365 photo challenge: luckiest

My daughter feels like one of the luckiest girls in the world right now. She’s been cast as the Dew Drop Fairy in her ballet company‘s upcoming Nutcracker. One of the treasured roles, it signals a dancer’s “arrival.” She is considered capable of taking on the challenge of a lead role in a performance. My daughter is “over the moon,” and feels up to the task.

…a little luck…and a lot of hard work…and dreams can come true…

………hugmamma.¬† ūüėČ

just when you think…


Swan Lake ballet

Image via Wikipedia

My daughter’s had her share of frustrations these last 7 months or so, beginning with having to take a medical leave from her job as a dancer last Fall. That caused her to miss the first performance of the season, Swan Lake, as well as The Nutcracker. Resuming dance in January, she was able to perform in her company’s winter series, “Director‘s Choice,” where she had some nice parts, soloing in one piece, “Postcards from the Boys.” She was also able to dance small variations for the annual Ballet Ball fundraising event.

10.11.22 Carmina Burana fascin√≥ al p√ļblico en ...

Image by Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires via Flickr

After a 2-week break, she was happily back to work, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Carmina Burrana,” the last of the company’s season and a powerful work that includes an adult choir, and a children’s choir, singing along with a full orchestra. The music serves as an inspiring backdrop for the dancers. I’ve seen another company dance the piece, and came away emotionally spent. That’s how tremendous the effect is¬†with the combined efforts of musicians, singers, and dancers flowing from the stage towards the audience. My daughter so looked forward to all the dancing she was prepared to do.

Multiple fractures of the metacarpals (aka bro...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I was shocked when my daughter called and said she had broken her right hand, below the¬†ring finger, continuing down towards the middle of her palm. Falling from a stance on tiptoes, she, and the other dancers, were enacting a move that resembled their having been shot from a cannon. Evidently my daughter’s fall happened quicker than she expected, so her hand hit the floor to brace herself, and took the full weight of her body. She heard a “crunch,” and knew something was askew. Getting up, she immediately knew she’d broken something for she had no feeling in her hand. A visit to a walk-in clinic confirmed her suspicions when an xray was taken.

While she waits to see the orthopedist on Monday, my daughter has much to reflect upon, the physical pain being one. But¬†for a dancer it doesn’t end there. She must now regroup mentally and emotionally. At 25, she’s better equipped to handle such occurrences without being devastated. In her younger years, especially as a student of dance, these setbacks were more difficult to rationalize. Now that my daughter is a professional, having proved herself, and being valued for her contributions to the company as a whole, she can deal with being sidelined better. Not that it’s easy; it’s never easy. Not being able to dance for 3 or more weeks is sheer torture for a dancer, especially one so passionate about it as my daughter.

Because the break is a clean one, my daughter feels the healing time will be quicker. She’s glad it was her right-hand because she’s left-handed. She’s glad it was her hand, and not her foot. She’s glad she has a girlfriend living with her temporarily, having just moved in a few days ago. How timely was that? And when she realized something was amiss, that something was broken, her fellow dancers immediately went into action, getting her an ice-pack, pain-killers, and hovering, offering assistance, and support. And the artistic director, her boss, was at her side, sympathetic and concerned. After he viewed the xray of her broken hand, he asked if she had help¬†at home. Replying that she had a friend with her, he still told my daughter to call him if she needed anything,¬†as did many¬†of the dancers.

Last night a number of people from work were at my daughter’s apartment, dining on pizza and sitting around chatting. As a mom, my heart is warmed knowing she has a family with whom to share her ups and downs. I can’t be everywhere, so I’m glad there are angels always hovering nearby.

