Friday, June 28, 2013


So, last week at work we were working on tutus and leotards for a play that opened over the weekend. The tutus started life as very generic and plain little white classical rehearsal tutus that we added trim to and fitted with pockets (for holding the confetti. They were snowflakes, you dig?). What we ran out of time for before dress rehearsal was tacking the layers of netting together (because for some reason the shop doesn't have a tacking gun? Really? How hard is that?). I sincerely hope the other people in the shop managed to get them tacked properly before the show opened because at rehearsal they were causing a serious case of "chicken butt".
You know. Chicken butt. Where an untacked tutu flips up instead of standing straight out from the hips and makes you look like you have a little birdy bottom. I searched on Google for hours trying to find a photo of this phenomenon, but to no avail. For some reason the search term "chicken butt tutu" simply does NOT bring you the kind of images I was looking for.
It was with some amusement, then, that I saw the incomparable folks at post this photo over the weekend, of a person wearing an untacked tutu and suffering from chicken butt syndrome:
Chicken butt.
Maybe you need to have seen a lot of chicken's butts for this description to make sense.
Funnily enough, though, I was just searching for a picture of a plain white rehearsal tutu to link to above when I came across this photo on Ebay of a model trying desperately to pretend that her tutu hasn't got a case of the chicken butt. But we aren't fooled:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dancers Do It In (Sweaty) Tights

Things I have done in pink tights and a sweaty leotard:

Go grocery shopping (but who hasn't, amiright?)
Pick up pizza for dinner (in fact, I only ever go in to that place in ballet clothes, they must think I just dress that way)
Perform the art of motorcycle maintenance (no zen, though)
Force feed a sick cat (my husband asked "oh no, are you sure you want to do this in your ballet clothes?" and I'm like "seriously? They can't get any grosser than they already are. A little critical care cat food and a soupçon of cat nausea medication is not going to make much difference.")

On a similar note: last week I was trying to close my car door without using my hands because I was carrying a big old pizza, and I smashed the back of my leg really badly with the bottom corner of the door. 9 days later I still have a massive rainbow-hued lump on my leg. But the ballet tights I was wearing that took the full force of the blow? Not a scratch on 'em.
Best garment ever? I think so.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Saut de What*

22 students in class tonight! Good grief! Where did they all come from? It was the single largest class I have ever attended at this studio. We made do, but there was a certain amount of careful avoidance of other people's legs involved.
Tonight I finally nailed (once in a while, anyway) saut de basque. I've been struggling with it because apparently you can't teach me a damn thing without a certain amount of struggle. Which is nice, I guess, but seeing me successfully pull it off got my teacher back on the kick of encouraging me to perform. I don't really want to perform! I don't have a head for choreography. You can tell me a sequence of three steps and I will successfully only remember one and a half. Aside from being awkward and shy I simply don't really want to be on stage at this point in my life. That ship has sailed, honey. Let me make some new recital costumes or something, I am good at that.**

I would also like to say: Assemblé and cabrioles? A POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!

*see what I did there? Eh? Eh?

**by which I mean that I did all of my struggling with it many years ago. College: it's awesome except that it isn't even at all. There is a lot of coffee involved and you cry a lot because you aren't perfect at everything. OR MAYBE THAT WAS JUST ME.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So, what did you do at work today?

I did this:

I have the best job.

That is what a classical tutu looks like from underneath, in case you didn't recognize it. It's also EXACTLY as much of a pain in the ass to wrangle through a sewing machine as you would think. I also made little white leotards with sparkly business to go along with it. I am going to rehearsal tonight specifically to see what the heck is going on with these things.

I also shared a nice conversation with one of my coworkers about starting ballet as an adult. She started pointe at 38! That is my goal: pointe before I'm 40. At first my goal was "pointe before Jenny" Jenny being my young niece-in-law who was taking ballet lessons (name changed to protect the innocent), but I'm not sure she's stuck with it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

praise in high places

E-mail I got from my teacher this morning:
"You are looking stronger and stronger in class. I'm really impressed by your progress. I keep forgetting to tell you this when you are in class, so now I've done it and you know what I'm seeing."
Girl, you know I am one of the worst people in class, but thank you anyway.
It all went to my head a little bit and I found myself volunteering to alter and hem four slippy-slimy satin circle skirts by Tuesday. That's right, people, the way to make me volunteer to do gross chores for you is to say nice things about me. As a particularly ill-contrived* ex of mine used to say "flattery will get you everywhere".

