A Return and New Start

I am really sorry to have been away so long – much longer than I intended!

It hasn’t been from lack of desire to write, but more from a lack of time. A lot happened really quickly once I returned from my deployment and part of that has meant figuring out a new routine – including time to blog.

Backing up a little, the deployment was really rewarding, although by the time I got home I was legitimately exhausted. We had a lot of weather issues which meant we either weren’t able to get into port or stay in port as long as we should have for down time.

Despite that, I was able to fairly consistently practice and even sent the bosses a video of my practice to which they provided feedback after realizing fully the limitations I was working with (it’s one thing to hear it, but another to see it!)

That helped a little to get me on track, but once I got back there was some uncertainty until last week with regards to whether or not I would be posted to another location back east. That put everything I was doing in a bit of a holding pattern as I wasn’t sure how long I would be able to work with the bosses.

Thankfully, last week I got confirmation that while I am going to be changing positions, I am going to be staying in the same location. As if that wasn’t enough, once I returned to work after my deployment, due to an unexpected departure I almost immediately was called on to take over temporarily as the senior public affairs officer in the area. That required a lot of extra time and energy to sort out as the unexpected departure left a lot of holes and issues to be sorted out.

Also in the middle of all that, I finally made the choice and transition to move myself and my cats to live with my spouse so we can establish residency for common-law status. I was more or less living at his place without my kitties in the months leading up to my deployment, so it wasn’t too much of a transition in general, but still meant quite a few adjustments overall to my basic routine, working out how those changes all worked.

I have also made some adjustments to my diet and workout routine. During the deployment, I realized I need to make some changes because what I had been doing wasn’t really working. So I went back to the program that worked for me the first time (and was pleased to see that the changes that had led to me leaving it last time were better incorporated), and committing to a counseling program to talk a little bit about the reasons behind my weight issues as well as being more mindful about eating only when I am actually hungry and stopping when I am full. It’s still on-going, but I have been able to get most of the weight I gained while deployed.

For fitness, I am also working with a new trainer. Not because there was anything wrong with my other one, but just because I wanted to try a change – some new exercises and a new way of training. It is also going quite well, although I have run into one exercise I recently discovered is causing my back to flare up that I will have to avoid in the future. Running is still happening, and it’s been challenging. I had to change to new sneakers as I found about a month ago I was being plagued by shin splints. Progress is still slow, but it is happening, so that is something to hang on to.

On the dance front, that is not without changes as well. I realized shortly after returning to lessons with the bosses that while I really enjoy working with them, I was also frustrated with only being able to work with them once every 2 weeks. Even though I was working and practicing regularly, I MISSED just dancing – something there isn’t a lot of time for when you are trying to cram 2 weeks worth of stuff into a couple lessons.

It took me a little while, but I realized I had to find a way to work with an instructor during the week without interfering with what I am doing with the Bosses. After considering a lot of different options, I decided to go with our local dance franchise as it also gives me a better place to practice where I am not competing with basketball players and kettle bell swingers. It’s also located between work and home which is convenient.

At the franchise I am working with Smooth Guy on, you guessed it, smooth. The focus there is not on competing or even a lot of technique. The goal there is time dancing with a partner, working on building a repertoire of steps. I am currently reviewing the end of their bronze program which is where I left off when I worked at the franchise many years ago.

I also worked out a deal where even though Smooth Guy is not familiar with International style at all, his Boss is and together they are learning my latin routines so each week at my lesson we can spend about 15 minutes dancing through the routines. It’s been a week and so far he has most of the sequence of steps in my rumba down, although there are some differences between Latin and Rhythm that are showing up, but considering it’s a week and he has never done Latin before I have 0 complaints. I think that is the final piece to my dance puzzle overall.

In the details, I also had to sit down with Boss to sort our my solo practice. I felt there was not organization or direction to what I was doing as I didn’t know what it was they wanted me to focus on and I had so much information I couldn’t filter it. After finding out I am sticking around for at least a year, that made it easy to sort and in the end Boss gave me two things to focus on: Focus and Timing. I have two main exercises over 3 dances, and then I am to work on incorporating those 2 points into the first 30s of each of my routines.

It’s been a week and already I feel much better and motivated, and at my lessons today Boss commented he already noticed a big difference.

As a final bonus as I close this out – with knowing where I will be – we are now looking at planning to compete in early fall. Our fist competition today. Finally, a competition goal!

I promise not to be so much a stranger from now on.

Last post til Christmas…

This will be my last post for a while.

