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Judy Atchinson's A Stubborn Woman
by Judy Atchinson

A Stubborn Woman

A Daily Gazette community blog
QUEST leader's wanderings and musings

Fundraiser for QUEST; working with the ballet

"In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted."
-- Bertrand Russell

Well I am alive barely, and so still is Zoey (new name for cat). Alert, running around, following everyone, and here's the big one, for 2 days in a row peeing in the kitty litter. Still she loves to pee on the paper best and I wish I had stock in The Gazette I have been buying up papers everywhere.
Everyone -- that's Ernie and Wilbur are jealous and are demanding -- not asking but demanding more attention. And every time I open the refrigerator there is a mad push and shove dash to the door. Ernie's collar has a little bell, and it is chiming 24-7. If Zoey comes into a sleeping room, one that has an animal bed, Wilbur rushes right over and lies in the middle and stretches every part of his body to every cranny and corner. "Mine," he is saying, "Mine."

And of course Zoey (locked in the bathroom) is up all night caterwauling. Now there's an apt word. Poor Beth is just down the hall so she gets up and makes nice. Got to love her.

On another front -- we have a man in his 20s coming to QUEST daily in the morning to do push-ups and pull-ups on our handicap ramp and then run splits up and down the 2 1/2 floor ascent up the side of the building. When he is sweaty enough he does laps around the parking lot and finishes up by shooting a few baskets. How cool is that? Someday I am going to surprise him and ask him if he would like to run a class for some of our not-so-motivated older and middle-aged crew.

We also have kids who come by with a ball and a parent and shoot hoops under our lights at night. Such a nice counterpoint to the drug house next door. It's all about community.

Speaking of which, someone I won't say, who actually asked me if we would be more easily accepted into closed circles of non-profits if I was not so visible at the site. What say you? Should I go into hiding and pretend that I don't exsist? This is not the Hill or Vale speaking, but the men in suits and ties!

Notice of Fund Raiser! Petta's resturant has been generous enough to share their venerable eating place with us, sooo, on Aug. 13, QUEST will be holding court at Mr. Michael Petta's on Duane Avenue from 5 p.m. on. That is a Tuesday night, and what better fun could you have than eating great Italian home cooking, at one of the oldest and best family spots in the city? Petta's has recently received an award for excellence and let's celebrate with Mike.

So that's Tuesday, Aug. 13 -- 5 p.m. and on -- we will only get 20% of all receipts. You my fans and helpers will just have to show up and eat a great meal. The parking lot is huge! Let's fill it up and it's more than handicap accessible; everything is on one level. And the photos on the wall will give you a grand look at Schenectady's history. What more could you want? I'll be there, what about you?

I ran into an old friend from Skidmore recently, she told me there's a new book out called "Dance in Saratoga," and yours truly has a whole paragraph in it. It's at (or will be at) Barnes and Noble and if you read it before I do, give me some feedback. I was also included in Deborah Jowett's book on the Jose Limon Co. and its 50-year anniversary. Haven't read that either. I do no know that Ms. Jowett reviewed my music for Dance magazine one year and requested that I call her if my music was being used anywhere in or around New York City; said she would come to review. Never did that either. Though I note that she is at SPAC this week giving pre-performance talks at the New York City Ballet's events. Her talks are sold out. Maybe this time I will drop by.

This past 2 1/2 weeks I have played piano for the ballet master of the National Ballet of Canada, The Ballet Master of Houston Ballet Jennifer Ringer, Tiler Peck, Daniel Ulbrecht, Robbie Fairchild, Amar Rasmussen and many more to come. Every year I write about this slightly artificial world of ballet. I will be working with the Santa Fe Ballet next, and this will be a new one for me.

Again, I am an observer, ever watchful, quiet and still. The girls seemed trapped in time. They remind me so much of "Alice in Wonderland." Long hair, flying on their shoulders as they turn pirouttes and petite allegro: Thin-thin-thin, almost bony, but muscular too. No breasts, diet and exercise have exorcised these states of young womenhood.

