Month: April 2008 (Page 1 of 3)

Quiet times

This is my last week of being home alone all day. I feel panicked and lazy at the same time. I still have lots of projects to do, but none of them have a deadline. A couple projects for the Retina Center, some sewing, some knitting, some cleaning and organizing, etc. But I just want to read my latest book, The Know-It-All. I feel very blah. Starting school will be a very good thing for me.

With my Everyday Food magazine I have a tasty menu planned, with fresh ingredients in my fridge from Sunflower Markets. We’re going to eat:

  • BBQ pork giant baked sandwich (finished off leftovers from last week)
  • Feta and Israeli couscous salad
  • Two pea pasta
  • Chicken paella
  • Artichoke and parsley linguini
  • Thai chicken with noodles.

Hmm. A lot of pasta in there. So much for cutting back on carbs this week.

We had a quiet weekend. We watched Grosse Point Blank on Friday after I had dance class. Saturday Ben went to a pinball expo while I knit and watched episodes of The Office on (I realized that the Office is MUCH funnier now that I don’t work IN an office. It was too close to home.) After lunch (grilled cheese and tomato soup, tuna for Ben) we went to Sur La Table to spend a gift card (I finally have a garlic peeler!). A quick jaunt though Whole Foods provided a nice snack what with all their free samples. For dinner we went to Virgilio’s with Brian. We finished off the evening watching Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who.

More of the same this week. I’m going to trivia tonight and dance class tomorrow. Wednesday is orientation day for school. I get to meet my classmates and teachers, tour the campus, buy some more supplies, and hopefully get all my lingering questions answered. I can’t wait to start!


After spending an hour trying to rearrange my living room I decided I truly hate the computer desk we bought when we moved here. The corner shape is an inefficient use of space and it limits placement to two spots in the room, the only other option being where the dining table currently resides. And I don’t want to move the table across the room.

Want. Darn Ikea.

Resisting Revolution

I came across a design blog post about pointe shoes integrating a hot new design material, d30 (whatever that is). I checked out the shoes and my oh my are they fancy. I’m impressed with all the detail and thought they put into the design. But I doubt they will catch on. Pointe shoes are a fascinating form of athletic gear that hasn’t changed much in over a century. I have a theory that dancers like the fact that they have to bang and cut and generally beat up a new pair of shoes before they are wearable. It’s the same masochism that draws them to ballet. What other “sport” combines ruthless auditions and rehearsals, intense competition, the ego of celebrity, the body image disorders of modeling, the social hierarchy of old European cultures, and yet is unpopular with the public and thus underfunded? You almost have to be a masochist to be a ballerina.

They like the old. They love to show off how little padding they wear in their shoes. The professional dancers sometimes depend on a single cobbler to make all their shoes, panicking when he retires. Here are some examples:

“Though she says the shoes fit so well they feel like slippers, Ribeiro modifies them slightly. “I bang them on the floor, squeeze the front and side, three-quarter the shank [cut the heel portion of the shank off to make it softer and more supple] and cut the tip of the satin,” she says. Depending on her schedule, Ribeiro goes through up to four pairs a week, each one getting a pre-performance kiss. “I love them,” she says. Artur Fuchs [her cobbler] is delighted to help. “I’m proud to be part of such a wonderful event,” he says.”

“New York City Ballet soloist Pascale van Kipnis switched to her 5 1/2 D Capezio “Special Make-Ups” midway through her career. Now, eight years later, van Kipnis says, “I’m sticking with these.” Van Kipnis’ shoes are handmade by Maker #7, Tony Sousa, a cobbler with 20 years’ experience. Capezio makes lasts (plastic models of the foot) for dancers who order customized shoes. The result is a shoe that fits every time. “And they last,” says van Kipnis. “I can use them for a performance and then for rehearsals the next day.” Though she could request the shank be shortened, van Kipnis three-quarters them herself. “I don’t need much support,” she says. “My feet go on pointe and stay there.”

“Grateful for her Grishko “Maya I” models, Lunkina thanked Alexander Shemenyov, her cobbler of five years, face-to-face and invited him to see her perform. Though he has several clients at companies worldwide, Shemenyov knows Lunkina’s order (size 4, width X) by heart. Once, noticing a lapse in orders, Shemenyov said he was afraid Lunkina found a new cobbler. “I felt so relieved to find out she was on maternity leave!” says Shemenyov. Soaring through 250 to 300 pairs of shoes each year, often 2 per performance, Lunkina’s only special request is to specify different shank strengths. “For Giselle I prefer a very soft shoe, for Don Quixote, a stronger shoe,” says Lunkina. “My shoes fit perfectly, I don’t need to think about my feet, I simply melt in my role.””

” After the retirement of her longtime cobbler, Royal Ballet principal Leanne Benjamin “was in a terrible state,” she says.”

There is incredible variety among traditional pointe shoes models. Students may switch models each time they get a new pair. Basically they are all constructed the same with different sizing around the different parts of the foot. There is just one other “revolutionary” new model shoe, the Gaynor Minden (on the left, standard Capezio on the right). I remember when I was on pointe and they were introduced.

