a list of updates

Performance updates:

I have multiple performances coming up!

First, a Charleston piece with the Atlanta Jazz Dance Preservation Society — I’ll be performing as a “chicken,” as we girls in the chorus line have been dubbed. This piece has been challenging me for two reasons: first, I don’t have the time for the rehearsal schedule, and second, I have never tried very hard to master the “twisty” charleston. But that aside, the practices are going well.

Second, a lindy piece with the Flying Biscuits! We’re performing at KLX (16 Oct), Hotjam (1 Nov), and Georgia Tech (6 Nov). I’m especially excited that we’re performing this piece more than once, as it will give us an opportunity to settle into it and really refine our performance!

Life updates:

I’ve been super busy between work, school, and dancing…but in a (mostly) good way. Some things that have happened…

  • Attended Martini’s and Imax at Fernbank for the first time in ages — and it was a blast!
  • Hotjam last night was fantastic! I must have danced five times (or more?) with Peter, and another 3 or 4 times with Terrace, and then more than I can count with people I didn’t even know. I wish I could captivate in words the movement of one of the beginning dancers I danced with…we’ll go with “wiggles,” but the simplicity of that move does not capture the appearance of extra joins in this man’s body.
  • One paper down, one to go in my classes. Actually, that’s my next goal for tonight.

And a really important one:

  • Had a good conversation with Jared, which seems to have resolved a great amount of awkward tension between us…honestly, this was a huge relief. I have a lot to process, but I’m considerably more…I don’t know. Relieved? Relaxed? Happy? I just feel better in general. Also, I had a fantastic dance with him — and that was just added all the more greatness to my night at Hotjam.

Blog updates:

I think I’ve finally figured out Summary v. Excerpt, making my posts appear as I would prefer both on the website and in Google Reader. My next project for the blog is to find a picture I truly like which expresses my view of this blog (my movement, and the way the world moves me). With that may come a revision of the blog’s layout…but that’s on down the line.

Advertisements

challege: to drink water?

Impending Challenge:

Drink only water for one week..?! This will be…hard. Today, for example, I’ve had milk, a coke, and one of those vitamin waters which taste so good (Dragonfruit, I think?). So tomorrow, I start this challenge. I’ll update the Challenges Page with the following information, but here’s what I’m thinking.

Purpose: To be healthier! Also, to become more secure in the elimination of coke from my diet, and to maybe cement that into my being.

Challenge: I’m pretty limited in my drinks of choice, but I really like those drinks — coke, milk, orange juice, vitamin water…just regular, plain H2O is on that list, but it’s pretty low. Especially in restaurants, where all I want is to avoid tap water.

Proposed dates: 29 September 2010 – 5 October 2010.

Goodbye, Coca-Cola. Hello H2O.

a challenge in which there are a lot of pictures

I was supposed to take a photo a day…but it really turned into two or three photos a day. I’ll try to keep it short…but honestly, there’s just a lot of photos, so it shouldn’t be bad.

September 20:

Broken water bottle = sadness.

September 21:

Playing with the different settings on my camera!

September 22:

Black and white setting!

September 23:

Pretty rose bush outside my house! It’s hard to focus the camera on close pictures, though.

September 24th:

Happy recently married couple!

September 25th:

Does anyone else notice the creepy blue light? There is no creepy blue light if you just look at the wall with straight-up, joe-schmo, unaltered vision…but take a picture and it appears. It honestly creeps me out. I have no idea where it comes from. I noticed it first when playing with the contrast / saturation, but then took a normal picture…and it was still there. CREEEEEPY.

September 26th:

New water bottle! Happiness!

All right. So that’s seven days. I don’t know why I thought I was supposed to go until the 27th this week, but that’s a week of challenges right there. Some thoughts:

Pros: Lots of fun to take pictures! I enjoyed getting to explore the settings on my camera.

Cons: Drains my battery. But really, who cares? That’s why I have a traveling charger.

