September 29th, 2007
Okay, so I know I’m not the only one in love with the television show, but when Alicia and I showed up at our Fundamentals of Dance class two Thursdays ago, we certainly weren’t expecting to be standing next to 100 other happy feet.
What’s up with that? Toward the beginning of last summer there were maybe 10 people in our class, half of which didn’t show up most of the time. But now, with Nigel and a rash of “contemporary” dancers on the small screen week to week, people are excited about dance in a way I’ve never seen before.
Even the studio was shocked. Goodness, they have a waiting list! That’s never happened before. Ever.
Thankfully, this week wasn’t as crowded, and I know that in my mind, I’m way too advanced, having danced so much as a kid, for the class. But the Tech I class hurts my hip, and so I’ll take it slow and work my way through with baby steps alongside a whole bunch of other hopefuls.
It’s honestly the physical highlight of my week. I just enjoy it so much that I’m willing to yawn through the explanation of plie and give it my best shot when my left foot goes where the right truly should be.
August 18th, 2007
The bells on the church just behind our house just rang out. It’s an odd sound to hear in this day and age, and it always makes me think that I’m living somewhere else where church bells still ring for specific reasons. As they went off at 9:39 AM, it’s hard to say, but I’m assuming they’re just testing out the bells for some sort of celebration or for tomorrow’s services.
Anyway, I half-fell off my bike on Thursday morning on the way to work, and it was more of a shock to my system than anything. And, as much as I complain about the idiotic people in cars downtown when you’re a biker, this time, this almost-accident was entirely my fault. I was going the wrong way up a one way street when a car came roaring around the corner, not expecting me, who was biking a bit too far away from the curb as well. I live in a quiet (for the most part) neighbourhood and it’s rare that any car turns on to that street for the two minutes I’m actually on it before getting to College Street. Regardless, I had to slam on my brakes, and it’s a slight downhill so I was going really very fast, and almost toppled over my bike. I slammed my arm on the handle bars and skidded my feet to stop myself from crashing into the back of his car. But what hurt the most was I jammed my poor tragic hip so hard that it brought tears instantly to my eyes. Oh, it hurt.
I limped while peddling the rest of the way to work and then was sore all day and most of the night, and then didn’t bike yesterday, which was okay because I had things to do after work. But after so many months of not being in pain, it’s still a shocker when my tragic hip wakes up and says, “Whoa, don’t do that to me, come on now!”
However, I’ve certainly noticed how much stronger I am this summer compared to last. I am doing restorative yoga once a week, swimming like a fish all weekend at the cottage, jumping on the trampoline at least once per weekend, and then biking during the week. I still haven’t lost a pound, nuts or no nuts, but I can feel myself have more energy, especially with the swimming. Where I could do one lap in the lake (halfway to the little island and back) kicking with the noodle three weekends ago, I’m now doing two or three, and even floatation device free for one of them. I can make it up bigger hills in the city now, and have more confidence in my step now that my legs aren’t so wobbly. Small victories, right?
We’re not up at the cottage this weekend, much to my chagrin, but it’s also probably for the best. I’m a bit behind in my latest abridgment, and do need to get cracking before my September 1st deadline. I’ve taken the last week of August off to spend up north with that manuscript and my own story, and I’m thinking about which classes to take this fall at U of T, before I can apply for the Humber School for Writers again in the winter.
It’s a long life, this writing life. There are days when it seems forever just to write one sentence or get caught up here, on the blog. I finished my first new freelance assignment, which I’ll expand upon once I know it’s been accepted, approved and another one’s coming. While it wasn’t hard per se, it was certainly different, and I’m worried that my tone wasn’t quite right and that I haven’t done a good job—which are always the concerns when you put virtual pen to paper for someone other than yourself.
Oh, wait, it’s even worse when it’s for yourself: you’re utterly convinced that it’s sh*t.
June 14th, 2007
For the past couple weeks my life has been so busy that I’ve felt like I might crack in two. Weekends spent with not one, not two, but sometimes three and four social commitments; work days crammed full of meetings, lunches and actual work; evenings filled with chores, classes, homework, writing, and sometimes abridging, I feel outside myself these days because I’m not used to the frenetic pace of it all. Even with catching that bad cold a couple weeks ago, my life refused to slow down, with the sickness sort of evaporating itself up inside another busy day complete with brain fog instead of real rest.
And then last night I kind of had a break through. I was at my Pilates Fusion class, a combination of pilates and yoga taught through Liberty-Movement Studio in Liberty Village. Over the last two weeks it’s just been me in my class, so I’ve been getting somewhat private lessons from Elle, who is a magnificent teacher. She tailored the workout to me, with a lot of hip-openers, to try and get at the permanent problems with my tragic hip, and wow, did we ever hit a nerve. I started to cry. In class. While lunging. Sniffling like a baby. Tears. Rolling down my face. Elle said it was because muscles have memory, and they were releasing their scar tissue. But goodness, it was a freeing kind of feeling, as if my body, little by little, with the biking, the pilates, the yoga, the dancing, is finally recognizing the toll the disease has taken and decided to let it all go in one big breath last night.