But yet when the time comes to take time out, they do and produce these beautiful butterfly-like babies. By the age of 40 they turn into teaching and other associated careers, but are still looking over their left shoulders from time to time with envy and regret. The men, well they become men, no longer are they called boys. In the world of ballet the two groups will be called boys and girls as long as they perform. No bunheads these people, but acutely intelligent, socially concerned and active. Almost a breed apart from the rest of us.

After class today Robbie Fairchild was mobbed by a bunch of little dancers asking for autographs, photographs and one little girl handed over her pointe shoe to be signed. It is interesting to see the young dancers not tied to their cell phones and other electronica. These marvels of the 21st century are kept well tucked away and only come out for special reasons, like getting your picture taken with a STAR!

They chatter and flutter, like a flock of birds do these young ladies. And the boys, well they eye the girls and look for openings. Just like any other pre-teen male. This is such a unique world. The entrance admission price is hours and hours of class and practice and becoming painfully aware of your own body (and your own personal relationship to it). The 18th and 19th century live and is in good hands in this cloisered young adulthood,and when the cryssalis is ready it explodes into the 21st century, fully formed and completely up to date. I feel privileged to put my magnifying glass to this task.

From a different perspective I listened to a medical specialist address the problems of third world health care. This man (doctor) has written two books and has worked tirelessly in Cuba, making clinics into hospitals and mud and mortar into schools. 30 years of his life he has decided to dedicate to work of this nature. And specializes in teaching those who will follow in his footsteps but who will also be making new paths of their own.

A hospital without a trauma station is the sign of a poor community. One which cannot offer serious and complete medical care to its constituents. And I guess that includes us. Schenectadians, we have a rose garden, we have a glittery theater which will soon have a digital marquee, we have new parking meters on the way but we have no trauma center. How does this happen? For years now I have been talking about this in this very blog. Does anyone out there even pay attention? When time is of the essence, air lifting to Albany Medical Center s not the best of all possible options. Even a basic center, something, anything would be helpful. We are not in Haiti, we are in New York. One of the biggest gifts we can give our city is progressive medical care. I hope you agree.

Yet on the other hand, I just got a rather bizarre letter from Ellis Health. Before I can get any more pain killers from their system, I must fill out 2 pages of paperwork and mail it in. Mind you I have not asked for a refill for my scripts when I had the shingles; I finished my meds and and am now making do with with Anacin. One of the blanks, I must fill in is a pledge that I will only use pain killers of a prescription variety for my own personal pain reduction. I am 72 years old and have never come across anything like this before.

When I had my hip operation at St. Peter's in the fall, I signed no such forms, and I turned down the option of refills from my surgeon because I felt I could handle the pain. Shingles involve a lot of pain, and my doctor's choice of pain relief was on a much lower level than the medication I received for my hip surgery. Have any of you experienced anything similar? I would love to hear from you.

"I and other humans
no difference."

-- Ikkyu

We must remember at this time of deep divided differences and extensive turmoil in this nation. So many of our social and economic gains are being lost through political agendas that I sometimes feel we have become a Haiti or a Nicaragua. This does not feel like a democracy for and of the citizens. It feels like bickering and grandstanding and not being part of a general ideal for uplifiting the entire nation or anybody else in the world.

The more news I listen to, the more concerned I become. The European Union does not buy much U.S. beef or meat of any kind and most of our corn is also sanctioned. And yet we are looking for fair trade agreements with these nations to open up a way to sell genetically modified corn and cattle, and chicken and pigs who have been injected with antibiotics and hormones.

Europeans are not allowed to stuff their animals into feed lots or to in any way alter their diets beyond grass, hay and oats. Each animal is tagged with a history going back for generations. And the farmers are worried because humane and healthy farming are much more expensive.

It's bad enough that corporations control our food here but to help them push open the door to other countries is real terrorism on a massive scale. When did we start letting corporations to meddle in our foreign policies and trade agreements? This is akin to a dictatorship on a world wide agenda.

Do some research, real background work, you will be as stunned as I was.

To end on a lighter note, many of the men in New York City Ballet are donning long sleeve gray T shirts, with writing down the side saying,

"Boys of Ballet." Maybe it's a take off of "Boys of Summer," remember those words. I do!

"May you get the reward in heaven that's been denied for you for your goodness here on earth."
--Irish Blessing

Now go out there and do a good deed.

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