Así soy

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Night Out (in which I did not forget to work on Mobility)

In my woolly vest, soaked with rain, forced to consume delicacies, I do not forget my mobility exercises....
I also had an audience...

Executive stretch
Some sort of stretch but seriously the boots are cute

The Spencers are amazing lasso artists as well as riders

Thursday, December 9, 2010


So today I am at home with alternating ice & hot packs on my face.

I am suffering from SEF.

Those in the teaching profession are at high risk for the painful SEF syndrome:
  Smiling Encouraging Face.

Smiling Encouraging Face is completely different Professional Face (PF.)  PF is a happy enthusiastic face that I wear for short periods of time and usually the PF either genuinely reflects the fun I'm having or it can actually generate a sense of fun for real.

On the other hand, I have to wear Smiling Encouraging Face for 5-6 hours at a time.  I use this face when sitting through a series of presentations given by nervous students.  I have to look encouraging, friendly, interested and engaged in whatever they are demonstrating.  I totally understand that presenting to a group of people can be nerve-racking, and even more so if the language you are presenting in is not your own.  So SEF gives them assurance in the way that a light house reminds anxious ships that land is nearby.

But while sometimes PF can be hard to maintain (it does involve an eye smile as well,) the SEF is an absolute labor of love: the sheer endurance factor has my face aching after the first hour.  I've even taken Advil because my aching cheeks feel as though they have single-handedly each pushed a Prowler.  Uphill.  In the Snow. To Canada.

This semester is complicated because after sitting with SEF through 6 hours of presentations, I have a 2 hour break before teaching a dance class that requires a mix of PF and SEF.  During that afternoon break, I let my face pass out into an utterly expressionless coma.

By the time I get home uber-late after the dance class,  my lips feel like rubber, my eyes are jammed back into my cerebrum, and my cheeks are like individual face migraines.

However, the presentations are now over and I'll be giving final exams:
It would be pretty creepy if I were smiling and nodding while watching students working on tests.  So I get to look just as blank as they do.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Phone Tag, Part 2: I'm it

So I do a quick assessment of the restaurant and realize the only quiet place will be outside.  So I rush through the front door and try to get a grip on the giggles.  In a post-laughter adrenaline-haze, I lean against a lamp post and manage, "Hello?"
OB1 clearly can tell that I am in the middle of something interesting and politely asks, "Is this a good time?  Perhaps I should call back later?"

So, I have two options:
I can say, "Actually, OB1, thanks so much for asking, let me call you back later because in my current situation I can only wander up and down the street outside of this restaurant in the middle of Oakland in the dark, avoiding interesting street people who are highly entertained by my sparkly super-cute shoes and the fact that I am walking outside without a coat, talking by myself in the cold, cold rain."

I can say (and I'm paraphrasing,) "No, it's totally fine!"

So I'm not sure that either of us could actually understand everything I was saying by the end of the call since I was shivering pretty hard, clutching that phone with a chilled, dripping hand.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Call Me

So Obi Wan and I have been playing phone tag for a while.  It's been more like, he texts asking me to call, and I call and leave messages that become increasingly more rambling and more inane.  For example:

Me:   Hi, uh, I know I'm calling later than we agreed but I was driving and...well, I actually always drive at that time so I'm not sure... I mean, I have to teach at...  never mind, it's just that I have more time at night so... oh, and don't call back at this number it's my work number and I never answer it or check messages... Not that I'm a slacker. I just use email and... oh God why isn't there a Delete Your Message option on your phone???

Since I pretty much earn a living speaking and performing extemporaneously, relying heavily on the ability to think and communicate simultaneously, I was mortified at my lack of even basic coherence.  I hung up, imagining Obi Wan's face as he listens to the inarticulate babbling, sure that he now thinks I must have a ghost writer for my work.

So, at any rate, tonight I'm in a Middle Eastern restaurant watching (and dancing with) my dancer friend.  There is a rowdy group of customers celebrating a birthday and we are all shouting encouragement as the men get up and dance.  And then out of the corner of my eye, I see that my cell phone is flashing.  It's OB1.  So without thinking, I grab it and swipe the Droid unlock to answer it.

