Monday, December 29, 2003

The Year 2003 of Darkthreads in Review...

Had another fun weekend, got another piercing. Aw, come on, like tattoos and potato chips, you can't have just one. Got it in my nose/septum and it hardly hurt at all, although it is quite sore now. Bactine is my friend. Already some comments from ppl here at work, "is that for real?!" But hey, my employer dropped the dress code. Also had a pleasant holiday with mom and bro. Got some cool stuff from Santa, the coolest item prolly being the acoustic guitar. No, I don't play guitar, yet, so I guess I'll learn. My bro has been teaching me how to play chords. Being a violinist/fiddler and not that good with theory, chords are unknown territory to me. I also moved my drum kit back to my house (my bro was taking care of it for me). And, pretty much spent the holidays just jamming with the bro. He is a musical genious, plays everything and I wish we knew more folks to form a band. Anyway, this is the time of year that most everyone reflects on the past year, and so am I. I even went back through my blog to help jog my memory about some things and here's the recap. It was prolly one of the best/worst years for me. I lost 47 lbs. Changed my hair and my appearance is completely different to the point where some people who haven't seen me in a while don't recognize me. I travelled more for work than ever, including a trip to Europe. I got divorced and found myself in the dating pool again. Made a lot of new friends. Changed my head about a lot of different things. I pretty much RE-INVENTED myself, inside and out.

Recapping a year of blogs:

December: You're reading it now. I made some declarations about my new attitude towards relationships...pix from the Mosaic dance show...some cool club dancing photos by Russ (

November: Got lots of cool pix from a photo shoot with Russ in Homewood cemetary, including the impressive red corset pix...took a second trip to Boston...pix from the hafla at the Quiet Storm something rather daring, pierced...still adjusting to changes in my life.

October: Realized that I like myself again but still working through the rough spots (had one difficult week where I was quoting Sylvia Plath!)...went as The Devil for Halloween--and looked really hot in the red corset...made my first trip to Boston (work) and had a wonderful time, and drove up to Portland to visit friends.

September: Completed my first corset after significant weightloss...played first bar gig with Khafif at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern...first trip to Calif. (work) where I met a nice dancer...scenes from the Pittsburgh Irish Fest.

August: Dealing with the aftermath of Pennsic and splitting with my husband of 7 years...played with the Wild Geese at the Harp & Fiddle...some scenes from Pennsic and my personal review of the event.

July: Still working hard at weightloss...attended Lollapalooza with my bro...had a birthday...discovered Between the Waters and they became my new favorite local band. What is not captured in the blog at this time is the pain and anxiety I felt over thoughts of separation and ending my marriage.

June: Got bellybutton pierced...posted photos and wrote about my trip to Switzerland and Germany (work)...what is not captured in the blog is the fact that I returned from this trip irrevocably changed, not by anything that happened there in particular. I think that I just had a lot of time to myself to think there.

May: Scenes from Aethelmearc War Practice (SCA event)...some pix with the new red violin.

April: Scenes from Blackstone Raids (SCA event)...addressing my ergomic issues at work--you can still see that I have some weight yet to lose...I was shopping for a new violin at this time...I talk about some stuff that was pissing me off, such as the war in Iraq and antique dealers who are assholes...posted a very old old pic of Chris and I before we got married, funny, it's not there review of the FLUX9 event.

March: I joke about the media coverage of the war...I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" and really liked it...I am disgruntled over cancellation of Farscape...I read some Henry Rollins early and pix of some Khafif activities including Spirit of the Tribes.

February: Finished designing my now famous Raj choli pattern and started selling copies of it on eBay--it's still selling pretty well in my eBay store...attended a conference for work in Las Vegas--lots of pix and review from that...starting to notice a difference in my body after starting to lose some weight. Also feeling more confident. At this point, I could not have predicted the drastic sweeping changes that happened later--the divorce, having a new body and pretty much reinventing myself. I even refinanced my home at this time--NOT something you want to do if you are contemplating divorce.

January: I joined Weight Watchers, having no idea of the changes it would have on my life...dealing with sickness and cold and pix from winter and pix from NYE.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Wow. Had such a good time this weekend that I don't think I can write about it in my blog. Sorry. Well, it's just that, like, if my mom ever reads this, I'm just not ready to have THAT conversation. So I guess I can be vague. I went to some places and I did some stuff with some people;-) It was fun.

New Year's Eve, I recommend two places to be. One is, there will be an "International Fashion Party" at the Shadow Lounge in E. Liberty, 9:30 pm to 3 am. My roommates and friends are organizing this. It's BYOB. Should be fun. More info here. There's also a special Ceremony (goth night) at The Upstage that evening. I'm torn. I want to go to this too. This year is the first time in about 15 or so years that I'm not hosting a party at my house, so it will be a little hard for me, letting go of that.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Had a cathartic weekend, maybe? I dunno, I was PMS-ing pretty hard...anyway, I decided that I should prolly "come out" more about my sexuality rather than play games with rules that I can't follow, or rather rules that I'm not aware of. I haven't been reading the memos for the past 10 years, so I'm a little out of touch with the current trends in dating and relationships. Anyway, I have my own set of rules. Well, they're just guidelines, really. I don't like rules to begin with. Here you go:

  • A relationwhip should be a haven from stress, not the cause of it...I actually stole that one from an advice column, but it's a good one.

  • Sleep with your friends, because if not, who are you going to sleep with? People you don't like?!!!--that one comes from a dear friend of mine;-)

  • Sleep with as many people as you want. Who's counting?

