Monday, November 13, 2017

11.13.17 I Must Be Nutz

The physicist and the biochemist in 2004
I became a Nutcracker parent (and docent) in the fall of 2004.  I continued in my role - working back stage, driving carpool, making sure we had the right colored ballet slippers - for the next 10 years, until my daughter graduated from high school and headed off to college.

Over the years, I created a charm bracelet for her with each of the roles she danced...and I acquired some Nutcracker jewelry of my own.

After I was done with the schlep, I continued to be a docent - both at the our neighborhood elementary, and at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  When I go, I usually wear one of my Nutcracker pins (along with my Ballet Austin Docent name tag).

This year, I've taken on a new role -  learning to do descriptive narration for blind and visually impaired ballet patrons.  If you had told me even a couple of years ago that I would spend hours in front of the computer painstakingly taking notes about dancers, costumes, and sets so that I could write a script to describe them in excruciating detail...I am sure I would have scoffed at you.  But that is exactly what I am doing.

29 handwritten and 18 typed pages

While it does give me the warm fuzzies to learn this new set of skills - I am not motivated entirely by altruism...

My father was a world renowned theoretical physicist.  He received numerous accolades and held a variety of senior positions at the US Department of Energy during his career - including serving as the Chief Scientist for the Superconducting Supercollider.

Yep - he was a bona fide genius.  But at the end of his life, his razor sharp mind was dulled by dementia, and one of the things I learned in the process of helping to care for him - and coming to terms with his death - is that learning new things in middle age, and later in life, may prevent or at least delay the onset of dementia.

So - along with learning metalsmithing - I decided that becoming a descriptive narrator was something that I could do for my community and for myself.

In 2013, Ballet Austin bought new sets and costumes for the production.  We bought our daughter an ornament on the tree, on the back it has her name and says Cast Member 2004-2013 - so she could always be part of the production - my name is not there.

She, and the rest of my family think it's "cool" but also more than a little hilarious that after saying that I'd be done with the Nutcracker when my daughter was - that hasn't happened yet.

Until next time

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