Forum: Arts / Diaries

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re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Sun Sep 07, 2014 08:56 PM
I know I'm hardly the first person to say this, but September really is like a new year, isn't it? Much more than January, even though I haven't been in school in a decade. Much of that feeling is dance-related, as all the classes start up again. I may be mostly dance-less, but I still have classes to look forward to: Mondays is for teaching my adults, Tuesdays is swimming, and Wednesdays is ballet. I'm looking forward to all of those things, although as I sit here on Sunday night, unpacking my suitcase from 9 days away, I feel like the week is about to smack me in the face.

I had a lovely holiday with my family, and it was a serious holiday: no exercising, no watching what I eat, no worrying about work or what time it is...I really did feel mostly unplugged, although it has made the prospect of Monday all that much more scary, from where I currently sit. I whined about summer disappearing all throughout August, but now it really and truly is gone.

Unfortunately, I seem to be in rather worse shape than when I started my vacation, and I don't just mean the lack of exercise. I hesitate saying this out loud, for fear of sounding paranoid...But my *right* knee has started bothering me, under the kneecap. Not all the time, and not as badly as my "officially" damaged knee, but still. Enough to make me feel a bit panicky that I really am falling apart. (The MRI was of course only done on my left knee, as that was the one in pain, but it stands to reason that my right would also have cartilage loss, as I obviously jump on both legs in dance.)

In addition to this, throughout the week I complained of worsening back pain that radiated down my legs, brought about, I thought, by watching over a dozen concerts at a festival in uncomfortable, cramped venues where I would sit wedged in awful seats for long periods of time. My mother thinks I'm exhibiting symptoms of sciatica. Again, don't want to panic, but I just had a very uncomfortable train ride back home, and the last thing I want to deal with is pain in another part of my body.

No panicking, yet. Let's get back into the rhythm of fall, and discuss all this with the PT, and start doing my exercises again, and just generally try to start September on a good note. Which means going to bed right now before it's too late, so I'll check back in with some fall goals later.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Wed Sep 10, 2014 03:41 PM
Well, this week sure is smacking me in the face indeed. I think it's the fact that I was away until Sunday night, combined with a week full of classes starting and meetings I need to prepare for and dentist/PT appointments and work gearing up for several bouts of special programming on top of my daily broadcast duties... I am writing this entry in bits and pieces, whenever I need a spare second to clear my head before diving back in.

On Monday I left my house at 7am and got home at 11pm, so that's pretty much indicative of my week so far. I won't go through it all in excruciating detail, don't worry, but a few things I wanted to highlight...

1/ First teaching class of the season...It's interesting how the balance of my class is slowly shifting toward more experienced dancers. I'll be honest: that's more fun for me. As much as I enjoy getting beginners excited about Irish dance, and getting to mould them right from the start, there is something very satisfying about being able to tweak an already talented dancer.

It's still a very mixed group, though, and I'm eternally grateful that I have an assistant teacher to keep everyone busy. This term I want to strike a good balance between technique work that everyone will do together, and challenging everyone individually. I'm also pushing more technique work on everyone that's borrowed from what I know of the ballet world and the physiotherapy world, in the hopes of instilling good habits in everyone.

I also need to get on choreographing our annual group routine, which this year I want to be mostly reminiscent of a figure dance, but with some fancier stuff thrown in too. That's about as specific I can get right now.

2/ First swimming class of the season...I'm in grade 2! And I'm feeling cranky about the new pool I'm at (smaller, no deep end, fewer showers so big lineup after class), but pretty good about the class itself. There's only four of us, so lots of individual attention, and our instructor said she's interested in really pushing us. To that end, we did laps for the whole 45 minutes, practising different positions/floats/strokes each time, and we were all panting by the end. I still would rather lift my head up then turn it to its side, but slow progress. Also, I've discovered that being six feet tall has its advantages in the pool -- when we're told to do just two sets of 3 strokes and a breath, for example, I'm already 3/4 of the way across the pool, leaving my classmates in the dust (er, I mean, droplets?). Hopefully I can harness my length in a useful way, once I actually figure out how to front crawl consistently.

3/ Ongoing knee saga...So I didn't bring up my sciatica symptoms with my PT this week 'cause we were already busy dealing with my right knee misbehaving, and I decided to see if my back improved over the course of the week. Thankfully, it has. About my new knee problems, my PT just thinks my right side needs a little more love, as it's been taking on a lot of extra work with my left side being somewhat out of commission. So, no need for panic quite yet. She instructed me to spend more time with the foam roller, and then she kicked my ass with a series of exercises that left me quivering, and then she taped up my right knee to take a bit of the load off the kneecap. So that means right now I'm walking around with a bulky knee brace on my left knee and tape all over my right, and I look pretty ridiculous indeed. Especially since it's still short skirt weather over here. My work colleagues think I should try to make this part of a fashion statement somehow...The photographer Helmut Newton is actually known for his images of women done up in bondage or medical gear in a high-fashion way (don't Google him at work!), so I'm totally gonna pretend that's my inspiration. Or something.

Tonight, I have my first ballet class in something like 4 years. I have no idea how it's going to go; I've opted for a class that's slightly below my ability level so that it'll be more gentle, but I still will have to talk to the teacher to let her/him know I'm going to be skipping some exercises.

And then for the rest of the week (and, sigh, beyond), I have to immerse myself in the world of non-profit articles and bylaws with the Irish group for which I'm the secretary. We're scrambling (well, I am) to meet an Oct 17th deadline that's too boring to talk about here but makes me feel like I'm back in school doing hated homework.

When will I do more of my exercises at home and such? I have no idea -- let's aim for the weekend. I think I need to focus on getting more than 5 hours sleep first.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Wed Sep 10, 2014 05:14 PM
Gah, does anybody know where I put my ballet slippers four years ago??
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Thu Sep 11, 2014 09:52 AM
It feels SO SO SO good to do something resembling dance again, holy cow. Even if 80% of the class is just barre exercises, even if I can't bend my knee into a full retire or grand plie, even if I really shouldn't be doing any of the jumping exercises at all...It's still me, in a dance class, which hasn't happened in 5 months now. I even got to feel pretty and graceful for the few minutes we worked on port de bras.

