Monday, March 12, 2012

How to say "f-ing cold" in Arabic

I've been doing this bellydance thing for over five years now. So this weekend I'm bemoaning the fact that I don't know absolutely everything (this takes ALOT of bemoaning), and it occurs to me that I should learn Arabic. Alas, I'm already seeing that there might be some cultural complications in learning the language. For example, I can say hello (ah-lan), nice to meet you (forsa-sa-ee-dah), and peace be with you (moalakum-salam... or something to that extent). However, I can't yet say, "My apologies good sir for my state which is fucking freezing. I would like to save you from drowning in icebergs, but my feet have succumb to hypothermia in the last few seconds, and are now embedded in that ice cave, you betcha der ey."
While Madison quickly lept into the upper 50's last week, Hurley was still dwindling in the lower 20's. I'm sorry. It was dwindling in the 20's when I was protected by trees. Most people who experience the particular type of cold available near lakes end up saying, "I can't feel my face!" No, no foolish southerners. The problem next to Lake Superior is that you can feel your face way too much. There is an excess of face. And it is painful.

Not only is this face pain an indicator of just how cold it is out there, but so are the ice cliffs that have formed at the shoreline. As the waves come in water begins to solidify. Give this a few weeks, and ten foot walls have formed at the shore. The result is that most people not familiar with the phenomenon will look at the snow and think it's solid rock; when, in actuality, it's fairly unstable chunks of ice. It makes for quite the sight, but the stupid, adventurous part of me was having an internal conflict - trying to decide exactly how stupid it would be to just crawl out to the edge and snap a few National Geographic level photos. I discussed this with my naturalist father-in-law. "Stupid", he said. Rats.
There's an unwritten rule of nature and motorized vehicles that says if a person washes their car it will rain in the next 24 hours. Apparently a similar rule exists for winter wear, because upon dropping $50 on some extremely warm mittens and cap, we witnessed 45 degree weather the next day. It is currently in the 60's here in Madison. Again. Rats.

Thankfully, the warming weather means that my new Arabic skills may become more useful. No doubt this summer I will be able to use the phrase, "Thanks be to God that my air conditioner has not broken down. Peace be upon you who are unfortunate enough to have had your thighs melt together from this unholy blaze." I think it might still be a while before I can say that one.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dance vs. Dancer

It's been a relaxing weekend but the hard work is coming up tonight. Every year our bellydance club holds a spring show (one of the largest in the Midwest), and this year I'm in charge of choreographing the intermediate piece for our students. When I have a choreography in my head it always looks impeccable. And for reason the dancers are all the same height with brown hair. Hm. I need to get the Bellydance Superstars out of my head. :) When I see the dance actually done though, I think, "Wow. Performing is hard."

So many dancers start out thinking that dancing is in the moves. Sure, I've seen some dances that have the most amazing feats in the world added in. Full back bends. Flips. Double swords balanced on the head. Swords balanced on the tips of daggers. But the moves are never what makes a performance. I've seen dances with some beautiful choreographies, but the dancers look like they're performing under threat of death. If you've ever been to a beginner hafla, then you know what I'm talking about. They're those expressions that come from a dance leader saying over and over again, "SMILE, LADIES!" The dancers look everywhere from entrants into a Miss America pageant or staunchly staring down the back of the room even though their audience is right in front of them.

For the beginner pieces last year that was fine, but the intermediate piece demands so much more than that. The song we're dancing to is called "The Man Who Drinks". While I don't exactly know the lyrics (they're in Russian), I can tell by the upbeat sound that whichever man is drinking is pretty excited about it. This means that the dancers have to show excitement too. Teaching how to perform excited is very, very difficult. I have no idea how acting coaches do it.

What I do know is that for all the countless times I've screwed up when performing, it's always been my facial expressions that have saved me and kept me in the moment. And even if it was horribly obvious that I was doing something completely different from another performer, the audience looks at my face and sees what I want them to: "Oh! Silly me. Wasn't that cute that I totally planned to mess up!" "Why are you thinking I'm confused? I'm smiling just like nothing is wrong at all! These are not the droids you're looking for!"

I feel like mastering performing comes with time and confidence. Forcing it seems very difficult. But if I even manage to get one of those ladies to smile and straighten up for the whole dance at practice tonight, then I'll be happy. And come the show in a few weeks, I think the audience will be happy too. Well, that is if I can find a gypsy costume that doesn't make us look like happy-go-lucky pirate wenches.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Just to mess with Lilith

That's right. Just try to resist this face. Go on. Try. You can't, can you? You're ordering a bunny off Craigslist as we speak, aren't you? :P

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My body, my castle and a bunny

The odd thing about this blog is that as I started to have less and less time for it, I found I had an increasing amount of time dedicated to my food journal, the gym, bellydancing, work, friends, family, bellydancing again, cooking, and more bellydance. And now that dance is taking over I find myself shifting back toward the virtual community.

If only I could describe my entire life with compared line graphs. I've actually been keeping track of my weight on a daily basis since December 28th (There, now you know what the last two months have all been about. I wasn't kidding when I said I was duking it out with my scale. Incidently, I won and it's been voodoo cursed by way of the dumpster.). While daily weigh-ins seem to be on the list of no-no's for most dieting tips & tricks, I actually find it very helpful when combined with Excel spreadsheets. It means I'm one of very few people I know who can gain a pound and still be happy because my 7-day average weight has decreased.

My January was a fairly productive month. Not too crazy, but not boring. The January line is a nice, healthy, slow decline in weight. February, on the other hand, came with several ten hour work days, incredible amounts of stress, lack of sleep, and bellydance that caused all of it. Needless to say, February looks a little bit like I had multiple seizures and before flat-lining and then remembering I had bellydance practice to get to and jumping back to life again.

Lines aside, though, I'm doing pretty good after all of it and am starting a new graph for March. Meanwhile, I'm still house hunting and trying to keep my apartment in some sort of livable condition until I can mess up a new habitat. The cleaning comes in preparation for a possible fuzzy new member to the family later in April. I've had the idea of a bunny in my head for the last year now. And it really did hop back in there recently when I went to the pet store with my friend only to have her yell, "IT'S SO ADORABLE! LOVE IT! HERE! TAKE IT! LOVE IT OR DIE!" Well, in so many words. I turned to see a fuzz bomb shoved about an inch from my face. I swear, dwarf bunnies should come with a warning label on their butts, "CAUTION: Do not make eye contact. Bunny is extremely fluffy and can cause inadverent widening of pupils, reverse aging to kindergarten, and sudden onset baby talk in otherwise competent adults."

My friends ended up buying her second bunny that day, so I managed to mooch of its cuteness until the urge to suprise my husband with a $40 animal, $100 cage, and $60 worth of food and bedding passed. 

Zeke the hamster is still going strong at almost 2 years old now. Pretty impressive for a dwarf hamster. He's sleeping alot more, but has developed a taste for smoothies. I give it to him right before I put him in the running ball... It's like giving 5 Hour Energy and a hammer to a four year-old.

Here's hoping everyone else has as much energy without the crash. And to those of you exercising your body into submission: keep it up, and seriously, keep a chart. If you're anal retentive it's the most fun you'll ever have since telling the other kindergarteners in your class that they couldn't use your coloring book because they'd color wrong.