A List of Things My Zumba Class Has Taught Me

1. Things cannot be mastered on the first try. 

I know this sounds like common sense, like something my dad should have pulled me aside and told me over a cold glass of milk and an Oreo when I was eight years old.  But, alas, my parents were perfectionists, too. They didn’t even have a vocabulary to tell their kids fucking up was a normal part of life. Back then, not fucking up was a matter of life and death. At least, that's what it felt like to my traumatized six-year-old self.  Life back then was a struggle to be the best at everything because being the best ensured you would go to college and not die in the streets like a pauper. And not dying in the streets like a pauper was a driving force in my life for a LONG time.  This is what happens when you grow up in a poor but ambitious family: you are motivated by threats of dying penniless in the streets.  My parents' nightstands weren’t stacked with books about meditation.  They didn’t have time in the morning to write in their pretty paisley journals about self-forgiveness.  They were busy raising kids, and the only information THEY had was from THEIR parents, and THOSE guys were raised up in an era where you got a steely-eyed stare if you were lucky (and a thwack across the knuckles if you weren't) for fucking up. Back then, you just pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and carried on.  Generations later, I am administering the ruler to my OWN knuckles every time I screw up.  And screw up I do. I am NOT patient with myself, either. The first time I tried Zumba, I was winded after the SECOND song.  That’s approximately SIX minutes into the routine, y’all, and the routine goes for SIXTY.  I had to sit it out.  I had to lean up against one of those  flesh-colored rubber punching dummies in case I passed out. I drank about a liter of water while sitting there and waited for my vision to come back into focus.  I watched all the other women do the routines with ease.  And I almost cried. CRIED!  Because I didn’t know how to do it.

And here I am, more than a year later, with a pretty good handle on my counts, and my hip shaking, and my footwork.  I’m not gonna lie.  Taking those beginner salsa lessons all those years ago and those Cumbia lessons at hippie college REALLY helped with the footwork.   But the first couple of times at Zumba class, I was as confused as a hippo in a raincoat.  I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Slowly, over time, I learned the routines.  And the more I learned, the better I got at relaxing.  And the better I got at relaxing, the better I got at learning the routines. Nobody died penniless in the streets at the end of my not knowing the routine.  I'm pretty sure no one gave one shit about me looking stupid, either.  It’s amazing how that whole cycle works.  After the first time I got through all sixty minutes without wanting to throw up, I high-fived myself.  I had just cured three generations of self-abuse by shaking my booty to a Pitbull song.  

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Say Yes To The Mess

It started with Heather at dooce.com announcing her separation from her husband. It knocked us both down, Burdy and I. Them? The people we found online all those years ago, the ones whose relationship we felt was invincible? The ones we found commonality with? The mouthy blonde and the nerdy computer guy? The husband and wife team of blogging and software engineering? The very thing we aspired to? The thing which inspired our daily mantra of: if they can make it work, so can we?

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Cooking With (The Other) Lauren Ziemski

Plantains have been featuring regularly in my life lately. My wedding caterer, who was born in Peru, practically swooned when I mentioned I wanted fried plantains at my wedding. I think he might be more excited to make them than I am to eat them. Well, okay that's not entirely true. I can't WAIT to eat plantains, and all the other utterly mouthwatering things he's thinking of making (think: ceviche, well, really multiple ceviches, fried herbed fish, plantains, beans and rice, hearts of palm salad, and, naturally, a whole roast pig that requires a device to house it called "La Caja China”.

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Weekly Roundup of Absolutely Nothing


Yup, I've got another sinus infection. Shocking, I know.

I am now quite practiced at being sick. They must be getting used to me at the doctor's office, too, because when I described my symptoms, the doc didn't even blink when I mentioned the cooing pigeon noise in my ear. Not even a raised eyebrow! Guess there's a lot of that going around this year: cooing ear pigeon syndrome.

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Blame Canada


So, recently Burdy and I started watching the mini-series "The Tudors". I know, I know, we are SO current with our TV watching. Next up on the list: re-runs of "Benson". While everyone else is going bonkers over Downton Abbey, we're finally just watching a show from like five years ago, and a Canadian produced one, no less. I just can't help it. I am somehow fundamentally wired to pick up on television trends half a decade after their premier. I'm just not the typical "consumer" (I'm retching as I type that). It's true: it's me. I'm the one keeping this economy in a recession.

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