Also at play here is that my birthday is coming up very soon and I’m excited to celebrate it with my family. My brain is in party mode!
I’m going to share not just 5, but 8 things that I do for fun. Because 8 is my lucky number, folks.
What do you like to do for fun?
Fun for me is:
Playing group board games like “Ransom Notes”, “Apples to Apples”, or “Scrabble” with family and/or friends. This is a guaranteed way to share laughs together. I love the feeling of relaxation in my whole body after some good old fashioned belly laughs.
Dance. Sometimes alone in my kitchen. Sometimes with my grandson when he challenges me to “dance-offs”. The more spontaneous the dancing is, the better. That’s where the joy is.
Creating music playlists. My method is to think of a mood I want to create or a genre I want to re-visit, then search online for songs under that category. While this is a more introverted way to have fun, often the end result is that I get to share these playlists with the special people in my life.
Thrift store shopping. It’s a surprising treasure hunt every time and freeing as well, as it’s guilt-free. I don’t come out of a thrift store with my purchases feeling bad about spending money, because I never spend that much. Even better, the money I spend often goes toward a cause that supports and lifts others up.
This. Blogging. Interacting with all of you in the comments.
Decorating my house. Using home decor I kept from our previous house in new ways. Finding just the right spot to put that cool piece of pottery I found at a thrift store. It’s a simple and creative activity that just tickles me.
Photography. Now, I don’t claim or even aim to be a professional photog necessarily. It’s just fun for me to capture shots in the day to day with my cell phone.
Spending time on the water. Trolling for fish in a boat while the sun warms my skin. Looking forward to doing this on our pontoon (the one we plan to buy in the next few months) this summer!
I knew back in February of this godforsaken year when I watched David Byrne and his crew perform on SNL that I wanted more of it.
It wasn’t until I saw another blogger posting about it then read the Esquire interview with Byrne and Spike Lee and realized they collaborated to bring Byrne’s Broadway show “American Utopia” show to the masses via HBO, that I was able to actually get more of it.
I watched it at home with Rabbie and I was enthralled. I hope you all have the good sense to watch it yourselves. I’m not going to even attempt to explain what it was all about, mainly because I know I’d miss something important.
But I will say this: David Byrne’s “American Utopia” is weird. In the very best of ways. There’s of course the music, which is so jubilant. There is the oddly intriguing interpretive dance. There are the wonderfully talented, multi-cultural musicians and dancers backing it all up. There is much food for thought. It’s cerebral. But it’s not so cerebral that it’d be over anyone’s heads if that makes sense. Ultimately, it’s a celebration of humanity and community.
This phenomenally cool show along with the uplifting and worthy-of-your-time website David heads up, is part of what makes him a “Gem” to me. A national fucking treasure.
Within the website, https://reasonstobecheerful.world/, you will find well-written, thoughtful, fascinating, and inspiring articles. It’s essentially the good news we all need these days. I’ve known of this website for probably a year now, but hadn’t kept up with it. I allowed myself to instead pay attention to Facebook, Twitter, MSNBC, and NPR to keep current on things. That is going to change, as I’m re-committing myself to reading an article or two daily on this website.
Because of David Byrne, I’m also doubling down on focusing on the positive. The good stuff that will expand my understanding of things and leave me feeling more hopeful. While by nature I am an optimist, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take a bit of work to maintain that optimistic outlook, especially with the plethora of bad news and bad attitudes lurking in every corner of the internet and in the news.
I think we need more people in the world like David Byrne. The people who think outside the box. The intelligently quirky ones. The question askers. The forward thinking folks who have a sense of genuine curiousity about the world and the people who inhabit it. The creative problem solvers who generously share their talents and insights to make the world a better place for all of us.
Let me leave you with what is probably my favorite Talking Heads tune.
On the off-chance that you’ve never heard of this fitness craze, let me break it down for you.
Zumba is a group dance workout that utilizes world music. It’s high energy and fun. It gets your heart pumping and tends to cause profuse sweating.
I participated in Zumba classes for a few months back in Wisconsin about 8 years ago (mentioned in this post). I absolutely loved it. That’s not to say that I was “good” at it. I’ve been told that I’m a great dancer-but not on the Zumba floor. Because Zumba requires one to mimic the moves of the instructor. At a very rapid pace. My arms and legs don’t work together very gracefully unless I’m doing my own thing. Free-styling, if you will.
During the few weeks between my last job and my current job, I made a pact with myself that I was going to use that time for some self-improvement. I decided that I would start with improving my physical self by getting in some regular exercise.
So I found some videos of Zumba classes on YouTube, pushed my coffee table back a bit, and got my groove on.
Things did not go as I hoped they would.
There didn’t seem to be as many full class videos on You Tube as I thought there’d be. So I was going from dance to dance, different instructors each time, with ads between. Plus Radar was around, getting in my way. In fact, one time while I was “zumba-ing” I jumped on his paw because I didn’t see him there and he yelped in response.
After three attempts at my in home Zumba experiment, I came to the realization that it was just not gonna work.
