Changes for 2018

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It’s almost February and so far my life has been like a whirlwind.    There have been so  many changes this year for me, none really planned they just happened.  I never make New Years resolutions, I’ve always felt they were too much pressure to keep up.  I will set up goals and for the most part that works, but this year, I didn’t have time to make goals, they just came along.

First was that last year in August, I was in a program in my dance studio to become a ballroom dance teacher.   We spent four nights a week from about 6-9 or 10pm taking classes and teacher training and practicing.   On Wednesdays, I would do two classes for teacher training in Fort Worth and then rush over to Dallas (at least a 50 minute ride) to make the tango performance group class.   Fridays I had to attend the ballroom studio dance parties twice a month, Saturdays were my volunteer job at the Dallas Zoo and then Sundays was the ladies tango group in Dallas.

The teacher training was not only evenings but there was studying and practice too on off time to prepare for the training sessions and learn the 11 ballroom dances, which for the most part I already knew from lessons that I’ve taken, but we were learning from a teaching aspect rather than as a student.  We had to learn both the lead and follow for all of the dances and the 5 basic steps for each dance.  I loved it although I was also feeling as if there was little time for anything, but I had no intention of stopping.   I was also learning new tango choreography for a performance in July, along with working on the ladies group performance choreography and soon we will be learning another one.

Two days before Christmas Eve, it was raining so hard here.. it was just a deluge of water.   I was in my sewing room (which is also my office and dance room) working on the computer.  My little Pippa was on the back of the sofa as she always is when I’m in there.   We left the room, I closed the door and hen Tom and I went out to do some shopping.  When we came back, I opened the door to this.

My first reaction was that the dogs chewed the sofa to pieces, but then realized that they couldn’t because the doors were shut.  Then I looked up and saw that the ceiling fell in (I also had thoughts that maybe a squirrel was in the attic and chewed through everything.  Then I noticed that everything was soaking wet and realized that there was probably a roof leak and that is what caused the ceiling to cave in, but I never saw any signs of a leak in the ceiling.   It turned out that there was a roof leak that we were unaware of and the insulation must have gotten very heavy and the weight of it broke through the ceiling.   The spot that it fell on is where Pippa always lays on the sofa while I’m in there.  I am so thankful that we were not in the room when that happened, we were in there just a few hours earlier!  We were lucky to have our contractor come over and get a quick fix done on the roof before Christmas because more rains were coming in a few days.   Meanwhile there was a huge hole in the ceiling which we tried covering with plastic and it kept falling down.    The roofers fixed the roof, and then two weeks ago they came and repaired the ceiling, and with that I changed the colors of the room and had the whole thing repainted.  It feels good now, like a warm blanket, it’s soft, it’s pretty and happy instead of that harsh gold that it was.  This ended up making us start talking about the master bathroom, which is in desperate need of renovations and now here we are.

Back to dance, after the New Year, the teacher training requirements were that we had to be there on both Mondays and Thursdays now for teacher training.  My first thought was that it was great, more training for teaching vs taking classes.  But then things started coming up in my plans and schedules where I could not make most of the Monday classes there at 6:15 for training, so I had to drop out of the program.   It was a difficult and huge decision, and sometimes it’s hard to know when to step back, but now that a few weeks have gone by, it was the right decision.  I still would like to learn to teach, but for now I have to concentrate more on Argentine tango for the performance groups.

I still go to the dance studio to practice tango with my tango partner and Wednesdays for a ballroom class, but there’s no pressure now to have to learn the dances for training.

At first it was hard, I felt kind of lost, we had a nice little group of trainees at the studio, and it was nice to be a part of them and also a part of the teachers and other staff.  Now, I go there and I’m just me, not a part of anything anymore, I’m on the outside now.  I’m over that, it’s kind of like when you leave a job, there’s an emptiness, but you move on.  Now, I’m relieved.  There’s less pressure.  I will still study the dances for teaching on my own, maybe I’ll teach, maybe not, I’ll see where that goes.  For now, I’m working on Argentine Tango choreography and some other dances.

I volunteer at the Dallas Zoo as an ambassador (similar to a docent) to help inform people about saving elephants and also to talk about the 10 elephants that we have at the Dallas Zoo.  I have become very attached to the elephants and also the zoo.  It’s a bit of a ride for me to get there, I live closer to the Fort Worth Zoo, which is only about 10 minutes from where I live.  I work at the Dallas Zoo on Saturdays.  I’ve been wanting to do the same at the Fort Worth Zoo, but they did not have a volunteer program in place for adults.  Now with the Fort Worth Zoo’s new Savanna coming up in April, they will be starting a volunteer program. I went to a meeting last Saturday to find out more about this, it sounds great!  I will start training there soon and I will be working at both zoos.

This past Saturday, at the Dallas Zoo, I was inside the base camp and a little girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old, walked up to me by the elephant artifacts and said to me “I love elephants”, oh my, I loved it.  We had a long talk about elephants.  Then a little later, a little boy, maybe about the same age, came over to me and the other two volunteers there while we were talking.  He said to us “elephants are such humble beings”… that coming from a little boy!  Little things like that make it all so worth it.  There are so many young children and also adults that come and are really interested in learning about elephants, both ours at the zoo and also elephants in the wild and other zoos.  Educating the young and helping them understand how important the animals and other wildlife are, is the key in helping to save them from distinction in the future.   The more people that understand how important they are, the easier it will be to help save them from extinction.

