I got to dance an entire song with my zouk teacher last night. Unsurprisingly, he’s fantastic, as you’d hope for a teacher. At this point, I’m competent enough that we can actually dance. I don’t need my partner to stick to prescribed moves, I can actually follow. Don’t get me wrong, it all falls apart on occasion, but with a partner who’s better than me, we can actually keep going through an entire song and I don’t do the stumblefuck “oops I’m sorry wah” (much).
I wish I knew how to communicate the pleasure I get from dancing. Being led through the musicality of the track, slowing down and speeding up with the rhythms and bridges and climbs. Being held close and led properly by someone who knows how to dance, no self consciousness, just the sheer joy of movement. I love the smile on my teacher’s faces when I nail something, when I follow a lead correctly or cambre properly or just improvise a shine. I know the glee is written all over mine. And yes, the “hey, fat girl, what are you doing” demons do come out to play occasionally, but you know what? I really doubt I look as ridiculous as I feel.
And I worry that I sound like I’m concealing a sexual interest, when what I want to say is that I love the closeness, the sensuality, of dancing. Trust me, there ain’t none of my dance partners that tickle my fancy, and by now, I’m pretty sure I’d know. Zouk’s not something you dance if you are at all self conscious about your personal space. It requires a lot of contact; it’s led from the chest, the hips, the legs. While T and S were teaching last night, they were sneaking a hand in between bellies, just to make the point that there was NOT supposed to be clearance there.
I wonder why I feel like I have to apologise for enjoying dance? Silly, really. I mean, I’m 28 years old. I should be past the navel gazing and fear that Other People Might Think I’m Silly.
I feel like a mass of contradictions, sometimes. I want to work in IT, but I also like being a homebody who cooks and sews. I want to be a dancer, but I love food, cooking and eating. I like being strong, and being independent, and I want to be at home with my husband, under his protection.
I would like to own a cafe someday. There is a quote from Pratchett that is pretty much the sort of place I’d like to own.
There were plenty of hot-chair eating places like the one Vimes headed for now. It sold plain food for plain men. There wasn’t a menu. You ate what was put in front of you, you ate it quick, and you were glad to get it. If you didn’t like it, there were plenty who did. The dishes had names like Slumgullet, Boiled Eels, Lob Scouse, Wet Nellies, Slumpie and Treacle Billy — good, solid stuff that stuck to the ribs and made it hard to get up out of the seat. They generally had a lot of turnip in, even if they weren’t supposed to.
I’m good at tasty / bulk meals like this, and I’d love a little hole-in-the-wall cafe with bar stools and high benches, a different meal, or maybe two at most, each day. It would have bread rolls and nice solid stoneware dishes and be wildly popular, and a little bit quirky. I would sell jam and sauces and maybe cookies and things to take away for dessert.
Funny thing happened at dance a few weeks ago. In salsa, I spend a lot of time in salsa chanting “1,2,3…5,6,7…” to myself. I’m a musician at heart, so I don’t generally struggle to keep time – I understand what the music is doing. Still, counting under my breath helps me remember what I’m doing right now, especially when learning a new move.
Practicing with a classmate the other week, we were going great guns. After a few double-speed turns, I was running out of breath and gave up the chant, in favour of counting in my head. Suddenly the whole thing fell apart, he lost time, I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, flailwaughstop.
“What happened there?”
“You stopped counting! I was lipreading!”
“I was out of breath, dude! You could… count for yourself?”
“I… I never thought of that.”
Periodically, the company gets reminders from the finance department. It’s X time of year, please remember to do Y, that sort of thing. Usually they’re form emails.
Late last year, someone cocked up. Instead of the usual “dear everyone, please do X, regards, Finance”, we received a little missive from a gentleman to his ladyfriend. He was looking forward to their anniversary, and wished her a very sexy time over the weekend. There were no names, for which we were all thankful.
I’m in the IT department. We all know who was responsible. As such, one of the admins periodically takes delight in asking the author what cost code he should charge sexytimes to…
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I tend to enact them on my birthday, as a date of personal significance that I might actually pay attention to. This is how I started dancing, as a birthday present / promise to myself. That worked well.
