Saturday, December 29, 2007

The flip side

Thursday night's practica had a ratio of 300 women to 2 men. Ok, I exaggerate a little, there were only 250 women.
heh heh heh
Actually, it was more like 12 women to 4 or 5 men. Certainly not a good ratio for us ladies. So I was chatting with one of the followers, talking about various things, and she mentions that she has been practicing leading and asks me if I lead. uhmmm... well, not much more than a walk.
OK, she says, let's try it, we can switch off lead.
Oh boy, here we go!
I was pretty amazed at myself, as I have been so hesitant to ask for help with the leading, so I have not really worked on it much at all. So it came as a complete surprise to me that here I was, leading with a new friend in open embrace. She lead in close embrace, in heels, and I was amazed at how well she did that. I lead in my little canvas slippers. Well, I was doing my damnedest to lead that is. But what amazed me the most was that I did not kill her! It was great, and quite the rush. Although I have to remember to watch the floor and not my follower's core. Follower habit that, my eyes are always locked on my leader's core in open embrace. Can't do that when you are leading! All in all it went shakily well. We walked, I lead a left turn, ochos, and discovered how to lead a molinette when I thought I was leading an ocho and opened too far and suddenly she was moving around me. I am not sure what my feet were doing, but I managed to end up on the right foot with her. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and we giggled our way through our mistakes, and she gave me some really good feedback, mostly that I was too subtle in my lead, although my embrace was good, not tight and not ghost-like. And my lead to the cross was much too subtle, but that subtle was better than shoveling her across the floor. I gave her a huge hug and said I would practice with her any time she wanted, even if the ratio was reversed next time!

Bolstered by my quasi rudimentary success, I got bold and asked another follower if she would let me practice leading with her. She was incredibly supportive and happy to do so. Boston followers are so supportive when a follower decides to lead, it is as though we all want the other to succeed, and it is such a warm feeling to know that we all support each other in this way. This time, I tried to impart some musicality in the walk at a very basic level using rock steps. And when I lead something that was followed perfectly, I did my best to keep my composure and keep going, when what I wanted to do was jump up and down and hug her while laughing with glee. But I was good, I saved that for after the song. :-)
Feedback again was too subtle, a little light, but clear. And I did not kill her either! Yea me! I felt giddy at the end and I guess that she caught a little of that as well as she asked to practice leading me after our three songs. Which I happily obliged.

It will be a long time before I attempt anything more than walking, ochos, and rock steps at a practica, even the surprise molinette might have to wait until I have some more confidence. However I do have enough confidence to ask for a dance as a leader at a practica. Although I really do need lots of floor space because when we would suddenly get hemmed in from 3 other couples I would feel a slight panic rise in my throat, like a cat looking for a way out of a bath after being locked in the bathroom. And that translates. Which is bad.
And now that I have had a taste of real leading with followers who follow well, I want more. It is such a great feeling when something you meant to lead happens naturally and on beat, and perhaps with a whiff of musicality. And it is also very informative when what you meant to lead either does not happen or something else happens in its place. It is like someone highlighted what you just did and wrote a note saying "Not so much, work on that!" It helps to know what should have happened because then I can figure out what to adjust and try to make it clearer.

I did not think that the tango bug would get stronger, but it just did!

Last night however, I made the mistake of bragging a little to a friend about my "success" at the practica. He gave me a smile, and then stepped into an embrace as a follower! Oh no!! We are at a milonga!! There are people EVERYWHERE!!! WHY DO I TALK!?!?!
deep breath
And I fucked it all up.
I could not relax as there were people everywhere and I was in 4 inch heels and oh hell....
He was very kind afterwards, and said I was doing ok until I panicked, and to keep my embrace more open and less cramped.
So no more bragging.
And leading only at practicas until I can stay relaxed in tight spots.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

My man loves me....

How do I know this? Well, he bought me a pair of Comme il Fauts that I had been pinning for after seeing them at Nocturne on our last visit to NYC. Black suede sandal with a muted gold heel and strap. Very classic and gorgeous. So now I have two pairs of healthy CiF's!!
I was dancing with joy when I saw what he bought me, and did a happy wiggle hug to thank him.

I will wear them tonight and ask Sorin to take a couple of pictures.

What a guy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tango Soap

A friend of mine showed me this soap on line..... I want it only for the wrapping! Although the fragrance is Tobacco Blossom, which I can't help but think might actually smell like the old time milongas of BsAs.......

Monday, December 17, 2007

NYC, revisited

This weekend was GhettoTango and the first Nocturne in a new space. I had a great time, although on the loooong bus ride there, I thought about the fact that GhettoTango was going to be a room full of elite dancers, so I was not sure how the night would go for me as who wants to dance with an intermediate when, as Sorin said, the room was like a candy store. But I need not have been concerned, as it turned out to be a night of fantastic dancing. I did sit for the first two hours or so. I was concerned that it was going to be another night of seat warming, so I moved around. I sat on the couch and chatted with people, I stood by the food and chatted with people, and I sat on the side of the dance space and chatted with people..... But no dice. That is, until our host asked me to dance sometime around midnight or so. I happily accepted, and it was one of the best dances of the night. We danced two tandas, I think, and I just enjoyed every moment. I made a conscious decision to relax and enjoy myself and not psych myself into tensing up because it was a room full of elite dancers. And in following that, I was able to enjoy myself, enjoy my partner and not worry about whether my partner was enjoying dancing with me, I just assumed he was on some level. Made all the difference in the world! After that, I danced all night until my body gave out around 5am. I danced with new friends and old, and with one of the tango gods in attendance for 8 songs!! Yes! 8!! I was expecting to dance one tanda of three and get a thank you at the end. But as we chatted through the cortina, it dawned on me that he was not leaving and I had another tanda coming... happiness is! It was just lovely, and I enjoyed every second. I felt really good, I was moving well, I was feeling the music, I was feeling the lead, and, well, I was simply feeling. The stars aligned in my tango world and it was joyful.

Sometime around 5 or 5:30, Sorin dragged out the air mattress, filled it, and we crawled in, snuggled in as I thought to myself "I don't know if I can sleep with the music and dancing next to our heads" and with that thought barely completed, I fell into a deep sleep. Awoke around 1 in the afternoon, and as all of the tangueros/as stumbled out of bed and gratefully grabbed coffee or tea, we gathered around the kitchen table and talked tango and life as we joined the living world again. It was so surreal, all of these different people from different corners of North America with the common thread of tango gathering us together to share breakfast and coffee. And tango, of course, there was pajama tango as we woke up and someone put music on. Really delightful.

Later that night was Nocturne, and another great night of dancing. I ended up joining the class before as they were short of followers, Carol and Julio from Montréal were teaching a rather lovely little back cross move that when done right was rather sweet feeling. I rather enjoyed the class, despite the expected leader or two who was not up to their basics, never mind leading a volcada. (I have learned that if I don’t feel safe with the lead volcada, I don’t do it. Even if the leader gets pissy with me. Not worth hurting my back. Although I felt a little redeemed as Julio came over as I refused to go into the volcada and spoke with the leader about leading a volcada properly. The leader said he did not know how to lead one, and the answer he received was “I saw, so don’t! Choose another exit move from the back cross please!”)

After the class was the milonga, and when the milonga started, I could not find Sorin to start the night with, I think he was chatting with friends and finishing his coffee in the café area. My friend J cabaceo'd me from across the room, so I happily accepted. He is one of my favorite leaders and I always enjoy dancing with him. And once I started, that was it. I did not sit much of the night.

A new friend traveled up to the milonga, and I wanted to make sure we sat together and chatted, so I kept my eyes open for her, and once I spotted her, I went over to give her a hug and talk. When we were both off the floor, we would talk about this and that. It is always fun to have girlfriends at milongas with you to talk about the dancing, the shoes, or whatever. It was great to meet up with her and swap stories.

I also had another surprise that night, I got another birthday dance!! Adam and Ciko, our intrepid hosts, announced a birthday dance for me and another woman. I stood up in the middle of the floor, a little nervous as this was not my home town, and I did not know how this was going to go, even though I knew quite a few leaders in the room. But I did not need to fear, the music started and leaders were rushing all over the floor to dance with the two birthday girls! Luckily Sorin managed to jump in the beginning of the song, and soon I was being cut in on left and right and behind and underneath.... I actually had one leader duck down and slide in between another leader and myself! It was such a blast, I think I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat the whole time. At one point, two leaders tried to dance with me, neither relinquished his position, and so one fell into follower mode, and I danced with both of them! I just about fell over from laughing! My tango crushes were also there to perform, Murat and Michelle, and I was in absolute heaven when Murat cut in and danced a phrase or two with me. Just wonderful....

Later in the night in the ladies room, two women came up to me to wish me a happy birthday and to tell me how much they enjoyed watching the birthday dance, how funny it was and how much they could tell I was having the time of my life. I thanked them and we chatted a little about the new space and how good the music was. Then later in the evening, a friend mentioned that he had wanted to cut in on my birthday dance, but with all the competition, he was concerned he would not get to, so he watched the entertainment instead. We danced a couple of tandas later in the night and it was just lovely, he really is progressing rather beautifully as a leader, and I told him so. It is such a kick to experience someone's growth and progress with their dance, kind of makes me feel proud of him every time we dance, which is once every month or two.

