my beloved first dance school.  My mom and dad were there for every performance, every class, every accomplishment, every smile, every tear.  My mom sewed my costumes.  My dad helped backstage… assembling Santa’s sleigh…he even helped tie up the unraveled ballet shoes of tiny sugarplums in the wings.
  • I went to college and joined the dance company there, which is the first time i was exposed to any other types of dance.  During this time I learned a little modern, and contemporary.  Performed a few times, tried some choreography.  Got a surprise marriage proposal from my dance partner, on stage, during a show, in front of our families and my entire college campus. (that wedding never did happen, but a very memorable “dance” moment!  and great man that i hope is living a happy, healthy life with a beautiful family somewhere. i didn’t deserve him.)
  • My mid-twenties…started dabbling in some step aerobics and learning to do light weight lifting, etc.
  • After college ended, I danced here and there until i was about 26 and then stopped.  I was too old for dance recitals, and didn’t know of any options other than traditional ballet and tap schools where i could continue dancing.
  • Started going to gyms more, learning how to use fitness equipment and taking group classes… aerobics, kickboxing, and the occasional yoga class [a little too new age and misunderstood by me at that time, but i was slightly and subconsciously intrigued].  My body looked and felt great, but I never loved going to the gym.  “What? No pretty costumes?  No beautiful music?  No fun choreographies? “Waahh… grown up exercise… yuck!”
  • Stopped moving altogether for a few years, besides some pretty steady nightclub dancing and the occasionally date on roller blades.
  • Mid-late 90’s, found a tiny little classified posting in the Advocate, for a belly dance class held in a used book store.  “Belly Dance? A Book Store? Interesting…”
  • 5 minutes into my first class…Hooked…I was going to be a dancer again.

  • Gradually found some more classes to take.  One of my early classes was a fusion of belly dance and yoga.  Hmmm… i was liking this yoga thing more and more… especially if i can do it while i’m belly dancing!
  • Started taking lots of belly dance classes and traveling for workshops… and performing a bit.  Hip Scarves! Silk Veils! Sparkly Costumes!  Fake Eyelashes! Exciting Music!  Classes with famous experts!  Dance camp with professionals and famous musicians! THIS WAS LIVING!
  • created a special exercise/belly dance area in my apartment at the time, doing more independent practice and study of belly dance, yoga, pilates, and fitness in general as I slowly and modestly transformed the space into my “dance room”.
  • I spent a few years doing local belly dance performances with other students for fun, for fundraisers, in restaurants… I met so many lovely, creative women.
  • Learned a bit more Yoga and Pilates with books, classes and workshops. Both feel very complimentary to my belly dancing.
  • Got a little stagnant with belly dance after a while.  Tried my hips at some Polynesian and Hula, knowing the music and movements would be equally as thrilling and beautiful.  The costumes were interesting too… I performed at a handful of gigs and parties … got to wear a few grass skirts, and yes… i had my own pair of coconuts.  I had a great time, met more lovely, creative women.
  • Decided to focus my efforts solely on belly dance once again… some classes, a workshop or two, another few performances… did a little teaching for beginners. Only stayed involved with the belly dance community for another year or so.  Life got in the way, as they say.  A few dear friends remain.

  • 2006, I moved.  I started creating a new space, a new room in my new house, where i could practice, play music, be comfortable, and feel inspired – and where I could paint the walls any color of the rainbow without losing a security deposit.
  • Today, I’m dancing again.  I get in an occasional funk with the seasons, my moods, or a temporary obstacle.  But I am dancing.

***

Little Orange Studio is where,

even though I am no longer formally involved in dance…

I am still a dancer. 

There are magical forces at work here.

This is where i get the movement and exercise my body craves.

This is where i am still able to be creative with choreography and improvisation. 

This is where I am the artist I have always wanted to be.

This is where I am the writer I never thought I could be.

This is where I heal, ease pain, and get stronger after the cancer.

This is where I am still a dancer.

This is where I will forever be…

ballerina, belly dance goddess…

dancer.

***

My life of dance and movement gave me the vision to create these spaces where i live.  The space I have now is where i dance, exercise, and make artwork in harmony.  One inspires the other… inspires the other….they are not separate. Since having little orange studio, I have experienced the power it has over my creativity, inspiration, and motivation.  At any moment… early in the morning, or by the flicker of candle light and a full moon… you might find me in there making a necklace, doing sun salutations,  painting a canvas, dancing to middle eastern, acoustic or club music.  sometimes I’m wearing yoga pants and a hip scarf… other times i am decked head to toe in belly dance attire with swirling skirts, jingling coins, lipstick, and flowers in my hair.  No matter what you find me doing in there, there will be music playing, candles glowing, and incense burning.  No matter what you find me doing in there, i am being the most “me” I could ever be.

What inspires me about the sunny studio by the woods?  The warm colors… the delicate sunlight… the magical lamps… the shaggy rugs… the shelves of lovely books and treasures from my past… the whimsical paintings… the meticulously organized art supplies… my gorgeous [hand-made-by-hubby] table and flea market furniture… my cat sleeping in a basket of pretty scarves…the late-morning light that beams onto the colors and my skin.

