Thursday, November 29, 2012

Acupuncture: Step Two

So today I had my orientation and introduction to acupuncture class at Kaiser. Waaaaay the hell away in another city, because that is the only place they do it, apparently. I drove there in the absolutely POURING rain and gusty wind, on unfamiliar roads. I took the freeway there, and it was raining so hard I couldn't see, so on the way back I took surface streets. Which was just as bad because everyone insisted on driving exaaaaaactly 30mph. Which is basically the sweet spot for hydroplaning. I cranked up my stereo and powered through, though.
Was it worth it? Oh, hell no. But that isn't too surprising, right? The orientation class basically consisted of forty people trying to cram in to a conference room that was designed for about twenty people. Then we all watched a YouTube video together. And then I sat there and thought about how I am pretty sure that this building is the one that my pediatrician's office was in, back when I was a kid. And, what ever happened to good old Dr. Koch, anyway? He was pretty nice. And this building! What a perfect example of ... uh ... I guess I will call it "Industrial Prairie" architecture. Which is to say it is obviously inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright except without being actually inspired. 1960s architecture at it's most squat and grey... and half-listened to an obviously flustered and unprepared clinician answer bitchy and/or snarky questions from aging baby boomers with entitlement issues about how long it takes to get an appointment.
What did I learn? Well, I learned that Kaiser's acupuncture department is something of a cruel joke. They have an acupuncture department but they don't actually want you to use it. After three appointments they decide if it's helping or not. If not, no harm no foul, you go on to find something else to try. If it does help you can come back with limited appointments for about a year. Then you are on your own. I guess I am glad I even have the opportunity to try it out for cheap. If it helps maybe I can try finding someone local that isn't too woo-woo for me. Though goodness knows how I would ever be able to afford it.
I still think they could have saved us all a lot of trouble by emailing us a link to the stupid video and maybe mailing a small packet of the paperwork they handed out (they send out appointment reminders anyway, right?). On the way there and back the weather probably killed a few of us off, though, so maybe that was their plan all along...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rheumatic Supa-Hoe, Nahmeean Biatch?

I ran the blog through gizoogle because I couldn't resist the temptation. I'm utterly fascinated by what I would sound like if I was writing about ballet and rheumatism through the veil of gangster rap. For one, the blog is now named "Rheumatic Supa-Hoe" which is fantastic. My favorite bit so far is "Yo Ass know dat hyped paintin of Lady Macbeth bustin a chronic dress, biatch?" but I have to admit a certain fondness for "I be frontin cheezy-ass exhaustion, PMS, n' snow, nahmeean, biatch?"

Saturday, November 24, 2012

En Deshabille

Ninth in an occasional series of ballet paintings that are not degas:

  Ballet Dancers in the Dressing Room
Serebriakova, Zinaida, 1923

I quite like the use of shading on this one, especially the back of the dancer in the middle.

Back in the Saddle

AW MAN. I am still recovering from my first day back in class on Tuesday. Of course, to compound everything I went to class last night, too. Look, when you fall off the horse you've got to get right back on, yes? Unless it steps on you I guess. Anyway.
It's mostly my legs, aching and sore as if I hadn't used my muscles at all for the past three weeks. Not fair! I totally did! Remarkably, the three weeks off class has made my knees considerably happier campers. It's darn near comfortable. But, I am also apparently completely junked up posture-wise, as I was continually corrected last night. I have to say, though, that when my back hurts and my shoulders/neck are all tight nothing makes it better than going to class (nothing makes it worse than sewing all day). Stretching, moving, standing up straight. It's like we are supposed to do that stuff. Pssh!

