In Which Christmas Looms

It’s been one heck of an autumn. I don’t think I’ve stopped moving for more than a moment or two since the summer. It’s just been a constant rush from grants to papers to visitors to dance, and then, all of a sudden, we’re a week from Christmas and I’ve no idea how we got here. By some insane fluke, I’ve managed to get all my Christmas cards out and the very very few gifts that actually needed to look after bought and sent. So really all that remains is the panicked downhill slide to the holiday break as I try desperately to wrap up my to-do list before the university closes for Christmas. This week promises to be a joy. But before I leap onto the holiday slip and slide, let me roll back to last week’s Christmas parties, dancing, and other forms of chaos.

Despite the fact that Tuesday is entirely too early in the week for a Christmas Party, Tuesday afternoon saw half the office schlepping across the street to the Tandon Holiday Party. It’s one heck of a party. There’s a free bar and fancy backdrops, mood lighting, a dance floor, DJs, and tons of amazing food. Oh and there was a chocolate fountain this year too. We wandered around stuffing our faces for about an hour before trouping back to the office to wrap up a few more things before slipping out for the day. I escaped via the post office where I discovered that they no longer sell international stamps at the Brooklyn Heights USPS outlet. Bonus points: not only do they not sell international stamps, but when you buy your custom postage from the beastly machine, it will only print 5 labels at a time. We will not discuss the ridiculous number of USPS entries on my bank statement this month.

Once I’d posted my Christmas cards I headed up to the Financial District for Data Driven NYC. Data Driven used to be hosted at Bloomberg up on Lex, but it recently moved down to Moody’s and this was my first time attending it at the new venue. The pizza and drinks were as good as ever, but I have to admit that the sound system was a bit of a head wreck for me. You know how normally speakers at talks are located at the edges of the room and so the sound has a directionality and loudness that makes sense? Well not at Moody’s. At moody’s the ceiling is studded with small circular speakers each of which emits a suspiciously muted tone as if the presenter were standing just next to you, speaking softly. I found it decidedly unnerving which rather distracted me from the content. Being exhausted didn’t help either.

Wednesday was a much lower key day with the standard round of work, chiropractics, and eventually westie at the inimitable Westie Cafe. I would like to say that I went to bed early to address the whole sleepiness thing, but we all know that’s a lie.

The following day, it was back into the Christmas party fray with the official office Holiday Party. Our usual party animals were at a conference so it was a rather mellow event but there was plenty of food and some very pleasant conversation and nary a drop of my coquito left by the end of the night. Immediately afterwards, I hopped on a 2 train to the Brooklyn Museum for a spot of salsa. As I climbed up the stairs from the subway, I was met by a massive blowup statue of Trump. To say it was an unflattering depiction would be a spectacular understatement. I expect that its replacement by a police car within a matter of hours might have been related to the very nature of that depiction.

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Inside the museum, I found a number of the usual suspects as well as a very unanticipated Vancouverite! It’s such fun when an unexpected salsero mambos into one’s midst! I also had a lovely encounter with this older lady who seems to drop into my existence every time I dance in Brooklyn. She’s endearingly fond of my dancing but always appears, compliments, and disappears so quickly that I don’t even know her name. I am grateful regardless. Sometime later a westie friend who also leans towards salsa showed up and we had a few dances before it was time for me to head home. Because I am such a clever bunny, I realized I’d forgotten my shoe bag just as the doors of the subway were closing. I probably could have texted my friend and asked him to grab them for me, but that shoe bag contained not only my favourite salsa shoes, but also my shoe glue, my scissors, and my shoe brush, and what if he didn’t check his phone! So back I went, slipping through the doors just as the music ended and scooping up my shoes before bounding back out into the night. From there, I decided that a girl who couldn’t even remember to grab her shoe bag was probably too tired for more shenanigans so I hauled myself home and plopped directly into bed.

To call Friday a chaotic work day would be very generous. I think I would probably use the word insane. But regardless, by the time 4:30 came around I was wombling out into the world hoping against hope that my brain would consent to a wee nap before the night’s dance adventures. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.

Fortunately, despite the lack of nap, I managed to gather the energy to head out into the snow to Friday night westie at Dardo Galletto. Dardo Galletto is right near Times Square so getting there without ending up hypertensive was a very delicate operation involving careful train selection and lots of side streets. It was a bit of a quiet night on account of the snow but we had plenty of fun regardless. When it came time for the nightly dance competition, as the only two people neither competing nor judging, Patrick and I had great fun sitting cross legged on the floor screaming our lungs out for each of the competitors. We also got into all manner of shenanigans doing contemporary at the side of the floor and diving into some well and truly crazy adventures in dancing with more than the usual number of partners. It was an altogether entertaining evening which I ended with two, yes TWO, train buddies on my way back to the LES, and two, yes TWO, slices of Williamsburg pizza to keep me company on the way back to my apartment. The hedonist was happy.

Saturday saw me up unaccountably early to head into Midtown to practice with the other Patrick. Two hours of dance and critique later, I wandered home to watch the World Latin Dance Cup and procrastinate on doing my laundry. The laundry did eventually get done but only because I was almost entirely out of socks. I will admit that I nearly skipped laundry and went to the dollar store instead but I decided to adult and clean the socks that I already own.

Come evening, I trouped back into Midtown for dinner followed by tea and all the chats with a few friends in K-town. Though we had some ordering challenges, the kimchi pancake was pure heaven and the bon chon was tops. I had no complaints but my dining partners both ended up with something very different from what they had expected. Sometime much later than planned, I was back at home kneading my sourdough into submission before chucking it into the fridge until morning. Yes, I messed up the feeding schedule so there I was making dough in the middle of the night so the poor thing wouldn’t disown me entirely. I never claimed my personal life was well organized.

I started my Sunday morning with the intoxicating scent of baking bread and would nearly have forgiven myself my ill advised bread making schedule had it not been for the incredible exhaustion that would dog me for the rest of the day. While the bread baked, I tidied the flat a bit, rested, read, and pretended that I had nothing else I ought to be doing. Once the bread came out of the oven, I headed towards Ailey. Last week you may recall I ended up skidding into class late after some not entirely unpredictable train troubles, so I decided to go early. It was probably a good idea overall but it did facilitate my indulging a certain sweet tooth which said “hell yes!” to a latte and a guava pasty on my way to the studio.

The class itself was a bit of an adventure. The usual instructor was out so we had a different fellow leading us. He was a spectacular mover and a very interesting choreographer but nothing about that combo made sense to my silly body. There was a bit more weirdness and a lot more rhythmic bounce and my body was baffled. Just as soon as I got any sort of a handle on the moves, my timing went to pot. I can only assume that this means it was very good for me. I have decided to run on the theory that the instant a dance class feels too comfortable, you’re probably not learning anymore so being thrown into the deep end of discomfort is probably a very good thing.

After dance, our slowly expanding posse (we now number three) made another pilgrimage to Bolivian heaven riding on salteñas and a new delight: cuñapes. Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe.

And then, because I live such an exciting life, I went home to rest. I was in bed by 8pm and plagued by bizarre dreams and frequent waking until 6:45am, so good and bad. I feel utterly betrayed by how exhausted I am today, though!

As for today? Well I made it home from the office and sat down diligently to write because I’ve a dinner in Greenpoint tonight! My first adventure to Greenpoint and for an excellent friend’s birthday. My only complaint is the unavoidability of busses on the journey there. I’m turning into such a transit snob. But you’ll forgive me, right?

Slouching toward Christmas,
The Salsa Girl

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