Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Favorite Emilee (no offense to the others)

I have stayed up far too late tonight (which happens most nights) not writing on here, and now I don't have time to write all I wanted to. Well, maybe I will anyway. Here goes:

My sister and her family were in town this weekend. I didn't get to see them until today, however. Anyhow, Britt's parents attend the same congregation that I do. I was one of the speakers at church, so I didn't get to sit with my family during that hour, but I did get to see them walk in. It was so fun watching my niece's face when she saw me, and it was cute watching her tell her mother where I was and then tell her father the same thing when he came in. (It was also cute listening to her tell us how she "wasn't reverent" while I was speaking today.)

After the meeting was over, I started heading down to get my hug, and fortunately, it looked like Emilee was ready for the hug, too, because she ran to and flung her arms around me and just held on for awhile after I picked her up. I think that is one of the best things ever - having a baby with his/her little arms tight around your neck because he/she just loves you.

She did that again when her family was going to leave my house after lunch this afternoon. She said she wanted to stay with Jamie, and she just held me. Can you see why I love her so much?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pearl of Wisdom From Grandma

"Jamie, I know you've experienced a lot of hurt - a lot of heartache - this past year. But look at the things it has led you to do." Which is true. I would not be taking dance if it hadn't been for how hurt and confused I was about that aspect of my relationship. And going to these dance lessons has been good for me for more reasons than just discovering that I enjoy dancing and might even be able to improve with enough practice. It has been something that I have gone to on my own - without any roommates or friends or boyfriends - which is not how I like to roll. So it has gotten me out of my comfort zone in more ways than one. I doubt I would be having the opportunity to try to learn how to be a better teacher (and to try to do so by the Spirit) if I was still with the boy - I don't know if I have written about it, but I have been given the chance to be instructor of a weekly religion class. I won't be teaching it every week, but I will be coordinating things, and I'm so glad for the chance. I wouldn't be working on losing weight right now, either, I'm pretty sure. My grandmother brought up how challenges help us, and they do - or they may, is maybe more appropriate to say. I'm not saying that I want to be single and have the time to do these things, but, whatever our circumstances, God gives us opportunities to grow and helps us find ways to become more, and I feel like I'm being put back together again, which is a good feeling.

Last Week - First Group Class

Did I mention that somewhere in the past three weeks Bob decided that I am at an Intermediate Bronze dance level instead of a Very Beginner? Or, at least, he suggested that for my group class I attend an Intermediate Bronze. I went tonight. It was tango, which I think I may have only ever danced with Bob during my first lesson. I don't recall if I did it at social dance at BYU-I, and I don't think Warren taught it in his class, although it's totally possible that I've done it more and just don't recall.

Anyhow, I was a little nervous about being able to hang with the group, so I Youtube'd an instructional video just to remind myself of the basic step. I think I kept up with the class okay. That doesn't mean I was good. It just means that maybe Bob was right and I was at an appropriate level class. Cristina, the instructor, kept us switching partners very regularly during the whole hour, so I got to dance with each man several times. One of the men complimented my connection - I should tell my friend Brian - that is one of the things that he always stresses about dancing - the importance of a good connection. Maybe I should thank Warren and him because I have been told I have good form. Although there was another man who I danced with tonight who may have disagreed with that. He corrected the positioning of my right arm more than once (which I'm glad for. How can I improve if nobody corrects me?). Another man was my favorite. I wouldn't say that dancing with him was better than dancing with any of the other men, but he was really positive and encouraging and complimentary. "That was really good." "You've danced this a lot, haven't you?" What a sweet-heart. His wife is lucky.

Oh - here's the funniest part of tonight. Cristina tried to teach us that sexy move where the woman comes up and then down the man's right leg with her left. It looks so beautiful when pro's do it, but I'm sure I looked like a total doofus. Knowing that probably made me that much worse at it. One man said something about my looking embarrassed, to which I explained, "Well, yeah. I don't know how to be all tango-y about it." Sometime tonight I remembered Bob telling me that you're not supposed to smile during tango, which probably made me smile more. Maybe I just needed a rose between my teeth.

