Monday, February 21, 2011

swing baby swing!

paloma & thin man dancing, george gee pre-show set up on stage... :)

waaaaay back in 1997, the thin man and i met in san francisco at a swing dance class taught by paul overton & sharon ashe at the (now closed) metronome ballroom. it was the furthest thing from love at first sight. somedays, i can't even wrap my head around the fact that 14 years later, we've been happily married for 10 years (think elyse & steven keaton from family ties, save for the hippie part) and have two curious, thoughful and bright children.

although i've always been a dreamer of sorts, i've never been a good planner. back in the late 90s, when i danced seven nights a week, the future didn't come into focus. i think that paradigm shift happened when the thin man and i got married. it wasn't about "me" anymore... it was about "us".

pretty soon though, "we" stopped dancing altogether. economics, careers and general life detritus got in the way. we were sad about it, but we did notice that it was reality with a lot of couples we knew who were dancers. after paloma and porkchop arrived, i didn't think we'd ever dance again: cost of babysitter + price of admission + drinks (maybe dinner, maybe)... we just couldn't afford it... nowadays, i end up going out dancing without the thin man who stay home with the kids. i can't imagine not dancing regularly again, but obviously, i feel his absence when i'm out, doing something we did together pre marriage....

when we could bring the kids to events we would. more often than not, we would dance at home, in our living room, the kids watching and giggling at us. as soon as paloma could count to 8 and could keep a steady beat, we started to teach her some basic east coast swing. lately, her frame has improved and she's excited to learn more. porkchop also knows how to count to 8 now and is very good at keeping a steady beat and even a little syncopation. both of our children have grown to love jazz/swing music and lindyhop. They've even come to recognize some music from their favorite animated films as music "you can lindy hop to".

recently, the thin man and i indulged ourselves, got a babysitter and planned to go dancing. before we could make a painless escape, our children pleaded with us, "why can't we go too?" it was a good/fair question and i posed it to my friend @nuprinz, who also runs a weekly swing dance event and she'd already been thinking about it too. great minds! ;) after a little research, we found other families who were also interested in attending a family friendly event.

so, if you're a lindyhopping parent in the chicagoland area, i formally invite you to:

Swing Baby Swing!
Sunday, March 20th, 4-7 p.m.
Upstairs at Fizz
3220 N Lincoln Ave
$5 adults, kids free!

Friday, February 18, 2011

friday dance: get right

uuuurrgh... sleepless night followed by a night of interrupted sleep by a sick daughter... help me, friday dance, you're my only hope....

(music starts at 1:20ish mark) :)

i had to get my rino fix as well... just saw at tweet from her last night that she's back in LA teaching at the debbie reynolds dance studio.... oh to be young again... and able to keep up in an int/adv hip hop class... ;)

happy friday everybody!

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Friday, February 11, 2011

friday dance: rocketeer

this morning, i walked by porkchop's room and heard him singing "up, up, here we go... up, up, here we go..." :) (from far east movement "rocketeer")

porkchop and i wish you a happy friday dance! :)

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

project restyle - brown dress... take 2

so, it's taken me a little while to post another finished product for project restyle because i wasn't satisfied with my first attempt...

you may remember i restyled this brown mini skirt.

after chopping off about 8 or 9 inches, i still had a brown vintage dress leftover:

i added some lace trim i had... i sewed some decorative contrast stitching... i even made a belt and came up with this cute dress:

but for as many times as i put it on and tried to style it to suit me... i just wasn't sold... so back to the chopping block it went... 5 inches later and two pockets short... i have a lovely new blouse for the spring:

i could've stopped at the shorter dress, but i just knew i wouldn't wear it... the first time i put on the blouse, i KNEW i would wear it.... :)

thanks for coming by and reading!

