Beef Is A Vegetable

Yes, it’s true.  Beef is a vegetable, and today I’m going to give you a logical explanation as to why that’s so.

And as a special bonus, I’m going to address the age-old question posed by unhappy students ever since Plato and Aristotle started flapping their gums all those centuries ago:  “When will I ever use these grand principles of logic in real life?”

The answer is ‘frequently’… if you have a devious mind and a burning desire to justify unhealthy nutritional choices.

Hubby and I have both.

Frankly, I was a lot happier when I thought the four basic food groups were sugar, salt, fat, and booze.  But then I went and educated myself about proper nutrition, not realizing how that knowledge would cut into my enjoyment of the all the tastiest treats in life.

On my more cynical days, I figure cutting out all the best yummies won’t actually make me live longer; it’ll just seem like it.  But since my main ambition is to not die of my own stupidity, I generally make an effort to eat well.  And on the days when I don’t feel like doing that, I use logic to justify my poor food choices.

‘Cause, like, y’know, logic is like, all sophisticated and stuff, so that makes me feel smarter when I’m ingesting enough saturated fat to bung my arteries solid.

I’ve already discovered a few useful pre-rationalized vices.  I’m sure just about everybody has seen the one about how chocolate comes from a bean, and beans are vegetables.  And vegetables are healthy and an essential part of good nutrition, therefore it’s necessary to eat chocolate.

Or the one about how grapes are fruit, and wine is made from crushed grapes, therefore wine is just as healthy as fruit juice.

And barley sandwiches are a super-nutritious meal, too.  (For those unfamiliar with barley sandwiches, the main ingredients in beer are barley and yeast, which are essentially the same ingredients as bread…)

If you think that’s a weak argument, never mind – I have a better one.  Beer fights cancer, so it’s actually medicinal.  And I just re-read that article and discovered that they consider a ‘healthy’ intake of beer to be up to two or three units a day for women.  Dammit, I’ve been under-medicated!  Bring on the beer!

But the people who thought up those rationalizations are rank amateurs compared to my husband.  He has actually formulated a logic chain to justify eating gigantic quantities of steak:

Beef is a vegetable.  And vegetables are healthy.

I did point out the food pyramid to him, indicating where there was a clear differentiation between meats and vegetables, but he just shook his head with the patient tolerance of a Zen scholar and proceeded to enlighten me.

“It’s simple,” he explained.  “Cows eat grass.  Grass is a vegetable.  You are what you eat, so beef is a vegetable.”

I couldn’t argue with that even if I wanted to.

Is that the sweet, sweet smell of barbeque?

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Zombie Bullets

Prepare for the impending zombiepocalypse!

Everywhere I turn, I’m reminded that zombies will soon overrun the earth.  In fact, a recent Calgary Herald article reported that an expert has rated Calgary as one of the best places to survive the zombiepocalyse.  Whew, that’s a relief.

I’ve been wondering why zombies are getting so much press lately.  I initially thought it might be because everybody’s tired of vampires, so zombies are the next option in the creepy catalogue.  That makes sense, because zombies are easier to relate to in real life.

I mean, really, what are the chances of seeing a vampire?  They crumble into dust at the slightest touch of daylight and cringe from silver and go up in smoke under holy water.  They’re not really that durable.  (Don’t talk to me about sparkly vampires.  I’m strictly old-school.)

Zombies, on the other hand, are practically indestructible.  Shoot ‘em; hack ‘em up; whatever.  They just pick up the pieces and keep on coming.  According to the ammunition experts at Hornady, you need special ammo for shooting zombies (not to mention a fully-automatic weapon):

(No kidding, this is a real product.  I’ve seen it in stores.)

But after careful consideration, I think zombies are looming as the next big threat because they’re real and they’re already living among us.

I know that’s a scary thought, but the truth is I encounter dozens of them every day.  Sometimes they’re on foot, but as a general rule they seem to prefer mechanical conveyances.