  • And lastly...release your jealousy. There's no need to feel possessive of another person. If you love something, set it free, etc. I've been testing this one for the past few months, and it has been so tempting to back down, to comprimise on this one, but I've been sticking to my guns so far.

And where did I have this epiphany? Why at the Cradle of Filth/Type O Negative/Moonspell show last Saturday of course! It was awesome...I could not have as much fun as I wanted at the show, though. I hurt my back earlier that day and spent most of the show sitting in the vending area. I had to sit around at Ceremony too, like a "mopey goth." It was so frustrating--I wanted to scream. I was not good company that evening, with my PMS and lack of mobility. I literally wanted to kill people...but I think I stumbled upon some enlightenment, anyway.

...and I will leave you with another pic from Mosaic. This one is of "Claire's Intermediate Students," left to right: Laura, me, Wendy, Melissa, Judith. We did our choreo to "Hot Stuff" this time, hence Melissa and I are wearing our flamin' harem pants. It was fun.

Oh, and I think that with this posting, the one with the red corset pix is going to drop off the bottom of my blog, but you can still see all those pix in the archive, or go to Warning! Some are not safe for work;-)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

So here are a few photos that I took at the Mosaic dance expo at SHY:

Leta and Kari, the organizers of the event, sporting corsets that I made...

Here it looks as if Narah (Khafif) has sprouted a second evil head (me)...

Here are all the SHY students who performed to Daft Punk "Around the World" and did such a great job...

And, Brrr, it's cold here in da 'Burgh...

Monday, December 08, 2003

Russ has done it again, taken some amazingly awesome pix of my friends and I at Ceremony this past Saturday. You can see all the pix HERE, but here are a few of my favorites:

Saturday was also the big dance expo at Schoolhouse Yoga and I will be posting pix when they are available. It was a wonderfully diverse collection of dance troupes and individuals performing at what we now realize is too small a venue. Hopefully when the next one rolls around in spring, the Schoolhouse Yoga will be relocated at a bigger venue.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Christ Analogue was awesome, a great band to see live. They gave a great hi-energy performance and the music was very danceable. I also instantly liked Trak Addikt, a local band, very grindy. I must also give honorable mention to Terra Firma Sky--I really enjoyed the music and would love to get a CD (hint, hint!).

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

TONITE: going to see Christ Analogue, with Trak Addikt, Terror Firma Sky, Transylvanian Terror, I,Parasite at Club Laga. Review to follow. Also, THIS SAT. is the big dance expo, Mosaic, at Schoolhouse Yoga. I will be playing fiddle with Khafif, as well as dancing with Claire's intermediate students and with the Schoolhouse Yoga students.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Had probably the most calm and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday ever. Considering what I've been through this year, I was glad to have just a quiet dinner with mom and bro. Also had quality fun time with friends. Went on a second date, woohoo! Saw The Missing, which was really very good. Not your typical Western with amazing performances by Kate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones. Checked out a new club near my house out in the 'burbs, B-Witches Tavern. It was cheesy but fun to hang out there with friends. Thanks to, have one pic of me and me pals in garb:

Last night, had a movie night at home and saw one of the funniest movies about the music biz, ever: 24 Hour Party People, about the punk/alt music scene in Manchester and the rise and fall of Factory records.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the biggest news--I got a new piercing, yay! Um, in an intimate place...

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Checked out the Matrix club last night. This was one of my rare forays into "normal" land. And I think that I did stand out like a freak in my black trousers with a chain and long trench coat. The crowd was mostly very normal-looking college-age kids. For me, it was like being in a foreign country or on another planet, even. But I had a lot of fun dancing and freaking people out;-)

Monday, November 24, 2003

...And so Kharma balances everything out...had a very good weekend. On Friday, I performed for the first time as a dancer with Khafif (I'm the fiddle player, remember?) It was a good feeling. I hope they let me do it again. The audience at Chatham college was very alive and appreciative. It was also dessert night, yum! Afterwards, the other dancers and I raced over to Maria's kick-ass advanced bellydance class. I think I am becoming a masochist. However, don't go getting any ideas--you can still call me "Mistress Megan" ;-) Saturday, went to a baby shower, ick, but it was nice hanging out with mom and relatives, as long as I don't have to do it that often. But, the highlight of my evening was probably my "date." Dinner and Ceremony (goth night) turned out to be a very enjoyable combination. Sunday was also loads of fun. I dusted off my old Canon AE-1 Program and took a few cliche ubiquitous goth-in-a-cemetary photos with a friend, He also took the fab pix of me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Okay so I had a super-crummy morning and would just like to vent. First of all, it's another lovely day in Pittsburgh: rain all day. I was running late as usual and I locked myself out of the house. I banged on the door and rang the phone for 20 minutes solid but wasn't able to stir up any roommates. I was almost going to call my bro but then just decided on breaking & entering. Needless to say, missed my bus, got the next one, hit a huge traffic jam and sat for about an hour. I'm staying here late anyway, but good thing the boss is out of town. Oh, hey did I mention that Pigface is here tonite? But I don't think I'm going now. No matter what, tomorrow night, I am going to see Lacuna Coil, then 80s night afterwards at The Upstage. Also coming up, Dec. 3, Christ Analogue, and Dec. 13, Cradle of Filth with Type O Negative, all happening at Club Laga.

