2011 St. Patrick’s Day Season, Day 7

Originally written March 15, 2011.

Why is my cat so in love with my dress bag? Whenever I’m careless enough to put it somewhere she can reach it, she rubs herself all over it and then crawls under or behind it, purring like a diesel engine the whole time.

I know that part of the attraction is the fabric of the bag. She’s all white, and the bag is black, and (while I know that cats are supposed to be colorblind) she really seems to prefer shedding on dark fabrics. Also, the bag is made of heavy cotton, and cat hairs stick to it very well. Again, she tends to like lying on fabrics that her fur sticks to. Some of our chairs look like they’re made of white angora.

What I can’t figure out is how she always knows when I’ve put the bag where she can get to it. This morning, for instance, I was getting ready for our first show, and the cat was nowhere to be seen. Normally, she gets up with my husband and follows him around while he gets ready, and then she waits for me to get up and do my morning routine. My morning routine includes changing her water and feeding her, and once I’ve done that, she usually wants me to pet her.

This morning, however, I hadn’t seen the cat at all. I’d gotten up, watered the plants, changed the cat’s water, fed the cat, cleaned out her litter box, had breakfast, and stretched, and not a sign of her. Lulled into a false sense of security, I took the dress bag out of the closet and hung it on the closet door so I wouldn’t forget it when I left. I brushed my teeth, which takes about two minutes, and when I put down the tooth brush, there she was, INSIDE the dress bag, since I’d naively left it unzipped. I hadn’t even seen her get in.

And of course she was purring.

We had two shows today. The first was at an Alzheimer’s care facility in Highlands Ranch. We’ve danced there annually for almost ten years now, and it’s a show I enjoy. The facility is bright, welcoming, and interesting; the whole front area inside the building is designed to look like a main street, with a lamp post in the middle of the big foyer and a little “shops” lining the hallways, like a hair stylist and a candy shop. Alzheimer’s care centers are some of the most heartbreaking places we visit, but at this facility I can tell that the residents are well-cared for and as content as they can be.

The second show was at a senior center we hadn’t danced at before. It seemed like a nice enough place, and the organizers and residents both appeared to enjoy the performance. We had to be careful while we were dancing, though: in the dining room where we were performing, each individual table had its own light, which was dropped down from the ceiling. The tables had been pushed out of the way for our show, but the lights remained, and the decorative knob on the bottom of each light was less than six feet off the ground. Since Phil is 6’ or a little taller, we were worried that he was going to run into one of the lights and knock himself silly. It probably wouldn’t be good for the light bulb, either.

So we laid our show boards on the floor between a couple sets of lights and told Phil he couldn’t dance off the boards. That gave him about 10’ side to side to dance in, which is tight, but he managed it, and both Phil and the lights survived the show unscathed.

After the second show, we headed back to the studio to do a dress rehearsal for our annual stage show. A dress rehearsal is always kind of an exercise in organized chaos, where almost forty people are getting dressed at the same time and finding out that their tights have runs, their tights are too small, they don’t have any tights; that their bra doesn’t work under their leotard; that their jacket clashes with their pants. You assign people to help with these problems while you, dressed in your outrageous goth fairy/Lady Gaga outfit, run back and forth fetching wigs, veils, headbands, safety pins, and scripts. There are customers in the store who aren’t from your school, and you hope that they have no idea who you are.

Once everyone is dressed, you run through the whole show, where you find out that there isn’t enough time for one of your main characters to change her shoes and her costume between numbers. Since you haven’t ever run some of the numbers back-to-back before, no one has realized that they need to be sidestage at a particular time, and as their music is playing, they are all sitting next to you, looking at the empty stage. The set takes up too much of the stage for your big finale. The beautiful fairy wings won’t work for the audience participation number, because they tend to poke people’s partners in the face.

By the end of the evening, you have a tic in the side of your face and you wonder if it isn’t too late to become a hermit.

