The ballet culminates in the lieutenant general’s return to his family. Before he goes, he touches his son’s face in wonder, and when he saves himself and returns, he hoists the child up on one shoulder.

My son plays that child.

Dressed in a white button-down shirt and khaki shorts, he wears an expression of solemn focus for the ballet’s duration. I have seen him do it five times now, two dress rehearsals and three productions. The last show, the one in a company studio in Mississippi, was the only one I could control my weeping enough to get pictures.


Any week I can play with Leeroy can’t be ALL bad, and since he let me pick this week’s song, ZZ Topp’s sharp dressed man, I have to say I am tickled pink.… Read the rest

Fix You

Sam Part I,

Sam Part II,

Beauty and the Beast

Sam Part III

Sam Part IV


Chris Martin’s voice permeated the studio, singing a lullaby straight to my son. “I will try to fix you. Lights will guide you home.”  Sam’s part hadn’t even started yet, but I was already dabbing my cheeks.

The danseur playing the lieutenant general sat to one side in a chair. His ballerina wife threw herself forward in grief. And then the youth ballet corps rose up and pantomimed flying, flashlights aloft, bringing an imaginary man home to a family he didn’t know.… Read the rest

Sam Part IV

Before you begin,  here’s the Sam series, in order, with an important note about ballet in there:

Sam Part I,

Sam Part II,

Beauty and the Beast

Sam Part III

Sam Part IV (this one)

Fix You


So, the last time we saw Sam, he had just jumped out of my car, and the family was headed for Wit’s End Lane really fast. As an emergency measure, the psychiatrist prescribed a mood stabilizer, Risperdal, and we hoped for the best.

The results were sudden and stunning.

For the first time in a year, we saw our son. The funny little guy under all that anger, the creative thinker hidden under all the frustration.… Read the rest


The ballet down here really tries to use kids in its productions. It actively seeks ways to incorporate young people into its works. This summer, Caroline got to be in the cast of Giselle. There is a summer program for older kids (older than Caroline) and at the end of their run, they put on a show. But the ballet draws from its younger set, and Caroline was chosen to participate. She has been in the Nutcracker. She knows how to handle herself onstage, and she has an idea of what’s expected of her during ballet.

She came home from the dress rehearsal wailing, “I can’t be in the show if I don’t have eyeliner.”

So we stopped and bought eyeliner on the way home.… Read the rest

Ballet camp 2012

For the second consecutive year, my kids participated in the Montgomery ballet’s Fairy Tale Ballet Camp. It’s a compromise between doing summer lessons and skipping ballet over the summer, and it’s one Sam and Caroline both enjoy. It buys Scott and I a good measure of sanity, because Caroline’s age group meets three times a week (M-W-F from 9-12) and Sam’s meets twice a week (Tu.-Th. 9-12). Although it means having to have a kid up there every single day for three weeks, it also means a morning spent with only the other child at home all morning.

Also, they put on an adorable little performance at the end.… Read the rest

Beauty and The Beast

Sam’s Saga starts here:
Sam Part I,

Sam Part II,

Sam has had a rough year. A rough, rough year. He loves ballet, but he nearly rejected it because he went through a phase of hating everything. And when things were at the utworst, when I thought he was going to have to stop dance, the ballet reached out to him. This was late last year.

They were making a calendar. They needed a little boy to be in a picture, and would Sam please come. OK, let me be clear. They did NOT need a little boy for a picture.… Read the rest

Real danseurs don’t wear underpants

For all my dislike of the Christmas season, there are two things about this time of year that I simply love. One is the music. And no, I’m not talking about that trashy pop shit they play on whatever station calls itself “Mix” in your area. I don’t mean the incessant crappy mall noise that lasts from the day after Halloween until three days past New Year’s either. I mean Christmas carols, “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” “The Carol of the Bells” and “Good King Wenceslas”, preferably sung by a full choir a capella or with classical accompaniment.

I like Handel’s The Messaiah as performed by nearly any church, and I enjoy everything put out by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.… Read the rest

Sam Part II

In case you aren’t familiar with my situation, you should probably start here, with Sam Part I. It’s short. But highly informative.


November 2011

I’ve blogged before about how much Sam loves ballet. And about my bipolar disorder. And about how, at its worst, bipolar robs me of the activities I love. Can you already see where this is going? Back at the end of September, Sam suddenly wanted to quit ballet. He went from one week loving it to the next week screaming and fighting over having to get dressed and dance.

It was that fast.

And he was adamant.… Read the rest

Ballet Camp

Hey everybody. Sorry for the radio silence for the last couple of days. I was helping my friend Linda move, catching up on some grading, and developing a nasty cough. (This nasty cough seemingly different from the nasty cough that cut me off at the knees last Wednesday. Whatever.) Anyway, I’ve been working on a post, but it has taken me a bit longer than usual to assemble. Here it is now. Enjoy!

Ballet Camp

Caroline has been taking ballet pretty much since we moved to Montgomery. Last December, she got to perform a small role in the Nutcracker, and there’s no reason to believe she won’t be cast again this winter.… Read the rest

Channelling Poppa at the Ballet

I started channeling my maternal grandfather during Act II of Caroline’s dance recital last night.  I presume he’d been there all along, but Act II featured the modern dance classes, and he was not impressed. Yes, Caroline’s year end recital had three acts. The Montgomery Ballet’s director, Elie Lazar, feels that the students deserve the chance to participate in a professional performance, and he choreographs the recitals as carefully as the shows put on by the company’s paid ballerinas and danseurs.  Actually, he also invites those performers to choreograph portions of the work, as well, but we’ll get there.

Act I is always Mozart’s Les Petites Riens, which suits this group well, because the performance can be completed in a single act.… Read the rest