Showing posts from 2013


Everything cycles. I’ve gotten out of the habit of regular exercise. Every once in a while I think it’s good to take a break and go through a softening period. It allows me to fully recover and to start again fresh.

Even during the most recent hiatus, I still maintained an active lifestyle. In large part, thanks to my dog. I walk River at least twice a day and often go on short runs with him. I also get down on the floor and wrestle around for about twenty minutes almost every day. Also, during the time I wasn’t ‘working out’ I still taught Nia classes now and then and practiced my routine in my home studio. So I was far from sedentary.

But about a month ago I decided to get back into my old routine. I was inspired by seeing a picture of myself taken a few months ago and comparing that to what I saw in the mirror. It was clear that the time off I had given myself to soften up had done just that.

I know from experience that it isn’t a good idea to jump right into full blown workouts…

River's Vocabulary

Although much of my communication with River is through body language and gestures and quite a bit of it is through my tone and intention, there are a number of words that it is clear that he recognizes and responds to, even out of context.

RIVER - he recognizes his name, but his response is not prescribed

SIT - he sits

LIE DOWN - he lies down

GO LIE DOWN - he walks over to his bed (usually used when I’m at the dinner table)

HERE - he knows I have something in my hand

COME - he immediately walks to me

STAY - he stays where he is

STOP - he stops walking and sits down

WAIT - he stops walking but doesn’t have to sit

HUNGRY - indicates food is imminent

FOOD - same as above

GET YOUR _________ - he’ll go and retrieve the item indicated. Items he can ‘get’ are:

    KONG - feeding toy
    TOY - rope used for tugging
    ROPE - another word for ‘toy’
    BEAR - stuffed animal
    BONE - a bone

TOUCH - he’ll tap my outstretched hand with his nose

KISS - he’ll tap my face with hi…

Learn the GOLDFINGER (aka Bond Girls) Nia routine


Full Schedule:

1- Take the Class
Sunday, January 5
4:00 - 5:00pm
Century Ballroom West Hall
915 E Pine St. Second Floor

Class is open to the public for $10 --FREE to those attending the full training.

2- Do the 8BCs
Saturday, January 11
2:00 - 6:00 pm
JAG Studio
1208 E Republican St, Capitol Hill, Seattle

3- Learn the Moves
Saturday, January 18
2:30 - 6:30 pm
Dance Space Studio, Greenwood, Seattle

4- Teach what you Know
GOLDFINGER teacher Jam
Saturday, February 1
11:00 am - Noon
Century Ballroom West Hall
915 E Pine St. Second Floor

Class is open to the public for $5

Cost for full training is $75. If you attended the BOND GIRLS training in October of 2010, you can attend the GOLDFINGER training at a discount.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to preregister, or pay in cash on the day of the first class.

None of the sessions are required to learn the routine. If you can't make a session and are still interested in learning it, contact me and we can arrange a specia…

Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t fit into a mold. And I don’t fall into formation very easily. My whole life I have felt like I was observing our society from the outside. Or at least from the very edge, looking in. And most of what I see confounds me. 

I’m especially confounded by traditions. When people practice something for the simple and sole reason that they did so last year, and the year prior, and their grandparents did it, and before that, and so on. I’ve heard and believed for a long time that ‘tradition’ is one of the worse reasons there is for doing something. Like religion, tradition is dangerous in that people will mindlessly follow it without question or justification.

I pride myself on doing everything with consciousness and purpose. And it is important to me that the feelings I express and the actions I take come from a real truth inside of me, or I won’t do them. Because of this, I find myself hesitant to fall into the trappings of these traditions.

Many days that are designated as holidays…

Fall Shedding for Winter Hibernation

I know we are still in the middle of fall and have another month left before winter even starts, but I’m already starting to feel the shift. 

In Seattle, the weather has started to turn colder, which always makes me think of death. Not in a morbid way, but just as a part of the cycle of life and progress. Living things die and new ones are born. It’s seasonal and natural.  I don’t avoid talking about, acknowledging or even embracing the idea that loved ones die or will die someday. Living life without taking tomorrow for granted really makes each day special. 

As my way of honoring the feelings that I get around winter, I become aware of welcoming death in my life. I use it as a time to de-clutter my thoughts and my surroundings and my lifestyle; to slough off the old skin so I can start with fresh skin again in the spring.

One of the things I’ve found myself doing this fall is systematically eliminating things that I’m either abusing through overuse or are just simply not serving me…

What I Ate Today

This is an accounting of a day's worth of eating.

I'm only posting this at the request of a friend of mine. I want to be clear that I am not making any reccommendations that anyone adopt this as their diet. I have put no thought into the planning, and make no claims that this is any sort of ideal diet. It's just me, having a typical day but have decided to document it and publish it.

First, upon waking, I squeezed half a lemon into a glass of water and drank it down. Then made a pot of coffee and had my one cup, black!