Conclusion: I give myself a 10/10 for success. I mean…not like it was a challenging one, right?

professionalism

Over the last week, I’ve been trying really hard to maintain my professionalism. I’ve never really thought about it much in the past — at least, not past being pleasant, on time, and doing my job. But I think there’s a bit more to professionalism than smiling at work.

The hardest thing I’m dealing with right now is being tired. I am tired all the time — it comes from working a 40 hour work week, being full-time enrolled in classes, and preparing for two consecutive performances. I try really hard to get eight hours of sleep a night, but that only works maybe three nights a week if I’m lucky. I get up at 7am to be at work by 8:30, and then school until about three and then more work until about eight. And by the time it’s 8pm, I’ve already been working / in class for 12 hours, but I still have performance practice or more work or babysitting. By the time I get home, Heather can tell you, I’m easily irritated and absurdly exhausted.

Maintaining professionalism at practice with DSS and Biscuits is the hardest. By that time, I’ve already had a full day of class and work — and because both practices are on Thursday, I’ve had almost a full week of class, work, and a distinct lack of sleep. I tend to be tired, and have a hard time finding the energy to practice the way I should be practicing. I have a hard time getting some moves, and I get easily frustrated with simple things I just can’t nail the first time.

It needs to stop. I need to be professional. Even when my day has been absurdly long, I need to go to practice as if I were performing tomorrow.

Just a thought.

seven days of pb&j

Tomorrow, I technically finish my most recent seven days food challenge: Bring Your Lunch to School. However, Friday was yesterday and I have no reason to eat out today or tomorrow, so I figured I’d go ahead and write about it. All in all, it was a success!

Pros:

– Cheap! This week, I used what I had lying around the house: a loaf of bread, peanut butter, Rice Krispies treats, some cookies, and some packaged drinks (I already had homemade jelly, which obviously didn’t cost me anything). This meant my food cost about $20 for the week, which boils down to about $4 a day. Tonight, I go shopping for more, with the aim of finding healthier snacks (carrots, etc.) and keeping track of exactly how much I spend.

– No lines! Cox Hall (our pseudo-mall-food-court) is absurdly busy at the lunch hour, and bringing lunch allows me to skip lines and just enjoy a peaceful meal. I’ve been eating outdoors, too, which is nice.

Cons:

– My backpack smells like peanut butter. No, really, it does. Every time I open it, I get this waft of air which smells vaguely like my lunchbox from when I was eight. I’ve always actually found that smell slightly nauseating — something about cafeterias and food which isn’t quite fresh just…well, it’s not very appetizing.

– When I get home at 12:30 (which happens at least twice a week), it’s really hard to tell myself to stay up another ten minutes to wash all my plastic containers and make my sandwich for the next day. I mean really, really hard.

– I actually have to bring a backpack, whereas I was able to get away with just my purse before. A small inconvenience, but still annoying.

The Conclusion:

Definitely cost efficient. I spent maybe $4 a day for lunch this week (and that estimate is very high), whereas I would normally spend $7 – 10 a day. That’s quite a bit of savings, especially for a student trying to save up.

I need healthier food: veggies, fruits, yogurt. It needs to happen. Also, I need meat somehow — whether I get it at dinner or whatever, it needs to happen, because it didn’t happen this week and I can’t tell you how badly I want a steak right now…which is counter-productive for that whole saving money thing.

So, I give myself an 9/10 on success for this. If I’d had some healthier food packed, it would be a 10/10, but eating a pb&j and some sugar every day does not count. Granted, it’s probably better than grease and fat, like I would get at Cox Hall…but it could stand to be better. I will most definitely be continuing this.

UPDATE: It cost me just over $12 to buy food for the upcoming week. Of course, I didn’t have to buy peanut butter or jelly, and I bought more fruit / veggies which are cheaper…but woah! Didn’t expect it to be so low! Approval!

