Saturday, September 30, 2006

End Workshop

Well, yesterday was the last day of the Week long workshop. It was an exciting and intimidating day. I was daunted by the amount of things we still seemingly had to do. We had not drilled exterior hip circles, vertical or horizontal figure eights, or upper body work. It was pretty scarey. We ended up only focusing on the figure eights. At one point we had to try a very level 3 layering; horizontal figure eights back to front at the same time as vertical figure eights up to down. My body didn't really want to do that combo and for some reason thought that an 8 down to up would have gone better back to front, or an 8 up to down would have gone with a front to back. I don't think I managed a single one the way I was supposed to, but it was cool to try such an interesting layer. Lunch was provided, and it was all ethnic food. Hummus, grape leaf wrapped rice, and other yummi goodies. Again, Jamila was there to show us movies and to talk with us. I loved having her there. It made lunch time so relaxing and enjoyable. It was also very educational. One of the first days (I don;t remember) one of the girls asked Jamila for an autograph in her zills book. Her responce was "You want an autograph? Awww... that's so corny!" She signed with one of her zills patterns. When this story was relayed to Suhaila, she said "Ha! That is so my mom. But you know... she *loves* it." It was adorable. Watching the way the two of them interacted was amusing. Truely loving.
After lunch we finished the choreography. My feet were hurting so bad at this point that I just wanted it to be done. I couldn't spin at the end as fast as I should have been. And I lacked enthusiasm. I feel so accomplished knowing the whole choreography, but I also felt bad for not being able to put my whole into it like I should have (and most of the other girls did). When we were all dancing the choreogrpahy for the last time, one girl asked if she would join us. "You are trying to get me to perform for you" and wagged her finger. K responded "No, I want you to dance *with* us." Suhaila grin and said "Ahh.. now THAT I will do." She told us that if you know how to present things properly, she'll do anything. For instance the difference between dancing with us and for us was what got her to actually do it. I think it was Thursday Suhaila split the room in two, half one would dance and then half two would dance. I thought I was in the second half and while half 1 was about to go I got water and walked around to sit with the others. Suhaila pointed at me and asked me if I was on side one. *deer in headlights* I studdered something about thinking I was in group 2 and well, now I'm not sure, and after a bit of going back and forth I offered "Would you like me to be in side 1?" She grinned and said "Ha! That I like. You have a future" Apparently with Suhaila everything rides on the way you say things and how you respond. It really didn't matter to me which side I was on, so if she had wanted me in the first group I would have gone. I was amused that my responce had such an impact on her.
Having the last day of the workshop was a relief and kinda sad at the same time. I have really enjoyed spending all this time with these wonderful dancers, but I was still very ready to get a break. I really met some great people, and they inspired me. I knew I was not ready to test to be certified for level 2, so I was not stressed at all. Two of the girls did test. I hope they did well. I feel that I learned more in this workshop than I have in the whole last rotation. I have so much that I can take from this experience and apply to my weekly classes. I have a better understanding of what I need to be a better dancer; the things I need to strive for, how to apply myself during classes, and what to focus on. I lvoed every painful moment of this week. It was awesome.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Day 3.