And then I stare at the phone.

I become acutely aware of my surroundings: middle eastern music blasting away, people clapping and shouting, dancer's zils blazing; there is no chance whatsoever that I will be able to hear anything OB1 may say in response to anything that I am probably going to shout, spontaneously babbling.

So I stare at the phone.  And then it happens.

Before I go any further, I have to relate what happened to me and Elaine at Easter Mass a couple of years ago.  Elaine and I were sitting in the middle of a pew together in the center of a large Catholic church, listening as a visiting priest sang part of the liturgy.  For those of you not Catholic, normally the cantors (real singers) sing parts of the liturgy.   This unfortunate man, alas, was tone deaf and struggled mightily to sound even remotely musical.  However, he did achieve an odd rolling rhythm that was eerily familiar.  Elaine and many members of the congregation struggled to stay focused, but I was on a tangent, fully absorbed trying to identify that cadence and figure out where I had heard it before.  I was unaware that Elaine was now biting her lip in an effort to maintain control.

Suddenly, I recognized the rolling, rolling rhythm and I leaned over to Elaine, when the priest wound down, and sang quietly into her left ear the triumphant climactic phrase:
" Rawhide! ♫ "

I was unprepared for the consequences of my action.

Elaine exploded into gasping, racking bouts of laughter, startling everyone in the congregation.  Her honking volume grew exponentially with each breath; I was swept away by the volcanic pyroclastic flow of her laughter and burst out laughing.  As I'm sure you know, trying to contain it only added additional effects like snorting, choking and tears.  I could only think "Get Out of here! Get Out of here!"   Elaine was way ahead of me, shoving her way through the pews, barely able to breathe through the howling paroxysms.  We staggered outside.
After several minutes of painful, convulsive laughter, we lay gasping on the grass in our nice Easter Dresses.
Elaine: OMG!

And finally another quiet moment of ragged breathing.
Me: We will have to change churches now.

These repeated attempts to regain sanity continued for the rest of the day.
We were pretty famous after that.

At any rate, back to the Middle Eastern restaurant & the Droid.  So I'm standing in the middle of the restaurant surrounded by shouting, clapping people dancing to the beat of the crazy loud music and I have answered my cell phone.  All OB1 can hear is a melange of serious noises... dominated by my helpless giggling laughter spawned by the complete pathos of the moment that our phone tag has led to.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Whole New World

So I'm working away on Web stuff.  My coffee is steaming, the flu has been successfully trounced by my immune system, and I did not burn the bacon.

My puppy is playing with her Kiwi bird by drowning it in her water bowl and then violently thrashing it.

I type away on a blog draft and in the middle of a sentence----
Nothing.  The screen is frozen. What the --?
I have lost connectivity!
I check the ethernet connection.
I check the router.
I reboot my computer.
My puppy watches all of this with interest.

Then she disappears back under the table and reappears dragging a long blue cable:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Paleo in the High Beta Lane

So here is my daily breakfast routine:

1) Put 1/2 pound awesome fresh Wellshire bacon in large pan and place on burner.

2) Turn burner on medium.

3) Go to computer to "check on a few things" before flipping bacon.

4) Read email from friend asking opinion about costume color.  Go to website, check out costume.  Notice other costumes.  Check sizes.  Consider buying one. Send reply to friend.

5) Read request from student to check a homework assignment.  Log into online work.  Review student's work and correct it.  Send message to student.

6) Think of new idea for Blog and open application to jot down a few notes.

7) Imagine picture that will go well with it, search for the base photo in folders, open Photoshop and...

8) Accck!!

9) Race to the pan in the smoke-filled kitchen and scrape out 1/2 pound of charred remains.

10) Go back to Step 1 and start process again.

If there were a trophy for the largest quantity of bacon burned per month, I would be a double crown winner.