In Which Pierogi are Pinched and Thanks Given

You know the hazard of a four day weekend can be summed up in the fact that I’ve been having Sunday night anxiety since Friday afternoon. Yes, three delightful days of thinking “Oh gosh, I have to get up for work tomorrow. And be functional! The horror!” Apparently my body is well versed in the 7 day week routine and doesn’t know how to enjoy a rest…unless that rest is three solid days of dance. I’d like to pretend that this will surprise you all, but something tells me that everyone’s only nodding and chuckling quietly to themselves. C’est la vie.

So what did this mad ball of energy and anxiety get up to this week? Well there was a Thanksgiving, and a US Open, and all the good people starting right from Tuesday. Yes, on Tuesday after a long and unexpectedly stressful (thanks emails piped to my phone after hours) workday I bailed on ballet to stay inside with grilled cheese and my LES partner in crime. I’m so grateful for the folks that are willing to patiently listen (or not listen but pretend to do so, I wouldn’t blame them) to my little panics. It was a necessary night in to decompress and attempt to chill. I’d like to think I went into Wednesday all buddha-like and cool, but actually I went into Wednesday with my sights locked on Thursday and all the promised relaxation and recuperation of a four day weekend.

I tumbled headlong through the work day across my chiropractor’s adjusting table and straight into dance. I have post-convention syndrome at present, which is to say that everything feels off and I just don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve a million things I ought to be working on in my dance but mostly I’m working on staying upright and connected. It’s a journey.

Thursday morning, with all the best intentions of having a proper lie in, I found myself unexpectedly awake just after 8am. I guess it’s an hour more than usual. After a few more hours of lying about pretending that I might fall asleep again, I crawled out of bed and headed for Friendsgiving. Yes, after a Canadian Friendsgiving in October, it was now time for an American Friendsgiving, this time with more pierogi! A friend had brought a few pierogi to Canadian Friendsgiving and we all enjoyed them so much that we decided we needed more. Thus, a month and a half later I was in a studio in Chelsea boiling and mashing potatoes while Jennie mixed up the dough and we both drank copious mimosas. Somewhat later, we were joined by a handful of helpers who made quick work of the pierogi pinching (and the rest of the mimosas).

As the afternoon wore on we ate pierogi and pie, drank mulled wine, and watched hours of dance videos. Come the end of the evening as we switched from old recorded videos to live US Open competitions, I found myself snuggled up under the duvet with three of my lovely lady friends watching our friends battle it out on the dance floor in the US Open Jack n Jills. In a break between competition rounds, I finally dragged myself home, crawled under my quilt and resumed watching. It’s a dance event and it’s in California so we will not go into how late I stayed up.

Friday found me rolling out of bed entirely too early once again. I had such great ambitions of compensating for my all night dance watching with a lovely long lie in, but it was not to be. So I made my way into the day and set to work. If I can’t be well rested, I can at least be productive. I cleaned the entire apartment, did laundry, and then got dangerously bored. My boredom dribbled over into tattoo-lust which I decided to redirect into hair dye. A $10 box dye is a much more economical way to satisfy my craving for novelty, so I set off in search of a light cinnamony auburn. Three drug stores later, I conceded that perhaps semi-permanent hair dye has gone entirely out of fashion, and light reddish brown hair is even less in vogue. Undeterred I settled for a demi-permanent dye in “Medium Auburn”.

Triumphantly rinsing the dye out of my hair I found that I had, not auburn, but patchy raspberry coloured locks! Pure panic ensued. Six rounds of shampoo and one hot oil treatment later, I’d toned down the ferociously loud colour a touch and reduced the blatant dapple effect sufficiently to brave the outdoors. I met Mandy at Delancey St. and we headed into Midtown for another night of dance. Perhaps the Ariel hair was magic, but somehow my post-convention awkwardness seemed to have faded and I had a wonderful night of shenanigan filled dances.

After our own dancing adventures, Mandy and I then headed back to mine to catch another night of US Open competitions. We missed the Showcase division but managed to watch the Champions Strictly which ended somewhere around 2:30am. Collapse into unconsciousness came quickly thereafter.

On Saturday I actually almost managed a sleep in! Which is to say that I woke up at my usual hour but then actually managed to fall back asleep until almost 10:30! I was very proud. I had also convinced my brain that it needed some sleep; it was about to have to speak Mandarin. You see, Mandy’s mom is visiting. She doesn’t speak much English, most westies don’t speak much Mandarin, but in theory this crazy dancer does. So I went over to Mandy’s for a wonderful lunch of authentic, homestyle Sichuan food. It was divine! My Mandarin, less so. I keep saying that I need to practice, and I really do need to practice, but it’s so hard when it’s not mandatory and when it makes me feel so foolish and awkward. I need to put myself into a position where I’ve no choice but to stumble through the blows to my ego and I know it will come back, but until then I will continue to fumble awkwardly through my occasional encounters and sigh volubly as I reminisce about the good old days in Shanghai where I was significantly more verbal than I seem to have become now.

