"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Keeping Fit

With the sun shining, the world outside is blindingly white. A gorgeous day, not a cloud in the sky.

In the dogs' yard I found this tunnel of snow and rugosa canes. I don't think it's being used, but Ruth could probably pass through it if she tried.

Behind the house we maintain a cleared passage for our fuel oil delivery man. Usually the Chap keeps it open with his snowblower. But the recent snow was so deep and heavy, he had to clear it by shoveling. It's nearly 4 feet deep in places.

When the snowplow wall gets as tall as me, we decide we've had enough snow.

The fur coat and sunglasses and up-do and pink legs indicate my new status as celebrity ballet star.

Well, maybe not yet.

When not fulfilling my various state and diocesan obligations, I'm housebound and writing. I crave exercise. I do use my free weights, but that only serves my arms and upper body. I've got an exercise bike for cardio, and I've been good about using it to burn calories. But my goodness, it's boring.

I don't want to join a gym--I seem to be allergic to all that machinery. It looks and feels too much like work. And I don't like perspiring--or cursing--when people are around.

In the past, my favourite form of exercise was dance class. But nobody's holding ballet class here in the forest. Losing 26 pounds has already given me a semblance of the body I had back in my dancing days...but I want the muscle tone back, too.

So I bought this:

The New York City Ballet Workout comes in a 2-dvd set. Before choosing it I read lots of online reviews of ballet workouts.

It's really lived up to the hype.

I'm starting out slowly and don't do every exercise on the discs. The warm-ups, the stretches. As for the ballet exercises...well, when you do something every day for years, it never really leaves you. My balace is terrible, my extension pitiful. My grandes battements look more like dégagés. The soreness afterwards is a reminder of muscles I'd forgotten I had.

The 1st disc has the basics, more than enough for a good workout. The second disc is more intense. It includes some combinations, and a simple version of the Balancine-choreographed Tarantella. I haven't quite worked up to that yet, but it looks fun and not beyond my capacities.

Peter Martins, ballet master at NYCB, does the voice-over and instruction. His soothing, deliberate, lightly accented voice (he's a Dane), calls out the combinations, saying things like, "Feel the stretch in your hamstrings." Oh, you don't have to tell me to feel it.

He's encouraging and complimentary. "Very nice," he tells me at the end of a routine. He wouldn't say that if he saw what a hash I'd made of it!

I really love the music.

Whenever I want to be a ballerina, I send the dogs outdoors. During the warm ups, when I'm lying on the floor stretching and rolling about, they jump on me. They think I want to play.

As for my old pointe shoes...I'm leaving them in the attic. I'm not that ambitious! Or deluded.

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