Wednesday was most denfinitely hump day. Going back to the workshop on Tuesday was okay. The balls of my feet hurt a little because they aren't used to supporting all of my weight at once, but when I got up Wednesday morning I nearly fell over. The balls of my feet were still sore, my calves hurt and my quads were weak. And I had an hour before I was to undure more working. During the warm up (where we do stretches and various crunches, working out, and other painful activities) I could feel my calf muscles as though they were separate entities from my legs. I could feel the muscle fibers pulling and rubbing against each other as I would contract, and I could feel them push as I released. It was weird. It was like I had a hard ball sitting next to my leg and when I could move I could feel it press against the back of my leg. And that was just the beginning of my day. I can only hold home position for a short while before my knees start to burn. Something is wrong in the way I am standing. My knees don't align with my toes so holding a bent knee position like that starts to hurt. I need to work on pushing my knees out while my feet are straight so that everything ends up in the same direction. But then my problem became that I was overcompensating. I need to figure out where the comfortable balance is. By lunch time, I couldn't feel 2 of my toes on my left foot. I didn't end up feeling them until about 7pm last night.
Before we started working on choreography, Suhaila talked to us about our "issues" of the day. Apparently in every week long workshop, Wednesday is when all the personal issues surface. Every time we dance adn try, we have the 2 little voices. One saying that we can do it, and the other telling us we can't (both of my voices have spoken here) and Wednesday is when the can't-voice screams louder than the can. It's hump day. During our moment, things became very emotional. One woman started crying. One woman equated how in the warm up when we are doing our 10 minutes of presses (a very painful thing that when she feels like she can't do it, her can't voice tells her that she's never going to get a job like this. How is she going to succeed at anything if she can't even do the presses? There are some things that when we do them, we get very emotional and for some reason (maybe pain?) we get a scrunched look on our face and any minute we will cry. I was kind of shocked to see so many other seasoned dancers struggling with the same things I am, and near tears at the same places I am. I originally thought this workshop would bring dancers that are even more advanced that the ones I am dancing with in class, but really, some are better, and some are on my exact level. We are the full spectrum of level 2 dancers. In class, there are level 2.5 and some who are in level 3. I keep forgetting that those girls are at the school all the time, where as the workshop girls fly in specifically for this opportunity.
That was hump day. Today is day 4 for us. I am looking forward to being past my breaking point and having a day very reminiscent of day 1 or 2. My toes are numb again, and the balls of my feet feel like there are really balls stuck to the bottom of my feet (this feeling I am sure is what is making my toes numb), and my calf muscles are sore, but I am sure today will go excellently. Oh, and for a smidge of knitting post, I brought my boise to the workshop and finished 4 rows before the start and at lunch. I'm still knitting!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Day 1.

Yesterday (as you all know by now) was day one of my week long belly dance workshop. I was scared and Sunday night I could not get to sleep. I showed up to the studio and had to fill out waivers and sign in, then I got a goodie bag. It contained lots of bath salts, lotion, and one of those lotion sock thingies that you wear on your feet over night. By the end of the day, I needed it. When we were about to start, she had us all gather in a circle (it reminded me of story telling time in kindergarten) and we talked about our goals, why were here, how this helps us grow, and in general about the dance. It was an excellent way to start class, because it made us feel lifted and excited. We started out like a normal class: breathing, stretching, pushups.. 100 bicycle sit ups!! (she made us count out loud) At one point when she was walking around the room helping people, Suhaila stopped next to me and (as I continued to do my plie-ing and grand plie-ing) she straightened my tangled tank strap. I was very amused. We also watched as 5 cops were standing around right in front of our door arresting some guy. Suhails said "What, they can't move to the left 10 feet in front of the business that is closed?! They have to do it here? Men!! And tey think they are going to save the world this way!" Back to class, we did tendues like we would in the dance movements class, plies, battements, and the like. Then we went into glutes and doing singles. We did drills around the room and by lunch time, I was ready to eat and sit. My feet were beginning to get sore. Suhaila's mom, Jamila had come just before lunch and asked if we wanted to watch a movie of Suhaila from 1992 (I think). She was happy to show us. Then we watched a documentary on gypsies. Suhaila tried calling us back to class, but Jamila said "2 more minutes! It's right there!! Just 2 more minutes!" "No, Mom. Your 2 minutes are.. 2 Arab minutes! They last forever!"
The second half of the day I spent fairly frustrated. I wanted to try to moves and practice and do everything, but my feet were killing me. I tried barefoot, with jazz shoes, and wearing the foot undies. The shoes hurt them more and the undies only helped slightly. I have never experienced this before. Not in class. I usually tire out because my whole body doesn't want to work. But here, my body wanted to work but my damn feet were quitting! All I could do was walk in line with the others and do the painful foot steps and visualize the hip squares we were doing. It takes a lot of concentration when your feet hurt that badly. After yesterday ended, I sat and thought about what we were doing and what all of this is. Basically, the level 2 workshop takes the whole format, the whole 10 week rotation schedule, and we pretty much learning it and go through it in 5 days. So what we would take 2 weeks to learn if I was just going to my hour long class, we leaned in just yesterday. 10 weeks is getting smushed into 5 days. It is also in level 2 and in this workshop that we learn to become good students. Level 2 is where we really begin to understand what we need to learn and how to learn it. I am so glad I signed up for this. The worrying was unneccessary, but this workshop is awesome.
When I came home, the first thing I did was make a hot hot bubble bath and just soak. It felt very good. After cooking dinner I had to go to BigRock to check on my cells and gather up data so I could get something accomplished this week. I also didn't want to be driving back and forth to work every day after I was exhausted from class, when all I have to do right now is data analysis and that can be done at home.
This morning, how do I feel after yesterday's workout and 4 more consecutive ones to follow? My feet feel a little better (let's see how long that lasts) but my calves are beginning to feel some burn. By Friday I am probably going to be so burnt. Heh.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