We danced until the end at 3:30am and just had a wonderful time. I finally got to dance with Sorin for the last tanda and la cumparsita, as we had spent the whole night dancing with new friends and old. By that time I was tired but still moving fairly well, and it was just lovely to relax in his arms and dance through to the end of the night. Had I known what was waiting for us outside, I would have tried to hold onto that warm glow longer, as the world outside was covered in snow, ice and sleet. Winter wonderland my ass! It was a freezing, icy, wet deserted landscape. The group of us scampered as fast as we could to Penn Station to catch the train back to our hosts' loft. And by the time we got home, the sun was just starting to fight its way through the storm clouds and as everyone gathered in the kitchen to chat and eat, I stumbled into bed and passed out, happy with tired muscles and achy feet.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My birthday dance

I had my very first birthday dance last night!! It was a riot and a ton of fun. Sorin taped it, and had others helped when he danced with me. Here it is - the milonga was at the Brookline Tai Chi Center, which has a fantastic floor and space.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

One more round

This week, I turn one year older. 36. Not too sure how that happened. I don't feel 36. Hell, some days I don't feel 26. Or 21. But here I am, 36. Three-six. Thirty plus six. Twice Eighteen. Three is half of six....

It does not bother me some how. This age. I feel good, I am fairly certain that I don't look half bad, I am loving life, and the corners of my eyes are well practiced with smiling. My job makes me happy, I look forward to seeing what these interesting people create as they learn and grow. I have friends that I adore and cherish. Friends who have been with me for a long time. Friends who will be with me for a long time. I happen to be very content and in love. My heart still does a little flutter when I roll over in the morning and see those brown eyes smiling at me as I wake up. I hope it always does flutter. I hope those eyes always smile at me as I groggily wake up and burrow into the crook of his arm.
I am happy at 36.
I feel good at 36.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Guerilla again

Tuesday was another Guerilla milonga, where we set up shop at a T stop and danced. This time we had a little bit more of a plan, with a good sized sign that announced that we were not selling anything and that people should feel free to stop and watch, and if they had any questions they could ask any of the dancers. There were also flyers with information about Argentine Tango and the local instructors. And we drew a few crowds throughout the evening! It seemed with the big sign saying not to fear, we were not selling anything, people were more inclined to stop and watch. My favorite audience member about 8, he was waiting for the train with his dad. And he was riveted to the dancing. When the train came, he dad tugged at his sleeve, and the little boy looked aggravated, and plopped his small self down on the platform to watch. His dad just laughed, and indulged his son. They sat through 4 or 5 trains until the dad finally pulled him away. Hmmmm... a future tanguero in the making?? You never know how this sort of thing will affect someone.

There were 6 if us who came out, and it was a blast. I just relaxed and enjoyed myself, I did not worry about the crowds, in fact, I usually did not notice them at all. There were a few points when people would start clapping for the 6 of us and it startled me. Kinda cool. :-) But because I was relaxed and felt no pressure, I felt as though I was moving well. I felt grounded, I felt connected, but most importantly, I felt joy. And that made all the difference.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Patience Patience Patience

Went to Montreal this past weekend to dance. I just love that city! We stayed with new friends, and I have to say that I have a serious case of apartment envy after seeing their home, it is just gorgeous! They were so lovely to host us and we really had a great time with them.

The dancing, was challenging. I did a lot of sitting. We went out Friday and Saturday, and the dances that I did have, with only a couple of exceptions, were all very good. I was very selective in my acceptances of dances, which I have finally learned how to do without being uncomfortable or rude. But in doing so I sat most of the night until about 1:30 or 2am, when most of the crowd would leave, and then the dance floor opened up and more people would invite me to dance.

Friday night, by the time this happened, I admit, I was getting very tired of having a pleasant look on my face as I sat and sat and sat. It was mentioned to me after the milonga that my expression was that of a sour puss near the end of the milonga. Well, yea, it was. I am at the point where I am not a temptation to more advanced leaders, but I am a good follower, and my choice in being selective meant that I sat most of the night. So after hours of sitting and sipping wine slowly, trying to look pleasant and interested, I got tired of pretending. Friday night I think I danced 7 or 8 tandas in 5 and a half hours. Not much. Granted, Friday, all the tandas were good. And what was the kicker to me, was I was moving well and every leader I danced with commented on how well I was moving.

Saturday night, it was more of the same, but I decided to be as social as possible and let the sitting be a zen exercise. I realized that there seemed to be a lot of folks from out of town in Montreal that night, and there were quite a few leaders whom I knew from all over, not just Boston, but NYC, Maine, Toronto.... all over! And I figured out early on that the out of towners wanted to dance with the Montreal followers, no surprise there. And the Montreal leaders wanted to dance with the Montreal followers and the advanced visiting dancers. So those of us who were not in either category, sat. But Saturday, I did not let is bother me as much, and I chatted with various people and was social with my friends. I was very appreciative of a friend of mine who came over to chat and ask how my night was going, I told him the truth, and he looked at me with surprise and immediately asked me to dance, which was just lovely as first of all he and I dance very well together, so I always enjoy dancing with him, and secondly, the floor was emptying, so it allowed other leaders to see me dance. After those two tandas, I danced the remainder of the night, and only had two dances that I was not happy with. So not too bad!

There was one absolutely shining moment to the weekend..... new shoes!!! My friend C came back from BsAs and brought with her the most beautiful pair of chocolate brown ruched satin Comme il Fauts I could ever imagine (yes C, you were right about the satin and peep toe style! Glad you convinced me!) I wore them the entire weekend and they were just perfect and I felt like I was more grounded wearing them. My poor red suede shoes.... they are on life support I think.... I am going to take them to the cobbler that the theatre uses (as well as the BOston Ballet, so he is used to working on dance shoes!) and see if he can work some magic with them. They are such great shoes, I hate to retire them....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Light around the corner

Last night was my happy milonga, the Odd Tuesday Milonga. And even though I only got to dance the last hour and a half due to work, it was so worth going. I just love it there, something about the space, it just works for me. I had not had the most stellar of dancing since Tango de los Muertos, some sort of block in my brain, so I was determined to just enjoy myself and dance to the best of my ability at that moment. And you know what? I had a blast. Danced with Sorin and with friends and simply enjoyed everyone. My best was 3 or 4 tandas with my friend J, whose lead has just become even more smooth and melodic since his return from BsAs, I felt like I could do anything he asked of me within the embrace, it was great.

One of my friends is leaving Boston for Chicago, and we will be sad to see him leave, he has only been in the community for a short amount of time, but he has made such the impression and it has been to wonderful to see his lead mature and grow. I look forward to meeting up with him again in the future and seeing how he has continued to grow as a leader. It is so sad sometimes, people come and go, sometimes you have little to no notice that they are leaving, they are simply not around anymore, and it is rather melancholic to realize this. But I am glad we danced last night, as he leaves in a few days, and I don't know when we will dance again. I was happy to have the opportunity to dance one last time.

So tomorrow, feasting with the family!!! And then off to Montreal to dance all weekend. Which I am very much looking forward to. We are driving up with friends, so we should make a merry party on the ride up, and I have the feeling there will be extensive talk about tango music as 3 of the 4 of us are DJs...... ;-) I'll just sit and absorb....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tango photo

My friend Mathieu and I at Tango de los Muertos. Rather classic if I do say so myself! :-) Sorin took this picture, so most of the credit goes to him ;-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Where to begin???

Tango de los Muertos is over. And it was a great festival. Tova and Carlos put together such a wonderful 4 days of dancing, fun and more dancing..... it was the best.
So where to begin?
I have no idea.
I don't want to write a novel, there are some who do that and it irritates me to no end, but so much was packed into the 4 days, I could not possibly cover everything. So instead I will cover some highlights.

- Hosting Felipe and Rosa - just lovely people. They had the run of the apartment and privacy as I stayed with Sorin. And despite some horrible luck with driving (Big Dig detours, ugh...), I think that they enjoyed their time here. Rosa spent time with Sorin and me in the practica Friday working on embrace and posture, and her help was greatly appreciated. I felt more when she adjusted my posture and made me think differently about how to open up and maintain connection in the chest through posture and head position. Eye opening stuff.

- Hosting friends at Sorin's - we had a houseful, 4 guests and the two of us. But breakfasts were the best. We had pancakes and eggs and coffee and toast and conversation. I loved having all of us sitting around the table talking after dancing all night, munching on snacks before stumbling off to bed and sleeping until noon. Just the best. And falling asleep exhausted in the arms of the man I adore. Even better.

