Have you ever had an absolutely perfect day? You know, one of those days when the entire universe seems to have miraculously aligned just right for you and life is uncharacteristically blissful?
I had one of those days on Friday. Despite the current officialness of spring, we got hit by a snow storm on Thursday that dumped heaps of snow in our mountains. It was the lure of that fresh snow that convinced me and Jason to skip work on Friday and hit the slopes at Brighton Resort.
The weather forecast for Friday predicted temperature highs in the twenties and gusty winds, so we were expecting a cold blustery day. We were therefore very pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be sunny and calm. With highs twenty degrees warmer than predicted and oodles of soft powder covering the mountain, we were in boarding paradise.
Jason on the lift-I have no idea what the silly face is for.
But not only did the stars line up perfectly to create the ideal combination of sunny weather and fresh snow, they also seemed to favor me with unprecedented boarding progress.
For years I struggled to develop my toe-carving skills but only had limited success until the end of last season when I finally had a breakthrough and figured out the basic toe-carving motion. I was unbelievably excited about that breakthrough and this season I have been attempting to refine my still sub-par carving abilities. Although my skills have improved with every boarding outing, my carving was still pretty shaky…until Friday. Amazingly, on Friday everything came together.
That's me under all that snow attire. You can't tell but I've got a supremely satisfied look on my face.
All of a sudden my carving became nearly effortless. I didn’t have to concentrate and steep hills didn’t intimidate me. I was completely floored by this unanticipated achievement and having a fabulous time! You just can’t beat the feeling of gliding gracefully over fresh powder while soaking in sweet sunshine-especially when you are genuinely surprised that somehow, suddenly, you are able to do this.
What an incredible day and what an incredible sensation! Thanks to my new skills I feel like I can now claim that I am a “boarder” rather than just someone that goes boarding. Hallelujah!
Unexpected carving success + unexpected lovely weather + luscious new snow + no crowds = the best day of boarding ever! We will definitely be boarding again soon, though it will be hard to beat such an utterly perfect day!
Jason and I are of very mixed national descent but, as far I know, the only place in the British Isles that we don’t have ancestors from is Ireland. However, that fact doesn’t stop us from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
My Shepherd's Pie
This year, in honor of the green holiday, I decided to prepare an Irish meal for Jason. I made Shepherd’s Pie for the main course, courtesy of Rachael Ray, and for dessert I made an apple crisp recipe that incorporated Irish oats and Irish whiskey. It all turned out quite scrumptious and Jason and I enjoyed our candlelight dinner with the sweet sounds of U2 playing in the background.
My apple crisp with its whiskey enriched whipped cream.
And, of course, you can’t truly celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without turning something green that was never meant to be that hue. So, I added food coloring to our bottle of Martinelli’s until it was a shocking emerald shade.
Jas guzzling his green brew.
So, considering our lack of Irish lineage, Jas and I may not have any apparent reason to observe St. Patrick’s Day but, since we love to party and get down, we think that is reason enough.
Jas and I went to see Thriving Ivory back in October of last year and the show was fabulous, so when I heard they were coming to town again I had to get tickets.
We didn’t make it to the concert in time to see the first group perform, but we saw the last two bands that played before Thriving Ivory. Generally, concert goers have low expectations regarding the opening bands at smaller events such as this one. So last night I didn’t expect much from the opening acts. However, to my surprise, I was very impressed by both the opening bands that we heard, Company of Thieves and State of Shock. I was so impressed, in fact, that I bought both of their CD’s.
Company of Thieves played with plenty of energy. It was great to see their lead singer, a chick, tearing it up on stage. The audience members responded to that energy by being much more enthusiastic than you would expect, considering that most of them probably had never heard of this band before.
Me with State of Shock
State of Shock, a band from Vancouver just beginning to play in the U.S., also performed with a lot of passion. You could tell they truly loved what they were doing. I got a chance to chat with them after the concert. They were the nicest rockers I’ve ever met, very friendly and accommodating. They were more than happy to oblige my request to have a picture taken with them. I’ve been listening to their CD and am happy to report that I’m digging it. Their music is catchy and fun, good toe-tapping tunes.