Seriously, though—while dress rehearsals do tend to be chaotic, this one was also really good! I was exhausted by the end of it, but also very happy. It’s going to be a good show. I love all my dancers.

Tomorrow, I have four shows, and somewhere in there I’ve got to find some time to make the show layouts for the twenty shows we have on Thursday. Cue hysterical laughter. This was the year I promised myself I wasn’t going to get behind like this. Yeah, right. : )

Movie Review: Deadpool

popcornhttps://pixabay.com/en/food-popcorn-snack-movie-corn-eat-686922/

My husband and I went to see Deadpool on Valentine’s Day, because nothing is more romantic than seeing a violent comic book movie with your sweetheart (although, since the movie we saw on our first date was Scream, maybe what we consider romantic is different than normal).

 

In case you saw the previews for Deadpool and were wondering if you should go see it, here is a handy moviegoer’s guide.

 

DO NOT GO AND SEE THIS MOVIE if you:

 

  1. Are under the age of 17. Seriously, parents, Deadpool is rated R for a reason. See the other items below.
  2. Dislike profanity. The creators of Deadpool really felt like the character needed to be in an R-rated movie, and they made sure that they would get an R by filling every other sentence with such a variety of cuss words and crude references that I don’t think they’ll ever be able to show this movie on broadcast television. They’d have to bleep half the dialogue.
  3. Dislike nudity in movies. There is not as much nudity as there is profanity, thank goodness, but there’s enough.
  4. Dislike sex in movies. See item #3 and the note in #2 about the creators making sure they got an R rating. Boy, did they make sure.
  5. Dislike violence. There is A LOT of violence. Also a lot of death, dismemberment, and over-the-top CGI action sequences. I don’t want to give anything away by describing some of the fight scenes, but a detailed description would involve using the word “decapitations,” a plural that usually only gets used in movies about the French Revolution.
  6. Dislike crudity. Sometimes it feels like the movie was written by 12-year-old boys trapped in adult screenwriters’ bodies. There are some extra non-PC moments/characters, too.
  7. Prefer movies that have multiple female characters who talk to each other. This movie has two female characters who punch each other—does that count?
  8. Prefer movies with sweeping cinematography and storylines that explore social issues and the characters’ innermost fears and desires. This is a raunchy action movie starring a comic book character.

 

 

If you made it through the list above and are still here, then Deadpool is for you!

 

I really enjoyed it. It was fast-paced, funny, and full of references to other comic book movies (including Wolverine, in which Ryan Reynolds previously played Deadpool, and Green Lantern, where Reynolds played the lead). For people like my husband and me who’ve seen a lot of comic book movies, the references were fun, but they’re done in passing (so you don’t have to be a comic book fan to like the film).

 

Ryan Reynolds is perfect as the foulmouthed super-anti-hero. He’s charming and believable, and his comic timing is great. The writers gave him (and all the other characters) snappy dialogue that really works for the irreverent, over-the-top tone of the movie, and all the actors seem to really get into their characters. Ed Skrein, the British actor playing bad guy Francis “Ajax” Freeman, is delightfully loathsome as a supervillain, and Morena Baccarin (formerly of Firefly) is excellent (and surprisingly sweet, given the kind of movie it is) as Deadpool’s girlfriend.

 

There are a bunch of fun side characters, including X-Man Colossus (who is pretty much the opposite of Deadpool in every way), and the action sequences are good. The action was sometimes a little too CGI-heavy for my tastes—I really prefer solid stuntwork over camera tricks and computer graphics—and I would happily have cut out most of the cussing (although it was interesting waiting to see what off-the-wall combination of cusswords they would throw together next. It was almost like they had a profanity slot machine and were pulling the lever to randomly assemble terms).

 

However, overall it was exciting and fun, with characters you end up rooting for, a solid plot, and a satisfying ending. I’ll see it again, and it’s definitely good enough to deserve a sequel.

