I am gone for a while but will return in June.


I want a big bed baby a super huge bed a firm soft bed so big we can play hide & seek and never leave the room. Big enough so there's no issue of "your side" and "my side" it's all just common ground. I want a bed with a horizon just for us.

Tonight I perform at a pizza parlor, oh yippee skippy.

Well I suppose it's a nice pizza place, inside an historic downtown building and it shares space with one of the best coffee shops in town. It has big high ceilings and plush couches and a polished cement floor that is streaked with metallic blue so it looks like the river meandering through the pretty pastoral murals painted on the walls. They serve good pizza with local microbrew beer or wine. I just can't get over the notion of dancing a gypsy song while the smells of pepperoni pizza waft through the crowd.

The song I picked is short and not very sweet. Big heavy drums and a snakey mizmar horn and S told me last night when I practiced don't bother smiling because it's not happy joy joy music. Not every performance has to include big smiles. Not even if it's in a pizza place.

Tomorrow after dance class I get to tackle the absolute biggest mound of laundry ever. It's as tall as me. At least "laundry" no longer involves boiling water over a wood fire and scrubbing the cloth on a washboard... if it did I think I'd just be a nudey.

Have a good weekend.


No moon new moon the night black as pitch from a turpentine pine. I thought that bright light in the south was a comet but it was only a plane.

I unexpectedly landed flat on my back. My body has a very definite way of saying STOP.
Must get a new bed.

I have no clean pants for tomorrow and my toenail polish is almost all worn off, looks like old roses that have lost petals but I can't be bothered to paint them again right now.

It is necessary to sometimes lose track of time. I ate strawberries from my garden yesterday and tossed any snails I found over the fence for the crows.

"What are you thinking" is what you think. I have a whole new vocabulary to learn. Bear with me.


Saturday felt off-kilter and unbalanced. I awoke with a start from a bad dream. I arrived at the dance studio half an hour early in order to work on a choreography for an upcoming show, only to find a newfangled super keen sound system and it took me half a fucking hour to figure out where the "on" switch was hiding. I did indeed cuss.

No sweat, okay, no time to practice before students arrived, fine, I'll practice after class. I taught my class with veils, nine dancers and nine veils, navy blue, black, silver, red, white, burgudy, iridescent midnight, mosaic patterned sage and purple, and gold with green.

It was a fluttering flapping fanciful; cone spins, reverse flips, angel wings, crossovers & walk-throughs, spiral downs, envelope and harem eyes. Most of the girls seemed to enjoy the change of pace, and I had fun teaching the tricks. We looked at the basics and I had just started to discuss the music appropriate for dancing with a veil

when the music quit.

Kaput. Zilch. No sound. Nothing I did could get that damned machine to play music, and we still had an hour's worth of class. It is difficult to dance without music. That may be an understatement. Dance is the embodiment of music, the physical expression of music, and without it, well, it's not really dance. One of my favorite students joked, "Now we get to see how good a teacher you really are." So I did my best.

Rattled though I felt, I pulled myself together and asked if anyone had questions about moves we'd previously learned, which led us to the intricacies of a walking shimmy, also called a three-quarter shimmy. Oblique sit-ups are a necessity; abdominal strength is important, the pelvis is tucked, back is long and strong, knees are soft and slightly bent. The motion begins with tucking the right hip up underneath the right ribs, and the right foot lifts off the floor. The right foot and hip then drop back down, hip below the horizontal, while the right foot lands flat on the floor. The right leg straightens and pushes the right hip back up above horizontal, which also slightly drops the left hip. The left foot is then lifted off the ground by tucking the left hip up and underneath the left ribs... which repeats the motion just executed on the right side. Repeat. Ad nauseum.

After I saw that some of them were managing to perform the move, I explained that it was a component for a Turkish shimmy, which adds a box step. We marched in place and then back and forth and then around in boxes for twenty minutes, first painfully slow to show the essential up and down rocking motions of the hips, and then gradually increasing the speed. With coin belts it makes its own music, CHING-chick-a CHING-chick-a CHING-chick-a CHING, all feet stepping in unison.

It helps me more than I know to teach this class; it makes me learn the true anatomy of each move. And I'm pleased to find I can keep time without music.


My Mom used to sing a song to me. I asked her about it & she sent me the words. The "kiss kiss" parts are a kissing noise, and the "waaah waaaah" parts are supposed to sound like a baby crying.

The Cannibal king with the big nose ring
Fell in love with the dusky maid
And every night in the pale moonlight
Across the bay he came.

He hugged and he kissed his pretty little miss
Underneath the bamboo tree
And every night in the pale moonlight
It sounded like this to me:
A-boom kiss kiss! a-boom kiss kiss!
Underneath the bamboo tree
A-boom kiss kiss! a-boom kiss kiss!
Underneath the bamboo tree

The years went by a-one two three
And soon they had a family
And every night in the pale moonlight
It sounded like this to me
A-boom waaah waaah! a-boom waah waah!
Underneath the bamboo tree
A-boom waaah waaah! a-boom waah waah!
Underneath the bamboo tree.

