Border Patrol

In 9 days I will be driving to Vegas, with my new set of acrylic nails and a dark skin tone.  I suppose the dancing is coming along, but I still feel like I’m on a flying trapeze without a safety net.  It has been very difficult to get in consistent practice with Ivan’s schedule and mine.  Two weeks ago he was at Ohio.  This week he was supposed to be at California Star Ball.  I say “supposed” because life likes to throw us curveballs sometimes and Ivan certainly had his fair share this weekend.

But the long and short of it is that I think at least we know the steps even if there really hasn’t been sufficient time to break down the routines and get as specific as I’d like.  So in one sense we will be winging it a bit.  The good thing is we are going to do closed bronze scholarship and just some open single dances to try out the routines.  So I’m planning on enjoying the experience, and getting some experience at a larger, more competitive competition.

The other good thing, is that my I’ve come a long way.  My body is still big but there is progress in terms of fitness.  I remember when I could barely make it through our basic Samba once.  Today, we did rounds, 5 dances in a row, and it was no problem.  I think I’m going to be able to hack it out there in terms of cardio.  Jive continues to be a challenge but thankfully we still haven’t added Paso Doble so I get a little break before it.  And I do think my sessions on the stair machine, as sporadic as they have been, when focusing on getting my heart rate up to 180 and above in 2 minute spurts, has really helped.  Nothing takes the place of running the routines one after another, but the cardio alone is more focused and directed (which sometimes doesn’t happen on lessons as we pick apart routines) and it makes it bearable to get through the practice rounds.

So yeah, this wasn’t my year to construct the body of my dreams, or at least it didn’t look like I thought it would.  I really thought 2013 would be the year I got this obesity thing under control.  Based on results, I haven’t.  Has there been improvement, yes.  Can I physically do more than I could at the beginning of the year, yes.  Are my clothes looser, yes.  Have I learned a lot about nutrition, yes.  But I am still in the same clothes and I’m still obese, and I’m still the biggest girl in the ballroom.  And on Thanksgiving when my 5-year-old niece asked me why my arms are “mushy” it hurt.  It’s such a bummer.  As much as I notice changes, I am still so stinking fat.  Who is responsible for this result?  Me of course.  All the single solitary choices I’ve made over the past 365 days have summed together to create this constellation of results and non-results.

So anyways, I have a competition in 10 days and I am how I am.  It would be easy to get really down about this.  It is harder to say that I need dig in even deeper and make even more drastic changes in the coming year.  Because my body is stubborn and resists change – if I give it an inch it takes a mile.  Bending it to my will will mean no inches given, and consistency on a level I’ve been unable/unwilling to achieve/commit to thus far.  Otherwise 2014 will look much like 2013.  And with 90 pounds to lose, even if I managed to very slowly only lose 1 pound a week which is even better than I managed this year, that would be 2 more years to reach goal.

But enough of that.  It is clear where I stand.  And I’m tabling it until after the competition.  I will continue my plan until the competition but then it will be time to make decisions and a new action plan.  And I think it is more empowering to remember that I have lots to be thankful for – including my good health, the ability and means to dance, my family and friends, my job, and the opportunity to pursue my passion.

And pursue it I have, even with Ivan away.  I am so lucky for many reasons working with Ivan.  Besides being a perfect personality match, and getting to work with such a talented an knowledgable dancer, he is independent and not possessive.  I’m free to explore dance and learn from many talented and knowledgable instructors.  Since Ivan was gone, I scheduled myself for some group classes and workshops with Damir and Inna.  Yesterday, for instance, I did the skills and drills class at EuroRhythm, which was a nice warm up for my cardio afterwards.  Then I went to Imperial where Inna conducted a ladies-only styling, hair, make-up, and performance workshop.  We worked on posture, arm styling, fingers, circular body movement, facial expressions, getting on and off the floor, expressing emotion, and creating character through acting.  My shoulders and lats and back are so tired today!  And then she gave us the basics of the procedure of how to apply make up.  We didn’t have the time to actually do makeup or hair on ourselves or each other so we did it on a piece of paper.  You can see my epic fail below 🙂  This is why I pay someone else to do my hair and makeup for a competition!  Also, because it is less stressful for me in terms of budgeting my time than doing it myself.