BREAKFAST: I used a vegetable peeler to lay thin slices of carrot into some butter cooking on the stove. Then I added two eggs and dumped some leftover collard greens from last nights dinner. I sprinkled it with some cajun spices and let it cook for a while. I like the whites to be cooked, but the yolks to be runny.

LUNCH: about three hours later, I was hungry again, so I had a big salad:
a big handful of mixed greens including boy choy, cilantro, parsley, s…

Sales Resistance at Gold's Gym

So, the other day I happened across a Groupon offering a month-long membership to Gold’s Gym, including two personal training sessions, for only $19.  I had been flirting with the idea of going back into the gym for some weight-lifting, as I had sworn off of the activity five years early and was curious about what it might do for me now.

So I brought the voucher into Gold’s and was sent to a sales desk, where the girl there tried her best to ‘upsell’ me. Unfortunately for her, I have worked at gyms all my adult life and I know the hard sell tactics.

She started by first trying to build rapport with me, but she has a self-defeating habit of not listening to people when they answer her questions. This causes her to re-ask the same questions and instead of creating a bond, actually creating a rift between us.

I had no intention of buying anything but the free month I came in for, but I let her run her spiel and even enlist the support of her fellow salesman when I balked at the ridiculou…


I found a Groupon for Gold's Gym.

$19 for a month, including two personal training sessions. I'm not really interested in the PT sessions, except maybe if I can get one to take all of my measurements as a BEFORE baseline.

I'm not unhappy with the shape I'm in, but I know that my muscles were bigger and more defined back when I was lifting weights, so I'm curious to see how much effort it takes to regain some of that.

I have a tendency to see a goal and then go for that goal with 150% effort. And with something like this, it would be very easy to hurt myself doing that, so I have to keep myself honest, realistic and patient.

I'm off to Gold's Gym now, to sign up and get started.

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SQUAT / PLANK Challenge

I was sifting through Facebook last week and came across this anatomical drawing of a person doing a plank exercise with all of the muscled affected in dark red.
It was meant to show how valuable and efficient an exercise it really is.
Which I agree with. I often include planks and/or plank variations in my workouts.

Along with the graphic was written:
The 30 Day Plank Challenge will send your core strength through the roof!
Day 1 - 20 seconds
Day 2 - 20 seconds
Day 3 - 30 seconds
Day 4 - 30 seconds
Day 5 - 40 seconds
Day 6 - REST
Day 7 - 45 seconds
Day 8 - 45 seconds
Day 9 - 60 seconds
Day 10 - 60 seconds
Day 11 - 60 seconds
Day 12 - 90 seconds
Day 13 - REST
Day 14 - 90 seconds
Day 15 - 90 seconds
Day 16 - 120 seconds
Day 17 - 120 seconds
Day 18 - 150 seconds
Day 19 - REST
Day 20 - 150 seconds
Day 21 - 150 seconds
Day 22 - 180 seconds
Day 23 - 180 seconds
Day 24 - 210 seconds
Day 25 - 210 seconds
Day 26 - REST
Day 27 - 240 seconds
Day 28 - 240 seconds
Day 29 - 270 seconds
Day 30 - P…

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

“To market, to market to buy a fat pig. Home again, home again, jiggity jig.”

I remember this nursery rhyme from my childhood, but haven’t thought about it in a long while. But now that I think of it, is it saying that people used to buy whole pigs from the market? And then what? Take them home and kill them and cut them into steaks and chops? Wow. 
That same rhyme today would be more like “To market to market to buy some slabs of meat that I don’t associate as coming from a cute animal, placed on a Styrofoam tray and wrapped in plastic wrap.  Home again, home again, sitting in my SUV, grumbling about traffic.”

Anyway, yes, today was the last day of our epic journey.

We woke up in Centralia and were prepared to head to Olympia for our last gig and last night in a motel. But when I entered the address of the motel into my navigation, it told me I’d be there in 20 minutes!  Even though we slept in late and got a late start today, I wouldn’t be able to check into the motel in Olympia unt…

The Scenic Route to Centralia

Our destination today was only 90 minutes from Portland. So we didn’t rush getting out, but ended up hitting the pavement by about 11:30. We stopped for coffee at a Starbucks and it was such a nice morning, that we sat in the chair set aside across the parking lot for smoking. No one was there, so there was no smoking, but it was right in the sun. I took off my shirt and enjoyed my coffee while River sniffed around the trees and bushes that were in the area.

Once on the road, it wasn’t long before we were going over the Columbia River, on which there is a sign saying “Leaving Portland” and another saying “Entering Washington.”

I drove a few miles until I got to Vancouver and decided I wanted to take a detour. At the rate I was going, if I went directly to the motel, I’d arrive hours before the check in time. So we went east.

I didn’t have a plan, but ended up doing some pretty cool things. The first really cool thing I noticed was Mount Hood way off in the distance. Can you see it?



So the first thing I wanted to do this morning was to pay a visit to Nia HQ in downtown Portland. I had actually intended to get up and make it to the 9:30 am Nia class, but at 8:00 am, I had a better idea; more sleep.

