Monday, April 27, 2009

Super Sporty

I know what you're thinking, Where on earth did Gina get that fantastic arm sleeve.

Well people, there's another one just like it. I'm just not wearing it.

I've biked more this spring than I've biked in the last 10 years. Adam and I have been hitting Lunken most nice evenings/weekends for a 5 mile roll. And as fortune would have it, I found this arm sleeve in his bike kit during a recent outing.

It's stunning isn't it? I mean, let's say I want to go biking but it's a little chilly, yet I know I'll heat up after a bit. Helloooo arm sleeve.

I'm thinking about wearing it even when it's not cool outside. I'm probably something like 57 percent faster just looking at it.

Somehow Adam wasn't very enthusiastic about posing for photos with me in the arm sleeve. Some people are just really sensitive about their arm sleeves.

Parks and Rec Monday!

Taking The Stage: Moms Are Awesome Edition

I've decided if I didn't already have an awesome mom I would want Jamine's mom.

Last week on Taking the Stage Jasmine finds out she gets to audition at Julliard. Wow. Such a privilege.

Jasmine's mom, Elodie, is just so proud of her you can feel it. What expense and time it must have taken for this family to get her where she is.

The night before her audition in their Chicago hotel room Jasmine's mom tells her, "You have a lot of people praying for you. And we are so proud of you." About then she starts to choke up and cry, then continues, "But I always knew you could do it and hard works pays off. I just know you're going to do well and do great where ever you go."

Heart-wrenching! I may have been a little misty as I watched. (Is it dusty in here?!)

When her mom drops her off at Julliard she tells her, "Ok Jazzie, this is it. You just stay focused and keep praying, hear?"

Then her mom goes across the street and sits for God knows how long in a little diner waiting for her daughter as she hopes for her big break. Can you imagine the torture? Just having to sit there and wait. Ugh.

When Jasmine cames into the restaurant when she's finished her mom is so excited she gets up and eagerly asks, "Jazzie, how did you make out?"

Sadly, Jasmine got cut.

I don't know much about ballet (as we all know) but technically Jasmine seems flawless. She just doesn't have that... passion. That soul, you know. Of course she's like 17. There is still plenty of time for her.

It was heartbreaking to watch though. And her mom, obviously disappointed, continued to tell her how proud she is of her and that it's ok, she did her best.

Elodie, you have my nomination for best mom ever.

Meanwhile, Tyler and Malik face-off in a national dance competition. Tyler joins an already established crew of about 100, while Malik starts his own crew a quarter of the size. Malik does all his own choreography and coaching, while Tyler's team has a slew of experienced coaches and choreographers.

Tyler's team has matching outfits and pyrotechnics. Malik's doesn't.

Tyler's team wins of course. But Malik's crew comes in second.

But I'd have given it to Malik. The dancing was just as strong and more authentic, and they didn't need purple outfits and pyrotechnics.

What's this, Gina? Is Tyler's star fading?! I believe it's true, people.

Also, Tyler keeps showing up wherever Mia is. Annoying.

P.S. Jasmine, Tyler doesn't deserve you. Xoxox, Gina

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's 72º and Sunny. TGIF!

The Flying Pig Marathon is just over a week away, my little gazelles!

Oh shizz!

What we need is a montage! Why train for four months when you can be ready in a week or so with an inspirational, music-driven video collage?!

So please study this hilariously awesome montage featuring Rocky and Apollo. By the end you should be able to:

1.) Out beach run Apollo (splashing ensues!!!!), and

2.) Have a great outfit planned for the Pig. Helloooo short-shorts and knee socks!

"Getting strong nowwwww!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mission Pirouette: Accomplished

Tonight there were six of us.

I was still the only one in Nike shorts and footless tights.

Tonight we did a lot of barre work again, only this time with turns, jumps and - drum roll! - pirouettes.

We had just finished a series of jumping turns at the barre - a warm up I guess - when the instructor had us stop, set and then pirouette.

