Posts Tagged ‘belly dancing’

Yesterday, as I was cleaning the garage, a friend from down the valley turned up and we had a nice chat and cup of tea.  She gave me a bottle of wine.  Every year we’ve exchanged bottles of wine before Xmas but I didn’t see her and have since used all the wine I had.  Oops.  Promised her a bottle next time I saw her.  Oh dear.  I didn’t think I was going to see her for a while and hoed into the last bottle of wine on New Year’s eve.  There’s still 2/3 of a bottle left which I’ve vowed not to touch this month.

I’m glad I have this exercise goal – keeps my mind off being alone and lonely.  Last night I did 20 minutes of belly dancing.  It felt good to get back into it.  It was a warm evening, so I did some of one dance outside on the deck under the bright moon and stars.  Magical.  I should do that more often when the weather permits (which won’t be often, let’s be realistic).

This morning I did some more aerobic activity via the Xbox360 “game”.  I’ll do another walk this afternoon and continue with the garage cleaning.  I’ve logged back into MyFitnessPal to keep track of my progress.  I didn’t find it very useful last time.  I found it annoying trying to deconstruct what I ate.  I’ll keep it more general I think and concentrate on the exercise part of it.  Last time I exercised just enough not to gain anything but didn’t lose anything.  Making much more of an effort this time.

Today’s the anniversary of my mother’s death.  She died in Croydon, Sydney, 36 years ago, of bowel cancer, while we were visiting relatives.  It was her goodbye trip, I think.  I was just a teenager.  She was a strong-willed, outgoing woman, well-liked by everyone.  She suffered no fools,  however.  It was a family trait.  My great aunt was the same, and judging from diaries and stories, my grandmother was the same also.  Cynicism is a common element from her side of the family.

On an entirely different note, Goodreads has an annual “Your year in books“.  Apparently, I read 39 books in all (I probably didn’t count some unfinished ones or ones I just skimmed).  I sometimes struggle to find something that interests me, limiting myself to an academic library.  I need to expand my literary horizons and visit the public library more often.




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I haven’t really been back to belly dancing classes since the dance studio closed and times and places were subsequently all over the place.

The longer I stay away, the less inclined I feel to go back. The last time I went, they were busy working out a choreography for the next hafla in July. I didn’t like what they had come up with so far and it all involves props such as canes, veils and isis wings. It’s all designed to look showy, but doesn’t actually involve much in the way of belly dance moves. Again, I find that the classes are just practices for one or perhaps two dances and I often come away feeling that it was a waste of time or money and that I learn nothing.

To all this is added the inconvenience of the time. Because I live out of town, I feel it is a waste of time and petrol to go home after work, then come back for the class. That means, however, that I have to hang around town for nearly two hours. This is manageable in summer, but in winter it means there’s no light to read by and the public library closes early. To add even further to this inconvenience, H has started spending Tuesdays in town overnight, which means that if I stay in town for dance, then come home at 8.30pm there is no dinner prepared by H and I have to cook for myself (and eat late). The alternative is to buy food before the class. It’s all too difficult.

The hafla is in July, as I said, and I have a wedding to go to in Wellington in July. I thought it might clash with the hafla and even hoped it would, to give me an excuse not to go along to classes. When I discovered that they didn’t clash, I felt disappointed, and this is an obvious sign to me, that I’m not enjoying belly dance classes and don’t want to go back. The only thing is I miss the women themselves, but I’ve often felt like an outsider as I’ve missed so much over the past year.

If only there was a decent alternative. If I lived in Wellington, I would go to an Iraqi belly dance teacher who does not concentrate on performance (and indeed never performs herself). I’ve enjoyed the two classes I had with her when she visited Masterton.

The only alternative would be to practise to my DVDs. I’ll try that option tonight.

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I especially feel in the pits when I view some of the wonderful photos on blogs I follow.  The lucky buggers live in far more interesting places than I do, with photos of castles and magnificent scenery, etc etc.  As I’m pretty much a hermit, I struggle to take any photos in the weekend as I go nowhere.  I have to justify any trip into town, and the miserable greyness just dampens my spirits (physically as well as figuratively).   Just talked to my bro last night (it was his birthday).  He had just come back from an awesome trip to Australia:  Melbourne to be with aunt and cousins on her 81st birthday; a short flight to Adelaide; a drive from Adelaide to Darwin, stopping at Uluru; stay with friends in Darwin; then a hop across to Brisbane to be at the birthday of our other aunt who had her 91st birthday, then home.  I’m green with envy.  He’s seen way more of Australia than I have.  I can only afford one week stays in one city at a time.  I just get more miserable thinking about it, while I return to my tedious job surrounded by brown walls.

