Posts filed under ‘discipline’



on the cusp of a dream

~ looking forward ~

beyond the threshold

where passion commands

the instrument


the spirit

to breathe





once upon a time…



December 30, 2014 at 1:19 pm 13 comments


for more than twenty years…

you completed my lines,

you gave me a dream


you challenged my life.

i treated you with respect


tender loving care.

in return,

you gave me wings –

allowing me to fly through the air.

you were there at the beginning,

for all the blood, sweat



helped me soar above the sadness –

sustained my life through the years.

though my world no longer revolves

around a dance barre


a stage,

i look upon you – now –

still wishing for those days…

forever dreaming…

when life




the heart




found an old pair of friends

June 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm 16 comments

illusion then & now


dreams of fairies, swans and dolls

ruled a childhood

from the earliest dawn.


bobby pins, tulle, satin and lace

created an illusion –

cloaked the scars on her face.


pirouettes, arabesques, and jetes abound –

freedom of movement

in which a life could be found.


the studio and stage –

being her only home,

where the world was shut out


she could feel safe on her own.


dreaming, dancing, LIFE – they are all the same

they create an illusion

of smiles, beauty and grace


the reality is such

no one chooses to see –

it’s what we do to ourselves to be

what you want us to be.




August 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm 14 comments

More Warm and More Fuzzy

Since I have returned to blogging – mid-January – I have been very busy.  Other than life stuff I have had to deal with, I have been busy writing and getting to know many, many wonderful writers out in the blogosphere.  I will say it has been truly my pleasure to have read some incredible pieces and I would also like to add that I have been inspired – inspired by so many incredible words, feelings, ideas, and the list could go on……

One of the interesting aspects of being a part of this unique community is the recognition that we can bestow or receive from our fellow bloggers.  One such kudo is the Liebster award, which highlights smaller blogs – with less than 200 followers.  I was honored with the Liebster by   Her blog caught my attention due to a piece written about Legos.  Her child is at the age where life pretty much revolves around Legos and my son is breaking away.  She is a wonderful writer and her wit always leaves me in stitches.   Please visit her site – you are in for a treat.

I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to awards, the criteria has a habit of changing.   I have seen lots of wonderful ‘award acceptance blogs’ out in the sphere, but what seems to be the consistent duties are as follows:

The Liebster duties:

1.  Post 11 facts about myself.

2.  Answer the 11 questions posed by the nominator.

3.  Pass the love to 11 other bloggers &

4.  Pose 11 new questions for the newly ‘loved’ to answer.

So – I am going to combine duty #1 and #2 – since #2 will also do the job of #1 – did you get that??

I & II:

1. What is your anxiety level on a daily basisthis depends on what exactly is going on.  I can be bonkers or calm as a cucumber

2. Coffee or tea – coffee (but tea when I am sick)

3. What motivates you to write your blog – to communicate – use my voice

4. Mac or PC – PC

5. Mini-van, SUV, or none of the above – none of the above – I drive a Scion XB – aka as a box with four wheels

6. Favorite TV show, current or all time – this is much too difficult.  The first comes to mind is Star Trek.

7. Least favorite parenting momentgetting my two boys to straighten up their room – or straighten anything, really.

8. What is one thing fear is preventing you from doing? I have had many through the years, but in the last year it has been making a decision in regards to career/job.

9. Night owl or early riser – early riser

10. What do you like to cook? If you don’t cook, what do you like to order? – anything with pasta

11: Best vacation spot – Hawaii

12: Favorite quote you live by“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than one’s fear”  – Ambrose Redmoon.  I had this written on my arm (with a black Sharpie) when I competed in Ironman Wisconsin)

III.  Passing the love…………………..












IV.  New Questions

1.  what was your first job?

2.  favorite subject in school (lunch and gym do not count:) –

3.  If you had to pick your last meal ever –

4.  first pet (a rock or imaginary pet will qualify) –

5.  girls – one piece or bikini / boys – trunks or Speedo

6.  the one place in the world you want to see before you die –

7.  most famous person you have ever met –

8.  to explore the depths of the ocean or the galaxy –

9.  do you prefer the first 3 Star Wars films (the original 3) OR the 2nd three Star Wars films –

10.  your ultimate wish for all of mankind –

11.  prefer winter weather or summer weather –

I would like to thank again – AccountExecTurnedMommy – and to encourage my fellow blogophiles to pay a visit to the above 11 blogs – they are awesome, inspiring and just totally cool places to hang out!  & I would like to say that it is a pleasure and honor to be part of such a wonderful community!

