Dance Fever

If Sir Isaac Newton had ever seen me dance, he would have never written his first law. For that matter, if he had ever seen me in the gym, he might have had second thoughts. I am the antithesis of one-half of Newton’s first law.

I was thinking of Newton recently at my first dance session. My wife, Paulette, insisted I join her at a new age/oriental place one Friday morning, assuring me that I would get a good workout from an instructor who had just returned from Kyoto and who, Paulette said, has a black belt. When we started doing two-finger thrusts and shouting like a ninja, I knew it was not a black belt in dance.

Referring to the hour as “dance” is a misnomer. It was really a cardiovascular workout and the black belt assured everyone that they did not have to follow her lead and could do as they pleased. What an out! I was never in step with anyone and was grateful that my wife had agreed to our hanging out in the back line (near the exit, I might add) rather than up front where the nimble bodies (and they were young girls) gyrated, contorted and twisted in front of a mirror. If I tried to do what some of those well exercised girls were doing, my body would snap into a thousand pieces.

Shamefully, I must admit to being a clock watcher. Twenty minutes to quitting time. Uhmm. Nineteen minutes to quitting time. Uhmm. Nineteen minutes to quitting time. A watched clock does not change time very quickly. Uhmm.

The clock situation at the dance studio is not as bad as it is at the gym where Paulette and I work out in some fashion just about every day but the Sabbath, that being a day of rest for our trainer (and we are grateful). Unlike the dance studio, which has only one clock, the gym has two. That’s not a problem when you’re working on your own because you can start and quit when you want.

But when we’re working with the trainer, it’s another matter. She feels contractually obligated to give us an hour’s worth of training beginning at 8 a.m. after 5 minutes of warming up on our own, and no matter what position you’re in, you can see a clock. Treadmill. You can see a clock. Weights. You can see a clock. The mirrors don’t help.

Look, we tell her, it’s OK. We can do 45 minutes. Oh, no, says the trainer, who is also the owner. You paid for an hour; you’ll get an hour.

Talk about customer service!

Paulette and I have figured out ways to ease the sessions with the trainer. Twenty minutes into training (I check the clock), my nose is running, and off I go to the tissue box. The only one used to be near the main entrance. Now there’s one closer—in the training area. I need water, and off I go to the water tank at the entrance. (Yes, I’ve thought about ducking out once there.) Then there’s always the excuse that we have to use the facilities.

I think the trainer is on to us, but given our ages, looks the other way. We are grateful. After all, it’s not boot camp. Been there, done that.

When the black-belt dance instructor tells us that we don’t have to do every step she does, and that if anything hurts, don’t do it, we are grateful. After a lifetime of passing judgment on people’s performances, I’m only too glad to have entered a non-judgmental phase of my life.

But what does this have to do with Newton?

As you may recall (and I looked this up in the Encyclopedia Britannica, not Wikipedia), Newton postulated (and I paraphrase, which is always dangerous) that a body at rest remains at rest and a body in motion stays in motion. I’m here to tell you that he got the second part wrong. When I’m in motion, I can’t wait to rest.

Sorry, Isaac.


Pixels and Bristles™

One of the things Paulette and I have been doing in our retirement is honing our creative skills. I’ve done a lot with graphic design and photography, and she’s taken many painting courses. I bought her a digital camera so she could take photos of things she wanted to paint. Sharing is a nice concept, but not when it comes to a camera. Having separate cameras has uncomplicated our creative lives.

But rather than bifurcating our work, it’s actually put us on a joint path and we’ve just begun something called Pixels and Bristles™, which is a trademark I applied for last week. Here’s what it entails:

We had decided last year to do a commercial photobook of a pending trip to Italy. Having been on such trips before, we know that people on the trip want a memento. But until I took some courses on creating photobooks beginning in 2006, I had no idea how to proceed. And now that Paulette has several painting courses to her credit, we have a plan.

The photobook idea has morphed into a book that will contain my photos and her paintings (which will be based on her photos). We’ve already done a trial run and you can check it out and download it for free at www.lulu.com. It’s titled Dry Run: Pixels and Bristles™.

You can see the cover illustration above. I learned in a Photoshop course this spring how to blend a scan of one of Paulette’s paintings of one of my photographs with one of my actual photographs.

We’d like to know what you think of the dry run and the idea.