Dancing - I could so get used to dancing from 10pm to 5 am and then sleeping until noon. The all night milongas were great, and the Friday night milonga went until 3am, so that was no slouch of a time either. I learned to sit out the crazy hours of 11pm to 1am, and half of that time was performances anyway, and thus I could dance without foot pain until the sun came up. I had some great dances with new partners, some fantastic dances with friends from all over, and some wonderful dances with local favorites. Sunday night, I was rather on edge from the stress of hosting the milonga, and that seemed to help me in my dance, as I was so grateful to focus on something else, that I was moving really well. Even Sorin said that I was, and for him to compliment me, I know I was moving well. I just felt good throughout the festival, and I believe that translated into my dance. I just enjoyed myself, my partner and the music. And I was happy with that. :-)

Private lesson with Tomas Howlin - What can I say, it was beyond worth the money we paid. I had been trying to book a private with Tomas after a friend's recommendation for awhile now, but things kept getting in the way. Well, he e-mailed me and said he would be in town for the festival and did I want to schedule that private. Yes! I did! Sorin went with me and I asked for help with musicality and being a more active, involved follower without back-leading. Sorin wanted his musicality analyzed. And so we danced half a song and Tomas immediately saw that I was not connecting fully with my leader, that I needed to be more responsive with my torso, and I needed to make musicality a punctuation to my dance, not dance in one vocabulary which then becomes how I move as opposed to musical expression. Wow. Um. Loads to work on!
And of course, he also immediately took Sorin apart too, he told Sorin that he was too greedy. His exact words. He told Sorin that he was dancing every nuance he heard and not allowing there to be any pause and respite in between the phrases, that even his pauses were punctuated, and that he was moving only in one vocabulary, he needed to mix it up and find different ways to move and to allow the melody every once in awhile be the dance. I think you could have knocked Sorin over with a feather. He was not expecting that, and I rather laughed that I was not the only one picked apart in a matter of seconds. It was a great lesson that went by too quickly and was worth every penny.

-Enjoying the moment. Possibly the best lesson I had here. Enjoy myself, enjoy the dance, enjoy my partner. And if I am not, then be gracious in ending it.

So those are the highlights. There was more, much more. Some good, some not so good, and some stressful, but all in all - a great time was had by all.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

From under the pile of To Do's

Tango de los Muertos is right around the corner. And between sewing to get ready to be a vendor, cleaning in preparation for hosting, and scrambling to get everything together to host the closing milonga..... I am feeling a little swamped.

Went dancing this weekend, which was pretty good. Saturday was fairly empty, but there were more good leaders in the room than good followers, so I managed to still have a lovely time, even though poor Sorin was less than pleased with the attendance. Oh well. And practica Sunday went well, I keep working on the same things over and over and sometimes I feel like a broken record in heels..... I danced last night for about 3 minutes as I got to the milonga in the last half hour after working a 12 hour day at the theatre and I was in a cranky mood. I mean, Oscar the Grouch would have been impressed. But I managed to get an over-due promised pair of tango pants to my friend, who has been more than patient with me, and he looked good in them. Which made me happy that he was so pleased. I did not think I would dance, since I did not have my shoes and I was so cranky. But Sorin swung me into the embrace and off we went, which was lovely, as he allowed me a bit of release. Which I desperately needed. I was not exactly on or moving well, and my knee high autumn boots were not exactly allowing me the best of pivoting action, but it was great that he wanted to dance with me. Made me feel like a shiny happy girl instead of a pissy grumblecakes.....

BUT..... there is more good news!!! I have conformation that my Comme il Faut shoes, which I so very much have been looking forward to, are in my friend's house now that she is back on this side of the equator, and will be mine ever so soon..... I can not wait!!! I am so excited!!

So here's hoping that the festival is as fabulous as I think it will be and the dancers come out in full force and regalia! I can't wait for the dressing up part..... ;-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We won what???

Apparently the Red Sox won the World Series recently.
Apparently this means that all of Boston is shut down for a parade in order to honor them for their victory....
Apparently I should pay attention to such things.....

I had to come in early to cover a class for one of the production professors, and although it took me almost 2 hours to get here (usually 35 minutes by bus) - thank god I came in early otherwise my bus would have taken me no further than MIT and I would have had to walk the remaining 4 miles to work as the streets are completely shut down and revelers are, well, reveling.

The last time I saw this many drunk people early in the day was in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
And I had no idea that there was so much Red Sox paraphernalia available for purchase...

What a day.... I think I need a drink.... ;-)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Growing Pains

I am having tango growing pains. I am struggling to reach a new point and learn, and it is getting harder and harder to reach the levels that came quicker before. Some days I get downright frustrated and upset when I can't connect with someone, or am not able to follow that which either I or others expect of me. Sometimes I get it, and I can dance, and it feels great. And other times I just want to be better.
But then I get a glimpse of something and it makes me happy. Sorin took some pictures of me at the LongaMilonga - which was a good time, even though it was sparsely attended (c'mon people in Boston! This is one of the best milongas we have!!!) - and I am just so happy with my leg extension in this moment.
Somtimes it is the little things that keep you going..... ;-)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sweet and sad

I had a dance with an older gentleman the other night, he was probably in his seventies, maybe eighty. I had not seen him around, but he asked me to dance with such a sweet manner that there was no way I could say no. I realized immediately that something was off as he kept me in open embrace, and his body seemed awkward, he moved slowly, with a slight limp, and his right side was higher than his left. But his lead..... clear, gentle, inviting..... he certainly knew how to dance. Then he told me that he had suffered a stroke a few years ago and had only just gotten back into dancing this past year as he had missed it so. He had been dancing for a very long time and the stroke paralyzed half his body, and he has been working on getting mobility back, and tango was part of his own therapy. I was so stunned, and so touched, I just could not believe what I was hearing. Our dance was simple, walking, ochos, a cross every once in awhile, but he lead with such elegance and, well, honor, that I felt myself doing my best to move as gracefully as I could and compliment the leads he was giving me. We danced a full tanda, and it was possibly one of the most bittersweet dances I have ever had. It was undeniable that at one time he was an excellent dancer, his lead told me that immediately. And to know what you once could do, and then adapt to what you now can do...... the strength of character that showed..... well, I was humbled to say the least. We could all take a lesson from this gentleman.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tango Crush

I really do have such the crush on Murat and Michelle. I just love watching them, I enjoy their classes, and I adore the chemistry that they have in the dance - so beautiful to watch.

I mean, really how could you not smile at the joy they share here?
Maybe one day I can have half the presence Michelle has and I would be happy beyond belief.....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Milonga Dreams

I have dreams for my milonga. It is only a baby milonga, but I hope for great things as it matures and grows into the milonga I know it can be.
Today Sorin shared with me a milonga that made my heart flutter with hope that one day, my milonga could be this fluent, this grounded, this lovely.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tango for the Dead......

Tango de los Muertos is right around the corner! I am starting to get very excited for this festival. I am going to be a vendor there with my shoe bags as well as garments I made for tango dancing, but I have also been asked to be a host of the closing night milonga, Dia de los Muertos Milonga, and I am rather excited to have been asked to do this. We are planning up all sorts of things - great decorations, yummy foods, and tons of fun! Can't wait for the dancing to start! :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back in the Saddle....

Last night was my first time dancing since the NYC tango festival. I finally felt well enough to dance and I was well past the contagious stage, so I had no fear of infecting others with the little blighters that took me down for a week.

It felt good to move and dance, but I did not do so well. I did ok I think, but I was stiff and out of practice, so I was not really moving well. Although by the end of the night I was better. I had loosened up and relaxed into the music. Which was great by the way, and I am not saying that because I am sleeping with last night's DJ. ;-) It really was good, head a shoulders better than what they usually have, and I heard that from multiple sources. I find it very amusing that people come up to me to give feedback to Sorin, they don't always wish to give it directly to him. Guess I am either his ambassador or their buffer.... heh heh.

I did not dance much last night. There were a couple leaders whom I would have loved to dance with, one a friend of mine just back from BsAs and I am glad to see that he still dances like himself but he is very refined and polished now. I can't wait to dance with him and hear about his trip. But I did not want to dance with him while I was still working out the kinks, I want to be myself when we dance. Hopefully this weekend I will get an opportunity to dance with him. The other leader I have never danced with, but he is easily one of the best in Boston. Hell, Sorin has danced with him ;-) - maybe at some point I'll get the opportunity, but again, I want to be in a good place if he asks me, and last night was not it.

There was one leader whom I have known since I started this past January and I danced with for the first time last night. It was an absolute blast! He is incredibly athletic, and he challenges his followers in ways I have never been challenged before. You have to completely relax and allow him to take you on the trip. Luckily, as soon as I was in his embrace, I knew I was completely safe. He immediately compensated for any error or missed lead on my part and smoothly transitioned into the next athletic twist, turn, jump, lift.... you name it, he leads it. I felt rather like a doll, as I have never been lifted, tossed, or whatevered like that before, but it was a ton of fun. I tried to be completely relaxed and go with the lead, and I think I almost succeeded in that. It is funny, the really "dangerous" stuff I was completely relaxed on (lifts, jumps, etc.) - but it was the little tight steps and turns that I would get tense on. oh well. I hope we dance again soon and I can get accustomed to his style. Sorin missed it as he was dancing at the time. But I would be curious to know how it looked from the outside, as it was a wild ride inside the embrace! Funny enough, I danced with Sorin almost immediately afterwards and I really focused on being calm and connected with him, as I joked that after dancing with F, I was a shaken soda can. ha!

Otherwise I chatted with my crazy Russian friend whom I have not seen in awhile, and other friends whom I had not seen in weeks due to NYC and then that dastartly flu. So although there was not much dancing, it was a nice night and I enjoyed myself. I am looking forward to getting back in the groove after being sidelined for so long.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Coming out of the dark

Wow! Did I ever have the flu of the century! But I am coming out of the dank, dark, dreary realms of aches, fever and more mucus than one body should be able to create, and coming into the light. Today I was able to walk from one room to the other without needing a nap, I've eaten because I was hungry, not because I thought I should, and I am no longer going through a box of Kleenex every other hour. Yea! And who knows, perhaps by Tuesday I'll be able to tango again! So depressing having such a great experience in NYC and then coming home and getting my legs cut out from underneath me. Although from what I hear, I am not the only person who left the NYC festival with more than memories...... please please please, if you do not feel well, DON'T GO OUT TO DANCE!!!! Why take down your fellow tango-ites when you are under the weather??? If you infect half of the dancers you dance with, then there are that many fewer dancers to dance with at the next milonga. If I am not well, I don't go out to dance. Hell, I am not willing to go out to dance until my nose stops peeling from all the damage I did from the constant tissue attacks. Granted, that is part vanity, but also the realization that no one wants to dance with someone who appears ill.
So please, stay home and get better, collect our sympathies, and then come out to dance when you are well and symptom free....

