Archive | June, 2012

Apres Zumba

22 Jun


Tonight was my first Zumba class ever.

It reminded me a lot of aerobics. Combined with dance moves that don’t come naturally for people of English origin. My genes don’t take kindly to shoulder rolls, meringue, or excessive hip-shaking.They upset the natural balance of being uptight and anxiety-ridden.

But I did it anyway, and it was kind of fun.

Plus I didn’t fall down or run into anyone else, which means that I consider the experience a win for myself and a few other ladies.

I’m confident that if evaluated on my technique and/or artistry, I would have scored in the bottom decile of the class. My contribution pretty much involved bouncing around like a goofball for an hour, a few beats behind the instructor at all times, trying not to APPEAR too winded.

I was careful to position myself in the back of the room, well behind my daughter who was also in the class. Two reasons for this: Not wanting to embarrass her, and if I couldn’t see the instructor I could watch my daughter and figure out what I was supposed to be doing.

One benefit to the Zumba is that the instructor didn’t seem quite as intent as my yoga instructor on killing me during the class. I didn’t feel close to death at any time, which also gives Zumba extra points.

Permission to Zumba

14 Jun


I have discovered that embarrassing my teenaged daughter is a relative thing.

A few weeks ago, she decided to take a Zumba class. This is a new fitness approach developed by a Colombian man and involves a vast menu of dance moves, including belly-dancing, hip-hop, and meringue–interspersed with squats, martial arts, and the occasional Bollywood move.

I offered to join her and was quickly rebuffed. “Please don’t.”

It’s true that I have been accused of being a great embarrassment to her. Sad, I know.

Well then. So much for bonding with my daughter before she becomes a fully licensed driver in October and I never see her again. (This is what will happen if she follows in my pattern as a teenager. Luckily, so far she has not followed in my footsteps except in a few good ways, so she’ll probably stick around.)

But tonight, she went to the class and came back to report: “Um, it’s okay if you want to come with me. There’s no one my age there. It’s all older ladies like you.”

And so, just like that, I have been granted permission to Zumba.

Apparently my attendance is only a problem if other teens are present. I probably would have felt the same way at her age. I’ll take this opportunity to spend some time with my firstborn.

Whetstone Rec Older Ladies, watch out for me and my daughter. We are ready to Zumba like nobody’s business.

Innovation the FORTH Way

13 Jun

Much of what we do at the nonprofit where I work involves innovation. My supervisor recently shared the FORTH innovation method with us as a process for rapid concept development and testing. FORTH stands for these five steps:

1 – Full Steam Ahead

2 – Observe and Learn

3 – Raise Ideas

4 – Test Ideas

5 – Home Coming

I am going to read this book about FORTH and report back. From everything I’m seeing, it seems like a fresh approach to idea generation and refinement.

Also interested in incorporating the approach as part of a writing process that can help my graduate students improve their final work.

I Am a Mechanical Dingbat

11 Jun


We live in a home without air conditioning, but thanks to my genius husband it stays cool most of the time. In addition to being a 1920s home with thick walls and a lot of windows, our house has achieved what we call “Fanvana:” a perfect state of air movement dynamics that pulls in the cool and drives out the hot.

We have a total of 7 ceiling fans, 6 industrial-strength high-speed fans (4 on the floor and 2 on sticks), 1 small window fan and 1 box fan. That’s 15 fans.

My husband has maximized the airflow after paying careful attention to the physics of our house. Thank goodness he has harnessed the power of wind, because I get hot. And the kids and I are not able to independently nurture our state of “Fanvana.”

As my husband puts it, “No one but the man of this house can get with The Fan Program.” There are certain times when the upstairs fans get turned on and the downstairs doors get closed and vice versa. We are not able to keep up with what gets closed/opened and turned on/off at the appropriate times. We are not “with The Program.”

My son’s excuse is lack of interest and general laziness, but I am quite simply a mechanical dingbat. And I have shared this gene with my daughter. My son proved his mechanical worthiness at the age of three when he disassembled and reassembled the tension mechanism on the screen door.

I recently had to call my husband to explain how to operate the bike rack. I have zero physical science sensibility. This is a source of great frustration because I am good at most math, puzzles, and software intricacies.

Truth be told, I still do not entirely understand how electricity works. My husband had to struggle through Physical Science with my daughter during her freshman year. Thank goodness, because I’m confident that she would have actually lost knowledge with the benefit of my assistance.

I was almost late for teaching my last class at OSU because we had the kayak rack on the car roof. The ceiling in the garage is lower on the upper floors. I drove into the garage and didn’t realize that it wouldn’t clear the ceiling until the ceiling got lower on the way up to the second floor. I panicked and had to back down the ramp into the first floor and park in a handicapped spot. How appropriate.

And yet we all have our talents. While my husband is quite good at putting the Thule pod on top of the car, only I am capable of loading it. The thing requires a high level of spatial awareness and a light but firm touch. The last time my husband loaded it, he fell off the ladder and couldn’t get the thing closed, even though he cursed copiously while struggling with it.

And no one else at this house is going to make sure that we only begin using new bottles of shampoo or body soap AFTER the existing ones are empty. Or, when new bottles are introduced into the mix, creating a situation of duplication in the shower with two bottles going at the same time, someone has to initiate bottle consolidation. Yes, we all have a role to play.