Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The three day weekend has come to a close. I wish I could say that I spent it well, but that would be less than honest. And, the only time that I've been less than honest on this blog was when I was out of the country. The reasons for that are obvious. There is no reason to lie about wasting a perfectly good three day weekend that I've been looking forward to since the last one. At least it's only a four day week. I like the work that I do, but I hate the waking up in the morning.

One of the mind at rest ponderings that came up over the weekend was the choice between Fotki and Flickr. I'm currently on Fotki, but am seriously considering Flickr. I like the layout, the community aspect of it, and well, I'm right in the middle of setting up a photo blog of some sort and Flickr just seems to suit it better. So, I'm reaching out to you for advice. Can you help me, oh wise readers? You're my only hope.

But, back to wasting the weekend. I guess it's not considered a waste if shopping counts and cleaning my entire apartment from top to bottom. I also printed out 200+ pages of a story that I'm working on to see what I have and began to edit it. I did get to sleep in all three days and take long afternoon naps. Today I was able to wake up more easily, so perhaps all that rest was needed.

I haven't mentioned that one of the best things that I've done lately is start taking ballet again. Yep, this girl is back on the dance floor and it has sure been interesting. The teacher is a straight male, and yes, because it is a ballet class that is worth mentioning, and the women in the class are great. All ages, ranging from early twenties on. The teacher has the most amazing long brown hair. It is awesome. I'd love to know the background on why he wears it so long. It's easily down to the middle of his back and thick. He's a fun, positive and funny teacher and the women in there are all helpful to each other and in great shape. It's a ballet level two class, and I'd say I'm about at the bottom of the curve on skill as I'm just getting back into the ring. The great thing about taking an adult ballet class is the lack of competitiveness, and I came in there with a totally positive, friendly attitude which helped my cause.

It was hard to get back into the leotard and tights because I was afraid of what I might see. My body, since I've not been exercising is not what it was when I last took ballet. I expected that, and told myself that I wasn't going to get discouraged. It was in Mexico where I really noticed my lack of muscle tone and decided that it was no way to spend my time inside this body. I was born with a body that was meant for activity and responds well to it. I still wear a size four jean, but size wasn't the issue. Lack of muscle tone isn't pretty no matter what size you are.

So, there I was in ballet class looking at my less than toned body and feeling it respond differently, not to mention a little begrudgingly when I asked it to do things that it hadn't done in a while. A crack here, a refusal there, but I didn't care. I wasn't in a rush and knew it was a process. It will take many classes to feel like I once did when I was doing it on a regular basis. But oh, how good it felt to be active again and vulnerable in that sense. To not be covered head to toe in sweaters and jeans and to watch myself move, no matter how awkwardly, in the mirror. To feel my lungs laboring after a demanding routine at the barre or on the floor. I could feel my body coming alive and realizing that it better make some adjustments to be able to accommodate what I was asking it to do.

What's really encouraging is seeing the women who are a lot older than I am with rock hard asses and their little girl figures gracefully moving on the floor. Ballet is one of the best exercises that one can do, especially if done right with the understanding that if you are starting at over 15, you aren't training for your debut at the Met. I say fifteen, because there was a dancer at American Ballet Theater who started ballet at the age of fifteen. Unheard of to start that late and make it into a company like ABT, but as she said, she had unusually strong legs.

Thankfully, I had a wonderful teacher in Los Angeles who taught me how to do everything right to slowly building strength and avoid injury. Now that I've started back, I remember her barre routine and do it in front of the television at home, using a tall chair as the barre. I have motivation now, to help my body get to where it was. It's such wonderful exercise and I can feel my legs thanking me. Not to mention, my spirit. Ballet makes me feel beautiful and feminine.

I've been back about a month and have already noticed the change in my body in the mirror, which is a completely honest assessment. In ballet class, you are under fluorescent lights and looking at yourself in tight leggings and a leotard in a floor to ceiling mirror that takes up an entire wall. That doesn't leave much room for forgiveness. My untoned "stuff" seems to be moving out of the way and rearranging itself so as not to be bothered with me. If it thinks that will make me forget it, it has a little disappointment in its future. The more it moves out of the way, the more I ask my body to do and eventually it find itself in the way again. I look forward to the day when it just gives up the ghost and leaves. I already feel better in my clothes. I have a long way to go, but it's been encouraging. Mostly because I enjoy ballet and the connection that it gives me with my body. Next is yoga to supplement the ballet. Pilates, my first choice, is just too expensive. It can cost $60 a class. If anyone in the Baltimore area knows differently, shoot me an email. I'm not talking just mat work, I'm taking true to the core pilates. I took it and was sold on it while I was in Los Angeles.

Speaking of my Los Angeles ballet class, I saw one of my former classmates in War of the Worlds. My sister and I went to see the movie in the theater when it came out, and all of a sudden I see Dendrie in a poignant scene with Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. I was so proud of her. I had known she was an actress with lots of work under her belt and I'd been seeing her pop up on things like Judging Amy, and I think a Without a Trace episode. However, seeing her on the big screen like that was awesome. I turned to my sister and said, "Holy shit, I know her," and my sister couldn't believe it. Dendrie is a nice person and was always very helpful to me when I had trouble with steps. She was way more advanced than me and one of the best in the class. Back in Los Angeles, a few of us from that class, including Elspeth the teacher, Elspeth's parents, and Dendrie all went to see the Kirov ballet when they came into town. It was a fun day. Elspeth introduced her parents to us as Mr. and Mrs. Kuang. This is "Mr. Kuang, and this is Mrs. Kuang." I could tell that meant we were to address them as Mr. and Mrs. Kuang. Tradition, which includes formal addressing of the older generation, is a refreshing thing. Of course, I almost tripped Mr. Kuang as he nudged past me to his seat. As I helped him regain his balance to avoid sitting on my lap, I said, "I'm so sorry. I almost tripped you there Mr. Kuang." He sat down, got a twinkle in his eye and pointed at me. Funny American girl.

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