Spring Brake

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

While Spring break has come and gone at my school, Spring is being temperamental and avoidant. I nearly cried to see the snow again this morning. I am a strong woman and don't generally complain about weather during the season in which it is expected, but I am being worn thin by this never-ending cold.

I have bought daffodils for my office to console me.


Right before break, I was nominated by a student to take part in a "Dancing with the UWL Stars" event.  It would be professors paired with members of the Competitive Ballroom Dancing team. I'm not a dancer, but I was tickled to be nominated. It seems that in under two years I've gained a reputation as a professor who may be willing to take part in a dancing competition.

I was a hairs breadth from saying "no, thanks" when I stopped myself.  Did I have the extra time? No, not really .....But......Ah, hell. Why not?! 

This is how I found myself practicing three days over Spring Break with my very patient and kind partner. Our dance style is Swing and I am willing if not always coordinated or graceful. 

Our first competition is Thursday night, so we have two more practices until we perform. I was glad for Swing because I  already have the wardrobe for it. My dance heels came Monday afternoon and I was able to practice in the heels during Monday night's rehearsal. It's one thing to walk all day in heels, it is quite another to do a very fast triple step swing dance in heels during which you are spun one direction than another while remembering to do something with your arms AND smile.

The one move we hadn't nailed down was a "finishing move" ( stop giggling. No, really, stop because then I start to giggle...).

The first suggested moved involved my leaping up and making some kind of shelf with my knees on one of his legs then being thrown forward and down. 

Um, No.  I put the kibosh on that move right away. Know thy limits.

The second move was one in which I throw myself backwards, kick one leg up to be held in his hand while he spins up around. 

We tried that move ONCE. While it was reported by the other dancers that it "looked good", they also told me that I needed to look happy and not horrified/terrified.  I could not promise that.

The move that we settled on was a kick ( by me) over him, then I crouch and he kicks over me. He spins around and reaches behind, between his legs and pulls me through his legs, throws me forward/up...and I fall backwards with my arms out and one leg kicked up.

I'll pause while you catch your breath from laughing.

I'm sore, but pleased. It's fun, this swing dancing, and I've been inspired to sign up for lindy hop lessons. I asked Terrance and to my utter shock, he's agreed. I told him if he refused I would canvas all my male colleagues for a dance partner. I would have, too. 

So think of me on Thursday night at 6:30 when my kind and patient partner and I are doing our Swing dance. Emily will be video taping this extravaganza for her father who will be in NYC.  Many of my students will be in attendance and my work colleagues will be cheering me on. 

I plan a well deserved martini post performance.

Spoiler! - No, I can't.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

This Friday I had an appointment with my wax professional.

I like her well enough - she's no Rosa and not even Polly, but hey, I'm in Wisconsin. I'm just happy to find someone who is willing to do a Brazilian wax.

Your relationship with someone who does your wax should be...friendly.  I mean, you know. She is staring at your crotch, ripping out hair and you are chatting it up. It's not a time to invite controversy.

Unless you are me.

The comment was tossed off innocently. She is kind of a "everything natural is good" person, and I can live with that to a point. At some point the conversation turned to accepting the decisions of other people as their right and how we should respect those rights when she let the "My sister doesn't vaccinate her kids and people are so judgmental of her decision!" statement slip.

I lay on the table, considering my options. I blinked twice, hard. I considered letting it go. Seriously. I am naked from the waist down. She is one of the only people to offer this service in my immediate area. She is currently smearing very hot wax on my nether regions.

Deep breath. Don't do it, Dawn. Let it go.

Yeah. I can't.

I began to describe the hot zones that surround measles outbreaks, and the consequences of everyone who enters those hot zones for 24 hours Post exposure. I talk about elderly people, pregnant women and babies too young to be immunized.  I talk about what happens to them when they catch measles.

I move on to congenital rubella syndrome and what happens to pregnant women who are exposed to rubella. I discuss babies either spontaneously aborted, or born with significant brain damage and - if they survive birth - are often blind and require lifelong care.

I then describe the effects of chicken pox on children who use inhaled steroids for asthma.

I talk about the whooping cough outbreak in our local schools and in the dorms of the university.

I talk about how science has completely debunked any link between autism and vaccines and that, frankly, I feel strongly that children who don't have vaccines shouldn't be allowed in public school because they endanger all of the other people in the school, particularly the children who need herd immunity because of allergies to vaccinations or other factors which mean they can't be vaccinated.

There I am, laying half naked on the table alienating the person who has the hot wax in her hand.

I don't know what it is in my character that simply doesn't allow me to stay silent. It is not always a helpful trait, and often gets me in more trouble than is needed. Yet, there it is.

Can I stay quiet?

No, I can't.
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