Dead Mice, Zumba and Dance Goals

They say time moves more slowly in the country, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Caring for this house alone could be a full-time gig. There are about 50 acres of forest waiting to be explored and that’s without leaving our property. Inspiration for art, whether it’s dance, photography, painting, etc., is abundant in these natural surroundings. Country living is anything but boring.

The difference I notice as I sit at the kitchen table and listen to the wind in the trees through the open window isn’t that I’ve slowed down since moving here. The difference is that Life around me moves at a less-rushed pace. The manic mood of the city is absent here. The bumblebees and hummingbirds show up every day in the overgrown garden next to the kitchen to collect their pollen and nectar. They aren’t lazy about it; they are consistent and persistent. What they aren’t is frantic. Their work is steady, not hectic. Amazing how they still complete their tasks without buzzing around like their boss is going to set their hair on fire if they don’t appear entirely stressed out.

This last week flew by for me. I kept checking the calendar to confirm it actually was Friday already. There was a lot to do; every day was a 10-hour work day. The weather didn’t help, bringing a heat wave that had the house thermostat reading 84 degrees! No A/C. But this is Midcoast Maine; we shouldn’t need A/C! Thankfully, a thunderstorm rolled through yesterday afternoon and today, temperatures are more reasonable.

The heat wave also didn’t help an odd smell in the bathroom. It was coming from the cabinet below the sink, so I pulled out the old shelf liner, washed the cabinet interior, and even set a fan on it to dry. The smell seemed to be a little better, but not gone. As I was cleaning, I kept thinking that something may have died in the basement, but when I went down to search for bodies, I didn’t find any except that of a mouse that had died before I moved in and wasn’t smelling any more (I haven’t gotten over the heebee jeebies enough yet to get rid of it).

See the little line below the drawer? That’s a tail.

A day or two later, I found the culprit. I was right; something had died, but it wasn’t in the basement. It was underneath the bathroom cabinet.

To get to it, I either have to pull up the floor of the cabinet or remove the kickboard. Since I haven’t worked up the nerve to get rid of the mouse corpse out in the open in the basement, I’m definitely not ready to go digging for buried bodies. Maybe when Mom moves up and we have each other for moral support.

I have had to work up the nerve to deal with other intruders. Since I moved in, more flies than I care to count and several wasps have made it into the house, thankfully not all at once (it’s a 120-year old house, lots of entry points!). The flies aren’t a big deal, just annoying. The biggest wasp yet flew past my face while I was watching Netflix yesterday. That’s a story in itself, which you can read here.

In between working and murdering flying insects, I went to my first local Zumba class! It was a lot of fun, though my knees weren’t prepared for an hour-long dance session. Turns out that one of the instructors is also a competitive ballroom dancer! We didn’t have a lot of time to chat after class, but it was so cool to connect with another ballroom enthusiast.

Just talking to her briefly about what she’s working on made me want to go home and put on my practice heels. My knees had other ideas though, and then there was the wasp incident. Still, I’m feeling motivated.

As I’m feeling more settled here, it’s a good time to break out my Whole Dance Journey journal and set some concrete goals. They won’t be around competition; I’m not that settled yet and the house needs a new roof. An updated solo practice routine could be a good starter, including getting back into more regular PT exercises to take the pressure off my knees in Zumba. Even just taking 5-10 minutes to dance in the kitchen would be worthy of writing down. It keeps dance active in my brain and my body.

Whenever I’ve sat down to set goals for myself, my downfall is always going a little too crazy and setting goals that aren’t reasonable for me. Like when I first started getting serious about solo practice and created a spreadsheet of what I would practice every single day of the week. I was overwhelmed just looking at it. But I had this idea that I had to go big or it wasn’t worthy of being called a goal. A goal of practicing just one hour, once a week wasn’t “significant enough.” And yet, if you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that the idea of practicing just once a week became the foundation for the solo practice routine that led me to a World Champion title. It also became a core concept for the Solo Practice Guide. If you’re going to be successful with solo practice, you have to practice in a way that best fits you and your life, not the expectations of others.

I’m keeping this in mind as I think about what dance goals I want to set for myself in this new chapter. Am I in a mental place where I can resume that one hour, once a week solo practice routine? Or is 5 minutes of dancing for fun every day a better fit for right now? Sometimes you just have to try it and see what happens! It’s ok to write goals in pencil and modify them as you go.

I’ll set my first goal right now – take the time this coming week to make a list of starter goals and share them with you in next weekend’s blog post. I’ll trust you’ll hold me accountable.

Happy Salsa Sunday, dancers!

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