I love my teacher already, too. She seems rigorous about technique but super upbeat and empathetic towards adult dancers. The school itself, where I first took classes years ago, is great because even as an adult you're treated as a "real" dancer. This is not "barre burn" ballet lite or whatever, it's proper Cecchetti technique, and a teacher who trains professional dancers, and a live pianist in class too. Makes all the difference in the world. I've even noticed that they've recently added an adult pointe class, which is awesome. I'd love to be able to earn my way into that class some day, but I'm getting way ahead of myself here.

In fact, I really need to just focus on the basics, but I kind of suspected that. I had difficulty holding a really nicely turned out 5th position for long periods of time, my plies in 5th were tight and awkward, I'm resting on my toes too much in tendu derriere, sinking into my hip too much in grande battement in second....It took a LOT of effort to just stand up nicely in any sort of position. My hips are really tight and my knees felt like they were being wrenched a bit.

I may have done a gallop or two, which I probably shouldn't, but today my knee feels mostly OK (just the usual pain, nothing extra). Last night after class it was pretty irritated, but icing it and putting on the anti-inflammatory lotion helped. My knee doesn't like me doing anything at all besides lying down with it straight, so I don't think I'm hurting it any further doing one class of mostly gentle exercises a week. We'll see, though -- I'll be careful, I promise.

Also, the tape on my right knee seems to be working miracles, because I've had zero pain since it was applied Tuesday morning.

Tonight I have a board meeting that will result in my having a lot of homework to complete over the weekend. I'm likely headed toward my 4th night in a row of less than 6 hours sleep, but I can see Friday night already as my finish line, thankfully. Despite the somewhat relentless schedule this week I've managed to eat well so far, and if I can keep it up then some treats my friend got me will be my reward.

So Friday after work is whatever the heck I want, exercise and homework be damned, Saturday will be cleaning and cooking/lunch-preparing and laundry and a full set of PT exercises, and Sunday will be some forced relaxation, plus more homework and exercises. Not the most exciting few days, perhaps, but some quiet, steady productive periods are what I need right now.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Sun Sep 14, 2014 08:57 PM
Alright, so I kind of blew my weekend from a productivity point of view, but I have no regrets. Or, at least, I don't right now -- ask me later this week how I feel when I'm cramming in twice the amount of board-of-directors work.

I know it sounds pretty silly that I'd be burned out from one week of work after coming back from vacation, but the double-the-usual stress at work, plus preparing for my meeting, plus being out every weeknight and getting 5 hours of sleep...Yeah, it took its toll. So yesterday and today I lay in bed as long as possible both mornings, reading and playing games on my tablet and just generally being lazy.

I also did a lot of fun things, from attending a comedy show to going to a music festival to meeting friends for food. So I feel pretty good right now, somewhat ready to tackle another busy week, and hopefully with a bit more calm focus this time. My lunches are prepared, my laundry is done, my apartment is clean, and I just did 30 minutes of general exercise and PT exercise, and spent a good long while rolling around on my foam roller, to give the "extra love" to my right knee that my PT has requested.

I do think I need to get back into a system of daily goals, because a week could easily slip away on me again. That said, my goal tomorrow is simply to go straight to bed after teaching dance, 'cause Tuesday morning will be an extra early one. In class, I'm hoping to focus on a lot of group line work -- i.e. people skipping in straight lines. This is really difficult for my students, apparently, and I want them to get better at it, 'cause I've got grand plans for a big figure dance with lots of fancy lines. I just have to, you know, invent it.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Wed Sep 17, 2014 08:25 PM
Why have I wasted my life with Celtic dancing when really all I want to be is a global hip hop superstar?

Seriously, go look at this, it is badass: . . .

Yes, this is how I spend my time before (and after; I hit pause on this entry due to distraction) ballet class when there are any number of tasks I could be accomplishing. But if my knee ever recovers enough, I really want to take a hip hop class. Because I'm sure an approaching-middle-age white lady rendered uptight by two and a half decades of training in Irish would take to it, like, instantly.

I am convinced, though, that Irish dancers make good House dancers. Look at this battle: . . .

It's all fancy footwork! We got that covered! Maybe someday....

Right, enough daydreaming, back to me and this knee. This is the homework I was given by PT2 this morning:

1. Continue with my neck correction: grasp neck at the base, pull up slightly and to the right. Imagine there's a string connecting sternum to vertebrae at back. Imagine very top vertebrae floating upwards. Breathe into the highest point of ribcage, around the armpits.

2. Add hip correction: widen the sit bones. Soften the femur's connection to the pelvis. Tighten lower abs and pelvic muscles. Put fingers below hip bone, and try to make sure the femur doesn't "pop" into fingers as the bad leg lifts into a 3rd aerial/cut/retire position.

3. Lie on back. With left hand palm the belly and press fingers into spot near hip bone. Press down until fingers start to slide back. Should feel like rug burn. That's the fascia.

4. Get a softer ball than a lacrosse ball and lie flat on front, with ball pushing against right hip and alongside abs. Put entire weight on the ball. Try to let that sore point soften.

5. Lie on side and feel for sore rib points with bottom hand. Push fingers into ribcage while arching top arm out and up.

Yeah, they're weird. This whole process is weird. PT2 called me "unique" today, the exact same word regular PT used to describe me and my body. PT2 kept quizzing me to see if I had any past trauma I hadn't told her: "Car accident? IBS? Endrometrial pregnancy?" No, no, no! Why is my body so out of alignment? Why does fixing my neck magically make my knee feel better? How do I square the simple fact of deteriorating cartilage with all this other stuff I have to think about? My knee still hurts every time I move it!

Gah, I know my sports med and the PTs need to work in tandem -- one can't cure me alone -- but it's still a lot to fill my brain with. I'm supposed to do the above 5 exercises 3 times a day, in a quiet atmosphere where I can visualize. No hip hop videos at the same time, then.

In other news, my week is just as crazed as last week and I'm getting absolutely nothing done except the bare minimum I need to be functional. That's about all I can say about that.

And in other dance/exercise news...I have all these ideas now for my Monday night adults' choreography and I'm getting excited about it...Swimming chugs along with me still snorting way too much water...And ballet progressed quite quickly tonight from last week, with things like spotting and glissades and echappes and everything else I've forgotten from 4 weeks ago. I probably shouldn't even be doing stuff like echappes, but c'mon -- let me live a little.