Oohhh yeah, I thought. It's my time to shine. So what if I need correction on everything else.

So I jumped, turned, swayed and then set up for the most fantastic pirouette Ballet Theatre Midwest has ever seen. Aaaand voila!

Ok, so maybe it wasn't the best. But it was still pretty damn good. But right after the pirouette we were told to extend our right leg and lunge... into the splits.

The WHAT?!

Oh yes, dancers. The splits. The other girls immediately went to the floor - whoosh! - right into the splits. Mine was more of an ERRRRRTTT, like a car skidding to a halt. Because that's what my legs did about halfway down.


The whole thing totally ruined my pirouette high.

It was about that time I realized why I quit ballet all those years ago: I hate it.

Turns out that me at age 13 isn't all that different from me now. Ballet is controlled, disciplined, restrictive. Aka, no fun. I want to get loose on the dance floor, you know what I'm sayin'? And you can't very well break it down in ballet.

So another hobby bites the dust. Sorry ballet, it's over.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Prima Ballerina

There were four of us.

I was the only one in footless tights and Nike shorts. The other girls wore sheer, wrap-around skirts over their full-length tights.

They had all been there before. And judging by their clothes and the way they easily slid up to the barre, they had plenty of experience.

No problem, I thought as I signed in. They must not know about me. I pirouette in my sleep.

The instructor asked me how much dance experience I have. Lots, I said.

I considered telling her about that night at The Chug in Muncie in 1997 when I was breakin' it down on that table. That might have been more alcohol-fueled instead of raw talent though. Still. I was on fire.

Anyway, I told her I had many years of dance experience, but I trailed off when I added it was only in tap and jazz and not ballet.

I did have one year of ballet. Or I was supposed to anyway, but I quit after a few weeks and went back to jazz because ballet was too controlled and disciplined.

The 13-year-old me needed more freedom in dance. But I'm older now, and looking for new dance experiences. And besides, have you seen the dancers on Taking The Stage? So lithe and sinewy. That could be me.

As we stood at the barre I followed the girl beside me, who clearly had done this for many years. The instructor - tall, thin, long graying hair pulled back into a bun - called out positions.

First. Cou-de-pied. Retiré. Second. Fondu. Sissonne. Plié.

I knew what Plié meant. And thanks to a book I had as a kid called Prima Ballerina with illustrated pictures of the five positions, I knew those. The other things she said I've never heard uttered in my life.

The instructor came over to each of us and straightened our alignment, moved our arms and forced our feet into the proper positions. But she definitely spent more time with me. When do we get to pirouette, I wondered.

Toward the end of class the instructor kind of laughed to herself and said, "We're just going to see what happens." And then she took us away from the barre and led us through a series of more aggressive movements, including a succession of split-leap jumps across the floor.

I followed the girl in front of me who seemed to have the most experience, but after we finished leaping the instructor told us our arms were all wrong.

I knew it, I thought. It felt unnatural. I should have done my own thing.

The next series of jumps we all tried to do the opposite of what we had just done with our arms. Failure again. Now our legs were off.

I set off across the floor determine to master them one final time.

Then it happened. "Gina, you've got it!" she said.

YES. So what did I do with this compliment? I proceeded to exaggerate each arm movement while exclaiming, "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!" as I jumped across the floor.

The girl who's pretty good wasn't very amused, but the rest of the class was cracking up. Even the instructor giggled a bit.

When we went back to our line the girl next to me was still laughing, which made me laugh harder. Before long tears were streaming down my face and we were both bent over trying to hold it in while the instructor went through our next steps.

That's me. Class clown.

Before we left the instructor told us that next week was spring break, so no class. Awesome. I show up for one class and then get spring break. Ow!

I know the instructor thinks she'll never see me again. I didn't know what was going on most of the time, I don't speak ballet, and I needed a lot of correction.

But she's got another thing coming if she thinks she's rid of me. I haven't gotten to pirouette yet.