I am heading out for work and I won’t be back until almost Christmas. It should be a great experience and I am looking forward to it. I leave Sunday night, but it does feel like there is still a lot to do and that needs to happen before then. Part of me is still doubting I will really leave; I feel like something in the universe will interfere and I can’t get that feeling to go away. Perhaps it will when I get on the plane.

My lessons last week were really good. We went through my questions about my exercises and then focused on the jive because Boss really wants me to work on improving my technique while I am away, especially as it is something I can do in minimal space on the ship.

It makes great sense to me and its an area where I can really make small changes that make a big difference overall. The other area I can focus on a lot is samba and we have a great exercise we do in the group class that will be great and easy to work on during my time away as well.

It occurred to me during my lessons that what I need is to really nail down those areas I want to (and can reasonably) improve while I am away and let that be my focus that drives me. Once I started thinking that way everything began to come clearer for me.

I’ll be doing a lot of exercises and not focusing as much on the routines because in the end there isn’t a lot of room for that, and the floor surfaces are really not meant for turning and spinning. That seems reasonable to me and manages my own expectation.

Boss and Lady Boss also offered to evaluate and provide direction on any videos I send them of my exercises, so I will probably take them up on that, if internet connectivity allow it. With some low res videos I might be able to email them back.

Overall I am excited and looking forward to the deployment for the experience it will give me, not only for work but personally – it will be a great experience! In the end though, like anything it is one step at a time, one day at a time. There will be ups and downs, but I’ll keep positive as I always do and take it as it comes.

If I have a chance to write, while I am away I will, but I don’t want to make any promises.

So therefore, so long for now, see you at Christmas.

 

And a jive…

At my last lesson we started working on jive.

I have a routine for 4 dances now, leaving just paso, which I might get this weekend.

It seems strange I have less than 2 weeks before I will deploy for the entire fall. This deployment may be more challenging to maintain my dance on this ship than the one I was on last fall. While its a bigger ship, the gym area is small. I will adapt and figure it out once I am there.

Back to jive, its another dance that is going to take a lot of work to get adaptive to new Boss’s style. We started with just basic exercises and already I am not sure what I am supposed to be doing. That said, I have managed to work out the sequence of the routine and make many of the small adaptations he is looking for in the footwork.

This weekend will be my last set of lessons before I leave and I hope I’ll be able to absorb enough to keep me motivated throughout my deployment. The internet connection should be a little better than on the ship last year so I hope to be able to keep in touch with Boss and Lady Boss to get some feedback and hopefully even send back some videos of the work I am doing.

I am a little anxious because unlike previously I am still unsure of what I need to do. Its different than before because I haven’t competed with Boss yet and I don’t know when I will. Its a little hard to figure out a goal to aim for because I feel like I haven’t had time yet to fully connect with my new instructors and that is proving to be a bit challenging.

That’s not to say that I feel like I don’t have the tools I will need while I am away, I certainly do. I have exercises from all 4 dances we have worked on, most of which I have been working on for a couple of months. I need to review a few of them to check in and make sure I haven’t made unintended changes.

I am not sure how I will feel after my next set of lessons, but I hope to feel ready to strike out on my own for a while and work it while I am away to make progress we can use when I get home. Being away for the fall will help me to save up to be able to compete early in the new year.

But until then, I can jive.

Life moves on

In more ways than one.

First, I had great lessons with Boss and lady Boss last weekend. While they were away competing, I was able to send them some videos of my practice exercises so we started with some feedback on them. The main point was that I don’t work with the music enough and focus on being precises too much and that I need to allow my body to move and flow more without being so precise. Overall, both seemed pleased with what I have done.

We spent some time working on the rumba and lady boss videoed Boss and I doing some run throughs of it. There are some really good points, but also some points to still work on.

One of the things that was also noted by Boss is that while I may be aware of where my partner is while I am dancing, I am completely clueless when it comes to knowing where my arms are and where I am connected with him. For example, instead of placing my arm up where it would be for an underarm turn, when I dance on my own I move my arms as I would if I was dancing alone.

Enter Lady Boss’s semi private group class which I do after my lessons with Boss. As a group, we are focusing on my gold routines (which is quite convenient), and in particular, all of us were challenged to work on a portion of the routine on our own with all the correct arms. So if we are joined by one arm with our partner in a cucharacha we cannot move both arms in the same manner.