So anyways, it was a painful and entertaining day and then I got a call from Ivan. What an odyssey he and Marieta had over the past 24 hours! I am glad they are now home safe!

So the deal is that Ivan and Marieta were supposed to compete in the California Star Ball on Saturday night. They left in their car Friday evening and around midnight had just passed this one little gas station out in the middle of nowhere. They thought they had gone about a mile past the gas station and Ivan noticed that the car was overheating. He stopped the car and they got out. Out in the desert in the middle of the night with no one around, no food, only about a fourth of a bottle of water, they called AAA for some help. The news was not good – $1000 just to get them home to Phoenix, $2500 if they wanted the car towed too. So they thought they’d push the car back to the gas station instead to see if they could buy a part or get something fixed there. Well, it wasn’t 1 mile they had traveled, but 6! After hours of pushing, they were exhausted. Around 2 or 3 in the morning, they decided they needed some rest. Ivan went in search of a portion of the highway with metal railing they could park behind. He found it, came back to Marieta, and begged her to hang in there for just a little bit more pushing. Then they could climb in the car and sleep a bit. At this point, Ivan said, he had been spewing so many expletives that Marieta was counting them. He reached upwards of 200 f-bombs. I’d probably have said more.

Anyways, after hours of no human contact and just moments from getting some rest bright spotlights stopped them in their tracks. It wasn’t a concerned good Samaritan or the highway patrol, no, it was, of all things, Border Patrol! So now my two favorite Bulgarians are exhausted and although Marieta is a full-fledged citizen, Ivan has a green card. Neither had their papers on them. The guy was not so very concerned about them being stranded so much as the fact that he could deport them for any little infraction. He even threatened to put Ivan in jail at one point. But he checked things out using the radio and of course Ivan and Marieta have nothing to hide – they were honest about everything (we are dancers! See the costumes in the car) and are certainly not criminals, so the guy believed them and gave them a ride back to the area with the gas station. They found a crappy little hotel and got 3 hours of sleep. The next morning they found a U-haul business, rented a truck with a trailer, loaded up their car, and towed their vehicle home. Around 8 am they made it back into town. Then immediately to bed. But Ivan was like, well, I’m not going to be dancing in California Star Ball, so I’m here if you want to have a lesson.

So today we had our lesson and it was pretty great. Like I said we did rounds so I got more cardio than usual, and we sussed out the Bolero. It is just good to practice connection and move and we will dance again the next few days as much as possible. But Ivan gave me a huge hug after the ordeal and we were both very glad he made it home safe. It turns out the fan and the radiator are shot but since he stopped the car in time, the engine is still intact. So although he has some minor headaches to deal with, he and Marieta are in good health and safe. It was a pretty harrowing experience – Ivan said he could hear coyotes out in the wilderness as they were dealing with their situation.

I guess that’s all the news here for now.  If you happen to read the blog and be in Vegas be sure to say hello!  I’d love to meet you and hear from you and even cheer for you!  Good luck to everyone and may we all make it there safe and sound!  May our travels be uneventful and our dancing be strong.

One thought on “Border Patrol

  1. You are an amazing writer. I hope a book is one of your goals too 🙂 My first thought when I read this was WOW, but you HAVE made incredible strides in your journey. You are building a foundation in bedrock that leads to your goal and that is everything!!! The stone cutter story!! He was trying to split the huge rock and finally on the 100th blow it broke, but it wasn’t the 100th blow that did it, it was all that went before. You have everything it takes to reach it and keep it. Not to mention surpass it. That is why I love reading your blog. In my recovery the principle behind the first step is HONESTY. Absolutely necessary to achieve my dreams. When you share, it’s all honesty and that is what makes this special. I must say the serenity prayer a hundred times each day but it keeps me focused on letting go of what I can’t change, courage to change what I can….and wisdom to know the difference. I do the work and the result comes usually suddenly and unexpectedly. My own recovery is being blessed and enhanced by your journey. ONE DAY AT A TIME. Wish I could have come to Holiday but I will be watching. Wouldn’t miss it for the world. Good luck, friend!

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