Tomorrow night and the rest of the weekend is various social plans, a concert, and me fighting for scraps of time to exercise and get my board of directors work done. I need to find my centre again, my calm spot, but first I need to get through the rest of this week intact.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:49 AM
Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with yet another post about how I am too busy and can't seem to get anything useful done...But that's all still quite true. Let's focus on the baby-step positives instead: I did a full workout once this weekend. I did my new PT homework once, though with much fretting about whether I was digging into the correct spots of my body (I cannot tell my psoas major from my illiacus muscle, so what if I'm actually hurting myself?). I slept in both Sat & Sun (one reason why nothing useful got done), and am relatively well-rested today.

I think this week I need to focus on 3 things: 1) getting enough sleep (the 5 hours I averaged last week was really harmful), 2) doing something related to my PT regimens every day, whether it's my weird self-administered muscle release exercises or my straight-up strength-training ones, and 3) getting some of that damn board of directors work done (someone may have to lock me in a room this weekend to write these bylaws, or my deadline's gonna run swiftly past me).

Tonight: teaching my adults. I want to play around with lines some more, to get more ideas for our figure-inspired choreography, but I'm going to have to actually sit down and plot out the dance sooner than later. That might have to wait until after these bylaws get written. When I get home, I'll do the alignment exercises once and choose one other PT exercise.

Tomorrow will be a weird day. My day job is so regimented, so dependent on me working the whole 9 hours straight and meeting deadlines along the way, that the fact I have a sports doc appointment in the middle of the day means I have to take the whole day off work. Well, sort of. I'm being backfilled, so will have most of the morning to work on other stuff, except that I also have a PT appointment in the middle of the morning. Gah, it's annoying.

But schedules aside, what I'm most concerned about is figuring out how to navigate between the opinions of my PTs and the opinions of the doc. I don't think there will be any surprises from the doc tomorrow; I will tell him that the brace is helping to stabilize my knee but has done nothing for the fact that I still feel pain no matter how gentle the activity. That has not changed in months. I think he will tell me it's time for the viscosupplementation (injection of fluid into the knee), and that's that. Part of me wants to say, "yes, inject me now, get some fluid in there, solve all my problems." But my PTs are hesitant and want me to get a second opinion. They think I should explore other options. They aren't convinced it's necessarily the cartilage that's causing me pain. I have no idea what to think anymore. Sometimes I feel like I'm moving through this process just to go through the motions, to feel like I'm doing something productive, when really nothing has changed and my own two PTs say I'm "unique" and can't quite figure out how to put me back together again. Yes, I am the Humpty Dumpty of Irish/Highland dance. I need more King's horses and men.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:45 AM
OK, so I was joking about all the king's horses and all the king's men, but I'm seriously tallying up quite a number of people and tests trying to put my knee back together again...

--2 doctors (1 family doctor, 1 sports doctor)
--2 physiotherapists
--1 orthopedic surgeon (just now recruited)
--3 diagnostic tests (1 MRI, 1 bone scan, 1 x-ray)

The new tests and surgeon consult were just ordered by the sports doc, who surprised me in our latest meeting by actually reading the notes from my PT. Could this herald a new era of health experts actually collaborating on my problem? Stay tuned. Sports doc is still convinced that it's the chondromalacia that's my main problem and that only viscosupplementation (injection of fluid) can fix that, but he conceded that we haven't yet ruled out the possibility of a stress fracture or arthritis in the knee, so to more appointments I go. My boss is not pleased; whenever I can only get an appointment after 11am or so, it means I basically cannot do my job and have to take the whole day off. So I guess I have next Wed free, then (that's bone scan day).

Anyway, in the meantime I go about my business and sometimes be a little bit bad, like in ballet when I decide that I totally need to do the gallops and tombe pose exercise across the floor. And really it shouldn't be all that rebellious -- gallops in ballet are pretty gentle and graceful. And yet, and yet...Pain at the end of class. Damn.

My highland teachers will probably be pleased to note that I completely forgot what ballet 2nd position is, until my teacher came over to say my 2nd was "too open". This means I was actually holding a solid Highland 2nd (with the working foot toes aligned with the supporting foot heel, whereas ballet aims for a toes-toes lineup). Wrong class, but hey, it's progress anyway.

Now I am locking myself into a room for the next few days to write bylaws for a board of directors, but I want to make time for exercise, too. Haven't been too great on keeping up with my weird PT exercises, although part of it is me convinced that I'm doing it all wrong (I think I can be forgiven for being nervous when it involves me shoving my fingers between rib bones). I HAVE, however, kept up on my promise to get more sleep this week, so that's something.

So the next few days are mostly a matter of me staying focused while all sorts of other distractions (dinner with a friend on Fri, volunteering at a ceili on Sat, group rehearsal on Sun morning, a film I want to see on Sun night) tempt me.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Sun Sep 28, 2014 06:49 PM
Hallelujah, I think I might be actually done writing these *&%! bylaws. Well, we'll see how many revisions come back to me after tonight, but in the meantime several hours of squirming in my chair and trying to accomplish ANY task other than this incredibly boring, bureaucratic one have resulted in enough brief spouts of productivity to have a draft. Nevermind that I haven't exercised, and indulged in way too much mindless chocolate-munching as I read the revisions to the Not-for-Profit Act. Hey, if I'm going to spend a gorgeous, summer-like sunny Sunday indoors reading a piece of legislation and crafting lawyer-speak, I deserve all the chocolate in the world.

So yeah, not much dance stuff to tell you about. I do feel infinitely calmer this weekend, even though I haven't slept well (got up relatively early both yesterday and today; sleep last night interrupted by weird 4am bout of nausea). My chores are done and I guess I'm somewhat ready for this week ahead, which is all I can really ask for on a Sunday night.

I may have been slightly bad to my knee on two occasions: while volunteering at a ceili last night, I decided I couldn't possibly let the night go by without dancing my favourite, the Haymakers' Jig. And today, I even put on my tap shoes (first time in a good 5 months) to teach & demonstrate a waltz-clog to my performance group. Stupid choice? Maybe, we'll see. But I needed everyone to hear the rhythms properly. Right now, my knee doesn't really feel any worse than usual. Fingers crossed.

This week: tomorrow just the usual playing with lines and figures with my adults; I'll aim to more formally choreograph their dance starting next weekend. I also must must must do at least one or two PT exercises before bed, as this bylaw business has got me way off track.

Before Tues night, I also want to take a few mins to review some Highland theory, as I'll be teaching it to a friend of mine this year and should probably know what I'm talking about.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Sun Oct 05, 2014 07:40 PM
Before I start whining again, I just want to acknowledge that yes, I know I live a pretty charmed life, generally speaking. I have a good job and good health when I'm not obsessing over my broken-down knee, and when I complain I'm busy it's often because I'm going to too many dinners out with friends, festivals, and other events. That's a pretty good "problem" to have.