5 days!

That's right. 5 days until my belly dance workshop of DOOM!! Or something. First, I would like to intro this post with something that one of the girls who is going to be in this workshop showed me. It is a comic to those who don't know any better, and so much an ironic truth to those of us who do. This, I imagine is what I will look like every. single. day. next week. I am so excited and feeling almost not prepared enough. Luckily, I have this weekend to jsut sit down and think about the power bars I need to get, the towel and deodorant I need to bring, the gatorades and lunches I need to plan. And then how to relax and just dance! That's what this is about, right? Dancing all week for one week. Intense dancing. Lots of it. But dancing!!
So what could top that comic? Envisioning me dragging myself up 3 flights of stairs to the cushy bed that will be calling my name. Well, it has been too long since the last time I bought dance shoes. They are too small and my cats chewed one of the laces so it ties.. oddly. Every time I put them on I think "Dammit.. I need new shoes". So today I stopped at the dance store (Actually, it was a costume store and along with dance stuff they had a whole inventory for Halloween..) and tried on various shoes. I found a pair that fit! And needs major breaking in. But they fit. (Can I break in a pair of shoes in one weekend?) I go to pay and they have these little bad sock/shoe thingies. Image included if my description wasn't good enough. The brand name is "footUndeez". Why? Well.. look at them. They look like granny panties. And (I wish I could google an image) when they are NOT on a cute little model's foot, they look even more like the Undeez. They are comfortable (I bought a pair) but it makes me giggle just thinking about the conversation I had with the cashier: "I thought they were little panties people would put on their keychains! It seemed wierd to me, but they are really popular!" Heh.
Those are my thoughts for the day. I must eat something before going to (guess?) dance. And I'll wear my new foot paraphernalia :o)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ending one, Beginning one

The blanket is finished. And that makes me happy. Mr. A told me last night when I held it up to show him that "it looks like a normal people blanket because it's so big!" Aren't I glad I only used 3 of the 6 balls I had bought? Haha. Here is the picture as promised in the last post. I couldn't find the pen I kept using as a size guage, but I think the couch gives a good indication of size.

Thursday night was the second Boise night. At least for me anyway. Everyone who was working on the shawl had such beautiful progress. It was very exciting to see everyone's work and all the pretty colors that this shawl was chosen to be made into. I wasn't quite as far as the others though. At the cast on last week, I ripped out my first cast on in order to do one I preferred better. Then I dropped a stitch and didn't realize that my mysterious missing stitch was a dropped one until Friday. It was fixed. I had finished the purl row after my second pattern row, and since my fingers were occupied on another project, I didn't touch it until this Thursday. It was then that I realized that instead of moving forward in my pattern, I had just knit the first row again and my second pattern row. Read: I wasn't getting anywhere. So before starting I opted to rip back instead of tinking. Yep. Had to cast on again. I got into the first pattern row and at the end of it, I realized I had one too many stitches. Arg. Rip. After this cast on, I was still in the garter stitch border when it looked like a YO next to the cast on row, but there was no way to get rid of the ugly little hole. And yes.. something that small would drive me nuts. For those of you counting, this is rip #4. By the time I left knit night, I had a greand total of 2 garter stitch rows. It was a little frustrating, but I guess some nights are just not meant to be spent knitting. Even though it takes me all night to make that realization. I did not try to work on it at home, instead I just crawled in bed to try to sleep my headache away.