See you tomorrow night lady!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Love's Big But

It might be spring in Cincinnati, but it's Christmas time on the Taking the Stage, folks.

And that means it's Nutcracker audition season - Tyler wants to be the Russian, Jasmine a Sugar Plum Fairy and Shaakira desperately, desperately wants to be the Snow Queen. "Please God, Snow Queen," she says.

Aaaand everyone gets the part they want.

The pressure becomes unbearable for Shaakira, though, who has a crisis of confidence. She's scared she's not as good as her peers and also has to endure hearing Jasmine get heaps of praise during every dance class. Poor sweet girl!

You can do it Shaakira!

Meanwhile, Mia's Uber Pale friend (with the unfortunate chin beard) writes Mia a love song and performs it for her, finally putting it out there that he doesn't want to be on the backburner anymore.

It's a pretty good song. About as subtle as a John Mayer lyric, but still, he owns it and it's great.

In return Mia proclaims to "love him more than anything, but..." As Pee Wee says, Everyone always has big but. Uber Pale stays in the friend zone. Sad.

As Tyler practices for his role as the Russian Mia gives him the swell advice to add a little hip-hop to the piece, when really Tyler should be practicing his basic ballet skills.

Oh well. It's show time!

Jasmine walks into the men's dressing room to ask Tyler for a quarter (weird) and guess who's back there wishing him luck?! Mia! Omg they are sooo BUSTED!

Tyler and Jasmine fight in the hallway.

But out on stage, Shaakira sparkles!

The fears and self-doubts have given way to a gorgeous performance. Mia, who is now in the front row watching, goes on and on about how fab Shaakira is. But when Jasmine takes the stage she says Jasmine "looks fake" and "does nothing for me."

Not cool Mia.

Then it's Tyler's turn as the Russian. Buuuuut it doesn't go well. The usually impeccable Tyler nearly takes out a Christmas tree during his turns - the audience gasps! - and he falls over at the end on his landing. Yikes. (I blame Mia's "good luck" wish.)

Jasmine tries to console Tyler but he's too distraught over his performance to care about what she says.

The next day at school they have a big fight (in the snow) over what a jerk Tyler was to her and also about Mia.

When Jasmine says Mia was "a kid in a candy store" while Tyler was on stage, an ever so slight smile briefly flashes across his face.

It's the death knell for Tyler and Jasmine I'm afraid.

Tune in Thursday for latest dance showdown between Malik and Tyler; Jasmine's audition for Juilliard and Tyler and Mia "confusing" each other.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


According to my 7-year-old source, the different between a twister and a tornado is a twister has a cow in it. As per the movie Twister.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Guerilla Adventure

Last week I saw one of the best movies I've seen a long time. Joyful, fun and all-together exhilarating, it might just be one of my favorite movies of all time.

Man On Wire is a documentary about the beguiling eccentric Philippe Petit, who decides as a young boy it is his dream to high-wire walk between the Twin Towers.

He sees a magazine article at the dentist's office about the construction of the two tallest buildings in the world, and - wonder of wonders! - they will be built side-by-side. A dream is born.

The zealous Frenchman grows up to become a world-class tight rope walker. And best of all, a convincing one.

We see Petit and his crew of accomplices successfully conquer the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris and the Harbor Bridge in Sydney. But the World Trade Center? Just the idea of wire walking it is ridiculous (can't be done, they'll get caught), stupidly illegal (they'll hang him if he doesn't die first), death-defying (nice knowing ya Philippe) and downright insane.

But wow, how magnificent. What a treat it would be to know someone so spirited and adventurous.

As the adage goes, What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail.

"It's impossible, that's sure, so let's start working," he says.

The adventure is thrilling, amusing, and poetic.

Merci Philippe.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Good Luck Little Guy

I was walking through the main corridor of the hospital today and sitting on one of the couches lining the hallway was a little boy and his mom.

