Sunday, November 22, 2009


Last night my wife and I tried something rather new for the both of us. When she was out of town a few weeks ago for a social event with her work, she met someone who teaches English Country dancing. By "English," I mean "England," and by "Country," I mean "Jane Austen-Style." Since my wife is an ardent fan of Jane Austen, and dancing features prominently in several of her novels, we decided to go down to Oklahoma City for some lessons and dancing last night. It was a lot of fun, and an altogether entirely singular experience for the both of us. To wit: this ain't dancing like the kids at the clubs today.

For starters, most of the people (of the roughly 25 or so total) were not exactly in their youth. But they sure were having a good time, and were delighted to have some of the younger generation there last night, and the way these folks danced you would have thought they were all in their 20's as well. Some were dressed up in period clothing just for the fun of it, and one dude wore a kilt. We got there at 7:30 for some lessons in basic steps and maneuvers, and learned how to change, cross, circle, step, and a lot of other little moves that serve to make up an entire dance. Then around 8, as more people got there and the live band had finished tuning up, we started up the real dancing.

This type of dancing eschews traditional definitions of the word, though in some respects it is in fact far more traditional than the dancing we think of today since it has been around much longer. A typical dance involves two lines of people, one made of men and one of women, standing a few feet apart and facing each other. The individuals facing each other are partners, but partners change with each dance. At the front of the room is a "caller," who first tells the particular moves that make up the dance, and it's up to the partners and their neighbors to make it all happen.

The video above is not from last night--it's just something I found on YouTube that exemplifies the dancing we did. It might not look like much, but it was super fun. I'm not kidding, I had a blast with it and people were super friendly and helpful when we forgot what to do. I also had to be extremely focused the whole time, as things were happening to fast that if I lost my concentration for a few seconds things would break down.

We hope to go again soon, and maybe check out the Ballroom Dancing lessons offered here in town too. In any case, it was at least something different for the both of us, and we had a great time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

There will come soft rains

It's been a while since there's been a day like this around here. I woke sometime last night to the sound of rain and thunder, and today the lingering after effects are working to craft a Sunday that is one of the perfect kind of days to be inside at home. It's just a little chilly, just a little rainy, and just a little foggy, with a little over an hour until we leave for church. Great way to start the day. :)

Last night we went over to a friend's house for dinner, and it was fun just hanging out and talking for a while. I watched the OSU football game too, and realized that the more I watch football the more it makes sense to me (though actually playing it is something else altogether). I went through a somewhat informal football education in college thanks to my roommates (mostly Evan) who would try their hardest to explain the onscreen Nebraska Cornhuskers action in language that my computerfied, quiz-bowling brain could understand. He did an admirable job, and his efforts served to prepare me for a few years of Vikings football-watching up in Minnesota, and now I really enjoy watching me a foo'ball game here and there. I don't always understand everything that's going on, nor do I always know why a given penalty is called at any one time, but I do like watching nonetheless. So it was pretty cool to see the Cowboys beat the, uhm...Red Raiders (had to look that one up just now) last night. But of course a good deal of that is due to the company, too, and I enjoyed not just watching the game, but watching it with Mark and Jesse. Good conversation, good times. :)

Last week I went to two different conventions with my work, though one was as a worker and one was an attender. I have always enjoyed the behind-the-scenes aspect of any type of production, which is partly why I enjoyed being the Technical Director for so many plays at MCCS, and it was cool to be part of the team that put on the convention. I suppose you could describe it as small, because only a few hundred attendees were registered, but it was really cool nonetheless. We had to set up the giant banner behind the stage, make sure the projectors and laptops were all ready for the speakers, take care of setting up the exhibitors' booths, and deal with a few audio problems that popped up during the course of the afternoon. Nothing too serious, and thanks to the Crowne Plaza's head tech dude Richard, things went great. The speakers were interesting, and from what I could tell the attendees enjoyed coming, and I like knowing that I was part of the team that made it all happen. Awww. :)