I did get out last night.  There was a belly dancing show on in town.  Normally I would’ve been part of one of the dance groups, but I haven’t been to belly dancing classes for about 8 months now.  I hadn’t intended to go to the show but H told me her friend E was performing and that she would go.  I decided to go after all and then H told me she was heading to Wellington this weekend.  I’d bought my ticket by then so I persuaded two others at work to join me – I didn’t want to go by myself.  We met at the Celtic pub for a quick drink beforehand, then got some seats close to the stage.  Many of the performances were very good.  There were some equally average ones (and I’m not referring to the beginners, who did well).  In amongst all the belly dancing was, bizarrely, some local flamenco dancers who went on a bit long I thought – three middle-aged women and a younger woman accompanied by my old Japanese lecturer (who was definitely looking old) on guitar.  They were ok and impressive to someone who hadn’t seen flamenco dancing before but I’d seen real Spanish dancers at Womad who were truly amazing.  Anyway, all in all, a good evening and it was great to have company.

I took a few photos, hoping to get at least one decent shot for my photoblog.  But I must’ve had the camera on the wrong setting by mistake as nearly all of them were blurry and useless.  Out of 20 photos, I deleted 13 and only kept the rest as a vague/blurry record of the evening.  Oh well.

Very cold and very wet today.  I had intended to continue painting the bathroom but the weather just makes me more miserable.  I did clean the fridge, however.  I doubt the clothes I washed yesterday will dry though.  Might be a struggle to come up with some work clothes for another week of the doldrums.

My tinnitus varies.  It was particularly loud and the hearing sensitivity was bad on Monday and Tuesday.  Then it improved during the week.  Last weekend was so annoying I wanted to cry.  Not so bad this weekend.  I wonder what the hell sets it off – some food or drink or something.  It’s like having a friggin’ power station in my head.  And all this only started in April.  Any tinnitus I had before then (and I’ve had it for 20 years) was so mild as to not be noticeable except sometimes in the quietiest of nights.  Just another annoyance to add to my depression….

Sorry to add another blog entry of Misery.  I always do feel depressed in winter.  I hate the season – always so damp, cold and grey.

I might now watch an episode of “Hell on Wheels” which H discovered.  There are some good TV shows out there – it’s just that they don’t show them on free TV and buggered if I’m paying overinflated prices for pay TV to watch maybe two shows a week.

Yay for books.

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I think it’s lack of sleep – I haven’t slept well for a few nights.

This morning was stunning as I drove to work. I just wanted to stop on the way and admire it all – must have been the way the sun was shining on the trunks of young pine trees or the vivid yellowy-greenness to it all. Then I got all maudlin thinking that life is so short to fully appreciate and experience it and many never do.

Got talking to a work mate about hobbies and how they come and go as you’ve got the time and inclination and how the deciding factor is the answer to the question “are you enjoying it?” I decided that I’m not, when it comes to belly dancing lately. It’s all about learning choreography for performances and not about personal enjoyment. We’re supposed to be performing in the Esplanade Open Day and wear our special costumes. My costume is heavy and I don’t feel comfortable dancing in it so a) I’m not doing the performance and b) I may as well sell the costume. Do I really want to continue the classes? I’ll have to see how I feel in two weeks’ time (I’m not going next week).

I did pilates the other night (from a DVD) and boy, do my stomach muscles feel it today. I’ve discovered I have some, for a start. Might do more of that tonight.

Looking forward to a three-day weekend and hanging out with mates on the Monday.

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I had intended to write part two of my holiday over the weekend but the weekend was busy, nor did I have the inclination. I think the past week had depressed me somewhat.

I arranged for my dead car to go to the wreckers and they needed paperwork signed on Friday. Daughter had the car for the day so the logistics of getting to them was nigh impossible. I was tired, grumpy and headachey anyway that morning so since it was all too difficult and misery-inducing, I took a mental health day.

That done, daughter joined me in looking round car sales yards for a potential replacement before doing the stuff she wanted the car for. It was depressing. Cars were either over-priced, too big, or white. I hate white cars. I can never see myself driving a white car. Again I saw a car like my daughter’s – an early 90s Toyota Corolla grossly overpriced at $4500. We did see a nice little black Mazda hatchback but at $5000 it was over my budget. We went for a test drive anyway but I found it noisy and the automatic gear changes were jerky. It had low kms but was far too basic for the price. I was later advised to avoid that particular car sales yard because of bad post-purchase customer service.

On Saturday we went around any remaining car sales yards we’d missed and I was disappointed. It seemed everybody was selling bigger cars in order to buy more economical smaller cars – just my luck. My one last hope was a contact number for a Toyota which had been seen by a work colleague. I got in touch and we went round to have a look. Coincidentally it was another black hatchback but 1500cc instead of 1300cc and $1000 cheaper. We went for a drive and I liked it immediately. The owners were an elderly couple who had cared for it fondly and they said they’d miss the car because their new one wasn’t as good. I decided there and then to buy and haggled the price down and up to an agreed $3800. Daughter and I were desperate as she wanted to drive to Wellington this week to get aspects of her car fixed by an auto-mechanic cousin. Relief indeed after a visit to the bank (thank the gods they now open all day Saturday) and paperwork done. Daughter went on her way to the boyfriend’s and I headed home in the new jalopy.

Later, that evening, car and I went on our first real journey together to the annual bellydancing event in town. I had been very nervous about the performance of the dance I dislike but after a large glass of red wine I was mellow enough not to worry. Daughter and friends turned up a bit late but saw most of the performances (including mine). I managed to dance the choreography with only a minor hiccup which I hope no-one noticed.