Friday, October 12, 2007


I am so sick right now it is not funny. And of course I am in tech for a show, preparing a mid-term exam for Monday and getting ready for the student production build to start next week.
What a mess. My nose screams at me every time I blow it. My body aches with every shift in weight.
There will be no tango for me.
No one wants to dance with a walking germ factory.
Hell, I don't want to dance, and that says something....
Oh well, back to my tea and Emergen-C and zinc......
Send a little wish up to the stars tonight for me when you dance on D'Arienzo..... :-)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Can I just say, I love NYC!! It is such a great city, great people and such a great tango scene.... just the best! :-D

The first day of the festival for us was really Friday. Sorin headed into the classes and I was on my own until 6pm, when the practica started. So I bopped around The Fashion District, went into my favorite fabric stores, and had a grand time. I ran into a designer from Project Runway's third season and had a short conversation with her, she was absolutely gracious and charming. Mini celebrity sighting! What fun! Then off to practica, which was DJed by Robin, and I met up with old friends and made new ones while practicing. Not bad at all! Some of the leaders I had danced with at the Yale festival were there and it was really lovely to hear compliments on how much I had improved since they had danced with me last spring. Good for the ego! And the dance card! ;-)

Dinner with a whole bunch of friends, new and old, was great. We inhaled the Asian food and then rolled ourselves back to the space for the milonga, which was fine. The live music was interesting, although not exactly what I like to dance on. Ran into friends from Montreal that I was not expecting to see, and it was really lovely to realize that I knew a good amount of people in the room. Guess I am starting to become one of the tango junkies...

Then Saturday I had a full day. I went into Chelsea and poked around the Chelsea Antique market, it was just a blast and there were so many interesting and cool things there. Spent no money on me. Just looked. Maybe next time when I go in I'll be able to spend a little on a special something for myself. Then I went to a seminar that the New Yorker was hosting that featured 4 preeminent costume designers, and it was amazing. I made sure to get there 40 minutes early, and I was the fifth person in line, so when I got in, I made a bee line for the front row and plopped my butt down right there. The tiniest of elfin girls sat next to me, with the most hair I had ever seen. Rapunzel would have been jealous. She was from Moscow and was studying fashion design at Parsons and came over for the seminar. Her English was not very good, and when the conversation on stage got to be too fast, the poor thing was just overwhelmed and would turn to me for help understanding. It was a great time, although going there meant I missed the first hour of the practica.... sacrilege!!! Ha, how to balance my two passions when they intersect..... But I made it to practica after explaining to the young elf-child how to get to the subway from the seminar and helping her spell chocolate (she was meeting friends and wanted to text them to tell them what she wanted. And what else to elfs eat but chocolate?!?).

The milonga was packed to the rafters. It was just crazy, but fun. During the height of the milonga I did more sitting than dancing, but I was ok with that. I knew I would dance more after midnight, which I did. Had some great dances and enjoyed myself immensely. The milonga finished just before 3am, I think, and then there was the long subway ride home. By the time we pulled into Newark, the sun was just starting to send rays up to the horizon and Sorin and I dropped exhausted into sleep.

Sunday was a day from hell. Nothing I did that day went right, except for my dancing... I'll give you the condensed version of the day. I decided to sleep a little more rather than go in early with Sorin and our host, so I left late and alone. And I snapped the key off in the lock trying to lock the door. Then about 4 hours of pain, suffering and running around in the rain followed trying to make things right and failing miserably. But, I finally did manage to buy a replacement to the lock and Sorin installed it later that night. So I missed the early practica, and barely made it for the second practica, which was abruptly cut short by an hour due to a schedule conflict with the room. So off for food we all traipsed (about 12 tango fanatics, new and old friends). Sorin left us a little early so that he could photograph the beginners lesson and I was to meet him at the milonga. So I get to the milonga and no Sorin, I can't find him. Until I look on the dance floor and he is already dancing with someone. Ok, fine, I'll just sit and chat with a friend. About an hour or so later, I still have not found him again in the crowd. I've had a couple of dances, neither of which were particularly good, I took two chances with people I did not know and they were not the best chance I had ever taken. Then I run into M whom I met at the Yale Festival. We chat for awhile and she wanted to know if Sorin had found me. Uhm... nope. Not as of yet. All of a sudden she is wildly waving her arms and signaling Sorin who appeared out of practically nowhere. Finally! I got my dance with him! We just kept missing each other on the floor. The floor itself was packed by this time, so Sorin took me over to the back corner of the room and we danced there. Really lovely and perfect. Then he told me that I was moving really well, and I was over the moon happy. ;-)

I had some lovely dances, and some really good leaders promised me dances for later in the night. Some time around 12:20, I sat down for a moment and a very familiar song came on... I was trying to place what it was as I knew that I knew it, and then it dawned on me... La Cumparsita!!! I looked around and saw Sorin on the dance floor looking slightly stunned, as did everyone else on the floor. Sigh. Off came the shoes. It was just not my night. But it was not a bad night either. Life was just off for me.

All in all it was a good festival and I enjoyed myself immensely. I wish I could have afforded a class or two, however I also really enjoyed being able to explore NYC and having the afternoons to myself (who am I kidding, I originally wrote days, but I slept through the mornings! ha!). I will definitely go again next year. I just hope that they adjust the end time for the last night milonga.... that was a little abrupt and unsatisfying. As if I had taken two or three bites of one of my sister's best meals and then had the plate taken away from me. BUt what can you do, I am sure that they will learn from the feedback that they receive and adjust it next year.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Found Art

One of the things that I love about NYC is the wild stuff you see when you turn a corner.
In walking to the train I passed by this bit of interest, and I thought I understood why someone would abandon a cheap polyester bolero jacket, but I did not understand why the would adorn a fire hydrant with it. Maybe they thought it should be red? ;-)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Turning towards the sun....

This has been an odd couple of weeks for me. There is a lot of death and difficulties surrounding me. Death of my grandmother in August is still wringing my family, and there are tough issues being looked at (cemetery plots, wills, living wills, etc.). And then a good friend of mine lost her father, which was a marathon phone conversation that left me drained and incredibly sad. And there are several of my students who have had family members die this week or loved ones hospitalized. It is just a huge amount of despair in the air and I wish I knew why that was. I guess some planet is in retrograde or something like that...

So it has been a draining week, I did not get to dance much, honestly there were times I did not want to dance, I just wanted comfort. And I was not able to follow through on some promises I made to friends, which makes me feel like a horrible person, as I owe one person in particular two pairs of tango pants and I have yet to get them to him.

You could not make this shit up. No one would believe you.

But what can you do.

Well, get some tango therapy I guess. Sorin and I arrived in NYC yesterday for the Tango Festival. And after some deliberation, we decided to go to Robin Thomas' lesson and practica at Empire Dance last night instead of the opening milonga for the NYC Festival. And it was really a good night. It was just what I needed to get out of the depression that was settling down on me this past week. And I was able to dance, really dance near what I think I am capable of. Which was a relief considering what I had been doing lately. Now I just need to reach what I believe I am capable and I will be one happy girl!

Robin's class was on boleos and boleos leading into ganchos. I thought it was a good class, and I finally learned how to follow the gancho that is lead between the legs as well as the one that is lead high over the leader's hip on his side. Sorin and I stuck together in the class and it was fun. Then the practica followed the lesson and we each danced with some wonderful people until it ended at 1am. And as typical luck for me would have it, Robin asked me to dance at the end of the night when I was exhausted and my feet were killing me. But I put my shoes back on and did the best I could, which was shiite again. But he gave me some very solid feedback about stepping forward. I need to "sit down" when I step forward to allow my leg to extend and keep my knees together. Apparently I was sticking my ass out, which is just not a good look no matter what you are doing. And really push off with my supporting leg when I step. I had been falling into the forward step most of the time, especially if it was lead as a quick quick. So that was very helpful. I just would really like to dance with Robin when I am not sucking eggs due to exhaustion....

We fell asleep somewhere around 3am, absolutely spent and my feet filthy.
Does anyone else have this issue? My feet become absolutely filthy if I dance all night in my heels. I think it is because I have a sandal style shoe and I do not really lift my feet off the floor, when stepping back I slide my foot along the floor until I roll onto the ball of my heel and complete the step. So after 4 hours or so, the floor is clean and my feet are disgusting. I look around and none of the other women seem to have dirty toes. Just me. Must be something I am doing weirdly....

Today is the NYC festival. I am just going to the practicas and milongas, so this afternoon I am going to stroll around NYC. Maybe do some fabric shopping..... if I can..... and then head up town to Columbia for the 6pm practica.