In other news I've decided that I need to work on my core strength. This is all part of the posture thing (and the I'd-like-to-not-fall-over-while-turning thing). The problem? I hate crunches. No, no. I HATE crunches. That's more like it. So, go back and try to tackle that crunch-and-burn pilates video again? The time may well have come.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Apathy Patrol

So I was dreading going away for a long time because I knew that when I came back home and once again faced going to class twice a week I would have to deal with my old enemy: complete apathy. It's just that... when I am dancing a lot then I want to dance a lot. But if I'm not? Then... I would just rather sit at home and eat smarties and watch Mythbusters. When I get back in to it it will be fine, but until then I know that it's going to be hard, and hurt, and make me all sweaty, and I will probably get a migraine afterward. And I'll  have to sit around with ice packs all over my body when I get home. And I have to drive ten miles to the studio through rush hour/Christmas shopping traffic and/or take the train through the ghetto in the dark. And. And. And. The point is that my brain is telling me it would rather just stay home if it's going to be so much trouble to go to class.
But. Tonight I am back home (may be gone again next week, but only time will tell) and, like a good girl, I went to class. That would be my level 3 class, by the way. In case you were wondering how badass I am. I answer is: totally. I am totally badass.
Class... kicked my butt. Pretty much. I can definitely feel the fact that I didn't do anything for three weeks. Well, that's not true. I shoveled snow. Was it hard work? Yes. Did it help me remain in ballet-condition? Not even a little bit.
I had to learn how to stand again, and where my feet are supposed to go. And then I flailed around badly for a while while we attempted combinations that I had never seen before. Also, apparently, while I was away they started some new stuff. So I just had to fake it through those parts. HA. Did I mention how badass I am? Because it's a lot. It did put me in mind, though, of that time in elementary school when I was out sick while they taught the whole class the multiplication table and then when I got back no one noticed and so I spent the next two years trying to learn how to multiply and divide ALL BY MY SELF. Ahem. But, you know, with enveloppe* at the barre instead of actually important stuff.
Not that I am bitter or anything.

*I'm sure enveloppe should have an accent mark in there somewhere. But I'll be darned if I can actually find it online.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ballerina Music Box

So, for some reason I got inspired to rework a ballerina jewelry box. You know, the kind every five year old girl has? So I poked around until I found one with a sound enough structure to repaint, decoupage, etc etc.
I ended up with this one, which I got for super cheapy online:
Isn't it awful?
All told, it's actually nicer than the one I had when I was a kid. But, seriously? I think the ballerina had probably broken out of mine before I ever got my hands on it. I don't really remember, but that is the sort of class act my childhood was.
Here is the horrible pink inside with the ballerina mechanism. She's going to be getting an entirely new paint job and the pink faux velvet is going to go far far away.

Since it plays Swan Lake I am sticking with the theme. But for grown ups.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Of Tutus and Beetle Wings

Like any crafty person I have what I think of as "lifetime" projects. I suppose you could call it a sort of creative bucket list (but I hate the term "bucket list". It sounds so stupid. I always visualize carrying around some big metal bucket with a leak in it). There are a lot of them. I want to complete a puff quilt (I started one years ago but then broke up with the guy I was making it for so PPPPBBBBBTT!) Build an herb garden growing wall. Stitch some ridiculously complicated  needlepoint version of the unicorn tapestries. One of my biggest lifetime projects has always been to put together a classical (pancake/platter-type) tutu (the whole thing. Bodice, skirt, plate/basque). I mean, I know how to do it, right? I just don't have any real reason to do it. I might at some point get stuck doing some horrid and disgusting alteration and/or repair work to one at the theater, but I really want to make one from scratch. Always have. Even when I wasn't dancing.
Recently, though, I was at a Renaissance faire with my peeps (yo) and saw a jewelry booth that reminded me of one of my other lifetime projects: beetle wing embroidery. If you're not familiar with it it's basically what sequins were invented to replace. In Asia (particularly Thailand, India, China, and Japan) there are these brilliantly iridescent wood-boring beetles. They only live for about a month, and afterwards you are left with their gorgeous exoskeletons. They've been used for ages as decoration, and pieces of fabric and clothing embroidered with them was always highly prized. You know that famous painting of Lady Macbeth wearing a green dress? This one:
That is actually a real dress. A theatrical costume. And it's entirely covered in beetlewing embroidery. you should click through here to see the real deal.
So anyway, I got to thinking about beetle wings and realized that my tutu project is going to need beading anyway... so... why not combine the two?
As this post is already too damn long I will try to wrap it up briefly.
Beetle wings come in lots of pretty color variations to choose from:
and my immediate thought was to sew them on to a black or dark green fabric. But, I am also quite taken with these antique pieces, where the wings are placed on a pale background:

