Category Archives: Going Out

Afterthoughts from dancing

Tonight, I ran out to Tilt to spend an hour or so dancing.  A few random thoughts from the experience.

1.  Young people who expect to get into a nightclub when they’re too drunk to stand on their own are just silly.
2.  Friends who expect someone too drunk to stand on their own to wait in a car in 21 degree weather aren’t very good friends.  And that’s the nicest thing I can say about them.
3.  I love dancing.  I really need to remember that and go more often.
4.  It was nice to see Woody again.  It’s been over a year.
5.  It was nice to meet Woody’s rather cute friend.
6.  Apparently, I was rather obvious about #5.  I’d say “oops,” but I’m not sure I really care.  As long as I didn’t scare the poor guy away.

A Trip to Toronto

It’s been a while since my last post. Unfortunately, life has been a bit crazy for the past few weeks. Between a crazy project at work, keeping up with dance classes, and fighting off what I can only assume was the stomach bug from hell, blogging has fallen quite low on my list of priorities. However, now that I have a half hour or so before I need to run to the company holiday party, I thought I’d take a few moments to write a bit about my adventure with friends to Toronto last Saturday.

Every year, my jazz instructor, Marina, goes to Toronto the Saturday after Thanksgiving. She had mentioned it to Rudi, who decided to go with her. At some point, they got the crazy idea to invite me. Having heard about these excursions from a couple different sources, I was all too eager to accept that invitation. So that morning, I crawled out of bed, into some clothes, and drove over to Marina’s house. I was there by about 6:15. Rudi got there a half hour or so later, and we were on the road by about 7:00 that morning.

The drive up was pleasant and uneventful. We only made one stop, and that was at the border. This allowed us to exchange our currency and grab a quick breakfast at Tim Horton’s. Then we went through the checkpoint and continued on our way to Toronto.

We were in the city by 10:30, so we parked in the garage across the street from the theater we’d be attending that evening and walked down to the facilities where DanceTeq teaches there classes. We arrive about forty five minutes before the modern class started. Class that day was taught by a substitute, Matthew Waldie. The class was too advanced for me (mainly due to the pace rather than complexity of technique), so I watched (which gave me plenty of opportunities to semi-secretly watch Matthew and pray the drool wasn’t too obvious) while Marina and Rudi actually participated. Both struggled with the class at various points and Marina was particularly out of breath by the end of class. I actually took a certain amount of pleasure in that realization. After all, I saw in Marina’s expression the same exhaustion and sense of pushing beyond her capabilities that I frequently feel when I take her class. So it’s nice to see one of my instructors in that same space, herself.

After class, we did a bit of shopping. Of course, this meant walking from the waterfront to the major shopping areas in the city. Fortunately, I had the sense to pack a pair of decent sneakers. Shopping went pretty well, and I even managed to pick up a nice shirt, though I need to lose about another twenty pounds before it looks quite right on me. Unfortunately, the manufacturers of stylish clothing still haven’t decided to let those of us in plus sizes look good. But I’ll try not to rant too much about that.

After shopping, we made the trek back to the waterfront to grab a quick dinner and head to our show. We went to see “Lost Action” by the Canadian dance company, Kidd Pivot. The show was quite good, especially in terms of strength and technique. The company has four male dancers, and it’s amazing to see the kinds of things a dance company can do with that kind of muscle. There was one scene in which all four guys worked together to lift one of the women and move her around the stage, twisting and turning her body. The fact that they did this without popping one of her joints out of socket — let alone with deceptive ease — was incredible.

The show itself was a bit confusing. “Lost Action” is an abstract performance piece, and I don’t really do well with abstract art, at least not yet. One of the things that I took away from the performance was a sense that it involved a theme of enforced conformity, an observation that Marina and Rudi both felt made a lot of sense at the time. Of course, having just reread what Kidd Pivot says about the performance themselves, I’m not sure I was on base at all. Of course, Christine would point out that this is the beauty of dance. Different people interpret the same thing differently.

After the show, we made a quick, peaceful, and enjoyable trip back home. Rudi and I talked most of the way while Marina slept. Fortunately, she did wake up at the border so we could get across okay.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip and I look forward to making more of them in the future. I certainly couldn’t have asked for better traveling companions, either. Hopefully, they feel the same way. (There was that one teasing crack I made to Rudi, though…)

I just about fainted

I went to Tilt again tonight. After I had been there for about ten or fifteen minutes, this guy walks over to me and starts dancing with me. I just about fainted.

