You Only Live Once, This Is How I’m Doing It!

Month: September 2011

Feeding my soul

My mom put me in ballet when I was an awkward pre-adolecent. She thought it would give me grace and some control over my limbs that felt too long for my body.

It gave me oh so much more than that.

In dance I found a way to not just move my body but to move my soul as well. I had what I think are the world’s best dance teachers. They focused on pure technique. They didn’t believe in recitals because they felt it detracted from time in class that could be spent learning rather than perfecting one single routine.

They made sure our form was perfect, from the point of our toes to the tips of our fingers and the tilt of our head. I could have lived at that studio. The teachers were tough but kind. We had to memorize terminology and were frequently quizzed on it. Every once in awhile we had parent’s week when parents were allowed to come and watch a class and we could show off what we learned.

I learned so much in those classes. I truly wish I could have taken classes there forever. Unfortunately our family started falling apart for awhile and with it my stability in being able to commit to classes at any given time from week to week.

I didn’t stop dancing though.

At the time I was blessed to be at a church that had a very active dance team. We had classes and made up routines and performed them during services. Again, I was able to express my soul through dance. It was therapy in an extremely difficult time in my life.

When I turned 18 I moved to the Netherlands and started the next chapter in my life. I didn’t look into taking dance classes there because my life was so full of so many new adventures there didn’t seem like there would be room. I did make time to frequent clubs though and was able to again, dance my heart out.

Europe has the very best dance music. It’s a fact.

Then I fell in love, got married and moved back to the Midwest. While I was gone, the dance group I had been a part of was ripped apart at the seams in a very ugly church split, so it wasn’t there for me to return to. Being a brand new married couple we barely had enough to afford the essentials so paying for dance classes never really entered my mind. Then flying created such a random schedule that it again didn’t seem practical.

And suddenly it’s been years and the only time I’ve danced is the occasional wedding.

I don’t know why I didn’t dance in my living room. I have once or twice and it felt beyond amazing but I never made it a regular thing.

I missed it. I missed it like my lungs miss air in water. You know when you’re swimming and even with your head above water if your chest is covered you never can quite get a deep enough breath? Like that.

So when I saw a LivingSocial deal for unlimited dance classes for $19 dollars I bought it almost immediately.

Last night was my first class and I was beyond nervous. It had been so long since I’d danced at all, let alone in a formal class. Once the class started though it was like inhaling pure oxygen. I moved and stretched and couldn’t wipe the huge grin off my face for the entire two hours. It was a beginner level adult class so the steps were easy to do and remember. I was able to not concentrate on the physical motions and just dance.

I can’t believe how good it felt.

I was made to move. I’m not the most talented person in the world but nothing makes me happier than dancing.

I can’t believe I let myself forget for so long.

I haven’t been fully happy in a long time. I’m taking my happy back piece by piece and this was a giant piece that was missing.

It’s good to have it back.

Alarm drama

One of the oh so fun things I missed blogging about this summer was our freaking fire alarm. If you follow me on twitter you know that our fire alarm has been on the fritz most of the summer. It’s been incredibly frustrating. It started at the end of June.

The first time was around midnight. I was still up watching Netflix and Joel had dozed off on the couch. When the alarm went off I sprang into action, as any good flight attendant would. I quickly did a mental assessment of the most important things in our life and grabbed the laptop, DSLR camera and of course Phoebe and the bird. Joel must have really been tired because in the seven seconds it took me to scoop up the laptop and camera he still hadn’t stirred.

I kind of yelled, “Joel, the fire alarm is going off, get up and grab the dog.” I don’t think it was unreasonable for me to yell at this point since the fire alarm is loud and he hadn’t so much as twitched.

Joel (my hero) jumped off the couch and turned off the tv… because obviously that was what was making that awful noise and disturbing his sleep.

“Joel, it’s the fire alarm. We need to go outside, grab the dog.”

He groggily stumbled over towards the door and grabbed… not the keys, not the dog’s leash, not his wallet… nope, he grabbed….

His sunglasses.

And proceeded to put them on.

Remember, it’s about midnight. Not too many solar flares going on in this part of the world at that time.

I put down the laptop and grabbed the leash, put it on the dog and handed it to Joel. I reminded him that it was midnight and sunglasses were probably not needed. I doubted the fire was going to be that bright.

He finally snapped out of it and we made our way out of the building and waited outside until the fire department came and gave us the all clear.