But I have hope for my future with Zumba. One of my WIPs (Wildly Improbably Goals, a coined termed by writer Martha Beck) is to become a Zumba instructor. With the caveat that the classes I lead are only for those 50 and up. Who are beginners.
I would include simple choreography. Not too much jumping and not too fast-paced. I would have the best soundtrack, but it would not be dominated by world music. Maybe some, here and there. Mostly we would be zumba-ing to a variety of classic rock with a little adult alternative in the mix. The songs we all grew up with and the cool songs of the moment. The ones that have a good beat, making them easy to dance to.
Free-styling will be part of each number we do.
This WIP of mine is obviously not going to happen anytime soon, thanks to Covid-19 restrictions on group gatherings. But that’s just fine by me. I’ve got my plate just full enough at the moment, with running the new food pantry and this blog.
Lucky for me, I’m able to get in plenty of exercise in my work day at this point in time.
I recognize that some of you may not be familiar with the acronym in the title of this blog post. For those people, it stands for “Dancing with the Stars”. This show is my not so guilty pleasure. And a new season is coming soon.
I believe DWTS is the best reality show ever. You’ve got three very different judges, all with years of dancing experience. You’ve got very attractive, talented, professional dancers. You’ve got two affable hosts, Erin Andrews and Tom Bergeron. And of course, you’ve got the “stars”.
I believe the creators of this show use the term “stars” rather loosely. But no matter; the “stars” I enjoy watching the most are the ones that I have not necessarily ever heard of. The ones that have a little spunk. The ones that have actual dancing abilities or the clear potential to develop them. Think Kelly and Jack Osbourne (two different seasons). Or Ricki Lake. Or MMA star Paige VanZant. From the most recent season, my favorite contender was the actor Frankie Muniz. He was a revelation. He was so relatable which made him easy to root for. His confidence and talent increased exponentially each week. Of course, the teen idol from the Disney channel, Jordan Fisher, won-but hey, he was absolutely terrific so I wasn’t too terribly disappointed.
I’m especially enthralled with DWTS when there’s obvious sexual chemistry going on between the professional dancer and the “star”. That just takes the show to a whole other level. Like these two:
Heads up: this is the part of this post where I’m going to play as if I’ve been hired to pick the next batch of “stars” to dance their ways into our hearts on DWTS. Because that could happen, right? Ha ha!
I recently learned that the upcoming season of DWTS is going to feature professional athletes. This makes coming up with a slate of epic contenders challenging for me, a woman who pays minimal attention to professional sports. But as a die hard fan of this show, I’m going to take a stab at it anyway.
Troy Aikman, former NFL star and current NFL commentator.
He’s quite a good looking guy who I am certain has some dancing ability courtesy of his football playing days. I’d pair him with Sharna. I could see them performing a wonderful Vienesse waltz together.
Serena Williams: Now who wouldn’t root for this woman? She is without a doubt a phenomenal tennis player, and I heard recently that she’s not planning to play in the next big tennis tournament. Australian Open maybe? Anyway, she recently gave birth to her first baby. There is a history on DWTS of female “stars” joining the cast after giving birth. Well, maybe not directly after giving birth. That would just be wrong on so many levels.
Serena would totally rock those glitzy costumes DWTS puts the stars in, right? I’d pair her with that sexy beast Maks.
Tonya Harding: The disgraced former Olympic ice skater would certainly have the right moves and the determination to go all the way. Although I would hate to see her hit poor old Len in the shins if he gave her some negative criticism. Maybe I should scratch that idea. It would not surprise me in the least if she ended up on this upcoming season, however. The movie chronicling the attack on her competitor Nancy Kerrigan (herself an alumni of DWTS), from her perspective (I, Tonya-which I only want to see because of the amazing actor Alisson Janney) is getting lots of buzz, so for sensationalism’s sake I bet they do it. I mean, they did it before, with this douchebag.
David Beckham, professional soccer player/model/Mr. Posh Spice: Boy, he’d be a bid draw, right? I mean, just look at him! There’s no doubt he’d have some wicked dancing skills.
Without a doubt, I’d pair him with the gorgeous and talented Peta.
Michael Phelps, a swimming phenomenon and most decorated Olympian of all time. He would be a fun pick. He does appear to be all arms and legs, so dancing may be a challenge for him. But as a professional competitive swimmer, I suspect he’d be up for the challenge.
I think he’d be best paired with the fun loving Aussie dancer Emma Slater.
Danica Patrick, professional race car driver: I really think she would be fantastic. She’s got that competitive spirit and she is drop dead gorgeous.
I think the obvious choice for her dancing partner would be this handsome dancing devil. I would love to see the two of them tango their way to winning that Mirror Ball trophy.
I don’t know that DWTS fans will be lucky enough to have any of these athlete/stars on our screens this spring, but I will be anxiously awaiting to find out who will be cast.
In the meantime, dear readers, I would get some major enjoyment from any opinions you may have about future DWTS contenders that you want to see salsa-ing, cha-cha-ing, or paso doble-ing with the epically talented professional dancers on this show, whether they are athletes or not. Come on, play some “fantasy DWTS” with me!