Granted, he only danced with me for about thirty seconds before he retreated back to the safety of his buddies. And he never approached me again the rest of the night. But it was still a pleasant surprise — and quite an ego boost.

Sore but happy!

Last night, I decided to go dancing at Tilt. I haven’t been dancing in over a year, so I thought it was time. I forgot just how much I enjoy it. I think I’m going to start going more often.

Of course, part of the reason I don’t go very often is that as of yet, I really don’t seem to have any friends who are into going dancing. This means going alone. As a shy guy and bonafide introvert, it’s always been intimidating to go by myself. But last night, I actually enjoyed it and didn’t mind the fact that I didn’t know anyone. So perhaps that’s changing.

Of course, the last time I went to Tilt, I also felt awkward because it seemed like a much younger crowd. With the exception of a few of us thirty-somethings (and one rather awesome older gentleman), everyone seemed to still be in college. I noticed, however, that there seemed to be a much better mix last night. Certainly there were still the college kids there (you know, the ones that make you feel like you need to ask for proof of age before you even dare talk to them), there were also a good number of us older folks too. So that made it a more comfortable atmosphere. I’m not sure if it was because I went a bit later this time or what, but it was a nice change.

I also have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when someone pinched my ass as they passed by me. It was a bit disappointing when I realized the “offending” culprit was a woman, however. But hey, for that moment, it was an exciting thought.

Of course, now I’m stiff and tired. But at least I had fun. I think I’ll be going again next Saturday night. In fact, I’m seriously going a couple times a month. I need that sort of thing.

I hope I didn’t spook him too badly

After dance class tonight, I decided to stop at Equal Grounds for a chai latte and to say hi to friends. I doubt I was there a half hour even. The place was too crowded for my tastes. So I left as soon as I was done.

On my way out of the coffee shop, I passed this young man — I’d guess he’s in his early twenties — and two female friends. As I walked past him to turn the corner, he started singing.

He was quite good, and based on the fact that he said something about an audition, I suspect he might be a music major or even a professional singer. Now, I’m a sucker for anyone who expresses artistic talent of any sort, and especially musicians. So as I heard him start to sing, I turned around, leaned against the building, and listened to him belt out a lovely melody.

About ten seconds into the song, he realized I was standing there. He did something of a double take, waved with a nervous smile, and turned his attention back to his friends, never wavering or pausing. (Like I said, he’s quite a good vocalist.) After he finished his song, I waited for a break in his conversation with his two friends, and told him he had a great voice. He thanked me, and I turned to resume my walk to my car.

Like I said, I think I surprised him by stopping, and even speaking to him. But I figure if you have a talented voice and you choose to sing on a public sidewalk — even just for friends — you have to expect people to stop and listen. It only makes sense we’re going to.

Especially if you’re also downright adorable.

Goals for 2008

After watching other people do likewise, I decided to take some time this month to set out my goals for this coming year. I realize I’m a bit late, considering we’re already three days into the new year, but I figure it’s better to be late than to never do it at all. Besides, I did some of my goal setting at Yule, so in some respects, I was ahead of the game.

1. Lead more rituals.

This is actually a goal that was set for me. The Yule ritual last month was just the beginning. I have agreed (not quite at knifepoint) to plan the rituals for the two equinoxes and two solstices in 2008. To be honest, I need the experience, and it’s just time for me to continue.

2. Share what I know and what I’ve learned.

This goal is a bit vague because I’m not sure how it’s going to play out right yet. All I know is that I need to start sharing with others what I’ve learned over the past few years, even as my own learning process continues. This may mean some classes and/or workshops in the local community. Or it may mean signing up to lead a workshop at the Naturist Festival this August (as I’m pretty sure I’ll be going again). But at any rate, it’s time for me to start contributing in this arena.

3. Continue to become more social.

This one isn’t so much a new goal as a continuation of a theme from last year. I’ve gotten out to meet more people, and I’ve even learned to do a better job of stepping out socially rather than hoping people will seek me out or otherwise find me. I simply need to continue this trend and improve on the progress I’ve already made.

4. Continue the exercise trend.

Last summer saw me walking regularly. When the weather warms back up, I’m going to be right back out there. In the meantime, I’m also going to try to keep some level of exercise going on, though probably not to the same degree. But I figure if I can make it over to the fitness center for an hour or two every week, that should hold me over until the summer returns.

