So I had a crazy idea.

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I don’t know what came over me. I was walking my dogs over the footbridge that I always do on my way to the fake lake and I suddenly came up with a thought: What if I had a dance party on the footbridge? I know this is a crazy idea because what if we caused an accident on the freeway below when all the cars were distracted by a bunch of weirdos dancing above them. But I didn’t think about that until later when I ran my crazy idea by Payam and he pointed out the danger. So I moved my idea to the beginning of the footbridge where some trees overgrow and the bridge is hidden from the cars below. But still, what a crazy idea, right? The more I thought about it, the more I was in love with it.

I’ve had a few setbacks lately with my creative ideas and I just wanted to do something really fun and cheap. That narrows your options by a lot but photography and dancing are FREE! I was supposed to throw a make-up party at our local hoity-toity mall and it fell through when I realized it would cost me more than it was worth. And the management at the mall kept making me jump through more and more hoops. It just turned into a headache and I had to cancel it even though a lot of people were excited about coming. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses. It still might happen but if I’ve learned anything this tax season it’s that I need to stop spending money I don’t have. I always put myself in these ridiculous situations and I need to get better at saying no.

Long story short I had a vision in my mind. We have this portable boombox amp thing that can play music really loud AND it’s cordless. It’s really cool.  It’s made quite a difference in the ambiance of our parties. Why not cart that thing out to the middle of the bridge, I thought? We can bring the dance party with us!

I’ve always loved the footbridge. It’s kind of my own slice of urbanity in the middle of boring snoresville suburbia. I always love walking over the ocean of traffic on my way to a peaceful lake on the other side.  It’s just a really unique spot. When the sun shines across the horizon at sunset it can turn magical. So I strung up some battery operated lights, emailed all my close crazy friends who do silly things like this for me and we set out.

Only problem was I was the only one who could really make this work and that meant I had to be model AND photographer. I wanted to be behind the camera, capturing my vision but nobody was really into dancing like a crazy fool like I was. So I set up my tripod, asked Payam to take a few pictures and then danced my head off. I waved and shouted and kicked my furry unicorn leg warmers (that I borrowed from Joon) in the air and everybody thought I was a big fool.

And I was. I was a big fat sweaty dancing fool. But thankfully the ones who are near and dear to me love me for being a big fool. Even though Bug was probably the most embarrassed of me (purely because of her age and not because we are not kindred spirits in weirdness) she danced with me too. She kept trying to pull me to the side when people walked by, like it pained her to have the general public see me acting this way. I know it was hard for her with her friends being there too. But at the same time who’s going to make her crazy memories if not me? I think kids need to be embarrassed of their parents once in a while. It makes for good stories.

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It IS a good story. But mostly it was a good lesson for me. I did a hard thing and I learned a ton. I organized a spontaneous dance party and really put myself out there. It wasn’t a complete win. I see lots of failure when I look at the photos (the 200 I am not sharing with you.) I see awkwardness. I see myself being vulnerable. I see parts of myself I don’t like seeing. I see others looking at me.

My energy was at a 200 while theirs is barely getting up to 80 which in itself is really cool because they are there and not sitting at home on their couches. I see love. I see my close friends putting themselves out there for me because they love me even when I am silly and weird. I see the light. I see how I didn’t have my camera set properly to catch the light… I have so much to learn. I would love to do it again and apply what I have learned but I’m not sure I could wrangle another crowd together. It’s hard to get people to dance in public!

One of the coolest things that happened was when a woman walked by and started dancing with us. That warmed my heart and made me so happy. A lot of people walked by us and smiled. Some people bobbed their shoulders but this woman woman raised her arms and sashayed in a circle as she walked by us. She even came back for another round and told us that our party made her feel like she was in New Orleans! golden-hour-dance-party-5We were a small bunch. But what a bunch! These are the people who will probably come visit me when I am dying in the hospital. (Well maybe not Bug’s friends but who knows!) These are the people who would come rescue me if I had a flat tire on the side of the road in a rainstorm. These are the people who wear unicorn suits and totally understand me when I have panic attacks.sandra-at-the-golden-hour-dance-party-photographerThese are the people I met when I moved to the apartment complex. That apartment complex is kind of known for being a transitional place where people move to when they are in between stage in their life. Lots of single moms. Lots of divorcees. Lots of people who couldn’t afford to live in big houses but it was the nicest place they could afford near a really good school. My heart runs deep for these friends.

