Perfect Day Off

Returning to work in retail has been so wonderful for me, hard on my body but honestly, I’ve felt so much better about myself lately!

My calves are aching all the time, the bottom of my feet feel bruised, but I don’t hate going to work. Which feels so good! That being said, working retail during the holidays is less than fun most days.

People forget themselves, they forget their manners and they forget to be patient. But it’s alright, as long as you don’t work too long.

I worked 6 days straight. My body was screaming, but I packed a bag and went to Pole class after work and it was glorious! I finally executed a nemesis move, The Mermaid, which everyone else can do (it’s a Level 1 basic move and I’ve hated it always) and now I CAN TOO! I came home, took a bath and cuddled with Puppy.

Then this morning, sleeping past the alarm and relaxing most of the morning, lovely. But I had to get something done, so I BAKED!

I made my Grandma’s Cowboy Cookies, the ones she would make every Christmas when I was little.

I remember watching her make them when I was small, then helping when I was older. No one in the family remembers why they are called Cowboy Cookies, but that’s what they are called and they are absolutely some of the best chocolate chip cookies ever!

Sorry, but I won’t post the recipe, it’s too special to me. I’m sure you have special recipes from your family or friends that remind you of specific moments in your life; that’s what these treats are for me. Memories.

I give them to my friends and neighbors, I used to take them to The Cubicle Farm (I’ve already been messaged by my former co-workers that they are missing the cookies this Christmas haha!) and I’ll be taking them to The Store tomorrow to share my tradition with my new co-workers.

I’ve baked and baked all day, now I sit on the couch with a Doctor Who Marathon on the TV and Puppy snuggled so close to me you’d think she’s a part of my pajama pants. She even has her tiny paw draped over my leg onto the computer, like she wants me to hurry up and finish so she can get more cuddles!

I’d better comply, Puppy’s cuteness is starting to overwhelm me. 🙂

Surprise Guest!

I got the weirdest message from an old OOOOLD friend of mine, via Facebook. Apparently she’s been in a bit of a crisis lately.

She was a good friend to me when I was young, at least that’s what I remember, she apologized profusely for treating me poorly but I have ZERO clue as to what she’s talking about and told her as much.

Anyway, she went on and on, and randomly asked me if she could come stay with me. Have a visit. Ummmm SURE! I haven’t seen you in over 20 years but yeah, come on down! Even she agreed that it’s weird, but frankly, I know this girl. I mean, we haven’t spoken in forever, but when someone is close to you when you’re young; it always feels like you’re one conversation away from giggle-fests and slumber parties!

She also told me something that was really shocking. She said that my Pole stories and videos, etc had been inspiring her to go out and try new things. MY POLE STUFF INSPIRED HER! Whaaaaa??? I was dumbfounded! But I think I get it, it’s refreshing to see someone who’s “old and fat” like I am being bold and confident. I know I’m not old and fat, but she and I are the same age, looking at 40 with a side-eye.

So yeah, I have to tell Boyfriend that we’re having a surprise guest during the 4th of July, I’m sure he won’t mind, but it’s still bizarre!

Um yeah, I won!

This last weekend was my Pole Competition. I had my routine from last year’s recital, so it’s not like I was panicking, but still. With the family deaths, I wasn’t exactly rehearsing daily or even weekly. So I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to even place.
I modified my “big trick” to include a Remi Sit to add another level of difficulty, since I was entering as Level 1 which is like, the lowest level, I wanted to have something cool!
I also planned a dramatic surprise. I loaded my lips with a bright solid color and layered on some goopy gloss. Then, at a critical emotional moment, where I tapped into the sorrow, terror and loss I’ve been dealing with; I let my face break down, I started shaking and almost scream/crying. THEN I ran the back of my arm against my lips and smeared all that color across my face and down my arm. It looked like I was bleeding! And because nobody at my studio knew I was doing it, I got authentic gasps from the audience. It was very satisfying.

I nailed my big trick, but messed my ending up a little bit; but I wasn’t upset about it. I did exactly what I wanted to do. I took my judges and audience through an emotional journey. Whether they understood what emotions I was dancing or not, it doesn’t matter. They felt something.

