Friday, August 31, 2012

He Wasn't Even Wearing a Bandana and Spurs

So, a few weeks ago my husband started a new job. It's good in that it pays (very) slightly more but sucks because he now gets home forty minutes later than he used to which means I can't have the car to drive to ballet class. Yeah, I am not excited, either. So I am taking the train to class these days. My husband picks me up afterward because there is no safe way for me to take the train home after dark (besides, I am gross after class). It's been a sore point, but there really aren't any better options right now.
The point is that today on the train to class I witnessed a robbery. There wasn't a weapon involved, thank goodness, but still. It's been a few years since I took public transportation with any regularity, so maybe I am just not used to it anymore. In my sheltered world of moving within the automotive bubble created by modern society I've quite forgotten how terribly real the rest of life can be.
On a brighter note I guess? The universe kindly did not present me with any assemblés tonight. Thank heavens for small favors, yes? Though I have been attempting to get my mind around the reverse combination that threw me so badly on Monday. Through a lot of surreptitious jumping around in the bathroom at work and LOTS of running it over in my mind whenever I have a spare moment I think that maybe I might possibly have a slightly better concept of what I was doing wrong. Sort of.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

oh yeah, I totally just went there

I was just browsing around online considering how many different versions of pink there are out there. Theatrical pink. Ballet pink. European pink... And no one can even agree on what those colors mean. Also, I am tired of looking at "Fifty Shades of Grey" pins on Pinterest.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The End of This Whole Physical Therapy Debacle

So my physical therapy appointment this morning lasted all of ten minutes. I told the PT what happened after my last appointment and he made me lay down and moved my legs a bit. My hips instantly responded with echoingly loud cracks, pops, and crunches. If it was TV they would have thrown up a flash screen. Heck, they would have thrown up several.

And then he looked at me and said  "yeah, you are too screwed up for me to do anything with. Keep doing the clam as well as you can but unless they get this rheumatoid thing under control then you are pretty much fucked." Or words to that effect, anyway.
So, back I go to my primary care doctor, I guess, and once again beg him to send me back to the rheumatology department (he ignored me last time). Yaaay.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One Of Those Days

So last night was one of those nights. You know the ones, where nothing works properly. And we got stuck with this fairly straight forward combination of glissades and assemblés (and if it includes the word "assemblé" then it can pretty much kiss my booty-bum in the first place. Every single movement made me hurt like it was going out of style), but then we switched to doing everything in reverse which screwed me up and I failed to complete a single one successfully even though she made us do them in sets of four THREE TIMES. BAH. Also, it didn't help that I got sandwiched against the wall standing uncomfortably close (like, not enough room for all of us to stand with our arms in second) to the two new girls in class, who honestly have no freakin' right to be in beginning ballet. If you have been taking class four days a week for 10 years then take your triple pirouettes and get outta my line of sight, bitches.
I mean "bitches" in the nicest possible way, of course.*
C'est la vie. As they say.
On a different note, I finally learned which "school" or "method" of ballet we are learning at my studio: Cecchetti. Not wildly unexpected, it's probably the most popular style in the US. I only found out when our teacher told us that Cecchetti looks for turned-out palms rather than the prettier (in my opinion) turned-down palms of Vaganova. Honestly, though, for adults I don't think it matters all that much. I still don't know what technique the first studio I went to teaches. They had a sort of strange third arm position.

* if you happen to be one of the new girls, don't take offense. Colorful metaphors in the name of artistic expression and all that. As I often say: if you've got it flaunt it. But, please... spare a moment to think about those of us with little to no natural coordination.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Help Me Make it Through the Autumn, Guys!

So. Audience participation time!
What are your favorite ballet scores? I am going to be doing insane amounts of driving in the near future (18 hours per week. Please note that the ten mile trip to my ballet studio was almost enough to convince me to try another studio.) I always listen to music in the car but I am right in the middle of an epic let's-listen-to-everything-I-own-in-alphabetical-order experiment that I don't want to subject my passenger (my dad) to (why do I even own two almost-identical copies of NIN's "Closer"?). But, thankfully, we both like classical music. I have been looking to expand my ballet music repertoire for a while, now. So, ballet music it is. I have shied away from most compilation albums because HOLY CROW I am SO tired of the Nutcracker.
So guys, any suggestions? I am also going to be loading a bunch of opera on my ipod because 1) I enjoy the hell out of it, and 2) Dad pissed me off. So, operas with ballet chorus numbers are also a go!

Art For Art's Sake

Sixth in an occasional series of ballet paintings that are not Degas:

By Laura Knight, 1936

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Where Has Everyone Been?