Regardless, I’m calmer today. I’m letting the quickness of it all kind of wash over me and work through my to-do lists carefully, with as little stress as possible. And will ride my bike slowly home tonight after dance class as if I don’t have a care in the world. I’m frustrated, still, that I can’t lose any weight, but I’m guessing that it’s probably just another thing my body doesn’t want to let go, hanging on to the disease for dear life because it’s existed in that state for so many years, it just doesn’t know how else to be.
But I’m slowly learning that change doesn’t happen overnight as much as I’d like it to. Funny how it doesn’t take long at all to contemplate change, to even make the decision to change, but it takes a hell of a long time to put your thoughts into actions and actually see the results.
May 8th, 2007
So I’ve officially started riding my bike to work each day. It’s been three summers since I rode every day. The last two I couldn’t ride to work each day because my office was out in the suburbs. The summer before that, it was too painful to ride because my hip bone was essentially melting in its socket.
But now, all that has changed! I pumped up my tires and started on my merry little way Monday morning. There’s something really quite beautiful about the city at that time of day, even though the people driving the cars are mental, the traffic is really annoying, and the roads are a mess, it’s still refreshing to be outside in the air and the sunshine, peddling your way from one place (home) to the next (work).
I had a boyfriend who once told me that muscles have memory. In some ways, I know this to be true, when I’m in dance class and the teacher does something like say a grande plie, my body knows exactly what to do from years of study when I was younger. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the muscles still move in the same way; they might remember, but they’re certainly not strong enough to pull it off, like, at all. So my grande plie looks kind of lopsided and funny, especially because my hip is still so awkward.
So, it’s kind of the same with biking. It’s obvious that I know how to ride a bike, but I’ve been so scared to get back on the daily two-wheeled commute because I figured I wouldn’t have the energy and/or the stamina to handle a long-ish (say over 30 minutes) trek from my house to downtown. I had to psyche myself up for it all weekend, and kept saying, “the only way to do it is to do it.”
It’s embarrassing, I know, and I felt like a Nike ad just saying it over and over again in my mind. But now, after even just two days, I feel like a pro. This morning I even gave someone the hairy eyeball for parking their giant minivan, with the engine still running, in the bike lane on Harbord.
I feel better already and I even slept better last night. I have more energy and I’m even looking forward to a longer than usual ride home this evening, as I stop in on yet another book event. Fingers crossed my hip stays healthy and the disease likes this level of energy. By the end of the summer you probably won’t even recognize me.
April 12th, 2007
There’s so much going on right now I feel like I haven’t had a chance just to sit back and take a deep breath. Tonight was my first Pilates Fusion class in two weeks (I missed last week because I was away) and it hurt. Pilates is a funny kind of exercise, during the class, when you’re lying on the mat, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing a lot, but don’t go for a week and then see how much it hurts the next day.
And I think it’s kind of metaphoric for everything that’s happening. Real life barrels on by and I’ve got so much to update: one author reading, two more books, band widow plans, our visit to the tax lady, writing work, work-work, but I feel like I can’t even spare the few minutes to share even the smallest insight into where my head is these days.
A couple of things:
1. It’s really annoying to get addicted to an awful show (ahem, The Black Donnellys) and have NBC cancel the show, air the final episodes online and then BLOCK you becauase you happen to live in the .ca.
2. Jennifer Lopez is on American Idol. Do you think she would have done that three years ago during the height of her so-called explosion?
3. It’s possible to be so busy during the day that you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom. It’s possible. But so not practical.
4. The tailbone? Still. Hurts.
5. How can a brand new work computer just stop sending out sound? It was like it just didn’t want to play that last track on Balanced on a Pin and decided to be mute. Perhaps it didn’t like the Helen Keller quip I had sent around on work email and wanted to teach me a lesson. I have quite come to depend on CBC Radio 2 to keep my mind quiet at work; it was very noisy today. As a result, I’m wildly panicked and feeling kind of overwhelmed.
6. It takes an old friend to point out the obvious. My RRHB had lunch with a friend who moved away and noted, “Ragdoll really likes her new job and you’re getting a lot done on the house. Sounds like things are going well for you guys.”
7. Life After Tomorrow is AWESOME.
8. Facebook has become my new sugar…
9. Is anyone else as tired as I am with the fact that the various Law & Orders keep cribbing storylines from one another (creepy religious guy, rap-world murder, shocking plot twists).
10. I miss the movies.
November 13th, 2006
Over the past few Saturdays, I’ve been taking Restorative Yoga class at the Liberty Movement Studio in Liberty Village. The space is gorgeous and the teacher awesome but I wasn’t expecting it to be so utterly relaxing. I’ve always been a smash-up and down kind of exercise-doer, from the early days of dance classes to crazy-ass aerobics to biking like a maniac, so the idea of slow movements for the benefit of my health never really occurred to me, like ever. To me, exercise has always meant lots of sweating, moving and high kicks.
But that’s not always the case. The benefits of restorative yoga include the highly important act of resting the brain. True rest, something where my mind isn’t going a mile a minute and I’m not bouncing from topic to topic, isn’t something I’ve ever done before. And considering my disease is completely stress related the idea of quieting my mind is an important one.
And it’s strange that restorative yoga, where you hold supported poses for long periods of time, makes me far more tired than my pilates class does; it makes me so relaxed that I actually rest, something I most certainly do not do enough of in my real, hectic life.