I got 1st place! Technically I got a perfect score (they throw out the lowest and the highest, but I only got one 2nd place vote and 4 other 1st place votes so…yeah!) so that was amazing to see.

Fast but Slow

No one ever tells you that when a parent dies; time speeds up and slows down simultaneously.

Let me explain.

Since the deaths of my Dad and Chatty, it’s been 23 days. But it feels like it’s only been a week. Because there’s been so much to do and everyone has been hurrying us up to do it. Brother has been the better one; he’s gotten little things done every day. Don’t get me wrong, within the first week I was all “I’ll do this and I’ll do that and boom – done!” but now; I feel like…I don’t know.

I don’t want to sound like we haven’t done anything. Brother and I have gotten so much done, met and planned the memorial site (both are being cremated and their remains co-mingled) and begun plans for the Celebration of Life. Brother and his best friend have been cleaning out the house where my Dad died (I managed to make it to the foyer the first time back, then I was able to walk through the house but not the kitchen) and found Chatty’s wedding set which my Dad had hidden (because “the caregivers may be able to crack the safe!”) in his sweatpants drawer. So I’m very happy that their wedding rings will be interned with their urn in the vault at the marker.

And I think I’m going to ask Brother to include Dad’s Eagle Scout card too. Initially I had asked to have it. But the more I think about it, the more wrong it feels to not include it in the personal items in the urn. Dad was very proud of being an Eagle Scout. He was a card-carrying Eagle Scout. Not even joking. When he would meet with new clients or anyone new, he would pull it out of his wallet and say “Do you see this card? It means I don’t lie.”

Now, unfortunately that couldn’t be true these last few years. But for the majority of my Dad’s life; it was true. He didn’t lie. His Integrity and his ability with Logic were his thing. That doesn’t mean he didn’t make mistakes in his life, but he didn’t lie. Not really. Not when it counted.

Back to the subject; the time space whack-job that’s been happening to me.

First, I went back to work too soon and now I’m convinced more than ever before in the 10 years I’ve worked here that I will be quitting The Cubicle Farm soon. Very soon. The sooner the better. Even though my having a steady job in an industry that was secure was very important to my Dad, I just can’t do it for much longer. I’m not and have never been a Sheep and this place has crushed my soul for the last time.

Because I came back too soon, I’ve been avoiding work. My birthday week/end time off had already been planned and approved, but then I couldn’t get back in there again. I took another bereavement day. Then another. Then a vacation day. Then Boyfriend got sick so I stayed home to take care of him and take him to the doctor, etc. The Cubicle Farm decreed that “because you aren’t married” I couldn’t get paid for the sick time. Whatever. I didn’t want to be there anyway, but it sucks that I can’t supplement my unpaid time with paid vacation time. No no, that would be the human thing to do. The Cubicle Farm doesn’t function that way. Then I took a personal day. Now, next week, I’ll literally be working Monday and that’s it. I managed to get two vacation days in as well as knowing I’ve still got 2 more bereavement days. So yeah, avoiding is the word lately.

Because I’ve had the time, I’ve noticed that it’s been going faster. Going to therapy, trying to sleep, trying to do anything has gotten difficult. Even Pole! I’ve skipped THREE classes this week, and I’m supposed to be training for competition! It’s all really gotten away from me. And that’s bad.

I just can’t seem to get it together again yet. I’m really hoping that once the Celebration of Life is done, my life will normalize again. Not zoom forward or slow to a snail’s pace like it has been. When I need it to slow down, like when I’m trying to sleep or trying to cuddle with Puppy or Boyfriend, time speeds up or becomes so much more limited, but when I’m in The Cubicle Farm or home by myself (with Puppy, but she can’t talk so it’s not like I can have a conversation, sheesh!) time seems to run almost cruelly slow. The other day I took 2 baths, 2! That’s an excessive amount of baths for one person in one day! And I did it because I had the time. As lovely as I smelled after, bath bombs are my JAM right now, I didn’t enjoy myself. Not like I should have given I took 2 FREAKING BATHS, ugh.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to make everything feel more normal again. Probably more time, just depends on the speed I suppose.