Anyways, I'm glad I was able to go, but I much prefer dancing with Bob and can't wait for Thursday.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I'm still in love with dance, and I'm not looking forward to this week being my last private lesson - I'm hoping to be able to go to this group thing, but I will have to find out if I can do that without purchasing regular lessons. My instructor told me I could go to the practice dance that was Friday, so I did, and once again I got to watch people be impressed when they found out who's been teaching me. I'm glad that I have had such a great teacher and great lead - someone (one of the other instructors?) was telling me that he's so good that he can lead anyone in anything, which I think must be true because he went over West Coast with me on Thursday, and it was enjoyable, and then a man asked me to West Coast with him at the practice dance, and I was dreadful.

Other than dance, my life is feeling a bit busy at the moment as I try to adjust to a new task in it. Figuring out how to balance everything can be a challenge, but it is also good to feel like you're doing things that will help you develop new talents and skills and become a better human being with more to offer.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm in Love

. . . with dance. It feels good to have a new love - and one that won't hurt me. I had my second private lesson this week. Bob, my instructor, asked me what I wanted to do, and I didn't really care, so I said waltz because during my first lesson I remember him telling me that he really likes it. That was the only thing we did. He corrected my right hand over and over, and he tried to teach me that count one = drive, count two = sway or swing (I can't recall what the term was that he used because when he explained it I said, "Oh - anticipate," and he said, "Yes!" and we talked about that word for it, so that's what stuck.), and count three = rise and drop/fall (once again, I can't recall the exact words - uggh! I mean, I don't think you care, but I do - what if he quizzes me about it next week?). We practiced several times, and then he would say, "Yes? How do you feel about that?" and I would say, "I kind of get it, but I think I need to do it over and over and over." Which is what I need - I need to practice it a thousand times, and then maybe I will dance the steps like they are supposed to be danced. He taught me that you are supposed to feel like you are moving backward when you step forward, and there was this time where I think he really helped me do that, and it felt so incredible. And I was high for the rest of the evening, and I wanted to keep practicing.

My groupon includes one "Practice Party," which is a dance they hold most Fridays. All of the dances are posted on lists throughout the room; I would imagine it is so you don't have to wonder what it is if you're not so good at distinguishing them, like me. I was planning on saving my dance for the end of my private lessons, but Bob told me he expected to see me there, and he didn't accept the excuses I made, so I decided to go tonight. It was great! I didn't dance the whole evening; in fact, I sat there for most of it. However, I did dance a little at the beginning and a little at the end. One of the instructors danced with me, and even though I stink, he told me that I do have a good frame (which is part of what Bob has worked on with me). Another man I danced with (who was pretty good) told me the same thing, so that gives me hope that I have something kind of okay. There were a couple of nice men who were really patient when they asked me for dances that I don't know or am particularly challenged at, like west coast swing. Warren did that one with me a lot, and that was probably my saving grace on that dance tonight. The last dance was bachata - one of my favorite Latin dances. I had thought of asking Bob if he would do that one with me, but I ended up asking this guy that I had danced with earlier. I think he said he didn't know it, but it's really easy (probably why I like it so much), and we didn't get fancy with it, so it went alright.

I kept hoping Bob would notice me and come dance with me, but I don't think he did for most of the evening. Watching him dance with other people - especially those who are more proficient - was interesting, though. He looks really good out there - smooth - like butter. There was one time that this woman pointed out a couple of sets of instructors who were dancing a bolero, and I really enjoyed watching one of the couples. So beautiful.

Bob finally did notice me, and he danced with me a couple of times. We danced 2 step the first time, which he hasn't taught me, but fortunately the basic step for that is not hard, and I've done it before. I think I came out of one of my shoes on that one - oops! He told me that I'm ready to go dance at this bar that plays country stuff (too bad I don't like country). The second one was cha-cha, and he kind of "Ba, ba, ba-ba-ba"-ed it, probably for my benefit.

