Friday, February 22, 2013

A Dose of Dress-Up Will Do You Good

I've spent a lot of time in this town.

This is the town I spent my formative years.  All the high school trials and tribulations, the college summers, the holidays and the family functions, scenes all set with this city in the background.  So I like to think I had a good grasp on the goings on.

Realizing I was wrong... that there is so much more lurking in the corners of every neighborhood.  It is the best kind of gift.

As it turns out.   During the Depression, for reasons I don't fully understand and can't quite wrap my head around, the city of Omaha decided to begin a tradition.  This tradition, known as the Aksarben Ball, is a mascarade of rediculous porportions.  A man and woman - often a strange combination of old, slightly creepy/crotchity CEO or otherwise rich and powerful businessman and super young, beautiful, wealthy, and freshly-outed-into-society debutante - are crowned King and Queen.  They are crowned and dress in regal attire - read: Cinderella style tights, crowns, capes and the like - and lead the crowd of adoring and affluent social hob-nobbers in an evening of opulence, formality, and, I'm told, dinner, dancing and a requisite, rather pricy cocktail hour.   Yes.  Conceived during the Depression.  Opulence.   Depression.  It makes perfect sense.  Every year, a large spread is devoted to this event of strange proportions in the local newspaper.  And as the old men get older and the debutantes get younger, a strange oog factor grows.

I am not the only one to notice the strangeness of this tradition.  Thirty-some years ago, a group of rebellious types decided that this town needed something to balance this celebration of glad-handing and self-indulgent society page makers.  And Groundhog Prom was born.

A full-fledged costume ball for the 21-and-over set, Groundhog Prom is everything the Aksarben Ball isn't.  Held in an old, unassuming ballroom in South Omaha, on or around Groundhog's Day every year, creativity in costume is encouraged - and anything goes.  It is an event that celebrates creativity, letting loose, and poking fun at all manner of social norms.  Full bar and a live band are the icing on the cake.

It's like the best halloween party you could possibly imagine - but with actual creativity reigning supreme, instead of the usual slutty-whatevers that have overtaken Halloween celebrations everywhere.  It is the perfect reason to dress up and dance the night away. It was everything I could have hoped for and more.

From the group of teachers who dressed as various Barbies and travelled in full boxes, no less, to the barrage of concussed Hillary Clintons, to the Giant Spaghetti Monster with working floodlights for eyes and the many monochromatic, numbered women representing 50 Shades of Grey, to the Ambiguously Gay Duo and the electrified jellyfish, to the used car lot tube dancer, Abraham Lincoln, and the beach bums who spent the entire evening together in their inflatable pool float.  Good times were had by all.  And while yes, Groundhog Prom royalty are crowned and festooned with meaningless rights and responsibilities... this event holds none of the pomp and circumstance of its inspiration.  

By its very nature, GP is about letting loose, forgetting the rules of society, and going wherever your spirit takes you.  It's a downright freeing and friendly experience - minus the strange man who hit me on the leg, hard and repeatedly, with the tie of his coat and the woman who was dressed completely normally - except, of course, for the bulging dildo sticking out from the front of her pants... but who cares about them when you're having fun?    

And next year, I'll be smart enough to wear flats.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Finding the Quiet

Today is a day for snow.  For sleeping in, catching up on blog reading, cuddling with kittens, and watching the snow - slowly and oh so steadily - cover the land.
School is cancelled, plans rearranged.  The town bustling with a kind of inward staggering that only comes before a long-predicted snow "event".  You know the kind.. when the shops become dense with people who have paused in mid-flail to stock up on "the essentials" - milk, bread, eggs, and frozen pizza.  Not being an avid fan of french toast - especially when paired with a frozen pepperoni delight -  this combination makes my mind spin ever so slightly.

And while the onset of several days of weathermen-spouting-"hunker down" inspired relaxation usually brings me straight to the couch and not much farther... today felt different.   It felt like time to go  back.  To reconnect.  And so after the requisite snow day festivities were documented and the day remained young, I pulled myself together and went upstairs.  I ran the hottest bath the faucet would allow and rolled out my mat.  Door closed, steam enveloped, yoga bliss.

There is something empowering about yoga.  We come to the mat with all our baggage laced through our muscles, on our faces and in the very choice to be there.  But come we do.  By the end of that hour and a half, the mind is quiet.  The baggage literally squeezed and oozed out of you by the heat, by the twists, by the unnerving voice that inspires just one more breath, one more pose, one more...

I miss the studio experience.  The heat.  The sweat.  The guiding voice and hands that challenge and inspire.  But for now, until a studio is found and new routines are formed,  the homemade version will do.  It'll do just fine.  Inspiring change in the best of ways.  Allowing a vehicle for creating space for myself.  To clear the thoughts. To actively practice bravery and self-respect.  To challenge.  To quiet.  To be.

Through the sweat and the steam... alone in a bathroom... the heat inside makes the cold outside just a little bit sweeter.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Breakfast of Champions

I love veg.  I do.   I love cooking with them.  I really love doing the slicing and dicing.   I find it downright therapeutic.  The smell of sautéed peppers and onions, intoxicating.  

But.  Well, my cravings don't exactly call for spinach.  Ever.
In light of this and the perhaps even more pressing need for a quick breakfast in the morning with minimal - read zero - effort, I have jumped on the bandwagon.  The green smoothie has entered my life.

Three parts veg to one part fruit, add a splash of water... green gold, indeed.  It's quick.  It's easy.  It's surprisingly delicious.  Enough to get me going in the morning - so much so that I almost don't need my morning diet coke... almost.  It keeps me going all the way until lunch, which in my stomach's world is a tall order, indeed.  And, it's good for me.

If you hear stunned silence, it's me.

It looks funny, this.  But I can't imagine I'm going to be walking away from this little lady anytime soon.  And neither should you.

Green Smoothie

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup cold water

Blend until smooth.  Makes ~2 cups of smoothie goodness.  
Make ahead and freeze if desired.  

Sip and be amazed.    

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Quote of the Week

“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.” 
- Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar
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