So when I say I wish I had more downtime this weekend to relax before doing all my boring chores, know that it's because I spent Friday out a pub with a friend, all day Saturday (and night) at an outdoor Oktoberfest party in a nearby town, and part of my afternoon today having a catch-up lunch with friends. So yeah, cry me a river, right?

The truth is, though, I need quiet alone time to recharge, and that's what I've been missing lately. And I especially like that time to happen on Sunday evenings, to calm my mind before another week starts, and that's why I get grumpy when I have to do all my paper-reading/house-cleaning/laundering/grocery-shopping/cooking on a Sunday night instead.

But here I am at 9pm-ish, done all of the above, and I feel not bad at all. I even did every weird PT exercise I'm supposed to be doing with much more regularity than I am. Jamming my fingers into my ribcage and lying flat on my belly with a lacrosse ball wedged under my pelvis is not really my idea of fun, but it's done.

I think the main thing I want to mention about this past week is how much I'm struggling with defining what irritates my knee and what doesn't. I tried to talk this through with my PT. Doing the waltz-clog did not really bother it, and I was surprised. Swimming, however, irritated the heck out of it this week, and that was also surprising. PT thinks, though, that my pain is less about impact (gentle impact, that is) and more about torquing the knee. And it's true that we worked on the egg-beater treading-water leg movements in the pool on the day my knee said "hell no!" in response.

My knee also does not like holding tight positions like anything that works from 5th, or like a retire passe. My PT has been problem-solving that for me, which involved my favourite thing where she presses into my hip flexor with all of her body weight, and it kind of feels like she's re-arranging my organs. But it's the same tight spot that PT2 has focused on, so I got the hint and agreed to spend my spare time lying face-down with the lacrosse ball under my pelvis.

PT also thinks that I should just go ahead and do the things that don't hurt -- i.e. she says I should feel free to practice my waltz-clog anytime I want. I'm too nervous to do that, especially since I had a bone scan and x-ray this week and want to see the results of that first. But I DO feel a bit freer to move the knee a little more, and that's both good (more exercise!) and bad (I seem to have ditched my knee brace entirely, and I'll probably get in trouble for that).

It's made me think about what classes I can slowly return to, eventually, and I'm wondering about maybe working towards some national exam dances next spring, ones that have much more gentle hopping than the brutalist Fling and Sword. Not sure what I'll be able to return to in Irish, but we'll see. More on this to come as I think it through and test the waters a little more.

In the meantime, I've been terrible at setting and keeping daily goals, so let's try try again. Tomorrow: I want to tweak the opening of my adults' figure dance slightly, so I'll try that out with them. At home, I must lie on my lacrosse ball. And do some arms work. I've been woefully neglecting my arms lately.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:01 AM
When you're an old lady in dance terms, it's really nice to have a trifecta of age-related compliments in one week: first, being carded in the liquor store (and seeing the raised eyebrows on the young clerk's face as he read my birthdate -- that's right, I've been buying booze legally for almost SEVENTEEN years!); second, buying cream at a beauty counter and receiving a bonus face serum sample, and realizing later the consultant gave me the sample labelled for women in their twenties; finally, at swim class this week, being told by my classmate, "You're so young -- you could do laps for hours!" (not true on either count, but nice nonetheless). Yes yes, I am totally youthful and sprightly and all of that...Until I actually try to use my legs, sigh.

This week I have totally failed once again in my attempt to adhere to some sort of daily goals schedule, one aimed at doing my PT exercises and getting enough sleep. I forgot that I still had a lot of work to do for the AGM of the Irish organization for which I'm the secretary -- the same org for whom I just spent months re-writing bylaws. So Mon-Wed this week have seen me mostly cramming in editing and fact-checking and report-compiling and agenda-crafting in the small space between my regular classes and sleep.

I still have a tiny bit of post-AGM work to do, and I'm also about to head to my hometown for 4 days for Thanksgiving. So I'm going to abandon the idea of being productive for now, and just let my schedule settle for a bit. I'm hoping that, when next weekend hits, I can figure out a groove of exercising and theory-studying and choreographing. I'm going to forgive myself in the meantime, because I'm pretty burned out right now.

Anyway, brief reports on the week's activities:

I had a new idea for my adults' figure choreo on Monday night, and I'm super happy with the tentative shape it's taking, even if it's pretty sloppy at this point. Figuring this dance out will be my priority after this long weekend.

Swimming is chugging along, even as I accidentally chug water when trying to figure out my front crawl breathing pattern. I get frustrated pretty easily about that and sometimes stop swimming in a huff. But it's coming, slowly. And, actually, I'm not as slow as I thought: we had to do timed sprints, and were I to keep swimming for 100m (which I do not -- currently I take breaks every two laps, usually), I think my time would be around 2 mins. To put this in perspective, the world record is around 45 seconds. But I'm told 2 mins is a perfectly respectable time for someone who barely knows how to swim. I'm pretty committed to getting faster/better, but I have to find more time to spend in the pool. Again, hopeful that in about a week, my schedule will clear up a bit.

What I particularly love about swimming is how bone-tired I am afterwards. I mean, after dance classes I have always been tired, but usually in an achy legs kind of way. After swimming, every single muscle in my body is fatigued, but not hurting. I feel all jelly-like, but not stiff. I'm not used to the sensation, but I really like it. I feel like I've worked hard, but done no damage. And it's such a strange sensation to be out of breath and have my body temperature rise quite a bit, but without sweating. I know all this stuff is pretty obvious to people who swim, but it's new to me.

Ballet did not happen this week due to my AGM, but I practised all my positions in the pool on Tuesday, and do you know how high and turned out I can do a second position when not burdened by gravity? Really high and really turned out! Gah to my heavy legs in non-pool situations!

Tonight I must complete a bunch of tasks before my 8-hour bus ride tomorrow. Much eating and visiting and cocktail-drinking to follow, so I won't have much to say until next week.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Fri Oct 17, 2014 10:51 AM
You know what? I hesitate to say this out loud, but I think my knee may be seeing some small improvement. It hasn't really bothered me at all this week. BUT, I have to point out, I haven't really exercised this week either, besides swimming twice -- no physio, no teaching dance where I demonstrate too much, no ballet. So really I need to wait until a week after full activity before I can say that with confidence. Still, it's nice to be relatively pain-free for one week.