This weekend...Friday, I am performing with Khafif at Chatham College for an International Fashion Show. Saturday, please have pity on me, I'm going to a cousin's baby shower, then goth night/Ceremony@The Upstage (I will need it). Sunday, I'm hoping to shoot some "artistic" photos;-)

Monday, November 17, 2003

I had a whirlwind tour of the greater Boston area this weekend. I saw a little of Salem, Lowell, Haverhill and Braintree (geez! I was all over the place!) It was fun. It was a personal trip, wierd for me, and I kept wondering, why am I doing this? But it was so worth it. I got to relax and just "chill." To do this, I had to leave town:-) I saw a little bit of Lowell, enough to realize that I want to see more. They have lots of art galleries, culture, museums there that I should check out, given more time, such as the American Textile History Museum. I went to the hafli in Braintree and saw how the rest of the world interprets "bellydance." It's still very old-school there. I hear that tribal is starting to catch on, but what I saw was all classic Egyptian/American cabaret stuff. But who the heck cares? I got to dance with a crowd of wonderful people to live music!!! Everyone was having a great time. I was proud to be the lone ambassador of "tribal fusion."

My hosts were fab. They took such good care of me. I wanted for nothing. I was lucky to stay with people of such good musical tastes--I discovered a new favorite band: the Cowboy Junkies--and I had a moment of Zen when I heard the tune, Hallelujah, from the Shrek soundtrack (of all things, huh?). The lyrics just made me smile--you have to trust me on this one!

And then, I ate a lobster while waiting for my plane, and I'm home safe once again. It was a great weekend.

Here's another photo from the hafla in Pittsburgh...we did our dance to the tune "I will survive."

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

A couple photos from the hafla...

My digital camera died, so this is all I have for now, but I did take some pix with my film camera and will post those as soon as snapfish is done with them.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Saw The Matrix: Revolutions last night at the Omnimax theater. I liked the movie for the costuming, special effects and deeply spiritual ending. The scene at the club with "the Merovingian" was especially delicious--I wanted to see more of that. I give it a B. It was not as good as the first one. It was pretty much a continuation of the second movie. Seeing it on the Omnimax screen had its advantages and disadvantages. I actually had to turn my head to see the peripheral bits of the screen and some of the action seemed to move too fast and close in front of me. I needed to "zoom" out more, as it were, but I guess I'll go see it on a normal flat screen at some point.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Another one of those lots o' work to do but don't feel like doing it. It will get done eventually, though. It always does. The big news for this weekend is the upcoming hafla at the Quiet Storm Coffeehouse, sponsored by Khafif. I will be playing fiddle, dancing, and maybe even singing! Performances start around 9 pm. Nominal fee at the door and we will be providing snacks. It may be one of the last few times you see me perform with Khafif because I need to take a break for a while to pursue my other other news, life with roommates is good. Everyone is so worried about getting along, and the house is in a state of disarray at the moment, but I am really glad to have these folks living with me.

So, I haven't even talked about this past weekend yet. I didn't even foretell what I was going to do, did I? That's because I really wasn't sure. I was so beat on Friday from staying out late that I stayed in and went to bed early. I know I'm getting old. Saturday, did the typical things on the South Side: Olivia's dance class, pizza at Vesuvio's, then went over to Swank Gear at the urging of an anonymous online friend. As luck would have it, they had the skirt I wanted and so I had something new to wear out that evening. Lots of cool punk/goth clothes and they need the business so I urge you to check it out. And, there were too many things to choose from to do Saturday night. I ended up seeing some industrial bands at The Upstage (cruciform injection, e-craft, terrorfakt, and Singine) and then hanging out at Ceremony...and then spent all day Sunday recovering from that. I'm definitely getting old. But now that I feel I've rediscovered the joys of going out to see bands, going out whenever I want, &etc., I don't want to settle down.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Razed in Black RAWKED. I danced so long and hard, I'm surprised I'm still ambulatory. They are Industrial, just the way I like it: fast, hard, crunchy, and danceable. At their worst, they are derivative of NIN, but also sound a lot like Fear Factory. I was liking it a lot. I was also liking the cute lanky young men who were into it, thrashing about on the dance floor. I was not so much thrashing as I was undulating, but that's just me. I was not so impressed with the other bands--they were good but not my cup o'tea. Psyche was good danceable music. Oneroid Psychosis might be good atmospheric music for listening at home, but was a little boring and slow-paced for the club. They reminded me a little of Godflesh. Turn Pale was punk-like, and the singer reminded me a little of John Lydon, but did not appeal to me. Anyway, I had fun. I met some new people, talked to some people again that I recently met at Ceremony (goth night @Upstage), bought some rings and some fun fake hair from the vendors there. Going out somewhere, by yourself, not knowing who else is going to be there, is a lot different than going somewhere with friends or where you will know everyone. There is an unpredictable quality. You never know what might happen, who you might meet, etc. It could be fun, it could be boring. It's also nice to spend quality time with friends;-)