Last night I decided was a perfect night for knitting. Wonderful Ms. J sent me the chart she made for the pattern. I have never read a chart before, but I decided trying to decipher "\ . ./././. /" is easier than trying to read "blah blah blah, [blah (ee!!!)x3 blah blah] x3 blah blah (blah) x3 blah blah blah." It is very nice that I can look at my work and look at the chart and see the same image on my fabric as there are symbols on the chart. Thank you Ms. J for introducing me to this wonderful world of easy pattern reading! (And to the Queen for offering her version as well) The peg board that Maya Papaya let me borrow is also helping very much to keep track of exactly where I am. By the time I set down the Boise shawl last night, I had finished the first 11 row repeat. Hooray!! Now that I have that one set finished, I really understand the pattern. This is going to fly. I showed Mr. A what I had done so far and he poked at it saying "Wow! It's like.. you're first real pattern!" o.O Hey! My sock wasn't a real pattern? The blanket wasn't a real pattern?! The FROG BAG??? "I mean... your first complicated pattern.. with like... the little holes in it and the stuff and this [pointing to some stitch repeat in the shawl]" Thanks, hun! I corrected him in that this was not my first pattern or my first complicated pattern, but probably my first lace pattern. :p Since I was in a picture taking mood, I also took pictures of the first repeat. Hooray!!
The image on the left is the overall image. Silly circs make it curl.

The image on the right (or bottom) is a close up of the patterning.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I finished the baby blanket at midnight last night. I was working on it is the evening and by the time I started the border of 12 garter stitches, I thought "I am not going to sleep until this is completed!" I ended up using only half the yarn I thought I was going to need. It is so big and soft and stretchy. And I am very proud of it. All I have to do on it is weave in the ends. I'll be posting pictures .... later when I am looking more awake.
Now I only have my boise shawl! Hello monogomy :o) I feel so much better when I only have one project, especially when that project is something that I am really excited about and want to put all of my focus into. Hooray!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

1 week, 4 days!

Until the Suhaila workshop, that is. And how am I feeling? A little nervous. A little scared. And a lot unprepared. I can't believe it is already September, and the MIDDLE of September at that. I've hit a plateau and it is making it hard on me. I know mentally what my body should be doing, when it should be doing it and how to do it. But my body is half assedly relpying. I am thinking too hard on getting it right. Maybe that is my problem. Monday I felt like a duck again, and things didn't look right. At least to my super critical eye. I wonder if I was a little to overzealous in signing up for this workshop and if maybe I should have waited a few months to a year. I hope this helps me grow and gives my body at least a better understanding of how to go about dancing.
I think I am too stressed out about things. The baby blanket that needs to be finished. The boise shawl that I am itching to work on. The sweater that I can't wait to start. The 4 teeth that I are going to be extracted in less than a month. Too much is going on. I am getting a little overwhealmed. Eek. I am also trying to figure out how I am going to pull off going to this workshop all week 9am-3:30pm and then battle traffic to get to work to at least do something. Sigh.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Blanket Part 2

I have spent almost all day today working on the baby blanket, some of yesterday, and a few hours Friday night. I am currently on the third skein of yarn and at the rate I am going I may finish sooner than expected. It is actually growing larger than expected with the yardage already knit up.

I am really excited to almost being finished with a project and only having just begun the Boise. At least I can claim I am mostly project monogomous! :o)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Oh boy, oh Boise!