Thriving Ivory rocking out
And as for the main attraction, Thriving Ivory, as anticipated, did not disappoint. Like last time, they put on a great show and the audience definitely enjoyed themselves. It’s easy to see why Salt Lake City is Thriving Ivory’s favorite place to perform. With girls screaming “I love you” whenever there was a quieter moment, you’d think you’d just stepped into a Jonas Brothers concert. But I guess I can commiserate with the screaming masses, I too love Thriving Ivory. I love their music and watching them perform, and I love that they’ve found such a captive audience here in Salt Lake City; I kind of feel like they’re my homeboys. Next time they come to town I can guarantee that I will be in the crowd cheering them on.
My sole complaint is that I wasn’t able to get a picture with the band this time. Unlike at their previous show, last night I remembered to bring my camera with me, but also unlike last time, people weren’t allowed to take pictures with the band afterwards. I’m sure the band members were exhausted; they looked like they were worn out from touring. And they were very sweet to hang around, following the concert, to sign swag. But man, I just wanted a good picture after the dismal state of the iPhone ones I took last time. So I waited in line, only to hear when I was close to the front of the line that they weren’t permitting any pictures to be taken. How sad! Oh well, my pixilated picts will have to do for now. Maybe next time…
Still, it was a tremendous show. I enjoyed all of the bands, which is a rarity. And I loved seeing my Thriving Ivory boys again. I hope they will return soon.
Okay children, it’s time for us to use our imaginations. What comes to mind when you think of belly dancing?
The timeless art of seduction? A scantily clad woman tempting a sultan? Exotic dancers employed for some dude’s bachelor party? My guess is that these misconceptions, or ones like them, are what you associate with this form of dance.
Shortly after Jason and I got married, nearly 8 years ago, I decided to take a belly dancing class through UVU’s continuing education program. I loved the class so much that I signed up for others and through the years I’ve had a blast performing this graceful folk dance. That’s why I feel compelled to straighten out all those crazy ideas everyone seems to have about this art.
My veil solo done at last week’s performance
Belly dancing, more correctly termed Oriental dancing, has been a part of Middle Eastern society for centuries. With the rise of Islam, households were segregated into women’s and men’s quarters. Women would hold their own festivities on special occasions, apart from the men. They would celebrate by dancing together and for each other. They didn’t dance to seduce or tantalize, obviously there weren’t even men present. And they didn’t dance wearing skimpy outfits either. Belly dancing was a dance of celebration and sisterhood, done by women for women.
So where did we get this idea of hussies, sporting coin braziers and leading men to sin? One word: Hollywood. We westerners skewed belly dancing, turned it into something sensational and sinful, something it never was.
It’s time to dispel those Hollywood fantasies. Since I’ve been belly dancing for years now, I can assure all of you that belly dancing is nothing like you think. It truly is an art and an expression of sisterhood and femininity. It is surprisingly difficult and requires an enormous amount of practice to perfect. You have to train your body to move in ways that seem completely alien at first. But the dancers are all extremely supportive of one another and the environment is relaxed, no one laughs at you when you mess up and creativity is encouraged. So it’s easy to see why, despite the complexity of the dance, ladies like me keep coming back for more. Incidentally, belly dancing is also a fantastic abs, butt, and thigh workout. It’s much harder than crunches and so much more enjoyable!
Me with my most recent class
And, in case you are wondering, we don’t perform to swarms of men stuffing dollar bills down our skirts. In fact, we prefer to forget about you men altogether. While Jason does very much like watching me dance, I don’t dance for him, I dance for me. I dance because I love music and rhythm, I dance because I love expressing myself, I dance to forget about everything else for a while and just chill with my chicks, I dance to get a workout-I dance for me.
If you have grasped nothing else from this entry, please remember that belly dancing does not equal seduction. Instead, the words I would use to describe it are: graceful, feminine, art, traditional, creative, folk, and expression.
So next time someone tells you that they belly dance, don’t ask if they are an exotic dancer or offer them a wad of ones; you’ll just make yourself look like an idiot and are more likely to get a slap in the face than a free performance.