It's got me thinking once again about how I'll re-introduce dance back into my life, and to what extent. I've pretty much decided I want to do some sort of Highland exam next spring, even if it's just national theory. I'm coaching a friend of mine with her theory studying, so it's helping me remember the painful minutiae of theory myself. We'll see; I don't want to get ahead of myself here.

The other problem is that I kind of like my schedule right now: teach Mondays, swim (and coach theory) Tuesdays, and ballet Wednesdays. How am I going to fit in any of Highland, Irish and Stepdance if I want to continue to both swim and do ballet? I will not ram my schedule full any more; I'm too old for that. And, of course, I would risk furthering damaging my knee. I am really not sure what to do, so I'll just ignore that potential problem for now and carry on.

I have felt absolutely slammed with work and stress this week, so I feel lucky that I even managed to swim twice. I'm not happy about missing ballet for the second week in a row, given that I'll miss it a third time next week due to an appointment. But I finally submitted all my paperwork to the government for the Irish cultural board of directors work, and now I have to worry about a regional annual general meeting next week, and THEN maybe I can be free for a while.

Actually, I should stop thinking like that. Ever since September hit (and I really do think of it as smacking me across the face), I've kept thinking of the next milestone -- e.g. "I just need to get this one thing done, and THEN I'll have time to do my physio exercises properly." Thing is, there's always something else around the corner to keep me busy. I really have to work on better being able to balance the healthful things in my life with the stress that comes my way.

I think, though, swimming a second time this week was a small step in the right direction. My friend, who is also a beginner swimmer, dragged me to a pool during lane swim time and we practised. I was intimidated at first -- lane swim is for REAL swimmers! -- but turns out there was nobody in the slow lane but us, so we took lots of breaks and didn't worry about anyone back-crawling right into us. The swim itself didn't go so great -- I am STILL having problems figuring out my breathing. It's so hard for me to keep a steady in-out pattern when I'm getting winded. I got really frustrated, but I will try, try again.

I also have to start practising "real" swimming arm strokes. I'm still doing the beginner straight-armed-windmill method, and this week in class I learned the proper way, and it's REALLY REALLY HARD. Seriously, there is so much to think about -- pointing elbow skyward, skimming fingernails across water, wide "S" pattern underwater with a quick flourish at the end -- that I start to sink and hold my breath when I practice. I feel like the most un-coordinated person ever -- but yes, as ever, try, try again.

This weekend I have a couple of dinners with friends, but thankfully that's about it -- I need to get my house back in order, get some exercises in, and just generally chill.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Thu Oct 23, 2014 07:26 PM
Wednesday morning, I was going to write about how my week had started pretty well, with me getting excited over the progress of my students' figure-ish choreography, and me having an exhausting but productive Tuesday that concluded with a somewhat ridiculous swim lesson (my teacher decided to show me flip turns, which meant I did probably about 50+ somersaults in the water until I got the hang of it).

But then, at 9:52am on Wednesday, my whole city changed in an instant and my petty fitness/dance concerns had zero meaning as a result. This happened.

I am so heartbroken for that soldier, who was performing an honourable duty, protecting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a whole symbolic monument to Canada's war dead. I walk across the plaza of that monument every day on my way to work. I always look up at the honour guards and, despite my vehement pacifist nature, feel a swell of pride.

I also work about 2 blocks from the shootings, AND I work in media, so my day was insane. My building was in lockdown, it was chaos in the newsroom, and my job was to put together 3 hours of radio programming on nothing but this event. I got through the day on pure adrenaline.

Today, I think I began to process it all. And coming home after another full-throttle day at work, I stopped to read some more coverage of the events. And then I saw this (for reference, our war monument looks like this), and heard this, and I wept.

I realize this is totally off from my usual self-centred whining about my injuries and being an "old" dancer. But this is why I obviously don't feel like focusing on that right now. I'll get back to regularly scheduled programming shortly.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:27 AM
I don't think I'm back to "normal" yet, whatever that means. I'm tired and incapable of getting basic tasks done and feel pretty listless at work this week. Probably it's mostly because, after an extremely stressful last week, I had zero time to decompress over the weekend. Now I'm paying for it big-time. This is going to sound weird, but I can't wait to clean my apartment and do my laundry this weekend, two tasks I just haven't had the energy for yet.

Anyway, two quick updates while I work on getting my mojo back: first, I've now officially graduated from level 2 swimming. And as much as I feel like I've steadily improved, and the feedback from my instructor was entirely positive, I was kind of frustrated at the end of class last night. I feel like I have small grasps on basic technique, but maybe not enough to practice on my own without developing bad habits. I am TERRIBLE at proper arm technique for the front crawl, the "s" curve you're supposed to be making in the water. I still haven't figured out how to keep the same number of strokes per breath when I start to run out of breath. I've got the basic idea of the breast stroke but can't keep my arms in the proper position. I was taught last week to do flip turns (where you somersault underwater and push off the wall), but I feel like before I start using them, I need to be able to actually swim several laps first.

My instructor said I was welcome to take level 2 again, not because I needed to start over but because there isn't really a level 3, and she's teaching the class again and would be happy to push me to learn more and do better. So that's an option. But I think what I'll do for now is commit to at least one practice session a week on my own, with the goal of figuring stuff out and trying to build my stamina, and then sign up for level 2 again in the winter, with the goal of refining my technique once I've mastered the breathing on my own.

The other update is, of course, knee-related. You see, when I injure myself, I don't just break a bone or pull a muscle or something. Oh no. I go big. I personally prefer a trifecta of injury -- what better way to challenge several physiotherapists and doctors?

This is kind of ridiculous, but according to the orthopaedic surgeon I saw on Friday, the results of my bone scan mean I can add "bone bruise of the tibial plateau" to my existing list of cartilage loss and chronic sprain of the MCL. Yes, a bone bruise. I didn't know that was even possible, to be honest. Apparently it's damage to the bone, accompanied by inflammation/bleeding, that's like the step before an all-out fracture. And the tibial plateau, by the way, is at the top of the lower leg, where it connects to the knee, so it makes sense in terms of my general ongoing symptoms. It's somewhat of a vindication, as deep-down I knew there was pain that couldn't simply be explained by cartilage loss.