March 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm 18 comments

Perfection & Greatness

When the incredibly talented Van Cliburn died last week, I was deeply saddened.  One of his signature pieces, is also one of my most favorite pieces of music – of all genres – Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1.  Every time I hear the first few minutes of the opening movement, I am brought to tears.  There are no other words to describe this piece – it is simply stunning.

The first time I heard this symphony was on an album in which Van Cliburn performed.  It was breathtaking.  Now, as I watch the YouTube videos and listen to the digitally re-mastered versions, I still tear up and my heart skips a beat.  The interesting thing is his performance was beyond anything that digital re-mastering could tweak.  In other words, he was perfect ‘as is’.  Which brings me to the purpose of this post…………………….

Back in the mid-90’s, I lived in Toledo, Ohio for a few years.  In those days, we did not have the internet and I used to read the Toledo Blade – a newspaper.  I came across a letter to the editor which knocked me off of my chair.  It was about Van Cliburn and his performance with The Toledo Symphony.  First of all, I was upset that I was not in attendance to witness this event.  Second of all, I was struck by the beauty of this letter.

I do not have the original review (it was reviewed twice) – cannot recall reading it, but apparently Mr. Cliburn’s performance was incredible, passionate – phenomenal.  However, there was mention of the fact that Mr. Cliburn played a few wrong notes during his encore’s.  The letter to the editor was written by Andrew Massey who was, at the time, the Musical Director for The Toledo Symphony.  He made an extraordinary comment –

“There is a special intensity and complexity to every phrase when Van Cliburn plays, which I found riveting throughout the weekend.  True, he played a few wrong notes, but to concentrate on that is to confuse perfection with greatness.  Perfection is about the absence of mistakes.  Greatness is about taking risks and storming the heights.”

Mr. Massey continues on – discussing what makes great live music something of a different order from an edited recording.  It involves danger and daring.”

I kept this review – it is a yellowed piece of newsprint with the green ink used to make note of the perfection vs greatness quote.  I keep it in a special book, given to me by my mom, with bits and pieces of knowledge I have acquired through the years.  Inspirational sayings, poems, doodles – things that have special meaning to me.

This particular piece meant the most and on many levels, after many years, still does.  Striving for perfection takes a great deal of risk and many times we have to go to places we do not want to go, but we have to try, if perfection is what we want. Whether we find it or acquire it – may or may not happen.  The only way we can find out is if we try – take the risk, take a flying leap, do the best we can.  If it happens great.  If not, well, there is always tomorrow.  We take what we learned and try again.  As my first dancer teacher used to say you must try again, then again, then again……”

Mr. Van Cliburn  – May You Rest In Peace.


March 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm 3 comments

I just discovered this site yesterday – it is absolutely lovely. I do so wish there was such a thing as the internet when I was a 16-year-old ballet dancer. This blog would have been ideal!

My days of dancing may be far from over but the dancer in me will always remain……   I cannot wait to see what ‘The Beauty of Ballet’ will post next:)

The Beauty of Ballet

Welcome fellow dancers! My name is Sophie Aker, I’m a 16 year old former ballet dancer with a great passion for dance, currently living in Norway. I have made the decision of creating and developing this blog as a part of the personal project for my last year in the MYP at Skagerak International School. The IB program is an international curriculum with emphasis on language and multicultural awareness, and each year, the Middle Year program 5 are handed the task of developing any product or project of their interest.

This blog will be my effort to try to help intermediate dancers such as myself achieve success in the art of dance. I will be posting entries that have to do with tips, tricks and other useful advice that will be helpful. I advise you to stay tuned for more exciting and useful information on ballet, as I assure you…

View original post 14 more words

January 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm 2 comments


Yes, I did what I was determined to do – I walked into a dance studio and took a ballet class.  After an absence of 24 years, I walked home and discovered what I so greatly missed all of these years……………

The paragraph above was written last evening during an emotional haze, blurry eyes, pounding chest, throbbing legs and lying in bed.  Now, the day after the fact, I will write about my incredulous experience……….