Pole Class Fail

Today sucks.
The teacher is on this “dance on a chair” kick. And that’s great except there’s only 1 good and stable chair so it means we don’t get enough practice time.
Plus, some of the moves I can’t do comfortably yet but that’s on me.
And I’m on Period Day 1 so everything hurts and sucks and is hard and I hate it!

I like this class, Level 3, because it’s a challenge but when I’m in this mood, it makes me discouraged.
Blah.

Slipping, with Style

My recital piece didn’t go as planned. The music cut out at a crucial point, granted it came back on about 4 beats later, and I missed the “big trick” I’d been so excited to show everyone.

It wasn’t because I wasn’t physically capable of doing it. I wasn’t because I was reaching too far and trying something my body wasn’t equipped to execute flexible wise, I wasn’t “too fat or old” to do it. I came in a bit too fast and the pole was just too slippy. It happens to EVERYONE, even doing simple non – inverted tricks, the advanced girls will bail out if the pole is too slippy.

So no. I don’t feel bad that I missed my favorite part of my routine, my “big trick” during the recital. I didn’t have a backup move for that section, so I just danced it out. I didn’t have a choice, really. I tried to keep the emotional same-ness from the trick and just tried to convey it from a different move. I kept going.
Same thing with the music cutting out. I have a dance background so I know if the music stops, you just keep counting and going. Luckily, the music came back on with dramatic flare right when I needed it to and it made a good impression on the audience.

Afterwards, so many non-pole people made comments about how much they liked my routine. One of my teachers had two of her brothers there at the recital, neither had seen her do Pole before and hadn’t seen any non-stripping Pole Dance before. They both made a point to tell her that I “has got IT” and how well they thought I did. That they were impressed by how expressive I was and how strong I was.
And THAT was the point of the routine. THAT was what I WANTED, so how can I possibly be upset at myself? I accomplished what I set out to do!

Also, I’ve been convinced to enter an actual competition next year with that same routine. After all, if I can dance in 90 degree heat with a slippy pole, I can definitely dance in air conditioned comfort and confidently say that I WILL NAIL that favorite move of mine and dance so hard that I leave part of myself on the stage.

I’m a Money Dancer?

I’m performing at the recital this Friday for the Pole Studio I call “home”.

I’m VERY nervous but mostly excited about it. I’m no stranger to public performance. I danced and sang from the time I could speak or take a step. But Pole?? POLE IS DIFFERENT.

My piece is NOT a badonk-a-donk piece, THERE WILL BE NO TWERKING FOR ME, it’s more dance-y with some minor-ish tricks. It’s about expression, not hardcore “hanging upside down by my pinkie toe”. I do wish I could do some of the hardcore stuff, but I’m happy with the routine I have as a whole.

My music is Chandelier by Sia, chopped down to a mere 2:04 minutes because that’s all I can do right now. Pole is hard, guys.

All my Pole Sisters that have seen it during rehearsal or Open Pole sessions have all gotten really excited about it. One even wants me to compete at the next competition, in March I think. My initial reaction is “nooooooooooooooooo” but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s possible. I’ve got a few months to fine-tune the whole routine, but the stuff I want to put in, wouldn’t be a Level 1 performance, and Mom Boss (one of the owners and one of my favorite instructors) says that for your first competition, it’s good to “go down a level” from what you actually “are”. And I know she knows what she’s talking about.

Still, that’s a-ways away; the countdown in front of me is Friday. There are some people from The Cubicle Farm going (eeeeep!) and Boyfriend might have the night off and be able to go which is really a cool thought! Some of my best friends are hoping to go, which would REALLY make me feel better.

I’m preparing myself mentally. I know I’m going to be relying heavily on the adrenaline rush I’m going to get when it’s my turn to perform. During the dress rehearsal, my instructor I’d been using to help me pull my routine together called me a “Money Dancer”. Which made me laugh and then forced me to ask “What does THAT mean???”

“You dance and you mark and you practice and it’s fine. But when the audience or a camera turns on, YOU LIGHT UP THE ROOM”, she explained.

That makes me feel much more confident that I’ll do just fine during the recital. 🙂