An Unplanned Night of Poetry

My five week hiatus from law firm life has ended and I have finally settled into my new job. I’ve made it through the first few weeks, and so far life is wonderful. I am working approximately 30-40 hours a week less than at my old firm, and I have filled that extra time with seeing my friends and actually taking care of myself. Oddly enough, all the free time for long hikes, trivia nights, dinners, and hot yoga sessions have put doing new things (or at least writing about them) on the back burner.

On one of my nights out, my friend Katie, who I hadn’t seen since law school, and I headed out to catch up over a drink. At the bar we started to chat with a gentleman named Adam seated next to us. We went through the general getting to know you topics: where are you from, what are you doing in town, how do you feel about the first few weeks of the Trump administration, etc.

We learned that he was in town for a poetry reading as part of Nashville’s First Saturday art crawl. I told him that going to a poetry reading was on my list of New Things to do, and we promptly invited ourselves along.

j-joseph-kane

The reading was held at Sauvage Galerie, a bizarre little gallery in a residential neighborhood in South Nashville. The room was tiny, and the art consisted of mixed medium design, which I am pretty certain was just trash glued to wood and I think one piece was just part of a mop. Ron Swanson would not approve. I respect what the artist was going for, but I was not hip enough to get it.

robyn-leigh-lear

The three poets for the evening were J. Joseph Kane, Robyn Leigh Lear, and Adam Day. Poetry has never really been my thing. I love novels, biographies, and Buzzfeed articles about which dog best matches my personality (Great Dane, ironically). That said, I enjoyed the varied expression of the three different poets and I got a lot more out of it than I would just reading words on a page. I would totally go to another reading in the future . . . but I still don’t see myself ever reading poetry for fun.

adam-day

I promise more interesting and exciting posts are heading your way. First I just have to get used to actually having a life again first. More adventures are to come!

Basket Weaving

If you are itching for something new and crafty to do, I highly recommend a basket weaving class. In just a few hours you can create something completely unique.

Finished Basket

I went to Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary for my class with basket weaver Janet Lanier. Owl’s Hill is an 160-acre nature and animal preserve in Brentwood, Tennessee. I didn’t have time to explore the property, but I did see a beautiful deer grazing right outside of the window as I made my basket. It was a very peaceful afternoon.

Basket Weaving Materials

We started out with a wooden handle and the spokes that would make the frame of the basket.

Basket Weaving Base

The base of the basket was formed by interweaving the wooden spokes.

Basket Weaving Foundation

Once the base was formed, round reed was woven through the spokes to secure the frame. The wooden reed had to be kept wet to make it flexible and easy to manipulate without breaking.

Basket Weaving Layers

I decided to add in a little color to the basket, so every few rows I added maroon reed and seagrass. Seagrass is actually a grass that is hand twisted into cord.

Basket Weaving

The alternating over-under weaving process was repeated until I reached the desired height. Or, more accurately, I ran out of time and had to make it to a hair appointment.

Basket Weaving Bottom

Eventually the shorter spokes at the bottom were trimmed and tucked into the weave to finish the bottom of the basket.

Basket Weaving Top

The top of the basket was finished with half round weed lining the rim and smaller reed was wrapped through the open holes in the basket. To get it a little extra flair, I added some of the maroon seagrass to the top.

Completed Basket

Voilà! A completed wine basket! It took a few hours and a little hard work, but I am pretty happy with the final product. Plus, I am now ready for life on the prairie. I can’t wait to return to Owl’s Hill for another class or for when I have some time to explore.

The Ballet

The Ballet
As a part of their mission to “bring ballet to the people,” the Dance Theatre of Tennessee staged a performance of Giselle in Centennial Park. The performance was held in the park’s bandshell and the audience was spread out on blankets and beach chairs in front of the stage. The stage was only about a foot off of the ground, so there was not much separation between the dancers and the crowd. I’m really glad I decided to bring a second blanket with me. We went on the first day of fall so it was crisp and cool outside; by the time the performance was over it was 63 degrees and a little chilly. We really could have used a thermos of hot chocolate.

Giselle is your typical nobleman meets girl, nobleman disguises himself as a peasant to get girl, girl discovers nobleman is lying and engaged to another, supernatural beings get pissed and sentence the nobleman to death by dancing type of story.

Giselle Wine Queen

Giselle premiered in Paris in 1841. [Caution: Ballet spoiler alert.] The first act focuses on the the Duke’s courtship of Giselle. Hilarion, a gamekeeper, is also in love with Giselle and tries to warn her that there is something fishy about the Duke. Giselle, however, ignores Hilarion because the Duke is just sooooo dreamy. To complicate matters, Giselle has a weak heart so she has a crazy helicopter mother who also wants to keep the Duke away from her. At some point the Duke’s fiancée shows up and the Duke hides. Eventually, Hilarion figures out what is going on and outs him. Giselle freaks out and dies of a broken heart.

The second act takes place in a forrest near Giselle’s grave. Wilis (pronounced villees—young girls who have died before their wedding day), haunt the forest to seek revenge on any man they encounter, forcing them to dance until they die. Harsh. They are led by their queen, Myrtha. Giselle rises from the grave and join the Wilis. The Duke shows up to mourn at Gilselle’s grave and begs for he forgiveness. Giselle forgives him, because you know, she’s dead, what does she care? That, and she still loves him. Meanwhile, the zombie brides corner Hilarion and make him dance until he drowns in a lake (somehow I missed this part during the performance). Then they turn to the Duke. Giselle pleads for his life, but Myrtha refuses. Eventually, Giselle’s love overcomes the spell the Duke lives and Giselle can rest in peace.

Giselle Wilis

I really enjoyed the ballet. It was expressive and told the story better than I expected. While all of the dancers were incredibly talented, the ballerina in the role of Myrtha was particularly gifted. I’ve never had a particular knack for dancing, but somehow she made it seem completely effortless. Bats flew across the stage and swooped over the dancers heads for much of the second act and not once did they seem phased by it. My friend Loren commented that she now understood why little girls can become so preoccupied with wanting to be a ballerina when they grow up. Who wouldn’t want to put on gorgeous dresses and dance around on state to beautiful music?

I’m really glad I decided to attend a ballet. While, I’ve always wanted to go and I expected to enjoy it, I just never made the effort to attend a performance. Now, however, I’ll be much more willing to attend in the future. Especially in a warmer, more traditional venue.

Carambola (Starfruit)
Earlier this week I was at the grocery store when I passed by a bin of starfruit. I’ve been curious about trying one for a while, and since nothing was stoping me I grabbed one and threw my basket. The check-out person asked me how I selected the piece of fruit I did and how I knew it was ripe. I told her that I had absolutely no idea and that I just thought it looked interesting.

Starfruit
It tasted like somebody combined a really mediocre apple and a flavorless orange. I was really hoping that it would be sweet and tropical, but mainly it was just “meh.” Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to how delicious it looked at the store. Apparently, in some countries they are grown as ornamentals rather than food; those people have the right idea.

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