Poor dude doesn’t wake up quickly, especially when he’s really tired.

The fire department sent three trucks and an ambulance. I think just about everyone in our building (and two adjoining buildings) came out for it. There was one lady who kept asking if anyone knew if it was a real fire because if it was she needed to go back in for her cat. Obviously none of us knew but I hope she got a travel case for it after that, just in case.

That was the first time.

It went off no less than fourteen times over the course of two months.

Just think about that.

By the end almost no one came outside. The fire department eventually only sent one lonely little fire truck and two firefighters. Even I told Joel to call me if it was a real fire. He went out every time and waited. He heard the firefighters voice how sick they were of our place. Greaaaaaat. Just what you want to hear from the people who will potentially have your life in their hands.

After about a million frustrated calls to management and more than three months they finally replaced the alarm board in our buildings today. A couple guys came into the apartment and replaced something about the smoke detector. I learned that the whole building alarm doesn’t just sound for smoke in one apartment. Smoke will only set off the individual smoke detector. It also has a heat detector that has to get hot enough before it sets off the whole building alarm. Kind of makes sense but it’s also a little scary to think how bad a fire would have to be to make it hot enough for our alarm to go off.

He also told me a story of an old apartment building that had no working alarm at all. Management changed and they had these guys in on a Thursday to fix the alarm. That following Sunday the whole place burned to the ground. Everyone got out except the guy whose cooking started the fire. The only call the fire department got was the building alarm, no 911 calls at all. If the building alarm hadn’t been functional everyone probably would have died because it was at 2am.


It makes me so glad that the building alarm is fixed. The fire department got so frustrated with the false alarms that they turned it off completely. Our smoke detectors still worked but the fire department would only have been called if someone actually dialed 911.

I’m hoping this is the end of our alarm drama. You better believe that next time the alarm goes off I won’t be pulling my pillow over my head and waiting for Joel to call me if it’s real. Their stories were enough for me to realize the inconvenience of standing outside for 10 minutes for a false alarm far outweighs the consequences if I ignore it and it’s actually real.

But let’s hope we don’t have to deal with any fire alarms anymore, false or not because having to put on a bra and shoes at 3am is just plain annoying.

I did not move to California

Despite what my blog might lead you to believe, Joel and I did not drive down Route 66 and decide to move onto the beach where there is no internet. No, as much as we would have loved to go there and never come back to chilly Illinois the thought of not having internet or, you know, money was enough to draw us back to the good old land of Lincoln.*

But somehow after finishing that part of the trip it was hard to write anything else. Our next stop on our journey was my sister’s house to see her new (as in 3 days old) baby. They actually have internet too but I couldn’t stop myself from nomming on my brand new nephew’s cheeks long enough to bother posting.

And then I was behind.

And then we kept driving and seeing amazing stuff and having the most wonderful of Epic Road Trips.

And I didn’t want to write again until I posted about visiting with them.

And I didn’t want to skip posting about the other cool places we saw.

And then suddenly we were home and I was kind of exhausted and had to unpack.

And that’s how my blog fell into a giant black hole and never left Santa Monica.

I actually do love blogging and so I have so much guilt over letting it go for this long. There have been so many times where I just wanted to sit down and write but I felt like I couldn’t because then I would miss posting about the rest of my trip.

But suddenly it’s September and I haven’t updated anything since June. It’s just been too long.

So I’m just posting. Summer is over and it was a good one. It started Memorial day with our Epic Road Trip and it ended with Labor day and a whole three days of blissful nothingness.

We stayed home all weekend. We played board games. We watched movies. We put together a puzzle.

We just enjoyed each other and relaxed.

It’s unfortunate that I didn’t document all the fun that happened between those two holidays but it’s high time I started posting again because I miss it.

I am committed to writing more thoughts on my blog. It can be hard because I know it’s not only people who live in my computer that read my words here. People who I actually see. In real life. Will read this. ::gulp::

I think it will be worth it though. I just have to not allow myself to talk myself out of blogging. I have time. I have things to say. Blogging makes me happy and I need more happy in my life. I’m taking my happy back and this is the first step. I plan to eventually back date posts about the rest of the trip so if you subscribe to my RSS feed you won’t miss those.

So, ::dusts off bloggy type cobwebs:: Hi. I’m back.

*California does, in fact, have internet so I’m not sure why I’ve implied it does not. I’m actually pretty sure even their beaches have wifi. California is just that awesome.


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