Oh! And The New Yorker is hosting a series of seminars this weekend with various artists from around the world to talk about their art. Tomorrow, some amazing women and one gentleman who work in my field - Patricia Field , Colleen Atwood, Patrizia von Brandenstein, William Ivey Long will be giving a talk. I am soooooo going to try to get in! What a room of talent that will be!!!

Oh, and Sex and the City is filming their movie right now, maybe I can stalk them as well today. It's beautiful out! Time to turn towards the sun......

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My bike kicked my ass

So, yesterday I biked to work. It was the perfect day for it, cool, sun was out, air was crisp.
It was perfect.
And half way into the train station, I thought I was going to die.
I biked from Sorin's house to the Braintree station, which was about 3 miles or so. And when I was halfway up the worst of the hills, which was near the end of the journey, I thought flames were going to engulf my lungs. But I made it to the station, and after waiting until 10 for them to allow me on the train with my bike (should have checked out that rule!!) I made it into work without issue.

But then there was the trip home. 6.2 miles from Boston to Watertown. In the dark. Once I made it to the Charles River path, I was fine, but getting there was like playing dodge ball with really large balls on wheels. Drivers just don't care here. The path along the Charles was lovely, but about 2 miles into the ride, my thighs and lungs were screaming at me. Every slight incline became a challenge I thought I would lose. I was shocked that there was not an aura of combustion around my thighs. I really thought I was not going to make it and someone would find my still burning body next to my bike in the morning commute. But I finally made it to Watertown and the endorphins finally kicked in, thank the universe! I don't really remember getting home, but when I turned into my driveway, I was flooded with such relief and happiness that I thought I might weep.

I stumbled up the stairs on jello legs, chatted with my roommates for awhile and then took a steaming hot shower, after which I promptly fell asleep somewhere around 10. I woke up at 2, lights on, wet towels on the bed, and my book across my chest. Very disoriented. But once I turned the lights off and skooched away from the wet section of the bed, I had no problem falling back asleep.

I tried to bike in this morning, but after 3 blocks, I knew that I really would not make the 6 miles in. So I turned around and took the bus. I think it will be biking every other day until my legs get in shape. But I am hoping that by November I will have rock solid muscles from the waist down!!! Now, I just need to do something about the waist up..... ;-)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend Warriors

It is amazing how the fall comes and life just winds up and lets loose.
So busy, and yet so much to do!
And this past weekend I danced. Yes, I danced. I found myself again, and I just had the best time. Friday night we went to Providence and even though there were not a huge amount of people, the turn out for a Friday was actually really good and I rediscovered how to dance. It felt great. I was so relieved as I really was getting depressed about the rut I seemed to have fallen into. But all was well, and all felt good.

Saturday was a morning full of yard sales. ;-) Sorin and I drove all over the place, finding things that others no longer needed, but we did. We bought skis, boots and poles for $15. Each of us. Yea! So now I am going to learn to ski this winter! One yard sale was selling veggies and herbs from their garden, so I bought a bag of tomatoes and they were so yummy...... I found a silver butter dish that was in need of some cleaning, but was a good find. And we also bought a fainting couch. What a wonderful, eccentric, fun time!

Sunday was practica, and although we got there late due to picking up some glass panes for the garage (don't ask, it was such the task. And I am such the wimp when it comes to ants and lifting heavy items.....), it was a very productive day. It was in fact a light dawn on marble head day as we discovered that the majority of my balance issues was the fact that I was not as giving with my right arm when things got funky in balance. I was trying to maintain the position of my arm as opposed to letting it move to compensate for balance, both my and my leader's. Well who knew it would immediately make me more stable?!?!? I had been told as a beginner to never allow my arm to move past a certain point, so I never have. And that, apparently, was one of those "nevers" that really was a "Never when you are a beginner" things. I told Sorin to tell me right then and there all the things that no longer were an absolute, and he said everything. Ha! Great! Well that clears it up! heh heh heh, but really, it was amazing how much more grounded and balanced I was when I was not trying to keep my arm within a certain space.

It felt odd to not have our weekend full of tango, but it was also good as the weather was beautiful here, cool and warm with that autumnal crisp that underscores the air. And there was plenty of things to fill our time. Next weekend in the NYC festival, so it will be 4 days of complete tango.... I can't wait! :-)

Monday, September 24, 2007

One thing after another, just not my feet.....

I just don't get it. One minute I suck donkey and the next I am ok and then another minute passes and I do well. It makes no sense to me. And I am disheartened.

Saturday was the all night milonga at Providence, and I was so looking forward to it. We had missed last month due to tummy distress, so this month I was counting down the days. Plus Robin Thomas was coming down from NYC to DJ, so I knew it would be good.

I, on the other hand, I had no idea if I would be good.

And I was not.

Opened the night with Sorin, we danced in open embrace. He dances a lot more now in open, and while it has helped me immeasurably with my balance, but I miss close embrace with him. There seems to be some discord however with us in close embrace and I am not sure what it is. So we need to address that some time. So we danced in open, and it felt fine. Then Robin asked me to dance, and of course, I was thrilled. Even though I was not entirely warmed up, we had danced at Yale Camp, and I had not been too horrible, or so I thought. Well, this time, I was horrible. I could not do anything. And I felt like I should stop and apologize for my absolute inability to follow a simple walk and remove myself from further embarrassment. After the second song Robin suggested that I take a lesson with Marika the next I am in Montreal, which is an excellent suggestion, Marika teaches follower technique and is an amazing teacher and dancer. But it took what little wind I did have in my sails completely out. I felt like I should just go home and save everyone else the aggravation of trying to lead me.

That did not happen.

Instead, as the night went on, I got progressively better. Which was so bizarre to me. I danced with some favorite leaders who were down from NYC, and the ones I danced with at the beginning of the night, I wanted to run over to them at 2am and say, dance with me now! I can actually dance with you now! But I did not. Maybe I should have. But I did have some good dances which shocked the hell out of me. I just don't know what is going on. And it is starting to piss me off a little. However Sunday I went to the practica in Cambridge, and it went smashingly well. I could dance, I could follow, and I did not have the issues that I had the night before. Which was even more aggravating, as Saturday night there were more good leaders in the room, and I was afraid to catch their eye due to the fact that I was no longer myself on the dance floor.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Leading Lesson #1

Apparently I am argumentative. Of course, I have always questioned the whys and the wherefores, especially if I don't understand or don't agree with what is being said or done. But nonetheless, I have been labeled argumentative. Of course, I am sleeping with my teacher, so that might earn me brownie points ;-)

Last night Sorin started teaching me to lead. And after 3 hours I am sure he was ready to throw me out the window (we were 8 stories up) and I was ready to jump out the window.

We were at the MIT practica, and the further in we got, the more stressed I became. Did you know that leaders leave a space and then jump back into it without warning?!?! Or that leaders will suddenly appear into a space that was empty when they were at least 5 feet away 2 seconds ago?!?!? Shocking! ;-)
And stressful. It was hard enough to try to lead with the chest, not walk like a duck, keep my core still, place my feet where the follower's had just been, listen to the music, move on the beat, and try to not get agitated when Sorin missed a lead or unconsciously back-lead me. Add on top of that add navigation (mine and others) and it is not surprising that at one point I was near tears.
And of course, I was resistant to moving too fast through things since I felt that we were not spending enough time of getting me to lead the walk on the beat. Granted, after the exercises Sorin insisted that we go through he claimed I was moving better than before. But I could not feel it. I just felt overwhelmed.

And after three hours where I thought perhaps I would be left behind in the gutter for my argumentative state, what did I learn?
Well, I can pretty much lead a walk almost on the beat and almost consistently.
I can almost lead the follower to a stop without jarring them.
I can lead weight changes.
I can sort of lead a walking turn to the left (follower's right).
I can lead a side step.
I know the dynamic of leading a rock step, I just can't really do it yet.
I know the dynamic of leading the follower to the cross, I just can't do it yet.
I will do what I am told, see what happens, and then argue. ;-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Flip Side

Tonight is my first lesson in leading.
I feel exactly as I did when I had my first lesson in following, nervous, excited, and a little daunted.
But at least, I already know what it should feel like on the followers end, that should give me a little advantage, right?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Start of the Season!!!

I just got a new design gig with an up and coming professional theatre, and I am quite excited about it. The play is The Importance of Being Ernest, which is my favorite Oscar Wilde play, and one of my favorite comedies. Really witty, fast paced, and so indicative of the time. And then there is the clothes..... yum. This period is great for men and women, which is a treat. Great cuts for men, gorgeous gowns for women, and ohhhh.... the hats! I am renting the costumes, but building the hats! Tell me this does not look like fun! I am so looking forward to this project!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

weekend woes.....

Some days I really get tired of my body getting in the way of my fun. No tango this weekend. Which is depressing. Last night I had a terrible headache that I think was related to the change in weather and barometric pressure. I just could not shake it, and I was not in any shape to dance. And today, my body decided to start the monthly ritual of pain and suffering early. And with cramps like these, who can think of disassociating your torso in pivots? ugh..... not me. So instead, Advil is my friend, as is mug after steaming mug of hot tea. Something about cupping a mug of hot fragrant tea makes things feel better.