Earlier in the day, I realized that I made a mistake.  It seems I misread the school’s class schedule.  The Level 2 class I was expecting to take was on Monday and, since it was a Wednesday, the available class was Level 3/4.  As I previously stated, I am certainly capable of a Level 3/4 but whether or not the body is able, well, that was the question I was afraid to tackle.  So, when I came home from work, I decided that I was going to grab the bull by the horns, and take the class.  I figured if I could at least fudge my way through the barre, then I would be content with my efforts.

It took me about an hour to figure out what to wear and locate my ballet shoes.  I ended up wearing my black running tights, a camisole and one of many wool sweaters that I used to wear over my leotards.  I also wore my favorite pair of black leg warmers.  In my bag, I had a pile of ballet shoes – some leather, some canvas – and, yes, an old pair of pointe shoes.  I had no intention of wearing them, but it just seemed like the ‘right’ thing, the ‘comforting’ thing to do.  I mean, what classical ballet dancer does not have a pair of pointe shoes in her bag?

I was going to walk to the studio but made the last-minute decision to drive.  When I arrived, I ‘waddled’ up the steep staircase, went to the office, paid $20.00 and was directed to another set of stairs which led to studio 1.  The moment I stepped out of the office I had the first of many, many deja vous moments.  There were parents sitting on couches which lined the walls of the hall.  They were chatting with each other, on phones, laptops and I-Pads.  There was music coming from 3 different studios and there were pictures mounted everywhere – dancers from the past, the present, posters of dancers, old dated paintings of dancers and the hall smelled of sweat, rosin and leather.

I walked through the couch-lined hallway and made my way up the stairs to studio 1.  As I came to the top step, I could hear a mom talking on the phone and the sounds of little girls chatting and giggling in the studio.  They all had pointe shoes on, except for the teacher.  There was recorded piano music playing, dance barres along the back wall, one side wall and portable barres in the center of the studio.  The front wall had a floor-to-ceiling mirror and in the corner of the studio was a shallow wooden box of rosin dust.  The ceilings were high and the lights were bright and the smells were exactly as they were twenty some years ago.

I found myself with 30 minutes to spare.  I needed to get myself ‘acclimated’ to my surroundings, plus figure out ‘which’ pair of slippers to wear and stretch.  There was a teeny set of stairs which led to a room called the ‘Dancers’ Quiet Room’.  There were two computer desks, two chairs and a couch.  There was also an open carpeted area which proved to be the perfect spot to stretch and calm my nerves, which were beginning to boil over.  I could feel the flutter in my chest and the pit in my stomach.  I swear I felt my heart skip several beats and my hands kept trembling.  I spent 30 minutes stretching, taking deep breaths and mentally psyching myself out.  I also watched the little girls with pink tights, pink satin point shoes, bunheads, little chiffon skirts and colorful shiny leotards.  They looked so young and they were so inexperienced.  They wobbled on and stumbled off their point shoes.  They ‘white knuckled’ the dance barre, squinted their eyes and bit their lips.  But, in the midst of all this concentration and fumbling, there were huge smiles and laughter.

About 10 minutes before the class commenced, more parents arrived and chatted in the waiting room.  There were also a few young ladies who were waiting for the next class – the level 3/4 ballet class.  I tried not to focus on them – rail thin, long-legged young girls with bunheads and pink tights.  But it is was a bit nerve-racking until the ‘little ballerinas’ walked out of the studio and we ‘adults’ walked in.  Somewhere in the midst of the transition, I became a dancer walking into a new studio, looking for the teacher to introduce myself and find my place at the barre. 

The teacher was so welcoming, generous, and very sweet.  She seemed genuinely happy to see me and told me that this was the perfect class for me.  The students were late teens to early 20’s.  Some were still looking to pursue a career in dance and some were at the age where they no longer performed or seriously studied, but still wanted to take a regular class.  All in all, there were 10 girls – women – and we were about to take a 90 minute ballet class complete with barre, stretching, center adagio, petite allegro, and travelling combinations from the corners complete with pirouettes and grand jetes.

As I stood at the barre, I looked at myself in the mirror, I watched the teacher present the first combination and prepared myself in first position.  When I heard the first notes of music and begun to plie, my eyes began to well up.  There were a few tears but I managed to control my emotions and from then on I continued – through the entire 90 minute class. 