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Another one of those silly quizzes, and this time I tested out as Luke Skywalker. Go figure.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Okay, so maybe I'm going through a vanity phase right now. After so many years of not liking myself, I can finally look at myself in the mirror, even while nude, and appreciate what I see there, for the first time in umpteen years. No wonder I may seem full of myself and I have fantasies about becoming an exotic dancer (I didn't just say that!). Just let me get used to this; get comfortable in my own skin again. I'm not used to being what a lot of folks would consider "hot," and I never knew how to handle a compliment. Anyway, I'm getting to be more comfortable at home alone. Last Sunday was the first day in a while that I felt "normal" being by myself. Just in time to be getting new roommates. Yes, some very dear friends are moving in this week to help me pay the bills and keep me company. It seemed a shame to live in such a big house all by myself. It also forced me to throw out a lot of stuff that I DONT NEED. I spent most of last weekend trying to clear space in my house for the new roomies. I ended up making a huge trash pile on the front porch. Some of the stuff was mine from BC. I had a nostalgic time going through letters from old boyfriends and other remembrances. I couldn't even remember some of these people whose letters I had saved. Does memory fade so fast? At least I was able to consolidate some of my "nostalgia" down from maybe about 4 boxes to 2--it all has to fit into my closet now. Oh, and tape cassettes--I uncovered a time-capsule, a veritable treasure trove--of tape cassettes that I made during the early 90s, from when I was a DJ.

Thursday, Oct. 30, going to Masquerade 7. Methinks I will give the devil costume a rest on Devil's night and pull out the spiderweb bodystocking instead...

Monday, October 27, 2003

This one was taken by Russ at

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Had a weekend...firstly, TSN and the Cruxshadows were awesome at the Upstage. The show was well-attended and I thoroughly enjoyed the performances. I hung around at Ceremony afterwards and actually got to meet some new people! Woohoo! But, didn't stay long because I was invited to a costume party. That was nice--a small quiet party but good conversation with friends. So here's the mug shot:

Aw...don't I look EVIL?!!! Mwahahahaha...

Friday, October 24, 2003

Okay, so that part about "guys not calling me back" is slightly inaccurate;-)

Thursday, October 23, 2003

A few reasons to celebrate today, one of which is that I achieved my weight goal (134 lbs.)!!! It took 9 months. I lost 45 lbs. Yes I'm proud. Here is my plug for WeightWatchers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Re: dating, or "on Being a Strange Fish in a Small Pond..." I have decided that I am not going to do commitment or exclusivity with anyone for a while. Of course that does not mean I wish to live as an ascetic monk or anything like that. On the contrary, I am always on the look out for potential "date" material. It's not going so well but I haven't given it much of a chance yet. I've been noticing some unfortunate trends in my effort to meet new people: 1) Pittsburgh is a small town. I already know everyone. 2) Whenever a guy approaches me and asks for my number, I usually DO NOT want to give it to him for various reasons (he is unattractive, he creeps me out, etc.) 3) Whenever I voluntarily give my number to someone, he doesn't call me back, or at least I haven't heard from anyone yet. It's a bit discouraging. And, you would think that an attractive redhead, who is NOT looking for a long-term relationship, would have to fend them off with a stick.

BTW, I will be going to see Thou Shalt Not and Cruxshadows at the Upstage (note that show starts at 6:30 pm !!!) on Saturday, Oct. 25. I will be dressed entirely in RED and I should be a little hard to miss.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Took another one of those silly quizzes today and guess which Goth band I am:

you are what's considered a classic goth. Your
lyrics are depressing and wordy. You have a
lot to say and know how to say it.

Which Goth band are you??
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I saw Noche Flamenca last Friday, and they were beyond awesome. I've seen flamenco dancing before, but this troupe was beyond compare.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Oh boy, was I off the hook this week, quoting Sylvia Plath in my blog, if that is not a desperate cry for help...but I'm much better now. I just had to find the goth-chick-angst knob in my head and turn it down some. It was on 11. Well, the basement floor is starting to dry out and I am looking forward to pleasanter things. For example, got two haflas coming up (I may have mentioned this already. Nov. 8 at the Quiet Storm Coffeehouse, and Dec. 6 at Schoolhouse Yoga. I am excited because I will probably be dancing in both of them. I was also invited to a hafla up in the vicinity of Boston (had such a good time with my new bellydance friends up there--and they want me back!), Nov. 15. I am still debating on whether I can afford it. There's also a workshop with Simon Shaheen (fab Arab violinist) in Dec. in the Detroit area...but I still need a new water heater, and I was hoping for a new TV. I'm wondering if anyone would be willing to contribute to a help-get-me-through-my-divorce fund...

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Yesterday sucked. Last night when I got home from work, there was water on my basement floor. I had to pay someone $99 to light the pilot on the water heater and tell me that I should replace it as soon as I can, to the tune of about $400. Not to mention that it was still 59 degrees in my house because the furnace was out, too. I had a friend come over and help me light the pilot for the furnace--at least I didn't have to pay him--thank goodness for friends. I was up past midnight mopping the floor, and the tank was leaking again this morning when I left for work. So I am not in a good place today, not at all. Especially since I can't stop thinking about the past weekend, and I got no work done yesterday because I was so distracted. So, today sucks too. And, I guess I should get used to these ups and downs because it's going to be like this isn't it?

So some things are catching up with me now since my SO moved out. I've been too distracted by work and travel to deal with it, but it's crashing down on me now. I came home to an empty house, an empty refrigerator, a cold bed... and I initiated it all. I brought it on myself. I made the decision that I would rather be alone, and now I get to be miserable. My single friends were telling me, it sucks to be single, and they are right. Do I want to go back? No way. My bridges are burned. Fire walk with me....and now for the recitation of manic poetry (thanks to Sylvia Plath):

Cold on my narrow cot I lie
and in sorrow look
through my window-square of black:

figured in the midnight sky,
a mosaic of stars
diagrams the falling years,

while from the moon, my lover's eye
chills me to death
with radiance of his frozen faith.

Once I wounded him with so
small a thorn
I never thought his flesh would burn

or that the heat within would grow
until he stood
incandescent as a god;

now there is nowhere I can go
to hide from him:
moon and sun reflect his flame.

In the morning all shall be
the same again:
stars pale before the angry dawn;

the gilded cock will turn for me
the rack of time
until the peak of noon has come

and by that glare, my love will see
how I am still
blazing in my golden hell.

Want some more? I just can't get enough of this stuff right now. I'm wallow in it...

Mad Girl's Love Song

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

--Sylvia Plath

Monday, October 06, 2003

So I'm back from my travels and I took NO pictures. Sorry. It just means that I was so distracted and having such a good time that I couldn't be bothered with it. And, OH am I feeling the pain now. I had WAY too much fun. If I told you everything, I would have to kill you;-) Firstly, the conference that I was attending in Boston for work went well. I gave two presentations and they were well attended and received. I was very popular. It was a good feeling.

Boston is great. I already told you about the bellydance thing...that alone is enough reason for me to try and get back to Boston again. But, I've got some other reasons, too. You know who you are;-) Friday, went to ManRay as I foretold. It is a really nice club, large with multiple bars and two dance areas. Lots of people, lots of fetishy gear. Despite the warnings that the Boston goth scene is somewhat snobbish, I managed to meet/talk/dance with a few friendly people. If I had a chance to go back, I would try another night to see what the rest of the scene is like. There are also a bunch of other clubs that I would try. And I would definitely go back to the Middle East Club again.

Portland, Maine, was even better. I drove up Saturday and stayed with a friend from Pennsic, who was kind enough to organize a dinner party for me with all his friends and then take me out to his local hangout/club where he and his friends made an extra-special effort to introduce me to people and talk to me. I almost felt like I belonged there. It reminded me of the good 'ol days at the Beehive (R.I.P.--see link at left for the Beehive Refugees page). Of course, by Sunday I was in tears at the thought of leaving. I'm still a bit weepy. But I guess I'll have to get used to it, having friends in other cities far away.

Friday, October 03, 2003

So I was not expecting to find such a thriving bellydance scene here in Boston! I wasn't even looking for it!!! It so happens that one of my colleagues here at the conference is a bellydancer and she took me to the Middle East Restaurant in Cambridge last night where there was a live music ensemble (keyboard, Oud and doumbek)--they were fantastic, and there were two soloist dancers. When the soloists weren't performing, it was open dance--I got to dance with some very hot chics!!! Too bad I did not have my camera this time.

Thursday, September 25, 2003 feels good to be laced up again...I finally finished making a new leather corset for MYSELF. AFter the significant weight loss this year, none of my old ones fit me, and I had been waiting until my weight was a bit more stable before investing the time and energy into such a project. Also, I need something super-cool to wear when I visit club ManRay in Boston next week!!! Yes, I'm going to Boston and looking forward to it. Going to hang out with some friends I don't usually see outside of Pennsic, so it should be fun. As usual, pictures and details to come...

In other news, I continue to adjust to my "new lifestyle." In other words, I'll be acting like a complete fruitloop and driving my friends nuts for a while. After living with someone for 10 years, solitude takes some getting used to. I managed to pay all the bills this month on my own, so that's good news. What I miss is having someone to bitch to about work and the stuff that's not going it's just me and the kitties. I complain to the kitties about the things that suck, but they just don't get it. Oh, sure, the purring and snuggling is nice...

Saturday, September 20, 2003

...and here are some pictures from the show tonite!!! I know I am insane because I am up at 3 am uploading these pictures to my blog--what can I say--I am a slave to the blog...all things must be blogged...anyway: Melissa was looking especially fab...

...and here is the dancing...

Had a good turn out--even if it was mostly family and friends. We apparently have a lot of 'em! Got a lot of good reviews from audience members after the show. It was such a good experience. It gave me the best of both worlds: I felt like a musician in a band AND a dancer in a dance troupe at the same time. Thanks to Melissa's bro, Matt, for taking these pix, thanks to my bro, Ryan, and to Eric for playing with us tonite and making it extra-special, and thanks to Between the Waters for inviting us to play.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Back home again...DONT FORGET--Khafif is opening for Between the Waters at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern TONITE!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

The Marrakesh Restaurant in Costa Mesa was awesome! I just love Morroccan restaurants to begin with, and this one was particularly good: good food and a good dancer. A little on the expensive side, but the honey lamb was to-die-for and I will be forever trying to figure out how the couscous was seasoned. The dancer, Tiffany, has been dancing there for 7 years, studied with Suhaila, and teaches her own classes in the area of Orange County. I thought her undulations were particularly good. Here we are posed after her show (she had already changed out of uniform). My colleague, Gary took some pictures of us dancing and I will post those when I can. I will probably be Internet-impaired until I am back in the office on Monday, because my cable modem at home is not behaving since the SO departed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Last night, saw the ocean, even if it was at night. That is how I usually have to experience most cities that I visit for work--in the dark. So you can't see the lovely beach in the background...I also had some delicious fish tacos and a $12 shot of tequila (Cuervo La Familia)--it was like buttah in Newport Beach.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

So, I'm in California right now. It's really lovely here. I wasn't expecting to like it so much. People here complain about the traffic and pollution, but that's about all they can complain about. The weather is lovely, there are a million shops with cool clothes, people are more health-conscious, lots of old punk and metal bands still play out around here. I'm sorry I'm not staying longer to see some sites. More details to come...

Friday, September 12, 2003

Khafif is set to open for Between the Waters at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern next Friday, Sept. 19. We are going to do some of our more rare material. I am even going to sing, so this should be interesting. And there are two haflas coming up: Nov. 8 at the Quiet Storm Cafe and Dec. 6 at Schoolhouse Yoga, so plenty of music and dance for everyone this fall.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Fun fun fun this past weekend! Went to the Irish fest with Zimra (a Pennsic camp-mate who was unexpectedly in town), afterwhich we closed the Harp & Fiddle. It was a blast. It turns out that Zimra knows the same people I know (so far) in the Irish music scene here and I was totally surprised, but then it is a small world, isn't it? And, she knows Gaelic Storm, who headlined the fest, so I got to rub elbows with the elite. I had avoided the Irish music scene here for years, but I think I have finally succombed to it. I went to an introductory jam session with a new Irish band that is forming up, and I really really really enjoyed it. So here's Gaelic Storm:

And here's me enjoying a Guiness before Gaelic Storm:

And here's Zimra enjoying a "half and half" before Gaelic storm--we were LOL when I took this picture because I have so many pictures of people drinking!!!

And here's Khafif posed with clergy!

Thursday, September 04, 2003

So...this weekend...Khafif is performing at a church fair in Greensburg (we get all the glamorous gigs), and the Pgh. Irish Fest is this weekend at Station Square. The Wild Geese are playing Fri. and Sat. at 7:30 and I might go just to watch this time.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

So, I decided today that I don't want to be 33. I'm just going to re-do my 20s. If I can still pass for 23, then why the heck not? I just don't feel 33. I feel like I am just starting over where I was 10 years ago. At that time, I was having bad luck with dating, and men. I was looking for a job to get some sort of career on track. I didn't know where I was going. I was depressed. Now, I'm in about the same place, but it's different. I am wiser, maybe? I'm not really looking for anything in particular. I'm not nearly so depressed--just a healthy goth chic angst.

Friday, August 29, 2003

A cathartic week? It certainly does feel different now than when it started. Spent some time last Sunday just hugging and crying with my soon-to-be-ex-husband's cousin. We are very close and she is having a hard time with the split. I think it will be okay, though. We are always going to be like family no matter what.

I still feel overwhelmed with work but I did make some progress this week. A few new projects kicked off and I feel good about them. I'm still running behind schedule, though and playing catch up from vacation. Speaking of which, I am still working off my post-Pennsic depression. It is always like this after Pennsic (as if I didn't have enough emotional baggage right now). Someone posted an interesting message to the message board: 69 Reasons Why It Sucks to be Back in the Mundane World, which pretty much captures my feelings as well.

I am not-quite-single-again yet, but I did pass a critical milestone that I'm quite proud of--I mowed my lawn! And I took out the garbage. I don't need a man! (Ya, right.)

Looking forward to a long weekend of fun-filled activities, including a show tonite with Between the Waters, my new favorite band. And, possibly Ceremony. Other than that, who knows. Bon weekend.

Monday, August 25, 2003

So I played a few more songs with the Wild Geese on Saturday at the Harp & Fiddle. It was quite a rush. The audience was great. Thanks to my friends who came out, I had my own cheering section. This is probably just an Irish thing, but it seemed that everyone was related to one another somehow. And, there's just something invigorating about being able to clap and sing along with the band. I am probably not playing with them on a regular basis, but if I did, it would take a lot more work for me because their repertoire is huge and I am unfamiliar with Irish music. Sure, my family is mostly Irish, but it was not a very musical family until my generation. It was a challenge, and a welcome distraction from my personal-life-in-ruins.

In other news, more Pennsic pix to be found here on

Saturday, August 23, 2003

I must have balls of steel that I don't know about...I just played a song with a band, live, in front of a bar full of people, with like NO preparation whatsoever. I listened to their CD maybe twice and I had my fiddle with me so they put me on the spot. I LOVED it, but I was so NOT ready. The band is the Wild Geese, and they have a regular violinist, but they were looking for a sub to fill in when needed. Well, even if it doesn't work out, I can say that I stood boldly (eventhough I was scared shitless)!

Friday, August 22, 2003

Some scenes from Pennsic...

How to balance stuff on your head...

Had fun making beautiful music with these lovely ladies:

Had fun busking with Khafif in front of Father Dun's booth this year...he has the best tribal trinkets!

Had a chance encounter with a band of smurfettes (You never know what you will run into at Pennsic!)

Learned lots of cool new dance moves just by hanging around Tshaya...

Monday, August 18, 2003

Pennsic was grueling and miserable, and yet also wonderful at the same time. This year, I had some special challenges. Because of some not-so-pleasant issues going on in my personal life, I was torn between wanting to curl up into a ball and rock myself in a corner and wanting to run around like a convict just busted out of prison after doing seven years hard time. You see, I am finally splitting with the SO after a long haul. I'm told that you are not supposed to make major life decisions like that so soon before or after Pennsic but it could not be helped. I agonized over this all summer and I just can't go on with it any longer. I was on an emotional rollercoaster most of the time.

Anyway, let's see, how was the weather? Well it was definitely the worst in seven years, and others have said longer than that. It started off as a monsoon. It rained constantly for days. The whole place was like a rice paddy. Then the last few days were sweltering with the heat index in the 100s (F). I think that this contributed to a more toned down, laid back Pennsic. Everyone was tired all the time. Evenso, this does not prevent us from trying to have the time of our lives. To cap it off, it also rained on the last Saturday night, when we have our big "burn everything" party. The fire was still large, but not quite the towering inferno that we are famous for.