But all was not lost in tango, I did dance Friday night, and I had a great night. After what seems like forever but is really only since I got back from Tanglewood, I have not really been able to dance well. Or at least in my estimation, consistently well. But Friday night I did. It was Milonga Naranja, which I enjoy very much. And Tova and Carlos host a guided practica before the milonga, which I always find helpful. They are such great people and good instructors, that I know any question I have will get answered and worked on. So practica first, and then the milonga. Where I was happy with every tanda I danced. I got to dance with K for the first time in months, and it was so much fun. He predominately likes to dance in open, and now that I am more comfortable dancing in open, and can take the long steps (with my balance intact) required for some of the moves he likes to lead, I had a blast. We danced three tandas, and I grinned like a Cheshire Cat through all of them. He is just such a good dancer, and I am glad we got to dance again. It was all the usual suspects at the milonga, and I enjoyed myself immensely. And I think that might have been the key to my success that night. I was just enjoying myself. I was not worried about what I was doing, how I was moving, or what the leaders might have been thinking about that slight hesitation or misstep that happened 1 and 3/8ths of the way through the second song of the tanda..... the hesitations and missteps were still there, I did not suddenly become a tango goddess, but I did not focus so much on them. And I tried not to focus on any issues with my leader, I just enjoyed the dance and enjoyed the person I was dancing with. And you know what, I need to remember to do that all the time. Working on technique and movement is always important, but if I forget to enjoy myself and my partner, then why bother? I had fallen right back into worrying what was thought of me instead of enjoying the moment and the connection. I think that controlled relaxation is the appropriate analogy for tango. :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

These are a few of my favorite things....

Some favorite moments from the past few weeks

- the picnic on Caroline's front steps. We had fruit, cheese, bread, olive oil with balsamic vinegar for dipping, olives, and wine. What a feast we had! Oh yea, and chocolate coissants and apple turnovers..... yum! And what friendship we shared. Friends and food, great combination! :-)

- Bicycling through Montreal, the air was cool, the sun warm. And the scenery gorgeous. Everywhere around us people were bicycling; groceries sitting in crates on the back of their bikes, friends calling out to each other to go down a quiet, tree lines street, and the smells of bakeries, cafes, and coffee streaming past us, inviting us to slow down and stop for a moment.

- Falling asleep in the arms of the man I adore after dancing all night. Muscles tired and heavy, D'Arienzo circling my brain, my head resting on his shoulder as his arm encircles my shoulder. Perfect embrace. Perfect.

- Finding that moment where the connection, the communication, and the music is just perfect and there is no need for words. It did not matter how awful I felt I was before this moment, because for this fleeting breath, everything aligned and tango bliss was achieved.

- The pure affection of animals. Fat Cat, who had an extra digit - yes, she had six digits on each paw with 6 claws - would greet us at the door, rub against our legs, and roll over on her belly to show us how pudgy and inviting her belly was for rubbing. Then when you indulged her, her eyes relaxed to slits and purrs emanated from the fiber of her being. I wonder if I purr when I dance well....

- Going to my first grad class, and finding out that it is going to be a ton of work, and a ton of fun. It is Textile Dyeing, and I get a little brass scale to use to measure and weigh everything. There is math! There is chemistry! There is color! Could it get better? I think not....

- Having a moment, just an normal, uneventful moment, when I looked over at Sorin and was hit with the realization that I am in love. It kind of makes your chest get a little tight and your cheeks get a little warm, and a smile creeps into the normal, uneventful space to make it a moment.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Sunday late night/Monday too-damn-early - drove all night to Boston

Monday 9:00 am - Arrived home. Slept 1.5 hours

10:30am Went to school, taught half the afternoon, helped students with questions and projects the remainder of the afternoon, took my first graduate level class at 6:30pm.

8:45pm go home, drive with absolute caution as I am sort of hallucinating about hem lines pulling me over because I could not fit them properly.

9:00pm get home

9:10pm go to bed

9:10:01pm asleep

I have come to realize that I am no spring chicken any more.
And tango has altered my sense of what is reasonable.
Have I mentioned lately that I love tango?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Past tired, now crazy.....

So our favorite Montreal milonga happens Sunday night, L'Academie. It is a great space, fantastic music when Michele is DJing, lovely dancers, and just a wonderful environment. Plus it goes until at least 2am, usually later if people are still dancing.

I was having a hit or miss weekend with dancing. Some times I felt as though I was in the middle of a bad dream when I was asked to tango, only it was no longer the tango I knew, and I could not follow to save my life. Then, the very next tanda sometimes, it was heavenly and spot on. I have no idea what my issue was. But it was frustrating and upsetting. My friend had spoken to some leaders and suggested that they dance with me, and one of them, I have no doubt he was wondering who on earth allowed this follower to step on the floor!! I did not blame him. I could not feel his lead, I could not step clearly, and I could not get back in the space. My friend said my face was full of misery (reason #1 why I do not play poker, no game face) and she felt so badly for me. I felt badly for the leaders I could not follow. No one needs to go through that.

And yet, I had some really magical moments. One leader whom I really adore, is an older gentleman who is very Argentinean in his dance. It is wonderful to dance with him, and when he came over to ask me, I was so full of dread, as I had yet to be able to dance that night. But D'Arienzo came on, and off we went. And I was there. I followed, I moved, I waited, I was. It was amazing to me, as I completely expected to somehow impale myself on my own stiletto as that was the way the night had been shaping up. But no. I found some salvation somewhere. We danced three tandas, and he gave me the most lovely compliment. He told me that dancing with a follower like me was why he danced tango. I waited for him, I completed his phrasing, and my embrace was not a burden. Then he said "So you miss some steps, or miss a lead, pffahh (that's a french expression, closest I can get), who cares? As long as you dance, that is what matters."

Words of wisdom that made me smile and hope for the night.

I also danced with a new friend whose lead is just as yummy as dark brown sugar. Rich, deep and just enough sweet. Every time I go to Montreal, I look forward to seeing he and his girlfriend, as they are such lovely people and I enjoy chatting with them at the milongas.

Later I danced with G, who learned tango in Germany, and although he was more Nuevo in style, we danced three tandas in salon style and it was just lovely. My friend made the best analogy of dancing with him, it was like "Water in, Water out", like the gentle flow of the tide. Man, if my feet would have allowed me, I might still be dancing with him. I just had the biggest grin on my face when we ended each song. After dancing with him, I took off my shoes. The only other person I wanted to dance with was Sorin, and I did not want to mar the night with another tanda of "What the heck is Deb doing?!?". So I sat, wrapped in my shawl, and watched the dancers thin and circle the floor. It was mesmerizing. And I was finally happy with my night.

And now the crazy. We left from this milonga to drive home to Boston as I had to teach today. Yup. Montreal to Boston with a starting time of 2:30am. Uhm. yea. crazy. I did the majority of the driving as Soring was beat and I was sore and my feet hurt, but I was not really tired. I made it all the way to the Vermont/NH border on my leg of the drive before I had to pull over and crash for 40 minutes. Then back on the road with the sun up (amazing how much easier it is to stay awake when the sun is up), and arrive in Boston during rush hour traffic. We were supposedly about 30 minutes from home and a nap for my weary self when we hit the stand still traffic. Each inch we edged forward I counted as a minute less from my power nap. After a half hour we had traveled 4 miles and I was in tears from exhaustion. We finally got through the hideous traffic and sped home. Sorin was a dear and told me to just go in the house and get into bed as I only had a hour and a half to sleep before I had to leave for school. He would unpack my car. I gratefully dropped in to bed and was most likely asleep within seconds.

Class went well. Although the weariness of the weekend robbed me of my vocabulary, and my students were amused with my sudden lack of 25cent words, heck, I could not find 5cent words! But even though I was past exhaustion and still am, I would not have traded this weekend for the world. The few moments of bliss that I experienced during my night of trauma made the whole night worth it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

So tired

Sorin and I are vising a dear friend in one of my favorite cities and naturally we will be going out to tango every night! :-) wheeee!

Last night we went out to a milonga that is one of Sorin's favorites and I did a lot of sitting. Which is fine, because I have learned in this city that the first night I go out dancing here, I am watched, and then the subsequent nights I will be invited. I danced almost entirely with Sorin, which was good, although I was so tired from our long drive up north, that my balance was thrown. I could not figure it out, until today when Sorin mentioned that my ballet background was rearing it's tu-tu'd little head again, I was going up in energy and not grounding down. My friend also made excellent advice to soften my knees more, which did help. But I was tired. The place was packed like Christmas lights in a box, and the stress of over close proximity to a couple of people who did not know that navigation was an element of leading added to my weariness. I did dance with one of my favorites in this city, an older gentleman whom I danced with before and enjoy his lead very much. My friend kept prompting me to go ask him, I explained I was trying to cabaceo him, at which point she chuckled at me and said his eyesight is not so good for cabaceo. And she was sure he would remember me and be thrilled that I went to ask him for a dance. So I plucked up the courage and walked over. He did not remember me. But he was pleased that I would come over to ask him to dance. We danced two tandas, and they were just lovely. Although I was hyper aware of my balance issues, but he was a dear and told me I moved beautifully and would I save him a tanda for later in the night. Naturally, of course!