I was a bit rusty at first, meaning when the teacher vocally rambled a combination my mind had a little delay in digesting the steps, but by the end of barre, my ability to memorize choreography quickly returned.  I knew every step, every French vocabulary word and every piece of technical information that was given.  If there is one thing a dancer learns and has hammered into their brains from day one,  it is the fact that technique is the backbone, the foundation of one’s ability to dance.  Technique is what carries you and supports you and keeps you strong.  It is engrained into your muscle memory and something you carry inside of yourself forever. 

My mind was sharp as a tack and my port de bras was pretty damn good.  I was able to handle every step and, even though my extensions were ‘low’ and my jumps lacked their ‘ballon’, I managed to carry myself quite well.  For a soon-to-be 47-year-old with a few extra pounds, arthritic knees, hips and cramping calves, I rocked in that dance studio.  And when all was said and done, I was complemented by my teacher and fellow students. I was exhilarated, humbled and grateful.  I was also stumbling a bit.  My legs felt like jello and my head was beginning to feel loopy.

When I got into my car, I texted a friend and drove home.  As I started to pull up the driveway, I began to cry, and, well, the crying never stopped.  I completely broke down.  It was so bad that I began to panic. I had that out of-body experience where you see yourself falling apart but you are frozen to do anything to stop it.  The pains in my chest were beginning to get scary and my head felt like it was going to explode.  I almost called my neighbor – I needed a lifeline of sorts, but then I remembered I had some anxiety medicine, which after 15 minutes began to kick in and then I crashed.  The last I remember of last night was being numb, heavy and motionless in bed.

I woke up about 1ish with cramping in my calves and ankles, so I stumbled out of bed, located my Tylenol bottle and then went back to bed where I slept until the alarm went off. 

How do I feel today?  Honestly, I am ready to jump right back into the studio – again.  I am sore and fully aware that tomorrow will be even worse (delayed onset muscle soreness).  I am inspired and, most importantly, I feel complete.  For me dance was not just a hobby or some teenage phase I fell out of – it was my life.  From the moment I stepped into the dance studio at age of 3 and all the years through till I was 24, I lived as a dancer.  Everything revolved around my dancing. Even my mother dedicated her life to my schedule of classes, rehearsals, performances, and touring.  Money was spent on shoes, ribbons, thread, leotards, tights, DanceMagazine, bandaids, bobby pins and hairnets. Hours were spent driving to and from the studio, sitting and stretching in hallways, existing on coffee, Diet Coke and Cambell’s Chicken Noodle Soup.  There were late evenings in the studio and theatre, opening nights, dozens of roses, galas, parties and closing performances.  There was lipstick, false eyelashes, ice baths and heating pads.  The smells of rosin, Bengay, make up and point shoe glue.  There were the sounds of the piano, a full piece orchestra and commanding voices barking out steps, directions, so many hours of rehearsal.  We flew planes and rode in tour buses.  Stayed in hotels and danced in theatres big and small.  There were so many tears, pain, sacrifices, moments of laughter, regret and fear.  My social life was contained within the walls of a dance studio and, even though I went to school and college, my life as a dancer took priority.  Dance influenced and defined every breath, every moment and every ounce of my being.  It became all that I wanted, I needed, I loved.  It was my family, my friend and my enemy. 

Dance is an incredible career.  But like any career it takes hard work and dedication.  Where there is light, there is dark. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail.   When darkness breaks our spirit, we have to work harder. And sometimes, we get tired.  Twenty-four years ago, I got tired. 

 Now, I am awake.



1986 - Backstage with wig & make up. Costume - not yet.

February 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm 9 comments

It has been 24 years……

… since I stepped into a dance studio. Not an aerobics studio, but an actual ballet studio. Tomorrow, I am about to do just that – walk into a dance studio and take my first ballet class in 24 years. Oh my heavens! I am sitting here in disbelief, trying to comprehend what it is I am about to do and wondering why and doubting if I can and wondering how it will feel.

Twenty-four years ago I took a dance class in Washington, D.C. I had just moved there with my fiance, after having lived in New York City for a year. I had graduated from college with a B.F.A in Dance and Theatre and had an opportunity to work in NYC. I was no longer dancing professionally, but I was still quite capable and excited to finally realize a dream come true – living in The Big Apple and taking dance classes. My day job was as an assistant manager for a gourmet chocolate store in Midtown Manhattan – 55th and Madison Street, to be exact. My evenings were spent taking dance classes – every night and on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I worked to pay the rent and take classes and, well, I took in an occasional Broadway show. I became friends with other dancers, like myself, who had a professional career, but came to the realization that either the body could no longer accept the wear and tear of professional dance or that the profession, itself, could not accept the ‘bodies’ of very talented dancers, who, like myself, were not the ideal rail-thin waifs that classical ballet dance companies demanded.