I’m simply decided that my real form of exercise is and will remain walking. Nothing works as well for me. New Year’s Day, I walked down to the 7-11 and back, which is about a mile in each direction. Despite the snow and cold air, I loved it. Riding a stationary bike is exercise and work. Going for a nice walk is pure joy.

On the bright side, the time I’m spending at the fitness center appears to be enough to maintain the reduced waist size I reached towards the end of last year.

Fun at Friendly’s

Yesterday, I decided to run to Friendly’s for lunch. The place was relatively empty, and I think there were only two servers working. Stef met me at the door and seated me. She asked me if I wanted a diet coke (a sign I go there way too often), to which I assented. As she headed back to the kitchen, the other server, a young man named Kyle, walked by and said he’d be right with me. Apparently, Stef had planned on waiting on me herself, so they had a brief conversation in the kitchen to decide who would actually take my table. (I love it when servers fight over me.)

Apparently, they eventually agreed that Kyle would be my server, because he walked over with my diet coke, introduced himself, and asked me if I was ready to order. I placed my order only to have him give me the perfect opportunity to tease him a little. After I ordered my food, he asked me if I wanted anything to drink. I laughed, glanced at the table, then looked back to him to politely ask, “You mean besides the diet coke you just brought me.” He laughed in flustered embarrassment (I consider the fact that he didn’t turn beet red nothing short of miraculous) and explained he was used to doing things in a certain order. I just smile and said I understood.

While we had been talking, I noticed a chain around his neck, so I looked closely at the two pendants hanging off it. This is a new habit I’m working on developing, as I’m realizing just how much a person’s choice of jewelry or body art can offer an opportunity for conversation. I noted the crucifix (which, when combined with my estimate of his age, gave me enough reason to decide to keep things to a bit of fun chat and maybe some slight flirtation) as well as a large “55.” So when he stopped by later to check on me, I inquired. As it turns out, he’s a football player and that’s his number. (Of course, we won’t go into the thoughts of being tackled that suddenly came to mind.) He mentioned that it had been his number in both high school and now college. (Of course, I was relieved to confirm that he was at least in college. I’m much more comfortable with feeling slightly lecherous rather than downright criminal.)

When it came time for ice cream, I ordered the recently re-released the peanut butterpan sundae, so I ordered that. Kyle commented that he never tried that one. I said I had it last time they offered it and loved it. I mentioned in passing that it had peanut butter in it, so that meant I’d naturally love it. So the sneak decided to demonstrate just how good a server he was by making the sundae with extra peanut butter. Needless to say, someone got a very good tip (even moreso than usual).

I have to admit, I enjoyed the meal, and I had fun chatting up my waiter just a bit. Sure, he’s too young for me (I think I’m through with college students), and the religion thing would be an issue. (After all, he’s not goth, so I’m pretty sure he wasn’t wearing a crucifix just for the “cool factor.”) But sometimes, it’s just fun to be able to chat and have a little harmless fun with someone. And besides, I think it was good practice for me. I really could use more practice being chatty and flirty, as it’s something I struggle with (especially if I actually find the person I’m chatting with attractive). So this was a great activity. And either Kyle didn’t notice or didn’t exactly mind, so it worked out well.

And I do like that I’m learning to be more attentive to picking out little things to comment on. It should really help me with starting conversations in the future.

The Highlights of 2007

Pam over at Willful Grace created a wonderful post in which she describes the major events in her life in each of the last twelve months as well as the lessons she learned from those events. It’s a fantastic post and I encourage everyone to read it.

More importantly, Pam inspired me to do something similar. Sadly, my post won’t be nearly as organized or well thought out as Pam’s is. To be honest, I don’t think I could come up with a single even for every month since last January. And besides, there are a couple of months that I doubt I could boil down into a single event or a single lesson learned from the events of some months.

The good news is that I’m not in a competition with Pam, so I’m under neither obligation nor pressure to match her excellent post. This gives me the freedom to simply allow her to inspire me and see where the inspiration takes me. So for that, I’d like to say thank you to her. And without further ado, I devote this post to the highlights of the previous year of my life.

I think that the first major highlight of the year came in February, when I met Rob. I didn’t talk about Rob much in this blog, and there’s a good reason for it. Rob represented the first time that a potential (and real, however temporary) love interest actually read my blog. As such, I struggled with finding the balance of what I could say, knowing that I didn’t want to reveal anything I hadn’t already discussed with him. After all, reading about what another person is feeling about you in his blog rather than firsthand strikes me as a horrible thing.

