Master Class

Ow. Rachel and I and our classmates trekked out to Maple Ridge today for what our teacher calls a Master Class in bellydance. Basically, we’re advanced students and worked on advanced choreography.

It used muscles I forgot I even had. I could tell I was rusty, but Kim got us doing some yoga to warm up, which was a departure from how we usually warm up. It was great, but ow! Those are my hiiiips!

Then we worked on the choreography, which was a challenge, because we haven’t done it for several months. It was less of a mess than I thought, but not perfect by any means.

I worry that as a member of the master class, I will let us down. I get mixed up, especially in a dance when we don’t repeat any sequences. And are using zils. But Kim thinks we can do it, and that means she thinks I can do it. So I will.

But I am not going to be a Kitsilano Yoga Bunny.

Clueless Ships That Pass in the Night.

So I’m puttering around the house, and the tv is on the Food Network. I don’t necessarily watch it, but I like the noise and I like glancing over and seeing yummy food. Also, I get ideas.

But all the shows today have been about Valentines Day meals and for about an hour, I was thinking, “Gosh, these must be reruns. V Day isn’t anywhere around now.”

And then I remembered it is. See, there is no reason for me to think of it because I haven’t really seen E for a while now. I come in from tutoring and he is dozing on the couch. At best, we have a little conversation about the day and then he toddles off to bed because he has to be at work so early, fixing the Olympic stuff that keeps on breaking. In fact, they put a night crew on because the day crew can’t even get to all the stuff that’s breaking during the day. Yeah, VANOC, I wrote that down on the Internet. Suck it.

In any case, I probably won’t see much more of E until after the brouhaha, so we will probably have V Day in March or something. There’s no earthly reason for me to make duck in orange sauce or whatever (current guy is deep-frying okra. I wouldn’t make that at any point) for him at any point in February.

I kind of miss him. The couch is too big.

Personal Protection.

So when I bought E an iPod for Christmas, I knew I was giving him the gift of music, but I didn’t know I was also giving him a safe way to navigate the streets at night.

Not that he needs it. At six foot five and slightly burly, he looks like there’s a wookie in his immediate family tree. Especially with the shoulder-length hair and the not shaving very often. Only drunk guys with Napoleon complexes challenge him. His strategy is to agree with them until they go away. He’s just not a fighter.

But I was just taking out the recycling and heard him as he wandered into the yard. “Yeeaaah, mmmmmmhm….brawr…dooo doo bwap!” He’s half-singing to himself as he shambles along, shaking his head to the music.

My boyfriend looks like a crazy person when he has his iPod on. I kind of think that’s awesome.

Work Worries

This last pay period, I got paid in cash. Plus a $50 cheque.

That has never happened before. Part of me thinks it’s just some tax thing. After all, my pay stub was accurate. But part of me wonders if the boss is going to do a runner in the middle of the night and Bang! like that I’ll be out of a job.

Enrollment has been decreasing steadily over the last six months or so. I moved from twenty hours a week to eighteen, sometimes sixteen. I assumed it was because the economy is in the toilet all over the world. Korean dads are losing jobs just as much as any other dads are, and that means a lot of Korean moms are upping stakes and moving back before they’d planned.

I know another academy isn’t poaching students because I’d have heard if another one was the new, hot place to go. It looks like the other existing ones in the city are struggling as well.

Logic tells me I should just ask the boss, but he’s not really into transparent communicating. Maybe he’s trying to save face.

But still. I got paid in cash. That troubles me.

I am a Pod. An iPod.

I’m trying to be aware when I’m walking around listening to music. I don’t want to be one of those clued-out zombies who stare, slack-jawed, into the distance while old ladies have to stand on the bus, or people on crutches try to get past me.

So I’ve been using my eyes more, and I see there are a lot of people with MP3 players out there. They are everywhere.

So why are they not dancing the way I am? Why do their lips not curl in sheer delight when a riff they love plays? Why aren’t they nodding their heads and swaying? Am I uncool for loving my music? Do I care?

In an unrelated note, I bought a pair of size 6 jeans today. They fit. I was swimming in the size 10 and 8. I cannot credit ten days of iPod dancing, though. Thank you, vanity sizing!

I Hold My Tongue Too Much.

Or something like that. Life is a mixed bag.

We were at a fantastic wedding on the weekend. Longtime friends, potluck food, live music from various people. Family flew in from elsewhere. I danced and drank and helped out in the kitchen. It was lovely. Only one thing marred it. A woman I hardly know put her hand on my belly and said, “Congratulations!”

Now, we all know what this means. It means she thinks I am pregnant. Thanks for the downer, lady. I carry some extra weight on my belly. It’s wine and cheese. It’s not a fetus. But instead of going off about asinine assumptions and the invasion of my personal space, I looked down and asked, “Why?”

She recovered pretty quickly. “Oh! Oh, just your..finding such a lovely partner.” She gazed at E and I walked away. Maybe I should have lectured her. I don’t know. But what pisses me off is that I thought I looked lovely (and not at all pregnant!) in the dress I was wearing. Did she not notice I was drinking and eating runny cheese? Maybe not. Other than that, it was a hell of a good time.

E is up and out early as he is working on Olympics stuff. He and his crew are the only people I know who are benefiting from the enormous clusterfuck the Olympics is turning into. (Can they arrest me for saying the Olympics is a mad clusterfuck? I’m not holding my tongue about that.) He’s up early, home late, and bursting to tell me what he’s doing, but he can’t because of some Olympic gag order. No, really. He’s under orders not to tell ANYONE what is happening, like the ceremonies are some CIA-engineered operation.

