Sunday, August 28, 2016

Le Mirage by the Saffron Dance Company

Not everyone can say they know someone who belly dances. Well I can I do. My friend Diane, who I volunteer with at Food and Friends, is a belly dancer. She dances with the Saffron Dance Company.

Here's a little more about Saffron Dance:
Our Mission

Saffron Dance seeks to lead the belly dance community by continuing to elevate the artistic integrity of belly dance as an art form through the education and training of all aspects of belly dance via classes workshops, retreats, teacher trainings and studio-to-studio support.

Our Core Values

Community | Saffron Dance was created and continues to exist from a fundamental core value of artistic generosity. With a commitment to both artistic excellence and acceptance of women from all movement backgrounds, body types and ages, we are a community of “Saffronitas” - accomplished and diverse women who dance together, support one another, and discover our voices together. A Saffronita is a woman who shimmies in unexpected places without warning, is generous in spirit, is artistically supportive and is comfortable in her skin.

Curriculum | By creating and teaching from a living curriculum of five definitive levels, Saffron Dance has established a comprehensive pedagogy of movement and theory fundamental to preserving and sharing belly dance as art form. Because Saffron Dance believes that the dance is passed forward by generations and geographies of women, the Saffron Dance curriculum emphasizes attributing the styles and techniques to dancers and musicians who came before us. We believe that a multi-level living curriculum establishes standards for teaching and learning. This commitment to training dancers from an organized and disciplined methodology allows for dancers to develop the competence to ultimately enjoy the confidence this dance form inspires.

Collaboration | From its fundamental roots, Saffron Dance was created to nurture and cultivate growth. Saffron Dance believes that when artists work together and genuinely support one another, magic happens. We seek out faculty and staff who possess an authentic mindset and heart of valuing collaboration as an integral component of their dance environment. This culture manifests in dancers working together from a place of respect - understanding the value that each dancer brings to the community through their teaching, choreography and performing. By holding this value at its very core, our student community also reflects a group of women who project a positivity and generosity of spirit, the core of Saffron Dance.

Confidence | Saffron Dance believes that all women deserve support and encouragement to explore, expand and identify who they are through dance. This unique journey to defining and strengthening movement in one’s body directly correlates to a woman finding strength and confidence in her voice. By teaching via an Active Teaching Active Learning environment, Saffronitas take responsibility for their movement and become more aware of their power, strength and potential.

Commitment | Saffron Dance faculty members are genuinely committed to the artistic development of all faculty and students, irrespective of dance level, age or body type. Saffron Dance focuses on the dance growth of its students and faculty rather than enhancing the brand of any individual artist. At Saffron Dance, Master Level teachers are committed to introducing the fundamentals to beginner students, ensuring that the students start their dance journey with a strong foundation of dance fundamentals and a comprehensive understanding of Saffron’s values and culture. Saffron teachers are committed and trained to provide dancers constructive feedback and corrections from a place of love and support for the purpose of growing a student’s dance.

Here are some pictures from their performance last night. (One note on the pictures, I was in the back row so some of the pictures have the tops of people's heads in them. I was going to crop those out, but, on second thought, I decided it was better to be able to see all of the performer instead of cropping them at the knees.)

The Dancers from Saffron Dance

More of The Dancers from Saffron Dance

Diane, Part I

Here are pictures from the three numbers Diane was in.

This picture really shows how much fun the dancers have.

Diane, Part II

Diane, Part III

This was my favorite dance of the night. The canes were just so cool. And they did twirl them around.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Gio Gets Win 100!

Another historic night at Nats Park, Gio Gonzalez gets win number 100.

But to start off the evening it was Max Scherzer Bobblehead night.

It was a see saw battle the Colorado Rockies. The Nats would score and the next inning the Rockies would score. It was just one run each time that is until the Nats scored 4 runs in the 7th and put the game away. There was a small amount of excitement in the top of the 9th where the Rockies were able to get three runs but still fell short. 8-5 Nats win.

The Nats strike first. Jayson Werth homers in the first.

Daniel Murphy solo shot in the 5th inning.

From the Post:
Thanks to Turner’s second infield hit of the game, Werth’s second RBI of the night and Bryce Harper’s first triple of the season, the Nationals piled on in the seventh. Harper, who doubled earlier in the game, did not have more than one extra-base hit in a game from April 23 to mid-August. He now has two such games in the past 12 days.

Gio gets win 100!

Gio's reaction to his win:
I’m happy I did it here with this organization,” Gonzalez said. “Oakland gave me an opportunity, and Washington helped me continue that opportunity, and I couldn’t be happier to do it with these colors and represent the Washington Nationals. They’ve been great to me and my family, and I couldn’t be happier with the crowd and group of guys I’ve been around for the last five seasons.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Linus and Charlie Keeping Me Company at Home

The guys have been helping me pass the time these last few weeks as I've been at home during that time.

The reason I've been home is that my job went away. I've been unemployed since mid July. My last day at work was July 11. I've been navigating the world of unemployment these past few weeks. Part of it was actually applying for unemployment from the state of Maryland. You apply in the state where you were employed not where you live.

More on adjusting to unemployment in the next few posts but for now pictures of Linus and Charlie.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Happy Halloween before Labor Day

Hard to believe that Labor Day is just a week and a half away. Where did the summer go?

Even harder to believe is that there is Halloween merchandise out on the shelves in stores. I know I shouldn't be surprised. I saw the cards about a week and a half ago. I noticed just the other day that there was candy out. I'm a big fan of anything Peanuts but well it's just too early. I know one day Christmas stuff will be out right after July 4.