I’m sure you’ve seen them, too:  hunched in the driver’s seat, their deadened eyes staring straight ahead without any regard for road conditions or traffic.  Occasionally their rigor-mortis grip is locked on the steering wheel, but more often their nerveless hands clutch cell phones or coffee cups, or both at the same time while they drive with their knee (or some other appendage with a life of its own; I’ve always been afraid to look too closely).

Oblivious to the rest of us, they drive through red lights and stop signs, turn left from the far right-hand lane, and weave in and out of traffic deaf to horns and blind to the universal gesture of fellowship and goodwill that frequently accompanies horn-honking.

To combat this menace, I’d like to suggest a new kind of Zombie Bullets.  Like the Hornady product above, they would incorporate the all-important green colouring.  And they’re already available in standard paintball calibres.  Pair them with one of the new fully-automatic paintball guns and a heads-up automatic targeting system installed in our cars, and we’re all set to eradicate the latest zombie menace.

I realize that shooting a zombie’s car with a paint pellet won’t stop the zombie in question, but at least it’ll provide a warning for the rest of us.  When we see a vehicle dripping with green slime, we’ll be able to take evasive action.

And hey, it’d make police officers’ jobs easier, too:  “I’m sorry, sir, your car shows sixty-three distinct zombie-bullet hits.  I’m going to have to write you a ticket for driving without the influence of a brain.”

Ah, if only…

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Dancin’ Fool

Well, I did it. Fortunately I’ve never been terribly attached to my dignity.

Yes; this weekend, after only ten lessons, I got up and attempted to belly-dance in front of a (mercifully small) audience.

It didn’t begin well.

I danced the piece a few times in the morning just to make sure I had it secure in my head. I got through it perfectly a couple of times… and then had a total brain fart.

We learned the first steps of the choreography in our very first class, and we’ve been practicing them ever since. They’re not complicated – 8 beats of simple movements, and then we shift our weight onto the other foot and repeat the same 8 movements.

I got through the first 8. Then the memory of how to make the switch and perform the second 8 vanished without a trace, leaving me gaping at my flummoxed self in the mirror.

Try as I might, I couldn’t remember how to do the next 8 beats. And it was exactly the same damn thing as the first 8 beats.

Nope, not an auspicious start.

But after I managed to assimilate that series of moves (again), it seemed like smooth sailing. Our class ran from 3:30 to 4:30, followed by the recital. We practiced during our class, and I was fine. Somewhat confident, even.

I knew this dance. I could do it.

Then the other dancers began to arrive. There were two other beginner classes and an intermediate class, plus the studio’s dance troupe. They all began to warm up and rehearse.

My jaw dropped.

As I watched the other ‘beginners’, it became humiliatingly obvious that our instructor had drawn the short straw this term and gotten stuck with the slow learners.

These women were dancers. And they had costumes, for shit’s sake!

It didn’t help that my friend and I were the only two students performing from our class– everyone else had ‘prior commitments’. (Including my other friend, who fled all the way to Korea to avoid performing. I know it was required by her job. But I still think the timing was suspiciously convenient.)

I sidled over to our instructor and muttered, “Gotta go; look at the time.”

That’s when she laughed and explained that ‘beginner’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘beginner-beginner’. Apparently a lot of students take the Foundations course several times before moving on to the intermediate class.

Okay… but still…

When Hubby arrived to watch, I made sure to point out we were the only real beginner class, so he shouldn’t expect too much. But at least I wasn’t nervous. It’s nice that my worries vanish when I’m absolutely certain I’m going to make a fool of myself.

The dance troupe performed first, followed by two other ‘beginner’ classes.

Then it was our turn.

And I nailed the choreography! I still can’t do the moves well, but I turned and shimmied and waved my arms exactly where I was supposed to. About three-quarters of the way through the dance I realized I hadn’t made a mistake yet, and that’s when I started getting nervous. Fortunately it was a short song, and it was over before I could freak out.

And you know what? I had fun!

