Danseur Ignoble: It Helps If You Can Breathe

12:15 class today with Ms. T. I haven’t done her class in ages (Claire used to teach the noon class on Saturday), so it was a new experience. I also haven’t done the 12:15 Saturday class in over a month, so that was cool.

While the 12:15 class is billed as a beginner class, like most it gets adjusted based on who shows up; today, we skewed towards the intermediate level, particularly at the barre/

I’d say that our work at center and across the floor was more advanced-beginnery — which is to say that we didn’t do 360-degree promenades in attitude or arabesque, anything with pas de Basque or balanceé as linking steps (you guys, I absolutely and irrationally love pas de Basque; it’s one of those steps that just feels like dancing), or any combinations with different flavors of turns.

Anyway, I forgot to tape my toes and forgot to take my nasal spray. The latter of these was the worse oversight: my nasal spray keeps my whole nosapharynx open, and my allergies are on high alert today, so breathing became a challenge towards the end.

Barre was iffy at first (my plies felt inelastic, and it took me a while to get my head in the game), but the last half of barre was pretty good, and I felt pretty solid at center and going across the floor.

We did some nice adagio at center (with promenades at passé, which are comfortingly easy at this point) and then a really pretty traveling combo in waltz time that went:

Prepare (B+, port des bras);

Pas de bourré
Plie fourth;

(Long) Passe balance
Tendu back;

Pas de bourré
Plie fourth;

Single (slow) turn en dedans
Tendu back;

Pas de bourré
Plie fourth;

Double turn en dedans (or triple if you were that one guy with the awesome turns);

Soutenu turn to fifth

Chassee to 1st arabesque en releve
(Faille implied.) Run away!

I wanted to say that the tempo was fairly moderate, so there was lots of room for expression, but when I tap it out on my mobile metronome it’s about 130 BPM, which is squarely allegro.

Maybe it felt slow and easy because we did a really fast grand allegro combo on Wednesday. I mean, like, we ran it first at a tempo that was also squarely allegro, and then at about twice that speed. Woof.

Anyway, today it felt like we had plenty of time and room going across the floor and weren’t rushing to get from one step to the next.

I was on the rear point of a triangle with its front line made up of two people who were shorter than I am, so I kept having to moderate my travel so as not to gallomph into them or become unsynchronized. That’s a useful exercise, though, as being able to maintain spacing in a squadron of differently-sized dancers is an essential skill.

That said, triangles usually go point-first in ballet, don’t they?

I got through the first set of little jumps before my toe started to feel iffy. I skipped the second set, which made me sad — dangit, I wanted to do entrechats! I also skipped grand allegro today, just in case.

Not being able to breathe very well didn’t help. Everything feels about twice as difficult when your air intake is clogged.

It’s mostly, I think, that when you get even a little winded, it’s hard to get enough air to recover properly.

Instead of getting a little winded, recovering, getting a little winded again, and recovering again (which is a normal pattern during certain parts of class), you get a little winded, get more winded, then get even more winded. By the time you make it to the end of the first set of little jumps, you sound like a freight train and feel like your head and/or heart are going to explode.

That said, it’s not like this is a new thing for me. I have had nasopharyngeal issues as far back as I can remember — I’m just usually better at making sure I’ve dealt with them before class.

So, yeah. Nice reminder today about why I take my nasal spray before class.

I think next week I’ll swing for all three intermediate classes (M,W,F) and the 12:15 class on Saturday, which Brienne is teaching, though I may do evening class on Monday (Brienne is teaching that, too).

Brian is back to teaching the following Monday, which will be awesome. On the 14th, Wednesday AM class will be taught by the instructor who teaches advanced classes, so I’m rather looking forward to that as well.

Anyway, that’s it for today.

Never underestimate the importance of breathing :)

Cooking with ADHD: Easy Maize Pudding, Coming Up!