He was maybe 6 or 7 and had a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. The poor little guy was a ghastly shade of yellow. Nearly green. Obviously a very sick little boy. Cancer? Liver failure? God knows.

What was unusual about it is that I rarely see people sitting on those couches. And never do I see such sick patients there.

As I walked past the little boy laid his head against his mom's shoulder, and his mom, in turn, rested her head against his. They both looked... weary.

I didn't want to stare but it was such an affecting moment it was hard to turn away.

As I passed I watched a doctor coming toward us see them. He smiled at the mom and reverently tipped his head to her. I felt like we were thinking the same thing - a million blessings and a million thanks they have each other.

A few minutes later I walked past the couch again and they were still sitting there, still resting their heads on each other.

Man I hope that kid makes it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hip Hop A Lot

Sooo much dramz on Taking the Stage last week.

It's the school's singer-songwriter showcase, i.e. another way for Mia to win something. Mia is still crushing on Tyler from their make-out session. Tyler seems to still be crushing on Mia, but claims to want Jasmine back. Jasmine is still mad about the whole thing.

*Insert panoramic of Cincinnati skyline.

Tyler has his little brother deliver roses to Jasmine in ballet class, then offers Jasmine a half-hearted apology. (I didn't see any tears, Tyler.) Jasmine's not convinced he's sorry. Yeah whatever, Tyler! You can't just woo us back with your smooth moves and adorable smile, ok? This is a trust thing!

Jasmine does a solo dance to Beyonce's If I Were A Boy. Omg, girl. Dance it out.

Mia tells Uber Pale Aaron (with the unfortunate chin beard) that she doesn't even care what people are saying about her and Tyler. Tyler, Tyler, Tyler. Mia claims to be "too pale to blush" when Uber Pale calls her out for continuing to gush about him. She just wants to work on her song, ok guys?

Jasmine is bummed that she and Tyler are on the outs. Her bday party is at Skatetown USA and it won't be the same without him. Or will it?

At Skatetown... The lights dim and JJ starts singing a super awkward song to Jasmine from Tyler. (He's sorrrrry girrrrrl.) And then, Tyler busts through a random side door (sans skates) and proceeds to hip-hop his way back into Jasmine's heart to Chris Brown's With You.

Oh/I'm into you, and girl no/One else will do.

Jasmine and the rest of the girls weep with wonder at Tyler's romantic, dancing gesture. But come on! Haven't we seen these moves before?! You might be able to win Jasmine back with your pop-and-lock, Tyler, but you're gonna need some fresh steps to get me back. Playa.

Mia learns of this win-her-back performance for Jasmine and is visibly crushed. But it's cool because she won that singer-songwriter thing.

Coming Thursday - Jasmine busts Mia and Tyler hugging, while Tyler is dressed as a toy soldier. Ow ow!

Friday, April 10, 2009

TGIF. Adam's B-Day Edition!

We made it y'all. It's Friday once again and we at Gina's Blog couldn't be happier. Not only it is Friday (ow!) but tomorrow is Adam's birthday, so extra-double Happy Birthday ow ow!

This is cause for a very special TGIF video of course, one that captures the essence of Fridays, birthdays, weekends and driving in the spingtime with the windows down and the radio cranked... while eating frosting.

There can be only one song that fits all of this criteria, so let 'er rip Pat Benatar, with a your supersonic voice and violent green gloves.

Sing it with me, people! Weeee belong, we belong, we belong together!!!!

You can't argue with that, folks.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Taking the Stage Episode III

(Also, known as the "Tyler screws the pooch" episode.)

Last week the cliffhanger asked the question, "Is Tyler a playa?" Well fair readers, I hate to be the bearer of bad news - cause we were all really rooting for Tyler and Jasmine, right? (Ok maybe just me) - but it turns out that yes, yes he is a player. Tyler how could you?!

The formula is clear now: Each week features a new reason why the kids have to go on stage and be awesome, and this week's reason is the school's annual fundraiser, complete with "Cincinnati dignitaries" in the audience, as Mr. Artistic Director tells the kids.