The place was so crowded, it was a wonder that the navigation on the whole was so good. Leaders were really taking care of their followers, and there were a few warning elbows for those who were not respecting the line of dance or the space of others. I danced with another gentleman whom I ADORE dancing milonga with, but by this time I was feeling the weight of the day settle on my shoulders, and I know I did not dance well. He was gracious and thanked me after the tanda ended, but I know I was not dancing as I wanted to. So off the shoes came. There were several leaders whom I saw that I would have liked to dance with, but I did not want my first dance with them to be while I was not able to give them everything. I even turned down a lovely leader from Argentina who does not get turned down! And it killed me to do so, but I took his hands, kissed his cheeks, and explained that I really wanted to dance with him when I really could dance with him. And would he save me a tanda at the Sunday night milonga. He was funny and sweet and told me he would. And then I went back to my friend's apartment. Sorin stayed and danced almost to the end, which I was happy he did as that is his favorite milonga. And my weariness does not mean he needs to end his night early if he does not have to.

Back at my friend's house, we had some bread and chatted in her kitchen about dancing in different cities and the leaders we like. Which sparked conversation as I mentioned that some of my favorite leaders are actually women. I guess some might think that odd, but I don't see why. One of my dearest friends in Boston, P, is a gorgeous leader AND follower, and I love dancing with her whenever she puts on her leader shoes. Also, I danced with a woman, G, last weekend in NYC who was really good. The milonga I was at had a derth of good leaders and an overabundance of followers, and when she asked me I was quite happy to dance with her. Her lead was quite clear and clean, and her embrace was lovely. It is sometimes odd when dancing with women, due to the whole two sets of breasts issue, (yea, yea, TMI I am sure, but it is true! If both women have curves, then you need to find how to fit them together!), but there was no uncomfortable fiddling with the embrace, it was lovely. So I don't look at it as dancing with women leaders so much as dancing with leaders, who happen to be women. If that makes any sense....

Tonight we are all going to the All Night Milonga at TangoFabrika. I hope I will be in a better space to dance, and right after I post this I am off to nap land in order to last the night. ;-)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


The infestation of Boston has begun. And it is always marked by idiot drivers during the first weekend of September, when all the college students move back into town, and people who don't understand how to drive a truck.... and sometimes what exactly a truck is..... try to drive on Storrow Drive. The first weekend of September we Bostonians call it Sorrow Drive, because if you decide to chance driving on Storrow, you will be filled with Sorrow.


Because Storrow Drive is for cars only. It has several footbridges that cross it whose clearance is only 10 feet. Therefor, no trucks allowed. And there are big, bold signs at every entrance that state Cars Only. But some people tend to think that this warning is for others, not them, and they continue on.... and cause all sorts of problems. Like THIS.
Watch the slide show.... it's phenomenal....
Every year I see trucks peeled open like sardine cans because they thought that they could make it. Well, they can't. I was happy to not be in Boston during infestation weekend, but driving home today from work, I saw a truck poised at the entrance of Storrow Drive. Looking confused at the bridge it could not fit under, and abashedly at the cop who just looked weary as he wrote up the citation and called for back up so that they could hold up traffic for hours in order to guide the U-Haul out of the road, in reverse. Because they could not move forward.

I was just happy I left when I did.

Some days, I really hate people in their cars.....

Monday, September 03, 2007

Tango Marathon

Labor Day weekend... what's a tango couple to do? Go tango naturally!

Off to NYC Sorin and I went. On his bike. Yup. 3 1/2 hours on a motorcycle. Uhmmm... let's just say after about an hour my ass was hurting and felt like it was deflated. I started calling it "DeFlater-Butt". Heh. But despite that, it was actually beautiful to travel on the bike. You get to smell everything (flowers, trees, someone's bbq.... although on the flip side of that.... SKUNK!!!), you see more than in a car, and it really is fun. So, off to NYC we went.

And had a blast. We went to three events Saturday. The intermediate/advanced practica at Dance Manhattan, which was really good. My friend L from NYC was the DJ and he did a wonderful job. The selections were right on, and he paid attention to the dancers. Usually at practicas DJs will throw on a playlist and let it run. But L treated this as a milonga, and the music was great. The level of dancers was also really good, and it felt great to stretch and move after being on the bike for so long. We ran into some fellow Boston-ites while there. And discovered that one of my favorite Boston leads was leaving for BsAs that night! Yikes! I was so glad to see him there as we got to dance a few tandas together before he left. Every time I dance with him, I just enjoy it more and more. He is so smooth, so clean and clear, and his dynamic changes are just flawless and musically creative. I am sure he will have a wonderful time in BsAs learning and becoming a better leader, and I can't wait to dance with him when he comes back!

After practica we grabbed a bite to eat, and then thought we would go by the Central Park milonga and watch a little. We did not plan to really dance much, but that completely went out the window as soon as we got there. Sorin and I danced a few tandas in the beginning before it got crowded, and it all came back. I felt connected to him, we were playful, and I was in bliss dancing with the man I adore in Central Park beneath Will Shakespeare. So great to get back into that space! After we danced, we stopped to see who was there, and then I had a first. And funnily enough, it was not a last! A gentleman whom I had seen in NYC before, and admired his dancing, came up to Sorin and myself and asked Sorin if he could ask me to dance. Very Argentinean. Usually I get a little miffed if a leader asks Sorin for permission to dance with me, but this was not the same thing. It was more of a formality it seemed. Anyways, it did not bother me at all. Then he told me that he knew Sorin and read his blog, so he knew who I was and wanted to dance with me. Huh?!?! Ha!!!! That was great! It was the first time I had ever gotten a dance because of Sorin's blog!!! I thought that was hilarious. And you know what? If this is the sort of leader who reads Sorin's blog and then wants to dance with me, I say fantastic! Because this leader was beautiful. It was a gorgeous tanda, full of nuance, musicality, and emotion. I was so aware of how advanced this leader was, but not because of anything he put out, simply from dancing with him. I discovered later from Sorin that he is a tango teacher. Not surprising.... so I would state that he most likely is a tango demi-god and I was thrilled to pieces to dance with him.

Near the end of the milonga, I saw one of my favorite NYC leads, C, dance by with a strikingly beautiful and tall woman. Yea! C was there! I knew if I could just catch his eye, I would have a wonderful few tandas. So I sat down near the front, they danced by, our eyes met, smiles of recognition, and off they went around Will. And they kept going around Will. They were beautiful together, moving with grace, and after the third tanda, I accepted a dance with another lead I knew. A few tandas later. They were still dancing together, and I just laughed. Apparently he had it so good at the moment, that he was not letting her go. Fair enough, I understand that feeling very well. So I just hoped that I would see him at the SeaPort the next night. I then danced with an older gentleman, whom I had seen before, and it was gentle and lovely. He was in his 70's and still dancing. And let me tell you, some young bucks could learn a thing or two from him about salida! We parted when the tanda finished and I turned around and saw the beautiful tall girl dancing with someone else. My head whipped around, looking for C, and there he was, walking towards me with a huge smile. Yea me!!! We said our hellos, kissed cheeks, and stepped right into the embrace and started dancing. I have to say, his lead is like velvet. Smooth, supple, clear, and beautiful. I was again in bliss. Lucky me! We chatted in between songs and turns out the striking woman was a friend of his from Montreal who was visiting. I mentioned I was headed to Montreal the following weekend and he promised to introduce us. Then we danced for another 2 tandas, and I was just in heaven.

After the milonga, Sorin and I found some food and compared notes about what others had told us about the options for the night. From everything we heard, we decided to go to Dance Studio 101 at 101 Lafayette for their milonga. It was a good milonga, although it was better for Sorin than me. The ratio of followers to leaders was about 3 to 1, so I did a lot of sitting, which was fine by me, and Sorin did a lot of dancing, which was great for him. At one point he likened the milonga to a candy store. :-) I did get to dance with the people I was interested in, so I was happy. And I got to chat with C's friend, M. She was lovely and we talked about Montreal, tango, and NYC. We exchanged info and promised to look for each other at L'Acadmie when Sorin and I go up next weekend.
I did make the mistake of dancing with someone who I completely misjudged. Their lead was beyond strong, beyond firm, and beyond endurable. It was as though I was a doll, and was thrown this way, and that way, and pushed here and there. I swear I have bruises the shape of fingers on my back from their embrace! And then they adjusted my embrace! Moved my arm from where I was comfortable to another position. Now, in a practica, I am all about making adjustments and talking about embrace and how to make it comfortable for both of us. But to just move my arm in the middle of the dance??? Wow. Uhm. Wow. I was stunned. Like I said, had this person been other than who they were, I would have stopped the dance and walked off. I was offended. Not to sound as though I am tooting my own horn, but I get compliments all the time on my embrace. I had no idea how to survive the tanda, and for multiple reasons, I did not feel as though I could end the tanda early. Luckily, it was a short tanda and I could say thank you and walk away. Yikes. Oh well. What can you do?

Sorin and I fell into bed sometime around 4am, happy and exhausted.
And that was only one day.

I'll write about Sunday and the SeaPort later. My typing is going downhill as is my energy level. But suffice it to say, the SeaPort was FANTASTIC! Definitely one of my favorite milongas in NYC, despite the challenge of the planks and the tourists. Really, anytime you go to NYC in the summer to dance, go to the Seaport. You'll love it.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Last night I went to practica and strapped on my favorite red suede Comme il Fauts... and noticed that they have begun a very slow vals towards death! I have worn them into near tatters.... the inside of the shoes at the sandal have been worn down past the red to the heart of the fabric, the heels have been rubbed into nubs and the sole is getting really thin..... And yet they still feel perfect (although I can now really feel the floor through them) and I won't wear any other shoes.... I just hope that they last a few more months.... when I will refresh them with other CiF's from BsAs.... a good friend is going there and has agreed to buy some shoes for me!!! Yea!!! But for now, my sad shoes will have to suffice.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

funny sweet moments

Been having a blast with my goddaughter. She's a riot. At 6 she not only has an amazing vocabulary but she just says the most honest and pure things. Here's some highlights...