The surgeon put me on heavy-duty anti-inflammatories for 4 weeks, and the recommendation that I get ultrasound treatments on my knee, which my PT has agreed to. (So I'm up to THREE PT sessions a week, sigh.) This is all to calm the inflammation of the general area, which showed up on the bone scan. Also to bring blood flow to the knee, which generally gets very little. All this combined with not jumping on it is supposed to encourage it to heal, at some vague point in the future.

So, yeah. Just when I'm thinking that maybe I can tentatively return to dance soon...Guess not. "You danced too much," the surgeon said, in a almost-hilariously simplified explanation of what happened to me. Yes, yes I did. It's becoming the refrain of my life.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:48 PM
Seriously, I feel like this autumn is getting away from me, like I've been running to catch up with it ever since Labour Day. Every time I get balanced again, something happens -- a massive amount of board work to complete, big news stories at work that knock us all out, a mild virus I've been trying to shake for a week -- and I have to start over again. I haven't been doing my exercises, haven't been rolling on my foam roller, haven't been eating consistently or getting enough sleep...I keep repeating, "OK, *this* week I'm REALLY going to get organized" and it never happens, cause when I have some down time I kind of just stare off into space (or, honestly, at random Youtube videos).

It's not a unique problem, I know, but I feel like I've had a better handle on things in the past, and I don't know what's wrong now. At work today I managed to squeeze in 5 meetings before lunch and still work on my daily show tasks, but with each passing meeting and with the resulting to-do list growing exponentially, I have the overwhelming urge to throw a little "I don't wanna!" temper-tantrum on the floor instead of crossing off item #1.

Anyway, this mostly explains why I don't really have anything interesting to talk about here -- I'm just not accomplishing much.

Small updates:
--I'm really happy with how my adults' choreography is turning out so far. One of my students, as I was trying to explain the playful, organized-chaos, figure-dance-inspired feel I was going for, said, "it's like recess!" I thought that was genius. So the dance is now called Recess, and I feel like I've got a theme to work with, and it's going pretty well but the ideas in my head are loose and complicated and my students are being very patient while I make them try several variations in an attempt to re-create what's in my mind's eye.
--I always do this: think my knee is all healed up, when really it's just because I haven't exercised. I've been on the anti-inflammatories for one week now and my knee has felt great...Until ballet class last night. And it was more the holding of positions than any small amounts of hopping we did that really tweaked it. I've done two sessions of ultrasound now too; we'll see if that makes any difference. I'm so used to the familiar pain that comes from anything other than walking or sitting that I've almost become resigned to it being my "natural" state.
--Both physio and ballet this week, coincidentally, focused a lot on balance. I have some, enough for my PT to praise me, but not enough to hold a good cou-de-pied while in releve. I actually got a lot of individual corrections in ballet last night, which is somewhat embarrassing, but I'm choosing to believe it's because my teacher thinks I can fix my mistakes, and therefore it's kind of a good thing? I always leave that class feeling both accomplished, and also like the worst dancer ever.

I'm really looking forward to Friday night, where I don't have any actual plans. Four weekday nights of activity in a row is too much for me these days. If I'm able, I really want to swim this weekend and also do a set of exercises. I also might be doing one or two gentle dances at a retirement home on Sunday. I know, I know, I probably shouldn't. But I have to at least dabble in dance once in a while, or risk losing hope completely.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:43 AM
Is it weird that Oireachtas season still gives me the heebie-jeebies, 14 years after I last competed at one? I'm not even anywhere near a studio these days, but I get second-hand accounts of the stress and tears and last-minute step tweaks happening there, and I feel all tense just imagining it. I get how it's an important competition, the biggest one that many of these dancers will attend, and I think it's good motivation to work hard for it. But holy cow, does it have to dissolve into near-nervous breakdowns, every single time? If anyone has examples of schools that handle O preparations in calmer ways, I'd love to hear about it. But every single school I've been involved with, and others that I have knowledge of, are not fun places to be in late autumn. I prefer fun with my hard work, so I'm actually kind of glad my useless knee means I'm far away from the action right now.

I'm still going to my region's O this coming weekend, of course. There are people I need to support. I'll just take a deep breath as I enter the hotel, and try to focus only on my friends and not on the meltdowns happening all around me. And then run away to shop and eat and have fun in another city.

The five days leading up to my weekend O adventures are going to be busy -- but that's my new normal, I guess. I felt like I had a bit of a chance to screw my head on straighter this weekend, with enough downtime to get my life somewhat in order. We'll see how long I can hold onto this steady-as-she-goes feeling.

Yesterday, I mostly MC'd a concert of my performance group at a retirement home, but I was slightly bad and decided to do 2 dances as well. The Village Maid I danced was totally fine, 'cause that dance is basically an exercise in looking pretty while walking. The 64 bars of stepdance jig, done as delicately as possible while still being stepdance (hence a few cringe-worthy missed beats), was not too bad, but my knee feels a wee bit wonky today. Not in the same way it used to, but it definitely is issuing a warning. OK, fine, I just had to try it, OK? It was totally worth it for the sweet old woman who said to be before I left, "you made me long for my home of Cape Breton." Awww. Not only do I miss making myself happy through dance, I miss the opportunity to make others happy too.

Tonight, I'm going to have to figure out how to make a choreography that I imagined for 8-10 people work for 13. Thirteen! I'm very pleased that my entire adult class wants to participate, but have no idea how I'm going to keep the same structure. Thankfully I have a patient group of dancers that puts up with me making stuff up as I go.

Otherwise, this week I want to have two main goals: to sleep as much as possible, so that maybe I can finally shake this sore throat and vague stuffyness I've had for 11 days now, and also to do one little exercise before bed. Just one.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Sun Nov 23, 2014 06:45 PM
I feel like, as this year comes to a close, I have less and less to say that's interesting or that progresses any of my goals. Do I even have goals right now? I have no idea, actually. You can probably tell by all my entries since September, but this autumn has felt like one giant holding pattern, where I'm busy but not enough to have a valid excuse for doing my exercises so infrequently, where I'm bummed out about my knee still being a problem, and where I'm trying to figure out what place dance has in my immediate future. It's felt like a whole lot of frustrating nothing, but I think I've been slowly working things through in the background.

It's become pretty clear that I can never return to dance at the level I was doing it, say, a year ago. I cannot train for competitions and exams and do 13 Paddy's Day performances and take 4 classes a week and also train for 10k runs. My knees have spoken, loud and clear, and I'd be stupid to not heed their warnings. I'm going to have arthritis in my knees, sooner rather than later, and I accept that as a consequence of my 24 years of hopping up and down. I don't even regret it -- dancing has, at different points in my life, been one of my single greatest joys.