One might agree, It’s not always easy to find motivation for exercise, or the recipe for creativity, or the wisdom to stop and listen to birds from a yoga mat.  “Real life” always seems to trump.  But putting petty excuses aside, there are no valid reasons for me not to want to go into this room and be creative, exercise, write, dance.  This is where i feel whole and strong. This is where my soul longs to spend its days.

Little OS is my story.  Here I can dance until i am 80 and create until earth’s journey ends.  I never have to retire my sparkly hip scarves or jingly coin belts!  I realize i may want to think twice about the sequin bra’s and coconut shells in a few years, although perky is no longer an issue for me, so who knows! (this can be further clarified for you by Dancing Rapunzel if curiosity now has the best of you)

ALLLLL this being said, I have secretly wished i could help other people create spaces like this for themselves, for whatever it is they want do do.  I don’t think i will have my little orange studio interior design company any time soon, but maybe someone will read this and try it for themselves.  and then poof.  it happens for them…  the magic.

My space happens to be a spare room in the back of my house tucked near the woods.  A cozy corner, a large closet, a patch of grass under a tree can work too.  Your space might be waiting, right before your eyes.  Give it some love.  Give it some You.

Let’s say you had an extra room or spare corner in your home…what would yours look like?  What would you do there?

Maybe you already have a space, that is your story, and you’ve just never told it.

My hope is that at least one kindred blogger or reader will find this post, and be inspired to create their own space to dance (or meditate, do situps, sew dresses, do yoga, make art…  ).

Exhilaration, Bliss, Spiritual Perfection, might be waiting for you there.

love, skyblue. xo.


Testing… is this thing on?

this is just a test post.  i don’t have the patience to post anything of substance at the moment.  i’ve been working on some posts, and i just can’t take it anymore!  the cursor in my wordpress is possessed all of a sudden.  does this happen to anyone else?  paragraphs are being erased,  the cursor skips all over and suddenly i’m typing in the middle of a sentence i wrote 5 minutes ago.  the cursor doesn’t keep up with my typing, everything suddenly scrolls into a crooked mess… it’s like someone else is typing in my post remotely.  a phantom… one who is terrible at typing!!

it feels like i’m typing in gooey molasses.

so no pictures tonight.  no cats.  no poems.  no art.  no words of wisdom (i can say that now, i’m over forty).  nothing witty…

not until i figure out who dumped the molasses in my wordpress!!

… oh, ok!  i’ll insert one photo!  i can’t resist.

xo e.j.l.

p.s. there is at least a 50% chance that this molasses problem is user error, and i have accidentally done something to cause this.  I could use some help here people!!  Any ideas?  (-:

my husband keeps telling me, “just reboot!!”  ok.  i will try that.  see you next time.

Forty Four Septembers

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September's Harvest Moon

Forty Four Septembers

Forty four Septembers gone by,

and they are still walking side by side.

Through darkness and light, he’s held her so tight

Never doubting their love, him so brown, her so white.

They had a sweet daughter, (who yes, became me).

The two of them now, were forever all three.

They gave her the world, the stars and the trees.

They taught her to be a good human being.

They gave her the wings to make her own way.

For which she knows she could never repay.

Now she is grown with a love of her own.

Their family of three has certainly grown.

Since the nest has been empty,  they have made their way too.

With life’s ups and its downs, always making it through.

They still love to hold hands on cold starry nights.

Always appreciating the good in their life.

It has never been easy, each has been hard to please,

But at the end of the day, she is his squeeze.

Forty Four Septembers gone by.

Where ever they go, they will walk side by side.

                                e.j.l.

****

Happy 44th Anniversary to my sweet mom and dad.  I love you and miss you.  Hope you are having a wonderful day together.  This blog’s for you!

e.j.l. xo

photo source: nasa.gov Astronomy Picture of the day 9/16/11

little orange studio, i love you

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i am forever tidying up, moving stuff, hanging stuff, painting stuff, all in the an effort to create the perfectly inspiring space to do make art, write poetry, do yoga… some days i avoid the space – not feeling creative, too tired, too busy, the lighting is bad, its too cold, have a headache… if it’s an excuse, I’ve thought of it.  But on other days it’s hard to get me out of there.  If I had a sacred sort of space on this earth, this would be it.  If i were one of those life coaches, I would highly recommend creating a space like this, for yourself, in your own home if possible.  A place where you can feel inspired to do whatever it is you really want to do, really love to do… even on your craziest and laziest days.  One of my most ridiculous excuses is that if i can’t spend all day in there, i don’t want to go in there at all today.  Isn’t that bratty?  I decided that i need to just get my butt in there, every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.  and maybe good things will happen.  Incense, mood lamps, a crazy coat of paint… whatever it takes to entice you into your special space.

e.j.l. xo

p.s. Tell me about your special space!  (-: