Dancing Echoes

Beats Stumbling Around in Silence


Higher Power


Intangible faith
The universal language
Of humans on earth

As spirituality and belief in a higher power or “God” is a universal sentiment, are human brains wired to believe in God because it is real or do we believe in God because is it a survival mechanism?
Faith that there is something beyond the gate is what propels us forward both as individuals and as a species. So as long as the universe has its way does it really matter if God is real? Life and the universe are no less miraculous.

In response to Patrick Jennings Pic and a Word Challenge #12: Faith


Spidey Sense


Dark intuition
Listen to that inner voice
Deep inside your head

Ever since I was a little kid, I’d say eight or so, I have had a spidey sense. A sense that something was going to happen before it happened. Normally it was is not a gift that had any redeeming qualities. I have never been able to use it as a tool to help anyone out of an impending tragedy, except for maybe one time, and that one time, it probably saved my life.

It was the spring of 1990. I was in grad school and taking a molluscan biology course that included a research trip down the FL Keys. I know, I had it rough, right? Actually this trip turned out to be a giant pain-in-the-ass, baby sitting job because as an older (read almost 30) grad student, I had a state drivers license so I got to drive the university pig-of-a-van AND be in charge of the ten or so whiney-baby undergrads. There were only three grad students on this trip so we were soundly outnumbered. The main goal of the undergrads was not to find mollusks but to find alcohol and as this was a research lab and they were all under age, a war ensued; those of us with everything to lose, paying our own way vs. the party hungry idiots that had “Daddy” paying for everything.

I digress….

So the three of us grad students (all women) were about two days into our FL Key’s adventure. We had been planning all day to do a night snorkel because everything is insanely beautiful at night. The creatures of the ocean are brightly colored but during the day the sun light filters through the blue green water dampening out many of the bright colors essentially turning them into shades of brown, gray mud.

Besides, the really neat predators come out at night.

Little did we know….

So after much planning and excitement about the upcoming adventure, nightfall came and we headed for a beach accessible under one of the nearby bridges. Our white van was the only vehicle in the parking lot. Note: these bridges are good locations because they always dredge under bridges and that creates a vertical wall of prolific sea life. We had two flashlights each, because safe divers always carry a spare and we were shuffling to avoid any stingrays, out towards deeper water when a vision suddenly flashed into my head. I stopped cold. My friends turned to me and asked, “What’s wrong?” I said, “When the red van pulls up into the parking lot, be quiet. Don’t make a sound. We need to huddle together and turn on all of our flashlights. That way he will think there are six of us, not three and he won’t know we are women.” They both screamed, ”What are you talking about!” I lowered my voice and calmly explained, “A very bad man is going to pull up in a red van. His intent is to hurt us -or worse if given a chance. We need to have an action plan if we are going to survive.” “We’ve been looking forward to this all day!” one whined. “ I know,” I said, “but it is pointless now. Don’t argue, it isn’t safe.“ At which point they thought I was deadly serious but certifiably crazy. That is, until we heard the scrunch of tires on crushed coral and we witnessed a red van slowly pulling into the parking lot under the all-too-weak street lamp from the bridge above. By that point our hair was standing on end and even though my friends were completely freaked out, they miraculously managed to suppress their screams. Suddenly, I wasn’t so crazy. A man got out of the van and started pacing up and down the beach. My eyes locked onto the glow of his cigarette. Mistake number one: I could track his movements.

We began to shuffle back to our van, huddled together, keeping the six flashlights moving, scanning, away from us but keeping him in our sights. I slowly gathered my keys into a splay between my fingers; the door key between my thumb and forefinger. We would only have a short window of time to unlock our van and get to safety. There was no room for error. Then a sinking feeling came over me. Fuck. A Dog. A-Big-Fucking-Dog. He was pacing the beach with his master. It looked like the silhouette of a Doberman. “Shit, I did not see the dog coming. Shit, this wasn’t part of the vision. Shit, plan adjustment.” So I lowered my voice and barely whispered, “See the dog? Keep heading toward our van. When we hit solid beach, I will signal, Now! Bolt for the side door. I will unlock it and we will jump in. If anything goes wrong, you guys scatter. I’m not going down without a fight.”

So, have any of you ever had a dream where you were trying to run but you couldn’t because you were running under water? This was that nightmare come true. We knew we couldn’t run with any semblance of control until we got to at least the knee-deep point. So we slowly plodded along, progressing from waist-deep water to knee-deep water towards our van as planned. It was the longest three minutes of my life. That was, until the man tossed his cigarette. Then tunnel vision hit me and I knew we had to make our move and make it quickly. “Shit, now I can’t track him. Shit, I don’t know where he is. Shit, where is that fucking dog?” As the three of us finally got to shallow enough water to run, the man simultaneously rushed around to the passenger side of his red van and opened the door. His dome light came on. Mistake number two: I could see everything he was doing. I could see he was fishing something out of the glove compartment. “Shit, is that a gun? I think he has a fucking gun.”

“Now!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. We all made a break for our van. As I got closer to the van door I could feel a hot breath and graze of teeth on my ankles, “Nooo, the fucking demon dog from hell!” I whipped around and side kicked blindly until I heard a yelp from pain. Finally, all those years of dance training put to good use. I was sure I broke one of the dog’s ribs and I didn’t care. I quickly unlocked the side door and we all tumbled inside the van. I had no idea where the man was; I didn’t look back. I jumped in the drivers seat, started our van and peeled out as fast as I could. As we headed back towards the research station I kept a watch in the rearview mirror. One of the girls said, “Maybe we could go to another location to dive?” I snapped, “You have to be fucking kidding? Look behind, he’s following us. We are going back to the research station and going to bed. Be grateful we are alive.”

So did my vision really save our lives or did my overactive imagination overreact to some poor schmuck taking a smoke break with his dog? That I will never know, but I know what I felt; I felt an evil presence and I know what I saw; I saw a shadow that looked like a gun and I know this; I would never want to go back and test that theory out.

Have you ever had a “spidey sense” moment? I would love to hear about it.


The Couple That Lays Together, Stays Together?

So how many of you have attempted home improvement projects with your spouse? Let me just say for the record that laying flooring with a spouse is right up there with paddling a canoe together. You try your damnedest not to go in circles while taking swings at each other. Seriously, the marriage vows should go something like “Do you solemnly swear, in sickness and in health and in home improvements”.

Some background: this is MDH’s house from before we were married. We consolidated and moved into my house since all of his kids were in various stages of adulthood and living on their own. We decided we should stop bleeding money on his house and because the housing market hadn’t quite returned from the 2008 crash, we decided to rent it out instead of sell it. Last fall we found (what seemed to be) a nice couple to rent out the house. After a few months they told us they couldn’t stay, breaking the lease agreement. OK fine, but then we realized there were two huge bleach spots in the carpet we had just paid several hundred dollars to professionally clean prior to renting. Then the stupid wenchasaurus had the nerve to ask if she could get the deposit back. She claimed the carpet already had a bleach stains on it when they moved in. Nice try sweetheart. I had pictures of every room in the house and the bleach stains were clearly not there before. NO DEPOSIT RETURN! Hence, we were now paying for our poor judge of character by replacing three rooms with vinyl flooring that looks like wood.

This vinyl flooring is all the rage right now. It is not expensive, it looks great plus it is durable which is what we need for future renters.

But back to the flooring. Why do this ourselves you ask? Why not hire someone to do it for us? First because we are cheap as hell. We are not going to pay someone $3,000 (per quote) to do what we can do. Second, we like doing things ourselves (some of my first words were, “I do it!”) including learning how to do new things like laying flooring. At least that sounded good until we actually got to the task at hand.

So this flooring claims to be the easiest to install, ever!


Suuure it’s easy, (eye roll).

This may be true, but easy is a relative term. ‘Scuse me, compared to what; building the Taj Mahal or the Empire State Building? These sheets of vinyl work by sticking two glue strips together on each piece. Once you stick the two halves together, you are committed. You have a few seconds to pull them apart and re-align them if they are off but it is not pretty and they may not re-stick. So as you can imagine the learning curve included a lot of swearing and yelling. At ourselves and at each other.

A good example of what NOT to do.

A good example of what NOT to do.

Let’s be real. This is back breaking work. Not as bad as prepping the floor a few weekends ago (now that seriously sucked) but laying the flooring was still hard.

To install the flooring I wore knee pads but they did little to avoid trauma to my poor knees. Not to mention that after many years of dancing I am left with the knees of a eighty year old hooker. So at one point I decided to give my knees a break and just install the pieces by bending over.

Butt-ass fugly knees complete with scars, bruises and knee pad marks.

Butt-ass fugly, swollen knees complete with scars, bruises and knee pad marks.

Being an ex-dancer I am still pretty limber. I can bend over and touch the floor and even bend my elbows a little. But after 8 hours of bending over, my hamstrings were screaming and I could feel the stiffness setting in to my legs and back.

MDH’s constant picking at my handy work did little to endear him to my heart either.
“I see gaps!” He would yell. My response, “Real wood has gaps!” all the while thinking to myself – Yeah buddy, “I’ll give you a gap you won’t soon forget”.

Mind the gaps. For the record, this is NOT a piece I installed.

Mind the gaps. For the record, this is NOT a piece I installed. Just sayin’.

On top of that he kept stealing pieces of flooring from my box even when I would growl, “Get your own box!”. At least we were smart enough to buy extra boxes of flooring to account for the fuck up factor. And there were fuck ups aplenty. But after a while we settled into a groove (see what I did there) and I worked on the big swaths and he did the detail work around the edges because I have zero patience for that shit.


Halfway through and no one’s dead, yet.

Here’s the finished product. One room down, two to go plus the quarter round trim to finish it all off. So lucky me, I have a few more weekends of marital bliss to look forward to.

The only thing getting laid today is flooring.

The only thing getting laid today is flooring.

So now we are back at our home. We smell like goats, our knees are chewed to hamburger meat and are backs are killing us. We resemble a scene out of the Walking Dead. But we finished laying our first room of flooring together. And while nothing will test a marriage quite like a good home improvement project, if you can both get through it, you might be a bit closer in the end. Bonus: now we have a common war story to embellish to friends and family. And who knows, if I’m given a good back rub tonight, MDH might just get lucky – as long as he doesn’t ask me to get on my knees.

So do any of you have any home improvement horror stories you’d like to share?


Reality Check TV


This rant was prompted by today’s Daily Post “All It’s Cracked Up to Be”. I am not officially posting this on the prompt because I am NOT going to follow the spirit of the rules. This is about what ISN’T “All It’s Cracked Up To Be”, namely TFV “T Fucking V”.  Throughout the 80’s and most of the 90’s I either did not have a TV or didn’t have time for TV. I did not even sign up for cable until 2000, thank you, Sex and the City.  Now however, I probably watch more than I should. I also will admit that I am guilty of watching some of the shows on the channels listed below so please understand this rant is meant as a “light-hearted observation” and not an attack on anyone’s personal TV preferences or the channels/shows themselves. Since rating are the driving force to TV programming, I get that someone must be watching these shows or they would not happen. So this is more of a diss of society’s proclivities than anything else. Most of the channels listed below started out with programming in keeping with the title but since the inception of “reality TFV” have transmogrified into something different from the original intent. Reality TV is cheap to produce and seems to feed the voyeuristic appetite of humans. We like nothing better than to watch someone else’s train wreck in slow motion. So with that said, here is my two cents worth: the FDA regulates food with “truth in labelling”  and there are pretty strict laws regarding disclosure. I think the TV channels should have to live up to the same standard. They can show whatever programs they want, but the channel title should disclose the true programming venue.

Here are some examples of channels I think should have to change their title:

TLC – The Learning Channel
Expectation: Educational, programs about reading, writing , arithmetic, science, geography or general “learning how to’s”.
Reality: TCC – The Carney Channel

Expectation: Cultured arts; opera’s, ballets, theatre, art education and history, etc.
Reality: TCFC – The Cat Fight Channel

E! – The Entertainment Channel
Expectation: Highlighting the best singers, dancers, comedians, actors.
Reality: TSTW – The Staged Train Wreck Channel or TKOW – The Kardashian’s Take Over The World Channel or WAYW? -Who Are You Wearing? Channel

MTV – The Music TV Channel
Expectation: Music Videos, duh?
Reality: TSRNC – The Staged Reality Nonsense Channel

DSC – The Discovery Channel
Expectation: Discovering new places, cultures, foods, scientific discoveries, etc.
Reality: TWTF – The WTF? Channel

NGC – The National Geographic Channel
Expectation: Documentaries about great places, cultures and discoveries.
Reality: TAP – The Alien and Paranormal Channel

You know what show I miss most?
Sunrise Earth

And now you know why I decided my time is better served reading wonderful blogs.

Can you come up with any channel “reality check”acronyms you would like to share?

Peace out.

Picture courtesy of Pixabay


My First Valentine’s Day

I just had a perfect Valentine’s Day. I spent it with my wonderful family. I am lucky to have found love a second time with a kind, funny, smart, sexy man. This kind of bliss was a long time coming though and I had to work hard for it. Still do, every day. After everything settled down tonight I had time reflect back to what I consider to be my first real Valentine’s Day.

Some background: I met my first husband when I was fifteen. He did not have a romantic bone in his body. He had his good qualities, but romance was not one of them. I knew this going in and was okay with it. We married when we were twenty two. Young I know, but by then we had been together seven years. To complicate matters he was in the Navy and he was gone an average of 270 days a year. His deployments were a sporadic month at a time. I never knew at any given moment if he would be home or away and because he was in a spook squadron, I wasn’t allowed know where he was traveling. So the majority of our Valentine’s Days were spent separated but the few times he was home we never did anything special anyway. To clarify, by special I mean showing appreciation for each other with even a small gesture.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day 1998. I was in the home stretch of a divorce. At thirty seven years old, I was back on the dating scene for the first time in twenty one years. I had just started a new job. Terrified does not even begin to describe my state of mind at that time. For extra money I had taken a free lance job at a refinery in Beaumont for a long weekend of  air monitoring the fractional distillation towers so that guys could go in, clean the units without a Class A Hazmat suit (bottled air) and not get sick or worse, die. Anytime a refinery is shut down they are bleeding money so these “turn-arounds” as they are called, are planned out with military precision but it means the days are long, typically 12-18 hour shifts. On this particular job, the turn-around was at a good place i.e. the air quality inside the unit was safe enough to send the cleaning crew in to do their thing so around 8:00 PM our group of five decided to go to dinner. To our dismay, the restaurants were packed.


Typical restaurant on Valentine’s Day

We finally found a good Japanese restaurant that had some room at a Habatchi table. At some point someone in the group asked why the restaurants were all so busy. Our fellow Habatchi table mates kind of giggled, “It’s Valentine’s Day”. “Ahhhh”, we all said in unison. Not one of us had remembered. All of a sudden it dawned on me, this was the first time I had ever gone out to dinner on Valentine’s Day and here I was doing it as an independent, single woman. I think there was a toast to honor the occasion.

Then at the end of the night I got my fortune cookie:

Karma in a cookie

Karma in a cookie

I don’t know why, but as soon as I read that fortune, I knew everything was going to be all right.  When I got back home I taped that fortune to the top of my desk and it is still there to this day. And while the person I was in 1998 imagined better times, she never imagined in her wildest dreams it could be this good.

Sardine picture curtesy of Pixabay.