2011 St. Patrick’s Day Season, Day 6

My husband’s birthday is March 14, which is one of those little ironies that prove the universe has a sense of humor. It would be like someone with an April birthday marrying an accountant. There have been years where the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has fallen on March 14, and there have been years where I’ve had so many performances on that day that we had to celebrate his birthday some other day.

This year, we only had a couple shows, and my sister was super nice and offered to lead them so I could take the day off. It was great. My husband took the day off, too, and we got some chores done, had lunch out, took a nap, and watched a movie. Now I feel rested and ready for the busy few days ahead.

My sister said her shows went well today, although she did have a couple funny stories:

The first one had to do with a dog at the nursing home they danced at this morning. A lot of nursing homes have dogs or cats to interact with the residents. Well, this one came around a corner unexpectedly right as our dancer Phil was dancing close to the doorway, and it got scared and started barking at Phil. That was a new one. I feel bad for Phil, because he seems to attract this kind of thing. Once, a resident with a walker took a dislike to him and hit him with her walker. That wasn’t a good show.

After their performance, the organizer came up and asked if the dancers would go visit one of the residents who was bedridden. They all went to his room and did a couple jig steps for him, and he seemed very appreciative. He said that he’d like to talk to the dancers for a minute. They came up close to his bedside, and he said, “Kids, I’m stuck in this dang bed because I didn’t pay close attention to my cholesterol. Don’t you make the same mistake! Always get your cholesterol checked.”

See? Shows are both fun AND educational.

Adventure #19–Rock Climbing, Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

 

Well, here went nothing.

 

Dakota threaded the rope through two loops on the front of my harness and then showed me how to tie the knot (he said that I would be tying it myself next time—oh, yay. Because I wanted to be trusting my life to a knot that I had tied myself). Then I was off.

knotweb

Let me just say for the record that rock climbing looks MUCH EASIER from the ground than it actually is. From the ground, you can see all sorts of nooks, crannies, bumps, and holes in the rock that look plenty big enough to hold on to. When you’re actually ON the rock, it looks like a smooth, slippery lump of clay that not even Spider-man could cling to. Or, sometimes, there will be a handhold, but it looks like only someone with arms like a gorilla could reach it. I swear, I started shouting, “Um, what do I do next?” when I was five feet off the ground.

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“There’s a place for your left foot next to where your waist is now,” Dakota would say calmly, and I would look at the inch-deep spur of rock with deep distrust. THAT was going to hold me? Also, how was I supposed to get my foot all the way up there without dislocating my hip?

 

And then I would take a deep breath and somehow get my foot up there, and it would somehow stay without slipping off and plunging me to my early death.

 

“You got it. Keep dropping your heel,” Dakota would say.

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Or I would put my hand in a giant hole on the side of the boot, only to find that the rock inside was as smooth as velvet, with nothing to grab onto.

 

“Twist your hand to jam it against the sides of the hole, and then you can put your weight on it.”

 

Oh, yeah. Sure.

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But I would twist my hand until the fingers were kinda sorta maybe braced against the rock inside the hole, and I would lift my foot up, and miraculously everything would stay where it was supposed to be, and I would get my foot to another miniscule resting place, and then the whole process would start again.

 

After what seemed like an hour of me crawling painstakingly from one tiny foothold to the next, I reached the top of the Cowboy Boot. Okay. I was good. Could I come down now?

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But Dean Jr. and my friend had both reached the carabiner, and I didn’t want to be a weenie.

 

The top of the Cowboy Boot was flat and probably four feet across. Next to the tiny ledges I’d been using, it seemed like a broad plain. I felt safe and secure for the first time in ages (well, minutes, but it seemed like ages). The rock face I was supposed to climb now was pretty close to vertical (or that’s how it looked to me, anyway), and the first sticky-out bit of any kind that I could see was maybe eight feet above my head.

 

Eep! No wonder Dean and my friend had both asked for help here.