A funny to share from last Saturday's dance class...

I take the ladies through a whole half-hour warmup, including push-ups, leg lifts, and sit-ups. After the sit-ups we were still flat on our backs, nobody could see anyone else without turning her head, & I wanted to add a new stretch that I have found good for belly dancing.

I told them, "Okay now, I want you to do something a little silly but I've found it useful. Stick your tummy out as far as it goes, then pull it in as hard as you can. Do that again. Tummy out, and then in. And relax. Now let's roll over onto our sides, and then onto our tummies..."

At that point one of the ladies next to me said, "Did you say tummy, or tongue?"

"I said tummy... why?"

"Oh, I was sticking my tongue in and out."

Which caused us all to giggle, and another girl across the room added, "Me too, I thought it was some yoga move to relax the throat or something."

Much laughter ensued, which was even better for the abdominals than my exercise of sticking tummies in and out.

And I will have to use "BELLY" from now on.

After all, it isn't tummy dancing.


There you go with the love song again, mermaids singing, pillows and peaches, some unfulfilled wallowing in a vicarious life. I watched geese with their horned bills and new sping plumage, crested curved necks, wide wedge wings, male and female and downy goslings. Two ganders charged eachother in the millrace pond, smashed chest to chest and neck to neck, grappling and frothing the water white and roaring and kicking, wings beating hard. One lost balance and was dunked beneath the water, and turned tail for a loud honking flight across the pond.

The victorious gander turned and then grabbed the goose by the back of her neck and held her down beneath his wings there in the water, necks both arced away from the beat of his tawny wings and fanned tail. Then they keeled to the side like a sailboat in a strong wind before he slid off her and trumpeted his victory and prize. Life is in the strife and clutching and honking. It's over quick.

I had a dream and it was the biggest dream. It was a terrifying dream, of strategy and battle and the worship of gods other people believe in, and those things we do not even guess are gods but some people worship them, and then there was the One for whom we have no name. A worldwide battle raged and Jesus and Buddha bided their time with a game of checkers.

I believe there is no God but God but what does that mean to anyone else? I can only humbly guess what I know and or what it means to me. My dream worried me about understanding anything. Interpretation of things we do not know is like balancing on a barbed wire fence. We seek to know what lies beyond the Sphinx riddle, the end of life, and in craning our necks we risk losing our balance. I believe there is a path to follow, for love and peace and freedom and truth, and therein lies paradise.

And in my dream the grey heavens crashed and opened and vast armies marched across a scorched red dying land, shapes shifted, rules broke, prophecy rang true again but not the way anyone ever anticipates.

What do you believe? There is the crux of it, the base, the machinery. What do you believe and what do you want? I catch myself sometimes thinking things I don't want, small little needful prideful things secondary to my life, tertiary to my soul. Not necessarily things, per se, but the thing about things, the direct object of a notion, the would-be havenots and whatnots and whatever I don't know. I know the earth is spherical. Would that the world were round. Gaia is not Cosmos.

Sometimes the dreams I have leave me slowly, and I increasingly become aware that I have one leg bent at the knee tenting the blankets, the other leg stretched out under the covers with toes pointing at the dark, my eyes opened and I can't remember when the dream stopped or when I awoke or when I came back to myself and faded to consciousness. Do you know that feeling, the rise to surface? The way pressure increases in the chest and the body settles with a weight as if the soul returns from some far voyage.

The room is black but far from still, with a cat and man and four plants breathing, a fishtank humming and burbling, a fan generating white noise to deaden the noise of a maybe train or airplane or skein of honking geese in passage. But I can still hear my heart, that constant simple rhythm slowed in half sleep.

Other nights I awake with a shudder and shake, my heart a drunken grasshopper trapped in my chest, startled at my own surprise to find a dream wrenched from the riddle's answer. The dream is like a rough clear carnelian agate cast from the sea, sharp edges, roughened by sand and tumbled with other rocks. I have found no way to return to a dream, although I sometimes try. Last night I did not try, but kept the glimpse I think I saw, interpreted it as I think I can. Perhaps someday I will seek to polish the rough stone into a cabochon so smooth it reflects the world.


So all you mothers out there...
Have a great day.

The devil cracked his whip and made a few short charges across the twilit sky in his chariot, his nightmares stamping hooves and shaking their heads to rattle the chains and harness. He went up on one wheel around the corner of the sky and crashed back down in furious abandon, buckling the clouds, pounding out the rain.