Back home and parked my little black friend behind the dead Nissan (which was due to be picked up on Monday). You’ll notice the new car has a personality unlike the Nissan which was just something to get me from A to B and for which I felt nothing at all. The Toyota will have to have a name…

Back to the grind but at least the sun is shining.

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Well the long weekend went by far too quickly, as I knew it would. I didn’t achieve much but then I did do some stuff which I needed to do.

Firstly, I booked the bus to KL, as mentioned in the previous post. I also drafted a couple of blog posts for the blog I may have mentioned. That done, I went along to the dance practice in Feilding. Why are all scout halls so dingy and freezing? Miserable places they are. It was far colder inside than it was outside. Anyway, it was the first time I had an audience (the other dance groups) and I mucked up completely because I was nervous. It’s obvious I have some work to do on the dance before I can remember it all perfectly. After the practice I headed into town to buy free-range eggs, organic chicken, yummy cheeses and soap at the bulk barn (and a little visit next door to Liquorland).

So, once back home I dug around for the audio (and not video) of the choreography which I can put on my mp3 player to play while overseas. Otherwise I only have 3 practice sessions before the hafla. I searched through all my belly dancing CDs, knowing that on one of them was the music for the choreography. I couldn’t find it, so googled how I could extract an audio file from a video file. It involved downloading a program which I didn’t want to do. I knew the music was somewhere and had another good search and this time found it in a pile of medieval music. I must have had the CD in amongst them for my medieval feast last year. Goodo! Then I had to convert the wav file to mp3 for the player. This did involve downloading a program as the program already on the computer converted only from mp3 to wav (for making CDs)! I tried dancing to the audio track and found I couldn’t remember a couple of bits. Watched the video and practiced and hope I’ve got them right now. For some light relief I watched my favourite belly dancer, Serena Ramzy, do three dances on her Visual Melodies DVD. I always, always find myself smiling when watching her.

That done, I decided I may as well alter the costume (I’d been putting it off for ages). However, I couldn’t find the unpicker or some glue (to make it stick). Daughter came home later in the afternoon and said she had the unpicker which she gave me. By now the light wasn’t great but I went ahead (after first unpicking the wrong bit and having to re-sew!). Couldn’t find the glue but did a few stitches to make it stay there. Job done.

Did some washing and housework on the following day but felt at a loss in the evening when daughter went on the computer and there was nothing on TV. How sad is that? I looked at the laptop and the pile of genealogical stuff I had beside it in my ongoing conversion of paper biographies to computer. I got down to it and transferred all the info into a word document. That’s only the beginning though. I intend going through all my (paper) files to compile mini biographies of the ancestors and at least dates for their siblings. These will include occupations, addresses and notes about any ephemera I’ve inherited. Doing that should get things organised in my head and reveal what’s missing.

I can’t even remember Monday. Boredom was setting in and I couldn’t remember where the list of things to do was. Typical. The day before when I’d looked at the laptop and was about to procrastinate I thought ‘it’s all very well having a list of stuff to do but you’ve got to be in the mood to do it’. There’s no hope for me, I tell you. I spent much of yesterday, therefore, playing computer games (Settlers of Catan, Freecell, Mahjong and Sims 2). They are extremely good procrastination tools. The trouble was I didn’t know what I was procrastinating about – thinking?

And so ended another three-day weekend with something achieved, but not a great deal. Didn’t get outside. I didn’t even bother trying to start the lawnmower again. I have to remember to take the bloody thing in to be fixed (Thursday, I think). Oh, I also got my hair cut – just a few inches chopped off to make it more manageable.

Next weekend will be the last one at home and then the following it’s off to Tauranga, and the Saturday after that flying to Brisbane. It’s all go!

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I’ve been going along to Scottish country dancing for three weeks now. It runs from 7.30 to 10 pm with a warm-up and beginners’ run-through from 7pm. I’ve been leaving when they stop for a cup of tea at about 9pm. Two hours is enough for me as it’s a work night and I don’t like getting home late. I’m astounded at the stamina of the old ladies. They’re obviously a lot fitter than I am. (Yes, the majority of the other dancers are white-haired and over 60. There are about 3 men only and not all of them turn up on the night.) I’ve ordered some country dancing shoes. The shoes I currently wear are ok but a little bit on the small side. The next size up was too big (shoes slipped off) and this size is just a little tight. You can’t get seem to get half sizes these days.

My left calf muscle got sore last week and I limped around the next day. I felt a twinge last night but it’s ok today. I tell you what though. My previously flabby (or wobbly) calves are now firm! In just three weeks! I’m amazed. I suppose walking most lunch hours helps too.

Am I getting fitter? Well it beats sitting down 16 hours a day so it has to have some effect. I need some work on the midriff though.

Which brings me to belly dancing. I haven’t been keen on it – in fact lost all enthusiasm because of this dreadful choreography. But I’ll have to force myself just to dance at home. I noticed when I first started dancing regularly that I gradually acquired the semblance of a waist, so it must do something for the midriff – I need more of it.

Heading off tonight to an outdoor performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Should be good if the weather stays kind.

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