So that too, is another reason why I had to stop the ballroom dance training.  I am still dancing every night, but it’s different now, there is a pressure that is gone.  Last year I overloaded myself with flamenco and tango and it got so bad that I ended up quitting flamenco and after 6 years of dancing flamenco, and now I want nothing to do with flamenco! I didn’t want that to happen with ballroom dancing, because I do love ballroom, but my favorite is Argentine Tango, so I had to make a choice.    That’s hard for me because I want to do it all, but it’s important to realize that sometimes you have to step back from something and you just can’t do everything.

So now, the bathroom… our bathroom is pretty large, it’s got a jacuzzi tub made of that cultured (fake) marble which is cracked.  The jacuzzi jets are really not worth the trouble, whirlpool tubs have improved dramatically since 1986 when this house was built.    The counter, which is pretty large, is also made of that cultured (fake) marble, the sinks are old, the faucets leak… the shower is old and a mess… it’s time to redo it.  The floor is horrible, the tiles are fine but the color and design and the placement is just all wrong.   We knew this would be an expensive project so we waited, but now, it’s time, we’ve been in the house for about 9 1/2 years now. We were going to do it a little at a time, but then we decided to just jump in and do it.  Somehow, the leak in the roof and the ceiling caving in, was the catalyst for this project.

This is a scaled drawing I drew of the existing bathroom.   The rectangular box is where the tub is, and the new tub will be an oval box to follow the lines of the new tub which is oval and 66″x36”.   The tub surround will most likely be about a foot wider than those dimensions, and it will be partially sunken and 23″ off of the floor.

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The colors that I want are the colors of sea glass.  I decided on white marble carrera countertops and two art glass vessel sinks.  I’ll have a wall of white wavy tiles with a chandelier over it to give the impression of water trickling down the tiles (just an idea in my head, not really trickling down.. although it sure would be nice to have a little waterfall, but not this time around)… the shower will also have the back wall the same wavy tile as the wall over the counters.

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The vessel sinks and faucets

The sinks are by Modeli and the faucets in polished nickel by Brizo.   The sink art glass with some glitter in it, is so beautiful and I love the colors.  The polished nickel by Brizo is a little different from other polished nickels, it’s got a hint of gold to it.

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Here is part of my design by the counter area, I haven’t drawn the tub section yet or the shower area, maybe this week if I have time.

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Below is the tile that will go up the wall in between the mirrors and also on the back wall of the shower, also the marble counter and the marble tiles along with the mosaic sea glass colored tiles.  The other two walls of the shower will be white marble carrera tiles.

There are two white wavy tiles that I need to decide between, they both have something that I like and I could go either way, so I will talk to the tile man and see which would fit best in the areas that we are tiling.   And then the turquoise mosaic tiles will go around the tub along with the white marble tiles.   I am still working out the design for that.

I haven’t looked at lighting yet, if I have time I will do that this week, if not this week, then next.

I love decorating and designing.   The floor will be white marble carrera tile, similar to the countertop and shower wall tiles, the cabinets will be painted an antiqued sea green and the walls a lighter tone of that in an aqua sea color.   The tub will be sunken, we decided on a Kohler whirlpool with bubble massage, it’s oval and the tub surround will also be oval and it will be tiled with the same marble tiles that will be going in the shower and top of it will be the same white marble that is going on the sink counters.  I’m not sure when this project will start,  we are still working out the details, but probably sometime within the next month.

Another big thing this year, I closed out my photography business.  I have too many other things that I am doing and I was spending less and less time doing that because of everything else.  I would have kept it going for something part time, but doing the yearly taxes just worth it for me anymore, so last week, I closed that out.  I will always do photography, but not professionally anymore.    This will give me more time to do sewing and maybe some artwork.

One more thing…  my new pizza oven!   Tom bought me a Roccbox Pizza Oven https://www.roccbox.com/us/ for Christmas.  I make my own pizzas (I think there’s a blog here about my pizzas) and have always wanted a real pizza oven.  This one can be either gas fired or wood and it’s for outdoors, so we have it outside onn the patio. We have only used it once so far because it’s been a bit cold out, but the pizza it makes is amazing, and it only takes about 90 seconds to cook each one.  I can’t wait until the weather warms up so that I can use it more often.

Other things… I am also helping my daughter and son-in-law with decorating their house.  Last year I made curtains and some pillows and we worked on their dining room.   This year we will be working on the bedroom.

Our dog, Bentley, has some health problems and he is being monitored every month with blood work, thankfully, after Fluffy died we decided to get health insurance on the dogs and that has helped tremendously with his medical bills.  Tom also has some health issues and I’m not sure exactly what is going on with that now but it’s something that needs checking.

So, that’s me and my life so far…  and it’s only January………..

Thank you for reading this, as always, and I wish everyone a happy and good year to come!

Laura