Boxes, Scaffolding and the Absence of Struggle

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I posted on social media recently that being less active online usually means I’m more active in the real world. The past couple weeks have been ACTIVE! Contractors started work on the outside of the house. I was painting walls after work and moving furniture around inside the house to prepare for more furniture and boxes arriving this past Friday. The house is officially full, and I’m pleased to announce that future house guests will have beds to sleep in!

The dogs weren’t too sure about losing all of that empty space to run around in, but I think they’re adapting. We do have 60 acres outside to run around in! I also took a minute to start the next phase of my home office setup. The rest of the room is a wreck of boxes and random items that need to find their place, but at least this corner looks finished.

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My First Winter in Maine

I think it’s safe to say now that I’ve officially survived my first winter in Maine. For someone who lived the previous 16 years in Southern California (where 60 degrees is “cold”) and has experienced symptoms from seasonal affective disorder, moving to a state so far north was a risk. The thought of living through months of dark and dreary weather made me hesitate even when I knew in my core that Maine was the place I was meant to be.

Turns out it wasn’t that bad!

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A Winter Tango and the Passage of Time

It was another week of weather up here in Maine! Last Sunday, I spent about 2.5 hours shoveling snow after Winter Storm Kenan. It’s been decades since I’ve shoveled that much snow; I was so sore on Monday!

I still went to my 90-minute ballet class on Monday evening. I knew it would be an “interesting” challenge. My body was exhausted and anyone who’s taken ballet knows it’s not easy even when you’re feeling tip top! So no surprise – my pirouettes went from “not great” to “really bad.” Focusing on maintaining form when your energy is waning is a great way to build up stamina though! I did not have that positive of an attitude while I was falling across the floor in front of everyone, but at least I gave myself a break because I knew I was tired.

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Weekend Update from Maine

Hi Dancers!

This week’s post will be short. Just an update from your friendly neighborhood ballroom dancer. 😉

I hung out with other ballroom dancers this past week! One of my long-time blog readers arranged a lunch for me, her, and her teacher. Turns out the teacher and I had some mutual connections from Southern California, so it was fun to see where our paths crossed in the past. He actually taught at a different branch of the studio where I took my very first lessons! We also chatted about my vision for the future. If I haven’t already mentioned it, I plan on turning the stables on our property into a dance space. Since my journaling exercise about the house worked out so well, expect a similar one about the dance space in the near future.

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I Never Would Have Moved to Maine Without Ballroom

Hello from a dripping wet, soggy Maine! The rain arrived Friday night and has kept us drenched since then. Good thing I got the lawns mowed earlier this week. #ThingsISayNow

The rain has made for a cozy, relaxing weekend, except when the dogs need to go out. Even then, it’s not too bad. They don’t care about getting wet and I have bright blue rain boots and a solid rain jacket, so who cares? I took it a step further yesterday afternoon while the power was out briefly and decided to have some fun (see below).

A fellow ballroom dancer shared with me that she’s appreciating how all of the intangible skills that have come out of her dance training, like increased self-confidence, ability to work through challenging dance moves, learning to win and lose gracefully at competitions, have translated well into “real” life. She saw the additional value gained out of all of those expensive private lessons. I responded that I agreed completely! Without those “side effects” of learning to ballroom dance, I never would have moved to Maine.

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Looking Back and then Forward

The response to last week’s blog post was huge! Clearly, I’m not the only one who struggles with reconciling my passion for ballroom with the cost. Before I jump into this week’s thoughts, I wanted to share another older post, which asks the question, “Is it worth competing if the game is rigged?”. This older post is for anyone who feels that their financial situation unfairly affects their placement at competitions because those who (can afford to) compete more get seen more. Familiarity can create an unconscious bias toward dancers who compete more often.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if a bias exists or not. What matters is you and your dancing. If you can only afford to compete once or twice a year, do you really want to taint those precious experiences with worries about whether or not judge bias is affecting your results? Wouldn’t you prefer to take advantage of those few moments you have to dress to the nines and perform your heart out?

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House Projects

Well, dancers, I hope you did more dancing than me this past week! I saw the PT this morning (yay, my hips are sore but re-aligned!). I’m looking forward to working with her and getting back to more dancing. In related news, my neck spasmed when I stretched/twisted the wrong way trying to put sunscreen on my back on Friday and I had to get my hair cut with less mobility and a lot more pain. It was real fun trying to lean back enough so the hairdresser could wash my hair! Not to mention making turns in the car to and from the salon. Ouch. My neck issues will be the next thing I tackle with the PT.

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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.

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Finding My Maine Rhythm

Whenever you move to a new area, you have to go through the task of reestablishing your routines. You have to decide where your glasses and silverware go in your new kitchen, and how to arrange things in your new bathroom. You have to find your grocery store, drug store, dentist, doctor, veterinarian if you’re a fur parent, etc. It can be fun exploring and trying out different places to see what you like best. It can also make you feel like a tourist in your own town while you’re relying on Google Maps to get to the hardware store.

I’ve been trying out different grocery stores over the last couple weeks, but I have to admit that I miss getting my Imperfect Foods delivery every week. It was so convenient, the produce was great, the customer service was awesome, and they kept adding new and fun products. Alas, until my mom moves up (she volunteered to do our food runs), I have to resort to doing my grocery shopping in person.

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