We start a new class on Sunday: another beginner course with the same fun and fabulous (and patient) instructor. Maybe I’ll catch on this time…

* * *

Since some of you expressed an unwholesome interest in watching me jettison my dignity, here’s a link to parts of my ‘performance’. The video is clipped and cropped because my friend persuaded me to edit her out. It’s amazing how persuasive death threats can be.

Here you go: http://youtu.be/K-BngqeNQc8

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Ouch!

Last week one of my blogging buddies, Carl D’Agostino, posted this cartoon. I commented, “Ow, ow, ow! Sewed through my own finger once, long ago. My sympathies are entirely with Ed.”

To which Carl replied, “Hey, that would make a great post.”

This just proves my theory that cartoonists are fundamentally cruel people who delight in the suffering of others (which probably explains a lot about my recent foray into cartooning, come to think of it).

So, in the spirit of suffering = amusement, here are a few of the many ways I’ve managed to injure myself over the years. This one’s for you, Carl.

Yes, I did sew my own finger.  My beloved 50-year-old Singer doesn’t have a braking system that stops the needle immediately like modern machines, and several decades ago I took my foot off the control pedal but didn’t move my fingers quite fast enough.  Thunk, the needle went right through the middle of my fingernail. Fortunately it stopped when it hit bone. A bit of blood, some violent profanity, and a couple of weeks to heal, and I was all better.

Construction and automotive projects cost me knuckle-skin on a regular basis, and I consider that the price of admission. But there’s one type of knuckle injury that always fills me with a colossal sense of insult: My kitchen shelves bite me. Regularly.

The edges are sharp as hell, and the shelves are close together. When reaching for something in a hurry it’s far too easy to slam a knuckle into one of them, removing a neat and startlingly painful wedge of knuckle skin. That’s usually followed by a bellow of outrage and sometimes a savage kick at the nearest object, which is, of course, the lower cabinet. There’s a reason why I have good carpentry skills.  I’ve had lots of practice…

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably remember how I punched myself in the eye while kickboxing. That was actually pretty funny, once I recovered from the fear of a detached retina.

But probably the funniest injury I’ve ever sustained was the time I went barrelling out onto our smooth concrete front steps wearing snowy boots. The incident played out in agonizing slow motion:

  • My feet rocketing forward as if the porch was greased.
  • My boots flying up to approximately head-height.
  • My momentum carrying me past the top three steps, just to ensure maximum dropping distance before impact.
  • My mind uttering the most frequently-spoken last words on the planet: “Oh, shit!”
  • My butt crashing down on the edge of the bottom step.

But it didn’t end there. I’m in good shape. And every muscle was tensed to its utmost. You know the expression, ‘You could bounce a quarter off those abs’? Well, apparently you can bounce an entire human being off my ass.

Yes, I bounced. Off my left butt cheek. And landed sitting upright on the sidewalk, legs stretched neatly in front of me.

It’s good to know my core muscles are strong enough to maintain a perfect pike position even through catastrophic impact. So the up side was that I didn’t hit my head or my back on the stairs.

But it totally sucked to have a single spectacular bruise that I couldn’t display when I told the story…

Anybody else have an America’s Funniest Home Videos moment?

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Feeling Green

The green stain has worn off my upper lip at last, and I’m here to tell you that a meal consisting of green beer and jalapeno-loaded nachos is extremely unkind to the digestive system.  Johnny Cash had obviously consumed that meal the night before he sang about the burning ring of fire.

Leaving that aside as TMI, I’ll focus on the other life-changing aspects of Monday evening.  Yes, for the first time in my half-century on this planet, I actually went to an Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I am actually Irish on my dad’s side, and I’ve been proud of it ever since I was a kid.  I didn’t know anything about Ireland or its heritage then, but our family used to watch the Irish Rovers on TV every Sunday night and the Irish Rovers were cool, so there you go.

