Volume 19 #3
The Scottish Country Dancer
Nov/Dec 2002

Articles in This Issue
    October Dance Party Manager's Message
    Member Spotlight Splintered Shins with a Side of Fruit
    Vancouver Dancers Go to Japan A Question of Identity
    Technical Note: Calendar of Events
October Dance Party

On the evening of October 26th, the Vancouver Scottish Country Dance group held their October dance party. The theme this year was "Phantom of the Dance", and many dancers came in capes and masks (with additional masks supplied at the door!). Perhaps because it was the first dance of the class year, or because we were "incognito", or because there was live music, there was a perceptible level of excitement in the air.

We must have looked quite a sight, in our capes and masks. As Dawn Pratt remarked, we all looked great -- for the first fifteen minutes. Then, as the evening warmed up, the masks came off to reveal smiles on the faces of new and old friends.

Many, many thanks go to Dawn Pratt for chairing the event committee; to the musicians, Lisa Scott and Leslie Hirsch, for an evening of rousing dance music; to all those who helped decorate the room (with a delightful combination of Fall colors and "Phantom of the Opera"!), and brought so many interesting little delicacies for the Tea; and to all our dance friends who came from all over the Vancouver/Portland area to share in the community of the dance.

Manager's Message
by Tom Halpenny

Hello Scottish Country Dancers,

This newsletter edition contains the first article for what I hope will become a tradition with our association. Each edition will contain an article that features a member of the association. These "Member Spotlight" articles will help us to better get to know one another. All members would eventually be featured, however priority would be given to members who have an interesting aspect of their lives that most other people do not know. It could take five years before everyone's articles are published, and with the new people joining the group, would be a never-ending process. It would be interesting for people in the future to read these articles in the newsletter archives. A complete collection of the articles could be published sometime in the future.

I would like to thank Martha Marsh for agreeing to be the first subject, and for helping me to develop the process for creating these articles. With this process, it is possible for multiple people to participate in writing the articles, and we would be able to complete the project sooner.

I will be contacting you soon with more information. You may be the next featured member in the newsletter!

Member Spotlight
by Tom Halpenny
Martha Marsh

Martha Marsh has always loved interacting with people from different cultures. She has touched the lives of many visitors to the United States, and has helped them to enjoy the American experience, during which time she looked for opportunities to help these people acclimate to American life.

Martha began her career teaching third grade in Belvedere, South Carolina, near Augusta, Georgia. She more recently has taught English as a Second Language in Corvallis, in Illinois, and later in Salt Lake City. For 2 years she taught refugees, and for 10 years the spouses of international students, all from a large variety of countries.

Martha met two Taiwanese ladies who were living with their husbands in University of Utah housing, and each of whom was bored waiting for her husband to have free time from work in the lab, in the library, or just studying in their apartment. Martha saw an opportunity and encouraged the wives to get together to enjoy each other's camaraderie. Martha began a program for the spouses of international graduate students through the International Center of the University of Utah. In addition, students also came who were connected with the University of Utah Medical Center, as visiting professors or those doing post-doctoral work. Martha offered them three different levels of English, and encouraged them to meet other people, on and off campus. The goal was to extend the hand of friendship and to enrich their American experience. Martha shared Scottish Country Dancing with them and invited them to join her class, and was happily surprised when two students took advantage of the opportunity. She continues to correspond with some of them, most recently with former students from Iran, Taiwan, and Japan.

Martha was first introduced to Scottish Country Dancing in 1989 while she was living in Corvallis, OR. The minister of a local church invited the Portland RSCDS branch to dance at its ceilidh, a Scottish party. She soon moved away to Salt Lake City, Utah. She has continued Scottish Country Dancing for most of the time since then. Qualities that Martha likes about Scottish Country Dancing are the camaraderie, musicality and rhythm, and the phrasing of the dance.

Martha's Scottish ancestors are the Campbells of Breadalbane, pronounced "bread - AHL - bin". Her great grandparents lived on the Isle of Lewis, in the islands of the Hebrides northwest of the Scottish mainland. Her great uncle left Lewis at the age of 16 and later wrote a book about his life working for the Hudson's Bay Company in Canada. Martha has an interest in genealogy, and she can trace her family back to the 1600's.