I had considered topping off my Saturday with a journey back to salsa land but the Saturday party was significantly more expensive than usual for very little compelling reason, so I set off to the Met instead. It’s been a while and I’ve been meaning to do so at 5pm on a Saturday I arrived to climb through the tourists and make my way to the bamboo art exhibition up on the 3rd floor in Asian Art. It was stunning! From beautifully intricate basketry to bold swirling geometric sculptures and wildly textured wall hangings, the aesthetic was at once intricate and simple, elegant and natural, and profoundly Japanese. I had no idea that such a beautiful art form even existed, let alone that it would affect me so deeply.

Having spent about an hour and a half in the bamboo display, I then wandered to 18th and 19th century pictures hoping to spend my usual quiet moment or two with Seurat and Degas. I was not to be. The galleries were full of noise and chaos and so I cruised by quickly, just long enough to get a glance, and headed back out into the night. When I got home, predictably enough, I turned on the livestream and spent the rest of my night watching the most impressive US Open Classic division I have ever seen. It was breathtaking!

The following morning, I dragged my sleep deprived self out of bed and decided to tackle the rescue of my blotchy locks. It’s better now but still not perfectly even. Amusingly, my coworkers were impressed by its apparent shine and evenness when I hit the office this morning, but that’s another thing entirely.

With my shiny new bright red hair, I took a walk through the East Village in search of sunshine, fresh air, and box soup. Yup, it’s winter, I’m busy, and the answer is always box soup. If I had time and motivation I would make my own soup, but rather lacking both, I’m funnelling my money into Trader Joes and the dividends are box soup.

Equipped with sustenance and eggnog, I headed back home to settle in for the last day of the US Open. I watched Rising Star before smearing on some make up and heading to salsa. Yes, salsa. I haven’t forgotten it, only gotten busy and distracted. I was a little nervous that I might be rusty, but with contacts in and salsa shoes on, it all came back instantly, so much so that I ended up winded in no time. The trouble with salsa is that if you show that you can spin, you’re unlikely to do much else and if you happen to keep up with one skilled leader, there’s a good chance that at least a few others will turn up to test your mettle and/or just show off. Westie and yoga make me strong, but they have not kept up my cardio. Good heavens! After one particularly powered up dance I felt nearly faint! I think I need to make a point of getting back out to salsa at least once a week, if only for the sake of my heart.

Once thoroughly soaked in sweat, I left the salsa party and made my way down one street and two avenues over to the final watch party of the weekend. Many of the attendees had not been watching all weekend and so were seeing all the routines for the first time at the watch party as we waited for awards, but as for those of us who’d been glued to our screens all weekend, we finally had a sounding board for all of our opinions and sass. It was quite the kitchen party and blended perfectly into the running commentary that accompanied the eventual announcement of the awards. Suffice to say, I am full of opinions and they do not necessarily always align with the judges.

This morning, after four days of not worrying about work, I finally had to face my inbox, but not before I tackled the unexpected challenge of getting into the office. I arrived at the building at my normal time, wandered over to the security gates, sunk a wandering paw into my purse, and came up empty. My id card was nowhere to be found! Fortunately the security guard recognized me and allowed me in. When I reached my floor, I then had to ask the only other person in the office before 8am to come let me in, at which point I finally found my id cards. On my desk. Helpful, right? I guess Wednesday me did not want Thursday, Friday, or even Saturday and Sunday me to have any ability to cave and go to the office. My crammed inbox had other opinions which it expressed loudly as soon as I turned on my computer.

After work I tucked into some North Dumplings and sesame pancakes before making my way to my beloved yoga class to stretch out the effects of a day at the office. It was an excellent class but somehow it seemed shorter than usual. Could it be that I am becoming ever so slightly more competent, that the asanas are actually getting so manageable that time flies? Realistically I was probably just giving in to my monkey mind and missing the mindfulness. Fortunately my shoulders and core don’t care what happens inside my head so long as they get the workout.

The world rewarded me making it through Monday with wine and conversation. I’m not sure I’m ready for a five day work week but if the good company and wine continues, I think I might just make it through.

Diving back into the work week,
The Salsa Girl


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