After a year in NYC, the chocolate store closed, a marriage proposal was ‘popped’ and a move to Washington, DC was made. After getting my/his/our lives settled, I tried to find a studio like the ‘many’ studios in NYC, where an adult ballet class was more than a ‘literal’ adult beginner class. One had to be a mid-teenager or a first time adult to find a class worth taking. It sucked. I did not want to take jazz, modern or any other genre of dance. I wanted a strict classical ballet class with plies at the barre, adagio, jetes, pirouettes etc. in the center and leaping and waltzing from the studio corners. What I received instead was Ballet 101 – the five positions – the legs and arms along with other basic steps – and that was about it. So, October of 1988, I left a dance studio in Adams Morgan and never returned or even looked back. Not long after this harrowing experience, I began taking aerobics classes, and before I knew it, a few years later was teaching, training, moved to Ohio, had son number 1, moved to Chicago, had son number 2, kept teaching, got divorced, kept teaching and began triathlon training, did an Ironman, got tired of teaching, got a regular job with a desk and, well, here I am – about to revisit a dance studio – 24 years after the fact.

What precipitated this decision you may ask? To be honest, I believe it has been brewing deep inside of me for a very long time. There is a dance studio in my neighborhood where I have lived for a little over 10 years. Many times I have sat in my car, at a red light, which so happens to be at street corner in the middle of town. At this corner is a Starbucks and above the smells of lattes and cappuccino, is a dance studio. I have been watching for years the little ingenues with pink leggings, bun heads and walking like ducks as they waddle through the double glass doors, up a steep stairwell and into a dance studio. Every now and again, I would visit the school’s website to peruse the schedule and then I would abruptly exit the page. It seemed that each glance at the site would awaken years of memories – wonderful, terrifying, heart breaking, astounding and once in a lifetime, priceless memories – and I just could not face them. Then a few years ago, a person – a very special person re-ignited a flame that had been existing as a very faint ember deep within a soul that was and still is a dancer.

Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of attending a formal dance performance, with ‘the special person’. This was the first time I had seen ‘dance’ in a formal setting since 1990 when I saw the Bolshoi Ballet perform Giselle at Wolftrap. Back then it was an incredibly emotional experience. A matter of fact, I cried throughout the entire two acts. I fared much better this recent go round. I was relaxed, invigorated and inspired. So, today I went on the school’s webpage, took a few deep breaths and made a phone call. I stuttered a little, but I found out that I could try a class – an Adult 2 or even an Adult 3/4 class. I explained that I was an ex-professional with a 22 years of training and 24 years of life in between. She giggled, I giggled and we both decided that a level 2 class would be good for now. I told her that I know the vocabulary, I know the steps, but whether or not the 46-year-old joints can do what the head says to do remains to be seen. Honestly, between you, the reader, and myself – level 3/4 will see me at the barre in no time:)

Now, I am faced with the question “what to wear” and the task of going through old boxes of dance clothes. I doubt the tights and leotards will fit and, well, even if they did, the elastic has probably rotted. The point shoes will stay home, but my regular canvas slippers will still do the appropriate job. How the body will move? Who knows, but I am certain there will be a cramp or two or three. The bun head no longer exists and the hair is quite short and gray. I doubt my arabesque will rise even close to ninety degrees, but my port de bras will be flawless.

I plan on walking into the studio with a smile and a sense of humor. Any ‘out of shape’ dancer can attest to the frustration felt at the ‘first class’ back from a lay off, or in my case, a wayyyyyyy layyyyyy off. I will try not to dwell on what I see in the mirror and I will enjoy every moment of my class. Whether or not I will be able to move the day after class? Humph, I cannot say but I will certainly tell you when I write ‘The experience of my first dance class in 24 years’.

One final thought – It seems only fitting that my first blog after a long absence from writing would be about returning home to a place that has been absent from my life for such a very long time. It feels good to be tapping on the keys again and it will feel perfect to be home in a dance studio again.


Paquita - 1987

February 8, 2012 at 3:07 am 6 comments

A student driver and his mom

Geewiz, I am finally getting to the point where I can sit down and complete this blog – a blog that I have been playing with since mid-January. Oh well, the passage of time will gift me more material to write. So, without further adieu – YES – my son, the one who just turned 16 years old in January, has become a student driver. I have always known that ‘this’ milestone would arrive, and like all of the others, I have been weepy-eyed and woeful. My baby is now behind the wheel of a car. Geez.

The interesting thing about this whole experience is that my son has absolutely no interest in driving. He loves ‘go’ carts, but ‘real’ cars? He can honestly care less. My son, like all other teenage boys on this planet is unique. However, I must suffice it to say that his dis-interest in driving puts him in a small minority of 16-year-old boys whose need for independence/freedom and speed is trivial. “How did this come to pass” you may ask? I am not quite certain, but I believe it has a lot to do with the stupidity he has seen on the roads and the comments that I or his father have made in regards to those careless encounters. Plus, every year, typically in the summer, there is a fatality or two. Unfortunate losses due to, most often, controllable circumstances. I say controllable because these ‘kids’ are driving too fast, while intoxicated or distracted by a smart phone and passengers in the car – all poorly made choices which could have been avoided. I believe that these incidents combined with statistics and the state’s revised driving rules and regulations, may have created this lack of desire in my son’s head in regards to driving. By the way, he wrote an essay in the 7th grade on how ‘kids’ are not ready to drive at the age of 16 – 21 would be better. His argument was based on lack of maturity and too many distractions (cell phones, texting). Humph, smart young man:)

His driving experience thus far has been okay at best. He is taking driver’s education at school, so it is not like a commercial driving school; it is actually a class – with tests, assignments and letter grades! He passed his learner’s permit test with a perfect score and his assignments have been straight A’s, as well. The class meets three times a week, with one of the classes behind the wheel with the instructor and one other student. So far, he has enjoyed the classroom portion of driver’s ed. His ‘behind the wheel’ experience is a whole different matter. He hates it!

Now, before I go any further, let me just say that Jordan can be a bit dramatic. I say this because, sometimes, one has to absorb what he says with a grain of salt. Apparently he has come close to knocking down countless mailboxes, backending a few semi-trucks and giving his instructor several concussions!! Yes, I am laughing while I am typing:) He finds his fellow student partner to be very distracting – apparently he talks most of the time with the instructor about his social life and sports! He has trouble keeping his left foot away from the brake pedal. He seems to think that if there are two pedals and you have two feet, well, it is a no-brainer – left foot brakes and right foot accelerates! (Yes, I am still giggling:) He gets confused which pedal is which – hits the gas when he wants to stop and vice versa. Apparently this is the cause of the near-miss concussions! One last thing, he has forgotten to strap his seat belt on ‘quite a few’ times. When does he notice this indiscretion? While he is driving, he has noticed his belt was not on, so without thinking clearly, or shall I say, thinking like a passenger, took his hands off of the steering wheel and, well, this is where the so-called near-miss backenders almost took place. Yikes! (Yes, I am thinking the same thing – shouldn’t the instructor have checked this and brought it to his attention before he allowed Jordan to place the gear shift into drive????)

Apparently each driver is given a score after every practical ‘road trip’. The highest score is 12 points. Jordan’s scores have been consistent across the board – 6’s, with the exception of a 6 1/2! In knowing what you read in the second paragraph of this blog, do you think that my son is devastated by his average driving scores? Nope. He is frustrated, but he is not loosing sleep over it. He has decided that he is a sucky driver and that he hates driving, and, well, that is about it. Case closed. Dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Close the book and put it away!

I have had the opportunity to take Jordan out for a few ‘spins’ in my car. On the weekends he has been with me, we have kept his skills corralled in a big empty parking lot and he has done a spectacular job. This weekend, I plan on taking him out – in a neighborhood – on streets – other cars present – intersections, maybe even a traffic light. Am I nervous? Yes, but he seems comfortable driving with me and he handles my car very well + plus my car is mature;-) – unlike his dad’s BMW or the family minivan and stepmom’s car – no pressure, I suppose. I have told my son that learning how to drive is like learning any new skill. Sometimes the learning curve is short and sometimes there is a struggle, but with practice, determination and a healthy dose of respect for ‘the road’, learning how to drive can be mastered. I figure if I keep chanting this mantra, I will ‘drive’ him nuts into accepting the fact that driving is not so bad and that it is a life skill worth having.