*We are on the T, heading into Boston, and she looks across at two teenagers sitting directly opposite us and states "They are very pretty, too bad they wear so much make-up. Some one should tell them they would be prettier without all that make-up." Uhm.... I think someone just did.... ;-)

*We are walking to the bus and we walk past someone who is smoking. She looks up at him with all the indignity of the world on her face and states "Don't you know that smoking is bad for you? Doesn't your mommy worry that you smoke?!?!"

*She is telling me about one of her cats at home and states "She's a pretty cat, but she is not a good listener of me."

And my favorite compliment she has ever given me
*You smell really good, just like a fairy godmother should smell."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The weekend that wasn't

Food Poisoning. Really possibly one of the worst experiences ever. And on top of having food poisoning, I got it the weekend of the LongaMilonga when Robin Thomas was DJing. Really, it could not have been worse.
And yes I survived. Mostly.... poor Sorin though..... he got it much worse than I did. Poor guy. I made mention at one point while we were groaning in unison that I preferred different bonding moments, and could we please move on to more pleasant ones..... ;-)

This morning I had to drag my tired butt out of bed, just as I had gotten comfortable enough to sleep, and drive 2.5 hours west to pick up my goddaughter who is staying at "Camp Debbi" for a few days. Getting up was rough, but seeing her happy smiling face made it all worth it.

We went food shopping when we got back to Boston as I had no food in the house and although my stomach was not interested in food, I knew that her little body would be. So we agreed to make pizza for dinner, and then I let her chose what fruit we would buy. I just about had an accident in the aisle from laughing when I told her to pick the fruit. Her little face became very serious and she climbed out of the monstrosity of a child's shopping cart (you know the one, where the front is a car and there is no possible way to steer the damn thing around any corner without taking whole displays down), and she walked up and down the fruit displays. Looking at all the fruit. Little hands on hips, deciding what looked good. Finally she announced "Plum, Peaches and Pears". Apparently our shopping trip was brought to us by the letter P. I also was talked into Pop Tarts. I am not sure how this happened. But I was talked into Blueberry Pop Tarts. But I tried to make a stand and would not buy the frosted ones.

Then the "What's this?" and "This looks interesting" started with cookies and sugar cereal. My new response to those questions is "Yes, and we are not buying it."

Once we got home I pulled out the pizza stone and prepped the pizza dough. Pulled up a chair, and she climbed up next to me, and explained how much sauce to use. You'd think she was a wizened little Sicilian the way she talked about how bad too much sauce was. In went the pizza once it was properly put together, then out came the crayons as we waited for it to be done.

I have to say, the kid knows her pizza sauce proportions!

After dinner we took a walk to Target to buy stick glue as she has an activity book that she wants to work in and some of the activities include glue. After grabbing the glue, she looks up at me with innocent eyes and says "Well, while we are here, we might as well check out the toy section. You never know what you might want to buy me." HA!!! Brilliant kid!!!
And yes, she did leave the store with a new toy. Although I did tell her she could not spend more than $10. So she had to choose wisely. One Pound Puppy and $9,98 poorer, we left the store. Her elated, me shaking my head in wonder at the power of a 6 year old who has intelligence and cunning.

Tomorrow we head to the Aquarium and the IMAX movie theatre.

But I refuse to buy her a penguin!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Finding the groove again

Last night we went to the Wednesday night milonga, I was reticent to go as this is not one of my favorite milongas, the music is usually not to my liking and the level of dance is generally more beginner level. But there was a tango god in town teaching the class before hand, and Sorin wanted to dance with her, so we went. And I ended up glad that I did.

One of my favorite leaders has not danced with me in quite a while, and when I said hello to him the other night, I got a rather cool reception. And I was not sure why on either count. I decided that I would ask him if I had upset or offended him in some way, as I really missed dancing with him. And tonight was the night to ask that. We arrived and found a table and sat down. Sorin immediately started watching for the god in order to invite her as soon as she was free, so I knew I was not going to be dancing with him any time soon. I was a little put out by that, but what can you do, I knew he really only came to dance with her. So we were sitting there for a few minutes, and the leader in question comes up to the table with a big smile and invites me to dance. Yea!!! I was thrilled. And off we went. After the first song ended he asked me where I had been, he had missed me, and I told him of my working out in the Berkshires for the past month. He told me that for not having danced in 5 weeks, I was doing exceptionally well. Ahhh, the ego boost! I knew my balance was still not where it should be and that I was still not where I was before I left, but it was still nice to hear that I did not completely go down the drain dance wise! Turns out the lack of dancing between the two of us was just logistics, neither of us being free when we looked for each other. What a relief! And what a maroon I felt like for thinking it was something else. But you never know unless you ask. Lucky me, he made up for lost time and danced with me four times over the course of the night for two tandas each. It was great, he dances milonguero style, which I adore, and when a milonga set came on, I was in heaven.

I also danced with a lovely older gentleman, Russian, who is just a wonderful person. As is his wife. The two of them crack me up as they are just so very Russian, as in they are very blunt and honest when they talk with you. We had a lovely vals tanda and at the end he said to me "We danced a while ago, and you were ok. But now, it is like you are a different person. So lovely to dance with!" Ha!! I love the Eastern European complement. It is not one jot more than what they mean, but they mean what they say so very sincerely.

I had more good tandas, which made me happy. And a wide range of leader styles. All of them leaders that I like very much. There is one leader whom I will always dance with as he was so kind and patient with me when I was beginning, who has a wonderful way of asking me to dance. He will approach me and ask to be added "to my dance card" for the night, and when I was free to come find him. How on earth could you possibly say no to that?!?! I usually will dance a milonga set with him as he loves milonga and is really fun to dance with.

So for not wanting to go, I ended up very glad that I did.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Oddity Tuesday

Well, it certainly shows that I have not been dancing much these past 5 weeks. Although in the weirdest ways. Which is upsetting really. I want to go back to the days when just dancing made me happy. Now if I don't dance well or connect well with one of my favorite leaders, it upsets me.

Last night was my favorite milonga, Odd Tuesday. And it was both great and not so great. I got there for the practica, which I am glad that I did. I had a great conversation with my friend P about using your heel when you walk backwards. Sorin and I had a discussion the other night at PT about walking with your heel, and I am gathering info from the more advanced dancers on this as I almost never put my heel down. But that is a whole other topic....

So, practica first... there was a beginner leader, a puppy leader really as he had been dancing 2 weeks (!!!) and stayed for the practica after the lesson. He asked me to dance, with the caveat of being a beginner, and I said sure. It is so odd and funny to dance with beginners as I remember so very clearly when I was beginning and how great it felt to practice with someone who knew what they were doing. We walked through half a song and then I asked if I could give him some feedback, which he wanted, so we talked about embrace and presence and leading with intent from the chest, not the arms. It was rather lovely to be able to talk about these things and see the little lightbulb go off when he got what I was saying. It was also lovely that he took my feedback and immediately incorporated whatever I was saying. That was gratifying and showed promise. I even led him through a couple of steps so that he could feel what I was talking about. Not that I can lead, I can't. But I can show the difference in embrace as well as leading with intent and without. After a half hour, his poor head was swimming, but he said that it was very helpful and he plans to stick with tango. Good for him! We'll have another addict in our group soon! :-)

Another moment that I loved was actually a few short moments. While I was working with the beginner leader, both J and Sorin grabbed me at different times to demonstrate what they were talking about. It made me laugh to be the tango dummy. Or the Tango Model. J grabbed me, pulled me into close embrace, and took three steps. Then he said "See, you can not get too close." I laughed out loud and said "There is no such thing as too close!!" The couple J was helping laughed at that and they went back to working on embrace.

Later Sorin grabbed me to show something, and lead me in open through a few phrases of music. I am not sure what he was showing, but that moment felt really good, the connection was there and it was playful, and it made me wish for the milonga to start so that we could dance. And having that taste of really lovely became bittersweet. Once the milonga started, and I got my wish, it did not happen. I could not find the connection with Sorin. I tried everything I could to find it. I grounded more, I pushed up with my chest more, I blocked out the world, but it was not there and we were not moving well together. At all. And it was upsetting. Of anyone, I should be able to immediately connect with, it is him. But I couldn't, and it made me sad. We did dance a milonga set at the beginning of the night in open embrace, and it was pretty good. But I could tell he was not feeling it and the crowd was cramping him. But despite that, I really liked it and I have realized that milonga is really my favorite.

I had other dances through the night that were good and made me very happy. I got to dance with S2 and S3, both were great fun. I also danced near the end of the night with a young leader, Y, who was just a blast and really good. His dynamic changes were fantastic, and so much fun. I really had to concentrate as he would slow down to what seemed like a snail's pace, but still infused with musicality and grace. I thoroughly enjoyed dancing with him. I believe we had danced one before in the spring, while I was still a "mixed bag" (to steal a phrase from Sorin). But this time I was able to follow whatever he led at whatever pace he set, and we had a great time.

So it was a night of oddities. Which helped me decided to sign up for an intermediate series or a private to help me get back up to speed. Losing ground is no fun.