Speaking of Saturday, let me start there because it is freshest in my mind. This is when the event starts to clear out--lots of packing up and leaving because some folks have to travel great distances, compounded by the weather reports of rain and high winds. But most of us live close by and we are the die-hard partiers, so Saturday is our traditional big party night. And, despite the weather, we had a decent turn out, although maybe not as rowdy as can be. We probably had the best drum circle of the week, with the best drummers, musicians and dancers that you will find at Pennsic. I only played my fiddle for a few songs and spent more time dancing. I was much less inhibited this year. I was inspired; I found my muse. I performed the "Bacon Dance of Allure" where I danced enticingly around the fire with the bacon. Bacon is sacred in our household. At least, I found it amusing. Well, I had to do something. It was just so damned depressing standing around doing nothing.

Earlier in the week I had to struggle with finding a balance between playing my fiddle and having a good time. Most of the trouble was clearly my own pressure that I put upon myself. I feel obliged to perform, but I don't actually like being put on the spot and having to play in front of people. I play for myself and because I like learning new things. I don't enjoy improvising a solo in front of strangers, or playing the same 12 songs over and over again. I do enjoy playing with other musicians who I don't get to see during the rest of the year. I did enjoy playing in the dance expo and busking in front of Father Dun's during midnight madness. I can't play all night, or I get too fatigued and cranky--I learned that much. I really really really enjoy dancing, and have trouble playing fiddle at the same time. So, I left the fiddle at home some nights, so that I could dance and actually have a good time. It was my vacation, afterall.

So I went to a few other parties besides the big one at the end. My regular bed time became 4 or 5 am. I might have gotten a combined total of five hours of sleep for the entire week. I don't know what I was running on. I think that near the end, it had to be pure will. I didn't eat much, or drink much, except one night I did become very very drunk. I was glad that I had friends watching out for me that night. I was in an emotionally bad place that ended in a fit of tears--once again, glad I had a shoulder to cry on--you know who you are--and realized that I did indeed have a good many friends. But everyone has their tearful moments at Pennsic, even if you are having a really good one. All in all, I think it was a good one. I feel like I am making the right decision and it will be better next year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Greetings from Pennsic! Unfortunately, I don't think I am going to do as much blogging as I thought I would because Mystic Mail is quite expensive, but it is awfully convenient! So, I will be posting the pictures and the gory details when I'm back on the home lan. So, here's the report so far: it has rained everyday until today, so I have been slogging around in the mud for the past four days. But, yesterday, I finally bought a waterproof parasol so now it is guaranteed not to rain anymore. It is nice and sunny and hot and oppressive now. But our (Khafif) performance at the dance expo went well, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to play with and learn from the other musicians here. It should be smooth sailing now.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Re: my last blog entry, AND my impending trip to Pennsic, my fortune cookie today said: You may attend a party where strange customs prevail...

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Did some cool stuff this week! Attended a short story reading, hosted by American Shorts, at the Mattress Factory. The theme was sex, so of course it was very amusing. The texts and readers were Joyce Carol Oates - Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? (read by Jennie Luvv) and Allen Gurganus - Adult Art (read by Tom Sokolowski, who happens to curate for the Warhol Museum). Both readers were very good. I also attended a performance by Monks from Tibet, of the Drepung Loseling Institute--part of the Frick concert series. They are famous for their multi-phonic chanting. It was worth it to hear live--their voices cut through the air like a knife through butter. And of course, had to set up camp for Pennsic. As is tradition on land grab day, it was excruciatingly hot and humid, making the packing and unpacking of the truck and erecting of the pavilions all that much more fun. But, I did not plan on staying the night--I had yet more interesting things to do this weekend. After getting back from camp and washing off the grime, I went to a party. This party was of particular interest because the theme, which was strictly enforced, dictated that you wear ONLY two pieces of clothing (not counting shoes). I could not pass up such a fashion challenge, so I had to go. It was fun. Some people had fun with the theme, but it was somewhat lame. Most of the guys just went "commando" under their t-shirts and shorts. There were a couple of kilts. One guy wore a chef's apron over underpants--that was imaginative. Another wore a cardboard box! There were a couple of chippendale dancers: tie and dress pants. The host was in his graduation gown. Not too many girls as daring as Melissa and I, though. We went in our bras. There was one other lovely lass in a bikini top and skirt, but most of the other attendees lacked such boldness. However, I don't think I'm bold enough to post the pictures. You'll have to use your imagination;-)

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Thankfully, lost 2 lbs. this week, to make up for past sins. I had gained weight for the first time last week after 7 mos. of steady, consistent weight loss. I attribute it to excessive stress, booze, pizza, and birthday cake. It was a rough week, but I'm back on the plan...Khafif is performing this Saturday at Arts on the River; Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheater down in West Virginia...and the Pennsic garb sewing crunch is still on. Just 9 more days until land grab...

Saturday, July 19, 2003

DONE! Done wallowing in self pity...I can only indulge in that for so long. I haven't been very verbose about it in my blog but I have been quite miserable with myself lately. However, worked some things out this weekend and feel a bit better. Went to Lollapalooza this evening. I got there early enough to see the Distillers on the second stage, and Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, Audioslave, and Janes Addiction on the main stage. All were fab. I especially liked QotSA. I wish I had seen more of the bands on the second stage. I hadn't heard of any of them before. But, I really don't like going to festivals like that anymore. Too many people, too many drunk people, too much standing around in the sun, sitting on wet grass, waiting in lines for food or for the restroom, etc. Maybe I'm too old for that sort of thing.