Just a quick heads-up: I’ll be putting together a much briefer version of this recipe with step-by-step pictures (this post is too long to fit the Cooking with ADHD model!) and probably a video version as well.

It should be up soon.

I should probably also try to come up with a semi-standard, ADHD-friendly format for these posts if I don’t get distracted bef— SQUIRREL!

Anyway, yesterday, I woke up with a random craving for hasty pudding/Indian pudding/maize pudding/whatever you want to call it.

I looked up a bunch of recipes and became more and more discouraged: most of them involved a bazillion steps, required ingredients that I didn’t have, served 30, and/or took at least two hours* to cook.

That’s hasty, my friends — hasty like a sloth.

To be fair, that probably was pretty hasty way back in the day when everything was cooked over open flame.

Finally, I thought, “Screw it, entire peoples who didn’t even have recipes have been making cornmeal mush ever since cornmeal was invented. I’m just going to do that, add some brown sugar and vanilla, and throw a little whipped topping on**.”

**We don’t usually have actual whipping cream hanging around, but proper whipped cream would have been even better. Just saying.

So I marched into the kitchen, grabbed the cornmeal from our giant Lazy Susan cabinet thingy, and … hesitated.

Perhaps, I thought, Perhaps I should consult Betty Crocker … just in case.

So I did, and right there on page 354***, was a recipe for polenta, conveniently labeled fast, which in cooking parlance usually also means easy.

***Pretty sure it’s 354 in my copy of the famous Betty Crocker cookbook, at any rate, but the actual page will vary from edition to edition.

It was also labeled low-fat, I didn’t really care about that, but if you’re on a low-fat diet, you’re covered. Those on low-carb diets, on the other hand … um, maybe this isn’t the optimal recipe for you guys.

I didn’t make polenta (though basic polenta will definitely be covered win a Cooking with ADHD post).

I did make a really easy maize pudding — the polenta recipe just gave me confidence that my intuition about ingredient proportions was pretty much on track.

So, without further ado, here’s the basic idea:

Easy Maize Pudding — Makes 4 Portions

You’ll need:

  • A double boiler (Don’t worry! You can improvise one! see notes below) or a medium-sized sauce pan with a heavy bottom
  • A wooden or nylon stirring spoon


  • 1 cup (about .25 liter) cornmeal — yellow, white, red, blue — whatever color you have on hand)
  • 2 cups (about .5 liter) milk (I used 2%; I’ll try this again with almond milk for vegan version)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) brown sugar (this is just for flavor, it’s okay to use less or even to substitute honey, molasses, white sugar, Splenda, or whatever you like)
  • 1 teaspoon (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

…That’s it. That’s all you need. You could probably even use water instead of milk, though the end product might not be as creamy.


*If your range is electric, think “setting” when you read flame” ;)
  1. Turn on your favorite streaming radio, a YouTube documentary, or whatever you like.
  2. The next step can be done two ways:
    • If you have a double-boiler: fill the bottom part with water and the top part with the milk; heat over medium-high flame* until the milk steams.
    • If you don’t have a double-boiler: pour the milk into a medium-sized sauce pan with a heavy bottom over medium-low flame* until the milk steams. It might take a while.
  3. Add the brown sugar and vanilla to the milk.
  4. Add the cornmeal, stirring while you pour it in. You don’t need a fancy whisk or anything; a plain old wooden or nylon spoon is fine.
  5. Stir until everything is well-blended, then cover the double-boiler or sauce pan, reduce the flame* to very low — like, as low as possible without actually turning off your burner — and set a timer for ten minutes.
  6. While the pudding heats, stir it once in a while to prevent sticking or scorching, but for the most part, leave it alone.
  7. After 10 minutes, remove from heat, uncover, and allow to cool for a bit so you don’t blister the roof of your mouth off like I did that one time.
  8. Serve hot with whatever suits your fancy.
  9. If you’re using the heavy-bottomed sauce-pan method, you’ll have to pay closer attention than you will with a double boiler, since milk scorches pretty easily. You might also want to throw in a little butter or cooking oil to prevent sticking.