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I remembered exactly what Dakota had told them, and I tried to do what he’d said without asking again, but panic did a little tap dance in my stomach and I blurted out, “I don’t know what to do!”

 

I’m pretty sure my voice, unlike Dean’s, came out all squeaky and terrified. Geez.

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“Reach up above your head with your right hand,” Dakota said, “and find the biggest ledge you can with your fingers.”

 

I reached up with my right hand and felt around. There were no ledges. There was a kind of bump. That was all.

 

I put my hand on the bump. Maybe when I found a foothold, the handhold would feel better…?

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“Now put your right foot up on the rock near where your knee is right now.”

 

Again, there wasn’t really anything sticking out there, just a part where the rock was a little bumpier. I put my foot up on it. It did not feel secure at all.

 

“Uh…where do I put my left hand?” I shouted down.

 

“It’s just going to hang out for a second until you get a little higher.”

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NOT what I wanted to hear. I did not want my left hand “hanging out.” I wanted it firmly holding on to a giant handhold. What about my three points of contact?

 

My left foot was still standing on the top of the Cowboy Boot. The next step, it seemed, was to push myself off the boot, trusting my weight to my right hand and foot, and then find someplace up the rock for my left foot to go. My body was very, very reluctant to do this.

 

Nuh-uh, it seemed to say. We like it here, where it’s safe.

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“Where am I going to put my left foot?” I asked, stalling (although I really could not see anyplace to put my left foot).

 

“Anywhere that looks good,” Dakota said (gee, thanks). “There’s a place up there near that brown spot.”

 

“Here?” I asked, dubiously, pointing. The place he referred to was, again, more a bump than anything, and it was so far up and to the left it looked like I’d have to do the splits to get there.

 

“Yeah.”

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I stood there a moment, considering. My whole body was shaking a little in fear, and I REALLY did not want to trust my weight to some sketchy bumps in the rock. The way I saw it, I had a couple options:

 

  1. I could admit that I was a coward and ask to come down.
  2. I could give it a try. I mean, what was the worst that could happen?

 

My overactive imagination immediately supplied some helpful images of me losing my grip, falling back onto the boot, and breaking my leg. Thanks, imagination.

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Well, since my imagination seemed to want a little exercise, I let myself imagine how I would feel if I quit and came back down without touching the carabiner. I was sure it wouldn’t be the first time that had happened on this course.

 

But I didn’t want it to happen to me.

 

Taking a deep breath, I dropped my right heel as far as it would go, spread out the fingers of my right hand, and pushed upward. Amazingly, I did not slide back down the rock. My left foot found a place to stand, and I was able to lift myself up to a place where my left hand could find a grip, too. I moved my right foot up to another foothold, and then my right hand, and in a few minutes I was touching the carabiner at the end of the course.

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I did it!

 

With great relief, I grabbed onto the rope with both hands and sat my weight back into my harness, sticking my legs straight out in front of me with my feet on the rock. It was the most comfortable I’d been since leaving our starting point. I walked my feet backward down the cliff, moving to the right side of the boot and heading back toward where everyone was waiting. At one point, I started going a little too fast and twisted on the rope until my hip smacked the rock, but that was okay. Going down was so much easier than going up that I didn’t mind a few bruises.

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Once my feet were on the ground, I untied the rope from my harness and then moved away while Dean Sr. took his turn. I sat down, took my helmet off, drank some water, and thought about life and the universe and how much I loved flat, horizontal surfaces.

safeweb

My rock climbing experience had been interesting, and I was going to enjoy blogging about it, but I was just as glad that it was over now, and…

 

My thoughts were interrupted by Dean Sr. returning to the ground in record time (and without needing any guidance from Dakota). Definitely the head of our class.

 

“Great job, everybody,” Dakota said. “Now that you’ve tried the easy climb, we’re going to do one that’s a little more challenging.”

 

Wait—what?