Children grow up to assume lives as adults. How they do it is not a mystery, really. It’s just putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that every day presents new possibilities. There’ll always be challenges, but with them come new discoveries…about life…about themselves. We’ve all been there, done that, and continue¬†to do so. That really is what life’s about, isn’t it?

another challenge…another possibility…hugmamma.

been there, done that

Media coverage of President Obama’s recent vacation¬†has put Martha’s Vineyard “on the map.” Not that it wasn’t already there.¬†According to the¬†weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal “The release of¬† ‘Jaws,’ the 1975 movie about a man-eating shark, first drew the masses to an island that had been a some-time presidential retreat since¬†Ulysses S. Grant. Celebrities such as Carly Simon, Meg Ryan and David Letterman own homes on the island. …President Bill Clinton’s frequent visits in the 1990s brought another surge of interest…”¬†Though not¬†celebrities,¬†my daughter and I visited the island about 7 years ago. She had auditioned, and¬†been¬†accepted, to dance with¬†“Stiefel and Students.”¬†Because she was¬†apprenticing¬†with a ballet company midway through¬†the summer program, Ethan Stiefel allowed her to attend the first 2¬†of the scheduled 4 weeks. She was delighted to train with an icon¬†of the¬†dance world, and have a great job lined up for her future.

The compound which housed¬†“Stiefel¬†and Students” was specifically built for the program. The owner, a¬†wealthy contractor, was a patron of ballet, his teenage daughter dancing with a private studio in¬†their home state of New Jersey. Because he’d¬†guested as the¬†Nutcracker prince¬†to their daughter’s Maria,¬†Steifel¬†became a close family friend. Two beautiful homes sat on¬†a couple of¬†acres of prime land near downtown Edgartown.¬†Each had several bedrooms and, baths,¬†huge kitchen with living space,¬†large patio¬†and¬†a sizeable dance studio. The student dancers, including my daughter, were in one¬†house, while the instructors and guest dancers from NYC lived in the other. I don’t recall¬†if¬†one or more of the¬†4 chaperones lived with the students, or if¬†they all stayed¬†in the other dwelling. Needless to say this was¬† one of the best “dormitory”¬†situations of my daughter’s summer dance experiences, which has included Banff, NYC,¬†Atlanta, Chautauqua,¬†Jacksonville,¬†Portland, and Irvine.

Viewing this as the¬†opportunity of a lifetime, and it was, my husband and I decided I should summer in Martha’s Vineyard while our daughter was there. So for 2 glorious weeks I lived among the rich and famous, and the middle class, myself being one of them. Having done extensive research, I settled upon a bed and breakfast called The Lighthouse Inn.¬†The 1 bedroom, 1 bath, kitchen-living room combination was charmingly decorated and conveniently situated in the heart of Edgartown. My husband and I hoped he’d be able to take¬†time off from work and fly out for a respite. But it didn’t happen, so flying solo, I poked around my environs leisurely, and with relish.

Being from Maui, I’ve never cottoned to the idea of vacationing on other islands. It¬†isn’t so much that¬†I’m a snob, although it might seem¬†so, but¬†there are other parts of the world which I’d prefer to visit before opting for an island vacation, other than returning to Hawaii¬†to see¬†family. Having said that, Martha’s Vineyard is an island for sure, but nothing like the tropical ones with which I’m familiar. The houses, churches, store fronts, flora and fauna, and yes, the people¬†are a total reflection of¬†New England which, of course, is where the island is located.

As with all popular vacation destinations, the population on Martha’s Vineyard swells to overflowing during the hot summer months. On days when cruise ships are in port, there are longer lines everywhere. Traveling¬†alone¬†was advantageous for¬†without an entourage, I¬†was seated for a meal more quickly, I could¬†wend my way through a maze of people on sidewalks and in shops more easily,¬†when to start and end¬†the day was my choice as well as HOW to spend it. And having 2 weeks meant I could do everything¬†without feeling hurried. Living like a local is always my idea of a dream visit.

My daily routine, more or less, would begin with rising (not too¬†early), breakfasting at some quaint nearby eatery, and then¬†going for a walk. Some days I¬†wandered different paths through town or residential neighborhoods,¬†other days I strolled barefoot along the quiet, sandy, white¬†beach a few blocks away. But wherever I went I always spent my days people-watching,¬†a favorite pastime. Just¬†glimpsing passersby, their differences,¬†similarities, relationships, habits, is always interesting.¬†New England’s culture could not be further removed¬†from the Hawaiian culture in ethnicity, spirit, dress,¬†food, religion, architecture, and perhaps, sensibilities.