    That’s it!


    About Proportions

    You’ll notice that the metric equivalents above aren’t exact. Don’t worry about it — in this recipe, all you need to know is that you want a ratio of 1 part cornmeal to 2 parts milk, and even there you’ve got some wiggle room. The rest you can fiddle with according to your personal taste. For example, I’d probably like less sugar, but 2 TBSP was a sound guess for dessert applications.

    About That Double Boiler…

    A lot of people don’t have double-boilers. They’re finicky specialized kitchen things that take up a bunch of space, and most of us don’t use them very often.

    If you’re among the many, though, don’t worry!

    You can improvise a double boiler from of a sauce pan (or even, in a pinch, a deep frying pan) and a metal bowl that’s just big enough to rest on top of it or inside of it without touching the bottom of the pan. I used to do it this way back before I had access to a double boiler.

    Here’s a link to an article on improvised double boilers: http://bakingbites.com/2009/09/how-to-make-a-double-boiler/.

    Improvised Lids

    If you don’t have lids for your sauce pans or improvised double boiler, you can make do by resting a stoneware or Corelle plate, a cookie sheet, a metal mixing-bowl lid, the glass lid from a suitably-sized casserole dish, or any similar flattish, heat-resistant object atop the pan of pudding-in-progress.

    Just make sure to balance it carefully if you’re using an improvised setup and to use potholders when you lift it off (seriously, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone, “Herp de derp, think I’ll just lift this metal bowl lid off with my bare fingEAAAGGHHHHEHEHEH!!!”).

    In fact, even if you do have lids for your pant, you may find yourself doing this if, for example, they’re all in a disorganized overhead rack and you don’t feel like fighting with them.

    Um, not that I would ever do that. Ahem. :::quietly tucks metal mixing-bowl lid back into the cupboard:::

    Other Ways To Enjoy Maize Pudding or Cornmeal Mush

    This dish makes a pretty decent breakfast on a cold morning. For that purpose, I’d recommend making it with less or even no sugar. I like it without any at all for breakfast (that said, I’m not into sweets for breakfast, so your mileage may vary).

    You can also add things like raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or chopped dates for a sweet, fruity kick (you might want to increase the liquid just a little bit; I’ll report back in my updated recipe post).

    For a quick and easy savory side-dish, substitute a little garlic and/or onion powder for the sugar and adjust the salt to taste. You can also brown some chopped onions (you can even get them in the freezer section already chopped) in butter before you add the milk or water. For a one-bowl meal, add salty kalamata olives, feta cheese, some fresh baby spinach, and cooked chicken or lamb once the mush cools.

    Like standard cornmeal mush or polenta, you can even chill this pudding in a loaf pan (or, if you’re me, a plastic container lined with plastic wrap), slice it, and pan-fry it. Pan-seared maize pudding topped with vanilla ice cream sounds pretty good to me.

    It’s also really very good with real maple syrup.

    Speaking of maple syrup, don’t be afraid to try the less expensive, darker grades. Darker maple syrup bears a stronger maple flavor, so a little can really go a long way. It’s absolutely delicious on mild-flavored desserts like vanilla or sweet-cream ice cream — or like maize pudding.

    If I remember correctly, most systems for grading maple syrup in the maple-syrup producing regions of North America date back to a time when maple syrup was used as a substitute for regular cane sugar, which had to be imported at great expense from the tropics.

    The paler syrups (which are not more processed, but rather are collected early in the “sugaring” season) earned monikers like “fancy” and “Grade A” and commanded higher prices because their subtler maple flavor made them better substitutes for cane sugar.

    However, the darker grades are absolutely delicious and perfect for those of us who really like a lot of maple flavor but don’t want to have to swamp our food in liquid sugar to get it.

