In Which Things Get Blizzardy

So here’s the thing guys, I had a long, frigid day followed by some standard issue MTA delays in the icebox that is Bergen St, so I might just be curled up in bed watching dance videos that maybe might be a tiny bit distracting. Consider it a sign of how much I like you all that I’m even attempting the weekly scribble tonight.

In spite of how cold my day was, I am now deliciously toasty in my cozy apartment after an inordinate amount of squats and leg lifts. Yup, it’s that time of the year again. I’m breaking up with high fat, stomach churning dairy products and getting it on with two of the myriad new year new you exercise initiatives that have sprung up all over the internet. I don’t waste my money or frustrate myself with gym memberships, but when it comes to virtuous masochism for free.99, I’m so on board. So I’m doing a daily core challenge and a daily butt challenge. In theory I’m also stretching towards splits but they are so very far away that it’s proven nearly impossible to talk myself into the agony that lies between now and them. And yes, I did start this all two days late, don’t judge me. I was swungover. On the topic of which, we probably ought to wander back to Wednesday and talk about all the shenanigans that have kept me busy since.

Wednesday was that soul crushing day known as “the first day back at work after Christmas.” It’s never a great day but I think I was extra bitter on account of having papered during my precious break and so I worked and sulked and worked and sulked. It would all be so much better if there was coffee in the office but since there’s not, my options are limited to intravenous tea, caffeine headaches, or sacrificing half my paycheque to the Starbucks gods. I’ve never felt like quite so much of an addict but on the plus side, I begin to understand the criticality of smoke breaks for those of a nicotine persuasion.

Once out of the office, it was time to drop some documents at my boss’s house, say hi to her adorable dogs, and get my crippled spine to the chiropractor. I do so love the feeling of release that follows the corporeal percussion of an adjustment. Alas, no amount of snap crackle pop could save me from the after effects of not only watching my dance videos but also taking a fairly full on private lesson. The girl that made her way to Westie Cafe last Wednesday was a broken westie of the overthinking kind. It’s got to be the hardest part of dance because no matter how on board your brain is, your muscle memory just will not oblige and, at least initially, the correction always feels icky to the nth degree. And should you happen to be a sensitive little flower like a certain someone we know, that icky is likely to translate into the worst sort of ill humour tinged with mild to moderate aversion. So we’re doing lots of home practice and hoping for the best. Keep your fingers crossed for me at Freedom this coming weekend.

And then it was Thursday, and as if the world knew I wasn’t quite ready to adult just yet, it was a that most blessed of days, a snow day! I used to use snow days as intended (for snuggling up indulgently under my quilt with hot beverages all day) but work won’t do itself so I spent this snow day under my quilt with a steady stream of hot cocoa and my work laptop. Let’s not talk about it, k? Instead, let’s talk about the wind! It was wild! We got about six inches of snow which my Canadian brain is not the slightest bit impressed by, but then we got the wind and six inches of snow swiftly turned into white out conditions accompanied by that oh so characteristic blizzard howl. Not having to go out into it at all, I enjoyed the drama of the weather immensely, but I would have vastly different opinions if I’d had to shovel, or even just go outside.

Tragically, our pretty little blizzard was apparently just a harbinger of real winter because by Friday morning we were well and truly into a deep freeze that has declined to let up since. In theory, 17 years of Fort St John winters should have made me immune to this, but after a nearly a decade in profoundly temperate places, I’ve turned into a terrible wuss without any real winter clothing. Am I even a real Canadian anymore? Either way, my hibernating instincts are still in good trim as, almost immediately after I got home from work, I collapsed into an accidental nap that carried me right up until salsa time. Yes, the salsa girl finally got herself back out to salsa.

It’s hard to balance dance loyalties but I was missing my salsa self so I slicked on the makeup and headed out to Candela. I guess salsa hasn’t appreciated my abandonment because, like a cantankerous cat, it bit back. Yes, walking to the floor for my first dance of the night, I was blessed by an encounter with that most spectacular bit of salsa stabby: the stiletto heel. A nice red scrape opened up so cutely on the tender side bit of my foot and then I guess we were good again because salsa let me alone and served up a fairly standard night with a very nice bachata tucked in the middle. And then I braved the madness of weekend MTA and collapsed into bed around the 2am mark.

Saturday morning saw me up suspiciously early, up to my elbows in flour. I so love my sourdough, even when it wakes me up at way-too-early-am. Between rounds of folding, I cleaned the apartment and came to terms with being awake so that once 10:30 rolled around I was ready to face the cold and head uptown for coffee with a nomadic friend of the swing dancing and bee keeping extraction. We grabbed a coffee at the mundanely named “Little Collins.” It had a very good rating on Google Maps so I decided to give it a try and we were not to be disappointed! From the accented baristas to the perfectly divine coffee, I’d say Australia represented itself most admirably in that little coffee shop.

Rather later, after baking bread and lazing about, it was time to get myself to Gotham. Gotham is New York’s monthly west coast swing dance and I am very loyal to it, but alas this month I was still very much a broken westie. I was in full on internal sulk as everything felt weird and wrong and then Patrick saved me from myself with a most excellent dance featuring a downright silly number of successful one-foot turns in a row. The poor man has to be on his very tip toes to get above me but he does it so well I would never know and remains one of the best darn turn leads around. And thus I survived until the last song sent me roaming out into the night to do battle with the MTA again. They’ve rerouted both of my main trains for weekends in January which means that I’m now getting to hate all sorts of exciting trains that I never used to ride!

The next morning I rolled out of bed and headed out to find some groceries to keep my fridge from looking quite so empty and sad. I usually buy my groceries at a hispanic stall in Essex Market and regularly play the game where they tell me the price in Spanish and I say “on Mastercard” in English and everyone understands but no one has to speak their second language, but this was to be much more full on. It was not one of the usual female cashiers, no it was a friendly fella of the “charming” variety and he was not content to scan my groceries in silence. Apparently my halting Spanish explanation of how bad my Spanish is, was far preferable. These things are good for me right? And besides, apparently I’m evidence that pretty girls are smart too. Let’s not go there today.

After filling my vegetable crisper, I headed into Midtown an hour earlier than entirely necessary because I have trust issues with trains and I love Tisserie. It’s a lovely little cafe I’ve found only one a few blocks from Ailey which makes good chai lattes and divine guava pastry. I justify the indulgence by the hour and a half of studio time that always follows it. Plus it’s a great spot to just sit and read for awhile.

Once I got to contemporary, I more than worked it off with another fantastic combo from Chris Jackson. I love his class so much it’s enough to just be there, but this time was extra special. Firstly, our crew of two westies grew to six and then Chris gave me a nod in the foot technique section! Me! With my ugly feet that do not point worth a damn! And I got a nod! And as if that wasn’t enough, I even stuck some double pirouettes! Seriously, the studio gods were smiling on me that day.

After dance we headed to our usual Bolivian haunt for a snack before three of our posse headed home and the remaining three braved Times Square for the shopping. The trouble with dance events is that you need clothing for them and I mean, I do need to do laundry, but I also need to not wear the same shirt for competition for a fourth event in a row. Fortunately, I’m not alone in this so we all wandered together to buy basically disposable clothing for as few dollars as possible. Yeah, you can judge us.

And then it was time to schlep to Harlem for a critique session. We settled in before the big screen, steeled our egos for the task, and skyped in Mandy. It’s at once very VERY good and very VERY scary to have your friends critique your dancing, and it’s even more frightening to critique theirs. But somehow we’ve now managed to pull it off twice with very positive results. We don’t hate each other, and we’ve all learned things so it seems to be working. Besides which, it’s so nice to reunite our dancer crew even if only for a few hours over Skype. I will blame the train journey +15minute walk home for the fact that I didn’t get to sleep until after midnight which is my excuse for how tired I was today, though I could probably equally blame my hibernation instinct.

The office was frigid! And without a steady stream of easily accessible coffee, I ended up bundled up in a sweater, scarf, and blanket, and I still wasn’t warm. I have to give my body credit though, it’s a practical creature and its answer to eight hours of freezing was: sleep? Sleep would be nice and it would help us conserve energy! I only wish I could have listened.

When I left the office, it was time to head down to READ718 for the new term of literacy tutoring. I’m working with a new student and he’s such a sweetheart but the list of challenges is long and my goodness, all I can say is that I must have done alright last term. New years resolution: lean into the challenges and channel Georgia.

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” -Georgia O’Keeffe

The Salsa Girl



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