***

On another note, I’ll probably have to jumpstart drinking no coke again with another week-long abstinence. I was trying to be “good” and only have it when I was having absurdly long days (i.e., going from seven in the morning until one in the morning on only 5 hours of sleep), but I fell into the habit of one every day for the past four days. Still better than two weeks ago, but I want it to be more along the lines of one a week.

personal space

When I was younger, I had absolutely none. I went to a school which practically had no personal space as  a whole — we all hugged and hung on each other all the time, every day. To me, it was normal.

Then I came to Emory. And I’ll be honest — the average person’s personal space was so big it was a culture shock. I was even snapped at once when I went to automatically hug a friend (Tonia, I love you!). And it was a reality check, because most people in the world did not grow up in such a close, touchy-feely community, and I had to adapt to such a reality.

Three times in the past week, I’ve snapped at someone who touched me without some vague semblance of my invitation. At Flying Biscuits, a lead who I dance with every week went for a hug, and I backed off. While I was at work, a boy went to poke my stomach, and I snapped at him. And then the same boy’s twin brother, a day later, snuck up behind me and poked me in the side. Let me tell you, I whipped around and laid into him. I snapped so loudly and so angrily that patrons were staring (oops) and that I am sure he will never ever poke me in the sides again.

Dancing, of course, is a bit more touchy feely than most communities — we hug and hang on each other at exchanges. But for me, it’s changed. I only really hug and hang on with whom I’m close. People whom I talk to almost every day, even if I only see them once every three months. People with whom I’ve shared a special dance weekend with, or had a heart-to-heart felt moment with. But then, if you’re in that category, I’ll be as touchy-feely as if I were back at Rabun Gap, and hanging and hugging and cuddling is all good.

I just…if you’re allowed in my personal space, it’s because you’re honestly special to me. It was a hard lesson to learn at first, but I’m glad now…because now, it’s important to me, too.

i can…teach?

Today, I taught Emory Swing Club’s “Swinging Six Count Workshop” with Robert. It was…a blast. And a little bit of a clusterfuck, but mostly a blast.

When we started thinking up the moves we would teach, we wanted to emphasize two things: technique, and having fun. So we knew we would cover the basics, but then we also figured we’d teach a couple really fun, different moves which could be changed up and varied.

The crowd was great! About 10 couples in total, and a good mix of Emory students and community members. The group, on the other hand, was a little more beginner-oriented than we’d planned for, but that just meant we taught fewer moves and focused more on the technique of compression and release, of triple steps and pulsing, and of actually leading a rock step (I swear: the light bulb went off above the head of at least three leads). So, with the first hour over, we moved on to cool moves…but we’d spent so much time on technique, that we had to move a little more quickly.

The moves we taught were:

  • Send out with a forward rockstep for the leads
  • Sugar push
  • Side pass without a hand and switching hands at the end
  • Washing machine — emphasizing not the taps, but having fun (rotation, up/down movement, look like monkeys)
  • Accented triple steps (moving your upper body up and down, hallelujah!)
  • Kick-ball-change, Eagle Slide
  • Tuck turn into linked arms, walk off

It was a lot of fun. We probably should have taught these moves as a sequence and then kept up with the sequence, but we were trying to move quickly through all the moves so that we could get to the end. The result of not reviewing the sequence after every one or two moves was that when we tried doing it as a sequence, we pretty much failed…but they were still all doing the moves, and they were definitely enjoying themselves.

Their favorite move was, by far and away, the Eagle Slide — and honestly, it was a little advanced for most of the people there…but they really, honestly enjoyed it, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t give them a move to work hard for. Also, it satisfied a few of the more advanced leads who had attended the workshop since we’d advertised such awesomely fun moves.

In the future, I’d love to do an “advanced” six count workshop and teach something like Running Man (and teach the Eagle Slide again), because I love some of the more interesting, entertaining six count moves. But I think it would be hard, because anything that says “six count” attracts the beginners and deters the advanced. Still, it would be fun!