    Though I grew up in easy reach of the famous Vermont sugaring grounds and their storied produce, I’ve become quite enamored of a local, very dark maple syrup that hails from a nearby part of Indiana. It’s perfect on maize pudding.

Road Trip: Day 10—Wethersfield and “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” (Part Two of Two)


Yay! My home town of Wethersfield, CT gets some love from Emily Jacobs in the post below the fold (which, admittedly, is now over 3 years old, but sometimes the wheels of the Blogosphere grind slowly, amirite?).

Ms. Jacobs has included some beautiful pictures from Old Wethersfield, most of which were taken 2 blocks from my Mom’s house.

Old Weth is its own little universe, and I still love and miss it.

Edit: PS, I wasn’t sure whether to mention this, because it might sound like a bit of a downer, but my father (who died when I was a senior in high school) is buried in the Village Cemetery. He loved Wethersfield, too, so even though I am sad that he is gone, it is nice to think that his resting place is in a place where he felt at home.

Originally posted on Em Speaks:

If you like old buildings, Wethersfield, Connecticut is pretty much house porn for you. The slideshow below is what I saw while walking to and from the Cove.

After I toured the Buttolph-Williams House, I walked over to the cemetery.

. . .

It was a very sunny day, and a hot early afternoon, but the cemetery still gave me the creeps. My guide was kind enough to let me know that the oldest stones were at the top of the hill, known as Hungry Hill because that is where the Indians would retreat during flooding times, often with little sustenance.

. . .

It’s just not a vacation if I don’t get to go to an old cemetery.

. . .

It took me a surprisingly short amount of time before I found Gershom Bulkeley’s gravestone. As I said, in the bright, hot sun, it was still an intensely creepy…

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Danseur Ignoble: Now That’s Showbiz

Did Brienne’s class today, and I made it All. The. Way. Through!

(Though I skipped a couple of reps of petit allegro.)

She has a really fun CD of class music called “West End to Broadway” (hence, in part, the title of this post), including some nice, slow pieces for torture fondu and barre adagio. 

Barre is improving.  

If you’re a horse person, you know that thing where if you don’t ride or school your horse for a while, sometimes the horse in question acts a bit silly when you put him back to work? That’s kind of where my body is.


I'm back! Mostly!

It does things I didn’t really ask for, then I correct it, and it’s all, “Oh, you mean those turnout muscles!   Okay.   No worries!”

However, it’s doing less of that now than it was last week.  My successive approximations are closer to the goal state.   So, Yay!

Speaking of successive approximations, at center and across the floor, we had nice combos today, and I did the traveling ones, if not worth prefect execution, at least with a lot of elan. 

Now, if I could just stop putting in failles where there aren’t any and leaving them out where there are (and adding an extra saute arabesque here or pique turn there)…

But that’s more of my body being a silly horse.  At least it’s a silly horse that’s got some style?

Which brings me to the other reason for this title: one of the things my classmates kept mentioning was the struggle to remember the combinations (some of which were fairly complex).  

The cool part is that you wouldn’t have known it, for the most part: everyone focused on performing and enjoying themselves, and most of us looked pretty good.  (I’ve determined that if you turn the wrong way on the rear point of a triangle, it actually looks pretty cool anyway, so I don’t even worry about that anymore ;)).

I’m back to a point at which I don’t freeze if I blank on the combo halfway through; instead, I improvise.  It’s a skill I learned as a musician: nobody knows you screwed up if you don’t let them know.

Of course, in class (okay, and sometimes in big corps numbers), that’s not entirely true, but what you practice in class is ultimately what you will do on stage — and, of course, mistakes do happen during performances, even to professionals.   Like we lowly danseurs and danseuses ignobles, they have to learn to make it look good.

And that, too, is showbiz.

(Come to think of it, looking like you meant to do that is an important life skill in general — ask any cat!)

So that’s it for today.  The final combination in today’s class went so well (You guys, I threw in a cabriole just for kicks!   I’m back!) that I finished up feeling jubilant, ebullient, even bubbly.