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“We’ll be going up the left side of the Cowboy Boot now, where the climb is a little more technical. There are good ledges for the first half, and then you’ll get to the crack up there. You’ll be able to put both your hands and feet in the crack and twist them to keep them in place while you lift yourself up. The climb’s about ten feet farther than the one you just did, about forty feet total.”

 

I looked at the left the side of the boot. It seemed, to my horrified eyes, like the rock formation there was completely vertical and smooth, a red sandstone wall marred only by a crack that stretched from the top to about halfway down.

 

No way. No way was I going to climb that.

 

“Who wants to go first?”

 

“Me!” Dean Jr. volunteered enthusiastically. Better him than me. He picked up the rope and tied it to his harness all by himself, doing the Boy Scouts proud.

 

“And does anyone want to learn to belay?”

 

My friend did, so Dakota clipped a special belay device to her harness. The belay end of the rope (the end that was not attached to Dean Jr.) ran through this device, which basically acts as a brake in case of a fall. It’s beautifully simple: the rope passes through a metal ring at one end, loops through a carabiner, and then passes out through another metal loop that’s side-by-side with the first one. Depending on the position of the rope, the rope can either slide easily through the rings, or it can’t move at all. Physics in action!

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The person belaying puts one hand (the “lead hand”) on the part of the rope that comes up out of the device towards the rock, and the other hand (the “brake hand”) on the part of the rope that comes down out of the device towards the ground (ending in the free end of the rope).

 

When the climber is ready, the climber is supposed to say, “On belay,” or, “Ready to climb.”

 

The belayer then says, “Belay on,” meaning that they’re ready.

 

The climber says, “Climbing,” and the belayer replies, “Climb on.”

 

These signals are really important, especially if you’re climbing a course that’s more difficult than the one we were doing, but every time somebody said, “Climb on,” I kept imagining Wayne from Wayne’s World saying, “Party on, Garth!”

 

As the climber ascends, the belayer takes up the slack in the rope using a series of movements: pull, brake, pinch, and slide.

 

First, the belayer moves her hands so that the two pieces of the rope she’s holding are roughly parallel. In this position, the rope can slide smoothly through the device. She pulls the rope so that it slides down, taking up the slack.

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Second, the belayer pulls the pieces of rope apart, so they are as close to making one horizontal line as possible. In this position, the friction caused by the rope passing through the brake means that it’s impossible for the rope to move. If the climber slips, the rope will safely catch him.

 

The number one rule of belaying is never take your brake hand off the rope, so next the belayer has to move her lead hand and put it on the brake end of the rope, next to her brake hand. She pinches the rope in her lead hand tightly.

 

Then she slides her brake hand so that it’s back up next to the device.

 

Repeat as necessary while the climber goes up the wall.

 

When the climber reaches the top and is ready to go back down, the belayer shuffles the rope through the device the other way, giving them slack so that they can descend.

belayhandwebAll of this shuffling of the rope left my friend’s hands completely black

I watched my friend do this, taking notes and pictures. I watched Dean Jr. a little, too, but I didn’t really want to think too much about climbing up the cliff face. Clouds were gathering darkly overhead, with occasional drops of rain, and I was sort of hoping that it would start pouring and I wouldn’t have to go.

 

Dean, with a little guidance from Dakota, finished his climb and made it back down. He was grinning and happy. I felt sick to my stomach.

 

“Would you mind going next?” my friend asked me. “My arms are tired from belaying and I think I need to rest for a few minutes.”

 

What could I say? I couldn’t go, “Well, actually, I’ve decided that wild horses couldn’t drag me up that cliff face, so you’ll need to go next no matter how tired your arms are.”

 

“Sure!” I said, as cheerfully as I could manage. I picked up the rope and started threading it through my harness.

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Dakota, true to his word, had me tie my own knot this time, and then when I was done, he showed me how to test it to make sure it was secure. I tested it three times. You know, just to be safe.

 

I was steeling myself to start the climb when Dakota said, “Hey, Dean—how’d you like to belay?”