In both lessons, we also looked at the samba, which for me needs a lot of work, especially to be able to do it on my own. I am unsure of so many of the steps, and the style of samba I have been taught seems to have a lot of stylistic differences from what Boss would like now. Some of the steps, I have also never done so I am having to learn them – most of them involve voltas – steps which are definitely not my strong suit.

I have more lessons again tomorrow, and then every other week from now until I leave until December for work.

Yep, I am going to be deploying overseas for work again this year from 15 Sept until early Dec. It is sailing again, although I won’t be leaving from my home town, but meeting the ship overseas. Its a different area, a different class of ship (much bigger) and a different challenge because the program will be started by another communicator, although it will be for me to bring it home for the majority of the deployment. Details are still being worked out, but it is coming fast and furious.

I have 4 more sets of lessons until I leave, then it is up to me to keep moving things forward while I am away. I should have better connectivity on the bigger ship, so I am hoping I will be able to stay in touch with the Bosses more and not feel like I am getting behind.

Life is moving on.

Speed

I can feel myself lacking this.

On Friday after my lesson I worked on running through the silver routines, and in particular I tried to do the latin routines with the music.

Oy. That was a sobering moment.

In all the routines, except for rumba (and even moments there), I generally felt really heavy and slow. In cha cha in particular it felt like I was constantly scrambling to get my legs moving.

It was a little disappointing because I know that once upon a time I prided myself in being able to run all my routines in time with the music and speed used to be one of my greatest assets in latin.

Now I just feel like I am constantly behind and no matter how hard I try my legs just wouldn’t keep up. My body wouldn’t move and I felt a bit like a lead block. It was honestly the first time I tried to do any routine in time with the music in quite some time, so I am looking at it as a first step which will get better every time I do it.

That said, the major victory for the week was getting through the open paso in time with music up to speed without any major stops or disasters. It was rough, the styling was pretty much non-existent, but we were able to do it a few times at the end of my lesson on Friday.

The other small victory this week was that I was finally able to work through the silver standard routines on my own. I haven’t tried to put them to the music yet, but I was have constant issues just putting all the steps together in time with the music. The silver quickstep is still a bit of an issue, but at least there is a starting point.

Yesterday we focused on standard in the bigger hall during my extra lesson. We started with running the silver routines which went really well, and they we walked through the open paso and samba to see how they fit in a bigger hall for the alignments. After that, we ran through the open waltz, tango and worked some on the open quickstep to finish the lesson.

One of the issues we are encountering right now is that both our open waltz and tango had lines that were too long for the hall. We have had to cut a few steps out of each line and to realign the start a little to make them fit. Its still a bit of a work in progress, and I am sure we will finish adjusting the routines this week.

The open quickstep didn’t go too bad, but the main issue was that neither I nor Boss had worked on it in a while, so it was just rough. Its top of the list for my lessons this week.

The one routine where speed is really concerning me is jive. I just can’t imagine the routine at the speed it needs to go.

That’s actually one of the issues I am finding right now – in my head all of the routines in are slo-mode. My head can’t visualize them at the speed they need to be because in all honestly its been quite a while since I have really done any routines at the proper speed in some of the dances. The dances themselves have become slow in my head and that is not helping me get up to speed.

But the hardest part of fixing a problem is recognizing there is one. At least I have done that.

The only place to go from here is faster.

Battling On

My battle with injuries is continuing.

To be honest, I am not sure if I am winning or not, but I am still able to stay active and I am hopeful that when I see physio on Friday I won’t end up in ‘forced rest’.

For the most part, except for running (which I do avoid now), some walking and if I go too fast up stairs, my hip seems to be ok – except when it isn’t.

The reason I say that is that it seems to be a bit unpredictable. I can do a lesson completely focused on Latin and have only a small bit of pain near the end, but some days, like yesterday, a random move I have done several times already tweaks it and I get shooting pain through my hip and down my leg.

Regardless, I can feel my frustration mounting.

My shoulders have been a bit up and down, but this morning I woke up more sore than I have been in a while for no reason I could figure out. They have remained sore all day, although they weren’t an issue during my workout.

My workout are at least one silver lining. I feel 100% better about them, even when the lunges seem to be causing me a bit of problem due to a tight quad muscle. They are hard, but not too hard and I feel like I am making better progress than I was before.

Of course, it is only the beginning of week 2.

One of the other things I will add is that doing cardio right after strength training is harder than I expected it to be. It’s only 25 minutes of sustained cardio but I can tell my body is working hard to get through it.