Now, home to do computery work.

A Little Lift

As you may have already determined* based on the sheer number of posts I’ve made in the past few days, my mood appears to be creeping up a bit at last. As usual, I’m trying to approach this uptick with caution, so as not to, like, scare it away (or burn out my synapses, or exhaust myself, or overcook my brain, or whichever analogy you like).

*If, indeed, you’re reading this in real time and not, like, seven and a half years into the future — speaking of which, thread necromancy is totally cool with me, and if you are from the future, say hi!

The timing is interesting. The whole intersex thing, in my case, means my hormones do interesting (and sometimes horrible) things on what has evolved into a fairly predictable cycle. I would, in fact, rather expect this to be the part of said cycle that makes me (and everyone in a 20-meter radius) miserable. That said, I am not complaining. Complaining about catching this lift is like complaining about catching a taxi in Times Square at 2 AM (I think? Oddly, though I have spent a fair bit of time in the Big Apple, I have never been to Times Square, let alone at 2 AM).

Of course, it’s possible (to belabor my metaphor) that this lift which appears to be driven by a sedate little old lady driver is in fact under the command of the Little Old Lady From Pasadena (Go, Granny; Go, Granny; Go, Granny; Go!). As those of us whose carpool parents were huge Beach Boys fans may recall, “…she drives real fast and she drives real hard.”

So while I am not complaining right now, I reserve the right to complain at a later date.

Speaking of dates!

I love dates. The fruit, I mean. A while ago I bought a 2-pound tub of deglet noor dates at ValuMarket (which, though it sounds like a Quick-E-Mart kind of operation, is in fact an awesome little local grocery chain; the one in my neighborhood is decidedly international in flavor).

At the time (this was several months ago; the dates in question suggest that I use them by 30 June, 2016, so we’re good), I was in the midst of an upswing and not shopping all that carefully and failed to notice that the dates in question are processed with glucose. So now I have all these sugar-coated dates lying around, waiting for a purpose in life … or, well, un-life, I suppose, since the purpose of the sugar is to preserve the dates, which are not living, and perhaps could be considered undead**?

**OMG you guys, there are ZOMBIE DATES IN MY KITCHEN RIGHT NOW. For the record, even with the excess sugar, Zombie Dates are delicious.

Since I am not really into consuming oceans of refined sugar (regarding which: dates are pretty sugary to begin with, but you eat them whole, fiber and all; it’s the added sugar that’s kind of not my thing), I have been working my way through the dates a little at a time. Last week, I added some to my batch-o-muffins. This morning, I said “screw it” and ate four of them (a portion is about eight) with breakfast.

So, to make a short story unnecessarily long, I’m thinking that the next time I have people over, I am going to make an enormous, enormous date-oriented cake or something in an effort to reduce my household Zombie Date population. I am also thinking I could probably soften them in water (which might also coax some of the added sugar off the dates), chop them up, and make them into bike/ballet fuel of some kind (and then freeze the extras).

If any of you have any recipe suggestions, let me know.

In the future, of course, I shall purchase my dates more carefully.

I make no promises about the duration of this uptick, but I plan to relax and enjoy it while I can.

In other news, our finances are more or less sorted at this point, and I was able to purchase a RAM upgrade for my laptop. Said RAM arrived last night; I dropped it in (which was an incredibly frustrating process; getting the RAM seated correctly in this machine is a huge PITA) and my lappy, unsurprisingly, is like a whole new machine.

I really should’ve done this ages ago.

Danseur Ignoble (Again!): A Teaching Tip I’m Totally Going To Steal

Tonight, I went and rocked out Ballet Essentials (even though The Divine Ms. M playfully scolded me: “What are you doing in this class? You should be in the other class!” I explained I was saving my toe against Wednesday’s Intermediate class).