A couple of decades later I became the keeper of our family tree.  That’s when I discovered the Henders name could be traced back to County Wexford in 1765, and at that date the research hits a brick wall.  There are many reasons why a family might suddenly change its name, but I haven’t made an effort to trace it farther just in case the reasons involve prison terms or compromising positions with sheep.

But despite my (possibly misplaced) pride in my heritage, I’ve just never gotten around to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the traditional manner.  (Well, the traditional North American manner, which has virtually nothing in common with Irish St. Patrick’s Day.)

This year our local Irish pub advertised no cover charge, green beer, Irish dancers, and (for some unfathomable reason) Scottish bagpipers, so it sounded like the place to be.  Or the place to avoid, if you subscribe to the notion that bagpipes were conceived by a drunk watching a farmer carry a squealing pig down the road under his arm.  I can’t remember who told the story, but I seem to recall it concluded, “Unfortunately, the instrument never managed the clarity of tone achieved by the pig.”

Anyway, we got some friends together and went.

The beer was indeed green.  So were my lips, teeth, and tongue.  And fingers, thanks to the bartender’s bad aim with the food colouring.  The Irish dancers were energetic; at least as far as I could tell by the bobbing of their heads, which was all I could see above the crowd.  The three pipers were earsplitting in the tiny space, but that was okay because the “background” music blaring over the speakers all evening was so bloody deafening I had my earplugs in by then anyway.

The conversation was probably enjoyable, but it was hard to tell by lip-reading.

Dazed by the din and the press of increasingly inebriated green-clad bodies, we staggered out at last and went home to eat ice cream doused with hot chocolate pudding – it was the best part of the evening.

All in all, it wasn’t one of our more enjoyable nights out, but I can mark it off the bucket list now.  And next year I’ll tip a few drops of green colouring into my beer while I listen to this at home:

Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day!

Did you mark the occasion?

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Talking Plants

For years, scientists have debated whether plants communicate.  They hook electrodes up to their leaves to measure changes in electrical conductivity and then argue about whether those fluctuations constitute “communication”.

Hell, they could have just asked me.  Plants talk to me all the time.  It’s getting them to shut up that’s the problem.

It happens every time I go into a store where there are plants for sale.  I’ll be walking along minding my own business when suddenly a beautiful voice whispers, “Hello, Diane.  I’ve been waiting for you.  Come a little closer…

Aw, shit.

I fight the compulsion even though I already know I’m doomed.

But I can’t help it.  I have to obey.

Against my will, my head turns.  All sensors lock on.  My feet can’t help but follow.

And there it is:  A plant, seductively waving its vivid greenery, or worse, shamelessly flaunting its magnificent flowers.

I try to turn away.  I remind myself of all the other plants currently crowding my house, but it doesn’t work.

Some people complain about having a black thumb, but I have exactly the opposite problem.  I have a green thumb.  On steroids.

I can bring home a tiny half-dead stick of something-or-other, and within minutes it morphs into a monster that expects gallons of water weekly and the sacrifice of a suckling pig every full moon.  The ferns cascading six feet over the ledge in my dining room started out as a single 4” sprig in a gift basket years ago.  The nine-foot-tall variegated fig that overshadows the dining room table arrived as a cute little housewarming gift no bigger than a bonsai.  And don’t even get me started on my entire wall of Christmas cactuses.  (But I have a rare yellow one – how cool is that?)

My point is, I know better.  And it doesn’t stop me.

I stay away from greenhouses, but the big-box stores do me in.  They put a display right at the door so I can’t avoid it.  The plants’ voices are clear and sweet and utterly irresistible.

And they’re on sale.

This week I came home with two orchids from Home Depot (a hardware chain).  They were in cute little coloured pots, and they were only $6.50!  Never mind that I already had four orchids blooming in my office.  I didn’t have those particular colours.  And they were on sale!  Did I mention that?

A few months ago I went to IKEA with a very specific list of household items.  Got the items.  Also got a red anthurium.  And a couple of the cutest little palm trees, because apparently I haven’t yet figured out that plants with the word “tree” in their names tend to grow into, well… trees.