The lightning blinded us and lit the room, the house, the retina burn making the sky look black and bruised. The dogs shiver and shake. We counted one-mississippi two-mississippi three-mississippi four-mississippi five-mississBOOOOOM!!! rumble rattle shake the tin roof on the woodshed and feel the sky breaking deep above, off the chariot rolled fast and hard away from the streak of twisting white electricity.

The rain came dropping heavy and fat, not cold but not warm either. The flowers bowed their heads and the rain hitting the leaves and petals made music to accompany the windchimes and tympani roll of thunder.


This week I have received some of the coolest emails ever from much loved people on great voyages. My girlfren (and that's how it's spelled) R is in Paris after tripping through Spain & Morocco, and she writes:

...I must say that despite the excitement of living in Paris I often miss home, and most of all friends. It is sort of hard to figure these city folks out. They seem to have a lot more masks than I am used to dealing with and just when I think I know and like someone they do something very wierd and city, and probably French, and offend or annoy me. Sigh... Paris is starting to lose its initial charm and I am feeling the itch to get out. Not sure what the next move will be. Home is on the list....and yes I still think of Oregon when I think of home... Bla bla.
Well lets get down to what really matters!! Dancing of course! Dance life is very good for me these days. I am currently enjoying a breakthrough period and am dancing every day in my house, and just loving being in my body that does all this crazy stuff! I took a couple weeks off from classes which was just right, and just started playing with all the stuff I learned. I also found a great and very seedy Algerian club in a very seedy Arabic neighborhood that has live music, oud, drum, and violin, and open dancing all night. I dance my booty off there on weekends. I also have gone to a very chique and very spendy high-end Lebanese club several times. It is the opposite end of the spectrum. Very rich Gulf region oil mongers and high-end prostitutes with a fabulous Lebanese band. It starts at 2 in the morning and goes till 8 in the morning. Yet another booty shaking paradise. Dancing dancing dancing as always is the heart of my life and I can't get enough. Next project....Arabic. So, my dear. My time has run out. Love you!

And from my dance instructor, mentor, & friend in Cairo:

Hello hello!!! yes, still from Cairo...
This will be short today, but I just had to write you and hope that you can also pass some info on to others who've been wondering about my disappearance!
I have been working with one of the most famous choreographers here as a featured dancer in her next video, this project keeping me busy and learning soooooooo very much. Also, admittedly, I've been having a fabulously FUN time! I was planning to return in the next couple of months -- however I was just offered a contract that has been a dream of mine for years. This is working on a cruise ship sailing the Mediterranean Sea... going from Egypt to Lebanon to Turkey once each week. So, I am accepting the contract, but I may decide otherwise later. We will see... I really really really miss the husband! I miss you guys, my loyal students, too...thank you for all your support!
Life is constantly changing. Each day brings new ideas to my mind and new desires. I promise I WILL COME BACK but in the meantime Keep on shakin it girl!!!!!!

And here am I. At least I can live vicariously though the postcards and emails and especially the music. But it is the meantime, the mean time, the time between, base time, the forgotten time, no rhythm time, no inspiration time, the shakin it time, so I shake it shake it shake it. The Saturday morning dance class I teach helps with the determination, I have to be aware and alert, physically fit and crisp and clear in my motions, and I have to eliminate my bad habits because it's follow-the-leader-time and my motions are mirrored by nine other women. Hands waving everywhere.

I haven't forgotten what inspiration feels like. Oh no I haven't, and I've learned a lot. The learning and the rote are the hard parts, the repetition and the memory, the recitation. Not that I have dreams leaning towards the glamorous life, but I'm in no nightclubs, no cruise ships. I gave a lesson last night to a redhead who has terrible posture and is a little too loose and a brunette who has ridiculously rigid posture and is far too tight (maybe I have to get her drunk first) in a dimly lit garage. And restrained myself from bossiness and tried to have fun. I even told myself it was a lot of fun, and yes it was enjoyable to dance with other girls, but it was nothing exciting, nothing that stirred my heart.

So I'm shakin it and it'll come back around again. I know it will. Just like my traveller friends will return home.


A happy Cinqo de Mayo. Tonight tonight tonight los neighboros will crank up la musico whoomp whoomp whoomp whoomp whoomp whoomp and our mouths will salivate from the smells of food cooked by three generations of short women with polka dot dresses and long black braided hair. They bake and barbeque all day long, the scent of corn tortillas, beans, carne asada, chiles, smoky chipotle and sweetly sharp jalepeno sending alluring tendrils of delight to make the tummy rumble.

They'll dance and laugh and smoke in the back yard and maybe set off firecrackers that make my dog hide in the closet. When they moved into the house four years ago they had a huge party that lasted until 3 in the morning and my husband & I exchanged many sidelong glances in our dark bedroom, trying to get sleep, the bass from the stereo in their house 100 feet away rattling our windows. Every party since then has been mild, and over by midnight.