The Bellydance Superstars/Desert Roses

As part of the show, I got to see the Bellydance Superstars/Desert Roses. They performed during the interlude between Incubus and Audioslave. Even with the
projection screens, and my glasses on, it was difficult to see what they were doing clearly from the lawn. Evenso, the impression I got was that it looked very "chorus line," watered down, beginner dance class, stiffly choreographed, packaged for the masses, but polished and well-executed (maybe too polished). They used a medley of music
that sounded like a mix of Arabic pop and electronic stuff from Oojami. One song was clearly Hakim--I like him. At one point, a live drummer came out onto the set and played accompaniment for the "drum solo" choreography. The reaction of the audience seemed indifferent. I could probably recreate every move for you because it seems they only knew 5 or 6...but I can see the challenge in putting on such a production. They probably spent most of their time on moving around on the stage and keeping synchronized, because that's what you see from the audience. You can't see small
moves and isolation at all. They also did some flashy moves that exploited their costumes--some of the ladies had those long gossamer capes with wings...don't get me wrong--I was totally thrilled to see bellydancing on a big stage and glad to see these dancers getting this level of exposure.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

All is right with the world after a few drinks with your 'mates...

Needless to say, I had a good time at my little house party last night, thanks to everyone who showed up!

Friday, July 11, 2003

Happy birthday to step closer to the grave. So, for some reason, I felt like just crawling into a hole and not coming out yesterday. Went to work. Did some work. Left work. It rained. Umbrella no use--got soaked. Got home. Crawled into bed. Then, the SO insisted on dragging me out to do something because it was my b-day. Went to see Pirates of the Carribean--fancy that, a movie based on a ride. I was looking forward to it actually, but it became tiresome. Johnny Depp was very funny in it, though.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Omphalo-status: It is healing, but I still feel like the bait on a hook. Not much else interesting to say today, just felt like typing. Last night, I watched Bollywood Hollywood--what a hoot! I loved the Shakespeare-quoting grandma-ji, and the clearly recognizable Toronto backdrop...I'm having a little b-day cookout this Saturday to celebrate the fact that I'm getting older, and Pennsic is looming upon us--25 days to land grab. I still have to take in all of my garb. Luckily I do mostly the Indo-Turko-Persian thing so my garb isn't that fitted. Still, the task is on my mind as I sit here at work where I must turn my attention to other things...

Saturday, July 05, 2003

I just had the most wonderful evening and I wasn't even expecting it. I had a typical Saturday, went to dance class, wandered around the South Side, then worked on some music with Melissa through the afternoon. Happened to check my email and noticed a post on the Beehiver's list about a friend's band playing at the Quiet Storm Cafe this evening, which BTW, is one of THE coolest venues in Pittsburgh. So, we went to check it out. I had no idea what to expect. I had heard about Trish's band but I didn't know what kind of music they played or anything. I was amazed, impressed, and completely enchanted. They played exactly the kind of music that I would listen to all the time, if they had a CD! They are working on one, and Trish was nice enough to give me a demo after I told her how much I loved the set. If you would like a listen, they have some audio samples on their Web site here: Between the Waters.

Friday, July 04, 2003

What a Fourth! It rained and rained and rained. Good thing that I planned on NOT going out today. Spent most of the day in the workshop, and had some friends over for a cookout and movie night. We watched Lost in La Mancha--the story of Terry Gilliam's failed attempt at directing The Man of La Mancha. It's quite fascinating and touching. I like films about making films and this one really made me wish that I could see the finished product, but it was not meant to be. Okay, so it's a slow news's something I've been saving up for such an occasion...Lately the city has erupted in a plague of dinosaurs. Here is my favorite one so far, on E. Carson St. on the South Side:

The photo doesn't do it is a clever city street scene of a garbage collector, early morning with a striking moon painted on one of the fins. The trash can is ingeniously incorporated into the piece.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Some more amazing omphalo-themed poetry here. (I just can't help myself:-)

So now, I think I'm suffering from chronic omphaloskepsis:

omphaloskepsis -- the practice, observed by some mystics, of contemplating their navel to generate religious visions.

Some say that the yogi is just an old fogey
As he sits and he stares past his chest.
He glares at his navel, though it doesn't seem stable,
But I guess that he knows what is best.

Vision religious, though perhaps not prodigious,
From the ones of nirvana are sent.
Well, I sat down and tried it, but I'm afraid I awried it,
For all I discovered was lint.

....written by Michael Sirois, sometime after
the birth of color tv, but before PC's

Sunday, June 29, 2003

The Belly Button Chronicle...

Hey, that sounds like it would make a great name for a bellydance newsletter or something...but that's not the reason for this post. I bought myself an early birthday present today at Hot Rod on the South Side: a pierced navel. I promised myself that after losing so much weight, I would do something like that as an incentive to keep it off. Lost 33 lbs. so far.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Testing, 1, 2, 3...doing some crazy freaky styley things with my blog....

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Scenes from Switzerland/Germany:

The Aachen Dom
The throne of Charlemagne.
The Cologne Cathedral
The Roman Gate
The Lion Monument
Mt. Pilatus:
A view from the cable car going up
Swiss farmstead with cows
View from the top--the cogwheel train
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