Before that, it was cyclamens.  From Home Depot again.  I have to stop going into that place.

More to the point, I have to acquire some device that can block the telepathic transmissions of plants.  Or else get a frontal lobotomy.

But I’d rather have a bottle in front of me.  And flowers blooming in my office.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who hears the voices…

The irresistible talking orchids

The irresistible talking orchids

Oh, look, I’m not the only one who hears the voices!  Voila – the Singing Plants of Damanhur:

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Confessions Of A Vegas Swinger

I’m going to make an embarrassing confession, and I hope you won’t lose respect for me when I reveal my dark secret.  It’s something nobody would suspect of me.  In fact, it’s so secret, even I didn’t know about it.

Yes, despite fifteen years of happy marriage, apparently I’m a swinger.

Maybe I was so ashamed that denial blotted the memory from my mind.  Or maybe now that I’m pushing the big five-oh, my short-term memory is shot to shit.  No matter the reason, I was confronted with the damning evidence yesterday, so I can’t deny it anymore.

I was cleaning out my wallet when a slip of paper fluttered out.  It wasn’t the usual sort of paper I stash in my wallet; not a credit card receipt or a business card or a grocery list.  No, it was a small slip of paper, blank except for unfamiliar handwriting in blue ballpoint pen:  “Troy”, and a phone number.

I stared at it in blank incomprehension.  In fifty years, no guy has ever slipped me his phone number, and it seems highly unlikely that’s going to change at this stage of my life.

But it definitely wasn’t my handwriting, nor Hubby’s.  And I don’t know anybody named Troy.

The mystery deepened when I looked more closely at the phone number.  Area code 702.  That ain’t from around here.

So I looked it up.  Nevada.  Specifically, Las Vegas.

Well then.

I was in Vegas last fall.  And I guess ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ must apply to memories, ‘cause apparently I left that memory there.  Maybe I had more fun than I thought…

I racked my brain for who the hell Troy might be, and why he would give me his phone number.  Well, aside from the obvious reason, which was improbable at best.  For one thing, I’m sure Hubby would have noticed if I didn’t show up at our hotel room one night.

We did go to a happenin’ club one evening, but we hung out with our friends and left early ‘cause let’s face it, we’re old fogies now.  And it was so friggin’ busy I didn’t even get a drink, so that ruled out the possibility of an alcohol-fuelled liaison up against the bathroom wall.

The cocktail waitress took a shine to me on our last day at the casino and plied me with free highballs, but I was pretty sure her name wasn’t Troy.  Though it might have been.  Three vodkas in quick succession left me slightly uncertain about my own name, so who knew?  But it seemed unlikely.

Then at last, I remembered.  Troy!  Late thirties, maybe early forties, with the most devastating Irish accent.  I’m a total sucker for Irish accents.  And, yes, he did give me his phone number.

At this point I’d love to relate a spicy story involving Troy and his lovely accent, but the sad truth is this:  he was the taxi driver who drove us from the airport to our hotel.  And unlike our last cab driver in Vegas he actually possessed rudimentary driving skills and we didn’t require medical intervention to restart our hearts after riding with him, so we asked if he could pick us up the next day.

And he jotted his name and phone number on a slip of paper because the cab drivers aren’t supposed to circumvent their dispatch system.

So much for swinging in Vegas.  It was fun while it lasted…

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Revolting!

My sense of humour has been somewhat impaired by yet another dose of frigid -29 degree weather this week, so I decided to go back to the good old standbys that make me laugh no matter what:  wordplay and fart jokes.

(Some might argue that my sense of humour is permanently impaired, but let’s not go there just now.  Moving right along…)

First this:  There’s been a lot of talk in the publishing blogs lately about best-selling author Hugh Howey advocating for indie publishing.  Headlines like “Hugh Howey and the Indie Author Revolt” abound.