I have also been blasting through the calories quite a bit to the point I have had to modify my diet to eat more calories during the day so I am not having to eat so many after dance at night. I can tell I still need to make a couple more adjustments – in particular to up my protein but I am feeling better this week with the modifications.

I do wish it all didn’t seem like such a battle. It’s not a battle because it is hard, but because I always seem to be fighting against something not ‘feeling right’. Whether it is my hip or shoulder or something else, there is always something that makes me feel like I am being held back.

There are also the menopause symptoms which are coming with the new workout. The hot flashes sometimes seem constant and yesterday I couldn’t cut through the foggy brain to focus in on anything. It made my lesson difficult because my brain wouldn’t engage and my own practice almost useless because I couldn’t seem to focus on anything.

It doesn’t help that I can’t seem to nail down an effective way to practice right now. Mostly I am just running through our silver routines to try and get them in my head but I am not sure what to focus on for technique exercises.

My lessons themselves have been really good lately. We are getting a lot of work done on the open routines and cleaned up some pieces in the open waltz, tango, cha cha, paso, and samba. We have reviewed the silver routines together once, but we will have to go through them again to help them come together. I am looking forward to that.

School is also causing some stress right now. I am working on my final course and the volume of material is proving tricky to keep up with. I am also not really engaged with the subject so that makes the course more tedious than it would be otherwise. Ironically, I am actually dealing with an issue at work that is exactly what the course is about but because of the nature of the issue I can’t use it for school.

This week is going to be hard.

It actually already is because I can feel myself dragging to stay motivated and engaged with all I need to do. Being the second week of a new workout my body also hasn’t adjusted to it yet and is feeling more tired than usual. My ‘to do’ list is long.

But, this week will pass and I will get through it a day at a time and a task at a time. I keep reminding myself that I have only 4.5 weeks of school left and I will have completed my degree!

After that, I can focus more on dance and will have time for other things – not to mention having time to relax a little more and take some much needed ‘me’ time. Its been a long 2 years to get this Masters done, but I am almost there.

Not to mention 3 weeks until I am on vacation – a cruise in the western Caribbean (a real one – not one with work this time!) for a week. Following that, I have some extra time off which will include lessons with a latin coach I have worked with from out east. I am definitely looking forward to that!

In the meantime, I will continue to do battle and get through this challenging period of my life knowing there are good things to come on the other side.

Like competing again.

Preparing for coaching

Today was my last day in my office until New Year.

Next week I am off to Ottawa for work for the week, then I am home for Thanksgiving. After that, I have a couple days of vacation before joining a ship that leaves our home port on Friday. We won’t be back until almost Christmas.

I will talk some more about the upcoming trip and preparations I am making to have some dance productivity while at sea, but tonight I want to talk about next week and the prep we have been making for that.

While I am in Ottawa for work, I am going to take the time to do some lessons with 3 different coaches – 1 standard and 2 latin – in the bit of time I have between work. I was able to schedule my flights to give me time on the day I arrive before I start work the next day and time before I fly home the day after work finishes.

I am pretty excited to be able to work with all 3 of them. I am going to do 2 lessons with 2 of them, and 3 with the other. The 2 latin coaches are the couple who designed our routines, and I also worked with both of them this time last year when I was in town for the same reason.

So, to get ready this week was about reviewing the routines I didn’t perform and recording the other 3 latin routines. We recorded 3 of the 4 standard routines back in August. We recorded the routines so the coaches can see where I am at and to give them an idea of where the problem areas are.

Needless to say, the other 3 latin routines are a bit rough, but not too bad. We were able to do them in time with the music, with only the odd disaster here and there. It didn’t help that this week has been crazy at work with a day of sailing, and having to travel more than 2 hours for a medical appointment. My brain was a little more fried than I would have liked.

Boss has been communicating with the coaches and giving them his thoughts and ideas for things to work on. He has some very specific ideas of things mostly which he hopes my getting another perspective will help my mind process it in a new way–which is really the main goal for any sort of coaching–at least my goal.

Last time I worked with these coaches it was a lot of information, but a lot of fun. It made a big difference right before my last competition and I left with about 4 pages of notes. I expect more the same this time, although a little more focused as we have worked together and are not new to each other.

It’s going to be a pretty intense week next week but I am up for the challenge. I am really looking forward to it as I am sure it’s going to be a valuable experience.

Because the ship is not leaving right away when I get back I will even have 4 more lessons with Boss before I leave until Christmas. That will give us time to review and go over what I have from the coaches and work together to develop exercises which can be done in the limited space on ship. It’s really important to me that I stay active and dancing while I am away.

