a sunday story

dsc08220The sound of blowing snow and falling sun wake me.  My apartment creaks as I shift pillows and the old radiators whine right on cue.  Sun beams C major through the frosty window.

All around winter sounds; oh sweet Sunday morn.

Thick layers wrapped and zipped and fixed, I waddle through snow right into his car.  Headed for warm caffeine and a walk through our latest most favorite neighborhood.

Every few steps a clump of gooey gingerbread appears inches from my lips.  I’m given no choice but to indulge and well, there are worse problems than this.img_9005

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Seeking refuge from chill in the old stone Athenaeum, we search through stacks and steal kisses.  From a certain corner Poe peeks in.  Smacky.  A nod to the oiled canvas Washington and we head back into the snow.

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Home at last.

He holds sunset tomatoes and fills the kitchen with french singing.  It’s early dinner and we’ll have a buttery omelette.  It’s big and full and tough to flip, but he knows full well:

things always taste better shared.

bucket list and a birthday

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It’s been a strange few days, so here are some photos of blue skies and books.  My mom had a few Providence places to cross off of her bucket list, so we (very spontaneously) strolled through the gorgeous athenaeum and the quiet Arcade together.  We talked architecture, restoration, politics and love.  We walked Westminster and Benefit, bought vintage sweaters, picked up fallen leaves, and picked out East Side homes around the Boulevard. November is weaving its golden ways and once again I’m hypnotized.

Speaking of my lovely mother, today is her birthday!  This wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t wish her a very happy day here. xoxo!

all the leaves are brown

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Ah, autumn.  This weekend felt short, yet decidedly fall.

There was a cousin visit, complete with brunch, a stroll through Swan Point and heavy and happy life discussions.

There was tea times three and lots more walking, leaf rustling, west side mansion shopping, and poster hunting.  There were Bucks & Dunnies, Ducks & Bunnies, pumpkin peeping, late night cookie baking (have you ever made just one chocolate chip cookie?) and more “life discussing”.

In a few hours it’s toes first back into ballet, but for now, I’m savoring the warm fuzzies of this photo diary.

hello october

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This weekend was a “kirsten weekend”- that is, I was sickish and sore and in the presence of world’s best beanfriend and thereby granted full control over activities.  My picks…

sushi + red wine + couch + this romantic drama

pumpkin blueberry pancakes + tea + couch + fleet foxes

pvdonuts + more tea + neutaconkanut hill hike + an old bridge friend

homemade portuguese soup + roasted autumn fruits + this romantic drama

Sometimes I enjoy being a walking cliché.  And sometimes I wonder how we fit so much into half of a weekend.  Welcome, October.  I like you so far.

don’t count your nuts

Like so many, my first audition was for a role in The Nutcracker.  My eighth birthday had fallen in February of the previous winter, and having finally reached the age requirement, I spent six months excitedly preparing.  I was one plan-happy, eager little girl- that is, until the day of the audition.  I freaked and decided the thrill of the big stage would no longer outweigh the terror of the audition process, and I would “not like to do this at all, thank you very much.”

My gem of a mother knew better than to succumb to my nerve-induced sudden change of heart, so she took me to the audition anyway, thank goodness.  As you may have already guessed, it was a total blast and I was elated.  I came home and reenacted the entire audition for my mom, showing her how we’d shuffled across the floor like angels and even temps lie-ed with imaginary dolls like party girls.  I impersonated the artistic director’s Serbian accent as he thanked  me, “Number Seventeeeeen” again and again to make my mother laugh, and we started to imagine what the dressing rooms at PPAC might be like.  I repeated my version of the audition for my (patient) mother every night, while we waited one very long week for the casting to be available.  Seven days later, auditionees were instructed to call the studio to see if we’d made it onto the list (#itwas1999).  I stood by the phone in the kitchen with bated breath while my mom called in.  A strange sort of blue took over her entire face.  She hung up, shook her head, and hugged me.

I remember quite clearly the next two hours of sadness.  I ran straight for my swing set in the backyard, flopped onto my favorite swing with the padded blue chains and white rubber seat, and cried.  I’m sure there was some dramatic singing of a ballad (I think I was pretty into this one at that time), and lots of sad, slow swinging.  My mother followed me out to the swing set and, earning the place she defends to this day as my #1 supporter, cried right along with me.  We hugged and dangled from that swing like a couple of soggy sponges until the familiar high-pitched growl of the landline telephone shrieked from the house.  My mom ran in to put it out of its misery and returned moments later with that golden light back in her face.  “You got in.”

Apparently, half of the cast list had been misplaced.  I’d been “in” all along.  But those crucial two hours when I thought I hadn’t made it taught me a very powerful lesson.  In those few hours, I grew my thick skin.  Though it looked like a pity party (well, it was a pity party), those tears would be the fuel in my fire for a career in the rather merciless world of ballet.  To this day, my mother and I still half-jokingly chant, “Don’t count your nuts before they’re cracked.”

Never take anything for granted.  There is really no such thing as a “given”.  As a reward for sticking it out through this brash life lesson from the leaky eyes of an 8-year-old, I give you this very derpy me, in my first role with a professional ballet company:

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fine

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What a fine, fine weekend.

We had Nick’s, we shared old bay popcorn, we watched indie films, we made cornmeal blueberry pancakes.  We shared space, we adopted cacti, we antiqued.  We put a new spin on an old school game, we napped, we laughed.  We spoke easy twice, we donned a red fez.  We crafted in the sanctuary, we admired the Pearl, made a new bridge friend, we visited an old one.  We ate pears and pico and peanut butter.  We hoofed it downtown, we got lost in the watery fires, we hunted wine, we met friendly faces.  We invaded Brown, we limboed lower, we sipped Del’s, we climbed a roof.  We sat in ghostly study halls discussing the miracle of childbirth.  We rubbed tired eyes.  We held hands.  We walked home.

A most very fine weekend, indeed.

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diary of an injured dancer

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Advice to any dancers who have been nursing an injury for the past 3 months: make your first class back one filled with 12-year-olds.

No matter how much time you’ve spent away from the studio, that first time facing the mirrors after an injury is going to be rough.  The barre feels foreign under your palm, there’s a leotard invading your personal space and your ankles can barely support an eight-count balance.  Eeep.

Place a young dancer in front of you, though, and see empowerment replace fear.  Your knees will still wobble and your fingers will feel fuzzy, yes.  But those sparkly little eyes looking up at you from under stiff port de bras is just enough to enlighten.

Whenever I feel fearful about the daunting work that lies ahead before the start of this new season, I try to do something more easily said than done: remember my past.  I have fallen before, but I can rise strong.

FullSizeRender 103.jpgSo, have you read Brené Brown’s book yet?  What did you think?