We had a raft of new dancers and a lovely, simple barre. At center, we worked the basic port-de-bras and positions of the feet, then did chassees (a droit, a gauche, et avant), then did a little combination in two versions: a simple “chassee avant right, chassee avant left” for the really new folks or a swift-traveling polka for those who had been dancing for a while.

You guys, I love polka (if you’re wondering, here’s a basic example: chassee avant right, hop [kind of a saute passe, really], chassee avant left).

Here’s the thing, though, that I’m going to steal: after everyone had traveled across the floor, Ms. M asked even the newest students to try the polka step — and then she said, “Imagine that you’re Clara in the party scene of the Nutcracker — or, for the gentlemen, that you’re Fritz. Get into character!”

At the same time, she demonstrated the characteristic steps for each part.

Suddenly, everyone had permission to play, to perform — and we did.

When you’re teaching adult beginners, especially, there’s a kind of play barrier that you have to knock down. Adults feel as if they must master technique, and they focus on it so hard that they forget to play and have fun and pretend to be Clara or Fritz.

You guys, I have to tell you — everyone in that room looked a hundred times better immediately once they jumped on that bandwagon. Even me.

I got my Fritz on. I thought about the character, about embodying that spirit of Sassy, Irritating Little Brother-ness (because, frankly, that’s a role I know pretty well; I’ve only been working on it all my life) and about how sometimes when you’re a little sibling, you do this thing where you both mock your big sib and show off at the same time. And then I danced that, and it looked cool.

You guys, it was fun, and I think we all enjoyed it.

So I’m going to remember that, and I am going to steal the heck out of it. Talk about “one easy trick!” It’s a nifty workaround to get adults to lighten up and enjoy themselves.

Which, of course, leads to better-looking ballet, for all the reasons I mentioned earlier today.

Danseur Ignoble: Regaining Lightness

I am still ruminating on Saturday’s class, even though I am planning on getting off my butt and going to Monday evening class in a little while.

I mentioned doing flying chassees and sautes at the end of class. What I didn’t mention was the feeling of those chassees and sautes: light, airy, bounding, nimble, mobile. Bouyant. Even when I glanced at myself in the mirror (and in spite of the fact that I was obediently doing them hands-on-hips, since it was Cultural Pass day and we had a bunch of completely new dancers in class and I didn’t want to confuse anyone), they looked fluid and graceful and light.

You know.

Like dancing.

A lot of that came from the moment at which I suddenly realized, “Oh, hey, I can do this again!” I felt free.

I’ve been struggling, lately, with feeling like my dancing is heavy, leaden — like I’m making it happen instead of letting it happen.

On Saturday, I somehow miraculously was able to let those passes across the floor happen, and so they happened beautifully.

So there’s a reminder: you can’t regain lightness by forcing it. You can’t capture lightness by grabbing it with your hands and dragging it down. Instead, you have to let yourself spring into its air.

I once heard someone say that the hardest part of flying is letting go of the ground. I think that’s probably true in ballet: dancing is a limited form of flight, and the hardest part is achieving ballon (okay, and grace, expression, musicality, ligature, and aplomb).

The rest is just technique (Ha! Record this as the day that I used the phrase “just technique,” would you?)

The thing is, without ballon (and all those other, less-effable things), technique itself is inert. We do not pack the house to watch people do dance steps — we pack the house to watch dancers dance.

If someone flubs the technique a little, but carries it off and makes it look good, most of us will never now (the exception, of course, being those of us who know that variation, or that specific dance, by heart).

If someone executes perfect technique but lacks grace, ballon, and expression, watching loses some of its savor.

If you want an exceptional example that’s not ballet-specific, watch the womens’ artistic gymnastics floor exercises from the London Olympics back in 2012. The Americans brought some stellar technique to the floor, but the Russians — whose training places much more emphasis on the importance of dance — looked a thousand times better.

Why? The Americans simply moved from trick to trick; their dance elements looked like afterthoughts. The Russians combined the whole shebang into coherent choreography; their linking movements (for which they receive almost no points) were as important to them as the individual technical fireworks that scored the points.