 

“Yeah!” said Dean Jr.

 

That almost snapped the fragile threads of my self-control. Dean seemed like a great kid. He was a Boy Scout. He had climbing experience. He had just successfully climbed up two rock faces with a lot more courage than I’d shown.

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But he had never belayed before, and he was on the small side for thirteen. Even though I was only 5’3” and about 115 pounds, I towered over him like Goliath over David. If I was going to climb up a rock wall that looked like the Cliffs of Insanity to me, I really wanted tall, strong, and expert Dakota on the other end of my rope.

 

I stood there, almost panicking, while Dakota showed Dean how to belay. While Dakota was talking, I glanced around (looking for an escape route), and I noticed that there was a crowd of tourists gathered on the walkway outside of the wooden fence, watching and taking pictures.

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I opened my mouth to scream that I’d changed my mind.

 

At this point, Rational Side, who is like a no-nonsense librarian, stepped in.

 

“Come on,” said Rational Side. “The climbing company has insurance just like everybody else. They wouldn’t let Dean belay for you if there was any chance you were going to get hurt. He doesn’t have to be big and strong. The device does most of the work of braking. He just has to pull the rope if you slip.”

 

“But what if he doesn’t pull it in time?” wailed Emotional Side, which is a lot like Fear from Inside Out. “What if I fall and die?”

 

“Pull yourself together!” snapped Rational Side. “You’re not going to die. You’re not going to hurt Dean’s feelings by asking for Dakota to belay, either. Just get up there and climb that wall!”

 

So I climbed.

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It wasn’t until I climbed this second course that I realized how relatively easy the first course had been. Hindsight, and all that. On the left side of the Cowboy Boot, there were almost no well-defined handholds like there had been on the right side. Everything was like the last part of the first climb, where the most you were going to get was a little bump coming out of the rock.

 

“I’m not sure what to do now,” I said, probably two minutes into my climb.

 

“There’s a ledge to your right, near your elbow, where your foot can go,” Dakota said.

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I glanced down. He must have known a definition of “ledge” that I didn’t. To me, a ledge was a big, stable flat space, like a windowsill. All I saw next to my elbow was a place where the rock bowed out slightly.

 

I gritted my teeth and swung my foot up to it. “This doesn’t feel secure,” I said.

 

“Drop your heel.”

 

If I had a dollar for every time Dakota said either, “Drop your heel,” or, “There’s a ledge right there,” I could live on the interest for the rest of my life.

 

A couple times, I wanted to shout, “I’m already dropping my @#$%^ heel as far as it will go, you *&^%$#@!”, but I knew that was just the fear talking.

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Because I was afraid. Totally, quiveringly afraid. Rational Side kept telling me that I had a harness on, that was attached to a rope, that was being controlled by a belaying device and the laws of physics, but I was still scared nearly out of my mind. There was something primally terrifying about clinging to a vertical rock wall with only my hands and feet. Millions of years of evolution screamed at me to stop if I wanted my genes to get passed on to another generation.

 

But somehow I kept going.

 

After what seemed like hours, I reached the vertical crack that ran up the top half of the course. The crack, I saw when I was up close to it, was only a couple inches wide, although it ran back into the rock for more than a foot.

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“Good,” said Dakota. “Now pull your fingers together, put them into the crack, and twist until you have a good grip.”

 

I did. This was an interesting new experience. I definitely didn’t feel like my hand was going to slip, but having it jammed into a crack with all my weight on it didn’t exactly feel great, either.

 

That was doubly true for my feet when it was their turn. I pointed my toe and put my foot into the crack sideways, and then I twisted my foot so that the sole was more or less oriented downward again. Then I put my weight on the foot and heaved myself upward. All sorts of joints (my ankle, my knee, my big toe) were pointed in directions that God never intended. It was like playing a giant, vertical game of Twister.

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I slipped my second foot into the crack a little higher up and then tried to free my first foot so I could move it.

