Everyone loves getting stuff in the mail,

Right?
Especially when it’s an advance copy of a novel involving a ballerina and the words “infatuation” “scandal” and “tempestuous”.
Hells yes!

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Review coming soon, peeps and peep-ettes.
Btw, it totally delights me to see “Adult Beginner” handwritten on a package from Knopf. Just totally. A real person at a major publishing house picked up a red pen and made that book appear on my doorstep. Probably not the same person who contacted me and actually made it happen in the first place, but still, that little human detail is neat. And I’m glad it made it through the postal system addressed that way.
Deets are: Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead, hits bookshelves April 8, 2014.

Posted in Books! | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Plz help a reader with her Pirouette Problem!

Got this email from a reader.
Let’s called her K-boom.
K-boom needs pirouette help, you guys.
K-boom says:

“I’ve been taking classes seriously for 2 years, 2-3 times a week. I am the ONLY person in my class who cannot do a pirouette. I can balance in passé, spot etc. but I cannot do even one turn. Its gotten to be a “thing.” Two teachers have said its all in my head since I have the requisite skills but its getting ridiculous. I mean, I actually felt like crying from frustration in class last night. The more I practice, the worse it gets. Basically, what happens most of the time is I “fall” out of the turn when I get halfway around. I have also fallen on my ass more times than I care to admit. I am hoping if you make this a post, lots of people will write in with advice and it will be the turning point (pun intended) of my life.”

What do you think?
I asked for more specific info on how the pirouettes are being taught and stuff and K-boom elaborates:

“I have 2 different instructors and they both do them differently. One does them from fourth, the other from fifth. Fifth is just a disaster for me. I can’t get enough “umph” to get up and around. With fourth, I do better but its still pretty bad. When we do them from fourth, we tendu to the side, go into a wide fourth with back leg straight, turn en dehors and land in fourth with the front arm slightly higher than when we started.
It is not like I am making the same mistake every time. Sometimes, I just feel tired at the end of class and can’t get up to a strong passé. Other times, I feel strong until I start turning and then I “fall out” of passé (sometimes right on my ass). So sometimes it feels like a strength thing and sometimes a balance thing. I also had a knee injury last year (not serious, just overuse) and even though it is healed, I sometimes find I am babying it–afraid to do anything that might cause it to twist/torque. Probably that hesitation is a factor. When I videotaped myself (yes, truly obsessed…) I could see that I am not getting into passé fast enough. I also do not keep the leg that is in passé turned out so as I turn– it ends up facing forward instead of the side.
The frustrating thing is, I practice, practice, practice. I have good teachers. I can stand in passé in releve with good balance when I am not going to do a turn. As I am typing, I am processing and thinking that it is a combination of strength, balance and fear of hurting my knee. Ugh. What to do…”

What to do indeed????? If you have ideas, (and I know you do because you’re awesome) please share, let’s Be That Turning Point! Yeah!

Posted in You Asked for it | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Sidewalk’s for regular walking

We were doing waltz steps around the room in ballet class the other night, regular ones, and then the turning ones, and three things happened:
Thing 1. I was wearing a ball gown, in my mind.
It had a massive skirt, and with every slow step of the slowwwww-quick-quick that is the waltz, I would use my whole leg all the way from hip to toe to push the weight of that full skirt and all the ruffled underneath layers of petticoats, I’d push it all forward and then during the quick-quick I’d catch up before the heavy skirts fell back into place.
Also, I was keeping my weight slightly forward (with a very straight back because imaginary corset), partly so I could peer over the skirt, and partly to make sure the entire ballroom wasn’t missing out on how the imaginary low-cut bodice was presenting my fabulous rack.
Thing 2. I figured out the mystery of the waltz: it’s just walking.
Just regular old left-right-left-right, but with a count of three to confuse everything.
I’ve been doing the waltz correctly pretty much for a while now without thinking about it or knowing how I was doing it right, just doing it and trying not to ruin it with thinking, but then we did this adorable thing where we all held hands and waltzed around in a circle and then changed direction, like something out of a Botticelli, and I didn’t know what we were doing at first so I was just walking, just regular walking, and then started walking in time to the slowwwww-quick-quick of the music and then was like WHOA. STOP. HOLD THE PHONE.
Thing 3. I shared this waltzing revelation.
This one girl was getting called out, and of course when you get called out during the waltz it does not help At All, and I know because that was me all the time, I’d be, like, adding a hop or trying to sneak in another step and he’d be like, “My Dear! Your right foot! Your right foot!” And I’d be like OMG STOP I HAVE NO RIGHT FOOT THEY ARE ALL LEFT FEET.
So after class I told this other girl about how the waltz is just walking, and Dude, Gentle Reader, I felt really hesitant about even bringing it up, I mean, I’m not the teacher, and maybe she was over it and just wanted to go home and look it up on YouTube or forget the whole thing and who am I to give tips anyway, it’s not like I’m even slightly an expert, but I told her anyway,
And she was like, what do you mean, walking? And then tried some more and was like, Oh FFS. It’s Walking!
Seriously though, it’s just walking. My mind is still kind of reeling.