Martha has lived in eight states, and is grateful that she has had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe, including twice to Scotland. She attended Ken McFarland's trip to Scotland with the famous Alasdair Fraser and Muriel Johnstone in 1990, and again in 1992. She loved the music with its many key changes, as well as Blair Castle with its armor, antlers, and atmosphere.

Martha has a son who lives on Maui, a daughter who lives in Bellingham, and a brother in Pasadena, CA. Her children and brother played a joke on her when they sent her on a birthday mystery trip, of which Martha did not know the destination. Martha was led to believe that she was headed for a Caribbean singles cruise. After two days in San Francisco with her brother, daughter and family, she boarded the plane and learned from the flight attendant's announcement, to her relief, that the plane would be headed instead to Maui, where she had a wonderful Hawaiian visit with her son.

Martha moved to Vancouver in September 2001 from Salt Lake City, and is enjoying being close to her daughter's family in Bellingham, WA. Martha's other activities include the Clark County Newcomers, her church, and volunteering at a local hospital. She has an interest in folk songs, and can be heard singing along with Scottish music during the dance classes.

A motto from Martha's German ancestry: make a plan and follow the plan. She also believes it is important to have something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to. Martha likes this newsletter format because it will enable us to have the opportunity to get to know one another and enhance the sociability of Scottish Country Dancing. She would be happy to discuss any questions that you would like to ask.

Splintered Shins with a Side of Fruit
by Linda Mae Dennis

Floors are hard and flesh is weak. That's the honest truth, and that's why there are so many dance related injuries. Scottish country dancing, where every third step is, by definition, a hop, is particularly hard on the old legs, and shinsplints are a common result.

Shinsplints are caused by an inflammation of the tendons and muscles in the front or inside of the lower leg. That's the medical definition, but anybody who's ever had shinsplints would have told you the same thing. There's this pain along the shin that feels like the muscle has swollen to such a size that its about to fracture the leg bone. It is exacerbated by any exercise at all, including walking from the couch to the refrigerator. It is not life threatening, but it takes a long time to get well. Especially if you refuse to stop dancing. So what can you do?

Well, you can accept and embrace your shinsplints. You can learn to live with them, nay, even enjoy them. First of all, try not to make them worse. To reduce the swelling and minimize the pain enough so that you can sleep without taking excessive amounts of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, you must ice them down for about thirty minutes after dancing. For this you will need bags of frozen fruit (the mixed melon balls are my favorite), toothpicks, and a TV show that keeps you involved.

Turn on the TV and make sure the clicker is handy. Put your feet up on an ottoman, or another chair. Place one bag of frozen fruit on each shinsplint. Open one or both of the bags and spear a piece of fruit with one of your toothpicks. Enjoy munching on your frozen fruit bits for about thirty minutes. Try to concentrate on the TV program. After about ten minutes, you may notice a searing pain as your legs start to chill down. Eat through the pain. Keep in mind that the last ten minutes are the easiest.

Aren't you happy now to know that you can have shinsplints, keep dancing, and get lots of good lowfat fruit into your diet? I thought so.

Vancouver Dancers Go to Japan
by Liza Halpenny

From October 4 through October 21, 2002, a group of Scottish Country Dancers lived the dance "Where East Meets West." The trip was arranged by Marge van Nus, who brought a similar group of dancers to Japan in 1991 and has been receiving invitations to repeat the process ever since.

Dancing George Square at Ishioka Kindergarten during Sports Day festivities

The group consisted of 14 dancers and one musician. In addition to Marge, eight other dancers from Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers went: Robert and Geri Stuart, John and Susan Shaw, Van Meter Hord, Raminta Soden, and Tom and Liza Halpenny. Melanie Plaut from Portland, Dixie Campbell from Estacada (our Cape Breton Dance soloist), Linda Danielson from Eugene (fiddler par excellence), Irene Paterson from Mukilteo, Bill Paterson from Friday Harbor, and Dave Wilson from Reno, NV, balanced out the team. With a variety of ages and experience, we had a good time getting to know each other. The lack of time practicing beforehand with team members from out of town added challenge to our adventure.