I'm extremely frustrated that my knee is, despite improvement over the months, still an issue, that whenever I try to even lightly hop on it, it protests afterwards. I am impatient with the 8 months it's taken to get fully diagnosed and to wait for it to get better. And I haven't been quite sure what to do with myself while I wait.

On Friday, I saw an orthopaedic surgeon for the second time, who injected a corticosteroid into my knee and then basically said there was nothing more he could do for me, that at my age I should consider biking and swimming instead. I wasn't surprised to hear that, but still. I kinda wanted some sort of timeline, or a ray of hope.

There are so many things I could be doing better. I could actually do my PT exercises more often. I could practice swimming more often to get my cardio back up. I could eat better and try to lose the weight I've gained not dancing, so that there's less of a burden on my knee. I could be a bit more zen and realize that dance has always been there for me when I was ready for it, and it'll still be there when/if my knee fully recovers.

I honestly don't know if I'll ever be able to do a sword dance again, or a 3-step treble jig, or anything that requires a lot of pounding the floor. Instead of despairing about that, I could have a plan. Like being as healthy and as active as I can be now, so that I'm ready for whatever my body can take in the future. I could make peace with the vagueness of my recovery and practice my ballet in the meantime, as long as it doesn't get too jumpy.

I WANT to do all of those things; I just haven't been in the right headspace for any of it. I'm not sure how to get in the headspace, either, especially when non-dance/fitness life is so busy. But I feel a little bit determined now. I feel like I need to have something to show for this year before it's gone completely.

Baby step: yesterday I practiced swimming for the first time since my classes ended 3 weeks ago. I made a healthy lunch for work tomorrow. I made a Christmas-preparation schedule of baking, buying, assembling, and so on, that should keep me a little less panicked. We'll see. My knee? It is what it is. Dance? Let's focus on my students for the rest of this year, and worry about me later.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Mon Dec 01, 2014 01:53 PM
I am battling a minor but annoying stomach bug, annoying enough that it's too distracting at work, but not major enough for me to avoid being restless at home. It's giving me time to fret about things, mostly about how it's now officially December and December is stressful, but I've taken some concrete steps to Calm the (Heck) Down. Mostly I've made a very detailed scheduled for every single day from now til the 23rd, and if I adhere to it I should be able to get all my Christmas prep, baking, assembling, bachelorette-party-organizing, wedding-helping work done.

Dance-wise, I really have to progress my adults' choreography more in the 3 classes we have left before Christmas break. I actually want the whole dance done before Christmas, but that may be too ambitious. I really am pleased with how it's all going; I'd just rather spend the approx 6 weeks after the holidays perfecting, not choreographing.

Knee-wise, my PT as expected would not take "don't dance" as an acceptable response from a doctor, so now she's brainstorming new ways to heal me. She's really concerned about my cardio fitness, and I wholeheartedly agree -- I mean, the little fitness I've been getting lately has been the occasional swim, walking, and the occasional doing of my PT exercises. She wants me back in jumping form, but without of course actually jumping on my knee and damaging it further, so now we have a bit of a plan.

First, she tortured me on the pilates reformer jump board for a while. This means pushing off a wall, kind of, while lying on a sliding platform. She keeps the spring weight for the platform super light, which means I spend a lot of time in the "air" before hitting the board again, and also it means I barely have to push off, thus keeping my knee safe. The problem is that it means I spend a lot of time with my legs just an inch off the ground, and that's KILLER on the abs. I was whimpering for a few days afterwards.

I'm also instructed to not hop on it, not even gently, for a whole month, just to give the bone some time to heal and the corticosteroid injection time to do its work. This is really, really hard, especially when teaching. I feel twitchy all the time and have strong urges to dance, however lightly. But hop I must not, and I will obey.

Finally, I'm being sent for an assessment at an aqua gym. This is a place that has treadmills and cycles underwater -- greater resistance, and less impact on damaged joints. It sounds weird, and it means yet more early mornings doing weird exercises, but I'll do anything to make this goddamn knee behave for once.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By hummingbird
On Mon Dec 01, 2014 02:40 PM
I love reformer jump board! But you're right about those abs :) Have you used the rotational disks at all? I have a lady with knee problems who I use those with and they really help her with her leg and general lower body alignment.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Mon Dec 01, 2014 08:04 PM
^Oh yes, my PT has made me stand on the balls of my feet on those before! I wobble like crazy -- can totally see how it'd be great for stabilization and so on. Maybe I'll ask her if I can try again.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:35 AM
OK. I feel a little more clear-headed and focused today, despite the insanity of this past weekend. I think it's because the most stressful events are over, the ones where large numbers of people were relying on me to pull off some major organization, and now although I'm still super-duper busy, I can get the rest of my work done at my own pace.

And with that, I sincerely hope I can be somewhat active for the rest of this month -- my body, I mean, instead of just my overactive brain. I must get to the pool. I must do my PT exercises. I must set and keep little daily goals.

Tonight: continue to not hop. It's December 8th and I haven't hopped or jogged at all! For me, this is a very big deal. Is it making a difference? I have no idea, because I'm not hopping! But I'll stick to it dutifully.

What I DO have to do is get my students in line and get more of this dance choreographed. Last week everyone seemed totally off their game for some reason, literally crashing into each other during parts everyone should have down cold by now. I went home very frustrated, so tonight I'm trying to stay zen and just gently prod when necessary.

At home, I need to do a good 3 exercises before bed. And bed is also very important this week -- I have before-work appointments for the rest of this week (regular physio tomorrow, "LiquidGym" assessment Wed, ultrasound Thu, haircut Fri).

None of this is very interesting, I know, but steadily staying the course has to be my MO right now, until my reward of two weeks off.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Tue Dec 09, 2014 09:39 AM
I feel a little bit better about the adults' choreography this morning, after everyone had a fairly productive run-through last night. I am relieved that all I have to fix is technique things, rather than worry about people crashing into each other or stopping dead in the middle of the dance 'cause they're in the wrong spot. I didn't get to add on as much new stuff as I wanted, but that's partly because it took me a bit to articulate what I wanted and how to get there. Choreographing for 12 people is hard! I know the patterns in my head, but I have to make people be my putty for a few minutes while I try stuff out.

