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Danseur Ignoble: I’m Feeling Much Better, Really?

Okay, so as always, this recovery process has been slower and more annoying, with more minor setbacks, than anticipated.

Someday, I’ll learn to take the Hoped-For Duration of Recovery and simply multiply it by three or four.

“I’ll be over this in a week or so” will then mean “I’ll be over this in, I dunno, three weeks or a month, give or take,” and I’ll be much less frustrated when, after a week, I’m not Good As New.

Anyway, I am feeling much better, but still not perfectly well. Still also tenaciously clinging to the hope of having something worth auditioning on the 4th. If we bust our buts (yes, pun intended: You know, “When the deadline’s neeeeeear, and it don’t look good — Who you gonna call? BUT BUSTERS!”), we might … maybe? … SHOULD! be able to at least put together a respectable audition, if not one that will make everybody say OMG WE MUST HAVE THESE GUYS!


In other news, we saw The Scorch Trials today and spent the whole movie making Burning-Man related jokes.

It actually wasn’t too bad: its storyline was fairly predictable “twinks versus the old ppl conspiracy versus alien zombie plague” fare, but both installments in the Maze Runner film adaptation series have done a good job mostly avoiding cringe-inducing romantic subplots whilst providing enjoyable visuals and action scenes, even if elements of those action scenes do frequently make one ask, “Haven’t you guys ever seen a movie? Hey, maybe standing around and waiting for all of the alien plant zombies to awaken within two meters of your tasty still-fully-human faces is a bad idea. Wait, what the … WHY ARE YOU CLIMBING THE STAIRS?!”

Oops, potential spoilers below for ppl who care about that kind of thing, so here comes a More Tag:

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Let’s Get (a) Physical, Physical

This week, I visited my doctor’s office — not for an actual physical, but to get a spider bite on my leg checked out (it had been growing more, rather than less, inflamed over the course of a week).

While there, a nurse weighed me and took my vitals.

My weight was down four pounds since my my last “official” weigh-in (which was in … June?); my blood pressure was 110/60, and my pulse — not a resting pulse, mind you, but a well-caffeinated, middle-of-the-day, just-hopped-onto-a-table pulse — was 52.


Makes me awfully curious what my proper resting pulse rate is. I tend not to stay still long enough during the day to take a proper resting pulse rate. I haven’t remembered to check it in ages. Every night, I remind myself, “Check your resting pulse rate tomorrow before you get up;” every morning, inevitably, I forget.

Now, my blood pressure has always been fine, and my weight has been descending continuously* for the past several years (at varying rates of speed — usually quickly from January through the end of summer, then more slowly through the end of the year).

I’m writing all of this not to toot my horn, but to toot ballet’s horn. Even several years of riding my bike everywhere hadn’t coaxed my mid-day pulse rate down below 60. Six and a half months of ballet have done the trick. Simply put, I’ve always been a fairly athletic person, but ballet has transformed me into one seriously fit mofo.

And I cite ballet specifically because it’s been the biggest change in my life in the past year. My diet continues as usual — mostly “real food,” with room for various indulgences (including, apparently, all those pretzels). I actually ride my bike less now than I have in the past four years.

What this all indicates to me, in the end, is the importance of finding a kind of physical activity that works for you, that you love — and maybe one that challenges you to push your own physical boundaries. I love ballet even more than I love riding bikes (there, I said it!).

Ballet forces me to push my body’s boundaries — I can’t just jump around on my legs; I have to use my arms, too. I can’t just do endless amounts of endurance exercise; ballet requires bouts of high-intensity jumping around (and also getting up, getting up, and getting down).

If I really want to improve, I have to be willing to gain some upper-body strength. And if I want to perform some day, which I totally do, I can’t neglect endurance exercise — read any good treatise on physical conditioning for ballet, and in the first chapter (or thereabouts) you’ll discover that class alone doesn’t condition dancers effectively for the aerobic rigors of performing on stage. Dancers who add in some kind of aerobic endurance training fare better than those who don’t.

All of this amounts to the equivalent of (at present) three 60 to 75-minute long high-intensity interval training sessions (with some flexibility stuff thrown in) coupled with the usual assortment of aerobic endurance workouts that I get through commuting by bike.

Overall, it seems to be working brilliantly as a health-maintenance and -improvement plan.

So there you go. Ballet really is good for you.

So go take two classes and call me in the morning 😀

*I should note that continuously descending weight is not, in and of itself, a marker of improving health. You can be healthy and be much heavier than I am. For me, it’s simply an indicator that my body is returning to its own norm, which suggests that it’s “functioning as designed.”

By the way, the spider bite is fine. The doctor who examined it said I should worry if it doesn’t start to diminish in the next few days. That made Denis feel better, which made me feel better.

Toast, Eggs, Milk, and Juice

By the way guys, sorry about the double post this morning!

Does that sound like a pretty complete breakfast to you?

It does to me (though I’d rather see “fruit” in place of “juice”) – and here’s the funny thing.   It seemed that way to me as a kid, too.

I remember seeing breakfast cereal commercials when I was six years old or so that trumpeted about how some or another sugary cereal was “part of this complete breakfast with toast, eggs, juice, and milk” and thinking, “Toast, eggs, milk, and juice?  That sounds pretty complete by itself.  What’s the cereal for?”

This wasn’t because I was some kind of super – genius (though I’ll halt take that accolade if it’s on offer!   :D).   It was because my parents had taken time to instill a healthy skepticism about commercial advertisements (and nobody does skepticism like six-year-olds, who are just discovering that how things are and how things seem can be very different).  It was because we talked about nutrition at home, in school, and even at church.

Perhaps most importantly, though, it was because I had recently eaten a breakfast of toast, milk, eggs, and juice, and by the end of it, I was stuffed.  Where, I reasoned with the irrefutable logic of the very young, was the cereal supposed to fit – literally?

So, in short, I discovered a valuable piece of insight mostly because I loved poached eggs on toast and someone (either Mom or Grammy) made them for me as a treat that morning.  I realized that in the “part of this complete breakfast” equation, the cereal was basically extra. The breakfast was fine without it.

I’m not sure, dear reader, what I hope you’ll take away from this post (which is neither about bicycles nor about ballet, though it is about food, which quite literally fuels both of those passions).  I don’t mean it as a criticism of individual choices.   I suspect you’re probably already the kind of person who makes that kind of connection.

If anything, I see it as the opposite of that – I happened to be privy at a useful moment to a bunch of information that led me to a sort of breakfast – related epiphany: that cereal was the dessert part of a complete breakfast.   I was able to apply this idea because my family ate desert maybe once a week or so, not with every meal.  I had a context that allowed me to just the information at hand in my own best interests.

It sort of worries me that, as a country, we largely seem to lack that skill (critical reasoning deficits are disturbingly common at school, too – and I’m a university student).   It seems a little baffling.

I don’t have any prescriptive advice, here, or anything.   I’m sort of just thinking out loud.  I’m also wondering how we reached this pass (and I find it interesting that people in the political arena seem to reflexively blame the folks on whichever side of the aisle is opposite their own).  Like, I don’t think we’d have stuck around this long as a nation if we weren’t, in years past, pretty good at critical thinking about practical matters (and creative thinking).

I will resume my normal bikes-and-ballet related blathering shortly.  For now, this is what’s on my mind, via some experiences I’ll discuss at a later date.

Til then, keep the bottom side down 🙂

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