Rob found me online — on Valentine’s Day no less — and contacted me to express a desire to get to know me and explore the possibility of a relationship. In many ways, we hit it off quite well. And I have to admit that I was swept off my feet. Rob was the first guy to actually pursue me. (Usually, I’ve had to chase after the other guy.) I learned just how much I could enjoy being the object of pursuit. In fact, I’d say that one of the things I learned about myself due to my encounter with Rob is that I like a slightly aggressive guy.

Sadly, things with Rob were fast-paced and terribly short lived. After a few dates and immediately after our first night together, Rob decided I wasn’t what he was looking for after all. I have to admit that after being pursued that hard and dropped just as quickly, I was stinging. Though I did learn an important lesson in that respect, too. My guides tried to tell me things were going too fast and I should slow things back down. But I allowed myself to get carried away in the heat of the moment.

Of course, I don’t think things would’ve ended any differently. After much time, I realize that Rob and I just weren’t right for each other. And that would’ve been the case no matter how slowly we took things. Though I do admit that I wonder if slowing down would’ve enabled us to realize this before we took things as far as we did, saving at least some heartache. So the lesson I learned from that is that when spirit says slow down, it’s best to listen, even if you are enjoying the heat of the moment.

March and April brought new choices with them. After the events of February, I realized that I needed to get out more and put myself in positions where I could meet more people. Before then, I had a small group of great friends, and I’m still thankful for them. But I realized that if I wanted more out of life (especially in the realms of socializing and dating), it was time to expand my circles even farther. So I began to join various groups and look for other ways to get out in the wider community. I would say I’ve seen some mixed results from those efforts, but I’d say they were positive overall. And it’s still a work in progress. And I’ve made some great friendships (especially one in particular) as a result that I think I will always cherish.

The summer months, starting with June, brought unexpected changes in me. In June, I started walking more. In fact, the weekend before my birthday, I took my first ever seven mile walk along the Erie canal. That first walks was both exciting and draining. I came away with a sunburn and some pretty serious blisters on my feet, but I also developed a passion for the trek. In fact, I loved it so much, that I repeated the walk once a month through September and am even counting down the days until the warm weather returns and I can resume the little tradition.

In addition to the canal walk, I began taking a walk after my weekly dinner with friends on Monday nights. Those walks began when I got ready to leave the restaurant one Monday night and decided it was too gorgeous an evening to just go home. So a second walking tradition was born. By the end of summer, I was up to three one-hour walks a week (except on the weekend I’d take the canal walk, in which case that trek would replace one of the regular walks). I began to see this as something I did for enjoyment.

As an aside, this is also the summer that I began to enjoy sunbathing. This is something I had considered a waste of time while growing up and would often shake my head at my sister in disgust during summer vacations when she’d sunbathe daily. In fact, when I confessed to my sister this summer that I’d started enjoying the practice myself, she immediately asked, “Who are you and what have you done with my brother?”

In August, I went with friends the Northeast Naturist Festival. I had a pleasant time while there (though I will note that I kept my clothes on 99.9% of the time I was there) and enjoyed my first real vacation (i.e. a prolonged period off where I did something other than visit family) in years. I came to appreciate again the importance of pampering myself.

The naturist retreat also marked the point in time where I’d say I really began to start coming into my own in terms of spirituality. I had a few moving experiences while there, and they initiated changes in myself that continued over the next several months, and will likely continue into the coming year.

At this point, I will also note that I started really “coming into my own” in general around this time. Or at least I began to notice it. I began building much more self-confidence and a willingness to take risks and make myself more vulnerable. In some ways, I’d say my transformation into a minor social butterfly started to become more noticeable at this point.

In September and October, I had more spiritual awakenings. It is at this time when my patroness, Freyja, began to make it more clear that the nature of our relationship was going to change significantly. (I’m still not ready to publicly discuss the nature of that change, however.) Again, I found myself in situations where my comfort zones were pushed and I was encouraged (not quite at knifepoint) to stretch as a person.

Also in October, I went to a cousin’s wedding. While making the trip with my parents and members from my father’s side of the family, Freyja also impressed upon me the fact that I’ve cut myself off from my family. She began to impress upon me the fact that I need to get closer to them. She says it’s because there are ways in which I can help various people in my family. Of course, I’m not sure how that’s going to work, considering that the kind of help I can best offer is something most of them would be opposed to. But I guess time will tell.