So, now I have even more things to think about. Hmm... I'm pretty excited about how this tutu is going to turn out and I haven't even designed the silly thing yet. Of course, I have no one to make it for (excepting myself, and my weight is so unstable I certainly wouldn't want to do it now) and no room in my little apartment to store such a thing. But. I won't always live in a tiny apartment (hopefully) and as soon as I move I am buying some freakin' wings, 15 yards of diamond net and gettin' my groove on!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Self-Motivation for Dummies

In all honesty I've been having a terrible time self-motivating this week. It's felt like the longest week in recent memory, and now that I think about it, it's probably almost two full weeks since I went to class. I'm claiming emotional exhaustion, PMS, and snow. Yes, it's snowing. I live in central California, which maybe hails briefly once or twice a year, but snow (especially vast accumulations of snow) is totally beyond my realm of experience. But here in the woods, oh yes, it snows. I have also been stymied in my attempt to occupy time by sewing stuffed bunnies for the babies in the family this xmas (six!) by a sewing machine that is on the fritz. I brought dance slippers with me, and even wrote myself a little list of things to work on in my spare time. Pirouettes, headlines, double frappes... but I just haven't worked myself up to it much. Not that the time isn't available, just that I feel like folding in to a ball when the opportunity presents itself.
So terrible. Hopefully posting this will make me feel so guilty that I will actually get on with it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Career Aspirations of Five Year Olds

No, I don't want to be a ball. I think it's pretty obvious that I want to be a ballerina, not a ball. You are not a very good kindergarten teacher.

PS: I actually remember this project very well. There were blank pages for us to illustrate along the lines of "my favorite food" (something green, apparently. Maybe a cucumber?). For this one the page said "I want to be a ____ when I grow up" and then the teacher's aid filled in the appropriate word. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she got distracted halfway through on mine.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Turning Point

I've been on the lookout for ballet movies lately, but aside from The Red Shoes and Black Swan I don't really know of many. I almost considered watching Phantom of the Opera in hopes that the ballet chorus would make an appearance (the only trouble is... I don't really like Phantom of the Opera...). So, when a girlfriend recently told me I had to watch The Turning Point I made a mental note and stored it for a rainy day. While the weather is only intermittently rainy right now, it is preeeeeeeetty boring while I'm away from civilization (did I mention Daddy lives in the middle of effing nowhere?) and my dad sleeps for at least 18 hours a day. I've been stretching, I guess that is something. I did some really lousy pirouettes in the kitchen this afternoon. But, let's face it, I'm bored. So last night I brought out The Turning Point and had myself a sad little watching-movies-in-bed moment.
If you are in to ballet then it is definitely worth the time to check it out. There is a LOT of dancing in it (much of it done by real honest-to-god dancers) which really redeems it from some otherwise annoying traits. The plot is pretty much a string of ballet movie clich├ęs (I'm not sure why the idea that dancers have to choose between ballet and family is so often waved around. Lots of dancers have kids. Maybe more now than in the past, but let's face it until QUITE recently women were pretty much expected to give up their career so they could raise a family no matter what their job was), and the acting felt oddly flat to me, the characters that are supposed to be sexin' each other up have no chemistry whatsoever. BUT. Dancing, right? You get Baryshnikov showing off (while I can't say much for the likability of his character I have to admit the man had amazing balance) and lots of those weirdly skinny Balanchine-style ballerinas of the era (thankfully scarce these days) that at least make me feel better about my total lack of bosoms. None of the characters were at all sympathetic to me, the construction of the film was kind of random and clunky, and the title sequence dance is a perfect example of what ballet should NOT look like (boring!) but I certainly enjoyed the frolicking around and the honest poverty. Homosexuality and the cultural expectations of male dancers is also a plot device here, and honestly I think is was handled fairly openly for a movie made in the 70s. Maybe not in the sort of way we would do it now, but hey. Props for being frank about it in 1977.