As I reflect on the past year, I realize that I don’t have my usual desire to ditch the past year and move on to the next in hopes of greener pastures. In fact, 2011 brought me so much joy that I almost can’t even imagine having a better year in 2012. Instead, I hope to have a year that is at least on par with the last. My goal is that 2012 brings slightly more success to my events and new endeavors, and as always I hope for LOTS more glitter!
Why was 2011 so great? Here are some of it’s highlights…
The year kicked off with a celebration for my dear friend Kat’s retirement from her long time career. Rather than a retirement party, this was a celebration for the new adventure that she was about to embark on. Kat was moving to Morocco part time and buying an apartment there. After lots of planning and some adventures along the way, Kat now has her lovely apartment in Marrakesh, Morocco. Kat’s start of her journey this year was a reminder to me that life is about obtaining your dreams and if you plan and look for a way to get to your dreams that you will indeed arrive there with some perseverance. Thus I set out on this year to do just that, go after my dreams and to do more of what I want to do each day.
It was early in the year when another close friend, Debi, and I traveled to Indio, California for a jaunt over to the Date Festival. The Date Festival is a belly dancer’s dream county fair. Complete with permanent Arabian Nights style set built into the main, outdoor stage, buildings with names like the “Taj Mahal Room”, and actual Middle Eastern themed vendors sprinkled here and there. There was even an exhibit of old belly dance costumes in the art gallery. The best thing is that the entire festival is a tribute to DATES!!!! Not those awkward fixed up sort of dates with a guy you’re not sure you will like, but the yummy, delicious desert dessert that we have all come to know and love. The festival combines the country of a county fair with the glitz and glitter of belly dance and I love it! Believe it or not, there weren’t any belly dancers scheduled to perform, but I hear that they normally are scheduled to perform several times throughout the fair. It was certainly a fun trip and gave me all sorts of ideas for Cairo Caravan – as I’m always looking for great ways to make it bigger and better!
After leaving the Date Festival, I headed back home and decided to take an impromptu left turn onto Highway 2, headed toward Wrightwood instead of home. The weather that day had displayed lots of ominous, dark clouds hanging over the valley, but not even a drip or sprinkle had dared to leak from them as of yet and I figured it would be safe to make a surprise trip into the mountains to see my dad. Only a half mile down the road and it started to snow! That’s right kids, snow in Southern California… we do have mountains, it’s hard to believe but true. At first, it was light and soft, just drifting down slowly. It was so beautiful and I was getting more and more excited for this little spontaneous drive.
Then it began to really snow. The snow quickly changed from soft, fluffy flakes to a white sheet being washed over the road and my Jeep. Not having 4-wheel drive any longer is really a bummer in a moment like this and I certainly didn’t have chains. I cautiously kept driving, extremely slowly as every time the Jeep sped up to over 20 miles per hour, the back end would fish tail ever so slightly. It was a long road to town in the blizzard of snow but I finally made it, freezing my tush off! I called my dad with a surprise I’m here and can you come pick me up in town phone call. Dad arrived, we parked my car in a free spot at the bank since it was the weekend and they were closed, also no one was getting anywhere in this snow storm. It took 2 hours to make the 5 mile trek back to dad’s house. Stalled out cars littered the streets. People were putting on chains in the middle of the road because the snow banks on the side of the road were so high already that not even a raised, 4-wheel drive truck could pull off to the side. Rear-wheel drive mini-vans filled with kids pleading with their mothers to get out and go sledding, slowly inched along as every other few feet, they were skidding back and forth. Thank goodness we had 4-wheel drive and chains.
We made it to the cabins, and it looked like I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But it was beautiful! The drifts of white snow falling down as if the universe where blowing dandelion fluff all over the mountains and canyons. And it was silent. I love the silence that comes with snow. Complete silence, as if the world has stopped and the only thing happening is the snow fall – all-else has ceased. I spent 2 days in the mountains, in the snow. It was lovely and peaceful. An incredible moment to think and reflect. Spend some time with my dad, read a book, and take cat naps. It was just lovely.
March typically brings wind and cold to our desert and lots of work and planning for the rest of the year is done while barricaded in our house away from the steely wind and freezing cold. But this year, March was different. An invitation had arrived in my inbox for an “invite-only” belly dance show called “inFusion”. My first instincts were to skip the show and stay in my warm house, working away like the busy bee that I am. But then I began to read the description. The show would be in Malibu in one of those Malibu beach houses right on the beach with their own private bit of beach at the bottom of the rocky cliff. I was hooked, having already been in need of a beach fix anyway, I purchased an extra ticket for the TTG and we made plans to go. It was a lovely evening. Filled with amazing performances, great food, friends, and fun. This was one of the most unique and successful shows that I had been to in a very long time. We stayed the night in Malibu and spent the next day at the beach, fulfilling my need for some sand, sun, and fresh fish at a local dive restaurant. It was a spectacular weekend.
More spectacular moments of 2011 to come in part 2…