Then in December, the bombshell dropped. About two weeks before Yule, Freyja suggested (again, not quite at knifepoint) that I should plan the Yule ritual for a small group of friends. So I placed the necessary calls, made the commitment, and moved forward. I have to admit, I was rather nervous, especially after becoming sick for the week prior to the ritual, which I had originally hoped to better use for planning. But things turned out beautifully and everyone had a pleasant time. And fortunately, I have much more advanced noticed for the next ritual I’m expected to plan, which isn’t until the Spring Equinox.

I’d say it’s been an interesting, profound, and profitable year. Hopefully the coming one will continue in that trend.

Nothing like a little ego boost

Apparently, the gods decided I needed a bit of a confidence boost this evening. Two different guys decided to check me out while Michele, Belinda, and I were at the restaurant tonight. Unfortunately, neither of them took it to the next level by asking me for my phone number, but it was a nice experience, nonetheless.

In reality, I didn’t notice the one guy checking me out, but both of my companions assured me he did. It was while we were standing at the front of the restaurant waiting for our turn to be seated. Two young men in their mid-twenties (or so I’d estimate) stood on the other side of the aisle leading from the front door of the restaurant to the hostess’s station. Apparently, the one looked over my way and took several seconds to check me over. What a shame nothing came of it, though.

The other instance I’m not 100% sure of, but the guy who seated us when it was our turn seemed incredibly friendly. Once we took our seats, he turned to me and complimented me on my creative tee shirt (it’s the “2QT2BSTR8” one). Now many people have commented on this shirt, but this is the first time someone has struck up almost a full minute long conversation over the topic. Granted, I still might have shrugged it off as nothing if Michele didn’t comment on the incident herself. (Indeed, she went so far as to say she wanted to tell him to ask me out already by the time our brief conversation ended.) And he did exchange smiles a couple more times throughout the meal, so it was interested. But alas, he never said anything. And to be frank, I’ve embarrassed myself one too many times to take a chance on mistaking yet another person in the service sector as being more friendly than their job requires or even suggests.

All the same, it was nice to be noticed. I hope it keeps happening on a regular basis. Though I also hope one of these guys gets up the courage to do more than just check me out.

A Pleasant Saturday

Saturday morning, I got up around eight in the morning and spent some time watching cartoons and relaxing until Belinda called at around 8:30. She and I were scheduled to work at Psychic’s Thyme together that day, so she suggested we meet for breakfast before the shop opened. So I got my shower and did everything else I needed to before heading to Perkins, where we agreed to meet. Belinda got there about ten to fifteen minutes after me. We were quickly seated and our omelettes over light conversation.

Once breakfast was done, we ran over to Staples to get some audiocassettes, then headed on up to the shop. Our timing was perfect, because Char was just getting stuff out of the trunk of her car when we pulled in the parking lot.

Saturday was the first time that I worked at the shop as a reader — or at least when I actually got readings. (Earlier this month, I worked a Saturday with Michele and was marked as available for readings, but I didn’t get any.) I ended up doing three readings all day. They went pretty well, and I certainly feel better about the idea now that I’ve done it once.

I’ve been doing readings off and on for a few years, but this was the first time I’ve ever done them professionally. I’ve mostly done them for friends or random people with no money involved. It’s a lot less stressful that way. Especially considering my general lack of confidence (which yesterday helped alleviate immensely). You see, I normally worry that I won’t be able to read someone, that nothing will come. Now, if I’m doing the reading for free, the way I see it, that’s fine. I’ll just shrug and point out to the person that you get what you pay for. But when they’re handing over money, there’s an expectation, so the idea of not picking up anything becomes much more frightening.

I talked about it with Belinda at breakfast, and she pointed out that she’s always nervous about that, too. But she pointed out it’s okay. And she pointed out that in those instances (though she assures me they’re fairly rare) that you can’t read someone, you simply tell them as much and don’t charge them. (Also, if there’s someone else around that might be able to read them, you pass them off.) Fortunately, it didn’t prove to be a problem Saturday, anyway. And as I said, it built confidence. And Belinda and I are hoping to work together like that again, soon. It was a fun day all around.

After the shop closed, Belinda and I headed to Red Robin for dinner. I haven’t been there in a couple of months, and the hostess who seated us harassed me about that a bit. Belinda thought it was funny that she recognized me so quickly, actually.