maria-and-the-dragon-hunter-at-the-golden-hour-dance-party-photographerMy dragon-hunter model who poses for me when I do craft posts for Alphamom now that Bug is too big for little kid crafts…golden-hour-dance-party-photographer

And Neilochka! Neil isn’t from my apartment complex but he was in town and as a fellow photographer (who’s work I adore) I knew he’d be down.

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Bug and her crew of school friends. They think I’m nuts but not too nuts to completely shun. I think they reluctantly admit I have a good idea or two when nothing else better is going on. Emphasis on the latter.

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We danced for forty-five minutes, counting down the last minutes zealously. And then we packed up and went home happy and tired.

I felt insecure about it for days. But now I’m putting it down in the books as a learning curve to help me through the next big idea. I wonder what it will be?!

Redlands with the Girls

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I happened to schedule a visit to my tax guy during Spring Break. Not smart on my part. I spent the first part of the week adding up receipts (the exact opposite of my idea of a vacation) and the last day taking a trip to Redlands where my tax guy works. I would have much rather been in Paris but well, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

On the upside: I ended up taking the girls with me to Redlands and we found this cute little photo op in downtown Redlands called Orange Alley. Nothing like a photographer with a new camera and two cute side-kicks! Bring on the instagrammable moments! Bug just bought herself a new dress so she was happy to oblige and Joon is just a good sport.

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Orange Alley is where it’s at. It’s not a huge tourist attraction or anything and you can walk the whole stretch in less than two minutes but it’s a nice little spot. I really appreciated who ever thought this art installation up. Way to brighten up an otherwise dreary downtown!

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Pretty, right? I wonder what they look like in a rain storm.

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Joon especially loved the “Hannah’s Wings” painting since Hannah is her real name after all. I’m not such a stickler about protecting their names anymore now that they are old enough to have their own online presence and embarrass and exploit me all they want. Believe me, they do. I have a whole gallery of fat arm photos in Bug’s instagram feed. Turn about’s fair play I guess.  I actually don’t mind. It’s kinda cool to see what I really look like. I have such a distorted version in my own head.

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There she is. Just touching down for a minute before she flies off to grace some other place.

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I was desperately hungry so we went in search for a restaurant that everyone could agree on. This is no small task. Sometimes I think the girls set their parameters on what is acceptable and not acceptable to eat based on how much resistance the other will guarantee. I guess there’s an easier way to say that. They are opposites and will fight to the death over it. If Bug wants Mexican food, Joon wants Italian. If Joon wants pizza, Bug wants hamburgers and never the twain shall meet. Rinse and repeat until you are clawing your eyes out and eating your arm off in starvation. Of course I could just put my foot down but that would be like parenting or something.

Anyway, we found a fondue restaurant that we all liked and had a glorious afternoon eating bread with long stringy pieces of cheese hanging off them and delicious strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. Not the cheapest lunch but I wrote it off for business since the whole reason we were stuck there was because my tax guy lives in Timbuktu aka Redlands. I really need to get a new tax guy. Too bad I like this guy so much. And guess what guys? He told me he wished all his clients were as organized as me! *bats eyelashes and feigns false modesty* This is a new high from the girl who hates math. Did you hear that? I’m organized! I have spreadsheets! Who knew! Turns out I’m a lot more left brained than I thought.

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Then we stopped into Bug’s new favorite store, Nectar. She is obsessed. Every time we go there she tells me that she wishes the whole store was her closet. At least she’s easy to figure out these days. She loves muted colors, all white walls and plants. Plants, plants, plants! I love plants too so I’m super happy about this latest trend.

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She bought herself a pathos and carried it around in her backpack all day with the leaves hanging out the back. She calls herself a plant mom. Heart eyeballs!

And then we went home and lived happily ever after. Sort of. Until next time!