Just the Right Mix of Joy and Exhaustion

Good news — hiking season has officially started here in the Sangria household.

Nothing kicks off hiking season quite like a grueling climb up the Incline. I made it up in 76 minutes this morning, which isn’t a stellar time, but it’s not bad, either, all things considered. I set goals for myself about how often I would stop to rest and who among the other hikers on the trail I would beat to the top (my competitive nature is sometimes the only thing that keeps me trekking up the mountain), and I’m proud to say I met and/or exceeded all of those goals.

Given it was the first hike of the season, I’m pleased with how well I did. I’m going to have to kick it up a notch and get my hiking muscles back into shape, though, because Tim and I have decided to summit another fourteener this summer. I haven’t forgotten how much pain is involved in such a task, but I’m still really excited. That feeling of accomplishment upon setting foot at the summit just can’t be beat.

One hike in, and I’m already feeling like it’s going to be a damn good hiking season. I can’t wait.

I Hear You’re Supposed to Keep It Weird or Something

Friends, I need your help. I’m traveling to Austin in a couple of weeks for a business trip, and it just so happens that I’m going to have to fill some time while I’m there with non-work related activities. Trouble is, I’m traveling alone and am the teeniest bit nervous about venturing out in my rental car and finding stuff to do without getting lost and/or being That Girl Sitting Alone at the Bar. But I also definitely do not want to spend my entire stay in a new-to-me and rumored-to-be-cool city splitting my time between the office and my hotel room.

This is where you come in. Have you been to Austin? Do you live there? What’s a solo traveler to do during one afternoon and three evenings? Is there any shop/bar/restaurant/event/whatever that I absolutely should not pass up? I think the office I’ll be in is near downtown, and I don’t yet know where my hotel is (though I imagine/hope it’ll be close to the office), so recommendations in that general area would be preferred to lower my chances of getting lost. Also, please keep in mind that I enjoy cocktails, music, pedicures, being outdoors, Mexican food, and all things awesome.

Ready . . . set . . . recommend!

Wednesday Smalls ‘n’ Bensday! Not a Fan

As it turns out, not everyone in the house is excited about my new tap floor.

Whether she’s mad that it takes up space under the couch when not in use or she’s just not impressed at all with my dancing, one thing’s for sure: Smalls is not a fan.

Eating My Words

Remember that time after my first dance competition when I was describing the ballet workshopt and wrote, “It felt good, actually. Not so good that I’m about to sign myself up for a weekly ballet class, but good nonetheless.”

Um, yeah… Guess who recently signed herself up to take a weekly ballet class this summer?

Just to be clear, it’s not as if I was brimming with enthusiasm when I registered for summer classes and told the studio to add ballet to my schedule. Nor was I exactly jumping for joy when I walked into the local dance store and asked to be fitted in a pair of ballet slippers. Excited is not a word I’d use to describe how I feel about returning to the ballet barre after a 10-year hiatus.

However, I do know that this is something I need to do right now. When the summer schedule was posted and the other adults insisted the schedule be rearranged so we could take both jazz and ballet, the thought entered my mind that I might be expected to add ballet to my schedule now that I’m taking my dancing a bit more seriously. This idea was confirmed when the jazz competition director “invited” (read: told) me to take ballet with the rest of the girls. What it boils down to is that if I’m going to be a part of the jazz competition team, I am going to have to take ballet.

Even though this is more of an “I have to” than an “I want to,” I am optimistic about the endeavour. Ballet will be good for me in that it will improve my technique and form in jazz and tap. I may not experience the same level of enjoyment in ballet as I do in my other classes, but at least I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing something beneficial for myself. As the woman at the dance store said when I expressed my lack of enthusiasm for this new class, taking ballet is a lot like taking your vitamins. It may not be the most enjoyable part of your day, but it is good for you in the long run.

Also, for the benefit of my husband, who is likely reading this and remembering the time I assured him he’d never have to sit through a ballet performance and pretend to enjoy it just because I was in it, let me clarify one more thing: I will not be performing ballet in any capacity. The class I’m taking is strictly a technique class, not a performance class. I have zero desire to set foot on any stage wearing ballet slippers. And I can guarantee I won’t be eating those words any time soon.

On Tact

I’m one of the bigger girls in my dance classes. I know this, and I’m pretty okay with it. Sure, part of me would love to be able to throw on any teeny leotard and look amazing in it, but a bigger part of me really enjoys cheese and guacamole. I do what I can to eat well and work out regularly, but I’ll probably never be as skinny as some of the girls I dance with. And, again, that’s okay with me.

Of course, knowing you’re not super skinny and being told you’re not super skinny are two very different things. Now, don’t get me wrong. The women I dance with are wonderful. We are a pretty close group — we have a great time together in and out of class, we share a love for wine and margaritas, and we don’t waste time being petty and judgmental about one another’s imperfections. Which is what made it that much more irritating the other night when one woman put on one of my skirts — a skirt she was thinking of buying in her own, small size — to show our teacher a costume idea she had, and then made a point of mentioning not once, not twice, but at least five times how my skirt was just way too big on her, and obviously she’d be getting it in a much smaller size.

Talk about a killer ego boost.

Look, I know I’m not as skinny as the other girls in class. We all know that. But was it really necessary for her to make such a big deal about how humongous my skirt was on her pencil-thin body? I know she wasn’t trying to be hurtful. In truth, she was probably completely oblivious to the effect of her words on me. But still — is it too much to ask that we all try to use a tiny bit of tact?