In short, and in ballet terms, the Russian gymnasts had élan; the Americans didn’t. The Americans had great technique — an American won, because gymnastics is not ballet — but the Russians were simply captivating.

So. Yeah. This actually wasn’t supposed to be a screed about the relative importance of technique and expression, or what have you, but there it is. As someone who enjoys precision, it’s something I need to revisit from time to time.

Precision is important, but it isn’t the soul of ballet.

Homemaking: Kacy Is Your Friend

…And she’s awesome.

Five years ago, author and blogger Kacy Faulconer wrote a great post called “Obvious Tips For Not-Very-Good Homemakers.”

Tonight, I read it … and then its sequel … and then the sequel to its sequel.

The tips themselves are great (if, yes, sometimes pretty obvious: but, honestly, even if they’re things you already know, it’s pretty validating to know you’re not the only adult who occasionally calls upon the power of Pigs in Blankets) in a way that will make perfect sense to anyone who thinks a cookbook called Cooking with ADHD is a good idea — but it’s Kacy’s tone of acceptance and cameraderie that really makes it work.

It’s like a friend or a sister or a cousin saying, “Okay, guys and gals, we’re in this together. We kind of suck at this, but we’re doing it anyway, and it’s okay.”

…And also:

He didn’t become Gandalf the Citrus Moderne Dot, did he?

Kacy Faulconer

Because, seriously, he didn’t. Because he knew he was going to have to get orc blood off dat shizzle, and you can, as Faulconer points out, bleach white.

My own education as a half-baked homemaker has been very much about giving up on visions of making my own laundry detergent and growing my own vegetables, then embracing my limitations (and strengths) and learning to work with them.

I may not grow my own vegetables, but I turn vegetables that we buy into a mean set of no-sugar-added breakfast muffins every single week, because I not only know how to do that, but like doing it (because I do it well, so it makes me feel good, so I do it more, which makes me even better at it, etc.).

I may not make complex gourmet meals every single day, but just about every evening I do cook a meal that my husband enjoys (fortunately, he is a man of simple tastes, and doesn’t object to a regular rotation of variations on Freezer-Marinated Chicken with occasional forays into Things Made From Ground Beef).

I may use a lot of workarounds, but little by little I’m learning to get stuff done.

That’s the spirit that Faulconer’s blog embraces, and I feel like it’s a spirit whose time has come. So go read her!

Oh, yeah — in other news: did Essentials yesterday morning; was able to crack out the flying chassees and a couple of sautes without my toe falling off or swelling up like a ball of bagel dough. This definitely feels like progress. It also didn’t give me any real trouble today, just the generic “Hey, I’m still healing a little” soreness that has become its temporary new normal (for a while, it was fiercely sore the day after class even if I didn’t do releve work or jumps).

We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

My mood is hanging in there, somewhere in the neighborhood of the Upper Doldrums. It’s not approaching “good” yet, but it’s at least more tolerable. I am more able to ignore Bad Thoughts (admittedly, by playing Bubble Wars or baking, but still…) when they arrive (but they’re still arriving).

The upside of my current mood? Holy cow, I have never been this productive in the kitchen. I mean, I have reached a point in life at which my kitchen is basically under control (I’ve even started weeding out unnecessary kitchen things and relocating or offloading them). I like being there, I like working there, and our dishwasher died, so now I just wash the dishes by hand and everything stays sorted.

The downside?

I don’t know. Is it bad to have 24 carrot-pineapple-coconut-raisin muffins hanging around?

Quickie: Plans

On Wednesday, B. and I were chatting during the quick break between barre about how we’d both lost so much ground to injury this year (she with a stress-fractured foot; I with my calf and then my toe). I was like, “Can you believe we were doing brisees last year?”

Anyway, that’s kind of a theme for me, right now. In some ways — mood-wise, ballet-wise — I’m sitting at the bottom of a long climb back to where I want to be.