To be honest, that's the part I love the most. If my class was keen enough to let me just experiment with patterns all the time, I'd be totally in my element. But I'm pretty aware of when people's patience wears thin, so I try to keep that to a minimum.

I've got 64 bars left to choreograph. I wanted it done before Christmas but that's impossible. When we get back we'll have 7 classes, I think, before performing, so we should be OK.

I was also wringing my hands a bit over the competitive student I coach, who has a feis this weekend. Partly because I think I could make her treble jig suit her a bit better with a few tweaks, but I don't want to step on the toes of her TC. Also because treble jig rhythm is such a hard thing to teach at a higher level, if a student isn't quite getting the rhythm. Especially when it's not my rhythm to begin with. This student works super hard and wants to improve and sometimes she totally nails it. But I can tell she doesn't have the rhythm in her body yet, if that makes sense -- we talked about that a bit. We tried singing it, and that hasn't quite worked yet...Slowing it down works to a certain point, but then she panics when the music comes on...Treble jig rolling rhythms are just hard, period, and I'm not always sure I do a good job drilling them. I'm going to have to come up with more broken-down drills. In fact, I've kind of fallen down on teaching treble jigs to my whole class. I'll make that a priority in the new year.

Last night I accomplished everything on my to-do list...But I only got 6 hours sleep. I'd like to aim for 7 tonight, but that's going to be difficult considering my new to-do list and the fact I have to be up at 5 tomorrow. So tonight, I need to:

--coach my friend in Highland theory (6-7pm)
--make 3 stops on the way home for necessities, and also try to get a flu shot at the pharmacy (7-8pm)
--bake one batch of christmas cookes (8-9:30pm)
--write a few christmas cards (9:30-10pm)
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:35 AM
So I just ran on a treadmill under water. That was weird. You'd think running in chest-deep water isn't really even possible, given, y'know, resistance and all that. But feet hitting the motorized treadmill actually gives enough traction and bounce to propel you forward. A bit, anyway. It's definitely harder than regular running, and I felt like I was working my upper legs really hard, while my feet and calves weren't doing anything. I know that's exactly the idea -- to remove the impact on the joints. But it's still weird. I'm supposed to be able to pump my arms while running like this, but I kept having to grab the railings when the water would push me off balance.

I also need to find the right speed -- while my legs were working hard, I wasn't out of breath at all. I'm hoping to get a good cardio workout, so I'll have to practice more and adjust my tempo, once it stops feeling so weird.

The physiotherapist who guided me through all this was paying particular attention to my hips, particularly the area at the back of the hip, just beside the glutes. She thinks that area needs to be doing more work, in order to support the knee. Especially since my kneecaps are pulling inwards a bit, apparently. So I got 4 exercises to add to my repertoire, which I'll repeat here so that I remember: leg lifts on my side with a pigeon-toed top leg, toe taps on either side of the resting leg, and knee taps. Standing, slight plies/extensions with a ball between my knees.

I feel like a have a ton of exercises I should be doing now...And maybe I'm in danger of forgetting some. Perhaps, over my Christmas break, I could find enough motivation to make a master list or something, just to have something from which I can pick and choose.

When it comes to my usual PT sessions, I was actually impressed with my own strength yesterday. Which was surprising, given how much I seem to have given up on exercise in general lately. I was made to do a lot of exercises where I was supporting myself in plank-esque positions, or in bridge-esque positions, and the challenge (besides just holding such positions) was to keep my hips even and my core stabilized while moving one leg, or something like that. I was pretty darn stable.

What I don't have is balance, at all. In ballet class we do most adagio sections at the barre, so I don't always notice this. In PT I have to do stuff like stand on releve/toes on one leg and do tendues front and back, in the air, with the other leg. It's TERRIBLE. I really want to practice that and get better. My inspiration is this guy: . . .

Seriously dude, you're making the rest of us look bad.

Anyway, I have to 'fess up that I didn't get any baking done last night. By the time I actually got home, it was about 8:40pm, and I had to answer a few emails...And then before I knew it, it was 9:30 and I had to start getting ready for bed. So a fail on that count, but a partial win for my sleeping goals (6.5 hrs last night). Now I have to make two batches of cookies on Thursday.

So tonight's goals: pick up a few Christmas craft supplies, write Christmas cards, buy my dad's gift, go to ballet class (and DO NOT HOP), roll out all my muscles afterwards, in bed by 11 at the latest.
re: Tada gan iarracht 2014
By seannettaPremium member
On Tue Dec 30, 2014 01:22 PM
Well, Christmas happened. There were times, throughout this month, that I wasn't entirely sure I'd make it there intact. I'm now partway through my two-week holidays, and holy cow did I ever need this downtime. I've still got lots to do and to think about (my friend's getting married on Friday, and I'm an organizer, basically), but I was able to truly forget about what an unrelenting autumn this has been when I was with my family over Christmas.

It would be far too boring for you to recount what's gone on in the last couple of weeks, and it wasn't all that interesting anyway. What I'm thinking about now is how I can re-set myself for 2015, kinda. I know it's really cliche and often hopeless to set resolutions, but I desperately want to have a better year starting next week, when I'm back into a routine again. I spent a good deal of 2014 injured, despairing over being injured, missing dancing, half-heartedly trying everything doctors and physiotherapists told me to, and dealing with a massive amount of work stress on top of that. I want a do-over.

But I daren't set long-term goals at this point. Immediate goal: stop eating Christmas cookies and get off this couch. Small markers are more my thing.

If I'm being honest, though, I will admit to the long-term goal of letting dance settle into where it's most comfortable in my life, from here on in. That's pretty vague, because I'm still injured and still don't know how much I'll be able to dance in the future. Ortho surgeon says I should never dance again. Physiotherapist is determined to get me hopping. I know I can never repeat my 13-performance St Paddy's extravaganza, but I just want little moments of happiness. Hearing a crowd clap along to my rhythms. Moving through a part I choreographed myself. Feeling that satisfaction of finally nailing a difficult step. I'm really not ready to give any of that up, but I'm willing to accept that it will all come in a very different form than I am used to.

In the meantime, I have to also accept that other kinds of fitness are necessary. Especially swimming, as much as it's not really my thing. And especially my PT exercises.

In short, I can do better. I want to. And I may or may not want to chart my progress in another DDN diary. It's rather quiet around here, and I'm not sure how interesting my swimming updates will be to anyone here, and I'm also quite sure you've all heard enough about my knee to last you a lifetime. We'll see.
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