Traveling by train between cities and being housed in private homes offered us a unique view into the private lives of Japan. Our hosts spoke a wide variety of levels of English, but were always gracious and fed us royally. Team members spoke what little Japanese they could and did their best not to offend. Ask team members about electric toilets, green slippers, natto, ocha, and o-furos.

at the Tokyo Highland Games

The main cities visited were Ishioka, Chigasaki, Joyo (Vancouver's sister city), Ijira, and Kawasaki, where we met with each of the mayors. The group did twenty performances during the journey, including a competition dance and our homegrown "While You Were Gone" at the Tokyo Highland Games. We were highly impressed with the Japanese dancers' precision technique.

Most performances were in schools. Shy to join us at first in audience participation, the students invariably became in a frenzy to dance. It was a lot of fun to work with them, and touching to hear their speeches to us, which they stayed up all night practicing. Other dance venues were city halls, a shopping mall, and various intercultural parties put on by our host cities. Everywhere we danced, stayed, and visited, we were laden with gifts.

Without question, this trip was a life-altering experience for each of us--visiting a country very different from our own, working and playing with team members, and making new life-long Japanese friends. I hope every one of you gets to do something like this some day.

A Question of Identity
by John Shaw

Before our recent trip to Japan I had begun studying hiragana, one of the Japanese alphabets, so that I might be able to sound out some of the words and names I might see in Japan. In Chigasaki, there was a group of hiragana symbols I saw frequently, and I was able to sound it out: "To ma ri".

I was puzzled as to whose name would be so prominently displayed, so when the car paused at an intersection, and I again saw this name, I caught my host's attention, pointed, and asked "Who is Tomari?".

They were astounded. "You read hiragana?!" they exclaimed, "that's wonderful! Wow! 'Tomari'?... it means 'Stop'."

Technical Note:

Following the emailing of our previous issue of the newsletter (our first electronic edition), I received a lot of very much appreciated feedback on ways to improve the electronic format. As you read this issue, you may wonder: So, where are the improvements?

Due to an unusually long absence this month, I haven't quite finished them (no, my dog didn't eat my homework :-). I'm sure, with the Holidays coming up (all that leisure time, you know, with nothing else to do), I'll have the improvements in place by the January issue for sure. Oh yeah.


Calendar of Events

Nov 9

Portland Dance Party, 7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard. Live Music!

Dec 14

Portland Dance Party, 7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

Dec 18

Last class of the Fall Term for the Vancouver class.

Jan 6

First class of the Winter Term for the Vancouver class.

Jan 11

Portland Dance Party, 7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

Feb 8

Portland Dance Party, 7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

Feb 15

Vancouver USA February Dinner Dance Party, 8-11 pm, Venue to be announced. Live Music!

Mar 8

Portland Dance Party, 7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

Apr 12

Portland Dance Party, 7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

Apr 19

Vancouver USA Spring Dance Party, 8-11 pm, Marshall Community Center, Oak/Elm Rooms, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA Live Music!

May 10

Portland Dance Party, 7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

Jun 14

Portland Dance Party, 7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.


It was cold on the upper deck and the captain was concerned for the comfort of his passengers. He called down: "Is there a mackintosh down there big enough to keep two young lassies warm?"
"No, skipper," came the reply, "but there's a MacPherson willing to try."

  Do you have an item of Celtic interest you would like to see in print?  
  You can contact me in any of the following ways:  
  By mail:  
  John Shaw - SCD
  PO Box 2438
  Battle Ground, WA 98604
  By email: bcjs@attbi.com  
  The Scottish Country Dancer is a bi-monthly publication of the Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers, a non-profit educational organization. For changes of address, please contact John Shaw - SCD, PO Box 2438 Battle Ground, WA 98604, bcjs@attbi.com. The editor reserves the right to alter or edit any material submitted for publication for reasons of taste, style, or clarity. All materials for publication should be sent by email to the editor at the address above, preferably in straight text. Deadline is one week before the end of the month prior to publication date. Editors of other newsletters may use or adapt any materials in the Scottish Country Dancer unless a specific copyright notice is included. Please credit author and original source.
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