I’m really glad he’s busy and needed, as he just got a particularly clueless letter from his well-intentioned father, telling him to ‘give up his dreams’ and go back to school ‘for computers’. I absolutely itch to send that man a bullet-pointed missive stating just how wrong his assumptions are, and how small his worldview is.

One day, I am going to stop holding my tongue, and the world will know me as the angry, righteous bitch I really am. I look forward to it more and more.

I Am A Young, Single Male.

Anybody else noticing the strange, patriotic spots on the Space Channel, wherein they wax poetic about someone who died in a war and got a medal? At first I thought it was some kind of Olympic, YAY CANADA propaganda, but Morgan thinks it’s about recruitment.

“Liz, who joins the army?”
“People with low IQs?”
“Um. Sometimes. Who else?”
“Poor people? People who want a free education?”
“Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of young, single males. People who watch the Space Channel. They get influenced by the guts and the glory, and they sign up.”

So I told E, as we were watching the Space Channel.

“I’m a young, single male?”
“I guess you are!”
“WooHoo! I’m a young, single male!”
“Yes, you are. But so am I. So we’re going to review our stance on spooning in bed, if you want to keep your current sexual orientation.”

Morgan’s theory makes more sense than mine, even if not only young, single males watch Space.

Although he also said that Christian groups have been authorized to hand out coffee and cookies at Skytrain stations during the Olympics, because the lines for the trains will be more than an hour long. So I don’t know if I trust his brain.

Oh, wait. this suggests we’re fucked.

Kids and Books.

“You managed to finish “Franklin Delano Roosevelt” and not die?” I asked Minha tonight.
“I did die,” she corrected me in exasperation. “That is the most boring book in the world.”

One of the criticisms I have of my place of work is that some of the books on the reading list are really, really boring. I have tried to change this in the past, but bosses have been resistant, and as a result, the kids (especially the ones at higher levels) have to endure far too many Presidential biographies, African American biographies, and earnest tales about Asians who come to the USA and find a place in the melting pot of culture. (“You’re supposed to feel kinship with the protagonists,” I mock-chided Minha. “You know, because you’re Asian.” “But the plots are all the SAME!” she cried. “You know that they’re going to feel alone, then they get comfortable with being Chinese in America and then the book is over!”)

I had a class of two: Minha is a cynical fifteen-year-old who hates the Twilight books, and Billy’s twelve, and loves eighties bands, Bon Jovi in particular.

I explained how our books are chosen: Caldecott and Newberry authors, but Caldecott and Newberry awards are chosen by adults, some of whom feel that Litrachoor should edify and edjumacate. That there were awards given by kids, and, by and large, the stories were more fun. But some of the books that were really good would never win any awards.

“Take this one.” I held up the latest in the Robert Muchamore CHERUB series, about a group of teenage British spies. “This one won’t win awards because there’s too much swearing and violence. Heck, there’s even some sex stuff. THAT won’t win awards.” (Both kids were eagerly scribbling down title and author. My subversion of the teenagers continues, Mwahahaha!)

If I were a millionaire, I would set up an academy similar to the one I work at, but it would have no boring, edifying books. Kids would still work at their own pace, and they’d still be learning. But not about lighthouses or FDR. The thing is, when you like a book, you learn from it. If they’re learning to love reading, they’re learning what’s in the books, too.

Why not some Greek mythology from the Percy Jackson series?
Why not basic astrophysics or cellular biology from Madeleine L’Engle?
Why not laugh at the fairy tales in “The Stinky Cheese Man”?
Why not basic Arthurian legend from Meg Cabot’s ‘Avalon High’?

Why not books kids have fun reading?

iPod WIN!

In a burst of pure awesome, lovely Arwen’s lovely mother Beth, who sometimes comments here, gave me her extra iPod. But first, Mr Arwen’s Husband, the high supreme Mr Bloggle, loaded it with almost every Led Zeppelin tune ever, as well as Good Omens, which is the best Apocalypse novel of all time, including the future, I bet.

Even though I have only owned this little machine for 27 hours, it has already changed my life. Check this:

1) It makes me about 25 percent more efficient. Last night when I looked at the car jockey lineup for today, I was like, “Pfft, Boss, I’m not telepathic twins!” and then I got almost everything done, including a car that wasn’t even on the lineup. The Co-Op can thank the Zep for that, because I just kept hurrying everything along so I could get to listen to more songs. The Boss was like, “What, you did that already? Woah!” Also, I hauled myself out of bed earlier than I would have, since I woke up and remembered I’d cued the iPod to ‘In The Evening’, for maximum rock-out.

2) It makes radio music more fun. It’s like a drug or something. I mean, I love driving cars and listening to rock and roll, which is why I have the job in the first place. But now, I’m LOVING the radio. I don’t even know why. It’s like I’m hearing everything again for the first time.

3) People give me a wider berth. I know part of it is that I am walking faster, but I think it also has something to do with the crazy-ass grin on my face and the occasional air-drum fills I am doing. Seriously. That showing-everything-on-my-face problem I have has stopped being a problem and means people see me as potentially scary. Cool!

4) I invented bus dancing today. You know how the bus makes you sway as you ride? Just hang onto something and let the rhythm sway you: Voila! You’re bus-dancing! Oh, don’t accidentally hit anyone with your not-holding-on hand. That’s a faux-pas.

Thank you to Beth, Arwen, and John, for the little green creature that is changing my life!

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