I have hit that magical marker. Yes, it has already been six months since my peroneal tendon repair surgery. According to the timeline my doctor gave me, I should now officially be “recovered”. At this point, I can participate in any activity, even soccer, the violent sport that caused my injury. While I am tickled to no longer have restrictions on what I’m permitted to do, that is only part of my ankle’s story. What about pain and functionality, is my ankle now as good as new?
I remember sitting in my doctor’s office months ago and him telling me that there was a six month recuperation period after this surgery. He made it seem like after six months everything would be hunky dory, my ankle would perfect, more like a “super” ankle really, and there would be no more pain.
For those of you who are somewhere in the first six months of the recovery process from peroneal tendon surgery, here’s what things look like six months out, from a realistic first-hand perspective, not from the mouth of a doctor who has never been on the other end of a scalpel.
Two months ago I was given the go-ahead to start being physically active again. Soccer was the only sport I was not permitted to play quite yet, due to its aggressive nature. I was very eager to jump back into things and wasn’t nearly as out of shape as I thought I would be. My first time jogging, following 4 months of crutching and hobbling around, I managed to run for 25 minutes with no problems and without significant ankle pain. I was thoroughly impressed by how tough my body was, much tougher than I expected, and completely shocked by how little my ankle protested. However, after my first few weeks of being active again I realized something-my ankle definitely has its limitations. One day, in those first few weeks, I went running for about 40 minutes and then decided to go running again the next day. After about 25 minutes of running on that second day I started getting a jarring pain in my ankle every time I stepped. After further experimentation I realized that exercising consecutive days was what seemed to make my ankle mad. Now, two months later, it still doesn’t seem to approve of daily exercise. So, despite my doctor’s assurances, my ankle is by no means invincible at the present.
This is what my troubled ankle looks like now.
If my ankle is not 100% yet, was the surgery worth it? In my case it definitely was. Since my tendon was damaged almost to the point of rupturing, surgery was certainly necessary. But beyond that, I do notice a difference. Snowboarding used to be extremely painful for me. And now, even though my ankle by no means feels “normal”, the pain is more manageable. I hope that by the next snowboarding season I will be able to board nearly pain free. So, although I am glad I decided to have this surgery, I think my doctor’s timeline for my recovery was a little skewed.
Here’s an example of my doctor’s biased perspective:
I am rather on the short side and so, in order to prevent pant draggage, I used to wear a lot of heels. My doctor told me a couple months ago that I could start wearing heels again. This seemed too good to be true so I only slowly incorporated them back into my wardrobe. I found that he was definitely being a little too optimistic. Wearing most of my heels still causes me substantial pain. I have discovered that I can get away with sporting about an inch and a half heel, but that’s my ankle’s limit. Also, wearing heels several days in a row, like running consecutive days, aggravates my ankle, so I have to make sure I alternate my shoe picks.
Kitten heels, which have tiny heels, have become my favorite type of shoe. They are feminine, give me a little extra height, and I can wear them as much as I like with little pain. While I look forward to the day when I can wear all my adorable heels, that day has not yet come.
Some of my kitten heels. I need to buy some more!
So, despite all my doctor’s sweet talk, judging from the current status of my ankle, a six month recovery period was, more or less, just a beautiful theory. When I wake up in the morning my ankle is still quite stiff. If I overexert it in any way, it becomes pretty achy. Overexertion can result from too much walking (yes, just normal walking), wearing straining shoes (such as heels), and too much exercise. Incidentally, my ankle and I disagree on the definition of “too much exercise”.
What can you gleam from my experience these last six months? As I already stated, I don’t regret having the surgery. The condition of my ankle has improved and now it has the potential to continue improving, instead of heading in the opposite direction. But your doctor, like mine, may be a little more positive than realistic in describing your recovery process.
My non-cankle ankle. It doesn't even roughly resemble my faulty ankle.
But don’t be discouraged; just don’t expect perfection at six months out. Give your ankle a break, it’s been through a lot and still manages to lug you around everyday. It has the right to be a little on the cranky side. Expect aches, unpredictability, and stiffness-yes it still feels like someone has wound a rubber band too tightly in my foot when I rotate my ankle.
Although my tendon’s condition is still not ideal, considering the progress it’s made so far, I am hopeful that in another six months it will be much closer to normality. Here’s to hoping!