We had planned on going out to chainsaw up some fallen trees for firewood today, but the rain might mean we'll be at home instead. It's all good, because there's plenty to do around the ol' house. So here's to a good start to the week.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The colors of all

Being homeowners has been pretty cool for the most part, with the exception of a few hitches here and there that aren't really worth mentioning in the grand scheme of things. There's the psychological element first and foremost--that feeling of security that comes from knowing you wake and sleep in a place that is entirely your own, on a piece of land that belongs exclusively to you. After living in rented homes and apartments for so long, it's nice to finally have a place to call home that actually does belong to us. Beyond that, though, have been the improvements both large and small. We have slowly been populating the walls with pictures and artwork, replacing some oft-used lights with CFL versions, and organizing our possessions in such a way as we see fit in order to turn this house into a home.

There's some bigger things too, like the leaves in the yard. Oh, the leaves. Our yard is full of them, partially from our own trees and partially from the neighbors, but however they got there they aren't leaving (har!) anytime soon. So yesterday I spent a while raking and mowing and generally chopping the leaves into tiny bits that will stay in the grass, decompose, and help our lawn be just a tad bit healthier in the long run. Or so I hope. The thing about fall down here, though, is that it tends to last for a while, so even though it's November I doubt it's the last time we'll have to go out and do yard work. It's a good kind of work, though, because I know in the end that it's our own place we're working on, and sometimes that makes all the difference in the world.

I also went on a short geocaching mission yesterday, though objectively speaking I suppose one could say I was unsuccessful. I located one out of three geocaches, though I didn't spent a lot of time searching for the final one on my list, so I suppose I could blame my lack of success on my lack of time spent doing it. :) I count the journey a success, though, as it gave me the opportunity to be outside on my bike enjoying the fall weather.

Time to head for church in a bit. This is indeed the day the Lord has made. :)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Skipping Halloween

One thing about moving to a new town...about 80% of the integration is pretty easy. Getting to know the places to get stuff, people at work, neighborhood you live in, where to eat, and those sorts of everyday things aren't too difficult and for the most part just come naturally through the act of existing in the new location. You need to stock the fridge? You gotta find the grocery store. Need to fill up the car? You have no choice but locate a gas station. It's the minutiae of a new community that's a bit more tricky, especially in a smaller town like where we live now. There was a big Homecoming celebration a few weeks ago, and we weren't sure if we were going to go or not. It sounded kind of interesting, but in just hearing about it we weren't exactly thrilled to go, nor did we understand what the big deal was. But when we went for a walk down the main drag on Homecoming night, saw the amazing displays outside the frat houses, and moved our way slowly through the thousands of people checking out said displays, as well as street vendors, carnival rides, and parade floats...we finally got it. And next year we'll know. :) But we weren't so lucky with the trick-or-treating situation...

Last night was Halloween, but not around here, since it was apparently moved to Thursday night. Neither my wife or I are really into the whole Halloween thing, but we thought it would be a good chance to meet the neighbors around here: pass out some candy to the kids, talk with the adults, and work our way into the neighborhood consciousness. But alas, due to the OSU football game on Saturday, and another game the night before, trick-or-treating was bumped back to Thursday and we didn't even know it until Friday morning. :( Lesson learned: keep our eyes peeled and ears to the ground, and maybe read the local paper a bit more. :)

In our quest to make our house more of a home, we have been doing lot of little things that, taken as a whole, are serving to turn this place where we exist into a place we really live. One of the most useful tools we have discovered, though, is patience. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor are house projects completed all at once. But our list of things to do is slowly decreasing, as is our list of stuff to buy from Lowe's, and yesterday we finally took care of the light bulbs (replacing some oft-used incandescents with CFLs), blinds in the dining room, and a few other miscellaneous items. Today we are going to go get some wood for the fireplace and maybe do some yard work too. And my goal of having our moving boxes unpacked by the end of October was mostly accomplished: everything is out of the boxes, but there are still a few items that need to be actually put away or hung on the walls. We're getting there, though, and it's a fun ride along the way.