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Showing posts from December, 2010

Prenatal Belly Dance: video at 37 weeks

Belly dance is an ideal workout for women trying to conceive, women who are pregnant, and women who have recently given birth and are ready to get back into shape. No one knows the precise origins of the diverse women's dance traditions collected under the term "belly dance," but many cultures have used belly dance techniques since ancient times as ritual and therapy for childbearing.

My friend Esperanzita sent me this article from Pregnancy Today several months ago, explaining some of the benefits and history of prenatal belly dance.

I started belly dancing about one year before I conceived Nux Gallica. I have not been able to find a teacher or class I feel comfortable with in my city, but I learned some moves from instructional DVDs, free lessons on YouTube, and free lessons (from various teachers--a great resource) on Because I have not taken any formal lessons, my dancing is not what I would consider "show quality." If I ever wa…

2010 Year-End Review

2010 is nearly over! How did you do with your New Year's Resolutions from last January? Do you remember what they were at this point? I only do because I blogged about mine!

It's fun to look back now and see how different my 2011 New Year will be compared to New Year 2010. First of all, there's the holiday celebration: Last year, Mr. G and I threw a big house party and drank and danced and caroused until well after midnight. I was super skinny (it now appears to me) and still felt like a kid reeling from post-college, pre-family freedom. This year, Mr. G and I will be having a low-key get-together with one other set of expectant parents. The two of us first-time moms are ripe with pregnancy and won't be able to drink or dance wildly in heels at 2:00 in the morning. Instead, we'll sip sparkling juice and play board games and think about our exciting, slightly scary anticipations of new parenthood.

I am sure we will both have important goals and expectations for thi…

Gifts from a Starving Artist

If you haven't noticed... Christmas is almost here! If you haven't quite finished your shopping... if you are a creative procrastinator, a busy parent, or a starving artist... this post is for you. My gift to you is a pile of quick, easy, and/or cheap gift ideas to cover anyone left on your Santa list.

1. Vosges chocolates
For: the person who has everything; a relative who lives far away; that picky person who's impossible to shop for (except my strange aunt, who hates chocolate--but everyone else who's picky).

Vosges chocolates are NOT cheap, but the presentation and quality make them a gift worth giving. Vosges chocolate is simply the best I have ever tasted. The experience is indescribable. They make Godiva taste like cardboard and sawdust, if you can imagine. You can have a very impressive, luxuriously wrapped collection sent to your special someone for under $50. This year, we sent a holiday collection of Vosges to my parents-in-law, who enjoy fine pleasures and ar…

Hope: Expecting without Expectations

People call me and Mr. G "expectant parents." We are expecting to have a baby, of course, next month, but we are also making a conscious effort not to expect anything more specific.

For example, I hoped but did not expect that I would be able to wear these shoes a month before my due date.

I did not expect my very small workplace to throw me a big baby shower in a room with two decorated Christmas trees and a roaring fire. What a nice surprise!

And regarding the next few weeks, we are trying not to have too many specific expectations about how labor, delivery, and birth will go. I hope to have a natural birth with no complications, but only so much of that is within my control. I know that birth stories are usually full of surprises, and I don't want to be too disappointed or hard on myself if things don't go exactly as we had envisioned.

Also, we are trying not to have strict expectations about what Nux Gallica will be like when she comes home with us. She could be…

Sparkly Winners!

This congratulatory message to NaNoWriMo winners may seem late, but my local group's TGIO party just happened a few days ago. So congratulations, all you winners!

Special congratulations to Miss Moppet, who suffers from a rare NaNoWriMo curse which causes the entire universe to conspire against her in November. The curse is, happily, no match for Miss Moppet's creative powers and insomniac tendencies, and she emerges victorious--with extremely fabulous eyeshadow this year.

Here she is at a celebratory brunch, sparkling with creative genius. Of course, all NaNoWriMo "novels" are piles of literary garbage on the First of December, but the act of participating tends to spark all kinds of whimsy and creative impulses. In Miss M's case, her brain started kicking out all sorts of clever names--for characters and for eyeshadow palettes. And what does eyeshadow have to do with NaNoWriMo? Sparkles, of course! Last year, a friend came up with a motivational treat to reward…

New Old-School Lullabyes: Mountain Man

Here's a real-life fairy tale for you. My college roommate's little sister started singing along to Cindi Lauper songs with a couple of her college friends... which led to singing other songs together, some original compositions... which led to a MySpace page to share their singing with family and friends... which led to an unexpected discovery, record deal, and international tour.

Their music was never designed to have mass-market appeal or even marketability to a specific niche. Their songs are mostly a capella, with a little acoustic guitar here and there. It is classified as "folk music" and compared to Appalachian folk singing, but the compositions are original and have no direct roots in Appalachian traditions. This is just the result of three Midwestern girls playing freely with voice and harmony, which serendipitously struck a chord with listeners across the United States and Europe.

Listen to Mountain Man on NPR's World Cafe here.

Mountain Man's son…