One more thing to say before I close – mom’s ‘mature’ car. The first time I took Jordan for a drive behind the wheel of a car, I sat in the passenger seat looking at him with heavy eyes. I remembered ‘the day’ back in January of 1995 (the 25th to be exact), when I sat in the back of the car and Jordan was in the rear-facing infant car seat. His dad was driving us home from the hospital – Jordan’s first road trip. The car dad was driving is the same car I drive today and the one my son is driving 16 years later.

March 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm Leave a comment

Finally –

 – a good training run and I am so relieved!!  As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I just recently purchased new running shoes and to add insult to injury (pardon the injury reference) I changed brands.  I really did not want to, but I had no other choice.  I have worn these shoes for approximately 3 weeks and I like them but it wasn’t until today’s run in which they felt like an extension of my appendages.  In other words, they felt like they were truly a part of my foot.  With this said, everything else about my run was perfect.  My rhythm, breathing, heart rate and leg muscles – they all felt as if they were singing a song in perfect pitch and unison.

I was so excited to run this evening.  The weather looked ‘iffy’ and since I had to cancel my run the day before because of storms, I really did not want to have to do it again.  I started to panic a little because I did not want to stray too far from my program.  It is one of those ‘exercise type A’ personality things that makes you feel guilty if you do not do what you are supposed to do, but on the other hand, you know that there are some things that you have no control over and you just have to accept the situation for what it is and deal with it.  In the grand scheme of things, the ‘stressing over’ the state of affairs such as running is so silly.  Why does one do it?

When I was three and a half years old, my mother took me to my first ballet class.  My teacher was this rather large, robust woman who immigrated from Germany during World War 2.  She carried a wooden dowel that she would tap on the ground for rhythm, slap our derrieres and press into our spines to correct posture and slap our fingers so that we did not grasp the dance barre too tight.  She spoke with a very thick German accent and she was strict.  There was a softness to her nature, but one would only experience this briefly when she was content with our execution of technique.  What else can I say, but that she was a disciplinarian who demanded the best we could accomplish and if she felt that it was not, made it clear that we had to work harder and that nothing less but perfect was acceptable.  Yes, I was barely four years old – yes, I was afraid – yes, I did what I was told –  yes, I loved to dance.  By the time I was six, I was taking ballet classes everyday except Sundays. (At 8, I was dancing everyday.)

You know, it is funny that these memories are flooding back right now because I just realized the anniversary date of my first ballet class – September 15th, 1968 – 42 years ago.  I loved going to my dance studio.  For me it was heaven, a refuge from home which was not the most desirable place to be.  I loved the music and the movement and I could transport my mind into another world where everything was beautiful and free and calm.  It was not difficult for me to adhere to a strict dance class schedule.  We were taught that ‘practice makes perfect’ and that dance class is a dancer’s lifeline – one must take class everyday without fail.  If you were sick, you danced.  If you were injured, you danced (within reason, of course).  If you had a ton of homework, you danced.  If you had conflicting functions, dance overruled and you danced.  AHA!  Makes sense does it not?  Now it is easy to see how someone can stress over a deviation in a training program.

I am laughing right now because of the absurdity of it all.  When I was a kid I never thought my life would be without a dance barre, point shoes and the stage.  To me, a disciplined, structured life was normal.  As I got older, things changed – obviously.  I danced for 20 years, then stopped.  Life changes came bouncing out from all corners of my existence, and now at the age of 45 I find myself still thinking that ‘practice makes perfect’ – except I am training for a half marathon – not for the perfect triple pirouette (of which, by the way, I can still execute quite nicely:)

The phrase ‘old baggage’ came up in some correspondence recently and now I am thinking that reminiscing about the past is like dragging old baggage out of the attic.  Yes, I suppose it is, but for some reason, my first dance teacher popped into my head.  Anneliese left quite an impression on a little girl many years ago and I have to say that I am grateful.  Will I drag the old baggage back into the attic?  I will certainly try, but, you know, practice does make us close to perfect – because there is no such thing as perfection.  If I have learned anything from my post-ballet life, perfection does not exist.  Striving to be perfect may make us stronger, but it can make us a bit loony in the process.  Being loony is not all that bad – if anything it makes us human, which is perfect!

Began Wednesday 9/22

Completed Thursday 9/23

September 23, 2010 at 4:24 pm 2 comments

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Natalie Breuer

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