This year might just be a little different. I’ve come home from the UK, and having had a break away from home, I’m suddenly fired up with motivation (and more importantly ideas) to get the house Sorted Out. For example, I have realised that the problem in my laundry room is that half the shelves in the closet should be removed. That will allow me to hide the ironing board, mops, etc, and allow access to the boiler. I don’t need all the shelves for the sheets and things, and the spare blankets can go in the closet above the other boiler, where Tobermory has been suggesting I put them for the entirety of the three years we’ve lived here. It is a convenient location for the toilet paper, true, but it would be more useful as a blanket cupboard.
I also went to IKEA, while in the UK, and had some furniture shipped to my inlaws. They’re shipping a load of T’s stuff out to us, and my lovely mother-in-law was happy for me to piggy-back on the crates they’ll be shipping out.
My general plan is to organise one thing a week; that way I might actually stick to Plan 2012: Tidy The Bloody House without getting overwhelmed or bored. There’s crates full of crap in the spare room; when we start feeling guilty about the mess in the house, we’ve been ‘tidying’ by way of piling the mess in a crate and hiding it, which really isn’t the kind of plan that lends itself to the long-term. T & I plan to reorganise one of these crates a week. Most of it can probably be thrown away. At some point, we’ll get to the stage where we can get into the cupboard in the office, and once the cupboard in said office is accessible, we can start putting the piles of paper that float all over the house into the filing cabinet that is presently inaccessible, partly because of the aforementioned piles.
You can see that we have work to do, but we’ll get there if we take it slowly and don’t try and do everything at once. That just leads to getting overwhelmed, giving up, and hiding it all in the closets. Again.
Today, I have cleared one of the sets of drawers in my craft room, and reorganised my shoe cupboard. (Yes, I have an entire cupboard set aside for my shoes, and my car is occasionally referred to as the shoe store by Colitis.)
I have, so far, generated one sack full of trash. I’ve been home two days.
It’s Christmas Eve. Well, technically it’s Christmas, as it’s 02:41 on the 25th. We’ve been in the UK nearly a month, and I don’t know what to say about it.
I miss the cats. Not so much home, but I miss my Tigra girl especially.
We’ve just returned from midnight mass. This is a tradition, kept to by Tobermory’s family every year – midnight mass is Not Optional, it is just what you Do when you are here for Christmas. It was uncomfortable and strange. I’ve become unaccustomed to displays of faith, much less displays of a faith I’m unfamiliar with.
I didn’t realise how dependent I was on knowing the words of hymns. Apparently standing up and singing is somehow ingrained in my soul, because it really shook me when I couldn’t sing along. It’s not even that it’s a faith I share, there’s just some … inherent expectation that I will sing along in church. Not knowing the words really upset me, somehow, and I don’t know why. Well, I knew Silent Night and Come, All Ye Faithful, but the other two hymns/carols I didn’t.
I came home and had a very strong rum and coke. I couldn’t think of a better way to deal with the weird, so I drowned it in alcohol.
I’ve enjoyed the trip, I think. We attended a glorious wedding (T’s best man), and it was wonderful. I even convinced my husband to dance with me during the reception, and he wasn’t drunk.
I miss dancing. I didn’t know how much I enjoyed it until I was removed from it for a month. I miss the sense of accomplishment, the sense of pride in my own body. I need to lose some serious weight. Next year’s goal, maybe. Although everyone I know well over here has asked how much weight I’ve lost. Apparently I’ve either lost or relocated some.
The Christmas tree here is two stories tall. The star kisses the ceiling. It’s not exactly subtle. And the pile of gifts is ridiculous and huge. Excepting the inevitable family drama (it’s Christmas after all) tomorrow (today) should be a good day.
I should really sleep. But my husband isn’t in the room yet, and I can’t drop off without his arms around me.
I have flown very little. The flights between the UK and NZ, and now a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch. Tobermory’s flown all over the world, but I have now done something in a plane that he has not – a very short commercial flight!
Maybe one day I’ll become a jaded traveller. But for now, there’s something awesome about the aircraft speeding down the runway at Auckland airport – the runway heads directly to the ocean. The plane flings itself into the sky just as it looks like you’re going to run out of ground, earth and sea and sky hurtling past you as you climb.
And New Zealand is astonishing to fly over. It’s not the rolling curves or flat desert that I’ve seen flying into other places – it’s harsh, uncompromising angles of mountain thrust into the air, black shadows and snowcaps, treelines and rock.
It’s bleak but beautiful.