In the meantime, I feel prepared for the week ahead.

Masters post #1 – The World Cup and women

As I mentioned, as part of my current course for my masters I have a requirement to write 4 blog posts on stories in the media.

I have chosen to write about my thoughts on the following CTV media story Russian women push back at shaming, which was published on July 15th, the day of the World Cup Final.

You all know that I am an avid fan of watching ballroom dance, but the other sports tournaments I go out of my way to watch are the World and Euro Cup. I don’t follow soccer any other time, but watch as many tournament games as I can. I like the dynamics of soccer and the fact that in many cases the winner is not chosen so much by skill or strategy (although it certainly helps!), but by elements of luck at play. You can never really predict what is going to happen.

This is much like this article, which is actually one of several that have been published by different outlets throughout the World Cup that attempt to highlight what many feel are archaic Russian values towards women.

As the title suggests, this article speaks about the public shaming that has been a theme throughout the World Cup which at it’s worse suggests that Russian women are shamelessly seeking “liaisons” with all the foreigners come to play and watch the tournament. From there, what often follows in these stories is an examination of Russian values towards women and how ‘behind the times’ they are with the west.

With the west.

That is a phrase that grinds me a little. Who are we in the west to say that our values are superior and that any society that doesn’t hold them are backwards or behind?

Going a step further, my first thought on seeing these stories is “Why is this news?”

Granted, the Burger King offer was certainly not a shining moment of marketing. The comments made by Pletnyova and Besedin are extremely off side.

But I have a hard time thinking that the behaviours, attitudes towards them (both for and against), and commentaries are much different from what could be observed at any international sporting event — even in the U.S. or Canada.

On top of that, there seems to be an assumption that any woman seen interacting with foreign fans (such as the one in the photo with this article) is doing so with the sole motivation of developing a sexual relationship.

Like anywhere, I am willing to bet some are, some aren’t, and some are just ‘going with it’ to see what happens. Overall, I would hazard to guess the main goal for everyone is to have fun, whether with other Russians, Europeans, South Americans or otherwise.

What a novel idea!

This is news to those of us in the western world because for the most part it plays into the stereotypes and prejudices we already have of eastern European society and values. This is the type of commentary and controversy we expect to see — that women are shamed and repressed and live in a country akin to the 1950s where few are allowed to work or hold powerful positions. We in the western world enable this to be news.

It would be naive to think that a major tournament could take place in Eastern Europe, particularly Russia, without any sort of examination of society. Similar stories appeared around the Olympics, especially leading up to them.

I think instead of focusing on the surface message of this story, there are messages much deeper if we want to see them. There are some similarities, not just differences. Russia has feminists (which is generally known), but the story of Mariam strikes me as an everyday story — two people met through chance and formed a relationship. It just happens one is Russian, one is Mexican.

Sporting events, such as the World Cup do provide opportunities for global engagement and interaction. That is one of the aims and goals of most international events. Hosting one inevitably brings a magnifying glass onto the hosts. In many ways this is a reason to bid to host an event such as this. It’s a chance to highlight one’s country, including those any issues which may be abundant in that society. But instead of comparing West vs East, maybe what we need is a better understanding of Eastern European culture as a whole – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I argue that understanding is strongly lacking in North America, and there is little desire to learn beyond what mass media tells us (which often is exactly what we want to see and hear).

It’s too bad. We certainly have our own good, bad and ugly too. Makes me wonder if the shoes were reversed how a tournament hosted in North America would be covered by Russian Media.

All of this to say – be willing to dig below the surface of news stories about other societies.

There are always two sides to every story.

What is going on?

First — My bag was found intact!

I am just waiting to hear it has been shipped. Words cannot express the feelings of relief that flooded through me when I saw it had been found.

But on to the rest of the post…

As far as I can tell, I seem to be experience some sort of extreme effects of jet lag.

Or maybe it’s a combination of things. At this point I can’t tell.

Exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel. I have never felt jet lag like this. I am not sure it even qualifies as jet lag, since I am actually sleeping pretty good and mostly usual amounts and hours.

It could very well be jet lag combined with menopause symptoms (perhaps brought on by the jet lag??) and stress. With the loss of my bag and late arrival it was certainly more stressful arriving home than I anticipated.

I am having trouble thinking. There is that entire feeling like I am trying to “think through water” and I can’t seem to put a full sentence together without remembering what I wanted to say. I have recently missed some details leading to obvious mistakes. I do know I was having a lot of intense hot flashes last week.