And every time I read a headline like that, my brain goes here:

revolting

I know it’s an ancient joke.  I’m pretty sure I first saw it decades ago in The Wizard Of Id comic strip by Brant Parker and Johnny Hart:

Knave rushes up to the king while a mob with pitchforks clamours in the background:  “Sire, the peasants are revolting!”

King:  “Tell them to take a bath.”

(I’m making that up – I don’t actually remember what the king said; I just remember ‘the peasants are revolting’.)  And I don’t know if Parker and Hart were the original creators of that joke, but it makes me chuckle every time I see the word ‘revolt’.

Fart jokes are pretty much guaranteed to make me laugh, too.  There must be a teenage boy walking around somewhere with a 50-year-old woman’s brain in his skull, because I’ve definitely stolen some adolescent male’s sense of humour.

I think I find farts so funny because they’re universal.  I’d be willing to bet there are very few people in the world who haven’t let one slip at an inappropriate time.  And yet, regardless of cataclysmic sound effects and olfactory assaults, nobody ever acknowledges a fart in public.  (Well, unless you’re driving 800 miles with my friend Swamp Butt and me.  But that’s a fool’s mission at best.)

I’m sure we’ve all been trapped in an elevator with a dozen people and one silent-but-deadly fart.  Everyone’s eyes are watering and the tops of their heads are about to blow off from trying to hold their collective breath for twenty-five floors… but nobody reacts.  All eyes forward;  all faces impassive.

We’re all dying, but we won’t show it.  I’m busting a gut trying not to laugh out loud, but you’d never know it by my face.  Then I start wondering if everybody else is trying not to laugh, too, and the urge to laugh becomes almost overpowering.  One of these days I’m just going to guffaw and see if anybody else joins me.

My ex-father-in-law (may his delightful soul rest in peace) had a down-to-earth attitude about such things.

One day he went to Emergency with chest pain.  Since he was a prime heart attack candidate, they got him onto a stretcher right away and hooked him up to various monitors and devices.  No danger signs showed up, but the pain persisted… until he finally belched, farted, and then sat up on the stretcher to declaim, “All systems:  Go!”

The ER staff cracked up.

Revolting?  Well, maybe if you got caught in the blast nimbus, but otherwise it’s the finest fart joke ever executed.  And thinking about it never fails to make me laugh.

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I Survived V-Day!

It’s probably not what you’d expect to hear from a married woman, but I’m happy to have made it through Valentine’s Day.

It’s not that I had overblown expectations, or that I was worried about potential disappointment.  Valentine’s Day has never been a big deal for Hubby or me.  We exchange cards and go out for a nice dinner, and that’s about it.

No, the true reason for my post-V-Day euphoria is this:  I made it through our meal unscathed.

It’s not what you think.

I’m not dieting or on the wagon, so I wasn’t fighting food/alcohol guilt.

I wasn’t anxious about dining etiquette.  I’m sufficiently domesticated that I don’t attract undue attention in a nice restaurant (at least not when I choose to summon up my table manners, which I should probably do a lot more frequently).

I might, perhaps, have a small social phobia left over from the time I donned my coat with a flourish in a fancy restaurant and knocked an entire pitcher of ice water off a ledge.  And the ice water might possibly have landed on some other diners…

But that was a few decades ago and I’ve (almost) recovered from that.

I wasn’t even dreading the fact that I’d have to wear something other than my usual jeans and hiking boots.   Believe it or not, I actually dressed up without whining.  Alert the media!

No; mine was a more primal fear:  The fear of pain.

And I’m proud to say I didn’t hurt myself through sheer gluttony.

I’d like to pretend that’s a joke, but it’s not.

Last year I actually physically injured myself.  I stuffed in a magnificent meal and waddled out cradling my distended belly.  Then I bent to get in the car and… pop!  One of those horrible noises you hear in your gut instead of with your ears, and a lightning-bolt of pain.

Most normal people would put their backs out bending to get in a car.  Not I.  I’m ashamed to say my stomach was so full I snapped something (cartilage, muscle, who knows?) on my bottom rib.  It took a couple of weeks before I could bear to lie on that side, and a couple of months for the pain to go away completely.