Plus I justified it by remembering how bad the parking situation is downtown, and how much of a shlep it would be carrying the cage and blankets to the building and up the stairs. I also thought maybe it wouldn’t be cool to just drop by with a dog, unannounced. So I rolled over and slept some more. 

I did eventually get out of bed (obviously) and did eventually work my way down to HQ. I peeked in the studio and saw the White Belt training going on. I was surprised at how few people there were. I guess I was expecting to see 50 or 60 people, but I only saw about four in there today. There could have been more, as I didn’t see the entire room.

Then I went downstairs into the offices and River met the two dogs that were there.  I said Hi to Debbie Rosas. We talked a lit…

How I Ended up in Portland

We slept late again and didn’t leave Coos Bay until after our coffee and walk, so it was about noon.

The plan was to make a direct path to Lincoln City. I was motivated by coming across this story a few days ago:

Since delicate green and blue Japanese glass fishing floats first washed up on Oregon beaches in the early 20th century, beachcombers have scoured the sands for these prized finds. The number of Japanese floats has decreased over the years, but Oregon’s artists keep the tradition alive by planting a crop of handmade floats each fall.
Beginning in mid-October, local glassblowers conceal brilliantly colored, signed and numbered glass floats along the 7.5 miles of public beach in Lincoln City, stretching from the Roads End State Recreation Site area to Cutler City. This year a total of 2,014 floats will be hidden along the coastline for lucky beachcombers to find.
Glassblower Bob Meyer, owner of Ocean Beaches Glassblowing & Gallery in Seal…

West Coast Farms, Mountains, Forests and Ocean

We slept in late and were leaving Medford at about noon. It was a doleful drive through town on the way out as I passed Marco’s Pepper Grill. It was vacant, with a For Lease sign on the window.

We went south at first, because I wanted to drive through Talowa Dunes and Cape Blanco and was in no hurry to get to the motel in Coos Bay. Most of the drive was through California on winding roads through an autumnal forest.

We stopped after driving for a couple of hours and found ourselves at this rest area near a long tunnel. 

We explored a little bit and then exercised,  playing tug and push and chase and then we practiced some heeling. I was using the 50 foot leash and not giving him physical corrections, but just using my voice to make him walk at my side all the way to the trash cans and all the way back to the car. He did a great job.
Then we had lunch.

Jedediah Smith State Park was awesome. The size of some of those giant Redwood trees was staggering; not to mention all the lush ground …

I-5 to Medford

The sun woke us up today. I had planned it that way, by leaving the curtains open. River slept the whole night in his crate, and only crawled into bed in the morning when we saw the sun. Then I closed the curtains and slept for another couple of hours.

Two nights ago, in San Francisco, he also seemed to be gravitating toward sleeping in his crate. Typically, he’d always get in bed as soon as the light was out, but in SF, he was already in his crate when I turn out the lights for bed and he stayed in there for maybe half an hour in the darkness before climbing into the bed. He didn’t stay, either. After just a few minutes, he hopped down and got back into his crate. I have to admit, I felt a bit jilted, lol, even though it makes me happy that he’s feeling comfortable and confident enough to sleep in his cage in a strange room.

This morning, before leaving the room in Willows, I put all the foods I had cooked last night into tupperware, arranging them in meals with a couple of vegetabl…

Rockin Walnut Creek and Butting Heads in Willows

The word for today is “frustrating”

It started out fine, though. I woke up early and took River for a walk around the block. It was hard to find a tree in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, but we found some, which he ignored. He was much more interested in the corners of mailboxes and certain buildings. For a long time I thought maybe he was going to be too stimulated by all the activity of the city to be able to poop, but he finally did. Right at the curb in an intersection. So I guess he wasn’t shy.

I hit a little bit of traffic on the way to the studio in Walnut Creek. It is a half hour drive, so I allowed myself an hour to get there. I didn’t have my coffee before taking off, though, because that would have eaten into my one hour and it was more important to get there on time than to be caffeinated. 

Making it through the traffic, I arrived at the studio with about twenty minutes to spare. So I started looking around for some coffee. I found a deli with an espresso sign, s…

San Francisco

We woke up today in Monterey, knowing we were only two hours drive from our final destination in San Francisco, so we found a local beach. The waitress who was complimenting his behavior at the bistro yesterday mentioned that she liked taking her dog to Del Monte Beach, so I found that one and took River.
It seems this beach was also a bit of a wildlife preserve. And one of the creatures being protected was a legless lizard, which is different from a snake.  I had no idea such things existed.

Time flies when we’re at the beach, and before I knew it, we had been there for two hours and it was time for some lunch.

So, after a quick consult with my Bring Fido app, I found a dog friendly bakery/cafe with outdoor seating and had lunch there. I ordered a basil burger, which was supposed to come with pesto, but it didn’t seem to have any pesto on it.  And it had a funny flavor like meat that has been in the refrigerator for a day or two too long.  But I ate it anyway, because I flaunt death o…