The schtick is a mash-up up of genres, so Tyler the dancer gets teamed up with Mia the singer-songwriter for the show.

They spend the entire episode locked in long, flirty looks at each other. Annoying! I'm on Team Jasmine and this was most upsetting. (I'm gonna need some Funyons to help me through this emotional time.)

Jasmine, meanwhile, is kind of MIA in the episode, only occasionally dancing into a scene.

After Tyler, Mia and the rest of their mash-up group finishes their awesome performance - in front of Nick Lachey and his girlfriend (I guess they're the dignitaries?) - Tyler and Mia, in their post-performance exhilaration, run off together and nearly kiss in the hallway. WHAT?!

We find out via Shaakira that Tyler and Mia actually made-out at a post-performance party. (Speaking of mashing, y'all.)

Later at school Mia tells her uber-pale rocker friend What's-His-Face (with the unfortunate chin beard) that she doesn't care what everyone is saying because she like, likes Tyler, and he digs her too. Meanwhile Tyler confesses his deed to Jasmine and asks for forgiveness while Rihanna's Take A Bow plays in the background.

Yeah, don't tell me you're sorry when you're not, Tyler. You're only sorry you got caught! Grab your (dance) clothes and get-gone, punk.

Adam rushed to Jasmin's aide immediately after the closing credits pointing out, "This is Jasmine's first boyfriend. She has no clue! And she's suddenly dating this dude who clearly knows he's good looking, and clearly knows girls like him - cause girls like dancers." (Indeed, we all remember Adam Makes Tacos... and Puts a Ring On It. We all liked that.) "She needs to dump him!"

In sum: Don't do it Jasmine! He IS a player!

Stay tuned for next week's episode when we find out if roses can win back Jasmine's trust.

Here's the performance that started this wack shizz. (Hmm... Maybe Jasmine could date the dude who raps in it.)

All About Me Weekend

This week on or about ohhhh, Monday, I decided this weekend I wasn't going to do anything I didn't want to do.

You know what I'm sayin.' Sometimes you need to take a day or two for numero uno. So that's what I did.

Friday night I went out the girls. Really they're all Missy's girls, but they've kindly adopted me into the crew. Whenever I hang out with them all I do is laugh.

For example, I got to hear first-hand the story of when Missy's sister did a cannonball into the pool at Jeff Ruby's Waterfront, complete with the announcement of "CANNONBALL!" just before she gawooshed under water. Ha! It cracks me up just thinking about it.

Usually on Saturdays I meet my impromptu "running group" at the Peace Bell. We're a very serious group. I barely even run, one of them is a smoker, several others are social smokers and we rarely all run the same route, but we're all on relay teams, so this is serious stuff, people. We got to train!

Except that it was all about me weekend and when I asked myself if that meant running I had to answer honestly. And that answer was a big fat NO. So no four miles for me. Too bad. :)

I did bike 5 miles though, which was way more fun.

I celebrated this decision at the Montgomery Inn on Saturday night, assuring myself as I scarfed down barbecue that had I actually gone for a run I would be have fantastic. Cheers to my fastest mile ever! (In my head.)

Sunday morning I woke up thinking, "I need a pancake like, now." Fortunately I was able to make that happen at the Echo.

Afterwards I wanted to scooter ride up to Devou Park but sadly for Stella and me Dean was working today. (It was Sunday Sun-Day at the Observatory. )

I waffled on whether or not I wanted to go without him - Dean knows all the good scooter-friendly ways to go places - but Stella was all, "Girl, please, I know how to get there," so we on without him. He's going to be sooo jealous when he finds out.

I'm finishing up this all about me weekend with my favorite show, Taking The Stage. I still have the new one from Thursday on DVR, so dibs on the couch kitties. Move it!

Hope everyone enjoyed the sunshine!

Friday, April 03, 2009

What's That Smell?!

I just twoted all over the place. TGIF!!