But come on. It used to be Halloween stuff didn't appear until after Labor Day. Now it's showing up a couple of weeks before. Makes you wonder how fresh the candy really is.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Remembering My Trip to the 1996 Olympics

Hard to believe it's been 20 years since the Olympics were in Atlanta. I had the great treat of being able to go. A close friend had family that lived in Atlanta.
As early as fall of 1995, there was a discussion underway as to how we would get tickets and what we would get tickets to. There was also the logistics of who would be going to what. There were at least six of us vying for various seats.

We were making choices for the day we arrived. We flew down to Atlanta and had the opportunity of seeing something the afternoon that we arrived. We could see baseball. The USA playing Cuba or we could see the medal rounds of water polo.

The consensus at first was to see baseball. But I pointed out how many times, if ever, would we get the chance to see teams playing for Olympic medals. I asked would they be handing out the medals after the game. We figured out that would be the case. So I said we should see water polo. That's what was finally decided.

As we went to sleep Saturday, July 27 we were looking forward to a wonder Olympics. But late that night a bomb went off in Olympic park. The friend I was going with was staying at my house (to make it easier for us to get to the airport on time). He was still up watching TV and called to me. Needless to say this was a big event.

The question was would/should we go. That was answered quickly. We were going. I remember talking to my parents and having them both say we should go. It was a once in a lifetime event. We got to the airport and headed out.

Because of what happened security was beefed up. It was everywhere you looked. We got picked up at the airport and headed off to the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center to see the games.

Here's the results of the medal round for water polo:
Hungary and Italy were the heavy favorites. Since Barcelona they had met in the final of every major event, save one. Italy defeated Hungary at the 1993 World Cup and European Championships, and the 1995 European Championships. Hungary defeated Italy in the final of the 1995 World Cup. Italy also won the 1994 World Championship, where Hungary slumped and only placed fifth. The two teams were drawn in opposite groups in Barcelona and both won all their matches to advance to the quarter-finals. There Hungary defeated Greece and Italy defeated Russia to move onto the semis, with Spain and Croatia also advancing. One quarter-final saw Croatia meet their arch-rivals, Serbia & Montenegro, or effectively what remained of Yugoslavia. The Croats hated the Serbs for what they had done to their country in the early 1990s, and gained a measure of revenge by defeating them, 8-6.

But somebody had forgotten to remind Spain and Croatia that Hungary and Italy were supposed to meet in the final. Spain faced Hungary, which had beaten them 8-7 in group play, but in the semi-finals, Spain eliminated the Magyars, 7-6. In the other semi-final, the score was the same, Croatia moving on to the final.

The final was close, with Croatia leading at halftime, 3-1, only to see Spain tie the match, 5-5, after the third period. In the final period, Spain scored twice to win the gold medal, 7-5. At the end of the match the ball was in the hands of their greatest player, [Manuel Estiarte], who finally won a gold medal in his fifth Olympics. Italy won the bronze medal, defeating Hungary in overtime, 20-18.

We had great seats. The bronze medal game was the highest scoring game in Olympic water polo history. To make it even more interesting one of the coaches for a team was ejected (I don't remember which one). The coach then tried to coach via mobile phone (this was 1996 so it was those huge book size phones). It was surreptitiously passed from one player to another. Until it was finally taken away.  We knew about this because one of the people sitting near us had rented head phones which gave the play by play of the game. Overtime was exciting. The gold medal game was exciting too. We got to see the medals awarded and they were awarded by none other than Juan Antonio Samaranch who was president of the International Olympic Games and he just also happened to come from Spain.

We went to several track and field events. It was amazing to watch the men running the steeplechase while at the same time seeing the discus competition. It was amazing because the guys participating in the steeplechase were about half the size of the guys competing in discus. We got to see the javelin throw where two guys traded off personal bests for three rounds. We got to see the inaugural Olympic women's triple jump. We also got to see women start the wave in the Olympic stadium. It took them a few tries but they finally got the entire stadium in on it. It was really neat to see.

In all it was a once in a lifetime experience.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hot One at Nats' Park

The weather was hot. The bats for both teams were hot. In the end the Nationals came out on top 7-4 over the Indians.

From the Post:
A back-and-forth sequence between the clubs ensued. The Indians (63-48) matched Washington with a run in the second off Gonzalez when Almonte smacked an RBI double to redeem himself somewhat for his trouble in the outfield.

Then, with two outs in the bottom of the frame, Werth swatted an 87-mph cutter over the plate 409 feet away into the visitors’ bullpen beyond the left field wall for a three-run home run. The homer was the league-high 27th Tomlin has yielded and Werth’s 15th.

It again took just a half inning for Cleveland to tie the game off Gonzalez. First, Francisco Lindor blasted a two-run homer into the same bullpen. The ensuing batter, Mike Napoli, doubled, and Jose Ramirez followed with a double to make it 4-4. Gonzalez’s pitch count for the day was at 63 by the third out.

In the fifth inning, the Nationals, often too reliant on the long ball, manufactured a response with their own string of doubles. Trea Turner doubled to lead off the inning. Werth then walked before Daniel Murphy whacked an RBI double to chase Tomlin. The final double came off Anthony Rendon’s bat, his second on the day, to score two and balloon Washington’s lead to three. Ben Revere also registered two hits — a single and a double — for the second straight day.
The new closer Mark Melancon came in and finished the out the game. The Nats continue to lead NL East by 7.5 games over Miami. So far so good for this season.

Jayson Werth rounds third base on the way home after his three run homer.