News and notes

Dance is amazing. It has now been about a month and a half since my daily hour-and-a-half dance classes came to an end, and I’ve been steadily gaining weight and looking and feeling worse about myself ever since. Dance does a lot for my self-image, and not just because it keeps me fit. Dancing produces incredible posture, and the subtle self-awareness that comes from a sense of being always on the stage. I’d been losing all of that since school ended, and it was showing in my appearance and my attitude (no pun intended). To put it concisely, there was not a day when I did not feel disgusting.

Monday evening I was going to go to a yoga class, but my wrists were a little sensitive so I decided to avoid the downward-facing dogs and just stay home instead. I put in the New York City Ballet Workout DVD and went through the whole thing, which I’d never been able to do before. What that one hour of ballet-ish exercise (uncomplicated ballet, at that) did to me astonished even me. I feel like a real person again, not a blob. I’ll be doing this workout more often.

I wish I could find local dance classes that fit my schedule.

Bye bye Miss American Pie…
That’s the unofficial theme song of CTY, and Al’s going to learn it this summer. CTY is a three-week residential academic summer program for students between the ages of about 13 and 16, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University and located at several college campuses across the country. It’s a wonderful experience, especially at that age. You meet people totally unlike anyone else you’ve met, and the collective (though relatively tame) anarchy of all these young teenagers suddenly released from parental and neighborhood observation generates a particular kind of energy, a unique sense of possibility, that I’ve never seen anywhere else. The freedom that I felt at CTY launched me into what I consider my mature and true self. At CTY, I learned that it was okay to be me–even if my true self wasn’t quite the me my parents and everyone else thought they knew.

Our family drove down to LA this past weekend to take Al and her friend Lydia to CTY. Once we arrived on the beautiful Loyola Marymount campus, my parents both started panicking and getting nervous about every last detail. So Shra and I took matters into our own hands. We bought Pepperidge Farm cookies for Al and Lydia to stash in their desk drawers. I shuttled Lydia and Al to lunch, while Shra and Mommy assisted our dad since he’d gotten lost trying to repark the car. I helped Al find her room and unpack. Our parents were reluctant to leave; we wanted them to hurry up and let Al do her thing.

We continue to reassure our parents that Al is fine even if she does not call every evening at a specified time. Based on our own experiences, we know how Al will change, and we can’t wait to see it happen. In fact, we believe we can already hear that CTY change in Al’s voice and manner when she does call. She’s more articulate and more outgoing. Already, that teenage outer mask is falling away…

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at I’ve uploaded relevant photos from the LA road trip, below.]

P6270143.Lisa little-kid

[Note my dancer foot positioning.]

P6270185.Lisa and Mommy


P6260060.Al fending off the paparazzi