Friday, January 18, 2013

The day has come and I have made the time and small financial  investment to overcome a dumb phobia that had always made me feel inadequate. I find my Groupon number and head out to the ol Elk’s Club…or what will now be called Rebekah Club.   I leave the house for the 7.5 mile shortcut to the old building that used to be the 1917 Elk’s Club in sleepy El Segundo. Even Playa was more well lit and exciting as I dutifully took the new the path that my NAV gives me,. I drive through Playa del Rey, past the lonelydark beach and neighborhood  that used to be beautiful homes before LAX and Homeland security closed them off forever.  I see a low lit building that looks kind of like a small town kingdom hall. I walk in to a full room of people, most in couples, a few are standing in line, I follow. So I am in line feeling awkward again and a little lonely. Funny when you are this way, you feel like the whole group is staring. Those in line got name badges and an entry ticket. I smiled awkwardly, and followed instructions. All of us were told to congregate on the dance floor to hear Rusty and Giovanni as they gave a  pep talk.  Surprisingly there was no dance buzz yet, just a lecture starting with a reminder of the season at hand …wash your hands! Don’t sneeze into anything! There is a flu abrew, so dance with caution. There is humor and a serious respect for students.  This is going to be fun. OK, here goes.

In a circle, with noticeably more followers than leaders, I notice the faces. We are all different, all smiling,  The room is full of different ages, shapes and sizes.

We stand in rows for the bare basics. The leaders step counterclockwise and we meet a new partner every 15 seconds…and move to the right
Triple step triple step, roll, roll…open position, closed…my first turns!  I think I do ok if the partner swings me backwards. I need to reverse turn back, not front.

These turns…I lose my step every time…but with repeated practice, I start to get it. My brain is firing up a new set of synapses…there is something more going on mentally and physically. Better yet I feel a different boost, a boost of confidence that makes my smile never quit.
I loosen up a little and try not to stomp
Maybe I am scaring people with the giddy smile on my face. It is almost a look of alarm that they greet me with when we switch partners.

The time is up and we have to wait till next week. Uh, okay, I survived this and it was a lot more fun than I expected.  I am convinced that this is a start of a new relationship in getting to know myself. The class is now documented in a photo…this is the second largest class Rusty has ever had here… 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Conquering the feared dance floor

 How it started

   It's interesting how babies have a natural rhythm. You can even find them dancing by themselves in front of the TV. As much as Papa' sang his 'Wickie Woof' song to me (a variation of Who's Afraid of the Big bad Wolf...but at double speed), all he could get out of me is a tapping foot.This is while my twin brother responded wildly to the music (but hey, he would become a drumming student later, so there went the rhythm).    Square dance graduation in sixth grade....thankfully the year before me was the last one at Van Deene Elementary, so I was spared that humiliating ritual. :-)
Years later came junior high awkwardness. T'is true that at the tender and dorky age of 14, I signed a disclosure to my mom that I would never dance.   Never.  Not after seeing others in junior high make incredible awkward attempts with their partners to either dance disco or new wave. Funny how 3 years later she would pull out that piece of paper as she saw me free-styling to Funkadelic. It is in the blood, I tell you I couldn't help myself.
Enjoyed the dancing of that era because there was no need to touch your partner with Soul Train or Devo style dancing.

I started to Give in...a teeny Bit ...

     I guess I got away with it, except for the few wedding waltzes I was subjected to. Somehow I could fake those, being more concerned with how awful the bridesmaids dresses were and relieved at how during that first dance, the wedding party would usually be joined by the rest of the guests, so nice to hide in the middle of a crowd.


     Since then I have surrounded myself with friends and family and no dancers among them except one delightfully perky friend, waiting for opportunities to swing or salsa...with me hiding out as a self-imposed wallflower.  I had become scared to death of dancing with a partner.  I slowly moved to a group to learn Portuguese in order to expand my volunteer work and the scene changes a bit socially. In this group, there are Salsa-veterans who are also spiritual (as well as spirited).  Many more are talented, skilled dancers of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Me...still frozen to the wall or boogying freestyle at a distance, wishing I wouldn't be so scared of a partner. Friends' weddings came and went...many opportunities missed....but me actually warming up to something new, something else I had begged off... a line dance by Cupid. Oh dear. Maybe this silly dance shows that it is okay to act goofy again, and that it is all in my head. My biggest fear is salsa and swing dancing. I can't even turn or step properly without hitting neighboring dancers. Someone is going to have a swing lesson party at her house.  Dread....I accept the invite, although I will be there, the worse one of the bunch, I think. Then I desperately search the internet for YouTube videos of Fred Astaire and Murray's Dance Party to help....then what do I see...

Wonderful Groupon

    Being ever the extreme cheapskate and the ADD  multi-tasker,  I find something interesting while looking at those impossible Dance videos.  It is something very intriguing. What do I see but a Groupon for a beginner Swing class in El Segundo. Should I get it? Well, I emailed the website and the instructor herself kindly told me about the class, the deal, and the rules. Then she told me that I 'sounded fun'.   Me!?   The geeky Einstein-haired engineer?! Let me sleep on it...

OK, done
     I decided to order a series of 4 classes with Rusty Frank. First class was yesterday. I was so nervous, my stomach ached. I walked in by myself. The majority already looked like experienced hipsters. Here goes be continued tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I am just doing this for fun and maybe less for the exercise. She is a beaut, I must say...glossy black and white...and best of all...PHAT

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

places travelled through and to since early 80's

6 Surprising Toxics Hiding in Your Home

Well, I just slept right through my doctor's appointment thanks t the effectiveness of my over-the-counter medicine.
Did you know that you now have to show your ID to purchase some of these?
Imagine! Not only did I get carded, but carded for NYQUIL!
Made me think of drugs/chemicals we are exposed to daily. I thought this was a good article to warn all of us
regarding seemingly innocent household items.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Avoiding the Spread in 2009

Gone are the days of gowning-up in a bunny-suit in the yellow lab, inhaling the acetone-soaked air through the tight surgical mask. Gone are the beakers full of photo-chemicals that splash an experimental material onto the plastic protection screen. No more running from bay to bay like some space being trying to save the planet. I am now office-bond. A broken foot and a lateral change of job title has placed me in front of a computer screen. I now spend nearly all day trying to assemble or verify circuit design patterns. These are the circuit patterns 'on paper' before they make it on to a real microchip. Using computer assisted design tools, I sit and stare and hours pass while I think...okay this is a beautifully elegant circuit.....but my hips must be expanding by the second! To add to that, I gave myself a compound fracture on a middle toe back in July, keeping me in a plastic boot for 2 months. I have slowly tried to reintroduce the Pilates to the other parts of my body. I am finally back in a normal shoe, ready to make up for lost time. Back to the weekly sessions with Marie and I am walking at least 4 or 5 days a week (since mid-September). I'll need to make a goal of some type to quantitatively measure an improvement. Back to the drawing board till I figure that one out...