And so I have discovered that I do like to dance. In fact, I think I'm in love with it. I haven't felt this excited about something for a long time - not since I took African history maybe, and that was years ago (Yes, I am a nerd, but you already know that). It brings joy to my soul. It makes a wonderful deposit into my emotional bank account. It gives me energy and renewal. And I haven't felt like I've had many deposits for kind of a long time, so maybe that's why it's so exciting to me. If the honeymoon doesn't end before my lessons do, it's going to be a sad Jamie that last day.

Not only that, but I didn't realize how much I lucked out on getting Bob. During last night's lesson I thought I overheard one of the other instructors telling her students that Bob was co-owner of the place, but I wasn't sure if I heard correctly. Tonight, when other people there would ask me who my instructor was, after hearing my reply I got responses like, "Wow. All the way to the top, huh?" "You mean, Bob, like, Bob who owns this place. Wow. He doesn't usually take new students." Etc. It makes me feel more intimidated - and more lucky. And it's going to make it even harder for me to say, "I can't. You don't know how badly I want to continue taking lessons, but I can't afford it," because it sounds like I've lucked out on landing him as an instructor. I definitely feel like he's a good teacher. He explains things in ways that make sense, and dancing with him is really fun. He's so good that he makes up for me stinking so bad. However, I noticed that coaching (which is different from private lessons, I believe) from him is $80 for one hour. ONE hour - $80. Do you see why I feel so sad? I'm thinking I need to get a second job. I need to write a best-seller. Something. If you have any ideas or are independently wealthy and feel like sponsoring me in what could be a passion in life (and I don't have many of those), let me know.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Awhile back I bought a groupon for private dance lessons - have I already mentioned that? I have this thing with dance after dating the boy. He was so into it, and I felt so inadequate about it, that I came to not like it so much - at least ballroom. So I bought this groupon because it was cheap, and I kind of have this need to prove myself now. And I wanted to know if I could learn to like it again. I made a goal to set up lessons at the new year, and I did. I had my first lesson on Thursday. I was so nervous by the time I got to the ballroom that I was afraid I might spend much of my lesson in the bathroom, vomiting (sorry if that's too much info), and I felt like I might have an emotional breakdown if the instructor asked me what I was hoping to get out the lessons.

However, I made it into the ballroom. I filled out paperwork. I met my instructor (who, incidentally, reminded me of the guy friend who I admire most). I didn't vomit. I didn't cry. We danced. In our half hour lesson (which actually went over, wasn't that nice of him?) we went over the basics on foxtrot, waltz, rumba, cha-cha, east coast swing, and salsa, if I recall correctly. And I liked it. I loved the direct instruction. I feel like this is what I've been waiting for. I already know the basic steps, but I feel like I never get better. The group setting I've experienced hasn't felt helpful. This time I had someone who knows what he's doing and was there for me and able to give me feedback, pointers, and instruction in a way that I could mostly understand.

I think he told me he's easy the first lesson, but things change after that, so I will have to see how I feel about things after the next lesson. If I continue to like it, though, those four lessons are going to end way too soon because I don't think I can afford more. Maybe I will have to get a second job. You see, I feel like other people have at least one or two things that they're really into. I don't feel like I have that. I try to justify it by saying, "I like people, not things," but I think it would be nice to enjoy something enough to be willing to put in the time to become proficient at it. And I don't know if I can be a proficient dancer, but I kind of want to find out.

Methods of Losing Weight

I have experienced all of the following within the last year-ish:

1) Get into a relationship, decide you might want to marry the person, and then get broken up with. I lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time with this. It is not a very dependable method, however, as I feel like one's body can react on the other extreme, in which case you just put on the pounds, probably only making you feel that much worse. Not only that, maybe the person won't break up with you. Maybe you actually will get married, and then you'll put on more weight (although maybe you won't care then). So this isn't a very good route to go.

2) Get sick. I just lost three pounds in two days that way. Once again, I don't think this is very dependable because you can't count on being sick for appropriate amounts of time to lose weight and not have to see a doctor. And being sick isn't fun, either.

