The Return of the California Living Dead

It’s been two weeks since my last post?? Man, time sure flies when you’re sick and travelling. I’ve been feeling guilty about not dropping in to say hello and give you an update on the Girl with the Tree Tattoo. I hope you’ll forgive me for my absence. Here’s what’s been going on.

You’ll recall that I drove across country, from California to Pennsylvania, in November. My return trip was tentatively scheduled for mid January. Before that road trip, I was flying back to Southern California for a wedding and New Year’s Eve festivities. Both events were amazing and I got to see a lot of dance friends whom I hadn’t seen in a month and a half, including Teacher, so it was a great trip, however brief. The plot twist came on January 2, the day before I was supposed to fly back to Pennsylvania. It started with an annoying cough that I thought/hoped might just be due to weather-related allergies. But then the fever came, along with the chills, hot flashes and body aches.

I did my best to isolate myself in my window seat on the planes that carried me back to Pennsylvania the following day. I was, in two words, f*cking miserable. Sitting for hours, unable to really stretch or move, is bad enough, but add the flu?  Kill me now.

Once I arrived back in PA, I spent the rest of the week either in bed or on the couch. It was the 4th or 5th day that my fever finally broke and I felt like I could do more than push the button on the remote to tell Netflix that yes, I was still watching. This was a good thing because it was getting close to the weekend when I was supposed to hit the road again!

I ended up pushing my departure date back one day, leaving Monday instead of Sunday, to give me extra time to pack and recover. My mom was driving back with me as part of her own little vacation, so at least I would have a spare driver. Packing was a bit of a Tetris challenge, but my mom, my two german shepherd/huskies, and I plus all of our belongings fit in my little coupe in the end!

If you’ve been watching the weather across the nation, you know it’s gotten a little crazy. Somehow we timed it perfectly and had clear to partly cloudy skies the entire trip, with the exception of an intense rainstorm coming into Southern California on the last day. The trip wasn’t as relaxing or refreshing as the one going East, but that probably has a lot to due with the fact that I still have a lot of congestion and that annoying cough from my flu.

We arrived home on Thursday, so naturally I told Teacher I wanted to come in for my standing lesson on Friday. It had been two months since I last had a lesson! I could not wait to get back in the studio. I had spent the majority of 2016 watching others do what I wanted to do (i.e., compete) and I was done. It was my turn! My time in PA allowed me to save a good chunk of money for my next competition and I felt confident I would be able to save the rest in time for the comp I’m shooting for at the beginning of April. So I wanted to get back to the studio and get to work as soon as possible! 2017 was going to be my comeback year!

My first dance lesson back was awesome. I had learned most of the choreography to our waltz routine while I was gone; there was one part I was confused on and it turned out it was because I thought we were doing a Fallaway on the video but in reality it was a Quick Open Reverse. Oops! 

Teacher cleared that up for me and then we worked on hip connection and my approach. My neck was tight from coughing for two weeks, so it didn’t like my attempts to use the hip connection to sway it more. Nevertheless, it was great to be dancing again and feel like I was able to pick things right back up from where I left them. Maybe even with some improvement, thanks to my solo practice work in PA. Teacher was especially pleased with my frame and commented that Smeagol (my nickname when I first started with Teacher) was long gone. I was even able to feel the difference in my ability to follow and stay with Teacher as we danced when I kept the hip connection solid. Like I said, an awesome first lesson back!

I think that brings you up to speed. I’m looking forward to building up some serious momentum in 2017, as both a dancer and an author. I hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Happy New Year!


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