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Monday, February 07, 2011

friday dance (on monday): rino & tvxq

only because i saw this tweet, from former harajuku girl, rino nakasone razalan this morning... i felt compelled to share the dance geekery...

start playing this one at the :05 mark:

and start playing this one at the 3:22 mark:

*insert snorting geek laugh track here*

and because you can't have too much rino:

hope you're experiencing a more than decent monday! :)

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Sunday, February 06, 2011


just recently finished a beautiful violet birthday dress for our neighbor across the hall. above is the dress that was requested... not sure where it's from... and below, the dress i made.

i used simplicity pattern 3511 for the sleeves and the top front and back. then, i drafted a shirred circle skirt pattern since the 3511 skirt was really pretty flat. the fabric is a two toned dupioni silk. i gathered red and violet tulle for the ruffle...

i also made a matching dress for her bitty twin doll. still waiting for pics of them together. if i get one, i'll update this post... :)

hope you're having a relaxing sunday. thanks for coming by and reading!

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

read it: where the mountain meets the moon

relatively recently, i joined goodreads and library thing and started writing short reviews of some of the books on our collective nightstands. but, i thought it might be good to start posting them to the blog.

i just finished reading Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. over the years we've read a few of Lin's books - Dim Sum for Everyone, Fortune Cookie Fortunes and Lissy's Friends. i'm always so impressed with her stories and illustrations. there's something about them that is so carefully crafted and well... full of grace. :) her latest novel is absolutely dazzling. from goodreads:

"In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest."

paloma got to read it first when we got it from the library. i was a little worried because she's only 7 and i've read reviews that it's geared towards 10 yos. but she picked it up eagerly - see dragon on cover - and finished it within a few days. she knew that i wanted to read it to her, but she couldn't wait. she even teased me, letting me know where she was in the book and what fantastical event was happening. she also kept complaining that peaches were not in season now and their constant presence in the book made her crave them. as soon as she finished, and i picked it up, she continually asked me, "where are you? are you done yet?"

finally, i read it and was so sad to put it down... unlike my experience with The Anybodies, i couldn't put it down. although both books focus on young girls with seemingly impossible quests, magical circumstances and creatures, i felt so much more sympathy and appreciation for minli. i loved every character really - even the silly laughing stone lion cub. minli's incredible adventure and the fables/parables interwoven into her story are as gorgeous and lush as the peaches she eats, the dragon well tea she drinks and the moon rain flowers that bloom. grace lin's pacing, prolific language, luminous and detailed illustrations complete the perfect package. it was especially clear to me that because of paloma's deep interest in all kinds of myths and fairytales and her own sense of innocent fearlessness that she feels a kindred spirit in minli.

last but not least, grace lin writes a final note at the end of the book - here's part of it:

"By the age of eleven, I had fully disregarded my Asian heritage. My wise mother, knowing that any type of forced cultural exposure would lead to scorn, silently left half a dozen Chinese folktale and fairy-tale books on the bookshelf. Unable to resist the pull of a new book, I very quietly began to read them."

she continues to say that she was disappointed at first in the translations and illustrations of the stories. however, eventually, she overlooked these flaws and rediscovered the core beauty of the stories and her asian roots.

as an asian american woman and now mother, i can totally relate to grace and her mom. there was a time in my life (hello, 1980s chicago!) when i found it too difficult to "be filipino enough". i didn't speak tagalog, bisaya or ilocano. for a filipino - i was too dark, too tall with an athletic, instead of lithe and willowy, build. i didn't play piano. i was far from graceful, etc... and the very prominent asymetrical cystic hygroma on my neck didn't help matters either.

but my father, like minli's, is an excellent storyteller. when he would visit, he would always retell stories about Juan Tamad other filipino mythical creatures like aswangs and wakwaks. it helped me to realize that i shouldn't dwell on not being filipino enough... i realized how proud i was that we had our own folktales... that i should focus on learning everything i could about what being filipino meant to me how my meager offerings would add to that definition.

as a mom, i worry that paloma and porkchop will also feel a disconnect to their filipino sides. like grace lin's mom, i have left many filipino children's books on their bookshelves to read. and they do! :) we will have to add Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to our collection. i'm especially thankful for this wonderful book, that exists among other not so great multicultural books, in that it might remind my children of the wonder of their own heritage, to reflect on what it means to be thankful, to have faith, to be patient, to understand what it means to be courageous, to read more, to tell stories and dream bigger - all the way up to the moon and back again....


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