Just Dance

I don’t have time for a hobby, and I REALLY don’t have time for an obsession. Yet, obsessions happen.

I have always wanted to tango. I love tango music and I remember looking up classes in New York back in the early nineties. But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I actually tried it for the first time. On impulse, I texted my saucy tanguera friend Jamie Rose (author of the awesome book Shut up and Dance) and said: I want to dance. A mere few days later I was taking a private lesson at a dance studio in Koreatown (that’s a pic of me dancing with my teacher Moti Buchboot).

It felt like no less than a dream come true for a moment, to finally be dancing the elegant moves I’ve only ever attempted in my fantasies. For about fifteen minutes I was convinced I was a tango prodigy… then it got really hard. Since then it’s only gotten more challenging, more frustrating and paradoxically more satisfying.

Let me clarify that Scott is not my tango partner. I’m flying solo. He couldn’t be more supportive, but he’d rather stick pins under his eyelids than spend hours a week partner dancing. It’s not his thing. Let’s just say that Scott is to tango dancing as I am to Rush music. Still, he knows that if I’m doing something that makes me feel happy and sexy, it can only benefit him in the long run.

My neighbor Suzanne told me that I was demented, trying to make time for tango as a busy working mom. I don’t think it’s any more demented than, say, scrapbooking. It seems valid to prioritize being present in my body and dancing to music that resonates with my soul. If it means we go out to dinner yet another night a week because I don’t have time to cook, so be it. My kid barely eats my cooking anyway. If it means my house is a wreck, nothing new there.

I also think that it’s a fantastic spiritual exercise to be a beginner at anything. To learn to love yourself through the stage of really sucking at something new. And to do an activity that forces you to connect to yourself and to other humans on this planet.

In short, I’m hooked.

Here are my first pair of Comme Il Fauts- the Jimmy Choo of tango shoes. SO worth the shin splints. Tango!

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The Real Theater

Scott and I had a date night last week and went to see Red at the Dorothy Chandler. The show was perfectly acted and beautifully designed and the writing was neat as a pin- there wasn’t a loose thread or a messy edge or a busted seam in sight. Plus, it was about Mark Rothko, whom I love. And somehow, I couldn’t have cared less about it. It didn’t get a hook in me anywhere. I didn’t feel a thing. It was a fun night out, but that was about it.

As we left the theater, there was free Japanese Ondo/Bon dancing in the courtyard, with a live band. Bon dancing happens in concentric circles and there was a dance floor especially laid out for it, like a little race track around the fountain. It’s a folk dance originally designed to welcome ancestral spirits, and it looks kind of like the electric slide, done with fans in a circle.

There were old women in kimonos and little girls in shorts and flip flops and people of all ages and races. Some knew what they were doing and some were clearly just walking by and grabbed a fan. I was riveted. So was Scott. Something about the diversity of the dancers and their general joy and lack of self-consciousness was truly moving. Of course I hopped in and got my Bon on for a minute- just try to stop me from dancing in the streets. We left totally exhilarated.

You’ll always get your theater eventually, if you keep looking.

Do the Twist

Maybe it was because Scott was out of town and it was one of those mornings with T that seemed to stretch on forever, but I got inspired to try a new ‘do. It was pretty spontaneous and as a result my sections were messy and uneven at the beginning. I also probably could have gotten some product suggestions, although our Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding worked just fine. Next time I do it, I’ll consult one of the awesome websites geared to white mommies/back hair, like Happy Girl Hair. I’ll also plan for it taking longer than I originally thought. This took about an hour. And T loves nothing better than sitting still for an hour. Actually, we had to bust out the Yo Gabba Gabba about five minutes into it.

The result: ridiculously cute. I don’t have quite as many hair options as my friends with girls, but it was still fun to change his look around. Next stop, cornrows.

And Another Thing…

I’ve received a lot of emails about the TODAY Moms article I wrote about not punishing T, many of them asking for more resources. I wanted to turn you on to the two places from which I crib most of my parenting ideas.

Alfie Kohn is amazing. I particularly love his book Unconditional Parenting: Moving From Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason.

If you’re in Los Angeles, I also encourage you to check out The Echo Center (formerly the Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting). Scott and I have learned so much there and continue to go for classes and support.

I also really appreciate those of you who disagree with me and are engaging in a respectful dialogue about it.

Also- I just wanted to demonstrate with this photograph that as a result of our nonviolent communication, our son has absolutely no sassy attitude at all. Um, right.

Audiobook Giveaway!

One of the gizmos in my snazzy new web design is a newsletter. I’m going to give away a copy of the audiobook of Some Girls, read by Tavia Gilbert. All you have to do to enter is sign up for the newsletter in the right sidebar of my blog page, then leave a comment on this post telling me you did. I swear that I’ll only send an email out like every ten years or so and I’ll only sell your info to the penis enlargement sites that actually work. Do it before Monday 5/1 and I’ll pick a name at random.