In Which The Salsa Girl Gets a Cold


Here we are with a Monday blog. You knew it was going to happen, life always gets away on me eventually, and at least in this case I have an excuse, I mean it’s not really the reason the blog’s late, but it’s an excuse. You see, I’ve been terribly sick this week. As is so often the case, I got entirely too excited about getting back into hot yoga and totally over did it. Someday I will learn to ease into things, but today is not that day.

So here I am full of phlegm, coughing my lungs out and this, this is better! As an added bonus on top of the sinus congestion, sore throat, runny nose, coughing, and general fuzziness of my head that filled most of last week, I also got to suffer from the searing agony of caffeine withdrawal. I was on a steady stream of 24 hour tea, but my stomach couldn’t take coffee and without coffee, my life is just one big migraine. I never fully appreciated the difference between theanine and caffeine until my coffee addiction became a real factor in my physical happiness. And so, after a week of misery I might even be out the other side of the withdrawals. But we’d both be fools if we believed that I’ll actually quit coffee for real.

Now the way I’ve painted this, you might think I spent the week in bed, but if you really believe that, you don’t know me all that well. Obviously, I dragged my complaining body into the office regardless. In my defence, we’re working on a beast of a grant application and I couldn’t really afford to take a day off. So despite the illness, I forged on, inspired by the beautiful sunny bouquet decorating my desk—a one month workiversary gift from my boss.

Unlike a sensible rational being who would have taken her evenings off, I spent my Tuesday night at a very interesting event for women in data science focusing on work culture. Then on Thursday I acquired emergency Malatang (it is the spiciest, most sinus clearing soup ever conceived) before heading off to a marketing workshop at the entrepreneurship institute at NYU. To my endless delight, the half hour meeting started fifteen minutes late and, since I’d scheduled myself as tightly as ever that meant that I only had fifteen minutes to gather advice before fleeing back out into the night. I mean, I understand that things run late, but a little discipline goes a long way.

So there I was, mangled by a cold, irritated by humanity, and on my way to get hair ripped out of my skin. Yes, waxing, booked well before I found myself on death’s door. I was rather dreading it but, as it turned out, if your aesthetician is chatting away at you in rapid-fire Malaysian accented Mandarin, you really don’t feel the waxing much, you do however leave the shop mentally exhausted and very much ready for bed.

By Friday night I was telling myself that I was getting better. I mean I might have been, but I still probably should have spent the night in rather than hopping off to a civic data/programming evening. Despite the congestion and my exhaustion, the energy and the passion of all those activistic folk was rousing and the final speaker (an Obama impersonator) was absolutely class!

Saturday morning I rolled out of bed to plod through my regular weekend chores (room cleaning, grocery buying, and laundry washing) enjoying the warm sunshine-y day at every available instant. Come evening the grant application called, so I put in a few hours before spackling on enough makeup to hide my flu-y breakouts and blotches and heading out to dance. I seriously contemplated staying in, but Griselle was teaching and performing, and it’s a once monthly event so out I went to Salsa Union to dance my face off. I had a fantastic night.

I’ve reached the point where I have a core group of leaders who know me and enjoy me and so I’m guaranteed a few good dances, or in the case of Saturday, lots of good dances. To paraphrase one of those lovely leaders, I may have danced most of the night with only four guys, but it was more like half a dozen and they were very nice. And of course there were the performances, oh the performances! Well most specifically, Griselle’s. The others were fine enough but not overwhelming—one even featured a bit of a nod to the pussy grabber general himself with a very full frontal if somewhat stylized grope, but then there was Griselle. She could just stand there and I’d be in awe. Her body movement and stage presence is so gorgeous; she owns the entire room the moment she steps onto the stage. I might have an epic salsa crush.

Sometime around 2am I was sitting at the side of the floor alternating coughing fits and conversation with a dancer/lawyer extraordinaire when I decided that perhaps it was time to take my asthma home to bed. I rode the elevator down with a couple of other dancers including a “real New Yorker” bachatero who’d taken a shine to my dancing earlier in the night and who, when we stepped out of the building into a swirl of big wet sloppy snowflakes, offered me a lift home. Perhaps it’s foolish, but I tend to trust dancers. I would never get in a vehicle with someone I’d met only a few hours before, but if they’re a dancer? Well I naively tend to assume that the community will hold them to a certain standard of behaviour. I also flatter myself that I am a decent judge of character.

Either way, we wound through the chaos of New York taxis down through Manhattan while my guide pointed out clubs, restaurants, and cafes that all deserve my attention just as soon as I can get to them. And the snow kept coming down.

By morning there wasn’t a speck of white on the ground, but it was still cold and windy and very much on the way to winter. So it wasn’t too great a hardship to spend the morning indoors making bread and working away at the endless grant application. Come afternoon, however, I decided it was time for some culture. Now to give you some background, I’ve been missing CBC something awful. When I was in Ireland I listened RTE, but there’s no equivalent national broadcaster here in the US and NPR just doesn’t do it for me. So I finally sat down and found a news station: 1010 WINS. It’s alright, I mean it’s only news which is not quite what I’m after, but at least it is news, and incidentally information on local events like the Museum of New York City’s “Gotham Grooves”. Free entry and live music? Well sign me right up!


It was around 2:30 when I set off into the gusty, frigid glory of November in New York. The museum itself was interesting if rather full of people like me too cheap to go on a regular day where there’s entry fees, but it was really the music that made it. From acapella groups in the foyer to a band of blind latin musicians playing brilliant salsa in the basement, it was a day of most excellent music. Around 4:30 I was joined by a workmate from Germany, Pia. We geeked out on data together in the Urban Futures Lab and then set off for drinkier pastures at the Carlyle Hotel. Predictably, being me and a German, we were 15 minutes early.

We parked our bottoms in the Bemelman’s Bar which is famous for its murals painted in exchange for accommodation, by the author and illustrator of the famous Madeline series. It’s very pretty and the gold leafed ceiling and live piano music, doesn’t hurt either, but the price of the drinks? Unprecedented. $21 for the cheapest cocktail. It was nice, but good lord I can’t afford that kind of cost on the regular. Either way, we were joined by two radiology specialists and New York Times reporter, so it felt appropriately posh.


After finishing our drinks and an absurd amount of nuts and crackers, we set out in search of food. We found meatballs. Tasty and, for New York, affordable meatballs. And then in another dusting of snow, it was time to head home to bed before Monday could reach us. For my part I nearly got lost in Penn Station before stumbling across a bit of electric inspiration and was very ready for bed by the time I got there.


Verging on cured,
The Salsa Girl


P.S. My sourdough was most amenable this week, so tonight I lie here scribbling and munching on fresh bread and fresh cheese.


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