We take in some science.

The Boy and I went to a local cidery to hear Idaho Fish and Game’s Eagle Fish Genetics Lab geneticist Dr. Sara Simmonds speak about her research into Idaho’s sockeye salmon population. She was hosted by “Thinks and Drinks Science Cafe.” This is much more in our wheelhouse than Scottish dancing, but was a new experience for us nonetheless. Dr. Simmonds’ talk was interesting, but the revelation of her previous work studying the Great Barrier Reef made me wish that had been the topic of the night. We learned that Idaho nearly lost all of its sockeye population, and that ongoing conservation efforts have made great headway in restoring the fish to our lakes.

[More about Idaho’s sockeye salmon conservation efforts here.]

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We go Scottish country dancing.

I took The Boy to Scottish country dancing lessons with Thistle & Ghillies Scottish Country Dancers. My son thinks I take him to things like this in order to inculcate him with my “do things that you don’t want do to” lifestyle, but really it’s so that I’m not alone. He’s my confidence crutch.

I’ve never liked dancing. New groups of strangers make me very uncomfortable. I’m not athletic or coordinated. I’m overweight and self-conscious about my body. I fully anticipated that everyone else at this thing would be trim and elegant and beautiful. I was terrified.

The class started with a simple warmup, where the 25-ish of us moved around the dance studio in a circle, walking forward, then backward, then sideways, then with a bit of arm-flailing. Then we learned a little double-skip footwork that is the standard way to move around in Scottish country dance. After warmup we formed two rows and were led through some moves that reminded me of square dance, but with the double-skip prance. I couldn’t keep track of what we were doing, and the regulars were remarkably patient with my idiotic attempts to keep up. There was a break, a new dance which was simpler than the first, but still over my head, and then it was over.

The regulars were extremely friendly and supportive (though they were, as I feared, trim and elegant and beautiful), and it’s clear they love dancing. We did not. I haven’t felt so uncoordinated or uncomfortable in quite awhile. I’m certain that with practice we could become competent dancers, and the regulars were encouraging and eager to share. But, it’s just not something I find compelling enough to continue.

(Incidentally, “ghillies” are the special shoes worn in Scottish country dancing.)

The Thistle and Ghillies Scottish Country Dancers

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I start a blog

My tendency is to make decisions with extremely predictable outcomes. I do things that are familiar and comfortable. Then with little else to challenge it, my mind looks for things to be mad about. Turn signals, Oxford commas, litter…. When I have mental space to fill with annoyances, I find lots of filler. If I have time to let trivial BS like that get stuck in my head, then I have time to do something else. For some time now I’ve been seeking out things to do that are outside my comfort zone, in an effort to combat this mental cycle. I thought it might be good to write about those experiences for later recollection. I don’t know that anyone else will find this interesting.

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