I was sure it was the wave of the future. Customizable! More durable! Quieter! More comfortable! What else could any dancer ask for? Yet I was the only one in my class who tried them, and I didn’t like them as much as my old moldable, low-tech shoes. In my classes at the Arvada Center I have only seen one other girl try them. From what I hear most professionals still prefer Freeds, if they can get them (their cobblers are dying out faster than they can train new ones).

So I think these new Capulet shoes won’t make more that a little splash in the pointe shoe scene. Ballerinas are too romantic, too superstitious, and too stubborn to adapt.

(As a side note, while the shoe itself has not changed, pointe shoe accessories have evolved and flourished since I was in pointe. Everyone still used lamb’s wool for padding when I started. In the mid 1990s they introduced a gel-filled plastic pouch for you toes. This quickly changed to silicone pads, and the line expanded to all sorts of accessories: individual toe gels, capped and uncapped, various sizes, trimmable toe pouches, toes spacers, etc. After I stopped dancing they added something I always wanted – ribbons with elastic cut in where they cross behind the achilles tendon. I hear they actually don’t work that well. Now I see they invented a false arch, a beauty enhancement not far from padded push-up bras. That cracks me up.)


I’m kind of missing doing transcription this week, if you can believe it. I like the easy, mindless working at home. It’s a perfect part time job. Reading my medical terminology book reminds me of it. For fun, I re-transcribed a recent (short) letter below. It shows my shortcuts for typing before Word translates them into their proper form. For example, “ctw” is “continues to do well.” Even my capitalization will be fixed. See if you can make sense of it 🙂 I bet Mom and Dad can easily break my code (maybe Dad can even tell which patient it is).


jhn xx mar 2008


Name dob ctw with bt avt for bt cnv. The most recent ttm for the le was 1 feb 2008. He wbt for ev and ttm of the re. He describes no wor.

Ac od is 20/40. iop 13. Asg is quiet with ns. Df exm reveals mce and srf with fibrous ped. disc and pery are stable.

Ac os is 20/100. iop 18. The le wndt.

octi. Iaa deming mild mce, srf, and fibrous PED.

With his ic today I placed another avs ttm od. Ewp. He unimp if he has wor including sinf. He h24. He akai ou. His nxv here will be 17 mar for ev and ttm of his le or sooner prn. asa ikp.


And that’s how you type 570 characters and charge for 1,478 characters. Most of these shortcuts I made up in high school when I first started transcribing. I have many more shortcuts than shown here. Probably hundreds. Even when it’s been years since I last did dictation (like most recently when I picked it up again), my fingers remember the code. Our brains are like magic.

I Hate Drake

This is a great little internet gem I came across years ago. Waxy posted it again recently, and so I will share it with you. It takes me back to being a kid, where events are so dramatic, emotions are intense, and adults just don’t understand. You MUST watch this.

(I should take a cue from my sister and warn you that there is some bad language.)


How do you like the skirt I made out of my Ikea curtain fabric? It was a great three hour project. Last Friday Miranda called me up to accompany her on some shopping. Afterwards we had leftover chili at my house and got Zaley to show off her laugh.

Here are the new decals we got for our gadgets. I love my purple dots! I finally got my old ringtone running and got an ebook reader for the scriptures.

I made these peanut butter and chocolate oat crumbles last week. They deserve 7/10. Easy to make, fairly tasty, healthy oats…but they were not spectacular. Sort of blah. And they are super crumbly, leaving messes all over. I might make them again, but I would not reserve the base crumble for the topping – I’d put it all on the base. Then I’d put more chocolate on the peanut butter-condensed milk layer and smear the melted chocolate around, like on my mom’s peanut butter bars. Here’s the recipe if you want to give them a try.

Things are going to be boring this week. My folks are out of the country so there isn’t any dictation for me to transcribe. I’m slowly reading a book on how to create websites. I might work on theirs a bit. I have my second hepatitis shot tomorrow and I made a dentist appointment for Wednesday. Tuesday we’re going to see Ben’s cousin’s jazz band perform. I’m excited to see his family again – it’s been months, maybe more than a year since we all got together.

On the school front, I’m down to two weeks. That’s also the estimated time when Regis said they would be sending us our schedules. Nothing so far today. I need to go to campus to get a medical terminology book to take their pre-requisite quiz (that they just sent out Friday. Gargh. Why can’t they give us more warning for anything??). This morning I matched codes on my tuition invoice to the bookstore book search and I think I have a list of the books for my first term. Before tax the estimated total is $889. Criminy. And that doesn’t include lab tools, scrubs, shoes, the required PDA software, or my stethoscope. I’m so glad I have supportive parents who are willing to help me get all the education I want.

ghost dogs

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ghost dogs, originally uploaded by Ben Mason.

We hiked up Green Mountain at dusk on Friday to take long exposure pictures. I really like how this one turned out. Click the links above to see more of Ben’s photos from the night safari.

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