* the relationship was ill-contrived, not him. I mean, maybe he was, I don't know. I didn't feel comfortable asking his mom those kind of questions.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


No, foot. No no no no no. I do not need another body part to be in constant pain. Especially not my foot. Knock it the hell off, foot, I want to take pre-pointe on Thursday.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

You know it happens

There are times when you find that perfect balance. It just sticks and you feel like you could hold that position all night if they asked you to. And you're like:
Look at me! I am a mother fucking fairy, bitches!
That's right, people! I can SO balance in coupé derriere. For like, EVER. And then for the rest of the night you can hardly even stand upright on both feet.

Monday, June 3, 2013

NSAIDs: A Cautionary Tale

So. How have you guys been? I spent my weekend feeling like death on toast. The NSAID (anti-inflammatory medication I take twice a day for my rheumatism) that I've been using for the past 9 months or so landed me in the hospital on Saturday night.
Friday morning I was fine. I even ate a sensible salad for lunch and took a short bike ride with my dad. But at about 2pm I was suddenly hit with an overwhelming feeling like I'd just been speared through the chest, right at the base of my thorax. I tried to wait it out but I couldn't sleep at all that night and after a short stint at work on Saturday morning it was quickly becoming evident that it was here to stay. I immediately figured it was probably an ulcer but couldn't get any over the counter remedies to help. I called the Kaiser advice hotline to ask if I could get in to see my doctor any time soon. I got transferred around for a while and they told me they'd call me back later in the day.
So I talked to a very twitchy little doctor on the phone at about 5pm. She was the kind of confused and baffled doctor that instills a real sense of security and faith in a patient. Regardless of the fact that the Kaiser website states that "ulcers can cause nausea, dizziness, and intense pain radiating in to the back" she urged me quite vehemently to hurry down to the ER, which I did. Well, sort of... because FOR REALIOS WOMAN it is an ulcer not a heart attack. Yes, I am dizzy. Probably because I HAVE AN ULCER. I should not have to guide you to these things. I actually had to reassure her at one point that stomach bleeding goes along with the whole ulcer thing, so even if I was dizzy I probably didn't actually have a terrible ruptured whatever-the-hell.
I did eventually get to the ER (about 5 hours later), mostly because I know that the regular clinic would take several days to run labs and the ER would run them in less than two hours. And the sooner I got this you-know-what over and done with the better (theater season just started. Ain't nobody got time for that.) They hooked me up to an EKG machine and put so many stickers all over my body that I am still not sure if I got them all off. There must have been six just on my left boob. I felt awkward, not for myself but for the poor nurse who had to cover me in boob stickers. Obviously it's her job and all, but it still must be contrary to your sense of social propriety. My own sense of social propriety ends at the point when I have to hold a little plastic barf bag and wear a gown with the butt all open, sorry. The doctor came in and we had a brief conversation about how it's basically almost certainly an ulcer (or gastritis, the precursor to an ulcer) and you can point your finger straight to my shitty rheumatologist for refusing to TREAT my ACTUAL condition and instead leaving me hanging on high doses of particularly nasty NSAIDs for several years running. He scrunched up his face when he laughed and he was terribly young. I felt old and silly and wished that my husband was there (they forgot to tell him it was okay to see me after the EKG, so I was basically hangin' out there in my boob stickers by myself for an hour) because otherwise my ER quiet room wit (which consisted mainly of pretending my large penis-shaped barf bag was, in fact, a large blue penis while trying to interpret the oddly coded ER intercom announcements) was utterly wasted (hey man, it was late and I felt like hell, okay?). I eye-balled the spare rolls of exam table paper in the cabinet. Because you know what exam table paper is great for? Pattern making.
Eventually they made me drink three small shots of tutti-frutti flavored lidocaine (they tasted like Satan, basically) and sent me home. Two IVs for nothing, man (one in my right arm that didn't work out properly that has left me with an aching blue bruise the size of a golf ball, and one in my left by a slightly more competent nurse). I tell ya what, guys. IVs suck.
I still feel non-stop nauseous, hopefully the heavier-duty acid control pills I now have to take (every morning. That makes 8 pills PER DAY, now) will do me some good. I'm not allowed to have caffeine or chocolate (I think I might cry, guys) or tomatoes or ... well. Anything good. I can eat oatmeal (without milk, naturally) and brown rice. I guess I can add some thrilling tofu in there for protein.
I already had a chocolate chip cookie. One a day can't kill me.
My husband brought home Mexican for dinner. It was a very sweet gesture. But for reals.