Tonight was the cast on for the boise shawl. Hooray! I had brought the baby blanket to work on until we officially cast on. We had red velvet cupcakes ala Snark, and wine brought in by Lisa. Perfect cast on party treats. It was great fun; the group was our usual boisterous selves during the cast on and the first 4 rows of garter stitch. But there was a large silence where it was obvious that we were all concentrating very hard on the first row of actual stuff.. the 3 repeats in the section to be repeated 3 times, followed by something very similar that overall lasts for 94 stitches. Once most of us had that first row down it was gabby time for the purl row until the stuff row happened again. I managed to end my second row with 4 too many stitches and spent the last 10 minutes of knit night undoing that row to within 10 stitches of the beginning, and redoing it. The second time it came out exact. Hooray!

The yarn is very nice and fun to knit with. It is all soft and speedy. And speedy does mean it knits fast and it slips.. a lot. But it is soft, so it's all okay. This is my and the group as a unit's first knit along, and I am super thrilled. :o) I can't wait until we are all mid knit with the same shawl in varying lengths and colors all with our own personal touches. Mmmm KAL's.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I had a little bit of time, so I thought I would show what I had done on the baby blanket. This is the amount after a week and a half of knitting. Note, I don't have a huge amount of time to knit what with 8 hours of work and a number of hours of dancing each week. But by these estimations, I should be done in 3 more weeks? Maybe? Why didn't someone tell me to make an itty bitty sweater? :p I also added a close up picture of the corner to show the stitch detail. Yai blanket. And two days until Boise!!!

Monday, September 04, 2006


The Boise knit along starts this week! Can I be any more excited? My mother in law came out this week, half on business and half to visit us. They were supposed to get in about 5pm Thursday night, and my plan was to take her to knit night while Mr. A found something for his dad to do. Of course, the train got in 7 hours late, so that didn't happen. Instead, before all of the rush of everything we had planned to do this weekend, I took her to Marin Fiber Arts on Saturday morning. She noticed the main difference between a California shop and a New England shop: here we have light yarns to make a variety of light things while there, they have very heavy wools for making afghans and thick sweaters. She was amazed at all of the yarns and the different types Warren has. We seemed to do a pretty good job of distracting Warren and Maya from rearranging the shop to actually get some yarn on shelves. We both ended up getting the Rowan Classic Style book 16, because there were so many cute things in there! She also bought some yarn to do one of the vests in said book along with 2 balls of the very Tapestry I have been eyeing since it first surfaced in the shop. Since it was recently my birthday, she was going to let me spend some money on yarn. After some debate, I ended up going with the turquiose (525 Kingfisher apparently) color. I have commited to the 2 person knit along that will commence once the shawl is completed! :o) Maya and I have both fallen for a certain sweater top pattern in the most recent Interweave Knits, and since there was so much talk about knit alongs being thrown around what with the addictive shawl, we decided to have a mini one as well. Hooray!
We came back to the apartment and Deb had some hanks that she wanted spun; she doesn't have a swift in Boston (why there are knitters out there who don't is beyond me. It is your best friend!!). She has been working on a sweater for me and had just finished the back. We measured it to make sure it would fit. One of the hanks we spun was the yarn for this. I didn't recognize it since it was almost a year since I picked out the yarn and commented how pretty it was as I was setting it up. At least it's nice to know that I still like it! It is a wool blend with.. something (refer back to that year thing.. and I was hurrying a little so I didn't look at the tag) and is very soft when loose in the hank. However, when knit it became a little rougher. It is still very nice in the sweater, it is just going to need to have a little cami under it when I wear it. Yai! Someone is knitting me something! I think this may be my first knitted gift FROM someone. Heh.
There was a good deal of driving the past 2 days, and at every chance I could (when not getting car sick) I would knit a row on the baby blanket. One ball down....5 to go? At the rate I seem to be going It may taken me a month to finish it. But the knit alongs will hinder progress that quickly. Oh well. Speaking of which.. I should make some progress...