It's interesting to see how class size changes over the course of a year. For the past month attendance has been ridiculously low, to the point of there being only two of us in a couple of classes. But, once again, our numbers have swelled to the low teens. We're back to using both portable barres, and breaking down in to groups of four when moving across the floor. Perhaps people were just away on vacation. Perhaps the 107* temperatures weed out the casual students from the more dedicated attendees.
Whatever the cause, I find it interesting to see how the dynamic changes depending on class size. Larger classes are more clique-ish while smaller classes tend to make you pull together out of self-preservation in much the same way you make friends at work or school in spite of your personal differences. After taking several classes practically one-on-one I have found that I am happiest with a mid-size crowd. Maybe 8 students. Then we can break down in to small groups across the floor but still get through everyone quick enough to move on to more stuff. Also, the larger the class the more likely we are to spend a certain amount of time stepping on one another and smashing clumsily in to each other when we suddenly discover that someone inconveniently placed a wall directly in the path of our glissades (how rude!).
At the first studio I attended class absolutely exploded in January. All those new year's resolutions, I guess. My only resolution this year was to not read the comments on online news articles. It has been hard to keep, but I am a much happier person because of it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I live in central CA, you grow tomatoes here or they kick you out

So my (also rheumy) sister has had some luck on an anti-inflammatory diet, especially going gluten-free. And I can't really turn away anything that might even possibly provide some help with this shit (especially after my doctor informed me that my absolutely crappy HMO does not cover topical anti-inflammatory agents even when there is no other viable option. But that is another post. In fact there could just be a long post called "KAISER CAN KISS MY ASS" and the body of the post would read "FUCKYOUKAISERYOUCANSOKISSMYASSYOUMOTHERFUCKINGRATBASTARDS" over and over again). So, I have been looking in to it.

Basically, so far as I can tell, an anti-inflammatory diet means you stop eating everything that you enjoy and start eating nothing but plain salmon with plain steamed broccoli for every meal (and then you die of mercury poisoning BUT WHATEVER).
So I look up information about this stuff and and one source says you aren't supposed to eat:
Red meat. Which is fine because I don't eat read meat anyway and haven't since I was about 15.
Sausages or lunch meat or salami, etc. Basically all the processed meats that taste delicious in a sammich.
Sugar. All of it that isn't in a fruit, pretty much.
Gluten. This includes almost everything processed or packaged as well as every single baked good you ever loved.
Tomatoes. Oh my god, guys. Shit just got REAL.
Potatoes. WHAT?
Soy products. All this excitement and I can't even eat tofu? Seriously? Are you going to take rice away from me, too?
RICE. But only white rice, which leaves me wild and brown rice, which I like but my husband won't touch with a stick. But hey, at least I can have rice cakes with peanut butter, right?
And then I look at some other source and they are saying the exact opposite of everything that the first source said and then... Okay, you know what? Go to hell, anti-inflammatory diet.

But, I am trying to cut back on some of the gluten in my life. I can do that. Right now I am saying that I am "watching" my gluten intake. For example, yesterday I "watched" myself eat half a box of shortbread cookies and a significant amount of pizza.
So, my goal is not to worry too much about every single forbidden thing, and not to eliminate gluten from my life entirely but to at least take it down a notch and see what happens. I know I am doing it wrong. But, look. I can substitute a rice cake for toast. No problem. But I CAN'T substitute a rice cake for a doughnut, you know? That can pretty much go to hell.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Because the internet adult ballet world exists as some sort of hive mind, Adult Beginner posted this photo at the same time that I took this one:
which is a spool of vintage rayon thread in an absolutely perfect ballet pink. Here it is sitting on my brand new and perfectly un-wrinkly dance tights, for comparison.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grands Jetés!

We've been doing grands jetés in place of our regular end-of-class chassés for the past couple of classes. I have been stuck doing (what felt like) perpetual chassés since my very first day in class, and I have never grown beyond a sort of mild distaste for them. It was full-on hatred a year ago, guys. Full. On. Hate. So, really, mild distaste is an improvement. But grands jetés are fun! Forget those little jetés, guys! Big Old Honkin' grands jetés are where it's at. Pretty much. Which is saying something because I really hate everything else that involves jumping (because it HURTS, dudes!).
Not that they are terribly impressive to look at. In fact, they are probably ridiculous. Looking at Gabby (mother f*cking) Douglas busting out some hot gymnastics moves has put my toddling baby jetés to serious shame, but let's not go in to that.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hummingbird Ballet

Our resident (and very vocal/cranky) Anna's hummingbird, Mr. Smalls, warms up at the barre:

I missed class last night because my knees swelled up in a rather disturbingly grapefuit-like manner. I am guessing that this was not the result the PT was aiming for.
So I spent a few moments on my own in the backyard after work today (it's cloudy, breezy, and cool, which is a miracle of no small measure in August in central CA) attempting to be graceful and balletic. Wearing street shoes is a bit of a hindrance, though.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Okay, just for the record? That knee cap stretching business this morning has equaled an unparalleled  amount of pain this evening. I think if I saw my PT right now I would kick him in the shins just to even the score.
 Or the sack, because this shit hurts.

Already Crazy

So I am just starting to come down from a terrible flare-up that took me out pretty seriously for a few weeks. Pain in every joint, exhaustion, waking up feeling like I had recently been hit by a truck... you know. All that good stuff.
Some idiot booked me a 9:30 AM appointment with my physical therapist on my precious sleep-in day of the week. Oh, yeah. I did. That was me.
The PT didn't get on my case about my clams, which is great. I was dreading that. He gave me another resistance band and told me to up the ante on them, though. He grumbled at my doctor's lack of a definitive diagnosis for my rheumatism (dude, really? You are preaching to the choir, here) and then spent some time stretching the business around my kneecaps (which I am now supposed to attempt at home every day, he suggested I make my husband help) which was strange and a little painful. It was pretty okay, though, and at least he had strong warm hands. My own hands are always freezing. In the Winter time I reflexively try to cram my hands in to the warmest thing I can find. Usually my husband's shirt. I am pretty sure it's grounds for divorce! Right there after "irreconcilable differences" and "incurable insanity of spouse".