Fortunately, as a cyclist, the ability and willingness to climb ridiculous hills was and remains one of my strengths, and I feel like maybe I can translate that over to the rest of my life.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to climb this particular set of hills quickly. Just that I know myself well enough to recognize that I’m probably going to make it (even though I’m in that weird place, right now, where you’re rational enough to know that the voice in your head that constantly yammers on like, “You’ve squandered your potential and will never amount to anything now!” is a crazy voice, but not yet in a place where you can make it STFU).

Anyway. So I’m gaining ground more slowly than I would like, but I’m gaining ground.

I guess I can pop in another bike-racing analogy, here: one time, Timothy and I raced Death March while both of us were recovering from various winter illnesses, including some kind of gut thing that was going around. In short, neither of us had been able to eat like a normal person for several days, and we were what a long-ago Arnold Schwartzenegger might have termed “weak little girly-men,” and we did nothing fast, least of all climbing … but climb we did, and (as evidenced by the fact that I am sitting here in my living room, writing this post), we lived to ride another day (in fact, the next year we came back and roundly spanked half the field, although we were in turn roundly spanked by the other half).

Sometimes it sucked, and sometimes we walked our bikes, but at the end of the day, we kept going and eventually made it back to the ranch without having to ride in the Broom Wagon.

So, anyway. I’m not all there yet, but I’m not ready to wait for the broom wagon, either.

As such, here are some plans for upcoming posts, with no particular timeline in mind (though next week would be nice):

  • Two Cooking With ADHD posts:
    • What To Do With 10 Pounds of Chicken Leg Quarters (Because They’re On Sale)
    • How To Make Bread And Influence Impress People
  • One hopes, a string of Ballet Class Notes, as my foot can definitely handle at least 3 classes per week at this point if I don’t jump too much.
  • Maybe a post about writing? I am doing that still.

In other news, I am rocking along in Homemaker Mode and actually rather better at it than I used to be.

This is comforting.

Some of it, of course, is the Miracle of Modern Medicine (go, Adderall!), but some of it is simply a function of the fact that, amazingly, I do appear to be able to learn.

I’m hoping my friend Robert (Hi, Robert!) will be able to come visit before we head out to the desert; maybe when he does I’ll ask him to collaborate on a Cooking With ADHD Video Post, since we have two different flavors of ADHD and we might find different things helpful.

Oh, and I just read Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint, and I highly recommend it (if Regency-era romping bisexual sword-wieldy people sound like your cup of tea).

That’s it for now.

Maybe if I ever manage to get Cooking with ADHD rolling, I’ll expand it into a guide for the ADDle-pated Homemaker. Goodness knows I could use one!

Danseur Ignoble: Intermediate Again

I returned to intermediate class today.   I had my doubts, but it actually went reasonably well.

While I didn’t look stellar at the barre, I did make it through all the combinations (of note, either today’s fondus were less sadistic than usual, or my legs are really fresh, or both).  Weight transfers were solid; grand rond de jambes were …  Um.

Adagio has been worse, but has also been much better.   Across-the-floor, on the other hand, was surprisingly good.  I need to tune up my balancé a bit again, but the whole thing hung together and looked rather nice (including a lovely turn from fourth; egads, I have missed turns from fourth).

I did part of the petit adagio, then called it a day.  I think that was the right call.   We did quite a bit of relevé work at the barre, and my toe was starting to speak up.

In other news, The Momma (Denis’ Mom) is making us costumes for Tutu Tuesday (I am preparing her sainthood paperwork as I write).  We took measurements yesterday.  I selected the fabrics and colors last weekend.  I think they’re going to be pretty cool.

The summer depression continues apace, but I’m managing.   I really need to get my butt to class as often as I can between now and when we ship out for Burning Man, and I’m hoping that will help.

Anyway, that’s it for now.

Don’t forget to spot your turns!


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