Last night at dance I got through my lesson (we were finishing off the Paso), but struggled all the way through my practice, barely getting it done. I went to review what we had just done in paso and what I retained seemed to be pretty slim. Today I can’t seem to get past the first two bars before I hit a huge gap.

Work today was painful. I couldn’t concentrate and what I was able to do was pretty limited. I have been working on a course and tomorrow I will have to reread everything I did today. The worse thing is that it is a review course.

I went to the gym to try to clear my head and do some cardio and I came very close to stopping halfway through, even though I wasn’t working as hard as I usually do. I cannot believe how much of a battle it was to do my usual 35 mins of cardio and I couldn’t push myself enough to get my pulse up to the right level no matter how hard I tried.

I did finish my paper for school, but I am loathe to proof-read it. Thank goodness it is a formative step to a bigger evaluated paper.

It’s just before 8 pm and I am more than ready for bed and will head there right after I finish writing this.

I am super frustrated with this feeling because I can’t fully explain it. Beyond being exhausted, I feel weak. It was a struggle even to walk back to my office, which is not that far.

I really hope it is just a perfect storm of factors and after a restful weekend (once the paper is handed in!) it will all resolve. I did have minor surgery on my chest yesterday (10 mins in office) and perhaps that is also contributing. Since I can’t even feel what was done it’s a little out of mind, but I do have 3 stitches that are healing.

This has also left me frustrated at dance because I feel like if I could pull it all together I might have some good progress going on, instead of feeling like I am fighting my body for every movement and step. My balance is off and I feel really ‘clunky’ and cumbersome.

All I can do at this point is keep plugging through and wait for it to sort itself. I have never felt jet lag so intensely. Hopefully when it clears, I will be able to sort through the mist and water and fog in my brain and things will emerge clear.

It’ll come.

A Costly Loss

I lost my backpack in London.

It was a stupid mistake. I had placed it on an overhead shelf on the bus that took us from the ship to the airport and then forgot to grab it when I left the bus.

It still hasn’t surfaced and I am pretty much out of hope that it will.

With it I lost my computer with all my school files, dance videos, records, budget sheets, music and documents, an MP3 player, e-reader, apartment, work and scooter keys, fitness bands, and the charging cable for all my electronics.

At least I had my passport in my pocket along with my wallet and phone and was still able to get home.

I was also delayed more than 2 hours for my final flight and didn’t get home until well past midnight. I had to wake up my roommate to let me in the apartment. Thank goodness he was home!

Needless to say, my first day home was spent acquiring new versions of what I had lost. I have a paper due for school this weekend, so priority one had to be a new laptop. So far it has been the costliest replacement, although I haven’t looked into replacing my scooter key yet…

Since I had to buy a new laptop, I took the opportunity to try to address the issue I have been having with my neck by getting a larger size one than what I had, returning to the size I had before. Since I am not looking down as much to work or working so compactly, I am hoping that will at least give some relief to my neck and shoulders as I move forward.

I have had two lessons since I returned, both yesterday and today. We are working on putting together the last two routines (paso and fox) and Boss filled me in on his plan moving forward. It’s a good plan, but ambitious. I can tell it is still evolving some, which is perfectly ok with me. I am interested to see how it plays out.

One of the things I am most looking forward to is spending the entire summer at home without any surgeries (minus a very small nipple revision later this week that is done in office) or other obstacles. For the first time in almost 4 years I have a nice block of time to really focus on what I want to do. I can work consistently and can’t wait!

The fall is already looking busy. As of right now, I will be away for 6 weeks just before Christmas for work. I am looking forward to it and hope it does come to pass.

For now, I am definitely jet-lagged and feeling the full effects even though I seem to be adjusted back to my own time zone. My trip was pretty intense just with all the touring we did, so I can’t say it was restful, but it was amazing to see all the different places. 4 more countries to add to my list of places I have been.

I am giving myself the week to be a little more low-key before fully ramping back into the swing of things. Getting my paper done is my main priority this week and resting up some. I am almost done the most intense course of my degree and believe me I am counting down the days. Despite the setbacks, I am still fairly on track and now that I am home I can focus on it more.

I will try to write some more tomorrow or Wednesday as I have some post-vacation dance thoughts to share. As usually seems to be the case, the time off of dance seems to have led to some processing and a few pieces coming together from the step back.

Until then, I will mourn the loss of my bag, and move on.