Of course the first thing¬†I noticed¬†was the predominant, if not quasi exclusive, presence of¬†White, Anglo-Saxon Americans.¬†Although¬†my complexion is brown, I’ wasn’t¬†“put off” because¬†by then I’d lived¬†and worked amongst Caucasians¬†for 26 years, having moved to the mainland¬†in 1977.¬†While¬†more formal than Hawaiians, there was a semblance of relaxed informality among those who dwelled in¬†Martha’s Vineyard. Of course there’s no mistaking a New Englander by the way he or she dressed. More than likely they’d be¬†striding¬†along in loafers,¬†sandals,¬†or sneakers with socks, rarely flip-flops. If in shorts, they’d be¬†like the bermuda¬†shorts of the 60’s, often topped by Izod, Hilfiger or Calvin Klein. The ladies wore coordinated¬†knee-length skirts¬†in small¬†prints and¬†blouses in white, or some other solid color. Designer purses or pretty colored totes hung over their arms or on their shoulders. Perfectly combed blondes and brunettes sported ponytails¬†or loosely coiffed hair that caught the ocean breezes. They all wore sunglasses, probably¬†also having¬†lotioned¬†themselves¬†with sunblock beforehand. Children were¬†dressed¬†like replicas of their parents. The only ones who may have digressed from the traditional New England “look,” were the teenagers.¬†There were some in cut-off jean shorts, barely-there tanks, flip-flops or¬†bare feet, and unkempt hair as if they’d just awoke.

From my recollection, the food was pretty good, but probably¬†pricey¬†since everything had to be¬†shipped in. I remember¬†dining ¬†in¬†a family style restaurant, cozy B&B bistro, fine Italian eatery, hamburger joint and¬†a diner whose concerns for food safety¬†seemed a little sketchy. Their late¬†hours dictated my daughter and I choosing to eat there once,¬†against our better judgement.¬†We left full and satisfied, so the place suited our needs just fine. Sometimes I prepared my¬†own food,¬†enjoying a comfortable evening in the apartment, dining on a home cooked meal while watching a good television show. Perhaps my solitary time on Martha’s Vineyard¬†encouraged my fledgling habit of speaking with waiters¬†and sales people. They were¬†companions of sorts, if only for¬†a brief interlude. I’m¬†glad¬†I’m still very much in the habit of treating¬†strangers like long-lost friends.

One weekend,¬†a best friend from Redding joined me for some much-needed¬†rest and relaxation. She always worked too hard, still does. It was a pleasure having her along on walks, sitting across the table at a restaurant, and perusing shops for souvenirs.¬†But our ongoing conversations about everything and anything, as though we’d never been apart, were the best part of our shared time. Sometimes talking into the wee morning hours,¬†we were able to¬†scurry out the door¬†in time to greet the¬†dawn.¬†Huddling¬†against the chill morning air, we planted ourselves on the sand dunes¬†revisiting our previous conversation, or we’d just as likely¬†drift onto another topic. But we¬†were always wowed by the brilliance of the rising sun.¬†We didn’t need to make the long, arduous trek up Maui¬†‘s dormant volcano, Haleakala (“House of the Rising Sun”) to see what¬†we beheld on a beachfront, steps away from¬†our front door. After my girlfriend’s departure, I never saw another dawn on Martha’s Vineyard. I’m never awake at that ungodly hour, if I can help it. But I will always associate sunrises on that New England island with Laurie, my forever friend.¬†¬†¬†

Nothing screams New England more than its architecture. Martha’s Vineyard was no exception. Stately¬†churches standing tall and erect on tree-lined country roads in residential neighborhoods, where¬†traditional homes with rocking chairs¬†on wrap-around-porches, sat alongside¬†salt-box homes in shades of blues and grays, fronted by English-style cottage gardens. Everywhere I¬†turned was like looking at a postcard with pictures of idyllic,¬†pastoral scenes. They took my breath away. Though an island, Martha’s Vineyard is¬†of a different breed, one that this islander could truly appreciate for its unique beauty. I don’t think my¬†first visit to that charming location could ever be improved upon unless, of course, I returned with my husband and daughter. But then there are¬†other places I¬†have yet to visit, and so…

been there, done that…hugmamma.