Honestly, I didn’t think it was possible to damage my skeletal structure with too much food.  Give myself a stomach ache, sure; maybe rupture my gut if I really went overboard; but blow a rib…?  I guess I’m just special.

Anyway, a few days ago we went back to the scene of the crime.  And I bravely threw myself on the live grenade that is their menu – I had bread and an appetizer and an entrée and dessert.  But I had two glasses of wine instead of the single one I had last year, and I’m convinced the subsequent relaxation was what prevented me from hurting myself again.

At least that’s going to be my excuse whenever I need to justify drinking an extra glass:  Safety first!

Ah, the sacrifices I make…  *sighs and assumes expression of courageous and noble martyrdom*

So whew.  Made it through V-Day.

Anybody else have a V-Day survival story?

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Belly-Dance: That’ll Teach Me

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m taking a beginner belly-dance class.  It has been a tremendous learning experience, despite the fact that I have absolutely no natural aptitude for it.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

The word ‘choreography’ has ‘chorea’ as its root.
Dictionary.com defines ‘chorea’ as ‘any of several diseases of the nervous system characterized by jerky, involuntary movements, chiefly of the face and extremities.’  That explains a lot.  I’m a word geek.  I’m just doin’ it right.

Also pertaining to choreography:

In choreography notes, ‘CCW’ means ‘counter-clockwise’.
It is not a typo for CCR.  Which is a relief, because as much as I love Creedence, I just can’t see belly-dancing to ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’.  ‘Bad Moon Rising’, however, would be frighteningly apropos.

Never trust your friends.
The friend who exhorted me not to laugh at her… has belly-danced before.  The friend who swore she had two left feet… used to be a cheerleader.  Their hip shimmies are perfect, even though the only time they practice is during the one-hour class.  I practice every morning, and I still look as though I’m frantically trying to dislodge a barbed-wire wedgie.

If you stand with your feet close together instead of planted sturdily shoulder-width apart, you look more like a belly-dancer and less like you’re about to punch somebody’s lights out.
Unless you’re me.  Then it helps, but it doesn’t completely solve the problem.  I’m really not planning to punch anybody; that scowl is just baffled concentration…

Belly-dancing is best suited to women who have hips.
When you’re built like a telephone pole, it doesn’t matter how much you shimmy, you still look like a telephone pole… in an earthquake.

If you use an X-rated phrase to memory-associate the names of the moves, you WILL begin to giggle at inappropriate times in the class.
But that’s okay, because giggling is pretty much the only appropriate response to watching me try to belly-dance.

Studio mirrors were created by Satan himself.
Just sayin’.

I am apparently incapable of shimmying my hips without simultaneously flapping my hands.
This might not be so bad if the objective of the class was actually to impersonate an epileptic penguin.  But on the up side, I’ve developed a genuine empathy for tubby flightless birds with neurological disorders.

Start every day with a smile!
It’s hard not to, when I’m confronted by the sight of myself gyrating gracelessly in the mirror every morning.

Which leads me to…

Do not practice belly-dancing while wearing nothing but your underwear and a jingly hip scarf, even behind closed doors in the privacy of your own home.
Or, if you do, don’t describe it to your friends.  In a restaurant.  Just as the waiter sneaks up behind you.  For the record, he had the best deadpan I’ve ever seen.

Humility is a virtue.
I’m so friggin’ virtuous right now, it’s making my eyes water.  By the time the lessons are finished, I fully expect to achieve sainthood.  Or possibly martyrdom.

How to belly-dance.
Well… no.  I haven’t actually learned that yet.  But we have six lessons left, so I’m still hoping…

* * *

The instructor keeps going on as if she actually expects us to dance this piece in front of an audience.  If anybody’s got an inspirational story about how you started off sucking at something and ended up acing it, now would be a really great to time to share.  Even better if you ended up acing it after six lessons…

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