The other big fiesta days are Mother's Day, the Fourth of July, and New Year's Eve. Well into the night people coming and going, babies, beautiful little girls and small boys in crisp white shirts, handsome men in their new-paint-job lowrider cars with big chains around their necks and smiles for everyone.

Our roses and grapes have grown into their yard & our gardens are side by side, separated by a rotted falling-down fence neither of us can afford to fix. Last year we gave them peppers and they gave us onions, and in halting English the father asked me please not to trim my grape vines because he has trained them along his fence.

I like the place we live. Let's all celebrate Independence.

A wrinkly wink some questions to bother a whistle and twist. Forshame or forsooth so borrowing lender hands in all the pockets we have no bananas without systemic insecticides fungicides or yellow dye number 9. Pugilistic misadventures I envision a big stick and a mud puddle and a body meets a body comin through the rye. Somewhere while wild she laughs like champagne and he rolls marble eyes, a tisket a tasket a brown and yellow basket got no chewin gum. Tie those ribbons red ribbons bloody bright red ribbons smack around the mulberry bush and the littlest one said roll over roll over. The roads to the Western Land are treacherous like a cracked crock, a drill bit, a wolf in sheep's clothing. The cannibal king loved the gypsy queen and the man in the moon sprinkled pixie dust on a finch's tailfeathers. It won't hurt a bit especially if it kills you. A cross-hair mark on the memory, bite your tongue, is it bile or blood or just last night's pizza. What wickedness lurks beneath fingernails like bitterness in butterfly kisses. That buckskin horse with golden eyes trampled me fifteen years ago.


After dance class on Saturday we went with friends to the big woods north and west of town, National Forest wilderness area, little creeks, big rivers, farmhouses, high and winding roads through the firs and oaks and maples, the world flush green. More wildflowers than I could name, yellow lupine, shooting stars, bleeding hearts, wild irises. We found the gravel road and then the narrow trail and hiked back along the riverside towards the rushing sound of water.

The air feels like June already, sunny and bright but cool in the shade, precursor to the humidity of July and the dry wind of August. The waterfall churned a swath of frothy white rushing water tumbling down the cliff 40 feet. Twenty different kinds of moss and lichen covered the rocks and trees and branches. A hundred different shades of green, from purple and blue to silver and yellow, all lit with a halo from the waterfall mist in the sunlight.

We sat on the rocks until the weight of the world slipped from our shoulders and we remembered to breathe again. Something there is in the churn of water followed by the smooth green glide in the deep black pool at the base of the falls. The shadows and sound of wind in the tall trees. No words are needed.

Sunday I waged war on blackberries and cleavers in my yard. Cleavers is nasty. They look innocent and pretty, sort of like sweet woodruff or lady's bedstraw with fringy pale green leaves, but they climb up plants and choke them, and they have microscopic barbs so they grab skin, hair, clothing. Where they touch my skin they raise welts if I don't wash my arms and legs soon after contact. I hates cleavers I does.

There is a running joke that any real estate that lists "berries" in the for sale advertisement means a high-maintenance property sold by conscientious people. Blackberries here will grow fifteen to twenty feet tall, with bramble stems as big around as my wrist. In the hills they often grow intertwined with poison oak, which makes for a nasty combination. Big deep scratches that itch and fester and ooze. I did battle with them Sunday, and thankfully we don't have poison oak, and I came away with only minor scrapes and one small puncture when a thorn poked through a seam in my glove.

I spent the rest of the afternoon trimming roses, which is no easy task in itself since our lot has about 40 rose bushes. Some are polite, others are crabby old thorny things. All of them are going full tilt boogie right now with the blossoms. I felt like putting a sign up in the corner of the yard saying "Steal my roses please" because I filled seven vases (no I FILLED seven vases) and took ten roses to our neighbor and I didn't even get to five of the plants in the yard's far corner. This is a good year for the roses.

We also puttered some in the garden, ogled all the strawberries & raspberries & loganberries. We ate three artichokes and a green salad with our dinner. The fava beans and spinach will be ready soon, and the garlic and potatoes and tomatoes and corn and cucumbers and peppers and all those delicious things S is growing for us to eat.

We also looked at bugs in the yard, the damsel flies and jumping spiders and lady bugs and hover flies and honey bees and small predatory beetles, worms as big around as my thumb. I watched an electric blue wasp munch on about ten aphids and it tickled me greatly. We drank sweet tea in the evening and laughed a lot and I remember dancing and taking off all my clothes and getting called a jay bird and by then the sun had set & the waxing moon rode low in the darkened sky.

At midnight we lay on our backs in the clover and looked at the indigo sky with wispy high clouds and the stars and planets and wondered why people stop doing the things they loved to do as kids, looking at the full spectrum of our conscious perceptions, the infinitesimal and the infinite. I hope I'm never too old to watch bugs, or lie with the spinning earth beneath my back while watching the heavens.