 

It was stuck.

 

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

“Calm down,” snapped Rational Side, while the rest of me was trying to decide whether throwing up or screaming was the better option. “Twist your foot a little more and pull a little harder and your foot will come out.”

 

It took two tries, but my foot did finally pop out of the crack. Thank goodness!

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I stood there and leaned my forehead against the rock for a minute, my free foot dangling. My other foot and my two hands were reasonably secure right then, so I wasn’t in any danger of plummeting to my death. Which was a good thing, because I was having an existential crisis.

 

Here’s what it sounded like:

 

Emotional Side: “I’m terrified. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m going to tell Dakota that I want to come back down.”

 

Rational Side: “But you’re almost there!”

 

ES: “The crack gets smaller right above my head, though, and then I have to do the grab-onto-ledges-that-aren’t-really-there thing with my other hand. I don’t want to do that. I want to go back down to the ground where it’s safe.”

 

RS: “For crying out loud. I can’t believe you’re scared. You wrestled alligators!”

 

ES (wailing): “That was EASY compared to this!”

 

RS: “Oh, yeah, right. Come on. Dean Jr. climbed up here. Are you telling me that a thirteen-year-old boy is braver than you?

 

ES: “Um….”

 

RS: “Besides, if you go back down now, you’re going to have to tell everybody in your blog that you QUIT halfway up.”

 

And that thought, right there—the thought that I would have to tell you in this blog that I’d quit on an adventure—was what made me finish the course. Pride goeth before a climb, I guess.

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You know what’s funny? It was after that, on the last ten feet or so of the second climb, after I’d almost given up, that I finally started to understand what Dakota had been telling us.

 

I put my free foot up on the rock, on a gentle curve of red sandstone, and instead of clinging to the rock and trying to avoid putting my weight on my foot, I shifted my weight squarely over that leg. My heel dropped by itself, and the rubber sole of the shoe gripped the rock with a firmness that I could feel. The rope was almost taut, ready to catch me if I slipped, but I knew right then that I wasn’t going to slip. I stood up on that leg, moved the other foot out of the crack, found another foothold, and then moved my hands.

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Oh! That’s how I was supposed to be doing it the whole time!

 

I felt kind of like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, when she finds out that she has had the power to go home since the beginning.

 

Not that it wasn’t scary. It still was. But I suddenly felt like I actually understood how the technique worked, and I finally trusted my equipment—and myself—to get the job done.

 

In that triumphant spirit, I climbed the last few feet and touched the carabiner.

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I’ll fast forward through coming back down to sweet, sweet terra firma, and through my friend and Dean Sr. making their climbs, and through Dean Sr. telling me that if my arms were sore (they were) it was because I wasn’t using my legs properly (gee, thanks). I didn’t take my turn belaying because my arms were shaking so much that I didn’t think it was safe. I sat on the rock and took pictures instead. When my friend finished her climb, her hands were so dirty from the rope that she didn’t want to touch anything, so I fed her almonds from a bag like I was giving a dog some treats. That made us laugh really hard, and I don’t even want to know what the rest of the group thought.

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My friend’s rock climbing experience was very similar to mine (as in terrifying), and we talked about it as we drove home to Denver. We decided several things:

 

  1. We were very glad we had given rock climbing a try.
  2. We were very, very proud of ourselves for not quitting even though we were terrified. We were awesome.
  3. We were never, ever going rock climbing again.

 

If you are thinking about trying rock climbing, I think I would suggest trying out an introductory class at an indoor rock climbing gym first. I just Googled indoor rock climbing classes in Denver, and there are a lot of different options; it looks like it might be a more controlled environment, with the routes clearly laid out so that you don’t have to make your own decisions about where to put your hands and feet while you’re still learning….

 

I know I just said that I was never, ever going again, but maybe I’ll give indoor climbing a try. You know. Just to see what it’s like.

 

Never say never, right?