3) Diet. This is my most successful method for weight-loss so far. The drawbacks are that you have to be willing to do it FOREVER. And you might be cranky at first. However, unlike the first two methods, I think you come out of most of the cranky phase and can still have fun with life.

I am hoping to implement another method soon, which I have used before - exercise. I haven't been successful at losing weight through exercise for several years. It took working out for quite awhile each day to see results with that, and I'm not willing to put that much time into it on a regular basis. I was good at running for awhile after the last breakup, but that didn't work. I mean, I felt like I was in better shape, physically (probably mentally, too), but I didn't lose weight. Now, if I could run in conjunction with my diet, that might be a breakthrough for me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Oh, and Happy New Year

What a year 2011 was for me. I thought I was in love one other time in my life - perhaps I was, but this year I experienced my first love and my first real expectations of marriage. This year I have experienced a broken heart unlike any other heartache I have felt before. I have experienced one of the happiest nights of my life and some of the saddest - though, not the hardest, I would say, for which I am grateful. I went through a down in my mental health that took awhile to get through - part of getting through it was forcing myself to not avoid, and I'm glad I forced myself through it. I saw numbers on the scale that I haven't seen for a long time (Yea!). I failed out of one part of my life. I began another part. This new part is different from the old in significant ways, but similar in others - similar in my faith in God and Christ and His church. And that is what always makes life worth it.

I decided awhile ago that I have entered Jamie's Lonely Time, and while 2012 is beginning that way, by the end of this new year I hope to be done with that and into a new place. I haven't actually written down goals yet, but I'm hoping to form new relationships and learn new things - oh, and keep dropping pounds. Recently I texted some of my siblings and quoted a line from the Harrison Ford Sabrina. My brother-in-law wanted to know if that meant that I was going to cut my hair, get a black dress, and wear dark lipstick. Although that's not my literal plan, and I can't go to Paris to find myself, I do hope that I can transform myself into something better and more confident and content.

I wish you a very good and meaningful 2012 full of growth and happiness (happiness even when life doesn't go the way you envision it).

Low Expectations

One of the positive aspects of having low expectations about something is that the thing you have them about will generally either meet those low expectations or be better than them. If it meets them, then you are at least prepared and hopefully able to deal with the thing. However, if it is better than what you expected, then you are pleasantly surprised.

One of my friends was in town this week. I always like to see him when I get a chance; given the news I received earlier in the week, I especially hoped to get some time with my friend. He called me and asked if I was going to this dance for the 18-30 year old people at one of the churches. I didn't want to remind him that I am 31, but I did tell him that I hadn't been planning on attending. "Jamie, you gotta go with me!"

"But I already have plans to go to another party that evening that will be with people who are closer to my age, and I think I will be much more comfortable there," I could have said. But this is my friend, one of the bookend boys I wrote about a couple of years ago, and I didn't want to pass up the chance to see him before he left for school again. So I said okay, and I was excited to have at least a friend date because I don't think I have had even one of those for a very long time.

Then I proceeded to NOT look forward to the dance more and more, as well as be kind of bummed that I wasn't going to go hang out with "my people" (even though I don't really know them and was just making an assumption that they were my people - however, whether or not that assumption was true, it seems much more certain than a dance full of 18-30 year old people who would probably be on the younger side).

Friday was the day of the dance. I spent most of the day alone, which isn't good for me in my current mood, but I finally began to clean the laundry room with a vengeance, and that helped. I texted Bookend Boy for a time, so I would know when I needed to be ready for my friend date. He replied and in addition to answering my question, informed me that some other people needed a ride, so we would just have a little party.

The news made me only that much more excited - or not. After offering to drive myself, he called and told me who he was bringing, and I was happy to realize I would feel comfortable with the other kids. He came and picked me up and the four of us went to the dance and - I had a good time. It's been so long since I've danced, and though I think I have been somewhat ruined by realizing how stupid the way we dance looks, and I feel like ballroom or salsa, etc., are really the way to dance, I have to admit that I kind of like bopping around a little. And it was great to see my friend, of course. He's a really good example of kindness to me; I love being around people like him because they remind me to try to be better.