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Yay for Piqué

I was going to a kid’s birthday party so I made this:

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It’s from a commercial pattern, McCall’s 2758, but of course I had to mess with it, because of course, so the parts that are me and not the commercial pattern are that I cut the halter-top ruffle on the fold, because that’s easier and looks better than a turned hem, plus it made it so I could add a lining and make the whole thing reversible, and then with the shorts I invented that ruffled pocket and asked my husband if it should go on the back or front and he said, “front, then she can put things in it” because he’s smart, and instead of a fully elasticized waist I made the back elastic and put a drawstring in the front, mostly because I don’t have any clue what size the kid is, so now it’s super adjustable.
And best of all I used the little bit of leftover fabric to wrap the thing, and that was smart because otherwise I would’ve put the little scraps right back on the shelf, and the goal here is to use things up dammit, plus once the bundle was all tied up with a ribbon it looked so intriguing that the birthday girl chose it Third of allllllll the presents to open,
But anyway, I’m not just showing this because I’m a show-off,
I’m also showing this because see the weave of the fabric? The one with the lawn chairs and beach balls? See how it looks kind of like a basket weave?
That fabric is cotton piqué.
Piqué in the fabric world is defined as having threads raised in a pattern.
As if they’ve been pricked.
And it’s pronounced “pee-Kay, just like the ballet word, because they are from the same meaning, piqué meaning “to prick”.
In the ballet world it’s not a pricked thread, it’s quickly stepping onto one straight leg like a pricking needle.
So that’s neat.

Posted in Word Nerd | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stowaway

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I thought this drawer was just for ballet tights…

Posted in ce n'est pas une mom blog | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

I’m going to take up knitting,

Just as soon as I use up all this fabric.

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HaHahahahahahahaaaaaaanever.

Posted in the stuff drawer | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Let me see that (muscle) roll

Whoa Gentle Reader. I just learned what a muscle knot actually is.
I mean, I figured it wasn’t a literal knot, since there’s no free end to tie, but I didn’t know exactly what else to imagine and had a vague image of, like, when you twist a rope so tightly that it hyper-twists back on itself, which is freaky when you think about that going on in your muscles,
But that’s not it, it’s worse.
My legs have been really stiff and cranky lately, probably from not stretching enough after spin class, which I’ve only been taking to increase my stamina for ballet class, so like that’s not cool, so I was googling “stretches for spin class” and a bunch of hits were talking about rolling out your muscles so then I was googling, “what the hell is so effing special about rolling out your damn muscles” and then I found out about adhesions.
Apparently your muscle fibers and the fascia that covers them can get stuck together. And when you stretch they just stay stuck together. So you use a foam roller or a ball or your thumbs or a massage therapist to break apart the stuck together parts.
Gross gross gross.
Gross.
Gross me out the door.
(Ok and some other sites said knots are little contractions within the muscle that kinda get stuck in the on position, so you roll them to get them to quit it)
So I went to the dollar store and got these:

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So we’ve got here a racquet ball (the blue one, came in a pack of two), some tennis balls, and the spiky yellow thing on the rope is actually a dog toy. The spikes feel nice underfoot, and the rope keeps the ball from rolling away. I looked in the laundry section hoping for some kind of fabric softener ball but struck out. I guess that’s a little fancy for the dollar store. Also looked for a pool noodle, but no luck.
The green ball and the orange ball actually belong to the boy.

Posted in the Body | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments